Idiosyncratic sorts / TUES 5-28-18 / Knight's steed / Piquancy / Lopsided game

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hi, everyone, it's Clare! So I have now graduated from college and am back on the West Coast (meaning I'm solving this puzzle at a much nicer time than when I was on the East Coast). I'm working as a waitress for the summer to save up money because a little birdy told me that law school costs a chunk of change. I'm also spending a lot of my free time as a sports fan (Go, Warriors!!) and got to cheer on the Yale men's lacrosse team this afternoon as they won the national championship!

Constructor: John Lieb

Relative difficulty: Quite hard for a Tuesday

THEME: Five answers that repeat three times the letters D, E, N, T, and S, leading to the revealer TRIDENTS

Theme answers:

  • ODDDUCKS (1A: Idiosyncratic sorts)
  • FREEEMAIL (20A: Google or Yahoo offering)
  • SUEANNNEVINS (26A: Betty White's role on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show")
  • PITTTHEELDER (45A: Moniker of an 18th century British statesman)
  • DRESSSIZE (53A: Sorting criterion at the women's department)

  • Word of the Day:
     BOHEMIA (10D: European region that lent its name to a nonconforming lifestyle)
    Bohemia is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, Bohemia sometimes refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia, especially in a historical context, such as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Bohemian kings. (Wikipedia)
    • • •
    I found the puzzle quite hard. It might have been because I was trying to solve the puzzle while also watching the Warriors basketball game (while praying for a ROUT), but I still think it played hard. Monday's puzzle felt like a Tuesday, and this Tuesday puzzle felt like it could have been a Wednesday. When I was done with the puzzle, I thought the theme looked clever and elegant, but it wasn't helpful for solving, and the answers DRESSSIZE and FREEEMAIL seemed pretty bland. Some of the acrosses, though, had fun answers like ODDDUCKS, NOOGIE, DHARMA, and PARANOIA. In general, the acrosses felt more elegant than the downs.

    There were a few places I got stuck. I thought that 39D: Snow may push them back, for short would be etas instead of ETDS. 37A: Many a word ending in -gon seemed like a weird way to clue for SHAPE. I had no idea what a UNI code was, and it also seems odd to have both UNI and UNA in the same puzzle. And, I found it very hard having SUEANNNEVINS (26A: Betty White's role on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show") as such a major answer. Betty White was maybe the fifth main character on that show, which went off the air more than 40 years ago. I also didn't know about KIDFLASH (7D: Speedy DC comics sidekick). I really wanted to make "The Flash" work, even though I knew that wouldn't be right. Watching DC comic shows on the CW apparently didn't help me very much.

    There was some nice pop culture in the northeast. Idina Menzel, a Broadway star, played alongside MIMI in "Rent," where "La Vie Boheme" (which sounds like the answer BOHEMIA) was a major song, and she was the voice of ELSA in "Frozen." J.J. Abrams, with Star Trek, Star Wars, etc... is always nice to see. You can even see DHARMA as a play off the TV show Dharma and Greg. I went back and listened to "La Vie Boheme," and it's a pretty fun song!

    I also liked some of the clues/answers...
    • 41A: Place for a sweater was quite funny. I originally put down "torso," but SAUNA is much better.
    • 65A: Indulges in too much Netflix as BINGES was nice (I may or may not have partaken in this — after I graduated).
    • The 63A Monopoly clue to get to AVENUE was clever. I got that one quickly, as I have played many, many games of Monopoly (I always have to be the banker).
    • I absolutely love Zora NEALE Hurston. I read part of a book of hers (Their Eyes Were Watching God) and completely fell in love with it, and I've remembered her ever since.
    Hope everyone has a great Tuesday! I'll be up for a while indulging in Sports Center coverage of my Warriors — then up early to watch more coverage!

    Signed, Clare Carroll, a retired Eli

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    Harryp 12:58 AM  

    Palme d'Or was my hold-up in this Medium Tuesday puzzle. SONATINA didn't help the solve process either, but persistence payed off . Lots of non-Tuesday goodies like DHARMA, and a bunch of PPP. I liked seeing PITT THE ELDER, and figured that would be OFL's answer of the day, but he was a no-show so I guessed wrong.

    Donald 1:08 AM  

    To be precise, the rank above major is lieutenant colonel (LTC) not colonel (COL). In a military career, there is a huge difference between reaching the rank of colonel versus lieutenant colonel.

    Larry Gilstrap 1:32 AM  

    Ok, lots of vowels and that whole triple repetition thing going on and a revealer that features gum (pl.)? Yeah, I know better, but somehow when I have to go searching for themes, I glazed over the DENTS magic.

    Ideal world: a theme "should be palpable and mute, As a globed fruit. Dumb. As old medallions to the thumb..."

    The White Stripes, Jack and Meg, cranked out the rock anthems filled with memorable instrumental hooks and driving rhythm. I like their work, admire Jack's musical passion, and Meg's Megness. Were they good songs? Apparently, good enough.

