Site of Herculean feat / THU 9-19-19 / Stats for eggheads / Track that hosted Seabiscuit's final race / Futuristic assistants / Isolates in business speak

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Constructor: David Kwong

Relative difficulty: Easy (untimed clipboard solve)

THEME: PRI(ME) TI(ME) EMMY (62A: What each of the programs in this puzzle has won at least once) — a "ME" rebus where the "ME" squares are all inside shows that have won an Emmy (phonetically represented by the M, E):

Theme answers:
  • 9A: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 ("MAD (ME)N")
  • 18A: With 71-Across, 2016, 2018 ("A(ME)RICAN CRI(ME) / STORY")
  • 24A: 2015, 2016, 2018 ("GA(ME) OF THRONES")
  • 40A: 2012 ("HO(ME)LAND")
  • 53A: 1949 (first winner) ("PANTOMI(ME) QUIZ")
Word of the Day: "PANTOMIME QUIZ" (53A) —
Pantomime Quiz, initially titled Pantomime Quiz Time and later Stump the Stars, was an American television game show produced and hosted by Mike Stokey. Running from 1947—1959, it has the distinction of being one of the few television series—along with The Arthur Murray PartyDown You GoThe Ernie Kovacs ShowThe Original Amateur Hour; and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet—to air on all four TV networks in the US during the Golden Age of Television. // Based on the parlor game of Charades, Pantomime Quiz was first broadcast locally in Los Angeles from November 13, 1947, to 1949. In that format, it won an Emmy Award for "Most Popular Television Program" at the first Emmy Awards ceremony. The competition involved two teams of four contestants each (three regulars and one guest). In each round, one member acts out (in mime) a phrase or a name while the other three try to guess it. Each team had five rounds (in some broadcasts there were only four); the team that took the least amount of time to guess all phrases won the game.
Home viewers were encouraged to send in suggestions for phrases to be used in a telecast. Those that were actually used earned cash or a prize for the people who sent them. A bonus was given if the team trying to solve it could not do so within two minutes. (wikipedia)
• • •

Let's start with the theme concept, which I like a lot. The fact that "ME" appears twice in PRIME TIME adds some sparkle to what could've been a much more tepid revealer, i.e. just EMMY or EMMY AWARD. The rebus was easy to pick up, and once I realized the rebus squares were going to be the same every time, things got even easier. Very breezy, as rebus puzzles go. This particular set of themers, though, makes for a bunch of odd bedfellows. Actually, the only odd one here is "PANTOMI(ME) QUIZ," which ... what? All the others are from the last decade, and then there's this ridiculously obscure ancient program just dropped in from outer space to complete the set. So everything is from the last ten years, except this answer which is *seventy years old*. Jarring. It's also in a completely different genre from the other shows (which are all dramas) (at least I think they are: I have actually never heard of "A(ME)RICAN CRI(ME) / STORY" unless, now that I think of it, it's that documentary about that murderer dude that was controversial for some reason I forget, and that I had no interest in at all... is it that? ... whoa, no, what? It's the *anthology* series, of which "The People vs. O.J. Simpson" and "The Assassination of Gianni Versace" are installments!?!? I know those show titles very well. I had *zero* idea they were part of an anthology called "A(ME)RICAN CRI(ME) / STORY." I am also very familiar with "American Horror Story," which was created by the same people, but is very very very much known as "American Horror Story" (even abbr. "AHS" in recent advertising), unlike (as far as I can remember) "A(ME)RICAN CRI(ME) / STORY." This makes this themer set even weirder, in that I'd've said "The People vs. O.J. Simpson" won the Emmy. That's certainly how everyone talks about that show. Me after getting "A(ME)RICAN...": "Horror Story! No ... Vandal! No ... dammit!). Anyway, unsurprisingly, the only difficulty I had in this puzzle came with the titles I didn't know. Again, theme concept great, themer set weird).

My main issue was just getting the word "QUIZ," as two other confusing / problematic clues were adjacent to that word, making it harder to turn up than it should've been. First, I had the DRO- at 51A: Futuristic assistants (DROIDS) and wrote in DRONES, which ... felt right. I mean, I guess DRONES are "assistants" now, but they still seem "futuristic" to me. But the bigger (and certainly ickier) problem for me in this area of the grid was IQS (52D: Stats for eggheads). First of all, it's a stat. It's just a stat. It's not a stat *for* anyone. People with very low IQS still *have them*. Ugh. Also, as everyone knows by now, it's a discredited stupid stat that has no bearing on anything meaningful in life, and if you are one of these MENSA-joining types who somehow takes *pride* in your IQ, seriously, what is wrong with you? I feel bad for all the "eggheads" out there who have been so badly and awkwardly represented by this clue and answer.

Five things:
  • 37D: Chain letters? (S & M) — whoooaaaa ... racy! (presumably the "chain" part refers to the proverbial "whips and chains" of sadomasochism)
  • 67A: Half of nine? (ENS) — the letter "en" makes up half of the word "nine," you're welcome, ugh
  • 23A: Here, in Havana (ACA) — yeesh, really? You coulda made this AAA or MCA but you went with this foreign word that isn't even the best-known word for "here" in its own language? Odd choice. 
  • 11D: "___ and the Lost City of Gold" (2019 movie) (DORA) — nice, current way to clue our old friend the Explorer
  • 60A: Principal (STAR) — lol me. I had STA- and just gawked at the answer for a few seconds wondering what the hell. "STAY? Like ... mainSTAY?" Sometimes the misfires are very, very bad
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


BarbieBarbie 5:38 AM  

Drones will always be futuristic because jetpacks.
This was a really funny puzzle. I set a land speed record on first pass, with well over half filled in, rebus grokked, themers worked out if I didn’t know them. Then hit a wall- it took me a loooong time to get the rest done. So that in the end I had some things filled in unseen, completely on crosses like a Monday, and some things that were guesses and do-overs. Phew! Whiplash! I’m good at this- wait a minute, I’m terrible at this!
Enjoyed the puzzle. Cute rebus.

