Grammy-winning dubstep pioneer / WED 7-18-18 / Wolf riders in Lord of Rings / Workout-obsessed sorts colloquially / Operating system whose logo features penguin / Newnowned ancient orator / Madea's portrayer in long-running film series

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Challenging (5:56)

THEME: F(OS)SIL (29D: What each circled square in this puzzle represents) — taken together, the circled squares spell TYRANNOSAURUS REX; bonus themer in the middle of the grid = DIG SITE (39A: Archaeologists' workplace)

Word of the Day: PALLS (53D: Becomes tiresome) —
  1. become less appealing or interesting through familiarity. (google)
• • •

A complete Tyrannosaurus Rex ... broken into precisely eight pieces ... of exactly the same size ... that is some find. For me, there was both an aha and a letdown at the end. Not "wow," but "really? That?" SHEESH. Perhaps also HOO BOY, though I honestly don't know what sound the puzzle is making with 9D: "Whew!" Is that like "Phew, that was a narrow escape"? Or "woohoo, that was fun"? HOO BOY is highly malleable, as far as I can tell. Wikitionary just has it as used to express strong emotion.  I use it to express the magnitude of an issue or problem. I think. I honestly haven't thought too hard about my HOO BOY usage, tbh. Anyway, back to the puzzle. There is a cleverness and an ambition here. Admirable. But something about the execution, and specifically about the moment I discovered the gimmick (immediately post-solve), was dissatisfying. Like someone had pulled a prank on me, but it wasn't a very good one, so, like, I wanna be a good sport about it, but I'm super-judgy about technique, so ... it's a weird space to be in. The feeling upon completion was not on the positive side, is all I can say.

Are GYM BU(NN)IES women? Do women call themselves that? Really? I mean, really to either question, actually. That answer reeks of OGLE-ness. Why can't women just be GYM RATS like guys? Did we need the Playboy-inflected "BUNNIES"? I go to the gym virtually every day and have never heard this term, so I'm baffled and slightly off-put. [cranks up the google machine] I'm poking around the internet now and seeing a. that the term relates primarily to gay men, and b. that there is a whole section of the internet that clearly doesn't know a. and uses the term in the sexist garbage way I imagined. The world is big and weird. If the clue wants to be gay, it should be gay. Just ... be it. Don't be all coy with this [Workout-obsessed sorts, colloquially] stuff. Be Specific. Otherwise, a lot of old squares like me are going to assume you're into some sexist dickery again.

Figuring out that the circled squares were rebus squares wasn't that hard. Figuring out that they were just two letters apiece, also not terribly hard. Seeing what they had to do with each other, even after the F(OS)SIL revealer, was not easy (but then, I was not stopping my solve to look at all the squares and see). The worst problem for me, though, was that I thought the [Big name is French perfumes] at 1A was COCO (as in Chanel). So (TY)LER PERRY, whose name I know well enough to have been the first person to put his full name in a NYT crossword puzzle thank you very much, was not even on my radar at first. I kept thinking of Medea, not Madea, and wondering how I'd know any such actress (3D: Madea's portrayer in a long-running film series). Not knowing the term GYM BU(NN)IES, also tough on my solving time. Had no idea PALLS was a verb; the clue meant nothing to me (53D: Becomes tiresome). Never heard it used that way.

The "S" at the end of both SROS and ENOKIS is awful. Neither of those wants to be plural, and you've pluraled them together, simultaneously. Had OVATE at first for 26A: Egg-shaped (OVOID), possibly because OVATE means "having an OVOID shape" (this is another ASDOI / ASAMI /// ALII / ALIA situation where I just hate both options and hate having to guess. Do you all know SKRILL(EX)? I laughed as I wrote that in, thinking of how many people solvers would be wondering "What is a SKRILL EX?" I knew the name and still managed to misspell it (SKRILLIX. Silly rabbit ...). Oh, and I had BEAUTY SPOT, which I thought was the name for it (35D: Mole). Maybe not. Or maybe, it's another ASAMI / ASDOI situation, in which case throw it in the river. SHEESH, HOOBOY, etc. In the end, I think this one tried a tad too hard to be SHOWY.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


kitshef 7:13 AM  

Considerably more difficult than an average Wednesday overall, but very much in keeping with the recent (last two months) trend of hard Wednesdays.

My WoEs today were COTY (had COCO until the very, very end) and ENOKIS (needed every cross).

Ten days ago, SKRILLEX would also have been unknown to me … good timing on that one.

Love dinosaurs a bunch, so thumbs up from me.

Mark 7:16 AM  

I really liked the puzzle, although I agree it has a couple of warts (beauty spots?). But I kept thinking that if they hadn’t highlighted the Rebus squares and changed the revealer definition slightly, it would have been a good and challenging Thursday.

Teedmn 7:19 AM  

This is a very fun puzzle. Too bad I had to spoil it by doing it online. I totally lost track of what was in the circles or even where the circles were. My thinking 1A was COco Chanel played a big part in not getting the hidden fossil. And making 27D THEy gave me yAY_ at 43A. I must not have read the clue for 43A, SHEESH.

