Primordial universe matter / SUN 9-10-17 / Getaway for meditation / War su boneless chicken dish / Prince Edward's earldom / Lush's favorite radio station / Rapper with music streaming service Tidal / Fruit with greenish yellow rinds / Citroen competitor

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Size Matters" — sound "sigh" is added to familiar phrases creating wacky phrases etc:

Theme answers:
  • STATIC CYCLING (22A: Spin class activity?)
  • SILO FREQUENCY (32A: Number of appearances in a grain holder?)
  • PC CYCLONES (50A: Storms that don't offend?)
  • DRAWS SINAI (86A: Makes a quick map of an Egyptian peninsula?)
  • SILENT SUPPORT (100A: Opening performers that are all mimes?)
  • SAIGON FISHING (116A: Rod-and-reel event in old Vietnam?)
  • SHARK, SIPHON SOUP (awk) (3D: Order to a pool hustler to suck up some broth?)
  • SCION COMMISSION (48D: Government group on offspring?) 
Word of the Day: LADOGA (83A: Europe's largest lake) —
Lake Ladoga (Russian: Ла́дожское о́зеро, tr. Ladozhskoye ozero; IPA: [ˈladəʂskəjə ˈozʲɪrə] or Russian: Ла́дога, tr. Ladoga; IPA: [ˈladəgə]; Finnish: Laatokka [earlier in Finnish Nevajärvi]; Livvi-Karelian: Luadogu; Veps: Ladog, Ladoganjärv) is a freshwater lake located in the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia just outside the outskirts of Saint Petersburg. // It is the largest lake entirely in Europe, and the 14th largest freshwater lake by area in the world. Ladoga Lacus, a methane lake on Saturn's moon Titan, is named after the lake. (wikipedia)
• • •

So the title is a penis joke? I mean, if you google "Size matters," the first hit you get is this video:

Anyway, the "sighs" matter in this grid. This is a very typical add-a-sound puzzle, with very typical (for me) results, i.e. most answers are corny at best, and some of the phrasing / cluing feels quite awkward or forced. The "phon" in "siphon" and the "fin" in "shark fin soup" (gross) do not have the same sound, so that one klunked. "Lent support" is a super weak base phrase, as is "On commission." Your wordplay word should be more stable / significant than that. Changing "on" feels like ... not much. And "lent support" is just a verb phrase. Not remarkable. Are "PC clones" still things in the 21st century. No one thinks that way about PCs now. Oh, look: wikipedia: " The use of the term "PC clone" to describe IBM PC compatible computers fell out of use in the 1990s; the class of machines it now describes are simply called PCs." Thanks, wik.

Fill doesn't do much for me either. It's just fine, but there's not much that's remarkable. Probably too much of the "please delete it from your wordlist" junk like ONENO (hate So Much), GAI (crossing MAI, crossing MMES!), UIE, AAR, LALAS (no), YLEM 🙁. We do get treated (if that's the right word) to a non-Katarina WITT (56D: Alicia of "Urban Legend," 1998) and a non-judge, non-baritone, non-Colorado Park ESTES (2D: Photorealist painter Richard). Neither of those clues will stick, but they are different, I'll give them that.

Two things—that episode of "The Allusionist" podcast that was taped at Lollapuzzoola last month (featuring me and my wife and many, many other crossword types) was named one of the 20 best podcast episodes of the summer by Indiewire. It also generated so much interest in Lollapuzzoola that they *reopened* their solve-at-home sales. So you can get the tournament puzzles again if you somehow missed the first window. Listen to the podcast, solve the puzzles ... maybe in reverse order? Not sure. Anyway, in whatever order, do both.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Johnny 12:08 AM  

I like everything and I hated this puzzle. I never got the theme and when it was finally explained to me I liked this puzzle even less.

jae 12:11 AM  

Medium for me too and what @Rex said.

Mike 12:33 AM  

Didn't care tooo mich for this one.

Unknown 12:42 AM  

Wow. That was so un-fun.

GILL I. 1:51 AM  

Gee, @Rex...You're so kind tonight.
I've been doing @BEQ for a while. I generally like his puzzles; get a chuckle on his cluing, like his chutzpah and I do groan when he has so many names I've never hear of...but I learn.
I had an hour before our good friends came over for a few drinks so I thought I'd tackle this puppy. Shouldn't got me in a bad mood. Although I LOVE Mr. Jeeves and his Aunt Agatha cocktail, I wanted to do a @Nancy and throw this one out the window along with the RUM, OJ and bitters.
This was one of those puzzle puns that were intended for Mr. Brendan, and he alone. I imagine him having loads of fun creating this thing.
Nothing made sense other than STATIC CYCLING....even that was a big "Oh crap, please don't be the answer."
I just gave up hope when ELOHIM or ADONAI didn't fit for 55A. I really wanted to toss the puzzle in the basket when I discovered Prince Edward's earldom is all about WE'S SEX and there's a place in SUNY called ONE ON TA...
SKYTEL can take a flying leap.

puzzlehoarder 1:51 AM  

I seem to be on a streak of having a single letter dnf on days when I'm forced to use the tablet to solve. Wednesday night I was at the firehouse doing the Thursday ROWR puzzle. At least then I knew which letter was the problem. Today it was the unspotted CILIAC/CELIAC gaff. I was convinced it had to be the European lake, the college town or that messaging co. crossed with YAM. The more I adjusted the the more correct my initial choices looked. I have to be on watch tonight anyway but after two hours I'd wasted enough time and just checked xwordinfo to find the mistake. Other than that just the usual Sunday slog.

