German state or novelist / TUE 11-28-17 / Receptacle carried to crime scene / Wallace's partner in claymation

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Constructor: Andrew J. Ries

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: U-TURN (29D: Often-forbidden maneuver ... as hinted at four times in this puzzle) — names of four U-niversities make literal U-TURNs four times in the grid:

Theme answers:
  • PRINCETON (north)
  • CAL TECH (east)
  • NOTRE DAME (south)
  • CLEMSON (west) 
Word of the Day: MILA Kunis (32D: Kunis of "Friends With Benefits") —
Milena Markovna "Mila" Kunis (/ˈmlə ˈknɪs/; Ukrainian: Міле́на Ма́рківна "Мі́ла" Ку́ніс; Russian: Миле́на Ма́рковна "Ми́ла" Ку́нис; івр: מילה קוניס‎); born August 14, 1983) is an American actress. In 1991, at the age of seven, she moved from the USSR to the United States with her family. After being enrolled in acting classes as an after-school activity, she was soon discovered by an agent. She appeared in several television series and commercials, before acquiring her first significant role prior to her 15th birthday, playing Jackie Burkhart on the television series That '70s Show (1998–2006). Since 1999, she has voiced Meg Griffin on the animated series Family Guy. (wikipedia)
• • •

I think I just achieved my best wrong answer of the year. It occurred in the only part of the grid that offered any resistance—the SE.  For some reason, after absolutely torching the rest of the grid, I got bogged down on the entire area fenced in by (and including) the answers RULE and ESE (RULE was way more general than 41A: "No shoes, no shirt, no service," e.g. (which is actually a couple of rules...) implied, and degrees-on-a-compass clues are never going to mean anything specific to me). Then, because I went with "N" instead of "S" in the damn compass clue, and couldn't see SPEECH (52A: Crowd chant to an award honoree). I eventually had to build that corner from the bottom up (I was lucky enough to know all the names down there). But before I did that, when the far SE was empty I tried—and failed—to drop that long Down (31D: Substance that decreases purity) into that corner. After slashing some Across answers through the top of it, I had the ADULT part and decided that the [Substance that decreases purity] must be ... an ADULT MOVIE. Me: "Well, 'substance' is weird, but ... maybe?" No, maybe not, but three cheers for epic wrongness. SPEECH! SPEECH!

The worst moment was RULE crossing RISE, mainly because I just did not understand how RISE fit the clue (41D: Opposite of set). And only Just Now did I get it. Literally, as I was typing that last sentence, I got the sun rise / sun set opposition, which is hilariously obvious. I went from not understanding it at all, to imagining it had something to do with baking. Wow, yeah, that SE corner was an entirely different experience than the rest of the puzzle, which I don't remember at all, so fast did I cruise through it.

  • 51D: Costume that might involve two people (MOOSE) — so ... a costume literally nobody has ever worn except maybe parts of Maine and rural Canada? That "costume"? What a horrible, not-at-all real-world clue. I've seen two-person horses, I've seen two-person cows. MOOSE, no. I had GHOST for a few seconds.
  • 70A: Singer of the 2012 #1 hit "Somebody That I Used to Know" (GOTYE) — it is very weird to me that, five years after his 15 minutes, this guy seems to be showing up in crosswords more than ever. Definitely worth retiring, especially on early-week puzzles, until his fame is more ADELE- or ANKA- or even Irene CARA-esque.
  • 9D: Paid part of a magazine (PRINT AD) — fair enough, but it's a "magazine," so my first thought is just AD. Then I was thinking something specific in a magazine ... something like WANT AD but not WANT AD. Anyway, it wasn't hard to come up with, but it reminded me how ubiquitous and annoying the entire language of AD-vertising is in crosswords. ADMAN. ADREP. Blargh.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:47 AM  

@rex -- Exactly the same regarding SET. Totally flummoxed me, but when it finally came it was a huge d'oh.
@M&A -- That middle section has U written all over it.


With today's puzzle, Andrew hit the cycle -- that is, has published a puzzle every day of the week -- in his first seven puzzles. No constructor has done this in the Shortz era. Congrats on that, sir, and on a pleasing-to-solve puzzle that is the first Tuesday in a long time, it feels like, that hasn't incurred the wrath of OFL.

I liked the conflicting cross of NO TELL and ORAL. Regarding the cross of GOT YE and COMEY, I flashed on a certain EXEC saying the former -- pronouncing it as it looks -- it to the latter.

Sluggo 6:57 AM  

This is what flummoxes me about Rex and other intelligista. He can probably run circles around me with his knowledge of 16th century Elizabethan literature, but is confounded on how a compass works? Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t that knowledge that people glean from just living... and paying attention.