So while I really admire this grid and the hidden pieces of dinosaur, the PLAIN TRUTH is that I muffed it in three places. I'll have to work on my online SKRILLEX with rebi.

Great idea, David Steinberg.

Hungry Mother 7:20 AM  

DNF - had PALeS instead of PALLS. Still a fun solve.

RavTom 7:24 AM  

I thought this was pretty good (and hard). The reveal at 29D made the south half of the puzzle much easier, although it would have helped if I’d ever heard of either SKRILLEX or dubsteps. By the way, in the print edition, the Rebus squares are shaded.

Anonymous 7:26 AM  

Cool puzzle. Rex really needs to lighten up.

Nancy 7:26 AM  

So the first rebus I had was AU and I immediately thought "gold". But if that was the case, what was NN? Then I had RA and I immediately thought "Radon". So now I know I'm dealing with ELEMENTS. But what was TY? OS? SR? EX? There seemed to be so many ELEMENTS I didn't know, ELEMENTS not exactly being my strong suit. Then I got to the revealer. Not ELEMENTS at all, Nancy. FOSSILS! So now I'm thinking: What FOSSIL does NN stand for? OS? I'm going through the whole baffling exercise again. And then -- with the entire grid filled in, I saw it! TYRANNOSAURUS REX! Neat!

With the exception of TYLER PERRY and SKRILLEX which I didn't know and HOO BOY which I think is just awful, I thought this was a good, crunchy, intelligent and very different sort of rebus. Immensely hard for a Wednesday. Loved the challenge.

Irene 7:27 AM  

I enjoyed this, but it definitely should have been a Thursday. I kept looking at the clues and not getting them: I didn't understand the theme even after I filled in FOSSILS.

FLAC 7:29 AM  

I kind of agree with Rex that this puzzle bites off more than it can chew. But I really admire the effort. After all, "a man's reach should exceed his grasp," and all that...

JOHN X 7:30 AM  

This was easy. I got the rebus trick right away, then figured out what they were doing. I thought the whole buried FOSSIL thing was pretty nice.

Rex, your whole screed about GYMBUNNIES was pretty funny. Sometimes I think you'd make a good cartoon character.

Jules 7:31 AM  

"Open note"? I've been out of school a LONG time, but I've never heard it called "open note"! Open-book, yes, open-note, never.

QuasiMojo 7:31 AM  

HOOBOY, Rex, you seem to be grasping at straws to find things to complain about today. This was a very clever well-executed ENTICing concept although I must admit I didn't even see the T-Rex until I came here. I thought the two-letter abbreviations were some type of short-hand for FOSSILs. That didn't detract from my enjoyment. In fact, it enhanced it.

Gym Bunnies is a very common expression, at least in New York City.

SKRILLEX sounds like a cleaning device for patio grills.

SROs seems totally fair to me. There used to be countless SROs in Manhattan. I lived in one for a long time on the Upper West Side. Some of the other tenants still had maid service; although sadly mine didn't.

SPOTTY next to BEAUTY MARK was a nice touch.

David Steinberg continues to provide entertainment, challenge and his own style of wit. HAT TIP!

Harryp 7:38 AM  

Had ovate before OVOID, so got slowed down in that section, and saw almost immediately that there was a rebus in play. I got the T-Rex Theme after finishing, and noticed that they want Paleontology, not Archaeology. SROS had to be taken on faith, since I didn't know the term, but good puzzle by D.S.

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

Like others I had PALES before PALLS but, not knowing SKRILLEX, that gave POE_ for "Feature of an interactive website". So ... after a while, POLL and PALLS went in.

Anonymous 7:59 AM  

One of the rare times I agree with Rex. The theme seems thin and the revealer clue was misleading. It was rather a ho-hum after I came here and found out what it was all about. Nice try, but not so interesting.

mooretep 8:04 AM  

"Cool puzzle. Rex really needs to lighten up."

I don't think the comments section would have as much traffic if Rex uncurmudgeoned, rather than writing who he considers to be PLAINTRUTH (55A).
He is a FOSSIL (29D), and we dig him.

Would have liked to have seen this video included:
Rufus Wainwright's BEAUTYMARK (35D).

dfan 8:06 AM  

For something to PALL is quite common, at least in written English (I'm not sure I've actually ever used it in speech). Given your high degree of literacy I assume that you have encountered it zillions of times without paying much attention, and will now notice it multiple times in the next month in that Baader-Meinhof sort of way.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

The two-letter rebus entries are not fossils. T-Rex is. The two-letter entries make no sense. They don't stand-in for anything. They are not abbreviations (though AU is the chemical symbol for gold). There is no problem with the rebus entries, but the "fossil" clue is inaccurate.

Suzie Q 8:10 AM  

Sheesh is right!
I got left in the dust today feeling like a dinosaur myself but not a towering menace like a T. Rex. More like one of the slow ones left in the mire of a tar pit.
Skrillex? I Heart Radio? Madea?

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

"The feeling upon completion was not on the positive side"? You sound like a Victorian describing sex.

