The O.W.L. AND N.E.W.T at Hogwarts / TUES 8-27-19 / Magnetic quality / History-making events / "I'm shocked!"

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Hello, again! I hope everyone is having a great end to their summer. It's currently already feeling more like fall weather here in DC, though, so at least that's something! I just started my 2L year of law school and am really hoping that everyone is exaggerating when they tell me that I'll basically be worked to the bone this year. Stay tuned!

Constructor: Daniel Raymon

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: The first name of a female celebrity followed by an adjective that's an anagram of the name.

Theme answers:
  • MELISSA'S AIMLESS (17A: Actress McCarthy is wandering)
  • STELLA'S ALL SET (33A: Designer McCartney is prepared)
  • LAUREN'S UNREAL (42A: Supermodel Hutton is incredible)
  • DARLENE'S LEARNED (60A: Singer Love is erudite)
Word of the Day: LAUREN Hutton (42A: Supermodel Hutton is incredible)
Mary Laurence "Lauren" Hutton is an American model and actress. Raised in the southern United States, Hutton relocated to New York City in her early adulthood to begin a modeling career. Though she was initially dismissed by agents for a signature gap in her teeth, Hutton signed a modeling contract with Revlon in 1973, which at the time was the biggest contract in the history of the modeling industry. (Wiki)
• • •
Overall, I thought the puzzle was alright. I was quite perplexed by the theme until about 20 minutes after I solved it and realized that the second part of each theme answer was an anagram of the first part of the answer. It's a clever enough bit of constructing, and I like the parallelism in each theme answer. Still, the adjectives in the theme answers seem pretty random to be. It's not clear to me why MELISSA McCarthy would be aimless, why DARLENE Love is learned, and so on. Also, this wasn't a big deal, but it was a bit off to have the second part of three of the four theme answers be a one-word adjective and then have 42A end with a two-word adjective: ALL SET.

There were some clever clues/answers in the puzzle and not too much crossword-y fill. I struggled some in the northeast corner, mostly because I really wanted "assign" to work for 13D: Put into different classes instead of ASSORT. And, although it seems like it's a relatively common expression to have a case AT BAR (26A), I'm in law school, and I've never heard anyone — student, professor, or judge — talk about being before a sitting judge in that way.

I do have a bone to pick with 48A: Tennis point just before a win, maybe. I watch a lot of tennis (side note: Federer is the best player of all time; don't @ me), and it took me ages to get to FORTY. I suppose it's technically correct that one person is at FORTY before they win a game, set, or match, but I still don't think the clue/answer really make logical sense. It was a leap to get there, and it could've been clued in a myriad of other ways. I'm not entirely sure what to make of having STEMS  (35D: Things florists cut) and SEPALS (51A: Flower parts) both in the crossword — and crossing each other. It's possibly a clever bit of constructing to have related answers cross; or it's redundant; or it's challenging because I don't know much about flowers, and now I'm supposed to answer two clues about them. I also took a bit of time to get 68A: Likely to zone out because I've always thought SPACY was spelled "spacey." I Googled it, and it seems like "spacey" is the preferred spelling.

All that being said, I did like 2D: Most common commercial name in New York Times crosswords — OREO. It was maybe a bit too on-the-nose, but I thought it was fun. I also liked the clue for LAPEL (65A: Pin point?) quite a bit and enjoyed 52D: POLLY "want a cracker." Likewise, 54A: Contents of hangars as PLANES was nice.

  • I am all about Harry Potter being in a crossword (69A)! For those who haven't read (and reread... and reread) the series, O.W.L. stands for Ordinary Wizarding Level, and N.E.W.T. stands for Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test.
  • I would've paid big bucks to have REX at 63D: "Toy Story" dinosaur instead be clued as "__ Parker, a crossword puzzle blogger."
  • 6A: Hit 2003-07 teen drama on Fox — THE OC. Finally a TV show that's more in my wheelhouse, and I've never even watched it!
  • I was recently back in Lake Tahoe in California, and I got to hike up a mountain on my bucket list, and I certainly saw some VISTAS from up there!
  • 9D: Home to Xenia and Zanesville, the most populous U.S. cities starting with "X" and "Z" has got to be the weirdest way I've ever seen OHIO clued. But, hey, points for originality! And, I learned something from the solve!
All done! In other words: CLARESCLEAR :)

Signed, Clare Carroll, a slightly nervous 2L

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:24 AM  

Rex would be pleased. Lots of women in this puzzle (AMI, EVA, MELISSA STELLA, LAUREN, DARLENE, SILLS, ANNA, POLLY) and no shortage of men (BILL, NAT, FELLA, BUD, ELY, POE, and … REX!). And just to add a bit of outrage to the mix, SPACeY. Plus, I suppose if you’re not a heathen like me, you might assume 30A (RIBS) figured in the construction of this puzzle.

