Oldest golfer to win PGA Tour event / WED 6-26-19 / Shade akin to rust / Two tone beast that sleeps standing up

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (4:44)

THEME: THEYDOSTUFF  — all-caps clues are ordinary words that are meant to be understood as verb phrases (pronoun + verb) and answers are professions those phrases might fit:

Theme answers:
  • 17A: HEBREWS, i.e. he brews ... BEERMAKER
  • 24A: WEAVER, i.e. we aver ... TRUE BELIEVERS
  • 52A: SHERIFFS, i.e. she riffs ... JAZZ GUITARIST
  • 63A: IRATE, i.e. I rate ... APPRAISER 
Word of the Day: MARS RED (46D: Shade akin to rust) —

1any of various red to orange, brown, or violet artist's pigments made by calcining Mars yellow

2or mars red

LOL ... so:
a reddish brown iron oxide left as a residue when ferrous sulfate is highly heated and used formerly in polishing glass and as a pigment
a moderate reddish brown that is yellower and deeper than roan, yellower, stronger, and slightly darker than mahogany, and yellower, less strong, and slightly darker than oxblood  called also angel red,  Coromandel,  English red,  Mars redPrussian red,  Tuscany 
Also LOL ... there literally is no "sense 3" of TOTEM at the m-w.com website

• • •

I really like the restraint on this one. No clunky revealer stressing the grid means the fill, while not exactly scintillating, is clean, and we're allowed (or forced, depending on your POV) to figure the gimmick out on our own. This is the opposite of yesterday's monstrosity, where a clumsy "note" explained a phenomenon that didn't need explaining (and was dumb to begin with). This is carefully crafted work, mindful of the solver experience in a way that I appreciate. It took me a While to figure out what the hell was up with this theme. I might've been way down on the last themer before putting it all together. Yeah, that feels right, then I worked my way back up the grid figuring out the themers in reverse order. Having only four themers means there's a lot of non-theme space in the middle of the puzzle. You could make a lot of headway in the puzzle without knowing what was going on themewise. NW was by far my roughest spot. Screwed up everything possible in that section, so much so that when I returned late in the solve to clean it up, I was briefly but genuinely worried that I was going to get badly stuck. This is because I just could not make sense of the simple clue at 1D: Short cut (BOB). Had the BO- and still no idea. I was thinking "short cut" as in "a shorter path" and also "short cut" as in "snip," like a cut with scissors. Not thinking of haircut. "Short" seems relative and not such a great way to clue BOB. I have a shaved head, though, so my idea of "short" may be skewed. Also couldn't figure out the [Empathetic comment] at 3D. Wanted "THERE, THERE," but it wouldn't fit. And then clue on APP made no sense to me (5A: Store offering that can be free) (I wanted something like TOTE) and PAK, my god, no way. My brain tried to envision "east of Iran" and it was just a hazy blur. Where have you gone, Se-ri PAK!?

Noooo idea MARS RED was any kind of color, so ___RED was killing me. Totally blanked on Gore VIDAL (49D: Author of "Burr" and "Lincoln"), which is horribly embarrassing for this English Ph.D. "Ooh, that guy ... so venomous ... wrote crime fiction under the name Edgar Box WHY CAN I REMEMBER THAT BUT NOT HIS FAMOUS ACTUAL NAME!?"
Totally Travolta'd IDINA Menzel (47D: ___ Menzel, Tony-winning actress for "Wicked"). Well, not totally. IRINA is at least ballpark. Best mistake though was having ___ZGUITARIST and making the first word WHIZ. I am very excellent at solving, in case you didn't know. Sigh. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Today's constructor has played with this kind of theme cluing before—though with a very different set of answers. Check it out (from Feb. 2016)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:23 AM  

Medium-tough. Didn’t catch the theme until I was almost done. It helped me finish the NW.

Do they still make NODOZ? My college junior granddaughter tells me everyone is on adderall these days. Apparently it’s one molecule off from being meth, but I’d have to check with Heisenberg’s ghost to be sure.

Pretty clever Wed., liked it.

Jack 12:36 AM  

Longtime lurker. I have been doing old puzzles to try to get up to speed, and now I am trying to keep up with the daily blog I just want to say that I love the comments on this site and some of you are terribly clever.

puzzlehoarder 12:41 AM  

Almost an identical time to last Friday's solve. Oddly today that time seemed to drag. Not from a lack of interesting material. The puzzle was fine. I just made a few stumbles like conflating NINO and NINA with BEBE then thinking 1A was NENE and 1D would be NIP. Easy to clear up but it does add time. Still just a half minute over average.

Runs with Scissors 12:47 AM  

This was a solid, fun puzzle. Went fairly quickly but it didn't feel like it while solving.

Themers were kinda weird, to me. BEERMAKER from Hebrews was chuckle-worthy.

TRUE BELIEVERS from weaver made no sense until I saw it parsed here. We aver. STOP IT!

JAZZ GUITARIST - be willing to bet the clue was trying to be PC. Do a poll and you'll most likely find a huge preponderance of males in that slot. Before all y'all get yer knickers in a twist over that, please note that it's a simple statement of (most likely) fact, and not a complaint or recommendation. Never thought I'd need to mansplain that...

APPRAISER from I rate was purty darn good, too.

Seeing PAK in the grid evoked Larry Niven's "Ringworld."

BEEN THERE. Done that. Burned the T-shirt.

Nothing about the puzzle to make me SAD. My favorite sans-serif font - ARIAL - made the grade too.

LABOR over TIRED...whatchoo tryin' to say?

JOLTS, for some reason, took me back. How many of you remember "Jolt Cola! All the sugar and twice the caffeine!!"

