Tail-shedding lizard / THU 3-15-18 / Hebrew name meaning he has given / Frenzied trading floor metaphorically / Voltaire religiously / Sponge alternative

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Constructor: Joe DiPietro

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: THE IDES (38A: Date that provides a phonetic hint to four other answers in this puzzle) — today is THE IDES of March (?) and four answers begin with "I'D" so there are many "I'D"s ... in the grid ...

Theme answers:
  • "I'D TAKE THAT" (3D: "Sounds like a deal")
  • "I'D BE HONORED" (20D: "Yes, how nice of you to offer")
  • "I'D RATHER NOT" (15D: "Count me out")
  • "I'D BETTER GO" (30D: "It's getting late")
Word of the Day: BREN (11D: Air-cooled machine gun) —
  1. noun
    1. a lightweight quick-firing machine gun used by the Allied Forces in World War II.
• • •

THE IDES cannot stand alone like that. I have never seen or heard THE IDES given as a "date." "Hey, what's the date?" "Oh, it's THE IDES." Only in crosswords have I ever seen anyone posit that IDES might stand alone at all, as the midpoint of *any* month. If people know IDES it's in the phrase "THE IDES of March" and that is all. THE IDES, on its own, is a metric ton of preposterous. This puzzle was pretty easy, except for that "date." I had THE, and then THEI, and no idea how those letters might make a "date," and so I went from a lightning fast west half of the grid to a halting, awkward, slower east half—just because of the non-answer THE IDES. I was just lucky to know someone named NATAN, or moving in a connected fashion from the western to the eastern half of the grid might've proved totally impossible. There were answers and clues I liked in this puzzle (never heard BEAR PIT, but TAX DODGER (18A: One with a no-returns policy?), ELAINE MAY (60A: "A New Leaf" actress/director, 1971), and THE PILL (!) (42D: Sponge alternative) were very nice, but the themers almost all seemed misclued, or inadequately clued. ["Yes, how nice of you to offer"] sounds like someone offered you a ride home. Nothing about being "honored" in that clue. "I'D RATHER NOT" is at least somewhat less definitive an answer that ["Count me out"]. And "I'D TAKE THAT" barely sounds like something someone one would say at all. I see how IDES / "I'D"s is a cute thing, but the execution here, and specifically the stand-alone-ness of THE IDES, is kind of gruesome.

The fill in this one started out very rough. Tiny NW section gave me SUPE, POTTY and ETALII (ugh), and then NUTLIKE (??), so I was not hopeful, but the grid pulled out of its nosedive and ended up being reasonably clean and interesting, in the main. ROLLS DICE is not a phrase—the "THE" is kind of crucial if you want to sound plausibly human. And another day, another machine gun, I guess (BREN). This time, it's a machine gun from WWII that is just four letters long that somehow, in my god-knows-how-many years of solving, I've never seen. So we've gone deep into ancient crosswordese (I'm guessing) to bring you your machine gun today. On the day after UZI. On the day after #NationalWalkOutDay. Truly amazing timing on the NYT's part.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 6:17 AM  

Hah. Monday we had a one-eyed puzzle and today we have a four-ide puzzle.

March 15. THE IDES of March. So it’s a little easy for a Thursday. I agree with Rex that "IDES of March" is more common. But I’m glad this ran on the right day.

And like Rex, I noticed the outlier, I’D TAKE THAT. But while I think it absolutely *is* something someone would say… They offered you a 5% raise? I’d take that. It doesn’t’ feel as established as the other themers as an in-the-language phrase. I’d stop that. I’d remember that. I’d use more mouthwash

So if someone regularly uses Y’ALL, does that make them a RUBE? Asking for a friend.

I liked the TAX DODGER/ I’D RATHER NOT. Well, yeah. I’d rather not, too, but I do. And I don’t try to cheat ever. I feel such rage when I read of bajillionaires rathering not. And I’m not just talking about you-know-who - I’m really not. It seems our esteemed billionaire Governor hasn’t paid a bunch of his taxes, either. Can someone explain to me how this even happens? How my husband and I take it on the chin and do the right thing even though we’re not rich, but Big Shots get to take a pass? Seriously, when I allow myself to ruminate on this, I totally understand the rage that the guys storming the Bastille felt.

Misspelled SKINK as “skenk.” I read somewhere that when SKINKS attack, they go for outie belly buttons. With laser-like focus and ferocity. Hey @Larry Gilstrap– are you going to the ACPT again this year? Could you email me? It’s my first name spelled backwards @msn. I’d appreciate it.

Mr. DiPietro – a pleasure. I’d expect nothing less.

Lewis 6:32 AM  

Joe is a pro, coming up with this theme to honor this day -- great idea, Joe, and never done before! And what a beautiful stack you made with ACAIBERRY/TAXDODGER/BARSCENE. Also, SURE BETS is a lovely answer for the first big day of March Madness. My AHA at figuring out the theme came after the solve, and it was a good one.

As @rex has pointed out, Will is sticking to his guns...

MULL brought back the memory of a visit to the Isle in Scotland with that name, a place with spectacular scenery -- epic, truly -- and so worth driving through. And then you have the option to make a short hop over the water to IONA, a magically peaceful isle that will make all your stress melt away without you making any effort.

Anonymous 6:33 AM  

Proud of self for getting the right sense of “where plays are discussed,” but I filled in DUGOUT... oh well. At least my “you are wrong” antennae were functioning.

I always thought a yahoo was someone who makes a public pest of themselves. Kind of a frat boy or a-hole thing. Like a hooligan, but without the violence. And my “rube” is more just a bumpkin. Which one have I got wrong?

@lms, Y’ALL isn’t RUBE-speak. It has a special shade of meaning, to my ears anyway. As does “all Y’ALL” and “you-all,” with the “you” accented, all 3 different. Unfortunately, if you don’t live in the right region, they also sound affected. A big chunk of the country is language-deprived because of that.

Two Ponies 6:47 AM  

Having The Pill crossing Elaine reminded me immediately of the "Sponge-worthy" Seinfeld episode.
The itsy-eensy crossing is pretty lame.
Too bad the Ides wasn't on a Wednesday were this puzzle belonged.
So has the tradition of a tricky Thursday gone away? Again I feel cheated. Boo hiss.

puzzlehoarder 6:52 AM  

Yes an easy puzzle. My phone just lost the entire comment I was writing and it's not worth repeating. The damn thing suddenly switched screens to something about updating my photos. One of the many reasons I hate solving by phone.

BarbieBarbie 7:04 AM  

Oops. Anonymous at 6:33 was me. Sorry.

John H 7:15 AM  

"The ides" is perfectly ok as a stand alone. It's like saying the first or the 15th. Every month had an ides, usually the 13th or the 15th , in ancient Rome. The only reason The Ides of March is more common is because of Calpurnia's dream.

Dave 7:22 AM  

Rex, seeing that today IS the Ides of March, I'm far less concerned with THE IDES as a theme. For me, at least, the Ides of March was top-of-mind while I was completing the puzzle, so THE IDES answer, however inartful, came pretty quickly...

