Video game character rescued by Link / SAT 7-15-17 / Incredible in modern slang / Watt per ampere squared / Traditional rite of passage among Masai / Capital whose name means city inside rivers

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Constructor: Zachary Spitz

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Jack OAKIE (29D: Oscar nominee for "The Great Dictator") —
Jack Oakie (November 12, 1903 – January 23, 1978) was an American actor, starring mostly in films, but also working on stage, radio and television. He is best remembered for portraying Napaloni in Chaplin's The Great Dictator (1940), receiving a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. (wikipedia)
• • •

Gonna pass on this one because of the stupid *&$^ing frat-boy (SIGMA CHI?) juxtaposition of BALLS and DICK at the top of the grid. Did he have a bet with his friends as to how much sexual material and innuendo he could cram in here. ARSE and SEX and KNELT and BLEW (!) and, I don't know, MELON? Ugh. SO BAD. Actually, more SAD than bad. The actual grid, overall, is pretty well made. But it's just a tiresomely Dude puzzle anyway, even without the cheap tittering. I mean, the only women in the puzzle look like this:

Oh, and this:

And then Michelle WIE, who is here because her name is convenient (24D: 2014 U.S. Women's Open champion). Even EVA manages to not be a woman, Somehow (5D: Spacewalk, for short). Oh, whoops. Almost forgot about TRACI Lords. OK ... so, she's a legit actress with a long resumé, but given this puzzle's ... let's say, prurience ... I'm guessing it's most interested in her early career (full disclosure: I own her album "1000 Fires"; it's pretty good).

I have seen AMAZEBALLS in a puzzle before, so this felt old, even though it is (apparently) new to the NYT (not saying much) (1A: Incredible, in modern slang). The only answer I really like here is TWEETSTORM (62A: Digital barrage). Marginal foodstuff names (DATE SUGAR? ROCK MELON?) are not my idea of a good time. ATTU and CKS are really really not my idea of a good time. PLUTOMANIA is super made-up, and also sounds like some kind of Disney fetish (57A: Excessive desire for wealth), which is SAD, as that corner is nice otherwise. OK, I'm done with this one. I miss Patrick Berry's Friday puzzle. See you later.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS one of my Twitter followers just floated the theory that the puzzle was actually giant subtweet of the president*.  SAD and TAX EVASION etc. I think if you look *exclusively* at the SE corner, you can make that case. Otherwise, I dunno...

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:13 AM  

Top half (or so) easy, SW medium, SE tough.

SE problems:
PAS(adena) before PST, a misdirect I should not have bit on.

COok up didn't fit so I finally got CONCOCT which I erased trying to fit "attack" into 62a "Digital barrage."

posh before LUXE

mask (the k was part of attack) before PALM.

... and I originally thought the PT 109 actor was Wagner which wouldn't fit. You know you're getting up there when a better clue for you would have been TV's Hoby

I did finish but it took a while.

Colbert on AMAZEBALLS: Big Furry Hat pronouncement. "People who say something is AMAZEBALLS shall get kicked in the AMAZEBALLS!

Tough enough with some zip, but @Rex et. al. have a point. Still, not a bad Sat., liked it.

chefwen 12:28 AM  

AMAZE BALLS? Seriously? Is that one or two words?

Can't wait for Sunday's @ACME will be entertaining us.


Z 12:39 AM  

Solved in PuzzAzz which is usually very good about accurately representing the print version of the grid, so I got the arched eyebrow when I saw:

17 Like Nafta

What possible justification would there be for not writing it as NAFTA or N.A.F.T.A.? Or does it appear differently elsewhere?

puzzlehoarder 12:49 AM  

If our host prefers that PB schmaltz he's welcome to it. If he took the time to read those "silly self serving" constructor comments over at xwordinfo he might see that DICK was, ahem put in by the editor. The constructors notes and my own impression of the puzzle emphasise it's political theme which I would expect to induce a Pavlovian response. Instead he goes on some frat boy rant. Maybe he had a bad hazing experience. The important thing is this was an actual late week puzzle that required thinking. I'd even rate it as challenging and a nice tonic to yesterday's blah fest.

Jyqm 1:02 AM  

@Z - New York Times style is to render acronyms of 5+ letters with only an initial capital. Nafta, Unesco, etc. But NASA (under five letters) and NAACP (not an acronym, but an initialism).

I enjoyed many of the fun and even titillating answers in this puzzle. Cheap thrills? I guess, but crosswords themselves are pretty cheap as thrills go

Noam D. Elkies 1:08 AM  

Yesterday's 1A has a sad SACK, today's has amaze BALLS. Given that (according to the xwordinfo notes) 11A:DICK was added by the editor (albeit with the very plausible innocent explanation of making 20/21A:IVAN+LENDL possible), the Fri/Sat juxtaposition might also have been a deliberate editorial choice :-)

Miss Madine 1:12 AM  

It was a challenge for me, and I was proud when I finished without any errors in 36 minutes (my best for a Saturday is 22 -- I'm not as AMAZEBALLS as Rex). I enjoyed it once I figured out some of the harder clues. Wasn't offended by SIGMA CHI -- thought it was quite clever (harkening back to olden days when fraternities featured Brylcreem-coiffed young men in white dinner jackets singing four-part harmony songs a capella). Loved ARSE. Guess I'm just immature.

Ron 1:25 AM  

That SE corner did me in ... I had _____MANIA crossed with MAS and a tentative LAOTzu before I googled Robert CULP. Tough spot for an otherwise medium puzzle.

Anoa Bob 1:38 AM  

Had no chance coming out of the gate, what with a podcaster, some video game person, and NCAA's Tritons there. I attended NCAA's Aztecs (SDSU) and had friends at UCSD, but never knew they were the Tritons.

And then there was A_A_EBALLS remaining at 1 Across. I saw that an M and a Z could possibly fit in there, but said, nah, no one would say something that stupid. Apparently someone did.

@Jyqm, NAFTA is an initialism, not an acronym, North American Free Trade Agreement.

Larry Gilstrap 1:50 AM  

I'm almost afraid to comment. If this is indeed a frat boy stunt, then I'm more naive than I knew. If it's trolling the current administration, then I guess we need to take TAX EVASION and any synonym of Deplorable off of our word lists. What actions would even qualify as a SEX SCANDAL any more? Rhetorical question.

Now to the puzzle, DATE SUGAR and ROCK MELON are weird answers in my world. I threw in Musk MELON and just knew that was not it. I glaze over at chess, so ROOK as clued was the last thing to fall. Folks are throwing around PLUTOcracy these days, for some reason, so PLUTOMANIA was no problemo. I know something about cetaceans and have seen ORCAS frolicking in open ocean. A mature sperm whale can weigh in excess of 90,000 pounds.

Remember Robert CULP's costar in the TV series I Spy, was one of the first African-American actors featured in such a role. Whatever happened to that guy? I may have just answered my previous rhetorical question.

Now about me, I left high school about the time that an enemy government in HANOI was waging war with the US. I opted to go to college and received a student deferment from the military draft until I graduated, lost my deferment, and then was drafted. Serious times, to say the least. I went to school with many veterans using their GI Bill benefit. As I remember, I never heard one recommend his military experience and suggest I pursue the same. An anti-war movement was growing and tensions were high. I attended San Diego State, go Aztecs!, and lived off campus. Sometimes we would drive to that cool library at UCSD to study. Walking across the Quad one night we noticed an impromptu memorial and a large area of scorched concrete. We soon learned that it was the site of a self-immolation in protest of the war. Young men sometimes make poor choices. Tragic.

