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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: REVERSING COURSE (60A: Backtracking ... or what 17-, 27- and 46-Across are doing?) — theme answers are three different kinds of "courses," all appearing backwards (or "reversed") in the grid:

Theme answers:
  • LANOITANATSUGUA (17A: Home of the Masters) (Augusta National)
  • ARBEGLAERP (27A: Something unknowns are introduced in) (pre-algebra)
  • SREZITEPPA (46A: Starters) (appetizers)
Word of the Day: Alfred ADLER (1D: Alfred who coined the term "inferiority complex") —
Alfred W. Adler(/ˈædlər/German: [ˈaːdlɐ]; 7 February 1870 – 28 May 1937) was an Austrian medical doctorpsychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology. His emphasis on the importance of feelings of inferiority, the inferiority complex, is recognized as an isolating element which plays a key role in personality development. Alfred Adler considered human beings as an individual whole, therefore he called his psychology "Individual Psychology" (Orgler 1976).
Adler was the first to emphasize the importance of the social element in the re-adjustment process of the individual and who carried psychiatry into the community.[5]Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Adler as the 67th most cited psychologist of the 20th century. (wikipedia)
• • •

First, let's talk about why this theme is good and that Presidents Day theme a few days ago isn't. So, President's Day! "Let's put presidents' names in the clues!" "OK, that is fine. That gives the theme a kind of unity. What next?" "OK ... let's anagram them!" "Wait, what? Why? Is there a title or a revealer or some catchy play on words that's going to explain why you're doing that?" "No!" Well, that doesn't ma-" "Also, let's add a letter to the president's names before we anagram them!" "[blank stare]" "Random letters!" "[exasperated sigh] Do those letters at least spell someth-" "No! They spell nothing! Random letterssssss!" And ... scene. Now today's. Answers go backwards. OK, why? Well, there's a play on words with the revealer: REVERSING COURSE. OK, but that's hardly enough, just running answers backwards. What's the hook? Each theme answer is actually a different kind of "course" that is being (literally, in the grid) reversed. So the REVERSING part makes sense, and the COURSE part makes sense, and everything you're doing ... makes sense? Sense!? What an idea.

["Set a course for adventure...."]

I woke this morning to NRA in my grid (31D: Publisher of American Hunter magazine, for short) and this in my Twitter feed:

That's not just a sitting member of the US House of Representatives, that's *my* sitting member of the US House of Representatives. She takes gobs of NRA money and they've given her an "A" rating. So, constructors, if there's a way you can, I don't know, avoid NRA, or at least give it a clue that doesn't look like it was written by the NRA PR department, that would be cool.

I found the spelling backward gimmick easy to pick up, but then hard to enter into the grid. Typing words backwards is nuts, and I must've spent 10-25 seconds stumbling over the front (i.e. back?) end of "Augusta." Just couldn't get the letters, particularly the "U"s, in the right place. Also had SPAT for 19D: Bicker (with), and so ended up with PTE ALGREBRA (reversed) at first. Briefly considered AP ALGEBRA (impossible) and then realized SPAR was a better answer than SPAT. Some trouble getting fron AUN- to AU NATUREL at 33D: Nude, but otherwise not much trouble today at all. A brisk and pleasant solve. See you tomorrow...

Oh, wait, one more thing. So I wrote a bit about the AMAL Clooney clue yesterday because she's a human rights lawyer (which the clue mentioned) and I'd seen her name a bunch recently etc. Well, I only just found out, and I really need everyone to know, that the original clue there (the one that actually appeared in the damned paper, the one that some wise person made a late-change to for the digital editions) was [Mrs. George Clooney]. Just like it appears on her checks, I'm sure (!?).

God bless the non-famous crossword people at the Times who scramble to fix tone-deaf junk like this. Not the first time. Almost certainly not the last.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 7:03 AM  

Things I knew but had no idea I knew: TMZ, ADLER, AUGUSTA NATIONAL, TOUCAN SAM.

After reading the Wikipedia article on COVEN, I'm not sure that 13 is a necessary number for the number of people required. Also, there are at least nine puzzle answers that backward, make common crossword answers.

Only had AE for the backward PRE-ALGEBRA, but was so confident in those letters that I suspected backwardness was going on. I got the reveal before the theme answers, and after I got it, my course to completion was TCERID.

puzzlehoarder 7:11 AM  

For a puzzle with rather standard fill I found this surprisingly difficult. Math and golf are not strong points. ALGEBRA and NATIONAL were late to be recognized and then had to be tediously entered backwards. This was a phone solve for me so there was that inconvenience as well.

The cluing did not initially click for me. I had to start in the NE corner and work my way clockwise. Hitting the reveal sped things up inspite of a NATURAL/NATUREL write over. I didn't have to read the clues for AMY, KILTS, ANTE or MEET. In the SW corner I had to deal with a BIOTA/FLORA write over.

A clean grid in the end but some good puzzlingly getting there.

Anonymous 7:13 AM  

I liked the puzzle, but thought the clue for the revealer was bad. I read the clue and immediately suspected the theme answers were going in backwards, even though I had no idea what to fill in for the revealer. Some punnier definition, or at least a definition without the word “backtracking” would have been better.

imsdave 7:13 AM  

Plopped in AUGUSTANATIONAL and confirmed it by all the downs in the middle. The internal palindrome (TANAT) made that work. Fine puzzle.

Harryp 7:17 AM  

I had my aha moment when Augusta National didn't work with what I already had for some of the Downs, then realized the reversal. After that it was a matter of keeping and eye out for other backward answers, and was an easy finish. The theme concept itself with the different coursed was very clever. Thumbs up for this one.

BarbieBarbie 7:22 AM  

One of my favorite Thursdays. Finished in a normal time but boy was my brain in knots. The first themer was straightforward but backwards, which is really funny. Filling it in forwords gave some correct letters, which messed me up for awhile, which is great. On top of DONTworry for DONTPANIC, I was really going in circles.
Agree with Anon@7:13 on the revealer.
It was so interesting that even knowing the answers should be backwards didn’t allow me to see them from the crosses.
This definitely required coffee. I had fun. Two thumbs up and more please.

Passing Shot 7:24 AM  

What @Harryp said. Liked this one a lot.

JOHN X 7:26 AM  

I dunno, I think if you're married to the 8-time "Sexiest Man Alive" then you are "Mrs. George Clooney" whether you like it or not.

Hey remember those anti-litter PSAs with the Native American who sheds a tear? He was played by a Sicilian named Iron Eyes Cody, which wasn't even his real name. He's interred in Hollywood Forever Cemetery with his wife, "Mrs. Iron Eyes Cody." That's the name on her crypt - look it up.

