1977 Warhol subject / SUN 7-2-17 / Cinematic composer Andre / Zombie flaming volcano / Revolver song McCartney described as ode to pot / Old movie theater lead-ins / pommes frites seasoning

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Constructor: Patrick Blindauer

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "The Long and Winding Road" — black squares form a long and winding road, of sorts, and then some answers need to go (or, maybe, "do it"?) in the road for one square to make sense. The road squares then spell out the name of another Beatles' tune: "DRIVE MY CAR" (as in, "Baby you can...")

Theme answers:
  • "YOU REALLY GOT A HOLD ON ME" (22A: "With the Beatles" song written by Smokey Robinson)
  • "GOT TO GET YOU INTO MY LIFE" (118A: "Revolver" song that Paul McCartney described as "an ode to pot")
  • "AND I LOVE HER" (35D: "A Hard Day's Night" song that Lennon called McCartney's "first 'Yesterday'")
  • "LADY MADONNA" (30D: "Hey Jude" song that mentions every day of the week but Saturday)
  • "FIXING A HOLE" (48D: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" song whose title is followed by "where the rain gets in") (this ... is not themer-famous. The others are all iconic songs (even if one is iconic primarily because of Smokey). "FIXING A HOLE," on the other hand, is what we call "symmetrical...")
  • "ALL MY LOVING" (40D: "With the Beatles" song playing in the E.R. when Lennon died)
Puzzle Note (.puz version):

Word of the Day: C.P. SNOW (91A: "Strangers and Brothers" novelist) —
Charles Percy Snow, Baron Snow, CBE (15 October 1905 – 1 July 1980) was an English physical chemist and novelist who also served in several important positions in the British Civil Service and briefly in the UK government. He is best known for his series of novels known collectively as Strangers and Brothers, and for The Two Cultures, a 1959 lecture in which he laments the gulf between scientists and "literary intellectuals". (wikipedia)
• • •

I could see the road straight off. I figured this was some kind of anniversary tribute puzzle, but I don't know what the anniversary is. "Sgt. Pepper's" was released on *June* 2, 1967, so it's close to the 50th anniversary of that event. But I think this puzzle probably has nothing specific to commemorate. It's just a nifty little architectural feat. I don't quite understand the wording of the "Note": "... another example of the theme"? What is ... that? You mean "another song"? "Another theme answer"? What is happening, road-wise is much more complex and interesting than whatever "another example of the theme" suggests. You drive a car on a road (I mean, mostly, I assume), so that particular song is particularly apt in terms of its placement on the "long and winding road." The road did weird things to the grid. On the one hand, it gave it a cool, distinctive look. On the other, it created huge banks of short fill that were particularly awful to trudge through. The west has TAV (wasn't sure it wasn't TAVI or TAV-some other letter, as I have never ever ever in two+ decades of solving seen TAV in a grid (that I can remember). ELE is also rare (for a reason). Fill suffers, at least a little, all over—but then again, I can give the puzzle a lot of slack because of the virtuosic design. You're gonna have to eat some GDS if you want something this ornate.

I nearly failed to finish, as the tiny SSE portion was virtually impenetrable to me. Ran the song right through it, but ... Warhol painted ALI? Cape Horn is just a TIP!?!? (that is the one that irked me). TYPE (!?) used to be made of lead? Even getting SKIS (121A: Footwear for a run) and (esp.) LIST (109D: Officially go (for)) was brutal. And I was trapped. No help forthcoming. All I had was AROSE. I finally guessed SKIS, and that got me the traction I needed, but that was a harrowing 10-, 20, 30 seconds, whatever it was. Beatles songs were all familiar, so all the strangeness / weirdness / difficulty was effectively counterbalanced, resulting in a Sunday puzzle of average Sunday difficulty.

Two crossword tournaments are coming up very soon. First (well, chronologically second), there's Lollapuzzoola 10 (!), the greatest (and, now, onliest) crossword tournament in New York (Saturday, Aug. 19). 200+ solvers, zany and inventive puzzles, summertime in New York ... what more could you want? Then there's Boswords, a Boston-area crossword tournament happening a couple weeks earlier (Sunday, Aug. 6). It's the inaugural tourney. The constructors for that one are pretty great (OK half of them are my friends, but my friends make pretty great puzzles). I'm going to both tournaments, because why not? (Actually, I'm going to Lolla because I always go to Lolla (barring scheduling conflicts), and I'm going to Boswords because my friend and podcasting partner Lena lives in Somerville, MA, so I don't need much of a shove to get me out there—I'm headed out there today, in fact). OK, so, get in on the late-summer tourney fun. Come meet your fellow puzzle-dorks. They are lovely humans.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


pauer 12:07 AM  
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Johnny 12:14 AM  

I finished this but I'm not sure how I did it. On the iPad app there were only black squares; I saw that some words carried over into the black but most didn't, and I couldn't make any sense of it. The explanation blurb didn't help. I put in a letter and the "congratulations" screen came up and I wasn't expecting that.

Anyway this thing was a big mystery more than a puzzle.

Thomas 12:24 AM  

FEH ??? WTF!!!

PG Bartlett 12:24 AM  

Mr. Blindauer (@pauer), great puzzle with clever cluing and theme. My first DNF in months...

I mistakently wrote GOTTA GET YOU INTO MY LIFE and blew the cross because I had both AMO and AMa in my head as valid forms of the verb. First week of Latin I down the drain.

As a result, I spent tons of time trying to figure out how to fill in the rest of the grey squares instead of finding my error.

I finally resorted to peeking at Rex's blog to figure out where I went wrong.

Anonymous 12:27 AM  

Is anyone else's NYT online not allowing them to complete the puzzle? I've answered everything correctly. Is there a way to input black squares in? Is that what I'm missing? I'm slowly going insane.

Robin 12:27 AM  

Had trouble in the same SSE area, possibly compounded because I tried to enter PIPE rather than TYPE. Got TIP and had the PE but was making the wrong choice. Nevertheless could see that the I was not going to work.

Moveable letter TYPE in an old-school printing press was made mostly of lead.

Anonymous 12:45 AM  

Having the same issue with nyt online

travis 12:46 AM  

I suspect I would have liked this better if I had been familiar with the songs. I literally had _A_YMADONNA, and had no idea what it could be. I think I might be familiar with 20 or 30 Beattles songs, and they weren't these. Instead of tempering the difficulty with long gimmes, I needed close to every cross for most of the themers so it just became very frustrating.

Anonymous 1:07 AM  

@anon issues with completing, once I had everything in I clicked on reveal and then it gave me the congratulations for completing.

Unknown 1:14 AM  

Sorry, I will never, ever get over my opinion that rebus and "hidden letter" puzzles are constructors lying to solvers. I can figure them out (finished sub 30 which is great for me on a Sunday), but they leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Anonymous 1:17 AM  

end of shift = shift "dress" = hem = stretched

jae 1:28 AM  

Medium for me too for the same reasons as @Rex, especially the SSE.

I bought all the albums when they first came out. I have a closet shelf full of VINYL.

Interesting grid, I'm a fan, hard not to like it.

Trombone Tom 1:34 AM  

DNF here as I couldn't come to terms with FEH. This felt too much like work for the small reward. I know many Beatles tunes, but wasn't familiar with some of these. My connection with popular music sort of peaked out with SHBOOM!

allan 1:41 AM  

Spent a lot of time trying to figure out the gimmick, and finally gave up. Came here for the answer. Turns out it was a Magical Mystery Tour.

