Middle-earth area under Misty Mountains / TUE 8-7-18 / Louisiana Purchase region from 1838 to 1846 / Roman emperor of AD 69 / Onetime Mets manager Hodges

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Constructor: Alex Eaton-Salners

Relative difficulty: Medium (3:22)

THEME: BEER INGREDIENTS (37A: What's found hidden inside 16-, 23-, 47- and 59-Across) — HOPS, WATER, MALT, YEAST

Theme answers:
  • SHOPSTEWARD (16A: Union representative)
  • IOWATERRITORY (23A: Louisiana Purchase region from 1838 to 1846)
  • ANIMAL TRAINER (47A: Job at a circus)
  • HAPPYEASTER (59A: Spring greeting)
Word of the Day: MORIA (14A: Middle-earth area under the Misty Mountains) —
1. folly or excessive frivolity
2. (Medicine) a mental impairment affecting intellectual functions (thefreedictionary)


In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, Moria was the name given at the beginning of the late Third Age to an enormous and by then very ancient underground complex in north-western Middle-earth, comprising a vast network of tunnels, chambers, mines and huge halls or mansions, that ran under and ultimately through the Misty Mountains. (wikipedia)
• • •

No. No to all this. No to the truly limp revealer, no to MORIA URBS OTHO ARYA SWAMUP, no no no. EKES and STS and HUP and EGAD!, this is grating. The revealer is the worst thing. It is a boring phrase that involves no wordplay and would never qualify as a valid crossword answer were it not (limply, I say) describing the"ingredients" found in the theme answers. The whole puzzle feels like an excuse to use IOWATERRITORY, which is probably the only phrase in existence that contains WATER broken across two words. SAW A TERMITE! WOODROW ATE RICE! See, not easy. But who cares? This puzzle is not sufficiently beery, and the lack of wordplay in the themer is just killer. Deadens the puzzle. We need something cute to sell this slim concept, and instead we get a mere description. Blargh. And MORIA, come on, that is not valid. This is only the second appearance of this "word" in the NYTX For A Reason. No one says URBS. Make more judicious fill choices!

Almost all of my slowness, such as there was, was a result of the Terrible clue on STUN, which does not suggest STUN at all (35D: Bring to a standstill, say). Only if I am a perp trying to flee from a cop and she STUNs me with a stun gun does this dumb clue apply. I had the ST- and thus STOP, which, as you can see, actually fits the clue. I then went on to go with IWIN over IWON (39D: "Victory is mine!") (always a stupid, stupid decision to have to make—no way to know what verb tense this is; clue is in present so I went with present, Silly Me). I also went with ECRU for 40D: Window shade? (EAVE). I was thinking ... well, I was thinking it was four letters, starting with "E," and maybe the window shade was the shade of ECRU. Many window shades are ECRU, aren't they? Maybe not. At any rate, the eastern seaboard was a disaster. The rest of this was pretty easy, MORIA notwithstanding. Tuesday, bluesday. Bring on tomorrow!
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    Harryp 1:03 AM  

    I didn't know 14Across MOIRA or 51Down ARYA, but the crosses were fair, so no problems. Easy Theme also. 2 minutes under average Tuesday time.

    jae 1:33 AM  

    Medium-tough. I got hung up in the SWAM UP area because I initially misspelled INGREDIENTS, couldn’t decide between @Rex WiN and WON, and had @Rex STop before STUN. The rest was Tues. easy.

    Liked it more than @Rex did.

    George NYC 2:25 AM  

    So glad to have Rex back.

    travis 2:55 AM  

    I don't disagree with most of the criticism, but I won't allow any disparaging of Arya Stark. She is my favorite character, and a much more major character than Ned. Heck, Talisa has been in the puzzle and I actually had to look up who she is. Though I wouldn't have minded a better clue, I enjoyed seeing her name.

    'merican in Paris 2:58 AM  

    BUENO: Boring after the acrimony of yesterday's puzzle discussion is OK by me. My time was average, despite all the (for me) obscure proper names, like ABE, AKIRA, ANG, ARS, ARYA, ENGEL, KATHIE, OTHO.

    Like @Rex, I was STUNned by the answer to 35D not being STOP. IOWA TERRITORY was new to me, but it seems it was an organized, incorporated territory of the USA that existed from 4 July 1838 until its southern half became the state of IOWA on 28 December 1846. But the clue says "Louisiana Purchase region", which threw me, as I don't recall any part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 being called the IOWA TERRITORY at the time. (Perhaps a historian here could weigh in.) A better clue, in my view, would have been "U.S. Midwest region from 1838-1846".

    The redeemer of this puzzle, though, has got to be BLOVIATES, which describes what an ASS does, i.e. "talks at length, especially in an inflated or empty way". EGAD, is that the antithesis of our great ABE, or what? My advice to anybody working closely with the President: substitute IPODS for his cell phones and he can thumb-type all he wants, but at least the rest of us will be RID of his PHONY RETAKEs of the news.

    chefwen 3:17 AM  

    Add me to the WIN/WON STOP/STUN list.

    We purchased a COBRA kit car from a client of ours. It was fire engine red and hot, literally HOT, we drove it from the northeastern part of California to San Diego in mid summer, top down. There wasn’t much between us and the engine, were talkin’ HOT! We always take side roads vs. the freeway, more fun that way and every town we’d pass through we would get thumbs up from anyone we’d pull up next to at a light. Finally made it home, sun tanned and slightly crisp, but we made it and were ready to tool around town in our hot little COBRA. Former friend of ours begged to borrow it for the evening to impress some lady and proceeded to total it. Oh well, some you WIN/WON some you don’t.

