Secondary loan signer / SUN 10-14-18 / Image on ceiling of la chapelle Sixtine / Operating system developed at Bell Labs / Travel option for Birthright trips / Bone connection with convex concave fittings / Penalties for illegal bowls in cricket

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Constructor: Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Medium (12-ish)

THEME: "Game Hunting" — theme answers have board game names in them, and are clued as if someone was speaking about board games (i.e. wackily):

Theme answers:
  • THE RISK IS TOO HIGH (23A: "We can't play that game—I can't reach it on our shelf!")
  • SORRY NOT SORRY (38A: "My sincerest apologies, but that game is off the table")
  • I HAVEN'T A CLUE (54A: "We can't play that game unless we borrow someone else's")
  • PLEASE DON'T GO (76A: "I'm begging you, let's not play that game!")
  • LIFE'S TOO SHORT (85A: "No, that game would be over in a flash")
  • ASKING FOR TROUBLE (103A: "I've finally decided! I'm ...")
Word of the Day: COMAKER (82D: Secondary loan signer) —
one that participates in an agreementspecifically one who stands to meet a financial obligation in the event of the maker's default (
• • •

There are just so many things wrong here. First, the title: "hunting" has nothing to do with the theme. Nothing at all. Second, this theme has been done before; or, rather, a tighter, more modest version of it has been done before (here, April 12, 2010). Third, the cluing conceit, the whole gimmick, results in extreme awkwardness. PLEASE DON'T GO, in a game context, makes absolutely no sense. It's like PLEASE DON'T LIFE or PLEASE DON'T MONOPOLY, i.e. a game name cannot be a verb. Also, the last theme clue doesn't have the word "game" in it—unlike literally every other theme clue; if you're going to do a running theme clue ... thing, at least follow through. As for the fill, it's all over the map; there's some great stuff, but a lot of it looks like it was filled in by software powered by a purchased wordlist. There's longer stuff that is unusual but also kinda dull, like ONE'S COLUMN and SADDLE JOINT and the plural (?) MARGINS OF ERROR. Also, ULTRA MAN—what the hell is that?; I teach comics, I don't know what that is. Google is insisting that it's a '60s Japanese TV series, so I'm very confused. Anyway, NO BALLS? COMAKER? This isn't good fill. This is stuff a computer told you was valid. Humans should make human choices to please humans. It's great to get assistance from software, but reasonable human judgment is still required.

I thought this was easy enough, but then got very, very held up around words I didn't know. The first was COMAKER (!?!), a word that hasn't been in the puzzle since '04. Because it's dumb. If you asked me to to define COMAKER, I would've thought, well, that's easy: someone who makes something (say, a quilt) with others. But no. It has some dumb financial meaning that skews the meaning of "make" beyond recognition. Also, the "M" cross could easily have been an "H" (92A: Common filler words = UMS, and I kept wanting UHS). The other, larger tough section was everything in and around the SADDLE in SADDLE JOINT. HAD AT and not SET AT??? HARD SET (!?!?!?!). CAJOLERY! And with the "J" hidden behind a very vague clue for HAJ (59A: It's a trek). The thing that made this section really miserable, though, was figuring out, finally, that the answer to 56A: Laughs and laughs was ... HAS. Imagine, *imagine* having a very basic, infinitely cluable English word like HAS in your grid and thinking, "You know what would be fun...?" Dear lord. Again, stupendously bad human judgment.

["Nobody likes to be *too* close to Lubbock"]

Five things:
  • 113A: Officials in ancient Rome (TRIBUNES) — again, I don't understand the decision here. Why isn't this TRIBUTES—a much more common word with (and this is the important part) infinitely more cluing possibilities? TRIBUNES is more obscure *and* it locks you into a very restricted set of clues. Not so TRIBUTES. Maybe FIT (which would be the second "T" cross in this scenario) is already in the grid somewhere ... that's the only reason I could think of not to go with TRIBUTES.
  • 53A: What's plucked in "she loves me, she loves me not" (COROLLA) — ugh, no, stop. Shove your botany, this is "she loves me," no one is plucking a COROLLA. They're plucking petals. *Petals*. Be human!
  • 18D: Kind of number not much seen nowadays (FAX) — I figured the clue was doing that "number" switcheroo gag and so I wanted a three-letter synonym of ETHER
  • 81A: Island greetings (ALOHAS) — there are a lot of dumb plurals today. Well, there's this, and UNISONS. Oh, right, and of course MARGINS OF ERROR, who could forget?
  • 36A: Turning point in history (ONE B.C.) — I would've thought ONE A.D. was the "turning point, ONE B.C. being just another year as far as anyone knew then. But whatever.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Patrick O'Connor 12:09 AM  

I wasn't thrilled with much of this puzzle, for many of the reasons that you say. But I do think you're supposed to read the clues as someone trying to pick the right game to play (hence, hunting games), which is why they're all negative until the end, which is the "ah, at last we're asking for a game that we all want to play." For what it is worth, I am charmed by the word CAJOLERY and would be happy to see it in any puzzle.

Zed 12:12 AM  

Where’s Parcheesi? We can’t have a good epistemological debate unless we’re playing Parcheesi and sharing a six layer chocolate cake.

rachelrauch 12:19 AM  

I found this one fun in a few places, but kind of a slog overall after getting tripped up in the COMAKER & SADDLEJOINT regions already mentioned.

I can't remember now if Ultraman was one of the many Superman analogs in crisis on infinite earths, but he is a recurring evil alternate earth version of Superman who's come up in various forms over the years.

