Early-blooming ornamental / THU 9-27-18 / Dr Foreman player on House / Brand name derived from phrase service games / Word that sounds like state when accented on second syllable rather than first

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Constructor: Daniel Kantor

Relative difficulty: Easy (5:16, and that's with every theme answer essentially unclued; see below)

THEME: dunno ... some visual clues, I guess; here's what the grid looked like on the app:

So I guess the answers are a literal description of either ... what you do or ... where the answer ... is? None of this meant anything to me, as I had a regular grid and all my theme clues said SEE NOTEPAD (I did not, in fact, SEE NOTEPAD, which turned out to be a stupid warning that my software couldn't handle the blah blah blah don't care)

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: SEA LEGS (49A: Good standing in the Navy?) —
  1. a person's ability to keep their balance and not feel seasick when on board a moving ship. (google)
• • •

Once again, the puzzle tries to get fancy with some gimmick that my software won't accommodate. Once again, I don't think the gimmick is worth it at all. This is a Monday puzzle playing dress-up. All non-theme answers are short and boring, and the themers aren't much to look at either. The fact that I could finish this in just over five minutes, having absolutely no information about the theme answers (my theme clues all read SEE NOTEPAD), tells me it was way too weak for Thursday. Further, now that I look at the intended grid, the one with all the visual cues, it's weird-looking, and the difference between the "box" and the "lines" is barely perceptible. You'd think you'd want to do something more visually dramatic, something that would clearly differentiate one theme line from the next. Only the SHADES OF GRAY one is at all interesting, and even then, well, the themers are all inconsistent, parts-of-speech-wise. First one is a command, the second describes the boxes in the answer, and then the third and fourth are prepositional phrases indicating where you write the answer. It's a train wreck. An easy train wreck. Welcome to my midnight metaphoring.


Five things:
  • 9A: Zombie's domain (SCI-FI) — that's more horror than SCI-FI, come on
  • 21A: Word that sounds like a state when accented on the second syllable rather than the first (MISERY) — I mean, it's true, but I did not spend any time trying to work it out. I need a term for a clever clue that is somehow also way too long and involved and therefore nothing I'm going to bother with.
  • 9D: Card letters (STL) — embarrassed it took me five seconds to grok this one, instead of the one second it ought to have taken (STL are the letters on the baseball cap of any given Card, i.e. St. Louis Cardinal)
  • 25D: Org. whose first-ever presidential endorsement was Ronald Reagan (NRA) — f*** this white supremacist terrorist org. A decent editor woulda changed this answer to KIA.
  • 49A: Good standing in the Navy? (SEA LEGS) — probably the best thing about this puzzle. Certainly the thing that gave me the most trouble (I had SEAL and thought there was some other term for Navy Seals ... which you would have to be in "good standing" ... to belong to? )
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Happy 15th anniversary to my [Lambchop] wife, who is the best

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


L 12:17 AM  

I don't get why the NYT puzzle app can't support its own puzzle gimmicks. No note, no clues for the themers. I'm close to giving it all up.

jae 12:21 AM  

Very easy. I did it in an app that did not have the grid graphics an had no problems. Sorta liked it, but Thurs. needs to be tougher, or what @Rex said.

Mark 12:24 AM  

Having lived in the State of Misery ("'tis a privilege to live in the Ozarks") for 26 years, that one was a gimme, since I had said it at least 26 times.

a.corn 12:32 AM  

Man, this is a weak week.

chefwen 12:36 AM  

What a disappointing Thursday. Had the same solving experience as Rex, of course it took me considerably longer. Didn’t see the note, never do, but you certainly didn’t need it to solve. Went back to read the note after the fact and said “oh cute, I think”.
Also thought SEA LEGS was the winner as clued.

puzzlehoarder 12:40 AM  

I don't like themed puzzles as a rule but this one was particularly bad. To start with the puzzle printed out in newspaper format again so it just looks ugly. The gimmicks for the bottom two theme entries didn't even show up. The idea is boringly simplistic and the constructor thinks he's pushing the boundaries. In the future spare us the favor.

This puzzle receiving the Pow from Jeff Chen could be taken as a sign for a very bleak weekend. However his choices are often so random they're not really worth reading into.

I got a clean grid in average time. It should have been faster but I wasted time trying to make sense of the theme. Did it have something to do with that movie I can't believe people watched? No just mostly a sight gag waste of time.

Figuring out CONDO in the middle south was about the only bright spot. I was initially thinking OLDE for 51A and while I'm sure I've heard the term complex used in regards to CONDOs it's not something I would use myself and I'm not familiar with it being used by others. It was a little bit of a surprise when it showed up.

That clue for 58D was completely transparent. The spelling for SADR is old hat. Over all this solve was a snooze fest.