    Mo Pariser 1:33 AM  


    puzzlehoarder 1:55 AM  

    This was harder than your average Tuesday. For myself a lot of it had to do with a confusion of terms for 8D resulting in a progression from RUHR to SAHR and finally SAAR. With 7D originally going in as THEFLASH I was forced to restart the NW from the short entries in it's W end to straighten this all out.

    I did not get SHUNT at 26D just off the S and in the bottom tier I had a URL/UNI write over at 61D.

    All these little glitches on the downs in conjunction with the obscure names forming the two longest themers added a couple of minutes to my usual Tuesday time.

    Getting the "congratulations" upon entering the final letter I didn't bother looking further at the theme to catch D E N T aspect of it. The puzzle was solved and beyond it's ability to help me solve a puzzle I have little interest in themes.

    jae 2:23 AM  

    Medium-tough for me. ETaS before ETDS did not help. I noticed the triple letters early but the reveal put the icing on the cake. Clever, some nice long entires, liked it.

    'merican in Paris 2:47 AM  

    Congratulations on your graduation, Clare -- a HUGE accomplishment!

    Tough for me, too, for a Tuesday. My first entry was LEIA, but then I wrote in "websEarch" at 20A. That was pretty much the way it went: numerous answers typed in without checking the crosses -- some able to stand, many having to be completely rewritten -- and eventually having to resort to Mr. Google to find Zora NEALE Hurston's middle name. Among my many write-overs:

    cobra > VIPER
    glob > SYST
    esprEsso > LATTE ART
    PrixE D'OR > PALME D'OR
    gArlic > RADISH
    streets > AVENUE

    Didn't catch the clever revealer until coming here.

    Smiled at the clue for the White Stripes DUO. I recommended highly doing a YouTube search for Jack White shredding his guitar on the long version of "Ball and Biscuit". Blues-inspired rock at its best. I love watching his former wife (whose family name became his) on the drums, too, especially on that song.

    Question of the day: do ODD DUCKS suffer from PARANOIA?

    chefwen 2:58 AM  

    Clare, congratulations on your graduation! Quite an accomplishment.

    I found this to be pretty tough for Tuesday’s also, now that I look it over I can’t really pinpoint what was so tough, maybethe ABRAMS, MIMI, DHARMA corner. DHARMA finally came to me after I remembered that old TV show. The choreographer’s last name AILEY wasn’t coming to me and don’t ask me why but I had PDAS instead of PSAS. Finally refocused and brought it together.

    Tomorrow I’ll try to get my head in the game before rather rather than later.

    sanfranman59 2:58 AM  

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

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

    Mon 4:43 4:30 1.05 60.8% Medium-Challenging
    Tue 5:54 5:26 1.09 67.7% Medium-Challenging

    This seemed a little on the tough side for a Tuesday and my solve time reflects that. I didn't think the cluing was as straight-forward as a typical Tuesday and that's fine by me.

    ODD DUCKS, PARANOIA, NOOGIE and DHARMA are all answers I liked up top. I'm guessing that SUE ANN NIVENS will have some people up in arms. Mary Tyler Moore was on our television set every week back in the day, but I couldn't dredge up that last name until I had NI___S. LATTE ART is fun. I'm not much for comics, so KID FLASH was new to me. DRESS SIZE is a pretty dull themer, even if it has a Z.

    Lewis 6:10 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lewis 6:11 AM  

    1. Very clever theme. Just when you think all the good themes have been discovered...
    2. Is not the definition of crosswordese the ALAI/ALOU cross?
    3. As your resident alphadoppeltotter, I can tell you that despite the theme, the double letter count (and the trippple letters end up counting as a single double letter) was average.
    4. The theme answers were consistent, in that their first words ended with double letters.
    5. Beautiful to have MIMI near BOHEMIA.
    6. Congrats to the Cavs and Warrior, and yes, I have had PLAYOFFFEVER.
    7. This puzzle's theme was one to BALLYHOOOVER.
    8. And may I ADDDELIGHTFUL.

    BarbieBarbie 6:33 AM  

    Thought this was easy, theme popped out early, and it helped immeasurably with the solving. Fast Tuesday time. So I’m obviously in a different universe.

    Interesting review that illustrates this puzzle’s amazing construction nicely. I too found several of the cultural references to be obscure- but a completely different set from Claire’s. So, a great mix. Some really fun clues. Great puzzle.

    There have now been a few New Yorker puzzles, all by acclaimed constructors, all phoned-in-feeling, no real delight in any of them. At least one was even self-plagiarized, if that’s a thing. I have to conclude that Shortz and his team are a big reason the NYT puzzle is in general so much fun. Thanks @Will and all, and here’s hoping the NYer hires an equally talented editor.

    Loren Muse Smith 6:35 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Loren Muse Smith 6:36 AM  

    Clare – great write-up. Congratulations and good luck with law school.

    I love this kind of theme. Love it. As others are reporting, I found it pretty hard, too. As I was sniffing around looking for low-hanging fruit, I got DRESS SIZE, and immediately alarm bells started going off in my head. Those three S’s in a row were like a thematic siren.

