Violin virtuoso Leopold / WED 6-19-19 / Lohengrin soprano / Invention celebrated by NBC's peacock logo / Card game akin to whist

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Constructor: Sam Trabucco

Relative difficulty: Challenging (I got stuck, stopped trying, let the clock run ... this was just a really unpleasant experience)

THEME: MARRIED MEN (62A: Bachelors no more ... or, literally, the answers to the six starred clues) — "literally" being pushed to its limits here ... the theme answers are all two men's names squished together (so ... "married?"):

Theme answers:
  • PHIL/ANDERS (17A: *Plays around (4 & 6))
  • RUSS/IAN (23A: *Language in which "hello" is "privet" (4 & 3))
  • BAR T/RICK (25A: *Opening a beer bottle with a ring, e.g. (4 & 4))
  • RICO/CHET (38A: *Bounce (4 & 4))
  • NORM/ANDY (53A: *Omaha Beach locale (4 & 4))
  • CAL/GARY (55A: *1988 Winter Olympics host (3 & 4))
Word of the Day: CODONS (6D: Genetic sequences) —
  1. a sequence of three nucleotides which together form a unit of genetic code in a DNA or RNA molecule. (google)
• • •

This is just wrong in so many ways. First, it's a Thursday puzzle, in difficulty level and trickiness. Misplaced, badly. I stopped timing, but if I'd finished in a normal fashion—if the upper middle hadn't stopped me cold, and I hadn't just stopped caring / trying—I'd've come in wellllll over my Wednesday average. So it's misplaced. It's also oversized for insufficiently good reason. You need to put an 8 in the middle? OK, but ... if you're gonna screw w/ grid dimensions, your theme better be super good, and this one really is not. It's Abutting Men, not MARRIED MEN. How are they "married"? That is an ATROCITY of a revealer. Also, who is named "Anders"? OK, in other countries, sure, but ... yeesh, that is one hell of an outlier "name." CAL? Silent or Ripken or GTFO. Again, I don't know how "married" works here. Like ... yoked? MARRIED MEN is just so bad, so unsnappy, so nothing. And the little numbers in parentheses after the clue ... not helpful. Just confusing.

Then there's the grid design—so instead of just contenting with the weird theme, solvers have to contend with these absurd huge Saturday corners. Separate puzzles unto themselves. Whole puzzle had Fri/Sat cluing. Had trouble getting little stuff like ERIE, OFT, TSA, TOLL, TRIG. Then there's the painful crosswordese. ITER!?!?! AUER!? LOL I haven't seen that antiquated name for like a decade. ECARTE, ugh. It's like that old Latin saying: ICEE OPER OMNIA. ["Lohengrin" soprano]?!?!?! Why? Why? On a Wednesday, why? I don't even know what "Lohengrin" is (I see it's Wagner. Great.). The worst was ADAH. Who? My god that is crosswordese. So stale, so obscure, it hasn't been in the NYTXW for eight years, and this is only the third appearance in the 13 years I've been blogging. Makes AMAH look fresha and fun. These answers, with characters from minor operas and tertiary biblical characters and 19th-century Russian violinists, cause this puzzle to Reek of the Maleska era (aka the bad old days). Because I didn't know ADAH, and I didn't know CODONS (only the third appearance, singular or plural, in this century), and I thought GRAYED was the English spelling, I had absolutely no idea what was going on at 28A: 27-Across, e.g. (SHADE). This is what my grid looked like when I basically quit:

That ridiculous cross-reference (why do that?) is so dumb. It's already gonna be hard enough to get, running through weird answers, colloquialisms, and obscurities. I have no confidence in the way you're gonna spell HOO BOY (I thought puzzle might go "WOO BOY!"); BAD COP has a nutso clue (25D: Dark blue?); ADAH is from the mustiest corner of the Bible; GREYED is an English variant ... and through all that, you run an answer with a lousy (truly lousy) cross-ref clue. Why? Because it x-refs the clue immediately before it? Why Is That A Thing? Who Reads The Across Clues Sequentially? How has this puzzle managed to make a gay marriage puzzle this off-putting and dull?

Had SLOVEN for SCHLUB (2D: Disheveled sort), and that pretty much encapsulates my entire experience with this thing—trying vainly, at every turn, to figure out a disheveled thing. Also BERT for BURT (and thus EXTRA for ULTRA) (19A: Very, very). Pfft. THANK GOD it's over.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Aimee Lucido's American Values Crossword Club (AVXC) puzzle (Jun. 19, "Shrunken Heads") (subscribe here) was so much more delightful than this thing. Wish I hadn't done it first. I need something to get the taste of this one out of my mouth.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:08 AM  

I came here early to see if there was some sort of explanation for "married" that I was missing. I assumed these could be some well-known gay couples and I had missed the memo. Guess not. Have to agree with Rex - "married" doesn't cut it.

Runs with Scissors 12:22 AM  

The carping about the difficulty was amusing as all get out. Isn't that the point of the crossword puzzle, even on a Wednesday?

I saw no Thursdayishness here. I enjoyed the heck out of it, because it made me think in a couple spots and had some misdirection.


30A Sinful teaching = Trig. Because "Sin" for sine. Masterful. Beautiful. Downright devilish. Made me work for it. Loved it.

25A: Last time I tried the BAR TRICK of opening a beer with my ring I 'bout broke my finger. I leave that to other, more talented folks. I just have the beertender open it for me.

1A: I still don't really know what an RSS feed is or does. Neither do I really care. It is sufficient that I sussed it out.

44A: LOBOSsare elegant, adaptable, wily critters. Long may they remain.

53A: NORMANDY, so soon after June 6. And clued as such.

47A: ICEE - a drink I've not had since my debauched teen years.

11D: Can modern cars succumb to HOT WIRES? Or do you have to hack the key?

This puzzle was a fine Wednesday example of fun, medium-tough, chewy goodness. Even had a hint of the CALGARY stampede.

Liked it, more than others did.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

Phaedrus 12:23 AM  

I read the across clues sequentially.

Robin 12:26 AM  

I wondered if the MARRIEDMEN theme had anything to do with Pride Month. Living in NYC, you can't get away from it these days since the Stonewall 50th anniversary is almost here.

The SHADE / ADAH cross sucked. I originally had SHAME / AMAH. Spent forever finding that bad letter.

The only reason I knew AUER was correct was because of movie trivia, chiefly that his son appeared in "My Man Godfrey".

Plenty of crossword-use, but I thought the clueing for OFT was nicely done.

puzzlehoarder 12:41 AM  

Difficulty is very subjective but based on my experience this is the puzzle that should have been run last Friday and vice versa. I didn't have to go far into this puzzle to feel like I was DATingUP (at least for a Wednesday).

The theme was of no help while solving. It was easy to see in retrospect. During the solve I realized that you could just stick to the actual clue and ignore the distracting numbers.

There was some real boilerplate ese holding this one together and a good portion of it facilitated the solve. Still this was Friday tough and it had some quality late week worthy stacks.

I wish every Wednesday could offer this level of puzzling.

jae 12:47 AM  

Very tough Wed. This was a strange mix of zippy answers and dreck...AUER, RSS, RES, ECARTE, ITER, CODONS, ADAH, ELSA, ICEE... So, while I liked it a tad more than @Rex did, I find myself agreeing with a lot of his critique.

Swagomatic 12:58 AM  

Yeah I thought it might have been referencing one of those stupid reality shows with unmarried people trying to hook up. The theme was basically meaningless to me.