Anonymous 1:05 AM  

Clever but too long and boring ? A Buckley

jayhawkprof 1:08 AM  

C'mon, Rex. Lighten up. Thought this was clever, though a bit too easy for a Thursday. Could have been a Wednesday or, perhaps, a challenging Tuesday. Otherwise, loved it.

Harryp 1:12 AM  

This took a while. 43:11 as opposed to my 30:50 current average Thursday. I went to sea for a career, but not in the Navy, so 49Across SEA LEGS was my last fill! Go figure. My first big one was FILL IN THE BLANKS, and next BETWEEN THE LINES showed up with a few crosses. Altogether, a satisfying puzzle by Daniel Kantor and I don't care what OFL says later.

Brookboy 1:27 AM  

The puzzle was a little intimidating at first, especially with blanks for clues for the long theme answers (unlike Rex I didn’t get the suggestion to See Notepad). But once some of the crosses fell, it moved right along, and the long answers became inferable (I’ve been wanting to use this word for a while). It was more medium for me. I enjoyed figuring out the long themes so I have to say I liked it.

Review was a tad peevish, for no apparent reason. I guess we need to add NRA to the ever-growing list of words/names/acronyms that OFL thinks should not be allowed in puzzles.

Dolgo 1:37 AM  

Oh, puh-LEEZE!

Unknown 1:38 AM  

Rex - The National Rifle Association is America's longest-standing civil rights organization, diligently protecting the Second Amendment. How would you feel if someone said f*** the ACLU? Or f*** the Public Defender's Office?

Do you know *any* NRA members? Do you have the smallest piece of evidence to back up your claims of white supremacy or terrorism in the organization? You are a smart fellow, so why buy into the leftist dogma? Think for yourself - you'll find it quite freeing.

Larry Gilstrap 1:53 AM  

For the second week in a row, the Thursday puzzle lurches from the printer in Newspaper format. Why should that matter? I tell myself. Breathe!

The theme eludes me, and even OFL's thorough review may have been lost on me. SHADES OF GRAY (never remember how to spell that color) has much to do with kinky sex, so that seems appropriate, checks his news feed.

Back to the puzzle fun: Starbuck's order giver left me scrambling. I don't drink coffee, believe it or not! I've already confessed in this forum to being a Moby-Dickhead. AHAB should have listened, or perhaps Starbuck should have shot him. Discuss! I totally fell for the misdirect. Got me!

TEETERS clued with that ambiguous wording of rocks, very cool.

Currently engrossed in baseball, especially the Senior Circuit, so STL fell quickly, as have they, apparently. I like all the teams and most of the players. I've earned it. October is nigh.

Tom R 2:12 AM  

I echo Rex on this one. Pretty easy and it sucks when the Times publishes a puzzle you can't display properly on AcrossLite.

John Child 3:19 AM  

The iOS app did the grid tricks perfectly. I th No that may have been the reason for a recent update pushed out. My print copy (International edition) wasn’t as good. The BETWEEN THE LINES lines were basically the same weight as regular grid lines and not as dark as the barely visible BOX.

Fun puzzle to solve. Yes, too easy. I see @Rex’s point about the phrases being inconsistent, but to me the theme was self-referential answers, so no foul IMO.

Clues I saw in both print and the app as blanks, not See notepad.

I don’t think solvers using a weak app, however familiar, should blame the Times for the app’s failing.

ZenMonkey 4:35 AM  

Do any other people using the iPad app have a problem with input? Sometimes, more often than not, I find it takes two or more taps for a letter to register. It's especially frustrating when entering a long answer. I've tried reinstalling the app and resetting the iPad. Thanks.

ZenMonkey 4:54 AM  

Also: I liked "Bean sprouts?" and happy anniversary, Rex!

BarbieBarbie 5:37 AM  

My Times app handled the display just fine. I saw the trick as soon as I had a couple of 17A letters, and just filled in the other themes at the same time. So for me, mixed descriptions did not a train wreck make, but the puzzle was disappointing because I like the theme to be what takes up my mental energy on a Thursday, and this one was too easy. OTOH I got very hung up by the NE zombies, same reason as OFL- they aren’t SciFi, and I scanned “kind of black” as “sorta black” and entered GRAY, I know, stupid, when it was already in the grid, but... so overall a medium puzzle without much elan, or do I mean éclat?

kodak jenkins 5:51 AM  

Visually daunting at first but it played out easy enough. My clock says it's a Wednesday. Kudos to puzzle makers and editors for pushing crossword boundaries but I can also understand the griping if the format doesn't translate well across multiple platforms.

I thought the theme was kind of cute and original and I appreciate the fresh approach to some of the trite fill. Overall quite enjoyable even if it fell a little short.

