Title role in Christmas opera / SUN 5-26-19 / Coat-of-arms border / Shaw of 1930s-40s swing / Famous Musketeer / Nickname of 2010s pop idol / Interviewer who asked Buzz Aldrin whether people on the moon were friendly / Big-spending demographic group / Cherry Orchard daughter / Katniss' partner in Hunger Games

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Constructor: Ruth Bloomfield Margolin

Relative difficulty: Medium (10:26)

THEME: "Buzz Cut" — I don't really understand the title, but the theme premise is that voiced "S" (i.e. "Z") sounds at the ends of phrases (most of them plurals) are rewritten as if they are just the regular hissing "S" sounds, which entails all new words and spellings and, if you're lucky, wackiness and hilarity:

Theme answers:
  • JURY OF YOUR PIERCE (23A: Facebook friends weighing in on the new belly button ring?)
  • TWO-PIECE IN A POD (44A: L'eggs brand bikini?) (LOL this is gonna need so much explanation to someone who has no idea what the L'eggs egg is, i.e. most people under 40???) ("Though the L'eggs egg became integral to the brand and their marketing and advertising, in 1991 Hanes ceased packaging the hosiery in the hard plastic containers, as the plastic eggs were seen as an example of wastefulness."—wikipedia) (looks like they brought the eggs back for a limited time in 2014 as part of some promotion)
  • HISS AND HEARSE (70A: Final scene of "Antony and Cleopatra"?) (there was a "hearse" in that play?)
  • DOWN ON ALL FORCE (96A: Like a confirmed peacenik?)
  • CAN'T BELIEVE MY ICE (120A: "Our driveway has been incredibly slippery since the storm!"?) (this phrase is very weird without the subject, "I")
  • TELL ME NO LICE (16D: Parent's fervent prayer to the school nurse?)
  • WARM AND FUSSY (64D: Like a sick baby?)
Word of the Day: MASER (60D: Atomic clock timekeeper) —
  1. a device using the stimulated emission of radiation by excited atoms to amplify or generate coherent monochromatic electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range. (google)
• • •

ILRE *and* ORLE in the same damn grid? To say nothing of all the other klassic krosswordese in this thing: MASSIF, NEY, AMAHL, ALIG, ARTIE, ANYA, TENTER (?), TEENER ... I mean, there's the tell: if you think TEENER is a word, then your frame of reference is a good half-century out of date. Also, if you think L'eggs still come in a plastic egg (i.e. "pod"), which hasn't been true for 28 years, this puzzle will be right up your alley. Otherwise, yikes. There are some more modern things here (E-SPORTS, The BIEB) but mostly this puzzle was *aggressively* dated. Again, we aren't talking about some stray answers—we're talking about a strong, persistent, overall vibe. This puzzle is only for people who have been doing puzzles forever, and particularly for those who cut their teeth in a much earlier, much stodgier era. This puzzle might have been fine in the '80s, but today it feels exclusionary. Only for the cognoscenti, the longtime, inveterate solvers, the Maleskavites among us. I myself am a former Maleskavite. I left the Party after Maleska's death and, after a brief flirtation w/ Shortzianism in the late '90s / early '00s, found myself firmly in the neo-Tausigian camp (if you don't know what that means, then you don't subscribe to the American Values Club Crossword (AVCX), and, honestly, why is that? You should change that.). Seriously, though, ILRE is the worst thing I've ever seen in a grid, ever (well, worst thing that wasn't absolute sexist / racist garbage). And crossing ADLER and a weirdly "?"-clued REHAB, oof and woof and ouch. My printed-out grid is just a lot of angry ink in that section.

It's a piercing, not a PIERCE, so that first themer is rough, but I do like the effort. It's really trying to be clever and current. I actually don't mind the theme that much. I didn't really grok the premise very clearly as I was solving, but in retrospect, it's executed pretty cleanly and consistently, and the resulting themers aren't totally unfunny, as change-a-sound puns often are (that is ... they are, often, unfunny ... and here they aren't ... that is, they are ... funny). I made pretty good time, but then I know ORLE, which will not be true of most solvers. Well, of most younger / newer solvers. Can't much more obscure than heraldic terminology. What's next, GULES? (no, seriously, that's a thing—trust me, I'm a medievalist!). Weirdly, the very very hardest part of the grid for me, the very last part I finished, was the section in and around MASSIF. Biggest problem (besides not really knowing MASSIF) was that I could not, for the life of me, parse "I MIGHT" (45D: "It depends on my schedule"). That stuff about a "schedule" had me thinking the answer would be some much more specific phrase, and when I got "IM-" I thought it was "I'M... something." Didn't trust RIBMEAT, didn't trust GRANNIE (-IE??? not -Y?), and didn't even get HISS AND HEARSE at all. HISS part was all screwed up because of the MASSIF section, and the HEARSE part was all screwed up because what in the world is MASER?!?!?!? (60D: Atomic clock timekeeper). Apparently this is the fourth time it's been in a puzzle in the Rex Parker era (i.e. since '06), and somehow I've never bothered to look it up. So now it's my Word of the Day. You're welcome.

Someone should now do an inversion of this theme, with answers like BRUISE LEE (see 112A: Actor with a famous side kick). What does "Buzz Cut" mean? Nothing is "cut." There's no such thing as a "bus cut." I'm so lost. Oh well, it's not the first time. Hope you enjoyed this more than I did.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 12:32 AM  

Punniest puzzle of the month. Fairly easy, but with a large number of squares, it is easy to have a mistake somewhere. Fortunately I got the happy tone with only one look for. OK for a Sunday.

Joe Dipinto 12:33 AM  

This was almost as good as last Sunday's, imo. The theme clues and answers are all quite clever.

I misread the clue for 10a as "Famous Mousketeer", and wondered why "Annette" didn't fit. I've never heard the lesser-known "Il Re Pastore" but its inclusion is a welcome change of pace from the ubiquitous "Cosí".

Pirates and Oriole are nicely cross-clued. The Bruce Lee clue is *very* witty. But why not William Saroyan, Ara Parseghian, Aram Khachaturian, or Cher, to name a few, instead of those wastes-of-time at 91d. The only sour note. And the puzzle title seems kind of like, "Oh, I don't know, I can't think of anything else to call it."

So the Sunday puzzles are looking up! -- I hope. (Cool Acrostic today too.)

Clark 12:34 AM  

In order to say "buzz" you say "bus" but with voice added to the "s" sound. So if you cut the buzz you get bus. Makes sense to me.

Puzzled 12:34 AM  

Meh. Uninteresting theme, although I did like "warm and fussy". Does anyone use the term yuppie anymore?

Runs with Scissors 12:56 AM  

Wow, that was an awesome puzzle. Made me think, misdirected me 5 ways to Sunday except where it didn’t, had truly tricky clue-age yet none of it was unfair if you read it carefully.

