1/100th of Polish zloty / WED 11-8-17 / Domain of Pan in Greek myth / Actor George with over 10 million Facebook followers / Classical music style whose name means new art

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Constructor: Joel Fagliano and Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Challenging (over 5!?)

THEME: phffffff .... OK, so regular words are clued by lists of three things, and you take the first letters of those things (in order) and then the type of thing those things are and then you get the answer ta da!

Theme answers:
  • M, A, R KINGS (19A: Midas, Agamemnon, Richard)
  • P, A, S SPORTS (32A: Polo, archery, soccer)
  • H, U, S BANDS (51A: Heart, U2, Slayer)
  • A, P, O STATES (15D: Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio)
  • D, I, A TRIBES (27D: Dakota, Iroquois, Arapaho)
Word of the Day: GROSZ (7D: 1/100 of a Polish zloty) —
noun: grosz; plural noun: grosze; plural noun: groszy
  1. a monetary unit of Poland, equal to one hundredth of a zloty.

Polish; compare with groschen. (google)
• • •

This was super-rough for me. I mean, really hard. NW a disaster, as both the themer and DAD ROCK totally eluded me (perhaps because the biggest Steely Dan fan I know is a woman in her 30s) (3D: Genre for Dire Straits and Steely Dan, facetiously). Eventually, finally, picked up theme at APOSTATES, but even knowing the theme, it was a slog. ARCADIA, hard (2D: Domain of Pan, in Greek myth). ARS NOVA, nuts (29D: Classical music style whose name means "new art"). Zloty, I know, but GROSZ? No. And then soooo much ugsome cross-referencing. Had GOOD DAY before NICE DAY (26A: Something much-wished-for for people), and so CLEAR SKY (31A: Feature of a 26-Across, maybe) was not at all, uh, clear. And then [Heavy 39-Down]? And then [In this puzzle it starts B-E-L]??! So fussy. Kind of a drag to solve. And what the hell is NON-GAY about? (6D: Hetero, say). When are you using that? I see some pretty innocuous uses of it around the internet. For instance, an article entitled, "What's It Like Being Gay and NON-GAY Identical Twins?" (Vice). So, you know, it's defensible. Just ... I dunno. I'm eyeing it warily.

As for the theme, it's pretty clever, and definitely unusual. Once you grasp the concept, the themers fall pretty easily (maybe that's why the rest of the grid has been toughened up so much). The constructors are both Shortz employees, so I expect their work to be tighter than average—and I think this puzzle is. I like that they are *trying*, you know, with NON-GAY and DAD ROCK, to be all colloquial and contemporary or whatever. But that stuff can get dicey, esp if it brings stuff like LCD and AMENRA and ODON in its wake.And DAD ROCK is suuuuch an imprecise term. Also slightly snide and ageist, but whatever. They're trying and largely succeeding here, so if the options are YES OR NO, then OK, fine, yes.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:14 AM  

Was tough, but fun. Thumbs up for me.

Mike in Mountain View 12:16 AM  

I'm willing to Ekiden, Marathon, Bicycle this puzzle.

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

Normally I track with Rex's level of difficulty, but not today. This puzzle got me a new Wednesday personal record.

Mike in Mountain View 12:19 AM  

Actually, I should have said, I hope everybody Ekiden, Marathon, Bicycle this puzzle.

Geophany 12:29 AM  


mathgent 12:30 AM  

It's amusing to see Rex trying so hard to criticize this excellent puzzle. It was constructed by Shortz's assistants.

@Mike in Mountain View (12:19): Nice one. I presume that Ekiden is a race.

Loved the puzzle. Smart. Zero junk. Intriguing theme.

Pat 12:39 AM  

Who had NOrmal for Hetero? You know you did.

puzzlehoarder 1:15 AM  

My first thought on seeing this puzzle was that the 3x3 corners are going to be weak points. I just forgot it was a Wednesday and it wouldn't make any difference. It didn't. This came in about 3 minutes faster than yesterdays puzzle. This made it a little more difficult than the average Wednesday.

I got the theme at either 15D or 32A, not sure which. ENDOR is one Star Wars entry I've been forced to learn. Why are these pop culture repeats ok when the editor has made a campaign of eliminating so called Maleskan crosswordese. Some NICEDAY people will tire of it and the term Shortzian will be used in the pejorative as well.

Once again I tried to start 35A with a W. I can't think of too many other ladies titles. It makes me think of some guy with gold chains saying " Hellooo ladies."

Larry Gilstrap 1:30 AM  

I enjoy a theme that enhances the solving experience. Challenging enough; I got lost more than once. Not much junk fill and the revealer was implied, designed to induce an AHA! moment. And, the themers were not overly pop-cultured and offered some clever word-play. Thumbs up!

