Operatic baritone Pasquale / SUN 8/19/18 / Humphries of the N.B.A. / Peak NW of Athens / "Sonnets to Orpheus" poet / "Birds in an Aquarium" artist

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Constructor: Jacob Stulberg

Relative difficulty: Medium (Medium-easy except for the NE and SW; 19:51, which is probably a hair above my Sunday average these days)

THEME: PASSIVE RESISTANCE — The constructor is resisting the use of passive voice by turning five phrases that would typically be in passive voice into active voice. Or maybe it means the speakers/creators of these statements are the ones resisting the passive voice. Either way, there's no passive voice in the theme answers. 

Theme answers:
  • HOW THEY WON THE WEST (23A: Classic film narrated by Spencer Tracy), The active voice version of "How the West Was Won."
  • THAT DOES NOT AMUSE US (36A: Remark commonly attributed to Queen Victoria), The active voice version of "We are not amused."
  • NO ONE HAS RATED THIS FILM (54A: Statement at the end of some trailers), The active voice version of "This film is not [yet] rated." 
  • WE INCLUDED NO BATTERIES (77A: Toy manufacturer's disclaimer), The active voice version of "Batteries not included."
  • PEOPLE MADE MISTAKES (91A: Non-apology associated with several U.S. presidents), The active voice version of "Mistakes were made."
  • PASSIVE RESISTANCE (111A: Protest tactic ... as suggested by 23-, 36-, 54-, 77-, and 91-across)
Word of the Day: PIT SAW (62A: Tool that it takes two to operate) —
whipsaw or pitsaw was originally a type of saw used in a saw pit, and consisted of a narrow blade held rigid by a frame and called a frame saw or sash saw (see illustrations). This evolved into a straight, stiff blade without a frame, up to 14 feet long and with a handle at each end, the upper called the tiller and the lower one being the box
• • •
I rarely enjoy Sunday puzzles, and this is no exception. The gimmick is kind of blah (editor's note: my husband enjoyed it, being somewhat of a grammarian), and once you realize it (the revealer fell for me before any of the other themers), the whole thing is a slog. I especially object to NO ONE HAS RATED THIS FILM, because the phrase is "This film is not yet rated." Where'd the "yet" go? Plus, the grid really groans under the weight of those six long answers slashing through the heart of the puzzle. There is a lot of junky fill and some really tricky-verging-on-Natick crosses that I'm sure will trip people up (especially MT OSSA crossing ESA).

I felt very slow throughout this puzzle, never really getting more than a couple clues at a time. I sort of meandered my way from the top to the bottom, where PASSIVE RESISTANCE fell pretty easily once I had some of the shorter downs in place (I believe at that time I had just AME, LSAT, ASTO, PANTS, and EPCOT). Once I figured that out, I was able to move back up by filling in the themers with relative ease.

In the end, I was stuck for a while on both the NE and SW. In the NE, I originally had "me" instead of "us" for the last word in the Queen Victoria themer, so that messed me up. And because I didn't know what channel "Madam Secretary" was on, I tried each of the three possibilities before recognizing my mistake, plunking in SABERS and the other two downs, and that was that. In the SW I originally had GDP (as I suspect many people will), leaving me DONU?LE. I sat there and stared for a long while before figuring it all out.
There is a lot of questionable fill in here. A partial list: EST, AEC, RECS, ISO, ESA, GNP, AST, ILOST, ESL, ENT, AMO, NES, ETD, OHS, ETS, DOR, INE, SST, AME. I mean, just the ones starting with E there are a lot. And some of these were clued in especially painful ways (EST is 45A: Third-person form of "être"; GNP is 85A: Measure of econ. health). It just wasn't very enjoyable for me.

There's not much I can say that I did like, probably because there not a single non-theme answer over seven-letters long. But the stuff I did like is here in the bullets. Thanks to Rex for letting me blog this weekend! I hope y'all enjoyed it, and I look forward to coming back and doing it again sometime.
  • STEPMOM (11D: Carole Brady, to three of her kids) — The Brady Bunch house just sold for like a zillion dollars. Sadly, Lance Bass was not the winning bidder. 
  • GATEAU (15D: Bistro dessert) — Sounds like the sort of thing they make on the "Great British Baking Show," which is the best show currently on television.
  • CRAVAT (68D: Fancy neckwear) — I'd like to have an opportunity to wear a cravat. Any ideas? 
  • NONUPLE (86D: Word hitting two Triple Word Scores in Scrabble) — I don't actually like this word so much, but it's the most interesting answer in the entire grid. *shrug emoji*
  • BAYLOR (35A: The Bears of the Big 12 Conference)  Notable to me only because my mother-in-law went there.
  • GOUDA (104A: City known for its cheese  Perhaps my favorite vacation story. Joel and I went for a Gouda tasting in Amsterdam. We had this very stern hostess who we called the Cheese Wench. We went through the goudas from newest (3 months) to oldest (3 years or so), and at the end she asked which was our favorite. I like young, creamy cheeses, so I said the youngest. She was absolutely aghast--if she could have thrown me out on my can, she probably would have. 
Signed, Morgan Polikoff for Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Morgan Polikoff on Twitter (but only if you like liberal politics and education policy]
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Ken Wurman 12:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harryp 1:00 AM  

This one took a while to solve, but it fell in the end. Lots of good clues. I wanted "How the west was won" for some time, but got over it. 36Across changes the Royal WE to US. Thanks David Stulberg for an interesting Sunday puzzle.

