Stand-up chain started in Los Angeles / SUN 2-4-18 / Condition for filmdom's Rain Man / Brass instrument with mellow sound / Novo Ogaryovo is official one of Russian president

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Constructor: David Levinson Wilk

Relative difficulty: Very Easy

THEME: "Cracking Wise" — answers all relate to comedy AND the "Y"s in the answers are "cracked" to become "V" and "I" in the crosses:

Theme answers:
  • THAT'S HYSTERICAL (23A: "Stop! You're killing me!") / VINE
  • FUNNY OR DIE (31A: Internet home to "Between Two Ferns") / AVIAS
  • DRY SENSE OF HUMOR (50A: A person skilled at deadpan has one) / ELVIS
  • EVERYBODY'S A COMEDIAN (67A: Unimpressed response to someone's one-liner) / AVIS + OVID
  • THE LAUGH FACTORY (86A: Stand-up chain started in Los Angeles) / E-VITE
  • YO MAMA JOKE (100A: It might involve someone being "so poor" or "so old") / VICTOR
  • I WAS ONLY KIDDING (115A: "Jeez ... lighten up!") / DEVISE 
Word of the Day: DEREK Walcott (78D:___ Walcott, Nobel Prize-winning poet)
Sir Derek Alton WalcottKCSLOBEOCC (23 January 1930 – 17 March 2017) was a Saint Lucian poet and playwright. He received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex from 2010 to 2013. His works include the Homeric epic poem Omeros (1990), which many critics view "as Walcott's major achievement." In addition to winning the Nobel Prize, Walcott received many literary awards over the course of his career, including an Obie Award in 1971 for his play Dream on Monkey Mountain, a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award, a Royal Society of Literature Award, the Queen's Medal for Poetry, the inaugural OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature,[3] the 2011 T. S. Eliot Prize for his book of poetry White Egrets and the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry Lifetime Recognition Award in 2015. (wikipedia)
• • •

I imagine this puzzle will have some fans today, both because the theme has a cleverness about it and because it was super duper easy, so people will feel warmly disposed toward it. I would also have enjoyed the puzzle, I think, if it had a. been smaller (say, a W or a Th) and b. had cleaner fill (there's just too much NEROS ISE RICAN ACARD-type stuff). If the title had been a revealer in a smaller puzzle with clean fill, I would be singing its praises. But the theme wore thin for me—felt like being bludgeoned by the same concept over and over and over—and there wasn't enough about the fill to compensate for the bludgeoning. I like that the "cracking wise" concept related not just to the cracking of the letter "Y" into two letters (in the Downs) but also to the comedy theme throughout. It felt a teeny bit like cheating when non-comedy words, like "factory" or "Yo" or "only," were the ones with the "Y" that was cracked, but you gotta do what you gotta do, especially on a Sunday when you've got a Gigantic grid to fill. I want to acknowledge, and praise, the fact that there are no uncracked "Y"s in the entire grid. That would've bummed me out.

Since the puzzle was so easy, I didn't see the comedy theme at all until very late. Got the "Y" gag at "YNE" (24D: Poison ivy, e.g.) (me: "YNE ... wtf is YNE? That's not a word, f---! Check cross ... check cross, yep ... check cross ... they're all correct. YNE!" I was "Y"-ning. Then I saw the VINE, and it opened up my eyes, I saw the VINE. And so the rest of the puzzle was just a sprint with a few "Y" / "VI" booby traps thrown in. But because I didn't see the comedy theme, I had real trouble imagining what the hell kind of FACTORY it could be. My knowledge of FACTORY chains ends at THE CHEESECAKE. But all I had to do was run the short Downs—LIRE / ADO / USO—and THE LAUGH came into view. PIA was scary because even though all the crosses checked, it felt wrong. But it worked. No bumps, no bruises. Too many plural names (AARONS, RENES, NEROS) and too many A-something partials (ACARD, AHERO), and even though there's only one -STER, that's really one too many. I think Sundays are just hard to do well all the way through. If everything's not perfect, there's just ... more. More answers, more space, more room to screw things up. This one just went on too long and wasn't quite strong enough. A smaller version might've worked fine. Here, I got tired. OK, bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. gah, I *knew* I'd seen the "VI"-for-"Y" gimmick before, but didn't bother to go hunting. Luckily my friend Erin did, and it was the NYT itself that ran the puzzle ... and just two years ago (second time in recent days that the NYT has recycled a puzzle concept less than 2 years old ...). Here's that grid, from the Thursday, Sep. 29, 2016 puzzle (as you can see there's a "DD"-for-"B" thing going on too...):

Puzzle by Jonathan Kaye
Screenshot from

P.S. Hey, SYNDICATED SOLVERS: Peter Gordon's weekly Fireball Newsflash Crossword kickstarter for 2018-19 ends today (Sunday, February 11, 2018), so get in on that and keep your xword skills and current events trivia Up To Date throughout the year.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Poopypants 12:06 AM  

"singing its praises"? I've read this blog for 3-4 years now...I think I can count on one hand the times the review was sufficiently positive for that. lol.

TomAz 12:35 AM  

Rex's writeup is a pretty spot-on description of my solving experience. I worked through it, I finished relatively quickly (for me) for a Sunday.. 26 minutes instead of 33.

BASS TUBA is the answer that is EATing AT me. Mellow? no. If there is a "mellow" brass instrument it is the French horn. Tubas blurt, in my mind. Yes I have googled it and heard some very nice tuba playing. But c'mon man.

(While we're at it can we put a hiatus on EAT AT and its conjugates? thanks.)

I did like the comedy theme. It felt as if the constructor were saying, 'lighten up, don't take this too seriously.' And not just the themers! That was a nice touch.

How many TARAS does it take to change a lightbulb?

puzzlehoarder 1:01 AM  

It's a good thing this was an easy puzzle as that cut down on the time I had to spend with it. Finishing was slightly delayed by a cluster of write overs in the SW starring DRACULA/CHOCULA. After I fixed that one I was able to spot the YO MAMA thing. On my laptop I just used Ys in the rebus squares and got the congrats.

John Hoffman 1:44 AM  

Fun puzzle.
- Yes I made the same mistake with Dracula. Nice trick!
- For “Smoothed in a Shop,” I had lathed.
- I typed lira instead of LIRE.
- I had to google POLONIUS.
- Carrier PIA? Oww.

Sydney Joe from Kokomo 2:38 AM  

Jeez . . . lighten up! This puzzle was awesome for Count CHOCULA alone. I'm sorry that some of you wrote in "Dracula" and I feel bad for you but face it that was a dumb thing to do because it was wrong. Count CHOCULA is so much better than Count Dracula or that stupid Sesame Street puppet. Count von Zeppelin is a pretty bitchin' name. Was Claus von Bulow a count? He's cool, but only if he's Jeremy Irons and he's killing Glenn Close who frankly needed killing if you ask me. I like Count Basie, and Count Fleet was a horse who did something of note that involved running fast with a midget tied to his back. I tried Count CHOCULA once; it was pretty awful, but I love the idea of it. Next week we'll talk about Frankenberry. Ciao!