Charles Flaster 8:11 AM  

Great theme but even a better review by Rex.
Upper middle was tricky but gettable with SHEESH the last to fall.
My only writeover was IN ARM SR EACH for withi nR EACH but that took a long time to correct as I never Sussex the theme.
Thanks DS

Mark 8:16 AM  

I think Rex may be thinking of SRO as sold right out, and as having a weird clue for that meaning. But in NYC it also means single room occupancy, and can easily be pluralized. It refers to buildings with lots of single room that have no kitchens and are rented out.

Lewis 8:23 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 8:23 AM  

SROS? It only took me 12 hours to figure out it meant Standing Room Onlys. Garbage.

Lewis 8:24 AM  

Here's David's concept (from his notes on WordPlay):" I submitted this puzzle as a Thursday with the rebus squares uncircled. My idea was that the grid would be an archaeological dig site where solvers would uncover the “fossils” one by one, ultimately realizing that they spell TYRANNOSAURUS REX."

I love this concept -- having this puzzle without the shaded squares (or circles) -- with the rebus fossils showing up amidst the rubble. Clever clever theme, David! And it helped my solve in the SW.

As always with a Steinberg offering, this is clean and scrubbed. I also love the colloquial cross of SHEESH and HOOBOY, the SETS up, the STAY out, and the L-square in the SW. That clue for RHO -- playing with the sound of an answer -- is signature Steinberg. And I love when a clue/answer elicits a smile and you just know that when David thought of it he smiled as well, as with [Baby bump?]/OWIE.

This had the stamp of quality from CHIT to CHOY. I dig!

Jim Bunning 8:30 AM  

Great, original puzzle. As for 21A. “Noun. gym bunny (plural gym bunnies) (idiomatic, colloquial, bodybuilding) A person, often a gay man, who spends a large amount of time working out at a gym and who may be obsessed with improving his or her physique” Seems like a pretty accurate clue/answer. The feigned outrage from the scourge of crosswords is always fun to read. Today he seems to be offended because some people on the internet use the term pejoratively though it wasn’t clued as such. Sheesh.

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

Incredible puzzle, for a Thursday.

Nancy 8:54 AM  

Re: 43A. So I'm wondering if anyone else here saw the famous Willie MAYS catch in real time? I did!!!! I'm that old and my family and I were rabid NY Giants fans and I saw the catch in real time!!!! It was incredible.

MAYS was the greatest all-round player I ever saw play. And, back in my childhood, I saw Mantle and Aaron and Musial and Robinson and Williams. I saw the tail end of DiMaggio. I saw all the greats of the Fifties. And of them all, MAYS was the greatest. End of argument. Sorry @OISK.

For those of you who didn't see the catch -- or The Catch, as it's come to be known -- here it is. And after The Catch, pay special heed to The Throw. Amazingly, he prevented the base runner from scoring. The Catch

RooMonster 9:18 AM  

Hey All !
A WedsPuz Rebus! Almost as rare as that non-sensicle KEY clue. What up wit that?

Caught on to the all-rebus-squares-spell-out-the-answer trick when the ole brain finally clicked as I wracked (sp?) it over how FOSSIL goes with seemingly random letters strewn about. An Oh moment, slightly less in the AHA meter than an actual AHA. But, helped me on GYM BUNNIES, as had GYM BUddIES. Trying to get a TYRAddOSAURUS REX to be a T-REX cousin.

Still had my one-letter DNF, though. Talk about ENRAGE. Had an S for the E in PARE. Figured SsTS were Sets of USSR countries. Har.

I agree with the pretty neat-ness of the broken up dinosaur. And Incorporating the revealer And the extra easter egg in the middle. Good stuff. I also like the ONCD answer, as it can get you out of a tight puz jam.

So, although I'm jealous of DS and his plethora of published puzs, (though 9 out of 10 are real good) this one was a winner. Yo, DS, are you still in the Puz Edit Room? And are you 21 yet? Curious minds. I wanna be like you when I grow up. :-D


Not a snowperson 9:19 AM  

Open notebook, yes. OPENNOTE, nope. Never heard GYMBUNNIES, despite being a female gym rat for 30 years.

ArtO 9:21 AM  

Definitely a Thursday on Wednesday! As always with DS many obscurities and extraordinary cleverness.

Larry 9:24 AM  

Just switched from paper to online solving. How do you enter multiple letters in a square?

Mohair Sam 9:32 AM  

@Rex - Thanks for posting the Marc Bolan video. One of the best rock songs ever.

Wm. C. 9:40 AM  

Too tough for a Wednesday.

Never heard of SRO. Enokis? Skrillex? Orcs? OpenNote??? Ovoid/ovate? HooBoy? Hera? Palls?


Reasonablewoman 9:47 AM  

I don't think answers have to be commonly used terms. If it makes sense it's OK and adds a little extra challenge. People whine about this kind of thing all the time and I think it's silly.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

SRO also meaning standing room only for an over sold out event.

kitshef 9:52 AM  

@Nancy - I had a similar wrong turn - or two. My first Rebus was RA, which my brain somehow turned into RE and I thought it would be notes - DO RE MI etc. I wondered if they would go with SO or SOL.

