Units of power saved in modern lingo / TUE 12-11-18 / Clooney lawyer often seen in tabloids / Comedian who said in america anyone can become president that's the problem

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Constructor: Amanda Chung and Karl Ni

Relative difficulty: Medium to Medium-Challenging (3:45)

THEME: COMPOST BIN (50A: Place for kitchen scraps, such as those starting 16-, 24-, 32- and 44-Across) — pretty self-explanatory

Theme answers:
  • SHELL SHOCK (16A: Combat trauma)
  • PEEL OUT (24A: Leave quickly, as from a parking spot)
  • GROUNDS CREW (32A: Baseball field maintainers)
  • PIT BOSS (44A: Casino V.I.P.)
Word of the Day: NEGAWATTS (31D: Units of power saved, in modern lingo) —
Negawatt power is a theoretical unit of power representing an amount of electrical power (measured in watts) saved. The energy saved is a direct result of energy conservation or increased energy efficiency. The term was coined by the chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute and environmentalist Amory Lovins in 1985, within the article, "Saving Gigabucks with Negawatts," where he argued that utility customers don’t want kilowatt-hours of electricity; they want energy services such as hot showers, cold beer, lit rooms, and spinning shafts, which can come more cheaply if electricity is used more efficiently. Lovins felt an international behavioral change was necessary in order to decrease countries' dependence on excessive amounts of energy. The concept of a negawatt could influence a behavioral change in consumers by encouraging them to think about the energy that they spend. (wikipedia)
• • •

HELLO, SYNDICATION SOLVERS! (i.e. the majority of my readership—those of you who are reading this on Tuesday, January 15). It's early January and that means it's time for my annual pitch for financial contributions to the blog, during which I ask regular readers to consider what the blog is worth to them on an annual basis and give accordingly. As you know, I write this blog every. Single. Day. OK, two days a month I pay young people to write it, but every other day, all me. OK sometimes I take vacations and generous friends of mine sit in, but otherwise, I'm a non-stop blogging machine. Seriously, it's a lot of work. It's at least as much work as my day job, and unlike my day job, the hours *kinda* suck—I typically solve and write between 10pm and midnight, or in the early hours of the morning, so that the blog can be up and ready for solvers to read with their breakfast or on the train or in a forest or wherever it is you people enjoy the internet. I have no major expenses, just my time. As I've said before, I have no interest in "monetizing" the blog in any way beyond simply asking for money once a year. I hate ads in real life, so why would I subject you all to them. I actually considered redesigning the site earlier this year, making it slicker or fancier somehow. I even got the process partly underway, but then when I let slip that I was considering it, feedback was brisk and clear: don't change. Turns out people don't really want whistles and bells. Just the plain, internet-retro style of a blogger blog. So that's what you're getting. No amount of technical tinkering is gonna change the blog, which is essentially just my voice. My ridiculous opinionated voice yelling at you, cheerfully and angrily, about how much I love / hate crosswords. I hope that this site has made you laugh or taught you things or given you a feeling of shared joy, or anger, or failure, or even given you someone to yell at. I'm fine with that. I also hope I've introduced some of you to the Wider World of Crosswords, beyond the NYT. I am passionate about puzzles and I (mostly) adore the people who solve them—so many of my friends, and the thousands of you I've never met. I can't stop, and I won't stop, and I hope you find that effort worth supporting.

Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

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All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions (I. Love. Snail mail!) will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. This year's cards are illustrations from "Alice in Wonderland"—all kinds of illustrations from throughout the book's publication history. Who will get the coveted, crosswordesey "EATME!" card!? Someone, I'm sure. You, I hope. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support.

Now on to the puzzle!
• • •

What kind of SHELL? Like ... a crab shell? Clam? Taco? I don't put those in the compost. Pits either. I don't know why. I just don't. Coffee grounds, sure. Peel, yeah. I don't know. First-words themes have kind of a high bar because they're so basic, and I don't know if this one cleared said bar. Nothing very bin-y about it. Word play is pretty rudimentary. The grid is also segmented in this really annoying way, where you can't get out of the north except by going waaaaay over to the west. Otherwise, I think the grid is really pretty clean and shiny. I don't know that I think it's a Tuesday grid (felt slightly more Wednesdayish, somehow), but except for a couple of very short answers, nothing was jarringly icky. We need to talk about 31-Down, though, because ... that is some nonsense. It's some nonsense for a number of reasons. First of all, I've never heard of it. Fine, I've never heard of lots of things, but really ... never. And I'm not alone. By a long shot.

[these are just from the first half hour after the puzzle was posted]

So someone—maybe the constructors, maybe an aspirationally hip subeditor—thought they'd get cute with their "original" fill and ... wipeout. New for new's sake is dumb and self-indulgent. It's all made so much worse by the fact that a simple one-letter change turns it into a familiar word.

I was slowed down by FILE CLERK, because having FI- in place I wrote in FIRST-YEAR (4D: Low-level law firm employee). Also really struggled with POP BY, even after I got the -BY. And the -PBY. And the -OPBY. Me: "HOP BY????" (5A: Visit on a whim) Oof. PASS ON, also weirdly hard to parse (5D: Forgo). So, yeah, all the difficulty in this one, besides NEGAWATTS, and AMAL (whose name I just plum forgot) (49A: ___ Clooney, lawyer often seen in tabloids) was in the NW. I wrote in ACRE for AREA (18A: Real estate measurement), and that messed things up for a few seconds in the NE. My favorite moment in this puzzle didn't actually happen to me. It happened to a friend who sent me this screenshot with the subject heading: "Uh oh..."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. who PEELs OUT from a *parking spot*. I'm just imagining the parking lot at Wegmans and thinking ... this is not possible, or at least not advised. Try "intersection" next time.

