Headgear for knight / SUN 1-27-19 / Okinawa port / Bob 1968 record-setting long jumper / Royal Charlotte's father / Two-masted sailing vessel

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Constructor: Randolph Ross

Relative difficulty: Medium to Medium-Challenging (11:31)

THEME: "Unemployment Lines" — I don't even know how to describe this ... so themers are nonsense phrases, where first word has an apparently but not always actually negative prefix like DIS- or DE- and second word is a kind of profession ... and then the clue is [Unemployed [synonym for the second word]?] and then the verb that follows the negative prefix is somehow related to the profession, in different ways for each theme answer, dear lord, this theme is a mess...

Theme answers:
  • DISTRESSED HAIRDRESSER (22A: Unemployed salon worker?)
  • DEFILED MANICURIST (29A: Unemployed nail polisher?)
  • DISPATCHED TAILOR (46A: Unemployed men's clothier?) (why "men's"?)
  • DEGRADED TEACHER (63A: Unemployed educator?)
  • DISTRUSTED BANKER (83A: Unemployed loan officer?)
  • DERANGED CATTLEMAN (100A: Unemployed rancher?)
  • DISILLUSIONED MAGICIAN (111A: Unemployed prestidigitator?)
Word of the Day: PUT (71A: Wall Street order) —
A put is an option which gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to sell an asset at a pre-determined price within a given time period. (Wall Street Oasis) (?)
• • •

DISCARDED DEALER? DEMORALIZED PREACHER? DISBANDED SINGER? DISCOVERED SPY? Am I doing this right? Who even knows? What a disaster this is. It took me forever to get even a single complete theme answer because I kept expecting actual phrases, or twists on actual phrases, to materialize, And They Never Did. The wordplay involved here is so loose and messy and convoluted, I don't even know how this cleared standards. Grading is what a teacher *does*, a *tress* is a thing a hairdresser works *on*, a range is place *where* a cattleman works. I don't even know *what* a banker's relation to trust is supposed to be, exactly. He/she works there? And with the prefixes ... it's DIS-, or it's DE- ... but is the DIS- in DISPATCHED even negative? Can you be patched? I'm tired of wondering aloud about this thing. Grinding, grueling, joyless work, this one. Never got a rhythm going, never hit an answer I genuinely liked, got stuck over and over on lousy fill. Oh, MISS ME!? I like (72A: Question after "I'm back"). Ha! Said a nice thing! And I do enjoy some CASEY KASEM whenever I get the chance (his old shows are in various places online). Some of the other long Downs are also OK. But hoooo boy no to *all* of the theme stuff and most of the rest of it.

Here is the large patch of grid where I just died ... like ... dead calm, no wind, no real idea what was happening:

ATTHAT ... means "In addition"??? Er ... OK ... I must never or almost never use that phrase. I just couldn't parse it at all. Had AS PIE for 11D: Easy ___ (ASABC). THIEU, LOL, no. I just am not up on my Vietnam War-era presidents that are not US presidents (12D: President during the Vietnam War). RARE GEM (24D: Beauty that's seldom seen) makes me GROAN. ADMIRED is not the same as [Used as a role model]. I ADMIRED Ted Williams, but role model? No. Forgot Bob BEAMON existed (27A: Bob ___, 1968 record-setting long jumper), possibly because, like THIEU and the overall cultural center of gravity of this puzzle, he is from the Vietnam era. So so so rough. Also rough: BEEPERS (lol) / PUT (what the?). I ran the alphabet at that crossing once and came up with *nothing*. Only on the second run did BEEPERS make any sense to me. That clue, ugh (53D: You can page through them). BEEPERS does deserve some praise, at least, for being hella modern compared to the rest of this grid. Did they have BEEPERS when THIEU and BEAMON were knocking around? I like to think of BEAMON just paging THIEU every once in a while, just to see what's up. They were good friends, in my imagination. As I was typing the last sentence, this Tweet popped into my feed:

The THIEU / BEAMON bond is quite rarefied and not understood by many.

And lastly, ARMET (103D: Headgear for a knight)ARMETARMET. ARMET. That's a word. There it is. You can't deny its wordlike qualities. Put it on. Try it out. Wear it on your head. ARMET. Did you know the ARMET originated in NAHA? (31D: Okinawa port) Well, it didn't. I just wanted to work NAHA into the conversation. NAHAHAHAHA bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Peter Gordon is firing up his Newsflash Crosswords again for the 2019-20 season, and today is the last day of the current Kickstarter campaign. If you haven't done these before, you're in for a treat. The puzzles feature loads of names and events ripped from the headlines (I could phrase this in a less cliché and sensational way, but I'm not gonna!). They reward people who keep up with current events, and they help people who maybe don't keep up on current events as much as they'd like by teaching you new names, which in turn prepares you to do battle with future puzzles you might encounter. They are, for me, about a Wednesday-level of difficulty, and they are great fun. A different crosswording experience from anything else out there. Highly recommended. Get on board.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


mmorgan 12:03 AM  

I haven’t read Rex yet because I just can’t guess how he felt about this puzzle and I want to really quickly say how much I loved it in case he tells me why it’s so terrible. The themers were all awful... as in awfully fun. And there were so many zippy and pleasantly offbeat answers and clues that I lost track. I’m sure many of you will have your nits to pick, usually valid, and I’ll probably not disagree, and Rex may have some convincing criticisms, but I had a swell old time solving this ... so there!

Okay, now I’ll read what Rex has to say...

Patrick O'Connor 12:06 AM  

Yup. A bad puzzle across the board.

Cory Calhoun 12:09 AM  

How in blazes did DEFILED make it in, let alone DEFILED MANICURIST??? That is some gross misogynistic BS that flunks the breakfast test with crashing colors.

Robin 12:18 AM  

No complaints about the lack of correct accents on THIEU (i.e., Thiệu)?

Anonymous 12:19 AM  

This was a pain from start to finish. The least enjoyable Sunday Puzzle in memory.

Brian 12:43 AM  

Another rare event when Rex has challenging and I had easy. Knew Beamon so no trouble there. If don’t immediately know answer just move on and crosses will provide.

Z 1:06 AM  

See, they’re unemployed now so they have had to turn in their tools if the trade. HAIRDRESSER turn in your TRESSes, you’ve been DISTRESSED. So the prefixes would all be “de-“ in actual usage you say? That’s what make them puns.

I liked it more than Rex, but it did get sloggy in places. And the 1960 cultural center does leave a little bit if a musty smell to it. And does Robert CULP really only have a co-starring role with Cosby to be clued by? And OCTAL seems like a prefix and a suffix missing a root word. But I did get BEEPER without a hitch.

Joe Dipinto 1:33 AM  

I'll have a go:

This is fun, whee.

Speaking of actors, I think Armet Hammer is a decent actor, he just needs to find the right role. I liked him best in "The Man From T.I.A." so far. (And also that scene in the RBG movie where he's chopping celery in the kitchen -- I mean, who wouldn't want to come home to that?)

I was intrigued trying to figure out the female TV character played by a male for 20 years. Starting in the 1950s no less. How subversive! I thought. And then it hit me -- it was...only Lassie. Talk about a downer. I always loved the name of their trainer, Rudd Weatherwax, though.

Harryp 1:35 AM  

I liked this puzzle. The theme was fun, and so was a lot the fill. Thanks Randolph Ross for an entertaining Sunday solve.

Joe Dipinto 1:46 AM  

Rex, is that red-outlined area supposed to be where Timmy is trapped under a log waiting for Lassie's help? Lassie has a long way to go from the bottom of the puzzle to get there.

puzzlehoarder 2:15 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. The fill had some nice resistance. The fill was mostly what I dealt with initially. Avoiding the middle (and the themes) I did a good portion of the NW then worked down the whole eastern edge.

