Cool giant sun / TUE 1-9-18 / Falcon rocket launcher / Game craze of late 1980s '90s / Intradermal diagnostic for short / Popular Belgian beer for short

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (fast but not whoosh fast)

THEME: MEET IN THE MIDDLE (39A: Compromise ... or a phonetic hint to this puzzle's circled squares) — types of "meat" (phonetic!) are embedded in the themers inside the circled squares:

Theme answers:
  • NORTH AMERICA (20A: Big part of the New World)
  • LIVE A LIE (24A: Present oneself falsely)
  • CLAMBAKE (51A: Seaside cookout)
  • STROBE EFFECT (56A: Flashing light phenomenon)
Word of the Day: some information that you won't remember on stellar classification (9A: Cool, giant sun (S-STAR)) —
In astronomy, stellar classification is the classification of stars based on their spectral characteristics. Electromagnetic radiation from the star is analyzed by splitting it with a prism or diffraction grating into a spectrum exhibiting the rainbow of colors interspersed with spectral lines. Each line indicates a particular chemical element or molecule, with the line strength indicating the abundance of that element. The strengths of the different spectral lines vary mainly due to the temperature of the photosphere, although in some cases there are true abundance differences. The spectral class of a star is a short code primarily summarizing the ionization state, giving an objective measure of the photosphere's temperature. // Most stars are currently classified under the Morgan-Keenan (MK) system using the letters O, B, A, F, G, K, and M, a sequence from the hottest (O type) to the coolest (M type). Each letter class is then subdivided using a numeric digit with 0 being hottest and 9 being coolest (e.g. A8, A9, F0, and F1 form a sequence from hotter to cooler). The sequence has been expanded with classes for other stars and star-like objects that do not fit in the classical system, such as class D for white dwarfs and classes S and C for carbon stars. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hello, solvers. It's early January, which means it's time for my once-a-year, week-long pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. To be clear—there are no major expenses involved in writing a blog. There's just my time. A lot of it. Every day (well, usually night), solving, writing, hunting down pictures and videos of various degrees of relevance and usefulness, chatting with folks and answering puzzle questions via email and social media, gathering and disseminating crossword-related information of various kinds, etc. It's a second job. My making this pitch means I'm all in for another calendar year of puzzle revelry with all y'all. I'm excited about the year. I've got my own crossword construction project I want to get off the ground, and I'm hoping to take a more active role (along with some crossword friends) in recruiting and mentoring new and aspiring constructors. But the bulk of my work will be the same as ever: I'll be here with a new post every single day. Solve, write, repeat. Despite my occasional (or, OK, maybe frequent) consternation with the State of The Puzzle, the crossword community continues to give me great joy, and I'm proud to run an independent, ad-free blog where people can find someone to commiserate with, someone to yell at, or, you know, someone who'll just give them the damn answers. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

Second, a mailing address:

Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905

All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions (I. Love. Snail mail!) will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. This year's cards are "Women In Science"—Rachel Ignotofsky's beautiful cartoon portraits of women scientists from antiquity to the present. I've heard of a few of these women (mostly crossword names like ADA Lovelace, Marie CURIE, MAE Jemison) but most of these names are entirely new to me, so I'm excited to learn about them as I write my thank-you notes. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support.

Now on to the puzzle!

• • •
Puzzle lost my good will at 1-Down and never got it back, despite the fact that it's technically fine—a typical example of the embedded word-type theme, with a little punny wordplay in the revealer. There's not much beyond that little semi-chuckle of a pun, though. The themers don't have anything going for them, excitement-wise, and though the grid is not bad, it's not interesting, either. The one attempt to be interesting—the inclusion of SPACEX—resulted in the very worst part of the puzzle—the inclusion of SSTAR. The What Letter Will It Be-STAR variety of answer is entirely loathsome and should be discarded by every reasonable constructor immediately, save for those very rare moments where you are *very* desperate to make a *very* good idea work out. Would've been nice to see livelier fill overall (see yesterday's puzzle). Too much SDS ITALIA ITE RET ENT ARPEL SNO EOS IOS (both?) ESME ILE etc. going on here.

Where were the solving snags today? I honestly didn't know the president's* middle name, so that, combined with stunned disappointment that Will keeps gratuitously shoehorning a serial sexual assailant into the crossword, caused me to be slow right out of the gate. But then I went from SLOTH to whatever the opposite of SLOTH is. Cheetah? After I got done being totally befuddled by the clue on SLAT (5A: Airplane wing feature) (was looking for FLAP), I tore through this thing pretty easily.

You can be forgiven not knowing SSTAR. As I say, that answer type is terrible. Nothing else here seems too outré. Took me a little work to get ANTITANK, as 35A: Like some missiles is pretty vague. I thought the clue on EURO was prettttttty iffy. [Tip of France?]? I get that "tip" = money and the currency in France is the EURO, but ... "Tip of France" isn't even wordplay. Does France have geographical tips? There's gotta be a better "?" clue waiting for EURO.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


John Hoffman 12:11 AM  

For me, this Tuesday puzzle was easier than the Monday one yesterday. My only complaint: SKED. Is this ever used in the English language?

Pete 12:11 AM  

A Tuesday puzzle by Peter Collins, complete with circles. What could possibly go wrong?

Tom 12:46 AM  

Easier than Monday. LIVEALIE could have been closer to JOHN, just juxtaposition sayin'. Once Drove a SAAB 190 kph on the Autobahn. Does anybody eat SNO-caps anymore? Nice random Tuesday.

Charles Flaster 1:06 AM  

Easy and a straightforward theme . We do not need the shaded squares.Liked Rex’ review.
Figured “pork” would appear.
Played a lot of MONKEY in the middle— not a bad premise for a theme!
Thanks PC

Sam 1:09 AM  

Had trouble with this one! Have never heard of Arpel. Didn't know ios, sstar, ebbets, sked. Didn't like bile or exact. Hrmph.

JOHN X 1:10 AM  

@Abitha Chetna 12:47AM
I absolutely adore your post because I don't understand a word of it and I've read it like five times. Well I understand the individual words but not the order they are in. Well done!

For the 1D answer they could have just used me as the clue and everyone would have been happy. I know you read this blog Will so get on it.

For 12D I already had the "A" and I first thought that the answer for "Nativity scene figure" might have been "Ape" and man that would have been funny.

I just realized that Abitha's Python training is for the coding language and not how to train actual snakes. If I had an army of snakes I sure as heck wouldn't be here I can tell you that. Carry on.

chefwen 1:33 AM  

Switching Monday and Tuesday again.