P.P.S. oh hey watch this, it features my friend David Kwong, talking crosswords and magic and stuff (also, he's on The "Today" Show this morning at 9am EST, doing magic, I assume)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian 12:19 AM  

Easy Tuesday. Could only be Nate the Great. Then Negawatts pops! Don’t have to have heard of it.

Peter P 12:23 AM  

31A/D killed me. Would have finished well under Tuesday time, but had no clue about "Nate" or "Negawatts" so ended up not finding my error and DNF for me because of that square (had mATE/mEGAWATSS). Ugh.

Z 12:43 AM  

Egg SHELLS I presume.

Too timely CARLIN Quip.

Knew NATE the Great, so had the N and NEGAWATTS made sense given the clue. No problem. The article says it was coined in 1985, so hardly too new. The whole notion of opportunity costs and hidden costs and sunk costs ... way too complicated for most people for some reason so I'm not too surprised that it never gained wide-spread currency.

okanaganer 12:48 AM  

Read the clue carefully folks: "power *saved*" (asterisks mine) and especially "in modern lingo". MEGAWATTS does not conceivably need to be clued "in modern lingo". I'm almost 60 years old but did not ever consider MEGAWATTS as fitting in there.

PS... GROUND SCREW is evidently a real thing (About 125,000,000 results). Back in my day, we called that a "power auger".

jae 12:50 AM  


PASSup before ON, same problem as @Rex with POPBY which urge before PROD didn’t help. I knew NATE so no problem with NEGAWATTS which is actually pretty catchy...I mean if you have solar isn’t that what you are doing vis a vis the power co. ?

Eco theme with a couple of fine long downs, liked it.

chefwen 1:11 AM  

@Peter P, you are not alone, MATE and MEGA here also. Other than that little foible, pretty easy.

Got off to a slow start but picked up speed halfway through.

We used to have a COMPOST pile until we discovered it just attracted mice and rats, now all that stuff gets fed into the disposal.

ZenMonkey 1:32 AM  

Let's face it, Rex, we all know you go APESUIT over a puzzle from time to time. :-)

'mericans in Paris 1:54 AM  

I really liked today's puzzle, especially the environmental sub-theme. I really dislike the term "environmentally friendly", as in "environmentally friendly technology", and am want to say, "The only thing environmentally friendly manufactured by people, as opposed to merely environmentally benign, is COMPOST."

C'mon @Rex. It's egg SHELLs. Why over-analyse it?

Also, if the names of second-tier actors in pay-for-access television sit-coms are fair game in NYT crossword puzzles, then so are terms such as NEGAWATT. That is a term that anybody working in the energy business will have become familiar with decades ago. Even environmental activists not directly working on energy have probably heard of it. I think the only fair complaint is that that crucial "N" is crossed with NATE, a name probably not as familiar as, say, CARLIN.

By the way, I first met Amory Lovins, and his then wife Hunter, way back in 1980. He was then, and still is, the consummate showman. For years he would show up to speaking engagements with a suitcase full of energy-efficient lightbulbs. He was right about those becoming ever more efficient and cheaper. The last time I saw him, in July 2012, he had some pieces of carbon fibre reinforced cowling for a car, extolling the material's lightness and strength. At one point he flung the piece into the audience unexpectedly. Fortunately, the person in its path had quick reflexes and caught it in his hands. I don't think his lecture would have ended so well if that person had gotten beaned in the noggin.

Anticipating that @LMS will be motivated by NEGAWATTS to coin some similar words, here's a start:

NEGABUCKS -- The true payoff of lottery tickets to most people.

NEGADETH -- Resurection.

NEGAFAUNA -- Extinction.

All for now. ADIEU, mes AMIEs!

Anonymous 2:06 AM  

Negawatts is some grade A bs.

Loren Muse Smith 4:13 AM  

Well heck. I inadvertently saw the reveal way too early, so this was easy easy easy. Even SHELLS, Rex. As @Z and @’mericans said – uh, egg shells? It would have been mystifying if I had been trying to see what these themers had in common. So the aha moment would have been great.

I don’t compost. There. I said it. I’m not as evolved as many of our posters, so I’m not sure if I’ll be judged poorly for that. We have a garden, but there’s a ton of cow manure, and I honestly hate that &%$# garden anyway. Why, at 8am on a hot, humid August morning, do I want to spend a back-breaking 3 hours picking stuff I can buy at the grocery store? Before you answer, know that I don’t get all upset about chemicals and stuff. The only reason I do pick is so that I don’t hurt the feelings of the man who is nice enough to plant it for me. Ok, and my husband and kids like the fact that the vegetables are Honest. But, crap, schlepping home 150 ears of corn and then dealing with how to freeze it all is just not my bag. Blache, cut off the kernels, bag’em…. The one time my husband was tasked with this, he threw the whole black garbage bag of corn in the freezer chest – husks and all – and just gets two or three out to thaw when he wants them with dinner. Seems to work just fine that way. And I’ve never looked back.