Then I got AU, realized that RA was not a note, and figured elements. Radium, Gold, later Cobalt (when I had COCO for 1A).

It wasn't until the dying end, when I finally changed COCO, that it fell into place.

kitshef 9:54 AM  

@Larry 9:24 - it depends on what system you are using to fill in the puzzle. Usually there will be a link or button somewhere that says "enter rebus" or similar wording. With your the square in question selected, you click on that button, enter the letters and hit Enter. If you specify what application you are using, there is bound to be someone on the board already using it.

Teddi and Teddy 9:57 AM  

Larry, to enter multiple letters in a square you go to the square- then click on the 'more' option and then click on 'rebus' and you can type in the letters. After that click on any other place and it enters the letters.
Fun puzz. Alas we never figured out the T. Rex connection

Sir Hillary 10:14 AM  

Enjoyed this one a lot. Original theme with pretty solid fill. F[OS]SIL crossing DIGSITE anchors it beautifully.

Never heard of GYMBU[NN]IES and will never use it now that I have, but I do like it crossing REPS.

Nice Bay Area cluing for BART from the Stanford student.

Would have loved to see this run on a Thursday, as Steinberg intended. Very rare to see a rebus on Wednesday, so hopefully tomorrow's puzzle is a good one.

@Jim Bunning -- LOL at your user name. Congrats on that perfect game.

Cheerio 10:22 AM  

Great puzzle. Thanks!

I agree with the OPENNOTE comment. Is this a generational thing? I have only ever heard open book. Also, agree that the term gym rat is more familiar to me than GYM BUNNIES. I have heard of ski bunnies. I suppose the connection between a ski bunny and a gym bunny is vanity, but the exercise level is different.

I finished with errors in the southwest. Had PAINS for PALLS, PING for POLL, ALTIS for ALTOS, IT'ID for IT'LL and SKRIDGEX. Never heard of IHEART radio, but got through that corner OK.


HQ 10:28 AM  

@Jules Open note is different than open book. You can use the notes you have taken, but not the textbook itself. At least, that’s what it meant for me in high school and college. But in any case, it is certainly a term in its own right.

Rainbow 10:35 AM  

Any controversy over the use of GYMBUNNIES is nonsense.

Joe Gould 10:40 AM  

SROs are very common in the NYC apartment business. It is a perfectly valid answer.

mathgent 10:48 AM  

@Nancy (7:26): I went down the exact same mental path you did. Elements? Then, fossils have names? Then, TYRANNOSAURUS REX.

Also, like Nancy, I loved it. The FOSSIL fragments all fitting together to make the giant skeleton on the museum floor.

Great clue for KEY. "+ and = share one."

Bravo, David Steinberg!

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

@Felix - I believe SROS was clued to mean Single Room Occupancy [hotel]s. SROs are rabbit warrens of tiny rooms with a cot and a bathroom down the hall. Not a event with Standing Room Only.

Oh, you'll never convince me that GYM BUNNIES wasn't conceived of as a pejorative nor currently used mainly as a pejorative be it in reference to gay men or attractive women.

Melrose 10:56 AM  

I, too, had COCO in 1 across and never retrieved after that. Also, agree with other comments about "open note" -- never heard of this, but am very familiar with the expression open book. I got it eventually, but wasn't happy about it. Otherwise, very challenging for a Wednesday.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

FWIW, ovate means 2-dimensional egg-shaped, ovoid means 3-dimensional egg-shaped. A leaf is ovate but a fruit is ovoid. Either word fits the clue. Put in ov- and come back after getting a crossing letter.
Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa.
liter, litre.
Lots of pairs work like this.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

I'm nit-picking I know, but though an archaeologist does work at a DIG SITE, it's a PALEONTOLOGIST that digs up T Rex bones.

Joseph Michael 11:04 AM  

I’ve come to enjoy DS puzzles a lot, but this one felt like a throwback to the old DS puzzles that usually left me cold. Clever construction but not much fun to solve.

However, I did end up liking the puzzle more after the solve when I came online and discovered that the shaded squares spelled TYRANNOSAURUS REX. That was cool.

Also liked SHEESH and HOO BOY, which is kind of what I was saying to myself as I filled in the grid.

Music Man 11:04 AM  

I liked the puzzle, but I thought rebus puzzles only appeared on Thursdays.

fiddleneck 11:07 AM  

Great clue for KEY. "+ and = share one." Explain, please.

JC66 11:10 AM  


Hand up for seeing The Catch live. I was a Giants fan since "51 (Willie's rookie year) until a few years after they moved to SF. Even went down to Phillie a few times when they came East. I became a Mets fan at their inception and was at the Polo Grounds on opening Day, 1962.

@Anon 9:52

Yes, SRO also means standing room only for an over sold out event, but the clue for 64D reads "Cramped DWELLINGS..."

JC66 11:14 AM  


On a computer keyboard the "+" and "=" signs share the same key.

jberg 11:23 AM  

My first thought for 1A was "jOy" but I suspected that shaded square, so I didn't put it in. Then I could see OPEN bOOK crossing GYM jUNkIES, and thought the shaded squares must be something really tricky. EBBS and FLY AT fixed that one; then I got CHOOSY/FOSSIL, crossing at the OS, and figured that mean it was a bone; so the folks at the DIGSITE were finding little bits of bone, nuggest of gold, etc. I did wonder if they all spelled out something, but I didn't figure out what it was until I had everything but the SR. So the theme helped with that.

