Transporter with sliding doors / THU 8-31-17 / FDR created program with slogan we do our part / Rapper who famously feuded with Jay-Z / Locale of hostile criticism metaphorically / City with famous bell tower

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Constructor: Zachary Spitz

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (once you get the gimmick)

THEME: CORNER / OFFICE (31A: With 44-Across, V.I.P. area represented four times in this puzzle) — rebus puzzle where corner squares are all words that can precede "OFFICE":

  • BOX (NW)
  • POST (NE)
  • OVAL (SW)
  • HOME (SE)
Word of the Day: YAKITORI (38D: Japanese style of chicken)
noun: yakitori
  1. a Japanese dish of chicken pieces grilled on a skewer. (google)
• • •

This puzzle is relatively easy. Also, hey, puzzle, don't get cute with me, or wink at me, or joke with me about how hard or easy the puzzle is. You don't know me. Stay in your lane. Just be a puzzle. If I say you're relatively easy, that's that. Zip it. This theme was not at all tough to uncover. NW came together fast, so the BOX corner went in early, and it was a short trip from there to the revealer, which only needed a couple crosses to become evident—plus it was a two-answer revealer, which really opened the grid right up. So ... different types of offices go in the corners, and I knew this inside the first minute. The puzzle definitely toughened up in places. The OVAL and (especially) the POSTER boxes were much tougher to figure out than the other two. I didn't know what YAKITORI was, so that took every single cross, and thus made that SW corner harder to work out (FDA APPR(OVAL) was a doozy of a themer—probably the best of the bunch). And I had everything *but* the corner at 13D: Archetype and still couldn't get it. Stared at -ER CHILD but the only thing I could imagine was (INN)ER CHILD. Also BRAIN CHILD, but that didn't fit. Cross wasn't much help, as I had TMAN instead of GMAN (9D: F.B.I. agent, informally), and couldn't figure out what the hell a [Conjunction in a rebus puzzle] was supposed to be (kept wanting NOR) (??). Also misspelled AMBIENCE (thusly), but that's par for the course. Anyway, theme easy, overall cluing, a little less so.

Proper nouns of yore were probably over-represented here and *definitely* were not thoughtfully dealt with. Most egregious: non-gun-related, alphabet-souped NRA crossing "Love Boat" actor Gavin insanely-spelled MACLEOD (I had to look at the grid twice to spell it just now). I guarantee you that "A" roughs up tons of people (I know this because it roughed me up and I already know of two confirmed other cases and the puzzle hasn't even been out that long).

 [true fact] [9A: Kicker's target]

I mean, come on, if you're gonna drive NRA through a very bygone actor's name, make it a non-bygone NRA. Common courtesy / decent editing. Also, LeRoy NEIMAN hasn't been famous since he did those Burger King / summer Olympics posters when I was a kid (so, yeah, like, 1976). I didn't mind DIANE over ANKARA, though, because I just watched the "Cheers" episode where a guy comes into the bar and pretends to be a spy but DIANE sees right through him because the guy seems to believe that ANKARA is in Bulgaria. So, yeah, DIANE over ANKARA is never going to seem more right than it does at this very moment.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Patrick O'Connor 12:10 AM  

Quick correction, Rex: the corner is POST office, not POSTER office. Thanks for Sherri Bobbins!

Dawn 12:15 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot. Learned a few interesting facts, enjoyed the rebus. Even though I felt like I was getting stuck in several spots, I was surprised to find I had finished in close to record Thursday time for me. No idea why OAR has something to do with a rebus. Had orc first (grumbling to myself that it had appeared way too many times in the NYT puzzle!), then Ent, before finally realizing it was ELF for the LOTR fill. Had to laugh at the kicker/goal post tweet above...true.

jae 12:18 AM  

Medium-tough for me mostly because I had Palm d'or before Palm OIL. That made getting the reveal difficult. And yes, it occurred to me a while later that it's Palme d'Or not Palm.

MACLOED was my first guess but I kept thinking McCLOED could work because FDR pretty much used all the possible three letter combinations for his array of programs. Fortunately, I was a Mary Tyler Moore show fan and his name must have stuck from reading the credits in the pre-VCR days.

@Rex - Me too for AMBIeNCE.

Reasonably smooth grid, cute theme, liked it.

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

In English, AMBIENCE is by far the more common spelling. Substituting MESH for WASH would have been an easy fix.


Unknown 12:26 AM  

SPOT-ON review by @Rex of @Zachary Spitz's interesting puzzle, which based on information posted elsewhere, manages to shoehorn in the first names of both of his parents. Nice!

Gavin MACLEOD played a newswriter on the Mary Tyler Moore show, immediately prior to his gig as captain of the Love Beat. Both TV shows I watched intermittently in my youth. Frankly, I would have preferred a clue to the middle author of a cornerstone paper in molecular biology, but suspect that would not have been well received.

I didn't know the Japanese dish at 38-Down and had to do an alphabet run to get the T that crosses the deceptively clued PET. I chuckled at the Möbius strip clue for END (41-Across), and didn't mind going all the way back to FDR's time as a way to avoid the gun lobby (28-Down). It was interesting to see Eisenhower's wife at 16-Across, along with another spouse of a GOP Presidential candidate at 20-Across. So yes, difficult clues for proper nouns in counter-action to a relatively easily grasped theme.

P.S. added "in proof" -- I second @Dawn who wonders how OAR fits the clue for 10-Down [and, adding to the self-referential LIE clue, is this one telegraphing that today's puzzle features rebuses (or whatever the correct plural is)?]

puzzlehoarder 12:31 AM  

This was a Thursday that got up into the Friday range. I had to leave that first rebus space blank for a long time. Even after I'd filled in the ones in the NE and SE corners I still had to get the revealers to put in BOX. I ruefully had no trouble with the clue for LIE. The SW still put up a little fight despite knowing what the theme was. I made a note of that alternative cluing for NRA the last time we had it so MACLEOD was no problem. How about that cluing for HERB showing up on the first and last days of the month. Maybe August is International Herb Day. One thing I still don't understand is the clue for OAR. Maybe our host explained it, I don't read his comments anymore. This was a good Thursday.