If there’s room in the lot, boy howdy will our guys PEEL OUT of their spaces. I don’t know how many times I’ve been on bus duty, and the other teacher and I wondered who it was who just laid rubber. Happily, she never feels like following through, either. You gotta choose your battles.

I’ve warned you before, but it’s serious enough that I need to repeat this: if you own an APE SUIT (mine is a full-on Hollywood grade gorilla suit), don’t think it’s a good idea to put it on and surprise your kids on Halloween by running through the cafeteria making gorilla noises. I’m sure there are a couple of girls who are still in therapy. As I type this, I can see one of them, hysterical, in the office as her mother signed her out. I had put a cute XXL Goshen Elementary t shirt on over the suit, but I guess the terrifying mask pretty much upstaged everything else.

Amanda, Karl – nice job.

PS - @’mericans Hah! Good ones! I miss our Negalomaniac in Chief a lot.

BarbieBarbie 5:37 AM  

Nut shells and seed shells are the only kind you should put on your compost pile, because vermin. I used to share an office with a mechanical engineer who explained to me that compost piles are equal parts brown stuff and green stuff. Veggie trimmings, leaves, grass, coffee grounds. We add cold wood ashes as well. Ours makes good dirt and no rats are encouraged. Added bonus: HUGE nightcrawlers.

Had TeVO for the longest time and never read the Down clue so when skimming to find my error I kept passing it by because BeT is a perfectly good word. Must have been thinking of the sandals, sort of. NEGAWATTS is a great word! That’s what’s wonderful about crossword puzzles. Put in the Acrosses, learn fun stuff in the Downs.

Lewis 5:59 AM  

This puzzle was punched up by vibrant answers: APE SUIT, PEEL OUT, and NEGAWATTS in the East, and PITBOSS, POOF, and the CARLIN quote in the West (and let me add, bless you, hero of mine George Carlin). And there was hardly an ugly answer to drag this down. So the puzzle, IMO, has a clean, fresh, and vibrant feel, despite its emphasis on compost, and was most enjoyable to fill in.

And, regarding the theme, there was this hidden bonus: 21A backwards -- ROT CORP -- sounds like the name of the compost-collecting company that will eventually show up on the Simpsons.

Hungry Mother 6:45 AM  

Lots of alternations between acrosses and downs as is typical for me on Tuesdays. I used to compost, but I called it a “pile.” Very nice puzzle, but I just read about a study that says that I’m not staving off dementia by doing these, so maybe I’m wasting my time. I wonder if hanging out with @JOHN X would work better?

Rob 6:53 AM  

I don't agree with the poster above that NEGAWATTS is fair game and the idea that it is because people in the energy industry will have heard of it is poor justification. I work in IT and I don't think, say, DHCP would be a fair inclusion, despite the fact that anyone in IT knows what it is and virtually everyone (not just in IT!) uses it every day. Overly industry-specific terms are a no-go.

Lljones 6:56 AM  

Thanks, Rex, for the David Kwong video. Delightful!

Suzie Q 7:01 AM  

Easy in a good way. Lots more fun than yesterday.
What everyone else has already said plus:
Why a sari as wedding garb? Isn't a sari appropriate for any occasion?
Skipped the clue for 3D. Too early for math problems.
Knew the Goldie Hawn movie but not the book. Why that phrase for the documentary title?
To repeat a few thoughts, negawatts is great.
A parking lot is the last place I'd peel out of.
Farm animals usually drink from a trough. Pails are for toting.
Great Nate has been in lots of puzzles. I'm surprised at Rex's trouble with that.

Tom Taylor 7:12 AM  

The folks who put the tarp on the baseball field when it rains.

QuasiMojo 7:14 AM  

You guys are always talking about a breakfast test, well I for one don’t like seeing people screaming WTF or using the non-initial version first thing when I wake up and come here for some insight into a puzzle. I had never heard of Nate or negawatts for instance, and was wondering if it was a Natick. But please spare us the shrill Twitter folks whose vocabulary consists of only four-letter words. You’d think that people who bother to do crosswords in the first place would have more respect for others who enjoy wordplay or at least demonstrate a way with words rather than resorting to expletives. It lowers the bar here and frankly I won’t be sending in a donation again if this blog becomes just a repost of a lot of dumb tweets.

amyyanni 7:16 AM  

Was hoping for a Joni clip ("River" would be good at this time of year) in the write-up. Had some experience years ago with composting; now I'm just trying to keep the tree watered.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

If you want to put a serious damper on my solving fun, include the words “in modern lingo” in one or more clues. NEGAWATTS, indeed.

And in this case, it was completely unnecessary. You could have crossed MEGAWATTS with MATE – two normal, reasonably common words. Instead, you chose to cross a nonsense word with a proper name, then compounded the stupidity with an obscure clue for NATE.


kitshef 7:31 AM  

@ mericans - Hah! Your comments made up for the puzzle.

three of clubs 7:37 AM  

1A [GASP] got me 4D PARALEGAL and then I had to go elsewhere until I could come back and fix the chaos that ensued.

tommydif 7:44 AM  

C'mon. My house is covered with solar panels, compost bin filling. Loved "NEGAWATT." Made me laugh.