CLB 1:51 AM  

A rare one where Rex hated it less than I did. SLIM/AAR/YLEM/LALAS recalled OOX/TER/PLER/NON, and the theme was ugly.

Also I've always hated "HEP". It's clue seems so ironic to me, since only a most un-hip person would even know the word at this point. I finally googled it and found that apparently its use peaked in 1883!

Trombone Tom 1:59 AM  

Have to agree with @Rex on this one. Certainly not one of BEQ's best. And I'm a fan of his.

The shark fin/SIPHON didn't quite work. At least I'm sure I don't pronounce "fin" with a schwa.

Normally I'd have plus signs all over a BEQ puzzle signifying clever and crunchy clues. None here.

Greg 2:16 AM  

What a wildly unpleasant solving experience this was. Completely joyless and ended with a DNF on that ONEONTA/AME cross.

Unknown 3:41 AM  

Such chutzpah from our Irish mohel!

92 A - Action at a bris

Size matters indeed.

zevonfan 5:35 AM  

I'm a huge BEQ fan, but this particular puzzle was a tedious solving experience. Then again, sadly, I've come to expect this from Sunday NYT crossword puzzles these days.

This was one of the only times in my years of reading the blog that I thought Rex wasn't harsh enough on a puzzle.

Anonymous 5:48 AM  

I could do better, but I'm always tied up doing podcasts and spewing hate on twitter.

Lewis 6:04 AM  

Neither onerous nor sparkling to me, but it left me with three thoughts:
1. I see that intersection of BLISS and STONED, and if you happen to be residing at that juncture, that SAMOSA in the neighborhood probably looks pretty good to you.
2. Did GoPro, maker of the popular cameras, used to be called WENTPRO?
3. The puzzle starts with BE SAFE, a come-from-the-heart wish I'm sure many will be directing toward those awaiting Irma.

Thomaso808 6:49 AM  

I might be in the minority here, but I liked this one. I thought there was a higher ratio of quality fill than the usual Sunday, typical of BEQ, such as ASHRAM, COMPOTE, BLARNEY, RENAULT, etc. STOKER and STONED could have easily been STONER and STOKED. WENTPRO and LEAVESON are both great NYTP debuts. BAREXAM and SPORESAC, also debuts -- not too shabby!

Other than SHARKSIPHONSOUP, I really liked all the themers. OK after I figured it out I still liked SHARKSIPHON because I have a low standard for puns, but I do agree with Rex about that not really working phonetically.

Nice Hawaii cluster in the middle with POI, MOANA, and LILO.

Seeing YAHWEH was a little weird, the Hebrew Tetragrammaton. I know for several years the Catholic Church has started to discourage using it out of respect for Jewish tradition. But it was a pretty awesome song by U2 on their album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

Loren Muse Smith 7:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 7:19 AM  

Mike Sharp: Professor of Hate (and comic books).

Loren Muse Smith 7:25 AM  

That AME/ONEONTA cross dealt me a dnf. But I tell ya, teasing out SCION COMMISSION took forever, what with “soda” for COLA (dumb), “snap,” “crap,” CRUD, and “inanity” before BLARNEY.

BEQ is a master at the add-some-stuff-to-a-word conceit. Sure, these themers aren’t as outrageous as his CARDINAL ASIANS and PAELLA GRANT from the one where he added two A’s. (I still want credit for coming up with “rabbit war arena” without the aid of a computer, thank you very much.) But still, I got a kick out of STATIC CYCLING and its clue. And PC CYCLONES made me smile.

“Action at a bris” – SNIP. Yowch. Apparently appearance matters, too, to some.

OTTERS crossing METHLABS was cool. In the lingo, an “otter” is the guy whose job it is to filter and separate out the pseudoephedrine from the cold medicine. And I just totally made that up.

@Lewis – good catch on the BLISS/STONED cross. SAMOSAS indeed. Hah.

