Hit a four-bagger / TUES 9-25-18 / Casino game / Go a mile a minute / Goat's call

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hi, all! Happy end-ish of September. Hope yours has been better than my super rainy one in DC! The way it somehow manages to be hot, humid, and raining all at the same time is something. I'm currently watching my Pittsburgh Steelers winning the game, so I'm happy — though I will say it is kind of hard doing a crossword while also trying to watch your team play. Maybe that's why I found this puzzle harder than normal...

Constructor: Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Pretty challenging

THEME: MAN SPREADS (30D: Crowds one's seatmates, in a way... or a hint to the circled letters) — "MAN" spreads from the top to the bottom of the puzzle.

Theme answers:

  • SUBWAY (2D: With 12-Down, places where a thoughtless person 30-Down)
  • TRAINS (12D: See 2-Down)
  • MOVE (36A: With 40-Across, comment to someone who 30-Down)
  • OVER (40A: See 36-Across)
Word of the Day: ROE DEER
The European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), also known as the western roe deer, chevreuil, or simply roe deer or roe, is a species of deer. The male of the species is sometimes referred to as a roebuck. The roe deer is relatively small, reddish and grey-brown, and well-adapted to cold environments. The species is widespread in Europe, from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia, from Ireland to the Caucasus, and east to northern Iran and Iraq. (Wikipedia)
• • •
I didn't like this puzzle. I found it harder than normal, and I never had any sort of "aha" moment. I thought it was uninspiring fill mixed with weird answers that don't work, surrounded by a strange theme.

I had problems with several parts of the puzzle. Come on, ROEDEER (64A: Eurasian animals with antlers)? Who's ever heard of those before? And, crossing with ELBERT (49D: Mount __, highest peak in the Rockies) and LOA (60D: Hawaii's Mauna __) made it that much harder. LOA could have been any one of: kea, koa, lea, or loa. 38D could easily have been "vertices" instead of VERTEXES  (which isn't even a word). I kept trying to make "vertices" work. Also, HEP (57A: Cool, to a jive talker) is a very strange word. And I haven't even gotten to my biggest nit, which was MAXWELL ANDERSON (59A: Pulitzer-winning playwright for "Both Your Houses"). First, who is that? Second, that's such a big answer in the puzzle; how can that be a relatively obscure guy? I think the puzzle creator just did a Google search to find someone whose name starts with "M" and ends with "N," and is 15 letters long.


  • I kept trying to make nsfw work for 14A instead of NUDE (14A: Like photos that violate one of Instagram's community guidelines).
  • CALVIN (11D: Comics boy who says "Reality continues to ruin my life") and Hobbes is my absolute favorite comic. I so vividly remember having and reading those books as a kid; they were such a big part of my childhood.
  • I'm a Warriors, not Spurs, fan, but MANU (36D: Four-time N.B.A. champ Ginobili) Ginobili is one of my favorite players. I'm just sad he finally retired.
  • I'm lucky I knew how to spell AMY POEHLER (29D: "Parks and Recreation" star), but that definitely could have tripped me up.
  • I'm not sure I've eve used (or even heard) the word VAMOOSED (41D: Skedaddled) before, but I've decided it's fun.
That's it... Hope everyone has a great week!

Signed, Clare Carroll, a very tired law student

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:18 AM  

Tough and cute. Liked it, although @Claire is right, this was more like a Wed.

chefwen 12:23 AM  

Kinda liked it, maybe a tad bit on the easy side, but cute. Got the MAN SPREAD after the second M A N, it helped a little with the solve.
Didn’t know MAXWELL ANDERSON, the downs bailed me out.

Like Clare, loved CALVIN and Hobbes, my new favorite is Pigs Before Swine.

C’mon Wednesday

Marc 12:46 AM  

Pretty quick for me, any hangups I had were easily completed from crosses, SUBWAY TRAINS next to SEWAGE...apt? Never heard of MAXWELL ANDERSON OR ROEDEER. Theme was meh at best. Really hate any and all MAUNA clues.

Kevin 12:54 AM  

Puzzle was kind of a snooze, and I too was very disappointed by "Maxwell Anderson." I've read a fair number of plays and read quite a bit about theater, and I've never come across that name. A 15-word theme clue really should be more accessible. CBGB was a nice answer and played right into my punk roots.

I also think it's weird to make "manspreading" the theme. I think it'd be fine as a single answer, but (my liberal politics aside) it's a bit unsettling to call attention to the volatile gender wars right now throughout the whole puzzle. And that's to say nothing of the fact that I have seen plenty of people of every gender, color, age, race, and financial status selfishly taking up space on the train.

Harryp 12:58 AM  

I made the right choices, and knew MANSPREADS, so this went easily. MAA instead of bAA, was also a great help. VERTEXES only inferred by crosses.

Dawn Urban 12:59 AM  

VAMOOSEd comes up occasionally in crosswords. Wikipedia suggests Foghorn Leghorn, Snagglepuss, and/ or Yosemite Sam may have used it frequently. Heck, probably Bugs Bunny himself said it.

Apparently, time spent watching Looney Tunes increased my vocabulary!

M. A. N
M. A. N spread was fun!

JOHN X 1:06 AM  

MAXWELL ANDERSON was a pretty well known writer, I wouldn't call him obscure. You just don't know who he is, that's more accurate.

Also, how did MANSPREAD become a thing overnight? I never heard this word before this year. In all my years riding the subways of New York and Washington I've never seen anyone sit like this. It seems internet-contrived.

Otherwise, a pretty good Tuesday.