OFL went to school in Claremont, and has never heard of ARCADIA? A cheap date was to visit the LA County Arboretum and later, a more expensive date, Santa Anita. I'm sure he was crackin' the books.

Not sure what "meta-" means, but I'm guessing 40D is an example. NERISSA spent some time in BELMONT, according to Shakespeare. If anyone is looking for a name for a female child, consult the Bard.

Let's talk about sexuality for a moment. NON-GAY seems fine as clued, but awkward enough for me to initially balk at the apostrophe. Anybody admit to briefly thinking NORMAL? Weird, huh?

On this same subject, the L in LPGA TOUR represents the word Ladies. Hey, Ladies! It's a strange time to be a hetero male. I have many women friends and share a warm, affectionate relationship with many of them. Sometimes, that includes banter. Where does one draw the line? Lately, it's at square one. If I compliment a person on her appearance or personality, it FEELS like I've gone too far. Flirting is dead. Good riddance? Hey, Ladies?

Anybody ever use the Touch Tunes APP at your local, local Jukebox? Now, that's some subversive fun right there. That dude is bobbing his head or strumming the bar because you just played Petty's "Breakdown." Well worth $1 per song. Some OLDIES are 50 cts. Trolling musically is sublime. Better than fishing, for example.

Larry Gilstrap 1:33 AM  

Excuse my NON-GAY hyphen, not apostrophe.

Mr. Spock 1:53 AM  

Illogical to have NONGAY and TAKEI in the same puzzle.

Anonymous 2:20 AM  

Oh, My!

Robin 3:02 AM  

Unsure why Rex filed this as challenging. I finished faster than my Wednesday average (per the NYT website).

The theme was pretty good. I think I caught on with DIATRIBES. And then as Rex said, things got easier in a hurry.

Some gross 3-letter crossword-ese in the SE, with EWE and RNA. But my biggest complaint would be 40D. Ewww, that could have had better clue.

Mike in Mountain View 3:02 AM  

Thanks, Mathgent. Yes, an ekiden is a race. It's a long-distance relay.

jae 3:17 AM  

In a previous life I used to travel a lot. On a trip sometime in the 80's I was in an airport (I think somewhere in PA) having a flirty conversation (I think flirty conversations are OK as long as they are consensual) about rock and roll. The lady I was conversing with and I agreed about many groups until she started telling me how great Steely Dan was. At the time I was iffy about the group. Since then I have come around to her point of view mostly by listening to oldies radio. Point...more grandad rock than dad rock.

Medium-tough, Wed., liked it.

Anonymous 4:17 AM  

I've been playing rock and roll guitar and solving puzzles for 35 years. I love Dad Rock, and my daughter would definitely agree with that definition.


Actually an upgrade from Geezer Rock...

Anonymous 5:40 AM  

Today's trigger phrase for snowflake Rex - Dad Rock. Ageist. Remove from your vocabulary at once or you're a bigot.

Lewis 6:17 AM  

Parked snugly in my wheelhouse, I guess, this one. Cluing felt easy for Wednesday. Yet it was an enjoyable ride, with that cute word-playing theme, nice clue for PAROLE, and lovely answer ENTROPY. I also love just looking at GROSZ and ROSSSEA. Had COPCAR been plural, it could have been a themer; also, it would have been icing on the cake if LEADOFF did. Quality construction, as I gratefully expect from these two.

Plaudits and a bouquet of Cuba, Austria, Romania for this fun solve!

Lewis 6:19 AM  

JAE, welcome back!

Trey 6:52 AM  

Had to look up Ekiden - clever

FrankStein 7:17 AM  

Ever heard of "Have a Nice Day" Rex? Give us a break. No one says Have a Good Day. Maybe in Australia. G'day. And how common is, "I wish you a good day"?

This puzzle was too easy and dull and a major So What?

crackblind 7:18 AM  

Has anyone figured out how to put an accent grave on the รจ in 13 down?

kitshef 7:32 AM  

‘bout time we had a Star Wars clue in the puzzle.

Outlier here, as I thought the theme was weak. I assumed there must be some kind of meta-puzzle that I couldn’t see.

Fill is above average, but theme drags this one down for me.

TomAz 7:34 AM  

I had assumed that the comments would have included a debate as to what is and is not DADROCK. Rex should understand that non-dads can and do like DADROCK -- it's not against the rules or anything. Is it ageist? I don't find it to be (and I fall right into the stereotype). It feels more affectionate than derogatory to my ears. "Get off my lawn", for example, is much more unpleasant and nasty.

Anyway, this article -- http://www.oregonlive.com/music/index.ssf/2016/06/19_most_dad_rock_albums_list.html -- has an interesting list of DADROCK albums. Steely Dan's on there but not Dire Straits. Interestingly, Wilco, the National, LCD Soundsystem, and the War On Drugs are all on the list. I love all four and boy do I feel old.

