One-named Latin signer / WED 4-3-19 / Old British biplanes / Mexican resort area for short / Magic creatures of Jewish lore

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Constructor: Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Medium (though I was quite slow) (oversized 16x15 grid) (5:31)

THEME: SEARCH RESULTS (55A: Google returns ... or the answers to the four starred clues) — uh, looks like themers are things that people were somewhat famously searching for (clues are the searchers and the year of the search ... result):

Theme answers:
  • RABIES VACCINE (19A: *Louis Pasteur, 1885)
  • NORTHWEST PASSAGE (25A: *Roald Amundsen, 1906)
  • URANUS (38A: *William Herschel, 1781)
  • TUTANKHAMEN'S TOMB (48A: *Howard Carter, 1922)
Word of the Day: AVIANS (67A: Old British biplanes with an apt name) —
The Avro Avian was a series of British light aircraft designed and built by Avro in the 1920s and 1930s. While the various versions of the Avian were sound aircraft, they were comprehensively outsold by the de Havilland Moth and its descendants. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is just dull. The revealer, SEARCH RESULTS, is sleep-inducing all on its own. And the other stuff ... I mean, who cares? People search for (and find) lots of stuff. All the time. Whoop dee doo. This is just trivia, with a listless revealer. And then there's these distracting non-theme 9 stacks in the NW and SE, which I kept thinking should have theme content. Four themer-length answers, all longer than the central theme answer, just ... taking up space. And they're not even that interesting, and the whole architecture of the grid that allows for those 9s also creates a buncha boring short stuff. I mean, just run your eye over any section: EXEC DESI ADIN? (crossing ICES IN??) EIRE TIARA EASEBY EENSY ... TSETSE next to TESTS ... it's not good. And the puzzle tries so hard to be hip and colloquial, but it mostly whiffs there, too. "OR WHAT" does not swap out easily with its clue, 23D: "... am I right?" The only way "OR WHAT" makes sense is if it is added on to a question, i.e. "Is that a great sunset OR WHAT?" But you would never say "Is that a great sunset am I right?!" because the only way "am I right?!" makes sense is if it is added on to a statement. God, that clue is so bad. And ON SCENE? Ugh. I assume the clue for that is supposed to be [Where it's happening], but this is what AcrossLite provided:

I'd much sooner believe that "it" is "happening" at an IN SPOT than ON SCENE. I can kinda hear that phrase as something someone might say in a news broadcast, e.g. "fire trucks are ON SCENE." I don't know. Didn't like it. Didn't like complete sentence ["I'll do that job"] cluing very much incomplete sentence "ON IT." And worst of all was "UM NO," which I had as "UH, NO," because who the hell can tell? (60d: "Let me think ... huh-uh"). All these colloquial missteps are sad. The puzzle wants to be hip and fresh, but it just comes across as clumsy.

Five things:
  • 4D: The "C" of F.C. Barcelona (CLUB) — Wrote in CITY, quite confidently. I was thinking of Man City (an Premier League football CLUB) and ... I don't know, I just flubbed it. Really cost me. 
  • 5D: Others, in a Latin list (ALII) — few solving experiences are more disappointing than when you know it's *&^%$ crosswordese but you have to leave the final letter blank and check the cross because you don't know which version of *&^%$ crosswordese it is. ALII needs to retire.
  • 61D: Helmut of fashion (LANG) — wanted KOHL, but KOHL'S was already in the puzzle. Also KOHL was just wrong (he was Chancellor of Germany). Also, I wanted KOHL'S to be KMART.
  • 70A: Unwanted blanket (SMOG) — wrote in SNOW and thought "How do you know I don't want SNOW!?" But I guess no one really wants SMOG, so OK.
  • 17A: Commercial holiday mailing (GIFT GUIDE) — this is an OK answer, but "mailing?" I get catalogs in the mail. I am way way more familiar with a GIFT GUIDE as something I see inside of print media (magazines, newspapers) or online.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Robin 12:29 AM  

Medium? Honestly?

Fastest Wednesday XWD I have done finished in the past 15 months, but a full minute.

jae 12:45 AM  

Medium. Pretty smooth and educational, liked it more than @Rex did.