Z 7:58 AM  

@Rob - The difference between DHCP and NEGAWATTS is that one is fairly easily inferable from the clue. NEGAtive WATTS isn’t that hard a stretch. Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol OTOH, boy howdy. It’s as if a staid engineer with no feel for language came up with that one. In short, I agree with your general assertion but I don’t think it applies here. Now, come up with a clue that makes DHCP inferable and maybe I’d agree.

Peter P 8:00 AM  

Truth is, reviewing the puzzle this morning, I should have been able to eventually find my mATE/mEGAWATTS error. It was definitely inferable, especially given the "in modern lingo" part of the clue, and the fact that "mATE" doesn't really make sense as an answer to "Great" boy detective (unless it was a Hungarian last name or something.) I had even clicked on "check puzzle" in the end to see that the "M" was in error and was just so frustrated I hit "reveal square." But, with a little patience and thought, I should have been able to suss it out. Oh well. At least I learned a new word and the existence of a boy detective named "Nate the Great."

Suzanne 8:01 AM  

I know negawatts but have never heard of a compost bin. I know compost heap, Oh well, easy enough to suss out. I think Amal Coooney should’ve been clued in relation to her husband. After all, that’s the only reason anyone knows who she is. Shout out to the late great Leonard Cohen.

GHarris 8:08 AM  

Real easy and darn good. Rex is wrong to find fault.

RAD2626 8:13 AM  

Pretty great Tuesday puzzle. Agree with all of @Lewis comments on snappy fill. PIT BOSS and PEEL OUT my favorites. Made all the errors Rex pointed out, POP in, Acre, FIrst year, plus wanted COMPactor as the revealer. Still, decent time and a really fun solve.

Tim Cline 8:17 AM  

Liked @’mericans new words but thought NEGABUCKS would be money saved by not buying coffee at you-know-where.

pabloinnh 8:19 AM  

I'm with @tommydif in that we have lots of solar panels and we compost. Nothing like a crossword puzzle to make you feel virtuous. Thought NEGAWATTS is a cool word, even if it was unfamiliar. This past November was our lowest producing solar month since we have installed our system. No negawatts there. Very disappointing here in NH, "The Other Sunshine State".

Good Tuesday. Liked the longs downs. Thanks to both constructors.

mmorgan 8:21 AM  

I enjoyed this and found it easy. I'd never heard of NEGAWATTS but it popped right in (thanks, NATE!), and my only thought was, "Ha, that's cute." But I can see how it might have caused some to stumble.

Humpty Dumpty 8:23 AM  

As a long time composter let me add that you can throw all the pits you want into the compost heap but don't expect them to decompose in your lifetime. Egg shells and coffee grounds work pretty well though.
Corn cobs take too long as well.
Rot Corp indeed @ Lewis. Good one.

Curmudge 8:36 AM  

Shell shock is the term used in WWI to describe what we now call posttraumatic stress disorder. Eighteen-year-olds off the farm, trained a few weeks on the high school football field, shipped off to the trenches, relentlessly bombed while they stood in a trench, shell shocked.

Could we find a more suitable term to describe someone's hard work than "lowly?" Any file clerks out there today, we at the firm know better.

Unknown 8:46 AM  


Bruce R 8:52 AM  

If Rex hadn't planted the seed, I wonder if there would be as much whining about 31D? Even if you had never heard of the boy detective, it's not hard to get NATE given _ATE. And once you try N for NATE you see NEGAWATTS and it makes perfect sense.

Maybe it's just me, but at least half the time I do the puzzle there are clues and answers that I am not familiar with. I do not consider that a defect.

Walk Away Renee 9:06 AM  

@Amy Yanni and @SuzieQ - Agree re Joni and this link for Leonard’s Bird on the Wire https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BmPUu-rMpWA
Lifelong friends, Canadians both, they were also close for a while, for which we can all be grateful, producing A Case of You, it is said... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0YuaZcylk_o

Kiki 9:13 AM  

This was my fastest puzzle ever in my short puzzle experience! I thought it should be a Monday! I had MEGAWATTS and MATE, and that threw me. Put in an N when the error notice came up and and it worked, but I'd never heard of the word NEGAWATTS.

Rainbow 9:19 AM  

Are you seriously advocating defining a woman's identity in terms of her husband? Aren't we at least 50 years past that?

Kiki 9:19 AM  

P.S. @Lewis I saw George Carlin perform in Charleston, SC, back in 1984 when I was a young kid and sadly drunk...slept through part of it as a result. But I remember that night fondly, as one is wont to do looking back at the college years, however wobbly both the memories and the actual experiences were, LOL.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Maybe you're wrong about his being wrong.

Dawn Urban 9:25 AM  

Really liked NEGAWATTS, a great goal for our planet!!

David Kwong video is GREAT! (Is there a site for buying that special whiteboard for crossword puzzle constructor wanna-bes?)

Esquire 9:28 AM  

The clue is "low-level", referring to a hierarchy and probably pay, not "lowly". Would anyone deny the value of accurate filing?

TJS 9:29 AM  

@Quasi, could not agree with you more. Apparently OFL'S offense detector is tone deaf when it comes to sharing verbal ignorance. Its bad enough to hear this debasing of the language in public settings, but is it too much to ask in a situation where editing is a simple decision ?

OffTheGrid 9:40 AM  

While I think NEGAWATTS is a silly word, it is a clever entry for a crossword and provided a not insurmountable SNAG. I filled in mEGAWATTS. mATE got filled by crosses. After completing the grid I got the "not quite" message and searched for my error. It was easily found.

