Sandra Denton in hip-hop's whatta man trio / SUN 12-2-18 / Invincibility power-up in Mario games / Eldest Stark son on Game of Thrones / German port in Lower Saxony

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Constructor: Paul Coulter

Relative difficulty: Challenging (13:24, though at least a minute of that was me a. reading the NOTE (ugh, again with the notes in AcrossLite) and b. trying to shut off text notifications, which kept pinging as I was trying to solve—even shutting Messenger off didn't help; it just came back on w/ new texts, wtf? Anyway, eventually I hit mute ... but even if I give myself a minute 12:24 is still long for a Sunday)

THEME: Represent! — answers are represented by ... god, who knows? Stuff. It's vaguely like cryptic crosswords, but also vaguely like a rebus puzzle on a children's restaurant place mat. Clues are visual representations of the answers rather than your typical clues:

Theme answers:
  • ODDS AND ENDS (23A: 13579 AZ) (odd numbers + ends of the alphabet)
  • TOO BIG TO IGNORE (36A: Large large skip skip) (so... two words meaning "big" and two words meaning "ignore" and the "two"s are homophones (!?))
  • FRANK SINATRA (56A: AT hot dog hot dog RA) (franks are literally inside the "word" ATRA)
  • ADD INSULT TO INJURY (66A: Wound + dis) (word meaning "insult" added to word meaning "injury")
    • PP
    • UU
    • BB) (synonym for "bar," parallel to itself)
  • BREAKING A SWEAT (94A: Per spire) (word meaning "sweat," broken in two)
  • LONG OVERDUE (117A: Yearn ÷ do) (pfffffffffft, so, synonym for "long" is divided by, i.e. is, fractionally, "over" ... a word that ... is somehow not a synonym, but instead a homophone, for "due"—lord have mercy on us all)
Word of the Day: ENDURO (9D: Off-road motorcycle race) —
Enduro is a form of motorcycle sport run on extended cross-country, off-road courses. Enduro consists of many different obstacles and challenges. The main type of enduro event, and the format to which the World Enduro Championship is run, is a time-card enduro, whereby a number of stages are raced in a time trial against the clock. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well, the good news is: this week is over. This week. Hard and joyless puzzles, almost everywhere I look (four of five since Wednesday). And this one. Where to begin. Well, really, the only thing that matters is that the theme is a complete wreck. It has no coherence, no consistency, no ... binding agent (sorry, watching "Great British Baking Show"...). What a mess. I don't mind [13579 AZ] for ODDS AND ENDS, but I certainly mind Large large skip skip for TOO BIG TO IGNORE. The former is quite literal. Bing bang. Great. The latter, holy crap, what? TWO BIGS AND TWO IGNORES, maybe, but this whole idea that you can go from "represent"ing (as you did in themer 1) to some kind of dumb homophoning (?) and then ... play fast and loose with plural v. singular (i.e. if you want "large large" to be "two" versions of "big" then it's two BIGS—who's saying this, a caveman?). Look, I know you know this beause *you did it with FRANKS (plural) IN ATRA*. "Hot dog hot dog," ergo two hot dogs, ergo FRANKS. Holy moses, this puzzle. Worst of all—and I mean, *inexplicably* bad—is the clue on LONG OVERDUE (117A: Yearn ÷ due). OK, so "Yearn" is ia word meaning "LONG," great, gotcha. And "due" is ... "due" is ... &#*! are you trying to do the homophone thing again!? Why isn't the clue [Yearn ÷ expected]? I mean, I still would've thought the theme a total mess, but at least this particular clue would've made *some* kind of sense. "Yearn" means LONG and "due" means ... DO!?!? It's insulting. It is adding insult to the injury that is this entire puzzle.

The puzzle / editing is also really sloppy in places. You've got FRETSAW (54D: Woodworking tool) but also SAWN (which is eeeeeasily changed) (92A: Cut, as a log). And, as a certain crossword editor pointed out to me, SHAM / HEIR makes way more sense than SWAM / WEIR. No offense to WEIR, but with short answers, you're gonna wanna go with something more common, with infinitely more cluing possibilities. How is EDIBLES [All you can eat] and not, say, a marijuana clue. Google EDIBLES and see what kind of hits you get. What is ENDURO? Seriously, I stared at END-RO crossing O-T and had no idea what letter went in there. I still don't really get how OUT is right for 28A: Home sick? So it's ... OUT as in "not IN the office" ... because you are home [space] sick .... which has a "?" clue because it's supposed to be a pun (?) on "homesick"? ... except ... people say "oh, she's home [space] sick" all the time. Like ... [Home sick, e.g.] = OUT. Literally. No "?" needed. Also, what is NANKEEN? Also, what is CRENEL? I'm a medievalist and have been to castles up and down the coast of Wales and still I wasn't sure CRENEL was a real word. I just reasoned backward from "crenellate" (sp?). JENS! EDWARDV! Oy. And then a mass of crosswordese, like DST and SSE and the world's worst crosswordese dilemma: ESSEN or EMDEN!? It's almost always the former ... but not today! (105D: German port in Lower Saxony) Oh, what fun. What whimsy. What ATONAL SWARD!  I did have one pretty devastating wrong answer, though. Let's see if you can beat it: I had -N--D at 3D: Reversed (UNDID). I confidently wrote in: ON END. I also wrote in DRAWER for BREWER (86A: Creator of a draft), but I'm not sure that one's as good. Recalling your wrong answers is a fun way to distract yourself when you don't really want to think about the substance of the puzzle any more ... or there's this visual clue that my friend Jenna LaFleur made for the FRANK SINATRA clue:

Or you can just amuse yourself by saying "hot dog hot dog!" over and over again. Whatever it takes, man. It's been a rough week.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld (Twitter: @rexparker / #NYTXW)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


George NYC 12:14 AM  


mmorgan 12:16 AM  

I had a love-hate relationship with this thing. I found the theme answers really tough and frustrating and completely opaque... until they fell, and then they were delicious. I would not like to experience this kind of puzzle very often, but figuring out the themers was a rewarding (if grueling) workout. FRANKS IN AT RA was the last one and I may have screamed when I got it.

The rest of the puzzle was... I don't really remember. Most of it came fairly easily, but there were a number of brick walls and road blocks, especially in the SE (EPODE? PDJAMES? SWARD? JENS? GRU? SLUE? Help!!!). For awhile, I had AsiA for 11D and CAsh for 10A and SAnddunes for 29A and some other "issues," but I worked those out. And some clues were arguably too cute for their own good (though I love a good smirk and groan).

NANKEEN and CRENEL were like aliens or strange diseases but I trusted the crosses.

But I did get all those themers (yay!), so who cares if the SE was a DNF disaster. Morally, I finished.

Loved the Jenna LaFleur visual clue Rex posted. And on this historic day, Rex read the note! (Must have something to do with Mercury being in retrograde.)