Once I got down to that SE corner I was forced to go west. 111A was the first theme entry I filled in. After that the rest of the themers were obvious and the resistance pretty much vanished but it was nice while it lasted.

Bourbon Street 2:25 AM  

Does anyone ever call an eraser a RUBBER? I know it’s a synonym (only because I looked it up), but really??? It sounds like something a three year old might say. Maybe the terminology is regional?

Tom Rowe 2:42 AM  

I was trucking along and looked at 16 down and said "how did the editor not catch that? They misspelled February." The it hit me "oh."

I thought the theme was fun. I mean, you can pick things apart, but it was pretty easy to figure out the answers. Overall a medium for difficulty level for me.

chefwen 2:48 AM  

Didn’t particularly like it while solving, seemed to be more of a slog than a pleasure, but now that I’m finished and reading back the themers, it brought on quite a few chuckles, so I’ve changed my mind to liked it (now that I’m done).

I keep looking at 1A and cannot erase WE BAPP from my mind. I think it’s a game I need to invent.

jae 2:57 AM  

Medium-tough seems right. Liked it a lot more than @Rex did.

I can’t believe how long I held on to nixon for 12d.

chefwen 3:31 AM  

@Bourbon Street. The British call an eraser a rubber. I was confused too when we moved there.

Anonymous 4:38 AM  

I enjoyed nothing about this puzzle. But I rarely enjoy Sundays. I did read the themers to my mother and she found them greatly enjoyable, however.

@Z: TRESSes aren't tools. It's the hair that's being cut. So that doesn't make any sense. That is, in fact, the inconsistency Rex is pointing out. Different things are being taken away in different answers. Sometimes it's the tool (DEFILE), sometimes it's the actual effect if the job (DISILLUSION), and sometimes it's the thing being worked on (DISTRESS). It's messy. That wasn't really what I disliked about the puzzle, but it didn't help either.

Loren Muse Smith 4:49 AM  

@Z had the right way to see this theme – the professionals are relieved of the stuff they work with. HAIRDRESSER/TRESS, BANKER/TRUST, MANICURIST/FILE blah blah. The outlier to me was the CATTLEMAN/RANGE since, as Rex notes, RANGE is a place. But still, if you take away these DIS __ or DE__ things, the poor person is out of work.

Rex – I had the same thought on the clue for ADMIRED. I admire lots of people, but I don’t try to model myself after them.

The fact that Rex and @Joe Dipinto have already started the What Others Could Work game is proof enough for me that this theme has legs. @Joe – “dispirited bartender” is terrific! I thought of

disjointed budtender.
deported sommelier
disgusted weatherman
defrauded president
disfigured CPA
delivered hepatologist (yeah – had to look that one up)
disbarred sitcom

@Bourbon Street, (cc @chefwen) – you asked about RUBBER being used to mean eraser. They must still teach this word in English class in Catalonia because recently Carlos, our exchange student – a soft-spoken, polite, diffident guy - came up to me when the other students were quiet, writing an essay, and told me (mercifully even quieter) that he needed a rubber and did I have one. That sh&%’ll flat wake. you. up. But learned person that I am, I understood. Gave him his choice of little eraser toppers and then quietly taught him the word eraser Told him not to use RUBBER in our demographic. We did google translate of condom, and he was immediately on board with the plan. I mean, SHEESH. I have students who snicker every single time we read the name BJ, the little brother in Child of the Mountains. I swear.

I’m not sure if REVLON really gives Estee Lauder a run for her money. REVLON mascara is what you buy at Walmart with no assistance from anyone. Estee Lauder mascara is what's pushed on you by an intimidating salesperson at Macy’s who cheerfully tries to upsell you eye shadow, lipstick, and fancy brushes. I guess Walmart has Estee Lauder skin-care products, but they compete with Oil of Olay, Neutrogena, and ROC. Not Revlon. So there’s some over-thinking for you.

Loved, loved, loved DIED ON. I was just running my mouth to my 2nd period (Carlos’s class, actually) about how this particle/preposition/whateverthehellyouwanncallit is used to indicate that the action performed affected you in a negative way.

We had agreed to let our hair grow out until the summer, but she went and got it all chopped off on me.
Don’t go to sleep on me, man! I can’t assemble this bookcase without you! (True story)
He had sworn to Susan they’d go to prom, but he bailed on her.

Seems there were several male dogs who portrayed LASSIE over the years. Back then the women dogs were expected to be stay-at-home mothers and not pursue careers. It wasn’t until Fly, the border collie “mom” to Babe, paved the way (1995) for bitches to enter the work force.

I think my router or modem is on its last let. Gotta get this posted before the internet dies on me again.

Randolph – don’t let the haters get you down. This was fun.

db 4:52 AM  

We also have Cosby clueing 44A. Airtight grid.

David Rosenbaum 5:03 AM  

I need a crossword shrink. I’ve read that Sundays are like oversized Wednesdays in terms of difficulty. I can do Wednesdays with no problem. I slog through Saturdays but usually complete them. But Sundays destroy me. I think I’m intimidated by their size. Somebody, please suggest counseling.

Frank Birthdaycake 5:15 AM  

I had fun with this one. I remembered Thieu from the recent PBS multi-part series on the Vietnam War. “At that” was a bit confusing at first – I’ve never heard it used that way – but not enough for me to complain. When I see something that doesn’t make sense, I just work the crosses and downs and have fun with it. It’s a Sunday morning. If these puzzles were to cause me frequent distress, I’d stop doing them.

@mericans in Paris 5:55 AM  

This puzzle was more of a slog to us than a pleasure. @Z's interpretation of the themers is how we read it, but we still felt they were groan-worthy. Not in the sense that really bad puns are so bad they're good, but just ... BAA. The only one I liked was DISILLUSIONED MAGICIAN.

Also frustrating was our one Natick: EMERI _ crossing MCD_TS. Mrs. @iP was convinced it was EMERIc, and I wanted a vowel for the MacDo sandwich, and the most logical one was an "O", making McDOTS. I swear I had recalled McDonalds coming out with some tiny little, bite-sized burgers, so it made sense to me that they might call a teeny, tiny burger a DOT. Instead it's a big burger with an especially polluting double-sized styrofoam container. Yuck.

Call me a snob, but I think that the NYT should ban from its puzzle any brand name issued by an establishment whose food one should avoid if you care about your health.

All that said, completing the puzzle was worth the admission to read @Rex's great write-up (I wasn't DISAPPOINTED) as well as the commentariat's variations on the theme, and many humorous asides. I laughed out loud at your observation on Rudd Weatherwax, @Joe Dipinto, and appreciated yours and @LMS's additional word play.

PUT is a fair term, IMO, but I'm with @Rex on questioning AT THAT. Could somebody please provide a sentence in which those words mean "In addition"? I didn't like the cluing for 54A either. VOL may be a figure that appears on the TV when one press the VOL button, but I wouldn't call it a "figure" ON the remote. And EVENER is just ... awful.

As for rubber, my recollection is that my mom, who grew up in Massachusetts and whose family roots traced all the way back to the first English settlers of Boston, used that term for an ERASER. It's also what we called shoe condoms (also known as galoshes, dickersons, gumshoes, or overshoes).

@chefwen -- I had the same reaction to WE BAPP. It reminded me of the Cindy Lauper song, "She bop", in which she fully conjugates the verb "to bop": "She bop he bop and we bop / I bop you bop and they bop".

Anonymous 5:59 AM  

MCDLT. MC-fucking-DLT? A fast food sandwich that (I’ve since learned) ran for seven years,* ending EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO and it doesn’t even seem to stand for anything? That’s pure hot garbage.

* The icing on this crap cake being that they didn’t even clue it right - per the internet dot com, it was launched in the fall of 1984, not 1985.