TJS 9:40 AM  

Haven't thought about Joni's "River" in a long time, but I'm off to check it out again now. And, btw, Joe Cocker interpretation of Bird On A Wire is my fave, off the Mad Dogs live album. Yes, I still say album.

Nancy 9:48 AM  

Not an especially hard puzzle, but it kept my mind engaged enough that I never thought I was just plopping in answers. Some thoughts:

Amen, amen to the CARLIN quote (26A) -- especially now.

I learned a new word -- Larghissimo. Do I want to hear anything played Larghissimo? I'm not really sure, not being a notably patient person.

Leave quickly is to PEEL OUT? Considering how long it takes me to PEEL an apple, I would think PEELing OUT would be slower than slow. Larghissimo, in fact.

Re 4D. I was thinking PARALEGAL. But a PARALEGAL is Clarence Darrow compared to a FILE CLERK. "Low-level", indeed!

Some fun fill. But the theme was pretty meh, I thought.

GILL I. 9:56 AM  

PARALEGAL, MESSENGER,,,,nope, just a lowly FILE CLERK. Not even the legal word in the bunch.
I'm binge watching "Suits" so I know all those words. Donna was the best of the bunch.
acre>AREA, pass up>PASS ON, grounds keep >GROUNDS CREW. Oy....all of this on Tuesday.
Yeah, I, too, had mEGAWATTS. Oof.
All this work to get to the famous COMPOST BIN. Had Amanda and Karl snuck in horse manure, I would've been a tad happier. Yup....smells a lot better. Horses are your friends.
We belong to our community garden. You're kinda forced to if you want to have any kind of vote on how the GROUNDS CREW keeps us in Daffodils and Pansy's. Everyone brings egg SHELLS and their coffee GROUNDS and some poor schmuck does all the turning and mucking. I tried getting involved - nope, not my cuppa. I did a few turns because I wanted to try and grow tomatoes and green onions. My husband and I would go in the evening to do a little picking and all we ended up doing was having cocktails with neighbors that only ate meat.
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz would rather be called Cuban Americans than LATINOS. Some people get all touchy feely - those two will tell you all about their roots. I'd love to sit down and talk Cuban to them over a bowl of Morros y Cristianos.
I liked seeing POOF....{It's gone!] except I always thought POOF meant something else.
Two things where I went HUH? Probably already mentioned: I've lived on a "ranchito/finca and we had lots of animals. Mainly horses, but we had the required goat named ChiChi, a mule named Francis, plenty of chickens and every once in a while, my dad would bring home a pig. The PAIL was never the water holder. The PAIL was used to feed them.
PEEL OUT is what one does at a drag race, no? You PEEL OUT of a parking spot here you'd have lots of dead little old ladies. Not nice.
First we had weeks on end of smoke, now we get the dreary fog. A trip to an island somewhere sounds about right.

Rita 9:57 AM  

I like coming here because the comments remind me that thoughtful people disagree. By posting a few tweets that agree with him as if this adds meaningful weight to an opinion, Rex engages in the tragedy of the internet era. “I must be right because - look! - these people agree with me.” This is how a man like Trump gets elected.

Mr. Grumpypants 10:01 AM  

AZARYA/LYS or AZARIA/LIS = stupid puzzle.

Crimson Devil 10:11 AM  

Carlin was the greatest.

RooMonster 10:15 AM  

Hey All !
Besides joining the group on mEGAWATTS/mATE, it seems so far I'm the only one who cried "Natick!" on the D at ALDOUS/AUDRA. True Natick definition, two crossed proper nouns with an uninferrable letter unless you know one of the names. Harrumph.

OTHERwise, did find puz enjoyable. Found it easy here, although three times Rex time. Not my SLIWEST TuesPuz, but tacked on many (nano)seconds with that N and D. So a DNF. POOF.

Hank AZARIA seems puz-popular lately. Must be the vowels.

2 F's. Would it HURT to add more? Har.


Walk Away Renee 10:18 AM  

Thank you, Amanda and Karl! Such a pleasure, such a smooth puzzle, surprises and smiles, and voices of art and hope referenced... so welcome, the sweet air

Z 10:36 AM  

With all the NEGAWATTS kerfuffle, @Mr. Grumpypants has identified a real potential natick - a PPP name crossing a foreign word with two acceptable spellings. That is a bad crossing. If you don't know Hank AZARIA that square is a weighted coin flip, weighted only because it is Tuesday and I think LIS is more common in the US than LyS. But you actually need to know AZARIA to be 100% certain of the I.

@Rita - Uh, Wow. But Rex never said "I must be right," he said, "And I am not alone." And look, the comments so far support his actual statement. Your comment makes me wonder if in ten years or so there will be a Trump corollary to Godwin's Law.

jberg 10:39 AM  

I put in POP in without really thinking about alternatives; but my handwriting is so bad that when I later checked the crosses, I said, yeah, BIC, YAK, that looks OK -- so I'm gonna count this as solved.

I saw that GROUNDS CREW could be GROUND SCREW and started looking for a re-parsing theme. PEE LOUT works (but doesn't pass the well-known test), and SHELLS HOCK could be made to work with a considerable stretch -- but the I got the revealer, so didn't have to delude my self about something called a PI T-BOSS.