Minor nit. I always though TUT ended in MUN not MEN. I think there was a southeast Asian Prime Minister UNU, which I’ve seen before in Xwords, that would have worked instead of UNE.

thfenn 2:35 AM  

CATALOGUE before GIFTGUIDE, CALI and CAPO before CABO, IFOLD before IMOUT, DONE before ONIT, GUYS before GALS, BULLY before TEASE, PIE before POX, and SNOW before SMOG (with exactly the same reaction), all gave me pause, but breezed through it otherwise. Got the theme before any of the SEARCHRESULTS, which helped me enjoy it. Thought it was fine, and very happy that some Wednesdays are now easy when not too long ago I routinely needed some 'outside help' just to finish one.

chefwen 2:54 AM  

Got the TUT and the TOMB, filling in the rest of those letters in proper order was a bit of a challenge. As was figuring out where the T’s and Z’s went in yesterday’s TZATZIKI Sauce.

Not my favorite puzzle. I felt like I was back in high school, not my favorite place.

Remarkable Cherry Hill Private Investigations 3:13 AM  

Quite challenging, but I finished it for 20 minutes only :)

Harryp 3:52 AM  

Regarding @jae 12:45, there is AMON, AMEN, or AMUN for the combined Egyptian god AMUN RA, so there is that.

Loren Muse Smith 4:07 AM  

Yeah – no word play here with this list of themers, but I have to disagree on the UM NO and OR WHAT. Both clues work just fine for me.

Me, too, for “snow” before SMOG, feeling miffed since I love blankets of snow.

"One issuing red cards"

I kept returning to the clue for EAR. Big part of an elephant. Is there a small part anywhere? Maybe the pores on her trunk are smaller than the pores on my nose? A constant struggle.

Ok. So EASE BY. Sometimes (actually a lot) to amuse myself, I look at a scene where there are adults and young children and imagine the adults doing all the stuff that the young kids are doing – twirling around with arms outstretched and gurgling, say. Or hopping around on both feet and yelling Gak with hands looking like T-Rex claws. Seeing a child do this is not remarkable, but boy when you imagine that it’s an adult, the difference is not even funny. It’s scary in a way that makes you want to make no sudden movement. Just EASE on BY and escape to your car to lock the doors. Next time you’re at the mall, try it. You’ll be surprised at how unsettling it is.

I love, love, love DUST-UP. You non-native speakers out there need to work that one into your rotation forthwith. My main dust-ups here are grammar related. But there are A#-is-not-B♭ dust-ups, baseball rules dust-ups, hot-dogs-are-not-sandwiches dust-ups.

On my bucket list is wearing a full-on, real tiara in a non-ironic way.

URANUS – yer ON IT. Listen. Someone had to be dumb and take this one for the team.

So a banner day – I have an issue with this list. I get that you search for TUTANKHAMEN’S TOMB. You search for the NORTHWEST PASSAGE. The Rosetta Stone. The Holy Grail. Atlantis. Matt Lauer. But I don’t think Pasteur left every morning looking under logs and up in trees for the RABIES VACCINE. He invented that one. Yeah – I’m overthinking the word “search,” but I would been happier with something else up there in that spot, something that was already IN TACT and not created. SHROUD OF TURIN is a 13. So are CITY OF POMPEII, DR. LIVINGSTONE, HIS TAX RETURNS.

Still – a pleasant way to spend a few minutes before facing the reality of job and life.

Eric NC 6:04 AM  

Disappointingly easy for me. Look forward to a Wednesday challenge but this was over in a flash. Knocked a full 30% off my best Wednesday. At least LMS is back to start my day off right, or should it be “correctly”?

Lewis 6:21 AM  

@lms -- HIS TAX RETURNS -- Hah!

Though I'm sure I've run into all four of the theme names before, I only would have gotten one of them on Jeopardy (Pasteur, and I would have been fast on the buzzer), so it was good to massage those three dormant sleepers in my brain. Some scrumptious answers in GOES ALL IN, GIFT GUIDE, REMASTERS (these three are NYT debuts), and MOOSHU. When I saw REMASTERS, my brain chimed in not about the big golf tournament, but Masters and Johnson, and there it is crossing SEX.

No significant hitches in solving, it gave me a grand old time. For all the years I have been solving, I have yet to become jaded with the NYT crossword. When nits arise, they are always rubbed out by the overall joy of the solve, and may it always be so!

DeeJay 7:17 AM  

It is a puzzle, it is meant to be solved. There us nothing wrong with short fill answers if they are everyday nomenclature. EXEC, DESI ADIN, ICES IN, EIRE, TIARA, EASEBY, EENSY, TSETSE, TESTS are all ok in my book.

