Model for bust at Musei Capitolini / SUN 6-23-19 / Quaint contradiction / Fruit that surprisingly is slightly radioactive / Provincial capital south of lake with same name / Item carried in academic procession / Objects spinning in orrery

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Constructor: David Liben-Nowell and Victor Barocas

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (9:49) (super duper easy "theme," weirdly hard clues in many other places)

THEME: "Take Two" — nine different times, the same Across answer succeeds itself—in the second appearance, the word "SECOND" must be mentally supplied before the word in order for the answer to make sense:

Second answers:
  • HAND (19A: Previously owned)
  • PLACE (26A: Silver)
  • STRING (32A: B-team)
  • PERSON (55A: What you will always be (but he or she isn't)?)
  • RATE (64A: Low-quality)
  • BANANA (79A: Supporting role)
  • NATURE (101A: Deeply ingrained habit)
  • CLASS (110A: Not having full rights, as a citizen)
  • BASE (116A: It's halfway around a diamond)
Word of the Day: CISCO (66A: Major name in network hardware) —
  1. a freshwater whitefish of northern countries. Most species are migratory and are important food fishes.
• • •

I need you to see this for what it is: a puzzle where four-to-six letter words of no great interest are duplicated within the grid. That Is It. Look how few longer / interesting answer there are! The puzzle absolutely squanders the one thing Sundays have going for them: size, and then the upshot of the theme is just repeating a word in the grid. Yes, there's a reason (the whole "second ___" thing), but at its core, this is a grid that just has two identical successive short answers nine times. And once you figure out the theme, which I stumbled into relatively early, then the rest of the themers become absurdly easy to get—look for stuff on the mid/right side of the grid (mostly) and then once you hit one of the "second" answers, just move to the previous Across answer and write it in again. I never saw the clues on half the "first" answers because why would I? Didn't need to. The fill was definitely second-RATE for the most part (ATEM ELAL STEN TISNT etc). The whole design of the grid didn't really allow for much in the way of interesting fill. Feels like the NYT is in emergency mode with Sundays. I hear their in-the-pipeline stack is very, very shallow. If this is the caliber of theme being accepted—something I'd expect to find in a lesser daily—then the situation must be pretty bad. But the app is making money hand over fist so who cares!?

["The THONGS Song" by CISCO]

Weirdly, I don't think I've ever had such a hard time starting a Sunday puzzle. I couldn't get anything to work at all in the NW. 1-Across is just such a godawful clue (1A: Word in Facebook and Disney Channel's original names), and then HASIT? (???) and the clue on USDA (23A: Org. concerned with grades) and then two different themers before I had any idea what the theme was, and the rough clue on INCISORS (6D: Things that most people have eight of) and the stupidly clued TDS (7D: Bear necessities?) (you don't "need" TDS to win a football game). I had ORCS and WARN and that's about it (not sure why I didn't have DAVIES, which is a gimme—sometimes when I'm flailing around I don't actually see Every clue in a section). Cream is one of a category of BEIGES???? Blecccch. So bad. BEIGES, plural. Why doesn't anyone at this establishment care about fill? -ENCE next to SSE? It's not like the theme is so demanding. Fill on a theme like this should be Creamy. Beige, even.

[74A: Introduce oneself]

I had MEADE before BRAGG (10D: Confederate general with a fort named after him) (MEADE  does have a fort named after him, but he was Union, my bad). Speaking of confederate generals ... you really parking COLIN Kaepernick next to a Confederate general? Is that intentional? Ironic? Performance art? You know he got blackballed from the NFL for protesting systemic racism, right—you know, that thing ... legacy of the Civil War? Anyway, it's an uncomfortable juxtaposition. Maybe there's a MORAL there somePLACE?

Had ETON before STEN (90A: Product from the Royal Small Arms Factory). I had "T" and "N" and I thought "well, it's British, probably, so ..." No one calls a $1 bill a George and no one calls a $5 bill an ABE seriously what is the editor doing (11D). Had MMM for YUM (60A: Indication of good taste?). Misspelled LARSSON (with an "E") but I forgive myself for that. See you all tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:11 AM  

Quite easy and quite fun - sums it up for me.

Got a chuckle out of Rex's complaint of having COLIN alongside BRAGG. Like Mr. Kaepernick, General Bragg was a very complex character, so much more than simply a Confederate general. I think the placement in the puzzle is a plus.

Swagomatic 12:22 AM  

I never picked up on the theme until about halfway. Then i was afraid it was going to be some weird kind of rebus or something. All in all it was disappointing. Sunday's should be more fun.

Unaffected 12:34 AM  

As a Chicago Bears fan, witnessing their awful placekicking last year, I can affirm that TDs are a necessity for them to win.

Runs with Scissors 12:38 AM  

This was a serious tussle. I actually didn't notice the repeated answers until the end in the NW, with HAND. Twice? Ahhhh, HAND, and second HAND. Then I went looking...

So it was a valid tussle. I had a heck of a time with this, almost didn't finish until I did. Then I appreciated it even more.

4A - TWITs are endemic here in CA.

47A - PAROXYSM = SPASM is a perfect description of many reactions to everyday words.

67D - little can compare to the SLIDE GUITAR in recorded music.

