Voiceless consonant like b or p / WED 2-7-18 / Old Happy Motoring brand / Actor who played Grandpa Munster / Bucolic hotel / Personal aide to Selina Meyer on Veep / Starz competitor / Sedgwick of Warhol films

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Constructor: Stu Ockman

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (disconnected sections + classic names = ?)

THEME: THE TIES THAT BIND (56A: Shared beliefs ... like this puzzle's circled four-letter words) — circled words are things you can "bind" with, and they MAKE CONNECTIONS (17A: Network) between the upper and lower sections to the center section (which is otherwise free-floating)

The binds:
  • ROPE
  • LACE
  • WIRE
  • CORD
Word of the Day: LENE (16A: Voiceless consonant like "b" or "p") —
[I honestly can't even find a good definition of this online ... they're all circular and weird an unhelpful. If I google [lene voiceless], almost all I get are crossword sites... I mean, look:  
(plural lenes)
  1. (phonetics) The smooth breathing (spiritus lenis).
  2. (phonetics) Any of the lene consonants, such as pk, or i (Greek pi, kappa, tau). (yourdictionary.com)

• • •

Once this was done, I noticed the gimmick and thought, "Oh, clever." But while I was solving, hoo boy, "clever" was not the word on my mind. The concept here is lovely but the execution is brutal. The fill was rough and dated all over. Everywhere. The worst part for me was flat-out guessing LENE (all the crosses checked, which is the only way I got even a single letter of that answer) and then discovering that the *only* reason LENE was even in the grid (I assume) was that PLIERS / LENE could not be turned to PRIERS / RENE because (astonishingly) PRIER was already in the grid (?) (28D: Inquisitive one) (28D: Inquisitive one). It just feels like whole corners should've been torn down and rebuilt. And the center in particular is really rough. PULLA? ALTAI? WIS? YOS? ALLEWIS!?!?! This was very unpleasant to solve. Discovering the theme at the end was kind of sad—no reason this concept couldn't have been executed smoothly.

Soooo many pop culture names. I've never seen "Frozen" or "Real Housewives of Atlanta," so this didn't start so well for me, what with HANS (1A: Prince in "Frozen") crossing SHEREE (?) (4D: Whitfield of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta") in the NW. Please don't try to sell me on SHEREE's being good or modern or whatever. It's here because it's 5/6 super-common letters (a good sign that a grid section is under considerable stress). Then there's the bully in "Calvin & Hobbes" (forgot him) (MOE), some character from "Veep" (GARY), Grandpa forkin' Munster (ALLEWIS), EDIE Sedgwick. ANNETTE Bening is legit famous (12D: Actress Bening), but the rest of those names are varying degrees of rough. It's not any one of them that's the issue—it's just that there are so many of them. And then two "old" or "classic" gas brands in the same corner!? (AMOCO / ESSO). To say nothing of the ordinary crosswordese that abounds (SRTA, DER, ONCD, two kinds of ELY/I, ORI (?), ADO, RADII, ETA, RATA, DYS, HIE). This might've been interesting and doable as a Sunday puzzle concept, with more sections to bind, more binders, etc., and then much more room for the grid to breathe.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 5:52 AM  

It was a'ight.

Anonymous 5:57 AM  

Garbage fill, garbage theme, garbage clues, just garbage. First time I haven't finished a Wednesday in a long while.

Harryp 6:01 AM  

This was a crunchy little puzzle that would have been solved in my normal Wednesday time, except that I didn't get the Happy Pencil and had to look for my error. It turns out that I got 13Down wrong and put in YESDEAL. Instead of the German article DER, had the Spanish contraction DEL. DOH!

Lewis 6:15 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
RJ 6:20 AM  

This is one of those puzzles that I finished quickly and without struggling over the difficult stuff because I happened to get a bunch of the fill - never heard of lene, sheree, or altai. Initially had yuck instead of yech but then wanted honey

Some of the cluing was just bad - "storers" may be legit warehouse workers but have you ever heard anyone use that term? I work as a "storer"??? Does anyone else tire of the dated marriage memes like "yes dear"?

Two Ponies 6:24 AM  

A few proper names is to be expected but there are too many and they are VERY obscure as clued. Hans, Edie, and Gary have lots of better possible clues.
Then we have the pathetic attempt to be PC by saying "Either she goes or I go!" This phrase seems old in origin and the injection of she as the pronoun sounds strained.
The concept has good potential but the execution falls short for me.

I guess I'm in the mood now to fill the ol' crate with Esso or Amoco at the wayside and go to Utah, Wis., or Thebes!

Jamie C 6:29 AM  

A miss is as good as a MILF. Final answer.

Lewis 6:32 AM  

Four observations linked (as it were) to the puzzle:
* I liked FAR CRY and HUMOR ME, and the clue for CHAIR.
* Wanted a French answer to "Sans clothing".
* I've never been to a RODEO and probably won't go to one, because lassoing a calf that is running in stark fear, to bring it down, seems cruel to me.
* The black squares look like a view from above of a portly yarmulke-sporting person with arms spread out.

Andrew Rosen 6:55 AM  

Hmm - not bad except for the northeast corner

However - I believe “b” is a voiced consonant - the only difference between b an p is precisely that b is voiced and p is not?

Alexander 6:58 AM  

I was hoping that center square was going to be a hidden rebus for TIE for the four orthogonal clues.

kitshef 7:19 AM  

A couple of times a year, Rex is unduly kind. Today is one such day.

Something, anything, should have been done to get STORERS out of this puzzle. Ditto for YECH. And ACCT NO. And ORI. And SHO. And DYS. Basically, tear up that whole SW. And saying that, I know it’s not that easy. But that section is a master class in appalling fill, and the rest of the grid is only marginally better.

Glimmerglass 7:28 AM  

The theme was actually important to me in the solve. I needed to see that the circled words were TIES in order to move between three otherwise isolated sections. However, I think this was fair. The grid is quite an attractive art project. Some of the clues struck me as questionable for a Wednesday (RODEO, YES DEAR, CHAIR, WAS, RADII, and all the obscure proper nouns). Since I was successful, I won’t complain. (But then, I don’t complain if I get stumped.)

Anonymous 7:28 AM  

Newly revealed text messages between FBI paramours Peter Strzok and Lisa Page include an exchange about preparing talking points for then-FBI Director James Comey to give to President Obama, who wanted “to know everything we’re doing."

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

/b/ isn't voiceless! Maybe learn something about phonetics, first.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

LENE is truly awful. I am a linguistics professor and have never encountered the term ever in my life. LENIS, yes, LENE, never. Beyond its insane obscurity, the clue also is simply wrong. While "p" is voiceless, "b" is voiced.