I do agree about the NYT's seeming obsession with guns, and its gruesome timing regarding many of its gun-related clues. I noticed it the first time on Oct. 3rd, two days after the Vegas massacre, when "Where 'flanked' is in the dictionary?" clued the answer UNDER FIRE. Someone needs to do a last-minute read of all the clues before the NYT posts the puzzle at 10pm, to avoid really untimely clues/answers...

webwinger 7:26 AM  

I found this puzzle very satisfying. Really liked the concept and thought all four i’d (eyed—har! @lms) themers were quite serviceable. Rant about reveal from OFL seemed more than usually uncalled for today. Again played harder at first than it turned out to be because I’d never heard of SKINK. YALL is becoming an indispensable word in second-person-plural-lacking standard English as “you guys” is increasingly targeted by the PC police. Will is indeed “sticking to his guns, @lewis. Agree with @2ponies that ELAINE crossing THE PILL immediately conjures Seinfeld; disagree re ETSY/EENSY, which I thought adorbs.

kitshef 7:27 AM  

2nd week in a row Thursday was easier than Wednesday.

Don’t know that we’ve had more disappointing back-to-back puzzles. Not just bad, but letdowns. Yesterday a rare Chen dud, and now an utterly un-Thursdayish Thursday, essentially built around four rhyme-based CECs – combining two of the lowest forms of clue.

Hoping for better things for the weekend.

Aketi 7:50 AM  
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Aketi 7:52 AM  
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RJ 7:52 AM  

Bad guessing slowed me down to almost 20 minutes on this puzzle. NE corner was fine then things like ANTEDATE instead of ANTECED, DUGOUT instead of HUDDLE, REDFLAG instead of REDCARD.

Seemed easy once I finished. And I agree with Rex that these gun references are starting to bug me.

dan 7:54 AM  

After I figured out THEIDES, I was confused by what the theme meant, since I'd already gotten both APRIL and MAY. I wondered if the theme were something like "middle of Spring months," expecting MARCH and JUNE.

And I knew that the WWII group was something like AWACS, which turned WEEK into AEON but then got stuck (and then unstuck). Ah, well.

Hungry Mother 8:12 AM  

I always have trouble with the spelling of OAXACA. On an RV caravan in Mexico in 2004, a Federale stopped me and asked where I was going. I tried to say OAXACA, but miserably failed. The policeman pronounced it for me in distain, but let me go without a bribe. Very fast solve today.

Wm. C. 8:14 AM  

When I saw the BREN machine gun entry, I knew it would draw a negative comment from OurFavoriteLiberal.

The Bren was the primary Light machine gun used by British and Commonwealth forces during WWII.

I guess OFL would prefer that they'd've thrown rocks against the Nazis instead. ;-)

Jamie C 8:20 AM  

I did NUTLIKE this puzzle.

Aketi 8:21 AM  

I liked the irony of the LO FAT FEAST cross. When I’m in FEAST mode, I’D RATHER not eat LO FAT options. I like my pumpkin pie made with the full fat evaporated milk topped with whipped cream. Wish I’d had time to make one for Pi Day. Then I’d have some leftover for breakfast this morning.

Is the grid rigged since SURE BETS ANTECEDEs the ROLLS of the DICE?

@LMS, I still remember my shock when a colleague confessed to me that she never reported her income as a lactation consultant. She got away with it too.

Since my husband and I are self employed our taxes are complicated. Every year we’d argue and I’d threaten divorce because my husband wouldn’t hire a tax accountant. After many years of my tax season threats my husband finally got a referral from his colleagues. Apparently their approach was to tell the accountant what they wanted to pay and he’d made it happen. We refused the suggestions that we felt were shady, but it didn’t dawned on us that he’d make a mistake that would increase our taxes. The IRS caught the error and sent a fair chunk of money back to us. I’ve done our taxes ever since, never daring to suggest an accountant again.

mmorgan 8:21 AM  

I was sure that 38A ("Date that provides a phonetic hint..." was going to have something to do with Pi day (especially because I solved this yesterday/last night and forgot it was Thursday's puzzle). So I was surprised the first time I saw two I'D answers. But I sailed through smoothly except for some blockage in the NW... until I got POTTY, then all was fine.

I don't disagree with Rex on UZIs in the puzzle, especially now. But Noel Coward's 1941 "Could You Please Oblige Us with a Bren Gun" is quite funny, in its appropriate (WWII) context (along with his 1943 "Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans).

Matthew G. 8:26 AM  

John Hnedak is correct. Every month has an ides, either the 13th or the 15th of the month depending on which month. And saying "the ides" by itself would convey the same sort of information as saying "the weekend" during a particular week. You know which ides is meant--the ides of the current month.

In short, a valid entry, and Rex is incorrect.

GHarris 8:29 AM  

Carelessly had muse for mull and, because I work on paper, did not get the alert provided to computer solvers and so had a deflating dnf. Nevertheless enjoyed the workout.

Z 8:32 AM  

Huh, if Merriam-Webster is correct, no months have THE IDES anymore. Nevertheless, Rex is wrong since the concept was never specific to March.

I am supposed to know ELAINE MAY? Why? Maybe for her role as Girl with note for Benjamin. I’m sure someone will inform us of her cultural significance, but I missed her 15 minutes of fame dealing with acne apparently. AÇAÍ BERRY looks worse to me in the puzzle than just our useful vowelly “açaí.” ROLLS DICE is missing an article. So that makes it a 75% side eye rate on the nine letter fill. Not good.

The themes are thrice abbreviations for “I would” and once an abbreviation for “I had.” Side eye number 4. This puzzle gets my quadruple side eye award. The award looks like the pyramid on the back of the dollar, only with the eyes glowering from the sides rather than the peak.

mmorgan 8:39 AM  

Um, no offense, @Z, we all know some things/people more than others, but Elaine May had a good bit more than 15 minutes of fame.

Stanley Hudson 8:52 AM  

Wikipedia ELAINE MAY. Very talented performer, director, and writer.

Rex’s rants often leave me cold but today’s is an outright tantrum. This was a solid Wednesday—not Thursday—puzzle.

Harryp 8:52 AM  

Right away, I wanted GECKO for 1Across, so it took a while to get that Northwest section straightened out, but altogether an easy Thursday. Naturally I'd missed the theme.

abalani500 8:53 AM  
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abalani500 8:55 AM  

@lms I’d rather not. But I do. As do most responsible citizens. I am fortunate but I pay my share. Butt only a rube would pay more than they are legally required to. Someone hands me a get-out-of-jail card and I take it. Doesn’t make me an asshole. Makes the government stupid for giving it to me.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

where is evil doug? Anything happen to him?

QuasiMojo 9:03 AM  

Be careful with those four-eyed jokes, @Loren (I'm wearing mine now so that I can KEY IN my comments and have been the butt of jokes about my Coke bottle glasses since I was 12.) Btw, "y'all" is perfectly acceptable anywhere so long as the speaker is referring to more than one person. If you say "y'all" to just one person you are doing a very bad impression of a Southern belle and would indeed be a RUBE.

@Z, Elaine May was the other half of Mike Nichols' comedy team. But I suspect you are pulling our leg. She also directed ISHTAR. Count me among the one-percent who never found her funny.

