1999 rom com with Julia Roberts Hugh Grant / WED 10-2-19 / Icon born 10/2/1869 / SUperfood sometimes called purple gold / Preserver Vishnu Creator

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Constructor: Mangesh Ghogre

Relative difficulty: Very (this was a Thursday-type puzzle; my time was very very high, but I kinda stopped a bunch to be actively annoyed at this thing, so the clock isn't technically telling the truth ... but it took a while)

THEME: GANDHI (69A: Icon born 10/2/1869 ... with a hint to three squares in this puzzle) — squares contain "G" AND "HI":

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: BRAHMA (29D: Preserver : Vishnu :: Creator : ___) —
Brahma (Sanskrit: ब्रह्मा, IASTBrahmā) is the creator god in Hinduism. He is also known as Svayambhu (self-born) or the creative aspect of Vishnu, Vāgīśa (Lord of Speech), and the creator of the four Vedas, one from each of his mouths. Brahma is consort of Saraswati and he is the father of Four KumarasNaradaDakshaMarichi and many more. (wikipedia) (wait, how can he be in an analogy with Vishnu and be an aspect of Vishnu ...?)
• • •

Wow this was a terrible puzzle to wake up to. Not because of the subject matter (which is fine) but because of that NW corner, which was a nightmare. Didn't find the theme square until the end (which, in fact, is the moment I found *all* the theme squares). I usually turn up rebuses easily, but the combo of "it's not the right day of the week for a rebus" and the oddness of ROUGHIDEA and (especially!) HIGH INCOME as phrases meant I had no idea. But then also in that NW section, UNLINED is 13A: Not having wrinkles (????) Is this to do with human faces? So weird. I wanted UNIRONED so bad. And then ... DESC? Wow, that is bad. Just bad. Bad. Needed every cross to get a terrible abbr. Everything about the puzzle felt rough and TTH (trying too hard). I get the impulse to load the grid with Indian information, but none of it seemed terribly on-point for the man in question, and the straining for theme material meant that the grid overall suffered. Are we really trying to pass off crosswordese SRI as theme material? The theme just doesn't feel very thought-through. LONG HISTORY and HIGH INCOME are pretty green-painty* for themers. Like most tribute puzzles, it feels forced. I also thought the concept was corny. Here is this "icon" (as the puzzle itself notes) and we're celebrating his 150th birthday with ... a "GHI" rebus? Very anti-climactic. I would've liked a "Gone D" theme better, I think–where you take a "D" out of familiar phrases and ... I don't know, something. Anyway, today's theme expression is too clever for its own good.

LONGHISTORY is a rough themer, since LONGSTORY seems perfectly correct (57A: What a civilization like India or Egypt has) (why is Egypt in here?). Struggled a lot with this one, but didn't have too many outright wrong answers. WAY for SLY (68A: On the ___). ILL for WOE (31D: Misfortune). I think that's it. I enjoyed seeing MERLIN (24D: King Arthur's magician) and I like the phrase OLD MONEY (39D: Inherited wealth). Those were the highlights for me today. I gotta cram a lot into my day today, so I need to get going. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*"green paint" = answers that someone might say in normal conversation, but that don't stand alone as crossword answers very well. Adj./noun pairings are the most common type.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


MarineO6 6:18 AM  

I loved it and found it rather easy despite the unexpected rebus. Seems as if the difficulty of Wednesday and Thursday puzzles has been drastically declining over the past several years, nice to get a bit of a challenge for a change. Despite all that it was still fairly easy but the rebus kicked it up a notch. Keep the Wednesday challenge going!

Music Man 6:21 AM  

Yes, agreed - this puzzle was harder than a typical Wednesday.

Lewis 6:22 AM  

Clever theme, nicely executed. Like @rex, I had trouble placing that NW rebus square, but it sure felt good when it fell into place. I did like the ending-in-i Indian quartet of GHANDI, ROTI, DELHI, and SRI. It was unexpected and fun to have a Wednesday rebus, especially after having one last Thursday.

My heart melts whenever I see MERLIN in a grid. We have had a good number of cats, and Merlin, who is no longer with us, was my favorite. He was a big and clumsy Ragdoll, but when he hunted squirrels or sparred with other cats, he became an untouchable ninja. What I remember most about him was something he did as he slept between my wife and I at night. I sleep on my side with my lower arm perpendicular to my body, palm up. Merlin would rest his paw on my upturned hand, and keep it there all night.

JB in VT 6:31 AM  

This was a memorable oddball for me since I was both blazingly fast and slow on the uptake. I spotted the rebus early then flew through the whole thing, filling in 57A as LONG STORY, then completing the grid with RAG at 62D. I filled in RAG confidently, seeing at a glance that the cross, GANDHI, was a perfectly fine answer to any number of clues, so when the app proclaimed victory upon typing the G, I didn’t bother reading the GANDHI prompt.

But why were there two seemingly random GHIs in the north? For a few moments my addled brain confused GHI with GHEE and tried to tie it to ROTI and GANDHI and MATA to build some too-clever-by-half Indian cultural mashup motif, but eventually I let that go.

It took me a ridiculously long audit to see that the app had accepted the G in LONG STORY as good enough for GHI (for an answer which I had not sniffed out). And only after that did I get to the reveal by actually reading the last clue.

In the end, I am credited with my fastest ever Wednesday time on a puzzle I never finished and that I agonized over for a solid 20 minutes after the fact. I tried to make the 57A correction for my own satisfaction but there is no editing a “success” in the app.

amyyanni 6:38 AM  

Feels as if Rex and I did different puzzles today. Very much enjoyed this clever tribute puzzle on Gandhi's 150th birthday. And then learning the constructor lives (and is from) India somehow made it even better. He's an investment banker so HIGH INCOME worked its way in there.

DeeJay 6:39 AM  

I agree with Rex. This puzzle was.....


Very good, very interesting, very fun.

Ones rebus meter was set to high once one saw the revealer, right?