The wordplay on word sounds was fun. When I got JURY OF YOUR PIERCE I chortled out loud. I don’t do Fakebook but my wife does, and I’ve been forced to acknowledge many of those “weighing-ins.” I don’t get the attraction of it, but to each their own.

84A ESPORTS immediately brought to mind too many E-(insert noun here)s. The E-bikes I’ve seen are overpriced in-line wheelchairs that people use to make themselves think they’re improving their health and the environment. They’re not. Gotta pedal for that.

Could have done without the BIEB, but, whatevs. It was the closest thing to dreck and still not that bad.

44A was grin worthy. In fact, all of the themers were. Great play on sounds.

56A should have been more obvious, because I buy that…boneless, skinless chicken boobs with rib meat. Just as good, costs less.

Just so much good stuff with no dreck. I won’t go on about it; liked it. Even the WTF moment at ALIG. Didn’t believe it was possible, but the crosses said yes.

That reminded me of the time a fellow sailor asked me what the exchange rate was in Honolulu. No, really – all I could do was respond, with a straight face, that it was in fact one to one. This was 1981, and Hawaii had been a state for 22 years. Yeah, I despaired for our future also.

I’ll take a good IPA over THE any day.

Okay, then….

This is what a Sunday-puz should be.

Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

jp flanigan 1:00 AM  

Are we going to just ignore that a lone ORIOLE played the entire PIRATES team in the 1979 world series? I know they did some plural gymnastics in the cluing to make it "OK"...but that's still pretty awkwardly conceived.

Joel 1:06 AM  

AMAHL crossing YMA? Just . . . no.

jae 1:36 AM  

Easy-medium. Yes, I did enjoy this more than @Rex did.

puzzlehoarder 1:46 AM  

What did the world do to Ruth B. Margolin that made her want to construct a puzzle like this? Judging by my solving experience it must have been awful.

Sarte had it wrong. HELL isn't "other people" it's having to solve a Sunday puzzle dedicated to the worst kind of puns held together with an insufferable excess of crossword glue. A small fraction of this crosswordese would disqualify any themeless or at least I'd hope so. Sundays wallow in it and all just to facilitate a series of excruciating DAD jokes.

What really pissed me off was I just wanted the solve to be over with and 16D dragged it out to the point of torture. I had to change SNAP to STAB and PLANT to BLAND just to get MED and decipher that last line of gibberish. It pained me to put ILRE over TEENER. I hate to write it out but is it just a coincidence that TELLMENOLICE rhymes with ILLSTABYOUINTHEEYES.

I know they say that if you can't say anything nice you should say nothing at all. The problem is the above comments are the nice things I want to say about this MESS. The bad stuff would hopefully be censored.

Ricky 2:41 AM  

"Buzz Cut" seems to refer to the removal of the Z sound, what with buzzing sounding like zzz and all. "Cut" is grossly inaccurate, though. Buzz Replace? Ech.

Anonymous 3:10 AM  

I hated this. It's old and dated and not remotely creative. I'm old, too, but that doesn't mean I want a grid full of references to Dick Clark, Stiller and Meara, Olga Korbut and Rhoda.

Even the attempts to be current and fresh come across as forced: Facebook friends aren't necessarily peers, for example.

And if you have to put TEENER in your puzzle, you're really not trying.

mkyritsis 3:46 AM  

Sorry Rex, but this was the first puzzle I've actually finished for years! But you're right -- I'm 85 ... but I found it a hoot. The title was good, really, cutting the Z out of the answers, which I got with 120A, then the rest was relatively easy. Though I do agree that ILRE was terrible. And TEENER isn't a word, I'm sure. In any case, I totally enjoy your comments, it's the first thing I check when I open the laptop every Sunday. Thanks!

Anonymous 3:57 AM  

I don't see the particular emphasis on old fusty words. Plenty of obscure stuff, yes, but doesn't Sunday often have lots of obscure words? Ditto lots and lots of PPP. To me, the obscurity and PPP just spans several centuries.

MASSIF is not an old people's word. Mont Blanc remains part of the Mont Blanc MASSIF, just like it's been since the word first got applied, and Mont Blanc is not exactly obscure.

I'm 68 and have never heard TEENER used; it wasn't a word back then either.

And I didn't know ORLE. Should I have because I am old? Never heard of ATHOS either, presumably from the Three Musketeers, which I haven't read but is before all our times, like Marshall NEY.

Ipod NANO was for sale from 2005 to 2017. OBAMA, ALIG and BIEB are also exclusively well known only in this century.

And what's any worse about ILRE Pastore than all the other obscurity? It will still be a great piece of music in 200 years. Whereas I doubt anyone will have the slightest clue about BIEB or ALIG by then.

Yes, also plenty of stuff from the 60s and 70s, but far from exclusively that.

chefwen 4:08 AM  

Had no problem with the title or theme, it’s pretty self explanatory. Loved the puzzle and had a lot of fun throughout. Biggest laugh was 16D TELL ME NO LICE. One of my friends has a child in the fourth grade and is in constant fear of of her kid coming home with lice.

TWO PIECE IN A POD was another chuckle, I remember buying those stockings in the plastic egg. Now I can’t believe we ever wore those damn things every day. Freedom! Love it.

Love me some RIB MEAT. One of my favorite writers Ruth Reichl wrote a book “Tender at the Bone” which pretty much summed up what Grandma Sophie always taught me. The closer to the bone, the sweeter the meat. My apologies to all you vegetarians out there.

Fun puzzle, my only eye wrinkle was at TEENER.

George Dies (HP Labs) 4:36 AM  
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Anonymous 4:51 AM  

For a medievalist you sure do hate old stuff, Rex.

Vanda 5:11 AM  

Sorry to go OT but I want to (belatedly) thank, or reiterate my thanks to,
@Z, @Wood, @JC66, @Joe Dipinto, @Nancy, and @kitshef
for explaining "green paint" a few days ago and/or discussing its origin and/or welcoming me to the Comments section.

And, @Nancy, thanks for being gracious despite my misunderstanding which term you had in mind (an f-word, not "queer").

So. I now understand the concept expressed by "green paint" but wonder why the coiner chose *those* words -- not seeking an answer, just musing. (Recent trip to Lowe's? An encounter with a decor mag?)

Thanks again.

Hungry Mother 5:53 AM  

First time in years I’ve just given up with less than half the grid filled in. Too many trivial Naticks were too frustrating. I’ve got much better things to do with my time as i prepare for a 5 mile race.

Lewis 6:15 AM  

HISS AND HEARSE elicited an out-loud "Hah!", and speaking of funny, have you seen the movie "Booksmart?" Some sections of this puzzle filled quickly, others remained white until they were totally surrounded by filled in spaces, and inroads finally emerged. TWO PIECE IN A POD was very clever, IMO. And known-from-experience crosswords greatly helped this solve (ATHOS, OPART, ORLE, NACRE, YMA). Lovely clues for BRUCE LEE, TIP, and ASA.

