Ancient Balkan region / TUE 1-30-18 / Wisconsin city that's home to Lawrence University / Piglet producer / Japanese soup tidbit

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Constructor: Emily Carroll

Relative difficulty: Medium+ (slightly north of normal)

THEME: HOUSEBROKEN (57A: Like most pet dogs ... or a hint to this puzzle's circled letters) — circled letters spell out types of "houses" that are "broken" across two answers on different but adjacent rows:

The Houses:
  • A-F/RAME
  • RAN/CH
Word of the Day: MOW (25A: Part of a barn where hay is stored) —
  1. a stack of hay, grain, or other similar crop.

    "the hay mow"
    • a place in a barn where a stack of hay or grain is put. (google)
• • •

Quick write-up today, as Tuesdays are bonkers for me this semester. I like this theme idea. My main question is whether stepping the houses up or down like that really suggests "broken." To me, they are SPLIT-LEVEL houses. The letters are actually contiguous, so they don't look so much "broken" as two-tiered. It's possible that a simple "broken across one black square" concept would've worked better, and then maybe another "house" could've been included. But I also think it works OK as is. The concept is at least coherent, and the execution is unusual—sometimes unusualness alone has merit.

I flailed in many parts of this puzzle. Let's start with AM TOO for AM NOT (god how I hate the "playground retort" variety of crossword answer—has anyone ever used NUH-UH! in a grid; it feels more authentic than some of the stuff passing for playground retorts). And then ADMAN for ADREP (should've seen that coming, what with "Men" in the clue) (34D: "Mad Men" type, informally). Totally forgot there was such a thing as a hay MOW. If you ask me for the [Part of a barn where hay is stored], I'm going to offer LOFT and then when that's wrong I'm going to fold. [Feeling down] is SAD, to me, not ILL. Wrote in I GOT YOU! instead of I GOTCHA (wouldn't you just say GOTCHA!) (10D: "Ha! You fell for my trick!"). Finished up somewhere around KALAMATA, which is crossed by two answers that drove me nuts: THRACE (which drove me nuts 'cause I totally forgot it existed and would never have associated it with the word "Balkan") (33D: Ancient Balkan region), and KEYHOLE (which drove me nuts because I tried EYEHOLE and then after NYY went in I tried SPYHOLE ... clearly looking through a KEYHOLE makes no sense to me because I live in the modern world where every KEYHOLE I know is essentially unlookthroughable ... or are those "slots" and "hole" is something bigger / older?) (43D: Peeper's vantage point). Fill on this one feels a little stale, but the longer answers are nice. Mixed feelings about this one overall, but it comes out in the black, I think.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Bagelboy 6:25 AM  

Hard part for me also. Kalamata-Thrace-keyhole. Had Spyhole for a while. Makes more sebse

Chris 6:29 AM  

This puzzle drove me bonkers. Especially in the centre, where I couldn’t think of anything for 39A (Something to shoot for) and couldn’t come up with any of the three crosses. Came in about 4 minutes over Tuesday average. I did enjoy the theme, though.

Lewis 6:30 AM  


This puzzle has a trove of lovely answers that made my heart smile: RHESUS, LEXICON, WREST, EPOCHAL, KALAMATA, SAHARAN, URBAN SPRAWL, THRACE, and PENNANT RACE.

The top flew; the lower half had a bit of bite. Like my dog Chester that likes to have his head petted, but sometimes nips at my ankles.

mathgent 6:43 AM  

I love to say KALAMATA. The emphasis is on the TA. At least that's the way my wife's Greek family pronounces it.

Can't get too excited about the puzzle. Which is discouraging because Jeff Chen makes it his Puzzle of the Week.

Mr. B 7:07 AM  

Ugh...I didn't realize I put down WELcH at 4A and had a heck of a time trying to figure out who the General was since I had cHER_AN. Didn't help that I never heard of a MOW as part of a barn. No way it was cOW, could it? Ran the alphabet but nothing worked. Finally saw my error at WELSH...and SHERMAN marched right in - and FINITO (had no idea that was he who said that).

Took a moment to understand the theme when I finished.
Stared at the circled letters and nothing came to mind until I noticed the broken RANCH...

I liked it...

QuasiMojo 7:09 AM  

I'm from one of those "keyhole countries." I guess OLAF isn't.

Easy, breezy. Had no idea what a Kalamata olive is. I tend to eschew those when dining out.

As a city boy, I think of a DUPLEX as an apartment. Or out in the country as a house with two apartments. I don't think of it as a house. But what do I know? People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, right? Unless they are Philip Johnson, I guess.

At least we didn't have a broken MANSE to set off a flurry of outrage.

kitshef 7:12 AM  

Felt in between a Wednesday and a Friday for me – ergo way challenging for a Tuesday. Bellum/PAX, KALAMATA, whatever the heck a MOW is, Theta/IOTA, APPLETON the obscure, THRACE, LOMA Linda, SEALE/PEELE … this just is not normal Tuesday material.

Constructor went on a major geography bender with A(rizona)SU, Llwynywermod, Waikiki, Japanese, SAHARAn, APPLETON, German newsmagazine, Greek olive, N(ew)Y(ork)Y(ankees), ERIN, EL AL, NOB Hill, LOMA Linda, CALI, Veintiane LAOS, THRACE, and PENN. I love geography, but this was over the top.

