Country singer James Decker / TUE 7-16-19 / Oakland's Oracle for one / Demo material for Wile E Coyote / Speedy Amtrak option / Smallest state in India / Glassworker at times

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Constructor: Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (3:31)

THEME: A-FRAME BUILDINGS (52A: 52A: Structures illustrated twice in this puzzle through both black squares and letters) — I have no idea how "black squares" illustrate anything "twice," but there are clearly two sets of "A"s forming something that looks like an inverted "V" in the center of the grid: AMERICA forms the base of one, and ANTENNA forms the base of the other

Word of the Day: JESSIE James Decker (46A: Country singer ___ James Decker) —
Jessica Rose James Decker (born April 12, 1988) is an American country pop singer-songwriterreality television personalityfashion designer, and entrepreneur. At age 15, after auditioning for and being rejected by most of the country labels in Nashville, Tennessee, Decker began working with Carla Wallace of Big Yellow Dog Music. One of her songs attracted the attention of Mercury Records, which offered her a recording contract. She released her debut album, Jessie James, in 2009. A few years later in 2013, she starred with her husband Eric Decker, a wide receiver in the National Football League, in the E! reality show Eric & Jessie: Game On. On April 18, 2014, Decker released an EP through iTunes entitled Comin' Home. On Epic in 2017, she released a five-track EP, Gold, and released a surprise live EP on June 9, 2017 titled Blackbird Sessions. On October 13, 2017, she released her second full-length album and first for Epic Records, Southern Girl City Lights. On This Holiday, her first full-length Christmas album, was released on October 26, 2018. Decker was scheduled to release a full-length studio album in mid-March 2019. (wikipedia)
• • •

Two things make this a miss. They are obvious things, so ... I can't imagine that either the constructor or editor didn't notice; I'm sure they simply didn't care. Good Enough!™ So the two things in question are, 1. the revealer is not a phrase. It's just ... not a solid, stick-the-landing phrase. Here's what happens when you type "a-frame" into google:

This was predictable, because, as I said, the revealer is not a phrase. Not a phrase anyone uses. "House," yes. "Cabin," OK, yeah, I see those often enough. But "Building(s)"? Pfft. What you have there is someone thinking "well, it's 15 across, so it's perfect," instead of thinking, as one ought to, "it's the perfect phrase to describe the thing I am illustrating, so it's perfect." Then there's the A's. There is a problem with the A's. Where am I supposed to imagine that they start and end, in terms of their forming the "frame" in question. Because I don't know. The top "frame" has A's going down *three rows farther* on the left side than on the right, resulting in an asymmetrical "frame" that actually completely negates the whole concept of the "A-frame." Honestly, this stuff is so basic, I don't know why it doesn't rankle people who should know better. The concept of this puzzle is Just Fine. Make your A-frames actually symmetrical, at a minimum. Eliminate *all* non-frame A's from the grid—that would be a pretty baller move. Make your revealer something actual (AFRAMES, AFRAMEHOUSES). Anyway, this could've been executed well. Wasn't. The end.

Not there's not some nice stuff here. I admire the attempt to add some sizzle to the grid as a whole with the pairs of very long Downs in the NW and NE, and FACE PLANT is a very good and lively answer. But the those highs are very much undermined by the abundance of dreck (you can blame the A's for a lot of it (ASIAM, AMAT, ALIA) but not all of it (EENSIE, ABRA, ANDI, AS FAST). And ANNEALER is one of the more awkward and improbably -ER-suffixed words I've seen. JANDJ is a pretty awkward ampersandwich. Further, that whole eastern section, toward the bottom of the long Downs, is just a mess(i), a moraine of E's and S's, a dumping ground for common letters.

Five things:
  • 37A: Diez minus siete (TRES) — me: "ok so twelve minus seven is five, so ... wait, what?" (confused "diez" w/ French "douze," [sad trombone sound]!)
  • 12D: Et ___ (ALIA) — the literal worst solver guessing game in the world is this clue. A: both possibilities are terrrrrrible crosswordese, and B: you can't know if it's ALIA or ALII except by the crosses, fun!* (*not fun)
  • 35D: Predate (ANTECEDE) — me: "ANTE ... DATE? No, that can't be right ... I got nothin'"
  • 46A: Country singer ___ James Decker (JESSIE) — needed every cross there. Not the most famous JESSIE, I don't think, but that's OK. Actually, let's check w/ google again:
[well, at least she makes the list]
  • 32A: ___ Amidala, "Star Wars" queen (PADME) — honestly stumbled all over this one. I still haven't fully digested anything after the initial "Star Wars" trilogy. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:09 AM  

Like Rex, I too was disturbed by the unequal sides of the "A". But unlike Rex, I did a bit of research and found that many A-frame 'buildings' are, in fact, built that way (with one side of the "A" longer than the other). So while a symmetrical solution may have been more impressive from the construction angle, my solving experience was not impacted by this at all.

Swagomatic 12:23 AM  

The A-frames needed to be symmetrical. That is all I was thinking.

Runs with Scissors 12:24 AM  

Confusing right off the bat, since in the NYTXW site the two squares after ABRA, and the two squares before ABLE, and the square after LAOS, and the square before MAID were all blank white. No lines. Looked as if it might be some drug-induced meta something, but no. Just white squares.

Other than that, it was a quick solve. Had a little trouble with LIONEL MESSI, since I don't follow sports. At. All. I think I've seen the name on a billboard and that's how it jelled.