SEISM may be valid, but always gets the second glance from me.

Ty COBB gets a pass??

This is what we've come to expect from this constructor.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

Harryp 1:11 AM  

This theme is very good, once you get it, but by the time I looked up to see what was going on, the grid was pretty much filled in. My big problem was that I put in APPetiSER at 63Across, and was in a real mess, thinking mustard seed somehow for 46Down, Rebus maybe. Got back on track, but this was challenging. Thank you Zhouqin Burnikel, for an extraordinary construct.

Anonymous 1:16 AM  

This was a Thursday puzzle. Clean fill but far harder than an average Wednesday. Couldn't get going in the south to save my soul.

Loren Muse Smith 1:29 AM  

What a terrific idea. I love it when a constructor shows me a word but then takes my head and is like, No, look at it again. See? I caught on fairly early with TRUE BELIEVERS (hey, @Runs) and was awash with admiration for CC’s elastic mind and facility of manipulating English, her second language.

I bet I’m not alone with TYPOS before ERROR for 4D. When TYPOS fell with its brilliant clue, I thought, Well played, you little sneaky sneak.

When I filled in MAID, I (w)racked my braid to remember if this term is unpc. It’s hard to keep up.

@Runs, @jae – I guess JOLT cola has been upstaged by Red Bull and Monster. I have lots of students who drink Monster. Mountain Dew is wildly popular around here, too, and it’s pretty caffeinated. I live in a turbo-caf soda FANBELT.

Loved the clue for STAY. That’s exactly how I say it. Getting my dogs to stay feels like putting that last card on top of your card-house. Very slow, very carefully back away, I guess so as not to excite?

Did not realize that “connoisseur” had that extra, discriminating connotation. I just thought it meant you knew a lot about something period. Given this definition, can you not just be a connoisseur of, say Gone with the Wind trivia? I mean, the idea of TASTE doesn’t really play into a list of little fun facts, right?

Rex – MARS RED was new to me, too. It googles strong, though (1,670,000 hits). Puce gets 37,300,000 hits. Either one would be a real buzz kill to a wedding conversation.

Have you set the date?
. . .Yes! June 6th!
Chosen a venue?
. . .Yes! Berry Hills Country Club!
What color will your bridesmaids wear?
. . .Mars red or puce, I can’t make up my mind.

WA Wa wa.

@puzzlehoarder - me, too, for wanting "nene" first.

@Jack – I was a longtime lurker, too, until I had the courage to speak up. Once I started commenting, my solving skills started getting better and better. Stick around and weigh in!

CC – I really, really liked this theme. Count me among your huge fan base. This morning WEBLIKE “Holy guacamole!”

Anonymous 1:57 AM  

Nice gender balance, HE BREWS and SHE RIFFS.

Another iteration of trickiness would be a theme where both the clues and answers had parse ambiguity.(?) EG, APPRAISER could be APP RAISER, eg a coder? Yeah... never mind.

BTW @LMS, do you ever sleep? You post at 1:29 am, or 6:30 am. Come clean, you are a super well developed AI bot, right? Or actually a team of college students? (If option 1, IMHO you pass the Turing test). I(E)nquiring minds want to know.


chefwen 2:50 AM  

C.C. hit another homer. It also took me to the end of the puzzle before I had my AHA moment. Said to puzzle partner, “I’m almost finished but I can’t figure out the gimmick”. Looked at 17A HEBREWS and it smacked me upside the head, Woo Hoo HE BREWS, I get it! Clever one C.C. love it.
Favorite was I RATE. APPRAISER.

Anonymous 4:37 AM  

Can someone explain what Rex means by “Totally Travolta’d”?


mbr 4:44 AM  

He'Brew has been around for a while: https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/262/33499/
They call it "The Chosen Beer" ;-)

Anon 5:17 AM  

4:37 look up on YouTube how John travolta pronounces her name when introducing Idina Mendel on an awards show. oscars or Tony’s I don’t remember.

Tea Man 5:57 AM  

Excellent puzzle: It took me almost the entire puzzle to understand the theme, but once I got it, I got it and enjoyed it. Well done!

Lewis 6:03 AM  

Yes! This puzzle gave me -- a wordplay lover -- a seismic simultaneous "Aha!" and "Hah!" The moment it hit me (at JAZZ GUITARIST) I dashed in the other theme answers, which were eluding me. That flurry of discovery, glee, and splat fill, when that happens -- and it's rare -- it's one of solving's great moments. It is a great deliverance from any dreck life has to offer. May I call it solvation?

And may I thank you, C.C. for taking this person who came to his solving chair feeling neutral and jolting him into leaving it with zeal? Great puzzle!

Suzie Q 6:24 AM  

I guess I'm the outsider today when I say I did not enjoy this at all.
Everyone seems to love this constructor no matter what she does.
I thought the theme was childish. All I could think of was

I scream
you scream
we all scream
for ice cream!

Odd Sock 6:31 AM  

If you do any painting in oil you see Mars Red all of the time at the art supply store.

Sob, sad, owe, labor, tired, error, stop it, lose. What a depressing grid we have today.
On top of that we have snow blowers in June. Don't remind me please.

Anonymous 6:36 AM  


Hungry Mother 6:51 AM  

Misspelled CAMISOLES and never figured out the theme. Not a great day for this home team.

Eliza 7:08 AM  

Never have associated bevy with quail. Just covy.

