Cleveland Browns’ defense / SUN 7-29-18 / Lévesque of Quebec / Pelvis-related / Reza shrine / Big Baird / Funny Fey / Singer Morissette / Macbeth tomorrow / Muhammad’s daughter

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Constructor: Will Nediger

Relative difficulty: 20:52 (Sunday average: 23:01; Sunday best: 6:47 [my own puzzle])

THEME: Three in One — Single words are reparsed as three words, then clued as if the three words together make a wacky phrase.

Word of the Day: SHUTE (75D: “On the Beach” novelist Nevil) —

Nevil Shute Norway (17 January 1899 – 12 January 1960) was an English novelist and aeronautical engineer who spent his later years in Australia. He used his full name in his engineering career and Nevil Shute as his pen name to protect his engineering career from any potential negative publicity in connection with his novels, which included On the Beach and A Town Like Alice.
On the Beach is a 1957 post-apocalyptic novel written by British-Australian author Nevil Shute after he emigrated to Australia. The novel details the experiences of a mixed group of people in Melbourne as they await the arrival of deadly radiation spreading towards them from the Northern Hemisphere following a nuclear war a year previously.
• • •

I solved this puzzle while out on the town at a purveyor of beverages in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the night before Boswords. Puzzle friends Jesse Lansner, Bruce Ryan, and Ben Smith (a fellow Diary of a Crossword Fiend blogger and also a Eurovision Song Contest podcaster) were my companions. We solved together, and let me tell you, for all of us, YOINK! it was over our usual times. There were some exclamations of frustration, and universal agreement that [44A: Sound of something rushing by]: WOOSH needed an extra H after the W. But: It was in the context of respect for the constructor's skill in finding seven candidates for themers for this gimmick. The frustration was generated from an understanding of the theme's mechanism, coupled with an inability to predict exactly what form that mechanism would take. YOINK! If you catch my drift, which may be explained by an explication of the ...

Theme answers:
  • [24A: Former supporter of seabirds]: EXTERNALLY. Ex tern ally
  • [38A: Spray the monarch to keep him cool]: MISTAKING. Mist a king
  • [40A: Prosecutor who's sympathetic to the defendants in a witch trial]: PROPAGANDA. Pro pagan DA
  • [58A: Bridle strap utilized only on sidewalk surfaces]: REINFORCEMENT. Rein for cement
  • [84A: What a dog groomer might charge]: PERPETRATE. Per pet rate
  • [86A: Result of wearing a fedora at the beach]: MANHATTAN. Man hat tan
  • [100A: Result of accidentally throwing a Frisbee into a campground]: DISCONTENT. Disc on tent
ITEM ONE [50A: Agenda starter]: while I and my drinking buddies social companions understood the mechanism of the gimmick right away, it was tough to predict what the successive themer entries might be -- which, when you're solving, is a crucial step in filling in the rest of the grid: being able to predict future themers, or possibilities for the set, once you've sussed out the way the puzzle's main entries work. So it took more time, and YOINK! I ended up getting almost all of the themers from the crosses, and then went back and parsed the themers to fit the clues, upon which I thought, "ah, clever!" Re-parsing is a fun linguistic trick; pro pagan DA is probably my favorite. But reparsing, if that's all you're doing (and the constraint here is only that each entry is split into three), is not formulaically predictable from the solving perspective.

Fill thoughts: Some opportunities in the long downs in all four corners: ARMANI SUIT, ON A SAD NOTE, TABLE D'HOTE, and ROMA TOMATO are all phrases that made me sit up a little straighter. My social companions drinking buddies suggested SHUTE (Word of the Day, above) and [49D: Carol Ann ___, U.K. poet laureate starting in 2009]: DUFFY as entries that might be out of the purview of the average solver. Stuff that seemed fresh: SEXYTIME, YOINK!, THANX.

  • [53A: Liqueur akin to sambuca]: ANISETTE — This almost feels like a portmanteau of [45A: Singer Morissette]: ALANIS
  • [73A: Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, with "the"]: PRAIRIES — I see you, Canadian constructor.
  • [91A: Item smashed by the original Luddites]: LOOM — Ned Ludd, who ostensibly smashed a loom in the 1770s and became a legend among textile workers and labor activists for an ensuing century, was likely fictional. But now we invoke him to disparage anyone who appears skeptical about technological progress. 
And that's all I've got. It's been a lovely week standing in for Rex, and I hope that he's had a lovely vacation, away from public puzzling discourse. If you've liked what I've written here, you can find me blathering about crossword puzzles on a regular basis at Diary of a Crossword Fiend. Please say "hello" or whatever greeting is appropriate at Boswords if you'll be there today, or at Lollapuzzoola, Saturday, August 18, in New York City. The puzzle community rocks, folks -- fun, smart, kind people. Keep that going. THANX!
Signed, Laura, Sorceress of CrossWorld

[Follow Laura on Twitter]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Valkhorn 12:31 AM  

This was a head scratcher for me and I struggled to complete it in 33 minutes.

The themes just weren't that memorable and clever and it was hard trying to guess what each theme word would be. Maybe if the clues were a little longer and had something like "definition a or the theme definition?"

Anyways as far as Sunday's go I probably won't think too fondly on this one compared to some.