Hand up for spYHOLE before KEYHOLE for some reason.

Forsythia 7:19 AM  

Harder than average Tuesday for me, but fun as I figured spots out. I think other Southerners will find the SHERMAN quote a "gimme" as I did. Had to guess at the PEELE/ELWES cross with APPLETON a guess also. I never spell KALiMATA correctly so had to fix that, and EPOCHAL is ugly. But mostly it sped along as a Tuesday should with some fun moments. Thanks Emily Carroll!

George 7:25 AM  

ELWES??? Really? That L was the last letter I filled in, to complete the names of two people from movies I have never seen. I was thinking PEELE sounds reasonable, but ELWES?

Anyway, my first job at age 14 was stacking hay bales in a hay MOW, so at least I knew that one.

Overall a good puzzle for me, but I did;t get the theme until I read Rex

Hungry Mother 7:46 AM  

Had PENNeNT, so DNF. I told my wife it’s a;ways something obvious, but obviously I missed it.

Hungry Mother 7:54 AM  

Had PENNeNT, so DNF. I told my wife it’s always something obvious, but obviously I missed it.

Mickey Bell 8:02 AM  

I did not understand ATE AT as the answer to “Irritated no end.” What does that mean?

Two Ponies 8:03 AM  

I loved this. Lots of interesting words and quite a geography lesson.
I caught onto the theme about midway but the revealer still caught me by surprise.

Rex's definition of mow says it is North American dialect but I know a pub in Bath England called the Barley Mow. As to the pronunciation, well, I've heard it both as mow (the grass) and rhyming with cow.

Nice pairing of war/pax.

The phrase "lion's share" seems to have changed over time. I believe it used to mean All not just the largest part.

Someone chimed in late yesterday suggesting that the small, medium, large, and jumbo may have been eggs. Makes more sense than clothes sizes.

'merican in Paris 8:05 AM  

Wow, apart from bunging AM NOT straight in, my experience (and thoughts) was almost identical to @Rex's. Never heard of a MOW as a part of a barn, and also wrote in spYHOLE.

Did not see ATE AT as synonymous with "irritated to no end". An irritant annoys you, it doesn't eat at you -- that's what things that make you feel hurt or anger do (at least in my world).

Basically, the North played easy-medium to me, and the South medium-difficult. In the end I had to many possibilities for why I DNF, and when I clicked on reveal I had four wrong letters. Sheesh!

Liked the long answers but not the three-letter cluster-cr*p in the NW and SE, nor crossing PEELE with ELWES.

Barnyard question of the day: How now MOW SOW?

P.S., ALOHA @chefwen!

GHarris 8:05 AM  

Right in my wheelhouse, breezed through after correcting spy hole, nylons,and Thebes. Cali and Kalamata then fell in. Loved to see NYY; only two more weeks for pitchers and catchers.

chefbea 8:11 AM  

Fun kalamata olives!!! Hand up for never having heard of mow used that way!!!

Nancy 8:19 AM  

Same experience as @Lewis. Flew through the top, which I found pretty mindless, and then hit the SALSA section, where I put in SAmbA. Like @Chris, I wracked by brain for "something to shoot for," even though I had P-- (!) And the irony is that PAR is what I would shoot for, even though my chance of making it would be less than 0%. Whereas my golfer brother would, I imagine, try to shoot for birdie. Anyway, because of the middle of the right-hand side, the puzzle ended up with more crunch than it seemed like it would at first.

After I finished, I went looking for the broken houses. Yup. There they were. Bet the constructor had fun with them. They didn't make a dime's worth of difference to me.

ArtO 8:22 AM  

PEELE crossing ELWES??!! Total Natick (was it an L or S, no idea) . Otherwise, the very same first time errors as @Rex. Tougher than usual for Tuesday but pretty damn good theme construction and some ordinarily late in the week answers.

Hartley70 8:26 AM  

Okay, I'll bite with this puzzle. It was a fast solve and I didn't have any stumbles, but KALAMATA olives always make me happy. Those are the little purplish brown ones that are more oval in shape, @Quasimodo.

I really could not see what was going on with the circles until I hit HOUSEBROKEN. That was a pleasant surprise. I'm happy to learn the location of THRACE, another unexpected answer. SEALE might be difficult for Gen X solvers, but as an older boomer it was a voice from the past. Nice job, Emily!

Glimmerglass 8:27 AM  

Easy for me. KALAMATA are the only olives I like. I grew up with hayMOWS and KEYHOLES. Very few erasures (AMtoo was one), no blocked paths. I like @Rex’s write up today — a few (reasoned) gripes but no whining.

The Hermit Philosopher 8:37 AM  

Whaat? You never saw “The Princess Bride”? It’s a classic, starring Cary ELWES. Piece o’ cake for lots of us. 😊

The Hermit Philosopher 8:41 AM  

Yes: hay MOW. It’s pronounced to rhyme with “how.”

What’s up with Rex? Two calm, easy going, almost complimentary reviews in a row. Wow! Maybe he got that personality transplant after all. Or someone changed his meds.

