Puckered fabric / SUN 6-16-19 / Co-owner of Paddy's pub on It's always sunny in philadelphia / Onetime US soccer prodigy Freddy / Weapon with distinctive hum / Thomas Aquinas others philosophically / Classic play with Delphic oracle

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (10:59)

THEME: "Not In So Many Words" (Unthemed) — well, not theme, but they want you to know that the word count is low for some reason ...

Word of the Day: PLISSÉ (44D: Puckered fabric) —
  1. 1. 
    (of fabric) treated to give a permanent puckered or crinkled effect.
    "a plissé prom dress"
  1. 1. 
    material treated so as to be permanently puckered or crinkled. (google)
• • •

My god this puzzle is annoying. And coy. Oh, it's themeless ("Unthemed") but oh, tee hee, 1-Across is FATHER'S DAY, which is today! ... but no, yeah, it is Actually themeless and there is nothing else FATHER'S DAY about this. This is called punting. We got nothing good in the hopper, we can't pull off a Sunday theme to save our lives lately, so let's try to make the word count as low as possible (near as I can tell, this ties the record for low word count for a Sunday at 124 ... the puzzle it ties was published New Year's Eve 1961, and it's A Doozy) (in that it has "words" like FOSSA, GISHU, ARRHA, TEMENI, KEZIA and FISCS). Look, 21x21 is just too big for a themeless. Not enough constraint. 15x15 works well for themelesses—you can make it superhard and it's still small enough not to take forever, and the constraint (in terms of size and word count, which must be 72 or lower) forces a certain amount of creativity and ingenuity. A 21x21 canvas is just too big for a themeless. I can't really be impressed that you could pull off *anything* in a 21x21 grid. What's stopping you? Who even thinks in terms of word count on a Sunday. Mostly this is just word sprawl. Very little of it is bad. Some of it is fun. But it's mainly just blah blah blah. And then ADIT and TISCH crossing PLISSÉ, bleecccccch. THE SLOTS and THE BIT. Do Something Interesting. Just slapping FATHER'S DAY at 1-Across isn't it.

I did not have a bad time solving this. I merely had A Time. Not enough for the Marquee Puzzle, though. Not nearly enough. Sundays are the hardest day of the week to pull off. Themed puzzles are hard in general, and to get one to work, and not become tiresome, across such a great amount of space, is truly special. Which is why y'all should go back and admire Agard's "Stoner Movies" instead of whinging that it was about drugs. Eric is (almost) single-handedly keeping the NYTXW from being a full-on embarrassment of bygoneness and white-guy mediocrity. Sincerely, they're lucky he lets them publish his stuff.

I don't care about this grid enough to comment much.

Didn't know:
  • PALOMA (39A: Cocktail of tequila and grapefruit soda)—rough clue. I think Picasso is the only PALOMA I know
  • PLISSÉ (44D: Puckered fabric)—oof. OK. New words are cool, but crossing ADIT and TISCH, maybe less than cool
  • DENNIS—(83D: Co-owner of Paddy's Pub on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia")may as well have been clued [Man's name] or [Name]. Uniconic.
Did know:
  • ADITthe most Maleskan of all the crosswordese. In the early '90s, I actually used to sign off my emails to my fellow NYT-solving friend with pieces of 4-letter crosswordese. ADIT was a favorite. "Favorite."
Knew and actually liked:
  • TOTORO—a lovely movie
OK bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. FACEVEIL? As opposed to what, ASSVEIL? Come on. (80D: Muslim niqab, e.g.)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Ω 12:08 AM  

Yep. Waiting for matching 21 letter quint stacks. We haven’t seen a MAS byline in ages.

jae 12:23 AM  

A tad tougher than the typical themed Sun. A fun change of pace, liked it.

Tough cross PLISSE/TISCH. I kinda knew TISCH.

GOT married before HITCHED.


I actually heard the word ADIT used in reference to a mine shaft opening on an episode of “Justified”.

puzzlehoarder 12:29 AM  

Being themeless, this puzzle was right up my alley. One little advantage I had is that one of our six cats is named TOTORO. I didn't give him that name so of course I spelled it TOTERO. As per usual the puzzle self corrected that one.

I really loved the wealth of obscure material. All was fairly crossed. Solving this felt like a FATHERSDAY gift.

Joaquin 12:33 AM  

Pretty much gobsmacked that Rex didn't mention the two "OFFS" - PEELED and RATTLED. Thought for sure that would have him over the edge.

I liked this more than some of the "fill in the blanks" offerings of recent Sundays. This was a bit more of a challenge and held my interest.

Runs with Scissors 12:58 AM  

So much fun. So many Fathers' Day-centric stuff.

You got yer Fathers Day at 1A, natch.

But then there's 20A INTERRUPT, which we all know males (and dads) do all the time.

23A VENERATION, which dads deserve.

51A YEAR OF THE PIG just shouts that the males are here.