Bjorn Kristiansen 1:05 AM  

ANd here I thought they were potentially former contestants on The Bachelor.

Melrose 1:14 AM  

Tough Wednesday, appropriate theme for Stonewall anniversary, but why just married men? Shouldn't half be paired women's names, if one is really going to be correct? I know the theme was a stretch, and that two adjacent names may not imply marriage, but it was a clever idea. I happened to be watching the PBS program on gay rights history while I worked on this, which seemed fitting. I got stuck in the same place as Rex, had to put it down before returning to finish upper middle.

Anoa Bob 1:32 AM  

I think MARRIED does work but at a late week, maybe even a Saturday level. I can find support in a couple hard covers on hand. My trusty Random House College Dictionary lists the fourth definition of "marriage" as "any close or intimate association or union; the marriage of form and content."

Switching to Roget's Thesaurus, under 52.6 "COMBINATION", is, among others, "teamed, coupled, paired, MARRIED, wed, wedded".

So, yeah, a bit of a reach, but still in the language.

SO COOL over EMO RAP. Is that an endorsement?

RICOCHET is a SO COOL word. I remember the old pre-COLOR TV westerns (Maleska called them "oaters") where practically every sound of a rifle or pistol shot was immediately followed by a drawn-out ziiiing, suggesting that the bullet hit a rock or tree and went spinning off in a RICOCHET.

DF 1:55 AM  

Just brutal. At least 50% slower than my average Wednesday time. So much of the cluing was inscrutable and/or the answers were super (ULTRA) obscure. BADCOP for 'Dark Blue?' is maybe the worst offender in the bunch with respect to awful cluing (even though I like BADCOP as a phrase). But LOBO, ADAH, ODAY, ELSA and others are just bad answers, so it's hard to pick my least favorite. Didn't understand the theme until I read Rex's post, to be honest. Just bad and unpleasant and a real slog all around from start to finish.

travis 2:00 AM  

My last letter was ADAH/ODAY, but I guessed correctly so yeah I guess. CODONS is a perfectly normal word with a straightforward clue. I'd think its rarity in the puzzle would actually be something in its favor. I can't say the theme did much for me and I certainly was looking askance at some of the 'names'.

Anonymous 2:23 AM  

Just a real "yikes" of a puzzle. The clue on TSA? Oof. Is EMORAP an actual genre of music, or just what the old folks think the kids are listening to today? Is RSS even still a thing? Cluing ranged from "duh" status (c.f. privet) to groaners (c.f. "Dark blue?") to actually decent (the one for TRIG).

Anonymous 2:30 AM  

Slogged through this without a large amount of difficulty. A bit slower than average Wednesday, but not terribly so. But it wasn't at all pleasant. I felt like I solved five separate crosswords that were filled with utter crap. I didn't realize it was oversized until Rex pointed it out, but that probably explains the slightly slower than average time.

chefwen 3:17 AM  

DNF in the CODONS, OMNIA, IOS area, guessed incorrectly at a couple of letters, Oops.

Like Rex stated the numbers after the clues were confusing so I just solved it as a themeless. When I came upon the reveal I just filled MARRIED MEN and didn’t think any further about the starred clues. Super lazy on my part, I’m blaming the two glasses of wine I had with lunch. Great lunch though, beautiful day, good food, right on the beach.

Our @Lewis has a fun Wednesday puzzle in the L.A Times, just finished it.

Loren Muse Smith 4:29 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 4:43 AM  

Jesus Christ, people. I’m stunned at the negative reactions so far and, stand away I’m going all caps bold, I COULDN’T DISAGREE MORE. That this in-the-language phrase, MARRIED MEN, now has a new meaning is wondrous. This couldn’t have been a puzzle ten years ago.

And y’all are *way* overthinking MARRIED. Go back and read @Anoa Bob’s defense.

I didn’t find this difficult at all. Perfect Wednesday imo. RUSSIAN was my first themer, but I panicked at the crypticsome clue and was wondering if Will was gonna start slipping in cryptics once in a while. But then I saw the deal with CALGARY, saw that we had words comprised of two men’s names. I was already liking it. I loved going through and teasing out the words. I savored this. Enjoyed it. Kept trying to figure out what the reveal would be. Kept trying to think of my own (but only got and anemic MELTEDand SALTED. I don’t know how the crap Sam came up with these. Please note that of the twelve men’s names here, only two are three-letter names.

I think I’d have liked this even more without the numbers in the clues. Without those numbers, the aha moment would’ve been astounding, and I might have done a Tom Cruise jump on the couch, that’s how much I liked this puzzle.

Honestly, I thought Rex would like this and complain only about the little MENage-a-trois with BURT horning in on BAR TRICK. I always think BURT Bacharach is a little creepy and then I remember I confuse him with Tom Jones. No idea why.

My favorite was, hands down, RICOCHET.

As I was waiting in line yesterday at Walmart, I watched a mother and son use the COIN STAR machine and was overcome with emotion. But I get overcome with emotion at Folger’s Christmas commercials and America’s Got Talent video clips, so oh well.

“Ice t” before ICEE. Right. Not “iced” for me, ever. Calm down and take a sip of your ice water.

Northeast and southwest corners are beautiful: BEER BONG, THANK GOD, ATROCITY, HOT WIRES, COLOR TV, AP COURSE. And then there’s also HOO BOY, DATE UP, SO COOL, BAD COP, SCHLUB.

Sam - my appreciation for your this puzzle is two-fold: 1) the word/name play and 2) the fact that MARRIED MEN, a viable crossworthy phrase, now means so much more.

I’m gonna go stand with @Runs With Scissors. This is one I’ll remember for a long time.

vtspeedy 5:49 AM  

What Loren said.

ezra roenfeld 6:04 AM  

1. The term married is also used when combining things together. Some good whiskeys are "married" in casks which were used for sherry and the tastes are thus married.
2. Ignorance of classical opera is not something I would brag about. Nor would I boast about not knowing gray vs. grey

Bageleater 6:06 AM  

For a long time I had BEER PONG, which surely aids drinking. My lack of sports knowledge made me think that SUP OUT might just be a real thing.

Debra 6:08 AM  


JJ 6:21 AM  

I too disagree. I finished a minute faster than my usual Wednesday.
I had trouble with ADAH and AUEL, but got them from the crosses. I also thought that once you knew the theme it helped you quickly suss out the MARRIED MEN in the answers.
This was a fun puzzle, and in my experience, perfect in its Wednesday slot

Conrad 6:21 AM  

I didn't know CODON but there was only one unclear cross, and I do know both EMO and RAP. So the "O" was inferable. When my son was younger one of his best friends was named Anders. And I don't live in another country, I live in New Jersey. Okay, maybe Rex has something there. I got the theme after RUSS/IAN and BART/RICK and after that found the parenthetical numbers extraneous (Hi, @LMS). I don't time myself but with all the talk here of Thursdayishness (Thanks, @Runs), I checked my time in the app and I was just about a minute over my Wednesday average and well below Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Put me in the "Liked It" column. In fact, put me in the "Liked It a Lot" column.

Bea 6:40 AM  

Since when is Lohengrin a “minor opera”?

Eliza 6:48 AM  

In real estate transactions documents that are e-signed go out in separate emails to the signers then come back to the agent as "married."
Married can = combined.
LOVED this puzzle!

What She Said 6:53 AM  

Last week it was ASSHAT, this week it’s BEER BONG.

Bro, bro, bro your boat...