Andrew Rosen 7:51 AM  

There are some interesting posts in the times about this. The constructor said he didn’t put LENE in. Also apparently why the b might be considered unvoiced in Classical Greek phonetics. But still - stupid.

QuasiMojo 7:53 AM  

Yech? I always see it as Yecch. Tried YUCK, but no Luck. Never even saw LENE so no problem there. But I agree with Rex's quibbles today. Too easy, even with all those pop names, although OBERON was cool. Like @Lewis I wanted something French for NAKEDLY. Naturel? Au my!

I did like YES, DEAR.

And since I "pulla" muscle in my LIMB while LENEing over my laptop, I'll cut this guy some slack for being relevant.

I hear THEBES was The Bee's Knees. (Although the one in Greece had an Oedipus complex.)

Are ballet MISSes in LEOTARDs PLIÉRS?

Unknown 7:54 AM  

Names were easy or eminently gettable from crosses. Anyone born in 50s knows Al Lewis, Amoco or Esso.

Suzie Q 7:56 AM  

Between lene today and oronyms yesterday I feel like I need to go back to school.
Frozen seems to be a super popular movie but geez louise it seems like we have some clue about it every week. If you are an adult with no kids or grandkids why on God's Green Earth would I know this junk?
At least "start to function" wasn't Eff.
I did like the clue for chair.
For some reason the word bucolic makes me think about cows. A hotel for cows?
The constructor's name looks like a Dook.

Birchbark 7:56 AM  

gofORit/formCONNECTIONS combined with unfamiliar proper nouns made the northwest very difficult. I know ELY Minnesota and ELY Cambridgeshire but am not up to speed on my Tarzan actors.

I vote to change the southwest circled word CORD to "vine" and have "Tarzan" cross the V, as though swinging.

Nene, yes. But isn't LENE the sometime sorceress of Crossword?

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

@anon 5:57, reinterpreted: "I'm too dumb to finish the puzzle, so it was a bad puzzle."

TomAz 8:13 AM  

hoooooooooooooo boy

what was Will smoking?

Always look on the bright side of life...

Bob Dylan ("Just Like a Woman", "Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat") and Lou Reed ("Femme Fatale") each wrote songs about EDIE Sedgwick. So there's a fun fact.

THE TIES THAT BIND is also the name of a Bruce Springsteen song.

I liked: OBERON, GIZMO, CHAIR (as clued), ummm.. I'm trying here..


On to tomorrow..

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

@Jamie C, Dude good one!

JOHN X 8:36 AM  

Any puzzle that has AL LEWIS in it is OK with me. Munsters Trivia: Al Lewis was a year younger than Yvonne De Carlo, who played his daughter Lily.

Jon in Saint Paul 8:37 AM  

I thought the center was a donut, or TORUS. (Mmmmmmm, Tori.) Don't generally like puzzles with disconnected sections, and this one was too easy to justify it. Plus, LENE.

John Venn 8:37 AM  

The diagram of New York Times crossword solvers and Real Housewives of Atlanta watchers contains very few common elements.

John Child 8:39 AM  

What @kitshef said. At least it was over quickly, though it felt like hours.

Two spanners, one brilliant, one pulled out of a dark place to sort-of match. Otherwise nothing longer than seven letters. And the fill —sheesh.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

@John Venn: I’m going to guess that there are none (who would admit to it anyway):

Rob 8:45 AM  

This was brutal for me in the top left, but I can't really say it was unfair. Except for LENE, which as others have noted is incorrectly clued, as /b/ is voiced. Like, that's what separates the two. My wife is an SLP; she isn't here to confirm that for me, but I'm 99% confident in that, particularly with others backing me up.

Not having seen Frozen is killing me. I've learned OLAF and ELSA from other puzzles by now, but HANS was new to me.

Clueless 8:56 AM  

Help! please explain

52 across - FUN ? for Rhyme

Michigan Man 8:58 AM  

I'm a rather recent follower of the comments following Rex's blogs. I see a lot of whining. I am not a sophisticated crossword philosopher/analyst. I enjoy all (well, almost all)of the puzzles.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

@Clueless Fun and one rhyme

ArtO 9:05 AM  

I find myself in total agreement with @Rex for a change. Much too much esoteric stuff. That said, the theme was clever with a nicely shaped grid.

Pet Monkey 9:05 AM  

After seeing this Edie a few times I caved and did a Google Image.
Looks like she had an interesting life and she's kinda cute, reminded me of Twiggy. But those are some serious eyebrows!

Good one @ John Venn.

Hartley70 9:10 AM  

I liked the look of the grid before I started and I found this a mostly easy solve. I didn't know LENE, but the crosses gave it to me. Yup, I'm the outlier who knows exactly who SHEREE Whitfield is. Think twice about that prison boyfriend, HONEY. I've seen Frozen. I was born just a tad before the 50s so AL and the gasoline brands were easy. I just had to change hAS to WAS to get WAYSIDE not HAYSIDE and I was outta there in record time.

Gretchen 9:11 AM  

Fun rhymes with one. Fun, for one is a rhyme.

FrankStein 9:19 AM  

Ron Ely was the sexiest Tarzan. He also hosted a game show.

Jamie C 9:24 AM  

Anon@ 8:28: Why thank you. I know I am not as clever as some of the commenters here fancy themselves to be, and I know I am not part of the inner clique on this site who compliment each other all day long and feel good about it, so I appreciate the kind words/acknowledgement. --JC

pmdm 9:40 AM  

There is an older version of this puzzle that Mr. Shortz rejected. In his comments, Mr. Ockman shares it with us. (The link is available at XWordInfo.) In my opinion, it is a much, much better puzzle. Mr. Shortz should have bent his rules a little today for the sake of publishing a better puzzle with much better fill. Take a look and see if you agree.

I;ve been watching the recently released Laugh-In programs. Those of you who watching the show will get my reference when I say today's puzzle was

VERY interesting ... but YECH.

Rabbi Sharon Ballan 9:41 AM  

Strangely, I found thid puzzle easy. Must be a baby boomer thing. Radar O’reilly? Al Lewis? Ron Ely? Amoco/esso? Easy-peasy. And the theme, once I saw rope and cord, was easy to figure. And they all tie into the center square.

Nancy 9:44 AM  

Enough unexpected answers here to hold my interest. RHYME was beautifully hidden; even with 4 out of 5 letters, I didn't see it at first. YES DEAR (13D) was nicely clued, too, as were DIETED (21A) and OWL (32D). LENE was unknown to me. I loved the answer FAR CRY (56A).

No one I know has a YAMAHA motorcycle (38A), but my brother has a YAMAHA piano and one of my proudest possessions was a YAMAHA tennis racket. The YFG50. (FG for fiberglass and graphite). A real classic, though I got ribbed about it once the large-head rackets came in. You tennis players out there can look up a photo, if you're curious.