BD 12:36 AM  

After solving the puzzle and still not understanding OAR, I just got it: in a non-crossword rebus, a picture of an oar would represent the conjunction "or."

puzzlehoarder 12:38 AM  

That would be International Month. I wish I could say that's what caused that slip.

Dawn 12:39 AM  

Hi, George! The comments on the NYT blog say that in picture puzzles, a picture of an OAR represents the word 'or'. By the way, I'll have to get in touch with you husband says he knows you from his student days at Minnesota. :)

puzzlehoarder 12:41 AM  

@BD, thanks for the explanation. I misread conjunction as contraction.

Dawn 12:42 AM  

P.S. De-suds should be RINSEsOUT. I've never heard it used as anything but a verb (if at all!).

Alyssa 12:52 AM  

Yes! Drove me crazy

Dawn 12:58 AM  

@Alyssa, I erased the fill twice before I had to accept that only RINSEOUT would fit.

Trombone Tom 1:06 AM  

Got hung up on RINSEsOUT, too, @Dawn. Also was slowed down in the SW corner by fEe-->PET (once YAKITORI was in place). And hand up for Ent before ELF.

The conceit/theme was evident from the beginning with BOX*** and ***POST in place. Agree with OFL about it being on the easy side once you work that out.

alexa shortbush 1:16 AM  

If it was RINSES OUT then the clue would have been "De-sudses".

De-suds is a single instance of removing suds, therefore a singular is proper.

Unless there is a de-sud...I have never seen one soap sud.

Hope that helps.

Hartley70 1:40 AM  

This was an excellent Thursday rebus puzzle and it was medium challenging for me. BOX eluded me until the end so the theme took a while to reveal itself. I had it at POST.

I wanted to kick myself for using Paula instead of DIANE for the longest time. I couldn't make it work until I remembered that I went to school long ago with Paula and I never listened to DIANE's show. Gavin MACLOUD popped into my head out of thin air.

I guessed MAMIE because I think it's been many years since the average home cook was making candy and let's face it, nobody imagined Eleanor in the kitchen.

A rebus Thursday was a long time coming and I think today's was worth the wait.

Casimir 2:02 AM  

OFL predicted my predicament -- that "a" in MacCloud, for which I had a "c." The app told me I had an error, and I just couldn't see it. Otherwise, this puzzle went down more like Friday than Thursday time for me.

chefwen 2:25 AM  

My only hiccup was at 59D where I misspelled PELE as PELi (dumb mistake) and I SO wanted appleTINI at 68A. Obviously, that was never going to pan out, but it was fun thinking about an APPLETINI, someday I will try one. It's been many a moon since I had OVALTINE.

Got the rebus pretty early with BOX SEATS, but I didn't reallly zip through this one. I did, however, enjoy it and it was great to see our Thursday rebus.

Robin 2:35 AM  

Didn't we run into the question about a kicker's target in the NYT crossword a few months ago? Those who argue that it's between the goalposts are thinking American gridiron football. But as I recall, the answer then was really related to where soccer football players aim. (Oh, hello, PELE!)

Anyway, seems apropos here

Thomaso808 3:59 AM  

@BD thanks for explaining OAR and reminding me of the true meaning of the REBUS, which I knew very well in my pre-NYTX, college beer- drinking days with my favorite Lucky Lager beer caps! Every bottle came with a rebus! If you couldn't figure it out, maybe time to stop drinking.

Yay, we have a rebus puzzle! Corner offices! No (or little) dreck! Yay!

I think Rex liked it!

evil doug 5:52 AM  

I am going to de-suds this towel=
I am going to RINSE OUT this towel.

Yeah, I had that ----sOUT 's' in there until it just wouldn't work with any airline fee.

TonySaratoga 5:53 AM  

I honestly rejected POST out of hand because kickers (in soccer, football) do the exact opposite of aiming for them.

evil doug 5:58 AM  
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Lewis 6:05 AM  

@dawn -- You have the perfect name to be discussing suds...

I agree with @rex about LIE -- The clue is probably true for most people (including me), but not all.

I had no idea that AMBIeNCE could be spelled differently... but it can! I love the symmetrical SALE and DEAL. Terrific clues for GAS OVEN, NCO, and PELE, and I love the answer POOR EXCUSE. Also, I'm trying to come up with other words that go before OFFICE and nothing is coming. Some suggestions, anyone?

I'm still floored that YAKITORI came out of my brain. What? How did I know that? I've never even had it!

The cluing, plus cracking the theme, required that my brain be elevated to 100% on point, where it feels it's most alive, and also nothing in the puzzle dulled that marvelous state. Excellent one, Zachary, and thank you!

evil doug 6:12 AM  

...and I'm guessing Zachary or Will knew people like you would have a sasterisks fit if NRA got into 2nd Amendment stuff, so they shot (pun intended) for something less objectionable just for you, Michael. Didn't work, of course....

Mr. Fitch 6:46 AM  

I don't think this is quite correct, You would in fact say de-sud to refer to the removal of many suds, as in "Martha, pleas de-sud the dishes," not that anyone ever actually says any of these things. Both the imperative and infinitive of such verbs are constructed this way, just as you would say "Betty, I'd like you to de-scale the bathroom tiles," meaning to remove (many) scales from the tiles. The plurality of things to be removed is irrelevant to the verb form; that's dictated by the subject, not the object.

three of clubs 7:01 AM  

Isn't Turkey too big to be a peninsula? I'm looking at a map and Ankara is smack dab in the middle of a large country. It's at least 200 miles north to the Black Sea and there's a whole lot more south of there to the Mediterranean.