Clark 12:45 AM  

I enjoyed the writeup. The theme answers started making sense to me about halfway through, and I switched from "This is crazy hard for a Tuesday" to "Ok, this is fun and pretty easy, like a Tuesday should be."

The 2L year is a good year. You know what you're doing now, you're in classes that you chose, and you aren't burned out yet. Relax a little (swimming is good, so is yoga), keep working hard, notice how interesting the law is even when it is crazy.

jae 2:49 AM  

Medium. I’m not an anagram fan (dyslexia may have something to do with it) so this was not exactly up my alley. That said, a solid effort, liked it.

chefwen 3:16 AM  

I breezed through this one. People Magazine is one of my guilty pleasures so I knew all the celebrities, puzzle partner would rather read a cereal box before picking up a People Mag, so he struggled and I had to supply him with three out of the four first names. He still hated it.

Wasn’t sure what a wave cap is, but I got DO RAG from the downs. Loved the STEMS and SEPALS together, it would have been fun to fit STAMENS in there for a little mini theme.

Not usually into anagrams, but this one was fun.

BarbieBarbie 6:06 AM  


Lewis 6:13 AM  

You may very well hear Daniel's denial on this, but I understand he is authoring a language guide called Raymon's Romany.

fkdiver 7:00 AM  

I don't like anagrams. At all. Other than that, this was OK.

Karen 7:01 AM  

I have to disagree with the Federer comment because I would say Serena is. After all, she is the one with 23 Grand Slams, and hopefully on her way to win #24!

Hungry Mother 7:12 AM  

Pretty smooth solve for a Wednesday, I thought. Then, I looked at my calendar and OMGed.

BookerJ 7:13 AM  

I liked this puzzle. Tuesday Easy yet it had a lot of "fresh" words I thought.
Guess you are right about the theme not holding up, but still once I realized what was going on, it made solving easy/

Anonymous 7:24 AM  

A couple of clues stumped me some—SEPALS, and an undetected typo led me astray. I quickly got some sense of the theme...but it didn’t quite SNAP the way it should. But I liked it. Good luck in second year.

kitshef 7:27 AM  

Four themers, four celebrities, only two I’ve heard of (LAUREN and MELISSA). I fully admit I'm not as up on celebrities as I could be, but I feel like on a Tuesday I should at least know who the celebs are.

Enjoyed FELLA crossing STELLA, STEMS crossing SEPALS, POLL and POLLY, VIS and VISTAS.

Birchbark 7:44 AM  

You do see "the case AT BAR" in legal briefs from time to time. It's an old fashioned but still used way of saying "in this case."

I like a puzzle that comes out and owns its everyday fill, viz. the clue for OREO.

TeaHag 7:49 AM  

I liked this puzzle. It usually takes me ages to get the theme but today I got it right away as soon as I had the L's and S's in place and knew McCarthy likely meant Melissa. Overall not too challenging but not boringly easy either. A fun puzzle for people who aren't competitive crossword wiz's

pabloinnh 7:53 AM  

The hardest answer for me was DORAG, since I have no idea what a "wave cap" is, and thought it might have something to do with swimming. Got the gimmick at 17A and proceeded apace, mostly reading a clue and writing in the answer. Didn't quite finish reading the OREO clue and spent some time wondering what the "most commercial name in New York" might be, oops.

So far today no one is confusing anagrams and palindromes, thank goodness.

Fun enough Tuesday but for me, at least, played easier than a Monday. Nice job, DR, but maybe a little more crunch next time.

Anonymous 7:54 AM  

"All right" is the preferred spelling, too.

mmorgan 7:55 AM  

This started out slow and hard but once I saw what was going on, it just absolutely flew. Not an anagram fan, but overall I thought the puzzle was quite good, and a pleasant solve. I’m sure there’s a lot to love and a lot to hate here, but honestly I got through it so quickly I don’t remember much, and am in no mood to study it looking for something to say.

