Brickowski protagonist of Lego Movie / WED 8-15-18 / Muscles used in Russian twist for short / When sung five times ABBA hit

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Constructor: Kathy Wienberg

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (5:05)

THEME: anagrams — answers are essentially cryptic crossword clues where one word is taken to mean "mix the other word up"

Theme answers:
  • MAD SCRAMBLE (17A: DAM) — so "DAM" is just "MAD" SCRAMBLEd up
  • STIR FRIED (24A: FIRED) — "FRIED" has been STIRred
Word of the Day: WEAL (2D: Prosperity) —
a red, swollen mark left on flesh by a blow or pressure.


an area of the skin that is temporarily raised, typically reddened, and usually accompanied by itching.


noun: weal
that which is best for someone or something.
"I am holding this trial behind closed doors in the public weal"
• • •

This feels hackneyed. I mean, it's just a cryptic cluing technique. A common one. You look for that word that can signal anagram (e.g. "wild" "crazy" "strange" etc.) and that helps you figure out the answer (cryptic clues have a literal component as well as a wordplay component, as you probably know). I'm guessing the whole concept sprang from BIPOLAR DISORDER, a nice, grid-spanning answer. A couple of these answers (MAD SCRAMBLE, STIR FRIED) are notable for the fact that either of the words in each answer could technically be an anagram trigger word, i.e. "MAD" can mean mixed-up, and so can "FRIED" (though the latter may be a little more tenuous). I didn't like that three of these themers were noun phrases and two were verb phrases. Concept wasn't terribly hard to pick up, despite the lack of a revealer, but each one was its own little struggle. Well, MIXMASTER was a giant struggle. Could not quickly anagram STREAM into anything that made sense, and even as I got crosses, nothing looked right. Do people even know what a MIXMASTER is. I know it only as a DJ title. Is it something else? Oh, looks like it's a trademark for a food processor. I did Not know that. I know the DAILY JUMBLE as just the Jumble, so that was weird.

Mostly I found the fill, and especially the clues, just a terrible grind. Starting with TWELVE. [Midday] is awful. There's a TWELVE midnight too. Ugh. I wrote in ATNOON at first. Imagine cluing TWELVE that way. So many ways to go and you go [Midday]. WEAL is a horrible word no one uses. LESSEE just screams "here are a bunch of common letters!" 15A: Not occurring naturally is MADE??? Lots of things occur in nature that are MADE. Animals and plants "make" a lot of stuff. Nests, webs, oxygen! Booooo to that clue. Had no idea VECTOR meant "course" (5D: Airplane course)—I think of it as a direction. But I guess that's what "course" is, too? Oof. Slog slog slog. FOTO? RRR? Paint device—had GUN, no idea about AIR. ROY is "Mr." Rogers? OK. Lots of a T Rex's skeleton seems big to me, I dunno. JAW? Sure, whatever. There was no joy here. No fun. No cleverness or playfulness. I don't mind the core theme concept, actually, though the answer set could probably be stronger. But I did mind the solve as a whole. Just unpleasant. Not made with solver enjoyment in mind. Vague or off clues everywhere. And ugh, the EMMET clue (7D: ___ Brickowski, protagonist of "The Lego Movie"). I saw that movie and still ... pick real people, or much, much more famous fictional characters for your name clues, please.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    jae 12:10 AM  

    Medium-tough for me too. I was slow to start (renter before LESSEE) and it took getting STIR FRIED to catch the theme. The bottom went faster than the top. Pretty good anagram puzzle, liked it more than @Rex did.

    a.corn 12:16 AM  

    Slogggggg City, USA.... took me almost 3x this week’s Monday and Tuesday puzzles COMBINED (yikes!) - and look I love the LEGO movie, I do - but maybe throw something a little more apropos to current events for Emmit? Excited for football so thinking Emmit Smith, the headlines on Monday gave me hope for this country in the face of its heinous past so maybe Emmit Till? There are a host of other Emmits over Mr. Brickowski, but those two popped into my head as I read the clue. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Anonymous 12:55 AM  

    We have clearance, Clarence.
    Roger, Roger.
    What's our vector Victor?

    puzzlehoarder 1:04 AM  

    The top tier started with some resistance. In retrospect TWELVE and MEE were pretty obvious but I initially brain farted them. You throw in a couple of personal weak points like EMMET and WEAL and I wound up having to use the NE corner to get the puzzle going. This was inspite of having ERIN and RABBI in place.

    However once STIRFRIED went in so did MARSCRAMBLE and it was all Monday speed after that. I wound up with just over a Tuesday time.

    Like many of these early week NYT puzzles this provided some learning opportunities to compensate for the lack of solving experience it provided.

    IMPUTE was another word I need to hone up on. There's a symmetry to how it paired up with the (so lame it's good) PAYER and how the obscure EMMET is mated with the (so generic it's good) MADE.

    I don't mind not knowing the Abba trivia. It's been referenced only once before on some Sunday puzzle that I'm sure I didn't do. If you just know Abba that well you're welcome to it.

    Half the reason I'm going on here is to put off doing my second round of daily physical therapy for my knee. It's like water boarding myself.

