Opposite of colorblindness? / SUN 6-24-18 / "Coo-oo-ool!" / Aromatic yellow citrus / Dr Sattler Jurassic Park paleobotanist / Friendly cartoon character / Expenditures counterpart / Fairy tale lump / Modern subject of FAA regulation

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Easy, except for the top middle section (15:29)

THEME: "Creature Feature" — A "Jaws"-themed puzzle featuring sharkish references as well as five rebus FINS that can be connected by a line to depict, um, a fin.

Theme answers:
  • DORSAL FIN (24A: Worrisome sight for a swimmer)
  • FINNS (32A: Some northern Europeans)
  • FINISHERS (43A: Ones eligible for marathon prizes)
  • HUFFINESS (59A: Peevish quality)
  • REFINANCE (61A: Get a new mortgage)
  • SEA MONSTER (68A: Scylla or Charybdis)
  • DEEP THREAT (74A: Speedy wide receiver, perhaps)
  • GREAT WHITE (86A/87A: What might cost you an arm and a leg?)
  • SHARK (99A: Menace in 106-Down)
  • JAWS (106D: 1975 summer blockbuster)
  • SPIELBERG (3D: 106-Down director)
  • AMITY ISLAND (112A: Fictional setting for 106-Down)

Word of the Day: YUZU (90D: Aromatic yellow citrus) —
Citrus junos or yuzu is a citrus fruit and plant in the family RutaceaeThe yuzu's flavour is tart, closely resembling that of the grapefruit, with overtones of mandarin orange. It is rarely eaten as a fruit, though in the Japanese cuisine its aromatic zest (outer rind) is used to garnish some dishes, and its juice is commonly used as a seasoning, somewhat as lemon is used in other cuisines.
It is an integral ingredient (along with sudachidaidai, and other similar fruits) in the citrus-based sauce ponzu, and yuzu vinegar is also produced. (wikipedia)
• • •
Craig Mazin here, guesting for Rex. I was honestly hoping for a puzzle I could feel passionate about one way or another, and in a nice bit of serendipity, I'm a screenwriter who happened to get a movie-themed Sunday to review.

Then the anti-serendipity kicked in, and I ended up with sort of a middling puzzle. It's doing a lot... there are loads of themers in the grid, plus a rebus, PLUS a connect-the-dots game at the end... and maybe that's the problem. There wasn't much stylistic cohesion to the gimmicks, and given that "Jaws" isn't exactly an underexamined cultural phenomenon, this one kinda just bobbed in the SALT BATH for me.

Let's start with the good: the grid is very light on junky fill, with only ARR, HES, HGTS, STDS, NTH and ANA making me say UHOH (don't you dare suggest ESAI is bad fill, as he has become a lovely comfort to an OLD HAND like me). Along the way, I nodded at BOBA TEA (my daughter is obsessed with that boba stuff, which I find way too SLIMY) and the almost-a-themer REEL BIG FISH (66D: Ska-punk band with the 1997 song "Sell Out").

But the grid design! What's happening here? There's no rotational symmetry, so I'm guessing the placement of the black squares indicates... is it the shark's wide open mouth coming to eat me?

No, that cross in the middle is a mast! Hmmm, maybe it's the boat (which was named "Orca," and honestly, how can you not include ORCA in a grid about Jaws when ORCA shows up in 94% of all crosswords in general?).

The truth is, I'm not sure what I'm looking at, and so I'm a little irked by the tricky design. It failed to make me smile, but it definitely got me grouchy at the very top middle, where OLDHAND, REVENUE and DORSALFIN were really pinched off, and the downs didn't make solving that walled-off section much easier-- DVR as a verb, HES, LEOS (it's fine to expect us to know the names and symbols of astrological signs, but please don't ask me to learn what nonsense personality qualities they're supposed to indicate), and our first FIN rebus in DEFINES.

Once that initial FIN fell, I presumed I'd be finding bits of SHARK all around... maybe a TOOTH, a GILL, or even a DOLLSEYE...

...but nope. Just more FINS. Fins that I was told to connect together to create a picture of .... OOH, WHAT WILL IT BE? WILL IT BE A-- oh... it's another fin.

Which immediately made me think:

The FIN FINALE occurred before reaching the midline of the grid, at which point the puzzle sort of turned into a "look at all the shark and movie words" game, which....

...is not a great game.

As I reached the southwest corner, I became concerned that there was yet another theme fragment emerging, as a bunch of Z's started cropping up... but that was a red herring, and this is a white shark puzzle. I did enjoy the way WARE squeezed in between ANAL and STDS... wow, we almost had an ANAL/WART/STDS stack in the New York Times, folks.

And then there's everyone's favorite SEA MONSTER duo, Scylla and Charybdis. No doubt most of you know them as the two monsters featured in The Odyssey (well, sort of monsters, inasmuch as they took the form of a sea cliff and a whirlpool), but I first learned about them from Professor Gordon Sumner, aka Sting. Scylla and Charybdis make a lyrically ambitious cameo early on in "Wrapped Around Your Finger" by The Police.

Finally, while everyone knows SPIELBERG directed JAWS, there wouldn't have been anything to direct had there been no screenplay by Carl Gottlieb and Peter Benchley.

