Terrapin catcher / SUN 5-5-19 / Prophet who inveighed against sins of Israel / Bygone auto whose name sounds like command / 2013 film whose lead actress is never seen / Depression follower for short / Singer Ora with three solo #1 hits in Britain / Clothing symbol for graduate of Oxford Cambridge / Often-pantomimed hit song of 1970s / Talent show that jumped networks familiarly

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson and Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (9:29)

THEME: "Paper Work" — clues are familiar kinds of paper (all following pattern [___ paper?]), but the answers reimagine the meaning of the first word in the clue, creating ... well, not wacky answers; the answers are very normal things; they're just wacky in relation to the expectations of the original clue:

Theme answers:
  • LOTTERY TICKET (23A: Scratch paper?)
  • BUILDING PERMIT (36A: Construction paper?)
  • BOARDING PASS (48A: Fly paper?)
  • RECORD DEAL (67A: Wax paper?) (lol music is mostly streaming now but OK)
  • SHEET MUSIC (70A: Note paper?)
  • SEATING CHART (91A: Position paper?)
  • COLLEGE DIPLOMA (100A: Wall paper?)
  • BREAKFAST MENU (119A: Crepe paper?)
Word of the Day: STRING ART (13D: Craft created on a board with nails) —
String art uses coloured string, wool or wire to create geometric patterns. The 'string' is normally held between nails hammered into a base board. Multiple straight lines of string can form shapes ranging from simple curves to more complex designs resembling flowers, sailing boats, etc.  (stringartfun.com) (?)
• • •

I just can't win with Sundays. This one is consistent enough, thematically, and the fill is mostly fine (no idea wtf KALB is, but otherwise, mostly fine). But it's a one-note gag, and in a Sunday, that means the one-note gag recurs and recurs and recurs. There's no feeling of "aha" or "good one!" Just "Oh ... yeah, that works. Sure." There's nothing funny or pleasing going on. And look at those themers. That really is a singularly dull set of themers. It's a list of things. Forgettable things. There's obviously a cleverness to the gimmick, so the wordplay, you know, works, but there just wasn't any delight here. I was getting through it to get through it. Incidental joy came from a few stray non-theme answers (SCHOOL TIE was interestingly weird, for instance), but mostly this felt like homework. Sundays are clearly the hardest puzzles to get right. A theme that might be OK over 15x15 just fizzles in a 21x21 format. It's like when an OK movie goes over 2 hours—no. OK is fine for 90 minutes, but once you hit 2 hours, your movie needs to be increasingly above-average for every minute that passes. You have to earn those minutes!

This felt easy except for the parts where I shot myself in the foot with typos or my failure to remember which Roman numeral is which (wrote in LVI for 78A: 506 in old Rome and ended up with ELWINA as the actress, which ... I mean, she could've been an ELWINA for all I know. I certainly don't know EDWINA either (71D: Actress Findley)). Had trouble with STRING ART because what the hell is that? And then there was the aforementioned bygone so-and-so named KALB. The hardest part was the final section, the SW, where BED ROLL was not ... is not ... a thing I really understand (95D: Portable place to sleep). That's just a roll-up-able mat type dealie? Like a thick yoga mat or something? COTS, I get (106D: Portable places to sleep). BED ROLL is more mysterious to me. Also down in that corner was the horrendous word TURTLER. Ugly and gruesome (121A: Terrapin catcher). Is the TURTLER the boat? The contraption that actually catches the turtles. I feel like turtles should be left alone. The only ones who should be turtling are turtles. "To turtle" should mean "to behave like a turtle," not "to murder turtles." It's also just a stupid-sounding word. You sound like an idiot saying it, let's be honest. I did like (love!) BELLYRUB, though. Answer and clue (113A: Doggy treat). My doggy certainly thinks it's a treat. Gonna go give her a BELLYRUB now, and look forward to a more joyful solving experience on Monday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:05 AM  

Easy-medium. A very pleasant, mostly breezy solve. Cute and reasonably amusing. Liked it.

I was going to say something about TURTLER but then I read the authors’ (@lms - I have no confidence that the apostrophe is correct) comments at Xwordinfo:

“Yeah, we know. TURTLER.
(Jeff: I play a lot of Clash Royale, and people who hunker down and play for the annoying stalemate are said to "turtle up." Also known as being a dirty turtler. Sounds so dirty!)”...

...and Jeff gave this one POW.

Tombstone Blues:
Where Ma Rainey and Beethoven once unwrapped their bedroll
Tuba players now rehearse around the flagpole
And the National Bank at a profit sells road maps for the soul
To the old folks home and the college

Anonymous 12:22 AM  

C'mon, Rex. Marvin Kalb was (is, actually) a very highly-regarded newsman, very unlike today's empty-suit newscasters who are hired because they are so pretty.

Joe Dipinto 12:36 AM  

You missed Liquid Paper/WINE LIST and Term Paper/CONTRACT.

A DEAL is not a piece of paper; the answer should properly be RECORD CONTRACT, but, well, CONTRACT -- the only one that's not two words -- is pressed into service elsewhere (frankly I don't get that one). And MUSIC is not paper -- *unless* SHEET is in front of it.

There are two answers I love: CRASH CYMBAL (perhaps used to punctuate the splash being made opposite?) and TURTLER. Also the juxtaposition of Vandyke and Van Dyke! (I grew out my Vandyke this past winter.)

Lastly: I have no idea who Edwina Findley is.

Harryp 12:47 AM  

The hard part about Sundays is finding your mistakes. My last one was REBs instead of REBA, and it took me a half hour! OK puzzle, even though I had no clue as to who that ballplayer was.

Robin 12:48 AM  

I'm with Anonymous at 12:22. The only good reason for not knowing Marvin KALB would be if you were thinking of his brother Bernard. Marvin, though, great newsman from back in the day when most of them weren't empty suits. Made Nixon's "enemies list".

Runs with Scissors 12:49 AM  

So much to like in today’s puzzler. I was BEGUILED by much at the beginning and getting traction anywhere was a challenge.

