Recurring melodic phrase / THU 1-4-18 / Nickname shared by two Spice Girls / Capital of Osterreich

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Constructor: Daniel Mauer

Relative difficulty: Challenging (well, until you *get it*—non-theme stuff is actually pretty easy)

THEME: (4)WARDING ADDRESS (38A: Something to leave at the post office ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme?) — Four different clues are actually answers found elsewhere in the grid. You find them via their "forwarding addresses," which are the apparent answers to the clues (which are not actually answers, but written-out clue numbers). So ...

Theme answers:
  • 1A: Ten cents (12 DOWN) (12-Down = TEN CENTS)
  • 13D: Macarena (18 ACROSS) (18-Across = MACARENA) 
  • 38D: Allowed in (44 ACROSS) (44-Across = ALLOWED IN)
  • 70A: Sea cow (48 DOWN) (48-Down = SEA COW) 
In the crosses for the numerals in the various clue answers (e.g. for the "1" and "2" in 12 DOWN), the numerals must be sounded out for the answers to make sense:

The crosses:
  • 1SIES (1D: Toddlers' attire)
  • 2TORED (2D: Gave private lessons to)
  • ACT1 (booooo!) (10A: When a messenger from Godot arrives in "Waiting for Godot")
  • CRE8 (16A: Make)
  • VIED4 (51D: Tried to win, as a title)
  • INM8 (58D: Prisoner)
  • 4AGE (42A: Gather food)
Word of the Day: CREATINE (11D: Powder supplement for bodybuilders) —
noun: creatine
  1. a compound formed in protein metabolism and present in much living tissue. It is involved in the supply of energy for muscular contraction. (google)
• • •

Well, this puzzle is at least trying, so good for it. This is very inventive, but also pointless, arbitrary, and just plain weird. A clear case of "oooooh I have this idea" and then stopping at nothing to implement it, including the little voice in your head going, "shouldn't there be some rhyme or reason to any of this? Shouldn't there be a modicum of theme coherence? Shouldn't answers maybe tie into ... something or ... something? And should clues really be, just ... literal answers?" Etc. Nope, it's mad scientist time, sound judgment and scruples be damned! So, yeah, it's original, and very hard (getting close to 2x my normal Thursday time), but hard solely because of the theme. Parts of the grid not implicated in the theme were pretty dang easy—it's just that there weren't that many of said places. I got -WARDING ADDRESS before I got any other theme answer, but never considered that the "FOR-" had been transformed into a number. I mostly just bumbled around the grid filling in what I could and leaving assorted spaces blank until I noticed my first [Answer found elsewhere] clue. I could tell 44A was going to be ALLOWED IN, which ... didn't I just see that as a clue? Yes. 38D: Allowed in. What the? But even then, the number thing didn't sink in, mostly because --ACROSS looked like it might be a plausible answer to [Allowed in]. GOT ACROSS? PUT ACROSS? FOR-something ACROSS? It wasn't until NE corner, where --ACROSS clearly was *not* a plausible answer for [Macarena], that I saw what was going on. After that, it was just a matter of going around grid and quickly cleaning up.

So the most irksome part of this puzzle isn't the replication of clues as answers, or the totally arbitrary set of theme answers. It's the fact that all of the "forwarding address" answers appear in the same corner as the addresses themselves *EXCEPT* in the NW, where 12DOWN sits all alone, with the actual 12-Down way on the other side of the grid. This is super inelegant. You have a clear pattern going with the other theme answers, but then just randomly break it? Once? No. Also, because the one corner that doesn't follow the pattern is the NW (i.e. the corner where I, like a lot of people, start), I didn't encounter the giveaway clue-as-answer phenomenon until very late in the solve. This is more irritating than it is "bad." ENTERER, now that's bad. Also, LATENED.

[23A = "Scary and Sporty..."]

I nearly died at VIED4, as I have no idea where Henderson is and I thought NEBraska. And initially, I thought 51D: Tried to win, as a title was BID ON. So ... I had NEB / BID ON. Felt right. And I mean, come on—[Last pope named Pius]?? Go to hell. Bad enough that you RRN* me, but ya wanna gratuitously pope me too? That's hostile. How the hell do I know how many damn Piuseseses there were? Anyway, this puzzle gets a thumbs-up for insane ambition. Despite its many flaws, it's better than most recent NYT fare, and is at least trying to live up to the NYT's own ad slogan, "The Best Puzzle in the World."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*Random Roman Numeral

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


John Hoffman 12:08 AM  

I liked it. It was my best Thursday time ever. I agree with Rex: It was too easy when you saw “ten cents” and just entered “ten cents” elsewhere. I think another idea would’ve been to clue “part of a dollar,” and then you would have to think and then write “ten cents” at the correct location. But overall a good puzzle!

Anonymous 12:09 AM  

I was hoping OFL would give this puzzle the sound and thorough thrashing it deserves, but he managed to find some good in it, so good karma to Rex. I hated it. I hated everything about it.

End of my rant. Rex can rant with the best of them, but I simply wanted to weigh in.

Anonymous 12:20 AM  

This puzzle stunk. The answer to "ten cents" should have been something like " dime". The answer to "Macarena" should have been something like "line dance." The answer to "sea cow" should have been something like "manatee". The answer to "allowed in" should have been something like "initiated". Somebody tell me why I'm wrong. Shouldn't it have been the answer that was forwarded instead of the clue? I hate coming here because Rex is so negative and political. But when I'm grouchy at crappy editing and construction some commenter can either confirm my gripe or set me straight.

JOHN X 12:21 AM  

Wow this was a pretty cool puzzle I didn't know what the hell was going on there except there was something there. Rebuses? Answers continued acroos the grid? Exchanging rebus answers? WTF?

And when I finally got it it was awesome, even though I still didn't get it. But I got it. I'm still confused by it, even though I know it works. I started filling in the remaining theme answers and wrapped up the puzzle, only it gave me DNF because I spelled the "number" parts of the answers with a rebus of the relevant letters (FOR, ATE, TU, WON). When I exchanged them for numerals it said ding all finished and I collected my winnings and got up from the table and walked past the blackjack tables to the bar followed by two prostitutes, a retired couple from Canada and a truckdriver from Barstow.

Elaine2 12:24 AM  

I didn't like this puzzle. I didn't have fun doing it. Cross-references were too confusing ("ok, the clue is an answer somewhere -- where?") and I don't really like numerals in a puzzle.

But, I think it was sort of a clever idea, and at least the fill wasn't awful.

Oh, well.

Jj 12:25 AM  

I wanted to stick a 4k in my eye. I wanted to bang my 4head against the table. I was 4lorn, and I realized this could go on 4ever. Then I 8 a 4tune cookie and 4got what I was whining about--and then enjoyed this clever little puzzle.

Mr. Whipple 12:30 AM  

I loved this puzzle. I got the trick/theme pretty early and then everything just fell. Fast. My average Thursday is a shade over 32 minutes (I’m not fast, but I always finish) and I got this one in 16:18. It really comes down to how fast you sort out the theme today.

I appreciated the originality, but given it was my fastest Thursday ever, I expected Rex to rate it EASY. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Unknown 12:32 AM  

I didn't mind the theme, but I had a double Natick. OSTI_ATO/WIE_? No idea on either, guessed s, but wrong. Also IOLAN_/NE_LL - I mean hell I've heard of Sam Neill, but I'm supposed to remember his name isn't spelled Neall when Iolana sounds so Hawaiian? Bummer.

Dan M 12:47 AM  

Constructor here, apparently inspiring everything from glee to violent rage! The nerdiest kind of violent rage but still...

Anyway the goal was to do something a bit unique, which I think I did. And an actual “thumbs up” from Rex? Going to have to look at that again in the AM and see if I misread it!

Funny thing: pretty much every flaw pointed out in the write-up is something I tried (quite hard) to address, but was stymied by all the weird constraints the numerals and cross-references put on the puzzle... with one exception: the thing Rex found most “irksome” — all the forwarded answers crossing their referencing entry — literally never crossed my mind even once. I did at one point think “is it weird that this answer is crossing its reference?” but I didn’t even notice that those three were consistently positioned like that.

Anyway, hope you were all relatively puzzled.


puzzlehoarder 12:49 AM  

Yesterday's puzzle was not worth commenting on. Despite my OSTICATO/WIEC dnf today's puzzle was thoroughly enjoyable. Ironically the SW corner was where it all started to click because that was the last part to go in. I had a feeling I should have tried the sound/look of a few more letters for that last unknown crossing. For the musical entry I was probably persuaded by "staccato." WIEC looked like a Polish city so I obviously don't know what Osterreich means either.