Anonymous 1:56 AM  

Hey, isn't this the same constructor that had that sexist MEN clue a while back?

Robin 2:01 AM  

Some odd cluing. Can't say I enjoyed it, but at least I wasn't picking up the same frat-boy vibe as did Rex. Maybe here and there but not overall.

Didn't work this contiguously as I would like, so got slightly messed up when guessed HEROINES rather than AVENGERS, so had to clean up a mess over there.

Nevertheless, finished in much better than n average time according to the Times website stats. Probably average time for the past year of Saturdays.

For those whinging about PLUTOMANIA, note that a plutocracy is government by the rich, which ahem...

Johnny 2:33 AM  

Jeez Rex take a Midol or something . . .

Moly Shu 3:23 AM  

We get it @Rex, holy (rhymes with Moly) shit do we get it. You're a feminist. But some of us are just deplorable males. Everything we do is horrible. Now, having said all that, why was there no TRACI Lords video??

Yea, I liked it.

evil doug 5:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
evil doug 5:12 AM  

The plaints of guys who weren't invited to join....

Anonymous 5:38 AM  

57A should have been clued: Affliction of Hillary.

Thomaso808 6:05 AM  

It took me a long time and two crosses to remember DICK, arguably the most significant VP in recent history. Reminds me of a high school principal's speech asking us parents if we could remember the name of last year's Best Actor awardee (couldn't), and then asking if we could remember the name of our 1st grade teacher (yes, thank you Mrs. Carroll).

@Larry Gilstrap that's a very sad memory brought on by the coincidence of HANOI and IMMOLATION, something that I think our young constructor would not have ever imagined. Those were tough times.

Really great puzzle. I never heard of AMAZEBALLS but I love it! Six debut entries of 8+ letters -- awesome! Plus by far the best clue ever for ROOK, though in Xwordinfo Mr. Spitz says his original clue was "Half of a straight couple". I did get hung up on SIGMACHI and only got it on the crosses until I got here to find out what it was. Damn frat boys. CKS was a pretty weak cross.

@M&A, CKS has the stench of desperation all over it and could be weeject, too!

BarbieBarbie 6:23 AM  

Unoffended female here. Never noticed the frat boy stuff. Too busy wrestling with the SE corner, where I had pLOt for BLOC, CONtaCT for CONCOCT, POSH for LUXE before all that... and really wanted to put BLEW in but it did not make sense... Then the penny dropped. For some reason TWEETSTORM did it for me. I think because it was so obviously right once I thought of it.

Actually, given the obvious political sniping not-so-buried in both clues and answers, WS should be ashamed of himself for adding DICK. That's the juxtaposition I noticed. I think you must have to have one foot in the frat still yourself to see the other nonsense.

@Larry, me too on musKMELON. I never heard of a ROCKMELON. Regional?

A good and satisfying fight. Way better than yesterday's Captain Obvious Solves the Crossword outing. Thanks Zachary!

Loren Muse Smith 6:31 AM  

This one absolutely slayed me. I mean, I got pretty far, but every letter was a fight. So many rabbit holes and misfires, I can’t even remember. A few:

“euro” for LIRA
“car chacing” (sic) for DRAG RACING. Never noticed that it was misspelled.
“lion kill” for LION HUNT. C’mon, you Masai guys – gotta up your game, man.
“cava melon” for ROCK MELON. This was my low point.
“date syrup” for DATE SUGAR. Actually, this was probably the low point.
“posh” for LUXE (@Jamie C – in the interest of, believe it or not, truncating my treatises here, I decided not to talk about the false etymology of posh in Stamper’s book.)

But BUT my chief death blow was “hells bells” for AMAZE BALLS. Never heard of AMAZE BALLS, but I think I’ll pass on adding that little gem to my everyday, "walking around" language. I’m 56. It’d be beyond creepy.

My back-up death blow was not knowing AVENGERS. My first thought on “The Wasp and The Black Widow” clue was Spanx. Too short. I’ve wrestled on a pair of Spanx only once, but I tell you – it weren’t pretty. That stuff you’re trying to vamoose does go somewhere else, and in the form-fitting pants I was wanting to wear, the bulges here and there made me look more like a Dr. Seuss character.

So I did something I never do and read XwordInfo before I wrote this; I question my saccharine take on puzzles so much that I force myself not to look for backup, for validation, before spewing out my gushy gush. Anyway – it kinda makes you revisit all the anger directed at the constructor when you read that he didn’t have DICK there. I inferred that his angle was more of a political one.

@Anoa Bob – since I pronounce NAFTA as a word and not its separate letters like NCAA , I’d say NAFTA is an acronym and NCAA an initialism.

From yesterday -
@Nancy, @Joe Dipinto, et al. Yup. I was misremembering it as “sat on her tuffet.”
@Z – My misspelling. At this point, I’m beyond caring.
@ Sweenan A. Mornstuy – thanks. I’ll avoid that movie. Ick.
@ mooretep – I watched that clip. Wow. I don’t think that would be accessible to me, despite the rave reviews. You have to remember I’m a Sister Act, Remember the Titans kind of movie fan.
@ jberg – thanks for noticing I got seven vowels in a row.
@ M&A – Horsehockeyan indeed!

25D “beauty spots.” Ugh. Gotta finish my paper on Hawthorne’s “Birthmark” and Mena’s “The Vine-Leaf.” I’m having to incorporate racial determinacy and politicized historiography and stuff. Right. I’m all over that… just let me look up what historiography means.

QuasiMojo 6:55 AM  

"Amaze Balls" is already very old hat. If you say it in public now you will be laughed out of the room. I know... I did it the other day.

Typical new NYT puzzle. Full of dreck and groaners. I much prefer the polish of a Patrick Berry puzzle myself, although I like to be challenged too. He's gotten too easy lately.

As for the hidden messages, I didn't see them. It all seemed blatantly obvious to me. And dull. The only sweet spot was seeing Ivan Lendl's name. I used to love watching him play tennis. Great form.

TomAz 7:41 AM  

The puzzle is one big SEXSCANDAL!! don't you get it? ha ha ha. thud. ugh.

if you ignore the "theme" the puzzle is fine. SIGMACHI was the last to fall, and even then I was like "what is a sigmachi?" (rhyming it, in my head, with hibachi)

My daughter went to UCSD so I got Tritons right away, but I figured it would be a stumbling block.. esp since they have no football team, are Division II in basketball, and are mostly known for water polo.

I did like TWEETSTORM a lot.

Glimmerglass 8:05 AM  

One sees what one wants to see. Show a list of random words to a 13-year-old, and he (or she) will giggle at the dirty meanings. Show the SE corner to a Trump hater, and she (or he) will find political satire. Both reveal more about the observers than about the puzzle. Like LMS, I was done in by the NW. Never heard AMAZEBALLS (how can it be old already?), ZELDA, or the podcaster. I guessed UC Santa Barbara, which was close. So I had both TAX EVASION and TRILATERAL and still struck out. No complaints.

kitshef 8:07 AM  

So, if I didn't notice the 'frat boy stuff' am I allowed to enjoy the puzzle? Which I did, for the struggle particularly in the SE, where ambiguity reigned.

Weak NW with ATTU/UCSD/MARC, but after that only CKS and OAKIE were issues.

The Wasp traditionally has not been one of those superheroes portrayed as overly voluptuous. Also the Wasp has sometimes been a male character (after the original Wasp appeared to die).

kitshef 8:20 AM  

Nafta is an acronym, not an initialism (unless you pronounce it as 'enn ae eff tee ae', which would put you in a tiny minority).

