Eldest Stark daughter on Game of Thrones / TUE 6-4-19 / So-called architect of India / Rizzo hustler in Midnight Cowboy / Occasion celebrated 364 times year in Carroll's Through Looking Glass

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Constructor: Jake Halperin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (3:30)

THEME: CONS (68A: Disadvantages found in this puzzle's three longest Across answers ...) and PROS (69A: ... and advantages found in them) — two-word phrases where first word starts "CON-" and second word starts "PRO-"

Theme answers:
  • CONSUMER PROFILE (20A: Need for targeted advertising)
  • CONTENT PROVIDER (39A: Netflix or YouTube)
  • CONCLUSIVE PROOF (55A: It settles a case)
Word of the Day: SANSA (4D: Eldest Stark daughter on "Game of Thrones") —
Sansa Stark is a fictional character created by American author George R. R. Martin. She is a prominent character in Martin's award-winning A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Introduced in A Game of Thrones (1996), Sansa is the elder daughter and second child of Lord Eddard Stark and his wife Lady Catelyn Stark. She subsequently appeared in the following three novels: A Clash of Kings (1998), A Storm of Swords (2000), and A Feast for Crows (2005). While absent from the fifth novel A Dance with Dragons, as the books are separated geographically, Sansa is confirmed to return in the forthcoming next book in the series, The Winds of Winter.
In HBO's adaptation of the series, Game of Thrones, Sansa is portrayed by English actress Sophie Turner. The character has received critical acclaim, including praise as the 4th greatest character in the series by Rolling Stone.[4] She and the rest of the cast were nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. (wikipedia)
• • •

The themers are kinda boring and the revealer is backward. Those are the blunt facts of the puzzle. Sometimes wordplay is not enough to overcome certain hard truths, and I'd say this is one of those times. There's no doubt that the theme has something going—all 15s, all neatly CON + PRO, all solid phrases. Didn't like the clue on CONCLUSIVE PROOF (*does* it always "settle a case"???), but that's the editor's fault, in the end, so I'm not too mad about that. Still, neatness and consistency notwithstanding, this was not entertaining, themewise, and the revealer is gratingly backward. The phrase is "pros and cons." Coming in with CONS and PROS is maybe supposed to be cute, but it plays like a big miss. Long Downs somewhat compensated for the dreariness of the themers. Otherwise, the fill was mostly just OK. Lots of short / crosswordy stuff, including the horrible kind where you have to guess at what the answer will be, or just wait for crosses to tell you, i.e. symphony keys (A MAJ) and Morse Code (DAH).

I stopped reading "Game of Thrones" because it just wasn't interesting. My wife stopped reading because it was so relentlessly rape-y. We tried to watch the TV show and never made it past the pilot. So this whole recent end-of-series *phenomenon* has must missed me. I tried to mute every "GOT" term on Twitter because the world just wouldn't shut up about it, but it was becoming a part-time job (so many names!), so I gave up and just scrolled past it all. This is all to say that even if I watched "GOT," I would think SANSA, in that position (i.e. a not-hard-to-fill position), on a Tuesday, is garbage. I get that the constructor is trying to be hip and current, but currency is the Only thing recommending that name. Imagine if you saw that name but instead of the "4th greatest character on 'Game of Thrones'" (per Rolling Stone), it was the "fourth greatest character on 'The A-Team' (or 'Moonlighting' or 'Gunsmoke')." It's the uninferrable name of a secondary character: perfect if you really need it for your demanding Saturday grid (and the crosses are fair), but here, on Tuesday, where you definitely do not need it (you can easily refill that NW corner much more cleanly, and lose LAIC in the process), not so good. Don't confuse "hipness" with "goodness." Pull out proper nouns like that only when necessary. SANKA is better fill, frankly. Here's a not scintillating but Very clean NW corner that I concocted in like a minute:

You could go NARC / NODS too. You could also rewrite the whole corner tons of other ways. The point is, in tiny corners, cleanness + interesting clues wins every time. Good clues can make even ordinary fill fun, and common terms have tons of cluing possibilities, whereas SANSA ... does not.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:08 AM  

Easy-medium. Not bad for a Tues., liked it.

We passed on GOT for pretty much the same reasons as Rex did.

“The Good Place” is twisty, intellectually trippy, and very funny. It’s back on NBC for a fourth season this fall, but the first 2 seasons are currently streaming on Netflix. Holy forkin shirt balls is it worth a look!

Runs with Scissors 12:20 AM  

I liked this more than some other individuals. Decent Tuesday – and remember, it’s Tuesday. There’s a fine line between accessibility for the less experienced solver and prevention of comatososity in the more experienced solver. I’d say this did the trick.

