Marvel hero who manipulates weather / THU 9-26-19 / Mid-March shout / Famed firefighter Red / Pluck idly as harp / Rival of Pac-12 Cougar / Band with 1970s-'80s hits "Sexy Eyes" and "Only Sixteen" / Singers Evans and Bareilles / 1985 Phil Collins hit with improvised title

Thursday, September 26, 2019

*********NOTE: the puzzle in the actual paper (at least the one that came to our door this morning) is a different puzzle from the one released online, and as of now, I have no idea why************

*********NOTE TWO: I have to go to work so if you got the Randolph Ross puzzle in your Thursday paper, and not the Doug Peterson puzzle, well that is just bad luck for you on I'm guessing at least two levels************



Constructor: Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Easy (very very) (untimed on clipboard, but I hesitated exactly once during the entire solve)

THEME: ENGAGEMENT (RING) (61A: It's usually presented in a small box, as seen six times in this puzzle's answer) ("answer," singular??) — six RINGs appear in six (small) boxes in the grid (the *grid*, not the "answer," what the heck?)

Theme answers:
  • BRINGS INTO PLAY (17A: Employs) / SYRINGE (2D: Hypodermic)
  • RINGO STARR (25A: "Yellow Submarine" vocalist) / ALLURING (8D: Seductive)
  • CRINGEWORTHY (32A: Extremely awkward) / PRINGLE (27D: Snack in a stack)
  • PULLS STRINGS (42A: Exerts one's clout) / PARINGS (35D: Discarded parts of apples and potatoes)
  • ERIN GO BRAGH!  (53A: Mid-March shout)/ WRING OUT (50D: Dry, as a washcloth)
Word of the Day: THRUM (30D: Pluck idly, as a harp) —

1to sound with a monotonous hum

2to play or pluck a stringed instrument idly STRUM

1to play (something, such as a stringed instrument) in an idle or relaxed manner

2to recite tiresomely or monotonously (
• • •

Well this was a roller-coaster ride. Hmm. That may not be the best metaphor. It was very easy and over quickly, so it never went up and down and all over the place difficulty-wise, but quality-wise, hoo boy. Doug is a good friend of mine, and his puzzles are generally stellar; his Newsday Saturday Stumper puzzles, both solo and with Brad Wilber (under the pseudonym "Lars G. Doubleday") are really wonderful (if you're not doing the Saturday Stumper, you should get on that—*by far* the hardest puzzle of any given week; makes the NYT Saturday seem like a Monday). I don't see his byline nearly as often in the NYT as I would like, so I was excited today. And the theme works really well, I think. OK, sure, the boxes are actually normal-sized and it's the RING that has been made "small," but I think that visually, the gimmick works very well. But some of this fill, a surprising lot of this fill, is C(RING)EWORTHY (which is, ironically, a great word—you're really just gonna hand me this word, Doug? OK... :)

I opened with ISPS / ICBM, which ... didn't bode well. Throw in PSST and you've got a crosswordese-laden corner, right off the bat. And now, here comes the roller-coaster ... up and down ... I've got smiley faces and frowny faces *all* over this grid. AZO, THO :( "SUSSUDIO" KINDA SORTA :) :) UTE ADAIR NOES OPE :( :( CRINGEWORTHY DR. HOOK :) :) plural YALES *and* plural SARAS :( :( MEATCASE TWOSOME :) ONEA SASE SNO STR :( ... I was happy one second, and then practically shouting "Noooo!" the next (not actually shouting, as I was solving in the middle of the night and my wife and dog would likely not have appreciated it). Back-to-back IDAs! That's neat. But yeesh, all over the map, this one was. Overall I have good feelings about this one because the theme is so solid and *some* of the fill is so wonderful. I'll chalk the not-so-great fill up to the theme density (six rings!).

