Hasbro toy that involves pulling twisting / THU 1-11-18 / Line from someone who's been interrupted / George Vermont senator for 34 years / Co-written best seller

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Constructor: Sam Trabucco

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: [Line from someone who's been interrupted] — that's the clue on three themers. The answers all run clear across the grid and then continue on the next line, the idea being that the line has been "interrupted" (said interruption is signified by a hyphen):

Interrupted lines:
Word of the Day: BOP IT (5A: Hasbro toy that involves pulling and twisting) —
Bop It toys are a line of audio games where play consists of following a series of commands issued through speakers by the toy, which has multiple inputs including pressable buttons, pull handles, twisting cranks, spinnable wheels, flickable switches - with pace speeding up as the player progresses. (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!

• • •

Yeah, this doesn't really work, for a few reasons. First, the hyphens, which are allegedly what I was supposed to put in those final themer boxes. This is crosswords. I put HIC and NONO into crosswords all the time. I mean, jeez, look at ATEAM (52A: Elite group). Look At It. In the real world, of course, that gets a hyphen. But in a crossword? No. So those "hyphens" are all essentially unchecked squares. Absurd. Further, A-Z is not at all a valid answer to 35D: The whole shebang. You say A TO Z. You do not say "A-Z." And, again, if you solve crosswords regularly (as some of us do), you've seen ATOZ in puzzle approximately one bajillion times. A TO Z, A TO Z, A TO Z. Not only can I not imaging saying "A-Z" (w/o the "TO"), I can't imagine writing it. And please don't tell me the hyphen stands for "TO." It's not HI TO C or NO TO NO, so it's not A TO Z. Lastly, the actual interrupted phrases are kinda contrived (to get all the themers to be exactly the same length). First one reads OK, But second one ... I dunno. "LOOK"? You're talking, not miming. "DO I SOUND LIKE I'M DONE?" is the only plausible phrase. "QUIET, I WAS SPEAKING" ... I mean, fine, but that's just made up. "PLEASE LET ME FINISH" is at least close to a phrase that can stand on its own. The others are inapt and arbitrary, respectively.

I'm gonna start a recurring segment called Fire Your Fill (FYF), in which I order ask all constructors to get rid of some egregious bit of crossword garbage that should've been ice floed long ago. Today's FYF target is ABRA (1A: Start of a magic incantation). I will accept the full incantation, but this arbitrarily lopped-off first part? No. AGRA, yes. ABRA, no. I'm not too fond of ABLUSH either (I had AFLUSH, which really feels more like a thing...) (59A: Visibly embarrassed). And what's with MRI SCAN? Isn't that redundant? Are there MRIs that are *not* SCANs? I did enjoy TALKS TRASH and OPEN A TAB. Those are answers I can relate to. I patted myself hard on the back for remembering BELAY—my nautical nauledge is roughly zero. Never ever heard of BOP IT, so thank god BELAY was in my memory banks. Only made one initial error today: GIST for PITH (7D: Crux).

  • 14A: Celebrating Hanukkah, say (JEWISH) — [Jewish celebration] fo HANUKKAH makes sense. [Celebrating Hanukkah, say] for JEWISH feels weird and backward. It's like [Tagging up, say] for PLAYING BASEBALL. Like, the clue is way too specific for the general answer.
  • 43A: Square figure? (TWO) — presumably because "2" is the exponent that signifies squaring.
  • 9D: Co-written best seller (THE BIBLE) — I hate-like this clue. It's trying So Hard to be clever, so it's hard to stay mad at it.
  • 26D: Provider of global support? (ATLAS) — me, at first: "An ATLAS is a book ... how is that 'support'?" Me, later: "Oh, *ATLAS* ..."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:04 AM  


Unknown 12:06 AM  

I don't understand the pun in the bible clue.

Also, JEWISH and ARABS living together peacefully in the same grid is a nice sentiment.

a.corn 12:19 AM  

In order for that to make sense it would either have to be JEWISH/ARABIAN or JEWS/ARABS. Celebrating Hanukkah is a verb, Jewish is an adjective. This clue is dreckkkkkk!

Carola 12:21 AM  

I guess the joke is that the protest against the interruption is itself interrupted? Anyway, a very fast Thursday, after a sort of tripartite revelation: ISH + "why is LET ME FIN" too short? + "why doesn't HIC fit?" Aha.

DO I LOOK LIKE I'M DONE? - Envision them with a sheaf of unread note cards in hand.

I liked the cross of MESSY and BOSSY. Busted!

Anonymous 12:36 AM  

Nah, but there are plenty of places where you can see A-Z. A hyphen is used. It is what it is.

pcardout 12:41 AM  

Glad to be one of the first solvers for a change. A-Z was a clever clue PRECISELY because we all know A to Z. Originally I put the word "TO" in as a rebus. A good puzzle should have a nice AHA... and this one did. I had FIN ISH and was bothered by the extra square. Hi-C was obvious... but I hadn't figured out about the hyphen. It all came together there. Fun! (I am nearly 60 and I own a "Bop-it" from when my kids were young.)

a.corn 12:44 AM  

This...this just doesn’t work. Liked THE BIBLE, clever cluing. Inferring MM doesn’t speak in two clues, and then asking what he is? That’s soft for a Thursday. Would’ve really enjoyed 20A if it were clued about the band.. and gimme some uggs and Starbucks for BASIC, time to freshen up some of these answers! OWED was nice instead of the typical ire, raged, angry, etc. for seeing red. The hyphen nonsense (literally, nonsense A-Z is not real) added a good 3-4 minutes throwing my average Thursday time way off..bleh whatever, on to the next one.

Crane Poole 12:46 AM  

I stared at MR. ISCAN for a long time.

John Hoffman 12:58 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 1:03 AM  

Worked in radiology. MRI scan is a thing.

Larry Gilstrap 1:29 AM  

Wow! Hyphens are what I'm looking for. I agree with OFL about the A TO Z gambit.

I'll keep it short, because last night I made a great post and it disappeared. The best part involved Pippa Middleton, British Monarchy, ARSE. All that work for NON. You would have loved it!

As per the theme, I love talking to people who really listen to me when I talk, such a rare breed. I have friends I just try to talk over when I've had enough. Oh, I'm a good listener, up to a point. Crossing my eyes @Loren.