Canon Chasuble 12:29 AM  

Just a lovely Sunday puzzle: no junk fills, no rap, no easy clues either. How could one not love monomania, mere mortals, ones column, turtledove, saddlejoint or margins of error? Of course I blew "true colors" by first filling it in as "true selves," but soon realized it could never have crossed with selfie. Cricket reference was first rate, and even though I thought 53A should have really been "daisy" or at least "petal," I thought corolla was a pretty solid alternative. The "tricks" were honest and not contrived, and, for once knew the games being talked about. This was a great way to help get through the borefest of last night's Astros-Red Sox game. Well done, Ross Trudeau, and thank you for a Sunday that finally fills the need for a challenging, and even intellectual, puzzle.

TomAz 12:58 AM  

I mostly agree with Rex. I was fine with the theme, though. I'm all for wacky phrases in my puzzle from time to time, and this was OK. I particularly liked THE RISK IS TOO HIGH, that made me smile.

But man. the fill. Rex said it, I don't need to repeat it. This was one of those puzzles where I wondered if the constructor and I speak the same language.

Peter P 1:21 AM  

Pretty much same as @Canon Chauble. Enjoyed this one; enjoyed the cricket reference, and even made the same error with TRUEseLveS. COROLLA had me stumped, but I learned a new word today. Little bit faster than my usual Sunday solve. ONESCOLUMN had me scratching my head for the longest time, after getting it filled in with the crosses, That’s one I may gripe about a little bit, as a period and decimal point are different to me, even though they are the same symbol. But that’s the only clue that rubbed me a little wrong,

Adam 2:04 AM  

I got hung up on 36A, 37D, and 31D. Hosp. Readouts could’ve been EeG, EkG, ECG, and probably 5 other things, I initially had ONE C.E. And I had no idea what the Troy vessels were, so bIREMES seemed as good as anything else. It was essentially a double vague crossed with a natick. Ugh. Terrible.

Robin 2:17 AM  

To be honest, I didn't read the puzzle title, so if there was an expectation about the theme, I wasn't worried about it. So I thought the theme was somewhat silly if not a bit dumb, but not stupid or simply wrong

I was always a Marvel guy (back in the day when reading comic books was considered dweebish), so if there was something objectionable about ULTRAMAN, I wouldn't have known about it.

COROLLAs was weird. Was looking for some sort pf petals there as did presumably everyone else.

TRIBUNEs I had absolutely no problem with. Maybe I've read too much ancient Roman history?

MARGINSOFERROR didn't;t upset me much, although the plural reeked of crossword puzzle contraction.

COMAKER was literally the last thing I filled in. Didn't cry for that much.

Anyway, I wouldn't't call this bad, but I wouldn't argue with those who called it mediocre.

PS. The "captcha" on the comment form is getting really, really offing obnoxious.

jae 2:18 AM  

Medium, cute, liked it more than @ Rex did.

For a reasonably good biopic on BETTIE Page see “The Notorious Bettie Page”, with Gretchen Mol.

Greg 2:40 AM  

Didn't mind COROLLA (yay, another one for science majors!), but in my mind one doesn't pluck only a single corolla in the "he loves me" game. So either a different clue is needed, or else the plural corollae or corollas.

chefwen 2:57 AM  

@TomAz, so sorry for the loss of your kitty, always so hard to lose a precious pet. We’ve said goodbye to many and it’s always heartbreaking.

I actually had a great time with this puzzle. It was fun hunting down the games, I could have gone for a few more, but I’ll settle for six. TROUBLE was the only one I hadn’t heard of and by the name I don’t think I would like it.

NEED A lIft before RIDE at 110A was my sticking point. Pretty easy fix.

Off to the LA Times. Paul Coulter, not one of Rex’s favorites but one of mine.

'merican in Paris 3:09 AM  

ALOHAS to you, @chefwen!

I'm with TomAz (sorry about your cat), in that I found the theme OK, but otherwise agree with @Rex. Some answers, like TURTLE DOVE, just clicked, with no crosses needed; but many others did not. COMAKER was really obscure to me, but I realized after I had gotten all the crosses, it would either be that or COhAKER, which made less sense.

Otherwise, I didn't so much struggle with the answer words themselves but the cluing. Some was tough but fair, but too many others just off. TRUE COLORS (15D) is one example. The clue is "Who you really are". One would expect an answer like "TRUE self" or "A man of action". "These are my TRUE COLORS" just SEEMS wrong to me, though I can't in my pre-coffee state explain why.

I did learn about a cool element, however: OSMIUM (which almost sounds like the name of a board game, no?). That was almost worth the time I wasted struggling with this puzzle. Turns out that one form of it, OSMIUM tetroxide, is so dangerous that just being around the solid crystal can over-expose your cornea to its vapors, which can lead to blindness. But this extremely rare element is also used to MAKE electrical contacts, phonograph needles, and the nibs of expensive fountain pens.


John W. 3:35 AM  

Generally agree with Rex here. Also, some mild game outrage at Go being lumped in with a bunch of Hasbro / Parker Brothers creations -- one of these things is not at all like the others.

Davis 3:38 AM  

I’m a corporate lawyer. I review a lot of contracts—including, on occasion, various debt agreements. COMAKER has never once crossed my desk in my career. (And even when I see “Maker” it feels kinda stodgy.)

Anonymous 5:03 AM  

ULTRAMAN is a member of the Crime Syndicate, the version of the Justice League from Earth 3, where the heroes are all villains and vice versa

Lewis 6:14 AM  

Some good bite and many lovely answers made me smile, along with the neighboring ERS and UMS, plus noticing a couple of broken-up phrases that could use REGLUING (POOH hits THE FAN, and SLAP ON the BUTTE), and imagining "Peatier Robinson and the Miracles".

JOHN X 6:16 AM  

This was sort of a chore. I even got the theme early on with IHAVENTACLUE and that led to some quick fills of a few more themers, but then I had to slog through the rest.

COMAKER was my last and I had to cheat to figure out what the hell was wrong so I had a DNF.