Loren Muse Smith 3:33 AM  

Wow – I totally missed that the themers were all related to comedy. In my defense, I had CNN on and a show about the ‘70s tv was on. I had no idea how funny Newhart had been because I never watched it because Mom didn’t like Suzanne Pleshette, so I decided I didn’t like her, either. Whenever I told my friends that, I felt smart and discerning. Usually played it dismissive and bored.

And, being distracted, I wrote in that Marie Curie’s “isotopes” were still radioactive. Vaguely wondered how they knew that and what isotopes are and where they live. Did they exhume her body, or are the isotopes still in some fridge somewhere?

And then PIA fell just as Alan Alda in Mash came on the screen and I was swamped with jealousy because I know someone who actually knows Alan Alda but I just got a glimpse once of PIA Zadora in the lobby of a hotel where I worked. And our eyes didn’t even meet.

Cool to have CANTI so close to BASS TUBA. The official Latin word for valve is cantus,, so a TUBA has three to six CANTI, depending on the instrument. I just totally made that up.

@Gill – very, very cool story yesterday.

@Stanley Hudson, @sanfranman59, and @TZ – thanks.

@Monty Boy – oh heck yeah. I forgot to mention leaning back is key for a most excellent can-opener.

Comedy/laughter – so important. There are a plethora of studies that tie laughter to better health. I have a colleague whose 12-yr old daughter has a very serious surgery day after tomorrow, and I gave her a copy of the funniest book I have ever read. Non Campus Mentis - a compilation of quotes taken from essays of college students. Among the gems…

***Pythagasaurus fathered the triangle.
***When they finally got to Italy, the Australian Goths were tired of plungering and needed to rest. Italy was ruled by the Visible Goths, while France and Spain were ruled by the Invisible Goths.
***The Thirty Years War began with the Defecation of Prague. ... Prague was the capitol of Bulemia.
***East of the back of the beyond were the Russians, who knew nothing at all during this period. A factor in this was their use of the Kinetic alphabet. ... Russian nobles wore clothes only to humour Peter the Great. Peter filled his cabinet with accidental people and built a new capital near the European boarder. ... Catherine the Great rose to power only because her husband had been murdered by his clothiers for failure to incubate.
***Rasputin was a pheasant by birth.
***The Civil Rights movement turned the corner with Martin Luther Junior's "If I Had a Hammer" speech.
*** Slaves led existances of long and ornery work. Spartacus led a slave revolt and was later in a movie about this.
*** During the Middle Ages, everyone was middle aged.
***Cat berets were a favorite form of German entertainment.

Never heard PERINATAL. “Around the time” is pretty vague, right? (Merriam Webster says the same thing. Can’t they narrow that down some? Yep - I looked further and found that the PERINATAL phase is “from the twentieth week of gestation to the twenty-eighth day of newborn life.” I’ll wait while you jot this down.) Anyway, I’ve never really sat and had a big think about the prefix PERI. Perimenopause also describes “around The Time.” How to narrow *that* one down… from the time you want to take your husband’s eyelid and stretch it down to his toes because you think he looked at you funny to the time that you need a little Depends since you’re always periwinkle?

jae 3:45 AM  

I kinda liked it but I swear I've seen that "Y" thing before.

‘mericans in Venis 3:49 AM  

Similar solving experience to @Rex’s. Except that we started this puzzle on paper in a restaurant in Padua; finished it on the train back to Venice.

Agree with TomAz regarding TUBAs. And isn’t the adjective BASS redundant? Do alto TUBAs exist? (No doubt I’m showing ignorence here.) All for now. Heading out to the nether reaches of the Lagoon. Ciao!

‘mericans in Venice 3:53 AM  

Oops, I meant Venice.

Anonymous 4:02 AM  

To yesterday's anonymous, 10:18 p.m., I'll respond here, since I don't think you or anyone else is looking at yesterday's posts.

I made reference to Junipero Serra's steps to sainthood, about which I know little. I do know that the Church requires several steps, and John Paul II approved the beatification (making him "blessed") and a later step, by the current pope very recently, made him a saint (which I referred to as "sanctification"). I think you are correct that that term is "canonization"--but *sanctification* does mean making someone a saint, and I had always associated "canonization" with canonizing texts. But I think you are correct, and I am in error.

You ask about my source for my "scandalous" comment (why is it scandalous?--I jokingly remarked about a failure of communication), and I can give you none precisely. At Princeton University, either in the spring of 1987 or 1988, I had a minor position in their History Department. History majors had to write "senior theses," and people like myself (on temporary appointments) were assigned to be second readers for these theses. One was by a woman whose name I do not remember (she was not my student); her thesis was on the canonization process of Junipero Serra, and she told the anecdote. She also told the story of someone among the American canonization militants, who, on a flight back from California after a canonization meeting, had a heart attack in flight, and decided that, since the attack allowed the plane to land prematurely near the Mayo Clinic, decided that this was testimony to Serra's sanctity! If you want to pursue her sources for purposes of publication, I think the History Dept. at Princeton could give you access to her senior thesis.

As for the source of my second anecdote, perhaps disrespectful to President Carter, I was in Rome in 1979-80, at the American Academy (on the Janiculum hill), and the story circulated widely that the American embassy in Rome had received multiple telexes about the route of Carter's "motorcade" in Venice. I guess you could imagine that a "motorcade" could go by boat, but all, at the Embassy and elsewhere, assumed that those in the US had no idea that the presidential limo could not go from the Venetian airport to his hotel!

Anon. i.e. Poggius

smoss11 4:11 AM  

Loved "labnotes" and learned a little trivia. My first thought when I read the clue was "remains" but i was glad that didnt fit as it seemed to morbid to be right.

Thomaso808 5:42 AM  

Please don’t do this ever again.

Unknown 6:20 AM  

Rocky was released in November 1976, but it was the Oscar winner in 1977.

Anonymous 6:29 AM  

Totally moronic - Rocky won Best Pic in 1977 NOT in 1976!!!!! - Change the editor!!!

mmorgan 7:01 AM  

(Would change my name to 'Mericans in Buenos Aires if I knew how...)

Thought it was just kinda okay until I got the "wise" conceit which was very helpful and pleasant. Nice!!! Before that I was thinking the theme answers were basic comedy lines and sorta kinda seeing rebuses that made no sense.

Rex liked it much more than I expected.

JJ 7:12 AM  

Yo Ma Ma--does he play the Cello?

chefbea 7:34 AM  

Got the Y=VI thing right away...but didn't realize the comedy reference!!

Will be busy all day getting ready for super bowl party...Don't care which team's all about the food!!!

Hope everyone had fun in Westport!! Guess we will hear all about it from our Connecticut Rexites!!

BarbieBarbie 7:38 AM  

@jj, see @lms avatar for today. So, yes.
The ‘77 Oscars were awarded to ‘76 movies. ‘Nuff said.
I found this puzzle very funny and pretty easy. No repetitiveness from my point of view because I don’t go back 700 puzzles- only been solving for the past 400 or so.
Go Eagles! Safely.

BarbieBarbie 7:41 AM  

Oops, I probably should have said “the ‘76 Oscars were awarded in ‘77, for ‘76 movies.”