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

Not a fan, there are so many words in English that are compounds of other words that the theme is far too loose. Bit hard for a Wednesday and some clues that are slightly incorrect.

amyyanni 7:12 AM  

@Hungry Mother- I had DARKRED when CAMISOLE helped me get MARSRED. This was so clever! High marks. Welcome @Jack, even though I am a rookie here myself. Idina Menzel was in the original cast of RENT and also played Lea Michele's (Rachel) mother on GLEE. Also WICKED. (That's her defying gravity in the song.) And yes, Ty Cobb (not the lawyer) was a brilliant but ethically challenged Tiger.

btgrover 7:14 AM  

Rare puzzle where I finished having zero idea what the theme was. Just never needed it, the fill was pretty simple. Actually about 90 seconds under my Weds average. Did think I was going to be screwed with the themers crossing in the SE (SEISM didn’t help, have never seen that word without the -IC), but worked around it.

Good of Rex to go out of his way to do a drive by on yesterday’s constructor in today’s review, since he wasn’t around to trash him on Tuesday.

QuasiMojo 7:19 AM  

I couldn't figure out the theme until I finished and studied the grid and reread the clues. I dunno. These answers feel a bit forced to me. "He brews" could be someone who likes to make English Breakfast Tea while enjoying his morning scones.

WE AVER seems a bit off since one doesn't need the True part in the answer. And does one actually have to believe in a statement to "aver" it? I thought it meant "to declare." (Now them Weavers, they were true believers. The folk singers, I mean.)

The spaghetti strings in the camisole clue made me think of Project Runway where, I'm told, they make clothes out of gimp, laundry bags, or rolls of licorice.

I always think that Nobel was Norwegian because they give out the Peace Prize in Oslo. Did Gerald Fjord win one?

Where I grew up we only said "Da Nerve." And then told a saucy joke about a too nosy kid.

I guess when the god of war is IRATE he "sees Mars red"?

I know, I know... "Don't quit your day job..." STAY!

oopsydeb 7:28 AM  

Loved this puzzle. I had TRUE BELIEVERS filled in and was completely stumped on how it fit the clue. Then I took a look at my half completed BEER MAKER and had my big aha. Quickly went down and filled in the other two themes. Struggled to finish in the SE getting tied up not knowing IDINA, SNEAD, MARS RED, and trying to figure out SEISM. But eventually got it all to fall into place. Fill was clean with a couple of interesting items. Nice puzzle!

kitshef 7:37 AM  

What a weird and fun puzzle. The theme is aces, and there are some tasty clues like “Printed slips” and those for COBB and TYPOS and SNEAD.

Pity SIESM could not have been exorcised. Would it really destroy civilization to allow an asymmetry in the grid and just have SEIS (as in cuatro cinco) and ERE in that corner?

@Eliza – covey is for partridges.
@Quasimojo – the peace prize is given in Norway, but all the others are given in Sweden, as per Nobel’s will. I have no idea why (and a quick Google sheds no light).
@LMS – superior avatar today
@Jack – welcome to the commentariat.

RavTom 7:39 AM  

Could someone please explain APPRAISER?

mmorgan 7:39 AM  

Really fun, really cute, really enjoyable puzzle.

I was really wondering what Rex thought of yesterday’s puzzle. Now I know!

pabloinnh 7:52 AM  

Lots to like about this one. Any puzzle with BEERMAKER is a good puzzle, and it also made the gimmick obvious and added fun to the solve. "Nene" also occurred to me but I would use this term for a child older than a newborn--y tu, GILL I?

SPASM didn't work and SCHISM didn't fit so in went the truncated-feeling SEISM, which was the last to fall and made a certain amount of sense.

Also liked seeing the very rare ENGARDE. Not quite as much fun as "touche", which is one of those foreign words that has no good English equivalent (and is the caption for a famous Thurber cartoon, which is too gruesome to describe here).

Thanks for a swell Wednesday, CC. Had me wishing it was a Sunday so it could have lasted longer.

I.M. Sothebys 8:00 AM  

@RavTom 7:39

Appraisers put a value on items (houses, art, etc) - using some sort of rating criteria. If an appraiser is asked what he/she does for a living, the response might be "I rate."

Either that, or an appraiser is someone a develops and rears those things you download your Iphone.

OffTheGrid 8:00 AM  

This was a delightful puzzle. I was at a point where the first two theme answers were filled in, I looked at them a minute and saw the fun. That helped me get the last two.
Early on I was too clever and put in AIDE for "help around the house", thinking house of reps. There was a lot of nice cluing. (I thought it was clueing but spellcheck says "TYPO ERROR")

I hope the @Rex bashers notice that he loved this puzzle despite the fact that it gave him a fight. That's why he writes good critiques (for or against). He recognizes a good puzzle even if he struggles a bit.

Liked shout out to TY COBB. The Tigers could use his talents this year. (He was a Tiger for 22 seasons)

Nancy 8:18 AM  

What a nifty, well-hidden trick! THE NERVE, Ms. Burnikel! Previously, I've found your puzzles too easy for words (pun intended), but in this one you almost stumped me. Thus turning me into one of your TRUE BELIEVERS. This was work to solve, with theme clues that initially caused me to STARE in bafflement. And in fact most of the cluing was difficult. But mine was a LABOR of love and I am a most positive APPRAISER of the puzzle. So STAY around, Z.B. I hope you will continue to try to trick me in the future. And I will eagerly AWAIT the challenge. EN GARDE!

RooMonster 8:22 AM  

Hey All !
CC gives us a HE, a SHE, an I, and a WE, and manages to sneak in a THEM also. Nice.

Had my one-letter DNF at CAMaSOLE/aDINA. THE NERVE! (Twice in a row) And one writeover, ruth-COBB.

Thought the theme to be pretty good. Thought at HEBREWS that it might be what it turned out to be, but took me to JAZZ GUITARIST to actually parse the clues. WE AVER seems a TAD wonky to the ears, but that's my only nit.