The rest of the puzzle was pretty good. I finished in slightly better-than-average time, (but it could be that I'm just a little better solver now than I used to be) The theme was fun, and pretty easy once I sussed it out.

Gretchen 7:59 AM  

Fun, clever, easy theme. Took me less time than usual.

Paul 8:13 AM  


Mickey Bell 8:16 AM  

This was my fastest Wednesday ever. Just fell into place for me. Only problem area was south middle section. KABUL and ENSURE got me. And I ALWAYS misspell ALLAN between Edgar and Poe. That one is used just rarely enough to make me forget. I’ll learn now.

Two Ponies 8:17 AM  

I did not find the theme to be very fun. Clever I guess, if you say so. We have Midas making an appearance two days in a row and the obligatory daily dose of Star Wars.

Best clue : Make an ID digitally.

Mark Knofler is so much better after his time with Dire Straits.
I suggest his duet album with Emmylou Harris.

Hearing Led Zeppelin as the Muzak at the grocery store makes me feel old.

Foldyfish 8:47 AM  

I too struggled in the NW. I struggled to get ARCADIA because my TV is LED...

clk 9:05 AM  

If anything, DADROCK is more sexist than ageist. What would count as mom rock?

SJ Austin 9:08 AM  

One of the reasons I read this blog every day is that Rex and I are often completely opposite in perception of difficulty. The ones he finds easy are often tough for me, and this one was very easy, maybe specifically the NW. As for the theme, I never even put it together that the first three letters were an initialism based on the clued list; I just ran with KINGS, STATES, TRIBES, etc. and left the rest to the crosses until a word appeared.

Got seriously and pleasantly tricked by KNEEPAD (not *CAP), but otherwise pretty much a breeze. A fun Wednesday!

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

@clk - Heart

ArtO 9:15 AM  

Pretty tough for Wednesday but, all in all, a clever theme which once groked ELICITS a grin.

XENON, GROSZ, AMENRA crossings were rough. Never heard of an ISOGON

Sir Hillary 9:16 AM  

Awesome Wednesday fare. Interesting theme (leading to the inevitable but fun copycat efforts here) and excellent fill. What's not to like about XENON, COPCAR, SITATOP, CLEARSKY, NICEDAY, LPGATOUR, EARDRUM, YESORNO, ISOGON, DONTBE, AMENRA, NONGAY, YOUBET, KNEEPAD, ARSNOVA and every single 7-letter down in the corners. I'm putting this ONEDOWN as one of the best Wednesday puzzles of 2017.

I'll take DADROCK over Kid Rock on Wednesday and every other day of the week. Mark Knopfler is a god -- @Two Ponies is right that his duet album with Emmylou ("All the Roadrunning")is a stunner. And if the War On Drugs is classified as DADROCK, well then I'm your daddy.

This puzzle put me in a great mood.

Stanley Hudson 9:19 AM  

As a longtime DADROCKer, I enjoyed this one.

@TomAz, thanks for the reference to the album list.

@Two Ponies, just saw Emmy Lou live, about a month ago. She still sings like an angel.

Tita 9:28 AM  

As soon as I learned the laws of thermodynamics, I instantly jumped all over that second one to explain t my mother why there was no point at all in me tidying up my room. "Can't fight ENTROPY...it's the law!"
She would just tell me to go expend a few ERGs and clean that mess.

I thought the theme was just on this side of weak. Well, at least on a Wednesday.
I mean, you're giving me 50% of the answer right there in the clue!!! The first 3 letters, and the last one too!
And there's no cool wordplay with the word those 3 letters form. Oh wait...except for the first, they don't form words on their own.

Then you even gave me the first 3 letters of ONEDOWN! (Which was a gimme anyhow, since I'm from NY.)

Richard Gross 9:30 AM  

Help! I’ve been doing nyt crossword puzzles for years. I have no idea concerning how good or bad I might be. Where in the NYT archives might find a timeline guide for solving the varying degree of difficulty of the daily puzzles? Incidentally, today’s only required one cup of coffee.

Tita 9:31 AM  

Oh, @Mike...I just figured it out!

Nancy 9:33 AM  

What an absolute beauty! I hope it wins Puzzle of the Week. I had such fun.

I didn't really have an "Aha" Moment as much as a "Whew!" Moment. Because until I figured out the theme, it seemed like there would be no way to solve. And that's the best kind of theme. I got the theme at DIATRIBES, actually, (27D) and then went back to MARKINGS at 19A, where I'd been completely stumped.

Fifty percent of my time was spent on one almost-Natick consisting of two letters. I did a lot of running of the alphabet, because RAZORS at 23A (I had -A-ORS) just wasn't coming. I didn't know AMEN-A and I didn't know GROS-. Running the alphabet on 2 letters instead of just one really ups the time it takes and the puzzlement it produces. But I prevailed. And then I was so sorry it was over. Just a wonderful, inventive, crunchy puzzle!