Ok, so get this. And this has nothing to do with the puzzle, so skip it if you want. The other day I couldn’t get my window to roll up in the clunker truck I drive to work (‘cause I’m so afraid of deer). And it was going to start pouring later that morning. So I went to sit in the “office” with the cafeteria ladies to wait for our custodian to find some duct tape and help me do the bag on the window deal. When the ladies hear why I’m there, Donna picks up the phone (5:45am) and calls her father-in-law to come over and take the door panel off to raise the window. And he agrees to come. I was stunned. On so many fronts. First – that he was even up. Second – that he’d come to the school with tools to do this, in the dark, for a stranger. Third – that it was even something someone could do; to me taking a door panel off feels like it’d take hours and lots of enormous hydraulic-powered equipment. A 5-ton ratcheting puller might be called for. Donna told me it was nothing, that he had had a body shop. So anyway, I’m making him some Zuppa Toscana and home-made bread. No heavy lifting required.

Last night my husband and I were on our deck, and we kept hearing a slam noise, like something hitting our house. Investigated… wait for it….. *&^% siding bats.

suea 7:48 AM  

Hated this puzzle. And I never hate puzzles. Didn't get the theme and now that I know, it's a big "meh." Rex-- I thought you'd be screaming about this one.... But this all seems so small when I think of the terrible situation in the Texas, Florida, and the other parts of the US Southeast....

mmorgan 8:20 AM  

I dunno, I think puns and "wacky" answers can actually work best when they are indeed awkward and make you groan. I didn't see the theme until I finished, which gave me some very strange answers from crosses. And then I grokked the theme (thanks to SAIGON FISHING) and went back through the puzzle to find them all. And SHARK SIPHON SOUP really made me smile -- even as I groaned.

boomer54 8:22 AM  

SAD ...It made me feel CYQUIGLEY ...

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

Why? Slight smile at SAIGONFISHING.

QuasiMojo 8:49 AM  

Math Labs before Meth Labs. Speed was an asset in my school!

Don't people say "Oh Crud" (although I would prefer it if they didn't.) I had CRUM for too long thinking the NYT wouldn't stoop to CRUD. I was wrong.

Timely "Storm" mini-theme didn't provide the relief from all the storm-watching I've been doing down here in Florida. CNN should be ashamed of itself for the fearmongering and hysteria they are fomenting. "Nuclear Hurricane," my ass. It's a hurricane guys. A bad one, but it is not Armageddon. Nor a reason to sell TRIX.

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

Another awful soving experience. Decipherable stinker of a theme and usless themers. Boring and no fun to slog through.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  


BarbieBarbie 8:53 AM  

I agree with those who wanted Rex to scream louder about this one. I solved it in record time and did not enjoy any of that mercifully short experience. What a clunky puzzle. What clunky clues. What contortionist-level understanding is required for the themers. Every one of them (almost) has to be spoken aloud to see what the constructor had in mind, and then when you get it, there's no aha, just an "Oh. Meh." and on to the next one.
So, crummy Sunday in the mag. This puzzle, no Acrostic, last Bar Code, and I messed up the 7x7.
But as someone said-- these are dry-land, safe-building problems. Definitely needs perspective.
@LMS, no auto shop class at your school? Or other tools-available shop class? You had to wait for duct tape?? I'm really surprised.

Unknown 9:18 AM  

I was still a little confused by the time I got to IMA "little confused" and I solved it without getting the theme. Thank god for this blog. I guess I agree with Medium as the difficulty rating. Ok puzzle.

Unknown 9:18 AM  

What the hell is DRAWSSINAI a pun on? "Draws nai"?

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

"Me and my wife?" Wow, you really do pander to your students.

kitshef 9:19 AM  

DNF at ONEONTA/AME – not familiar with either one. Nor for that matter SPORE SAC, making that corner borderline unfair.

UIE. Just stop it, for the love of God. Will has banned certain words that he felt were overused in the past in crosswords, but he allows UIE.

Also, SHARKSIPHONSOUP flat is a flat out fail, unless there is a dish called shark fon soup, which there ain’t.

Those three things edged out the appreciation I felt for the rest of the puzzle, making the overall experience a letdown.

@Robert Epsetein - 'draws nigh'

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

@Robert, Draws nigh.

Two Ponies 9:23 AM  

An awful lot of work to find zero reward.

Birchbark 9:34 AM  

There is a temptation to praise this puzzle, if only to relieve the weight of critical pile-ons. But Holy ACH crossing AAR, Batman.

clk 9:36 AM  

I had no idea of the theme until I came here. I usually get a little chuckle out of these 'add a sound to get a wacky phrase' puzzles, but this one fell flat for me. I might have liked STATIC CYCLING if I'd figured out the theme while actually doing the puzzle, so I guess that's on me, not the puzzle maker.

Lots of easy stuff but I struggled with YLEM. Surely that's not a word, but then the happy music came and I learned something new.

The best thing about this puzzle was its start: BE SAFE to all Floridians and others in Irma's path!

clk 9:39 AM  

Isn't UIE sometimes UEY? That may just be in my mind, but it makes it a doubly annoying answer to me.

