Capital whose name derives from Ojibwa word for traders / WED 8-14-19 / West Coast city with popular pier / Repeated cry from Richard III / Casserole dish in trattoria

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Constructor: David J. Kahn

Relative difficulty: Easy (3:39)

THEME: WOODSTOCK (63A: Iconic August 1969 music festival, four of whose performers appear in answers to 17-, 36-, 46- and 55-Across) — non-consecutive circles contain names of performers at this festival, just like the clue says ... also THE CATSKILLS (20A: Upstate New York area where 63-Across was held) is in here too:

Theme answers:
  • BAKED ZITI (Joan BAEZ) (17A: Casserole dish in a trattoria)
  • SANTA MONICA (SANTANA) (36A: West Coast city with a popular pier)
  • CLOCK TOWERS (Joe COCKER) (46A: Structure in some old town squares)
  • JOB APPLICANT (Janis JOPLIN) (55A: Interviewee, maybe)
Word of the Day: ODIC (56D: Keatsian, e.g.) —
of, relating to, or forming an ode (
• • •

Why do a tribute puzzle if you're not going to make it interesting. The non-consecutive circle gimmick? That tired thing? Why? Four random musical acts whyyyyyyyy? You know, you're not *required* to do a tribute if you don't really have any good ideas. You can just ... let it go. The world did not need a WOODSTOCK tribute puzzle, and it For Sure did not need this one. There is nothing here. This is as programmatic and pro forma as they come. Is boomers' good-vibes nostalgia, along with a surfeit of theme answers (6 long ones!), supposed to be enough to make this one palatable? I just don't know why you do a tribute puzzle if you don't have a good idea in you. "Wow, you mean the letters in SANTANA can be found inside SANTA MONICA!?!?!" Who is the solver that is exclaiming this in his head, and, more importantly, is he (still) high? Conceptually, this is a gigantic miss. A colossal "who cares?" Take THE CATSKILLS and CHOKEHOLDS and RAZE the rest.

I have nothing else to say today. I can't say anything when there's no there there. A non-theme *and* I had to endure ARB and ODIC and SINKSAPUTT!?!? The NYTXW knows it has no real competition  in the world of daily subscription puzzles, so like all monopolies it's gonna give you mediocre junk and you're just gonna take it and like it. This puzzle's reputation is running on nostalgia, and nowhere is that more evident than in this puzzle, which, ironically, can't even do nostalgia justice. ADIEU!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:02 AM  

I know I’m old but I didn’t realize I was THAT old. I recognized we were dealing with musicians and when I got to the last one at 55A my first thought was Scott (Joplin). 63A set me straight (and gave me a serious WTF moment about myself).

Anonymous 12:07 AM  

Yeah, I also didn't think it was Woodstock-worthy.

Brian 12:09 AM  


puzzlehoarder 12:20 AM  

Almost a minute and a half over my Wednesday average. On 28D I couldn't be sure if my INIGO hunch was right or if I just had that answer on my mind because we recently had it clued as the movie swordsman. The even bigger problem in that area was misreading the 37D clue as "Popular type. A more subtle misreading was thinking
"Holes, in the 36D clue was a noun. Sleepiness encourages these glitches.

jae 1:03 AM  

Easy. Liked it more than Rex did, but then I was a tad older than he was in ‘69.

We saw JOPLIN at the YALE bowl about a month before Woodstock. There was lightning in the sky but she kept going. She was one of a kind.

....and Piece of My Heart was the closing credits song for season 2 of Big Little Lies.

albatross shell 1:35 AM  

Well, unless someone convinces me otherwise, I'm with Rex on this one. Just kind of there. No humor, no zest. Give us Country Joe and Max Yaspur, some mud and rain, some naked bodies. We did get one COCK....(ER). Closest thing to a joke I found.

The grid made me a bit apprehensive. Lots of white space, but look at all them short words. Ambiguous cluing on many to reach Wednesday difficulty where you need a letter or two to get the answer. A few crosses of things I didn't know but it all came together without much reward. Not much I really would complain about. Just not much on the upside.

Jeez, l sound just like the puzzle. Maybe I'm just sleepy.

filme online gratis 1:52 AM  

good post bro

JMS 1:54 AM  

Wow, I agree, that wasn’t a great puzzle, but this review was harsh.

In rex’s Defense, I’ve been going through the archives, and merely a couple - three years ago, the puzzles are noticeably harder. Makes me feel like my usual better than average times for each puzzle are the NYT pandering to the audience, rather than my improving skill. Sigh...

Matt 2:04 AM  

I'll suppose the cross of MIRACLE and Mother TERESA is meant to be cute. I'll just be happy when we stop venerating this villain.

chefwen 2:46 AM  

I recently did a similar puzzle so when I uncovered BAEZ I knew what I was in for. Made this one really easy, but I still enjoyed it.

Carlos SANTANA just moved into a house almost within throwing distance from our backyard, love him and I sure hope I get the opportunity to meet him someday.

Looking forward to a rebus Thursday, fingers crossed.

chefwen 2:48 AM  

When did Mother Teresa turn into a villain? Have I missed something?

Max Yasgur 3:26 AM  

That’s Yasgur.

Brookboy 5:13 AM  

I’ll go with @jae on this one. I thought it was a nice, harmless Wednesday puzzle. I do agree that it could have been wittier and perhaps a tad tougher, but I surely didn’t think it rated Rex’s scathing comments. OTOH, it seems a lot of the regulars here come specifically to bask in the heat of Rex’s splenetic reviews, so, as we say in Brooklyn, whaddo I know?

