Game cube / TUES 6-25-19 / Beyond the horizon / Tower-building game / Daredevil Knievel

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Hello, and happy Tuesday! Hope everyone is having a great start to the week. My week started off significantly better than it would have if the U.S. women's national soccer team had been upset by Spain yesterday. Phew! What a game. I'm pretty sure my heart is still pounding 10 hours later. (Also, how great is Megan Rapinoe? I picked a pretty good jersey to buy myself!) The World Cup is bringing me back to my youth soccer days, and I love it. But, this go-around, I get to watch from my air-conditioned apartment, which, in this hot and humid D.C. summer, I'm quite thankful for.

Constructor: Alex Eaton-Salners

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte — The title of this painting by Georges Seurat is spelled out across the puzzle, emulating pointillism.

Theme answers:
  • POINTILLISM (24A: Technique employed in the painting hidden in this puzzle)
  • GEORGES SEURAT (56A: Artist who created the painting hidden in this puzzle)
Word of the Day: NASL (17A: Org. for the New York Cosmos)
The North American Soccer League (NASL) is a professional men's soccer league headquartered in New York City. The league has been on hiatus since completing the 2017 season. The modern NASL was founded in 2009, and began play in 2011 with eight teams, following a 2010 season that saw NASL and USL teams play in a combined temporary Division II league. (Wikipedia)
• • •
I'm not really sure what to make of this puzzle. It's clever to use the dots in conjunction with pointillism, but I don't think it totally worked. I thought it was a well-intentioned big idea that was new. And, I do like new. But, the dots made things confusing, and I couldn't get it out of my head that the dots made the puzzle look like it had chicken pox. I also couldn't bring myself to care that the title of the painting was hidden in the puzzle. It didn't help with the solve, and it seemed like an afterthought to me.

I figured out the pointillism piece of the puzzle pretty easily, but it did take me a good minute of staring at my computer before I realized that POINTILLISM is spelled with two "l's" and not just the one. (Even typing this right now, I keep trying to spell it incorrectly. Thank goodness for spell check!)

(Side note: Did anyone else have problems with the New York Times app when they were solving? I wanted to do the puzzle on my phone at first, but the app wasn't letting me type anything. Weird.)

Overall, I didn't think the puzzle was that hard. The fill was somewhat basic, and, even with some longer downs than usual, it wasn't too tough to solve. I thought there were a few weird clues/answers that made it significantly harder, though. I have two bones to pick in particular. The first is the cross of 37D and 43A. I definitely feel like 43A: Impart could have been "send" instead of LEND, and I had no idea what the 37D Chess rating system was — apparently ELO. So, I paused there for a while. Also, I don't think the 53D clue: What the French pronounce "Louis" with that the English do not and its answer — LONG E — make sense at all. I know what the clue was trying to do, but it makes no sense because English people still pronounce "Louis" with a LONG E, just like the French do. I mean, Louis Armstrong. Louis Tomlinson (sue me, I like One Direction). Heck, even one of Kate Middleton and Prince William's kids is named Louis, and it's pronounced with a LONG E. So, that didn't work for me.

I also found NFL STAR for 49A pretty bland. I thought the pun in 27A: What's far from fair as ANI fell a bit flat, and it took me way too long to realize what 54A: First small bit of progress was getting at — ATOB. And, I did have some trouble in the bottom middle section with NUI, TED, and SUET all giving me some pause.

There were points (so to speak) of the puzzle that I did like. There seemed to be a lot of foreign words/elements in the puzzle, which brought a different flavor to the table. Like, NYET, BINDI, DEJA, FORTE, NUI, CHERIE, STE, JENGA, EINE, and NOOR. The interesting words made things a bit punchier.

  • I can't see TORT (60D) in a puzzle and not acknowledge it — so, thanks, law school! Torts was definitely my favorite class in my first year.
  • I only sort of remember the NASL (17A), and that's mostly because the legend himself, Pele, played for them. Man alive, what I wouldn't give to have had the chance to watch him play.
  • My sister convinced me to read the ANNE of Green Gables series when I was younger, and those books are truly delightful. If you've never read them, do yourself a favor and start reading them ASAP. 
  • I like seeing Willem DAFOE (63A) pop up in a puzzle because I think he's awesome. And also because I'd really love to somehow live in a Wes Anderson movie like "Grand Budapest Hotel." So many colors!
  • I've never had plum pudding, but based on the definition of SUET (58A), I'm not sure that I'm missing all that much...
Have a great week!

Signed, Clare Carroll, happy soccer fan

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Runs with Scissors 1:28 AM  

Interesting, mostly fun puzzle. Solving was a good experience. After about 15 seconds I ignored the dots; agree they were distracting and I never pay much attention to themes and/or metas.

I've indulged in CUBAN Cohibas in the past, along with non-Cuban Cohibas. The non-Cuban ones, being legal, were fresher and not as biting. I gave up the vice many moons ago.

