Leather-clad TV warrior / SUN 9-30-18 / Where Karl Benz debuted world's first auto / 16-ounce beers slangily / Feature of probability distribution where extreme events are more likely / Fictional creature whose name is Old English for giant / Builder of Israel's first temple / Collapsed red giant / Canoodles in Britain

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Constructor: Natan Last

Relative difficulty: Challenging (12:35) (I had two drinks beforehand, though, so ... I'm not very confident in this rating)

THEME: "Sleep On It" PRINCESSes (82D: Any of the four people disturbed in this puzzle) on MATTRESSes (14D: Item lain upon four times in this puzzle) on [PEA]s (where [PEA] is a rebus square) (123A: Item that disturbs sleep four times in this puzzle)

Theme answers:
  • BELLE (27A) on QUEEN OF MEAN (31A) on S[PEA]R (36A)
  • LEIA (53A) on FULL-BODIED (61A) on AP[PEA]LS (67A)
  • XENA (69A) on TWIN SISTER (73A) on S[PEA]K (80A)
  • ANNE (95A) on KING SOLOMON (101A) on [PEA]HEN (110A)
Word of the Day: EPHESUS (63D: Home of the ancient Temple of Artemis) —
Ephesus (/ˈɛfəsəs/GreekἜφεσος EphesosTurkishEfes; may ultimately derive from HittiteApasa) was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, three kilometres southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir ProvinceTurkey. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC.
The city was famed for the nearby Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Among many other monumental buildings are the Library of Celsus, and a theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators. [...] 
The city was destroyed by the Goths in 263, and although rebuilt, the city's importance as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the Küçükmenderes River. It was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD. (wikipedia)
• • •

Conceptually, this is pretty great. I mean, if you wanted to get the whole fairy tale thing precise, then you'd pile the mattresses high and put a single PEA underneath. A single mattress is somewhat wide of the mark, visually speaking. But as a plausible, viable representation of four different PRINCESS-and-the-pea scenarios, this works. I like how wacky the PRINCESS assortment is. Animated princess, warrior princess, space princess, actual princess. Nice. Solving this wasn't entirely fun, though, partly because I had had a little to drink and so (probably) just couldn't get things to click as easily as usual, partly because I was not looking for the PEA and there are so few PEAs that you could, as I did, get very far into the grid before you ever realized there was a rebus going on. 80% of my trouble in this one was in and around those rebus squares, first because I didn't know the rebus existed, and then because I kept forgetting the rebus existed. I had almost the entire top half of the grid before finally stumbling on my first PEA thanks to NEIL PEART (42D: Rock star known for his 360-degree drum set). Because I got stuck at ASIAN--- at 52D: Certain Far Eastern fruits before I knew there was a rebus, it somehow didn't really register to me that it might be a theme answer Even After I'd Discovered the Rebus. Plus I wanted the dog command to be SIT or SIC. Briefly considered SIK (!) before realizing, "Oh, dang, the rebus! It's ASIAN PEARS! And SPEAK! Aargh." Found the SW very hard despite / because of its lack of theme material (besides PRINCESS). HIT COUNTER and IN REAL TIME and ROUST and SHIRT and EMTS and OATS were all not not not coming to me. Also, I was thinking LAO TZU instead of SUN TZU, which really made me mad re: the ABBA song. Me: "I Know All Their Songs, None Are Three Letters Beginning With 'L', Come On!"

BSCHOOL, ugh (62D: Future plan for many an econ major). On multiple levels. Unpleasant. But it is a thing that people call that type of school, so fair, I guess. Just gross. I'm just imagining dudes going there and calling it that and then becoming useless techbro CEOs or something, ugh. Also, FATTAIL is [me making a face]. I mean, congrats on the "probability distribution" terminology, but that should've been RATTAIL, which has the virtue of being both a more vivid and more widely known thing.

Speaking of hairstyles, or rather no-hair styles, I could not process what the clue was looking for at 44D: Parts of Mr. Clean and Lex Luthor costumes (BALD CAPS). It's the "costumes" part that is terrible and confusing. I thought it was part of *their* costumes, i.e. the costumes or outfits that Mr. Clean and Lex Luthor wear, not what some human *might* wear if they were dressing up as Mr. Clean or Lex Luthor. The only thing I could really visualize was an earring. Don't they both have some kind of earring / pirate look going on? Let's see.

OK, so not Lex. Anyway, if you are bald, or shave your head, then you absolutely do not need a ridiculous BALD CAP(S) as part of your "costume." As a mostly hairless human, I could not relate to this clue at all.

Five things:
  • 113A: Western gas brand (TESORO) — I spent my first 21 years in the "west" and I have literally never heard of this "brand." ARCO is the only "western" gas brand I know of.
  • 28D: Jazz's McCann (LES) — oy, this made the PEA area in the NW that much harder. No idea. Stunned I've been doing crosswords going on 30 years and have seen jazz name after jazz name and yet somehow, not this one. 
  • 87A: Paroxysm (THROE) — always gonna look dumb in the singular. Always. 
  • 87D: Grammy winner Meghan (TRAINOR) — young enough to know who she is, old enough to botch the spelling of her name (I had a "Y" in there). 
  • 84D: Where Karl Benz debuted the world's first auto (MANNHEIM) — one week later, an answer that I completely mangled returns to give me a boost! I was like, "Can it be ... is it ... the return of ...?" And it was.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:06 AM  

On the tough side for me too. Pretty impressive triple layer theme, liked it.