People are gonna be mad about 22D: Rival of a Pac-12 Cougar because the UTEs are (I think?) more likely to be thought of as rivals of the BYU Cougars (who are not in the Pac-12), than of the Washington State Cougars (who are). Not sure if the clue was trying to be tricky or clever or what, but it comes off confusing and awkward. I honestly didn't notice the clue much. Blah blah college athlete three letters starts with "U" no problem. Puzzled much more (but not much more) over USC (40D: Sch. whose mascot is a horse named Traveler). The only answer in this puzzle that slowed me down in any way was THRUM. This is because I came at it from below, and so if there's plucking and the answer is five letters ending -RUM ... you know, you pick STRUM, which is a word people actually use. I'm not mad at THRUM, though. I kinda (sorta) like it, as a word. And at least it provided a little resistance, unlike the rest of this puzzle, which was a cakewalk.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. just found out there's a back story to the puzzle (involving, not surprisingly, a marriage proposal).  You can read about it here.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 3:00 AM  

Well, there’s the rebus everyone’s been clamoring for. Easier than most rebuses (rebae?) but fun.

As an AK, my music knowledge and preferences pretty much stop at 1969 so I was certain SUSSUDIO couldn’t be right, and DR HOOK needed all the crosses. But, by HOOK or crook I SUSS(UDIO)ed out the answers.

chefwen 3:29 AM  

Thought the puzzle was a little easy for our “Tricky Thursday” but I had so much fun with it, I didn’t mind. Caught on early with E(ring)O BRAGH, and I was off looking for all the other RINGS. Kept saying to puzz partner O.K. three down, three to go, four down, two to go. By then he probably just wanted to slap me.

The back story, thank you Rex, brought tears to my eyes. So sweet.

Solverinserbia 3:33 AM  

KAL, IDA, SUSSUDIO, ADAIR. all that in the NE corner threatened to derail me, but somehow I guessed then. Awful, unfai corner. But I went golden in 21:21 and still have a chance to exceed last month's 19 goldens. I have 17 so far this month with a F, Sa, Su, M left.

Anonymous 4:14 AM  

Given the backstory, having AMANDA crossing both TWOSOME and ADORER was a nice touch. Though with EGG(o)S and HENs and HATCHERS and LABOR all here, one wonders if it will stay a TWOSOME for long. Congrats you two.

Teedmn 4:57 AM  

Bah, double DNF today with the crossing of a college team "name", UTE, with some made up song name, SUSSUDIO and NOES. I thought aTh, crossing NOhS was fine, giving SUSSaDIO. NOE, it wasn't.

And that was my last area to fill, even though I had started in the NE. I found the NW impossible to make any inroads, with that tricky SY[RING]E right at the start, and 1A's clue evoking "huh?" and 1D not helping with crosses.

I misinterpreted the clue for 65A thinking it was a TV channel. I could see a NDT channel, (NEIL Degrasse Tyson) but not a whole channel devoted to NEIL Patrick Harris, funny as he is. Oh, it's merely a TV show!

My favorite of the hidden RINGS was E[RING]O BRAH.

Thanks, Mr. Peterson, I enjoyed your Thursday puzzle.

Anonymous 5:50 AM  

I just finished the print newspaper version for 9-26-19 and it's a diffrent puzzle. No revealers, but it's by Randolph Ross. Total weirdness. What's up Will?

Lewis 6:04 AM  

A fun outing, and Doug, a big thank you for that. You are my official ringleader of the day.

It is difficult to find words for this theme where RING is actually embedded and not a tag-on at the end or a standalone word. And with the exception of ALLURING, PARING(S), and ENGAGEMENT RING, Doug's theme answers all do just that, making this theme quite tight.

Mind you, those three inf[r]ements didn't b[r] any sadness; indeed I did a handsp[r] at the end, and thought this puzzle was the me[r]ue on the pie.

kodak jenkins 6:40 AM  

sack in a tent?

I didn't enjoy this one and didn't find it nearly as easy as Rex. It felt really awkward and some of the clues were just not good.

Anonymous 6:40 AM  

Yeah, this is not the puzzle in my paper today.

Hungry Mother 6:52 AM  

Only drank a half cup of coffee duRING this one, but love any rebus and found this a lot of fun. My breakfast food doesn’t get a lot of play in the crosswords I do, so I’d like to see a bit of oatmeal once in a while.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

Not sure whether to comment on print version or online version. As Rex commented on online version, I'll go with that.

Got off to a blazing start and flew through the top third, getting the theme with my sixth entry (RINGO STARR).

Then slowed way, way down in the bottom of the grid. A bit of that was the symmetrical placement of rings 3 and 4, which made me believe the others would also be symmetrical.

Between the two tiers, pretty challenging overall for me. Surprised by all the "easy" ratings.