Kristen Morrison 7:20 AM  

What hung me up was the in correct spelling of tutenkhamun

70 in Nampa 7:30 AM  

Tic below average time, but it seemed like it it took longer. Maybe because of the lame fills... you get snowed in, for one. Lots of others.
Whatever... time to feed the chickens, maybe have a cup of coffee down at Moxie with the other Cali ex-pats...

kitshef 7:39 AM  

@LMS - My beefs are with ALL the other themers.

Pasteur was very specifically looking for a RABIES VACCINE, but ...

Herschel wasn't looking for URANUS. He didn't know there was another planet to find, and even once he found it, he initially thought it was a comet. And he didn't call it URANUS.

Carter wasn't looking for TUTANKHAMUN's tomb. He was just looking for stuff, and happened to find it.

The NORTHWEST PASSAGE was discovered fifty years before Amundsen, by Robert McClure.

webwinger 8:00 AM  

I am very proud to be a Chicagoan this morning. Yesterday we elected by a huge majority, with support from across the ethnic spectrum of the city, a mayor who is black, female, openly gay, and just over 5 feet tall to boot! She ran a largely positive campaign, and despite a very progressive platform, didn’t try to distance herself from past service as a prosecuting attorney, a defender at times of the police, an appointee of previous Chicago mayors, or a successful corporate lawyer, recognizing that she needs to work effectively with people from all of those groups to bring about the changes the city needs so badly. The decrepit old Democratic Party machine, which had nurtured most of our past mayors as well as the opponent in this election (another African-American woman, with a long record of honorable public service but way too much cronyist baggage), finally seems to be heading for collapse, with additional pressure likely from the most independent-looking city council elected in recent memory. Yay Chi-Town!

Oh, the puzzle. UM NO.

Hungry Mother 8:04 AM  

Oscar NOM instead of Oscar NOd? WTF!

GILL I. 8:17 AM  

Two INS, an OUT an IT...UM NO.
URANUS was last to go IN because I have some disassociation with that word and still probably mispronounce it.
I think SEARCH RESULTS as the reveal was the dullest of the dull. I didn't mind some of the stuff here like GOLEMS. Who doesn't like a little clay ogre that we may pray to. Some believe mankind began from just clay. Why not? It crosses TUTANKHAMENS TOMB and he probably was buried with a ton of them.
I'm glad all these people discovered all these things. I think CHARO discovered the cuchi cuchi.
Thursday is around the corner...will we be surprised?

QuasiMojo 8:25 AM  

Tying all these historic discoveries to some mindless act of googling SEEMs like a stretch. And a yawn. I thought there was only one GOLEM but I see after a google SEARCH the RESULT that there can be many golems. So I learned something. I therefore raise my rating to three stars and one URANUS. I wonder if 30D was originally “Long Island City HQ.” I’m starting to feel about AMAZON the way I feel about Facebook. Sick to my stomach every time I see its name. Ever since they bought IMDB and deleted overnight years worth of invaluable forums full of movie trivia and vital research because they didn’t want to bother with monitoring them, I have lost any respect for this company. Not to mention the nefarious effect they have had on the book business. Now they are doing a number on Whole Foods. I don’t read the Washington Post except to do the LA puzzle now and then but so far I’ve heard Amazon has improved it. Maybe they should buy the National Enquirer next. :)

Masked and Anonymous 8:36 AM  

We was robbed. TUTANKHAMUN lost his last U. Tomb raiders! Where's it's at?!?! The SEARCH continues ...

Actually, I believe Pasteur was really searchin for a RUBIES vaccine, also. And don't even get me started on that whole NORTHWESTSAUSAGE story … or what ...

staff weeject pick: UNU. Just sayin.

Lotsa neat bonus answers in this puppy. Faves included: GOESALLIN. ICESIN. TUTANKHAMIN. TUXEDO. SUCCESS. ORWHAT. AMAZON. Best desperation: ONESET.

Thanx for a generally friendly WedPuz, Mr. Trudeau. UOI one U, tho.

Masked & Anonymo8.9Us


Jon88 8:39 AM  

Given that TUTANKHAMUN is the "correct" (i.e., primary, accepted by references) spelling of that, it's curious why UNE won out over U NU. Or is Nu too much of a crossword fogey? (And given the other variation of tutA/EnkhamU/En, why would the puzzle's spelling be "right"?)