What I loved in the NE corner was the backward BATS coming out of HELL.

Loren Muse Smith 6:36 AM  

This phonological gimmick is right up my alley. I saw the deal immediately with TWO PIECE IN A POD and was delighted. I don’t care that L’eggs pantyhose don’t come in pods anymore. How else would you clue it? A bikini-clad astronaut in one of those landing pod thingies? Doesn’t matter to me. TWO PIECE IN A POD is worth whatever clue it has. It made me laugh. WARM AND FUSSY was my second favorite.

It’s pretty hard to come up with others. A MACE RUNNER could be any armed jogger. LACY BOY – my son’s best friend as a toddler had a Spanish grandmother who sent white ruffly, lacy shirts for him. Leslie felt obliged to have his portrait made in them, but I swear the shirts were outrageously frilly. MY DOG HAS FLEECE. PIG PENCE

Rex – I had absolutely no trouble getting I MIGHT from “It depends on my schedule.” That clue could also mean, There’s no way in hell I’m gonna go with you to renaissance faire, I just have to come up with some prior engagement.*

“Famous grouch.” Hmm. Well, uh, we’re here, aren’t we?

I kept thinking about the difference between BRIEF and debrief. BRIEF feels casual and quick - just a heads-up that Aunt LaVerne goes off if you mention Phyllis Diller, garden gnomes, or sixteen penny nails. Debrief feels like you’re in a room with two men and you’re delivering information that you got while being an international spy with a cool camera pen and stuff.

Custodians need a lot more than a MOP. They need a pay raise, several thousand thank-yous, an administration who prioritizes nabbing our toilet bandit. I’ll spare you the details, but this guy is disgusting. I have a clipboard and have enlisted the assistance of Mr. Clarkson. We record the status of the boy’s bathroom between each class and have on several occasions pinpointed the time of the crime to a 50-minute span. I’ve emailed the principals to check the hall camera (camera #11) to see who entered the bathroom during that span ‘cause there’s your guy. One time last year, they did check, and we nailed him. But all year long this year it was happening on an almost daily basis. I was emailing the time span every day. They never checked, never looked into it. And they are loath to allow me access to the cameras so that I can own this little project. I’m the one there grading after school, chatting with the custodians as they sweep and mop my room. I’ve become friends with them and am invested in their well-being. These are terrific people who didn’t sign on for the horror that they face in the boy’s bathroom.

I will go over and stand with @Harryp, @Joe Dipinto, @Runs with, and @Unknown (who I hope against hope is not reading this since I do absolutely write way too much so you click my name and my whole comment disappears and you can just ignore me) – I really, really enjoyed working out all the themers, and, like @Lewis – truly appreciated the two-fer with HISS AND HEARSE. Bravo!

Anonymous 6:50 AM  

Not a fun puzzle. Too much crosswordese and obscure names. Might be time to just solve Monday to Saturday and skip Sundays unless they start to improve soon.

Bruce Lee 7:07 AM  

I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine.

BarbieBarbie 7:12 AM  

@LMS, I think the object switches. You brief the two men. They debrief you. They are briefed. You are debriefed. Huh. That is so cool. Does not work for flammable.

I totally loved this puzzle. It’s hard to explain how a collection of puns can cross the dividing line between Dad jokes and hilarity, but this set definitely did it. It’s so hard to pick a favorite. Probably TELLMENOLICE. Har!! So it required a little Maleskan glue in a couple of places. So what? It was fun. Some really great clueing throughout. I would say More Please here, but how could there be?

Rex G 7:25 AM  

Rex, instead of “Bus Cut” the inversion could be called “Bus Stop.”

David Sandhusen 7:31 AM  

I liked the fact that even though I knew that Pirates played Orioles in '79 World Series, I still needed at least one more answer to determine how they intersected in 63D and 75A because each team has 7 letters, one of the answers was plural, and 2nd and 3rd letters for both teams were identical and reversed (RI v. IR). If this was by design, it was pretty slick.

fkdiver 7:41 AM  

They don't sell L'eggs anymore? Huh. Seems like yesterday.

webwinger 7:41 AM  

For the past few weeks, since learning of the recent dearth of big grid submissions, I’ve approached each Sunday solve with a sense of dread. Today for the first time in this “era” I came away feeling totally satisfied. All theme answers hit the mark for wackiness and cleverness IMO. Finished on HISS AND HEARSE, which truly made me LOL. Musty it was (HEPCAT?), but that didn’t bother me much this time.

I MIGHT calls to mind a hysterical sketch from the early days of SNL, in which all of the female cast members are young teens at a slumber party, whispering inaudibly among themselves, clearly about the sex act. Every few moments Laraine Newman loudly exclaims “dis-gust-ing!”, followed by more whispering. At the end one of the girls proclaims “well, I’m never going to do that!”, and the others quickly agree, except for Newman who chirps “I might…”

@LMS: Good one on “famous grouch”!

Anonymous 7:43 AM  

If Will Shortz is looking for justification to continue publishing crusty old puzzles with dated references, he has to look no further than the comments section of this blog.

You guys love this stuff!

Anonymous 7:54 AM  

Misread clue as "Like the Kardashians ethically". Was stumped until I reread the clue.

Small Town Blogger 8:07 AM  

Natick for me with Tati crossing Peeta. Never heard of either one.

Aketi 8:25 AM  
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Danielle 8:38 AM  

As someone born in 1984, this was a total slog. Reminds me of when someone has a Trivial Pursuit game at their house that they bought in 1973 so I go from a normally good player to totally in the dark.

Been crosswording seriously since I was about 20 and I remembering thinking that the older I got, the more I’d know and the better I’d be. This crossword proved that I will still never get there some days.

Cassieopia 8:42 AM  

First, thanks to this blog & posters, I have started solving Sundays without reading the theme. Makes the solving experience more satisfying.

Pun lover here, so adored this pun filled puzzle with some great clues and some great words. The L'Eggs one made me truly laugh out loud. We get ancient baseball clues all the time, why not ancient pantyhose clues? Turnabout is fair play.

Favorite word: MASSIF. The word is so grand, so heavy and solid in its bearing; it perfectly describes the uplift from tectonic plates crashing into each other. A massive event and a massive result deserve a massif word.

RonDA before RHODA held me up a bit, and I too scratched my head at the lone ORIOLE who took on the PIRATES. (Hi @jp flanigan)

IMIGHT put me in mind of my North Carolina friends, who occasionally throw out a "might could". As in, "I might could make it to dinner next Thursday" or "He might could join us". Anyone else suffer this hideous permutation of the English language? It's a solid basis for ditching those friends, but turns out they are pretty awesome people otherwise.