I have never, not once, watched or read GOT. Doesn’t interest me in the slightest, but I get that it’s a popular thang. The answer was gettable from the crosses, even though I’d suggest that any parent naming their girl-child SANSA may need an intervention. Or prevention.

I am LAIC. I actually like that word. So succinct. So exact. So…so.

T-man makes his reappearance. The revenuers were tough guys in pursuit of an unattainable goal, and thank (insert favored deity) we as a society are figuring that out. There is much to be learned from that era.

This puzzle is CONCLUSIVE PROOF you can have a work-a-day puzzle that is still fun to solve.

Dit. Or DAH. Dit-dah. Dit-dit-dit dah-dah-dah dit-dit-dit. Mnemonic for SOS and for which is longer. Dah is always the longer tone, so there. Vive la difference.

Have your AGENT contact my AGENT. We’ll do lunch.

California is in dire need of a coup d’ETAT but that ain’t gonna happen. The supermajority in this state are deranged. CONCLUSIVE PROOF in every legislative session. I’ve decided that Billy Joel’s “My Life” is the answer: “I don’t care what you say anymore, this is my life. Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone.” Would that it were so.

Oh well, six more years on I can put this place in my rearview mirror.

Great puzzle, fun diversion for a few minutes. Let us meet tomorrow with continued optimism.

Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

Jyqm 12:26 AM  

Oh yeah, that’s the stuff. Exactly what people read this blog for. A heavy dose of “I purposely didn’t watch Game of Thrones” preening. That’s what keeps those clicks rolling in.

impjb 12:40 AM  

Poor Sansa, stepped on Rex's lawn she did.

Mr. Alarm 12:52 AM  

Thanks, Rex. Good, clean critique. Especially liked your (and your wife’s) perspective on the latest rabble rouser, Game of Thrones.

“Imagine if you saw that name but instead of the "4th greatest character on 'Game of Thrones'" (per Rolling Stone), it was the "fourth greatest character on 'The A-Team' (or 'Moonlighting' or 'Gunsmoke')." It's the uninferrable name of a secondary character: perfect if you really need it for your demanding Saturday grid (and the crosses are fair), but here, on Tuesday, where you definitely do not need it (you can easily refill that NW corner much more cleanly, and lose LAIC in the process), not so good. Don't confuse "hipness" with "goodness."

Like your “concocted” NW corner much better, too.

Anoa Bob 12:56 AM  

I tried to remain uncritical (ha!) but a couple of things did ANNOY me. The first was the clue for 37D GPS, "How a smartphone knows where it is at." No. It knows where it is at by triangulation between microwave towers. To know where you are at via GPS, you need both a GPS antenna and an unobstructed view of the sky in order to connect with at least three GPS satellites. If your hand held device can tell you where it's at in an indoor setting, its not GPS.

The second was more ANNOYing. And it paralleled an answer on today's Jeopardy! about a Nixon quote, with the clue there being about some "diplomatic issue". Here, at 25A, the clue refers to a "60's conflict site". The answer in both cases involved VietNAM or Nam. Is there some attempt going on to rewrite history, to use terms like "diplomatic issue" or "conflict site" to cover up what was a WAR. If your military suffers nearly 60,000 deaths, it's not an "issue" or a "conflict". It's a fucking WAR.

chipperj 1:39 AM  

This was a great puzzle. C'mon Rex-

travis 2:03 AM  

"fourth greatest character on 'The A-Team' is a great comparison as the A-Team had 4 main characters whom I'd consider all equally fair game. There have been obscure GOT clues in the puzzle, but SANSA isn't one of them.

chefwen 2:54 AM  

OOF, I’m going with Rex on this one. Kinda boring and when I saw the CONS come before the PROs, I thought “ well, that’s back assward”.

Puzzle buddy working on his own copy cried foul at 28A, I don’t know what he filled in, but when I told him I had OOF, he stated “that was bullshit” and a few other choice words that I won’t repeat. I thought OOF was cute.

Getting really tired of the AM SO, IS NOT, ARE TOO, IS SO, IS NOT, nonsense. Basta!

chipperj 3:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
@mericans in Paris 3:41 AM  

Not a MIND BENDER today, but still took me just under 6 Rexes. I was almost SKUNKED at the intersection of 9A and 11D, as I was thinking aN BIRTHDAY? SKiNK? I guess I should have payed more attention to the lack of quotation marks in the clue for 9A.