Last night someone posted at the very end of the day that "mon chéri" is wrong and should have been "ma chéri" and then went on to make more errors. It's "mon chéri" and "ma chérie" if you are saying "darling" or "honey." Mon cher/ma chère is different, it means "my dear."

As for the puzzle at hand, this has been a bad week for puzzles at the NYT. Weak and subpar fill, poorly conceived themes. While I love any reference to the Ides of March, I don't think I'D or IDes makes any sense. If you pluralized the letters I and D together it would be ID's with an apostrophe, or maybe even without one. But I doubt it would ever be IDes. If I were a copy editor, I would tell the author to says I's and D's and skip the whole IDES pun (if that is what you would call it) and to think of pleasing his intended audience rather than the editor.

I wanted JOE ALLEN's for the place to discuss plays.

I flew ET ALII once. It was a slog.

ACAI is a "food item" rich in OVERHYPE. The oat bran of the millennial set. Or Generation Zzzzzz.

JOHN X 9:04 AM  

Well, another underwhelming Thursday.

Just to be sure I wasn't imagining things, I looked back into the NYT archive of March of 2017, and then 2016, and then 2015, and the Thursday puzzles were all individual works of art, with rebuses, letters hidden in black squares, answers bent at 90 degrees, answers going in circles, etc. It used to take 15 minutes just to figure out what was going on (how come these answers don't fit?) before you could even start to solve the puzzle proper.

Today's puzzle? It is what it is, I guess.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

@Z 8:32 AM
Did you actually go to the trouble of linking Elaine May's IMDB page to your post and then proceed to ask who she is?

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

@John Hnedak makes a fine argument that I would wager didn’t occur to @Rex. But isn’t it the soothsayer, not Calpurnia, who uses the phrase in the play?

IMHO @WmC deftly pulls the rug out from under the anti-BREN sentiment.

I think I remembered ELAINE MAY's name from the floppy Ishtar.

Would clueing 63A as simply “begins turn, perhaps” have mitigated, if in only a tongue-in-cheek way, the need for the article?

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

It's interesting how Rex criticizes trivia he doesn't know or like. In the Roman calendar, the Kalends was the first day of the month. The Ides were either on the 13th or the 15th, 13th if the month has less than 31 days, on the 15th if the month has 31 days. Every month has an Ides, or Idus. Don't many of us like crosswords because we learn new things sometimes?

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Rex -- did you accidentally post the wrong XTC song? I was expecting "I'd like that".

Charles Flaster 9:34 AM  

Agree with all of Rex.
Also, upper left was poorly clued.
SUPE is a real stretch.
Only writeover—BAD AT for mAD AT.
Liked misdirect for HUDDLE.
After seeing MAY next to APRIL I thought I would find “IDES OF MARCH”.
Thanks JD

Z 9:47 AM  


@anon9:01 - He let us know awhile back that since the WSJ was at least as good as the NYTX he wouldn’t be visiting much anymore. Too bad. I always found him able to push me off my stances at least a little. Not an easy feat.

@mmorgan, @Stanley Hudson, & @Quasimojo - I looked up her IMDB page. All her most recognizable works were as a writer and unfortunately screenwriters don’t get even 15 minutes of fame as a rule. As a result, we got a clue for a work from 47 years ago. Since the US median age is 35.3 this means well over half of all Americans weren’t born yet when she did A New Leaf. Kudos to all the movie fans who knew her, but I will not be alone in wondering who the heck she is.

@anon9:19 - You almost got it. I linked to her IMDB page and asked if I was supposed to know her. I even referenced her “most famous role.” I’ll let you work out the subtle implications on the fleetingness of fame suggested by my use of a Warhol reference and allusion to my own long gone youth. Maybe I should have just quoted the wikipedia article on the movie; “A New Leaf fared poorly at the box office and remains little known by the general public. It is now considered a cult classic,” to drive home the general obscurity of clue and answer, but I always enjoy throwing in a little oblique social commentary as I pull people’s legs.

@Stanley Hudson - I’m confused. Today is Thursday, not Wednesday, so your last line makes it sound like you are agreeing with Rex’s “tantrum.” Time and theme made it feel more like a Tuesday puzzle to me.

mathgent 9:47 AM  

As @Jamie C (8:20) put it, a lot to NUTLIKE here.

I'm always dusappointed when a talented constructor like Joe DiPietro lays an egg.

Arden 9:53 AM  

Feeling super old. Elaine may is hella famous in my book

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

New record for a Thursday! Came in sub-five minutes, some six and a half minutes BELOW my average time.

And I even stumbled in a few places.

Agree that it felt more like a Tuesday. (Far too easy for Wednesday.)

GILL I. 10:07 AM  

All I had for a long time was TSO TAT. Oh...OAXACA, I had that next - best mole in the world. Finally saw 1D and its SUPE and so I was off and running. Got to 19A and said "please, please, don't let it be ET ALII. Guess what? POTTY mouth ensued.
Favorite entry was getting TAX DODGER. I thought the clue was kinda cute. That poor woman in New Hampshire who won the PowerBall half a billion and her dilemma in trying to remain anonymous. First thing I thought was dang, the TAX man just took half her winnings and to make things worse, she's scared to death her identity might come out and people will hound her for ever and ever. (Hi @pabloinnh)....
The billionaires I know love to bask in glory. They want to get into politics so that they can continue to make sure they remain TAX DODGERs. I wouldn't know how to be a TAX DODGER. Those IRS agents scare me to death. I was audited twice and I had hives months before my scheduled meeting. The first time was just a misunderstanding but I had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt and swear on my first born that I was telling the truth and nothing but the truth. When I get nervous, I can't stop talking. I know I bored the agent to tears so he finally let me off with just a warning. The second time, I had my CPA go
on my behalf. I still got hives. They were questioning my travel mileage. I carried this little black book and jotted down all the places I had to go to and how far the towns were and how much a filet mignon cost at HoJo's in Elko Nevada. She took one look at little black book scratchy entries and just said 'fine...you're dismissed."
I also like BAR SCENE under the TAX DODGER. I would imagine that's the place you wheel and deal and ROLL DICE making SURE BETS with the poor suckers who actual pay their fair share. ID TAKE THAT you SIMP.
OK puzzle but I want to play on Thursday. I didn't even get an AHA.

Linda Vale 10:09 AM  

I’m triggered by the word BREN

Bob Mills 10:10 AM  

Nice puzzle, albeit easy for a Thursday. The theme wasn't difficult to gauge, unlike many Thursdays.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Elaine May is well known as a writer/director, and the clue asks for a female writer/director in 1971, which is a pretty short list.

@Z You didn't know who Elaine May is (fine) but now you're trying to prove why everyone else shouldn't know who she is (bizarre).

"Oblique social commentary" = blathering

Mohair Sam 10:12 AM  

Good Lord Rex, today is March 15 and you had trouble sussing "THEIDES"? And then go on to rant about it? You sound as clueless as @Z giving ELAINE MAY only 15 minutes of fame. Maybe he's counting only the 15 minutes she spent with President Obama five years ago when she received the National Medal of the Arts for lifetime contributions.

When I worked as a small business loan officer I would get the occasional borrower who'd brag about their skills at being a TAX DODGER. I figured if he'd cheat on taxes he'd cheat on his financial statements too, and do whatever he could to avoid paying back his loan. I'd recommend another lender.