Besides from the effort it took to wrap my head around the convoluted theme my only other slow downs were a couple of easily fixed write overs.

Solving on paper I was able to write the actual syllables in as rebuses and let the sounds stand in for the numbers. I imagine digital solvers had to enter the actual digits to get their happy music.

Listing the crosses, such as CRE8, as debuts on the xwordinfo lists is just plain wrong. It's still the same old word CREATE and this would be it's 26th appearance.

okanaganer 12:51 AM  

Across Lite rejected 48DOWN for 70across; insisted it should be 4EDOWN even though numerals were fine in the other squares.

Mark Tebeau 12:56 AM  

Took 4ever and it was not clear how to solve online correctly. Like @johnx I went the rebus route. Subbed the numbers and it worked. I thought the theme was clever and unusual--I had that aha! moment--though it's execution was not entirely sensible.

Also some of the clues were terrible. Like Rex, I hated the clues for enterer and latened. But then I'm a neophyte.

Anonymous 12:57 AM  


Anonymous 12:59 AM  

Loved it. Keep on constructing!!

puzzlehoarder 1:00 AM  

Oops. I just read @Randall Clark's comment. Make that a double dnf for me too. The best part is that changing NEALE to NEALL was one of my write overs.

Scrub 1:15 AM  

Put me in the "loved it" camp. Once I figured it out, down in the SE corner (I had put in DUGONG for "sea cow" and then realized that nothing was working with the crosses, and then eventually saw SEA COW as the answer for the nearby 48D), the rest clicked into place very nicely with a lot of satisfying "oooh, so that's what that was all about" moments. Unlike Rex, I was happy with all the fill and found it pretty original. Only complaint is that LATENED was original but not in a good way.

Dave Hogg 1:24 AM  

If they had gone with the rebus answers, I wouldn't have minded it as much, but who puts numbers into a crossword puzzle? Isn't that the point of having rebus squares available?

Adam J 1:35 AM  

I super liked it for the inventiveness. I didn't see an appreciable difference between this filler and the typical non-theme Thursday stuff, and it was such a slap in the face to convention that I really want to see what else Daniel Mauer has in mind.

chefwen 1:39 AM  

Got it done in fits and starts, very frustrating. Caught onto the gimmick fairly early, but by the time I finished my head was spinning. Said to puzzle partner “if Rex likes this one I’ll eat my copy” after I read the write up to him he said “looks like you’ll have to eat half of it.

Paul Rippey 1:41 AM  

Thanks Dan. Fun puzzle that had me stumped until everything went click. Euphoria of discovery.

Unknown 1:46 AM  

I came hoping for a good Rex rant as well

another bad hair day 2:00 AM  

It took me sooo long to do this. Living in Henderson, Nevada, and enjoying the warm weather helped a little. Stay toasty, you East Coasters!

Robin 2:33 AM  

Very nice idea but some failure in execution. As Rex notes, there was one failure of symmetry in the themers. And I have to agree, ENTERERS was a sucky fill.

Finished in faster than average time, so I guess I got the theme earlier than most.

I'll give it a B.

Anonymous 2:35 AM  

I thought @Hoffman and Anon 12:20 are on to the right idea. So much so that I tried to enter MAnAtEes at 18ACROSS. Also, yes, the 1A/12D disconnect feels weird. Love the numerals, tho, and the figurative (wink to @Nancy) cross-referencing.

mathgent 2:52 AM  

"Forwarding address" doesn't begin to explain the gimmick here. An explanation would be something like this.

"There are four bogus clues in the listing below. Bogus because they are not clues. They are entries which are to be placed in the grid. To learn where to place these four entries, go to where the answer to the bogus clue would have been."

Instructions like this often accompany cryptic crosswords.

Solving the puzzle requires abstracting this complicated explanation. That's not what I want out of a crossword.

Thumbs down, even if it is a rebus.

Unknown 3:15 AM  

Hated. Here’s the thing: I solved this correctly with rebusses. [ONE]SIES, [TU]TORED, etc. But the “at least one square is wrong” message appeared, so went back through every answer. And again. Many minutes ticked by. Finally tried changing rebusses to numbers and success of course. So my correct answers were incorrect. That’s issue one. Issue two (or is it 2) — numbers don’t belong in a crossword grid! It’s called crossWORD for a reason, okay? Save the numbers for Ken Ken. I mean, what’s next — kanji symbols? Emoji? Klingon? No. Stop this madness right now.

salty 3:18 AM  

I thought it was interesting but did think it was odd that the clues directly turned into answers.

also, can someone explain 52A: U.S. 1 -> PRES to me? I didn't need it to solve the puzzle but I cannot figure out what it means.

Joe 3:43 AM  

I think it means President.

jae 3:56 AM  

I did this on the Standalone IPad app and it did not accept the numbers. I did not go back a try to figure out what it would is too short.

Anonymous 4:16 AM  

The iPad app accepted the numbers for me. Are you sure you didn’t just have a mistake somewhere?

Thomaso808 4:26 AM  

@chefwen, how did you prepare it? I’m sure you could make even a piece of paper taste good!

I’m usually on the side of “different is good”, but this one was tough because like others I went with rebuses, not numerals. To do that you have to choose, e.g. FOUR or FOR. I went with ATE, TU, and FOR so the words would spell correctly and the numerals would be homonyms. No luck. Tried the other way. No luck. Double checked both ways again. Aaaarg!

See @Jj 12:25 am above. Ditto!

Despite that, different is still good!

Unknown 4:50 AM  

Great puzzle. Exactly what I want from a Thursday. I don't see what there is to complain about.

Ellen S 4:53 AM  

Puzzazz let me put in “ONE” “FOUR” “EIGHT” etc. as rebuses in their respective squares, for what that’s worth. Put me in the “didn’t like it” camp, though. Seemed to me more like it was “clue found elsewhere”.

Loren Muse Smith 5:39 AM  

I got ONE TU pretty quickly, but it took forever to remember/accept (Hey, @’merican) that the literal phrase in the clue was the actual phrase in the grid. I dug my heels in pretty hard there, so I was still looking for “manatee” instead of SEA COW, and that was after I had sussed out all the other themers. Dumb.

I seem to remember several times when there was some kind of square number trick in puzzles, so I was surprised to read that some people didn’t like the numbers. I thought this idea was brilliant.

Kinda fun to have NEALL today considering, hmm, I’m not supposed to refer to yesterday’s puzzle, right? Well. You do the math. @puzzlehoarder did.

All you usual suspects – I just registered for the ACPT. The site is finally working. Be there or be square.

I have to respond to the little dust-up I caused yesterday, but it’s long, so the many of you who aren’t interested can skip it. I’ll post it separately.

This was definitely a mind-bender of a puzzle, and I loved it. Very clever, Daniel Mauer.

Oh, I looked into it and can assure everyone that WALRUS is not Latin, so the plural is not walri. It’s not Greek, so the plural is not walrupodes or whatever. It’s not Malayalam, so no വാൽറസുകൾ. It’s apparently Dutch, so WALRUSES is correct. Carry on.

Loren Muse Smith 5:55 AM  

RE YESTERDAY. I’m pretty easy going. I guess. But one thing sends me from zero to asshole in under two seconds: publicly correcting someone’s grammar. I don’t know why this is such a massive button, but it is, and the rage is all-encompassing.

@QuasiMojo – sorry. My bad.

@Gill – thanks.

Believe it or not, I teach “proper” grammar rules and spelling WITHIN THE WALLS OF MY CLASSROOM WHERE IT’S EXPECTED AND NOT EMBARRASSING and red pen the crap out of writing that’s turned in to me. If a kid uses an apostrophe to form a plural, I stop grading, staple a pre-made little note explaining that I refuse to continue until said kid rewrites the sentence with the error three times using the correct form. Luke B still holds the record for having to rewrite seven sentences. So 28 times he had to write a plural without the apostrophe. Marissa K has started erasing her plural apostrophes. I look. I smile. I feel like a teacher. I predict for them, though, that this apostrophe will be acceptable by the time they're grandparents. I don’t correct their speech unless they’ve specifically asked me to help with it. (Some have, and I do.) But BUT… I assure them – probably at least once a week when it comes up, I swear – that they will be judged as stupid at some point if someone hears them say We seen that movie last year. (Heck, I choose to do things that people judge me for: I’m a fake blonde, say y’all, refuse to use whom, talk freely, gleefully about the vapid Bravo TV shows I watch, blah blah.) If I corrected every “mistake” they make when talking, we’d not be able to have any kind of viable class.

