Aziz Iraq War figure / TUE 6-18-19 / Double-apostrophe contraction / Old Italian capital / Jumbo combatants

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Constructor: Jeff Stillman

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium to Medium (3:30)

THEME: Interrupting MCs — familiar two-word phrases have MC- added to front of second words, creating wacky phrases that appear to be about famous(ish) people / characters with Irish last names ...

Theme answers:
  • BEING MCCOY (17A: Autobiography of a "Star Trek" doctor?)
  • SACRIFICE MCFLY (23A: Kill off a major "Back to the Future" character?)
  • RUNAWAY MCBRIDE (51A: Film star Danny hurriedly leaving the set?)
  • ICE MCQUEEN (60A: Help film star Steve recover from an action sequence?)
Word of the Day: Danny McBride (See 51-Across)
Daniel Richard McBride (born December 29, 1976) is an American actor, comedian, and writer. He starred in the HBO television series Eastbound & Down and Vice Principals, both of which he co-created with frequent collaborator Jody Hill. He has also starred in films, such as The Foot Fist Way(2006), Pineapple Express (2008), Tropic Thunder (2008), Up in the Air (2009), Your Highness(2011), This Is the End (2013), and Alien: Covenant (2017). (wikipedia)

• • •

So there's an idea here, but it doesn't really have anywhere to go. Maybe there is some way to make this theme work—some way to give the themers that extra layer of coherence that they so desperately need, some way to bring the lot together with a playful revealer or something—but whatever that way is, if it exists, this constructor hasn't found it. He seems to want to bring the group together around some vague concept of Hollywood—two fictional screen characters, two actors—but that just puts us all in Uncanny Valley territory: close enough for us to see it's trying, but not close enough to be convincing. So it's just MC MC MC MC. The core gimmick is consistent, but it's slight, and who cares? Beyond that, there's not much here. Why would you put actual CRAP in your own puzzle. CRAM is approximately 2 million times better there. Maybe 3 million. Unfathomable. And I'M A MESS, too. This puzzle is literally crying for help.

Very slow to start on this one, as "adjuncts" to me (from my university setting) refers to people, not parts of classes (in this case, LABS) (1A: Science class adjuncts). All LAB clues should be required to be about dogs. I'D'VE made the clue about dogs, for sure (note: just 'cause I just used I'D'VE doesn't make it good). And then there was a horrible moment of total guessing on my part when, after SPOCK was wrong, I wrote in MCCOY, which I thought was maybe MCKOY (which now looks ridiculous to me, but mid-solve, seemed plausible). That C/K issue was In No Way resolved by the cross, which was RICKI, a name in the title of a movie I have literally never heard of before this puzzle (7D: "___ and the Flash" (2015 Meryl Streep movie)). Once you know the theme, you can see that it has to be MCCOY (though "being coy" is a very weak base phrase, imho). Also, as I say, MCKOY looks very wrong once you type it out (I was probably thinking of MCKAY). Anyway, lots of hesitation in here as I tried to make sense of what the hell was going on. Rest of the grid went Much faster.

Why would you clue OTIS as [Mayberry sot]. Aside from being super dated, it feeds into the whole tired "alcoholism is here for our amusement" thing. There are many OTISES (OTI? OTES? OTISSES?) in the world. Redding. That elevator dude. To name just two. Also, maybe make PAM an actual woman instead of a cooking spray. I see you've got MARIAH in there but Did You Know you can put more than one woman in a puzzle!? I mean, you put four dudes in the puzzle In The Themers Alone. Theme should've been tighter, fill should've been more polished. PAM and OTIS deserved better. The end.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


RE: ORCA (65A: Marine menace)
If you really cherish the alliteration in the clue so much, there's [Mammoth marine mammal] or [Seal swallower] or, I don't know, be creative!

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joe Dipinto 1:03 AM  

PAM and OTIS deserved better.