Luke 1:44 AM  

I was amazed that I was done when I filled in the last square. Had about ten squares I was unsure of and just put a letter in to put a letter in. scrim/charly/rahal (have heard of zero of those), list/type ("a T makes sense here but I don't understand what it has to do with the clues"), lana/illya (I would have called that a natick if I hadn't guessed right), the previn/cpsnow area...I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. It took me less than a minute to get the song titles and the crossing-the-road words, and my total time was over 3x my average Sunday.

chefwen 1:46 AM  

Time consuming, but fun. Grew up with all the Beatles tunes so the long acrosses got filled in with a few letters in place. I'm old fashioned and I always print out the puzzle to solve on paper. Found the missing letter with ELOI 65A and TAKEI at 44D, took my Wite Out and filled in the phantom square, put in the missing letter and was off to the races. Well, not really a race, but I got the job done.

Like it a lot. Thank you Pauer.

Larry Gilstrap 2:21 AM  

FIXING A HOLE is not theme worthy? Did I read or dream that statement? A band has recorded so many iconic songs that we need to choose one just because it's symmetrical. What's a better theme? Beatle songs with personal pronouns. See what I did there? Punctuation [sic].

I am kinda tentative about posting, especially when I'm not quite sure what the hell I just did. Well here goes; some of the letters in the road connect phrases and others don't? Lucy, would you please esplain!

Anyway, anybody gonna bad mouth the Beatles' music? If you weren't around in those days, you can't grasp the unifying quality of such a cultural phenomenon. Tragic that some deranged bastard felt compelled to kill John 37 years ago and George liked cigarettes. Many on this blog are steeped in musical culture nuance, but I remember being with some friends and a jukebox about 1964 and we were thrilled. Knew all the words, lyrics, and guitar riffs in minutes.

Some of us on this blog notice three letter fill and wonder why, others apparently wonder why not? Apologies to RFK, but point offered.

'mericans in Paris 4:19 AM  

This is the kind of puzzle that demonstrates why solving on paper is often a better experience than working on a screen. In our version, the long and winding road was shaded in light grey. What we didn't know was whether no letters would go into it, or whether it would be completely filled with letters. It took us awhile therefore to grok that only some letters would appear. Once we saw about half of DRIVE MY CAR, however, we figured it out and then went looking for places where the missing letters might fit.

This is the first puzzle in a long time that we both admired for its construction feat and enjoyed solving -- both for the challenge and for the MELANCHOLY memories of some great songs that are forever ETCHED into our tiny minds. Where @Rex speaks of seconds, however, we took minutes. Lots of minutes.

Like others, we struggled in the SSE, entering piPE before TYPE, and scratching our heads over LIST. Also had "AND I LOVE you" at 35D, so were stuck for a long time before Mrs. 'mericans changed "you" to "HER", and then the rest fell into place. The Michigan area, with its SCRIM-CHARLY-RAHAL-ABBACY, was also tough, and we DNF because we had to Google to gain a HINT AT RAHAL.

Started at 09:30 and didn't fill in the last square until around 16:30. Celebrated with a MAI TAI DRINK AND ALE. SOBERLY, of course. Made zucchini enchiladas from The Moosewood Cookbook for dinner, and when we sat down to eat them there emblazoned on the front of our habanero sauce were the words "Salsa TAXCO". Nice.

Great to see MAINE (state of my birth) in a NYT puzzle, as well as one of our favorite cities, HA NOI.

THAT'S a wrap. Happy Independence Day weekend to everybody in Les ETATS-Unis!

Unknown 4:23 AM  

I'm a Beatles fanatic, so I WANTED to like this puzzle. But the hidden theme just didn't work on an iPhone. I wasn't sure if those were meant to be rebuses or something else. Also some questionable fill (I agree that FEH is just wrong).

Lewis 6:42 AM  

What a shame for those who who had trouble because of technical issues. This is SUCH a delightful puzzle, different and refreshing. What a shame for Patrick who ingeniously devised this to have it marred with glitches.

Patrick, as one who solved this on my laptop through the NYT with a gray winding road, I was smiling all the way through from several highly entertaining clues (ADAM, DST, SKIS, PLATEAU), answers (BROADSIDE, EVANESCE) and from the puzzle's unique design and feel. This was a joy, through and through. Thank you greatly, Sir Patrick.

Alan Richard Textiles, Ltd. 7:12 AM  

It took a while to realize that all the shaded squares were not filled in. Cleveland opened it up for me. Once I got the D to precede rive, I realized the Drive my car theme. The R was the last letter I got. It took a while to remember the Beatle songs.

Anonymous 7:17 AM  

I really didn't enjoy this puzzle at all. I didn't know any of the Beatles' songs in the puzzle. I only know a few of there most popular songs. I did figure out that you could put in letters on the grey area by clicking on the gray squares. Like @Luke, there were just too many other entries that were just obscure fill. This is one of the worst Sunday puzzles I have seen in a long, long time. No joy in Mudville tonight.

pauer 7:20 AM  
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mambridge 7:24 AM  

Yes, having the same issue with NYT on line. That means my streak is broken.

QuasiMojo 7:37 AM  

I'm proud that I managed to fill in the grid without cheating but I did it online and the hidden theme didn't make much sense to me. LIST was a stretch. Some tricky answers such as BloodLine kept me intrigued. @Nancy, one man's being published is another man's obscurity.

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

Will somebody please tell us online users how to complete!!!! We have streaks at stake!!!

chefbea 7:46 AM  

I was a Beatles fan but this was too tough for me!! Gotta get ready for our cook-out this afternoon...ribs, corn, salad and of course a red white and blue dessert.

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

Had no issues solving online. Made no attempt to represent the letters along the road. Did take time to track down typos given the abundance of short stuff. Fun.

joebloggs 7:57 AM  

Absolute trash

joebloggs 7:57 AM  


evil doug 7:58 AM  

Does anyone remember caring about online solvers' streaks?

pauer 7:59 AM  
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joebloggs 8:02 AM  

To me it seems like the extra letters that make up drive my car are not genius but stuff the dude couldn't make work in the regular squares. Hey Jude as an album or compilation? It's REALLY misleading. Could have just said Beatles song. Most big music sobs like me would never even think of that as a record. REALLY trying to deceive the solver in my opinion. I LOVE The Beatles but some of the cluing really killed the joy. Flattery as a geographical/geological feature for plateau? Gimme a break!

BarbieBarbie 8:03 AM  

I was planning to write a really positive comment. The cluing was overall very clever and several of them deserve highlighting here. But when I saw that the very first comment here was an ad from the constructor, I was a bit deflated. Abd now I see he is trolling the other contributirs, well... yeah, I liked this puzzle and no, I won't buy your effing book.

Oh: DNF because of the perfect storm of crossing TAKEI with LETT and in both words I always insert a wrong A. Otherwise easy.

Maruchka 8:12 AM  

Very much paper fun (hi, @'mericans). So sorry to hear online isn't.

DRIV-ing down the road went smooth, excepting that little alcove to the west. 'Louder' for LALALA (doh) sunk me.. CUE-?-ELAND made no sense. FEH on me.

Thanks, Mr. Blindauer.

There's a PBS documentary streaming now on the impact of "Sgt. Pepper". Those who weren't around 50 years ago might find it illuminating, and those of us who were can savor the memories.

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

Can't get out of my head the notion that there must be quite a few politicians out there who have "FIXING A-HOLE in the ____" (fill in the blank) at the top of their LIST of objectives.

Maruchka 8:15 AM  

@pauer - Curious how George Burns and 48D are connected?

Brian 8:29 AM  

Check the grid closely — you will see tiny red triangles in the top right corner in lights that have been replaced with revealed corrections.

Generic Solver 8:33 AM  

The New York Times should not publish crosswords that do not "work correctly" in their own phone app. Or they should fix the app before they publish a puzzle that doesn't work. Without being able to fill in the pseudo-grey squares, this became a confusing and inconsistent mess of a solving experience.

David Hughes 8:35 AM  

The Android app won't recognize that I've finished it!

jkjolly 8:36 AM  

I was having same issue finishing puzzle on nyt site. I deleted all the 'shaded' extra letters (Drive My Car).....Still nothing. I plugged Drive My Car back in, and happy music/Congrats screen. No clue why, but try that.