Lewis 6:06 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:07 AM  

Nice day for the "Coverage of the Senate" clue.

vtspeedy 6:25 AM  

Shockingly easy for a Thursday, but for the northeast corner where I had the two “I”s in “Zombie,s domain” and naturally went with Haiti which absolutely stopped any further progress so I DNFed.

Lewis 6:39 AM  

Happy crystal anniversary, Rex!

Smile producing puzzle for me, overall. Just looking at the grid made me smile. And as I solved, lots of clues made me smile: TORTS, IDEAS, ACHES, HABIT, AHAB, SEA LEGS.

We expect out-of-the-box INSIDE THE BOX on Thursday, but even on top of that, this puzzle felt fresh, and it's hard to deliver fresh after a century of crosswords. Props for that , Daniel, and thank you for a fun and zippy solve!

Dawn Urban 6:50 AM  

@ZenMonkey: our ancient iPad 2 does not show the special dashes, boxes, etc, but there's no trouble in punching in a letter just once.

Loved the twisted Starbucks clue! Tried to put in (coffee) "user".

Irene 7:01 AM  

Anyone else have HAITI for the zombies?

Eliza 7:04 AM  

Hey, Randall.
As a matter of fact I do know a bunch of NRA members. I can name 3 right off the bat who stockpiled their little arsenals right after Obama was elected. They feared both having their guns taken away and a black uprising.
BTW have you ever noticed that if you are a member you are inundated with mail from other ultra right wing organizations? The NRA makes much of it's money selling its mailing list.
I'm with OFL **** the NRA.

Eric NC 7:13 AM  

Disappointingly easy for a Thursday. Half my average Thursday time. Agree this would have been a better Tuesday. No idea why Jeff Chen would give this his POW, maybe just for the novelty.

kitshef 7:23 AM  

Took a looong time to get started. My entry was SEEN at 24A, confirmed by ACHES and NRA. Then nothing until SEGA, which got things going properly.

Beautifully clean grid. RXS is really the only bad fill. Loved the clue for TOGAS. And for AHAB. And STL.

SEA LEGS. Yeah, I wish I had those. Only been seasick twice, but it is the worst. I’m really surprised more people don’t simply fling themselves into the ocean to end the misery.

Hungry Mother 7:25 AM  

Surprisingly quick for me, after a few minutes of gaping. Hoofed animals: ASS, elk, pig, cow, ram, ewe, gnu, sow, hog; maybe just a blank?

tegel 7:33 AM  

It’s strange to read the complaints here. Should blame the software instead of The Times. A pencil and paper did the job just fine. Try getting the Times Digest email and you won’t have any issues. Fun puzzle for me. I loved all the ? clues. My fav was Bean sprout? Puzzles are so much more enjoyable when I don’t have to look up pop culture trivia (i.e. House actor? Do I really need to know that?)

Suzie Q 7:34 AM  

Too easy for a Thursday but the theme worked and there were several clever clues. Not the workout I hoped for but lately I've had to lower the bar of my expectations.
I nearly did not check in to the blog today because I knew it would be all about the problems with people's apps and the obvious emotional triggers.

Shafty 7:42 AM  

So, it’s okay to include Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, and the PLO in crosswords; but the NRA is unacceptable?

Makes sense.

Peter P 7:50 AM  

Fastest Thursday time ever for me (which means around 15 minutes instead of my usual 20-25 minutes.) No issues with the special squares on the iPad NYTimes app. Got a little snarled in the beginning entering mInI instead of TIKI, but that sorted itself out quickly. Once I got ANKS at the end of 17a, it was off to the races with the theme answers grid answer. The most I've ever gotten right off the bat; only BETWEENTHELINES needed more than two or three down answers to figure out (and it's because I couldn't figure out visually that it was two lines, and not a box like 42a.) Theme answers were too easy by half.

Other than the fast finish, there was not much fun in it for me in this puzzle. Only clue that I remember smiling at was "Card letters" which took embarrassingly long to get (because for some reason, I couldn't figure out that last "S" in SCIFI until I ran through ever letter of the alphabet in my head). And even when I had STL it took me a couple beats to go, "Oh, a St. Louis Cardinal!!! Duh!"

Oh, and I had never heard of KALE as slang for money. I mean, I guess it's green so it makes sense, but I've never heard anyone use it. Is this an old-timey term? Or a new one capitalizing on the faddie diet popularity of kale?

Shawn 7:57 AM  

NRA crossing ARMED? Yuck. I rarely raise my eyebrows at poor editorial choices but here’s one of those times.