For OFL... there are 360° in a circle, and hence, also a compass. East is 090°, South is 180°. Therefore SE would be halfway (45°) between the two. 135°. ESE (The East side of SE) is halfway between E (090°) and SE (135°). 135 + 90 = 225. 225 / 2 = 112.5. ESE is 112.5°.

Never let this stump you again... :/

Two Ponies 6:59 AM  

Cheer on.
Start on.
Print ad.

How do I hate thee?
Let me count the ways.

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

I came here only in hopes that someone would explain RISE to me.

Golly gee, do I love the internet.

Passing Shot 7:12 AM  

@Sluggo — sorry, but your explanation of the compass was more confusing than anything else. Let’s just acknowledge that each of us have our own “wheelhouses” and let’s not disparage those who don’t share our own.

Passing Shot 7:13 AM  

“...each of us HAS...” Oof.

kitshef 7:22 AM  

Yesterday’s theme looking pretty good now, hey?

I have gone as a (one-person) moose for Halloween.

It would have been so easy to change 13D to SLOG and 19A as TACO, yielding PACA for 12D. Is that too much to ask?

kitshef 7:27 AM  

If I have done this correctly, profile pic should now show the partial moose costume.

Teedmn 7:28 AM  

I'm afraid that I solved a la @Nancy today - ignoring the little circles. They weren't helping the solve and were unclued so....But the theme works just fine as a U-TURN.

So where does one go to find a tell-all motel? Somewhere on a TRADE ROUTE?

The clues weren't ha-ha funny but some were fresh - MOOSE clued as a two-person costume and a charley HORSE, SPEECH as a crowd chant. Recognizing the RITEs of passage of shaving or getting a training bra.

Nice work, thanks Andrew.

Teedmn 7:34 AM  

@kitshef, nice MOOSE!

Elle54 7:37 AM  

Oh I get it! U---niversity turns!

Hungry Mother 7:38 AM  

Had ADULTERANd for a while. Otherwise, no problem. Also a slight problem with the orientation of NOTREDAME, who went for the tie against MSU in 1966. Hold a grudge? Me?

chefbea 7:40 AM  

Got the U-turn in the middle but didn't understand why they were all colleges....Rex explained ..universities!!!

Never heard of Gotye...but am thankful for aspic and mooshu pork!!!

GHarris 7:55 AM  

This was an enjoyable romp. Knew most answers and what little I did not know was readily inferrable. Theme was easy and added little. Don’t see the relationship between upturns and universities other than they both begin with a u.

GHarris 7:59 AM  

I wrote u-turn but auto correct had its own thoughts.

The Hermit Philosopher 8:02 AM  

Uh, why is that any better? What’s wrong with SLAG/TAPA in the first place?

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

The Berkowitz's wore a moose costume.
Did not end well for them...

The Hermit Philosopher 8:04 AM  

Hate? HATE??? What’s wrong with CHEER ON, etc. where is it written that such answers are to be loathed?

Don Covay 8:07 AM  

I Was Checking Out...And She Was Checking In.

The Hermit Philosopher 8:07 AM  

Yes. An enjoyable romp! Even Rex/Michael didn’t loathe it. He actually showed some respect, in fact. A red-letter day in RexWorld.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

@Sluggo, You made my day with "isn't that just knowledge that people glean from just living... and paying attention."

I'm a person who doesn't pay attention. Example:

Found a dead rabbit in the yard last week, obviously killed by a predator. He was frequent visitor, someone's big slow, escaped pet who had recently mowed down the winter crops, but we had a relationship and there was no grudge. Also, I admired his pluck. The property is fenced and gated so I couldn't figure how anything could big enough to do him in could get in.

Yesterday, driving home in the dark I thought I caught a flash of either a large dog or a small deer, and then thought coyote? Killed the rabbit? Of course not. They're scrawny. But that started the thought of what kind of damage a larger jawed animal would do to a rabbit (a great deal) versus a raccoon (the current suspect). Internal blah, blah, blah ... had to be a raccoon. Minor damage, more claw like than jaw like.

Meanwhile, a pack of coyotes could have run past with dead rabbits hanging from their jaws and I wouldn't have noticed because as usual the action was all "up in my head."

Thank God for the physical world people who pay attention and I'm glad I married one, but it does take all kinds.

Fun puzzle, easy, and cleverly constructed.

Patri15 8:21 AM  

Sun or moon. Rise and set

golfballman 8:29 AM  

Hungry Mother Amen. MSU

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

Mounted at the NYAC. And the joke’s on them cause it’s restricted.