Glimmerglass 8:36 AM  

This turned out to a "medium" puzzle -- medium difficulty and medium fun. When I first read the note, I imagined that every gray square would have letter, which meant a lot of answers would be very long, and several would have two or three other answers imbedded in the long answer. Wow! How hard would that be to construct?!! Turned out that only ten letters slopped into the gray, and only MELANCHOLY, BLOODLINE, ALERTEST, CLEVELAND and NEWSREEL had an imbedded (continued) sub-answer. In restrospect, I think my imagined puzzle would be impossible to make. (Patrick Berry, want to give it a try?) But what the puzzle actually is, is good fun -- just not the tour de force I imagned.

David Hughes 8:43 AM  

Android app did not give the usual 'you have finished but have one or more errors' message. So, to finish, I had to 'cheat', busting my streak. Bad !

Tim Aurthur 9:03 AM  

@Glimmerlass, exactly what I thought. The print edition has gray squares for the road, so I assumed all would be filled, which would mean a coherent phrase running diagonally through two 4x21 stacks. More Martin Ashwood Smith than Patrick Berry, I reckon. It took a while to figure out what was really going on.

Generic Solver 9:08 AM  

@David Hughes 8:43AM - xwordinfo.com publishes the solution as soon as the puzzle is released, so you can use that instead of revealing to preserve your streak.

Unknown 9:10 AM  

Same here, on Android.

TomAz 9:17 AM  

I first tried solving this on my iPad, but moved to my laptop because i couldn't see the pattern of where the filled in "gray" squares were or what they were supposed to spell. I also had the same "all the squares are filled in but the clock is still running" thing. This was irksome, and added a few minutes to my time before I finally got it to work (not sure what it was i did exactly).

I enjoyed the Beatles theme. I like the Beatles just fine. For those complaining they didn't know the Beatles songs in the puzzle: you can take your opera clues and stuff it. heh heh just kidding. maybe. sort of.

@Maruchka: In the 70s there was a Sgt Pepper musical movie. It starred Peter Frampton, the Bee Gees, and George Burns. Mr Burns sang "Fixing a Hole". It is one of the worst movies ever made. I saw it in the movie theater the day it came out. I was only 16 at the time.

Suzy 9:19 AM  

@Larry-- Well said! Totally agree! Somehow I couldn't see "lalala". wanted "nanana"-- so obvious when I peaked.

Crossnerds Podcast 9:28 AM  

While it's not the exact anniversary of Pepper's, it's certainly in the air. They just released a new stereo remix (not a remaster, an actual remix where they took the original isolated recordings and reassembled them) and it's fantastic.


We'll be playing this on the show today.

-- The Crossnerds

pauer 9:31 AM  
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The Clerk 9:32 AM  
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Richard 9:35 AM  

Same. Almost a magical mystery tour.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Such a classy fellow

Nancy 9:40 AM  

UGH. Or should I say FEH? Because FEH is what I should have had instead of UGH. Which would have given me EDINA instead of OGDEN at 49D (starting in the gray square). Which would have given me FIXING A HOLE instead of GUIDING A HOLE (huh?). If you have nothing better to do with your day, you can check and see how, step by step, I went down this seductive rabbit's HOLE.

Of course none of it mattered, because I was looking for a continuous run of letters in the gray squares and NOT for a few randomly placed letters that, taken together, would make up a title. In short, I was looking for something much better and cleverer. I kept asking myself why I had only a few widely scattered letters and couldn't come up with the whole shebang. It never occurred to me that there wasn't any whole shebang. Bummer.

I was hampered by not knowing any of the Beatles' titles, but I came up with them all anyway. All except for the scattered gray one. And thus my appraisal of this puzzle is: very scattered. Too scattered, in fact.

ARPickett 9:41 AM  

Also DNF. The grey squares weren't visible on my iPad. Had a tour a few years back of a private art collection here in Denver. A huge tryptich by Warhol of Ali in his prime was one of the works we saw. It was breathtaking. The owner has died, wonder what happened to the paintings.

pauer 9:47 AM  

@BarbieBarbie -- you seem charming.

God forbid I let people know about something they might enjoy, but that's fine. Comment deleted.

Don't know why I keep forgetting what a (mostly) hate-filled cesspool this comments section is. It won't happen again!

Z 9:56 AM  

@Online Solvers - Get PuzzAzz. You'll get a gray road and the ability to enter the letters where they belong. The app will reliably tell you when you're finished. Why a third party app is better than the NYT's own app is a mystery, but still, it is so.

Went and found a video of FIXING A HOLE and went, "Oh, of course." While I can sing along with the whole song, I have to agree with Rex that it is not as iconic as the other themers.

I see some bitching on Twitter and here about the theme worthiness of Beatle songs. Look - Best Beatles influenced Rap Cuts, and Beatle songs that influenced heavy metal. I suppose most people don't care about the sources of the music they love, but even if you listen only to music made in the last ten years you are listening to music influenced by the Beatles. My three sons' tastes are about as diverse as possible for three white guys raised in a suburb (drone metal, The Dead and Indian music, Punk Pop) but all three of them listen to the Beatles at least on occasion. I usually harp on pop culture themes that are too specific to an era or generation. The Beatles are multigenerational and multi-era, so no complaint here.

Z 10:01 AM  

@pauer - Uh, actually, many people here like puzzles and would be interested in your upcoming puzzle suite. Rex is the only one who gets a say on what can't be posted here. So, please, repost the link.

Blue Stater 10:02 AM  

One big WTF. Worst in years. Please, please, please can I have my Sunday puzzles back? At least?

Maruchka 10:08 AM  

Sorry, sorry. PBS is NOT streaming Sgt. Pepper doc at this time. All you get is the trailer. Not right.

Unknown 10:14 AM  

69 Down

Names are ENGRAVED on a trophy not ETCHED... just saying

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

@pauer -- I re-read all the comments and I don't see anything that justifies your calling this blog "a hate-filled cesspool." Quite the contrary -- today's comments seem quite civilized. Sounds to me like you have a Trump-like thin skin: you want only to be praised and flattered, and the people who do so are "fabulous" people. The people who offer any criticism at all are just "pathetic losers." In fact, we are a hate-filled cesspool. Other constructors come around here every once in a while and, TTTT, they all seem a lot nicer than you.

Blackbird 10:16 AM  

Best part of the blog today is the terrific Smokey Robinson and the Miracles video. Total artistry.

BarbieBarbie 10:20 AM  

@pauer- yes, please repost your info. My objection was to your nasty response to the person who didn't know Beatles songs. True, putting your ad at the very top of the comment section without waiting for the applause for today's puzzle was less than classy, nut the information should be here. Please repost. And thanks for the compliment.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

The puzzle contains a summary of my experience of it: FEH.

I admire its construction. I think its gimmick is clever and interesting. It just was not fun to solve, and I ended up giving up on it. Part of it is the NYT's app experience: the long and winding road was black on mine, and there was no way to mark the letters in it. Part of it is my own lack of cultural capital: I don't know anything but the most obvious songs in the Beatles' catalog, even though I accept that it's fair game. So, I needed the crosses for the song titles, but also wasn't always sure of the answers that had missing letters.

Lady Madonna 10:26 AM  

Hate-filled cesspool? Really? Because people criticize (read: comment on the contents of) your puzzle?
That seems a bit unfair. People in this blog can get nasty towards other people, but their comments on the puzzles are always within a normal tone. Constructors are welcome here to comment and discuss their work. Please do so instead of getting angry.

Jim 10:34 AM  

Loved "the highest form of flattery" clue for plateau!

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

That Sgt. Pepper movie approached excruciating levels of execrability.