Christ. *I* was launched in the fall of 1984, as a human being, and yet the most recent pop culture in this grid, apart from Avatar, is The Mary Tyler Moore Show. SMDH.

Anon 5:59 6:21 AM  

Well, my anger at MCDLT blinded my math skills to the fact that it wasn’t discontinued eighteen years ago, but rather TWENTY-EIGHT. sigh. My point stands.

Lewis 6:30 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 6:35 AM  

Rubber is British English for eraser. Clue should have indicated that it's a Britishism.

Lewis 6:48 AM  

There are movies that require you to suspend disbelief, and if you do, they may give you great joy. There are puzzles that require you to suspend analysis, and if you do, they may also give you great joy. Or at least a good feeling of fun, as this one did for me.

I just saw the theme answers as "reasons for" or "results of" being unemployed, and that wide basket worked fine for me. Basically the theme answers were vehicles for puns and not meant to be taken seriously, IMO.


I like how Randolph alternated the "dis" and "de" theme answers. I like that TAIL is near WAG, and, relatedly I guess, the tricky LASSIE clue. And I especially liked the cluing overall that made me problem solve instead of boringly glide through the grid -- I missed wordplay in the cluing, but overcoming the bite was satisfying. Fun and satisfying? I'll take it! Thank you Randolph!

Music Man 6:55 AM  

McD LT stood for lettuce and tomato. The sandwich was served in 2 compartments in non-ecological styrofoam. The hot patty on one side was kept separate from the cool lettuce and tomato on the other. The sandwich had a good run; it was probably the packaging that doomed it. McD caught a lot of bad press for its styrofoam packaging and later reverted back to more environmentally-friendly paper and cardboard wrappers.

Anonymous 7:00 AM  


Anonymous 7:01 AM  

Please stop.

fkdiver 7:01 AM  

Click on all the squares with a real clue. If there aren't any, skip it. Just skip it.

OffTheGrid 7:12 AM  

Agree with Rex 100%. Huge disappointment.

Kieran Kramer 7:29 AM  

Rather than being a mess--this is wordplay, emphasis on PLAY; does anyone know how to do that anymore? Or is misery and whining to doom us all?--this theme is very clever. I had tons of fun with it. Thank you, Mr. Ross.

sf27shirley 7:32 AM  

Yes they did. Back in 1940s and even into early sixties when I was in elementary school. And BTW rain boots were also called rubbers.

Kieran Kramer 7:39 AM  

@Lewis There's no such thing as "not [to] be taken seriously" with Rex, apparently.

Anonymous 7:53 AM  

What he’s talking about is that Rex often complains when words/names that require accent marks appear in an accent-less puzzle. Assuming you are new to this blog...

sf27shirley 7:55 AM  

Now all you Gen-whatevers know how us over-50 year old solvers feel when the puzzle is filled with references to The Simpsons or post-90s rappers or a video game. Thank you Randolph Ross for this delightful puzzle! CULP, ERASER, BOB BEAMON, CASEY KASEM, THIEU and TED were all gimmes. Fun ones, AT THAT.

Nikki Karam 7:58 AM  

Agreed all the way.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

When the puzzle sorta sucks, it’s always fun to read Rex’s takedown. Laughed out loud throughout.

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

Anyone else notice that UTAH is next to NEV? Except they're only together correctly in left-right orientation if your map has south on the top.

SOMA, VOL, and EMERIL all together was a bit much.

And the clue for DIEDON isn't really right. DIEDONME would have been a correct answer for "failed."

For more recent popular culture than MCDLT et. al., there were WEBAPP, EVITE, and ERS.

And BEEPERS were popular during a wide time frame, and didn't really go out of fashion until cell phones became cheap. Plenty of people had BEEPERS in 2000 still.

If a number is written in base 8, it is written in OCTAL, just like a number written in the ordinary base 10 is written in decimal. So that clue seemed reasonable, though the word "in" was superfluous.

I would agree that Sundays are generally much harder than Wednesdays, at least for less skilled people like me. I can usually do Wednesdays on my own, whereas on Sundays I always need ample help from my wife.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

When I was going to elementary or high school (1956-68), if it was raining hard the things I put over my shoes were definitely called rubbers. I never heard any other meaning (neither eraser nor condom) until later.

relicofthe60s 8:28 AM  

I agree with Rex about the theme, but I also agree with sf27shirley. If we’re expected to know obscure rappers and characters from dumb sitcoms we’ve never seen, you should be able to come up with significant figures like BEAMON and THIEU.

Teedmn 8:31 AM  

This theme works for me. It sure was hard to break into under the random-solving method. There were a lot of mysterious answers - MCDLTS? I haven't had any fast food in at least 18 years and not very often before that. Wall Street order = bUy, period. PUT? I Googled it, post-solve, and it just underscores how little I understand stock trading.

I had "coo" instead of BAA for a long time - being acquainted with the Longfellow poem, "Evangeline", was the only thing that got me out of the dove cote. CAVEAT started out as "policy". The cote and the policy gave me _cc_ for "Hon". Visions of ecce homme started whirling through my brain. I needed to DIVERT away from that.

GROAN was first "aw mAN". I fell for the "fan noise" misdirection with hum before RAH. "You can page through them" nearly did me in at 53D. Like Rex, BEE_ERS crossing the unknown Wall Street order needed an alphabet run and EARNed a forehead slap when I got to P.

Thanks, Randolph Ross, this gave me a chance to SIT A spell and rack my brain.

And thanks to everyone who has added themers - very clever, y'all.

mmorgan 8:39 AM  

Ah, Rex did not disappoint. I think I like his negative reviews (like this) the most. Didn’t know BEAMON (but got it from crosses) but I am sure that they did not have BEEPERS when THIEU and BEAMON were around.

Nevertheless, THIEU was a gimme, sad to say.

One of the high points of the puzzle for me was when I spontaneously remembered Robert CULP. These days some of us take pleasure where we can.

And the fact that the themers go DIS-DE-DIS-DE-DIS-DE... is also cool.

As @Lewis said, "There are puzzles that require you to suspend analysis, and if you do, they may also give you great joy. Or at least a good feeling of fun." Exactly, and I had a great deal of fun with this.

pmdm 8:42 AM  

One of the (I think) few puzzles whose write ups here and inXWordInfo compliment rather than oppose each other. I like inconsistencies and the reactions to them, I'm happy enough there. It took me a good deal of thinking to understand the theme, but aren't puzzle suppose to challenge solvers.

RR has had over 100 puzzles published in the NYT. I would have though someone that experienced would banish an entry such as MCDLT. Some of the fill had me saying SHEESH.

I wonder if one can make up a good entry for a deceased crossword puzzle constructor.

JHC 8:44 AM  

These themers aren't even original. Richard Lederer has been collecting them in his language/wordplay books for decades.

Unknown 8:46 AM  

Agree 100%. Hate all those stupid rapper clues!

Kevin C. 8:53 AM  

Lazy editing today too: PRECEDE appears in the grid and in 2 (!) clues.

Norm 8:55 AM  

Seeing my old friend ARMET was the only good part of this sorry excuse for a puzzle.

QuasiMojo 8:55 AM  

I guess Thieu doesn’t appear in GI Joe comic books. And anyone who saw Beamon make his leap into the record books would never forget it. I thought the puzzle was a typical Sunday mess but that’s a compliment. I wanted DISCREDITED BANKER but it wouldn’t fit. Neither did Ayn Rand for Asimov. Boy could that guy write books! Hundreds and that’s a low estimate. I wanted TRY IT before “Do I have to?” How ‘bout DiSSOLUTE Minstrel? Okay, GROAN now.

CS 9:01 AM  

For once I agree with Rex. YUCK and I usually love Sundays .... sigh......


Birchbark 9:18 AM  

This one reminds me of a dream I once had that I can't quite remember.