Anonymous 7:07 AM  

You're an idiot.

kitshef 7:09 AM  

Rebus fabs rejoice!

Hardest Thursday in months. Thought I was headed for a wholesale DNF in the SW and a 1-square DNF in the NW. With 80% done, spent about ten minutes putting things in and taking them out, but getting nowhere. Finally, just started mentally listing ____-OFFICE phrases and came up with BOX and OVAL, which saved me, albeit with a guess at PET/YAKITORI.

Of course, somehow reading Arabian peninsula for Asian peninsula made ANKARA much, much harder than it should have been.

When I was twenty(ish), we were playing Trivial Pursuit and a question came up about who invented the Zamboni. I thought it was a joke, and that no such word could possibly exist. Then everyone else though I was joking when I said I’d never heard of it.

So it is with YAKITORI. Not only had I not heard of it, but I couldn’t imagine such a word existed. Then I Googled it and got 12.4 million hits.

Now that I think of it, something similar happened with ACURA. I was supposed to go help with inventory at our company warehouse many years ago, and the directions I was given (this is before GPS became common) involved going past something called Pohanka Acura. I couldn’t imagine that that was supposed to mean. A restaurant? A spiritual center? A park? Car dealership was not on my radar.

kitshef 7:26 AM  

@Lewis - during my struggles I came up with dentists office, doctors office, principals office, etc., and patent office. Also at that point I did not know for sure the 'office' would come at the end in every case, so considered office temp, office supplies.

Anonymous 7:29 AM  

Until I can even find a definition of de-suds or de-sud on Google, I am not sure I can conclude anything. I only found one obscene urban dictionary usage of desud. Intuitively, it sure seems that de-suds would mean rinse out, not rinses out. I suppose de-suds is another one of those words that only exist in Crossword Puzzle Land, located just east of Utopia. If you watched a lot of TV growing up, you might remember the game show Concentration. You definitely would have seen an oar rebus there. Of course, I am not talking to you "kids" under 50 years of age. I never heard of the Japanese cuisine so had to Google again. However, I definitely would like to try some yakitori or whatever now that I have seen the recipe. Well, fortunately Will saved us from a long rant from Michael who actually wanted NRA to be clued as the gun lovers (somehow, I just don't believe that). Turkey is definitely a peninsula but it certainly didn't come to mind when I was thinking of Asian peninsulas. I think Gavin Macleod actually ran for some political office but that doesn't make it easier to remember the spelling of his name.

QuasiMojo 7:35 AM  

Gavin Macleod was a gimme. And it's not at all a weird spelling of that name. Perhaps you preferred watching Brewster McCloud on TV. I had to cheat today to finish. Never heard of Diane Rehm and needed her to get the rap star. Anyone else have DRIES out before Rinse out? Haha. I liked RED CENT.

Anonymous 7:43 AM  

@Robin, you are absolutely right. Soccer players aim for the side post. If they hit it and it bounces off it will often set up an assist or even be inadvertently bounced off the opposing team into the goal area. It makes the goalie lunge over to block and get out of its normal defensive position. Sometimes the ball goes in on kick toward side post.

Joe Welling 7:51 AM  
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Joe Welling 7:52 AM  

Dawn said
"No idea why OAR has something to do with a rebus."

I love that this is in a crossword puzzle! It gets at one of my pet peeves: the crossword puzzle world borrowed the term "rebus puzzle" from something that already existed and meant something else. In crosswords it now means simply a puzzle with multiple letters in a single square. In the real world, a rebus puzzle uses some sort of graphical representation to stand in for words, and they often involve puns. (It could involve words and letters too--so some crossword rebus puzzles are rebus puzzles in the original sense, but others are not.)

In a rebus puzzle, you often see picture of an oar for the word "OR."

Hungry Mother 7:56 AM  

Slightly faster Thursday for me. I always love rebus puzzles, but OVAL took me into my second cup of coffee. OVALTINE is a popular drink? Maybe when I was a lad in the 40s. Enjoyed the challenge.

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

I've had a software glitch in the app, leaving my streak incorrectly broken. It's likely due to my switching between phone & tabelet. Any thoughts on getting this fixed?

LisaG 8:02 AM  

The SW corner almost did me in. I had RINSEOFF and FEE, and then I spent a lot of time trying to make those words fit.

Enjoyable puzzle in a frustrating sort of way.

LisaG 8:04 AM  

....Also, Ovaltine? They should call it Roundtine.

clk 8:15 AM  

Thank you! I still don't understand why crossswords appropriated the word 'rebus' to mean something completely different. Any idea when and how that happened?

Howard B 8:21 AM  

Confirmed that I messed up the NRC cross. Thing is, I only knew MACLEOD from crosswords, but I should have nailed it. I never considered NRA because the NRA I knew did not fit the clue. But mea culpa,nevertheless.

evil doug 8:24 AM  

Banya: Didja hear what happened? The mentor saw my act. She dumped me.

Jerry: Oh, that's too bad.

Banya: Maybe she's right. Maybe I am a complete hack. I'm the absolute worst.
The worst, Jerry.

Jerry: Well it's just that you got so many things with the milk. You got that
Bosco bit, then you got your Nestle's Quik bit, by the time you get to Ovaltine--

Banya: You think you can give me a hand with my material?

(Jerry offers material to Banya.)

Banya (reading): "Why do they call it Ovaltine? The mug is round. The jar is
round. They should call it Roundtine." That's gold, Jerry! Gold!

alexa shortbush 8:27 AM  

De-suds is plural in construction but singular in usage.

Please de-suds the soapy rug.
Please rinse out the soapy rug.