ULTRAMAN is what Hayata becomes when he raises the Beta-Casule™ and then fights a giant monster and smashes the shit out of an awesome model city as the rest of the Science Patrol looks on including the comely Fuji and you just know she wants some of that stuff
oh you better believe it.

Jofried 7:05 AM  

I loved the games, as we are big on board games in my family...but I got MAROONed somewhere around SADDLEJOINT and COMAKER, which I’ve alao never heard of. And what is a BIREME?. Managed to finish in the end but it was a rough ride. And what about Chutes and Ladders? My kids loved that game!

amyyanni 7:17 AM  

Loved board games as a kid. This puzzle, not so much.

Anonymous 7:18 AM  

For once I agree with Rex! Except that I didn’t mind the theme, and I loved the clue for TOASTER.

Loren Muse Smith 7:28 AM  

@Patrick O’Connor – right! These are utterances of a coupla people standing at the puzzle/board game closet deciding what to play. They go through all the ones that fit into phrases that are crossworthy. We don’t get to hear the comments on the games like Monopoly, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, Chinese Checkers, Operation, blah blah, because those don’t appear in everyday phrases that would work here.

Speaking of Pictionary, that Geico sloth commercial is the greatest commercial in the history of the world.

I had to smile at the Buick LE SABRE. They’re out of production? So what do grandparents drive now?

Bet I’m not the only one who kept revisiting 4D to confirm “partridge” didn’t fit.

Don’t think I knew the word blandish(ment). It feels weird. Like, How was Aunt Junie’s guacamole? Eh. Blandish. I agree again with @Patrick O’Connor – CAJOLERY is a terrific word. You wanna see cajolery? Visit my first period the day before I’m scheduled to be observed by the principal. They’re actually pretty good sports, and I’ve cajoled them into gazing at me lovingly the entire time, hands folded neatly on their desks. We’ve assigned three designated sighers. But the dreamy happy sigh, not the bored sigh. If it goes as planned, it’ll be pretty startling for Mr. Johnson (principal) as this group is full of MAESTROs of mischief. But I’m the wizard of wheedlery.

(On a side note – if you’re pleading with your squirt gun to work this one last time to get your son full in the face, are you blandishing your weapon?)

@Robin – my students and I did About Me posters at the beginning of the year, and I wrote on mine that my favorite word is dweeb. Also – if you go all in and get a blue name, you don’t have to do the Captcha-cha cha anymore.

ncmathsadist 7:57 AM  

In "she loves me she loves me not" a daisy is commonly depicted as the flower being plucked. A corolla is a flower like a morning glory, which has five petals fused into a bell-like structure.

pmdm 8:19 AM  

OK. In a theme like this one, it succeeds when the entries result in your chuckling. For me, this puzzle failed on that level.

But I had a coworker who used to get frustrated at some of the things his supervisors did. He was always calling them anal, which is fairly pejorative, more than I care. But, in a sense, I find some of the criticisms to approach that characteristic. Especially today. I won't let that spoil my week of wine tasting in the Finger Lakes regions. Yea for wineries. Even if I don't like the wine in some of the places I visit, I still enjoy the vacation. Can that attitude be applied to crossword puzzle solving?

JHC 8:23 AM  

Also, nobody in the history of Milton Bradley has ever said LIFE'S TOO SHORT about the game.

‘merican in Paris 8:26 AM  

@John Morrison — Thank you! Daisy is the answer I was looking for, too.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

From a class entitled Suretyships and Mortgages:

Co-borrower: Someone who shares in the proceeds of a loan and is required to pay. The borrower and co-borrowers are jointly and severally liable. Also referred to as a co-maker.

Andrea 8:31 AM  

ULTRAMAN was HUGE in Mexico when I was growing up. They’d show it on Saturday morning cartoons and every boy would be glued to the tv (I was not a fan, myself).
For some reason, we would get a bunch of Japanese kids shows, which were all super weird and super awesome!

Kieran 8:35 AM  

I used to watch Ultraman reruns in the 70's! And he was not a villain! Who remembers the song? And his signature cool attack move, crossing his arms over his chest?

I'm new at this puzzle solving hobby and was delighted with the game clues, not nearly as upset in general as Rex. I could tell just by reading his assessment that he does these a LOT and recognizes bad fill. I, on the other hand, imagine the creator laboring over this and feel sorry for whomever it was who wrote this for being criticized, LOL. Hell, I could never come up with something as clever as maybe someday I'll have those high expectations everyone else has. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy my happily ignorant neophyte status.

I agree with another reader that the word PERIOD should have been replaced with DECIMAL POINT. I also hated COMAKER. Loved POOH POOH.

Get a Clue 9:04 AM  

Again, the cluing is so oddly and jarringly off in spots. 15D, Who you really are. Imagine:

You know who you really are? You're an intellectual. You're a good person. You're a person who can't parse a sentence. You're your true colors.

Is the phrase ever used outside of "showing/showed your/his/her" true colors? Because if it isn't, the more appropriate clue would be "What the real you shows."

This is happening a lot lately. It's not a small thing.

@Anon 8:27, if you have to attend a class called Suretyships and Mortgages to learn the term co-maker, it doesn't belong in a crossword puzzle.

QuasiMojo 9:20 AM  

Delighted by it except for that truly bizarre clue for ANGE. Isn't the Sistine Chapel in Italy?

Hands up for essaying ENISLE?

Oh, and I see an awful lot of Le Sabres around nowadays and people still ask me (often) for my FAX number. Usually my COMAKER. I guess that skews me as either hopelessly old-fashioned or a Luddite. Or both.

kitshef 9:23 AM  

Old Buick + Classic Pontiacs + Taurus or Touareg = three too many car clues.

I have played all the games except GO, though I had to remind myself on the difference between SORRY and TROUBLE (TROUBLE has the pop-o-matic). Of them, only CLUE (or CLUEdo, as we called it in the Old Country), still holds any pleasure.

