Attire for Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld / SUN 9-9-18 / Bullet 1950s fashion fad / Big name in water filters / Man just after kneeling / Chocolatier since 1845 / Manta ray by another name / Crucible for McCarthyism / Boxer upset in biopic Cinderella man / Dashboard warnings informally

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Constructor: Hal Moore

Relative difficulty: Medium (10:30)

THEME: "Mixed Feelings" — a Schrödinger puzzle where two different words inhabit the same square, one (LOVE) for the Across and another (HATE) for the Down. Revealer in the center of the puzzle is: LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIPS (63A: They involve mixed feelings ... or a hint to four squares in this completed puzzle)

Theme answers:
  • SLOVENIA (26A: Neighbor of Hungary) / WHAT ELSE IS NEW? (23D: "Why am I not surprised?)
  • BATTING GLOVES (37A: Pair of diamonds?) / CALIPHATE (12D: Islamic state)
  • ROLLOVER IRA (83A: Option for moving an investment) / WORDS TO THAT EFFECT (45D: Basically what was said)
  • FOUR-LEAF CLOVER (102A: Symbol of luck) / CHATEAU (98D: Fancy French home)
Word of the Day: MAO SUIT (3D: Attire for the Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld)
The Yat-Sen Suit, also called the Mao suit, Chinese tunic suit or Zhongshan suit, is a style of Chinese menswear associated in China with Sun Yat-sen (better known to mainland Chinese as "Sun Zhongshan"), although it is more commonly associated in the West with Mao Zedong
Sun Yat-sen introduced the style shortly after the founding of the Republic of China as a form of national dress with distinct political symbolism. Following the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War in 1949, Mao and other leaders continued to wear the garment as a symbol of proletarian unity and as an Eastern counterpart to the business suit. It became less popular after the Opening Up of China under Deng Xiaoping but is still commonly worn by Chinese leaders during important state ceremonies and functions.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Mao suit became fashionable among Western European, Australian, and New Zealander socialists and intellectuals. It was sometimes worn over a turtleneck. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hey! This theme was interesting, and the grid was clean, so hurrah. There are lessons to be learned here. First, the theme is tight; the revealer is apt, and the execution of the theme is nicely done—sqauares are spread out but not (predictably) symmetrical, and the squares are surprising, and found inside interesting answers. Further, by having just four squares, i.e. by not trying to cram more theme squares in, the grid is allowed to b r e a t h e, and so the non-theme fill is largely smooth and lovely, as opposed to pinched and awful. HUNTER-GATHERER! THE FAR SIDE! CONDO FEE! IDIOT LIGHTS! And the shorter stuff stays, at a minimum, inoffensive. Sundays often skew toward tedium, with high volume of themers trying to make up for low concpetual value. Give me this puzzle over X puzzle with 10 dumb add- / subtract- / change-a-letter "joke" answers.

I moved through this one pretty quickly but the theme did not reveal itself for a long time. I had moved, in interlocking fashion, from the NW all the way to the SE before I figured out what was going on with the theme (picked it up at ROLLOVER IRA / WORDS TO THAT EFFECT). Unsurprisingly, all the sticky spots in this puzzle were located in and around the theme squares. I especially had trouble in the NW, which is where I started *and* ended. Thought a [No-goodnik] was a CAD. Don't know the Bond villain well or even the movie he's from (weird to omit that?) (it's "Goldfinger"), and MAO SUIT isn't the most familiar term to me, so even if the clue had been clearer, I might've struggled there. And then SNOW UNDER ... something feels slightly off or finagled or jury-rigged there, esp. as clued (22A: Overwhelm). It googles OK ... somehow I'm just having trouble hearing anyone's actually saying it. Sounds like a drunk person trying to say "it's no wonder..." And then you've got the LOVE/HATE square there, so yeah, the NW gave me minor fits. But only minor. My time was pretty dang normal.

  • 114A: Certain break point (AD OUT) — wow this one threw me. My brain was translating the clue as "breakING point," so tennis was not on my mind. (Although it's on my mind now—that Serena / Osaka final, damn and dear lord!). Oh, and CIO (104D: Certain tech exec) ... what is that? Chief ... Information Officer? Ah, yes. OK. CEO and CFO I know, other Os I'm iffier on.
  • 81D: Bribes (PAYOFFS) — because of the ambiguity of the clue (verb or noun!?) I had PAYS OFF at first.
  • 88D: Suffix with large numbers (-AIRE) — ok this is not good. I found a not-good thing. To its credit, the clue doesn't try to get cute. Just keeps it simple and literal so you can Move On (nothing to see here!)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 7:46 AM  

Ok. So the first clue I read was 12D “Islamic state,” and when CALIPHATE didn’t fit, I figured, Yeah – too obvious for a Sunday. Snort. If you believe that, I have some ocean-front property in Shatenia to sell you.