Absolutely delightful puzzle with LOL puns, thank you so much Ms. Margolin. "Tell me no lice" was simply brilliant.

mmorgan 8:43 AM  

"This puzzle is only for people who have been doing puzzles forever, and particularly for those who cut their teeth in a much earlier, much stodgier era."

Guilty as charged! I thought this was lots of fun and I particularly liked the themers -- all of them were clever and cute.

My only issues: TEENER led me to turn my face into something between a grimace and a wince, and TENTER was a miserable fail. I couldn't let go of rENTER and therefore was flummoxed by 62D. Oh well.

But otherwise, this one's a winner in my book.

RooMonster 8:46 AM  

Hey All !
Started right out of the gate at 1A wrong, put in Orion. Next answer I wrote in also turned out wrong, rxs-MED. Third answer? bunnieS for RABBITS. Yikes. But solve did get better after that.

More wrongness/writeovers: Llc-LTD, chopS-FIRES,rENTER-TENTER (ouch, TENTER), irAN-OMAN, qUEsO-HUEVO.

Seemed quite a bit of misdirectional (CRYPTIC, if you will) clues today. Or could just be the ole brain refusing to work correctly. Lots of -ese/dreck it seemed, too. But the Themers were cool. All but two end in CE, so that threw me off with trying to get WARMANDFUSSY since I wrote in the CE at the end.

Did like the puz. Chuckled at the themers. This type of puz doesn't need a Revealer, and you don't automatically get the other themers once you figure out the trick. So that was cool.

100% correct today! Rarity for me on a SunPuz. ALLOW me a Woot-Woot!


Anonymous 8:50 AM  

In Syndie-land, (Chicago Sun-Times) on May 26, we got a reprint of an August 23, 2015 puzzle by Joel Fagliano called "Musical Remixes"

Mike E 8:53 AM  

Am I the only one who thought 19 Across was a misprint in the Sunday Magazine? Shouldn't it have said "glowing remainder" and not "reminder"? Anyway, struggled but completed what I thought was an entertaining albeit old-fashioned puzzle.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

After reading Rex's comments, I know why I liked this puzzle. Im an old guy who's been doing the NYT xword since forever. Including clues in modern argot is simply intellectually inept and goes along with the direction this newspaper has taken over the last decade.

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

I have heard about "I might could" but never heard it in person.

On a tangent, but appropriate for this forum, my favorite massacring of the language comes from the northwest, where I have heard multiple people use "acrossed" as in "Oh yeah, I came acrossed him the other day."

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

Forever home? PLACE FOR KEEPS

Birchbark 9:24 AM  

@Rex -- your tour of historical attachments to different EDITORs, starting with Maleska, then Shortz, and now Tausig of the American Values Club added some dimension to today's review. And context to the objectified lambasting Messrs. Shortz and Maleska sometimes experience in your reviews.

I wonder what would happen if you blogged on the AVC puzzle instead of or in addition to the NYT? Would we see more of the relaxed positivity and critical (but not cut-to-the-barb) observation that were characteristic of your late '90s early 2000s Shortz-era reviews? I bet more people would start doing that AVC if you covered it in greater critical detail. They could test for themselves your very consistent claim that it is the better puzzle.

Also, you had me at GULES. It is the very last word in all caps (spoiler alert) of Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter": "ON A FIELD, SABLE, THE LETTER A, GULES." Hester's and Dimmesdale's grave marker. "Gules" is a way of drawing red figures on insignias used in heraldry (experts, please correct if I have it wrong). So Hester's A has gone from sign of shame to sign of nobility.

CS 9:26 AM  

A rare time when I agree with Rex! Although the themes were fine and a bit fun (and not too difficult), much of the crosswordese fill was *awful* .... and I am someone who has actually purchased L'eggs! But so much unknowable/unguessable fill in a Sunday puzzle - yech.

On the plus side - summer is coming!

-- CS

Nancy 9:29 AM  

Just wondering why Sunday so often = Punday? Is it the easiest theme to sustain in an oversized grid? Perhaps, if they don't all have to be good puns...

I don't remember the final scene of "Antony and Cleopatra", but I do remember saying to myself: "Oh, please don't be HISS AND HEARSE! Please don't..."

I hated TEENER. I don't think MERGE is a good synonym for Blend. And there was only one pun that brought a smile to my face: WARM AND FUSSY for a sick baby.

But a lot of work went into this, so there's that. I actually like many pun puzzles, but I think the ones that depend on an arbitrary change in pronunciation tend to be the weakest. Anyway, wish I'd liked this more than I did.

GILL I. 9:32 AM  

Hoo boy....This didn't work for me. I'm going to scooch right over next to @puzzlehoarder.
Where to begin??? Well, I got JURY OF YOUR PIERCE easily enough. It made me laugh a tad because I like DAD jokes. But then I looked at the clue and I thought HUH? OK, I'll move along and hope something else makes me laugh a bit more. TELL ME NO LICE was cute...and the clue at least worked for me. Then I began to remember LICE stories a la @Aketi and the endless hours it took to comb out the little critters and I began to lose interest in the crossword.
For starters, I'm going to agree with @Rex and his Maleska comment. I cut my puzzle teeth during his era. I loved it when I could finally finish a Sunday. Today felt like it was right out of that mold. I think it came to me when I got to the HISS AND HEARSE. I mean, that's cute and all but why was that the final scene?
Then you've got unknown old names (to me)) intersecting crucial parts of the theme answers (PEETA ILANA) and, well, it just made me frustrated and unhappy.
To each her own and all that. If I had more time on my hands, I'd happily do the AVCX puzzles and the WSJ every day. I don't.

GILL I. 9:35 AM  

By the way...You need more than one HUEVO to make a tortilla de patata...or, as is clued here, Tortilla espanola with the tilde on it.

jordan.wright 9:41 AM  

Got caught up with “stab” for “crack”. I still don’t get that. And, I’ll admit you have to be flexible with “teener”. But the answers everyone seems to be flailing about, like “orle” and “massif” might just be easier for a classicist. Finished in record time.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Can I just say it's a shame that Rex considers ARTIE and AMAHL to be "crosswordese"? Artie Shaw and Amahl and the Night Visitors are truly great and if you don't know either of them, they are worth seeking out. That is all.

Birchbark 9:51 AM  

Correction to my 9:24 post re "late '90s early 2000s Shortz-era reviews." I intended to mean "earliest Shortz era reviews." Those reviews started to appear in the mid-to-late '00's.

OffTheGrid 10:00 AM  

Crack and STAB are slang for Attempt.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Cleopatra dies when she deliberately allows herself to be bitten by an asp.

"Take a crack at it" and "Take a stab at it" are synonym phrases. I didn't get that either until I had almost all the letters.