60A HEAR ME - I'm mansplainin'.

67A Was surprised to see ASSHAT in the NYTXW, but hey, it's current. And descriptive of dads.

69A It's what we do.

Where's my 73A?

85A authorized, 'cuz, y'know, I'm me.

14D the clothes....

Et cetera. You get the drift....and this is tongue so far in cheek that if you didn't get it, go back to sleep.

This was downright fun to solve. I just know we're gonna get apoplexy from the triggerable crowd but whatevs. This is an opus vivendi.

I particularly liked seeing CHEESE SLICER in the grid. Pepper jack, on top of turkey on rye, with jalapeños, spinach, arugula and red bell pepper. Yum!!

Way too much good stuff. Liked it, and the LIGHT SABER Star Wars referent will set so many of you off, to my utter delight.

Liked it!

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

Harryp 1:05 AM  

I thought that doing his daily MINI, I would have some insight as to what to look for in one of his Sunday puzzles, but I didn't have a clue. PARTERRE, PLISSE and others of that ilk brought me down to earth. After getting rid of 1Down neocon, I was able to get FATHER'S DAY and that section fell. YEAR OF THE PIG doesn't do the day any good, and neither does 81Across, but all in all a challenging Sunday, about 5 minutes above my average. luckily I knew ARIAL, otherwise owing to would have been added to in debt to and in hock to before IN THE RED.

chris b 2:43 AM  

You should try a PALOMA, they are delightful.

And yeah, you get to have a FACEVEIL in the puzzle if you also have an ASSHAT.

Jo 2:54 AM  

Face veil is what a wedding bride wears, I guess. Totally agree with Rex today.

chefwen 3:04 AM  

Got off to a bad start when I plopped down dentists at 11A thinking I was, Oh so clever. Seeing as how only the S worked, I guess I was not so clever at all. DOH! 11D set me on the right path.

20A INTERRUPT evoked a “Ain’t that the truth” out of me. Puzzle partner is the worst. I’ll be in the middle of a story when it happens and I’ll just quit talking. He has learned that sign and apologizes and tries to get me to finish, usually it’s too late.

I always look forward to a theme and some tricky word play on a nice big Sunday puzzle, this was kind of a let down.

Rgoldfilm 3:21 AM  

Not exactly themeless with OEDIPUSREX , 2 MOMMIES and then you start looking around and find YEAROFTHEPIG which in the #metoo era was sort of a slap in the face. Give us guys a break on our day?

@mericans in Paris 5:07 AM  

Wow, I thought OFL would be happy with a themeless Sunday. Boy was I wrong. I was going to point out all the tongue-in-cheek jabs at maledom, but @Runs with Scissors and @Rgoldfilm beat me to it.

The one think I like about @Rex's commentary is the cigarette ad. I have a friend in Boston who collects old ads, especially the cringe-worthy ones. Here's one of them: a two-page spread that appeared in the 2 February 1962 issue of LIFE magazine, touting the glacial-melting prowess of Humble Oil's fossil fuels.

But back to the puzzle.

HOE on Earth is ADIT (a horizontal passage leading into a mine for the purposes of access or drainage") the most Maleskan of all the crosswordese"?! In my earlier days, I was a mining-industry analyst, and ADIT is a thing. There are frequently questions about chemistry (ANIONIC) and biology (FAUNA). Why not mining?

As for ASS HAT, the term may now be seen as current, but the idea is centuries old. Have a look at the lithograph (third picture, scrolling down) in this Atlas Obscura article. Notice the donkey ears alongside the cone?

And yes, VEILs can cover up things other than faces.

So, as readers may have guessed by now, we really liked this puzzle. We felt SERENE after finishing without an error. Our "handicap", however, was that -- unlike the App version -- the print edition didn't include the additional hint of "Unthemed". So for the first 30 minutes we were constantly on the look-out for a theme or a rebus.

What we liked especially were the nice, long answers, whimsy, and very little "bad" fill. SURE, the puzzle did contain a few abbreviations like AEC, which I know, and names like ADU. But a smattering of those are unavoidable. And there are two "THEs" in addition to the two "OFFS" mentioned already by @Joaquin. Nonetheless, most of the three-letter answers are actual words. It must have taken Mr. Fagliano -- constructor of the Daily Minis -- a lot of hard work to construct.

My one nit is DARER as a risk-taker. I would say somebody who DAREs another person is usually the opposite. But I suppose sometimes DARER is used also to describe somebody who is DARing.

Our son, at 25, is an avid reader of dead trees. He's discovered Sinclair Lewis, which was one of my favorite authors when I was his age. Indeed, I liked all of the 'merican authors who spent time in Europe after World War One. Very YESTERDAY, I know. So sue me.

Question: Does IN THE RED mean one has broken open a bottle of Claret?

Happy FATHERS' DAY to those celebrating it!

