Sweet Rosie of old song / THU 5-23-19 / Game with maximum score of 3,333,360 / Host Allen of TV's Chopped / Gulager of old TV and film / Fictional schnauzer / Animal feared by Winston in 1984

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Constructor: Alex Vratsanos

Relative difficulty: Easy (5:35)

THEME: Belaboring the point — actually FOURTEEN POINTS (59A: With 61-Across, what President Wilson proposed for a lasting peace ... or what's missing from the starred clues): well there are literally fourteen answers here for which you have to mentally supply "point" as the second word in order for them to make sense:

Theme answers:
  1. PIN
  3. PLOT
  6. BALL
  7. STAND
  8. EXTRA
  9. POWER
  10. GRADE
  12. DATA 
  13. WEST
  14. SET
Word of the Day: Sarah ORNE Jewett (40D: Author Sarah ___ Jewett) —
Sarah Orne Jewett (September 3, 1849 – June 24, 1909) was an American novelistshort storywriter and poet, best known for her local color works set along or near the southern seacoast of Maine. Jewett is recognized as an important practitioner of American literary regionalism.

• • •

This was easy and the theme was incredibly dense, so people will be aglow from personal success and perhaps impressed by the technical achievement. These are wrong and bad feelings and you should throw them out the window because this puzzle was tedious and "theme density" is not not not, in and of itself, a good quality. It is often, as it was today, a punishing quality, as it compromises the quality of the overall fill and, if the theme is relentlessly the Same, just pummels you with its repetitiveness over and over and over. I will say that, given the theme density, the fill could've been much worse. But there I go, making excuses for CLU and ORNE etc. I should not have to do that. You wanna go dense, that grid better hold. Full stop. End of sentence. There are a few nice answers here, like CHEAT DAY (a phrase I despise, personally, but an original phrase nonetheless) and GUT PUNCH, but overall the grid is (again) choppy and the short stuff is (again) stultifying. Once I got the "point" I just went on a "point" scavenger hunt, which, let me tell you, is the saddest scavenger hunt that ever was. Point Point Point Point Point Point Point Point Point Point Point Point Point Point. Uncle! A lot of something is not a good something.

I knew ORNE and CLU and ASTA (sorry for those of you not well versed in the pantheon of crosswordese) but O'GRADY, hoo boy, what? I do not have a clue who this [Sweet Rosie of old song] is. I'm guessing we're talking very, very old song. Wow, yeah, looks like late 19th century. There are barbershop quartet versions. Here's a Bing version.

Gail O'GRADY was great on "NYPD Blue" and is still working. Just FYI. I have no idea what the clue on SWAGS means. Swag curtains? And they're called SWAGS? This "word" has appeared just once in The Entire Time I've Been Blogging (i.e. since Sep. '06). In 2010 it was clued as [Festoons], so clearly even in Crossworld there's no agreement about what the hell this thing means, so let's banish it to wherever it came from for another nine years at least. I thought the GORES might be the DOLES, which share 3/5 of the GORES' letters, so that was odd. I had the "C" and put [Homer's home] down as ITHACA, for reasons (not good ones, but sorta kinda understandable ones). Seth ROGEN appears a number of times in the new Wu Tang Clan documentary on Showtime, which I'm very much enjoying. (WUTANGCLAN has appeared once in the NYTXW, WU-TANG no times; since they are frequently colloquially referred to as just WU-TANG, please add WU-TANG to your word lists and unleash it at will, thanks).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. ASTA was definitely a schnauzer in the book, please stop sending me your misguided outrage, thanks

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Runs with Scissors 12:01 AM  

That was just plain fun!! Cottoned to the trick about a third of the way through. All of the themers sparkle. Every. Single. One. If anyone dislikes this puzzle, well, then they don’t know how to enjoy the simpler things in lilfe.

FOURTEEN POINTS. And there were FOURTEEN of them!!!

@albatross shell from early yesterday – today we get a BRA CHEAT DAY to continue the mammary-centric stuff. 

PACMAN – shades of 1980. Everyone, INHALE!!

WEST(POINT) opposite TENHUT. Apropos.


DEAR GOD, MADD ALLOWS cow TIPPING. There’s a drunken activity extraordinaire.


CLU Gulager was store in my brain, but I have no idea why. Or from where.

None of this came through as a GUT PUNCH. I had a great romp filling this in.

However, I LAY ODDS that some will say UGG. Give it the old OXEYE.

And it has GUFFAW! I love that word, though I can’t ‘splain why. Any puz that can squeeze that in, well, WE WIN!

Bravo, Alex. ENCORE.

Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

jae 12:04 AM  

Easy. Reasonably smooth and historical to boot. Liked it.

@Rex me too for dOlES before GORES.

I have a childhood memory of CLU Gulager playing Billy the Kid...so gimme.

Brian 12:10 AM  

With this puzzle my streak hit 500. Woot

Joaquin 12:16 AM  

I have no issue with choppy grids or theme density. As a result, I enjoyed this scavenger hunt and rather liked being able to breeze through a Thursday puzzle (for a change). Aside from having no clue about Clu, pretty easy for me.

Anonymous 1:47 AM  

D'you know if you change one letter of CHEAT DAY to CHIAT DAY you get a building designed by Frank Gehry that is a giant pair of binoculars?

Arrrrchitecture!! OK then.


JOHN X 2:57 AM  

CLU Gulager is great in The Last Picture Show (1971) as "Abilene," the town cad. His scene at the town dance is just perfect ("I didn't come here to referee no fight!"). For that line alone CLU gets a permanent crossword puzzle stamp of awesomeness.

In The Killers (1964), evil mobster and Los Angeles real estate developer Ronald Reagen punches Angie Dickinson in the mouth and then kills Clu Gulager; Reagan then mortally wounds Lee Marvin, but Lee Marvin still has enough juice to kill Ronald Reagan and Angie Dickinson; only then does Lee Marvin go out on the lawn and die. Jules Stein, Lew Wasserman, and MCA then installed Ronald Reagan as governor of California.

chefwen 3:43 AM  

Very easy! On Thursday I want trickery, cleverness, and Aha Moments. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this but after the first round of POINTS, I was over it.

Who didn’t think of Homer Simpson at 48D? Fooled me for a while. DOH!

JOHN X 4:07 AM  

And, my goodness, look at the image at top! That, of course, is from Point Blank (1967) where Angie Dickinson and Lee Marvin are looking up at Dean Wormer's Santa Monica penthouse, which is actually a restaurant. Later, they go to Archie Bunker's house and Angie Dickinson beats the crap out of Lee Marvin, who just sort of stands there. She also tests all the appliances. Colonel Bat Guano is either Yost or Fairfax or might not be there at all.

Loren Muse Smith 4:42 AM  

I agree with @Joaquin - fun to hunt down all the FOURTEEN POINTS. Rex – your tedious [exercise] is my pleasurable exercise. So I’ll just refrain from throwing my wrong and bad feelings out the window. Hah.

OTIOSE – If I’ve ever seen this word, I’ve forgotten it. It seems you can pronounce it /OH shee OHSS/ or /OH dee OHSS/. In both iterations, the last syllable is not reduced to a schwa. Used in a sentence - The odious otiose man and his equally odious otiose children are all beyond obnoxious.