Nate 8:42 AM  

This was one of those puzzles where I mindlessly entered a bunch of answers that were, in retrospect, not correct, but that seemed right at the time. This would end up wreaking having on my puzzle. I actually like it when this happens. It reminds me to slow down and verify my answers with the crossing words before moving on.

So, for example, in this puzzle I had "CFOS" instead of "CPAS" and "I GOT YOU" instead of "I GOTCHA", and that threw off so much of the right side of the grid. Also, I had "URBAN BLIGHT" instead of "URBAN SPRAWL."

On that note, I did not know that "urban sprawl" was a thing. Suburban sprawl, sure, but urban? Is that another word for gentrification?

RJ 8:42 AM  

Had the same experience as several people, including Rex, with admen, amtoo. I used to be good at spelling but after almost 35 years of marriage I've caught my husband's dyslexia so Ewles instead of Elwes. ATEAT always looks wrong...

Harryp 8:43 AM  

Quick solve, got KALAMATA from the crosses. 3 minutes faster than normal. Thanks, Emily Carrol.

Wm. C. 8:51 AM  

Was real hard for me, mainly in the West. As with others above, the Peele/Elwes crossing was impossible ... Inappropriate for a Tuesday puzzle. And ReadUp, Pelt, APPleton, and Sprawl did not help matters.

In principle, I like the idea of early-week puzzles being a bit more difficult than average, since the average for me just isn't challenging enough to be fully enjoyable. But having to resort to Mr. Google on a Tuesday just isn't right!

Mohair Sam 8:53 AM  

Fair, fun, and tough for a Tuesday. Guessed right on the ELWES/PEELE cross, have seen "The Princess Bride" enough that Cary's name must have stuck. ADman for ADREP cost a lot of time, also lost time trying to fit PENNrelays at 27D.

Big KALAMATA olive fans here too. Use them in the sauce for my pita burgers - to die for. But pitting the little bastards is a nightmare.

@George - Spent a couple of hot July afternoons stacking hay bales in the mow (as in "cow" @Two Ponies). Hell is probably cooler.

@Nancy - "Golf is a good walk spoiled" is attributed to both Twain and Churchill, but probably coined by neither. It is, however, true.

abalani500 9:05 AM  

@MickeyBell - if something eats at you it’s (apparently) irritating to no end

Teedmn 9:07 AM  

SAHARAN is not how one would describe the weather today, for me. All the Super Bowl fans who are trickling into town are going to be treated to typical January MN weather; little do they know that just last Friday it was 46 degrees. Saturday night's low is supposed to be 11 below - the people who signed up for zip-lining across the Mississippi might be ruing that choice!

This is a fine Tuesday theme - cute revealer, some nice EPOCHAL terms and mini-theme of WAR, including SHERMAN and the anti-bellum PAX. Maybe a bit tough for a new Tuesday solver but it was appreciated by me. The toughest area was watching PENNANT RACE develop while wondering if Penn State had some special fall event, PENN___TRACk? Never mind.

Good job on puzzle #3, Emily Carroll.

Blue Stater 9:28 AM  

A bad Natick at 35D/45A: two obscure given names crossing.

FrankStein 9:30 AM  

I only know CARY Elwes from "Saw" and "Another Country." Never SAW The Princess Bride. Is that the one with Julie Andrews in a tiara?

Count me among the very few (apparently) who thought Peele's flick, GET OUT was excruciatingly awful. I had to turn it off. Tired plot, "emoting" actors, beat-you-over-the-head theme.

Outside The Box 9:31 AM  

Leto crossed with Alito? Maybe they should switch jobs.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Release the memo.

Blue Stater 9:33 AM  

Sorry, not "given names" but "family names" or whatever the right term is for last names. And sorry, too, for having commented on this point after so many others did. I still think these names are vanishingly obscure.

Rex Parker 9:34 AM  

The ELWES / PEELE criticism is fair (thought PEELE is legit famous now, on several fronts, so you really should know his name, if only for puzzle reasons—my only hesitation there was: did he spell his name with two Es, or like Bobby SEALE, w/ an A?).


Z 9:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy 9:40 AM  

@Mohair (8:53) -- Are you familiar with sportswriter John Feinstein's 1996 book on the pro golf tour? He titled it A GOOD WALK SPOILED.

Apropos of that: A number of years ago I found myself playing tennis on a day so ridiculously windy as to be unplayable. I was cursing my fate to be out there at all, and my partner, a very laid-back guy, signalled me to the net. "Why not look at this as a challenge and try to enjoy it?" he suggested. "Because it's not a challenge," I replied. "It's adversity. And I hate adversity!" I paused for effect, then said: "If I liked adversity, I would have become a golfer."

Z 9:41 AM  

“I GOTCHA” is synonymous with “I heard you and understand what you mean” while “gotcha!” is synonymous with “Ha Ha, tricks on you.” So the 10D clue is definitely sub-optimal in my book.

@Two Ponies - I don’t really know, but I’ve always thought that “Lion’s share” was a metaphor for lions’ dining habits, i.e. eating their full and leaving the rest for the scavengers. So a “lion’s share” would be the LARGEST share including all the best stuff. If people have used it to mean “all” then I’ve misunderstood them.