Lewis 5:48 AM  

Terrific theme -- one of those just waiting for a constructor to see, and much credit to David for snatching it out of the idea ether and pulling it out of his hat.

Nice mixed solve, with some areas I blissfully skated through and a couple of oily walls to climb (Hi, @BarbieBarbie!). Marvelous clues for S AND M and ALL FOR. Thank you, David!

I spent a few moments thinking, "Why ME?" But then again, that phrase comes to me more often than I'd like to admit.

Joaquin 5:57 AM  

Who cares (other than Rex) that one of the theme answers was older than the rest? Not me! Since I have never seen any episode of any of the shows that were answers here, I simply enjoyed the challenge and especially the ME/Emmy rebus/wordplay. A super Thursday puzzle!

pabloinnh 6:24 AM  

Rejoicing with the other rebus fans here, it's been too long. Maybe a little too easy, as once ME appeared, it was wicked helpful and made the rest of the solve be over too soon.

Also I clearly don't watch enough prime time tv, as some of these fell into the wha? category. I think I would watch more, but there's a game on.

ACA in my experience shows up mostly in Ven aca! (c'mere!), but I always have liked the AQUI/ACA parallel.

Nice fun Thursdecito, DK. Bien hecho.

QuasiMojo 6:25 AM  

This puzzle just goes to show that TV or the "idiot box" is still a "vast wasteland" even after 70 years. Who cares about these shows? Or that they all have ME in them? I thought the ME Decade ended in the '70s. At least it wasn't about MEMEs.

I'm so behind the times I put in ROBOTS for the assistants. I was thinking of sci-fi master Asimov. Drones might be assisting terrorists and hawkish nations, Rex, but they are very current, not futuristic.

Tortured fill (TIRO??) didn't help lift this puzzle above the subpar.

Yes @Nancy, I look forward to hearing you sing those lyrics, especially sans piano.

Bageleater 6:30 AM  

Never heard of PANTOMIME QUIZ either, but figured it out. Sometimes a surprise history lesson is ok. It won the first Emmy, after all, so it’s not just there to confound us.

amyyanni 7:02 AM  

Pantomime Quiz did me in on this one. Not thrilled, but mildly amused.

Anonymous 7:19 AM  

I feel innocent. I figured the chain was the Sands hotel chain.... clearly I ignored the “letters” part. That left me with a Pantomise Quiz which required me look at sandm and think- hmmm, Sand M? Must be a font? I often feel jaded, but now I feel innocent. (& a little naive!)

Birchbark 7:23 AM  

You can see why PANTOMIME QUIZ would win the Emmy in 1949. 1949 was actually square in the Golden Age of Radio, not television. TV at the time was new and imperfect and several years away from displacing radio in the household. The bigger and better actors were still on radio, which typically had higher production values. But one thing radio can't do that television can is build a show around pantomimes. Therein lies a differentiation with value.

kitshef 7:28 AM  

What -- the Abe Vigoda vehicle FISH (25D) never won a prime-time Emmy? It’s an outrage.

Of the five shows, I’ve seen one episode of MAD MEN and … nothing else. Never even heard of two of them. Despite which, this was ridiculously easy. When SHOW ME STATE wouldn’t fit, the game was up.

Why oh why did no one fix that SW corner to get rid of TIRO?
ABM/BRET/MIRO would do it. Or FRAT/PATIL/TITO. An actual constructor (meaning not me) I’m sure could do better.

SouthsideJohnny 7:31 AM  

Good write-up by OFL today. Interesting concept (the ME’s in all of the titles). I rarely watch the Idiot Box, and am not at all up on current trivia so definitely not in my wheelhouse. I was able to grok the theme and it was fun trying to piece together what I could. The presence of ACA and it’s foolish clue is of course atrocious (it’s almost like the NYT editors are not happy unless there is a foul odor emanating from at least one portion of their puzzle, lol).

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

Suppose this dates me but YAS queen!? Sheesh.

GILL I. 8:31 AM  

I got my rebus and two of my favorite shows appear. MAD MEN and drool fest Don Draper and GoT. My husband and I are re-watching. It's fun. Cigarettes and dragons.
My puzzle fest was like @Rex. Never heard of PANTOMIME QUIZ - didn't even know they had TV's back in the Iron Age.
What else can Missouri be other than the SHOW ME STATE? So it's a ME ME ME rebus. Now, let ME guess where the rest of the ME's fit into the puzzle. Guessing game with HOME LAND. I don't watch anything crime. I want booze, cigs, hangings, gore and fiendish women in my shows. Man, the OREO clues keep getting better. We should have an award for the constructor who has the best clue...@Lewis?
Eggheads are stats for IQS? Well AINT that sumpin. I was given a battery of them tests when I first came to the States. I wouldn't speak English and my Mom wanted to make sure I wasn't a buffoon. Turns out I was.
ACA can also be aqui...other rebus? Nah....The Cubans would say ACA. "oye me manuelito, vente ACA, vamo a comer los platanitos....Oh, and I always thought PAELLA meant "for her." Hah. Frying pan fur sure.
This one and Monday's are the best so far this week despite ONO. Oh No not agin.