Man oh man what a satisfying aha moment. Seriously. I smelled a rat early on when “Roth IRA” wouldn’t fit, and that crossed the WORDS TO THAT EFFECT deal. So when it fell into place, I whooped. How great is this?! LOVE and HATE all in the same square. Brilliant. I sat and tried to think of something I have a LOVE HATE relationship with. Peanut M&Ms. Love that first one. Hate the 300th one. Same with Fritos.

I didn’t know the dash indicators were called IDIOT LIGHTS. My ’98 Ford Ranger truck, when the gas gets low, has a light that says, I swear, CHECK GAGE. GAGE. Not gauge.

Liked the clue for CEES, but I would’ve gone with “Chocolate cinnamon cake.” That covers all the CEE sounds. Kinda cool that it’s not alliteration. Like a

perfectly philanthropic psychotic pneumatic pterodactyl

My students and I have dubbed this pseudo-alliteration. And, yeah, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m running out of material. Psue me.

For me, a cartoon is what you watch on tv. A comic is drawn, like THE FAR SIDE. My favorited Far Side is this one.

Hal Moore – a most excellent Sunday.

Coniuratos 7:50 AM  

Just a nitpick - Ernst Blofeld was not in Goldfinger. He was in From Russia with Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, For Your Eyes Only, and Spectre.

Abalini 7:53 AM  

Blofeld is the arch enemy of Bond and occurred in numerous movies (but not Goldfinger!). He is the head of Spectre, the main criminal organization in many Bond movies, especially during the Sean Connery years.

Chris 7:59 AM  

“Don't know the Bond villain well or even the movie he's from (weird to omit that?) (it's "Goldfinger")”

Whaaaaa? The villain in Goldfinger is, wait for it, Auric Goldfinger.

Blofeld is the recurring head of SPECTRE, villain in no less than 6 Bond films.

BarbieBarbie 7:59 AM  

Not good at embedding URLs, but just google on “acid off a duck’s back” to see my favorite Far Side. As a bench jockey of the STEM variety, I find it hilarious.
This was a really fun puzzle, with some great clues. The best part was figuring out the rebus, but not until the bottom of the puzzle, and without getting the themer. Love rebus, love having the Aha without the themer, aahhhhhhh.... Many more, please.
Pretty much everything OFL said.

BarbieBarbie 8:01 AM  

The Goldfinger villain was the guy with the hat, no? Er, I mean, right?

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

Whether due to a lack of knowledge or of motivation, I don't finish most Sundays. This was a welcome exception. Good fill, good theme, all around fun.

@Loren: "gauge" is a word engineers have trouble with, for some reason. See "strain gage," where the u-less spelling is the favored variant. I think the misconception is that "gauge" is exclusively a verb? Who knows.

Sheila D'Ammassa 8:13 AM  

Solving in the app, I dutifully rebused LOVEHATE in all four squares. No Magic Popup ofCongratulatory Approbation. Replaced the first two rebuses with Ls and the popup happened even though two rebus squares remained. The inconsistency of how the app deals with rebuses is slowly driving me mad.

michiganman 8:18 AM  

I got half of the theme early at FOURLEAFCLOVER but hadn't gotten to the revealer yet so didn't get the hate part until later. I liked the puzzle, several clever clues. Is it OK to have the words of the revealer be the same as in the theme answers? Just wondering. It happened the other day, too, with ICEBERG.

Nancy 8:20 AM  

I had no MIXED FEELINGS about this puzzle. I didn't have a LOVE/HATE relationship with it. I had a LOVE/LOVE relationship with it. So, so clever! So well executed!

My favorite kind of rebus has always been the kind that works differently in the Acrosses and the Downs. It makes the puzzle both more challenging and more interesting. Perhaps my all-time fave of that type was the TT/Pi puzzle of a few years ago. But that only worked with two letters and this works with four. So all I can say is: Wow!

I found it very hard until I got the trick. It could have made been even harder if they hadn't pointed out in the revealer that four squares were affected. I would have left that info out. But a superb Sunday that I found enormously entertaining.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

I’ve seen CIO as Chief Innovative Officer.
When I first put in CALIPH for 12D I was kind of ticked off because it was wrong. A caliph is a person who rules a caliphate. Ah, Rex will have a field day wth that one! When I finally figured out the reveal, I thwacked my head and smiled, feeling li,e a bit of an idiot.

mmorgan 8:34 AM  

Let me be among the first to say that I had a love/hate relationship with this puzzle. Or, that I loved the Across answers but hated the Downs.

Hoboken Mike 8:36 AM  

I liked it too. And thank you Rex for doing this.