It didn't bother me that the normal sequence of PROS and CONS was reversed. But I see OFL's point. The only phrase I can think of quickly that uses the normal sequence is PROphylactic CONtraceptive, but that's even too long for a Sunday. PROject CONcept? One letter too short. Come to think of it, finding themes that are all exactly 15 letters long is a bit of a feat.

DAH was an answer I telegraphed in with EASE, though, with no help (di-di-di-DAH-DAH-DAH-di-di-dit) from the crosses.

IRON -- which I spell as iRon -- is a signature I adopted a few years ago at work. The head of the inter-governmental organization from which I retired last November always gives a speech to the staff after New Years' Day, and one time started going on and on about how the letter "i" should be attached to everything we do, with the "i" standing for International! Intelligent! Innovative! Inspirational! You get the picture. Cynical me, I thought to myself, "Yeah, in my case it must stand for 'idiot' for standing here listening to this claptrap. So colleagues soon learned that if I put an "i" in front of my name I was being iRonical.

Lewis 6:02 AM  

@rex -- Spot on review; I'm with you on most every point, yet...

CONS -- Theme answers are a bit flat and I would like to see one or two zingy word-playing clues.

PROS -- Zippy long downs, clean grid, theme that has never been done before, enough resistance to recharge my brain, unusually low double letter count (4) which is my duty as your resident alphadoppeltotter to report, and in MINDBENDER an answer that reminds me of Milo Minderbinder from Catch-22, one of the dearest-to-my-heart novels I've ever read.

And thus, in my view, the PROS easily outweighs the CONS.

Kevin 6:05 AM  

The only people more annoying than people who won't shut up about Game of Thrones are people who won't shut up about how they don't watch Game of Thrones.

Sansa is not a secondary character. She is a major player in every book and season. If millions of people who don't watch hockey or baseball (and weren't around 60 or 80 years ago) are expected to know OTT and ORR every week, or C-list actors like Lena OLIN and ERIQ LaSalle, then SANSA is just fine. It's cool if you don't like the show, but that is not an issue with the clue.

I am somewhat regrettably beginning to recognize the undue crankiness from OFL that I read so much about in the other comments. It seems like Rex has of late gone from taking issue with overall puzzle quality to using this site as a forum to air his many petty grievances. Hoping the trend does not continue.

OffTheGrid 6:48 AM  

I liked the puzzle OK. However, there is a problem with CONCLUSIVEPROOF. The "PRO" part of the answer is actually "PROO".

Mother Superior 6:50 AM  

I am superior because:

I am not interested in Game of Thrones.

I am not interested in sports.

I don't even own a TV.

J. Marshall 6:52 AM  

The irony here is that these reviews generally follow a con-pro pattern - picking apart the negatives before noting any positives (on the occasions, that is, when something positive is said; otherwise, it's just a big con - lol)

Not a criticism. Just an observation

amyyanni 7:02 AM  

Sometimes when doing a puzzle, I find myself wondering what you all will be posting about it. Today, very much in agreement with @chefwen's last paragraph. And since @Kevin seems to have put the kibosh on mentioning GOT whether one watched/read it or not, I'll just agree with @Lewis that Catch 22 is a wonderful book (as is Something Happened).

Hungry Mother 7:04 AM  

Still in Central PA, but leaving for the Delaware seashore after breakfast. Nice offering this morning, first thing. Haven’t even left the bed yet.

QuasiMojo 7:10 AM  

Remember SANSABELT? I was thinking I could use a pair lately. Ho Hum puzzle. Too many small words and abbreviations. And some clues felt perfunctory. Jet Powered? Were we supposed to think 747s are AVIAN? Pizza size? LARGE? Oof. On to the next.

Hungry Mother 7:16 AM  

I love TRON and the Queen of the North. Great stuff.

kitshef 7:22 AM  

Not a very satisfying experience. Though it was easy enough, the cross of AMAJ with ATEMPO hits one of my pet peeves – crossing clues from the same area of knowledge. Don’t cross two musical clues, or two baseball clues, or two geography clues, etc.

Also, I will be very, very happy when the time comes – a two weeks or so from now – when no one thinks Game of Thrones clues are worthy of inclusion in crosswords (hi, Kevin!). Stick to the classics.

Jack 7:29 AM  

Rex, bit too contrary for the sake of contrariness.

You are alas not the arbiter of what pop culture hits the zeitgeist - and the zeitgeist is fair game for the crossword...

three of clubs 7:54 AM  

Decided to learn something instead of just complaining. Here's a start:

Symphony No. 1 Op. 21 C Major
Symphony No. 2 Op. 36 D Major
Symphony No. 3 Op. 55 E Flat Major
Symphony No. 5 Op. 67 C Minor
Symphony No. 6 Op. 68 F Major
Symphony No. 7 Op. 92 A Major
Symphony No. 4 Op. 60 B Flat Major
Symphony No. 8 Op. 93 F Major
Symphony No. 9 Op. 125 D Minor

One can remember the keys using the mnemonic Can Daddy Eat candies For A Breakfast Feast. damn!