Come to think of it how many thousands of long words can be broken up into separate words giving nonsensical meaning?

Thou sands, thousands, "your biblical grainy bits?"

Sepa rate - separate - Philadelphia metro fares?

Me a ning? What a caveman would say if he saw himself in a mirror? Assuming Ning is close to Ug or Og.

Gee willickers.

TomAz 1:21 AM  

Is YOINK a thing that is actually said? By people wearing FROCKs and ARMLETs and who save a letter by saying THANX? While sipping a small ANISETTE?

The theme was mostly fine. Most of the fill was fine.

I had PERPETuATE for a moment before PERPETRATE, which conjured a very unpleasant image.


jae 1:36 AM  

Tough. Clever. Liked it.

chefwen 2:20 AM  

Never in my life have I said YOINK and I don’t think in the foreseeable future I will find myself saying it.
Very mixed emotions about this one. Finished it with no outside help but it just felt unsatisfactory. More like okay I get it it, ha ha.
DIS CON TENT ed is my final answer.

Harryp 3:48 AM  

This one had many surprises, and words like POMEGRANATE were fun. I still can't parse YOINK, but sometimes that will happen. In this case I can thank the crosses.

Rugged XY Man 3:52 AM  

Unacceptable Natick in square 49.

Loren Muse Smith 4:55 AM  

Jeez Louise, what a tough-ass puzzle for my reentry into crossworld after a vacation! Didn’t help that I had a brain fart on the clue for 58A and was going “bridal” and hence garter or some such.

Any theme that involves reparsing pleases me so much. Go back. Look at that word again. See anything else? Hah! My favorite was PRO PAGAN DA. REIN FOR CEMENT, a close second.

40D POME GRAN ATE crosses three other themers. Nice.

Laura – I agree that WOOSH needs another H.

@ Rugged XY Man - I agree on that DEMME/DUFFY cross.

Loved the clue for PREY. I had no idea. “Potential dinner.” Hmmm. If I’m here by myself, can eat whatever I want with no clean-eating daughter or husband to judge me… the last of that Brie melted on a piece of buttered, toasted, white-flour laden baguette and then the entire thing of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. (Even the plain old vanilla ice cream part is a miracle.)

I also liked the clue for TRAVESTY. “Crime against good taste.” As I sat thinking of these, I couldn’t come up with one I’m not guilty of. Potty humor, name-dropping, humble-bragging – check, check, and check. Hey – at least I don’t post on Facebook the latest excruciating details of my sinus infection (complete with color descriptions.)

But my absolute favorite clue was for ASS. I’ve never thought of this as a suffix, but it sure as heck is.

Man, that was a big-ass lobster roll I ate at Holbrook’s in Cundy’s Harbor.
It was a stunning display of wimpy-ass sycophancy.

GALUMPH is from Jabberwocky. I double-checked and found this: Etymologists suspect Carroll created "galumph" by altering the word gallop, perhaps throwing in a pinch of "triumphant" for good measure. Your day is now complete.

Will Nediger – very nice job.

Unknown 5:59 AM  

LMS -- in case you missed this...Finnish comedian ISMO thinks "ass" is the most complicated word in the English language (

jammon 6:07 AM  

Yoink is not a word. It's not even a sound. It's just a large, smelly pile of horseyoink. Ridiculous!

Lewis 6:15 AM  

Wow. I cannot praise this puzzle enough. Yes, it is a gorgeous grid with those three big diagonals, and yes, it is very clean, but what I cherished most was the care put into the cluing. Too often you can just tell that the constructor, seeing the sheer volume of answers on Sunday, decided to pick a few to focus on and give clever will-thought-out clues, but mailed in the rest of them. Here, Will took delicious care with every single clue. There were very few that we see all the time, where we can just plunk the answer in. Here, there were many original clues -- so the automatic brain couldn't engage -- and many that were sneaky in wonderfully dastardly ways. For evidence of the care that went into the cluing, just look at how "Hog's home" echoes PIGPEN, those two H's and two P's.

Then there are the brilliant theme answers -- how did he come up with them and what eyes he saw them with! Plus lovely answers like MUTABLE and TABLE D'HOTE. Perfect title. Lovely crosses -- DINK/YOINK, SNOW/TOW/ERGO. And opportunities to learn: YOINK, SEXYTIME, HARDA, and POME (I wanted Rome for that apple!).

No, this was one of the very very good ones. Because of the work Will put into it, I had to don my best brain and most rugged work clothes. Will gave me a boulder I could only chip away at, until it revealed itself to be a cruciverbal work of art.

Lewis 6:16 AM  

@loren -- Welcome back! The comments section is once again now complete.

Conrad 6:56 AM  

@Laura: Thank you for ably filling in for Rex this past week

@LMS: What @Lewis said

TonySaratoga 7:02 AM  


JOHN L/V 7:06 AM  

This puzzle had some really devious clues, they were tough but fair. They even got me thinking too much. For "Hog's home" I went from PIGSTY to the super-clever HEAVEN before figuring out PIGPEN. That was the worst one but there were several others that had me going for a bit.

I figured out the theme early on and even went down and guessed a few of them with only a cross or two.

This was a pretty good Sunday puzzle.