In an effort to stay relevant, I am marching off to the True-Value and buying some BALSA wood, an Exacto knife, and some glue, to make a model ...? I'm thinking here. Better get some paint and some decals.

I received my first two Draft deferments from CAL POLY, Pomona. Even then, we knew we could never be anywhere as cool as the kids from SLO. It was and is a very nice school. The ranch was the original property of the Kellogg family, yeah, the cereal people. The endowment for the land involved horses, ARABS. They had a better facility and were more pampered than the students or the staff. On our breaks we would stroll down to the horse unit to see the foals in the spring.

Trombone Tom 1:34 AM  

What @Rex said.

Not much resistance for a Thursday.

Nice to see CAL POLY; great school in a great location.

Played BOP IT with the GK's, but my reflexes are no match I'm ABLUSH to say.

Andrea 1:36 AM  

Me too!

Rev. Gary Johnson 1:37 AM  

THEBIBLE is a "co-written best seller?" The Bible was written by God and Jesus, who most certainly are not "co-authors." Enjoy your time in hell.

puzzlehoarder 1:38 AM  

This was one of your more annoying gimmick puzzles. Hyphens are one of those things that I'm never sure of when they should or shouldn't be used so it took me a while to catch onto the trick. I tried the TO rebus for A-Z first. It makes sense as ATOZ is a common entry. For the other themes I just repeated the last letter. When this didn't work I left the problem squares blank and thought about it until the lightbulb went off. I put the word DASH in as a rebus for each one and all was well

I skip M-W 2:00 AM  

I was all set to send RP some money, then I read his really quite stupid objections to this ok puzzle. For instance, “Do I look like I’m done” is perfectly reasonable, when the speaker might be pausing for a second for any of several possible reasons (emphasis, dramatic effect, an implied comma or dash, or to formulate the next phrase) in which case any sensitive onlooker would realize from posture or facial expression that she or he was not done. Likewise, ‘A-Z’ is totally understandable and could occur in many contexts.

If MS grades student papers this way, he ought to be censured. If, as I sincerely hope, he is not that mistakenly hard on his students, why can’t he display a similar openness in his puzzle critiques? Why should we reward not only nastiness but dumb nastiness? Isn’t one stable genius in the country more than enough?

chefwen 2:01 AM  

Took me a while to figure out the dash and to quit trying to squish a rebus in. Finally got it at Hi C vs. Nehi or whatever that soda was that Radar drank.

Did not like ABLUSH those A words make me want to A, well I won’t go there.

Robin 2:27 AM  

@Rev. Gary Johnson,

My knowledge of the bible is poor, but isn't much of the New Testament a collection of letters written by various apostles to varying congregations? Sounds co-written to me.

Yes, I know Im going to hell because I have committed the sin of snark.

Kimberly 2:58 AM  

I actually enjoyed it. The hyphen was fun. And if you can’t take liberties with language in a crossword puzzle, the earth might as well stop spinning on its axis. Being non-literal and flexible are signs of a creative, intelligent mind. Folks on the spectrum may find it disconcerting, but I find it kind of delightful.

alexa shortbush 3:01 AM  

WTF? Fin-ish...Speak-ing...D-one?

It's one syllable, then a continuation. Unbelievable and unforgivable.

joebloggs 3:16 AM  

Yes that clue was trash

joebloggs 3:21 AM  

I’d love to hear from a fellow sailor. Belay does not mean stop at sea. Avast. That means stop. All stop. That means stop. Even halt could mean stop. If you tell a Sailor belay he will not stop he will wait for the rest of the order because it means scratch that or forget my last order. As in, “belay my last.” That was a trash clue. Constructor if you read this, and tell your friends, if you weren’t a Sailor for pay stop using nautical clues, none of you have a clue what you are talking about!

jae 3:28 AM  

What @Rex said.

Thomaso808 3:47 AM  

Fun Thursday puzzle. Really liked it — made me think.

A-Z, BELAY, D-ONE, JEWISH are all close enough to work for me. No dreck, some really good long fill with OPENATAB and TALKSTRASH as standout debuts, and some cute clues. Like I said, fun puzzle.

When I graduated with my engineering degree in the early eighties and started looking for a job, several of my interviewers were visibly disappointed that my school was Caltech, and not CALPOLY. I was told that CALPOLY produces “real” engineers. Congrats on the debut CALPOLY!

Loren Muse Smith 4:01 AM  

Rex – me, too, for “gist” before PITH. And I agree on liking TALK TRASH, but I had TALK “smack” first. Dumb. And I agree on the reveralsomeness feel for the JEWISH clue.

I never use these phrases because when my husband interrupts – and he *always* interrupts, I “punish” him by not standing up for myself; I accompany him down the side little digression he starts and never finish my original point. Most of the time he doesn’t even notice. Once in a while, he’ll say Anyway, what were you saying? I’m always like Huh? Oh. I forgot. Or Never mind. It wasn’t important. And I act fine. Then I wrap my [hurt] around me like a blanket. (Thanks, Indigo Girls) and punish him. He’s supposed to understand that he’s done something wrong and apologize. Yeah, boy, I really show him. Massively unfair of me to do this, but it seems to be a force bigger than I am. Just like…

… talking so much here. Sorry, @Larry! Mea culpa. Hey – maybe it’s ‘cause no one interrupts me!

So in this spirit, I’ll ignore the rest of the notes in my margin and say pretty much what @pcardout and @Thomaso808 said. I think we’re both lucky enough not to sit and overthink things. The hyphens were fine with me, and the aha moment, after erasing that rebus “to,” was terrific.

Charles Flaster 4:16 AM  

Very Tuesday easy.
My thought after the first themer was we are going to spell nationalities differently —
Best clue this week has been the clue for OWES.
Only writeover was EEK for tsK.
I do marvel at the overall construction especially the equal length of the themers.
Thanks ST

Bookin' the Cooks 4:27 AM  

So relieved I wasn’t the only one. 😳

Anonymous 5:05 AM  

No problem at all with the hyphens. You'd see A-Z on the spine of a very thick encyclopedia volume. Like the theme idea, but, yes, themers themselves are too arbitrary.

Eric NC 5:48 AM  

@joebloggs. Right. Had avast and refused to change it for far too long.