Once ham showed up it was easy filling in the other meats with just a letter in place. Like Rex wanted fLAp before SLAT, SPRAY showed up, that fixed that. beep before TONE was my only write over. Not knowing a note that ended with a B kinda put the kiBosh on that.
Husbands beer of choice is STELLA, tastes good on a hot day.

Kimberly 1:34 AM  

There are a thousand possible clues for John. The obsession with this administration in crossword clueing is a real turn-off. I don’t imagine there are a lot of those types of people doing the NYT crossword when there are so many fruits to be ninjaed and candies to be crushed.

I don’t even want to finish.

Anonymous 1:43 AM  

I'm going to go out on a limb here (honestly haven't checked, so if I'm wrong, mea culpa) and guess that you never complained about Bill Clinton (and family) being included in the puzzle. Which can only mean that it's not the sexual assault you object to, but the politics.

Just be honest about it.

a.corn 1:48 AM  

Another Tuesday blasting through the downs, the Mets filled in before the revealer... blehhhh at least it satisfied my ego! Poor cluing on arpel, never heard of the beauty products. The jewelry however? Would’ve been a nice tip of France (another horrible clue, as the French customarily don’t leave tips).

a.corn 1:51 AM  

Aaaand autocorrect the themers* but ...go Mets? I guess? I’m a yankee fan, and feel sorta bad for the sad sacks in queens.

Moly Shu 2:49 AM  

@anon1:43 hear hear!!!
@Kimberly, a turn off because the President of the United States middle name is John?? Seriously? Do you object when Obama is in the puzzle? No, probably not.
@Rex, where is your “serial sexual assailant” rant when Clinton or his enabler Hillary is in a puzzle?? Nowhere, that’s where.
I know you don’t like it, but there are people who voted for Trump and like him and wish him well. I’m proud to be in that group. But I’m a misogynist, racist, white supremist, bigoted, homophobe. Or, maybe I’m not.
The puzzle? I liked it, but then again, I like meat. It’s tasty.

Lojman 2:54 AM  

Most common male name in the English language for 500+ years. And that’s your clue? Fie.

Anon@1:43 - It’s fair to ask about the sincerity of OFL’s complaint about 45 being a serial sexual abuser, since there are many who fit that description on the left. I myself took OFL’s complaint as a stand-in for the nearly infinite ways 45 is a deplorable, ghastly, low, base, miserable human whose rise is an indictment on those who supported and enable him.

There are petty political fights. There are legitimate political fights. And then there is 45, who deserves the scorn of every decent person. Thank you, Rex, for doing your part.

-JOHN Lojman

Anonymous 2:55 AM  

Beside the stock market hitting all time highs, unemployment way down including unemployment for minorities, deregulation, tax cuts and the fact that an enabler of a sexual predator lost the election, I think the best part of the last 12 months has been the continued complete meltdown of the left as they continue to throw temper tantrums and act like petulant children simply because they didn't get their way. Sorry, no donation this year even if my stock portfolio is way up

Thomaso808 3:45 AM  

Big milestone today — officially (Xwordinfo) the 400th time that OREO has appeared in the NYT crossword. 289 in the Shortz era and 111 in older plus variety puzzles.

alexa shortbush 3:57 AM  

Whether you voted for him or not, he is President and clues and/or trivia about those currently in the news don't bother me.

If I see MR ED (it's Mister Ed), or junk like AHS or UMS or YOS, I lose interest immediately. Sheesh already.

Calman Snoffelevich 4:35 AM  

It's spam. An admin needs to get in here and delete the post asap.

Harryp 4:39 AM  

I suspect Will Shortz purposely clued 1Down that way, knowing Rex would have something to say about it, and chuckling at the expected responses in this forum.

Roy 4:52 AM  

I’m a professional astronomer. You know where I learned S star? The NYT crossword. This one seems to come up more than all other star types. If people outside astronomy know *anything* about star types, it’s OBAFGKM and maybe LT. If they’ve taken intro to astrophysics they might know C. But S? Never. I know there are constructors who read this blog. On behalf of the astronomical community, please please please never use this clue.

Anonymous 5:47 AM  

Got to grin at the pushback against the president's middle name in a very easy Tuesday puz. He eats KFC, there was KFC in the grid, but no outrage? Half of you didn't vote anyway. At least, look at it this way - he's a sedentary 70-year-old overweight white male with bad eating habits. How long is this going to last?

Loved the "stable genius" comment. What? He's smarter than Mr. Ed? Neigh!


TonySaratoga 5:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 5:57 AM  

Full disclosure. I’ve seen Peter Collins in a SKORT, so I can’t ever look at him the same again. He thought he rocked the look, but, well, awkward doesn’t even begin to describe it. And the TUBE top just made it even more startling.

Actually, when I met him, he was quite dapper in a suit about to go to church. Nice guy.

But, @Pete 12:11am… Peter, that’s desperate, man. Get a better sock puppet name.

As soon as HAM and VEAL fell, I went in and put in BEEF in 51A and "pork" in 56A. Oops. Like @Charles Flaster, pork is the one we’re really missing here, right? Timely for me because I just made pork chops for my husband and, horror of horrors, used a marinade that I had bought to use when Mom and Dad were visiting. He casually asked what was in that marinade. This, folks, this casual tone, is a 30 years of marriage signal that things are about to get snippy. Panicked, I said something vague, but he pinned me down. Casually. Yes – pre-packaged envelope of spices. Probably had chemicals. I said I’d just feed them to the dogs. He said I should take them to school for my lunches (since I’m not an uber over the top ridiculous food chemical nazi phobe jerk). I looked at him forever. Really? We’ve been married this long, and you still don’t understand that I HATE PORK CHOPS. All forty or fifty times I’ve told him this, he acts like it’s the first time he’s heard it. Did I mention we’ve been snowed in together for days? And that the curtains and shades have to be open all the way even if the sun is blinding? And that he checks any pan I wash to make sure there’s no grease left but to his credit does it discreetly? And that the soap thingy isn’t allowed to be up on the sink next to the faucet? And that he folds the towels wrong? So a possible pork themer coulda been

Maybe that’s why I was in such a pissy mood. @pabloinnh emailed me, by the way, and we’re good. What a great guy. That follow-up bitch post wasn’t his. Probably coco. The cowardice of these anonimice staggers me. I’m forever grateful to the guy who said to click on the word “anonymous” at the top of the post, and the post gets hidden. I do this out of habit now most of the time and miss a lot of the bile. I’m probably missing some great points, too, but still…

On JOHN’s clue. Yeah. Turned my stomach, too, but crosswords cannot ignore history. I will add that I’ve heard donkeys are pretty smart, so that 12D is probably the stable genius.