QuasiMojo 6:55 AM  

I am more on LMS's wavelength today. I enjoyed this puzzle and sussed the theme with Bart Rick even before reading the themer. Married is a word often used to describe combinations such as two ideas linked. I had no problem with the concept here. ANDERS Zorn is a famous artist. I find it deeply odd that a professor who often mentions that he teaches medieval literature did not immediately know Lohengrin?

Lots to love here. RICOCHET made me laugh. And ATROCITY is a cool word. Maybe I just like oversize grids because there is more to fill in.

Funny I was just thinking about CoinStar yesterday. My friend saves all her change in a large clear bottle. It must be three feet tall. It occurred to me that by the time she fills it and empties it out at a CoinStar machine inflation would eat up half its value. Better just to spend your loose change when you get it. I was thinking about inflation because everyone says we aren't seeing it these days with gas falling and wages not rising, but rents are skyrocketing, yogurts that once were 69 cents are now $3.00 and a slice of pizza is $3.50 where I live. Used to be 75 cents. And let's not talk about beer. Eight bucks for a cold one? Maybe ICEEs are costlier too. I don't know. I have never had one or sen one except in crossword puzzles. Thanks for a truly invigorating HumpDay puzzle!

ncmathsadist 7:28 AM  

The cross of adah and oday? Ugly.

RavTom 7:33 AM  

Venn diagram: My wheelhouse. This puzzle. No overlap.

Hartley70 7:37 AM  

We have now had two superior Wednesday puzzles in a row, today’s and last Wednesday’s Stark/Nedeger offering. May this be a trend! I couldn’t be happier to drop the sigh when I think of Wednesday puzzles.

I couldn’t see the theme until the revealer, so I enjoyed that lovely aha moment. I actually think the theme is rather brilliant. ANDERS wasn’t a problem at all for me. I’m not Scandinavian but the world is a small place nowadays. Also, American friends of Danish extraction always called my son ANDERS affectionally. Would there be carping if Mario or Pierre had worked? This type of theme will be much harder in the future when the children named Apple, Paprika, Prince, Bicycle and Raindrop get a little older.

I was defeated in the end by the SHAmE, SHADE decision. I would have called her AmAH if given the choice because it’s used for nursemaid in several languages and for all I know Esau’s wife used to be one. So went my reasoning and I’m sticking to it.

Hungry Mother 7:44 AM  

As a runner, I get that little voice telling me to quit every time the going gets tough. I’ve learned to ignore it and slog it out, regardless of the pain. This one reminded me of a 10 mile race on a hot and humid day. Kept my head down and just kept moving forward. Got it done. Time to pour a bottle of water over my head.

Kitty 7:59 AM  

Really really wish Alcohol fun would be banned from the puzzles since it tragically ruins so many lives.

Mark 8:03 AM  

I found it harder than a usual Wednesday, but that's a good thing in my book. And I utterly enjoyed the theme, chuckling to myself every time I saw the two names emerge. Rico and Chet in RICOCHET may be my favorite.

smoss11 8:08 AM  

CoinStar is not a machine. It is a company that offers a coin counting and redemption service. They charge nearly 12% for the privilege. Cluing should have reflected this distinction.

MarineO6 8:21 AM  

Kitty, please get over yourself. Banning ‘alcohol fun’ in puzzles would have exactly zero you really believe people doing NYT crosswords would be influenced by something like that? My gosh this world as we know is ending already with overwhelming government control over every aspect of our lives and you want to pile on? Please.

Ken 8:28 AM  

This was truly a superior Wednesday puzzle and the write up by Rex is just more proof that he and I could never sit down together for a beer. I tend to enjoy out of the ordinary puzzles whereas Rex consistently gets hung up on politics. Not all things in life are political young man. Lighten up, open your mind to other ideas and enjoy the day. I hope Wednesdays continue in this fashion.

mmorgan 8:28 AM  

So Rex doesn’t approve of stuff that appears all the time, and he also doesn’t like stuff that’s hardly ever used. Okay. I don’t really care what day it is, I’m with @LMS and I really enjoyed this.

pmdm 8:30 AM  

When I was in grammar school, if a student bitterly complained about a low score on a test, the complainer would be labeled as a cry-baby. I can understand why a person would dislike a puzzle or test that stumped the brain, but aiming invective at the test/puzzle can sink into a sour grapes attitude very fast.

I thought the theme entry was clever and appropriate. (I never linked the theme to the gay lifestyle.) The meaning of the numbers in the theme clues seemed obvious to me (the number of letters in two words that are combined to form a new meaning) but it took me a while to figure out that the words were men's names. I don't see at all how the numbers can be confusing.

I can understand why a person who is up on rap singers but not familiar with Wagner operas would respond accordingly to puzzles having entries derived from those topics, but to call Lohengrin a "minor" Wagner opera is very, very close to stupidity.

So I am throwing my hat in with LMS. A puzzle I found challenging until I understood the gimmick, when it became fairly simple to proceed.

Now on the the puzzle by Lewis in today's LA Times et al.

Couple days away from 71 in Nampa 8:37 AM  

I dunno... I enjoy a tough puzzle anytime, but this was just a boring slog... in my humble opinion.
Just a crossword puzzle, not a big deal. Wednesday will be just fine.

OffTheGrid 8:42 AM  

Check out Rick O'Shay

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

@Rex wasn't political today. What are you talking about? The puzzle was CRAP.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

Finished it correctly without ever understanding what the theme was until I got here. To me, it’s a hard Thursday, Took me twice my normal Wednesday time. Never heard of Adah, but got it from the crosses.

Zwhatever 8:49 AM  

I lean towards @LMS on the theme. But the fill? OOF. Absolutely no problem with the reveal. I feel like this use of “marry” is very common in food writing. I sussed out the point of the numbers fairly early, which helped. I see Rex’s point about the whac-a-vowel area around SHADE, but none of them were that hard.

A couple of other complaints: ADIEU. Au revoir is “till we meet again.” Doesn’t ADIEU imply we aren’t meeting again?
28A - “27-Across, e.g.” - 27A is BEET, the SHADE is BEET red. Have I just been blithely not noticing or don’t cross-referenced clues refer only to the answer. Then again, maybe it’s that we don’t often see cross-references to fill-in-the-blank clues. Anyway, that niggled at me as looking wrongly clued.
LOBO - I see there is dictionary support for the clue, but it is weak support (one online dictionary has “examples from around the web” which are all about a photographer named LOBO, not a single one with it meaning a gray wolf or western wolf or wolf). Los LOBOs are from east L.A., but a LOBO is a LOBO even if it is a red wolf or an eastern wolf.

I’m comfortable with having to reimagine words a little to make clues work, so I’m hesitant to ever cry “wrong!” Still, that’s three clues that don’t sit quite right with me.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

Very tough for a Wednesday, had to cheat a couple of times for the extremely obscure bits of knowledge (Adah,Auer) which is rare at this stage of the week. Theme reveal does seem a bit of a stretch. Some nice clues, but overall this felt too hard for a Weds.

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

i'm with the crowd that liked this puzzle. true, a little harder than other wednesday offerings, but isn't that the fun part? if they were too easy, folks would complain about that too (after bragging about how smart they are, etc).

i never look at the themes - who cares? they always play like an inside joke.

i think this is a perfect example of why speed solving is dumb. rex didn't like it because it was too hard, he couldn't speed thru it and crow about his time, and he was embarrassed to admit that it was "over his average wed time."

ok - now on to thursday.