Anonymous 12:16 AM  

I rarely agree with Rex, but this puzzle was tiresome, not clever and entirely unejoyable.

nachty 12:20 AM  

What an absolutely terrible weekend of puzzles.

TomAz 12:57 AM  

Oh man. Rex eviscerated this puzzle, rightly so, and the few scraps left in the wake of his wrath... what is there to say? This was Dumb As $%^&. Cuteness mistaken for cleverness, obscurity mistaken for erudition. One of the worst Sunday puzzles I can remember that didn't involve rote memorization of B-list TV actors.

I tried to enjoy the theme, I really did, but damn, the theme fought me every step of the way. 'Large large skip skip'? are you #$%^ing kidding me? I'm sorry, but that's the worst dreck ever.

Thursday and Friday were fun, for me, but damn Saturday and Sunday make me wonder if I've had a stroke or something. Bizarre.

Z 1:07 AM  

I agree with @TomAz, Thursday and Friday were fun puzzles.

Hey, off NYTX question. From the Saturday Stumper, I got the answer for “cell trio.” and have not a clue how the answer relates to the clue. No spoilers here, but if someone can email me an explanation I’d appreciate it.

Harryp 1:11 AM  

I finished this with no idea of the Theme. Luckily the long answers were easy to infer. I had to come here to find out what it was all about, and am still looking at it. 10 minutes faster than a normal Sunday.

Cyclist227 1:17 AM  

When I started I thought I'd ne ee finish. But once I got going, I didn't find it all that hard. But a lot of the fill was atrocious.

Randy (Boulder) 1:22 AM  

The SE was brutal for me - I am astonished I avoided the DNF after staring at significant blanks down there for 20 min. Pulled EpOde out of my a#$. Never heard of EmDEN or Gru or pDjAmES. Total guess at jENS after running the alphabet. Didn't know SLue was spelled that way. Didn't know the word SWArd - kept trying to talk myself into SWAle or SWAth?! I think I would have been totally hosed if I didn't know Hank AZARIA.

However, I gotta say that I kinda liked this one. The rest of the fill wasn't terrible, and once I figured out the rough parameters of the theme, figuring them out was reasonably fun.

I also had dRaWER before BREWER (and thought that was a pretty good misdirecting clue - for drawer!).

jp flanigan 2:04 AM  

SWARD on top of SLUE crossed by GRU....brutal!!!

Anonymous 2:37 AM  

Lots of cases where both crosses were obscure:

SWARD and SLUE across GRU and EPODE
RENE across NANKEEN (who would think an Italian would be named Rene, but all the alternatives were worse)

Brookboy 3:44 AM  

Could not have disagreed with OFL’s take on this puzzle more. I ab-so-luckin’-futely (as we sometimes say in Brooklyn) LOVED this puzzle, especially and because of the themers. Now I do recognize that puns are the lowest form of humor, but ah do loves me a good pun (which should give you an idea of my level of sophistication). And this puzzle has some seriously good puns. I am rather astonished at OFL’s level of vitriol about this puzzle. It makes me wonder if his sense of humor suddenly deserted him for the duration of this solve.

I will admit that his dissection of the theme entries did remove the sly wit and humor they contained, but I submit that a similar evisceration of any form of humor, even the funniest joke, will reduce it to rubble.

You can’t tell me that WOUND+DIS = ADD INSULT TO INJURY isn’t clever. I get that it might not be your cup of tea, so to speak, but surely you can recognize that some, even many, might enjoy this form of wordplay.

Thank you, Mr. Coulter, for a very entertaining Sunday puzzle.

Loren Muse Smith 4:59 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 5:01 AM  

I had a dnf. Never saw LONG OVERDUE and since I had “Essen” for EMDEN and a reasonable “Hans” for JENS… well pfft.

My brain hurts. I adore those little picture word riddle thingies, but these were really hard to suss out because of the limitations of the cluing format. I think I broke it open with TOO BIG TO IGNORE and then settled in for the fight.

Of course I had to try to come up with some of my own, the best part…

sexy sexy name name

And one of my all-time favorites that I cannot take credit for: mcemcemce

I started re-looking at everything as I solved and got this:ENDOWS-owl show, owned scarecrow

Rex – The Great British Baking Show is one of my favorites now.

The supreme “Egyptian god of the universe” – Omar Shariff

I have to disagree on the WEIR whine. Now, ok, it went right in because I was obsessed with all those survival shows and know my weirs, buddy. Even though they, like the fish traps they build, never work. But WEIR also affords the brilliant clue for SWAM, reminding me of one of the single greatest aspects of our US of A – our men swim in trunks, not Speedos. I know I alienate a ton of people here with such pronouncements (Gill– I think I lost you when I inadvertently told you to stop wearing gauchos because they don’t look good on anyone) – but I can’t help it. I think our men look sexier and fitter in their trunks. You Europeans, listen, youjustme– I’m right, and you’re wrong. ;-)

Those guys sporting feathery crests? High schooler guys who roll out of bed and stumble into school with nary a glance in the mirror. Seriously. Except this one 6th grader (our school has a middle school side) who struts around under a spectacular, in-your-face F_ Y_ mullet. I mean down past his nape in the back but really short in the front. It’s heroic in its audacity. This guy never has a feathery crest.

Paul – tough solve even after

stand the trick
I could

'mericans in Paris 5:13 AM  

It was a rainy, albeit mild, Saturday here in Paris, so Mrs. 'mericans and I binged on puzzles yesterday -- catching up on Wednesday's and then tackling Thursday, Friday, Sunday (on paper) and Saturday in that order. What we liked was that we were able to finish all of them without cheats. To us, being able to figure out answers on our own, even if they are bad, trumps good but niche PPPs any day. Of course, a clean one like Friday's (in which we beat our previous best score by 10 minutes) is more enjoyable, but they're the rare gem.

So we liked today's puzzle on balance. Count us with the minority who had fun figuring out the children's place-mat themers. I confess, however, that I cannot look at without seeing 94A parsed as BREAKING GAS WE AT.

Most of the fill was pretty straight-forward, with the already noted exceptions of the SE (which we nonetheless sussed OUT) and occasional obscurities like ENDURO. Hardly any write-overs.

Nice to see Mrs. 'merican's (A.K.A. ANN) given name in the puzzle. But seems that many of the puzzles of late have been crawling with ANTs, stuffed with ORE, awash with ALE, and displaying ETAs galore. OMEGA makes a return visit, TOO.

In case anybody was wondering, I don't think that ANN and Paul Coulter are related.

The following has nothing to do with the puzzle: This was supposed to be my weekend of making the transition from fully employed to retiree. (Friday was my last day.) But we've been refugees from a plumbing crisis since early November (when neither of us were in Paris), staying in the local hotel or friends' apartments when they're away. So, rather than feeling a great weight fall off my shoulders, it's been a pretty stressful period. Finally, a plumber will come on Wednesday, and the apartment should be habitable again by Friday.

