Hindu aphorisms / WED 5-15-19 / Canadian stadium renamed Rogers Centre in 2005

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Medium to Medium-Challenging (4:26)

THEME: CROSS-DRESSING (14D: "Mrs. Doubtfire" plot device — or what the letters in this clue's answer do five times?) — this answer runs through five kinds of "dressing":

Theme answers:
  • JAILHOUSE ROCK (18A: Elvis Presley hit inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame)
  • "HAIL, CAESAR" (24A: Forum greeting)
  • DUDE RANCH (34A: Vacation spot for city slickers)
  • RUSSIAN MOB (44A: Gangster group in "Eastern Promises")
  • "THE ITALIAN JOB" (51A: 2003 film starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron)
Word of the Day: FTC (7A: National Do Not Call Registry org.) —
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1914 by the Federal Trade Commission Act. Its principal mission is the promotion of  consumer protection and the elimination and prevention of anticompetitive business practices, such as coercive monopoly. It is headquartered in the Federal Trade Commission Building in Washington, D.C. 
The Federal Trade Commission Act was one of President Woodrow Wilson's major acts against trusts. Trusts and trust-busting were significant political concerns during the Progressive Era. Since its inception, the FTC has enforced the provisions of the Clayton Act, a key antitrust statute, as well as the provisions of the FTC Act15 U.S.C. § 41 et seq. Over time, the FTC has been delegated with the enforcement of additional business regulation statutes and has promulgated a number of regulations (codified in Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations). (wikipedia)
• • •

Found the top half of this rough and annoying, but the bottom half very easy. When I finished, I didn't feel like I'd had a very good time. Then I saw what the theme did, and was very impressed. But there's one major issue for me. If it's not a fatal flaw, it's certainly a giant wart. All of the dressings are specific dressings you might find in most any restaurant, or in bottles in the store, *except* "HOUSE" dressing, which ... isn't that just whatever any specific restaurant says it is??? "Our house dressing is a raspberry vinaigrette." There's no such thing as just "house dressing." All the other dressings are specific things; house dressing is contingent—not the same from restaurant to restaurant. So "HOUSE" dressing simply doesn't belong in the same category as the others. Merriam-Webster dot com defines "house dressing" as "the regular salad dressing in a U.S. restaurant"; I'm told it's *usually* a vinaigrette, but so is ITALIAN, isn't it? Anyway, if you saw the dressings listed on the menu, you'd know what all the others are, but You'd Have To Ask What the "House" Dressing Was. Because it's not actually a dressing. Broken. The theme is broken. Which is a shame, as the concept is so lovely. Also, "THE ITALIAN JOB" starred Michael Caine, what is this 2003 remake crap!?

How is [Trial separation?] RECESS? What is being separated in a recess? Are you breaking the trial into parts? Separating parts ... of the trial? Did not get / like that. Had CONNECT before CONJOIN (3D: Link). No clue on SONAR (30A: Sub system). Honest-to-god just stared at F_C / _ENS because I forgot what oldetymey slang "sawbucks" was and couldn't remember the stupid gov. initialism. Definitely considered that "sawbucks" were hundreds and maybe CENS was some kind of slang for those. You know, 'cause "cen." is short of "century," which is 100 years... so maybe that's slang for 100 dollars? Ugh. Anyway, FTC, [raspberry]. Thought CRUD was CRAP (26D: "Phooey!"). I've heard of REDKEN, sort of, barely, but that's OK (12D: L'Oréal hair care brand). Lots of product names are apt to get by me. I'm just explaining why the top half killed me, while the bottom half ... the only thing I've even bothered marking on the bottom half of my printed-out grid is the "P" is APIA, which I had as an "S" at first (53D: Where Samoa Airways is based). That's it. Hard up top, easy down under, very cool theme with super major flaw. The end.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Runs with Scissors 12:08 AM  

Wednesday, with Monday resistance. For me, anyway. I liked it. It was fun to solve. It just didn’t give much challenge

Some of the fun stuff - Blue: I wanted a color for way too long. 10A ___ Majesty: Lese wouldn’t fit. 17A RANSOMED. Tricky enough.

DUDE RANCH. CROSSDRESSING. ERECTED. RIPS OPEN. TORE. HUMOR ME, where’s the danged bodice already??

RUSSIAN MOB, ITALIAN JOB. Bon JOVI the hit man? Multi-Culti offings.

Put some IODINE on that CREATURE.


Laying odds that someone will blow a gasket over SCALIA being in the grid. 10 will get you 20 that 29A will also invite diatribes on perceived injustice.

In this day and age the answer to 24A should be “flame.” Very little civil discussion to be found out there on the interwebs.

We stand RECESSed until Thursday. The sentencing part of the trial will begin then. Let’s hope we get good stuff.

Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

jae 12:16 AM  

Monday easy. Very clever, liked it.

Joaquin 12:40 AM  

Here's another "super major flaw" - complaining that house dressing is not a specific thing. 'Cause that was a super major cool theme, executed beautifully.

Brian 1:07 AM  

OPEN Nature dressing or OPEN wound dressing. Another dressing crossed.
Also (Creature dressing?)

Laura 1:07 AM  

Completely agreed on house dressing - definitely not a specific dressing. Is “soup of the day” the same thing as clam chowder or black bean soup? Clam chowder may be the soup of the day, but soup of the day is not a type of soup. Same goes for house dressing.

Laura 1:08 AM  

(But otherwise I really enjoyed this one)

Joe Dipinto 1:13 AM  

From USLegal.com: Recess Law and Legal Definition

Recess, in a legal context, refers to a break in a trial...until a defined date and time in the future.


puzzlehoarder 1:16 AM  

Another tougher than usual early week puzzle. I had to start in the NE. 10A was HER or HIS. Not hard to find out which and either way 10D was HUMORME.

The majority of the grid was pretty typical for a Wednesday but I stalled when I tried to finish up in the NW. I'd put DOS in at 22A early in the solve along with SIRI at 5D. Even I know that DOS didn't fit but it was all I could come up with at the time. This created a mental block for what should have been an easy entry at 6D. Entering RTD at 1D further muddied the waters. The CON portion of CONJOIN took some work but finally getting it was key to cleaning up the mess. That one section put this into Thursday territory.

The hospital is keeping my mother-in-law an extra night so tonight felt like a vacation.

Newbie 1:59 AM  

Found this relatively easy once we got past the first several clues. Only real stump was “ERTE“??

Anonymous 2:13 AM  

Kind of a red letter day for me! My solving typically runs in the order of 3 Rexes, that is triple Rex's time, but tonight at 5 minutes I did about 1.2 Rexes. Woohoo! I also had FCC crossing CENS.

I like the Cross Dressing theme. Once I tried to make a puzzle with the ambitious theme "Dirty Double Cross", in which each theme answer crossed another answer twice, as the first answer historically did in fact "double cross" the other answer. For instance, BENDEDICT and ARNOLD crossed AMERICA in different places. Structurally absurdly difficult. What was I thinking?


Larry Gilstrap 2:19 AM  

Sometimes the quibbling gets tedious. Giant wart, major flaw, or fatal flaw? Time to schedule an appointment with my dermatologist. The theme involves words that folks might call a salad DRESSING, not the recipe for each of the various varieties. Like in wine, sometimes there's more variation within the varietals than between the varietals. Anybody remember Catalina DRESSING?

Never pursued a Ph.D, so I never had to suffer the rigors of a DISS. I figured my job was already dead-end enough.

I grew up with the threat of annihilation from the USSR; they were the enemy. Then their government failed and they were capitalists for about five minutes and then they started acting up again. Now, I have no beef with the RUSSIAN MOB, believe me, our government is looking the other way and I just remember crouching under my desk at LaFetra Elementary School waiting for the all clear. Tastes good with a wedge of iceberg lettuce.

I watched a thing last night on PBS about HER Majesty and her family. Remarkably, Elizabeth was not supposed to be the monarch. One of my earliest memories is of my mother and I visiting my aunt to watch the Coronation on the television. HRH has been the feminine pronoun for all or most of all of our lives.

Good puzzle for this Wednesday with a consistent theme and very little mundane fill.

Greg Charles 2:23 AM  

I sort of get your point on house dressing, but not totally. House dressing always refers to a salad dressing, so it fits. Would you be happier if there were an equal number of "specific" and "non-specific" dressings? The problem with that is that there are no other non-specific salad dressings, right?

Robin 2:38 AM  

No idea why this gets classified "Medium" or "Medium-Challenging". I blew through this in hurry, finishing only 44 seconds slower than Rex's posted time. Also, second fastest Wednesday solve for me since I started keeping track.

And to be honest, never paid attention to the theme. In fact never noticed what it was until reading Rex's comments.

A few nice things in here, but EIVLIER? Is that a word? I'm sure my 10th grade English teacher (bless her memory) would have said, "No, it's more evil."

Walk Away Renee 2:52 AM  

Refreshing female consciousness in the cluing.

Frog Prince Kisser 3:23 AM  

I was very impressed to note that not only do the dressings cross “CROSS DRESSING” five times, but the crossings themselves occur through the names of the dressings, rather than through any other words in the crossing phrases. Terrific!

chefwen 3:23 AM  

C.C. continues to amaze me. The theme had me confused until I finished and did a lot of staring, the AHA moment was wonderful.

My “HOUSE” dressing is a doctored up version of Julia Child’s vinaigrette, a must have in the fridge at all times.