@LMS - I picked up Y'ALL from a roommate out of West Virginia when I was in the service. Loved the friendly sound of it and this Yankee put it in his vocab. Now you tell me I'm a RUBE. Sheesh. Or worse, it's an affectation per @Anon (6:33). Kick me while I'm down, why don't y'all?

The puzz? Probably a Wednesday, but Will would have had to wait 5 years to publish - so no complaints. Smart before POTTY, muse before MULL, and eenie before EENSY slowed us bit - but still an easy Thursday. When was the last time we saw the ALOU brothers? ELAINE MAY's "The Heartbreak Kid" (the original) one of my favorite comedies - the Ben Stiller 2007 remake a disaster.

Nice one Joe D.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Elaine May is well known as a writer/director, and the clue asks for a female writer/director in 1971, which is a pretty short list.

@Z You didn't know who Elaine May is (fine) but now you're trying to prove why everyone else shouldn't know who she is (bizarre).

"Oblique social commentary" = blathering

Chicago Chica 10:15 AM  

Got stuck in the West when I put in IDBEHAPPYTO

Sir Hillary 10:18 AM  

Second lousy Thursday in succession.

SKINK will have special meaning to anyone who has read most of Carl Hiaasen's hilarious novels.

A fellow Northeasterner friend of mine spent a few years in Greenville, SC. He used to tell me (somewhat seriously) that YALL could be singular or plural, but folks would say "all YALL" when they wanted to make it clear they were referring to the plural. I find that amusing, but I suspect most Southerners would find it inaccurate at best and insulting at worst.

IDRATHERNOT say anymore about the puzzle, as it would only be negative, and I'm in a good mood today.

JB 10:21 AM  

What do they teach in schools today? Totally appropriate to build your puzzle around the ides on the most famous ides of all time. And why would it be the ides of march if there weren't other ides, like one in every month? As I learned in sophomore latin, in March, July, October, and May, the ides fall on the fifteenth day. (Of course, many months fit the same meter as July and October, so I had to look that up - but remember May! Thanks Mr. V!)

Nancy 10:27 AM  

There are no words to describe how disappointed I am in this mindless softball of a Thursday puzzle. That makes two NYT clunkers in a row, as far as I'm concerned. On, now, to two lovely-looking and challenging puzzles that two different lovely people on this blog have been kind enough to send me. There will actually be some thinking done in the @Nancy household today, thank heavens!

pabloinnh 10:35 AM  

@GILL is right, the NH lady can remain anonymous, but they did allow the release of the name of her home town. May have to go down there and poke around some.

Today's peeve--folks who think that if something happened before they were born they shouldn't know it. I had this discussion with high school students all the time and used to ask them if they had heard of WWII or the pyramids or some other similarly famous thing.

Speaking of peeves, I wish whose who have trouble with puzzles because they "haven't had their coffee yet" would just drink their magic coffee and comment after that.

Liked today's fine, every month has ides, this one has I'd's, it's the 15th, and there you have it.

David 10:38 AM  

Apparently the NYT needs to flag puzzles with a Trigger Warning if they contain a gun reference.

Nancy 10:46 AM  

Aww, @Quasi! Aww @Z! Aww @Anyone Else I may have skimmed past. You cannot not know and/or not like ELAINE MAY. You just can't. @Teedmn sent me detailed instructions on embedding a link on Rex and I am going to try it out right now!. If it ends up in blue, just click. If not, go to Google (not YouTube) and type in "Nichols and May Funeral". Let's see what happens now:

Classic Skit

If it works, thank you, @Teedmn!

Nancy 10:47 AM  

It worked!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RooMonster 10:55 AM  

Hey All !
No one's mentioned Caesar. Isn't that what THE IDES of March is famous for? I'D think. Had the first E in THE IDES and was looking for a rebus, something like IDESOF(March). But not seeing any other rebus-ing happening, abandoned that, and sighed that it was THE IDES.

1A I'D bet was gekko until none of the Downs wanted to play nice, then when I figured out "the trick", put the I'D in 3 Down, and ended up with SKINK as the last answer in. Have heard of that rascally lizard, but it's been a while. Had to scour the ole brain to fish it out.

ROLLSDICE was a little toughie. Wanted ROLL the DICE, ROLL a die, then again was looking for a rebus. Head slap moment when I got the S for ROLLS. Funny on GAY PAREE, wanted GAY clubs, GAY bars...

Overall, a nice IDES puz, run on the correct day, but easy for a Thursday. Maybe have rebussed IDES next year? Of course, next year THE IDES won't be on a Thursday. I'D say.


jberg 11:01 AM  

I, too, had GECKO (Hi, @Harryp), and it took figuring out the theme to get rid of it.

As for that butterfly, of course I wanted it to float, but when that was too long I went to the mundane FLIeS. FLITS would have been clearly better had I thought of it. But at least that gave me SURE bEES at the last cross, i.e. "Flit like a butterfly, sure like a bee." I liked that. changing the e to T was the last thing I did.

I agree, ROLLS DICE needed the definite article -- but Latin doesn't have one, and when Caesar crossed the Rubicon against the orders of the Senate he cried out "alea jacta est" -- 'the die is cast' -- so this was vaguely thematic. And wasn't he fond of the ACAI BERRY?

This is our last full day in Captiva -- we head north tomorrow, by car, due back in Boston late Monday -- I may get a paper tomorrow on the way off the island, but if not I will see all of you all on Tuesday-- when there may be yet another snowstorm back home.

John Hoffman 11:11 AM  

Good puzzle – easy Thursday for me. The Hint made it easy. NW was hardest for me. SKINK!

1. Like Rex, I did not know the word BREN for machine gun. It's a machine-gun kind of week.
2. Cringeworthy Alert: “Sponge Alternative”: THEPILL. Yuck. What happened to the breakfast test?
3. SIMP – I’ve never heard this in use. Would it go like this: “Don’t ask him; he’s a simp.”

My Errors:
4- DEISM – I misread the clue; should be DEIST

Also, “Condo VIP” for SUPE is totally an east coast thing. In California, you might have a building manager, but no one has a SUPE.

Onward and upward! There can't be more machine guns this week, right?

jb129 11:15 AM  

I liked this a lot & unexpectedly flew through it -until I had to cheat for SKINK & saw my mistakes (muse for mull). Thank you Joe

Two Ponies 11:19 AM  

@ Sir Hillary 10:18, Re: Skink, yes!

Bren was a surprise to me esp. since it is so close to Sten the usual go-to crossword weapon, not as common as epee but frequently seen.

Associating the use of y'all with rube indicates an elitist prejudice against Southerners and the assumed lack of intelligence and sophistication. Where are the PC police on this issue?

old timer 11:25 AM  

Yeah, I'm hungry for a Thursday rebus, but I liked the puzzle on its own terms and it ran on the right day. I vaguely remember from long ago Latin classes that the Romans did not have numerical dates as we do. A date was measured from the Kalends or the Ides.

OFL was especially idiotic today. Nothing wrong with "ROLL DICE to start your turn, and move forward the number of squares indicated." It's not always "The" DICE because in many board games each side has their own DICE cup.