TomAz 1:11 AM  

Totally agree with Clare on all her points, plus I find MANSPREADING to be plain old flat out d-u-m-b dumb. A whole theme on that? It's like this puzzle is waving its hand in the air and yelling at the top of its voice "See how dumb I am! Look at me! Look at my stupidity! I'm really dumb!"

Meh indeed.

Larry Gilstrap 1:24 AM  

Unlike Clare, I liked this Tuesday effort. Tricky enough for my money, very little junk,and with a great message. Men of the world, shape up! For many years I have frequented a local restaurant with a big long bar. I have experienced as few as three guys monopolizing about 20 ft. of prime real estate with some epic MAN SPREADS. I'm a man, I had nothing to do with it, but the creepy minority is messing it up for us Good-Guys.

VERTEXES, if you say so. I wanted APO, clued other than the brother of the Simpsons character.

Living in inland Southern California, DEW is something rarely seen, and that is not a good thing. Rainy in DC? Field trip to remind me of precipitation. I've heard something about a swamp.

I stupidly thought about calling out Clare for her dismissal of MAXWELL ANDERSON, then realized "Both Your Houses" was not a play that I had heard of, nor were his other plays. Name filled easily, then not sure why. Never went to Law school, but do they still have ethics courses?

Bruce G. 1:35 AM  

For me I found it fairly easy. I got manspeading almost immediately. That also gave me subway and trains pretty early as well as man in the circled squares. I also happened to have climbed Mt. Elbert which made that easy. Maybe a generational thing but I’ve certainly heard of vamoosed and skedaddled before. I agree on Maxwell Anderson though. I had never heard of him and had to get most of the crosses.

Kaizen BL 1:36 AM  

Ugh, yes, terrible puzzle. CBGB, OPP, HEP, BEEB, DEB, MANU, MAA, DEL, not to mention the horrible number of obscure proper nouns using up the longer slots like MCMAHON, TYNAN, BYNES, MAXWELL ANDERSON, ROE DEER, TARSALS, ORECK, AMY POEHLER, and ELBERT. Proper nouns are almost always either a. completely unguessable without all of the crossings, if you aren't familiar with the name, or b. kind of boring and a waste of a clue, if you are.

But the absolute worst was VERTEXES. I'll accept that okay, language changes and that's I guess part of the language if people use it, ("even though it's WRONG!," my inner snob says) but you can sure bet that I'm going to fill in the grammatically "correct" VERTicES first, and guess what? The crossings are both proper nouns that look more or less right that way. (MACWELLAN DERSON and the BIEB)

Plus we don't even get an entertaining theme to make up for it?

Hrs 2:48 AM  

Very clunky gob of goo. A lot of obscurity for a Tuesday. Meh.

Stephen 3:13 AM  

Oh come now....Ms Carroll disses the puz because some answers aren't in her wheelhouse, virtually ignoring the well-executed theme. She seems to have completely missed that the central black squares also represent manspreading, in addition to the use of MANSPREADS as the central themer and the word "man" spreading from top to bottom. All this without too much junk. ("VERTEXES" is in fact an acceptable plural). Kudos to Mr Trudeau for a fine effort.

Brookboy 3:17 AM  

Thank you, Clare, for a very nice and concise summary.

I thought it was a tough puzzle as well, especially for a Tuesday. I live in Brooklyn, so I am familiar with manspreading and other subway nuisances, but even with that I found it somewhat challenging. I had the same reaction as Clare with some of the very same clues.

You don’t see HEP (54A) much in recent years. It kind of lived and died with the beatniks, if you remember them. Became HIP years ago and that term sorta stuck around (as in “hipster”).

Ellen S 4:42 AM  

Ewww, MANSPREADS, yuck. A favorite posture of the riders on the light rail here in Sacramento. Talk about “junk” ...

Most of y’all have never heard of MAXWELL ANDERSON? Maybe you just don’t know you know him He wrote a lot of plays, but also huge number of screenplays. He wrote the the book and lyrics to Kurt Weill’s (I don’t care if you never heard of him either) musical “Knickerbocker Holiday”, which contained the song “September Song” which I bet you’ve heard even if you don’t know it.

When I saw ANDERSON’s name so prominently in this MANSPREAD theme, I wondered, is he going to turn out to have been the villain in some #METOO vileness? Not that MANSPREADing is a kind of “gateway offense”, it’s just offensive. Offends me, anyway, if you hadn’t noticed. And what do you know? He was at least the chronicler of some pretty rough stuff observed or suffered when he was a kid, according to Wikipedia: “His autobiographical tale, Morning, Winter and Night told of rape, incest and sadomasochism on the farm.[2] It was published under a pseudonym, John Nairne Michealson, to prevent offending family.” And his married life was a tangled mess of affairs that didn’t end well.

He was a pacifist during WWI though, and got in trouble several times for it, and his plays and adaptations lean toward progressive themes. The Wikipedia article didn’t say whether he could manage to keep his legs together when sitting. Eww.

Anonymous 6:13 AM  

This puzzle provided few challenges and was completed a good two minutes below my average. That in itself was a pleasure! If I might caution our bloggers, guest and otherwise, to avoid the question “Who’s ever heard of that before?”. Someone, perhaps many, will have the answer. For example, neither roedeer nor vamoosed are especially arcane. It’s hard to know if you are incredulous or sneering.

Jofried 6:26 AM  

I thought the theme was funny and well executed, and the fill pretty easy. I came close to my best Tuesday time ever. I’ve never heard of MAXWELLANDERSON so thanks for the bio, @Ellen S.

Lewis 6:33 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:40 AM  

We have a plethora of palindromes: ATTA/MAAM/ERE/BEEB/AVA. And a reverse pair (Emordnilap): ARE/ERA.