My avatar is to include ELK. I know lots of people around here who eat elks.

Peter – always a pleasure.

Anonymous 6:05 AM  

All I can do is hate. Will you give me some money?

Brett 6:17 AM  


Hmmmmm 6:21 AM  

Clever way of getting out of donating, anon. Rex took a swipe at your man-baby pres. Get over it and pony up, twerp.

Lewis 6:23 AM  

Props to Peter for coming up with a theme that no one has ever done before, and I'm wondering if that HERO -- a sandwich with meat in the middle -- is a tangential theme spinoff?

After last week, still looking for that "barre", and this puzzle comes close with a BAR and BARR. Random observation: 11 of 15 columns in this puzzle have proper names.

To those complaining about the Trump reference, let me point out that beginning with the O in PORE and ending with the H in NORTH, we do have a Boggle-style OPRAH...

notafanofnazifans 6:38 AM  

If you don't like Rex's politics, you have the option of slithering off to another crossword site. It may be a challenge, as people who know things and spell them correctly are overwhelmingly not in the Trump/KKK/sexually inadequate white guy camp.

MidgeMidge 7:22 AM  

Hey @Loren. We solved the soap thingy issue at my house by putting in a soap dispenser. Seriously, it’s just another Home Depot item and just one more hole in the back of your countertop, near where the faucet comes out. Do it. Justify it by the fact that Softsoap refills are cheaper than individual ones. Full disclosure: if it’s by an outside wall you may have to use brand-name soap in the winter. Some of the cheap ones gel up.

Why object to the JOHN when it’s crossed so nicely with SLOTH HERO?

kitshef 7:24 AM  

ARPEL?!? I Google ARPEL and the first hit is the Regional Association of Oil, Gas and Biofuels Sector Companies in Latin America. Next is a high-end jewelry store. If you’re coming in behind those two, you are not a ‘big name’ in anything.

Like seeing ZOOT SUIT, and LIVE SEX sure caught my eye, but that’s about it for joy today.

I lump _STAR in with _FLAT and _SHARP and _M__OR musical clues, or aver/avow clues. True, I can't just plop in an answer, but I can fill in some letters and narrow down the possibilities for the the rest.

Hungry Mother 7:26 AM  

I saw Jackie Robinson take a lead halfway between third and home in EBBETS Field during August, 1952. I was a 12 year old, travelling all around NYC on subways with my older brother. We were staying with our Aunt and Uncle in Brooklyn while our parents housej-hunted in the Philadelphia suburbs. I thought a lot about that visit when I ran through the boroughs during the NYC Marathon in November. Fast solve today, even though my memories distracted me.

Anonymous 7:28 AM  

Fear not snowflakes - We'll have Oprah in 2020, and the people in Hollywood assure us she'll be fantastic!

Robert A. Simon 7:28 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Two Ponies 7:31 AM  

You can pick a few nits today but this went down pretty smoothly and shows the work of a professional.

That song title "I've Got Love On My Mind" intersecting with Sex made me laugh. Funny how many songs use the word Love when they really mean Sex. Try it with almost any "love" song and it seems obvious.
Like a secret code to get around censorship.

Inadequate Personality Disorder (per the DSM): Fragile and easily distraught or frightened by non-existent threats. Characterized by an inability to cope within the social, emotional, occupational, and intellectual demands of life.

QuasiMojo 7:31 AM  

Good one Loren! re: Nativity scene.

Me too! I wonder if we'll be changing the name of JFK airport soon.

I found this one a total yawn. Plus I had a DNF because I did not know what channel shows the tv show CONAN. (The Barbarian???) So I put CBS. CB TEST sounded like something plausible.

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

ARPEL is usually listed under the first word in the brand, which is ADRIEN.

Robert A. Simon 7:33 AM  

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Trumpeter, not by a long shot, and by "long shot," I mean with a sniper rifle. (To the FBI and Secret Service reading this: Stand down. Not to worry. I'm just an old Jewish guy whose most dangerous possession is his lawyer's phone number. As a matter of fact, I am looking forward to the day when Trump is drummed out of office and leads The Life of OJ, i.e., a pariah who isn't welcomed--or even put up with--anywhere. Yeah, he'll have Mar-A-Lago and maybe a nine-foot radius, but that'll be it. Cannot wait.

Anyway, the crossing of a Trump reference with JOBS isn't some subliminal endorsement that will sweep him to re-election. It's just a pretty decent crossing. As a matter of fact, I thought the clue for ID was fantastic. Something right under our noses that a lot of us forgot. Like S-star.

Anonymous 7:40 AM  

Libs love jobs, but hate job creators.

Stable genius 7:49 AM  

John. Is that the book that comes before or after two Corinthians?

Birchbark 7:55 AM  


[]-STAR, like the keys of []-FLAT and []-SHARP, is always welcome [pre]fill. But ARPEL is no ESTEE.

Suum Cuique 8:00 AM  

Talking about doing something is not the same as actually doing it.
Serial sexual assailant? That's a long list but does not include the President.

On the subject of talk, it's funny that up until the Golden Globes Oprah was BFF with Harvey Weinstein. Maybe Barbra Streisand can be her VP.

chefbea 8:03 AM  

fun puzzle. Loved all the meats. Some things I did not know

Amie Devero 8:16 AM  

I do the puzzle on paper, printed from the NYT website. No circles or shading on my version. Ergo, no theme. Wth?? 😐

CashPo' 8:18 AM  

ROSY made me think of Homer's "Rosy-fingered dawn" which come to think of it sounds like the title of either a cheap detective novel or a porn film.

Glimmerglass 8:27 AM  

When I finished the puzzle, I thought, “Oh oh, HAM and LAMB are not exactly in the middle. @Rex will hate that.” Glad I was wrong.

tb 8:30 AM  

Isn't Arpel from Van Cleef and Arpels?
From Wikipedia:
Van Cleef & Arpels is a French jewelry, watch, and perfume company. It was founded in 1896 by Alfred Van Cleef and his uncle Salomon Arpels in Paris. Wikipedia

Arpels is not possessive, so perhaps the answer is an error.

Pet Monkey 8:31 AM  

Predictably Rex took the bait and ruined any discussion we might have had about the actual puzzle.
He starts the political tirade and the sheeple follow.