Nancy 8:34 AM  

After finishing the puzzle, a puzzle that left me completely cold while working on it, I decided to try and see what those tiny little circles were all about before coming here. So I looked at the revealer, and then I looked at the tiny little circles, and I said "Aha!". I saw the various universities making their various turns and I realized that the puzzle was an absolute masterpiece of construction. But, once again, it was an after-the-fact realization and it had nothing whatsoever to do with my solving experience. It seems like such wasted effort to me: the enormous skill it takes to pull something like this off and the absence of pleasure it provides for the solver. It was a challenging puzzle, all right -- but for Andrew J. Ries, not for me.

Z 8:34 AM  

A fine puzzle. Was not flummoxed by the set/rise issue because I didn’t have a clue initially and then filled it from the crosses without wasting a single thought on it. Too bad, because that’s a nice clue/answer pair.

NO TELL motel AFLAME leading to an EVIDENCE BAG, our own litttle noir movie in the making in the NE.

@Sluggo - First, if you’re solving the NYTX you are a de facto member of the “intelligista.” Welcome. Second, stick around the commentariat long enough and you’ll stopped being amazed by smart people’s pockets of ignorance. There’s all kinds of stuff we know but even more we are yet to learn. Third, excessively detailed clues are often elided while solving. I could be wrong, but that’s how I took Rex’s statement, “I’m not going to stop to think about where the degrees are on a compass rose.”

@Lewis - Thanks for the Ries info. I wonder how many others have hit for the cycle in their first seven puzzles. In baseball parlance that would probably be called a “natural.” If anyone is looking for a different kind of challenge I highly recommend Rie’s Rows Garden puzzles.

Mohair Sam 8:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mmorgan 8:39 AM  

I was expecting Rex (or someone here) to raise the question of why these four (random and arbitrary?) universities, arranged in this way. And if these four, should Clemson be in the "south," CalTech in the "West," etc.?

newspaperguy 8:40 AM  

In one of Woody Allen's best stand-up comedy bits he ends up taking a moose, which he hit with his car, to a Halloween party. The moose came in second for best costume. The Moskowitzes, dressed up as a moose, took first prize. The moose was furious.

QuasiMojo 8:41 AM  

I kept thinking of Kenny Chesney with that "no shirt, no shoes" quote.

Maybe Rex needs to listen to Fiddler on the Roof more. "Sun rise, sun set..." And Rex, you left out "ad nauseum."

Tricky Tuesday with a truly bizarre theme. Yet,no griping from me today. I've decided it is pointless to complain.

Years ago when I lived about two hours north of NYC, I saw a real live moose on the side of the road. It was enormous and looked right at me as I whizzed by. I thought I had imagined it but the next day there was an article about it in the paper since it was so rare a sighting in that area. Apparently it had swum down the Hudson from the north country, perhaps looking to mate or just hungry. Sadly it was killed by a truck on the NY State Thruway. For any of you literary folks out there, I highly recommend Elizabeth Bishop's masterful poem "The Moose."

newspaperguy 8:42 AM  

Oh, right. It was the Berkowitzes! Not sure what the Moskowitzes wore!

QuasiMojo 8:43 AM  

Oops, I meant "ad nauseam" -- my bad. Or "mea culpa."

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

Does anyone know a good app or program to take a crack at creating a puzzle?

Mohair Sam 9:04 AM  

This was a tough Tuesday for us because we had to fill every letter of several clues (GROMIT, ASTRA, GOTYE, MILA) and the long downs didn't come quickly as the often do on Tuesdays. But no complaints at all, actually made the solving experience more fun - crosses were fair and very little junk.

Sadly, Rex is right. I googled and found that Mr. Ed costumes have 9 times as many results as Bullwinkle costumes. Proof that the problem with America is that it has a lousy sense of humor. Speaking of sense of humor - we chuckled picturing @Nancy "the camper" tackling the compass clue. Sans puzzle partner I would have sat here for three years before getting ASPIC at 1A. Don't know GOTYE, but do remember Julio Gotay - utility infielder for the ASTRo's in the '60s.

@Newspaperguy - I do remember that Woody Allen routine, it was funny as hell - and fully justifies 51D.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Yeah, except that PRINCETON is east, CALTECH is west, etc., etc., and the theme has nothing to do with filling the grid.

ghkozen 9:15 AM  

Im 30, and Gotye is a gimme. Got it with no crosses. In contrast, have never heard of Irene Cara, who Rex flouts. Its strange that for all his carping about wanting grids to be modern, he then dings modern answers and instead requests people who were only tangentially known forty years ago.

ghkozen 9:16 AM  


FrankStein 9:26 AM  

Irene Cara won an Oscar. She was hardly known "only tangentially."