In our childhood version of CLUEdo, the lead pipe was an actual miniature lead pipe. Made of real lead and just the right size for swallowing. And your Mr. Green was Reverend Green.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Had SORRYNOTTODAY and that was my only major blunder.

Maruchka 9:38 AM  

PisH PisH, tosH tosH. Couldn't see POOH for the longest. North went well, moving south not so much.

Had ONE ce for BC until BIREMES made sense. TRIBUNES, grab your oars! We're paddling back to the future.

Mr. Trudeau can sure parse a mean meaning.

@LMS - I was fed up with the stupid Geico boys - and then came the sloth. Brilliant, Clio quality. Back in the day, friends created an indoor cage-cum-diorama for two beautiful adopted sloths. Fascinating to see how much FLUIDITY is their movement.

@TomAz - It hurts so much, l know. Sweet kitty will be missed and remembered.

kitshef 9:39 AM  

@several people, this Ultraman, not that Ultraman.

'merican in Paris 9:41 AM  

@QuasiMojo: Thanks for reminding me. The puzzle did indeed use a truly bizarre clue for ANGE, and the Sistine Chapel is in Italy -- well, technically, the Vatican. A better clue might have been "Prominent figure in the stained glass of the cloister of Notre-Dame de Paris" or just "Common figure in many cathedrals of France".

Nancy 9:41 AM  

COMAKER????? What on earth is that?

I looked up BETTIE Page before coming here. Sonofagun, she's from the 1950s! And I never heard of her. The only pin-up queen BETTy I've heard of is Betty Grable. Or was she the '40s? Yes I think so. The two '50's pin-ups that come to mind are Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Russell. Older guys on the blog -- have you ever heard of BETTIE Page?

Plus an "Incredibles" clue. A DC Comics clue. A Grammy clue. And of course a "Star Wars" clue, even though the answer was only three letters. Too much pop culture for my liking.

The most frustrating clue for me was 53A. I wanted DAISY. Or FLOWER, Or PETAL(S). Anything but COROLLA.

Though I don't know three of the games (LIFE, TROUBLE and SORRY) and despite all my above-mentioned nits, I sort of liked the puzzle anyway. It was diverting.

can't think of a snarky enough name for this puzzle 9:44 AM  

It's BCE...i thought we'd moved past the Christian Euro-centric time keeping thing.

I would have clued 32D with some kind of reference to our current political regime...

For the person above who called this puzzle "intellectual," you've got to be kidding.

Hayata 9:47 AM  

Here's the opening to Ultraman, which was done with liquid paint.

Zed 9:54 AM  

@pmdm - And if you have only five days to visit I’m sure you’ll be pleased that the Chamber of Commerce “Guide” swoons over all the wineries. Or maybe you’ll check out the independent reviewer for a more honest assessment. Up to you. Seriously, with a wine tour I’d be totally okay with the CoC guide since I don’t know enough for it to matter. A beer tour, on the other hand, would require something more critical for me.

@Kieran Kramer - Remember today’s post. Crosswords are fun, but the more you do them the more fill you will find yourself consigning to the “bad fill” dumpster.

Let me amplify what @LMS said. If you get a google account and post from the account (the first option when you choose an identity) you almost never have to do the captcha. The captcha form is still there, but us Blues can just ignore it. Also, you get a little trash can by your own comments so when you notice the gall darn typo after hitting “publish” you can copy/paste/edit/and delete the offending typo. Bonus - You get your nom de blog in blue and the ability to add a little picture, making you one of the “cool kids.” Which also reminds me - @anon last night - We don’t bite. Create a nom de blog. If I’m regularly accusing you of being an anonymouse then you are part of the commentariat and should have a name.

JOHN X 9:54 AM  

@Nancy 9:41 AM

I wasn't born until the mid 1960s and you better believe I've heard of Bettie Page. You should check out her lingerie/spanking videos. They're great.

And the undisputed goddess of all time is Stella Stevens.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

@z, we don't bite? �� Surely you jest.

Unknown 10:09 AM  

I thought it was interesting to have GENDER FLUIDITY and NO BALLS in the same puzzle.

QuasiMojo 10:10 AM  

@Nancy, Bettie Page was a guy thing. And a very different type of “pin-up” from the g-rated kind Betty Grable was known for, which I always suspected was more studio publicity hype than a veritable phenomenon. Bettie Page however really was all the rage!

GILL I. 10:11 AM  

I thought this was quite enjoyable. I started it last night but next door neighbors brought over a good bottle of Pinot so I took a lovely break. Enjoyed it even more this morning along with my hot Peet's.
Some things I didn't know but was glad to learn. BETTIE Page was new and she certainly doesn't look like a Boop. I don't really follow illegal cricket bowls but I'm glad to learn of its NO BALLS. It crosses SORRY and if you go further down, POOH ensues. Try imagining that!
I say PLEASE DON'T GO a lot. Sometimes it means SORRY but your time is up. Funny how we say things we don't really mean. Case in point: OLES. I hate the picador. Imagine growing up and wanting to ride a poor half dead horse and sticking a long deadly pointy spear into a majestic bull. Mommy, I know what I want to be when I grow up!
yes, my "He Loves Me". is a white daisy with a pretty yellow middle. One of the many things my grandmother taught me. Before I'd pluck, I'd count the pedals and make sure it landed on the "He Loves Me."
CAJOLERY is cool. MARGINS OF ERRORS crossing MERE MORTALS is cool. The puzzle has some good stuff.
I also liked EL AL ETAL DAG SAG and PEATIER scotch.
Gonna be about 84 degrees today, sunny and light wind. Am I ASKING FOR TROUBLE?