47a: "Polythene" girl, in a Beatles song title

56a: "Miss" who "regrets", in a Cole Porter song title

Runs with Scissors 1:31 AM  

Ahhh, yes, good ol' TARIQ Aziz at 45D. Can't believe OFL didn't comment on that. I remember good old Baghdad Bob well. He prevaricated almost as well as any White House spokeshole (of any stripe - I'm not referring specifically to the current one). The Iran-Iraq war occurred at a formative time for me, while I was in the US Navy. Escorting Kuwaiti tankers through the Strait of Hormuz was necessary, but tense. The "peacetime" Navy wasn't so peaceful at the sharp end of the lance.

The rest of the puzzle - the "mc" additions were punny, somewhat fun, but I blew through them without much of a wow factor.

Favorite tidbits:

1A LABS. 9th grade chemistry brought to the fore. An alcohol fire in the lab sink was cause for great hilarity at 14.

51D and 52D side by side - ROBOT UTERI. The future is here. Your NIECE may be next.

5A before 10A: HARSH CRAP. How well I know it.

15A: I can never figure out whether it's LIRE or LIRA with the Eye-talians. If there's a system, it escapes me. English is so much easier.


49A is a nod to the Muslims: IMAM ESS. (If you don't think that's funny, well, you need to buy a sense of humor).

SAFE SUMOS. 'Nuff said.

69A & 70A: Is a HASTY EMIT an elevator fart as you get off at your floor??? Not that I've ever done that...

And to finish, 38D TAPAS BAR. These can be riotously fun. Expensive as all get out, but fun. I went to one in Pasadena (CA, down the street from the Rose Parade route) and pigged out. Had to pay for parking for the privilege, too. I haven't been back. Seems all the tapas bars are in downtowns where you can't get there from here without paying for a stall. As a matter of principle, I do not participate.

I liked this puzzle. A lot. Being easily amused and distracted is a feature, not a bug.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

chris b 1:47 AM  

Otis Day and the Knights!

chefwen 2:11 AM  

After seeing M.C. ESCHER yesterday as Mc Escher I had a good laugh at today’s theme. Really enjoyed this one, ICE MC QUEEN comes out on top for me.

Pretty easy, but it’s Tuesday.

Never heard of “Ricki and the Flash” I’ll check it out.

jae 2:54 AM  

On the tough side for a Tues. More like a medium Wed. Liked it more than @Rex did.

@Joe - Nicely done.

Brookboy 3:31 AM  

“..note: just 'cause I just used I'D'VE doesn't make it good).” And what’s the matter with “I’d’ve”? Is it not a proper use of English? And when does a proper use of English become good or not good? Who makes that call? Rex, old chap, I do think that sometimes you really reach.

I thought the puzzle, for a Tuesday, was more on the challenging side. Once again, the crosses came through for me, but I wasn’t as confident that they would at times.

I didn’t like 10A (CRAP), and it took all the crosses and for me to finally put that word in. The name of the game is CRAPS. The urban dictionary defines CRAP as a word you use when you want to avoid saying SHIT. Had the clue been SHIT, I would’ve had no problem putting in CRAP. Actually, this whole topic is pretty crappy.

Loren Muse Smith 4:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 4:57 AM  

What’s not to love about ICE MCQUEEN? Though I was never the mother to run get ice for any kind of injury. I mean, I think I grabbed a package of frozen peas once, but that was just to trick my daughter into thinking it would help. Swelling must do some kind of important work, right? I’m not gonna look into this, but I would imagine our bodies aren’t stupid. (Same thoughts on a fever, but I always run for the Tylenol, so go figure. Now that I think about it, I bet our arsenal of first aid stuff all undermines the body’s way of fixing itself.)

It’s really, really hard to think of other themers that would work this way – kudos to Jeff for finding these. You could see someone reading Angela’s Ashes - holding (or open) McCourt. A bunch of women’s magazines in a doctor’s office are courtesy McCalls. That’s all I got.