@Runs with Scissors
Jolt cola! Har. Had a buddy of mine trying to stay awake for something that I can't remember why now, who drank an entire 6-pack of the stuff, and about 1-2 hours later, still fell asleep!
Ah, youth.


BEVY is also a group of Beauties.

Is LOLL Laugh Out Louder?

TYPOS and ERROR. Although, I thought ERROR was something plural because of the clue.

SNOOT. Fun word.


Joaquin 8:32 AM  

Surprised by the comments today as I saw the theme immediately on the first themer (HEBREWS). Oh well. One man's meat ...

An interesting coincidence - I had never heard the word SEISM before (tho it was easy enough to get from crosses and logic), but it was also an answer on tonight's Jeopardy! program. Trebeck noted that the word was old-fashioned.

@merican in Paris 8:59 AM  

Wow, 30 comments already! I did this one on paper, and it played tough for me. Did not grock the theme until I gave up on the last two letters of IDINA (one of the few PPPs), and had to Google her. (Living abroad, these kinds of names are not household words.) That helped me get APPRAISER, and then I saw the connection between the answers and the clues. Very clever, DROLL even.

Also learned a new words. Also had SpaSM before SEISM, so learned a new word there. VIDAL was a gimme: I had read both Burr and Lincoln, which opened my mind to history.

I have a small nit with the clue for BEEN THERE (, done that). I have rarely heard it expressed emphatically. Rather, I say it and most others I know express it matter-of-factly, sometimes accompanied by a sigh of resignation.

ARIAL seems to have gotten a lot of play lately. It's ubiquitous, but my first thought always goes to Geneva or Helvetica.

TYPOS occur frequently in Turkish, which has various forms of the letter "i", including one with no dots. I knew an Irish translator of Turkish, who worked for awhile in Ankara. A Turkish friend of her had moved to Brussels with her husband, and upon the birth of a child, my friend sent her a gift, accompanied by a note written in Turkish. It said something like, "Please don't feel obliged to send me a thank-you note. I know you have been very busy lately." Out of habit, she then went back and dotted all of her "i's". Problem is, it changed the meaning of the end of the sentence to something like, "I know you've been f***ing a lot lately." Fortunately, the recipient got a good laugh out of the ERROR.

USA plays France on Friday. Yay!

Joe Dipinto 9:13 AM  

Okay idea, not spectacular. WEAVER doesn't quite work because you have to pronounce it differently to get the answer phrase. And, ATTY is the abbreviation for "attorney"; ATT means "attention". Fail.

Today you have a choice of 1979 disco by the group Machine...

Carlos and Carmen Vidal just had a child
A lovely girl with a crooked smile
Now they gotta split 'cause the Bronx ain't fit
For a kid to grow up in

Dig that ending preposition. Or...your other choice is by Them, with lead singer Van Morrison. Perfect for amateur guitarists...

Her name is

Sir Hillary 9:19 AM  

Great stuff, as is customary for Ms. Bournikel. Really nothing at all I can be a SNOOT about.

"Travolta'd" -- LOL, @Rex. Big IDINA fans in our house. Daughter #2 knows "Rent" word for word, and she and I were fortunate enough to see Ms. Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth in "Wicked". What a treat. Just like this puzzle.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

@I.M. Sothebys: Great alternative definition for APPRAISER!

I loved this puzzle! Clever, clean, got the theme pretty quickly with BEERMAKER and enjoyed all the subsequent theme clues.

Special kudos to the constructor for "Printed slips." Big chuckle on that one.

Molasses 9:48 AM  

@merican, the clue for BEEN THERE is empathetic, not emphatic. Makes more sense that way. My friend just flew home to PHX from NYC, delayed, diverted, rescheduled connections that were then missed, all while hungry and with teenagers in tow. All her FB responses were variations on been there. Lots of empathy on the internet. (Sorry if I'm the third person to point this out.)

@Joe, thanks for the Gloria ear worm. I-I-I-I-I-I G-L-O-R-I-A

This was fun! I like puzzles with a theme I can figure out - makes me feel smart. I also like puzzles whose themes I don't recognize till I come here. I guess they make me feel like the world makes sense.

GILL I. 9:55 AM  

Oh, wow. Where to begin? Never mind. Really liked this concept. Staring at Hebrews and thinking hot dogs. I was pretty sure BEER was correct. Then my mind wandered to ball parks. I was all over the place. CC can be DROLL. JAZZ GUITARIST opened the flood gates. Ah...how clever is this.
TRUE BELIEVERS brought this quote to mind: Never tell your problems to anyone.....20% don't care and the other 80% are glad you have them.
OK, so 64D PSA was my head scratcher. I looked it up and got "Prostate specific antigen." I'm asking myself how is the prostate a good cause?
Yeah, the PC snoops don't like the word MAID anymore. Domestic cleaner, picker upper, gotta find something that amuses. I think you have to say "house keeper."
@pablito...Nene , to me, is describing a small child. Kinda like saying "creatura." BEBE popped right in - maybe because I knew BOB.
I, like probably all of you women, had to stop by Victoria's Secret and see what all the hoopla was about. I figured I wouldn't buy anything till I saw this silk CAMISOLE little PJ top. It was so simple and looked sooooo comfortable. I bought it. I wore it. Husband wasn't the least bit impressed. I didn't care. I can still fit in it and I'm sure 100% of you don't care.
@Lorrain Dusky...I read your profile late last night. You sound so very interesting. I hope you post more often. Same to you, @Jack. My real name is Jill and....well, the rest is history.
@Runs...reminds me of a T-shirt or maybe it was a greeting card that said: "Based on how I react when toast pops out of the toaster, I will never look cool walking away from an explosion."
We're off to Auburn in a few hours. My and my husband's family have flown in. I haven't seen my sister in 10 years and I've missed her terribly. She will bring a little bit of Spain with her. The black beans are simmering in their sauce, the pig is marinating and all the prep work is done. Only thing left is to have a ton of fun and toast my beautiful daughter and the groom. Happy Days.