I ignored the tiny little circles, as is my custom, since I didn't need them. But the theme is cute.

Biff Gnarly 9:50 AM  

There are definitely some ridiculous first names in here, but picking on AL LEWIS doesn't belong in the same category. The guy did a fair amount of stuff other than just Grandpa Munster (in acting world and outside) and on its own I'd say Grandpa Munster is a mainstream enough role to be 100% fair game.

Sir Hillary 9:54 AM  

Today, the excessive junk necessitated by the theme constraints wasn't worth it. It's subjective of course, but here's my view of what constitutes junk in this grid: LENE, PULLA, SRTA, ELY, DER, WIS, DYS, RATA, YOS, NAKEDLY, STORERS, SHEREE, ACCTNO, ORI, PRIER, YECH, SHO, ZIN, ELI, ONCD, ALTAI, YAY. That's 22 of 76 words -- YECH!

On the plus side:
-- I realized that, until this morning, I never could have defined WAYSIDE in anything but idiomatic terms.
-- Nice clue for RHYME.
-- Radar OREILLY was the best.

THETIESTHATBIND -- Opening track to Springsteen's excellent album "The River".

GILL I. 10:00 AM  

I feel real bad for those of you who haven't had the experience of watching Frozen six thousand times with a grandchild who would, at the top of her lungs, sing Let it Go every single time OLAF would appear. I'm imagining we will soon see Oaken, Pabbie and Bulda in the near future.
I'm agreeing with DEAR @Rex today. I thought the concept was really good - THE TIES THAT BIND was smile inducing. The theme answers were fun and it all "tied" in at the end. Unfortunately, trying to get there was labor intensive. Reminds me of a little mouse running around this maze for ages until he finally find his prize piece of cheese.
I'll go over to XWord and read what is being said. If Will was at fault for making this a bit of a tedious slugfest, proper names galore puzzle, then shame on him.
@Lewis...RODEO's can be fun if you're there for the bronco riding. The bulls used are prized and are well taken care of. If you happen to own one that can kick any cowboys ass, he will never, ever become hamburger meat.

Joanna 10:02 AM  

I was reasonably successful with this puzzle, but it wasn't any fun. LENE, as everyone notes, was terrible--as far as I can tell, it's a technical word related to how consonants work in biblical Hebrew, but the clue is so bad I'm not convinced that whoever wrote it knows the word, themselves.

leah712 10:07 AM  

@John Venn: With some degree of embarrassment I admit to watching Real Housewives, so I guess I'm that tiny spot in your proposed Venn diagram. Speaking of Venn diagrams, do you know of any software that helps construct them? I would love to make one with driving ability/walking ability for my daughter and me, each of whom lacks one of those abilities, and we joke about our hypothetical Venn diagram all the time.

GHarris 10:18 AM  

Couldn't discern the circled words until coming here. Then studied them more carefully and made out that they run diagonally and form a cross in the center. They added nothing to my solving experience or my enjoyment in having completed it. Somewhat challenging but quite doable (if you were willing to take lene on faith).

Banana Diaquiri 10:26 AM  

the SE was the Ninth Circle of Hell. WAYSIDE??? "the side of the way" (dictionary.com), IOW the ground where Wayside Inns and Wayside Furniture etc. situate. this is not the EDGE of the road. that's the GUTTER or MARGIN or SHOULDER.

the MAJOR component of Windex is ALCOHOL, not AMMONIA, just read the wiki.

and it goes on.


Joy2u 10:26 AM  

Just printed out today's challenge (!) and it will be hours before I can read the review and comments. Just wanted to say:
WOW . . what a beautiful grid pattern! I am a graphic designer and just looking at it makes me smile at the delightful symmetry and pretty picture.
So there, I said it, please feel free to poke whatever you consider to be 'fun' at my comment and I'll be back post-solve (some time this evening most likely) to read everyone's impression of what looks like THREE separate puzzles. What FUN!

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

(Loud snoring sound). Earth to Trump supporters:'election is over. You won. Need to forget about Obama/Hillary and think about how to get around teensy little issues like admitting you knew Flynn had lied to the FBI when you asked Comey to 'let him go'. And that, in a nutshell, is the problem you are dealing with. Trump cannot ever close his mouth about anything and that includes admissions of guilt'. Sad.

Z 10:37 AM  

Huh. I was watching some talking heads discussing John Mahoney’s career and they made a point of mentioning that people might not know the name but probably would recognize the face. AL LEWIS fit in that category 30 years ago. Crossworthy? At least as much as Yma Sumac. Dated PPP? At least as much as Yma Sumac. I’m with Rex, It’s not AL LEWIS or Ron ELY or ESSO or AMOCO or Radar O’REILLY singly that is the issue. It is the plethora of AARP PPP that weighs the solve down.

I do belief that @LMS has confessed to watching and enjoying Real Housewives. Not my cuppa, but seedy space opera on TV or in novels have been known to find their way into my entertainment queue. Women who read bodice rippers are alleged to have better love lives, higher IQs, and better interpersonal skills (yes, there really is research on this). All I’m saying, @John Venn, is that one shouldn’t presume how big those overlaps will be without actual data.

Z 10:41 AM  

Belief. Believe. Yeah Yeah. At least I now know those Bs are either voiced or unvoiced.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

The insufferable Z, captain of the debate team.

mathgent 11:21 AM  

Certainly flawed. Rex and Jeff Chen point out all of its shortcomings. But I had fun with it.

I got the top and bottom but needed the theme to finish off the four circled four-letter words. That opened up the middle section. Congratulations to @Nancy for solving while ignoring the circles as she always does.

Apparently "unvoiced" and "silent" aren't synonyms. What's the difference?

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

OBAMA: “I can guarantee. I can guarantee that not because I give Attorney General [Loretta] Lynch a directive, that is institutionally how we have always operated. I do not talk to the Attorney General about pending investigations. I do not talk to FBI directors about pending investigations. We have a strict line and always have maintained it. I guarantee it. I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department or the FBI, not just in this case but in any case. Period. Nobody gets treated differently when it comes to the Justice Department because nobody is above the law.”
WALLACE: “Even if she ends up as the Democratic nominee?”
OBAMA: “How many times do I have to say it, Chris? Guaranteed.”

Anonymous 11:26 AM  


Al Lewis was actually a verrrrry strange guy. He ran for governor of New York as the Green Party's candidate, and had a very successful restaurant in The Village. All standard stuff for anew York actor say. Fair enough.
However, he was a basketball junkie. Scouted, watched and analyzed many thousands of games. At all levels. According to the NBA's one-time chief scout Marty Blake, Lewis was"the most knowledgeable man he ever met" (viz basketball).
But the capper was his close relationship with a pornographer. Maybe Al Goldstein? I can't recall the name, and I won't Google the mag's name, but old Grandpa Mnster was a monster for the smut.
As for John Mahoney being obscure. Maybe to you from that artistic wasteland of the mitten. but in NYC he was well know and well regarded for his work. Just ask John Patrick Shanley. Or read the obit in today's Times. or not. You seem to dig wallowing in ignorance.