Jstarrracewalker 6:49 AM  

Don’t usually do the Wednesday puzzle, but glad I did. Found it clever and interesting. Learned a few things. Am smiling. What more could I ask?

btgrover 7:04 AM  

Quick solve for a Weds. 10D tipped me to a rebus almost immediately in my solve, which helped a lot. Like Rex, NE corner was the last piece to lock in here, but working around the rest of the grid first it was actually pretty straightforward.

BarbieBarbie 7:06 AM  

I thought “G and H I” was very clever. Definitely beats “Gone D.”

kitshef 7:30 AM  

Now, that’s more like it. Quirky theme that gave me a grin, a rebus on Wednesday, and lots of fun fill. 2nd day in a row my opinion is the exact opposite of the blogger.

Broke the theme early with NOTTING HILL. Used to live in NOTTING HILL, when I was working in London in the mid-nineties. Frequently visited the travel bookshop ‘owned’ by Hugh Grant in the movie. Went to the cinema at the old Coronet Theatre, an amazing crushed-velvet and chandeliers old-style theatre. Dined at Bertorelli’s – best carbonara in London. And took full advantage of the six weeks paid holiday (vacation) standard at that time.

JohnG 7:34 AM  

I mean, this was a fun puzzle and I am not a great Xword solver, but I found this one not as difficult as the usual Wednesday. Basically Rex hated this puzzle because he found it. . . .hard. That's not a great reason to hate a puzzle. A hard puzzle that eludes our grasp can still be a good one. No complaints from me, the theme was pretty clever and not too overbearing.

David in Brevard 7:36 AM  

Absolutely wonderful puzzle to wake up to. Actually I dropped ANODE in there last night and then turned it.

This was like a vacation in DELHI - surrounded by the tastes and smells of India (which I had on a 2 day layover in 1997).

I came in 150% of my best for a Wednesday but faster than average. Figured out the rebus in NOTTINGHILL (where I remember having the hood of a hire care I was driving crushed by an 18 wheeler as he drove over me while entering a roundabout) and the rest fell until I got to the NW like REX.

I had NAAN before ROTI, IDYLS before EDENS and MIMEOS was my WOE?

Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle to enjoy as the mountain mist clears down here in Brevard.

Dave 7:42 AM  

Couldn't disagree with Rex more. I feel like he's just salty about puzzles that give him slow times and looks for excuses/reasons to hate. I found it to be average difficulty, but hugely enjoyable. Favorite Wednesday in quite awhile. The NW was just fine. I've seen far worse escape this kind of treatment from Rex.

Joaquin 7:49 AM  

Fairly easy and clever Wednesday tribute puzzle, but the revealer threw me off. I had parsed it as “Gone D” and it took me a while to figure out what I had done wrong. Turns out - nothing (except for the parsing!).

Suzie Q 7:49 AM  

What a great surprise. G and HI? Wow. Finding words to fit that rebus
doesn't seem like an easy task at all. Well done Mr. Ghogre.
I learned a few things and was pleased that these little tidbits could be included without bogging down this tribute or making it trite.

Ciclista21 7:53 AM  

I liked the puzzle a little more than Rex did, but not a lot.

NW was toughest, because the rebus idea didn’t occur immediately. I had _ _ INCOME at 4D and was stumped for what two letters could precede it.

In NE, I had enough down crosses to see that 21A wanted to start NOTTING, but there weren’t enough spaces to add HILL.

Finally, the rebus lightbulb came on, and HI(GHI)NCOME and NOTTIN(GHI)LL dropped into place. After that, the grid filled itself.

My biggest disappointment is the theme itself. Gandhi deserves birthday honors, but really, is turning his name into a pun an honor? G AND HI, get it! Har har, nudge, wink. Thanks, icon, for giving us your funny name. That’s all we remember you for today!

The Gandhi-related answers were amazingly underwhelming too, almost pandering. You can call him SRI! India has a LON(GHI)STORY! And lots of people in cities like DELHI, and, oh, they eat this weird bread called ROTI! We certainly did the subcontinent and its national hero justice today!

The rebus itself also turned out to be a letdown. Only three squares. If you’re going to bother me with sussing out this gimmick, which I usually like, at least make more use of it.

Puzzles like this one, so thin, so meh, make me wonder what gets turned down at NYT.

Conrad 8:13 AM  

@JB in VT, re "there is no editing a “success” in the app." If you tap the "life preserver" icon of a completed puzzle, you get the option to clear the puzzle and start over. Not really an edit, I know, but at least it's something.

three of clubs 8:13 AM  

Get off my lawn! It's not Thursday yet.

pabloinnh 8:19 AM  

A rebus on a Wednesday? Eek.

Got the idea right away in the NW corner, which for me at least went in in a hurry. My problem was I thought we were getting a consecutive letter rebus after the G-H-I square. Nope.

All of us teachers from the Prexeroxian Era remember making copies on a MIMEOgraph machine, how careful you had to be when preparing a master on a typewriter, and students sniffing papers fresh out of the copier.

Ordering ROTI from a menu in Quebec will get you a piece of toast.

I like a Wednesday with some pitfalls. Thanks for a nice tribute puzzle, MG.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

As has been said, Rex tends to be critical of puzzles he finds hard.

I'm not a really fast solver but I found this to be an easyish Wednesday. Of course a Wednesday rebus is a surprise, but this one shows that rebus isn't synonymous with difficult. After HIINCOME looked dubious for 4-Down, NOTTINGHILL gave away the theme.


Danielle 8:28 AM  

My Ny Times app inexplicably marked my puzzle as completed and correct having only rebused the north end of the puzzle, leaving me shouting “What?!?” to myself when the completion screen popped up. Kind of odd wordplay, though it didn’t take me long, coupled with tech errors made for a bizarre puzzle experience.

Tim Pierce 8:30 AM  

Rex's criticisms here are on point. Still, "G AND HI" is a cute and clever theme. If the theme had been "Gone D", I would have shot my newspaper.