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

I finished this in a fast Wednesday time, for me. Once I got the theme, every themer fell fast.

Sheesh, complain complain complain. I know cross referenced clues muck with your precious solving times, but a) the time it takes you to solve the puzzle is not an adequate measure of difficulty, and b) they can be fun. I liked the pairings in this puzzle. I liked 40 D too.

Hartley70 9:37 AM  

Ha! Hi, @jae. It's serendipitous that this puzzle peaked your interest today. Your appearance and anecdote is a most welcome occurrence whenever the spirit moves. You're a PAROLEE from a ten-year sentence!.....except when you're not.

"The themer proposed by Lewis" needs some crosses to give me a hand. (I'm terrified by an apostrophe now.)

This was a memorable Wednesday puzzle. The theme was intriguing as one began and clever once it was revealed. I thought the fill was a nice mix of easy/obvious, YESORNO, and not so, ARCADIA.

I got a kick out of ONEDOWN with the caveat that it must never, ever appear in the NYT again. Once is funny. Twice is a waste of space.

I knew the answer was DADROCK by osmosis, but why isn't it momROCK too? I'm seeing ageism complaints, but it seems sexist also. GeezerROCK is a nice gender neutral compromise, @Anonymous 4:17 am, or is that reserved for those of us who went to a Jerry Lee Lewis concert?

Linda Vale 9:47 AM  

36D Joint Release = EXHALING

Z 9:48 AM  

It is rare, but I liked this less than Rex. I enjoy an “aha” moment, but this one just generated a “really?!?” from me. I don’t find the theme conceit particularly interesting, and the challenge in figuring it out is that it is far simpler than I imagined. Using Midas, Agamemnon, and Richard for their initials was a let down.

DAD ROCK is ageist in that ego-centric way twenty-somethings and teens have. But then, I seem to recall a certain band of my generation singing “I hope I die before I get old,” so It’s hard to be too upset with anyone else’s youthful myopia.

@Two Ponies - I recall hearing the Muzak version of Sympathy for the Devil in a Burger King in the 70’s. I was so gob smacked then that I still remember it. Now you have me imagining Whole Lotta Love gently playing in the background at the grocery with a bunch of seventy-somethings humming “I wanna be your back door man.”

Melrose 9:48 AM  

Responding to Pat, I am guilty as charged; I did have NORMAL for hetero at first, was offended by the clue and imagined Rex going on a PC tirade about it. I was relieved when i finally figured ouf the correct answer.

Hungry Mother 9:52 AM  

Very nice challenge trying to figure out the theme. Lots of fun, but a bit slower than usual. I’m glad that Mike in Moutain View mentioned “marathon”, reminding me of my Sunday experience in NYC, as does my sore quads.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

@Shelby Glidden (yesterday)
OK, here is the deal. The Black Name non-you from yesterday was trying to make a point. The posts they made is how your posts look to people not on a smart phone. Your posts DO NOT show up directly under the post you are replying to. Ergo, the responses you posted to the non-you were all lined up like theirs were. Get it? That's why people don't like you here because they have no idea who you are referencing.

Feel free to post all you want, But, BUT, you have to reference the post you are responding to. Example, use the @ symbol, followed by the person's name, then the time. Like if you reply to this post, you MUST start with @Anonymous 6:55, THEN write whatever you feel.

Thanks, we'll all appreciate that.

pabloinnh 9:57 AM  

As a longtime fan of Dire Straits in general and Mark Knopfler in particular, I can assure you that this music is also Grandadrock.

Nancy 10:03 AM  

Let me add to the praise for EMBRACES, @Mike from Mountain View. Very nice. I was trying to come up with a theme answer of my own and so far I've failed. I'll keep thinking about it, though.

On NOrmal instead of NONGAY -- I had the Y before I had the first N, so there was no chance of my going wrong there.

I also had LeD before LCD.

Now that @jae has finally emerged again, where-oh-where is @JC66?

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

What is imo?


Rita 10:10 AM  

I loved this puzzle and its clever theme. I'm so glad to have had my amused half hour solve instead of Rex's grumpy 5 minutes.

Chris 10:21 AM  

Very fun, but I had an exceedingly rare DNF as I blanked on XENON, so, like @ArtO, got stumped by the GROSZ AMENRA crosses.(Also had NOTGAY, which didn't help matters.) Also like others fell into the LED trap.
But it's all good. Like the triple S and the FEEL/FELL stack.

Outside The Box 10:43 AM  

Good puzzle. Once theme became apparent, things moved along nicely (I never time myself; just enjoy doing puzzles).

