Leave off, as the last word of a / Sea creatures that may employ camouflage when hunting / Beginning of the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet / Celebratory Native American feast / "___ quam videri," state motto of North Carolina / Home of the Marine Corps University

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: very easy (5:15)

THEME: "Revolutionary" — four balls in the grid rotate around from left to right; four long down answers through those balls use all four letters instead of just going straight through

Theme answers:
  • GOES FOR A SPIN (24A: Drives around awhile ... as suggested by this puzzle's shaded squares?)
  • TURN TURN TURN (119A: 1965 #1 Byrds hit ... as suggested by this puzzle's shaded squares?)
  • GETS THE BALL ROLLING (3D: Kicks things off)
  • THE HOTL BALTIMORE (20D: 1973 play featuring a sign with a burned-out "E")
  • ALL BARK AND NO BITE (49D: Full of empty talk)
  • SMALL BUSINESS OWNER (42D: Baker or dry cleaner, maybe)
Word of the Day: POTLATCH (23A: Celebratory Native American feast) —
A potlatch is a gift-giving feast practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada and the United States, among whom it is traditionally the primary economic system. This includes the Heiltsuk, Haida, Nuxalk, Tlingit, Makah, Tsimshian, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka'wakw, and Coast Salish cultures. Potlatches are also a common feature of the peoples of the Interior and of the Subarctic adjoining the Northwest Coast, although mostly without the elaborate ritual and gift-giving economy of the coastal peoples (see Athabaskan potlatch). A potlatch involves giving away or destroying wealth or valuable items in order to demonstrate a leader's wealth and power.

Potlatches went through a history of rigorous ban by the Canadian federal government, continuing underground despite the risk of criminal punishment, and have been studied by many anthropologists. Since the practice was de-criminalized in the post-war years, the potlatch has re-emerged in some communities.

The word comes from the Chinook Jargon, meaning "to give away" or "a gift"; originally from the Nuu-chah-nulth word paɬaˑč, to make a ceremonial gift in a potlatch. [Wikipedia]
• • •
Christopher Adams here once again, filling in for Rex while he's in NYC enjoying Lollapuzzoola (and taking home third place in the pairs division!). Meanwhile, from Twitter, I've got a bunch of FOMO, but I've also heard lots of good things about the puzzles, though, and I'm looking forward to solving them at home (and highly encourage you to do the same).

Speaking of good puzzles: this is one, even though I'm pretty sure I've seen this theme before, as well as some other things. Sure, it's a little weird to not have the balls in the center of the puzzle—but they're all lined up, all rotate clockwise, and the starting point rotates one position each time you move from left to right, which is the sort of small detail that tells me some thought went into this. And sure, it's a little weird to have two sorta-superfluous reveals when one of your long theme answers (GETS THE BALL ROLLING) does a much better job at that, but they're not bad, and something has to go there. And sure, the puzzle certainly feels like a 15x puzzle blown up to a 21x size—cut out the two reveals, shorten the theme answers, and maybe arrange the balls in a square, rather than on one line, and a constructor who is as good as David is could probably fit this in a 15x.

And yet, this doesn't really bother me. What I'm more concerned about is whether the puzzle is done well, whether the fill is good, and most importantly, whether it was fun to solve. And this one checks all those boxes. Very little about this puzzle is difficult—almost no iffy fill, FHASLR, ABO, ENS, and the slightly painty TEN AM aside. And almost no tricky clues; even the few ? clues that do show up are more playful than tricky, and easily figured out (e.g. Ones generating buzz in the music world? for KAZOOS, which brought a smile to my face).

ANITA (40D: Baker with the 1986 hit "Sweet Love")

But yeah, the solving experience was very smooth and very enjoyable. There wasn't much in the way of debut entries—besides the four theme answers and the first reveal, only APPARATED, NOT SORRY, and KOTB were new, and only a few others had only appeared once or twice before. But that's not the only way to good, fun fill—things like IT GIRL, BRAVADO, UPSTARTS, KIRSCH, ROOMBA add flavor to the puzzle, even though they've been used before. And with so much of the fill being solid / good *at worst*, the overall impression gets even better.

To be fair, the grid is somewhat defensively designed, without too many large open areas or entries with lots of constraints. But I don't hold that against either David or the puzzle: part of being a good constructor is knowing how to make a grid that lets you fill it so that the solver can enjoy it, and I'll take a well-constructed, clean, enjoyable puzzle any day of the week.

  • I CHECK (8A: What 13-Down [KNOCK] means in poker) — Presumably this comes from casinos; unambiguous hand motions are a lot easier to detect by the eye in the sky, and thus it's a lot easier to settle debates. Still, all that aside, can we acknowledge the inherent weirdness of televised poker being a thing?
  • ABLE (61A: Beginning of the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet) — This predates the NATO alphabet (which was designed to have as little chance of confusion between letters as possible) and is also the source of "roger" (as in "roger that", meaning "message received").
  • OBI (66D: Something you might take a bow for in the theater?) — One of the rare difficult things in this puzzle; especially crossing ABO. It's not a bad clue, but it does stick out; especially for a crosswordese answer like this, I'd've preferred to see a more straightforward clue.
  • SENATE (125A: Topic of Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution) — It gives the Senate the "sole Power to try all Impeachments", and notes that "when the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside". 
Yours in puzzling, Christopher Adams, Court Jester of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:23 AM  

Easy-medium. Clever, delightful, fun, or pretty much what Chris said, liked it a bunch and Jeff gave it POW.