Instead, I’ll say something that bothers me about the way the NYT presents the puzzle, as well as the way NPR presents Will Shortz and their Weekend Edition Sunday puzzle.

There it is, on the upper right of the NYT home page: a button inviting me to “PLAY THE CROSSWORD.” I don’t “play” the puzzle. I do the puzzle, I solve it, I work on it... I do all kinds of things with it, but I don’t “play” it. Is anyone else bothered by ithis?

Suzie Q 8:00 AM  

OK for a Tuesday. Too many names. I understand that names are the reasons for this puzzle but it seems saturated.
I did get a grin from the clue for Oreo. Sometimes I wish more clues were like that, Popes being the first example that comes to mind.
Living in Indiana for many years made Ohio a gimme but I wonder how it is for folks from other areas. Xenia is most famous in my mind for being completely destroyed by a tornado.

David in Brevard 8:13 AM  

A fraction faster than average but twice my fastest Tuesday. Yes that is quite a spread.
Overall a pleasant solving experience, a little gritty in places but mostly consistent difficulty with a few nice aha moments.
We seem to have a series of “New Wave’ OREO clues coming through (every day? It seems like) with today’s topping then all. What else is left? Wait til tomorrow, maybe, and we’ll see.
I put in SURREAL at the end of the Supermodel Hutton clue as it made sense and there is a RFL …. but I soon picked up on the theme as I ventured to the more obvious NFL.
I agree with Clare and FORTY was strangely tough. The crosswordese part of my brain was putting in ADOUT which didn’t make total sense but was more common.
All round a pleasant start to a rainy Tuesday here in the SE. Thank you Daniel (and Clare).

davidm 8:32 AM  

UTILE? Again? For the second time in three days? And smack dab in the middle of the puzzle, no less, a place often reserved for snappy revealers?

Is this the start of a little trend, like the recent boomlet of biologically incorrect clues for the word APE?

“Thanks, Daniel, for an otherwise excellent puzzle,” Mary told her constructor. “You work has proven to be very utile to me.” This is something that Mary has said, exactly never, to Daniel or to anyone else, in any context. However, I guess when it comes to the world UTILE, RAYMON’S NO MARY.

RavTom 8:34 AM  

Good write up, Clare. Don’t let anyone scare you; just enjoy the experience.

Fun fact: while traveling, I learned that in Britispeak, “hangar” (54A) retains its original meaning as a warehouse at a port for any kind of cargo, whereas Americans have limited it only to a warehouse at an airport for PLANES. The British use that meaning as well, but it’s not the only one for them.

GILL I. 8:38 AM  

I would give this a clever rating. I say clever, because it's something I could never do. The grey cells don't look favorably towards anagrams.
I pretty much figured out the "trick" at MELISSA. Got stuck at the bottom because the only Love I know is Courtney. I had LEARNED in place so I had to do some mind melding to figure out DARLENE.
I loved LAUREN's tooth gap. My father had one and I always thought it kinda neat. If ever I have to have my two front teeth replaced, I'm gonna ask for a gap. Hey Howdie Doody has one! Sacre BLEU...
The clues for OREO just get better and better. And, yeah, cluing REX as our crossword blogger would be something else. For some strange reason, I don't think Will would go along.
When I saw AT BAR for that judge thing, I thought of lawyers at the BAR. In SFO, that's where they liked to hang out and talk lawyerly things over martinis.
You'll be a great lawyer, Clare.

JMajers 8:46 AM  


Anonymous 8:50 AM  

Originally read 21 year of law school. LOL

Nancy 9:02 AM  

I thought the singer was COURTNEY Love, not DARLENE Love.

I didn't know from THE OC (don't watch teen TV drama) nor from ORTHO (don't garden). And wasn't thrilled that these unknowns were positioned atop one another.

Nevertheless, can't complain about a Tuesday puzzle that 1) made me think and 2) had anagrams for me to figure out. Even though those anagrams were based on pop culture names. Certainly one of the hardest Tuesdays I've ever done.

Have a big nit -- already mentioned -- on FORTY. The "point" is always referred to as FORTY-LOVE or FORTY-FIVE or FORTY-THIRTY. There's no freestanding FORTY in tennis scoring. Just imagine: Serena asks the chair umpire "What's the correct score?" and the chair umpire says "You've got FORTY." Serena might continue, "Yes, but what does SHE have?"