Granny Smith 8:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Granny Smith 8:38 AM  

This was a wonderful puzzle. It isn't a law, is it, that a rebus is only permitted on Thursdays? Had it been published tomorrow all the chronic whiners would be complaining that it was too easy.
I'd also like to add that I feel sorry for all the solvers whose sole focus seems to be speed. I like to savor a good puzzle, enjoy the cleverness, chuckle at a nice misdirection, and take a few moments to feel smug when I figure out a difficult answer.

Brit Solves NYT 8:41 AM  

Really liked this one! Rebus Wednesday for a change.

mmorgan 8:43 AM  

Liked it a lot. Really hard until I figured out what was going on, then it got really easy. But I liked it a lot.

Z 8:48 AM  

@Ciclista21 hit my reaction right in the nose. What kind of “tribute” is it to turn ONE’S name into a pun? Eliminate the “tribute puzzle” element and I think this would have been fine. I generally don’t like tribute puzzles and would say this is better than most, but I’d have run it April.

I want my puzzles to be puzzling, so I dislike that Thursday is Rebusday. I want the extra challenge of not knowing when to expect some sort of constructor trick. I like that this ran on a Wednesday and thought the difficulty was about right for a Wednesday.

@JB in VT’s story reminds me of yet another reason I dislike solving online. How many times have I solved an indie puzzle online and had to replace the rebus with a single letter to have it recognized as “correct.” Yuck. The PuzzAzz file type is best, but not everyone uses it. Annoying.

@E.T. late yesterday - Every time I drive between NC and points north like I did this weekend I have a chuckle in rural TN on I-75. There’s this small town which features two notable landmarks immediately next to each other, a 30’ tall white cross scowling down on Adult World. Your use of that particular adjective caused a similar reaction. Maybe you missed the kerfuffle over a certain Disney star’s career choices. In short, just riffing on those who clutch their pearls about “adult Disney stars.”

AW 8:51 AM  

@Lewis 6:22 AM: Let me be the first cat lover to say "Awww..." I can just picture Merlin's paw in your palm. Sweet.

As for the puzzle, had to use the "check puzzle" and "check word" crutches in the app to complete it. Got the rebus fairly quickly with 10D but flailed elsewhere. No idea what 7A is (although 7D is nifty) and agree with Rex that 23A is awful. That said, a nice crunchy puzzle.

Joe Dipinto 8:59 AM  

♪ Folks around these parts get the time of day
From the Mata Meta Memo by the MTA ♪

Oh sorry. That was the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.

Anyway, the puzzle. I mean the "tribute". @Ciclista21, if there's room on your bike can I hitch a ride? My Lamborghini Tricolore is in the shop.

D Peck 9:02 AM  

Had the same experience as JB in VT: I dropped LONG STORY/BIG T where LONG HISTORY/BIG HIT should go. Didn’t like either answer particularly, but before I could go back to suss them out I finished the grid and the app was telling me I’d solved the puzzle. I actually spotted the rebus right out of the gate, so getting a false solve made for an extra-disappointing result to a pretty bland puzzle.

Like Rex, I found “G and HI” less than than scintillating word play, and like Ciclista21 I don’t find it the most moving tribute to Gandhi). ROUGH IDEA, HIGH INCOME, and LONG HISTORY are all pretty green painty as answers...LONG HISTORY works better vis-a-vis the clue, but LONG STORY is more in the language as an answer, which is one of the reasons I let it ride. SRI, ROTI, and DELHI are less Indian trivia than crosswordese, and MATA, the only new word to me, was undercut by appearing right around the corner from META.

Wondered why the constructor didn’t go for it with a full-name rebus: PUNCHIN(G AND HI)TTING, say, (tactics eschewed by 69-Across), or MUN(G AND HI)NDU (words from 69-Across’s home country). I’m sure there are better ones, or at least a better way to honor Gandhi.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Got the first rebus wrong. In the SW I had LONGSTORY for 57A. For 46D I had BIGTIME - requiring a one column turn to the East, then South. Got the GHI first in the NE corner - delayed by reading "preflight" when the clue was "prefight."

I left the answers I had in the SW. I don't consider it a DNF.

Nancy 9:10 AM  

HIGH INCOME filled in easily with a rebus GHI and then crossed nicely with ROU[GHI]IDEA, so I was off to the races -- no sweat. Then, as I zipped along happily, finding a couple of other GHIs, I spent the rest of the puzzle wondering who on earth was born in 1869 who had the initials G.H.I.? The revealer was a clever and surprising surprise.

Loved this puzzle, which I had no trouble with, but which I found very entertaining. I also liked the mini-Indian theme that could be found at 9D, 57A, 27D, and 29D. And, of course, the constructor sounds as if he's of Indian DESCent.

Many clues piqued my curiosity. How did the 70s differ from the 50s and 60s? What device has to be equipped with Braille by law? And who's a bad person to do a deal with beginning with the letter "N"? NARC was my favorite answer, btw.

My curiosity is also piqued at the thought of a board game called OTHELLO. How is it played, I wonder? You get some poor schmuck of a king to strangle his wife?

Brookboy 9:12 AM  

I liked this one a lot, and I thought the theme was fine. Have to admit that I never got the third rebus, so my fill-ins were LONGSTORY and BIGT. Even so, the app accepted the puzzle as complete and correct. And my solve time, adding to the app, was only 56 seconds longer than my average on Wednesdays.

I read that the constructor, Mangesh Ghogre, taught himself English partly by doing crosswords and storing words and meanings in his memory. Color me impressed. He has obviously progressed quickly and enormously.

bswein99 9:13 AM  

It's a lovely (not rough) idea to have a puzzle marking the 150th anniversary of Gandhi's birth. But it would be nice if the puzzle itself was lovely. The main problem is the clue for "rough idea"--that is NOT what gist means. In fact, it sort of means the opposite--the essence or substance of something, which even stretching it doesn't mean "rough idea."

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

I still think E.T. should have won Best Picture.