Two Ponies 7:57 AM  

The puzzle was such a snooze-fest that I struggled to find the energy to complete it. All in the hope that there was something I would eventually find that justified the effort but sadly, no.

Then I came here and the comments so far have saved the day!

I'm a little depressed that the students in LMS's book quotes were serious when they submitted those answers.

Sydney Joe is on his game today and I'm still smiling about the horse race. It reminded me of the rodeo comic relief where the monkey rides a dog around the arena.

Lots of mini themes in this huge grid but I'm sure others will point them out better than I could.

I love that scene with Polonius but I always see that character being played by Alan Hale (the Skipper from Gilligan's Island) and it just makes it funny.

TomAz 8:06 AM  

@LMS: clarification: Suzanne Pleshette was actually in The Bob Newhart Show and not Newhart. The former (70s) was the one where he was a psychologist in Chicago and the latter (80s) was the one where he ran a quaint hotel in Vermont in the 80s.

And yes, it was very, very funny.

QuasiMojo 8:12 AM  


I was expecting the "wise cracking" to be actually funny. OtherWISE why not VIVISECTING, or another letter with equally bland results, or perhaps ZUGSPITZEing? Sorry, I can't ALP it.

I want my 23 minutes back.

Yebsom 8:25 AM  

I’ll never be confused as a speed solver so I liked my “lightning speed” on this one. Once I figured out the theme I was able to relate it to the comedy theme, so I’ll pat myself on the back for that. Had I known how to spell Polonius I wouldn’t have had to google at all. (I used an e for the first o) I still don’t know what a “tori” is, or what it has to do with doughnut figures. Anybody?

David 8:35 AM  

No, it's Yo Yo Ma who plays cello, Yo Mama plays Bass Tuba.

And any brass instrument can sound mellow. Horrible clue in a lazy puzzle.

Yebsom 8:37 AM  

Never mind... googled that too

George 8:38 AM  

Yea, Count CHOCULA was awesome. As I was writing in "Dracula", I thought CHOCULA is a much better answer, although I never ate Count CHOCULA cereal when I was that age where I told YOMAMAJOKES. (I guess it is still acceptable to use HYSTERICAL for funny? Not so much anymore to mean emotionally unhinged, sort of sexist like SOBSISTERS.)

Z 8:44 AM  

Maybe Rex could just take this from his FAQ page and append it to any post where an awards show is in a clue:
16a. The clue says Marisa Tomei won the 1992 Oscar, when she clearly won it in 1993. I remember because I hosted an Oscar party that year. Why would the NYT make such a stupid error?

You are the one who has made the error. Oscars are handed out for achievements that took place in the preceding year. Thus, 1992 Oscars are handed out in 1993, but they are still 1992 Oscars. If your complaint is about a different awards show, chances are the same system applies.“

@TomAZ - I was catching up on some puzzles yesterday and I swear every one seemed to have a “to eat at” conjugate. So, Agreed, a thousand times Agreed.

Personally, I saw the comedic themers first and didn’t grok the cracked Y’s until near the end, taking my assessment from a strong “meh” to a hearty “meh plus*.” Seeing Rex’s update I think we all should pitch in and get Shortz some Post-Its with “Too Similar to Recent Puzzle” pre-printed on them.

*It takes an exceptional Sunday to move me above this assessment these days for many of the reasons Rex mentioned today, too much fill so even good fill is inevitably swamped by ese, and often there are too many themers so some end up being less than good. Today’s themers are all green painty to me, just some assorted trivia around comedy all of which have to have a Y somewhere. They failed to amuse me.

ghthree 8:49 AM  

@UNKNOWN "TORI" is the plural of torus. A doughnut shape.

Glimmerglass 8:50 AM  

Stupid me, I didn’t catch on to the “Y down is divided to be V over I” gimmick until yCTOR, or the very end. I went back and found I had seven other wtf down answers. So the puzzle didn’t play “very easy” for me, except in retrospect. In fact, stopping for breakfast, I remarked to my wife that I at first thought the puzzle was ridiculously easy (the NW corner went in in just seconds), but I had hit some snags and was sweating. I didn’t get the “cracking wise” title until AFTER I had gone back and found the eight Ys. So while most of the puzzle was easier than I’d like, my stupidity gave me a pretty normal Sunday workout.

Maruchka 9:05 AM  

This has been addressed many times. Oscars, e.g., are awarded during the year that follows the film's release. 1976 release, 1976 competition, 1977 awarded for 1976.

Suzanne Pleshette's greatest admirere 9:07 AM  

Anonypuss here.

Suzanne Pleshette was fabulous in the Bob Newhart Show. Too bad @LMS's mom steered her daughter wrong.

Today's puzzle went quickly (13:51 compared to my average of 22:06) but I was held up by wondering how to fill the y/iv squares so I left them all blank until the end. As I filled all of them in with "y," I had my fingers crossed that I wouldn't have to find them all again and try "iv." And if that didn't work, then I'd have to find my error. But I never had to execute my contingency plans.

I'm blathering.

CashPo’ 9:09 AM  

A bass tuba is mellow? Not when my ear drums blow out.

kitshef 9:12 AM  

Fairly early, noticed that a lot of words with Vs in them were shorter than they should be, so I thought the theme would involve erasing Vs and put in things like AIS and INE. But couldn’t figure out why some V-words were normal.

Took me a long, long time to figure out the actual theme. EVERY crossing AVIS finally got me there. Had more fun with this than a typical Sunday.

Birchbark 9:19 AM  

@TwoPonies, the Skipper is a fine POLONIUS. But to this day I draw inspiration from Gilligan's Hamlet, singing "I ask to be, or not to be" to the tune of the "Habanera" aria from Carmen.

@Barbie Barbie, a codicil to "never say never" is "never say 'nuff said." It almost always means we're about to add something.

But to your and others' point about the Oscars time lag: we sometimes see irruptions in the space-time continuum like this. I will soon do my 2017 taxes. And if I look westward far enough, it is earlier than it is here. Consider that STALLONE on its own is innocuous. But STALLONE under radioactive LAB NOTES? It's not a DREAM, it's a hammer: there obviously is more to today's Y = VI equation than its humorous veneer would suggest. EGAD, ADIOS.

Teedmn 9:23 AM  

This puzzle is a classic Sunday - commonly heard phrases with a trick in the mix and some interesting fill. The clueing wasn't particularly clever but I had fun with this. ELYS gave me the first hint that something wasn't quite right but it took me a couple more turns of the random solving factor for me to get the aha of the "Wise" in the puzzle title. I didn't get the comedy tie-in until I read Jeff Chen as Xwordinfo. That might have helped me get 86A a bit faster. When I read the clue, I interpreted "Standup" as a fast-food chain that kept everyone standing (hey, it would burn some of those junk calories off, right?)

I had fun grokking that FUNNY ORDIE was FUNNY OR DIE. And that 41A ANS was a Yes or No. And I wish I WAS ONLY KIDDING but I changed my 116D from WAT to WoT because the N of SNL had me thinking someone had kept Marie Curie's toeNailS. I left that in for a long, long time and only JAILS woke me out of that error.