JARTS really was banned in 1988?? Nationwide? Worldwide? Only on polo grounds???? I did not know that. FACEPLANT!!

Enjoyed the long downs: BATTLE DRESS, BATTED AN EYE, ROOF GARDENS. A FRAME BUILDINGS going across was good too.

J AND J - Johnson and Johnson would have been so much better, dontchathink? One would get way more AD SALES from the better known title. Just sayin'.

ALIA was a major character in the follow-on Dune novels. Should be clued that way.

AS I AM doing constant EDITS due to typos EN MASSE, I shall stop here.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

jae 12:41 AM  

Easy-medium. Not bad for a Tues. and Ross apologizes for ANNEALER in his comments on Xwordinfo. Liked it a tad more than @Rex did, but the extraneous As are distracting.

Lee Coller 1:30 AM  

The asymetrical A's on the top "A-Frame" through me for a loop. I kept trying to figure out what was wrong as I couldn't believe they'd go for a asymetrical answer.

Frank 1:40 AM  

In my version of the electronic puzzle, the 2 black squares on either side of the black squares next to the 5-down A and 1 square on the side of the AVA in the top a-frame are colored white to make the frame more apparent. Still sux tho.

Phil 1:54 AM  

The review of Rex would be quite a big rant if he saw what they did to the puzzle in the apple NYCrossword APP. They actually made some of the squares white in the top aframe instead of. using fill. How shameless is that!!!

Phil 1:57 AM  

I mean if the white squares somehow made up part ofthe across answers that would have been cool. But to just make the theme fit.???

chefwen 3:05 AM  

Pretty easy Tuesday, but I thought I had messed up when the A’s going from 5D to 33D didn’t match up with the A’s going down the left side. Do I not know how to spell CAMEL?

Took a FACE PLANT a couple of years ago in a 7/11 parking lot, tripped over one of those concrete barriers in front of the store. Ugh! Not a pretty sight. Puzzle partner was in the car, looked up and wondered how I had gotten in the store that fast. Yoo hoo, I’m on the ground here, a little help would be nice. Lesson learned, watch where you’re going!

BarbieBarbie 5:26 AM  

Who knew LIONELMESSI and LEBRONJAMES had the same number of letters?

A Frame 6:07 AM  

The print and .pdf versions are much more attuned to the visual aspects of this puzzle.

Bageleater 6:22 AM  

The white squares in the app threw me off for a while. I though ABRA (as in abracadabra) was introducing a “vanishing words” gimmick. Nah! And why make them white? It didn’t help highlight the a-frame and actually looks like a mistake.

Klazzic 6:22 AM  

You tell 'em, Rexxie, my man. A piece of crap puzzle. ANNEALER? Really? What the eff are JARTS? This constructor should go back to where he came from!

Z 6:31 AM  

The revealer makes a lot more sense with the white squares, since then the black squares do actually make an A FRAME. Also, note, that there is a black square extending above the grid to complete the top A FRAME. It would be better, too, if there were no A’s extending beyond the A FRAME in REGALES and AD SALES, for example.

The fill on this is generally good except where the A-A words are an esefest. AVA ALA ACELA AVER ALEE are all in the Tired Fill Hall of Shame.

JARTS - Give sharp throwing objects to kids! What could go wrong?

@Anon yesterday- Do you really think a dozen parishes constitutes “frequent” use? It seems like you were defending the correctness of the answer, which was not under dispute, as opposed to the “most people more frequently use and recognize a different phrase” argument. @jberg’s explanation seems to me the most accurate, a thousand years of being described as “venerable” - and those writings being how most people encounter the figure, is going to trump a century of canonization, especially since most people could not care less that the guy was canonized.

GILL I. 6:40 AM  

So we have a Tuesday stunt puzzle that looks all pyramid and everything starts with an A so that the reveal becomes AFRAMEBUILDINGS. I'm glad @Rex found something to like. A is not my favorite letter. I like B's, though. BATTED AND EYE was kinda cute in a flirty sort of way. I seriously doubt school nurses go around checking students heads looking for LICE. The ones I knew just handed out aspirin. Today, if there is any inspection, it's probably for a machine gun.
When I see DYNASTY I think of China. So now we have the Bush's and the Kennedy's. How quaint.
Never heard of JARTS. they're mean looking things. Are there JARTS police? If you have them in your back yard will you get arrested?
FACE PLANT is fun. I've never done a @chefwen with a concrete barrier but I've tripped over my hippy jeans wearing those god-awful platform shoes. Remember those? They lasted exactly one time for me. I thought I looked cool standing 6 feet tall in them and then falling flat on my face in front of the faculty at Beaver College.

Lewis 6:52 AM  

I found the theme to be ambitious and out of the ordinary, and bravo for that. But several things confused me, namely:
* Why is this clued like a Monday? At least it felt that way to me. No shift from blatantly obvious cluing to at least a bit of subtlety.
* The asymmetrical diagonal A's in the top A-frame.
* The fact that in the NYT computer version there are those blank white areas on top, but in the NYT printout they are black. I understand why they are white, because the clue says that not only do the A's but the black squares make the "A" shape (inverted V), and that doesn't happen when those squares are black. Why make them black at all? Or why didn't they take the part about the black squares out of the reveal if those squares were made black?
* To make those black squares form the "A" shape (inverted V), as @Z and Jim Horne at XwordInfo point out, you need a black square over the A at square 5, and it isn't there.