    Like @jae, liked it more than Rex, but not by much.

    Loren Muse Smith 3:20 AM  

    Rex – a while back you and another constructor offered to have us send you theme ideas for your feedback. I had been kicking around the idea of a MISSING PARTS deal, where you take phrases with the letters PART and vamoose them. So POSTPARTUM becomes POSTUM. You said it was ok but that you didn’t like the boring reveal. I ended up collaborating with Jeff Chen, who said the same thing as you and changed the reveal to THE DEPARTED. Much, much better. So I see your point. But as long as there’s some kind of word-play shenanigans, I don’t mind a ho-hum reveal.

    I love this kind of Word Search 2G – love it. Find the country hidden below:

    Every day I take my lunch in a brown bag so that I can just throw it away.

    When you finally see it, it’s like finding a little treasure. Like today. Seeing YEAST for the first time in HAPPY EASTER pleased me. Thank you Alex, editors, for eschewing the circles. Thank you.

    I didn’t know SHOP STEWARD, so for while I had a mystifying “stop steward.” Crossing “Otto.”

    BLOVIATE – I’m with @’merican - what a terrific word. I see a portmanteau. Like if I eat a bunch of cooked cabbage, about thirty minutes later, I achieve lift-off and commence to sky-writing. Bloviating. Hah.

    Good Tuesday.

    Anonymous 5:35 AM  

    So good to have you back :^)

    BarbieBarbie 5:47 AM  

    Unlike @LMS, I do mind a boring reveal, when the tedium stems from the fact that the reveal doesn’t reveal so much as describe bluntly. So I was with @OFL on that bit. But can we please applaud this fun puzzle for COBRA/ASPS? ENDED in the SE? BLOVIATES? And best of all, themers that go 1-2-3-4 in order of leading letters, like a glug of BEER?

    Pete S 5:50 AM  

    I initially wanted STOP too, but STUN didn't seem too much of a leap with the ",say". Imagine any intimate, if bustling environment where someone suddenly drops a bombshell.

    Hungry Mother 5:53 AM  

    No problems today and don’t understand Rex’s rant. Just another puzzle, standard Tuesday fare.

    Anonymous 6:11 AM  

    You complain about MORIA, which is the site of many famous scenes in the wildly popular
    Lodd of the Rings and ARYA, a main character of the most popular TV show on the air today, yet GIL and ENGEL get a pass? Come on. GIL Hodges is part of the NYTimes Crosswords love affair with obscure baseball people that no one cares about. That crosses with ENGEL, the name of an actress on a TV show that aired in the 70s. If you want to complain about new references, go ahead, but remember it is equally valid to old ones too. Neither of these two people have been relevant for almost 40 years. At least MORIA and ARYA are things someone born affer the 70s would get.

    Lewis 6:25 AM  

    This puzzle was unusually and delightfully scrappy for a Tuesday, with nine answers out of my wheelhouse (USA and STS because of how they were clued). On top of that, I love the words BLOVIATE and NADIR. And, since the theme asked us to find words in phrases, my eyes continued after the solve to see a Boggle-style ALE and KEG in the grid, not to mention a backward IPA in one of the answers. Finally, it brings a feeling of satisfaction to have ENDED at the finish.

    But what I liked best was the rare event of having a relative tussle on Tuesday. For a bit, this puzzle and I were at lager-heads.

    Matthew G. 6:27 AM  

    There is nothing wrong with MORIA. It’s a major location in a major work of literature. If ENT and ORC and FRODO can go in the puzzle, so can MORIA.

    Rex is right about the revealer, though. A revealer needs to be an in-the-language phrase in its own right, and this one landed with a thud.

    The Balrog 6:38 AM  

    Stuck at 14a?

    The Bridge of Khazad-dûm:"You — shall not — pass!"

    Suzie Q 6:44 AM  

    I'm with @ Lewis on this one. I liked the clue for Eli with the cute use of Manning twice. Walking down the aisle? Bride? Groom? No, it's the usher. First a little PDA and then I Do.
    Besides a bit of nice vocabulary like bloviates there was the very funny kaput!

    Too bad yesterday's puzzle got so hijacked. I imagine Andrea was crushed by the reaction. That is the same nice lady who passes out pizza to the homeless and probably the last person in the world who would intentionally offend someone. Sad.

    Odd Sock 6:51 AM  

    G of T and LOTR both in the same puzzle. If only there had been a Harry Potter clue my morning would have been complete.
    Bloviates! Perfect name for this blog would be Bloviation Nation.
    Anyone notice the sly insertion of "she" when Rex referred to a cop?
    Today could have been a Monday and yesterday felt more like a Tuesday.

    Anonymous 6:54 AM  

    Jeesh! Just getting started, seems harder than Saturday.

    Anonymous 6:56 AM  

    "The most popular tv show on the air today" - This does not justify the frequency of names from the show ending up in the NYT crossword.

    Jim Lemire 7:16 AM  

    As a homebrewer I enjoyed the theme enough. The revealer actually helped me get IOWA TERRITORY. And as a Tolkien fan, I didn’t mind Moria...though I certainly can see why it would be a major issue for non Tolkien fans. But if I was neither a homebrewer nor a Tolkien fan, I would have little nice to say about this puzzle.