The theme was cleverly presented, visually getting in the wordplay on the word "manspread". Now, can we bring this topic to a close?

SJ Austin 6:46 AM  

I finished ahead of my average, but only on some lucky guesses. I'm with Clare. That whole ROEDEER - LOA - ELBERT - VERTEXES - MAXWELL ANDERSON wing of the puzzle seemed overly difficult for a Tuesday, and worse, contrived.

Dave 6:48 AM  

As I understand it, manspreading is sitting with your knees far apart, so "move over" doesn't really help does it?

kodak jenkins 6:54 AM  

An ok puzzle despite the blatantly sexist theme. It's cute, given the way the MAN spreads as he extends, but the overall execution is mediocre. I guess MAXWELLANDERSON became necessary because of the MAN he is and I certainly don't mind learning about award-winning playwrights if the crosses are manageable. VERTEXES, instead of VERTICES however, screwed me up and it seems odd I didn't remember Mount ELBERT even though I've hiked and camped the Rockies many times....

It's a Tuesday difficulty but with several tripping hazards carelessly thrown in and the parlor trick theme doesn't quite make up for the blase' content.

kitshef 7:10 AM  

Everything Rex said about yesterday’s theme applies ever-so-much-more-so today. Even ignoring for a moment the blatant sexism of the term “MANSPREADS”, it’s still nothing to build a crossword over.

Not convinced MAXWELL ANDERSON is Tuesworthy.

I did like having both (va)MOOSE(d) and ROE DEER … plus RAT and APE and MAN in our MAMMALIAN sub-theme. But overall … not a fan.

Lobster11 7:28 AM  

VERTEXES sounds to me like a word someone would make up if they didn't know the correct plural for vertex -- but I don't think there actually are any such people because anyone who actually knows what a vertex would know to use "vertices." DNF because of that and not at all happy about it. I hate Tuesdays.

Z 7:28 AM  

You MAXWELL ANDERSON defenders are too much. He died before I was born, and I ain’t exactly young. Is he crossworthy? I’d say so, he won a Pulitzer. Is he obscure, especially for a Tuesday? Indubitably. After all, he won that Pulitzer when my late mother was 9, 6 years before WWII started.

I saw on Twitter last night that the puzzle theme is a duplicate of a recent Will Nediger indie puzzle. I don’t subscribe to Nediger’s puzzle, so I hadn’t done his version. Not a big deal, but it does point out a flaw of doing themes that are too “of the moment,” especially if you have long timelines like the NYTX, your fresh idea risks becoming tired imitation by publication. This is especially so when so many indie puzzle constructors can have today’s meme be tomorrow’s theme.

Hungry Mother 7:37 AM  

I had vERVE and DNFed. The rest was easy. A bit sad that I misused a word I know. Sadder that summer is behind me. I find body odor more effective than MANSPREADING. On my last SUBWAY ride, at 4am on a Sunday morning, I was impressed with the perfmanent residents sleeping in the car.

David Grenier 7:48 AM  

All I have to say is Go Steelers.

chefbea 8:01 AM  

What a hard stupid puzzle!!!

Joe R. 8:07 AM  

@JOHN X - In all my years riding the NYC subway, I never saw anyone MANSPREADing either, until I heard of it and tried looking for it, and then I realize dI just never noticed it before. I see it several times a week now. Try keeping an eye out for it, and you'll see it more often.

@Kaizen BL - I did the same thing with BiEB and MAcWELLANDERSON, and it took me a couple of minutes to figure out what was wrong, because VERTEXES feels so wrong to me that I didn't even consider it.

Beaglelover 8:09 AM  

@John X man spreading is not an "internet contrived" occurrence. I saw it innumerable times in my 20 years of subway travel. You must have been sleeping on your commute or reading or in a coma. It is annoying just like the people who take up a seat for packages etc.

my opinion somehow counts 8:21 AM  

I would agree with comments above pointing out that MANSPREADING is not limited to men...plenty of times I've seen women camping out with purses or other accoutrements spilling into the seat(s) next to them...unlike mansplaining which actually is a gender-specific thing. i've found that men who don't believe it's a thing will gladly mansplain it to you.

Vamos! turned into Vamoose 8:34 AM  

Learned this in college Spanish class. From Webster online:

"In the 1820s and '30s, the American Southwest was rough-and-tumble territory—the true Wild West. English-speaking cowboys, Texas Rangers, and gold prospectors regularly rubbed elbows with Spanish-speaking vaqueros in the local saloons, and a certain amount of linguistic intermixing was inevitable. One Spanish term that caught on with English speakers was vamos, which means "let's go." Cowpokes and dudes alike adopted the word, at first using a range of spellings and pronunciations that varied considerably in their proximity to the original Spanish form. But when the dust settled, the version most American English speakers were using was vamoose."

GILL I. 8:35 AM  

Gee,,,what a sweet little puzzle: RAT ON SEWAGE EAT AT ASS NERVE HAZERS ODOR and the darling little reveal MAN SPREADS. Where are you today, when I need you most, @Rex?
Easy enough to see the MAN spreading all over the place. I love men, just don't spread.
I almost tossed this in the garbage after I stopped counting the tenth proper name. I think Mona Lisa was the only one I knew without having to guess the spelling. AMY POEHLER and MAXWELL ANDERSON sure take up a lot of real estate in Beverly Hills. They belong in the same neighborhood as CBGB. Wasn't that a biker bar?
I began to feel even more stoopid when I couldn't remember Mt. ELBERT. At least my name is in the puzzle. Do me a favor and pronounce it correctly.
UNCAST? Really? A very NUDE and BARE Tuesday puzzle with maybe the exception of CALVIN and VAMOOSED.
Five thumbs down meh's.