Finally, and not because it'll change anyone's mind, COLIN can take his knee all he wants. He can also pay the consequences of his actions. It's called "liberty," which carries concomitant "responsibility." Do what you think is right. Bear the inevitable results of such action. Something entirely too many Americans fear today. I happen to think COLIN is an idiot, but hey, idiocy is not illegal.

How can you get Eton from "Product from the Royal Small Arms Factory?????" Small arms are weapons. Eton is not a weapon. In any way, shape or form.

Much to like in this puzzle, little dreck. Almost kicked my posterior but in the end, I carried the day. This is what a puzzle is meant to be.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

Joe Dipinto 12:57 AM  

Rex is just cross because they put him in the corner.

Clue I would have liked at 1a:
With 17a, words following "Talk to..."

This was interesting because at first I thought the theme was something different from what it turned out to be. I had HAND and HAND at 17 and 19a, and assumed the black square in between represented the word TO, forming the phrase HAND-TO-HAND. So the "Two" of the puzzle title meant add the word "to" between the repeated words to form common phrases.

That seemed borne out by PLACE-TO- PLACE, but when I next went south and got BASE, BASE-TO-BASE made no sense as a phrase and "it's halfway around a diamond" didn't quite make sense as a clue. What's halfway around a diamond? Aha, second BASE. So then I got it -- the "Two" are BASE and SECOND BASE. Same for the others.

I thought this was a very cool idea. I filled in the other themers and then finished the grid pretty quickly. Observations: Lots of clothes lying around. Capes and anoraks and ski pants and topcoats for a chilly day, plus thongs and string (bikinis) for the seashore. And another minor opera, this time by Mozart.

Otherwise, there's nothing stupendously brilliant, but it's certainly just fine compared to recent Sundays. It gets my endorsement.

Doesn't like crap games with barons and earls
Won't go to Harlem in ermine and pearls
Won't dish the dirt with the rest of the girls
That's why the lady is a tramp

Anoa Bob 1:11 AM  

I rarely finish a Sunday NYT puzz in one sitting. This one, however, kept me going to the end. I thought the theme was clever and well executed and at the same time, it didn't overwhelm the grid and left lots of room for interesting fill. And the clues often had a late week spiciness to them to help maintain interest.

Plus, I detected a sub-theme of sorts, with SEA SHORE ASSES THONGS TEASE THROB SPASM. Or is that CREEPY?

Melrose 1:49 AM  

Too easy for a Sunday. Fight me harder.

jae 2:00 AM  

Medium. I agree with @Rex that the theme was easy and the rest had some tough spots. Unlike @Rex I liked it.

Carola 4:23 AM  

Pleasingly puzzling for me until I got to the two BANANAs and understood I needed to keep an eye out for more second chances. I liked the long Downs and PIRATING alongside SEASHORE. Misread clue of the day: "'Confident' [for 'Confederate'] general...," which gave me BRAGG right away as a play on words.

chefwen 4:30 AM  

I’ll go with what @Anoa Bob said, excluding his last sentence, that was a little CREEPY.

Love Beatrix Potter, but I thought Mrs Tiggy-Winkle was a kitty. I have a lot of the Potter figurines that I will donate to my neighbors grandchildren. They are old enough now to read the books. Turns out that the kitty I was thinking about is Tabitha Twitchet my favourite.
Memory fading.

Loved the puzzle and it’s quirky theme.

Anyway, loved the puzzle.

Loren Muse Smith 4:52 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 6:16 AM  

Yeah, pretty easy today, especially being able to go in and fill in the first iteration of the word. But I appreciated the literal placement and clue of the “second” whatever. Too bad all the pairs couldn’t have been “first” blah and then “second” blah. BANANA just can’t coöperate since the initial one there has to be “top” banana. (That is not an UMLAUT. It’s a diaeresis, and it has The New Yorker immunity.)

Not a lot to ponder on this straight-forward idea, but not to worry; I sat and thought about a couple of other things.

1) When I talk (and I know you don’t do this because you don’t watch Bravo TV and you do speak correctly and I’m not implying you say it this way so dial it back already), I devoice the final consonant in second, so I say /SECK unt/. I hadn’t realized this until just now. Hah. There are dialects where this is common, where the word bad sounds like bat, but cool to realize I do it, too. Weird that I don’t do it with the words almond or diamond.

2) I’ve done y’all the favor of looking into the origins of the word IDEATE. Seems idea showed up in the 1300s and then IDEATE followed in the 1600s. Bet even back then there were peevers who got their codpiece in a wad that hippy linguists (or politicians) were running around verbifying nouns.

8A: I’ve had pooper-scooper duty both in Ely, MN in February and in Chapel Hill, NC in August. It was much more pleasant in Ely.

I’M OK. (I) AMOK. I couldn’t stop looking at that cross.

Loved the clue for CREEPY. In class, I always say, When you’re finished, make CREEPY eye contact with me. Even the “coolest” kids’ll do this ‘cause no one else can see them playing my little game. This one guy, Travis R, once took it to an extreme and creepily followed my every movement for like three minutes, I swear. I deserved it.