Joe Dipinto 1:12 AM  

All day long, wearing a mask of false bravado

I thought this puzzle was an afternoon delight (I did it Saturday). I contemplated just filling in the themers and not finishing the rest of it, since, having immediately plunked down TURN TURN TURN, in short order I plugged in RABAT/NILLA, ELBA/SLAP, TILL/STABS, OVALS/ABLE, and the four long downs running through those (nice how the BALL makes a quarter turn each time), finishing off with GOES FOR A SPIN, and leaving everything else blank. "There, I'm done!" I gloated, surveying my handiwork.

But then, like Peggy Lee, I had to ask, "Is that all there is?" to the Sunday solving experience? So I finished the rest, and I'm glad I did because there's more good stuff. The clues for UNSHORN and KAZOOS cracked me up. I also liked the ones for CADBURY and ROOMBA. Other choice entries: TASMANIA, POTLATCH, ADAGIO, EMERGENT, CAT TOYS, QUANTICO, ARGYLE -- I'll stop there. It was fun remembering the ubiquitous ads for THE HOT L BALTIMORE back in the 70s.

Nicely done, Mr. Steinberg. A salutory Sunday submission.

Here comes the sun,
and I say
It's all right

Z 1:28 AM  

Solved in the Magazine, a special issue dedicated to the 1619 Project - well, everything except the puzzles is dedicated to the 1619 Project. All these fascinating (and depressing) historical articles and then this puzzle. Every other regular feature in the Magazine is gone this week. Why do the puzzles remain? Just stupidly inappropriate, like playing Angry Birds during a funeral or watching the big game on your phone during a wedding. A little note that this week's Sunday Puzzles can be found in the Arts Section wasn't possible? That leaving the amusements along side these stories is inappropriate never occurred to anyone is downright gob-smacking. And people wonder why the NYT is considered racist? Sadly ironic in an issue dedicated to America's "Original Sin."

Mona 1:56 AM  

Puzzle was in the appropriate place. Placement shows racism? Talk about being judgmental...

Anonymous 3:00 AM  

Kotb is new? I swear it's been crosswordese for a while now. Pretty sure Hoda's birth and professional success was a gift from the Crossword gods.

chefwen 4:03 AM  

Let out a little groan when I saw David Steinberg’s name, checked to see if there were the ridiculous stacks of long answers that I am so horrible at solving, smiled when there were none. Dove right in and had a BALL. Pretty easy, but fun.

We have some domestic chickens, some lay brown eggs and others lay blue. I kept trying to remember their breed names and when CADBURY came into view I let out a laugh.

Really enjoyed this one.

Hungry Mother 5:25 AM  

Got the theme immediatelyand flew through it. Nice set of long answers kept it interesting. Only got through one cup of coffee - usually two on a Sunday.

mmorgan 6:40 AM  

Nice review, thanks. Yes, the puzzle was well-constructed AND fun to solve -- I've been finding that a rare combination. The NE was the last to fall; I guessed correctly the I CHECK/KNOCK combination and when the light bulb went off on "M.S.G." I was treated to Mr. Happy Pencil. This could have been gimmicky and cludgy but it was a very enjoyable Sunday.

amyyanni 6:43 AM  

Smooth and clever. And love Anita Baker.

Suzie Q 7:53 AM  

I don't mind an easy Sunday at all. There were enough fun moments to keep me amused. Cat toys was my favorite.
@ Joe Dipinto, When you said this was an afternoon delight I was sure you were going to quote the song with that name.
@ Z, Thank you Mr. Sunshine.

Teedmn 7:55 AM  

3D was what got the ball rolling for me theme-wise today, a fun bonus. Previously, I had been unable to fit Hot!l Baltimore in at 20D so that mystery was solved after 3D filled in.

My biggest blockage was the koRAN. I had the “old” Constitution in at 15D and that had me spinning my wheels in the NE.

I misread 13D's clue as referring to 8D rather than 8A so at first I thought an IT GIRL must be a bit of sNarK. But no, it was a KNOCK. Hah, the KNOCK was an I CHECK indicator.

And am I the only one to slap in “Lewis” as in C.S., at 47D, because I didn’t read the clue further than “The Lion...”? And it worked nicely with Idris ELBA. Sigh.

Thanks, David Steinberg, fun Sunday! And thanks, Chris, for the write-up. I was hoping you'd make it to Lollapuzzoola but obviously not!

TrudyJ 8:00 AM  

Can someone explain 18 down to me?