Nancy 9:33 AM  

You're right, @Mohair -- I couldn't have figured out the compass clue. But it's not just the fact that I'm not a camper. That just scratches the surface. My sense of direction is hopeless. My ability to visualize a map is nonexistent. Put a map in front of me and I sort of know where everything is. Take the map away and -- poof -- it all disappears. Not the next week. Not the next day. No, the next NSEC. (There is something in my brain that should be working that obviously isn't.) Fortunately, the puzzle was so easy that I didn't need to figure out the compass clue. I got it from the crosses.

@newspaperguy (8:40) -- I don't remember that routine, but it's absolutely hysterical as you describe it. I'm going to YouTube now to see if I can find it. The Woody Allen routine that I do remember was the one where all his appliances ganged up on him and he accused the elevator of being anti_Semitic.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

The sun doesn't rise or set. WTF has happened to science.

Lewis 9:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 9:41 AM  

@kitshef -- Hah re PACA!

Kinda cool that NOTRE DAME is making a South Bend.

Lewis 9:43 AM  

And, please, do not think that my earlier comment about a certain EXEC saying GOT YE to COMEY constitutes an endorsement in any way of said EXEC.

Wm. C. 9:45 AM  

@Sluggo -- Sad to say, I did the same thing on ESE, first writing in ENE. I knew it was saw it was a half-quadrant (22.5deg) off 90 degrees, then sloppily forgot it was greater than 90, so it had to be ESE. My bad! (But SPEECH showed me my error.)

A Nit: Princeton, Notre Dame and Clemson are all Universities in their full proper names, as well as in their roles. But CalTech (California Institute of Technology) is not a University by name; it's an Institute.

jberg 9:49 AM  

As John Milton used to put it,

That strain I heard was of a higher mood-
But now my TOAT returns.

Good to see you, old friend!

I could see almost right away that the top U had to be Princeton, but didn't know why. Once I got the revealer the others were almost too easy.

Oh, right, moose costumes. Here are a few, none involving two people, though.

mathgent 9:50 AM  

@Nancy (8:34): That's exactly how I feel. Admirable feat by the constructor with no payoff for the solver. Still, an OK Tuesday puzzle.

I learned something (I think). It seems that in giving a compass reading, you measure the angle going clockwise from north. That's different from how you measure angles in mathematics. In mathematics, you go counterclockwise from east.

Aketi 10:14 AM  

@Nancy, I was a CAMPER and can usually do OK by memorizing land marks, but compass positions are a challenge. I can't tell my left from my right so up go the hands to remind myself which side is the L side. I have to find the sun and remember where is RISEs and sets and then connect west and east to left and right. I love GPS.

As for the University TURNS in the puzzle, their positions clearly had no relationship with actual geography.

Since only the EAST was included in the puzzle, the north, south and west should be up in arms about their exclusion. Haha, eastern bias.

Joseph Michael 10:19 AM  

Realized early on that the sets of circles spelled out the names of colleges, but couldn't figure out why even after I had completed the puzzle. Finally realized what the U was all about after visiting Jeff Chen's site and had an aha that made me like the puzzle more than I did while I was solving.

Liked the NO TELL motel and the clues for SLOW MO, SPEECH, PARIS METRO, MOOSE, and RISE which all made me think a little harder than usual. But put me in the CAMP of those who hated the compass clue.

Have to thank crossword puzzles for my vast and ever-increasing knowledge of OSLO.

I wonder if COMEY will end up some day iin MADAME Tussaud's Wax Museum. I'm pretty sure that GOTYE won't.

RooMonster 10:40 AM  

Hey All !
Had horse for the two-person costume, until I ended up with TrR_ for the Lawn Mower. Changed it to TORO, thereby seeing MOOSE (a two-person costume? Why not clue it as Rocky's partner, or some such?). Then, lo and behold, there was HORSE in the NE! Funny when that happens.

No one's pointed out MOOSE and MOOSHU, MOOS starting each. We have PEPE and PAPA, ARAB and ADAM. Just pointing out stuff, nothing negative. (Hey, did that sentence qualify as a Double Negative?)

At least we have the whole UTURN, not a UIE or UEY. Also, a big Har in 6A clue. ;-P

So, a nice TuesPuz. Congrats to Andrew for a historical Cycling, I'm jealous!


TomAz 10:45 AM  

I'm with @Sluggo on the points of the compass thing. For some reason illiteracy is seen as a national shame but innumeracy is accepted with a laugh and a shrug.

This puzzle was good. Fun and enjoyable. I didn't get the RISE / set thing either. I filled it in from the crosses but I thought it was a contrast between a cake rising and pie setting. D'OH.

jb129 10:52 AM  

Agree - 41D: Opposite of set=rise was just awful.