Zwhatever 10:05 AM  

I thought I had the theme at Hebrews (note: italics in the paper, not all caps) but then didn’t see it at Weavers. But then Sheriffs was too obvious, and then I finally parsed We aver. Pretty obvious now, so I wonder why I didn’t see it immediately, especially since “aver” is high crosswordese. I also had a self-inflicted slow-down at MAJOR (no idea why I thought McJOb fit the clue) and a more reasonable write-over at SpaSM before SEISM. I didn’t have a Travolta moment, but I do have IDINA Menzel and Idris Elba filed too close to each other so always make myself wait whenever one is in the puzzle.

I long thought C.C. love was a bit much, more about her then the puzzles, but her last few puzzles have deserved the praise they’ve received and this one is very good. I thought it was a dandy Wednesday.

@Jack - and some of us are just terrible. Har! Welcome.

@Runs - Two things. PC? Maybe it is just that She riffs dictated some sort of GUITARIST answer. Second, and several others have made the same mistake, Ty COBB’s modern reputation is mostly a product of a single very negative biography. Imagine if in 2119 the “common wisdom” about Obama was based almost exclusively on a biography by Rush Limbaugh. That’s not to say that COBB was an enlightened gentleman, but what you all think you know about him is more than a little exaggerated.

@Okanager/anon 1:57 - I think Muse has mentioned insomnia in the past.

@Quasimojo - To assert as fact and To assert the truth of... Yep, definitely have to believe something is TRUE to “aver.”

@LMS - I think “connoisseurs” has been downgraded by posers, so now it has a slight “self declared snob who doesn’t really know what they are talking about” connotation. If someone is an actual connoisseur one has to add “true” to the front. Either way, it’s all about TASTE.

Wood 10:06 AM  

Wow, I found this one tough for a Wednesday. Like Rex, had a lot done before I got the first themer at the bottom and worked my way back up. Way over my average Wed time, although admittedly I was watching TV at the same time.

Doug Garr 10:09 AM  

Well, I really liked yesterday's puzzle because it was art-driven. Today, I couldn't figure out the theme, even when I finished. Though the NW clue made some sense. So I didn't really enjoy solving today, and it took me a long time. Had to jump around for the gimmes, so I was all over the grid.

jberg 10:20 AM  

In the paper the theme clues were in italics, rather than all-caps, and with my vision I had to stare a bit to confirm which ones they were. That said, I saw BEER MAKER early on, but was looking for other sound-alike phrases, and the next two are not. That's not a fault, IMO, since we get two of each -- but it made it harder for me to see (and increased the joy when I did see it).

@Eliza, I think you're right -- a group of quail is a coVY. If you go out and shoot exactly two of them, you've got a BEVY, but that doesn't quite fit the clue.

@Pablo, we don't have good translations for those fencing terms because today's fencers use the French ones. But Hamlet, in his duel at the end of the eponymous play, does cry out "A touch! A palpable touch!" or something along those lines.@RavTom -- @Rex explains APPRAISER when he lists the theme answers.

I came at MARS RED from the top end -- had MA and tried to spell MArroon with an extra r; then got Sam SNEAD and wrote in MARSala. I needed almost all the crosses -- but I liked the reminder (made clear in @rex's quoted definitions) that pigments are (or once were) natural substances that could be used to make a color.

Crimson Devil 10:21 AM  

Quite a slog. Very tough. Finally completed, never got gimmick.
Had coVey forever til BEVY dawned.
Ex cluing for MAJOR, SUE.
Appreciate effort that musta gone into exc construct.

DavidL 10:41 AM  

Great puzzle.

Couldn't find an error at the tough cross between IDINA and CAMISOLE. I forgot how to spell both words, and had them as "ADINA" and "CAMASOLE"

Fred Romagnolo 11:30 AM  

Again, the questioning of who is appropriate to be in a crossword puzzle. As Z points out, Cobb has generally gotten a bad rap. #1, he didn't spike any African-Americans; #2, he didn't spike any women (he couldn't, they weren't around in the major leagues). Give it a rest, you judges of who is worthy of being mentioned.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

C'mon. For a Wed. JAZZyVOCALIST is the correct answer for 'she riffs'. Just count the numbers of each.

And, naturally, it was BEERMAKER that sussed the theme. I wonder, is kosher beer any better? May be the mohel adds some bits to the recipe?

pabloinnh 11:35 AM  

@jberg-Funny but after I posted and was taking the long trek down my driveway to retrieve the morning paper I was thinking about Hamlet. I think the quote is "A touch, a touch, I do confess it!", although it's very likely "palpable" is in there somewhere. Shakespeare in college was a long time ago. And actually I was thinking of "touche" not as a literal fencing term, but in the sense of a reply to a comment meaning something like, OK, fair point , you got me back on that one, where "touche" says all that in one word.

jb129 11:40 AM  

I got the puzzle, but not the theme until I read the blog. Oh well. Enjoyable all the same - thank you.

jjpennyless 11:48 AM  

Little nit on cluing. Show doesn't mean third place, it means finishing in the top three.

David 11:49 AM  

I am far too literal. In the place the New York Times puzzle is printed there is a very well known (for all the best reasons) beer called He'Brew. It's made by beermakers at the Shmaltz Brewing Company upstate in Troy. I could not countenance the answer even when I had BEER___ER. I'm thinking "really? the answer is just what it is? That's crazy." But okay, WHAT. EVER.