Jim McConnell 6:23 AM  

I took home sick? = out as an ump's call at home plate.

Lewis 6:40 AM  

Oh, I love these representation-type posers, and got a kick out of cracking the theme answers. I also loved running across actual words that don't show up often if at all, in my inner and outer conversations -- SLUE, SWARD, BEANERIES, WEIR, CRENEL, EPODE, NANKEEN, FRETSAW.

NANKEEN, for instance, with almost 400K Google hits, introduced me to a mini-slice of the world I had no idea existed. Am I better off for this? Who knows? But it was cool.

I also liked the grit presented by these lesser used words and names I didn't know. From reading the comments I know there are many who hate proper name answers that they don't know, but not me, because I trust that in the NYT they will be crossed fairly, and I revel in the challenge of getting them.

I was BREAKING A SWEAT in the SE, however, which stretched my limits because of unknowns. AZARIA saved me, plus the GRU which crawled out of some huge boulder-scape in my brain.

So, for me, there was much to like, and I am filled with gratitude to Paul, yet the puzzle wasn't a wow. There just weren't enough standout non-theme answers and clues. So, overall, if asked, I'd give this solving experience a NITENNE.

mambridge 7:22 AM  

DO (doo) is not a homophone of DUE (dyoo).

amyyanni 7:31 AM  

Just a quick appreciation of P.D James, at 113 A. She's a fabulous writer, especially if you enjoy a good British mystery.

Joe R. 7:45 AM  

I have to strongly disagree with Rex's take on these themes. This is a well known puzzle type. GAMES Magazine (that's capitalized because the name of the magazine was capitalized, not because it relates to any answer) used to run these types of puzzles as "Wacky Wordies", and there was always great variety in how you had to interpret things: meanings, homophones, specific letters and numbers, etc. Almost any one of today's themers could have appeared in those puzzles and nobody would've batted an eye. The only exception would've been LONGOVERDUE, which definitely would have appeared as a fraction rather than a division problem in those hallowed pages.

On another note, as much as you rail against Across Lite requiring special notes, today the NYT screwed themselves too, because even their official app (which is what I use to solve) required a note for 80-A, showing what it looked like in print.

BarbieBarbie 7:59 AM  

I’m not happy with the FRANKSINATRA clue. Cute riddle, but the clue has ATRA in it instead of razor or something that’s not the exact same word. Edit Fail.
I agree about the DO clue. For me a fun puzzle has clever clues, and that kind of homynym isn’t clever. The TOOBIGTOFAIL one is closer.
Good puzzle idea but felt choppy. Maybe I’m just grumpy because my paper is late and I can’t move on to the KenKen.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

Rex, your biggest mistake was reading the note. You always say you NEVER read the note and this time you’ve gone and done it and see where it gets you? I for one not only never read the note, I also never read the clues. It makes for a much more enjoyable solve to just fill in the empty spaces with whaever I want.

Unknown 8:34 AM  

Why is ant a six foot runner?

Z 8:37 AM  

@Joe R - These theme answers would have been fine on the bonus puzzle page. I just don’t think they work particularly well as a crossword theme. First, there’s nothing thematic about the set, so the “theme” is just a puzzle type. Second, the weird font for the theme clues give the game away. Third, you don’t actually have to solve any of the “theme” answers because they are all crossed, making the non-thematic theme full of “spoilers.” Finally, the NYT still cannot represent the puzzle consistently across platforms. Specifically, both 80 across and 117 across are represented correctly in print and in PuzzAzz, but not in the NYTX proprietary app nor Across Lite. WTF - You’re running a puzzle based on visual representation of words and cannot properly visually represent the words? FAIL.

Potential Saturday Stumper Spoiler - I received one answer so far to my query that I fear is correct. It was an explanation I refused to accept 6 times. I’m still hoping someone dials up a better explanation.

Z 8:38 AM  

@Unknown8:34 - Appendages not length.

The Information Coach 8:40 AM  

What do the clues at the top of the page represent? Ie Sandra Denton,,,, Mario Power ups... Game Thrones?

Unknown 8:49 AM  

Soooo much crosswordese in this thing. What a drag. I didn’t mind the themers so much (I *loved* those visual word puzzles in elementary school), but yeah. Sward, Slue, and Weir almost ruined me.

Unknown 8:49 AM  

Because it has six feet and... runs? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Unknown 8:52 AM  

Insects have 6 legs. Hence...

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

That would be a British pronunciation.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

The E edition also had the note.

Twangster 9:02 AM  

Z – I also was initially stumped about MNO and about to post a question about it elsewhere when it hit me that cell is a reference to cellphone. So it's the letters on a button on a phone.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  


Norm 9:15 AM  

This was a very cute and enjoyable puzzle. The clues for the theme entries are what you might see in a British cryptic crossword. I find an entire puzzle of those tiresome, but this was fun. Also liked the matching clues for HERA and ARES.

I do not understand the note, however. Neither formulation says parallel bars more than the other to my eye. Heck, it could have been "pub pub" and worked just as well. Some help anyone?

Suzie Q 9:16 AM  

These theme answers seemed really childish to me. After such an enjoyable week I should have known today would be a let-down.
The theme answers reminded me of an old, old TV game show called Concentration. Weren't corny rebus puzzles part of the game?
Yawn, groan, no fun for me.

Teedmn 9:19 AM  

Ack, it's my FAULT that I failed to solve this perfectly. I was flummoxed by the clue for 21A. "It's frequently in Italian". I was interpreting it to mean it was looking for an Italian word for "frequently". Gah. AllA?, AliA? The Venetian bridge wasn't appearing for me so RenLTO became RInLTO, sheesh. So I'm thinking, "Hey, ARIA means 'frequently'. Who knew?" Um, absolutely no one. I get it now but, whew.

And then there's my _BOMB bomb, next to the unknown baseball player. A, H, or N bomb? I had naN for a while, considered haN, alN. ANN never occurred to me, har. Sinclair Lewis wrote too many books for anyone to know them all!

I get Rex's point about inconsistencies in the theme answers but I thought this was clever and a tribute to the true meaning of the word "rebus". Some I got from the clue, some I got from knowing the phrase and backward solving to the clue (see FRANK SINATRA). My favorite was ODDS AND ENDS as clued.

I've never seen CRENEL without its LATION suffix - I tried to splatz CRENnEL in at first. And my "Despicable Me" villain is always _RU. I can never remember if it is cRU, dRU or (in fact I never remember it's) GRU.

Nice job, Paul Coulter!

kitshef 9:24 AM  

Utterly disagree with Rex about this puzzle and this week’s puzzles.

A really nice theme and overall very enjoyable, unfortunately marred by some very poor clues and obscurities:

Dad ___ (terrible clue)
Eldest Stark son on "Game of Thrones". Anyone who needs the second half of that clue won’t know the answer anyway.
EMDEN – As German cities go, less than half the size of equally uncrossworthy Salzgitter and Bergisch Glasbach. That one cost quite a bit of time as I tried to figure out which cross was ‘wrong’.
NANKEEN crossing RENE. I like learning new words, but crossing it with a foreign name is questionable.