Masked and Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Superb TuesPuz. Not quite sure what @RP thought of it, for one of the first times ever.

Had some nice long-ball desperation, in order to keep them universities turning over: PRINT AD. ADULTER ANT. NL EAST. START/CHEER ON. A FLAME. But, hey -- overall fill was pretty decent, considerin what the [highly praiseworthy] theme was tryin to accomplish.

Due to subliminal conditionin, I too almost went with "Come to PACA!" for my gambler's cry. (yo, @kitshef)
staff weeject pick: ISS. Honrable mention to VAS. As in: VAS ISS wrong vith a MOOSEsuit, Herr @RP? (yo2, @kitshef)

@Aketi: U made a mighty impressive avatar, thar. Congratz.
Better GOTYE clue: {"___ to a nunnery" (Hamlet followup confirmation??)}.

Thanx, and congratz, Mr. Ries. U do a good week's worth of work.

Masked & Anonymo9Us*

* 5 lil darlin U's, plus 4 major bo-hunk U's.


GILL I. 11:14 AM  

When you're gambling can't you also say "Come to MAMA"?
I remember my first shave. I used my PAPA's Gillette razor. I think I was about 11 and took off half of the skin on my legs. Toilet paper doesn't stem the bloody mess. I don't think I ever wore a training bra. RITE.
Well, I found the puzzle a bit on the hard side. Didn't know what was happening, didn't know GROMIT LILI GOTYE and for some reason, my free-for-all was the old puzzle staple RAREE. Finally fixed MELEE and saw the PRINCE but missed the TON. What a roundabout way to get this theme I said to myself.'s a UTURN. Hah...but a bit of a let down because I didn't appreciate the theme until I was finished. I like to like along the way - rather than at the tail end.
I've always wondered why you dress to the NINES and not to the TENS. Is there some sort of difference?
What a way to clue MOOSE. I've only seen one. It was somewhere in Canada. They are mighty big and pretty majestic. I don't know why anyone would kill it. Is their meat any good? Or you shoot it for your trophy room? LETT FUR RULE.
ASTRA la vista.

Loren Muse Smith 11:21 AM  

Nifty little trick. The aha moment was satisfying. I’m always surprised to read that people ignore circles when they solve. But there again, for me, it’s theme, theme, theme.

I agree about the mystifying MOOSE clue. I really, really liked it, though.

I also noticed STAR crossing ASTRA.

And, yeah, an ADULTERANT feels like a person frequenting a NO TELL motel. There’s a DIX RULE joke there that I’ll leave to ED.

@Z – I noticed the EVIDENCE BAG crossing PRINT.

The next part has nothing to do with the puzzle, so skip it and forgive me – it’s an update on some books that people here helped me raise money for…

A while back, a contributor here directed me to to start a project to get some books donated to my school. I took her advice, and thanks to the extreme generosity of lots of people here, I was able to get three sets of novels: The Education of Little Tree, The Glass Castle, and A Prayer for Owen Meany.

An update (about these kids who would happily chew off their right arm than read anything)…

The Glass Castle – we started the novel yesterday with my 3rd period, and a student, Megan M, stayed after class to ask if she could take it home with her to read ahead. (Two other classes are reading it with another teacher, so it’s not like we can just “assign” each kid their own book.) We decided that with 30 copies, we can let Megan take one home. That was a first – having someone wanting to read outside of class.

The Education of Little Tree - Three sophomore classes have begun this with another teacher, and they’re really into it, she reports. I decided to try it with a class of seniors I have, most of whom have an IEP (so they struggle with reading more than most). Brennan F is one of the most resistant readers I have ever had. Flat refuses half the time to even open a book or look at an article. (Spells very as vary. It was listening to him talk that I first heard the word agin actually spoken.) His interests lie far beyond anything in an English classroom. We were on chapter two yesterday, reading about how Little Tree and his grandpa trap six turkeys, and I noticed Brennan reading along. Then, then… when we stopped for the day and were kinda recapping, he was reading ahead.

These two occurrences would not happen with The Mayor of Casterbridge or The House of the Seven Gables. Or any of the other sets of novels we have, novels that are better suited for a different demographic.

I’m so very grateful to you. Thank you.

puzzlehoarder 11:57 AM  

I wound up with an average Tuesday time for a puzzle that was really Monday easy. Other than ASPIC, which I needed the A and the S to recognize the fill was Monday level. What caused the delay was a writing error when I tried to complete 21 A, with EVIDE____ in place I recognized EVIDENCEBAG. Unfortunately I focused on the word by syllables and put in DENCE instead of NCE. When there was no room for BAG I checked the downs to clarify what was wrong and became confused. I had PRID at 9D and 23 D starting with an E.