    URBS? Really?

    SWAM UP? Not sure that phrase has ever been uttered in reference to a current. You can swim up to the pier or to the boat or to the jetty or to anything you want. But swim up the current? I don’t think so.

    HAPPY EASTER? I guess it works technically but I was disappointed when I realized that was it.

    Perhaps showing my ignorance, but what is a SHOP STEWARD?

    Everything just felt forced today.

    kitshef 7:21 AM  

    Kind of a weird, freaky Tuesday with the like of OTHO and MORIA and ARYA and URBS and ENGEL and HARPO and probably missed some in there. Like a Friday-level word list clued with Monday clues.

    GIL Hodges went 0 for 21 in the ’52 series.

    clk 7:29 AM  

    Exactly! GIL/ENGEL was a Natick for me but MORIA and ARYA were fairly crossed and more freshly relevant than either of the others.

    pabloinnh 7:44 AM  

    Being a big LOTR fan, MORIA went right in. Never having seen GOT, ARYA was a WOE. One man's Mede is another man's Persian, as the saying goes.

    Any puzzle with this much beer content is aces with me.

    Rainbow 7:45 AM  

    Enjoyable solve but tough for Tuesday. DNF-was naticked at V of HOV/BLOVIATES. Just did not know either one. I got the theme by looking for related words in the theme answers which led to finishing BEER INGREDIENTS. That led to finishing except for the V. Lots of clue/answers I had to work at. Ultimately more satisfying than a gimme puzzle. No dreck, really, but I have a couple of nits: EKES by? Haven't heard that. SWAMUP the current? Haven't heard that either. and URBS? (That might be dreck)

    GHarris 8:06 AM  

    In a puzzle that contains so many proper names and includes bloviating ass it seems strange that Hannity and Carlson are omitted.

    ghkozen 8:20 AM  

    After BLOVIATE, MORIA and ARYA weremy two favorite answers in the puzzle. Popular, relevant, and fresh. Lets target our ire on the fact I’m supposed to know some obscure baseball player who died 20 years before I was born. I’m layong down a strong position: any puzzle with GIL Hodges is poorly written; he is trash fill.

    Sweyn 8:24 AM  

    I’ve heard ‘burbs many times. I’ve never heard anyone say urbs. I doubt anyone has ever said it before today. As for Arya, I don’t see the problem using the name of a major character on a hugely popular tv series. Just ‘cause Michael Sharp hasn’t heard of it doesn’t make it junk fill.

    'merican in Paris 8:26 AM  

    @Jim Lemire: Indeed, it's usually SWAM against the current.

    pmdm 8:38 AM  

    Perhaps some might say today's write-up bloviates a bit. For me, it seems a little too close to being self-imporant, or something like that.

    I enjoyed solving the puzzle. I feel sorry that things that don't bother me at all ruin the solving fun of so many others. While i probably should, I don't hate SWAM UP. I do love beer, so maybe I should visit a local craft brewery today. Or a bar that specializes in craft beers. Good day for a stout.

    Anonymous 8:39 AM  

    I liked it, but shouldn’t be expected to know Georgia ENGEL and GIL Hodges on Tuesday.

    Z 8:42 AM  

    Best. Tuesday. Ever.

    I've reread LOTR once or twice. I'm familiar enough to really really dislike the faux feminism in The Hobbit movies and criticize ad infinitum the decision to excise Tom Bombadil from the movie trilogy just because some can't make sense of how Bombadil drives the narrative forward. I don't rise to Colbert level of Tolkien Geekiness, but I can hold my own. And as I plopped in MORIA with nary a picosecond wasted on thought I shook my head and said "Really? On a Tuesday?" I imagine this clue will be as opaque to some as the riddle, "pedo mellon a minno" (Speak, Friend, and enter) was to Gandalf as the Fellowship stood at the Door of Durin.

    QuasiMojo 8:53 AM  

    Either Rex is drinking too much prune juice or not enough. Why the outsized rant today? Your time was 3:22, man. So clearly you had no problems with the fill, no matter how boring or unfair. Took me well over twice that amount of time. Mostly because I insisted on OASTS instead of OVENS, thinking OVENS was too boring. Well, okay, it was. But this is a Tuesday, so I don't think it was unexpected.

    I agree with the fella above who points out that just because something is immensely popular on TV that it automatically gets carte blanche in the NYT puzzle. C'mon NYT constructors. Use your brain instead of your channel guide.

    SWAM UP was weird. I've heard SWAM UPSTREAM. I'm sure a few minutes of editing could have fixed that thorny corner.

    ASPS and COBRA, yesterday SNAKE. I need an ADDERol.

    Oh, and HAPPY EASTER everyone!

    Hartley70 8:56 AM  

    I now know more about BEER than I ever expected when I woke up this morning. My thought at the end of completing this Tuesday easy puzzle was, “Where’s the grain?” A little googling schooled me and now I know that’s the MALT, silly, and usually barley soaked in water. Hops are improbably cute little green pinecone shaped plants grown mostly in Washington. It would have been nice if that info was clued in the puzzle for a bit of theme density.

    My other surprise today was having Engel pop out of my mind without having thought of that actress for TV eons. MTM has been left in the dust by GOT!