Jon Alexander 8:46 AM  

I’ll pick my nit with the theme because I assumed the double entendre with the theme is that all of these people were “searching” for what they discovered. Works okay for Pasteur because he was actually searching to create the vaccine, but the others are much weaker. Herschel accidentally discovered Uranus when he was looking for double stars so you can’t say he was searching for it. Amundsen was searching for the North Pole and he used the passage. Carter was searching for tombs in general, not specifically for Tutankhamen’s. But maybe Rex is right and the revealer just refers to stupid google hits.

Aha! 8:50 AM  

@Kristin, AHA! Knew the answer but kept thinking that something, something, is wrong here. Got addicted to a series of easy-reading novels years ago (Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody Egypt thing) so Carter and the full spelling crossed my reading path a few times. Thank you!

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

OK puzzle, but dullest theme of the year to date.

Sir Hillary 9:04 AM  

Count me firmly in the UMNO crowd today. This one fell well short. Most everything about it irritated me. A sample:
-- Yeah, discovering does not necessarily come from SEARCHing. Herschel decided to SEARCH for Uranus? UMNO.
-- Isn't a TUXEDO the whole outfit, or at least both top and bottom? Bond wore a white dinner jacket in "Goldfinger" but with black trousers. (By the way, he wore all of this underneath a wetsuit he used to swim into the villain's village. One of Connery's best and most insouciant moments as 007.)
-- AVIANS is clued as if the name were a sort of unintended irony. Of course they were called AVIANS -- they were named to evoke birds! It's like saying, "Gee, how cool that Han Solo's Millennium Falcon happens to share a name with a creature that also flies!" Happens to??
-- In competitive tennis, ONESET is a length of a match only if someone retires early. I suppose recreational players play ONESET matches all the time, but this still feel like a lousy clue.
-- ONSCENE is ObSCENE, in crappy-answer sense.

I did like that TEASE could have been a theme clue on Monday.


Nancy 9:06 AM  

A puzzle for educated, knowledgeable people, but without much pizzazz. I struggled in the TUT's-name-laboriously-spelled-out section, but that's partly because I've had no breakfast or coffee. I'm waiting to take a fasting blood test at my doctor's office which doesn't open til 9:30 and I don't function well without coffee.

I knew this was an oversized grid because the squares were squished. I really dislike squished squares. It's just like solving an entire puzzle with annoying tiny little circles. Squished squares are even more annoying. Please, Will -- if you're going to accept a puzzle with an oversized grid, provide it with the space it actually requires. DON'T SQUISH THE SQUARES!!!! Leave me some room to write the answer in. OK? Now, off for the blood test.A

ArtO 9:08 AM  

Why would you want KOHL instead of LANG for a "fashion" Helmut? Kohl's a politician.

Thought the theme would be DISCOVERIES until SEARCHRESULTS came up. Shows how old fashioned I am!

Hartley70 9:22 AM  

I’ve had the RABIESVACCINE series twice and not once did I stop to thank Pasteur. I should have, but it’s one of those love/hate experiences.

I had to work a little harder to connect the names of the remaining searchers with their discoveries. Amundsen was the most familiar. There have been a number of documentaries on the NORTHWESTPASSAGE (or could it be just one playing over and over?) and my husband seems determined to watch every single one. I hear the tale again by osmosis.

I liked the juxtaposition of the topical Google clued revealer SEARCHRESULTS with these rather ancient SEARCHes. Nicely done.

pabloinnh 9:25 AM  

Two things:

How nice to see TSETSE fly again. Years ago this or at least half of it used to be in every single puzzle, now hardly ever, and I had feared extinction. Welcome back. Frabjous day.

NORTHWESTPASSAGE has now instilled the wonderful earworm (eargasm?) of the song of the same name by Stan Rogers, one of the Best Folk Singers Ever. An author friend with strong opinions thinks that if Dylan deserved a Nobel for literature, so does Stan, only moreso. Amen.

OK Wed. by me, and merci M. Trudeau for le bon temp.

Z 9:27 AM  

Finished a distant 2nd at Trivia last night. Pretty sure the team would have gotten all of these, but if it were Jeopardy I’d be fighting @Lewis. As for the Crossworthiness of this theme? #TeamUMNO

I will take issue with the reveal nit-pickers. I think it is perfectly cromulent. How many of us are busy looking for our car keys and find our wallet or ear rings or our cell phone. What ever we were looking for, the SEARCH RESULTS are what we actually found. Howard Carter may have been searching for Helium, but the RESULT was he found TUTANKHAMEN’S TOMB.*

*That sentence is going to amuse maybe three people, including me. Try helium and carter as the search terms.