    So I jumped up to its symmetrical partner, got FREE EMAIL, and was delighted. I did know SUE ANN NIVENS, but did not know PITT THE ELDER. Didn’t matter as it was fairly crossed. Clare has a good point on SUE ANN NIVENS, though. That was a long time ago, and she wasn’t a first-tier character. What else to get those three N’s, though? CNN NEWSROOM? Too short by one.

    @Lewis – first-class suggestions for themers!

    @’merican – I’ll add my own fowl question: Do geese see God?

    John Lieb – terrific fun. Loved the conceit and the reveal.

    The Harlem Renaissance 6:52 AM  

    "I absolutely love Zora NEALE Hurston. I read part of a book of hers (Their Eyes Were Watching God) and completely fell in love with it, and I've remembered her ever since."

    How much could you have loved it when you didn't bother to read the whole thing?

    Hungry Mother 6:59 AM  

    Whew! I really needed thos 3 letter runs on this one. Fear of failure was my thought until the last letter.

    kitshef 7:13 AM  

    @Clare – DHARMA is clearly a nod to the JJ Abrams series LOST.

    Overall, really solid. Good theme with a clever revealer, some nice fill, only two Star Wars clues.

    On the downside, SSN, DHL, PSAS, MSN, EMI, ETDs, plus SYST. and COL.

    An interesting cross-section of the best and the worst in puzzles.

    Anonymous 7:35 AM  

    Are you a first-tier commenter?

    GHarris 7:40 AM  

    Lots I didn’t know but got it all rather quickly and without a single cheat because the crossings were quite fair, the hardest being Sue crossing duo.

    RJ 7:41 AM  

    Congrats Clare!

    The comments so far remind me why I read this blog - I am always fascinated by the differing points of view and references. Its a daily reminder that "not everyone thinks like you!".

    Like many I think this was a challenging but enjoyable Tuesday. I probably added 4 minutes to the 16 solve time because I knew SUEANN but filled in GIVENS instead of NEVENS. Combined with ODDBALLS instead of ODDDUCK before I saw the themer made for lots of correction time. I also did not read the down clues for ODDDUCK/PARANOIA/ALANALDA because they all seemed to be words (bana, ana, LOL) up until I couldn't find an answer for KIDFLASH.

    I hate eating a RADISH (the round, red kind), even if its in a salad that someone else prepared (the best kind!). So that answer ended up being a mental block that had to come from the downs.

    Now to work!

    Latte Artist 7:43 AM  

    Clare is a lot less bitter than the guy who usually does the write up. That’s a good thing.

    SJ Austin 7:47 AM  

    I knew PITT THE ELDER from the classic Simpsons episode "Homer at the Bat".

    Came in a couple minutes faster than my usual Tuesday time.

    Ted 7:50 AM  

    Troubles all around, proper nouns to beat the band...

    SUEANNNIVENS had to be got entirely from crosses and educated guessing, as did AILEY, DANA, NEALE, our old friend RAVI.

    The SE corner ended up being the final holdout, with SONATINA not helping things. I'm a computer programmer by trade and I gave UNI the hairy eyeball.

    LATTEART? Is that... is that the term for that then?

    QP 7:54 AM  

    Yes, Dharma Initiative... loved that show

    Moly Shu 7:57 AM  

    @LMS, garlic cloe? Maybe I missed something while cycling through.
    The ultimate DHARMA is Buck Dharma of BOC fame. Just ask @BuckDharmody. Come on baby don’t fear the reaper.
    ups before DHL and no clue on MIMI. The rest was fairly easy. Also liked the ODDDUCK PARANOIA stack.
    @Roo, nice win in game 1 last night. That city must be going nuts.

    Loren Muse Smith 8:13 AM  

    @Moly Shu - oops. I fixed it. GARLIC CLOVE. Thanks.

    jackj 8:42 AM  

    Roo Monster- As I wrote to you yesterday:

    "Here's to the Redskin"s tribal cousin, big chief "Crushing Blow"!

    Go Caps!"

    Hope the chief wasn't Spooner sporked,
    or he'll be renamed "Blushing Crow".
    Congrats to Knights; but there's still time,
    come on Caps, six to go.

    Odd Sock (not duck) 8:45 AM  

    Alan Alda, Alai, Alou, Agra, ern, SSN, Eden …
    You would think opal was the only birthstone.
    Theme was OK but so heavy on proper names, esp. from show biz. Even two stupid Star Wars clues. Was it worth all this crosswordese?

    Latte artist today, soup kitchen ladle artist tomorrow.
    Would you care for a swirl in your swill?
    The restroom is there on your left.
    Have a nice day.

    Nancy 8:52 AM  

    It was hard, Clare! In fact I had a DNF with the PAL-EDOR/-SN cross (38D & 49A). I ran the alphabet on the Cannes film prize and nothing rang a bell -- must have skipped right over the M. I finally decided on PAL dE DOR, which sounded like nothing I'd ever heard of, but I liked the dE. As for the -SN -- well that could have been anything at all. And dSN certainly sounded like something familiar. Just as familiar as DHL, placed nearby and referring to something entirely different. Ugh to both. Still, not knowing PALME D'OR is My Very, Very Bad.