GHarris 10:46 AM  

Dad rock is the appropriate way to refer to old timie, like not your father's Buick, etc. My hang up was in NE until cop car came to mind and enabled me to get entropy, elicits and sit atop. All in all an enjoyable and satisfying puzzle.

Bax'N'Nex 10:53 AM  

Joe Dipinto...so it was a one day Star Wars ban...

Bax'N'Nex 10:59 AM  

Damn! Missed the Adam Driver clue yesterday. Not even a one day ban...

jberg 11:11 AM  

i wasn't bewitched by ENDOR, but overall this one was pretty easy -- once I got APOSTATES, the other themers were gimmes.

@Larry Gilstrap, until you posted the correction I thought you were subtly referencing the discussion from Monday about the misuse of apostrophes. (Or should it be apostrophe's?) We'd all have congratulated you!

Polish small change is a little obscure, though -- why not clue 7D with this guy?

Also -- kiwis are certainly TANGY, but mangos? I don't eat them that often, but I'd say sweet and a little musky.

a jazz listener's thoughts 11:21 AM  


Larry Gilstrap 11:21 AM  

@jberg Thanks for the benefit of the doubt. I stayed out of that crazy talk. I'm more into DAD Grammar.

Masked and Anonymous 11:32 AM  

DADROCK also = {Diamond, opal, or dacite?}.
COPCAR also = {Cougar, Opel, or Rollsroyce?}. [Possible COPCAR abbr. = CPR?]
[EARDRUM is kinda harder.]

Cute theme idea. Different. Almost always like different.
And only 70 gridwords, so some lovely desperation oughta ensue … and thankfully a little bit does. NONGAY and ISOGON are topnotch. ONEDOWN is also worthy of unpraise. Actually, the rest is pretty darn smooth. ARSNOVA was unknown to m&e, but always good to learn new stuff.
ARSNOVA almost sounds like a fancy dance done while burnin down the Capital buildin, or somesuch. Almost. Sorta. U gotta squint a little, am I right, @muse?

Primo weeject stacks in the NW & SE. staff pick: KOS. Has both yer abbr and plural goin for it.

fave fillins: ENTROPY. GROSZ. LPGATOUR. The last two have above-average ENTROPY.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Mr. Fagliano and Mr. Ezersky. Funny and feisty.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

extreme entropy:

Two Ponies 11:34 AM  

The more I think about this theme the more I like it.
Mike in Mountain View's own theme suggestion did the trick.
Nice one.

Also, Minos was yesterday, Midas was a good guess from many and stuck with me.

Lewis 11:38 AM  

@hartley70 -- My last sentence? Cuba, Austria, and Romania are ... nations.

Carola 11:39 AM  

I found this one easy: thanks to the neighboring BELMONT and ARCADIA I got MARKINGS right away - and reacted like @Z with a "Really?" The theme seemed kind of random to me - well, @Tita said it better. I did like writing in DIATRIBES and APOSTATES and the cross of YES OR KNOW with YOU BET.

Masked and Anonymous 12:00 PM  

yo, @jae. Folks here were about to form up a search party for U. Pretty sure they had gone as far as to stock up on flashlight batteries, at least. And maybe start havin the hounds sniff at one of yer old blog comments.
Oh, man … if Steely Dan and Dire Straits is "grandad rock", then the stacks of platters in my closet(s) need a whole new name. Selections:
* SHEET ROCK. [Again, U gotta squint a little on this one, @muse]
* CLASSIC ROCK. [Ahhh … like. Maybe gussy it up a little: CLASSIQ ROCK?]


Tita 12:03 PM  

@Lewis, @Mike - how do you do it?

Here's my fraught-with-problems attempt...
At least it's somewhat meta because it references something lots of us have carped about lately...

Six-day, Trojan, Arab, Revolutionary.

This is hard!

Happy Pencil 12:05 PM  

Interesting to see this one fell quickly for so many of you. I think it comes down to how quickly you grok the theme. I'm with Rex on the challenging rating, but it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out what was going on. Well over my average time.

@Richard Gross at 9:30 a.m.: If you start doing the puzzle digitally (via an app, say), it will track your time and then you will be able to see what your average is for each day of the week, and hence will know whether your time for an individual puzzle is above or below that average. I don't worry too much about how fast someone like Rex can do the puzzle, but I do always like to know where I rank against myself.

Glad everyone else had such an easy time with this one. I'll wait hopefully for a Thursday rebus and try to improve tomorrow. Have a good day, all!

Nancy 12:28 PM  

Bingo! So here's what I'm sending to the constructors of this wonderful puzzle*:


*I may be mixing species, strains, breeds and types here, but never mind.

Puzzler 12:29 PM  

@Anonymous 10:09
IMO = In My Opinion
IMHO = In My Humble Opinion
Text speak/Abbrs.