I think having the dinosaur broken up into pieces is supposed to replicate what happens in the field -- they dig up various bones and pieces of bone and have to figure out how they fit together (not to mention which ones are part of the same animal and which are not). Brilliant concept, really.

@Rex, if you don't use PALLS in this sense, how do you use it?

@Nancy -- you saw 'the tail end of DiMaggio' -- that would be his TUSH, right?

'merican in Paris 11:40 AM  

Rebus! I imagine that @chefwen (yes, HER) will be a happy camper today.

Late posting because I really tried to complete the SW, but finally gave up and googled SKRILLEX. Never heard of him or HER. Also, like @Rex, I entered COco (Channel) at 1A, but unlike him I never changed it to COTY. So DNF. I don't like PPPs crossing. :-(

Otherwise I liked the puzzle, finishing it in about average time for me on a Wednesday: 7.8 Rexes.


Adam 11:43 AM  

OPEN BOOK before OPEN NOTE, and I also wanted GYM RATS, but eventually I got the top half, then FOSSIL, and then I filled in the other shaded (on paper) squares, since I saw what they wer going to spell, and the rest of the puzzle fell fairly easily. Got SKRILLEX from the SK and EX. PALeS before PALLS, but POEL isn’t a thing, and I finally figured it out. A fun and challenging puzzle - for me, just right. Fair clues, not too much obscure trivia. I liked it better than OFL.

fiddleneck 11:52 AM  

@JC66 Thanks. D'oh!

Unknown 12:17 PM  

I have searched the comments for a complaint about "baby bump". "Owie"? I guess I am either too old or too dim but that one got me.

Stu 12:23 PM  

Thanks for The Catch. Wonderful.

jb129 12:25 PM  

How did we go from "too easy for Monday & Tuesday" to "too hard" on Wednesday?

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

@Kevin - People, for some reason, think it's cute to say that when a baby gets hurt that he got an OWIE, which is baby talk for ouch. So, if a baby gets a bump on the head he gets an OWIE.

Shackfu 12:40 PM  

Click the “more” key on the keyboard and an option will come up for “Rebus”

Masked and Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Explodin dinosaurs. Cool.

Theme material seems a bit limited [FOSSIL/DIGSITE & 1 EXPLODOSAURUS], which is real different. M&A kinda goes for different. Altho, into each happy puztime a little SKRILLEX must fall …

Didn't know: SKRILLEX. TYLERPERRY. IHEARTRADIO. GYMBUNNIES. LINUX spelling. But the crossers always bailed m&e out. And it's sorta fun to learn new stuff. Sooo … mild thumbsup, for the fillins.

Those clues for both PRONE & ONCD were pretty darn brutal. And them words crossed each other? day-um. Don't make me come down there, Shortzmeister …

staff fossilized weeject pick: [SR]OS. Has that special ow de speration fragrance that M&A so keenly snarfs up with a spoon.

Seven Y's?!? Sheeshboy. It's like A, E, I , O, Y, and sometimes U, around here.

Thanx for the feisty WedPuz workout, Mr. Steinberg. Nice Jurassic parkin lot.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

tea73 1:15 PM  

Never heard of GYM BUNNIES - they sure sound sexist to me. I got SROs easily as a favorite exercise in architecture school was to design better SRO buildings. Got done in less that 3x Rexes. HOO BOY!

DavidL 1:21 PM  


Impressive that you saw The Catch live. And I agree that Mays was a top 5 all-time great, maybe top 3.

But I've seen video clips of that catch many times, and I have to say - I've never understood why people make such a big deal out of it. While it's a really nice play, it looks to me like the kind of over-the-shoulder catch that pretty much any good center fielder would make today. I'm a lifelong baseball fan and I've personally seen dozens of catches that are far more incredible than that one.

Here's just one example, the Endy Chavez catch for Mets against the Cardinals in the 2006 playoffs. I was in Shea Stadium to see it. Blows away the Mays catch.

Banana Diaquiri 1:23 PM  


(if no one else has done it, of course)

Banana Diaquiri 1:44 PM  


well, some truth to that. fact is, most spectacular outfield catches happen because the fielder misplayed the batter. that long run is necessary because the fielder positioned where he shouldn't have. he starts out behind the 8-ball. some times, that's on the fielder. some times, that's on the manager/coach. so far as Mays, and those times, goes I've no idea which. the best outfielder I ever saw in the flesh was Dwight Evans. he rarely ran a lot, and he threw out more than his share of runners. he's third all-time behind Waner and Clemente:

if Clemente had made 19 or 20 seasons, he might have passed Waner.

JC66 1:47 PM  


If you watch Nancy's clip closely, you"ll notice that The Catch is rated #5 all time best defensive plays on that reel. There are multiple videos on YouTube, but in a brief check I found this article which ranks Mays' catch 3rd. The reason is that Mays had to run "forever" to make the play because centerfield in the Polo Grounds was so deep.