Randy (Boulder) 12:06 AM  

Good puzzle. Liked it.

Z 12:11 AM  

HIT COUNTER‽ I haven’t noticed one of those on a website in decades.

This is fine. Just not my cuppa.

TomAz 12:30 AM  

Sundays are usually such slogs, but this one kept me on my toes. Two thumbs up!

I knew something was up at what turned out to be GREENPEACE -- I knew the answer but didn't what the trick was. At first I was trying to figure out if the downs would turn horizontal to lie on their side as if going to bed? yeah. so at what turned out to be ASIAN PEARS, same thing, except I had never heard of SKIP BO so I was still lost. NEIL PEART unlocked the trick.. then eventually I got MATTRESS before seing the actual mattresses.. and I saw the princesses.. but .. etc etc etc

I liked FAT TAIL a lot. I liked SNAKE OIL a lot. Spelling RORSCHACH was a challenge. 'Sixth of 24' was FOUR originally. TESORO was TEXACO (I live in the west and I was hard pressed to come up with TESORO). SUN TZU I didn't know, had to run the alphabet to get SOS. the POM/NEMEA crossing just about did me in. Never heard of Meghan TRAINOR. Had a hard time believing HIT COUNTER was true, it seems as dated as a rotary phone.

But this theme was really quite good. Concept, execution. Well done.

Joe Dipinto 12:44 AM  

This was great, and a stumper of sorts for me. After finding all the PEAs I somehow thought that the QUEEN OF MEAN, TWIN SISTER, and KING SOLOMON (all human entities) were laying on top of the PEAs, though that concept made no sense whatsoever, and how would FULL-BODIED fit in with it? Even having MATTRESS and PRINCESS filled in elsewhere, it took awhile to see what was actually going on. An enjoyable aha! moment. My hat's off to this puzzle, it was excellent.

(Also enjoyed the "easter eggs" -- 8 by my count -- in today's Acrostic.)

Unknown 12:50 AM  

Can't blame you for the Tesoro difficulty.

ARCO (Atlantic Richfield Co.) is owned by Tesoro ... or was, since they became Andeavor after purchasing Western Refining. But even that's out of date as Andeavor was just purchased my Marathon. So the clue itself is 3 degrees of out-of-date.

Myuen88 12:50 AM  

I've lived in California for 60 years and have never heard of Tesoro

Oknazevad 1:09 AM  

Didn't even notice he mattress sizes, actually. But like you it was Neil Peart that gave me the rebus. And Leia that gave me the princesses. Of course it was Leia.

TJS 1:41 AM  

Took me 58 minutes and I hated every minute of it. Probably ten times I wanted to quit over terrible fill but kept at it out of sheer stubborness.(doesnt look like a word). And I was in such a good mood after the Irish kicked Stanford. Atleast it wont ruin my morning.

jp flanigan 1:49 AM  

This would have been close to my record time, but I didn't see the last "pea" right away. I had SNIPE and MANNHEIM but just couldn't parse TESORO or EGESTA from what I had, and I never heard of a PEAHEN...so that added about 10 minutes to my time.

However, I enjoyed it, never saw the mattresses until it was all completed...a nice touch.

Dolgo 2:34 AM  

I finished it without fully getting the theme. Now that I know, well...er...uh, I guess it WAS kinda cute! Too many stock crossword puzzle words, though (ENT, ADO, EMIR, ALOU, ELIE--and who ever uses ASEA in a sentence?).

puzzlehoarder 3:02 AM  

I almost filled the whole puzzle before I realized there was a rebus. I'd skipped over some of the NW around it's theme entry. When I went back up there to finish, GREENPEACE is what gave it away. Then I had to go back and correct the other theme entries.

The only answer I wasn't sure of was PEART. It didn't ring any bells. There's countless famous rock bands and they all have drummers. The crosses had to be right so PEART it was.

I really got my share of puzzling out of this one. The SW corner was like pulling teeth. I'm not someone who cares how many HITs anything gets so the COUNTER thing needed a lot of crosses.

suea 4:39 AM  

Ohhhh. I get it now! Totally missed the rebus so no wonder I had a hard time. Gotta say I didn't really like this one. Maybe because I didn't get it. I got the theme but couldn't figure out the way it worked. On seeing the solution I also gotta say that it's just a bit weird that the "mattresses" upon which the princesses are sleeping are all people (OK -- FULL-BODIED is a descriptive but still...) so there's that...

chefwen 4:51 AM  

Feeling as dumb as a box of rocks. Got the PEA rebus, got the PRINCESS with her MATTRESSes and thought that was it. The different size beds flew right over my head. DOH! EPIC fail on my part.