So, as I said, I was confused. I did like FACEPLANT.

And, a quick aside re excellent cluing. First, the clue for 8A in today's mini. And second, the astonishingly good clue Patrick Berry made in the last Fireball puzzle, which was [Offensive line neutralizer]. I'll skip five spaces, and give the answer.


Bill T. 6:54 AM  

Very low word count for a Tuesday. If Lionel Messi was all that was preventing symmetry in the A frames, I would have split him up and made it work. I also agree with Rex that in a puzzle like this, there shouldn't be "A's" anywhere except in the theme squares. A fun solve in any case.

Suzie Q 7:17 AM  

Crossing two proper names stopped me short of the finish line. I have never heard of the Star Wars character and I have no idea who this Lionel is or even what sport he plays.
My personal failing aside, I was not amused.

Wm. C. 7:25 AM  

I did the newspaper xwpuz, and was totally confused by Rexie's rant, and some of the comments above. In the paper, the two a-frames are symmetrical, with the top black square of the top one extending above the top row, and three blank areas winding around the next two lower rows. So all is OK and symmetrical. My guess is that the online construction frame does not permit this pattern, and that is what the people objecting are dealing with.

I liked the four long downs. Overall, agree with the easy-to-medium rating by Rex.

kitshef 7:28 AM  

Surprising number of WoEs for a Tuesday: PADME, JESSIE, JARTS (though the last one I think I’ve seen in puzzles before).

Someone tried to impress Samuel Johnson by pointing out how difficult a piece of music was. Johnson’s reply was something like “Difficult? I wish it had been impossible”. That’s how I feel about today’s undoubtedly difficult construction.

Irene 7:29 AM  

I don't remember being caught with so many Naticks.

JandJ (I thought maybe PandG?) crossing Jarts (what's that?) and Jessie (who's that?)
Also Padme crossing Lionel Messi.

Do school nurses still check for lice? I thought that ended with WWII.

QuasiMojo 7:38 AM  

All there is?
A pain in the

OffTheGrid 7:47 AM  

One of the many things I've learned about on this blog is the use of cheater black squares. Now we have cheater white squares. Is this a first?

@Z said "JARTS - Give sharp throwing objects to kids! What could go wrong?

My version: Give multiple semi-automatic weapons to anyone that wants them. What could go wrong?

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that more people (children and adults) have been killed or maimed by firearms than Jarts (I'm not pro Jarts). It's unfathomable that we continue to condone widespread gun ownership and the resulting slaughter. Thanks again, NRA and your whore lawmakers.

Mike Herlihy 7:49 AM  

I was looking for my error after filling in all the squares.

I had read "Flue buildup" as "Flu buildup" and chuckled as I filled in SnOT. Oops!

Joe R. 7:55 AM  

@Phil - I was really looking forward to a quality Rexrant about that, and was disappointed when I saw that his version of the puzzle didn’t have those non-fill white squares. I don’t know why the editor didn’t insist that those squares needed fill, just put in a few slightly longer words.

mmorgan 7:56 AM  

I just couldn’t figure out what that stray E M S string of letters was doing at the end of that long up and down diagonal run of As. I assumed they had to be wrong. But nope.

Never heard of JARTS.

I had a reasonably pleasant time solving this despite the E M S dilemma.

GHarris 7:57 AM  

Had the same hiccup as most on the asymmetry but overcame that. My undoing was the Natick formed by jarts (which even autocorrect doesn’t like) and Ms Decker. Never heard of either so went with darts and Bessie which caused my embarrassing face plant.

ghthree 8:03 AM  

Could you give us some references from your research? I have never heard of A-FRAME buildings with one side longer than the other. Live and learn.

I recognized J and J (used to be my father's company's competition before they merged). If
either my wife or I had heard of JARTS, it would have been easy. Not knowing, we assumed DANDJ was more plausible.

Naticked at LIONELMESSI crossing PADME. We guessed "N" Who knew?

37 Across should have been clued with "menos" rather than minus. Will's error, not Rex's

Amie Devero 8:04 AM  

What is ANNEALER????? I can't make any sense of this. Is ANNEAL a thing? Whaaaa?

Bill T 8:27 AM  

@joaquin, I think an A-Frame with one side longer than the other is called a Saltbox. Maybe there's a theme in there somewhere!

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

Amie 8:04 - You know, you could look it up in less time than it takes to post to this blog.

@merican in Paris 8:39 AM  

To quote OFL: "Pfft". I tried to solve this one on paper, starting in the east. I know 8D would be either a soccer star or a basketball star, and as soon as I got LI_ I took a stab at LIONEL MESSI and it fit. So that side filled in quickly. But at 36D I ran into trouble. I wanted iNhALER, but that was too short. Never expected ANNEALER. ANNEALing is something I associate with metals, like copper tubing. At least I learned something new there.

Not knowing anything about Oakland's Oracle, I was also stuck at 35A. And I thought the game was "Lawn Darts", so I just had dARTS. (Speaking of ARTy, since when did that become synonymous with pretentious?)

In short, DNF. As the French would say, zOOT!

Here's my view on the 1988 JARTS ban. To quote,

"Jarts ... got banned after killing two children (one was killed by “an altered lawn dart”, proving that lawn darts just didn’t have the lobbyists guns do). But to be fair, they did injure 3,200 people in eight years.