So just how many does does a HART get to hook up with during one season? (Ooh, ooh! If you throw a certain breakfast sandwich to him, it could be a stud McMuffin.)

I liked LABS sharing the grid with the AKITA. LABS are the goofy frat boys of dogworld. AKITAs are the STOIC campus police.

“Show sorrow” – CRY. I’ve finally looked into the question of why we actually shed tears when we’re sad. I mean, I’ve always thought there must be a gain there in terms of natural selection, some kind of survival work that tears do that goes above and beyond just a sad-looking face. Turns out I was right.

I'm with @Brookboy - loved IDVE. A word with two apostrophes? My cup runneth over.

SOT. My life, probably like most others’, has been greatly affected by alcoholism, but all the synonyms for heavy drinkers don’t bother me. The actor who played Otis wasn’t a big drinker in real life, by the way. Timely clue since I frantically researched trivia about The Andy Griffith Show in preparation of meeting the father of my son’s girlfriend, who is a Griffith fanatic and a self-described gooberhead. C’mon – if you’re an Andy Griffith show fan And a gooberhead, that’s just license to be messed with. So I went in armed with all kinds of facts and slid into the topic when Morgantown came up. My son went to school there, and Don Knotts was born there. I asked Don (girlfriend’s father) what he thought Barney Fife’s middle initial was – P or T, since both were used. And then I told him that the man who whistled the tune at the beginning visited my elementary school. Don said, Ah. Earle Hagen. I said, Well, you know, there’s some disagreement as to who actually whistled it for the show. Earle Hagen wrote it, but some believe Fred Lowry was the guy who whistled it. He’s the one I saw in person. When I marveled that Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee) didn’t really like Andy Griffith, my son looked at me like What the…? Where is this coming from?

YAW. That’s how lots of speakers pronounce y’all.There are dialects where a final L sound is vocalized to become a kind of “o” sound. So feel becomes /fee o/. I could have linked an explanatory article, but the ones I found were really technical. Y’all’d’ve been bored silly. I sure was.

Happy Tuesday.

PS – Hey, McDonald’s – Scotland called and wants its prefix back. It’s become too pejorative.

Klazzic 5:37 AM  

I'm with Rex: This puzzle was CRAP. By the way, a losing casino roll is CRAPS. MEATY would have been far more appropriate. I realize it's only Tuesday, but still: absolute dreck.

QuasiMojo 6:25 AM  

Yes, Rex, I was expecting Martina McBride. Never heard of the other guy. And I thought the Doc was called Bones.

Thank you too Rex for reminding us of the stale, outdated "humor" of poking fun at sots, drunks, winos and all the fill suffering from the DTs. Alcoholism is a disease and may be funny in old sitcoms and movies, but it's time to shelve it as a go-to bit of CRAP crosswordese anytime a constructor or puzzle editor doesn't have a new IDEA in his nob, noggin or noodle. Make an effort guys to be original, if not woke.

Hungry Mother 7:02 AM  

Quick solve and then a long search for the typo BEINGMaCOY. My inne Trekkie wept.

amyyanni 7:12 AM  

Liked Rex's Escher post today after yesterday's puzzle. Also liked "Ricki and the Flash," but I am a Meryl fan so rather uncritical. Agree the theme needed sharpening. Also agree with @chefwen: good post @Joe P.

GHarris 7:57 AM  

Had Trudeau as being of the Labor Party. Should have realized you can’t have Lab twice in one puzzle. Otherwise, easy and fun.

Tokyo Joe 8:10 AM  

Pretty tricky for a Tuesday. Sumatra is not really a neighbor of Borneo.

TJS 8:16 AM  

Up here in the North Country, we sometimes rate people by how much you would hate to be stuck in a boat with them on a fishing trip. Rex, you are rapidly climbing the top ten list.

mbr 8:21 AM  

@Runs with Scissors: The Eye-talian system is: 1 lira, 2 lire. The problem is that words like "capital" are vague enough to confuse, which I assume is intentional.