I have spent most of my life in NYC, but I was living in Southern Cal when Woodstock happened. My recollection of those days is that they were a glorious time (for the most part). I got out of the Army in 1965 and headed straight out to California, where I lived, on and off, until 1974. I say on and off because for some of those years I drove an Allied Van Lines rig long-distance, out of Southern Cal. My oh my, how quickly the time passes.

What is with the Mother Teresa bashing?

Lewis 5:58 AM  

August 1969. What a time. What a feel. What an era. We were innocent, hopeful, bold, war-angry, free and open. I will never forget the feel, and the music was so intertwined. Fifty years dissolves in a twinkle the moment I think about it, and this puzzle took me right back. Thank you, David!

Lewis 6:07 AM  

By the way, I will be back for a few days. Back Monday or Tuesday.

BarbieBarbie 6:26 AM  

Joni Mitchell wrote “Woodstock” but was not at WOODSTOCK.

furpurrson 6:34 AM  

“Aeon”? Really? Using an arcane spelling just to have enough letters is cheating.

Hungry Mother 6:48 AM  

I did it as a themeless. The longs fell quickly as well as the quirky fill. Not offended by anything, as usual.

fkdiver 7:08 AM  

I'm a boomer. Woodstock was my time. Yet this puzzle went by with no note of the theme until I was done, looked back at it and said "Oh, OK. It's about Woodstock."

Leon 7:11 AM  

Bethel, NY / White Lake area is where the festival was held. That area is known as the Foothills of the Catskills("cat creek" in Dutch.)

I was at Woodstock but as they say:

If you remember Woodstock, you weren’t there.

kitshef 7:13 AM  

Detest ELHI, never heard of AMAHL or ANA Navarro, and RAP God felt like a pathetic attempt to throw in something semi-modern.

But of course I like being reminded of the wonder that was WOODSTOCK, so the theme in this case trumped the fill. Hoorah for “boomers’ good vibes nostalgia”!

Mrsshef and I went to WOODSTOCK ’94. By the time we got there, the metal detectors were all knocked down and security had fled. Blind Melon was absolutely wrecked on drugs. Melissa Etheridge and The Cranberries were awesome. Crosby Still and Nash sounded as great as ever. Metallica had the longest sound check in history. On the second day, a drunk or stoned guy stumbled onto our tent, breaking one of the supports. We wound up giving it away to a guy who had hitched from Ohio.

And oh, the mud. And the Mud People. And the mud fights. We were fortunate to pitch our tent on a ridge; some people had rivers of mud flowing through their tents. And yet, curiously, the bathrooms were – by the standards of mass concerts – impeccably clean.

OffTheGrid 7:30 AM  

I agree with all the aforementioned criticisms of this puzzle. I will add one. The Hoover clue. It's not like we had this ERA sitting there that begged to be named after someone. It is rather a historical description of a time when FBI functions were under the control of J. Edgar (while wearing a BOA).

Mother T. There is documentation that Teresa was not all that her reputation suggests. I encourage you to do some research if you are interested.

Rhino 7:52 AM  

@chefwen, all you missed is the internet trolling a saint.

This puzzle was fine but forgettable. I wish I felt about anything with the intensity Rex feels towards Will Shortz...

pabloinnh 7:59 AM  

Yeah, way too easy, but it was fun trying to guess the musicians with just a couple of letters filled in.

And nothing wrong with remembering Woodstock, for those of us of a certain age. I was working on a line crew a couple of hours north of the epic event, and while a didn't go, a friend who was doing more or less the same job I was did. When he got back, the foreman wouldn't let him work with his crew for a week, for fear of what I'm not sure. Hippie disease? Cooties?

Thanks for the memories, DJK (makes peace sign).

mmorgan 8:05 AM  

Yesterday’s WSJ was also Woodstock-themed. I was there (and yes, I don’t remember much ;-), but both of these puzzles left me feeling flat (and I enjoy most puzzles!). I agree with Rex — “why do a tribute puzzle if you’re not going to make it interesting?” — but not at his level of invective. Somehow almost any representation or remembrance of Woodstock feels thin and cutesy and inappropriate, whether it’s the 24-page special section in last Sunday’s NYT or a crossword puzzle. And two days in a row with circles (bah!) is a bit much.

Mr. Cheese 8:05 AM  

I also don’t get the Mother Teresa bashing. Huh?

Clueless 8:13 AM  

Just finished Jr Hi in Santa Monica

Phaedrus 8:15 AM  

Back in her early 20s, Mother Teresa must have tweeted something that people now consider racist.

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

There's nothing new to it, was going on for decades. Just read the Wikipedia page, , and make your own conclusions

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

ARB (ARAB) AMAHL ODIC BIGA (BIGOT) AEON ATOZ ELHI good lord. this was a bloodbath.

albatross shell 8:30 AM  

Yasur, it surely is.
Thank you.
How did you know?

GILL I. 8:31 AM  

The wrath of Kahn as told by @Rex....
Let's see where was I during WOODSTOCK? Certainly not in the hell hole of THE CATSKILLS watching insanity. I did like Janis JOPLIN, though. Boy could she belt out a song. PBS did a biopic of her that was fascinating on one side and terribly sad on the other. Wasted talent.
PBS is also running photo shoots of WOODSTOCK; the youngsters running in mud, naked, not caring that they left that piece of land in shambles. I couldn't watch much of it.
Let's see....what did I like. SANTA MONICA and remembering that pier. They used to have a couple of seals frolicking in a big tub of water as you entered to go ride the Ferris wheel. That's pretty much it.
I looked at 21D and wondered if I ever was attracted to an opposite. If he was eye candy I'd say yup. This never lasted because the really gorgeous ones were always gay.
There's a lot to be said about Mother TERESA's sainthood. I'm not sure this the place to excoriate her.
Here's hoping for a fun Thursday.....