One of the consequences of the digital age is that many words beginning with an ‘e’ now make me think I’m seeing some new coinage:
E-LIE: “I am a Nigerian Prince …”
E-LATE: “The guy at the front was too busy checking his phone to notice the light changed”
E-LENA: singer of Tweetstormy Weather

This puzzle is discordant 9:50 AM  

Discordant ≠ Dissonant

ATONAL music is dissonant, but all kinds of music (including the tonal variety) can be discordant. The opening chord to the last movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony is discordant, but there are lots of moments in Alban Berg's very atonal Lulu that are anything but discordant.

Discordant is defined as, "harsh and jarring because of lack of harmony." The first part of that definition is the problem here.

There is a FB group called "Music Engraver's Shit Posting" where people post ignorant non-musical "music notation" examples (mostly found in graphic design). There are people who either see music or, in this puzzle's case, hear music...and somehow they think they know something about it. Sure, some atonal music is "discordant," (i.e., harsh and jarring) but describing it that way via a clue only goes to show that they don't know what the f*ck they're talking about. Lots of music is harsh and jarring, you idiot.

This puzzle is discordant but Stravinsky's Soldat, while atonal and dissonant, is a million times less discordant than this puzzle.

Now that I think of it, listen to The Rite of Spring. It is atonal, but it is discordant where it needs to be discordant (to describe musically the chaos and primal urges of early creation), and yet anything but discordant in the opening "awakening." The tension between order and chaos in the work beautifully illustrates the problem with this stupid clue.

Hungry Mother 9:51 AM  

The kind of rebus I used to do as a kid. I had no problem with the themers, but the trivia almost did me in and turned a nice outing into a slow slog.

KBF 9:53 AM  

Absolutely adored this puzzle and was stunned that Rex didn't. It was huge fun, with some nice fresh cluing and a clever theme. I mean -- sheesh!!

mmorgan 9:54 AM  

Even the note in my (laptop) version of Across Lite did not display the PUB clue correctly -- it was P PU UB B. But PUZZAZZ got it exactly right.

OffTheGrid 10:01 AM  

pub pub is not representative of parallel. They have to side by side horizontally or vertically, not longitudinally.

Hartley70 10:04 AM  

I had fun with these themers and the stuff I didn’t know, ie NANKEEN, made me feel virtuous when I figured them out. Improving my mind on a Sunday is an excellent excuse for a religious lapse IMHO.

This morning my phone sent me a tweet from Rex that was so complementary to us all who struggled a bit yesterday but emerged victorious I thought I would retweet it here for those who aren’t on Twitter....

Rex tweeted “It's important to remember that I've been solving almost three decades, more than one of those decades "professionally" (LOL!). So, just for perspective: being able to complete *any* Saturday NYT crossword, & particularly today's, in *any* amt of time, is pretty ****ing amazing”

Nancy 10:07 AM  

I adore word puzzles and thought the ones in this were mostly great. Especially loved FRANKS IN ATRA, ADD INSULT TO INJURY, PARALLEL BARS and BREAKING A SWEAT.

I loved the clever cluing of some of the rest of the fill: SWAM (14A); BREWER (86A); DEUCE (106D).

I wanted IDYLL instead of EPODE (103D) but it didn't work. SWALE before SWARD (121A). ESSEN before EMDEN (105D). I didn't know any of the trivia people: PEPA, ROBB, JENS, NOMAR, GRU, et al -- and was FRANKly annoyed by their intrusion into a very good puzzle. I don't find any of them TOO BIG TO IGNORE, and ignore them I do. I will have forgotten them all by 10:30 this morning, if not sooner.

But thinking was required everywhere in the grid, and the puzzle kept me entertained and engaged. So many of my gray cells were needed in fact, that I'd better not tackle the Diagramless until tomorrow.

Rainbow 10:08 AM  

Any joy in this puzzle was nearly sucked out by DadBOD, absolutely awful.

GILL I. 10:09 AM  

So glad I read @Brookboy.
I absolutely LOVED this puzzle. Give me more and let the good times roll. Every single clue made me smile. I read @Rex and I'm crestfallen. Heaven forbid if you were a food critic. I can hear you say". You call this Duck L'orange?...The bigarade sauce tasted like you only zested one orange instead of two and you used the wrong vegetable peeler."
I had no note - thank you - otherwise I think the cleverness of the clues would have been lost on me. My favorite was 66A Wound + dis. HOWEVER, I did think it should have read + dis Wound to get ADD INSULT TO INJURY. Otherwise, primo fun.
No idea of what the theme was????? Ouch. The theme is what made it so delicious for and then trying to figure out what deviousness Paul came up with.
FRANKS IN ATRA....You can't laugh at that? Pfffffft to you as well.
AMEN RA, NEARER, My God to Thee. And cheers as well.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

On 110D, the lion's share meaning *most*. Wasn't there some discussion of this on this blog about a year ago, when it was pointed out that the original meaning of the "lion's share" was not most but *all*? I think the term originates from pseudo-Aesop or ancient and medieval adaptions from Aesop, where the animals hunting with the lion realize that after its share is taken nothing is left. Gradually the irony disappeared or was forgotten, and the term came to mean what it usually means today, *most*. I find the original meaning more clever.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Taffy-Kun 10:24 AM  

synanonymous: your original emoji made my day - looks Italian! But I can't get the hands right - help.

Mike E 10:31 AM  

Couldn't wrap my head around some of these but in the end finished with a sudden flourish, especially in the SE corner. It was a slog and like others, learned NANKEEN and stored it away for my next round of fictionary with friends. Got Frank Sinatra last with an OMG yelp of both frustration and amusement. Overall, liked the idea of the puzzle but agree with those people who didn't like the way it played loose with the rules of Wackie Wordies.
On that note, Loren Smith, I think mcemcemce should look like this: mce mce mce.

Anonymous 10:36 AM  


A low or hollow place, especially a marshy depression between ridges.

Nancy 10:39 AM  

@mmorgan (12:16) -- "Morally, I finished." I've felt that way so often -- especially when PPP is involved. Great line, @mmorgan!

@Brookboy (3:44) -- What sense of humor?

@Loren (5:01) -- Amen, amen to your comment on trunks vs. Speedos. Is there a woman on the planet, even if she's European, for heaven's sake, who actually likes Speedos? Listen up, guys.

Curmudgeon 10:49 AM  

This puzzle was the achievement of a brilliantly complex mind and it would take a brilliant mind to solve it. I'm not of that mind. It was like a Thursday, wrapped in a Friday inside a Sunday grid.

Which reminds me of the thing they call turducken, a gastronomical horror show. I heard that in Australia they stuff it all into an emu. Where does it end!