@Stuart Showalter - Didja ever consider that maybe he liked these puzzles more than some others?

@Mohair Sam - And W.C. Fields. My personal quote is “I hit one good shot on every hole. It’s the other 8 or 9 that are the problem.” It is only slightly hyperbolic.

*The number of times I hit “a” instead of “shift” on my ipad keyboard is a non-zero number every day.

RooMonster 9:46 AM  

Hey All !
One letter DNF. ARGH! That MID part of the puz was a killer. PAX! CALI! THRACE! KALAMATA! Really?? And PAR stealthily clued. Managed to suss it all out, except I had a R for the L in CALI. Dang it! Use to work at an in-store deli that sold many olive varieties. But KALAMATA not in the ole brain archives.

The puz was good. Valid point of Rex's Split-Level. But the revealer was nice. With the exception of APPLETON/KALAMATA, all the themers are in the longer Acrosses. So that was good. Four @M&A's weeject corners, so he's probably happy. :-) Puz has 24 of those little guys. Not the LARGEST ever, but a tad high. Lots of nice answers otherwise, so that overlookable. (Making up words now. Why not?)

These past few Tuesdays have been pretty good.

HOW MOW brown SOW.

Glimmerglass 9:56 AM  

@frankstein. No Julie Andrews in the Princess Bride. Robin Wright plays the title role, but she’s no where near the best part. It’s my all-time best feel-good movie. When I’m feeling downhearted, I watch Princess Bride. Great cast, lots of funny lines. Do yourself a favor and watchman it (it’s often on cable tv stations).

Unknown 10:07 AM  

Wanted PENN relays for PENNANTRACE but I came up short. Which I would do if I competed in the Penn Relays.

RooMonster 10:17 AM  

Am familiar with both ELWES and PEELE names. How could you not know Wesley from Princess Bride? ;-) He was also the guy who cut his foot off in the movie Saw. And no one watched "Key and PEELE "? You guys need to watch more TV! (Here's my Couch Potato certificate.) :-)


GILL I. 10:22 AM  

Best Tuesday this year. Had lots of fun but got stymied hither and yon. Same little head scratcher with APPLETON PEELE ELWES. Didn't help me that I looked at all the URBANS having a blight, strife, decays and ghetto before the real SPRAWL reared its cabeza. I was tempted to google some of the many names but I thought I'd just soldier on like the good trouper that I am. Phew.
I've never met an olive I didn't like. Green, black, purple, filled with garlic, ham, eggs, anyway you want it I'll eat it. I always have a jar of KALAMATA's in my pantry in case some unsuspecting guest arrives. That and a good bottle of whiskey.
Anyway, I got to HOUSEBROKEN before all of the little circles had been revealed... so I'm actually looking for little puppies. Since I finished the downstairs portion first, CHALET appeared all nice and shiny. I smiled. What a cute and clever Tuesday says I. I even smiled at RAMEN NOODLE although that stuff makes me sad. Every time I was poor, I'd be reminded of the boxes of lonely Ramen. I think you could buy 10 for a dollar. Eggs and bananas were also cheap.
MOW was my last entry. Thank you @Two Ponies for the COW. I would've mangled that pronunciation as well. My brother had a farm in up-state NY with a Rockwell red barn. My sister and I spent lots of time in the loft just looking out that little window. There was a rope tied to the top and we were tempted to swing on it and hope to hit the hay.
Loved the "Mad Men" series but my mind wandered into the LUSH area. Drunk fit. Oh, right....AD REP!
Thank you Emily Carroll (love your name) for an enjoyable Tuesday.
Now I'm off to romp in the Tule fog that is bound to cause pile-ups all over the place because people are idiots and forget to put their car lights on and speed but get to work late anyway.

Mickey Bell 10:26 AM  

I see...but the clue is, “irritated no end.” Without the “to” it is meaningless. That cost me a ton of time.

Dick Veit 10:40 AM  

In some Southern dialects, "ill" can mean peeved or upset, as in "He was ill at me when forgot his birthday." Not exactly "feeling down," however.

Two Ponies 10:48 AM  

@ Z (and anyone with the time to care), Whether the lion's share is all or most depends on which version of Aesop you read. They're all pretty good with very similar morals at the end.

Between Aesop and Shakespeare nearly all aspects of human behavior seem to be illustrated. What wonderful insight.

Pwrw 10:53 AM  

@Z - The "Lion's Share" comes from an Aesop's fable. Brief recap - A lion and a few other predators join ranks to make a kill. Once it's made, the lion explains to all his partners why he's taking their share of the kill for himself. So (in the original, not common parlance) Two Ponies is right - the Lion's Share is all of it. It has nothing to do with leftovers.

Pete ( aka Pwrw) 10:55 AM  

Or, what Two Ponies said above. And, it's Pete, not Pwrw. In my defense, I had surgery on my left index finger this morning, so the typo is to be forgiven.

Thomaso808 11:04 AM  

Really good Tuesday puzzle — POW well deserved.