But rest assured we spend a ton of time looking at/talking about grammar rules. I don’t hold back my disdain for many of these rules - we’re actually playing around with using sentence fragments as transitions between paragraphs because I keep seeing them in The Economist and am always struck by how effective they are. We look at sentences where you absolutely must use the Oxford comma. I tell them it’s too bad we have to play this little grammar game – for us on paper – and that many will think they’re not smart because of the way they speak.

I teach no honors classes, no AP classes. 99% of my students will never leave Calhoun County, don’t want to leave. They’ll be moms, mechanics, welders, and that’s if they’re lucky. “Pillbillies” and all that… My first couple of years, I tried to save them from themselves, but I felt like Little Miss Prisspot who had swooped in to look down my nose at their lives and values. I practically had a goddamn mask and cape. And it didn’t work anyway.

I have two copies of the poster in my room with the quote Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.

So rather than tell them they have to consider college, consider leaving Calhoun County, consider improving their lot, rather than banning the word ain’t in my room, I quietly expose them to whatever I can. The Lottery, Once Upon a Time, The Crucible, The Glass Castle, The Education of Little Tree, Koko, The Pearl, The Most Dangerous Game, Romeo and Juliet, anything by O. Henry, The Lady or the Tiger, The Prince and the Pauper, The Wave, Lamb to the Slaughter, - these are some of the works that they have actually enjoyed and that have spawned lots of terrific discussion about the world outside of the county line.

I realize I’m painting this picture of an idyllic classroom where I have them eating out of my hand, arguing the pros and cons of the singular they or the preferred spelling of judgment. The reality is that most of the time, I’m just hanging on for dear life and trying to keep them from drinking Windex on a dare or snorting pulverized lifesavers up their nose. Or skriggling empty water bottles for the terrific noise. Or farting. Burping is enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

I cry a lot. But in the privacy of the faculty bathroom.

TLB0303 6:06 AM  

Me too I have no idea what it means

Anonymous 6:35 AM  

Great to hear from the constructor. Yes, I could have written "gr8" but will leave that for you clever guys. The puzzle definitely fell into the "you're going to love it or hate it" area. I'm hoping we don't see more of the "stick a number in place of a sound" puzzles but my guess is it's just the beginning. Oh well.

@LMS. So sad.

Lewis 6:49 AM  

I love how out-of-the-box this puzzle is. It felt like it was created in a LAB. I did have two big ahas while solving -- figuring out that numerals went in certain squares, and seeing that theme answers duplicated clues. The latter helped me fill in ALLOWEDIN when all I had was the N. When the puzzle was finally filled in it felt like I just finished putting together a jigsaw puzzle -- something I don't ever remember feeling before after a solve, and testament to how unique this puzzle is. I simultaneously thought, "Wow! That was ingenious," and "This must have been hell to construct." File this puzzle under "memorable".

I liked CRE8 crossing CREATINE, the anagrams WINE and WIEN, and the clue for ARF. A nit: Don't CDs go IN rather than ON stereos?

Big salute to you for this one, Daniel!

Exubesq 7:12 AM  

Here’s my quibble: I start with the across clues, in order. I knew Act I, I just didn’t realize it was supposed to be a numeral instead of an I. I breezed through the puzzle (not at Rex speed, but still) and got no happy music. It took me twice as long to find my “typo” as it did to do the puzzle. I call shenanigans.

Joseph Jakuta 7:14 AM  


kitshef 7:24 AM  

Theme trumps fill, so thumbs up from here. But IOLANI? OSTINATO? ORSINO? Each of those needed every cross – never heard of any of ‘em.

Throw in the junk like CREATINE, REANNEX, XII, SENS, SSRS, ENTERER. And I’ll renew my objection to clues of the “key of x piece of music” style. Nobody knows what key anything is in so just make the clue be “a random musical key” and we can all move on.

But despite all that, I enjoyed solving - which I think is why we do crosswords.

kitshef 7:25 AM  

@JOHN X - funny, I solve at and I used numbers, but it wanted rebuses.

rorosen 7:36 AM  

Loren, that was beautiful!!!!!!

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

I had Act I for Waiting for Godot before I sussed out the theme. I waited for the happy music after putting my final letter in (n in Wein).Sadly it didn’t come. It took forever to figure I had to change Act. I to Act 1.

Glimmerglass 7:43 AM  

I agree with Anon 12:20 that the [answer elsewhere] should not have been the missing clue but a real answer, as 12:20 describes. However, that didn’t make the puzzle stink — it just might have been a bit harder. Since @Rex found it too hard as it is, maybe that wouldn’t be an improvement. I found it easier than OFL, and I’m surprised he didn’t sooner tumble to the gimmick. How he could have all the letters of 4WARDING ADDRESS except the 4 surprises me! “Something to leave at the post office”? C’mon, man! @DanM, Reading today’s post must have been fun for you — the cons as much as the pros, @LMS, I’m with you on grammar and spelling. It is true that language is a living, evolving thing, but some of the changes are worth resisting — for example, the useful distinction between IMPLY and INFER, which is apparently dead.

Birchbark 7:47 AM  

Fun Thursday. Must have been tricky getting everything to fit.

I was fortunate in picking up the theme fairly quickly, sensing rebuses (rebiii?) for ONESIE + TUTORED and having DELANO, OVA, and WINE get me to DOWN. But Naticked in the end at NEaLL/IOLANa.

I had of course forgotten the old constructor's adage about never putting IOLANa next to MACARENA. I get that it's commonplace these days and few people even notice the faux pas, but I grew up in a world where rules matter. And not, as the Bard says, "As you like it."

Exubesq 7:50 AM  

Glad I wasn’t the only I

Anonymous 7:53 AM  

DNF because of "I" instead of "1"... try to find that when you're done and you don't get "solved".

KRMunson 7:57 AM  

Put me in the “liked it” camp. Hard until I got the trick to use the numbers in each space instead of writing out the word. More like this please!

Tim 7:57 AM  

What I didn’t like is when you solve it digitally, there should be the option to use rebuses OR numerals in the “number” squares. I understand you can’t give that part away in the puzzle notes, but it seems arbitrary to me to decide that you MUST enter numerals instead of rebuses, because it works either way. Other than that, it was pretty simple.

ultramet 7:59 AM  

Easy puzzle. Got the trick right away in NW corner. Wasn’t particularly fun though. Thought that Rex would hate it. Strange world isn’t it.

Jofried 8:00 AM  

Well that was fun! Of course, I’m in a great mood enjoying my SNOW DAY so maybe the puzzle really was awful and I just couldn’t tell? Yesterday the Snow Day Calculator (a website that my students are obsessed with) said we had a 99% chance of a snow day today while the forecast was for 1-3 inches of snow. I blithely informed my students that the website was wrong because that wasn’t enough snow for a snow day. Turns out the forecasts were wrong! Whee!

Robso 8:01 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot, Dan. My only gripe was having the forwarding addresses end up being repeated clues instead of answers to those clues, since once the jig is up, you can fill those out easily. (But it took a long time for the jig to be up.)

clk 8:04 AM  

I hated this puzzle so much I was looking forward to a good Rex rant and feel oddly let down not to find one. Aside from the pointlessness of this exercise, I tried the rebus route and failed there. I absolutely h8 text speak so it never occurred to me it would be necessary in a crossword puzzle.

On top of that, the IOLANI/NEILL crossing would’ve sunk me since NEaLL seemed to ring a bell as the correct spelling. I just happened to guess correctly on the OSTINATO/WIEN crossing but it was just a guess.

Add in LATENED and ENTERER and I was left with no actual pleasure in this exercise.

I looked back and now see that forwarding address might imply that the answer starts with a number but that is pretty thin. Still no real pleasure.

TomAz 8:08 AM  

Ambivalent toward this one. I liked the puzzle trick, the whole 4WARDINGADDRESS thing. I liked having to suss that out, and felt satisfied when I did. I do wish the 'answer elsewhere' bit had been an answer and not just a repeat of the clue. (Even if it were a sub-Monday easy answer, that would have been an improvement). But that wasn't fatal, in my eyes.