QuasiMojo 8:06 AM  

SORRY to see the reappearance of OO LA LA which is still wrong. The phrase is OOH LA LA. Only in the NYTX is it spelled this way. But otherwise this was an okay puzzle that overcame some of its creakiness. I don't think of BALLS as turning. They spin. And even if they did who is doing it and why? Gets the Ball Rolling sort of underscores the whole TURNT oddness. Also ONE grows tired of endless clues and answers starting with ONES or phrases that begin with verbs. GOES, GETS, LETS. But much of this is made up by fun stuff like ROOMBA, TASMANIA, HARSH, KAZOOS. I beat my average time by TEN AM minutes.

Nice write-up Christopher! Take a BOW. (Which reminds me. Clara Bow, the original IT GIRL, a term invented by Elinor Glyn of the Algonquin (not ONEIDA) Round Table. It had more to do with being a flapper than a socialite.

Joe R. 8:17 AM  

Why is televised poker weird? I certainly think it’s less weird than, say, televised baseball, and unlike baseball, they edit out all the mind-numbingly boring parts before airing.

Also, ami missing something here, or is OBI just wrong? The theatre awards are Obie Awards, not Obi. How did the editor not catch this??

Mo-T 8:18 AM  

Fun and smooth and thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks, David. I am always impressed by your puzzles and by your youth and that you had your first puzzle accepted by the NYT when you were 14! Sheesh.

I liked your write-up, too, Christopher. But when I was little and sat around my grandparent's table watching them play cards, they always knocked on the table to check and pass the bid to the next person. When I was older and started to play cards, my friends and I always knocked, too. Knocking may have originated in casinos (I have no idea), but it was happening in the 50s in suburban NY. ;<}

Happy Sunday. And thanks for "here comes the sun," Joe. It's going to be another hot week. But never fear; the winter will be upon us before we know it, especially for those of us in upstate NY. Boo, Hiss.

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

I liked it too. I enjoyed the revolutionary BALL, which I figured out long before I got some of the theme answers. My headslapper was humming “turn, turn, turn,” when I saw them in a clue, without actually realizing that was the answer. Loved CADBURY and a few others. Got slowed down momentarily with Quran/Quantico because I led with KORAN. I enjoyed this puzzle a lot.

Jack 8:37 AM  

@Z I, too, wondered about the puzzles in the context of the amazing, amamzingly needed and amazingly painful 1619 Project articles, which I'm about halfway through (I'm needing space to absorb the horrors.) My hope had been that this puzzle, Spelling Bee and Acrostic might have been constructd on related themes. Haven't done the Acrostic yet, but a washout on the other two. Since the 1619 Project has clearly been long in the making, would it not have been possible for Will to commission a good constrcutor (maybe an African-American constructor?) to create a puzzle appropriately themed for this issue of the Magazine? To address such difficult matters in a format that typically intends to entertain would have been challenging, to be sure -- but not impossible, I'd say. An opportunity missed.

GILL I. 8:47 AM  

Yeah...KAZOO brought on a smile. Do you say up the KAZOO or up the Wazoo?
What an enjoyable romp. UPSTART/RIOTS...DEFCON/QUANTICO...ARISEN/EMERGENT...ABYSS/END. David is very clever.
Hoda's names has appeared before; I just have to remember how to spell her KOTB. I'm betting she will be our next OREO.
So master David goes to Stanford, studies psychology and then moves to Mo in order to edit crosswords? Pretty nifty. I majored in art and ended up in the airline industry. Do you call that judicial order?
Let's see. I always go sniffing around (hi @Loren) for a little remembrance. Ah...REGIFTS. First entry. Yup...don't we all? My biggest embarrassment was regifting to the person who originally gave me the gift. It was this ugly little garden gnome. She might as well given me a pink flamingo. Anyway, like all decent human beings, I left it in its wrappings and then when I needed a birthday gift, I gave it to back to her. She didn't say a thing. She later told her sister who eventually told me. We were drinking at the time, so I laughed.
Thank you, gentlemen from last night, for providing @Nancy's letter to the NYT. @Nancy...you da bomb. I thought how cleverly written.
Everything I buy at the supermarket says USE BY
PS: @Frog 5:04 yesterday...I don't think I received your email?

Anonymous 8:54 AM  


18D is referring to Madison Square Garden (often abbreviated MSG), which is in New York, New York.

Nancy 8:59 AM  

Was this ever fun -- the most enjoyable Steinberg puzzle I've ever done by a wide margin. Playful. Clever. Whimsical. Beautifully crafted. Yes, it was very easy -- greatly helped by the fact that I knew and had even seen THE HOT L BALTIMORE and I suspect that most of you never heard of it. So I had the rolling BALL from the get-go and took great pleasure in seeing it in all its different positions. And when ALL BARK AND NO BITE came in I just grinned from ear to ear.

One minor nit from a puzzle standpoint but a major nit ethically speaking to this writer and lyricist. It's in regard to the clue for TURN TURN TURN. Which is a great song, a wonderful song, AND PETE SEEGER WROTE IT!!! BOTH WORDS AND MUSIC. And, guess what, PETE SEEGER ALSO SANG IT!!! So why is the song clued with The Byrds? Anyone can sing a song. FWIW, can sing TURN TURN TURN...and often have. If Seeger hadn't written it, the Byrds wouldn't have had anything to sing, would they?