Robert A. Simon 7:17 AM  

As a former Cleveland resident and avid sports fan, when I got to 9A, I thought this had to be a rebus puzzle so I could somehow fit NONEXISTENT into five squares.

BarbieBarbie 7:27 AM  

I LOVED THIS PUZZLE. What I liked best was what speed-solvers would not: even with a clear theme, each themer was its own Aha. The smiles (or maybe groans) just kept on coming. The long Downs were really nice. It’s been a long time since a puzzle this flat-out enjoyable was published. Thank you Will, and also Will.

One sour note: the clue for POMEGRANATE needed more thought. All the other “triplet” clues referenced parsed meanings that were not related to the portmanteau word. This one means “apple of Spain” etymologically, so the clue shouldn’t have contained Apple.

But Wow, what a fun puzzle. More please.

Passing Shot 7:33 AM  

Sorry, but with cue-ing that was a little too cute (first character of Genesis), missing letters (WOOSH), and my overall hatred of puns, this one left me cold.

Passing Shot 7:34 AM  

And WTF is YOINK????

'merican in Paris 7:42 AM  

I'm in @Lewis's and @jae's camp today. Tough, clever and fair. Despite DNFing (I had DINg instead of DINK), I would nominate today's as the puzzle of the week, and certainly the best Sunday of the year so far. I mean, look at all those white spaces in the 21 x 21 AREA! SEEING is believing in this case.

I really liked the theme, and I imagine it took a bit of research to find words that could be divided in three to produce a whacky phrase. I sussed the theme first at MAN HAT TAN, and knowing the trick did help me with several of the rest.

Took me awhile to get a foothold, finishing the NE corner first, than the SE, east coast, SW and deep south, and then working my way towards the NW.

Apart from YOINK (which, if I've seen it, it was only in the funny papers as a "sound effect", not what somebody says), and "JONES for" as a first-person singular verb (is the plural "JONESes for"?), this puz had crunchy fill GALORE, and some wonderful clues.

I wonder, by the way, if the Cleveland DAWGS get paid PER PET RATE.

@ZI thought of you when I filled in the answer to 100A. I could also picture myself, back in the day, chucking a disc with my brother in a crowded campground.

Thanks for a good workout, Mr. Nediger! I'm a happy camper with a DISK ON my TENT.

P.S., Welcome back, @LMS! And thanks for the etymology of GALUMPH, which I had to build up letter by letter.

P.P.S. for @Big Steve 46 on 6:50 PM Saturday: Thank you for a very thoughtful, civil, and interesting reply.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

Here is a use of YOINK from The Simpson’s.

Unknown 8:01 AM  

I loved your positive take on this week’s puzzles - as opposed to tyrant-osaurus Rex’s sour apples. Please come back!

Anonymous 8:05 AM  

Difficult....(googled a few) but fun......

Dave 8:13 AM  

I think the time on doing your own puzzle MIGHT be irrelevant

BarbieBarbie 8:27 AM  

@Dave 8:13, that was my first reaction too, and then I thought wait— people are always marveling at the fastest times and saying they can’t imagine that kind of speed even if you just glance at the clue and write/key in the answer, so Laura gave us a baseline calibration to answer that question. Today’s time, minus filling-in-your-own-same-size-puzzle time, is the actual time spent solving. Like a chip-time in a marathon. Kind of interesting.

John H 8:29 AM  

Really loved this one. I got a few of the themes with only a couple of crosses. Rein For Cement was my favorite. Seems to be a lot of consternation with Yoink, which is more of a cartoon thing than what people actually say.

Agree about the Nattick at 49, Although I knew Demme. The intersection of 9D and 29A was my nattick, because I had no idea of what a light tennis shot might be, so for a while I had ding/boing, which made as much sense to me as dink/boink.

Matt 8:42 AM  


Diywriter 8:45 AM  

I'm an old guy living with some youngish (millennial, if you're into that sort of thing) renters. If it's sorta clear that an item of food left on the table is free for the taking, one of them may either mutter or shout "YOINK" as they nab it. The word seems to imply playful, unserious theft.

Bruce R 8:47 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt 8:49 AM  

@Valkhorn It’s SEPTA, not SEPA, for Philly metro. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

Liesl Words 9:02 AM  

It seems the phrase TABLE D’HOTE has become increasingly obscure, giving way to the more commonly seen “prix fixe”, which I’ve seen spelled a million, uh, creative ways on sandwich boards around town.

The only reason I even know “table d’hôte” at all is because it appears in the lyrics of “The Lonely Goatherd” from “The Sound of Music.” Oscar Hammerstein had to keep dredging up things to rhyme with “goatherd” — prompting the line, “Men in the midst of a table d’hôte heard...[insert yodeling here]”.

Or maybe that sound wasn’t yodeling, perhaps it was the strangled cries of countless Francophones protesting the elimination of the circumflex accent. If you thought folks were vocal about 100 Anuses of Solitude, check out the story around #JeSuisCirconflexe... Hats off, L’Académie Française!

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

@Laura - Since you so admire the skill of the constructor in finding 7 words which fit the pattern, let me show you how to find all the words that fit the pattern.

Let wordlist be a table in a database containing (quite obviously) a list of all words.