Seth 7:59 AM  

Rex, thoughts about the puzzle aside, I kinda think it's ridiculous that you don't read any Notes. Maybe Notes aren't the most elegant way to try new things, but at least they're trying new things! You always gripe about tired theme types but then won't open yourself up to at least giving a puzzle like this a fair shot by buying into the full experience and reading the Note. Read Notes, Rex. At least then when you hate the puzzle, we'll know you gave it an honest shot.

AW 8:03 AM  

Yes, especially the letter O. Always have to tap it twice.

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

Hi. Barbara here. @ZenMonkey, I have most definitely had that same trouble in the app on my iPad. I just figured the circulation in my fingers had gotten really bad. 🙂 It does seem to be better when I caught up with all my updates.

mmorgan 8:12 AM  

I didn't really care about the gimmick/theme one way or the other (okay, I guess it was an attempt to do something different), but I thought the puzzle had some really terrific clues -- many excellent misdirects.

Nancy Stein 8:27 AM  

This one was super easy for me-under 10 minutes first time on a Thursday in a while. As for the NRA, I’m not a gun person but it I have several friends who are NRA members. None is a white supremacist or a terrorist. They would never join a terrorist or a white supremacist organization. There are a lot of people who call Planned Parenthood a terrorist organization. They are wrong too but they are no worse (or better) than Mike Sharp. The over the top rhetoric is only sowing discord.

GHarris 8:33 AM  

Worked from the newspaper so did not have the problems others complain about. Right up my alley so, yeh, guess it was easy. Still, thought the clueing was clever and virtually no crosswordese.

GILL I. 8:35 AM  

Meh. Third day in a row.
Jeff gave this the POW? Is he eating too much TOFU and KALE?
I download the newspaper version. Saw the dashes at 17A and the SHADES OF GRAY at 33A. Both 42 and 62A were just blank. Ok...now what? I guess I just FILL IN THE BLANKS like Mr. Kantor told me to.
My only hangup was having a CAN instead of a MAO for Warhol's subject. I'm thinking soup.
Agree with @Rex that SEA LEGS was the best thing about this puzzle. Nothing else gave me an aha, ooh, smile or goody goody feel. I want my Moolah back and I certainly want my Thursday to be a lot harder than this little puppy.
NRA crossing ARMED and @Rex calling all you members a bunch of supreme terrorists. Now THAT made me laugh. Let the fighting begin.
Lambchop is such a sweet little word but I think of her as a puppet. Shari Lewis, to be precise. I wouldn't call someone that; I'm more of a sweetums, cutie patootie, snukums, type gal and I love KALE.
I'm going to say a little prayer for a Good Friday

mmorgan 8:36 AM  

I read the Note, then I went to the NYT and clicked on Newspaper Version, and the PDF popped up on my iPad. I saw the connection between the verbal descriptions and the visual display, and voila, proceeded to solve. No biggie. I use AcrossLite on my iPad and never have to type a letter twice.

Z 8:40 AM  

Both PuzzAzz and the NYTX App for iPad represents the grid properly and have nothing but white space for those clues.

Again, I find these pitiful attempts at staying current stultifying and ill considered. If you want to be current and fresh try shortening your acceptance to publication timeline, diversifying your constructor corps, and moving the cultural center of your puzzles into the current century. Gussying up this Monday Newsday puzzle with printing tricks is little more than putting lipstick on a pig.

Hand up for getting my underwear in a bunch for the SCI FI clue. Horror, fantasy, and science fiction are too often clumped together (and TBF there is overlap) but they ain’t the same thing, dammit. I also had to suppress my “Have you ever read Tolkien” rant on the ELF clue. I will spare you the ELF v Elves discussion and just acknowledge that the clue is okay.

@Randall Clark - You got me. I only know former NRA members. Everyone I know left when it stopped even pretending to hide its racism. Being caught accepting money from Putin’s cronies hardly surprised anyone paying attention.

Sir Hillary 9:02 AM  

I did the puzzle on paper, so no software issues. Unfortunately, it was still boring. Bean sprouts? for IDEAS is terrific, but the fun ended there for me.

Only thing more soporific than today's puzzle is the back-and-forth about the NRA. Wake me when the canned comments end.

Maybe we should all freak out that FAKEID normalizes underage drinking.

Debra 9:06 AM  

Easy but fun enough. Special effects worked fine on my iPad. Just updated , maybe that’s why ?

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Too bad the clues couldn't have been edited 9 hours ago, where 9D, the Cardinals, could have been linked to the state of Misery.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

pmdm 9:11 AM  

Seth has a point. I solve the paper version, which did not need to include notes. Those who subscribe can simply go to the replica edition of the paper and print out the puzzle as it appears in the paper.

Yes, this puzzle was very easy for a Thursday. I usually need to research PPP a number of times to help me fill in the entries, but today I filled in all but one square with no help at all.