Leah 2:07 AM  

Can someone explain 112 down - Black church inits. "AME"?

JOHN X 2:07 AM  

This puzzle was pretty good for a Sunday. The theme was little weird but it was gettable and everything was good except for NONUPLE whatever the hell that is.

This guest reviewer was a piece of work, though. Is that GOUDA episode really his "favorite vacation story?" I was rooting for the waitress.

jae 3:11 AM  

If you watch Colbert (on CBS) you might notice a very brief (less than 5 seconds) promotional ad that features 3 young people saying “CBS Cares”. They are the kids from the “Madam Secretary” series.

Kinda agree with Morgan on this one.

chefwen 3:56 AM  

Have to agree with Morgan on this one. NE and SW corners were also our last to fill in. Ditto with ME before US at 36A, that was our last REDO. Still scratching my head over 86D. Guess I don’t play enough Scrabble.

Made a huge goof with 91D, put down PIGsty without thinking and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get that corner done, OH MY GOD that poor kids name is PIGPEN not STY you idiot. Had a good chuckle over that.

107A made me smile, It’s often brown or blue. We have a Merle Border Collie puppy with one blue eye and on brown eye, he also has a pink mark on his nose that looks like the Batman logo.

The LAX Sunday puzzle was fun, I recommend.

Lewis 6:00 AM  

I liked this out-of-the-box theme as well as the puzzle's clever title. Because of some names I didn't know and many clues that had more than one possible answer, this puzzle gave me *active* resistance, making the completion quite satisfying.

Afterward, I took a few moments to become a NONUPLE pupil, because that goofy word sounds so Seuss-ilian. The investigation took me through math, and somehow veered into "hoople", which introduced me to "hoople house" and reminded me of Mott the Hoople. Not a bad side journey to start a Sunday.

Then there was the mini-theme of: ALA / AKIRA / ESA / GOUDA / ELSA / ILYA / TYRA / DANA / DAYSPA / ISTRIA / TOGA / MT OSSA .

The spot was hit by this, Jacob. Thank you!

Anonymous 6:21 AM  

Leah - African Methodist Episcopal. Ame-church.com

OTD 7:06 AM  

AME = African Methodist Church. Predominantly African-American churches the US.

As for the puzzle, it was a definite drag even though I found it rather easy for a Sunday.

Teedmn 7:23 AM  

PEOPLE MADE MISTAKES this morning (and by "people", I mean "me, MYSELF, and I). Stupid mistakes goes without saying. The far NE put up the most RESISTANCE, with a TV channel and unknown college team and the SwordS, SpeaRS, SABERS choice. Plus my total BLOT OUT of EST as the third person of etre. Gah.

This amuses us in a vaguely passive way but is not funny, ha ha.

I've yet to see a NONUPLE in Scrabble so that was new to me. With only 7 tiles, how does one manage that? You could cover nine squares, perhaps, by building on someone else's word but you couldn't score on both triple letter squares, could you? Though tournament Scrabble seems to have such different rules from the at-home version that I wouldn't be surprised by anything. I guess I'll go Google this.

Nothing PROFANE here, thanks Jacob Stulberg.

mmorgan 7:23 AM  

This did not amuse me.

Jamie C 7:42 AM  

It's a good thing Rex isn't here today. Writing about this puzzle might have given him a stroke. Just awful all around.

Teedmn 7:43 AM  

Never mind on the NONUPLE - I see I was misinterpreting the meaning - but a NONUPLE in Scrabble would be the ne plus ultra play, I would think. Assuming you used all your tiles and got the 50 point bonus, wow.

Anonymous 7:54 AM  

Too much junky fill / obscure entries - grid needed refining and polishing before being ready to publish imo.

Nancy 8:14 AM  

Every time I think a puzzle constructor can't possibly come up with a theme idea that's never been done before, he or she does. This is a really fun idea, and the theme answers are great. The fill is just hard enough that thinking was required throughout most of the puzzle. And some of the cluing is inspired: FAT LADY (49D); EMOTE (30A); and GET SICK (47D).