Man, I hated SUSSUDIO. Still do. Has to be one of my bottom-ten songs, along with Caribbean Queen, Loving You, Midnight at the Oasis, and that damn Kars for Kids jingle.

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

The 60A clue for COT (Sack in a tent) bothered me a lot. A cot isn’t a sack. It’s a frame. No.

Anonymous 7:32 AM  

Different puzzle in the print version of the Times. ???

OffTheGrid 7:35 AM  

Not a rebus ADORER but this one was KINDASORTA pretty good. It was hard LABOR initially. "Hey" with a ! seems the opposite of PSST(3D). 14A was elusive. A cyst can be anywhere.


Wm. C. 7:37 AM  

This is very confusing. My Boston-area has a 9/26/2019 puzzle by Randolph Ross, not the one in Rex's write-up. Anyone else with this?

DeeJay 7:39 AM  

I'm seeing the Randolf Ross in print as well.

pabloinnh 7:59 AM  

It's Thursday, it's a rebus, God's in his heaven, all's right with the world.

No immediate toehold but didn't have to browse very far before I was being asked "Who sang Yellow Submarine?", which is a total layup, and then ALLURING showed up, and the fun was to go on a quest for the rings, which was more like a walk in The Shire than a passage through the mines of Moira.

I don't research these things, but is this a first for CRINGEWORTHY? Great word. See also,

Thanks for a nice Thursday, DP. More on the smooth than the cruchy side, enjoyed it.

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

I did both the online puzzle and the print puzzle. Totally different. See other Anonymous comment. ?....

Nancy 8:07 AM  

I got the Randolph Ross puzzle. I had all sorts of interesting things to say about it, but no one will know what I'm talking about, so why bother?

QuasiMojo 8:23 AM  

"RING them bells ye heathen from the city that dreams
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries cross the valleys and streams
For they're deep and they're wide
And the world is on its side…" Bob Dylan

Hallelujah. Fun rebus and satisfying puzzle. Clever and engrossing. Too many names for me (but not IDA; I am one of her ADORERS), so I took a bit longer than I should have. I have no idea who Amanda Peet is but I remember the name from some other grid. Had DA HOOD before DR HOOK, whoever he or she be. Never heard of the two SARAs. Que Sara Sara. I thought the UTE was a car! Mercury Cougar etc.

I've never asked anyone to get engaged, although I did ask a girl once to marry me. No RINGS or rebuses involved. I was a bit tipsy. But my question is: Don't all rings come in a little box?

Loved Cringeworthy; Pulls Strings; brings into Play, etc. Altho I no longer want to Come Fly With ELAL. It's becoming like EGGO. Overused crosswordese. Has anyone here actually eaten one of those or bothered to put one in a toaster? Give me a bagel with a schmear any day or a lovely croissant slathered in marmalade. Which I am about to do.

I always thought THRUM had something to do with lightly tapping or drumming one's fingers. Not plucking.

"Never could carry a tune, never knew where to start
You came along when everything was wrong and put a song in my heart
Dear when you smiled at me, I heard a melody
It haunted me from the start
Something inside of me started a symphony
THRUM! Went the strings of my heart." Apologies to James F. Hanley.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

They are in little boxes even though they are normal sized. All crossword squares are little boxes.

Debra 8:56 AM  

Not so easy but very fun.

GILL I. 9:00 AM  

@kitshef...I hate SUSSUDIO as well. THO I love Phil Collins. My now husband and I had our first real date at Disneyland followed by a much needed real drink in a dive bar. Phil was playing in the background..."In the Air Tonight." That has to be the most romantic song on this planet. We were married a year later. AWWWW.
So Doug gives us an ENGAGEMENT RING and Phil's dumbest song on. At least he peppers it with ADORER. What else?
I don't start my puzzle with ISPS and follow it down with ICBM, you're gonna get a frown from me. I got the RING thing from RINGO STARR. Easy to sniff OUT. T hen, like @chefwen, I went on a count hunt. Oh, look....there's PRINGLE and KRINGLE.
Maybe Randall Ross' was funner? I like both constructors...this one not so much.

Sir Hillary 9:08 AM  

Screw me once, shame on you...Will!

I live in Westchester and read yesterday on a local website the story behind this puzzle, which was referred to in the article but not shown. Because Will lives in Westchester and the tournament was at his table tennis facility, I was hoping it would make its way into the NYT. It did of course, but not in the paper, owing to a foul-up of miniscule proportions in the scheme of life but of massive proportions in the scheme NYT puzzledom.