Z 10:50 AM  

In the paper the PARALLEL BARS clues looks like this:


Which actually makes sense, unlike what you non-PuzzAzz users get when solving electronically. Again, a visual representation puzzle where you can’t actually represent the clues visually is a total FAIL in my opinion.

@Twangster - Apparently you missed my suggestion that we not post spoilers here. Anyway, that’s all I got and it doesn’t work, in my opinion, except in the most tenuous of ways. Sure, the stumper often gets tenuous but I finished thinking there had to be something I was missing. Apparently there isn’t.

QuasiMojo 11:05 AM  

I must admit I didn’t have a clue what was going on but I finished this in about normal time. I usually hate Sunday puzzles the last few years because they seem dumbed-down. This one seemed tough and gnarly. So I enjoyed the challenge. Rex, I have no doubt you are a Medievalist of great renown but methinks you are also a Luddite if you persist in using AcrossLite to solve these puzzles. The funniest comment today was actually Nancy’s from just before midnight yesterday regarding Saturday’s crossword. I love her defense of a DNF. I’ve done the same in the past and agree that not knowing a commercial chain store name such as TCBY which I remember once standing for “This Can’t Be Yogurt” but is now “The Country’s Best Yogurt” is not a sign of ignorance but an indication of a sensible healthy diet and a lifestyle that precludes being a mall rat.

ArtO 11:06 AM  

Quite a workout to suss out the theme but once onto it a fun (mostly) solve. SE a total Natick. Enjoyed FRANKSINATRA and INSULTTO INJURY. Pretty damn clever in all but do agree with much of OFL'S criticism.

Unknown 11:10 AM  

Well, I knew the puzzle snobs would be out in force for this one, and they certainly were. So many up-tight, pedantic criticisms, starting with the Pedant-in-Chief. Sure, the constructor was ignoring your sainted rules. Worth a comment if there’s a single fail. But when he/she (sorry, do not have the constructor’s name handy) ignores them all over the place...hmm, maybe those aren’t today’s rules. Hmm, maybe there is more than one way to make a crossword? Maybe I’m crazy.

Hey, remember when you did crossword puzzles because you enjoyed them? Not to enforce rules? That was pretty crazy too.

MLHaag 11:15 AM  

And what's with the formatting in the online version of PP UU BB... not exactly parallel bars. Nankeen!!! Blech. Enduro. Puhleeeze. And Niece. Ugh. Terrible today. Weak clues. Rock on Rex!

OffTheGrid 11:20 AM  

I am amused by the concept(?) of finishing a puzzle "morally". What nonsense.

TubaDon 11:26 AM  

Got most of the theme answers quickly. Don't understand the DISCORD about them. They're just answers, guys, not state of the union messages. Ditto to ATONOL not necessarily being discordant. Never heard of Nankeen and never watched GOT but got those answers from crosses. My usual quota of self-imposed roadblocks included SANDMARSH, HALAPENOS and ESSEN, but thanks to mystery author JAMES, once I figured out how to spell Hank's name I finished contiguously (but nowhere near our blogger basher's 13+ minutes).

Carola 11:26 AM  

A fun one. I liked how each theme puzzlet was a little bit different and required some different thinking. A nice change on a Sunday.
Loved FRANKSINATRA! More to like: ADAM AND EVE + SINNERS, some nice longer entries (BEANERIES, SALT MARSH, HABANEROS) and learning that there's an actual CRENEL in "crenellated."
Do-overs: snOw before FLOE, CArS before CABS, eSp before PSI, EDWARD i before V,

robber 11:27 AM  

Garbage.......what is happening to the NYT?

C'mon Will...please

GILL I. 11:35 AM  

@Loren....HaHa...I've changed my avatar just for you.
So, you don't think Gauchos rock?

Joe in Canada 11:43 AM  

had HEWN for SAWN, figured LEE was a variant, had no idea what HTL was. Should have tried LEA, which would have put everything in place. doing it on paper.
I liked it. "re-present" - as Mr Maltby says, "mental repunctuation is key", or something to that effect.
My only quibble - if the answer was PDJAMES, shouldn't the clue have indicated an abbreviation? Maybe "creator of A. Dalgliesh"?
ps just had to identify 17 images with cars. Are there options for the "please prove"?

The guy in Nampa 11:55 AM  

Thoroughly enjoyable Sunday puzzle. Slightly faster than usual solve, but still clever.
I don't get the "if it's an area I'm not familiar with, it's a stupid clue/answer" approach, but whatever works for you...
I'm 70 and there's a boatload of television/rap music stuff I don't know. I just figure that's my bad, not the constructor's.

nyc_lo 12:00 PM  

I actually finished with slightly faster than my average time, mainly due to blind luck with almost all the proper name clues. But even now I can’t swallow the TOOBIGTOIGNORE clueing. “TOO” = large, check; “BIG” = large, yup; “IGNORE” = skip, ‘kay, got it... but trying to make “skip skip” = TO (or “two”) IGNORE?? WTF?? Anyway, I finished, I’m happy, life goes on, but Jeez Louise...

Wanderlust 12:01 PM  

Have to agree with Rex on this one. A couple of the themers worked but most were awful. Way too much obscure stuff. I had a DNF because I didn’t know GRU, EPODE or SLUE. I thought SWARD was SWALE, which led me to GLO and EPOEM, which is probably now a thing, but not this thing.

GILL I. 12:04 PM  

oops. Forgot to save profile...

Piper 12:09 PM  

Can someone explain Frank Sinatra! I do not get it!

Masked and Anonymous 12:16 PM  

Different. Visual puzs within xword puz. Most of the themers were pretty easy, fun gets. Exception that was {hard har m&e m&e m&e m&e}* was the TOOBIGTOIGNORE clue.

fave themer: FRANKSINATRA. Had that nice, split at-ra desperation.

staff weeject pick (of only 32 choices) is: DRJ. Mainly cuz it coulda been clued as {Are into a record player??}, of course. I smell runtpuz themery, here. Only thing that worries the M&A, is that it is a mighty powerful smell…

Thanx for the SunFun, Mr. Coulter. This sunpup definitely held M&A's interest.

Masked & Anonym8Us

* almost too hard for m&e.


p.s. @muse: M&A may need an answer sheet for yer magnificent post.

fiddleneck 12:18 PM  

Apparently I am the only one not to understand Franks in at ra. Can some one explain in simple terms please?

BarbieBarbie 12:19 PM  

@nyc-lo, in the clue first there are 2 words meaning large, then 2 words meaning skip. 2BIG2IGNORE.

JC66 12:22 PM  


AT two hot dogs RA = franks in ATRA = FRANK SINATRA.

Blue Stater 12:26 PM  

Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful; the rot continues. It's particularly annoying on Sunday, which used to be a refuge from WS's junk. No longer. This was one of those days that put me right on the edge of canceling my subscription and giving up on the NYT puzzles after 60-plus years of doing them.