Jake 8:39 AM  

The fact that Rex didn't know that John was our President's middle name indicates to me that it was a pretty decent clue.
I was sure there would be a complaint about cLAMBake, as that was the only themer where the meat wasn't in the actual center.

Stuart Showalter 8:40 AM  

“Despite my occasional (or, OK, maybe frequent) consternation with the State of the Puzzle...”. Uh, poor word choice! How about “continuous” or “constant” or “persistent” etc.?

What remarkable chutzpah to couple the never-ending bad temper (BILE) with a plea for money!

And yes, I could shuffle off to another site, but I’m drawn back just to see what new things Rex might find to whine about.

Nancy 8:45 AM  

Probably others have said this already, but I don't accept the homophone theme. Peter and Will: If you want MEAT IN THE MIDDLE, say so! MEET IN THE MIDDLE is something entirely different and could have led to a perfectly swell theme of its own:




I rest my case.

Kurt Rosell 8:46 AM  

Sorry, Mr. Sharp. One consequence of your darling little rants is that a portion of your reading population is willing to put up with it to get to your otherwise worthy observations but is unwilling to subsidize it. I'm sure you are fine with that. But if you just stuck to crosswords and cut the vitriol against people whose political views don't mesh with yours, you'd be pulling in some extra dough.

Black Sun 8:52 AM  

Yes, he hates me but I bet he'd cash my check.

Suzie Q 8:55 AM  

@ Nancy 8:45, Good ones!

I caught myself soon enough but when I saw Clam bake I thought "Hey, a clam is not a meat." Then I saw Lamb and all was well.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Incredible how a crossword puzzle answer can become emotional. It's JUST AN ANSWER TO A CROSSWORD PUZZLE CLUE!!! And, a pretty nondescript, unemotional answer at that...IT'S A PROPER NAME!!! If the clue was, 'The Greatest President of the 21st Century,' I could understand a 'little' ire and perhaps a 'little' disagreement :-) But Donald ____ Trump???

How do people who feel including a US President's name in a crossword puzzle is at all wrong get by in the real world? Or do most not live in the real world and are hidden behind the ivy covered walls of a higher learning institution or work in a protected job in the public sector? Go back to ze safe zones and hope that no pebbles injure the soles of ze feet as ze walk today, or anyone identifies ze by the wrong pronoun.

Anyone who complains about a crossword clue has no latitude to accuse DJT of not being a 'very stable genius.'

three of clubs 8:56 AM  

Time to find a new mnemonic for Oh Be a Fine Girl Kiss Me. (Rather Not Sir).

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

@Molly Shu, yes you are. By definition.

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

Better run to your safe space before another written proper noun ruins your week

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

We've got the meats. Arbys.

Z 9:04 AM  

The LAMB is the only MEET not in the middle. It's slight askew, probably from all the tzatziki sauce, tomato, lettuce, and onion pushing it off to one side. Gyro > HERO (especially an OREO HERO).

My Twitter feed has been all aflame with Oprah for president (just what we need, a political neophyte who promoted Dr. Oz to prominence) and D. JOHN Trump failing another hic Rhodus, hic salta moment at the football game last night.* Remember the Back to the Future moment when the 1950's Doc Brown is incredulous over R.R. being president in 1984? That's me with all the Oprah fawning. We don't need celebrities, we need competence (preferably without issues of mental capacity).

But back to puzzle related observations: I would have gotten ARPEL sooner and more confidently if I had read "Sweat spot" instead of "Sweet Spot." Otherwise, a straightforward solve. Having symmetrical rows with four treys is never going to result in "nice fill." EOS and IOS seems like something to fix. Random letter STAR, Random musical keys, Random Roman Numeral Popes, RRN Super Bowls, Random Compass Direction (clued by two random cities of increasing obscurity as the week progresses) - all of these construction crutches become trite and cliché the more one solves. They are useful, but please avoid them in your grids if you can, constructors. Although, I have appreciated the automatic three letters the Random Musical Key clues give me in some challenging puzzles (x-MxxOR).

*Learn a new phrase, use it. In case you watch Fox News, don't watch football pre-games, or don't have petty liberals screaming in your social media feed, our "stable genius" president publicly (and on national television) clearly demonstrated that he doesn't know the words to the Star-Spangled Banner.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Triggering snowflakes is as challenging as a Monday puzzle.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

Roseanne Barr once said that every attack on Trump is really a disguised attack on the American voters. She was right. JOHN is my HERO!

Gotta love the TRUMPSTER 9:30 AM  

Bill Clinton and his driver were cruising along a country road one night when all of a sudden they hit a pig, killing it instantly. Bill told his driver to go up to the farm house and explain to the owners what had happened.
About 1 hour later Bill sees his driver staggering back to the car with a bottle of wine in one hand, a cigar in the other and his clothes all ripped and torn.
"What happened to you," asked Bill.
Well, the Farmer gave me the wine, his wife gave me the Cigar and his 19 year old daughter made mad passionate love to me.
"My God, what did you tell them", asks Clinton.
The driver replied, "I'm Bill Clinton's driver, and I just killed the pig".

JFe 9:35 AM  


Doubling my donation

MexGirl 9:45 AM  

Keep trying to equate rain with tsunamis. What we're witnessing at the White House should NEVER be normalized.
Sadly, history will prove us right (and you and all Trumpists wrong) after a lot of damage has been inflicted.
I hope you have good memory, so you’ll remember where you stood.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

. . . . case in point anon 9:09.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  


Believe the Women 10:12 AM  

I suppose you don’t read the news? Or are just particularly deaf to the multiple accusations by more than a dozen women, against the orange biped?
Get informed, man.

jessica cohn 10:16 AM  

Thought the clue for c flat was clever. I was thinking in terms of a grade in school.

Can someone explain the answer to 57 down ?

Also the letters on the am dial ? Do you get thos from the crosses or is there something special about those letters?

Thank you

Hartley70 10:17 AM  

Adrien ARPEL was a regular beauty advertiser in the 1970s when I sold space for Harpers Bazaar and the NYT Magazine. Not so much today it would seem.

I like @Nancy's theme interpretations better. My first thought was eww. That much meat early in the morning is not appetizing, amusing or elegant. It must be a man thing.

I thought this was a bit difficult for a Tuesday. It seems a lot of us didn't know the President's middle name. It may be willfull ignorance. I'm not familiar with Falcon rockets, thankfully, or ANTITANK missiles. I really, really hope that doesn't change. I'm grateful that the OREO clues are getting tougher. I haven't visited a Dairy Queen. I misread sweat spot as sweet spot and consequently PORE wasn't my first answer.

