Of the cheek / TUE 9-18-18 / Clothing brand with horse head logo / Dance in days of doo-wop / 1990s BP acquisition

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Constructor: Greg Johnson

Relative difficulty: By the clock, Medium-Challenging, but I solved at 4:45am, so ... adjusting for brain fog, probably more Medium (3:37)

THEME: gases — letters form molecule annotations for three gases at three different points in the grid:

Theme answers:
  • METHANE (20A: Flammable gas represented in 18-Across and 9-Down)
  • CARBON DIOXIDE (38A: Respiratory gas represented in 36-Across)
  • AMMONIA (55A: Pungent-smelling gas represented in 57-Across and 49-Down)

Word of the Day: MALAR (34D: Of the cheek) —
  1. 1. 
    relating to the cheek.

    "a slight malar flush" (google)
• • •

It is what it says it is. There's the gas, there's the molecule. Ping, pong, ping, pong, ping, pong. Not a lot going on. Maybe there aren't that many "HNH" or "HCH" answers in the world, and somehow getting the molecule thing to work out is supposed to elicit an ooh and/or aah, but this felt pretty dull and pointless to me. Further, the grid was choked with crosswordese (in a way that the NYT has, to its credit, increasingly avoided, of late). All IMACs and IPADS and DON HO's OBI and OHO UHUH! extra-H AHCHOO! ECONO-OWIE! EMT ETO ESTOP! You could say the grid was AWASH in such answers. Brutal. I got held up in a number of places for the dumbest of crossword reasons, to wit: is it SCAT or SHOO!? (1A: Shout to a pest). Is it HEWN or SAWN!? (5D: Cut, as logs). Is it AHA or OHO!? (58D: "Well, what have we here?!"). You see how fun this is! In the end, molecules are written out as adjacent letters and crosswords have adjacent letters and that is apparently good enough for a random three-gas theme with no wordplay or "play" of any kind. Tuesday!

Five things:
  • 19D: Means of hair removal (HOT WAX) — another point of slowage. Had the "H" but needed many crosses to get it. Not surprisingly, I think it was the "X" that gave it to me.
  • 42A: Part of da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM (IAMB) — I'm literally going to be teaching the concept of IAMB later today and *I* had no idea what this clue was doing. But, yes, one "da-DUM" is, technically, an IAMB (a poetic foot that goes unstressed-STRESSED)
  • 11D: Word after fire ... or a synonym of fire (AXE) — too much information for a Tuesday. Didn't appreciate what was going on here (i.e. that the post-ellipsis part of the clue had a different meaning of "fire") until, well, a few seconds ago.
  • 34D: Of the cheek (MALAR) — well you don't see that one that often. Probably for reasons. (Seriously, it's been E L E V E N Y E A R S since this word last appeared in the NYTX)
  • 50A: Devices that may serve as cash registers (IPADS) — the answer that took me the longest. Just couldn't process it, despite having people process my purchases with IPADS literally every week at the farmers market. I think ... yeah, I don't think of them as "cash registers" because, well, there is no "cash" in them. We'll be calling IPADS "cash registers" thousands of years, when "cash" is some archaic word that exists only in dictionaries and crosswords.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Jofried 6:06 AM  

Well I loved this puzzle...but I’m also a Chemistry teacher! I literally laughed out loud when I realized what was going on and then flew through it. What a great way to start my day!

Lewis 6:07 AM  

This is a good puzzle to show to someone just getting into crosswords, with five oft-used initialisms all solvers should know: NGO, ETO, OMG, EMT, OTC.

Trickiest clue/answer for me were those for MOODY, describing one who is changing emotions, rather than emotions themselves. There was also a mini-theme of double-E's (5).

Happy to be back! But what a glorious week-and-a-half away for my son's Maine wedding, where he got hitched without a hitch, with tears and warm hearts all around.

smalltowndoc 6:17 AM  

How is IMAC a Chromebook competitor? The latter is a laptop computer; its “competitor” is a Macbook. An IMAC is a desktop computer. i.e., is rests on top of a desk, requires a cord plugged into the wall, and weighs a heck of a lot more than any laptop! Using an IMAC on your lap is just asking for a very unfortunate injury!

JJ 6:32 AM  

I was slowed down for at least a minute after writing MOODS instead of MOODy. When I finished I didn't get the congrats. I don't know how many times I read LSE before I recognized my mistake. When you see someone with high cheekbones, that prominence is your MALAR eminence-- now you know.