Carl Gottlieb, by the way, managed to write Jaws and The Jerk... two of the best J movies ever made, and two wildly different films. Carl is definitely an ALLTIMER.

Signed, Craig Mazin, Resident of CrossWorld


Unknown 12:16 AM  

Your review was much more fun to read than it was to do the puzzle.

Trombone Tom 12:29 AM  

I agree wholeheartedly with Craig's review. The puzzle was a nice Sunday romp with decent fill, but WOE to make of the "artwork?"

I liked how DEEP THREAT fit in.

Currently the marine fishery experts are trying to figure out what happened to a great white whose badly cut body washed up on the coast down toward Santa Cruz.

Anonymous 12:30 AM  

Huzzahs for Tim, recognizing the importance of the 43rd anniversary, quite possibly the most important anniversary of all. Chumps go for the easy and obvious 25th or 50th, but not Tim. Like your wedding anniversaries, 25 or 50 really aren't important benchmarks. You have an important one when the last kid flies the coop, which usually is around 25 but generally later. What matters is that you make it past its being just the two of you again, 25 is meaningless. Same for 50, it's just that neither has died yet. The important one around that time is when both of you has retired. That's where 43 matters.

BK 12:45 AM  

To me, the grid looks like a shark swimming up from the depths about to swallow a swimmer.
Loved the puzzle.. Esai/Amis was a natick for me though.

Andrew Goodridge 12:46 AM  

I listen to Scriptnotes religiously. You and John are like old friends. Thank you for providing your fans with hundreds and hundreds of hours of entertainment. You have no idea how much your show has made an impact on my life. Thank you so, so much for everything you do.

joebloggs 1:04 AM  

Little hint with the astrological signs “LEO” is the only one that is 3 letters long. That’s how I went about that clue. I have no idea what qualities go with which signs. I think it’s a bunch of nonsense anyway...

Monty Boy 1:50 AM  

Am I among the first to comment?? Amazing.

Liked this a lot, mostly because I finished with no errors. Medium/Challenging for me, 6 Mazins (I don’t know the conversion factor to Rexes) – I’m definitely a recreational solver, NOT a speed solver.

A Q short of a panogram (SP?). And 4 zees in six squares. Impressive.

My take on the grid design:
The horizontal black squares above SEA MONSTER, DEEP THREAT are the water surface. The verticals through the water surface are the shark/great white's DORSAL FIN, part below water line, part above. All the FIN rebuses (rebi?) are above water line, maybe other sharks. All the fish/monster answers are below the water line as they should be. As for the other diagonal black squares, I dunno. Maybe bubbles? Needed to allow short words? All the answers can't be long.

My solving hang up was keeping BIGOTed for way too long. Finally saw the the RY would make the obvious TROUT and HYMN. A case where an answer you're absolutely sure of, really isn't.

Anonymous 2:10 AM  

Maybe it's a crab?

Larry Gilstrap 2:36 AM  

Wow! My least favorites: grid art, asymmetrical rebus, and ANAL clued as a personality trait. I'd almost rather look over my shoulder and see a physician snapping on the latex glove. It's a veritable trifecta of irritants, but oddly, I'm fine with this Sunday effort. Wishing everyone a sunny solve on the PATIO.

Yep, that top middle was the last to tumble. I think REFINANCE was the break through answer. Let's use the equity in our house to buy a boat, for example. What could go wrong? Consult a loan SHARK, indeed!

Has it been 16 years since that whole ENRON debacle? What was that all about? I guess if I really cared, I could look it up. Let me guess, greedy, immoral corporate cabal. Glad those days are in the rear view mirror, irony emoticon.

I'm a native of citrus country, and have lived and worked for many years behind the Orange Curtain, but YUZU is a new one on me. Speaking of which, Santa ANA is the County Seat and has been a diverse mini-metropolis for ages. It's not far from Anaheim Stadium the home of the greatest baseball player of this era, Mike TROUT.

When I think of a TENOR, Pavarotti comes to mind, not the two Justins, but the guys can sing, apparently.

JOHN X 3:17 AM  

Pretty easy puzzle for me, but I guess it will be a lot of fun for casual solvers.

I don't know 'bout no writin' but Carl Gottlieb played "Ugly John" in MASH. I think his only lines were during the round of introductions when Duke and Hawkeye arive at the mess tent in the stolen jeep, and again during the card game he says something possibly. He's in the background in a bunch of other scenes though. MASH is the Robert Altman feature film and is awesome; not to be confused with M*A*S*H the TV show, which was okay I guess during its first two seasons thanks to Larry Gelbart but then became a parody in the rest of its run as Alan Alda seemingly tried to get pregnant each and every episode.

ANAL was in the puzzle like four times this week.

Loren Muse Smith 5:14 AM  

Enjoyed your write-up, Craig. Thanks for filling in.

I watched a documentary on the making of Jaws. Fascinating. That duh duh duh duh music changed my life in the way Hitchcock made me revisit the idea of a closed shower curtain. Being an awfulizer is exhausting.

The mistake that held me back for a while was putting in “intact” for ONE ACT. The clue was “with no break.” As in being in an Italian restaurant and making sure that the delicious long skinny bread thingy I choose isn’t a broken one. Or maybe that your femur and fibula are still intact after a spectacular fall down the basement steps ‘cause you were taking them two and a time in high heels ‘cause you were running late for an event. Guilty.