Nancy 8:34 AM  

@G Harris and I initially made the same mistake. Trudeau was LABour, not LIBeral. And if there's anything worse than having IDVE as a double apostrophe contraction, it's having ADVE as same. I just stared and stared at what I'd wrought at 14A and wished IDVE not.

Other than that, I loved the puzzle. I thought it played more like a Wednesday and I enjoyed the unexpected crunch. My favorite answer: CLIP CLOP. It evoked a NYC of long ago that even I am not old enough to remember. And the gentle CLIP CLOP sounds lot better than sirens and car alarms, I'd say. IDVE said the same thing back then, I bet.

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

Respect for your last paragraph. Re: Otis — you gave words to my inarticulate squirm when I filled that in. And as always, thank you for speaking on behalf of women and lamenting their overall misrepresentation in NYT puzzles.

GILL I. 8:42 AM  

My recent days are mindless and so I thought I was doing a Wed. I remembered it is Tuesdays because on that day our daughter comes to visit with Hadley Rose.
This was a finish up and then look at it sorta puzzle. I liked it. It hasn't been done before and we're running out of new ideas. Good for Jeff. I like anything MC because I married one. Father born in Ireland and Mother born in England. They were very Catholic and could count to TWO in the Bible.
I remember the last time I rode a CLIP CLOP. I was in Florence spending lots of LIRE with my son and he wanted to ride one. It was very fancy and the horse was treated very well. It was worth it since we got see the city at a leisurely pace and we had a handsome Italian guide who took a liking to my sesquipedalian 7 year old. Italians love children and if the one you're talking to happens to be a tow head and can recite every ingredient in spaghetti, then you're in for a very nice ride.
CRY. Yep. I can at the drop of a hat. If I see a perfect stranger CRY, I will join her. I have a girlfriend that never cries. Ever. My Mom was that way, too. Even when my brother died, she was STOIC (but not in a bad way). She just never wanted anyone to see her shed tears.
Was I the only one that first had BOOB instead of BEEB? I like DONUT chasing PIE. Hey another PIE HOLE? Love the color of a TOPAZ but I was born into the purple world of the amethyst.
I'm hoping our friend @Lewis is out and about enjoying the many fine TAPAS BARs in Barcelona. Potatoes!

Suzie Q 8:59 AM  

I had plenty of fun for a Tuesday.
Nits to pick:
Agree about crap. It's craps.
Mates for does are bucks. Mates for hinds are harts.
Who puts pies on window sills?
I too was looking for a revealer or something to tie this all together.

Ω 9:31 AM  

I had the DV first and wondered what unholy RRN was about to be thrust upon me in the NW. IDVE is a RRN wannabe, a condition it will have to live down when it grows up.

@LMS - You’re not getting paid enough. “So just how many does does a HART get to hook up with during one season? (Ooh, ooh! If you throw a certain breakfast sandwich to him, it could be a stud McMuffin.)” got a major chuckle out of me.

I thought Rex would spend some time on the stereotypes underlying RUNAWAY MCBRIDE and ICE MCQUEEN. Sexism is sometimes so woven into how we see things that we don’t recognize the societal pressures implied by phrases. Why does a woman changing her mind about a major life decision get the RUNAWAY appellation, as if she is some teenager having a tantrum? And, guys, if she isn’t interested in having sex with you maybe, just maybe, it’s you not her. Anyway, having 50% of your themers based on sexist phrases was a major demerit here.

Considering alcoholism a disease is better than considering it a moral failing. I wonder how long before we stop considering it a disease and recognize it as a symptom of underlying mental health issues. It seems to me that we still demonize mental health issues, so it is “better” to be an alcoholic than suffer from, say, clinical depression. But our current approach is sort of like treating an infection with aspirin. The aspirin will bring down the fever, but it won’t address the infection.