RooMonster 10:15 AM  

Hey All !
Nice puz OPERATION today. Flowed fairly smoothly, until the ONE BC/ECG/BIREMES area. Heard of EKG and EEG, but ECG? That was a little TWISTER thrown in there. Plus having NOd for NOM making 62A be _dAILS not helping at all, and led to my DNF. But, after I BATTLE(SHIP)d through that, was able to CONNECT FOUR of the letters together to correct the wrongness and get the Completed Message.

Liked the long Downs, and even the long Acrosses in the N and S centers. Tough to fill swaths of whiteness cleanly, so props to Ross.

This MERE MORTAL hasn't heard of a SADDLE JOINT. Was looking for PATELLA, or somesuch. Nice almost dupe of ETAL and ELAL. HAs on the HAS clue. It seems General TSO has a MONOPOLY on fill lately. No complaints (as of me writing this) on IDI. We all know he was an asshole. Didn't fall for BASSO today! Ha! Got the Latin plural today! I guess Ross was SORRY, NOT SORRY for NO BALLS. ;-)

ALOHAS to our Hawaiian friends, and to anyone else, for that matter.

And who plucks Toyota COROLLAs? Har...


Anonymous 10:26 AM  

Dude, Ultraman is totally a thing! I know virtually nothing about comics, but I instantly filled in Ultraman from just the "U" alone.

TML 10:28 AM  

Why is “pore” the answer to the clue “bead source”?

Nancy 10:29 AM  

@Quasi (9:20) -- Not to brag, in that I had ADAM before ANGE for 66D, but I think the clue was referring not to where the Sistine Chapel is located but to the language used in the clue: "la chapelle Sixtine" is French. Once PLEASE DON'T GO forced me to toss ADAM out on his ear, I understood why ANGE was the right answer.

@pmdm (8:19) -- Maybe your next wine tasting trip should be to Burgundy or Napa?

@kitshef (9:23) -- So you called the game of CLUE CLUEdo back "in the Old Country." My curiosity is killing me. What "Old Country"??? Or is that some sort of INJOKE I'm not getting?

JC66 10:36 AM  


re: PORE-Think bead of sweat.

GILL I. 10:39 AM  

Gutsy and pretty Bettie Page. I like the one of her hanging from the tree

Craig Aamodt 10:41 AM  

Can we talk about "injoke"? "inside joke" is something friends share, as far as I know. That hung me up for a bit until "haj" fell which gave me the downs I needed to give me the crosses needed for "saddle joint". It was one of those moments where you know the answer has to be right, but you look at it and are a little miffed.

Bax'N'Nex 10:42 AM  

@Z...was at the grocery store buying my Lemonade and saw some limeade! So guess it does exist, but it was in a far upper corner and only one row...but i’ll bet it was made from limes, water and sugar as we were informed yesterday...

kitshef 10:49 AM  

@Nancy - not an in joke. In the UK, the game was (and still is) called Cluedo.

Pattywack 10:57 AM  

“Bead” of perspiration

Pattywack 11:00 AM  

Why aren’t more people complaining about “biremes”? Also ECG? Never heard of it. Always irked that an electroCARDIOgram was called an EKG and yet all along there’s been an ECG out there!

Hartley70 11:11 AM  

Not difficult, but appropriate for Sunday morning, and I finished in average time. I knew BETTIE even though pin-ups aren’t my thing. No idea why or how.
I guessed on OSMIUM but now that it’s danger as tetroxide has been revealed I’m much more interested. Thanks @et#39;mericans for that little tidbit.
It was refreshing to get a cricket clue and skip baseball.
I didn’t have any of Rex’s theme angst. It made perfect sense to me.
Speaking of board games, I recently discovered some old inherited ones in a closet and the Monopoly edition was a Trump version. The cellophane wrapper is still intact.

Dawn Urban 11:20 AM  

Hey, i loved this puzzle. I learned a lot, it was clever, and it kept me entertained while husband golfed.

COROLLA/CAJOLERY, I was in heaven!! GENDERFLUIDITY reminded me of the recent CNN program with Lisa Ling.

And Mr. Trudeau encouraged us to learn about soccer!!! What a complicated sport!!

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

The "ones column" is not the same as "one's column." Big difference. (I liked that clue, which is why I'm being a bit snarky.) But I didn't love the whole puzzle, so am in agreement with you on that.

shsh 11:27 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TML 11:33 AM  

@JC66- ugh, thanks for the answer. I should have seen that!

Banana Diaquiri 11:47 AM  

COMAKER has never once crossed my desk in my career.

I guess you've never had a kid buy a car? or many versions of school loan?

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

People who have enough time to spend DOING crossword puzzles are fortunate. People who have enough time to spend CRITICIZING crossword puzzles need to get a life.

"I don't like today's crossword puzzle" is the epitome of a First World problem.

American Liberal Elite 11:57 AM  

Cajolery was my single happy moment in 20 otherwise miserable minutes.

Suzie Q 11:57 AM  

I'm surprised at how few of you enjoyed this game puzzle.
With Bettie Page starting this off I was in a good mood right away.
If you don't know her, look her up.
It's also odd that no one has jumped on True colors next to Gender fluidity. Another pair close to each other is Selfie and Big Ego.
No comments on the obvious fodder for humor with No Balls? No balls indeed!
Superman, Ultraman, who didn't make the cut? So-so Man?
I see @Z had do get one more little dig at @ GILL I. about that cake.
You should be glad she has a good nature for the most part.
Is General Tso the new Oreo?
I'm sorry that so few of you enjoyed this. Thanks Mr. Trudeau. Loved it.

Frayed Knot 12:02 PM  

@ Anon 11:50, Nice try but you can't impose guilt upon me for doing crosswords. Besides, if you have time to criticize critics aren't you really the one who needs to get a life? Hypocrite!

TubaDon 12:09 PM  

One of his theme answers is too often my reaction to Saturday Xwords: I HAVENT A CLUE. Despite initially trying to fit Partridge into 6D, I managed to complete this by filling in only connecting words, a self-imposed handicap. The only filler word I hated was COMAKER. Sounds llike a president who appoints a commanding officer to me. I somewhat agree with @Robin about the Capchas. The pix are often too dim and blurry to see.