@Unknown – I’m with you on the clue for TDS. (PS, I grew up with Larry Rakestraw’s three kids in Georgia, and they had had Thanksgiving dinner with either Brian Piccolo or Gale Sayers, so what with the movie Brian’s Song and all, I kinda felt like a big-shot, ya know, in a second-degree-of-separation kind of way. PSS, 34(ahem) across – sports team employee SCOUT. Whoever scouted this guy, earned his keep.)

kitshef 6:54 AM  

Took a long time to get started – my entry was at 31A. After that, not too much trouble. This would have been better as a weekday puzzle. It’s a great idea for a theme, but once you get it, you don’t need to see it another eight times.

“That happened?” for “HAS IT” goes straight into the Bad Clue Hall of Fame – no five-year waiting period required.

Adam12 7:56 AM  

@Runs with scissors you may be right about California’s “endemic” twit problem. You could help out by leaving. I guess Rex figured children have small arms and children go to school. In any event, could give a rat’s cloaca what you think of Colin or your obviously blinding obsession with guns.

pmdm 8:04 AM  

I do not speed solve, so I could care less if a 1A answer stumps me. I just move on and come back later. For me, the puzzle is more enjoyable to solve that way. Today's write up seems to confirm that idea.

I did not realize the word repetition until well into solving the puzzle, and I never really realized how the word "second" fit in with the theme. But that failure didn't seem to matter to me: getting the first realization helped me immensely to finish the puzzle.

Even after understanding the repetition trick, the puzzle felt very much like a themeless puzzle to me, much like Joel's recent Sunday puzzle (but on a very different level). My react is to wonder if themeless Sunday puzzles should be run more frequently, allowing the solver to experience more joy when discovering a theme in the puzzle. An occasional puzzle whose theme is a quirky quote would be welcome to me (although there are plenty of quirky quotes in the acrostic puzzles published every other Sunday). I remember Sunday theme entry that recalled how Mozart, when he was a child, identified (since he possessed the talent of perfect pitch) tje note of a squealing pig sound. I love those quirky entries.

For me, the most memorable slide guitar sound I can think of is the slide guitar sound that opens the Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies cartoon themes (40s and 50s arrangements). Earlier arrangements of the themes overuse the effects. The arrangements of these themes are easily found on You Tube. I might snidely remark that I find those themes more interesting than the write-ups here (but not the comments), but perhaps that's a bit unfair comparing nostalgia with critiques.

Jcap 8:07 AM  

What? No opprobrium for STEN?

QuasiMojo 8:11 AM  

I put in AGING for Silver. Guess I'm feeling old. Silly theme that was a pleasant enough pastime. May I ask why some posters now are hitting the return button and leaving large expanses of white space in their comments? I think chefwen's may have been by accident but Z seems to do it everyday. It seems like a trend worth abandoning.

OffTheGrid 8:25 AM  

I totally agree with @Running that anyone in any field of endeavor should be driven out of their profession (ALA Colin Kaepernick) if they express an opinion that their boss doesn't like. This is America! If you dare to exercise your first amendment rights you deserve to suffer.

Elaine 8:31 AM  

Previously owned..


Klazzic 8:31 AM  

Dumb and dumber. Sundays have become a painful exercise in amateurism. Will is scraping the bottom of the barrel and finding nothing but dreck. Horrible puzzle. Hey Loren: you're no Rex. Stop with all your incipient comments. You're a bore. Other than that, enjoy your first Sunday of the summer.

nyc_lo 8:55 AM  

Pretty uneventful solve, once the whole second thing is sussed out. But I was mildly amused/freaked out to see a Star Trek-themed answer, PHASER, along with the sarcastically clued HAR one day after I imagined something similar in yesterday’s blog comments (HORTA/HAR). Cue Twilight Zone theme music. Kind of CREEPY...

mmorgan 9:01 AM  

It was okay. I agree with somebody who said "super duper easy 'theme,' weirdly hard clues in many other places." But I liked 1A and TISNT. And I learned something interesting about BANANAs.

Not sure why commenters here are starting to turn nasty (or nastier than usual) to each other today.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

My wife and I managed to solve the puzzle in its entirety with no mistakes (something we usually can't do on a Sunday, suggesting it was a bit easier than usual) and never figured out that the clue for the second instance of the word required the assumed "SECOND" prior to the answer. We just thought there were 9 really stupid clues.

Also thought BIGS for Majors and HEADERS for tumbles were lame.

Had ALTA instead of MESA because I thought maybe they wanted a highest altitude city - wasn't sure if any of the higher places in CO were cities.

Also note the clothes mini-theme: CAPE, SKIPANTS, TOPCOAT, ANORAK, MIDIS for cold weather and STRING and THONGS for beach and HOTTUB wear.

Teedmn 9:09 AM  

HAR, I thought I got the theme when I filled in PERSON at 55A and heard the "second" in the answer. "Oh", I thought, "there will be answers with 'two' or 'double' implied in front of the answer". Not until I saw the second NATURE did I grasp the entire thing. An earlier dawning might have helped me solve at a faster RATE but it was fun at least.

I found the far NW to be the toughest nut to crack. Why the clue "Signature" didn't help when I had ____RSEMENT and why I kept reading 27A's clue as "Don with the Mets", I can't tell you, but I was glad to close that section out.