I have actually heard AMAZEBALLS, which normally means a word is well past peak usage, on the way to stale. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was new for some of you. Clearly I'm getting more hip.

Unknown 8:47 AM  

I was so hoping 47A was going to be ENTS :)

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

@kitshef is right. I had to look up the difference between an acronym and an initialism. I learned something new today. I also think it was very puerile for the editor or co-editors of the puzzle to change the original submission of "dirk" to "dick". Somehow, I just don't buy that it was done to improve other answers. I am not a feminist but there does seem to be an attempt to fit in as many off-color words as possible. Plutocracy helped me suss out plutomania. I could not get Robert Culp but he has guest starred in many regular TV series over the years. I'm glad they took out the original clue on rook---way too obscure. I thought the veiled attempt to denigrate Trump was just silly---too much politics in the crossword is a bad thing.

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

If your job title is "Ghost Hunter," you're gonna find ghosts. If your job title is "Social Justice Warrior/Hater of the New York Times Crossword Puzzle," you're gonna find ways to hate the puzzle based on bizarre SJW interpretations of the clues/answers as racist, sexist, "frat boy" humor, whatever, whether those attributes are there or not. We all see the world through our own set of lenses. Some people's lenses are darker and more warped than others'.

Generic Solver 9:00 AM  

The constructor's comments on xwrodinfo say he was inspired to write this puzzle while watching the Republican Convention last year. So, not surprisingly, this is apparently an anti-Trump puzzle that the NYT all too happily lapped up. Whether Trump is your idol or you think he's the worst blight on America in our history, perhaps you agree that this kind of theme doesn't belong here. I come to these puzzles hoping to get away from the non-stop Trump/media churn, so the last thing I want is to have it shoved in my face again when I'm looking for some quality recreational time.

Unknown 9:00 AM  

Man....crossword people are so sensitive! "All of this male-oriented slang is making me feel woozy...I don't think I can go on." I thought it was a good puzzle. That SIGMACHI / OAKIE crossing resulted in a DNF for me, but I still enjoyed it.

Z 9:05 AM  

@LMS - I don't give a rats pootie about a transcription error, but would laugh uproariously if a piece of Lit Crit managed to let such a misspelling through. As for politicized historiography, "History is written by the victors" pretty much sums it up.

@Jyqm - Thanks for the explanation of who is making the mistake, but it doesn't answer my question. Acronyms are not words even though they are pronounced like words. Treating an acronym in print as if it were a typical proper noun fails to convey the non-wordness character of the acronym. This style choice removes a significant portion of meaning from what the writer is intending to convey. Failing to convey meaning makes this style choice wrong.

@Evil Doug - I presume your comment was meant to be taken less than 100% seriously, but you got it backwards. Ironic, since I just got called out for being "puerile" (from the Latin for "boy"), but there is a difference between "frat boy humor" and sexual humor, one that can't be discerned absent context.

Which brings me to @"The Editor added DICK" commenters - Your replies are the sort that always make me wonder if we read the same post. Did you not notice The actual grid, overall, is pretty well made. But it's just a tiresomely Dude puzzle anyway, even without the cheap tittering. I mean, the only women in the puzzle look like this: followed by examples of the only women who seem to exist in this puzzle's world? Do you see how it is not the sex jokes that are the issue, but that women are reduced to caricatures extant only for men's pleasure? And that this fits an ongoing pattern for the NYTX? I am loath to point a finger, this isn't any person's fault. Still, if people keep saying to you that you have a problem, a problem with women, if talented female constructors are foregoing submitting their work to you, maybe, just maybe, you want to proactively work to rectify the situation.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  


Birchbark 9:19 AM  

Cucumis melo will always be MUSK MELON to me, preferably with a scoop of popular ice cream. Was so confident of 'musk" that it sat there forever and probably cost 3-4 minutes when all is said and done (at my level, par for Saturday is under 25 min., under 15 min. is rare).

Parenting is not without reward -- AMAZEBALLS didn't fall immediately, but at least wasn't hard to find in the cluttered closet of stuff I've heard.

schmana 9:36 AM  

stop virtue-signalling...Z. Spitz is a thousand times the feminist you will ever be

Teedmn 9:44 AM  

Once again I was misled to think this was going to be an easy solve when the NE filled in all the way down to LON and west to AVENGERS in about 5 minutes. When I finally wiped the sweat from my brow and looked up, 36:04 had passed and it became another average Saturday solve.

The SE and NW were hardest for me. SEXSCA______ had me thinking SEXSCApade and I couldn't see past that even though TWEET STORM had to be right and that meant LIAR had to be right and "pade" didn't work there. I finally made SCANT work of SCANDAL. I still had to run the alphabet for bALM, cALM, ah, Robert CULP.

Another alphabet run needed was at 37A O_S. OdS wasn't going to work but I had no idea on OAKIE. OKS, of course.

__A_EBALLS crossing _TT_ and an inkling that it was MARC Maron at 2D finally let me let go of spAcEBALLS (never heard of AMAZEBALLS). (Anyone else thinking the ubiquitous sTlo for 1D?).

Hand up for musKMELON first; ROCK MELON and cantaloupe are in no way equivalent in my lexicon.

@LMS, is that text you are reading for LitCrit supposed to be ironic? That you are learning to critique literature from a book that is so impenetrable that it is the opposite of what good literature is supposed to be? Or am I mistaking what a LitCrit course is about?

41A's clue made me wonder what keystroke could be so emotionally evocative.

Acronym vs. initialism - I've seen the discussion here before but never really grokked it. So is the difference merely that an acronym lends itself to be spoken as a word, whereas initialism (i.e. the ACA) has to be pronounced as the individual letters? I thought there would be a more intrinsic difference arising from what the initials or acronym were representing. I guess I overthought that one.

Nice #3 NYT puzzle, Zachary.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

The dogleg starting at 41 across and then down jumped out at me, but maybe it's just my apophenia.

RooMonster 9:59 AM  

Hey All !
Well, I've heard, and think it's still in use, AMAZE BALLS. Of course, I don't hang around teens or twenty-somethings. That corner got me with AXIS and TRI.

Managed to get most of puz on my own, which for me is rare on a SatPuz. But SE corner BLEW me away. Never would've got BLOC or CULP, LAO TSE and PLUTOMANIA also real difficult. And, although modern, TWEET STORM a WOE, too. So, Reveal Word to the rescue! Just to finish, had to Reveal BLOC, CULP, PST, BLEW, LUXE. Finally the ole brain clicked and finished. (Gee, after revealing all that, one would hope I'd finish!)

Had stiNGERS for AVENGERS first! SIGMA CHI has a way odd clue, not even sure how it works. This puz seems to have brought out all the males inner 12 year old. Teehee! SEX! BALLS! DICK! TRACI Lords! SACKS! KNELT! Did no one else notice SAD, ATROCIOUS, SO BAD? Self commentary? EKE. :-)


Anonymous 10:08 AM  

Because it's an acronym Einstein.

Loren Muse Smith 10:09 AM  

@Roo - I was reading your comment when the phone started ringing, so I scanned the last part really quickly and thought I saw:

"BLOC, CULP, PST, BLEW, LUXE... Gee, after..all...that, one would hope I'd flush!"

Carola 10:10 AM  

Nope. A fatal initial entry of sT. lo at 1D was my undoing: even when it didn't work with TRILATERAL or UCSD, I didn't think to erase the "s" - as I'd guessed at spAcEBALLS. No idea about the podcaster or video game character. So my battle site was St. Lo's sister city St. Tu.