Z 9:30 AM  

I forgot to thank @LMS. That link is to the most informative news story of the day.

Suzie Q 10:14 AM  

Everybody seems crabby today. Again Rex sets the mood. I enjoyed thinking about the theme people and what they discovered.
The Avians answer and Rex's WOTD reminded me of flying on a de Havilland seaplane to reach Isle Royale. It was an Otter. They also make a Beaver. Those names always cracked me up and now I see they also made a Moth. My pilot was a crazy Canuck who talked to himself the entire flight. Fun experience all around.

Ethan Taliesin 10:20 AM  

I liked the themers but not the inert fill, which was about as interesting as styrofoam packing peanuts.

oopsydeb 10:25 AM  

Agree with others taking issue that with the exception of RABIES VACCINE, these men were not actually searching for their discoveries. And as long as we are going with seemingly random discoveries with no connection to each other, maybe a discovery or two by women could be included?

Also put in snow for SMOG. Also had the thought, "Some of us love waking to a blanket of snow!"

I think EASE on BY is more common than EASE BY.

jberg 10:26 AM  

I liked this one more than most, but then I've always used the MEN spelling for King Tut; I think that's the way I saw it first, and I hadn't realized until just now that it has been revised. How does one spell it in hieroglyphics? That would make for an interesting puzzle!

DNF, though -- I had no idea about CHARO, so I went with the more plausible iN SCENE; I can see the trick in the definition of the latter now, but it never occurred to me.

Contrary to @Rex, I thought TEST next to TSETSE was a plus, not a minus.

Way back in the late 60s I course in the Politics of Southeast Asia, where I learned that U Nu was so persuasive personally that they had to change his guards every 2 or 3 days -- if they stayed on the job longer than that he would win them over to his cause.

@Loren, I love your avatar! Starting to take the gloves off, am I right?

OffTheGrid 10:56 AM  

I have a pretty high tolerance for what I call Constructor License but when a well known (if not the spelling thereof) name is wrongly spelled that's a foul. I refer of course to Tutankhamun. Also a tennis match is a defined series of sets. I don't think you can just call ONE SET a match, except informally. This one was just outside the line.

Otherwise I liked the puzzle. The theme was interesting and clever enough and the revealer clearly states SEARCH RESULTS. The theme answers are things found while searching so there is no nit here.

Joseph M 10:58 AM  

Anything can be a Google search result. For example, SMOG, SAMOA, and SEDAN could all come up in response to a Google search. So how is this a theme? Yeah, yeah, I get it that each of the themer guys discovered something, but this is about as loose as a theme could be.

The most interesting part was trying to figure out how to spell TUTANKHAMEN who, by the way, is often depicted as a handsome boy king but actually had a club foot and a lot of other medical issues as a result of royal in-breeding. Those ancient Egyptians knew how to have fun.

I’d rather have a river for my AMAZON and a Fritz for my LANG. But I did like the clue for ALERTS and, though it doesn’t quite make sense, there’s something about OR WHAT that just seems right.

pmdm 11:09 AM  

I, for one, have often been searching for something and found something else that was even better thaqn what I was originally searching for. When you search for something, you can "find" all sorts of things you aren't looking for. I really have to scold all you who have a problem with this. Remember, there's more than a single way to look ay something.

I also have to scold anyone who reacts to something negatively and projects that reaction onto the entire population. Some found the puzzle dull, but in no way does that mean everyone will or should find the puzzle dull. It's not the reaction but the rejection that smacks of oversized egotism.

Personally, I found the puzzle neither exciting nor dull, just the usually Wednesday level challenging. Gee, if I reacted to most of these puzzle negatively, I would not be a masochist and continue to solve them. While some (Evil Doug comes to mind) abandoned the NYT puzzle, most of the complainers have not. I sometimes just don't get it.

Groucho 11:39 AM  

The most baffling thing about this puzzle....CHARO sings? I always thought she was famous for being famous.

The Hill 11:45 AM  

Rex-can we see one of the puzzles you’ve done so we can pick it apart?

Another friend of LMS. 11:47 AM  

Yay webwinger!

