Mythical hunter turned into stag / SUN 9-1-19 / Archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean / Oscar nominee for Gone Baby Gone 2007 / Program starting with the fifth year of college, informally / Bygone car model anagram GRANITE / Spanish phrase meaning enough is enough / Cleaning for military inspection / Foreign capital designed by two Americans

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Constructor: Finn Vigeland

Relative difficulty: Challenging (at least as I solved it, i.e. NOT on paper) (11:33)

THEME: "That's a Tall Order" — four orders (to a dog) are "tall" in this one, i.e. they are composed of letters that are two boxes tall (you can't tell this from my grid because UGH my grid (from AcrossLite) can't deal with this particular feature—doesn't look like the app can handle it either???)

Theme answers:
  • BASTAYA (???!?!?!?!) over JAMES TAYLOR (for STAY)
Word of the Day: ¡ BASTA YA ! (73A: Spanish phrase meaning "Enough is enough!") —
¡Ya basta! is a phrase in Spanish roughly approximate to "Enough is enough!" or "Enough already!" in English. It has been adopted by several Latin American insurgent groups as an expression of affront towards issues that sparked the original dissent. Its adoption by the EZLN in Mexicoas the movement's motto is exemplary of its popularity and ability to rally diverse ideologies under a common goal. Grammatically, there's little difference between ¡Basta ya! and ¡Ya basta!, and both are correct. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well this seems like a cool theme but the software I use couldn't replicate it and since I never read the "Note" (they often give away too much info for my tastes, and also they take *time* to read tick tick tick), I just thought that the bottom themer in each instance was supposed to leap up and join the top themer for the length of the circled squares, leaving squares blank for reasons I couldn't fathom. So when I finished, the themers all looked something like this:

I went on to the NYTXW website, and there too, the whole "tall" thing (with single cells for answers on two different levels) was not replicated. It's a cute joke, but it sucks when your own tech can't deliver the product in a way where the joke has a chance to land.
Beyond the theme, there seemed to be a lot of (to me) pretty obscure stuff—both stuff I knew (the Acura INTEGRA—why in the world is "Acura" not in that clue!?!? (99A: Bygone car model that's an anagram of GRANITE); ACTAEON; ENJAMBMENT (45D: Flow of one line of a verse to the next without a pause) and stuff I did Not know (AMY RYAN—never heard of her, don't remember "Gone Baby Gone," whiffs all around (4D: Oscar nominee for "Gone Baby Gone," 2007); COMOROS—LOL literally no idea this was a place (34A: Archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean); GLUTENIN—if you say so ... (97A: Protein in Wheaties); and especially POSTBAC, which I'm told is a reasonably common program for picking up prereqs for a grad program you didn't get in undergrad, but I've somehow never heard the term before. Worse, the clue is a bleeping mess) (16D: Program starting with the fifth year of college, informally). Because of the technical issues with the theme, and all the longer mystery stuff, this played way harder than most Sundays have been playing for me lately. Oh, I think I like CATCAFE (111A: Establishment such as Crumbs and Whiskers or KitTea (both real!)). And I know I love dogs (and obedience!) so I should've had more fun solving this. I just didn't. I was irritated most of the time. ¡BASTA YA! (which, btw, is too long of a foreign phrase, imo) (and yet another answer I'd never heard of)

["Me and Rex took the car, / ha, ha, stay home... stay"]

Not sure why, but the clue on HAE Min Lee is bugging me slightly (33A: ___ Min Lee, victim in the podcast "Serial"). "Victim" just seems a harsh way to sum up a life. I know that that is how anyone knows her, but still ... something about that clue feels vulturish, or at least callous. Further, "victim in the podcast 'Serial'" almost makes her sound fictional. I'm *not offended*—it's just not sitting well, that clue. The long themers are all solid to Very interesting. I particularly like JALISCO, MEXICO even though (uggggh) I wrote in TABASCO, MEXICO at first (Tabasco *is* a Mexican state, just not a [State bordering the Pacific]). The most irksome part of the grid was dead center and featured a bunch of three-letter answers that made no sense to me. WOO is a [Modern cousin of "Yay!"]?? Like, online? Like, how modern? Like ... that sound is ambiguous to me, esp. as written. I can definitely *hear* it, but seeing it is ... weird. Just didn't compute. WOW clue also didn't compute (57D: Stun). I get it now. But honestly even with -OW I was like "......... POW?" And then MOW, yeeesh (56A: Charge (through)). Those two verbs imply different outcomes to me, with MOW specifically meaning knocking down. If you charge through, maybe something/one gets knocked down, maybe not. So MOW to WOW to WOO were all tough, instead of what 3-letter answers tend to be, i.e. easy. GI'ING? Sigh. I'm sure it's in a dictionary somewhere, but (again) (for like the 6th time today) I've never heard of this. I like learning new things, generally. But this one too often felt like a steroided wordlist run amok. I did enjoy BARK, though (59A: Dog sound). Nice little added (theme) touch.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian 12:02 AM  
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Joaquin 12:03 AM  

A lot more challenging and a lot less of a slog than so many recent Sunday puzzles. The challenge was made more so for me when I entered JANEdOE and it took forever to realize the error.

Also learned a few new words and facts, which is always a plus. Never heard the expression POSTBAC and have never seen a CATCAFE. There is, however, in my neighborhood a combination coffee shop/cat adoption agency with equal space provided for both activities. I have no idea how this business survives in a high-rent center with so much of their space generating no income. And a Starbucks in the same center!

Brian 12:29 AM
Copy/paste above to browser.
What it looks like on iPhone app.

Melrose 12:40 AM  

Tough Sunday. Appolls, INXS, Comoros, Emo. Jeeeeez. Never heard of any of these. Got other obscure stuff through the crosses. But DNQF.

Joe Dipinto 12:41 AM  

This may be the most boringest ever puzzle I've ever solved ever.

First of all: You give dogs commands, not orders. Google "dog orders" and "dog commands" and see what you get. So the concept is d.o.a. with the title.

Then: only four theme entries -- eight if you want to look at it that way, but I consider it to be four "combo" entries -- and no doggie references elsewhere in the grid, though we do visit an iguana at the Cat Café. Wtf is up with that?

Otherwise, the gimmick itself felt kind of old-school. I feel like we used to get a lot of puzzles with the stretched-box maneuver. To give credit, it must have been tricky to find combo entries where the common letters would line up correctly.

But it wasn't fun to solve. I like the theme answers better if you read them crisscrossed:


Also, I must point out that there's no warning label saying the puzzle contains gluten.