Hungry Mother 8:32 AM  

Love me a rebus, but the NE corner was a woe for what seemed like a long time. Somehow, my time was way faster than average. Fun stuff.

Brian 8:33 AM  

Using M instead of rebus ME was acceptable by the iPhone app.

mathgent 8:33 AM  

What fun! I can't remember one that I enjoyed more.

It wasn't until I finished that I noticed that saying M and E consecutively is the same as saying Emmy. That was the crowning Aha.

It was jarring to see a game show in the same bag as the excellent dramas HOMELAND, AMERICANCRIMESTORY, and MADMEN, but it reminded me what the quality of television programming was at its beginning. It won in 1949.

Jeff Chen was lukewarm about it. That's a problem in being a professional. I'll bet Steph Curry had more fun playing fierce hoops with his brother in the backyard than he does now.

mmorgan 8:34 AM  

Very clever, very fun, original and lively. Loved it all. Rex is correct about IQs but this clue works for me since it is “eggheads” (in a pejorative sense) who actually care about them. Never heard of PANTOMIME QUIZ but it was fun to learn. I have been studying and sharply critiquing television, in terms of its content and institutional structure, for 45 years and I reject the wholesale condemnation of it some are voicing here. Yes, the wasteland is vast but some of these shows have exceptionally good writing and acting. (Not in the same class, but American Vandal was pretty nifty.). I have absolutely no nits that are worth mentioning— this is a great puzzle and I had a lovely solving experience.

chuck w 8:36 AM  

Loved Pantomime Quiz! I guess I'm a lot older than Rex.

Rube 8:52 AM  

3D is the revealer and an absolute gimme... "show ME state" is actually the trick. The theme answers are SHOWn in the STATE...condition... with ME.
I Am proud to be part of the faction that has seen essentially none of these shows, and yet I can instantly recall virtually every prime time non western from the 60s and 70s.

JohnG 8:54 AM  

Weird rant on the topic of IQs. Why so much rage? It's one marker of innate brain power, but I don't know of anyone, literally anyone, in my life who is cocky about their IQ level. Just a weird rant on a topic very few people bother to talk about.

Anyway, keep the rants coming, though, because every day, this page is my favorite internet visit.

andy 9:00 AM  

I remember watching "Stump the Stars" reruns when I was a kid in the mid 60s. Sebastian Cabot seemed to be on all the time. So I loved that clue.

Sir Hillary 9:23 AM  

On balance, a fun Thursday. The Missouri and "Coriolanus" clues were easy, so the rebus jig was up right away.

-- No issues with the theme set. Faithfully watched every episode of MADMEN but not-a-one of the others.
-- Never heard of PANTOMIMEQUIZ, but fun to learn anew about old things.
-- Love the four long downs, although SANTAANITA has a major problem which threatens the future of a sport which many people would be happy to see end.
-- [ME]IR and MIR made me chuckle. ANT, ANTI and AINT did not.
-- Yep, DROneS before DROIDS.
-- The not-so-good: TIRO, SANDM (hate the ampersAND thing), ACA, ENS and LAH.
-- I was hoping IQS would trigger @Rex into a rant, and I was not disappointed. So silly.

Off-topic, I was fortunate to see David Kwong's "The Enigmatist" this past spring. It blew me away. It's coming to the Geffen Theater in LA next May. I cannot recommend it enough. In a similar vein, I saw "Derren Brown: Secret" on Broadway two nights ago. Also amazing.

Shawn 9:33 AM  

Music schools do not offer MFA degrees. MM (Master of Music) is the appropriate graduate degree by accredited schools.

OffTheGrid 9:35 AM  

Exactly why are you proud? Give me a break! Jeesh!

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Perhaps our fearless leader should look up scientific data on the validity of the IQ scale before parading his opinions out as if they were facts.

fifirouge 9:49 AM  

Great puzzle, even though I DNF'ed. I would have hit a Thursday time record if it wasn't for the NE. Didn't know NEMEA or DORA, swore that it couldn't be MANTEL, because isn't that spelled MANTle? (No...that's a different thing entirely...) I've never heard of AMERICAN CRIME STORY either. Add in my assumption that 23A was Aqi, and that the "epitome of simplicity" just has to be "pie," and I was never gonna get out of there alive.

Still, kudos to the constructor!

Nancy 9:49 AM  

Well, I finished. But I "suffered". And now I'm torn between my genuine love of the superb Thursday rebus I've been longing for for what seems like forever and my irritation at a bunch of TV programs I've never watched or -- in two cases, AMERICAN CRIME STORY and PANTOMIME QUIZ -- even heard of. That's probably either because they are on Premium Channels I don't subscribe to; have to be "streamed", however one accomplishes that strange chore; or are about dystopian subjects I would rather not immerse myself in -- real life being quite dystopian enough these days, thank you very much.

(And, trust ME, having AREAS instead of ABODE at 16A really complicated my life.)

To those out there who have accused me of not liking pop culture clues because of an unwillingness to keep up with today's youth culture, please note this and tuck it away for future reference: I didn't know PANTOMIME QUIZ from 1949 either. Understand that it's not your pop culture I object to, it's everyone's pop culture -- including my own.