Then I get to TR__BELIEVERS, and I'm thinking. Okay. This has to be "true", but how does that apply to weavers? Are they people who weave or the folk singers? Is this some sort of snide poke at the perceived political beliefs of the folk singers? The nerve. Gosh. Stop it. Too much staring for me.

Dime finally dropped at APPRAISER, so Jazz Guitarist was the only one I got off the clue. I liked the puzzle a lot more then. didn't much care for the non-abbreviation of attorneys though.

I remember my mother-in-law reading Vidal's novel, Burr, and asking me if it was a history book. No, it's a novel. Many people have this problem not only with novels, but with plays, movies, and operas as well. I find that odd. And anything that makes me think of Lily Tomlin and fist fights with William F Buckley is welcome in my puzzle. If you haven't seen it, look up the documentary Best of Enemies; it explains a lot about one way we got to where we are today.

Zwhatever 11:54 AM  


Assuming Merriam-Webster is accurate, it looks like you have the words reversed, @jberg. Shortz at least knows his group bird terms, if not the difference between French vowels and English vowels.

Masked and Anonymous 11:55 AM  

{Tarpit} = ? *

Primo them+e. Kinda scrabbly, partly becuz of JAZZGUITARIST. Sorta caught on to the theme mcguffin at the first sight of italics … immediately checked em all out, and noticed the pronounal parts. Temple light went on. Contemplated that it could make a cool runtpuz theme, in reverse … lost many nano-seeconds, due to attention drift.

thUmbsUp for BEENTHERE, POORTASTE, CAMISOLE, and the WedPuz they rode in on.
ATTS. har

staff weeject pick: PAK. Better clue: {Item worn on the bak??}.

Thanx, CC -- still one of my fave constructioneers.

Masked & Anonymo3Us



TJS 11:59 AM  

@Z, always wonder where you get support for your definitive comments. Ty Cobb earned his reputation from much more than one post-playing biography. He was generally considered the most hated player in baseball during his career, renowned for his penchant for intentionally injuring infielders when sliding into bases, even to the point of filing down his spikes to make them more dangerous weapons. Of course "The Georgia Peach" was also known for out-spoken racism which was a not unusual attitude given his upbringing, however reprehensible. But he seems to have been an equal opportunity hater, all races, all creeds.

Mr. Alarm 12:08 PM  

Thanks again, Rex, for honestly confessing your struggles with this puzzle. Helps slow-poke novices like me feel I’m not a dork. I think Ty Cobb is in the same wonderful-horrible artist category as, say, Richard Wagner. Very different of course, but both were extremely gifted, but plagued with demons. So much so, that they hadn’t the sense to seek an exorcism. Rarer to find the highly gifted soul whose character is truly virtuous. Confident yet humble.

old timer 12:34 PM  

The puzzle is back ... way back ... it's OUTA HERE! (SF Giants fans will get the reference). I was totally mystified by "hebrews" and the other themer clues. First-rate column by OFL, too, who praised the clever lack of a revealer.

@merican, you must feel lonely with Mrs 'merican away. I laughed a lot at your Turkish tale. And still wonder at what a SE ISM could be, if like me your first impulse is to rhyme it with Deism.

A maid used to be a girl who was a virgin. Jane Austen was a maid all her life. She never had to go work for someone else's family. But less fortunate daughters did, and were placed in service in the homes of the richer classes. Among their duties was cleaning, dusting, sweeping, and tidying up. As hotels became more common, they hired young women to do the same jobs, and over time "maid" became an occupation instead of a status. Indeed, very few of today's maids are maids in the original sense. Not virgins and, often, not young either, but the more a hotel charges for a room, the more important they are when it comes to attracting repeat customers.

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Check out any bird hunting magazine, website or user group. Covey is by far the more common term for quail.

TeaHag 12:55 PM  

I flew through this one, surprisingly. Got the gist of the theme as soon as I had "BEER" in the first themer. I pretty much never get the theme right away, so I was pleased with that. Agree that APP was clued oddly. I got really stuck on DATA for some reason. All in all I enjoyed this.

Zwhatever 1:23 PM  

Well, gosh @TJS, being a lifelong Tiger fan, I’ve read a few things on Ty Cobb. I could hardly replicate all that reading here. Fortunately for you, Wikipedia has a lengthy, balanced, and well documented article that’s a good place to start. I say “start,” because the article has 145 footnotes, 13 “references” and “further reading,” and 10 “external links” you can explore. The stuff on Al Stump is a little weak, but I’m sure a little digging on your part will help you understand that most of the popular understanding of COBB actually comes from that single discredited source. Not all, but most. If I remember correctly, the Detroit Free Press did an extensive take down of Al Stump sometime in the past decade or so. If I was going to make a modern day comparison, COBB is a lot like the Bad Boy Pistons, hated by other teams’ fans, beloved by the home fans, made a misstep or three out of competitive zeal, but mostly okay guys who got wiser with age.

@Anon12:46 - Take it up with Merriam-Webster. Or cite some other dictionary to prove your point. As I said, I’m assuming Merriam and Webster have done their due diligence, but words change over time so maybe you are correct.

Anoa Bob 1:26 PM  

Did this last night and thought the theme kinda, sorta worked, but not in a tight, smooth way. Yeah, "-brews" and BEER, for example, have some overlap, but it seems like something needs to be added to make the transition from "He brews" to BEER MAKER sound like a logical, in-the-language connection. It came across as awkward to me.

And, as some others have pointed out, there's the additional infelicity of "Weaver"/"We aver" and "Sheriffs"/ "She riffs" not sounding the same.