Select a.word from wordlist a where exists

select b.* from wordlist b,
select c.* from wordlist c,
select d.* from wordlist d
where a.word = concat(b.word, c.word, d.word)

It works on every standard SQL compliant database. You may have to fiddle with the concatination function concat(), your database may not accept triplets. I'll leave it to your imagination how to find 4 words with fit into one, even 5.

Diywriter 9:09 AM  

A nosegay of attestations for "Yoink", from that motherlode of cultural references, The Simpsons:

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

YOINK!- OMG - woosh (sic!) in the waste paper basket! Are the crosswords EVER EDITED?????

Z 9:28 AM  

An Ode to the DOOK (or, I guess, the TOAT to keep with the theme).

No problem here with Jonathan DEMME, the director of the greatest concert movie ever. Agree, though, that DEMME/DUFFY has real natick potential for those who are not consumers of artistic greatness.

DISC ON TENT is definitely a thing at ultimate tournaments, although usually we just have canopies on the sidelines, not TENTs. We now usually have enough space between fields to keep the canopies 15’ off the sideline, so the instances of a canopy getting in the way are pretty rare these days.

GaryB 9:31 AM  

Yoink is in the Urban dictionary:

An exclamation that, when uttered in conjunction with taking an object immediately transfers ownership from the original owner to the person using the word regardless of the previous property rights.

SJ Austin 9:43 AM  

Those needing help with YOINK should watch more of The Simpsons.


Teedmn 9:49 AM  

This played slow for me today. I loved the theme answers as they emerged letter by letter, with only a few plopping in readily. PERPET___. PERPETuals? REIN___CEMENT? What part of DISCONTENT wasn't obvious? ______ONTENT. And the center was held up a long time with "aleph" in the place of SOFTG at 55A (and I thought I was so clever), making "Stable parents" assES rather than SIRES and nothing else in that whole AREA.

I could have sworn I had seen MAN HAT TAN used in that pulled-apart way before in a puzzle but couldn't find any reference to it at Perhaps it was in a non-NYC puzzle. Anyone else find that one familiar?

My favorite was PRO PAGAN DA for the way it re-thought the entire word. Thanks, Will Nediger.

Knitwit 9:51 AM  

Welcome back!! I do look forward to your takes on my daily hobby!:)

Knitwit 9:52 AM  

A pretty tough solve for me but I loved it! YOINK and all.

GILL I. 9:56 AM  

FINALLY....A Sunday with lots of meat. A Sunday to enjoy. A Sunday that had me thinking and thinking and happily using Google for things like PSAS DAWGS BOBCATS SCYLLA. Boy, that upstairs part was really hard for me. Didn't mind the few Googles because I cottoned on to the theme early. PRO PAGAN clever is this?
I'm in the @Lewis camp today. I can't say how much I enjoyed this as eloquently as he, but dang, this was pretty durn clever.
Welcome home @Loren.

pmdm 10:00 AM  

A nice Sunday puzzle, but I do have one nit to pick.

While it is nice that new constructors continue to show up, too many of them are more obsessed than they should be to have "hip" entries in their puzzles. (At least in my opinion.) I really don't respond favorably to a wealth of PPP. But what is more annoying to me is how many of them keep trying to introduce (or even repeat) new entries with sexual innuendos. Being a church organist, I've had more than my share of sexual innuendo jokes aimed at me. That doesn't bother me, but I don't really find them funny, I just find them sophomoric. I and react the same to similar crossword entries. God knows, I'm really not a prude. But entries like SEXYTIME do seem out of place to me in the puzzles.

Finish of [mild] rant.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Solid theme answers. But obscure slang like Yoink, and little known terms like Sexytime and Table D'Hote, mean that the solver's experience wasn't a consideration here.

kitshef 10:12 AM  

Any clue containing the words “in modern lingo”? You can just get rid of those.

Other than that, a fine and enjoyable Sunday romp. Some fun themers plus the occasional neat word like ANISETTE or FANDANGO.

Lots of dislike expressed in the commentariat for the perfectly lovely YOINK. Insufficient condemnation for the decidedly un-lovely WOOSH.

Nancy 10:29 AM  

My kind of puzzle. All wordplay all the time. Very crunchy and absolutely delicious.

I did have one wrong letter. Had no idea whether it was SEXY TIME/YOINK or SEXT TIME/TOINK. Neither YOINK or TOINK made any sense to me at all. I chose the wrong letter.

But that wasn't my biggest problem. I left the NW pretty quickly, being absolutely stymied there, and did quite well everywhere else -- in that I had no wrong answers to confuse me. When I returned to the NW, I still had my four big Wrong Answers written in:

At 1A/1D: MOTE/MOAN instead of WART/WAIL. (I was thinking of the "ignoring the mote in your own eye" quote.)
TOY instead of USE at 42A.
MPG instead of APR at 48D.

It took me like forever to straighten it all out. But I did. READY, SET, GO (which I'd wanted from the get-go, but which didn't go with any of my wrong answers) finally helped me correct all my mistakes. Well, all my mistakes except TOINK.

Consistently engrossing. Great puzzle, Will!

FLAC 10:30 AM  

Tough puzzle, but the most fun in months of Sundays.

nyc_lo 10:55 AM  

Had fun with this one, apart from the missing H in WHOOSH. Lost a full five minutes trying to shove “Glinda” or “Wanda” into the witch trial answer. Had to slow clap for PRO PAGAN DA when it finally clicked.