Instead, paper solvers like me got the Randolph Ross puzzle. I'll not spoil it for you online solvers other than to say you got the far better puzzle today.

Can you tell I'm pissed off?

Dorothy Biggs 9:15 AM  

The only real mess up I had was thinking that "Traveler" was the name of the mascot for UVA...after all, RELee's horse was named Traveler and he was from Virginia, sooooo...? I follow college football relatively closely, and I only have a vague recollection of a Trojan riding a horse at USC. He rides a horse, right? The only iconic horse and rider I can really think of is Renegade and Osceola who ride out during the openings of FSU games. I'm sure those animals are treated well (see also: Ralphie @ CU, Uga @ UGA, the horses for the Boomer Schooner, etc), but I can't help but think they'd rather be doing something else.

I confused DRjOhn with DRHOOK.

Pretty easy overall...and I like rebus happy Thursday.

gfrpeace 9:18 AM  

I did the puzzle in the paper. Almost quit after scanning the clues and seeing Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Days of Our Lives and Gilligan's Island all referred to, what is this, a TV guide puzzle? but I persisted and got it all. I think. I was hoping somebody here would tell me what a Grimalkin was.

davidm 9:22 AM  

I got the Ross puzzle, too -- I never do the puzzles online, it's strictly pen and paper for me. Two different puzzles? Weird! :-(

I'd be happy to discuss the Ross puzzle with @Nancy and others, though. :-)

kitshef 9:36 AM  

@gfrpeace - grimalkin is a very, very, old portmanteu. Originally of "gray" and "malkin" - literally a gray cat

PIX 9:37 AM  

@gfrpeace I totally agree with you but why did the newspaper have a different puzzle?

burtonkd 9:39 AM  

Make sure you follow the link from Rex - very heart warming. Doesn’t address it, but probably the reason for two different puzzles today.

I thought of cot immediately but ruled it out searching for a way to rebus sleeping bag into three squares;) I guess if you hit the sack in a tent, it could be on a cot...definitely a stretch.

RooMonster 9:44 AM  

Hey All !
I believe those with a land-based (Read: actual physical paper) subscription can get to todays puz by going to and create an account by putting in a user name and password to get to the puz.

I got the RING rebus one. Ala, this one Rex critiqued. Liked it. Took me a bit to find the RINGs, but overall it turned out easy-ish for me. I found it at CRINGEWORTHY of all places. Chuckled at the accounts of the counting of how many RINGs were found vs how many left, as I did the same thing!

AZO clued as ___dye was Icky. Did everyone throw TIE in there first? Yeah, me too. Just clue AZO as a type of dye. *Grumble*

Never heard of DR HOOK. Must've been slightly before my music listening years. Or they were two-hit wonders.

NOES - maybe. We do have (in English) goes, does (deer), foes, hoes (garden tools), toes, woes. But I still prefer NOS. I SAYS SOES.


Ed Rorie 9:52 AM  

“Sack” is old, but I would have thought not obscure, slang for “bed.” (it’s time to hit the sack.)

The “small box” is what the jewelry store puts the ring into when you buy it, as well a punnish term for the grid box, which is of course a normal grid box size but is in fact pretty small.

Zygotic 10:09 AM  

I have a particular distaste for the entire public marriage proposal phenomenon. What if they don’t want to say “yes?” They have now been put on the spot. I’m sorry, that’s not romance, it’s harassment. Personally, anytime someone imposes their private lives into the public space I’m rooting for a resounding, “NO!”

Otherwise, what Rex said.

I liked the print puzzle. Bizarre that it was a different puzzle, it’s a perfectly adequate Thursday puzzle with less problematic short fill.

Suzie Q 10:12 AM  

I had trouble getting my usual start and began in the SE, got the very easy revealer early, and kinda sorta spoiled any surprise. I still had some fun and I am a rebus fan.
It took forever to get that Phil Collins dumb song. My first guess was Abacab but that was too short. I did immediately recall Dr. Hook because of "Only Sixteen". Not a great song but evidently memorable.
As @ Dorothy B. wrote, Traveler was R.E. Lee's horse so that clue was no help to me. I was, however, expecting some uproar.
@ pabloinnh, I loved your LOTR analogy.
Cringeworthy was my favorite answer. Equating sack and cot was no problem for me. Hit the sack can mean any bed, not just a sleeping bag, so cot went right in.

