Moon of Saturn named after Greek oceanid / SUN 5-12-19 / Nickname for Thomasina / WW II admiral nicknamed Bull / Three-time Pro Bowler Culpepper / Nevada's largest county by area / Home of Sinbad Island / Early 20th century author who foresaw TV wireless telephones /

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Constructor: Victor Barocas

Relative difficulty: Medium (10:12)


THEME: "Measure for Measure" — things measured by different scales appear in the Across themers, while the names of those scales appear in NW-to-SE diagonal circled squares, with all of it coming together in the revealer, ON A SLIDING SCALE (112A: Adjusted to some index — or how 23-, 35-, 66- and 93-Across are measured per this puzzle?)

Theme answers:
  • MINERAL HARDNESS (23A: What's measured by [Circled letters])
  • TEMPERATURE (35A: What's measured by [Circled letters])
  • WIND SPEED (66A: What's measured by [Circled letters]) 
  • EARTHQUAKES (93A: What's measured by [Circled letters])
Word of the Day: TELIC (35D: Tending toward an outcome) —
Directed or tending toward a goal or purpose; purposeful.
Greek telikos from telos end ; see kwel-1 in Indo-European roots. (yourdictionary.com)
 • • •

This was mostly a boring trivia test (theme-wise) with the only real interest involving waiting around to see what the big Revealer would be. Revealer was fine, but not exactly worth the dutiful entering of factual information for the scales and the things that they measure. Having every clue be the same bland phrase didn't help matters. It's a perfectly serviceable theme that has none of the zing that your marquee puzzle should have. "C" for the theme execution, "B" for the revealer, "C-" for the fill. I've disliked Sunday puzzles much more than I disliked this, but this still just isn't good enough. The fill in the NW is particularly egregious, with TELESTO and (especially!) TELIC (!?) teaming up for some painful obscurity, and then NRA showing up (yet again) and helping normalize a terrorist organization with Zany Wordplay!  (7D: Packers' org.?). Puzzle would have to be a looooooooooot better than it is to recover from such an ugly start.



The funny (not LOL funny, curious funny) thing about TELIC is I talk about teleology and use the term "teleological" all the time in my literature classes when discussing narrative (particularly the Aeneid, which is so obsessed with the importance of the story's ultimate telos: Augustan Rome ... is "ultimate telos" redundant? ... can you have more than one telos? ... I'm not even gonna try to pluralize that ... ANYway). ANYway, until just now I did not know the adjective TELIC existed. So that's weird. Had TELESTA before TELESTO because ??? Got a little scared when I couldn't come up with the author at 9A: Early 20th-century author who foresaw TV and wireless telephones (BAUM), and had S.O.S. at 11D: Letters at sea (U.S.S.) and had absolutely no idea what the first word was at 12D: Crustaceans that carry their own camouflage (MOSS CRABS). Eventually remembered L. Frank BAUM (of "Wizard of Oz" fame), so I survived, but MOSS CRABS??? Sid(l)e-eye.


I don't think Henry VIII gave much of an actual damn about religion. The only reason he defied the Pope was his desire for a divorce. So yeah, he made himself the head of the Church of England and got excommunicated, dissolved the monasteries, etc., but calling him ANTI-PAPAL, and claiming he held that position "religiously," seems a stretch. "Henry maintained a strong preference for traditional Catholic practices and, during his reign, Protestant reformers were unable to make many changes to the practices of the Church of England. Indeed, this part of Henry's reign saw trials for heresy of Protestants as well as Roman Catholics." (wikipedia).


QUAL RSTU ENOL PAESE EPOS ISM INGE ENERO RETHREW (!?!?!?!). Too much of this kind of stuff. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to get some EYE REST (72D: Break from screen viewing). Good day. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

106 comments:

Canon Chasuble 12:15 AM  

In spite of some weird or tenuous cluing, how could you not love today's puzzle, which is totally devoted to science? Not only the four main themes of course, but also another eight or nine answers with chemical or other scientific overtones: alum, booster, tin, and xenon, to name but a few. An absolute delight to find this level of quality and sophistication in any NYT puzzle, let alone a Sunday one.

Runs with Scissors 12:53 AM  

Slow, methodical solve with no serious WTF moments. Well, maybe MOSS CRAB, since that was my “run the alphabet and pray nothing else is wrong” square.

This is the only one of the last 7 puzzles I haven’t actually fully enjoyed doing. It just seemed…pedestrian. No real sparkle. Oh, some great clue/answer combos, such as MOHS/MINERAL HARDNESS; RICHTER/EARTHQUAKE; BEAUFORT/WINDSPEED.

I don’t ascribe to the Metric is Magic philosophy, so CELSIUS & TEMPERATURE are meh.

SAN SIMEON and EARTHQUAKES are actually a thing. RETHREW, ATRAIN, PSST were dreck.

Didn’t make me barf. Also didn’t make me sit up and cheer.

ON A SLIDING SCALE: FIVE
Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

Joe Dipinto 1:06 AM  

Once again Will Shortz's note spoils the occasion, by explicitly calling attention to a theme element that would be discernible to anyone upon seeing the blank grid. Way to go, WS!

I like the revealer and the theme answers -- having RICHTER and CELSIUS symmetrically placed is impressive -- but it seems kind of skimpy overall. "Tammie, the Telesto Telic from Tampa!" -- who isn't happy to see her? SEALY yesterday, SERTA today, Simmons and Stearns & Foster must be in the wings awaiting their cues. And LURCH from "The Addams Family" subs for Cousin Itt.

Well at least the constructor has a real job as opposed to "writes trivia questions in his basement" (oh snap, did I say that?) But the world still awaits a mind-blowing Sunday installment. Jeff Chen feels likewise.



Wood 1:43 AM  

I don't often bother with Sundays, but this one kept me going. Didn't know about MOHS or BEAUFORT so learned something. Thought the revealer was cute. Sliding, get it?

Robin 1:50 AM  

I finished reading MacCulloch's "Thomas Cromwell" a couple months ago. Yes, Henry VIII very much gave a damn about religion.

Otherwise, the puzzle was meh. The theme was fine, but nothing to write home about. Have to agree with Rex's comments about TELIC and TELESTO. I particularly disliked RSTU and RETHREW. And well, I knew the diatribe was coming when I realized the answer to the Packers' org.

Seemed like there were a few decent clues, but now that I look back at the puzzle, I'm having trouble remembering what they were. BAUM, perhaps. Not sure what else.

jae 2:20 AM  

Medium. Liked the theme more than @Rex did, but I have to agree with him on the fill problems.

chefwen 3:21 AM  

Had a little trouble out of the gate when I threw down sheltered at49D. Got everything else buttoned up, but had a hell of a time sorting out the mess I created on the west coast.