    All I could think of for 26A was The Happy Homemaker, but SUEANN NIVENS did come in. How quickly we forget. I've never heard of the same three letters in a row being referred to as a TRIDENT, but I'll take JL's word for it. Thought there were too many names -- the most obscure for me being KID FLASH and ABRAMS. Good clue for BOHEMIA (10D) and a great one for ETDS (39D). A 2nd crunchy early week puzzle in a row and I'm a happy camper, my DNF notwithstanding.

    QuasiMojo 8:53 AM  

    Boola boola, Claire. Lucky you. I went to California after my graduation too. A refreshing sea change from the DRAB "City of Elms" (erstwhile, alas.)

    Super Tuesday. I never even noticed the theme. I was too busy admiring PITT THE ELDER abutting WASP.

    Even though I have always liked Mary Tyler Moore, I am an ODD DUCK who never cottoned to the TV show bearing her name. So Betty White's character name was the equivalent of a NOOGIE to me today. At least we didn't get ASNER again for the umpteenth time.

    Nancy 8:55 AM  

    Aaahhh. Tri D E N T. I see now. Thanks, @puzzlehoarder. Others may have mentioned it earlier, but yours was the first reference that I read.

    Ann 9:06 AM  

    Czech this out, folks: “The Czech Republic wants to be known as "Czechia" to make it easier for companies and sports teams to use it on products and clothing. The country will retain its full name but Czechia will become the official short geographic name, as "France" is to "The French Republic." (BBC).
    Best from me, AKA, in college, The Bouncing Czech.

    Z 9:08 AM  

    For a letter-play theme this is pretty good.

    @LMS - Maybe, but I hear Dog is their co-pilot.

    I see the local high school mascot is in the puzzle. I can never quite decide how I feel about the boys being headlined as WARHORSEs but the girls are headlined as WARLassies.

    RVA flier 9:17 AM  

    Yep. This kind of put me off the puzzle right from the start.

    Congratulations on your graduation Clare. Nice write up.

    GILL I. 9:25 AM  

    Got in late last night and still recovering. If I ever eat another hot dog with whatever you call relish or baked beans with brown sugar up the wazoo or another warm Margarita, I'm cashing in my IRA and flying to Paris for a croissant.
    I guess seeing RADISH brought on the memory.
    First, congrats to Clare. My daughter has waitressed for years while taking a required course here and there for her Masters. She's good, so she makes lots of money. Move over, Flo.
    Pretty hard for a Tuesday. Maybe I'm just a little stale. Go three days without doing a puzzle and I become the ODD DUCK. Even with the struggles, I thought this was pretty nice. Look at all those non-Tuesday words. The NOOGIE BOHEMIA got a smile from did DHARMA and Greg. Loved that silly program. Betty. White can appear any time in any puzzle in any shape or form. Remember her in Match Game? Man, she was funny.
    I confess that I didn't know PITT THE ELDER. Add his first name William and it jogs the memory.
    LATTE ART is pretty neat. I've tried it. I like to froth my hot milk and make rose petals in my cup because I have nothing better to do in the morning.
    Nice puzzle, John Lieb although I think it was more Wednesdayish.

    paperandink 9:29 AM  

    finishing this puzzle gave me the aah moment that starts the day with zip! sueann nevins character gave me more laugh till you cry moments than i can count.. betty white is a brilliant comic.. thanks for the memories..

    congrats claire... quite an achievement.. now you can add people skills to your impressive vitae as a waitron.. when you have dialed for dollars, you will have scored the phd in street ed.. all very valuable in your chosen profession..

    go eli ... go claire!

    Jeff 9:33 AM  

    I read this almost entirely to see the different spots that catch people, which I think is fascinating. I had PALME D'OR (well the D'OR part--i blanked initially on PALME, but it came quickly) and SONATINA right off, having lived in France for a bit and played the piano all my life, but thought PITT THE ELDER was ridiculously obscure (I still don't know who he is).

    Can we get more Clare please?

    ArtO 9:39 AM  

    Great write up Claire. Perfect in tone and right on the money with every comment.

    Congratulations and good luck. Go Warriors!

    Anonymous 9:48 AM  

    The Alous come up a lot. Have we discussed their technique for toughening up their hands? I don't know if all of them did it but Moises and his dad Felipe definitely, well, google it if you're curious.

    kudos to Yale Lax. that team is no joke. They kicked the ever loving crud out of us. ( I won't name the school, c1ause Wm. C Will just sniff)

    Unknown 9:51 AM  

    I do not feel so bad having solved substantially over my Tuesday time. I didn;t mind a harder than usual Monday as it was a holiday and I had plenty of time. But Tuesday is back to work.

    I thought SUEANNNIVENS was lEEANN NIViNS for a while. That took a bit of time to find once I had filled the grid.