LET'S CHANGE THE SUBJECT (the title in the paper edition) is the perfect title. PASSIVE RESISTANCE, on the other hand, is not the perfect revealer. Because while some of the theme answers go from the active to the passive voice, other theme answers go from the passive to the active voice (23A and 91A). The fact that they change in contrasting ways made the puzzle more fun, I thought. But I wouldn't have used the revealer at all. The title was fine by itself.

Thought this was a lively and unusual Sunday, and I loved it.

Unknown 8:19 AM  

African Methodist Episcopal

TrudyJ 8:23 AM  

MT OSSA crossing both ADOBO and ESA made this a DNF for me!

Leah, AME = African Methodist Episcopal, a historically African-American denomination in the US.

pmdm 8:31 AM  

Harryp" WHo's David?

Some people blindly follow the rules. One rule writing instructors tell us is to avoid the passive voice. If you follow that rule blindly, at times it is possible to wind up with some really awkward sentences. Jeff Chen thinks that's the whole point of today's theme, and I tend to agree with him. In general, the theme answers sound terrible.

The solving was kind of dull, surprising for a Jacob (not David) puzzle. But after finishing the solve, reading the theme answers all at once made up for this, at least for me.

Now that Mr. Stulberg has the duties of a new father, I guess we will see less puzzles from him.

Queens queen 8:35 AM  

So many, many, many things wrong with this puzzle, most of which Morgan pointed out. But is there really no one at the New York Times who knows that you only need eight tiles to get a triple-triple in Scrabble?

QuasiMojo 8:41 AM  

Dreary theme. I managed to fill it all in without any resistance or MISTAKES. But there was no sense of accomplishment. No Ta-Da feeling as one might get when landing a NONUPLE (I've only had a couple of those in a lifetime of enjoying Scrabble.) I wonder if the makers of Scrabble are planning a film to rival the Lego movie. Imagine the excitement when the star gets Scrabble-("@#$!"-ed)

Queen Victoria is also alleged to have said, when asked if there should be a law criminalizing lesbian sex, that there was no such thing so why should there be a law against it. I'm paraphrasing but you get the idea. A trifle passive/aggressive.

Head-scratching moment du jour: in a desperate attempt to make GROPED less offensive, the constructor clues it by turning it into something a blind person does?

John H 8:48 AM  

For Leah, AME stands for African Methodist Epicscopal, founded by Richard Allen in Philadelphia in the late 18th Century. You will often see A.M.E at the end of a church, like Bethel A.M.E., a historic church in Philadelphia that was dedicated to Allen.

kitshef 8:49 AM  

Easy Sunday that took a long time due to a couple of WTHs. Biggest time suck was RILKE crossing PIT SAW. Got it right, but a moral DNF because it was a guess. A and O were my other possibilities.

Then that tight NE corner with ALA and pick-a-network took longer than a little corner should.

ADOBO/OSSA was another rough cross. Felt pretty good about the O, but not 100%. Same for AMATO/AME.

In short, too many unusual names crossing unknown things. For some, that might also include AKIRA/DANA, ILYA/LOMAX, ESA/MT OSSA.

Add to that the weak and inconsistent theme and … no.

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

@Leah: "The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the A.M.E. Church or AME, is a predominantly African-American Methodist denomination based in the United States. It is the first independent Protestant denomination to be founded by black people. It was founded by the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1816 from several black Methodist congregations in the mid-Atlantic area that wanted independence from white Methodists. It was among the first denominations in the United States founded on racial rather than theological distinctives and has persistently advocated for the civil and human rights of African Americans through social improvement, religious autonomy, and political engagement... The global membership of the AME is around 2.5 million and it remains one of the largest Methodist denominations in the world."

Unknown 10:08 AM  

Pretty easy, I thought. But a worthwhile theme. I can imagine an experienced constructor having an epiphany when they encounter a phrase like "passive resistance." There's my next puzzle! Then all they have to do is find several good candidates and squeeze them into a grid. Piece of cake! If the price of this many themers is some weak fill, I'm ok with it.

CDilly52 10:12 AM  

Loved almost every single crusty square of this one. I grew up in a family of grammarians and now spend way too much of my time trying to mentor young lawyers away from the habitual and grating use of passive voice (“it was determined that; it has been held that. . . ). I caught on quickly. Even with the theme nailed down though there were tough spots galore!

CDilly52 10:22 AM  

Thanks for the background. I was introduced to the AME church in high school in Columbus Ohio by friends in my mixed vocal ensemble. Due to what we now called “forced bussing,” I was carted across the city to a school with predominantly African-American students and was the only WASP in the small vocal group. These kids could sing! A couple times a year we toured and always were invited to an AME church near downtown. I learned so much from that entire experience and am grateful for each and every one of my friends who welcomed me into their circle both at school and in their church. I have to say my “regular” brand of United Methodism can’t hold a candle to the spirituality or enthusiasm I experienced in the AME church.