I Googled Moss Crabs after I was done, spooky looking things. I suppose their mothers don’t think so, but I’ll stay away.

O.K. Sunday that didn’t really excite me or give me the much needed AHA moments, I’ll survive.

On to a new week.

Anonymous 3:43 AM  

The west was a double Natick for me.

There was no way I was ever going to get 54D (TERP). The trouble was that 54A could equally well be TAR or MAR, and 58A could equally well be ENOL or ANOL.

I also had trouble with 9A (BAUM) meeting 12D (MOSSCRAB) but figured it had to be an M because that made for a reasonable sounding name across and a reasonable sounding crab going down.

TAVERN (14D) was a pretty lame answer for establishment frequented by Falstaff. The same clue could be used as a non-commercial clue for BOARSHEAD.

I still have no idea what TELIC and EPOS are - I totally relied on the crosses for those.

I had DOMINO instead of SBARRO for way too long.

@mericans in Paris 4:03 AM  

Mrs. 'Americans and I were working our way through the puzzle, enjoying its scientific bent -- a nice change from pop culture trivia -- and then I figured out 7D. No, it wasn't the Nfl, it was the bloody NRA. I says to myself, says I, "Hoo boy, this is going to set @Rex off; and I will agree with him." "Packers' org.?" Oh, how so very clever.

My older brother hunts, and my late father hunted. Dad also wore a pistol openly at times. This was in rural Maine in the 1950s, where and when people sometimes got crazy. But he never made light of it. What has become so uniquely American is how referring to the carrying of a gun, or guns plural, is treated so flippantly. Last September I travelled through the Midwest with my older brother, and passed billboard after billboard with advertisements for guns intimating, for example, that having one on your body would make sure you won any argument. Ha ha, ain't that cute. Let's all do that and then see who comes out on top.

That's all I want to say about this puzzle. It is not often that one clue-and-answer combo ruins a puzzle for me, but 7D did on this occasion. B+ for theme, F for fill.

@What? from 1:26 PM yesterday -- Were you talking about engine breaking with an automatic or with a manual. I engine break gently (downshift while coasting), and my 9-year-old manual transmission Citroën passed a full inspection a couple of months ago with nothing other than a license plate bulb in need of replacing.

@Speedweeder from 1:49 PM yesterday -- "I'm not willing to put my coffee cup down to shift gears." OK, you got me there. That's a good enough reason for me!

Lewis 6:17 AM  

This was a left-brain puzzle, not surprising, coming from a professor of biomedical engineering (as I learned from WS's notes in XwordInfo). There was little wordplay in the theme (except for the word SLIDING) or in the cluing. What a contrast to Robyn's right-brain party yesterday! Libra that I am, I like the balance.

But something about the puzzle felt like it was dropped in from another planet -- many words I didn't know, a host of crosswordese (which actually helped my solve, words like ISM, ENOL, NOBIS, ENERO, PEEN, ERENOW INGE, and OTIOSE), then there was the back-and-forth -- constantly checking to see which word crossed which scale. The bottom line is that the experience felt so alien for these reasons and others I can't put my finger on, that I ended up really liking the out-of-the-boxness. Liking the stepping out of my everyday solving experience.

I loved the theme, and it helped my solve, a solve which, by the way, was strange in itself -- the grid filled in first along the outer ring, then the aperture of white closed faster and faster until POP! the puzzle was completed. And then I stepped away from a Twilight Zone solve back to everyday life, grateful for the experience.

Hungry Mother 6:25 AM  

DNF - had ATRAIl instead of ATRAIN. I got tired of looking at it and turned on the red letters. Up early for.a 5K race.

QuasiMojo 6:48 AM  

Twice the time of Rex but also twice if not thrice the enjoyment. How can you not like a puzzle with Phil Ochs, L. Frank Baum, Bud Cory, words like otiose and distant moons with mythic names? Yesterday it was schnitzel I’d recently eaten; today it’s Cubans. Love ‘em. And I chuckled at the presence of teat, ends and peen all in the same grid. Got to wonder about Hi-Fi, though. Most 45s in my day were played on mono devices without great sound quality. I used to have a square box record player we’d bring to the beach. You’d open it up like a makeup kit and it would start playing. I assume it ran on batteries but I don’t recall. All in all — at least in MINE perspective, this was an above PAR Sunday endeavor.

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

I think the clue for 4D is inaccurate [desktop item since 1998]. I’m pretty sure my roommate had an iMac in 1988.

Anonymous 7:22 AM  

We thought the puzzle was cute.

I despise the NRA because of their disgusting politics and the way they hold such sway over so many members of Congress, especially the Vichy Republicans, but also too many Democrats. Politically, the NRA is a disgusting lobby for gun manufacturers and the the gun-selling industry. Referring to the NRA as a terrorist organization is probably somewhat off the mark, which Rex, as a professor of English, surely knows. Heck, Michael Moore is an NRA member.....of was; he may no longer be. The real problem is American culture and mentality, the actual infatuation with guns, military, war, violence. And if you're looking for terrorist organizations, take a gander at all the armed militias in the U.S. Those are truly frightening.

fkdiver 7:45 AM  

Telesto? Telic? TWO titles beginning with "THE"? Rethrew? Ugh. Going to put on my TINFOIL hat and block this one out.

webwinger 7:47 AM  

Agree that the emphasis on science today made for a welcome contrast to most puzzles, though I couldn’t get excited about the theme.

Like the few others who have checked in so far, I found the experience of solving this one a little weird. Lots of answers I didn’t feel confident about when entering them, but once remaining blanks filled in knew they had to be right: For example, that odd little peninsula in the Great Lakes region (let's call it Michigan) where the last squares to fill were located: ALSO seemed necessary, but I couldn’t let go of soS until USS finally revealed itself, making BAUM obvious (great clue), eliminating doubt about MOSS CRAB. Then, no happy music. :-(, oh #$%, followed by a 15-minute search with lots of Google-confirming that ultimately led to the opposite corner, where it turned out I was the problem, and the innocent looking IBiX/iNERO cross at last confessed. Oh, well, house rules still allow me to count this as a solve.

Guess most bloggers are getting ready for brunch with their favorite moms this morning. My own would have just passed the 100-year mark, but sadly she only got to live about half of those. Haven't spoken with the mother of my daughter for years. Couldn't be with the mother of my step-kids because of conflicting travel/work schedules.