I just went back to the NW and filled in the area around CLEMSON with no problem but wasted time trying to find a connection between the school and the clues. Once I filled in UTURN I took another stab at 21A and that northern themer. I spotted my mistake and then finished the puzzle quickly.

Knowing that the themes were schools made CALTECH go in faster. NOTREDAME was a little slower because I didn't realize that all the themes read counterclockwise until after finishing. The relevance of the UTURN reveal to the themes only came to me with a moments reflection after solving.

I hate puns but it took a second for the RISE/SET connection to dawn on me.

No surprise that some of the older solvers have already forgotten GOTYE.

Dick Swart 12:14 PM  

U -Turns : a great gimmick!

Masked and Anonymous 12:18 PM  

@Lewis: yo … thanx for noticin the vowel respect aspects.

@muse: I also used the U-theme to my advantage in the (fairly easy + SE) solvequest. Got all the PRINCETON circles uncovered, which helped a lot with gettin some CLEMSON & CALTECH & NOTREDAME letters early-on.
Good for Megan & Brennan. Won't be long afore U can introduce them to xwordpuzs. [Get em started with a coupla yer own neat runtpuzs.]


Sam 12:34 PM  

I think Rex was referring to the fact that he never knows the precise directions between two cities (as is the case for me), which is how these are usually clued. But as far as today's directional clue, you would have had to know that north is 0° on a compass.

I knew that typically in mathematics, 0° is drawn to the right, and suspected that 0° wouldn't be east, so I skipped that one and went for the crosses there...

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

If Gotye wants more than 5 minutes then he should probably collaborate with Kimbra again.

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

I got NATICKed (on a Tuesday!) by the LILI/CALI cross. Other than that, the puzzle was pretty easy. Though I thought the fill got pretty dicey on the west side in the middle block. TOAT was spelled more correctly a little while ago as TOATEE. And crossing LETT is just confusing. I've never heard of LETT before, but I gather it's another name for a Latvian. Knowing they were looking for someone from Latvia was no help, though, and I just had to get it from the crosses (which at least were fairly easy once I stopped trying to say that "appropriate for all audiences, as humor" was CLEAN, not CLowN).

Molson 12:59 PM  

This theme is probably derivative from a Minnesota Crossword Tournament puzzle by Viktor Barocas where he had some answers as "Start of a U Turn" or "End of a U Turn" where the Us were different University of Minnesota campuses, which both made more sense as a theme set and affected the fill. Viktor's puzzle was also harder since the theme was very hard to pick up on and had harder clues/fills.

This puzzle was basically a themeless with some circles. Which I don't mind and is actually nice to have on Tuesday vs. a bad puzzle with a poor theme and awful fill.

Two Ponies 1:03 PM  

If curiosity killed the cat then I'm one dead kitty.
I had no idea if Gotye was a man, woman, or group so I googled.
He isn't as bad as I imagined but still just another soft pop song.

@ LMS, I am so glad that at least two young minds found some inspiration. These must be the moments you hope for.

Princeton Mom 1:06 PM  

Still no answer to why those 4 universities? After Princeton and Clemson, I thought tiger mascot. Another would have been LSU, but way too long to make a U-turn. Auburn Tigers? Irked by the lack of connection between the 4 chosen schools

KRMunson 1:12 PM  

I loved @Rex’s booboo with “adult movie” for “substance that decreases purity”. Made me laugh!

chasklu 1:40 PM  

Isn't the neighbor of an Estonian likely to be another Estonian?

Joseph Jakuta 1:52 PM  

Crossing NLEAST with E(AST)SE was hella lame. Surprised that wasn't mentioned.

tea73 2:06 PM  

I made many of the same silly mistakes OFL did, but somehow didn't manage to get adult movie! I had Kanye instead of GOTYE for quite a while, even though I was pretty sure it had to begin with a G. That name sounds vaguely familiar, but I suspect only from crosswords.

FWIW, I don't listen to rap or hip hop by choice, but I do enjoy listening to whatever clips I get as part of reading this blog. Some of them I even end up liking.

semioticus (shelbyl) 2:18 PM  

Good news, everyone: Tuesday puzzle slump is over!