Banana Diaquiri 12:33 PM  

BReeze makes lots more sense than BREWER
given the events of the day, there's a much funner clue for GRU

Outside The Box 12:36 PM  

Essen is a landlocked city in the industrial Ruhr area. It could never be mistaken for a port city.

Piper 12:36 PM  

How are there franks in ATRA? Sorry, at the risk of sounding stupid, still not getting it.

RooMonster 12:39 PM  

Hey All !
That SE section did a job on making me inSANER. Holy SLUE was that a toughie. All kinds of PPP, plus SWARD, SLUE, EPODE, SEER as clued. Had to cheat for PD JAMES, then managed to wrestle that mess for the three count. (Ding ding!) Also tough was NE corner. BEANERIES not in the ole BEAN here, along with WEIR and CRENEL. Again had to cheat for RIALTO, letting me see that section. Had Mead-MAlt-MASH also causing havoc up there.

So, cheat cheat (two cheats) to be able to finish.

Also in the dRaWER-BREWER crowd thinking I was so clever. Had emu for ANT, figured EMUs are Six-footer tall, and they run, right? And what kind of clue is that for PSI? Jumping Jimmines. Realllly wanted eSP, but PEPA just had to be correct. There's no PEEA in hip-hop. (Well, there IS two P's...)

@LMS, agree with @M&A, answers please! The ole brain is still sizzling from the SHRAPNEL that was that clusterf#∆® SE corner.

You could say puz was A BOMB, but NONONO, not meaning the cool way. Har. Did enjoy ODDS AND ENDS though, once I figured it out.


JC66 12:44 PM  


Frankfurters (FRANKS) are called hot dogs. Does that help?

gharris 12:45 PM  

Gimme a break. Every one knows the term in telepathy is esp and you cross this with pepa?cmon.And you cross nan keen with toponymy? WTF!tantric crossing crenel, Azaria with PD James? Jeez

Piper 12:55 PM  

I do. But isn’t ATRA a razer? How are there hot dogs in that?

QuasiMojo 12:57 PM  

@GILL just read your blogger page. You should add “Bread and Chocolate” to your movies list! Fun film.

RooMonster 1:04 PM  

@Piper 12:55
There aren't hot dogs in razors. The clue was a way of taking FRANK SINATRA's name and breaking it down into FRANKS IN ATRA. So the clue had to have the Razor brand ATRA in it to be able to properly show the "FRANKS" , as in hot dog hot dog, being inside AT RA. Ergo, you get FRANKS IN ATRA, FRANK SINATRA. It has nothing to do with actual hot dogs or razors, it's a play on words.

RooMonster Collegiate Dictionary smarty-pants.

JC66 1:07 PM  


the clue is:

AT hot dog hot dog RA,

so the franks are in between AT and RA or FRANKS IN ATRA

Nancy 1:08 PM  

Thanks, @Quasi!

@GILL (11:35)-- Great pic -- but why did you change your avatar for Loren? I re-read her post amd don't see a connection.

@Loren -- Not a single one of your word puzzles did I get, either. I join those begging you to please explain them.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

Worst puzzle in a long time. Just horrible. Dnf because of Jens/Pdjames. Had a long streak going into this one too. I don't mind not finishin on a clever puzzle, but this one...oy. What a tortuous endeavor.

Loren Muse Smith 1:10 PM  

@M&A and @Roo:

sexy sexy name name – TOO HOT TO HANDLE. (Form copied shamelessly from TOO BIG TO IGNORE)

abforkbey – A FORK IN THE ROAD

joboleynb – AN INSIDE JOB

barneilk - A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH (ruff/bark). Ok. Pretty dumb

mcemcemce - THREE BLIND MICE Whoever said I shoulda separated them was right, but I can’t find that post anymore

@Gill - Sure – they look great ‘cause you can’t see the challenging part – the shins!

FWIW – avatar today is ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL. Hah.

Greg 1:17 PM  

Both SWARD and EPODE were new words for me, so the D at the crossing was a Natick for me.

Adam 1:22 PM  

On the one hand, I enjoy the kinds of clues/puzzles represented by the themers. On the other hand, I have to agree with OFL - these are a mess. Either they're completely literal (long/due = long overdue) or they don't work. I enjoyed the clues for FRANK SINATRA and ODDS AND ENDS, but TWO BIG TWO IGNORE DOESN"T WORK in this context. Nice idea, really poor execution, mixing stuff that works literally (the first two above, BREAKING A SWEAT, although I thought that would have worked better as BREAK A SWEAT) with stuff that just doesn't.

Otherwise the puzzle didn't give me much trouble, although SWARD and SLUE atop each other was marginally cruel. I knew WEIR and confirmed the spelling from the crosses.

Overall I liked it better than @Rex, but I agree with much of his criticism. YMMV.

Piper 1:23 PM  

Got it!!! It’s his actual name.

David 1:37 PM  

Um, JENS Soltenberg, former PM of Norway and current Secretary General of NATO has been in the news quite often since Cheeto got into the White House. The benefit of reading newspapers rather than watching TV “news” is that you actually learn things.

Atonal does not mean discordinant, explained above.

Upon seeing the Sinatra clue I asked my wife if there was a saying, “shave my dachshund”. As with the other themers I got it on crosses but with this one I couldn’t even see it when nearly done — “Franks in a tra?”

Adam and Eve. Nearer my god to thee. Sinners. Amen Ra? Quite the Christian puzzle. I’ve seen Amun and Amon, both good transliterations. Never Amen; oh, I see, it’s on the Internet, therefore it’s correct.

jberg 1:48 PM  

@Loren, thanks for explaining your avatar, I was stumped.

I loved this puzzle, it was a lot of fun figuring out the rebus/pun/ anagram clues from a few crosses, once I got the first one from more crosses. Just relax and enjoy the ride, folks!

@Gill, the way I read it you start with the injury and then add the insult to it -- more like cooking than like arithmetic.

@Information coach -- that's apparently a frequent query, because Rex answers it in his FAQs, see the tabs at the top of the page.

@REex, I am shocked, shocked that you, a medievalist, don't know all the architectural terms involved in building a castle. I admit I had an only vague sense myself, and when crenule wouldn't fit seriously considered putting in 'crewel.'

I did know NANKEEN, not from crosses but from various novels. However, I didn't know what it meant -- I figured it was kind of silk, being Chinese and all. So I learned something new today.

@Nancy, I shared your enjoyment of this one -- I also put in SWAle first, and was going to write an ATONAL note complaining that the clue was wrong. But then I remembered Robin Hood and his Merry Men sporting on the greenSWARD, and all was well.

abalani500 1:54 PM  

This puzzle can eat [quiet + Stephen King clown]

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

I thought that this was one of the BEST Sunday puzzles in a long time. Very clever clues, top-notch theme and clean fill.

What is with all the whining? I was filling in the long accrosses frome the theme clues. I outright laughed at two when I figured them out. A VERY FUN puzzle.