Hard not to reparse ETUDE as E-TUDE, as in that attitude of derision and nastiness that seems to come so easily to anonymous people on a blog.

“Attire not usually worn outdoors” – I dunno. More and more, I see women walking around in soft flannelish pajamasome bottoms. On standardized testing days at my school lots of girls sport what look like pajama bottoms, and many of them carry around small blankets, I swear. Hey – whatever works as long as you’re gonna take this test seriously and try your best. [Snort] Yeah, right. Good luck on that. Teachers, so far, at least don’t do this, but what used to be a school where we were allowed to wear jeans only on Fridays is now a school where teachers wear jeans/tee-shirts every day. I still dress way up, hose included, mainly ‘cause my best orthopedic, good-for-your-back shoes (Naot platforms) just look better with skirts. At least I balance out my Miss Priss Pot vibe with a healthy appreciation of juvenile tomfoolery. But now that I think about it, my formal clothes enhance my agenda ‘cause a classic Jackie O sheath juxtaposed with a lower face smeared with chocolate icing – just enough to make the kids wonder if it was an accident – really ups the shock factor.

HAIL – I heard a couple of days ago that there was HAIL the size of grapefruit somewhere. I can’t even… I don’t know from science and climate change, but sheesh.

GUT PUNCH – finding out at 3pm on Monday that the next day I will have my new rising 9th grade homeroom. So I’m to be enclosed in a space with 26 8th graders I’ve never met. For 7 hours. After helping them come up with three dream schedules (each that will be tossed today at arena scheduling and then tossed again next August when yet another master schedule glitch presents), I have no plans. Nothing. Not to worry; I figured it out – I pushed desks out of the way, got me some black tape, and made a four-square court right there in my classroom. We had a blast, and honestly I held my own.

Like Rex, I like CHEAT DAY the entry. Unlike Rex, I like CHEAT DAY the event, too, as a day of happiness and escape from joyless food. My cheat days are Saturday and Sunday and both involve a massive stack of pancakes with about a half stick of butter and then around 2pm an entire thing of Ben and Jerry’s. Life is good.

Anonymous 5:54 AM  

Thanks, Rex, for telling us what our "wrong and bad feelings" are and what we should do with them. Please also tell us what our right and good feelings are and how we should handle them.

Unknown 5:54 AM  

Asta was not a schnauzer but a wire fox terrier. I see this as a blatant error.

Anonymous 6:29 AM  

Rosie O’Grady was a “gimme” for this solver. I watched countless hours of Bugs Bunny as a kid : https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SgZlw4O1qzk.

P.S. Asta was not a schnauzer.

Lewis 6:31 AM  

So Alex had the idea for this puzzle five years ago, according to his notes on XwordInfo.com , and stuck with it until it came to a fruition that he felt passed his bar. I admire that persistence. The part that hit me like a knife in the heart was where, a couple of years into his working on this, a NYT puzzle came out with the same reveal. As a constructor, I can tell you that few things hurt worse. Fortunately, the scheme of that puzzle was far different from that of today's, so Alex forged on. Alex, I empathize with your pain, and I'm inspired by your tenacity, and for me, today, you brought a lot of fun.

For me, there's always a point of relief when I figure out the Thursday theme, and that came early in this puzzle, and made the solve on the easy end for this day of the week. But figuring out the reveal before it emerged from its deeply buried-home in my history-weak knowledge bank was nigh impossible until I had near Fourteen Crosses. And when I got the reveal, it brought a lovely aha.

I liked DEAR GOD, GUT PUNCH, and CRECHE, and my favorite clue, one that brought a little gasp of joy, was [July 4, 1776, for one: Abbr.]. There is a mini-theme of double E's (7), and I especially like the symmetrical PIN-BALL and DATA-SET. When, oh when, will I remember the definition of OTIOSE?

Thank you for sticking with this, Alex. You so well earned this day in the sun!

Solverinserbia 6:32 AM  

Definitely very easy for a Thursday gave me a rare solve on Thursdays. I liked the historical nature of the puzzle. I do agree the overall puzzle experience would have been better if Wilson could have failed to prevent WWII with, say, SIXPOINTS instead of 14.

Paul Emil 6:50 AM  

Rex, time to retire and let the Muse take over; she already has. Her comments are longer than yours. Then again quantity doesn't mean quality.

Exubesq 6:52 AM  

As I was told on the NYT comments, movie Asta was a WFT but book Asta was a schnauzer.

amyyanni 6:54 AM  

Back when I was an innocent young American History major, I admired Woodrow Wilson in large part for his 14 Points. I am continually amazed at how long puzzle makers labor over their work only for us to say "ho-hum" (or worse). Appreciated this one.

btgrover 7:09 AM  

Lay odds is clues here as “Bet (on)”, but if you’re laying odds you’re not a bettor, you’re a bookie. Should be clues as “Take Bets”. Harrumph!

Hungry Mother 7:13 AM  

Very quick one again today. Got the theme immediately and sailed on through. Remember being bitten on the ear by a TSETSE fly in Zambia.

70 in nampa 7:18 AM  


OffTheGrid 7:20 AM  

For my taste this was a very good Thursday puzzle. I didn't get a fast start in the NW SO moved east and south a bit and got the theme early with EXTRA (POINT). What else could it be? Many Thursdays have the rebus or phantom letters running outside the grid or hiding in the black squares or words jumping up, down, and sideways in the grid. these gimmicks are too clever by 1/2 for me. Lots of you like those types of puzzles and that's great. Anything goes on Thursday and over time there is something for every one. Happy Day!

kitshef 7:31 AM  

SE put up a fight today – and an enjoyable one. Some nice misdirection clues.

My something to run was ERRata at first, and Provides for was endOWS. My fort was Myers, and my nativity scene was a manger.

And my FIB was a lie, which started me on this whole chain of what we call a fib, versus a lie. Is there really a difference? I think I’d say not, at least morally.

Wilson’s fourteen points of course failed to provide a lasting peace. If he’d just had one more point …

QuasiMojo 7:37 AM  

You got a point there, Rex. But I give it AN E for Effort. Growing up in the early 60s, Wilson was seen, at least in my school ETUDEs, as one of the greatest presidents, a fallen hero who gave his life for freedom and democracy, and who was done in by Congress. Today he is reviled as a racist, a sex nut, a phony, and a grandiose failure. Such is life. I welcome reevaluations but I wonder what people will think of him in another century. I was sure HOMER was going to be a trick clue. I wondered if the Simpsons lived in GROTON. Or if Winslow Homer lived in GreenPOINT Brooklyn. How do we know where the great Homer lived? Isn’t there some doubt that he ever lived at all?

Dawgman 7:40 AM  

Apologies in advance for the rant but when are constructors going to stop with the stupid, outdated cluing of "nerd". Oh, they are unlikely homecoming court members? Why? Because you think so? What is this, 1955? Ha ha, they sure are awkward and unsocial. AMMIRIGHT?