    Anonymous 1:09 AM  

    Completely endorse this review, and would also note that I got thoroughly Natick'd by the EMMET/BEBE cross.

    TomAz 1:44 AM  

    I'll give Rex this: EMMET was indeed bad. Crossing MADE? yeah, not good.

    But the rest of his grumblings are undeserved, in my view. Two noun phrases, two verb phrases? C'mon, man. That's not a critique, that's a mood looking for justification. MIX MASTER was fine. DAILY JUMBLE was fine. TWELVE as clued was fine. Took me a while to find it, but in the end, it was legit.

    Yes, a bit of glue here and there, clearly -- this is not an A puzzle, no, but a solid B or B+, sure.


    Trombone Tom 2:29 AM  

    I thoroughly enjoyed Kathy Weinberg's puzzle and found it Wednesday challenging. It's a hybrid crossword/Daily Jumble. And BIPOLAR DISORDER is a knockout themer.

    This particular EMMET was truly a WOE and crossing it with the hard to realize MADE came close to Natick country.

    @Rex may be a couple of generations too young to have heard of and seen a lot of Sunbeam Mixmasters, but they were (and might still be) fairly common.

    chefwen 2:54 AM  

    I am terrible at the DAILY JUMBLE. While Rex is the Greatest Crossword Solver my husband is the King of Jumble solving. After my first, feeble pass I handed it over and the guy almost finished it. I restrained myself from saying “no, hand it back, I need my fix.” He wisely handed it back so I could fill the few remaining squares.

    Put my new Kitchen Aid MIXMASTER to work a couple of days ago when I got a craving for Bialys, even made some SchMEAR to go with them.

    Whenever someone who hasn’t been to our house before and I am giving them directions, I will tell them “when you get to Duane’s Ono Burger and the Whalers Store, give me a call and I’ll VECTOR you in.

    Phil 3:22 AM  

    ,i agree the NYT clues need a fresher take. But i don't know what Rex expects from three letter fill.

    Aren't capitalized clues usually anagrams?

    'merican in Paris 4:30 AM  

    OMG, @chefwen, Duane's Ono and the Whalers Store ... nothing TRUER! (And slow down when you get to the big bend, or you'll miss the turn!)

    Basically, what @TomAz at 1:44 AM said. I've not seen the Lego flic, nor is it high on my to-DO list. I was going to claim a Natick at the crossing of EMMET Brickowski and BEBE Neuwirth, but I suppose the former would have been inferable if I hadn't jumped on MAD SCRAbBLE, which in my SCRAMBLEd morning mindset seemed to make sense. I mean, isn't that what one does with letter tiles in SCRAbBLE?

    TWELVE was actually the first answer I slotted in, though I couldn't initially get any downs from it. That even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day doesn't bother me. Midday is TWELVE o'clock. If anybody is bothered by the fact TWELVE o'clock can also refer to midnight, may I suggest that they lobby for the USA to join the rest of the world and adopt the 24-hour time system, in which midnight is 00:00 or ... er ... 24:00. (Checking on this I just learned that some railway timetables display 00:00 to indicate departure times and 24:00 to indicate arrival times. In any case, it's not TWELVE.)

    Speaking of time, this one tied with my average, so a medium rating from me. Some nice new words, as @TomAz already mentioned. But in the 3-letter category, can the NT please retire AM I, EMU, ERR, ODE, ORU, and RRR for a few weeks?

    And I have a better clue for GOP: "The first sound that Congressional leaders make when asked to comment on the POTUS's latest tweet."


    @Rex, I've noticed that you seem to struggle with hardware names, like AIR GUN. If it would help, may I respectfully suggest that you spend a couple of hours some rainy Binghamton day in a Lowes or Home Depot. They're interesting and fun! So many DIY gadgets! Plus appliances, like Sunbeam MIXMASTERs!

    Lewis 6:06 AM  

    Lovely idea for a theme, and well executed. I liked that SCRAMBLE, STIR, DISORDER, MIX, and JUMBLE alternated between being the first and second word of the phrases they were in. Kept me guessing. There was pleasing resistance for me in the NW and SE. The cluing made my brain work, rather than be on automatic, and I love when that happens. Lovely answers in VENEER, MINION, and VECTOR. As always with Kathy's puzzles, clean, clean, clean.

    Then there's the symmetrical OBAMA and TRUER, and ain't that the truth?

    Stanley Hudson 6:24 AM  

    Pleasant and clever.

    Uncle Grandma 6:25 AM  

    Come hither Heather.

    imsdave 6:28 AM  

    Anyone who has driven through Waterbury CT on I-84 knows what MIXMASTER means. Feel free to check it out on Google Images.

    Anonymous 6:57 AM  

    I thought it was a great puzzle and the answers were a lot of fun. I can't agree with any of Rex's criticism except that about Emmett. For those who live in central Texas, who can forget the horror of the "mixmaster" which is the spaghetti bowl of freeways in central Dallas. You better know where you are going or you will hit the concrete post in the middle trying to decide!

    kitshef 7:15 AM  

    Second ever successful downs-only Wednesday solve was immensely aided by the theme.