NASL was just weird. Kept seeing NASaL, evoking various Willie Nelson tunes.

Gotta respect people who climb into airplanes just to see what will go wrong with them. TEST PILOTS are an insane bunch of adrenaline junkies, but necessary ones.

Chortled at OVARY as egg shell.

I've heard of JENGA, never played it.

First learned Easter Island is Rapa NUI in an Orson Scott Card novel.

If anyone can find something to carp about in this puzzle (other than the dots), you take puzzles too seriously.

Mark,in Mickey's North 40

Harryp 2:09 AM  

Okay puzzle, but when I finished, I didn't even try to connect the dots. The last one of these we had, the dots were a picture of a butterfly. This one, they spelled the name of the artist's painting. Yeah, like I said, Okay.

chefwen 2:54 AM  

I didn’t get dots, I got annoying little circles Hi @Nancy. Actually, I like the little circles, although they didn’t help me with the puzzle. I had to piece it together after I was done. I have seen this painting “up close and personal” and I still had to piece it together like a jigsaw puzzle after all was said and done. Liked it and the painting a lot. Great Tuesday puzzle.

nicname 3:27 AM  

For the first time ever, I actually used the theme (i.e. dots/letters) to help me solve parts of the puzzle that were difficult (for me). Mostly it was pretty easy tho, and fun.

What She Said 4:25 AM  

So, I’m with @rexparker on this one.

You know how Mandy Patinkin was once cast as the male lead in a musical, but didn’t sing a single note, even after “Sunday in the Park with George”? #nytxw is starting to feel like that.

There’s so much proven talent sitting just outside the (*cough*) spotlight...

Loren Muse Smith 4:26 AM  

I bet the reaction to this will be fairly polarized. The sheer number (42) of circles will put people in a snit from the get-go. Not me; I like circles just fine. But the painting/fine arts theme scared me at first because I don’t really “get” Art. I can know I prefer Georges de la Tour to Monet and just call it a day.

But I tell you – I looked up the painting and then the new-to-me POINTILLISM and was fascinated. Who knew you could make such a charming image with a bunch of little dots? I guess the guys at Pixar did, huh? I mean, Seurat’s genius had to have paved the way for pixels? I tried to google this but saw it would take all day to get an answer.

I put myself out there as a constructor even though I’ve pretty much thrown in the towel, what with all the rejection letters I get. Not even one Will likes this idea, so could you blah blah? Nope. Just a polite little theme didn’t excite Will… note. (And I’m still stung by his rejection of a Sunday Gareth Bain and I submitted that I thought was a slam-dunk, but I digress. Bitterly.) Anyhoo, I can speak to how hard it is to fill a grid, where every single letter has to work two ways. Today’s grid has 42 letters that have to work THREE ways. BRAVO, Alex!

@nicname – Me, too, for using the circles to help with the solve. Case in point: the L in LEND. I had had “send.”

My entire solve came to a halt when I saw the clue for TAKE OUT. Oh. My. God. How cool is that.

I like to take in take-out.
The passengers carry off carry-ons.
Playboy’s editor must pin down pin-ups.

I actually have an issue with the clue for JENGA. It’s not a tower-building game; it’s a tower-preserving game. The union is there, all neatly built and sturdy. Over the course of the game, you systematically remove elements to see how long the structure can maintain its integrity before it collapses.

LONG E and FORTE. These two entries took me in one fell swoop to the problematic chaise lounge. Or chaise longue. Which is it, and how do you say it? (Same problem with /fort/ or fortay/.) The “correcter” I guess is chaise longue (long chair), but because the French longue anagrams to English lounge and because it’s such a serendipitous anagram for this “long” or “lounge” chair, most people say /shehze lownge/ or /chase lownge/. But if you know that it’s supposed to be /shehze lohng/, do you say it that way and have people think you’re dumb? Do you say art is not your /fort/ and risk people’s judgment? Being a devil-may-care linguist is exhausting if you’re a two-faced little hypocrite like me. Decisions, decisions.

One last thing you probably don’t care about: USED TO. So if you think about it, you could argue that in this phrase, the “ed” part has pretty much disappeared in spoken English, and everyone says “use to.” Not so fast:

Here is the blanket I used to sleep with when I was little. (“use to”)
Here is the blanket I used to cover my bag of Fritos when my mother-in-law walked in. (“used to”)

Put that one in your pipe and smoke it.

Alex – we all approach solving with different goals. Mine normally is just to be entertained and to be shown things that make me think about language. Today you showed me something that led me to learn something about art. I absolutely loved this puzzle, loved learning about SEURAT and POINTILLISM. Thanks, man.

btgrover 6:02 AM  

Jenga is not a tower building game, it’s a tower collapsing game. Terrible clueing there. Otherwise no gripes, easy solve today, and as a Sondheim fan, always happy to see Seurat get some love.