Twice needed Webster's 2nd unabridged (1934) where two "regular" dictionaries didn't help: ARMET and the clue for BAA ("Cote call").

I think of "Cote" as French for "coast," but there's nothing especially sheepish to me about a coast. If you don't already know, a "cote" is also, among many other definitions, "a small shed or covering for domestic animals." But sheep aren't domestic, so we continue down to the fourth "Cote" entry, characterized as "foreign," and learn that in Canada a cote is a hillside or a series of neighboring lots.

Maybe there are sheep on the hillside or in the neighbor's yard? Maybe others have a clue for why "Cote call" = BAA?

Bad Seed 9:21 AM  

"DEFLOWEREDHORTICULTURIST" needs to be in there somewhere next to DEFILEDMANICURIST.

This should have gone into the "nice start, but needs fixing" pile. And by "nice start," I mean, figure out how to work Deflowered Horticulturist into the grid.

kitshef 9:22 AM  

More resistance than a usual Sunday, due mostly to the area around DISPATCHED. AHA, NAHA, SOMA, VOL all tricky, kept wanting stiTCH to be there somewhere, Detour before DIVERT.

Not a big fan of Mcdonald’s, other than the fries, but I did like the McDLT.

DERANGED CATTLEMAN was my favorite. I liked how the DISes and DEs alternated.

For the record, I have never heard a NEWSBOY shout Extra! Extra!

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

A PUT is _not_ a "Wall Street order"--it is a kind of contract, which one may BUY or sell. Stupid clue.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  


"And anyone who saw Beamon make his leap into the record books would never forget it."

Terrific. And I'm sure that the NYT crossword-solving community skews toward the silver end of the spectrum, but you could be over 50 years old and still be too young to have possibly seen that "leap into the record books", even as an infant.

I also have to laugh at the notion (not QuasiMojo's) that the Simpsons is too recent to be fair game, when it's been on the air continuously for almost 30 years. If I'm expected to solve clues for characters in shows that ended literally decades before I was born, you'd think that the Simpsons, of all things, wouldn't be too much to ask of the senior crowd.

Crimson Devil 9:39 AM  

Great to see HOMAGE paid to Bob Beamon: his long jump was probably single greatest sports accomplishment; he surpassed previous world record by about two feet ! Unheard of !

Unknown 9:43 AM  

Erasers are called rubbers in England...as I learned to my cost soon after I moved here and asked for one in my office!!!

GILL I. 9:47 AM  

Well, I DIED right from the beginning with WEBAPP ATTHAT ASIMOV. SHEESH what a mess - and I wasn't even on my second sip.
My Sunday experience goes like this: I have fond memories of Sunday puzzles. When I was still a virgin crossword player I decided to take the plunge. My first Sunday was sitting under a tree in Central Park, pencil in hand, the rest of the NYT strewn about, but the puzzle nicely folded and ready to be attacked. I had fun. It took me two days to finish. I had such fond memories.
My Sunday has to be like a book. If the first paragraph doesn't catch my eye, it becomes yesterday's TOAST.
This wasn't quite toast but it felt like it lacked a lot of French marmalade.
DISTRESSED HAIR DRESSER got a smile from me. I thought ooh, kinda cute. DEFILED MANICURIST brought on a little frown. Maybe because I don't like the word DEFILED. Put me in bad mood.
Then we have so many three letter words or maybe I'm being overly sensitive. A couple of things made me look up what the answers meant. I've never heard of a MCDLTS. I now see why it wasn't successful. Your burger has to come all dressed up. You can't separate the tomato from the beef. Hah beefcake tomatoes...GROAN. Anyway....I also didn't know that Boston is cursed with THE BAMBINO. Why is a little Italian child such a curse? Had to look further down the Googs road to see that the "BABE" was given the nickname and he did something bad along the way and I don't care.
So much today felt old and tired and I don't want to feel old and tired. Even poor LASSIE is old and now I found out she had a sex change.
I think I'm going to call it A DAY.

Z 9:59 AM  

I like @Lewis’s interpretation, you’ve lost your FILE so now you’re an unemployed MANICURIST as opposed to my “You’re fired Mr. CATTLEMAN, leave your RANGE.”

@anon4:38 - “tools of the trade” are not just literal tools. You can’t be a HAIRDRESSER without hair, so TRESSes are “tools of the trade.” This is also why I disagree with @LMS about RANGE.

@David Rosenbaum - Pull up a couch. Sunday puzzles really are just double-sized Thursday puzzles. A Thursday puzzle has 225 total squares, Sunday has 441, so it is not really double, just posing and flexing to try to scare novices and make our feats of solvery more impressive to Crossworld Aliens. Our own little imaginary wall of steel slats. If you can solve two puzzles in a row you can do a Sunday.

Hand up for wearing rubbers to go splashing through puddles as a lad. I don’t think I’ve heard that term for galoshes since 1972, nor galoshes for nearly as long.

Did everyone catch @sf27shirley showing how to use AT THAT as clued? Thanks. I knew it was okay, but was having a hard time coming up with an example.

Anyone else notice lots of good comments by “anonymous?” Pick a nom de blog and let us get to know you better. Click that “Name/URL” button and type in your nom de blog every time you post or sign in with a google account and go blue. This place is best when lots of different perspectives are here and we have a little more context about who is doing the commenting.

Gulliver Foyle 10:00 AM  

In From Russia With Love, Bond has a beeper, the latest in hi-tech super-spy gadgetry.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Wow, I knew the Rex didn't like business terms because he has never been in the real world - but "put". Did he ever have to study anything about economics? Or, can you just become a college English teacher by reading novels? Please, no one use the term "call" in the next puzzle.

QuasiMojo 10:08 AM  

@Anonymous 9:26, you are right to quibble with my post in that I seemed to imply, through carelessness, that Rex should have known who Beamon was, but the statement, on its own, was just my way of saying Beamon’s achievement was amazing and historic and highly memorable to me. His record stood for 23 years, however, and was brought up in subsequent Olympics and track events often by commentators.

Z 10:14 AM  

@GILL I - LOL - What THE BAMBINO “did” to cause the curse was get traded to New York and become the greatest player of all time while the Sox went 86 years without a championship.

@birchbark - Was the word “domestic” or “domesticated?” “A small shed or covering for domesticated animals” seems a fine definition of “cote.” The OED doesn’t even use “domesticated,” but their terse definition would seem to encompass a bear’s den or even an eagles ærie, which doesn’t seem right. And I don’t know why pigeons get a COTE but chickens get a coop.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

BEEPERS have been around since the 1920s, according to Google, and I remember references to them from the 60s.

I had one or two MCDLTs in my life - meh. I also thought the name was silly, because I always used to think of the as McDolts, which I don't think was their intention.

I also have no clue as to how sheep occupy a cote. Got that purely from the crosses.

Jeremy Keeshin 10:23 AM  

I really enjoyed the theme on this puzzle. I thought it was clear and clever, and had a good aha moment when you got the clue.

To me it felt that the wordplay was consistent, it was just a bit more general than people wrote about here.

It was some negative phrase with something related to the profession, sort of saying that if they are unemployed they don't have that thing anymore.

I had a hard time with a number of the a number of clues on this one too at BEAMON/THIEU/CULP/ASSAM/NEMEAN/CASEY KASEM/BRIGANTINE.

Also, it's just funny to see how the commenters are so split on a puzzle like this and if it's great or horrible. I guess that is just the internet... :)

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

Stop whining Rex. The theme answers either started dis or de and the occupation was related to the part of the word which followed de or dis. It worked fine. For me there were many parts harder than the part Rex circled. The puzzle was hard, but not too hard. Liked it.

Aketi 10:31 AM  

@Quasi, read ASIMOV’s entire Foundation series in grad school along with Dickens, Tolstoy and , Doestoyesvsky as a means of procrastinating while working on my dissertation. When we finally decluttered our bookshelves, my ASIMOV collection yielded the best returns at the used bookstore.