I thought I was making up a word when I tried ARGOSIES at 91D. VACAnt at 95D rather than the verb form kept RENES out of the grid for a while. I can't decide if the AARONS, TARAS, RENES mini-theme is FUNNY HAHA or SAD.

Nice job, DLW.

Nancy 9:24 AM  

Who the hell is CHACULA? I was about to say. But I ran my eyes quickly down the comments and see that I must rephrase my question. So now I'm asking: Who the hell is CHOCULA? And while I'm at it: Who the hell is MARAN who should have been MORAN?

FABU? Ugh. Can we please stop with these ugly, lazy abbrevs.

The gimmick was, as Rex says, very easy. I spotted it at ELVIS, confirmed it at VINE, and was off to the races. Except for SLAM INTO instead of SCREAM AT at 94A. This caused me all sorts of trouble since, I'm embarrassed to admit, I didn't know ARGOSIES (90D). I wanted Armadas.

I have mixed feelings about this one. The Y=VI rebus was not very challenging as rebuses go, I thought. But I did like the fact that the long answers were all humor-related and the theme was very dense. And I was pleased with filling in YOMAMA JOKE based on just ----MAJOKE. For someone in my demographic, knowing that phrase is something of an accomplishment. Now, if I could just learn my Harry Potter (15A) and my Game of Thrones (15D) -- they cross, for heaven's sake! -- I'd be in like Flynn.

kitshef 9:24 AM  

@Suzanne Pleshette gang. She was also, very famously, in Newhart, in an episode that often makes lists of best TV 'final episodes' ever.

Nick Foles 9:28 AM  

Liked it despite the worst answer in memory Peter “Neros” greatest hits. Agree it was too easy. Along with most casual solvers, I’m not at all bothered about a similar theme a few years ago. If you are I suggest you get a life. Oh Jeez,..lighten up. I was onl(vi) kidding

Stephen Minehart 9:37 AM  

There must be many clever ways to clue STALLONE. I have a sneaking suspicion that Will Shortz enjoys rage-baiting the short-tempered solvers with those Academy Award clues.

Maruchka 9:38 AM  

Didn't get, albeit questioned, it. 'Cracked' is a thing? Live and loin..

'Yertle the Turtle' is my favorite Dr. SEUSS. Sad he's been tarred with the out of context brush. We do know he was harassed by HUAC, right? His was a voice for tolerance, justice and fun with words. Wonderful illustrator, too.

Oh dear. Seem to be on a scolding roll. 'Nuff said. Happy February, all.

Nancy 9:49 AM  

@Loren (3:33) -- Your citations from "Non Campus Mentis" -- that's the hardest I've ever laughed reading this blog. I laughed until my ribs hurt and I started to cough. Yes, I agree with @Two Ponies that the ignorance of these college students is really, really, really depressing, but that didn't keep me from breaking up uncontrollably. The mistakes are so bad they're absolutely priceless. I'm going to see if I can get a copy of the book from the library.

But Loren, you're not doing your colleague's daughter any favor by giving her this book right after "a serious surgery". She's going to laugh so hard that all of her stitches will pop right open.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

I'm having a hard time understanding how people could not know that this was a puzzle about humor when the title told you it was ("Cracking Wise"). It started out so easy, with the first find of "That's Hysterical," that I suspected something was up and was delighted to find the extra challenge of the "vi"
Alas, finished too soon and have no excuse for delaying household chores ... ;-D

-- CS

Glimmerglass 9:54 AM  

@LMS Re your quoted student howler, “Rasputin was a pheasant by birth,” I had a similar one. Back when schools had lots of Iranian students (when Iran was ruled bu the Shah), a young man wrote for me that his father, a distant cousin of Pahlavi, “loved to hunt peasants.” I corrected his spelling, but I wondered if what he wrote might have been true.

Unknown 10:00 AM  

Needed this easy one as I am very busy making kamikaze pitchers and chili smackums for the big game

newspaperguy 10:26 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith I'd like to be in the same bar as you just once so I could tell the server I'll have whatever your having. ;)

GILL I. 10:35 AM  

Oh good graVIY. COULD NOT figure out that VI/Y connection till I was done and staring and staring. Got the "connection" at EVITE and ELVIS but for the life of me I couldn't figure out why the VI. Enormous head-slap when it just looked me in the eye and lit the light bulb.
I now enjoy it even more. I'm adding FABU to ADORBS.@Loren my favorite "Church" one from the kids atBible Study: Our Father, who does art in heaven, Harold is his name. Amen.
Speaking of...I can't think of one Hymn that starts with O GOD. Psalms yes, but hymns? I'm sure there is one out there waiting to be sung.
Hardest theme to crack was getting FUNNY OR DIE. Never heard of it. 31A ...Is it Internet home to "Between Two F E R N S or is it F E M S? Can't decipher. Never mind.
@John Hoffman. PIA stands for Pakistan International Airlines. The three letter airport codes are the ones that can be killers especially if they don't follow a pattern. Any guess as to where OGG is?
Oh...just curious at 98D. I understand a FALLEN angel but I don't get a FALLEN domino?
Now that I get the humor, I liked the puzzle. Speaking of humor....are you rooting for the Eagles @Mohair?
We're not watching. I'm so down on football. If Manchester were playing some soccer, I'd watch that...
Have fun.

Georgia 10:36 AM  

"Newhart" had the absolutely best last episode in history. He woke up in bed with Susanne Pleshette (from The Bob Newhart Show, by then off the air for 12 years) and says "Honey ... you won't believe the dream I just had."

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

ARRRGGGHHH!!! Why do people persist in saying hysterical when they mean hilarious???? Makes me nuts!

G. Weissman 11:04 AM  

Ever crack a Y into a V and am I? Of course you have — I mean, who hasn’t? We’ve all cracked a letter into two other letters — that’s what cracking means, after all. If it wasn’t, this puzzle would be too misguided for words.

TubaDon 11:14 AM  

As a "mellow brass" player (and yes, it can be! Even the Harvard Dictionary of Music says so), I liked this puzzle for CHOCULA and LABNOTES as well. But I wasted 5 minutes trying to convince myself that FABU and FUNNYORDIE were legitimate answers.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Who is Flynn?

Nancy 11:17 AM  

@GILL (10:35) -- Here's one.

Once again, it's not in blue. YouTube: "O God Our Help in Ages Past"

Hypocrisy Hater 11:32 AM  


Really Loren? You know, those egregious essay excerpts might have been funny if they had come from grade school students. It's a sad commentary on the state of education in America, when students that ignorant can gain access to college. As a teacher, I would think that you would not want to draw attention to that fact?

I guess maybe you thought it was funny because you assumed that all those excerpts were take from students who came from West Virginia? Or maybe Kentucky, or Tennessee? What was it you posted Friday? Oh, I remember:

“Word for people who believe, well, that someone’s got their back and cares about them” = sheeple."

"I work deep in the heart of sheeple country. They don’t use this word. But it’s a word for them."