    Deb 9:01 AM  

    Nice idea to disconnect his phone, but iPods had wheels for selecting input, no typing. What a curious design it was.

    Nancy 9:08 AM  

    So now I can make BEER in my very own bathtub. Oh, no, wait, that's gin.

    Was tripped up a bit in the Mideast, when I confidently wrote in STop instead of STUN at 35D and never questioned it. I also thought that to navigate against the current, you had to be in a boat. I never thought of swimming. So I'm wracking my brains to remember the three ways you can propel a boat -- with the current, against the current, and perpendicular to the current. Someone once gave me the stick and let me try all three, and they all felt remarkably different. It was fascinating to have that hands-on experience. I remember that when you went with the current you were "running", but I don't remember the other two. I was sure one of the other two was the SW-something-or-other at 42A. Anyway, this section of the puzzle provided me with some unexpected crunch and I liked that.

    What PPP there was in the puzzle all skewed old and was in my wheelhouse. So none of it was a problem. Found this a pleasant Tuesday.

    jackj 9:11 AM  

    There's a pattern to the Rex Reviews; with rare exception Rex negatively BLOVIATES on at least one word that he declares to be too obscure, is unfair and is even, (Heaven forfend!), not valid.

    Today's chosen one is MORIA.

    As happens in most cases such as this, the five crosses are gimmees-- MELT, BOWIE, ERA, AIR and MADRID.

    But, to note that the crosses are so recognizable as to make knowledge of MORIA a totally unnecessary luxury, doesn't fit the daily game plan and the rant ensues.


    Anonymous 9:15 AM  

    Your comment reminds of someone. Who could it be? Anything you don't know is trash? Rap, social media and LOTR references are always hard for me but they are valid subjects for clues.

    GILL I. 9:23 AM  

    I thought this was one fine Tuesday puzzle. Yeah, the reveal could have used a zing or two but you start my puzzle with a COBRA add some HARPO a little UMAMI and an ASS that BLOVIATES, then you've got my smile.
    I wish I could understand the love of BEER. All the men in my life really enjoy the stuff. I drink one and all I do is belch uncontrollably and sit in the loo. About the only place where I can actually enjoy a BEER without the above problems is in Mexico. Maybe because of the heat? I do like a Pacifico; can actually drink two of them without any discernible noise, so I give that one a two thumbs up. Tecate is disgusting.
    @Travis 2:55. Oh, I so agree with you about ARYA. Isn't she something? She, too, is one of my favorites - maybe a bit after Tyrion Lannister. I may have to re-watch GOT before the new season starts.
    @Jim Lemire. I was an airline SHOP STEWARD for about 6 months. This was in the 80's. You hear lots of complaints, write them down, nod your head in agreement, fight with upper management and get paid over-time for the pleasure. You have to keep tedious notes and be willing to fight for the employees rights even if you don't agree. Over-time pay and harassment were the biggest complaints. Not a fun job - especially when you yourself become management.
    @sanfranman from late yesterday. Thanks for stopping by and giving me the only blog smile. I just tune out after all the repeated whining and snarking. @Andrea does deserve better. The pizza lady, indeed!
    @Alex...I enjoyed your beer puzzle Can you do one with Scotch?

    Anonymous 9:24 AM  

    @LMS The last paragraph is absolutely LOL FUNNY.

    Rufous Ruminant 9:28 AM  

    @ Rainbow 7:45, If you have never heard of EKE what are you doing on a crossword blog? That is a meat-and-potatoes standard fill. File it away because you will be needing again soon.

    Swam up made me picture spawning salmon so I didn't question it and just moved on.

    GILL I. 9:34 AM  

    @Loren: China
    @chefwen: Can we get up some day and share some muffins? You RED HOT COBRA you!

    Matthew G. 9:36 AM  

    Gil Hodges may be many things, but he is not obscure.

    Nate 9:37 AM  

    DNF'd myself by plopping in HUT instead of HUP in the NE corner and never noticing that it created a non-word ("thony") where the obvious PHONY went. Oops. Guess I had football on the brain.

    Anyways, I feel like if you need to use non-things in your puzzle, you should probably go back to the drawing board. URBS is not a thing. Google tells me that it may actually have been a thing in Latin, but it's definitely not a thing now. If your crossword requires URBS to work, I think you just need to re-work things, because it can't have URBS.

    Matthew G. 9:37 AM  

    Well, the very first ones did. The later iPods had touchscreens.

    Anonymous 9:40 AM  

    BLOVIATE: intransitive verb: to speak or write verbosely and windily. This pretty well describes a lot of yesterday's BLOG commentary.

    Jake Zavracky 9:41 AM  

    Pillsbury seems like a weird choice for 46A since most their products are baked at home.

    Anonymous 9:47 AM  

    Declaration: Henceforth and forevermore no NYT xword puzzle shall contain any item that people under 40 do not know!

    Isandxan 9:50 AM  

    I have been reading this blog for a couple of years now and can usually smell a Rex Rant coming early on in a puzzle, but I missed this one. As a solver only, I thought BLOVIATES, NADIR, UNMERITED, UMAMI, USHER and KAPUT (both as clued) gave the puzzle a lot of charm and more than made up for SWAMUP and the other small clunkers people have pointed out. I smiled broadly when I threw in BLOVIATES and I guess the good mood carried me through the puzzle.

    The theme wasn't spectacular, but hey, it's a Tuesday.