In football (soccer) a RED CARD as far more than a penalty indicator. When the ref shows a player a RED CARD he must leave the game, never to return.

I too have a relative in West Virginia. He says "y'all" for single "you" and "all y'all' to mean plural "you".

Wm. C. 11:34 AM  

@Jberg --

Too bad you're heading North to Boston so early. It's been really rough up there, our grandkids' school and nursery school closed for two days, so my son and daughter-in-law alternated staying home from work for a day. I'm afraid to see what the plow Guy's bill is when it comes in the mail.

We're in Bonita for another month. As legal FL residents (no income tax), we have to limit our time in Tax-achusetts these days.

As to the x-word, it reminded me of our attendance at the play "Cabaret" in NYC back in '67 or so, right after it opened. Joel Grey, Lotte Lenya, Bert Convey, Jack Gifford .. An amazing show.

Geophany 11:36 AM  

This was a bit too easy but pleasant, THEIDES obvious and utterly un-rantworthy! The power of Shakespeare—his little line obliterates the ides of any other month in many (even educated) minds

Wm. C. 11:36 AM  

Oops, forgot to add that the "Gay Paree" song as not in the play.

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:36 AM  

Lazy fill can sometimes be tolerated if it tries to piggyback on a strong theme. If none of those are there, give me funny/punny clues. What did I get out of this puzzle? Nothing. And on a Thursday.

OK, maybe I was a bit harsh. It did have some nice 9-letter words. ACAIBERRY (not just ACAI), TAXDODGER (with a punny clue!) made for a strong NE region. But there were some entries that were just bad. SIMP! BREN! SUPE! What the frak?!? And they were in not highly accessible corners. WAACS! Oh, also, ROLLSDICE is not legit, sorry. People roll the dice. THEIDES as a standalone answer is iffy, but may be tolerated. ROLLSDICE? No effing way.

These are all signs that the constructor rushed this one or simple didn't care. I don't like that feeling. I feel cheated.

GRADE: C-, 2.15 stars.

Gus 11:47 AM  

Yesterday, Deke made a comment about having more rockets in the puzzle. You know, the man makes a lot of sense.

Banana Diaquiri 11:49 AM  

c'mon. everybody knows BREN is the Maverick brother who's half Apache. which is why he's never seen on screen.

Barry Frain 12:00 PM  

Anonymous: "@Z You didn't know who Elaine May is (fine) but now you're trying to prove why everyone else shouldn't know who she is (bizarre)."

Not only bizarre but outre and freakish (like my women).

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

TJS 12:03 PM  

Was going to rant about Rex's rant re. "Ides" but thought I would check out the link from @Nancy's post first. Now I'm in too good a mood for ranting. Hysterical bit, if sadly too close to the truth.

Rita Hayworthless 12:03 PM  

@Gus: "Yesterday, Deke made a comment about having more rockets in the puzzle. You know, the man makes a lot of sense."

Why yass, yass yass he does *stroking chin knowingly*

Junior Soprano 12:05 PM  

The New Jersey yokel: "All yall's got some balls."

Masked and Anonymous 12:06 PM  

@RP write-up: THE IDES are somethin, surely. "Date" seems like a pretty good description for "middle day of the month".
Official M&A Help Desk Dictionary definition #2 for "date":
"a particular day or year when a given event occurred or will occur".

Anyhoo …

Best long-ball desperation = ROLLSDICE. This sounds like a Tarzan-esque version of a well-known phrase.
staff weeject pick (from only 8 candidates today): CTR. Woulda been a good date to pull out the IDA card.

Thanx, Mr. DiPietro. Clever theme idea.
@Shortzmeister: Good IDES puz pick. Slightly lite ThursPuz pick. Maybe needed some double-?? clues to put it over the ttop.

Masked & Anonym007Us

harder than snot:

Ed C 12:07 PM  

Rex, when you bitch about seeing words that remind you of things you don't like (UZI, BREN, TRUMP), what exactly are you getting at? You don't ever say it. Will you explicitly say that you want to prohibit certain words from the crossword, and that those words are in an ever-shifting list based on what is in the news?

But you don't actually say that. You just tsk tsk and move on, leaving the tacit implication that the NYT has messed up. I find the expectation that the NYT should preemptively self-censor so as to save you from making word associations to be downright childish. We all have shit we don't like, but they're just words.

Also, you do know that these puzzles are approved and slotted long before their publication, right? You must know that. Why do you pretend it's bad "timing" as if it's intentional?

QuasiMojo 12:09 PM  

@Nancy, alas, we can’t agree on everything. Some dislikes are like disabilities. I can not “get” Elaine May the way someone who is tone deaf can’t follow a tune. I made a point of the fact that I am no doubt rightfully in the minority. I feel that way about other humorists. It may be genetic.

Kimberly 12:21 PM  

THE IDES is the middle of any month. Since today is my husband’s birthday I woke up aware of the ides; I use the phrase a hundred times a year. “When is your husband’s birthday?” “The ides of March.” People who don’t know what date that is get a sigh in response.

So, I guess Thursday is dead now in the NYT crossword. Breaks my heart. I used to get excited to do Thursday puzzles with their tricks and gimmicks and aha moments. Now we just get two Wednesdays. Another loss to mourn.

Nate 12:23 PM  

Oof, the SW corner was a bloodbath for me. I have no idea who ELAINE MAY is, likely because the movie referenced was released 15 years before I was born. It doesn't look all that obscure, just a pop culture reference that has eluded me completely. The only thing I know about "the Sponge" is the Seinfeld episode, so I would have never guessed what the clue was referring to. Finally, I haven't a clue what in the world the GAY PAREE answer is all about.

Just total utter whiffage. Shrug...

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

@Z, Elaine May has remained relevant for her entire adult life. She's awesome.

@Ed C, Rex is either pandering to his base or he thinks crossword puzzles are encouraging gun violence and sexism.

@Quasi, My two best friends (male and female) don't think jokes are funny. Any jokes. Yet both are witty and hilarious. Go figure.

Puzzle wasn't easy for me, but in looking at the finished piece I'm not sure why.

Unknown 12:37 PM  

But the clue you mention does not reference guns in any way! It seems like you got what you wanted there, right?

Dick Swart 12:40 PM  

The Kalends, the Nones, and the Ides were fixtures of the Roman calendar for each month. With no numbers for each day, the Romans counted days 'before'.and 'after' these key days.

I enjoyed the Ides of March puzzle and was surprised at the blank in the Rex memory bank.

Aketi 12:55 PM  

@Nancy, loved the link. Made my day.

kitshef 12:59 PM  

@Nancy (and @Teedmn)- thank you for the clip. The voice reminds me of Anne Meara's - another funny lady (who gave birth to a painfully unfunny son).

Whatsername 1:15 PM  

This one left me feeling annoyed, like a book I finished but didn't like the ending and resented having spent the time. The crossing of ELAINE and the sponge(worthy) clue made me smile but that was the extent of any happy dance for me. I got the theme answers easily enough, but there was certainly no aha moment or that feeling of satisfaction once you figure out the trick. I briefly looked for an IRS or tax theme, trying to connect IDES to the answers of APRIL and TAXDODGER before realizing it was nothing more than four answers that started with ID. Yawn. I'd really rather not.