BarbieBarbie 6:38 AM  

AMOCO another nod to gas. CARBONDIOXIDE crossing BREATH. The METHANE molecule placed right where you have to cut the CHEESE to see it. Chemistry, with actual molecules. What’s not to love here? Agree about the junk fill, especially in the SW, but that’s the price paid for the grid. This was a really clever puzzle that I didn’t figure out until the NH3, so it was a nice Aha. Thanks!
(DOWNTOWN has the same number of letters as EASTSIDE, so I did not set and speed records today.)

nevercared 6:42 AM  

I suspect Mr. Johnson needed some extra credit for a chemistry class he's taking? What a boring puzzle.

MOODS/MOODY? ....come on. There's not even word play in the clue; it's just a terrible clue. Zzzz...

Mo Pariser 6:48 AM  

Chemical compounds. Why?

For us non-chemists, the only acceptable theme was O-C-O.
OK lets see- one carbon, two oxygens. Got it. But....

H-C-H.... Uhhhhh Carbon Tetrydrogen??

No. Nope. UH UH. Not fun. It is reasonable to expect solvers to have a grasp of the periodic table of elements or basic scientific properties. It is not reasonable to expect solvers to be able to correctly identify a Methane molecule. Especially on a Tuesday.


JORDACHE is way too obscure for any day of the week. Crossed with MALAR nonetheless (so uncommon a word that my auto-correct is jumping through hoops trying to get 'Malay' on the screen)

A hamburger WITH CHEESE is ridiculous to me. Thats just called a cheeseburger. But at least this answer wasn't CHEESED (ala 'REEDED' of yore)

I didn't know a letter (at the aforementioned cross of JORDACHE and MALAR) so I typed and erased until the fat lady sang. Is that considered a solve or a DNF? Gray area in my book.

Lewis 7:29 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week:

1. When repeated, gets specific, as an informer (5)
2. Pricey bar (5)
3. John of Cambridge (3)
4. Print source (8)
5. "Got milk?" (4)


michiganman 7:32 AM  

Not a simple puzzle but easy enough with interesting cluing that was at times slightly devious. I sorta-ISH liked UHUH OHO, DONHO GOGO JUG HUG corner. Also liked SATAN TINA SCAN DIANA ANTIC STAT in SE. Fun to see OBI again (almost a Star Wars clue). There is something comical about the concept of HEMEN. Very silly thing. I liked this more and more as I looked at it after solving and just read the words in the puzzle. It's a few hours until lunch but IAMB going to have a burger AWASH WITHCHEESE.

Hungry Mother 7:40 AM  

I was a chemistry major for a couple of semesters before I switched to mathematics, so the formulae were no challenge. I had a bit of sluggishness in the SW, but faster than average time. Nice amount of Tuesday crunch.

Joe R. 7:42 AM  

@smalltowndoc -Yes! My thoughts exactly. I didn't fill in IMAC until I had almost all the letters, because I knew it was not a competitor to a Chromebook, and then was very annoyed when that really was what the clue was looking for. Very sloppy, very wrong.

And I, too, got caught by the MOODs/MOODY trap, and didn't notice the wrong cross until I failed to get the victory chime at the end and had to go hunting for a wrong answer.

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

An okay puzzle where we got both MOLAR and MALAR, a bonus. Some unusual long fill: SET DATE, WITH CHEESE, MILEPOSTS. But easy enough and an unusual theme.

A mystery over at X Word Info today. Jeff Chen never says anything bad about anyone. He seems like a genuinely nice person, in addition to being a terrific and prolific constructor. Today in explaining the risks of including an outlier like MALAR, he links to Michael Sharp's NY Times debut from August 17, 2010, with a reference to overly critical commentary, although that appears to be at his own criticism of today's puzzle.

Three mysteries:
1. The Sharp puzzle does not include the word MALAR. What word/words is Jeff referencing? GALOPS?

2. There is no commentary by Jeff to any of the Michael Sharp puzzles. Did someone ask that it be removed?

3. If you have the urge, check out the middle three down words in the Sharp puzzle, which was a Tuesday puzzle: FREI, SADR and OIE. Those would certainly catch Rex' attention in 2018 I am sure.