Maybe this is one of those themes where we are not supposed to think about it too much, just see the overlap between, say, "riffs" and JAZZ, and say "Okay, good enough". For a life-long, too-late-to-change-now overthinker, not Ideal.

Teedmn 1:27 PM  

I fell into the coVY trap (COVEY would be correct, sigh) and I also wanted (though didn't enter) @jberg's MArSala for 46D. Both of these prevented me from getting a full theme answer into the grid for a while. I kept telling myself that if I could only get a themer finished, I would see the light on how the theme worked. So of course, JAZZ GUITARIST was first and left me hanging. But APPRAISER was next and I saw the I RATE right away and this helped fill in the next two.

I agree with Rex on today's difficulty. I thought there were all sorts of tricky clues while solving but looking back, I don't know why I found it so tough; except for 55D's excellent "Printed slips" clue and the vagueness in the NW, I'm not seeing it. Well, the clue for APP held me up also. And 40D with the first A in place wanted to be fAct, not DATA. M__SE clued as "Clicking device" was momentarily MorSE in my head but I held back on that. ETC., ETC.

Ms. Burnikel presents her usual clean and clever grid, thanks!

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

Im telling you something I know. I have no need to look up either word. Im a lifelong birder and have been a wing shooter for four decades. I have no quibble with Merriam Webster, or any other dictionary. As I and an earlier poster suggested, covey is the more common term for a group of quail. No need to belive me, check out any place or group that uses the terms. You'll soon see for yourself.

Zwhatever 1:51 PM  

Didn’t find the Freep article, but Bleacher Report did an extensive take down of Stump and his successors for the 50th anniversary of COBB’s death.

@Anon - “I know what I know, so I don’t need any evidence” is not going to win any arguments. M-W is an authority on word meanings, so do you got something more authoritative? Until you produce something better than “I’m an expert” you look the fool. And, no, I’m not going to do the research for you. “I’m going to ignore your facts until you prove me right” is some serious chutzpah, but sorry. You’re wrong until you show some evidence to the contrary. Note how I responded to @TJS asking me how I know something about Ty Cobb, not one but TWO sources to back up what I said.

That’s #4 so I’m OTZ and done for the day.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

Go to Quail Fprever's website. On the first page theres an FAQ. There you'll see that they describe a group of quail as a covey. Nowhere will you find the word bevy.
FWIW, it was the first website i checked.
Im gonna go to a hunti g mag next just in case tne premeir Quail preservation group in the country isnt authoritative enough.

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

Its under habitat. Still firat page of quails forever. Under habitat is an optio fpr quail facts. Thats where youll find covey used to describe a group.
3 and out

Crimson Devil 2:43 PM  

Speaking of MAJOR, I think I heard that WS’s MAJOR in college, IU I think,....was Enigmatology!!

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

Just for the record, it's COVEY not COVY.

Runs with Scissors 3:23 PM  

@Z - Merriam-Webster is a dictionary. A pronunciation guide. Diction-ary.

If you want definitive definitions you need to consult a definitionary. ;-)

Masked and Anonymous 3:29 PM  

I don't think anyone has mentioned these here two cool consecutive Down clues in today's *printed* puz version:

3. Empathetic comment
3. What this clue's number is

The second 3-Down clue should actually be 4-Down, and its answer was ERROR.
M&A thought this was a loopy high-light worth admirin. Sooo … wanted to un-tarp it. Just sayin.
Other versions had a totally different 4-Down ERROR clue.

Also, on a more minor note, the *printed* version themer clues were in italics, while other versions seem to use the (less subtle) capital letters.

M&A just mentions it, becuz yer solvetime might possibly vary by several precious nano-seconds, dependin on which version U had.


Dan Quayle 3:30 PM  

Here's the Mirriam-Webster reference:

Definition of BEVY

1 : a large group or collection, a bevy of girls
2 : a group of animals and especially QUAIL

Zwhatever 3:32 PM  

@anon - Going way OT here to say thanks. But being the argumentative cuss that I am I have to ask, who is more authoritative, Nature or Quail Forever? Or maybe Palomar Audubon which lists both bevy and covey? I briefly thought there might be a regional difference at play, but no. It seems just to be that us humans have a hard time agreeing on the meaning of anything. But yes, you provided solid authoritative basis for “covey” being preferred among people who care about quail the most.

RooMonster 3:44 PM  

What an awesome 4D clue! I got the boring regular 4D clue that, as I mentioned before, made it sound as if it wanted a plural answer. Two things:
1) How do you know all the variations of the puz that seem to be floating out there, and
2) (insert thing here that for some reason has escaped my memory)

I'll get back to you if the ole brain decides to start working again.


Joe Dipinto 5:36 PM  

In the Who Cares? Department: I just realized that what I said about WEAVER up above doesn't fly, since you have to pronounce SHERIFFS differently too. So never mind.

@Z -- Are you okay? Five posts and nary an asterisk or ocean of white space. I have some I'm not using; feel free to take if you need.

* * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * *

Anonymous 6:23 PM  

Man, i feel bad. I really do know all about quail and grouse and pheasants.tbats what a lifetime of birding and, unusually these days, hunting will do for you.
Why you felt necessary to challenge me, insult me (you said i looked the fool) then accede to something so p.ainly true worries me. You have a lot of knowledge, but surely otbers have experise in ares you dont. Rignt?
As for Nature Nd Palomar Observartory, i co fess i dont know what they call a group of quail. Presumably a bevy. Nevrtheless, be assured th common usage is covy. Look around at various birding and hunting sites. Its not even a close call.