@Monty Boy – I see what your mean about that horizontal line being the ocean’s surface. When I figured out (early ‘cause I’m a smart Little Miss Prisspot), I immediately saw this image in the grid. So that part with FINNS on top is the shark’s snout and the black in the middle is, as Craig suggested, his maw.

I rather liked sniffing around the grid for all the other shark-related entries. UH OH, FRAZZLES, OLD HAND (Quint), ARR, DREADS, DOUBT, HAUNTS, SALT BATH, and, sure, the “something extraordinary that won’t be soon forgotten" ALL TIMER. That music.

I heard yesterday on Ask Me Another that a girl GREAT WHITE isn’t ready to have kids until she’s 33 years old. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

As tribute puzzles go, this one floats my boat: rebus squares, connect-the-dots, lots of theme entries. Nice job, Timothy.

Tim Aurthur 5:17 AM  

I like the symmetry of DROP opposite JAWS.

Ken Wurman 5:34 AM  

Me thinks "water hazard" and "reel big fish" are also theme answers..

Lewis 6:44 AM  

Some theme-y clues: "Sinking feeling", "Bad-mouth", "Gobbled (down)", and "This is looking bad".
DEAF EAR can be re-parsed and reclued as "What a drug dealer may feel".
Re the grid design: There's the cross in the middle, and a grid filled with words. Wait! Cross... words... nah.
Re that this is the 43rd Jaws anniversary: There are no gemstones or flowers to mark this anniversary, so a puzzle isn't a bad idea at all.
This clean puzzle gave me enough resistance to keep the crossword chops fine-tuned -- thank you, Timothy.
The Jaws theme is easier to play on the piano than "Heart and Soul", and the exact notes, by the way, are E and F.

kitshef 6:59 AM  

Love me a rebus on any day, and really enjoyed this one right up to the grid art phase, which fell flat as a tapeworm. Why is the aeroplane flying into the fin?

Plus got to learn some new things that I bet will come in handy some day like YUZU and BOBA and REEL BIG FISH.

Had a few writeovers, most very reasonable where my answer also fit the clue. Not so, however, for pERot before KERRY, a ‘what was I thinking?’ boner.

Stanley Hudson 7:23 AM  

What @Kenneth Wurman said.

QuasiMojo 7:47 AM  

I filled it all in, but I'd rather have had a Mickey Fin.

A few months ago, TCM showed JAWS and I watched it for the second time, having seen it when it first came out in 1975. I didn't like it then and I like it even less now. It is simply NOT a good movie despite all the hoopla, hype and PR TEAMS working overtime to make it an ALL TIMER. Yes, it was wildly successful and changed how movies are made and marketed, and not for the best, but as a work of cinematic art? I have my DOUBTS. Aside from Elmer Bernstein's music, and bits and pieces of Robert Shaw's acting, IT'S just OK.

Lewis 7:52 AM  

@quasi -- The music to Jaws was by John Williams.

RJ 8:12 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 8:22 AM  

I hope my wiki never reads "ridicules him frequently from his Twitter account."

Mike E 8:36 AM  

Enjoyed the guest review more than the puzzle. It wasn't just the lack of symmetry that was a bit annoying - it was after connecting the 5 fins, I looked at it and thought either I can't draw or my imagination has hit a serious roadblock. Anyway, mostly not a problem except for the "intact" entry in the upper right, like Loren mentioned, that stymied me for a while. Just about right for a Sunday - and I now have time to go searching the local greengrocers for the mythical yuzu.

Teedmn 8:44 AM  

I remember seeing JAWS in the theater in 1975. People screamed. The entire audience jumped when the mangled bodies of victims popped into view. It was certainly groundbreaking in the way it manipulated one's reactions. At least "You'll never go in the water again" didn't hold true for me - the closest water was the municipal swimming pool; no ocean for thousands of miles in any direction.

Lots of nice answers in this: TAWDRY, DOUBTS, WATER HAZARD, ELICITED, SATORI, FRAZZLES, and the TIE-ins of SEA MONSTER and DEEP THREAT. I really liked the clue for 94A, "Is there in spirit?" = HAUNTS. Solving online meant I didn't get to draw the fin, which is okay. When I mentally tried to draw it, I forgot where the fifth FIN (DEFINES) was so I got a truncated fin which wasn't any more of a let-down than the full FIN. The grid ART was the least interesting part of this puzzle for me.

Great Sunday puzzle, Timothy Polin.

Unknown 8:50 AM  

I thought it was great. Good job. Fun but a little challenging in spots. Unpretentious. I enjoyed it. Have a great Sunday y’all!

QuasiMojo 8:57 AM  

@Lewis 7:52AM -- LOL. My bad. Of course it was. I was just watching another film with a score by Elmer before posting that comment, CAHILL, US MARSHALL starring John Wayne, and I got them mixed up. Thanks for correcting me.

pabloinnh 8:59 AM  

Got the FIN rebus early and spent the rest of the puzzle on the lookout for fins, sort of like the people in the movie looking for fins, and I liked that.

Also, nice tenor shoutout. We tenors like to point out that there are no albums titled "The Three Basses". Or baritones.

Fun Sunday, fun review.

Also, England leading at HALFTIME 5-0. WTF?