GHarris 7:59 AM  

Easy romp. True, one usually orders a cheeseburger but quite often when ordering a hamburger the waitress will ask me “do you want cheese on that”?

Lobster11 8:05 AM  

There is a word for "of the cheek"? Why?

"Do I have something on my face?"
"Yes, you do."
"Where is it?"
"On your left malar region."
"Thanks, but I'll just go find a mirror."

mmorgan 8:07 AM  

I don't know anything about chemicals or whatever these are (gases? gasses?) but I was able to get everything easily from crosses. Still, this was not a gas for me. I don't feel as harshly about it as Rex did, and I appreciate the constructor's effort, but for me the experience was more meh than not.

I know Rex is very critical of highly common, overused crosswordese. That's fine. But then why isn't it a good thing that an answer hasn't been used in E L E V E N Y E A R S? Or is it a Goldilocks phenomenon, where an answer shouldn't be used way too often or way too rarely, but with a frequency that is just about right?

Suzie Q 8:10 AM  

Sorry Mr. Johnson, no prize for this dud. The payoff was not worth the pain of so many plurals and proper names.
That SW corner is awful. Oho crossing Uhuh? Come on, you must be kidding. Even for Terrible Tuesday that is the pits and I don't mean orchestra.
Another bad crossing is molar and malar. He Men and Scotsmen in the same grid seems like too much as well.
The clue for 29A deserves a rant of its own esp with the clue for 32A.
Someone please give us a little fun with a witty comment or two.

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

"I'm literally going to be teaching the concept of IAMB later today and *I* had no idea what this clue was doing."

Taking a look at Rex's Rate My Professor score that's not a surprise!

A. Gore 8:12 AM  

The meta...

Cows, which yield yield both the cheese and the hamburger, fart methane gas.

Amoco, which gives us gasoline for our cars, fills the atmosphere with carbon dioxide.

And John Hughes, which gave as a slew of teen coming of age movies, smells up the room like ammonia?

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

gonna cry "foul" on the cash register clue. if there's no cash, there's no cash register. a way to record sales, back in the day, was "a register." un-recorded sales were "off the books."

three letter chemical compounds? duller than DRT

Johnny Whirlwind 8:34 AM  

This is the worst puzzle I've seen in weeks. MALAR crossing MOLAR? And an IMAC is a Chromebook competitor?

Not to mention the useless theme.

Irene 8:38 AM  

Southwest was awful, partly OHO plus UHUH, but also because I had MUG for JUG and was set for a director named Mo somebody, crossing somebody HO. Will someone tell me what MSRP stands for?

Dr. Gary Johnson 8:41 AM  

As a qualified brain surgeon I of course immediately recognized the various molecular structures and filled in the puzzle accordingly. The rest of the grid was just so easy that I let my patient solve it while I was sawing into his head.

I'm No Chemist 8:42 AM  

If chemistry is your theme is it good form to put something like 58D in your puzzle? O-H-O sure looks like a molecule to me.

GILL I. 8:52 AM  

Kinda liked KERR SHOO and AHCHOO. The JUG HUG ain't bad ether.
So how do you pronounce SOFIA? I pronounce it like gorgeous Loren. I'm happy to see two other lovelies - JADA who is still alive and DIANA who is very dead.
Im really not a GAS person. My husband is, so he'll enjoy this puzzle. He's an IRISH MAN but his best friend is a SCOTMaN. They have fun at the pub - lots of gas is exchanged.
Look, as Tuesday's go, this was OK. I think it was clever of Greg to have some symmetry with those little letters and what they mean sitting around close by. Did that make sense? No? Neither did IPADS because I thought I was clever with the ABACI.
@Mo Pariser. JORDACHE is everywhere. Even Walmart carries the stuff.
Must EXIT and finish my coffee.
P.S. HOT WAX hurts like hell. Don't try it under the armpits. If you use it on your upper lip, stay indoors for at least an hour because you look like someone gave you a fat lip.

Z 8:52 AM  

My thought while solving was, “well, all 33 chemists in the world who solve the NYTX will love this.”* Otherwise, Best. Tuesday. Ever.

@Mo Pariser - One of the reasons I don’t like solving electronically is that such short-cuts are available, so I might realize post-solve that if I had just looked at the clue with tilted head I might have noticed “of the” in the clue and sussed out that -AR suffix makes sense. You’re also making me feel old, since JORDACHE ads, and ads for jeans generally, were a defining feature of my teen years. As for the DNF question, that’s up to you.