Moving on to Mozart's 68 symphonies next.

Joe R. 7:59 AM  

Sorry, Rex, but you’re so, so wrong. SANSA is a “secondary character” in GOT the way Han Solo is a secondary character in Star Wars, which is to say not at all. She is one of the most pivotal characters, so much of the action revolves around her. She shows the most character growth of just about anyone in the show. She appears more than most characters, and the show both starts and ends with her and her family. You can complain because you’re one of the seventeen people who didn’t like GOT, but don’t minimize the importance of a major character just because you choose not to watch/read it.

GILL I. 8:07 AM  

I am a GoT Head and proud of it. The cinematography was sensational. My only disappointment was that Arya didn't behead Cersei and that the dragon didn't lay at least one more egg. I'm hoping that every single character on GoT appears in all of my puzzles. So take that, all of you Alou fans...you know what to do with it. I'm beginning to find that Tuesday is my favorite day for puzzling. Will he or will he not like it...Hmmm. He will never like it no matter what. Then I go around looking for the things that make heads explode. AHA...so today it's because the CONS come before the PROS. Didn't phase me a bit.
I really liked Jake's cluing - especially for the SKUNK. SKUNK's can make good pets. You have to de-stink them but when you look at their faces, they are pretty cute.
So, @Rex...I'm thinking you've watched all of the "South Park" series and have no qualms about including KYLE and Kenny or Stan and Eric? My favorite is Wendy Testaburger and I'm hoping she appears here one day.
By the way, we own four TV's and proud of it. We are also happy that our CONTENT PROVIDER includes Netflix and YouTube. Now to check on @jae's "The Good Place."

Weeze 8:11 AM  

Many people have no problems with the inclusion of pop culture references that they know while objecting to the inclusion of pop culture references that they don’t know. That’s very narrow minded.

pabloinnh 8:15 AM  

I thought this was fun enough. Any puzzle with UNBIRTHDAY is a good puzzle, probably. Has this ever appeared before?

Not a GOT guy, it's something I didn't know, now I do, and it will be useful later. What's so annoying about that?

Agree with those who love Catch 22. When I lived in Spain for a year, it was about the only book I had in English, so I pretty much memorized it. All still too true.

Hey @mericans--how about PROmotional CONsiderations? Yeah, I know--way too long.

More fun reading the comments today than OFL's peptic screed. No news there.

Thanks for a nice Tuesday, JH. Liked it.

mmorgan 8:21 AM  

I enjoyed this (as I do most puzzles). Yes, the CONS before the PROS was a bit off, but in its defense, all the themers are constructed this way. It made me think of COINTELPRO which, luckily, doesn’t quite fit the pattern.

I never watched that Game of Thrones show but I don’t make a big deal about it (and actually, I’ve never heard anybody I know talk about it at all), but SANSA was easy enough to get from crosses. Happy UNBIRTHDAY to (I assume) most of you today!

Nancy 9:03 AM  

Very, very clever and well-executed theme answers. All familiar phrases, with nothing forced. And unusually imaginative clueing for a Tuesday, too. I loved the clues for HIDE (42A); OIL (38D); and especially EIEIO (32D). Some answers provoked curiosity along the way -- always a good thing. What kind of tough puzzle was a MIN-B-----? Some sort of MINI? What sort of 364-day-a-year celebration was a UNB-------? (It's been AGES since I read "Through the Looking Glass".) Many small "Ahas" when the answers came in -- very unusual on a Tuesday. So this was an unusual treat for a Tuesday.

I've avoided GoT just as assiduously as Rex has and probably for the same reasons. Why anyone wants to immerse themselves in all that unpleasantness with all those thoroughly unpleasant people (and non-people, I gather) is simply beyond me. I didn't know what's-her-face at 4D, either. But that doesn't mean that I didn't really like the puzzle.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Your feelings about "SANSA" are similar to this millennial's feelings about the Beatles puzzle of the week.

Hartley70 9:13 AM  

Speaking of RATSO Rizzo, I was yesterday and what a strange coincidence that is.

@Gill outrage looks good on you, as does everything else including gauchos, and I’m in total agreement.

The CON/PRO issue didn’t bother me, but the themers didn’t exactly tickle me either. That’s actually how I feel about SANSA. The girl’s life was seriously tough, but a sense of humor would have made her more loveable.