GILL I. 8:54 AM  

Ah, yes. Funny how a mind-set works. You know that every Wednesday you're going to get eggs and chips. You have it EVERY Wednesday. Then the wife gives you filet mignon. Wait....where is my perfectly poached egg? Instead you give me MEAT???? What the hell....Hah! Got you didn't I? And the filet is delicious but dang, you don't want to admit it.
I wasn't sure what was going on with the confusing numbers. When I finally got to the reveal, I let out a little squeak. Ooh...two names squeezed together. Fun. Clever. Different. SO COOL. Yep, liked this fine Thursday. Oh, wait, why the hell are you here? Kidding.
My morning game is to always guess what @Rex will think. And I always hope he's had a Rusty Nail. I guessed wrong. But then, I usually do.
Sometimes I'll find a wince or two when I'm not familiar with a name. CODONS was a first but now I know something new. The ADAH/ODAY wasn't a problem. I guess I know my Bible and my Jazz. @Hartley...your new names made me laugh out loud. Paprika, indeed! Add vagina.
Good night CHET, Good night Davidian. Nana would watch the Huntley Brinkely show every night. Such gentleMEN.
COIN SAR will always elicit a smile. Our son was a newspaper carrier at the age of 13. In those days he'd have to go door-to-door to collect deliveries. Many (el cheapos) would tip him in coins. He'd put them in a big glass jar and watch them grow. At the end of every three months, we'd go to that machine, listen to it ka ching and then lo and behold, all that money would add up to a paltry 3 or 4 dollars.
@Quasi...Who in the world says we aren't seeing inflation? They obviously don't live in California - especially Sacramento. I use to go to a hole-in-the-wall small cafe for a latte and a croissant. The croissants were baked on the premise and they were beyond delicious. Just 2 years ago it would set me back $4.00. I went back a few weeks ago and the same fare now costs $9.00 plus they expect a $3.00 tip! And yet the wait staff still gets minimum wage. Don't get me started on gas and landlords.
This was fun, Sam. I always enjoy your puzzles and this was primo.

Matthew G. 8:58 AM  

Sometimes Rex is too grumpy.

Not today. This was an unpleasurable solving experience. Fill this bad needed a stellar theme to justify it, and the theme was possibly worse than the fill.

Nancy 8:58 AM  

Even after finally getting to the revealer (much later than I should have as per usual; why do I always torment myself this way?), I still didn't get the theme. Now ANDERS and IAN are not the most familiar first names, but how could I miss RICK and ANDY? But I did. The whole married thing threw me off, because what I was seeing was "PHIL AND" and also "NORM AND". PHIL AND ERS??? NORM AND Y??? At which point I started looking for continuations of ERS and Y going up or down or sideways and embedded in other answers. I think I've been doing too many TRICKy puzzles. Anyhow, had to come here to find out what was going on. And there it was -- hidden in plain sight.

I don't require any outside "aid" when I drink, and therefore my 37D was a BEERpONG, which sounded like what I'd heard about, vaguely. Leaving me with SUp OUT for taking a break from the game. Why not? Sometimes the game can make you hungry. Any game.

I don't know what RSS is, but I hated the fact that it was there. Should I have known ADAH? I didn't even know that Esau was a MARRIED MaN. How many mentions does ADAH get, anyway?

Thought this was mostly pretty good, with a few exceptions. The pONG DNF is on me.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

One theme problem is that 2 answers are not pronounced as names. RICOCHET, pronounced with short i and silent t. The other is RUSSIAN, pronounced rush un. So they don't work orally. The others work orally as well as in print. A third problem is BARTRICK, the only compound word among the answers. The break between the two words is different from the break to make the two names.

JohnG 9:07 AM  

I love this page and I appreciate how angry Rex was here. This was a phenomenal review. This puzzle was lousy and to the dissenters, they must just want to take the other side and brag at how great they are because Rex was so mad. But Rex is right. This is no Wednesday puzzle.

jm 9:12 AM  

I quite liked the themers. "Married" also works for the more general meaning of uniting two things, while also playing with the fact that it is (at long last) becoming inrreasingly socially acceptable (not to mention legal) for two men to be married to each other. The number clueing I also found quite helpful, as it helped me to make some educated guesses about each name as I filled them in, which in turn helped figure out the whole word.

There was definitely some rough crossword-ese in this one, but on the whole I found it a fun solving experience.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

I don’t know if anyone here has been to a wedding in the last 20 years or so but there is always some comment about two becoming one. Marriage. But it was a tough puzzle. But I guess that’s why I do the crossword, to challenge my brain, not to cruise through them. But to each their own.

ulysses 9:19 AM  

Did not enjoy. Did not finish. Got naticked at the AD?H/OD?Y cross. Also couldn’t figure out what the cross reference to BEET was all about nor GR??ED clue. So this was all a big waste of time. Yuck.

Banya 9:22 AM  

I thought it was a beautiful idea for gay pride month. I immediately got the theme and was pleased. Married signifies two becoming one and that's just what it was. I think you're really reaching saying the reveal makes no sense. I do agree that it was a very challenging puzzle and belonged on a Thursday and a lot of the fill could have been reworked, but I still enjoyed the idea a lot.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

Just as the way English is read: left to right, top to bottom.

OffTheGrid 9:35 AM  

I heartily agree. I think the Rex bashers will bash no matter what because they love doing it. Weird!

Jay 9:35 AM  

I didn't remember the name of the soprano in Lohengrin either. For that matter, I don't remember or don't know many other characters from operas, Shakespeare's plays or Greek tragedies. But to refer to Lohengrin as a "minor opera" is the height of ignorance.
Rex seems to follow the motto of "What I know is important. Anything else can't be."

Patti Ann 9:35 AM  

Thought it was cute. IMO the parenthetical numbers served to dumb it down and were unnecessary. Played like a Tuesday for me but I’m not angry with the editor for running it on Wednesday because I know my solving experience isn’t universal. Wouldn’t care even it were..

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

I had YENTL and TSL in the bottom right corner, and the online version told me I had at lease one square wrong. Took me another 25 minutes to realize my error.

Michael 9:39 AM  

The men are married TO EACH OTHER, geddit?

My only objection was cluing ADIEU as "Till we meet again". It's the opposite, really

Mo-T 9:39 AM  

Wow. What a review Rex gives this one.

I kinda got it right away and thought it was SOCOOL. I kept trying to make sense of who the men were, though. I'm kinda up on pop culture, and I coudn't picture any couples with these names. Then it finally dawned on me that they were "married" in the sense of sharing parts of the same word.

Who looks at the word "RicoChet" and thinks, gee, two men's names? Sam Trabucco, I guess! And it's the same with @Lewis. He always sees those things. Guess that's why they brilliantly construct and I merely solve.

Liked BAD COP (25D) for Dark blue? clue. No green paint here!

Thanks, Mr. Trabucco.

Mo-T 9:44 AM  

Oh, and I forgot:

You know "Italian Wedding Soup?" Well, it 's not Italian Wedding Soup. The misnomer comes from the fact that the flavors are married. It was some people who said, OH! Wedding!

Not so much.

I'm Italian, well Sicilian, and I have never seen meatball soup at any wedding. So there's an instance of married that I gripe about.

Leslie 9:48 AM  

I've seen this error before.
@Z 8:49, yes "adieu' (to god) means farewell, never to meet again. "Au revoir" is "until our next meeting".
Also, I forget who posted to someone else "get over yourself", but these words are very hurtful. I wish people would find a better way to disagree.