Alysia 10:32 AM  

@Quasimojo - Or maybe you just WANT it to be offensive.

grope (grōp)
v. groped, grop·ing, gropes
1. To reach about uncertainly; feel one's way: groped for the telephone.
2. To search blindly or uncertainly: grope for an answer.

chefbea 10:38 AM  

could not figure the theme out at all!!! Can anyone send me the LA times crossword puzzle?? I would love to do it today

Cyclist227 10:49 AM  

I looked this one pretty much. I also had a bit of trouble at first in the NE corner, which always frustrates me and had a bit of a time finding a point of entry. But once I did,it came together. The puzzles lately have been ridiculous easy. This was a bit harder, but doable. The full was generally good.

Kevin 10:53 AM  

The NONUPLE is a reference to the fact that the word will get 9x the score, not that it requires nine letters. You could hit the triple-triple with just two tiles.

KRMunson 10:54 AM  

As a non-Scrabble player, nonuple was a complete loss. Did me in.

GILL I. 10:58 AM  

Sundays have been so awful lately but I thought this was quite clever. I did get tired of all the three letter answers but the themes were very interesting. Boy do I hate the PASSIVE voice. Sounds so uppity. Something Queen Victoria and Nicki Minaj would use.
Is it NO NUPLE or NON UPLE. Never heard that word before. Wanted SOLOIST for the FAT LADY. I asked my brother why are so many sopranos fat. He said they needed a lot of calories in order to hit the high notes. Then along comes gorgeous, svelte, Kiri Te Kanawa.
Morgan, I like the Great British Baking Show but I wouldn't call it the best. I'd rather watch Gordon Ramsey's "24 Hours to Hell and Back." He just did one here in Sacramento at "Sandra Dee's Bar-B-Que." As soon as the team left, the owner undid the menu he planned as well as the interior of her place. Don't think I'll be eating there any time soon.
Suns out, air is clear and the pups want to frolic. Bye.

A Grimwade 11:12 AM  

Has anyone EVER seen “ETD” on an airline or train ticket? There are dozens of ticket images on the interweb and none of them show ETD.

puzzlehoarder 11:16 AM  

This puzzle really had two themes. Besides from the official one it had an equally engaging theme of arcane fill. The fill was what I primarily focused on until enough of the themes and the reveal made the actual theme obvious.

Even at the end it was the odd sections like the NE and the middle east that required the hardest solving. They really didn't involve the theme and made it seem secondary.

My one downfall was GDP at 85A. For some reason I really favor that acronym over GNP. Today I found out that my Webster's list doesn't even include GDP but it does have GNP. FWIW the xwordinfo lists heavily favor GNP over GDP. I went with the very wrong looking DONUPLE because I thought having two triple word scores it would be "doubled" to six fold. Logic would make the term a DOUPLE and I just couldn't explain that extra N. Only while reading today's comments did the actual mathematic explanation become clear and I saw the NON =nine connection.

Nancy 11:18 AM  

Liked your 10:12 comment, @CDilly 52. If part of your job entails steering young lawyers away from use of the passive voice -- or what I like to call "legalese" -- you are doing the world a humongous service. And @pmdm (8:31), if Jeff Chen implied that avoiding the passive voice sometimes leads to awkward phrasing (is that really what he said?), he is doing the world an enormous disservice. The active voice is always better. Always, always, always. For the best book ever on good writing, go to William Zinsser's "On Writing Well." I worked for him briefly in my publishing days -- he was not warm and fuzzy, nor charming, nor especially amusing -- but he was, himself, a peerless non-fiction writer. He was also an exacting editor. "I see you've been Zinssered," a fellow writer in the department said to me, observing the ugly red marks strewn all over my unfortunate piece of copy. I hated working for him, but I enjoyed reading every bit of non-fiction he ever wrote.

jberg 11:24 AM  

I enjoyed the theme, once I got it. I would have got it faster if I knew the movie; as it was, I was quite ready to believe it was actually called "How they won the west." But it finally dawned on me.

I thought it was a big flaw that there was no EMU in this puzzle, however; the ASP, EEL, and YAK must have missed it.

@Nancy, I'm stumped which sentences you think were changed active-to-passive. They all look active to me.

I think ADOBO is a rub, not a marinade -- but maybe my experience is too limited.

Thanks, @Morgan!

Kevin 11:36 AM  

Has Rex been kidnapped?

How is it possible that the biggest flaw with the theme went without so much as a single word of criticism?

"We are not amused," is NOT a passive sentence to start with. Rather, the verb is ARE and is a linking verb, which is neither active NOR passive. AMUSED is NOT being used as a verb at all; it is a complement which describes the subject ("we"). Verbs can be used as adjectival complements though the past participle.

If Queen Victoria had said, "I am not tired," no one would have tut-tutted the passive because it is clearly not passive to start with.