Zygotic 10:17 AM  

FWIW - I also get the Times Digest every day, a 10 page pdf with top stories which includes the puzzle. It has the Peterson puzzle. I guess if you online solvers want the paper version you’re going to have to hurry to Starbucks and buy today’s paper.

Newboy 10:29 AM  

BR on that rebus. I’m KINDASORTA an ADORER of any constructor who BRS(one) INTOPLAY.

pmdm 10:31 AM  

I am still solving all the puzzles I missed while on vacation (I did not discontinue the paper delivery) but also am solving the current puzzles since I've been back. I emailed Shortz about the problem and his email reply was this.

"Ugh. Randy Ross's puzzle was originally slated for today. But on Monday we substituted Randy Ross' engagement puzzle, because of its timeliness.

But apparently that substitution didn't reach the people who lay out the print edition of the paper.

We'll find out what happened and make sure this sort of thing never happens again.

Very sorry."

What we seem to have here is a lack of communication.

I can't comment on today's puzzle because I haven't solved it. Not that I would have time, anyway.

Whatsername 10:37 AM  

Only one word when I got done with this one – bravo! Bravo Doug Peterson, for both a terrific crossword and the part you played in the backstory. To those reading here, if you have not done so, please take the time to follow the link which our blog host so thoughtfully provided and watch the video on the story behind this great puzzle. Not only will it bring you to tears of joy, but you might also see as I did, that Will Shortz is not the evil ogre that OFL sometimes makes him out to be.

Well obviously, I loved this. Very clever misdirect for 63A//HUE, and I bet I’m not the only one who had NUT in there to start. RINGO brought back ancient memories of junior high school when four BFFs and I did a Beatles impersonation act, and I was Ringo. We styled our hair like the Fab Four and wore our brothers’ black suits with skinny black ties. We even had Ed Sullivan to do the intro. Somehow we scrounged up three guitars and a drum set and lip synched before lip-synching was a thing. We made quite a name for ourselves and were actually asked to perform at a few community functions. Keep in mind it was a small farming community and there was little to choose from in the form of entertainment. Many years later we were asked to revive the act at an alumni gathering. Mercifully, the others all declined, and our children were spared the embarrassment of a reunion tour.

It’s been far too long since I had this much fun doing a crossword puzzle. Thanks again Doug.

David 10:59 AM  

This is the first time I'm posting before reading either the blog or the posts.

I really enjoyed this puzzle until the end. There is so much good in it.

Thrum is a great word. On tap or 1-A? fun. I didn't even mind the product placement for those cringeworthy pre-masticated potato-chip like snacks because it was all so fun AND they crossed. Cyst instead of acne! No Oreo or Oboe! Yay. Had UVN for a bit at 40D because, you know, Traveler.

I had "wring" at 50D for far too long because I thought that was an incredibly clever word to put in. So my joy diminished just a bit when it became part of wring out. But where I winced and said, "oh no," was when I finally accepted the NW because, I'm sorry, "inge" is not "ring." It just isn't. That deflated me.

I doubt I'm the first to say so.

jae 11:16 AM  

Easy medium. Fun, liked it. Delightful back story.

Carola 11:21 AM  

Another Randolph Ross puzzle-doer checking in from the Midwest. Not the Thursday twist I was expecting.

Joseph M 11:35 AM  

Instead of a boxing RING today, we get RING boxing.

Glad to have a rebus and loved CRINGEWORTHY as a themer. ERIN GO BRAGH ain’t bad either.

Lots to like in this puzzle that ushered in an actual wedding engagement. Hope the PARING of Brendan and AMANDA is a happy one.

KINDA SORTA tops my list of favorite fill.

So I guess I am an ADORER of this puzzle in spite of the SUSSUDIO ear worm that I must now live with for the rest of the day.

aslightrain 11:38 AM  

@Joaquin 3:00 AM -and anyone else who's interested- if 'rebus' were like 'cactus' or 'fungus' the plural would be 'rebi' but alas it is not. The word is borrowed directly from a Latin phrase in which 'rebus' is already plural and is inflected to express instrumentality, or to put it another way, it is in the ablative case. the full phrase was non verbis, sed rebus, 'not by words but by things.' Thus, as the Latin word is already plural, there is no Latin ending available to make the English word plural. The English plural, formed according to the regular rule for singular nouns ending in -s, is 'rebuses.'