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

This is also the 5th anniversary of Hangover 3.

Exubesq 9:09 AM  

I thought the upgraded app meant we would get fancy grid art upon completion.

L 9:11 AM  

Isn't EXPENDITURES' counterpart supposed to be revenueS? Is this just a huge stupid typo?

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

I agree with the first commenter that reading this review was much more fun than doing the puzzle. The (almost) anal warts STD stack made me laugh out loud.

Matt G 9:15 AM  

I'm embarrassed to admit I had DEEP THROAT for 74A (Speedy wide receiver, perhaps) for quite a while until I reasoned out the cross at 66D. I couldn't believe what I was seeing!!

George 9:21 AM  

JAWS was on TV yesterday.

ArtO 9:31 AM  

Since the entire bottom was "fin-less" just never picked up on the rebus and DNF the top middle.

Birchbark 9:33 AM  

REEL BIG FISH is also a theme answer.

To me, the grid is a cubist double-take on a shark attack: JAWS coming straight at you, superimposed with a side-view FIN. That plus the strewn-about theme answers and puzzle gimmicks pleasantly evoke the horrifying chaos of it all.

three of clubs 9:35 AM  


Maxine Nerdström 9:42 AM  

@Matt G, same reaction to 74A, i am football ignorant and i entered DEEPTHRoAT thinking... no way... no way?!

i thought this was a fun puzzle. i was waiting for other shark body parts to pop up too, but then i imagined all the fins circling me in the water and the terror of watching Jaws for the first time returned. cinema greatness.

giant BUT: what spoiled the experience for me was 88D: GORILLAS, clued as thugs. *yikes.* i’m not going to get into a comment discussion here about how i’m an oversensitive millennial snowflake or whatever. that clue/answer pairing is deeply problematic given that “thug” is often used these days as a dog whistle for the nword (commonly used describing black, male, unarmed victims of police shootings, for example). to make the answer GORILLAS, when black folks have also historically been compared to apes by racist white people seeking to dehumanize and shame, is a breathtakingly bad choice. racist. tone deaf at best. bad. bad. ugh.

Andrew Heinegg 9:45 AM  

When you bring your biases with you when solving a puzzle (how can you not?), it may lessen the enjoyment of the experience. In my case, I have never been able to appreciate Mr. Spielberg as a director. I always get a sense of thinness and unlikelihood to the dialogue and plot, a feeling of fauxness, if you will pardon my use of a non-word. Yes, I understand that it is fiction and meant to entertain, scare etc. I also get it that I am in a tiny group of people holding that opinion.

Mr. Polin is a very polished and accomplished constructor and, my personal bent aside, this was a nice puzzle for its cluing and answers. I could also have done without the fin business, a little too cute for me.

The guest reviewer and LMS, as always, made coming to the blog worthwhile. I do hope for a truly memorable and brain-twisting Sunday in the near future. Perhaps, as Rex reminds us, as long as the NYT keeps making the beaucoup bucks and paying out peanuts, it might be a long wait.

Sharkfinsoup 10:00 AM  

I took the shape of the grid to be the crosshairs of the gun over the dorsal fin when Roy Scheider says "Smile you son of a beach"...

Nancy 10:03 AM  

Except for the NW tip, I loved the puzzle -- even though I didn't draw anything. (I never draw anything; I refuse to draw anything.) But a rebus is always welcome, and on Sunday it's a special treat. I was sorry when the puzzle was over -- an unusual sentiment on a Sunday.

Ah, but that NW tip got me and I DNF. I had hiPSTeR instead of POP STAR at 4D, so I never thought of CASPER. (Ended up with CAShER, the friendly banker toon.) And I didn't know what a DIPiLE was, but then I don't know what a DIPOLE is, either (20A). (If anyone here tells me to go Google it, I will personally feed him to a GREAT WHITE SHARK. Fair warning.)

I didn't know A-FAB, but the B rang a bell and I filled it in correctly. This left me with BOBe TEA instead of BOBA TEA (because of HIpsteR) and one made no more sense to me than the other. My knowledge of TEAS is sort of limited to Lipton, Tetley, and my fave, English Breakfast.

The rest of the puzzle was easy. Adore the clues for HAUNTS (94A), BIGOTRY (41A) and love the answers DEAF EAR and DEEP THREAT. Had a great deal of fun, even though I had a DNF.

Hartley70 10:22 AM  

I think of this as a "kitchen sink" puzzle. It's got a ton of tricks thrown together and lucky for me, I loved them all. Rebus, love it. Visual gimmick, love it. "Jaws" theme, love it. Proper names that I know, yes. A tough little conundrum in the middle of the top but not impossible, thanks! It was a fun start to the day.

Wm. C. 10:43 AM  

@L9:11 - - Re: REVEVUE(s?):

Actually, both can work. Revenue is a collective plural noun, one could say that "The town's expenditures exceeded its {Revenue of Revenues}. Both are correct

As to the puzzle, the ambitious news of its design created an over-abundance of small, weakly-connected areas, and therefore few pieces of longis fill (8 characters or more, say). Just scanning the fill, I counted just eight pieces of fill with more than 8 squares. Of course if we count the rebi, it'd add another ten, but still .. Eight or even Eighteen of a total of over 130 pieces of fill that have fewer than 19 letters creates a very chopped-up puzzle. Edges toward a feeling of doing a mot of mini-puzzles.