Erik 11:03 AM  

Cool puzzle but iPad App made it really tough for me and I ended with a DNF. The explanation blurb wasn't very helpful

Bill Feeney 11:07 AM  

If it's not Unser it's RAHAL. HIs son, Graham, is currently running in the Indycar series. Bit of heresy, I know, but back in the 60s it was often The Beatles or The Stones. I loved the blues based early Stones work but just couldn't get into Beatles music at all. That made the titles of many of the songs tough to get and made some of the area fill difficult to suss. I'm sorry the constructor feels so strongly about the contributors on this site. I know I think some people are far too hard on the puzzle and its creator.I wishi they would save their hate for things that really matter in this world.

GILL I. 11:16 AM  

Gee @Patrick...I was about to say how much I thought this puzzle was clever. I've changed my mind.
When I downloaded the puzzle non of the gray shaded area appeared. I had to lightly pencil the areas in. I'm glad I did otherwise I would have never gotten the DRIVE MY CAR.
At the risk of backlash....ANDALE 52A is wrong. ANDALE means hurry up or get your arse moving. VAMANOS is "Let's Go" whether in Baja or TAXCO. Let's get our Spanish straight por favor.
I was going to gush a bit more but I won't for fear my comments will be seen as something akin to a smelly cesspool.

JC66 11:22 AM  

@BarbieBarbie - Always enjoy your posts, but today you outdid yourself with your second one.

@Pauer - No class. See @Barbie's 2nd (10:20A) post for illumination.

As to the puzzle, it took me twice my normal Sunday time in part because like some others, I thought all the squares in the "road" should be filled in. Some of the cluing/answers were great (PLATEAU) and I'm a Beatles' fan, but not an enjoyable solve.

CDilly52 11:25 AM  

Hand up for all of the above! Thank goodness I'm a Beatles fan or it would have been DNF for me today.

Alan_S. 11:27 AM  

Instead of posting my own note (and reading through the rest of the comments) I decided to just reply to this one. I'm something of a music snob (expert) myself and totally agree about the clueing of the songs. "Hey Jude" was not an album and "With The Beatles" was an American compilation of songs from two of the early original British Albums, not an original album itself.

But I couldn't disagree more about the clueing of PLATEAU. That was a perfect example of how crosswords should be clued; clever and a bit misdirected.
...the HIGHest form of FLATtery. Get it? High and Flat, exactly what s plateau is. Best clue in the entire puzzle.

But don't be @$?&ing with my Beatles history!

John 11:35 AM  

One is led to believe that the 60 some odd grayed-out squares will have many more letters than the 10 it takes to spell "drive my car." Really annoying. Is it Bobby "Rahal" or Rahall?" Is it "tav" or "tave?" And many similar "who can remember" questions. The phrasing of the instruction, in the end, is the problem.

Unknown 11:55 AM  

Moveable letters were wood and steel. Cast by a linotype was lead. - from an OLD printer...

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

As noted earlier, the names are not "etched" on the trophy.
And evanescent is NOT slowly evaporating, it is QUICKLY fading from sight or evaporating.
A medium, not a lot of fun drag, for me.
George, would you please change the spelling of your last name? I'm apparently unable from puzzle to puzzle...

Carola 12:08 PM  

I'll rate this one as "an enjoyable struggle." I liked the added mystery of figuring out which entries were going to enter or cross the gray zone - and why. Hardest section for me was the EPIC ECHO area. Easiest song title to fill in: FIXING A HOLE.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

The technical problem that I had with the online puzzle occurred because I had an error in one of the squares. Whereas the puzzle would normally provide a message that the puzzle was complete but one or more errors exist, in this case the "open road" seemed to confuse the puzzle. I used the "check puzzle" figure to identify the error; once I corrected it, the puzzle indicated a successful completion.

Two Ponies 12:14 PM  

First and foremost I loved this puzzle, clues for plateau and DST were so fun. An exponential rebus.
Growing up with the Beatles as I did, I agree with the comments about cultural impact.
Now, quicherbitchin about your electronic problems, cut that pathetic umbilical cord, and grab a pencil.
This was a great example of a Sunday puzzle worth savoring. If you only solve with one eye on your stopwatch I can only wonder why crosswords are any fun for you.
@ pauer, You sound like a spoiled brat. Nice puzzle, bad attitude.

Joseph Michael 12:19 PM  

Thanks to Patrick for the trip down memory lane. It was a fun ride. Another title for this might have been "Why Don't We Do It in the Road."

The sparse "Drive My Car" revealer was a little anti-climactic, but I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out which letters ended up in the road.

Loved much of the cluing, such as that for PLATEAU, SKIS, and even the otherwise innocuous TSP. Also liked the misdirection of CLEVELAND as a successor to Harrison.

Thanks @Nancy for your enlightenment yesterday on the subject of seeds and byes. As a tennis illiterate, I would never have figured that out on my own.

Alan_S. 12:26 PM  

Just curious; I don't mean to be at all critical or snarky but; How can someone of your geographical location, apparent higher education, bohemian and decidedly New York (you probably live in the West Village but, from your icon/avatar, maybe more Upper West Side) cultural influences and tastes (I read your profile) not be familiar with these titles? Really, just curious.

KevCo 12:37 PM  

I think "Fixing A Hole" is on par with or better-known than "And I Love Her" and "Got to Get You into My Life" for sure. "Feh" is the worst crossword answer I've seen in a while. I also got stuck in the same SSE corner as Rex, and needed "SKIS" to dig my way out.

Once I sussed the theme, I was sure I was looking a long and winding road, and I guess I was, but I wish the puzzle had acknowledged that in some way instead of just putting a "car" on it. Oh well. Was fun anyway.

Masked and Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Real different SunPuz. M&A grooves on different. thUmbsUp.
Like how the rules for fillin in the roadkill songletters was kinda a gray area. Almost lost the final roadkill R, due to thinkin that just plain NEWS was the 83-D answer. Had to carefully re-examine the road surface, to get it.

Beatles solidly hit my high school years' music spot, so no problemo with splatzin in the songtitles. FIXINGAHOLE is a mighty dim memory, tho. Wonder why. Thought I knew all their VINYL stuff pretty well.

staff weeject pick: ELE. No … make that TAV. No … wait …

Wowzer. 99 black squares … tho the exact count is another one of them gray areas. Can't help wonderin: how hard is a puz like this to construct. Overall, thought the results were surprisinly good -- very few cesspools of hate in the fillins. har

I have no other comment on the already deleted when I got here PB2comment. Can I help it, if I like to sleep in, sometimes?

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Anonymous 12:54 PM  

Z SAYS THE Beatles are universal. Discussion ended.
Alan suffers from the same delusion. It is beyond dispute that the Beatles are wildly influential in the world of pop music. But even their champions will concede that their influence ebbs, even if only a little, each year.
And it's also worth remembering that it's only been around for about 54 years. Contrast that with, well say Vivaldi or Mozart, Bach. Point is, lots of reasonable people never caught the bug for bug music. And I'm guessing that generations hence, people will look back with bewilderment at a lot of the cultural touchstones of thw western/ northern hemisphere.

puzzlehoarder 1:00 PM  

Being a very literal can't see the forest for the trees type of solver this was a lot of work. Even after I'd unknowingly finished I was still looking for away to fill the remaining gray squares. Did anyone else notice that from the M of ADAM to the E of MAINE you can run the letters ANDEV to spell ADAMANDEVE. I actually wrote them in when the light bulb went off and I just followed the instructions and read the letters that were actually there. They seemed randomly placed at first but the shared corner letters and run through words with the second entry as an embedded word are brilliant construction. I was just glad I didn't have to try and spell ILLYA's last name. This is TAV's 9th appearance. I mention this because I recently had to deal with it in another puzzle. My Webster's lists it as TAW but the NYTXWP only uses TAV. In the puzzles TAW is always the marble or the marble game.

JC66 1:18 PM  


The puzzle's title is....