I can still get a smile out of my daughters if I respond to any routine request (Dad, please pass the salt.) with the great ELWES line “As you wish.” Sometimes I stretch it out for the rolling down the hill version. Then they roll their eyes and call it Dad humor.

Nancy 11:06 AM  

@Pete, aka Pwrw (10:53-10:55)-- That would be very, very funny if it weren't also very, very sad. But it's also very, very brave of you. Imagine putting yourself through all that just for the Rexblog! May you heal quickly.

John Child 11:06 AM  

Excellent Tuesday IMO. Last letter in was the L in the Natick, the most likely choice. I agree that the houses are more split level, but 10-letter words starting RAME are scarce. Rameses II, possibly some South Asian city, ... RAMEN NOODLE is far better.

jb129 11:14 AM  

Got the puzzle but not the circled letters until I looked at Rex's page so I guess I didn't get it. But anything puzzle with a dog theme works for me.

Masked and Anonymous 11:18 AM  

Feisty TuesPuz. Plus, it sports a primo Random Ramen Noodle. thUmbsUp.

@RP: yep. M&A's first thought: SPLITLEVELers! That one's sorta been done before. Randolph Ross once had a SPLITLEVELS revealer, for the two entries LEV and ELS. Glad U kinda liked this TuesPuz, despite the circles and it bein speed-bump-day.

Moment of Yike: CALI/THRACE/KALAMATA. Lost valuable nanoseconds. Was personally better off with the PEELE/ELWES/APPLETON area. M&A knows a few profs from Lawrence U. And me ever forgettin Cary ELWES's name is … well, in-con-ceiv-able. [Let's even throw in an ASU-wish, while we're here.]

staff weeject pick: NYY. Very very luvly grade-A-framing of the grid, usin the weeject stack corners motif, btw (yo, @Roomeister).

Thanx for the fun, Emily Carroll darlin.

Masked & Anonymo4Us
"Doin Personality Splits Since 2008"


QuasiMojo 11:19 AM  

@Two Ponies, don’t forget Homer, too. The non-animated one.

Rush Limbaugh 11:22 AM  

I'm a big fat hog who needs two seats in first class to sit comfortably.

Oldfatbasterd 11:34 AM  

I paused for effect, then said: "If I liked adversity, I would have become a golfer."

@Nancy is such a card!!!! Can't wait to see what she writes in the next 5 self-referential posts today!!!!

Chris 11:57 AM  

2 verses from Frost's "The Need of Being Versed in Country Things":

The barn opposed across the way, 
That would have joined the house in flame 
Had it been the will of the wind, was left 
To bear forsaken the place’s name. 

No more it opened with all one end 
For teams that came by the stony road 
To drum on the floor with scurrying hoofs 
And brush the MOW with the summer load. 

old timer 12:01 PM  

Easy but not to Easy. I had Igotyou before IGOTCHA too. And never knew that a hay MOW rhymes with COW and how, but it does.

I went on safari once. The lion(ess) downs the prey and eats all she wants and shares it with any small cubs she may have. There is room for other carnivores to grab a snack or two and the vultures lie in wait to pick the bones. In the end, not a scrap of flesh is wasted. The male lions usually hunt only when their mate is sated. Or they hunt in small packs were there is no lioness present. In a herd of wildebeest it is indeed the weakest who are selected for death. And once the lion is close enough the prey has no chance. Lions can run incredibly fast, but not for long. Whereas though your wildebeest is slower, they can keep up a fast pace forever, which is why they survive.

semioticus (shelbyl) 12:15 PM  

I love the effort put into this puzzle. Even though I didn't care for the theme that much, the bonus fill as delightful. Unfortunately, that came at a price and oh boy, that price was high: ASU DER MER MOW (what?) NOB (whaat?) PELT-PEST in very close proximity, LOMA, ELAL, CPAS, AMNOT, ETTAS, IGOTCHA (shouldn't it be gotcha?).

But yeah, interesting theme idea. Even if I don't particularly get it, I see where it's coming from and it's fresh. The bonus fill is awesome for a Tuesday. Some sparks in the clues, with stuff like "large body of eau". It wasn't as pleasurable as the recent lot for me, but still above par. NYT has been doing great lately.

GRADE: B-, 3.25 stars.

P.S.: Jeff Chen gave this one POW?! Wow. Either we're due for a really bad week, or he really likes broken houses.

Nancy 12:19 PM  

In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined such a devoted reader as you, Old Fat Bastard. Thanks so much for your seemingly insatiable hunger to read my words. To sit at your screen, day after day, hour after hour, and wait for them -- yes! yes! there's another one now!!!! -- even as they unfold. And then to quote them at length. What more could I ask? It's the very definition of what all writers live for -- a truly captivated, dare I say fanatical audience.

jberg 12:21 PM  

I'm trying to remember what Shakespeare said about people who check their phone all the time while you're talking to them. Maybe The Bard will check in and let us know.

I liked the puzzle and the theme -- once I saw the revealer, it was fun to go gack and try to get the theme answers; I could see all of them but A-FRAME

I grew up in NE Wisconsin, so Appleton was a gimme. In addition to a fine small university, it gave us the witch-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy.

I had the same problems as everyone with PEELE/ELWES. Believe it or not, I got it by misremembering hos the football player John Elway spelled his name. I'll take it.