As to the Jaws theme, a very memorable movie for all of us who saw it. I remember well that I and my wife (then girlfriend) saw it at a drive-in movie place on Cape Cod on a foggy, drizzly evening. The setting strongly amplified the atmosphere during the scary scenes.

Nancy 11:09 AM  

@Larry G (2:36) -- There's such a thing as an irony emoticon??? Really???

@Loren (5:14) -- You take stairs "two at a time, in high heels"???? Wow! Just wow! I know you're younger than I am, but I couldn't have done that forty years ago, either. I take stairs one at a time, usually in sneakers, very slowly, and holding on to the bannister for dear life. Boy, do I envy your balance and agility.

@sharksfinsoup (10:00) --I like swimming in the ocean, hence made a conscious decision years ago never to see JAWS, and I never have. One of the most SAPIENT decisions I've ever made. But what a great, campy line that is: "Smile, you son of a beach." Thanks for sharing it with at least one person who's never heard it.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

I found connecting the four FIN squares to form a "fin" a bit pathetic, especially since there was no clue that the same three letters would be bunched together four times in squares that for some reason were above the middle of the puzzle. Also, the cross of black squares in the middle made no sense to me, and the explanations here were of no help. For me it was altogether an unpleasant Sunday puzzle.

Carola 11:33 AM  

I rank this on as an unusually entertaining Sunday. Besides the treat of a rebus - where we even get to draw what the rebus squares say - the cluing of some of the theme answers was so nicely creative. I especially liked the SEA MONSTER - DEEP THREAT line. Also liked WOLFED as a complement to MAN-EATING. NEATO puzzle.

@joebloggs, as a Taurus (=always right about everything), I can tell you that you’re wrong about the astrological signs. (I hope that you can feel the smile coming through.)

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

IMHO, the "rebus" is a cheat. Crosswords are designed to hold one letter per square. And to repeat the same answer simply to connect the themer? Weak sauce. That is all...

GILL I. 12:13 PM  

Like @Nancy and @Hartley, I enjoyed this kitchen sink and all. A JAWS theme...right up my alley. Hell, @Nancy...good thing you never watched it. I could not swim in the ocean for years after watching that movie at such an impressionable and tender age....(5).... :-)
Had oodles of write-overs but I didn't care. This kept me entertained. The hardest part was figuring out the FIN rebus. RE[FIN]ANCE had to be right and of course SUR[FIN] USA. God, I hated that song. Every single bitchen dude with bleached WHITE hair skateboarding down the POP in The Palisades sang that song. And speaking of that same section, I had trouble with AB FAB. Something extraordinary that can't be forgotten was ILL TIMED for a spot. Then I remember watching AB FAB and thinking what a little stinky Britcom. I've been spoiled by the likes of "Waiting For God" and "Keeping Up Appearances." Don't get me even started on Mr. Bean.....He should have been cast with that not so FAB group.
Hand up for DEEP THROAT and never changing it. I mean you can use your imagination with a speedy wide receiver, no?
I like KERRY on the left coast and PO BOY on the right. I like FRAZZLES JAZZUP RAZZES and I really liked todays write-up.
It's going to be over 100 today in Auburn but my friend has Netflix and we're going to couch potato all day.

JC66 12:31 PM  

With ANAL appearing again, today, I thought all the ANOS complainers might enjoy this.

GHarris 12:37 PM  

Was an enjoyable workout, especially once the Northern Europeans turned me on to the rebus. Still, dnf because of the unfair, in my opinion, crossing of Abfam and boba tea.l never got the “b”.

oh maybelline 12:39 PM  

Same here, @MattG. Great minds think alike.

TubaDon 12:40 PM  

Agreed with Craig's review except for the difficulty, exaberated by self-made roadblocks. Mis-spelled CASPAR and plunked in ADAGE for 45A (Still think that is a better answer than AXIOM!) Got the rebus at 43D when I thought ELFIN works but is too long...whoa, theres a FIN in there. Last answer in was DVR which I also take issue to. Altho I've R'd many DVD's, DVR on most acronym finders ends in ER not ING.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

im seeing dorsal fin in the crosshairs of a harpoon gun... anyone?

SailorSteveHolt 12:47 PM  

@Maxine, “thug” is a South Asian word introduced to the American English lexicon in the mid-1800s vía reports of violence in the British Raj. American newspapers immediately directed it at domestic gangs, which, until the late 1900s, had been almost exclusively White: first Irish immigrants then Italian bootleggers and mobsters. (It’s worth noting that “White” is a bit of an anachronism; the concept of Whiteness, always malleable, had excluded both ethnicities during these periods.) In fact, one of the early Irish gangs named themselves the Gorillas, completely independent of African Americans.

Take a look at this reference book from 1949: Criminal Slang: The Vernacular of the Underground Lingo. Specifically, note the definition for gorilla: https://books.google.com/books?id=nN81uyN8WmIC&pg=PA105&dq=%22thug%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Mij5UvykCOjV0QG4nICoBA&ved=0CEMQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22thug%22&f=false

Again, these connotations arose decades before the association of Black people and urban violence. It’s a pre-Millennial reference point very familiar to a readership that skews older (i.e., New York Times subscribers), less so, apparently, to younger audiences.