ArtO 8:51 AM  

In the future think I'll just check in to see how he rated the puzzle and find out what the commentariat has to say. To put up with his truly mean spirited rants virtually every day is not worth it. I can't imagine constructing a tribute puzzle is an easy task and I think this one does quite well.

oopsydeb 8:52 AM  

Yawn. And to have such a yawner of a puzzle be a Woodstock tribute? Sigh.

Hoover Era? That's a thing?

Those asking about Mother Teresa bashing: Criticisms about her tend to center on the shoddy medical practices in those of the order's facilities that had residents, lack of medical practices in many facilities that were seen by many to be there just for missionary work, some questionable connections (e.g., Keating, Gelli), forced conversions of people on their death beds, the incredible wealth the order amassed, and overall what is seen by many to be racist, colonialist conversion work.

SJ Austin 8:54 AM  

Nothing screams baby boomer like a crossword puzzle about Woodstock, eh? (I am a cynical Gen-Xer.)

Sometimes I look at those old photos of Woodstock, with all the hippies dancing in the mud, twirling around to Hendrix's trippy guitar solos, reveling in their youthful freedom, ushering in an era of free love, and I think to myself: "Yep. Those people for sure all eventually voted for Donald Trump."

JOHN X 8:58 AM  

@JMS 1:54 AM

You’re not in Rex’s defense if you find the archive puzzles harder. Rex wants easier puzzles do he can speed-solve them. Oh, and they have to be loaded with clues and answers about his favorite things, but with nothing that he doesn’t like or that triggers him. But occasionally he can be pretty funny so I tolerate him.

- - - -

Yeah what’s with the Mother Teresa bashing? Isn’t that a Christopher Hitchens thing? I never pay attention to any of that “opinion” crap, haven’t for years, and it’s only gotten stupider since then.

I was only seven in 1969 but I would’ve liked Altamont better.

CDilly52 9:10 AM  

While the crafting of the puzzle could have sparkled more, especially given the theme, I confess I am right there with @Lewis. The “summer of love” and it’s era, musicians, vibe was such a hopeful time. I got to revisit the era a couple weeks ago when I saw a revival of “Hair” the big summer rep production in Traverse City MI staged by Parallel 45 Theatre Company. It took me back there instantly. The message was clear-things are not good, war is hell and “we” the next leaders will pick up the mantle with hope and compassion and inclusivity and we will roll up our sleeves to lead and “Let the Sun Shine In!” It was a feel good puzzle for me for sure.

albatross shell 9:11 AM  

To ward off multiple inquiries;
Google Hitchens Mother Teresa.
She gave dictators And rich scum bags good PR for donating to cause of tending to the dying, by which was meant a bed, hand to hold, and prayer, not medical aid or relief. I think it was the pyramid scheme guy, she wrote a letter to the judge at sentencing praising him for his donations to her. He wrote back telling her the money he gave her was stolen and the people he stole it from need it back and would appreciate its return. No reply.
I have much sympathy with this point of view but little knowledge beyond reviews of Hitchen's book
Certainly it is a hit job. Many Saints, dedicated to one cause are multifaceted, say. Like the Blues Brothers, she was on a mission from God.

QuasiMojo 9:29 AM  

AMAHL and the Night Visitors was my Woodstock. I saw it at Lincoln Center as a kid (I was too young when it debuted on television to remember seeing it) then saw it countless times afterward on Channel Thirteen with the great TERESA Stratas. Not to mention dozens of high school, church group and concert versions. Corny and sentimental -- Catholic soap opera, really, but I loved it. I could recite every word of it, and sing all the roles, even the CAMEOS. If you have a chance dig up the original on YouTube.

Yesterday's WSJ Woodstock theme puzzle was better, and had the more interesting fill of "three days of peace and music."

I did see Baez once. She was not singing however. It was a political rally. I was in Junior High (not ELHI). She was a firebrand. And so beautiful.

Hitchens tore into the Mother Teresa myth in his scathing screed "The Missionary Position." My main takeaway was that most of the money people sent her did not make it to the impoverished of Calcutta. But like the money given to the Salvation Army it was dispersed to various Catholic groups fighting abortion and contraception and HIV drugs etc. at least that is what I recall. Hitchens (RIP) had a tendency to choose his facts to bolster his points of view, so I am skeptical of both sides.

"Lux et Veritas" -- Light and Truth-- is a good motto for us all. I just wish Yale lived up to it more often.

Ngart1954 9:30 AM  

I usually think Rex is too harsh, but this was pretty bad. Skewed very old and I am old enough to have seen Joplin in concert, although not at Woodstock. Lots of partials, crosswordese.

Unknown 9:36 AM  

First-time commenter. I don't usually have standards as high as Rex's but this puzzle has everything I dislike in crosswords.

1) Lazy historical theme that misses the easy layup. There was really no way to work in HENDRIX?

2) Awful fill and clues. I really could do without seeing ARAB - or any other ethnic / cultural term people stopped using 30 years ago - but if you're going to use it, there are few clues worse than "sheik."

And extra thumbs down for using BOTH versions of the crappy "fancy neckwear" clue in the same puzzle.

Nancy 9:39 AM  

Awful puzzle. I had no interest in trying to piece together what the annoying tiny little circles were spelling out, so I didn't. And thus for me, the puzzle had exactly two (2) theme answers: THE CATSKILLS and WOODSTOCK and both were real yawns.