I knew ALCOHOL (6A) was involved with today’s puzzle, but for a while I just couldn’t see how it would work with the crosses. Finished a most excellent IPA and it made sense.

The extreme NE corner gave me fits. WWII was devilish; I wanted Xanax but it wouldn’t fit. RAMESES can’t figure out how to spell his friggin’ name. BUILDING PERMIT from “Construction Paper.” Loved it.

Heading down to the SE, we have the ABBA’s SHEET MUSIC. Need a SEATING CHART for the concert. I’ve never heard of EDWINA Findley, but then I don’t know or follow acters (yeah, acters: The new, non-sexist, gender-neutral nom-de-histrionics for the triggerable community). Had to SPAR with HOSEA for a moment to remember where he lands in the order of books.

In the SW, only ONE IOTA of resistance with TURTLER. Just couldn’t see that. Really liked “Wall paper” for COLLEGE DIPLOMA. Har.

Cruised through the rest. Nothing objectionable to my sensibilities – it’s rather hard to offend a seasoned sailor, after all – and quite a tussle-fest at the beginning. Enjoyed the heck out of this offering. Please, sir, may I have some more?

Now to see what others thought. Should be fun.

Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

Anonymous 1:48 AM  

Marvin Kalb was a fine television news journalist.

"ambler" is not a word anyone uses or hears. Better clued as author of "A Coffin for Dimitrios" and "Topkapi".

Anonymous 1:50 AM  

How did Rex let LETT and LET slip by unremarked?

chefwen 2:48 AM  

Fairly easy Sunday that I really enjoyed. Each long answer brought a smile or a chuckle. Those who know me could tell you that my favorite clue and answer was 28A. Runner up was BOARDING PASS with fly paper.

Like Rex, loved the BELLY RUB dog treat, Robbie’s favorite treat other than the food kind.

Fun puzzle, two thumbs up.

Loren Muse Smith 3:10 AM  

I couldn’t disagree more with Rex. Every time I teased out the themer, delight abounded. I mean, c’mon – “Note paper” = SHEET MUSIC, “position paper” = SEATING CHART, “construction paper” = BUILDING PERMIT… These are terrific. My favorite was “fly paper” = BOARDING PASS. Sure, on their own, the themers could be seen as flat, but it’s like they’re tap water in a SodaStream bottle, and the clues add the carbonation. Ssst ssst ssst. Boom. Sparkle.

I. Loved. This.

But another dnf ‘cause my movie where the lead actress is never seen was a defensible “Hef” crossing John “Olefud.” Oh well.

COLLEGE DIPLOMA could also be clued as “Rice paper?” or “Brown paper?” This man is looking at loose-leaf paper.

Best clues were the ones for BUS and ALCOHOL.

“Beat it” before BE GONE.

I decided the OUCH “that’s a good burn” is akin to touché?

@jae re TURTLER - I went and read Sam and Doug’s comment. Hah! Look. If you’re gonna have a desperate entry, go big or go home. It’s magnificent in its ugliness. Proud.

Neat to learn that SWANKEST is a word. I always say “swanky” and “swankiest.” I looked into this, and “swank” can be a verb, too, meaning to show off or swagger.

“Class on might take for kicks” – my son took TAE KWON DO for a PE credit in college, and for some reason, he had to drive to an off-campus TAE KWON DO place for this. Fine. The problem came with the final test or exam or whatever. He had to “spar” with other people, but the other people were like 6-year-olds. And this was An Event where the parents came to watch. Unfortunately, my 6’8” son was the only college student that day. He said it was beyond awkward.

Hungry Mother 5:50 AM  

I stared at my finished grid for a long time and then turned on the red letters. I had a zero in place of the “oh” in L0TTERY. I’m not sure it was a DNF, but the app says it is. I have to blame my 4:oo am wakeup for the err0r.

Brit solves NYT 6:05 AM  

Liked the puzzle overall. School tie was wrong though. Being British and having gone to Cambridge I was scratching my head when College Tie wouldn’t fit, because that’s what you would buy and wear. Using the American term that wouldn’t ever be used or even make sense at Oxford or Cambridge was very confusing! A school tie would refer to one from a public school eg Eton. After that you go to university and some universities are composed of colleges, most famously Oxford and Cambridge. Great they wanted to use a British clue for international solvers but frustrating they couldn’t get it right.

Lewis 6:08 AM  

I loved the cleverness of the theme, spinning common types of paper into things commonly printed on paper -- through wordplay. After each theme answer I thought with a wow, "Clever, clever, clever!" Then, spread all around, was smart cluing, such as the clues for BUS, YUGO, ICE IN, PRENUP, and ALCOHOL. This all made for great entertainment. With all these gleams of wit scattered throughout, this puzzle shimmered. It felt like a party-in-the-square. Thanks for the good time, guys!

pmdm 6:49 AM  

The observation in the write-up is certainly quite true. Consider the comedies of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. Those great comedians understood that expanding a two-reel short format into a six-reel feature film required adding an extra dimension to the film's content. To me, a larger crossword doesn't need better theme entries. The puzzle does need better long fill. With this puzzle, I tend to agree with Mr. Chen.

What strikes me about the write-up is Mr. Sharp can express his reaction in a compact sentence: "I was not amused by the theme answers which struck me as repetitive and workaday." As happens too often, he seems to lengthen his comments so that he falls exactly into what he criticizes about this puzzle. So Mike, take your complaint seriously and apply it to your write-ups. Not everyone will agree with me, but if write-ups seemed a little less overblown I think much less criticism would be aimed their way.

As far as my reaction to the puzzle, I don't think I'm in either of Sharp's or Chen's camp. I'm somewhere in between. Some stuff I like, some less so. Given the low number of Sunday puzzles in the queue, I think we should be thankful for a puzzle like this one.