Some of the clues were cloyingly sweet - "Shell station" = SEA SHORE and "Couple of high points" = UMLAUT come to mind. I did like the misdirection in "New brother or sister" - even with NOVI in place, it didn't fall right away. And the oxymoronic clue for HOT TUB was nice.

BANANAs are radioactive? CREEPY!

Thanks, DLN and VB, nice job.

Rube 9:21 AM  

I just don't get it. Why is there a single comment about COLIN and BRAGG. Both clues ate just fine. It's a puzzle not an op ed piece. MACE was unfamiliar to me as I couldn't help but to ponder the possibility of graduating students preparing to pepper professors with pepper spray if their diplomas were not received. Decent but easy puzzle overall.

@merican in Paris 9:27 AM  

Well, as I predicted late yesterday (see my comment at 4:23 PM), @Rex would pan this puzzle. Was I wrong?

I do agree with him that there were some clues that were not so easy. USDA was not one of them, however, and it was the first answer that sprung to mind. (Think "eggs".) It took me forever to rock the "mentally add 'second'" to the second appearance of a word. It was only when I got to 116 A when the lightbulb turned on.

It took me forever to get 11 D. I had left it open for most of the solve, wondering whether it would turn out top be stoMP or cloMP. Of course it was neither, but TRAMP. I was also thinking that Cream would either refer to the rock trio or the coffee additive. BEIGE is OK, but the plural is sub-par.

I'm reading a great book on the history of international trade titled A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World, by William J. Bernstein. According to this account, the spice MACE (which comes from the seed covering of the nutmeg nut) was once much more highly valued than nutmeg itself. Now it it fetches a lower price. Both were originally produced on tiny islands in the eastern archipelago of what is now Indonesia, and until the monopoly was broken through the creation of new sources in the Caribbean were exorbitantly expensive once they made the long, trecherous journey to the Mediterranean.

Was I the only person who had SMART _ _ S at 107A and assumed the answer was going to be SMART-asS?

@Runs with Scissors: Before you go on a rant about an answer, wouldn't it be a good idea to check the puzzle first? The answer to 90A was STEN not eToN.

PSST, @Rex, I'm surprised you didn't comment on the very last answer, 120A (REX). Isn't this a shout-out?

Clrd2Land 9:27 AM  

Hey Loren: you're no Rex. Please don't stop commenting, the vast majority of us who come here do so hoping to see your input. You always seem to make me smile, so thank you.

Hey Klazzic: if you don't like reading someones comments you can always scroll right on past. No need to be insulting. Oh, and you are probably about to find out that the quickest way to turn the flamethrower towards you is to go after LMS on this forum.

David 9:30 AM  

I thought it a silly theme and pretty simple puzzle.

The "consequences" of exercising your Constitutional rights are different for minorities in this country. Hell, the "consequences" of living as a minority in this country are different, sometimes deathly so. Some folks are fine with that. I find that interesting.

GILL I. 9:30 AM  

Hey @Klazzic...I was beginning to enjoy know, your insipid chutzpah - and then you have to go and spoil it. Sheesh...
I rather enjoyed this in a "what the hell" kinda way. I saw the duplicates but all I kept thinking was adding a "B" instead of "Second." Had to go all the way down to CLASS CLASS before the ding-a-ling went off.
Had the exact same problems as @Rex. 1D was everything but THUGS. OGRES/LOUTS yada yada. Got to the has-been seducer GIOVANNI and the doors opened a bit. About the only opera I like is Mozart and the tenors and any seducer because they're desperate.
Lets see...Looking for my smile of the day....Well, nothing jumps out but I did learn that cibophobia means you have an EATING disorder. I always thought is was Anorexia. Kinda CREEPY that Karen Carpenter is in the grid. So that wasn't a smile. Seeing LDOPA wasn't, either. OK, so THONGS conjures an image. To successfully be able to wear one, you had to have had a Brazilian Butt job or be related to a Kardashian.
Nothing else jumps out. The puzzle took more time than I expected but all in all, it was fine.
Off to cook black beans.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

@Klazzic, Do you mean insipid, perhaps?

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

From THE Wiki:

A ceremonial MACE is a highly ornamented staff of metal or wood, carried before a sovereign or other high officials in civic ceremonies by a mace-bearer.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Once again, I am gobsmacked at the offense taken by including an answer in the puzzle which offends OFL and at least one solver. Braxton Bragg was a fine general, albeit on the wrong side, and who cares if his name is next to Kaepernick's? It's not as if the constructor was dissing either one, the letters fit in to his puzzle. While I will agree that the theme was pretty blah, please stop worrying about words or names you don't like. None of them are curses or obscene; they are simply words. As George Carlin famously remarked, "There are NO bad words; bad thoughts, bad intentions..." Why were you not bothered by the inclusion of Nero, the tyrant of Rome? Lighten up, Francis.

amyyanni 10:18 AM  

MACE was the "secret ingredient" in my mom's Swedish Meatballs. Karen Carpenter had a distinctive voice; too bad she was saddled with her insipid brother. And I am a proud supporter of the 1st Amendment. Happy Sunday, Happy Summer.