Carola 6:15 AM  

I thought this was superb variation on a tribute puzzle, a stroke of grid genius to have the painting appear in pointillist form. The painting is a favorite stop for my husband and me whenever we visit the Art Institute in Chicago, so the combination of the pinpoint dots in the grid with the initial A-S-U-N tipped me off to the theme, and I went ahead and wrote in the rest of the title....except, oops, I first went with ISLe and neglected the LA on first pass. Also had to correct POINTILLISt (I thought POINTILLISM had an -e). Super Tuesday, Alex.

Lewis 6:25 AM  

I loved the theme-echoing BINDI.

I did not see the note, not because I purposely avoid puzzle notes, but I just must have zipped the image on my screen to a place where the note was hidden. Missing the note led to a lovely aha, which I'll explain.

I went into solving mode, not focusing on the dots so much because they didn't disturb my solve. When POINTILLISM appeared I figured the dots would make an after-puzzle picture meant to be drawn. The solve itself was relatively smooth, but not wham-bam-Tuesday smooth, due to six answers that were either out of or in the nether reaches of my wheelhouse. After the solve I looked at the dots, and intuitively started spelling words with the dotted letters horizontally, and with the lovely aforementioned aha, the painting title became clear. Had I read the note in the beginning, I believe the dots would have helped my solve.

Being that this was on the harder end of Tuesday, IMO, with a slight bump up in cluing difficulty, and with NO NOTE, this would have made for an excellent Wednesday puzzle. In any case, wonderful idea and execution, Alex. For me, a very sweet solve, the icing being that I love Seurat. Thank you!

Steve 6:27 AM  

I'll bet Rex's head just exploded when he did this puzzle, and he had to ask Claire to step in... Thanks Claire! LOL

JOHN X 6:40 AM  

Yes, I did this puzzle . . .

. . . but I was mostly thinking of SUZY Q and her reaction to my Monday comments about AGENAS.

Here we are on a Tuesday and I'm writing "SUZY Q" in my notebook during Social Studies, and also writing SUZY Q +JOHN X but with a lot of red valentines.

Quit teasing my heart, SUZY Q

Dave 6:49 AM  

Funny how you can tell it isn't Rex from the get go by the chipper tone!!

Hungry Mother 6:53 AM  

Took awhile to get the first letter of LEND, but not bad overall. No way I was going to do anything with the points, so it was wasted on me.

QuasiMojo 6:54 AM  

I fell for the ESO/SEND trap. Thanks Clare for making me feel better about it. Also put in EVER MORE SO, and NHL STAR. Didn't we have another puzzle a year or so ago with the same painting? Or was it the Scream? I can't say I get the endless fascination with this particular painting. Can't wait to see if Joe DiPinto puts up lyrics from Nilsson's "The Point!"

JJ 7:06 AM  

I solved on an iPad and had no dots. I had no idea what they were referring to, yet had an easy solve.
I was fortunate to watch Pele at Yankee Stadium when he played for the NASL Cosmos. That team also had Germany's best sweeper, Beckenbauer, and a great #9 Chinaglia, from Italy. It's a shame that the league folded.

kitshef 7:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
pabloinnh 7:23 AM  

I knew the painter and the painting and stopped with the point to point spelling after three letters, meaning I now have to get to work earlier (chores). Not quite a stunt puzzle, more like your uncle pulls a quarter out of your ear puzzle, but still good fun. Also learned the double l of pointillism. News to me.

Big soccer fan here and rooting for the USWNT, but living in Patriots country as I do I understand the desire of many in other countries to see them go down. Nobody likes Goliath.

Thanks for a fun start to the day, AE-S. I bet you put a lot of work into this one.

kitshef 7:25 AM  

Squint as I might, I can’t get that grid to look like the painting in question, which is a minor strike against the puzzle.

Lots of short choppy fill which is sort of appropriate given the theme.

Remembered it was a LEO that met Atilla, but not which one so LEO VI messed me up for a while. Also remembered Koh-i-NOOR from the last time it appeared in a puzzle – must be in the last six months. I was unhappy about it then and am again now.

But despite those nits I enjoyed the solve. Some fill you might expect later in the week like BINDI and NOOR, and corners full of rhymes (ANNE/CYAN, JETT/LET, TORT/FORTE (hi, LMS), BRAVO/DAFOE).

JJK 7:50 AM  

Can someone explain ATOB to me? I googled it but my husband, a computer scientist, says it makes no sense as an answer to the clue. He knows the term and would not use it this way. And for an ordinary person, this is really obscure. The rest of the puzzle was fun and easy.