Oh, wait, MATH: “Every year, nearly 1,500 children die from guns and many more are seriously injured. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes the best way to prevent gun-related injuries to children is to remove guns from the home. ... [Y]ou’re never going to hear “JARTS don’t kill people, people kill people”.

BTW, my print version was missing squares at the top, instead of the squares being black.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

@Rex, I think I enjoyed your vacation as much as you did. I hope you line up another series of guest bloggers soon.

Joaquin 8:46 AM  

@ghthree & Bill T
My googling of "A-frame buildings" gave me this, and though certainly most of the buildings are symmetrical, clearly not all of them are. So maybe a saltbox is a sub-category of A-frames?

Nancy 9:09 AM  

I don't know how to break this to you, Ross, but your top A FRAME house with its roof on the 5-square is about to fall down. It's missing three very important bricks on the right hand side-- bricks that attach it to the wall, for heaven sake! The only question for me is: will it topple to the left or will it topple to the right? Help me out, engineers and architects, because I have no idea.

Imagine my annoyance when I filled in all the "A"s on the right (in ink, wouldn't you know) and then had to erase three of them. There's no such animal as a CAMAL. There's no number TREA in any language. The "Star Wars" lady gave me no assistance at all, but I didn't need her.

As you know, I write my comment before reading the blog. I'm wondering how many other people mentioned the missing "A"s. My guess is 100%.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

What a joke. How do you turn your black squares into white to make the frame "more visible". Was that Will's brilliant idea? Stupid. Too lazy ro fill those in? Puzzle Fail. Shortz, damn...

Pete 9:20 AM  

@Wm C - The top A frame has As at 26,29, and 32A not matched on the right side of the grid.

I took the white blanks on the top to represent snow on the roof, then shouted at the creative team that the whole point of A-frames is to prevent the accumulation of snow on the roof. Clearly, either I or the creative team are morons. Adding to my dislike of his puzzle was the fact that the NYTimes app or my tablet got stuck on 14A as the clue for all the across answers for the rest of my solve. In the paired clue area, say for the square 3 of 47A I had

45D Shenanigans
14A 'Vette Options

@All Salt-boxes have different angles to the two sides of the roof. Traditionally, the side of the house with the longer / steeper side of the roof is pointed towards the prevailing winter wind to minimize heat loss.

RooMonster 9:34 AM  

Hey All !
54D, at least I made the puz...

Upset about the white/blank squares on the "sides" of the top AFRAME. Fill em in! With A's, which would've been neat. Also, confused (thanks @Lewis for that neutral word) as to why there are two A's in 1A, and two A's in 6D.

Bottom AFRAME symmetrical.

Ok, all, I know y'all have heard of LIONEL MESSI. His name is in the puz regularly, usually just MESSI. He plays Soccer. Futbol, actually.

ANNE next to ANNE ALER, drinking ALES on the ALEE side. AND I ACED the ARTY AMA test.


Birchbark 9:36 AM  

Fearful symmetry! -- I like the first roof. In my hubris, I prefilled all of the "A"s once I saw the pattern, then had to take a bunch out.

I wanted those white "squares" at the top to do something. Maybe some rotating three-letter combination that works with everything, including the A at the very top. That wouldn't be hard, would it? Or maybe just an animated snowdrift that tumbles off the roof when you complete the puzzle. Or snow geese that fly away when they realize they're on a roof, which isn't the way of nature.

pabloinnh 9:40 AM  

I also think this would have been more impressive if we had A's all the way down, so instead of earning the title of "Stunt Puzzle", I think I'll have to call it a "Stun Puzzle".

Favorite answer was FACEPLANT, which is a handy skiing term too. If you do a spectacular fall and lose your skis, poles, hat, goggles, gloves, and so on, around here that's known as a "face plant with a yard sale".

We had a set of JARTS when I was a kid. I don't know if this makes me feel old or just culturally insensitive. I remember when they were banned and thinking at the time, now there's a good idea.

Kind of a meh Tuesday, don't think the risk was worth the reward.

Unknown 9:46 AM  

Jarts (lawn darts) were only outlawed as an item for sale. If you have some in the garage or garden shed, you can still play without fear of arrest. If you want some Jarts, you can buy "replacement parts" online and assemble your own at home. Remember, keep your head up!

pmdm 9:50 AM  

For the life of me, I cannot see how you can call this asymmetrical. As I look at is, the grid has perfect mirror symmetry. Ditto the "artwork." But then again, I solve the printed paper version. The grid as printed on XWordInfo is so-so, and the grid as printed on this site is plain horrible. One can complain bitterly about how the on-line versions of the grid don't replicate the true grid properly. But the true grid? I don't see any problem. Some may be bothered that it is different and not a rectangle, but that's another story.

I must admit I find so many of the complaints expressed on this site to be silly. Take as an example the AFRAMEBUILDING entry. Perhaps the term "A-frame building" is not the preferred term in the vernacular. But it is an accurate term for such a structure. While usually early week entries usually present the most common entry for the definition, as long as the less common entry is easy to get there's no problem with it being used. (And I would think that's the case today.) And as a bonus it is technically correct. Once more, I really don't see the problem. I didn't even consider it a minor annoyance. I can see how this type of thing could bother some people, but it really is a very minor issue.