    Wondered whether 66A would be AT EASE or A TEASE.

    NEO STIRFRIED sounds like a chichi restaurant style. MIXMASTER MEG is a good DJ name.

    QuasiMojo 7:24 AM  

    There’s a Lego movie? I guess that cuts down on product placement fees. What’s next “Monopoly” the movie?

    I had a helluva time with this one even though I am usually quite adept at anagrams. I prefer cryptic puzzles and miss doing the British crossword that used to be featured in New York Magazine each week. I tend to agree with Rex that this one seemed almost superfluous although it was well done.

    Banana yesterday made some indecipherable comment to me about moving from a Blue to a Red state. Or vice-versa. I don’t think of states in terms of colors. Nor do I think of myself as one or the other. I either trust people or I don’t. But there are too many batshit crazy people out there nowadays. Sadly lately I spend so much time looking over my shoulder that I have a permanent crick in my neck.

    FLAC 7:24 AM  

    @TomAz is right. Rex is just in a bad mood. This was a good puzzle, neither hackneyed nor a slog.

    Anonymous 7:33 AM  

    Re: TWELVE. since when do clue/answers have to be a one to one exclusive match? Any answer to any clue has some other meaning. Pointing out that TWELVE can also mean midnight is silly. BTW there is no such thing as 12 PM or 12 AM.

    Lilith Sternin 7:36 AM  

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Michael Sharp and Kathy Wienberg aren’t friends,

    michiganman 7:43 AM  

    Here we have a very fun Wed. puzzle with a touch of difficulty. The theme was terrific. I wandered around the puzzle trying to get traction and then got DAILYJUMBLE. I had a lot of the south done and the theme helped me work my way back up. Satisfying! So, here's a solid Wednesday with a female constructor. Let me say that gender should not affect a critique but Rex trashed a good puzzle. Why? Maybe that contributes to the (alleged?) bias against women constructors. Seems hypocritical.

    Jim Lemire 7:50 AM  

    Like @‘merican in Paris I had MAD SCRAbBLE and figured EMbET Brickowski could totally be a name in a LEGO(tm) movie.

    In the past week or so we’ve had FRAZIER (but not FRASIER), NILES, and now BEBE Neuwirth. Perhaps it is all a subtle advertisement for Kelsey Grammer’s mew Netflix show? I haven’t seen it, though I do enjoy Orange is the New Black, despite its TVMA rating.

    Fun Wednesday puzzle!

    Anonymous 7:56 AM  

    Just as Rex had trouble with TWELVE because it could also mean midnight, I had trouble with OMNI because it could also mean a Dodge subcompact car that was produced from 1997 to 1990.

    Music Man 8:00 AM  

    I channeled that line from “Airplane” too when typing in that answer!

    mmorgan 8:13 AM  

    Well, I liked it. And I had a very pleasant solving experience even though I'm not a fan of anagrams, in general. Nice puzzle, thanks!

    Suzie Q 8:16 AM  

    I hope that if Kathy Wienberg reads this blog today she reads the comments as well as the review. I think Rex was overly harsh on this pretty good puzzle.
    The first Mr. Rogers that came to mind was Fred.
    Lase or tase? Had to wait for the cross.
    Encomium is some high-end vocabulary for a Wed.
    Kitchen Aid Mixmaster is a classic appliance for sure.
    There was a Lego Movie?? How could that be interesting enough for a feature film?
    I'm not a fan of anagrams. My brain doesn't seem to work that way but this still was fun. I enjoyed trying to guess what the next synonym for scramble was going to be.

    Clueless 8:27 AM  

    Tulsa School => ORU

    Oklahoma __?__ University.

    (Not lazy. Wanted to guess, not google)


    Anonymous 8:38 AM  

    We have a mixmaster in Dallas. It's where several highways intersect, so that was actually one of the easier clues for me. Does anyone know if Kathy Weinberg ever lived in Dallas?

    Debra 9:00 AM  

    Very enjoyable puzzle. Just right for Wednesday.

    Rainbow 9:02 AM  

    Oral Roberts University (specializing in right wing religiosity)

    Mr. Benson 9:05 AM  

    TWELVE should be clued as "Seahawks fan," obviously.

    KBF 9:07 AM  

    Jeez, I liked it a lot. One person's slog is another one's interesting challenge. (And it wasn't all that hard, especially if you're playing for fun rather than speed.) Carry on, Kathy!

    Anonymous 9:08 AM  

    How is RRR school basics? What am I not getting?

    I enjoyed this puzzle but thought the cluing/answers skewed pretty tough for a Wednesday. Encomium? Veneer and weal (?) ? Wedged for fixed is pretty weak, imo.