De-sud is not a thing. However the point of all communication is to get one's message and rinse out do that just fine.

kitshef 8:29 AM  

In Switzerland, where it originated, OVALTINE is called Ovomaltine and is very popular. Very popular (as Ovaltine) in England, too. The 'ovo' refers to egg, which was originally one of the ingredients.

Lewis 8:34 AM  

@kitshef 7:26 -- Good ones! And ... field office.

chefbea 8:36 AM  

too tough for me....though I did like the clue for gas oven!!! and I love million-dollar fudge!!! Have never had yakatori chicken...will have to try it

More Whit 8:53 AM  

Way too many names in far too many "critical cross" spots in this puzzle for it to be enjoyable. Got the corner office gig; wouldn't give a percent of a red cent for much of the rest of it.

Daniel 9:01 AM  

I think third-person present would be "de-sudses". And also unused.

ArtO 9:11 AM  

I can't believe anyone thinks OVALtine is a "popular drink" in the U.S.

Tough puzzle. Got the BOX and HOME but not POST and OVAL.

Sir Hillary 9:14 AM  

The theme was easy to suss, and [BOX], [POST] and [HOME] all came quickly. But holy crap, that SW section is the toughest I've ever encountered on a Thursday. The difficulty all stemmed from "Drug need" pointing me to [high] in the corner square and a [high]ball going across (never mind that it's a glass, not a drink). ASIS was a gimme, as was POOREXCUSE. But "Fish ___" was a cipher, as was Ms. Rehm (how many $@#^&%ing public radio hosts do I need to know to do the NYT puzzle??). So was "Like most of Maine", especially since I wanted RINSEOff and terIyakI. Eventually, I gave in to ANKARA (never heard Turkey referred to as a peninsula, but after looking at a map I guess it technically is one). So, now I am staring (and staring and staring...) at what I think is --AA-PR[HIGH]. I almost quit. But I had a cup of coffee, came back, finally saw RURAL and RINSEOUT, and went from there. FDAAPPR[OVAL] became clear at the very end. Given the rebus and weird letter sequence for FDAAPPR[OVAL], "Drug need" is a brutally hard clue.

So all in all, a very nice rebus puzzle, but super hard for me to finish.

Two clues really put me off, however.
-- @Rex is right about the clue for LIE. Too cute by half, and then some.
-- No kicker, in soccer or American football, tries to hit a GOAL[POST]. Ever. And if anyone tries to defend this POOREXCUSE for a clue by saying "Yeah, but it could still be a target, say, if the kicker wants to compensate for the wind" I am still calling BS.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

QuasiMojo said it. MqcLeod is the normal spelling of the Scottish clan's name. Nothing insane about it. If you haen't tried yakitori, they are skewers of chicken meat, ideally grilled with binchotan charcoal and finished with a tare sauce made from soy, mirin, sake, and some combination of garlic, ginger, onions, whatever the cook chooses to throw in. A great basting sauce put on at the end. Tare is also what makes ramen soup bases different from one ramen place to another. Harder to find than yakitori are tsukune, but also delicious.

Wm. C. 9:23 AM  

@Debbie_from_yesterday --

DOREMI was an old slang expression for money -- "Dough"

Addison DeWitt 9:26 AM  

BOXSEATS are most definitely not considered a "luxury" or a
"V.I.P. area" by discerning theatergoers, for the reasons
explained at

Ellen S 9:31 AM  

LeRoy Neiman isn't famous any more? (Maybe not, since autocorrect tried to change it to "Neuman".)

Jutta 9:43 AM  

Peeve: How did we get into clueing END as something moebius strips lack? Donuts don't have ends either. The unique lack of moebius strips is SIDES. (There's just one.)

Two Ponies 9:45 AM  

So many proper nouns that I was surprised to finish this.
At least I got the rebus I was hoping for.

Of course Rex could not resist a dig at the NRA.
Disasters like Katrina and Harvey remind me that sometimes
people have to defend themselves against the vultures who
use these circumstances to loot and rob the victims. The police and
National Guard cannot be everywhere so we have to be able to protect ourselves and our property. It is an unfortunate reality.

jberg 9:46 AM  

It took me a long time to see BOX, mostly because I was thinking of subway cars; plus our local movie theater has started converting to ultra-padded reclining seats, and I couldn't get that idea out of my head. Finally, brainstorming with Martha, I realized that 'front' seats would work, and it was only a quick step from there to BOX.

Yeah, that Gavin guy was a complete unknown; but I did love RED CENT snf YAKITORI.

Nice rebus, or whatever you want to call it.

Stimpy 9:47 AM  

Who's this Kylo?

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

Why isn't Rex spewing any venom today ? I hope he is feeling allright. Seriously though, if the "tone" of his comments were similar to today's on a daily basis, his blog would be much more enjoyable to read.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Any good kicker aims for the goal, not the GOALPOST. If the kicker hit the GOALPOST, the ball would bounce out and not score points!

Wm. C. 10:04 AM  

Kickers don't aim for the near-side goal posts; fewer than 50% hitting them would score. About half of the far-side post hits would score, but even so ...

Turkey as a peninsula is kind of a stretch -- incorrect, even. On Turkey's east side, both the Bosporus and Dardanelles have suspension bridges to get to the other side of the Sea of Marmara. And besides that, the other side of the bridges, on the European continent, are also part of Turkey. I suppose if it was clued something like "Main mass of Turkey," it'd be technically correct, but even then, a stretch ...

mathgent 10:09 AM  

I think that I have seen every Seinfeld episode, but I don't remember the one with Banya getting excited about the Ovaltine gag. The last time I remember hearing of Ovaltine was when I was a kid in the 40s. They sponsored Captain Midnight, one of four back-to-back fifteen-minute serials on the radio between five and six. Little Orphan Annie and Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy, were a couple of others. I begged my mother to buy Ovaltine so the I could get a decoder badge. She told me that it wasn't good stuff.