Also, the Dow is, again, rocking.

Schadenfreude that friendo.

webwinger 11:43 AM  

I grokked the theme about half way through, and it did help complete the solve. Really liked the concept, the look of the grid, and both of the grid spanning answers. One of the most esthetically satisfying puzzles in a very long time. Shortcomings of the fill pointed out by OFL and others seemed relatively inconsequential to me.

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:43 AM  

Gimmick puzzles are mostly hit or miss, and this one is a gigantic miss. Dreadful, archaic fill makes it really hard to appreciate the theme. A couple of clues were also clever, but oh my god that fill was headache-inducingly horrible.

I'm not gonna list all the horrible entries, I just want to forget about this one. I don't think we'll ever see a worse fill than this. This is unfathomably bad.

GRADE: D+, 1.95 stars.

jb129 11:58 AM  

Took me an hour & I loved it!

jb129 12:06 PM  

Jamie C - nice comment about the blog & the "clique"

"I know I am not as clever as some of the commenters here fancy themselves to be, and I know I am not part of the inner clique on this site who compliment each other all day long and feel good about it"

John Hoffman 12:08 PM  

Not a true quote, but I thought of Oscar Wilde on his death bed: “Either this wallpaper goes, or I GO.”

Alysia 12:13 PM  

I don’t think FUN and “one” rhyme, just as “dud” doesn’t rhyme with “good.”

Or maybe I’ve been saying “one” incorrectly all these years.

Clueless 12:24 PM  

@Alysia - thanks. Now get how I missed rhyme.

Would get this rhyme —

onion & funion (if it existed)

Unknown 12:26 PM  

Well, I enjoyed reminiscing about MASH is the best thing I can say.

Carola 12:27 PM  

Admirable construction - which I appreciate even more after coming here: I'd understood that the ROPE, etc., fit the definition of CONNECTIONS and TIES but hadn't seen that they actually were used that way to hold all of the sections of the puzzle together. Nice! Perhaps it was because all of my bandwidth was taken up with trying to finish the grid. Struggle city. Had to change AtlAs Mts., AlcOhol in Windex, form CONNECTIONS, and go fOR it (HUMOR ME). Didn't know O'REILLY, AL LEWIS, SHEREE, MOE, HANS. Blank stare at many of the clues. Maayyybbeee could have been made a little easier to make the payoff more enjoyable.

If you ever happen to vacation in WIS (I know, why would you? But still...), you should visit Circus World Museum, located in the Ringling Brothers' hometown. Wonderful exhibits and a big top show.

Amelia 12:29 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhymin’ Simon 12:32 PM  

Wait I agree that dud and good don’t rhyme but what does “one” rhyme with if not “fun”. I’ve never heard it pronounced any other way (that I can recall anyway).

Nancy 12:32 PM  

I'm so excited! I've been to three crossword blogs including this one and no one else has mentioned it. Could non-visual me have noticed something in the grid art that no one else has noticed? Look again, everyone.

The grid design in the middle of the puzzle looks like a rather ostentatious engagement ring boasting a very large marquise-shape diamond at the center. Which certainly can be considered one of THE TIES THAT BIND.

Do you all see it too?

GILL I. 12:38 PM  

@JaimeC, @jb129...Boo hoo? Tired of sitting at the children's table? Then put on a happy face, take that napkin that you tuck into your collar off and come sit with the adults.
I've been a regular here for a long time. Every time someone new joins in, they are welcomed with open arms. If you're a jerk or a troll, you'll probably get backlashing from some of us. I don't fancy myself as clever nor do I hold my esteem higher than anybody else. Being a regular and contributing on a regular basis allows us to get to know you better. I, personally, love the different opinions. There are many I don't agree with but I won't call them a hypocritical idiot either.
Sometimes it helps to have an avatar so that one is easily identified with. When I first posted here, I tippy toed in. I didn't have much of an identity. When I overcame my trepidation and got a silly photo off of the internet, I felt a bit more comfortable.
Not everyone needs to do that. @Quasi doesn't. Neither do lots of regulars. So please, don't call those of us who come to get our daily fun fix a bunch of clique's......There's plenty of room at the big boy table.

Alysia 12:39 PM  

I can’t think of anything with which “one” rhymes exactly, except for maybe Aeryn Sun of Farscape. To me, it’s more of the short oo sound (like “good” or “put”) than the short u found in FUN.

Nancy 12:42 PM  

Very, very well said, @GILL !!!

semioticus (shelbyl) 12:43 PM  


Fun: /fʌn/
One: /wʌn/

They don't rhyme if you're British or Australian, but they do rhyme in the USA.

HRH Lee Radziwill 12:46 PM  

I liked the theme-- I thought it was clever that the center looked disconnected and then turned out not to be. Maybe that's a more common trick than I realize but I don't think I've encountered it before.

I don't see any problem with the names-- some of them I knew off the top of my head and some of them I had to figure out. Isn't that the point? SHEREE is certainly fair game as far as I'm concerned. Whether or not one approves, The Real Housewives shows have been a part of the cultural landscape for 12 years and SHEREE is one of the more prominent and memorable stars across all the editions. Maybe she's mostly in the puzzle because of the convenient letters in her name, but she's famous enough to justify the inclusion. (If they had used Ana Quincoces or Cindy Barshop I might feel different.) And I suspect that there is a much bigger overlap between Housewife watchers and crossword puzzlers than certain people might think.

I also see no problem whatsoever with EDIE Sedgwick. Would "Character Actress McClurg" have been preferable? "Ms. Piaf, familiarly"? "Big or Little resident of Grey Gardens"? Actually, that one would have been fun. But please-- Edie Sedgwick is about as iconic as it gets.

The crosswordese, on the other hand, was way too much. Names are trivia, and knowing a certain amount of trivia is part of the point of solving a crossword. Being able to delude oneself into thinking that LENE is any kind of word brings very little pleasure or satisfaction.


Stanley Hudson 12:58 PM  

Excellent grid but the fill was not much fun.

Gary Burghoff, who played Radar O'Reilly, was the only actor to appear both in the film and TV versions of MASH. He spends a few months each year in a town near where I live and is apparently an excellent painter.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

@mathgent, in case you were serious,
when the vocal cords vibrate the sound is "voiced"
when the vocal cords do not vibrate the sound is "unvoiced"
"beech" starts and continues with vibration but no vibration at the end
"peach" does not start with vibration and does not end with it
"madge" has vibration all through
"match" has no vibration at the end
B, M, J, and the vowels are all "voiced"
P, CH are "unvoiced"
Nothing to do with silent.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

How's that again, Anonymous 1:00???