QuasiMojo 8:36 AM  

I didn’t care for this puzzle much either. Too dry even with the “hep” theme. But excuse me, Maxwell Anderson is world famous. He wrote Key Largo, The Bad Seed, Anne of a Thousand Days and many other important plays. I’m so sorry he didn’t write a comic book or an episode of Star Wars or homered for the Giants, or changed his sex. Apparently one has only to be cast in a TV show to get any respect on here. Isn’t Clare the ex-Eli? The abundance of defiant, proud ignorance displayed on this blog is beginning to spoil the experience of even reading it. Perhaps I’ll take a break. Don’t worry @Nancy, I’ll still lurk now and then, selectively, to read your take on the puzzle. It always hits the mark and makes me smile. Ciao gurls.

mmorgan 8:47 AM  

Funny, just yesterday I was talking about Maxwell Anderson, his lyrics for September Song (and others from Knickerbocker Holiday), and especially the powerful and remarkable Lost in the Stars. He had an exceptionally productive and influential career, across both stage and screen -- the list of actors who appeared in his works is extraordinary. (And thanks, @Ellen S.)

I found this to be an extremely easy puzzle and I was just flying through it... until somebody inserted another puzzle in the south, which became a major roadblock for me, baffled as I was by ELBERT, ROE DEER, AND TARSALS -- despite the Maxwell Anderson gimme.

I expected Rex to eviscerate this (something like "Ooh, see the word MAN, see it get wider, and what, we're supposed to be impressed with this?"); we'll never know.

Unknown 8:52 AM  

Same problem here. DNF due to the proper names in the Southwest corner. MANU, ELBERT, MAXWELLANDERSON, VERTEXES instead of "vertices", and poor cluing for UNTIL.


Anonymous 8:56 AM  

dull tuesday here at the puz desk. i agree with previous comment-i think this is a made up "problem." americans like to complain, so here's something else to complain about.

manspread, mansplain, manu ginobli. mini theme.

partial score: tired students 2 - adults 0.

ok we got it. yale, washington dc, warriors. nothing to see here, move along. i had a co-worker once who use to brag about where she went to college and who some of the lecturers were. nobody cared. nobody. it couldn't hide how dumb she was.

Suzie Q 8:56 AM  

63A said it for me.
"Are you serious?"

Mr. Benson 9:06 AM  

This morning, shortly after completing the puzzle I encountered an egregious man spreader, and was tempted to say "you know, you're featured in today's NYT crossword."

Right nearby was his equally pernicious cousin, the pole hugger.

TomAz 9:09 AM  

VERTEXES is indeed horrible. It may be "acceptable" in the sense that it is listed in the dictionary, but that doesn't make it any less horrible. Add it, along with MANSPREADING and MCMAHON, to the list of very stupid things in this puzzle. oh and also EAT AT.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

Hi all! That’s how you know Rex is taking the day off. Like Name that Tune, you know in 2 words.

Liked the puzzle although I hate cross references. Knew right away it was MANSPREADING. But got stuck in the SW bc had VERTICES, the proper term. VERTEX? Really? And who is this MAXWELL ANDERSON? Never heard of him. Nor the other Mac, McMahon, either, but I guess it’s HEP to put lots of MACS and APES into a MANSPREADING puzzle. Zoom zoom!!

Nancy 9:27 AM  

Hard, which I should love on a Tuesday, but hard for the wrong reasons.

I, too, say unfair at the ELBERT/ROEDEER cross. (How come I never heard of this mountain? And, for that matter, this DEER.) And I also say unfair at the ORECK/MCMAHON cross. In both cases I guessed right, but still...

If you're a woman on the SUBWAY (TRAIN is superfluous), you're not likely to say MOVE OVER to a MANSPREADer. It would take an awful lot of NERVE. MANSPREADers often look like really mean dudes. You're more likely to EDGE IN delicately, smile sweetly, say "Excuse me, sir, would you mind" and point oh-so-casually at his legs. Nor am I thinking "MOVE OVER", either. I'm thinking "PUT YOUR DAMN LEGS TOGETHER, YOU INCONSIDERATE BOOR!"

A well-executed theme with a sense of humor. Other than the unfair crosses, I liked it.

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

Xwordinfo tells me EDGEIN has been used six times in the Shortz era, but only once prior to that, in October 1958. I suspect the nearly 40-year moratorium on its use is due to a particular weirdness around the edges — the Midwesterner in me couldn’t help but see ED GEIN when working on that NW corner. Yuck.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

"The abundance of defiant, proud ignorance displayed on this blog is beginning to spoil the experience of even reading it."

@Quasi, It's a microcosm of the national zeitgeist

Rufous Ruminant 9:44 AM  

Man spreading always looks like false bragging. "My balls are so big I can't even put my knees close to each other."
Primitive display.

Hey, I made it into the puzzle today.

Nancy 9:58 AM  

Thanks for the shoutout, @Quasi (8:36). But fair is fair, and I also love reading you. Don't just lurk, opine please!!! I love your funny riff just now on MAXWELL ANDERSON and why people who ought to know who he is, don't.

@JOHN X -- Let me know what SUBWAYS you ride where MANSPREADing is unknown, and I'll switch immediately to that line -- even if it takes me to the wrong destination. Or maybe you're just such a youthful, strong, tall and well-muscled guy that habitual MANSPREADERS take one look at you and slam their legs together ASAP. But they sure don't do that for petite, aging, female me. Not only do they exist, John, they seem to be proliferating like cockroaches.