Joe Dipinto 10:02 AM  

@Vanda -- A bunch of us could collaborate on a suspense novel titled "The Green Paint Mystery"; then, when it became a huge success, future puzzles could have the clue "The _______ Mystery (best-seller of 2020)" and the answer would be GREEN PAINT and then Rex wouldn't be able to complain about it anymore.

Think about it. My agent will call your agent.

RooMonster 10:11 AM  

@jordan.wright 9:41
"Here, take a Crack at this."
"Here, take a STAB at this."

That was one of the CRYPTIC mind clues I was talkin' 'bout earlier.

Here's an alt themer:
Acquiesced to the higher dollar amount?


Z 10:16 AM  

Loved the theme, but the fill? Boy howdy, that was rough. Symmetrical TEENER TENTER is... interesting. The only reasons I trusted ANYA over eNYA was OBAMA was obviously correct and there was no New Age reference in the clue.

I liked the REHAB clue while solving as a nice change of pace. But I realize now that it is part of the aggressively dated vibe. Drug REHAB is far more likely for a twenty-something than hip-replacement REHAB.

@Anon7:54 - Sometimes our misreads are so much more fun than the real thing.

@Aketi - I dunno - That hair scheme probably made him very popular at school.

@Birchbark - Doing a daily blog takes a lot of work, especially since this is a side hustle for Rex. The Diary of a Crossword Fiend team blogs most of the various independent puzzles.

Lynx 10:18 AM  

@Anonymous who wrote: "Misread clue as 'Like the Kardashians ethically'. Was stumped until I reread the clue."

Your comment made slogging through this puz worthwhile. I just wish I was clever enough to think of a fitting answer.

The House Whisperer 10:29 AM  

Yuck. Funny theme answers and dreadful fill otherwise.

Z 10:36 AM  

@Anonymous9:47 - “Crosswordese” is not a complaint about the subject per se, but about their relative frequency in puzzles compared to their relative cultural relevance. Yoko Ono appears about 500 times for every appearance of John Lennon, but I don’t think anyone thinks she is more culturally important. AMAHL and the Night Visitors was an annual tradition in the 1950’s and hasn’t been aired (apparently) since 1978, yet it appears in puzzles enough that people like me who have never seen it or heard it but do lots of crossword puzzles can fill it in easily. In short, AMAHL only appears often because the letters are useful, not because the Opera has as much cultural relevance in 2019 as the Kardashians. Perhaps it should have more relevance than people famous for being infamous, but that’s a different issue.

jordan.wright 10:41 AM  

Ah, thanks for lifting the veil @OffTheGrid!

jordan.wright 10:42 AM  

Thanks @RooMonster! I get it now. 🤦‍♀️

Wm. C. 10:47 AM  

@Joe Dipinto12:33am -- Me too on first reading 10a as "Mouseketeer," then wondering why Annette wouldn't fit, because who remembers any other names? ... Billy'? Danny? Oh, yeah, Cubby .. Another distinctive name, and it'd fit.

@MikeE10:53 -- Me too on wondering why the NYT Print clue "Glowing Reminder" => "Ember." Tnx for the explanation of the misprinting of "Glowing Remainder."

Anyone -- why is "Pin Number?" --- Oops, I've been wondering this for an hour, and just as I was typing the question, it just came to me .... Ten Pins as in bowling. I kept thinking something to do with "Personal Identification Number," not picking up on the fact that the "Pin" in the clue wasn't in all caps. DOH!!!

Birchbark 10:59 AM  

@Z (10:16) -- The "lot of work" is a sunk cost, since it already happens. Other blogs are other blogs, whether they cover AVC, NYT or other acronyms.

I'd like to see @Rex to comment on a puzzle that by definition speaks to his self-identified "Neo-Tausigian" bent. When a "post-Shortzian" returns daily to what he no longer likes, we find EMBERs of wit and wisdom 'midst what is mostly a negative feedback loop.

Move on, grow, and watch the AVC puzzle grow with you, @Rex.

Linda 11:01 AM  

Before I got the theme, I wanted 120A (Our driveway has been incredibly slippery since the storm!) to be [I] CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT BUTTER!

Chris 11:14 AM  

I hope I am the first to note the nice fact that, apart from the fun clue, BRUCELEE in addition to having, was a sidekick, in the tv Green Hornet.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

I just gave up after struggling with this mess for almost an hour. Why is "HOW" a particularly "Scientific query"? It could pertain to any number of inquiries, like journalistic, medical, literary... AMMAN crossing AMAHL is awful. A RAIL CAR has wheels and it's part of a train, but "Training wheels"? Awful. TENTER as used in this puzzle is a non-word. STAB and CRACK are only interchangeable in the context of the phrase "Take a ___ at." The clue is too clever for its own good and does not work. Finally, constructors: please put a stake through TEENER's heart and let it die.

Ren 11:24 AM  

This was my first absolute DNF in a while. I had SENIOR for TEENER initially, which I think is an apt summary of the experience of trying to do this puzzle 30 year old. Way too many obscure names and dated references crossing each other for me.

Aketi 11:27 AM  

@Z, yes it made both of us popular with the preTEENERS at school, but not so much with the parents and clearly not with the nuurse.

*** for those later readers wondering what @Z and @Gill I are referring to, here is the corrected version of the early morning post I deleted due to the insertion of duplicate sentence fragments ****

The puzzle started to slip from buzz cut into buzz kill territory with the YMA AMAHL cross. I thought YUPPIE was a little DATEd until I saw HEPCAT.

I did like BRUCE LEE making an appearance.

I lived through the PLEASE TELL ME NO LICE HELL for four days when my son was in fourth grade. The entire class had it except two kids with buzz cuts. My son had been pestering me to dye his hair wild colors and I had recently appeased him by bleaching some blond streaks in his light brown hair. It was extremely difficult to find the nits in the blond streaks. So after diligently using deLICing shampoo and spending hours combing out the nits I’d bring him to school, only to have the school nurse find a nit and send him home. On the fourth day I couldn’t take it anymore. She was adamant that there was a nit and that he couldn’t be admitted. When asked her to show me the nit she found so she plucked the hair out and handed it to me. I ended up accidentally dropping it on the floor and she literally freaked out screaming. I picked it up and saw the itty bitty dead nit, dropped it in the trash bin and told her to get a grip on herself because the nit was dead and even if it was alive it didn’t have any limbs so it couldn’t jump on her. I stormed home with my son and proceeded to chop off his hair to about an eighth of an inch. Because my bleach job was inexpert to say the least, the bleached splotches of fuzz among the remaining brown fuzz made his scalp look like he had some disgusting skin disease. I was horrified. In desperation to somehow improve his appearance, I asked him if he wanted colors in his hair. He picked blue and red. About two hours later I marched him back to school with blue and red and yellowish green (from the blue on the bleached part) cheetah spotted hair. The school nurse was speechless. I dared her to find a nit. I also told that I had found that the policy on the Dept of Ed website was “no live LICE not no dead nits and that she was responsible for my having to chop his hair off. She had to admit him since she couldn’t find a nit.