Oh, @GILL (8:31), we have so, so much in common. I was planning to say that I wasn't at Woodstock and have never regretted it -- not at the time and not now -- because who would have wanted all that ooky mud and all those frenzied, totally stoned crowds. And you said it first. Who else? Who better? A woman of good judgment and good taste. When we finally get together, let's spend all our time happily NOT rolling around in the mud.

Mother Teresa's been trashed? Really??? By Rex? Better go back and find out why. And I thought I'd heard everything...

Nancy 9:41 AM  

Nope. Rex didn't trash Mother Teresa. My apologies, Rex. I must go back now and find the real culprit.

Birchbark 9:42 AM  

Elegant INIGO clue. Steers clear of the whole who-is-famous-for-St.-Paul's-Cathedral problem. And good to see how quickly the editors responded to last week's plea here for an INIGO Jones clue. (It would be nice to believe this, ergo sum.)

My favorite in today's @Rex comments: "I have nothing else to say," followed by more things to say. Maybe a few times a week, @Rex could blog a different puzzle/editor that he likes instead of the NYT. No additional work on his part and by showing his wide readership what he's talking about, could grow the competition against the monopoly he perceives. At a minimum, it would break him out of his self-imposed rhetorical barnacles.

This is the effect, ther is namoore to seye.

GreenCarol 9:56 AM  

Oh, Rex, why such animus when you can solve so quickly? The puzzle was pleasant, even if those kind of non-consecutive hidden words are a common fill. I’d have more quibble with sketchy, stretchy clues on a Wednesday.

RooMonster 9:57 AM  

Hey All !
Well, happy day Rex! I don't think this puz deserved all that. It was a good tribute puz to something that happened that actually brought like minded people together to forget about what was going on in the world for a few days. Stupid stuff going on then, too, not just now.

Anyway, I was 2 days old today in 1969, so if my parents were of that ILK, I could've been there! But, no, I think I was still in the hospital. Maybe. Not like births today, you pop out the kid, and go home in a few hours.

Haven't read y'all yet, wondering if anyone noticed the 16 long grid. I guess David just couldn't quite squeeze all the themers in a regular 15x15.

@M&A on vacation U count tally - 2
F tally - Zero. Poor F's.

Of course, had to have my one-letter DNF, ASPEr/ArA. I think the ole brain purposefully made me write in that R, just because. Like "Ha! Another one-letter DNF for you!" Otherwise, puz was on the easier side. But still fun.


A Different Anonymous 9:58 AM  

@Unknown 9:36 AM

Why do you hate ARAB so much? It's a word still very much in use, and they have "sheiks" in certain circumstances. These are simple facts. Why do you have such a hair up your ass about ethnic and/or cultural terms?

pmdm 9:58 AM  

Truth in advertising: I made it to Woodstock, but only briefing. (The parents of the girl I stupidly took there insisted she not stay there overnight.)

Why construct this puzzle? The answer is baby simple: to get paid for the submission. Why publish the puzzle? The answer is also baby simple: to satisfy a perhaps small) subset of NYT puzzle solvers.

I did not particularly like the puzzle in itself, but the solving experience was perhaps more appealing to me than most Wednesdays. So I king of agree with the assessments of both Sharp and Chen while liking a puzzle more than they did.

As pointed out in a previous current, the write-up contains an error: JONI did not perform at Woodstock. Perhaps "performers associated with Woodstock" or "people invited to perform at Woodstock" is a more apt way of describing the theme.

Poor Ritchie Havens. He deserved (in my opinion) to be included in the puzzle. Said even after seeing him give an underwhelming performance in White Plains NY.

TJS 10:03 AM  

Well, I think Rex is right on in his review today. For me, this was an 11 minute time-waster, and I do not speed solve. I tolerate these on Monday and Tuesday, but still hope for some kind of work-out the rest of the week. It seems that there are way too many brainless fill-in-the-blank exercises lately. As I have mentioned before, thank God for the archive access.

@John X, I am assuming you were joking, but just in case, you definitely would not have enjoyed Altamont more than Woodstock. Especially if you were anywhere near the stage. I was there.

xyz 10:10 AM  

If this tribute were a birthday cake, it would have two candles no matter what age you were.

Yeah, that's it.

DAS 10:10 AM  

To those asking about the Mother Teresa-bashing, here are some tidbits from various articles:

"Over hundreds of hours of research, much of it cataloged in a book he published in 2003, Dr. Chatterjee said he found a 'cult of suffering' in homes run by Mother Teresa’s organization, the Missionaries of Charity, with children tied to beds and little to comfort dying patients but aspirin.

"He and others said that Mother Teresa took her adherence to frugality and simplicity in her work to extremes, allowing practices like the reuse of hypodermic needles and tolerating primitive facilities that required patients to defecate in front of one another."

"Her Christianity harbored an obsession with suffering and death that influenced her care more than her desire to help ever would. She saw the struggle of those in poverty as admirable, she envied it, she thought it brought them closer to God. She likened their suffering to Christ on the cross and, in the worst years, she encouraged and condoned it; even within her ‘hospitals’ and ‘orphanages’. This abuse was especially rife in India, where she had risen to fame. Qualified doctors who visited her institutions were appalled at their conditions. Medical care was administered by volunteers with no medical training, hygiene was substandard, needles were reused until they became blunt, pain management was non-existent and staff were not able to make distinctions between those who were dying, and those who had curable illnesses."