    GILL I. 9:16 AM  

    @Clueless 8:27 Oral Roberts U.
    Rats...wrong again. I thought for sure @Rex would "like" this puzzle. I LOVED it. Total solver enjoyment. From TWELVE to VECTOR to MINION and DOGGY BAG. All of it. Does it help that I enjoy anagrams?
    Looking back, I have a DNF. Thos. at 35D signed the USMC into existence and that spray device became and remained a CIR GUN.
    BIPOLAR DISORDER from PARBOIL was primo. I PARBOIL my veggies for a STIR FRY and they usually end up as a DOGGY BAG because I always forget to take the strings off the sugar snaps and they get between your teeth. That is definitely a DISORDER.
    I thought this was a terrific Wed. puzzle, Kathy W. Two thumbs up from moi.

    Anon 9:16 AM  

    RRR= Reading, (w)Riting, (a)Rithmatics.

    Nancy 9:19 AM  

    Loved it! Loved it most when it was at its most puzzling -- i.e. before I got the theme. But it still was quite crunchy for a Wednesday, and the cluing was tricky in places. I had BUYER before PAYER (58A) and MENIAL before MINION at 45D. Very smooth, no junk, nice fill, and colorful theme answers. Because it's steeped in wordplay, this is one of my favorite puzzle types. And the execution here is elegant. Kudos, Kathy W.!

    Question of the day: How can you tell your ERIN from your EIRE? I never know the difference. Can someone help me out? Someone Irish, maybe?

    Thought of the day: Do you think poor Omarosa will ever ask for a DOGGY BAG again?

    Anonymous 9:20 AM  

    @imsdave-Totally agree on I-84 in Waterbury. I have taken this route about twice a year for the past 40 years, and it's always been a mess. What's up with that? Permanent construction project.

    I'm an anagram fan and do the JUMBLE every day, force of habit, mindless fun. My question is, how do they manage to pick five or six letters that will only make one word? PARBOIL=BIPOLAR is most excellent.

    Had way more fun than grumpy Rex, but that's not unusual.

    Unknown 9:23 AM  

    Reading, (w)Riting and (a)Rithmatic

    NatCommSteve 10:06 AM  

    In Dallas, Texas, the "mixmaster" is the confluence of I-30, I-35, and several important access roads to downtown Dallas, as well as escape routes off the Interstates to Oak Cliff and other neighborhoods across the Trinity River. It truly is a melange of roads, bridges, access roads, on ramps, off ramps, and other urban transportation (bikes, DART, trains). Because YOU MUST HAVE A CAR to live in Dallas/Fort Worth. So yeah, mixmaster is a thing here. It has been called the mixmaster since I started driving when I was 16, and I turn 62 this year.

    BTW, I love your blog.

    Anonymous 10:21 AM  

    airgun is pretty poor. paint sprayers do use compressed air, but I've never, ever heard them called air guns.
    the only two usages for air gun that I've ever hear are for BB guns--I'm using the term generically, I understand not all the projectiles are BBs-- and for pneumatically powered tools. Garages use air guns to take the lug nuts off wheels. ( You can use one to loosen any fastener, but of course, many fasteners are inaccessible to the gun, also the torque specs for most fasteners are so small it'd be over kill in loosening, and detrimental when fastening.)

    So while I hate to agree with a guy who Lewis rightly noted doesn't know anything about tools are how to use them, Rex has a point.

    ArtO 10:23 AM  

    Tricky cluing MADE this a relatively tough Wednesday...especially after the two very easy early week puzzles. As for the critique, as usual when Rex has a hard time, he finds much to complain about. Maybe some is warranted but most, at least today, was totally over the top...e.g. never heard of a MIXMASTER!!! Give me a break.

    TJS 10:24 AM  

    I missed the Borscht Belt comments yesterday. My family spent a week at one of the predominantly Jewish resorts when I was about ten. Pretty sure we were the only Irish family (Sullivans) in attendance. At dinner the emcee would announce awards for the daily activities, table tennis, shuffleboard, soft ball, etc. Every time my turn to win would come up, I was introduced as "Tim Solomon".

    Anonymous 10:26 AM  

    I'll take nit-picking for $800, Alex.
    What is "I didn't like that three of these themers were noun phrases and two were verb phrases"?

    JC66 10:36 AM  

    @ kitshef

    Just curious. If you're only looking at the Downs,how do Across themers help you?

    Whatsername 10:37 AM  

    I had an easy time of this one and thought it was great fun. But then I also love the DAILYJUMBLE so I’m probably biased. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the blog today. The king of crosswords, who routinely bashes the NYT for the lack of women constructors, vilifies a perfectly good puzzle by an obviously worthy-of-publication woman constructor. Hmm.

    @Anonymous at 12:55 - Of course I’m serious, and don’t call me Shirley.

    @Anonymous at 06:57 - Is downtown Dallas really called the Mixmaster? I lived in Denver and often navigated the Mousetrap there, but I still have nightmares about the last time I was in Dallas. Pulling a fifth wheel with a truck low on fuel thru a maze of construction. It’s a miracle we didn’t end up in Houston. The horror!!

    Nancy 10:53 AM  

    Funny!!!, @"Tim Solomon" (10:24).