@Joe R and @smalltowndoc - Isn’t IPAD a more accurate answer? I don’t really keep up anymore, but my impression is that ChromeBooks are less powerful tablets with a keyboard. With the newest IPhone iteration costing $1K and being so large, maybe that’s the actual competition. Anyway, I assumed the clue was asking for “four letter computer model” and I had the C, so I had no problem while solving. Completely agree with your nit.

@mmorgan - Is MALAR “in the language” or is it only here because of its convenient letters? The 11 year absence suggests that most constructors avoid it because it is not really “in the language.” Clearly from comments so far it’s not a widely known word. There’s a difference between being “fresh” and being “obscure,” even though both signify not being in the puzzle much. The difference between “Its been too long since I have seen you” and “You again? It hasn’t been long enough.”

*Exaggeration - not meant to be taken literally.

Sir Hillary 9:03 AM  

No, sorry, this one's a MAJ[or] dud.

Has anyone ever ordered a "hamburger WITHCHEESE" at a burger joint? UHUH. And adding an H to what is more typically "achoo" makes the whole methane molecule a fail.

MALAR? Too easy to pile on, so I'll leave it alone.

Isn't 58D "water"?

Shafty 9:09 AM  

I think Mr. Chen is parodying Rex; the structure of Chen’s post resembles the sort of complaints we might see here. The link to Mr. Sharp’s puzzle was merely icing on the cake, I think.

Sir Hillary 9:09 AM  

OK, let me get in front of any criticism for equating OHO with water by stipulating that, without a doubt, that is the dumbest thing I have ever posted here (or probably anywhere). I wish I could say I posted it in jest, but alas... :)

Nancy Nurse 9:10 AM  

Maybe this is just as obscure as malar but buccal was my first thought even though it wouldn't fit. I know buccal as a route to give medication. If you chew tobacco that is how you get your nicotine. The area between the cheek and gum is very vascular and absorbs things effectively.

Cliff Guthrie 9:11 AM  

Uhuh crossing oho, ho no! Ugh and ack.

Why are grunting noises acceptable in grids at all let alone when they cross?

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

I have a Chromebook. It competes with the IMAC like Schwinn competes with Honda. Just like @Joe R (7:42) I needed three letters before I believed the answer. I'm guessing that neither the constructor not the editor know much about Chromebooks.

Nancy 9:28 AM  

Oh goody! Gases! What a divine subject!

The annoying tiny little circles were completely lost on me, since Chemistry was not exactly my favorite or best college course. (I took a combined Chemistry/Physics course to fulfill my Science requirement because my father would not hear of me taking Astronomy or Geology, reputed to be much easier. "You cannot call yourself an educated person without knowing some hard science," said Dad. "I am not paying all this money to send you to an expensive college so that you can avoid Science yet again. Bad enough you went to a high school that didn't even teach Physics or Chemistry.") Actually it did, but they were electives and I avoided them. Anyway, the only reason I passed the damn Freshman college course was that it was a course geared to non-scientists and graded on a curve. It also met at 9:00 in the morning! In fact, the less said about Physical Science 193 at Smith College, the better.

Back to the puzzle. Had big trouble in the SW where first I wanted URN and then MUG instead of HUG at 57D -- and also didn't know JOHN HUGHES or DON HO. Other than that, no real problems, but very slow for a Tuesday. Enjoyed the [relative] difficulty.

FrostMo 9:34 AM  

Got through it all in decent time until the very end. Had some trouble in the SW, but eventually fell. I’ve never heard of JORDACHE and never seen the word MALAR. Was literally just guessing letters there until I hit R and the app said I was done, not great.

Adam Lipkin 9:54 AM  

An IPAD is a much more realistic Chromebook competitor, and that through me off in both the NW and SE areas as a result. I also went with FOOTNOTE instead of SEE BELOW, and MEDIUM RARE instead of WITH CHEESE, both leading to some backtracking. It's not a bad grid, per se (crossing MOLAR and MALAR was fun), but this one could have used some much better clueing.

Mid-level, mid-30s solver 10:07 AM  

Medium Tuesday solve time for me but I did not enjoy this - no interest in the theme whatsoever. The theme was immediately obvious but for me did not contribute to the solving experience. The only one I knew was CO2. HHHHC is methane? Who cares? HHHN is ammonia? Pungent smelling gas, or, smell emanating from this puzzle.