I like the IOS/EOS thing because they're so cute together.

Daniel 10:17 AM  

Precisely numerous tho

Yaffa Fuchs 10:34 AM  

Right on! Wish politics were kept out of crosswords.

AWS 10:42 AM  

I'm shocked by how much I enjoyed this botly comment. I've read it 4 or 5 times and there's no end in sight to how many ways you can pretend to interpret it. Is it zinging Rex? A right- or left-wing troll? A poem? It references an answer from the puzzle, sort of!! Just fabulous.

GILL I. 10:46 AM  

@Z...Neither does BARR. Remember how she mangled The Star Spangled Banner?
I wonder if Peter was sending some hehe message with the inclusion of JOHN and BARR actually touching HERO. What a thought. [shiver]
This one bored me to tears. The cluing was dull and lifeless and, by the way, the French don't tip.
The only thing I liked here was ZOOT SUIT. I saw a picture of Cab Calloway's ZOOT on display in Baltimore's City Hall. I wonder if it's still there. One of my bosses was Mexican and he loved to come into staff meetings as a "Pachuco." He had a closet full of them and wore them all the time. I'm pretty sure he thought it was hysterically funny. It wasn't! He was quite fat and the high waist of the suit just emphasized his enormous belly. HA HA HA. Y'all are getting mad at mention of Trump, I'm picturing the boss in a ZOOT SUIT.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

@Jessica, KHZ = Kilohertz. For 57D, Google “Salinger Esme”.

Anoa Bob 10:56 AM  

So the theme is based on MEET sounding like "meat"? Seems like thin soup to me.

@Z, HAM is left shifted one space, so that makes only two of the four themers that are actually IN THE MIDDLE.

TomAz 10:57 AM  

I think Trump is an ass**** but I don't get the objections to referencing him in the puzzle. It doesn't endorse him. Carping about it is dumb.

I thought this was a decent puzzle. I liked the gimmick. I found it pretty easy.

semioticus (shelbyl) 10:59 AM  

If how much you enjoy a puzzle depends on how well the theme is executed, this one is for you. A Tuesday-appropriate classic done as good as it can be done. But the fill is, um, dreadful. Three/four-letter answers comprise %57.7 of the puzzle, which is almost never a good sign. And then it gives us, brace for impact, these: AMA, EOS, IOS, ITE, IVE, OTB, RET, SDS, SNO, LULU, SKED, ESME, ARPEL, ITOFF, SSTAR, EBBETS. There are some non-theme entries that are OK, I guess, such as ZOOTSUIT and SKORTS. I appeciate the effort put into coming up with neat clues, but man, when your fill is this bad, even the best clues can't salve it.

Overall, decent effort for a Tuesday. Could have been much more enjoyable with some more monkeying with.

GRADE: B-, 3 stars.

Two Ponies 10:59 AM  

I'm afraid to find out about Python Training in Chennai but I did Google Chennai. It is a place in India that used to be called Madras. Now there is a late week crossword clue.
If anyone gets brave and clicks on that link please let us know what happens.

offtopic 11:07 AM  

Used it all the time as an editor at various metro papers.

Ralph Phillips 11:10 AM  

I agree!!!

Charles Flaster 11:12 AM  

FWIW— just found a terrific Thursday in the NYT Archives.
5/26/2011–“ Try it, you’ll like it”.
Rex also does a wonderful critique of the puzzle.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Tip of France = Euro, as in tip left on the table in a restaurant Michael. I gotta go read some listicles on Buzzfeed.

mathgent 11:15 AM  

I liked it. More sparkle than the average Tuesday. Smart cluing.

I saw Molly's Game yesterday. Best movie I've seen all year. Sorkin's a genius. There's a scene near the end between Jessica Chastain and Kevin Costner that put a lump in my throat.

Dennis Doubleday 11:16 AM  

The Trump cluing ties in nicely with Barr, as Roseanne is one of DJT's obsessions. Also, in the across, note JOBS ORAL HERO NORTH AMERICA (positive) with OREOS BARR SLOTH (negative inference of his obsession with weight, especially in women).

Seems like a MEET IN THE MIDDLE thing.

And in the SE, TONE and TUBE appear to be references to his tone being affected by the tube, especially with the cluing "Idiot box". With a little LULU and CLAN thrown in for good measure.

Nancy 11:22 AM  

@AWS (10:42) -- I really wish that everyone on the blog would specify what comment they're alluding to when they allude to a comment. "Botly" may be a typo on your part. Or not. But I have no idea what this comment is or where it is located. You've made it sound like the most interesting comment on the blog today, and I'd read it -- knowing full well that I might not agree -- if only I knew where to find it. I probably missed it because I've scrolled past 90% of the posts today. They're all political; almost none say a single word about the puzzle. And that's the problem, Will S. with cluing 1D as you did. It affects the TONE of the blog. It produces unnecessary BILE. And there is absolutely no way people can MEET IN THE MIDDLE. An ironic turn of events for a puzzle with this theme, btw.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

Ditto to Anon at 8:55 AM. It's just a puzzle, people.

I don't know why anyone gets upset about any clue or answer - unless the clue/answer is wrong, of course.

Perhaps it's time to find another hobby if you're offended.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

I noticed he didn’t have a problem with Osama bin Laden a week or so ago. Let it go dude.

JC66 11:33 AM  


What's wrong with homophones?

@Anoa Bob & @Z

NORTHAMERICA is 12 letters, so HAM can't be exactly in the middle.


What's wrong with EBBETS in the puzzle?

JC66 11:37 AM  

@nancy @AW was referring to @Abitha Chetna's 12:47AM post, which was probably generated by a Bot.

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:38 AM  


I wouldn't think it's Tuesday material esp. when crossed with OTB and SAAB, but that might be due to my complete lack of interest in baseball.

QuasiMojo 11:59 AM  

@Nancy, you need to construct a puzzle! Great stuff!

Nancy 12:03 PM  

Botly = generated by a bot. Of course! Thank you, @JC66!

Is that the explanation? @Abitha's comment is truly the weirdest post I think I've ever seen. I enjoyed @JOHN X's reaction to it earlier, btw.

Masked and Anonymous 12:05 PM  

@RP: Sooo … would U then perhaps accept JOHN as a semi-themer entry, clued as {Meet head in the middle??} ...?