Rx for the day: Always clue the creator of the work and not the performer of the work when you have a choice. This writer and lyricist thanks you from the bottom of her heart. Pete thanks you too from wherever he is right now. Rant over.

kitshef 9:09 AM  

Found 99.5% of this easy as all get-out. But three squares in the N Central – the last three squares of 8A, took probably three minutes to finally get.

Putting aside the easiness, this was a beautifully executed theme. The BALLs all break in a different place, and the themers, including the dual revealers, are absolutely rock solid as standalone phrases.

20 of Lewis’s double-letters – don’t know how unusual that is for a Sunday.

10 U’s, which M&A will be sorry to have missed.

SouthsideJohnny 9:10 AM  

@TrudyJ - Madison Square Garden is located in Manhattan.

Rube 9:14 AM  

no challenge...like a Tuesday and therefore no enjoyment other than the aesthetic achieved by a grid filled in by hand so neatly that looks like it was done by a calligrapher. 20D is a complete gimme which immediately exposes the theme. What's the point?

Rube 9:16 AM  

While Chinese food is often full of monosodium glutamate, Madison Square Garden is contained by New York, New York.

kitshef 9:16 AM  

Hoda KOTB is one of those names I know solely from crosswords, and I know we've seen both HODA KOTB and HODA in the grid, so Chris must be saying the standalone KOTB is a debut.

Joe R - an OBI is a type of sash that is tied in a bow. The clue is a tortured one.

Nancy 9:21 AM  

Thanks, @GILL for your lovely comment today and @GHarris for your lovely comment yesterday. From your lips to God's ear, as they say, @GH.

There should be an "I" after FWIW in my 8:59 comment. I was trying to italicize it and it instead disappeared. Maybe those of you who have actually heard me sing TURN TURN TURN will think that's a good thing.

Joe R. 9:24 AM  

@kitshef - I thought of that kind of OBI, but then the clue is also just wrong. That’s not a bow that you take, it’s a bow you tie, and it’s also got more or less nothing to do with the theatre. So I figured that wasn’t the interpretation they were going for either.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

If we’re going to be vigilant and scrupulous about authorship, I’d say the Preacher of Ecclesiastes (Solomon?) wrote the lyrics, or at least more than Pete Seeger did, who was more of a reshuffler.

SJ Austin 9:26 AM  

Thanks, Christopher; I always enjoy your reviews.

I can't believe KOTB hasn't been in the puzzle before. Seems I've seen her name a lot before. Apparently only her first name has been an answer? And I've only ever seen OBI clued in the plural, so I wasn't sure about that one until the crosses confirmed it.

Solid puzzle, a nice way to start this rainy Sunday. Which, looking out the window, has turned quite sunny after all. Maybe I'll go for a spin.

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

I confidently filled in OBI for 66D (Something you might take a bow for in the theater?) think it referred to the award. But just looked it up and it's an OBIE award (Off-Broadway Theater Award). So can someone explain what a Japanese sash has to do with bowing in the theater?

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

I was sure I'd seen KOTB in crosswords before, but maybe just HODA.

Aren't the clues for ICHECK and KNOCK a bit obscure for a Sunday (on a Saturday, sure, anything goes)? They could just as well both have said "Something related to poker."

RAIMI crossing UMAMI are also pretty obscure. Never seen UMAMI except in crosswords; never seen RAIMI anywhere, ever.

APPARATED is not actually a word, though it could be deduced from the crosses.

Had tool (as in "two" of them) instead of HOSE for a long time. Reinforced by thinking it was ABel, not ABLE. After all, baker and charlie are names, not regular words.

Nancy 9:41 AM  

That's a very fair point, Anon 9:25. Touche. But you have to admit that Seeger made the words, well, sing!

Joe in syndicationland 9:42 AM  

Pleasant enough.
I did notice, though, that the 'cute' clue for 43D "They multiply by dividing" (CELLS) appeared on Saturday July 13 25A as "It multiplies by dividing" (CELL). Both puzzles were by Mr Steinberg. Does he think that a Sunday puzzle is the same as a Saturday puzzle? And is he aware that because of syndication the puzzle for July 13 appeared yesterday?

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

ELSE is the partner of then, not of if. You cannot have an ELSE without a then, although you can have a then without an ELSE. Ifs require thens, but ELSEs are optional. So really the partner of if is then, and the partner of then is ELSE.

Newboy 10:07 AM  

Me too. Chris is spot on in his critique, so thanks to him & David for another wonderful start to our Sundays. So easy that the NW filled itself and revealed the gimmick. Finished the four BALLs and sat the remaining corners aside....does that have to be considered a DNF or simply a lack of character? Sundays are too often a slog, but today’s was a delightful change of pace, appropriate given our guest commenter’s engagement with less usual grids.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

I think the OBI clue was meant to imply that you might bring a bow (as in ribbon) with you to the theatre to ornament your OBI with. Ugh. A better clue would have been "Wan's prefix, for Ben?"

xyz 10:19 AM  

Z at 1:28, thanks for perpetuating the irrational dissatisfaction with something not correctly aligned completely off the page on the left.