Hungry Mother 5:29 AM  

Not too much time to solve before my 5K race this morning, but just enough. I enjoyed the challenge today, but found it relatively easy. My three children made me a father, but my wife did all of the work.

Loren Muse Smith 6:44 AM  

Themeless Sunday? I have to admit I was a bit crestfallen. I did not notice the low word count despite the title. Oops. I did see a theme, though in the fill and in the clues: YEARs OF THE PIG, HOAX/ERA, DARK TRYSTS, IMPURE, OLDISH, ASSHAT, “scam” TRESSED, SACHS “cabinet”, DRAMA, SPEW, ROAR, VENT, CHURL.

Confession – I have never really understood what a SOPHIST is. And I have always meant to look into the word “specious” but never did. Wow. I had no idea that both words describe a person who sounds pretty good and correct and believable but actually is just full of it. I’m adding both words into the rotation forthwith.

Ok. So. We have APPOSE and CHAMP (at the bit). If I’m writing either one, I’m gonna go with oppose and chomp. And this is not without a lot of prior consideration. Luckily when speaking, no one knows if you’re saying APPOSE or oppose, so you’re good either way. With CHAMP/chomp, you have to commit, and I’ma go with the mainstream and rhyme it with romp.

@chefwen – I got a real kick out of your “dentists” before COMPACTS! And my husband is an interrupter, too, but worse – an interrupter/subject changer. Rather than stick up for myself, I immediately and truly believe what I’m talking about is boring. So I just let my topic die its little death and wrap a blanket of hurt around me and keep it there for hours. Hurt not that he’s insensitive but hurt by the realization that I’m boring. Understanding that my approach is at once childish and ridiculous, I have nevertheless dug my heels in and punish him regularly by not sharing stuff about certain topics that he’s interrupted me on before. Case in point: Rex Parker. Any kind of praise or smack down I receive here I never talk about with him. One of those hideous days where people pile on jabs at me for writing too much or for oversharing (right now) and I just want to crawl under my bed and cry? He’ll ask his perfunctory How was the blog? I’ll answer, Fine. A day where I receive praise? He’ll ask his perfunctory How was the blog? I’ll answer, Fine. Boy, I’m sure showing him.

Serendipity – I’ve been recently blasting this in the car all the time. One of the all-time great rock songs, imo. I felt embarrassed, though, when my husband explained the lyrics. I’m an UPTIGHT Capricorn. Fact – the band’s name is not a play on ARROWSMITH.

I see the issue with FACE VEIL and its redundancy. It’s like saying leg pants or foot shoe. Kinda fun to imagine running with this, though. . .

Loren: Hey – love those three-quarter length sleeves!
Gill I: Sigh. They’re not sleeves. They’re arm pants. Arm gauchos, actually.

How. E. Ver. ASS HAT’s existence in the language could maybe be setting up a case for FACE VEIL as a viable, necessary retronym. I mean, once some wiseguy calls an apron a crotch veil. . .

Rob Rushing 6:48 AM  

Google “booty veil.” They exist and you can buy one right now. You shouldn’t, of course, but you can.

Suzanne Podhaizer 6:57 AM  

Like other commenters, I was charmed by the subtle references to “things dads do” throughout the puzzle, but even more so, loved Oedipus Rex, for the obvious paternal link, and “light saber,” with which Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader have been fighting before the big parenthood reveal. Overall found the puzzle to be clever, packed with interesting fill, and hard enough to be just a little frustrating, in a good way.

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

I cannot imagine anyone dissing your posts. My wife and I are disappointed when you don’t post.

BarbieBarbie 7:19 AM  

@LMS, “specious” is more frequently applied to the argument, not the person making it.

For some reason I found this one easier than most Sundays. That’s not usual for a themeless. Maybe the subtle Dad theme helped. I was definitely intimidated when I saw the grid, but it was a smooth solve. Still learning to appreciate themeless ones, though, so it was only an OK experience.

Happy Day to all you Fathers!

Anonymous 7:29 AM  

On the insult scale:
ASS is a 2
ASSHAT is a 5

pmdm 8:21 AM  

I don't mind publishing a puzzle like this now and then. I'm sure Shortz will get enough of feedback to determine how well a puzzle like this is enjoyed. Good feedback? Publish more. Bad feedback? An unloved experience not to be repeated.

I would characterize my experience as an uninteresting slog. I can appreciate the effort and talent but not the solve. Nice3 try but sorry, no cigar.

Karl Grouch 8:47 AM  

A let-down puz for me, I really love good old wordplay Sundays and we're kinda short on those lately.

That said, I don't really mind the low word count, it lets you avoid annoying 3-letter fill and gives you more space for interesting answers.
Problem is that with no theme and no wordplay there's way less pep and fun.

Like a Sunday without coffee in the morning, or a walk in the park in the afternoon, or a nice movie in the evening or whatever it is that makes you tick.

As for the father-related fill, I see no fun/merit in that. ¡Heck! even tabasco can fit the "theme".