Phil 5:49 AM  

Same as @joeblogs
Belay (that order)

Avast ye 'fore I scuttle your SCOW

Liked it otherwise, solved easier than I thought after seeing the long acrosses and strange continuations.

Phil 6:00 AM  

DO I sound LIKE I AM DONE <— Rex, really?? That is not a thing . Never been said...

TonySaratoga 6:17 AM  

The whole theme is that it’s an interruption. An unplanned cessation caused by someone else. Not a planned one like in handwriting an essay and choosing when to place your hyphen.

Brett 6:27 AM  

I liked the theme and thought it was well done.

I’m not convinced that ARABS are the majority of hajjis. Arabs make up only around 15% of the global Muslim population, which would make it unlikely that they are the majority even if they are over-represented in the Hajj because of their proximity to Mecca (in comparison with, say, Indonesians). It is far more likely that south Asians (Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis) make up the majority of hajjis.

rtkelly 6:32 AM  

This was fine, but my biggest issue was the fact that the themers are what you would say after you were already interrupted, so the interruption at the end doesn’t make sense to me.

Donald Trump 6:34 AM  

"You know, no men are anywhere. And I'm allowed to go in because I'm the owner of the pageant. And therefore I'm inspecting it... Is everyone OK? You know, they're standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible-looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that,"

Lewis 6:34 AM  

@calman -- If only there wasn't that CLASH right between them.

My favorite parts were the long theme "Quit interrupting me!" lines, and three terrific clues: "Co-written best seller" for BIBLE, "Is appealing" for PLEADS, and "Body shot?" for MRI SCAN.

Clever idea for a theme, Sam. Very nice piece of work, and thank you!

Republican Governor Eric Greitens 6:37 AM  

In a recording obtained by News 4, a woman says she had a sexual encounter with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and that he tried to blackmail her to keep the encounter quiet.

AlanAlan 6:39 AM  

MRI is a technology (magnetic resonance imaging) and an MRI machine uses that technology to do an MRI SCAN. It’s a thing, but it’s also a bit green painting, because CAT scan is also a thing and also fits the clue. As does (maybe I mean “Like does” here) PET scan. Not a bad entry, just a clue that needed a little work. Good puzzle overall. Easy-ish.

Evangelical Pastor Andy Savage 6:43 AM  

Memphis Megachurch Pastor Admits to Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Exubesq 7:16 AM  

Real snark would be;”best selling work of fiction of all time.” Go big or go home.

Anonymous 7:19 AM  

Rex, how would you read "Nos. 1-10" out loud if you saw it written in a sentence? How about "pages 34-35"? A hyphen is read to denote "to" all the time.

I think the hyphens work beautifully in the puzzle because (1) they unite the three themed answers, and (2) all their "interrupting crosses" make perfect sense with the hyphens as well. Just because the constructor throws you a curve ball and slightly changes a few well-established crosswordese words (HIC, ATOZ, and NONO) by inserting spaces in there, I think if you look at all three words (HI C), (A Z), and (NO NO), the clear symbol that unites all three words and makes them work is a hyphen. Nice Thursday gimmick.

Anonymous 7:20 AM  

Then didn't her get a standing ovation from the congregation?! Christians are awesome.

Hungry Mother 7:27 AM  

Put in the hypens and thought they might be a problem for the app. The problem was me, putting in ABbA and not checking it. DOH!

kitshef 7:30 AM  

ABRA BOPIT NTH is one terrible start to a puzzle, and there are plenty of ughs in there – IBO SQIN HWY, both NON and NAN.


Also, “Ewe can do it!” Is one of those clues that should burned, dissolved in acid, then shot into the sun.

But the theme was really neat and made for a fun, though over-too-quick, solve.

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

Isn't @Donald Trump the guy @molly shu loves so much? Seems like a good role model!

TomAz 7:53 AM  

This was one of my fastest Thursdays in a while. I didn't mind the hyphens at all.

I agree with others that the clue for BELAY is flat out wrong.

Otherwise I barely noticed this thing it was so easy.

KRMunson 7:55 AM  

Depite the few technical cluing errors I thought this puzz was pretty easy and solid. Anyone agree?

QuasiMojo 8:07 AM  

I filled in almost the whole puzzle leaving the rebus ones blank, knowing that there was something fishy going on. It never occurred to me to put in a hyphen. Last week I asked, "what's next, emojis?" And I guess I was on the right track. Seriously, this was god(HYPEN)awful. I think I'm going to cancel my NYT subscription to the puzzle. I just don't enjoy them anymore and the WSJ is much more enjoyable. Even the LAT which I used to find wanting has upped its game and is thoroughly engaging, very often better than both of the others.

But then I wouldn't have much TRASH to TALK to y'all about.

For today, I had a DNF ulimately because I had RELAY/ROPIT. I've never heard of BELAY (and apparently with good reason) and ROPIT made more sense than BOPIT since you pull and twist, not BAM and WHAM (both of which I don't think of as "noises" but rather as actions.)

And a JELLY ROLL is fruity? I suspect there is some corn syrup in them.

As a non-Californian (I don't smoke or eat pot either), I threw in CAL TECH and stuck to it for so long my time was nearly a record. Not that I care. As far as I'm concerned this puzzle wasn't worth timing. Or even FINISH-ING.

Chris 8:08 AM  

Understood the theme right away, but couldn’t figure out what went in the last square until I got to the bottom and was staring at NO_NO for 50D...aha!

Tried to be too clever for 21A (Like a course labelled “101”) and dropped EASYA in there without any hesitation.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

Bye Felicia!

Whitey 8:09 AM  

I graduated from CALPOLY SLO. Fond memories of the bucolic campus.

Republican voter 8:13 AM  

I'm not a pedophile, a child molester, or a serial rapist. It's just that I have no problem supporting candidates who are all of these if they promise to cut taxes for the very wealthy!

Alan Harris 8:16 AM  

@LMS, sounds like you and your husband deserve each other.