DJG 10:06 AM  

Re: Maxwell Anderson

It's the age-old crossword puzzle debate about the "Crossworthiness" of a person. I've found that overwhelming people base their opinion on this according to a) whether or not they have heard of this person, b) whether or not they are a fan of a person's work.

That's why I like to use Google hits. It's not perfect, but at least it's free of personal bias. In the case of "Maxwell Anderson", he gets 284K, which is a bit on the lower side (especially considering the first page contains links to other Maxwell Andersons -- "Maxwell Anderson" "writer" only gets 57K hits).

I would say he's fine for a late-week puzzle, but too obscure for a Tuesday grid-spanner. I would have tried very hard as the constructor to find somebody more well-known by the general public.

BJD 10:16 AM  

And CBGB is not the name of the club. Just like Macy is not the name of the department store.

Blondie 10:31 AM  

CBGB was the name of the club. Macy’s is the name of the department store. People may have called it CBGBs but it was never the name.

jberg 10:41 AM  

One learns so much about contemporary society from coming here. When I was a child, VAMOOSE and other mangled Spanish words used by cowboys were deeply embedded in the culture, part of what made America America. Then sometime in the last couple of decades they have vanished. People don’t know Nimrod was a mighty hunter, and they don’t know VAMOOSE. It always surprises me. I think I’m getting old.

Theme idea: when a minister is caught snogging a parishioner in church, it’s a LAPSE in the APSE. Other examples, please!

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Roughly ten years ago MANSPREADING was a hot hot problem in NYC. O innocence! A contrarian by nature, I was happy to learn from my yoga teacher that the phenomenon was owing more to men's generally tight hip flexors (or some other tendon) and not to “junk” accommodation.

JC66 10:56 AM  

@Rex. Mazel Tov on the TWELVE year anniversary of this blob.

@Quasi Please keep commenting.

@Nancy. I think you might remember Sears ROEbuck.

Azzurro 11:01 AM  

I’ve liked the whimsical nature of Ross Trudeau’s puzzles so far, though this one was awfully easy. And the theme was an odd choice.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

I think it was CBGB OMFUG

Bax'N'Nex 11:10 AM  

Fastest Tuesday in a while. Liked NUDE and BARE across from each other.

Can only imagine Mike's indignation at having HAZERS in the puzzle.

Between the M-A-N spreading out through the puzzle to the image of the "spread man" in the center, thought this was a clever and fun puzzle.

Joseph Michael 11:18 AM  

MANSPREADING is what Republican Senator Larry Craig referred to as a “wide stance” when he was arrested in a men room stall at the Minneapolis airport.

The most interesting thing about this puzzle was figuring out how to spell AMY POEHLER.

Malsdemare 11:30 AM  

Tough, yes, but I was halfway through when I saw the trick and filled in the M A N in the circles. Then it was just put my head down and GO. MAXWELL ANDERSON, MANU, CBGB, MCMAHON and BYNES kept this from being boring. I had to work around them before I could infer missing letters. I loved VAMOOSED, I live with a 6’2”, 200+ MANSPREADer; he likes to stand with elbows on hips, thus becoming a 4’ X 6’ wall (I'm 5’2”) and can't see why I find that annoying (his elbow is at face level for me). And he will claim the entire 6’ long sofa until I stand over him and glare. But he's useful for hefting 40 lb bags of dog food and getting stuff off top shelves; guess I'll keep him.

VERTEXES is just wrong.

Anonymous 11:41 AM  

Found the puzzle to be pretty average for a Tuesday. Vertexes / vertices definitely mixed me up. The real question though, is:

Is the phallus running down the center of the puzzle intentional? Part of the manspreading theme, perhaps?

JOHN X 11:42 AM  

@Nancy 9:58 AM wrote:

Or maybe you're just such a youthful, strong, tall and well-muscled guy that habitual MANSPREADERS take one look at you and slam their legs together ASAP

Yes, this is correct.

Malsdemare 11:47 AM  

Ok, before I get called out, I know that my hubby isn't MANSPREADing in the classic sense, but I consider his behavior a cousin, if not a sibling of the behavior. Not sure I buy the tight hip flexors excuse, @anonymous 10:56 but it’s a nice effort.

Banana Diaquiri 11:54 AM  

@Joseph Michael - I wanted that ref.!! good on you!

VAMOOSED - Andy Devine westerns among many others

Masked and Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Oh, m a n.
Kinda liked the explodin dude gridart in the center, more than anything else. His socks evidently were blowed clean up to the ceiling area.

fave fillin: MAN-U. Honrable mention to VAMOOSE, part of a reverse-ma-n-spread.

staff weeject pick: MAA. Better clue: {Explodin man starter??}. Too desperate? Thought so.

E-W symmetry. Like. Sorta forced the two 10-long entries on either side of the 30-D revealer, btw. Nice constructioneerin job, just survivin that part of the grid-build.

Lotsa "spread" puzthemes, lately. Spreadin the wealth, so to speak.
Thanx for the TuesPuz spread, Mr. Trudeau.

Masked & AnoNymo3Us


Pete 11:58 AM  

If the spreading Ms and Ns represent the hypothesized man's legs in the grid, I gotta give props to the guy, what with the 3x10 stack that can only represent his penis. Not quite as impressive as mine, but still nothing to be ashamed of.

@Quasi - Maxwell Anderson is world famous? Get your tenses right, was world famous, maybe. His heyday was 70 years ago. He wrote some screenplays 70 years ago? Please name the last 5 winners of Best Original Screenplay (no internet lookups). If you can't do that, when we all were, I don't know, actually alive and sentient beings, then how is someone who wrote screenplays 70 years ago supposed to be "World Famous"? Repeat the exercise, but with screen plays replaced by plays. He wrote the lyrics to September? Who wrote the lyrics to New York, New York? No one knows, no one cares, but we have heard that thousands of times a year for the past two decades.