ZenMonkey 5:02 AM  

Well executed and adorable.

Lewis 6:24 AM  

This was a capital-P Puzzle. I almost threw in the towel in the SW with its vague clues: "Top", "Wild", "Parent", "Live", "Cut", "Bit of salon detritus", "Group with a saving plan". Climbing that mountain, figuring out the PEA rebus, and overcoming quite a few answers that were out of my wheelhouse left my brain sweating and smiling.

kodak jenkins 7:03 AM  

Nice theme, nice puzzle.

EGESTA/TESORO was holding out. Really wanted TEXACO....

H.C. Andersen 7:26 AM  

Started working on this on Saturday evening. Couldn't make any headway, so decided I'd just sleep on it and see if I had better luck in the morning. Unfortunately, the puzzle bothered me much that I couldn't get it out of my mind, tossing and turning through a sleepless night no matter how many other pleasant thoughts I tried to layer over my anxiety.

Not a total loss, though. Though unlucky with the puzzle, I found myself unexpectedly getting married this morning to a real PEAch of a woman.

Nick D 7:51 AM  

Naticked by EPHESUS and MUSTAFA. Otherwise enjoyable and clever for a Sunday

mmorgan 7:52 AM  

I found this unusually difficult for a Sunday, because it had so much stuff I just didn't know, often not inferable from crosses. This could be a long list, but just for example, there's VOLTRON, MAVS, TRAINOR, TESORO, EGESTA, PEART, EPHESUS and others. And I also struggled mightily in the SW.

I figured out the Pea rebus fairly early, and even had MATTRESS (14D) and PRINCESS (82D) and PEA (123A)... I very slowly saw the names of the princesses, but I didn't know them all, and I couldn't figure out why on earth they were so far away from their PEAs, and could not see anything, anything, anything suggesting a sleep interruption or mattress.

Until I came here... QUEEN, FULL, TWIN, KING... Oh, I get it!!!! Duh!!!

Funny, I somehow expected Rex to hate this.

Jofried 8:12 AM  

Yeah, totally missed the part about the mattresses, only saw the PEAs. Almost a DNF at EPHESUS crossing SDS and SOS and SUNTZU but some good guesses saved me. Fun, intriguing puzzle.

BarbieBarbie 8:26 AM  

Surprised at the positive reviews. I liked the gimmick, but this puzzle should have been thrown back for maturation. Too many ppps. SDS and SOS barely separated. Mini themes that peter out (fishing) or are too topical for 2018 publication (nudge-nudge-alcohol). Lots of just substandard fill. A few potential naticks I lucked my way through. Theme and rebus cute but easy, with the fill mess making up the difficulty. Just didn’t love this one.

Peter P 8:47 AM  

Wow. Got the [PEA] rebus pretty quickly, but completely missed the rest of the theme. Did not notice at all the names of the different sized beds, nor did I notice that the princess names were a) on top of the mattress size and b) on top of the PEA. This puzzle is way more clever than I noticed. Cool.

It was a steady and easy solve, but I technically DNF because of that TESORO clue. I mean, I ran the possible letters until the app said I finished, but even with TE_ORO and EGE_TA I could infer the "S." In retrospect, I should have figured only an "S" could go in the EGE_TA spot, but I kept trying to put an X in there, having TExOcO first (which I knew must have been spelled wrong, but I was fairly sure about SNOGS on the down clue), the TExAcO, then just getting ticked off in general and running the letters.

I looked it up immediately after the puzzle, and, apparently, Tesoro is a Fortune 100 company, who recently (2017) changed its name to Andeavor I had thought I was just being an idiot for not knowing it, but reading the comments, it seems I'm in good company.

Teedmn 9:08 AM  

Like the PRINCESS in the fairy tale, I feel a bit bruised by this one. It took a few minutes over my Sunday random-solve average plus I had an error at EGEcTA-TEcORO, darn it.

Even though I had the 123A revealer early on, it took a while before I recognized what was going on, which was at GREEN [PEA]CE. The one that baffled me was SNI[PEA]T. I had [PEA] HEN for the across but didn't notice it when I was trying to fill in 90D. Nice hidden PEA.

Fun to see MANNHEIM again so soon. There seemed to be a ton of three-letter answers but then something like RORSCHACH would rear its head, or QUEEN OF MEAN or KING SOLOMON.

Thanks, Natan, I liked your Sunday puzzle.

John H 9:13 AM  

1. I am tired of the excuses, which seem to involve a drink or two.

2. Caught the rebus quickly with green peace. Missed the princess-mattress size-pea connection until I came here.

3. HATED the editing, because of one of my pet peeves, something that someone who claims to have expertise in language like Will Shortz should have caught. "Wherefore art thou" is nonsense as a stand alone phrase. "Wherefore" means "why", not "where". In that famous and almost universally misused phrase Juliet is pondering the mystery of her love for Romeo, his very existence. She isn't wondering where he is, she is wondering how he came to be. "Wherefore (i.e., why) are you Romeo and not someone else?"

mooretep 9:14 AM  

Loved the puzzle.
Found it crunchy.
Very difficult time in the southwest.