Nancy 9:57 AM  

Like @GILL, I love your hilarious list of first names, @Hartley (7:37)! Did you make them up yourself? Or do they (gasp!) actually exist somewhere in the wild? If they don't, I think you've perhaps given some ostentatiously SO COOL people ideas. I'll be looking for the next "Bicycle" in the neighborhood playground, and she won't have wheels. Or will it be a "he"? (And also, @Hartley, appreciative thanks for the shoutout.)

I agree with @DF that "dark blue" = BAD COP is unfortunate and unfair cluing. I also question BEET = SHADE. "What color is your dress?" "It's BEET." Nope, don't think so. You really do need the go-with "red". (You might also need a different dress.)

Hand up for another person who never heard of CODONS. And am I the only person on the blog who never heard of a COINSTAR? Back in the day, I kept my allowance in a tiny little cash register on a shelf in my closet. So cute. Now I keep my money in a bank. Not nearly as cute.

Sydney 9:59 AM  

I liked it. A lot.

Unknown 10:03 AM  

"Lohengrin"? "Minor opera"? Guess again.

Klazzic 10:03 AM  

I'm with @Banya. Terrific theme and puzzle! Too many sour pusses here. It's a freakin' puzzle, folks. This is not the Magna Carta.

QuasiMojo 10:04 AM  

@GILL it's the know-alls on CNBC who say it. I guess they can afford their $26 endive salads and $9 Gelatos at Grom.

Richard Wicentowski 10:20 AM  

Actually thought CODON was pretty reasonable. It is a modern scientific word, not to be lumped in with the obscure ADAH and ECARTE.

Dr. Haber 10:20 AM  

I did well with this mostly by ignoring the theme. I sussed there were supposed to be male names at the beginning of the starred clues, but did not realize these were supposed to be "married" to the second names or even that there were second names as I was thrown by anders and "ochet." So I got the completion of the starred lines with crosses very quickly.

leprecohn 10:20 AM  


burtonkd 10:31 AM  

I’ll add to the "what’s so confusing about married?" From google search bar 2nd definition:
cause to meet or fit together; combine.
"the show marries poetry with art"
meet or blend with something.
"most Chardonnays don't marry well with salmon"
splice (ropes) end to end without increasing their girth.

I’m laughing trying not to over-visualize the nautical sense in regard to today’s puzzle.

I came here figuring there would be some carping about this being tougher than usual for a Wednesday, but hooboy. For people that can solve Friday and Saturday regularly, I don’t see why this should cause so much consternation.

Lots of fun, fresh clues old and new.

jberg 10:47 AM  

Maybe I got lucky; I got to 23A, already had R_S___, so it had to be RUSSIAN -- even though I thought the Russian word was "dosvidannya." The little numbers had to bean something, and NYT never tells you how many words a crossword answer is, O I counted them out, and there it was: RUSS and IAN. I think I had them all before I got to the revealer, but the latter didn't bother me --- though I tend to agree with @Rex that the clue is stretching "literally" to the limit.

Aside from that, what's wrong with difficulty? That's what I come here for -- and tricksiness, like cluing ERIE with the name of a different lake. It did take me some time to remember CODONS, to guess that Mr. Bacharach wasn't named BeRT, and to suss out BAR TRICK from the crosses. (Like @Nancy, I didn't know that Esau was a married man -- but I did know that he was an hairy man!)

I've seen those COINSTAR machines, but never got the logic of paying someone else to count your money for you. Easier to just get a coin purse, carry them around, and try to give exact change to that you don't accumulate even more. But I may have to change my technique, now that one buys everything with a credit card.

Speaking of MARRIED MEN, here's a bit of Lohengrin for your enjoyment.

jberg 10:49 AM  

Oops! I posted the wrong link -- that was Mendelssohn. Here's the march from Lohengrin.

burtonkd 11:01 AM  

The clue at 28 IS asking for the whole of 27, i.e. the shade of BEET-RED
I bid you "adieu" is a nice way of saying I never want to see you again. REVOIR, literally re-see.
I didn’t know beer bongs were still a thing. A whole pint goes down as fast as a shot. With today’s inflation and craft beers, doesn’t seem like a great idea. If, otoh, pbr is your thing...
I guess branch DAVID-IANS could have been clued today. We might never hear from OFL again...

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Agree, on the whole, with OFL's view, not necessarily the specifics. A puzzle can be difficult because:
1 - the answer is a very obscure word
2 - the clue is very (or very, very, very) indirect (the American English use of homophones, noun/verb overlap, etc.)

This puzzle, too often, did both at once. This is just the constructor/editor pissing in our faces. Good for them.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

but never got the logic of paying someone else to count your money for you.

Well, if all those coins were accumulated in (marginally?) nefarious activities? Last time I tried, banks no longer accept loose coinage. I suspect that COINSTAR, et al, came to be for both reasons.

David in Brevard 11:10 AM  

Took me Friday time for a Wednesday (1.29.00 ish) due to slow to grok theme and hard clueing.

Shame about SHADE and ADAH when, as has been pointed out, SHAME and AMAH would’ve work just fine.

Got the theme at Calgary and never considered the gayness of the situation. As a woodworker I know that you can marry up two pieces of wood for gluing without consideration for their gender identity or state laws.

But the central section should’ve have been polished. O’Day crossing Hoo Boy was gross. I had Grewed for GRAYED for a moment and I am a proper native English speaker! That’s how confused (or burned out) I was by this stage.

The SW was a mess of green paint to me… BEER BONG, AP COURSE and COINSTAR? All WOEs for this guy.

Looking forward to a more straightforward Thursday now. Dream on.

Crimson Devil 11:12 AM  

Not easy, but rewarding, ‘cept for SUBOUT, never heard of, and I always thought it was BEERpONG not BEERBONG.
And I thought aurevoir instead of ADIEU. Don’t get TRIG.??
Otherwise CODON, ECARTE, ADAH were unknown to moi but gettable.
More Thursday-ish, but last week we swapped for D-Day, so OK by me.

Whatsername 11:18 AM  

@Nancy - I had exactly the same DNF even though I was thinking/picturing a BONG as I wrote in the answer. SOnotCOOL.

I have no real complaints about this other than perhaps the really icky clue for TSA. Eeww! It did seem tough for a Wednesday but I’d much rather have a challenge than a snooze. The theme was fine and I thought the numbers in parentheses were actually helpful. I was a bit disappointed they didn’t turn out to be real married couples but can see how that would be ULTRA difficult. Thought putting ELOPE at 48A above two of the theme answers was a nice touch.

GHarris 11:25 AM  

Holy Moley ! Gadzooks! I finished a puzzle that stopped Rex? (I’m sure it took me a lot longer even though he went off the clock). Yeah, there was lots I didn’t know but I plugged away until it all came together. I even sniffed out the theme once I had finished. I just don’t get bogged down in assessing the niceties, gird size, pc issues, esoteric answers etc. That is not why I come to puzzles. Must say, I thought the clue for bad cop was brilliant.

WhatDoing 11:34 AM  

This one kept me on my toes until the end. Love the clever clues and had no problems sussing out BURT vs BERT or GREYED vs GRAYED. Love Rex’s indignant rants when something proves to be too clever for him. Thanks for the laughs. And no baseball. Bonus!!!!

Zwhatever 11:40 AM  

@JohnG. - You made me laugh. First time I’ve ever been accused of taking the other side from Rex just to argue the other side. You know, it is possible that people just disagree.