    Got MORIA from the crosses so never saw it while solving.

    Objectively, I can understand the criticisms from a constructor perspective and can't say they are UNMERITED, but my solving experience was more fun than that.

    Rainbow 9:56 AM  

    EEK, Rufous. My problem wasn't with EKES but with pairing it with "by". The usual phrase is EKES out.

    TJS 10:04 AM  

    Thought this was a fine puzzle, especially for a Tuesday. Agree that "bloviates" alone was worth the price of admission. Could this be another one of Rex' enemies that gets attacked for personal reasons rather than puzzle quality?

    Anonymous 10:19 AM  

    Ha ha ha ha ha
    This is the only allowable reaction to RP land:
    ha ha ha ha ha...

    Anonymous 10:19 AM  

    Didn’t know MORIA, but crosses were very easy. PRADO > Louvre, if you ask this non-expert.

    Revealer was flat like a stale BEER.

    Anyone else think of phasers set to STUN?

    On the subject of URBS—I know I don’t encounter this expression often, but, as it’s so clearly back-formed (if that’s the right word) from the very common bURBS, I'm sure I’ve run into it once or twice before. This puts me in mind of how often I’m mildly surprised to find heated objection in these comments to what I considered innocent, fun-with-words type entries.

    RooMonster 10:27 AM  

    Hey All !
    Well, National BEER Day was April 7, which sorta jibes with HAPPY EASTER. A TuesPuz just ran in the wrong month?

    Did like it more than Rex. Was a typical Tuesday-type of puz. Has alot of blocks, 42, and threes, 27. And No F's! The nerve...

    Had hug for IDO. grin-BEAM, wrote in IW_N and waited for the cross. Like EEO/WOE, Mauna __A, etc. SWAM UP to the bar to get some BEER INGREDIENTS. :-)

    HOV stands for Heavily Occupied Vehicle, in case you were wondering. Which is quite funny, because if you've ever noticed the signs, they usually say, HOV Lane - 2 or more people. Now, 2 people doesn't seem to be "Heavily Occupied" to me. Just sayin'.


    Anonymous 10:30 AM  

    MORIA was a gimme with no crosses! Tolkien is classic literature and these complaints about it are rather unbecoming.

    Carola 10:30 AM  

    Liked it. Maybe just because I iike recipes (to read, sometimes even make), it gave me as much pleasure to write in INGREDIENTS as it did BLOVIATES. After the reveal, I entertained myself by trying to anticipate how MALT and YEAST would be disguised; got a kick out of ANIMAL TRAINER. Like @Barbie Barbie, I appreciated the nice touch of the step-wise positioning of the four components within ther phrases.

    No trouble here with MORIA or GIL My do-overs were OTtO, grin before BEAM, and, for your laff of the day, one before HUP.

    Unknown 10:41 AM  

    To be fair, MORIA is as intimately familiar to me as any of these blasted base-ball players are to Rex, so to each his own.

    ghostoflectricity 10:42 AM  

    How does one get “sts” from the 41-A clue? BTW I agree with Rex: this puzzle is substandard, to be diplomatic. Only use of “urbs” of which I am familiar is the Chicago city motto “urbs in horto,” meaning “city in a garden.” The late lamented columnist Mike Royko, aware of the phrase and a tireless chronicler of corruption, greed, and stupidity in the city proposed the Latin phrase “ubi est mea?” (“Where’s mine?”) as a replacement.

    QuasiMojo 10:42 AM  

    Sorry for the double post!

    Wasn't MORIA in The Red Shoes? :)

    CDilly52 10:43 AM  

    You made my day! I always look forward to your comments but this one blew me away.

    Anonymous 10:47 AM  

    I instantly had water spread between two words:
    response to South jersey food stop?
    Wawa terrific.

    I know rex won't like but Mohair Sam sure will ( wherever he is).

    if you're curious about what Wawa is, google Keith Urban Wawa. kinda funny slice of life story. And my closest Wawa. Got coffee there this morning Saw no celebs.

    JC66 10:56 AM  


    A Street & E Street

    CDilly52 11:02 AM  

    Yes, this has a bunch of drek and yes, the theme was revealed poorly but BLOVIATE and NADIR were high points and sent me straight down memory lane. My granddad was a prickly (ok, pompous) fellow hell bent on correcting each and every single error in grammar and elocution. I recall each detail of the afternoon I was informed that “Speech is used for precise communication. I will not tolerate your bloviation!” I was 8, knew from context what it probably meant and was thrilled to have been correct when I looked it up. And indeed I was bloviating to try to impress the old guy. I do not ever recall him using a contraction in speech, either. One of the relatives I truly learned to appreciate only after he was gone.

    Anonymous 11:02 AM  

    @pabloinnh - reminded me of an oldie that only registers in certain circles:
    The distinguished lady from the front pew goes up to the guest preacher for the Sunday, who has just finished a fine sermon on the subject of the Medes and the Persians:
    "Oh, Reverend, thank you so much for today's message! You know, my father was a Meade, and my mother was a Pershin'..."

    Joseph Michael 11:08 AM  

    Gee, I thought this was a good puzzle until I came here. Yes, the revealer is a bit clinical, but it was fun to find the BEER INGREDIENTS hidden in the themers, especially HAPPY EASTER.