You may have your students fully indoctrinated, depending on what grade you teach, but do they know you hold their voting age parents in such low regard? We know from your own admittance that you secretly delight in feeling superior. You must feel like a veritable intellectual powerhouse teaching in The Mountain State, right? So Sad!

Here's a thought Loren. If you moved just slightly farther north to someplace like Fairfax County Virginia, you'd be surrounded by like-minded sheeple from your own cote. EWE might like it better where EWE only have to listen to the bleating of your own flock, no?

All right, lets hear it from the Loren Adoration Congregation. All you chivalrous Sams who must defend our darling Muse. Keep me amused until the game starts. Otherwise I'll have to watch golf!

Birchbark 11:34 AM  

@Anon (10:37), there exists a dimension in which HYSTERICAL correctly means hilarious. Not ours, of course, but close enough to underscore my earlier-stated view that this puzzle is temporal wormhole. It is for the wise to crack Y = VI.

The fact that the same equation appeared in another puzzle a couple of years ago is also cause for celebration. Completely proves the point. This is a PERINATAL ERA if I have ever seen one.

RooMonster 11:42 AM  

Hey All !
I'm with @Glimmerglass. My thoughts and experience. Saves me from a long-winded write-up!

Did figure out the Y-VI thing, but the "Cracking" part never registered in the ole brain. Ha, I got it now. Did like that all the Y's becoming VI's were Down, so the sight trick played. And no other Y's in grid.

Count CHOCULA was awesome cereal! It's still made. Also liked BooBerry. But my all time favorite as a kid was Kaboom! Pure sugar! It was like Lucky Charms, only the marshmallow-cereal bits ratio was flipped. Almost all marshmallows!

So a FABU puz!


Malsdemare 11:44 AM  

I am really dense. I completed the puzzle, having gotten the "substitute VI for Y" trick really early. But stare as I might at "cracking wise," I just didn't get the Ys part until I read Rex. Jeez! How can one woman be so smart and so dumb at the same time?

FABU was the last to fall. I had to run the alphabet for that one, not knowing FUNNY OR DIE and being completely blind to the truncation of terrif suggesting FABUlous. I popped in DRACULA, then saw OHARE, and wasn't sure which one was wrong until I got the YOMAMAJOKE, which is FABU. I wanted ARmadas but it wouldn't fit. Anyone else remember the magazine "Argosy"? Anyone know what it was about? Ships? Nope. Wikipedia says it started out as a children's magazine, and when the publisher found out there was no money in that, became the pioneering pulp magazine. Folded in 1978.

@LMS I have "Non Campus Mentis," had forgotten some of those zingers. This year one of my kids gave me "F in Exams" for Christmas and my 12year old grandson read it and howled! Sad to think a grade schooler knows more than some college students, but then he is smart. My favorite from years of teaching is the student who wrote that he wanted to win the "Pullet Surprise." Of course, here in Illinois farmland, maybe he meant eggsactly that.

If my husband were up here instead of painting the hull of a model of a 1934 J-boat, I'd read him Loren's description of perimenopause. Periwinkle, indeedy.

Not sure who will be interested, but here goes. The tripod puppy, Auggie, that stole our hearts had to be euthanized last November; his genetic flaw extended to misshapen vertebrae that caused unbearable pain as he grew. We have finally healed enough to bring home a lovely 18 month old mal, who, of course, needs a name. His dad is Sundance, mom is Sugar. I'd call him Butch, but I have a nephew-in-law that I deeply dislike with the same name so the name is tainted; funny how that works. Thinking of Chaco, for one of my favorite places on earth. Stay tuned.

Harold Hecuba 11:44 AM  

@two ponies: (to the tune of the Toreador Song)
Neither a borrower nor a lender be
Do not forget stay out of debt

Teddi and Teddy 12:08 PM  

We will buy all the rounds with LMS and newspaperguy! Rasputin as pheasant, still in HYSTERICS. We must be unlink most today since the comedy theme came easily but YI/V took a while. Pah and meh. Going to our fave Japanese restaurant tonight since it will not be crowded due to Superb Owl. Cheers all

Teddi and Teddy 12:11 PM  


Two Ponies 12:18 PM  

@ Harold Hecuba 11:44, You beat me to it! I just returned after searching and found that very scene on YouTube. Phil Silvers is the reason for the production. It must have really stuck with me and today it crept out of the cobwebs.
I'm having such fun remembering those funny moments along with the Bob Newhart memories. Waking up to tell Susanne Pleshette about his dream was a great moment in TV.

Aphid Larue 12:26 PM  

I've never seen baste used this way. Dnfed on pass tuba

Hartley70 12:31 PM  

@Sydney Joe from Kokomo, I like your style.

Hartley70 12:34 PM  

@Loren, you're killing me with that last sentence!

Masked and Anonymous 12:39 PM  

This SunPuz theme didn't do a whole lot for m&e, but, hey -- Y not?

Maybe if them Y/VI Down words were all solid-as-snot words, no matter which way you parsed the Y/VI? Kinda like AYS does it. And ELYS sorta tries to do it. And OYD don't quite do it.
Always pleasin to see the lil darlin, low-respect weejects get their moment in the theme's sun, tho.

VAR! Luv it! Now, THATSH VISTERICAL! Gotta give up the var har, there: staff weeject pick for VAR.

Thanx, Mr. Wilk. [Which is Will, with a side-wise V tacked onto the last l. Wow. Nunes should maybe write a memo about this …]

Masked & Anonymo13Us


Anonymous 12:41 PM  

Since "cultural wars" have been evoked here, by the ever-wise Nancy and others, I'll chip in. Some academics, on the left and the right, distribute quizzes at the beginning of their course. I never liked these,and I thought that they were designed to allow academics to yuk-yuk after class. They would also allow academics to convince themselves that they had dispensed learning, since before the course the students had no idea about the age of Charlemagne. I honestly think that if I had been required to take one of these humiliating "cultural" quizzes, I would have responded that Joan of Arc was the the wife, or sister, of Noah, even as I knew the question was a "trap."

Our level of learning is woefully low. I'd be very happy to join liberals in yuk-yuking over Fox News, where almost everyone is stupid, were not the alternative MSNBC, where everyone is stupid also. About 1986, I had a temporary position teaching history at Hunter College in NYC. One of my students was part of a family that fled the Soviet Union and naturally hated it. He hated it too. But he told me once in my office: you know, we had a more higher level of education.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

12:41, last line. more higher = higher --oops!

Hartley70 12:55 PM  

@Malsdemare, congratulations on your newest addition to the family. Whatever name you choose will be infused with joy.

Anoa Bob 12:57 PM  

My enthusiasm for this one was dampened somewhat by the five POCs it took to fill that small NW corner alone, with TATS, ERAS, POTS, RNS, and AARONS(!). Then along came FABU. Oof.

I found it interesting that not long after HYSTERICAL appears, UTERUS shows up. The former comes from the ancient Greek hysterikós, which means, yep, UTERUS/womb. In days of yore, say in 19th century Freudian psychoanalysis, hysteria was the name given to a woman's mental/emotional disorder that was attributed to her "wandering womb" (I'm not KIDDING) and the treatment of choice was for the patient to get married and pregnant.

old timer 1:26 PM  

It was an easy puzzle, just what I like on a Sunday, and pretty well done I thought. But i came here repeat toe advice to,@LMS:s Do not give this to someone just out of surgery. Those student essays were hilarious.