The minute I read the clue for 60A I knew the gig and filled in the themers, and I filled them in left to right like some kind of savant, which I was proud of for some reason.

Two Ponies 7:29 AM  

This was no Thursday-level puzzle for me. Too easy and obvious.
More dumbing down by the NYT.

DeeJay 7:32 AM  

Nice puzzle

QuasiMojo 7:39 AM  

Hunh? This was way too easy and way too boring to be a good Thursday puzzle. There's a flat quality to many of this constructor's clues that leaves me cold. Answers such as Augusta National, Pre-Algebra (tortured clueing, too), Appetizers filled-in backwards are supposed to be engaging? I found them RETAWHSIDSALLUD. Where's the excitement? Wit? Ingenuity? This one DROOPs under its own conceit. Give me the Presidents Day MARGANA fest any day over this ANNOYing snooze-fest. Signed, CREEP.

Trombone Tom 7:42 AM  

Quickly wrote in AUGUSTA NATIONAL and confirmed it with that wicked TANAT anagram in the middle (Hi, @imsdave!). Only when things began to go awry did I discover the reversal.

Unlike another gent around here, I'm generally a fan of C.C.'s and this was no exception.

Since I don't see the dead tree edition I didn't have to suffer outrage at seeing something as tone-deaf (sic!) as "Mrs."

I enjoyed this different Thursday from Ms.(!) Burnikel.

chefbea 7:55 AM  

Fun puzzle. Got appetizers first...and expected more dinner soup and salad, entree etc

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

It's not the Mrs that's tone-deaf it's the George part. Mrs Clooney would be fine as a clue. Even my 83 old mother finds it annoying to be known as Mrs Husband's name Surname.

Birchbark 7:58 AM  

Inverted AUGUSTA NATIONAL is automatically a good puzzle, coming as it does on a 2-degrees-above-zero morning in late February. A harbinger. After a round filled with expletive BEEPS last October, I threw away my old golf shoes. Maybe today I'll go get some new ones. This time, they'd better work.

Credit for intellectual honesty where it's due: @Rex offers a well-reasoned and useful review of why this is more than a reverse-order puzzle (I missed the "COURSE" part). And why in his view the President's day puzzle didn't pass muster. It's not about the constructor in either case (he's panned both frequently). If more reviews were like this one, @Rex would be less vulnerable to the charge that he resorts too quickly to personal invective.

Hoping GAUNT will prompt a Richard II quote from @TheBard.

Anon 8:06 AM  

Record Thursday for me. I'm a huge golf fan, math fan, and eating fan, so the themed clues were all easy once i figured out to reverse them. Finished changing SPAT to SPAR

clk 8:10 AM  

It’s a little ironic your rep would try to pin mass shootings on Dems at this moment, when the most recent shooter wore a MAGA hat on his Instagram:

JC66 8:11 AM  



Suzie Q 8:13 AM  

If I was married to George Clooney I wouldn't mind being his Mrs.
The crossing of haunt and gaunt seemed weak.
This week has broken the usual order of our puzzles and not in a good or interesting way. I mean Thursdays are supposed to be fun!
If you need an Amy in your grid aren't there are a lot of more lively choices than a Minn. senator?
I'm going to have some Froot Loops and go back to bed.

Billie Joe 8:23 AM  

I liked this one though not as much as yesterday’s. As for the review, the virtue signaling is getting a little too much. Either whine about the NRA or poor Mrs. Clooney, but not both on the same day. Eh, it’s your blog. Whine away.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  
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George 8:56 AM  

1 Down: Alfred who invented the term Inferiority Complex'--I wanted so badly for the answer to be 'E Neuman'!!

Nancy 8:57 AM  

BANQUET is a noun. All the crossword puzzles in the world won't turn it into a verb.

DINE is a verb. All the crossword puzzles in the world won't turn it into a noun.

Rant over.

The easiest part of this puzzle for me were the reversed theme answers, clued by an on-the-nose revealer. I had some trouble elsewhere, including seeing nothing but a DOOK at AUNATUREL. Why is it so much harder to see word patterns on Down answers than on Across answers? The only robot voice I know is Siri, and I don't know her very well. Someone at the tennis courts was advising me not to confuse Siri with ALEXA not so very long ago, but I'd already forgotten what exactly was said and who said it.

Thought KILTS (68A) was extremely well clued. Don't really understand how the same person who wrote that clue also clued the really mindless TARGET (48D).

An okay puzzle. Yesterday's was much, much more fun.

Nancy 9:05 AM  

Different kinds of courses!!! Of course!!! A cleverer puzzle than I realized. Thank you @Harryp (7:17).

Z 9:08 AM  

@birchbark - Agreed. What I find mildly amusing is the constant interpretation that Rex’s invective as personal. He is almost always careful to keep it about the puzzle. I get why a constructor might take Rex’s criticism personally, I think it natural to identify with one’s work. Why readers, though, can’t separate out criticism of the thing from criticism of the person is amusing up to the point where it gets tiresome.

It is nice to see a fuller explication of the difference between this and Monday. Implicit in how Rex wrote it up is a criticism of the editorial process. Demand more, demand better, get better. The balancing act is making demands within someone’s current skill level while not falling into the trap of low expectations (a balancing act teachers and coaches must perform every day). As an outside critic Rex doesn’t have to balance these two aspects, nor would I want him to. But I do think at times he fails to credit Shortz with working to develop new constructors. Of course, if Shortz et al. worked assiduously to develop a more diverse group of constructors it might be easier to recognize that this was happening.

@JOHN X - George is more famous. Amal is more accomplished. If it is really just about being married to a famous and wealthy pretty face I have to wonder why the Patriot’s quarterback isn’t known as Mr. Giselle Bündchen.

Buddhist 9:15 AM  

Robert Thurman is much more accomplished than his famous daughter yet to many he’ll always be known as Uma’s father. It’s about fame not sexism.

Rational 9:18 AM  

NRA. So tired of complaints about words that offend Rex's political view of the world. It's a crossword puzzle. It isn't CNN. About half the country is conservative. But puzzle makers need to pander to Rex's political leanings? Get over it.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  
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Mohair Sam 9:25 AM  

TOO easy but lots of fun. And thanks Rex for explaining why the puzzle worked so well - the COURSE consistency actually helped us with 48A. It's one of those things solvers like me "get" but don't appreciate.

I don't know how to link here, but those of you of a certain age might enjoy the ALEXA "silver" ad from SNL. Googling in "SNL parody ALEXA" worked for me.