My faith in the followers of the NYT is maintained, even elevated this morning!

UMAMI is hardly limited to X-ese

Oh yeah, the puzzle …

Pretty decent if super-easy.

pabloinnh 10:29 AM  

Don't watch the morning tv and have not seen HODA KOTB, but it's such an unlikely name that every time I see it in a crossword I swear I'll remember it. Maybe this time.

Joining the chorus of what everyone is saying, fun Sunday, nice review, lots of good stuff. Thanks all around.

On to the acrostic, which I bet is more challenging.

Amelia 10:30 AM  

My millennial son always says there's no excuse for not knowing something or for the dumbing down of America (NOT referring to anyone here.) Because WIKI has all the information you might need on any subject. Like Kabuki Theater. Note the use of obi in the third paragraph.

"Kabuki Costumes"

Kabuki costumes are made with bold colors and patterns, it is said, to heighten the drama of the performance. Some costumes are quite heavy, weighting over 20 kilograms, and have the folds and layers that have to be carefully positioned when the actors sits down. Kabuki costumes are usually discarded after one 25-day theater run because the brilliant colors fade in the bright lights and they smell bad from all the sweat.

While the costumes used in domestic plays are often realistic representations of the clothes of the Edo period, historical plays often use magnificent brocade robes and large wigs reminiscent of those found in the noh theater. For onnagata dance pieces particular attention is paid to the beauty of the costume.

The female characters generally wear an elaborate kimono and obi. Pleated hakuma trousers are worn by characters of sexes. Actors playing both sexes often have a supported midriff because a straight, curveless figure is regarded the epitome of beauty. Costume changing is regarded as an art unto itself. There are special teams that take care of complete and partial costume changes. Sometimes these are done as part of the performances.

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Great puzzle Messrs. Steinberg and Shortz. Each of you should take an obi.

Birchbark 10:55 AM  

KAZOOS crossing ABYSS. I wonder what Thomas Pynchon is up to these days?

Bryan 11:07 AM  

Loved the puzzle! It was “baller.” ;) Nit: no one I know playing poker says “I check,” they just say “check.” That area this snarled me longer than I’d like to admit.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Octopi is an incorrect plural. Octopuses or octopodes, please. Never like Steinberg's puzzles. One less reason to do so.

Unknown 11:09 AM  

Hah! Thank you.
My thoughts exactly.

Austin's mom 11:11 AM  

To Anon at 10:07, with respect to computer programming as clued here, IF pairs with ELSE. Like so: IF this do that; ELSE do this other thing

QuasiMojo 11:16 AM  

@Nancy, (strictly enter-nous) what about my accolade yesterday? Lol. I think you are skipping over my comments lately because I never called on you on NY this summer. Hey I went to Maine instead. Can you blame me? "Not sorry". :) PS I hope you can use your lyricist talents to come up with a bon mot mixing OBI with OBI Wan whoever from Star Wars. (Full disclosure, I tried watching it again at a friend's house. She had a copy. I had to be her to turn it off after fifteen minutes.)

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

I very much enjoyed this puzzle and didn’t have to address the OBI clue. After looking at the many different obit on a pretty comprehensive Wikipedia page I think the clue could have been “make a bow” instead of “take a bow”. I realize the expression is usually “take a bow” (as in bowing) but “make” works just fine given the “knotting” of an obi can include a “bow knot”. Hmmm. This message sounds suspiciously like some @Z posts. Thanks Mr. Steinberg for a fun Sunday morning!

davidm 11:21 AM  

Someone wrote that 20D was a complete gimme that gave away the theme right away. Not for me! It was the last themer I got, and was completely perplexed. I had forgotten the play, and, because of my mulish insistence on doing all puzzles, including Sunday, in pen, I ended up with an unreadable ink blot inside the circle. I finally divined the correct answer, but kept asking myself: How can it be HOTL and not HOTEL? I had forgotten all about the burned-out letter in the clue! Du-0h! I loved the way that ball rotated clockwise across the grid.

As to the propriety of this puzzle in a special Sunday mag of such gravity, I agree the puzzle theme should have been tied somehow to the magazine’s theme, but not that the puzzle should have been eliminated entirely. The Times is considered racist? By whom, exactly? I’m sure there are some people who consider it so — who consider everyone and everything racists — but this is not a common complaint leveled against the Times.

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

not NILLA, but necco. well for us in Effete New England.

alas, you're right.

"Brown eggs are local eggs, and local eggs are fresh". another New England-ism?

So can someone explain what a Japanese sash has to do with bowing in the theater?

Noh, I won't.

ELSE is the partner of then, not of if. You cannot have an ELSE without a then, although you can have a then without an ELSE.

No. just depends on a programming language's syntax. some require 'then', others not. most allow ELSEs to be stacked as far as the eye can see. see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conditional_(computer_programming)#C-like_languages

What? 11:25 AM  

An obi is a Japanese sash often worn by kabuki actors

Speedweeder 11:25 AM  

Anon 10:07 - In many computer languages, the construct is IF...ELSE. COBOL used IF...THEN...ELSE, but in the other languages I coded in, THEN was implied but not wrtten. Also, you can have an ELSE without a THEN, as in:

IF condition is true
[do nothing]
ELSE do something.