Nancy 9:44 AM  

I had the same AME/ONEONTA DNF as Loren and Gregory Nuttle. It also took a long time for me to climb out of the MARIE (not) trap at 101D. I've never heard of IRENE Joliot-Curie. I had BaloNEY before BLARNEY at 71A (another deliberate trap, doncha think?), I wanted CRap instead of CRUD at 66D (though I didn't write it in), and I had suSSEX before WESSEX at 124A. The Brits hand those earldoms out like Kleenex. And to add to my chagrin at never having heard of ONEONTA, though I live in NYS, I also never heard of the largest river in Europe, LA DOGA. How is that even possible? My geographical blind spots are going to be the death of me. Not in real life, since I fortunately (for me and everyone else) don't drive. But in Xword Land they wipe the map with me every single time.

Another meh Sunday playing-with-sounds puzzle that left me cold.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

I am seriously considering skipping Sunday's puzzle from now on. A continuing trend of tedious solving with little enjoyment. This puzzle even less enjoyable than than the low standard set by the previous puzzles.

G. Weissman 9:51 AM  

The rabbit is not a "symbol" for Trix. This puzzle was notably unfun. ONEONTA? Desperate times, folks. What a crap puzzle.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

I just shake my head when I read some of these comments. You people who get offended by a word you don't know are just sad. Just because it is unfamiliar to YOU doesn't mean it it is not legitimate. Get off your high horses and look it up if you don't know it. It's called learning! Calling a corner "unfair" because you're unfamiliar with the terms is childish.

Teedmn 9:56 AM  

Sigh, it took me until SHARK SIPHON SOUP to figure out the theme. I liked that STATIC __CLING turned into something else. SAIGON FISHING was nice.

My lack of geographical knowledge held me up at LADOGA but CRUD had to be the answer to "Oh, fudge".

I tend to NOD OFF when I'm too cold, too hot, in a quiet place or when there's a lot of noise, i.e. just about anywhere. I sleep in rock concerts, action movies, ice fishing, hot tubs. My friends are always laughing at me when I wake up with a start. But it's embarrassing at work!

SPORE SAC sounds like it will spew alien life forms out when it bursts. I don't want to see PART V of that series.

@LMS, I've been seeing a lot of siding bats lately. (Nice one).

Thanks, BEQ, for a fine Sunday puzzle.

Cyclist227 9:57 AM  

I found the puzzle relatively easy and not a lot of fun.

Ellen S 9:59 AM  

I rated the puzzle better than I liked it, because it was BEQ so I thought it was my failure. Didn't get the theme (and I tried, oh I tried) until coming to the blog.

Nancy 9:59 AM  

If I disappear from the blog for a while, except on weekends, don't worry about me. (Well, maybe you should worry about my sanity, if not my overall health.) A huge demolition/renovation project right next to me (putting 2 apartments together) will start sometime in the next week, I think. I am sitting right now as I type at the wall that abuts the apartment needing the most work. I'll have to try and change my going to bed/waking up hours so that I can be fed, dressed and out of the house by 9 a.m. For me this is almost impossible, as I'm emphatically not a morning person. Even when I'm up early, I move very slowly at that time of day. It certainly will leave no time to comment on the puzzle, and perhaps not to even do the puzzle at home. I know the work won't start tomorrow (Monday), but it can begin any day after that. So, adieu, dear blog, adieu.

Unknown 10:05 AM  

Yahweh is not the Hebrew word for God. The Hebrew letters have no vowels and are never pronounced. One says instead Adonai or Elohim. Like other commentators I thought the theme answers were lame.

Boo Radley PA 10:20 AM  

Didn't get the theme, even when I finished the puzzle. Wasn't amused when I found out what it was. Feeling cruciverba-ly unfulfilled this morning. More coffee...

Rob 10:23 AM  

Several things here threw me. I didn't like this very much; I'm sure my failure to complete it is part of the problem, but I think it's also just not very good.

First, the first themers I got all had SI (or SAI) at the beginning, so I thought the insertions would always be at the beginning. This was particularly problematic for SHARK SIPHON SOUP, already an absolutely terrible answer. This and DRAWS SINAI change the spelling of other parts of the word, but the rest don't and I didn't know that was a valid option.

Second, I had HASHEM for 55A, which would have been correct. I agree with @Ruth Grant -- it is never said out loud, and if it were it wouldn't be pronounced that way.

Some of the answers are serious stretches. What's a PC CLONE? I have a decade plus in IT and this is Not A Thing.

I agree with @G. Weissman that the Trix rabbit isn't a "symbol" per se. It's the mascot. As clued it sounds like the constructor is after a corporate logo.

Assorted garbage three-letter fill. YOO POI GAI MAI III.