There is no sense in which iMac is a competitor of chromebook. We have iMac and iPad, and molar and malar? Blah blah blah.

Sixteen candles - I was one year old - didn't see it.

Tiny bubbles - from 1967 - not relevant to me.

I put medium rare for how a hamburger may be ordered. That makes sense. A hamburger with cheese is called a cheeseburger.

Z 10:09 AM  

Jeff Chen throwing a little shade? Cool. In case you’re interested, The ACME review of Rex’s debut NYTX. Note Rex’s comments. In case any of my “fans” are wondering, I was either still a lurker or still an anonymouse in those days. Lots of commentariat members I miss were commenting, always interesting to see their thoughts and style.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

mmorgan got there before me, but I just have to sum up RP's talkitude this way:
that word is always here!
that word is never here!
nobody says that word nowadays!
everybody says that boring word!
that obscurity is too obscure!
that banality is too banal!
that word is a word!
so is that one!
I hate words!
don't use them in your freakin puzzles!
take your puzzles home with you and don't let the door bang you on the posterior!

RP is a real fan of cross words...

PS the Verify thing was extra extra extra annoying today: thanks, computeroids! You're just as good people as RP himself!

Whatsername 10:14 AM  

Irene at 8:38: MSRP equals Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. It’s the bottom line cost of a brand new car.

The puzzle was okay but certainly no OHO or AHA moments. More like “oh” or bleh at a few of the clues. 26 down, easily changing emotions implies a plural noun, not an adjective. A better expression would have been “having” easily changing emotions. 24D seems like a stretch to correlate a fixed TIME to a set DATE. I can see how it does but just found it weak. And as for 42 across, IAMB would be a tough answer for a Saturday, completely out of place here. That aside, the gas theme was interesting and I learned a few things about science. Thanks for the effort Mr. Johnson.

Pete S 10:23 AM  

I have a lot of sympathy for the iMac-does-not-compete-with-Chromebook crowd, but I'm sure the constructor just has a finger on the pulse of millennial preferences:


Cassieopia 10:33 AM  

@Lewis 6:07 - congratulations on such a happy time!

Cassieopia 10:38 AM  

I liked it. Thought it was elegant that the letter arrangement attempted to mimic the molecule structure. Jordache popped big hair, shoulder pads, Miami Vice, and other denizens of the 80s into my brain. Amazing what makes a fad. The mysteries of being human.

RooMonster 10:38 AM  

Hey All !
Didn't know JORDACHE were still made and sold, although I don't shop for women's clothing. Do remember them being the shit in the 80's.

GOGO Gadget Arm! "Inspector Gadget" cartoon, for those who don't know what I'm talking about. :-) OMG="!!!"? Technically, I guess. Some dreck, but I thought the fill wasn't too AWASH with it. Actually liked the SW's UG-HO-UG-HO. IAMB not LYEing. :-)

I always wanted it to be AH CHOO with that first H, until I started doing crosswords and see that ACHOO is more common. Which one do you do? My build up to a sneeze is definitely an AH, not just a fast A. AHH, AHH, CHOO! even.

@Irene 8:38
MSRP is Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, probably the sixth person to answer.


jberg 10:54 AM  

Well, it was fun to see the little molecular diagrams, but I can see that they may not have been everyone's cup of tea, especially with the methane and ammonia.

I also liked the MALAR/MOLAR cross. Could you call an impacted wisdom tooth a MALAR MOLAR? No, I didn't think so. Birds are often described as having a malar stripe (at least, those that have such a stripe are), so that helped.

@Nancy, thank your father for not letting you take astronomy -- in my years advising science-phobic undergrads, I encountered many who didn't realize the heavy involvement of differential calculus-- needed to calculate orbits, for example -- in astronomy. Those who took it were sorry they had. (I loved it myself, but I had taken a lot of math first.)

@Rex, as Omar (not the one on "The Wire," the other one) said, "Ah, take the cash and let the credit go." I bet that will still be true in a thousand years.

(Actually, it was an old proverb Fitzgerals adopted; Philip K. Dick attributed it to Francois Villon, but I dunno.)

So I get the complaints, esp. UHUH OHO, but I liked it for some reason.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

@Anon9:11 --

Re: your comment recommending that we check out @Rex's rating on "Rate My Professors:"

I'm not able to get onto the site. What does it say about him?