By the way, I enjoyed the puzzle as a reasonably sound Tuesday puzzle, with perhaps a too high a dose of PPP for newer solvers. I would aim my complaints back at myself: I am complaining about perhaps minor issues. Many of those comments here are delightful (I'm thinking of Lewis and LMS for examples. Where are you, ACME?) But some of the comments are what I would consider downers, and I worry about falling into that category.

Blue Stater 9:50 AM  

Sorry if this is a second time for this comment; Blogger is acting up again. This puzzle had a *terrible* Natick at LIONEL MESSING and PADME, particularly for a Tuesday. Plus all the glitches Rex pointed out. As I wrote, asweep at the slitch again....

Wm. C. 9:54 AM  

@Pete9:20 --

Tnx, I entirely missed the "A's" lineup. Silly of me, with the theme clue specifying "A"-frame. D'oh!

Now I can also see the asymmetry ... In the A's, not in the black squares. Double-D'oh!

RooMonster 9:55 AM  

Computer LAN was down yesterday, so didn't get a chance to do the puz. Just did it right now (in 6:38, lightening fast for me). Neat little theme. And I'm in it again! Two ROOs in a row. *Tear rolls down cheek*
*They love me, they really love me!*


Newboy 10:00 AM  

An “A” moment while I whine.....nah previous posters have that covered.

jberg 10:14 AM  

So here are some pictures of A-frame houses. Notice that, for the most part, they are shaped like the letter A, not like an inverted V -- i.e., there is that horizontal crosspiece, normally the floor. So you actually need those extra As on the top left, and you need them in the other places where they are missing.

In the printed paper, there were no white squares, just empty white space. It made kind of a cute picture, if you were willing to ignore the big shoulders sticking up in the NW and NE.

Remarkably, everyone seems to agree on this one!

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

If you haven't heard of JESSIE, you don't watch enough cab/sat TeeVee. Weight loss guru supreme. Didn't even know she was a nasal twanger.

A frames began, I believe (too lazy to wiki), as ski chalets. The asymmetry is due to letting the sun in on the South side and the wind out on the North side. The other reason, of course, is that ski chalets are built on the side of a mountain, thus have more room on the downhill side than the uphill side when the long axis is perpendicular to the slope.

Why ski chalets first? Snow shedding.

Joe Dipinto 10:34 AM  

I don't think Rex's graphic could be a reproduction of any actual version of the puzzle, since the revealer says the A-frames are illustrated *twice* through black squares and letters. Rex's graphic has no black a-frame at the top. Maybe his software couldn't manage reconfiguring the grid in that area?

Et ___ (ALIA) — the literal worst solver guessing game
...right next to AV(ER)/(OW), the other worst solver guessing game.

I didn't notice the string of dangling A's while I was solving, but seeing it now it looks pretty messy. Speaking of messy, Lionel Messi is becoming quite the crossword presence. Speaking of Lionel (as in Richie), The Fro Bros would be a good band name.

Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They've all come to look for America

Whatsername 10:42 AM  

Super easy Tuesday, as someone else said, clued like a Monday. I first thought it was a terribly dull theme with just the black squares but then noticed all the A’s at the beginning and end of the words as well. That seemed like a pretty novel idea and something I don’t remember ever seeing so credit for originality and probably was a fun construction project. I agree that A-frame BUILDINGS is not a common term but had no issue with the symmetry. ANNEALER was questionable but the nice long downs were appealing and made up for it.

I’m a big sports fan but never heard of Lionel Messi so my first thought was, WHY is he the highest paid athlete in the world. Thanks to the wonder of Wikipedia, I now know he is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward and captains both the Barcelona and Argentina national teams. Often considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he is also reported to be a noted philanthropist, generously sharing his $100 million plus with a number of charitable causes.

Out of curiosity, I googled the subject of highest paid athletes and learned the list goes all the way to number six before the appearance of one who plays football in AMERICA. I found it surprising that at least 3 other countries value their football more than we do here in the USA. Bit of an eye-batting moment for me.

xyz 10:44 AM  


Crossing dreckjunkrotgarbage
I detest the all-too-convenient variants of eensie, teeny, teensey, iotaish (I'm waiting to see that one, I'm certain it's just a matter of waiting long enough) - all the made up stuff you need crosses to confirm

Horrid fill to make the A-Thing (not) work.

I feel cheated.

A-Frame BUILDINGS, I first tried typing in some variant of AFRICAN DECORATIONS, silly me, the puzzle was what was on the stupid side today. Heck, Tuesday is often the FUNNEST day of the week.

Ethan Taliesin 10:47 AM  

What the heck--why can't I type in the white spaces?? Oh, just because they're nothing. That's where my disappointment started.

Agree with Rex about the A's cascading diagonally all the way down on the upper left side but not the right. Both sides of the lower strings of A's crapping out toward the end didn't make it seem more acceptable--like everybody's doing it or something..

Triggered my OCD (which I don't even have). I would have even let slide the fact that the apex A's didn't cross anything otherwise.

This grid had some high aspirations but couldn't pull it off.

CDilly52 10:49 AM  

What an odd looking grid! I spent a few useless seconds trying to figure out if the blank white squares were a misprint or a trick. Joke’s on me-neither! Just confusing weirdness. Killed this puzzle in record Tuesday time even with the lag in starting to try to suss out the white thing.