Austin's mom 11:36 AM  

Hi all, following up from yesterday - My Monday thru Friday paper subscription allows me to log in to NYT online, and from there I print out the weekend puzzles. Plus weekday mornings if delivery is late here in central Connecticut. Look in the selection menu under "more."

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Wait a second. There're 4 BALLs, so how can there not be a WALK?

jberg 11:50 AM  

Only one objection to OCTOPI! Are folks just gettin tired? (I had Otters fit, was looking forward to OTERI/Otter jokes)

OBI is a stretch, but I think the kabuki explanation must be right

Fun and easy!

TJS 12:11 PM  

The NYT is racist ? News to me. I mean, historically, sure, just as pretty much all papers were racist, anti-Semitic, anti- Irish, anti European- immigrant, etc. But what is perpetuating this accusation now ? And please do not respond with the inclusion of crossword puzzzle words that send effetes running off to their safe places. I'm talking about actual evidence of racism. Maybe those kids unfairly accused and convicted of the attack in Central Park, although there is a responsibility to report the news. But today we have a paper running a major historical report on racial injustice being accused of racism on some flimsy excuse. Gimme a break.

Carola 12:12 PM  

So easy, so nicely constructed, so many non-theme pleasures. I'm among those who caught on right away at 20D; after that I suspected that David would vary the "revolutionary" object each time, but wasn't sure if would remain a BALL or maybe be a "dial" or something else that can TURN. Among many other things, I liked EMERGENT over INSERTS, given how the latter was clued.

What? 12:13 PM  

An obi is a sash tied with a large ornate bow. Pretty bad clue for an otherwise terrific puzzle.

What? 12:16 PM  

Obi seems to have been a problem for some. I’ve always considered it sort of crosswordese. It’s useful because of the letter combinations but probably would not be well known except for that.

What? 12:18 PM  

Too bad the puzzle didn’t use 1619 as the theme.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  


Has the effete corps of impudent snobs returned? :)

albatross shell 12:45 PM  

@Anon 1109am
Please no more OCTOPIous pomposities about the proper plural of Octopus. All 3 justified by usage history and all 3 have some arguments against them.

Enjoyed your NYT letter. Well-played indeed.

Glad the OBI BOW mystery was solved. Women's OBIs are decorated with a bow (ribbon) especially in stage productions. The clue works perfectly with excellent misdirection. I put in OBI with no certainty. Thanks for the help to all.

The argument for not cluing TTT with Pete Seeger is that was not his title for the song. Judy Collins did that. And the Byrds had the number one hit. Follow the money. Of course Pete got some since he wrote the music. But of course why would you not clue the performers? I guess you do not want actors to be clued for plays either.

To continue with the world we live in theme (60s folkie edition):

Must be, must be the season of the trump.

Joseph M 12:56 PM  

Had a BALL solving this puzzle. Good job. David. And good review, Chris.

Figured out the theme early on thanks to HOT L BALTIMORE. The rest was pretty EASY after that, except for the QURAN/QUANTICO cross. I can never remember whether the name at 14A starts with a C or K, so you see the problem since it starts with neither.

I know who HODA is, but am somewhat stumped by how to pronounce her last name, I don’t remember hearing it. Did someone in her family tree accidentally OMIT a vowel somewhere along the line?

Great clues for CAT TOYS and KAZOOS.

If Rex took only third place at Lollapuzzoola, does that mean he is no longer King of CrossWorld?

RooMonster 1:21 PM  

Hey All !
Fun SunPuz. Hey, @kitshef, you forgot about the F's! I knew they aren't the most respected letter, but sheesh! :-) There's three of them. Better than none. Just a J away from a pangram. C'mon, DS, I know you could've shoved a J somewhere!

Anyway, enjoyed puz from solvers and constructors views. Tough to get a clean grid when you have set places for the BALLs ROLLING through the grid, with your Downs going through them in left to right linear reading order. As in, all four BALLs not only ROLL a quarter turn each time, but the BALL in is order in the Downs, as in GETTHE(BALL)ROLLING, THEHOT(LBAL)TIMORE, A(LLBA)RKANDNOBITE, SM(ALLB)UISNESSOWNER. See it? Nice.

Nice to solve, too. It was like the puz let me LET LOOSE and solve like a speed solver! (Of course, 5 minutes is just insane!)

Good one, DS.


Lynx 1:26 PM  

Seriously got in my own way -- overconfident about how quickly I'd caught on to the theme, maybe my 4th or 5th entry was ABALLOONOFHOTAIR for 49D, which yeah, is not a real phrase, but it fit and seemed clever enough. Was disappointed to realize I'd been the exact opposite of clever.

Joe in syndicationland 1:29 PM  

If OCTOPUS came into English directly from Greek, then yes, OCTOPODES (and would TASMANIA then be an antipus?). But if it came into English from Greek through Latin, then yes OCTOPI. I try to restrain my irritation when someone comes up with a right answer through ignorance.
ps reCAPTCHA much better

Nancy 1:31 PM  

@Quasi -- I am SO sorry!!! I did my thanking completely from memory -- without first checking. And, as you know, I don't have a memory. Mea culpa.