    Suzie Q 9:51 AM  

    If you have a theme you really want to work then I guess you do what you gotta do but Holy Crap, all this needs is Brian Eno and Yoko Ono to ride in on an emu and we'll be all set.

    I know hockey is an indoor sport even in cold places but having a hockey team from the Mojave Desert just seems strange. Kinda like a bobsled team from Jamaica.

    Stanley Hudson 9:55 AM  

    Have been reading Zora NEALE Hurston’s “Barracoon” so that one came quickly. Hurston wrote it in the Thirties but for a combination of reasons it wasn’t published until this year. Highly recommended, for whatever my rec is worth.

    Clare, congratulations �� and good luck with law school.

    Mohair Sam 9:56 AM  

    Well we liked the theme a lot. Puzz seemed to play tough, but the only write-over we had was COL for the correct "LTC" (not "more" correct, btw, but absolutely correct) - Hi @Donald Barclay. Still there were two Star Wars clues and one from comic books. In fact, lots of stuff we didn't know (SUEANNNIVENS?) - but all must have crossed fairly because we got through it easily enough.

    Blasted French with their "e" on the end of PALM, cost some time. AILEY is the new "Fosse" in Cruciverbia. Loved ODDDUCKS. use the term all the time (usually about Lady Mohair's side of the family).

    @Clare - Another terrific write-up - Congrats on the degree (Yale no less, impressive!) - and further congrats on heading to law school. That said, I'll have a BLT on white toast with fries on the side - and if you want any kind of tip that bacon will be damned crispy (tell 'em to slop on the mayo too), throw in a large cream soda. Thanks.

    Green Breakfast 9:59 AM  

    Buck Dharma
    Buck Dharmody
    DUCK Dharmody
    DUCK Dynasty

    Whatsername 10:03 AM  

    I had a tough time with this one and yes absolutely would label it “hard.” Finding yourself with a DNF on a Tuesday is highly demoralizing. Then I had a sinking feeling that I was going to go come to this site and see that the experts considered it Easy, further evidence of my inferior intellect. So thank you, Clare. You made my day.

    Anonymous 10:13 AM  

    Played easy for me, mostly because Sue Ann Nivens was a gimme. It does sadden me, with the passage of time and fading of cultural memory, that she was a WoE for Clare and others. Betty White was absolutely hilarious in the role, and on a show blessed with several of the finest female comedy actresses of the generation, she more than held her own. Nominated for three Emmies in the role and won twice.

    Anonymous 10:20 AM  

    @Nancy. Trident-3 DENTS. From top down, theme triple letters are D-E-N-T-S

    mathgent 10:26 AM  

    Wonderful puzzle. Clever theme, above average sparkle, sufficient crunch.

    Why I don't bet on sports any more. Houston, a team with the best record in the NBA because they shoot more three-pointers and make more than anyone else, made only 7 of 44 last night. The worst in team history.

    That probably sounds like I wanted Houston to win. Not at all. This San Francisco native has rooted for the Warriors all his life.

    Unknown 10:31 AM  

    Congratulations to the Yale Men's lacrosse team (and, as a former lax player at that rival college in NJ, you know how much it pains me to say that!)

    Junief 10:45 AM  

    I was about to ask the same question.

    Aketi 10:48 AM  

    @Clare, congrats and nice write up.

    I liked the three downward flowing DENTS, but there are actually four of DENTS if you count the horizontal one on the puzzle floor embedded in TRIDENTS.

    ODDly (or maybe I should sat evently) there are five triple and five double letter combos in the puzzle.

    I’m myself am no good at LATTE ART but I do enjoy a good barista artiste making my day by gentrifying my foam.

    emily 10:48 AM  

    Who is /what is PITT THE ELDER? Guess I will google it... wanted PITHHELMET to work.

    Sir Hillary 10:52 AM  

    Very good: This puzzle.

    Excellent: Clare's accomplishment (graduating) and her write-up.

    Truly awesome: @LMS's avatar.

    RooMonster 11:21 AM  

    Hey All !
    Didn't see, but really like, the D-E-N-T-S letters that are tripled to get revealer TRIDENTS. Much better than a puz I sent in with four letters together, called it Groupies, with themers DECREE EERILY, STALL LLOYD, KAZOO OOMPH, BOYCOTT TTOPS, but no revealer or other fancy twist.

    Not a horribly dreck filled puz, considering the six themers in here. Always a fan of many themers. Nice open corners, also. When was the last time you heard/gave/got NOOGIE? Fun

    So far this week, the puzs have been ramped up a tad difficult wise. Don't HATE that. It's not AT ISSUE. :-)

    TRUMP statement? = I AM HUGE (well, YUGE to him)


    RooMonster 11:24 AM  

    @jackj 8:42
    Man, what a game! I was exhausted watching it like I played in it! Your guy just missed that last goal try when Fluery was on the wrong side of the net. Whew! This is gonna be a good Finals!