I really liked the little knot of Us, Ss, and Ts down there in the SW, expecially OUSTS crossing WREST.

On the other hand, I'm also annoyed by clues like 4A, which give us all sorts of irrelevant trivia when all we have to know is that Llwynywermod is obvioualy a WELSH name. Too cute by half.

It's true that RAMEN (and soba, and udon) are cooked in a broth; but they are definitely not a "tidbit" floating in the "soup." The noodles are the dish. It was clear enough, though.

@Nancy, I don't know what you've done to that guy, but hang in there -- most of us love you.

Joe Bleaux 12:32 PM  

Nice Tuesday puz! Thanks, Emily Carroll. I'm surprised that so many posters hadn't heard of Peele. Besides his masterful "Get Out," the Key & Peele comedy team was as good as it gets. On my old Kentucky farm far away, we put bales of hay up in the barn's -- ready for it? -- hayloft. Mow was a verb. @Z, I agree on the nuanced "gotcha." @mathgent, thanks for sharing the Greek pronunciation of KALAMATA (although I'm embarrassed, recalling that I've often told someone how I love them kalaMAHta olives.)

Carola 12:34 PM  

Very nice Tuesday. I wish I'd been quicker on the uptake with the theme: I kept frying to unscramble the circled letters to get something approximating a HOUSE. Only after finishing and a few moments of staring did I spot the RAN CH and the rest. Well-hidden A-FRAME! Having grown up in a farm town, I was able to write in MOW without having to think about it, and as a "Princess Bride" fan, I knew ELWES. I liked the grappling going in the OUSTS-WREST corner and the SNOOP with his or her KEYHOLE.

@Thomas808 - Possible homage to the ELWES line in the first row? "AS U WELSH" :)

Mohair Sam 12:46 PM  

@Nancy - Loved your golf quip.

@Z - We should do a golf outing, we have similar games.

@Teedmn - Take good care of my Eagles fans up there.

Kimberly 12:49 PM  

Love the ongoing trend of pointing out the positive along with the negative. Sounds more like a legitimate critique, and creators are more likely to take in those suggestions for improvement. No hyperbole, no rant, just an awesome analysis with lots of good feedback. Loved it. It really does increase my own enjoyment of the puzzles and teaches me about what it takes to make a really great one; what works, what doesn’t, and why.

I hope this continues! Thank you for the great entry, appreciate the time spent.

JOHN X 12:55 PM  

I'll raise a glass in memory of THE KEYHOLE INN, a saloon that once graced the Clarendon section of Arlington Virginia. It's just a vacant lot and a memory now.

Stephen Minehart 1:11 PM  

Is "irritated no end" a typo, or do people actually say that. I have only heard "irritated to no end." As written it doesn't sound right to my ears, but maybe in other regions this is what people say?

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Obama's admin was the least transparent in history. Now dems want to carry on that legacy.

Bob Mills 1:33 PM  

Just ignored the circles and enjoyed solving the puzzle. Never thought about the theme. Guess I'm and old fogy.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Every day I thank God for Bill and Hillary Clinton and for the presidency of Barack Obama.

Stanley Hudson 1:44 PM  

@Nancy, great response to the most obnoxious troll on this blog. Hat tip.

He, or she perhaps, will tire and move on to something else.

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

@Old Fat and all your anons, You're King Shtwit so that disqualifies you from the daily award. In all your incarnations. Every day.

Aketi 2:03 PM  

Haha @Nancy you really do go in for the kill like a lioness. I feel the same way as you do about golf.

I missed the theme entirely today even though I had no trouble finding HOUSE BROKEN, I just didn’t notice where the deed was done. Perhaps growing up in a split level house contributed to the opacity of that connection in my brain.

I forgot as I rushed out the door this morning that my husband suspected our mini Lion of catching a mouse. If he did, I hope he actually did eat the entire share leaving no remnants. I’ve only seen one mouse since we got our first cat and she efficiently wiped out the mice that would climb up to our apartment from the bakery below. She would deposit her extermination work next to my sons x box controller and never eat a bite. Five years later I caught the two of them playing with an adolescent mouse and to my utter disappointment they let it go... only to find a nice decapitated present next to the door the next day. Sigh.

Girish 2:14 PM  

@Stuart Showalter 8:41 To “wrest” yourself away from your “pelts could be “epochal.”

Birchbark 2:21 PM  

@oldtimer (12:31), the same dynamic is in play, but reversed, with wolves (or other canine predators) and deer, especially in deep snow. The deer are much faster, but the wolves just keep following until they wear them out.

Girish 2:26 PM  

@Oldfatbasterd 11:30 AM Still waiting for you to say anything referential to the puzzle.

tea73 2:27 PM  

"The Lion's share" is an old folk tale in Somalia. The camel is divided again and again with the lion each time getting half of the camel.

pabloinnh 2:29 PM  

Nice to see so many "Princess Bride" fans here today. I highly recommend the book, which IMHO is even better. William Goldman seldom disappoints, he also wrote the screenplays for "All the President's Men" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", along with a lot of others. Pretty good resume.