For those who are confused over the theme, at least you should make the effort to read the constructor's comments at XWordInfo or WordPlay. (That includes you, Mike.) Mr. Kantor explains the theme well. You may not like the theme, but you will know what it is.

Perhaps it demands a little thinking outside the box.

I know a good number of NRA members who live in the NYC metropolitan area. One of them owns property upstate where they hunt during season. Perhaps they are a bit paranoid about attempts to take there guns away from them. And some justify the need to store guns and ammo using the (to me loopy) arugment that they can form militias to help enforce order were an evil group to try to take control of the country. Many are unhappy with current NRA policies but don't leave the organization for fear that no other organization will protect their rights. None are bigots, etc. Or, at most, a very, very small minority. The makeup of the members varies regionally, and the leadership and membership in some regions don't seem to agree eye to eye. It is unfortunate that organizations like the NRA and ACLU may seem sometimes to battle over issues which is beyond their mandate. But disparage the leadership, not the membership. Or at least acknowledge that the characteristics of the members may vary greatly by region.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

Right on bro! Keep f***ing politics out of crosswords

Matthew G. 9:17 AM  

It ... does. I use the NYT app and all the gimmick graphics were displayed. Whether the gimmicks were a good idea is a separate question.

Dana 9:20 AM  

As others have said, the NYT app worked just fine. Yes, easy—probably the easiest theme with nonverbal clues I’ve ever seen. I’m shallow enough to have enjoyed it though! Last clue to fall: SCI-FI. Kept trying to make it a place—some comic book version of Hades that only Rex would know? A planet from som sci-fi movie I haven’t seen? Ohhhh, SCI-FI...

Alexander 9:23 AM  

Weird, mine had no problem with this one


Hartley70 9:31 AM  

My NYT app worked perfectly and for the second time in two weeks I’m pleased to see that digital puzzle subscribers are finally getting some attention. At first glance I thought this would be a bear but ALAS, no. The only answer that made no sense to me was STL and now that Rex has explained, the reason is obvious. Duh, baseball.

@Gill I, I too went for CAN and Shari’s Lambchop. It must be an era thing. It made me crazy irritated to watch her lips move when she threw her voice to Lambykins.

@kitchef, your SEASICK description made me laugh. I did try to throw myself in during a crossing between St.Vincent and Bequia against the current. My husband kept a firm grip on the back of my bathing suit bottom to keep me onboard.

@chefwen from last week, thanks, but your little guy “devours” puzzles! Mine shows no interest in wordplay, sadly.

ArtO 9:31 AM  

@Seth well said!

I'm no lover of the NRA but it's perfectly legit in a NYT puzzle, or any crossword for that matter. Found it pretty easy (about 20 minutes which is fast for me on Thursday). Funny thing is, I thought today was Friday (senior moment) and was thrilled with my solving time.

Nancy 9:42 AM  

Agree that this is a Monday or Tuesday-level puzzle. When your unclued phrases are as slam-dunk as FILL IN THE BLANKS; SHADES OF GRAY; INSIDE THE BOX and BETWEEN THE LINES, how much puzzlement can there possibly be? On the other hand, many clues are great: SCIFI; MISERY; TORTS; ACHES; and, best of all, SEALEGS. None but the last presented me with an actual challenge, though -- guess I've been doing crosswords for much too long. This leaves me with plenty of time on my hands -- and I have a Senate hearing to watch. So the ease of the puzzle may be a blessing in disguise.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Update your app.

jberg 10:10 AM  

The puzzle worked fine in the paper, as has been said. And SEA LEGS, AHAB, IDEAS were nicely clued. id carD before FAKE ID, and I tried to write in SHADEd squares before I saw that it didn't fit. Easy once you get the gimmick, though.

ICE could have been ICy, and I had no IDEAS about Dr. Foreman, but EPPS seems more plausible than yPPS, so I guess it was right.

@Rex, I don't know why your app said 'see notpad,' since you could see the visual clues. In the paper, those clues were just blank.

This is a day late, but I want to remind everyone to please not give spoilers for other puzzles, as not everyone does different puzzles in the same order. Yesterday someone pointed out that an answer had been clued identically in the New Yorker, a puzzle I do but had not done yet.

Sgreennyc 10:15 AM  

If you are reviewing the puzzles, why don't you make an effort to obtain the proper software?

RooMonster 10:25 AM  

Hey All !
Put me in the NYT-app-gave-me-the-gimmicked-grid-without-a-note group. Also having nothing written in the clues for the themers. Just blank.