I’m curious how an English prof can disregard any literature that inspires millions to pick up a book and read. That was the rationale my parents used for my weekly allotment of comic books in the fifties and it worked for me. I think Harry Potter and GOT feed more young book lovers into the university English Department pipeline. Why bite the hand that feeds you?

thfenn 9:29 AM  

I enjoyed this one, though it took me longer than my average Tuesday. Fine with GOT references, even if I'm among the non-watchers. Also fine with CON preceding PRO given that's how the theme answers work. Didn't like PRO in PROOF not being a syllable, or sounding like PRO, if anything bugged me at all. I mean, so much else could've worked, including, oh, CONTAINSPROTEIN. But still, a fun Tuesday, that was a little more of a MINDBENDER for me than usual. Hard not to enjoy completing it...

RooMonster 9:35 AM  

Hey All !
OOF! That was where my one-letter DNF happened! The F, of all things! Had an H there for OOH. Son of a gun.

CONS and PROS. Nice. Two rows of four-threes, and still only 13 of them. Not enough to ANNOY.

Liked puz overall. Simple theme, in the know phrases. Local TV stations? - CONVENTIONAL PROGRAMMING. Har. But that's 23 letters.

The complaint about the NW corner is sorta kinda valid, but when something is hip and now, ala GoT, it's gonna get in a puz. It's funny that OFL complained about it, he says it could've been more jazzy, but then he complains about corners like that being scrabble-@#%!ed. Good stuff.

As for TuesPuzs, this one wasn't a MIND BENDER, nor a MOANER, but a nice one. Time to go celebrate my UN-BIRTHDAY.


Oscar the G-Man 9:47 AM  

@Kevin: None of those annoyances are more annoying than people who complain about Rex's opinions but continue to read his blog...and then continue to complain about it. I know, I know...these posts about complainers are annoying too...but if people would just leave or take matters into their own hands and stop reading the blog if it annoys them so much, these posts would dry up in a heartbeat. He's a college professor...if you've ever been to college you know that "critical thinking" is a thing in college and Rex's blog is basically every college English professor I ever had.

That said, GoT is just as much a part of our contemporary times as Seinfeld was in the 90s. Same with Friends, Arrested Development, Star Wars movies, Star Trek movies, South Park, etc. I didn't watch the show, but it's fair game. I suppose I could complain about the names of characters of GoT because of the spellings, but then I do struggle with the spelling of the princess from Star Wars every damn time it's in a grid. I guess that's what makes those names so puzzly. GoT names do come close to rapper names in their "made-up-ness," but still, it's a show a LOT of my friends watched and they lord it over me the same way I lorded Arrested Development over them. Turn about's fair play.

Crimson Devil 9:57 AM  

Enjoy comments re Gauchos, Catch-22, and Alou. Puz, not so much. What, no baseball today?

jberg 10:03 AM  

The reason CONS and PROS are reversed in the revealer is that they are reversed in the theme answers, of course -- and as @'mericans was pointing out, it's a lot harder to reverse them. Not sure why that is. PROBLEM CONSUMER? PROFESSED CONSUL? OK, that's weird -- don't ave time to think of more.

Like @Runs with Scissors, I thought LAIC was a pro, not a con.

Hey, NEHRU again! Also, same word in the puzzle and the mini again.

OK, I've got to cut this short, as my wife wants me to drive her to work.

Musical keys always have M as the second letter (unless they are more than 4 letters), so there's that.

J.B.P. 10:11 AM  

First time commenter, longtime lurker -- but I wanted to say that also think the PROS of this puzzle easily outweigh the CONS. This felt like one of the most original puzzle I've seen in my two years of doing the puzzle. I also liked the subtlety of the revealer -- the theme was clever enough that it didn't need a big flashy revealer.

Also, sorry Rex but you're off on SANSA. As others pointed out she's one of the central characters in the show/books. You're welcome to not like the franchise, but she's is definitely fair game for a Tuesday.

Wood 10:25 AM  

Never watched GOT but still knew SANSA after getting a few crosses...due to all the unavoidable hype around the end of the series. Pay attention, Rex. I recommend Entertainment Tonight.

David 10:27 AM  

I liked this. Thank you Jake for getting the 7th running in my head, of course it's in A Major. And thank you for being one of the few crossword constructors who clues musical terminology correctly, I usually groan/laugh at the answers.

BEST clue EVER for eieio also!

Lewis Carroll too. Mindbending.

Boy Scouts taught me dit dah, don't know what any fuss is about. Likewise I'm fine with con before pro, perhaps because I've been stuck in a constant "con" mode for a bit over 2 years now.