This was a great puzzle, in my opinion. The only clue & answer pair I questioned was 63A Walnut or almond, say [hue]. I was familiar with walnut in this sense (which is the color of the wood of the walnut tree) but not almond. As it turns out, there are TWO shades referred to as almond, but neither is the color of the almond wood: it is the color of the almond either in its skin or without its skin.

jb129 12:13 PM  

This is referring to pmdm's response regarding the snafu with the Thursday puzzle.

First of all thank you for the info & for emailing Shortz.

To Shortz - better never happen again - remember most of us started on PAPER including you.

ghostoflectricity 12:26 PM  

While I'm at it, did it occur to Will Short, or Rex, or anyone else, that today (9/26/19) is the half-century anniversary of the release of "Abbey Road"? Perhaps one of the most landmark albums in rock history and recorded as the Fabs (as I call them) were quite aware they were on the verge of splitting and going their separate ways. Me, I'm a Stones fan first and last, always have been and always will be, but even I recognize/appreciate the importance of The Beatles final recorded full-length LP/swan song. Just saying.

Unknown 12:33 PM  

This is not today's puzzle

Joe Dipinto 12:40 PM  

I'm happy to discuss both the online version (which I didn't solve but looked at on XWord Info) and the print version.

Lots of musical issues. First, the marriage proposal. "Yellow Submarine" vocalist, eh? Well, Ringo also sang "I Wanna Be Your Man" on the "With The Beatles" album. Not as well known a song, but much more suited to the occasion. And "Only Sixteen" in the Dr. Hook clue? Why??? It's a song about falling in love with an underage girl. How romantic. How about "Sharing The Night Together" instead?

Then there's CYST, HARASS, SYRINGE, and all those esses at the ends of words, and the weird placement of the ring boxes. I do like the inclusion of CRINGEWORTHY.

The print puzzle is kindasorta better, but no rebuses. The theme clues and answers click well. We get a little plug for the NYT's own columnist Thomas Friedman. In general the fill is less patchy than the proposal puzzle's. MARLENA could have been clued as the Four Seasons song instead of as a soap opera character. Either one will seem obscure to most people, I guess.

Oh yeah, almost forgot -- Boston had a song AMANDA, that ended:

♪ And feelin' the way I do
I don't wanna wait my whole life through
To say I'm in love with you ♪


puzzlehoarder 12:58 PM  

I print out the puzzles off of the NYT website so I did the Doug Peterson puzzle last night. Until reading the 43 comments when I finally got around to visiting this blog I had no idea that the NYT had put out two different puzzles for the same day.

What stood out for me in regards to the Peterson puzzle was how unusually easy it was to solve. When SYRINGE wouldn't fit at 2D I briefly wrote in SHOT. All the other downs in that NW section supported METRIC at 20A. As soon as I checked the 14A clue and saw CYST I knew I was dealing with a RING rebus.

The rest of the puzzle was just as obvious as that NW section. I recall the Phil Collins lyrics as being "SU SU SUDIO" but the crosses made the actual spelling very clear. Likewise I would have no idea if it was SUDEO or SUDIO but ADAIR being a gimme made that a forgone conclusion.

This week Tue. through Thur. have all been easy compared to their normal averages but today it was especially so.

kitshef 1:16 PM  

Print solvers: Rex has posted an update as follows:

"... please send an email to and Customer Care will send you a free PDF of the correct puzzle by Doug Peterson".

jb129 1:17 PM  

What about Shortz and/or Rex posting the answers & comments to today's puzzle by Randall Ross - which should have ran today - & wasn't through no fault of loyal NYT PAPER subscribers?

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

Did anyone else have a different puzzle in the newspaper? Seems weird.

Masked and Anonymous 2:09 PM  

I got the Doug Peterson puz. It had a nice ring to it.
If The Shortzmeister can't run the R.Ross puz tomorrow now on account of spoilage, M&A hereby offers to supply him with a real nice runtpuz, as a substitute...