A little dissapointed you didn't mention the subtle support for the NFL protests in the cluing of Sir as what do you call a man after kneeling.

tkincher 8:40 AM  

Yeah, the villain in Golfinger is Auric Goldfinger. Blofeld is the one always stroking the cat.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

At least they didn't put flashing lights (circles) on the 4 squares.

JJ 8:52 AM  

My favorite Far Side cartoon shows a pic of The Lone Ranger using a Navajo dictionary. He's looking up Kemosabe-and the definition is " Horses ass". I thought the idea for this puzzle was fantastici

Anonymous 8:53 AM  

Pussy Galore (Goldfinger character)

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

Loved this puzzle. Cannot recall a rebus where I was able to get so far along before even recognizing the trick.

Only hangup (other than hand wringing over whether the rebus squares were properly filled in online - is LOVE okay, do we need LOVEHATE, etc.) was Era for EON (116A). It went in so easily I never even bothered to check the crosses and wasted all of my error-hunting time on the rebus squares.

Still, a fun Sunday!

mmorgan 9:07 AM  

@LMS: what about an editorial cartoon?

p 9:13 AM  

For some reason I was doing across/downs in random fashion, got to the revealer at 63A and instantly filled that in, saw how things were going to work, fixed my 26A/23D crossing, and was off to the races. Lots of fun to find the love/hate crossings.

Any puzzle that includes The Far Side will always make me smile.

The guy with the hat in Goldfinger is Odd Job. It's responsible for his demise as well.

The gauge/gage thing showed up on our town listserve when we were having a dispute about the water level in our local pond (long, depressing story). Many people referred to the measuring device being used as a gauge, but many others spelled it gage (sic) which used to make me crazy.

Best Sunday puzzle in a long time.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  


GILL I. 9:32 AM  

Finally!!!! I got my money's worth for a Sunday puzzle. I'll remember this one.
I had to work hard and did the get up and move around motion before I could grok the theme. Just starting with BUM BRA URN gave me the impetus to keep on trekking until I figured out what was going on.
I uncovered the reveal before I understood this LOVE HATE thing. I actually said AHA out loud.
With that little morsel in hand I went back to visit S[LOVE]NIA. W[HATE]LSE IS NEW followed.
Clever, clever, clever..... and well crafted.
Had a few do-overs. Like @Anony 8:25 I had CALIPH for 12D. I think it was there that I really began to smell a RAT. It just HAD to be CALIPHATE. Aha...there's my HATE guy. Fun. I also wanted TEXAS TEA for that Black brew clue. The A from ALOE gave me the needed ASSAM. And so it went.....
I'll take these kinds of puzzles every Sunday, Mr. Moore. You, SIR, are one genius....

pmdm 9:36 AM  

For all those who defend Mark Sharp when people complain he never praises a puzzle, remember today's date. Well constructed puzzle, in my opnion.

Nothing to add. I had trouble with the KenKen puzzle (which I do), so I have to get back to that.

CFG 9:42 AM  

I can’t get the app to tell me Congratulations — how does it want the rebus entered? I’ve tried LOVE, and HATE and LOVEHATE and I can’t find any errors, so I don’t know what the problem is.

Unknown 9:44 AM  

I agree with Rex. This was fun, wonderfully free of glitches, and the theme was both clever and helpful - not too easy to discern, but helpful once it was discernible which was right about in the middle of the solve where it should be. Well done!

CDilly52 9:48 AM  


Teedmn 9:49 AM  

This is a very fun Sunday puzzle. I'm biased, of course, by my love of rebi but still, the revealer is great, the title works well with the theme and the rebi are well hidden.

I had BAll fields in for 37A for a while as a "Pair of diamonds?", ignoring the ? in the clue. I must say, BATTING G[LOVE]S as an answer for that clue makes me groan, and not really in a good way. At xwordinfo, the constructor gives credit[?] for that clue to the editors so I know who to blame.

Really nice entries such as INDECENCY and TOTAL RECALL, HUNTER-GATHERER, THE FAR SIDE, AMPERSANDS and SAND TRAP, on top of the theme answers - just wonderful. Great job on your 4th NYT puzzle, Hal Moore.

Jofried 9:54 AM  

Very fun! All LOVE, no HATE.

ArtO 10:08 AM  

Gee. A Sunday puzzle we all LOVED and, for a change OFL didn't HATE.

QuasiMojo 10:10 AM  

Super fun Sunday! Loads of good stuff. But I finished faster than yesterday. I got the theme very early on as I plopped in LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIPS after getting Nellie BLY, ALOE and SUVS, all gimmes. And I knew SLOVENIA was near Hungary.

The LOVE/HATE theme made me think too of Robert Mitchum and his tattoos in one of my favorite movies "The Night of the Hunter."

Then, I feel that way about the blog forum sometimes. Yesterday in particular. Now I see why IMDB removed its forums. It's a full-time job removing unnecessary and annoying comments!