Terrific rebus. Much suffering.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

@Shawn - Columbia, Brandeis, Berklee, Bennington, the entire California University system ... Just page on of a Google search. All offer MFAs in music.

Newboy 10:03 AM  

ME like puzzle.

Carola 10:05 AM  

Lots to admire here - such a nicely constructed puzzle and clever theme, and it was a treat to have a rebus, of course. But as others have mentioned, the early SHOWMESTATE was as good as saying "SHOW ME the trick first thing." I did wonder for a moment what GAME OF THRONES had to do with MEtime, but the next show entry jogged the right synapses to EMMY time. My only slow-down was around SILOS, TENOR, and S AND M - for me, the "reveal" on that clue was the real puzzle prize.

It's become Nostalgia Week for me here, with yesterday's evocative hometown landmark and today's PANTOMIME QUIZ and the days of flickering b&w TV - to a grade-schooler a cabinet of magic rather than idiot box. @Birchbark, I enjoyed your take on early TV.

nyc_lo 10:09 AM  

Far from easy by my standards, but a satisfying solve. PANTOMIME QUIZ was a bear, as was AMERICAN CRIME STORY. But well constructed and Natick-free, so thumbs up from ME.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Just want to point out that not only is Pantomime Quiz very obscure, the official Emmy Website lists the show as "Pantomime Quiz Time" so the answer isn't even really right as far as I'm concerned.

Zygotic 10:13 AM  

A theme based completely on PPP*? Do I even need to write my observations? The theme is well done and original but I just can’t give this a lot of love.

@joaquin - One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong. I sussed it out easily enough, but all the other EMMY winners being form the last 10 years and then a single one from 70 years ago? I get the, “hey, the first year has one that works” sentiment, but give me a tight theme over a novelty every time.

@John G and @Sir Hillary - If you’re an educator with some training in assessment then Stanford-Binet and its misuse is apt to set you off. It’s based on a very narrow and erroneous notion of “intelligence” and its revisions success at dealing with criticisms is debatable. And, no, it is not a “marker of innate intelligence” (go ahead and google that term). Here’s a fairly accessible article on the more or less current state of intelligence testing. But there’s a lot out there, from the explicitly racist origin of IQ testing, the debate over IQ testing validity and reliability, the raging debate over defining “intelligence,” et cetera et cetera.

@michiganman yesterday - Congratulations. We should probably have some sort of ceremony.

*PPP - Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. More than 33% has been shown to inevitably cause problems for some subset of solvers, often while some other subset finds the puzzle especially easy.

Ethan Taliesin 10:17 AM  

SandM? My innocent eyes thought it was just some regional supermarket chain. Ooookay. I wonder if BDSM has ever appeared..

"Hurt me, whip me," the masochist says to the sadist.

"Noooooo!" replies the sadist.

Newboy 10:18 AM  

Actually plunking battleship into 3d wasn’t the best start today, but nice fun TOP to AFT Mr. Kwong; I have been ALL FOR Thursday rebus themes from the first encounter. Glad to see OFL give a pass to the misogyny of MADMEN and GAME OF THRONES while smart mouthing IQS. Is he wising up?

Phil 10:21 AM  

hold on WAITASEC ...
“ridiculously obscure ancient program just dropped in from outer space to complete the set.”

No way you can dis and dismiss the first representative of the theme answers genre as simply some outlier. PHTT

Anyway cool on David for good idea and puzzle. Guess he just went through the list but amazing he found so many ‘ME’ entries of just the right length

albatross shell 10:37 AM  

I saw some pantomime show on TV when very young. Lots of fun. I was lousy at it. But some were amazing. Like Betty White in Password. Excellent old daytime TV. I watch way too much TV. For those thinking the idiot box is a wateland, you are wrong, although TV still has some terrible effects on society. You do have the current PBS Country Music Series. Movies on TV that compare favorably with Hollywood. TCM. Some worthwhile docs and series. And Loren's light entertainment and guilty pleasures that get you through the night. But, yes, TV with lots of good stuff on may be more insidious than all junk TV.

A fine puzzle. Love the EMMY theme coupled with the M E rebus. Easy enough to just be able to work out the shows, hard enough that if one of the clues didn't click you'd end up in a tricky little pocket. At least I did several times. Completely behind had me looking for some form of last place. Was looking for scams instead of SANDM. Never knew SILOS in that sense. Or YAS. Looking back at it, seems like most of the difficulties were my own deficiencies.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Seriously? No one is talking about the INSANE middle-east side of the board? I'm in my early 30s and I had NO idea what a (kited check) is. OCCASIONED feels super olde tyme, and they cross with SLOE (a word I've only heard next to "gin fizz") and ENS (ugh!). Not to mention I, too, had DRONES, which gave me _R_UEU_ _NT, out of which I was never going to see FRAUDULENT. I probably should have gotten OCCASIONED, but my head just did not see that as a synonym for (Brought about). Boo.

David 10:45 AM  

3D gave away the whole thing too easily but at least the TV theme slowed me way down.

I did not know there were "primetime" Emmys. I've always heard the ads for "The Emmys" and talk of the "Daytime Emmys," but never the "Primetime Emmys." Are there also "Late Night Emmys?" "Early Morning Emmys?" Perhaps it's just never registered with me.