    Anonymous 11:24 AM  

    Usually a lurker but wanted to chime in that this puzzle was tough as nails!

    Masked and Anonymous 11:27 AM  

    Primo ahhhar theme moments. TRI-DENTS. har

    Another fairly wide-open grid … a 74-worder, today. Woulda hoped for more desperate fillins than we got. At least we had SYST, to desperately hang on to.

    staff weeject picks: the SSN & MSN pair. Noticeably missin in action: the ever-popular USN.

    Lotsa cool entries in the long ball corner stacks, includin: PARANOIA. NOOGIE. BINGES. Also admired: PALMEDOR. KIDFLASH. WARHORSE. Didn't know SONATINA & LATTEART; lost a few nannnoseconds.
    Did sorta know SUEANNNIVENS, in remote memory imperfect recall terms ["LOUANNBIVENS, or somethin like that…"], and the theme mcguffin helped m&e out, to help flush SUE out of the long weeds.

    Thanx for the feisty TuesPuz, Mr. Lieb. Verrry well-crafted.
    Great writeup, Clare darlin. Outstandin highlight bullets. Congratz and good luck, lawyerin up.

    Masked & Anonym007Us

    old timer 11:27 AM  

    A good friend in law school was an Eli, and I can tell you, Clare, you will always be an Eli, and the Alumni Association will remind you of that on a regular basis. You don't say which law school you will attend, but I'm sure it will be highly rated. I lived in the law dorm my first year, at a school that was in the top ten when I enrolled -- top five now I think. The most interesting get-together at that dorm was on the first or second night at the dorm, when 25 of us or so gathered in the lounge, and someone asked the question, "What were you in high school?" Over 50% had been the president of their high school class. (Not me, but I was a preppie, and at the public high school I could have gone to, there were at least 10 kids I met in junior high who were smarter and better read than I, mostly Jewish).

    I do hope that hard as you will be working, Clare, you grace Rex's blog at least once a month. Twice a month would be even better.

    jb129 11:29 AM  

    Congrats, Clare! Puzzle was do-able but I also found it hard for a Tuesday.

    old timer 11:35 AM  

    Oh, I am of the age where DHARMA came immediately to mind because The DHARMA Bums was my favorite Kerouac novel, and its hero, Japhy Ryder (Gary Snyder) was and is my favorite poet of his generation.

    And you know a Lt Col. is always addressed as "Colonel". In some British regiments, the lieutenant colonel is the highest ranking regular officer in a regiment, and if promoted will become a Brigadier -- the Colonel is an honorary officer, often a member of the Royal Family.

    jberg 11:49 AM  

    I noticed the DDD in ODD DUCKS, and thought, " hey, that's neat!" I wasn't thinking theme yet, since it's rare for 1A to be a theme answer. But then I got FREE EMAIL (embarrassingly, a writeover after FREEEmoji), and the game was afoot. No idea about whom Betty White played, but knowing the theme helped me see PITT THE ELDER (since Younger was too long). And I would have had no idea what kind of size we were looking for if I didn't know it needed to end in SS. It's kind of weird, though -- I mean only dresses can be sorted by dress size, but the clue has to be vague because there's no good synonym for dress, I guess. Then I noticed that the triple letters spelled DENTS, and was expecting some clue about a car accident -- compared to which, TRIDENTS is brilliant. So it's a fine puzzle.

    All I know about "Rent" is that it's a remake of "La Boheme," but that's all I needed to know to get MIMI.

    @Loren, nice set of DUOs. combine with todays triplets, come up with some quadruplets (too tired to think of any on the spot), and you will have hit for the cycle.

    Anonymous 12:04 PM  

    Am I supposed to care about the opinion of someone who says
    I absolutely love Zora NEALE Hurston. I read part of a book of hers (Their Eyes Were Watching God) and completely fell in love with it, and I've remembered her ever since.
    She read “part of a book” & ....?!?! Oof.

    Anonymous 12:32 PM  

    I have never liked the 3-point shot. It turned basketball into a carnival game. It added some boredom to the game. It's not even the most difficult shot to make. And if that's all you have and you go cold, well, you're screwed.

    Anonymous 1:01 PM  

    Nobody is upset over the misspelling of "butt in" in 50 down? Surprised it wasn't caught in editing.

    Anonymous 1:13 PM  

    @Meta Critics Here:

    There are 7 ranks above Major in the US Army, any one which has a 3 letter abbreviation would be a valid answer to 5D. Had 5D been clued as "Rank immediately above Maj, the complaints that LTC is the correct answer would be correct.

    I read three pages of a Zora NEALE Hurston book and completely fell in love with it, and I've remembered her ever since. That is an complete and accurate statement of my introduction to Zora NEALE Hurston's writing. I've since read all her work but the one recently published. That is another accurate and complete statement. One does not obviate the other.

    Teedmn 1:23 PM  

    I'll agree with the harder than average Tuesday rating. I got the theme idea (though not the full TRI-DENTS, of course) when I saw the triple Ds in 1A (not related to bra sizes, har). But I insisted in going the wrong way when possible, with UPS before DHL, cobra before VIPER and starting to put in Dull before DRAB in the SW.