GILL I. 9:38 AM  

@Anony 7:13 and @BarbieBarbie...When you have a moment, go back upstairs and read @Rex. Each revealer is a course. REVERSING COURSE is the cherry on your sundae....!
I had the LANOI in there and said to myself "I bet this is the ole backwards type puzzle dance." We haven't seen one in a while. I'm not sure I like them because my brain doesn't. But when I got to the reveal I did think CC made a clever (but easy) puzzle.
I really liked being reminded of Alfred ADLER. Back around the time that I read "Fear of Flying" I was into "psycho" books. I have his "What Life Can Mean to You" somewhere gathering dust. I thoroughly enjoyed that book. He was a brilliant man and whoever translated his books was pretty darn good as well. I think I'll go dig around and see if I can find it and re-read him. I'm trying to finish "A Gentleman In Moscow."
Hey....Me too. If I were married to George Clooney you could call me any damn thing you like. [sigh]....AMAL is pretty special, though. George probably wouldn't mind being called Mr. Amal Clooney.
I liked the cluing today. I'm liking her puzzles more and more. CC is clever and always makes you wonder what answer might be the right one. Notice there is not a plethora of proper names? Thank you.
This was nuf.

Nancy 9:48 AM  

Truly one of the funniest SNL spoofs I've ever seen. Thank you for that, @Mohair (9:25)!!! I especially loved the different names for ALEXA and the shivering woman under the blanket. Don't miss this, everyone -- it's a classic.

Another hand way up for: If I were married to George Clooney you could call me anything you like. (Although I would have even rather been Mrs. James Garner; I saw him interviewed once, back in the day, and he was as funny and self deprecating as he was drop-dead gorgeous.).

Drew 9:52 AM  

Same :)

JC66 10:00 AM  


You don't think Tom Brady is drop dead gorgeous?

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Z@9:08 AM wrote--"If it is really just about being married to a famous and wealthy pretty face I have to wonder why the Patriot’s quarterback isn’t known as Mr. Giselle Bündchen."

Because he is more renowned and prettier.

Z 10:13 AM  

My guess is that this played easier for the commentariat because we have seen this kind of trick before so grok what’s going on sooner. Same with the “backtracking” in the clue for the reveal. Today I see that word in the reveal clue and immediately know what’s going on. But earlier in my solving adventures the implication would not have been so obvious. I certainly remember coming here and seeing everyone complaining about “too easy” after smacking my head against a wall for an hour. No complaints from me on the relative difficulty today.

@JC66 - Well, prettier than me but that’s a very very very low bar.
@Anon10:02 - You can only believe that Tom is more reknowned if you think “known to American sports fans” is the standard.

Hartley70 10:17 AM  

Once you get the gimmick, Thursdays are not usually difficult, so I found this a well placed Thursday offering. AUGUSTANATIONAL was a nice start since it appeared to work in the forward direction, until it didn't.

I'm with @Nancy. To BANQUET just doesn't work for me. Does BANQUETTING have two Ts or one? Or does it depend on the gender of your partner? Just silly!

I saw the different types of COURSEs in the themers and appreciated the theme depth. I find CC a most accomplished constructor and Rex gave a sterling review today. It's a win-win all around.

TomAz 10:33 AM  

The best thing about this puzzle was the Alexa spoof in these comments. Thanks @Mohair!

For some reason it took me too long to get the trick. putting in 17A the "right" way wasn't going to work. After a bit I was like, oh man, more anagrams? And the clock kept ticking and I continued to fill in crosses and other bits and hoped I would finally see it.

Once I got the trick, the puzzle played extremely easy, like a Tuesday almost. so I finished a few minutes under average, which surprised me when I was done.

My first thought on 68A was that the answer should be "solitude".

Anyway, this wasn't bad. I don't find it as clever as Rex does, mainly because of so much easy fill, but, whatever.

Bob Mills 10:37 AM  

Very nice puzzle. I got the "reverse" idea fairly quickly, but only connected it with "courses" after I finished. My compliments to the constructor.

Lenore 10:39 AM  

It’s pretty clear that Amal Clooney is famous because of who she married. Without peeking, what’s her maiden name ? The discarded clue was fine. Does Rex look for things that offend him ? A rejected clue from yesterday’s puzzle. Seriously?

RooMonster 10:40 AM  

Hey All !
Not being up on everything golf-ish, had AtlanTANATIONAL (backwards, of course) really mucking up that NE corner. The not-often-seen HAUNT and GAUNT not helping, either. Like HAUNT, there were a lot of what I call third-definition answers to some clues. Which is impressive, since y'all know that English is CC's second language.

The trick to entering a backward answer, is to start at the end of the answer (i.e. the normal where the entry ends) and enter the letter, then hit the Left Arrow key (once after the first letter, twice after each other letter) and fill the name in the forward/regular way. If that made sense. Maybe someone can explain it better! I can't enter a backward entry directly backward, it would cause the ole brain to implode.

ref-UMP, pAl-MAC, Aeon-AGES. "UP" in clue and answer. Just sayin, as no one has pointed that out yet. :-)


Carola 10:50 AM  

Agree with others on "easy" and "clever," It happened that I backed into AUGUSTA from the NE, so understood the REVERSING trick early, and PREALGEBRA and APPETIZERS went in quickly, too. The question was, why are we doing this? So the reveal was a delightful surprise. Loved the three-COURSE grid meal.

One do-over: Dry uP before DROOP. One "can this be right?": AUNA...??? Fun to see that one snap into making sense.

Canon Chasuble 10:55 AM  

QuasiMojo hit it on the nail. Witless for starters and unremittingly dull and boring. Solve time with my green-inked pen was about six minutes. Ho-Hum.

BarbieBarbie 11:05 AM  

@GilI, point taken. I did get it, and still I felt a little frisson of disappointment at the revealer. I don’t know what the solution would be. Overall this puzzle left me very, very happy.

wgh 11:20 AM  

Didn’t catch the “course” angle so I am even more impressed.

Kimberly 11:21 AM  

I knew I would fail and fail when the first theme answer had something to do with some sport I knew nothing about. By the time I got down to the revealer and realized not only was it going to be an answer I didn’t know but it would be backwards (and in heels) I felt my brain break and suddenly I couldn’t get anything. Even simple stuff was suddenly impossible.

When I finally finished I realized how clever the theme was, but boy did I slog through it. Had totally psyched myself out. Over golf.

Stephen Minehart 11:30 AM  

Not only a super clever theme, but very clean grid. ELEC is the probably the worst it got, which isn't that bad. Not like the TIRO nonsense from last week.

Stand Up For Feminism 11:34 AM  

Too bad about that Omal lady. If she doesn't want to be known as Mrs. Clooney, why is her name Mrs. Clooney. I doubt she really needs Rex to bitch and moan on her behalf though - she seems like she has bigger balls than he does. Personally, I'm looking forward to the next appearance by Mrs. Donald John Trump, hopefully with an AK47 and an NRA bumber sticker.