First one I got was FILLINTHEBLANKS, after having the ending B_ANKS. Then saw the SHAFESOFGRAY (the answer, that is, already saw different shaded squares:-)). INSIDETHEBOX took a second, as had SOLo for SOLI. BETWEENTHELINES was gettable after the ending LINES and the initial B from HABIT.

So I thought it was a neat gimmick puz. No comment on this whole NRA foofaraw. Did like Rex's suggestion to change it to KIA. Also could've changed SADR to SAFE, getting an extra F in! Enough CARPing from me.

HOE under THREE. HO HO HO. :-) COAL next to IGNITE. We get TOLEDO, where's the HOLY?


Blue Stater 10:39 AM  

Horrible. Here's a neat idea: if your software won't handle the gimmick, the gimmick should be deep-sixed. In fact, most of WS's gimmicks should be deep-sixed.

Hack mechanic 10:40 AM  

Wanted COLREGS for the longest time!

Banana Diaquiri 11:02 AM  

Anyone else have HAITI for the zombies?

yes. I visited a few years before Baby Doc got thrown out. not since.

as to the theme: we who do deadtrees have no NOTEPAD to refer to, just the semi-rebus structures.

kinda liked it. hate full-blown rebus.

newspaperguy 11:10 AM  

"I'm not going to use updated software that allows the puzzle to display properly. Gives me one more thing to whine about."

emily 11:13 AM  

I use the app, no see notepad, clue, flashing “i”-nada. I will try to update & see if that helps.

LindsayS 11:27 AM  

updated the app, still no dice on getting the gimmick to show up. frustrating to say the least.

jjpennyless 11:28 AM  

The app handled the gimmick fine. The NYT could simply stop providing puzzles in across lite file format, but they've elected to continue to provide that option for those who prefer it while making it clear that it cannot always accommodate the needs of modern puzzle constructors. Rather than be angry that it isn't perfect, you could be grateful that your preferred option remains available and works 99% of the time just fine.

I thought this puzzle was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed working it, got stuck a few times, made it out, and was delighted by the originality of the theme. I understand that a great many of you expect every puzzle to be the same - constructed in such a way as to validate your superiority over us simple minded regular folks. I'm hoping they continue to toss the occasional bone to the rest of us.

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

When reactions to the tech glitches far exceeds comments about the puzzle itself there is a real problem with publishing puzzles like this. It seems to happen more and more. Will are you listening?

Anoa Bob 12:31 PM  

This former Navy sailor chuckled at the clever clue for SEA LEGS. I must disagree with the google definition cited in the blog, though. I don't connect SEA LEGS and SEAsickness. It usually took a day or two for all of us to get back our SEA LEGS after leaving port. Some of us, however, never got SEAsick while others might stay SEAsick for many days or, for some poor souls, weeks, long after they got their SEA LEGS.

Getting your SEA LEGS is learning to anticipate the ship's motion and to automatically adjust your balance and movement to sync up with the pitching and rolling.

What happens when you come back into port after time at SEA is the opposite. It takes a while to regain your LAND LEGS! This is especially the case if you're on a relatively small ship, say a destroyer, that has a lot of rolling and pitching at SEA. The first few hours after getting off the ship can be down right comical. It feels like you're drunk! Can't walk a straight line no matter how hard you try!

Thankfully it only takes a couple of hours to get back your LAND LEGS. Then it's time to go ashore and get your drunken sailor LEGS!

jb129 12:33 PM  

I liked this puzzle a lot - kept me going.

Maybe I'm a dinosaur, but I prefer doing it on paper in ink. Sue me!

Brainpan 12:35 PM  

KIA? Did...did you just suggest killing a president? Lucky for you he's already dead?

michiganman 12:43 PM  

This wasn't that bad but would have been much better if 17, 33, 42, 62 Across simply had clues.

17 Complete the story
33 Old photography
42 Jack
62 Desirable coloring

Banana Diaquiri 12:47 PM  

Maybe I'm a dinosaur, but I prefer doing it on paper in ink. Sue me!

the key is to be able to remember your fixes without actually writing them over. ending up with a pristine square. fools everybody.

Unknown 12:51 PM  

There’s no notepad or flashing i in the app. The clues are just visual, as per rex’s screenshot above.

That said, what the f was that.

relicofthe60s 12:53 PM  

I yield to no one in my loathing of the NRA, but I don’t see what’s wrong with putting it in a crossword puzzle. Are constructors supposed to avoid any organization someone might dislike? How about the KKK? ISIS? GOP? CPUSA? BLM?

JC66 12:57 PM  

@Banana D

I think you might enjoy today's BEQ puzzle.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

I had fun with this puzzle. The grid was so daunting to look at that I gingerly walked around trying to find my SEA LEGS, which added a bit of time to the solve.