    @puzzlehoarder (1:04) -- Your comment was quite funny, too, but in a very sad sort of way. Everyone I know has described the exercises you're required to do after knee surgery as pure torture. And I gather that the ones you do to yourself take much more will power than the ones that are done to you. But the difference in post surgical results between the people who did every single exercise and the people who sometimes didn't proved to be huge in the long run. Ask for the most powerful pain meds you can get, @puzzlehoarder, and don't skip a single session. Know that we're all thinking of you and wishing you well.

    RooMonster 11:08 AM  

    Hey All !
    Fun puz! Figured Rex would praise the fact of a woman constructor, but I guess he is truly equal rights as he bashed this one as much as a male constructor!

    Liked the anagram theme with synonyms of 'mixing'. Tres cool. Some nice entries, too. DOGGY BAG, NO, WAIT! (har), SMIDGE, MINION, BAR ROOM. 3D went rEntEr- lEntEr-lEntEe-LESSEE. Oof.

    An AIRGUN is a thing in auto repair shops, to paint a car. I used to work at an in-store bakery, and the cake decorator used a mini AIRGUN to decorate cakes. Definitely a thing, so there! :-)

    Here in Las Vegas, our freeway conflagration is called The Spaghetti Bowl. Right now, they are adding lanes, new bridges, and redoing the main freeway. There are all kinds of detours, and crazy traffic as skinny-ish bypass roads are funneling all the traffic. What a mess! I'll give it a year once they're done to say, "Ooh, if we did this, it'll be better for traffic", and then it'll start all over again!

    LOL at @Lorens ENDING UP, well, ending up in puz!

    One F. No respect...

    And what is I'M PUTE? Is that like being mad? (Just funnin', y'all, I know it's IMPUTE, don't send "You're an idiot" messages my way.) 😀


    jb129 11:25 AM  

    I flew through the puzzle & when I was done had to struggle to figure out the theme. But I enjoyed it a lot! Thank you, Kathy.

    Jack of... 11:28 AM  

    Air Blow Guns. Paint and pressure cleaning

    Banana Diaquiri 11:43 AM  

    who can forget the horror of the "mixmaster" which is the spaghetti bowl of freeways in central Dallas.

    ain't got nuthin on 99.44% of intersections in Boston/Cambridge. really are paved cowpaths.

    vice-versa. I don’t think of states in terms of colors.

    if being shot in a theater for no reason is a concern, then there's a 99.44% chance your in a Red state. come over to the Blue side. much more rational. not so many crazies with guns. not so many dog wimins, too.

    same as Hartford 95/84 used to be: two limited access highways meet, but no room left for a proper cloverleaf, so some folks end up on city streets to keep going. pretty common here in the Failing New England. at least our old bridges don't fall down. yet.

    when I was a kid a mixmaster was a Sunbeam Mixmaster, and it still is, at least on Amazon. it's not a food processor, just a stand mounted double-beater mixer.

    Lewis 11:46 AM  

    Kathy, the constructor, also has a sense of humor. In her notes, she says,"It’s nice to see that all my submitted clues for the theme entries survived the editing process." That one made me laugh out loud.

    Amelia 11:47 AM  

    Loved it. Dead center was my unhappy place. How could anything with Bebe Neuwirth be a Natick. Either you know her from Broadway or TV.

    Sgreennyc 11:52 AM  

    There's no pleasing this jerk.

    kitshef 11:55 AM  

    @JC66 - solving downs only, you can use pattern recognition to pick up on the across answers. Once you see that one xxxSCRAMBLE and other STIRxxxxx, you figure the theme has something to do with mixing things up. Then with xxxxxJxxBLx you can guess at JUMBLE, and with DIxOxDxR you can guess at DISORDER, and so on. One drawback was I originally guessed at xxxxMASHED for the mixmaster - but even that had three letters correct.

    JC66 11:59 AM  

    @@ kitshef

    Doh! I thought only using down clues only meant that you completely ignored the acrosses completely.

    QuasiMojo 12:03 PM  

    Oh ok Banana. I hear ya. Maybe I am living in one, I really don’t know. I am from a generation that didn’t make these distinctions. The problem is much bigger than political persuasions. But thanks buddy for the clarification.

    John Hoffman 12:03 PM  

    Red State Grp. = KKK. Glad my write-in was wrong.

    Joseph Michael 12:13 PM  

    Thanks, Kathy. Fun puzzle with great wordplay.

    Had a hard time breaking into it at first, but finally got a foothold in the NE with TUXEDO. That led gradually to STIR FRIED, the theme, and the rest of the puzzle. A couple of other themers might be:

    MANTLE - Mental confusion
    HOST - scattershot

    Liked the five dollar words like ENCOMIUM, IMPUTE, and VENEER. Made me feel smart.

    One nit: I’ve heard of the “three R’s” to describe school basics, but “RRR” is hardly an equivalent. Sounds more like the hum of a MIXMASTER.

    Is there a subliminal message about the GOP the SW corner?

    jberg 12:23 PM  

    Anagrams! What's not to love? So I did love this puzzle.

    Maybe MIXMASTER makes food processors now, I don't know, but that's not what the word stands for. Back when, it was both a brand name and the generic term for an electric mixer (they're not as common these days, so for those who don't know -- they're like two eggbeaters that mesh together, normally on a stand with a little turntable that rotates the bowl through them). Great for mixing cakes, or making mayonnaise, hollandaise, etc. (though Julia Child showed that she could beat egg whites faster with a wire whip in a copper bowl). So that was fun to see.