QuasiMojo 7:09 AM  

There YUGO again... Rex. This was actually one of the better Sunday puzzles of late. ONEIOTA. Sounds like a town in upstate New York. Glad I remembered the prophet HOSEA. I “minored” in religion.

sf27shirley 7:16 AM  

When I realized 11D was John OLERUD i thought, will anyone other than a total baseball nerd know this? And will Rex whine about any references older than 1990 such as Marvin KALB? No and yes.

Very clever puzzle. No "Simpsons" references, hallelujah! Going to AMBLE off now and give my cat a belly rub.

clk 7:19 AM  

I had a great time with this puzzle. I can’t imagine what Rex would like in a Sunday puzzle.

I don’t understand MORAN though. In fact, that R was my last entry, because ClASHCYMBAL seemed equally plausible. Even an after the fact googling doesn’t help.

kitshef 7:19 AM  

A puzzle with ELHI in it that I enjoyed … that’s a rarity.

CONTRACT is clearly sub-par, but hoorah for the NYT for not rejecting a clever and fun puzzle for a tiny flaw.

There were a lot of unknown names to me … ELI Roth, RITA Ora (or Ora RITA?), AMAL Clooney, EDWINA Findley, Marvin KALB (or KALB Marvin?), and Roger REES. But every one had fair crosses so hoorah to the constructors, too.

amyyanni 7:30 AM  

Love the clues for YUGO & Bugs MORAN. Hit a Natick in the central east at ELI & TERI. Fun having EVITA, MAO & NERO as guests. A good time; got me awake enough to go run at dawn, which was lovely.

OffTheGrid 7:53 AM  

@Loren's story reminded me of this Kramer scene

Anonymous 7:59 AM  

Generally meh.

FrankStein 8:11 AM  

For a good murder story involving a turtle, Rex, go read ”The Terrapin” by Patricia Highsmith.

Hartley70 8:30 AM  

I plugged away at this for my average Sunday time and I finished without a hitch. I’d have to give it an easy. The theme broke the monotony because I had to give a bit of thought to some of them but the answers came quickly, namely RECORDDEAL and LOTTERYTICKET. Wax and scratch caused the delay.

This was a perfectly fine Sunday. I’d call it middle of the road. BELLYRUB was my favorite answer. A little misdirection added to some cuteness factor goes a long way. Marvin KALB must be an age sensitive answer. BEDROLLs are too and preceded the down sleeping bags rated to minus 20 degrees that outfitters sell today.

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

Got this puzzle in Syndi-land on the actual date. Not on a one-week delay as is usual for a Sunday.

Steve 8:59 AM  


The Underworld, in addition to referring to the bad place you can go to after you die, is also used to refer to organized crime, and Bugs Moran was a prohibition era gangster in said underworld.

Teedmn 9:02 AM  

The elusive great Sunday puzzle arrives today! I had so much fun trying to twist my brain into what kind of paper was being described. Since I solve randomly, I didn't notice right away all of the "paper" clues so when WINE LIST filled in from crosses, I just thought it was a particularly clever clue but LOTTERY TICKET revealed the theme and I was off.

I had never heard of a "Position paper" but post-solve Googling shows it's a real thing so my slight let-down from that clue-answer pair has been mitigated.

Yes, there was ELHI and DVI, and TURTLER (HAR!) which I SIGHS AT, mostly because I anticipate a Rex ADO. But clever cluing for things like 14D, PRENUP = "Rules of engagement?" and words like BEGUILE and the BEDROLL and COTS duo made the nits completely tolerable.

I got a chuckle at 114D. Trying to imagine whether I'd ever seen anyone pantomime Lola by the Kinks and then coming up with YMCA was a perfect crossword moment for me.

SD and DP, thanks!

@mericans in Paris 9:10 AM  

Hey ALL! I was away in Brussels for a few days, attending a conference with customs people. I was doing research for one of my retirement projects: writing a book on how international trade in merchandise is classified for tariff and statistical purposes, and the challenges the system is encountering as it tries to keep up with the fast pace of new widgets.

Now, you might think those folks would be the most boring people in the world. But they have amazing, very funny stories about disputes over how to classify various types of innovative goods. For example, at one point they had to decide how to classify edible underwear? As a food or as a garment? (The World Customs Organization ruled that its "essential character" was its edibility, so ruled that it should be classified as the former.)

Mrs. 'mericans and I solved this puzzle as a tag team, and despite the easy theme found it medium challenging, not easy. It wasn't ov er-loaded with PPPs, but the cluing was often tricky. Kept toggling between I'LL and ALL for 89D, and wasn't sure whether the precision instrument was a CRASH or a CLASH CYMBAL, as we didn't know MORAN.

As for a theme, I felt the constructors missed a golden opportunity to include "Toilet paper?" as a clue, the answer to which would be, obviously, THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER. Another possible clue-and-answer would be "Bond paper?" (T-NOTE).

My one nit is the clue for 15D ("The Ten Commandments" villain). I saw the film years ago, but of course know the story of Exodus, the Bible book of which speaks only of "Pharaoh", which has the same number of letters as RAMESES. A clue like "the English name for 11 Egyptian pharaohs of the later New Kingdom period" would have allowed solvers to draw on more general knowledge.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, ALL!

GILL I. 9:16 AM  

I think tortoiser might have been more funner. Add an er or est to your word and make it pop. SWANKEST indeed - except I'm of the swankiER type.
I enjoyed the romp today. Thought it was clever. I'll stand in line with the WINE LIST being the favorite.
We had a cat named Marmalade who loved BELLY RUBs. Our pups love behind the ears rubs.
It's Cinco de Mayo and I'm making my usual vegetarian enchiladas. Black beans with roasted poblanos. The sauce is tomatillos and avocado. I could think of a Mexican food puzzle all day long.
Buen trabajo Samuel y Doug.

American Liberal Elite 9:26 AM  

The OLERUD/HER crossing was pretty Naticky for me.