JFe 10:40 AM  

Congrats, Rex

a jazz listener's thoughts 10:42 AM  

I find every puzzle is fun otherwise why am I doing the crossword every day? Some are more fun than others of course. But to complain, hate etc. seems ridiculous. So you don't like a puzzle as much as others, just complete it an go on. It seems it ruins a lot of people's days which I find amusing since it was supposed to be something done for fun. Groan at bad puns, silly fills, and such but MOVE ON. There is always tomorrow.

a jazz listener's thoughts 10:43 AM  


Anonymous 10:46 AM  

Hate (I mean REALLY hate) to agree with Mike Sharp on this one, but wasn't fun. Didn't get the theme at all until I read Mike's blog here.

But the reason he went so easy on BEQ is because they are friends. He pulls his snark back when reviewing friends. So take these beat-downs of good honest people providing us with entertainment with a grain of salt.

(Can you imagine what a negative bash-fest that podcast must be?? The light and kindness that Mike brings must be so uplifting... no thanks!)

Unknown 10:52 AM  

1.) Surprised that anyone could finish this without sussing out the theme. Surprised that anyone COULD finish this without sussing out the theme.
2.) I didn't think it was a great puzzle either. But I always kind of like themes where, once uncovered, give you a chance to try to guess the theme answers with ZERO cross fill. That was the case here.
3.) I can't believe the constructor overlooked the coolest SI / CY homonym of all. It took me literally one minute to think up a candidate. "That deranged son of yours"? PSYCHO DEPENDENT.

More Whit 10:55 AM  

Draws nigh...often used poetically. But I share your frustration re: this puzzle.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

I couldn't agree more.

More Whit 11:06 AM  

Lousy theme. Shark siphon soup...may be the worst of it all, although silo frequency is equally inane. But to keep it all in perspective, certain puzzles are irritating while the anti-science administration cutting 250 million from NOAA's research on coastal storms and rising seas draws the ire of witnesses to Irma, Harvey, and others to come. Who needs data and facts when one can have whimsy and false platitudes? Insanity reigns.

Maruchka 11:12 AM  

I love a tricky, sticky Sunday puzz with elan (YLEM? Yoicks!). BLATHER/blarney cued my descent into WTF land.. and there I stayed.

Fav of the day - DRAWSSINAI. Link to IDYLIST, YAHWEH and Pope quote. Much good food not well cooked.

@LMS - very sweet resolve. Once drove a side door-less VW bus for weeks before replacement arrived. Duct tape and plastic sheeting galore - worked!

Human beings often bring best skill sets forth, in aid of friends and strangers. That's my wish for today.

jberg 11:23 AM  

Solving was kind of a slog, as I couldn't suss out the theme until after I had it all finished. At first I took the "size" literally, and the first one had CC = cubic centimeters, so I thought maybe it was about units -- but it didn't work out. Finally, when they were all lined up, I noticed the sound thing.

So getting the theme was fun, the actual solve not so much. I recently did a BEQ from the AVC, which was much, much better -- confirming @Rex's frequently voiced suspicion that constructors are saving their best work for other venues.

I was helped in that I used to run a collaborative program between my university and Hartwick College in ONEONTA, so I knew there was a SUNY college there as well. And when I taught American Political Thought I learned about Bishop Allen who founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, so AME was a gimme. I needed both those, because I read only the first two lines of the 3-line clue (in the print version) for 21D, which went

"Down goes

(third line was 'sportscaster')

and immediately wrote in 'it's aLi'

Also, PeugeoT before RENAULT, even though I had one of the latter for many years.

And WESSEX really threw me. Thomas Hardy adopted the name from the old Saxon kingdom, but it didn't really exist at the time. Apparently QE2 revived it.

Unknown 11:31 AM  

Hey All !
Agree some of the themers were force-pronounced. Didn't like LAX/VOX cross. Think this would've been a better daily 15x15, with fewer themers.

Some writeovers, EShEr-ESTES, fifTh-PARTV, stES-MMES.

This puz gets an ACH and an EGAD. Hate to BASH BEQ, but I can't SILENT SUPPORT to this puz.

IMA gonna SCRUBS and SNIP this from the ole brain. Hey, he at least got a good paycheck.


Nancy 11:38 AM  

Just noticed from the comments: I had SpYTEL crossing SHARp SIPHON SOUP. So a 2nd DNF -- one that I was completely unaware of, probably because I didn't much care about the theme.

Teedmn 11:40 AM  

Thank you @jberg for explaining why I was quite sure WESSEX wasn't a thing. That thought led me to the DNF of WaSSEX because IRENa seemed likely and I *knew* WESSEX was a made up name.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Meh, it was just meh.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

I couldn't agree more.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

@Lauren, Your story gave me hope and laughter. That's a lot for a puzzle blog!

Renee Arnold 11:53 AM  

My dad was born in 1925 and I can't tell you how many times I told him it was now "hip" and not "hep". Especially annoying when he'd say "hep cat"! I enjoyed the puzzle and got the "sy" or "cy" theme quickly with the Saigon fill, but didn't understand the "size" until I got here. Shouldn't it be "sighs matter" rather than matters? I get the allusion to men's junk, but...