The puzzle was more than a bit PPP-laden, but was crunchy and enjoyable nonetheless.

pmdm 9:07 AM  

mmorgan: I don't do puzzles, I don't play puzzles. I solve puzzles. And I agree with your point.

I'm not particularly fond of anagrams. I sometimes do the Jumbo puzzles. I can do pretty well with up to 5 letters. I admit that I also did not grasp the anagram element of the theme while I was solving the puzzle, but I don't care at all. And liking outliers, I applaud that only one of the theme answers used two words as the anagram element.

I am usually bad with names and had to discover the themes names through the down entries. Perhaps a sense of satisfaction at finishing the puzzle, but not entertaining.

Carola 9:10 AM  

Medium here, made up of an "easy" for the theme (I saw the anagramming with MELISSA and knew STELLA, LAUREN, and DARLENE) and a few non-themers that put ??? over my head (FIRSTS, FORTY, UNREELS, LAPEL) and slowed me down.

Some years ago I visited Zanesville, Ohio, and LEARNED the origin of its name: Ebenezer Zane (1747 – 1811). From Wikipedia:

"Following the war in 1796, Zane obtained permission and funds from the United States Congress to build a road through the Northwest Territory. In exchange for his work, Congress granted Zane tracts of land in the areas where the road intersected the Muskingum, Hocking, and Scioto rivers. When Zane's Trace was completed, it crossed what is now the state of Ohio from Wheeling, Virginia to Maysville, Kentucky. Although the road was a rudimentary path and at first suitable only for travel by foot or horseback (not by wagon), the state of Ohio undertook improvements in the early 19th century. It was the only major road in Ohio until the War of 1812. Zanesville, Ohio was named in his honor. Ebenezer Zane died of jaundice in 1811. He was a maternal ancestor of author Zane Grey, who was born in Zanesville."

@Hungry Mother, it was Wednesday here in Wisconsin, too.
@kitshef, thank you for the grid pairings.
@SusieQ, maybe it's just because Midwesterners keep track of tornado lore, but that's how I know Xenia, too.
@Clare, happy back to class!

SouthsideJohnny 9:21 AM  

I don’t know what the big fuss is about regarding 48 Across - there can only be two possible points before a win - FORTY and ADD IN. @Nancy - Forty-Thirty etc. is the SCORE before a win (the number of POINTS each player has). I believe your nit is Rex-like and unfounded, lol.

@Karen - In a best of 5 match, Federer beats Serena in straight sets, probably 2-2-2. Case Closed.

John Chamberlain 9:22 AM  

I’m with you on FORTY; at first, I considered DEUCE, for that reason.

Lewis 9:24 AM  

Random puzzle observations:
* Mini theme of double L's (8).
* Clever clue for LAPEL.
* I didn't catch the theme until a post-puzzle look, and am curious to see if my wife gets it before she finishes solving, as she does the Jumble puzzle every day.
* Enough bite to take me past rote-solve, always a gift on Tuesday. Thank you, Daniel.
* After Sam Ezerski's terrific clue -- [Opposite of a state of belief] -- on Saturday, its answer was still bouncing in my head today, and so I immediately wanted to put RACY on the tail end of THE OC.

Sir Hillary 9:28 AM  

I know many people dislike anagrams, but I enjoy them, so this was fun for me. The "female + adjective" consistency is good, and none of the adjectives are so silly as to be stretches. I usually subscribe to @REX's theory of "go all-the-way wacky or don't go at all" but that approach would have been out of place today.

-- OREO and SUR carry over from yesterday.
-- Enjoyed the governmental watchdogs next to one another.
-- Hand-up for ASSign before ASSORT.
-- Agree the clue for FORTY is clunky, albeit correct. Trivia: when written as a word, it's the only number whose letters are in alphabetical order.

Not very good, but best I can do to keep with the theme and the ongoing tennis:
2017 US Open champ Stephens is in excellent condition *


pabloinnh 9:30 AM  

Oye GILL I.--

That space between front teeth is called a diastema, which I have yet to see in a crossword puzzle, but do see every day in the mirror.

Z 9:31 AM  

Figured it out early. Interesting use of the pivotal ‘S. As anagram based puzzles go this was the least offensive.