If Queen Victoria had wanted to express the same sentiment using the passive voice, she would have to have said, "We are not being amused." The present passive of "to be" requires BEING. For example, the classic example of active/passive is "He hit the ball" and "The ball was hit." But that is in the past tense. In the future, it would be "He will hit the ball" and "The ball will be hit." But in the present tense, the same sentence would be "He is hitting the ball" and "The ball is being hit."

Teedmn 11:40 AM  

@Gill I, I took a voice class once and the professor addressed the question of why opera singers are often zaftig; the relaxation of the abs can Make for a fuller voice. He mentioned that some years ago he had carried some extra pounds and his voice was more resonant as a result. He had me lean over and touch my knees while singing and suddenly I could really sing - but it's an awkward pose!

QuasiMojo 11:42 AM  

@Alysa, yes I know what “grope” means but in a puzzle that lately has been filled with “sots” and “winos” and “cads” and people (one assumes lecherous men) “leering” and “ogling” ad nauseam I think I can be forgiven for interpreting “groped” in that sense. The “without sight” clue was a stretch. @Nancy, Zinsser taught at Yale. He always seemed warm, fuzzy and charming at school but then we didn’t work for him.

ColoradoCog 11:49 AM  

Agree with @Morgan with every point except one: Much more on the challenging side for me, due to the overabundance of pretty questionable fill. My time was way over normal as I just couldn’t get a good rhythm going. It was a grind. Overall, not my favorite.

JC66 11:54 AM  


Just for you.

LA Times Xword.

G. Weissman 11:55 AM  

Enough naticks to make this puzzle worth disliking. MTOSS?/ES? and A?ATO/A?? and T?TON/A??, etc. What is NONUPLE, btw? I’d google if I cared more.

Nancy 12:08 PM  

At first, @jberg (11:24), I was thinking: OMG, he's right! They are all changed from passive to active phrases. Then I read @Kevin (11:36) and thought: Maybe I wasn't wrong after all. Whew! But whatever the grammatical underpinning, which phrase sounds more active to you? Which phrase places the WE who isn't amused at the center of the action?


Surely, the former. Had Victoria said the latter, it wouldn't have been remembered past teatime.

I rest my case.

JC66 12:23 PM  

@ Kevin

"The NONUPLE is a reference to the fact that the word will get 9x the score, not that it requires nine letters. You could hit the triple-triple with just two tiles."

I just pulled out my Scrabble board (haven't played in years) to check, and the Triple Squares are each separated by seven blank squares. How can one hit two triple word squares with only 2 tiles? Seems to me, as others have pointed out, you'd need nine tiles.

Suzie Q 12:31 PM  

If I am shouting Ono, the horror is not mock as in the clue.
Hilo his looks like a misprint. Shouldn't it be hi's?
1D also doesn't seem right. Isn't the point of cremation to avoid burial? I suppose you could bury the ashes but that seems odd to me.
This seemed like an exercise in grammar more than an enjoyable puzzle.

FLAC 12:39 PM  

I admired this puzzle more than I liked it. What I like are all the comments about good writing.

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

@JC66; @Kevin was probably referring to the possibility that the seven squares between the triples already had tiles played on them, requiring only two more tiles to complete the nonuple.

Banana Diaquiri 12:46 PM  

@Suzie Q:
1D also doesn't seem right. Isn't the point of cremation to avoid burial? I suppose you could bury the ashes but that seems odd to me.

if one interprets ASHES as the result of a camp fire (smores, anyone?), then they're 'in' the ground.

nyc_lo 12:55 PM  

I had fun with this one, figuring out the inverted phrasing of the themers (even though some seemed to be a bit off, as others pointed out). Gave myself a mulligan in the Southwest since DONUPLE seemed as much of a non-word as NONUPLE. And GNP will never replace GDP in my mind.

RooMonster 1:12 PM  

Hey All !
Interesting SunPuz. I apparently didn't pay enough attention (or the ole brain is just shot) in English Class to differentiate active, passive, etc. speech. Heck, I just speak in whatever way sounds right to me. Some might call it PROFANE. :-)

Add me to the list of NE crash-and-burners. Never would've got ALA or GATEAU. Plus, like @Morgan and others, me instead of US mucking things up. Had to cheat and Reveal Word on CBS to finally see the Downs. CAJOLES and JOB got me good. Also DNFed with AKIRo/DoNA, ADOBe/MTeSSA, and aPORTS/aTL. Har, didn't know where the aPORTS section in the paper is hiding.

There used to be Scrabble Tournaments on TV. Not sure what channel, but it was interesting to watch. The players always seemed to want, and mostly did, to use all 7 tiles each time. To answer @JC66 12:23, probably the sixth person to do so, there could possibly be a 7 letter word, say LIGHTEN (just an example, the following word in not a real word!) located twixt two Triple Word Squares, and if you had an A and S tile, could plunk them down on either side to make ALIGHTENS and fanangle the NONUPLE. THAT would NOT AMUSE your opponent.