BTW, he's not a Professor, he's a Lecturer, one of only two in an English department with 20-30 professorial appointments.

'merican back in Paris 11:00 AM  

I'm back now, after 11 days in the USA, attending my nephew's wedding near Atlanta and then visiting my older brother and a bunch of second cousins in Bloomington, Indiana. My brother, even two years after moving there, still hasn't installed internet connection in his house. Hence the radio silence.

I liked the theme, and had no trouble with it. CH4, NH3, and CO2 are pretty common gases. Must have been a challenge to line up words so that a single C would be surrounded by Hs.

However, for the third day in a row I DNF. I have no idea, nor could I guess how to fill in the rest of 56D after I had M_R_ (""). Nor did I know HUGHES' name, nor get suss ESTOP as the legalese version of "bar".

One nit: DIM is correct in response to 47D ("Like 10-watt light bulbs") only in the case of an incandescent lamp. A modern LED lamp rated at 10 W is, by contrast, very bright indeed.

OMG, it's DON HO à GO GO "!!!"


@GILL I: The Bulgarian capital is correctly pronounced as SOH-fee-ə.

Joseph Michael 11:11 AM  

After solving this puzzle, I experienced a case of spontaneous human combustion. Or was that just a nightmare about having to take a chemistry exam?

Marc 11:19 AM  

Only hang ups for me were MALAR and NGO. Former was not familiar with and latter had as NPO (Non Profit Org.) initially. Why does Rex point out both his disdain for overused answers (ONO, ENO, etc.) and answers not seen in ELEVEN YEARS (aforementioned MALAR)!!! OMG.

Shafty 11:31 AM  

@Anon10:58 - And where, pray tell, are YOU a full professor?

You might not like Rex's reviews (I often do not), but personal attacks are, and should be, unwarranted.

jb129 11:43 AM  

What is "NGO?"

And I'm surprised to see "men" twice in the same puzzle - Scotsmen & HeMen.

10:48 AM

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

1. Why are people so outraged at being expected to be familiar with some rudimentary science terms, but not the intricacies of star wars, game of thrones, et al? I'm an historian but i would never defend my right to lack basic science literacy.

2. When faced with a menu where the basic burger comes with salad ((lettuce, tomatoes, raw onion ) and an allegedly "special" sauce on top, yes i do ask for a burger with cheese.

Blackbird 11:57 AM  

Easy puzzle. Intriguing. Theme became clear early on. I was a poor science student in high school and college, but the science in the puzzle was simple and obvious. I had difficulty with some of the southwest and southeast, because I had mug instead of jug, never heard of John Hughes, and had no idea what MSRP is, but somehow things fell into place anyway. Thank you, Greg Johnson, for a fine puzzle.

IAMB glad to help 12:15 PM  

@Anon 10:58: You have to look under Michael Sharp, his real name. It's there.

JC66 12:15 PM  


Thanks for posting the link to @ACME's blog on @Rex's 8/17/2010 puzzle.

It brought back memories of a much happier time.

noparking 12:22 PM  

I was thinking the same thing.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

Anonymous 8:11 AM

Is there a metaphorical way to teach the concept of IAMB? (as opposed to literally)

Masked and Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Ran out of gas at JORDACHE/MALAR, due to holes in the M&A book of knowledge. After a rather large nano-second gas leak, gassed … er … guessed the crossin R correctly, and moved on. Lotsa fun stuff in this TuesPuz, tho -- so I'd hafta say it was a gas. And M&A was able to finish this puz snot-on-perfect ... thereby passin the gases with honors.

staff weeject pick: OHO. Hydrogen dioxide meat; unofficial themer. Honrable mention to NGO. Nitrogen go-oxide.
fave [official] themed gas: METHANE WITH CHEESE. [Output due to cuttin the cheese.]

Thanx for the primo gas attack, Mr.Johnson.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

Lewis 12:34 PM  

My five favorite clues from two weeks ago:

1. Puzzle in which people take turns solving (4)
2. It takes time to sink in (9)
3. What goes after the wrong type (10)
4. Scratch on the table? (3)
5. III in Ithaca (5)


clayplay 12:34 PM  

I was most confused with 57D. A jug is a form and can be made of earthenware, stoneware, porcelain or, as many definitions that I read said, glass or metal. There is no requirement that it be made of earthenware so that is a completely misleading and unhelpful part of the clue.