RVA flier 10:34 AM  


David 10:35 AM  

Huh. If you think Thieu was just some random president during the Vietnam war you don't need to know anything about you'll probably believe anything a president tells you when he wants to start another illegal, long, unwinable, useless war.

I finished this one in the web version of the Times and as soon as I was done it stopped accepting input from my keyboard, so I don't know if it marked me as finished or not. Very weird.

I found the themers super-simple, and even understand what bankers have to do with trusts, but a lot of the fill tripped me up. Have to agree with Rex on "at that". What? And "more balanced" to clue "evener" (a thing which evens)? Couldn't countenance "look for" for "await" either; maybe "look forward".

Yeah, deranged cattleman was my favorite. Reminded me of Cliven Bundy and his family.

Shafty 10:36 AM  

David, I’d always heard that Sundays are more like Thursdays. Maybe that’s why you struggle?

Suzie Q 10:37 AM  

I can't really say this was any fun. The "jokes" of the theme answers fell flat on me. Or died on me?
It seems like every single suggestion made in the comments is better than the ones in the puzzle.
My only joy was hearing Jed Clampett saying "Sit a spell, take your shoes off" as I filled in 98A.

Mr. Benson 10:38 AM  

OOXTEPLERNON has a cousin and its name is DAYORAHBAASITA.

I'm always perplexed by how little Rex knows about the world of economics and business. PUT is pretty basic. It's an option to sell.

Shafty 10:39 AM  

So now we are supposed to pretend that Bill COSBY never existed. But no complaints about brutal dictator IDI Amin, who murdered at least one of his wives and countless others?

Nancy 10:44 AM  

For me, at first, the hospital unit (68D) was ICU, not BED. And thus I had C----- for "Rubber" (77A). So, what, Dear Readers, do you think I wrote in there? Take a guess. And there the CONDOM remained until the very end of my solve -- thoroughly lousing up the SW, where I wouldn't have known CASEY KASEM if I fell over him.

When this sort of thing happens, I always wonder if it's an elaborate two-clue-trap, fiendishly and deliberately set by the constructor. If so, I fell right in, Randolph.

I absolutely loved this puzzle. The puns are clever and delicious and the surrounding fill is crunchy enough to act as a solving shield. Once you know the gimmick, plenty of thinking is still required to come up with all the puns. So this Sunday stays fresh and never becomes a slog. Delightful.

John McKnight 10:46 AM  

Well this one sucked. Christ.

Escalator 10:47 AM  

Love the clue/answer for 117A

Birchbark 10:55 AM  

@Z (10:14) -- I stand pretty much corrected. The exact "Cote" definition refers to "small domestic animals." The same unabridged dictionary's definition uses sheep as an example in their definition of "domestic animal." Sheep = small domestic animal, so cote can be a sheep-shelter, and the clue is obscurely fair.

Adam Frank 11:02 AM  

I liked the theme better than @Rex, but I agree - in general, really not great.

A PUT is not an order; it's a financial instrument. An order is BUY, SELL, TURN THOSE MACHINES BACK ON. (I work for a bank, and I have no idea how "TRUST" fits into this theme. TRESSes are what a hairdresser works with; FILE is a manicurist's tool; PATCH is what a tailor does; GRADE is what a teacher does; RANGE is where a cattleman works; ILLUSION is what a magician does. A loan officer is a banker - maybe he should have been DENOTED, which at least makes sense.)

Also had AS PIE instead of ASABC. Google Calendar is an iPhone app as well as a WEB APP, so no. I did enjoy the inclusion of Isaac ASIMOV (who wrote Foundation some time before the Vietnam War, picking up on @Rex's screed). Once I got AT THAT (which I don't think means "in addition") I knew that it would be THIEU (I've seen plenty of Vietnam documentaries, so that wasn't too much of an issue). It took me forever to read the clue on 16D ("Feburary") correctly, but that helped take care of the NE. Also loved I, Spy and happy to see the reference.

I haven't heard an ERASER referred to as a "rubber" since grade school - which was not long after the Vietnam War's end, and I needed all the crosses to get it.

I always spell NEMEAN and NIMEAN, but I knew that it could be wrong and eventually got BRIGANTINE (knew it wasn't BRIGANTINI, which sounds like a kind of pasta). Totally agree on ARMET. Ugh.

Hamlet - I was looking for something ending in VI (not remembering that he died in Act V) - I haven't seen it written out and didn't even think about it.

Overall, C+/B-

Steve M 11:06 AM  

What m Morgan said just ignore the rant and enjoy the puzzle

Stanley Hudson 11:27 AM  

Diem Thieu Ky

That’s all you need to remember

Adam Lipkin 11:30 AM  

As someone who grew up in the '80s, I was so sure that it was "Pauls," not NEILS for that one clue, and that had me thrown for a bit.

My favorite clue had to be the "Locker Room Shower?" one for ESPN. Such a nice AHA moment.

TubaDon 11:38 AM  

Didn't love it, didn't hate it, just so-so. The theme professions were easy, the adjectives only a little harder after I realized they all began with DE- or DIS-. No idea how to spell THIEU so the H was the last letter in.

Unknown 11:49 AM  

The clue for 111-A made me smile. Seventy-three years ago my parents met on a train from Washington to Chattanooga. My 21 year old father, an Army first-lieutenant who had been injured during the Battle of the Bulge, was traveling back to his base from Walter Reed Army Hospital. He was working a crossword puzzle and asked the pretty stranger in the next seat if she knew a 15-letter word for "magician." She did.

JC66 11:52 AM  

I thought this was a really fun Sunday with just the right amount of crunch. The liked/disliked split among us may be due to age.

Loved all the other themers the commentariat came up with (and LMS's avatar).

I was sure that @Rex would complain about BABE as clued (85D), but instead he jumped on "unemployed MEN's clothier" (46A).

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

According to “Men and Idioms of Wall Street” published in 1875, the phrase “to order a PUT” is acceptable.

B Right There 12:04 PM  

The themers were pretty easy, especially with the DIS-DE-DIS-DE pattern so some fast filling helped bring time down under our average. Lots of things in our wheelhouse, too. Asimov, THE BAMBINO, NEMEAN, etc. Sussed out BEAMON from the back of the brain from having watched a documentary on the ’68 Olympics. They were really iconic Olympic Games with that jump, social issues, and the unforgettable debut to the world of the Fosbury Flop. However, our Natick moment occurred at 31D (Okinawa port) x 35A (Jokester). Having no clue on the port, we confidently entered Wit for 35A. Once we entered IGOT at 32D (____Rhythm), we looked at the resulting 35A, now WiG. Scratched our heads and hoped for the Happy Pencil, which didn’t come. : ( Actually looked up WAG synonyms and definitions, and it seems to be more of a gossip than a jokester. Hmmm. ERASER gave us no problem since we figured that essentially an eraser rubs out the graphite, so, sure, it is a rubber. Like an ax is a chopper. Actually typed in Macrib at 42 D until I thought, wait, no. McD’s wouldn’t all of a sudden have included an a in Mac. We did love the sandwich though (the McRib, not the MCDLT). Wish it would come back again. For not having anything in common with ribs, it did have a pretty good sauce and we both liked it with extra onions. Now that’s a date night memory blast from the past! Still trying to come up with more themers. Maybe DISTEMPERED STEELWORKER? DISMANTLED CLOTHIER?

Overall, cute, fast and then the disappointing Natick moment that soured an otherwise fine Sunday.

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

@sf27shirley - Yes, it's about time someone made a NY Times crossword puzzle that skews old. *eyeroll*

Prancing Golden Fluids 12:29 PM  

Does anyone remember PLAY?