SIRE of OCHO(÷2)

Matthew B 8:48 AM  

I was surprised that I'd finished this yesterday before Rex had posted anything so I had to go and slum over at Crossword Fiend. First of all, just looking at the finished grid is a pleasure . All those neat stacks . It's like looking at an intricate piece of needlepoint. Very little grid junk though adit and plisse (I knew Tisch) had me stumped but now I know for next time.
Juxtaposition of Oedipus was fun. How 'bout heart emoji for dad, getting hitched for mom, Skype Call (I'll be getting one from my daughter in Germany today)... A far better-than-average Sunday for me.

SJ Austin 9:06 AM  

ADIT, TISCH, PLISSE, all right next to the sneaky GOT HITCHED, which I had as GOT MARRIED and never thought to reconsider… oof. Had to Google my way out of that one. (I Googled the name of the school, because my rule is: if you have to cheat, cheat on something that you definitely could not figure out.) Everything fell after that, except the I in ADIT/PLISSE, which… again, oof.

Otherwise, a really nice puzzle with plenty of good fill. A shame that one section was so brutal.

Clrd2Land 9:19 AM  

I had to read Rex's posting before I understood "Not in so many words." After solving, I kept looking at the clues and answers to try to see what I was missing. Couldn't get it. Came here and only got about 1/2 way thru Rex's explanation of word count and grid size before my eyes glazed over and I moved on.

@Rob Rushing, thanks for the laugh. Loved "You shouldn't, of course, but you can."

@Joaquin, I had the same "uh oh" feeling when I saw the peeled and rattle offs. Thought for sure they would get a call out from Rex.

Oh well, next Sunday will be better. I'm sure of it.....

Ω 9:48 AM  

@Rob Rushing - Booty veil? Are you sure those aren’t ASSHATs?

@LMS - So... Do you pull into the teacher parking lot with that song blasting? That’s one way to impress the seniors. I’m always a little amazed that songs from my junior and senior high school years are still popular with the youngs, but nothing is as eternal as adolescent obsession with sex.

Also @LMS - That “sophistry” means specious is proof that you should never let your enemies write the history. Aristotle set up SOPHISTs for his strawman arguments, making them look foolish while never letting them defend themselves or explain what their actual positions were. The truly funny (as in, not funny, people never change, funny) thing is that railing against SOPHISTs was the ancient Greek equivalent of railing against “Liberal College Professors.”

Teedmn 9:55 AM  

PLISSE TISCH pish-tosh. Just one of three errors today. 5D was END oN and 12D was "ONE m" so I, not being schooled in gym-speak, thought a static was osometrim. Of course I recognize ISOMETRIC, now that it has been pointed out but too late for me. But I call foul on the PLISSE TISCH cross (I had PLIeSE TIeCH). Tough one.

PLISSE - I Googled this post-solve, went to Images, picked the $2150 Stella McCartney-designed "plisse V-neck" gown to look at. A convenient enlargement tool gave me a close-up of the fabric. It looked like what I call "crepe-y". But since crepe paper is "puckered", I guess the clue is accurate. Not that I would have gotten PLISSE with a better clue - I've never seen the word. So something new today.

This is a lovely puzzle, a FATHER'S DAY themeless. This is my first Father's Day without my Dad - last year I gave him my traditional gift of a box of Godiva chocolates and he ate the whole box in one day. Usually he eked them out, rationing them, 3 per day. Perhaps he knew he had to eat them up fast!

The cluing here was tough and clever. COMPACTS with tiny mirrors rather than dentists, SURF as "Catch a break?", the humming LIGHT SABER (I had "sword" for far too long), "Dates not found on the calendar?" = TRYSTS (not the date palm date) and my favorite, the "Buzzer beater" FLYSWATTER. HEART EMOJI as "Ticker symbol" was another good one (I had "shape" rather than EMOJI but JOSH and FIVE O finally fixed that.)

Thanks, Joel! And Happy Father's Day, all y'all.

GILL I. 9:58 AM  

What am I supposed to think? This was like having fish on Sunday instead of the usual roast beef. But then I thought a sea bass would be kinda good in a non-traditional Friday sorta way.
Hmmm. I'm still sitting on the fence with this one. I like different at times...so there's that. I also like a good Bloody Mary on Sunday. OK, so I got some tomato juice sans vodka. What to think...
I liked that Joel tried VERY hard to think outside the box. Good-O....that you did. Bet it was hard. Had a DNF at his very favorite Pub at 83D. How about that?
So I finished. Went around looking for the smiles. AH...Calle OCHO...My Dad had his office on numero 8. I spent some fine times there. I'd meet him for a cafecito and for lunch he'd always take me to Versailles. We'd eat Cubano, of course. If you ever go to Miami, that bit of Little Havana is a must. Carnaval is insane. BUT...you will see how festive my compatriotas are.
I looked at 67A - had the ASSH and then did the head itch. I only know that one with a HOLE. So you get a top HAT instead.....
What else....Oh, I'm a YEAR OF THE PIG gal so that was fun. Or maybe I'm a RAT. I can never remember. I hope I'm a PIG - love me some bacon.
@Loren...Them's Fightin words. I changed my avatar just so I could see your head explode. I'm the handsome one on the left.
Happy FATHERS DAY...I'm off to make Bloody's with vodka.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Interesting you should mention Maleska... Last night after I finished, I texted the following to a puzzle-solving friend:

"An exercise in the very old (adit), the new (skypecall, iphonecase), the ugly (darer), the huh? (asshat), the boring (yearofthepig), and one clever clue/answer (buzzer beater/flyswatter). Otherwise, it kinda reminded me of an old Eugene Maleska puzzle."

mlm 10:30 AM  

And yet another write-up that makes me ask: "why in the heck do you keep doing these puzzles if you hate them so much?" Is it some public crossword sort of hate-solving? A chance to prove your wokeness over the nefarious white-man's bastion of the NYT xword? I don't get it.

My trips here are infrequent, and dwindling. I just checked in today mostly to see what horror you might find in asshat, and was geared up for a lengthy niqab discourse. At least you always surprise me with what you're offended by! Last time I think it was the ICE clue that triggered you? Maybe it was the time they did a (gasp!) THEMED Friday or Saturday puzzle? The horror. Good times...

ghthree 10:34 AM  

ASSHAT reminded me of August 2018 Doonesbury. Title was "Spineless Republican." Look it up.

This looks Theme-less to me. Alleged anti-male stereotypes are a huge stretch.

I loved the misdirection in 6 Down. I was fixated on "APP" meaning software, rather than an application for college. So "REC" (recommendation) had me stumped. Near the end of the solve, I re-visited it and had a nice AHA moment.

RavTom 10:34 AM  

Okay, I’ll be the one. I liked the Maleska era (and I like the Shortz era). Seeing the occasional ADIT feels like welcoming an old friend. What’s wrong with the occasional crosswordese? Every other hobby and profession has its insider language.

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Rex's comment about adit is ridiculous. The only reason I know the word is that it has been in a great many crossword puzzles that I have attempted to solve. I also knew Tisch. Just because he doesn't know something, does not mean it is bad. I think he complains about a puzzle because he doesn't know everything instantly and therefore can't set a record for his lowest time ever to solve a Sunday puzzle.

davidm 10:42 AM  

Lack of a theme was disappointing, but I found a lot to like in this puzzle — it had an intellectual bent! Almost mercifully free of pop culture crap and proper names, it had three (!) philosophy-themed answers: SOPHIST, SCHOLASTICS and PRIORI. Other goodies: SPEED CHESS (with a nice clue), OEDIPUS REX, DAEMONS, ASSHAT, and a witty clue for FLYSWATTER.

Nancy 10:56 AM  

So I had ARIeL for the typeface, didn't know the soccer guy Freddy, didn't know the pub co-owner guy, and had e-IONIC for "negatively charged". If I'd had A-IONIC, I wouldn't have known it either. The ADU/DENNIS cross is the very definition of a Natick and I did what I always do in such an instance. I pronounce this puzzle "Solved!". You, of course, may pronounce it anything you like.

REfS before RECS for the parts of a college app. But my biggest early mistake -- the one that caused my unhappiest HEART EMOJI? I had the "C" from COB filled in at 1D and absolutely nothing else. And I confidently wrote in "neoCon" for the kind of conservative. As you can see, this has absolutely no other letters in common with FISCAL, so the NW didn't get solved until the very end.

ASHED??? Give me a break. Awful! Didn't know that DAEMONS are inferior deities. Thought they were malignant deities. Did, however, like the clues for TRYSTS (85A), SPEED CHESS (22A), NEWSROOM (32A), ISOMETRIC (26A) and FLY SWATTER (112A). Everything else I found arcane or sloggy or both.

My first really confident answer in was INTERRUPT (20A). I'm sure no female solver had any trouble with that in the slightest.

Joe Dipinto 11:17 AM  

WS's note strains to say that the answers are "all clued with wit and a fitting level of challenge." But I mostly found the clues boringly straighforward, with wit in short supply. Even the ?-ending clues are pretty anemic, other than "buzzer beater". Solving it felt more like an exercise than a diversion.

The variety puzzles at least offer some brainteasing value.

Molson 11:21 AM  

" PALOMA (39A: Cocktail of tequila and grapefruit soda)—rough clue. I think Picasso is the only PALOMA I know"

Well you should rectify that and fix yourself a paloma.

CDilly52 11:24 AM  

So happy to see how many of you also thought this “themes” actually had such a robust tongue in cheek “Dad-ish” theme! The backhanded cleverness (whether intended or not) impressed me no end!