@Joe Welling (7:52) and clk (8:15): I've never seen an explanation of how the meaning of a rebus puzzle was changed.

I've never met a crossword rebus I didn't like and today's is no exception. Very impressed that the rebus squares are different words and that they are linked. Hail the return of the rebus!

The SW was hard for me. I thought that is was TERIYAKI at first. When I was pretty sure that ANKARA was correct, somehow I guessed YAKITORI. No idea how that got into my old brain.

TOCraig 10:19 AM  

Enjoyed this one a lot. Lots of nice, rarely used answers. No problem with RINSEOUT as clued. Is Ovaltine still popular?!

Lewis 10:27 AM  

Factoid: Origin of the name Ovaltine.

"Ovaltine was developed in Bern, Switzerland, where it is known by its original name, Ovomaltine (from ovum, Latin for "egg," and malt, which were originally its main ingredients)." -- Wikipedia

H777 10:29 AM  

WEST side of Turkey...the OTHER East.

Tim Pierce 10:32 AM  

Weird. I got the theme early on with POST, but BOX was the very last one to go in. Clues were just too vague for me. Some kind of car with sliding doors? Elevator car? Train car? Subway car? Some kind of luxury seat in a theater? Stadium seats? Reclining seats? The rest of the theme clues were at least specific or distinctive enough that they brought a specific word to mind.

PanamaRed 10:32 AM  

I remember Ovaltine from when I was a kid, but when I see it today, I immediately think of Cloris Leachman in "Young Frankenstein'"

Chris 10:34 AM  

@clk: I think the confusion about rebus puzzles may be traced back to on-line (or at least electronic) solving, where it is physically possible to enter multiple letters in a box. In the old days, it was a picture to stand for a word (I remember distinctly STAR and CAR). I suppose that's still arguably the case, as one could draw each of those 4 relatively simply.

Nice puzzle, pretty easy for me. I never, ever use outside sources to finish (or not) a puzzle, even if it means a DNF, so it always feels a little like cheating when there's a keyboard question and I can look right down for the answer.

Sorry Rex didn't put in a video of Ring of Keys to mark FUNHOME, a great show.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

@anon 7:07...You're the idiot. I had to switch to my IPhone to see whose comment you were responding to. For those not using iPhones it was Evil Doug's spot on NRA comment.

Nancy 10:44 AM  

I got POST and HOME first (I was helped by knowing the name of the musical, 70A), but I couldn't find a reason why they were in the same rebus. I hadn't gotten to the revealer yet, but I was looking for some sort of VIP sports stadium perk that was knitting all this together. Only when I got CORNER OFFICE did it all make sense. MACLEOD and DIANE damn near killed me -- never heard of either one of them. But the SW was my sticking point (TINE, anyone?) and I was unable to solve until I changed fEe (I was so sure of that answer) to PET at 58A.

Really tough and I really liked it. If DIANE and MACLEOD hadn't been there, I would have loved it.

PS Let me add to the hue and cry over OVALTINE being a popular drink. OVALTINE is a POOR EXCUSE of a drink -- a POSTER CHILD for absolute swill.

Stanley Hudson 10:58 AM  

This was fun; nice to have a rebus again.

YAKITORI is great and I urge anyone who has not had it to try it. Not unlike the satay served in Thai restaurants.


Nancy 11:10 AM  

@Sir Hillary (9:14) -- Agree that "need for drugs" (36D) is a brutally hard clue. It masks FDA APPR[OVAL] so well, and it makes you feel so smart if you're able to solve that fiendish SW section. And, therefore, it's my favorite clue/answer in the entire puzzle.

jb129 11:10 AM  

Struggled with this one & never got the gimmick - oh well......

JC66 11:17 AM  
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mathgent 11:17 AM  

@Chris (10.34): I like your explanation for the new meaning of rebus puzzle. I can remember drawing little stars in squares.

JC66 11:21 AM  

If the GOALPOST wasn't there, what you aim at?

Mr. Fitch 11:25 AM  

It seems you're right. De-sudsing is a thing, which to me feels more real than "de-sudses" or "de-suds," but they're all legit.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  


Well, actually you probably do. Most kickers have a natural hook, so in the absence of wind, you aim at the far goal post to have the ball actually go through the middle of the two goal posts. That's if you 30-40 yards away. If you're further away, you aim outside of the far goal post. Unless, of course, there is a cross-wind.

Masked and Anonymous 11:53 AM  

@RP: Tend to agree with U, that this ThursPuz was a bit on the chatty side. {Conjunction in a rebus puzzle} and {"This puzzle is relatively easy", say} … all carried out by weeject minions.
Since I had already established that this *was* a rebus puzzle, I thought the 10-D conjunction clue was a trick question, where the answer would surely just be AND, BUT, or sometimes NOR. I also spelled AMBIENCE the same wrong way that U did. Sooo … not so eazy-E in the NE, for M&A.

Hey! My office made the puz! … that there DANK office smack in the middle of the basement. And I want my stapler back.

staff weeject pick: NAS. Clue says that this dude "famously" did somethin. mmhm. About as famous as that YAK-EYE-TORY dinner entree, at my house. On the plus side, NAS is SAN backwards. NAS still awaits Patrick Berry Usage Immunity, however SAN has got it wrapped up.

This puz was very nice. TASER bullets:

* Got yer ginormous 6- and 8-stacks, in the corners. Impressive. Especially when U got yer themers splatzed in there, as well.

[From yesterday. What do U call a NYTPuz that hasn't got any answer longer than 7 letters in it? Answer: gi-runt.]

* Clean-ish fillins. The desperation dowsin rod turned down hard at IMET and NEIMAN/PIMA, but that's about it.