Joseph Michael 11:35 AM  

ADD ME to those who liked this puzzle. What made it work for me was the three different interpretations of what a COURSE is.

A cleaner revealer might have been REVERSE COURSE (i.e., "backtrack") since the themers are already backwards and not in the process of being made so.

Liked the discovery that AUNA----- could actually lead to a legitimate answer for "nude."

@Mohair thanks for the Alexa spoof. EPIC spoof.

@Lewis, I like your observation that, in addition to the themers, a number of other entries also work backwards as crossword answers, but I count at least twelve: TEEM, ETNA, BATS, CAM, RIA, ARON, SEGA, MTA, SORE, MAS, ENID, and RAPS.

jae 11:39 AM  

The puzzles have been getting easier each day since Tues., and not relatively easier, literally easier. Strange week.

Jeremy Newton's AV Club puzzle this week would have made an excellent Thurs.

Masked and Anonymous 11:41 AM  

Like @RP said, the revealer really made this one sparkle. Nice job, CC.

Figured out the themers at the ??BEGLAE?? point, for the first ahar moment.
Then looked down at the revealer -- losin precious nanoseconds -- to see the "backtracking" clue word. Seemed appropriate, so I soldiered on. First order of business was to go back and fix that sneaky 17-A ?????TANAT????? entry, whose themer was currently fittin in there front-wise. This made FOULUP a whole lot easier to get, once I was no longer lookin at F?O?U?. Plus, I had earlier erased GAUNT, becuz it was startin to look like this: G?A?T. Splatzed GAUNT right back in there, with a triumphant har.

Anyhoo, the rest was pretty TuesPuz eazy-E, and I also enjoyed the second ahar moment, when I uncovered the revealer. "Course" sure is a ripe word for exploitation, theme-wise. Coulda also had a themer like this here: WNYBN, huh?

staff weeject pick: TMZ. U coulda told M&A it was ZMT, and I'da been oblivious.

fave Course, other than the WNYBN one: AR BE GLAERP. Better clue: {"I'll be glad to", uttered while belching big time??}.

fave new word: PICANTE. Always a pleasure to … **glaerp** … learn/taste somethin new.

best ow de speration: ELEC. har … That's what'll happen, when the CConstructioneer already used up EPIC, earlier on. URI is also primo, but sorta has weejectile immunity.

Thanx for the fun, CC. pUsbmUht. I'm gonna have to try and make a backward runt, sometime soon ...

Masked & Anonym007Us


Anonymous 11:47 AM  
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Tita 11:48 AM  

Lol...I gotta grudgingly agree with @John X... It's a little sad, but crazy to expect that it would ever change, that someone like Amal Alamuddin, would be better known than some Hollywood celeb, no matter how drop-dead gorgeous he/she is...

@Trombone Tom - as Anon said, it is the "George" part that's annoying...bad enough that our society has chosen a system where the woman loses her last name, but losing your entire name to your husband's full name has seemed really bizarre to me.

(BTW - I had to look her up to learn who the hell she is, then had to look up Yulia Tymoshenko to make sure that I didn't need to be outraged that Mrs. George was defending Putin's president/puppet.)

Does anyone else love the shot where Charlize THeron does a 180 handbrake-park into a tiny spot on some crowded LA street? I keep trying to do that in downtown Norwalk - haven't succeeded yet...

@Rex - it is crossword critique like today's that I crave - that has learned me plenty about solving and about constructing. Thanks.

Liked this puzzle, even though I couldn't guess the revealer, and had to actually read the clue and fill it in to understand what the common thread was. I consider it a minor DNF if I can't guess the revealer.

(And delighted to see @imsdave here, our resident Clooney look-alike!)

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Amal Clooney would be a total nobody if she hadn’t married that bad actor, so referring to her in relation to her husband is absolutely appropriate

CY 11:56 AM  

I only just found out, and I really need everyone to know, that the original clue there (the one that actually appeared in the damned paper, the one that some wise person made a late-change to for the digital editions) was [Mrs. George Clooney]. Just like it appears on her checks, I'm sure (!?). God bless the non-famous crossword people at the Times who scramble to fix tone-deaf junk like this.

Oh, for pity's sake, do you liberals ever get tired of making mountains out of molehills! It's a traditional, well-understood, and most importantly, succinct way to say "the wife of this man". Might a woman object to being characterized that way in general, because it seems to reduce her to an appurtenance of her husband? Sure. But where there's a specific reason for that choice of description that is not in the least demeaning to the woman in question [as here, since George Clooney is far better-known to the average solver than his wife], complaining about it is sheerest carping, and ironically, far more tone deaf [in failing to distinguish between the tone of a crossword clue and an introduction] than the thing it's carping about.

Anoa Bob 12:09 PM  

So, how come EROS gets all the credit for match making and ERAS gets none? Would it be okay to call her Mrs. EROS?

Alfred ADLER was one of the original members of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. Given the grid-friendly sequence of letters in his name, ADLER has appeared in the NYT xword puzz numerous times over the years and will no doubt do so again in the future. Even though he parted ways with Freud and went on to form his own school of psychology, he's often clued as a disciple or associate of Freud. Just once, I'd like to see him clued with one of his central concepts, Gemeinschaftsgefühl.

By the way, wasn't it another psychoanalyst, Sándor Ferenczi, who coined the term SRËZITEPPA, meaning displaced anal expulsiveness? Got to check my notes on that one.

So, math for dummies (those differently talented) is now called PREALGEBRA?


Malsdemare 12:10 PM  

This was fun. I struggled for a bit, as ADLER danced just out of reach, and logon failed utterly at 1A. But then I accidentally saw the reveal (withno clue what its answer was) and went back and filled in AUGUSTANATIONAL. And it was a nice easy green run down the slopes after that. Seeing the courses in the end was delightful.

The Amal Clooney discussion reminds me of the look on my husband's face when he's called Mr. Rivers (he's got his own name and he likes it). She chose to take his last name; not sure she chose to quit being AMAL. To assume she did makes an ass out of U and me. Just sayin'.

CC, keep 'em coming. This one was fun.

Seth 12:10 PM  

@CY and others defending the "Mrs. George Clooney" clue, here's my way of looking at it:

If AMAL is going to be in the puzzle, that means she's at least famous ENOUGH to be in a puzzle. So I think we can disregard the debate about whether she's famous enough. That's not the issue.

The issue here is that saying "Mrs. [husband's full name" to refer to ANY married woman utterly removes the woman's identity from the picture. By doing this, the woman is completely defined by her husband. She has no identity of her own; the only thing she is is the wife of that man.