"Polo Grounds inherited a new tenant in 1913 when the New York Yankees moved into the ballpark with the Giants. Although the distances were short down both lines to the foul poles, 279 in left field and 257 feet in right field, the distance to centerfield was 455 feet making it one of the longest in MLB history.

JC66 1:54 PM  


As to player bad positioning, you're probably correct in general, but as I pointed out above, it was the Polo Grounds' dimensions, not poor planning, that made The Catch (and as @Nancy pointed out, the subsequent throw) so amazing.

jimmyboyhowdy 2:01 PM  

Plus, paleontologists dig up dinosaur bones, not archaeologists. Archaeologists dig up old people stuff...

Anoa Bob 2:02 PM  

I read the 29D FOSSIL clue literally, to wit, "What EACH circled square in this puzzle represents". It's a bit of a semantic leap to have to add in "taken together", methinks. Starting the puzz out with French perfumery and some PERRY person meant that first circled (shaded online) square remained empty and I never uncovered the all together T-rex thingy.

I can imagine an OPEN NOTES school exam but how could an OPEN NOTE by itself be of any help? Seems nonsensical. Uncle Google listed the plural version for a page and a half (none with a school exam connection) before serving up the first singular OPEN NOTE in the context of musical notation.

Okay, I'll ask. Why are Flo and the other Progressive agents in the TV ads wearing all white clothes, including white APRONs? What does a white APRON have to do with insurance? Yeeesh.

jae 2:03 PM  

On the tough side for a Wed. THEy before THEM and PALeS (@ lots of folks) didn’t help. Clever theme and a smooth grid with some fine long answers, liked it!

Mohair Sam 2:06 PM  

@JC66 -

1. I was at the Mets first game ever at the Polo Grounds too, but don't remember seeing you. You got a ticket stub to prove it?

2. Yeah, that ball was a homer in most baseball parks ever built - that's the magic of Willie's catch. I spent more than a few games in the bleachers out in center field - 20/10 vision required to see anything on the infield, but the best place in upper Manhattan to sun bathe and drink beer.

Banana Diaquiri 2:09 PM  


well, may be. but the fact that Polo Grounds had the deepest center field (at the time?) means that the center fielder has two (in general) choices:
1 - play normal depth for a given batter, assuming that the ball will land where it would in any other park; you assume that you can cover that much ground.
2 - play off the wall as much as you would in any other park, thus limiting the number of balls that can get past you for extra bases; your deeper than usual.

in The Catch example, the ball would likely have been off/over the wall in other parks. I expect that baseball nerds have figured that out to the last inch. given the extra depth, Mays was able to track down what would otherwise have been a home run or double or triple off the wall. I just watched again. yeah definitely.

not to demean The Catch, of course. only that "you hit it where they ain't". almost worked that time.

JC66 2:12 PM  


No ticket stub, but I have the check stubs for my ex-wife's alimony. ;-)

Charley 2:17 PM  

A Thursday, not a Wednesday, puzzle. As usual for me with Steinberg I have no idea what the proper nouns are.

JC66 2:37 PM  


"Where the ball will land" in any park is a function of the batters ability, not the parks dimensions. If a centerfielder played "off the wall" in the Polo Grounds he'd give up way too many singles in front of him. Mays & Leo Durocher (his manager) were playing the odds correctly.

Suzy 2:51 PM  

Sorry, but isn’t SRO a type of camera, as clued? Sure I’ve seen this before!

Thanks, David Steinberg, for another great puzzle!

JC66 3:06 PM  


Banana Diaquiri 3:14 PM  

"Baseball Info Solutions owner and chairman John Dewan in 2013 suggested that, generally speaking, fielders who play shallow in center, like Fowler and Gose used to, don't save enough runs on the balls hit in front of them to make up for the runs lost on balls hit over their heads."


that doesn't answer the specific question of The Catch, but does support the notion that outfielder speed is best used when running in, not running out.

enough baseball??

OISK 3:19 PM  

Tyler Perry, Skrillex - meaningless to me, but got them from prior puzzles. (Linux as well) There is something called I heart radio? I was trying to fit Pandora in there. Hoo boy - but I finished, without ever realizing that it spelled tyrannosaurus rex. And I don't think that "fossil" is a good clue for that. But I finished. Felt good after DNF Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. (after a perfect 5 weeks) My failures always seem to come in cycles! Never heard of gym bunnies either, but it was discernible.

@Nancy. Willie Mays was certainly the greatest ballplayer I ever saw live. Why did you think I would feel otherwise? Also, Ra is radium, Rn is radon.

As usual in a Steinberg puzzle, there was plenty to like, despite all the pop culture. (Hal had a red eye??) Loved the clues for rho and key. Enjoyed all the comments, as usual, especially the absence of politics. I dig this site...

sanfranman59 4:59 PM  

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

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

Mon 4:54 4:30 1.09 71.5% Medium-Challenging
Tue 3:40 5:14 0.70 1.8% Very Easy
Wed 12:33 6:45 1.86 99.4% Very Challenging

My solve time is much more Friday than Wednesday. I just couldn't summon my inner Steinberg this time. But it was also just a pretty bad solve by me in general. I really should have spent more time figuring out what the circles were saying, especially once I knew FOSSIL (29D) and DIG SITE (39A). I think that would have improved my solve time some.