Only issue was "POLYSCI".
Its an abbreviation of Political Science and should be PoliSci.

Cyclist227 9:17 AM  

Took me a little longer than usual, but I didn't find this one particularly hard.

krazykat 9:36 AM  

I failed in the same manner, if that helps.

No, I didn't think that it would.

kitshef 9:42 AM  


Took me a couple of minutes post-solve to understand the theme, and then … WOW!

Nancy 9:45 AM  

When you don't know and you won't cheat, puzzle-solving can be very difficult. Yes, I liked the rebus, but it didn't help me with the all the computer stuff and pop culture I didn't know. And where I guessed, I guessed wrong in every case:

LAO TSE instead of SUN TZU (94D). APP instead of PDF (78D). CAV instead of CUB at 100A. EPA instead of SDS at 83A. Hey, Will and Natan -- there's nothing remotely "New" Left about SDS. It was a prominent organization back in the early 1970s, if memory serves. By now, it's Old Left.

I didn't know the Wicked Game guy; the odometer website feature; Simba's father; the Grammy winner; the Skylarking band. I ended up with 9 uncompleted answers in the SW. I was annoyed by the pop culture and couldn't be bothered to cheat. And anyway I don't cheat. The rebus was nice and this puzzle could have been made so much fairer and so much more enjoyable.

jmiz 9:46 AM  

Went to BSCHOOL. Not a tech Bro. Feel like I’m a little more than useless. Guess I should have pursued a different course of study in grad school, maybe something like comics or crime fiction or something more useful.

GILL I. 9:51 AM  

Oh WOW...And to think I almost tossed this into the wastebasket.
The MATTRESS was easy enough to get. First thing out of my mouth SO WHAT! Please don't be boring.
Took a while to get the PRINCESS. At this point, I began to circle them seeing their positions. Another SO WHAT. I'm getting bored and I didn't know how to spell RORSCHACH.
Had to go all the way down and get PEA before I let out a loud WHOOP. I just knew that 67A was an AP[PEA]LS court. That is what held me up for an eternity. I'm going to go get me some PEA, I am!
A MATTRESS with her PRINCESS being disturbed by a rebus PEA. All in order. WOW, again.
I'm in awe, Natan. I usually am not into fancy pants construction unless you're Liz G, but this is impressive.
I didn't have one single UGH but I did have to Google HIT COUNTER and FAKE TAIL. Learned something new that I will forget after my noon nap.
Too bad that I almost finished (and I'm glad I did) before seeing the lovely conceit of the puzzle. I only do the NYT puzzles so I don't know if this has been done before. So this was new and, in the end, very enjoyable.
I think later on today I might indulge in a BLT with a TALL BOYS BOOZE sitting along with my IT GUY.
After the BED REST, of course.

Imfromjersey 9:59 AM  

Overall I enjoyed the puzzle. One minor nit to pick: I drive a Nissn Leaf, never have I referred to it as an ecocar, this is nit a phrase I've ever seen outside of crosswords.

Suzie Q 10:27 AM  

Well done, Natan.
I can't think of the fairy tale without remembering a comic version of the story on the Carol Burnett Show.

Peter P 10:30 AM  

@John Hnedak: I see no problem with the cluing for "Wherefore art thou." It just says "start of the line that includes 'wherefore art thou' ". There's no reason the quoted material needs to be a stand-alone phrase. I'd be just as fine with a clue like, "start of the line that includes "who art in heaven" or "in order to for a more perfect union." (I'm sure there's better examples, but it's still early for me.) It's an iconic and memorable phrase fragment that instantly conjures up Romeo & Juliet, even for me, an English major who darn well knows what "wherefore art thou Romeo" means. (And I suspect most anybody who has covered this play in school and paid any attention knows, as well.)

@GILL I: Well, maybe you'll forget it even before your noon nap, as it's FAT TAIL. ;) HIT COUNTERS were ubiquitous in the early days of the net. I remember having one on my website in 1995 or 1996. Haven't noticed one used unironically in about 20 years. (I'm sure they must still be out there somewhere, just more inconspicuous.)

Unknown 10:32 AM  

Basically finished, got the rebus,admired the mattress types ON the pea. Got the other theme words...even "princess." Got all the princess names, of course. BUT somehow overlooked that the princesses were ON the mattresses! Too cool!

Alison T. 10:48 AM  

All of the top ten ranked business schools have at least 40% women. We call it B School too. Wharton (Penn) has 44% Harvard slightly fewer. Don’t be a male chauvinist.

jberg 11:01 AM  

I was really struggling until I got to the clue for PRINCESS, which mentioned that they were being disturbed -- Aha! That's why I was having so much trouble with AP+LS court! I realized that I had QUEEN and FULL already (once I'd corrected 'bottle agED' for those wines), so I went back and put in the second rebus Very satisfying!