Well, I must be gi-ing. I mean going. May I go? I've got to go, I've got to go, oh...
♪ Leavin' on the midnight train to Georgia -- woo woo! ♪
No actually, I'm going back to sleep.
♪ I know you will ♪
Pips, get out of my bedroom. Now.

Graham 12:52 AM  

WOO s/b WOOT, for sure. WOO is the sound you make to toddlers when you’re pretending to be a ghost.

jae 3:18 AM  

Tough. I was looking for something A TAD more interesting than “tall” dog commands. Gotta go with Rex on this one.

Jonathan Tomer 3:50 AM  

Never heard of the BEEB, which made POSTBAC really hard (and while I get it in retrospect, sounds suspiciously like the kind of thing a crossword calls an "abbreviation" but really just means "truncation" because literally nobody ever uses it). And GIING, to me, in addition to being an awful word when you're restricted to all caps, doesn't have anything to do with cleaning -- it's just... being a GI (i.e. soldier). Which, like, does involve a lot of cleaning, but also a lot of other stuff.

MOW/WOW was tough for me too, I had it as MOB/BOW until the very end. I don't think "MOW through" really translates right as "charge."

BASTA YA, on the other hand, I got immediately, though I get how it comes across as unfair to non-Spanish-speakers.

Joaquin: the business you just described is, in fact, a CAT CAFE, so it sounds like you have seen one after all.

Mica Hilson 4:26 AM  

I was really on this puzzle's wavelength, so I was surprised Rex had so much trouble with it. I liked almost everything except 23 down, which is the worst clue I've read in a while. "Music associated with the goth look" is GOTH. EMO is associated with the emo look, which also uses a lot of black, but is otherwise very different. I didn't think it was possible to offend both goths and emos in just 8 words, but Finn Vigeland managed it!

frankbirthdaycake 5:14 AM  

“AMY RYAN—never heard of her.” I wonder whether Rex lives in an alternate universe where people he’s never heard of are not worthy of mention, and a loaded question that women have been asking for decades – see Friday’s DO I LOOK FAT – is somehow “bro-y” locker-room talk. Rex, perhaps streaming The Office and visiting an actual men’s locker room could change your perspective. As for today’s puzzle: meh.

Newf 5:43 AM  


Anonymous 5:44 AM  

Fun and rather straightforward puzzle, imo.
When complete on the ipad, the commands came out tall (as Brian’s did on his phone), so I don’t understand Rex’s complaint there.
Jonathan Tomer: The Beeb is a real thing, and not crosswordese.

Lewis 6:13 AM  

For a while it felt like I was in an escape room place, where I had to work to figure out how to get out of one area, only to be similarly caught in another. Again and again. Like I was living in Ground Hog Day, the movie. Thus, the thrill of victory was especially sweet. I absolutely loved getting through this.

Part of the resistance came from vague clues, like [Picnic side dish], [River mammal], [Some printer hues], [Sunbather in the tropics], [Avian diver], [National Pizza Mo.], and [!]. I used to dislike vague cluing, but, because it revs my solving muscles, it has won me over.

The puzzle had 17 NYT answer debuts, my three favorites being ENJAMBMENT (never heard of it, but OMG, what a great word!), PLINY THE ELDER (just looks cool as heck and rolls off the tongue so sweetly), and RETWEETS (which was certainly due).

I had a grand time with this, Finn, and thank you. Please STAY around and COME back soon!

Loren Muse Smith 6:41 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 6:43 AM  

Cool trick. Unlike @Joe Dipinto, I have no problem with the title and the fact that it’s a dog “command.” I’m predisposed to like anything dog. They’re the eighth wonder of the world.

Nice to have POEM cross ENJAMBMENT. Actually, I was about to give up trying to finish this only because I had figured out the trick and have about 70 essays to read but kept at it just to learn the word ENJAMBMENT. (Hi, @Lewis) Yes. I’m a high school English teacher. Yes. Poetry makes me jumpy. Yes. I come clean about this with my students. So we attack poems together, and I let them see me “get it” right along with them. Lots of pilot error, though; there’s something so commanding about the end of a line of verse that I’m powerless not to pause there, poetry idiot that I am. So when I hear it read with enjambment, I’m like Oh wow – now I hear it. We go back and read it again obeying only the punctuation, and marvel at the difference. Hey- I’m trying. You have to remember that my degree is not in English, so I don’t feel too sheepish that I’m wobbly here. Lucky for me I’m at a school so desperate for teachers that they trust the likes of me with my questionable background.

I noticed that JAM PACK has JAM PACKed in three times right there with JAMAICAN and JAMES TAYLOR.

The clue for NUN reminded me of the joke – Q: How can you tell the difference between a plumber and a chemistry teacher? A: How they pronounce the word unionized.

“It brings you closer to your subjects” – mingling with the kids during teacher duty rather than standing against the wall yip-yapping with other teachers. I watch these teachers keep their distance and then listen to them complain about the roughnecks hijacking their class. I’m a shameless WOO-er of these guys since I missed the day they were handing out classroom management skills.

Loved KEEPS IT REAL. I’m usually comfortable admitting my low-brow proclivities among this salon of erudite, sophisticated participants. Even for me, though, admitting that I watch Bachelor in Paradise makes me feel ashamed. What a formulaic vapid ridiculous train-wreck of a show. Yet I greedily lap it up - sit there, rapt, listening to Every. Single. Person. say the same damn thing again and again I mean like I came here totally open to meeting someone and am just trying to like KEEP IT REAL and like be honest and vulnerable and you know like open up and I think like we’re vibing right? And like we have this connection and I feel safe to like be like open and honest… Then they kiss and I have to cover the kissy part of the screen with the remote because it embarrasses me. But I’m powerless not to watch this show. I keep the tv so that I can switch the screen to The Great British Baking Show when I hear my husband put down his Toynbee to come in to ask me something.

So if IMS on google are Gchats, are ads on google Gspots? Asking for a friend.

QuasiMojo 7:06 AM  


This one gave me a headache and a DNF because I had OPEN SPOT for vacancy. Japisco sounded reasonable for someone who knows little about Mexican states. I was so proud of getting JLO and AOC too.

Who cares that the orders are TALL?? Me, not aTALL.

No WOW here unless a knockout counts.

Gotta go. Phone is dead. Yes, it took that much time and energy to fill this one in.

pmdm 7:07 AM  

Ugh indeed.

Understood the entry trick very early on. I solve on paper, so online problems don't apply (or interest) me. But I never got the common thread concerning the words, and after I did I must say the theme is quite weak. And much of the fill is, in my perspective, bad. So a big thumbs down.