Don't do much pop culture outside of music, but it does exist and doesn't annoy me. I think probably Emeril is less well known than Sansa, who I got only on crosses. Hey, people lead different lives. Get over it.

Looking back over the puzzle I don't see anything close to dreck.

@Runs with Scissors: with you all the way on "laic", a wonderful word.

kitshef 10:29 AM  

I suspect my dislike for contemporary pop culture clues is colored by the fact that I do a lot of old puzzles from the archives. A clue like "Assistant DA ____ Cahill of Walker, Texas Ranger", while it may have made sense for a puzzle in 1999, is basically useless today. We need a period of a couple of decades to know what trivia will seep in to the public consciousness (e.g. Bea Arthur in the Golden Girls) and what will disappear into the ether (e.g. Ted Lawson in Small Wonder).

Ω 10:31 AM  

Rex is just wrong about SANSA and that corner. LAIC, EURO, and, to a lesser degree, TRON are all better fill than his “improvement.” And while I agree with his GoT critique, it is ubiquitous and far more current than SANkA. @Joe R’s Star Wars comparison is much more apt than Rex’s. Luke, Obi Wan, Han, Chewbacca, Leia, R2D2, C3PO, Darth Vader, the Top Eight and all part of the zeitgeist even if you hate the movies. We all just might as well resign ourselves that SANSA, Arya, John Snow, Ned Stark, and Cersei will be making grid appearances. Tyrion, Jaime, and Daenerys not so much because their letters aren’t as useful.

@three of clubs - Or, you know, just know that the second letter is M, get the third or fourth whenever the cross gives you the other, and know that the first letter will be A, B, C, D, E, F, or G. That process, along with the longer blank M blank blank OR process, takes mere picoseconds.

@Runs - That taxing vice is more efficient and less socially destructive than trying to ban vice?

Andrew Heinegg 10:36 AM  

Great post;

Steve Collins 10:44 AM  

Oh, Rex. You’re just getting cranky. Perhaps you need a sabbatical. Take a break. Chill. Just do sudoku for 6 months and come back refreshed.

relicofthe60s 10:57 AM  

So let me get this straight. Puzzles need te be current, but a major character from a major television series is not an acceptable entry because you and your wife quit the books and the series. If you want to be hip, stick to obscure rappers and sitcom characters. Sheesh!

ghkozen 11:05 AM  

I'm glad that it's unfair in a puzzle to ask about more than the top three most famous baseball players of all time. Or about Ron Weasley, who's certainly not a top-four most important character in Harry Potter. I'm glad Rex sticks to his guns and condemns that unfair fill as well.

Klazzic 11:05 AM  

Seems like a lot of the commentariat stubbed their toe getting out of bed this morning. e
Puzzle was meh, but had some charm to it. I'm with the anti-GOT folks. Bunch of crap. Puzzle reminded me of that old bromide, "If pro is the opposite of con, what's the opposite of progress? Answer: Mitch McConnell.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

I am so annoyed by the folks who LOVE to say how much they hate GOT with out actually reading the books or watching the show. It is well crafted, and in a world where the pop culture is mostly aimed at children, it is refreshingly written for adults. It also broke the fantasy mold by not falling into the Tolkienesque dichotomy of good vs. evil. Every character in that world is somewhere on a continuum between those two points.

I am however equally annoyed whenever I am expected to know anything about Harry Potter. As a GenXer I was well and truly grown when that whole thing started. Had no reason to read the books or watch the movies since they are for CHILDREN.

I have no problem with the fact that the NYT thinks that everyone should have a bit of knowledge about Tolkien's works since the books are written to be enjoyed by anyone. The movies are monstrosities.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Any kind soul out there willing to PDF a copy of today’s puzzle? Hard copy paper didn’t come and I like to do these at lunch time. Mikemcf33@yahoo.com. Thanks in advance. Mike

FrankStein 11:51 AM  

Tron was a total dud when it debuted. Hardly a Sci-Fi classic.

Carola 11:58 AM  

For me, the elegant construction and the great long Downs outweighed the lack of zing in the theme answers.

@QuasiMojo - SANSAbelt! LOL!

Gaffeuse 12:11 PM  

I guess I won't need to watch the rest of the series now. Tx.

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

"Dreary" sums it up perfectly. A completely joyless puzzle. Finished quickly but took no pleasure in it. Did take pleasure in Klazzic's joke, however.

WhatDoing 1:04 PM  

Absence of baseball references makes this one a winner in my book!