@Karen - Navatrilova? Althea Gibson? Laver?

@anon7:54 - Not so much.

@mmorgan - I’m fine with”play.” It’s an entertainment. Sometimes the Saturday Stumper might feel like work, but it’s still just a game.

@davidm - I’ve been imagining Batman reaching into his usefulity belt. Granted, the kind of person who uses UTILE is probably the kind of person who spells it “all right,” but it takes all kinds.

No problem with the FORTY clue. I see @Nancy’s point, which is true in every sport except for one case in baseball (middle of the first), but the clue is wiggly enough to imagine a, “What’s your score before you win?” type situation.

Odd and OHIO are pretty much synonymous for this Michigander. A major university trying to trademark “The” is just the latest in oddness, so no problem with the clue.

@Roo late yesterday- Now I want to be buried in a Leisure Suit with a purple Pacer as my casket.

Rita 9:33 AM  

CLARESCLEAR got a big smile from me. Thanks for that. :-)

xyz 9:33 AM  

Constructor tried several times too hard to be clever. I am also not a fan of anagrams, yet a halfway decent puzzle despite including OREO. I really don't like Oreos, incredibly disgusting.

Dorothy Biggs 9:35 AM  

I had "ad-out" before FORTY. "Tennis point before a win, maybe"...only if the other guy doesn't have forty also. I guess that's the "maybe" part of the clue?

My response to the themers and anagrams in general: "Sure, okay." If you say so. Whatever. Too much work. And I move on. I will say that I favor anagrams over puns. I don't hate anagrams as much as I tolerate them, but I hate puns.

I liked the new way to clue OREO...very meta.

mbr 9:37 AM  

@kitshef @GILL.I @Nancy:
Darlene Love was on The Late Show with David Letterman every Christmas:

Those of us of a certain age know her from the 60's :-)

Nancy 9:43 AM  

Sorry, @Southside Johnny (9:21), but you're wrong.

Question: "When precisely was the match halted by the rain delay?"

Answer: "It was after the 40-15 point of the 2-all game of the 2nd set."

Not "It was after the 40 point..."

As you would say, case closed.

Dan Miller 9:46 AM  

What was going on with EVEN BETTER? That cluing ("Still preferable") feels flat out wrong to me; should have been edited. Aside from that, I enjoyed the puzzle a lot--good fill and a fun theme, though I too wanted Courtney Love. Never heard of Darlene.

Rita 9:50 AM  

@Gill I
If you haven’t seen Les Blanks short documentary “Gap-toothed Women” you should try to track down a copy.

David 10:25 AM  

Put me in the Courtney not Darlene camp. Also in the I don't "play" a crossword. I play a few instruments, I've played some softball and futbol, never played a crossword.

I also don't usually like anagrams, but somehow they worked fine for me in the puzzle.

Thanks for the great clue on "oreo," but now you can never use "the most overused instrument in the NYT crossword." [People who play them also do the NYT puzzles.]

11D wins for most perplexing clue ever, maybe the original clue was "more preferable" and the editor changed it?

Found this one fun and breezy; maybe it's the nicer weather affecting my brain.

Ohio, Iowa, or Utah? I've actually heard of Zanesville and somehow had it attached to the correct state. Odd what detritus is up there in the attic.

Claire, you'll do fine, and well. Keep it up.

jberg 10:33 AM  

Every day David Gillespie, a retired political scientist like me, posts a picture of some well-known person as a child on his Facebook page, along with some facts about that person, and asks his friends to guess who it is. I never see it until the next day, when 50 people have posted the answer already -- but yesterday's was MELISS McCarthy (49th). That helped a lot, as I wasn't familiar with her before that. I was looking for an alliterative theme, such as MELISSA meanders," but it quickly became clear that this was an anagram. Knowing that helped tremendously with the other theme answers -- once you had the name, you could figure out the adjective. It was fun doing that, though, and a fun, fresh puzzle in general.

Speaking of being a retired professor, the thought of TAS made me a bit jealous, since I never had one in 42 years of teaching.

I've never seen THE OC, and sincerely believed there might be a show named THEO C.; but somehow I realized that I'd heard of the show, though I thought the initials must be Original [something] Compton, maybe? But no, it's Orange County, at the other end of the social spectrum. Live and learn.

Clare, thanks for the interesting write-up!