I was oblivious to the dude-ism that @Rex talks about, but I did sort of shudder at the STALKS, IMMOLATES, RANSACKS cluster. Liked: LION HUNT, CONCOCT, LAOTSE.

pmdm 10:16 AM  

Jeff Chen thought this was the Puzzle of the Week. I did not. On my first run through the clues, I check off all the proper noun entries. For me, too many makes a terrible puzzle. Looking at all the checks today, for me it's a very terrible puzzle. Oh well, on now to tomorrow's ACME/Muller puzzle.

jberg 10:18 AM  

DNF. I never heard of that tennis (or is it golf?) player, so I might not have anyway == but what really blocked me is that I put in IN A SENSE at 12 D, with a number of crosses already in place, and failed to notice that it didn't fit. I had IN A SE SENSE, but didn't see it -- ONE would probably have given me CORE, (I had MADE, as in blazed a trail), and then maybe I would have guessed DATE. Grrrrr (that's not an acronym).

Weirdly I noticed BALLS and noticed DICK, but did not notice them as a pair. I did notice the basket of deplorables, though.

I guess TWEETSTORM is Trump-related, as well, even though it is not quite what he does.

Overall, given what I did and didn't notic, I liked the puzzle.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

From the NYT style manual "when an acronym serves as a proper name and exceeds four letters, capitalize on the first letter. We limit uppercasing to four letters because longer strings of capitals are distracting and tend to jump of the page. " Z is clearly not a student of Lao-Tzu or as the Times spells him Lao-Tse.

Lao-Tzu 10:42 AM  

@Anonymous 10:32am: You waste your breath when you try to correct Z. He lives in a universe where a fact is only what he deems to be a fact. And truth is what he claims to be truth, no matter how patently wrong he is. He never lets facts get in the way of his continual attempts to prove himself right and others wrong. He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.

Mohair Sam 10:47 AM  

Phew! Lotsa rage out there today. The good news is that OFL got so wound up in his feminism he forgot to rant about the Tea Party. We missed all the sexism and "frat boy" stuff and thought we solved a fairly challenging puzzle this morning. We guessed that @Rex would like it what with newer terms like AMAZEBALLS (new to us) and TWEETSTORM. Man, were we wrong.

Clever clue for SIGMACHI - had us head-scratching forever. PLUTOMANIA just fine - plutocracy anyone? MARC Maron new to us, and we're lucky our youngest was a ZELDA freak. Had no idea ORCAS got that big. CULP and OAKIE tough actors to find in the memory bubbles.

@birchbark & @Teedmn - Yes, muskMELON - my mother called it that - cost us tons of time too.

Paraphrasing @Rex: He says that this puzzle consists of only sexually objectified cartoon women, except for those women in the puzzle who aren't that, except TRACI kind of was, except her album was kind of good, because he owns it, and anyhow WIE had to be included because she fit. So there.

Thanks Zachary Spitz, you dirty frat brat - fun Saturday challenge. And we found no evidence that there's a sexist bone in your body.

clk 11:04 AM  

The Times can have its reasons for styling NAFTA as Nafta and I can still cringe every time I see it. I agree that it obfuscates the origins of the term. It slows me down by making me try to figure out what they're talking about, which seems to me the opposite of what good style should dictate. I'll note that autocorrect tried to make it NAFTA so the usage isn't universal.

JJ_Rural_MO 11:06 AM  

I didn't get the SIGMACHI answer (like another poster, I kept rhyming it with hibachi). So is it just any 2 random Greek letters that can be a fraternity name?

Nl 11:08 AM  

Some people may object to the vulgarity of many of the answers, such as balls, Dick, arse, and melons, but I think that this is all part of a group of references to our president. Other answers such as tax evision, plutomania, and sex scandal , And, of course, SAD and tweet storm, all have our president's fingerprints on them. Clues referring to NAFTA and five star hotels also have strong connections to the president. All in all, an impressive themed puzzle.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Rex Parker, everyone:

"The NYT crossword is in an awful rut. It needs to be much more fresh, daring and current."

[today's puzzle]

"No. Not like that."

Two Ponies 11:13 AM  

No amount of coffee or dog walking breaks was going to give me the ESP I needed to solve the NW corner.

What an unusual rant from Rex today.

I do not understand male feminism. It should feel good to a man to indulge in some "boys will be boys" humor. And while you're feeling that testosterone rush go hunt a lion or go drag racing. It might just be what your suppressed psyche needs.

@ Larry Gilstrap, Thank you for the thought-provoking post. I always am interested in what you have to say.

@ Jim Webb, I wanted Ents as well.

Wasn't Traci Lords a porn star?

Warren Howie Hughes 11:23 AM  

Rex,Despite Spitz's none too subtle inclusion of BALLS, DICK,SEX,BLEW and KNELT,this kinky CONCOCTed offering by its constructor, would've easily made its lascivious point by simply linking ARSE and your aptly hinted "Innuendo" for your Saturday summation! Wink, Wink

Nancy 11:23 AM  

Quasi says AMAZE BALLS is *out* as a slang phrase. I completely missed it while it was *in*. I guessed it, though, from the A from ATTU (which I guessed from the two Ts.) I guessed ZELDA, too, for the video game character. Ugh. Double ugh. And then I Naticked on MARo/UoSD (as in U of South Dakota). No, I don't know any podcasters, any more than I know any video game characters.

Could CKS at 40D mean checks??? Bloody awful abbrev.

Changed TRACy to TRACI to get DIGS, figuring that "crib" must mean your home. Another godawful bit of modern slang to go along with AMAZE BALLS. I hate this kind of stuff so much.

This was way out of my wheelhouse, despite the [for me] easy and very welcome BATISTA and IVAN LENDL. Look, you have your PPP and I have mine. But today, there was much too much of yours. Some good stuff like SEX SCANDAL and the way ACNE was clued today. But mostly I found the puzzle annoying and in some instances unfair.

clk 11:31 AM  

@ Two Ponies What a bizarre argument. Do you also feel it should feel good for white folks to indulge in some good old boys humor at the expense of their black neighbors?
That being said, I didn't find anything offensive about this puzzle and I guess I would be on your approved list of feminists since I'm a woman.

old timer 11:31 AM  

Certainly set off a TWEETSTORM for OFL, eh? I visited the Masai on safari. A very handsome bunch, for sure, and I learned that the young men are expected to kill their lion, and with no gun because the Brits disarmed the Masai. Armed only with spears, the pubescent boys take turns guarding the cattle from predators, including the lions. I also learned that they believe they are entitled to any cattle they can seize. Oh, and the pubescent girls are sexy and they know it. Kenyatta, the first president of an independent Kenya who was from a central Kenyan tribe, wrote a great autobiography that goes into some detail about the male and female rites of passage.

South Pasadena is "South Pas" so though I never heard "Pas" used to refer to Pasadena, I had "Pas" before PST and "posh" before LUXE, so that corner was quite hard. I did Google for Mr. CULP. And discovered that he who lives by the Google dies by the Google. I was pretty sure that that quote was by LAOTSE, but decided to search for it and was told it was by "Lao Tzu" so I wrote that in. Would have made it far easier if I hadn't done that.

John V 11:37 AM  

Brutal. No luck at all.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Could you possibly remove Sharp's Dick from your mouth?
My GOD! What is with your, at this point, deranged fealty?

Tim Aurthur 11:52 AM  

PLUTOMANIA is in the OED, with citations back to 1652. So I'm grateful to this puzzle for teaching me the word. And what a great observation about the SE corner. That's why I hang out here.