Very little today bothered me as far as being too poppy, or slangy. I must admit I happily put in PETER PAN but I still have no idea what movie was a smash back in 1991. I'm sure I didn't see it in any case. While I admire Robin Williams, and loved the recent documentary about him, his was not a name that drove me into movie theatres.

Am embarrassed to say I threw in PARIS before MILAN even though I have fallen for that trick before. BTU before MPG. Have no idea what IDIOT LIGHTS are but I can tell you that this world would be a whole lot safer and less anxious if the idiots out there would just use their non-dashboard lights when driving. Both for turning and for night vision.

ROLL OVER, IRA would make a great Al Yankovich SEND UP of a Beatles song.

Adam 10:28 AM  

I really enjoyed this! I put in CALIPH, since the other crosses fit, figuring it was a variation or a word I hadn't heard of. I finally figured out BATTING GLOVES and realized that CALIPHATE was indeed the correct answer and the MIXED FEELINGS were LOVE and HATE, which got me the revealer with only 2 or 3 letters.

The rest of the puzzle was fun, and it fell fairly quickly. PAYS OFF instead of PAY OFFS - check. I enjoyed AMPERSANDS, and its clue. I live in NYC, so I thought of CO-OP FEE before CONDO FEE, but it didn't fit so I moved on and got it from the crosses. Loved the clue for SIR.

Really fun and well done! Thanks, Hal Moore!

Shawn Steffey 10:36 AM  

Was that actually support for the protests? “Sir” is the title for a knight, bestowed upon the man when he kneels

David 10:48 AM  

Surprisingly fun puzzle this Sunday.

Idiot lights might be more common among auto mechanics and gear-heads. We call them that because only an idiot needs special lights to tell them to service their vehicle. And yeah, they're gauges, not gages; as the man said, "you could look it up". But use a real dictionary, the web has billions of pieces of mis and disinformation floating around it.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

@BarbieBarbie...yes, the man with the hat was Goldfinger's henchman, Oddjob.

Suzie Q 10:55 AM  

I wish I hadn't stumbled upon the revealer so early in the game.
That kinda detracted from the fun of exploration/discovery that this wonderful puzzle had to offer.

HumanBean 11:02 AM  

My completed puzzle using the app has “LOVE/HATE” with the slash mark between the words.

Hungry Mother 11:06 AM  

Very nice use of the double rebus. I caught onto the theme after a quick pickup of the revealer. I was perplexed in the NW for a while until it all clicked.

Joseph Michael 11:07 AM  

I usually get bored with Sunday puzzles about halfway through, but this one kept me engaged from beginning to end.

45D was my most challenging moment. I knew there was a HATE in there but took forever to finally see WORDS TO THAT EFFECT. Nice.

Favorite entry: IDIOT LIGHTS. Least favorite: CIO. Favorite clue: what the cow said.

Jim Lemire 11:07 AM  

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle. Moved quickly, but not without obstacles so jumped around a bit, which I think makes for the start of an enjoyable puzzle solving experience. Not so easy as to be boring, but not frustratingly obtuse either. Wasn’t sure how the app wanted me to parse the LOVE HATE pairs...a single LOVEHATE rebus seemed odd, so I left those squares blank for a while despite knowing what they should be. In the end, the app had no problem with the mashed up rebus when I dropped them in. A nice start to a cool, if not quite crisp September Sunday!

Jim Lemire 11:09 AM  

One thing I am having trouble with...BATTING GLOVES. How are they a “Pair of diamonds?” I get that baseball is played in a diamond but how are gloves part of the diamond? Or is it that these are “gloves of a (baseball) diamond”? If so...rather weak in my opinion

jae 11:19 AM  

Medium mostly because of tracking down the rebus squares. Smooth with a fun theme, liked it.

TubaDon 11:23 AM  

     I thought I was in trouble when I ran into BATTINGG_S but all was revealed when I worked my way down to 63A. My dentist has a book of FAR SIDE cartoons (not comics) in his waiting room. I guess so you can get the grin before the groan or the thrill before the drill.

Blue Stater 11:41 AM  

I managed to finish it, but I hate these over-gimmicked messes with the heat of a thousand suns, and a million suns when they invade our Sundays. That, plus the usual quantum of errors and stretchers, made for an unhappy morning.

Melrose 11:47 AM  

This was fun, but I had an interesting little error that really slowed me down. For the Robin Williams film I could only think of Mrs. Doubtfire, which is of about the same vintage as Peter Pan. I had already figured out the revealer and got one of the love/hate squares, so I thought that DOUBT was one of those feelings. And the length of that word supported that answer. Really threw me off. Got Peter Pan in the end, but frankly I don't recall that movie at all.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

Per Jeff Chen's XWord Info site—

Apparently the NYT web app can accept all these as correct answers: H, L, HATE rebus, LOVE rebus, L/H, H/L, LOVE/HATE, HATE/LOVE...