Stanley Hudson 1:06 PM  

@Gill I., well stated. I don't post every day but typically post several times a week and have always been treated with respect by the regulars (and irregulars, for that matter!).

As well, I also the different opinions, both on the day's crossword puzzle and on politics. I live in something of a liberal bubble, so welcome hearing from conservatives and moderates that through this blog I've come to respect.

Speaking of, what has happened to @evil doug? Great sense of humor.

Stanley Hudson 1:09 PM  

my 1:06 post should read "As well, I also ENJOY the different opinions."

Too many papers to grade this week. :)

Teedmn 1:11 PM  

OREIdas splatzed in at 32A from the OREI___. I then read the clue and was astounded - my brain had convinced me that I had seen a tater-tot clue somewhere in my peripheral vision so staring at Radar from M*A*S*H had me gobsmacked. And then I couldn't figure out what the answer was - brain-freeze all around. But I wasn't LED AWAY in a strait-jacket - I figured it all out eventually.

Cab before ZIN, Yuck before YECH, and to be NAKEDLY truthful, a ink-filled mess in the NW. This was no HONEY of a puzzle for me.

Hartley70 1:15 PM  

Anonymous 1pm, Fascinating. I had to try them out to understand. Thanks for explaining voiced and unvoiced!

BarbieBarbie 1:16 PM  

Looks like nobody but me had iPad app trouble?? My grid is perfect but the app won’t credit me as finished. My streak another dues ex machine victim. Booooo. Well, at least the Iggles won.

Foamfollower 1:20 PM  

Agreed. Some folks need to binge-watch 60’s sitcoms. Much more entertaining than trying to decipher the latest drivel from some one-named rapper.

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

Do spectators really sit on straw bales at a RODEO, or is this something that the constructor just kind of made up?

I've never been to rodeo but I've watched them on TV and spectators are sitting in arena stands like at other other sports events.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Both Ely and Eli in the same grid? Really? Does no one else think that's just terrible?

Banana Diaquiri 1:32 PM  

@anon - 1:25
"Do spectators really sit on straw bales at a RODEO, or is this something that the constructor just kind of made up?"

depends. I was at one in New Jersey (waaaaaaaay down south in farm country), and some folks did. not all rodeos are done in formal arenas.

Phil 1:33 PM  

I saw the separate puzzles and figured they were connected by the circles especially after the first theme answer. But solving all the outside and sussing the circle words for the inner solve wasn’t going to happen so kindof fell flat. Maybe making the inner part more cryptic where you had to have the circles in place to solve it would have been more fun?

Masked and Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Wow. Three isolated puz sectors. Different. M&A likes different. Especially enjoyed the middle 7x7 runt puz.
Think I'da tried stickin that there "WIRE" thingy somewhere else, tho. [Don't mean that in a nasty way, btw.] Havin R***I and A***I entries and a W neighbor to deal with right off the bat is bad news, in the runt puz constructioneerin biz. Time to re-wire that sucker.

Had some choice fillins (FARCRY. AL LEWIS. TUESDAY. HUMORME. WAYSIDE, RHYME. THEBES. etc.) and some choice desperations (PULLA. PRIER PLIERS. LENE. DER. NAKEDLY. STORERS har.) Soo … nice, on both counts, IM&AO. Not sure which category to put the sparkly YECH in, btw.

staff weeject picks: ELI+ELY. If only the grid also had had an EELY. Now, there's yer RODEO.

Brave 7-stacks in all the corners, with whale-ass grid-spanners swimmin right thru the middle of em. Day-um. U fill the outside parts, and I'll work on the chewy runtpuz centers, Mr. Ockman. And meantime, thanx for the feisty fun.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


jberg 1:37 PM  

I would have written disfunction, so I went to Dictionary.com to check (turns out my version arose by confusion of dis with DYS) -- but that's not the point. The point is that Dictonary.com also opens with the Word of the Day, and that word today is ... LENITY!

I was trying to think of a clue that wasn't from the realm of phonetics, and all I could come up with was "artist who sang 'It's Your Duty (To Shake that Booty)'" -- the video is too offensive to link here, though. But it's a pretty common name, there must be a better choice.

Unlike @Lewis, I've been to lots of rodeos, but I've never seen a spectator sitting on a bale of hay. You pretty much want to have a high wall around the field, so that the bulls don't gore anyone and the broncos don't trample anyone. The circles helped me with this one I got the top and the center (my parents lived in Baraboo for a time before I was born, so I knew where Ringling Bros. started), but I needed WIRE to get me into the bottom.

@Nancy -- interesting! One of those things that's so hard to notice one isn't sure if it was intentional, but I'll give him credit, especially since he opened with that plea, "HUMOR ME."

@Jamie C., welcome to the comments section!

Unlike @Rex, I thought having PLIERS & PRIERS share the grid was a plus.

Erin Hollander 1:40 PM  

This makes me feel so much better. My undergrad degree is in linguistics and when I couldn’t make sense of the clue in this context I just thought I’d forgotten something incredibly basic.

Dick Swart 1:42 PM  

I think that this clever puzzle was harder for the constructor than the solvers. I liked the symmetry and the ties that bind that were actually the ties that bind.

Rex never likes puzzles that have answers/cluing that he doesn't ken.

Oldfatbasterd 1:56 PM  

Oh, oh, how so very precious Stanley Hudson that your now one of the gang. Warm fuzzies for lil snowflake. Perhaps one of the women regulars will knit you a sweater.

If youre married I bet your wife has to be on top.

leah712 2:06 PM  

@HRH Lee Radziwill: I LOLed when I saw "Who gon' check me boo?" Of course, Sheree Whitfield uttered that memorable line.

Girish 2:11 PM  

@Michigan Man 8:58 AM. Enjoy the puzzles and Rex’s commentary. As for the rest, one can appreciate occasional “connections” while ignoring
annoying “ties that bind.” Welcome! ��

Catalyst 2:11 PM  

This was one of the easiest puzzles ever. I solved with ink and there were no corrections when I was done. And I'm certainly no expert.

Two Ponies 2:19 PM  

@ Carola 12:27, Why would you vacation in Wis.? I had a wonderful trip there. Apostle Islands area was beautiful with scads of bald eagles. Wonderful cheese curds too. True that at times it was hard to tell the locals from the dairy herds but what nice people.

I agree with GILL I. about bales at the rodeo. Lots of bales of hay and straw for food and bedding but not for sitting.