Nancy 10:21 AM  

Every time I think there's no way someone can come up with a new theme idea that's never been done before, someone does. This is a really nifty idea, skillfully and densely executed. And the first "Aha" Moment was big. The only problem is the Law of Diminishing "Aha"s. Because once I knew the gimmick, I knew it, and filling in the rest of the puzzle was anticlimactic. Each successive "second" something-or-other was pretty much a gimme, and while each brought a pleased smile to my face, none thereafter would elicit an "Aha!"

Loved much of the cluing, my favorites being UMLAUT, YUM, BERRA, [SECOND] PERSON and CREEPY. And I learned something. I learned that the BANANA is slightly radioactive !!!! Is that like being a little bit pregnant? I may want to reconsider how often -- if ever -- I eat BANANAs. So may you.

A very, very clever puzzle, if rather easy.

RooMonster 10:36 AM  

Hey All !
As I was amidst the puz in a FIDDLE, FIDDLE is how I felt. (Get it?) Those clues on the Second part just weren't making sense. So I had most of the first ones, ala 17A HAND, and put used in for 18A. But when that didn't go with the Downs, had to reevaluate that answer letter by letter. Then I got 31A STRING, and as 32A looked like it had to be STRING, reread the clue, and then the lightbulb Aha. Went back and saw the other HAND, said, "Hmm, interesting. First regular answer, next one is Second ___". Really, I said that.

So that helped to move things along nicely. Looked for the Symmetric spots, and got the rest. The middle RATE RATE was a nice bonus.

Lots of U's today, but nary an F. BLAT!

NOVITIATE was a new one here. Weird looking word.

Writeovers, inc-THE (blame that on First Answer jumpiness), used-HAND, Ott-ORR (always mix them up), Nude-NERO (har), EUCHer-EUCHRE (who cares? No one plays that anyway*), cOm-GOV, inS-CMS C'mon, we live in America! [har]).

Couple of Wanted-First-But-Only-Wrote-In-Lightlies, Jesus for KAREN, SToic for STERN, Einstein for SMARTIES (SMART asS! Nice).

I thought an enjoyable SunPuz. Even as OLD AGE is CREEPing up this PERSON.


Unknown 10:39 AM  

Nobody seems to have picked up Rex's double blooper at 66 Across.
CISCO is a real company making both network hardware and software, based in California.

Not only did Rex provide an irrelevant reference to a fish of the same spelling,
but he confused CISCO in his video clip with the rapper Sisqo, who has nothing to do with network hardware.
Perhaps his eye was distracted by 4 Down. Seems a bit CREEPY.

RooMonster 10:46 AM  

Oh, forgot my *'d comment. Don't go posting 309 posts about how popular EHCHRE is. It was a joke.

Thanks. :-)


JOHN X 10:49 AM  

COLIN and BRAGG belong next to each other because they each only had one real victory and lost at just about everything else.

The best story about Braxton Bragg is that in the pre-war U.S. Army he was stationed at a fort where he was both a company commander and also the regimental quartermaster. As company commander he made a written request for supplies; as quartermaster he denied the request, in writing. As company commander he made a second written request for supplies; as quartermaster he again denied it, in writing. As company commander he went over the quartermaster’s head and appealed to the commanding officer, who was stunned by the whole episode of Bragg arguing with himself.

ghthree 11:02 AM  

The post by "unknown" at 10:39 AM was from me.
I don't know why it appeared anonymously. I'll try again.
It took my wife and me several hours to solve this one.
We do this on paper over breakfast, and had to break several times for interruptions
(Feeding cats, cuddling cats, cleaning cat box, and other chores).
So here goes, again.

Molasses 11:03 AM  

It took me way longer than it should have to figure out I had to insert a silent "second" for the second instance of the word to make sense. Once I finally got it, it was fun reading over the answers and nodding sagely. My last letter was the C in second PLACE because I'd thought of silver plate.

I also enjoyed seeing my town, MESA Arizona, in the puzzle. Mesa is a surprisingly big place for a suburb, with an increasingly quirky downtown.

@LMS, I do the same thing with sec-unt banana, although I pronounce both d's in secondhand. Hmm.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

If you find BRAGG in bad taste, go read the actual paper. Richmond, VA is the subject of a long piece on Arthur Ashe and some other guy.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

90 Product from the Royal Small Arms Factory : STEN

The STEN gun is an iconic armament that was used by the British military. The name STEN is an acronym. The letters S and T come from the name of the gun’s designers, Shepherd and Turpin. The letters EN comes from the Enfield brand name, which in turn comes from the Enfield location where the guns were manufactured for the Royal Small Arms Factory, an enterprise owned by the British government.

@merican in Paris 11:14 AM  

@Nancy, and anybody else concerned about radioactive bananas.

Don't get all bent out of shape, folks! The amount of radiation one is exposed to from eating a banana is extremely small. Somebody has even created a chart of "banana-equivalent dose" (BED) to show how much more radiation most of us are exposed to through other things.

For example, one's average background dose of ionizing radiation per day is 66 BEDs (some of that comes from the material used in buildings);a chest x-ray gives you 1,000 BEDs.

You are many times more likely to die from choking on a piece of banana (i.e., don't be greedy!) than from suffering any ill effects from their radiation.

Joe Dipinto 11:16 AM  

@Unknown 10:39 -- Have you ever heard the expression "tongue-in-cheek"?

Phil 11:22 AM  

When’s Rex going to tab @LMS for a guest blog. Soon would be ok.