Fill: The fill doesn't feel super fresh, but it is more than competent for a Tuesday. How? A low Scrabble score helps with the crosswordese, they don't come at you from the get-go. There's a LETT here and ESE there and TOAT somewhere but it is OK. On top of that, the themers are not the actual themers so you get some bonus long answers like ADULTERANT and PARISMETRO. The fill tricks you into liking it better than you should, statistically speaking. 19/25

Theme/long answers: It's been a while since I got a genuine chuckle out of figuring out what the theme is on a Tuesday. Moreover, the execution was solid. No inconsistencies, perfectly symmetrical etc. Way to reform a maybe trite theme idea into something solid. 21/25

Clues: This is where the puzzle could have used more herbs and spices. There was not one memorable clue. That doesn't mean they were subpar or anything, and they were OK for a Tuesday (good job with the degree clue for ESE which should be used more often) but that's about it. 16/25

Pleasurability: One chuckle, only one slight road bump at the NW corner (wtf is an aspic? A dickpic gone wrong?). Overall, a smooth ride, acceptable for a Tuesday puzzle. 18/25

TOTAL: 74/100, B+, 4/5 stars.

P.S.: When does GOTYE become crosswordese? In 5 years? I can sorta see that coming.

Joy2u 3:13 PM  

All the U-TURNS are counter-clockwise.
I suppose if this were a British puzzle, the 'EWIES' would be clockwise, no?
It might have been neater if their placement in the grid were in the xword 'tradition' of NSEW, but as soon as I saw what they were, and having a few letters to go on, it was very helpful to fill them in.
I like these early week puzzles because they don't take me all day (under an hour usually) and I can read the blog and actually comment before the day is over.

@kitshef 7:27 AM - HUGE in the antler department. You could have wiped out the whole room with just one spin.

((HUGS)) - joy

Z 4:05 PM  

@LMS - Cynical me, I read “meant for a different demographic” and I read “the dead.” Good to hear the books are being enjoyed.

@semioticus - I see you’re an optimist. There’s a reason for Tuesday being Rex’s most hated weekday and it’ll take more than one good puzzle to end the slump.

Lewis 4:08 PM  

... the Woody Allen moose monologue -- less than three minutes:

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

Until 10 minutes ago( having solved last night) I was pronouncing TOAT as TOTE. I've been wondering how that could mean " Perfectly". Finally had a delayed epiphany

semioticus (shelbyl) 5:15 PM  


You're right, maybe it is too early to call it an "end" to the general trend, but at least the two-game losing streak is over, and they were horrible losses. (And I love that website)

rtkelly 5:37 PM  

Couldn’t help but think of this:

Aketi 6:50 PM  

@LMS, I'm going to share your moment with the three teachers (one now retired) in my family because those moments are golden. I only taught high school for two years in Peace Corps, but it gave me a deep appreciation for the challenge of the job.

Joe Dipinto 8:49 PM  

@newspaperguy 8:42 -- weirdly, Stacy Moskowitz was one of the 1977 victims of David Berkowitz, a/k/a Son Of Sam.

Dawn 8:52 PM  

Yup, my sentiments exactly. No reason for why Universities (as opposed to any other U-words), why these very disparate Universities, with no relationship to their geographical & crossword locations. Good thing I almost U-niversally ignore little circles while solving. ;)

nick strauss 10:05 PM  

SPEECH stumbled but Aha! Never did bother with the U-turns, nice as an afterthought.

Adam 10:33 PM  

I enjoyed the solve and had no trouble with any part of the puzzle. But while I get the theme it didn’t really add anything to the solving experience. I mostly ignored it until I was done, since it wasn’t at all necessary to solve the puzzle. I don’t love that - but the puzzle itself was a lot of fun and the right level of difficulty for a Tuesday. Kudos.

Girish 10:47 PM  

A little over my normal (slow) time on Tedious Tuesday.
Like Rex, i like Fridays (at times, inventive clues for long answers.) 52across was my favorite clue/answer,
however unlikely in today's atmosphere. @Lewis 4:08 PM Thanks for your continued cheerful and topical contributions ��@LMS 11:21 AM Thank you very much for sharing your teaching/reading experience.
Semioticus (shelby) 2:18 When i went to school, 74 was a low C, but 5 pts. from. D+. @ Anonymous 9:34 AM Science is what has stopped the hard copy of your NYT from flopping on your porch shortly before sunrise. By the way, if the sun is directly overhead, which direction should you (apparently) move to keep it in the same position? (P.S. You can't see your shadow, then.) @ Anonymous 7:09 AM The congregation gets to "all rise" and then, they get to set.