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

I mean, if we really want to tear this puzzle apart, there should be an en dash to signify a range in A to Z, and em dashes for the interrupted speech in the across themers. And yeah then we might as well pull out our hair over the inconsistency with hyphens for only select words. But I don’t care. I thought this puzzle was cute and delightful. I also had AFLUSH to the very end, though, not realizing that was my error until I came here to see if there was a trick to entering the hyphens. Sorry, Ibo.

chefbea 8:22 AM  

51 comments at 8:20 in the morning!!! Fun puzzle - but didn't get the hyphens!!! Love aspic and jelly roll - haven't made either in years. Never heard of Ibo...use to play canasta!!!

SJ Austin 8:25 AM  

Anon (8:18) beat me to the punch with the pedantry about hyphens vs. dashes. :) I really enjoyed this puzzle. I see Rex's point about the themers not being perfect, but it didn't interfere with the fun for me.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

We are Jewish, so we are celebrating Hanukkah this week.
What's your problem?

It's a participle, by the way. Ssshhh, don't tell Loren.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

(that was for a.corn@12:19)

Two Ponies 9:10 AM  

My biggest problem today was the bad manners of the theme clues/answers. At least 16A says please but all of the rest are rude responses to rude people. Two wrongs don't make a right.

@ kitshef 7:30, I'm with you all of the way on clues like Ewe can do it. There probably is a name for such garbage. Your description of how to dispose of such dribble was priceless!

@ QuasiMojo 8:07, I have considered jumping ship as well. However, this blog is more interesting than the puzzles have become lately.
I hope you don't leave.

@ joebloggs 3:21, Thanks for clearing up belay. I'm no sailor but even I knew that was wrong.

@ LMS, You OK? You seem a bit negative this week.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

I hope you're kidding. I can't tell. Even ignoring any cynical POV on the origins, thats silly. The Gospels were written by 4 apostles chronicling the life of Jesus. Revelation was written by John. The letters to the Corinthians were written by Paul. And so on. Stop.

Lewis 9:19 AM  

Re belay, see definition #2:


Shawn 9:22 AM  

I was stymied at 59A/56D. My knowledge of African tribes is not extensive. I initially had AFLUSH and IFO.

Hy-phen 9:27 AM  

Calman Snoffelevich: If you live in NYC or ever visit NYC, take a stroll along Shore LIne Drive in Bay Ridge on any given (warm) Sunday, and you'll see Jews and Muslims walking around amiably all the time. It is amazing and quite heartening to see these groups of people enjoying the day together. It can be done....or should I say...d-one.

As for the puzzle, I really like the conceit of using figures others than just letters in a puzzle. Like the puzzle a couple of weeks ago that used numbers. Both puzzles, this one and that number one, weren't very well executed, but I'd like to see more puzzles that exploit all the letters on a keyboard. Afterall, a lot of people solve online now or on a computer with PuzzleLite...so using a % or a € here are there is pretty neat.

Tim Aurthur 9:42 AM  

Is "Fire Your Fill" an oblique reference to #balancetonporc?

Nancy 9:46 AM  

Some of my favorite people seemed to have hated this puzzle (don't leave the blog, @Quasi, please -- it's not that bad!), but I always tend to really like puzzles that are imaginative and different. This was both. I had two medium "Aha" moments: the first when I realized that there was a blank space and the second when I realized that there was a hyphen in the blank space. It disappointed me only on the difficulty factor; I like Thursday to provide more challenge. Still, I thought it was a nifty and original concept -- and kind of funny, actually.

@Crane Poole (12:56) -- Like you, I had a problem with MR ISCAN. Plus I was also seeing SQIN. I was DOOKING a lot today. And @Loren: I also had gIst before PITH. But mostly it was very smooth sailing, and I didn't BELAY at all.

Mark 9:47 AM  

Yes @brett and that was egregious.

But so too was the awful use of hyphens. Yes I eventually figured it out. But, really, you're usually interrupted prior to your objection to the interruption, not at the end of the objection. Breaking those phrases elsewhere would have made more sense....

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

I truly hate the new gimmicks popping up on the Times crossWORD. A hyphen is not a "word", rebuses stink, and the continual use of multi-word answers rubs me the wrong way. Mr. Shortz has been too clever by half lately. Just like, my opinion, man....

Sir Hillary 10:13 AM  

Gee, the political commentary is especially clever and original today. You politicos should be professional writers. No, really.

Interesting puzzle idea, but it doesn't quite work. Taken separately, none of the weaknesses (hyphens, A-Z, made-up phrases, iffy fill) bother me much. Taken together, they do.

Lotsa ISH today -- ISH itself, JEWISH, KENO is bingoISH, HI-C and JELLYROLLS are fruitISH (at best), and ALA is ISHISH.

Mistakes -- intro >> BASIC, pun >> BAA, WIsP >> WIMP.

Favorite clue is the one for TIE.

alexa shortbush 10:14 AM  

It is still inelegant. Why not Spea-king? Because it will not fit as the grid is.

Go on and interrupt yourself saying that phrase -you will stop naturally after spea-


Anonymous 10:21 AM  

When Gov Greitens tells this blindfolded, tied up woman that she’ll stay quiet, or else. “He said, 'you're never going to mention my name, otherwise there will be pictures of [you] everywhere.'”

Seems unlikely this was his first outing.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

Yep, he ran on the usual Republican "family values" bullshit.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

Red states: most Christians, highest divorce rates, highest abortion rates, highest gun violence rates, etc. Think maybe it's possible that the "family values" thing is just a ruse?

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Also re: BELAY, the American Heritage Dictionary has as one of its definitions: “Belay: Used in the imperative as an order to stop: Belay there!” Seems like a legitimate clue to me.

Franklin Graham 10:29 AM  

The Bible has a single author: God.

Anoa Bob 10:29 AM  

In the days of wooden sailing ships, BELAY meant to secure a line to some fixed object, often, yep, a purpose[hyphen]built BELAYing pin. Here's an example.

When I was a swab, I typically heard BELAY used to mean "disregard" or "cancel". "BELAY my last" over the intercom meant the previous announcement was no longer valid.

When "avast" didn't work for "Stop, at sea" (5D), I shook my head in sadness and put in BELAY. Close enough for landlubbers.

Bob Mills 10:30 AM  

"BOBIT," or "TOPIT," or "POPIT," or "COPIT," or whatever. Otherwise, a nice puzzle.