GILL I. 9:18 AM  

Just to give you a ROU GHI IDEA, this was an oof, a wow and a gee, a Wednesday rebus. So...what did I think? Not sure. BUT...at least now I'll remember how to spell Mohandas' name....haha.
Not a tribute fan and not crazy about upsetting my apple cart on Wed. but I thought this was kinda/sorta cute for what it was intended. When I meet up with friends who come to San Francisco on the ferry, we alway look for the statue of Gandhi at the Ferry Building. Funny, because if you ask the natives where it's located, they don't know. The tourists do, but not the natives - they're too busy buying organic tomatoes.
So @Rex felt some of the clues were "green-painty" and I immediately think of Jonathan and wonder if his daughter ever did kill him off. And tartaruga? Did he ever get that pesto off the wall?
My only "green paintish" thought was the clue for 31A. Why clue the 70s as WARMER? I might've said something like what Iceland is becoming. The other one is 57A. Why include Egypt in the LONG HISTORY clue....? Just curious....
OK, so I figured out the rebus deal at NOTTIN GHI LL. I'll watch anything Julia Roberts probably 2 or 3 times. Hugh Grant...not so much. He's kinda creepy. Why in the world would you be having sex with Divine Brown in your car in Los Angeles and think the police wouldn't nab you? They are in serious "Gotcha" mode, dude.
What else did I like? Learning that MATA is mother in Mumbai. One day, and it's on my bucket list, I shall go to Agra and visit the Taj.

Sir Hillary 9:22 AM  

GANDHI is certainly worthy of a tribute on his 150th birthday. And a rebus on Wednesday -- bring it on.

But the execution just doesn't quite live up. The India stuff is cool, but too many of the rebus themers are stretches.

Happy for the Nats.

Unknown 9:29 AM  

So Sri is no longer Indian because we puzzler s use it? That's called cultural imperialism, something you would normally rant at. Me I liked the puzzle and had fun with the rebus.

prandolph 9:30 AM  

Liked the puzzle, fairly easy for me.


Othello is the same game as Reversi, a game played on a chess board where playing pieces are discs with black on one side and white on the other side.. My favorite game, been playing for many years.

jberg 9:36 AM  

Fortunately for me, they were talking about GANDHI on NPR this morning, or I’d have found it much harder.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

@Rex Why would you want UNIRONED? That would have been "having wrinkles", not the other way around.

TJS 9:53 AM  

Anyone else bothered by the fact OFL wouldn't reveal just how "very,very high" his time was? Would love to know if this non-speed solver came close to him.
I dont agree with those who are not happy with this puzzle as a tribute. Maybe the problem is with the word "tribute". I mean this is a crossword puzzle. It serves to remind us of the fact that it is this individuals birthdate. It probably prompts many to consider his life. Isn't that enough ?

RooMonster 9:55 AM  

Hey All !
META GANDHI puz. Nice. At least maybe now I'll know how to spell his name correctly. Always want Ghandi. Of course,with my wonderful memory, I doubt it will soak in.

Figured out it might be a rebus when WEIGH IN wouldn't fit at 10D. What else could it be? Why won't you fit? Plus having wrongness in 8 & 9D, edge and naan, took me a minute to see NOTTING HILL from pattern recognition, as I didn't remember that movie. Speaking of naan, I'd bet 99% of solvers had that in first.

An overall nice puz. Neat to get a rebus on Wednesday. If this ran tomorrow, you'd get the chorus of complainers about it being on the wrong day. "Why wasn't this run yesterday? Just because it's a rebus?" would be the prevailing question.


Writeovers, edge-ABUT, naan-ROTI, OCTal-OCTET, askS-SITS, lam-SLY, CLARIToN-I, maybe confusing Clariton Hotels?

Did have my one-letter DNF, naturally had to have it, MATs for MATA. MATs sounds cooler. "Hey, y'all, meet my MATs" Har. Should've know MATA just from MATA Hari.

WARMER - don't tell that to Republicans, cause they think there's no such thing as Global Warming, even with Science in their faces.


Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Lovely puzzle. Thank you very much Mangesh Ghogre. It's especially gratifying that Rex is in a snit because he didn't solve it quickly. There is a God!!!!

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

I'd just like to join those who post here every day to brag about how easy the was for them. This one was really really easy for me, and I finished it in a minute and fifty-eight seconds.

Anonymoose 10:09 AM  

@Granny Smith, Maybe the speed solvers pity you for your way of enjoying a puzzle.

Geezer 10:20 AM  

@Anonymous 9:07, Maybe not a DNF but certainly a FWE (Finished With Error).

QuasiMojo 10:22 AM  

Lol @Nancy. Othello was a general not a king, and hardly poor. A schmuck is arguable.

Ethan Taliesin 10:24 AM  

Some of the cluing was inelegant but I enjoyed the puzzle. Green paint is not my bete noir and I'd rather see green paint than "I CARE" or "ME TOO" or "SO DO I," or even "OREOS" over and over.

The "G and HI" is just absurd enough to be a good spelling mnemonic for GANDHI-- and for that I will let it slide.

I like puzzles like this where its theme is showcased throughout and not just on a few long, across-answers.

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

OFL???? it's not GHI, but HI that is the 'rebus'. you add the HI to the 'pure' letter G in the box. you must be slipping.

Ethan Taliesin 10:27 AM  


(from late yesterday)

Gotcha 👍
We're always good

Nancy 10:28 AM  

I just found out on [gasp] another Blog that 70s, 60s, and 50s probably refers to Fahrenheit temperatures! My bad. (Your bad, too, btw.)

Can't believe that some people think that a rebus puzzle isn't serious and *tribute-y* enough to work as a tribute puzzle. Have no idea how GANDHI would feel, but I'm here to tell you this: When you construct your tribute to me, feel free to make it as rebus-y as you like. I'm easy. You may also, should you prefer, use puns, homophones, eponyms, retronyms, palindromes or anagrams. Like I say, I'm easy.

thursdaysd 10:30 AM  

I'm not a rebus fan, but got this one quickly in the NE. NAAN before ROTI and XEROX before MIMEO - maybe we called them something else in England. Pleased to learn that this is Ghandi's 150th birthday, although surely he would be spinning in his grave, if he had one, given how Modi is behaving.