Burley Grymes 12:31 PM  

He has a foul mouf and is from Falmouth, KY

ArtO 12:32 PM  

A bit of a slog for me. Took a while to glom onto the theme but once found it enabled writing in the professions at the end of each which gave a leg up on the solve. Would not quibble with the puns; thought they all worked quite well.

Liked the misdirection with president THIEU, had no trouble with BEAMON whose feat was considered to have been aided by the high altitude of the Mexico City olympics of 1968. While his world record was broken in 1991, his olympic record still stands.

Very annoying that @Rex has a quibble with anything that occurred before his time. There are plenty of old timers like myself who work the puzzle every day and don't complain about the plethora of pop stuff about which we are clueless.

Chuck Geshecktre 12:33 PM  

Has the poor soul heard a popular song in the past 60 years?

Wm. C. 12:33 PM  

@Shafty10:36 --

I too think that Sunday's are an oversized Thursday (with a theme).

BTW, I always include the posting time of my addressee so that anyone interested can see what I'm referring to. When you replied to "David," there was a David right above you. Since there was no correlation between the content, and because he posted only 1-2 minutes before you, I chased way up to an early morning post to find the David you were addressing.

Posting times makes things clearer sometimes. ;-)

Gridiron Gary 12:37 PM  

With these kinds of themes the entire phrase usually is amusing. But once you see that the manicurist is de-filed (unemployed), how is she defiled? How is the teacher degraded after he/she's de-graded? Where's the joke? Is an unemployed person any of these horrible things? Both sides of the word play have to work and these don't. Also, why does a loan officer have anything to do with trusts? And what tailor does patching? Rex is correct in calling this a mess.

Banana Diaquiri 12:53 PM  

OFL really got his panties in a twist today. and for no good reason. all the puns incorporate: 1) a negative and 2) a thing that is 3) associated to a person. THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT THAT ALL THINGS BE RELATED TO THE PERSON IN THE SAME WAY.

BANKER/TRUST - a TRUST is a bank product
MAGICIAN/ILLUSION - an ILLUSION is the product of magic
and so on
a TAILOR works on men's clothing; for wimins, it's dressmaker

sawyerpoet 1:02 PM  

Rex— you’re always groaning that you didn’t know/have never heard of a word or phrase that has flummoxed you. Well, dear, now you know! Isn’t that one of the reasons we do these puzzles?

Masked and Anonymous 1:08 PM  

I cannot DIS this theme. Also, thanx to a mega-wide-open grid and 7 looong themers, luved the Ow DE Speration rare gems. (yo, @BRIGANTINO & ARMET & MCDLTS)

fave clues included: {Like Feburary} and {One out?}.
staff weeject picks: BWI & ICS. Lil darlins.

Medium difficulties sounds about right, at our house. Knew THIEU, but not BEAMON, in @RP's dissed patchy red blob area.

Thanx for the sunny, funny SunFun, Mr. Ross.

Masked & Anonymo6Us

Hungry Mother 1:27 PM  

Solved relatively quickly on the Symphony of the Seas, heading for Honduras and hopefully not a caravan. I ran a 5K race aboard early this morning, then climbed the rock wall and did the sipline before coming to the puzzle. Very enjoyable.

Backdoor Trots 1:33 PM  

Great puzzle

Hungry Mother 1:42 PM  

@Evil Doug back as @Bad Seed?

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

Ok... the waning football season has given me too much time on Sundays. If I normalize the Sunday grid size to every other day, my average Sunday time falls between Wednesday and Thursday -- but much closer (80%) to Thursday. However... the themed nature of Thursdays throws a curve ball that's difficult to quantify. If one were to remove that complicating element, I'd say that Sunday's degree of difficulty falls right between Wednesday and Thursday. As an aside... Mo/Tu/Wed show a very linear increase in difficulty, there is a sharp jump on Thursday, and then Th/Fr/Sat show another linear increase. This is averaged among 1100 puzzles. Anyone else notice that?

Carola 2:08 PM  

I liked the theme; I thought it was a little different (Note to non-Midwesterners: "a little different" = positive; "different" on its own = weird [as in, "Well, that was different!"]; "real different" = "I'm not sure what to think" [as in "Aunt Margaret put chow mein noodles in her green bean casserole - it was real different"]).

Old enough to know: BEAMON, THIEU. Help from previous crosswords: CASEY KASEM, TETRA. Never to late to learn something: Sheep can live in a cote; I was sure it was just doves, so had a hard time exchanging "coo" for BAA.

@Loren, I loved your excursis on "on."

pabloinnh 2:10 PM  

PUT me in the had a lot of fun crowd. Something about the image of a DERANGEDRANCHER is just funny. If overthinking just leads to misery, cut it out.

Interesting rubber footwear commentary today. Where I grew up, rubbers only went over your shoes. Galoshes, on the other hand, were those things that were higher and had buckles. I have a friend that insists "galoshes" is onomatopoetic because your feet go "galosh", "galosh" when you're walking.

BEAMON was unforgettable, at least at the time. Like the Viet Nam War, in a totally different way.

Thanks to RR for a fun Sunday.

old timer 2:14 PM  

GREAT comments, y'all. A perceptive review by OFL, and amusing AT THAT. (Yeah I can see that ATTHAT *can* mean "also" but the clue seemed really off to me).

When I was very young, back in the Truman Administration, overshoes were called "rubbers" when they were made of rubber or something rubberlike. An eraser was an instrument all its own, often with two different wedge shaped ends, but the eraser you could attach to the end of a pencil was also called a rubber. Not to mention, my mother regularly played rubbers of bridge.

We knew nothing, and were taught nothing, about the kind of rubbers issued to GI's. Though I guess if I had lived near a park I would have seen them in the grass and some of my more informed classmates could have explained what they were.

Swagomatic 2:16 PM  

It was okay. I did spend too much time overthinking the theme, though. It was okay once I just realized that it was what it was, and just went with it.

Anonymous 2:23 PM  

Rex's post is right on the money. Natick error is the straw which breaks the camel's back.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

Whoops - Natick error comment was meant for yesterday's puzzle.

Here Rex is right on the money with swipes at theme.

This theme is much easier to demonstrate than to describe which is part of its problem: discerning its algorithm is overly-taxing and not joy-making once done. It is not at all pleasantly elegant.

Fully described, the algorithm is:
An [un][verb][profession], where the “un” is denoted by “de”, “di”, or “dis,” the verb is something a person who engages in the profession does, and the [un][verb] combo constitutes a recognizable word, such that the whole constitutes a bit of pun.


Another way to put this would be: Words which begin with “de,” “di,” or “dis” which contain a verb, plus the name of a professional which can operate as the subject of that verb, such that professionals appear to be stripped of at least one of their functions by something which has independent meaning.

[double ick]

Anonymous 2:29 PM  

Great puzzle. Agree the clue on admired was wrong and thought so when solving. Maybe it’s a second or third definition.

QuasiMojo 2:31 PM  

@Aketi, I will put the Foundation series on my reading list, the one for my dotage years fast approaching. The only book by Asimov I’ve read is I, Robot which I very much enjoyed!

LorrieJJ 2:32 PM  

I'm distressed that Rex doesn't know Bob Beamon was. When Beamon took that long jump that smashed every single record for the long jump to pieces and was unmatched for the next 20 years, was right up there with the eagle has landed as far as memorable moments goes. For me anyway.

phil phil 2:50 PM  

DIED ON gave me bit of a squint. I Think the comma phrase didn’t register with me, maybe it should have been parenthetical?. But then, in more over analyzing, I have complained in the past about mis-using parentheses in crosswords as it’s suppose to be an add on to the clue and answer. So I guess DIEDON clued as “failed (me)” is better??

We have to remember the themers are restricted to length to fit the grid symmetry even tho I like the proposals given by others here.