"In the 1950s, Mother Teresa helped found a 'home for the dying,' where 'people who lived like animals' could come to 'die like angels.' She told those in pain that they were being 'kissed by Jesus,' yet on her own deathbed was happy to accept the very best medical care on offer to her. One reporter who went undercover in one of her Kolkata homes described the conditions as 'squalid' with nothing on the walls but pictures of their 'mother' and attendants that laughed at children who had soiled themselves after being tied to beds all day. There was no dignity in the supposed care of these white-robed nuns."

To sum it up: Squalid conditions in her homes, improper medical care and unsanitary medical practices, virtually nothing being done to alleviate the pain and suffering of the dying in her care, but the hypocrisy to accept the best medical treatment when she was on her own deathbed.

Ethan Taliesin 10:12 AM  

One more vote for the "Mother Teresa probably did more harm than good" side.

Puzzle hovers around my average Wed time, but it felt harder to me.

BobL 10:16 AM  

@Unknown - What term should be used for Arab?

Z 10:17 AM  

The only puzzle type I like less than tribute puzzles are quote puzzles. The next good tribute puzzle I see will be the first good tribute puzzle I’ve seen. For the type, this is fine, but the type is not just boring, it is Boring boring.

Again, Wikipedia* is a good place to start if you want to understand why some people have a low opinion of Mother TERESA. Some clarifications, it isn’t just Hitchens, it isn’t new, and attributing it to “trolls” and “the internet” exposes more than you probably want about yourself. If you google “mother teresa criticism” you can also find some full throated defenses of her. Personally, the defenses I’ve read have been less than convincing.

*@anon8:28 also posted a link to the article but didn’t embed the link. @oopsydeb is a nice summary, too if the wiki article falls into the tl;dr category for you.

@SJ Austin - Wow, I thought I was cynical. I will disagree as well. What’s oft forgotten is that most Americans from the Woodstock era reflected the broader society. Southern Democrats were becoming Republicans, but their underlying views were not changing. Hee Haw and The FBI and Bonanza were popular and The Smothers Brothers was getting cancelled for being too controversial. Nixon won the popular vote, but George Wallace got 13.5% of the vote. That’s right, more than 1 in 8 voters voted for an avowed racist. Neither Nixon or Wallace voters were common at WOODSTOCK. Those people at WOODSTOCK didn’t become Trump voters. Trump voters have always been with us.

Clean-up from late yesterday:
@Gill I - That came across harsher than I intended. I’m fine with our collective leaps along odd topics. I was just a little disappointed that the original question had been lost.
@barbiebarbie - I agree that there were things that Rex could have hammered, but I just didn’t think “condescending” was the right descriptor based on how I understand the word. *SPOILER ALERT FOR TUESDAY PUZZLE* A fruit can be described as having a skin, a pit or core, and the meat, the meat of a fruit being the best part to eat. I’m wondering now if that usage is more from my youth as I don’t recall hearing it lately, but at least one online dictionary had that meaning listed.

Z 10:29 AM  

Maybe I missed something, but I don’t see any reference to Joni Mitchell in the write up. Rex posted the video of her singing WOODSTOCK, but then he also posted a panel of WOODSTOCK from Peanuts. I don’t see any suggestion that Joni Mitchell played at WOODSTOCK.

David 10:32 AM  

Almost DNF because no, Hoover has a dam named after him, not an ERA. NO president has an era named after them, not even FDR. Eras last for decades, generations, sometimes millennia. Just stop it Will. Just say NO to non-existent eras.

As usual I totally ignored the theme, saw "Joplin" as I was finishing up and said, "meh." Also the fill was fairly free of junk but, overall, kind of a boring puzzle.

Zerex 10:46 AM  

I'm convinced that "Z" is actually Rex trolling his own comment section.

Clueless 10:48 AM  

For a 1969 or. Woodstock themed puzzle

A better clue for Santa Monica is Famous West Coast Beach Rehab spot

Anyone remember Synanon?

DevoutAtheist 10:50 AM  

Just for the record:

Sainthood is a totally made up, subjective (non)thing.

There is no such thing as a miracle.

There are no gods.

jberg 10:57 AM  

I pretty much agreed with Rex, this one was on the boring side, and the circles made it way too easy -- once you got a couple you could fill in the others.

In 1969 I was in a puritanical Maoist phase and would not even dreamed of going to a rock festival, so I had little idea who performed there -- but yeah, you've got to get HENDRIX in if you're gonna do it at all.

Also, I'm pretty sure when people say "Hoover ERA" they're talking about Herbert, rather than J.Edgar -- unless it's a conversation specifically about the FBI. That's become pretty much the conventional way to refer to the time a particular individual was President of the US.

Like everyone else I'm completely mystified by the idea that ARAB is an ethnic term no one uses any more. There are two countries with ARAB in their names, there's the 22-member ARAB League, there's the Arabic language--and, of course, the horses.

And I've got nothing to say about Saint TERESA of Calcutta -- except that she, like the Venerable Bede, is an example of someone so well known by a pre-sainthood title that we keep using it after they're canonized.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

I'm willing to bet that much of what most people think of as 'the 60s', isn't. 'the 60s' ran from about 1965 (the Beatle invasion) to 1973 OPEC oil embargo which threw a monkey wrench into the USofA, and soon gave us Raving Rightwing Reagan. the first half of 'the 60s' bore no resemblance to the second half. so there.

JC66 11:10 AM  

For me, an average Wednesday puzzle. Hand up for dam before ERA for Hoover clue (44D).