Wikipedia is wrong about BRAHMA. Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver) and Shiva (destroyer) are a trinity (the Trimurti), and are aspects of the one, infinite, deity, not of each other.

OffTheGrid 10:41 AM  

My nit for today is "OUTSIDE" for plate umpire's call. He will call a ball based on a pitch being outside but the call is not "OUTSIDE".

In general I don't care for the rebus. I appreciated that the revealer told us how many.

puzzlehoarder 10:42 AM  

This was a Friday length solve largely self induced by a couple of early crucial mistakes. Somehow I filled in 13A as UNLINES and in the NE I put an IGH rebus in the third square of 10D. This was all cleared up when I recognized DANE at 14D but time wise the damage had been done.

The lower half of the puzzle was then typical Wednesday speed but I enjoyed the illusion of a late week solve in the upper half while it lasted.

Hopefully this terrific mnemonic for GANDHI will stick with me.

Nancy 10:42 AM  

You're right, @Quasi -- he was a general, not a king. Big mistake on my part. Mea culpa. But anyone who allows some scheming, odious, malignant troublemaker to talk him into strangling the wife he loves is certainly a poor schmuck in my book. I imagine Desdemona would agree, if anyone ever thought to ask her.

As you might guess, I've never much liked that play :)

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Othello, the game, if memory serves is an easier (aka, Westernized) version of Go.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

35A - probably SRI, clue points to 69A - probably GANDHI. Got first rebus at 17A/4D, then a matter of finding the other two. A little, but not a lot, more difficult than the median Wednesday.

jrstocker 11:08 AM  

OK, look. I've been doing these long enough that I probably should know ROTI as the bread by now. But was it necessary to do the weird stock thing for the PAR cross instead of just the Golf term? Didn't care for that cross.

Hungry Mother 11:09 AM  

Lovely puzzle! I stared at the NE for too long before seeing the rebus, then it became a normal Wednesday. Some super clue/ansers and the G AND HI was such a hoot at the end of the solve. Bring me more of these please.

Hungry Mother 11:10 AM  


Anonymous 11:15 AM  


If you watch network games, where the ump is miked up, some do say where the ball was if it's a ball. And, if the catcher asks, you'll hear the ump call where the ball was after the ball call.

TJS 11:27 AM  

@OffTheGrid, I always thought, the same as you, that umpires only called "ball" or "strike", but now that some umpire calls are picked up by nearby mikes, I have been hearing major league umps adding "high" 'low" "inside" or "outside" to their calls. Not all of them, but atleast a few.

Joseph M 11:31 AM  

Congratulations to Mangesh Ghogre on his NYT solo debut. And Happy Birthday to Mahatma Gandhi.

Challenging, but fun puzzle. Solved it without understanding what the GHI rebus was all about. Thought maybe it was an Indian word for something related to Gandhi’s life. Finally saw the light when I stopped by Jeff Chen’s site. Clever wordplay. And a far cry better than “Gone D” (yikes).

Enjoyed the surprise of a Wednesday rebus. Knew something was up at 21A but thought it was a rebus involving “Love Actually” which also featured Hugh Grant and came out around the same time. Sorry, Keira Knightley, for remembering you as Julia Roberts.

Liked but was also made uneasy by the clue for WARMER. How the world has changed since 10/2/1869.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Gone-D? Really!?!

That is SO ridiculously worse than G and HI. And you know it, Rex.

I'm with all the other people who enjoyed this puzzle. And I enjoy when puzzles make me work. The harder the better, as long as I can eventually crack them. Who wants to have a puzzle be finished in a couple of minutes? Where's the joy in that?

ghkozen 11:43 AM  

Can we talk about how Will Shortz is now trying to force his beliefs on us? “There is a God” is not a phrase in the language in the same way that “There is no God” is. It just isn’t a meaningful quote, period.

Z 11:49 AM  

@bswein99 - Gist can mean exactly “ROUGH IDEA.” As in “Just give me a ROUGH IDEA” = “Just give me the gist.” Check out the Did you know? comment at Merriam-Webster.

@Unknown9:29 - Way to misquote/misunderstand what was actually written to make your “point.”

@Nancy - I don’t think tribute puzzles work generally, so the puzzle already has a strike against it for me, and assassination victims add another level of potential insult. This was better than most and avoids most dangers, but it still feels forced to me and the turning the name into the rebus clue especially so. For me it works better if it is forced to do duty as a tribute.

@OffTheGrid - Back when I was a softball umpire we were taught specifically to keep our calls to “ball” or “strike,” so I had the same reaction. I briefly wondered if it was going to be the dreaded OUT-Safe call. Nothing worse than making an emphatic “Out” call only to realize the ball is on the ground. But, yeah, OUTSIDE is not a “call,” at most it might be an answer to a question from a catcher or batter.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Please explain. Thanks.

RooMonster 11:55 AM  

Har @Nancy
I thought it was warmer temps in the decades also! *Red faced* Just warmer temps in degrees...

But, I still stand by my Global Warming comment.

RooMonster We All Make Mistakes Department

Z 11:57 AM  

That would be “For me it works better if it is not forced to do duty as a tribute.”

@ghkozen - Several million Washington Nationals fans, as the ball bad-hopped past the right fielder last night, said, “There is a god.” For the majority of them the statement had no actual religious implication.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

wrt baseball. I believe the ump is required to make a hand gesture along with the strike call, but not with ball call. thus calling the position of the ball is done. further, I also recall, back in olden days of my youth, umps said nothing when the pitch was a ball, and only 'called' strikes. anyone else?

Gene 12:12 PM  

Rarely seen so many silly comments by Rex. LONGSTORY? Really, something that India and Egypt have? ROUGHIDEA and HIGHINCOME are odd phrases? It's not the theme that's "forced", it's Rex's criticisms.

jb129 12:16 PM  

Did it, finished it and enjoyed it. Rex gave the rebus away before I even began by saying this is a "Thursday-like puzzle."

Even tho II finished, I kept thinking "GHI? What does the insurance company have to do with Gandi?" Finally got away from that & had fun.