    I read @Rex earlier, then had to leave and come back, but it looks like no one has responded to his VECTOR comment. An airplane's course is a vector because you have to add the directional velocity it gets from its own engines to the directional velocity of the wind. The actual course is the resultant vector.

    The EMMET/BEBE cross was a guess for me, but one with strong plausibility.

    BARRack before BARROOM (stupidly, because it's 'barracks'), and @Nancy, I think the only way to tell it to check some crosses -- in this case, the RABBI gave it away.

    This is the second NYT puzzle appearance of the JUMBLE in the last couple of weeks. What are the odds that Will Shortz is planning to bring it to the Times?

    RooMonster 12:44 PM  

    Gonna throw a couple of alt. themers, not as good as the ones in the puz! But, you know...




    Teedmn 1:00 PM  

    There was a MAD SCRAMBLE for me to get a foothold in today. That common error of rentEr before LESSEE MADE most of the NW hard to get a hold on. And rentEr made eLIte likely at 20A, so I was ENDING UP with a lot of black ink in that area. But once 17A came clear, the theme answers helped with the solve.

    SHAME next to TAINT is nice.

    I thought "The Lego Movie" was cute but faced with 7D starting with E and a long last name starting with B in the clue, my brain first went to ERIN Brockovich but ERIN in at 7A and the 5-letter word needed for 7D persuaded me to read the clue for 7D a bit more closely.

    I am scratching my head on why there is an "e.g." in the clue for 68A ("Spritzes, e.g." = WETS). Anyone?

    @Lewis, I read Ms. Weinberg's comment about her theme clues surviving the editing process but failed to get the great joke so thanks for pointing that out.

    Kathy, nice job on a pleasant and clever Wednesday puzzle.

    Dick Swart 1:09 PM  

    It is totally amazing to me when the T-Rex in his critique reveals his essential ignorance of the commonalities of every-day life as the reasons the puzzle is bad.

    Linda Vale 1:15 PM  

    Rex wants more women to have puzzles in the NYT - so he can BASH THEM!

    pabloinnh 1:16 PM  

    Hey @BDaq--it's me, anon./9;20, aka pabloinnh (messed up posting)--I remember when getting on I91 from I84 to go north involved going through downtown Hartford, I think it may have been easier than going through Danbury on I84 is these days. Boston before the Big Dig used to be fun too. And during the Big Dig. Eek.

    Forgot to say earlier: BEBE is one of those names that no one else has, so that's easy. I would have clued Emmet as "famous clown Kelly", but that probably just shows my age.

    Girish 1:18 PM  

    @ S. Green 11:52 AM Is this your definition of smear? Or, perhaps,, reamed? Is a smidge of at ease in order?

    Monty Boy 1:19 PM  

    I concur with @Nancy 10:53 on physical therapy. I struggled with it for a week or two but was amazed with the results overall. In fact, I kept up with some of the strengthening exercises for a few months after. Today I don't feel any discomfort in the knee.

    I'm in the camp with enjoyed the puzzle a lot. The misdirect and double meaning clues/answers are what make the puzzle fun for me.

    Am I the only one who put in ABC for 32D? Then remembered the RRR. With all the other criticisms, I thought OFL would not like having 'ritin' and 'rithmetic.

    Banana Diaquiri 1:31 PM  

    Boston before the Big Dig used to be fun too

    well, I lived in the North End in the early 70s. getting in or out of downtown was really impossible. some really smart engineers designed the Dig. it was unfortunate that they gave that bit of tunnel contract to the lowest bidder. that replacement for the Charlestown Bridge (it has a name, but I forget at the moment) is elegant.

    mskeels64 1:41 PM  

    Come on Rex, anyone who does even casual baking uses a Mixmaster...I bet there are ten different colors offered on is an essential kitchen tool...I hate your condescension..I could be just as condescending about people who know baseball stats or the names or rappers. Stop with the nasty tone. your ignorance on a given topic is not universal, and crosswords test a sort of "universal" knowledge.

    mskeels64 1:43 PM  

    As for the "Mr. rogers" clue...I thought that it was damn cute...misdirection on to TV's Mr. hung me up for an instant, and then there was a little Aha! when I saw it, a very little one, but it was there.