GILL I. 10:40 AM  

Didn't really work for me as well. Like @Quasi, I left the ends blank all because of that damn AtoZ.
BELAY/avast, PITH/gist, BASIC/easy a, TWO/mao, ATEAM/alist and like @LMS I wanted to TALK SMACK. I don't mind write-overs - it makes the puzzle more interesting when other things don't fit, it's just that when I finally got the PITH of the puzzle I went like "IS THAT ALL?" Haha, I said like.
I did like JEWISH THE BIBLE ARABS. A little something for everyone. I usually leave out the PLEASE when I'm interrupted . It is one of my biggest pet peeves in the entire world. Here you are, ready to tell this fabulous story and someone (usually my youngest sister) has to put her two cents in before you even take your first breath because her story is more interesting and she's louder than you and has blonde hair. It's worse when we have the family get-togethers. I'm the oldest of the remaining clan so I have to stand up and tell everyone not to interrupt me until I finish SPEAKING. Sometimes it works.
My husband speaks very slowly and he's a Brit so nobody interrupts. him because they don't understand him. He tells me I take too long to get to my point - kinda like now - and people get bored and so it's my fault.
I like PLEADS sitting underneath DO I LOOK LIKE IM D-ONE...
If you haven't seen it yet, Better Call SAUL is terrific. I can't wait for the next season. @Larry G...the only thing I know about CAL POLY is its ranch and all the beautiful ARABS. I laughed when you said the horses are better treated than the students. It's true but they deserve it.
A few too many ISM NTH ISH SQUIN but otherwise I like JELLY ROLL who needs a Morton.

Chuck McLeester 10:43 AM  

The blank spaces at the end of the theme clues can be filled with ellipses ratherthan hyphens as is the case wth A...Z. Doesnt work for No-No, but neither work for HiC.

mathgent 10:51 AM  

I was waiting for @Nancy's comment before jumping in. I had a feeling that she would describe how I felt about the puzzle better than I could. I was right.

It had a lot of flaws which Rex and Jeff Chen enumerated. But It was worthwhile.

I'm a little embarrassed that I couldn't understand how TWO was "Square figure?" and Rex did. It's the exponent.

Stanley Hudson 10:52 AM  

“otherwise I like JELLY ROLL who needs a Morton.“
@Gill I, we see what you did there. :)

Took me awhile to grasp the puzzle’s conceit (maybe last night’s Stoli Martolis?) but finally caught on. I know IBO from Chinua Achebe’s wonderful novel Things Fall Apart.

@Brett 6:27, I also question whether or not most hajjis are ARABS.

mathgent 10:58 AM  

@Gill I (10:40): Great description of story-telling at family gatherings. It rang some bells.

Nancy 11:02 AM  

@mathgent (10:51)-- I'm so flattered. Thank you!

@GILL (10:40)-- Just like everyone else, I've been interrupted plenty in my life. But should I count myself lucky that no one in my family is/was blond? :)

QuasiMojo 11:02 AM  

@Namcy et al, thank you, I don’t want to leave the blog, it’s just that I don’t want to do the NYT puzzle anymore. I suppose I could just comment on Rex’s take and its often inspired responses. Yours included. That might be fine. Yours, Felicia.,

fifirouge 11:11 AM  

I think this is the first time that the theme inconsistency Rex is always complaining about actually prevented me from finishing the puzzle. I knew it was HI_C, A_Z and NO_NO, but I never tumbled to the hyphen. Since HIC and NONO are in puzzles all the time, it didn't even occur to me that there was normally a hyphen. I just sat there staring blankly at A_Z and trying different random things in the blank squares until I just said screw it and hit solve.

I also had AFLUSH instead of ABLUSH, and I've never heard of the Nigerian tribe so I don't think I was ever going to find that error...

Herbbob 11:17 AM  

Will Shortz is falling down on the job. He should never have let this inane puzzle get published.

David 11:22 AM  

@joeblogs, Yes I had Avast (the correct answer). Belay belies ignorance of sailor jargon.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Shipmates, it be Thursday not Monday, eh? So keep a weather eye out for secondary or indirect clues, and belay your lubberly complaining.

Joseph Michael 11:32 AM  

I thought this puz-

Ellen S 11:33 AM  

But other times, aren’t there lots of complaints because HIC or ATEAM should have hyphens, and the puzzle is flawed because the parts are run together? So finally we get to put in a hyphen (Puzzazz allows real hyphens, by the way, so I was itching for en and em dashes, as noted above) and @Rex can’t read “A-Z” or “9-5”, et al.

I can usually hold on to my train of thought when I’m interrupted, but less so when I do it to myself. (In my family, it’s my big brother).

I found the puzzle a bit easy for a Thursday, but I enjoyed it a lot more than most of the commenters here seemed to. Thank you MrT!

Z 11:35 AM  

I, like Rex if I’m reading him correctly, don’t object to the hyphens per se. No, it’s that we get two that represent a break and one that represents “to.” If they were all “to” or if there were four themers and we had two of each or if they were all just a break then my pattern seeking brain would have been happy. But this one of these things is not like the others theme niggles, is a pebble in my shoe.

No problem with BELAY, which I know from taking students to high ropes courses. And, yes, sea-farers, it is used at sea to mean “stop.” Just because you wouldn’t replace “avast” with BELAY doesn’t mean both aren’t used to replace “stop.”

The religious clues also niggled today. As @Brett pointed out, it is highly unlikely that most Hajjis are ARABS. Proximity making completing the Hajj easier it is possibly accurate, but I suspect not. The clue for JEWISH also niggles. It’s not wrong but just seemed like an odd way to get from A to B. .

One last niggle, MRI SCAN is most definitely a thing, only no one ever goes for an MRI SCAN, they go for an MRI. So, sure, acceptable just not very much in the language.

None of these things are major faults, but they all combine to make the puzzle feel just slightly off, less than perfect.

Other things...

Note to self, SeLMA is the city, SALMA is the actress.
Liberal anonymice are just as annoying as conservative anonymice.
I thought @Lewis knew how to link.
I just finished God: A Human History by Reza Aslan. The bibliography and annotated footnotes are almost as long as the text, but I found it to be a fascinating primer on our propensity to reinvent “God” in our image. I recommend it but would suggest ignoring the supporting documentation unless you have a paper to write.

Sir Hillary 11:35 AM  

Best laugh I’ve had today!