Warren Howie Hughes 12:40 PM  

OMG! DIS Tuesday offering, courtesy of Greg Johnson, was a total GAS...EXIT laughing GAS! Hahahahaha

Larry Gilstrap 1:22 PM  

We're being encouraged to look at student reviews of a crossword blog master? And for what reason? What a tawdry suggestion.

Speaking of bad people, we often hear complaints about the use of murderers and despots as suitable fill material. Well, why not go all in with SATAN?

Even with an excess amount of crosswordese and all that grunting and moaning in the SW, it's just a Tuesday and no reason to inspire throwing civility out the window.

Mo Pariser 1:23 PM  

Key words:rudimentary, intricacies, basic.

Imagine a puzzle themed with Game of Thrones surnames. This place would be up in arms. It would be a DNF circus.

Z 1:49 PM  

Came back here for a respite from the Mario Kart chortling over on Twitter (Hilarious immaturity, but you don’t really want to know).

@jb129 - NGO is Non-Governmental Organization. Think the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders.

@Sir Hillary- if it is any solace, I was about to make the same mistake and Jeff Chen actually did make it (although he may have “I was kidding” immunity).

@clayplay - For a crossword clue the answer only has to be true in one instance, not all instances. As for being “completely misleading,” that’s what makes this a puzzle. Check out the music discussion from earlier this week (late last week?) for another example.

@Larry Gilstrap 1:22 - My favorite professor rating site is the one that assigns peppers based on the prof’s “hotness.” It is my favorite because it most clearly demonstrates what all those sites really are.

JOHN X 2:35 PM  

I've been around here so long (under various names) that I remember when Rex published his first NYT puzzle! That's when Rex and Will were buddy-buddy, before the big breakup. I've never met either one of them but I like to think that it involved hand-cuffs and a ping pong paddle and lots of booze and coke.

My favorite answer from Rex's debut puzzle is SAWEDOFFSHOTGUN.

Pdxrains 3:16 PM  

Same here. Bogus. Macbook is a competitor for chrome
Book. Not an iMac

Sven-ska 3:17 PM  

MALAR was a snap. Figure drawing class had us in the morgue. The gases? Easy. As @mopariser said, basic--and in the news. JORDACHE-who can forget? NGOs are so important for international humanitarian missions.

But I got hung up filling in 'scat' instead of SHOO. Haha! What a relief to get hung up there.

This crossword was a blast.

jae 3:24 PM  

Medium. Add me to the list of those who were not particularly fond of this one for all the reasons stated.

Fashionista 3:50 PM  

And a great glass-half-full feeling for the too-common crosswordese that many long-time solvers are familiar with. Congratulations on your son’s nuptials.

Fashionista 3:52 PM  

Definite DNF. But a ploy I have also indulged with.

jb129 3:55 PM  

Thank you Z :)

Fashionista 4:04 PM  

Wondered where you were. No internet connection? My God, sneak off to Starbucks and re-connect with the world. Or not ... that idiot is still President.

Fashionista 4:05 PM  


Anonymous 4:05 PM  

"Skim" does not mean simply remove, it means take off the top. That's how you (used to) get cream out of milk, and that's (metaphorically) how dishonest persons divert some of the money they're supposed to handle. Removal happens, yes, but "skim" describes how it happens.

OffTheGrid 4:43 PM  

It's part of a male supremacy conspiracy.

Unknown 5:46 PM  

Manufacturer’s Retail Price

OISK 5:50 PM  

DNF, on Moods. I had LSE soap - perhaps it is a brand name? I am a chemist, so liked the theme, but two words crossing each other, really badly clued.... How many better clues are there for lye, (especially in a chem themed puzzle...how about NaOH ? ) and the clue for "moody" was unnecessarily ambiguous.

Left a sour (acid) taste.

Trey 6:32 PM  

Nobody picked up that it is JADA Pinkett Smith’s birthday today?

Tuesday 12:27 AM  

Or cheeseburger day

thefogman 11:16 AM  

It has always fascinated me how the addition or removal of one single atom to a molecule can change the properties of a substance so dramatically, i.e. methane burns really well; ammonia not so much. Of course Rex being MOODY. But IAMB of the opinion that this a decent puzzle with not much to SNEER at. Bonus! No writeovers today. Put a STARR on the calendar!

spacecraft 11:22 AM  

My biggest problem today was: who gets the DOD? I started with candidate #1 JADA, figuring she'd be the one--but then SOFIA showed up and threw a monkey wrench into things. Was trying to decide between these two when TINA made a last-minute appearance. What to do?