    TomAz 2:12 PM  

    @Nancy re ERIN vs EIRE:

    Wikipedia clears it up nicely:

    Difference between Éire and Erin
    While Éire is simply the name for the island of Ireland in the Irish language, and sometimes used in English, Erin is a common poetic name for Ireland, as in Erin go bragh. The distinction between the two is one of the difference between cases of nouns in Irish. Éire is the nominative case, the case that (in the modern Gaelic languages) is used for nouns that are the subject of a sentence, i.e., the noun that is doing something as well as the direct object of a sentence. Erin derives from Éirinn, the Irish dative case of Éire, which has replaced the nominative case in Déise Irish and some non-standard sub-dialects elsewhere, in Scottish Gaelic (where the usual word for Ireland is Èirinn) and Manx (a form of Gaelic), where the word is spelled "Nerin," with the initial n- probably representing a fossilisation of the preposition in/an "in" (cf. Irish in Éirinn, Scottish an Èirinn/ann an Èirinn "in Ireland"). The genitive case, Éireann, is used in the Gaelic forms of the titles of companies and institutions in Ireland e.g. Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail), Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament), Poblacht na hÉireann (The Republic of Ireland) or Tuaisceart Éireann (Northern Ireland)

    That should remove any future confusion, right? hehe

    Cassieopia 2:13 PM  

    Tough Wednesday, fantastic cluing! Loved it. Theme was great: MADSCRAMBLE my favorite. Really well done.

    Wm. C. 2:54 PM  

    @BananaD1:31 --

    Would you be thinking of the Elehant Zakim Bridge.

    Banana Diaquiri 3:08 PM  

    @Wm. C.

    that's what the wiki says. I don't live near Bean Town any longer, so it wasn't on the tip of my tongue.

    Anonymous 3:55 PM  

    I like general disarray.
    General Disarray was the sidekick of Professor Chaos on South Park, the alter egos of Dougie and Butters respectively.

    Unknown 4:22 PM  

    Eine is Garlic name for Erin

    RooMonster 4:50 PM  

    @Anon 3:55
    Yes!! Love me some South Park!


    Anonymous 4:58 PM  

    Ok, as an old pilot, the clue for 5 down (airplane course) is technically not correct. A “vector” from ATC (air traffic control) is an oder to take up a specific (magnetic) heading. Course is defined as the orientation of distance made good over the ground. The difference between heading (the way the plane is pointed) and course (where it actually goes over the ground) is the displacement caused by the direction of the winds aloft. There, I bet everyone was dying to go through navigation 101.

    Banana Diaquiri 5:33 PM  

    some folks are conflating:
    AIRGUN -
    air brush -
    air wrench -

    I do the puzzle on dead trees, which I leave behind for the hoi polli to read, but my recollection is the clue is wrong.

    Aketi 5:35 PM  

    I loved the DAILY JUMBLEs as a kid and liked this puzzle too.

    @Puzzlehoarder, I know how painful the PT exercises are, but I can’t tell you how glad I am that did them faithfully for five months. I have friends that did not and the results are terrible. They might as well have not undergone the surgery. I’ll be rooting for you.

    Nancy 6:02 PM  

    Re: the whole EIRE/ERIN thing: I'm sort of sorry I asked :)

    Yes, @jberg, like you, I wait for the crosses. I always put in the first E and then I wait. It's never been a problem, actually, nor was it today. But I wanted to know -- less for puzzle-solving reasons than for reasons of idle curiosity -- what the distinction was. And TomAz (2:12) has explained it so thoroughly and in such *exquisite* detail that I will never ask again. (Nor, I imagine, will any of you.) "Hehe" is just about right, @Tom.

    Joe 6:34 PM  

    The anagram cluing was new to me. Store that up for future puzzles. Slogged through anyway, butvwithout the AHA moment until I was entirely done.

    F. Rogers 6:35 PM  

    A man who has no joy in his life. No appreciation of the gifts and efforts of others. No words of encouragement for others, even when e find fault with their efforts. No sense of self except in relation to castigating others and demonizing them. One who finds pleasure, it seems, in dissing and demeaning others.

    Are we talking about Donald Trump or Michael Sharp (aka Rex Parker)?

    Honesty, it is hard to tell.

    G. Weissman 6:39 PM  

    I think this is the best puzzle in recent memory. “This feels hackneyed. I mean, it's just a cryptic cluing technique. A common one,” says Rex. Maybe so, but I’m green enough that it seems fresh to me.

    Anonymous 9:26 PM  

    For those ragging on poor EMMET (himself the eternal optimist, what irony) - none of you have kids I guess? The Lego movie was a huge hit and there is a sequel coming out soon, much awaited by my little ones.
    Why is obscure sports trivia okay but not the main character of a recent movie that grossed almost half a billion dollars?
    (Enjoyed the puzzle though it took me almost 20 minutes cos "WEAL".)

    George 10:28 PM  

    MIXMASTER is a nickname for a Cessna 337 Spymaster light aircraft. The MIXMASTER had two engines and propellers, mounted axially with one on the nose and one on the rear of the aircraft. The engines both turned in the same direction (counter-clockwise when looking from the engine to the propeller, but since one engine was facing aft and one facing forward, the propellers were 'counter-rotating' providing a sort of MIXMASTER phenomenon.) They were pretty cool planes, produced from the mid 1960's through the early 1980's. The military variant, the 0-2A was used as a recon aircraft in the Vietnam War and featured in the movie BAT 21. A friend of mine saw the movie and went out and bought a MIXMASTER a few weeks later.

    Anonymous 10:51 PM  

    No one calls it New York *Bay.* It's New York Harbor where Ellis Island is found.