I also loved the Thursday puzzle that so many here bitched about. It seems that those people are acting like toddlers: insisting on using a favorite tool that does not render the puzzles as intended. Grow up. Use the official on-line tool or do the puzzles as God intended. On paper. in ink.

pabloinnh 2:04 PM  

Richard Moore, Richard Moore, galloping o'er the SWARD
Richard Moore, Richard Moore, on his horse Condorde,
He steals from the rich, gives to the poor
Mr. Moore, lupine donor

And so a ballad from the Pythons proves useful.

I like this kind of puzzle but the FL quadrant was a bear until I remembered PDJAMES. Also had BLOWER before BREWER, which made sense for far too long. Thought NANKEEN was a city in China. It's not. NOMAR for non baseball folks is Ramon spelled backwards; Ramon was his father.

Nice to see a constructor also named Pablo, bien hecho.

GILL I. 2:08 PM  

@Loren....Sexy shins. And just think what you can hold in those pants!

@Nancy....@Loren and I challenged each other to a duel on how women look in gauchos. I wear them - a lot. They look like Speedos on me.

@Quasi...I just looked up "Chocolate and Bread." It's called a hidden gem and I can get it on my MacBook. Yay and thanks!

Malsdemare 2:32 PM  

I thought the puzzle was a great workout on this drizzly, post-tornado-marathon Sunday. Personally, I agree with Nancy’s Moral finish which is what I did today. Guessed — correctly — at PEPA and NOMAR, but Googled to confirm my guesses. That whole SLUE, EPODE, SWARD section was a bear. I had SWAle for a while, EPOem, which gave me Slem, and Iknew that was wrong. But changing SWAle to SWARD gave me EPODE, and that gave me SLUE and the happy music.

To those who don’t know PD James, you are missing out. She is better than Christie, by far. And to the person who though there should have been an initial to signal her name: That’s how she’s known. I have no idea what her given name was.

@Loren, how you come up with that stuff is beyond me. You are absoutely gifted in a way that probably drives those around you bats but which amazes and entertains me to no end. I do agree with you about the gauchos. My 5’2” sister wears them and they make her look about 2 ft tall. Maybe if you’re tall and willowy, perhaps Melania?

Now back to get Christmas-fied.

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

Yowza! Two tough days in a row for me. Enjoyed the challenge, though. Thanks.

Malsdemare 2:37 PM  

So @Quasi @GILL, where do I find “Chocolate and Bread”? Doesn’t appear at Amazon or Netflix.

BTW, I got CRENEL from all the CRENELated towers one sees in Europe. Odd the interesting mental niches we all have.

JC66 2:45 PM  

Bread and Chocolate

OISK 2:47 PM  

Liked the theme, but not much of the fill. DNF on Tantric with crenel. Never heard of either, so the "C" was a pure guess, and I guessed wrong. Never heard of Jens, but PD James saved me. Similarly, GRU ? With Sward, epode, and slue.....I did get that one right.

However, I would guess that those who disliked the theme haven't much experience with that type of puzzle, where a word arrangement "represents" the expression. Far more difficult than average for me.

I also liked the rest of the weekend's puzzles, Thurs to Saturday.

Mark 2:49 PM  

Ditto. Yesterday I seconded someone's comment about what a prickly curmudgeon Rex is, but today I couldn't be more aligned with Rex. This whole puzzle was an absolute nightmare in every dimension. Awful theme, awful clueing, awful answers. Just unmitigated awful.

Speaking of bad wrong answers, with BRE in place I confidently wrote in BREEZE for [creator of a draft].

I'd like a few strong drafts to help me forget this monstrosity.

Randy (Boulder) 3:02 PM  

FRANKS = hotdog hotdog
They are within AT RA; hence, INATRA.

Mo-T 3:07 PM  

Hey Rex:

There's an Enduro race every August in Hancock, just down the road from you.

Karl Grouch 3:15 PM  

Dan The Man!!

sanfranman59 3:48 PM  

Just imagine the uproar if anyone ever said "mom bod".

Anonymous 3:52 PM  

63Down drove me nuts. It is becoming my pet peeve. Clean energy. Solar. this is a myth. I'd like to invite you all out here to fly over country, where a large former farm is now a solar "farm" in which the owners routinely dump benzene cleanser on the panels, between tons of insecticide and herbicide, so that the clean power can travel on the 175 mile corridor of high tension power lines, also sprayed with herbicides and pesticide, to a transformer taking that power to Chicago so that people there can run their air conditioners smug in the knowledge that is is solar, while those of us who live near by are choking to death on something worse than smog, more akin to Vietnam in 1972, with scarcely a comment from the media about this "clean" power. Clean power just means you can't see that your energy use is killing someone else.

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

In parapsychology, PSI is the unknown factor in extrasensory perception and psychokinesis experiences that is not explained by known physical or biological mechanisms. The term is derived from the Greek ψ psi, 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet and the initial letter of the Greek ψυχή psyche, "mind, soul".

Dragoncat 4:04 PM  

This was the easier part for me. Everyone else groaned but I love Gru and sward came immediately to mind. I guess I'm in the minority because I liked this puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 4:09 PM  

Thanx for the answer sheet, @Muse.
M&A was able to figure out, pre-answer sheet …
* sexy sexy name name.
* abforkbey.
* mcemcemce. Which sounds like somethin U told m&e/us about before, once upon a time, re: no i's.

Hadn't enough brainpower leftover to get the other 2, or the avatar, tho.

Here is one back at U:


Anonymous 4:25 PM  

Phyllis Dorothy James, by the way, but always known as P. D. James.

Anoa Bob 4:32 PM  

My first motorcycle was a 1969 Yamaha 360 ENDURO (9D), so that was nice to see. It was one of the first bikes designed for both on- and off-road use. These days they call them dual purpose bikes.

The theme reminded me of an old daytime TV game show, Concentration. Contestants were ask to uncover and then solve a rebus type puzzle where a series of pictures, symbols, numbers, etc., REPRESENTed some familiar word or phrase.

Loren Muse Smith 4:37 PM  

@M&A. Hmmm. You got me. "Foreign-backed" something?

Masked and Anonymous 4:45 PM  

extended family.


Anonymous 5:08 PM  

Why are we calling this a theme? Doesn’t sussing out the theme give you a leg up on solving the remaining themers. It’s themeless. Getting one themer gives you absolutely no help in solving the others. Seven unrelated cryptics doth not a theme make.

Loren Muse Smith 5:13 PM  

@M&A - Aw man - I shoulda seen that. Good one!

Adam M. Donahue 5:15 PM  

Worst Sunday puzzle I have ever done. Obscure trivia, crosswordese, and very few truly clever clues, all in service of a so-so theme.

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

Rex, stop with the excuses man. It's unbecoming.