Even keeping the clue as "Mrs. Clooney" would have been better, because at least this acknowledges that she's a separate person from George, with a distinct identity. Using this format, George doesn't enter into the equation. The clue just means "That famous woman with a last name Clooney" instead of "That woman whose only identity is being married to George Clooney."

@CY especially, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Seth 12:13 PM  

@CY one last thing. The only reason "Mrs. George Clooney" is "traditional," as you say, is because "traditionally," women were seen as the property of the men they married. Back then, it made sense to refer to a woman solely in terms of her husband, because she was "his." But obviously, this isn't the case anymore. That's why the format of "Mrs. [husband's full name]" is sexist.

Unknown 12:13 PM  

I don't mind you going AUNATUREL on us, but did you have to dangle an ORGAN over it and have it DROOP to one side?

Two Ponies 12:29 PM  

@ Seth, There is nothing wrong with tradition. I like to respect traditions. You are assuming to "know" that women are losing their identity by signifying their marital relationship to their husband.
Not all women find this tradition threatening or offensive.

@ Anon 11:47, I agree with you but am not afraid to state my opinion without hiding behind anonymity.

Let the name calling begin!

BarbieBarbie 12:31 PM  

The NYTX probably has to hew to the NYT style rules and they are probably the Emily Post version of what to call people. There are still folks out there for whom “Mrs herownname Clooney” would be what you call George Clooney’s ex-wife, not his current one.
To complicate things, there are wonen who don’t take their husband’s last name when they marry. I am one of those (it’s easier not to). And in thise cases the complete hername is correct, and the complete Mrs. hisnane is ligically still correct, but the Mrs Hybridname is not.
For my own part, I don’t care what people call me as long as I understand.

Nancy 12:38 PM  

@Tita (11:48) -- "I consider it a minor DNF if I can't guess the revealer [without reading the clue]."

Wow, @Tita, you've given me a whole nother idea for making a themed puzzle more interesting for myself, especially one that's not all that challenging. Often, I fill in themed answers long before I see the revealer -- it sort of depends on where the revealer is located and the sequence in which I happen to solve. And in most of those cases I already have a firm impression of what the puzzle's about before I get to the revealer. But it's never occurred to me to try to guess the precise revealer answer, much less the revealer clue. I think I'm going to try that in the future and see if it offers another area of challenge. Thanks for the suggestion.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

There's a congresswoman named Claudia
Seems Trump and his minions applaudia
But next time around
You're sure to go down
'Cause the 22nd can no longer affordia.

jg 12:58 PM  
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Aketi 1:11 PM  

@CY, I’m ROFL. What century were you born in? Even my aunt who is almost 90 gave up the form of address that eradicates a woman’s first name and replaces it with her husband’s first name at least a half century ago. It’s not a matter of politics, it’s a matter of antiquity. Of course I have lived in a culture where once you have a child you become Mama Ya ...... (insert name of your child). In that culture you were considered to be a child no matter what your age until you became a parent.

@AnoaBob, ARBEGLAERP was offered to my son in early middle school for students who were talented in math.

Seth 1:20 PM  

@Two Ponies you're right. I can't presume to know how Amal Clooney feels about being called Mrs. George Clooney. But that's exactly the point. I would rather err on the side of "give the woman her own identity" and be told "actually, Mrs. George Clooney is fine with me" than err on the side of "a woman is only defined by her husband" and have to be told that the woman has her own identity.

Teedmn 1:29 PM  

AahME, I had so many writeovers on this grid that I actually had to make a mini-grid of the NE on my paper in order to see through the black ink fest in that section.

It all started with my splatzing in "log on" at 1A. I don't do the Facebook (hi @Jeff Chen) or the Twitter, so ADD ME wasn't going to happen without crosses. I stepped over to 4D to confirm whether it was "log On" or "log In" and realized it was neither. Now if I were solving a Runt puzz of M&A's construction, I wouldn't turn a hair to get an clue similar to "[short] sound on Old MacDonald's farm" and it would obviously cross "log in" with INK (a shortened OINK). As I was not solving a Runt, I had to scratch out "log _n" and start fresh with ADLER at 1D.

Down in the bottom central, triED before DARED and "As is" as a really lame answer to "Couple of chips, maybe" ("Yeah, you can have that table at a discount. It has a couple of chips so it's sold AS IS"). The revealer saved me there.

But the NE. Once I saw the revealer, I confidently plopped in LANOITANATnalta at 17A and left it for so long I had to go get my lunch and start eating it, just to stop staring at that grid. I had already gone to PLAN B at 22A (i.e. crossed it out) because "np__" for "bicker (with)" wasn't going anywhere. I stared at that NE for 4 minutes after I got lunch until I saw PLAN B worked splendidly with SPAR and then smacked myself in the forehead for the AUGUSTA foul up.

So, CC, ya got me. Thanks for the shout-out to AMY Klobuchar and the fun challenge today.

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

Would George Clooney's wife have had her name in a crossword puzzle if she weren't married to George Clooney. If she had strong name recognition before the marriage, I'm surprised she didn't keep that as her legal name after the marriage. A lot of women do, but their husbands are world famous actors with gigantic name recognition.

semioticus (shelbyl) 1:35 PM  

I just didn't feel today's puzzle. I like the theme idea, but it's an underwhelming idea. I don't know, and I feel like I'm being unnecessarily harsh, but it just didn't give me an "aha!" moment. More like an "oh, OK" moment.

On top of that, mediocre fill, mediocre cluing (some are smart, some are lazy) = mediocre pleasurability. Not bad, but just meh.

GRADE: B-, 3.2 stars.

Aketi 1:38 PM  
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Aketi 1:40 PM  

@Barbiebarbie, you made me remember that many Latin cultures add another whole level of complexity by having multiple first names and up to four last names including all four grandparents in the mix. In some of those culture the wife doesn’t adopt the husband’s last name


semioticus (shelbyl) 1:48 PM  

On a side note, if someone says: "Hey, addressing people this way might be insensitive because..." you might respond in four ways, generally speaking:

i) "Oh, I didn't realize that. I will try to refrain from doing so. Sorry."
ii) "Well, I don't think it's a big deal but sure. It doesn't hurt me to stop using that form of address, and if it helps you, OK."
iii) "I disagree, and here's my two cents. Let's have a meaningful debate."
iv) "Oh stop whining why is this a big deal now next thing you know..."

I'm OK with the first three responses, because they all lead to societal progress. The last one is hypocritical because it's whining about whining, plain and simple, and it would only benefit a society made up of kindergarteners or so.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  
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Two Ponies 2:13 PM  

@ Seth, Middle ground is a safe bet in some situations for sure. As for today, hey, it's just a puzzle clue. No harm, no foul.