NE was last to fall, I had an easier time sussing out Pantomime Quiz than I did Mad Men (which I've actually heard of). I had "Nimea" and for some reason I also wanted "pie" in 10D, but that doesn't end with "c" so no go. I finally remembered ads for "Dora" and corrected "Nemea" so the rest fell easily. ABC, as simple as DoReMi, as easy as 123...

Oreos and Orca again and I'd like to bring back Czars now and again just for fun. Nice that Tsars is under Sofia too.

Corporate jargon is so silly. Do they call ideas silage?

There's a difference between music "schools" and music "conservatories". Julliard may call itself a school but it's really a conservatory, as are Eastman and Curtis. The first confer MFAs, the second MMs. One may also go on for a DMA, which is what I wanted that answer to be. Schools of music can be found at most public universities. If you went to Harvard for their music school you'd get and AB degree, then an MB, then a PhD. At MIT you'd get a BSM.
Enough with the ABCs of music education, there are many answers.

mathgent 10:47 AM  

@Carola (10:05): You revived what I felt about our "flickering b/w" with rabbit ears on top. Indeed, it was a "cabinet of magic."

Sir Hillary 10:49 AM  

@Z -- Thanks for the details, but I'm aware of all that. I personally place little validity in an IQ test and am skeptical of what it purports to be testing for and the rationale for such testing. That said, @Rex's rant was disproportionate to the supposed offense (a well-known term clued poorly), entirely predictable and very entertaining. I'm sad to have missed the Saturday conversation which I imagine revolved around a certain down entry in that puzzle which feels to me like what @Rex was doing this morning.

RMK 11:08 AM  

Agreed. I originally put in DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) which would be appropriate.

xyz 11:10 AM  

Had H&M not S&M, slowed me on this straightforward rebus.

I've seen much worse. ACA was ugh, RexISright

puzzlehoarder 11:10 AM  

This was an average Thursday solve. Like most people I discovered the rebus very quickly thanks to 3D. The nature of the theme took a little longer. My unfamiliarity with AMERICANCRIMESTORY and PANTOMIMEQUIZ helped to keep the puzzle from being a complete push over. NEMEA being such common ese gave me excellent leverage on that potentially difficult NE corner.

SILOS as a term for "isolates" was new to me but the crosses were fair. Everything difficult was crossed with easy material. The solve wasn't boring.

RMK 11:14 AM  

It's Juilliard. Eastman is part of the University of Rochester. I've never heard of any music major receiving an MFA.

jb129 11:18 AM  

I liked this a lot - thank you David.

Zygotic 11:21 AM  

@Sir Hillary - Understood. I am just very sympathetic to Rex’s rant as IQ testing (and assessment misuse in general) is apt to set me off. I see some @anon suggested looking at the research. OMG - stop me from responding. From following Rex on Twitter and reading him here for nearly a decade his response is based much as mine is, dealing professionally with the real world consequences of these tests, him at the university, me in middle and high schools.

@Anon10:41 - You didn’t ask, but a “kited check” is a check written without the funds to cover it. It is not always FRAUDULENT, since that implies an intention to never make good. If I write and mail a check on Wednesday even though I won’t deposit my paycheck until Friday it is a kited check, but by the time the check is delivered and deposited the funds will be in my account. Since none of my adult sons have ever written a check, the concept is clearly now dated. How do you kite a check when you pay all your bills electronically? Although some criminal genius out there probably has figured it out.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

well... why should PANTOMIME QUIZ be so out of date? have you all looked at the TeeVee schedule recently? clones of olde game and talent shows? deja vu all over again.

and, of course, OFL should get the Wordy Award for longest parenthetical paragraph in history. I think he closed it, but not sure.

oopsydeb 11:31 AM  

This would have been much easier for me if I had noticed that my very first entry didn't fit. Yeah...I did not notice that when I typed SHOW ME STATE I actually filled in SHOW ME STAE. So did not notice the rebus immediately as I would have if I was watching what I typed. Struggled for a while because of that. But great theme. And I'm good with the outlier simply because it was the first.

HOMELAND was a great show for a few seasons. Not so much since then, but I'll still watch the final season this year. MAD MEN...the show that taught me to love a show of mostly characters I would never want to break bread with--really set me up to be able to enjoy Succession. GoT--read the books, watched a couple episodes first season, couldn't bring myself to watch more. Too bad they couldn't get Shameless in there with its two stunt direction emmys.

Clrd2Land 11:32 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pete 11:34 AM  

@puzzlehoarder - SILOS doesn't translate to isolates, it is used to reference when work is done in isolation, i.e. when one part of an organization has no idea of what the other part is doing, how they do it, or why they do it. It's particularly irksome when there is an inherent overlap of skill-sets or goals between two organizations which nonetheless go about their merry way, not learning from, or sharing with, one another.

To get to isolates, as a verb, it would have to be that olde tyme crossword fave, ENSILES.

Whatsername 11:35 AM  

EGGHEAD: “This term is usually used with disparaging intent, implying that an intellectual is out-of-touch with ordinary people. Though first used by journalists to insult editorial writers, egghead was popularized as an epithet of Adlai Stevenson, the 1952 Democratic presidential candidate.” Source: dictionary,com

I love a rebus, but l don’t like squinting when I do my crosswords, and I did a lot of that today. I’m from Missouri so of course 3D was a gimME right off the bat. Still the theme was a bit of a struggle, probably because I seldom watch mainstream television. MADMEN was hands down the best program ever to air on any TV channel. I could sit and watch Don and Peggy and Pete and the gang for hours and be happy. Other than that, not familiar with any of the others. I know Game of Thrones had a huge following but it just never appealed to me.