@Loren, your gorilla story was the first thing I thought of when I saw APE SUIT. I want one! Don't get today's avatar, though, unless that dog is named AUDRA.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Rex is right. A first year law student is a low level employee. my file clerk is queen of the office and I'd have to close without her. And our end of the year bonus structure shows that.

Judith 10:41 AM  

You should definitely compost egg shells as they add calcium to the soil. Very important for tomatoes.

Nancy 10:51 AM  

@Quasi (7:14) -- As I posted once a while back, tweets, at least as they appear on this blog, have a dirty and unwholesome appearance even when their contents are as pure as the driven snow. My reaction is a physical one -- tweets just look unappetizing to me. I have no idea why. But I press down hard, really hard, on the scrolling button and keep my eyes firmly on the keyboard as I whiz past them all. As usual, I have no idea what inanities or vulgarities were uttered today. I heartily recommend, @Quasi, that you try my method in the future.

SteveF 10:58 AM  

The term "Negawatts" was coined maybe 30-40 years ago by Amory Lovins, one of the first leaders of energy efficiency and renewable power movement. The fact that hasn't reached broader usage likely has much to do with conservatism in the energy and political realms, as it does with conservativism in the word usage realm. Good for the NY Times to push this agenda forward (if only in these rarified circles)!

Sufferin Succotash 11:13 AM  

I always thought it was PEAL OUT, as in making a loud screech as you drive away.

When I saw that the first letter of 17D was an “L,” I immediately wanted LYING but it just wouldn’t fit.

Jeff Chen gave this puzzle a POW, which does not bode well for the rest of the week. The puzzle overall is okay — hail to George Carlin and Leonard Cohen — but NEGAWATTS crossing NATE, AZARIA, and AUDRA is garbage and truly does belong in a COMPOST BIN.

fifirouge 11:16 AM  

I DNF'd for the same mEGAWATTS/mATE reason as many others.

I *work* in energy efficiency and have never run across the term negawatt. Ever. I'm very tempted to drop the term into conversation at the next meeting I go to and see what happens, even though I'm pretty sure I'll be laughed out of the room.

jb129 11:38 AM  

Dunno - I didn't enjoy this altho I got it (didn't know Nate)

IrishCream 11:43 AM  

I’m lucky to live in a town with industrial composting. You can put practically anything in there. Forget egg shells...I’m talking lobster shells. And no messing around with vermin or rotating the compost or what have you. I just take my little bin to the dump every Saturday and never see those scraps again.

SteveF 11:44 AM  

The Negawatt Revolution: https://www.rmi.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/RMI_Negawatt_Revolution_1990.pdf

QuasiMojo 11:46 AM  

Thank you @TJS and @Nancy. I blew a gasket on that one today. Lol. I’ll try your suggestion Nancy but I am perhaps more proactive in that I would hope the need to scroll over offensive content can be avoided. Not too long ago I was sitting at a cafe, as I am often doing, and two young ladies were having a conversation. Every other word was F this and F that and a few C’s thrown in. I leaned over and said that it was inconsiderate of them to talk like that in a public place, especially with children close by. I expected them to say “beat it creep” or bug off gramps” but they said they were sorry and carried on in a much less vulgar fashion. No hard feelings. So I guess my point is it doesn’t hurt to let people know how one feels about such things so long as one doesn’t fight fire with fire.

Greg 11:50 AM  

Imo, if you're going to have a "word" like NEGAWATT, the cross with the N should absolutely NOT be a proper name.

Northwest Runner 11:56 AM  

<a href = "https://www.thebusinesswomanmedia.com/amal-alamuddin-marries-actor/>Here</a> is a news item a law firm file clerk found on Amal Alamuddin.

Banana Diaquiri 12:19 PM  

I’m sure there are a couple of girls who are still in therapy.

to wit: there's a very long piece on the heredity of trauma. didn't read it, of course.

I know negawatts but have never heard of a compost bin.

one of the 'This Old House' family of shows was all about various types of said.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

maybe we should work on our memories. Both AUDRA and AZARIA were in the December 2 puzzle. Also in separate puzzles in midMay 2018

BTW Those who favor Avis or Alamo are NEGAHERTZ

Bourbon Street 12:36 PM  

@Rainbow—the puzzle clue for Amal Clooney did not advocate “defining a woman’s identity in terms of her husband.” The clue refers to her as a “lawyer”, an accomplishment and profession that has nothing to do with her husband. Also, she voluntarily changed her name to “Clooney”, a decision that belongs to her and her alone. Finally, the fact that she is “often seen in tabloids” is true. The fact that she may not have been mentioned in tabloids if not for her famous husband does not mean that she is being “defined” in terms of him; it just means that she shares in the publicity garnered by him, a fate that she undoubtedly saw coming when she married him.

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Easy-ish, but fun... a good combination. Thanks very much Chung/Ni team!

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Quasimojo - I agree with the foul language. And he's supposed to be an English professor. He should know better and discourage vulgarity.

Teedmn 1:04 PM  

@BarbieBarbie, I put egg SHELLs into our compost bin if I've washed them out. Our bin came with strict instructions to not add meat products to our PAIL of scraps due to varmints. When we had our Swedish friends visiting, I had to stop them from adding such things to the compost. Their compost is taken away with the garbage - ours is sitting out in the backyard with the raccoons, skunks and opossums. So not all organics are composted. And I don't bother with pits - they don't seem to break down very well.