Twangster 7:47 AM  

Interesting to see cheat day in the puzzle. I help people lose weight for a living and this comes up from time to time. If you're depriving yourself so much that you feel the need to have a whole day of less than ideal food choices, you'd be better off allowing yourself (and enjoying) some foods you especially enjoy every day. This is true even if you're not trying to lose weight. Here's more on the drawbacks of cheat days:

SouthsideJohnny 7:50 AM  

@btgrover is flat out wrong. Laying odds is a way of offering an inducement to the other party to engage in the bet. For example, I am laying odds if I state that “I will offer two dollars to every one of yours that @btgrover is incorrect on this point”.

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

Got stuck trying to force “League of Nations” into the revealer then couldn’t remember how many points Wilson had...

“Mr. Wilson bores me with his Fourteen Points; why, God Almighty has only Ten!”. — Georges Clemenceau

Solverinserbia 8:15 AM  

With online betting exchanges you can now bet on something by laying odds or taking odds, so it can be correct now.

GILL I. 8:17 AM  

So PIN and BALL gave me the POINTS I needed. OK. This should be easy...and it was. Let me go about my business and find something to amuse me.
So...I get to the GORES and then it crosses FIB and right above them there's this CHEAT word and I'm thinking well, this could be a good story. And then we have TIPPING up in the attic and of course I'm thinking Tipper. DEAR GOD, this is getting better. Did she get a GUT PUNCH with his "I don't have to speak because she defends me" speech? Is that the inconvenient truth? See...you can have fun. @Rex is always grumpy.
@kitshef: My beloved grandmother explained to me that a FIB was something you told when you didn't want to offend someone. For example, when Tipper asked Al if the dress she was wearing made her look fat, and he said no, that was a FIB. When she asked him if he was having an affair and he said no, that was a lie. See?
Wilson, if he were running today, would most likely get the democrat ticket. Despite his peccadillos back in the day, he had hindsight. My grandmother (the devote Republican, couldn't stand him) but I always thought he was quite brilliant. We need new young blood with dreams. You know...the kind that doesn't CHEAT, FIB, is OTIOSE and POWER hungry.

RooMonster 8:22 AM  

Hey All !
Yesterday, I ripped into Rex for his saying the grids were chop chop choppy. Then saw todays puz, and said, "That's kinda choppy." Good stuff.

However, now I see why it's choppy looking. There are FOURTEEN themers! Holy OXEYE! Actually, there are sixteen themers, the FOURTEEN POINTS, plus the Reveal, which is the spelled out FOURTEEN POINTS. Wowzers. Y'all know I'm a fan of lots-o-theme, and this one has it in spades. And the resulting fill isn't bad. Consider the constraints on the grid, and the fill holds up nicely.

According to Rex, these are wrong feelings to admire and enjoy this puz. Well, if they're wrong, I don't want to be right! :-)

Try to make a puz with sixteen themers, and light dreck and -ese. It's not easy. I've seen more dreck in puzs with four themers.

Nice three-letter misdirect for MRT. Put ALI in there first. Which led to getting my first (wrong) themer, point for EXTRA, thinking there would be a hidden word in a black square. But then I got two more themers, saw they were POINTS, and changed my ALI to MRT.

Had a DNF in the South, TEST as clued was a WOE, and having wyE in for the Certain intersection, and never letting it go, led me to GREEly and non-sensical NLI for SCI, TEnw for TEST. But, that's much ADO about nothing.

So a very enjoyable, non-sloggy, non-this-is-too-repetitive puz. A great IDEA that I think was executed quite well. Give it a GRADE A. So there.


deerfencer 8:54 AM  

Found the puzzle enjoyable.

Note to Rex on self-editing: Beware when your comments get schoolmarmish and preachy, like a bad David Brooks column. It becomes a real drag to read.

On y va 9:00 AM  

When a reviewer starts out by saying that you probably liked something, but you are wrong, there is no point in going further. A crossword puzzle is a form of entertainment. It is meant to give pleasure. If it does that, it’s a success. Ditto for a blog. This puzzle pleased me quite well. Today’s blog entry did not (in fact I felt insulted). Which was the success?

Suzie Q 9:09 AM  

Today's puzzle did not generate any strong feelings one way or the other but @Rex's review sure did. Hey Rex, don't tell me where to throw my feelings and I won't tell you where to stick yours.

@ Quasi, I thought the same about Homer. The mystery of it fascinates me. I'm also amazed at the notion of his work being passed down by memorization long before it was written down.

I don't know who Ted Allen is but I knew Clu Gulager right away.

Great Mr. T quote. But that clue for Senora was torture to read.

Sir Hillary 9:29 AM  

Really tough for me until I figured out what was going on, then super easy after that. All in all, I enjoyed it.

GUTPUNCH is fantastic; being me, I think of it most in a sport context -- suffering a brutal, last-second defeat. Think Kentucky when Laettner hit the buzzer-beater in 1992. Or Ajax conceding a third goal to Spurs a couple of weeks ago. Or a million other examples.

@Lewis -- Amazing find with PIN-BALL and DATA-SET!

@Anon 6:29AM -- OGRADY was a gimme for me for exactly the same reason. Just two days ago I walked past Rosie OGRADY's on 7th Avenue in Manhattan and heard Bugs singing in my head.

I was hoping 38A might spur @Rex to give us this.

Nancy 9:32 AM  

Absolutely loved it! I'll LAY ODDS that most of you did too. An inspired theme that made me say: "I wish I'd thought of that!" And then the wide ranging nature of the theme answers: there were so many of them and none of them were forced. Beautifully executed and great fun to solve. And of course the revealer is absolutely spot on.

The cluing was imaginative, too. THU is dull, crosswordese-ish fill, but look how wonderfully it's clued (62D). That's true for PEA (53A); FIB (54A); STEWS (55A) and LIEN (58D). When a really dense theme necessitates some less-than-sparkling fill, clue it well and no one will be MADD at you.

ALI didn't look like it would work in the spot (35A) where I eventually wrote in MRT. But it's such a crude and ugly boast that I should have known it wasn't from ALI. That was a different era and ALI's boasts were funny and lighthearted. MRT, OTOH, sounds like a thug I wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. But these are the times we now live in. Crude. Rude. Nasty. UGG. (Rant over.) Great puzzle, Alex!

Hoboken Mike 9:35 AM  

A stopped clock is right twice a day and Rex Parker isn't always wrong. One thing I have come to agree with him on is that a good revealer makes a theme work and a bad revealer who makes the theme suck.

Which is why an absolutely not stretched revealer of Wilson's 14 points fully justifies the fourteen POINTS in this puzzle.

Next Sunday I'm hoping for the revealer to be clued "with the rebuses in this puzzle makes a camp bus song" and entered BOTTLESOF.

It would be worth typing BEER 99 times just to see how loud we could make Rex scream.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

Homer is near Cortland,..not Ithaca ...

PJ O'Grady 9:56 AM  

Just a reminder, if you don't like Rex's blog, stop reading it. Pretty simple concept, but evidently nearly impossible for some to do.