My other problem was spelling -- POLiSCI (just for the record, I taught political science for 42 years, and never saw the Y version, although apparently it is out there) and ROhrsHACH. Also, I kept thinking the part of the ear must be fOB, despite having eaten corn on the COB for 4 of the last 5 nights. Just couldn't have that pop into consciousness.

Observation: @Rex and @Lewis seem to have had very similar solving experience, but it's a minus for Rex, a plus for Lewis. We all want different things from the puzzle!

I did do a websearch, but it wasn't cheating -- I got the correct answer, wrote it in, and then checked. I would have sworn Juliet said "Romeo, O Romeo..." rather than "O Romeo, Romeo..." I was wrong, but I put in romeoO, then corrected it from the crosses.

I posted very late the day I mentioned that our dog was about to have a radical mastectomy, so people may not have noticed. Anyway, it was completely successful, and she is recovering well. She can't come upstairs to the bedroom with us at night, which is sad for all concerned, but it's only for 10 days. Such a relief!

Birchbark 11:04 AM  

I would have given up, but this is the first time I've gone a full month with no fails. That kept me working, and working, through EPHESia/kiFASA/kgBTIES/Sga. Then over to TESaRO/SNaGs, which tho' one letter from the music, had me tearing the whole area apart in increasingly random combinations until serenity prevailed. I now look back on a month of golden stars and know that whatever else happens, they can't take that away from me.

42D is a high-school flashback:

Wave upon wave in a spiral array
A pattern so grand and complex
Time after time we lose sight of the way
Our causes can't see their uhh-fects.

-- Neal PEART's lyrics in Rush's "Natural Science" (phonetic "effects" = Geddy Lee vocals)

It may be sophomoric, but when you are a sophomore what more could you ask? You could ask for super-precise-rapid-fire drums, and Mr. PEART would take care of that too.

Passing Shot 11:07 AM  

@mooretep 9:14 — thank you. “POLY” SCI doesn’t exist and doesn’t even make sense. Otherwise, liked this.

Banana Diaquiri 11:26 AM  

it was the BSCHOOL bros (although the main weapon, the CDS, was created by Blythe Masters) that caused the Great Recession and the current wealth transfer from the poor to the rich via The Orange Julius. the future will not be bright thanks to that cabal. and, most econ undergrads don't do BSCHOOL. most are from non-econ/finance (engineering and the like) or BBA; both needing to punch the 'I know how to manage anything' ticket. THE BSCHOOL is also the nickname of the most famous, but not the first, at Harvard. the one thing that can be blamed on Effete Eastern Intellectuals. they do so well at it.

Z 11:27 AM  

I’m curious, how did all of you solvers who didn’t get the full theme not get it? There are three separate revealers, the clue/answers for 14D, 82D, and 123A. I got MATTRESS, noticed I had QUEEN and TWIN in the puzzle already and figured I’d see FULL and KING eventually. More or less the same experience upon uncovering PRINCESS and PEA. To me the multiple revealers felt a little condescending, “There there this is too complicated for you to figure out so here’s the answer key,” and yet a fair number of you apparently never even noticed. How? Heck, the revealer clues even tell us to look for four. I could understand if there was one revealer easily filled from the crosses that solvers might not bother reading the clue or maybe not the whole clue. But three times? How?

Music Man 11:51 AM  

Re: 67D. Grammy winning Meghan TRAINOR. Her hit song “All About That Bass” was #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for 8 consecutive weeks in late 2014. She went on to have moderate chart success with other songs in 2015. In 2016, she received a Grammy award for Best New Artist.

Casarussell 11:52 AM  

Plunked down Okeefe without thinking and spent the next five minutes convincing my self there was no way there was two Fs in her name. Ugh.

Did the same with Texaco (growing up in Texas). Never heard of Tesoro. Double ugh.

Otherwise, loved the theme and general fill.

tkincher 11:58 AM  

I learned of Les McCann from the Beastie Boys (“And then I talk to the people like Les McCann” lyric in, I think, “Root Down”) and his stuff is pretty great. Eddie Harris also gets a shout out in “So What’cha Want”.

CashPo’ 11:58 AM  

Do B-girls go to B-school?

Tim 12:15 PM  

I used to work for Tesoro in San Antonio, TX, and most of the Tesoro gas stations were close to the refineries, which were in Martinez, CA, Salt Lake City, UT, Mandan, ND, Anacortes, WA, Kenai, AK, and Kapolei, HI. If you didn’t live near there or travel there, you would never have seen them. Tesoro changed their name to “Andeavor” (weird name) and then were bought by Marathon a year after that. You won’t be seeing too many Tesoros in the years to come. “Tesoro” is Spanish for “treasure.”

Hoboken Mike 12:22 PM  

To me the clue didn't imply those words mean anything as a stand alone phrase. But they are the words in the line and for me it was a perfect clue,

Also I'm not sure what you mean by universally misused. I would wager 50% or more of the oral uses of that word today are reciting that exact phrase, where it is used correctly. I think the percentage goes up, not down, in written uses of the word, as except for that correct phrase not many folks use it.