Doesn’t everyone (if we are totally honest?) have an epic FACEPLANT story ? Mine occurred in open court in trial. I was ramped up in closing argument and tripped over my projector cord and landed flat on my face in front of the jury box!! We spent at least an hour arguing about whether my “theatrics” (as argued the other side’s attorney) justified a mistrial!! But judges loathe mistrials especially late in the game and he really did not want to have a complete “do over because I’m a klutz. So as it turned out, my excessively bloody nose, while impressive, apparently did not prejudice the jury in my favor (according to the judge after individually polling the jury in chambers). In fact, in his instructions, he definitely told them to remember that “argument (or in this case demonstrations) of counsel is not evidence” and he went on to say that my “attempt at gymnastics” should be ignored in its entirety. Oof!
Thankfully, more modern courtrooms now have hardwired IT and other visual aids. No cords in sight! Took at least ten years for that story to go away.

I personally loved playing Jarts as a kid but they never came out of the box without somebody’s parent yelling “be careful with those things. They’re sharp!” @‘mericans, I agree. Never heard the slogan either (lol).

@Mike Herlihy. I frequently misread clues when solving on my phone and your Flu buildup is a classic! Made me chuckle.

Overall just fine as a solve but not so much as a theme.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

I don't think a dozen is a lot. I do think a dozen is a lot in the first three pages of a search. I'm sure there are scores more. I simply tired of looking. Surely a dozen or so discrete parishes--remember some of the hits in those first three pages were the same parish coming up multiple times--suggests the name is used a lot. That's pretty fair assessment. The one in Chicago for example. I'm certain that smaller parishes with fewer congregants, resources and ministries are also on uncle google, a few pages down.

Speedweeder 11:17 AM  

@Pmdm - I'm with you. I think many who comment here enjoy complaining for the sake of complaining. Complaining as sport. There are a few notable exceptions, but I find the majority to be gratuitously critical. I much prefer the commenters who have something constructive to add to the discussion.

On the other hand, this puzzle deserved some of the criticism it received. I thought the white squares at the top were confusing. It took me a minute or two to decide that I could ignore them.

Joseph M 11:21 AM  

Okay, sorry, but I pretty much hated this puzzle and for the first time was disappointed that Rex’s rant wasn’t more damning.

How to make a solver miserable:

1. Make a third of the answers proper nouns.

2. Be sure to cross some of these proper nouns as unfairly as possible, such as JANDJ / JARTS and PADME / MESSI

3. Build a visual theme around the letter A and then throw in a bunch of other A’s, including some that trail down off the theme in the same diagonal pattern but aren’t actually part of the theme.

4. Make the clues as straightforward as possible so no creative thinking is required.

5. Use the word ANNEALER.

Hungry Mother 11:35 AM  

Solved this one quickly while the cruise ship leaves Stockholm and heads for Estonia. Nice view for a solve.

Cookie 11:46 AM  

What must the world be like in the head of someone who quibbles with the phrase A-frame Buildings and then proceeds to show a list of A-frame buildings? Is it a constant frustration?

Hungry Mother 11:52 AM  

As a freshman chem major at Villanova, I had to take two courses that made a big difference in my life: Science Drawing and Glass Blowing. The latter course halped me with this puzzle and the former course allowed me to fake being a draftsman in the Army and promote myself into some interesting work instead of guard duty or KP.

Masked and Anonymous 11:53 AM  

The AFRAMEBUILDINGS revealer didn't bother m&e. The extra A's outside the frames didn't bother m&e much, since the revealer already had some extra A's, anyhow. The unbalanced structure of the upper A-frame bothered m&e. Not up to code. But … it is A-symmetrical, I'll grant.

Lotsa cool longball fillins, faves of which included: FACEPLANT. BATTEDANEYE. DYNASTY.

staff weeject pick: GOA. Sorta sounds like a theme-related chant: "GO, A !!" Part of some nice weeject stacks, in the SW & SE.

Nice E-W puzgrid symmetry. Print version even had a Notre Dame-style grid shape. Different. Need to shore up that one saggy A-frame, tho.

Thanx, Mr. Trudeau. U-frames might well be more solid, to build with, IM&AO. Just sayin.

Masked & AnonymoUs

Carola 12:10 PM  

Easy and pleasing. I enjoyed constructing the A-FRAMEs, never noticing the asymmetry, and thought the long Downs were very good (apart from ANNEALER). Regarding the names, I happened to remember that No More Tears came form Johnson and Johnson, which solved the JARTS and JESSIE problems; having become a soccer fan in my elder years, I knew LIONEL MESSI, but, Star Wars zealot though I am, had to correct PADMa.
Narrowly avoided FACEPLANT moment: for 38D, "Take me ...", I had ASI?? and thought "ASIde"?

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

I thought the same thing after entering ABRA - Expected some sort of mini-puzzle or reveal related to those squares, but nope, nothing.

JC66 12:25 PM  

@Joe D

FYI, @Rex's graphic is an exact representation of today's AcrossLite puzzle.

Unknown 12:39 PM  

There are three footballers who everyone has heard of. Messi is one of them.

Nancy 12:39 PM  

@Joe Dipinto -- You always surprise me with your song choices. Today I was sure it would be:

...TAKE ME AS I AM or leave me be.
If you can't give me all, give me nothing,
And nothing's what you'll get from me!

To Shakespeare buffs out there: someone one just sent me THIS. It's a hoot to play around with.