I did the puzzle on the website so all of the starred clues were highlighted when you were on 59A. So there was no "hunting down" the points. Once I got the conceit, I just went to all the starred clues and filled in the blanks knowing they were some kind of point.

I wasn't so put off by the number of points as much as I was put off (as I usually am) with the number of gimmes. I guess I could say the puzzle was "easy" since I had a pretty fast time (for me), but it was only fast because of the number of squares that I could just fill in because of the word "point." It took just a minute or two to get the "point," and until I did I was afraid, since so many clues pointed back to 59A. But rather than dreading all of the starred clues, I eventually just sought them out and was off to the races.

FWIW, my mom, who lived in the days when you dressed up before you went to the store...ANY store...would often lament that people were at the grocery store dressed in their "night clothes." So, I guess the 10D PJS clue is about what PJS actually are. In the winter I sleep in my sweat pants and a t-shirt...a cursory look around a WalMart any time of day and you'll see people wearing sweats and a t-shirt all over the place.

Also, NERDS. As we nerds used to scream from the pep band section: "That's alright, that's okay, you'll all work for us someday."

Joaquin 9:56 AM  

Just a random thought: What if today's constructor had decided not to use Wilson's "Fourteen Points" but instead had gone for Bush's "Thousand Points of Light". And included them all. Poor Rex!

Rainbow 10:00 AM  

It intrigues me that the REX complainers are so obsessed and so meanly personal in their comments. Doesn't strike me as healthy.

Jess Sayin' 10:00 AM  

Frequently in life, I am reminded of SNL at its absolute nadir. Serious, informed people may differ on when that actually was (there are multiple contending eras), but for me it was mid '90s. During this time, their basic comic premise seemed to be that if you can't be funny, just do something that isn't funny, but was obviously meant to be funny, and do it louder, longer, and with more enthusiasm in the hopes that the un-funny somehow becomes funny in the new performing context. See "Spartan Cheer" as an example. It never works.

RooMonster 10:02 AM  

Oh, I'll ADD that All the Sixteen themers are symmetrical. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Worst thing I see in AN E. Neat clue redeems it.

Step back and really look at this puz. This should've been the POW.


Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Asta was a Schnauzer in Hammett's book of The thin Man - they changed it for the movies.

albatross shell 10:03 AM  

Glad to see runs with scissors is doing the heavy lifting on the frontal watch. BRA, the streak continues.

Either you are having short term memory loss or I am having false memories. Wasn't OTIOSE in the puzzle a few days ago? Or was that part a joke about never remembering?

I was running a spRiNt and also endOWing. trEAT before CHEAT- a better name for it maybe. OGRADY is a gimmie if you watch old movies or listened to barbershop quartets.

One day in July a friend said to me: The church has the creche out on the sidewalk.
After a quizzical look from me, he continued: They're cleaning it you know.
Now I know there is no GUFFAW here. But those two lines together in July have a certain outofkilter ambience. a eerie revelation about the balance between the sacred and the mundane that has amused me for 50 years. I accept that I am a rare case in this regard.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Yes, answers to older TV clues are memorable because at a certain point many people recognize that “TV” is otious and stop owning them. Thus modern TV clues are very difficult to solve.

kitshef 10:22 AM  

@Gill I - sounds like what your gram called a 'fib' is what I would call a 'white lie' - one done not for ones own benefit, but to spare someone pain.

I would say if they already at the party and Tipper asks the question, saying "no" is a white lie - it's too late to do anything about it, so why make her feel bad? But if they are at home and there is still time for her to change, and the dress does make her look fat, and he knows that she does not want to go in a dress that makes her look fat, then he has an obligation as her husband to be truthful. If he isn't, that's just a big ol' lie - no fib or white lie there.

Husbands everywhere take note.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Anon 10:02,

I didn't mind MGM changing Asta's breed, but as great as Powell's version of Nick Charles is, it bears no resemblance to the man in the book.

Surprised Rex wasn't triggered by Woodrow Wilson. He was undoubtedly the most racist Prez of the 20th century, virulently anti-catholic too.

Terrific puzzle Mr.? Ms? Vratsanos. Thanks.

PaulLongname 10:31 AM  

I was initially discouraged, but persisted. Then the theme came to me and I had fun the rest of the way. The amateur can be easily amused! When was the last time that the theme was present in sixteen answers? Maybe when the only puzzle vowel was an "e". Still brilliant, IMHO.

orangeblossomspecial 10:32 AM  

What's wrong with CLU Gulagher as an answer? It's as relevant as any of the rap singers today's puzzles are filled with.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Don't kid yourself. Most of those white lies are for the liar to avoid discomfort. It's common for people to claim they were lying to protect someone else's feelings, but that's almost always a byproduct of the real point, which is to avoid the unpleasantness of facing someone as you tell them something they probably don't want to hear. In the end, that white isn't just a disservice to the other party it's a dishonor to you and marks you coward.

Tim Aurthur 10:35 AM  



Theatre. A festooned stage-curtain or drapery, fastened similarly. Also transferred and attributive.
1959 Rae & Southern Internat. Vocab. Techn. Theatre Terms 58 74 Swag border.
1961 J. Osborne Entertainer 11 Different swags can be lowered for various scenes to break up the acting areas.
1982 A. Barr & P. York Official Sloane Ranger Handbk. 136/3 Lots of pretty pelmets and a few swags, variations on the theme of stage curtains—not like those dreadful draped net affairs one sees from the bypass.

nyc_lo 10:42 AM  

Bonus for the Blank photo.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

Asta was a wirehaired fox terrier, not a schnauzer, so boo again to Will's staff of proofreaders.

Otherwise, I enjoyed this puzzle. Had a lot of fun searching for the points and I enjoyed the fill. "Sweet Rosie O'Grady" is a barbershop staple. Sarah Orne Jewett is worth a look. It's not necessary for puzzles to include only contemporary words and terms. When I encounter the name of an obscure rapper or some computerese, I chalk it up not only to my age, but also to my interests and am happy to learn something new.

Carola 10:47 AM  

Kvetcher's Korner: For me, the theme could have been "What's the.....?" PIN x NEEDLE gave the whole PLOT away. I'd prefer more mystery on a THU.

David 10:50 AM  

Very bad start. An E, Vacation, MADD. No, this isn't working, jump to the other side. 10D? Tee. Argh. No. I'm going to do what I never do and look at the reveal. Aha! "League of Nations", but no "s"? So "s" is missing in the themes? 10A is "Twit"? Cool, this could be difficult. Oops, that's not working well. Look at the reveal again and see all the stuff on my pad lighting up. Hey, there're 14 of them; "Fourteen Points". Ugh, this could be too simple for a Thursday.

Well yeah, it was too simple for a Thursday, but there was plenty to make it fun. The girls in our hood have been wearing PJs to school for years. Their fashions always seep out to where "Cheat Day" is a thing after a few years.

Yes, Asta was a schnauzer, the seven dwarfs have no names, Ali Baba has no friend Abu. I've said so myself. Except in the movies; so there is that, come to accept it both ways.

I always thought it was "tanhut".

"Greece" huh? That's just too wide an answer.