@muse: har. Glad I did not ultimately come between U and and a nice ex-teacher from NH. But thanx for goin all-pitbull-like, on my persona's account. Made my day. Shoulda went with "shoulda gone", on my grammar pork sauce, I reckon. If I ever get back to the ACPT, M&A will expose self [whoa, that didn't come out quite right!] & buy U a vodka and a cinnamon roll.

PORK and CHICKEN and SHRIMP are pretty hopeless to hide in the middle of stuff. Sooo … Pewit Dude wisely settled for LAMB at his CLAMBAKE. Nice, meaty TuesPuz.

staff weeject pick-a-pair: EOS & IOS. Sound like seeds for a runtpuz theme...

@muse 2: U maybe should do a puztheme with themers like PORKYPIG and SHRIMPBOAT and SPRINGCHICKEN. Revealer could be MEATMEOUTSIDE or somesuch.

Thanx for the easy fun, Mr. Collins Dude. It was darn near like enjoin Beef Wellington at Chicago's old "The Bakery" restaurant. Great mm-mm-meat inside.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

Infinitely small contemplations:

Bob Mills 12:06 PM  

I didn't vote for Trump, but criticizing the use of his name in a puzzle is really childish. Almost as childish as Trump's behavior.

Nancy 12:13 PM  

@Thank you, @Quasi! I'm flattered. But someone else has to do the grunt work of creating the grid. I'm filled with SLOTH and only want to do the fun part of puzzle constructing. Trying to cope with the frustration of a grid would fill me with ANGST, cause me to LOAD UP on the liquor, and make me want to put an ANTITANK to my head. But thanks for the compliment anyway :)

jb129 12:13 PM  

Easier & more fun than yesterday but got stuck on SStar.....

Sorry Bob Mills @ 12:06 but I don't agree that not wanting to see any reference to our idiot "president" or his staff is childish - it's an insult to those of us who ENJOY doing the NYT crossword puzzle & don't want to see his name.

Aketi 12:20 PM  

@Nancy, ditto on @JohnX’s reaction to @Abitha. I much preferred your MEETs IN THE MIDDLE to the MEaTS.

@Rex, I seriously cannot believe that no one has yet noticed the oh so obvious joke in 1D for anyone who dared to use a toilet during the inauguration and/or the Women’s March last January. The friend I stayed with in DC housed attendees at both so we had witnesses on both days.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

It was great seeing the middle name of America's greatest president ever in the puzzle. and the puzzle proved the inversion of American priorities. Under President Trump, it's jobs at the top and Arabs at the bottom. Hot damn I loved this puzzle.

True Grits 12:28 PM  

If you want to have a beef with this puzzle, try dealing with the fact that there's no pork. None. Zippo. Nada. Not even a bacon bit. Constructors, if you're gonna have a meat theme, you gotta have pork. And what about chicken? And turkey? And f$&@ing venison? Has everyone at the New York Times just completely given up on the crossword?

Normal Norm 12:36 PM  

Thumbs up @ Anon 12:24!

Blackeyedsusan 12:43 PM  

I never thought of myself as a hater, but I do hate Trump. Still, when I read the 1D clue my first thoughts were Wow, I have no idea what his middle name is and that's pretty amazing and what a cool clue and does anyone use DJT as a reference to the president. Anyway, the clue didn't ruin my morning.

old timer 12:57 PM  

One symptom of TDS (Trump Delusional Syndrome) is that you believe Ttump admitted to being a serial pussy grabber in that Access Hollywood tape. Two things wrong with this conclusion. First, if you assume that touching a woman is only wrong if done without consent, then Trump never claimed to have done so without consent. He was bragging about what women would *let* him do, because he was so famous. Second, as has been mentioned, he was not admitting that he had done so, only that he could have done so if he wanted.

Of cours there does come a time in most relationships when a woman does want to be touched sexually -- this is a classic prelude to getting naked and doing the deed. And despite the rules of Antioch College, very few men ask explicitly what they can do. They figure it out based on their partner or date's apparent passion.

Teedmn 1:04 PM  

This played more like a Wednesday for me but I can't really point to any one reason for the slowdown. Well, maybe my 1A/1D combo writeover. I didn't read all of 1D's clue, so Donald ____ was Donald DUCK, confirmed by the cross of deBt as a perennial campaign issue. OREO SLOTH fixed that.

My Carmel ending, at 36D, was carmelIzE before the nuns made their appearance. At 7D, I started entering yesterday's beauty product name of Aveda (Aveda headquarters are in Blaine, MN, the Twin Cities suburb where I solve most of these puzzles on weekdays on my lunch break) instead of ARPEL but that was fixed by the sweat spot.

@JOHN X, I like your proposal to have your blog name referenced in the clue at 1D, which would have given us the mini theme of JOHN X and SPACE X (where are PureX and KleeneX?)

A bit of thought needed on a Tuesday, thanks Peter Collins.

the redanman 1:32 PM  

Bullet to the brain points

AMA – Operator’s Org.? – No it'd be the ACS American College of Surgeons

Tip of France – EURO – in the land of servis compris, is this supposed to be ironic?

"§" – STAR rubbish

arrrrrgh! Let’s at least be accurate with sheite cluing. Shortz does whatever he pleases with “accuracy” and it annoys me no end.

JOHN for Trump in the same puzzle as LU LU? ♂ & ♀ types

OK, I feel a little better now

the redanman 1:32 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suum Cuique 1:45 PM  

@ old timer (12:57),
Well said. That was my point at 8 a.m.
Talking about something is not the same as doing it.

Uncle Alvarez 1:51 PM  

“Would've been nice to see livelier fill overall”

That’s what your mother said last night!

John 1:52 PM  

If you voted for the pig, you are, indeed, everything you said.

Dirk Bichler 1:54 PM  

My Johnson, the other white meat!

Masked and Anonymous 1:57 PM  

"enjoin" in first msg was Otto-Correct's version of M&A's intended "enjoyin".

@Brett: yep. S-STAR. C-FLAT. TB-TEST. K-HZ. MS-NBC. E-BOOK. O-NEILL. [SPACE-X.] S-PRAYCAN. M-ONKEYED. Another potential runtpuz theme …?

@Nancy: Primo MEETINTHEMIDDLE theme idea. KITCH-ENCOUNTER-TOP? BEACH-BUMPINTO-FGIN? TRYST one might need to be worked on, tho -- since it ain't exactly a verb.