Can a CRAVAT and an ASCOT be worn at the same time? With a DICKEY? And a KERCHIEF? You might end up with a MR. T thing happening with cloth.

ALOHAs to the Hawaiians!


TubaDon 1:12 PM  

Too many people, places or things I didn't know crossing each other, so I struggled for an hour and finally made some correct guesses. Didn't have a clue as to the theme until the hint, but have to agree with @Kevin that ARE does not indicate passive voice.

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

@JC66 - if there were already a 7-letter word stretching between two untouched triple score squares, and a 9-letter word could be made by laying two new tiles on those 2 triple score squares - voila.

Simple, duple, triple, quadruple, quintuple - presumably some or all of these are familiar enough, meaning "x times" - as in triple score.
We also use words like triplet, quadruplet, quintuplet for children born at the same time - duplet is used in music along with the others.
Simply, duply (usu. doubly in English, or 2-ply for toilet paper), triply...
Rarer is the use of simplex, but duplex is used to describe houses, triplex, quadruplex and especially multiplex for movie theaters.

Nonuple is just the same, with the root for "nine" (sextuple, septuple, octuple, nonuple). It's rarer but it's just as legit as any of the others.

Graham 1:48 PM  

Since you asked — it seems like that GOUDA tasting would have been the perfect occasion for a CRAVAT. If not then, then when?

Kevin 1:51 PM  

@JC66 - Let's say that someone played the word BRIDGER perfectly placed between two triple-point squares. I could then add a A to the start and an S to the end to form ABRIDGERS and score a triple-triple by playing just two tiles. Sure, it's a contrived situation, but the point is that you can do it.

JC66 1:53 PM  

@Roo & @Anon 1:24

Thanks. Who'da thunk? Not me.

Anonymous 2:13 PM  

Columbus was not from Genoa. He was a Catalan from Barcelona, as proven by historical records. Check the Spanish Wikipedia page for Christobal Colon, his real name. The corresponding English language page is all wrong.

Unknown 2:17 PM  

Another fine argument for Mr. Shortz to find a new line of work. AST, ESA, EST, ONO, OHS, RECS, AEC, ENT, ETC ETC ETC. This is just bad construction; trying to legitimize bad fill by using abbreviations is just awful, as are obscure names like ESA.

MetroGnome 2:26 PM  

1. Absolutely right, Kevin -- "We are not amused" wasn't in the passive voice to begin with.

2. Sorry, QuasiMojo, but sightless people (or sighted people stuck in the dark) do "GROPE" for things, whether that word is "offensive" or not. And people DO "OGLE" and "LEER", and even if it's offensive that they do so, it's certainly not offensive to point that out in what's supposed to be a word GAME (remember them?), not an ideological pamphlet. (People KILL, MURDER, TORMENT, ABUSE, ATTACK, and do a lot of other nasty things as well -- so I guess we'd better put all these words on our "banned" list, as well.

Last time I looked, to call someone a "CAD" was to criticize his behavior, not to support or approve of it. So now it's "offensive" to call someone out for doing the wrong thing? Hmmm . . . better get rid of LIAR, CHEAT, and lot of other pejoratives, too.

And yes, we'd better throw out any and all slang or vernacular words that refer to alcoholism. (And let's toss JUNKIE, DTS, JONESING, and any other reference to addiction that's not strictly medical or social-work fiendly, while we're at it. We can't have "those people", and the way "they" talk, dirtying up our pristine bourgie crossword klatch, now can we? Hell, the Bowery is a gentrified trust-fund-trash hellhole these days, so why should a crossword puzzle discussion be the same thing?)

And by the way -- It's EXTREMELY "offensive" that you have appropriated a word rooted in a venerable African-American folk religion as your screen name here. You should be ashamed of yourself for such gross non-wokeness.

Tut, tut, tut! (With apologies to all the Egyptian mummies I have just insulted) --

JC66 2:38 PM  

@ Kevin

Thanks, I was responding to @Roo and Anon 1:24 wile you were posting.

Harryp 2:40 PM  

@pmdm 8:31 I have Jacob Stulberg written in my notes, so "Who is David?" is a good question. I apologize to Mr. Stulberg for the mistake. Thanks.

GILL I. 2:53 PM  

OK @Teedmn....Thanks for the visual. I now picture. you bent over touching your toes, arse in the air singing "Signore Asclota."
@Anony 2:13. Better not tell any Genoese about Columbo. The Spaniards like to exaggerate.

Harryp 3:19 PM  

I remember having a Triple Triple in Scrabble when my opponent played a word abutting the top left Triple Word Square. I can't remember the word, but say it was MUSE. I could then play an A for AMUSE across, plus maybe ARCHIVE down for two triples. Then my opponent might play ARCHIVES or ARCHIVED to achieve the same result.