Blog speak/Abbrs. -
OFL = Our Fearless Leader
WOE = What On Earth
WTF = What The Fudgesickle :-)

Fred Romagnolo 12:37 PM  

@jberg: witty play on ENDOR, apparently nobody got it. It isn't ageism if somebody mentions that things change with time. It isn't sexism if somebody suggests that there are 2 genders. AMEN RA (Amon Ra, Amon Re, Amen Re: Egyptians didn't have vowels in their hieroglyphs). IMO stands for "in my opinion," the humble use IMHO. ALLAN directly over POINT: nice placement.

Masked and Anonymous 12:41 PM  

@Tita: har. Very nicely done. The farce is strong with U.

@Richard Gross: If U would like a range of times, this ought do it …

Latest solvetimes in minutes for a) Dan Feyer and b) M&A:
MonPuz = [1:36] [10:06 + a long pause to admire the moo-cow clue, as I recall]
TuesPuz = [1:58] [15:12 + sun was in my eyes + rain storm annoyed m&e]
WedPuz = [2:26] [15:37 + a runty cinnamon roll]
ThursPuz = [3:02] [24:13 + 1.85 cinnamon rolls]
FriPuz = [2:46] [37:54 + 2.67 cinnamon rolls]
SatPuz = [3:22] [62:18 + a trip to the bakery store + a standard "research" allotment]
SunPuz = [5:27] [29:45 + two vodka-enhanced smoothies + extra nanoseconds for burping]
runtpuz = [0:52] [1:40 + I wrote the darn thing!] [That Dan is an animal!]

Yer experiences may vary, especially on the "roll-overs".
M&A Help Desk

old timer 12:43 PM  

Yesorno really ought to be the name of an African country.

This one was tough until I got the trick. Started out with "Mad kings"s before the theme made them M A R KINGS.

Nancy 12:49 PM  

Re my 12:28 post: If only I'd done it this way, I might have stumped you all. So now, here's what I'm sending to the constructors of this terrific puzzle:


OISK 1:06 PM  

Liked the theme, and enjoyed the puzzle, especially after a DNF yesterday (first one on a weekday in a month). You mean there foreign exchange student in "American Pie" wasn't named 'NAIIA"?

I don't know Dad Rock from Pet Rock. As Billy Joel would say "It's still rock and roll to me," and I don't listen to it now, didn't listen to it then. So Dire Straits, Steely Dan (at least I have heard of him) Heart, Slayer, U2 (have heard of them) meant nothing to me. But they were parts of clues that did not in any way impede my progress. Never heard of ARS NOVA, although I do listen to a lot of Classical Music. Happy to see some chemistry and horse racing in the clues, so the puzzle begins a nice day.

True story....I asked "Why are neon and argon called inert gases?" Response from student "Because deze found in de Ert?"

Jackie 1:08 PM  

In My Opinion

JC66 1:22 PM  


Perseverance pays off. Good one!

Teedmn 1:24 PM  

It took me a while to see the theme - at 19A, with MARK_NG_ in the grid, I thought perhaps some unknown-to-me actor named Mark Inge had played those three roles. Later themers disabused me of that thought but it took APOSTATES to actually grok it.

Lots to like there - thanks JF and SE.

@Tita, @Lewis, @Mike in Mountain View, @Nancy, @M&A, nice additions to the theme!

JC66 1:38 PM  

@Tita, @Lewis, @Mike in Mountain View, @M&A

I didn't mean to ignore your fine efforts. Sorry.

Lewis 2:08 PM  

@tita, @mike, @nancy, @m&a -- Good ones!

Kimberly 2:19 PM  

Most challenging Wednesday I’ve seen in a while. Hard but really satisfying.

Masked and Anonymous 2:25 PM  

@Richard Gross again:

Come to think of it … The Shortzmeister actually published a NYT Crossword book once, that had suggested solve times in it.
It was called "The New York Times Crossword Ready, Set, Solve!"

I've got a copy of the day-um thing somewhere, but was unable to find it in all the piles.
A sample page on Amazon shows these suggested Monday puz times, if that helps out any:
Beginner: 20 min.
Intermediate: 12 min.
Expert: 6 min.

Outlaw M&A Help Desk

Bob Mills 2:55 PM  

The answer "LPGATOUR" isn't really accurate. The Women's Open is a USGA event, not a PGA event.

Pdxrains 3:21 PM  

Steely Dan is not f**king dad rock. Most of it is not even rock. It’s just damn good music.

Cassieopia 3:59 PM  

Looooved it. Love all y’alls themer variants. Penny dropped at HUSBANDS and what fun to suss out the rest.

The Minnesota section (north central?) slowed me down with XENON, AMENRA, GROSZ and NOtGAY before NONGAY. Still beat my 21 minute Wednesday avg by 3 minutes and enjoyed every second.