I only just now know what GYM BUNNIES (21A) are, thanks to Google. My eggs were OVate before they were OVOID (26A). I don't recall ever taking an OPEN NOTE (10D) test. OPEN bOok, yes. So that was my NE experience. It was a similar story in other sections.

Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the solve and have come to really like DS's cluing style. Two thumbs up.

Aketi 4:59 PM  

I got the TY RA NN OS AU RU SR but had to hunt a little bit for the EX having lost track of where I filled it in.

I liked you had KNEEL at the bottom of the FOSSIL. I spent many rainy days in the American Museum of Natural History watching my son KNEEL on the edge of the DIG SITE in the Discovery Room with his little plastic goggles and DIGing tools.

I have to confess that a tiny smirk flitted across my face when I discovered the GYM BUNNIES. There is a certain amount of bravado in dojos about surviving workouts in less than spa-like conditions. It’s pretty easy to spot the people who think they want to join a dojo but really belong in Equinox. Hence when I got to the clue about incense I was thinking about the kind that might possible mask a bit of the reek of a sweat filled dojo. Then I thought about the woman who came for a try out class who became ENRAGEd at the smaller than an SRO-sized locker room that we squeeze into to get dressed before class. She was not amused when I told her that at least it had two showers (divided by a plastic curtain). And of course then I could no longer help myself so I told her about the dojo that had no showers at all where the guys Purelled themselves afterwards before going to work.

Joe 6:21 PM  

Thanks for the Marc Bolan video, T-Rex Parker!

RobertM 6:32 PM  

I think the FOSSIL clue is just right. Each FOSSIL is a fragment of T-Rex. Taken together, they can be assembled into the whole thing. I sa the pattern before I finished and it helped with TYLER PERRY and SKRILLEX.

Finished exactly half way between my average and best times. For a Thursday.

Verily 6:42 PM  

It doesn’t in this context. It means single-room occupancy, i.e., a living situation where you have a bedroom to yourself but share a kitchen, bathroom, etc. Used to quite common in cities and you can still find a few in NYC and SF. We

Kristen A 7:24 PM  

What is ONCD?!

Harryp 7:30 PM  

On compact disc?

Z 8:03 PM  

Hey all. Having a great time in Lebanon, Ohio. Too bad you aren’t all here watching some awesome disc.

Regarding Mays - he caught the ball so he was properly positioned. That he could play shallow and still catch that ball is why the play is awesome.

@Moly Shu - Dude, I was pulling your leg. relax. However, you’re not a conservative, turn in your card.

Oh, today’s puzzle - More or less what Rex said. That the “F(OS)SILS spelled out Tyrannasaurus Rex fell flat for some reason. I think I should have liked it more but somehow it didn’t quite click with me. Nobody’s fault. It happens.

justme 8:15 PM  

I am with Kristin A. What is ONCD (burned).
Thank you!

JC66 8:16 PM  


Mays wasn't playing shallow. Vic Wertz hit a bomb.

Mohair Sam 9:51 PM  

@Justme (8:15) - When you use your computer (or other device) to copy music onto a CD it is said to have been "burned".

John Hoffman 12:36 AM  

I’m a gay guy, so gym bunny is common lingo for me. I never ever would’ve seen T-Rex in all those letters! I kept thinking that those were all letters from the periodic table. The KEY clue was over my head, too. Glad someone here explained it. I enjoyed the puzzle.

captwitting 1:47 AM  

Another thank you for posting this. once went to a bar mitzvah where the good natured Willie Mays was in the foyer with all the kids swarming all over him. The bar mitzvah boy’s father was Willie’s lawyer.

Sallie née Kantor

Capt Witting is my husband.

chrisrushlau 1:02 PM  

What each circled square in this puzzle represents

That was incorrect: all together, the circled squares represent this fossil.

When the editor makes one mistake, I throw out the entire puzzle. I do them using only the across clues. The next day there was a clue, "twist your words, maybe", which was answered with "edit". I reject that entire puzzle. Does "treat, as a patient" imply "murder"?

Jessica 11:15 AM  

I didn’t read through all of the comments...can someone explain the answer to 70-Across? not get it.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

@jessica Look at your computer keyboard. On mine, the = and + are on the same 'key'

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

Felix Fortinbras, the SROs refers to single room room units in flop houses.

thefogman 10:55 AM  

I liked this one a lot. I hadn't looked to see who the constructor was until after completion and when I did I thought "Of course. The wunderkind."
Nice work DS.

spacecraft 12:07 PM  

I have a lot of problems with this one, beginning with the revealer. "what each shaded square in this puzzle represents." That is wrong. TY is a shaded square. TY does not represent anything except maybe a nickname for Mr. PERRY. The clue should read "What the shaded squares […etc.]" Not EACH square, but all of them taken together. That word "each" is a very badly misleading factor.