Joseph Michael 11:56 AM  

Send this puzzle back to Oneonta.

old timer 12:20 PM  

I figured since OFL is a Professor at one of the SUNY colleges he would know ONEONTA. I didn't but I do know the names of must Upstate cities,so I eventually got it.

Did not like the theme and the solve was a slog, I came close to quitting out of sheer boredom.

WESSEX was once upon a time a kingdom if the West Saxons, Essex and Sussex exist as counties and are its counterparts (there have never been a Norsex). It is a Royal Dukedom, i.e., a name that can be awarded to the highest-ranking royals and therefore cannot be awarded to anyone else. Dukedoms are not exactly handed out like candy. Maybe one nonroyal dukedom has been created per century in recent times. Earldoms are more common creations -- it used to be any prime minister got an earldom on his retirement. The wife of an earl is a countess, and I think that rank was given to Maggie Thatcher when she had to resign as P.M.

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

I filled it in but don't get how PARTV is "sequel to a sequel to a sequel"

Wm. C. 12:24 PM  

Bad, bad, bad! I'm starting to agree with OFL about @Stortz.

Wm. C. 12:25 PM  

Oops, that's @Shortz, of course.

Tim Aurthur 1:24 PM  

Big BEQ fan and do all the puzzles from his web site. But didn't find this one terribly fin.

unigue 1:30 PM  

Can someone explain to me why "her" is the answer to "That craft" I feel like I'm missing something very obvious...

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

I'm shocked that a puzzle from quiqley is this bad. I got a DNF as well at the intersection of AME and whatever that town was.

@unique - craft = ship, ships are female, that craft = her.

Hartley70 1:39 PM  

Well I had a different experience with this one. I had no trouble with ONEONTA/AME or SKYTEL or WESSEX. I'd rate this an easy puzzle that took 3/4 of my usual time.

The theme was a groaner that I got early with SAIGONFISHING, but a groaner is fine on a typical Sunday. I was surprised that there is controversy about YAHWEH. I heard it first in a college comparative religion course and assumed it was kosher.

Thanks for the feel-good story, @Loren. People can be so terrific. On the other hand, @Quasi, I agree with you about the shameful tv fear-mongering.

Onthelam 1:50 PM  

Never got the theme at all. Don't like "UIE". Unique: a boat or ship = water craft is referred to as female, so "she" or "her". I suppose.

And all those sequels would be the fifth part of the series. Sighs indeed.

sixtyni yogini 2:12 PM  

Because I got the 2 cc's first (staticcycling and pccyclones) - I was certain that size was to be taken literally... 😜😎 🤔

Joe Dipinto 2:27 PM  

@anonymous 12:23 -- It's sequel (Part V) to a sequel (Part IV) to a sequel (Part III) to a sequel (Part 2).

Joe Dipinto 2:27 PM  

@myself -- Part II, rather.

Stanley Hudson 2:44 PM  

Normally like BEQ but this was not his finest.

Hot in NorCal today but difficult to complain given what Florida folks are facing. Wishing them and praying for the best.

Larry Tate 2:46 PM  

@Aunt Clara, no one gives a shit.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  


"That craft" means you are are talking about a ship/boat. Female pronouns are also used for ships/boats.

I agree that "fin" is not pronounced like the syllable "phon" in siphon. And that the solving was not fun because the themers were so lame.

BUT, as a native of New York State, I will say SUNY Oneonta is as familiar as SUNY New Paltz, Stonybrook, etc.

Overall score: SIGH.

Hungry Mother 2:54 PM  

Worst puzzle in many months. I just finally revealed some squares and was not illuminated.

Joe Dipinto 3:03 PM  

As a huge fan of BEQ's puzzles in general, I'll concede this probably was not one of his very best efforts, but I still liked it. SHARK SIPHON SOUP, DRAWS SINAI, SILO FREQUENCY, PC CYCLONES -- these just seem endearingly weird to me. I feel like he's not been incorporating his esoteric music clues into his puzzles of late, though, and I miss them. Bring them back, BEQ!

Alan_S. 3:30 PM  

I am now convinced that Mr. Shortz is deliberately picking the worst possible entries for the Sunday magazine. There can be no other explanation for the awfully corny, dull and unenjoyable puzzles he's been serving up on Sundays on a regular basis. Enough!

As for Rex, I have to commend him for his apparent musical acuity; this week including XTC and The Cocteau Twins in the recap.

alexa shortbush 3:43 PM  

It boggles my mind that SI-PHON and FIN were recognized as sound alikes. I recently had a puzzle rejected because the editor said HAUGHTY and HOTTIE didn't sound the same. A lot more so than today's example.

Sigh. Pun intended.

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

If you say "siphon" out loud you may hear that it sounds more like "sife in" or "sifun", depending where you live. Don't think anyone pronounces it "si-fahn".

Anonymous 4:12 PM  

"Girls just wanna have siphon..."