    Like many, I love the word BLOVIATES and got a chuckle out of @Odd Sock’s suggestion to call this blog Bloviation Nation. Also enjoyed the @lms hiding of China. Here’s another country back at ya:

    The cunning thief ran cell phone scams from his prison cell.

    kitshef 11:15 AM  

    @Roo Monster - 'round here we say High Occupancy Vehicle. I guess two is high, relative to one.

    Preferred Customer 11:22 AM  

    Over 40, didn't know any of them, got them all, nonetheless. Today's tiny brag.

    CDilly52 11:25 AM  

    Agree wholeheartedly. URBS to me is an onomatopoeic term to describe the sounds one makes after imbibing too many of the theme beverages!

    Anonymous 11:28 AM  

    I don’t understand why the constructor's original revealer, BEER BELLY, was rejected as being too much of a stretch.

    And thanks, @kitself, that’s the HOV phrase I’m familiar with.

    Banana Diaquiri 11:32 AM  

    We purchased a COBRA kit car from a client of ours.

    c'mon!!! the Shelby heads all want to know: what engine? Ford 289/427? or a later 305, etc.? or was it one of those degenerate VW bugs in clown makeup??

    Banana Diaquiri 11:37 AM  

    @Jim Lemire:
    SWAM UP? Not sure that phrase has ever been uttered in reference to a current.

    yeah. one swims AGAINST the current. or, in a boat, TACKS against either the current or wind. bad, bad, bad.

    Anonymous 11:42 AM  

    Rex, per today's Wordplay column, the constructor's original revealer was BEER BELLY, and even after it changed to BEER INGREDIENTS, his original clue was [What's found in the "bellies" of...]. So, I suppose an editorial choice was made to lose the wordplay to make the revealer a little easier. Though the editors also did away with the original circles around "yeast" etc., which I think was a good move.

    Sgt. Rock 11:43 AM  

    What's all this hatred for GIL Hodges and Georgia ENGEL? Listen you punk kids you better learn those names and like 'em because they aren't going anywhere. If you want Teletubbies and Pokemons and any of that other crap go do the Junior Jumble or go play with your phone. Don't make me angry again.

    Banana Diaquiri 11:45 AM  

    oh. yeah. in very few cases do EAVEs actually SHADE a window here in the USofA, outside the deepest South/Southwest. they just extend enough to include a ventilation grill to allow air to circulate over the roof insulation (you do have enough, yes?), about half to a whole foot from the edge of the wall. bad, bad, bad.

    Grif 11:46 AM  

    I had -N--RITED for 34D: Not Deserved, and put in INHERITED, quite pleased that the NYT would take such a provocative stance. Of course, getting SWAMUP (43A) made me realize that today was not, in fact, going to be that day and that the answer was UNMERITED.

    14:30 solve time for me.

    old timer 11:52 AM  

    Hard for a Tuesday but I eventually finished.

    Shortz should have re-clued URBS as "Roman city, once."

    jb129 11:52 AM  

    I'm glad to have Rex back too.

    I usually don't like this constructor's puzzles but since it was Tuesday, I stuck with it & got it.

    Thank you A-ES - now I know what bloviates means!

    relicofthe60s 12:02 PM  

    Rex apparantly likes pop culture references only when they refer to rappers or TV sitcoms. I knew MORIA and ARYA but never heard of Georgia ENGEL.

    Jesse 12:06 PM  

    "I thought MORIA was really easy" - Every nerd ever

    P.S. It was really easy

    Anonymous 12:09 PM  

    What is HUP? I don't understand the reference. Was thinking Hut One, Hut Two, etc., but have no idea on HUP.

    Masked and Anonymous 12:22 PM  

    This puppy felt like it was in SWAMUP-hill mode, fightin desperately to hit its target of usual A-E-Salners Excellence.
    As the mighty @muse points out, it's always kinda fun to find hidden stuff, tho. Shout "ahar!" each time. Startle the dog(s). [Aside to @muse: Sure am mighty relieved yer lunch weren't in a khaki bag …]

    @muse was also spot-on about this puz's hi-lite = BLOVIATES.
    Ahar! A hidden BLOVIATION ingredients theme! Just need 4 themers that can hide one each of CABBAGE, BEANS, SALSA, and LEMONADE. Smokin.

    staff weeject pick: STS. Plural abbrev meat, plus it's in the formative BEER alcove ... with near-BEER parts: UR(B)S, ME(E)T, BLOVIAT(E)S, OMA[R].
    Nice weeject stacks, in the NE and SW.

    Coulda been a moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue contender: {Internet address} = URL.

    Thanx for the feisty TuesPuz, A-E-S. Liked how yer grid ended with ENDED.

    Masked & Anonym007Us

    Anonymous 12:25 PM  

    Initially had the revealer as BEER NECESSITIES- in my mind, that's the real correct answer.

    JC66 12:30 PM  


    Just noticed A&E are the first two initials of the constructor's name, FWIW.

    Harryp 12:38 PM  

    From the "Great Communicator" to the "Twitter Bloviator" in 2 generations.

    Masked and Anonymous 12:43 PM  

    @Anonymous 12:25pm - yep. U just may have nailed the ultimate themer revealer. thUmbsUp.
    Now go build some puzs!

    M&A Revealer Evaluation Desk

    tea73 1:15 PM  

    This puzzle reminded me of the German "Reinheitsgebot" (German Beer Purity Law) which stated nothing could be in BEER except HOPS, WATER and barley (which is made into MALT0. (They didn't know the YEAST was getting in there naturally.)They had to loosen the rules a bit with the EU to allow imported beers.