Many other problems: OPENNOTE????? That doesn't even make any sense! It's an OPEN book test. Open [your] notes, maybe, plural, though I've never heard of that either, but singular?? "Okay, guys, you can look at your notes, but only one of them. You're on your honor." Absolutely ridiculous. I can't believe this OPENNOTE term exists.

I quite honestly don't know how I managed to finish this; the first two long acrosses were total unknowns, and the companion to OPENNOTE was filled in cross by cross: SKRILLEX? I still can't believe this was all right. I guessed at about half of this thing, expecting to come here and find at least two or three errors somewhere. There has to be some sort of a triumph factor here, but all the way through I felt so clueless that it didn't seem like victory. There isn't even a DOD, though Zeus would surely name HERA. A mid-week slog. Bogey.

Burma Shave 12:32 PM  


I'm PRONE to OGLE GYMBUNNIES, it never PALLS much,
especially THEONE with a BEAUTYMARK on HER TUSH.


rondo 1:08 PM  

Got it done but not without an inkfest where 4a "Enough already!" was Stopit for too long. SHEESH!?! And for the longest time I didn't know CHIT. As is common with a DS puz, a lack of yeah babiness. Agree with @spacey re: revealer clue.

Interesting time last night meeting up with a bunch of MN constructors and special guest BEQ. Lotsa xword expertise in that room.

PLAINTRUTH? This was OK, maybe more SPOTTY than SHOWY.

thefogman 1:13 PM  

As I understand it the grid is a DIGSITE. The theme - F(OS)SIL (29D: What each circled square in this puzzle represents) — accurately depicts eight pieces of the TYRANNOSAURUS REX spread out and "buried" throughout the grid. Thus, each double-letter square represents one of eight F(OS)SILs. Not perfect in every way, but overall I think it's pretty clever.

rainforest 2:07 PM  

DNF at 1 Across. Argh.
So, I'm solving at a decent rate, getting AU (Gold, says I), RA (Radon), and so confidently (!) put in COco, yes, Cobalt. Nailed it, I'm thinking. For the test, it *has* to be OPEN bOok, with the Nb (Niobium) making sense, but then I already had EBBS, and was very confused about the obsessive work-out people. Following that, for 29 D, FOSSIL seemed to be what was called for (Os for Osmium), but I couldn't for the life of me see what a FOSSIL had to be with elements. Well, of course that was wrong.

So, I dutifully filled in the rest with some rebi that weren't elements (NN, EX) and some that were: SR (Strontium), and RU (Ruthenium), but failed to look back at Co, and so had the famous actor Cole R PERRY.

I think Mr. Steinberg knew the trap he was setting, and he got me, but that's on me. Clearly, I had to analyze further to see what the rebi really represented. I kick myself.

Even though I failed, I liked this puzzle, Cobalt be damned.

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

Overly cute, trendy and rebuses. Strike three.

leftcoastTAM 2:33 PM  

Tricky, clever, mostly fun, and ultimately gettable. A Steinberg.

But EACH shaded square represents a FOSSIL? Okay, they contain scattered pairs of LETTERS that, together, in order, spell out the name of a dinosaur. Now that is very clever.

Maybe a little too clever--at least for me, because I missed the final step of actually seeing the name of the beast. SHEESH!

Needed the crosses for TYLERPERRY, SKRILLEX, SHREK and ENOKIS. Also IHEARTRADIO, and wanted OPENbOok before OPENNOTE. Have taken a few open book tests in my day, but never heard of an "open note" test. Sounds like cheating.

[Repeat first paragraph above.]

Patricia Burke Johnson 4:06 PM  

I would like an answer to this also. Completely escapes me.

Patricia Burke Johnson 4:08 PM  

Thank you. As an old typist I should have figured that one out.

strayling 7:24 PM  

No shaded squares in the print edition made this one quite a challenge. Ended up with just one flub: COCO and COLE R. PERRY, who sounded plausible enough.

Anonymous 12:21 AM  

Mr Steinberg has a way of bringing out frustration in many of us, but when solved his puzzles bring a sense of relief, and a bit of odd enjoyment. Thank you Mr S.

ramroot 1:01 PM  

What really bothered me about this puzzle is the inaccurate definition use. An ARCHAEOLOGIST studies human artifacts, not fossils. A PALEONTOLOGIST studies fossils. Big, inaccurate misdirect!

J Howard 7:35 PM  

I'm always quite a bit behind on my NYT puzzling. I save them up and do them at my leisure. This one was especially difficult for me because the Seattle Times puzzle page editor did not provide the shades (or circled) squares. My very next puzzle (no.0808) refers to italicized clues. Sure enough, not a single clue is italicized in the Sea Times. Sigh.

J Howard 7:35 PM  

I'm always quite a bit behind on my NYT puzzling. I save them up and do them at my leisure. This one was especially difficult for me because the Seattle Times puzzle page editor did not provide the shades (or circled) squares. My very next puzzle (no.0808) refers to italicized clues. Sure enough, not a single clue is italicized in the Sea Times. Sigh.

Unknown 1:26 AM  

I read through all the comments until I saw Mr. Boyd had the same problem with the ST.

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