Not a pleasant way to start driving cross country trip. At least I'll be visiting paradise (San Diego). Will be back in about a month. Till then ...

Unknown 7:18 AM  

I actually walked away from this in the middle and I have NEVER done this before

Gulliver Foyle 7:46 AM  

After completing POSTBAC with crosses, I just stared at it. "Post blood alcohol content"??? Google (Gsearch) set me straight.

Nampa Bob 7:54 AM  

Not interesting, not clever... took a little longer than normal. But not in a good way.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

I’m with mostly everyone else. Didn’t like it on the whole, though was amused by some of the words and clues. Sunday is usually more fun. Long, yes, but more fun.

BarbieBarbie 8:09 AM  

I liked this one a lot, had several mini-ahas along the way and crunched myself to the point where even my iPad joined in the fun by giving ma a tall visual. So, more please!

SouthsideJohnny 8:15 AM  

Agree with OFL on this one. It just missed on so many levels - ENJAMBMENT crossing BASTAYA is an abomination. OPENSLOT crossing JALISCOMEXICO is evil since SPOT seems perfectly viable as well. GIING is just garbage along with ACTAEON (?); Rex is also correct in that there is no real tasteful way to clue HAE - it should not even appear in the puzzle. Another of the all-to-frequent duds from the NYT.

PaulyD 8:22 AM  

This puzzle was awful (even when allowing for the software issues). POST-BAC is a travesty and it is not alone. Any time there are multiple clues modified with "informally", it's a given there will be some highly contrived schlock in the puzzle. What a crep way to start a Sunday morning.

mmorgan 8:40 AM  

Unusually tough for a Sunday! I read the note (I always do) and looked at the PDF/print version on the NYT site, so I had no problem grasping the architecture. Nice moment when I realized the "orders" were all dog commands -- after getting HEEL, I first thought they were going to be body parts. Lots of stuff I didn't know, but all gettable from crosses and logic, though I was stumped by the last letter of POSTBA_. Glad to know that CATCAFEs are a thing, I think. Also liked MIC CHECK, which I didn't see coming. My life is richer now that I know ENJAMBMENT. I know we all have our wheelhouses, but it was interesting to me that Rex didn't know BASTA YA -- I just thought that was a pretty well known expression.

Again, not at all a typical Sunday. I didn't like it at first, but as I went along it won me over. Thanks for the workout, Finn!

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

Not getting how SKICAP, IRONMAN, and ACE are answers for their clues.

I suppose I get GIING, but it strikes me as really dumb.

Also got stuck on what on earth is an AEdO. The clue is absurd. Sleekly designed is "aerodynamically." Who ever says "this airplane's design is really AERO"?

The creator relies very heavily on abbreviations or other juxtapositions to make otherwise impossible sequences of characters possible. INXS, KPDUTY, TEDX, LOTR, RATEDG, APPOLLS, MELC, POSTBAC, GIING, KPOP in addition to more commonly used ASPCA, FDR, BLT, NTSB, JLO, AOC, IDCHIP. I understand that's necessary from time to time; it just seems like a lot.

Personal annoyance: when did a "mike" become a "mic?" I understand "mic" is common usage now, but it used to be "mike" and I never noticed the transition.

GILL I. 8:45 AM  

Well @Rex was a bit irritated some of the time, I was irritated all of the time. POST BAC/BOOK REC? What a way to get a C in there. COMOROS? WOW. I'm pretty well traveled yet that one stumped me. 5D measure of virality? I read it as virility and even then testosterone didn't fit.
I got the dog command thingie early what. I finally gave up at JANE ROE. Wasn't she a DOE?
I seriously cannot remember the last time I threw in the towel. KEEP IT REAL?

Joaquin 8:47 AM  

@ Jonathan Tomer - Thanks for setting me straight re: CAT CAFEs. But what else could a cat cafe be? A place where they specialize in kitty-a-la-king? A place that serves meals to cats who prefer to dine out?

I should have been able to figure that out on my own so I feel kinda dopey. Plus a google search tells me there are a lot of these places. I still don't understand how the one near me survives, but as I said earlier, I'm always glad to learn something new.

Rube 8:50 AM  

Tall aspect was easy to figure. Took 2 answers to get the dog part. But this is more of what a Sunday dhould be. GIING is is BOOKREC and a few others but you know what? I can't remember the last time there was a puzzle that didn't rely on this kind of absurd stuff. So I guess that is what we have to accept. Stuff like ENJAMBMENT and COMOROS keep us alert. I hate cats. They should become extinct in my opinion and all cat cafes should be shut fown for health code reasons. But in a puzzle....excellent.

John H 8:54 AM  

For me, this just sucked. I am not into popular music much, so I thought there were too many of those clues. I was noticed all over the place. Even though I know James Taylor perfectly well, the crossings at enjambment and empty set made it impossible for me to see him. I had opening at 81D, couldn't get past that. I couldn't get a grip on the theme (saw the duplicates but didn't get enough distance to see that they were dog commands.)

I just hated this.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

I too, solved on AcrossLite and had a very hard time. It took me 30% longer to solve than a usual Sunday puzzle. I didn't even notice the dog commands until after I read Word Talk.

Nancy 9:18 AM  

The intriguing layout of this puzzle made me wrestle with the tangled underbrush of pop culture for far longer than I should have. I liked the trickery of the theme but hated most of the clues. I finally did what I should have done much earlier: I dropped the puzzle with a loud thud. I'm off to the park now, where, with any luck, I won't have to think about music genres from Asia or "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" or the podcast "Serial" or weekly NCAA rankings or Australian bands or 1960s sitcoms or one of the Avengers or the "Cheap Thrills" singer or, well, ANY OF THE POP CULTURE AT ALL! I don't know the Spanish phrase for it, but in the famous words of your 73A clue, Finn, "Enough is enough!"

Unknown 9:22 AM  

Worst puzzle ever!
All glued together with junk fill!

oopsydeb 9:25 AM  

For me, theme was weak. We get 15 theme squares (I'm counting each tall letter as a single square). That seems very, very sparse. Combine that with the inability of the app to reflect the architecture during the solve (it does show you the tall letters after the solve)...meh. And I even caught on to the theme quickly. Oh...also...I agree with someone up thread...these are commands not orders.

First saw the clue for 109A (State bordering the Pacific) with just a couple vowels filled in. Immediately figured it would be a Mexican state. Did not, however, figure it would have the country name in the answer. I spent way too long searching my brain for a Mexican state that would fill the 13 squares, match my two vowels, and show up in the right place on the map. I actually got a bit grumpy when I realized MEXICO was part of the answer.

Bunch of dreck in here, as others have noted.