You seem to be confusing not knowing some arcana that fits in your particular are of interest as ignorance. Technically, it is ignorance, but not an ignorance that should be called out. Saying "I didn't know that" is not boasting, it is a admission. Saying a grid spanning entry, on a Tuesday shouldn't be a "relatively unknown" person isn't "defiant, proud ignorance" it's reasoned critique of the puzzle. An accurate critique I might add.

I'm a mathematician by training, nature and a 40 year career. On a daily basis I'm surprised by people not knowing things I take for granted, things I can't understand their not knowing. Then I remember how hard I worked to know all that. Then I don't call those people stupid. 'Cause, you know, decency.

Kimberly 12:29 PM  

“Who's ever heard of those before?”

And once again, not everything YOU don’t know is “obscure.”

You really need to talk to a therapist about your narcissistic personality disorder. You are not the end-all be-all of knowledge. Perhaps you should approach the things you don’t know as an opportunity to learn instead of a trigger for wrathful hubris.

I, and many others, tried gently suggesting this to you for years. Now I’m being plain-spoken. Take it to heart. Or don’t. It’s your misery to live with. But all of this ridiculous unjustified and misdirected anger is going to make you sick.

chasklu 12:31 PM  

VERTEXES destroyed my ability to complete the sw corner. I woudn't think it could be anything but VERTICES.

JC66 12:33 PM  


You might want to check out who wrote today's blog (hint: it wasn't @Rex).

Kimberly 12:54 PM  

@jc66 thanks for the heads up! I guess like attracts like.

Z 12:57 PM  

September Song

Weill and Brecht still get a lot of love, but somehow all of the comments about how we should all know MAXWELL ANDERSON are less than convincing. Maybe I should know more WWI pacifists, but I don’t. @Quasimojo cites three plays I have never heard of (punch in “Key Largo” and the 1948 film adaptation appears). He may have been “world famous,” and his influence may still be felt in theater (I know Kurt Weill because lots of songwriters mention his influence and Brecht because if his Three Penny Opera), but let me suggest that when you have to defend someone’s fame in the past tense that person may now be relatively obscure. People may resent Star War clues and rappers, but I would hazard to guess that more people saw the relatively poor performing Solo than ever saw an ANDERSON play. Is this unjust? Probably. Doesn’t change the simple truth that MAXWELL ANDERSON is an obscure name for a Tuesday 2018 puzzle. A gramophone in the music clip certainly doesn’t say “current” or “fresh.”

I also just don’t get why people think pointing out something or someone is obscure is a “proud display of ignorance.” I guarantee you we all have people who are big in our worlds that are more generally obscure. We all have wheelhouses. The relevant question is only whether or not MAXWELL ANDERSON is a fair theme answer in a Tuesday puzzle in 2018. I’ll make the bold statement that any Pulitzer Prize winner is “crossworthy” but not all are fair for an early week puzzle.

This CBGB article with a picture is why you should google before proclaiming.

Speaking of “current” and “fresh,” anyone else update their iPad software? I keep hitting the emoji button rather than number/symbol button this morning after updating last night. I’m thinking Apple flipped the order but must confess I’m not certain. If you haven’t updated yet, what is the bottom left button on your iPad keyboard? I have emoji button, number button, dictation button, space bar.

Chip Hilton 1:02 PM  

My only complaint was on VERTEXES, but enough crossing letters appeared on MAXWELLANDERSON that the X became inferrable. And, yes, I recognized his name. Noteworthy, if a bit dated.

I wonder how Amanda BYNES is doing? I thought she was headed for major stardom until her personal life management left the rails. Rather like Lindsay Lohan. Sad.

Thanks, Ross Trudeau. I enjoyed it.

Rorschach 1:16 PM  

Phalluses? Spread legs? No matter how tightly I squint I see only a symmetric pattern of letters and black squares.

GILL I. 1:20 PM  

@Kimberly: @JC66 beat me to it.
Your @Rex bashing screed is really becoming like a tedious journey.
If you had read Clare at all you would have noted that she doesn't sound a bit like OFL. She didn't like the puzzle, neither did I. As a matter of fact, I've never hear of a ROE DEER either.
Regardless, @Rex ain't gonna change. I, frankly, like him the way he is. He makes me laugh.
Don't get upset, just stop reading him or better yet, tell us what your opinion of the puzzle is. I'm sure it's fascinating.

Rainbow 1:21 PM  

@Pete 11:58 AM

Creepy comment! Trump level creepy.

SteveHikes 1:29 PM  

I agree. Too many comment resemble Trump tweets. Dangerous times.

Teedmn 1:36 PM  

While I'm not a fan of the MAN SPREAD as seen on the SUBWAY, I did like the concept of this theme and how it was executed.

I found many of the names annoying - in particular the ORECK-MCMAHON crossing where I had to guess the C, and that MAXWELL was more likely than MAcWELL. And who is Amanda Bates, that she should jump to mind at 39A and cause a write-over? A figment of my crossword brain, most likely.
I wanted MAN SPlainS at first, having not read the 30D clue, so I tried mightily to make ElA a thing at 54A - having HiP in helped keep SPlainS in place as a possibility but ROE DEER came along to dig me out (I've seen them before, in Sweden.)

Nice job, Ross, but perhaps it would have been better on a Wednesday - it played tough for me. (Fun to see the MAA again so soon.)