O God our Help in Ages Past, by Watts, was my favorite hymn in school. Churchill's too it seems because it was sung a his funeral.

San Antonian 1:43 PM  

BIGD is an acceped nickname for Dallas, but “San Antone” is like fingernails on a chalkboard for we San Antonio natives. It was distasteful typing it just now.

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

When I had a job as a nursing home aide, I told people, “I work in the perineal area.”

GILL I. 2:06 PM  

@Nancy @old timer. Of course! I just re heard again by the Mormon Tabernacle. Do't know why I forgot that one - our daughter in- law's favorite!

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

@Loren As the puzzle says, EVERYONE'S A COMEDIAN.

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

@Ruth you are a idiot. EVERY FUCKING TIME some ass makes this comment. Every. Fucking. Time.

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

@Anon 6:29: @Ruth you are a idiot. EVERY FUCKING TIME some ass makes this comment. Every. Fucking. Time.

Carola 2:16 PM  

I really liked this good-humored puzzle. Nifty title, hitting both the JOKE-y theme and the breaking up of the Y's. And so nicely done, coming up with all of those Y-containing phrases. I agree it was very easy, but I enjoyed anticipating the next thematic one-liner.

Loved DRACO x DRAGON, one of the few constellations I can reliably identify.

Re: college essay bloopers - One of my favorites is from an essay my daughter was grading, in which a student wrote that a certain assertion should be taken with "a grain assault."

Bob Mills 2:18 PM  

When you separate the letter "Y" you really don't get a "V" and an "I" in sequence, which is how the letter are presented in the alternate words. You get a "V" above an "I." I finished the puzzle, but didn't like it much. Sorry to disagree with the mainstream.

Anthony 2:26 PM  

Similar theme on 3.14.15 a Sunday nytimes: double t (tt) substituted for (pi) because someone thought the two ts looked like the pi sign. Today’s wan’t that bad. Even though I’m not a football fan, a Super Bowl theme or even a few clues would have been nice.

Robert A. Simon 2:38 PM  

Hypocrisy Hater:
To have the temerity (Go ahead. Look it up. I'll wait) to attack this blog's wittiest and most beloved contributor is beyond galling. @LMS needs no defense from me or anyone else who appreciates how much of her time she gives us all.
So instead, let's talk about you.
Let me guess:
1. You think you can write. Let me be clear: you can't. Reading you is watching moths flutter out of a cocoon brain.
2. When you got your 23 ACT score, you thought you killed it.
3. Your Zip Code is E-I-E-I-O.
4. You still don't understand why you couldn't go on a University of Phoenix campus tour.
5. "So Sad!" Really?
6. You can't do a NYT puzzle when it's cloudy because you time yourself with a sun dial.
7. The last things you ordered on Amazon were tapes of "Hee-Haw."
8. You really do believe the world is secretly being run by 12 Jews in Switzerland.
9. You think "clean coal"actually exists.
10. And please. Don't respond. We already think you're an ungrateful idiot. No need to prove it again.

thefogman 2:38 PM  

Word to the Ys. This was a good puzzle. Stop Y-ning or you'll be getting a Ysit from my cousin with the Yolin case.

Kimberly 2:40 PM  

Yes, it wasn’t an original theme, but it had its own twist. If we demand constant originality in themes, constructors are going to have to start reaching and they’ll get ridiculous pretty fast. The pun of “cracking wise” was pretty good, and the duality of comedy phrases and the broken Ys was clever. I can never bash clever.

It’s interesting that Rex always thinks people prefer easier puzzles, or that easier puzzles make people feel good about themselves. It’s an uncomfortable projection and kind of sheds light on why Rex gets pissier with the harder/trickier puzzles. Makes me want to hug something.

kitshef 2:47 PM  

@Ruth Grant - please ignore the rude Anonymous posters, who apparently think that everyone has read this blog every day since it was created, and that because they know something, you should too.

jberg 2:59 PM  

Like @Z, I was seeing the theme answers as being something about comedy, and disappointed that there was no trick -- like that they all started with WI and ended with SE. It wasn't until the third one that I realized the VI thing, and then liked it a lot better. (Ane @Bob Mills, since the V over I reading are all in the downs, they ARE in sequence -- reading down, you come to the V first, then the I.)

@Nancy, you've probably figured it out from the crosses by now, but Count CHOCULA is one of those super-sugary breakfast cereals that are driving the obesity epidemic.

Like @aphid larue I dnfed with pASS TUBA. I started with post horn, got TUBA and the A in AUTISM from crosses, but never questioned pASTE, even though the answer made little ense. I just figured it was one of those obscure ingroup names, like 'tracker organ.' I don't know what that is either, but my wife is always talking about them (her brother is an organist).

The theme was OK, but the whole thing went on too long.

Unknown 3:08 PM  

That last sentence made me laugh out loud in my living room. I hope my wife didn’t hear and starts asking questions....

Phil 3:38 PM  

Login needs, userid and password
Sloppy editing to simply add an s to weak clue instead of reclueing it.

Hypocrisy Hater 3:58 PM  

Robert A. Simon triggered! Bingo!

Temerity? You gotta be kidding me? I was using that word when you were still swimming around in your daddy's scrotum. If you want to play sesquipedalian games with me cupcake, you better start with at least 5 syllables.

GILL I. 4:08 PM  

@Hypoccrisy Hater....God, I love the way you write. You're obviously smart and somewhere in that belly of yours, you have a good sense of humor waiting to explode.
Give yourself a little avatar and join our "clique." Use that talent of yours to be nice. We need nice.

Paperback Writer 4:17 PM  

Huh, puzzle didn't play as super easy for me. It wasn't hard either, but my time (almost exactly one hour) was substantially slower than usual -- more typical of a Sunday from a year ago, when I was way less good at the puzzle. (Although back then I was also still cheating with liberal use of the 'check square' function on Weds-and-later puzzles, which I'm sure was saving me scads of time.)

Anyway, hard for me to dislike a puzzle with a SW corner that serves up both CHOCULA and YO MAMMA JOKE. Plural names felt intentional, too -- I especially liked the TARAS and the RENES in that sweet, sweet SW corner. And nothing about the title or theme was unclear -- I understood it all without having Rex explain it to me, and that's a bonus. So overall I rate this as Good Puzzle*

*My complex rating scheme ranges from Not Good Puzzle to Good Puzzle

sanfranman59 4:25 PM  

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

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

Mon 4:50 4:13 1.15 80.9% Challenging
Tue 5:40 5:44 0.99 44.0% Medium
Wed 6:43 5:54 1.14 74.5% Medium-Challenging
Thu 7:36 10:11 0.75 15.7% Easy
Fri 9:48 11:36 0.84 31.4% Easy-Medium
Sat 12:15 18:30 0.66 11.3% Easy
Sun 13:36 21:46 0.63 2.1% Very Easy

The 6th fastest of 407 NYT Sundays I've tracked. I encountered virtually no resistance in this one. My only erasures were draCULA, a couple of typos and the Y/VI squares.