Very clever puzzle, loved it.

Confused 3:52 AM  

Can someone explain why some text in the post is highlighted white? What does this denote?

Sally 5:50 AM  

I've usually known the house dressing to be a recipe particular to that restaurant. Which would make it a type among the others repeated a second time by the bored waiter who knows you weren't listening the first time.

mmorgan 5:57 AM  

@Confused — I’d guess it just means it was cut and pasted.

What a quirky, fun, clever puzzle! Even with EVILER...

ncmathsadist 6:17 AM  

A sawbuck gets its name because some older series of bills had the Roman numeral X emblazoned on them; this was reminiscent of a sawhorse, so the name "sawbuck" came about. A picture of such a bill can be seen at <a href="https://rollwindmill.org/html/roman%20numerals.html>this link</a>.

amyyanni 6:28 AM  

Relished (isn't it in Thousand Island?) this one, but too easy for Wednesday, i.e., I'm just sad it went so fast and is over so soon.

Hungry Mother 6:34 AM  

Super easy and fast today, although I didn’t notice the theme. Not a PR, but 10 minutes under average.

American Liberal Elite 6:36 AM  

"Can I borrow an Abe till payday," said no one ever. It's a fin. It's always been a fin.

Flying Pediatrician 6:59 AM  

@Okanagnaer/Anonymous at 0213: I love the idea of creating a sort of handicapping system based on multiples of Rex's solving time! I have been loosely tracking it for myself since about a year ago when I first began solving past Thursdays. Initially I was at about 6R (6 x Rex's solving time), but am now down to about 4.5R. I don't *really* care about solve time, but it is enjoyable to see yourself improve over time against a relatively steady benchmark. Have a great day, all!

OffTheGrid 7:18 AM  

I agree that separation/RECESS is highly dubious. Otherwise a great puzzle. Had no problem with HOUSE being a theme answer. Curious, how does one solve a puzzle and "not notice" the theme. It's right there. I guess it's because fast solving time is the pleasure. Enjoy a puzzle as you wish but I don't consider my solve complete until I at least attempt to grok the theme. Happy Ides of May.

kitshef 7:18 AM  

DISS is terrible. Why clue it as a ridiculous abbreviation when you could just clue the word?


REDKEN crossing ERTE???? The latter I know solely from puzzles. The former not at all.

(But otherwise I really enjoyed this one)

EROTIC over TANTRA is clever.

three of clubs 7:21 AM  

Really don't think BLUE is EROTIC. Isn't pornography mostly just sad?

CDilly52 7:22 AM  

Once I got started, this one practically filled itself, but the NW was tough. Had “the bar” for 1A and I don’t really think the clue, even using a ? Is a very good misdirect, but who am I, anyway? A RECESS as a “separation” in a trial just makes no sense to this lawyer. The bar, on the other hand, the literal “separation” between those who are present with authority to speak to the court and those who are not does separate the litigants from spectators at a trial. Whatever. A very well crafted puzzle with some real push back. Nicely done.

Norm 7:24 AM  

What a strange little nit to pick with a very nice puzzle - albeit a very easy that felt more like a Tuesday.

JJ 7:27 AM  

I am totally amazed at this puzzles' construction. Several clever clues, and I was reminded of the old movie "City slickers" where 3 guys go to a DUDE RANCH, then save the little calf named Norman.
When I ask the waitress what the options are for my salad dressing it's usually "Yada, Yada, Yada and HOUSE is one of them. I have no qualms with house.
I'm never as fast as Rex, but this was a fine Tuesday puzzle

Music Man 7:28 AM  

Yes, agree with you wholeheartedly. No one says EVILER. It’s MORE EVIL.

Suzie Q 7:30 AM  

As I read the review I was wondering who wrote this. A seasoned solver would not be stumped by the clues he said were stumbling blocks for him. This didn't sound like Rex at all.

Right side of the puzzle has a real female slant with her majesty, a hair care product, a dig at the Supreme Court, frau, Lady Luck, and Cory Booker. Oh wait, that last one is a guy, I guess.
Then the left side has an Asian slant with sashimi, Mao, Tantra, sutras, and Apia.
I thought the theme was nice and nicely executed. What in the world is Rex moaning about?

Birchbark 7:39 AM  

If someone says HOUSE dressing, I immediately picture Thousand Island drizzled over iceberg lettuce, with store-bought croutons, sort-of-ripe tomato wedges, and a few vidalia onion and shredded carrot accents. Add a couple shakes of pepper and you're off to the races.

This is how the meal begins --- not with a wart but a diamond.

Nancy 7:55 AM  

So many awful compromises in the fill. EVILER. SINEWS. CENS. DISS. And all this just to get various kinds of salad dressing TOSSed into the puzzle? Quelle thrill.