OffTheGrid 1:38 PM  

@Pete. Does referring to your genitalia on a crossword blog fit your concept of "Decency"?

Charley 1:39 PM  

Way too many proper nouns.

Pete 1:44 PM  

@Rainbow - MANSPREADING is just another form of primate crotch display. It's sole purpose is to assert dominance, to say "here's my junk, watch out, and I'll take up half the room if it's necessary to show it to you". If you didn't know that before, you do now - that's what inspires men to sit that way - to assert themselves. I noticed the very unusual vertical 3x10 stack hanging down from the middle of the grid and made a joke about it. Sue me.

@Kimberly Besides your ad-hominem attack being directed towards the wrong hominem, Amy (whom no one has accused of being excessively picky) over at Crossword Fiend had a list of "what are these doing an a Tuesday puzzle" answers. It included everything that Claire questioned. So how can you question the reviewer questioning those entries?

Banana Diaquiri 1:49 PM  

Creepy comment! Trump level creepy.

but this is hardly Trumpian. at all...
"Then I remember how hard I worked to know all that. Then I don't call those people stupid. 'Cause, you know, decency."

1) Trump has never worked hard
2) Trump regularly calls people stupid
3) Trump is devoid of decency

it is widely believed, naturally, that mathematicians are way over the hill after 20 years or so.

Peter P 2:19 PM  

Finished in average Tuesday time. I did not mind VERTEXES. Not as common as VERTICES, but acceptable (and I see references to that word going back to at least the 1700s, so nothing new.) Both are "proper" English, but "vertices" is perhaps seen as more "proper" or "educated" because of its Latinate declension. I prefer Anglo-Saxon plurals like "indexes" to "Indices," for instance. ) Plus it's fair game given how often we must remember rarely-used or esoteric Latinate or Greek plurals in crosswords.

Seeing CBGB in the grid right away made me smile, as did VAMOOSED. For some reason, I wanted to spell AMYPOEHLER as AMIPOEHLER. So, yeah, got the hard part of her name right, but not the easy one. Never heard of MAXWELLANDERSON, but was able to fill in the blanks quickly enough with the orthogonal clues. Got MAA because of the goat clue a few days ago. I guess goats say MAA and sheep say BAA in NYT crosswords.

I want the Mauna ___ clue retired. I only started doing these puzzles obsessively about four or five weeks ago (and through the archive) and I feel like that one shows up every third puzzle or so.

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

Come on. Maxwell Anderson' chief claim to fame wasn't his pacifism. That's you being cranky. But don't trust me about Anderson's fame, talent and worth, here's the New York Times description of him:

"One of the 20th century's most prolific, renowned -- and reclusive -- playwrights, Anderson (1888-1959) was a mainstay of the Broadway theater..." (May 3, 1998)

Please note the word renowned. Not sort afamous, ot Tuesday-worthy, Renowned. that means famous.

Perhaps it's you're anti NYC metro animus unknowingly rearing it's pointed head. You probably don't know that Anderson was a long-time resident of Shippan Point. That was home to another terrific American writer. No doubt he would trigger you, so I'll spare you the micro aggression.

Anyone who denies the existence of manspreading or its pervasiveness should have his (or unlikely her) metro card confiscated.

FrankStein 3:37 PM  

@Pete, Kander and Ebb wrote “New York, New York” didn’t they?

Z 4:07 PM  

Pretty sure this is OT Z, so I’ll try to be brief.

Jeff Chen also made reference to the, uh, “grid art.”
@Gill I 1:20p.m. - Well said.
@Anon3:19 - Arguing against points I didn’t make reflects poorly on your reading skills. I get why you think I wrote that, but look again.
@Pete - That’s one reason. I sometimes have to watch myself because I’m 6’4” and seats are designed for people who are 5’10”. My choices are to curl my legs under the seat, stick my legs out into the aisle, chew on my knees, or MANSPREAD. The first is the most polite, but can become very uncomfortable if the ride is long. In crowded settings it’s actually easier for me to just stand. Bonus, I stand and get credit for being polite when I’m really just making myself more comfortable.

Doug Garr 4:09 PM  

I found this easy, and I'm nowhere near the solver that most of Rex and his followers are. Maybe it's because of the NYC theme. I'm kind of surprised Rex complained about it being hard, which took away his fun. I mean, if this were Friday or Saturday, would he have complained? I don't think so. Maybe every puzzle isn't entertaining either; sometimes the takeaway is that you learn a few words.

HRC 4:28 PM  

@Z - Maybe your 6'4" requires stretching your legs, but that doesn't excuse manspreading. Also, please advise how this applies to this 5'7" instance. How is this not a case of "here's my junk"?

Anonymous 4:33 PM  

@Anon 3:19 So, 20 years ago the Times ran an article about a man who died 40 years before that and said that he was famous 20 years before that? That makes him famous today?

ZenMonkey 4:43 PM  

My first comment on a puzzle I didn't even do.

I took one look at all the circles and clues referencing other clues and went "Is it Sunday again?"

Of course I'll do it later, but honestly this grid on a Tuesday just exhausts me to look at. I'm sure it's a fine puzzle and I'll enjoy it tonight.

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

This was done almost exactly the same by one of the independents (Paolo Pasco I think) in the recent past. Boo NYT!

Anonymous 5:31 PM  

Rex doesn't do all the reviews and didn't do this one. It was Clare Carroll.

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

Are these manspreaders naked? or is their "junk" under clothing? This whole thing is too weird.

Anonymous 5:37 PM  

So Abraham Lincoln is no longer famous? He did his thing and died 150+ yrs ago.