Vic 11:09 AM  

If you’re constructing a crossword puzzle — particularly the N.Y. Times Sunday puzzle— and you’ve painted yourself into a corner where you have to make up words to make it work, you need to keep at it until it’s fixed. Pretend words and phrases are simply least they used to be.

frankbirthdaycake 11:10 AM  

C. Montgomery Burns exclaims “Yoink!” whenever he snatches something. My guess is it’s an onomatopoeia – a cartoon character verbalizing a sound of something being snatched, instead of a cartoon sound effect. I don’t know about you, but I would welcome “Yoink!” if it were the sound of the snatching of all of “ridiculous” social-media- or reality-TV-driven terms that are infiltrating our language (and our crossword puzzles). Just my opinion.

QuasiMojo 11:11 AM  

I owned an ARMANI SUIT back in the 90s. Cost me a cool THOU. I bought it at Charivari. The only problem was staying trim enough to wear it. It was tailored very tight. I looked liked Richard Gere from American Gigolo in it. All too briefly, alas.

SHUTE! I spent twice my usual time on this one today but managed to finish without cheating. Sticking with READY SET GO finally paid off.

Welcome back @LMS, and @Lewis, I don't know what kind of elixir you partake of each day but I could use some. How do you stay so chipper all the time? Don't tell me yoga. My ILIAC doesn't like lying down like a DAWG.

@Nancy, I wrote you a thank you yesterday but it never appeared on the blog. Glad you liked this one. I did too.

And many THANX to Laura for a delightful week in Rex's stead. I toast you with a DEMME tasse of ANISETTE and a NEAR BEER chaser.

JC66 11:11 AM  


Great minds...

I naticked at SEXYTIME/YOINK as well.


Thank goodness the answer wasn't screwTIME, even worse, f**kTIME. The prude in you might have really been aroused (can I use that word?).

GHarris 11:15 AM  

Wow! A tough but fun solve. The NW finally drove me to go to the online version so that I could find out which entries were wrong, erase them and work on replacing them. Once I entered letters acceptable to the guru within my iPad the true answers began to shimmer into view and led to the joy of a finished task.

GHarris 11:23 AM  

When I had the art for 1A and was searching my mind for the first letter I thought “no, the NYTimes would never sanction an “f” even though it would be a reasonable response.

OISK 11:27 AM  

Never heard of Yoink. ( Never been a Yoinkee fan.) Never heard anyone ever say "sexy time." A cross of two obscure, contrived terms, just about ruined a very fine, brilliant Sunday puzzle. I think that if one went through the entire alphabet, "Y" seemed the best choice, while I HAVE heard "BOINK,".

But the "triple headers" were wonderful!

TubaDon 11:45 AM  

Liked the tripled answers. Being an ex-Ohion helped with the DAWGS and BOBCATS. Finished up wasting 5 minutes deciding on the Y at 29A. SEXYTIME sounds like something only horny teenagers would say, and the provenence of YOINKS escapes me. I wished I could have heard what Rex would have said about that pair.

Suzie Q 11:58 AM  

Between fun sponge yesterday and yoink today I feel like I have been living under a rock. But actually I don't feel like I've missed much from not knowing useless junk like that.
Those crazy theme answers today were really an achievement so Nice one Will N.! Anyone that can weave all of this together is definitely not a Luddite. (On the other hand, I might be.)

Grammar Nazi 12:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Grammar Nazi 12:14 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jamie C 12:16 PM  


Capesunset105 12:49 PM  

My first puzzle in what seems like forever (thanks nursing school!!), but like riding a bike, I prevailed. I had a great time solving this and literally LOL'd at MAN HAT TAN, PER PET RATE and PRO PAGAN DA. My tough spot was the top center, driven by the confluence of YOINK (terrible fill) and WILDROSE (for which I stubbornly held onto PRIMROSE far too long).

Malsdemare 12:56 PM  

Ooohhh, I liked this even though it took me forever to find my errors. I had mREs instead of PREY, mainly because I first inserted EnfanTS for the great and the terrible, saw that -RE-, plugged in the M and S and THAT gave me Emperors. Oy! I also was sure the director was Jonathon Lemme and that took a while to clean up. Eventually, I stared at EmITHETS, saw my error, and mended my ways.

I actually worked out some of the themers from the clues and a few crosses atlthough it took me a while to get past PERPETuATE. YOINK was a guess, but I knew DINK was right and SEXYTIME made more sense than any of the alternatives. The whole thing absorbed a satisfying amount of time on this rainy Sunday.

Fun time. Thanks Will N.

MickMcMick 1:20 PM  

NW corner was a killer, thought tea was brewing and krona was the coin. Yoink! Really? Try that one in scrabble without a challenge

pmdm 1:24 PM  

JC66: I do have a sense of humor, which I can aim at myself. So yes, you can use that word.

Mary Anne T. 1:35 PM  

When I first saw the “lass/gash” cross I thought it was an unfortunate coincidence. After reading the constructor’s notes on xword info, now I’m not so sure: “I originally had SEX SWING at 6-Down, which was just a bit too graphic for the editors. (In my last puzzle, I tried to sneak F THAT into the grid, so I guess it's becoming a recurring theme.)” Either way, the editors have enough to worry about without having to worry about constructors sneaking puerile jokes into the puzzle, which Mr. Nediger freely cops to. I actually liked the puzzle, but he shouldn’t be asked back.