Regarding Lohengrin, it seems pretty minor. Wagner means the Ring Cycle. Everything else he did is minor in comparison. Ask a thousand people to name an opera by Wagner and Der Ring des Nibelungen is the only answer you’re going to get. Maybe one or two will remember Parsifal. I think we would need to ask 10,000 people before someone is going to remember Lohengrin, or that Wagner wrote it.

@burtonkd - Sure, but is that how cross-reference clues typically work? My impression is that typically the cross-reference is to only the answer.

@Leslie and @Michael - Yep. I wonder if some of that distinction has been lost over time, but ADIEU does not equal au revoir as far as I know.

Joe Dipinto 11:41 AM  

Have I got a girl for you! Wait till you meet her!
Have I got a girl for you, boy!
Hoo, boy!

Or not. Cute theme idea, but the results are spotty at best. RICK and RICO are essentially the same name. Sweden is probably overrun with ANDERSes, but here it feels at odds with the others. Ditto the aforesaid RICO, unless you live in a Barry Manilow song.

His name was Rico
He wore a diamond
He was escorted to his chair
He saw Chet dancing there

@Rex, the 22d clue says "in England", not "English". You know, location, not the language itself. I guess that was too minor a point for you to pick up on?

@Mo-T -- True about Italian Wedding Soup. No human marriage involved. (It's delicious though!)

So ends my minor comment to this ultra-minor blog.

jb129 11:42 AM  

I agree with those that said "hard is the fun part." Yes, it was hard, but enjoyably so. I'll take hard over 3 days of easy any day. This said from someone that was stuck on "coinstar!" Lots of fun & kept me going way longer than the usual Wednesday.

Pickle 11:44 AM  

I too enjoyed this puzzle, and finished right around my usual Wednesday time.

Rex is a confusing guy. He seems to remember the most obscure crosswordy trivia—European rivers, opera singers, etc.—but can’t remember that the English spell it GREY. That’s in crossword puzzles ALL THE TIME.

And while ANDERS is more common overseas, so too is RICO. Why all the hate for one and not the other? Perhaps I just have a soft spot for Anders from Workaholics, the broiest show on tv that I feel certain Rex would hate.

barryevans 11:48 AM  

What Loren said, other than "DATEUP" (now I know)

Fun all the way for me.

Chip Hilton 11:53 AM  

Loved it! Loved it even more when I came here and read the Rexwhines. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a challenge on a Wednesday?

Got the theme with CALGARY, struggled on to a conclusion in the tough NW, and took a lucky guess on the ITER/RES crossing. Some lovely clues, with OFT’s being a prime example. Thanks, Sam!

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

I completely agree. I actually found this puzzle fairly easy. But, I seek out the hard ones because 'speed-solving' easy puzzles is just scribbling. Having to figure out the clues is where your brain gets a morning stretch.

FrankStein 11:59 AM  

@Z that is absurd. "Here Comes the Bride" comes from Lohengrin for God's sake.

nyc_lo 12:00 PM  

No clue what the theme meant until coming here. Clever enough, if a bit of a stretch. Got lucky with crosses on the more obscure stuff, so nothing stopped me cold. My longest Wednesday solve-time ever, but still well under my Thursday/Friday times, so I don’t know where else I’D’VE put it. Oh wait, that was from yesterday’s. Never mind.

Mark 12:01 PM  

SUBOUT is two words. As in SUBstitute OUT.

Beer pong is a thing. BEER BONG is a different thing. Pong is a game. Bong is a device for rapid consumption.

TRIG as in trigonometry. Where you learn about sin (and cos, and tan, etc.)

Ethan Taliesin 12:18 PM  

I ignored the [4&3, 4&6, etc] clues and enjoyed it as a somewhat challenging Wednesday. I like this whole week so far, actually.

Of course the "married" part is inapt and really bad.

Malsdemare 12:31 PM  

I'm on the "liked it" side. @Hungry Mother said it for me; first it’s "I can't do this," and then I put my head down and go. I got DNFd on the shame/shade error and it was quite a while before I got the theme, but those numbers helped me on the last marriage to fall: PHILANDERS. I'm not sure that LPS are the purview of DJs; we have quite a collection here and I haven't DJ'd since college, where I was Midnight Mary.

Am I the first to notice that "The Wedding March" comes from Lohengrin? I have to give Rex some credit here. I follow the "better to stay SILENT and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." I can't tell you who the soprano in the opera was (well, I can now), but I'm usually pretty sure that when classics are mentioned, the issue is with my lack of knowledge, not the subject's lack of importance. Are we seeing the Dunning-Krueger effect in Rex's nits?

I really liked this, even with the AMAH/ADAH error.

Malsdemare 12:32 PM  

Ah, I see @FrankStein caught it as well. Good on ya, mate.

Joe Dipinto 12:35 PM  

@jberg -- cool you posted the Wedding March -- appropriate tie-in to the theme!

Joseph M 12:43 PM  

I’m with her (Loren).

Thought the theme was SO COOL and a fun tribute to Pride Month. Had no problem with viewing MARRIED as “joined together.” Just like the men's names literally in the grid. Imagine these happy couples at the altar:

Music: PHIL Ochs and ANDERS Osborne

Books: RUSSell Brand and IAN Fleming

Animation: BART Simpson and RICK (from "Rick and Morty")

Acting: RICO Ball and CHET Hanks

Vintage TV: NORM (from "Cheers") and ANDY (from "The Andy Griffith Show")

Baseball: CAL Ripken and GARY Carter

THANK GOD for Marriage Equality!

Crimson Devil 1:13 PM  

Mark, thanks for reply/explanation.
I now much like TRIG. SUBOUT not so much.

Marc Kwiatkowski 1:24 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle and came in under my average time for Wednesday (17 minutes, vs 18.3 minute average). I thought the theme was well done and the revealer was accurate. In construction, things that are butted up against each other to add strength are often described as "married"; "married beams", "married walls"...

I think Rex's complaints about ADAH, ELSA and ECARTE are good, but I had no problem getting them with the crosses.

My bigger complaint is that OFL rage-quit and didn't post his time. This hardly seems fair. He's happy to rub our noses in his super-human times day after day. So to not also divulge a bad time is not very sporting. From now on I will mentally append an asterisk to all his times.

Teedmn 1:29 PM  

Yes, far more difficult than my average Wednesday by almost ten minutes.

No, I don't hate this at all, I thought it was great fun. I chipped away, trusting that eventually I would get the theme which would explain life, the universe and everything, and I was, mostly, right.

Idiocies like splatzing in _RS in at 14A, falling for Rex's wOOBOY, "talk" for a 10A heart-to-heart leading to TV COLOR at 10D means I have ULTRA amounts of black ink on my grid. The bottom half is much cleaner.

There is a treasure trove of great clues such as for BAD COP (25D), TRIG (30A) and especially 67A's OFT as what's frequently found in poetry.

I did not know Esau's wife. __AH had me grumbling, "no, leAH was married to twin brother Jacob!" And then wondering if he set her aside and maybe Esau took over? ADAH, aha.

And that wOOBOY wreaked havoc on figuring out 28A. 27A = BEET so 28A is a sugar beet so it is Sweet? (This fed into Leah, thus making it doubly diabolical for me). I can't remember which part of that area finally fell and helped me clean up - maybe BAR TRICK showed me BAD COP? It has all GREYED out in my mind already.

My husband can open a non-twist-off beer bottle with just about anything at hand but you won't see him using his wedding ring!! That would be an ATROCITY.

Sam, great puzzle, maybe not a Wednesday, but fun nevertheless.