I thought the puzzle was fun. Thanks to someone else describing the McDLT i now remember very well the marketing ads, at that, as well, in addition. But I kinda like when the lettuce and mayonnaise and tomato get close to being a soupy mess of a burger so it was lost on me. Oh yeah, special sauce not mayonnaise, thats why i didn’t eat at mcdonalds much. Marketing Juggernauts they were. Even survived the later battles with local building code restrictions banning their iconic (stupid) golden arches. And those ridiculous french fries that anonymous mobs craved and adored.

Frog Prince Kisser 3:18 PM  

@ Joe Dipinto 1:33 AM
The actor’s name is Armie (short for Armand) Hammer, not Armet. But I agree about the celery part!

Anonymoose 3:31 PM  

The clue for DIEDON is "failed....to its user". I think that makes it clear.

Anoa Bob 3:38 PM  

Having lived in TN, I've heard lots of Bluegrass music, most of it in live concert. The clue for 3D about a Bluegrass instrument had me thinking UPRIGHT BASS. BASS FIDDLE didn't seem right. I don't recall ever having seen or heard one, so I went YouTubing and found this little gem Rocket Man. The BASS FIDDLE part, where the BASS is played with a bow, only lasts a couple of seconds at the very beginning, and then it gets played as an upright BASS thereafter.

If you're not familiar with Bluegrass, you might be surprised to learn that it traditionally involves a lot of improvisation, with each instrument typically getting a turn. Not unlike jazz.

Here's another example with lots of improv and a video made in New York City: Country Boy.

GB Bartley 3:45 PM  

LorrieJJ is right -- Anyone who saw Bob Beamon make that jump at the 1968 Olympics knew s/he had just witnessed something astonishing. And every knowledgeable American should know about Thieu's role in America's involvement in Vietnam.

Roo Monster 3:50 PM  

Hey All !
Nice puz. Worked for me. :-)

Some Random Nonsense for ya:
Statement of Mr. Draper's enemy? DIE DON (84D)
Something you hate hearing? EAR NIT (118A)
Newborn years? REST AGES (87D)
Each one gets a stinger? BEE PERS (53D)(ouch)
Give in to a demand? CAVE AT (90A)
Mr. America allows? CAP LETS (44D)
Higher ups in a fast food restaurant? MCD LTS (42D)
Punch to help you dream? REM ADE (59D)
Commercial put on the back burner? AD MIRED (21D)

That's probably enough, eh? :-)


DigitalDan 4:32 PM  

The McDLT was REALLY GOOD. The hot ingredients were stored on one side, the cold, including fresh, crispy lettuce, and pretty decent tomato, on the other. When you put them together to consume them, you didn't think you were at McDonalds at all. So of course, it came and went really quickly.

Bill L. 4:47 PM  

@pabloinnh 2:10 PM - Is your friend Bill Watterson by any chance?

galosh - You might need to scroll down a bit.

Dennis Doubleday 4:59 PM  

BEAMON and THIEU is not a Natick--those are both well-known people. And I can't make any sense of the complaint about the themers--they all make sense to me. I swear, Rex complains about perfectly good things if they slow him down at all.

Nancy 5:00 PM  


JC66 5:29 PM  

DISHONORED - Unemployed Judge
DISCHARGED - Unemployed electrician
DEFAMED - Unemployed actress/actor
DISINCLINED - Unemployed prostitute
DEFUNCT - Unemployed soul singer
DISMAYED - Unemployed Brexit negotiator
DEPLOYED - Unemployed cabalist

droog 5:42 PM  

I finished but only because I've got a 16 day streak going and I refused to give up. 1 hour 50 mins or so. : /

Banana Diaquiri 5:52 PM  

this late in the comments, and some folks continue to insist that the 2nd part is a VERB!!!! it ain't. it's an object(noun) used/owned/created/etc. by the person. if your going to complain, at least demonstrate you understand what's going on.

home, home on the RANGE... and so on

Rainbow 6:11 PM  

I've checked in on the blog a few times, hoping (in vain) to read an explanation or opinion that might bring
closure on this theme. I fondly recall the sweet themeless of a few Sundays ago.

An aside: California Suite is just starting on TCM. Bill Cosby is in the opening scenes. I gotta admit, it feels creepy.

JC66 6:25 PM  


You must have missed @LMS's 4:49 AM comment:

"@Z had the right way to see this theme – the professionals are relieved of the stuff they work with. HAIRDRESSER/TRESS, BANKER/TRUST, MANICURIST/FILE blah blah. The outlier to me was the CATTLEMAN/RANGE since, as Rex notes, RANGE is a place. But still, if you take away these DIS __ or DE__ things, the poor person is out of work."

jayhawkprof 6:30 PM  

Actually found this "easy-ish," perhaps because I'm a bit older than most of y'all, and knew both Thieu (almost immediately) and Beamon (with help from crosses). And, too, found the themed answers a bit "forced/silly" But, overall, satisfying in the whole (perhaps because I found it "easy-ish). Oh, and I've never heard of a McDlt! Cheers.

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

Hey guys, what do you consider to be the easiest NYT Monday puzzle?

pmdm 7:19 PM  

Nancy: Bravo!!!

Anonymous 7:24 PM  


pabloinnh 7:55 PM  

@Bill L- My friend (alas) is not Bill Watterson, and I am delighted to have learned that both of them came to the same realization. Calvin and Hobbes is the best comic strip ever drawn/written by anyone ever, and I will fight anyone that wants to disagree. And my friend is probably the best friend anyone ever had, so a confluence of superlatives.

Thanks for posting. You made my day.

Marshall 8:00 PM  

EVENER nearly made me throw my laptop. What a terrible word.

Jtull 8:21 PM  

Jason Alexander for McDLT!


Rob 8:40 PM  

THIEU and BEAMON are "well-known"? Lunacy. Absolutely a Natick. If I weren't solving electronically this would have been a DNF, saved only because I could enter letters in that square until the applet informed me that I had completed the puzzle. I've never heard either of these names, not even once. Anecdotal, certainly, but most of the other comments back me up. Regardless, if you don't know them, that cross is not inferrable. Technically THIEU doesn't even seem to be right -- there appear to be diacritics from the Vietnamese alphabet involved.

Far from the worst puzzle I've ever done, but I wasn't real into it, and that is a very bad cross.

Anonymous 9:00 PM  

What am I missing with the blogger? Do all puzzles have to fit into some written-in-stone formula?... geez the puzzle was fun..you figure out one of the themers, you get the general idea, and then the others fall into place....looks to me like someone is looking to enhance their sense of self- importance!

Anonymous 9:48 PM  

You have to have read a lot of pastoral poetry to come right up with sheep cote and BAA. But it is a thing.

Bob Vance of Bob Vance Refrigeration 10:02 PM  

Bob Beamon had a YUGE pole vault

ghostoflectricity 10:08 PM  

Was around in '68 (age 13), so I know who Beamon and Thieu are. Bob Beamon set a record at the '68 Summer Olympics for the long jump (Mexico City, the same one where his teammates John Carlos and Tommie Smith bowed their heads and made Black Power fists on the medal podium during the playing of the "Star-Spangled Banner." In those days the winter and summer games were held in the same year, BTW; they didn't go to alternating every 2 years until '92/'94). Beamon didn't join in the protest but he's a mensch and shouldn't be associated with Thieu, who was a corrupt South Vietnamese politician supported by the Americans.

As for the theme, Rex is right- this was a hot and unedifying and non-entertaining mess. Particularly didn't like "defiled manicurist." Are we now making jokes out of obscure references to rape and sexual harassment? Blecch. But then Shortz and Co. have taken a shockingly nonchalant attitude toward white supremacism, neo-Nazism, and other things recently. Get a clue, Shortz. Not funny. Get woke.