Aketi 9:31 AM  

After I discovered the LOTTERY TICKET and discovered the theme I also spotted the little mini MMA theme with SPAR, SPRAWL S (to squash your opponent when the try to grab your knee for a single leg take down) and the TURTLERS (who defend against the sprawls by pulling their limbs and chin in tight).

@LMS, I feel for your son. I watched lots of matches and when the kids got to the stage where they went through their growth spurt there were dramatic mismatches in size in sparring matches. It was always awkward for the teens and the tweens when there was such a huge range of body sizes and shapes..

Here’s a kinder gentler TaeKwonDo match than the Kramer match where the height difference is not so big and no tots got harmed.

And another match at the other end of the age spectrum. Sandi Duchette and Susan Gordon, both in their 60s are my heros. Sandi weighs 110 and Susan is in the super heavy category. I’m sure Sandi (and probably Susan too) could choke out Kramer in seconds.

JustMarci 9:31 AM  

I’m 54 and had not a glimmer of recognition for KALB.

Bible stuff eludes me, so I ended up with HOSEI and a rather rude CRETIN. Too Sunday-lazy to even google it so I’ll take it as a DNF.

Carola 9:38 AM  

Medium here. My Sunday solving rule is that I have to solve from the first cross I get (today CARAT x CELS) - no skipping around or looking ahead, and I faced a series of tight spots, dead ends, dicey situations trying to get out of and into those corners. I enjoyed matching wits with the constructors on the theme answers and the occasional brutal clue. I liked the little flourish of the parallel SPLASH and CRASH.

Like @Hartley70, I'm in the BED ROLL generation, my main memory being how hard it was to keep the darn thing together.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Definitely thought CRASH CYMBAL was cool. All in all I enjoyed this one.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

After yesterday’s dumpster fire of a puzzle, I thought today’s was perfectly pleasant. The criteria shouldn’t be: is this the greatest puzzle ever? It’s not, but I thought it was quite good and I enjoyed doing it. I know the actual entries are not sizzling, but the clue-entry combos worked as a puzzle theme. A few good bonuses too. And although TURTLER was awful, I’m glad it was there because I’m going to have fun today making up meanings for TURTLER. Most of which will likely be dirty. Thanks to Sam and Doug for a good Sunday morning diversion.

Nancy 9:57 AM  

I slogged along through about a fifth of this, realized it wasn't giving me even the tiniest smidgen of pleasure, and stopped -- just like that. I'm not even curious enough to look at the finished grid posted above. Hoping for more fun in the very near future.

Suzie Q 9:59 AM  

I'll take a Sunday like this any ol' weekend. It was good for a few grins and aha moments.
I liked the Jurassic Park clue/answer.
Turtler made me blink in the way eeler does when we see it. I didn't dwell on it enough to let it ruin my solve.
Rex's comment about the Roman numeral reminded me of something I saw the other day.

I can't remember how to write 1, 1000, 51, 6, or 500 in Roman numerals.


Klazzic 10:05 AM  

Fun puzzle. A better clue for TURTLER would have been McCONNEL SCOWL.

FPBear 10:11 AM  

Loved the puzzle and the theme. No garbage. Fun solve.

Birchbark 10:11 AM  

A BEDROLL (blanket-predecessor to a sleeping bag) isn't a place. You find a place, say a stand of white pines whose soft needles are the ultimate mattress, unroll the BEDROLL, and go to sleep listening to the mosquitoes hum.

Re YUGO -- There is a Portlandia episode where two polite drivers enter an intersection at the same time, stop, then urge each other to proceed ("No, you go. No, you go. etc."). It's funny enough as it devolves, in the camp with @Rex's observation about drawn-out okay themes.

SO THEN -- we burned our native-plant meadow a couple of weeks ago, which is normal maintenance every few years. It's already greening up. A wild hen turkey is pecking around out there as we speak.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Turtle soup---YUM!!!

Alane 10:15 AM  

How come 106A term paper isn’t listed in theme answers? It was an ugh moment for me because it switched to a one word answer.

TomAz 10:16 AM  

Hey! This was kinda fun, which is more the exception than the rule for Sundays. I enjoyed sussing out the themers, and the rest of the fill was not too bad.

TURTLER is so absurd it's fun too. Sounds like a Batman villain: The TURTLER.

KALB was a gimme. Read clue, drop in answer. No idea who EDWINA was but very gettable on crosses. Never heard of HER, couldn't answer it even with the H and the E, but with enough crosses OLERUD revealed himself.

I did get Naticked at ELI/TERI though.

webwinger 10:34 AM  

I’ve been solving daily NYT x-words on my iPhone for 7 or 8 years, but for almost 50 years before that frequently did Sundays only on paper in the Magazine. It was a cherished ritual, often extending over days. I now agree with @Rex and most bloggers here that weekdays generally offer more sizzle, but still have a soft spot for the big ones.

Like most of you, I’ve been disappointed by a lot of recent Sundays, and distressed to hear how badly more submissions are needed—kind of like noticing that a favorite store has fewer and fewer customers. So I took considerable pleasure in today’s puzzle despite having only lukewarm enthusiasm for the theme. It satisfied…

One quibble: LGE. Large is abbreviated LG or LRG. Googling LGE alone comes up with nada, zilch, zippo relating to size.

Joe in Canada 10:47 AM  

I can see how a COT can be a place, but a BEDROLL can be used anywhere.
Also, "that stinks!" looked to me like it required a non-verbal answer, like uggh or something. If you do a Google search for odor, indeed the first def. says "especially unpleasant", and then after the definitions you come across a feminine-related matter. But I can easily imagine someone saying "what is that subtle odor of rose?" in a pleased way.
ps Brit solver, yes, as a Canadian I can say that one has to learn to say, "I will now think temporarily like an American," or even a Manhattanite.
pps 15 images to click today. Get a new robot-defence! please!

Brian 10:55 AM  

On a device you could take a screenshot and close the crossword app. Then examine the image to find typos without the clock ticking.
Is this cheating?