GILL I. 2:42 PM  

@Joe Bleaux. You ARE pronouncing it right. It is kalaMAHta. I may not know my MOWs from cows but I do know olives. Perhaps @mathgent meant the emphasis is on the MAH?
@Nancy....Do like I. Picture the toad sitting on a toilet. Go ahead - try it. Now you get the picture of the fat bastard. . ;-)

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

Y'all going to watch the SOTU tonight?

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

Every day I thank God for the Black Lives Matter movement.

puzzlehoarder 3:38 PM  

The only entries I found unfamiliar were MOW and ELWES and both were very fairly crossed. PEELE has received a lot of publicity lately. SHERMAN, his quote and his march through Georgia are quite famous. I must not be in "The Princess Bride" demographic. The younger people at my first firehouse used a line from that movie, "You are great" as a catch phrase. They always spoke it with a Cockney accent. The little I've seen of that movie appealed no more to me than "Star Wars."

@Nancy, you are quite the troll magnet. They hate it when people enjoy themselves.

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

I'll probably skip the SOTU and read some analysis in the morning.

OISK 4:05 PM  

No a Peele for me. DNF on a Tuesday. Never saw Princess Bride, never heard of Jordan Peele, impossible cross. At least I am not the only one complaining about it. Elwes???? Never heard of Kalamata either, but got it from crosses. Saw the "broken homes" right away, but that didn't bring joy. Tuesday?? I haven't missed a square on a weekday in four weeks. It shouldn't bother me that much... I missed one entry in the cryptic puzzle Sunday, couldn't do the WSJ cryptic (same authors!) Saturday. Losin' it, on a Tuesday afternoon...

Seriously NOT a Tuesday level puzzle, with Thrace, Kalamata, Leto, NAS, Elwes, Appleton, Loma, but I'd have disliked it just as much on a Friday....

Unknown 5:20 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:50 4:13 1.15 80.9% Challenging
Tue 5:40 5:44 0.99 44.0% Medium

Man, am I sloppy this week. Yet another spelling error and missed cross at cALAMATA/cEYHOLE (43A/D). I'm still blaming it on this virus whose symptoms just won't go away. My solve time really should have been closer to 5:40, Medium NYT Tuesday (44.0%), so that's what I'm reporting for my relative difficulty rating. In reality, it took me almost a minute to find cEYHOLE in my submitted grid. I hate when that happens!

Joe Dipinto 6:24 PM  

I thought this puzzle was quite good, and the theme was well-executed. A pleasurable Tuesday entry, with lots of musical subtext:

I GOTCHA - song by Joe Tex;
WAR - Edwin Starr;
ALOHA OE - Hawaiian song;
PEEL(E) ME A GRAPE - Dave Frishberg;
(SUB)URBAN SPRAWL - contained in the lyrics to "Maxine" by Donald Fagen;
(RAIN AND SUN COME IN) AKIN - in the lyrics to Laura Nyro's "Stoned Soul Picnic";
and, of course,
a DUPLEX is one of the lavish gifts that Eartha Kitt would like to be dropped down the chimney in "Santa Baby."

No songs about KALAMATA olives that I can think of. "I Got A Gal In KALAMATAAH" comes close, if you use Mathgent's accentuation.

Joe Dipinto 6:26 PM  

Oh, and I forgot HANG ON, (HELP IS ON IT'S WAY) by the Little River Band.

Joe Dipinto 6:28 PM  


Kokomo Joe 6:29 PM  

Kalamataah! That's just north of me!

BarbieBarbie 6:44 PM  

"My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

@Jberg, I work there occasionally and Appleton still has a street named after Senator Joe. Hard to fathom. On the bright side, Harry Houdini also grew up there.

I wanted a pea shooter![red face]

Nothing could be hottah than a spicy Kalamata...

j-vt 7:27 PM  

I remember Thrace because of a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum:
That's the brute who raped my country, Thrace!
Pseudolus: He raped Thrace?
Philia: And then he came and did it again! And then again!
Pseudolus: He raped Thrace thrice?

Anonymous 7:30 PM  

@Rush Limbaugh
It wasn't funny yesterday and isn't again today. I'm the real Rush and own my own Gulfstream G550. BTW, what is 1st class? A--hole!

Laurie 7:38 PM  

Appleton not obscure to Lawrentians. 😊 very happy to see the clue.

Nancy 8:19 PM  

@jberg (12:21)-- Actually Shakespeare did say something "about people who check their phones all the time while you're talking to them":

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment...
Give every man thy ear...

On the serious side, thanks for your very welcome shoutout today. Thanks as well to @Mohair, @Stanley Hudson, @Aketi, @GILL and @puzzlehoarder.

nick strauss 8:21 PM  

Broken is a sad word. Broken hearted. Broken back. Broken... Never thought of house broken.

Anonymous 8:25 PM  

Anybody gonna watch the Super Bowl Sunday?

Anonymous 8:30 PM  

Every day I thank God for this blog.

Anonymous 8:32 PM  

I'll probably skip the Super Bowl and read some analysis the next morning.

Oldfatbasterd 8:35 PM  

As long as I have my daily quart of vodka and my pot and my benzos, I do just fine, thank you.

I defecate on all of you.