Teedmn 1:34 PM  

@Roo, I'm sorry to hear that "Accepting destiny" has made you hATALISTIC! (Sounds like a Taylor Swift song).

Too bad 24A was clued as "Myrtle's sobriquet" so we could fit a Harry Potter clue in too!

The thing that ANNOYs me the most about pop culture clue-answer pairs is when I see the same one over and over AND DON'T REMEMBER it. I haven't come to a conclusion on how many times I have to see the same pair (like how many times you have to introduce broccoli to toddlers) before it sinks into the brain. I suspect that number will go up as my age goes up.

Thanks, Jake and congrats on NYT puzzle #2.

@Gill I, I don't think I'm grumpy yet (but I don't think I've slid into "old age" yet either, except as compared to Annabel). If I find grumpiness encroaching, I will take dog-ownership under advisement (though I think I will not go for the stubborn doxie-poo :_) ).

T. Speaker 1:56 PM  

@WhatDoing (1:04) I think you meant to say that the puzzle "hit a home run" in your book. ;)

tea73 2:00 PM  

What fun, only one sports clue from a sport I actually watch! Big PRO in my book. I've never watched South Park, but KYLE went right in. The GOT books were a bit bloated, especially the last two, but the TV series was brilliant. And no one needs to be embarassed about naming their kid after the kick-ass Sansa. (I do feel a bit sorry for the kids named Kaleesi or Dany though.) Nice shoutout to TED Danson. If you haven't watched The Good Place, go to Netflix now!

I love the mnenomic for the Beethoven symphonies, though I've already forgotten it. I just fill in the "M" and wait for the rest.

Joe Dipinto 2:13 PM  

Wouldn't you agree
Baby, you and me got a
Groovy Kind Of Love

-- The Mindbenders, 1966

I can't think of anything to say about the puzzle. It's adequate for a Tuesday, I guess. I like "unbirthday" as an answer.

@three of clubs 7:54 -- I'm impressed with your mnemonic for the keys of Beethoven's symphonies, but you have No. 4 out of order. Shouldn't it be Can Daddy Eat Breakfast Candies For A Feast - Damn!? (I never remember the key of anything, but in the case of Ludwig's symphonies I know all the Opus Nos. I have no idea why.)

Masked and Anonymous 2:28 PM  

1. Welcome back, Sunshine. Were U at the crossword tournament? How'd it go for U?
2. Yer NW corner re-build violated the First Law of Conservation of U-Vowels. Instead, M&A humbly offers this alternative …

1. No longer tired blog sub Blu'Bel, as of spring, '19
14. Live with the cons and the semi-pros, say
17. Non-pro pest con-trol brand?
1. Flexible, on juice pro-clivities
2. Step up from un-con-ventional
3. Once ___ a time [***21-Down spoiler alert***]
4. Bunch of whizzes

fave cross-pair: SKUNK/UNBIRTHDAY. That alone qualifies this here puz for stardom, IM&AO. Together they're like HOGCALLS on steroids. Toss in that funky {Ain't I a stinker?} clue, and we're talkin A-major rodeo fare. Nice.
staff weeject pick: YOS. Better clue: {"Yo, Eldest Stark daughter!", for short??}. Talk about a potent GoT-cha clue.

Best Ow de Speration: AMAJ. WTS. EIEIO. On the fence, on MCING. Call it i-cing on the tasty cinnamon roll, for m&e.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Halperin. And congratz on NYTPuz #2. U are now a repeat @RP-offender [har].

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Anonymous 2:31 PM  

@Anoa Bob:
The first was the clue for 37D GPS, "How a smartphone knows where it is at." No.

Technically true (I think the LoS requirement might be true), but it is how smartphone users are told by the phone.

At least OFL put his money where his mouth is with a 'better' SANSA. Not that I've ever solved (knowingly) one of his puzzles.

Aketi 3:28 PM  

@GILl I, me too. Although I have grown to like that Arya quit when she was ahead and seemed to be the happiest of them all as she sailed off to adventures in some new world. Turns out Maisie is a full inch taller than I am.

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

As someone who reads upwards of 100 books a year, I gotta say, Game of Thrones was far from boring.


ghostoflectricity 7:25 PM  

Agree about GoT. Never watched it; paint drying would hold more interest for me.

Don of Math 7:34 PM  

Agreed on the theme - answers were good, revealer should have been in the right order.

The Sansa complaint is definitely specifically about not liking Game of Thrones, though; Gimli and Legolas are more minor characters in Lord of the Rings than Sansa is in Game of Thrones, and those have passed by without complaint in recent years.

JC66 9:22 PM  

@GILL I, et al

Dog owners get more exercise.