And several clever clues added such panache. “Buzzer beater?” was not only a great misdirect but the FLYSWATTER answer made me laugh out loud when I finally figured it out. Also adored the “near Pennsylvania Avenue,” although I had so many crosses that one did t deter me. I can typically afford PARTERRE seats but I always misspell it the first time around as PARTieRE. Sheesh.

Joe 11:32 AM  

For me the cross between ADIT and PLISSE was a Natick. I had never encountered either term, and hope never to do so again.

ghkozen 11:42 AM  

Like Sansa, Dennis is absolutely fair, and iconic. A primary character on a very popular, contemporary TV show. Not a day goes by that my crowd (late 20s) doesn’t reference It’s Always Sunny somehow. Just because you don’t watch the show doesn’t make the clue unfair. Or maybe it’s a generational thing.

barryevans 11:55 AM  

Yeah, I'm with Nancy, re ADU/DENNIS. Nasty Natick. Otherwise fun!

Fred Romagnolo 11:56 AM  

I found ASSHAT offensive; complain about Maleska? He would have had too much class for that. Today's comments are decidedly anti-male. previous blogs put downs of dad jokes and mansplaining are too. On Father's Day!

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

My mind was on Pennsylvania Ave in DC, so when I had ---RTLINE, I remained sure for the longest time that it was couRTLINE, i.e., the line of people waiting for seats at Supreme Court proceedings.

QuasiMojo 12:00 PM  

I almost had a Naticky DNF with ADU crossing DENNIS. But I didn't think he'd be called PENNIS. Speaking of Natick, I thought I heard a contestant on Jeopardy this week say she was from there. I can only watch that show when traveling since I don't have a TV. Boy, the clues on there get dumber and dumber. And please whoever you are don't blow kisses to unseen loved ones. This was a much stringer puzzle than Joel's last one. I found it painless. And pleasant. Aren't veils used to cover statues and paintings? So a Face Veil seems perfectly fair. As for the derriere version, I saw one just the other day in Calle Ocho in fact. What a hoot.

Crimson Devil 12:07 PM  

Very nice Sun puz by “Mini Man” Joel.
ASSHAT, ADU, TOTORO, NOMEN, PLISSE, ARIAL, DENNIS unknown to moi, but gettable.
HFD !!

JC66 12:18 PM  

@Nancy & @barryevans

Just curious, if you already have _ENNIS, what other letter is more likely to work than D (hi @Quasi)?

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

I’m sure that @LMS is thankful to @BarbieBarbie and @Z mansplained all the subtleties and history with respect to sophist and specious. Btw @LMS, your discussion about interruption AND subject changing struck a raw nerve for me today...same here and you really conveyed my feelings when I’m in the middle of what I think is a good story and in the middle of it I get “Did you get milk?” Grrr.

Masked and Anonymous 1:01 PM  

Well, this SunPuz was different, so that's … sorta interestin. Plus, it had a FATHERSDAY opener, so that's apt.

* Sundays work best, IM&AO, when the puz has lotsa humor. Usually U get that somewhat from the clues -- and mostly from the theme.
* We just got past two hard, themeless puzs on Friday and Saturday. Maybe not the best time for a bigass themeless-challenge fix.
* If this layout allows "fresher, livelier vocabulary", howcum there ain't more U's?

There were lotsa cool fillins, tho, such as: MOMMIES. OEDIPUSREX. FLYSWATTER [w. superb clue]. GOTHITCHED. RATTLEOFF. ARROWSMITH.

staff weeject pick: ADU. Better clue: {Adults only a little??}.

Thanx for the themeless-O-rama, Mr. Fagliano. Good idea -- one time.

Masked & Anonym8Us

crazyloon 1:01 PM  

again rex is hating on white males. not cool

oldactor 1:01 PM  

Years ago when I retired I wanted to learn to do crosswords. The local paper had a very simple one that I realize now. I could do about half of it. The next day I would see the answer and think: I knew that and I knew that. I bought a crossword dictionary and one of the first words I learned was "adit". It seemed to appear in a puzzle every week or so. Today it was like seeing an old friend after many years. Welcome back!

GHarris 1:01 PM  

Most difficult crossings for me were plisse down through asshat and daemons through speedchess and isometric. Things cleared after I changed dog to pig and refs to recs. A lot here to like.

oldactor 1:05 PM  

I've been in the theatre all my life and have never heard the word "parterre".

Molasses 1:16 PM  

@LMS your house sounds like my house. Thank goodness we have other people to talk to.

I actually stalled for a bit on ASSHAT, thinking "that can't possibly be in a NYT crossword puzzle." I've only heard it used a couple of times, although Google tells me it goes way back. Regional, maybe? It sounds way more vulgar to me than it apparently is.

Masked and Anonymous 1:21 PM  


What's the opposite of a huge-ass themeless SunPuz? ...
A runty themed SunPuz? …!

(Up tip now, opposites attracted.)