"Grammar Nutsy"

Candy Darling 1:57 PM  

“But I’m a misogynist, racist, white supremist, bigoted, homophobe. Or, maybe I’m not.“

Oh, you’re all those all right, as well as being a fucking prick and an insufferable boor.

a jazz listener's thoughts 2:08 PM  

I’m not a Trump supporter in dact I couldn’t be farther removed from him but for gosh sakes people it is nuts to be so overly sensitive about his inclusion. Now puzzles need to be super PC and clear of politics?? Also, “Oh boy a fat goose kissed me” is a classification mnemonic for stars, not that it helped here

Carola 2:08 PM  

I didn't think this puzzle was quite ready to come out of the oven - the theme seemed a little underdone to me, with only two of the meats EXACTly in the middle. And relying on a homophone for a main ingredient seemed to me like a kitchen shortcut that didn't quite work out.

I liked the opposites-attract MEETing of IAMBIC ONEILL with trochaic STELLA. Also noticed the autobiography of a snootty English aristocrat: I, TOFF.

Jack Dammit 2:12 PM  

@old timer said, “Of cours there does come a time in most relationships when a woman does want to be touched sexually -- this is a classic prelude to getting naked and doing the deed. And despite the rules of Antioch College, very few men ask explicitly what they can do. They figure it out based on their partner or date's apparent passion.“

I guess you’ve read up on these things.

K Swayze 2:16 PM  

@Moly Shu
I’m also guessing that no one objected to clues related to terrible presidents like Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, or Bush II (all of whom were anathema to those of us on the “left”). It’s not about Trump’s politics: he’s a wretched, depraved, morally bankrupt, sexist, racist, homophobic, unstable, narcissistic liar. Even among the worst presidents in US history (of either party), he represents something new, which, as others have said, should not be normalized. (Did I mention that he’s, like, really stupid? Sad!)

Big Steve 46 2:49 PM  

As a long time New York state taxpayer, I have for years, I been paying Rex's bloated salary at one of our State universities - for teaching classes on comic books! I don't see any need to subsidize his hobbies - he's got to do something to fill up the empty hours. (He admits this blog doesn't cost him any out-of-pocket money.) We all have hobbies and we (presumably) pay for them ourselves, one way or another. Rex can do the same. (And, by the way, I am a life-long democrat, and did not vote for or support the Moron-in-Chief currently in Washington - this isn't political.)

Yargh 2:55 PM  

BUSH (either one) SUCKS!

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

@bigsteve46. Not only is this not political, this isn't well written or well thought out. For all the folks this morning who prided themselves on belonging to the "well read, well educated, smart, know-somethings" who supported HRC, let me introduce you to Steve 46. He's one of yours. Steve, you pay for a lot of things you don't use. The fire stations in Elmira, the libraries in Manhattan, and the grammar and logic classes in whatever town you grew up in. Better luck next time.

Ralph 3:32 PM  

Speaking of Mr. Ed, has DJT claimed he is also a genius of the stable?

Kimberly 4:11 PM  

@moly shu

“@Kimberly, a turn off because the President of the United States middle name is John?? Seriously?”

Your inability to understand the objection says a lot about why you “like” what you like. Or, if you did by chance actually get it but are playing at being obtuse to make a point... yeah. Same thing. The ability to live inside of logical fallacies is what makes these dark times possible.

There’s no point in trying to shame or educate you. If you were capable of either there would be no need to even address you.

221b BakerSt 4:13 PM  

1 down failed the breakfast test for me.

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

But DJT is a serial adulterer. No question about that.

sanfranman59 5:21 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 4:48 4:08 1.16 83.3% Challenging
Tue 4:53 5:35 0.88 23.2% Easy-Medium

andy 5:30 PM  

Best comments section ever.

Moly Shu 5:47 PM  

@Kimberly, you don’t know me, but you know that I am shameless and uneducated. I don’t agree with your point of view, and you respond by name calling and denigrating me. Fine. My point is this: I detest, abhor,hate etc.. Barak Obama as much or more than you detest, abhor, hate etc... Trump. However, I’m not offended or put off when his name or someone in his family’s name appears in a crossword puzzle. I recognize that other people think differently than I do. I think that’s great. I think differences of opinion should be celebrated and encouraged. But that’s just me. I also like meat, did I mention that?

Two Ponies 5:56 PM  

He aims, he shoots, he scores!

Good response Moly Shu. Thank you.

JJ 6:32 PM  

Well said @molly shu

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

Hold on, before I comment I have to see what Huffpo tells me what to say.

Jason 6:48 PM  

"RRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" - Every democrat doing the NYT puzzle today.

Deux Poneys 6:48 PM  

Then perhaps you should bleaux him. Doubtless, the two of you would find that suitably earthy.

John Galt 6:50 PM  

Bannon sure did blow up Washington.

GILL I. 7:14 PM  

@Two Ponies....Hah!...I'm putting you in the front row for: "Shoots from the hip....and rarely misses" category.
You go---@Moly Shu
Lots of different people on this blog, @Kimberly. Lots of different opinions. @Moly Shu was pretty polite on his views. You......

Anonymous 7:29 PM  

If I knew what the J stood for, I’d forgotten. JOHN precedes ACTS as we recently learned. 1 JOHN comes about 15 books after 2 Corinthians by my count.

Anonymous 7:51 PM  

@Two Ponies, @Moly Shu, @Gil, (where is Evil Doug? Would have been funny).
Congratulations on keeping up the good fight! All your opinions are well written without all the vitriol nor the name calling.
I haven't posted in a long time but knew something would come of today's meeting with Trump. I knew heads on the left would be blowing up that he wasn't "exposed" as a stark raving lunatic, discombobulated buffoon or any of the other descriptions that came out in a recent rag of a book. He actually brought the 2 parties together and put together a basis for agreement. Keep letting the haters be devoured by their own bile.
George Wood
PS-I wish Chaos would come back and play.
PSS-@Kimberly, "There’s no point in trying to shame or educate you. If you were capable of either there would be no need to even address you." You did address them. I'm addressing you. Where were you when Bill was in the office? Are you not capable of shame or education?

Anonymous 8:06 PM  

@K Swayze - honest question: how exactly is he homophobic?

Anonymous 8:07 PM  

Well said sir, or madam.

nick strauss 8:28 PM  

Loadup for a tailgate party -- beer, beef, etc.

Grant Fikes 8:30 PM  

I am literally shaking right now. Rex Parker had the gall to mention Donald Trump and his serial sexual assault, and not put a trigger warning at the top of the post?!? I am disappointed, Rex. You should know better.

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

Whatever happened to the defense that, "It doesn't matter what a man does in his personal life, just what he does in his public life"? Enquier-ing minds.

foxaroni 9:02 PM  

I heard the "I killed the pig" joke several years ago. At that time, the driver was working for Rush Limbaugh. Nothing new under the sun?