Joseph Michael 1:20 PM  

I'D say it's an OK puzzle that suffered the fate of being run inappropriately on a Thursday instead of a rebus. Except for I'D TAKE THAT, the themers were all common I'D expressions and the fill was solid. I enjoyed solving it.

I am generally anti the policies of the NRA and an advocate of common sense gun laws, but I have no problem acknowledging the existence of words like UZI and BREN or seeing them in a crossword. No such censorship, please. And let's not burn any books either.

Fie to those who wish to belittle Elaine May whose comedy is timeless. Check out the clip that @Nancy posted. For me, it was the highlight of today's experience in Crossworld.

Teedmn 1:24 PM  

I wouldn't have even noticed that today was THE IDES of March (and then, would the puzzle have been more fun, as a surprise, or not? I don't know) but I came in to the office later than I usually do and was shocked to find I was only the 2nd person to arrive. My co-worker, who had been here alone for 2 hours, upon seeing me, said, "I was wondering if everybody was afraid to come to work on the Ides of March."

A pretty easy puzzle when I was expecting a "hard and crunchy", NUTLIKE Thursday. Except for ANTEdate and qUATRO, which I fixed, this filled in nicely.

@Loren, great lead-off observation!

I liked the clue for TAX DODGER and HUDDLE. And seeing a SKINK in the grid. I've only seen one in real life - I was weeding my flower garden and something started wriggling away like a snake. It had bright gold stripes and a bright blue tail. Then I noticed the little legs. The internet told me it was a juvenile Prairie SKINK, very cool.

Congrats, @Nancy, on your successful linking! I will have to watch the video when I'm not at work.

Kimberly 1:24 PM  

@anonymous 12:23

There are alternatives to either “pandering” or believing that crosswords are inspiring violence. Part of enlightenment and growth is knowing that the world is rarely boiled down to two choices, and usually those trying to sell you on the idea that it can be aren’t just oversimplifying... they’re likely trying to muddle the issues to sway thinking. Fortunately, most educated people catch on to those logical fallacies fairly quickly. Unfortunately, most people aren’t educated any more. Those folks love the “two reasons” arguments. So simple. So little struggle to understand.

For your own edification, try to imagine a few more reasons someone might object to seeing guns included in the crossword puzzle for the last two days. If you can’t, then I guess you can just bask in the glory of making america great and avoid all that nasty thinking stuff.

Kimberly 1:26 PM  

@lauren muse smith:

Loved this line: “Hah. Monday we had a one-eyed puzzle and today we have a four-ide puzzle.”

Stanley Hudson 1:33 PM  

@Nancy, great link!

On y va 1:49 PM  

In soccer a penalty is a foul committed in the goal area. It is indicated when the referee points at the penalty spot. A red card is different. It is shown to a player that is dismissed for an egregious foul (such as violent conduct), or for committing a second yellow card offense.

Chip Hilton 1:57 PM  

No problem at all with THEIDES, pretty obvious, I thought. I started with the wonderful ELAINEMAY, worked rather quickly through everything except the NW corner. Tried gecko, which held me up. It was UNDUE that finally opened things up.

Like Rex, I put ! after 42D.’s clue on my puzzle.

Nice Thursday, all in all. Go, URI!

Bagelboy 2:01 PM  

No way easier than yesterday. Today took me exactly twice as long. I found this totally enjoyable. I speak a little Hebrew, so no problems with NATAN. hardest areas Got my start in the bottom right with SIGMA and TTOPS. Hardest part was the top right. Had LOGON and LOGIN before KEYIN. Had MOTOR before POTTY, and never heard of SKINK. and agree with Rex that ETALII is a poor answer. So a lot of work there to get.

Anonymous 2:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Black Sun 2:42 PM  

@ Anon 2:04, If you knew what a law-abiding person had to do to get a license to buy/own an automatic weapon you might not be so quick to make a joke in such poor taste. BTW the Obama DOJ allowed 500,000 fugitives to be deleted from the data base that keeps them from buying any sort of gun.

Mayfly 2:49 PM  

Another advantage of being old, besides relishing Wang and Maleska, is one can still remember Nichols and May when their improvisations were so hilarious, one could never finish listening to their sets because the audiences were so consumed with unrelenting laughter.

Joe Bleaux 2:58 PM  

For the first time ever, I'm skipping ahead and commenting before reading @Rex's critique or other solvers' posts. "Why?" you're probably not asking. As a retiree, I'm not an early riser, and it's my habit to save the puzzle until after I've read the news and opinion sections of the dailies I subscribe to. And that sometimes renders me dumbstruck til midday. Anyway, I arrive late and find that most anything I came to say has already been said. Then I say nothing, or post something irrelevant, and end up feeling foolish, or left out.
Today, though, I'm not putting my two cents back in my pocket. I don't care how many of Y'ALL already have cheered Joe Depietro's fun SW corner, in which he not only clues THE PILL as "Sponge alternative," but also crosses it with ELAINE May!
I'm off to reclaim my place at the back of the line now (and see whether anyone shares my sorrow that Evil Doug has flown our coop ... )

Ed C 3:01 PM  

@anon Well, I don't know if Rex has a base, as a politician would. I'm just truly baffled that a teacher, wordsmith, and word lover such as Rex would continually imply that some words are off limits merely because they remind him of distasteful things. I know many others feel the same. I just completely disagree.

Words are words. The English language is an amazing thing. I mistrust those who want to limit it merely because they have some weird feelings occasionally.

Art Wholeflaffer 3:22 PM  

I think I learned BREN from Mr. Maleska when one day STEN would not work.

I was probably crossed by NENE.

mmorgan 3:24 PM  

Does anyone else remember the animated Narragansett Beer commercials Mike Nichols and Elaine May did back in the 50s?

Ando 3:25 PM  

I liked this puzzle but I'm not a fan of the themers that you have to search around to find once the puzzle is done. It's not a hint if it's so obscured that it's not a hint.

Joe Bleaux 3:32 PM  

Your W Va cousin who addresses an individual -- one person -- as Y'ALL is one rara avis, old timer. Ever hear him order a grit for breakfast?

Two Ponies 3:37 PM  

@ Ed C 3:01, I completely agree that words are just words. Reading the news makes me wonder how long it will be before the book burning will begin.
@ Joe Bleaux 2:58, I share your sorrow.

GILL I. 4:34 PM  

@Nancy....HAH....You go girl...Que fun. Now, would you mind sending me @Teedmn's instructions? I had them somewhere ( I think it was @Z who gave a step-by-step tutorial and I've lost it)....
@Joe Bleaux. Double HAH...I get up early here on the left coast and usually finish by 6 or 6:30 am. It's 9 or 10 back east and the smarty pants have already figured everything out. All my clever notes tossed out the window...So, you can always do like I do and tell a completely non-related inane story about something that appears in the crossword. I always jump on an OKRA, KALE, or SKINK word. Your taste may vary.

Mammy Yokum 4:36 PM  

Alls y'all gotcher balls to the wall.

Longtime Admirer 4:38 PM  

@Gill I. was pretty dern slinky back in the day.