Newboy 11:06 AM  

40 down made my morning! Enjoying the clueing offset any angst at the one trick pony that OFL found off putting. Now I can read previous posts for a reality check. I always find youse guys so much more amusing than the official NYT bloggers who seem so serious. Thanks for the amusement thou posters and creators and yes—even Rex😉

mitchs 11:13 AM  

@LMS: tap water : soda stream is perfect

JC66 11:15 AM  


Most clothing labels I see abbreviate Large as LGE.

Excellent Journalist 11:18 AM  

This was a very fun puzzle for me. First, while I was puzzled by the WAXPAPER /record deal reference I learned after solving the role of wax paper and DJ’s “scratching”, and I always like to get a tidbit like that....it makes me feel like I haven’t wasted time in my guilty pleasure of solving. I only raised an eye at TURTLER but I suppose if there are EELERS then there can be TURTLERS. @Nancy, I’ve come to the conclusion I will never be able to predict when you like or don’t like a puzzle because there was plenty o word play in this puzzle. Not a criticism, just an observation. Also, good news...there were apparently no TRIGGERS for PC discussion today. Also, Edgar R. Murrow’s presence on early t.v. pretty much predates my viewing but I still know who he is. Marvin Kalb may not be in the same league Rex, but if you haven’t heard of him, then read up.

jberg 11:26 AM  

I liked it OK--like @Loren, I really enjoyed working out the theme answers, but the length of the puzzle began to wear on me once I got to the Southern tier. Nice to see another Minor Prophet, though.

Speaking of Loren, she beat you to it, @'mericans -- take a look at her avatar.

I did think the ELI/TERI cross was unfair. I had no idea about either of them -- I actually looked at "Actress Polo" and started to write in "Negri" (I know, she was Pola, not Polo). So it was just a guess about plausible names; the I seemed more likely than Y, and I lucked out.

I spent a long time thinking of "Wound" as a noun at 124A, and almost as much trying to parse "totes close." (I liked it after I got it.) And I thought I didn't know ELANTRA, but then realized with a bit of disappointment that I did. I always like to think of myself as the kind of person who doesn't know the names of car models.

Growing up, I recall reading that terrapin stew was a great delicacy. Unfortunately, the terrapin trade made them an endangered species, so they're now protected -- no more turtling. It took me some time to get that, because I believe there's a college football team known as the Terrapins, so my first answer was TackLER.

I'm 75, started camping when I was 11, but always used a sleeping bag. I only knew BEDROLLS from reading YA cowboy novels.

A Grimwade 11:30 AM  

Completely agree. (Old) SCHOOL TIE refers to Eton, Harrow, etc. — what the Brits call “public schools”, though they are actually private. Oxford and Cambridge are not schools and don’t have school ties.

JC66 11:41 AM  

@Excellent Journalist

RECORDs you would play on a phonograph were supposedly made of WAX. One SCRATCHes off a LOTTERY TICKET to see if they've won.


Yeah, in the oaters we watched as kids, all the cowpokes had BEDROLLs tied to the backs of their saddles.

David 11:41 AM  

Agree with many, but not Rex, that the theme was very clever!

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

Excellent Journalist, FYI - Edward R. Morrow.

Outside The Box 11:54 AM  

Totally agree. A “bygone so-and-so”?

C’mon Rex, you ought to learn at least a little bit about American journalism. Do you know who Edward R. Murrow was? Or is he just some “bygone so-and-so” also?

RooMonster 12:01 PM  

Hey ALL!
(@'merican stole my greeting!)

Liked this puz. Fun getting the various types of paper alternates. Wasn't as easy for me as some have said it was for them. Fill wad good, didn't have an opinion on the now-famous TURTLER. Hey, if it fits, why not? I can imagine the fill that didn't make that corner!

Am surprised anyone, especially Rex, hasn't complained about the two ATs, seeing as how they cross. SIGHS AT, HARD AT. Or maybe that's HAR DAT? If so, HAR DAT would elicit a HAR at DAT!

Some writeovers, rsvp-ATTN, coalcAr-TRAMcAr-TRAMWAY, Lrg-LGE, SyRA-SERA. Not sure where that Y came from. And add me to the ugh-ers on LGE.

I did get puz 100% correct today. YAY ME! Apparently I still have more than ONE IOTA of brain cells left. HAR DAT.


Fred Romagnolo 12:30 PM  

Marvin Kalb may not have been "pretty," but his knowledge and ability makes most of the present guys look pretty silly; also, what a voice! The San Francisco Chronicle normally does the Sunday Times puzzle a week later, but this was published a week earlier! So I got it before most of you guys. ("guys" is now gender neutral) I agree that "turtler" was bad (spell-check doesn't like it either). My male dogs seem to prefer a base of the spine rub over a belly one, but the female expects the belly one, she rolls over for it! I knew Oral-B, didn't know Reach.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

What about 40 down?

Excellent Journalist (not) 12:33 PM  

Hah! @anonymous 11:45, I guess that reveals the fact that I am neither excellent OR a journalist. I’d like to blame autocorrect but obviously cannot! My uncle was an EDGAR and I always seem to make EDWARDs into his name.

RAD2626 12:33 PM  

Had a dnf with ElWINA and LVI. Just cannot get L and D straight in my RRN lexicon. I thought puzzle was great. Very clever and gave me numerous aha moments. Fill very clean for Sunday puzzle.

Great story about John Olerud, a fine player with several teams. Olerud was one of the rare players who wore his helmet in the field as well as when at bat. When he and Ricky Henderson were both on the Seattle Mariners in 2000, Ricky came off the field one inning and said to Olerud "Hey, I had a teammate on the Mets who wore his helmet in the field too". To which Olerud responded "Ricky, that was me. " one of many legendary Henderson stories. So much for the camaraderie of teammates.

Excellent Journalist 12:39 PM  

@JC 66, you misunderstood me. Yes, I did not “get” the WAXPAPER thing. I looked it up and found that DJs use wax paper when they move the needle to produce the scratchy bars in live DJ music. I did get the lottery ticket reference. I will take it as true the other thing you said about records. Three and out.