Mo-T 7:54 AM  


I got stuck at Rex's nemesis NRA (7D). I knew it wasn't NFL and thought it had to be TSA but then the recalcitrant child shouted I won't! (fit), so had to revise my thinking. I was at fist stumped by Tampa (1D) too, until I remembered that Tampa had been, and I guess still is, a center for Cuban cigars.

I was happy to have known of all the scales in the puzzle, so it was a question of getting enough letters in to "see" the answers, either by getting the circled letters first or what the scaled measured first.

I'm up and done way earlier than usual. Even with a somewhat foggy brain, I enjoyed solving this puzzle. Thank you , Professor.

Coniuratos 8:05 AM  

On the contrary, Henry VIII cared quite a bit about religion - he just wasn't a hardline Protestant. Early in his reign, the Pope named him Defender of the Faith for his anti-Protestant efforts, including writing a treatise in defense of the Church (though how much Thomas More was actually involved in the writing is a point of contention). He only gradually came around to some Protestant ideas, and if anything was the crux of his views, it was that the Pope was not the rightful head of the Church. Once advisers like Cromwell and Cranmer went too far beyond his desired reforms, they fell out of favor, even though going further toward Lutheranism could have benefited him and England internationally, rather than leaving them sort of halfway between the two camps.

Aketi 8:16 AM  

I liked the inclusion of TIN FOILS but the F replaced the G in the middle of my original guess at 45 things.

Suzie Q 8:27 AM  

Any puzzle based on science with no pop culture is sure to entertain me and this one did. Understanding the theme fairly early helped with the solve which I enjoy. A little interesting trivia thrown in and I'm content.

Thanks Victor, nice one.

BobL 8:36 AM  

Great clue at 7d

Z 8:38 AM  

I have quickly learned not to read the Note that accompanies the Sunday puzzle until post solve. SPOILERS avoided. Yet, when that note focuses on the difficulty in construction as much as the cleverness of the solve there is a problem. There is nothing wrong with the theme, it’s nice to have a little science. But can we get a little help with the cluing to create a little sparkle, please?

@anon7:12 - What your roommate owned was a Mac. The IMAC was that super colorful iteration that Apple took over the world with after Steve Jobs return. It’s hard to believe now, but Apple was once on life support and actually got a cash transfusion from Microsoft.

Anyone else amused in the most schadenfreude of ways that one of the criminals behind selling guns to Iran in the 1980’s became the right-wing hero behind outing NRA leadership for tawdry spending? I mean, WTF, how does one even spend $39,000 in a single day at a single “clothing boutique.” When I wore suits I was a Men’s Warehouse type, so I doubt all my suits together for my entire career cost that much. Anywho, I’ve got a quarter riding that the sex scandal part hits the fan within two weeks.*










*2 things “anywho” isn’t a typo this time and a quarter is my standard bet because I never bet more than I am willing to lose.

Teedmn 8:39 AM  

This theme seemed a bit dull at first but it grew on me when I saw that the circled answers only crossed what they were measuring and the revealer at 112A was the icing on the grid.

I liked the dual Henry VIII clues and Falstaff as an additional Tudor reference.

I thought MINE, all MINE was cute, and 80A's use of two meanings of "clubs". OTIOSE isn't ear-related? Hmmm. And TELIC, totally new to me. I don't remember ever seeing TELESTO as one of Saturn's moons but there are 62 moons of Saturn so I'm not going to beat myself up on that one.

"They may be bitter or defensive" for ENDS was very nice.

Thanks, Victor Barocas, for a Sunday puzzle that held my interest.

Caracas Crab 8:44 AM  

I guess I did a different puzzle than Rex did. Things like history, literature, mythology, and vocabulary make up the things I like to see in a puzzle. Maybe having no Star Wars or rap music wrecked this for him.
Rex really needs to tone down the anti-NRA rhetoric. He is spewing biased disinformation. Terrorists? How about defense against terrorists. You may not like the organization but if there had been an entity like them in Venezuela the people might have been able to stand their ground and not get trampled by their government. Thinking it could happen to you does not mean you wear a tin foil hat.

Joe Welling 8:48 AM  

OFL said "but calling [Henry VIII] ANTI-PAPAL, and claiming he held that position 'religiously,' seems a stretch."

You're kidding, right?

pmdm 8:52 AM  

If one can fling an arrow at a puzzle that calling it boring, I guess one can fling the same arrow at a person who obsessively makes the same complaints about the NRA entry ( and other stuff).

For whatever reason, I liked this puzzle a lot more than most. Certainly a way lot more than Sharp and Chen. I think I really like diagonal entries.

It does seem the quality of the Sunday puzzle has slipped. Should one blame the competence of the constructors, or should one assume the problem stems from the editors enforcing arbitrary conventions governing the puzzles (maximum word limit and so on)? Whatever the reason, let's hope the problem disappears. Immediately.

Mr. Depinto, I don't quite see your complaint. If a person point out the obvious, there's no harm done because it's obvious. At at any rate, no one is forced to read any notes until after finishing the puzzle.

Happy Mothers' Day to all the mothers who post comments here.

Brian 9:01 AM  

The scale being on the diagonal represents a slide — hence sliding scale. And the word scale follows each diagonal

GILL I. 9:14 AM  

TAMPA? Puleeeze. There are only three places in this USofA that serve an authentic Cuban sandwich: Jose Andres's The Bazaar in Miami, Mi Cuba Libre in D.C. and my house in Sacramento. TAMPA puts salami in their cubanos only because the Italians thought that might be good. Well, it Ain't. Your lechon has to be slow roasted, the ham can't be the fancy Serrano and the cheese has to be a good Swiss. If you can't get good Cuban bread then forget it....... Rant Over.
Oh...the puzzle. What a boring little mess. I thought the concept was pretty good and I'm sure it was a bear to construct, but dang, nary a smile, an AAH or even an OHO was to be found by me. I think it was because of the cluing. It felt so dry and the cutesy cluing (like the one for BANANA) felt like it needed an extra olive in the martini. Maybe it's asking too much for my Sunday, but I like a little laughter or a smile here and there. I CAN NOT find one.
Thanks to @chefwen, I, too, looked at the MOSS CRAB. Yes, only a mother could love that critter.
Happy Mother's Day to all my female compadres. You may not have children, but you all had mamacitas. Hardest job on this EARTH. Nary a regret. Hope you get something special today. I know I will......

Birchbark 9:31 AM  

I SERTA liked this.

Once I was in Atlanta for work. Wandering around the evening before, I saw some interesting people gathered in a big parking lot. Sort of a spontaneous fair or flea market, with falafel cooking on small hibachis, bead makers, incense peddlers and lots of people just looking around, talking, and occasionally drumming in groups on whatever percussive surfaces were available.