Here’s the thing: I’m a Millennial, too. I’m also liberal and care deeply about social justice. The reflexiveness with which my peers slander the rest of the country as bigots (racists, misogynists, homophobes) disgusts and infuriates me. There’s an arrogance to it, too—shaming people over topics they (clearly) know little about. Have you never watched The Godfather? Goodfellas? The Untouchables? Gangs of New York? Scarface? We’re surrounded by windows to culture and history, but you don’t even think to look.

Younger activists have adopted a form of protest that totally undermines liberal goals. Each uninformed accusation of racial (or whatever) hatred further diminishes not only their credibility but the credibility of those of us for whom these issues are deeply personal.

puzzlehoarder 1:08 PM  

This puzzle was a mixed bag. I found the difficulty level completely different from one section to another. The west side with the exception of the rebus portion was the easy part.

I particularly enjoyed the NE corner. Not only did I have the INTACT/ONEACT write over but an ADAGE/AXIOM one to overcome as well.

Much less enjoyable is this new NOM/NOD choice we are now forced to deal with. If NOM is actually now used that way it represents a new low. Real or not it does not enhance the solving experience.

erin 1:19 PM  

This ruined an already unremarkable puzzle for me too! How did this get past editing?

Masked and Anonymous 1:34 PM  

Lotsa theme material swimmin around in here. Sometimes it's even hard to pick it all out.

The E-W grid symmetry is always fun, for drawin grid art and such. Unfortunately, in this case the grid art is kinda left to the eye of the beholder. We do get hit over the head with five FINs tracin out an obvious fin dealy, up top -- but that there big airplane-like mystery in the middle is just plain nuts.

Top theories I re-call (yo, @JSessions) from prior discussion:
* Ship mast. I thought the Orca was a motorboat, tho.
* Shark mouth. Top arc could be its snout. … Smokin a cheroot?
* Water line. Looks more like a water cross.
* Gun sights. Kinda get that, but what's the bottom tail fin dealy?
* Airplane. Yep, but nope. Airplanes didn't play much of a role in "Jaws".

M&A additional theories:
* Cross on a hill. Memorial to all those eaten up by sharks.
* Starfish, partly devoured by sharks.
* Shark body. Pretty big side fin span, I'd grant.
* Person, with the legs kinda danglin down off the bottom sides.
* Buncha black squares, whose layout made the gridfill work out as best as possible. [M&A fave theory]

staff weeject pick: AFI. Part of the theme! Honor.

Thanx, Mr. Polin. Weird but good.

Masked & Anonymo6Us

Maxine Nerdström 2:20 PM  

hi SailorSteveHolt (STEVEHOLT!),

I can appreciate my own ignorance on many topics, and I’m willing to own it. I make an effort to educate myself and to learn new things regularly, but everyone has gaps in their knowledge. I appreciate you sharing the history of the thugs/gorillas connection, as it is interesting and was indeed new to me.

The history of these words doesn’t change their present meaning and associations. These words have racist connotations in recent years. The editor should consider such things. There’s no reason to clue this way when “thug” is coded the way it is coded so racially today. It would have made such a difference if the clue had alluded to any of the information you presented here.

I can sympathize with frustration about the state of millennial activism, but I get the sense you are projecting a bit more onto my comment than what I actually said. It’s true that the Editor of the Times Crossword and its predominate readership are older than us. It’s also true that this clue/answer is in poor taste. Words aren’t divorced from their history, but their meanings change. I stand by my reaction because of the meaning of these words today.

Just to be super clear, I don’t make a habit of slandering anyone or tossing around accusations of bigotry. I’m a white person, with a growing awareness of the way white supremacy has poisoned so many things. I am heavy-hearted to see public support from many Americans for things that, to me, are clearly hateful. But I also try to give people the benefit of the doubt wherever I can. Sadly, what I often see in political discourse is that it doesn’t matter what one says— the credibility of people who disagree is in question before the conversation even begins. People in general are ready to take offense and not so ready to listen.

have a nice day, stranger!

RooMonster 2:26 PM  

Hey All !
I see my cousin SEA MONSTER made it in to todays puz! :-)

Pretty NEATO puz today. Biggest trouble spot was North Center. Had LEOS and ANA, then the ole brain just shut down and said "No more answers!". Kept seeing the note saying there were 5 FIN squares, but only had the four in the upper center part and kept trying to get that fifth FIN at where the R or S in DORSAL was. Finally had to cheat for ORDER, OLDHAND and REVENUE. Sheesh. Then saw the fifth FIN. So the FIN is actual shaped, not just a pyramid looking thing.

I took the long center blocks block to be the waters surface, where the FIN is coming out of. If that FIN is proportional to the size of the puz, that is one MONSTER GREAT WHITE SHARK! Holy REaL BIG FISH! WATER HAZARD indeed.

liked the Mother or sister and Fathers or brothers clues. Never heard of a DIPOLE, really wanted tvPOLE. runnERS first for FINISHERS before seeing the rebuseseses. Grid does sorta kinda look like the SHARK with its mouth agape.

Other DNF spot, RAZZat/NaPALI/SPRATt and NOd/SLIdY. Har. SLIdY, think I'm going to call someone that today.