I got misdirected at 9A because I thought the zombies' domain would be the GRAVE. Other than that, once I got SHADES OF GRAY to fill in, the theme seemed obvious, yet still fun.

I spent a week bicycling in Missouri back in the aughts and was surprised at how many citizens of what seemed to be a lovely state asked my group why we were visiting MISERY. I tried to take it as a pronunciation variant but it seems they were actually deprecating their home state, which I thought was sad.

Along with the SEA LEGS clue, I also circled 65A "Bean sprouts?" = IDEAS and 58A "Starbuck's order giver" = AHAB as particularly enjoyable clues.

Thanks, Mr. Kantor, for a different kind of Thursday (though if your grids actually speak to you, I think you're suffering from @Gill I's "too much TOFU and KALE".)

Banana Diaquiri 1:15 PM  


interesting, but I just do this one, so long as the paper gets delivered. otherwise I grab the Daily News. two puzzles for the price of one.

Banana Diaquiri 1:22 PM  

@One Who Knows:
But I don't care if NRA is in a puzzle.

if it makes anyone feel better, it also stands for a significant FDR program, the National Recovery Administration.

JC66 1:27 PM  

@ Banana Diaquiri


I thought of you because of 9D.

Anonymous 2:03 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jb129 2:05 PM  

I have no idea what you mean Banana Diaquiri @ 12:47 - we all do this because we enjoy the experience.

Masked and Anonymous 2:18 PM  

Different puztheme, which always gets admiration from this masked dude. Only slight gripe was that on my printed PDF puzcopy, it was real hard to see the LINES for THE last themer to sit BETWEEN. Needed to be thicker.

Sometimes I get this vibe from some solvers that a themed puz falls a bit short, if it don't have some long & "interestin" extra entries. De bustagut, I reckon. M&A likes all the entries, for various and sundry reasons. Like, for instance: Thought it was real cool that all 4 of its 7-letter longballs ended with an S. [yo, @Anoa Bob] Gotta admire the accidental consistency of the Crossword Gods, there.

fave fillins: MINIONS [primo flick]. SEALEGS [primo clue]. MIDAIR. FAKEID. MISERY [nice raised-by-wolves clue]. SCIFI [with an excellent clue for drivin an off-road discussion of schlock genre fine points]. [Exhibit A of A-Z: "Astro Zombies", 1968 schlock flick.]

staff weeject pick: RXS. Plual abbrev meat. Nice weeject stacks, in RXS's and symmetric areas, btw.

Thanx for the [fairly friendly for a ThursPuz] fun solvequest, Mr. Kantor.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Banana Diaquiri 2:23 PM  

I have no idea what you mean

ink, with no overwrites, provides a measure of memory exercise. I once knew someone who claimed (I didn't believe) to do the entire puzzle (WaPo, IIRC) in his head, then writing it all out at once.

tbd88 2:38 PM  

When I see "NRA" I just wonder why it can't be clued in regards to the "New Deal" organization, something positive with the same acronym.

I know several former members of the NRA, including my own father, who has been a life-long gun enthusiast and collector, 99% of the time as a target shooter. Gun control is a difficult issue for him, but even he gave up his membership, along with former President George H.W. Bush, when they started to deny that people who go into schools and shoot students and teachers is a problem.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

Would’ve preferred a more timely clue for ICE.

Norm 3:20 PM  

@Seth : I don't like to read notes because they often give away too much information. I feel the same about titles and try to avoid looking at them until I'm done -- or stumped. :)

Found this puzzle very meh, but I think Rex exaggerates a tad in saying that "the difference between the 'box' and the 'lines' is barely perceptible." The box is thicker and darker and, unlike the lines, closes off the ends with an edge border inside the first and last squares. More than "barely perceptible" IMO, although it can't save a lame puzzle.

Norm 3:22 PM  

Actually, the difference between box and lines is more noticeable on the printed out pdf than the NYT app, so I need to walk back that part of my critique of Rex's nit.

KevCo 5:47 PM  

Wish you had said this last week. The final question at our trivia night was "what claims to be the oldest civil rights organization in the US?" ...we didn't get it.

Wm. C. 7:24 PM  

re: Sea Legs:

Years ago my wife and I did a bareboat tour around the US Virgin Islands with another couple on a 42-foot Benetton sailboat. The other guy, an experienced sailor who grew up on Long Island sound in Westport, had arranged for a week's worth of food and libations to be ready for us in Charlotte Amalie when we arrived. Starting out, I had a day or so of slight dizziness, but not bad.

During the week's sailing we rarely got off the boat, cooked meals on a charcoal grille hanging off the back.

At the end of the week Just before turning the boat back in, we went to a nearby restaurant in CA for dinner. After sitting down and ordering drinks, I began to feel VERY dizzy. I had to go back to the boat and lie on the boat,s deck to feel comfortable again. Finally I fell asleep while dreaming that I was rocking in a hammock. Next day, everything was OK for some reason.