Didn’t know YAS Queen but I do now: “a phrase used to express enthusiastic support, excitement, or congratulations for someone you love.” What I learned from my crossword today - I’m so proud. Can’t wait to try it out.

pabloinnh 11:40 AM  

I've read that a good assessment of one's intelligence is the size of one's vocabulary, so I always think all of us on this blog must be way above average.

Amelia 11:40 AM  

First, let me thank @Gill I for welcoming me back the other day. I meant to thank her earlier and kept forgetting. I'm usually around, but I'm less likely to post if I have nothing much to say.

Second, I cannot believe how many people here don't watch TV. First of all, it's kind of another golden age. If you don't believe me, count the number of movie theaters closing. There's so much good stuff on now. Well-written, British, Scandinavian, you name it. It's a wonderful thing. I would think that people who love their puzzles love all their other cultural sources. I remember learning that people who are obsessed with one medium tend to be all over all the other media. But maybe things have changed. That said, I've never seen Game of Thrones.

As for the puzzle, loved it. Although I have to laugh. Because when I finished, I said to myself (or even out loud) what was with the ME in the themes?? Oh, I said (out loud) M pause E! EMMY! I would have felt stupid if there had been anyone else in the room.

I had no problem with learning what won an Emmy first. I thought that was very cool. As for the Rex complaint that many decades separated the answers, perhaps they couldn't find shows that had ME in them. I would do some research, but of course that way madness lies.

OK I lied. I did the research. Only one other show had an ME and that was thirtysomething. (1988) And I'll bet donuts or dollars that they tried.

Perhaps, as others have said, a touch too easy. But still lovely in its execution. I would criticize the fill but I think it was difficult to create.

Masked and Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Puz was A-OK with M&E.
@RP blog seemed calmer, when he didn't need to count the nano-seconds. [IQS is always good for some collateral snarlin, in any case, of course.] Agree with @RP, on the "easy" difficulty grade. Thoroughly enjoyed his five bullet things, in the write-up.

Lotsa neat longball extras, such as SANTAANITA & SHOWM&ESTATE & FRAUDULENT. Weird that the Chenmeister [over there at xwordinfo.chen] wanted to saw em in half, on account of LAH & NTWT. (??) Way harsh, dude.

staff weeject pick: YAS. Better clue: {Back talk??}. honorable mention to: ROM&E.
Primo generous set of four weeject stacks, in the general areas of the NW & SE.
8 of 23 (35%) weejects start with an "A", for whAt it's worth.

fave clue: {Chain letters?} = SANDM. har. The double-take kinda gave M&A whiplash, there.

Knew all the them&ers, except the 1949 one, which had all nice & fair crossers.

Thanx, Magic Kwong dude. Nifty rebus Thursday fix.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Anonymous 12:00 PM  

in the software/compute world, SILO is a synonym for isolate. SILOing is how coders keep their jobs for decades! :) I've had to deal with that nonsense for decades. there's a reason there are hundreds, if not thousands, of General Ledger applications out there; oft times multiple in one company. you only really need one.

it's long been a fair criticism of IQ tests (all of 'em) that what they really measure is language skills, even the mathy parts. a language/context free intelligence measure has been the holy grail of the psych- types forever.

John V 12:07 PM  

Pop culture train wreck here.

Joseph M 12:14 PM  

Neat trick from David Kwong. Had a really hard time at first figuring out what was going on and almost gave up. Then suddenly it all snapped into place.

Had a second aha! late in the solve when I realized that M E = EMMY. If I ever produce a TV show, I’ll be sure that the title includes an M E to boost its chances of winning an award.

Loved the first season of GAME OF THRONES, but when all of my favorite characters were killed off, I lost interest and never made it through season 2. I hear it gets better again, so at some point I will give it another try. Also liked MAD MEN.

To those complaining about the idiot box, I venture to say that you’re thinking about how TV programming used to be. TV today is a different STORY with many programs, especially on premium channels like HBO, rising to the level of art.

Favorite clue: chain letters.

And thank you for including the first H in LAH DI DAH!

albatross shell 12:19 PM  

@anon 1041am
Yes I had about the same as you. But getting the trick of ACT for show piece gave me both longs. Or getting OCCASIONED got me ACT. I forget. Appreciated the subtlety of OCCASIONED and the trickery of ACT.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

Except for those of us who watch TV. Har!

Lila 12:49 PM  

I'm fairly new to crosswords, and Thursdays can hold me up for awhile. I caught on quickly today and enjoyed it, however Pantomime quiz took me forever to get.

Teedmn 1:10 PM  

Gah, the NE pushed me into "medium-tough Friday" territory. I couldn't come up with DORA or ACA so with just MANTEL and ABC crossing ABODE and an unsure CRI[ME], I stared at the rest for a long time. I think I finally saw [ME]DIC and was able to finish.

I tried to mess up the 52D-61A cross by reflexively entering aLOE in at 61A. 52D was I_A and I was wondering what eggheads had to do with either IRAs or IPAs. QUIZ falling in raised my IQ so I wasn't as SLOE-witted.

Nice job, David Kwong, but I agree with @Nancy that this presented too large a helping of PPP for true Thursday rebus bliss.