Odd Sock 1:59 PM  

Wide range of knowledge needed today. Children's TV to a UK poet?
Then we have @Z getting all snooty as a "consumer of artistic greatness" all the while with a plastic toy disc in his hand.
No self-awareness at all.
It only took a millisecond to hear Queen in my head to come up with Fandango. Short but sweet.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Robet Simon,
Actually The Browns defensd was pretty good last year. Strike tha they were good. Now, calling them tne dawgs, well, thats probelmatic. Given tne dog pound was a thing 30 years ago w Frank minnifield, Hanford Dixon et al.

Demme didnt direct The Last Waltz.

What a great puzzle M Nediger. Many thanks.

SteveHikes 2:07 PM  

Add me to those welcoming you back. Also, I am a fellow West Virginian—born and raised in Bluefield, with nephew still there. You remind me of my sister, retired school teacher.

Brother Campion Lally 2:15 PM  

Thought it was a good puzzle. Loved the theme.

JC66 2:17 PM  



Anonymous 2:36 PM  

It looks like YOINK was Simpsons' coinage after I stopped watching. Sounds like a bOINK-YaNK mashup.

Unknown 2:37 PM  

Apple is "Pomme" with two "m"s, not 'Pome'. French mis-spell really messed me up there. Root is apparently from Latin (pomus), which got absorbed later.

Hungry Mother 2:37 PM  

A bit of a slog today, worked around a day at the beach with family and a 5 mile run this morning with a niece. I liked working with the theme entries.

Banana Diaquiri 3:03 PM  


a tip of the Hatlo Hat!

Monty Boy 3:09 PM  

I liked this one a lot. Love reparsing words.

I can rest easy now, knowing @LMS is back safely from vacation. Blog now seems whole.

As a Montana State grad, puzzle builders should realize there is more than one school with a bobcat for a mascot. Seems like Ohio U gets all the crossword notice.

A nit: The engineer in me notes that concrete has three components, sand, gravel and cement. A cement sidewalk is very dusty. Cement is the stuff that holds the concrete together. I do realize it's a common mis-use of cement and it's the only way the themer works. I'll make allowance for the elasticity of the language.

CDilly52 3:28 PM  

So glad to have you back. Missed your cleverness and humor.

CDilly52 3:37 PM  

Enjoyed our resident Sorceress this week; thanks Laura! Today was fun and appropriately difficult but with more cleverness in the themers (necessary since this theme has been used it as cleverly-in the recent past.

Trombone Tom 4:02 PM  

An enjoyable Sunday trying to re-parse words. Clever and witty.

DNF for me as I haven't listened to enough Simpsons episodes to know YOINK. And SEXYTIME wasn't any help.

Guess I'm stuck back in the boink-boink era.

Suzy 4:05 PM  

SO glad you’re back! Most commenters are SO cranky! Thanx!😉

Suzy 4:07 PM  


sixtyni yogini 4:23 PM  

I liked this one a lot (for a change). Fun and made me think—good clues. Yay!

MetroGnome 4:46 PM  

Clever and enjoyable gimmick -- HOWEVER:

1. YOINK?!?! Are you friggin' KIDDING me?!

2. How is APR (April?) a "Car ad no."?

3. TOO MANY NAMES!!!! ("Demme"/"Duffy" is about as classic a Natick as I can
conceive of)

4. HARDR (whatever the hell that means) and SOFTG in the same grid??

5. "DAWGS" / "DINK" ain't too cool, eiter.

6. How is "POMEGRANATE" an apple eaten by a senior citizen?

Sorry, as much fun as it was to discover the themed clues (except for the indecipherable POMEGRANATE), I have to call "FOUL" on too many things here.

MetroGnome 4:49 PM  

Also, never heard of a TABLEDHOTE. Guess I'm not cool enough to hang out in faux-French Manhattan bistros.

puzzlehoarder 4:53 PM  

I knew I wasn't at 100% when PSAS was slow coming to me. That's what a Hydrocodone every six hours will do to you. Narcotics or not I knew this was a tough Sunday and the comments bear this out.

@Nancy I totally empathize with you on the choice between the social media sounding SEXTTIME and the execrable Borat-speak of SEXY TIME. I chose YOINK for its resemblance to "yank" and because TOINK, like POINK, is the sound of poking something with a fork. Don't feel bad I had a hell of a time coming up with DINK. I'll bet you (wait for it...) aced that one.

Welcome back @lms, it's hard to stay mad at ASS as a suffix in light of your enthusiasm for it. However I'm still going to count it as just a sorry-ass phrase.

The knee is much better today. The home nurse took the ace wrap off yesterday and the icing is finally effective. Once again I dazzled the physical therapist with my range of motion and ability to walk. I'm bending at 107 degrees and I'm just 9 degrees short of full extention. For three days after a full knee replacement she said this was fantastic.

JC66 4:55 PM  


Agree on YOINK, but Jonathan DEMME is a fairly famous film director (DUFFY was new to me, too).


Annual Percentage Rate (appears in a lot of car ads).

POME (apple) GRAN (senior citizen) ATE (eaten)...another 3 part themer.