Speaking of 12:27, I sometimes check the blog to see if anything interesting happened after I retired for the night. I hate to call attention to trolls but a chilling entry was posted that sounds like Antifa terrorists to me. This is a voice of the "tolerant" Left that keeps me Right of center.

mathgent 2:28 PM  

Anon (1:00): I was serious. Thanks for the explanation. But you say that "b" is voiced and the clue says that it is not.

I've been pronouncing some of your examples and I seem to be able to feel when my vocal cords are moving but I'm not sure.

Girish 2:32 PM  

@Oldfatbasterd 1:56 PM
oh, forsooth!
where is thy couth?
(is that an off rhyme?)

crh 2:33 PM  

@leah712 You can make Venn diagrams pretty easily in PowerPoint.

puzzlehoarder 2:36 PM  

I'm glad to learn that OLAF is on the "Frozen" list as OLAF/HANS was my first of many write overs. I was so busy correcting these things that until I'd finished I didn't realize that the puzzle had three completely separate sections. This feature helps explain the difficulty level as you're forced to start from scratch twice over. That difficulty really comes from the nature of the puzzle and the write overs were more a result. I was pushed into the low end of the late week solve time but I have no complaints.

I didn't use the circles while solving. I had to use my phone to solve at the firehouse last night and those circles are hard to see. @Nancy, good catch on the ring visual. Wether it was intentional on the constructor's part or not it complements the theme perfectly.

I can understand the feelings expressed here today regarding the "regulars." It can feel like you've been kicked up into a grade with a bunch of 70 something class mates who only want to pass notes to each other. However, even though I've never met anyone from here I feel I have more in common with them than people I've worked with for thirty years.

Motougo 3:06 PM  

That's hysterical. I to have not seen Frozen and have learned Olaf and Elsa (and now Hans) from crosswords

Joe Dipinto 3:14 PM  

According to Xword Info, LENE has been in the puzzle before. I'm guessing in the past it's been clued in terms of rock singer Lene Lovich, who Rex may or may not think is "legit" famous. Anyway, here she would have been another pop culture entry in a puzzle already loaded with them. Theme was okay, not great. NW corner was a little tough at first. STORERS is kinda silly.

John Hoffman 3:22 PM  

Trying to forget this puzzle. Bad construction: PULLA? ALTAI? WIS? YOS? ALLEWIS?

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

B is not a voiceless consonant. Wish I knew what lene refers to.

Carola 3:40 PM  

@Two Ponies, thank you for the nice words about my state and "us guys," as we say around here. My remark was mostly tongue-in-cheek, although friends we've made who live elsewhere tend to want to visit places like San Franscico or New York City rather than the Upper Midwest. Anyway, in my 70+ years as a state resident, I have yet to see Lake Superior (or a bald eagle, for that matter), and recently have taken to saying, "I'd like to see Lake Superior before I die." My husband took this to heart and for Christmas gave me a Certificate of Travel (homemade, with paste-on gold stars) for a fall trip to Bayfield and the Apostle Islands. At last!

Unknown 3:58 PM  

What's the meaning of 10A: Molding medium (PLAY)?

Unknown 4:03 PM  

Also, I'm not seeing the wordplay in 15A: Hamburger helper? (ONION)

deerfencer 4:14 PM  

Enjoyed the challenge, and used the theme to help finish the solve, which is rare for me. Anyone who doesn't know Edie Sedgwick needs only review the decadent Warhol days in NYC--she's all over the place.

At last some sense 4:27 PM  

@JaimeC, @jb129
Truth to power! I'm so sick of those regulars being nice to each other - JUST WHERE THE HELL TO THEY GET OFF! BASTARDS!

Joe Dipinto 4:29 PM  

@Calman S -- lots of people top their hamburgers with onion. In my newspaper the clue for 10a is "DVD remote button".

Oldfatbasterd 4:31 PM  

@Shelby Glidden,
please don't get glandular
but your work is amateur

jb129 4:34 PM  

Gill C - I think you are taking this rather personally - but you are probably older than me

Unknown 4:36 PM  

It appears the LENE/PLIERS fiasco has been addressed in the digital version. We now have CRIERS, giving us RENE and CLAY.

Why that couldn't have been better edited to begin with is beyond me.

Unknown 4:37 PM  

Wow. I just noticed that the clues for 10A, 16A, and 10D have been changed! The puzzle I solved last night is the same one Rex posted, but looking at the same puzzle today after rerfreshing the page those three clues have been changed.

Unknown 4:38 PM  

So why the question mark? What's the pun?

Anonymous 4:39 PM  

Tru dat

Anonymous 4:40 PM  

@two ponies Yeah I hate people who are anti fascist!

CashPo' 4:42 PM  

I prefer EDIE, the Egg Lady.

Jamie C 4:43 PM  

@jberg, perfect comment that proves my point. I've been commenting here off and on for years, but thanks for the "welcome."

sanfranman59 4:45 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 3:32 4:09 0.85 8.5% Easy
Tue 5:03 5:44 0.88 24.6% Easy-Medium
Wed 8:26 5:54 1.43 93.7% Challenging

My solve time is right on par with two previous Stu Ockman Wednesday offerings and is my slowest Wednesday since mid-October. The names in this one really killed my time ... HANS, SHEREE, MOE, EDIE, GARY ... no idea. Then there's LENE (wtf?) and a bunch of stuff that's a little too crosswordy for my liking ... WIS, YOS, DYS, YAY, STORERS, ORI, YECH, HIE, ONCD, ALTAI. I don't really picture people sitting on straw bales at RODEOs. Square/Barn dances? Yes. RODEOs have stands/bleachers, don't they? Not my favorite puzzle.

Joe Dipinto 4:46 PM  

@Calman - Because there is a commercial food product named Hamburger Helper, I assume.

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

@gill, that was a pretty long-winded way to express you're in the "in crowd." Congratulations for that.

Graham 4:50 PM  

A STORER is more properly called a stevedore. The act of steving is, more or less, how Tetris is played or a bookshelf overstuffed. Pull out two of the books, insert a third book slightly between them, then push the whole thing in. Except now imagine it’s being done with hides, using thin, strong poles inserted to pry (“steve”) the hides apart so you can squeeze one more in.

There’s a great decsription of this in Two Years Before the Mast.

iamjess 4:56 PM  

Hard to find things to like here...like Rex said, clever theme, terrible fill.

Thought I'd jump in on this whole clique conversation. As someone who has been a loyal blog follower for years--yes you are an (unintentional) clique. Not that I mind :) By default I can't join the club because I do the crossword on my lunch hour, which, since I am in Alaska, begins at 4pm on the east coast, when everyone here is ready to do tomorrow's puzzle. But what can you do?

Aketi 4:59 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 5:00 PM  

@anon 4:40.....Antifa is an Orwellian named terror group. They are not anti fascist.