Thanks for the image of you mud wrestling with @GILL I. ;-)

Hey, @Roo

I missed your 50th, so let me be the first to wish you a happy 51st. ;-)

jb129 11:18 AM  

For a Woodstock tribute, this was disappointing. Stoned & all, the performances were better & deserved a better tribute.

Curious 11:35 AM  

Please cite evidence.

jb129 11:40 AM  

On thinking it over, it was because they were all stoned.

Hanedawg 11:59 AM  

Have to disagree. Those are the contemporaries of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Conservatives wouldn’t be caught dead smoking pot, camping and frolicking in the mud.

Joe Dipinto 12:01 PM  

@Z -- Joni Mitchell famously did *not* perform at Woodstock.

Amelia 12:08 PM  

@SJ Austin.

I'm sure most of us boomers will ignore your snotty comment. But I will point out that all the boomers who went to Woodstock (mostly New Yorkers, mostly liberals, elites in your opinion) have voted in every election they could. We voted for Hillary Clinton. It was your generation and the one below yours who couldn't figure out how to vote (the idiot kids in my office didn't vote, couldn't figure out to register, weren't interested) who couldn't get past the lie that she stole the Democratic nomination from an Independent. Who "just didn't like her."

Don't friggin' blame us. We did right by America. We saw Jill Stein for what she was. We knew it was ALL about the Supreme Court. Because we had history on our side. We lived through it.

As for Woodstock, even then I knew there wouldn't be enough bathrooms. I stayed home and waited for the Knicks season to begin.

Hanedawg 12:10 PM  

Not so...from what I remember...mostly contemporaries of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Conservatives would never demonstrate that sort of behavior.

jb129 12:13 PM  

Cite evidence?

Joseph M 12:17 PM  

Ouch. I’ll have to tend to this puzzle’s stab wounds after reading Rex’s rant. I agree that tribute puzzles tend to be boring, but this one wasn’t *that* bad.

Felt like too many proper nouns as I was solving, but when I went back and looked, they accounted for only about 20% of the grid which, by the way, seems to have grown an extra row.

SINKSAPUTT would be a good last name and, if someone with such a name became president, we could have the SINKSAPUTT ERA. Which would be, I hope, a better one than we’re living in now.

Sorry to hear that even Mother TERESA is a villain these days. Who next? That BIGOT Santa Claus? And while we're at it, OLE only has an accent if Spanish isn’t your native language.

ADIEU, WOODSTOCK. I hardly knew ya.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Hand up for dam before ERA for Hoover clue (44D).

Of course. And which Hoover? The Pres or the Head Gestapo? The latter more accurately constituted an 'era', if only for length of existence and impact on society, even if that last was largely in the closet until after he died.

Elle 12:21 PM  

or just say "as a Brit"


@DevoutAtheist 10:50 AM

Q: What's the quickest way to spot an atheist?

A: Wait 30 seconds and they'll tell you they're an atheist, and then they won't shut up about it.

pmdm 12:31 PM  

Z: Speed solving the puzzle is a good thing, but not for me. Speed reading the write- up is not a good thing. At any rate, back then I used to confuse Baez with Mitchell for some dumb reason. I apparently still do. My comment is therefore inaccurate. You are correct.

Since I've reposted, let me add the following which I meant to the first time.

People like Saint Cabrini and Mother Teresa tend to be people with very strong personalities. They sometimes forces their views on their followers similar to the way a dictator would. A priest I knew once stated this trait accounts for the end of the movement after the person's death. So it is not surprising that the facilities that Mother Teresa founded would suffer from exaggerated implementation of some traits that are very positive if implemented with temperance.

There are many romantic stories circulated that obscure the fact that saints are not perfect. Mother Teresa certainly wasn't but that fact in itself doesn't disqualify her from consideration for sainthood. Saint Paul, once a persecutor of Christians, certainly wasn't perfect. Saint Augustine's early life was hardly a saintly one. Neither fact disqualifies them from the sainthood.

This does not condone any problematic behavior that is attributed to Mother Teresa. The case of her sainthood (or any person's for that matter) is built on the good they did. Yes, something bad can be disqualifying, but in Mother Teresa's case I think the balancing point it complex and way beyond the scope of this site.

Joe Dipinto 12:51 PM  

@Z -- never mind, I misread the train of thought.

What I really meant to say is:

Mother Teresa famously did *not* perform at Woodstock. She was invited, and had flown from India into NYC, but her agent David Geffen insisted that she appear of the Dick Cavett Show instead. "It's better exposure," he said. "But me and Jimi and Janis are supposed to do a number together," whined M. Teresa. "Oh pooh", scoffed D. Geffen, "they'll both probably be dead in a year and no one will remember them."

It's been rumored that on her deathbed many years later, M. Teresa was heard softly singing "Me And Bobby McGee."

Z 1:08 PM  

@pmdm - Whew. I thought I’d missed something obvious. Also, that’s the best defense of Mother TERESA I’ve seen. Lots of the other defenses try to discount pretty well established facts, never a convincing strategy.

@POPE LEO XVIIIV - Random Roman Numeral much? Your joke is both offensive and wrong. Maybe try not being ignorant. Item 6 is on point. (Preferred religion here is Evangelical Agnosticism - I don’t know and neither do you and the dangerous people are the ones who think they do - But the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster would be a close second).

@Zerex - That’s why you never see us together.

ghostoflectricity 1:18 PM  

About as boring and lazy a themer as I've seen in a while. And really, who isn't sick to death of all the Woodstock golden anniversary nostalgia? The Times itself weighed down last Sunday's edition- here, in late summer, before the autumn editions get fat again with advertising, special sections, "fall previews" in the Arts and Leisure section, etc., ad nauseam- with a totally superfluous "special section," which, since I was expecting a thin mid-August issue, nearly sprained my wrist when I hauled it off the front doorstep. I never took the brown acid, but I feel I'm on as much of a bum trip as if I had- enough already!