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

I think "Kill Your Fill" has a much better ring to it. It also pays homage to Faulkner's advice for improving one's writing in general -- "kill your darlings". https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Kill%20your%20darlings

ColoradoCog 11:48 AM  

Very easy for a Thursday. I probably would have had a personal best if I hadn’t insisted for so long on TALKing “smack”.

I had no issue with the hyphens. Seemed fair and clever to me. At first I had “all” for “the whole shebang” since “atoz” would need 4 letters, but once I saw that this would force me into “Cameron Dial” I knew something was up. The only thing that would work at that point was a hyphen, and everything fell into place.

I enjoyed this puzzle.

Aubrey Raech 11:49 AM  

You guys are too picky. It was a fun puzzle. Yes, you don't usually see hyphens in crosswords, but that is exactly why their presence here makes it a good Thursday. Oh A-team should have a hyphen? Boo hoo, it wasn't in a themer location.

Admittedly I've only been doing the NYT puzzle daily for about 2 years, and today's puzzle took me 21 minutes (pretty average Thursday for me), so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about and am a tasteless pleb... But I had fun solving it and it was appropriately challenging.

If you demand perfection, apply for Will's job when he retires. :P

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Wives should tell their husbands information or secrets they never want revealed with full confidence because you can't pass on information when you are never listening to what was said.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

@Franklin Graham if you're correct, then God needed an editor.

Andrew Heinegg 12:06 PM  

I agree re the liberal and conservative anonymice being equally annoying. My biggest complaint is that the ever increasing polarization in this country is killing our sense of humor and civility.

Neither side seems to be able to make a point without asserting the opposing side is brainless, pieces of garbage etc. as proven by their point of view. Like that kind of abusive verbiage would be persuasive;

jb129 12:13 PM  

I'm starting to think that I don't want to do the NYT puzzle anymore either - they, more often than not, don't work for me - not fun anymore & the NYT keeps raising the home delivery rate with not too much more to offer - Thank you Sulzberger, Jr.!

jberg 12:19 PM  

This theme mostly works three ways: first, there are three equal-length phrases that all mean the same thing, but have to be carried over to the next line; second, each of the theme answers is a response to interruption that is interrupted itself; and third, there is a hyphen in just the right place to indicate the continuation to the next line. Only the last one does not work for D-ONE, you would never hyphenate that word at all. SPEAK-ING and FIN-ISH do work, so D-ONE makes the whole thing a bit less elegant. It's still a nice gimmick, though, I think.

Other points:

A Team is not hyphenated, unless you are using it as an adjective (we were reminiscing about our a-team days).

A scan is not a type of MRI, but an MRI is a type of scan, so that phrase is OK.

And personally, I loved ABLUSH. So does Chuck Berry.

It was sort of fun to have MAUNA clued by Loa -- almost always it's the other way around, and we have to guess if it is LOA or KEA.

And I've sure enjoyed learning all this nautical stuff!

kitshef 12:38 PM  

@Quasimojo: In our book club we had one guy who would (almost) never read the book, but he would come anyway and comment the discussion about the book. You can be that person for the blog. It's a win-win. We get your presence, and you keep your finger on the pulse of the Times puzzle so when there is a particularly good one, or an overall increase in quality, you can jump back in all the way.

oldactor 12:47 PM  

When I was 5 or 6 (about 80 years ago) I was trying to tell my mother something while she was chatting over coffee with a neighbor. The lady would say to me, "We're talking, don't interrupt!" After what seemed like forever, my mother said, "Okay, what?" After a long pause I said, "What were I gonna tell?" That became a family catch phrase for all these years.

semioticus (shelbyl) 1:00 PM  

First they allowed numbers in the crossword puzzle, and I didn't say anything. Then they put in hyph... Just kidding, change is good. A hyphen in a puzzle doesn't mean that "from now on every puzzle is gonna have numbers and hyphens and emojis (why not?)" just like it doesn't mean allowing gay marriage is gonna make everyone gay marry. Does it look like my analogy is a stretch? No, it's not. Everybody is a little bit racist, is a little bit conservative etc. Accepting that as a fact and trying to make our society a better place despite our shortcomings as a species is what we should do.

But hey, enough politics.

This was not as neatly executed as I would have liked. The fill wasn't fresh, but it was only filled with some problematic glue so that's good. Some answers though :/ BELAY/BOPIT is almost a Natick. ADA ADO, NAN NON, ISH ISM in the same puzzle is a bit too much. ABLUSH made me afrown. But still, that's a passable fill, especially with such a novel theme idea. The problem is, the execution failed badly. QUIETIWASSPEAKING is just made up. I have never heard that phrase in my entire life (granted, in a not-so-insignificant portion of my life I wasn't even speaking English, but hey, cut me some slack). A-Z looks weird.

All that leaves an impression of "sloppiness", which I don't like. As in "Oh, I have a good, new idea so I won't bother improving on this puzzle because I don't want to be scooped." Not cool bro. This could have been a great puzzle, now it's just meh.

GRADE: B-, 3 stars.

Amelia 1:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teedmn 1:01 PM  

Avast! all ye landlubbers, oops, I mean "BELAY that order". And what is a BO-PIT? Like a Bo-Peep toy being pulled on a string that makes a little BAA NOISE? This is the kind of thing I had to deal with today. (I have since Googled BOP IT and have read @Rex's word of the day so, okay.)

But those were the only missteps I made, which I corrected, so no problem with today's puzzle. I wanted a hyphen right away at HI-C but I played the rebus "to" game at A-Z and then went back to hyphens when 55A-58A made it clear what we were dealing with. Numbers in one puzzle this week, grammatical marks in another, I think @QuasiMojo is on the right track that emojis can only be next (but what if the ones I have available on my device don't work on the puzzle app? EEK!)

Thanks, Sam, it played interesting as a concept.