Ed C 4:45 PM  

@Kimberley Ok, I'll play along. I can imagine MANY reasons why people would object to particular words that make them think of things they don't like. But my big question: So what? It's a word. In a puzzle.

What do you propose when this happens? Is there a list of words that we can agree to remove? And once that happens, won't we be guilty of avoiding certain topics and "all that nasty thinking stuff" that you seem to deplore?

TCProf 5:03 PM  

Yeah, eliminating gun references in the NYT crossword will definitely vitiate the NRA and loosen their stranglehold on those in Congress who are too cowardly to enact sensible gun safety measures and who think that the slaughter of school children is an acceptable price to pay for the gun lobby's support. So as not to offend some people's delicate sensibilities, maybe the puzzle should include trigger (oh shit!) warnings.

Bax'N'Nex 5:13 PM  

I’m not a gun owner, think far more gun control is needed and, of course, am horrified by the amount of gun violence in the U.S. But to keep railing on the use of gun names that are legitimate words just to sound politically correct and further your agenda to get in another personal attack on Will Shortz is getting a little tired, Mike.

sanfranman59 5:25 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. Your results may vary.

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

Mon 4:32 4:09 1.09 74.8% Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:02 5:12 0.97 42.2% Medium
Wed 5:03 6:00 0.84 21.8% Easy-Medium
Thu 11:23 10:01 1.14 71.9% Medium-Challenging

I felt kind of annoyed as I was solving this, but it may just be nicotine withdrawal. I tend to struggle with Joe DiPietro puzzles, so that might be part of the annoyance also. I apparently don't think the way he does.

I made a few goofs along the way: TAX evadER for TAX DODGER (18A), awACS (Airborne Warning and Control System ... oops) for WAACS (25D), stEN for BREN (11D), tEenY for EENSY (32D ... not one of my fave crossword answers), CUesta(???) for CUATRO (41A).

All crosses: NATAN (46A) & ELAINE MAY (61A).

I'm not familiar with the term BEAR PIT, but it was inferable from the crosses I had. I'm not extremely well-versed in soccer lingo, but I thought that yellow and RED CARDs were given for fouls, with red cards indicating an extreme violation and expulsion from the game. A penalty results in a penalty kick. NUTLIKE is (a) barely a word/phrase and (b) awfully specific for such a general clue. The revealer made me groan, but that was probably the intent.

Joe Dipinto 5:28 PM  

Another day, another eyeroll-worthy comment from OFL. Every month has an Ides; it's a date near the middle of the month and it isn't necessarily the 15th. It's a perfectly good stand-alone answer. Try looking things up once in awhile.

And "gun" is a word, as are the names of types of guns, and words are what go into puzzles. If their inclusion upsets you so much, maybe you could ask Will Shortz to include trigger warnings on the puzzle. (Oh wait, I guess that wouldn't work for you either.)

I thought this puzzle was fine, but then I pretty much always like my near-namesake's puzzles. I don't recall the entire ACAI BERRY showing up before. BADAT, symmetrical with NATAN, looks like an Arabic name (Anwar BADAT?).

I hope all y'all had a lovely Ides Of March and didn't have to beware of anything.

ebtobiassen 5:34 PM  

The Kalends, the first of the month (whence "calendar"). The Nones, the seventh or ninth. The Ides. So why the full orchestra denunciation? Hurray for Elaine, long May she wave! And Bren and Uzi and no doubt "rifle" for "to steal," and "gun" for revving an engine, and "axe" for fire, and maybe "fire for igneous event, and, and, and , . . are all damnable because after all, really, everything is and must always be political, i.e. a chance to signal one's own moral wonderfulness and to instruct the unenlightened. Life is so much more fun that way, isn't it?

Nancy 5:36 PM  

One of the rare joys of getting to "a certain age" -- other than the fact that you managed to get there at all, of course -- is that sometimes you can share an indelible moment that was once in the zeitgeist (hi, @Z), and that then, somehow, disappeared completely from the zeitgeist. When I embedded the Nichols and May link this morning, I wondered: Can there be anyone here who hasn't already seen this classic comedy skit? Evidently there are a fair number of such people on this blog, and I am delighted if I was 1) able to give you a really good laugh and 2) able to introduce you to the ageless, timeless brilliance of ELAINE MAY. Some performers go out of style; the real greats never do.

Joe Dipinto 5:51 PM  

Oops, didn't see TCProf's comment before posting. Was probably in transit typing when he posted.

Carola 5:54 PM  

The IDES and I'Ds were the easy part. I crashed and burned in the fEAR PIT.
Despite my DNF, I enjoyed the puzzle, with the pleasures of TAX DODGER, BAR SCENE, THE PILL, ANTECEDE, RIFE, and THE IDES in the middle.
SURE BETS and ROLLS DICE are nice together.

Joe Dipinto 6:05 PM  

3d -- What you might say to yourself while contemplating shoplifting?

30d -- What you might say to yourself hopefully, after taking Ex-Lax?

JJ 6:32 PM  

Like GHarris@ 8:29, I had MUSE instead of MULL. I knew there was no way that the alternative to the sponge would be THE PILE.
I also have often heard that the plural of Y'ALL is ALL Y'ALL. "Are all y'all going to the movies?" Glad that @LMS's parents changed her middle name back from MULL.

FrankStein 6:33 PM  

Anyone else try SWIFT before SKINK?

DBlock 6:45 PM  

Got to the puzzle late but must go on the record
A New Leaf remains one of the funniest movies of all time
Walter Mattheu, Doris Roberts, Jack Weston and Elaine May are brilliant
So is her work with Mike Nichols

Z 6:50 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
'merican in GAY PAREE 6:51 PM  

Really late to the party today. Played very difficult for me, but that's because I got to 23 Down and misremembered the singer of "Smooth Operator" as SlADE. That made me assume that a rebus was going down. Got to 46 A (NAThAN), and that only reinforced my belief. Wanted FrESCO instead of FEAST, or at least ThERESA, so I went looking for a rebus there, too.

Also threw in crAnBERRY early on, which messed up the north-east real good.

Finally saw the error of my ways, and undid my many splendored rebuses (rebi?), and picked up my speed again.

But just could not gain much of a purchase in the SW, so finally Googled to get ELAINE MAY. Yet I still could not get it to work. Why? Because I had GAY PARis (pronounced "Paree" in French), and left it at that, with several strange-looking words that fed off it.

Sheesh. Well, the work-out at least was good.

Joe Dipinto 7:53 PM  

@Z: As words -- uttered or printed -- they are not in the same category as your supposed correlatives. Or in any "class" of offensiveness. They are simply the names of objects that exist.

Barry Frain 8:22 PM  

@Joe Dipinto said: "@Z: As words -- uttered or printed -- they are not in the same category as your supposed correlatives. Or in any 'class' of offensiveness. They are simply the names of objects that exist."

"simply the names of objects that exist": as in some circles are "nigger," "fuck," and "cunt." As are "beaner," "fudgepacker," "porch monkey," and "catamite."

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

Anonymous 9:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe Dipinto 9:11 PM  

@Barry Frain of East Biggs, CA --

#1. Fuck is not an object.

#2. People are not objects. The insulting words you cite -- I'm in awe that you know so many -- are directed by people toward other people to demean them. And, everyone would agree, they should and would never be used in a crossword puzzle.