JC66 4:58 PM  


Didn't you mean MAN HAT TAN?

Anonymous 6:09 PM  

Interesting... seventy, and I can honestly say I've never seen, heard, or used "yoink".

Nancy 6:45 PM  

You're right, @puzzlehoarder (4:53) -- I did "ace" DINK (9D). But that's probably only because neither dropshot nor lob fit. @Mathgent emailed me off-blog earlier today to say that the word "DINK" used to be used a lot, but not so much anymore.

Maybe that's because the DINK itself used to be used more in the past, but not so much in today's power game.

FWIW, I had a legitimate backhand dropshot. It could be a terrific weapon off the right kind of ball. But on the forehand side I didn't have anything resembling a legitimate dropshot. The best I could manage, every once in a great while, was a DINK. With a DINK, you're not really imparting backspin. You're just "dumping" the ball over the net and you have to be extremely close to the net to do it. It's not a tennis shot that garners great respect.

It sounds, @puzzlehoarder, like you're going to be the Poster Boy for unusually quick recovery from a knee replacement. That doesn't really surprise me, since you've had such a physically demanding career. But I won't tell my friend Carol, who's nothing if not competitive. When she was facing the surgery about 8 years ago, I told her about a 70+ woman tennis player I knew who had had a double knee replacement and was back on the court in less than six months. And not just back on the court, but running down shots. "She's amazing," I said to Carol, also a tennis player.

Carol looked at me. "Well I plan to be even more amazing," she said. And, as it turned out, she was pretty amazing, too.

Monty Boy 6:48 PM  

@puzzlehoarder: I had a knee done two years ago and the physical therapy is the trick for long-term healing and use of the knee. For me 6 weeks of two/week visits and "homework" every day. Best of luck to you.

thefogman 6:51 PM  

Good challenging puzzle. But put me down in the anti-YOINK camp. Where does anyone even say that? Yonkers NY? I really like the theme and it produced many aha! moments. I finished where I usually begin - the NE corner. ROMATOMATO was tough to figure out because I had placed the T at the wrong end i.e. tOMATO----. Not perfect, but pretty good Mr. Nediger.

Unknown 7:04 PM  

I am not a speed solver by any means but I got a record time in today's puzzle and the themers helped tremendously. I figured out the theme quite early on and as I got crosses, I puzzled out the themers. Good puzzle!

Nealsports 7:18 PM  

Laura you missed 40d. Pomegranate

Nealsports 7:19 PM  

Laura see 40d. Pomegranate

Questinia 8:12 PM  

Best Sunday in memory.

jberg 8:29 PM  

A day of bike riding and a friend's 70th birthday celebration -- now it's 8:30 PM, and no one's going to read this, so I'll just say:

1) Welcome back, @Loren!

2) Great theme. I could get about half of them with few crosses, had to wait for the others, but it was fun. My only small complaint was that if you're going to mist A king, the clue should say "a" monarch, not "the."

3) Those complaining about YOINK need to pay more attention to the clues -- something the "snatcher" says. Obviously that's a reference to pop culture, or young people's language, or something. I had no idea, but I accepted that it must be a thing, and I'm happy to learn about it. Are you going to each that last cookie?

Banana Diaquiri 8:52 PM  

no one's going to read this

I just did, and Salud.

BarbieBarbie 8:58 PM  

@metrognome and @JC66, an apple is a POME but not all POMEs are apples. A pear is also a POME. Seeds arranged in a core, edible skin, something, something....

JC66 9:17 PM  


Yeah, but the clue says "APPLE devoured by..."

9:36 PM  

Isn’t it DISC ON TENT?

BarbieBarbie 9:44 PM  

JC66, I see your point. But I’m now lost in a Boolean eddy. Let’s see... if the word were “FRUITGRANATE” would the clue be ok from that standpoint? Yeah, I think so, but as I said... glub...glub...

(I still object to that one, mildly, for more pedantic reasons, as I mentioned earlier)

But a great puzzle nonetheless!

JC66 9:55 PM  


At the risk of being redundant, an apple is a kind of POME, like a TERN is a kind of seabird (24A).

Sarah 10:45 PM  

DNF because I've never heard of TABLEDHOTE and I couldn't crack DREW.

Tom 10:45 PM  

Finally finished at 7 pm PDT. Started this morning in bed with tea, continued during breakfast with croissant and coffee, quit and came back during the day, and finally polished off a Chopin martini and finished without Googling (which is always a hated DNF, FWIW IMHO). Last entry was YOINK, Which brought a laugh. Occasionally watch Simpsons, must have been in the far recesses of my gray matter.

Took 14 minutes longer than my Sunday average, but agree with some others that it was a Sunday funday.

mjddon 11:27 PM  

Don’t forget “table de hoot” from Beautiful People of Denver from Unsinkable Molly Brown.

sanfranman59 11:30 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 3:40 4:30 0.82 4.8% Very Easy
Tue 7:28 5:14 1.43 95.2% Very Challenging
Wed 7:29 6:46 1.10 66.3% Medium-Challenging
Thu 9:41 9:41 1.00 51.2% Medium (ish)
Fri 13:58 12:35 1.11 67.9% Medium-Challenging
Sat 16:46 15:59 1.05 61.1% Medium-Challenging (but not really)
Sun 22:39 19:45 1.15 74.1% Medium-Challenging

Disclaimer: I've been out of my head for all of this week and so my relative difficulty ratings may not be terribly valid.