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

Sometimes reading these comments through from beginning to end is a lesson in ... how not to be.

Banana Diaquiri 2:35 PM  

@Greg Miller:
"About half the country is conservative."

by land area, sure. by population, not so much.
"Overall, 48% of all registered voters identify as Democrats or lean Democratic compared with 44% who identify as Republican or lean toward the GOP."

Glimmerglass 2:52 PM  

My experience was similar to @imsdave and @Trombone Tom. However, I started with 6A, AGES, and quickly filled in NORA, ANALOG, ERAS, and SAT. Then COLDS and TOTE. Now when I saw the clue for 17A, I quickly filled in AUGUSTA NATIONAL, and of course it fit perfectly. It was many moments later when I figured out why nothing fit in the NE or NW corners. Good puzzle, nice Thursday. I loved getting caught.

BBPDX 3:11 PM  

If a constructor wishes Dine to be a noun it should be clued as: what the Navajo call themselves.

BillT 3:16 PM  

Rex. Love your blog. Couldn't care less about your politics.

Unknown 3:20 PM  

@Z, thank you for providing me with a proper way to address Tom, I am a Falcons fan and he is less than my favorite player. Made similar error with AUGUSTA NATIONAL as others. Internal anagram got me but I figured it was a themer and couldn’t see the trick. Got to the revealer and fixed it pretty quick. Below average time for a Thursday which was fun. Liked the cluing today for some reason. The misdirects spoke to me, which candidly doesn’t happen that often. If the constructors first name is ever in a grid, I’m toast.

Z 3:39 PM  

@Banana Daiquiri - I beg to differ. If you use the highly industrialized nations as your point of comparison I think a fair argument can be made that the US skews right of center. If you look at the positions of Eisenhower and compare them to Presidents Clinton and Obama you could easily conclude that those two have been the best traditional Republican Presidents since DDE. So @Greg Miller is right on that point at least. However, I would suggest they check out the WaPo article on pro-weapons of mass murder Democrats as well as the older Times piece on when the NRA was pro-gun control before falling into the conservative/liberal framing of this issue.

@Tita A - And yet “_______ Clooney, human rights lawyer” worked just fine online. No one complained here that she was too obscure to appear in a Wednesday puzzle. Obviously she is famous enough to be clued without stripping her of her own identity. I think that alone illuminates how sexist the print clue is and I’m glad someone caught it and changed it.

TomAz 3:49 PM  

That @CY, he's a real muckraker that guy. Bully for those ladies and gents who stood up to his codswaddle. It is important for the virtue of America that we not mollycoddle the Hun and his fellow whitecappers. Be strong as a moose and run the scoundrel out on a rail!

Robert Kennedy 3:54 PM  

One fifth of the people are against everything all the time.

LJ 4:05 PM  

I read the revealer clue and immediately checked to see if Augusta National backwards fit in the grid and cross referenced. It did. Easiest Thursday I've ever done by far.

Uncle Alvarez 4:21 PM  
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E A 4:23 PM  

Yes the fill was fine, but I HATE HATE HATE any puzzle where I have to enter something in backwards, upside down or incorrectly. I hate looking at the finished grid and having words that aren't words staring back at me. I don't know if it's OCD or stubbornness but I hate it haha. It's not as bad as a few years ago when they put deliberately misspelled words in the grid. That just irritated me to no end.

It was fine, but put them in the right way please LOL. Hey, at least I'm honest :)

About Amal Clooney, yeah, that was bad. Glad they fixed it.

Uncle Alvarez 4:24 PM  

"ironically, far more tone deaf [in failing to distinguish between the tone of a crossword clue and an introduction] than the thing it's carping about."

Ironic, indeed, as you throw a carping tirade.

Banana Diaquiri 4:29 PM  


nah. if you look at PA, you'll see the truth writ large: three times control over their existence in the electorate. the right-wing has gamed the electoral system to control gummint at all levels far beyond the composition of the electorate. they're so afraid of losing to the majority, they're trying to remove the PA Supreme Court. now, that's law abiding. oh, right - law and order only when it's "my law and my order". the 1930s and 1940s have something to teach.

Stanley Hudson 4:36 PM  

My wife kept her maiden name for professional reasons. She has a significantly higher name recognition in our community than do I, so occasionally people, upon first meeting me when I'm with her, assume my last name is my spouse's. I don't particularly mind it--though I do gently correct folks--but then I'm not dealing with the burden of thousands of years of patriarchy.

Hear hear @TomAz 3:49 and @Semioticus 1:48.

BocaBoy 4:45 PM  

CHALLENGING for me. I got the backwards format when I got "reversing course" but still ended up with one of my worst times. SPAR got me as did PREALGEBRA.


Joe Dipinto 4:48 PM  

I had the paper edition with the "Mrs. George Clooney" clue in it yesterday, and I didn't give it a second thought. She's only famous to whatever degree she's famous because she's married to George Clooney, so the clue was acceptable, imo. Either that or they should have redone that corner to get rid of her altogether (which is actually what I would have preferred).

As for today's puzzle -- well yes, it all works, it does what it's supposed to do, and it's better than the Presidents Day puzzle, but I didn't get any *wow* factor out of it. I'm with those who find this constructor's puzzles to be generally kind of flat and uninspiring.

June Cleaver 4:51 PM  

Patriarchy is not a burden. It is a comfort to me as I raise the children and keep a home. In return I feel protected and provided for.
Where were the feminists on the Titanic? I doubt they were demanding to be left on the ship as was their right as equals.
What would a feminist do in a burning building if a man left before her? She would label him a coward.

Joe Dipinto 4:59 PM  

BTW, I'm confused by Jeff Chen's last paragraph on XWord Info. Isn't he aware that REVERSE COURSE is an actual expression meaning turn around and go back? It sounds like he's not.

Gentleman 5:13 PM  

What has happened to chivalry? Is it feminist/sexist/SJWist to be kind to women and treat them nicely? Huh, I always thought you were supposed to open doors, et. al. for them, while not running their life. Maybe I'm just an idiot.

Puzzle was good.

GILL I. 5:15 PM  

@Stanley....I kept my maiden name because of my job. I eventually added my husbands last name creating a hyphenated mess that doesn't fit on a credit card nor on my insurance card. But I did it because I happen to love the name McMahon. Since then, I can't even count the amount of times he gets mail addressed to Mr. Paul Echols McMahon. He doesn't even have a middle name!

Stanley Hudson 5:17 PM  

"Where were the feminists on the Titanic? I doubt they were demanding to be left on the ship as was their right as equals.
What would a feminist do in a burning building if a man left before her? She would label him a coward."