@american in paris you may be able to make 10centimes on a 1000euro bet with that Nostradamus predict. sorry, JK

Encountered the first HAND HAND theme and was looking for ‘ down’ play until I got it on later ones.

Put in CHASER for the go with clue, figured tricorder was a whiskey brand or something or other. Maybe after a long day at the slopes you took off your SKI CANT and had a Tricorder with a beer chaser. Oh well, makes me appreciate Maurice Chevalier’s quip.

Had read someone of note told Zuckerberg to take out the ‘the’ of ‘The Facebook’. Maybe it was Jobs. Don’t remember and not worth googling a TIME TIME. But happy to remember.

I never get tired of seeing Berra quotes.

Finally in defense of Rex on the ETON thing. Speed solving can make you do stuff like fill in the blanks before registering the clue.

Sydney 11:35 AM  

I liked the puzzle so much I tracked my husband down so I could read him all the clever word pairs. He works Monday-Wednesday puzzles. I do them all, and am apparently easy to please...I enjoy most of them a lot. Although I am frequently exasperated by Rex’s commentary, I come here to be amused and educated by you the readers. Thank you for posting.

Lee Gerston 11:43 AM  

Double doink

@merican in Paris 11:44 AM  

@Runs with Scissors: Oops, please accept my sincere apology. I see now that you were reacting to OFL, not to the puzzle in your comments about eToN and STEN. My bad.

Joe Dipinto 11:44 AM  

@Phil 11:22 -- I seem to recall that in the film "The Social Network" it was Sean Parker who told Zuckerberg to drop "The" from the name. That could have been dramatic license though.

Ethan Taliesin 11:54 AM  

Yeah, it was an easy theme that provided a lot of freebies, but that made the pacing livelier and I like lively sometimes.

EUCHRE I didn't know, but have surely written it in boxes before.

NOVITIATE is good. I like the way it sounds, too.

ANORAK is showing up more often lately it seems.

BLAT. All right, that's like bleat?? A harsh noise? I guess I get it, whatever. Images for BLAT largely depict a Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato sandwich. BLT as an initialism sounds cool, BLAT as an acronym (for a sandwich) sounds bad to my ears.

ORCS, ELAL, UTES, ATEM, ASTER, DNA, etc., etc. Go away.

TJS 11:56 AM  

How can someone new to a blog almost immediately start insulting a regular contributor? What kind of underlying issues does that evidence? Disagreeing with someones' position or argument is one thing, but personal attacks designed to hurt someone's feelings is uncalled for. @LMS, please ignore the losers.

RAD2626 11:58 AM  

Even though I got the doubling gimmick very early, I am embarrassed to admit I did not get the need for "second" until I got to CLASS. Based on the title I just thought the words were being repeated which seemed a little meh to me. When I did fill in the missing word I liked the whole thing much more. Very clever. Interesting that several of the words like NATURE and PLACE can stand on their own as clued.

Although my time was typical Sunday, and even though I had THONGS and NEAP TIDES right away, I really struggled with the North Central and Northeast. Was clearly on a bad wavelength with the cluing. My bad, not the constructors.

Fun puzzle, and imo clearly Sunday NYT fair fare.

Mo-T 12:02 PM  

I liked the puzzle and thought it was fun. Thank you, Mr. Liben-Nowell and Mr. Barocas.

I was going to make some puzzle comments, but after I watched the Walter Payton YouTube I have to say thanks, LMS, for that reminder.

I don't watch football anymore, but I used to watch back in the days of Mr. Payton, and that video compilation is remarkable. The compiler did an awesome job.

Sunny here today. YAY. Going outside to get my share of Vitamin D.

Blue Stater 12:18 PM  

I found this one easy until the very end; the SW is one gigantic Natick focused on (yet another) error: a "musical miscue" is not a BLAT but a *flat*. I say again, for the umpteenth time, run these increasingly wretched exercises through the Times copy desk and a lot of these blunders and/or stretchers would at least be questioned. But self-questioning is not a NYT thing these days, more's the pity.

Birchbark 12:23 PM  

If you like to do archived NYT puzzles, I recommend June 19, 2008 (a Thursday), which I just finished. Not too tough, but a real gem that had me in surprised-chuckle mode over and over. The constructor is Joe Krozel.

I don't try too hard to predict @Rex's reaction to a puzzle or its clues. So it was a pleasure to see him call it "the best puzzle of the year. In fact, I'm not sure it's even close." Merl Reagle apparently told @Rex it would be "a doozy." I mention it here for those who like the older ones.

Crimson Devil 12:37 PM  

Very nice idea, doubling.
Learned NOVITIATE, and about BANANAS; love dem Yogisms; someone oughta do a puzzle of them. UMLAUT well-clued.
Someone tell KLAZZIC to lay off OSL (Our Spiritual Leader—LMS), and to check his/her spelling.

Ω 12:56 PM  

Oddly too easy theme. Oddly hard cluing other places. Lots and lots of shortish words. I liked this more than REX, but not a lot more. The big grids always feel a little sloggy to me, and then having no answers longer than 8-letters meant not enough sparkle for me. Getting the theme conceit early did not help.