But perhaps you misedited your critique of misediting and meant to say misunderstood.

In that case I'd point out that I think it is also one the most commonly taught plays of Shakespeare and that teachers positively delight in explaining the true meaning of wherefore.

The editing sometimes sucks -- SDS as a NEW left group say -- but I sure didn't see it on O Romeo.

Joe Dipinto 12:29 PM  

@SuzieQ 10:27 -- I don't remember Carol Burnett doing a skit on her show -- but she starred in the comic musical "Once Upon A Mattress", based on the tale of the princess and the pea, on Broadway back around 1960. One of her early successes.

Hartley70 12:40 PM  

Whoa, lots going on here so this Sunday held my interest til the end which came a third longer than usual. The mattress sizes plus the rebuses, plus the princesses made me think, “Who needs the Prince?” I loved this. Many thanks for the fun!

RooMonster 1:01 PM  

Hey All !
Completely missed the PRINCESSes on the MATTRESSes part of the theme. Thought that it was just 4 rebussed PEAS. Oy. Thought Rex was gonna rip this to shreds because of that. I just said, "I guess I'll ROLL WITH IT." Then when I got here and read how the theme worked, first I looked again at the grid, found the PRINCESS MATTRESS PEA, then smacked my head with a DOH, and then had a ton more admiration for this puz. IM A FAN.

Fell into the rod/reel trap for 36/37A. Nice. Also SIT for SPEAK before finding the rebus. Which I found at the combination of saying, "that drummer is NEIL PEART, why won't it fit?" and GREENPEACE having to be correct. So after getting 123A PEA, the ole brain said, "Heyyyy, maybe the PEA is rebussed in those answers." I'm HIP to it.

Found the South part more difficult than the North. That PPP section of EPHESUS/SDS/SOS was ungettable. Managed to guess right at SUNTZU, but just filled in letters to have something in the squares. :-) DNF, obviously. Oh well.

Other writeovers, kId-RIB, TExacO-TESORO, ilLS-AILS, ioTA-ZETA. Oh, and wanting an H somewhere in the RORS part of Mr. Ink Blot.

So a very cool puz, once one knows how it works. :-) Maybe I just need some BOOZE.

"MUFASA!" "Ooh, do it again!" (Lion King)


Masked and Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Clever, different puz mcguffin … stacked themers. Like it. And, thankin the heavens there weren't no PEA-PEA rebus TWIN entries.

Learned lotsa new stuff and new people names from this solvequest. Toughest was NEILPEART, becuz it housed a hidden rebus square, too boot. Oh, yeah and MUFASA/EPHESUS required research, but my "When in doubt guess U" rule held up.

Best Ow de Speration: BSCHOOL. Is this B as in Business? B as in Beer? B as in not A-rated? Confused the M&A a bit, even tho once again got it ok, thanx to relatively friendly crossers. Honrable mention to: TESORO/EGESTA.

staff weejecta pick: Star of the puz, PEA. NW & SE weeject piles, too; with a PEA [and a RIB] at the pile bottoms; admirable.

Some fave fillins, of which there were many many many: SNAKEOIL [nice EOI-run]. BEDREST [har]. HOWTRUE [debut entry, amazinly]. INHOUSE. RORSCHACH. ROLLWITHIT. FAIRSHAKE. … xtc., xtc.

Thanx for the BED & the REST, Mr. Last. Great job.

Masked & Anonymo11Us

Alex S. 1:18 PM  

I live a block from a Tesoro station so while that wasn’t the first thing I thought it wasn’t hard for me.

The fail I had is as a former resident of Hawaii when faced with PO- and “popular fruit drink” it is impossible to thing of anything other than POG. Especially when NEGEA seems as reasonable as any other option.

Suzie Q 1:30 PM  

@ Joe D,
I suppose that must be it but I only could have seen it on TV.

GILL I. 1:31 PM  

@Peter P...Oops....Didn't know FAT TAIL either.
@Joe Dip...I remember seeing Once Upon a Mattress on Carol Burnett's show. Used to watch her all the time because that's what you did when you were young and your parents controlled all three networks. ;-)

Unknown 1:40 PM  

Shouldn't it be "poli sci", not poly

TubaDon 1:58 PM  

     So much stuff I didn't know. Disney characters, drummers,.. DW clued me in on Meghan_. After the hint at 123A I went to the online solver and got the rebuses. Finally finished in a little over 30 minutes, plus time for an invigorating beverage (well, tea). A few nice clues, but I agree with rex that BALD CAPS are not part of the person's costume they are a part of the person.

Aphid Larue 2:02 PM  

There's a hit counter on healthylifecalculator.org , in teensy type because it's just for my info.

Mike Rees 2:13 PM  

I thought this was going to fall into challenging territory, as there were so many guesses involved for me, but I lucked out and finished in two-thirds of my average time, so I guess that makes it easy-medium for me.