Anonymous 1:22 PM  

It only happens to you...
My wife INTERRUPTs me all the time.
As does the wife of every husband here and everywhere. So if you thi...wait...sorry...what was that, dear?
I love her so much.


sixtyni yogini 1:25 PM  

Liked it!! Fun. Unexpected. Some good clues. Not too easy, not impossibly difficult. ❤️🧩👍🏽🧩❤️.

Joe Dipinto 1:46 PM  

@oldactor -- The Metropolitan Opera House has a Parterre, the first seating level up from the orchestra. I don't think I've seen the term used in any other NY theaters.

Birchbark 2:05 PM  

I needed my unabridged dictionary to get past ADIT/PLISSE but didn't mind. A challenging and enjoyable solve.

@Z (9:48) -- Yes, the negative connotation for SOPHIST owes its coming to us through the lens of philosophers who took different views. If you're in a dialogue with Socrates, you usually don't come out ahead.

But I disagree about whether the sophists got a fair hearing on their views (e.g., "Man is the measure of all things," virtue can be taught, no absolute truth beyond our perceptions, rhetoric is good, etc.). And they don't look entirely foolish in the process.

Before Aristotle, Plato's dialogue "Protagoras" is a really enjoyable, sort of tongue-in-cheek example. Socrates listens at some length to a great sophist lay out his views, then praises his eloquence. "Protagoras, though he is perfectly capable of long and splendid speeches as we have seen, has also the faculty of answering a question briefly, and when he asks one himself, of waiting and listening to the answer -- a rare accomplishment." Of course, Socrates is building up to a Colombo-like "Just one more question," and then the real sword fight begins. But it is a sword fight, and both sides have their touchés.

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

A relatively easy solve ... but if they can’t be bothered to offer a clever Sunday theme, why bother subscribing to the crossword app? They need to up their Sunday game.

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

Help! Still don't get the Pennsylvania Ave clue. I thought of a short line to take the White House tour or something else lame. But if it's not D.C., what's the reference? Monopoly? If so, what's short line?

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

Rex will constantly complain about the Times puzzle lacking Millennial-directed info, but he also complains about DENNIS? If you haven't watched at least a few episodes of It's Always Sunny, I think you're a stodgy old person, by definition. Uniconic indeed.

Really enjoyed the cluing and the surprisingly tough vocab in this puzzle.

oldactor 3:11 PM  

@Joe Dipinto: Thanks for that. I've only been to the Met a couple of times and that was as a guest of a friend who had a box. What a treat!

JC66 3:14 PM  

@Anon 2:51

The SHORT LINE is one of the 4 Monopoly railroads (right next to Pennsylvania Avenue).

Ω 3:16 PM  

@Birchbark - It’s been awhile, but I think Plato gave SOPHISTs a fair shake but Aristotle not so much. Love your Colombo comparison. Now I’m imagining Socrates walking around wearing a frumpy rain-toga.

@anon12:50 - Nice. Demonstrating specious arguments is so much better than giving a boring definition... Although accusing someone with the nom de blog of @BarbieBarbie of mansplaining pushes the “plausible” part of the definition.

Anonymous 4:01 PM  

Carnegie Hall also has Parterre.

Maddiegail 4:20 PM  

You guys are crackin' me up! I'd read the comments even if I never did the puzzle. Thanks!

M. Judge 4:41 PM  

Look, I’m no prude and I’ve used the word asshat myself, but there’s a time and a place for everything. As for asshat, the New York Times Crossword puzzle is not the place. Now is not the time. Maybe when Idiocracy comes to fruition. We’re not there yet.

FrankStein 4:47 PM  

There is a website called Parterre that is devoted to catty dish about opera and its divas. Check it out!

BarbieBarbie 5:05 PM  

Anon @1250, thanks for your illustration. I wasn’t completely sure what an ASSHAT was. Whenever Ilearn a new word, if I get the meaning pretty well nailed but miss some subtlety, I’m grateful to have it pointed out.

pabloinnh 5:17 PM  

Do Joel's minis every day and this seemed like an expanded version. I for one liked the low word count and longish stacks, and the clues required just enough thought to be interesting.

I'm in the hello ADIT my old friend crowd. I keep waiting for the "salt tree" (ATLE) answer to reappear. I fear they have become extinct.

As far as FACEVEIL goes, I have heard forever of "The Dance of the Seven Veils", and always imagined that only one was covering the dancer's face. The rest, I thought, were covering what e e cummings referred to as the dancer's "sweet etcetera".

Happy Father's Day to one and all to whom today applies. Never thought I'd wind up as some sort of patriarch, but somehow that happened.

Birchbark 6:16 PM  

@Z (3:16) -- Guessing a David Scarrow course gives both of us the grounding for this discussion. Among the formative handful, he was great, demanding, and collegial professor who focused on what mattered and expected the same from his students. Otherwise a sophist would just be a sophist.

Monty Boy 6:25 PM  

I also like ADIT as an old friend, though I first learned about it working on mining projects not xwords. And I also miss AGLET, every time I tie my shoes - haven't seen that in a while.