@LMS - I always want to put an UMLAUT in diaeresis. Anyway, the use of the diaeresis by The New Yorker always leaps out at me. I don’t know of any other major publication that uses it. I wondered as I read your comment if the UMLAUT/diaeresis is jealous of the octothorp. Is there any other diacritic that gets such varied use and so many names? Or maybe all the other diacritical marks just tsk-tsk and wish the octothorp would settle down and get serious about life instead of playing the field.

The problem with posting later is all the incipient insipid comments have been made. Insisting on including my own incisive insights would just be adding insult to injury, so I’ll pass.*

@ghthree - One can never be sure, but I’m on team “Rex did that intentionally as some sort of not so subtle dig at how boring the words in the grid are.”

I had to do a little quick refresher on Braxton BRAGG. Noted for stealing defeat from the jaws of victory, this plantation and slave owner took up arms against his country (you know, “treason”), and then, rather than being hung for treason, was allowed to return to his privileged life and has a major US military installation named after him. And people seriously question why pairing this traitor with an actual American patriot raises eyebrows?

*@quasimojo - because the white space sets of these sadly necessary footnotes. Including these “I’m joking” reminders nearer to my alleged humor would ruin the jokes. Heck, even when I do some anonymouse still misunderstands.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

Found this....


noun: blat; plural noun: blats

a bleat or similar noise.
"the blat of Jack's horn"

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

I did see Rex's comment on Cisco, and went huh? I figured it was a joke I didn't get.

sixtyni yogini 1:17 PM  

Enjoyed the mix of easy and difficult. 👍🏽😎👍🏽

Sgreennyc 1:21 PM  

Touchdowns are so a necessity for a football team. They might win an individual game on field goals but over the course of a season touchdowns are a must. Rex's quibbling is tiresome.

tiresome in his quibbling.

Crimson Devil 1:30 PM  

Great reminder of “Sweetness” Walter Payton. Thanks LMS. He was such a good citizen off the field, that NFL has named its public service award for him.
Reminds of another great #34, Bo. Best 30 for 30 ESPN special, and there are some gooduns.
Bo declared by ESPN to be GOAT.

Molasses 1:32 PM  

@Birchbark thanks for the rec on the old puzzle. I'm slowly working my way backwards but skipped ahead to that one. Now on to read Rex for that date (big thank you to Rex for making it easy!) to figure out the rest of the theme answers. I count seven...

BobL 1:40 PM  

Klassic - you're not a class act

benjaminthomas 1:40 PM  

Constructors missed a huge opportunity.

Should have clued 120A as "Blogger afflicted with 7D".

paperkin 2:09 PM  

At one point I had _UT_ACK for 84d: Bush, and I wondered if this was going to be the first appearance of “nutsack” in the puz.

Mike Herlihy 2:20 PM  

@Elaine 8:31AM You might have figured out by now, but it's the theme "second" HAND that's previously owned.

Unknown 2:48 PM  

Thank you, David and Victor (although, over time, much on the credit really does go to Will) for a fun and witty puzzle. Had one mistake - didn't know the word "blat" so I got the b wrong. I somehow survived the horrible, egregious and unspeakable placement of Colin near a Confederate general...just imagine...a puzzle with people of opposing views (separated by fewer than two centuries). Well, I never...Philip

Hungry Mother 2:48 PM  

Nice and easy Sunday and fun to solve. We had company from Sourth Juersy for the weekend 5K races, so I couldn’t get to this until they returned on the ferry. The theme came early and helped with a couple of answers.

QuasiMojo 2:53 PM  

@Z, I never noticed the attempted humor.

•Just kidding!

Mohair Sam 3:18 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
pabloinnh 3:50 PM  

Late to the party but the damn lawn is mowed.

What many others have said about the theme, once you catch on (earlyish for me), it becomes a paint-by-numbers exercise. Last entry was 1A and 1D, as I kept reading "Brutish sorts" as "British sorts" and refused to label my friends in GB as THUGS. Interesting because my first thought for 1A was THE. I blame my imperfectly repaired detached retina for this and many other stupid mistakes I make.

My favorite contemporary slide guitar player has to be Bonnie Raitt. This is probably because I just love her voice.

Thanks for the fun, guys. Nice Sundecito. Many of us are still waiting for a Sundazo.

Fred Romagnolo 3:55 PM  

@OffTheGrid: The First Amendment denies the government, not team owners, interfering with freedom of speech. @Phil: Berra said "I didn't say half the things I said." @Klassic: I'll bet you read Loren just so you can insult her; how sad.

Kitty 4:03 PM  

NOVITIATE is the place
NOVICE is the person

The dictionary 5:22 PM  

the period or state of being a novice, especially in a religious order.
synonyms: probationary period, probation, trial period, test period, apprenticeship, training period, traineeship, training, initiation
"in 1868 he began a three-year novitiate"

a novice, especially in a religious order.
synonyms: novice, neophyte;

a place housing religious novices.

OffTheGrid 5:56 PM  

I am well aware of that but private institutions should also respect the constitution when no harm is being done. Shame on the NFL!

Anonymous 6:25 PM  

I am well aware of that but private institutions should also respect the constitution when no harm is being done. Shame on the NFL!

In these days of A Manchurian President???? He and his cabal are shredding the document. :)

Stanley Hudson 6:27 PM  

@Klazzic, don’t let the door hit you on your way out. LMS is a well-loved mainstay on this blog.