OISK 12:03 PM  

Really liked this one, which I finished in 7 minutes. ( I don't usually time my Wed. puzzles, but I somehow thought it was Tuesday. And the difficulty seemed Tuedayish to me). Right in my wheelhouse, too. I knew that Amundsen had gotten to Antarctica, but didn't know about the NY passage. Interesting! Knew about the rabies vaccine and Uranus. According to my astronomy professor, (Brancazio at Brooklyn - a wonderful teacher), Herschel suggested that they name the new planet after him. "The planet Herschel." His colleagues objected, "We can't call a planet 'Herschel.'" "Why not? We call the star it revolves around 'Sol..'"

I've been to Apia, and enjoyed the reminder of my visit to Samoa, have gone "all in," have been to Cabo and Eire. Familiarity adds enjoyment, as do interesting facts about discovery. Really enjoyed this one.

old timer 12:11 PM  

Until today's comments, I have never in my life seen King Tut's name spelled with an "un" at the end, rather than EN. My Webster's Collegiate agrees. KOHLS instead of KMart? How times have changed. Dunno if KMart is dead, but I do know they didn't bother to rebuild the one that burnt in our last big fire. I actually only went there only once a year or so to buy bar soap (and whatever caught my eye on the way to the soap aisle). But KMart used to be huge 50 years ago.

Sorry to read Amazon trashed all that IMDB comment history. But I shed no tears for what they did to the bookstore industry. The chain stores lost, and the result all over the country is that independent bookstores won. There will always be a demand for places you can go and browse the new books, or quickly assemble Xmas presents as I do every year. Indie stores have thrived in the wake of Amazon's dominance. So have specialty stores that found out they could make more money as Amazon-linked outlets than they used to make mailing out catalogs to former customers (though the catalogs still end up in our mailboxes too). Amazon's secret is they can fulfill orders better and cheaper than any other company in existence, and that is how they got so rich their founder could buy the Washington Post.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Wow, whole lots of Tutankhamun supporters today!

The thing is, the tomb that Howard Carter explored in 1922, was, in his own words,
The Tomb of Tutankhamen.
That's what Howard Carter discovered: the Tomb of Tutankhamen.
So, there's that.

Burma. Shave.

Paulus Johannes 12:17 PM  

I am a recreational astronomer and have read a bit about the Herschels…William, his sister Caroline (an accomplished astronomer in her own right) and his son John. One of my more puerile friends insists on pronouncing URANUS as “your-anus”. We recreational astronomers generally are careful to say “urine-iss” which seems almost as bad.

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

Amazon is not a retail business.

Carola 1:13 PM  

The theme was right up my alley - I devour tomes relating to the conquest of diseases, the voyages of intrepid explorers, astronomical discoveries, and archeological finds - I loved it. And I thought the reveal - with the contrast of truly remarkable finds with the mundane Google list - was inspired.

@Paulus Johannes already mentioned Caroline Herschel - if you have a few minutes, I think it's worth reading up about this woman who overcame very long odds to become a scientist

@QuasiMojo - Thanks for explaining what happened to IMDB. I couldn't understand why it had suddenly become so much less useful.

Unknown 1:17 PM  

That's because, as far as I can tell, it does end in mun. This puzzle is using a less common spelling, which is rather annlying.

Teedmn 1:18 PM  

As @LMS suggests, some of these seem more like they were stumbled upon (did they know they were looking for TUT's TOMB?) than SEARCHed for, but I'm not going to do the reSEARCH to confirm or debunk my theory. But I think the theme works fine and I find the variety amusing. It does make it seem as if there haven't been any new discoveries lately. Perhaps the ERA of discovery is over.

Nice Wednesday, Ross Trudeau.

OffTheGrid 1:58 PM  

Apparently you can use whatever vowel you want in Tutankham_n so I stand corrected. I'm going with TutankhamYn.

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

recreational astronomer? good grief.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

There is a type of tennis match called a "pro set", where you play one set to eight games. It's usually used when time is limited, such as when weather has disrupted the schedule. In this case, the match consists of one set.

burtonkd 2:18 PM  

@sir h, doesn’t seem to be in fashion now, but tanglewood BSO summer attire is white tuxedo jacket with black tux pants. I can’t remember seeing an all white tux, maybe for a tropical wedding party?

Bourbon Street 2:19 PM  

Not to quibble, but Carter thought that the tomb of King Tut (let’s just go with that name so as not to perpetuate the discussion about the correct spelling of his real name) was in the Valley of the Kings and that’s why he was excavating in that area. Several items with Tut’s seal had been found in a pit in in the Valley of the Kings in 1907, including a faience cup. Of course Carter would have been happy with any significant discovery, but finding Tut’s tomb was one of his objectives.

burtonkd 2:21 PM  

@pablo, agreed Inre stan rogers - Love that whole album about pacific nw Canada, plus the earlier one about eastern provinces.

Was the NWPASSAGE actually discovered since it hasn’t been passable until recent global warming ice melt

Joe Dipinto 2:24 PM  

*Chris Columbus, 1492

No complaints from me, I liked this puzz: themers, revealer, everything. Got me to singin':

Now when he was a young man,
He never thought he'd see
People stand in line to see the boy king.
(King Tut) How'd you get so funky?
(Funky Tut) Did you do the monkey?

Born in Arizona,
Moved to Babylonia (King Tut).

(King Tut) Now, if I'd known
They'd line up just to see you,
I'd trade in all my money
And bought me a museum. (King Tut)
Buried with a donkey (Funky Tut)
He's my favorite honky!

Born in Arizona,
Moved to Babylonia (King Tut).

Now, when I die,
Don't think I'm a nut,
Don't want no fancy funeral,
Just one like ole king Tut. (King Tut)

(apologies to Flip Wilson)

burtonkd 2:24 PM  

@the hill To his credit, he did point out the weak section when he had one published

Peter P 2:46 PM  

Interesting to see the King Tut -UMEN and -AMEN spelling discussion. I, like some others, am mostly familiar with the -AMEN ending for his name. For fun, I checked Google ngram, and it looks like the Tutenkhamen spelling was the more popular one until about 1980. Since then both versions have been fairly equally:

I grew up in the 80s, where the -AMUN spelling overtook at times the -AMEN spelling in the books in Google's English language written corpus, but I'm guessing I'm mostly familiar with the -AMEN spelling due to reading books about the subject from the 60s or so. I am bit surprised by the popularity of the -AMUN spelling expressed by posters here.

Suzie Q 2:49 PM  

@ Groucho 11:39, I was pleasantly shocked when I learned what a talent Charo is on the classical guitar. Not just the koochi koochi girl at all.
Also, @ Aha! mentioned the Amelia Peabody novels. Yes! A guilty pleasure that I really enjoyed.

Masked and Anonymous 2:55 PM  


Day-um. That's it. I'm goin with Tut. Or maybe Toots, as a nickname.
Learned a lot today, by readin all about ol' Tut, tho.

Thanx again, Mr. Trudeae/Trudeao/Trudeau.


TomAz 3:16 PM  

I finished this puzzle quickly, but I thought the cluing was godforsaken awful.

UM NO may be my least favorite non-actor's-name crossword answer of all time. The clue might as well have been in Syldavian for all the sense it made to me.

ON SCENE, much the same. I don't understand how the clue is supposed to work there.. or what ON SCENE even is; it's not a phrase people say, that I've heard.

OR WHAT, at least, is an actual thing, though I agree with Rex's critique of the clue there.

The theme itself was fine, I suppose, though I agree with that the revealer theme confuses SEARCH with discover.

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

if I Google Tutankhamun, it's spelled with a "u".

iamjess 4:19 PM  

Am I the only one who thought "unwanted blanket" so near "pox" was in poor taste?

pabloinnh 5:06 PM  

@burtonkd-Yep. If Stan Rogers ever wrote a bad song, I have yet to hear it. All his albums sound like greatest hits albums to me.

Also, today's main discussion has reawakened memories of a time when cocaine was referred to as the "toot uncommon", or so I was told.

albatross shell 5:12 PM  

Today's Tut talk
From 1976 to 79 The Treasures of King Tut toured the USA as part of a cultural and diplomatic exchange. Who knows if we sent them anything? Was it the biggest museum event of the century? Just a guess but probably in the running. They used the mun spelling. I would also guess that is why it took over in the 80's.

No French here so I started substituting vowels til I got the happy music.

I listened to Amanda Peters books so did not know her spelling. Audio books are lousy for spelling and vocabulary. It's amazing how the reader can influence my perception of the quality of a book. I do not know how actual reading falls on the scale of bad to good reading. If you lack imagination are all books bad?

albatross shell 5:46 PM  

The connection occurred to me, but no offense here. But I would not be upset by stuff like:
Killers of Jews and Gypsies in WW2- NAZIS
Giver of infected blankets- ECUYER

Maybe not on a regular basis but on occasion.
And accidental near each other words?
Not until I perceived a pattern.

I'm sure others have different standards.
Mine are not fixed.

Joe Dipinto 6:15 PM  

You expect us to believe you finished the puzzle in 2:10? Come on!

Anonymous 7:16 PM  


a.corn 2:05 AM  

‘Uh’ is in the clue for 60D, so assuming slick Willy is doing his job (I know, I know) it seems easy to deduce the answer would be UM NO.

Unknown 3:21 PM  

Why spell Tutankhamun wrong?

spacecraft 11:06 AM  

Ha! NOW's the time for IMOUT! I was just a day early. Also hand up for Kmart; could that be coming tomorrow??

Pretty much what OFC said. Also a fairly weak list for the revealer, particularly URANUS. Herschel didn't point his telescope skyward saying, "I know you're out there, URANUS, I just have to find you."

It looks as though Mr. Shortz wanted to EASEBY this Wednesday and picked one out of the reject hopper. His SEARCHRESULTS weren't optimal this time. Despite CHARO "Coochie-coochie"-ing her way to the DOD TIARA, this one comes up "UM...NO." Bogey.

Burma Shave 11:28 AM  


and the NORTHWESTPASSAGE NONE should guess


leftcoastTAM 3:09 PM  

Would choose MOOSHU pork, not AVIANS, as Word of the Day, because..., well..., just because.

I liked the puzzle because of its science and exploration topics. Didn't know Howard Carter from Adam, but he made the day with TUTANKHAMEN'S TOMB, spelling variations and all. Didn't know Helmut LANG either, but for the crosses.

One beef (not pork): The "... am I right?!" clue. The ellipsis should have come after "am I right?!", to be filled in with the answer, OR WHAT?

Am I right or what?!

rondo 3:59 PM  

Got it all filled in and went back to check the themers. Who is this in TUTANKHAdENSTOMB? My Oscar NOd then gave way to a NOM (shoulda been de plume) and all was well. SUCCESS!

I remember tagging along on a Cub Scout field trip and getting to see how a projection room runs. That was when Ben-HUR was making the rounds.

Where is that ski lodge that always ICESIN? Parse it another way and get a hockey penalty – ICE_SIN.

Not much in the way of GALS other than María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza, otherwise known as 1960s yeah baby and TEASE CHARO, who has since been REMASTERed as Sofia Vergara. SEX sells.


rainforest 5:46 PM  

UM, yes.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Blah. Completely blah. Dull reveal that RT should have tossed on the rejects pile instead of building a puzzle around it, and most of the themers (as others have noted) can't accurately be called the result of a search.

RT has done some very clever puzzles, but this one is a dud. I can't understand why Shortz accepted it -- to my mind, it's not even worthy of inclusion in Universal.

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

@Peter P 2:46 PM: I have less faith in an ngram (we know nothing about how well, or poorly, the included books were edited) than I do in Britannica, which relies on highly qualified experts; Britannica uses " -UN."

@leftcoastTAM 3:09 PM: The ellipsis is letting you know that both the clue-phrase and the answer-phrase come at the end of a sentence, as in "Is this a joke, or what?" If the intention had been to indicate that the answer-phrase (OR WHAT) commonly follows "Am I right?", then the clue would have used an underlined blank, as in "Am I right, ___ ?"

I echo the objections to OR WHAT (acceptable answer but clued abysmally), EASE BY, ON SCENE, and UM NO. EASE BY isn't a phrase, shouldn't have been in this puzzle, and shouldn't be in constructors' wordlists. When in doubt, check The New Yorker, which has a great copy desk. Of the 18 instances, most are "put someone at EASE BY doing something"; others are "something was done with EASE BY certain people."

Finally, those who note that the reveal -- SEARCH RESULTS -- doesn't correspond to the themers are correct, and those who quibble with their quibble are incorrect.

In non-Google parts of life, the searcher sets out knowing that a search for X might unearth the useful Y instead. But when one uses Google to search for X, one is deliberately seeking X; although one will definitely discover Y, Z and more along the way, those are fun extras, not the thing one was searching for. If I need info about, say, the discovery of URANUS because I'm writing a paper for my Astronomy class, then interesting hits about Louis Pasteur and Howard Carter aren't going to help me. I need and am seeking a narrowly defined part of the information world.

So the reveal, in addition to being dull, isn't an accurate heading for all of the themers used. Bad puzzle in all ways, because a so-so puzzle in the NYT -- from whom one expects the best -- is a bad puzzle.

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