What I didn't like were IOLANI and OSTINATO and ORSINO for their obscurity. I really didn't like LATENED or REANNEX or ENTERER for their clumsiness. And I sure didn't like NEILL because it's another f***ing actor I neither know nor want to know. But, heh, that's just me I guess.

Guest 8:28 AM  

Lost in the rebus v. number confusion is the Natick violation at Neill/Iolani (Neall/Iolana).

Dan M 8:38 AM  

@robso using the clues-as-answers was an editorial decision (see my remarks on xwordinfo or wordplay)... I’m 50-50 on it. For SEA COW, for example, I think would have been totally reasonable to clue as “Manatee” since it’s so obvious, but conversely the easiest clue I could come up with for ALLOWED IN was “Granted access”, and making the jump on that one might have been too frustrating to be fun... really, I don’t know. And couldn’t possibly have been an objective judge of it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Frank3038 8:38 AM  

Or why not just clue “manatee,” “dime,” “welcomed,” and “line dance, e.g.” and leave answers as is?

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

Excellent puzzle. A bit tricky to start.

My Social Security card reads: "Not to be used for identification".

DeeJay 8:40 AM  

Nice work, sir. I like a good challenge and this works. Congrats.

Poopypants 8:45 AM  

Good write up today, Rex...deserved praise as well as warranted critique. This is why I read you.

Sometimes we get random popes and I am with you on the necessity of their exclusion. But Pius XII? Come on, Rex. He was Pope during WWII, and achieved some infamy (I'll let others discuss how deserved) for not speaking out against fascism and what it brought. So one can claim ignorance of this, but that demonstrates very thin historical knowledge. Then again, if you knew who he was, I suppose that would prompt a paragraph-long rant, so I guess I should count myself lucky.

Hungry Mother 8:45 AM  

Pretty cool trick, but I put in rebuses. I had the gist, so I should try to get over the app not liking my answers. For some reason, I thought putting numerals into crosswords was taboo.

Roy 8:46 AM  

Loved it! Took me an extra couple minutes to realize the app wanted numerals instead of rebus words but otherwise enjoyable.

I think speed solvers get extra frustrated with this sort of puzzle because solving requires higher level multidimensional thought, not just extensive vocabulary and knowledge of crossword arcana. Just my $0.02.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

I’ll make the unpopular argument that numerals doing double duty as phonemes satisfy the demands of both crosses while rebuses can’t—as in most cases you have to choose between the correct spelling of the number and that of a missing syllable.

Bob Mills 8:54 AM  

The craziest puzzle I ever finished. When I tried to explain how it worked to my lady friend, I couldn't.

QuasiMojo 8:56 AM  

Isn't there some golden rule or at least a cardinal rule (Hi Pius!) that numbers never appear in the NYT puzzle? I must have missed the ones where that rule was broken. So I soldiered on thinking this was a rebus and putting in FOUR, EIGHT, ONE, TWO etc into tiny boxes. I did not get the you-have-finished dingbell even though I had completed the grid correctly (at least in my mind.) So I switched to Roman numerals and tada! here I am. The only thing I will say about this insult of a puzzle is that at least one person is happy with it. The constructor. And maybe the editor. But when the theme has zilcho to do with the concept, it leaves me cold. How are these terms "addresses"? And how are they actually being "forwarded"? Because of their location in the grid? That's layering on too many conceits for only one purpose, for the constructor to show how ingenious he or she is. We're supposed to find that amusing? Rex calls it "ambitious" but surely it is more ambitious to create a charming, intelligent, and intelligible puzzle on the order of Patrick Berry. (Notice I didn't say "like.")

The only thing I found worthwhile today was @Loren Muse Smith's thoroughly engaging post.

Unknown 9:00 AM  

Me too on manatee which I misspelled in every possible way to try to fit it in. Agree with Rex’s write up.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

@LMS describes the anti-Lake Woebegone where, on average, the children are average. Brava!

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

I thought this was assa9. Or I just wanted to make that joke.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

I am genuinely surpirsed to see so many people like this puzzle. Not my cup ot tea.

Unknown 9:11 AM  

Thank you.

RooMonster 9:14 AM  

Hey All !
I think I liked it overall, but didn't like the [Answer found elsewhere] bit of it. The ole brain is trying to come up with another way for the cluing to work, but so far nothing.

I wrote out the numbers. Like others said, crossWORD. Kind of a funky grid design. Lots of long Downs in the middle. My holdup/DNF came at OSaINATO. 40D ended up AGLITant, with SEnD for SEED, and SStS for SSRS. Really wanted AGLITTER, but somehow failed to write it in, and caused the Acrosses to sorta make sense. Oh well. I did know Sam NEILL, he was Jurassic Park 1 dude, but spelled it NieLL first.

I'm sure it was tough getting all those long Downs and Acrosses in the center to make any kind of sensible words, so even though ENTERER and LATENED are odd, I have to give a pass on them.

After getting the ONE and TWO in 1 and 2 Across, had a quick thought that the entire too row would be the numbered block spelled out! MAX rebus! What a BARGAIN.

Also looking for the U.S. 1? = pres explanation. Was thinking Washington, you know, 1 dollar bill.


Mr. Grumpypants 9:17 AM  

The president is the #1 officer of the United States.

sidneyellenwade 9:19 AM  

Absolutely loved it, once I got the trick. Frustrating before that, in a rebus-y way, but the reward was way worth the frustration. What a great idea!

RooMonster 9:20 AM  

Ah, @Mr. Grumpypants 9:17
Thanks for that. Were you Grumpy about this puz?


Marcie 9:35 AM  

Loved the puzzle. @lms, "Everybody is a genius....", wonderful!

John Child 9:40 AM  

This was something, and a mind bender is just what a Thursday puzzle should be. Many thumbs and big toes up here.

For @anon (12:08) and @Glimmerglass and others, the constructor’s conceit was clues at the cross referenced spots rather than the answers. Clear as mud written that way, but the constructor notes at Wordplay and xwordinfo explain it better..

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

I think that US 1 cluing Pres is a reference to the Pee Pee tape whereby Russia is blackmailing our President

Mark 10:02 AM  

Great Puzzle

LS 10:05 AM  

I'm hearing some complaints of suspicious pointer arithmetic, but I thought it was A++

Nancy 10:09 AM  

Here's a puzzle people are either going to love or hate. I loved it. That doesn't mean it didn't make me tear out my hair before I finally, finally figured out what was going on. It took me longer than any puzzle I've done in ages. It confused me for the longest time. I "suffered" exquisitely. The huge AHA came at MACARENA.

Wonderfully tricky cluing for many of the non-theme answers made this even harder: ARF (7A); FACE CARDS (9D); WALRUSES (39D); BARGAIN (28D). Lots of stuff I didn't know: IOLANI; OSTINATO; OXY. Felt stupid much of the way through; then felt very smart. A really interesting, engrossing, and very different puzzle.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

I agree with Frank O’Connor. That would have been a big improvement; big enough to forgive ENTERER :-) and make this good puzzle first-rate.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:18 AM  

I got the theme almost at the beginning? The reason? I don't start in the NW. They seem to have taken to making th at harder than the rest of the puzzle on the theory that people start there and it will slow them down. I atarted in the SE this time, 48DOWN SEACOW jumped right out at me.

The dreadful weather was supposed to start around 7 this morning, so I walked my dog at 6:45, had a lovely social time with all the other people walking their dogs at the same time for the same reason. So I got a late start on the puzzle. It now looks like no dog-walking-weather at all out there.

Passing Shot 10:20 AM  

Okay, I see most folks loved it or hated it. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about this. Inventive, certainly, but I’m not sure I want numbers in my puzzle (isn’t that what soduku is 4)? And I can’t stand cross-references. A thumb’s up for pushing boundaries, but not my cuppa.

Sir Hillary 10:25 AM  

Wow, talk about a puzzle that's off its meds! I loved it for the sheer audacity of simply existing. Thanks so much, @Dan M.

Some creakiness for sure -- ENTERER crossing both LATENED and REANNEX -- but overall a very nice grid.

Liked the double use of "Hill workers" and the STARTUP getting SEED money from angels.

ORSINO and OSTINATO sound as if they should be twins, like Remus and Romulus. Cousin ENRICO is hanging around, too -- ALLOWEDIN by the twins, no doubt.

Before reading the clues, I soooo wanted 16A to be "Skier Lindsey" -- then we would have had a second row of STEVIE REA VONN. Now, that pun would be worth it.