* "de-suds"? [from 37-D clue] What U down, while watchin da Bears on de tube? To RINSEOUT that YAK-EYE-whatev taste? BLART [excuse me] … ok.

* Cute theme. And cute REDCENT/PERCENT satellite theme, too.

* Fun solvequest. Cuz who don't luv a chatty rebus on a ThursPuzDay.

Thanx, young Mr. Spitz. This coulda been a real good celeb-cameo-collab puz, with the Macleodmeister. Just sayin.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


old timer 11:55 AM  

After I read OFL's kind and perceptive review, I said to myself, I hope old @George Barany posts a comment today. And there he was! The most delightful answer in the very excellent Rebus puzzle has to be FDA APPRO[OVAL]. Which convinced me that all 4 corners would be some sort of OFFICE. That in turn made me change "house" to BOX up in the NW corner. Unlike our brilliant host, it took me quite a while to see BOX, for the reasons given in one of the comments. A BOX seat is not a great place for seeing a play, though it is for seeing an opera. Also, if your local racetrack has BOX seats, or your local ballpark, these are fine seats to have. Just not BOX seats in a theater playing Hamlet or some other play.

House seats, however ... I took my family of five to see a show on Broadway where a dear friend was one of the dancers. Ouch! House seats are excellent ones, center orchestra close to the stage. They are also the most expensive seats in the theater. And no, if a lowly dancer gets you house seats, there is no way they can be "on the house". Not if your friend is being paid the Equity minimum per performance.

Turkey is a country, not a peninsula. These days, only the part of Turkey near Istanbul is in Europe, the rest in Asia. But 150 or 250 years ago, Turkey in Europe included most or all of the Balkan Peninsula. Today, the Asian part of Turkey is on the Anatolian Peninsula.

MACLEOD was a gimme, because I know a MACLEOD. If you want to hear some great drinking songs and sea shanties, look up "Holdstock and MACLEOD".

CDilly52 12:02 PM  

I agree. If "de-sud" were actually representative of th singular of "suds" would it not mean a single soap bubble within the collective group of bubbles being the "suds"? I also concur with the group on RINSEsOUT.

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

@kitshef 7:09
Same thing the other day with CGI, bunch of posters saying they never heard of it. What? You people need to get out more. CGI is as common as APPLE.

Joseph Michael 12:11 PM  

Kudos to Spitz & Shortz.

Maybe you guys should open up a law OFFICE.

k 12:31 PM  

Anonymous (8:01) - try re-syncing your iPad and computer. It worked for me when I had that glitch.

And here's the best part. I was actually watching a Love Boat rerun while doing this puzzle, so Gavin Macleod was a gimme. Ha ha!

CDilly52 12:34 PM  

Started super fast and then fell asleep with the puzzle open so I have no idea how quickly (or not) I finished. I never cease to marvel at the relative frames of reference we humans have that contribute to te ease with which we solve (or don't). I got the NW instantly and the center of the N made no sense until SAFEHARBOR then I struggled through that. SW was also strangely easy once I had CORNER OFFICE, but the entire E side flummoxed me (even after my middle of the puzzle nap). Obviously my ancient wavelength needs some updating!! Liked the puzz though. And such enjoyable and perspicacious comments today.

RooMonster 12:34 PM  

Hey All !
NE corner did me in. Had SAFEHAvens, and the ole brain just wouldn't let it go. Only thing else I had was GOAL POST, wasn't seeing anything else. So came here to cheat, and saw it was SAFEHARBOR. Ugh. Also caught sight of MAMIE when I cheat-looked, and with those two, wrapped up the NE.

Agree OVAL was toughest rebus square to get. If you noticed, NW and SE corner rebi were stand alone words with a second word, whereas NE and SW corners had them as part of the longer word. (Well, maybe not GOALPOST. Ruling?) Which to me made getting OVAL that much tougher, 'specially with the Down clue.

Had CentER OFFICE quickly at first before figuring out rebusses. Thanks to all for the OAR explanation. These rebuseses thingies are starting to grow wild.

Kept misreading 2D as Quick bread, trying to shove raisin or some such in there. Also had the C at McCLEOD/NRc. Oh well, still a pretty AS IS ThursPuz.

@M&A, awesome Office Space reference!

YAKATORI! Gesundheit.

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

@Anon11:30. --

FARTHER away (not FURTHER), you idiot!

RooMonster 12:41 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 12:44 PM  

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

Perhaps a firearm might also had been a help, however they had already been outlawed.

GILL I. 12:58 PM  

I'm just sneaking in here for a sec - first little breather from British clan visiting for a spell - and I get a little rebus that did nothing for me. Like @Rex said, once you cotton on, (which I did after sussing CORNER OFFICE) the rest was pretty easy.
MAC=Scottish. Gavin is a Scotsman but I wish his clan knew how to spell LEOD!
Leave it to the Brits to come up with something as vile as OVALTINE. Imitation chocolate chalk. They brought us a bunch of Thorntons Moments and Cadbury Heroes though, so all is forgiven.
The Japanese are very smart and polite people. Would they have not figured out that most American wouldn't eat anything that starts with the word YAKI? We had Japanese last night and we ate the more palatable YOKISOBA.
After dinner out tonight (again...but Italian this time) I'm going to download the Friday puzzle, pour myself a good Pinot and solve what I hope will be a terrific puzzle.
CIAO bambino/a/s....

bswein99 1:11 PM  

In soccer, as in football, you aim for the goal, not the goalpost. Speaking of which, Pelé is indeed "O Rei do Futebol." Which would translate in the US as "The King of Soccer." I wish it were otherwise, but football here is never soccer.

Thank you to those who explained the "oar" clue.

Two Ponies 1:14 PM  

Thank you Anon 12:44.