Teedmn 1:31 PM  

The highlights of the summer of 1969, for me, were getting new neighbors who had kids to play with, watching the moon landing and tying for second place in the spelling bee during our town's 100 year Centennial celebration while wearing a bonnet and prairie-style dress my mom made me. I turned 9 that year. Woodstock - I don't even know how old I was when I first heard anything about it. It was a long ways away from southern Minnesota.

That being said, I love the CSNY version of the Joni Mitchell song. And the musical artists in the grid circles are still cool. I had a Santana song in my head this past week and didn't know it. I kept hearing the chorus of Winning and had to look up who sang it (in my head, it kind of sounded like Pete Townsend.) I was very surprised to see it was Santana. It doesn't sound like a Santana song.

David Kahn, why was I not surprised to see your name associated with a tribute puzzle? :-)

Climate Catastrophist 1:32 PM  

Since we now have Atheism on the table, anyone know if Missouri has a greater percentage of Atheists than other US States?

RooMonster 1:36 PM  

Any proof there aren't any Gods? Har.
It was aliens who built the Great Pyramids, who were thought of as Gods because the humans of that ERA weren't developed enough to know any better. I think the aliens have returned a few times, but have seen how the world is now, and simply choose to stay away. *Cue "X Files" music*

@Hanedawg 11:59
Agree the Woodstockers were Democrats.

Har. And thanks! But damn, time is already going by way too fast, don't rush the next one! :-)


WestBay 1:44 PM  


john towle 1:53 PM  

Heavens to Elizabeth…any optimists still out there? In Spanish the accent goes over the o, √≥le. Santana…rocker extraordinaire: his philanthropic efforts are worthy of emulation. The town of Santa Ana should be pronounced Santana…elision. Alice Cooper a true gentleman. Did he perform at Woodstock? What Clint Eastwood said of opinions may apply to some of the more acerbic rants here.



Steve Wilson 2:01 PM  

NYT has crossword competition. WSJ.


@Z 1:08 PM

You proved my point. All self-described “atheists” have low self-esteem, which is why they are just like evangelicals.

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

I agree that Z is Rex trolling the comments

pabloinnh 2:34 PM  

@j.ohn towle-

You're right about Santa Ana and Santana and elision, but the accent on ole is on the e. If the stress of the word were on the o, it would need no accent.

Amelia 2:43 PM  

A couple of things. Yes, I agree about Z. Style the same. Interesting. Wouldn't blame him. But it's strange. You'd think he'd have better things to do. Like the rest of us. Of course, now I'm going back to see how he's replied to me in the past. Oy veh.

Speaking of which, Mother Teresa. I asked my, of course, Jewish husband what he thought of some two page Times article about priests and their nefarious activities. Didn't read it, he said. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

I felt liberated. It's bad enough I have to read every goddamned article about Soros and Israel and anti-Semitism. You goyim can read the Mother Teresa Wiki pages. I'll pass.


BobL 2:47 PM  

Nah, Z is too thoughtful.

Anonymous 3:24 PM  

Either Rex is (a) again just trolling us for the fun of it, or (b) perhaps he applied for the job of NYT puzzle editor and lost out to Will Shortz. That would explain the constant whining. I thought this puzzle was kind of fun. I never time myself on the puzzles, I just do them for fun. I'm always happy when I can finish during my lunch break. I thought this was perhaps a hair tougher than a typical Wednesday (ARB ??) but I like a challenge.

Birchbark 4:15 PM  

@Z (1:08) re @Rex doppleganger.
Everything makes sense now -- how you're always a little out-of-breath and say things like "Did I miss anything?" when you enter the room. Also the cartoon sound effects, which must be part of the physics involved in super-fast costume changes. Brilliant.

Jeff B. 4:47 PM  

Poorly done tribute that did not evoke much about what Woodstock was. Agree in some ways with Rex, but he went so far over the top. Entering a few names in disconnected circles is a waste. Isn't there a better way to highlight some of the standout performers?

For the bashers about the festival, I was there. It was mostly fun, but the rain, massive size of the crowd, and poor preparation made things difficult. But it was quite memorable, in a good way for me.

Actually the percentage of "hippies" was smaller than you'd think. Attendees were pretty representative of people who were maybe teens to upper 20s who liked the popular music of the time. The movie led to stereotypes about what actually was happening. And no, Joni Mitchell wasn't there, but she wrote the best song about the event. That's what great writers do.

Anonymoose 5:02 PM  

Judging from today's comments, the future of rational thought is in jeopardy.

Joe Dipinto 5:36 PM  

@Anonymoose 5:02 -- oh come now, things aren't that bad. Here, have a Mother Teresa cinnamon bun. It's from the concession stand at Woodstock.

CDilly52 7:01 PM  

I’m right there with you @Quasi regarding ”Amahl.” I too saw it as a child in NYC and became an opera lover on the spot.

And I saw Baez (once) and Peter, Pail & Mary (thrice-lucky me) live (different concerts, slightly and in the case of PP&M over a couple decades post-Woodstock). I own every album both PP&M and Baez have ever recorded. So much of my frame of reference started with the Met and built through the Woodstock era. One of my very very favorite later PP&M songs (1978) is “Sweet Survivor.” I played all “the music” of the era constantly and my daughter loved to sing along with me as soon as she could match pitch. The older she got the more she learned and the more she learned the more curious about the history of the era she became and the more questions she asked me about my experiences. “Sweet Survivor” became one of her of her “anthems” (her description on her 12th birthday as we sang around a campfire in the New Mexico mountain). Such wonderful memories this puzzle evoked today.