@LMS -- Wonderful.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

@LMS A rather long screed that basically says, "Why, yes, I am in fact a hypocrite."

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

That’s not how hypocrisy works.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

@Bob Mills, how lucky she is to have a mansplainer like you in her life.

Dan M 10:41 AM  
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Passing Shot 10:42 AM  

@LMS 5:55 — this was beautiful. I say this as the proud and grateful daughter of a teacher. Bless you.

Debra 10:44 AM  

Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzling puzzle.

Two Ponies 10:44 AM  

I was a little disappointed that clues were repeated as actual answers in the grid but once I got over myself I was able to appreciate it. We expect tricks on a Thursday and we got it.

Daniel Mauer, Thank you for reading our blog and adding to the fun. Very nice to have another brave constructor visit us. This can be a bit of a snake pit.

The misdirections for Arf and Walruses gave me a chuckle.

@ LMS, Great posts.

Nancy 10:50 AM  

Oh, the joy, the bliss, the ecstasy of solving the old-fashioned way -- on paper. No "dingdong" or "Happy Pencil" to worry your pretty little head about. The newspaper accepts everything. And therefore, my FORs and ONEs and ATEs -- written in tiny little CAPS with a circle around the letters and stuffed into single squares -- were just as acceptable as writing 4s and 1s and 8s would have been. I can't wrap my mind around the fact that some solving apps today required one style of entry, while other apps required a different style. This puzzle was hard enough without making it harder.

sanfranman59 11:04 AM  

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 5:00 4:03 1.23 88.3% Challenging
Tue 4:29 5:35 0.80 9.5% Easy
Wed 5:45 5:57 0.97 49.6% Medium
Thu 17:44 10:28 1.69 97.1% Very Challenging

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

How long has it been since we've had a fun puzzle? Sheesh....

Dan M 11:11 AM  

@TwoPonies I've been reading Rex since a little while after I first started trying to construct puzzles, and his commentary has really helped me learn a great deal. He really didn't like my first puzzle much at all, but it was still fun to read his write-up and the comments. Was pretty cool to get a "thumbs up" for this one.

Oh, and "Yelp Alternative" for ARF might be my favorite of all the clues I've ever written :)

Dennis Doubleday 11:22 AM  

Liked it except that I agree with the people who said there was NO CLUE as to whether you should use Rebuses or numerals. I had "ONE" "TWO" heading up ONESIES and TWOTORED, and so forth throughout the puzzle. And "FOR" heading off FORWARDING, which should be right, except it's just a homophone in FOR FOR ACCROSS.

So, when I got the error message, I tried changing it to FOUR FOUR ACCROSS, didn't work, tried changing the TWO to TU, which spells TUTORED correctly, but still wrong. I don't like the fact that homophones were used to misspell words, but if they were going to be allowed then either the rebus or the number should be considered a correct answer. Broke my streak, as I had to check a word to find out where the exact errors were.

JC66 11:33 AM  
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jae 11:35 AM  

I had the Standalone app clear all the errors. The only blanks were the numbers.

JC66 11:36 AM  
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Anonymous 11:37 AM  

@John X : please, stop perpetuating negative stereotypes. “Prostitutes” is pejorative. Try “sex workers” instead, because so many are victims and don’t need to be, on top of their difficult lives, excoriated by the likes of you.

jae 11:38 AM  

I had the Standalone app clear all the errors. The only blanks were the numbers.

@lms a fine post.

JC66 11:39 AM  
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JC66 11:40 AM  

Hand up for loving your puzzle @Dan M, even though I, like several others, Naticked at IOLONI/NEILL and OSTiNATO/WIEN. I noticed that @rex listed the definition of OSTINATO & WIEN at the top of today's column.

@Rex Your pluralization of PIUS was hilarious..

@ JOHN X et al

FYI, I solve in AcrossLite and after reading of the problems many of you had using 8 vs ATE, etc. (I used 8 to get the Happy Pencil) I went back and changed square 70 from 4 to FOR and that worked, as did just plain old F.

@LMS You're the best!

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

Is OFL pronounced "offal"?

Great puzzle, appreciate the effort, something new will always provoke this blog's culture of complaint. Actually something old will as well. Wonderfully inventive DM!

Steve M. 11:42 AM  

This was the first legitimately interesting theme in a long time, so any and all flaws are forgiven (by me, at least.)

For all those complaining about numerals in the sacrosanct NYT grid, I don't really see how this is any different than a rebus, or when answers read in reverse, or turn corners, etc, all of which has been done in recent memory. Also, ONE-TU-DOWN doesn't really work, does it? Only 12-DOWN works, because it's twelve, not one-two.

It played a bit fast for me, but if the mystery answers had been clued as some have suggested (ie. Manatee for SEA COW or Admitted for ALLOWED IN) I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have finished.

GILL I. 11:43 AM  

Hi @Daniel Mauer....I bet you'd be another fun person to have some lunch with but I'm afraid I'd be 86'd. I'd be complaining too loud about how friggin difficult this puzzle was. I haven't worked that hard for a Thursday in ages.
Good gravy, it took me about an hour staring at the Ten cents clue alone. I thought for sure it was some sort of slang term. I was thinking five and dime. I was thinking a mean tip. I was thinking parts of a dollar. Head spinning I went over to the right and met up with MACARENA. ARF. (great clue)...Never ever occurred to me to transform into a number though, so the brilliant conceit was totally lost on me. What a shame.
I was all into the rebus concept. 11D might have been carrot juice for all I knew. ENTERER really is bad, but you knew that. Didn't know 6D NEILL or that my buddy Hemingway thought that WINE was civilized. I could've sworn he was into rum. Not knowing those two kept me from getting the 12DOWN. ooof.
This was different and I certainly liked the idea. I just wish I could say I love it. I don't. I like it but I don't. I'm so confused.
@Rex ..".gratuitously pope me too"....Made me LOL. So did @JOHN X and @Jj....
@Loren...So beautifully said. Made me tear up.
Christopher Buckley's "Losing Mum and Pup" is the only book that I read that made me laugh and cry at the same time.

Mohair Sam 11:47 AM  

Well, we love a different puzz - and this was as different as it gets. Loved it - flat out loved it. "4WARDINGADDRESS - what a great idea.

I think Rex's review was influenced by the fact he hard time uncovering the theme, hence his time was awful. He tends to get mad at a puzzle that ferdorkles him, but in the end he showed a little love. And an awful lot of haters here specify software problems - none of that for us who solve on paper.

We solve by scanning for gimme clues. NEV, ENRICO, XII, and ORSINO (yeah, really) convinced us to start in the SE. After ORSINO the key had to be MINOR - the corner was essentially filled. The two rebus downs in that area became obvious with so much filled - and we quickly figured the gimmick. The rest of the puzzle zipped by quickly once you knew the game.

I thought Daniel Mauer gave us all enough gimmes to make breaking the code easy - or maybe he just hit our sweet spot.

@poopypants - Well said on the Pius XII, significant name in WWII history - certainly not a Random Roman Numeral.

@Loren - Great stuff, thanks for sharing.

Blue Stater 11:51 AM  

Awful. Awful. Awful. Awful. Not a crossword puzzle. Stinkerissimo. Or everything I've been saying about these messes for 20 years to no avail.

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:56 AM  

If you liked yesterday's god awful pun-filled puzzle and hated today's, we belong in different worlds and cannot be friends. You can like both of them and I'll understand that, you can hate both of them and I'll also understand that, but yeah. The theme was brilliant. Had some problems, but nonetheless the kind of "novelty" and freshness NYT needs, not the YAWANNAPIZZAME stuff.

With a theme like this, you are bound to have some crossword glues. So I would normally mind all the ACC, ACR, ETS, XII, OXY, SSRS etc. but they were mostly scattered around so that it wasn't a drag. IOLANI/DELANO, CRE8/CREATINE crossings could have been avoided, but overall a fill fresh enough despite all that.

I liked the "Hill workers" couple, "What many grandparents do", "Angels might come to its aid". I didn't get "Yelp alternative" until after I was done and retrospectively enjoyed it. But I would have avoided LATENED, AGLITTER and ENTERERS overall.

But yeah, mostly very nicely done.

GRADE: B+, 3.75 stars.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Thanks for the puzzle. I was born and raised in one of the SSRs and needed a lot of twotoring in the English language. A digit or a number filling a square had been used before, so I got a kick out of this trick being used again and being able to figure it out. I do agree with Rex about LATENED and ENTERER, though.