But, yes, I'm deeply, deeply regretful that you never made it to NYC this summer. Watch out that I don't get my revenge by landing on your FL doorstep this winter :)

@Albatross Shell -- How really interesting! I pulled out one Weavers' album from my ancient collection of useless vinyl -- useless now that I no longer have a turntable -- but that one didn't have TURN TURN TURN on it. There are other Weavers' albums stuffed back there in the cabinet as well, but I'd probably throw my back out trying to 1)locate and 2) liberate them. I'll take your word for it (also Wikipedia's!) that TURN TURN TURN was not Seeger's original title. I suppose the original title was "To Everything There Is a Season"? In any case, if that's true then TURN TURN TURN was properly clued and I apologize for my earlier rant.

But to answer your question: Would I always clue a playwright over a famous actor, for example, my answer is yes. Always. I would use Neil Simon to clue "Barefoot" and not Redford. I would use Sondheim to clue "Sweeney Todd" and not Len Cariou. I would use Nora Ephron to clue "Sleepless in Seattle" and not Tom Hanks. My admiration for the people who create knows no bounds. Sorry, but that's just the way I roll.

sixtyni yogini 1:41 PM  

👍🏽🧩👍🏽 Tho not easy (for this one) despite the ⚽️ 🏀 🏈 ⚽️
Good clues.

JC66 1:55 PM  


How would you clue "My Way," Sinatra or Anka?

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

Has the effete corps of impudent snobs returned? :)

what? how could they leave? how many ignorant rednecks read the NYT and do the puzzle? or get just the puzzle? or get the dead trees version, do the puzzle, and toss out the rest? really? to listen to The Carrot King, only effetes read the NYT. he's a Post (not the Washington version, of course) man himself. must have been a shock to see this: https://www.foxnews.com/media/new-york-post-trump-ban-weapons-war

Nancy 2:08 PM  

Sinatra, @JC66. Really excellent exception to my "rule". Touche.

But that's probably because 1) Not that many people even know that Anka wrote it; 2) I don't venerate Anka for writing it because I frankly don't think it's all that great a song; 3) despite all the infinitely greater songs Sinatra sang, this was the one that became his trademark; and 4) were it not for Sinatra, the song might well have been forgotten by now.

But you chose a terrific example in making your point.

Mr. Wilson 2:21 PM  

Denis wasn’t really even a menace, much less a BRAT. A bit annoying at time.

JC66 2:34 PM  



FYI, the Byrds' Mr.Tamborine Man gets 3 times the views than Dylan.


The Byrds - 1.7M views

Judy Collins - 655K views

Pete Seeger - 4.7K Views

Collins/Seeger duet - 77K views

Anonymous 3:02 PM  

My Way was originally a French song sung and written by neither Anka or Sinatra.

Joe Dipinto 3:18 PM  

From the Wikipedia entry on "Turn Turn Turn":

In 1963 Marlene Dietrich recorded "Für alles kommt die Zeit (Glaub', Glaub)," Max Colpet's German translation of the song. Dietrich was backed by Burt Bacharach conducting a studio orchestra, and the song was released as monaural single.

Why does this strike me as totally hilarious? I must find and listen to it.

kitshef 3:22 PM  

@Roo - I didn't forget! But unlike Lewis and M&A, you are not on vacation so I knew the F's were taken care of.

The many worlds interpretation of quantum theory would suggest that there exists a universe similar to ours, but where nobody comments on the plural of 'octopus' in Rex's comment section. That would be one sweet universe.

Anonymous 3:23 PM  


If you can find it (I have various versions on CD), 'The Limeliters' give it the most robust rendition. They were trained singers, mostly.

JC66 3:25 PM  

Anon 3:02

From Wikipedia:

"My Way" is a song popularized in 1969 by Frank Sinatra. Its lyrics were written by Paul Anka and set to the music of the French song "Comme d'habitude" co-composed and co-written, and performed in 1967 by Claude François. Anka's English lyrics are unrelated to the original French song.. (Emphasis mine.)

KevCo 4:16 PM  

Puzzle was just fine, but I want to comment to mention that the Byrds' "Turn, Turn, Turn" is the anchor answer for my all-time favorite Times puzzle gimmick. It's from Thursday November 11, 2010. If you have the online subscription, give it a shot.

albatross shell 5:08 PM  

The Dietrich song is on YouTube of course. I prefer her Blowin' in the Wind" or Miss Otis Regrets",

Kathy 5:24 PM  

I really wanted 49D to be BIGHATNOCATTLE, which fits if you ignore the BALL thing. We New Mexicans say that about Texans.
Really enjoyed the puzzle.

John 5:45 PM  

Joe R.: So "bow" meaning the homophone "bo" (like on a Christmas gift), not "bowww" meaning to bend at the waist.

Joe Dipinto 6:02 PM  

@albatross shell 5:08 -- yeah, I found it. It's kind of bland. "Miss Otis Regrets" should be...interesting.