BarbieBarbie 11:52 AM
Far Side acid cartoon
(I think comics have more than one panel?)

Banana Diaquiri 12:07 PM  

it's the CtO, not CIO. any company can have a CIO, who is most often not from tech all, but B School. which is why the tech folks have no use for CIOs. just keep track of the incursions, hacks, and thefts of innterTubes data. the CIOs are befuddled. and, FWIW, there's a whole lot more to tech than the innterTubes.

just to show it ain't all me:
"Many candidates have Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Management degrees.[11] More recently, CIOs' leadership capabilities, business acumen and strategic perspectives have taken precedence over technical skills. It is now quite common for CIOs to be appointed from the business side of the organization, especially if they have project management skills. "
[my emphasis]
from the wiki

now you know why so many corporations are easily hacked: their CIO is a hack.

Alamogordo Dan 12:10 PM  


RooMonster 12:13 PM  

Hey All !
Nice puz, I thought Rex would complain about a thin theme. Something like, "That's it? Four rebus squares?" or somesuch. Nice words with the LOVE/HATEs.

Two wrong letters (four wrong answers) for a DNF. A funny one, CaNDOFEE (I CaN DO it!)/SINa, and a Huh? one, ClO/LElas (that's an L, BTW), thinking Chief Loan Officer? Har.

Writeovers, LInen-LILAC, ford-SUVS, eer-OFT, tres-ESTA, major-ADULT, Era-EON, urL-DSL.

PIM juice is tasty and good for you, but IMO is too expensive. Took almost the TOTAL Downs to RECALL PETERPAN. I thought, "Robin Williams was in that?"

Overall, a nice SunPuz. Does have a high block count (80), but 9 F's. Respect!

HATE that my glasses just broke! Man! Of course on a Sunday when nothings open. BUMmer.


Banana Diaquiri 12:16 PM  

PAYOFFS aren't necessarily, or at all, bribes, but PAYolaS sure are. at least according to the Failing Online Dictionary. any horse tout can tell you that winning means getting the PAYOFF. just one example.

Masked and Anonymous 12:26 PM  

Example of a non-funny SunPuz theme that still worked real well. Outlandishly superb puz. Slicker than snot. Etc.

@muse: fave cartoon/comic from The Far Side vaults: Almost all of em. One that definitely stood out was titled "Trouble Brewing", and had Ed's Dingo Farm next to Donna's Nursery. Babies in a playpen outside the nursery, with a whole bunch of dingos leanin against the side of the fence nearest the playpen. Rodeo.

staff weeject pick: GOA. Better clue: {Goat briefing??}.

Neat how two of the looong Down themers intersect the grid-spanning revealer. Usually U expect some luvly desperation, in those themer intersection areas, but this constructioneer kept it mighty clean.

@RP: "Goldfinger"?!?! Blofeld?!?! Musta been in the extended, director's cut. Or was he just a young villain-minion at the time, and got launched from the Aston-Martin's ejector seat? [And blow-felled several yards away.]

Thanx for the funday solvequest, Mr. Moore.

Masked & Anonym007Us

puzzlehoarder 12:39 PM  

I could see how LOVE would work for 26A but I didn't have enough of 23D to spot HATE. Maybe CALIPH is just short for CALIPHate. I was sensing an alternating LOVE/HATE theme but combining them didn't yet hit me. BATTINGGHS obviously needed a fix but I knew the solution would become clear with the revealer.

Sure enough by the time I got 63A in, there was enough of 23D in place to get the double rebus trick.

Even knowing the theme I can't say the bottom half of the puzzle went in any faster. With only four rebused squares this was mostly fill anyway and finding out where the remaining rebuses we're was still a trick.

On finishing the only square I wasn't completely sure of was the MALALA/ADOUT crossing. I'm not familiar with the name and ADOUT is probably a tennis term I don't really want to know.

While solving I thought this double rebus is going to cause some online solvers problems. The comments seem to bear this out. Solving on paper as long as I know what they're supposed to be I can leave them blank if I choose.

OISK 12:39 PM  

Mostly love from me, with just a smidgen of hate... The cross of "Ad out" with an acronym like CIO cost me my perfect record this week. Never heard CIO used that way, and missed the tennis reference (my fault).

Hey, maybe during an interview, when the announcer has to pause for a commercial, that is known in the trade as an "ad cut." Computer and internet coordinator, CIC? Pretty bad, but it's what I came up with...

Ken Wurman 1:00 PM  

Loved it.