Anonymous 8:53 PM  

To (12:31) Anoa Bob especially, but also just now to Wm. C.: Many thanks for the notes on sea legs and land legs. I agree with others that this puzzle was too easy for Thursday. But from the NY Times puzzle I almost always learn *something*, and if not there, then here with comments such as those of Anoa Bob and Wm. C.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Sherm Reinhardt 9:15 PM  

Moderately evil. Seemed like every answer was an indirect or a redirect.

Sian 11:31 PM  

Did anyone else have ON THE DOTTED LINE for FILL IN THE BLANKS? I worked from the middle and having got the theme,charged ahead without stopping to check the crosses 😑

Anonymous 6:06 PM  

Rex uses across lite.

Greg 5:08 PM  

Yes, also kept trying make Haiti. 2nd that Zombies are horror, NOT sci-fi!

Burma Shave 10:13 AM  


THERE are ACHES and MISERY with locks,
and TEETERS and ASS ENTER into play,


thefogman 11:42 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle but would agree with Rex that it was too easy for a Thursday. ALAS, DEAR Rex lost a few precious nano seconds because of the theme - and techno glitches. Of course he took ISSUE with that and procedeeded to CARP and SNAP at the constructor as is his HABIT. MYSELF, I do puzzles old-timey style. It's more enjoyable and I don't give a rat's ASS about the clock. Maybe Rex should come to his SENSEs, put the app on ICE, USE pencil and paper, and avoid such MISERY. As for the theme, it is one of the more clever IDEAS we've SEEN in a while so for that alone I give Mr. Kantor a THREE out of four stars.

rondo 11:53 AM  

ALAS, the travails and MISERY of those who solve on devices. I do not feel your ACHES and pain. The newsprint in the Pioneer Press showed the gimmick quite clearly.

Were zombies that much of a thing before Night of the Living Dead was released c. 1970? Agree that the genre is more fantasy/horror than SCIFI. I did have both Darth Vader and zombies visit last night. But never The Zombies of 1960s pop music.

Try Bounty, it really EPPS ORBS.

Perhaps the most easily identifiable voice in alt-country-folk-americana music is IRIS Dement; for that alone SHE deserves a yeah baby.

No clues for the themers earns this puz a very solid meh. So THERE.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

One of my favorite things every morning is NYTimes puzzle. Please leave politics out of it. We donate to YOU...Like a concert. We don’t pay for their bullshit opinions...

spacecraft 12:11 PM  

Agreed that the theme seems awkwardly handled. The last two look like they need a command in front of them: [think] and [read]. Whatevs. As Luther said about his new job, "It's not too exciting, but it's mostly legal." (The Sting)

Despite several attempts at advanced cluing, this one played on the tame side for Thursday. And without even a DOD, it struggles to make THREE--on a par-3 hole.

leftcoastTAM 2:38 PM  

Neat, simple, relatively easy, and miserly with BLANK clues.

INSIDETHEBOX is a bit of a stretch. Don't know what I'd put in that elongated rectangle.

Writeovers: ONCE over OldE and TEETERS over sEEsawS.

Liked the overall economy of effort here.

thefogman 3:19 PM  

Ironic how Reagan endorsed the NRA and was almost killed in an assassination attempt by a lone gunman. Guns are so great...

rainforest 4:54 PM  

Yes, this puzzle was easy (what does "too easy" mean?), but I can take easy. Also different, which is kinda neat with the clues for the theme entries being the manner of presentation of those entries. Cool!

On top of that there is nothing in the grid to gripe about. Sure, I hate the NRA but its presence in the puzzle is just reality. Side note: I just do not understand why gun owners feel the need to join in order to "save their guns". Do they feel as strongly about affordable health care to save their children?

In addition, there was a number of excellent clues for: STL, SEALEGS, AHAB, MISERY, ACHES, TORTS, IDEAS and maybe more.

Maybe this was too enjoyable, and therefore for some, too easy.

Diana, LIW 6:32 PM  

Oops - forgot to post!

I took one look and thought this would be very hard, Until it wasn't. Not easy easy, but readily completed by yours truly.

Should Card, as a clue, have a period? Am I the 487th to ask that. Obviously, I ought to read the other comments. Here I go.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords in a weird week of hard and then easier puzzles

絹スミレ 4:43 PM  

The history of the NRA and why Reagan was endorsed by them, even though as California governor he staunchly oppossed gun ownership is an important one to US history and modern politics. I highly recommend anyone who wants to have an opinion on gun legislation researching this topic. Thank you crossword for mentioning it.

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