RooMonster 10:44 AM  

Hey All !
Have to admit I didn't see the anagrams, although I did know something was afoot. Saw similar letters, but the ole brain refused to get to anagrams.

Also stuck on Courtney Love, messing up the SW for a bit. And having rAS for TAS. That GEO not helping things. But, cottoned to TOPDOG, and got the Happy Music. I'm usually off work on Tuesdays, so I have successfully solved 8 TuesPuzs in a row! Have to humblebrag now, as next week might end the streak.

Fill pretty good. Seemed to be a bunch of POCs as I solved, but too lazy now to go back and check. Anoa?

So an overall nice TuesPuz to start the day.

RooMonsters Moron Store

Linda 11:11 AM  

Cmon, Serena is best of all time. Roger may be best man to ever play tennis though.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

It's been ages since I've seen/heard it during a tennis match, but the fact is the scoring goes as such:

See the pattern?

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Thanks to Daniel Raymon, for the clue for 2d! It made my week.

GILL I. 11:47 AM  

@pablito...My Dad could spit water through his gap; I think the furthest squirt was across the room. He knew how to entertain us children. Can you top that?
Hey @Rita. That was fun...thanks! I just watched a clip on BuzzFeed. So now I know that women with gapped teeth are considered sexy and desirable. Cute. LAUREN is a star!

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

the Roger/Serena meme that he would beat her in 3 straight sets misses the point. men only play 5 set matches in Majors (I think, in any case, not often). she serves nearly as fast as any man. the only argument for Roger is that he's had a couple of nemeses over his career, while she hasn't been pushed quite so much. not saying I buy that argument, but it exists.

CDilly52 11:57 AM  

While I wish the anagram could ha e been more truly descriptive of the person whose name it also can reveal, the cleverness quotient (that’s a CDilly phrase I invented in 1972 and my husband and I used to describe a well done theme or a host of great wordplay. As in, “it was a bit clunky in places but had a great CQ.” This one had a moderately high CQ. Not so much great wordplay but the theme kept me guessing until STELLASALLSET. I think my eye “saw” that o e and told my brain to pay attention. After that, the remainder of the white squares found their letters readily.

And Clare, the goal of your 2L year is to teach you how to work long, thankless hours under the pressure of ridiculous deadlines. Once you understand that, you’re home free. Since you made it to the 2L year, you have learned the two most important things about law school: 1. How to study for law school exams; 2. How to take and pass said exams. No matter what your practice will be, ridiculous deadlines are a given most often because the deadlines are typically established by external forces over which or whom you have zero control. Hang in, you can do it! And in 2L the next thing you learn is how to shorten the exam prep process so that in your 3L year you and your study group will be prepping over beers at your favorite spot and you will scoff at the vomiting 1Ls!! Best wishes from a 35 year veteran!!

Whatsername 12:01 PM  

This was just outstanding, best Tuesday in recent memory. But then I love anagrams, so I am sure I am biased in my opinion. Still it was just beautifully executed and provided a nice aha moment. I got the first two themes quickly and thought 33A/STELLA was the most clever of the four. Did not know any singer named Love other than Courtney which of course wouldn’t fit so had a little trouble there. Also, I don’t follow tennis so had a DNF in that little area. I have a vague understanding about how the points work but wouldn’t have gotten FORTY or UTNE at 39A if I had tried all day. Should have been able to figure it out with EUROS at 36D which was obvious but for some reason I just couldn’t see it. Despite those little annoyances, I thought this was just really clever. Thanks Daniel! Well done.

Taffy-Kun 12:03 PM  

Yes I posted on the same thing a few weeks back. It’s more important than playing!

Masked and Anonymous 12:23 PM  

"What's in a NAME?", indeed. Well posed, Juliet darlin.

MELISSA - yep.
STELLA -nope.
LAUREN - name sounds vaguely familiar.
DARLENE - yep.

Ergo, M&A was around 2.5 of 4, on knowin the themegals. Got the tougher names by anagrammin the other part of their theme answers, tho. Sooo … ok, then. Did burn a few extra TuesPuz nanoseconds, but that's ok by m&e -- Bring it, Shortzmeister. snort

staff weeject pick: VIS crossin VISTAS. Honrable mention to TAS not crossin VISTAS.

All M&A can say: watch out for Marrianne Williamson … MARIANNE's MIRE NAAN.
Don't even get m&e started, on DONALDTRUMP ...