Well, enough heavy stuff. I mostly liked this puzzle, but there is room for improvement in my opinion.

BobL 9:58 AM  

BullCRAP, Rex. This was a great puzzle!

Wood 10:03 AM  

Another 100% downs-only solve. On a roll. Didn't even see I'D'VE but I love it.

Amelia 10:04 AM  

I thought this puzzle was fantastic. Good job, Jeff.

The theme was very much like a WSJ end of week puzzle. (Their kind of theme.) So in fact, it was a little difficult for a Tuesday. I'm surprised about two things with Rex. That he didn't see that it was similar to those. And that he didn't have a problem with Israel. (College campus and all that. Read a line in a short story the other day that was something like "We had coffee in an as yet unboycotted Israeli coffeehouse.")

I thought the fill was great and I never think the fill is great.

So I'm with those who liked this Tuesday puzzle. Grateful for a little push and pull.

Carry on.

RooMonster 10:07 AM  

Hey All !
Is the BEEB supposed to be the BBC? Only thing I came up with.

This ROO didn't RUE the puz. Thought it a nice TuesTheme. Taking regular phrases, inserting a MC, and getting wacky phrases about people. Simple, clean, neat, SAFE. Doesn't need complaints.

The CRAP flap is HARSH. Agree an M for the P would've been better, but, that's the way the puz crumbles.

IDVE is OK. Had a literal LOL moment at @Lorens Y'all'd've. People glanced at me in the restaurant.

@Aketi - Har moment when I had AK_T_ for 15A, and without hesitation, wrote in AKETI. One of my writeover spots.

Others were dead-NUMB, OpIe-OTIS (har), LIRa-LIRE, Isto-IDVE.

Overall a nice TuesPuz. AMI RITE?


jberg 10:10 AM  

@Z, and you're in the puzzle, too, only spelled out.

I didn't mind the theme answers, they were sort of fun to figure out. I don't demand quite as much of a theme as @Rex. But this puzzle did refer to an awful lot of movies and tv shows I have never seen. Thank God for the crosses!

My only real gripe was SUMOS. No. They are wrestlers, or sumo wrestlers, at least in English; no idea what they are in Japanese. And I liked the sport before Trump became a fan, so I'm not going to give it up.

@Loren, unusually fine avatar today!

pmdm 10:12 AM  

My organic chemistry teacher claimed that some people metabolize ethanol into an addictive chemical which is why they become alcoholics. I don't know if that is correct, but if true these individuals would no more have an "illness" than a heroin addict. Doesn't smell right to me but I'm not an expert in that area.

"Menace" doesn't imply anything inherently bad, it just implies danger. Perhaps many of the comments here (and the write-up) project an individual's specific mindset to something much more general. Hence the disagreements.

Another disagreement: I an arguing with myself concerning my reaction to this puzzle. I guess I am happy I solved the puzzle, so i guess it deserves a thumbs up from me.

David 10:30 AM  

I put in "ones" for 10A, and "lab" for 1D. For 1A I was trying to figure out what a made up abbreviation for TAs or Lab Assts might only be 4 letters. LTAs? But "ade", "Bvitimans", and "Seneca" were all gimmes, as were "ham" and "akc" so Being McCoy fell right in. Only Kirk called him "Bones". Once I saw that the others were easy; in fact, I found the whole puzzle easier than yesterdays. There ya go.

News flash for Jeff: the silly romance language diminutives people started sticking on English words some 4-500 years ago have been falling away. Perhaps you're too young to remember such marvelous words as "authoress" or (especially ick) "comedienne", both of which fell in the 1970s or so. Now most younger (and many older) actors refer to themselves as actors and prefer others refer to them as actors. I.E., "one who acts".

I keep hoping we'll go back to "waiters" as "ones who wait" so we can drop crap such as "wait staff" or the privilege signaling "servers". Back in the hippy-dippy Cambridge of the 1970s, "waitrons" (aka "charged particles which wait") was oddly popular.