Ralph 1:02 PM  

I, too, had a post disappear. I'm not sure why. It just was that Mr. Ed, the talking horse of old-time TV, was the true genius of the stable.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

When I was in the Navy, "belay" was used to mean "stop" ("end") fairly often. E.g., "belay the fire drill" meant "That's the end of the fire drill. Stop doing it."

semioticus (shelbyl) 1:06 PM  

Also, we have our fair share of trolls (or troll who occasionally gathers his Reddit friends) here, but this is one of the most misguided comments in the history of this blog (which I've been reading for a year but of course I will hyperbolize)

Anonymous Rev. Gary Johnson said...
THEBIBLE is a "co-written best seller?" The Bible was written by God and Jesus, who most certainly are not "co-authors." Enjoy your time in hell.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

Let's face it. Good fucked up.

CY 1:09 PM  

I agree with "I skip M-W": DO I LOOK LIKE I'M DONE is a perfectly reasonable phrase, not just colloquially, but literally: just because the speech is auditory doesn't mean that the cues to whether the speaker is done are. And A-Z is exactly how it would be written on the spine of an omnibus encyclopedia volume or the like, and, since such alphabetical indications are presumably the source of the expression "A to Z", I see no problem with spelling the expression that way.

Uncle Alvarez 1:12 PM  

“Yeah, this doesn't really work, for a few reasons.”

That’s not what your mother said last night!

Masked and Anonymous 1:12 PM  

Top possible puz comments, from the Snark Side:

1. Someone obviously just dashed this one off.
2. Hi-c. I need a d-rink.
3. D-one?!? Is this another darn Battleship theme?
4. They shoulda given the constructor more time to properly fin-ish.
5. Hey, if the editor hadn't accepted this one, he'd had to have settled for the "B-Ball Terms Part II" puz.
6. "DO I LOOK LIKE I'M DONE" sounds like something a talking pancake might say.
7. BAA-
8. D.
9. Too hyphen-lootin'.
10. Wanted to skip it, three times during the solve.

Tried to change my shtick a little today, to make the day happier, for a certain Comment Gallery dude from yesterday. M&A aims to pleas-

Thanx, Mr. Trabucco. Truly admired yer puz's originality. Keep dashin em off.

Masked & Anonymo4Us
"Weirdball on a Shtick"


Fountains of Golden Fluids 1:13 PM  

Does anyone remember good pot drugs?

CY 1:14 PM  

@ the people objecting to the clue for THE BIBLE: The Bible encompasses many books (anywhere from 24 to 81, depending on your sect), including works such as Psalms, which nobody claims to have been written by the Lord.

Stanley Hudson 1:17 PM  

@Masked and Anonymous, ignore the haters-trolls.

Whatsername 1:59 PM  

I though this was nicely done, although very easy for a Thursday, more like a Wednesday level difficulty. I first tried a rebus with A-Z but then the hyphen reveal was a pleasant aha and some unusually clever clues appreciated. Seems to me both sides of the argument about The Bible have a point. While there were numerous "writers," presumably al their words were spoken by God. Either way, I don't think anyone is going to spend time in hell for making the wrong assumption in a crossword puzzle.

QuasiMojo 2:48 PM  

@ Kitshef, good idea. Thanks! I’ll try it out for a few days. @m&A, very funny!

Ben 2:49 PM  

Implying, not inferring. The solver infers it from the puzzle's implication.

Joe Bleaux 3:05 PM  

Would "best-selling UNEDITED work of all time" get you busted on a blasphemy rap?

Marie 3:08 PM  

When we moved to a new house, the kids on the block all asked my kids, "Do you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah?" Ergo "celebrating Hanukkah" = Jewish.

Blue Stater 3:27 PM  

Thank you, Rex, for stating more clearly and with more expertise my own responses to this pile of dreck. This is another example of WS corrupting the genre by trying to expand it to include characters other than letters -- and, frequently, words that are not words or, more exactly, words that can be created by rules of English word formation (like ABLUSH) but are nevertheless not words; Maleska rarely if ever did this.

All in all, a mess; not worth our time and not worthy of the New York Times.

Two Ponies 3:32 PM  

@ M&A 1:12,
Every day you make us chuckle but ONE day
someone one pokes at you and that is the
only comment you remember.
Funny how that works, isn't it.

We got your back.

JC66 3:38 PM  

@Two Ponies 3:32P

Right on!

Matthew G. 3:40 PM  

Was not bothered at all by the hyphens, and so I liked the theme concept -- but I agree with Rex that the second and third theme entries are inapt and arbitrary.

Three stars.

Anonymous 4:25 PM  

People keep complaining about the "new" trend of using hyphens, numerals, rebuses, etc. in the NYT puzzles. This is not a new trend!! This is what has made the Thursday and Sunday puzzles fun for years. It simply seems that in the past year or so there has been less use of this technique, and it has made the puzzles more predictable IMHO. It is fun to think out of the (letter) box.

Nancy 4:28 PM  

@ Amelia (1:00 p.m.) -- Amen, right on, touche, and you go, girl! Is everyone listening to Amelia? IS EVERYONE LISTENING TO AMELIA?

sanfranman59 4:33 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
Wed 5:57 5:54 1.01 59.4% Medium
Thu 9:47 10:28 0.93 38.0% Easy-Medium

Alysia 5:53 PM  

+1 for Ben.

Alysia 5:55 PM  

Thank you, Anon. Pretty sure that’d be a well-known fact for anyone feeling the need to get so worked up about it.

elibativa 6:38 PM  

I also question whether Arabs are "most" of the hajjis (defining hajji as pilgrims to Mecca). 7 of the top ten countries for non-Saudi pilgrims are Turkey, Nigeria, Indonesia, India, Iran, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

There is a racist definition of hajji that does mean Arab - but the NY Times crossword should not be cluing racist definitions. If they are, shame on them.

BocaBoy 7:15 PM  

I hated every minute of this puzzle. I didn't get the hyphen gimmick and it made completing the fill totally confusing. Didn't get the puns, like MRISCAN, and no one calls Cal Tech CALPOLY.

Ugh. On to Friday.

Sarah C 7:29 PM  

Just didn't enjoy this. It felt like a slog (unlike yesterday's which, despite Rex's Medium/Challenging rating, was a breeze). Two pluses: I got to contribute to the blog and had the opportunity to say "holy crap, Morrissey looks so young in that video!" Small anecdote: when I was a teenager growing up in London I had an internship at Rough Trade Records. I was doing some kind of menial task when the Smiths came in to sign their contract with the label. A brush with greatness.