Nice blog dissertation, Clear darlin. Study hard, party hard.

OLD RANT DUMP? … TURD MOLD PAN? Man, this long stuff is hard to do in yer head …

Thanx for all them mixed up ladies, Mr. Raymon. And nice NAME drop. Twas almost unreel.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Joe Dipinto 12:27 PM  

Bank's... party members, out west?

...rules for Tiger Woods?

...male employees get tall?

...and many more!

The anagrams themselves are fine. Hate the self-referential clue at 2d, hate the clue for 9d (it could have ended with "Zanesville", but WS has to pile on inane trivia whenever possible). @Dan Miller -- yes the 11d clue is seriously off, it should be "still more preferable". No opera clue for SILLS, but hey, she wasn't a "Star Wars" character.

Oh, and The Owl is the name of my high school newspaper.

'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp

Unknown 12:46 PM  

45? No, that's not true.

RacketMan 12:49 PM  

@SouthsideJohnny. I believe you are correct about the tennis score clue. I would add though, that AD OUT is a third possibility for point before a win. The winner breaks serve to win. If AD IN is the point before a win the winner would be the server.

As for who's best? Well, there are many variables and there is never a definitive answer to these things, whether it's tennis players, hockey teams, or actors.

Unknown 12:50 PM  

Ive been practicing for 25 years, and I never hear "at bar." And I'm in court a lot.

Unknown 12:51 PM  

Could someone explain lapel? I got it, but dont "get" it.

Unknown 12:52 PM  

Law school has very little to do with the actual practice of law.

Teedmn 1:17 PM  

Somewhere betweem AIMLESS and ALL SET, I saw the anagrams. I've become EVEN BETTER at them in the last few years, and also more fond, but I'm still not great at them so bring 'em on.

No write-overs today - a bit slow for a Tuesday and no over-sized grid to blame. I could use another FORTY winks - I'm a bit SPACY.

Nice job, Daniel Raymon.

NO SPOILERS: All y'all who mentioned how hard the Saturday Stumper was, you were right. I spent close on 3 hours, off and on, with a few breaks. I think the NW alone, my last solving spot, took half that time. I recommend it to everyone who loves tough themeless puzzles!

Unknown 1:19 PM  

They're not lying about 2L, especially if you're on journal. Enjoy!

This one took me much longer than it should have. Somehow managed "sublime" instead of "unreal", which led to some wrong fill (BIGGAME, KILOS) in the center that cost me several minutes. But hey, at least I'm not in law school anymore!

tea73 2:14 PM  

For once the theme helped me as I could see that CouRtney was not going to work with the letters I had on the right hand side. Luckily I remembered DARLENE from 20 Feet from Stardom - a great documentary. Loved the OREO clue.

I'm not a huge anagram fan, but I liked these. Here's one: Kerrigan is astute.

Nancy's canny.

Seth 2:23 PM  

Maybe it's my DC bias, but I see a lot of people wearing lapel pins around town.

Newboy 2:35 PM  

@UNKNOWN question: LAPEL is the point on one’s suit jacket where jingoistic sorts pin their flag? Puzzle was too PPP for real fun, but I never see anagrams until my wife explains them; on the other hand her 20 years in florist shops meant that SEPAL & STEMS were gimme entries. Thanks Clair for a nice guest commentary & best wishes for a successful academic journey.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  
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pabloinnh 2:43 PM  

Hola GILLI I.--

I'm not a spitter, more of a whistler, so your Dad wins that one.

Also, I'm still waiting for gap-toothed men to be described as "sexy and desirable".

john towle 3:45 PM  

The randy Wyfe of Bath had gap teeth viz. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.



GILL I. 3:46 PM  

But @pablo..they are. Just look at Howdy Doody. Or...if you want to really get picky, my money goes to Michael Strahan - maybe even David Letterman before he get that stupid beard! :-)

Larry D 4:07 PM  

Though there were only 20 or so PPPs, I thought a count would turn up at least 30. As an anagram fan, I enjoyed the puz, but didn’t get it until I’d finished the solve.

choochoo 62 5:03 PM  

It is remarkable to me how many crossword solvers do not like anagrams and have never heard of Darlene Love.

Z 5:18 PM  

@Larry D - I counted 24, or 32%, just below my standard cot-off for being excessive. Having 4 of the 24 being themers means it feels like more.