Brian Larsen 10:46 PM  

I was so excited working this puzzle knowing that Rex must have hated it as much as I did. It was extremely painful, obscure, and unnecessarily clunky ATTHAT. Quite possibly the most dated and awkward clueing I have ever had the pleasure of slogging through. That said, it was so joyless I had to research Randolph Ross. It would seem he takes joy in creating unexpected side doors and challenging convention when he can get away with it. Reminds me of artists that do art for art’s sake, more involved in their own edification than their audiences. Well, put this one on your shelf of self-congratulatory trophies Randy, I will be watching for your return. MISSME? Nope.

Joe Dipinto 12:08 AM  

@Frog Prince Kisser 3:18 -- I know what the actor's name is.

EV 2:18 AM  

I was born and educated in the UK. Proud #$@&#$ immigrant, proud Citizen. I was a five-year old in 1968.
I knew Beamon and Thieu. Also (thank you, ghostoflectricity 10:08) the courage of Carlos and Smith.

Shocked that of the few commenters who knew Thieu, more knew him because they happened to see a documentary recently
than because, you know, they actually knew who he was.
Anybody ever read a damn book about one of the the more important and impactful periods in 20th century US history?

pat sanchez 7:38 AM  

The same area Rex outlined was my problem area too.

Never heard of Beamon,Thieu, Soma, Nemean, Armet, Octal, Wag (for jokester) or Assam Tea. Didn't get McDlt because I only ever eat there if I'm on a road trip and it's the only option. I also had Coo before Baa.

I got the theme but had hoped the word 'lines' meant something. It didnt. I found it dull.

117A - all I kept thinking about was either Milton Berle or Flip Wilson (Geraldine).

I immediately thought of condom for rubber. I did wear rubbers over my shoes as a kid wGen it snowed. First you put baggies over the shoes. My mom actually put baggies over my hands too before the gloves went on.

My dad was an EVP for Revlon for sbout 35 years. The brand under founder, Charles Revson, was great. Sadly it's now crap you buy at Rite Aid.

Im not THAT old but this puzzle was definitely for the elderly.


Suzafish 11:50 AM  

We liked it too.

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

This wasn't a great puzzle, but the things that seemed so incomprehensible to Rex were not difficult for people of my generation who spent young adulthood mired in the Vietnam war and then went on to real jobs in banking. I think you are now experiencing the frustration I feel when I am expected to know rap artists, sports figures and automobile lines simply because they are useful because of odd letter sequences.

Pattywack 4:14 PM  

I seem to be the only person who has never heard of NEMEAN Lions! I thought I would have lots of fellow puzzlers to stomp around with in outrage over this one, but apparently it's just me...stomp, stomp, stomp. Guess I'll be going home now.

Judgejoe 11:58 AM  

Glad to see so many positive comments about this puzzle...when is Rex going to lighten up on these constructors, who must just love to hear from this arrogant blogger who lives by the creed, if I don't know it than it's foolish?

sf27shirley 6:43 PM  

Or maybe for people who read and who take the time to learn about the past.

Anonymous 6:23 PM  

Great puzzle, lots of fund, no clues that were seriously objectionable ("at that" was no quite correct, but close enough), and most of all negligible pop culture trivia that Rex lives for. Rex -- about 12D, you should know by now that if a CW says "president" and no American fits, it's automatically a foreign president. Shame on you for falling for that elementary swerve! CW 101. Bravo to Randolph Ross, let's see more of him. Ignore the complaints of Rex Parker, whose entire conception of what a crossword should be is just a pop culture quiz.

Paul Kurtz 9:18 AM  

How does "eee" precede "jay"??????

Rich L. 11:45 AM  

I thought this puzzle was pretty easy. Got one letter wrong. Never heaed Jokester = WAG. I guessed WOG. Gotta learn some basic investment terms, Rex. A PUT is an investment, as is a CALL. NY Times readers would know these terms. Thieu and Beamon....you know em or you don't. I knew the latter. i thought the theme was clever. I got the idea. It's not perfectly explainable, but it was easy to see. Liked the puzzle.....

Robert Berardi 7:12 PM  

So the McDLT gave us double the styrofoam...

spacecraft 12:36 PM  

First of all, we have a month-jump and a sleepy linker...AGAIN. Down into the archives I must again dive to arrive here. Like today's puzzle, that's a lot of work for the pay.

Hand up for the NIXON trap, and for Detour before DIVERT. Those two missteps (hey, BTW, there are two MISSes in the grid! Flag?) cost me many nano-whatevers. It took me about eight Rexes, an OCTAL factor.

North central was really a bear; somebody explain to me how "In addition" is supposed to lead you to "ATTHAT." Beats me, and I had ACETEN. After what seemed like a polar winter, the dawn finally cracked: oh, oh, NOT a US president! Curses, they got me again!

Many Saturday-level clues contributed to the slog. As far as the theme goes, I thought the answers were clever, and didn't have the same GROANs as OFL did. But despite being able to write in whole lines, I struggled with the fill. It is OK for a big grid; some of the longer stuff was delightful: THEBAMBINO! Hmm, THELAW makes two THE's. Are we picking nits here? THE THE MISS MISS. Oh well.

And in all this can I find a DOD? Not directly, but as the star of AVATAR, Zoe Saldana gets my vote (a most honorable mention to Sigourney Weaver, her co-star).

Finally, why get twisted about ARMET? Seems natural to me: an ARMor helMET. What could be simpler? And what is BWI?? Wait...Baltimore/Washington International? That's gotta be it. OK, par.

Burma Shave 1:32 PM  


broke THELAW in a SEXY SUIT of clothes.


rondo 2:07 PM  

BEAMON a gimme making THIEU a gimme when I got there. Had all the occupations before any of the descriptors. first one to fall was the DISPATCHEDTAILOR. No write-overs in a SMOOTH, leisurely stroll of about 4 Rexes.

There's a move afoot to legalize REC POT in MN. RAH!

Well, I could revert to the clues for one of my favorite UTAHANS and yeah BABE Marie Osmond. Or an answer that coulda been SEXY Sandra DEE.

Wouldn't cal this puz a RAREGEM, but it was OK.

Diana, LIW 3:16 PM  

@Spacey drives ya crazy to have to drive around without the deLorean to find the puzzle of the day, doesn't it? Well, it does for me, and it's been happening a lot, lately. But today, straddling two months... The pale is what it was beyond.

I wasn't inspired today - that's on me. P'raps 'tis the rain. At least we don't have 40-below cold, like my Midwest friends had this week, who were scurrying for cover. Well...most of them scurried. At least one was loving it. Takes all kinds, eh Elsa?

But I was thinking of how @Rex has taught us that sometimes a theme can bring DISTRESS to a puzzle. Was this one of those times - too clever for itself? Not certain, so I'll take my share of the blame.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for a break in the rain so I can take a walk

rainforest 3:31 PM  

I love to have my fancy tickled, and this puzzle filled the bill. I found it "medium" and went through pretty smoothly. Knowing THIEU and BEAMON right off helped up in the North. The themers were long and clever, I thought; funny, AT THAT.

After I got the first themer, like @rondo I went for the professions first in the others and tried to guess what they were DE- or DIS- d of. I found that fun.

What's a MCDLT?

My Dad, who was British, used to call ERASERs "rubbers", but my Mom, who was Rumanian, called my gumboots "rubbers". Confused rainy.
Regardless of whether the puzzle skewed Viet Nam, I thought the theme, the cluing and the fill were dandy. Liked it. Like my fridge, too.

AnonymousPVX 8:17 PM  

MCDLT....the gimmick was that there was a hot burger side and a cold Lettuce and Tomato side in a side by side Styrofoam box that, as others have noted, doubled the styrofoam. All in an effort to keep the lettuce from wilting I suppose.
I got the solve without having a bunch of fun but without any dislike as well.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

Loved this one. Fun plays on words.

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