    Anonymous 12:03 AM  

    What ever happened to Retired Chemist; does anybody know? I miss his always gracious comments, ending with a thank you to the constructor regardless of how he fared that day.

    And where is D.K., whom always had a unique (and kindly) perspective on the puzzle? If you remember him, he might have rated this one "3 MIXMASTERs".

    I am glad Masked & Anon still weighs in now an then, because it always reminds me of old times on the Rex Parker blog.

    Sorry to be too lazy to assign myself a moniker, and result to posting as an Anon. I am one who used to solve in syndicate and post as IMTZAR, but it has been many years since those days.

    Rex, thanks for keeping the blog going. Most of it is a joyful read, and we can ignore the noise. (Especially if M&A has one of the last posts!).

    Anonymous 9:19 AM  

    NYT already has a more sophisticated jumble, Sunday's Spelling Bee. Not in ms's wheelhouse, I'm sure.

    G. Weissman 9:49 AM  

    Sounds like someone hit a nerve. When you’re doing exactly what you’re criticizing someone else for doing it’s time to stop and reflect.

    Anonymous 1:00 PM  

    Does anyone actually use the term BAR ROOM? Never heard of it before (always just bar)

    IceDoppio 11:16 AM  

    Not occurring in nature should be “FAKE” not “MAKE!!!!!!”

    IceDoppio 11:21 AM  

    Sorry. Should be “FAKE” not “MADE”.

    thefogman 10:35 AM  

    It had potential but fell a bit short of the mark in my opinion. I would have liked to see circled letters within the grid along with a reveal clue to tie it all in. Maybe circled letters to the word anagram along with a reveal clue (rearranged letters of a word - or a hint to solving 17, 24, 36, 50 and 62A). It wasn't the greatest, but (as usual) it wasn't as bad as Rex is making it out to be either. I'd give it a C+.

    thefogman 10:38 AM  

    To Anonymous 1:00 PM:

    I met a gin-soaked, bar-room queen in Memphis
    She tried to take me upstairs for a ride
    She had to heave me right across shoulder
    'Cause I just can't seem to drink you off my mind

    spacecraft 11:36 AM  

    Short on time today, so: I liked it a lot better than OFL did; another "don't read him" day. Fun yet not too hard to figure out; my tough anagram was PARBOIL. No way could I come up with BIPOLAR--until just a few letters filled in in the west. Then: headslap! Easy-medium for me. Lots of DOD's this time: I'll go with LARA. You have either Julie Christie or Angelina Jolie. Decisions, decisions... birdie.

    centralscrewtinizer 12:04 PM  

    A fine puz that OFL went out of his way to dis. I think the guy needs an enema.

    rainforest 2:18 PM  

    I obviously MADE a good decision to not read @Rex today! Bodes well for the rest of the day so I think I'll go buy a lottery ticket. I could use a few million $.

    I really liked this puzzle. Puzzled was I as I looked at the capitalized clues trying to find a commonality. I had parts of the themers but it was only when I realized that 17A was not MAD SCRABbLE I had the aha moment. But, what is TVMA?

    All 5 themers were excellent; the fill was clean; the cluing was clever. Nothing to not like, plus there was MEG Ryan in there. Growing up, I always heard my Mom refer to the electric mixer as a MIXMASTER. The manual one was an egg beater.

    Pretty well a perfect Wednesday.

    rainforest 2:27 PM  

    @leftcoastTAM Glad you're still around. Keep on keeping on,

    Diana,LIW 3:31 PM  

    I agree about @Lefty, @Rainy! Now let's see, we have @Rondo, @Spacey, @centralS, @Strayling, @Foggy, anon known as @Mark, other @Anons, @BurmaS of course, I've seen a @Janet, I remember @Kathy, @factchecker, @wcutler, anonPVX, sometimes @Ji,,y. Who am I missing. Who are the Synders?

    I made one small error that drove me nuts, until the DAILYdouble became the DAILYJUMBLE. Then...all was well. And it was the JUMBLE that got me started with these puzzles!

    Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

    wcutler 3:42 PM  

    I got MADSCRAMBLE and DAILYJUMBLE as the first themers, so thought they were all going to be puzzle names, got pretty confused trying to anagram the beginning word of STIRFRIED and coming up with a puzzle name.

    WEAL was pretty easy for me, since I'm originally from the CommonWEALth of Pennsylvania.

    Thanks to the person who supplied the Oral Roberts University info. I had the _RU, put in the O figuring it was Oklahoma, couldn't figure out what specialty the R represented but didn't worry about it. That doesn't make it a DNF, does it? Ha-ha, I'd be in trouble if I had to really know all the answers I get right.

    Burma Shave 5:51 PM  


    It's a SHAME to IMPUTE something ELSE ENDINGUP what it ain't:
    no TRUER a TRIBUTE than to give ATEASE to a TAINT.

    --- ERIN ELLIS

    Anonymous 10:38 PM  

    As opposed to Rex I consider this a puzzle masterpiece. Good clues, good answers. Not too many proper nouns. A fair challenge for a Wednesday. From anonymous syndicated land I thank you Konstructor Kathy !

      © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

    Back to TOP