Uke Xensen 4:09 PM  

This went fast, but I'm embarrassed I didn't figure out the theme until almost done. I just thought, okay the theme is to put 3 letters at the front for some reason I'm not understanding.

BTW, Ricky Don't Lose That Number is one of the worst songs ever. This dad won't rock to that.

Joe Dipinto 4:28 PM  

@David S 10:59 -- Yep. Four straight days and counting now...

Joe Dipinto 4:37 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Dipinto 4:55 PM  

May as well jump into the fray:

"Count on me, absolutely!"
"Of course, I'll do anything for you!"
"My word is my bond!"

Joe Dipinto 5:04 PM  

Oops, I suppose I should have said that I really liked this puzzle! And that Sam Ezersky did a top-notch Puns & Anagrams puzzle for this past Sunday's paper.

mathgent 6:07 PM  

@Joe Dipinto: Excellent.

The best I can do:


Joe Dipinto 6:21 PM  

Nicely done, mathgent. Also liked the others above from Mike, Lewis, Nancy, M&A, and Tita (well, I only *sort of* liked Tita's ;-) ).

Some fun juxtapositions in the puzzle construction:


Girish 6:34 PM  

@Anonymous 9:55 AM your explanation is much appreciated... the technology (smart phones) as well as posting on a blog is quite new to me... thanks for taking the time...

Anonymous 7:07 PM  

"piqued your interest"

not "peaked your interest"

Although I've noticed on this blog there is a movement to abandon spelling and grammar and the like.

abalani500 8:04 PM  

You win best comment of the day.

Nancy 8:20 PM  

It took me a while, @JoeDipinto (4:55), but I finally figured it out. Terrific!

Hartley70 9:11 PM  

Anonymous 7:07 PM, Oh man, mea culpa, head slap, duh, etc. What was I thinking? Simple answer, I wasn't. Thanks for the heads up and for correcting ever so politely.

Larry Gilstrap 9:18 PM  

I grew up listening to what has become DAD ROCK and most of it features good musicians and production, and personality. Fagin's voice and intonation are distinctive, as are Mark Knopfler's guitar riffs. The problem, some guys never move past an era. I loved the Eagles, but Hotel California, again? I listen to much new music and eclectic mixes, but not a lot of Pop. Also, rediscovering artists and recordings. DADs can handle being labeled.

Hartley70 9:18 PM  

Thanks @Lewis. I've been "Out to Lunch" all day.

Joe Dipinto 9:59 PM  

@Nancy 8:20 -- Yours stumped me the longest of all of them -- good work!

JamieP 10:51 PM  

Rex thinks too many puzzles are Atlanta, Trenton, Richmond, Odessa.

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

To get golf nerdy, the Women's U.S. Open is a USGA event, not run by the LPGA. Sure LPGA players compete in it, but their tour does not host or sponsor it.

It's a sticking point on the men's side that the four major tournaments are run by entities distinctly NOT the PGA Tour. The final major, the PGA Championship is run the the PGA of America which the PGA Tour (separate org.) split from decades ago.

rondo 10:22 AM  

What @anon 1:10 said about the LPGATOUR. As a USGA member I know that we host it and LPGATOUR members play in it, but so do USGA amateurs and other qualifiers that are not on the LPGATOUR. So the clue is inaccurate, if not wrong. I may have previously mentioned that 10 years ago or so I spent a night with a LPGATOUR member (who had missed the cut after Friday’s round). Turns out she was a real DRINKER. Yeah baby!

Got the gimmick right away up top with MARKINGS, so the others FELL into place with not much problem. No w/os so it must not have been too tough, though it also took me more than 5 minutes.

@Michael, it’s OK to be NONGAY, don’t look sideways at it. Am not offended by *ageism* in the DADROCK thing. Recently heard Steely Dan referred to as yachtROCK.

Am not at a place where I can call KIM Kardashian a yeah baby. FEELS wrong.

Given a YESORNO vote on this puz, I would say YES. Have a NICEDAY!

spacecraft 10:46 AM  

I love a surprise. Challenging?? I killed this baby! Sorry now that I didn't time this (I never do), but it sure seemed over in a hurry.

Right away in the NW I have 3 KINGS--but "THREE" won't go. What else? BAD/BELMONT starts it with an M. M__KINGS. I look at the clue again and there it is: the names printed one over the other like the constructors are elbowing me in the ribs--"Here, see? Acronyms!"

From then on it was sailing under a CLEARSKY. None of the fill gave me trouble. I never heard of DADROCK, but it's easy to envision the term. Actually, it's my son who's the Steely Dan fan--but I like them too. And I'm a hard Dire Straits fan; I think Mark Knopfler is easily one of the top 5 best guitarists ever.