Anonymous 5:48 PM  

You write that Anderson was obscure. He was renowned. It s you with the comprehension deficit

SweetCaroline 6:51 PM  

And in addition, man up Claire, take care of yourself and go to bed so you aren’t always “tired”.

puzzlehoarder 7:02 PM  

I commented earlier but I must have screwed up a publishing step. Average time for a Tuesday. There were some tough entries but always plenty of easy fill to let me work around them.

Spelling AMYPOEHLER correctly just off the A and knowing ELBERT helped speed up the solve. A nice Tuesday with a little late week material mixed in.

Matthew G. 7:54 PM  

This theme has been done to death. It is at least the third and maybe the fourth puzzle I’ve seen in the past year that plays on the term “manspreading.” I realize that the majority of NYT solvers don’t subscribe to a bunch of indie puzzles, but still. Do something new.

Joe 8:56 PM  

I remember reading WINTERSET, about Sacco and Vanzetti, in high school, and was thus able to puzzle out MAXWELL ANDERSON, even though I did not know the clued play. I thought this was fun, New York-y, even if there were some obscure bits (ROEDEER? ELBERT?).

RooMonster 9:06 PM  

@Kim 12:29
This wasn't Rex reviewing the puz.

Anonymous 9:24 PM  

You not only said Maxwell Anderson was obscure, you added to your rhetorical flourish with the fey "indubitably".
You may be 6'4, but I doubt that you're proportional.
Creepy? Yeah, but manly? Nah.

pbc 10:04 PM  

@jberg if you want to stay in the church, you could have a KNAVE in the NAVE.

Monty Boy 12:20 AM  

FWIW - Frazz is my favorite comic now that Calvin has retired. You can go back to the beginning of Frazz (2001) and they are funny and profound from the get go. (See Gocomics.com)

One of my treasured Christmas gifts is a 3 volume set of all the Calvins. They are still funny today.

Monty Boy 12:22 AM  

FWIW - Frazz is my favorite comic now that Calvin has retired. You can go back to the beginning of Frazz (2001) and they are funny and profound from the get go. (See Gocomics.com)

One of my treasured Christmas gifts is a 3 volume set of all the Calvins. They are still funny today.

nick strauss 12:51 AM  

VERTEXES is newspeak. One sheep, two sheeps. Nonsense.

Dawn Urban 8:02 AM  

It's probably too late to explain how I interpreted MANSPREADing, but it was in a much more wholesome way.

In a group of seats, whether on a crowded subway or in a packed stadium, men may be seated in groups with other men who are strangers.

When a nearby seat becomes available, a man tends to move away from other men. Finally, the group of strangers are spread out, like the M. A. N near the bottom of the puzzle.

BTW, women do not do this, unless one of them are coughing.

thefogman 9:19 AM  

It was bit challenging at times, but I finished with no writeovers. I thought the gimmick was cheeky and clever. Thank you Mr. Trudeau.

Burma Shave 9:31 AM  


“EDGEIN, HOMER, let’s play, it’s WAKING BARE and NUDE I ADORE.”


rondo 10:04 AM  

Say what you will about MAXWELLANDERSON, but it took *every* cross UNTIL that TYNAN fellow showed up. Same with ELBERT. So there you ARE. And MAN, oh MAN, oh MAN, I’ve had enough of this MANSPREAD nonsense.

High class stuff with WWE’s Vince MCMAHON (‘fraid to say a gimme).

This may end up being the week of the fully spelled yeah babies, like AMYPOEHLER today, VANNAWHITE yesterday.

Looks like about 20 threes, but as good or better than some Tuesday (or Sunday) SEWAGE.

spacecraft 10:08 AM  

Epic fail, on MAN-y fronts:

--> PPPs and tired xwordese abound; look at the north central. It is saved from total SEWAGE only by INTOW. In particular, I'm sick of ATTA: let's not forget that was the name of one of the 9/11 attackers.

--> circles. I SAIDOK to the reason for them this time, but still they junk up the grid.

--> the fifteener is just another PPP, whose only connection to the theme is those dumb circles.

--> the revealer word itself: is that a thing? We've been through this before: MEN AREN'T THE ONLY ONES!!! I really object to that term.

This puzzle hits the mark in one place: common 32-across isn't so. Double-bogey.

rainforest 2:56 PM  

C'mon, this wasn't so bad. The crying about VERTEXES made me wonder if people had to resort to their box of Kleenices. There's nothing wrong with the given answer other than to make certain people make a mountain out of a mole hill. Maybe they get to feel superior in some way.

I know the theme term and I thought it was well represented in the puzzle. Perhaps not a boffo example, but certainly serviceable. A lot of names here, but BYNES was the only one unknown to me.

I found this quite a bit harder than your average Tuesday puzzle, but that's not at all a bad thing.

leftcoastTAM 3:22 PM  

Looked at first like a weak and tired Tuesday, but that view was clearly wrong.

Very clever and densely packed theme. The circled MAN squares by themselves didn't really help a lot in the solve. That required coming up with several proper names and a very good revealer. Which it did.

MANU was a bonus. HEP was an older-than-dirt thud.

Mount ELBERT is the highest peak in the Rockies? Geography lesson for the day.

A Tuesday joy.

Diana, LIW 9:32 PM  

Fine until the SW corner. I call foul on the PPP names in the bottom half. Fie.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Fairness

Joshua K. 10:01 PM  

"LOA could have been any one of: kea, koa, lea, or loa."

In Hawaii, there are two famous "Mauna _____" mountains: Kea and Loa. There's no Mauna Koa that I can find, and no famous Mauna Lea.

Unknown 7:39 AM  


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