Anonymous 7:48 PM  

Thi-s puzzle s-eemed to think it's o-k to just put h-yphe-ns in anywhere in a word. So arbitrary! I thought there must be a rebus (I had TREnds, not 'fads' and I had aTOz, so I thought it was some weird numbering rebus). But no, it was just someone who's never seen a cr-ossword before.

john 8:39 PM  

I don’t know what Navy you good folks served in but in my Navy BELAY was always followed by THAT, which meant that what was just said was to be disregarded & the correct version immediately followed. To wit: “The Old Man is a delta sierra BELAY THAT The Old Man is the smartest person aboard AND he never is wrong unless he says he is.” Belay also means in marlinspike seamanship to secure a line by wrapping it in the correct manner around a belaying pin. AVAST means stop as in AVAST HEAVING or stop putting tension on a line. When the OOD orders the engine room to stop engines that is the command: STOP ENGINES. AVAST is never used in this case. Time for some gedunk.



Anonymous 12:34 AM  

Cal Tech is the California Institute of Technology (in Pasadena). Cal Poly is California Polytechnic State University (in San Luis Obispo) - and EVERYONE calls it Cal Poly.

Anonymous 1:17 AM  

Fictional trash either way

Anonymous 1:18 AM  

Does anyone remember?

Jon in Saint Paul 9:01 AM  

You win today's internet.

xyz 9:28 AM  

The Bible certainly is co-------written, Collections of Fairy Tales usually are.

The only good in this entire puzzle, although that needed a hyphen as well, so I put in seven above, one for every day the aliens worked and the final day they partied, dude.

OMG, I like, uh, errr, didn't dig this puzzle, man

Chim cham 2:57 PM  

By God and by Jesus! Lol! If you’re smart enough to even want to try to solve a crossword puzzle, there’s no way you actually think Jesus wrote any part of it. Which reminds me. Adult Swim produced a very funny short parody called The Book of Jesus. It’s on YouTube and Adult Swim’s website.

spacecraft 11:08 AM  

My opinion is almost exactly congruent with @OFL's.


Today we have a CROWDED (borrowed from yesterday) stage for the DOD contest. Mss. RUEHL, DIAZ and SALMA Hayek all are worthy of the sash. On a coin toss, Cameron takes home the gold.

Grabbed onto the trick very late in the solve; for a while there I didn't think I was going to FIN-ISH. So, some triumph points accrue. I have to concede another plus--for originality. This means Mr. T EKED out a par.

P.S. To @OFL: ABRA could possibly be clued as the love interest in Steinbeck's "East of Eden," should you want to avoid the incantation.

thefogman 11:20 AM  

I got Naticked by the IBO-ABLUSH crossing. I put down AfLUSH (in pen) and alas I have almost zero knowledge of Nigerian tribes. At first, I thought there was going to be a word play which included nationalities as in PLEASELETMEFINNISH but that idea quickly evaporated once I finally latched on to the hyphen gimmick in HI-C. Rex is being a wee bit harsh in his critique. The PHIL was generally fine and I enjoyed the hyphen device. He also hated the number gimmick that appeared a while back. I don't mind puzzles that go beyond the usual one-letter-per-square format. Such RUEHLs were made to be broken.

Burma Shave 2:00 PM  


or are you TWO AIKEN for a CLASH?
now OUI will see who TALKSTRASH!”


Diana, LIW 2:32 PM  

I knew Hi-C was Hi-C. But did I dare to put in a hyphen? Even whe I know it's tricky Thursday?

Back to Crosswords grammar school for me.

Isn't it funny how many people blame the constructor when they don't "get it?"

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 2:37 PM  

As an officer cadet in the Royal Canadian Navy way back in the day, I often heard the CPO in charge of us say "BELAY that!" in reference to some stupid/silly actions on the cadets' part. He would usually add some amazingly "colourful" observations which we would never interrupt.

Sorry for that. The puzzle was kinda neat, different, creative, leading to an Aha for me when I got the hyphen bit. Had to write over CALtech, intro, SeLMA, and evIL in order to finish, which I did, with aplomb.

Some clever clues and nice non-theme entries. Good one.

rainforest 2:39 PM  

Just wanted to add a question: how can the Governor of Florida and Senator Rubio possibly be surprised by the horrible tragedy yesterday in a state which has the laxest of gun control provisions?

leftcoastTAM 2:58 PM  

Hyphens were hiding in plain sight, and they didn't appear until there was anything else left to do with those spaces.

Have to own up to a DNF at BOPIT, a non-existant toy in my world. Had the PIT but not the B or O, which led to a couple of additional errors in that top middle area.

Burma Shave 3:12 PM  


or are you TWO AIKEN for a CLASH?
now OUI will see who TALKSTRASH!”


rondo 4:17 PM  

Didn’t exactly get it until about 2/3 D-ONE (dumb place for a hyphen). Strikes me as odd that THEBIBLE connects the JEWISH and the ARABS, RETELL me how that works without a CLASH.
BOPIT? OK, if you say so. The rest of the PHIL sorta meh with at least 20 threes, but the longer ones OK. Pretty obscure clue for ADA. After you go, “EEK!” have you EKED?

AWLS I know is everybody’s jumpin’ when JELLYROLL’S playin’ the piano.

Since we’ll never see her again I say, “Mercedes, you RUEHL. Yeah baby.”

Hyphens in a puz? Next thing you know there’ll be numbers. Oh wait . . .

thefogman 5:11 PM  

Okay, some of the PHIL was irritating, but not enough to make my ASPIC.

Diana, LIW 5:14 PM  

just an fyi

when you look up rebus, the definition is of a picture or representation, not a bunch of letters as we crossworders are used to.

So, I suppose, they hyphen is actually more apt for such a puz.

Lady Di, Picturing that

leftcoastTAM 7:26 PM  

@spacecraft -- Nice call on ABRA. ("East of Eden" is one of my favorite movies.)

wcutler 7:48 PM  

Until almost the very end, I was duplicating the last letter of the interrupted line and the first letter of the next line, like happens on YouTube when a video is interrupted by an ad - when the video resumes, there is a bit that's repeated. So I had a little trouble with the down answers at the ends of the interrupted lines. Then, in a flash, it came to me, a triple "aha". That was way fun.

So I almost finished, but didn't know SAUL or RUEHL.

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