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Didn't notice the top line, too taken aback at the never-heard-of-word AMAZEBALLS to notice.

But Arse is not a polite company word in Britain, and Traci Lords is a porno star and an underage one at that. Hardly a prude but we are breaking new ground here. I guess I will be on the look out for:

Ginger of Film: LYNN
The Hedgehog: RONJEREMY.

Tim Aurthur 11:59 AM  

I've seen AMAZEBALLS in at least one indie puzzle, probably a BEQ. It's his kind of word.

GILL I. 12:01 PM  

Oooof. This was hard...but in a good way. (please - no DICK jokes).
I usually pick up the scent of "Dude frat" humor but this went over my head...I guess.
I rather enjoyed the puzzle - AMAZE BALLS and all. Is that what you'd call da shiznit?
BATISTA was my only entry for ages. We used to live close to them in Havana. Fulgencio owned an entire block. His mansion was engulfed by a huge high brick wall with bobbed wire on the top. Cats didn't go there. His two DICK sons would always come over to our property and tear down my brother's tree house. Paul was always building tree houses; we had one in every single place we lived. Anyway, he was proud that he made his abodes almost impossible to climb. He would hide little nails all over the place and if you didn't know where they were, you'd get your toes torn off. Well, the BATISTA boys tried climbing up, got a few nasty nail penetrations and decided to throw a million rocks until the house came crumbling down. Paul, re-built it. They came back. Paul and I were waiting. We had collected hundreds of over-ripe mangoes and when they snuck up to the tree, we bombarded them. I still can see their fat little behinds scurrying out of our yard screeching like little piggies.
Back to the puzzle. I really liked some of the cluing. The ARSE one was cute and I loved the turkey bacon 8D. Had to Google SIGMACHI OAKIE and TRACI but otherwise, I was able to finish.
Spanish clues....I wish they'd get them right. MAS adelante means further on. Later on is MAS tarde. Hey Will, if you need a translator, I'll do it for free....

KevCo 12:04 PM  

I finished the puzzle, and completely missed the sex stuff until I came here, though I must admit I chuckled when I uncovered the answer to "seat in Parliament." I think that one is pretty good.

The rest of it...I don't know what the big problem is, honestly. The juxtaposition of the two answers at the top is juvenile, sure, but I don't really see how it's chauvinist or anything. It's like people who think fart jokes are funny. They're dumb, yes, but it doesn't make them bad people. It seems like Rex's objection is that this is the stereotypical "frat boy" humor, and frat boys are the wrong kind of people, so we should be upset. And while I will admit that the *stereotypical* frat boy is not someone I am usually in a rush to spend time with, it's because they usually have egocentric and misogynistic attitudes, neither of which I see in this puzzle. I think the fratboys' sense of humor, like their fashion choices (I'm looking at you, backwards hat), is unfortunate, but is it really a reason to dismiss someone? These clues have some juvenile sex angles, but they don't seem anti-women. So...yes, it's a silly puzzle. No, it's not worth wringing our hands over.

And of course I should add that I know many men who were in fraternities, and most of them are smart, respectful, and enjoyable people.

evil doug 12:12 PM  

If BEQ makes this puzzle, Michael praises its creative stretching of the NYT guardrails....

Masked and Anonymous 12:15 PM  

@RP: Always hafta be kinda careful, how much puzstuff U blame on the constructioneer. Some might start to psycho-analyze yer own choices of psychoanalysis… Still: BALLS+DICK is a heckuva inaugural NYTPuz sexscandal row, however it came to be. M&A woulda immediately suggested a cover-up.

What? Nobody else went with {Tree line?} = ENTS? M&A was ready to declare it primo clue of the day, until the unlikely evil twin LEOTSE popped up outta nowhere. Nobody else? wowballs.

staff weeject pick by almost everybody, includin M&A: CKS. Particularly astute of @Thomaso808 (yo) to admire its harballs desperateness.

fave stuff: TWEETSTORM. INONESENSE. RANSACKS. ROCKMELON [cuz learned somethin new]. LIONHUNT [Mostly cuz of its eau de sperate feel -- M&A none too keen on kitty-killin; @RP sorta prefers SPITZHUNTs, I reckon]. Clue for LIRA. Clue for the ill-fated ENTS.

Thanx, Mr. Spitz. Fun and fairly feisty. And ballsy. [And Trumped-up. har]

Masked & Amazeballsmo6Us

Malsdemare 12:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Malsdemare 12:24 PM  

Oh dear! I liked this puzzle, at least before Rex's rant and then the background that others mentioned (that the puzzle was constructed during the Republican convention). I got AMAZEBALLS and TWEETSTORM easily and everything else, or mostly everything, put up a fight. Got 're done before that point where I want to throw my iPad across the room. I giggled at ARSE, loved the clue for ROOK, and felt pretty smug when I got PLUTOMANIA. So it was a winner for me. Til I (over)thought it.

A puzzle that devolves into teenage male humor doesn't bother me particularly. I can find sexism almost everywhere but I do try to temper my knee-jerk response with tolerance, so if this were just a frat boy thing, I'd be cool. And personally, I have no problem with a tasteless puzzle about our tasteless president. But because I have to be fair, I considered how I would have felt about a puzzle that referred to Kenya and birth certs, that included things like chitlins and pickaninnies (you have no idea how hard it was to type that last one); just think about the stuff the crazies on the right were saying about Obama. I considered the apology the NYT would have to publish on the front page, and I realized how offensive this puzzle might appear to those, like some of my relatives, who still support Trump.

So then I thought about making it an equal opportunity puzzle, with blue dresses, cigars, Carlos Danger, Risky Business, sexting, bathroom stalls, and ... and .... EEWWWW! Talk about failing the breakfast test.

So I'm in the camp that says this would have been a great puzzle for American Values but not for the NYT.

Lewis 12:26 PM  

I didn't have much time to do the puzzle today, so I just concentrated on clues and answers and chipped my way through this, ending up greatly enjoying the experience. I had to twist my brain in all directions to get through this, and it enjoyed the stretch. And, believe it or not, SIGMACHi was my best "Aha!", remembering that old old song (Sweetheart of Sigma Chi).

Andy 12:27 PM  

All I can say is that if Hillary had won this puzzle would never have happened.

Seth 12:39 PM  

Yeah, Rex, calm down. Oh no! Sex! How dare they! You claim to want exciting entries, yet balk at these. You got your exciting entries. Enjoy them.

Also, just because you've seen a "fresh" entry before (AMAZEBALLS) doesn't make the puzzle old. Constructors are allowed to use entries again. Do you really expect a great entry like AMAZEBALLS to only show up once?

OISK 12:53 PM  

Second DNF this week, after a clean month. Missed "rubbed in" Wednesday, and was so peeved that I almost commented on the comic talent of the constructor, whom I never found even slightly funny. Clever, yes. Funny, no. Just my tastes, but I was glad I didn't post the comment, since she was lurking, and commented later herself...

This is an ugly, awful puzzle. Clues that are way too "cute" (like celebrity affair maybe for sex scandal, and the far worse clue for "Eva".) When you are crossing it with an obsolete bit of slang (that I never heard spoken, nor read anywhere,) you can't use an acronym. You just can't. Shouldn't. And you cross that bit of nonsense with a podcaster?? You can't find a "Marc" better than that to cross with "Amazeballs"? And then, one more impossible acronym, UCSD. Oh, add a video game character (that one I guessed...) to make it even more unpleasant. Yet, I should have gotten "Marc,"...but having U__SD I though of East and West, but not "central." Of course, I thought it was South Dakota, not San Diego!