Hartley70 1:21 PM  

I'm choosing to forget some of the posts that appeared earlier and write this as if I'm first in line. Things are way too tense up there.

I LOVEd this FREAKin' puzzle!!!

It worked perfectly on my iphone with the NYT app.

I'm just old enough to know the Beatles repertoire and to have trouble remembering everything that I know. That made it the perfect Sunday difficulty level.

DRIVEMYCAR on the road was just beyond.
The gimmick randomness made me crazy in a good way.

The extra half hour of solving time was a plus today. Not a bit of slog in sight. The cluing felt a little unexpected so my most obvious guess was sometimes wrong.

Thanks for the entertainment. The ear worms are worth it!

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

I was so fixated on William Henry Harrison, that it never dawned on me that the equally forgettable Benjamin Harrison was also our president once. My bad!

Marge 1:49 PM  

What is a DNF???

clk 1:50 PM  

The randomness of the squares that were supposed to be filled in the road ruined it for me. Nothing clever about that part. Would have been much more fun (though much harder to construct) if the road fill had been WHY DON'T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD instead of DRIVE MY CAR.

How can this possibly have worked perfectly on the iPhone app for someone? It only has black squares with no ability to fill them in. Had to go to the computer to finish this. Fortunately my app recognized that I'd completed it and it didn't ruin my streak.

Generic Solver 1:55 PM  

Does PuzzAzz automatically update your personal statistics and hence keep the solving streaks that are important to some commenters alive?

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

This was fun!
"Hey Jude" is an album, released in the USA in 1970.
I have it.

Dick Swart 2:34 PM  

DNF? Could barely start!

I did the LAT first with a cuppa and a croissant, Fun.

Looked at the news with NYT, WAPO, Politico off and on with the NYT xword on paper. I was getting no where but frustrated with the puzzle and Trump. Too nice a day out side to get so riled.

Took coffee and "Townie" outside. Much better on the deck in the sun looking at the Columbia and snow-covered Mt Adams. Wind is up, air full of kiters and windsurfers. The way things should be ...

Joe Dipinto 2:37 PM  

I always like Pauer's puzzles, and this did not disappoint. Filled in 4 of the songs right off the bat, starting with Fixing A Hole -- one of my favorite Beatles songs, never mind how "un-iconic" Rex thinks it is. All My Loving and And I Love Her weren't immediately inferable as clued, but with a couple of crosses they went right.

I did find it odd at first that some letters in the "Road" were checked and some weren't, the latter requiring another clue for the second "half". But there were five of each so that is symmetry of a sort, and it probably was unavoidable for the construction.

I don't understand commenters' problem with "feh", it's been in the puzzle before.

Anyway, thank you for an enjoyment of a puzzle, Pauer.

Unknown 2:38 PM  

fill got me. the CPSNOW/PREVIN/HENS and then again with FEH (until I crossed it), and LIST/TYPE. I don't care about the substance of the road part of the puzzle. but the idea was neat.

Joe Dipinto 2:38 PM  

..."they went right IN", that should have said.

Carola 2:40 PM  

@Marge, DNF = Did Not Finish.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

Your writeup is spectacularly flawed. A real Texas bullseye if I ever saw one. Why in terms world are you highlighting only the gray squares that held letters to the eventual revealer? Think about that? Puzzle hoarder has a point. All the squares of the road are gray--the paper version is in fact the version, all others are iterations.so why highlight only part of technology road? I may be wrong, but I can't recall a puzzle which had highlighted or Shaheed squares in whichis some of those squares were blank.

Hungry Mother 2:45 PM  

4 letters off and no hope. Way out of my league today. I can usually do every Sunday, but not this one.

Joe Dipinto 2:53 PM  

@Gill I 11:16 -- but in English one might say "Come on, it's late, LET'S GO!!!" to exhort someone to get their arse moving. So, not an incorrect clue, imo.

Two Ponies 2:59 PM  

Does this mean we are Cesspudlians?

Joe Dipinto 3:05 PM  

@anonymous 10:36 -- yes it did, except for Earth, Wind & Fire's version of 116 across.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

This was an absolute travesty of a puzzle. I don't mind the Beatles theme given how popular they were across genres and generations but the fill was awful. However, that isn't the worst part...

I work at a (small) tech company and we have some very talented engineers. The fact that the NYT cannot build an app to handle things like making some squares gray that you can type in is UNACCEPTABLE. For a $40 subscription from the many people who are loyal puzzlers they can afford to hire better app engineers. Just embarrassing (on a technical side).

Teedmn 3:32 PM  

This was really easy, mostly, but there were a few impenetrable spots such as @Rex's bête noir area, and SCRIM/RAHAL, ILLY?/SE?L. I guess I should have tried to put together the letters on The Long and Winding Road; that might have helped a tad.

And I never noticed that the answers with hidden letters spilled down into the next, clued-as-a-separate-answer, answer until I saw MELANCHOLY so ACK on that.

All of the Beatles songs were known to me. When I finally became aware of music at the age of 10 in 1970, the Beatles were almost over as a group so I didn't grow up with them, but in college, right before John Lennon was killed, I got into them and I still love their music. I did not know the factoid at 40D and I find it kind of creepy.

An interesting theme and grid for a Sunday; thanks, PB2!

Rob 3:50 PM  

Not a fan. I like the Beatles, I know all these songs and can sing most of them, but the final gimmick left a bad taste in my mouth. I think my problem with it is the scattered letters -- there's no rhyme or reason that I can see to why *those* words are the ones that "go through," except that they were needed to make the gimmick work. It's cute but inelegant.

LOL at the constructor drama. Grow up.

bswein99 4:27 PM  

Ele is somewhere between ka and eme, but not right between, since the double ll, elle, is the letter in the Spanish alphabet that comes after ele.

Otherwise, an okay puzzle.

TimJim 4:29 PM  

First Sunday puz in a while that held my interest to the end. Tougher than a usual Sunday, which i liked, as well as the creative and clever design. Thanks!

Aketi 4:49 PM  

I had no problem doing it on my iPad. I liked the LONG black AND WINDY ROAD and got most of the DRIVE THE CAR letters without needing any shades of gray. If I'd been more energetic I would have taken a screenshot and filled in the letters in white over the black squares. My teenage son listens to the Beatles and I'm sure he would have figured out most of the songs.

I liked the clues for the metal content of the pennies since my grandparents started my siblings and I on penny collecting. Those STEEL pennies were hard to find, but we eventually collected them all.

I liked that HALF PIPE running alongside a straight stretch of the mostly windy road.

In retrospect that long and windy road isn't nearly as long and windy as the path that my sister and I managed to visit four smithsonian museums (one of them twice because their food was so good) during a mere two days in DC this week. The longest stretch of our walking path was to a Game of Thrones pop up bar where customers chanted SHAME SHAME SHAME whenever anyone ordered a drink called "The Lannisters Send Their Regards".

Andrea 6:19 PM  

I agree, if they'd clued it as LET GO!! (exclamation points). Then it also means ÁNDALE! as in APÚRATE (hurry up!!)
Plain old LETS GO means VÁMONOS, like Gill said.

Nancy 6:26 PM  

@Alan__S (12:26)-- I assume you meant me? I went looking for blog avatars and could only find one that would lead someone to assume that the person lived on the UWS. (Actually, you're wrong; I live on the UES.) But what does educational background or living in NYC have to do with knowing all of the Beatles'song titles? I have many friends who went to the same schools I went to and still live in NY and who don't know the entire Beatle oeuvre any better than I do. I'm familiar with some of their titles, which is pretty remarkable since I've never much liked the Beatles. My brother had the Abbey Road album, so that's pretty much the only one I know. But, Alan, if you look at my comment, you'll see I didn't complain about not knowing the titles, since I was able to figure them out. I just said it was a solving disadvantage -- which of course it was.