Here's my list of PPP

EVA Peron
Edgar Allen POE
UTNE Reader
What's in a NAME (Shakespeare CLue)
EXAMS (Harry Potter clue)

48 HRS
NAT Turner
ANNA Karenina
REX (Toy Story clue)

Myuen88 12:06 AM  

I work for a sitting judge. Quite often "at bar" appears in written briefs. Most commonly: "The case at bar..." and "The issue at bar..." I think it's stilted phrase, but after a while you stop noticing.

Monty Boy 12:14 AM  

I liked this one, even though I don't do well with anagrams. Once I got there anagram from the crosses, I used that knowledge to check the entire long across.

Regarding Zanesville and Ohio, I recommend David McCullough's The Pioneers, recently published. Great story about the opening of the Northwest from about 1790 to 1840. Lots of good stuff as usual for DM.

a.corn 2:40 AM  

Nice write up! I really liked this puzzle. It could be because I started solving while passing out on Monday night, bagged it after fumbling around for a minute and a half, then picked it back up and the anagrams gave me an “aha” moment- and then just fell right in. Fun. Chewy. Also BUD and SILLS with the mini floral theme. P sure it’s Durag and not DORAG tho...

P Ames 9:09 AM  

Agree totally on ‘forty’. I initially thought add in
The clue is worded wrong

SJPBrooklyn 5:00 PM  

Xenia/Zanesville was the first clue I filled in. A visit to Xenia when I was ten put me 2 degrees of separation from the Wright Brothers. When I was 12 or 13 (in the 1950s) my father got an MSW degree at Ohio State. For his masters thesis he did a survey of Ohio "Old Age Homes" as they were called then. One weekend he took me to Xenia where we met a 90 year old man who had watched the Wright Brothers experiment with prototype airplanes in Dayton fields before Kitty Hawk.

spacecraft 11:34 AM  

I generally don't like grids with fifteens, because they tend to create choppiness and a myriad of threes (24 in this case!), but this one was kinda fun. I glommed onto the theme right away, so was never "AIMLESS." Still there were enough sticking points to warrant an easy-medium rating. Took a while to see THEOC; I vaguely heard of it but never watched it.

It's nice to see that STELLA has a FELLA, and they're crossing. DOD is the UNREAL LAUREN Hutton, SPACY teeth and all. Speaking of, how can I not give this a birdie: it's got my NAME!

Burma Shave 12:49 PM  


ASSORT of TRAINEE, but yet,
I'll OFFER something EVENBETTER -


rondo 1:04 PM  

Got the anagram thing on the FIRST themer, after some consideration that *Jenny* McCarthy is more of a personality than actress. Probably more AIMLESS, though.

Couldn't miss @SPACY there, and he beat me to my favorite gap-tooth yeah baby, LAUREN Hutton..

Gotta be one of the BETTER Tuesday puzzles they've had to OFFER.

rondo 2:22 PM  

And . . . it was on my birthday.

leftcoast 3:12 PM  

Another clever and not-so-easy early-week puzzle.

Didn't get around to deciphering the anagrams, though, thinking the themers as they were, were enough. Crossing of LAUREN'S UNREAL with UNREEL had me looking in another direction. Distracted less by tennis's LET and FORTY. Besides, DARLENE'S LEARNED was enough of a challenger itself. Was thinking Courtney, as in the clue's "Love". (Tennis, anyone?)

Hesitated a bit over omission of "abbr." in the clue for "48 HRS", but saw why, as it's the movie's title. Liked I DO for "pair of promises".

Altogether an enjoyable solve.

rainforest 4:21 PM  

I'm neutral on anagrams although I'm pretty good at unscrambling them. I got the theme at the first themer because I knew MELISSA. I didn't know the other three women and so had to anagram the adjective in each case. Call that a feature.

Sorting out the SW was a slowdown for me until I got WELLS FARGO (hey, I'm Canadian), but SPACY (sp? was a snap, and a nice shout-out to our confrere.

Regarding the tennis point discussion, I say the clue is correct. A player must reach FORTY before winning. Whether it is 40-love, 40-15, 40-30 is immaterial, and the 40 is the point just before winning. Anyway, golf is easier to score: bogey, bogey, bogey.
I liked this puzzle.

rainforest 5:12 PM  

Hey! A belated Happy Birthday, @rondo.

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