Anonymous 7:53 PM  

It’s vulgar. Juvenile too. Doesn’t belong in the puzzle.

Wood 8:53 PM  

Don't know why but I learned "CHAMP at the bit" early, and "chomp" has always sounded wrong to me even though it's by far the most common usage.

Wood 8:55 PM  

Agree. I hate @Rex's attitude about this puzzle. Forthwith I'm skipping straight to the comments.

Mr. Alarm 2:21 AM  

I don’t know if someone already mentioned it, but sanctioned stupidity seems to have locked in TMC (The Movie Channel) whenever TCM is meant (Turner Classic Movies - which IS the actual channel cinephiles watch, NOT TMC!) Come on, editor, get it right! If you have to use TMC, just call it a cable station for movies, or something!

oldbizmark 9:58 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle. For once, I disagree with Rex. But, I did have a DNF at the cross of AD?T and PL?SSE.

burtonkd 10:18 AM  

@frank 4:47, the full title of the opera rag is "the parterre box" which gives it a salacious double-entendre. The author is a mad genius, worked on a show with him as a stage manager once.

@LMS, I’m with you on using current trends in language, but love the horse-specific "champing" at the bit. It is a more specific colorful metaphor that is perfect for its usage.

Mr. Benson 10:43 AM  

Freddy ADU was one of the most hyped young stars in all of sports. But he disappointed, so the hype turned out to be much ADU about nothing.

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

Another EYE IN THE SKY are the cameras or people in the casinos who watch the boards and the players.

kitshef 1:36 PM  

I thought this was pretty challenging. That SW in particular took ate up a lot of CASCOS. Oddly, though, I did not enjoy it much. In fact, I may have nodded off mid-solve.

Burma Shave 10:30 AM  


and HEARME, there's ASIGN he's TRYSTed.


spacecraft 1:30 PM  

Yeap, pretty challenging. ASSHAT, really? Had there been one more square... Somehow, I got it all right, despite several flat-out guesses. The worst part of the whole thing was trying to figure out the title, and how that related to the...oh wait: there IS no theme! So it was like the old April fool: he fooled me by NOT fooling me! It was just a low word count? Bleah!

If by "word" you mean an entry for a number across or down. The word count is expanded by the use of "THE" twice; not good. Strangely, I had only one writeover: SKYPEChat before CALL. And, I'd never call a kitchen cabinet a PANTRY. That's a whole other room. Not finding a suitable DOD, I might as well give it to PALOMA. She sure was an inspiration for one guy! Par.

rainforest 2:34 PM  

I can't say that a themeless Sunday is a positive or a negative thing. If I liked it - positive, and I liked this puzzle. Granted, without a theme, you have nothing to "guide" you in answering any theme clues, because there aren't any. On the other hand, there is a broader range of answers and so the variety shines. Here, the cluing was uniformly good with answers that were straightforward (FISH), and quirky (FACE VEIL), all in a pretty wide open grid, which was appreciated.

I have to say I also appreciated the shout-out to *me* (guess where), and so I have now had mentions of both my first and last names in the NYTX. Yay.

I had my only problem in the Midwest at the TISCH/PLISSE cross mainly because I knew neither answer (the only "puckered fabric" I know is "seersucker"). However, I navigated that section without too much problem, and I actually liked the brief challenge there.

Diana,LIW 3:42 PM  

After yesterday and today I'm gonna ask a lawyer about suing for age discrimination. Hey - us old folks are the ones who buy the papers. And show up at ACPT. Along with a few young constructors like JF.

Whenever I see JF is the constructor I cringe. He made up the infamous Puzzle #5 at ACPT in 2018. I still shudder.

And Yes, I guess I'm an ASSHAT since I didn't quite, not quite, complete this all correctly. Even so, I had fun being able to get what I did out of good old (young) JF!

Diana the OLDISH, Lady-in-Waiting

Diana,LIW 3:46 PM  

Oh yes - a PS. Father's Day was "begun" in Spokane, WA (you can see the plaque on the very house of the daughter who started it).. So I guess it only became official some 50 plus years later. But that never would have entered my mind.

Lady Di the Elder

Joe 12:03 AM  

Had ENIONIC and ARIEL. Otherwise, a very nice puzzle.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

I think you all may have been misled by the "themeless" claim. I suspect that was a misdirection. Luckily, in our newspaper the title did not include (Themeless), so we looked for a theme and found one: There are ten places in the puzzle where the letters N, O, and T appear adjacent to each other. "Not" in so many words - get it? --Melanie

Anonymous 3:09 PM  

Have to mention that the clue on PRIORI is wrong.

"a priori" means almost the opposite of "based on logic."

Usually it's used to mention something that is preconceived, before getting into any logical argument.

As a semi-mathematician, it's frustrating to constantly see math-relevant clues that are just way off in the NYT puzzle.

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