Fillins, as @RP said, were kindasorta shaky …
Patrick Berry Usage Immunity noes: ISPS. AZO. THO. OPE. YALES. SARAS. ONEA. SASE. STR.
Personally, tho -- I got nuthin against THO. Or AZO or SASE. On the fence, on OPE.
Patrick Berry Usage Immunity yessirs: ICBM. PSST. UTE. ADAIR. NOES! SNO.

fave longball fillins: PEASHOOTER. KINDASORTA. MEATCASE. AMANDA (of ring-acceptin fame). DRHOOK [A dook with an RH-factor].
Didn't know: SUSSUDIO. Either of them SARAS. Not sure about THRUM, but it kindasorta sounds vaguely familiar. Nuthin there that really trashed our solvequest's nanoseconds, tho.

staff weeject pick: STR. Better clue: {Where techs wring out their peashooter??}.

Thanx for the fun and easy rebus puz, Mr. Peterson. We accept yer kindasorta proposal.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Anoa Bob 2:09 PM  

Even though it may get me taken off a few Christmas card lists, I gotta say I'm not a fan of so-called rebus puzzles. What's the point. It's not really a rebus puzzle anyway. It's a verbis puzzle (thanks @aslightrain), right? Instead of one letter in a square, you just cram multiple letters into one space. Big deal. There, I feel unburdened.

So I go looking for something ELSE to win me over. SAYSSO crossing SUSUDIO? Nope. 60's oil well fire fighter Red ADAIR. Nah. OPE, KAL, AZO? NOES to those. And enough Ss (25) in the grid to be CRINGEWORTHY, even THO we only get one PRINGLE. I guess it's ironic that my favorite entry was CRINGEWORTHY.

Frantic Sloth 3:33 PM  

Anonymous said...
"Given the backstory, having AMANDA crossing both TWOSOME and ADORER was a nice touch."
Since I usually miss these little puzzle Easter eggs, I was happy to read this comment. Revisiting that section, I decided they honeymooned in Hawaii (HULA) and Mr. McGrady's ethnic background might be Irish (E[RING]OBRAGH), and the more obvious ENGAGEMENT[RING]. I was still patting myself on the back when I ran into LASER. Guess I'll just stick to solving.

johnk 3:42 PM  

The print edition is the REAL New York Times. And the R. Ross was a real Thursday puzzle.

johnk 3:47 PM  

The print paper has the real puzzle, because the print edition is the real NYT. So actually, the online verion is clearly a screwup. And you online types are paying extra for the screwup.

jberg 4:03 PM  

It's interesting to see how many people come here and comment without looking at what @Rex said first. That's OK, but if you do that then you should probably hold off on asking questions that he has probably answered -- do like @Nancy, go ahead and post and then go back and read.

I don't subscribe to the online puzzle, since I subscribe to the paper anyway, and it's included free with that. So I labored away over the Ross puzzle, which has its own (weirder) gimmick, and came here eager to read what Rex had to say about it. No luck, but at least I learned how to get the correct one; which appeared pretty quickly in response to my email. I guess it was more fun, but I liked them both. Nice variation on how the RINGs work -- pronounced differently, spread across different words, very neat job.

When you hit the sacl you are going to bed -- and if you do so in a tent that has a COT in it, then that cot is the sack. The COT clues always give me pause, because the tents I am used to are for backpackers, where you sleep on an air mattress or pad on the floor. But we had one of the other kind when I was 11. My parents decided we should be a camping family, so they bought a big canvas tent, a folding table, some cots, etc., and took us all to the Great Smoky Mountains, a three-day drive. The first or second day there, they (not I) were awakened by a black bear outside the tent that was batting around the metal camp refrigerator, trying to get at the food inside. It finally gave up and wandered away, upon which my mother turned to my father and said "You know we're going home tomorrow, don't you." From then on, I did all my camping with the Boy Scouts.

OffTheGrid 5:13 PM  

There is only a "RING" in 4 of the theme answers. One is RINj. One is (e)RIN G(o). So the real theme is Four letters in a box. R-I-N-G. Still pretty good but tainted.

Beth A 5:25 PM  

Does anyone else use the Puzzazz app to solve the puzzle on iPad? This puzzle is absolutely adorable in it!

Andrew 8:11 PM  

Just finished the Ross puzzle in the paper. Phew! It was tough (for me, anyway). Only thing I didn’t like was a Chinese word crossing an Italian word. Luckily, I guessed correctly.