RooMonster 1:32 PM  

Hey All !
Late to the party. I agree with everybody! Har. It was tough in spots, theme was neat, MARRIED works, and EMO RAP is just plain silly. :-)

@Pickle 11:44
Har! Forgot about Workaholics! Great show.

@Crimson Devil
Thinking about changing your name to BEET RED Devil?

No CRAP today. Har.


Vanda 2:14 PM  

@Lewis -- Great puzzle in the LAT today. You always go beyond the obvious -- there's always something that elevates your puzzles to the next level of complexity.

@Nancy -- I'm looking forward to your recent NYT. (I solve the NYT in syndication, so I won't see it for a few weeks.) Can't wait to see what you had up your sleeve.

Hope it's OK to go OT in this way. Thanks.

Masked and Anonymous 2:16 PM  

Extra late, due to all-mornin dental work. On the bright side, M&A has now been officially crowned.

RSS/SUISSE/SCHLUB is a feisty way to start a WedPuz. Painful crownin touch. Also, theme was kinda tough to see -- other than them (4 & 6)-type clue parts, helpin to telegraph which ones the themer pups were. M&A immediately went off, sniffin high & low for the theme revealer clue, which then proved neighborly enough for m&e to grok the theme mcguffin. Things got much easier, after that.

staff weeject pick: RSS. Better (and easier!) clue: {ainotsE, enco??}.

Cute theme idea. Has any (other) Comment Gallery wag explored the DIVORCEDMEN themers, yet? A few contestants …

Thanx for the post-RSS fun, Mr. Trabucco.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Anonymous 2:21 PM  

Ok, I officially have the opposite of Rex's brain. I worked my way through this one with few problems (Adah, violin virtuoso, etc.) but a combination of figuring out and flashes of esp brought me through "bad cop," "philandering," and others, making me feel "so cool" and very proud of myself. I think that perhaps I did well because I was unencumbered by slavish adherence to a theme - as a newbie, I almost never can figure them out, sometimes pondering them for a shameful amount of time even after Rex explains them! The puzzles Rex thinks are a cinch - almost of the puzzles, let's face it - usually are complete mysteries to me. This has to be my best Thursday puzzle ever, so I loved it, too!

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

Oh no! It's Wednesday, not Thursday! My bad! Hahaha. No wonder - I've been cracking Wednesdays pretty well lately.

john towle 2:43 PM  

I was flummoxed…kept looking for names for the fair sex & couldn’t find any. BTW nobody says privet in Russian; it’s sdrastvootye, always. Accent on the first syllable. Agree with Rex…this one was b.a.d.

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

Contrary to OFL, I found this a fun solve. I grasped the theme pretty quickly (though I didn't connect it to the Stonewall anniversary) and it went fairly smoothly for me. Really just came here to see what Rex objected to, and not disappointed. Oh, well, to each his own. (I also liked the "Sunday Times of London" style of noting the number of letters in the multiple word answers.)

Blue Stater 3:24 PM  

Well, this one, I think, retires the "Worst-Ever" trophy. I must respectfully disagree with OFL on one point: the Maleska era was the *good* old days, not the bad old days. Maleska would never have tolerated this level of factual error (it's "beer pong," not BEERBONG; DJs don't play from LPs; no such thing as SUBOUT) or general level of snarkiness and faux trendiness. Maleska's puzzles were models of erudition, testing his solvers' knowledge of significant facts and the real English language. I have missed his benign influence sorely over the last 25-plus years of the WS era, which has become a disaster for the puzzles. Scheduling a hot mess like this for a Wednesday is just a slap in the face.

Masked and Anonymous 4:07 PM  

"ecno", not "enco", in the RSS clue.

* EX ED.
* EX ARCH. [yep … startin to get a dash more desperate]

U scoff, but it might make a good runtpuz …


tom christensen 4:08 PM  

Pretty easy, but theme was a bit random & facile.

Malsdemare 4:08 PM  

@Lewis, I'm going to echo others: Fun, clever puzzle? Good job.

JC66 4:14 PM  


Yep, well done...but I'm not surprised.

Rob Rushing 4:33 PM  

About a minute faster than my usual Wednesday time, so I was really surprised to see someone like Rex so stumped. I appreciate his advanced level critiques of things like crosswordese or the shape of the grid, which I never notice, but I have to agree with many commenters that that a lot of today’s rant falls into the “I didn’t know it, therefore it’s too hard” type (I used to try that line in grad school, and my professors and fellow students were unimpressed).

I didn’t get the theme until after I was done, but I will note the etymology of “philanders” (loving men) suggests that these may indeed be men who got married.

Eben 4:43 PM  

I've met an Anders or two in my day! I quite enjoyed this. Figured out the revealer + RUSS/IAN first and it helped me get the rest of the themers.

Love a good rant, though. That's why we're all here, after all!

"Mustiest corner of the bible" - lolz

Newboy 4:47 PM  

Ken and Rex walk into a bar.... and Newboy is buying drinks for the or rusty nails. I just appreciate all youse guys taking the time to provide a second level of fun for my morning. And Chefwen & LMS get extra hordevoures!

Eben 4:50 PM  

@Blue Stater - BEERBONG and BEERPONG are two different things...

TJS 4:50 PM  

Really late to jump in, but @Blue Stater demands to be responded to. No #1, Yes it's "Beer Bong" described in the clue. "Beer Pong" is a much more gradual process. No # 2, radio DJ's frequently have days where they play exclusively relatively un-celebrated songs from famous albums, as a change-up from regular programming. And "sub out" was a common expression in my little league coaching days, when every player on the team had to play in every game, so you had to explain to some of the kids why they were pulled from the game.

Monty Boy 5:11 PM  

I'm with @LMS in the liked column. It was tough for me, like Fri/Sat, but I work my way though those and feel really good when I finish. From the comments, it seems many folks were OK with this on Wednesday. I thought Friday, but enjoyed it all the same.

BTW, Thanks @off the grid 8:42 for the Rick O'Shay mention. I grew up in Montana and it was thrilling to have a local boy make good in the comics world. Well drawn and great wit. I wonder if OFL, as comic prof, know of this one?

ghthree 5:16 PM  

I ignored the stuff in parentheses after the starred clues, figuring it would probably make sense later. By the time I got to the revealer, I had enough to fill in MARRIED MEN.
I live in Oberlin, Ohio, where Pride Month is widely celebrated.

"The month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. As a result, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world." (Wikipedia)

So I had no trouble detecting the theme. It didn't help me solving, but it was a nice post-solve"aha" moment. I know personally several men who are married to each other, but nobody famous, except the Buttigiegs, who played no role in the puzzle.
But it gave me an excuse to use my favorite pronunciation mnemonic:
"If you don't like the verdict, Boo da judge."

As for "adieu" it strikes me that for a someone who does not believe in an afterlife, "adieu" means "farewell forever." But to a believer it could mean "We will meet before God, who will judge us." When Tosca sings "O Scarpia, Avanti a Dio" it seems more like Eliza Doolittle singing "Just you wait, 'enry 'iggins."

Anonymous 5:51 PM  

Really? As soon as I started reading Rex a few years ago, I noticed that he considers anything he doesn't know to be obscure, or just plain wrong. And anyone who doesn't know either Anita O'Day OR Lohengrin is more to be censured than pitied. I'm surprised he didn't carp about Syd Barrett, too.

Anonymous 6:02 PM  

Never heard of BEERBONG (have heard of beer pong) and I guess SUBOUT vaguely makes sense to me but I didn't think of it and kept trying to figure out SUpOUT.