OISK 10:57 PM  

Foxaroni, I heard that joke in Germany, 1970, and the passenger was Ulbricht!

Marco Polo 12:50 AM  

For some reason, @bigsteve believes he pays Rex's salary as a professor at a state university. He'd be wrong unless he's endowed a faculty chair to fund Rex's research & teaching. In fact, students pay the majority of faculty salaries these days at state universities. (Sadly.) Yes, taxpayers subsidize the state university system in each state. But those subsidies are neither complete (not even close), nor are they transactional. Taxpayer subsidies for education (higher ed and K-12) as well as other priorities exist as part of a broader commitment of our communities to build toward a future and fund our priorities. I get it. Education is (apparently) not your priority. Fine. How about just saying that instead. Or, how about saying that you don't want to support the blog financially because Rex has a day job. That works. But, really, the whole schtick about you paying Rex's salary is a bit over the top. What's that about?

Puzzle solved fast. Loved the reference to EBTG. One of my all-time favorite bands.

Amie Devero 8:15 AM  

I think it's Adrian Arpel. Aesthetician products...

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

Lol...Okay this HAS to be a joke right? The normalization of the far right? I consider myself a democrat but the left can be embarrassing sometime. Saying the PRESIDENT'S NAME is normalizing the far right?

Jeez....I hope the right then agrees Obama should never appear on crosswords either to not normalize the far left.

thefogman 10:15 AM  

Who says the NYT has a thing against Trump? The H in the "very stable genius's" middle name crosses with HERO in this puzzle. That's just INANE TOME and makes me want to SAAB. SAD!!!

Burma Shave 10:36 AM  


At an earthly CLAMBAKE I LOADUP on ANGST just a little,
when I’VE MONKEYED with SEX to wink STELLA’s tiddle,
but with PAUSEs in SPACEX,



thefogman 10:40 AM  

Rex said:

I thought the clue on EURO was prettttttty iffy. [Tip of France?]? I get that "tip" = money and the currency in France is the EURO, but ... "Tip of France" isn't even wordplay. Does France have geographical tips? There's gotta be a better "?" clue waiting for EURO.

I offer this: Capital of France?

David Kahler 11:34 AM  

should it be meat in the middle and not meet in the middle

Diana, LIW 11:43 AM  

Let's never stop MEETINg like this, Peter C.

A little bit stretchy for me. Got it, but didn't simply breeze thru. Just right for Tues, I'd say. Oh, look at that, I did say.

And I thought the tip was pretty funny. Although I was thinking of the European custom of putting the tip in the bill, and then we Americans get our collective undies in a bundle and wonder, "do I leave more? If so, how much? Will they hate me? Will they like me? Do I have something on my chin?" The usual.

I'll never forget our first Parisian meal, where the waiter tried to teach Mr. W that you do not order, or even look at, desert before receiving and finishing your entrée. Waiter - 1. Mr. W - 0. The first, but hardly last, time Mr. W was schooled by European wait staff. The Italian term for bill, rhyming in his mid-western accent with "Tonto," still brings a smile to my face. But then again, so does waking up.

Moving on.

No. #2 clue was "Operator's org."


Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, AKA Diana

PS - To those who remember yesterday - I'm still moderately amused by our discussion.

spacecraft 12:20 PM  

Yecch. Sure, okay, ME[E][A]T in the middle. Yuk yuk. But do we have to put up with the RMK and the RSC (random star classification)? And "I drove my SAAB to SANAA." AAAAA! Enough already with the letter add-ons! TBTEST? Please. And LOADUP is just...INANE. UP does not belong. Send UP up. Get it outa here. LOAD the friggin car.

I refuse to go with ROSY BARR for DOD; guess I have to go with LULU who sang "To Sir With Love." In a pinch.

This fellow obviously does not care about his work, with all this crappy fill. Bogey--and I'm being kind because of ZOOTSUIT.

rondo 12:31 PM  

@D,LIW – re: yesterday, that’s just about enough. Har.
Mr. Collins must be a man of letters. After today’s puz I wanted an e-cig to help my a-fib. Almost like after 14a 33a, or if in orbit - SPACEX. I saved the 7 square for last, only omitting E as a possibility. Don’t think about 5a too hard with a U there.

Can’t see CLAMBAKE and not think of Pebble Beach, which was just this past weekend.

60s singer LULU got mentioned last week so STELLA Stevens is the yeah baby today.

Now I got me a hankerin’ for some BEEF, it’s what’s for dinner.

leftcoastTAM 2:28 PM  

So there's some MEETINTHEMIDDLE, a dimly punny clue in the MIDDLE of the grid. Not very good, but some of the longer fill, like SPACEX, MONKEYED, SPRAYCAN, and ZOOTSUIT, is pretty good. A middling puzzle.

leftcoastTAM 3:00 PM  

Oh, the meats are embedded in their theme answers, but only two of four are EXACTly in the MIDDLE, which would have pinned down and strengthened the theme.

rainforest 4:40 PM  

I don't have any strong opinions about this puzzle, other than I DNF at cBTEST. I've never watched Conan, and I really didn't check the down answer. Kinda dumb of me.

Other than that, mostly easy. Doesn't bother me that the theme answers weren't EXACTly IN THE MIDDLE. "In the middle" doesn't necessitate exactly there.

Yes, the President's middle name is JOHN. I despise the guy, but his mere middle name shouldn't elicit the kind of bile exhibited here. Weird. I'm a bit surprised that some of these comments survived "moderation". There must have been others that didn't.

I think that RMKs, RSDs, RPNs, RCDs, and RRNs, aren't random at all. They are chosen in order for the constructor to complete a puzzle or section thereof. They seem to bother some more than others. I guess I'm in the "others" camp.

leftcoastTAM 6:34 PM  

Yes, INTHEMIDDLE doesn't necessitate that theme answers must be EXACTly in the MIDDLE, but a tighter puzzle would have put them there. Isn't that a legitimate point?

rondo 8:13 PM  

@rainy - the moderation is 5 weeks ahead (in real time, not syndi time) just because of the above type of chatter.

Unknown 9:30 PM  

I had taken a break from crosswords. Upon returning I noticed a shift to the Right in answers and clues. I do crosswords for pleasure. When I saw 1 Down, I tossed the puzzle in recycling. We get the puzzle about 6 weeks later in the St Louis Post Dispatch. That’s why this comment is so late.

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