GHarris 12:15 PM  

Found myself agreeing,in part, with Rex and disagreeing in part. Also surprised at comment of corporate lawyer @davis. Apparently you never handled a borrowing transaction which, invariably, involves the making of a promissory note which may well have a comaker. My undoing was ran at for attacked which, unfortunately, gave me raj. Also confused biremes with trireme which are essentially the same thing but left me with the unwanted t. Rex, tribunes is a perfectly acceptable term that doesn’t require postgraduate study of old civilizations.

Blue Stater 12:16 PM  

OFL is way ahead of me, as usual. Just awful. Particularly for a Sunday. *Awful*.

Joseph Michael 12:18 PM  

I liked the puzzle, but ER and UM are not “words.”

QuasiMojo 12:40 PM  

Yes @Nancy, or “oui” but why clue an Italian work of art situated in Rome with a French language clue? Makes no sense! It’s not as if they don’t have plenty of angels in French art to use. Or they could have used the charming expression “Un ange passe” used when there is an awkward pause in a conversation.

Carola 1:04 PM  

The theme winner for me was SORRY NOT SORRY, a phrase I otherwise detest but here put to genius use. Also got a smile out of LIFE'S TOO SHORT and ASKING FOR TROUBLE. Lots to like elsewhere, too: TURTLE DOVES, FATHER TIME, GENDER FLUIDITY, TRUE COLORS, MERE MORTALS.... I also enjoyed the mild brain-racking it took to get ONES COLUMN, IN-JOKES, and (last in) ONE BC. An engaging Sunday, I thought.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

Thank you Pattywack. This was the sole reason I came to this site. PORE (Googling Bead source pore why did me no good.)

But now that I've read this far, I have to say that this clue-answer combo was the only one that I objected to. I use the phone app, so I don't usually look up the title of the puzzle, and that might make a difference. I have a friend who created a game to allow a group of us to decide on a game. Picking what game to play is definitely a thing.

I only know of the Japanese live action TV show UltraMan, but had no difficulty believing that there's a DC villain by the same name..

On the whole I found this puzzle fun.

SayGrace 1:16 PM  

Problem... a decimal point is not a period. A period is a grammatical symbol, not an arithmetic one. As such, my brain went to composition, writing... hence “OpEdColumn”. Anyone else?

puzzlehoarder 1:19 PM  

This was a good chunk of my morning. Normally I solve at night but printed the puzzle too late.

I knew I was in for a long solve from the get go. Seeing PATTIE for 1A completely masked BETTIE for a long time. Things went in fits and starts with a good helping of crippling write overs strewn about.

The SW was where I finally got a smooth solve going. AIMS and ARMOR quickly led to MARGINSOFERROR, which was my first long entry.

After this initial victory I settled down to a steady slog with the east side of that middle divider being the slower half.

While slow I did manage to finish with a clean grid. Like a number of people the M of COMAKER was my last letter.

@Tomaz, sorry about your cat. We have six of them, one of which I'd love to give away. If you prefer to be meowed awake at 4:30 to 5:00 am he's the cat for you. As a bonus he coughs up lots of hairballs.

'merican in Paris 1:37 PM  

@Pattywack 11:00 AM asks "Also ECG? Never heard of it. Always irked that an electroCARDIOgram was called an EKG and yet all along there’s been an ECG out there!"

I had wondered about that, too, and after I entered ECG looked it up. It seems that there are two explanations. Many web sites explain that EKG is the original abbreviation, based on the European spelling of elektrocardiogram, while the U.S. spelling is electrocardiogram, hence ECG. However, there is also a machine that produces an echocardiogram -- i.e., an ultrasound scan of the heart that shows moving pictures that show the structure and function of the heart -- that is also abbreviated as an ECG. Given the kinds of general or cryptic clues used in x-words, we should be alert to both abbreviations.

Masked and Anonymous 1:38 PM  

Nice puztheme. Back before M&A hit high school, he used to make his own board games, mostly out of cardboard and posterboard. Most efforts were classic fizzles, as they were almost impossible to win. One homemade game that did draw some modest applause from the nerd-buds was an investment game called "Big Screw". Used multi-colored bolts as game tokens. Was eventually made possible to win, by somewhat mitigatin the Big Screw square's effects with immunity cards or insurance policies or somesuch. Good times. But, I digress.

Themers were sorta funny -- enough to pass M&A's #1 SunPuz requirement/preference/whatevah for humorous long solvequest themes. fave today: IHAVENTACLUE.

@RP: yep. COMAKER does have that nice, smooth aroma of desperation. RE:GLUE sniffin.


staff weeject pick: ISI. Hard to beat a solid, desperate, 3-letter partial. Better clue: {Mexico's one sea??}.

Thanx for the game attempt, Mr. Trudeau. Fun stuff.

Masked & Anonymo12Us

p.s. Thanx yesterday to @QuasiMojo, @Fashionista, @TomAz for all the cool cedilla info. Like gettin the low marks in French.


Rainbow 1:45 PM  

From wikipedia:

Together, all of the petals of a flower are called a corolla. Petals are usually accompanied by another set of special leaves called sepals, that collectively form the calyx and lie just beneath the corolla. The calyx and the corolla together make up the perianth.

TJS 1:47 PM  

Read the first few lines of Rex' review and had to jump to comment. My first reaction is "What has Ross Trudeau done to Rex ?" This is one of the most revealing examples of OFL's biased rating system. Personally, I thought this was one of the best Sundays in a long time, with great cluing and execution of a theme. Okay, now back to read the rest of OFL's rant and the comments. Go Bears.