Adam F 9:23 PM  

I got the Doug Peterson puzzle in the printed paper this morning. Nice. ARR for STR and PULLS RANK before PULLS STRINGS (got that with ELSE and KINDA SORTA).

AZO? What the hell is that?

Generally agree with @Rex on this one.

Freddy Murcks 11:11 PM  

I know that you're a supersolver and all, but that was not easy. Not even a little bit. Generally speaking, however, I hate themed puzzles and I always struggle with figuring out the theme. A themeless Friday or Saturday is easier for me than a themed Thursday.

GHarris 8:18 AM  

Weirdly,, I ‘m posting my comment at 8:12 AM following someone’ 11:11PM comment. Peeked at the revealer early in the solve and immediately got the ring which gave me Ringo and led to a generally easy and enjoyable trip.

What? 11:26 AM  

The paper puzzle I have is by Peterson. What’s going on?
Maybe part of the mixup is that this was not supposed to be a Thursday- way too easy for that.
Whenever I do a rebus puzzle, I note where I first noticed the conceit. For me it was SYRINGE. The rest was fast and easy, more like a Monday (except, I guess for people who had never seen a rebus puzzle before).

What? 11:36 AM  

Starbucks has stopped carrying newspapers. A bummer since it was my go to when my delivery person took day off.

rondo 9:39 AM  

Mostly easy after finding RINGOSTARR, except the north where I had tie (not AZO) dye and skiS before RAPS, right next to each other for an inkfest there.

I saw DR.HOOK live and in person c. 1974 when they still went by DR.HOOK and the Medicine Show, which was about a year after they got on the cover of the ROLLING Stone. But everybody just called them DR.HOOK. One of my faves, Shel Silverstein, wrote a bunch of their hit songs.

Pick either of the singing SARAS and you’ll end up with a yeah baby.

KINDASORTA ACED it, but could do without another rebus.

Burma Shave 10:34 AM  


THO not CRINGEWORTHY nor gruesome,


spacecraft 10:57 AM  

Well, not so all-fired easy at the Space station. Had no clue about 1a, to start with, and really: SUSSUDIO?? Forced in by crosses, this beaut would never have come to me, as I took great pains to avoid hearing Phil Collins at any cost; still do.

Hand up for stRUM; that one almost put me through the w[ring]er. I agree about the spotty fill, but the theme and execution was top shelf. Wanted PULLS rank until seeing that one of the rebi was there. Googles a lot better than PULLSST[ring]S. DOD is one of the HATCHERS, namely Teri. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 12:00 PM  

Let me be the 101th to say that, for a rebium, this had a good RING to it. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

Lady Di, of the waiting variety

WilsonCPU 1:05 PM  

No. A COT is not a SACK. It is a platform on which a sack, or sleeping bag, or whatever, can be placed.
If you “hit the sack”, you go to bed. Which MAY be composed of a COT plus something else, but is not likely to be a COT by itself.
That would be chilly sleeping! And clearly, you cannot slide yourself into a cot, and a sack, by definition, is shaped for sliding things into.
Boo. Sloppy, lazy, and unnecessary!

rainforest 1:51 PM  

THO a rebus, I KINDA SORTA liked it.

Only hangup was writing in PULLS rank before checking the crosses.

Interesting, but reinforcing, to see @Rex reveal his bias up there.

WilsonCPU 2:46 PM  

(Sorry if this is a duplicate, but the page glitched in the middle and seemed to lose my comment.)
No, a COT is not a SACK. A “sack” can be slid into. A “cot” is a flat surface. Just like a sleeping bag is not the same as a box spring. Both can be components of a bed, but they are different.
How about “a rack in a tent?” A “rack” can be a platform, OR slang for the whole bed, in the Army.
In any case, NO to this clue. Bad, lazy, unnecessary. Boo.

leftcoast 3:48 PM  

I like rebuses, and this one was especially entertaining.

RINGOSTARR exposed the theme early on as did the ENGAGEMENTRING revealer. Getting the rest of the RINGs in place was not really "easy, easy", THO knowing what to look for was definitely helpful.

Liked the rhyming pair of PRINGLE/KRINGLE and SYRINGE/CRINGE[WORTHY].

Wanted stRUM before THRUM, resisted RAPS longer than necessary, and was slow to get the Z in the AZO/AZALEA cross. As for NEIL, who?

Anonymous 6:54 PM  

Neil Patrick Harris, methinks.

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