Kimberly 12:08 PM  

This was clever and had a great “aha” moment which we haven’t had on a Thursday in a while. Either criticism has become such a habit that it has become the default, or anything that challenges makes 1 bitter.

Time to change that title. The King doesn’t criticize relentlessly. I think that’s the realm of the jester (although the jester at least tries to simultaneously amuse).

Have an epiphany, Rex. Have that “maybe it’s me” moment.

dan 12:11 PM  

Yeah, I had exactly our second Natick. Grrr.

David Stone 12:14 PM  

Agree w mohairsam that Rex dislikes puzzles he doesn’t ‘get’ right away (and probably dislikes rebus puzzles for that reason). Rex, you need to spot these things faster if you want to be among the very very best tourney solvers.

I am a rather plodding cruciverbalist but strong puzzler, so maybe that’s why I got this one pretty early on, right after I noticed that 18A looked like MACARENA, which I’d spotted among the clues. But it was later, with SEACOW that it came together for me. After that, it was a fast solve; in all, maybe 10-12 minutes.

And I LOVED it. What a cre8ive idea, excellently handled. I wondered about the NE corner lacking a themer, but now I can see how that would have been nearly impossible given the restrictions of the concept.

Well done, Mauer!

deerfencer 12:14 PM  

Like a bad endless carnival ride you wish you never got on. Pass.

Trombone Tom 12:16 PM  

@LMS, bless yore sweet heart! Your post jacked up my mood at least five notches.

Wow! Dan M. had me going every which way. I got the use of numerals right from the get-go, but cross-referencing always proves to be challenging for me and this was a real workout.

Most of @Rex's criticisms were on point, but I found none took away from my enjoyment of the puzzle.

As did others, I initially tried to find alternative expressions for the literal answers. That would have added another element to things.

Loved the ARF clue. Did anyone else try euro before WIEN?

Dan M., I'm up for a rematch any time.

Hungry Mother 12:23 PM  

@LS: nice C joke.

I’ve got to cry foul on this one. There are 3 (three) “correct” solutions to the puzzle. William of Ockham would apply his eponymous razor and find that the solution prefered by OFL and the NY Times app to be the most Ptolemaic in its use of epicylic interpretations needed in understanding it. A better solution is the one that spells out the numbers, but that is only a tad better because it is too complicated also. The best of the three is the one that allows for the correct spelling of one of the two words; i.e. tutored instead of 2tored or twotored.

pwoodfin 12:30 PM  

@Anonymous 11:37. Seriously?

GeezerJackYale48 12:35 PM  

Great puzzle. Ignore the negatives. Most are from negative people.

Suzie Q 12:45 PM  

@pwoodfin & @ John X,
I can only hope that Anon 11:37 is kidding. I know John X was.
Esp. the trucker from Barstow, wow. I've been there and the whole place is a truck stop!

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Can someone point me to the last puzzle that Mr. Parker actually liked - - liked without reservation? Thanks.

Jim 12:51 PM  

I loved it!

Jamie C 12:54 PM  

Does REANNEX rhyme with Kleenex? Asking for a friend...

Master Melvin 12:55 PM  

Sometimes Professor Rex's contempt for history is astonishing. Pius XII was a notorious Fascist collaborator both before and during WWII. He is still being pushed for sainthood by right wing churchmen.

Autocorrect isn't any better. Tried to change Pius to Prius but I caught it redhanded.

Yapepl Pizmeohf 12:56 PM  

You people need to get out more. It’s interesting to read the things that so many people find obscure and that I dropped in immediately. WIEN is merely the Austrian spelling of “Vienna”. IOLANI Palace is the only royal palace on US soil, and a National Historical Landmark. I once played Sir Toby in a production of “Twelfth Night”, so ORSINO was a snap. And Pius XII was the Pope at he outset of WWII and continued into the late 1950’s, and there hasn’t been another Pius since then. I really don’t consider myself a terribly worldly person, so I was surprised that these answers eluded so many of you (well, maybe not ORSINO, unless you are a Shakespeare fan).

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

Hated it. Even though I managed to finish (after I changed the “numbers” from word to number), the whole thing didn’t make sense to me. Plus, having no real answers to the clues seems lazy and uninteresting. Bleh!

Carola 1:00 PM  

I'm with the "Loved it" crowd. After finishing, I enjoyed going back over the puzzle, following the words to their new addresses and admiring the construction. I did notice that one of the words was a maverick, moving out of the neighborhood, but that didn't bother me - I liked that unpredictability. Not sure why folks aren't so happy with LATENED; it was one of my favorites.

Re: ORSINO - A local chamber music group I'm involved with changed the quote to "If music be the love of food, play on" for a concert where different pieces of music were paired with various treats for the audience. Anything to get butts in seats.

@Dan M, thanks for the ingenious puzzle and for joining the conversation. Even though I got 1A = 12DOWN quite early, I didn't know what to do with it: it never occurred to me to go over to that address and install TEN CENTS....until the very end. Also, thank you for jogging my brain on ARF. I'd actually thought it was an app I'd never heard of.

@Nancy, I agree with you about solving on paper, especially with tricky puzzles like this one. I'm away from home for the month and stuck with online solving. I'm grateful to have access to the puzzle, of course, but I'd much rather be sitting with the newspaper and a pencil in my hand.

Masked and Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Yes! "Mad scientist time"! Oh Yes!! thUmbsUp.

day-um, Dan M. This was a real head-explodin experience. And I really like yer original idea better, of givin clues for the forwarded answers. [Example: 1-A clue could be {Dime}, etc.] That woulda been even mauer head-explodin. Then you'da had at least 512 comments minimum here by now, instead of a mere semi-high 125 or so. Coulda been a real howlin contest, in this here snakepit.


staff weeject pick: ARF. Luved the clue. Interestin LAB clue, also.

fave ow de speration moments: SENS. NEV+XII. SSRS. ENTERERERER. PRES. IOLANI/NEILL spellin contest. This long list grows outta a real ambitious theme, plus a low 74 words & 32 shady blocks. Still, I thought it was a real fun/feisty solve.

Got the theme almost immediately becuz I think weird + just **sensed** it was time for a ThursPuz rebus. This helped shave numerous nanoseconds off the old solvequest, thereby lowerin m&e from the dreaded "Very Challenging" level (yo, @sanfranman) down to the far-mauer-neighborly "What the hell … CREATINE!?!" brain sprain level.

Congratz and thanx for stoppin by, Dan M. The puz hurt so good.

Masked & AnonymoUUs

@muse: Yer the best. Hang in there, darlin. At least the lil chimps ain't fartin in their plastic water bottles, yet.

deja yesterday:

Sandy 1:19 PM  

How is ACR a prefix for height?

FrankStein 1:19 PM  

What's next? Emojis in the NYT puzzle?

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

I'm still swimming up from the solving fog of figuring out the trick and then filling in around it. I thought some of the non-theme clues were relatively tough - "real deal" = BARGAIN, yes, in fact it is exactly that, but it seemed so straight4WARD that it was a misdirection. US1? = PRES, hmmm. "Height: Prefix" = ACR is rather stretchy and I was sure I was going to have an error at the CREATINE/ACC cross. Instead, I drove off the IOLANa highway and joined the pileup with everybody else who forgot how to spell Sam NEaLL's name. (I considered WIfE as "One of the most civilized things in the world" per Hemingway, har, but the IOLAfa highway seemed unlikely.)

Congrats, Daniel, on your sophomore puzzle.

Chip Hilton 1:30 PM  

Fun! I had a SEACOW moment and flew home from there. This after much confusion at that start. Nice variation on the expected rebus.

One of those examples where agedness helps, Rex. Pius XII was the pope of my youth, so that one came early. Interesting entry on him in Wikipedia. Little bit from both sides, but mostly positive. @MasterMelvin might want to do some editing.

Thanks, Daniel Mauer. My kind of Thursday.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

Loved it camp here, despite a DNF. WEIr seemed as plausible as WEIN for a German word the clue was hinting at.

Caught on to the conceit early and had my numbers in place just about everywhere, but can see how some would call this easy with 4 clues literally handed to us, even tangentially.

I think Rex's objection to ENTERER and LATENED are simply that they are not words anyone would ever use in normal conversation, but given the constraints of the theme, I am always in favor of some latitude for what was clearly an inventive form of a puzzle. The emphasis should be on puzzle, not crossword, IMO.