Anoa Bob 12:42 PM  

Back when it was still in production, it was said that the quickest way to double the value of a YUGO was to fill up its gas tank.

RooMonster 12:58 PM  

I get confused by the D or L Roman Numeral thing, too. But now I equate it to football, since we are in the Fifties of Super Bowls. 2019-2020 will be LIV. I'll be LIVid if the Patriots win again. Go Anybody Else!

If the Super Bowl thing doesn't work, see @SuzieQ 9:59 for an outstanding mnemonic.

Now, back to the IIII on clocks...


Anonymous 1:04 PM  

One note gag...I thought that was a "theme." I read for the comments; Our Feckless Leaders comments are just the stone in the soup.

Burma Shave 1:10 PM  

I have no idea how today's actual puzzle got into today's paper in this part of Syndication-Land, so the rest of you real-timers will have to suffer with the type of verse that I have been posting in Syndi-Land for +/- 1600 consecutive days now:




Old Paramedic 1:14 PM  

I made a run on an accident between a Yugo and a LeBaron. The driver of the Yugo unfortunately was a fatality while the LeBaron was able to be driven after the collision.

PhilM 1:23 PM  

Agree with @Brit Solves NYT and @A Grimwade - School Tie is completely wrong, as they explained. The only schools at U.K. Universities - not just Cambridge and Oxford (where I went) - are typically discipline-based, like the school of chemistry, and they don't usually have ties that are worn on graduation.

Teedmn 1:23 PM  

Welcome to Real Time, @Burma Shave, and you didn't even need to borrow @Diana LIW's DeLorean!

old timer 1:34 PM  

Listening to Jody Stecher and Kate Brislin's brilliant rendition of "Hood River Roll On". One of those songs bya the late U. Utah Phillips he never got around to recording, though he often performed it, complete with a long story about hobos, that included a full explanation of the hobo terms he included in the song.

Worth a listen, folks! In the song, set in a hobo camp on the Hood River railroad, a "young man remembers the old man's advice. He shakes out his bedroll and rolls it up nice." You see, when you ride the rails, you toss your bedroll and balloon (where the rest of your gear is) onto the floor of the boxcar. Then you jump up yourself. If your bedroll falls apart in the process: disaster!

The puzzle was very hard I thought. But I did complete it, and when I found each themer, I usually was amused. So I rate this as one of the best Sundays to come along for a while.

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

Really inventive complaint of the day: In a large puzzle the theme repeats.

tbd88 1:55 PM  

Rex, I think it may be time to revise your expectations for a Sunday puzzle, since so many of them seem to be in the dreaded "whimsical" category. It makes me groan sometimes, but I'm also kind of a fan of dad jokes and bad puns, so it's not a huge problem for me per se. Yes, I prefer something that taxes the brain and has more satisfaction... for people like us, but not everybody is like us.

Pat Borders 2:09 PM  

John Olerud played mostly north of the border in Toronto and was on the border of being considered a borderline Hall of Famer. Had 2239 hits, 255 HR’s. Career BA of .295. Hit .363 in 1993. Fine player.

spacecraft 2:15 PM  

DNF; couldn't get the NE. TRAM car, sure; TRAMWAY, never heard of it. Plus: I cry foul. You can't misspell a name just to fit it in the grid. It's RAMSES, no extra E. All those downs after PRENUP were WOE's; all of them. I figured either SPREADS or SPRAWLS but could get nothing from either. On to a new week.

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

I've got to disagree with Rex and others about the theme being clever. Once I had figured out what the theme was (I got BOARIDNGPASS from crosses), then it was pretty easy sailing. Got BREAKFASTMENU off the B and N, and SEATINGCHART with almost no crosses. Wanted COLLEGEDegrees before DIPLOMA. but that was easily sorted out (I know, Degrees wouldn't have fit the theme, but I wasn't quite sure of how the theme worked at that point).

It's so not clever, even I could make up some more. Try these:

School paper? = Transcript
Sand paper? = Vacation Photo
Blue paper? = Dear John Letter

Frog Prince Kisser 2:18 PM  

@Anonymous 12:33 PM
Pi is the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet, and RHO is the 17th. Therefore, Pi plus 1 = RHO.

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

It's come to my attention that blue paper (a kind of white paper, oddly enough) is not as well known as I might have thought. So I'll toss in another one:

Card paper? = Ender's Game

Frog Prince Kisser 3:05 PM  

@spacecraft 2:15 PM
You are not correct about RAMSES. Per Wikipedia:
“Ramesses (/ræˈmɛsiːz/ or /ˈræməsiːz/), also commonly spelled Rameses or Ramses (/ˈræməsɛs/, /ˈræmsɛs/, or /ˈræmsiːz/), is the name conventionally given in English transliteration to 11 Egyptian pharaohs of the later New Kingdom period. Other variants of the name include Ramose and Paramessu; these various spellings could be used to refer to the same person.”

FrankStein 3:13 PM  

I read a book once about British schools. Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy
“The Old School Tie: The Phenomenom of the English Public School.” So I agree the clue is off.

mmorgan 3:13 PM  

Not the best Sunday but not the worst. KALB was a gimme. I know these things are transient and wheelhouses vary but the fact that he’s now “obscure” is both understandable and sad.

Not that anyone cares, but I’ve been quiet because I’m traveling. Greetings from Croatia.

Birchbark 3:19 PM  

old timer (1:34) -- Thank you for the Stecher/Brislin "Hood River Roll On" reference, which I pulled up on YouTube. Really nice harmonies. Same chord progression and structure as John Prine/Peter Case "Space Monkey," which I know from the "Live on Tour" album. Way different mood, 'tho each according to its season.

gregg 3:20 PM  

Not sure what you mean, unless you get the NYT puzzle in another newspaper. We used to do it in the Detroit Freep which delayed it one week. We now take the Sunday NYT home delivered to Michigan to get the puzzle on time.