As to DOD, I refuse to name the obvious 54-down. The candidates are all a famous person's daughter: Amber Tamblyn who was Joan of ARCADIA (a series, BTW, that was canceled WAY too soon), Katharine ROSS, and KIM. I'm going with ROSS. And a NICEDAY birdie on the mis-clued LPGATOUR.

thefogman 11:28 AM  

Unlike Rex, DADROCK was a gimme for me. And I'm surprised by his DIATRIBE against it since it has appeared in previous NYT puzzles. So why the rant? I didn't have too much trouble solving this one with the exception of the NE corner and the area surrounding TANGY. My one error was a spelling mistake. I had RAsORS instead of RAZORS. How GROSZ is that? I had COPpeR before COPCAR, RANsack before RANAMOK, assSURE before ENSURE and NOtGAY before NONGAY. I thought the cluing was rather clever. The theme, once discovered, provided an aha! moment which added to the enjoyment and made it easier to solve from that point on.

Can we all agree after last night's senatorial election that Alabama is now an APO-STATE?

Diana, LIW 11:40 AM  

Got Naticked at the XENON/GROSZ/AMENRA area. I mean, GROSZ?? Part of a zloty? Right.

And what did I say yesterday about memorizing the periodic table? Should listen to my own advice.

The theme made the rest of the puzzle flow fairly easily. Had "tarty" before TANGY for a while - didn't seem right...

Mr. W was a lifeguard in his younger days. Once, we were at a hot springs, just lolling around. A little girl started to splither about and show signs of distress, and in a split second Mr. W had her out of the water and into the safety of her dad's arms. Pure instinct on his part. Fortunately, no CPR required.

Off to read more comments.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 12:02 PM  


when he tosses ONEDOWN, YOUBET he FEELS like a louse.
He asks, “YESORNO, ARE EWE GHANA (pluck)?”
DON’TBE surprised at my POINT, your HUSBAND’S a SOUSE.


Longbeachlee 1:04 PM  

Diana, if you really need to memorize the periodic table, go for it. As for me, I'll cheat as a saner alternative

rainforest 2:38 PM  

Har. I dropped Pimlico into 1D and was off. Not, as it turned out. I kept thinking "Churchill Downs", "Belmont Park", and ... Needless to say, that start slowed me down by several nanoseconds.

Once I settled down and got APOSTATES, things went relatively swimmingly and I ended up liking the funky theme. I've been trying to think of a comment which uses the theme pattern, but it is hard! In fact, I give up.

Not counting Pimlico and stumbling over KABUL, this was a fairly easy puzzle which used some nifty clues and a creative theme to keep up the interest.

Diana, LIW 3:05 PM  

Hmm, @Longbeach - maybe I could just casually post the table on a wall nearby and then happen to glance over at it when these periodic clues come along - la, la, la, la. Then there's alpha, beta, gamma, delta...

Lady Di

thefogman 3:06 PM  

Mrs. TheFogMan informed me the laundry basin was plugged and the dishwater was backing up into it. She said: DONTBE INERT. This is what HUSBANDS are for. I deduced it had all the MARKINGS of a grease clog. So I LEADOFF to the basement with a plunger and a set of KNEEPADs. But the plunger was ineffective. It was real BAD. I was becoming a CRIER, a DRINKER and falling into a state of ENTROPY. Was this the ENDOR what? Would I need to call a plumber at Xmas time, YESORNO? I had no YEN for that! I had one WMD left in my toolbox. The drain snake - an OLDIE but a goodie. My trusty snake RANAMOK down the gooseneck and along six feet of drain pipe until PLOP!!! Yes MATES. YOUBET it feels good to hear that sound! The sludge was GROSZ and made me go EWE. But I ain't GHANA need to call the plumber after all.

leftcoastTAM 3:09 PM  

On the easy side of medium today, getting crunchier moving down toward BLT.

Theme was pretty transparent, made up of give-aways while throwing in BELMONT and ONEDOWN to boot, thank you.

PAROLEE didn't sound right for "Joint release", but there it was, and the GROSZ needed the G in TANGY cross instead of the first thought TAsTY and TArtY.

Is the "terse" DONTBE a sincere response to "I'm sorry" or a tart brush-off?

Had some fun with this. Thanks, Joel and Sam.

Wooody2004 5:32 PM  


Lost In Alabama

Can someone please explain Nancy’s 12:49 PM post and Mathgent’s 6:07 PM post? I have brain ENTROPY.

rondo 5:54 PM  



"So have I told you about my Model 9000 . . ."
"And my Model 900 . . ."
"And my Model 9-3 convertible . . ."
"Bought them all at auction . . ."

thefogman 6:52 PM  



Wooody2004 7:50 PM  

Thank you @Rondo !

xyz 12:50 PM  

Doing some old puzzles

US Women's Open is NOT a part of the LPGA Tour, it is a USGA event LPGA Tour pros may compete in, but must qualify


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