Teedmn 9:28 AM  

WOW, I had a mental complaint on EVERYTHING Rex did. I think that's a first. And all I had as a solving option was AcrossLite so I was wondering what was so “tall” about the doubled dog commands but I think I can guess what it is now.

I thought the puzzle was fine. As usual when I can’t solve using the random solve method, it seemed to run a bit long, but it's like a movie you're enjoying that you wish they would have found ten minutes to cut.

Thanks, Finn, nice job.

Ellen S 9:34 AM  

The puzzle rendered correctly using Puzzazz. Just FYI. Puzzazz always gets it right.

Nancy 9:37 AM  

She was a ROE, not a DOE, @GILL (8:45). Think Roe v Wade. There was an actual (anonymous) "Jane Roe" in that case.

Glad to see that so many other people here hated this as much as I did. And I dropped it long before seeing the worst of the answers as pointed out by @Unknown (9:22). Had I seen GIING, I wouldn't have dropped the puzzle with a thud, I would have hurled it mightily against the wall. Or maybe out the window. (Except it's the heavy-ish Sunday magazine and I might have inadvertently killed someone with it. Death by Worst Puzzle in NYT History. What an ignominious way to go.)

David 9:47 AM  

Weird to see a GI in a puzzle which properly clues KP as "bygone."

Did it online and when one finishes the display changes to show the tall letters. Woo. Pow. Now.

Not much fun, this puzzle. But dogs are.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

Agree! Wrong!

P-CO 9:50 AM  

I appreciate the painstaking amount of time it takes to create a puzzle but using the name of a high school girl who was murdered is...pick a word and use one of THEM in a puzzle... opportunistic, unconscionable, callow, unthinking, exploitative, a last resort...? This tragedy may have happened in 1999, but in terms of puzzle-making, too soon? Yes.

One comparably minor quibble: it’s mow down, not mow through. Neither the OED or Webster’s has a citation for mow through.

Amy Ryan: She’s an extraordinary working actress. Her performance in The Wire alone puts her at the top of her field.

Finally, have you tried the app Puzzazz? It displays the grid perfectly.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

So agree!

Anonymous 9:52 AM  


Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Not fun. Not fun at all.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

Agree. Got the music blues but never saw the theme. Just couldn't figure out why there were double or triple letters in words, or what that to do with "tall" 👎 means no!

pabloinnh 9:56 AM  

Read the title and promptly forgot it, so when I discovered the trick of filling in the long vertical spaces with a single letter, and put it HEEL, I thought-aha, things that are high, like high heels. This does not work well with, say a high SIT, or any of the other clues either, so I eventually reread the title and saw "order" meaning "command", which made a lot more sense.

Was skipping around when I saw the "Spanish phrase" clue and immediately thought YABASTA! which is what I always would say, and which fit. Of course the other order is just fine. Sounds weird though.

Fun enough for a Sunday, even with some of the arcane fill which has been mentioned enough. Thanks for the fun, FV. I wonder what the next one will be like.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Here's a quibble:

POSTBAC implies you have already received you bachelor's degree. So then it's not a 5th year of college - college is over and done with.

The Union of the Comoros is an independent country that is a member of the United Nations. ACTAEON is a character in fiction that has survived for about 3000 years.

So I don't see anything unfair about these entries, even though they are on the obscure side.

A lot more relevant than MELC.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Who brings baked beans to a picnic? A BBQ side dish, maybe.

poc 10:10 AM  

BEEB is very common on this side of the pond, and not an abbreviation. However it doesn't stand for the English Broadcasting Corporation, which doesn't exist, so the clue is simply wrong.

RavTom 10:12 AM  

SKICAP: Something you’d wear on your head (= top) when skiing in, for instance, the Alps

IRONMAN: A member of the Avengers in Marvel Comics

ACE: Something a guy (especially a bro-type) might call his pal. “Hey, Ace, let’s go to the bar and work on the crossword.”

Birchbark 10:24 AM  

I am tempted to say I loved this puzzle merely to introduce a cross-current into the hyperbole. But it was slow with little payoff.

The good news is that during a storm the other day, a couple of trees fell across a path we use in the woods. ERGO, now to load the chainsaw and a couple of other tools into the wheelbarrow, head out there, and hit the mental reset button.

davidm 10:33 AM  

As was noted above, one gives dogs “commands,” not “orders.” The words are basically synonymous, but one or the other is preferred depending on the context. One “orders” a drink, not “commands” one. A general “orders” his troops *into* battle, but “commands” them while they are *in* battle. And one gives a dog “commands,” not “orders.”

The theme was basically transparent, so not a challenge and hence no fun. I was glad to see ENJAMBMENT and PLINY THE ELDER. Was bollixed up for a while down south because I had ROM COMEDIES instead of SEX COMEDIES. Surprised at the lack of familiarity with COMOROS. Anyway, it was a ho-hum Sunday.

Blue Stater 10:33 AM  

This may not be The Worst NYTXW of All Time, but it's in the running in an increasingly crowded field. As usual with these, riddled with mistakes: to Rex's extensive list (I haven't read the other comments yet) I will add that the BEEB is not an "English channel"; the "B" in BBC stands for *British*. So that ruins that feeble attempt at a pun. Nothing like being married for 50 years to a Scotswoman to sensitize one to the difference between "English" and "British."

davidm 10:36 AM  

Hmm, I think I misfired somehow trying to leave this post earlier. If this is a dupe, just disregard.

As was noted above, one gives dogs “commands,” not “orders.” The words are basically synonymous, but one or the other is preferred depending on the context. One “orders” a drink, not “commands” one. A general “orders” his troops *into* battle, but “commands” them while they are *in* battle. And one gives a dog “commands,” not “orders.”

The theme was basically transparent, so not a challenge and hence no fun. I was glad to see ENJAMBMENT and PLINY THE ELDER. Was bollixed up for a while down south because I had ROM COMEDIES instead of SEX COMEDIES. Surprised at the lack of familiarity with COMOROS. Anyway, it was a ho-hum Sunday.

puzzlehoarder 10:39 AM  

Awesome Sunday. That's really says something about the quality of this puzzle considering that I generally can't stand themes.

I solve on paper so I just assumed my printer was screwing up again when I saw the missing lines. I didn't catch on until I put in JAMESTAYLOR and I stopped trying to make three spaced down entries into four lettered words.

Initially I really thought I had this puzzles number when PLINYTHEELDER went right in but then I couldn't get COLORWHEEL to work. After that it was an experience much like what @Lewis described, one frustrating stop and start after another until I figured things out with STAY.