And you know this how? *SMH*

Anonymous 5:18 PM  
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Stanley Hudson 5:19 PM  

@Gill I., great story. What we do for those we love! :)

Anonymous 5:21 PM  

Than go read another blog.

CY 5:25 PM  

@Seth, I appreciate your engaging me directly, so I'll respond, as you asked.

First, I have to admit that my main point was not well thought out. I said that George Clooney being better-known than his wife to the average solver was a reason to identifying her particularly as his wife in the clue, but as you point out, to a solver who is entirely unfamiliar with her, knowing that she is George Clooney's wife does not help guess her first name, while to one who has knows her name, any clue identifying her as Clooney should be enough, so there isn't really a strong crossword-related reason to identify her as "Mrs. George Clooney".

With that said, it comes down to whether there's a strong reason not to identify her that way. You feel there is, and you gave that reason as follows:

The issue here is that saying "Mrs. [husband's full name" to refer to ANY married woman utterly removes the woman's identity from the picture. By doing this, the woman is completely defined by her husband. She has no identity of her own; the only thing she is is the wife of that man.

I boldfaced the key point where I disagree with you. I would say that, at least in the context of a crossword clue, it implies no more than that one way to identify her is as the wife of that man.

I imagine that you would agree with me if the clue were (rather blandly) "First name of George Clooney's wife", and that "Mrs. George Clooney" being a proper noun is what makes you feel it implies that being George Clooney's wife is her primary identity, rather than one way to identify her. But even when it comes to proper nouns, it's normal for things to be identified with any of a number of names. For a simple example, in some settings, people call you Seth, without implying that you have no family, while in others you might go by Mr. [surname], without implying that you have no personal identity. I think that's enough to establish that the use of a particular name does not imply that the named party has no other identity.

The argument remains that terms like "Mrs. George Clooney" inherently imply something demeaning to women in general. You seem to be going in this direction when you say:
The only reason "Mrs. George Clooney" is "traditional," as you say, is because "traditionally," women were seen as the property of the men they married.

However, I'm quite skeptical of this assertion, given that, as far as I know, this term of address was common long after the time when wives could be seen as "property" of the men they married in any meaningful sense. For an alternative explanation of how it arose, I suggest simply that men were usually known to the public more than their wives, who, spending a much higher proportion of their time at home, were most likely to be introduced or referred to in a setting where the name of their husband was the most relevant way to identify them. Admittedly, this is no longer the case; however, it's not inherently demeaning to women. In the absence of that, I think it's fair to consider it no more than one [of several] traditional options for referring to a married woman which arose however it arose.

Anonymous 5:26 PM  
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Nancy 6:38 PM  

Also love your story, @GILL.

On the whole name thing: I've always had a sneaking suspicion that what women decide to do is not always a political decision or even always a career decision. When women began keeping their own names after marriage, I used to go to the wedding announcements, look at the bride's last name, look at the groom's last, and try to hazard a guess. Was the bride keeping her own name or not? If the bride's last name was, say, Harmon and she was marrying a man named Schwezzleschinner, I kinda thought she might want to keep her name. If her name was Gugliaglioni and she was marrying a man named Merrill, I kinda thought she might want to change it. Turns out I was right a fair amount of time. But then, as women started marrying later and had established careers, many of the Mickelwerstens and the Grebbollenots, assuming they had careers, were keeping their names too.

GILL I. 6:50 PM  

@CY....GREAT post. I'm still confused....I was when the Ms came about. BUT...I firmly believe that a woman can choose any way she wants to be addressed....just try to be polite about it. There is enough confusion nowadays in anything PC that may or may not offend. I say..."Go to France," they don't hold back anything!
@Nancy. biggest laugh of the day. Oh the last names that are running through my head now. I don't dare mention them here!

John Smith 6:50 PM  

@Nancy- agree wife was happy to jettison her unspellable maiden name for my plain vanilla surname. My sister kept her vanilla maiden name and regretted it. She would’ve happily spelled her name to every clerk who asked in exchange for not having everyone she met to wonder if she was divorced (horrors) when people found out she and her children had different last names.

Z 7:18 PM  

@Nancy - Mrs. Z is, in fact, Ms. Smith for exactly the reason you posited. That and not changing was easier than changing. FWIW - She’s more in the “this is what you’re arguing about?” camp.

@CY5:25 - I see you’re point. That’s why I prefer Rex’s “tone-deaf junk” to the “sexism!” charge people seem to feel he made. It isn’t the worst example of sexism, but it is a convention imbued with a tone of hierarchy instead of partnership. I glossed over it yesterday either through not seeing it or not pausing to consider it, but I am still glad that it was changed to the much better online clue.

@Banana Daiquiri - Sorry, I must not have been clear. Moderate Democrats are center to right of center if you compare them to parties in Europe, for example. Eisenhower and even Nixon held policy positions well left of the current Republican Party and both Obama and Clinton would have fit comfortably in the policy sphere of “Rockefeller Republicans.” What often gets called “liberal” in an American context is actually right of center globally because our electorate skews right of center. I think where I sowed confusion is by failing to clearly state that “conservative” is not equivalent to “Republican.”

Daniel Patrick Moynihan 7:35 PM  

@Z: LOL me too. I’m old enough to remember when the Civil Libertarians were Democrats and the Free Speech supppressors were Republicans.

Karl Grouch 7:40 PM  

Fine puzzle.

"It's not working" by far the best clue.

Political correctness is the end of free thinking.

JC66 8:15 PM  
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JC66 8:17 PM  
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Aketi 8:29 PM  

@Cy, still ROFLing over your antiquated thinking.

@Gill I & @Nancy my husband’s and my last name are fairly similar so there was no particular advantage to changing mine. My sister however hyphenated her name with one that is easily misspelled and eventually adopted her late husband’s mispellablr last name. In her case I think it was a tribute to her husband who really was a great match for her even though he passed away within two years of their being married. So I think there are sometimes additional criteria that kick into the decision,

Polly Pacifist 8:35 PM  

I hate guns. NRA is a real thing and a legit answer. Stop pouting over things you don’t like.

JC66 8:44 PM  

When we married (pre-feminism) my wife took my name.

After the divorce, when she remarried, she kept her maiden name.

Is there a message there, somewhere (multiple syllables wasn't an issue)?

GILL I. 8:49 PM  

@JC66. Depends... Did she marry a @Mickelwersten?

JC66 10:09 PM  


No, his last name was Allen.

BTW, when I remarried my new wife also kept her maiden name.

A few years later her twenty-something son changed his given/father's name to her maiden name as well.

Not a Shakespeare fan among them. (A rose by any other...).

Seth 10:50 PM  

@CY thanks for responding. Good talk so far!