Banana Diaquiri 2:26 PM  

Do B-girls go to B-school?

many try, but few are taken. there's a multitude of data on the innterTubes; the bottom line, so to speak, is about 1/3 are wimins.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  


Belle on Leona, Anne on Solomon, Leia on ...someone full-bodied (Han? Lando?), Xena on her TWIN SISTER!!?

NYT getting' beaucoup kinky. No wonder OFL needed a couple of drinks.

Ginny 2:46 PM  

I loved this theme and thought the puzzle was great but came over here to ask if BARBQ is actually in the language? If I see it abbreviated, it's BBQ or Bar-B-Que.

Brookboy 2:46 PM  

This puzzle must’ve been as challenging to create as it is to solve. It’s impressive on so many levels.

I got the PEA rebus fairly quickly, but I never saw the relationship of the princess, the mattress size, and the pea. Thus they were no help to me.

I worked in investment banks for over 20 years, and I can tell you that the phrase BSchool is used by everyone. Investment banks hire college graduates as analysts for a two year period, and the expectation is that after the two-year period, the analysts will go to BSchool. If they do, they often return to the investment banks as associates, which is the beginning of their banking career. If successful as bankers they will go on to become managing directors, and in the process, can become very wealthy. It is a career path vilified by some and highly desirable to others.

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

Ditto and Amen. Nothing like tarring with a broad brush.

Dick Swart 4:03 PM  

WOW! DNF. Never saw the rebus. Too many specific names unknown to me.
South West a total loss. At least I knew Tesoro. There is a station across the Columbia in Bingen WA.

thefogman 4:07 PM  

This one was a theme-lover's delight. Rex (the King of Mean?) isn't big on themes so that explains some of his crankiness. The other reason is he HADAFEW. Anyhow, I thought this one was terrific. Except for the EPHESUS/SDS crossing. I guessed EPHErUS/rDS. Wrong! Not fair Mr. Last! But triple-stacked themers like this are rare so I'll forgive you.

JOHN X 5:09 PM  

@ Suzie Q 1:30 PM

I remember Carol Burnett doing "Once Upon A Mattress" on TV in the 1970s as well, but it was a stand-alone production, not a part of her variety show. I just looked it up and it was in 1972.

As for the puzzle, it was okay but I had a DNF because I had a wrong letter in the cross of EPHESUS and MUFASA and I couldn't find my error. Blaming the puzzle is not the JOHN X way, but let's all agree that those are some pretty stupid words.

Nancy 5:50 PM  

Wondering how many of you noticed the clever construction while solving -- the various princesses on top of the various size mattresses on top of the rebus peas. I, not being visual, missed the first 2/3 of it. And when the construction is that clever and intricate, the constructor can be forgiven for a lot of PPP clues, right? But I can only say what my solving experience was, and it just wasn't all that much fun. Sorry, Natan -- it's quite a brilliant accomplishment and I wish I had enjoyed it more.

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

I didn't even think of Polysci, which makes no sense to me. I therefore had 39D polisci, 57A poi, and 52D Apian pears, assuming they either came from Samoa or were somehow connected to bees. I guess these are impossible alternatives?

Anon. i.e. Poggius

SJ Austin 6:47 PM  

Oh wow, I had no idea how deep this theme ran until I read this. I just figured it was PEA rebuses and some princesses. It's a lot more impressive than I figured. Tough one!

mmorgan 8:11 PM  

C'mon folks, SDS is New Left even if it's now "old." I mean really, just look it up...

Interesting how so many people -- like me -- solved this without putting the PEAs and mattresses and the princesses together.

Anonymous 8:22 PM  

Several complaints about referring to SDS as a "new" left group. It was a "New Left" group, part of a political movement that identified itself that way -

GPO 8:44 PM  

This puzzle was fine, and challenging.

One problem: what the hell is POLYSCI?

I think they meant “poli sci,” as in short for political science.

What is “poly sci”? Polymer science?

Bad crossword editing!

Fitzy 11:11 PM  

"Tesoro" is the Spanish word for "treasure"... just as a point of interest

oldactor 12:09 AM  

Bald cap is fine. If on Halloween you go as Mr. Clean and you have hair you would need a bald cap.
You see them all the time on SNL. I even own one that I wore as "the Old Actor in the Fantasticks.

Joe Dipinto 1:55 AM  

Re "Once Upon A Mattress" -- huh, I still don't remember it from her variety show, which we watched regularly, but I might have seen the TV version that John X mentioned (we staged it at my high school around that time). I also remember a much later TV version where she played the evil queen instead of the princess.

Debbie 3:54 AM  

Despite the fact that I too was led astray in initially thinking it was Mr Clean/Lex's costume, I loved BALDCAPS as an answer. I felt it was the perfect misdirection, and if a person with hair dressed as one of these characters without the bald cap, it just doesn't work. I'm giving Rex 4 out of 5 on the Grouchometer for that one ;)

I could see MANNHEIM and TESORO being a Natick for some. I only knew the former through Mannheim Steamroller (I worked at FYE during holidays as a kid, I've heard their Carol of the Bells enough for a lifetime) but never realized it was an actual place until recently.

@GPO I had an issue with POLYSCI as well, have always seen it as Poli Sci.