Burma Shave 9:22 AM  




Diana,LIW 10:19 AM  


I emailed OFL about the button, we'll see if it updates later today.


rondo 10:31 AM  

I’m glad that at least a coupla others remembered SANSAbelt – those polyester trousers with the built-in elastic belt. I certainly never owned a pair, but I’m sure several of my uncles did. As far as the GoT SANSA or anything else GoT, I know only what shows up in xwords and am apparently better off for it. Seems that it all turned out to be a big letdown. I’ll stick to baseball, etc.

And hey, the CONS come before the PROS in the themers so the revealers are pretty much perfect.

MOANER could go so many directions, but LET’S not.

Looks like the only potential yeah baby circle I have is for OLGA Korbut, however I would have gone with OLGA Kurylenko from the ‘Quantum of Solace’ Bond flick. Or my wife.

Liked it more than Rex. Does that make me FATALISTIC?

spacecraft 11:07 AM  

Yeah, this time not even "older post" or "newer post" would work. I had to type in a sample clue (one I hoped would be unique to this puzzle) and hope. The clue for SANSA (what a name; WHO would ever name a child that?) did the trick. I had no idea, of course; never "got" into GOT.

1a: LETS. 5a: let's not. The dreaded RMK--with the equally dreaded RPR lurking in the SE. Plus the OMVS (Old MacDonald vowel string). And MCING, really? And the fill was "mostly just OK??"

Besides being backward, the theme doesn't totally work. All the CON's and PRO's in the long answers are prefixes--until we get to PROOF. Now, had he been able to HIDE the others in words like CONE or PRONE, it would've been impressive. Also, probably, impossible. So then, make them all prefixes. But don't just stick that PROOF there on the end. InCONsistent.

So, despite the wonderful crossing of SKUNK/UNBIRTHDAY, there's way too much to ANNOY here. No doubt whoever played SANSA is probably a DOD candidate--wait, LETS see...OK, it's Sophie Turner, and a head-turner she is. Wear the sash, girl. Maybe I AM missing something... Anyway, bogey.

Diana,LIW 3:11 PM  

Whooray - the syndiebutton is working.

So that's one con out of the way ;-)

Now I'm no longer a MOANER.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for SyndieCats

rainforest 3:13 PM  

So, this was a puzzle that I thought @Rex would like, so I read his commentary on what I thought was a perfectly satisfactory offering for a Tuesday. Wrong, rain-breath (a la M&A)! Humph.

Hey, I gave GoT a shot for 4 episodes (my girlfriend loved it), but unlike Seinfeld, of which I didn't enjoy the first couple of episodes, I had to give it up. Doesn't matter. Millions loved it, and I acknowledge the difference in tastes. Anyway, SANSA was easy to get from the crosses showing that the constructor knew that many wouldn't have a "clue". Apparently, SANSA is just a fact of current culture, like Jay-Z.

The theme was unique and well-done (PRO/PROO, big deal) and the revealer(s) reflected the order of CONS and PROS in the themers. The fill was just fine with some sparkly long downs and a relatively small number of 3s.

Note to self: don't give @Rex another chance.

leftcoast 3:25 PM  

Maybe the CONs come before the PROs because there are more of the former than the latter. Then again, maybe not. Hard to tell.

Two of the themers are internet-related, CONSUMER PROFILE and CONTENT PROVIDER , while CONCLUSIVE PROOF is not. But there is a computer-related mini-theme with GPS, VCHIP, DELETE, HIDE, APP, and maybe MIC. So what to make of that? Not too much, but okay.

One regular ANNOYance is the cluing of NAM as a "60's conflict". First, it was an all-out war, not merely a "conflict". Second, it lasted beyond the 60's well into the 70's. It was a total disaster.

No CONCLUSIVE PROOF here, but I think the CONs have it.

Anonymous 11:15 PM  

Left Coast: Agree with your comments on 'Nam. I guess when the Afghan "conflict" is correctly clued in a future puzzle it will have to be "00's, 10's, & 20's war." Another complete utter disaster.

And should the clue be "Actor Sharif" when the actor is deceased ? Makes one think he is an active actor, rather than a passed actor.

Never watched GOT, but I get that it was all-out popular and is legit fodder for the daily puzzle. Makes puzzles harder for me though.

And I was able to finish despite only a couple sports clues, so thanks to Olga Korbut who got me started on this thing. I think she qualifies as a yeah baby but unfortunately she apparently in her youth was taken advantage of by her coach. But she has persevered and become a revered figure in the history of gymnastics. She is truly a living legend.

Signed - another left coaster.

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