    I only knew AROD for baseball clues, did not know the Mary Tyler Moore clue, she was before my time by and large, though I loved the spin-off Lou Grant. ARYA and MOIRA were gimmes, so I of course, thought they were perfectly fair.

    I saw STEW long before I saw HOPS which had me a bit confused. Also had StOPSTEWARD for a little while.

    Teedmn 1:16 PM  

    I SWAM UP against the current on this one. AES puzzles are never in my wheelhouse for some reason - must be the cluing because there wasn't enough trivia in the grid for that to be the problem.

    I had @LMS's StOP STEWARD for a while - and that's after getting rid of Nero. And I had grin at 6A before BEAM. My B still looked like my over-written g there so I tried to put in ginsu knife at 6D. What a mess that was.

    After I finished, I looked at my time and wondered why the puzzle had taken me two minutes longer than usual. I circled my BEER INGREDIENTS and went EKES! I had left the NE completely empty, so add another 30 seconds onto that slow Tuesday time.

    My husband gets together weekly in the winter with a group of friends who brew BEER, so he can tell you all about the different hops, malt, yeast, etc. They bought a special tap for their keg so it doesn't affect the flavor and they use filtered water for the same reason. He has his own kit at home and I have had the pleasure of hearing the carboy full of fermenting liquid burp for a week, from where it sat in our bathtub (hi @Nancy). It's fun to watch the process but they usually make it too hoppy for me to enjoy drinking it.

    @Gill I, @Travis, ARYA is my favorite character also, along with Tyrion, especially in the books. ARYA later in the HBO series has become rather scary. I hated that in one of the books, the way it was divided up, there were no (or very few, can't remember exactly) ARYA sections, boo.

    Thanks, Alex, nice Tuesday and too bad your BEER BELLIES didn't make the cut.

    oldactor 1:19 PM  

    @anonymous 12:09

    When army troops are marching the Sgt. calls the cadence with "Hup two three four"

    puzzlehoarder 1:21 PM  

    MORIA helped me clear up my little GRIN supported by GINSU mess I'd created in the middle north.

    I think it's just great that BLOV IATES is in this puzzle. One of the big problems with this blog is the bloviation. Even if you skip our hosts comments there's still a great deal of secondary bloviation to Wade through.

    These early week puzzles often don't generate enough personal interest to compensate for reading the pointless verbiage. Judging by today's comments yesterday was a good day to skip this blog so no regrets.

    If you hate mistakes as much as I do you'd serve yourself well by going over those xwordinfo clue lists post solve.

    I don't care for baseball trivia any more than the next solver. Today I found out that Gil Hodges is the All- Star of the xwordinfo GIL list. Baseball I could care less about but I pride myself on puzzle trivia so this is one that should have been a reflex entry. Luckily it wasn't a problem because I've recently looked up Georgia ENGEL from another puzzle and she was mentioned in a Betty White article I read a couple of days ago.

    My opinion on putting GOT in the same league as LOTR is like trying to have Gimli stand in for Gandalf. BLOVIATE away.

    Masked and Anonymous 1:22 PM  

    @muse: Make that yer lunch weren't "in khaki bags". [Sigh. Day-um, M&A … if you're tryin to re-kindle trouble, at least have it make more sense than a trumptweet.]

    IOWATERRITORY is a real admirable concealment of WATER. Beats CROW ATE ROADKILL, even.

    Also, RETAKE is a real admirable desperation save of URBS. har


    John Child 1:33 PM  

    @Z, Tom Bombadil didn’t move the story forward. Late in life JRR said that he wasn’t really sure where the story was going at the beginning, hence the diversion.

    Excellent puzzle puzzle IM(rarely)HO.

    Suzie Q 2:12 PM  

    @ John Child, Tom B. and his lady might not have been major characters to the plot but were very memorable. I loved them both.

    Lewis 2:19 PM  

    @puzzlehoarder -- Hand up for grin/Ginsu.

    newspaperguy 2:42 PM  

    Me? I come here to see how the blogger can find a new way to embarrass himself, then to scroll through the comments until I find Loren Muse Smith's delightful posts. Everything else is a either a bonus or an annoyance. The puzzle was fine, by the way, and bloviates rocks!

    chasklu 2:49 PM  

    Agreed. I hesitated to put OVENS there until crosses made it plain.

    Bagelboy 2:51 PM  

    After choosing IWIN over IWON, i put in ICERS for OVENS. Got it all straightened out eventually. Never heard of MORIA or OTHO, but the crosses were straightforward enough. Rex's rant UNMERITED, in my opinion. Perfectly fine Tuesday with an understandable theme that helped a little. What I hate are theme puzzles that don't help or reveal anything, like this past Sunday.

    Joe Bleaux 3:46 PM  

    You are correct, sir. That non-thing should be run out of town ... to the exURBS.

    Anonymous 3:49 PM  

    @Roo you awesome guy. It stands for High Occupancy Vehicle

    Joe Bleaux 3:50 PM  

    I thought it was High Occupancy, but -- oxymoron alert! -- same difference.

    Crimson Devil 3:51 PM  

    Enough dissin Gil Hodges: way before Mets manager he was very able first baseman for Brooklyn (sic) Dodgers. Kudos to anyone who knows origin of that moniker.