Chance 4:14 PM  

I got my record time for this puzzle, so I didn't think it was that hard.

However, I do agree with the majority of commenters that the fill has been pretty gluey and inelegant lately.

Trombone Tom 4:20 PM  

Anon 4:12 Har!

Unknown 4:49 PM  


jae 5:25 PM  

@lms - After your truck story I thought you might enjoy today's Doonesbury

Anonymous 6:38 PM  

Hatey McHateface.

semioticus (shelbyl) 6:41 PM  

Sunday puzzles have been bad for a while but this was very very, um, bad. SHARK FIN SOUP is just horrible. Those do not sound the same. This pisses me off especially because I am not a native speaker and I have to doubt myself for an extended period before I realize that the constructor effed up.

Before I badmouth this further I should stop.

The Personality and Individual Differences journal 6:43 PM  

" ...trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling. Thus, cyber trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism."

Anonymous 7:02 PM  

I've been annoyed by some of the themes over the years, but this one takes the cake. I STILL don't get it.

Anonymous 7:12 PM  

Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? The food is good, but it has no atmosphere.

Dawn 7:50 PM  

Lots of what looks to be product placement...RAID, TRIX, Rc COLA, etc.

Ando 7:51 PM  

"Shark, siphon soup!" is the sort of phrase that usually only comes up at the end of a long, tortuous joke that makes people want to kill the person who told it.

Anonymous 7:53 PM  

Amen, brother. Most frustrating in a while.

Allison Hamm 8:01 PM  

Yes! Thank you.

Anonymous 8:02 PM  


Suzy 8:05 PM  

Seems like I'm the last to the table-- I usually enjoy BEQ puzzles, but not this one. No joys-- sigh.

JC66 9:15 PM  

Today's BEQ puzzle on Crooked Crossword was, not surprisingly, much better.

Crane Poole 9:26 PM  

Too busy to get near the NYT puzzle for two weeks. This was my welcome back. Snzbudghphgrp.

Unknown 9:36 PM  

Well said!

Dick Swart 9:45 PM  

Coming in very late. Just to make it an even 100 comments.

Not too hard on the fill but didn't really get the theme trick. Dopey and contrived.

Went faster than I expected.

Mary Beth 10:52 PM  

Silly rabbit. Trix hit the skids. This puzzle was a horrible beauty in the awfulness of these clues!

OISK 10:53 PM  

Glad not to be the only annoyed DNF. I had sharp instead of shark, never heard of skytel or Leeza Gibbon, and had forego instead of fail to. But it WAS within my range. Not as bad as many seem to think, but not much fun, either.

Frayed Knot 11:01 PM  

AME = African Methodist Episcopal
You've all probably seen that on a bunch of church signs much of your lives but it just didn't register.

Anonymous 11:59 PM  

yuck. Worked,all,day and looked forward to a nice glass of wine and puzzle as reward. This wasn't it. Total slog. Ah well, next week will be bettter I'm sure

John 1:29 AM  

I liked SAIGON FISHING. First themer I got. After that, meh! SILO FREQUENCY - yes, I'm gonna be that guy. Number of appearances is a number. Frequency is a rate - number of [something] per unit [something]. Beeps per second, earthquake wave amplitude maxima per kilometer (spatial frequency), etc. "Make a quick map" = "DRAWS"? Not in my universe. "Opening performers" = "SUPPORT"? Yuck.

And I was trying to figure out the non-clued SI-REN, and how that fit in.

Alyce 10:13 AM  

Although the puzzles with more than one letter in the box are far and away my favorite, I do appreciate the ones with long answers that I can't immediately figure out from the clue. Too often, once I get the theme, I fill in the long answers, then go around filling in the rest. So thank you for making me think, BEQ. AME was a gimme after visiting the African Burial Ground National Monument in NYC on Saturday.

Rina 10:59 AM  

Did this listening to Bill Burr's Monday podcast. Now I wish Bill did crosswords in addition to sports betting. He would have lambasted the themers better than I dare to here. SHARKSIPHONSOUP? Oh dear!

Huy NQ 12:19 AM  

Bộ dụng cụ tập GYM chất lượng, giá rẻ:
Xà đơn xà kép - Dây tập GYM

Unknown 4:33 PM  

Can anyone tell me what happened to 'Mericans in Paris? I miss their comments.

eileen left 8:28 PM's not the size of the wand, it's the magic!

Joel Fass 2:28 PM  

Way more than medium for this solver, also a royal pain. A bit gimmicky for my taste, and the gimmick was for me hard to come by. Labored for many days, got perhaps 3/4 through, finally cried 'uncle' and cheated...