Anonymous 3:52 PM  

I, too, agree. Just because it's before your time, Rex, doesn't mean you have to knock it. There are still a lot of us older solvers out here, so not all clues must suit people your age. Some clues are more familiar to younger people and some to us older ones. That's the way a puzzle should be.

GHarris 3:57 PM  

Did this one on paper without any assistance, electronic or otherwise, and thoroughly enjoyed the doing and my ultimate success.Then I did it again on my IPad just to hear the reassuring fanfare signaling error free completion. I couldn’t help but note that even knowing the answers it took me 22 minutes to insert them all.

pabloinnh 4:27 PM  

I thought this was good fun, some unknown names filled in by crosses, so fair enough. I'm old enough to remember Mr. Kalb, seems to be an age factor at work there.

Mostly I want @RunswithScissors opinion of a good west coast IPA. Here in New England the rage is for the elusive Heady Topper, worth the search, but Sip of Sunshine is also delicious and much more accessible. Good thing these weren't around in college days, great stuff but not especially cheap.

Thanks for a very nice Sunday guys.

AnonymousPVX 4:35 PM  

Looks like I’m part of the time machine...the Charleston SC paper has the current puzzle well. I guess that’s a week I’ll never get back? ;)
Got the solve as well, always nice.

Bryan 4:43 PM  

This is turning into virtually the same pattern almost every day for me.
-- Me: "That was a pretty cool puzzle. I enjoyed exercising my brain" But during my solve, I know the things that will probably set Rex off. I come here to see if I was right. Sure enough...
-- Rex: "This freakin' flippin' puzzle... Will Shortz... freakin' flippin' @#$&*!!" (Invariably he complains about things I hadn't even expected. And I scroll down to find @Loren Muse Smith 's post.)
-- Loren: "I couldn't disagree more with Rex..." Here's why this puzzle was actually pretty delightful.
And then I flip over to Jeff Chen's blog, and he's given it a POW!
LOL! Same pattern as above. All the time...

Larry Gilstrap 4:50 PM  

Nice job folks! Most of my comments have already been stated by this late hour. Just a few comments to add:

The relationship between Rob and Laura PETRIE became a model for me as a burgeoning adolescent.

My friend is in the process of obtaining Resident Status. I guess that is represented by a GREEN CARD. One of the early steps is securing the services of an attorney specializing in immigration cases which costs $5,000. The attorney helps the client fill out the appropriate PAPER WORK, designate sponsors, and compile necessary documentation. The applicant submits all this along with a fee of $4,500 to the Federal Government agency. He then is told to wait four to six months for an interview and try not to get deported during that time. Trying to do the right thing is risky.

My brother was the fastest runner in the San Gabriel Valley, or close to it. Yes, he ran ANCHOR for his team in the 4x440 relay event and after the baton pass, we all knew he would make up any deficit and break the tape.

Forget the dog! Truth be told, anybody out there who would, under the right circumstances, turn down a BELLY RUB?

Runs with Scissors 5:02 PM  

@pabloinnh 4:27 PM

What I like more than almost any others are the Lagunitas IPAs. Currently imbibing a "HOP STOOPID" ale at 1400 PDT, which yes, if you drink a few will make you stupid, but they are very tasty. Someone once likened a hearty IPA to licking a sweater. Yeah, the hops content will make you pucker a bit, but it's an effect I enjoy. The more hops, the better. Lagunitas is out of Petaluma, CA.

As an aside, let me thank each and every one of the commenters today for making my pedal up Glendora Mountain Road this morning much less painful. All y'all got me to the top in near-record time. If I could give a thumbs-up emoji here, I would. I have a handlebar mount for the phone, found out how useful that can be.

Do not worry, the road was closed to motor vehicles.

rondo 5:54 PM  

@gregg 3:20 I'll explain what you don't seem to know. What do you think that "Syndicated Puzzle" button is for at the top of this web page? If one solves in an actual paper newspaper that is NOT the NYT, you solve in syndication time, which is 5 weeks later Mon-Sat, and one week later on Sundays. For instance, I solve in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. In the paper I picked up in my driveway, today I would have normally found the puz for Sunday, April 28, 2019. However, yesterday I was solving the puz originally published in the NYT on Saturday, March 30, 2019. SYNDICATION TIME (sometimes called Syndi-land). Get it? Why would anybody outside of NY buy the NYT for the puz if it came cheaper on the same day in another paper? During his annual fund drive Rex usually comments that most of his *readers* are actually in syndi-land. Most *commenters* comment in real-time, except for a small contingent of us who comment 5 weeks or 1 week later. Now do you get it? Doesn't take a COLLEGEDIPLOMA.

Does anyone else feel the least bit creeped out that LEN Cariou is only 6 years older than Tom Selleck, but plays his father on Blue Bloods?

Making up for earlier in the week (5 weeks ago) there's a full slate of yeah baby candidates including REBA McIntyre, RITA Ora, AMAL Clooney, TERI Polo, and EDWINA Findley. Take your pick.

Signing off from formerly (and likely futurely) syndi-land, I gotta say that this puz and the explanation for @gregg were indeed both "Paper Work".

Suzie Q 6:12 PM  

Hey @ Roo,
You stole my joke! See 9:59.
Now I'm the one who's LIVID!

rondo 6:16 PM  

@Larry Gilstrap - your friend doesn't NEED an attorney. Lawyers "specializing" in rather simple immigration issues are the guys/gals that can't make it with divorce cases or "defending" drunk drivers . All those "immigration" lawyers do is follow the very simple steps laid out by the U.S. Immigration & Customs Service. And you don't NEED a law degree for that. I know because I've done it ALL, right up to the GREENCARD. Your friend is getting scammed and has no better chance of a GREENCARD than if you or I helped him with the paperwork.