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:39 PM  

@Shelbyl Glidden

It still is (or at least was a few years ago), but since grading on only four categories where the deviation is quite high can be extra punishing, I adopted a system with an A+ and the grades shift linearly. Basically 93-99 is A+, 87-92 is A and so on. It is a bit inflationary, but otherwise a puzzle that I quite enjoyed (like today's) would have gotten a C which didn't make sense to me. If it were a paper that I was grading, it would have gotten a B+. (I'm also counting on the fact that there won't be a lot of puzzles that blow my mind, so that's my way of grading on a curve on a rolling basis sorta kinda)

Blogger 6:04 PM  

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Burma Shave 10:34 AM  




thefogman 10:46 AM  

I fell into a TRAP and had sign before RULE - so that tripped me up a bit in the same corner Rex had trouble with. And just like Rex I also didn't understand the cluing for RISE (42E) until after completion of the puzzle - and a fair amount of head scratching. It's funny how we can sometimes be so oblivious to the obvious. I am surprised Rex didn't pounce on TAPA (19A). Isn't it almost always plural, i.e. TAPAs? Rex must be mellowing out on us. Aside from that, this puzzle contained very few ADULTERANTS which made it a most enjoyable one to solve. Not bad for a Tuesday I say.

rondo 11:14 AM  

Decent enough puz and way better than most Tuesdays, a VAS deferens you might say. And for those above concerned with institute/college/university - universities confer graduate degrees whereas colleges only bachelor degrees. So even though my degree is from the College of Saint Scholastica, it is technically a university, regardless of the name.

Bullwinkle mighta been a better clue for MOOSE and the costume for the HORSE.

GOTYE a gimme, but probably fated to be a one-hit wonder. Kimbra’s voice is crystalline on that song.

LILI, MILA and the always annoying Ms. RIPA all gotta be at least NINES, but give the yeah baby to MILA.

The syndie new year is off to a good start. How it continues there’s NOTELLing.

thefogman 11:48 AM  

I forgot to give Mrs. Foggy credit for helping me figure out the sun also RISEs.

spacecraft 1:16 PM  

Is the Tuesday bar creeping upward? This felt more like, I dunno, a Thursday. I started in the middle with UTURN, grateful that at least it wasn't UEY or UIE. Right away I thought, @M&A is gonna love this.

It took a while to figure out what was going on with the circles; put in MOOSHU but nothing more developed there. Filled my EVIDENCEBAG in the NE and finally saw PRINCETON; the jig was up. Going back to the west coast I got CLEMSON (sorry, guys, wait till next year). Weird, though: that's an east coast school, while CALTECH occupies the wrong coast for it. PRINCETON is in the north, fair enough, and NOTREDAME? Why, SOUTH Bend, of course!

GOTYE: gimme for some, a WOE for me. Forced in by crosses, it still looked wrong to me. So there really is a GOTYE. GOT me.

DOD is without doubt MILA. This was pleasantly crunchy for a Tuesday. Solid theme, well EXECuted, and dense-theme fill no worse than expected. Net: birdie.

P.S. My post yesterday came up "anonymous," I have no idea why. In case it does again, I remain yours truly, spacecraft.

Diana, LIW 2:16 PM  

@Spacey - I thought I recognized your voice, and location, yesterday.

I had this done but one letter for the longest time. Unsure of CALI and LILI - ironic, eh?

Just a "tech" on the "harder for a Tuesday" side for me - crosses were in my wheelhouse when answers were questionabl.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 3:04 PM  

Easy-medium with some notables:

Odd balls: MOOSHU and MOOSE
Suggestive impurity: NO TELL and ADULTERANT
Hidden in plain sight: RISE and set
Green Paint?: PRINT AD
Odd ball obscurity: GOTYE

Nice work by a hit-for-the-cycle constructor.

rainforest 5:01 PM  

So late as I was involved in the replacement of a 40-year old furnace with a high-efficiency model. The new one is one fifth the weight of the old guy. Tough work.

Hey, a nice Tuesday puzzle! Uturns theme is great. A creative way to clue a RCD. Some DODs and/or yeah babies for @Spacey and @Rondo, although Ms Ripa only qualifies when she's not talking. Sorry if I've offended.

I liked some of the longer words, and pretty decent, if straightforward clues, though a few exceptions there too.

I remember the Woody Allen bit about the moose - funny. He was a great stand-up comedian.

Diana, LIW 5:57 PM  

Odd - I saw my posted post in the comments form, but the ghost of New Year's present ate it.

@Spacey - I recognized your post yesterday. (When the ghost ate your name.

Medium for me - only had a hard time with CALI/LILI.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 6:19 PM  

@Rainy - Here's one Woody Allen's best standup skits. It's about Woody having trouble with his appliances...

rainforest 6:52 PM  

@thefogman - "My mother went out and bought one". Hilarious.

Michael Leddy 8:41 PM  

“No shoes, no shirt, no service" isn’t “actually a couple of rules.” It’s just one rule with two conditions: if you aren’t wearing shoes and a shirt, you won’t be served.

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