I'm no authority on grids, but there felt like an excess of 3/4/5-letter words and not much challenge at all in cluing them. But I have no real complaint as there's nothing wrong with gearing down a Sunday to appeal to a broad range of solving abilities.

I looked back at my times on this constructor's two previous Sundays (in 2011). I was over 30 minutes on both, but my mean Sunday time that year was nearly 29 minutes. The data I've recorded make it quite clear that I've become a much faster solver over the years but even taking that into account, my data put this one near the top of the list of easiest Sundays in the past 9 years.

Unknown 4:34 PM  

Let's just chill on the F-bombs. It's a pastime not a legal proceeding. Let people be wrong occasionally - it's good for the soul. Besides, the one you let be wrong might turn out to be you.

Unknown 4:35 PM  

Agree with easy fill and easy theme but.....WTF “TORI” - that one got us

Unknown 4:42 PM  

Does 'hysterical' have to relate to the uterus in your book?

Joe Dipinto 4:45 PM  

@Bob Mills 2:18 -- I don't understand your complaint. You have a Y in the Across answers, and in the Down answers you have a V over an I because, well, that's how Down answers read : V over I over C over T over O over R = VICTOR. Where is the problem?

Basically I liked this puzzle. Got the gimmick pretty early on, so it definitely was on the easy end of the spectrum. I suppose we should be grateful that 14d wasn't clued in terms of a certain film director, thereby forestalling any apoplectic commentary.

My favorite answer is in the lyrics of a song bestly sung by Diana Krall:

Send out for scotch, call me a cab
Cut me a ROSE, make my tea with the PETALs
Just hang around, pick up the tab
Never out-think me, just mink me
Polar bear rug me, don't bug me
New thunderbird me, you heard me
I'm getting hungry...
Peel me a grape

Shecky Greene 4:46 PM  

@paperback writer: Timing is everything

QuasiMojo 4:51 PM  

I loved Suzanne Pleshette in The Birds.

Stanley Hudson 5:02 PM  

@Robert Simon, thank you.

I’ll never understand why, if someone doesn’t care for a particular person’s posts, they don’t simply skip over them.

Uncle Alvarez 5:18 PM  

Get a life asshole.

sanfranman59 5:24 PM  

@LMS ... "from the time you want to take your husband’s eyelid and stretch it down to his toes because you think he looked at you funny to the time that you need a little Depends since you’re always periwinkle?" ... you really need to appear on a comedy stage near me sometime. And if you haven't already, The Bob Newhart Show would be well worth your time to binge through at some point.

@'merican in Venice ... as I think nearly all categories of musical instruments, tubas come in a variety of pitch ranges ... Contrabass, bass and tenor are the three I knew of, but your query sparked a consultation with my Uncle Google and I learned that there are such things as subcontrabasses and altos. I heartily disagree with those who claim that tubas can't have a mellow sound.

@Teedmn ... lol re Marie Curie's toenails!

@Nancy ... since no one else has responded to you re Erin MORAN, "Joanie Loves Chachi" was (regretably, imho) a "Happy Days" spin-off. Erin made me swoon a bit as a teen.

Oldfatbasterd 6:09 PM  

Every damn fucking day I thank God for my vodka, benzos, and weed.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 6:11 PM  

Back in the day I sure would’ve enjoyed banging Suzanne Pleshette.

Hypocrisy Hater 6:24 PM  

@Gill I. 4:08PM

Thank you for the compliment. Nice is good. I can be very nice, but someone has to make sure the playing field remains level. As the old saying goes, "It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it."

I'm over at the WSJ with Evil Doug now. I was a digital crossword puzzle subscriber at the NYT for almost twenty years. I had always disagreed with their reportage and editorial content, but after the election I just couldn't rationalize giving the Times the thirty-five dollars a year anymore. I felt that it was tantamount to sending a check directly to the DNC.

As for my opening comment today, no apologies. The snide aspersion about the good people of West Virginia has been fermenting in my gut since Friday. My duodenal sphincter wasn't about to let it pass for digestion, so my only recourse was to regurgitate it for further mastication.

It's funny how the huge majority of posters on this blog decry politics entering into the cruciverbal arena. Yet some of the most vocal among them are often the same ones who try and take surreptitious or subliminal shots at those they perceive to be their intellectual and moral inferiors. There was nothing subliminal about inferring that 66% of West Virginians were too nescient to think for themselves. Projection perhaps? If you hate the president and anyone who voted for him, have the fucking balls/ovaries to come right out and say it! You'll gain more respect from those who may have different viewpoints. Don't try and be cutesy with disparaging avatars and innuendo. Worse yet, don't insult our intelligence by trying to hide behind a self-deprecating "I'm so nice I wouldn't say shit if I had a mouthful" Pollyanna facade.

Thems the facts! I rarely fire first, but I will counter-punch.

Enjoy the game!

Joe Dipinto 6:56 PM  

Apropos of the last episode of Newhart (which was a rip on the Dallas "dream season", The Onion featured this article on 5/5/1999:


CHICAGO - The 15-billion-year-old universe came to a surprise-twist end Tuesday, when God woke up next to actress Suzanne Pleshette. "What a crazy dream I just had," God said to Pleshette at the conclusion of the popular, long-running universe. "I was the Creator of all things, I had this crazy Son who was always getting arrested and wouldn't get a haircut, and My children were always hurting and killing each other in My name." Pleshette reassured God that He had imagined the whole thing and urged the beleaguered, well-intentioned deity to go back to sleep.

Anonymous 6:56 PM  

Hypocrisy Hater, did you confuse "infer" and "imply"?

GILL I. 7:04 PM  

@Hipocrisy Hater... have a valid point. Most rational people have one. My Father with his republican soul inoculated me with the deontology virus....I can't help but want civility - even on a blog.
Yes, I decry politics entering "this" cruciverbal arena. I can't stop it; @Rex doesn't care, so it's with us.
It's hard to ignore especially when bile flies out of nowhere and inevitably lands on some remark that is perhaps taken out of context . Do you personally know the person to whom your tormenting regurgitating gut is ready to aim for? I bet not. Please don't let me imagine your duodenal sphincter exploding. Well...I already have and it's making me laugh.
Nothing wrong with a nice little avatar and some anecdotes and stories enjoyed by most appearing on the blog. It's the reason I come here. I bet it's the reason most people come here
PS. I don't read the NYT. I subscribe to the crossword only and download it. You're getting ripped off. I only pay $39.00. ;-)

M 7:12 PM  

I spent about five minutes trying to make it come out "legbones"!

Loren Muse Smith 7:43 PM  

Hey, @Hypocrisy guy. Let me get this straight. This is rich. I have a real name. I’ve put my real picture for my avatar. Click on my name and you’ll see an email. My email. My name. Me.

I have zero interest in earning your respect or the respect of any other troll. But I’m willing to take this out back, as it were, man to man or woman to woman if you have the fucking balls/ovaries to come out from behind your anonymity and email me.