Lori 10:31 AM  

Gee thanks Z! We need another white man to splain what we just can't seem to say ourselves!

jb129 10:32 AM  

It was okay but I kept expecting more.

Ethan Taliesin 10:41 AM  

Rex, wouldn't it be sadder to only depict alcoholics as miserable and pathetic good-for-nothings, untempered by anything that would ever make you smile?

Are you worried people will drunk-shame alcoholics by comparing them to Otis?

I'm kind of serious.

JC66 11:04 AM  

@GILL I, et al

Look for @Lewis tomorrow..

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

Just to pile on :)
- the game is called CRAPs, but only in back alleys; in casinos it's the DICE TABLE
- losing, particularly 7 or 11 on a make-your-number roll is either 'CRAPs' or 'I CRAPped out'

JC66 11:06 AM  

So why do they call it a CRAP table?

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

The problem is that words like "capital" are vague enough to confuse, which I assume is intentional.

Only if you don't know how to spell the variants. :)

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

There are days when it feels like the NYT eds. are deliberately baiting Rex with non-PC clues, and Rex, like a fish in a stocked pond, can’t help biting. Maybe that’s giving one or the other too much credit.

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

I'm utterly convinced that if Rex didn't time himself, he wouldn't write such consistently negative reviews. That's what pisses him off the most: not knowing the answer immediately and having to stop and think for two nano seconds. And when that happens, it's automatically a bad clue/stupid answer.

I'd've thought that by this time, Rex would've figured out how childish he sounds when he hates on a clue just because it wasn't familiar to him (but we note that he also complains when it's TOO familiar).I also wonder whether he'll lighten up when Shortz retires.

I remember when I first started solving crosswords puzzles, I was reading clue after clue on a mid-week puzzle and getting no traction. Couldn't answer a single one. Until I saw a pretty straightforward clue that had the answer SUBIC BAY. Wrote that in and was off to the races. When I checked in with Rex's column, I was blown away by his diatribe against the whole effing puzzle because of that outrageously obscure clue/answer. But I still read his column--mostly to read the clever and witty comments from most of y'all (esp. LMS).

Brian P 12:27 PM  

I'm new at this, and that was tough for a Tuesday. I had to rely on the theme to bail me out once I figured it out in the bottom half, having BEINGBONES and SACRIFICEMARTY and not much else in N/NE and stuck on the first half of MCBRIDE. I'm a 10-20 minute Tuesday solver, and that took me 42 :(

But once I got the theme I had a big smile on my face, chuckled about it being clever, and ended up enjoying the puzzle despite initial frustration. I feel like Rex is too good at these to find enjoyment in the early week puzzles.

Masked and Anonymous 12:29 PM  

Holy MCESCHER! Solid puzfill today, with very little McCRAP. Cute theme idea, even if all the planets in it didn't quite align for @RP.

MCDONALDSBADTOMCGOVERN = {70's candidate George wasn't into fatburgers?}. Just for puztheme completeness.

staff weeject pick: AKC. M&A is a sucker for almost anything about doggies. This woulda been a most primo puz to have weeject MCI in it, tho.

RICKI was slightly hard to get, but MCCOY was not, sooo … ok, at our house.
Best of the ultra-rare desperate stuff: AREEL+PEATY. Worth it, to retain their CRAP idtag. @RP: yep. CRAM/MEATY would work. Also CRAB/BEAMY.
CRAT/TESTY? CRAN/NASTY? Didn't think so. Cooly desperate stuff, tho.

Thanx for the fun McTuesPuz, Mr. Stillman.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Crimson Devil 12:35 PM  

Much enjoyed this Tues puz, crunchier and more challenging than most Tues.
Good to see reference to Otis T, one of favorite characters in that classic. I miss Floyd’s tales.
Also enjoying commentary, espec Y’ALL’D’VE and poser re how many does does hart deer do.