Nerds now rule the masses and probably aren't much interested in proms to begin with, so I can interpret the clue that way.

Dear God, Mr. T; please give us an encore in the creche. I'll lay odds on you.

Nancy 10:55 AM  

@kitshef (10:22)-- Sounds like you are a very thoughtful husband. Your lie/white lie distinction makes perfect sense. Bet your wife always looks terrific when he goes out.

@Dawgman and @PJ O'Grady -- Why anyone would want to take a word that began its life as a complete pejorative and try to turn it into a POINT of pride beats me. You could call yourselves so many other things: "intellectual", "studious" "deep", -- even "egghead" would be preferable. If you insist on calling yourselves NERDS, don't be surprised if many people consider you nerdy in the original and extremely unattractive sense of the word. Instead of thinking: "We're being dissed" why not think: "They're certainly not talking about me or any of my friends." Wouldn't that be a much more positive self-image and a much happier way to go through life?

Sue Biblio, Chief Curator, Amazon 10:57 AM  

How is it possible that one can not know of Sarah ORNE Jewett? It's unbelievable. Why, her best selling book ranks 3,015,617 in Book Sales here. Granted, there are 3,015,616 books sell more than hers, and many of those are by people who died over 110 years ago, i.e. before she. That's not the point however. This ahead of at least 1 million book is ahead of at least 150K books ( we can't be sure, we have only a signed 16 bit counter for sales, so it only goes up to 3.2MM)

Unknown 11:01 AM  

Had a careless DNF as I went with DAnA (Point) without looking at the clue. Saw the chemical notation and went with Tin. ORiE sounded plausible. Note to self... read all clues.

Nancy 11:03 AM  

She goes out. (Sometimes my 2008 keyboard skips letters when I type, and I have to remember to look first before I hit "Send.")

Hack mechanic 11:11 AM  

Can someone explain "thu" 62D. Thursday?
Do Americans really know what day of the week July 4 1776 was?

Unknown 11:15 AM  

This could have been a changed into a decent puzzle if it weren't *FOURTEEN* points. Maybe Wilson should have made fewer but better points -- for the sake of both history and the puzzle.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  


Was reading through the comments to find the first one to reveal not having read the book, or the wiki. Didn't take long. The movie Asta, yes. The real one, in the book. NO.

Newboy 11:23 AM  

Liked it. Liked it. Liked it. Liked it. Liked it. Liked it. Liked it. Liked it. Liked it. Liked it. Liked it. Liked it. Liked it. Liked it.

Master Melvin 11:30 AM  

Nice puzzle. Surprising historical reveal.

Rex, stop telling me how I'm supposed to "feel" about a puzzle. My feelings are just as legitimate as yours.

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Who knew that PACMAN had a max score??? So, one must wonder whether Ms. PACMAN's 75%??? Pay equality NOW!!!

Bill 11:32 AM  

Thanks, Rex, for the daily dose of bitterness, bile and belligerence.

thfenn 11:35 AM  

Count me aglow from personal success and impressed by the technical achievement, and throwing neither out the window. Had a great time with this one and thrilled I nailed it. And even got OTIOSE added to my vocabulary, off the crosses.

Jesse 11:39 AM  

Mislabeling Asta as a Schnauzer threw me off. Asta was a Wire fox terrier!

Aslo, I liked seeing, "creche" but that is a pretty specific Frech nursery is it not? Tricky!

John Hoffman 11:41 AM  

Took me a while: MRT is Mr. T.

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

Dear God, Mr. T; please give us an encore in the creche. I'll lay odds on you.

Could be worse. First it was Ali, then Mao. Fort MEADE. Then EXTRA.

barryevans 11:48 AM  

Loved puzzle. Loved comments. Hugs all around!

Tim Aurthur 11:50 AM  

I thought this puzzle would be fine for a Wednesday, but on Thursday I want something less straightforward.

Ellen S 11:51 AM  

So, I enjoyed this puzzle. Balked at ASTA being a Schnauzer, but good to know that was the breed of the literary version.

Regarding us being wrong if we enjoyed this puzzle (which I did, btw), I’m thinking of a story a friend told me just last night. She volunteers at the animal shelter with me, and is a greeter at a hospital. She recounted that twice when she has mentioned that she does this volunteer work she has gotten the response, “You volunteer at [hospital]? That’s great! What do they pay you?”

So I’m thinking, if there’s so much stupidity going around, maybe @Rex is right and those of us who enjoyed this puzzle are just one brain cell away from asking a volunteer how much she is paid.

Pierce Arrow 11:53 AM  

Unk @ 11:15 reminded me of these lines from the Al Stewart song League of Notions:

Woodrow Wilson waves his fourteen points around
And says "The time to act is now
Won't get this opportunity again"
Woodrow Wilson has his fourteen points
But Clemenceau turns to Lloyd George
And says "You know that
God himself had only ten"

Joe Welling 12:05 PM  

A quibble I hate to make (because acupuncture is bunk), but acupuncture uses acupuncture points, not "pressure" points. Maybe acupressure--but that's not acupuncture, right?

Kory Stamper 12:28 PM  

@Nancy: "Why anyone would want to take a word that began its life as a complete pejorative and try to turn it into a POINT of pride beats me." OK if we use that as an example under the entry for "White Privilege" in the next issue of Websters?

pabloinnh 12:30 PM  

When we were in college my then girlfriend, now wife, wrote some short stories about life in her part of the country, which was/is New Hampshire, and her English professor suggested she could be the next Sarah Orne Jewett. He meant it as a compliment. I am therefore forced to defend their honor. Also, ORNE can only be filled with the middle name of SOJ, as far as I know, so there's that.

@LMS-I never got into the totally casual look for school either, although I stopped wearing sport coats and usually wore khakis and a shirt and tie and running shoes (comfortable). After lots of years of teaching I had an extensive tie collection and when I retired I gave most of them away, trying to match the tie to the recipient. Still have more than I need, and rarely wear one at all.

Puzzle was fun enough, not quite as thorny a Thursday as I like, but impressive enough, my feelings, right or wrong. Thanks AV.

Z 12:34 PM  

Forgettable. Got the “theme” fairly early and then it was just a Monday themeless with too much dreck. TSE TSE, CLU, ASTA, IRE. It took him 5 years? The guy needs to learn to use the circular filing cabinet. Just because it’s hard to do doesn’t mean it’s worth doing. That there are 14 compound words that end in POINT that you can fit symmetrically just isn’t interesting to me. I wonder why crossing the POINTs at a rebus didn’t work. Only seven theme spots and maybe the rest of the grid could have INHALEd a little more.

@QuasiMojo - Why not a complete picture rather than the “great/satanic” dichotomy. All that nasty stuff makes him a fairly typical white American male in 1910. But all that stuff can be true and he could still be one of our greatest presidents (spoiler alert - that’s a really low bar. Who do ya got after Abe, FDR, and Washington who doesn’t have major character questions?). We have a history of not living up to our rhetoric. But it does seem that striving to live up to our rhetoric has had some pretty good results.

@Hack Mechanic - No, most of us don’t know that July 4, 1776 was a THUrsday. The use of someone or something well known to clue something pedestrian is a fairly common cluing trope.