@Runs with Scissors, please retire from your government (!!) job and leave California ASAP.

Clrd2Land 6:34 PM  

@paperkin : That would have been AWESOME. Thanks for the laugh.

James K. Lowden 9:46 PM  

Is it liberty? Or is it collusion? It sure looks like conspiratorial price-setting to me.

John Ford had to make the African Queen in Africa because he and Hepburn and Bogart were blacklisted. No one in Hollywood was prosecuted under the Sherman Act, just as no one in the NFL will be. But don’t confuse conspiracy with the logical consequences of protest.

James K. Lowden 10:01 PM  

Incipient comments? The ones she was about to make? Or were you struggling for “insipid”, and English isn’t you’re long suit?

LMS’s comments take eddication to preciate. I’m sure they seem boring to those over whose heads they go.

James K. Lowden 10:09 PM  

I don’t mind the juxtaposition, but you’re mistaken: there’s no such thing as a “fine general” on the losing side of a rebellion.

Every confederate general commemoration — statue, avenue, bridge, fort, airport, all — is an abomination. The South attempted to sunder the nation in the name of slavery rather than submit to democracy. They don’t deserve veneration or forgiveness. They understood the stakes. The deserve their place in history next to their fellow malefactors, not on the public square.

Carol C. 10:32 PM  

I've been doing the Sunday puzzle for many, many years and the bar has been set so low that it's pathetic. I know that it's low because, compared to several other weeks, I thought this one was kind of clever, even though so many of the clues are very weak, starting with 1 across (answer - the)

Loren Muse Smith 12:00 AM  

Thanks, guys.

But hey – I fired the first shot across his bow the other day when he made me mad by insulting our guest blogger. I was snarky about his spelling of “sourpuss” and I was just childishly being mean.

I get that my treatises can wear. I point out the linguistics stuff because I figure that many here might be interested in such things. Maybe some people are now aware that they too say /SECK unt/, and the world is a better place for it. (Yo, @Molasses)

As regards all the other things I run my mouth about… I have no idea. It just… happens. I think the low-brow stuff I so readily cop to stems from the time when I was just a lurker here and thought I wasn’t fancy enough to comment. I don’t like Jane Austen or movies with subtitles. I enjoy Cheez Whiz and know every word of Ray Steven’s Harry the Hairy Ape. I didn’t belong here with all these cultured people. Now that I’ve outed myself as Philistine, I guess it’s my hope that some other lurkers might be emboldened to comment.

Oh. And that malapropism? I never would have caught it. I probably would have used the word incipient, too.

Unknown 8:47 AM  

Plus DNA (87 Across) does NOT replicate during mitosis! It replicates during Interphase which is the time in between mitosis sessions.

Mama Squirrel 8:00 AM  

Nobody else complaining about "cms?"

I'm, Canadian, grew up (more or less) with metric, and this is basic school stuff: the plural of centimeter is cm, not cms.

Burma Shave 2:27 AM  


I had reckoned KAREN was THE neckin' TRAMP who had beckoned for SECOND BASE.


Anonymous 2:44 AM  

@Unknown 8:47 - you're so smart:

Why is it necessary for DNA to replicate as the first step in mitosis?

It's necessary for DNA to replicate as the first step in mitosis because the whole point of mitosis is to create new cells, exactly like the old ones. Since DNA has all the genetic information that makes cells do what they do, it's necessary to replicate them in the act of mitosis.

rondo 1:14 PM  

So they broke the rules re: doubles and there's nothing super long. When you do it brazenly it kinda works. Both constructors from MN. I kinda know Victor and think I had a chance to SAYHELLO to David.

@merican in Paris - maybe you should check on OFL's comments before you rip on another poster. @Runs with Scissors was making a comment about Rex filling in ETON instead of STEN, not ranting on the answer. Check your context. Please. Now who looks silly?

KAREN Carpenter a definite yeah baby before her disorder took control.

OK puz by me despite OFL's TROPE.

spacecraft 2:06 PM  

Not much to it today, once I got over the "you can't do that!" deal. Yeah, you can, if it's part of the theme. Works for me. I think the theme is clever; the fill, less so. Starting with "THE" doesn't portend a great solve. And yes, I could've gone a month of Sundays without meeting that TWIT at 9d.

A very special, non-puzzle DOD today: the entire USA women's soccer team, world champs! You go, girls!!

Learned: there's such a thing as a SLIDEGUITAR. Also that MESA is bigger than Erie. Also that bananas are radioactive!? Man, I must glow in the dark! Par.

rainforest 3:27 PM  

I liked this easy/medium puzzle and, even though it took way too long to "see" the theme, I liked the theme. I think CLONE was the revealer har.

In a few places I'd be close to getting the answer and then imagine "second" in front of it, and voila. That was the case with NATURE, RATE, and STRING.

Refreshing to have a Sunday that didn't approach slog territory, and which involved zero write-overs. Have to agree about Karen Carpenter. Beautiful and tragic.

Dude 3:07 AM  

Can't believe smartie pants Rex thought TDs were touchdowns instead of term deposits. Wall Street bears not Chicago Bears.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

I didn’t get the first “string” - seemed like random letter.

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