Overall, a cool JAWS puz. ITS OKAY. :-) ARR!

FRAZZLE dazzle

ncmathsadist 2:27 PM  

It's adage, not axiom. Axioms are logical bases from which an abstract theory, such as plane geometry, is constructed. I am a mathematician; this usage makes me growl.

Terry B 2:28 PM  

I'm sorry, but this was a waste of time. Joyless, tedious, and full of tired old stuff. "Is there in spirit" (HAUNTS) was about the only fun thing in the whole grid. This was a Did Not FINish (FINS! SHARKS HAVE FINS! GET IT??? GET IT??? FINS!!!!) because it was just a tedious mess. Shorts, if you're reading this, the sparkle is long gone.

Masked and Anonymous 4:20 PM  

Thanx to Craig for an A-Mazin subjob.

YUZU! Who knew? Like.

After extensive forensic analysis, DNA testin, cinnamon rolls and vodka, the M&A Snark Desk has reached these conclusions, on the central gridart:

* @RP musta got as far as connectin the five FIN rebi to draw a fin, and then started to hit the sauce real real hard. Enter the need for a sub, to FIN-ish the blog writeup.

* The arched areas near the top and bottom are the shark bod outline. The L-shaped dealies out to the sides are its fins. Also maybe a coupla little fins stickin out from underneath. The middle cross part is rifle crosshairs, bein aimed at the chargin shark. Almost just like in the big flick FINale scene. All that's missin is that big-ass gas canister. [What we have here is the 15-Down version.]

* QED.

M&A Help Desk

Anonymous 4:26 PM  


It does not suppose that man was once a gorilla.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 108, October, 1866" by Various

Vanilla Gorilla
a caucasion male, who is large in stature and body language. Actions are sometimes brutish but considered favorable in popular culture. females find the vanilla gorilla's actions and persona to be attractive. other males wish to emulate the Vanilla Gorilla. He is often found in muscle car and motorcycle circles as well as at auto racing events.The vanilla gorrilla is often the hub of activity at any event; considered to be cool and the man on the scene.
"Did you catch the rally race on the T.V. today?" "Ya, the vanilla gorilla in car 54 really tore up the track! Did you see those chicks he was with after the race?"
#wigger#cracker#vannilla gorrilla#vanila gorila#vanilla gorrilla#vannilla gorilla

btw, "black folks" could also be construed as a 'dog whistle' for the nword.

At first I thought you were trolling with this bit of gorilla/thug tripe, but then your photo told me you were unfortunately serious. ugh. ugh., triple ugh.

Tim 4:30 PM  

Yep that’s what I saw. And you end up aimed below the shark fin with you draw it in.

Z 5:27 PM  

Best Sunday Ever.*

@M&A - Har. OFL actually has prioritized HS graduation and college visits over us. Harsh to discover we are aren’t first in his life to be sure.

@SailorSteveHolt - When a statement begins “...what spoiled the experience for me...” (emphasis added) I generally assume what follows is a personal reaction. Rereading @Maxine Nerdström’s first comment that is what I see, an explanation of why the clue/answer pair bothered them. My own take was to think of mafia stereotypes, so I appreciated being reminded that using that image could cause me, a 50-something white dude, to come across as supporting BIGOTRY. I must confess, though, that your lengthy rejoinder did strike me just a wee bit as mansplaining.

*Okay, Okay. Not really. But pretty good for a Sunday. I do sometimes intentionally misuse adjectives a wee bit.

Clay Patrick 5:27 PM  

I agree with the comments about NOM for the answer to 114 Down. It is an honor to be nominated, and nominations are informally called "Oscar nods." I've never heard it called a "nom." For the clue to be correct, you'd need to replace "informally" with "abbrev." IMHO.

Z 5:27 PM  

Typos happen.

Nom de SJW White Snowflake Nationalist 5:42 PM  

I appreciate the respectful dialog between Steve Holt and Maxine Nerdström.

sanfranman59 5:47 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 3:43 4:30 0.83 6.2% Easy
Tue 4:37 5:26 0.85 18.0% Easy
Wed 6:46 6:39 1.02 58.4% Medium
Thu 10:48 9:47 1.10 66.7% Medium-Challenging
Fri 9:14 12:55 0.72 13.1% Easy
Sat 17:42 15:59 1.11 67.1% Medium-Challenging
Sun 22:32 20:10 1.12 70.8% Medium-Challenging

I really liked this puzzle and it definitely didn't feel Medium-Challenging to me. I got the theme and the rebus part of it pretty early at DORSAL FIN/DEFINES (24A/13D). Though crossword art projects like this don't float my boat (sorry), I was impressed by the amount of theme-related material and relative little crosswordese/dreck.

One of my stumbles was in the SE, where I talked myself into PR TEmp being a thing (77D), which prevented me from believing TAWDRY (97D). I also had 'in re' before AS TO (119A) and since I am only vaguely aware of REEL BIG FISH, that whole area slowed me way down. It took me 3:43 for just 29 squares down there.

My other brain cramp was where I finished up around the FINISHERS/FINALE (43A/43D) rebus area. For some reason, I neglected to figure the rebus into my solving there and just kinda stared at __ISHERS and __LE without a clue for way too long. I don't know why I couldn't see the end of DREAD (47A). I ended up spending about 2 minutes there to get just 6 squares.