Even with the theme, sections of this puzzle were still hard to fill in. I got more puzzling out of just that NE corner than I did out yesterday's entire puzzle. As others have pointed out there were a lot of unknowns and just barely knowns to suss out. By the time I figured them all out this puzzle had won me over.

@Nancy, I hope that 99A clue didn't screw you up too much. It's a tough one if you don't know cars.

AdamW 10:47 AM  

Surprised Rex didn't point out AOC crossed with LOON

LindsayZ 10:49 AM  

You sound like a GREAT teacher! I always loved teachers who were honest and admitted they were human, too. Especially when it's something a lot of people struggle with.

LindsayZ 11:02 AM  

What if I told you that it's not always a loaded question, and the problem is assuming that women are a hivemind who 1- all ask this question and 2- don't actually want an answer?

THAT'S the problem.

I don't ask that question because I already know that my fat makes me look fat :D, but I DO ask my husband if something looks good or is flattering because I genuinely want his feedback.*
It's more useful to point out the potential issue you're concerned about instead of leaving the question vague and open-ended,** but that's an issue a lot of people have, not just women.

* Sample
Me- does this look flattering?
Him- uh ... Hmmm ... It looks a little weird
Me- I thought so! It's not just me, then!

** Sample
Me- I dunno, I like it but I think the neckline is weird (or 'it's pulling a bit in the crotch area' or 'the length makes me look stumpy', etc). What do you think?
Him- hmm... Yeah, I see what you mean.
Me- I KNEW IT! Screw this thing, I'm getting/wearing something else.

Wm. C. 11:04 AM  

@poc10:10 --

Re: Your "English Broadcasting Corporation" reference for 32A BEEB. You must be doing the puzzle online, or something. My NYT Newspaper is clued "English channel, with "The." Actually, I was thrown off on this for a while, thinking it was a reference to the ocean betwwen England and France.

Overall, too many "neverheardas" for me on a Sunday.

amyyanni 11:12 AM  

I was amused, but then, I am just happy to be home.😅

Hungry Mother 11:15 AM  

DNF, after a long slog. I had AtHD even though I have some family members that suffer from ADHD. Another DOH moment for me.

Blue Stater 11:15 AM  

This may not be The Worst NYTXW of All Time, but it's in the running (in an increasingly crowded field). As usual with failed puzzles of this sort, this one is riddled with errors; to Rex's comprehensive list I will add that BEEB is not an "English channel," but a British one, a fact that sort of ruins that feeble pun attempt. Nothing like being married for 50 years to a Scotswoman to sharpen one's sense of the difference(s) between "English" and "British."

Colour Me Yuk 11:21 AM  

Execution, content, morphisms, bad clues, obscurity out the a$$ (crossing, yet), proper and pop culture - I cheated using the filled in grid here after I got really bored and annoyed just so that I could keep my 31 day streak alive*.

Utter Rubbish, virtually everything possible wrong with modern X-wording all in one hideous package.

* … and I don't feel the tiniest bit dirty

Carola 11:44 AM  

This one wore me out: at the end, I just wanted to hear: "Go lie down." The tall orders weren't the problem: solving in the magazine, it was easy to see the double height, and after HEEL and SIT, I knew to expect something like beg, STAY, or COME, which helped those theme answers go in faster. But oof, all those intitialisms: ADHD, AP POLLS, ASPCA, AOC, BLT, GRE, IMS, NTSB, LIRR, LOTR, CBER, ID CHIP, KPOP, KP DUTY, RATED G, MEL C, GIING,JLO and the many falling into my "no idea: category: COMOROS, AMY RYAN, INTEGRA, HAE, BASTAYA, GLUTENIN....

I did like the idea of felines relaxing at the CAT CAFE while the canines are all following orders.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

Gi'ing and SexComedies are both atrocious answers. The first isn't a word, nor is it a contraction; it's pure invention. The second is simply incorrect; neither of those movies were about sex. Sure, they had sex in them but what non-Disney movies don't have sex in them? They were about relationships. Is there sex in relationships? Of course.
The online version of the puzzle, even with the hint, was too convoluted to understand so I had to seek this blog for all the themed answers then go back to solving on my own.

jberg 12:03 PM  

62 comments already, so I'm going to do a @Nancy and comment first, read them second. I did read Rex, though. In the paper, the grid was printed correctly, with the tall squares -- but when I got to the first one, I just assumed it was a printing error, like that part of the plate didn't pick up any ink -- something that happens often enough -- so I had


in the relevant squares. By the time I got to SIT, I'd figured it out. It's actually pretty neat to see the variety of words lined up according to their embedded dog commands -- I particularly liked SEX COMEDIES sharing "COME" with JALISCO, MEXICO.

Just a couple other points: first, cluing the French word for "the" by a partial French book title is so bad that it's good (26D). I think we had THE in a puzzle last week, but clued as something else. By the time I got to it, I'd already put in and corrected "the SCORE."

Second, I've never been in the Army, but why is KP DUTY bygone? Is it all mechanized now, with premade meals?

And finally, GLUTENIN appears to be the major component of the much better-known 'gluten;' now gone out of fashion, and unhealthy for some people, but I've still got a cannister of the stuff in my cabinet for times I need the bread to rise a little higher.

OK, now I'll read everything and maybe comment again.

xyz 12:09 PM  

I've been to CAT CAFEs, actually CAT BARS (my first attempted entry!) in Charleston (you can adopt) and Savannah.

Best single thing in an awesome puzzle!

-sarcasm font fail-

RooMonster 12:12 PM  

Hey All !
Leave it up to Rex to actually like a puz I thought he was going to shred! He must be friends with Finn.

Not a terrible puz, but holy MOW, lots of obscure stuff here. Had to Reveal Word in four different spots, as the ole brain flatly refused to spit out any answers. One was for SIA, as I had HypeS for HAILS. One was KITS, as nothing in that corner was coming to me. After the cheat, head slap wen I saw CHI___. CHICAGO! D'OH! Third was same NW corner as SIA, AMY RYAN, had PLIN_THEELDER, but that letter could've been anything. Plus COLOR WHEELS was a WOE. Fourth was ACE for Buddy's nickname. ACE?

GIING, WOO boy, that sounds completely made up. I was in the Army late 80's, never heard that, but not saying it's not a thing now. Just grating to the ears.

OAC first for AOC. Har. OAC is On Approved Credit.

Middle-East section has three U's JAMmed in there. Great for @M&A. Four F's, decent. Also four J's, three JAMmed together in SW.

When finished, the official NYT puz site made the two-same-letter spots have the line twixt them disappear, and had the letters double-sized to fit both squares. So there's that. But to me, a thin theme for a SunPuz. UnJAM PACKed, one might say.