Aketi 5:05 PM  

@Nancy, so you ARE visual after all. I saw the ring but saw a Pokémon ball not a wedding ring. Then I saw an eyeball. Then I saw the RADII of the TIES THAT BIND fanning outward and saw rays of the sun.

I loved today’s grid art. I sat down for a late lunch at Chipotle and it’s not possible to sit down without sharing a table. So some young guy starts looking at me playing on my iPad with the grid and asks me if I’m a designer (which almost caused me to choke on my crispy taco). So then I had to explain that I was decorating a crossword puzzle grid. Then I had to explain how I did it. His questions were as persistent as my son’s when he was in preschool.

@TwoPonies I found the attack in the post before the one you reacted to far worse because it was personal and therefore less likely to be a bot. Both should be ignored because they were either written by scum or, possibly in the post you reacted to a bot program was written by scum.. Antifa is no more part of the tolerant left than neonazis are a part of compassionate conservatism. No one who posts stupid angry threats can physically mow you down with a truck like the terrorist who mowed down the tourists on bicycles who passed me by five minutes earlier on that windy day on October 31st on the west side highway. And even after that I still plan on hopping on a Citibike and riding that bike path again as soon as the weather gets better because that’s what New Yorkers do (although I’m really a fifth generation Californian by birth). We don’t bow down to threats. I’ve read equally insane threats from extremists on the right and the thing to remember is that they are extremists and you don’t have to read the garbage they write.

Aketi 5:08 PM  

PS, I also found faces with a frown, an open mouth and a neutral expression.

Aketi 5:42 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aketi 5:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aketi 5:48 PM  

@Nancy, I’m still impressed by the diamond ring you found in the grid art.

GILL I. 5:49 PM  

@Jaime C. I read all the comments. I'm lucky. I have the time. I've read your comments. Even though you don't have a little "fake" picture, I know who you are and enjoy your contributions.
"I'm not part of the inner clique on this site who compliment each other all day long and feel good about it." What's that about? This isn't a high school classroom where everyone shouts out "me, me, teacher, pick me." It's a blog where the majority of the people here write about the experiences they have after completing a puzzle. There are always compliments and there are also rebuttals. I don't mind any of them. I just wince when civility gets thrown out the window.
@jb129....you have no idea how old I am. You know nothing about me. I could be 40 or 90. Why in the world would you say something as inane as that?
The grown up table has some vacancies. Anyone want to join?

BarbieBarbie 6:02 PM  

@Gill, actually we know in your 20s you were standing on a horse in a movie. And that is so out-of-this-world cool it makes me forget whatever point I was trying to make.

I’m guessing @Gill has been to a RODEO or two. I grew up in a circuit town. No hay bales, that’s for stage sets. I went to a muddy craft show in Delaware once and they had bales set out as dry places to sit but had them 90 degrees from the orientation that would have kept them dry... citiots!

Took a look at the chilling comment in question and it’s just another silly fabricated pot-stirrer. Anybody who can count knows that it’s not the MAGons who elected our current prez- it’s the 90 pct of standard-issue country club Republicans who might not have, but did. Nobody’s going to line up almost half the country and commit some unspeakable violence. Relax. You’re being teased.

As to cliquishness, that’s an odd way to describe a group of people with similar interests and open arms. Any of us can join by turning blue. I kind of like dropping my comments into a well and never hearing the plonk. It’s liberating. We all make our choices.

Anonymous 6:05 PM  

@mathgent, thanks for being interested. Here's the deal: if you can sing it (i.e., hold a pitch while making the sound), the sound is voiced.

Sing the word "Match", and hold each part of the sound out long. You will note that the final part of the word (tch) cannot be sung on a pitch. That means it (tch) is an "unvoiced" sound. Not silent, not unspoken, just not "voiced" in the linguistic sense of having the vocal cords vibrating. Trade it for "Madge" and you should find that all of the sounds can be sung on pitch, all being "voiced".

Now make a "cat hissing at a person who gave him the wrong food sound" [khkhkhkhk]. You can't sing that sound. It can't have a pitch, because the vocal cords are not vibrating. It is an unvoiced sound, though it is sounding, and does convey meaning.

Davis 6:11 PM  

Anon @6:05PM:

Your singing approach is an awesome way to distinguish voiced from unvoiced sounds. I'd never heard the distinction put in this way before, but it makes total sense. Thanks!

JFe 6:22 PM  


Thank you...

Nancy 6:41 PM  

I also want to thank Anon 6:05. The distinction between voiced and unvoiced made absolutely no sense to me until his brilliant "show, don't tell" explanation. Now I get it!

Re: the blog "clique" discussion, I give you the gorgeous words of E.M. Forster:
I believe in aristocracy...not one of privilege, based on rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Their members are to be found in all nations and classes, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet..."

I might put in some adjectives of my own. Warm. Kind. Funny. Sincere. The "open arms" that @GILL described are there for the asking on this blog. If you're pleasant and you want to be liked, you almost certainly will be.

Joe 7:18 PM  

“Real Housewives of Atlanta” Frozen” Some guy from some “Tarzan”. DNF. Or more precisely: Gave up. Didn’t try. Don’t care.

Missy 7:52 PM  


My thanks to you also!

Missy 7:52 PM  


My thanks to you also!

Girish 8:15 PM  

@OFB 4:31 PM
(definitely an off rhyme)

Z 8:15 PM  

Word on Twitter is that the NE corner has been changed online to 10D - CRIERS, 10A - CLAY, 16A - RENE. Wowser.

@Anon voiced expert - I can’t disagree with anything you wrote, but for “peach” and “beech” the only thing that changes for me is the shape of my lips, not (as far as I can tell) anything with vocal cords. Likewise, if I try to sing “beech” I hold the note on the “e” sound, not the “b.”

@Carola - I’ve vacationed in WIS (I love Milwaukee, once dated a native of Kenosha, and have played Ultimate at the Milwaukee Polo Grounds). I know you’re probably partial to the WIS shoreline of Lake Superior, but I cannot recommend highly enough the kayak tours of Picture Rocks near Marquette.

Sippin on Rean 8:19 PM  

The clue for 16-across was different on the mobile version than the web. On mobile, it was "Voiceless consonant like 'b' or 'p'". On the web, it was "Actress Russo."

My browser counted "Rene" as correct.
My phone wasn't satisfied until I had "Lene."

The two platforms continue to debate as to whether or not I've finished the puzzle.

Girish 8:25 PM  

OFB 4:31 PM
hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
and sings the tune without the words
and never stops at all

Stanley Hudson 8:36 PM  

@Oldfatbasterd, my day wouldn't be complete unless you posted two or three nasty comments filled with vituperative comments aimed at others who frequent these quarters.

I've sent several to my son--age 20, in college, and living away from home--who thinks a blog on the NYT crossword is hilarious in and of itself; that an adult would actually take time to troll it he finds riotously funny, as well as sad and pathetic.