My son was thrilled and his friends were impressed. I personally was grateful that his hair grew back out quickly so I didn’t have to respond to people asking what had happened to his hair. I love my child, but the buzz cut psychedelic cheetah look did not bring out his best features to say the least.

Will 11:38 AM  

@ren I had the same experience. I probably got about 80% of it and looked at the spots and individual squares I had left and realized there was no way I was going to get the puzzle correct and started using the check puzzle button shamelessly.

Puzzling Philosopher 11:41 AM  

Buzz Kill would have been a more accurate title (not being snarky---the voicing of the "s" sound is not cut but killed).

KingRoper 11:45 AM  

I found this incredibly easy. I just assumed that the worst possible answer was "correct" (TEENER? Really?) and breezed through it. Plus, Oriole? How could you not call that out as wrongheaded an answer as I've ever seen?

amyyanni 11:45 AM  

<...I like puns... > used to have a running buddy who was brilliant at punning and kept me cracking up through the miles. So I enjoyed this, although agree with the objections to TEENER, and my (much) older brother was on American Bandstand (like our parents, he could cut a rug).

Tolerant Tim 11:51 AM  

I think that the PLO is a terrorist organization. They horrify me. I welcome them in the grid. If only people who felt that way about the NRA would be as inclusive.

Dinacee 11:51 AM  

Medium??? This was way too easy!

Cassieopia 11:54 AM  

@anon 9:11 - guilty as charged, except I've always pronounced it "acrosst". Guess I shouldn't be so hard on my "might could" friends! Judge not, and all that jazz.

Mom 11:56 AM  

@rex and your age-discriminating toadies. You might want to consider who exactly it is keeping the NYT and every other mainstream paper in business right now. Its hoards of 20-year-old subscribers and e-gamers? Someday maybe, but not now.

The NYT crossword! Brought to you by your gramps and grannies. We'll be right back after these messages.

You're welcome. Now go outside and play. It's over there where the grass and trees are. Yes, through the door!

Newboy 12:04 PM  

Initial response is that HISSANDHEARSE more than compensates for RAILCAR . I had a sense of the good, the bad and the ugly with today’s large format answers vacillating between groans and giggles. The omission of the sounded ZZZZ in the answers was obvious from the title, but provided minimal leverage. Sunday is my least pleasing day almost ever week; more a flaw in my character than a valid critique of the constructors efforts. Now off to be amused by previous posts.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

After thinking about it, "Buzz Cut" makes sense because you cut the "buzz" sound from the theme phrases and replace it with the softer s sound.

While I was figuring out the theme, it reminded me of our 44th American president and the way he talked with his Chicago accent. When I realized the answer to 104 down, I thought maybe it had something to do with the theme.

Carola 12:11 PM  

For me, HISS AND HEARSE alone was worth the price of admission, with TELL ME NO LICE and WARM AND FUSSY close behind.
Favorite fake-outs: STAB and BRUCE LEE
Do-over: nOisy befor FORTE
A little learning is a handy thing: Marshal NEY, IL RE Pastor, who hang out with William Manchester in the same brain zone (cluttered storage locker of random references picked up here and there).
@Mike E - Thanks for your comment about 19A--totally makes sense
@Cassieopia - I agree entirely about MASSIF--so well said.

Aphid Larue 12:14 PM  

O part. Like the g spot?
Not a dook, where 2 words look like one
Opart, two words parse into two different 2 word phrases

Hiss and hearse will stick with me.

Victor Eremita 12:18 PM  

No mention of the unforgivable ORIOLE! Made worse by being crossed with PIRATES...

sixtyni yogini 12:26 PM  

Meh. If this one starts criticising a puzzle 🧩 (ie it was dated...agree!) well, then it’s usually because it’s boring, not fun, or my head is having a dull day. Maybe all three today, but liked the gem 💎 —hiss and hearse.

Carola 12:31 PM  

@Wood - I just noticed your question from last night: "Why don't people use the "Reply" link to thread their replies instead of making new posts referring back to the user and time they're replying to?" In my experience, comments are threaded on my iPhone but not threaded on my iPad, where there is no "Reply" option and all comments appear in the order in which they were submitted. If there's no "@" reference, it's impossible to know which comment is being replied to.

Chicagoan 12:39 PM  

Anon 12:09 pm - Chicago accent ? I don’t think so. He didn’t move here until he’d graduated from law school.

Crimson Devil 12:47 PM  

Enjoyed punny puz, and comments re “come across(t?)” and “might could”; reminds of “used to”. Also was reminded, by avatar of our spiritual leader, of sad day in my young life when I learned of falsies.

Newboy 12:49 PM  

Thanks to Akita for your buzz cut tale and Loren Muse Smith for riffs on support staff (yes, even the school nurse) support. If you haven’t checked her graphic avatar of today, do so for another guffaw:.

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

I knew ORLE and didn't bother entering it--far too niche, it's got to be something normal people know and I'm just not thinking of it. GULES is far better known than ORLE. Anyone with a passing knowledge of heraldry will know the colors, but the obscure ordinaries?

This was definitely the most craptastic puzzle in a while.

Logan 1:15 PM  

Bikini preserved in a time capsule?
Less formal suit in an escape vehicle?
Musical duo eaten by a group of whales?

Michael Greenebaum 1:27 PM  

Enjoyed this a great deal - both the clues and the answers. But I'm also perfectly ok with pop culture entries about which I'm clueless. I understand that that is a reflection of me, not the puzzle or the constructor.

pabloinnh 1:35 PM  

Well first, @Runs with..from yesterday. Glad you enjoy all these puzzles too. There are fewer of than there might be.

Any puzzle that has YMA and ORLE in it just makes my memory bells ring. I've just been doing some collected Sunday NYT puzzles. One from 1952 will instantly make you understand why people bought big thick crossword puzzle dictionaries (thinking of you here, Mom.) This was before the internet,and yes, there was such a time.

I enjoyed the heck out of this one, possibly because I've been doing these wretched puns for so long. I reached into a girl's freezer when I was in high school and dropped some cubes in her glass and told her "I only have ice for you" which I thought was pretty good but she hit me with a pillow.

Thanks for all the fun, RB. Many of us seniors really like this stuff.