Let me ask you this, Alan. Can you not only name the song titles of every song in South Pacific, King and I, My Fair Lady, Camelot, Kiss Me Kate, Guys and Dolls and Annie Get Your Gun, but sing every single one of those songs without forgetting a single word of a single verse, much less chorus. Well, I can, Alan. I also have an amazing memory for not only the titles but the music and lyrics of most of The Weavers (and they made a lot of albums); Peter, Paul and Mary; and Simon and Garfunkel. And I was quite good on Bob Dylan until he went electric. Knowing this stuff has nothing to do with education or where you live. It's your taste in music and the albums you owned -- or at least your very musical brother did --when you were young (and had a memory). I'm sure you weren't being snarky, Alan. But please don't assume I'm a veritable illiterate because I never heard of FIXING A HOLE. (FWIW, I have heard of ALL MY LOVING.)

Sydney 6:36 PM  

I did the NYT version on my IPad. I noticed that some letters wouldn't fit and when I finished I wrote those extra letters on a scrap of paper. Nothing. Then I noticed the title....Long and winding road...and arranged my letters along the road. Bingo! It is sometimes frustrating that the NYT doesn't put any explanatory notes in plain sight on the IPad version. It would be easily done. But I was super excited that I was able to solve this fine puzzle anyway!

Anonymous 7:01 PM  

I love the Beatles music and I loved this puzzle. That's all I have to say!

OISK 7:02 PM  

I am going to assume that Alan S ( to whom Nancy just responded) was NOT being snarky, but was really curious as to how a New Yorker ( Nancy, but that applies to me as well) of sufficient age, ( I am 71, so the Beatles were played at gatherings with my college buddies) could be unfamiliar with The Beatles.

I actually knew exactly two of the titles, and I could probably sing at least fragments of about a dozen Beatle songs. This puzzle was thus unrewarding to me, although I did finish it. And once finished, I read out the letters on the "path" and got "Drive my Car." Really? That was a Beatle song?

But to address Alan S's question. When the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan, my parents (who controlled our one television) did exactly what they did when Elvis appeared some 10 years earlier - they changed the channel. I never owned a single "Rock" album, nor attended a rock concert (until I saw Billy Joel at MSG a few years ago). But certainly, people might think, I must have heard the Beatles in stores, restaurants. ( just as I am sure I have heard "The Grateful Dead," whose music is completely unfamiliar to me, as is that of the past 50 years of rock and roll, disco, hip-hop, emo, ska, (the last two I know of only from the puzzle...)) Sure, I must have heard them. Just as I am sure that just about everyone here has heard a robin sing countless times. But unless bird songs interest you, you probably could NOT hum or whistle that song. For you, it is just background noise, just as rock, when I am forced to hear it, is for me.

Gilbert and Sullivan poked fun of people like me with the following lines (from Patience)

" Of course you must pooh-pooh whatever's fresh and new, and declare it's crude and mean
For art stopped short at the cultivated court of the Empress Josephine..."

As to the puzzle...I disliked it, not just because I have no affection for and little familiarity with the theme. The Beatles were an important enough cultural phenomenon to be fair game as theme material. HOWEVER, the final reveal should NOT be an obscure song, that causes anyone not a dedicated Beallist to go "Wha??" Too many of the songs, but especially the Driving one, were too obscure.

I am anxious to solve next week's Gilbert and Sullivan themed puzzle...

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

You're waaaaaay better than Alan. And everyone who reads this blog regularly not only knows it, but would, how I can say this nicely?, punch him in the snoot if he said those rude things in our presence.
I have a lot of reasons for saying that, but the fact that you invoked GUYS AND Dolls as an example of Broadway shows give you a pass (not that you neede one) forever!

South Jersey anonymous

Jim Curran 7:22 PM  

Not fun on the iPhone version. I solved 99% then said what the helll - not worth the effort. Seemed very contrived, or even Helter Skelter.

I am the walrus coo coo ja joo.

JC66 7:23 PM  

Hey @Nancy

I think @Alan was just expressing surprise that, based on your apparent demographics, you aren't more familiar with the Beatles.

He never said he thought you were illiterate, veritable or not.

Why so sensitive?

Anonymous 7:28 PM  

JC,et al.
Alan, aka douchebag bag expressed incredulity. As if it were incomprehensible that someone in NYC of a certain age would be used familiar with the crap. His query may be genuine, but it was pointed. A defectors criticism. I wasn't the target of the attack and I felt it. Are you too Dom you see it too?

Anonymous 7:29 PM  

Dear god, this was awful

brainman53 7:41 PM  

Ick! I did not realize that first comment was the constructors 'til you mentioned it, @barbiebarbie. He had taken it down by the time I got around to logging in, most likely after reading your comment. How creepy and unbecoming of him to troll like that.

I did not enjoy this puzzle. Patrick Blindauer just made up the theme rules on the fly: there is a winding line of gray squares, some of which are written in to complete the answer, some of which are not; some of the the gray square letters unify two separate answers, some do not; you solvers can just guess my thoughts. Use of the gray squares in solving the puzzle was seemingly random. The theme needed more structure.

On a positive note, I really liked the clue for plateau. It was wicked and worthy of a weekend NYT puzzle.

jberg 8:04 PM  

Oh dear, people are testy today. Maybe it's the heat. Me, I like the Beatles all right, and I knew all the songs except "Fixing a Hole"--which surprises me, because Sgt. Pepper was one of the CDs we played constantly in our van while driving from Boston to Emigrant, Montana. Do I understand correctly that it was not in the album, but was on the movie? Too challenging for me!

Anyway, I'm never going to argue with anyone for not liking music I like or liking music I don't like. As for what people will like in the future, who can predict? Bach spent a century or two in obscurity before his current rise to composer superstardom.

The puzzle was a big failure for me. I never figured out that you didn't have to fill in all the gray squares--although I agree that the idea of DRIVE CAR down the long and winding road is brilliant -- and I didn't know a lot of the proper names. I mean, I knew the name of LANA Turner, but not that she was in Peyton Place. And I went with a lead piPE (despite having HALf PIPE already) and never gave up on it. And the only 3-letter Warhol subject I could think of was JFK (already there as a clue, but I hadn't noticed it). And I watched The Man from U.N.C.L.E. regularly, but never saw ILLYA's name in writing, so was very reluctant to put in that second L. Maybe it was the heat.

Online solvers, I do sympathize -- it must be infuriating to have paid for an app that doesn't work on a particular puzzle. And I can understand how you feel about not having a streak recognized in the app. (I have my phone count my steps every day, so if I ever walk someplace without the phone with my I feel cheated -- even though I did get the exercise, which is the whole point of counting steps.) Still, those of us who solve in the paper NEVER get a message telling us that we are done. Somehow, we live with that.

@Nancy, a very classy response. I'll think of you next time I can't remember a song from South Pacific. (By the way, I would never have got LETT were it not for the line from "Let's Do It," which I think is from "Anything Goes.")

Mohair Sam 8:53 PM  

Wow, are y'all in a mood today or what? We loved this thing. FEH or no FEH. Too much really neat stuff going on. Beatles fans here, but not fanatics, so this was a challenge. Especially around the unknown to us FIXAHOLE - thankfully our daughter-in-law with an MFA is visiting and knows her Lear, or we would have struck out in that area.

Beatles songs - DRIVE MY CAR - on a Long and Winding Road. C'mon you guys, that's great stuff. Wickedly clever construction through a thick theme.

The instrumental version of "And I Love Her" which was on the back of the American release of the 1964 Hard Days Night album is my favorite piece of pop music by far. I think it's credited to George Martin and his Orchestra.

@Nancy - I'm reminded of The Coasters' line from their '50s song "Charley Brown" - "Why's everybody always pickin' on me?"

@jberg - Neat the way you remembered LETT.

@pauer - Terrific Sunday puzz. Thanks. And to think - this from a member of the hate-filled cesspool!