I had many or even most of Rex's missteps today. _OPBY, huh? Acre-AREA. PASS up. I even added one; 42A was _O__ and I put in nO__, thinking it would be something like nO MSG. When the African country showed up, I had to chuckle. I also chuckled at the idea of spending time trying to solve 3D for X when I could just guess it off the N of JONI.

I liked NEGAWATTS as a new word. It represents the concept well in my opinion.

And unlike @LMS, I didn't see the revealer clue. I filled in 50A by crosses and went looking for the theme. I looked at all the long answers, across and down, and saw nothing that tied them together. I even mentally groaned a bit, "why couldn't they have put little circles in today to indicate the theme." I finally spotted the revealer clue and got it. Nice. Thanks, AC and KN.

Rita 1:25 PM  

You are right. I overreacted. I am so tired and wary of the false sense of support folks get from living in their bubbles that I saw more than is there.

Masked and Anonymous 1:25 PM  

Har. Well, M&A thought he had this theme mcguffin kinda figured out, after seein:

Wasn't at all sure what they were gonna do with em, I'd grant -- but thought re-parsin was the basic mcguffin idea.
Wrong again, M&A breath.

NATE/NEGAWATTS is superb. It just taunts U to want nonraised-by-wolves fillins of MATE/MEGAWATTS, but stubbornly insists on a different path to solvedom. Super sassy.
[Side Note: Otto Korrect really really wants to change negawatts to U-know-watt.]

Also admired the start-up weeject stacks in the NW [and SE). Like a pretty lil welcome mat.

Good job, Amanda darlin and Karl dude. Thanx for gangin up on us.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


JC66 1:31 PM  


I think the term peel out refers to "leaving rubber."

For those interested, here's the the link @Northwest Runner wanted to share onAmal Alamuddin .

Anoa Bob 1:31 PM  

Big CARLIN fan here, so enjoyed seeing that quote. If I remember correctly, CARLIN also did a riff on how terms or phrases that describe the horrors of war have been gradually euphemized over the last century or so.

World War I, the war to end all wars, gave us SHELL SHOCK, apropos of the hellish and senseless slaughter many soldiers had to endure.

By WWII, the term was defanged, as it were, to "Battle Fatigue". The soldiers were just getting a little tired. Give them some rest and they will be okay, ready to go back in and fight some more.

The Vietnam War gave us "Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome". So you're a little stressed out, eh? What's the big deal? Some stretching and deep breathing will have you back in shape in no time.

Nowadays it has been further diluted to PTSD. Just some letters, how bad can that be? Like with ADHD or OCD, there must be a pill to take and then you'll be fine. War ain't so bad, is it?

Lots of CARLIN clips on YouTube.

Numinous 1:35 PM  

I stopped doing the NYTP for a while for one reason or another. Getting back into it again, I found this to be the easiest in a while. I’ve almost converted all my light bulbs to LEDs and I know I’m using NEGAWATTS, the ‘lectricity bill shows it. My used to read Nate the Great books as a kid and would tell me about them. Another one she told me about was Encyclopedia Brown.

I know senility is creeping up on me, I’m listening to music from my jr. high school days on my satellite radio app. Remember jr. high schools from the “olden” days before middle school?

When I lived in Australia we had a compost pile but, as I recall, it did nothing but get taller over the years. In another part of the yard we burned everything combustible. I don’t recall that we had “Garbos” collecting the trash every week. Outside the kitchen window there was an 18 inch high pile of tea leaves. I don’t think it ever grew so there must have been some decent dirt under it after at least three pots of leaves got dumped there every day for 20 years.

I got this mostly on across clues with only about four downs to fill in. Nice work, AC and KN.

oldactor 2:03 PM  

@Sufferin Succotash:

Audra Macdonald has won 6 Tony awards, more than any other performer.
Hank Azaria has won 6 emmy awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Hardly garbage.

michiganman 2:19 PM  

Many, including myself, stumbled on 31 D/A. I put in mEGAWATTS and never looked back until I was informed that I had an error. Some of the many have whined about it. I consider the mistake mine since I neglected 31A. NATE is the only possible answer once one looks at it. CATE? Nope, girl name. Tate? Nope, surname.

RobertM 2:37 PM  

Loved NEGAWATTS. @mericans, reading Amory Lovins’s book Soft Energy Paths in 1977 changed my life. I went into engineering to develop new energy technologies. Turns out there were plenty already invented; they weren’t being implemented for economic and policy reasons. I did work in energy conservation for several years—un-selling electricity on behalf of the local utility to generate NEGAWATTS, which were much more cost-effective than building new generating capacity in California in the 80s.

Joe Dipinto 2:45 PM  

Joni Mitchell isn't a folk songer; she composts her own material.

Re the Amal contretemps, not too long ago the Times clued her as "Mrs. George Clooney." That went over well, you can be sure.

Z 4:31 PM  

@Bourbon Street - @rainbow was responding to a comment, since deleted by a moderator apparently, that AMAL Clooney should have been clued in relation to her husband. As @Joe Dipinto pointed out, Shortz already got beat up for doing exactly that. I’m a little surprised the original comment was deleted because I assumed it was meant satirically.

@Rita - We’ve all been there.

Bourbon Street 5:29 PM  

@Z—Thanks for the explanation. I did not see the deleted post so I misunderstood Rainbow’s comment.

JC66 6:00 PM  

@Rainbow's 9:19 comment is still available on my computer.