Whatsername 1:14 PM  

@pablo at 11:40 — And according to Auntie Mame (one of my all-time favorite literary characters), “a rich vocabulary is the true hallmark of every intellectual person.”

JC66 1:28 PM  

@David 10:05

Your "I did not know there were "primetime" Emmys. I've always heard the ads for "The Emmys" and talk of the "Daytime Emmys," but never the "Primetime Emmys." Are there also "Late Night Emmys?" "Early Morning Emmys?" Perhaps it's just never registered with me" comment made me curious, so I checked and there are others.


re: check kiting

I always thought the term referred to changing the amount by writing in an extra zero on a check (from $50 to $500, e.g.) that one received from someone else before cashing.

Your comment that it's not always fraudulent caused me to check (NPI*) and couldn't find anything to support my usage, but I did find this, which contradicts your point that it's not always fraudulent.

*No Pun Intended

kitshef 1:41 PM  

@David 10:45 - Primetime Emmys is a retronym. They were once just the Emmys, but after the launch of the Daytime Emmys they were rebranded as Primetime Emmys. Technically, PANTOMIME QUIZ just won and Emmy, as the term Primetime Emmy did not yet exist.

Molasses 2:52 PM  

Fun and pretty easy, once I figured out it was PRIMETIME EMMY and not Triple Crown (which I expected based on the Seabiscuit clue).

The Wordplay blog over on the NYT site has a link to an episode of PANTOMIME QUIZ with a young looking Vincent Price and a grown-up Jackie Coogan. Fun to watch, and marvel over the long and obscure-to-me Shakespeare quote that someone actually got! They were serious about their charades in those days.

Joe Dipinto 3:43 PM  

Looks weird to not have a rebus intersecting one of the long downs on the right. Otherwise, this was a pretty good gimmick. Because, you know, it's all about ME.

♪ I like flying,
Flying kites –
Kites are fun! ♪

Fred Wollam 4:13 PM  

In the SW, I'd've tried to sneak AFb (Air Force base) -crosses- bIRO (Nice/Orange/French ball point pen) past Shortz, but then, I've yet to get anything past him.

Rob 4:23 PM  

It's been a while, but I was taught AQUI as here, ACA as there, and ALLA as, like, waaaaay over there. Was I taught wrong? Am I misremembering? Is this a Cuban dialect thing? Is the puzzle wrong?

Fred Wollam 4:53 PM  

If 9 gettable crosses will get you PAROXYSMAL (a word you will never use or perhaps have never heard of... but are nonetheless glad to SUSS OUT), who TF cares if some other string of crosses gives you PANTOMIMEQUIZ, a show you never saw or even heard of? You're not obliged to add either one to your vocabulary.

Seth Romero 5:09 PM  

Looks like we found the Mensa member...

GILL I. 6:01 PM  

@Rob...if I may. Aqui and ACA are the same. See my little Cuban reference upstairs at 8:31. ALLA is waaaaay over there so yes, you' re corectamundo. We need some accents but I don't know how to put them in.
I'll be the first to say - or maybe the second because @pablo would probably agree, that sometimes @Will doesn't quite get the nuances correct. I just wish to Dios, that they'd requite the enye. No one likes to say "Feliz Ano."
You're welcome....

pabloinnh 6:08 PM  


Aqui/aca=here. Alli/alla=there. I think you're confusing este (this) ese (that) and aquel (that one over there). Of course this and that have feminine and plural forms too.

Pardon my lack of accent marks.

Anonymous 6:10 PM  

I'm not much of a TV viewer. The only one of the shows I ever watched was Pantomine Quiz.

jae 6:26 PM  

Medium-tough. I got hung up in the center. SILOS as clued was a WOE and it took a while to grok S AND M. PANTOMIME QUIZ was also a WOE.

Cute and fun, liked it.

I’ve watched two of the four. We passed on GoT as part of our no zombies/ no dragons policy.

@Z & Anon 12:07 - The article you link never mentions the non-verbal Raven’s Progressive Matrices which are used in CA schools to place students in advanced classrooms.

Unknown 7:08 PM  

Rex, you are such a pompous, self righteous ass. Not everything has to be hip and current and on your liberal agenda. Some of us don't want to dissect every puzzle and read something onto it. I feel sorry for every kid you come in contact with. You have an opportunity to teach them how to think. Instead you teach them what to think. I'm so glad my kids are safe from you.

GILL I. 7:18 PM  

@pablo...Oye me, amiguete...vente para ACA y te invito a una copita. :-)

BobL 7:51 PM  

@pablo - what Gill I said

pabloinnh 9:23 PM  


El gusto seria mio....

pabloinnh 9:28 PM  

@BobL-what I said to GILL I., y gracias.

Zygotic 11:43 PM  

@Anon12:00 paragraph 2 - Yes. A thousand times yes. Reading is decoding symbols to create meaning. And what is math? The mathy parts are most especially pure reading tests.

@JC66 - Wikipedia is a good place to start. “Playing the float” is a new one to me but, according to Wikipedia, is what I was describing. But fraud? A false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury. Banks may not like it (hence their not making large deposits immediately available and huge fees for bouncing a check), but hardly fraud.

@jae - Probably still a reading test (see above) but that people on the autism spectrum do so well raises lots of questions (about the test, about autism, about how we think about “intelligence”). I had to do a little refresher search and was amused to see what looked to be study guides. Anyway, like any tool, these assessments are fine when used properly by someone who understands what they tell us and, more importantly, what the don’t tell us. But when the only tool you have is a hammer you start to think everything is a nail.

a.corn 12:03 AM  

Found this super hard, and super good.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

I feel like I'm in some kind of parallel universe. This was one of the worst puzzles I've done in a while, and when I came to the site to see how much Rex would flay this, I was *shocked* to see how much he liked it.