    @Nancy, I hesitated at 38D - was it PALM D'ORE or PALME D'OR. I went with the latter luckily.

    @jberg, your comment about DRESSes brought the word "frock" to mind. I have a friend, who, whatever you are wearing, will say, "Nice frock", whether to a man or woman. I don't think he gets the frock = dress concept.

    LATTE ART is akin to Guinness foam art. I always admired the shamrocks some bartenders put into the tops of our beer in Ireland.

    Thanks John Lieb for a non-Tuesday-ish Tuesday. Clare, congrats on graduating and thanks for the write-up.

    Missy 1:28 PM  

    Not upset because it's "cut in."

    Hartley70 1:40 PM  

    I found this smarter and more interesting than an average Tuesday. KIDFLASH was the only answer that was a complete unknown. I saw the theme visually about 3/4th of the way down the grid, but the revealer was brilliant. The DENTS blew me away.

    Anonymous 1:54 PM  

    Congratulations, Clare! And congrats to Yale Lax! Boola, Boola!

    JC66 1:58 PM  


    See @Roo's. 11:21 post for quads.

    Mark N 2:19 PM  

    Lord PALMErston!

    Lewis 2:31 PM  

    @anon 1:01 -- I was thinking BUTT IN originally as well, but it turns out to be CUT IN.

    Lars 2:32 PM  

    Hi, let me add my congratulations!

    But can’t believe you made it through college without some geometry along the way (Many a word ending in -gon)!
    …are all two-dimensional shapes

    Hapless Idiot 3:18 PM  

    @Green Breakfast, ease up on the tree bro.

    Rita Hayworthless 3:21 PM  

    What's up with the implicit fat shaming lately? Answers referring to dress size, bras, cups, etc.

    More microaggressions from the NYT.

    File as fog 3:26 PM  

    William Pitt was a British parliamentarian wayyy back in the day. His eldest son, also William, was also a politician, and to distinguish between them in the halls of Westminster, they were referred to as Pitt the Elder and Pitt the Younger. I don’t think any malice was intended, but it did lead to an hilarious exchange in the Blackadder The Third episode entitled “Dish and Dishonesty”.

    tea73 3:30 PM  

    Found this slightly easier than average. Helps that I was an Anglophile in high school and a group of us got our favorite teacher to offer a year of British History so PITT THE ELDER came once I got the P and a couple of other letters. Had no idea Betty White was in Mary Tyler Moore's show though I watched the follow-up Lou Grant religiously. Congrats to Clare on her graduation!

    Unknown 3:34 PM  

    I also appreciated DHARMA and ABRAMS in close proximity. One little nit to pick with the cluing for KIDFLASH: SPEEDY is already the name of a DC sidekick (Green Arrow's sidekick, actually). It's no biggie, but it threw me off just a bit.

    Bill Palmer 4:02 PM  

    Clare, nothing is more important right now than the Warriors, not even crossword puzzles. I will say that your review here is close in excellence to a 35-foot Steph 3.

    scampson 4:38 PM  

    Thank you. I only read down this far to make sure somebody retorted “Looord PALMerston!!l

    Anonymous 4:51 PM  

    Nice imagination!

    Randall H 5:07 PM  

    @‘merican in Paris 2:47 AM - “Do ODD DUCKS have PARANOIA?” Not in this grid. In this grid, PARANOIA is beneath them. Or ODD DUCKS are above that sort of thing. Whichever!

    Aketi 5:36 PM  

    @Teedmn, I’m jealous. No one ever offered me Guinness foam ART! I’d take that any day over LATTE ART (and grid ART for that matter).

    Azzurro 5:46 PM  

    I liked this one but found it really easy for a Tuesday. Then again, I found Monday's fare to be brutal, so maybe it's just me.

    Congrats, Clare and GO WARRIORS!

    sanfranman59 6:15 PM  

    @mathgent: And at one point, they missed 27 3-pointers IN A ROW! Unbelievable. I know that's their game, but don't you have to try shooting from inside the arc at some point.

    Z 6:45 PM  

    @sanfranman59 - FiveThirtyEight calculated that missing 27 in a row was a 1 in 72,000 occurrence if it was just chance.

    @mohair sam - I thought you might like this article on Le Rouge.

    Dad 10:30 PM  

    Is someone paying for email somewhere?

    Anonymous 10:31 PM  

    Do. Not. Go. To. Law. School.

    Unless you can go for free or go to a top 7 school or have a job waiting for you before the first day of classes of your first year.

    Do. Not.

    Mohair Sam 11:18 PM  

    @Z- Great stuff, thank you. You know you'll eventually lose DCFC to the billionaires buying into MLS, and it is a shame for all the reasons in the article. A system of relegation and promotion would make the sport much more interesting to US fans, and always leave hope for the fans of the DCFC's out there - but it will never happen.

    Anonymous 3:59 AM  

    Doh! - somehow missed that on the solve! That makes me feel better.