Overall I enjoyed the grid, though didn't even notice the princesses on the mattress types until the very end. (Whoops!)

PatKS 8:17 AM  

After Greenpeace I immediately remembered the Carol Burnett show with Bernadette Peters.

Cassieopia 12:54 PM  

I’m very late to the party but had to comment. I LOVE LOVE LOVED this puzzle! Tough, but when I figured out the princesses on the mattresses and the peas...pure perfection. Had a DNF at zENA/z-whatever the band was but didn’t care, LOVED the puzzle theme. Clever and creative and fun!

Unknown 10:53 PM  

I got caught on the Rebus too. Got impatient and went with sik. The NYT has done this crap in the past.

Unknown 5:17 PM  

Disgusted with myself over Asian pears and speak. If I put the puzzle down for 10 seconds I would've gotten it. Impatience is the mortal enemy of the cruceverbalist. 😣😣😣

Mike Johnson 12:46 AM  

I got hung up on SDS and SOS, wasn't till I revisited the puzzle a couple days later that Ephesus popped into mind. But Polysci is just inexcusable, the worst kind of misspelling -- not inadvertent, but from misunderstanding the word itself.

Elle54 8:40 AM  

No one will see this, but why do people on the left ( Rex) stereotype and organize people into groups? What is wrong with getting an MBA? As a female MBA, I work in health care and my employers and patients don't think I'm useless! People are individuals and should be treated as such!

Burma Shave 1:52 PM  


who's HADAFEW on the MATTRESS, large-scale.


rondo 2:14 PM  

If the constructor and the editors can't get POLiSCI correct, how can we trust any of the other clues/answers? Inexcusable, IMO.

FATTAIL shoulda been clued as "Certain Harley".

Mary-Kate and Ashley get a TWINSISTER yeah baby.

Ambitious puz for the theme, but with the rebus and editing errors CITED above, a perfect example of why I am considering giving up the Sunday puzzles. This didn't seem like fun.

AnonymousPVX 3:14 PM  

Well, I got through it....I really dislike these “put a bunch of letters in a square” puzzles, clever or not.

Never ever heard of TESORO. Ever. Agree with the “POLYSCI” kerfluffle, it’s POLISCI.

rainforest 4:22 PM  

Terrific puzzle. Got the first PEA at the SPEAR/GREENPEACE cross but didn't catch the total theme until the great NEIL PEART showed up, and then got MATTRESS. After that the puzzle was a lot of fun until I got to the dastardly SW. Debunk? was a great clue for ROUST.

The neat part of solving this was looking for a TWIN and a KING and a PRINCESS lying on top. That's how I got PEAHEN.

On one of my trips down the coast, I gassed up at one TESORO station, and got directions from another. So they do exist. Or did, three years ago.

Overall, an immensely intricate and well-executed puzzle which was a pleasure to solve.

leftcoastTAM 7:53 PM  

Big Sunday puzzle with a small but unhelpful gimmick-theme. Got it and slogged my way toward the SW.

Dragging me down was BALDCAPS, which led to the depths of the unknown MUSAFA, TRAINOR, HITCOUNTER and ROUSTS. Sank.

Glub, glub. May I RIP.

Diana,LIW 10:16 PM  

got the pea, got the mattress. still working on the puz

nice concert downtown today with the symphony and "the red violin"

Lady Di

Carl 10:30 PM  

I found it to be fairly easy. I got it done well before 60 Minutes came on with only a minimum of googling. I had Greenpeace halfway figured out then the rebus came readily.

Anonymous 11:56 PM  

I know that I am among the syndicated folks who only got this puzzle on 10/7 but I am hoping someone can still explain to me "BSCHOOL" (62 down) ...For folks who haven't seen the Tesoro brand name, I suggest visiting Montana or Idaho.

Diana,LIW 1:51 PM  

@Anon - B School = business school

Lady Di

wcutler 1:02 AM  

I know this is really late, but it takes me all week to do these weekend puzzles, or at least it used to, was always the goal to finish before the next one came out. I was way fast on this, finished on Wednesday night. I do them in bed, and put them down when I realize I've been dreaming, and then I try to slither under down and out before waking up, which is never successful.

Anyway, @Z 11:27 AM some days ago asked how we could have missed the full gimmick. I'm with someone else who got the mattresses over the peas, was having trouble with the three royals on the peas but TWIN wasn't a royal. I circled the clue about the four people, but never twigged that they were over the mattresses (same length, nice) that were over the peas. I'm so happy to see that I wasn't the only clueless solver, and I'm so happy you all were here to explain what was going on. I enjoyed the bit I did understand enough to cover what I didn't figure out.

I did know TESORO, though I live in Canada. I guess I've seen it on the Olympic Peninsula and in Hawai'i, knew I hadn't seen it for a while. I did not know the drummer or the fictional character, I think my only wrong answer.

Anonymous 3:23 PM  

Lots of clever clues, but, honestly, I was offended by "IT GUY," as was my daughter-- who is an IT GAL, I guess.

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