CDilly52 12:24 PM  

Awwwwww, @Lewis. I was a fan of your typically positive posts before but now that I that I know you are a cat lover, I’m a super fan! Merlin sounds like a gem. We have two cats and our beautiful orange tabby was my husband’s guardian, protector and nurse, and I believe the source of enormous comfort through his final illness. She never left his side except to eat and hit the litter box, and still sleeps on his pillow at night. Cats are not (all) haughty, demanding, self-centered petty despots who see us merely as slaves and your Merlin was obviously a loving and faithful companion.

What? 12:25 PM  

Fun, interesting, appropriate, and “easy” which is any crossword I finish (I don’t time - who needs the extra pressure). I find the rebus in rebus puzzles pretty easy - just look for answers you absolutely know but don’t fit.
Rex would like GONE D? Jeez, that’s awful.

Fred Romagnolo 12:33 PM  

Anon 10:54 is an anti-European racist. @Roomonster: I'm a Republican, and I believe in Global Warming.

MaryMCC 12:37 PM  

@ghkozen, @z- every time I find a free parking space in downtown SF, I shout, “there is a god!”
Like @Nancy, was thinking decades for 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, trying to relate it to music or clothes...
Got the rebus early with NOTTINGHILL, but just saw it as an alphabet string; still took a second for the coin to drop on my last entry GANDHI. As someone else said, I will never misspell that name again.
Surprised by a rebus on Wednesday, but came in 3.5 minutes under my average time.😁

CDilly52 12:41 PM  

Overall very enjoyable for all the reasons mentioned. And a bit weak for all the reasons mentioned. But, I suspected Ms. Rebus and lacked the confidence to jump in at HIGH INCOME merely because I am such a believer in the NYT “habits,” I refrained until NOTTING HILL absolutely gave it away. The rest was easy. G and HI was clever. It was. Period. Gave all of us Thursday rebus believers “permission” to “rebus” on a Wednesday. Whoa now!! Don’t get all crazy!

Certainly not a “tribute” to the great Mohandas GANDHI, but at least I now have an iron clad way to remember how to spell it!

Carola 12:57 PM  

A fun one to figure out. I made such a hash of my newspaper copy (I'd figured a Wednesday puzzle was safe to do in ink) that I had to abandon it for the Puzzazz app and start over with a clean slate. First step was letting go of the IDEA that "gist" would be ROUnDA_OUT...something, where the missing "b" of "about") was in the black square. I got the GHI rebus with WEIGH-IN x NOTTINGHILL, and was then able to unfurl the rest of the grid, with SRI cluing me in to the G and HI of the puzzle's honoree.

Besides ROTI, DELHI, SRI, MATA, and BRAHMA, I noticed the close-but-not-quite BINDiS and RAGa.

@Manesh Ghogre, congratulations on your solo debut. I enjoyed reading your note on xwordinfo.

Masked and Anonymous 1:02 PM  

Gee. And hi!
Kinda cool that this here puz was built by a current citizen of India. Plus, I liked it becuz it was a *different* approach to a tribute puz. Gotta vive la difference.

@Nancy - yep. Sure might be able to do a trib-runtpuz for U, if U could just change yer name to Nandy. (I'da also offered up Nandyo, but that sounds too tough, constructioneerin-wise.)

This WedPuz does get U off to a feisty NW zone start, with a (seeminly) weird GHI rebus square lurkin there in ambush. On the other Mahatma, this puppy does try to alert U to the 69-A revealer somewhat ahead of schedule, with that {Honorific for 69-Across} = SRI clue. Sooo … Close enough for Wednesday work.

staff weeject pick: whistleblower SRI, of course. Luv m&e them whistleblowers. [tweet tweet]

fave fillins included: MERLIN. BRAHMA. CLARITIN [nice spellin challenger]. OTHELLO. PHOTOLAB [primo clue]. Gee & yo! to that interestin ATM clue, too boot.

Gee & Hi! -- har and thanx, Mr. Ghogre. Mighty cleverly done.
Happy B-day to the Gandhimeister.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


old timer 1:11 PM  

I solve on paper, so no false VSIGN when I wrote in "LONG STORY". But BIG T seemed very wrong. Only when I saw the clue for GANDHI did I realize there was something funny about 3 squares, suspect a rebus, confirm it with NOTTINGHILL/WEIGHIN, correct to LONGHISTORY/BIGHIT, and tackle the NW. Which I thought I would never solve, and I even found myself doubting ANODE. I had thought at first that 4 down referred to some sort of property tax, with the answer ending in "home". But I had a ROUGHIDEA about 17A, and when I at long last figured out HIGHINCOME I was home free.

I used to watch minor league ball in LA (the wonderful Hollywood Stars) and well remember the home plate ump would move not a muscle for a ball, but raise his right hand for a strike. I myself could never have told you where the ball had been if there was no swing, and was in awe of the radio announcers, who somehow knew a ball had been OUTSIDE or whatever.

So has @LMS started her own blog? I miss her.

JC66 1:16 PM  


You mayor may not be easy, but, IMO, you're definitely canny.

Thomas 1:17 PM  

Very disappointed that one of the GHI combinations was GH+I and not G+HI (as promised at bottom.) That was the hardest corner for me too. Finished, but a bit slower than it should have been.

I have family trees. They do not use anything like DESC. Nor will they, if I have anything to say about it.

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

No. Many of us in blue will in fact say "up" for a ball we deem high. Or "low" for a ball we deem below the strike zone. "In" is used often as well. Which bring us to outside. It is in fact used but it is the least employed of the directional ball calls because two syllables is cumbersome and it's harder to be terse ( read authoritative) with such a, relatively speaking, long word. Make no mistake however, it is used. I'll grant that it's much, much more frequently used as an answer to a catcher's question, "where was that". It's frequency as an answer however does not negate its existence as a call.

Teedmn 1:26 PM  

I found this puzzle quite diverting, especially for a Wednesday. I flailed about in the NW for a while, having filled in 3D incorrectly and wondering what a ROo_DEA was going to be for "gist" (root something?) but I eventually cleaned up 3D and saw the GHI rebus. This immediately put me in mind of letters on phones so I was expecting to see ABC, DEF, JKL, etc. (most of which would be impossible to use in rebopodes, I SEE now). So when the 2nd GHI showed up, I said, "Hmmph" and continued on.