Sherm Reinhardt 2:14 PM  

Concerning TRIBUNES versus TRIBUTES: I personally am happy about the former because it made for a fun three-letter word clue for FIN ("Ominous sight at a beach."). Also TRIBUTES isn't plural that often, although Rex is correct that there are too many awkward plurals in this puzzle.

CAJOLERY was the last to fall for me as well.

Weird, but overall pretty fun. 35:01, faster than average. As a commenter once said, "a solid half-hour's entertainment."

michiganman 2:24 PM  

This is sort of like saying "oh" for zero. It isn't correct but meaning is clear. "Period" works okay in a crossword puzzle. It's a vagary that makes the solve more interesting even though not technically correct.

thefogman 2:42 PM  

I finished in multiple Rexes but enjoyed it immensely. I knew Rex would hate this one. Too many fun-filled themers. This inevitably leads to aggravation for those who only want to beat the clock.

Mike 3:14 PM  

I’m with Carols. SORRY NOT SORRY was my winning answer. I also had to run through way too many birds in that *#&* song to get TURTLE DOVE.

'mericans in Paris 3:21 PM  

SORRY, I meant to write elektrokardiogramm (original German spelling), and electrocardiogram (English spelling).

Alex 3:23 PM  

Wow - SUPER-cranky today!

Joe in Newfoundland 3:28 PM  

'trek' for HAJ is not just vague, but wrong. HAJ is a pilgrimage - the trek was the hegira, the trek from Mecca to Medina (which was also a 'turning point in history' as Muslims count their years from then).
I figured 'la chapelle Sixtine' could feature St Anne instead of the more English St Ann, and that gave me PLEASE DON'T! NO!, and I assumed there is a game named "No" (perhaps a knock-off of Japanese opera). Along with the need for human editing is the need for editing for the unassisted solver, who is doing the puzzle on paper and so is not told there is a mistake.
One silly mistake I made - after getting GENDER FLUIDITY I figured the next one could be TRUE SELVES, which fits. But doesn't work.
One last nit. If a clue said "City grid" would "streets" be a reasonable answer?
ps the captcha was very reasonable today

Banana Diaquiri 3:41 PM  

I've not learned French, but decades ago I saw "Boys in the Band" (I think; could be similar flick). one of the characters has a hissy fit at another and says (something like), "You sunt! That's with a cedilla!" had to look it up when I got home.

Norm 3:46 PM  

A secondary signer on a loan is just that: a cosigner. You can MAKE a note [in the financial sense], but cosigning or guaranteeing a loan seldom involves doing so. That was oh so bad. Waht's next? Cobaker? [Hi there, Sara lee.] Cotaker? [Aka an aider & abettor.] Ooh, ooh, I got it: Cowaker [mom & dad together].

But why all the hate for BIREMES? That was one of the few non-annoying things in this piece of whatever.

OffTheGrid 4:04 PM  

A city's streets can be described as a grid. What's your nit?

Nancy 4:29 PM  

@Hartley (11:11) -- There's a "Trump version" of Monopoly? What on earth is it? Does it mean that he gets all the Avenues, Streets, Railroads and Utilities and that we get the Jail? Please explain.

@GILL (10:11) -- Cheating on "He loves me"???!!! Well, I never. Can anything be more ignominious than that??? :)

SJ Austin 4:31 PM  

I had S(ocket)JOINT for about an hour until I gave up and started cheating. And that was just one of several major annoyances. Rough one.

Hungry Mother 4:55 PM  

Long haul today, maybe because I’m a bit tired after a weekend of company and a 5K race yesterday and a 10K race today. It took me quite a while to finally settle on YAP instead of YAk. I liked the theme, but it didn’t do very much for the other entries. HAJ or Hadj, that is the question, but the letter count makes it a simple one. Looking forward to a kinder, gentler Monday offering and my day off from running.

Newport Carl 5:20 PM  

(Pops head out of fox hole) I loved it, from double 'T' Bettie to cajolery.

Hungry Mother 5:20 PM  

One of the signs of the Apocalypse is two anonomice bickering on a crossword puzzle blog.

Ando 5:39 PM  

DNF because YAP could be YAK, and there are actually KORE beads (though I didn't know that until looking it up. I figured it was a kind of wood or something, but it's a trademark for some insulation substance.)

Anonymous 6:10 PM  

@TJS 147PM: This is a typical, transparent ms rant. He's gotten off on Gary Trudeau previously. Gotta give him credit though for a neverending supply of reasons as to "why this is the worst puzzle ever ".

Zed 7:03 PM  

@QuasiMojo and @SayGrace - I have no proof, but I’m convinced Shortz loves to use peoples’ expertise against them. Knowing that the Sistine chapel is in Italy blinds us to the hint that the clue is looking for French. Knowing that there is a difference between the mathematical symbol and the grammatical symbol sends us down a rabbit hole. Using one’s strength against them just has to be a clue writer’s pleasure.

@Suzie Q - No shade intended. That was my little homage to @Gill I for getting in a good riposte late last night.

@Pattywhack - I don’t know if it was BIREMES or triremes, but we had a great grumblefest about one or the other already.

@David Schinnerer- I noticed you didn’t mention buying any.

Is it just me or has Rex been off his theme game more than usual lately. He missed that the last themer is different than the rest for a specific reason. This is the third or fourth theme he didn’t fully get a theme in the past month. I’m much more used to him pointing out some element I missed rather than seeing him miss an element.

Chance 7:28 PM  

It's not a great puzzle, but I don't think it needs this much ire. The theme is mishandled and I agree that lots of the fill is poorly worded.

However, Rex tends to get apoplectic, or at least curmudgeonly, about things he doesn't know. I've been reading comics for years and I know who Ultraman is. I also heard of Iceman. Rex is a little stuck in his narrow view, unaware that these are decades-old, quite famous characters.