Nasty Grimes 6:04 PM  

My Way = Sid Vicious

Birchbark 8:13 PM  

@KevCo (4:16) -- I reviewed the 11/11/10 "Turn, Turn, Turn" puzzle, which I'd completed some time ago during my backwards trek through the archives. Even though the answers were prefilled, I couldn't remember the the reveal until going back and reading @Rex's review. I DNF in a couple of spots, though only on one themer.

Much more ambitious -- today's was easier on the nanocells.

Newport Carl 9:22 PM  

The west coast sez... Super easy, super fun. But the MSG clue was unfair as I immediately was flashing on San Francisco Chinese restaurant menus. Mmmmm, hom bo (not bow) . The many adventures Obi Gillis and Maynard G. Krebbs.

oisk17 9:49 PM  

First Steinberg I haven't disliked in a long time. I don't know who the Byrds were, or are, - I associated "Turn, turn, turn," only with Judy Collins. Lucky that I was sure of "Quantico," or I would have had "Kolb" instead of "Kotb," which was a mystery to me...

I actually saw Marlena Dietrich perform once in Denmark. She must have been about 67 years old, but was still able to sing and emote. I recall having been disappointed that she didn't sing "Lili Marlene"; I was sure she would.

About Steinberg....my last DNF was a single square involving "jank."

Runs with Scissors 10:35 PM  

Nancy 8:59 am

Sorry, doesn't matter who wrote it, or originally performed it. The Byrds are why it is known.

Puzzle was great, just enough out of my wheelhouse to make it tussle-worthy. Lots to like, little dreck.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

Molasses 11:58 PM  

Am I the only one who thought the puzzle was hard? Had no idea about the poker terms, thought the tabloid was Tatler, and spelled Quran Koran, which resulted in spinning my wheels in the top middle & NE, and because of the layout, didn't get any help from the easier NW. I wasn't confident enough about the Baltimore part of Hot L Baltimore to get the trick right away, so that was pretty slow, too. It didn't help that I thought the wafers were Necco, not Nilla.

TJS 12:30 AM  

Effete, as in "artificial,over-refined, studied.." Maybe not good as a noun, but I'll stand by the intended thought.

Nancy 8:45 AM  

@Scissors -- I respect the fact that it's known to you because of the Byrds. It's known to me because of Pete Seeger and the Weavers. I own the album. I've listened to their version maybe 50 times over the years when I had a record player with a turntable. I've probably heard the Byrds sing it once or twice -- somewhere -- but I honestly don't remember whether I did or not. I'm sure they sang it very nicely.

JamieP 1:38 PM  

The bagel shirt is nice, but Rex clearly has a T-shirt that refers to chicken spiedies. As a fellow central New Yorker, you can have your chicken wings and kimmelweck rolls. Chicken spiedies are manna.

Unknown 4:49 PM  

For all of you very smart people out there, it is OCTOPUSES, not OCTOPI. I know it is a crossword puzzle but come on man

Anonymous 7:39 PM  

Is the time a typo? How is it humanly possible to do this in 5:15?

Brad 11:13 AM  

The only thing that tripped me up is that I had ICESHELF instead of ICESHEET.

Anonymous 3:04 AM  

I would also cry BS on the 5:15. Besides, what fun is it to do a crossword in 5 minutes?

spacecraft 11:57 AM  

Easier than usual for a big Sunday grid--and WAY easier than usual for a Steinberg! But per David, it works, and is clean. Lots of fun things to enjoy in this one. Learned APPARATED (never got into HP that deep).

A potentially sad note: THESUN, which carries the NYT puzzle, is being sued by the Review-Journal, which prints the SUN and packages it in as a section of their own paper. If they win, I may be forced into downloading a puzzle app, and thereby switching to real-time instead of hanging out with my buds here in Syndiland. I'll receive with thanks any suggestions as to which app to use. Of course, this process will likely stretch out over time, so I'm here for a while yet.

Back to happy: DOD Cheri OTERI can do that nicely. Good one, DS! Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:24 PM  




rondo 1:07 PM  

Yeah, it was pretty easy, and Chris is a smart guy, but 5:15? Cmon now. And the BALLs did TURNTURNTURN, each GOESFORASPIN. Cool.

1980s new wave band from Iran: QURAN QURAN.

To Mmes. OTERI and CHO: 'I Apologize', ANITA Baker, yeah baby. Anybody get that reference?

DS rarely fails to please. What ELSE to expect?

Diana, LIW 3:05 PM  


As you can see, I had my caps key on incorrectly in the above, and I'm just not going to change it. Grrrrr. Had some bad health news this week, and I'm just NOT IN THE MOOD. (sic) (and sick)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for yet another step in the never-ending diagnosis that will continue after the **** holiday

KK 6:31 PM  

Thank you. I have been scrolling through this trying to find what NYNY has to do with MSG!! Duh!

Old Al 7:34 PM  

I haven't done any programming in years so I'm not sure if this still holds. But, in my days (1959-1980), the usage was IF... THEN... ELSE... So ELSE would be the counterpart of THEN, not IF.

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