Masked and Anonymous 12:38 PM  

@RP really did an extra- cool Prof. Kingsfield of the Crossword Paper Chase riff, today. Far better than average. Plus, included the crowd fave -- all-beit mysterious -- "choppy" comment, yet again. blogthUmbsUp, @RP. All it lacked was 14 bullet points.

80 words! More for yer money. And yet only 54 of the words was under 6 letters in lengthography [techy puz analysis word]. And, of course, 14 themers plus an excellent 2-part revealer. Surely, some choice Ow de Speration has got to ensue…

* ANE is pretty good.
* THU is apter than snot, for a ThursPuz. Sooo … staff weeject pick.
* Didn't know SWAGS & ORNE & just only faintly OGRADY. But, ok to learn some new stuff / meet some new people, now and then.
* WEWIN & GORES are slightly desperate -- but M&A is startin to feel desperate in lookin for the desperation, at this point. The fillins are actually pretty day-um solid.

fave fillins:

* CLU Gulager. He was on some TV westerns, but M&A honors him mostly for his contributions to schlock filmdom. Talkin the immortal schlock flick "Feast", here. And "Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds", which mighta even been better. And for completeness "Feast III: The Happy Finish", which was mostly folks lamely crawlin around in air ducts. But, I digress.
* GUFFAW. Great word. Only other NYT crossword to use this lil jewel was one by Patrick Berry, btw.
* GUTPUNCH & CHEATDAY. M&A prefers GUTLUNCH & CHEATWEEK, but still … primo fills.
* TENHUT. Reminds M&A of his old army days -- real soothin, to know they are over with.

Liked the PACMAN and TNT clues a lot.
Thanx for all the pointers, Mr. Vratsanos.

Masked & Anonym007Us


Joseph M 12:52 PM  

One could say this puzzle was a POINTLESS endeavor but in this case that’s a good thing,

Enjoyed trying to get to the POINT for each starred clue and discovering some nuggets along the way like CHEAT DAY and GUT PUNCH.

Someone above referred to CHEAT DAY as a dietary excess. I thought it was what happens when you’re at a golf tournament and you meet a porn star named Stormy Daniels.

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

I'm a little bit worried about Rex-- he never has anything positive to say anymore. This was a fine puzzle. His constant negativity is...concerning.

smulawyer 1:01 PM  

I did! Only for a few seconds, though, ending when I realized Springfield wouldn’t fit. Embarrassing, as I’ve have what I consider to be a classical education.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  


Teedmn 1:07 PM  

CHEAT DAY - I was about to ask whether that was something planned ("I'm going to stick to my diet except for Wednesdays, which will be CHEAT DAY") or whether one finds oneself in the middle of an overdose on malted milk-ball Easter candy (something I can't ever imagine finding myself in the middle of, yeah right) and then declares imperiously, "Henceforth, this day will be known as CHEAT DAY", orb, scepter and robe optional. But I see @LMS has answered, and it is the former. Probably some wiggle room for the latter also.

I circled 17A's clue, "One might say "Home Sweet Home" as a lovely clue, stretching the idea that the NEEDLE is the instrument for creating the saying, but after I got BALL and saw the NEEDLE [POINT], I felt a tiny bit let down - not quite as whimsical a clue as I thought. Still, I join those who enjoyed finding the POINTS to this puzzle.

Yet I did laugh, snicker, tehee over Rex's telling me my feelings were bad for liking this puzzle and the idea that he has had so many scavenger hunts that he can definitely declare this one "the saddest".

Alex Vratsanos, I enjoyed your Thursday puzzle, which had just a WEE BIT of a challenge.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

Hi. I'm relatively new to this blog, and I don't understand the term "green paint" from the contexts it has appeared in; could someone explain it? (It doesn't appear in today's post by RP or any of the comments, but if I ask my question under past entries, it's less likely to be seen.)

Thank you.

QuasiMojo 1:30 PM  

I wasn’t expressing my opinion on Wilson, good or bad, just the changing fashions in how we as a culture, or some pundits within that culture, and our educators, define our role models. I am not joining those in asking that his name be removed from schools or statues taken down. But I think it’s interesting that the pendulum can swing so far in either direction depending on the mood of the culture at any given point in history. Perhaps a 100 years from now our current heroes, take your pick, will be shot down and discredited. Even Honest Abe has his detractors. And FDR was no saint.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

I didn't know that 7/4/1776 was a Thursday, but it's easy enough to figure out.

- There are 243 years from 1776 to 2019.
- There are 58 additional leap years (1800 and 1900 weren't leap years).
- Since the calendar moves ahead one weekday in non-leap years and 2 weekdays in leap years, the calendar has moved ahead 243+58 = 301 weekdays.
- 301 = 7x43, which means 7/4/1776 is the same day of the week as 7/4/2019, which is a Thursday.

Thank goodness the Gregorian calendar reform had occurred in the British Empire by 1776! (Actually, it doesn't matter, since historians state dates as if they were in the Gregorian calendar. When George Washington was born, the calendar on their wall said Feb. 11, not Feb.22.)

Fred Romagnolo 1:56 PM  

@Z:Harry Truman was no slouch on character (A-bomb possible debating POINT) and@pabloinnh: I wore a tie every day I taught; hardly ever after retirement. My son, the professor, wears one in every class, and at every conference he attends. As to Homer, Robert Graves wrote a marvelous book, "Homer's Daughter,"based on the contention that the "Odyssey" was written by a woman. Worth a read.

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

Some day Fort ____, MD will be the clue for FOOTE rather than MEADE, and chaos will reign.

Nancy 2:23 PM  

NERDS can and do come from all ethnic backgrounds, @Kory. I don't know what you're trying to say as far as "white privilege" is concerned. I suspect you're just trying to NEEDLE me and create some completely gratuitous Rexblog ADO.

Anonymous 2:27 PM  


Z is full of beans. Herbert Hoover was by all accounts a very decent and honorable man. So too silent Cal. Creeps in the White House are the exception. Men like Hoover, Coolidge, and later Truman and Ike, Carter and GHW Bush were serious, sober men who not only understand the importance of good governance but took seriously their obligations as sons, classmates, and later husbands and fathers. Today, the values they held dear are mocked and ridiculed. More's the pity. How grotesque it is to be hectored about morals by swine like Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.

Joe Dipinto 2:35 PM  

Eight lines and 21 words expended on a clue for Mr. Effing T. That's eight lines and 21 words for a three.letter.answer. The revealer clue is shorter.

Just when you think the editing couldn't possibly get any worse. Oh well. Crèche la femme...

Kory Stamper 2:39 PM  

@Nancy - Most, in not virtually every, disparaged minority has reclaimed some or all of slurs once thrown at them. You know the list, I'm not going to spell it out for you. Each has done it for a reason, to take the hate thrown at them and turn it into a positive identity. Only someone who has never felt it necessary to do so would dare to publicly state they don't understand why anyone would do so. You know any gay men? Ask they why they have done so. Black people, Spanish people, Trans people, the list goes on. Ask a NERD who was tormented throughout high school. Ask someone whose been humiliated what it feels like, and why they fight against it.