Nancy 8:04 AM  

Wow. A couple of Saturday-ish (or at least Friday-ish) clues on a Tuesday in "What's far from fair?" and "Cover of night?" Love when that happens. And I liked the theme, which reminded me of the wonderful Sondheim musical "Sunday in the Park with George." Go to YouTube, you unfortunate people who never saw it, and see if you can find a video of the title song "Sunday" and the haunting "Move On". You'll want to see a performance of the former, not just listen to an album.

Back to the puzzle: two big write-overs: ELOI before TROI at 38A (all these sci-fi races, creatures, persons and ETs melt into one giant blob); and ALL STAR before NFL STAR, which gave me that fearsome "harbor hazard" -- the dreaded LOG.

I loved the puzzle and I even forgave it the annoying tiny little dots. I knew someone else would do the grunt work and spell it all out for me, and, happily, someone did.

Crimson Devil 8:08 AM  

Have admired Seurat since first encountered.
Also admire this construct; I don’t think I could construct a puzzle.
BRAVO cluing with PJS, and ATE.

Robert Grady 8:13 AM

Clueless 8:16 AM  

Just got ATOB. Didn’t get it until I silently read aloud your comment.

“A” to “B”

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

JJK - try scanning it as letter A to letter B

Mo-T 8:22 AM  

I had fun solving this one, especially since a dragged the dotted letters out at the bottom of the puzzle (much as I do with an acrostic to try to figure out the author and title and get hints to the words I haven't yet sussed out).

Once, when I had a particularly antsy student, she used to create pointillism in her notebook. Tap Tap Tap.

But I'm sorta brain dead this morning. Can someone explain 27A "ani" and 54A "atob"?

Thank you, Alex Eaton-Salners.

Declan 8:43 AM  

I do think of Jenga as a tower building game. You take out blocks, but you then add them to the top. You are making the tower taller but less dense.

Nancy 8:49 AM  

Here's the link to the Broadway performance of "Sunday". First comes an ad and then some extraneous dialogue. Start viewing the clip at 56 seconds in. If you have headphones, use them: it's very hard to hear in parts. Sunday

Amy 8:51 AM  

I solved in print and with a pen, and once I had it filled in it was hard to see which squares had the dots haha. so i had to work backwards from the title of the painting.

mmorgan 8:56 AM  

I opened the puzzle to see a flood of circles (using Across Lite, on my iPad). I almost never like puzzles with circles. So I started with a sense of dread and dismay and resignation.

I started out, as always, in the NW. I filled in most of that corner and noticed 24A. From POI--- alone, I instantly knew what was going on, and I proceeded to fill in every circle, and nothing else in the puzzle, except for 24A and 56A. It looked somewhat strange and interesting with only the circled letters filled in. But then I had to go fill in the rest of the puzzle, which was enormously anticlimactic and not the most fun I've ever had.

I didn't know about the dot version until I got here. I think that would have felt more appropriate, but still weird.

I had the profound pleasure of seeing Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters in the original B'way production of 'Sunday in the Park.' Extraordinary.

I always appreciate the guest bloggers but I'm also always left wondering what Rex would have said.

Crimson Devil 9:02 AM  

Subtract f a r from fair, and you get AN I.
Small progress is going from A TO B.

StevieO 9:03 AM  

I think it means going from "A TO B" as a first step.

Sir Hillary 9:15 AM  

Didn't care for the puzzle, but I've always been a (non-aficionado) fan of Seurat's. Pointillism in his day must have been a fascinating technique -- these days, anyone with a computer program can pixelate. What's great about Seurat is that, in addition to his famous pointillism, he created many amazing pencil drawings. And all before his death at age 31 -- a bit like George Gershwin in that regard.

JJK 9:16 AM  

Oy of course! Feel like an idiot. We thought it was ASCII to binary - guess we just didn’t parse it right and then we over-thought it.

GILL I. 9:22 AM art. AND Seurat. Who else? The Father of POINTILLISM. I knew the little dots would refer to his A Sunday Afternoon since that's his most famous. Saved me the trouble of following the bouncing ball.
One of my art teachers loved Seurat and spent endless hours explaining how incredibly difficult it was to form little dots into a figure. You try it...I did. Not my thing. I am, though, in awe of a Spanish artist named Pablo Ruiz who does pointillism with such flair, that you'd never know he has to do thousands of little tats just to make a scarf look real. I like reinventing the wheel and Seurat did just that. Up your nose Van Gogh.
Kinda liked seeing CUBAN and its cigars. Dad was an H. Upmann smoker. I think JFK was a Cohiba. All illegal in this US of A. I could buy them in Canada and smuggle them in for dear ole dad.
Plum pudding has 13 ingredients. 12 for the Apostles and one for Jesus. The Brits traditionally make it for Christmas. SUET is the fat that holds the pudding know like the lard your grandmother USED to make her apple pie crust. It's quite delicious but it is labor intensive (like SEURAT)...
Nice Tuesday, Alex. I like new and this was new. Happy it involved art.

ghthree 9:31 AM  

I'm not a computer scientist, just a computer engineer. But ATOB, as several comments have pointed out is a first step toward Z. I'm reminded of Robert Benchley's remark (in "My ten years in a Quandary and How they Grew"):

"I am known as a wit and raconteur from one end of the country to just a little bit beyond the same end."