I also have never heard of comaker, but come on. The puzzle is for learning new things. My lawyer wife had heard of it; I hadn't. What's wrong with encountering a new word? You can't just say it's not a real thing because you haven't heard of it.

As always, my less curmudgeonly take and my time can be found at my blog.

Blue Stater 8:00 PM  

@SayGrace: Yup, me too. A decimal point is not a period. A careless error.

Anonymous 8:21 PM  

TROUBLE is a children's game.

Merry Stanford 9:02 PM  

Rex, my husband and I so enjoy reading your mostly civilized and humane rants. Thank you for adding humor to our puzzling experience. And also for agreeing with us so often!

Anonymous 9:15 PM  

OfftheGrid - ok, that's why I had a question mark there. I don't live in a city where the streets are straight, and it's hard to think of them as a grid.

Adam 9:48 PM  

The theme answers were fun, and I also liked CAJOLERY. But otherwise the puzzle was a real slog - no joy at all. BIREMES? Feh.

Peter P 10:23 PM  

@SayGrace - Yeah, I had a similar fill as you where OpEdCOLUMN is what I thouht I was looking at, and it was confusing the heck out of me, as of course it didn't make any sense as an answer to the clue, and it was probably being suggested by my brain because it was in a recent crossword puzzle. It took me forever to parse "period" as "decimal point." For me, "dot" or "point" would have worked fine, but "period" suggests more than just the symbol, but the usage. It'd be like cluing an answer referencing the period at the end of a sentence and calling it a "decimal point."

Anon 1:36 PM  

I remember ULTRAMAN. I think it was on just before SPEEDRACER. Saturday morning cartoons late 1960s

Tim Carey 7:51 PM  

asana, anatole, ida, akita was a circle Natick with no solution for me...

Tom cho 8:55 AM  

A bireme is a boat with an upper and lower deck of rowers. Electives in Classics come in handy sometimes

pdplot 9:58 AM  

As a lawyer, I believe it is co-maker - hyphenated.
Had to google to finish.

Dice 9:36 AM  

I hope you never lose your joy and innocence in doing these puzzles. Please don't become ONE OF THEM!

Dice 9:40 AM  


Anonymous 12:33 PM  

"Co-maker" was a term commonly used at finance companies in the 1960's.

Burma Shave 1:35 PM  




Diana, LIW 2:01 PM  

Don't yet know what OFL wrote - he who dislikes puns.

But I had a wonderful time with this Sunday fun puzzle. Didn't finish - the COROLLA/CAJOLERY Natick got me. Big deal Had fun anyway. When you come in 631st at the ACPT, you know what's important in puzzle solving. Fun. Only.

SORRYNOTSORRY - I loved it. The clue for TOASTER was worth all the effort. And not too much PPP for this non-pop person.

Happy Sunday, all!
Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 2:13 PM  

Gotta like the start a puz with 1a gimme yeah baby BETTIE Page, and by the end of the second row there's yeah baby REBA. After that, a bunch of iffy clues and silly games before finally reaching Mary J. BLIGE. There's yer highlights.

@Nancy - BETTIE was pinning them up before I was born and I know about her. There's even been docu-dramas, etc. I would ask, "How could anyone *not* know Ms. Page?"

COMAKER was easy enough and I didn't need to take a class to know it. It surprises me what some commenters say; who puts your clothes out in the mornings?

The Sunday Pioneer Press has been delivered for free for at least 6 months now. If it ever stops coming, that might be the end of Sun-puzzling for me. LIFESTOOSHORT.

AnonymousPVX 2:14 PM  

Well, I got the solve and that’s always nice. I do agree with FL that some of these were...tough...and “please don’t go” does verb the game title...but I’ve seen far worse in a Sunday puzzle. Plus this theme didn’t give anything away, many times once one sees the theme it gives away a lot of the puzzle.

So I got the solve and didn’t dislike it, while agreeing with some of what FL said.

rain forest 4:30 PM  

This was challenging for me. The only pinup girl I've ever heard of was Betty Grable, which of course didn't work, so I left the NW and wandered around until I got I HAVEN'T A CLUE which twigged me onto the fact I needed to get game names into the themers.

Even then, going was slow but I enjoyed the trip. Some really nice downs and cluing that tested my vocabulary throughout. I thought the fill was OK, except maybe for COMAKER, but in a big puzzle, you have to let that go.

Good triumph factor here, per @Spacey.

spacecraft 7:55 PM  

SORRYNOTSORRY (a really stupid neo-expression, IMHO) I'm so late, but just got back from the Pub where we had our hearts broken by an amazing 4th-quarter, 3-TD comeback. AAAAARGH!!!

So, though my heart wasn't in it, I plowed on. Theme highlight for me was the vary absorbing game of GO, which I used to play when it became a minor local campus fad in the '70s. Now I can't seem to find an opponent.

Toughest area was just SE of the long central diagonal of black squares. Maybe I had an inferior A&P education, but to me, the clue was describing a ball-and-socket JOINT. Period. I did finally work around it to arrive at SADDLEJOINT, but I have NEVER heard or read this term before. HADAT and HARDSET didn't exactly help things along, either.

I did finish, with only the single-letter w/o at NOd for NOM; the clue is much better for the former--which is by far also the better answer. NOM. Yecch.

Being an inveterate game player, I did enjoy the phrases built around games--except for that clunker in the first paragraph. Dumbest saying ever, and shame on Reese's for picking it up. Par.

Monsta 9:33 PM  

RE: Comaker
My husband has been in financial services for 25 years and he NEVER heard this word used for a co-signer. So there.

Jack Cade 7:55 PM  

More challenging than the usual Sundays, which is a welcome change. As others have said, there were many toughies, and often needed crosses for hints.

I don't mind "corolla"; a good crossword should include some rarer words. Now I know what the car's name came from :)

But "comaker" was a bit too much IMHO.

wpg alien 1:29 PM  

But you only pluck one at a time...

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