Put in JANE_OE and waited on crosses. Thank you previous puzs, as I didn't fall for that one! ENJAMBMENT, wowsers. And BOOK REC?? Short for RECommendings, I take it? OOF. Tried to get REF there, toss in another F!

So a ! is a BANG, and !? is an interrobang. So is ? an interro? Inquiring minds, and whatnot.


jberg 12:35 PM  

@Graham-- my thoughts exactly. Usually you hear/read Woot!Woot!

@Jonathan -- and POST BACS are real, too. Colleges actually advertise their post-bac pre-med programs. My daughter did one, which was the first time I'd heard the term, but once I'd noticed it popped up all over.

OK, GIING. Like I said earlier, I've never been in the Army -- but in novels and books of the 1950s, the sergeant would tell some private to "GI this courtyard!" meaning to clean it up, so I think it was standard usage at one time.

As for the BEEB -- of course it's not just English, but it IS a channel available in England, along with Sky, etc. -- so I think the clue is legitimate.

Before I figured out the gimmick I spent way too long thinking about the extra letter in ADHD. After all, it used to be just ADD, but then it picked up another letter, for legitimate reasons -- sorta like how LGBT became LGBTQ (and I think was only LGB at some point in the past). It was only when I noticed that the E, E, and L were also doubled that I had some inkling of what was going on.

People ought to know ACTAEON. He's the poor sap who went out hunting and stumbled upon the goddess Diana when she was naked; that wouldn't do, so she turned him into a stag, whereupon his own dogs, ignoring any tall orders, ran him down and tore him to shreds. I bet your nearest art museum has a picture of it.

Finally, is Finn Vigeland originally from Australia? Not only the pop group, but referring to what any American would call a eucalyptus tree as a GUM makes me wonder.

Sarah 12:44 PM  

Amy Ryan is an American treasure. Go watch The Office and The Wire.

OffTheGrid 12:52 PM  

A crossword puzzle is black and white squares. Other rectangles need not apply. But I did like the solve and got the theme even though my grid (NYT online edition) did not have the tall "squares". I thought it was fun, like play.

Anoa Bob 12:58 PM  

I was hoping for some help from the blog or comments as to what is going on here theme-wise. But nope, I'm still puzzled as to why the "Orders" are "Tall". Yes, I see that each letter of the "Order" occupies two vertical squares, but my question is "Why?". What's "Tall" about a dog command. Seems to me that all the "Orders", HEEL, SIT, STAY and COME, are actually quite short rather than being "Tall". Now if you command your dog to BARK (59A) the Star Spangled Banner with emphasis on ENJAMBMENT, that would be a "Tall Order".

The theme doesn't appear to put much constraint on the fill, what with only four of them in the grid, so I was surprised to see so many of the DREADED three- and four-letter entries.

Gotta go ask some former Army people if they ever did any GIING. 1:00 PM  

@joedipinto have been doing the nyt puzzle and viewing this site for quite some time. Thank you for making me lol re: the gluten Warning having gone missing in today’s puz

Falstaff 1:01 PM  

“PLINY WHEELS” made me laugh out loud for an inordinate amount of time. 1:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzie Q 1:10 PM  

I am really surprised at how many people hated this. I liked it a lot better than most Sundays. I liked the gimmick. I learned some new words. It was mostly easy breezy fun. As for the title, I liked the word play of changing command to order. A tall order is a thing. A tall command is not. So I thought it was fine. I guess I only know the Avengers with Mrs. Peel and John Steed.
Thanks Finn, I enjoyed this one.

sixtyni yogini 1:14 PM  

So not an easy one 🧗🏼‍♀️ 🏋🏼‍♀️🧩🏋🏼‍♀️🧗🏼‍♀️. But theme answers made it fun-ish or at least kept me interested.

chefwen 1:19 PM  

I disliked this one so much I couldn’t even bring myself to comment last night. Thought maybe I was missing something, guess not and I see I have a lot of company. The only thing that made me smile was picturing a Cat Cafe. Love them kitties 🐱! Off to the L.A. Times, maybe that will brighten my crossword day.

Joseph M 1:26 PM  

No, puzzle, no!

Bad puzzle!

Bad, bad puzzle!

kitshef 1:54 PM  

Lordy, did I hate absolutely everything about this. An average Sunday I'll have at least a fifteen '+' marks and 8-10 '-' marks. Today, two + marks(JALISCO MEXICO, and PLINY THE ELDER) and 17 '-'s. Particularly odd is that I normally like Mr. Vigeland's work, so I'm not sure what went wrong today. Particularly hated EYED UP, CYANS, the clue for RETWEETS, GIING!! and possibly the worst cross ever, BOOK REC crossing POST BAC.

Masked and Anonymous 1:57 PM  

Did this puppy on paper. Mostly OK SunPuz, but I often felt like a podcast victim, becuz of the many answers I had absolutely no knowledge of (started yellin "HAE!" a lot). My paper version also had no line on the easternmost puzedge, down next to the last three letters. Made "ONE" look like a dog order. Confused an already confused M&A.

staff weeject pick: HAE. Wanted HAR, just becuz.

Weird Crossin Award: POSTBAC/BOOKREC. Kinda needs a rebus square of some sort, to help it make better sense.

Had a run-in at a friend's house with her dog, just last night. That dog kept givin m&e the "COME SIT, STAY, and RUB me, you HEEL" order, all evenin long. Would flash really sad eyes up, whenever I'd try to pause to rest. [A RUB command in dog lingo sounds sorta like a blend of a whine and a HAE, btw.] Man, are my old paws barkin, today. Just can't say no, to doggies.

Thanx for the dog(-and-no-pony) show, Mr. Vigeland.

Masked & Anonym8Us

"one of the worst ever", per a test solver. So I softened er up, a mite:

Victor 2:07 PM  

Puzzle was a good struggle; learned a great new word (ENJAMBMENT). POSTBAC is for sure a thing, and a word we use frequently. Many of our medical students did not complete the pre-med requirements as undergraduates and made a late decision to apply to medical school. There is a large number of colleges and universities which have POSTBAC programs which prepare them to apply; one of the oldest and finest is at Bryn Mawr.

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

So POSTBAC is a thing. But it's not a fifth year of college, is it? It's for people who have already graduated from college, right?

DigitalDan 2:40 PM  

NOBODY, but NOBODY, ever says "MIC CHECK" to do a mic check. They say "CHECK CHECK" or "TEST TEST", but never "MIC CHECK."

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

Friendly reminder the Hoi Polloi has the definite article in it.