Seeg 7:18 PM  


SJ Austin 8:41 PM  

@Amelia: I think maybe you're reading a whole lot more into my comment than I intended. But in the spirit of peace and love, I am not going to argue about it. I do apologize if my attempt at humor went too far.

Joe 9:46 PM  

An interesting string of comments, A few questions and comments:

1) Who is policing the spelling of Max Yasgur, since he has been dead since 1973?
2) If you click on Z, you come to a bio page that seems to be Rex Parker’s. Why the Spy vs Spy stuff?
3) And if you’re doubtful about Mother Teresa, read Hitchens. He was wrong about a lot of things (like the Iraq Invasion), but right about her.

Amelia 10:12 PM  

@SJ Austin

Your attempt at humor didn't go too far. It never took off. I suspect it wasn't an attempt at humor and you're backpedaling. Perhaps you should learn to make your point with a better group of words.

JC66 10:13 PM  

@Joe 9:46

From Z's Bio Page

About me

Gender MALE
Location Black Mountain, North Carolin, United States
Introduction I only mean half of what I say. I never know which half.
Interests Ultimate, Detroit Tigers, Music, Crosswords
Favourite Music Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Prince, Calexico, Guster, The Black Keys, Band of Horses, Wilco, Son Volt, The New Pornographers, Belle & Sebastian, Gomez, Iron & Wine, Modest Mouse, Neko Case, Alejandro Escovedo, Bedouin Soundclash, Sufjan Stevens, Spoon, Caveman
Favourite Books The Left Hand of Darkness, Ancillary Justice, Expendable

This is not @Rex Parker or @Michael Sharp

Adam 7:00 AM  

Haven’t seen ADZE in a puzzle in years. And I only know the word from the Maleska era. Surprised @rex didn’t say anything about it, but I agree with the write-up anyway. Very meh.

spacecraft 10:52 AM  

I'd never have guessed that all these folks would take off on Mother Teresa. You can find [heroism] [villainy] [offense] anywhere, if that's what you want to find. Me? I was getting ready to put the DOD sash on her, but I guess I'll relent and settle for honorable mention. LONI Anderson gets another H.M., but it is the golden-voiced Joan BAEZ who wins here.

I love the quote "If you remember WOODSTOCK, you weren't there." I remember hearing about it, and having my mind blown watching the movie (uncut, thankfully), and the most remarkable thing: in a 3-day gathering of more than 400,000, the population increased by one (two babies born, one poor soul run over by a food truck). The world could have learned a lot from those folks--but sadly, it didn't.

The puzzle itself seems unworthy of the event. Four random acts, with their letters scattered randomly across unrelated theme answers, just don't do it for me. While not as bitterly vitriolic about it, I have to agree with OFC's general sentiment. Surely a better puzzle is out there somewhere. Bogey.

Burma Shave 12:31 PM  


SHE’d see COCKER and JOPLIN in NY’s hills, how COOL was WOODSTOCK?


Diana, LIW 1:12 PM  

The theme answers helped me answer the puzzle - that's a lot of what I ask of a theme. So I enjoyed the experience. Only experienced WOODSTOCK via the recollections of friends who were there. Heard about it after the fact whilst a freshman in college.

Haven't read OFL yet - often just glance at same. But did notice the mention of ADZE above, which I certainly have seen in many a puzzle.

Diana, LIW

rondo 2:23 PM  

C’mon now. Admit it. You overwrote at least half as many answers as I did, which was plenty, including most of the NW quad. That can happen when there’s a plethora of 3 and 4 letter words. And then there’s a lot of As going around - ABIT AHORSE BIGA ATOZ.

Just as I find paintings by Pollock and Rothko uninspiring, sometimes xword puzzles ARE also. Not much of a “tribute”, certainly some other constructor did something better for WOODSTOCK’s 50th?!?

Agree with commenter above that the WSJ puz (still free on-line) is daily completion for the NYT. The Friday contest puz is often a good meta, as well.

Seems like I have MN’s own LONI Anderson circled. So be it.

I was ABIT too young to go to WOODSTOCK, but saw the film some months later. Faint tribute puz to a memorable, even remarkable event.

leftcoast 3:47 PM  

Old refrain: I liked this puzzle better than Rex did.

WOODSTOCK has been a bit played out since, but it was pretty exciting back then. Who can't help but be reminded of the historic occasion it turned out to be?

As for the rest of the puzzle: Glad to have INIGO back so soon. HOOVER and HOVER are a good pair, though haven't thought of HOOVER's time in office as an ERA (wanted the dam first). SCALENE is a trig term long forgotten until seeing it here, thanks to crosses. And TEETHE does have some bite, as the clue suggests.

Enjoyed the theme.

rainforest 4:19 PM  

Tribute puzzles get no respect, but I think WOODSTOCK is tributable. Maybe there is another way to present one, but today's was OK by me. I was 23 when it happened and it was big stuff back then. Would've loved to have been there.

A relatively smooth solve today with little to incite ire (well, my ire has never been incited by a NYTX puzzle). I appreciate references to other puzzles, but this is the only one I do, and care to do. Though I can wax rhapsodic over a particularly enjoyable puzzle, solving is not a passion for me.

@rondo - 2 writeovers today; one because of ignorance, the other through stupidity. Otherwise, a relatively harmless puzzle. Btw, I was once in love with LONI Anderson.

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