(I don't remember the actual accolade Benchley assigned himself, but that's close enough.)

Mo-T 9:40 AM  

DOH! Thanks, @Crimson Devil 9:02.

I couldn't get away from "a tob." HUH? And I was completely dense about "ani."


jberg 9:51 AM  

Working from the top, I got slightly past POINTILLISM (which has 3 Is, Claire!) before I noticed the note. Solving in the paper, I was washed over by a wave of terror that some of my lettering had obscured the dots beyond recognition -- which was the case with the second A in ASIAN, but I could figure that out, since it was obviously A SUNDAY... someplace (I've seen the painting, but could not remember the exact title -- and even when I did was thinking "JeTTE." So the rest of my solving experience got a bit tedious as I kept looking for the dots and trying to fill them in while I could still see them. The theme helped quite a lot with that -- esp. GEORGES SEURAT, but lots of the dotted letters, too.

I never thought of the link between the dots and POINTILLISM, though, so thanks, Claire, for pointing it out!

I played chess for many years, but couldn't remember ELO, so Thank God for ISLAND.

Kind of a neat trick, but not that much fun to solve - would have been more fun with circles, or shaded squares, or anything that would stay visible more reliably.

Canon Chasuble 9:52 AM  

Louis Armstrong always pronounced his name as Lewis. My Iowa Grandfather Louis always pronounced his name as do the French.
Go figure. A brilliant and wonderfully evocative puzzle. Have just moved to Chicago and planned a visit for later this week to the Art Institute
And the Suerat is the the first on my list to see. What a happy coincidence.

Rita 10:02 AM  

I had the same thought about Jenga as others here, but then I didn’t know you are supposed to add the removed block to the top of the tower. Someone needs to explain this to this dog.

Zwhatever 10:04 AM  

Was wondering why we had all these dots cluttering the grid for too many precious nanoseconds for this payoff. I get @LMS’s POINT about the construction difficulty, but as a solver it just didn’t work in any particularly interesting way.

JENGA starts off as a brutalist tower that the players then improve upon by the creative use of negative space. So definitely a tower building game.

LONG E? Seems to me that “What the French pronounce” is a LONG I. There’s no E in “Louis.” That the long vowel E is spelt I in French seems to have escaped everyone’s notice. I knew what the clue writer was going for (we say “Lewis” they say “Looey”) but the way the clue is written is wrong. Wrong! I say.

David 10:31 AM  

Oh my. I opened the Times app on my pad and thought something was wrong with my eyes (hey, I'm old enough to have seen Pele play and I wore his NY Cosmos tee shirt for far too long). What are all those little dots on my screen? I ignored them (doing acrosses first, as usual) until I got to 24A--dots, technique, painting--Pointillism, what else? Then ignored them again for the rest of the solve and beyond.

"ani" and "longe" I just shrugged at until I got here. I dislike the "the answer is a letter in the clue" things intensely. Yeah: "Louie Louie, oh no, you take me where ya gotta go". My specialty is concert music and I speak French, so I know the different meanings and pronunciations of that word which looks the same in both languages but isn't, and use either one correctly.

I'm only dimly aware of Jenga. Had to get it from the downs and, coming here, I'm reminded what it is.

Nice solid fill mostly, done as a themeless salute to Georges Seurat. Thanks Alex.

Claire, I'm as excited by our team as you even though, as the French said, "it's just the women". There's a reason the word we use is "chauvinism". A true fan, you would have loved seeing Pele play and also been as distressed as I that the NASL added weird rules from Hockey to American Soccer. That's when I got the confirmation that Americans like to be "world" champions of games they don't have to play against many other nations. So I was actually relieved when they went away and, over the years, real football came back to us. By the way, back then expressing support even for the hockey infused "soccer" could get one labeled a "commie" because, as I was told, "it's a game they play in those commie countries". Honestly.

John V 10:42 AM  

Could not print normally from Times web page.

Hack mechanic 10:44 AM  

What the hell is "atob" 54A?

albatross shell 10:47 AM  

Annoying dots, but so what. They are part wonderfully clever theme. I thought it was going to be one of those kids puzzle drawings. Forgot Georges had the final s, took it for a middle initial at first. I've enjoyed Dafoe's acting ever since The Marathon Man. Took me another 10 or 15 years to notice is name wasn't William.

I had to come here to grasp ATOB.

Except for a few clues being a bit too difficult, a perfect Tuesday.

After Mexico pays for the wall, who is going to pay for the
And why are the constructors promoting it?