Victor 2:43 PM  

@Anonymous 2:21: Yes, right. And it may be more or less than a year depending on what courses the student has completed in college. It's commonly referred to as a "Postbac program" and not a "Postbac year" in this context.

jeff 2:56 PM  

GIING: never been said. BOOK REC: not by anyone who reads books.

Joe Dipinto 3:07 PM  

@Joseph M 1:26 -- LOL. Best comment of the day.

Ryan 3:09 PM  

I guess I was on the same wavelength as this puzzle because I liked it. This played medium for a Sunday for me. I'm a relatively new solver. A Sunday that I can solve in less than an hour without help is no harder than "medium" in my book.

ACTAEON, COMOROS, and AMYRYAN all took a while to put together but were vaguely familiar. I didn't know POSTBAC as a phrase in use. I know that people do postdocs after getting a doctorate. So fifth year of college = after bachelor's degree = postbac was easy enough to put together.

I'll defend anyone's right to be annoyed with puzzles that are filled with obscure-to-them words. I've been there often! But I don't think it means the puzzle is *bad*. There's a few iffy clues here but there also seems to be a lot of people grumpy that Mr. Vigeland stumped them a bit.

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

1. Some Arabs live in SE Iraq, but most Iraqi's are not Arabs. 2. What is with the NYTimes xword solution of BASSSO for 55 down? (with 3 S's)

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

So much was weird about the cluing for this.

LOTR did not really inspire GOT very much at all. GOT (deliberately) steps out of the Tolkien tradition of fantasy.

Likewise, Goth and Emo are two very different genres/subcultures.

Leee 3:20 PM  

This was a pretty quick Sunday solve for me, and didn't have too much trouble with it, aside from JANEdOE. I do want to brag though that I got ENJAMBMENT with only NJ (and I probably could gotten it with no crosses) -- finally, that English degree put to good use! That said, I don't think that ACTAEON has much cultural traction (had I put SOLE in for LONE, I would've choked pretty hard on this entry); if he's fair game, then what about Iphygenia (who has a play named after her), or Mnemosyne?

IrishCream 3:33 PM  

POSTBAC is a very common term in academia. The clue wasn’t great but it’s not a terribly obscure answer.

IrishCream 3:34 PM  

It’s not Doe v. Wade. : )

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

c'mon. GOT is a teevee thingee. it was inspired by 'A Song of Ice and Fire', which was not inspired by 'Lord of the Rings'. GOT, on teevee is a small part of I&F. and an extension, all at the same time.

"A Song of Ice and Fire, which was inspired by the Wars of the Roses, The Accursed Kings[48] and Ivanhoe."
[the wiki]

that note is:

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

@Blue Stater:
to Rex's comprehensive list I will add that BEEB is not an "English channel,"

sure, but then either the constructor/editor saw the chance to mis-direct. What is that nickname for the 'English Channel'?

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

oh, and BTW, BEEB doesn't mean the channel at all, since there are a number of 'em. BEEB refers to 'the corporation'. at least, that's what the 'Top Gear' guys told me when they were still on BBC America.

Newport Carl 4:17 PM  

West coast sez... Last to the party as usual but sheesh , as a fairly new solver am I really ever expected to have
in my vocabulary? ( but I can't wait to try them out today at the softball game ). Thanks Mr. Vineland

Mo-T 5:11 PM  

Having a few unfortunate days and no head for this puzzle.

I got the gist fairly early on, but some things gave me fits. Had masters for postbac (16D) for a while and basta ya.... Plus a few more. It all went to the dogs.

I did enjoy @M&A's 1:57 comment: staff weeject pick: HAE. Wanted HAR, just becuz.
Gave me a HAR.

And I agree with @Joe DiPinto's 3:07 comment: @Joseph M 1:26 -- LOL. Best comment of the day.
Made me laugh, too, and ye doggies, I needed that.

Jill 5:56 PM  

I’m sure that I missed it any number of times, like I miss the product I’m looking for on the shelf in the grocery store, but I did not see and have not seen any reference to the theme tall orders having to do with DOGS. Not sure it would’ve made a big difference but I just can’t figure out why I didn’t see it anywhere. If you could help, that would be great. Also I didn’t find this puzzle particularly challenging. I think that’s because when there was something I’ve never heard of I’ve managed to figure it out with the crosses.

Solverinserbia 6:14 PM  

Knowing Spanish BASTAYA was a gimme. I have heard of the COMOROS and ENJAMBMENT. None of the three letter words you mentioned gave me trouble.

I instantly noticed on the app that you had the same dog command written twice, and that they only counted as one letter going down.

So for all these reasons, it was a really easy SUNDAY for me. It might have been a personal best.

There was some weird stuff like gutenin and actaeon but got them from crosses.

esauboeck 6:21 PM  

What on earth is BEEE, @ 7 DOWN???

mmorgan 6:25 PM  

Wow. This wasn’t by any means my favorite puzzle ever, but I really don’t get all the hate here. I liked a lot of it, much tougher than a usual Sunday, and yes, some of it was weird and objectionable, but I’m sincerely surprised by the outpouring of abhorrence. Basta ya!

Rob 7:12 PM  

This was a toughie and took me almost double my Sunday average, but I actually quite liked it. Bit surprised by BASTA YA — I'm not a native speaker, but I did take 10 years of Spanish, and I would definitely have said YA BASTA instead — but if it's accepted usage, fair play. Tripped myself up with JANE dOE, like many others, and didn't notice the problem with the cross til I went hunting for my error.

I also made what looks to be a pretty common mistake and initially entered CABARET instead of CHICAGO, which screwed me up for a good while in the northeast. Apparently Cabaret holds the record for the most Oscars won without winning Best Picture, which as I should have realized went to The Godfather that year, and rightly so. (Personally, I can't stand Cabaret anyway.)

Kreekie 8:15 PM  

Bee, as in spelling bee

Z 8:45 PM  

@Anon3:19 and @anon3:45 - Well, they both have dragons so obviously GoT is inspired by LOTR.*

*Just in case someone is not sure - sarcasm. I agree with the anons.

Unknown 8:47 PM  

My university had a postbac program--so, for me, not a problem: a very familiar word.

Christopher Jones 9:41 PM  

Not a fun puzzle for me and all I have to say is "Jane Roe", WTF?! Worst clue ever.