BarbieBarbie 5:36 PM  

Anon @3:52, wow, they really use benzene? Usually people claiming anything is “clean” are not looking at the whole system. Check out Teslas, for example. If you have to get power to your engine by burning a bunch of fossil fuel miles away to get extra power so it can attenuate on the way to your car, you’re better off burning less fossil fuel, right there in your car. The world is full of unscrupulous marketers and gullible well-meaning consumers. Keep describing those nude emperors.

pbc 5:39 PM  

i seem to be in the minority, but i was naticked at PSI and PEPA. i know zilch about telepathy terms and even less about hip-hop. for good measure, while the announcement over the pa system almost had to be ETA, etd was at least in the realm of possibility. pilots rarely specify the time that they expect to depart but make plenty of announcements about planning to push back in 20 minutes, or whatever, after a delay. i was faster than normal (about 13 minutes for all but two squares), then stared at the screen for another minute and a half before settling on ETA and guessing a greek letter for telepathy. bah humbug.

Masked and Anonymous 6:08 PM  

yeah … It was kind of a stretch, I'd grant.

Outlaw M&A

Randy (Boulder) 6:12 PM  

Well, it could if you have never been to either and are only relying on "German cities I have heard of." :)

Banana Diaquiri 6:14 PM  

If you have to get power to your engine by burning a bunch of fossil fuel miles away to get extra power so it can attenuate on the way to your car, you’re better off burning less fossil fuel, right there in your car.

may be, but may be not. it's a matter of efficiency/pollution control overcoming the laws of thermodynamics. in general, the smaller the fossil fuel site the worse the pollution. (the main reason Coal Ain't King Nomo has nothing to do with the Kenyan President picking on it, but that power plants have been converting to cheap, and clean-ish, gas for some years: that of course, assumes that both the car and the power plant use either coal/petroleum. not so much any more. fun fact: Texas, home of the oil rig, produces the most wind power: . there's also a bit of hydro.
my favorite Island now has 5 turbines on the continental shelf:

in simple terms: it ain't so simple.

jae 7:12 PM  

Medium- tough. This was hit and miss for me. FRANKSINATRA, ODDSAND ENDS... were fine, homophones not so much. So kinda liked it, but also kinda didn’t.

PatKS 7:24 PM  

Not fun. Just could not get SWARD/SLUE so dnf.Got PSI finally and NANKEEN, CRENEL, EPODE but never heard those words. Still done understand BEANERIES. Stupid title too.

Crimson Devil 7:55 PM  

Twas a killer puz. Liked Sinatra, insult, odds, sweat. Longover, toobig not so much.
Learned amenra, nankeen, epode, Emden, crenel, pdjames, others. DNF pour moi.

BarbieBarbie 8:33 PM  

@banana: we’re both oversimplifying, I agree. Fun fact: there’s a whole half continent east of the Mississippi, riddled with teeny weeny coal-burning power plants and traffic congestion. I get it. But there is still snake oil involved.

CDilly52 9:16 PM  

Hand up! I could not suss out a theme to save my life! Painful killer puzz.

Amy 9:44 PM  

The two hot dogs equal “franks” and they are literally in (between) the letters at & ra. FRANKS-in-at-ra can also be read frank Sinatra

Amy 9:47 PM  

Someone must have already said this unless I’m the only person who solves in print but 117A just had the word YEARN overtop the word DO. Long over due. and I laughed when the horrid franks in atra smoothed out and clicked into frank Sinatra.

Unknown 9:51 PM  

In print, the clue for the answer LONG OVERDUE is just the word Yearn above the word Do...there is no / or division sign

Unknown 10:21 PM  

So what is DAdBOD?

Anonymous 2:52 PM  

My puzzle partner and I found this week's puzzle to be both easy and fun. Pub pub is parallel in the paper version, apparently not in the online version. Puzzles such as these themers used to be a regular feature in the weekend newspaper. If you have done them before you already have the right mindset.

lodsf 7:44 PM  

Very clever themes but ... lots of new words (sward, slue, nankeen were new to me and never heard of a ‘dad bod’), a smattering of obscure proper names (eldest son in Game of Thrones?!), some iffy clues (I guess a floe is a “white sheet”), the entire SW Natick ... all of these made this puzzle undoable for me. In retrospect I can see the uber-cleverness of the themes.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

Sorry ��! I loved this puzzle! Read many books with these sorts of word games back in the day and was happy to see them again!

spacecraft 11:51 AM  

In the dictionary, opposite the word SLOG you should see a picture of today's puzzle. The theme rebi were sort of fun to unravel (Ol' Blue Eyes evinced a loud groan), but what a chopped-up grid! And within, a ton of obscurities. EMDEN? CRENEL? NANKEEN? JENS who?? C'mon, man. While wading through that SALTMARSH, we have to endure classic crutch fill, like the RCD, the RCT (random clock time) and poor old EKE, just for three.

I began to TIRE, but in my FRET, SAW 23-across at last, and finished--albeit with lots of inkblots. How is German city E__EN not Essen?? Yikes! Had ATOdds for discordant; that cost about ten minutes in the SE. Misspelled HABANERaS. Stuff like that. All straightened out, but I was definitely BREAKINGASWEAT. Another perspiration inducer is DOD AUDRA McDonald. This has up and down scores that average out to a par. Now I'm going for a nap.

Burma Shave 1:00 PM  




Diana, LIW 1:01 PM  

The best part of this puzzle for me was seeing @Teedmn "splatzing" in an answer - love a Sunday splatz.

I won't say it was joyless, for me, but little joy was had. Just not my cuppa - that's all. Glad so many enjoyed it. Happy Sunday, all. Don't shop too much for the holidays - enjoy friends and family instead!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, and I do mean crossword puzzles

rondo 2:16 PM  

I kinda liked the semi-cryptic cluing since I regularly do the Harper's puz. The only answers I UNDID were WieR and EssEN. There was no hint of division, but yearn was printed above do. And anyone who pronounces DUE as dyoo is a victim of that phony northeastern seaboard pronunciation that went out of style after FDR.

If you've never been to an ENDURO you should go. Crazy riding.

Janice IAN was the first musical guest on SNL.

Ole's pal and gimme JENS agrees that AUDRA McDonald is a ja bebe.

Finished in about 3 Rexes without BREAKINGASWEAT.

AnonymousPVX 3:38 PM  

I got tired of this puzzle quickly, a theme that makes zero fun.

I put it in the recycling after spending too much time banging my head against the wall.

rainforest 4:34 PM  

Really liked this sort of a cross between a crossword puzzle and a pictogrammy thing. No write-overs here, and a lot of enjoyment figuring out the "themers". The crosses helped on TOO BIG TO IGNORE (brain wanted TOO BIG TO fail, but it wasn't long enough).

Last entry was RENE because the clue had me thinking of an Italian variant, but accepted that there isn't one.
I've never heard of AUDRA McDonald, but I know a couple Audras, so that was fine. Also never heard of NANKEEN, but good to know, maybe.

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