Joe Bleaux 1:20 PM  

Did any of those 12.4 million Google hits try to sell you YAKIdORI?

Joe Bleaux 1:29 PM  

HAR! Finally😉

alexa shortbush 2:09 PM  

Produce a single sud...can't be done. There is no definition for sud that's why suds is the singular.

Sud means "south" en français but that's about it.

AP 2:09 PM  

I was cursed by excessive Japanese food knowledge in the SW: went through both TERIYAKI and OYAKODON before finally getting YAKITORI :(

Found this one relatively challenging, so the LIE clue wasn't wrong, but it was still obnoxious.

Joe Dipinto 2:47 PM  

Actually, Mr. Zachary Spitz, your clue for 61 across is incorrect. This puzzle was quite easy.

Chip Hilton 3:00 PM  

@PanamaRed - Concerning Ovaltine and "Young Frankenstein", the feeling is moochal.

I couldn't think of an American Football player called the King, so smiled when PELE appeared. Yes, the real football.

One error today: A foolish decision to change my original MACLEOD to McCLEOD. Sorry, Murray.

A fun tussle. Thank you, Zachary Spitz.

Unknown 3:31 PM  

A picture of an OAR is generally used to represent the word OR in actual (non-crossword-type) rebus puzzles

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

the "goal post" is the thing in the ground. years ago, in American football, there were two in the ground at the goal line (where one might expect), extending up about 15 feet. the cross bar was between them at whatever height is defined (too lazy to look it up). after enough players got hurt running into them, they were padded. after that didn't help, the goal posts were reduced to one large diameter pole, padded and set back a few feet from the goal line, with the "arms" extended from the cross bar. some time later, the length of the arms was increased. and still later, the assemblage was moved to behind the back of the end zone to reduce still further the number of injuries from running into the thing.

bet you were waiting to find out.

Anonymous 5:08 PM  

I can see it now: an exhausted flood victim unknowingly wades into a crazy NRA guy's property, gets shot. I will never understand that justification for the Second Amendment.

Cassieopia 6:05 PM  

@Tim Pearce exactly. Same thought process here. I knew the *CAR and *SEATS had some sort of office prefix, but couldn't for the life of me figure it out, even with the rest of the puzzle completed and the theme all sussed out. I ended up DNF because of that one miserable square!

Cassieopia 6:08 PM  

@PanamaRed saw an interview with Cloris Leachman where she said that entire scene was ad libbed. She credited Gene Wilder but in my opinion, it takes two to Ovaltine. Comic genius.

Dr. Haber 6:19 PM  

Hey. How come no one noticed all the corners match up with 31a corner and or 44a office. Home office, home box office, post box, post office, oval office, corner post?

Anonymous 8:00 PM  

antifa - Obama's legacy.

Abu Afakski 8:24 PM  

My gf's pet peeve is "arced" as part of a parabola. She says an arc is part of a circle, not parabola. She's a mathematician. (I tell her now is the time to apply for a job at Google, lol)

Abu Afakski 8:36 PM  

I enjoy it when the puzzles shout out to Rex.
I've seen us comment about it several times, and I'm not a daily viewer of this blog

Anonymous 9:40 PM  

@anonymous 4:28
No. The goalposts were indeed once at the goaline (as they should be) They moved only onece however, 10 yards, to the back line of the end zone. And of coursee, it wasnt because players were being injured, though there are a few hilarious i stancws of that. No, they were moved because they interfered with play. Palayers ran into them. Too often.Sometimes that meant impeding coverage other times,(more rarely), offensive improvisation. Also the cross bar has been at 10 feet for, well, forever.
The height of the uprights is an interesting aside. Their height increased as kickers sent balls ever higher. It's been stable for more than 3 decades.
All the goal posts are manufactured in a single plant. In New York state I believe.
By the way, no need for quotation marks around football. In this country, no one mistakes it for soccer.

G. Weissman 9:58 PM  

This puzzle was too clever by half.

Anonymous 10:53 PM  

@anon 9:40
your wrong. the single *post* replacement for the double posts was not straight, but curved to the cross bar such that the *post* was a yard or two behind the goal line and in the endzone. and, I didn't quote "football".

not to be picky, of course.

Anonymous 11:20 PM  

you're insufferable. please stop blogging and find something that makes you happy. or become a better writer. your choice.

Unknown 11:23 PM  

Does anyone else solve via printing the "newspaper version"? Because I do, and it's no longer available. Anyone else super pissed off by this?

Cassieopia 11:36 PM  

@Dr Haber looks like you did, very cool.

Laura 1:54 AM  

EXCEL is another "Office" crammed in here.

Ankara Catnap MacLeod 4:11 AM  

I had bEN so BOX was last to fall bec I wasn't sure a BOX CAb was a thing!
Was lucky I had a highschool classmate named MacLeod, around the same time that show was on!

Loved the puzzle... four very distinct offices. That OVAL was brilliant. FDA was hard.
OVALTINE triggers some very very deep inside happy memory of my long, gone grandparents.

chefbea 7:42 AM  

@music man...I still get the newspaper version...e-mail me

laura R 7:56 PM  

I know I'm very late the the party here, but did anyone else dislike 60D "NECK" for clue MAKE OUT? I haven't heard anyone use the term "necking" since Jack PAAR's time on The Tonight Show!

SonnyMoon42 7:38 AM  

I suppose people necked back in Jack Paar's day, when Ovaltine was a popular drink.

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Tarheeled 3:34 AM  

"Which only needed a couple crosses..." Rex! You too? An English professor? Dropping the "of" out of sentences like, "A couple of kangaroos walk into a bar..." My pet peeve of the moment. I see and hear it everywhere. It really pisses me off as it is the result of sloppy speaking. Sloppy speaking is gonna happen. But sloppy writing s a no-no. The problem came about (in my estimation) by eliding the words couple of into coupla. A coupla kangaroos... Then the "a" was dropped, a couple guys walk into a bar. Wrong! Stop it now!