    Banana Diaquiri 4:18 PM  

    @Joe Bleaux:
    That non-thing should be run out of town ... to the exURBS.

    that word goes back rather a long time. longer, even, than I thought. I read "The Exurbanites" in the mid-60s. just looking it up now, it was written in 1955. long-distance commuting by auto was much harder then. I wonder: may be most of them took the train?

    68Charger 4:37 PM  

    I assume they are talking about some streets being named as "letter streets". It sounds good on paper but I guess you have to live there for awhile to appreciate it.

    Anonymous 4:45 PM  

    I can't for the life of me think of a name from which GIL could be derived. You have me stumped. And I so wanted kudos.

    Unknown 5:23 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Unknown 5:24 PM  

    22D...Small error. "(Blank) a beautiful day in the neighborhood". It should actually be THIS neighborhood.

    Crimson Devil 6:01 PM  

    I’s referring to Dodgers? Know where that came from?

    JC66 6:13 PM  

    @Crimson Devil

    I vaguely remember hearing that the Brooklyn team's name is derived from "dodging" trolley cars, but I could be wrong.

    chefwen 6:18 PM  

    @Banana Diaquiri, That little kit car was ages ago but puzzle partner seems to think it was a Mustang engine.
    @GILL I, Wend your way over here and I’ll make you as many muffins as you could possibly want. ‘mericans can tell you how delish they are.

    Bob Mills 6:21 PM  

    Rex doesn't like anything. Let's ask him to do the next puzzle, then everyone can dump on him. I thought it was a nice puzzle.

    JC66 6:22 PM  

    @Crimson Devil

    It appears I was right.

    Bob Mills 6:24 PM  

    To Crimson Devil: You're correct. When the Brooklyn team looked for a name, "trolley dodgers" stood out because trolleys had just been introduced in Brooklyn, and pedestrians were getting accustomed to them.

    Later the Dodgers became the "Robins," only because Wilbert Robertson was their manager. Then they went back to "Dodgers." They're still the Dodgers, even though there are no trolleys in Los Angeles.

    Banana Diaquiri 6:26 PM  

    I can't for the life of me think of a name from which GIL could be derived.

    an even more obscure reference might be that comic strip coach: Thorp.

    Jeff B. 9:56 PM  

    The Brooklyn (Trolley) Dodgers is indeed the origin, which works about as well in LA as moving Lakers there from Minneapolis. Gil is short for Gilbert. It’’s certainly fair to say Gil Hodges, as someone who retired as a player more than 50 years ago. A little more recently, he won the World Series as a manager of the Mets (the clue) in 1969, and he came pretty close to election to the Hall of Fame as a player for quite a while. If I have to know minor actors’ names and nerdy clues about middle earth, I’m fine with everyone needing to know a little about baseball, our national pastime.

    chefwen 10:00 PM  


    Amelia 10:33 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    CDilly52 11:05 PM  

    I have only heard SWAM UPstream, so this one rankled a bit.

    Space Is Deep 7:49 PM  

    Really liked it. But way harder than normal Tuesday fare!

    Unknown 7:30 AM  

    Bloviates, blows!

    thefogman 10:30 AM  

    I won't bloviate. Rex hated it. I liked it. What else is new? He just does not appreciate a good themer. Maybe it wasn't perfect in every way, but this one was enjoyable to solve. And I'll drink to that. So cheers to Alex Eaton-Salners!

    Burma Shave 11:30 AM  


    IDO think IT'S RARE when a SHOPSTEWARD
    BLOVIATES with no AIR of deviance,
    but EGAD, IT'S not PHONY nor UNMERITED
    if IT'S all about BEERINGREDIENTS.


    centralscrewtinizer 11:53 AM  

    What happened to Mohair Sam?

    rondo 12:00 PM  

    Apparently I liked it more than OFL. For the trash heap that has become Tuesday puzzles, I found this puz OK; it had me at BLOVIATES.

    I still have my dad's Falls Café bowling shirt with his nickname HARPO embroidered on the left breast.

    50 weeks from now will mark the 50th anniversary of when I played in a band that opened for Johnny CASH. First sellout and SRO of over 25,000 at the MN State Fair. And ITS not PHONY. HARPO was proud.

    As I write this, yeah baby KATHIE Lee's show is on TV. KATHIE LEE seems to be much shorter than Hoda.

    Maybe high on PPP, but decent enough puz.

    rainforest 3:20 PM  

    Well, I liked this puzzle, and I much prefer MORIA to any reference to Homer's neighbour/bartender/corner store/kids. Btw, Tom Bombadil rocked, but I can understand why he was left out of the film.

    Nice to see the traditional German BEER INGREDIENTS, and no corn, which American beer seems to use.

    Decent theme, OK revealer, and generally good fill except for, maybe, SWAM UP.

    Diana,LIW 4:10 PM  

    What little PPP there was came easily with the crosses - no problems here. Only changes for me were my own spelling errors! So ITSA beautiful day in the Tuesday neighborhood.

    Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

    @Foggy - glad you took the save yesterday.

    thefogman 5:13 PM  

    @D,LIW: From now on there will be no more misteaks. :-)

    Diana,LIW 9:19 PM  

    @Fogmeister - Those are high steaks! Would you want fries with that?


    Anonymous 12:33 AM  

    @rainforest 3:20 PM

    MALT is not grain specific. So...not necessarily Reinheitsgebot.

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