Stuff I didn't know: BOBA TEA, ELLIE Sattler, YUZU

Well done, TP

Chance 6:28 PM  

Why doesn't anyone who writes for this blog know anything other than popular culture? And even that poorly (Rex Parker never heard of Iceman!).

Anonymous 6:50 PM  

Mike Sharp: Will Shortz

Craig Mazin: Ted Cruz

Anonymous 7:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
thefogman 8:35 PM  

Excuse my HUFFINESS but this was one of the worst Sunday puzzles in quite some time. Mr. Shortz must have a DEAFEAR when it comes to what pleases solvers.

Unknown 8:50 PM  

My time was terrible because I literally fell asleep filling this in.

Cannon Chasuble 9:06 PM  

I think this is the first time the NYT has published a puzzle with three intersecting words that all featured double Zs. Well done!

On the other hand "In Dulci Jubilo" is a carol and a chorale and a chorale prelude. Calling I a hymn is like calling a rose a "plant growth."

Unknown 9:50 PM  

If they're going to pull this shit they should let you know. Put Rebus in the details. Bullshit!!!!!!!!!!

Unknown 4:58 AM  

I feel like Oscar "nod" is used more frequently used than "nom" (short for "nomination," I guess, though also the French word for "name"), so that one felt like a cheat.

Burma Shave 10:06 AM  


with ONEACT she BEGS to begin:


spacecraft 12:50 PM  

Wow, there is a LOT going on in this one; color me impressed. Rich in theme content, some rebusiness--and even a drawing (While I generally dislike the latter, this one was simple enough--and to the "point")!

Doably easy-ish, after sussing out the rebi, the puzzle has surprisingly few fill groaners. YUZU is the marquee NHO; it isn't even in my Scrabble dictionary. Didn't know SATORI or that band, so the SE gave me a bit of work. It was there, and NOT the NW for a change, that I wound up. The cross-reference to SPIELBERG helped dispatch the NW quickly.

DOD is, of course, Salma HAYEK. I liked JAWS, especially Robert Shaw's grizzled sea dog, and I liked today's offering. Birdie.

rainforest 2:07 PM  

Well, I *was* very proud to finish this baby, a fine Sunday, until I came to the blog where I discovered I DNF because AsFAB/sOBA TEA. Never heard of ABFAB and I always thought it was bubble tea anyway.

Despite the DNF, I liked the puzzle, and spent much time trying to interpret the "artwork". Basically I think it is the shark coming at you, mouth agape, with a sideways dorsal fin, Picasso-like, there for your viewing and drawing pleasure. Fun with fish!

The fill was antiseptically clean and entertaining with many theme references and clever cluing. I did have to root around in the North to find that last FIN, where I finished, or so I thought.

A nice Sunday romp.

Diana,LIW 4:08 PM  

I'm certain others mentioned already that they didn't FINish. Well, count me in. And I'm a FINN!!!


Just got tired of it, only to discover that it's a *&%$ing rebus. *&%$! I'd rather swim with sharks. Well, maybe not that. I'd rather, I'd rather...I think I'd rather eat ice cream. Yes, that's it. Here I go.

Happy Sunday. Happy July. Happy rest of the Sunday paper. On to the comics. And ice cream.

Diana, Lady-in-(tired of)Waiting for the meaning of this puzzle

AnonymousPVX 4:26 PM  

The only reason I finished this puzzle was to spite it. What a terrible puzzle.

I agree with Oscar “NOD” as opposed to nom.

Plus any puzzle that features MWAH has nowhere to go but to the bottom...of the sea, as it were.


Monsta 10:08 PM  

It’s bubble tea as far as I know and at first thought this was the “theme” Boba tea? Where? I live in a city with a huge multi Asian community and every such shop sign says “bubble tea”

Phillip Blackerby 12:13 PM  

The puz had five rebus squares. Four squares do not a FIN make.

Phillip Blackerby 12:19 PM  

The clue did not contain an AXIOM. it had an Adage. An axiom is a proposition that is accepted as true in all cases, but cannot be definitively proved. The adage in the clue is not true in all cases.

Phillip Blackerby 12:24 PM  

Thank you!

Nancy Gold 11:54 PM  

Totally agree!

Nancy Gold 11:57 PM  

But he was aiming at the compressed tank in the shark’s mouth...

Nancy Gold 12:14 AM  


Nancy Gold 12:56 AM  

My husband and I do the Sunday crosswords together—if one of us gets an answer or a theme, we *don’t* tell the other person and don’t give hints unless we ask for them. We only fill in an answer when we’ve each gotten it. We are most definitely not remotely at the level of you guys who whip these puzzles off! But it’s one of the things we love to do together and then find Rex’s always negative (at least since we’ve been reading the blog) commentary hilarious!!

Did anyone else hate ELHI like I did?? What happened to JRHI between EL and HI?

And to me the grid is a reference to the mother ship in Spielberg’s next blockbuster after Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Looks much more like that than a shark (and I’m one of those people who constantly see faces or pictures in clouds or whatever).

We enjoyed this puzzle as we do pretty much all of the Sunday puzzles. Though we also had NOD/SLIDY, so dnf.

Nancy Gold 1:27 AM  

Could the constructor have confused axiom with maxim?

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