ChrisB 7:13 PM  

Boats/ships are almost always referred to as women. The first answer I wrote in. Think I need to get off the water! 😜

ChrisB 7:15 PM  


ChrisB 7:20 PM  

Unlike those of you who can do a puzzle in minutes, it usually takes me all week. Got a lot this week, bit had to come here to discover the theme. Even then, I had to think about some of the answers.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

What a piece of shit puzzle.

or 12:19 PM  

I FAILTO see why I continued to the end. Perhaps both the K-pop star and I could share PSY-CO-ANALYSIS.

Best answer is SAIGONFISHING which I had at first as SAIpaNFISHING, which still fits the theme.

Yeah babies abound with LEEZA and MMES STAHL, WITT, and RICCI.

Thought this puz had ALOT of CRUD.

rondo 12:20 PM  

tech difficulties the above was me

Burma Shave 1:15 PM  


To NODOFF with our LINES in LADOGA we're wishing,


spacecraft 2:42 PM  

Opposite the word "slog" in the dictionary should be this puzzle. Who's JULIA Sweeney?? You know my JULIA, "the best part of my day." And right there top center, where the DOD belongs.

Y-crazy along the coasts: SHYAWAY and NAYSAYS. ALOT of entries are UGLIS today, and no big theme payoff. Bogey.

rain forest 3:13 PM  

Second DNF in a row. SIGH. I found this a bit sloggier than the last few Sunday puzzles, but it had its moments. Finally got the theme with SAIGON FISHING, gave myself a headslap, went back to 3D and filled in SIPHON.

My DNF occured at the AME/ONEONTA cross. I was considering either "i" or "t" for where the "E" is, so no matter how I chose, I was wrong. How can a church be both Methodist and Episcopal? I have no interest in religion, but I'd like to know, y'know.

I thought that 6 of the themers were OK to good, so that's not bad. Lots and lots of short fill, some of it good, some a little iffy.

Interesting that on Sunday the "revealer" is always in the title, but the practise during the week is to include a revealer in the grid. Does this matter? Does size matter? Jury's out.

Diana,LIW 3:31 PM  

Had lots of chores today and didn't add this one to the list - finished most of it, then just lost interest.

@Spacey -JULIA Sweeney was "Pat," the annony-sex person on SNL some years back. Also had a play, "God said Ha!"

Some of the themers were funny, in my book.

Will read comments later - off to Jiffy Lube. Know how to party...

Lady Di

AnonymousPVX 5:15 PM  

Looks like I agree with Rex - and this week, many others - this was a hot mess. The theme entries, especially 3D, just stunk and the clueing held to that standard, or lack of one.

I usually try to gut these out, but I just got fed up. As above..."not fun".

leftcoastTAM 6:48 PM  

Picked away at this way too long. Disappointing, weak theme, and some nasty double crosses.

In the NE: SPORESAC crossed by COMPOTE and ONEONTA. LAX crossed by LADOGA and VOX.

And then, my DNF, CELIAC crossed by LEEZA and SKYTEL. Here guessed LEiZA, SKYTEc, yielding CicIAC(!). Yeah, that's how it ended.

Stuck with the mysterious YLEM only because the crosses said so.

I've tried to swear off Sunday slogs, but I'm addicted and need rehab. I'm going to try hard.

Diana,LIW 7:57 PM  

Dear @Lefty et. al. who state they are going to try to swear off a day or cut down their "addiction." May I interject? It's a puzzle. Repeat that to yourself. It's a bit of amusement. Well, sometimes not so amusing as others. But think about it. Are YOU always as amusing as you are other times. I'll tell ya, I shur ain't. (See what I mean?)

So I opine (and would orate) that we do our daily amusement/slog to find the gems and gold amongst the genuinely ok, the mediocre, and the mud at the bottom of the mining pan. Well...the muddy"ish." My word. Kinda like skyey. But not Nova (lox). Which is realer.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the perfect puzzle amongst the squalor and hoi polloi

strayling 8:35 PM  

Having slogged through this one, I've come to the conclusion that it's one of those puzzles you need to solve twice to fully appreciate.


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Phillip Blackerby 11:18 AM  

It's HUGHEY, a name, because right is RALPH and left is LOUIE.

manitoba 1:23 PM  

This was a total waste of a Sunday morning! Not familiar with this puzzles author but will not do another of his puzzles if this is an example of his work.

manitoba 1:27 PM  

Totally in agreement.

manitoba 1:30 PM  

Me either.

manitoba 1:33 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
manitoba 1:36 PM  


manitoba 1:38 PM  

I only buy Saturday's newspaper for the puzzles I want my three dollars back.

manitoba 1:42 PM  

Hope that cheque bounces!

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

In the Midwest, we pronounce SIPHON "sigh fin", and HYPHEN "high fin". We must be the exception. Even though it was a ridiculous answer, it fit the theme pattern for us.

Anonymous 5:35 PM  

Silly rabbit Trix are for kids!

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thefogman 12:54 PM  

I find the NYT puzzles of today are much easier to solve than they used to be. Ten years ago the Wednesday-Sunday puzzles were almost impossible to solve. Not anymore. Has anybody else noticed this?

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