Tapio Christiansen 9:49 PM  

While I prefer themes that interconnect to some kind of "aha" moment that lets you feel like you are turning on a Turing machine, I did enjoy this one. Not so much for the crossstich, but for the fills. There was a lot of newness in that, at least for me, that was fun.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

I understand that obscure words necessarily make up crosswords and add to the challenge, but this puzzle really lost it for me with the sheer number of just "made up to fit the puzzle" answers and drecky fill. Can anyone out there link to the use of the word "giing" anywhere, ever, outside this puzzle? "LOTR" is just plain inaccurate, "book rec", as others have mentioned, is seriously on the bubble as well, and the overall feel of so many other misdirections and obscure clues seemed almost spiteful. If I knew I could make up any old thing just to complete a grid, I would have taken up professional crossword-writing a long time ago!

pdplot 11:03 AM  

From this old-timer - too, too many pop culture references and if I see EMO, ENO, ELO any more, I'll puke for sure. Enuf already. I understand these words are the greatest boon to constructors ever, but Geez. Gimmick was easy to spot right away, some clues fine but a lot of crap as well. Oh well - Finn is a young guy, I'm old.

plumpy 11:52 AM  

FYI people most certainly do call the BBC "The Beeb". As one example, Queen had a 1989 album "At the Beeb" which was recorded you-know-where. Google "the Beeb" and you'll find tons of other examples. (My Android autocorrect even already knows to capitalize it!)

Rug Crazy 11:57 AM  

Finished (somehow) without seeing the dog reference....and without help.
Happy to see that Rex didn't call this one easy as he does to many which I finish without "cheating".

Renee Arnold 2:32 PM  

We really don't call it a post bac in the States. Had post doc, but that messed up larva (larvo, anyone?) and didn't know BEEB. Also didn't get the theme until just now. Still, enjoyable enough for me!

JillDNY 7:56 PM  

Argh - “open spot” did me in as well!

burtonkd 8:31 PM  

Mic, short for microphone. Not sure where Mike spelling came from

Anonymous 9:12 PM  

Also got the tall thing but not the dog "order" part. Wasn't necessary, so what was the point? There was never any reason to see the "tall" fill as words, let alone related words.

Unknown 10:49 PM  

This was the worst puzzle of the year. The theme wasn't all that difficult to get, although it wasn't very interesting. But the fill was uniformly awful. I generally expect enough straightforward answers in a crossword puzzle to serve as a backbone to help me get the more obscure ones. It seems like every clue was obscure and every answer to the clue was esoteric. Between three relatively bright people; myself, my wife, and my son, we couldn't finish the puzzle. I actually think it was more than hard, it was simply unfair. even after seeing some of the answers that I didn't get, I still never heard of them, and never would have gotten them! And it wore me out and I lost interest. I could rant on but I guess you all know how I feel!

Unknown 10:56 PM  

This was the worst puzzle of the year. The fill in the space theme wasn't all that difficult to get, although it wasn't very interesting. I never figured out the commands to a dog. And the fill was uniformly awful. I generally expect enough straightforward answers in a crossword puzzle to serve as a backbone to help me get the more obscure ones. It seems like every clue was obscure and every answer to the clue was esoteric. Between three relatively bright people; myself, my wife, and my son, we couldn't finish the puzzle. I actually think it was more than hard, it was simply unfair. even after seeing some of the answers that I didn't get, I still never heard of them, and never would have gotten them! And it wore me out and I lost interest. I could rant on but I guess you all know how I feel!

Kevin O'Connor 3:08 PM  

I read it as virility too. I get it now, but no - is vitality even a word? Isn’t it “virulent”?

JCo 8:35 PM  

It was actually pretty charming on paper.

Anonymous 8:11 PM  

Pretty wide range of opinion on this one it seems. I'd put it as a time-killer: challenging enough to kill time on a long bus ride, but no fun or payoff for doing it. Emo and Goth are not only two different things, but deadly enemies -- didn't you watch the South Park episode satirizing them? Enjambment was a gimme for me as I majored in medieval poetry, but I can imagine that other people might find it obscure. What bothered me was the absence of any clues that put a smile on my face when I solve it. And way way way too many proper nouns. It killed time, mostly because the huge number of proper nouns made me have to work so much harder to get the words around them.

Anonymous 2:13 AM  

Crosswords are supposed to be fun. I still can't figure out how "That's A Tall Order!" suggests a doubling of a command to a dog. (Thought immediately of "make mine a triple")This led to stupid answers like 'BEEE' "ADHHD""BASSSO" "ATTE" etc. "Jane Roe" was a pseudonym. Since we know who she is (Norma McCorvey) she is obviously no longer anonymous. Too many obscure clues and forced fills (mow, wow, woo) Might as well have added as an extra clue for the whole puzzle, "it sucks"

Anonymous 2:23 AM  

Thanks to Brian for the iPhone app view. No way really of discerning this in the printed version.

Ben Eggenberger 11:26 AM  

Terrible, terrible, terrible. I do it in syndication in the Detroit Free Press and sometimes things get messed up. This was the worst mess up yet. NOTHING to indicate any special squares and NO NOTE.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Thought at first that "Tall Order" might be a drink theme, with PLINY THE ELDER at 21 across. SIP came very early on (OK, that could be an Easter egg) and then--early...HOI POLLOI? A Bay Area craft beer theme? What are the odds?!


Once I figured out they were dog commands the rest filled in in nicely.

spacecraft 1:50 PM  

DNF: waay too much I didn't know. Was unable to do the west central (ENJAMBMENT, really?) or the SE. MELC?????? That name has got to be the MELC of human UN-kindness. Confusing but ultimately gettable theme, except for the one in SE; sorry, I'm not up on Mexican states. Geez! Fill is something else. Even if I'd gotten the rest down there, GIING would have stopped me. There are no words to describe how horrible that is. I am not embarrassed by the DNF (I live in a heavily Hispanic community, and I never heard of BASTAYA. Had all but the first letter and was still at a loss), nor would I be particularly proud of finishing. Let's just forget this day happened. See ya next week.

Diana, LIW 4:18 PM  


Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords by people who are smart enough to use actual words

Elly Shevin 5:23 PM  

I don't know if this is true for all syndication solvers, but in my paper there was no note, no circles, no double height boxes. I couldn't for the life of me discern the theme till I came here.

Diana, 5:33 PM  

Circles? Did you have circles? Just made a bad puzzle experience worse (not having them in my paper, that is).

Lady Di

Burma Shave 9:04 PM  


with SMUT, busy as a BEE,
SLIM chance they're RATEDG.


rondo 9:09 PM  

No circles nor tall boxes, only a partial note not having anything to do with the solve.

AMYRYAN, yeah baby.


Joe 6:37 PM  

I did not finish this and had mistakes galore. It took me forever to figure out the ‘Tall’ aspect, but to little avail - just have never heard of a lot of the answers.

Unknown 12:54 PM  

Lol yes exactly thanks 😊

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