I expected to see the criticisms flying. In fact I used the F3 key to try and spot CRUD in some of the comments, since I didn't want to repeat it. But y'all all seem to like this puzzle. Beats me. I think the fill ranges from mundane to bad and the clues are completely unimaginative. I liked absolutely nothing about it.

Ken 7:56 AM  

Complaining about House Dressing, which is a very common choice on a restaurant menu, seems to me to be seeking to find some flaw (no matter how miniscule or imagined it may be) in every puzzle looked at. I come NOT to praise Caesar BUT to BURY HIM each and every day. Great Wednesday puzzle.

QuasiMojo 8:04 AM  

TOSS me a salad. HOUSE was an outlier for being attached to JAIL as well. All the other themes were stand alone words. Glad you all seemed to like it but frankly this felt like a Monday puzzle to me. I almost matched Rex’s time. Plus I’m sick of crosswordese fill such as EVILER, INNIES and OUTIES and ERTE. Not to mention junk fill like AAA, EMU, EMO, ERS and EHS. And product placement. This felt like SIRI filled it in.

gitana 8:06 AM  


gitana 8:09 AM  


chefbea 8:19 AM  

of course I loved it!!! I love salads ....and their dressings. I actually made the dressing that was in the Sunday Times magazine this past sunday. Yummy

GILL I. 8:22 AM  

Good gravy...they are ALL DRESSINGS....even the HOUSE is a dressing. And then she manages to CROSS every one right down the middle. I thought this was brilliant.
My husband and I just re-watched THE ITALIAN JOB on tv yesterday. It was the Michael Caine one. I decided I hated him when I first saw "Alfie." Didn't like his accent and hated his womanizing persona. Strange how that stays with you even if in real life he's probably a doll.....I finally decided I liked him after watching "Going in Style" with Morgan Freeman. Maybe it was Morgan that made me like Michael.
Back to DRESSINGS. I don't like any of them. Well, maybe I like a good RUSSIAN on a good Reuben sandwich. I make my own and my favorite involves raw eggs and anchovies.
Lets Rock everybody, lets rock
Everybody in the whole cell block
Was dancing to the JAILHOUSE ROCK.
Ah yes, Elvis was drool inducing to this (once) youngster. Remember when tv wouldn't show his rocking pelvis? Elvis the pelvis? A girl can dream, no?
This was a fun and fast and clever Wed. Thanks for the memories.

webwinger 8:30 AM  

I thought this was a near-perfect Wednesday puzzle, not too easy, not too hard, great theme idea with great execution. I noticed that HOUSE was an outlier but wasn’t bothered at all—it’s certainly used frequently as a modifier for DRESSING. The revealer was also just right IMO. In today’s political climate any mention of something with LGBT associations can be fraught. The very specific reference here was nicely safe. Didn't think the fill was significantly CRUDdier than usual.

I too stumbled in the NE, starting with FBI as the federal agency, which gave BENS, a slangy term for $100 bills I’ve definitely seen in x-words. Wasn’t sure about the meaning of sawbucks at first, but after I came across 42-Down ABE (an almost everyday occurrence in the NYTXW it seems) clued as “half a sawbuck”, I was able to correct my earlier error. I suspect this was intentional to help maintain Wednesday-level difficulty.

Karl Grouch 8:49 AM  

Yes, nice and easy puzzle, very rewarding for the slow lorries like myself.
That said, apart from some really inelegant fill already mentioned by others, I think the way the revealer clue is worded is misleading. The themers should only cross the "dressing" part of "crossdressing" and not the "cross" part, so for consitence's sake there should be only three themers.

Sir Hillary 8:59 AM  

That HOUSE DRESSING could mean any particular type takes nothing away from the fact that the term is definitely in the language and makes just as much sense as the other DRESSINGs.

This is a spectacular puzzle -- as impressive, yet simple, a theme construction as I can remember in quite a while. Open corners and long non-themers abound, and aside from EVILER there is nothing in here that even approaches "junk". Just wow.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

This philosopher is still awaiting your answer. I'm eager for you tell me more about Aristotle. Hell, I'm sure I could use a refresher on Kant too. You sound like just the man for the job.



pabloinnh 9:09 AM  

Liked it fine, with the noted exceptions of ABE and EVILER. Objecting to HOUSE is, I suppose, a nitpicker's idea of nirvana. Also wonder about people who object to finding crosswordese in a crossword puzzle. Huh?

Looking forward to a thorny Thursday, and thanks for today to CC.

albatross shell 9:10 AM  

If you want a nit isn't it TANTric yoga?

House dressing is a particular dressing in a particular restaurant. It is listed on the menu. Rex and I have different standards here. Some times I get why he is finicky. Sometimes I do not. This is definitely a not.
I often order the house dressing because its the one that might not be out of a bottle. I often order the special of the day because its one most likely to be freshly cooked. I hope not because the meats about to spoil. Talking average restaurants here. If I am wrong someone tell me.

I found the South harder than the North, although no idea about REDKEN. I was confident of the crosses. ERTE is common crosswordese. One of those if it fits, it's right words like oreo and Erie. I actually like his statues quite a lot.
Clues were duller than yesterday, but a good collection of answers.

orangeblossomspecial 9:15 AM  

Seems like Rex picked the wrong nit today. The dressings don't cross DRESSING alone. Sometimes they cross CROSS. To be technically correct, all should cross DRESSING. Hence, CROSS DRESSING. It was a fun puzzle.

Cheerio 9:17 AM  

I also thought this was easy for a Wednesday. I had to come to the blog to see that the fifth dressing was HOUSE.

Funny (?) Man 9:32 AM  

A hundred years ago families that acquired a Ford Model T were said to be T mobile.

Erik_Simpson 9:34 AM  

At first, I missed the food motif because I was looking for other stuff to go with DUDE crossing LADY in a puzzle with a CROSSDRESSING theme.

Amy 9:39 AM  

aw dude cmon, I love you but ‘house’ was the little joke in the theme, a little zest in the otherwise literal names of dressing to possibly evoke a chuckle in the solver. I smiled ! House ! Like eggs any style. I’ll take it.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

@Chefwen - Why is your vinaigrette in the fridge? Oil, vinegar, herbs don't spoil, don't need refrigeration. Gill's, sure - I'd freeze that in liquid helium. Then smash it to hell.

Aketi 9:41 AM  

I did get the CROSS DRESSING before uncovering the types of DRESSINGS but I still briefly contemplated whether there was some sub theme of the rhymes JAIL and HAIL and MOB and JOB.

LADY crossed the DUDE. EVILER just reminded me of Game of Thrones.

@Nancy, looks like a gorges day. Are you headed to the park?

albatross shell 9:41 AM  

Hey folks dictionaries seem to like evil and evilest just fine. MW lists it before more evil as the comparative form. Does it look and sound a bit ugly? Do not use it in your poetry. Fine for crosswords, unless it fails your silly breakfast test. Oh no. They used john to mean toilet. I may faint. Unless your name is John, forget it.

The rule I learned in grade school was:
One syllable -er
Two syllable -er or more
Over two syllables- more

But I got taught much that was wrong. And I always preferred most vile.

And this rant has a tongue in my cheekiness.

Mo-T 9:49 AM  

What a clever way to start the day! I enjoyed this puzzle lots.

I love crud (26D). It reminds me of my cousin, Jay, who would use it all the time.

Crud, I screwed up fixing the car.
Crud, the sun's not out.
That's a load of crud, isn't it?
Look at all the muddy crud on that bus!

And dude, ranch is the most popular dressing in the US right now. At least I think I read that somewhere. All kinds of people dip everything into it: pizza, bread, chicken wings, sandwiches, pierogies.... Just about anything but vegetables.

Personally, I'm an oil and vinegar, S&P, crumbled blue cheese kind of girl, at least at the house.

Newboy 9:56 AM  

As Nancy said, “But y'all all seem to like this puzzle. Beats me. I think the fill ranges from mundane to bad and the clues are completely unimaginative.” I can grudgingly see why many enjoyed the theme execution, but I totally missed the sparkle. May be time for a second cuppa? Maybe?

Carola 9:59 AM  

Easy and cute. When I had both HOUSE and CAESAR crossing 14D, I figured I'd be seeing RANCH and probably french but could rule out thousand island. I didn't know the "Gangster group" or the Wahlberg-Theron movie, but the theme made quick work of RUSSIAN and ITALIAN

I liked HOUSE x FRAU.

@kitshef - Re: EROTIC over TANTRA...maybe also the cross with CONJOIN?

What? 10:01 AM  

Terrific puzzle except for EVILER.

pmdm 10:06 AM  

Some people do things because they simply can't stop themselves. Arsonists, for example. If you are a complainer, what I guess would help you is to arbitrarily impose a condition that doesn't exist and then complain no end when that condition isn't satisfied. Perhaps it's similar to not be able to stop over-thinking things. If you allow that the real goal is to feed one's ego by writing something result in many people commenting about, we may have discovered another purpose for the behavior. I don't have enough information to state what is actually true, but I do have enough information to state the the whole argument strikes me as totally inane. (And I don't care if you don't agree.)

I most always enjoy puzzles from this constructor. And I enjoyed this one without really getting the theme while I was solving. It seems that often she uses PPP that I am not familiar with but that I can correctly enter from the crosses. She comments that she initially aimed to construct a Monday puzzle, resulting in a number of easy clues. With that in mind, I have no complaints at all about this puzzle. Bring on more.

Z 10:07 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. My solve reflected Rex’s, with the north substantially EVILER than the south, but the theme was fun and I didn’t feel as though the six themers strained the fill all that much.

The question regarding HOUSE isn’t whether or not it is different than the others. It is. The question is only where this falls on the brokenness scale. I’m more in the “I can justify it so no big deal” camp.

@Newbie - ERTE is coming to another puzzle near you soon. I just saw him clued as Mata Hari’s dress designer or some such. Don’t ask me where, but he is as Crossworld famous as Brian Eno, Yoko Ono, and Pope Leo Sawbuck.

Speaking of Pope Leo Sawbuck, @ncmathsadist - you forgot the close quote mark after the link.

@albatross shell - “Do you practice a specific form of yoga?” “Yes. TANTRA.”

GHarris 10:07 AM  

Now I’m sure Rex is putting us on. His rant on house dressing has to be a joke. I had less difficulty than did Rex. My only write over was conjoin for connect but of course it still took me longer to finish although my tush was hardly in the chair and I was done. I loved it and when I read that Rex classified it as medium/challenging I felt I had reached a new level of solving skill (until I came here and found most found it easy). Trials are broken up by short breaks, often for meals or issue resolution out of the jury’s earshot, ergo they are “trial separations”.

SJ Austin 10:21 AM  

Yeah, that's not a super major flaw. What a great theme!

Malsdemare 10:55 AM  

@CDilly52. I just read yesterday's teibute to you husband. That was gorgeous and poignant. I don't blame you for missing him; I think I do too!

I liked today's puzzle. But, and this is so stupid I can't believe I'm actually admitting this, once I filled it in, I couldn't find the revealer and could NOT for the life of me figure out the theme. I am counting this as a DNF because I missed such a crucial piece.

I sorta agree about HOUSE dressing, but don't care; the puzzle was great.

CC, fabulous job.

Rug Crazy 10:55 AM  


RooMonster 11:06 AM  

Hey All !
OK, now this is a terrific puz. Yes, terrific. Let's look at what CC had to do.
First, find dressings that would work and cross with the letters of CROSS DRESSING. And, not three or four, she found five! And, And, find in-the-know phrases where the dressing could fit in, And get them to fit symmetrically in the puz, And, And, And, have each DRESSING flavor actually be CROSSed (CROSS DRESSING crosses at the O of HOUSE, the S of CAESAR, the R of RANCH, the S of RUSSIAN, the I of ITALIAN). Holy cow! If you're not impressed by that, you need to stop doing crosswords.

Who gives a fig that HOUSE isn't a flavored DRESSING?! C'mon, with a theme this good, you need to let that long-winded nit go. Rex had nothing bad to say about the puz, so the majority of his post in that nit. Crazy.
And, everyone knows a RECESS is a break in a trial. Really Rex? You go off on that clue? I thought it was very clever. Trial separation? = A RECESS from the precedings.

Light CRUD with such a demanding and strain on the grid. I accept EVILER, it's not not-a-thing. It's a real word. Couple of three letter -ese, but damn, who cares? -Ese is in Every puz. Puzzlemaking necessity.

My problem area was actually the South rather than the North being EVILER. SW especially. SUTRAS tough. APIA was AsIA forever. AMASSING was prAiSING for a bit. But sussed it all out, and finished 100℅ with a big smile for the theme.

I'm impressed by the clean fill with so much real estate taken up by the theme. And remember, English isn't CC's native language. Great JOB!


Paul B 11:12 AM  

@ncmathsadist - Sawbucks and sawhorses are two different things. A saw horse is a horizontal board supported on two pairs of legs, where you work on the horizontal piece. A sawbuck is two pairs of boards forming an X joined at the crossover point by a horizontal piece. You place what a log that need to be sawn in the between the two Xs. The shape of the sawbuck keeps the log from rolling around. The $10 = X = Sawbucks thing was right though.

Malsdemare 11:21 AM  

@Z from yesterday. I get your point about why Loo and John don't equate in the puzzle (because of the way JOHN was clued), but let me ask: would Rex be upset about a clue that said "Where John Cleese does the crossword." I bet not.

jb129 11:38 AM  

Fun puzzle - I agree with Rex on "house dressing"

Masked and Anonymous 11:57 AM  

M&A Help Desk rulings:

* HOUSE dressing: Definitely a thing. Kinda cool that it came as first themer, cuz it mixes well with CAESAR, without immediately barkin out the theme mcguffin, a la early spoiler.

* EVILER: Well, hey -- It's more nicer than desperater. Better clue: {Relive in a whole new way??}.

* DISS: This pup has yer Partrick Berry Usage Immunity CC-mike-drop status.

* TANTRA, REDKEN, SASHIMI, SUTRAS: Less M&A wheelhousier.

* Dressier fillins included: CONJOIN. CREATURE. HUMOR ME. SKYDO ME.

staff weeject pick: RET. Ballsy way to fire up a WedPuz NW corner. Liked the crossin dressy RECESS clue, btw -- Folks tend to go their separate ways, during a trial recess, except maybe for those that didn't make bail.

Thanx for dressin things up for us, C.C. darlin.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Anonymoose 12:05 PM  

@GHarris, Don't feel TOO smug. I think Rex was making a joke when he labelled the puzzle med/med-challenging.

Master Melvin 12:21 PM  

A little slow on the uptake today. Tried to figure out why I'd never heard of JAILHOUSE dressing!

albatross shell 12:21 PM  

@z 10:07
How dare you pick my nit, especially when you are right. I forgot how it was clued. And I could pick back based on common usage and Google pages, but I think that stuff should not be crossword standards. Thanks for the correction. But my tongue WAS partly cheeky on that nit. Needed correcting anyway.

@albatrossshell 9:41
How did you leave off the er on your first use of EVILER in you post?
Just stupider I guess. I'd blame it on autocorrect but it went to filer on this post, and it would mean autocorrect is trying to undermine my perfectly good argument.

Z 12:50 PM  

@Malsdemare - I don’t think that was me.

@albatross shell - This might explain my response a little. Note the interviewee’s last name (I also linked to this a week or so ago).

FrostMo 12:58 PM  

Same as Rex on the top/bottom front. Was really struggling then cruised thru the bottom acrosses and got to CROSSDRESSING. Had RUSSIANMOB THEITALIANJOB and DUDERANCH at that point for a nice a-ha moment. Still struggled a bit with the top half, but the theme really helped me on JAILHOUSEROCK and HAILCAESAR (I always spell this CeaSAR and here was no different at first), and then it all fell. Really enjoyable Wednesday.

Teedmn 1:07 PM  

Time-wise, this came in a wee bit under my Wednesday average, so easy enough here, and delightful.

My one write-over was Rex's CONnect. I misread the clue for RANSOMED, leaving out the "for" so "Freed but not free" left me scratching my head but didn't stop me from writing it in.

I liked the mini TRA theme (SUTRAS, TANTRA). Where's the exTRA?

T-MOBILE - This past January, camping in a state park about an hour north of the Twin Cities, I could get cell phone coverage with my Tracfone (who knows what carrier that uses?) and coverage for my iPad through Verizon but my friend's T-MOBILE didn't work. She could get texts from her husband but not text back. I finally let her use my phone because the sub-sub-zero weather had her husband speculating that we were dead. Am I saying T-MOBILE is crud? I don't have enough data points to say yes.

Thanks, CC, for this Puzzle of the Week gem.

webwinger 1:55 PM  

Note that a couple of early commenters were critical because the first two dressing names crossed CROSS, not DRESSING. But the clue states "what the letters in this clue's answer do five times", the answer being CROSSDRESSING, and 5 of its letters do indeed cross dressing names. So no problem, no?

DigitalDan 2:14 PM  

Re: HOUSE dressing. Depends on whether you're focused on syntax or semantics.

Mr. Alarm 2:41 PM  

The opposite of “the lesser of two evils” could be ‘the greater of two evils’, which by comparison would make it “EVILER”, no? (And “eviler” did pop up as an option when I typed out e-v-i-l-e...for what that’s worth).

Z 4:17 PM  

Merriam-Webster accepts both EVILER and EVILLER, the latter of which I assume is reserved for nasty llamas.

Susanne g 5:21 PM  

And nobody says anything about 29 across.

Jeff B. 5:55 PM  

Solid puzzle with a minor flaw, maybe. Super major? Give me a break!

Joe 6:53 PM  

I thought this was a fun puzzle, and that HOUSE as the 5th dressing was kind of clever. I don’t get Rex’s snittiness on this one.

Anonymous 8:20 PM  

I agree that HOUSE isn't a great choice here, but the degree of difficulty in constructing this puzzle is off the charts. CROSSDRESSING with five theme answer means that the dressings had to not only have a letter in common with the letters in CROSSDRESSING, but also had to do so symmetrically, AND have good theme answers to go with them. Once you cross at __?_S_R_S_I___, you're left with an O to cross – which no other common salad dressing has. Not FRENCH, BLUECHEESE, CATALINA, GREEK, VINAIGRETTE, etc. Now if you wanted to cross above the O with R like you could with FRENCH or GREEK, then the cross below is with the N, which if you enter ITALIAN, you end up stuck a black square in an unworkable spot in the southwest. One possible set of theme words that might work are, from top to bottom, ITS ALL GREEK TO ME, HAIL CAESAR, DUDE RANCH, RUSSIAN MOB, and DARK FRENCH ROAST. For example: https://i.imgur.com/c5QH8br.png

But I stand by my original comment: this was a tough construction, I applaud C.C. for a great job given the constraints!

Fred Romagnolo 10:11 PM  

@three of clubs: blue is naughty; porn is nasty, and I know it when I see it. @anon9:40: oil gets rancid if not refrigerated. But olive oil will last longer than most vegetable oils.

Billy 10:12 PM  

For anybody wondering, sub system = system found on a submarine, hence SONAR

Joe Dipinto 10:21 PM  

Thank you, @webwinger 1:55, for actually understanding the clue. It's what the *vertical* answer is doing, not what the horizontal answers are doing.

Malsdemare 11:14 PM  

@Suzanne g. Wow! Good catch! I never saw it; got it with the crosses. That's a stunning error.

JC66 11:32 PM  


I don't get it. The clue for 49A says all CHIEF Justices. What's the error?

Malsdemare 11:35 PM  

@JC66 Are there Chief Justices of the US that aren't on the Supreme Court? What am I missing?

JC66 11:42 PM  


Currently, John Roberts is the Chief Justice, the others are Associate Justices.

Malsdemare 11:55 PM  

JC66. Head slap!! Thank you!

Jon R 2:52 PM  

Just chiming in that crossing ERTE with REDKEN was pretty cruel. Otherwise the puzzle was a breeze, but that made me DNF.

Space Is Deep 3:33 PM  

Surprised at the rating. I found it to be one of the easiest Wednesday puzzles in recent memory.

Amy 12:41 PM  

Finished with a Monday time and thought it was fun! Great theme. I am fine with House.

Alamogordo Dan 8:00 AM  

Couldn’t agree more

Burma Shave 10:28 AM  

51a LADY*

HER EROTIC SUTRAS Kama would make MEN talk,
in CASE of HER capture after THEITALIANJOB.


*Charlize Theron, in clue 51a

spacecraft 11:09 AM  

Easy-medium. I have to agree about the clue for 1-across; not exactly a definition for RECESS. This caused the NW to, like Joliet in "The Sting," "bring up the rear again." I do not, however, agree about the HOUSE carp. Who says it has to be a specific DRESSING? These words all precede "DRESSING," so there. So what if the customer has to ask what the house dressing is. Geez, can't a guy ask a question?

The theme takes up quite a bit of space, so there'll be some fill owies. Put two of them together and you get NCAAAAA! Nothing too terribly outrageous, though. Good ol' ETTA has worn the DOD sash so many times...let's dive into the clue bank and give it to Charlize Theron today. works for me. A Burnikel Birdie.

rainforest 2:36 PM  

Clever and entertaining puzzle with the revealer running through all the themers! Perfecto.

I'm trying to imagine a conversation between a server and patron: "You've mentioned HOUSE as a dressing. How could you?" "Well, it is among our choices for dressings you might want on your salad." But can't you see that it is a *flaw*, a *giant wart*?" "No, it *is* one of the dressings we offer". "Oh, OK, I'll have the CAESAR with a dollop of the wart, then". Seems reasonable.

Outside of the ridiculous complaint about HOUSE, and the excellent theme in general, this puzzle nicely fit the bill for Wednesday. Liked it a lot.

rondo 2:59 PM  

Over in the west I had ERS before EHS, only to have ERS come back again in the SE corner. A tad high in the three count. I don’t get the rant about HOUSE DRESSING. There’s an ITALIAN place in Lake Geneva that has such a good HOUSE DRESSING that they filled up a bottle of it so we could take some home, for a price of course. Perfectly good term; better than the others in this CASE.

I’m in agreement with @spacey about mining the clues for yeah baby Charlize Theron. I’ve been in love (or lust, or something) with HER since Cider House Rules. That LADY is one of the real TENS, what a CREATURE. And yes, OFL, THEITALIANJOB was re-made like so many other movies, except in this rare CASE, the NEW one is better.

HAIL CC! Yet to produce a clunker.

leftcoast 3:02 PM  

About the only surprise here was the consistent ease of solving this one in order from (1) filling in all of the answers, (2) getting the revealer and (3) seeing how the revealer crosses the five kinds of DRESSING (including the unspecified HOUSE dressing).

So what's to say? Not much, so lettuce leaf it at that.

spacecraft 6:46 PM  

@lefty: That was a good joke in my salad days.

Diana,LIW 7:57 PM  

Just what @Lefty said. Didn't even notice it was a CC puz - and of course, I had a good time!

Diana, LIW

strayling 8:15 PM  

If you do the puzzle in the Seattle Times take a look at 39 across (AETNA) in this puzzle and 31 across (HUMANA) in the Daily Crossword below. There's always a duplicate answer between the two puzzles, but a symmetrical clue/answer pair is very neat.

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