Only someone who has never felt the sting of racial epithets being thrown at them would not understand. Only someone who feels comfortable with that would publicly question why someone whats to turn what what once disparaged them into a point of pride.

So, no POINTless needling, just POINTing out the obvious.

Nancy 3:08 PM  

@Kory -- One of my closest friends -- someone who sadly just died this year -- was a gay activist for decades. Although born into an unenlightened era of enormous prejudice against gays, he was never, ever closeted -- not even at a young age. He was brilliant, deeply involved in politics and enormously influential. And not in a million years would he have referred to himself or any other gay individual by using one of the offensive epithets often used against homosexuals.

Jim discussed this with me, as he discussed many, many other aspects of being gay. He knew people who did this, of course, but he thought it expressed self-loathing and was a very stupid thing to do. He did not see it as "reclaiming the word" or "empowering" your group.

And btw, @Kory, I'm Jewish. Do you really imagine that, in a million years, I would describe myself using one of the terms favored by anti-Semites? Even as a supposed "joke"? You gotta be kidding, Kory.

Yes, there are members of every minority group that have done this. That is their choice and their right. But I won't apologize for thinking it's a really, really dumb thing to do.

Z 3:30 PM  

@anonymous 1:27p.m. - Green paint is a term referencing a boring adjective/noun pair. Imagine going to your local paint store and ordering a gallon of green paint. Not very descriptive, specific, or interesting. In a puzzle, it refers to a boring entry. Some here have a higher green paint tolerance than others. I’m pretty sure none of us have a lower tolerance than OFL.

@Anon2:27 - Hoover? Coolidge? Only an extreme partisan would consider either of them even adequate Presidents. Ike may have been an above average Prez, but his moral failings are hardly a secret. Carter is a fine human being, which some would argue was the cause of him being less than we hoped as a President. Again, we have a tendency to judge these men in the extreme when, really, they are men flawed in the ways men are flawed. This is hardly news. Plato’s Republic can be simplified to “Don’t trust anyone who wants the job,” as can our system of checks and balances. So, back to the original question, how will Wilson be judged in a hundred years? I hope with credit for his accomplishments with a heavy dose of reality regarding his shortcomings.

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

Plato's Republic can be simplified to don't trust anybody who wants the job?
That may be the most ridiculous thing ever written on this blog. Maybe in the history of the English language.

Wood 3:34 PM  

It refers to a phrase that is grammatical but has no intrinsic uniqueness that makes it a good crossword answer. A phrase that isn't "in the language," so to speak. Other examples would be "leather wallet" or "pretty music." As opposed to"leather jacket" or "Roxy music," which do have identities as phrases unto themselves.

Rug Crazy 3:36 PM  

I would have Laid Odds then Rex would have liked this one....BUT again, I knew Sweet Rosy O'Grady. Also taught me how to spell CRECHE!

Whatsername 3:58 PM  

Well that was a lot of fun! Thanks Alex! I was not the best student of history and had no idea what President Wilson did but it didn’t take too long to figure out it had something to do with points. Seemed very easy but not so much that I basked in the glow from personal success, impressed by my technical achievement. Despite Rex’s accusations, I had no such thoughts of grandeur. More like - if I can finish a Thursday without looking up a single answer then I know it’s an easy one because that rarely happens.

@Loren Muse Smith:
I love your odious/otiose sample sentence and can see why you are a successful teacher. I had the same thoughts re PJs. Unfortunately lots of people wear them ”outside.” Same for teachers in jeans and t-shirts. It’s hard for me to understand how the students are going to look up to you if you look just like them. Call me old school but I think Miss Priss Pot is still the fitting image of a professional teacher and it commands far more respect than jeans and a tee. And grapefruit size hail is real. My neighborhood was hit by a hailstorm a few years ago, and many people actually had holes thru their roofs. It sounded like a machine gun hitting the house. “He hurls down his hail like pebbles.” Psalm 147:17 The good news was we all got new roofs courtesy of the insurance companies. The Lord will provide.

MetoGnome 4:03 PM  

'Tain't that simple, Nancy. I can't speak for your recently deceased friend, but I know that in general the gay community has definitely embraced the term "queer" to signify not just sexual orientation but the act of challenging socially constructed gender/sexuality assumptions and roles (it can even be used as a verb in this sense). Academia has embrace "Queer Studies" in this sense of the word, and I doubt they'll be getting rid of it (nor should they). For that matter, we don't hear the term "dyke" to refer to lesbian women much anymore, but when we do hear it, it's usually used in a positive-identity sense, as well (e.g., a Chicago-based women's biker club who proudly call themselves "Dykes On Bikes").

At one time, the word "Black" was considered a racist epithet WITHIN the African-American community; it was literally a fighting word. It was incredibly liberating for people in the '60s and '70s to begin to embrace this term, refuting the internalization of oppression that had led to "colorism" (favoring light-skinned people and/or "white" standards of beauty) for so many years by proclaiming, with pride and without irony, "Black is Beautiful." (And, for the record, colorism is still a very painful and contentious issue within the community, so that battle is still underway).

I won't get into the ongoing debates about the B-Word and the N-Word, but suffice it to say that the debates ARE going on, and we don't know yet what the resolutions will be. So . . . in the end, people have the freedom to call themselves whatever they want, and if that means reclaiming words that had once been used against them, I don't think it's up to anyone but themselves to make that decision.

Honeysmom 4:35 PM  

Clever and enjoyable. First Thursday I finished without Google. Didn't get "the point" for a while, but when I did it was even more fun. Real life is challenging enough. Don't need a puzzle to prove how smart I am. BTW, expected Rex to complain, which seems to be fun for him. I appreciate the service he provides, but wish he'd lighten up.

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

I've never even watched the Simpsons and thought Springfield before Greece.

I've never actually seen a kid at a beach use a spade as opposed to some kind of toy shovel.

Having definitely been a nerd in high school I don't object to the use of the word.

I have never heard of OXEYE.

Vanda 5:57 PM  

Thank you, wood and Z, for explaining "green paint." (I was "anonymous" earlier but now I've created a Blogger account.)

If you or anyone has time to answer one more question -- is this a term that "Rex" coined, or it's kind of in circulation (like Natick/natick)? Who coined it, if not Rex?

Thanks again.

Vanda 6:12 PM  

Nancy, I'm Jewish, too, and I wouldn't want to reclaim any anti-Semitic epithet in order to de-fang it -- but "queer" seems perfectly acceptable to me because of the way that my gay friends have used it and because of how they've insisted that some institutions use it (like Gay Studies, as MetoGnome noted).

There's probably no simple answer to "Why do some, but not all, groups reclaim and thereby redefine certain words?" but I wonder whether the answer lies, to some degree, in each particular group's experiences within the broader culture. I think that Jews have been able to assimilate in a way that black people and LGBTQIA people haven't -- and I can't think of any laws that have been on the books against us in the US, whereas black people initially weren't even people and then had to deal with Jim Crow, and homosexual acts were illegal for quite some time (not sure whether they actually still are in some of the scary states). I'm not minimizing the depth of anti-Semitism in the US -- it was there even before people began to feel free again to express it in the past few years -- and the effect that it had on my ancestors' lives, but it isn't the force that it once was, and I think the degree of that force is a factor in "I will define myself -- you will not define me!"