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

So, OK, here's the coupe de grace:

Look at the very first photo. Nyah, Nyah, Nyack.

Anonymoose 12:48 PM  

If only..........

The writers of the Bill of Rights had included this: A well regulated back yard, being necessary to the fun and play of a free state, the right of the people to keep and play Jarts, shall not be infringed.

Enlightened 12:52 PM  

om mani PADME hum

nyc_lo 12:54 PM  

Hey, maybe I’ll start submitting puzzles to the NYT now, since clearly you don’t have to worry about constructing a full grid anymore. No legitimate fill? No problem! We’ll just make ‘em white squares!

Birchbark 1:05 PM  

@M&A (11:53) -- really nice catch on the "A-symmetrical" top.

@Nancy (12:39) -- As John Cleese said while spoofing a great Shakespearian actor, "The words are all there. Now it's just a matter of getting them in the right order."

Teedmn 1:07 PM  

Easy Tuesday, vaguely amusing grid structure, bonus fill; I found this satisfying and never noticed the extra A's on the left side.

FACE PLANT - one of my front teeth is darker than the other because of a bicycle FACE PLANT I experienced 29 years ago. I can still picture the asphalt coming towards my face, shiver. Except for the teeth (an adjacent one broke off), I had only superficial scrapes, no concussion. But I don't attempt wheelies anymore.

@M&A[frame], nice A-symmetrical comment.

Thanks, Ross Trudeau, for the grid architecture.

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

The comments suggesting it was different in print form got me curious so I went and looked. It is no different. The 'A's on the left side of the upper "aframe" go 3 rows lower on the left side than the right, and it's just odd as can be.

pbc 1:21 PM  

i, too, was punctured by JARTS. i had never heard of them, so i quickly wrote in darts. lawn darts makes sense, right? but i'd also never heard of the singer, so i was left with _ESSIE. JESSIE made sense, but i knew d&j wasn't a maker of shampoo, or anything else. maybe bessie was the unknown singer's first name? but d&b is dun & bradstreet, not known for its shampoo. it didn't take long to fumble my way to JANDJ, but i still found that section unfortunate.

Joe Dipinto 1:28 PM  

@Nancy -- hmm, you've stumped me with that one! It seems familiar, but I can't even find it via Google. Is this a trick -- are they your own lyrics?

@JC66 -- well I can understand the complaints then. Sheesh, can't they get these things right, if they're gonna do them?

tea73 1:42 PM  

The school nurse definitely checked for lice when my kids were in elementary school. My younger one once got sent home for suspected lice which turned out to be dandruff.

If the NYT puzzle app had looked like the newspaper version, I'd have been a happy camper, but the weird white squares made me think there would be some sort of surprise fill there. I'm an architect and I've never seen an asymetrical A-frame.

A-frames are generally all glass front and back and save money by having no walls at all. There is no second floor, though there may be a loft space above the main area. There's a limit to how big they can be so you rarely see them out of vacation areas.

A saltbox is not an A-frame. It is a traditional New England vernacular style which is two stories facing the street, but it slopes to one store at the rear. It always has a second floor.

chasklu 2:01 PM  

I also did the puzzle in the printed paper and was mystified by the claim of asymmetry. What they must be referring to is the series of A's on the left in DANES, JARTS and ANDI.

The paper version did come out better in the shape at the top, with the topmost black square jutting above the rest of the grid and lack of gridlines in the unused space.

Yam Erez 2:28 PM  

Anyone else put "This one" for 19 across [land made for you and me in a Woody Guthrie song]?

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

"JARTS, or lawn darts, were heavy, solid pieces of metal that could easily impale someone. Responsible for a whopping 7,000 injuries at at least one death, these lethal toys were banned on December 19, 1988, by the Consumer Product Safety Commission."

Yeah, I guess The Nanny State run amok.

Paloma Vita 3:12 PM  

And what about the blank squares at the top? All A-frame houses/cabins (not buildings!!!) have a pointy roof as far as I know (I just checked again with a google image search...)

Anonymous 3:22 PM  

Well, you can take an x-acto knife and make the top A-frame exactly pointy, yeah know. My dead trees version left the roof line, stepped though it is by being made of squares. At first, before reading and writing, I was expecting ziggurats in/of the theme.

QuasiMojo 3:55 PM  

@joe DiPinto, it's from Oklahoma. Hi @Nancy

Anonymous 5:13 PM  

The asymmetry didn't really slow me down much. But I did spend a minute pondering 28A and wondering if there was such a thing as a CAMaL. Based on the As on the left side, and what I already had filled in on the right, that was the only possible answer.

Never heard of JARTS. Learn something new every day!

Joe Dipinto 5:22 PM  

@Quasi & @Nancy -- Ah. No wonder I didn't think of it, I hate that musical. Three hours of Nothing Happens.

Anonymous 6:11 PM  

I grew up with a friend whose parents had an a-frame cabin on the Wilson River in Oregon, and yes, the roof is longer/lower on one side; this allows for fenestration on the other, short side. But how then does the NYTXW account for the equal roof sides below? That's MY beef.

Anonymous 6:32 PM  

Like soccer!

Anonymous 6:34 PM  

Doesn't sound like a true A-frame.