#3. Bren, Uzi, and AK-47 are the names of objects that exist. Because they exist, they have to be *named something*. They are not insulting names for people you don't like. There is a distinct difference.

Two Ponies 9:28 PM  

@ Barry, Joe has a very valid point and was able to do it with some civility.

BobL 9:31 PM  

What a bunch of shit. People going nuts because a clue offends them? Its a gun. They exist.

Then equate that to truly offensive words - very poor.

Banana Diaquiri 9:53 PM  

I'm sufficiently cynical, given our carrot topped czar, not to be bothered by gun names, per se. what is clueless, on the part of Shortz (or whoever), is to insert them in puzzles *at this time*. looks very much like he's rubbing our noses in it. that's as much sociopath as the carrot topped czar's nonsense.

Joe Dipinto 10:14 PM  

Alright I know it's late and no one's going to see this but I'm posting it anyway:

15d -- How you might respond when your one-night stand asks you to stay over after crappy sex?

20d. -- How you might respond when your one-night stand asks you to stay over after incredibly amazing sex?

semioticus (shelbyl) 10:24 PM  

Welcome to the new age of hyperbolic arguments.

Rex's point -as far as I understand, and I'm sufficiently proud of my reading comprehension skills- is not to ban terms related to guns altogether forever. He's asking for a symbolic gesture: don't include guns in the puzzles while there's a very active and heated debate going on and people's wounds are still fresh.

Now, you can agree with it, or disagree with it. Because it's a point of view, and that's what sensible people do with points of view. What sensible people don't do, however, is twist the other persons' words and instead of responding to arguments keep on trolling the other side with a blatant disregard for basic human decency. Imho.

Tita 11:31 PM  

Does RUBE derive from RüBE, German for turnip? I'd like to think so.

@anon @ 6:33 - don't forget "All y'all", which my southern relations tell me is a thing too.

@Mohair - what kind of self-respecting yankee are you if you don't use Youse!

I finally signed up for ACPT!! My goal is to do no worse than last year. No wait. My goal is to have fun with my crossworld friends.
See you there!

I thought this was a disappointing Thursday. Maybe a Tuesday gimmick, but not Thursday trickiness. Clue for TAXDODGER was great. Happy to have gotten ALOU, after coming back to it 6 or 7 times. But with nothing in that corner, it's what finally opened it up and avoided a DNF.
I definitely did not guess what was going on today, so had to finally let myself see the revealer.

Anonymous 12:14 AM  

You’re in over your head Two Ponies. Sit back and learn from the adults in the room.

Unknown 1:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Z 5:42 AM  

@Anonymice - Good tries, but look at @Mohair Sam10:12 for an exemplar for how it’s done.

Also, interesting misinterpretation. If I say, for example, that the US skews center right politically (something you will find I say) don’t take that to mean I think the US should skew center right. Likewise, my pointing out that ELAINE MAY is relatively unknown now doesn’t mean she should be unknown. As I said would happen in my first post, someones did point out her cultural significance.

Changing over to the gun argument. If obscenity bothers you you might want to skip the rest of this.

I deleted the second half of my earlier comment and reposted this part. A quick glance at some of the replies reminded me I was wasting everyone’s time.

Theresa williams 6:59 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 7:50 AM  

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl ad blew people away; talk about next morning water cooler buzz! I've always thought of it as the best of all Super Bowls ads, certainly best for its time. Thanks for providing the vid.

Kimberly 12:44 PM  

@Ed C - I agree they are just words. I disagree with the simple-minded, propagandist, “either/or” explanation for Rex’s comments offered by the person to whom I was responding. I have no reason to justify or rationalize Rex’s objections because they are his own. That’s kind of the entire point of my post. People need to stop buying into those types of overly-simplified analyses that seek to invalidate someone’s opinions without ever bothering to understand them. It’s a common conservative news tactic and until people learn to question the thinking behind that kind of statement and recognize how false it is, that type of half-witted BS-spewing will propagate and the world will continue to spiral down the drain. Critical thinking skills and education are our only hopes.

Burma Shave 9:40 AM  


I’DTAKETHAT WEEK off for a thrill, and I’DBEHONORED, but, no,


spacecraft 11:09 AM  

March called; he wants THEIDSES back. This started out a bit NUTLIKE for me; had nothing in the NW so went looking for a gimme, finding it in the SW. Up the coast I traveled, and was perplexed with the HONORED entry. Four squares remaining, so not I'M, or I AM, or WE ARE. WE'RE?? Eventually I hit on I'DBE, but it felt a little off. Then as I seeped into the NW I soon saw that I had yet another ID. Wow, I thought, two of those in the same grid? Still no ID-ea that I was doing themers, which are usually across.

Passage to the east was not easy, as OFL said. But a date starting with THEI was enough to get the revealer, and what a golden AHA! moment that was! The rest of the puzzle SIMPly laid down and died, difficulty-wise.

So, an enjoyable solving experience. Joe wasn't too BADAT the fill, despite the NW stuff mentioned by OFL and the equally unlovely TTOPS. DOD is the sultry SADE. Birdie.

rondo 12:17 PM  

IDRATHERNOT tell YALL how long it took me to figure out THEIDES thing. Longer than it shoulda.

I am not a TAXDODGER, got ’em in just the other day. Postmarked a day early as it turns out. In about six WEEKs I should be a happy fellow.

Is it a Crime to call SADE a yeah baby. She says love is The Swedish Taboo. Har.

Certainly BETTER than a rebus. IDBETTERGO.

Diana,LIW 12:33 PM  

Got THE IDES very early on, tho I hesitated to actually fill it in. However, I'd be a lyin if I didn't tell ya that I had to be hit on the head with "I'd" after the puzzle was all done. Forgot there was a themer. Good thing head is still attached, as all our moms would say...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Et Tu?

PS - Saw a headline in the paper the other day offering advice on how to "fling your taxes" next year. On second glance, that's filing your taxes. Never mind...

rainforest 2:05 PM  

There's a lotta stuff to like in this puzzle, topped off with a perfect theme revealer - perfect for the day as well as the puzzle.

I think ELAINE MAY is/was wonderful, and her sketches with Mike Nichols were fabulous. I've probably previously seen the link that @Nancy posted, but I'll check it out anyway, for old time's sake.

I'D TAKE THAT sounds like someone commenting to a friend what he thinks about a deal the friend was offered.

Dear old Dad educated me about the BREN and Sten guns, neither of which ignite any negative response from me by their inclusion in a puzzle.

For a while I had MUse, and was wondering what THEPILe meant shortly before the head slap - thanks Y'ALL.

Enjoyed this one.

leftcoastTAM 2:13 PM  

Yes, THE IDES theme/revealer was quite helpful in the solve, but not all the fill(ings?) were SUREBETS.

SKINK(?), BREN (ugh), WAACS (double A), EENeY before EENSY, and nOFAT before LOFAT.

Nice to be reminded of the great ELAINEMAY.

Wasn't BADAT this one at all, and liked it.

Anonymous 6:18 PM  

what happened with this puzzle?? not a clue about islam or some freaking emir - keep it up -
who hasn't heard that the Ides of March is the 15th???

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