Turns out former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob WEIR and his band, Rat Dog, were playing that night. I got a ticket and experienced an amazing non-stop jam -- what a great way to prep for a meeting.

A few years later, while in NYC for work, I saw Rat Dog again at the Beacon theatre, this time on purpose. And do you know who introduced the band? Donald Trump.

Adding to Coniuratos (8:05) and Joe Welling (8:48) -- ANTI-PAPAL Henry VIII's motivation wasn't just divorce. All of the Church's lands, monasteries, property, and related revenue went to the crown. Henry used the windfall to fund England's military operations abroad. And as the Church wielded considerable secular influence through its clerics, eliminating the pope from the equation further secured the king.

EYEREST my case.

kitshef 9:40 AM  

I’m a big fan of scales, and of science-y things in general, and still found this dull. Cluing needed to be sharpened, which would up both the entertainment and the difficulty.

Took a while to find an entry (ALSO/BANANA), but that ended the challenge.

Only four nations don’t use the CELSIUS scale. Celcius's original scale had water freezing at 100 degrees and boiling at 0 degrees.

With HALSEY in the grid I wondered whether Rex would go with HALSEY, the singer or maybe Uncle Albert/Admiral HALSEY. Nope.

Joe in Canada 9:45 AM  

I'm disappointed that what seems to be such a scientific puzzle would use CELSIUS - I thought it was replaced by "centigrade" in scientific circles decades ago.
My own Sunday morning drinking game - if I guess what will set off OFL, I get a shot. BUT if I don't guess the word of the day, I don't get the drink. I was torn between OTIOSE and TELIC and guessed wrong. So I'm still sober.
ps yay only 4 images this am.

Brunch Time 9:49 AM  

Wow, great puzzle. DNF on the seasick section but otherwise had fun puzzling it out. Great theme, well executed (sliding part impressive). Some fun cluing.

I love that the blogger's twitter fans think so many constructors sit around thinking of ways to upset his dictates of acceptable fill, as if "Hmmm, how can it upset Parker." As if.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Rex needs to join the real world. A puzzle is not bad just because he doesn't instantly know every answer. So his precious solving time goes up a bit. Big deal. My time was over an hour. I thought it was a great puzzle and as someone else said, I learned a few things. I wanna see a puzzle that Rex thinks is great or even good. Rex is getting really crusty.

SouthsideJohnny 9:58 AM  

I guess it’s a pretty good trivia contest if you’re into that sort of thing. Pretty much a phone-it-in “either you know it, or you don’t” ode to arcane trivia aficionados. However, a total stinkbomb and a very poor, lame excuse of a crossword puzzle. The NYT staff is doing their utmost (and succeeding) at making the Washington Post the new Sunday Gold Standard.

Tita 10:14 AM  

Best puzzle-related thing I learned today was that the Celsius scale was originally the opposite. Blew my mind with how wrong that would be, then a nanosecond later, I thought... But it's totally arbitrary to begin with, so why not?
Thanks, @kitshef.


I found this puzzle to be great fun...I wanted to bounce through the grid to discover the next scale.
Yes, I know lots more about this topic than I do about pop and sports...
Dnf'd with mAR/mERP.

As a sailor, I have always liked the BEAUFORT scale The only one designed to require no instrument to use. Just your own powers of observation.

Thank you, @Victor.

RooMonster 10:22 AM  

Hey All !
I WONT comment on NRA, I actually had NSA there, after my NFL wouldn't work. That gave me MACsO for 20A, because, why not?

Other wrongness in the South, FLog for FLAY. So a three-letter DNF today. I like to mix things up, can't have one-letter DNF's all the time! (Although, I do get quite a bit.)

Liked todays offering. Wasn't SUBPAR here. Four SCALEs with their crossing measurements, and not one running into another one. Plus an apt Revealer. Nice. Overall fill wasn't terrible, IMO. A couple of iffy -s words, TIN FOILS, e.g., but all in all a good SunPuz.

BIERS as clued was new to me. Kept seesawing between ILEX and IBEX. ILEX is a thing, no? I guess I'll Google it after that MOSSCRAB.
NASCAR DADS? Odd.

#@$!℅& = SWEARS OFF.
Har.

DOUR BOOSTER
RooMonster
DarrinV

Stanley Hudson 10:32 AM  

@Gill I, there’s a place up the road from you that makes a fine Cuban sandwich. If you’re up for an excursion, you should stop by Tin Roof Bakery in Chico.

Runs with Scissors 10:37 AM  

@ GILL I. 9:14 AM

RE: Authentic Cuban sandwich - if you're ever in SoCal check out Porto's. You can look 'em up on Google. Quite the back story too.

Nancy 10:38 AM  

"Not easy to do, must have been especially satisfying to create" says W.S. in his Note. Yes, to create, but not necessarily to solve. At least not for me. Others here have noted the lack of sparkle and I will add to that chorus. But when you're creating such a complicated grid in an oversized 21x21 puzzle, how much energy do you have left for sparkle? Complex grid design plus sparkle might be above one's pay grade. And I always crave the sparkle first and foremost. Did not find this fun.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Temperature is not a "sliding scale"---this is just plain wrong.

As for the NRA, I am not a fan, but they are NOT "terrorists" or "brown shirts" (i.e., Nazis). Just because you may have a different interpretation of our Second Amendment doesn't make it ok for you to attack them because of theirs.

I am a liberal Democrat who favors more gun control, but I oppose increasing polarization of American politics by cowards hiding behind aliases here.

I could list answers that annoy me, but then I remember: it's only a word game. Grow up!!!

kitshef 11:00 AM  

@Joe in Canada - you have it backwards. Centigrade used to be the name, but Celsius has been the official name since 1948.

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Nasty to have two obscure foodie answers cross (PAESE/TIAMARIA).

Likewise NOBIS/TAMMIE---WTF?!

Z 11:19 AM  

@Joe Welling - See @Coniuratos. Too be a little glib, HVIII was more pro getting his own way than ANTI-PAPAL. Or, too borrow a line I hear the young’uns use all the time, “it’s complicated.” But, no, I don’t think Rex was kidding.

@Nancy - I think what I find surprising is that we know the editors modify clues on a regular basis. Sure, the themers probably need to be straightforward, but what stopped them from adding a little creativity to the non-themers. Which brings us back to the same old argument, Rex has a much higher bar than Shortz seems to have for “good enough.” This is perfectly okay.

@anon7:22 - lots of people were. Keep defending domestic terrorism and blocking reasonable reforms widely supported by your own membership, though, and all you will have left in your organization is nut jobs.

JC66 11:35 AM  

@Anon 10:53

As @Brian 9:01 commented, "The scale being on the diagonal represents a slide — hence sliding scale. And the word scale follows each diagonal."

albatross shell 11:38 AM  

I was wondering how those with a breakfast test (not I/me) would react to FLAY. I guess it passes.
@whoever changed G to F for TINFOIL
What did you have for 45 things? Something gun related I assumed, but what fits? Ammos? No G.

The theme had some appeal and was well executed. It was very helpful in solving. I got HIFIS and several others from the scales. I thought there were a few AHA or haha moments. Not fast EAT, ENDS, TINFOILS, BAUM, DEW. Not a very impressive list. I did enjoy the scales. Some nasty words to slog through. Pizza chain and a Saturn moon I never heard of. Solid puzzle, but cluing a bit tame.





jberg 12:00 PM  

We're about to leave for Mother's Day celebration, so I'm skipping the comments for now. Just point out that after he HAD AT me, we were AT IT. Still I liked his GET-UP so much that it was something I wanted to SNAP UP.

Now back to geography class to learn the names of all the islands around BASRA.

I always love to see the word BIERS, though, because it reminds me of the line from Milton's "Lycidas,"

He must not float upon his watery BIER...

Read it out loud and you can take it as a review of a TAVERN.

Hey, NASCAR DADS, don't push yourselves in front like that -- you've got your own day coming up next month!

RAD2626 12:05 PM  

I thought this was a fairly typical Sunday puzzle and my time reflected about average degree of difficulty. I give the constructor high marks for the measurement scales all intersecting their respective categories. All Sundays have some weird fill because of their size. Maybe people are just overreacting because Saturday's puzzle was so good. Surprised at the high degree of negativity.

Anoa Bob 12:07 PM  

I work with decorative stone and mineral inlays, as a hobby, so I got MOHS and MINERAL HARDNESS with only a couple of letters in place. Woo hoo! And I've always been a science nerd, so I went after the other SCALEs like a duck on a June bug!

I got most of the grid filled and then ran out of steam and turned in, without quite figuring out the reveal. Then sometime during the night while slipping in and out of REM, the slanted SCALEs became SLIDING SCALEs. Amazing how our brains work.

So, yeah, some iffy fill notwithstanding, I liked this one a lot.

The clue for 34A ESS, "Coveted Scrabble tile" could just as easily read "Coveted grid-fill friendly letter". ESS tiles make up 4% of all the Scrabble tiles, the frequency of the letter ESS in standard English text is around 6%, and a rough estimate (mine) of the frequency of the letter ESS in xword grids is around 10%, thanks to its POC power.

When I saw the clue for 2D, "Serving no practical purpose", I immediately thought ACADEMIC. (With 30+ years in academia, I can say that.) OTIOSE is nice though, another little word nerd delight.

Another SCALE that's of increasing importance to many of us in the upcoming months is the Saffir-Simpson Scale, a measure of hurricane strength from 1 to 5. Some say that with climate change afoot, we will be seeing storms with higher and higher numbers. Disquieting.

If you do any kind of woodwork, there's the Janka Hardness Scale

jberg 12:10 PM  

@hungry mother -- listen to this, it explains all:

Take the A Train"

Duke Ellington's version is canonic, since it's by Billy Strayhorn, but this one has the lyrics.

EricStratton 12:15 PM  

The NRA is the country's largest and most important civil rights organization. You want to know how many "mass shootings" have been carried out by NRA members? Zero. The more NRA members we have, the safer we all will be. Terrorist organization indeed. Move to Venezuela and see how much fun it is living in a country with an unarmed citizenry. Probably not too many jobs teaching comic books there, though.

Unknown 12:23 PM  

Calling the NRA a terror org. and saying they are 'brownshirts' (read: Nazis) is both erroneous and dangerous.

GHarris 12:26 PM  

Anyone notice the similarities between Henry VIII and a certain modern day politician, making outrageous decisions having far reaching consequences without a scintilla of conviction or moral fiber?

Bruce R 12:26 PM  

A better clue for TINFOILS would be "Kitchen wraps in the 1960s" because it's been aluminum foil for decades.

Aketi 12:34 PM  

@albatross shell, it wasn’t gun related. It had to do with an acronym that could be used for wearers of a different type of hat that I filled in first. All the other letters had to go too.

JC66 12:35 PM  


@EricStratton

My problem is not with the NRA members, but with the organization's promotion/support of policies that allow non-members to acquire murder weapons. From what I've read, a large majority of members support background checks and gun registration, but the gun manufacturers have much more influence on the NRA's policies.

However, I do agree with others that referring to the NRA as "Terrorists" or "Brown Shirts" is wrong.

Malsdemare 12:36 PM  

@Mericans, I live in the midwest and those signs are everywhere. The irony is that they are sponsored by a group called "gunssavelives.com."

@Brian 9:01. Where do you see "scale" following each diagonal? I've looked pretty hard and must be blind or nuts. Both are possible.

I found the puzzle interesting and Sunday difficult. The best part was that I filled in the element be measured from a few crosses, then knew the scale, and off I went to fill in the diagonals. Like others, I enjoyed discovering that things like SAN SIMEON, BASRA, OTIOSE, BAUM haven't vanished from my brain. And I learned TELESTO; wonder what crucial piece if knowledge that just replaced.

We bought an Apple IIe in 1983-4. It cost $2000, had 64k of RAM and no internal memory. I learned Basic and Pascal programming on that thing. Macs came later and IMacs later still. Today on my desk is a tiny Mac laptop with 250GB of internal memory. Pretty amazing!

There are too many horrible things going on now for me to let a crossword clue set me off. Trying hard to stay sane.

Aphid Larue 12:39 PM  

The “magic picture” wasn’t in the wizard of oz, more likely in ozma of oz. my father once wrote to a publisher asking for all the oz books. He must have been surprised. I got one every birthday and Christmas for years.

Masked and Anonymous 12:39 PM  

@RP-Pretty good desperation list -- altho ... ENOL, ISM, INGE, and ENERO do have the Patrick Berry Usage Immunity.

The TELIC/TELESTO/THEROAD construction zone ate a lot of my extra precious nanoseconds. As did ANTIPAPAL/THETUDORS/DADS/EPOS, to a lesser degree of measurement. Come to think, NANOSECOND slantin thru SOLVEQUEST woulda been kinda a neat themer pair.

Gotta agree with @RP, that the puztheme bordered on bein a bit on the dull side for a big ol' SunPuz -- altho I did get a hoot out of the revealer.

staff weeject pick: SLR. Better clue: {Unforgivably brief slur??}.

Cute SPOILERS clue. And primo pack of raised-by-wolves debut words: RETHREW. EYEREST. MOSSCRABS. Even @RP's epic HOGCALLS has got nuthin on them.

Thanx for yer immeasurably impressive constructioneerin efforts, Prof. Barocas. And, go Twins.

Masked & Anonymo12Us


**gruntz**

sixtyni yogini 12:40 PM  

Easy, fast (for me) and kinda fun.

Joseph M 12:45 PM  

Bill NYE, The Science Guy, would probably like this puzzle. I did, too, to a certain degree. Kept me guessing and using crosses and themers to figure out answers. Thought the revealer was great.

Not sure what this Will Shortz note is that many here are complaining about. My puzzle had no note, only a title.

A few nits. Bee might have been an AUNT, but Em was an AUNTIE. And TINFOILS? Yeah, no. No matter how much you use, tinfoil is tinfoil with no “s.” Just like there ain’t no sheeps in the pasture.

And does anybody say RETHREW? Aunt Bee got so mad she rethrew her tinfoils across the kitchen.

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

I have a problem with "sliding scale". mineral hardness, temperature, etc are not measured on sliding scales. from google dictionary: sliding scale= a scale of fees, taxes, wages, etc., that varies in accordance with variation of some standard.
"the winners are paid on a sliding scale according to how many previous meetings they have ridden at". or insulin can be given on a sliding scale. but mohs, celsius, etc are just scales.

Birchbark 12:47 PM  

@jberg (12:00) -- Very imaginative connection from watery BIERS --> TAVERN by way of Milton.

"And malt does more than Milton can/To justify God's ways to Man." -- A.E. Housman.

JC66 12:50 PM  

@Mals

Scale only appears in the reveal SLIDING SCALE. but I think what @Brian 9:01 is referring to is that each of the diagonal (circled) answers are SCALES. i.e. MOHS SCALE, CELSIUS SCALE, BEAUFORT SCALE, RICHTER SCALE.

David 12:54 PM  

Nothing magical about metric, it's just better. Once upon a time I was an NRA member; this was back when they pushed gun safety classes and helped law enforcement create sane gun laws. That all stopped with the introduction of the ILA and it's been downhill since then. But don't forget to credit Scalia with our current idiocy. Justice Stevens cites Heller as one of the worst decisions made in the Court's history; I'm inclined to agree with him. I don't think they're "terrorists", though. If you truly want to do something, join "Giffords", the organization headed by ex NRA member Gabrielle Giffords.

@Caracass Crab, hate to ruin your day, Sugar Hill is rap. It's not Ellington's A Train which, @Runs with Scissors, is a very real thing.

The geek in me would never come up with "macro" as a "multitask command". A macro is a string of commands, plural; but overall I liked all the sciency stuff in the puzzle. I guess one might think of the liquid in a thermometer sliding up and down? That's quite a stretch.

I like learning new words and things, so telic was more of a joy to me. Also I was not sure of "otiose" when I put it in, it came from somewhere deep in the mind an turned out to be correct.

I had a Cubaño made by Cubans at Central Market in LA once. I was surprised they used goat meat instead of pork. I liked it and figure it'd be a perfectly common variant.

Not as much fun as the past few days, agree with everyone the cluing could use work, but not horrible to me.

OffTheGrid 12:59 PM  

The theme was OK and easy to see early on. The revealer actually ruined the theme. The scales in the puzzle ARE NOT sliding scales, so the diagonal "slides" just hang there by themselves. It felt pretty unsatisfying. Weak.

Sliding scale:

noun: sliding scale; plural noun: sliding scales

a scale of fees, taxes, wages, etc., that varies in accordance with variation of some standard.

Maria 1:01 PM  

Grrrr. DNF due to IWANT instead of IWONT. Scrolled through the puzzle about 10 times and just could not find my mistake. So frustrating!

RooMonster 1:04 PM  

To @All
The SLIDING SCALE is not in reference to the SCALES themselves, but to the fact that they are in the grid "SLIDING", i.e. going down diagonally top to bottom. Get it? It's not literally about the SCALEs. It's grid-play. The are all ON A "SLIDING" SCALE.

RooMonster IMPARTS (Har, like The Dude abides.) :-)

Joe Dipinto 1:17 PM  

@pmdm -- It's Dipinto. And I couldn't care less about Shortz's notes; my point is that they are unnecessary and only dumb down the experience by (in this case) offering "help" with something that will be obvious as soon as you start to solve.

old timer 1:19 PM  

Somehow when @LMS is absent a good blog can descend into sad political battles. Let's just assume WS loves to insert references to the NRA just to piss off OFL. Works every time, too. (I'm going to pretend I never read 'Mericans' post today, as he is a beloved regular here, for me).

I had a DNF, not knowing TELESTO or MOHS, and not guessing ESS. But I did appreciate the theme. When figuring out the theme helps me complete the puzzle, I am relatively happy. Though some of the fill is far from expialidocious (i.e., quite atrocious).

My ESS quibble is that the S is not all that prized in Scrabble. There are so many of them. What really can make your day is the blank.

And the reason the scales are referred to as "sliding" is that they move downward on a diagonal. Just like playing Chutes and Ladders.

ani 1:44 PM  

45s were (music) records back in the day.

pabloinnh 1:46 PM  

Did this after an overnight trip to a 60's dance-a-thon hosted by our local public radio music guru of this music. Almost four hours of cavorting makes for a tired solve, but I thought the puzzle was just fine. Scales sliding=sliding scales (see Roo The Imparter for details).

Oye GILLI I.-The first Cuban sandwich I ever had was in Ybor City in Tampa, and I liked it, and now I find out I shouldn't have. This is far too much like enjoying a xword and then reading OFL and finding out how bad it was. I'll be on the lookout for el sandwich perfecto, good doesn't mean that better is impossible. I didn't see too many recommendations within a thousand miles of here, however.

Gracias, Sr. VB. Nice one.

Carola 1:57 PM  

Who can account for weird fascinations, like mine for SCALES? Once MOHS and MINERAL HARDNESS were in, my heart leapt up, and I thought, "Oh, goody, I bet I'm going to get to write in BEAUFORT!" And went and counted circles. Yup! As I was solving, I wondered what was with the diagonal placement of the circles, and the reveal answered that so perfectly. Anyway, loved it, ate it up. (It's probably good, though, that the Fujita Scale didn't appear - tornadoes cause too much devastation around here to allow for crossword glee.)

One point of consternation: SAN SIM??? x R?TH?E? x CO?T. Took quite a bit of realigning of brain cogs to see that RETHREW made sense.

@Joe DiPinto, I've learned from bitter experience with SPOILERS not to read those notes until after I've done the puzzle.

Fred Romagnolo 1:59 PM  

I solve on Sunday morning on PDT, so am late to this blog. I agree that @anon 7:12 must have been thinking of the Macintosh. Also that you'd have to go far and wide to find tin rather than aluminum foil in modern kitchens. I would suggest that since "flay" means skinning, it was a careless clue. My understanding is that "centigrade," which I learned in chem class in 1948, was replaced by the more respectful Celsius" to honor a great scientist (and we didn't have to change the single letter abbreviation!). I don't like most of what the NRA practices, but they're not terrorists, or Brown Shirts. Again, there's too much carelessness in modern attitudes about things.

Dan Steele 2:12 PM  

I guess your point was that you prefer there be minimal political discussion in a venue like this one. And not that Mericans specific comment was lacking in some way. I found it a thoughtful response to an sad, polarizing issue.

Personally I agree with OFL and others that there was nothing funny or clever about today’s NRA clue.

Crimson Devil 2:13 PM  

As Bear Bryant said “Boys, call your Mommas; I wish I could call mine.” Google commercial for phone co.

Dan Steele 2:16 PM  

Too easy. Luckily I made a “typo” in the northwest corner that radically increased the difficulty there. Or I wouldn’t have had any fun at all. You people are all better at this than me, typically, so i’m surprised at the generally positive feedback.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

Apple Computer?

Anonymous 2:19 PM  

Pretty sure it was Bud Cort

GILL I. 2:28 PM  

@Stanley H...In Chico? Well I'll be. My quest in life is to always order a Cuban if it's on the menu. I'll send you my feedback.
@Runs wS...I looked at the video of Porto's. The first thing I thought was it looks like a factory...mass produce the food. I will say, though, I loved her background story. I can add a million more like them. BUT...the Cuban sandwich looked very authentic so there's that. When I'm I SoCal, I'll try it. Thanks!
Amiguete @pablo.....A sandwich is a sandwich is a sandwich. Strangely enough, I had what was called a "Cuban sandwich" at IHops (of all places) and thought it was good, it wasn't the real deal, though. I know Tampa - especially Ybor talks about its reputation for Cubanos but they killed it with the salami. Now we get all fancy schmancy and add mayo and lettuce and special sauce and god knows what else. Cubans love pork and any one who uses goat meat on a Cubano(Sorry @David) is a heathen.
I can still taste my first. To This Day!... Keep it real or call it something else. Would you eat a hot dog smothered in ketchup on a soggy bun? I have a chocolate cherry cheesecake waiting for me. Adios.

Beagle Girl 2:41 PM  

We did not love this puzzle either. Theme was ok but straightforward. ATRAIN is almost as upsetting as "ESS" the most coveted Scrabble tile (which is obviously the blank tile, by the way). Entire NW was a mess.

We were very proud of MARCIA (Brady) on 9D "One of a bunch?" because the question mark threw us. Banana feels straightforward, should have just been "One of a bunch"

albatross shell 2:56 PM  

@Roo
NASCAR DADS replaced soccer moms as a demographic that could tip the election.

The scales look like slides in the grid, therefore they are sliding scales, like sliding boards. Also note the accurate cluing: as measured per this puzzle.

Em even if called auntie by the family is still a bonified AUNT.

Metric is better for science and better for all-around integration across usages, but a lot of measuring systems were particular to certain applications and derived for convenience of the people working in those fields. Science gained, humanity lost. Real idiocy is the way the length of a meter was determined. A 7 year expedition that was stupid from the start and wrong in the end. Scientific brilliance at its worst. I love science. It is self-correcting eventually one hopes. Doesn't mean it's not asinine at any particular time.

TINFOILS is a mistaken plural.

And can anyone tell me why html message that is below my message box enters the box as I type and then gets in the way of my message unless I push the return button, or whatever it's called these days, several times. Does this description make sense to anyone? And more irksome, sometimes it stays out of the box, and I don't think I am doing anything differently.




Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Sixtni yogini, Rex was referring to the note that appears in the hard copy of the NYT. A recent addition to the Sunday puzzle, with info on the constructor, etc.

albatross shell 3:08 PM  

One more question. ATRAIN is Ellington/Stayhorn and is to SugarHill. Why is it rap as clued? Also were people objecting to either ATRAIN or THEROAD because of the A or THE? Both were good here.

webwinger 4:32 PM  

Intended to keep quiet about the NRA today (although I have to agree this time with @Rex that the cutesy clue was in poor taste), but a few unusually interesting comments have brought me back to ponder some more.

As I understand it, the NRA exists primarily to serve the interests of the multitude of Americans who make lots of money from the manufacture and sale of firearms and ammunition. They have been embraced by the financial backers of the Republican party, who only care about seeing their tax bills go down (and maybe eliminating regulations that increase their cost of doing business), but are happy to join hands with anyone who will support that agenda in exchange for alignment (at no real cost to either partner, and with no shame over hypocrisy) with their own economic interests or cultural passions.

Most numerous of all are those who are not superrich and don’t profit from guns & ammo, but believe passionately that they are essential to maintaining their personal freedoms (ever threatened by the US government—a view apparently espoused by some of today’s bloggers, and which I can imagine even Trump foes might eventually come around to).

So I don’t see the NRA or its allies as terrorists or essentially haters (and it goes without saying that they don’t see themselves in that light). The fact that a secondary consequence of their success is endangerment of the entire population by omnipresence of deadly devices that, in an ideal world—even as envisioned by themselves—would never be need to be used for their intended purpose, somehow seems not to faze them.

Pamble 4:44 PM  

Can someone explain the HiFis as the clue to 45 things?

webwinger 4:56 PM  

@Pamble: HiFis were high end phonographs in the pre-stereo era that played records at either 45 or 33-1/3 RPM. Clue clunks for me despite having caught on pretty quickly. The high fidelity sound they touted was a noticeable improvement mainly for LP (long playing, i.e. 33) recordings.

Anonymous 5:40 PM  

HIgh FIdelity record player

puzzlehoarder 5:46 PM  

Happy Mother's Day to all. My comment is very late due all the Mother's Day activity. Currently there are three generations of females at the dining room table. I'm on the sofa with my leg elevated. Good excuse and chance to catch up to the blog.

I did this last night and I have to admit that I enjoyed it. What's the point of having all this ese in your head if you don't get to use it.

My start in the NW corner was a good example of the entire solve. OTIOSE immediately supported the O of TON. Strangely TAMPA and NINTHS were what I had to figure out. TELESTO took every cross. TELIC too. Now I have a couple more pieces of ese for the next Sunday. TELIC is another Scrabble dictionary word I have a good start on learning. ESS was hard to see because in Scrabble it can be spelled ES and that's a far more useful word.

Anonymous 6:03 PM  

Rex,
Your note that Protestants were tried for heresy under Henry is grotesque. It is of course true, but it obfuscates the truth. In fact Henry Tudor was a butcher and killed many Catholics. Not so many Protestants.
Its doubly egregious that you should make the claim this weekend.
On May 11, 1537 Henry butchered (Blessed) John Ronchester, and (Blessed) James Walworth, two Carthusians who stood in silent reproach to the swine Henry. There were many others martyred by Henry, and his detestable daughter too. But your implying some vague equivalence of what Catholics suffered compared to what protestabts suffered during tne reformatio isnt just laughable, its deeply offensive.

pmdm 6:33 PM  

Sorry for the spelling error. I usually don't have time to proof my content.

I understood your point. I just prefer the ignore technique.

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

Do people get left in the LURCH in other parts of the English-speaking world? Around where I come from, we get left in a LURCH.

Anonymous 7:51 PM  

The iMac first came out in 1998. It was the first Apple consumer product after Steve Jobs returned to Apple.

joebloggs 9:31 AM  

Is Tampa famous for Cuban sandwiches? I’ve been there and no one ever said “you GOTTA try a Cuban sandwich while you’re in town!” Miami? Everyone knows about them there. Clue was deliberately misleading. Ok, I read they many have been brought there by Cuban descendants but c’mon.

joebloggs 9:38 AM  

When an organization uses its lobbying power to hold politicians hostage against the will of the masses you better believe I’ll attack them. After Sandy Hook Americans had said enough and the NRA killed that legislation. It’s not about interpreting. Gun folks completely chop off the part of the amendment that states it’s for a well regulated militia. Please do yourself a favor and read the Federalist Papers so you can see that Hamilton envisioned state militias that would train semi-annually with muskets. It’s not an absolute right. If it is I demand to own a tank with nuclear shells. Also, Madison did not trust the common man so any notion of people arming themselves to keep the government honest is just a terrorist threat. There is no foundation in the thinking of the founding fathers for this. The second amendment is the biggest political sham of the last 50 years.

Joe 8:43 PM  

If Henry VIII wasn’t religious, how is it that he was named “Defender of the Faith” by the Pope? This, of course, preceded his break with Rome. Ultimately the clue is valid as is the answer in the puzzle.

Burma Shave 10:37 AM  

STOPIT ILOSTIT ATIT

SOMEDAY, while TORCHED, IWON’T care ATALL
when my TEMPERATURE RUNs OFF THE charts;
GUILTY and SEASICK, I’ll GETUP THE gall
that FIVE BIERS at THE TAVERN IMPARTS.

--- DAUNTE BEAUFORT, USS HALSEY

rondo 11:05 AM  

Another constructor I’ve met, and he uses TAR with such a great clue! Maybe I’ve actually made a difference!? ONASLIDINGSCALE that idea might rate a FIVE at best. Mr. Barocas does show his MN roots having one-time Viking DAUNTE Culpper in the puz.

Not just any body gets an SI swim SUIT cover, but soccer star and yeah baby ALEX Morgan did. This year. EYEREST my case.

IWONT say this puz is SUBPAR ATALL. Just when was the last time anybody raved about a Sun-puz?

rondo 11:07 AM  

er, Culpepper

spacecraft 12:03 PM  

Despite fill woes such as the RLS (random letter string: RSTU today) and RETHREW--Not A Word ATALL--I have to give props to this theme's execution. To integrate the name of the scale diagonally, four times, with what each one measures is an extraordinary feat, IMO.

This wasn't all that easy, either. The toughest section for me was the one containing the word SECTION. Tricky clue for that SUIT! SPADE makes a sort of mini-theme; ALSO TORCHED with ARSON.

Oh, and the NW was last again, with that moon known only to a few--certainly not to this space nut--TELESTO. While I must give a shout-out to ALEX Trebec and wish him good fortune in his battle with cancer, I will ALSO award the DOD to ALEX Morgan. Birdie.

rainforest 3:17 PM  

I thought this was a great puzzle in the medium range on my SLIDING SCALE of crossword difficulty.

I couldn't get a foot/toe hold in the NW, but the NE allowed me to get a solid start there, where CELSIUS enabled me to understand the theme. TEMPERATURE came next, and I moved Southward down the West side. There was some nice cluing in there, and it was easy for me to overlook RETHREW as I thought the fill was good everywhere else except for maybe the gratuitous plural at TIN FOILS.

I had enough in the grid to move back up to the NW and clean that up nicely.

Nice theme, nice theme revealer, excellent grid. Liked it a lot.

strayling 7:43 PM  

Henry VIII settled the question of who ruled: Church or State. SPOILERS, State won and Church lost. That was his big achievement, the marriages and divorces were means to an end.

\ I should know better, but couldn't let Rex's misapprehension stand

Joyce 11:14 PM  

No circled spaces in my newspaper edition of the puzzle. So having solved for what was measured, the final challenge was to find where the circles should have been.

Charlie Cottingham 7:22 AM  

Regarding the term "Sliding Scale," I agree with the "anonymous" comment above that none of the scales in the puzzle fit the definition; i.e. they do NOT vary depending on the value of a related measurable term such as income, etc. - Charlie Cottingham in Atlanta, GA

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Aint taking my gun

Anonymous 5:07 PM  

I still have my Mac (not iMac) from 1986, which at the time was a beautiful (despite its beige casing) smallish box -- much prettier than the big squashed-bug thingies used in offices. Dunno whether it still works, but can't bear to give it away.

Cost about $2,000 -- vs. the $250 I spent 6 mos. ago for the small PC laptap (alas, not a Mac, bc of budget constraints) that does infinitely more. Quite remarkable, what humans can do. A pity -- an evil -- that those in charge don't give a crap about ending poverty, which absolutely could be done in a generation. No shareholder profit, doncha know ...

Anonymous 12:41 AM  

I liked it for the simple reason that the themers helped me finish the NW, without MOHS I would have spent a day figuring it out.

Interesting that OFL and others constantly carp about substandard fill, but a puzzles without many 4s and 3s turn out to be a ridiculous slogs that better have some excellent clueing for all those grid spanners. The fill is there (imho) to allow the constructor to show some flash in the clueing.

I liked Rex’s sidebar on telic which took me way to long to believe in, despite teleology etc.

I believe the sliding scales referred to the diagonality which I thought was clever.

I’d much rather be doing a Mike Schenk acrostic (WSJ) than a Will Shortz puzzle any day of the week

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