Anonymous 9:32 PM  

@jberg - puts me in mind of comedian Stephen Wright's gag: we drove across country, and we only had one eight-track tape we had to listen to over and over again. [pause] I don't remember what it was.

@Nancy - you win.

@Shrimp-on-theShrimp-on-the - I like your style.

Unknown 10:13 PM  

Go to the mobile website rather than using the app, it has the grey squares, let me finish, and syncs with the app after. I used chrome on an S7.

Joe Dipinto 10:30 PM  

@jberg 8:04 -- Fixing A Hole is and has always been on the Sgt. Pepper album, track 5 to be exact, but it's the only Lennon/McCartney-written song in the puzzle never to have been released as a Beatles single.

OISK 10:38 PM  

Birds do it is not from Anything Goes - I saw the revival with Sutton Foster, and the song is also not on earlier recordings of the show. I didn't know which show it came from, so I looked it up. The first successful use of the song was in a show called "Paris," ( 1928) It referred to several nationalities, but the first set, which IS sung by Mary Martin in a 1940's recording, is never included these days. ( Chinks do it, Japs do it, up in Lapland little Lapps, do it...)

Ando 11:07 PM  

Were people actually able to finish on the website? I tried the app but failed because the grey squares were black and couldn't be filled in, so I switched to the NYTimes/crosswords website and when I'd filled in the whole puzzle it just sat there and didn't register that it was complete. I'd filled in all the grey letters required to spell 'drive my car'. When I hit "tab" to go to the next empty square it took me to the first empty gray square. Anyone else have this experience? So annoying.

Joe Dipinto 11:12 PM  

Sorry, the hidden answer Drive My Car was not released as a single either.

Joe Dipinto 12:15 AM  

@Andrea Ojeda 6:19 -- but it IS clued as "Let's go!" <<<exclamation point included. Ergo, a perfectly suitable clue for "Andale!"

RooMonster 1:03 AM  

@Two Ponies 2:59
No, we're Cesspudapodes. :-)


Ando 1:17 AM  

Update to the above question: It turned out I had errors but the online version didn't know how to tell me that correctly.

Joe Bleaux 1:21 AM  

Didn't get to work this impressive puzzle until Sunday night, and there's little I can add to what's been said. I'll add an ugh for FEH anyway. I think CLEVELAND could've been clued as "Harrison's successor and predecessor" (not that it should've been), but my memory may be misfiring. I gotta go Google SCRIM anyway, so I'll check. Happy 4th, all.

brainman53 2:16 AM  

Hint: any time the clue involves a suburb of Minneapolis, the answer is usually Edina.

Boring anecdote: I recall visiting my aunt and uncle in Edina about 127 years ago and seeing actual gopher holes in their backyard.

brainman53 2:18 AM  

I'm the immortal words of Keanu Reeves, "Whoa!" A bit sensitive, aren't you? Just saying.

brainman53 2:24 AM  

Here, here! Evidently we write "fake comments".

brainman53 2:32 AM  

Hey, @pauer, we haven't heard from you in quite some time now. 'S'matter? Are we getting under your thin skin?

Giovanni P. 2:56 AM  

Nice post storm dude. Might have to play comments bingo at some point this week.

andrea carla michaels 3:40 AM  

I loved it yeah yeah yeah!!!!

Only complaint as complete BeatlesFreak that I didn't get to co-construct this with Patrick!

Appreciated the shout out of ACME and just back from my dear Minneapoli, with time spent with folks from EDINA ... Where brilliant GO COMMANDO constructor Tom Pepper is from!

I didn't see what Patrick wrote and he can speak (and delete!) for himself, but as a fellow constructor I wish I had the time and patience tonight to explain a fraction of what it's like to have spent weeks and months (I have a co creation in a couple of weeks that was SEVEN YEARS in the making!!!) and be bursting with happiness and expectation(as the pay is tiny and the ownership zero) and have it be dismissed, dissed, misunderstood, unappreciated, attacked, or just missing the point. That does not mean we are incapable of accepting criticism, some of us varying levels of skin-thickness than others) but Patricks promotion of his Broadway suite being first comment might have been born from the wild flush and excitement of this puzzle finally seeing light of day or naively pre- emptively wanting to set a tone or get the info out there or before its buried or appearing too late (like this one as I didn't get a chance to do the puzzle till after midnight Sunday)

@2 ponies
Cesspool/Liverpool joke is so clever and saves the day! Neither kind nor wind-y!

On another note, (before Jeopardy! appearance circa 25 years ago), I tried to learn the presidents in order...one mnemonic for Harrison as the 9th president is imagine George (Harrison!) intoning "Number Nine...number 9" on Abbey Road (or maybe it was John on Sgt Peppers!??!)

Never heard the factoid about ALLMYLOVING...sounds vaguely urban legend-y... But that day remains among the saddest in my life ... Very life before/ life after for this girl.

In another puzzle there was IM--INE for a Lennon song and I put in I ME MINE! Some might say that was a tad obscure! Btw, I just read Yoko finally got co-credit on "Imagine" which really was inspired from her work.

In any case, I think many of Patrick's ingenious puzzles are works of art and elevate construction possibilities and can be wildly original and I'm always in awe!!!

andrea carla michaels 3:43 AM  

@two ponies I meant to type "neither long nor wind-y"!

CLB 5:15 AM  

@andrea I'm sure it is very tough for constructors to have their baby/masterpiece/etc criticized, but on the other hand this blog is not their blog, and it's really not about them or their feelings. It's about discussing the NYT puzzle. If your puzzle, which took you months or even years of effort, doesn't work when released to the masses, you just have accept that and move on.

Add me to the list for whom this was not a fun puzzle to solve. I'm not sure how much of that has to do with the fact that the grey road just didn't work. That was definitely part of the problem. Overall it felt more broken than brilliant. But, I don't think the broken road was the only problem. The fill was low quality as well, probably too constrained by the complex theme. As someone who looks at the constructor's name only after solving the puzzle, I was very surprised to see PB's name up there, as his puzzles are usually excellent.

Eric Conrad 12:12 PM  

The level of anger over this puzzle is a bit surprising. I wonder if some solver's egos are bruised over the DNFs.

I agree the puzzle is not perfect (the fill was rough in places), but it is quite creative and ambitious.

I'll take an ambitious near miss over or boring safe puzzle any day.

For the record: I got stuck in the ALI/INKY/SKIS section, as well as PREVIN/CPSNOW, and did not finish. Still 4.5 out of 5 for me, for ambition.

brainman53 1:23 PM  

Hey @pauer, please undelete all your deleted comments. It would so add content to comments from the cesspoolians. Or, should it be cesspooligans?

Ken 2:19 PM  

Love the Beatles and LOVED this puzzle !! Didn't know about the ode to pot or the OR room song playing so learn something new everyday. Patrick is obviously one of the best and most enjoyable constructers on the circuit. That said, I think the assortment of commenters on this blog is an excellent mix of puzzle solvers. Some liberal, some moderate, and some conservative. But I have never seen a hateful cesspool here. For the most part, people may nitpick, REX may carp on a daily basis, and a lot of times there is substance to their issues. But mostly, the people who enjoy the crossword experience are a cool bunch!! So keep up your observant comments and just let it be !! And @pauer, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE !! Baby

Ando 2:38 PM  

If I got a puzzle published in the NYT I'd probably stay away from this site -- or maybe show up, and completely expect Rex to say he didn't like it very much, and everyone else to say which clues they hated. To call it a cesspool, though, is to seem to have little experience with comments sections WWW-wide, which are often indeed cesspools. Strange behavior on the part of the constructor, to me.

I'm just happy I was able to figure out the issue with the app and puzzle, and keep my streak (16) intact heading into the easy days.

iamjess 12:54 AM  

Ha! Love it.