I still don't get SHADE as an answer to beet (red), so crossed with ADAH and CODONS it was hopeless.

Other than that my wife and I found it to be a difficult Wednesday, but not insanely so.

Suzie 6:13 PM  

Am I the only one who hated the clue for TRIG? Ah well. I got there in the end.

I didn't get the theme until I finished the puzzle and looked back over everything, but I rather liked this one. Not too difficult for me, though I did wind up googling where the '88 Winter Olympics were held. I don't remember which of the crosses was giving me trouble, but I just couldn't remember that Calgary is a place. Sorry, Calgary.

I agree with all the complaints about ADAH. I got it, ultimately, but I think she might be one of those minor figures who's got multiple names depending on where you look, and that's a pretty crap kind of answer. (I could be wrong. I'm not that up on Esau.)

But on the whole, really fun.

Suzie 6:18 PM  

I was taught to use "privet" in casual conversation when I was studying Russian, but I have yet to visit the actual country.

Phil 7:31 PM  

How you can be of any age past 20 and not listened to the overture to Lohengrin is hard to understand.

But do yourself a favor and take about 10 minutes to listen

Amelia 7:55 PM  

I guess I ought to join in. Someone might be waiting for me! (Just kidding.)

It was not hard, I knew all the clues except codons. Misha Auer is in my viola-playing wheelhouse. The fill was the usual, not always dreadful, not always good. The theme was RIDICULOUS unless it was about Pride Month, then it was very important. I didn't get that the men were married, and that's because I ain't sufficiently woke. I'm not so sure that was supposed to be the theme. You know why? Because of that stupid bachelor clue. Think about the gay men you know who've gotten married. Were they "bachelors" before that? Gay men were only bachelors when they weren't supposed to be gay, when they weren't open. Is that what they meant by the clue? Am I SO unwoke that I didn't see that?

Just because they couldn't get married didn't give them the phony life-long bachelor title. Oh, God, I'm so confused by the issue.

Do svidanya.

Unknown 8:11 PM  

If ever there was an opera worth knowing it is the 5 hours of Wagner known as Lohengrin. If heard live, it resets my wires, so to speak, and once pulled me out of grief.

Why oh why do so many choose the Lohengrin march as their wedding music considering that Elsa and Lohengrin’s marriage was never consummated??

Otherwise I hated this puzzle as much as Rex did, and gave up without completing it. Some poetic justice there.

Nancy 9:24 PM  

Thank you, thank you, @jberg (10:49). What a beautiful rendition of a beautiful piece of music you found. And to think I was very busy earlier today and almost neglected to click on it. How have we managed to turn "Here Comes the Bride" into such a corny song-- cornified it, as it were. I'll never hear it the same way again. And the voices are extraordinary. For those who are not familiar with the piece, as I was not, click on @jberg's link.

Who knows -- maybe I'll go listen to some more Wagner now. I don't know his work at all. I was turned off -- along with a lot of other 6th or 7th graders at P.S.6 -- by being force-fed "The Ride of the Valkyries" which our teacher seemed to have a special passion for. It seemed we had to listen to it over and over. I hated it. Sinuous and irritating. It never seemed to land. Sort of like progressive jazz. Or maybe I was just too young. At any rate, the march from Lohengrin is not at all like that. It's gorgeously melodic and very accessible. I never would have guessed it was by Wagner if I hadn't been told. This is what Mr. Martin, our teacher, should have played for us junior high-school kids instead.

PGregory Springer 10:00 PM  

Lovely puzzle for pride month. Took me twice as long as usual for Wednesday, but that just extended the challenge and the pleasure. Kudos.

Zwhatever 10:38 PM  

@FrankStein - Did you read @Nancy9:24’s second paragraph? Did you? Because that paragraph is the perfect example of my point. If you know Wagner you know the Ring. But only opera lovers know anything else he wrote except maybe, maybe Parsifal (and that opera is as much infamous as famous). Waxing poetic about the beauty of the work does not make it a major work.

Anonymous 11:35 PM  

I am in near total agreement with OFL's appraisal of this puzzle.

Unknown 11:49 PM  


I don’t disagree with you but.

Pity that few might know the sublime eroticism and longing of Tristan and Isolde.

Cecilia 11:55 PM  

What’s this Pride Month all about ? Gluttony, Lust, Envy, Wrath, Greed, and Sloth should get months too. We must be inclusive.

Peter P 11:57 PM  

What a polarizing puzzle. I found this fun and refreshing and.a quicker-than-average Wednesday solve.

Amy 10:09 AM  

wow Rex was stumped! that's a first.
Love that Roches song. Liked the puzzle.

Renita Jenkins 3:05 PM  

For real though, how is "Married Men" troublesome to understand? Nearly every wedding ceremony since the dawn of time begins "we are gathered here to JOIN THESE TWO". It baffles me every time when there is something bit of knowledge that you've never come across before, you pitch a fit. And this time you pretty much took your ball home because it was too challenging. I come to your blog when I struggle with an answer because you often explain the more arcane stuff, and I really appreciate that. But it kills my spirit that all you do is slag off on this thing that clearly means so much to you. You're mad when they're too easy and livid when they're too hard. There is so much hate on the Internet, wouldn't it be better to just be constructive?

Phil 1:34 PM  

Had to look it up.

Lohengrin was 11th in most performed at the Met. Ahead of Barber of Seville and Marriage of Figaro. It’s not a minor Opera. It’s Wagner and instinctively ignored by most non opera goers because it’s in German and long, just not a minor opera.

kitshef 4:28 PM  

Liked the theme, but the pop culture kept banging me over the head in an unpleasant way. On balance -- so-so.

spacecraft 11:36 AM  

Not quite sure after reading OFC's blog: D he actually NF?? HOOBOY: that'd be a first! I finished, and correctly, but it was a battle. I do agree that it might have been better placed in a Thursday slot--but I also agree that the name lengths in parentheses should have been deleted. They're not that much help, and as @lms said, might've enhanced the aha! moment.

CODONS is pretty rough for this early in the week, and I certainly was not helped by all the tech-ese. A couple of bachelors (?) are hanging outside the theme corral (BURT, SYD), making for a not-quite squeaky-clean grid, but otherwise an interesting challenge. Never heard "DATEUP," possibly 'cause I never did. I hasten to add, that means I basically just didn't date. SUBOUT is also a new one on me, though inferable. But People in the Real World Don't Talk That Way. The MARRIEDMEN revealer doesn't bother me.

ELSA Lanchester is DOD. I make it medium-challenging, with ULTRA triumph points for (apparently) beating OFC! Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:24 PM  


if one REMOVES from the BEERBONG the BEET.


leftcoast 3:18 PM  

HOOBOY! Fretted over a couple of Near-Naticks: The CODONS/SHADE/ADAH and COINSTAR/SUBOUT crosses. Getting them was SOCOOL, but wouldn't claim "Awesome!".

PHILANDER[S] days of at least a dozen MARRIEDMEN ought to be over, eschewing sin-fulness, THANKGOD.

Let us pray.

Diana,LIW 3:28 PM  

Wow, this week went fast. It's Friday already.

It's not? Oh...

I got the marriedmen idea, but the NW and NE eluded me no end. Kinda proud that I got the rest.

Loved the "sinful" teaching (even tho I didn't get it correctly whilst solving). Onward.

Diana, Moving On

rondo 3:43 PM  

Any real blues/Americana fan knows ANDERS Osborne:

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