Oh, the puzzle. Right. well, I will say this: it's different. A forgivable use of circles; that's unusual enough. But a mini-course in organic chemistry inside a crossword grid? OHO! The resulting atmosphere would make it hard to take a BREATH. The "air" is pretty thin with only three examples, though how could you ask for more? Fill gets plenty distorted as it is, including the "extra-H" sneeze. Easy enough for the day. Points for originality; not so many for the fill. It's AWASH: par.

Sorry, girls, but SOFIA wins. "Head and shoulders," you might say.

Burma Shave 11:55 AM  


WITH CLAIMS of BANISHed bulk (if you AXE),
but SCOTSMEN drinking their first JUG
ARE HEMEN thinking, “After a HUG
these STARRs ARE still FAT-ISH in their JORDACHE.”


Diana, LIW 1:05 PM  

Ah, burgers WITHCHEESE. I don't even have to get gassy about that. We also have MEN twice, in the form of SCOTS and HE. And stop correcting me, Autocorrect! UHUH, you outta know I'm right. After all, IAMB a STARR in the SE today, and I'm not talkin' about TINA.

Gotta GOGO now, so I'm gonna EXIT, TATA.

DIANA ANA Roseanna-dana (props to @BS)

leftcoastTAM 2:28 PM  

Theme: "Chemistry for Dummies". Worthwhile stuff, I think.

Also learned MALAR, and reintroduced to IAMB.

Extra credit for three J's. Looked for the Beatles' JoJo. He wasn't there, but Ringo was.

Learned a couple of simple lessons today. I'll give it that, with thanks.

BS2 2:46 PM  

@DIANA, LIW - It's always something . . .

rondo 3:26 PM  

OHO, DONHO. j’ACCUSE. ME,THANE, you SCOTSMEN HEMEN, with missing mylar MALAR MOLARs. Wake me up before you GOGO ‘NGO. TATA. ESTOP now. STAT, FAT in the HAT! Give the cat AHCHOO SHOO. This old man came rolling home with no write-overs in 2X Rex.

SOFIA, JADA, ANA, TINA? No, one of our own: Lady DIANA! Yeah baby.

OMG, IAMB AWASH in IMACs and IPADS, maybe seven ORATE of ‘em. Kinda typical Tues-puz.

rainforest 3:33 PM  

As a retired Chemistry teacher, I appreciated the molecular diagrams in this puzzle. It was pretty easy until MOOD_, but again, Chemistry, so LYE went right in. Would have been a feat to get benzene (C6H6) in there.

Ah, JORDACHE jeans, the have-to-have back in the day. Do they still make those?
The SE was the thorniest for me because I have no experience seeing IPADS being used as "cash registers", and ANTIC doesn't quite mean "silly" to me. But they had to be, and so, victory.

Can't DIS a chemically-themed puzzle.

Diana, LIW 4:16 PM  

Digression alert - skip if easily bored:

@BS et al - In a grad school class on Testing and Measurements (IQ and other questionable subjects) we students were assigned debate teams. I was on one with the topic, "Statistical vs. Clinical Judgment." I was on the Clinical side, and we were one person short on our team. So, with the instructor's permission, I created a fifth member of our team - a combo of Rosanne Rosannadana and Miss Emily Latella. "What's all this I hear about Sadistics vs. Clinical Judgment?" After the expected correction, I went on as Rosannadanna, discussing my trip to a psychological counselor. Who farted during our session. "Hey doc! What's that SMELL?!" When asked by a team member what this had to do with the topic: "Well, it just goes to show ya, if it's not one thing, it's another. If the test don't stink, the shrink stinks." We were the hit of the debate portion of our course. Months later, the instructor would still stop me in the hall with the "shrink stinks" line. Try saying it five time fast. (And no, this was not my only venture into the worls of skits and improvs. I once turned Jack Mezirow into "Moserow" with his ten commandments of adult education. Complete with thunder and lightning.)

Lady Di

BS3 4:47 PM  

@DIANA, LIW - I should not be surprised that, sadistically, you were one person shy, yet came out "smelling" like a Roseanna. Holy Moses!

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