Z 1:51 PM  

I don’t think anyone has said this, so I will point out that I think it has to be numbers not rebi because these are 4WARDING ADDRESSes, and addresses almost always start with numbers. @Anon8:51 also makes an excellent point about the need for numbers.

Double DNF at NEaLL and WIEm. The second one I should have caught, but a transliterated natick seems like something only walrupodes could love.

@anon12:47p.m. - No, but your best bet is to look at Saturdays (as long as you’re not on a smart phone, scroll to the bottom, hit older posts until you get to Saturday. At the bottom of Rex’s post will be some labels. Click on “Saturday” and you will get only Saturday puzzles. I’m guessing no more than a month or two).

Robert A. Simon 2:00 PM  

As far as the puzzle goes, I agree with all of you. Fun, tricky, maddening, you name it, and you all did.

As far as @LMS goes, why do I think criticism of her would be cut by three-quarters if she were a he? Because, it's true, that's why.

She puts herself out there every day, yet her critics can't even put down their real names.

G. Weissman 2:10 PM  

If Loren Smith was Lorne Smith his posts would be just as overlong, self-involved, and painfully hamfisted.

Masked and Anonymous 2:11 PM  

@Sandy - yep. I'd forgotten to put ACR on my ow de speration list. (M&A wanted ALT, btw)

ACRO is a prefix denotin height. Examples: ACROphobia is fear of heights. ACROpolis is high-up city. ACROss = gettin high on havin a big nazi base?? Etc.

Sooo … ACR is sorta a prefix for the ACRO prefix. An preprefix, if U will. Or a prep-refix, if U won't.

M&A Help Desk

Mr. Grumpypants 2:30 PM  

@Roo Monster : Absolutely. Loved the concept; loathed the execution.

Foamfollower 2:31 PM  

I inferred the “answer found elsewhere” clue was referring to the clue list, thereby missing my best Th. time by only twenty seconds, which automatically makes this puzzle great. ;/

Fs4569 2:43 PM  

Quit complaining. It was agreed that Thursdays had become dull because, for whatever reason, Thursdays had to be “different.” You got it today.
My wife and daughter got lost driving through Austria because they were looking for a road sign that said Vienna.

xyz 2:45 PM  

TWO clever by haff?

Always wondered why there weren't more rebuses with 1238746 number characters filling in the grid.

Some ugly fill hurt this one.


Oh well, better than a number, I guess ... Better than those awful puns for sure.


oldactor 3:28 PM  

Loren, have I ever told you how much I love you?

PhilB 3:37 PM  

As a small defense of the location of the 'forwarding addresses'. If you decide to hide parts of words as numbers, '1' '2' '4' and '8' are pretty much your only options as the others would be near impossible to hide as partials. Which means you're a little hemmed in as far as the location of the 'forwarding'.

Rex, I know you would probably then just say that if it doesn't work as a cohesive theme then scrap it and start over. But in this case it didn't really bother me.

Unknown 3:39 PM  

I don't understand 30D.

puzzlehoarder 3:40 PM  

@lms, I reread my own comments and I'm still not sure what "math" you're talking about but thanks for the shout out anyway. Your comments today reminded me of the time you related how you would check the police blotter to see if there were any domestic issues that could be affecting your students. You really care about those kids.

Ando 3:43 PM  

30D: Angel funders come to the aid of startup companies in need of cash.

What I enjoyed about this puzzle was that I've often wished a puzzle would include clues in answers, a rule that is pretty much never broken. Refreshing if weird change to have the clues literally appear elsewhere in the answers. I do wish the NYT digital puzzle allowed rebus as well as numbers; it was very strange to enter numbers into the grid so I resisted until all other options failed. (ACTI or ACTONE? TUTORED OR TWOTORED?)

CashPo' 3:51 PM  

Come on guys, what do you think Wieners and Wiener Schnitzel mean? They come from Vienna/Wien. City of Dreams.

Sen 4:06 PM  

@DanM, thanks for my favorite Thursday trick in some time! I was disappointed to read that Will diluted your original concept of having different clues for the forwarded answers. I personally think that would have made the theme more cohesive. Still loved it though.

michais 4:59 PM  

Actually, Pope Pius XIi was kind of memorable because he was pope during the Nazi era and WW 2. After the war he was alleged to have sanctioned “rat lines” to former SS officials sneaking out of Europe. I don’t know if it was true but it certainly qualifies him as a good crossword clue.

Kimberly 5:39 PM  


Perhaps it is more socially appropriate to correct others’ manners publicly? I’m simply trying to learn.

AW 5:52 PM  

"The day LATENED to dusk...," wrote no one, ever.

"What do I do? Oh, I'm a data ENTERER," says no one, ever.

Do you know of any dogs that bark out the word "yelp" instead of ARF? Didn't think so because the one is not an "alternative" of the other.

I'm so sick of overly clever puzzles that sacrifice solid words and clues for gimmicks.

(BTW, the NY TIMES crossword app does not allow numbers to be entered, so the puzzle was undoable for me.)

Joe 6:11 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. But . . . isn’t the answer for 18 Across/13 Down the same as the question: MACARENA?

Joe 6:15 PM  

Whoops, my bad—all the themers are given in the questions. Somehow I only noticed with Macarena!

clk 6:32 PM  

I went back and entered them as numerals and got the happy music on my NYT crossword iPhone app.

Joe Welling 7:14 PM  

@ Calman Snoffelevich

An "angel" is a type of investor or backer.

OISK 7:28 PM  

Wien, Wien, nur Du allein. I enjoyed this, once I cracked the theme. I didn't know how to spell Neill either, and agree that this was a bad crossing, but I DID know Iolani for some reason. No errors, some grins, I liked it. ( Knew Ostinato as well, and there was none of the hip-hop brand name stuff I don't know).

Kristy, Mom at large 8:59 PM  

Good job on a fun puzzle! I'm sure it was a tough construct. Keep on writing!

Z 9:24 PM  

@AW - I just looked at the NYTX app for iPad. On the lower right of the keyboard are three grey keys. The first has a “123”on it. Clicking on this key changes the keyboard to allow numerical inputs. I don’t know about the computer app, but I imagine it has some way to enter numbers as well.

@Kimberly - Seriously? You equate “elbows off the table” with “don’t be an ass.” There are lots of similarities between manner rules and grammar rules, but not so much with asininity. While there is limited efficacy in suggesting to an ass that they not act like an ass, I hardly equate it with correcting someone’s manners. Specifically, I believe that the first rule of good manners is to presume others intend to act mannerly. When this presumption is so blatantly disproved by, say, attacking someone’s grammar in public, one loses any right to be treated with manners, respect, or grace. I might choose to ignore such offense, but purely out of a desire to preserve my own equanimity, not because the ass deserves any respect or deference from me. While I believe in civility, some behavior is beyond the pale and the e-pillory is fine by me.

Christophe 9:51 PM  

The name of the game is crossWORD, not NUMBER.

Unknown 10:02 PM  

It seems that there is a mistake in the puzzle. 3 down is "fallopian tube travelers" clearly plural. The answer that fits the across clue is "ova", clearly singular. The plural of "ova" is "ovi", which doesn't work with "iolani" palace. Am i missing something?

Adam 10:03 PM  

I got it in the SE corner with SEA COW, VIED4 and INM8. Aha! I really enjoyed this theme and construction (although I agree that entering other clues verbatim seems . . . incomplete). On the other hand, it makes 4WARDING ADDRESS literally true, so it holds together well. I didn't like ENTERER, but got LATENED and Henderson, NEV very quickly. A really good puzzle, IMO.

Michael Hanko 10:19 PM  

The plural of “ovum” is “ova”.

Unknown 10:31 PM  

@ Joe Welling -- Thank you!

Anonymous 10:47 PM  

I did not get the gimmick until I figured out the answer "allowed in" even though I already realized that some of the answers were # across or # down. I had too many wrong answers on the normal clues to realize that the clues themselves were the answers. All in all it was challenging and fun. I would also have preferred different clues. @LMS Keep on truckin' You sound like a great teacher and your kids are lucky to have you!

Unknown 11:24 PM  

Re-posting my Sunday comment. Mind you I did not read this dreadful blog today. Just re-posting. I have been reading this guy since the very beginning, and I could not dislike him more.