Let's start with the theme. I am not the biggest fan of rebus puzzles. They're mildly cute at best, but it always feels like the constructor cheating a bit and taking the easy way out. Until I realize it's a rebus, I always have a tougher time of the puzzle, then when I finally get it, it's never an a-ha moment that makes me appreciate the constructor's cleverness. It's always disappointing, like "Really? That's just lame" and I'm robbed of my delightful a-ha moment.

Second, with the theme itself...I don't get it. OK, PRIMETIME EMMY has two ME's in it and it's supposed to be pronounced by spelling it out – M-E = Emmy. Fine. But how does that relate to the theme answers other they, "Look! I found shows that have this two-letter combination in them." Is there some reason this had to be a rebus puzzle to work? Do the shows somehow contain Emmy's? Is there some condition by which the M-E being in one square matters? Are they inside some kind of programming block? Does the Emmy come in a box when you win it? Maybe there's some deeper meaning in this that I'm missing, but it's a mystery to ME.

OK, let's talk fill. It's atrocious. 23 3-letter words is a little high, though not egregious. But the fill itself is such a combination of yucky crossword mess, crosswordese and abbreviations: LAH, ONO, NTWT, ACA, ATTA, UAE, AFT, ENS, TDS, AGA, APR, SLO, OLE, NORI, DROME, ALP, ANTI, IQS, MFA, MIR.

Then there is the freshness of the fill. XWord Info says it has a freshness score of 18.1, which puts it in the 11.2 percentile overall. For Thursdays? 7.1 percentile. And it's how i felt solving this. Answers like OLE, ANT, NET, TSAR/S, ONO, and others did induce a yawn or seven.

And then the problematic answers. I'll skip "PANTOMIME QUIZ" as it's been litigated many times. I've never called Arabian horses ARABS. Arabians, yes, but not ARABS. Not that Google is the final arbiter of these issues, but if you search for "arab horse", Google asks me, "Did you mean: arabian horse?" Yes, yes I did.

There's answer-clue incongruity with RATE and "A mile a minute". It's either ARATE or "Mile a minute". Pick a side, we're at war here.

I like the "Sunday breakfast" test, but I don't think ASS and SANDM pass. Unless it's Christmas time, and you're talking about the Biblical story of Jesus' birth, 99% of the time ASS is used is not a way I want my children using it. If my 10-year-old was watching TV and saw someone doing something inane, I would be fine with him saying, "What a buffoon!" but if "What an ass!" came out, we'd have to have a talk. "Dad, I got 37-Down but I don't know what SANDM is." "Well son, it's when people wear things like assless chaps and use whips and chains with their sexual partners to inflict harm on each other, which paradoxically produces sexual pleasure." *crickets* "Sorry, I meant buffoon-less chaps."

ZESTS. I have never in my life heard someone say to a bartender, "Can you put some zests on that drink?" No, a normal person would say, "Can you put some zest on that drink." The only time i've ever used ZESTS is as a verb.

I've gone on too long. I like David Kwong, I think what he does with speed constructing puzzles is nothing short of absolute genius. But this puzzle was a big disappointment, and hopefully I'll see another one of his that will cleanse my palate of this dead FISH of a puzzle.

Anonymous 11:28 PM  

I thought this puzzle was about horses for most of the time. Phew!!!! Made it way harder.

Burma Shave 8:44 AM  


to GOPRO ATTA time when
they AIN'T ready for PRIMETIME.


rondo 9:06 AM  

Mostly what @anon 1:28 just above said, so thoroughly. And OLE agrees. And rebi AINT our things. Pick your favorite ANNA or SOFIA as today's yeah baby. 'Nuff said.

spacecraft 10:55 AM  

I echo @rondo and @anon above. Noting that even OFC writes "S&M" instead of the ampersandwich, that's a double whammy. People who somehow think there's not already enough pain in the world. And I add 44-across, which I have said before is the name of one of the 9/11 villains, and so a name I do NOT want to read in a crossword grid.

The theme is very clever, and I don't mind including the very first winner; why not? It's just the short fill that ruins things. I hate to put a score on this. It was tough to start, and the clues were very late-week, so some triumph points accrue. I'd never call it "easy." I guess I'll abstain.

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Silos? Nahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Maybe used in one isolated business, but never a general business term.

leftcoast 3:48 PM  

Started out pretty easy, getting the rebus ME gimmick, but soon ran into resistance. So just kept plugging along.

The PRIME TIME EMMY themers did begin to show up, including the most obscure, PANTOMIME QUIZ. But came to a dead stop in the NE corner. Where to put the two remaining MEs, and what were their award winning shows? Got AMERICAN and STORY but not CRIME. Then embarrassed myself to not get MADMEN, my favorite and the only one I regularly watched. Boo-boo! Owie!

Still, liked the theme and glad to get what I got except for that @#% corner.

Diana, LIW 4:14 PM  

I agree with @Rondo who agrees with Anon 1:28. That's all this is worth.

Diana, You-know-Who of Crosswords (ME, in other words)

leftcoast 4:46 PM  

@Anonymous 1:28 PM outdid Rex at his best or worst or both.

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