And I guess "Amazeballs" is more probable than "Amazoballs" but I thought "OV" might mean "Off vehicle." So we had a section with three acronyms (although SNL is easy), bad slang, a video "Link" I've never heard of, and obscure, obsolete slang. Phooey.

As ever.....

Masked and Anonymous 1:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 1:18 PM  


* "The Birth-Mark" book report Mad-Lib:

Aylmer [singular verb] the darlin Georgiana, despite her small red [noun]. He later has real bad dreams about her [body part]. He tells Georgiana about his [adjective] dream, which she finds rather [adjective]. Later he mixes up some spot-removing [liquid name] which she decides to [verb]. The results are [adjective] for her, and she finds herself in a deep and lethal [noun]. Unbeknownced to everyone, she later comes to, and runs off with Donald Trump's [name of a profession] to [country name]. QED.

* "The Vine-Leaf" book report Mad-Lib:

Senorita Vineleafenmeister decides to have her [noun] painted, with her in it. She gets overly [adjective] about the painting's depiction of her [body part]. She therefore blots out parts of her [adjective] portrait with [side dish] mixed with [sauce name]. Then she marries [famous movie star], they move to [country name], and enjoy a [adjective] life of [fun activity], everafter. QED.

M&A Guaranteed A-Plus Help Desk

Ellen S 1:18 PM  

I'm with @Z.

And beyond that, my main disappointment was the continuing evolution of the word "EKE." Time was, it meant "supplement", when used with "out". Widows eked out their meager income (i.e., what their husbands left them) by taking in laundry or making cut-paper ornaments. Then, at least in the NYTX, it began to mean "barely manage," or "make do." And now, "pull". Doesn't "pull out" mean the same as "earn"? So maybe now it means squeeze out a few bucks from an essentially unprofitable enterprise. Or maybe, it will mean someday, a gush of money that those 19th century widows could not even dream of.

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

Anoa Bob said: Nafta isn't an acronym, it's initialism. Wrong! It's an acronym. You say NAFTA as a word, not N.A.F.T.A.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

I didn't think it was fratty. I thought was like your drunk uncle trying to show you he's cool by dropping out-of-date slang and making dirty jokes. I experienced a full body cringe solving parts of it. Ironically, if this puzzle was a person, it would be the sort of person who'd think it was appropriate to comment on how in shape you were, and how beautiful you are.

Throwing in ARSE, BALLS, DICK, and porn stars != fresh, young, exciting fill.

With that said, I don't mind the AVENGERS, since Black Widow is objectively awesome, and Marvel has moved away from blatant objectification in recent years.

I rolled my eyes at the cluing on ZELDA. She hasn't just been a princess who has been passively rescued for years now. It's a Saturday. You can clue her as the bearer of the Triforce of Wisdom, or the person who disguises herself as Sheik, or the person who guides Link through his journey.

Bob Mills 1:36 PM  

I'm 75 years old, so finishing this one correctly was an achievement. "AMAZEBALLS?" Really? "PLUTOMANIA?" I thought that was something to do with the planets.

I had "MUSKMELON" for 42-Across until I realized "RANSACKS" and "DRAGRACING" cidn't fit with it, so I got "ROCKMELON" by default. Still don't know how cheese is "BAIT," unless they mean as a way to catch mice. Didn't like the puzzle. It wasn't fun, but finishing it felt good.

Nancy 1:38 PM  

As happens so often, @OISK's (12:33 p.m.) reaction to this puzzle is the closest to my own. He hated everything I hated, and for the same reasons.

Joe Bleaux 1:47 PM  

Kudos, ZS, on a challenging puzzle that generated such commentary! He's catering to Beavis and Butthead! He's a liberal political sniper! I was just glad I was able to finish this toughie. Hand up on the muskMELON, thought Sigma Chi clue was clever (as was the cheese BAIT), and glad to find AMAZEBALLS had slipped both into and out of the slang lexicon without my noticing.

WA 1:59 PM

Here is an article about amazeballs.

What a stupid puzzle.

JC66 2:20 PM  

Didn't Annabel use AMAZEBALLS in one of her reviews?

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

"Hey, what's up? I'm a real effing 11A."

Eric Weber 2:46 PM  

Being 74, I can only conclude that the environment I grew up in didn't sufficiently sensitize me to women's issues to the point where I can detect frat boy sexism cleverly disguised in crossword puzzles, heh heh.

Mohair Sam 3:05 PM  

@Gill I - Holy shit! You and your brother defeated the BATISTA clan before Castro did? The Great Mango Revenge. Neat story, that is beyond cool - the real reason he fled the island no doubt.

Surprised the generation that grew up with the space program didn't see EVA as a gimme, NASA used it constantly when describing missions on TV.

We had to have the frat humor and sexism explained to us. We'll have to read the constructor's comments to find the hidden attack on Trump. I guess three trees fell in our forest and we missed them all.

RAD2626 3:20 PM  

So The Sweetheart of Signa Chi was written in 1911, decades before most of the Ivy League schools admitted women, and at a time where fraternity brothers everywhere no doubt wore coats and ties and maybe even fedoras. To somehow suggest its inclusion supports a conclusion that today's puzzle is all about "frat boy humor" is just looking for trouble. Maybe if 11a were clued differently, or 57a was BLUTOMANIA, but hard to make the point that this was anything but a clever puzzle, interestingly clued, and somewhat more contemporary than most NYT offerings. Michelle WIE is a world class athlete, Stanford alum, and seems to have her head on pretty straight for a celebrity. Hardly an objectification. ARSE was mildly bawdy, funny and hardly sexual.

Also had muskMELON even though I knew it was wrong since it is a synonym for Honeydew, which of course only would have added to the outrage.

Three posters have said they wanted tree line? to be ENTS. What does that mean? I get ANTS; do not get ENTS.

jae 3:32 PM  

@M&A and RAD26 - I forgot to list eNTS, which are a race of trees in Lord of the Rings, as one of my SE goofs.

schwartzy98 3:38 PM  

Um, how can you Not see this as a sub-tweet of the Drumpf? Tweet storm, sad, atrocious, plutomania, tax evasion, sex scandal, stalks... not to mention all the rest of the fill. I couldn't see it as anything but, and I'm horrible at Metas...

Masked and Anonymous 4:20 PM  

@jae - yep. On a second Comment Gallery scan, M&A was comforted to see that @Jim Webb had also been suckered in for tryin ENTS.

Some FYI old NYTPuz clues for ENTS:
* Tolkien tree creatures.
* Tolkien's talking tree race.
* "The Lord of the Rings" tree creatures.
* Forest race of fantasy.
* Fangorn Forest dwellers.
* Middle-earth creatures.

Fun fact: ENTS does not have PB1 Usage Immunity, but ENT does.


Mohair Sam 4:28 PM  

@schwartzy98 - Um, some of us don't see Trump voters as sad or atrocious, saw both candidates as plutomaniacs, and thought Bill Clinton had a far bigger sex scandal. And still can't connect stalks. So that's how we could Not see the Meta. I never look for metas anyhow.

And no, I didn't vote for Trump (or Drumpf).

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

Ants? Ive seen tons of ants in my time and can't say I associate their ubiquitous lines with trees - up and down walls, around doors and windows, across the floor, garden paths, etc. etc., but not trees.

Also ROOK fell flat since all chess pieces except Knights move straight; either diagonally or ortagonally.