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spacecraft 10:42 AM  

Silly me, I thought there were only three (!) naticks. Never questioned McCLEOD. Certainly the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would fit "We do our part" better than the gun fanatics. This is the single most unfair crossing in the history of natickism. It for sure gets the penalty flag.

The other three I went 2 & 1, so a total of two squares DNF. Guessed right on sq. 70 even though "FUNHOME" makes no sense, and we can't have "STEAL HOuse." Plus, house office isn't a thing...well, yeah, with people working from home, maybe--but no.

Then we get to the debacle in the SW. Never heard of that chicken dish. Had to run the alphabet to figure out the extra charge for an airline passenger; when I came to T I thought: could it really be "PET?" What a weird clue for PET! But no other letter made any sense at all, so in it went. Now here's Y_KITORI and DI_NE somebody from public radio. Do you listen to that? Both of you? It was either A or O. DIANE is a more common name, but to me YoKITORI seemed more Japanese=sounding than YAKITORI, which sounds like the principal meat of this dish is NOT chicken. So, O it was, error #2.

The theme is wonderfully clever; I got all the CORNER OFFICEs without too much trouble. Actually enjoyed that part of the solve. It's too bad that a couple of bad crossings ruined a good puzzle.

Another old-school DOD is MAMIE Van Doren. They don't make 'em like they used to. I would have wanted to give this guy a birdie; alas, I cannot. A DNF gets no score. :(

Burma Shave 12:05 PM  


DIANE would STEALHOME WAXed and a wreck,
with ERIC or STEVE or HERB she’d PET and NECK,


rondo 12:44 PM  

Draw a diagonal from the NW to the SE CORNERs and everything N and E of it fell into place right away. Much slower W and S of said line and the last BOX to fill, ironically enough, was . . . BOX. Couldn’t think of it for the longest time. Might have gone for AMBIeNCE except I already had my WASH and WAX. RINSEOff was not helpful. YAKITORI by crosses only. Would be interesting to know the PPP PERCENT.

LeRoy NIEMAN was originally from right here in St. Paul. Gimme. (We usually take credit for anyone who spent even a week here.)

If you go back far enough, Gavin MACLEOD was also in McHale’s Navy. Musta had a thing for boats.

Anyone remember BOXCAR Willie? King of the Hoboes. Wooh-wooh.

To see Phantom of the Opera in Her Majesty’s Theater in London, I sat right next to the Royal BOX. Insert Camilla joke here.

INLIEU of MAMIE, who’s been taken, I’ll go with a similar vintage in yeah baby ANN-Margaret, whom IMET during the filming of the wedding scene (in my church!!) for Grumpy Old Men.

@spacey – I think you coulda given this puz a PAAR. Har.

Diana,LIW 1:49 PM  

"In 2010, Diane Rehm won a Peabody Award, widely considered among the most prestigious and selective prizes in electronic media, for her more than 30 years in public broadcasting. In 1998, Rehm's career nearly ended because of spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological voice disorder that causes strained, difficult speech.

So yeah, @Spacey, I guess both of us have been listening for a while...I didn't get her show locally, but when in California there she was in the morning. She signed off in 2016, but still does a podcast.

SPOTON clever puzzle - POST took forever. Still, a dnf due to the usual unknowns. Surprised at what I did get (and what I didn't). HOME was the first to go in - already had the CORNER OFFICE.

Even tho I travel with PETs, I had a hard time believing that would be the answer. $125 each way if you wanna know.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

centralscrewtinizer 1:52 PM  

Loved RAMSES for tomb too much and it killed me. This one was pretty heavy with obscure names also. Still, I am happy that I got most of this including all the corners so I won't be sticking my head in Pilot's surroundings.

thefogman 2:03 PM  

Everything went well with the exception of railCAR and railSEATS instead of BOX. I rushed to finish and that was my demise. Nicely constructed puzzle and tough enough but not unfair. Rex is wrong. this one rates at least a medium, and not an easy one. Easy for him is not easy for the vast majority of us.

Diana,LIW 2:14 PM  

AAAnd - I knew as soon as I saw LIE that OFL would rate this easy. And that he'd go on a "I'm smarter than you'll ever be, and now I'm even smarter" rant. I'm a SEER.

Lady Di

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

Blend of straightforward, and impossible. Not a clue what a bcar or a bseat is, but a bad start to a puzzle.

leftcoastTAM 4:16 PM  

Much less going on here than I thought. (Might say it was a casco problem.)

Looked for VIP-related stuff associated with each of the four CORNER OFFICEs, more than merely four different kinds of offices being in the corners.

Also assumed the rebus answers in the four corner squares would all be four letters. One wasn't, BOX, where I had loge instead. My one error, unfortunately a big one.

Should I slap my head and say "DOH!"? No, I refuse.

Did I like this puzzle? Not particularly.

Unknown 6:10 PM  

For whatever reason, I simply could not come up with BOX for that NW square.
However, a RAIL CAR is a thing, RAIL SEATS are a thing, and RAIL OFFICE is a thing too. So I'm giving myself the finish. 😎

Diana,LIW 7:55 PM  

@Scotty - One of my favorite movie lines was from The Big Chill - Rationalization is better than sex. Can you imagine a day without a rationalization? (Not exact quote.)

OTOH, your arguments hold onto some water, tho RAIL SEATS is a stretch, IMVHO.

Diana, Waiting for a seat by the rail

strayling 9:09 PM  

I went for LIFT (elevator) cars having sliding doors, and I still think lift seats would be a luxury in theaters. I'd pay to be able to rise above the incredibly tall person who inevitably sits in front of me.

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