But this is the only time I’ll engage you here on this blog. Level playing field??? You’ve got to be kidding me.

Unknown 7:43 PM  

2-4-18 puzzle clue 124 across....wasn't Rocky Best Picture for 1977, not 1976.

Anonymous 8:20 PM  

Ugh, @Gail Waters 7:43
See above comments about your wrongness.
Please no one else ask this ridiculous question.

Hypocrisy Hater 8:22 PM  

O.K. Half time.

@Gill I. 7:04 PM Well said.

@Loren Muse Smith. I'd be more than happy to take it outside Loren, but you do realize that your profile email link won't work unless I have a blue name too, right? I'd love to hear your explanation of why you have such disdain for 2/3s of West Virginia. Type your email right under this post, and we'll have at it!

Loren Muse Smith 8:27 PM

Anonymous 8:41 PM  


Please forgive me. I see now you were relating a story in good faith.
Anyone blessed enough to work at Old Nassau surely knows the difference between history and anecdote.
I meant no harm. I am so tired of attacks on the Church that, sometimes, I am overly sensitive.
And though I am loath to reveal personal data here, I know Princeton circa 1988 pretty well. I very much hope we were at Contes at the same time lo those many years ago. We may disagree on the Holy See, but I hope we can agree that Conte pizza is proof enough that God loves us.

Ando 8:50 PM  

The Nytimes seriously needs to fix their app. I had to fill in Ys, not VI, in order for the puzzle to mark as solved. I went back over everything looking for errors. It's their own puzzle, so the app should accept the variotions they write into it.

Anonymous 10:54 PM  

Has anyone here figured out that the @Oldfatbasterd troll and the @OldflappyfromMississappi troll are the same person? Look at the timing of the two comments this evening. Not the first time either that they've come one right on top of the other. It's happened too often to be a coincidence.

Barry Frain 11:00 PM  

Can’t decide whether or not Hypocrisy Hater’s pomposity outweighs his cowardice.

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

Oldflappyfrommississappy 11:03 PM  

@Anonymous 10:54, we’re not the same but my name is Legion.

semioticus (shelbyl) 12:00 AM  

Not bad, but not good either. The fill needs some work (ROBARDS/NEROS definitely a Natick), the theme is OK and tries hard to bring something extra to the table (good enough for a Sunday), the clues also could have used some help (too many name and name clues and "exclamation!" types)

There are some good things about this one, but it is really passable at best.

GRADE: C+, 2.85 stars.

Andrew Heinegg 12:17 AM  

Very close call on that, Barry; flip a coin.

mxnica 12:54 AM  

Pardon me if this is my third comment (it's really my first) but Blogger is a jerk. IVY/vine/poison ivy delighted me. This place is great and I owe Rex some money.

Unknown 2:28 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 2:30 PM  

As a stand up comedian, I actually really liked this theme! What I didn't like was the use of "dacha" and treating it like a common word. I sense some Russian collusion!

Anonymous 6:06 PM  

Many days late, laughing out loud!

Anonymous 6:12 PM  

Oh, no! We must be really old. I def knew the GI theme song before I heard Polonius speak, but my son's an actor, so that has been an education.

Anonymous 6:13 PM  

My brother Daryl, and my other brother Daryl...

Smith 6:21 PM  

O God, you are my God, and so will ever praise you - standard youth ministry and short term mission hymn - simple tune, very catchy

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

another ho hum easy and still do not get the whole y/vi . guess the jokes on me. there were some clever answers tho - lab notes lactose perinatal tho I struggled w/ that one kept think near natal as I had arrayed not adorned. Put me in a coma. a go lame puzzle. but I actually got yo mama joke!!! amazing, so the punch lines of this puzzle fell flat . Still waiting for an interesting challenging Sunday times puzzle. Here upstate in the snow belt had a week of tons of snow and bad weather. what the heck is dacha? does not sound Russian. I am rambling like a bad standup routine...

spacecraft 12:14 PM  

???? What's going on here? EverVIbodVI (almost) is saying how "super-easy" this was. Are we doing the same puzzle??

I had a hell of a time figuring out what was going on--but even after I did there were plenty of roadblocks. The clue for EAGERTO should have read "More than willing TO" (emphasis mine). My medical background never included "PERINATAL," which I put together by prefix/suffix common sense. I never heard of THELAUGHFACTORY. The SW is a mess after DraCULA and VACuum. I rate this medium-challenging, and experienced a nice--though not record-breaking--triumph factor.

I was deeply impressed, not only with the cracked-Y's thing, but by the fact that ALL the theme entries were on point subject-Ys. I liked it, liked doing it, and had a spirited contest for DOD, with TARA Reid taking the VIctorY. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 1:12 PM  

Sure, it's easy, if you get the joke. If you don't, not so much. Did I miss some rental car giant??

Even harder if you don't get the newspaper 3 days in a row. Management must be "out throwing the paper" - which means we had another carrier quit. And management couldn't find a subscriber if he or she wrote in to the editor.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for a new paper carrier

rondo 1:43 PM  

A coupla squares of w/o ink trying to write in ARmadas before realizing I was coming up short in the letter department. Had that whole NW area filled in right off, so getting the rest of the cracking Ys was a snap.

2d is another missed opportunity to clue Packer HAHA Clinton-Dix, or as the missus puts it: HAHA Clinton's dick.

I've never seen anything other than a BASSTUBA. Any others must be extremely rare. I have an Eb TUBA for sale if anybody's looking.

Of the TARAS I'll choose MS. Lipinski since I just saw her on TV. Yeah baby.

Good enough, I guess. Real easy for SURE.

rainforest 2:12 PM  

For what it's worth, I think @Hypocrisy Hater is mis-reading @LMS, and I think that she should not further engage with him. Soap opera.

This was one of the better Sundays to come along, in my opinion (of course it's my opinion; I'm the one typing it). Easy-medium so it doesn't take forever, well-done theme Ys, and a perfect title. Perhaps some of the fill is dicey, but it IS a Sunday and there's a lotta words in there.

I was thinking the same thing as @Spacey regarding EAGER TO, but then I imagined a conversation where someone asks, "Do you want to go fishing?". Possible terse answers can be, "More than willing", and "Eager to".

Fun trying to determine the continuing radioactivity of something to do with Marie Curie. Of course the draCULA write-over.

If I were to pick a DOD, it would be Suzanne Pleshette, hands down. I fantasized about her in my twenties.

Burma Shave 2:33 PM  


if that "YOMAMAJOKE" AMUSES, it's a miracle,
the king's FOOL better be FUNNYORDIE.


AnonymousPVX 4:25 PM  

Got the solve, but I hate this kind of “gimmick”. Meh.

leftcoastTAM 8:20 PM  

Got the VI=Y gimmick, but it abandoned me in the SW corner. YOMAMAJOKE? Followed by Count CHOCULA?? instead of the misdirection to draCULA?

Being another Sunday slog, had sworn off of them some time ago. Yet, did it again--wasted time only to be foiled at the end.

Anonymous 5:26 AM  

I agree with tuba versus horn. Also a tuba IS a bass instrument, nobody refers to it as a bass tuba.

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