Anonymous 1:02 PM  

The only part of this puzzle I disliked (HATE?) was the $%#@@ rebus! Cramming two letters into a crossword square is bothersome enough to me, but TWO WORDS??!! I got the theme, but had no idea how to enter love/hate into one square and have it go across and down. Sorry, I'm a purist, and a crossword only gets one letter (or symbol) per square. I entered the "Ls" for the across answers (as in Rex's sample) but the page turned them into "lovehate" rebuses. It's a cheat, I'm sorry, in my humble opinion. Would Will Weng allow this kind of trickery?

Anoa Bob 1:17 PM  

All those lovely long Downs did exact a bit of a price on the grid, to wit, a ton of 3s and 4s. But still a quality puzzle.

Played as much baseball as I could growing up. Add me to those who think clueing BATTINGGLOVES as "Pair of diamonds" is a stretch way, way too far. I'd even say it's NOT REAL.

I think Gary Larson of THEFARSIDE must have a degree in or at least a minor in psychology. Many of his cartoons have a psychological spin. One of my favorites is titled "Luposlipaphobia: The fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly waxed floor." Here tis.

Frog Prince Kisser 1:39 PM  

Loved the puzzle!

Don’t agree with Rex re “88D: Suffix with large numbers (-AIRE) — ok this is not good. I found a not-good thing.” What is “not-good” about millionAIRE or billionAIRE?

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

Would it?

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Any solver can leave them blank.

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

I'm curious. What symbols are acceptable if there should be one letter per square?

OffTheGrid 2:16 PM  

The Robin Williams movie was "HOOK". He played PETER PAN.

@BANANA, Some words have multiple meanings. Bribes can be PAYOFFS, so legitimate, even though payoff can have another meaning in another context.

Aitch 2:26 PM  

Really enjoyable Sunday. An alternate revealer or some bonus fill referencing Mitchum's character in The Night of the Hunter would have been cool.

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

I was flummoxed by 2D and so couldn't complete the northwest corner. I don't get why a urn would be graveside. If there's been a cremation, and it's an urn for cremains, there's no grave. Do some cemeteries have urns for flowers? would love someone to clarify this for me.

Masked and Anonymous 2:48 PM  

Luved YER, btw.

@RP: Luved yer write-up, with them primo bullets. Pleased that U really liked this puppy. Constructioneer's 4th NYTPuz. Start of a real promisin puzcareer, I'm hopin. [In other words: Moore, pleaz.]

I'm pretty sure The Far Side had a lotta cartoons that featured cows. Larson dude musta been a big rodeo fan. He was around 44, when he up and retired. Musta went into ranchin or meat processin, or somesuch.
Anyhoo, I kinda recall a cool Far Side where the cows are all are standin upright on two legs out in this field, actin like people. Then one cow yells out "car!", and all the cows assume regular moo-cow positions, as the car tools by.

Thanx again for the puzfun, Hal Moore.


heavily illustrated:

Malsdemare 2:55 PM  

I didn't know the Robin Williams' movie or the black brew so I had PETERguN and was totally flummoxed by the fruit juice. However, I loved the rest of the puzzle, the slow emergence/dawning of the rebi, some terrific clues and answers: YESWECAN, the sexy BOLERO, AMPERSANDS. After I got everything else done, I returned to PETER, and — head slap — saw PAN. I knew, barely, of POM and then I got the happy music.

My wandering dog has been outfitted with a GPS tracker. If/when he leaves his safe space, I get a message on my phone. Today, the whole thing is quite hinky, telling me he's off visiting neighbors when he's in fact on the couch next to me. But I'd rather get false positives than false negatives, so I'm waiting for Whistle to get its act together. Ain't technology great?

@LMS, what is wrong with me? I don't get the Vikings cartoon. I hate it when that happens.

Tom Pedulla 3:04 PM  

Breezed through this one in record time (for me) and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. My first thought when I finished: "I think even Rex is going to like this one." And he didn't disappoint. Thanks, Rex!

Nancy 3:23 PM  

@OISK (12:39 p.m.) -- We both had a DNF at CIO at 104D -- I didn't know it before now, so thanks a lot, OISK! -- but for utterly different reasons. AD OUT (114A) was a complete gimme for this tennis player. But I crashed and burned on the Princess (110A). Look, you ask me for a 4-letter musical movie theme beginning with "L" and I just know the answer is LARA. As in "Lara's Theme", possibly the most famous musical movie theme of all time. Never thought of LEIA. (And never noticed SPOOFaD at 82D, which is my carelessness.) This left me with CrO for the "certain tech exec". Well, why not Chief Research Officer? Or Controller of Robotic Operations? Could have been anything, right? And that's the big problem with esoteric acronyms and abbreviations in crosswords. Every single one of them could be...anything.

Crimson Devil 4:13 PM  

Ad out is indeed tennis term = advantage receiver of serve, thus if receiver wins next point, game. If server is in reverse position, ad in.

Monica 4:21 PM  

I tried replacing the top two rebuses with L as you suggested, but still no music ... :(

CDilly52 4:22 PM  

Nike makes a brand of batting gloves called Nike Diamond. Also Diamond is a well known brand of baseball gloves for non-pros. It was after CALIPHATE was obviously some sort of rebus that the BATTINGGLOVES clued me in to the LOVE/HATE. I wasn’t home free though because the app wouldn’t let me do the double rebus so after I finished I had to waste a bunch of time figuring out that it would accept the L in each case. Should have solved this one the old fashioned way my grandmother taught me-written in! I really dislike my computer telling me I am wrong when I’n not!

thefogman 4:26 PM  

I'll be BLUNT. I had a LOVEHATERELATIONSHIP with this one. I loved the theme (and most of the puzzle) but I hated the AREA where ADOUT crossed ERST. My mixed feelings are not shared by OFL who often loves what I hate and vice-versa, but WHATELSEISNEW? If not for that damned spot I would have rated it an A. But because of it, Hal Moore URNs a B.

Anonymous 4:29 PM  

For what it's worth, this link to the Rebus page at XWordinfo shows all of the NYT rebus puzzles back to the first one, edited by Margaret Farrar in 1954. The listing also shows what the rebus consisted of and how many squares were affected.

CDilly52 4:34 PM  

Completely “Sundayesque” puzzle. I admire the constructor’s skill. Not being able to predict the location of the themers made it more difficult and exciting. Even after getting the revealer, the remaining theme clues weren’t where I expected them to be which continued to challenge me. And I thoroughly enjoyed the fill. Far Side is a family favorite. Great workout and loads of fun!

CDilly52 4:42 PM  

“Nike Diamond” is a brand of batting gloves just called “Diamonds.” The only really esoteric possibly WOE in the puzzle. Grokable once you get the rebus but still the weakest themer IMO. I have joked with friends though that the only diamonds I own or wear are my gloves. My batting and fielding gloves are both Diamonds.

CDilly52 4:46 PM  

Nike makes batting gloves branded Nike Diamonds. And Diamond is a popular brand of fielding gloves. Really esoteric but grokable once you get the theme. Still, IMO the weakest place in the puzzle

CDilly52 4:49 PM  

I should have solve this the way Gran taught me-by writing the answers (she used ink every day for her NYT). I had app trouble that cost me an extra 5 minutes. Irritating only because I had the trick at CALIPHATE/BATTINGGLOVES (My batting and fielding gloves are Diamond brand). Fun and absolutely “Sundayesque.”

Unknown 5:37 PM  

But not LOVEHATE. Thought I had it licked but no ending chorus. Changed them all to an L and it said congrats.

thefogman 6:03 PM  

I'll be BLUNT. I had a LOVEHATERELATIONSHIP with this one. I loved the theme (and most of the puzzle) but I hated the AREA where ADOUT crossed ERST. My mixed feelings are not shared by OFL who often loves what I hate and vice-versa, but WHATELSEISNEW? If not for that damned spot I would have rated it an A. But because of it, Hal Moore URNs only a B.

Monty Boy 6:36 PM  

Loved the puzzle. Much the same reaction as comments so far. I have several Far Side compilations and get them out when I need a laugh. The man is a genius - science, psychology, nature, absurdity,,, all the things we love to poke fun at.

Joe 6:41 PM  

I had a DNF because I mistyped one of the rebuses, but that’s okay, because I really do not get the “pair of diamonds” clue.@cdilly52 clarifies, but how in heaven am I supposed to know who sells batting gloves? Otherwise I thought it was a hard but fun puzzle. And I like “Schrodinger puzzle” as a descriptor. Is that a thing? Or a term Rex just coined?

Anonymous 6:43 PM  

I have a love/hate relationship with commenters here who use the phrase "puz"--love that they do the NYT crossword puzzles but HATE that they indulge the urge to say "puz." Why? Takes so much longer to type "zle"? So, pointless. But worse. "Puz" is twee and childish, like saying "veggies."

Anonymous 7:39 PM  

@Malsdemare2:55 PM
You could just take better care of your dog.

RooMonster 8:27 PM  

@Anon 6:43
Puz! Har.
I like to do it 1) because I think it's neat, 2) because the seconds I don't type the "zle" add up to alot of saved precious time, 3) because I never grew up. :-)
Gimmie a P!, Gimmie a U!, Gimmie a Z!, PUZ!


Z 8:48 PM  

There is obviously only one correct answer to the question, “What’s your favorite Far Side?” “The last one I read.” Any other answer dooms you to an eternity without cows.

Unknown 9:00 PM  

According to Merriam-Webster, "gage" as a measuring instrument first appeared in the 15th century. Online engineering forums have some enlightening discussions on gage versus gauge. The gist of it is to just pick one.

Gabe Tuerk 9:23 PM  

I love hate Total Recall. Clue should have been poor adaptation of Philip K Dick short. Oh - and thanks for making Mao Suit the word of the day, because nothing else came close

MGTopAgent 9:38 PM  

Who's buried in"Goldfinger's tomb'? Hint: it's not Blofeld.

Malsdemare 9:52 PM  

@anonymous 7:39. Bite me.

JC66 10:33 PM  

You tell 'em, @Mals

JennG 10:38 PM  

I wasn’t sure how to enter the revised, but I just went with LOVE for all four and got the happy music. Go figure!

ghostoflectricity 7:18 AM  

Rex, you missed a beautiful opportunity to delve into classic cinema. In the 1955 film "The Night of the Hunter," the only feature film directed by the great British actor Charles Laughton (who was Quasimodo in the classic 1939 film version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," opposite stunning teenage Maureen O'Hara and Tyrone Power, and real-life husband of Elsa "Bride of Frankenstein" Lanchester), based loosely on a true case of a serial Depression-era predator/murderer of rich widows, Robert Mitchum, in one of his best performances, was self-appointed "Reverend" Harry Powell. Powell cons people, including gullible widows (Shelley Winters in the film) into thinking he is a fire-and-brimstone preacher there to save their souls. He has "HATE" tattooed on the fingers of his left hand, "LOVE" on the right. He gulls audiences with his tale of how "hate" is ultimately conquered by "love."

spacecraft 9:53 AM  

I nailed this bad boy to the wall! Only 8 Rexes, and I got the theme right away at S[LOVE]NIA/W[HATE]LSEISNEW. Went right down to the gridspanner and wrote that in. I have no 63-across with this one; it's all good. Well...almost all. Had a great time with it, and if you're gonna throw in NIA Long for DOD, I'll give it an eagle. Go Eagles!

Burma Shave 1:12 PM  


my ADULT ALLEGORY, it's true.


rondo 1:46 PM  

Pretty easy, about 4.5X@Rex while eating my raisin bran followed by TEA and sweets. Actually got going well in the NE so BATTINGGLOVES/CALIPHATE gave it away and I didn't FSTOP 'til done.

I'm still putting money away for that retirement 'VETTE. Not worried about the MPG.


Yeah baby TESSA Thompson could make me Thor.

IFONLY every Sun-puz was like this I'd have better comments FORUM.

Diana,LIW 1:50 PM  

Got it! Got the (%^ rebus!

Knew something was afoot. Then...the revealer. 'Twas done, but only had three LOVE/HATE squares going on. Hey - I thought BATTINGGAS and CALIPA could be real things - my sports and Islamic acumen showing...

Then - found it. Perfect solve. Happy Sunday, all.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

AnonymousPVX 3:03 PM  

I got this done without having any fun whatsoever. I truly despise these types of cannot even fit the word in the box, just as the revealed grid doesn’t show the LOVE and HATE in the proper boxes.

Glad it’s done, sorry I even started.

rainforest 3:07 PM  

One of the best Sundays I've done. Relatively easy, but it took me a while to sort out the first rebus as I actually wondered if there was a country called Shatenia for a few nanoseconds. The "pair of diamonds" clue seemed a bit off, but CALIPHATE sorted that out.

Very smooth going throughout. Nice cluing, nice theme, perfect revealer, excellent fill.

What's not to like?

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

If the answer to "pair of diamonds" is "batting gloves" because it's a Nike brand, shouldn't the clue have read "pair of Diamonds" (with a capital D)?

strayling 7:13 PM  

Yes, that was a bit off. The rest of the puzzle was great, so ... can you "praise with faint damns"?

leftcoastTAM 8:19 PM  

Yeah, @rondo, I miss The Far Side a lot, too.

Diana,LIW 9:08 PM  

@Lefty! Good to hear from you!

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 11:04 PM  

@Diana, good to hear from you, too. I'll be off and on for a while.

zan 1:31 PM  

I still cannot figure out this theme. I finished it. Got the hint (Love-HAte) early on. But for the life of me this one makes no sense. Like, how do you get SLNIA from Slovenia? If someone explain like I am five, I would be eternally grateful.

Anonymous 7:32 PM  


Puzzle “works” when four random squares take the word “love” in the across direction, while those same squares take the word “hate” in the down direction. Check it out again and you’ll see it.

Hope this helps!

kitshef 7:58 PM  

Absolutely adored it. Sometimes I wonder why I continue doing Sundays, but days like this make it worth the usual meh puzzles.

Hand up for M&As far side of cows on two legs, but my favorite is the spiders who have spun a web at the base of a playgrounds slide. Caption: If we pull this off, we'll eat like kings.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

Frequently worn by HRC, Maosuit!

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