Dick Veit 10:55 AM  

The French pronounce Louis with a long e (LU-EE). The Brits (Kate and William) pronounce it with a short e (LU-e). Americans pronounce it with a short i and an s (LU-is). So the clue is correctly phrased.

Mohair Sam 10:58 AM  

@Clare - Our oldest got the autograph of Pele (and Franz Beckenbauer, btw) at an NASL match in Rochester, NY many decades ago. Eat your heart out.

Alex 11:02 AM  

"Could not print normally from Times web page."


RooMonster 11:04 AM  

Hey All !
The NYT website didn't have the alternate printable puz today that I like to use to, well, print out the puz. Both options gave you the same format. "Oh, well", said I, but the starts of the first column of Across clues were cut off, so it was a bit of a challenge to line up the clues, especially since I thought 1A was only Book of the Bible, and thought the next clue for 5A was __ter John (which is what I saw from the puz being cut off). So that added a bit of a challenge.

But, ended up thinking puz was pretty good. Painting title helped me also with that L of ELO/LEND, as I was mostly finished and wrote out the Dotted Squares in the margin. It felt like that scene in "National Treasure" where Riley was piecing together the letters from the Silence Dogood letters.

So to have the long Title of said painting, and not having too much dreck floating about is pretty good. Nice L/R symmetry, too.

Liked the PJS clue. Had ATOm first for ATOB, cause that is also the First small bit of progress, right?

@Quasi, awesome you like Nilsson's The Point! I have the CD and the Album. The album is cooler, I have the Storybook that it came with.

Had a Ford PINTO many moons ago. Was a great little car. Four speed, quite zippy for a four cylinder. Was driving in an icy day with it once, started spinning on a curve. I was next to a river, and on the second spin around thought I was going to end up in said river, but there was a telephone pole there, and on the third spin around, saw that I would probably hit it to stay out of the river. However, the last half-spin had the back end of the car aimed straight at the pole! Si I clenched the steering wheel, closed my eyes, and Bam! ... Nothing. Opened my eyes, saw the car didn't explode, let out a "Whew!" and continued on my merry way.


Anonymous 11:10 AM  

The real NASL was from the 1968, just go to the wiki. What the MSL is today, it was then. Those that saw Pele saw him in that league, not the more or less, current one.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

The theme made me realize that SEND should be LEND, so thank you, theme. Still, I'm not nuts about circled letters spelling things unless the placement of the circles is meaningful.

Newboy 11:20 AM  

Didn’t connect the dots literally, so my first DNF in a spell due to having SEND as others have noted. Knowing the painting 🖼 only helps if I use the iPad circle ⭕️ that I skipped, tsk!

JC66 11:28 AM  


I think @Clare was referring to the 2 l's in pointillism..

Amelia 11:33 AM  

Horrible from start to finish, and by finish, I mean we don't get the Rex touch. Too bad. Because I would have agreed with him.

The puzzle was not TV Guide easy. It was Highlights easy. But it's Tuesday, so I'll forgive those poor souls at the NY Times. I nearly stopped halfway through, especially after I got pointillism and knew what was coming. It was so painful putting in that "fill."

Willem was cool, although the last thing I saw him in he was Van Gogh. You would have thought....

Saw the most recent Sunday with a very good Jake Gyllenhaal, and an even better Annaleigh Ashford. She made me forget about our Bernadette. Spotify can help you hear the difference. If you have the inclination.

I'm going to do yesterday's New Yorker crossword as a corrective, I hope.

burtonkd 11:34 AM  

Really was looking for a visual representation, since clue mentioned technique used. Going from dot to dot sequentially is not pointillism. I like the idea, now that I see it, but perhaps could have been clued more accurately.

@Z it is a long e sound, no matter what vowel or vowel combination is used to get there. I don’t know if the French use the long and short designations, which I remember thinking didn’t make sense bc I could say them as long or short as I wanted. I learned the International Phonetic Alphabet, and have a hard time going back to 3rd grade English to remember which vowels are long and short. Btw, IPA does use "I" to represent the long e,so you were onto something.

Thinking of French vs English Roy vs Roy and guy vs guy. What would you do with a hockey player named Guy Roy?
The opening credits to Louis C.K’s series has a song with Louis rhyming with English guy.
Wiki rabbit hole just informed me the song "Brother Louie" was recorded by reggie watts in the style of the British original and sung by Ian Lloyd (double l!), who did the american cover - who knew? (Sorry, just noticed alternate spelling).....

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

What would you do with a hockey player named Guy Roy?

Well, as that's uncooked yak butter, perhaps on your lentils?