OffTheGrid 12:41 PM  

Serious question; What is the purpose or pleasure in solving Downs only?

old timer 12:50 PM  

A complement to OFL: Well carped today.s

My first thought was that MC and Mac begin Scottish names. But then there are Irish MCs too: McSweeney, etc. The advice on Wiki: Look at the part of the name after the MC, and try to figure out if it is Irish or Scottish. Some are both, of course, but there are few if any Irish McDonalds or MacDuffs. Seems to me *all* the O' names are Irish, though. Also means "son of", but I believe originally used for "illegitimate son of".

OffTheGrid 12:52 PM  

I think @Z often offers thoughtful, sensitive statements about issues. I don't think he was "mansplaining" (a term I hate). Many men, myself included, "get it" to the degree we can without experiencing womanhood. I would think women might welcome allies in the fight.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

what's an ice queen? a frigid woman? why isn't this objectionable?

who plays "crap"? no one.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

@Joe DiPinto: Great clues for PAM and OTIS!

I am really, really bugged by sloppiness in crosswords--as in using the clue "losing casino roll" for CRAP. The correct answer is CRAPS. Period. CRAP is no more equivalent to CRAPS than DISH is to DISHES, or RUN is to RUNS.

I know--I'm going on and on about this, but it happens so often in Shortz puzzles. And it should never happen: The answer should be what the clue says, not sort-of-but-not-really what the clue says.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

My solve today was a PEATY-ful thing. My LABS crossing LaB in the NW set the tone and I followed that up with the does hooking up with HindS and then HAReS (female rabbits are does but the counterpart would be "bucks", sigh.)

I thought we had a long over-due visit from Cheri at 52D when I had _TERI in place (without reading the clue, obviously).

The theme is fine, though I'D'VE said that "being coy" was green-paintish - could've been any "being" (shy and sly both work, except with the theme, duh). My favorite is SACRIFICE McFLY.

Jeff Stillman, you did a fine job on this NUMBer 6 puzzle of yours.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

When I was in school, an ICEmcQUEEN was a girl/woman who had an aloof, icy disposition. Kind of a synonym for the b-word. If you got the chance, might really be HOT in bed. :) Who knows how the youngsters use the word these days.

Joseph M 2:43 PM  

Liked the puzzle, but kept waiting for a revealer that never came. Perhaps the puzzle should have been run on St. Patrick’s Day.

Loved the mystery of a double-apostrophe contraction and disdained the handy-nasty presence of CRAP which in the singular is not a casino roll.

Rex complains that there is only one woman in the grid, but RICKI, NIECE, BRIDE, and QUEEN beg to differ.

Steve B 3:08 PM  

Does this LMS guy have a job? Maybe a NYS teacher's college employ like our fearless leader - plenty of time left for xword puzzles and such.

JC66 3:21 PM  

@Steve B

FYI.- @Loren Muse Smith is Junior/Senior (I'm not sure which) high school teacher in West Virginia who, based on her posts, works hard and long on her job, gets little sleep and usually posts in the wee hours of the morning. Your above post seems to indicate that you think she spends a lot of time researching and preparing her daily (mostly) comments. That's one of the many reasons why she's so highly regarded here.

JC66 3:21 PM  

Oh, and she's a woman.

Mr. Alarm 3:37 PM  

YES! Why WOULD you put CRAP in your puzzle (Breakfast Rule?), when it could/should be CRAM?! Shame on you for thinking Spock is a doctor! “(note: just 'cause I just used I'D'VE doesn't make it good.) Here, here!

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

nitpick: It's "hear, hear".

Hedy La Knish 3:45 PM  

Italian words are feminine/ masculine. Lira =feminine. To pluralize a word ending in ‘a ‘ use ‘e’ except when you don’t ��

Karl 4:16 PM  

CRAPS is a losing roll in a casino. CRAP is crap.