Erik 5:17 PM  

One of the better Saturdays in a while. Challenging and funny and topical. Kudos.

It was very TRUMPIAN (how long til we see that in a puzzle?). A such, it made me laugh.

To all those haters on both sides of the political aisle, just relax. CHILLAX (from a recent puzzle). You are solving a puzzle, not debating the fate of the free world... its SAD when you take the BAIT and freak out..

Send your TWEETSTORMs to @Rex... I'm gonna relax and enjoy my Saturday!

AZink 5:29 PM  

Lion hunt also seems like a jab at the young Trump boys

Hartley70 5:31 PM  

@Gill I xoxo great post today! Mangos, the Molotov cocktails of the islands.

I'm with those who were too oblivious to be outraged. I never even noticed the frat boy humor. I forgot anything appealing I'd learned about frats with my first taste of milk punch at Cornell. It was one of life's most disgusting moments.

I enjoyed the workout today. The cluing was sharp. I got a kick out of ARSE. I'd never heard of AMAZEBALLS or ROCKMELON or those particular AVENGERS so there was lots of puzzling to do. In the end I worked my way around to the NW and was defeated by the podcaster MARC and the WWII battle. Still and all, a satisfying Saturday.

BarbieBarbie 5:41 PM  

@Mohair: words frequently used by, in tweets. Not supporters of. Support or don't support, but if you follow, you see those words a lot.

Aketi 5:42 PM  

The puzzle was worth doing if merely to come here and read:
@GILL I's mango revenge story
@M&A's mad lib stories
And even though I love most, but not all Marvel movies my mind went in the direction of @LMS first. I'm sure corselets and girdles were no worse than Spanx.

@Anonymous 1:34 pm, I absolutely agree with you about it being less fratty than "your drunk uncle trying to show you he's cool by dropping out-of-date slang and making dirty jokes." Good points about the Wasp and ZELDA characters. I know someone who is working for Marvel so I know thatl (with some nudging from Disney) they really are trying to make amends and is doing better in diversifying their portrayal of women, but they still have a way to go with some of their treatment of female staff simply because the genre has been dominated by men for such a long time.

@Mohair Sam, Bill wasn't a candidate in the last election, he looks way too tired to be chasing after young interns now, and he doesn't even come close to how ATROCIOUS I consider another New York resident who should know better than flaunt his stuff, especially when his last name is a synonym of 11A. Seeing a politician's skeevy pose while wearing ugly gray shorts plastered all over Facebook was just plain pathetic. I agree about both candidates being PLUTOCRATS, but doesn't that extend to all politicians these days?

Mike 5:53 PM  

If this was $25000 Pyramid and I said "Lion Hunt, Liar, Tweet storm, Tax Evasion, SNL, NAFTA" you'd scream "Things to do with Trumps!"

Kafkaland 5:56 PM  

I guess it's a Rohrschach test. You see in it what's you want to see in it. I must say it was somehow on my wavelength. I don't finish Saturday puzzles cleanly very often, but this one was right up my alley. Does that make me a frat boy, even though it didn't feel that puerile to me when I was solving it? Looking back, I get, however, how some see it that way. The Trump connection was quite obvious to me, though, LIAR crossing TWEETSTORM and PLUTOMANIA left no doubt whatsoever for me,

Joe Dipinto 6:14 PM  

Rockmelon really scrapes the bottom of the "see what a clever young constructor I am!" barrel.

Anonymous 6:16 PM  

@ Aketi,
Slicky Willie is never to tired to chase beaver.
Speaking of which, how's your shaving cream-scarred son'so doing?

Mohair Sam 6:16 PM  

@BarbieBarbie - Not a follower of Trump's tweets. Life's way too short.

@Aketi - I want to believe that candidates I like are not PLUTOcrats. But I'm probably wrong. I do think the two our parties ran in 2016 are extreme examples. Hard to figure how the fly-over voter thought Trump was his savior. Just as hard to figure how Hillary thought East Hampton was the Capital of Wisconsin.

pnkfelix 7:19 PM  

It's interesting that many pointed out the semi-racy results; my main experience while trying to work on the "rite of passage among Masai" clue was learning via Wikipedia about the *other* rite of passage, "emorata", which is practiced on both male and female members. I'm guessing that meta level was not intended by anyone including the editors but who knows?

Natick Runner 7:27 PM  

Workmanlike solve for me. Totally misssd the theme in this themeless, but enjoyed reading through the comments.

Had eNTS which made seeing LAO TSE tough. PLUTOMANIA was a new one for me.

I went to UCSD, played ZELDA and just knew it was gonna be IVAN LENDL. Some gimmes opened things up for me.

Chronic dnfer 7:29 PM  

Can someone explain 47A? How is tree line? Ants?

Anonymous 7:31 PM  

SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!! The flyovers?!!!! That's precisely the smugness that cost the Democrats the election.
Also, you yourself are perilously close to flyover status. If I grok you're 20, you're a bit west of the I-95 corridor. You know, the folks who count.
Anyway, that's the kind of smart Alec, but wrong for, comment the board expects from an asshole like Z. You're way better than that.

Mohair Sam 8:18 PM  

@Anon (7:31) - Oh, I'm a proud Flyover person. As such I'm allowed to use the "F" word with impunity.

But yeah, that was kinda Z-ish.

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

At Mohair,
Fair enough.
As a sign of my true regard, I'd like your prediction for Phils' wins in the second half.
I'm guessing 31. But I couldn't defend that against a second graders cross examination. You're old enough to remember the last 100 loss team.
1961 was it? Is this year's assemblage that bad?
Anyway, I'm glad you dont follow Trump on Twitter, and that your grandkids dig Mack trucks.

Christina 8:58 PM  

I confess I did not see the Frat Boy theme some saw. My interpretation was guided by the entry of the portrayer of Fascist buffoon Napaloni in "The Great Dictator", "TWEETSTORM", "ARSE", "DICK", "TAX EVASION," and "Deplorable" appearing twice as a clue.

Nancy 10:51 PM  

@GILL (12:01) -- So sorry I didn't have a chance to read the blog carefully earlier, because your BATISTA family story is the absolute best BATISTA family story I've ever heard. Never mind that it's the only BATISTA family story I've ever heard, it would still be the best -- the most colorful, the most revealing -- even if I'd heard many other BATISTA stories. What a bunch of DICKS they must have been. What an effective group of AVENGERS your family obviously was. To bad your family didn't write a book about them back in the day. Now, probably, no one would care.

@Hartley, @Christina, @Natick Runner -- I didn't see the so-called "Frat boy" theme either. I was much too flummoxed and irritated by the awful slang and all the criss-crossing PPP to notice. Or maybe I'm just unusually pure of thought. (Or maybe there really wasn't any such theme in the first place).

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:28 PM  

Rex, I think you might have seriously misread this puzzle.

DICK, TAXEVASION, Nafta clue, SAD, Tea Party clue, PLUTOMANIA, SEXSCANDAL, TWEETSTORM, LIAR... Even if this puzzle is not only a subtweet of Trump, these are all things that can be mostly related to the Republican Party (or at least one particular perspective of it)

Yes, you can also find innuendos if you look semi-hard, but I believe the overall theme was more of that.

Joe Dipinto 12:17 AM  

@Chronic dnfer 6:29 -- because you might see a line of ants climbing up a tree, I guess. Yeah -- whenever I think of ants, I picture them climbing up a tree. Usually an oak. Sigh.