Masked and Anonymous 6:32 PM  

1. M&A can't claim to know all the NYTPuz versions, but usin the printed version myself, lookin at the xwordinfo.chen version, and then readin the blog comments sure helps.
2. U probably wanted to know how the Universe could possibly be infinite. And yet how it could possibly be finite. Answer: The truth is infinitely complicated; not unlike a runtpuz.


Another Anon 6:37 PM  

@Anon 6:23 You would be more credible if you could spell covey.

Anonymous 6:48 PM  

Whether or not Ty Cobb was a racist is moot. He was one of the first five baseball HOF inductees. Therefore the clue/answer was accurate. The idea that bad people shouldn't be crossword answers is absurd. Rex is to blame. He didn’t complain this time but his constant carping about right wingers leads to this. Just allow famous people or organizations in without value judgements and the problem is solved. From Mao to Eric Trump.

Anonymous 6:48 PM  

Thanks dude. Im guessing you never heard the word covey bfore today. Anyway ive been insulted by tne best, i really dont need your approval.

pabloinnh 7:31 PM  

I would suggest that either Anon or Z should could make use of the puzzle appropriate and already discussed touche! and allow the argument a well-deserved rest.

You say bevy, I say covey....etc.

Casarussell 10:22 PM  

Nice puzzle, nice post from Rex! I've been enjoying the forum remarks with a bowl of popcorn!

Pdxrains 1:16 AM  

Wow that theme was deep.. like Thursday or Saturday hard. way out of place. DNF

Giskarrrd 10:27 AM  

I really liked this puzzle, though I had a very hard time. I spent a lot of time in the north, and I got enough downs to see ____MAKER on the first themer, which made me realize what the theme was, but it didn’t help me much with the other themes, except for guessing ____GUITARIST was in there.

A few head scratchers in here. Have never heard of NODOZ. Still don’t quite get the clue for TYPOS; I initially guessed it though, but then took it out again because I couldn’t actually make the connection to the clue.

Had gusTS instead of JOLTS for the longest time, which made me completely block on, among other things, LABOR.

Very fun though!

burtonkd 10:56 AM  

Anon 6:48 - agreed. I doubt anyone is actually complaining about COBB, just trolling Rex for selective outrage

Peggy 11:09 AM  

Who is CC? Thanks from Peggy in Madison wi

Anonymous 3:23 AM  

@Peggy, "CC" is the constructor's nickname.

-fellow cheesehead in oconomowoc

spacecraft 10:08 AM  

GOSH, what a great puzzle! Slap the old gray cells a couple times to wake 'em up and get 'em going. ENGARDE!! Yep, this one had plenty of feist--for me in particular because in my paper the theme clues were in ordinary ARIAL, same as all the others. No caps, except for first letter as always.

Way in was MAJOR/NINJA, so the NE fell first. I was puzzled (!) that "Weaver" appeared to end in the plural, but unavoidably, it came out [something]BELIEBERS. Clearly there was an ERROR somewhere. Then I worked backward into the NE and came up with BEERMAKER, and that's when the STUN hit. This had to be one of the coolest aha! moments ever. Thus armed, I went on to finish the rest in pretty good time (nothing like 4:44, of course). I make it just on the challenging side of medium.

IDINA Menzel (now put her LAST name in a puzzle!) makes a fine DOD. The fill is clean and fun; let's just say, if you didn't like this one you have POORTASTE. Eagle!

Burma Shave 10:16 AM  


I STAREd at the MAID in her CAMISOLE
GOSH, I had THENERVE to chase her,
ISLE need to STOPIT if she is DROLL,
but ‘til I’ve BEENTHERE I can’t APPRAISER.


Anonymous 10:59 AM  

No ALL CAPS, no italics. Just a lot of confusion as it came together.

He'Brew Beer: thumbs up. Gimme some of that Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.!

rondo 11:25 AM  

CC is at least as nice a person as this puz was good, which is way up there on the scale. I don’t think she could ever do anything in POORTASTE. Maybe not her call, but I woulda clued 1a as actress and yeah baby BEBE Neuwirth. Got through it with nary an ERROR. BTW – last week I got to see my cousin SUE and her husband BOB. BOB does xwords. And what’s this that OFL says about all-caps clues? Not in the St. Paul paper; looks like the Mpls paper isn’t all-caps either, but used italics.

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Always happy to see this constructors puzzles. She outdid herself with this one - varied subjects, lots of fun.

leftcoast 4:59 PM  

Parsed the italicized theme clues after some hard stares.

Problem in the lower middle: Got hooked on the JAZZ [blank, blank] pianIST and didn't even try to come up with GUITARIST. Quit there on a good, otherwise gettable puzzle.

Not really into it to today.

rainforest 5:23 PM  

I absolutely loved this puzzle having got to it late after a babysitting gig (3-yr old and 9-month old). What a twisted set of themers. Challenging, I call it.

I couldn't figure out how "hebrews" was singular while "weaver" was plural. Focused on that for far too long while I tried to get as many non-theme answers in the North as I could. Then, the "aha!" moment. A real one. I could thus see what the last two themers were getting at, and they along with the first two made a beautiful tetrad if ever I saw one.

There was amazing cluing throughout - cluing which was doing a "Lewis" on me. CC has constructed many excellent puzzles, but this one takes the cake, and let me have a generous slice.
Wonderful experience.

Diana, LIW 6:28 PM  

the dog apparently ate my homework and my comment disappeared

Not that it was ALL THAT.

Darn names - required that I cheat - just a teensy bit.

Good thing Zhouqin calls herself CC - I can remember that! And I sure remember her puzzles - always fun.

I did suss out all the ital answers w/o any help. Never one to spoil the surprise.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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