GILL I. 6:58 PM  

@Joe. D. Clap, clap. I'll say that I've liked a ton of R & H but man, Oklahoma made me yawn. Sorry @Nancy if I may have made you yike. I almost named our two pups Curly and Judd but thought it might do them a disservice. Iinstead, I named the after the two Stooges.
Apologies to those I may have offended.

Doc John 7:34 PM  

At least the puzzle reminded me of one of my favorite Steely Dan songs, "Kid Charlemagne:"

Every A-FRAME had your number on the wall
You must have had it all
You'd go to LA on a dare
And you rode alone

Molasses 8:39 PM  

@Yam Erez me! "America" isn't actually in the Woody Guthrie lyrics at all.

Learned about JARTS today. I was sure it must be darts, but that No More Tears clue didn't allow for anything but Johnson & Johnson.

I was also looking for something clever with those empty white squares at the top of the A-frame. And I didn't notice the parallel A's till I came here.

albatross shell 9:09 PM  

Take a look at Messi highlights on youtube. People playing defense against him just fall down. He seems barely to move. Never saw anything like it, not even Barry Sanders. Apparently people are so scared of being beat by him they over react to his smallest flinch, until they just fall down. If any of you soccer fans have a better explanation, let me know.

Anonymous 10:04 PM  

I cant tell you why some defenders fall down while marking Mess I.
I can tell you that a lot of soccer afficiandos regard him as overrated. Some say vastly so.
Barry Sanders also made defenders fall down. Two runs in particular stand out. The first was his 50 or so yard rd run in the 91 playoff game against the cowboys. Watch how Tony Cadillac twists himself into oblivion and ultimately to the ground.
A few layers, i belive 94, he does the same dirty to a Patriots d back.i can't tell you who that poor soul was, but I can tell you the shot was captured by the one and only Donnie Marx.

Nancy 10:43 PM  

Good job, @Quasi. I was about to answer Joe, and then I saw that you already did. Yes, from "Oklahoma" -- part of the lyric "All or Nothing", sung by Ado Annie. I was surprised, Joe, that you didn't know it, since you seem to know every song ever written. But if you hate the show, that sort of explains it.

"Oklahoma" is far from my favorite R&H show either, @GILL and @Joe. (Mostly because of that damned, endless, incredibly boring Dream Ballet.) But the show's influence on musical theater as the first pure "book musical" -- the way it changed forever the entire concept of musical theater -- makes it arguably the most important musical in Broadway history. As a great many theater critics have indeed maintained.

Anonymous 11:09 PM  

Filled in Lionel Messi and camel right away, and then erased them when I saw that they messed up the pattern of A's. So, yeah, that asymmetry of A's messed with me for a bit.

albatross shell 10:24 AM  

I did not fully explain, but Barry made people tackle air and fall down 2 to 12 feet away. One run he made a trip of tacklers fall down yards away. You could see how he did it. With Messi they are right next to him, and you can't see what they are reacting to.

spacecraft 11:47 AM  

This must be the single worst crossword puzzle I have ever done. This isn't bogey, or other, or even withdrew. This is "never even showed up at the first tee." SO looking forward to tomorrow.

Burma Shave 1:04 PM  


ANDI mean ASAP, SWAY the real her
AMEND from A sitter to ANNEALER.


leftcoast 2:28 PM  

Rex makes fine points about many EENSIE things, which is fine. He's a perfectionist. I'm not, at least insofar as x-words are concerned. But I tend to agree with him here. The puzzle is a bit over the top, shall we say?

As for JARTS: I knew the game as Lawn Darts, not Jarts, so I left it at dANDJ for the crossing down, even though I knew JANDJ would have made more sense.

I'll stick with that (hah).

rainforest 4:18 PM  

Whoa! Lotta animosity toward this puzzle. I decided to investigate to see how some people felt "cheated", and why asymmetry is viewed as a crime against humanity.

(Closely checks puzzle looking for perfidy)

First of all, virtually any puzzle will have critics; those whose job they feel it is to find fault, according to their personaAl narrow criteria. Makes them feel good. "Look at all those 3s!" "Over-reliance on common letters." "Scrabble-fu^&ing". "Oh no, this constructor!" "Not enough thinking required." "Clues are too opaque." "Nobody says that." I could go on, and maybe went on too much anyway.

Also, particularly in a themed puzzle, the puzzle must be minutely examined to find the slightest inconsistency, or excoriated if the theme type is a type, or is not wacky enough, or is too wacky, doesn't stick the landing, is done by a hated constructor.

I get tired of these kinds of outlooks. This is just me, OK, and I simply look forward to solving the puzzle and not evaluating it. Some are more "fun" than others, but that too relies on personal preference.

I liked this one: in my paper there was simply blank space around the upper AFRAME, and there was a black square above square 5. The arms/roofs of the AFRAMES framed all A's. The two AFRAMES weren't identical, which is true in real life. There were many "common" letters, but also some good downs. The cluing was fine for Tuesday. I had fun solving.

rondo 11:04 PM  

Combine @spacey's comment with OFL and that says it all. All those As for what? Too much ese.

@M&A - A-symmetrical. GOOD one and har.

Married to form MN Gopher, now NFL star Eric Decker is country singer and weight loss plan schiller and yeah baby JESSIE James Decker. Look for those TV ads.

This puz was FACEPLANT city.

Richardf8 12:58 AM  

Yes, the Lawn Darts/Jarts cross win jandj left me wondering if I had missed a merger somewhere. Yes, sadly, this is sometimes how I get my news.

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