I was rolling along thinking how fantastic this is for a Sunday puzzle. The theme was great, even eliciting several chortles along the way. It was at least a little crunchy and clever with the cluing. I didn't feel bothered by much schlock along the way. But then came the end.

I had two errors upon submission at 22:39. One was stupidly misspelling ILIAC as ILeAC at 21A and not noticing WeLDROSE (11D). But the other is the ridiculous, unfair SEXYTIME/YOINK crossing (6D/29A). I was fine with SEXtTIME since I thought SEXt was "modern lingo" and tOINK makes every bit as much sense as YOINK for "Snatcher's exclamation" (?!?!?). That just flat out sucks. How did Will let that clunker through?

An A+ effort knocked down to an A- by one stupid square.

Anonymous 2:43 PM  

Loved, loved, loved this one!

A lovely combination of humor, difficulty & solid fill.

Joe Bleaux 5:16 PM  

But you gotta admit, it's a bad cross... neither Pomme nor Puffy is a household name.

Fred 7:38 PM  

Loved this one! Will Nediger: please come back soon!

Michael5000 12:54 AM  

Yeah, this one was a lot of fun. "Pro pagan DA," chortle...

spacecraft 12:32 PM  

Why does a DINK (more frequently applied to badminton or volleyball than to tennis) not garner respect? You're trying to win the point, no? It's not cheating, is it? No. Then wha?? It takes skill and timing. What, is a ten-yard chip shot not respect-worthy because it's not hit hard?? Suppose he/she jars it, would ya respect THAT?

I ran the alphabet three times for square 29, finding nonsense in at least one direction 78 times. I finally decided on Y as the only viable candidate for the down. ONASADNOTE, I never got into the Simpsons, I suppose put off of animation with awful stuff like Beavis and Butthead. Subsequent startups such as South Park and Family Guy were REINFORCEMENTs for my decision not to bother: the former boasts a character apparently made of feces, while the latter's title character has a chin that looks like...yeah, right. No thanks.

So, fortunate (dined anticipating a large wine container) on that score. The SPLASH themer was PRO PAGAN D A. Great stuff. But I have several COMPLAINTS resulting in DISCONTENT. Leading the pack is HARDR. Somebody GOTTA 'splain that one. Is that like a ROLLEDR? R is R--except in New York and among the BRITISH, where it doesn't exist.

There are others, but this is getting too long already. Sort of a fun theme, and some good long fill to balance out the rough stuff. DOD is Honor Blackman, who admirably "filled out" the ROLE of Pussy GALORE. As J.B. said, "I must be dreaming." Par. THATSALL, folks!

Burma Shave 12:36 PM  


about BRITISH LASSes with no SEXYTIME constraint,


rondo 1:43 PM  

MISTAKING was the first to show and after PROPAGANDA it kinda got DULL. Looks like too much imbibing to catch POMEGRANATE as part of the theme.


Looks like at the Ladies BRITISH Open, a BRITISH LASS will have WON.

TINA and ALANIS GOTTA both be winners.

Not very exciting, but no real COMPLAINTS.

rainforest 2:10 PM  

Ah, square 29. Sort of a metaphor for DINK in a crossword puzzle. I left that till the very end, then came back and eventually had to choose between T and Y. I chose correctly because the Y connoted "amorous play" more to me even though YOINK is gibberish.

This is a great puzzle with a very clever theme and excellent cluing along with many fine longer answers.

I'd rate it as medium-challenging, the main challenge coming in the JUDEA/DUFFY/SOFT G area, not helped by my writing in JUDEA in the wrong place.

I had a lot of fun with this one.

AnonymousPVX 2:37 PM  

INHD / DREW / TABLEDHOTE did me in, all the rest was good. Not a fan of themes but this was at least fresh.

Never saw “whoosh” without that first “H”. No biggie.

Diana,LIW 7:01 PM  

Very much enjoyed sussing out the wordplay words.

But...a dnf. Had TEXtTIME - "toin?" "din?" became a Natick. What can I say, I'm a Luddite when it comes to modern slang, I guess, and overguessed.

Still, fun was had.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, tossing out her LOOM

Anonymous 9:17 PM  

I realize its too late for this puzzle, but to those who asked about POME vs pomme: A pome is a fruit where the flower's ovary is below the recepticle (or something like that); ergo seeds in the middle with flesh around them.

why do people shorten words? surprised no one complained about thoro cleansing.

Overall, I thought the puzzle was terrible. Cues too cute, to ambiguous for the all the natick crosses of proper names, shortened words, etc.

Diana,LIW 10:00 PM  

@Anon 9:17 - I do believe THORO is shortened to signify that the answer, DETOX, will be a shortening - of detoxification.

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 1:01 AM  

Late start, late finish.

Just A SAD NOTE on the theme:

All the "Three In One" themers worked pretty well except for the nonsensical "bridle strap"/REINFORCEMENT and "beach fedora"/MANHATTAN clues and entries.

Good night.

5wksltr 7:46 PM  

Jonathan Demme directed The Silence of the Lambs.

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