Z 6:27 PM  

@JC66 - Yep. But not the comment to which @Rainbow was responding.

Sufferin Succotash 11:58 PM  

Twas not the people I disparaged, but the crossing of an esoteric term with three proper nouns

Burma Shave 9:50 AM  




centralscrewtinizer 10:57 AM  

Negatory on NEGAWATTS. Gave me a dnf. Never heard of NATE.
Add peanut shells to all the other shells already mentioned.
I compost because I garden. I garden because I love improving the soil. If you garden and don't compost it is a kind of GROUND SCREW.

rondo 11:41 AM  

This will not be the SLOWEST time of the week, approximately 2.5 Rexes again. With no write-overs. NEGAWATTS is probably unnecessary, but inferable; do we really need to make that statement here? Interesting word, though.

My favorite version of the song BIRDONAWIRE is by the Neville Brothers. Aaron’s voice must be 3 octaves higher than Leonard’s.

Not always my cuppa, but JONI’s got the talent. Yeah baby.

Not a SUPER puz, but unlike many Tuesdays it doesn’t belong in the COMPOSTBIN.

spacecraft 12:03 PM  

I was initially impressed by all that white on a Tuesday--even though it's a 76-worder. As I solved (rather easily: as @Brian said, Nate was a gimme and the 31-down pun just POPped BY), I was further impressed by the clean grid. Not overreaching with the theme surely helped. Only four entries plus the green-oriented revealer--which in turn makes 31-down more apropos.

More constructors should exercise this level of restraint with themed puzzles. And yes: you PEELOUT, because you are PEELing the rubber right off your tires. Hardly an eco-friendly act, tsk tsk.

With a head-turning DOD in AMAL Clooney, this little gem has to rate an eagle.

thefogman 12:20 PM  

OOH! That was the SLOWEST Tuesday in a while. I'm SARI to say I BIT the bait for mEGAWATTS and mATE - and POOF went my perfect solve. I wouldn't say this one was SUPER, but NEGAWATTS is definitely a thing (as per the Google) so I'm not going to PAN it like our MAINMAN did. I ran AMOK because I did not pause to reflect in that AREA, and so a DNF is my FATE. RATS! That one square really HURT! Maybe the addition of a question mark was warranted for 31D. OTHER than that, I tip my CAP to Amanda Chung and Karl Ni for this BOLD and creative puzzle. NOW, can my FILECLERK please deposit this ONE in the COMPOSTBIN - along with my ENRON stock? I could YAK on and on, but IVE got TOGO to SEATTLE to shop for PIPE supplies. ADIEU mes AMIs et AMIEs!

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

It seems no one noticed that the answer to 3D is 3, not 1. 4×2-2=6. 2 x 1 doesn't = 6, 2×3 does.

Diana, LIW 12:42 PM  

NATE was my Natick-builder of the day. I knew mATE just sounded wrong, but gate? nate? huh?

So I give myself a dnf by half a square, 'cause I believed it to be N but didn't write it in. And I use pencil. POOF wen my solve.

'Tis raining today, so back to watching "Coal Miner's Daughter." Hey, it beats watching Dr. Pimple Popper. (Yes, that really, really is a real show on TLC.)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and the ACPT Tourney in late March!!

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

It seems no one noticed that the answer to 3D is 3, not 1. 4×2-2=6. 2 x 1 doesn't = 6, 2×3 does.

retired_chemist 1:05 PM  

Negawatts? No prob. It’s meaning is easy to suss out despite never having heard of it.

thefogman 1:07 PM  

Anon @ 12:42: Re 3D - The X is the variable squared in the equation. It isn't a multiplier (as in 4 x 2) but rather X at the power of 2. That could be a misprint in some newspaper. The correct answer is ONE.

leftcoastTAM 2:57 PM  

An interesting mixed bag of stuff. Greater Southwest turned this one from an easy to a medium Tuesday, starting with NATE, followed by a cluster of other names: AZARIA, AURDRA, ALDOUS, and miscellaneous nouns.

Chuckled over prominent GROUND SCREW (har). Admire AMAL and envy George.

Speaking of lawyers, haven't FILE CLERK jobs been automated in most (big) law offices?

Favorite fill: BIRD ON A WIRE (helped in the SW).

Good theme (recycling and all that) and nice work.

rainforest 4:28 PM  

Just so we're straight, I have a COMPOST bucket into which I will place all sorts of stuff including peanut SHELLs and EGG shells. When the bucket is near full I take it to the COMPOST BIN in my apartment building where the many "Don't put plastic bags in the COMPOST!!" signs are inevitably ignored by several miscreants. I think they need a less subtle reminder - possibly a cattle PROD.

I didn't figure the theme out until I got to the revealer, which is the way it should be. Good one, too. In fact, this was a good puzzle throughout, one of the better Tuesdays by a long shot.

I'm quietly proud to see both JONI Mitchell and a song by Leonard Cohen in the puzzle. Like @Rondo hoping to see Sven join Ole in a puzzle, I'm patiently waiting for Gordon Lightfoot to appear. I mean, even Justin Bieber has been an answer (ugh).

I really enjoyed this puzzle today.

Unknown 4:35 PM  

I was wondering about the math for 3D.............apparently, I don't know how to do linear problems..... Mathematically, I came up with "three' --------- obviously, "one" is the preferred answer...

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