Anonymous 8:41 PM  

Can you say "petulant"? Dems.

Puzzled Peter 9:13 PM  

@Mr. B -
"... [Gen. W. T. Sherman] said 'War is hell' and what did he know? That eight ball never even left the states." -- "The Halls of Montezuma", 1950

You're welcome.

King Priapus 12:17 AM  

Every day I thank God for my genitals.

Rush Limbaugh 12:20 AM  

I'm still a big fat hog who needs two seats in first class to sit comfortably.

phibetakitty 12:19 AM  

Rex, do you really mean it when you say KEYHOLE makes no sense to you, or are you being funny? They are portrayed so often on pulp covers, both artistically (voyeuristicly) and as logos.

phibetakitty 12:24 AM  

Voyeuristically. At least I didn’t put artisticly.

Unknown 4:52 AM  

I did this puzzle from a print copy of the NYT in Singapore. The circles were completely missing! Did anyone else experience that?

rondo 9:53 AM  

Did not particularly care for it. That PEELE/ELWES L was a guess, and I’ve seen “Get Out”. At least a couple dozen threes and as OFL said, I was looking for split-level by the time I got to the revealer. And the RPR at 1d. And no real yeah baby so I’ll name ERIN Andrews.

Some folks see URBANSPRAWL as a problem, others as progressive development. What actually happens is subURBANSPRAWL, what someone who lives near the tallest buildings DETESTS, for some unknown reason. URBAN living is quite unnatural. I spent plenty of time in a hay MOW.

Love me some KALAMATA olives. If there’s a variety of choices I’ll head straight for the KALAMATAs.

Something else I don’t care for: the Saint Paul Pioneer Press seems to have stopped giving the constructor’s name on weekdays. I AMNOT in favor of that.

Another less than stellar Tues-puz, regardless of the constructor’s gender and OFL’s general approval, not up to PAR, IMHO.

rondo 10:02 AM  

BTW - APPLETON is where NFL teams stay when visiting to play Green Bay. The Super 8s and such in GB are apparently unsuitable.

spacecraft 12:12 PM  

DNBTF. I had the whole NW and N filled before I came to an actual uncapitalized WORD (TENOR, whose clue was yet another PPP)! Already I was groaning at 1-down with the RPR--and got it wrong, to boot. Even before that, there were the dreaded circles. That start was just too awful.

On seeing the completed puzzle with theme and revealer, I wish it hadn't started like that. Maybe I should never begin in the NW. I'm a whisker away from joining @I skip M-W.

Burma Shave 12:16 PM  


You know a SNOOP will USE
tools the WREST of us DETEST.
Just ask HOW ERIN Andrews
feels about the “KEYHOLE” PEST.


Diana, LIW 1:43 PM  

Even after discovering that there was a "theme" I didn't see it. Twice in the last week.

Other than that, it was fairly easy for me. But I'm still in awa of constructors. YOU try to make one and get it published!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 3:18 PM  

Pretty good Tuesday theme with a little twist. Required step up or step down to read the BROKEN HOUSEs.

KALAMATA? Okay, but needed crosses. And the usual question of whether it's ERIN or Eire, but, again, crosses will choose.

Liked it.

rainforest 3:20 PM  

I found this puzzle to be up a tick in challenge for a Tuesday, and enjoyable to boot. Some people focus on the number of three-letter answers. Me? I hardly ever notice.

Saw the theme, more or less when I wrote in SAHARAN and RANCH consecutively, and then checked out the A-FRAME, thinking this had something to do with houses built on a seismic fault. HOUSEBROKEN works well as a revealer.

The only KALAMATA olives I've seen are not little; they are pretty large, and always very good, for those who like olives, especially in a gin martini.

I thought "Get Out" was a little weird, yet with a message, but the movie about the fish man definitely wasn't the "Best" picture. Mudbound (which wasn't even nominated), and Three Billboards were better...of course, in my very humble opinion.

I'll bet the the first time a playground retort was clued there wasn't an outcry. The only problem is that they seem to be limited to "are too", "are so", "am not", etc. There are lots of others I'd like to see.

leftcoastTAM 3:50 PM  

@rondo -- The real "yeah baby" today is the constructor, Emily Carroll. You can see her over on Jeff Chen's xwordinfo blog if you're interested.

wcutler 4:29 PM  

@GILL I. 2:42 PM and @Joe Bleaux and @mathgent, the English pronunciation is kalaMAta, but if mathgent says his Greek inlaws say kalamaTA, we can believe him. On, I found no Greek pronunciation, but the Turkish pronunciation submitted is kalamaTA. Everyone else submitted kalaMAta.

I found this fun, but didn't catch on to the gimmick until I was all done (except for the "L" in that natick). You could consider two of the theme houses "broken down". Well, "broken up" works for the others.

wcutler 4:31 PM  

Well, there were a few kaLAmata too, but almost all were kalaMAta.

rondo 7:22 PM  

@lefty - you may have something there

Unknown 8:31 PM  

@rondo -- A near Ava Gardner look-alike, wouldn't you say?

leftcoastTAM 9:13 PM  

@rondo -- Uh, I mean @leftcoastTAM, not his avatar, Tom...whoever.

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