    Mark N 9:14 PM  

    I mean, with the PITTTHEELDER / PALMEDOR cross, how could I not?

    Unknown 9:46 AM  

    Just what I was going to say. This country turns out 40,000 lawyers a year and most are worthless parasites. Years ago, one of my younger brothers called me after he graduated from college and said he was thinking of going to law school. No you’re not, I replied. You’re coming down to Louisiana and going to medical school like I did. He did as instructed and is now a cardiologist living happily ever after.
    I also have two other brothers and a sister who went to law school and are miserable/no longer practicing, living on social security. I think there’s a moral to that story.

    Burma Shave 10:57 AM  


    of ODDDUCKS against a KIDFLASH, of course.
    With ZEST she'll LEIA like an old WARHORSE.


    spacecraft 10:59 AM  

    Almost left the NW with what would've been a DNF. "Obviously," 1-across was ODDballs. That's what you say. You do NOT, EVER, say "ODDDUCKS." The downs all looked fine: bANA, aNA, lOL, without checking the clues. But then, who was LID_____? At length I went back there and checked the down clues: oops! So then I had this unknown person (I do NOT, nor does any intelligent person I know, watch Fox News) and ODD_UCKS. No, I'm not going there. I left the Natick blank until encountering more triple letters; then it was truly obvious.

    These themers were all extremely tortured entries, surely not worth their triple-ness. When the revealer added the extra layer of spelling out D-E-N-T-S, it was a bit of a saving grace, but still. Not only themers but fill suffer. Is LATTEART really a thing? I wouldn't know; Starbucks would laugh me out of the shop when I ask for a plain black coffee:

    "What flavor?"
    "Just regular."
    "Well, we have Colombian..."
    "Look, you have coffee, right?"
    "Put some in a cup, don't add anything to it, and give it to me."
    "Man, you are one strange dude."

    And I guess there are SONATINAS, short sonatas? Whatever. The whole thing was pretty much a mess. Jenna Elfman takes the DOD sash as DHARMA. The DENTS thing moved this one from double-bogey to bogey.

    thefogman 12:53 PM  

    Not sure if this one was designed to PITTTHEELDERs against the newcomers but even I could not remember Betty White's character on MTM - and I am almost a ghost. DNF'd because of that. I had NeVINS instead of NIVINS (and of course mispelled BOHEMIA). Doh! Cool concept and fun to solve. Nicely done John Lieb.

    Diana,LIW 1:31 PM  

    Interesting. Even tho I had the same Natick trap to fall into as @Foggy, the NeVINS/BOHEMeA (yes, duh) area. I blame my worsening eyes for not catching it on final check.

    But truly seemed more Tuesday-like than yesterday's "non-Monday" offering. And I do agree that the newbies might bow to the ELDERS regarding getting the trick.

    I loved SUEANN. Love Betty White, in general. She's a good egg. Could she be your DOD?

    Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

    leftcoastTAM 2:35 PM  

    IAM delighted with this triple letter DDD EEE NNN TTT SSS theme that also gives us TRI-DENTS, with an "aha!" ending.

    Wanted PiAS ("i" as in interest) instead of PSAS to make anagrams of LEIA and ELiA. Liked it so much that I left it that way for a rather uncalled for dnf.

    But IAM not devastated.

    thefogman 4:16 PM  

    One of Betty White's finest moments...

    Anonymous 4:34 PM  

    I'm sorry, but intersecting Nivens with Elsa/Ilsa was poor! Natick as far as I'm concerned.

    Anonymous 4:37 PM  

    Great puzzle Mr Lieb. Great write-up Ms Clare.

    And I love the 3 point shot. It often drives the big men bonkers, and gives the little men a better chance to make it in a big man's game.

    rainforest 6:05 PM  

    Late, as I frequently am, but I just wanted to say a few things:

    I no longer watch NBA basketball, and am losing interest in college ball. Dunks and 3-pointers ruin it. Put the hoop a foot higher. Eliminate the 3-point shot. Bring back Steve Nash.

    ODD DUCK may be a Britishism, but I see it as uniquely "different" person, while an ODD BALL is more a term for something out of the norm. My elementary school principal was an ODD DUCK while Grade 9 was on odd-ball year for me.

    LATTE ART is truly a skill which I have tried, but can't master.

    Good, if easy, puzzle and a very nice write-up by Clare. TRIDENTS was the perfect revealer. I concur with all who love Betty White. Many years ago she could have been the DOD/yeah baby.

    leftcoastTAM 7:36 PM  

    @rainforest -- Agree with your two points on 3-pointers and dunks. Players are getting too limited in their specialties. They need to specialists to a point, but not by eliminating real ball handlers.

    leftcoastTAM 7:43 PM  

    ...but only one LeBron or Magic (or Nash, Stockton, Cousy, comes along in an era.

    rainforest 11:34 PM  

    @leftcoastTAM Love that you mentioned Cousy, Stockton, Lebron, and Magic along with Nash. Now, there was/is basketball.

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