Zwhatever 12:04 PM  

@burtonkd - I’m mostly kidding, but there is no such thing as a LONG E in French. Yes, we use the same alphabet for the most part (é, è, ç anyone?), but a “French accent” exists because their vowel sounds are not the same as our vowel sounds, nor do we use the same letters to represent similar (but not exactly the same) sounds. And the clue is specific, “What the French pronounce....” The French pronounce something very close to a LONG E sound, but in a French spelling that sound is represented by the letter I, so it is just as (in)accurate to say the French pronounce a LONG I. So, again I say, “Wrong!”

albatross shell 12:13 PM  

Oops that was a William: Defane, not Defoe,
In marathon man.

Suzie Q 12:15 PM  

I was impressed with the effort this must have taken. So what if a few sacrifices had to be made. I think it was worth it. Blend up some brains with a whimsical attitude and I'm sold.
Sort of like our @ JOHN X ;)

QuasiMojo 12:22 PM  

@Roomonster, that's a funny story about your Pinto. My sister had one in the 60s and we always gave her a wide berth on the road of following her. I had a similar experience to yours in an old original VW Rabbit. I did a perfect 360 on black ice in the middle of the Thruway. Luckily and miraculously no one was behind me.

OffTheGrid 12:27 PM  

@Declan is correct that JENGA is a tower building game. That's EXACTLY what it is. I think some of the commenters today (@LMS, @btgrover) are unfamiliar with the game or are confusing it with something else.

Thought the puzzle was hard for Tues but so what? Theme was fresh, at least to me.

Today's favorite, PITH. I don't recall seeing it before.

JC66 12:32 PM  

@Suzie Q & @JOHN X

Get a room. ;-)

Joe Dipinto 12:49 PM  

@Quasi -- happy to oblige:

Me and my arrow
Straighter than narrow
Wherever we go, everyone knows
It's me and my arrow

Nobody, uh, pointed out BINDI crossing POINTILLISM?

I found the dots pretty ignorable. I knew what the painting was gonna be right away. Plus I write my letters large, so I was covering up the dots as I progressed.

@burtonkd is right about vowel sounds. E.g. "way" and "weigh" are both pronounced with a long "a" sound, despite the fact there's no "a" in "weigh". And here's Mr. Armstrong to tell us how to correctly pronounce his name -- thank you, @Canon Chasuble:

Hello, Dolly
This is Lou-iss, Dolly
It's so nice to have you back where you belong

This puzzle made me want to watch a Katharine Hepburn performance that runs the gamut from A to B.

-- Joe D.D.E. Pinto

SomeOneHasToBeMe 12:52 PM  

A To B

I had to get it the hard way by filling it out and still checked all the crosses.

Masked and Anonymous 12:58 PM  

fave puz solvequest moments:

* Beatin the point spread.
* Theme featurin one of my all-time fave paintings.
* BINDI-dot debut word. Rhymes with HINDI?
* W-E puzgrid symmetry.
* Dots instead of the circles, on the newspaper version. Different. [Woulda been awesome to see @RP confrontin forty-somethin circles, tho.]
* Lotsa (20) weejects. staff weeject pick: ANI, with its almost-double-?? clue. Nice.
* If U connect the dots in a certain order, U get a picture of yerself! Amazin.
* 79 words. More for yer money.

* ESO/SEND trap. Cruel and unusual DNF. Lost valuable bonus "points".
* Unable to shove some dots around to spell out MASKED-AND-ANONYMOUS, instead. No K's, plus they waited waaaay too long to splatz in an uppermost puzgrid M.

Yet, overall, the "+" points outwaaaayed the "-" points, sooo …. ok.

Thanx for the art work, Mr. E-S. PINTO: cool anagram meat.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Anonymous 1:11 PM  

Got Seurat but did anyone else try connecting the dots? Took me back to my childhood but otherwise got me nowhere. Then I tried lightly shading in the dotted squares - I very much wanted it to actually make a picture. All I got from that was a patchwork bulldog. Then I tried comparing my bulldog to the painting. Nope. I still think a visual would have been even more clever than using the letters from the dotted squares - best of all would be to do both! Enjoyable puzzle all the same. Extra points for originality.

Teedmn 1:23 PM  

I am among those saved from a DNF by changing sEND to LEND thanks to the painting title. But probably no one else was similarly saved at 23A. I entered 11D as EVEr MORE SO. _IrTO filled in to PIrTO and, ignoring the car part of 23A's clue, I shrugged at the crazy names people give their horses. Thanks to AFTERNOON, I saved that square. And, like @Roo, I owned a PINTO back in the mid-80s, so d'oh.

The black ink in 45D for writing over SNeer AT LOOMs large on my grid. I also took a moment to wonder what kind of water hazard F_G would present. Like @Nancy, I was expecting something in the water, like a lOG, but the FOG dissipated and I could again see clearly.

PJS, great clue. Quilt was too big for the grid.

Thanks, AES, nice Seurat tribute.

Gerrit Petersen 1:38 PM  

Rex, a small point: Louis Armstrong pronounced his name Loo-is, not Loo-ee, and always made a point of saying so publicly.