So keep it up OFB, you're providing good material for a father and son to share and chuckle over, which is never a bad thing.

Oh (a word you seem to like), your poetry is on a par with the drivel found on Hallmark cards. Perhaps Hallmark has a job opening . . . doubtless your Benzodiazepines and bottom-shelf booze and cannabis sativa (or maybe you're an indica guy like me) would provide ample inspiration.

Hungry Mother 8:48 PM  

Did this Thursday morning in Singapore. I found it a bit crunchy, but no real sweat. 20 hours on 3 flights to get here. Now for 17 days cruising to Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia (someone has to do it). Nice 5 mile run around War Memorial Square this morning.

JC66 9:01 PM  

@Hungry Mother

I hope you're a SCUBA diver.

Anyway, have fun.

Rev. Gary Johnson, Man of God Inc. 9:47 PM  

@Joe 7:18
Please don't give up. Think of all you have to live for. Being shitty at solving easy crossword puzzles is not the end of the world, not really. It may seem like it, and many others may tell you it is, but don't listen to them. Tell yourself every day that you are still a good person with some kind of value in this world. Think of that before you stick that pistol in your mouth and pull the trigger. And if you won't think of that, at least think of the mess you'll leave that someone else will have to clean up. Think of that, won't you? Jump off a bridge instead; that's much cleaner, and your corpse will be consumed by the many fishes in the sea. I guess if you're determined to do this then jumping off a bridge is the best for everyone. Make sure it's a high one, and over water or else the fishes can't reach you.

Dana Cates 11:00 PM  

@Stanley Hudson, I’m a lurker on this blog who rarely comments. Good for you for standing up to that horrible person.

Dan 11:32 PM  

I think RENE is correct. Town officials are CRIERS. Molding medium is CLAY.

Josh H. 9:08 AM  

So I’m a PhD student in linguistics and I have never heard the term LENE. Also “b” isn’t a voiceless consonant.

Unknown 2:09 PM  

good job

Unknown 8:10 PM  

Regardless of the theme or the fill, this was a huge miss for me because it is THREE SEPARATE, COMPLETELY UNRELATED PUZZLES!

No, circled letters do NOT count as crossed squares.

This should have been disqualified as a NYT puzzle from the get-go.

The end.

Burma Shave 9:50 AM  


YESDEAR, there WAS no LACE nor CORD she'd don.
SHO me your TAN before your LEOTARD GOESON."


Diana, LIW 12:09 PM  

HANS/SHEREE was my Natick. I have seen bits of Frozen - it's quite good, IMHO - and I knew I knew the guy, but it wouldn't come. Rrrr. And I care not about the housewives. i'm just stuck on HGTV. Wjhere are Drew, Jonathan, Chip, JoJo (Joanna), Hilary and David? You tell me.

Aside from that - not bad for a Thursday. But, of course, it's Wednesday. Some parts went quite quickly, and then I was staring at the NW. It wouldn't HUMORME for the life of me.

But nothing can phase me, 'cause I'm going to ACPT next week. You know, that big crossword tournament (600+ participants last year) in good old Stamford, CT. With good old Will Shortz. Who comes by and gives you a good old "hello." And where I rode back on the train to New York's Grand Central with David Steinberg and learned some of his secrets for constructing crosswords.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, soon-to-be Traveling (like Holly Golightly)

Diana, LIW 1:52 PM  

Sew...are other Synders scratching their collective eads about the word of the day? Just read Rex's review, and it made no sense, as my NE corner is headlined by CLAY and RENE.

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 2:49 PM  

Clever, challenging, and fun--with grid-spanning "aha" revealers helping a lot in the solve.

NW was the last of the five isolated and semi-isolated sections to go. There, HUMORME (maybe the trickiest clue/answer) was the key. "Fun, for one" answered by RHYME was pretty neat, too.

Needed crosses to get the unknowns (but helpfully) E-laden LENE and SHEREE.

Best Wednesday (or perhaps any day) I've seen in some time.

kitshef 3:02 PM  

@Diana, LIW - the clues for 10A, 16A, and 10D were changed from the originally published version - oddly, changing back to what the puzzle author originally submitted.

rondo 3:44 PM  

I had the missus in for oral surgery this morning and the distractions in the waiting room were enough to kinda miss the plural in the clue for 56a so I confidently wrote in THETIEthatbinds. You can see the inkfest created by those last 9 letters with the misplaced S. Otherwise 3 easy puzzles kinda tied together.

If the ACPT WAS at another time of the year I'd see about going. Last time I took a vacation at this time of year I think my boss wanted to TAN my hide and string me up with a ROPE.

Always wondered why WISconsin had the Circus World museum. Lotsa signs along the freeway over by WISconsin Dells.

ANNETTE Bening is my DRAFTEE for today's yeah baby.

A FARCRY from great, passable on the day aftr TUESDAY.

JimmyBgood 5:44 PM  

My grandpa always put diced onion in the hamburger meat, maybe that's what is meant by hamburger helper?

rainforest 5:56 PM  

Ah! Three puzzles for the price of one. Never seen anything like this.

"Network" is used as a verb in 17A while 56A is, sort of, a definition of "network", the noun. Insightful, @rainy!

I didn't "see" the theme while solving, but after the solve, I was able to get it.

I was hoping that the central section would have some reference to the other parts of the puzzle other than the circled letters, but that is probably asking too much.

Overall, though, I liked it for its ingenuity, grid art, and weirdness. Only write-over was ALTAI over AtlAs.

Teedmn 6:25 PM  

@rondo, I think it's because of Baraboo, WI, winter home of Ringling Bros.

spacecraft 9:43 PM  

"YOS, bros, where do you work?"
"In a warehouse."
"Well, what do you do there?"
"Why, I'm a STORER."

Puh-LEEEEZE. If this "word" had crossed my path not so close to the finish I may have DNBTF'd. There was already plenty of dumpster detritus in this grid. Including: a bona fide NON-word. The singular of LENES is NOT "LENE;" it's LENIS. Let's have a little research there, guys.

A very weak theme imposed upon a closed-off section, and simply awful fill. SHEREE North is a good DOD; the only bright spot. By scoring this merely a double-bogey instead of the dreaded "other," I am being kind.

Anonymous 11:44 PM  

Should be called The New York Times Crosswords. A separate crossword inside a crossword ? Strange, and not fun.

Anonymous 11:48 PM  

Sorry - separate crossword inside 2 crosswords. Even stranger.

Ernonymous 3:26 PM  

I'm doing this puzzle 2 years later (Feb 2020) and it seems LENE has been changed to RENE and PLIERS to PRIERS and PLAY to CLAY. I didn't realize they went back and fixed puzzles for future solvers. This puzzle stunk.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP