Concerning both moon and sun's motions / WED 9-5-18 / Arabian land near Strait of Hormuz / Obsession of el rey Midas / Operating system in Linus family

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Constructor: Amanda Chung, Karl Ni and Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Easy (4:18, which would be more an Easy-Medium time, but the puzzle is oversized, so ... Easy)

THEME: TEAM-BUILDING (38A: Goal for six answers in this puzzle?) — NFL teams are clued in two parts, like an equation, [X + Y], where X and Y are both real words (or names):

Theme answers:
  • TITANS (9A: "Whatever You Like" rapper + Gets some color at the beach) (the rapper is T.I.)
  • BRONCOS (24A: Frat dude + Cpls. and sgts.)
  • DOLPHINS (26A: Actor Lundgren + Elected officials)
  • PATRIOTS (50A: Butter square + Hilarious people)
  • BENGALS (52A: London's Big ___ + Ladies)
  • GIANTS (66A: U.S. soldier + Little scurriers)
Word of the Day: UBUNTU (48D: Operating system in the Linux family) —
  1. a quality that includes the essential human virtues; compassion and humanity. (google) [and....] 
    Ubuntu (/ʊˈbʊnt/; stylized as ubuntu) is a free and open source operating systemand Linux distribution based on Debian. Ubuntu is offered in three official editions: Ubuntu Desktop for personal computers, Ubuntu Server for servers and the cloud, and Ubuntu Core for Internet of things devices and robots. New releases of Ubuntu occur every six months, while long-term support (LTS) releases occur every two years. (wikipedia)
• • •

The core gimmick here seems pretty solid to me. I just thought the revealer was a dud. It's a kind of weak, corporate-esque term to begin with, and then the whole equation-like cluing didn't really suggest "building" to me, and finally they are all NFL teams but there is absolutely nothing NFL-y about the revealer. Coulda been any teams from any sport (side note: slightly) weird that there is significant baseball *and* hockey content in this puzzle as well). The long Downs are really something, and the grid as a whole is very nice, but ... I just wasn't feeling the revealer or the "+" cluing. Seems like it would've been more fun / interesting to clue themers with "?" clues; like, just clue BRO NCOS, just clue G.I. ANTS. I don't know what your revealer would be in that case, but certainly solving the themers would've been more entertaining.

I was surprised at how quickly I finished this one given that it contains two answers I've never heard of, and they're *crossing*. UBUNTU is super-duper new to me. Like ... just a bunch of letters. And LUNISOLAR is new to me as well, though there I could use some rudimentary knowledge of Latin roots to piece it together. What word would that even modify? Weird. I also nearly tanked BATHOS because I had PATHOS at first (58A: Sentimentality). I think of BATHOS as anti-climax. Is that wrong? [Checks] Nope, it is not:
noun(especially in a work of literature) an effect of anticlimax created by an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime to the trivial or ridiculous. (google)
Huh. Odd. I'm sure [Sentimentality] is in some dictionary, somewhere, but it's not what I would call a Great clue. No other problems except writing in EXTRA INNING instead of TENTH INNING (11D: Bonus in baseball). Oh, and I forgot that JACOB was a "Twilight" thing just as I have largely forgotten "Twilight" was a thing. Weird how that very popular book / movie series just ... disappeared from cultural relevance. Harry Potter, on the other hand, promises never to fade from memory, which is fine with me. Interesting NFL-related clue on KNEEL (37A: Take a stand by not standing), especially considering Nike *just* made Colin Kaepernick the face of their new marketing campaign. Is a DSL MODEM still a thing? Whatever, it looks pretty cool in the grid.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    puzzlehoarder 12:27 AM  

    Another very quick solve. My mistake which I didn't catch was PATHOS instead of BATHOS. It's one of those either-or answers and I just picked the wrong one. In retrospect the 58D clue should have been a give away but the P I tried to work with left me baffled. Everything else filed in so easily I saw PUG there and figured it's a word so it's good. You wouldn't think you could forget a clue that quickly but I do it all the time. My first reading of the clue was confused and I never reread it.

    A big distraction was changing SHOE to SHUE. Luckily I remembered that her name is a homonym of the common word. UBUNTU could have been anything. That unknown word soaked up all my attention as that crossing was such a potential Natick.

    Otherwise it was all simplicity again. Having the DA already in place when I read the 34A clue was a nice break. I always confuse DEFOE and DAFOE. The crosses for RAMI were obvious but it's a now common entry I need to be more familiar with.

    Andrew Goodridge 12:29 AM  

    I had a DNF because I settled on pATHOS, and, being a proud pug dad, it seemed reasonable that 58D (Snug rug inhabitant) could be pug. Unfortunately, I had “BUG” when doing the downs, but I changed it to pUG because I am not familiar with the term BATHOS. Oh well.

    Clark 1:00 AM  


    I have to comment on something from yesterday. I am going to mention a five-letter word that was in the puzzle yesterday. So, if you haven't done yesterday's puzzle, STOP READING NOW.

    A number of commenters yesterday said that a sauna doesn't involve steam. Wrong. I grew up in a place that was settled long ago by Finns. A real sauna (wood burning, and, ideally on a body of water where a hole would be cut in the ice), might be heated to a temperature as low as 180, but that would usually be for non-Finlanders. The old Finn's would heat the air temp in the sauna to 240. We would regularly get it at least to 220. I know that sounds crazy, but the body rapidly produces a cooling layer of sweat. You don't want to move quickly in the sauna because the movement causes the air to dry the layer of sweat and that burns. Blasts of steam are definitely a part of the deal. The steam does clear pretty quickly, so it is not at all like a steam room. But without blasts of steam it isn't a real sauna.

    jae 1:12 AM  

    Medium. UBUNTU crossing LUNISOLAR gave me some trepidation, but it had to be N...both were @Rex WOEs.

    Clever with some solid long downs, liked it.

    Larry Gilstrap 1:34 AM  

    New to the blog? That was a rave review, or one step down from one.

    NFL teams splayed out for us to practice TEAM BUILDING. The ugly underbelly of football is one of those dark secrets being revealed in open daylight on a daily basis. But, I do watch and enjoy the Super Bowl. I'm I licensed to say that?

    Not a godly person, but I do know my Bible, but that did not stop me from throwing in ACTS instead of RUTH; Judges is in the Old Testament, dummy!

    The clue leads us to I'VE GOT A PLAN, which seems more like a pitch for a script than the answer in a puzzle. I've Got a Secret starred Garry Moore; that was some URBANE stuff right there.

    Quality tennis is under assault at ASHE Stadium and environs these days. Federer melted last night and he reluctantly admitted it. Hot temps and humidity; have you noticed that in your area?

    I heard about NFL players' choosing to KNEEL and thought about the physical process of taking a knee. No problem, but getting back upright was problematic. I made it part of my exercise regimen.

    chefwen 2:41 AM  

    That SE corner was a bear for me with UBUNTU and LUNISOLAR. I’ll bet M & A is going to love that section. Finished, but had to wait for Rex to confirm that I finished correctly, and I did. Thought the theme was clever and timely. All set for Sunday’s Packer game. Packer dip, brats, German Potato Salad and Bloodies. We play DA BEARS, can’t wait.

    Harryp 3:01 AM  

    For me, this was harder than most Wednesdays, but doable. 61Across LUNISOLAR went in from the crosses. I only saw the Theme after finishing. O.K.

    Anonymous 3:45 AM  

    I'm typing this from my UBUNTU laptop so that was very, very easy. Also I have a PhD in physics and have never heard of LUNISOLAR, but apparently it's a thing. Sounds made-up. So does BATHOS which made the cross with GOOSES quite tough. I've never really heard GOOSES used in that sense and I've always thought to goose something meant to mess it up.

    Elaine2 4:01 AM  

    @Rex -- you asked what LUNISOLAR might modify. It modifies CALENDAR. A lunisolar calendar is one which, like the Jewish or Chinese calendars, has lunar months but uses intercalation (the insertion of an extra month from time to time) to keep it in sync with the seasons of the solar year. In such a calendar, special days are always in the same season.

    The Civil (Gregorian) calendar is a strictly solar calendar; it doesn't have months that track to the cycle of the moon. The Islamic calendar is strictly lunar; it has 12 lunar months and there is no "syncing up" to the solar year. Therefore, Islamic holy days occur at different seasons in different years.

    Hope this is helpful and perhaps even interesting.

    'merican in Paris 4:40 AM  

    I found the puzzle fun and interesting, and mostly easy except in the SE, where I had "AcTs" before the (notorious) RUTH. Finally gave up and googled SHUE, which unlocked that side. Finished (or, rather, did NOT) a FEWER number or minutes shorter than my average for a Wednesday.

    The theme was cute, and nice that the constructors also fitted in other football words, such as CHEARLEAD, KNEEL, END, and I'VE GOT A PLAN. A bit of a computer sub-theme going on, too, with BUG, DSL MODEM and UBUNTU.

    So we get NAAN again. Funny how certain words seem to come in clusters. ALE, OED and SNL seem to be in every second puzzle.

    3D made me think of @LMS. O MAN, here's an exchange I'd like to SEE:

    LMS: So, Johnny, why didn't you finish your homework this time?

    Johnny: ODIE, THE DOG, ATE IT.

    LMS: OK, here's what you need to do. I want you to scoop up what remains of IT, spread IT out on a clean sheet of paper, and bring IT in tomorrow to class.

    Johnny: [SPEWS]

    Name that tune 5:59 AM  

    Thank you, again, Lyle Lovett, for "Joshua Judges Ruth."

    Lewis 6:22 AM  

    What won me over on what felt to me like a Tuesday-easy puzzle was its sparkle. Lots of lovely glitter in this puzzle:
    * The clue for KNEEL.
    * UBUNTU -- Never heard of it, but what a cool word!
    * The clever idea of parsing NFL team names.

    I left this lit puzzle with a zing in my step. Thank you, gang!

    RavTom 6:33 AM  

    As a Boston sports fan, I knew UBUNTU in its original meaning. It was the motto of the 2008 NBA champion Celtics. No idea it was also a computer term. Also, RUTH is the “book after Judges” only in the Christian Bible. In the Jewish Bible, they’re nowhere near each other.

    clk 6:44 AM  

    How does INS = elected officials?
    Otherwise easy. UBUNTU gave me no problem. I thought LUNISOLAR sounded made up so thank you @Elaine2 for the excellent explanation of the different calendar types.

    Jed 6:51 AM  

    Bathos? Ubuntu?

    Small Town Blogger 6:51 AM  

    In what sense are “ins” elected officials?

    Chris 6:55 AM  

    I, for one, am glad that they throw us computer nerds a bone sometimes with fill like UBUNTU.

    Conrad 7:06 AM  

    @Elaine2: Thank you. I often learn things from crosswords and this blog, and today I learned a lot!!

    Anonymous 7:08 AM  

    Ubuntu was a gimmie for me, as I use it every day, but I was baffled that they didn't go with the African meaning to clue it.

    JJK 7:16 AM  

    I just don’t get how dolphins is the answer to “actor lundgren plus elected officials”. Can’t parse it - can someone explain?

    Dawn Urban 7:27 AM  

    INS mean those who get elected.

    Great puzzle. Learned a lot.

    I knew snug as a BUG in a rug, cause Mom always says that. But, knowing the cuddle-ability of pugs, changed it to accomodate pATHOS.

    (For a while, I toyed with BooHOo, for BATHOS. Now, I will remember the word BATHOS, because sentimental tears are watery, like a bathtub.)

    Anonymous 7:28 AM  

    PDA crossing with ODIE did me in. I still don’t get what PDA stands for (other than its usual cluing relating to a smartphone predecessor). Otherwise easy and fun to solve.

    kitshef 7:35 AM  

    Wasn't so fond of BENGALS or DOLPHINS, as they are pronounced the same way as their building blocks. The others are radical re-pronunciations. [side note: The BENGALS cheerleaders are called the BEN-GALS.]

    Odd choice of clue for BATHOS. A relatively modern sense of the word, and one that is only going to increase confusion with pATHOS. And it should really have been clued as over-sentimentality. It's not an outright error -- just a poor choice.

    Very, very easy Wednesday.

    Anonymous 7:48 AM  

    Last evening I did a little experiment. I reset yesterday's puzzle and typed in random letters and words as fast as I could. It took about 4 min & 23 sec. I really want to know how some solvers did the puzzle
    in 3 minutes including the time to read the clues, which I did not do in my experiment.

    Hungry Mother 7:55 AM  

    Such an easy theme, but I hesitated for several minutes before entering GOOSES. Almost remembered the name of an operating system that I have on a CD and on a flash drive for rescuing computers

    Anonymous 7:57 AM  

    Re: Ubuntu --- perhaps clue it as, "a community supported Linux distribution". The key being that Ubuntu is an African philosophy based on individuals contributing to a common good.

    Anonymous 8:06 AM  

    Thank the stars 5D had a "?". I was sure it had something to do with sausage until I saw the "?" and realized I would need to consider multiple meanings of "link".

    Suzie Q 8:17 AM  

    This all felt very forced and was boring to me. Maybe writing this as a committee wasn't a good idea. The crosswords we have seen by that class project are OK though so maybe my theory is all wet.
    Is Dorito a valid word in the singular form?
    Again we see a review that is slanted because of Rex's admiration for Erik Agard but I suppose he can give his friend some slack if he wants to.
    Finally, yesterday Rex slammed "And how" as an answer but today uses "Super-duper" in his write-up??

    chefbea 8:20 AM  

    Never heard of bathos or ubuntu!!! But loved beets!!!

    Crimson Devil 8:24 AM  

    I believe PDA=public display of affection, and INS=those elected who are IN office.

    Odd Sock 8:25 AM  

    So many unknown names. Don't know anything about Twilight. Never heard of Jordan Peele or his movie. And is it Rami Malek or Malek Rami? Throw in Ubuntu just to add insult to injury and I'm thinking that this theme had better be worth it.
    It wasn't.
    'Scuze me, I have some shoes to burn.

    pmdm 8:26 AM  

    Clark: Very interesting. Thanks for the explanation. Perhaps the word has different meanings based on locality. When a large group of people use a word incorrectly, and repeatedly, sometimes the wrong definition becomes the actual definition of a word. Is a torch a flashlight? Words depend on locality.

    Elaine2: I also thank you.

    Larry Gilstrap: Mike Sharp has a group of constructors (like Jeff Chen) who always (or usually) receive pans (otherwise, begrudging acceptance), and some always receive praise, Eric is a constructor whose work I usually do not like, but Mike usually praises his work. Today combined a lot of good entires with a lot I would call bad (meaning a lot I did not like). I was unhappy with the across PPP and the down crosswordese. The PPP response is personal: the crosswordese response is more universal, although most seem to be willing to ignore it today.

    QuasiMojo 8:30 AM  

    BATHOS was one of the Three MUSHketeers.

    Pathos does not mean sentimentality. I know that seems pathetic to mention, but look that up in your Funk & Wagnell, or better yet OED.

    One phrase that is often misused, which LMS might want to add to her list, if she hasn't already, is "Pathetic Fallacy." Think "weeping willow" or those poor pets wearing ugly sweaters on Christmas.

    ORC before ENT. I don't know my Middle Kingdom lore too well.

    TWILIGHT what? I was struggling trying to remember if Rod Serling wrote an episode about a werewolf, perhaps one who worked at a Waxing Salon.

    GET OUT was exactly what I did a few minutes after it started.

    Overall I was very impressed by this one. I know zilch (sister of Miss Zulch, from the other day?) about football teams, but I figured this out and didn't mind that it was a theme. Some clever word play always sits well with me.

    Thanks to Erik Agard et al (I wonder if he is visiting us from Asgard?)

    Can't you just hear a Mel Brooks sketch about IVAN the Terrible? How "terrible" was he?

    Anonymous 8:31 AM  

    PDA = Public Dosplay of Affection

    Dr. Gary Johnson PhD 8:41 AM  

    @JJK 7:16 AM

    DOLostrio Lundren (1882-1931) refers to the famed European stage actor of melodrama, and PHINagaists were consuls elected by the landowners of Thessaly during the Second Trivene period.

    Anonymous 8:53 AM  

    @ Quasi, Are you trying to be funny using pathetic in the same paragraph as pathos? Good one.
    @ Dr. Johnson, How were you able to type that with a straight face?

    Anonymous 8:54 AM  

    @4:01 Elaine2 - Yes, thanks! - I was all set to post on the calendar and you got there first.
    Just an addendum...the Christian church's calendar is also lunisolar, in that the dating of Easter (and its entire cycle from Lent to Pentecost) is based on the first full moon of spring; all the other observations stick to the solar dates, but Easter jumps around from year to year because it is based on the interplay of lunar and solar calendars.

    The Jewish calendar gets adjustments by added (intercalary) months in order to keep spring festivals in spring and fall in fall; of course this still means the spring observations like Passover are observed in the autumn in Australia, etc.

    mmorgan 9:24 AM  

    I have less than zero interest in football, but I enjoyed this (though it took me a bit to catch onto the theme). Things I didn't know (e.g., JACOB) came easily from crosses. Somehow I knew UBUNTU. Really liked the clue for KNEEL.

    Whatsername 9:31 AM  

    This was a nice idea for a theme but I felt like I was doing a puzzle in TV Guide. For the NY Times on a Wednesday, more mundane than urbane. It might have been a challenge for non NFL fans but for me, easy to the point of boring.

    RooMonster 9:31 AM  

    Hey All !
    @Dr. Gary 8:41 - Har.
    To whomever asked, it's DOLPH Lundgren + INS(=eleted officials).

    I thought the theme was neat. A quick parse of 9A had me asking, "What kind of rapper would name himself TIT?"

    Which one of the three co-constructors parsed DOLPHINS? Wow, what an eye! And where is my team? I beam material + speech pauses (STEELERS)? :-)

    Anyway, considering the 7 themers + the 16 wide grid, most of the fill was good, and those 4 long Downs were great! Two go through four themers, two go through three, plus they are smushed right next to each other. Talk about a TEAM BUILt puz. Great job, EA, AC, KN. (Ni!) (How much were you teased when that Monty Python movie came out?) (Or are you old enough for that?)

    Before I SPEWS more, I'll just say it was a fairly easy puz, like all of them this week. Or else it's just I RULE!

    (KNEEL and SPEWS symmetrical. Har.)


    Anonymous 9:34 AM  

    You describe the puzzle well.

    Adam K. Roberts 9:37 AM  


    DOLPH Lundgren, actor (your mileage may vary, but I'll always remember him as the first Punisher and from the film Masters of the Universe, where he played He-Man against Frank Langella's Skeletor).

    INS are those who are elected - i.e., voted in versus voted out.

    jberg 10:13 AM  

    I liked the theme, including the revealer -- but the theme answers were so short that there almost had to be some longer acrosses -- two, in this case -- one of which was ridiculously obscure, and the other ridiculously clued (CHEERLEADERs lead others in cheering; to "root on" is simply to cheer, or maybe cheer for.) Also, "man _____ machine" nowhere suggests the indefinite article.

    Pro before PGA, otherwise it was pretty simple.

    RK Beatrice 10:14 AM  

    Elaine and Anon beat me to the lunisolar explanation, but I will add my own favorite fun fact - ever notice that Ramadan and Eid move all about the year, whereas Passover and Easter move a bit but stay within the same season? It's because the Islamic calendar is purely lunar, so it rotates in relation to the solar Gregorian calendar (per wikipedia, takes 33 years to do a full rotation). Lunisolar calendars like the Hebrew one add an entire leap month every few years to keep that from happening. This blew my mind when I learned it a few years back, having been thoroughly confused when I realized Jewish and Muslim holidays acted in different ways.

    Unknown 10:21 AM  

    Public Display of Affection

    Z 10:23 AM  

    BUG was pretty obvious, so I didn’t fall into the pATHOS trap.

    I got the parsing trick right away from BRO NCOS, so plopped in The super bowl off the T in THE DOG ATE IT. Sigh.

    UBUNTU is a word I know is a word somehow related to computers, so no issue there. I sometimes mention that crossword solving is aided by a knowledge base that is a mile wide and an inch deep. In this case it was more like a millimeter deep.

    I have the same ambivalence about the theme that Rex has. Making team names into DOOKs is good. But really, you can’t come up with a wickedly funny clue for BRO NCOS? PAT RIOTS? G.I. ANTS? Granted, TI TANS and BEN GALS might get you in a little trouble if you’re not careful, but I still want these clues to go wacky and go big.

    @Elaine2 - Let me join the chorus - Thanks for the info.

    @kitshef - Huh? BENGALS is not pronounced the same way as BEN GALS. I always hear it as if it is spelled “bengles.” The vowel in the second syllable is almost non-existent.

    @anonymous7:48 - I’m a piker compared to real speed solvers, but I did the Tuesday Newsday puzzle in 4:21 this week. And yes, that included reading all the clues. I’ve mentioned many times before that 6:00 was an impenetrable barrier for me for several years until it wasn’t.

    Marymom 10:25 AM  

    Roo Monster, how about Ave. crosser + snigglers = Steelers

    Anonymous 10:27 AM  

    Liked it but can’t understand BATHOS nor PUG In a rug. Bad clue?

    Nancy 10:44 AM  

    Don't even ask me about the ?BUNTO/GETA?T cross, upon which I Naticked and don't at all care. Other than that, I really loved this puzzle. Crunchy for a Wednesday, with a playful, lively theme.

    Must get back to the Kavanaugh hearings. I take my breaks when the Republicans are questioning and watch avidly when the Democrats are at bat. Was relieved by some of his answers during the Feinstein questioning. Or am I just naive?

    Joseph Michael 10:53 AM  

    A winning puzzle. Not much of a sports fan, but I enjoyed building the teams and especially liked the bonus clue for KNEEL. Also learned some new five dollar words like BATHOS and LUNISOLAR.

    Then there’s fhe story of: I WON’T get in trouble because I’VE GOT A PLAN. I’ll tell the teacher THE DOG ATE IT.

    GET OUT = dynamite movie. Uber creepy in a good way. Kudos to Jordan Peele.

    @Dr. Gary Johnson PhD, you were unable to suppress your inner DEMONS when explaining the presence of DOLPHINS in the grid. Best laugh of the morning.

    JC66 11:10 AM  


    I think that if you had the final O in DORITO, you might have seen GET OUT.

    jb129 11:21 AM  

    Fun puzzle but over too soon!

    Didn't we have a similar theme last week? I guess this will be a new trend.

    Anonymous 11:46 AM  

    SNL is Saturday Night LIVE. It is not "filmed" weekly in N.Y.C.

    Malsdemare 11:47 AM  

    @Odd sock and other like-minded folks. Don't burn the shoes; donate them to a veterans group or a homeless shelter,

    Pete 12:21 PM  

    I'm all for words accruing different meanings as time goes by, but there's something about ALIBI meaning excuse that just sets my teeth on edge. I know it's in the dictionary so I can't pounce on someone for using it that way, but... Why not just use the word excuse? Excuse has fewer syllables than ALIBI and thus is easier to say. Fewer letters also, so easier to type. Excuse also means "I did it, but I have a good(ish) reason for having done so". If that's what you mean, use the word excuse. If you didn't do it, don't use the word excuse. Excuse doesn't mean "I didn't do it, and I have a quartet of members of Sisters of Charity who will attest that I was repainting the nunnery and reciting psalms at the time of the incident" which is, in fact, an ALIBI.

    Many times I wish people who knew better did better.

    Malsdemare 12:22 PM  

    I managed this is record-breaking time — for me. BUG gave me BATHOS, which I knew, and while UBUNTU is new to me, I could infer LUNISOLAR. I liked seeing my hometown BENGALS in the grid, even though I don't follow football. In fact, I caught the trick at BRONCOS, confirmed it at DOLPHINS, and then blew through the rest.

    Thanks to @Elaine for her great description of various calendars. I'll add one, the French Republican calendar, instituted in 1793, and in effect for 12 years. I won't attempt to describe it beyond saying that it began in Year I and ended XIII, the 12 months were renamed and divided into 3 10 day decades. Of course the days of the decade were renamed, so there is nothing remotely familiar about this Calendar. Extra days were added at the end of one of the months and holy days were replaced by days to celebrate genius, labor, etc. If you do genealogy and have French ancestors, it’s a nightmare. You could have an ancestor born in VI, month of Florial, and day Tridi of decade 2. Reading 200 year old French documents is hard; converting barely legible unfamiliar names into a meaningful date is almost impossible.

    Fun morning.

    Masked and Anonymous 12:54 PM  

    UBUNTU … ahhhh … my extra-special heart-felt thanx and congratz to the many members of the WedPuz constructioneerin committee. [And yo, @chefwen]

    TEAMBUILDING seems like a quite reasonable, obvious revealer, for the themers as clued up. Only bone I'd pick is that the {Grandfather's six + royal dudes} didn't make the puz. Mighty appropriate theme subject, since the pro-football season is about to start.

    Primo puz fillins, with standin-O's for: CHEERLEAD [theme-echoer]. UBUNTU. NHLGAME [wrong league, committee … must change H to F, at all costs]. TENTHINNING [but wrong sport, committee]. UBUNTU. THEDOGATEIT. IVEGOTAPLAN. NOFEWERTHAN. UBUNTU.

    Those 11-long Downs scrape 7-letter-bellies with each other, and run thru lotsa the themers, too boot. day-um. There's just gotta be some luvly desperation, to soothe the M&A soul, somewheres in that feat …

    * ORA. staff weeject pick. 3-letter partials are always choice stuff.
    * ATTN. nah. Not desperate enough. Sorry, committee. ... Nice try.
    * DSLMODEM. Ubuntu! Now you're talkin! But … does Google out ok, sooo … not a truly desperate contender.
    * STS. Plural abbrev street meat. Not bad. The committee is at least tryin to be desperate, on a very runty scale.
    * NHLGAME. Desperate, only becuz NFLGAME woulda been the sweet spot to hit, here.

    Hey … Shoot. Not very desperate at all, once U get out of the Weeject Zone. Congratz again, and a highly obsequious "ubuntu!" to the committee.

    Thanx, AC + KN + EA. Fun puz. Y'all did some amazin teamwork.

    Masked & Anonymo8Ubuntus


    Cassieopia 1:03 PM  

    To add to lunisolar and calendar discussion - Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon in or after the vernal equinox. So cool, right?

    Great puzzle. One day, to make up for all the baseball and celebrity trivia I have had to learn to do crosswords, I’ll be retired and have time to make a software development themed crossword. Rex and his ilk can struggle over programming language names the same way I struggle over ancient World Series stars. Turnabout will be fair play.

    But really, what a very nice Tuesday. I really liked it.

    Teedmn 1:04 PM  

    This was an easy Wednesday here, where I got the theme right at BRO-NCOS and used it to solve the rest of the theme answers when necessary.

    An interesting idea. I stopped to wonder how many other teams could be built similarly and immediately considered our home team, the VI-KINGS, the "Latin six + rulers". Wouldn't work, thought I, as all of the theme answers in this puzzle were made from two nouns. But it occurred to me to wonder, what part of language is "six"?

    Online dictionary answer:

    cardinal number: six

    equivalent to the product of two and three; one more than five, or four less than ten; 6.
    "she's lived here six months"

    This definition made me laugh because it reminded me of the instructions for detonating the Holy Hand Grenade

    Any puzzle that can make me go off-grid to do research is fun in my book. Thanks to the TEAM BUILDING crew, AC, KN and EA.

    Anonymous 1:09 PM  

    I had multiple problems with this puzzle and came in average time. Although a sports fan, I did not particularly enjoy this.

    Too many movie/tv-related proper nouns in the acrosses. And Shue/Ubuntu is a sure Natick for some. I had never heard of bathos, but bug is obvious.

    The PGA does not oversee courses - the USGA oversees courses. When people complain about, e.g., conditions at the US Open, the criticism is directed to the USGA, not the PGA.

    Finally, the revealer was disappointing, as Rex said, but also inaccurate. Team building is not a goal. Team building is a means to achieve a goal, e.g., team chemistry. In my view this puzzle is a bust.

    Big Steve 46 1:14 PM  

    Oddly enough, the one I didn't know was SHUE (CSI actress.) Since nobody else mentioned it, I will just chalk it up to my (ever increasing) geriatric cluelessness. While I do know there are a bunch of CSI shows on TV these days, my cop show familiarity kind of stalled around Dragnet and Kojak.

    Cassieopia 1:15 PM  

    Oops sorry this puzzle was a very nice *Wednesday*. Got a day behind because I did the puzzle late last night (thank you insomnia).

    kitshef 1:39 PM  

    @Z. Sorry for being unclear. I didn't mean to say that BENGALS was exactly like BEN+GALS, just that it was similar, unlike T.I. TANS or G.I. ANTS.

    Banana Diaquiri 1:47 PM  

    my recall from my HS writing class was that BATHOS was juvenile pathos. so, here's #2 def. from the on-line dictionary:
    insincere pathos; sentimentality; mawkishness.

    good ole Ms. Morrell. still right after all these years.

    Anonymous 2:23 PM  

    @anon 11:46 a.m: If SNL isn’t “filmed” how do they broadcast repeats ? I guess technically the clue is incorrect if weekly implies every week. QED: They air repeats. But that’s kind of nitpicky.

    Laurence Hunt 2:31 PM  

    Rex: It does seem that you're at least slightly grumpy in many (most?) of your columns. Is some part of you just feeling a little tired of doing this (like an obligation)? Or maybe you'd rather be writing than solving them? In any case, your criticisms and praise are certainly relevant --- often trenchant, even if nonobvious to my simple crossword brain (I start getting stuck around Thur-Fri). I'm often surprised by the items that are new to you. I've come across the word "ubuntu" literally hundreds of times in my reading, as well as having used it on a Linux laptop. It's a really great OS, for what it's worth, and could easily replace Microsoft and Apple (though it's also not perfect). Actually, I guess Windows 10 is freeware now, as well, or at least the mandatory upgrade is free (thanks again for the "choice," Microsoft!).

    Monty Boy 3:12 PM  

    I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. Got the theme early with BRO NCOS since that's my local team.

    I'm in the enjoyment, not critical group so I really liked today's comments. Mostly about solving the puzzle, not how crappy it is constructed. Puzzles should be puzzling? Second guessing the constructor reminds me of TR's man (or woman) in the arena comments.

    Thanks @'mericans for the well done LMS impersonation. Takes a lot of talent to match her wit.

    Masked and Anonymous 3:25 PM  

    Actually, there's a mighty nice selection of extra team name ideas in here, that somehow inexplicably have never quite made the cut, yet.
    Consider these primo expansion teams …

    * Homestead TENETS.
    * Temple DEMONS.
    * St. Helens SPEWS.
    * Riverside BATHOS.
    * Las Vegas TWOS to ONES. [Don't like a team of double plural convenience? How'bout Las Vegas LAS, then?]
    * Butte GOOSES. [M&A staff pick]
    * Redding BEETS.
    * Mesa MOUNTS. [Would also accept Hillside MOUNTS]
    * Sumter TOTALS.
    * N. El Paso NES.
    * St. Paul STS. [And thanx to @Teedmn, for also lobbyin on behalf of the Vikes]
    * Long Beach SARIS.
    * Little Rock JUTS.
    * Maunaloa OAS. [Mile-High City Desperation Award winner]

    M&A Sports Desk

    Anoa Bob 3:42 PM  

    @Clark 1:00am, Wow! Those Finns are tough. 220°F?! 240??!! Since water boils at 212°F, I would have bet that a single inhalation of air at that temp would cause serious damage to the delicate alveoli of the lungs or that it would not take long before bodily fluids near the skin surface would begin to boil.

    At those temps, steam would really be steam, i.e., invisible, unlike the visible mist of water droplets that forms when the temp drops below 212°F.

    On the plus side, you could cook your veggies while you're in there.

    Around 190&#176F; is the upper limit for me. Anything more and I'm concerned with permanent tissue damage. From now on I'm saying that I do sauna lite.

    Music Man 3:54 PM  

    I think recorded would be more apt than filmed

    Banana Diaquiri 4:07 PM  

    @the many anons:

    yes SNL is 'recorded' each week for re-run during down times. but I doubt they're 'filmed'. mostly likely digital archive. less likely, olde fashioned U-Matic.

    Uke Xensen 4:35 PM  

    Theme is not clever or imaginative. Disliked.

    Unknown 5:16 PM  

    They are “in” office.

    emily 5:24 PM  

    You are absolutely correct, having been an exchange student in Savolina. The dry saunas are non Finn style, found in many gyms/spas

    emily 5:26 PM  

    Yeah, WTF?

    emily 5:28 PM  

    First name DOLPH, elected officials voted INS

    Anonymous 5:51 PM  

    I felt my leg being pulled when I read @Larry.

    CA Viewer 7:13 PM  

    If you live on the west coast you are watching a taped version on SNL.

    Anonymous 9:02 PM  

    OMG Do you really need to be that precise in a crossword ? Everybody gets it. Filmed=Recorded for these purposes.

    Unknown 9:23 PM  

    Thank you. I couldn't find, in any of my Jewish bibles, anything other than Samuel (1 and 2) after Judges. I kept thinking it's done other book about Judges.

    Banana Diaquiri 9:57 PM  

    Do you really need to be that precise in a crossword ?

    nah. you can write in any strings of letters you want! :)

    Snag 10:31 PM  

    Axion . Kix
    Who is kith.

    thefogman 10:31 AM  

    Medium-challenging for me. This played like two puzzles. The bottom half was way tougher than the top half. I had hOrseS before MOUNTS. And DATELINE took forever to solve. I thought I beat this one until I looked up the solution and saw I had UBUNTo and SHoE. Does that BUG me? No. I'm pretty sure IWONT be the only one to hit that ROC.

    Burma Shave 10:41 AM  


    I’VEGOTAPLAN that is NOT
    a DATELINE lost on THE right ONES:
    CHEERLEADers must be TAUT,
    to be a TENETS just for the TITANS.


    spacecraft 11:35 AM  

    I wish the dog had eaten this. Way too tech/rap/vampire/new age director-laden for this puppy. UBUNTU? Seriously? I mean, @M&A is all over it, but are we supposed to KNOW this????

    I agree with OFL's plaints about the theme "+" clues and the clunky revealer. Also, I did not get to write my beloved EAGLES but I WAS forced to print the name of those cheaters at 50-across. Boo!

    IVEGOTAPLAN: after a salute to DOD Elisabeth SHUE, I'll give this one a bogey and move on to tomorrow.

    rainforest 2:02 PM  

    @Spacey - Go Patriots. Sorry.

    I liked this puzzle. Maybe not the most interesting theme, but it was consistent and gettable, with a serviceable revealer. Excellent long downs, and some new words (UBUNTU, LUNISOLAR). The fill was just fine by me.

    I recall my Literature teacher in Grade 12 drawing the distinction between pathos and BATHOS, a new word for me then. The idea of "oversentimental" has stuck with me ever since.

    I now wonder if the calendar to which Kavanaugh continually referred as he proundly expounded on his high school and college career while he prevaricated on everything else, was LUNISOLAR. I don't care, but I cared that I finished this puzzle.

    leftcoastTAM 2:28 PM  

    West to East and Top to Bottom progression into TEAMBUILDING. DOLPHINS and TITANS the last to go. (TI the rapper? OK.)

    Sportsfest: NFL, PGA, NHL, MLB (TENTHINNING) and ATA (ASHE). CHEERLEAD, too.

    Wanted LUNaSOLAR but DATELINE said otherwise.

    UBUNTU was pretty far out; RAMI a new name to me.

    Enjoyed it (and pulling for the Sox.)

    rondo 2:46 PM  

    Did NOT find it difficult, but UBUNTU and BATHOS are the ONES where I was unsure. I guess that’s where the crosses come in. Wouldn’t necessary call the TENTHINNING a *bonus* either as a player or a fan; 9 INNINGs is plenty to get to the END, extra work as a player, if you’re a fan at the ballpark beer sales are long over and you might be pushing 4 hours as it is.

    Does a week go by where we don’t get an orc ORA ROC Or an ENT? Or all of them?

    Did not hesitate to circle 67a yeah baby Elisabeth SHUE.

    Easy enough, probably more timely 5 weeks ago near the season openers.
    Hope you all are celebrating John Prine’s birthday in the traditional religious manner:

    Diana,LIW 3:34 PM  

    PPPO combined with a wrong guess - my forever downfall. (horses vs. MOUNTS, which left me scratching my head)

    and I even had the "trick" about the teams.

    Well - THEcatATEIT. Yeah, that's it.

    @wcutler from yesterday - the CAPTCHA/robot test sometimes just checks you off, and sometimes has you identify pictures. Seems to be random. And timing, IMHO, isn't everything. I just enjoy solving, usually over a long period of time with breaks for, what's that thing? - oh yeah, LIFE.

    Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

    Anonymous 11:12 PM  

    I really like this puzzle because........I finished it.

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