Anonymous 2:01 AM  

As a UCSD alumnus I was happy to see us in a grid, but Tritons was a weird way to clue us since we don't have any first division sports teams in the major college sports (or at least didn't when I graduated). We don't even have a football team.

old timer 12:36 PM  

Trump is unlikely to be involved in a SEX SCANDAL at his age (and with his gorgeous wife). But boy oh boy did he have them as a younger man. Remember Maria Maples?

Cheerio 1:12 PM  

Do ants walk up trees in lines? I mean I suppose they must, but don't they walk in lines wherever they go? I associate lines of ants with kitchens in my student days. When I first had a bird feeder, there was a line of ants going down the fishing wire to get to the birdseed. I learned that they actually make little upside down umbrellas to form a moat on a bird feeder hanger wire that those wily ant lines just cannot penetrate....

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

It would be interesting if all commenters noted their age. It would give us an idea about perspective/knowledge gaps/ theme awareness, etc. Are most NYTX solvers over 60? (I'm 70)

BrucieK 4:02 PM  

@anonymous -- that was a rude answer -- @Z obviously knows it's an acronym.

@Z -- it's a style choice at the New York Times (I believe their rule is that if the acronym has five letters or more, it should be written as a proper noun with the first letter only capitalized). It's a stodgy and annoying style rule, which many journalists -- myself included -- think is idiotic and annoying.

Anonymous 4:27 PM  

@old timer, Trump's already been involved in a sex scandal. Or have you already forgotten his confessed history of sexually assaulting women?

Anonymous 6:03 PM  

There's a permanent memorial for him hidden in the woods near the library, or at least there was when I was there. Pretty unsettling if you aren't expecting it.

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

@anoa, an acronym is an initialism that you pronounce as a word, no?

Blogger 6:52 PM  

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rondo 10:23 AM  

A +/- 25 minute cruise through this with only the eNTS over-written, thought maybe a RRN Pope LEO might show up. Did not once consider frat boy stuff. Some folks maybe too sensitive, like over the top.

If you own yeah baby TRACI Lords earliest work you are eligible for a jail term.

Yeah baby Michele WIE STALKS the Solheim Cup this weekend. I have friends with VIP passes including hotel. LUXE indeed.

The way I TORE through this puz it couldn't be SOBAD.

Burma Shave 10:38 AM  


To CONCOCT a SAD verse would be a SCANT trick,
TAXEVASION is worse than KNELT, BLEW, and DICK.

--- ANON

spaceballs-er, -craft 12:59 PM  

Wow, I marvel at the way you guys pounce on actually LOOK FOR ways to be offended! AMAZEBALLS! Oh sure, now that you point it out, that top line seems not in the best taste, and if it was in fact intentional (for which we have no proof), the same could be said of the constructor. I guess I just don't go back over the finished (by some miracle, today!) grid as a whole. I fill in the last square, log on here, and...OMG I was right!

That was the feeling this time, at least. Medium my ARSE! This was a 100% challenge. I knew one thing in the NW: EVA. BTW, OFL, you forgot DOD Ms. Longoria as well as TRACI in your diatribe against the women in today's grid. For a while there, I thought the diminishing returns was: TelEViSION. Now that's funny. The more channels, the less of value there is to see.

Got started, eventually, in the SW with honorable-mention DOD TRACI and ACNE, but erred with STAreS and autoRACING. IMMOLATES pulled me out of the former, and PURINA the latter, but an inkfest there.

It would take too long to go over my solution the whole way; suffice to say that I made numerous guesses--including almost the entire SE. wound up with a letter in every square, came here--and whaddya know: I did it! I might mention that it's a bit unfair to refer to two entirely different U.S. Opens in the same puzzle. I blame the organizers of these events. One of them surely came first; the other should have been barred from using the same term. Anyway, you know which one I prefer: on triumph factor alone this gets a birdie.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

What a pisser infested stink-bomb. Rejected.

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

For some reason the NYT puzzles show up a month late in our newspapers up north in Canada. I realize that this post will be read by few, but I feel compelled to counter Rex's absurd comments.
His narcissistic, pc virtue signalling is beyond parody. What a tough slog it must be for him, just getting through the day without being offended by every interaction he has with the world...a billboard, an ad on TV, a stray comment overheard on the street. Every encounter he has in life, through any of his senses, must come with a trigger warning and directions to the nearest safe space.
One can only speculate at the unfortunate confluence of events - both genetic and environmental, nature and nurture - that must have befallen such a troubled, tormented figure.

thefogman 2:39 PM  

That SE corner is killing me. I'll be back later. Maybe.

thefogman 2:51 PM  

PLUTOMANIA (!) And we're done!

That was a tough one!

rain forest 3:36 PM  

As I was reading the comments, I realized that @Rex had gone on one of his rants, so with trepidation I went back and read it. Holy Smokes, does he have a problem! All the "frat boy humour", if that is indeed what it was, went right over my head and beneath my perception. If you notice that yourself, then you are equally guilty of that mentality, I think.

@Z, true or false: are you the alter ego of @Rex? Man you are one pedant.

Sorry folks. I'll try not to do that again. I feel ashamed.

Yes, the puzzle, ahem. Well, I liked it a lot. I was particularly proud of how I got ATTU, by assuming 19A started with U. After plunking down TRIpArtite, I had a bit of cleaning up to do courtesy of LOAN, IVAN, and BATISTA. From there the solve went relatively smoothly until the SE where knowing CULP and guessing PST and LUXE helped immensely. I had eNTS for a long time, and still don't really get ANTS. I've seen ants marching up or down trees, but that is hardly a way to clue them.

A challenge, particularly in the SE, but I saw sparkle and freshness which someone regularly bemoans the absence of.

leftcoastTAM 4:30 PM  

So Rex was a bit scandalized by the whiff of "prurience" emitted by this one. Though it skirted the edge, I thought it was pretty good, Saturday-level difficult, and a satisfying solve.

Found the NW (as is often the case) tough and the SE tougher. AMAZEBALLS (wha?), and never heard of MARC and ZELDA (except Fitzgerald of course). In the SE, eNTS before ANTS and blanked on Rose Bowl setting until PST head slap.

Also blanked for a while on DICK, noticing prurient proximity of 1A. And ARSE for Seat in Parliament? How coarse!

Was so intent on finishing this that I didn't think much about the provocative content. But Rex's response did provoke me into looking back on it and finding some amusement, adolescent or not.

thefogman 4:51 PM  

This puzzle rated challenging for me. I didn't like it very much not because of the cheeky answers but rather because a considerable amount of the cluing was bad and/or unfair. SAD! I won't rehash them as they've already been hashed to death in the comments above. Anger mixed with bewilderment was the reaction I got when I finally solved some of the more devious ones. That is not the emotion one should experience with a well-crafted puzzle. Here's hoping for better tomorrow and beyond because this one was just SOBAD it BLEW ROCKMELONS.

centralscrewtinizer 6:01 PM  

A real wrestlefest. Had STAres for too long even though IMMOLATES was bouncing around in my brain. Had soON for too long until I saw IN ONE SENSE. But the NW was killer even though I had most of it. TRILATERAL just killed me, did not know MARC, ATTU was an island too far, even though I spent a winter on the Aleutian Chain fishing for King Crab.
King Crab! OFL?
Loved the BATISTA story and the Spanish lesson.

thefogman 7:01 PM  

Here's an interesting and different perspective on this puzzle - and young Mr. Spitz...

leftcoastTAM 7:20 PM  

@Rex (if you ever read this syndicated, tail-end stuff): Your great contribution is that your reviews provoke a hell of a lot of smart and engaged posters.

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