BS2 6:41 PM  


BUNS and REARs BEGUILE my mind,
the 'SEATING'CHART WAS heinous,
SOTHEN, I'LLDOIT from behind,


Crimson Devil 7:07 PM  

Still cannot get through to post without coming to “web version” and running robot traps.
There was a J Carson episode while Yogos were still extant, and safety results of wall crashes were published. Carson read out dozen + models and their results. McMahon asked: What about the Yugo? Johnny replied, deadpan: Didn’t make it to tha wall !!

Roberta 7:27 PM  

Second day in a row with really offensive ageism. Rethinking my interest in this blog. Marvin Kalb is still a journalist and was with CBS and NBC news for decades.

RooMonster 8:33 PM  

The nerve of me! :-)
I didn't steal it WANTONly, though, I gave you props for it! I thought it was awesome!

Plagiarism rules!



pabloinnh 9:20 PM  

@Runs with Scissors-

Thanks for the response. Some varieties of Lagunitas are available around here. I haven't seen Hop Stoopid but it sounds like something that appeals to me, both the drinking and the hopping parts. Maybe I can talk someone into stocking some samples. I'm blessed to live in the middle of the microbrew boom, both VT and NH seem to open new ones monthly. Hard to try them all, but I must be brave in the attempt.

Nancy 9:44 PM  

Intrigued by the fact that so many of my blog pals really enjoyed this puzzle...

Goaded by the 11:18 comment of @Excellent Journalist who promised me I'd find wordplay galore in it...

I decided to go back to it tonight when I got back from theater and dinner with my family.

It was a bit better than I thought it was this morning -- but it didn't BEGUILE me. Nor was it easy. SPREADS before SPRAWLS (13A) and ARGO before AERO (81D) threw me off in two sections. But I finished. The theme answers seemed rather meh to me, without much humor. The rest of the fill was proper name heavy. I'm supposed to know that Reach is a toothbrush (94A)? Or the first names of all those actresses? Also, if I say OUCH I mean OUCH. I don't compliment the burn, for heaven's sake (9D). What a truly odd equivalency. Still think this puzzle wasn't much fun.

CDilly52 9:53 PM  

I am very late to the party her, but.....oh dear, your youthful hubris is showing, Rex! First of all, the theme’s cleverness has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the answers “are just things,” but rather the product of a very clever and methodical constructor who first had to think of all the different “papers,” then figure out clues, then find a grid that would work and then and only then fill in the remainder of the answers and clues. This was a skillful and Sunday worthy puzzle. @LMS, (and so many others) you said it all much more eloquently than I. Long work weekend, sadly. Preparing to hear endless tax protests in three counties for the next few weeks, and it wears me out every single year.

OK, so I am old and remember Marvin Kalb who remains a highly respected journalist. Wish I could muster up that kind of praise for most of the talking heads today!

Next, the Petries? My soon to be 40 year old daughter adores the reruns of the Dick VanDyke Show as much as I loved it the first time around.

As we say here in Oklahoma, all ‘a’y’all have said it better than I. What a clever and appropriately challenging Sunday. My personal fave was BREAKFAST MENU’s clue, but I enjoyed all of them.

Kdy 11:13 PM  

The guy who just shot up the synagogue was well-versed, from his Orthodox Presbyterian church, in the 'sins of Israel', that's why he wanted to kill Jews. This clue is extremely creepy given the times. I'm surprised, as you're usually so PC, that you didn't even notice this one.

Diana,LIW 10:50 AM  

How very odd. The May 5 puzzle showed up in my paper on May 5. I see no other Syndiecats responding. And I'm doing so a day late.

I very much enjoyed this Sunday offering, but didn't finish 'till Monday as Sunday was a busy day - Bllomsday, and the last day for Mr. Preu to conduct our symphony. TMI

And now I'm finishing up packing for a tour of Italy. Yikes.

I 'spose y'all will get this in the "in-between time."

Do you CARAT all?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting, but sometimes early

Joe 10:58 PM  

Nailed it. Knew it was Olerud but couldn’t think of his name until I got the ud. Only had to guess at the i for the Eli/TERI cross. An enjoyable 15 minutes.

Dan 2:18 PM  

Just a small note, but it seems like the lame DVI fill could have been avoided by making that DWI and crossing it with EWAN (McGregor, or whatever else).

Phillip Blackerby 3:40 AM  

103 À and D was (were?) my downfall: SOTHEN? Oh, you mean SO THEN! And who the heck is SAL of SAL'S?

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Rex, Your blog is wonderful! I find it remarkable that no has mentioned that crepes are not a breakfast item (except at iHop!). The clue "crepe paper" should definitely not have "breakfast menu" as an answer.

Anonymous 3:23 PM  

Rex nailed it perfectly when he said this puzzle lacks an "aha" moment. No clues to object to seriously, but no clues to praise. Just a time-killing slog, zero pleasure. I was surprised at Rex's unfamiliarity with the term "old school tie". I guess the this ancient practice is extinct now. But as a boomer I've known plenty of guys who wear their old school ties to formal events, even in recent years. Does Rex even wear a tie? I doubt it. An usher recently told me that he asked a youth to take off his cap in church, to which the youth responded "I'm not old school".

rainforest 1:05 PM  

I did the puzzle earlier for a change, then came here to find that @Rex is highlighting one I did last week. The one I solved today is by BEQ, and is OK, and it's numbered 0505, so I'm at a loss as to what's going on.

Anyway, the title is "Words of Introduction", and has two-word themers, eg, LAST words, where the capitalized word contains the letters of the themer itself. So, in this example the answer is Like A Sore Thumb. Semi-cute, and the puzzle itself is well-constructed as one expects from BEQ.

But the question remains: where is it on this site?

rainforest 1:26 PM  

Hey! I found the puzzle. It was published April 28th, and I scrolled down the comments to see that @Spacey solved it, but didn't like it much. Gave it a bogey. No other Syndies sighted.

I remember this one from (last week, I think), and I thought it was pretty good with all the "paper" themers, but I don't think I commented then. Sort of damning with no praise, perhaps, but it wasn't worth damning.

Probably irrelevant to say anything more.

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