Alan_S. 3:33 PM  

"One Two Three" is a 1961 film directed by the great Billy Wilder. Way way ahead of its time and not at all dissimilar to our current state of affairs with Russia, only it's not as cold a war due to climate change and I'm not talking about the weather.

QuasiMojo 4:08 PM  

@MetroGnome, wow! I guess I struck a nerve. I never said to ban any words and I am one of the least politically correct people I know. All I meant to imply was that the clue for “groped” felt forced perhaps because of the PC nonsense we’ve been contending with of late. My previous comments earlier this week about “sots” etc were made to point out the hypocrisy of certain commenters complaining about “admen” for instance but finding derogatory slang about a disease perfectly okay. It is hypocrisy I find objectionable not any words in particular. And my name here is a riff on Victor Hugo, not an attack on any persons.

Joe Bleaux 4:12 PM  

She'll make toast of that thing😏.

Hungry Mother 4:47 PM  

Enough annoying trivia that I only half-heartedly threw down some wags, turned on the red letters and wagged a few more times. It could have been a good puzzle.

Joe Bleaux 4:56 PM  

No complaints about Jacob Stulberg's puz on a Sunday. Fun theme, with some clunky fill pretty much a necessary evil. Learned about PIT SAW, which I never heard called anything but a "crosscut" saw way back when I actually used 'em a few times. Especially enjoyed the commentary today. If ever I draw criticism, I hope it's not by @MetroGnome. Damn, he's good. I'm looking forward to @Quasi's rebuttal; anyone who can boast of having laid down a couple of NONUPLEs in his day oughta have a dandy comeback. In my lifetime of Scrabbling, I've only SEEN one.

Anonymous 5:11 PM  

In the review there is a side note about the Brady Bunch not being bought by Lance Bass. What's the connection?

MetroGnome 5:23 PM  

Okay, Quasi -- I duly apologize for [apparently] being irony-impaired. But I'm guessing that you probably will, at some point, get flamed for that name -- if not for mocking African-American folk beliefs, then for shaming hunchbacks.

The GOTHCA! police are unrelenting.

Dude with a tude 5:28 PM  

Is Morgan Polikoff a man or a woman?

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

You cannot say that the active voices is always always always better because that implies that language has nothing but absolutes, which of course it doesn't.

Would that it did.

Mary McCarty 5:34 PM  

@Nancy: “The active voice is always better. Always, always, always.” Except when the passive is better, as you point out. “That does not amuse us” (indeed!) But that is why it should be reserved ONLY for those times when the recipient of the action is more important than the perpetrator. Think of headlines like “Lincoln Shot.” Or better, “I’ve been shot! (But I don’t know by whom.”)

Re: essential use of “being” for a true present passive (Kevin 11:36): The use of “be/being” makes a progressive form in any tense. But a simple present passive is certainly possible: “Trains are announced on the half-hour.” Simple present passive works here because it’s not a progressive action, and we really don’t care who’s doing the announcing.

Passive voice tends to obscure the perpetrator of the deed (Mistakes were made.) Sometimes it’s very effective: “Mr. Nobody was strangled.. ....by Colonel Mustard.”

Nancy 6:42 PM  

The point being made by me does not result in all uses of the passive voice being prohibited. It is recognized by me that there are times when use of the passive voice may be preferred. But when the effect being sought is strength and power in the prose, a mistake would be made by avoiding the active voice.


The point I'm making is this: The active voice adds strength and power to your prose. There may be exceptions to the rule, but, mostly, it's a damned good rule to follow. So follow it!

Dick Swart 7:12 PM  

Blogger mmorgan said...
"This did not amuse me."

@ 7:23 AM

Yeah, me either!

Anonymous 7:35 PM  

You only need 8 letters to score a triple-triple.
So if your opponent puts one letter between them and you then form an eight letter word using all seven of your tiles you can really go out with a bang!
I did it once when losing by 100 point and ended up winning by 180.

Banana Diaquiri 7:41 PM  

But when the effect being sought is strength and power in the prose, a mistake would be made by avoiding the active voice.

Miss Morrell (that's the correct designation for the early 60s) insisted the same in my HS creative writing class. got me an Atlantic Monthly contest prize.

Anonymous 7:56 PM  

Al Sharpton missed one letter.

Crimson Devil 8:01 PM  

Well said.

Cassieopia 8:03 PM  

I’m with @7:23 am.

georgejones 8:46 PM  

Is there a blues musician named Willie Lomax who is famous enough to warrant a crossword clue? Am I missing something? This feels like a mistake.

There is Willie Dixon and Willie McTell. There is John and Alan Lomax. There is a regional band working today named the Willie Lomax Blues Revue, but do they get a NYT crossword clue?