A chuckle and aha when 46D's BIGHIT resolved itself into BIG HIT. I was ignoring the second I and wondering what a BIGHT was, mega-success-wise. Speaking of MEgA, that's what I threw down in haste at 60D. Someone with a HIGH instep has MEgAtarsals? But that didn't EAT INTO my successful solve, so no harm.

Add me to anyone else who saw the clue for 31A as referring to climate change. Thanks, @Nancy, for the clarification! D'oh.

Mangesh Ghogre, congratulations on your first solo puzzle and this fine tribute to G AND HI!

DaS 1:30 PM  

How do you get DESC. for 23A?

LorrieJJ 2:00 PM  

Don't get all the problems reported with the NW ... I flew though it in about 30 seconds and I got the themer right off the bat with ROUGH IDEA and HIGH INCOME ... after that it was a cake walk ... my fastest Wednesday in a loooong time.

William of Ockham 2:12 PM  

Very peculiar today, not sure about it

LorrieJJ 2:12 PM  


bauskern 2:20 PM  

Like others, I've noticed that when Rex gets stumped by a puzzle (a) he often stops timing himself, and (b) often takes out his frustration on the constructor. Why time yourself if you're only going to focus on, and announce, the faster times? And doesn't that distort your average time? And (b), is it simply about how fast you can get from A to Z, or is it about enjoying the journey? For me it's the latter. That said, I sussed that there had to be a rebus pretty early on (Notting Hill was the giveaway), and thus I found this to be a pretty easy/typical Wednesday. But that's just me.

Frantic Sloth 2:22 PM  

Ugh. I don’t mind a puzzle being more difficult on a given day - it’s just going to happen on occasion and I’ve resigned myself. I don’t even mind a rebus this early in the week and usually really enjoy a good one, generally speaking; HOWEVER, THIS?? Everything you said about it is spot on PLUS it had the added “virtue” of being weirdly asymmetrical in rebus placement and number. Only three of them seems lame enough, but at the very least, put them somewhere my eyes don’t go all googly trying to sit back and enjoy how pretty my finished puzzle is!

Lindsay 2:49 PM  

Your comments, as usual, are kind and encouraging - I always look forward to reading them. But today I'm reading with tears in my eyes imagining you and Merlin holding 'hands' while sleeping. Best thing I've read all day.

Birchbark 2:53 PM  

I often wonder, "What would William of Occam say (WWOOS)?" Now I know (2:12), keen as ever observation-wise after all these centuries.

I only got two rebuses (had LONG_STORY) but still got the "Congratulations" music. Divine forgiveness.

EES 3:08 PM  

Agree 100%. NW quad was hell and almost led to a DNF. I finally changed “DIODE” to “ANODE” (science- it’s all the same to me) and realized the “I” in “IDEA” was in a rebus. Got tripped up by “LONGSTORY” like lots of others. Hated it and glad it’s finished. Certainly put a dent in my Wednesday time average!

Solverinserbia 3:17 PM  

I went golden in 11:25 versus a 12:47 average so I think it was particularly easy for a rebus puzzle and fine for a Wednesday. But I knew it was rebus when NOTTINGHILL didn't fit. I love rebus puzzles, so I enjoyed it/

Peter P 3:22 PM  

I enjoyed it and found it fairly easy (right smack dab in the middle of my average and best Wednesday time), but it took me embarrassingly long after finishing it to understand how GHI fit the Gandhi theme/revealer. Oh, G AND HI. Duh.

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

“G and H I”

Hadn't gotten this 'til Barbiebarbie explained
Yes, harder than the usual Wednesday without as much payoff, but some fun.
I agree "desc" was despicable.

ghostoflectricity 3:51 PM  

Puzzle was meh, and kind of flip about the man to whom it was supposed to be a tribute. But it wasn't one TENTH (to use an answer that appears in the puzzle) as the NYT op ed appearing on another page, ostensibly honoring Gandhi but written by ... Narendra Modi, the current Indian PM, who is the Donald Trump of India- Islamophobic, bellicose, impervious to or derisive of criticism, itching to start a war with Pakistan over Kashmir, cracking down on Muslims at home and anyone else who questions his form of Hindu nationalism.

Lest anyone be unaware, Modi and his right-wing Hindu nationalist party, BJP, are ideologically affiliated with and derived from the quasi-fascist far-right RSS, which puts forth a false Edenic notion called "Hindutva" that serves as unifying myth the way Aryan "purity" and "superiority" served as the organizing and unifying myth for the Nazis- it purports a "pure," pre-Western-influenced, pre-Islamic Hindu India that has been sullied and defiled by outside influences. Modi and his minions have made what was once a tiny fringe on the Indian far right into a mainstream political movement, toxic and racist and exclusionist, just as Trump and his minions have made the far-right fringe the mainstream of the U.S. Republican Party.

That the NYT allowed its op ed page to be the forum for a purported homage to Gandhi, a pan-Indian nationalist and pacifist who, while Hindu himself, believed in and fought for a secularist and pluralist post-British-raj India, by the likes of Modi is nothing less than obscene. Again, lest anyone be unaware, in 1948, barely a year after the end of the British raj, Gandhi was brutally assassinated by a right-wing Hindu nationalist, Nathuram Godse, who believed that Gandhi, the Congress Party, and the then-PM of India, Jawaharlal Nehru (father of Indira Gandhi), were too accommodating of the Muslims.

Anonymous 4:29 PM  

Touching story of your orange tabby! They are the best!

kitshef 4:33 PM  

@M&A - you just need to do some abbreviatin'. N an' CY.

Wundrin' 4:35 PM  

Why are some seemingly offended by DESC?

DevoutAtheist 4:39 PM  

Ya gotta love religion!

tea73 4:47 PM  

Very slow going. I gave up on the NW and had to circle back to it, finally realizing it wasn't going to be some rebussy thing for second home.