AZink 4:11 PM  

This was a slog of the most enjoyable kind. Had no idea how many of the grey squares required filling and assumed all at first (and that words might extend several grey squares in) - and didn't realize some words connected through them, so this caused more than a little ambiguity/confusion. BUT the solve overall brought many smiles to my face along with a few head scratches. LALALA instead of "louder" finally broke the last section and the overall road for me. Kudos for the ambitious and impressive feat of pulling off such a multifaceted theme. Haven't felt such a sense of accomplishment finishing a Sunday in years.

Anonymous 5:27 AM  

Would someone, anyone please enlighten me about 62 Across (Garden Party) ?

fakt chekker 12:10 PM  

@anon 5:27 - ADAM was one of the "parties" = Eve being another - in the Garden of Eden.

Burma Shave 12:56 PM  


but HOLY cow! You're the TYPE to be that FREAK Guy RITCHIE's wife!


Unknown 1:49 PM  

Adam was a party to the Garden of Eden. Eve was another

spacecraft 2:04 PM  

Hm, lessee, you've got your white squares, where letters must go, and your black squares, where they can't (unless you're doing a "black phrases" theme) go--and then there's your gray squares, where...well, do letters go there? As Mother Abigail would say, "Mayhap they do, and mayhap they don't." This one presented ALOT of problems, conceptually. For the first two gray letters, we have an entry that goes straight through, and the post-gray part is a separate entry: BLOO[D]LINE; ALE[R]TEST--where LINE and TEST stand on their own. So does ALE, but BLOO? Oops.

Then we come to the I, which cleverly completes two otherwise stand-alone entries TAKE and ELO (love those guys). What I'm trying to say is that there's no consistent pattern with these. Personally, I think it's a tour de force to come up with this without even attempting stand-alones, so I guess they're just an added bonus.

My (correctly completed!) grid looks like an INKY mess. First, guess which five-letter Indy Bobby I thought of first? Yeah, Unser. Then, I thought the title was "I'm FIXINGAHOLE" and started writing that in before realizing I didn't have enough space, and I'd have to axe the "I'm." Thus flustered, I copied the HOLY of MELANCHOLY on the wrong column, putting it at 49-down instead of 50. Over in the west it was "Louder!" before LALALA, and finally. poSH before LUSH. It's a wonder I can even read the grid. But: I got 'er done.

Gadot is the DOD GAL for me. Kudos for this impressive feat--and I always loved the Fab Four. Birdie.

Diana,LIW 2:22 PM  

Like @Nancy, I can sing along with many a Broadway or movie songfest. Today, our local classical station was playing "pops" versions of same. And my brain was distracted as I couldn't HELP but sing along. (H o H husband plays the music loudly.)

So my dnf was a way too early "I give..." Should have stuck it out longer.

And even I now know that EDINA is always the suburb.

Loved hearing the Beatles songbook in my head.

I'll only add that my Warhol artwork was "can."

I'm in awe of constructors.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

Marge DNF is "did not finish."

rondo 2:32 PM  

Stuck with it only because of the Beatles theme. The randomness of the letters found in the "winding road" is baffling. Some words run through while others poke in one letter. To which I say both FEH and ACK. Quite a feat to construct, I'm sure; pain in the neck to solve. That being said, one of my biggest problems was changing Unser to RAHAL, who was always described as a "hard-charger". And keyS to OARS. and ebon to INKY.

Gotta choose today between several generations, either yeah baby LANA or DANA or the other GAL, whose first name will now usurp "square dance partner".

Time-consuming for sure. Marginal payoff, but it was raining here EARLY, after a hard day's night.

rain forest 2:40 PM  

Surmises about my possible demise are a tad exaggerated. Visiting wineries in the Okanagan (British Columbia's wine region), and lounging by the pool took me away from the crossword. On my return yesterday, I completed the Thur - Sat puzzles (Fri and Sat were the toughest}. What is ALEPH NULL? Took a long time to get that.

Now today's. This was an impressive puzzle in so many ways. Eventually, like @Spacey, I understood that letters might or might not go in the grey squares. My first foray into the grey was with TAKEI/ELOI. The next was with NEWS REELS. Knowing all the Beatles' songs was a huge help, and I thought so many clues were just great, although I still don't understand LIST. Patrick Blindauer knows what he's doing, though, and this puzzle was an excellent example of his craft. This one reminds me of the creative efforts of Liz Gorski, which is high praise.

KK 3:17 PM  

Horrible puzzle to do in print form as I do. No clue that some of the answers spilled into the gray squares, but not all of them. After assuming that what I was missing was that some of these were doubled up letters in one square and finding that wasn't working, I finally cheated and went on the Rex Parker website. Imagine my surprise to see that the answer to 36 across required 6 letters, each in its own space but the puzzle in print form only gives you five. No clue that one of them is supposed to fall into a grey area. This got a DNF from me. I hate puzzles like this. It's really not a challenge to anything other than trying to figure out how the brain of the creator worked ...In this case very poorly.

AnonymousPVX 3:55 PM  

Wow, my favorite musical group somehow involved in this.....mess. Another example of why I despise these "cute" gimmick puzzles. Ugh. Or ACK?

Diana,LIW 3:56 PM  

Welcome back @Rainey! Whenever I don't get the meaning of an answer (or clue) I hop on over to Bill Butler's blog (WEB's New York Times Crossword Solution). He's the Mr. Rogers of crosswords (if @Rex is the Lewis Black). Every day he lists what he sees as the "most Googleable" clues and answers. LIST, in today's case, is the "list price," or what something officially goes for. Patrick is quite the word player.

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 8:45 PM  

Love the Beatles, so approached this one with a good feeling. Then, wasted ALOT of time.

TSP (as clued)? SCRIM? GALLANTS? LIST (as clued)?

PLATEAU for "highest form of flattery?"?? Too clever by HALF.

Why the two "??" after "TSA Pre"? Got LINE, but must be missing something here.

Will need to break from Sunday slogs for a while, I think. They don't usually pay off.

David W 2:24 PM  

Wow, a lot of hate for this clever and original puzzle. I can understand some of that if you are not a Beatles fan or your app screwed up.

Fortunately neither was true for me. I knew all the songs (go listen if you haven't heard of them!) and kudos to the NYT web puzzle crew for making things like this work!

I didn't like a few of the clues, but I've come to expect that from most unique puzzles.
If you didn't know DRIVE MY CAR was a Beatles song, then yeah, this was a let down.
For me it was a nice AHA at the end when I realized not all letters would be filled.

After enough "trick" puzzles I've finally come to terms with some DNFs (esp all those damn puzzle 5's).

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Chef M/Seattle 4:52 AM  

Loved it..look at the NYT constructor before I tackle the LAT puz, which used 2 b the Merle Reagle puz...God, I still miss him...anyway, west coast solver here, but I just need 2 say PB2 did a helluva job with a theme that,4 me will always b timeless! It was challenging, & so satisfying!

kitshef 10:30 PM  

I may have missed it in the unusually long comments section today, but did anyone ever figure out a pattern to the extra letters? If there isn't one, this sucked. If there is one, it may be brillian.

wcutler 11:55 PM  

I had to laugh at myself. CLB 5:15 AM said "... this blog is ... about discussing the NYT puzzle", which I read at first as "this blog is ... about dissing the NYT puzzle".

I sort of remembered most of the Beatles titles, though not exactly, and I never heard of Drive My Car, but I don't consider that the constructor's fault. I did wonder how that phrase was related to the other clues, again glad this blog was here. My DNF was in the north, which no-one has mentioned. And it took me all week. Oh well.

ChrisB 6:35 PM  

Late to the game, so I'm hoping someone is reading this.

Why is 122A OTS?
IMDb had Charly as Charley ((yes, I looked it up because I was sure the e was there)

Just started reading this blog and loving it. You all make reading about the puzzle almost as fun as trying to solve it.

Blogger 7:55 PM  

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