I don't think I'd be ok with "First name of George Clooney's wife" for the same reason you mentioned: people either know her first name, in which case the clue can refer to her directly, or they don't, in which case referring to her as his wife won't help. Either she's famous enough to be in a puzzle on her own, or she isn't.

Your example using my name is flawed because, in all of your ways of naming me, you're naming me in relation to ME. You're not naming me in relation to someone else. As someone else commented, imagine if Tom Brady were clued as "Mr. Gisele Bundchen." Or even as "Husband of Gisele Bundchen." Neither of those sit well with me, and so it should be the same the other way around.

Here, try this exercise. If you're married, imagine being only referred to as Mr(s). [name of your spouse]. How would you feel about that?

To your last point: In my opinion, referring to women as Mrs. [name of husband] in ANY context is absolutely demeaning to women. Whether it was born from women-are-property or men-are-seen-more-outside-the-home, it still implies that the man in the relationship is more important, and the woman is defined in terms of him first. It's an outdated thing that has no place in modern society.

To be clear, I'm not saying you yourself are sexist, or you feel that women should be demeaned. I'm simply trying to show you how your words can make others feel. I hope, if you use Mrs. [husband's name] in your every day life (maybe when you write checks, for example), you'll reconsider it from now on.

Kumbayah 12:00 AM  

Seth and CY showing us how adults disagree agreeably!!

I dig it!!

Anonymous 6:45 AM  
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Anonymous 11:49 AM  
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Anonymous 11:55 AM  

The modern version of agonizing about how many angels fit on the head of a pin.

Unknown 5:02 AM  
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Seth 1:48 PM  

Do you mean that it's arguing about something that doesn't matter? But it does matter, to the women whose identities are continuing to be hidden behind men. Maybe if you think it doesn't matter, you're part of the group that has privilege of not needing to care about this, because you're never defined by whom you're married to.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

Did pretty well, but got caught up on “Feeling under par”. I put AIL in immediately, but then realized that the goal in golf is to be under par, so it should be a positive word. I got all the crosses before I actually accepted AIL as the answer. I think they were trying to keep on theme, but this was not a great clue.

kitshef 10:52 PM  

Back to back fantastic themes. What a pity the blog was consumed by Mrs. George Clooney and the NRA. This puzzle deserved better.

Burma Shave 8:35 AM  




rondo 9:54 AM  

I for one will not participate in the nonsensical bickering over a clue in *yesterday's* puz. Sheesh. Especially when CC has turned out a really nice Thurs-puz. I did not fill in the golf COURSE as it would normally be seen because I couldn't think of a barnyard sound ending in U, so I knew something was afoot there. As to the clue for AMY Klobuchar, CC lives HERE in MN and is represented by Senator AMY.

Speaking of Senator AMY, I've met her a coupla times and shook hands with her. The last time was at a christening of a new bridge. Nice lady. But back when she was still Hennepin County Attorney, the most popular morning DJ around HERE, therefore also the most lowbrow, USEd to refer to her as "Busty AMY Klobuchar", a moniker that has stuck in many folks' brains to this day because of the constant repetition on the radio. While not totally inaccurate, I did not address her that way. I just called her AMY.

Good USE of the themers and revealer, of COURSE.

spacecraft 11:23 AM  

lol @George: Mr. "E NEUMAN," while surely inferior, probably wouldn't have a complex about it. After all, his motto is "What, me worry?"

One of the few times I got stuck up top and didn't search the clue list for a revealer. Glad I didn't, because the resulting aha! was much bigger. Couldn't make sense of either N corner--yet the center part was all right. What was haggard if not GAUNT--yet there was an A where the U should be. (It goes without saying I filled in 17-across instantly.) Then I noticed the palindromic middle -TANAT-, which meant the sense-making north wouldn't be affected by writing the gridspanner in backwards--and behold! there's my U!

So, inkfest up there, but pretty smooth after that. Some tricky cluing, like "It's not working" and "Nurses" for SIPS, but the watchword is "smooth." A wonderful theme that works all the way around, a great aha! moment, and clean fill: what's not to like? For DOD I'll choose an ALEXA with a real body (!): ALEXA Vega. Eagle!

centralscrewtinizer 12:13 PM  

I was puzzled by everyone referring to ZB as CC so googled. Here is an interesting comment by her.

So I understand the frustrations of those who feel that the late week puzzles are impossible. Personally I like the increased toughness. I enjoy seeing how Rich Norris changes clues to make the puzzle more difficult rather than testing solvers’ knowledge on some abstract long words or obscure animals like the Asian Sika deer that I’ve never heard of.

As to the puzzle, I only know golf as a roundball sport so was happy to write in Atlanta National and stick with it, so the NE remained a quandary and a quicksand trap. DNF

rainforest 12:40 PM  

Back from Mexico, sunburned to a turn.

Nice to return to the NYT puzzle with one by CC. Good puzzle for all the reasons noted above.

leftcoastTAM 3:31 PM  

Early reveal of the revealer made the themers virtually gimmes.

Math-related terms are something of a mini-theme with ANALOG, TRISECT, PREALGEBRA (haven't heard of the PRE- part, though).

AUNATUREL and PICANTE are bonuses.

Nice, smooth, easy-medium Thursday.

Diana, LIW 4:52 PM  

I'm so proud of getting the rebus Wed, the Thurs today, and finishing thru Saturday (I'm a bit ahead, as I'll be again traveling).

At the Woman's Club in Spokane, dedicated benches remind us of "Mrs. Sam Smith" etc. And we realize how outdated that kind of reference is. However, when married to a famous person, or to anyone who is in your frame of reference, it is not meant as a slam or slight. Good grief. Just as we have a "Mr. Hilary Clinton." You remember him...

But...why do they call me #631?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

strayling 7:42 PM  

Sweet puzzle. Not too hard to solve, which gave me time to enjoy the theme while deciding which bit to fill in next. Speed solving is all well and good, but with a nicely crafted puzzle like this it's much more rewarding to kick back and admire the scenery.

rondo 8:55 PM  

@#631 - because you persevered to do something you enjoy, and had a helluva time with other like-minded folks, regardless of the speed factor of the puzzling part of the experience. There would be no #1 without the rest of us.

Diana, LIW 11:04 PM  

@Strayling - as @Rondo notes, I obviously agree with you. #631 out of about 675 at ACPT - that's me! Of course, Puzzle #5 slayed me. Ask anyone who went. It was tough. And I had no clue. As others were comparing notes afterward, I was - "what cars? What circles? What double letters?????"

But slow and steady may not win the race, but it wins all the fun.

Lady Di, AKA 631

น้องส้มส้ม 1:16 AM  

This game was played. I play very often since the children that many children have played. I used to play with my brother and sister, which they played very well, I lost him forever. Gclub

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