Grant Edwards11:22 PM
I agreed with Rex. For once. At first. The 4d/4a was horrendous, and I had HWT/HCC and *was sure*. But he piled on, as usual, only revealing his own baffling ignorance and petulance. Why, o why did I even log on to this blog? Scott BAIO is well known to folks our age. "Disc" was ALWAYS spelled thus, *especially* when both Rex and I were teens. Most of all, Rex's hatred of puns and wordplay is wholly inconsistent with enjoying crossword puzzles, and I frankly don't get why he even does them. New year's resolution: quit reading this horrible, spiteful blog. Hang it up, "Rex".

Anonymous 11:39 PM  

@anonymous 8:39am Yes your card says it is not to be used for ID, but the greatest offender is the maker of the rule, the US Government. See a military ID card for an example.

We used to use the last 4 digits of the SSN for student login IDs where I used to teach. When we opened a campus in NYC in the late 1990s we had to change our Login IDs. It seems the State of New York actually enforced the rule about the SSN used as an ID.

Anonymous 12:56 AM  

I'm more of a lurker but I thought the puzzle was fun. Was expecting Rex to rip it apart and comments to come to its defense but seems like a lot of the commenters also want things to follow certain rigid rules. Took me a long time to figure out 4warding but once I did it was a gleeful revelation.

Phil 6:40 AM  

For US 1 actually put in PEES. HAHA

We have to remember we are not on our lonely little iPads writing one on one. We have to act like we’re at a gathering or party and no one would give a blunt grammar correction across the room at a party. How embarassing. But it’s easy to forget the cyber circumstance we’re in.

@LMS next time you get the rage just remind them they’re at a party, send a PM to whomever if they have some grammar advice (god I hope its not whoever)

Cyberstance, I’m coining it baby, put it in the urban dict yeah

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

I've been waiting for a puzzle like this but the execution was awful.

Unknown 9:18 AM  


I've been doing crossword puzzles for most of my life, and I've never come across numbers. Maybe I missed something, but I suffered a hideous slag of mutant rebuses before finally coming here and finding out I was killing my thumbs and hurting my brain using common logic.

What's next, commas?

Unknown 3:51 PM  

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pcardout 12:28 PM  

SPAM!!!!! SPAM!!!! SPAM!!!!

pcardout 12:37 PM  

I was going through my unsolved archive and found this today. I loved it!! Sure the fill had to be easy to allow you to figure out the trick. I realized _sies and _tored had to be the answers to one and two down, but could not see where the "missing letters" "one" and "tu" fit. I pretty quickly realized that __down was the answer to one across, and that it could somehow be referring to a clue... but it took a long time to put it all together. I love creative and unexpected tricks, and am surprised by all the wingeing here. If we are never surprised, just why are we doing this? NICE JOB!

pcardout 12:50 PM  

Cool idea! (not sarcasm). Commas, quotes ... maybe even ... OMG ... these😊😉😍. Whatever you can put in a box to break our brains out of one!

Burma Shave 9:57 AM  


it’s no BARGAIN the DUOS they CRE8,
it MEANSIT’s the END, like 4 STEVIE REA,
who ALLOWEDIN another INM8.


BTW, tomorrow marks 3 years of daily verse

spacecraft 11:42 AM  

Absolutely brilliant! Not that I didn't have some trouble: after getting the idea at 1-across--er, 12DOWN, I confidently wrote in changeofADDRESS. Rhymes with inky mess. Also AGLImmER before AGLITTER.

Not going to dwell on it today; watching live coverage of the parade. DOD is my beloved STEVIE Nicks. Score: E! A! G! L! E!

Diana, LIW 11:44 AM  

I admire:

1 - anyone who could make this puzzle

2 - anyone who got this puzzle

3 - anyone with the patience...

Lady Di, losing hers

thefogman 11:55 AM  

I finished this one. It was a little on the tough side. More like a Friday or maybe a Saturday. I got the Pius XII easily because we just finished watching The Young Pope (excellent show by the way) in which the main character is Pope Pius XIII. That 42itously gave me the answer to 57A. I was pretty much stumped until I finally considered entering numbers in the SW corner, then everything fell into place very nicely. Rex is just being asi9. I've never seen a puzzle like this one b4 and I think it was gr8.

Thursday googler 1:16 PM  

Your answer made my eyes H2O laughing! Thanks!

rondo 1:19 PM  

Got the number gimmick when 12DOWN started looking an awful lot like TENCENTS, and was, and aha, that’s how you get 1SIE and 2TORED in there. Just a chase after the numbers after that. DID not add a nanosecond to my normal time, as far as I know. One w/o with Alt before ACR; DID not like that answer.

I’d give a spicy yeah baby to both MEL B and MEL C. And the entire Canadian women’s Olympic curling team; and the Russians if the group that took second in the Worlds is allowed to compete.

Interesting number/letter combo and good puz even with a RRN and a RMK. But if I hadn’t got it early, mighta been CRISIS time.

Unknown 1:25 PM  

Or maybe he clued it like that to try and throw you off. Just sayin’

thefogman 2:11 PM  

The Spice Girls have reunited and are launching a world tour.
Is it true their concerts are sponsored by Old Spice?

rainforest 2:51 PM  

This was an outstanding puzzle, and I'm happy to see so many agree with me. I won't go into all the details of my solve, but I saw 1SIES, and put in TU as a rebus at 2 down, and so was confused right off, especially since "ten cents" was making "no sense" to me

It was only when I could see that MACARENA was the answer at 18 Across and realized that the CRE8/CREATINE crossing was a little weird, that it clicked. Even then the puzzle put up a fight. Loved the clue/answer: yelp/ARF. Har.

4WARDING ADDRESS was a perfect revealer for this gem. Yeah, yeah, there were a couple of iffy entries, but who cares. The idea and the execution were excellent in my opinion. I remembered that Pope Pius XII was around when I was a kid and there haven't been any Piuses since.

This was a memorable puzzle. Kudos to Dan.

Diana, LIW 3:26 PM  


Triple par-tay for @BS tomorrow. Or is it @BurMo? 1 1ders 4 2 long.

Diana, Waiting

Tom M. 4:03 PM  

With a little extra effort, found all the theme answers in the clues, but inexplicably left it at ACT 4(!?) instead of ACT 1 in the NE corner. Some kind of brain lapse while jjuggling the numbers, I guess.

Waxy in Montreal 4:15 PM  

Daniel Mauer: 2Y'S U R, 2Y's U B, I C U R, 2Y'S 4 Me!

Gr8 innovative grid. Xword evolution. Loved it!

Tom M. 4:37 PM  

P.S. This puzzle is an exceptionally clever piece of work.

Anonymous 7:02 PM  

From Syndication Land:

I'm late to the game, but I just had to comment on how much I enjoyed this puzzle. I thought the gimmick was really clever, and made me feel smart when I figured it out! I got Naticked by the Wien, Ostinato cross, having never heard of either, but that's on me. This was a really good puzzle except for one square! (even the autocorrect is underlining Ostinato!)

strayling 8:50 PM  

Loved this one, it was like using pointers in C (the programming language). Once I figured out I had to dereference the clue it was plain sailing.

Dan M 11:08 PM  

@strayling (constructor here) thanks — and funny you should mention that; pointers were the initial inspiration for this puzzle! I mentioned that in my comments at Wordplay and XWordInfo. Glad you enjoyed!

Dan M 11:12 PM  

Thanks for the kind words syndication folks. I hadn’t realized this puzzle was going out today, and suddenly started getting comment alerts on this thread. Pleasant surprise! Cheers all.

Anonymous 11:29 PM  

It was, as Rex said, challenging until you suddenly "got it" and then a matter of fill in. Good Thursday puzzle despite a couple puzzling answers. Enterer ?? My spell check says no. Latened ??? Also comes up as a no.

Kevin 11:49 PM  

Thanks. That's exactly what I came here looking for. So obvious now. Smh

thefogman 1:46 AM  

Thank you Daniel Mauer for dropping by - and for an excellent puzzle.

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

I saw 1SIES and 2TORED right away, but made the mistake of assuming the numeric rebus was related to the numbers in the squares. Took me quite some time to "get it" completely, and then it just became a matter of literally Looking For Clues (cue Robert Palmer) that matched up with the squares I had already filled in. Basically my crossword had become a word search, which turned the completion of the grid into kind of a letdown.

Unknown 10:46 PM  

Even better than this oddity is the fine collection of comments. I haven't been here in a long time but after finishing the puzzle I exclaimed that I had to know what Rex had to say about it. I expected more vitriol but was satisfied with "Go to hell." I feel honored on Rex's behalf that the constructor commented. What a fun day!

Anonymous 6:21 AM  

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