Likewise, as a woman I would never want to reclaim-redefine words like "chick" (I really hate that one, and I hate "chick-lit" etc.) -- and here too I'm a member of a group that faces significant institutional obstacles but not clear legal ones.

Just a thought.

Loved your "black hat" puzzle, by the way -- brilliant.

Vanda 6:15 PM  

Oops -- meant to write "like Queer Studies".

JC66 6:15 PM  



I think both "green paint" and "Natick" were coined by @Rex.

Vanda 6:18 PM  

@JC66 -- Thank you!

Joe Dipinto 7:23 PM  

Welcome to the Dollhouse, @Vanda. Since you asked, Rex also coined the expressions:

"This puzzle is tedious"

"A phrase I despise"

"Unfortunate short stuff"

"Not interesting to me at all"



Nancy 7:35 PM  

Thanks, @Vanda, for your nice comment about my puzzle and also for your thoughtful and well-reasoned remarks about why some groups adopt epithets to describe themselves and some don't. You make a lot of very good points -- both about the Jewish experience in America and also about the female experience in general.

In the case of the gay community's use of "queer", btw, I was thinking more about eschewing the F-word, which I believe has always been far more offensive. I think that "queer" may even have a specific connotation that's proven useful in the gay world -- though I'm not sure I remember exactly what it is. In any case, I enjoyed reading your post. And if you are new to the blog, which I think you may be, I join @JC66 in saying welcome.

Anonymous 7:48 PM  

Why the revealer on this one wasn't "VANISHING POINTS" is beyond me.


Monty Boy 9:30 PM  

I liked this puzzle a lot. I got the "point" before getting to the reveal so had the aha moment when I got there.

I teach engineering (don't have the courage to do high school) and sometimes wonder what to do to liven up the class. Now I gotta figure out how four-square can fit in the drafting class. I'd like to see a video on youtube of LMS "honestly holder her own" in the game wearing a skirt, heels, etc. Worth the price of admission I bet.

kitshef 10:01 PM  

@Vanda - welcome to the commentariat. I don't know where GREEN PAINT came from, but Rex did not originate it. I refer you to the puzzle of September 5, 2012, where in Rex's writeup he says:
'I only just learned the term "GREEN PAINT answer," which, in crossword-constructor-speak, is an answer made up of weak adj./noun pairing. TALL WOMAN, for instance, is not a good puzzle answer. It's certainly a phrase one might say, but it doesn't have enough coherence, conceptually, to be a good crossword answer.'

He doesn't mention where he learned it, though. What brought it up on that day was that BEIGE PAINT was an answer in the puzzle.

JC66 11:05 PM  


Thanks for clearing that up...my first mistake this year. ;-)

Suzanne Lander 11:24 PM  

THU had me stumped. Is it Thursday? If so, who abbreviates it like that? If not, what the heck is it? And I have never, EVER heard of this CLU fellow, but I've been doing crosswords long enough to guess ASTA, and I do believe I learned about Rosie O'Grady from Bugs Bunny cartoons. I was delighted to get a relatively easy Thursday puzzle as it frees up more of my night! Woohoo.

Joe Dipinto 11:56 PM  

@Suzanne Lander -- Yes it's Thursday (for the next 5 minutes, anyway, as I'm typing this). Many calendars use the abbreviations Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu-Fri-Sat-Sun. Not uncommon at all.

John X gave a rundown of some of Clu Gulager's film credits up above. I remember him more from 1960s TV, specifically the western "The Virginian". He was a dependable supporting actor-type (and still alive, age 90). According to Wikipedia "Clu" is a nickname, after the Cherokee word for the clu-clu bird (known in English as the martin).

Burma Shave 10:45 AM  


ALLOWS DRAGS on a joint.
There's no PRESSURE to INHALE,


spacecraft 10:58 AM  

Weird/cool having PIN intersect with NEEDLE but both taking POINT. Now I've got the earworm of "Needles and Pins[a]" in my head. DEARGOD.

Last night our next door neighbors brought over a birthday cake for me (79), made with wheat flour, which we don't eat. That was definitely CHEATDAY! Chocolate on chocolate? Oh YEAH.

It amazes me how often I see knowledge gaps in OFC's repertoire. SWAGS was no problem for me. They're curtains tied to the side about a third to halfway down so as to create a curve effect. But he STEWS when he doesn't know something, as if it's a personal offense. DESIST!

The POINT is, at least we only had to write in "POINTS" one time. I don't mind the repetitiveness, but then the hills I'm willing to die on are few. Poor @Rex; every little dune is HIS hill. As the Eagles said: "Lighten up while you still can...and take it eeeasy."

The fill, considering the theme density wasn't bad at all. Maybe the biggest GUTPUNCH in the puzzle was...GUTPUNCH, but it got a thumbs-up and a birdie from me.

Diana,LIW 1:31 PM  

Yeeouch!! Someone threw my good feelings about me and my lil puzzle out the window, and I musta stuck along for the ride and fell to the rocky ground. Anyone have a band aid?

Ahh - a bit of mercuricomb (sp???), now I feel better.

So, as I was saying, I felt pretty good about getting this one. Not just the 14 points (and there was an article in today's paper on WWI/II, that I read later, mentioning Wilson and his points). I found a lot of the clues punnishly funny. I may not have Guffawed, but a giggle, or a tehee, did erupt. And THU did make me smile for a while - tricky, tricky.

I have a CRECHE I searched for for years, and look forward to putting it out. Someone "stole the Baby Jesus" I was told by the shop owners. Who? Probably some 3-year-old with sticky fingers. I can just see Mom finding Jesus in his pocket. "Where did he come from?" Stories vary.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Wooody2004 3:53 PM  

Since THU is my CHEATDAY, I googled author JEWETT.

There is a NERDy SCIence TEE for sale which spells out the words DEaD or ALIVE, depending on how you look at it.

Questions raised by crossword: Why is it Ms PACMAN and not PACwoMAN? Do successful businesswomen wear POWER BRAs?

leftcoast 4:24 PM  

DEAR GOD, Rex called this puzzle "Easy". Please admonish him.

Spent too much time poking around the thing before getting to its TIPPING POINT. Was a fast finishing run after that.

Clever and entertaining enough, with a good share of the fill being much tougher than the FOURTEEN POINTS, once revealed.

leftcoast 8:24 PM  

Seem to be no other syndie commenters today, so I'll just put this into cyberspace: The more I look at a puzzle like this one after finishing, the better it seems to get. (Could be that a glass of wine or two makes the difference.)

Diana,LIW 9:29 PM  

Excuse me @Lefty - but BS, Spacey, Woody and I all commented already - and we are Cats of the Syndication.

Lady Di, the Cat

leftcoast 11:23 PM  

Sorry, @Lady Di, thought I was at the end of the line of syndie comments at 8:24 PM. Should have realized that you (or others) may still be checking in.

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