Karl Grouch 4:38 PM  


Anonymous 4:46 PM  

Hey Rex, both MARIAH and RICKI are ladies. Maybe you can cool it with being righteously indignant that puzzle constructors don't look at their finished product and say "hey, you know, I should rip this puzzle up and start over because there aren't enough female names in this puzzle." Not every puzzle can touch on every demographic.

By the way, your first published NYT puzzle (see: had no women in the grid. It also had no women in the clues.


I agree that CRAM is better than CRAP in terms of fill, but for those complaining about the definition/clue, one of the definitions on Merriam Webster is "a throw of 2, 3, or 12 in the game of craps losing the shooter his bet unless he has a point" (noun) and the related verb is defined as "to throw a crap." Before declaring what the definition of a word is, I would suggest actually looking up the definition.


Puzzle itself was entertaining. Besides the themers, had nice bonus fill for all the longer downs (B VITAMINS, PIPE DREAM, CLIP CLOP, TAPAS BAR).

puzzlehoarder 5:07 PM  

Didn't Mike Meyers once say "If it's not Scottish it's CRAP". That's my theory as to why CRAP is in this MC something puzzle.

About a minute and a half over my Tuesday average mostly due to that whole northern tier. Nice to get a little extra resistance.

Chris 5:19 PM  

Wow. Someone woke up with the nasties... What a harsh review of a Tuesday puzzle. Hang in there, Jeff !

Colleen O'Day 5:41 PM  

@old timer 12:50 -- Re the Irish "O" thing: I never realized I knew so many bastards. :)

@Anon 1:26 -- Grace Kelly in her Hollywood days was sometimes referred as an ICE QUEEN or something similar. But Hitchcock said she slept with every actor she ever co-starred with. So your comment might be not be so far off the mark.

Betty 5:52 PM  

Meryl Streep sings and plays guitar. Really enjoyed it.

Mary Joe 6:49 PM  

Meryl Streep supported Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski. She should not be normalized.

Mr. Alarm 10:17 PM  

Sorry, I knew that but was a bit brain dead, Thanks.

Mr. Alarm 10:20 PM  

Yes, I knew that didn’t sound right, beside being a bit indecorous.

kitshef 3:37 PM  

Now that's a great them. How could Rex not love it? Also, not knowing RICKI and the Flash? Criminal.

leftcoast 3:00 PM  

Got it, but didn't care much for it.

Kind of messy, with the MC prefix for the ACTORs, mixing real and character names and, for some reason, a non-theme Streep movie with RICKI. Wouldn't call it CRAP, but felt a lot to swallow.

Just a nit-pick, but HARSH isn't harsh enough for "Tyrannical", IMO, but found I'D'VE an oddly interesting contraction.

This puzzle seemed to me MISUSEd and even a bit abused, yet sadly endearing.

Burma Shave 3:32 PM  


BEINGMCCOY means I'D'VE MISUSEd, or got RIDOF this factor:
I'MAMESS and HASTY when confused with AREEL STOIC ACTOR.


Diana,LIW 6:20 PM  

If you did what I did, you were standing in line at the HaydOn Planetarium, taking your vitImins, and thinking about the peatS you were going to put on your lawn later. It occurred to you how much your family has always Cared (got along) for each other.

Since you were also doing a crossword in the illustrious NYTimes, you noticed that MCFLY was being sIcriCicOed. Odd, you mused.

Then, whilst completing the rest of the puzzle with your brain working (must have been those vitImins), you noticed the way one could parse a second meaning out of the "special" answers by taking out the emcee. (Like the Oscars?) "You know, it could be a spelling/misreading thingy..." Like reading the wrong name for Best Picture.

More musing. Changes were made. Puzzle was completed.

Reminder - don't be too HASTY an ACTOR. You'll RUE it. Get the IDEA?

Diana, I KID you not

spacecraft 6:39 PM  

10-across. Says it all. Uh, Jeff? DEFINITELY keep your other job. *Other*

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