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

I'm with the haters. I took no pleasure from any of the puns. HISS AND HEARSE? Does hearse actually appear in the text of Shakespeare? The word dates to 1368 according to the OED, but no plays or sonnets are cited, though it did appear in Chaucer. PIRATES vs. ORIOLE is unforgivable. TEENER (coined in 1894 with a whopping 5 citations, OED) and TENTER (1846, also five) are too. ORLE (4 definitions and more citations than either TEENER or TENTER)? I remember watching 'Worldplay' and one of the constructors looking up a word in his grid to see if it was in fact a word. For me, orle is the same. If the constructor has to look it up, it should not be in the puzzle. Amahl and the Night Visitors I have never seen, not exactly pedestrian fare, unlike the BIEB. I can forgive IL RE PASTORE, The Shepherd King. It's just Italian and a Mozart title. There's a similar kind of figure in Andrea Camilleri's Un Mese con Montalbano (don't remember the title of the short story off the top of my head). Scrod is a fish, not really a dish per se. Who still talks about Yuppies? Why I am still commenting on this?

TomAz 2:48 PM  

TEENER googles much more prominently as being 1/16th of an ounce of cocaine or meth; two TEENERS make an eight-ball. I have never heard that usage, but it googles much more prominently than the "teenager" meaning, which I have also never heard. I kept staring at that answer, which I got entirely on crosses, and thinking I had an error. Coming right in under ILRE didn't help.

I enjoyed this theme a lot, though. It was fun.

But I agree with much of what Rex said about the fill. (MASSIF was ok with me though). Now I'm supposed to know acting coaches? sheesh. And what is "Broad City"? Who/what is Katniss? And why on earth would I never want/need/be expected to know anything about a Kardashian?

In my experience RAGS ON does not mean "teases"; it means "complains about". "John was ragging on his boss pretty hard for making him work this weekend."

This theme was so good, it's a shame the puzzle is such a MESS otherwise.

BarbieBarbie 3:06 PM  

@GilI, you need more than one HUEVO for a lot of things.

Fred Romagnolo 3:53 PM  

Not sure why Musketeer defined by "Famous." Jacques Tati, famously made a speech at the Oscars that was a tribute to great filmmakers that preceded him, a rare Oscar speech that actually had substance. If the PLO is "terrorist," then what are the Netanyahoos who starve their people? Don't know Ali G. It's true there's no hearse in the last act, but there is a rather famous body. 63 D is correctly worded. The reason there is resentment of pop stars in puzzles is that they so often create faux spellings of themselves or their groups - it violates the basic premise of crosswords: getting it by the words they cross. No good if it aint really a word, or logically spelled.

Maddiegail 4:00 PM  

Ditto MMorgan, Anonymous and Mom. About time we of the vintage generation had a puzz that we didn't have to struggle through. Just knew Rex wouldn't like it, but then he doesn't like much lately.

Runs with Scissors 4:14 PM  

It had a title???

GILL I. 4:26 PM  

@Barbie B....The male persuasion comes to mind.... :-)

Anonymous 4:44 PM  

Why are Pirates plural and Oriole not?

Charles Flaster 4:48 PM  

Taught for 40 years in two different districts and custodians were ALWAYS my best friends who knew my students very well.
Grossly underpaid.

Masked and Anonymous 5:09 PM  

Puztheme was fun and slightly feisty, without makin M&A dissy. Fillins were fine -- shoot, U gotta have a dash of junk in there, just to keep @RP hootin and high-steppin (yo, TENTER, ILRE).

TEENER was no biggie at all, desperation-wise, at our house. As an old 45rpm record hoarder, it just meant a genre of pop music, to m&e. A TEENER would be a syrupy pop ballad by somebody like Paul Anka or Annette or Brenda Lee or Frankie Avalon or Bobby Vee. As opposed to a ROCKER, by Conway Twitty or Duane Eddy or Carl Perkins or Jerry Lee Lewis or someonesuch. Wasn't much of a leap, to figure out what this puzzle's TEENER was goin for.

I'm a poor judge of puzfillins leanin toward oldish or newish … or neutralish? Most NYTPuzs, includin this one, tend to lean toward close-enough-to-neutralish, in my hard-to-displease book. I mean, all that Trump stuff is newish, but I sure doubt @RP is hard-cravin any of it in his puz. I got nuthin against rap (or other really current) music, but I don't tend to know much about it. Modern slang is always interestin, but again … not in my wheelhouse, so can live without a lot of it in my puz -- sorta like U young pup solvers can probably do without zoot suits and Conway Twitty, etc.

Thanx for the SunFun, Ms. Margolin darlin. fave word: CRYPTIC.

Masked & Anonymo6Us

biter alert:

Serial Lover 6:53 PM  

Uh oh. Dr. Haight tomorrow. Expect vitriol. Pass the popcorn. Maybe he’ll like it. Hey Mikey.

Chapps 7:01 PM  

Jesus Christ ... I got to TEEN__ and thought, 'Oh, no, it's not possible that they used the much-maligned TEENER again? No, no way.' Yes, way. It has never been a word and immediately indicates a lazy constructor. This whole puzzle is filled with that kind of thing. Honest to god, with the old fashioned answers, it just spells out the end of the NYTXW by the time the Baby Boomers are all dead. If you don't try harder to reflect current culture, you're dead in the water.

ghostoflectricity 7:48 PM  

Incredibly bad puzzle; no naticks for me but what an unrewarding slog! "HISSANDHEARSE" apparently refers to Cleopatra offing herself by holding a "hissing" asp up to herself (usually dramatized as her bosom, but in reality it was her arm) and then presumably being driven off in a "hearse" after she's dead. I wasn't aware that hearses existed in the Egypt of two millennia ago. What a stupid, tried-to-be-clever puzzle.

ghostoflectricity 7:50 PM  

BTW, while we're on the subject of the clueing of Bruce Lee, not only did he HAVE a famous side kick; he WAS a famous sidekick on '60s TV, as Kato on the old "Green Hornet." Could have done something with that.

Preferred Customer 7:58 PM  

@Anon 9:11am FYI It's with a t: acrost and is dialect NOT incorrect. Return to whence you came and let the northwest return to its lackadaisical past.

Z 8:14 PM  

@Birchbark - I don’t think anything about the blog qualifies as a “sunk cost.” And I don’t see how doing more work is any sort of improvement for the blogger. Sure, Rex already spends an hour or so every night blogging the NYTX, now he should add another hour a minimum of once a week? If you look at Crossword Fiend you’ll notice that they farm out the reviews to multiple people. Publishing these things every day ain’t easy, Rex just makes it look that way. Besides, despite the pretty clear difference in consistent quality, the NYTX is still the Budweiser of crosswords.

Runs with Scissors 8:52 PM  

@Z 8:14 PM

Calling the NYTXW the "Budweiser of crosswords" is a backhanded compliment if I've ever heard one. HAR!!!

Budweiser is toilet water, from the bowl and not from the tank. Along with Coors & Miller. The Formaldehyde Beer Group.

Nancy 9:30 PM  

@Joe Dipinto (10:02) -- If enough of us pitch in on writing "The Green Paint Mystery," we'll have it written in no time. I'll start:

Long before anyone saw it or touched it, Jonathan smelled it. It was a very faint smell because it was still wet. Paint smells the worst when it's drying -- not when the paint has just been applied. It's counter-intuitive, but it's something most people are aware of. But not Jonathan. How could he have known such a thing back then? He was only seven.

Years later he would think: Such a tiny, seemingly insignificant detail. And yet the anguish that was to come to so many people over so many years could have been avoided. If only the smell had nauseated him. Choked him. Suffocated him. So that he didn't simply roll over and go back to sleep...

Your turn, Joe.

Monty Boy 9:38 PM  

Sorta liked this one. I liked the puns/themers and got most of them easily. Some obscure stuff stumped me. I must be the only one who has never heard of ALIG. Guess I'll have to look it up.

We lived in Pittsburgh in the 70's so I knew the Pirates/Oriole cross right away. I was at the three games in Pittsburgh, all rainy and cold. Also went to the first night World Series game in 1973 (I think), again with the Orioles at the old Three Rivers Stadium.

Times have changed. Both times I went to the stadium on the day tickets went on sale and got them after a short wait in line. They were expensive too. My recollection is $20 per seat.

And for those of you who asked above, there was more than one Oriole on the other team.

Joe Dipinto 10:51 PM  

@Nancy -- uh-oh, I guess I have to rise to the challenge now. Serves me right for opening my big.fat.mouth.

Okay, the next installment will appear tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Birchbark 11:08 PM  

@Z (8:14) -- I mean review the puzzle whose editor he identifies with instead of, not in addition to, the NYT. No additional time, and possibly less because AVC isn't a daily.

albatross shell 1:49 AM  

@anon 4:44 pm
Because that is the way they are clued. Opponents on one clue and opponent in the other. Also note use of "downs". If your looking for a cosmological or motivational reason I cannot help you.

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Wonder why this doesn’t match the puzzle in my Sunday paper this week?

Goldie 1:08 PM  

It’s almost a foregone conclusion that the puzzles I most enjoy are the ones that Rex most gleefully rips apart. I read this blog for fun, to share the ups and downs of solving, to relive my “aha” moments. It’s evident how much people like to complain and get up on their high horses about crosswordese and objectionable crosses. Funny how I manage to get through an entire puzzle without once being horrified. Yes, “teener” is a stretch, not a word I’ve ever heard anyone use. I didn’t know “orle” or “ilre” but who cares? I enjoy seeing answers revealed through crosses. No one got hurt here, and the pleasures of “warm and fussy” and “tell me no lice” far outweigh a few frustrating clues. I applaud Rex’s stands for social justice, but don’t understand his ageism. There are clues across the board here—references to Mozart, sports, a 50’s musical, ‘70’s TV trivia, Justin Bieber, among others. I can come across something I didn’t know or have long forgotten (Marshall Ney was at Waterloo, Seneca was a stoic). At least there were no obscure rivers in this one. Figuring out the trick in the Sunday puzzle is always satisfying, even if it’s a bit corny and inconsistent. Some are easy, some are challenging, but it’s always a joy to complete the puzzle with every letter right, in its place. What I love most is letting my mind float free, in hopes that the difficult answers will drift into my consciousness, things will come together, and all will be right with the world, at least for that moment.

Goldie 1:24 PM  

I misspelled "Marshall"--it is one "l": Marshal.

TomAz 12:32 AM  

@Monty Boy: 1971, actually. I remember being allowed to stay up late and watch that first WS night game, even though it was a school night. I was 9, and a huge Roberto Clemente fan. Pirates lost the first two in Baltimore, then swept the next three at home, lost game 6 in Baltimore, then hung on to win game 7, I think by the score 2-1, with a Clemente homer being the difference.

Dice 2:14 PM  

Fabulous comment, Mom!!

kitshef 3:03 PM  

Never on the constructor's wavelength, even down to that final, "I hope I'm Naticked" ANYA/ARLEN cross. I never look at the puzzle titles, so didn't notice it until I came here. Now that I see it, I don't get it.

I'm old, but there was just a ton of stuff here not in my cultural wheelhouse. ANYA/ARLEN/ELI/AMAHL/COMO ... probably missed some. So, I don't think it skews old, it skews wide-ranging.

Ellicott 12:50 PM  

I'm late to the party -- but agree --- FABULOUS comment, Mom!

rondo 10:11 AM  

This puz starts out at 1a with our very own SyndieLand yeah baby DIANA, LIW. So are we all on THE two weeks behind schedule now. Or is it just me?

For some reason THE first themer completed was WARMANDFUSSY. Last words in were ALIG and TEENER, thanks to RAGSON which is a little harsher than teasing in my world.

YMA’s real name doesn’t end at Sumac? Who knew?

This took too many NANOSeconds to be much fun.

Burma Shave 1:21 PM  




Visigarth 2:03 PM  

Fabulous, fabulous comment Mom! Rex will ever be the petulant child. Too much crosswordese in a crossword puzzle!? Well, duh!
"It's not fair. I never heard the word massif before!"
Is there anyone in the world it would be less fun to to have a coffee or a beer with? It'd be all about Rex, narcissist and eternal whiner.
Great comments from Michael Green Baum and Goldie too.(Except for the social justice bit. Really, Goldie? Virtue signalling is right in Rex's wheelhouse, please don't encourage him).

Diana,LIW 4:53 PM  

Should have quit while I was winning at 1A. Thanks for the shout out @Rondo.

But on I went, almost...almost...finishing. "Tell me no lice" was one of the lines I didn't finish. I cannot believe that!!!! ALIG 'twas my downfall there.

But a joyful experience nonetheless.

I have to laugh when folks complain about our Complainer in Chief. That's Rex's persona on the blog. From what I've heard from anyone who's met him, he's rather a self-effacing and nice guy. As I've said before, I take his rants as seriously as Lewis Black's. All in good fun.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

spacecraft 6:52 PM  

What in tarnation is ALIG???? The clue didn't even make any sense. I went with RAGSON, and thankfully it was right.

Well, at least we can chalk one off for the distaff side of the construction pool. I share OFC's confusion about the title, but the theme wackies gave me a few yuks. The "Peas" de resistance is where it should be, center stage. So what if they didn't cart poor Cleo off in a HEARSE? It's still a double jolt of funny.

Of all the terms that impressed OFC (and several others) as dated, the one that hit me was YUPPIES. Wow, I thought, when was the last time anybody used THAT term? With DIANA perched strategically at 1-across, I'll go along with @rondo and name our lady-in-waiting, along with my best friend, who is also DIANA, as DOD. Props to the other princess, LEIA, and to contortionist OLGA. Honorable mention to each.

Hand up for parsing IM____. As to the teams in the '75 series, Note carefully the clues to each: one says "opponent;" the other, "opponents." All is good. There are some fill issues here, but nothing to get FUSSY about. I enjoyed it, and APPLAUD the effort: birdie.

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