JC66 2:02 PM  

@Gerrit Petersen

Yes, he did. But I think @Clare's point was that most of us always refer to him as Louie.

burtonkd 2:14 PM  

If you watch the USOpen, the commenters always say Loo-is Armstrong stadium. Congrats to their style guide. I think I’ve heard it incorrectly more often elsewhere.

Visited a tobacco farm in Cuba. Farmer reached up to the ceiling in the curing house and rolled a cigar on the spot.definitely one to savor

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

Let's not forget the 'LiMu emu'.

Unknown 4:57 PM  

The puzzle was fun and clever. Ironically, Louis Armstrong always preferred to be called "Lou Iss"; like (Lewis).

Anonymous 5:09 PM  

I didn't understand ANI at all until well after "finishing." And I didn't realize I hadn't finished (because I had ESO and SEND) until I read Clare's write-up.

"Louis" in France is pronounced with a long English E, which is roughly the same as a long French I. So given that the clue is talking about its pronunciation in France, shouldn't one refer to it as a long I?

Joe Dipinto 5:42 PM  

{Staring at the grid some more, thinking...}

Too bad there couldn't have been a dot in box 55. Going across at 54 you'd have POINT A TO POINT B.

Also, SETA SIDE: a plate of hair accompanying an entrée.

Anonymous 6:20 PM  

A to B. !!
When they include yesterday's puzzle, it mucks up the printout and drops the left-column clue numbers.

OISK 8:15 PM  

Very difficult for me, but was saved by the theme from two DNF, the much noted send/lend, and "Jenga", which is completely unfamiliar, but I knew "Jatte." (I SHOULD have known PJS, but didn't think of it) Another problem was that when I filled in the answers, I occasionally obscured the dots, so I had trouble spelling out the name of the painting.

Unusually complex, difficult( for me) Tuesday puzzle. I really admire it, although I didn't enjoy it very much.

Lorraine Dusky 10:44 PM  

U rather loved the title at the dotted squares because I knew the name of the painting as soon as I got Sunday. By then I had pointillism, and since that is the most famous pointillist painting ever... So if you knew that, as well as the artist you got a little squirt of serotonin. I filled in both of those clues very early which made the rest pretty easy.

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

Can someone please explain the answer “ani”
for the clue “what’s far from fair?”

Nancy 2:51 PM  

Can someone please explain “ani” as the answer to “what’s
Far from fair?”

JC66 2:58 PM  


If you take the "I" out of fair, you get far.

Nancy 3:10 PM  

Wow, I really didn’t see that. Thanks!

Burma Shave 8:37 AM  


they USEDTO RAISE up their EYEs,
and SETASIDE saying, "NYET."


spacecraft 11:13 AM  

What's ill from fill? Possible answers:

--> This puzzle.
--> AN F--as in, the grade it gets.

Count me among the few who changed sEND to LEND BEFORE spelling out the message; after re-reading the clue "Impart," I decided that LEND fit a little better. But this is another example of what happens when the constructor Tries To Do Too Much. Okay, he pulls it off--but at what cost? I won't go into the list; suffice to say, Alex, you can count your lucky stars that OFC had the day off.

"Points" for working the technique and artist into the grid; not so many for picking a title out of a grid at random. And here's DEJA vu all over again? Oops, I said I wasn't going to list them...Okay. Very strong DOD field today; good ol' TROI vying for an umpteenth curtain call, but this time LET'S go with Joan JETT. Sorry, Alex, not enough "points." Bogey.

Diana, LIW 2:51 PM  

Wow - another week that's running by. It's Thursday already!

I did get it - almost all of it - and learned some new words. If I had Mr. W's vocabulary, I would have learned some other, choice, words. What the L

JENGA? Ok LEND - not so much. Remember, from that Sunday, I do0n't play chess. Try not to forget.

So that's what those dots were pointing out to me. I was going to connect them...later

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Later

rainforest 3:10 PM  

I think POINTILLISM a fascinating technique in creating a painting. Kind of a manual precursor to digital pixels in a TV picture. I've viewed a number of SEURATs "in person", and it is very satisfying to look at them from far away and gradually move closer until the image "disintegrates" as the dots announce themselves. I don't know art, but I know I like POINTILLISt paintings.

The dots in the grid were both annoying and an aid in solving, especially at the ELO/LEND cross. Also new and different. Liked it.

Willem DAFOE is totally underrated as an actor.

leftcoast 3:25 PM  

Generally agree with Clare, and @spacecraft made some good "points" too.

Solve was a bit tedious, having to deal with trade-offs between a scatter of dots, the two revealers, and the mostly hidden theme. Got it all, except....

The last part of the ISLAND's name, something __ATTE, was the stopper. Guessed bATTE and PbS (News Hour, covering news at night) instead of JATTE and PJS.

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