Nick 9:21 PM  

“This film is not yet rated” describes the state of the film. A statement with a linking verb. “This film has not yet been rated” would be the passive form. See discussion of “We are not amused” above.

Z 9:36 PM  

@nyc_lo - Good thing, since GNP and GDP don’t measure the same thing. Easiest way to remember is to think cars. GDP measures all the cars Ford makes in the US, while GNP will include all the cars Ford makes in Canada and Mexico and anywhere else. Likewise, the Kia plant in Alabama gets counted in US GDP, but not Kias made in Korea. Domestic, anything made in a country. National, anything made by a country’s citizens or corporations. (That’s super simplified so click on the link if you want more specificity)

No problem with ETD appearing on tickets. Sure, you’ll not see those letters, but in my experience the time on a ticket is a loose Estimated Time of Departure at best.

@Anon5:11 - The Brady Bunch house was up for sale. Lance Bass was rumored to be one of the buyers, but HGTV apparently outbid him.

As for Christopher Columbus, maybe he was really the Earl of Oxford.

Adrian Belew 11:37 PM  

This did not amuse me either. Unenjoyable... tho I'm not at your level of expertise. Nor yours. Nor yours. I complete the thing two times out of three. Does anyone say "Alas, bad luck" ever? Shakespeare?

Unknown 1:54 AM  

Total bullshit nonuple. Just a really wiseassed clue. Bullshit!!!!!!!!!!

Renita Jenkins 3:11 AM  

Double, triple, quadruple... and so on up to nonuple. Two triple word squares triples it twice, or times nine.

Renita Jenkins 3:15 AM  

There are six squares between triple letters. If someone has a word reaching the edge of the board, one can lay down all their tiles on either side to hit both. You triple the score, triple it again, and then get an additional 50 points for bingo. That’s in the home rules. It’s rare and a game-crushing score!

thefogman 8:29 AM  

Close. DNF only because of 11A and 21A. Got stung by SLUNG. I had SLiNG and didn't know the Owl and the Pussycat so I guessed they went TOTEA. 13D made no sense itED, but I figured it was internet slang. I went Doh! when I came here to find out it was USED book store and the SLiNG was SLUNG. Good puzzle. Tough but fair.

Blaize. 2:42 PM  

Camp food indeed. When I first lived in Paris they were a staple component in our 'poet' food - add to pasta, rice, eggs, etc., for cheap eats. Sometimes found in jars or tins we opted for the 6 packs found in fridge, they must have been fresh right?

Alan_S. 11:06 PM  

Just wanted to say Hi (if this is indeed the Adrian Belew of King Crimson fame, and more recently your wonderful Trio whom I've seen many times at The Iridium over the last few years). I'm a big fan and looking forward to your upcoming shows at the club. Oh and by the way, if this is not who I thought you were and your screen name is just for kicks;

Why would you pick him and
Never mind. 🎸

Katzzz 12:42 PM  

Yep. Ridiculous.

Fred 8:29 PM  

Thematic answers were easy once I saw the pattern, but a fun puzzle overall for the cryptic short answers. Mea culpa: I had to google Ilya Ehrenburg to confirm 6D but am now intrigued and will order one of his books. So, an educational experience! Thanks, Jacob

Fred 8:32 PM  

Isn't D-sharp a C neighbor? Not D flat!

Dilligaf 4:08 AM  

D flat is C sharp Fred; one semitone up from C. AME = African Methodist Episcopal - seriously???

Mr O'Brien 12:41 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
AnonymousPVX 1:11 PM  

Rather tough and loaded with potential Naticks and one got me. Never heard of RILKE and guessed POTSAW instead of PITSAW....

I never understand why people ask questions here in the blog when they are like 2 clicks away from a google search.

You know a name is a reach when they don’t even have a WIKI entry....like Willie Lomax.

Burma Shave 1:35 PM  


sound the HORN as an ALARM,
ALAS, it was my STEPMOM.


rainforest 3:21 PM  

@Burma Shave - LOL

Slog of a puzzle for me, but I stuck with it, inching my way through grid, ending in the NE where I made my last stand - looong last stand until I got CAJOLES.

Anyway, the theme was kind of fun, and I understood the revealer, but the "not amused" themer and the one it replaces both seemed "active" to me.

Decent triumph factor, but a long time getting there.

rondo 9:35 PM  

I've read no comments so here goes: I liked it better than most Sundays. I wish PEOPLE would say PEOPLEMADEMISTAKES rather than that non-apology apology.

One year at work I gave everybody BATTERIES with a tag saying "No toy included".

TYRA; yeah baby.

Love the aggressive PASSIVERESISTANCE.

oconomowoc 11:50 PM  

Anon@7:35 explained a NONUPLE in Scrabble best:

You need 8 letters. You use one that's on the board.

My biggest score ever of 203 was STALKIER. The A was on the board, my K hit the double letter, so it was 17 times 9 plus 50.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP