Primary outflow of Lake Geneva / TUE 5-21-19 / Automaker with supercharger stations

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Constructor: Evan Kalish

Relative difficulty: Medium (3:52)

THEME: CHANGES THE WORLD (35A: Has a huge impact ... or a hint to this puzzle's circled letters) — two-word phrases contain letter strings (circled squares) that are anagrams of planets, which I guess we're calling "worlds" now. Anyway, "CHANGES" = anagram, "THE WORLD" = one of the planets:

Theme answers:
  • "IGNORE THAT!" (Earth) (17A: "Oh, it's nothing to concern yourself with")
  • LEAVES UNSAID (Venus) (23A: Omits mention of)
  • ARMY RECRUITS (Mercury) (47A: Ones with private ambitions?)
  • BONUS TRACK ((Saturn) 57A: Extra song on an album) 
Word of the Day: GRIEG (14A: "Peer Gynt" composer) —
Edvard Hagerup Grieg (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈɛdvɑɖ ˈhɑːɡərʉp ˈɡrɪɡː]; 15 June 1843 – 4 September 1907) was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is widely considered one of the leading Romantic era composers, and his music is part of the standard classical repertoire worldwide. His use and development of Norwegian folk music in his own compositions brought the music of Norway to international consciousness, as well as helping to develop a national identity, much as Jean Sibelius and Bedřich Smetana did in Finland and Bohemia, respectively.
Grieg is the most celebrated person from the city of Bergen, with numerous statues depicting his image, and many cultural entities named after him: the city's largest concert building (Grieg Hall), its most advanced music school (Grieg Academy) and its professional choir (Edvard Grieg Kor). The Edvard Grieg Museum at Grieg's former home, Troldhaugen, is dedicated to his legacy. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was an unpleasant solve. There was simply no joy anywhere. The theme answers were blah, the theme was a let-down ("WORLD" as a synonym for "planet" = disappointing / off). And the fill, yeesh. A 78-worder where 65 (!?) of the answers are five letters long Or Shorter!?!?! That's 65 of 73 non-themers! So choppy, so relentlessly crosswordy. And with no real interest in the actual themers, or even in the few "longer" non-theme answers, this one was just a slog. People seem to be finding it easy (perhaps *because* of all the short stuff), but it was a grind for me. Choppy grids really slow me down, and I wasn't only this puzzle's wavelength At All with regard to Anything. From 3D: Let secrets out (SING), and over and over again, I just couldn't lock on to the cluer's sense of cluing. Had ANTS for MICE (26D: Little scurriers), couldn't get DYE at all (41A: Red 40 or Yellow 6), and so I couldn't get SYNC at all either until I got that terminal "C" (37D: Match up). Struggled to make sense of most of the themers. Really wanted CHANGES THE GAME for the revealer but it wouldn't fit. Had to make up the phrase "IGNORE THAT!", which seems about as strong as "IGNORE THIS!" (i.e. not strong). LEAVES UNSAID is not exactly sparkling. The whole SW was a nightmare for me because I had no idea what kind of RECRUITS these were, and my first pass at the answers in that section yielded almost nothing. It's trying to be repeatedly colloquial, in a very tiny area, which made things dicey. "WHO ME?" crossing "AW, MAN" crossing a "?"-clued GYM RAT? I mean, we're not talking Saturday-level difficulty here, but for a Tuesday, I was very very slow through here. In the end, it's a weakish theme with an incredibly tepid grid. I felt run down by the EEK ATIT URSA UAE IDA ERIE onslaught—no one answer particularly terrible, but en masse, ouch.

Not sure why GYM RAT even had a "?" clue, given that its clue was pretty literal (43D: One doing heavy lifting, informally?). I get that "doing heavy lifting" is a metaphorical phrase that is being used literally here, but ... literal is literal is literal. "?" clues should really yank you off of the expected path. This one did not. TDPASS was hard for me to parse, but it's clear I didn't really read the clue while solving (10D: Six-point accomplishment for a QB). I just kept expecting those letters to arrange themselves into something familiar, but because they looked insane (starts "T" ends "-ASS"??), I had to keep filling in crosses. The answer that most irked me though, both because it cost me time and because the clue was just wrong (actually, it cost me time because the clue was wrong), was MALL (53D: Development that might compete with a downtown). Have you been to a town with a MALL lately?? Hoo boy, no. All over the country, MALLs are falling apart, losing anchor stores as people increasingly shop online, etc. Our MALL is quickly turning into an abandoned building. Next stop: actual ruin. Actually, they're trying to figure out what its future is, because it will not continue on as a MALL, that's for sure. This clue was very true for 1989, but in 2019, nonononono. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Hungry Mother 6:27 AM  

Super quick, but ignored the theme.

Lewis 6:48 AM  

Finished the grid, then thought, "Oh yeah, the theme -- what's the theme?" My first unscramble of the first theme answer was HEART, then came VENUS (which could indicate something to do with love, though that doesn't relate to the reveal), but when the other planets emerged, I at first thought that CHANGING THE WORLD meant that the order of planets was changed, which felt kinda weak for a theme, but okay for Tuesday. Then I thought the theme could simply be anagramming planet names, which, of course it turned out to be, and is stronger.

It felt like it took me as long to figure out the theme as it did to fill in the grid! And I enjoyed what for me was a post-puzzle puzzle.

Anonymous 6:55 AM  

The problem here is that the rest of the puzzle is sacrificed to the theme, and the theme doesn’t help the solve and doesn’t provide any aha moments, so it’s not really a fun puzzle. Which I guess is OK on a Tuesday, though for really new solvers those anagrams might feel Thursday-tricky.
Hoping for better on Wednesday.

Loren Muse Smith 6:56 AM  

Hmm. My WORLD is Earth. But I see that planets could be included in someone’s “world.” I might’ve been happier with anagrams of “earth.”

Liked GYM RAT sharing the grid with ODOR. Yep. A gym rat has an odor. A gym bunny does not. Unless it’s Chanel. But you can also be a MALL rat or a beach bunny. Funny the critters we choose for our place/people metaphors. Junkyard dog, church mouse, barfly. Wait - are you a barfly or a lounge lizard? A lounge lizard reeks of Polo and has one too many buttons unbuttoned. A barfly just languishes quietly on his regular stool.

LEAVES UNSAID sounds oddish, but not as odd as the word LAIN. I’d feel like a jerk if I said I’ve lain here long enough – time to get moving. Sorry, Mr. Lie/Lay Distinction – spoken English reigns, and your days are numbered.

(Speaking of numbered days… I saw a meme on Facebook to this effect: “Enjoy your day” sounds friendly and benign. “Enjoy your next 24 hours” . . . not so much. Put that one in your pipe and smoke it.)

“Blab” early on before SING. The clue makes it feel more inadvertent. SING feels deliberate, like you’re purposely getting someone in trouble. Fingering cohorts to avoid becoming a jailbird.

BarbieBarbie 7:05 AM  

Oops, I think I just misfired and left an unsigned comment from a nonexistent Google account, so it should get bounced. Sorry if repeating. I wanted to say that if the fill is weak because it has to glue the theme together, then the theme should provide some fun aha moments or help with the solve, and anagrams don’t do either. Which isn’t ok just because it’s Tuesday, because those anagrams mess up their answers so that newer solvers would find them Thursday-tricky. So I’m not a huge fan today.

Dr. Bunsen 7:13 AM  

Can anyone explain “sport-ute”?? Even google isn’t helping here. SUV maybe but UTE??

Clueless 7:36 AM  

53D: Development that might compete with a downtown

Hudson Yards
Chelsea Market
Westfield World Trade Center

DeclanMcman 7:44 AM  

Ute is short for utility.

Spock 7:48 AM  

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new WORLDS. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no (wo)man has gone before!

This was a good Tuesday but a few Star Trek clues would have been icing.

kitshef 7:51 AM  

It just doesn’t get any worse than “Jeez Louise!” crossing “Wait, you think I did that?”

Unless it’s having “Oh, it’s nothing to concern yourself with” as a themer.

Or maybe it’s having your theme be anagrams in little circles. And if you must do this theme, run it on a Sunday and use all eight planets, not just numbers 3, 2, 6 and 1. Is factors of six part of the theme?

QuasiMojo 7:51 AM  

“War of the Worlds” made sense as a title — it was good enough for Wells and Welles— so I have no problem with world and planet being synonymous here. My issue was the scarcity of them. It was a disappointment to only have so few themers. @LMS, I once did a puzzle with anagrams of EARTH and was told the theme “did not grab me.” Lol. Maybe I’ll resubmit it. Oh and Bar Flies do indeed smell. Which reminds me. Does anyone really thing Febreze “targets” odors? It masks them or overwhelms them. The only “targets” are the poor suckers who buy these products. Frankly I’d rather smell a “gym rat” than the “fresh linen scent” of Febreze. Fans of Grieg should watch “Song of Norway” one of the campiest and strangest musicals ever filmed. Talk about “fantasy”!

GILL I. 7:57 AM  

So @Rex orders filet mignon and gets chuck. I got my usual Tuesday fare and rather enjoyed it.
Somehow, I knew we were going to deal with anagrams. RETHA and VESUN don't make sense. I wrote them out and saw what the deal was and chuckled. TE HEE. Then I tried to see if I could come up with one for URANUS. All I could do was think CAJUNS AURA. See? Not easy and I'm betting I get a lot of groans.
Yeah, the poor malls. I don't think I've been to one in over 15 years. I never liked them to begin unless there was a terrific restaurant in it. My children, when they were small, loved them. Good ones always had entertainment for the little ones. So sad to see Sears and Penny's and even Macy's close their doors. To tell the truth, I don't know what I'd do without Amazon.
I like the GOTTI EDDY EDIE LEO URSA MAO ANNA GILDA names. Perfect for dreaded Tuesday.
I had fun and enjoyed this little nifty puzzle. But then again, I'm just a simple country girl who likes raw food.

QP 8:05 AM  

Not sure where some people live, but in eastern Massachusetts malls are definitely a thing ! Impossible to fund parking on weekends in the three near me (Natick, Burlington, Solomon Pond)

For some reason Google is giving me a really hard time with including my name, insist on Unknown

Dr. Bunsen 8:16 AM  

Ah thanks! Technically though this is not necessarily ‘all-terrain’ but rather something resembling a pick-up. Further the “ute” wiki entry indicates this to be a colloquial phrase of Australia and New Zealand? Pretty unsatisfying all around...

pabloinnh 8:29 AM  

Is a scrambled word an anagram? I got the theme at mixed-up EARTH and rearranged VENUS, but RETHA and VESUN are not anagrams. Now HEART for EARTH, there's your anagram right there, sez me.

OK for a Tues. but didn't say wow to me.

mmorgan 8:33 AM  

Unlike Rex, I tore right through this, but like Rex, I didn’t much care for it. I don’t like puzzles with circles and I don’t enjoy anagrams, so when you put them both together you get double meh. At least I do. It would have been more bearable if the anagrammed circled theme answers had more sparkle, but they didn’t. And I know that malls are struggling and dying in many places (but not everywhere), but that didn’t stop me from plunking down MALL right away for 53D.

Unknown 8:43 AM  

I didn’t care for most all of this puzzle, but I do like that Gene and Gilda are together on the bottom of the puzzle.

J.T. Kirk 8:49 AM  

I suppose I should have said " explore strange new planets." But at the time that seemed to be a bit, well...disappointing/off.

Suzie Q 8:58 AM  

I have a vivid memory of the first mall in my home town. My favorite field which was my playground for endless childhood adventures was destroyed so the mall could be built. But the timing of its construction was perfect for my transition from kid to teen so then I came to love it (but I was never a mall rat). That mall also started the rapid decline of our once vibrant downtown. Sigh.
Serviceable Tuesday. Nothing too flashy.
Using the word green in the okra clue put me off a bit since it is not what I call a green.

SouthsideJohnny 9:08 AM  

Interesting that this one was not in Rex’s wheelhouse as it was pretty straightforward and without any nonsense such as Roman Numerals, Foreign Words, Dead Popes, etc. The theme is a total waste - just meaningless Gobbledygook. Play it as a themeless and it’s passable.

Planet Earth, Our World 9:21 AM  

Think of a Venn Diagram where PLANETS is a set and WORLDS is a set. WORLDS is a subset of planets. WORLDS are inhabited PLANETS. "World" is a human-centric idea, Earth is a planet but it is also our world, but not all planets are worlds. The "world" refers to everything that exists and is interacted with...flora, fauna, mountains, oceans, deserts, etc...all located on a planet. We may send probes to Mars to explore that "world," but since it's just rocks, dust, and there isn't any life on it, it's just a planet. If someone referred to Mars as a "world," we'd expect them to be thinking that there are some kind of things on the planet that have a interaction...that qualifies it as a "world."

So yeah, the clue was off. No one calls Mercury a "world." It's called a planet because there is no life there. Star Trek explored new "worlds" because every episode included discovering new intelligences/humanoids on those planets. I'm pretty sure that if they landed on an uninhabited planet, it would just be called a planet.

It's funny that it takes so long to explain the difference and yet it's pretty easy to see at a glance that the two are very different terms. The fact it needs explaining at all is crazy.

Nancy 9:30 AM  

IGNORE THAT is the only themer that CHANGES THE WORLD. The others change different parts of the solar system. But I bet lots of you have pointed that out already.

A bland puzzle with no pizzazz and requiring almost nothing in the way of thinking.

Dorothy Biggs 9:35 AM  

Why are winter storms in xword puzzles always ice storms? Even at ski lodges, which I suspect are usually in the mountains where there is a lot of snow, you are far more likely to be snowed in than "iced in."

Why wasn't GENE clued to go with GILDA? That seems kinda rude... tepee...why is that word spelled that way? Is the extra E just too too? TEEHEE/TEEPEE...look absolutely like they are pronounced. TEHEE looks like "Teh-HEE" with the emphasis on the second syllable, same with Teh-PEE.

Also, the future does not exist. Nor does the past. If you think there is a future (or even a past), point to it. Touch it. Describe it. Even your idea of "past" is just an ephemeral recollection that your brain's not, to your brain, like a snapshot. It's more like putting on a play in your mind with "actors" who are just impressions of what you remember who are then put into a situation that you only recall from your angle, and that recreation changes over time.

And if anyone can tell me what will happen tomorrow, in the future, I'll believe. Otherwise, it simply does not exist. It is only a perception, a human concept...kind of like the difference between world and planet...where planets exists and can objectively pointed to and described, but "worlds" are subject to debate and very difficult to define.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Hey mall rat, I also live near Natick Mall, Burlington and Solomon Pond Malls, and I'll tell you this: people shop there and then buy online. So you can't find spaces, but no one is making any money inside, which is why you see that proliferation of signs that say "if you see it here, buy it here" at those three malls. We just witnesses the demolition of the mall in Worcester and there is not a single retail store left on the 24 block Main Street.

Rex gets upset with things he perceives a racial slurs, but where is the indignation at three clues in a week which link Italians with organized crime?

Nancy 10:01 AM  

@Dorothy Biggs (9:35) -- Sure, you may be "snowed in" at first. But drop the temperature below 32 degrees and it becomes ice. Then you are indeed "iced in". It's one of the things I most hate about snow.

@Quasi (7:51) -- I don't think I've ever smelled Febreze and I guess I could consider myself lucky. But one of the worst smells I've ever encountered in my life is Lysol. I imagine they're probably similar.

I absolutely love the way @kitshef (7:51) trashes this puzzle!

Z 10:04 AM  

I see @Planet Earth, Our World beat me to it. For those who did a TL;DR, “WORLD” has the connotation of life existing there. Would have been better (if less main stream) if the WORLDs were places like Majipoor, Aurora, Arrakis, Tatooine, Oozma, and Solaris. Of course, Silverberg, Asimov, Herbert, Lucas, Okorafor, and Lem’s locations aren’t as crossworthy yet as Elsinore.

The best thing about this puzzle is it reminded me of The Word for WORLD is Forest. Skip the Wiki article, go find the book.

@Runs late yesterday - You’re right. And you know what, I hope the next time my doctor is busy he gets a lawyer to cover my appointment. As for the EPA - Har. I didn’t realize you had drunk the kool-aid.

Crimson Devil 10:08 AM  

Gilda was the best, Roseanne Roseanna Dana, Emily Littela...

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

It is interesting that the Febreze scent was added to the formula because consumers wouldn’t accept a product with no scent (but which worked eliminating odor).

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Sport UTE is made up crosswordese garbage, used by nobody in the real world.

Solved this while listening to a podcast, so I was both slow and didn't really notice all the garbage. It didn't put up any resistance even while I was distracted. But looking at it now, man is it awful.

Molasses 10:29 AM  

@QuasiMojo there's a marketing case study about Febreze that explains why instead of just neutralizing odors, it adds the 'fresh linen scent' or whatever. Turns out people wouldn't buy it if it meant their house was stinky. Here's an article about it: I read about it in Charles Duhigg's book on The Power of Habit when I was trying to form some more useful habits than my do-the-crossword-then-see-what-Rex's-blog-said-about-it habit.

I liked the puzzle, even the theme, although I did wonder what happened to the rest of the planets.

Karl Grouch 10:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
RooMonster 10:49 AM  

@Dorothy Biggs 9:35
Tomorrow will have a 12:00.
Har, I just told the future!

And, technically, the past can be seen in movies that aren't just made.

Just being the devil's advocate.


jb129 11:16 AM  

Puzzle was just okay. "Who me" took me longer than it should have.

James K. Lowden 11:23 AM  

“All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landing there.”

That was 1982, and not a novel usage then, no pun intended.

What do we mean by something that’s “worlds away”, if there can be only one world?

To me it’s the same as “the president” or “the house”: there’s a preeminent one, “the” one, but there are also other presidents and other houses. And other worlds.

jae 11:31 AM  

Easy-medium. Pretty much a Tuesday. Didn’t hate it. Evan and Jeff have some interesting comments about how to create an anagram based theme at Xwordinfo.

Sir Hillary 11:53 AM  

Didn't care for this, for the reasons many have already stated, but I'll second @Crimson Devil's comment that GILDA was one-of-a-kind. Gone way too soon. Seeing her name made me smile and gave a happy end to a not-so-happy solve.

Way too much time on my hands today, so I completed the set and made them all NFL-related.
--Jerrod Goff, for one...LOSANGELESRAM
--Sam Darnold's team-issued hybrid car...NEWYORKJETPRIUS
--Conservative first-down offensive instructions...RUNARUSHINGPLAY
--Typical 2018 Arizona Cardinals game...UMPTEENPUNTS

Wood 11:58 AM  

I pretty much tore through this in more than 2x @Rex's time. I think it's hilarious that he considers under 4 minutes "slow." I doubt I could even read the clues and type in random letters that fast.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

I guess it depends on which definition of development you use. If the generic, "any new condition", then internet/Amazon/eBay would fit. OTOH, if the specific, "any new physical building" (you know, the sort of thing Our Carrot Top Leader claims to do), then the clue/answer converge. Some nits need not be picked.

John Hoffman 12:07 PM  

I wanted clues to connect GENE Wilder and GILDA Radner, husband and wife comics.

Language Sleuth 12:12 PM  

@LMS. It is disappointing that you, as a teacher, are cavalier about proper use of language. "LAIN" is not odd or jerky. Yes, spoken English suffers many assaults but correct usage is an appropriate goal and certainly should be maintained in writing.

kitshef 12:19 PM  

I don't know where people are getting the "worlds are inhabited, planets don't have to be" idea, but it's not from any of my go-to dictionaries. From what I see, it's almost the opposite. All planets are worlds, but not all worlds are planets. Compact Oxford (physical), American Heritage (physical), Merriam-Webster (online).

QuasiMojo 12:25 PM  

@Molasses, thanks for the link. I did not know they added scent to Febreze to make it more marketable. I still believe these odor products don’t really work despite what P&G might claim. A lot of the research we are fed is simply bit true. Remember when Bauer toured aspirin as a miracle drug? And that it helped prevent heart attacks? That has been proven to be false. I suspect opening a window or throwing out garbage would do more than Febreze to rid a home of odors. And my basic point was that most odors are not really bad and we don’t need to get rid of them. We live in a society that has become paranoid about smells. Granted a house full of cats, as mentioned in that article, might be a bit much to anyone’s senses.

Masked and Anonymous 12:42 PM  

Some solvers don't like The Circles. Some solvers don't like anagrams. Some solvers don't dig incomplete planet lists. There's even a small pocket of TEHEE haters out there. This TuesPuz sure had a lot to overcome. Thought it did ok, IM&AO.

As @RP just did a nice riff on, 83% of today's puzanswers were less than 6 letters in length. I just picked a Patrick Berry TuesPuz at random, and it had 82% of em thataway. Last week's TuesPuz had 76%.
Another way to look at it: the average word length for this puz was 4.79. The average word length for all TuesPuzs is 4.89.
Sooo … by golly, @RP might have a point there. Fill was slightly on the runty side.

More significant to m&e was the freshness factor (newness of the fill, calculated daily at xwordinfo.chen). Today's freshness factor was 2.0 out of 100. Average for a TuesPuz is 26.0 out of 100. @RP sensed that, in his other riff on the EEK ATIT URSA UAE IDA ERIE etc. supply.

The desperation factor seemed low, tho. And some good fillins included: MALAISE. FANTASY. TDPASS. WENTSTAG. GYMRAT. FUTURE. And the theme did help with the solvequest, at our house. And kinda liked how the MOONS clue name-dropped Jupiter.

staff weeject pick: EEK, crossin MICE.

Thanx, Mr. Kalish.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Joe Dipinto 12:51 PM  

As Gordon Gekko once opined: "Grieg is good."

The clue for 80a isn't specific enough. Now if it had read...

"Actress Paquin who won an Academy Award at age 11, beating out Rosie Perez and Winona Ryder among others, and was in two movies with Jeff Daniels and also starred in "True Blood", and is much taller now than when she won the Oscar"

...then, I would have known right away who they meant.

Why not Mayor Pete instead of Pete Rose? Let's move things into the present, shall we? Speaking of mayors, is mayoral son Dante DiBlasio cross-worthy?

Anyway, I must go. I have a full afternoon of linking myself to organized crime ahead.

***Apropos of nothing:
It occurred to me that when you pronounce the name of actor Morgan Spector, you are saying "morgue inspector".

RooMonster 12:51 PM  

@Sir Hillary 11:53


Teedmn 12:52 PM  

This was an easy Tuesday, nothing too sparkling or clunky.

I was misled on the theme, seeing RETHA and thinking "Aretha?" in 7A but I got to 35A, and recognizing CHANGES as the anagram warning track it is, I splatzed in CHANGES THE WORLD. I then assumed all of the circles would be EARTH-centric (not noticing those longer than 5 letters) but I was hardly held back by that niggle of an idea.

Thanks, Evan Kalish. (Bonus MOONS can be "worlds" also, right?) URSA major, not so much.

QuasiMojo 12:54 PM  

@allofyou, my apologies. Apparently my autocorrect doesn’t work either. Great post @M&A!

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

I just checked my dictionary (and pablo's earlier comment) and these aren't anagrams, since the circles aren't words. How could OFL miss that?

David 1:03 PM  

"te(h)-hee" is how people say "tee-hee"? I did not know that.

There's a theme? As usual, I just ignore that. But these don't fit my understanding of anagrams; I thought they were supposed to spell different real words using the same letters, not just be jumbles of letters within phrases. I could not leave this unsaid.

Using a clue specific to Australia and New Zealand is way odder than having simple "foreign" words as answers. When I think of "ute", I think of My Cousin Vinny. "Subject of an exchange between Joe Pesci and Fred Gwynne in My Cousin Vinny" would be a fun clue.

Malls killed downtowns, Amazon is killing Malls and "mom and pop" stores as well. Next they're coming after our health care. I'm lucky to live in a city where I can still walk into a store and buy things. I can actually touch clothes and look at the stitching and all manner of things; I can open books and read a few paragraphs to see if I think it worth buying. It's almost like I live on a different planet--or in a different world.

Not a great puzzle, but neither is it a bad one. It's somewhere in between.

Bryan 1:33 PM  

I actually thought "maybe it's MALL... nah there's no way, malls are ghost towns these days..." and was dismayed when I filled it in with crosses. BOO

BobL 1:58 PM  

@Sir Hillary Simply awesome!

Lets be serious 2:31 PM  

@kitshef - They get there by knowing how language and dictionaries work. You cite Merriam-Webster in support of your theory. Definitions 1-10 reflect humanity and/or earth, 14( the last) cites planets. The various definitions of a word are pretty much rank-ordered in terms of importance. World being synonymous Planet is the least important definition, all the rest refer to the occupants of the planet. Should one wonder what the distinction between World & Planet might be, occupants is the difference. Also, the War of the Worlds was instigated by the occupants of Mars against the occupants of Earth. It wasn't Planet vs Planet, i.e. the planet Mars didn't change course to ram the earth, the occupants did.

Mr. Alarm 2:45 PM  

Yup. I too wagged my head at that one. SUV may have been acceptable, but not UTE! Pity the poor puzzle constructor: we sometimes have to REALLY stretch for word fills.

Loren Muse Smith 4:07 PM  

@Sir Hillary – wow! Nice work! javascript:void(0)

@Language Sleuth – I know, right? I get that a lot, and I apologize for all my shortcomings.

(I did say that I wouldn’t use LAIN in spoken English. If I found myself faced with writing it, I’d rearrange things. At least for now. I’ve already fully and apologetically embraced the singular they and use who even when I know pedants want whom. Language changes constantly, but I’m learning that those who don’t see it will never see it, no matter how whiny I get.

We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

PS – Shouldn’t you have used a comma between assaults and but in your third sentence? My point here is to show you, an apparent prescriptivist, that no one would agree on the “rules” we’re all supposed to be following.

Carola 4:09 PM  

Liked it. I saw the planet anagrams after getting the scrambled Earth and Venus; that helped with the reveal and the remaining extraterrestrial WORLDS. I thought IGNORE THAT and LEAVES UNSAID were a great pair: blurting out v. holding one's tongue.

@Loren, I thought of you when I wrote in LAIN :) I'm always, "Lemme see, direct object or not?"

kitshef 4:38 PM  

@Lets be serious - I won't continue to argue WORLD, as anyone who cares will have done their own research and come to the right conclusion, and anyone who doesn't care already hates us. I will say, though, that Merriam-Webster, like most dictionaries, orders their senses of a word by date of first use, not by importance.

newspaperguy 4:40 PM  

Well said, Loren. Language Sleuth doth protest too much.

Anonymous 4:41 PM  

Despite the complaints, M-W lists sports-UTE ( Years ago, admittedly, it was quite common term.

JC66 5:00 PM  

@Sir Hillary

Well done!

Molasses 5:02 PM  

@QuasiMojo you're probably right. I've used the stuff a couple of times - once when I borrowed a wool coat from my heavy smoker sister for a winter trip up north, and once when I was getting ready for an outdoor party on artificial grass dogs were using for grassy purposes - it was significantly better than nothing but not what I'd hoped for.

@SirHilary, brilliant!

Runs with Scissors 6:47 PM  

Puzzle was just kinda there, for me. Not a lot of sparkle. Mostly enjoyed the solve anyway, because I enjoy solving crosswords.

@Z 10:04

You either completely misunderstood or intentionally mischaracterized what I said.

Kool-aid. Har. Where's the eyeroll emoji when you need it.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

albatross shell 7:12 PM  

John Prine joins the lain argument.

I wish, I hope, I wonder
Where you're at sometimes
Is your back against the wall?
Or just across the line
Have you been standing in the rain
Reciting nursery rhymes?
Trying to recall
Some long lost kind of peace of mind
Peace of mind
Try spending the night sometime
All alone in a frozen room
Afterneath you've lain
Your Saddle in the rain

I saw a friend who doesn't know
If I'm his friend just yet
His eyes and mouth were widely open
And his jaw was set
Like he'd fell off a cliff
And hadn't hit the bottom yet
I wish he wouldn't pull those things on me
Without a net
Without a net
I had him up to the house one time
And we was having a real good time
Then he went and lain
His Saddle in the rain

BobL 7:59 PM  

Could someone tell me why I have a little garbage can by my post time?
Was it something I said? I've seen no one else with this.

Anonymous 8:17 PM  

Z mischaracterize or misunderstand?! Har!!

JC66 8:20 PM  


It's there in case you want to delete your post. After reading something I've posted and want to make a change, I copy the post, delete it, paste it in the "Comments" box, edit as needed and repost.

Nancy 9:51 PM  

Really, really clever, @Sir Hillary. Maybe it's time to create a puzzle of your very own?

Teedmn 10:22 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teedmn 11:08 PM  

Watching “Space's Deepest Secrets” Season 5, Episode 10, they begin discussing asteroids thusly: “Asteroids are mysterious, airless worlds...”. I think this lends credence to @kitshef's statement.

oopsydeb 11:59 PM  

Speedy--set a new Tuesday best for myself. And yet...blah. Don't actually remember a thing about the puzzle and I solved it less than five minutes ago.

Unknown 7:24 AM  


Burma Shave 9:59 AM  


AW,MAN, IGNORETHAT URGE, ERGO she’s been ATIT for days,


spacecraft 11:43 AM  

I take no issue with the planet/world thing; plenty of examples prove that they're virtually synonymous, save to a nitpicker. Nor with the scrambled orbs not being new words, a "true" anagram. Hard enough finding phrases that contain the letters in ANY order. But with 7-down? THAT I take issue with. I simply cannot IGNORETHAT.

Unfortunately, a precedent has been set for TEHEE, a ridiculous non-word that reeks of desperation. NOW we have two precedents! Please no more!! Of all the fill ills in this one, OFC didn't even mention 7-down, but did list a lot of other MALAISE-inducing items. He just RANON. AWMAN, where's Patrick? Did he retire? I yearn for a grid where at least a modicum of care has been taken.

This puzzle had possibilities. It even had MOONS as a BONUSTRACK, and a rodent mini-theme (MICE, GYMRAT). But it's the stuff in between--the cartilage, if you will, that brings it to its knees. DOD ANNA Kendrick aside, this one cards a bogey.

leftcoast 2:07 PM  

Seemed well put together and closely packed to me, and the theme helped with the fill.

Revealer struck me as a bit odd, but it literally did CHANGE[S] THE WOR_Ds and the WORLD of the planets.

Clues and answers that slowed things down a bit: MALAISE, DYE, RHONE, GYMRAT, and ODOR.

Fen before BOG made the SE a little slower than the rest.

Nice work by Mr. Kalish.

Diana,LIW 2:10 PM  

Just the other day I heard a bit on the radio about War of the Worlds and "new live" radio shows. Coincidence? You decide.

Jumbles needn't be perfect anagram words, do they. Who said these were anagrams vs. jumbles? Some Martian?

Speaking of which, I also read about those MOONS the other day. Seems we're about to have a celestial treat viewing Jupiter. But again - coincidence?

I'm gonna go hide under my bed.

Diana, Goddess of the MOON, sayeth the ODEsters

Anonymous 4:34 PM  

It seems Tesla and Edie Falco are obsessions with constructors these days, along with eek and tehee. Easy solve once again without needing the theme. Multiple crosswords in one with the corners and other areas almost blocked off. And malls are still going strong in some parts of California so prospective ones might compete with downtown.

rondo 5:18 PM  

I EASED through this from top to bottom and thought there might be a love thing with HEART and VENUS until THEWORLDs were CHANGEd.

Right there in the top middle we get ATIT for a TET. Can’t IGNORETHAT.

And as mentioned above, I noticed both GENE and GILDA together on the bottom line.

I’d go for yeah baby ANNA Paquin as clued. FANTASY indeed.

Today’s puz WORLD was a little flat.

sharonm 9:13 AM  

Sport utility vehicle.

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