Thank heavens for rom-coms which allowed me my foothold - I'd just read an old NYT magazine article this morning lamenting their passing. (I think it was from April!) That at least allowed me to see the rebus, but GHI? That's a hint to Ghandi? Or am I supposed to think it's the same thing as GHee? Ah - penny finally droped G *AND* H I. I'll never wonder where the h goes again. I liked the Indian extras as well, though of course I put in naan before ROTI. I never consider puri even though that's my kids' favorite.

I disagree with @ghkozen "There is a god!" is definitely in the language. Usually when something bad happens to someone who deserves it.

Another one who thought of global warming. And why not?

Nice puzzle!

Z 5:04 PM  

@Anon1:20 - Because umpires do often say something other than “ball” was exactly the reason we were taught not to. I think part of the idea was that needing to explain was somehow calling into question your own call. Not sure I buy that, but I figured the guy doing the umpire class knew more than me, so dutifully used only “ball,” “strike,” and “Steeerike Three!” It was a long time ago, but I had a good time umpiring for the three or four years I did it.

Anonymous 5:08 PM  

I’m an old man and somewhat new to crossword puzzles. Rebus is terrible.

jae 6:09 PM  

Tough, but then it’s a Thurs. that needed to run on a Wed. It would have been a great medium Thurs. As a Wed. it was slightly irritating. Liked it.

Doug Garr 7:24 PM  

Well it took me forever. Even though I got Gandhi early and spotted the rebus because of Notting Hill and Weigh In I was flummoxed in the northwest the way Michael was. Definitely Thursday difficulty. And I have the same complaint about the clue for unlined.

Anonymous 7:41 PM  

You were correct to not buy it. It's nonsensical and doesn't withstand a second of scrutiny.
But may I ask why you claimed that it wasn't a call?

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

This link does not show clear evidence that the 70s were warmer than the 50s and 60s.


JC66 9:32 PM  

@Anon 7:47

If you took the time to read the comments before posting, you'd have learned that 70 degrees Fahrenheit is warmer than 50 degrees or 60 degrees.

Yertle 10:01 PM  

Played like a normal Wednesday here. Within 10 seconds of my average Wed. At my glacial pace that’s nothing.

kitshef 10:38 PM  

@Anon 7:47 - actually that chart does clearly show an increase. But as noted, that is nothing to do with the puzzle clue anyway.

Unknown 10:52 PM  

“but I kinda stopped a bunch to be actively annoyed at this thing, so the clock isn't technically telling the truth ... but it took a while)”
Please...stop whining. You buggered it and it was your fault, not the puzzle’s.

Caroletta 10:56 PM  

Guys.....Those of us of a certain age are constantly reminded by cosmetics companies that we have “fine lines” on our faces. Puzzles like this make me smile and become more “lined!” I loved it —a really enjoyable crossword today!

Anonymous 11:14 PM  

I thought 57A was LONG STORY, not LONG HISTORY. It seemed to work just fine without a rebus, so I was one rebus short. The only blank square I had was in 58D, so I tried to shoehorn it in there and that became a mess. I do not like rebuses.

Beth A 11:42 PM  

Did not understand GHI for an instant, so came here yet again in very recent days to try to understand.

G “and” HI — you must be .&,: kidding!


Z 12:22 AM  

@anon7:41pm - To get all pedantic and legalistic, umpires call balls and strikes. If the umpire says OUTSIDE they haven’t actually made a call. Sure, sure, we all know that the call is a “ball,” but the actual call is “ball,” not OUTSIDE.

Unknown 2:59 AM  

Oh Rex... A tougher than usual puzzle got your goat, eh?... Loved the puzzle... Loved your frustration

fkdiver 4:28 AM  

Felt like an ad for an insurance company.

CS 7:47 AM  

Just had to add a hands up for loving this puzzle !! Nice contribution


Capn Charlie 10:32 AM  

That was hard. Also the most fun puzzle in quite a while. Thanks!!

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

I'm fine with the 'GHI' rebus and with the theme, but both together?!? 'GHI' because those letters exist in Ghandi. Could it have also been 'HAI' or 'GAD' or any other of the combinations? Why not 'IGH' for that matter? Ugh.


I knew it was Notting Hill, but I did not get the rebus...
I was interpreting "Gandhi" as "Gone DHI" so I was filled in Notting Hill / Weigh In as NOTTINGLL and WEIGN with the "HI" gone missing. So, then I went looking for a missing D. I just never got it and didn't think to rebus... Only after visiting here, did I get G _AND_ HI and the rest fell into place quickly. Otherwise, I got most of this puzzle quick for me except that top left corner....

Burma Shave 10:37 AM  


to make HIGHINCOME in WAD$ and BATCHE$.
From the OUT$IDE it $eem$ they TOIL for their mil$,
but OLDMONEY ju$t $IT$ on their CACHE$.


spacecraft 12:01 PM  

The long clue for 69a drew my eye, so I started from there. Hand up for thinking "gone D," but WEIGHIN/NOTTINGHILL gave it away--eliciting a big GROAN! from me. The revealer--and theme--is (shudder) an ampersandwich!!! However, it's so clever that I gave it a pass.

Filled in naan for the bread way too fast; inkblot there. DOD would have to be, I guess, MATA Hari. This was actually fun. Birdie.

leftcoast 3:14 PM  

Clever, fun, and gratifying solve.

Took a while to see the GHI rebuses but once coming into view, they popped out, and so did G AND HI as the revealer. Very nice "aha" moment.

NOTTINGHILL/WEIGHIN was first GHI rebus crossing to appear, and the other two fell into line pretty quickly.

Other answers related to India theme: ROTI, SRI, BRAHMA, MATA, and the rebused LONGHISTORY.

Can't help but love this one.

leftcoast 3:41 PM  

How could I have forgotten DELHI?

rainforest 3:52 PM  

As the Pogo characters might say, "this was 'differment'" - a rebus on a Wednesday, a rebus that is a tribute, the tributee's name actually is the revealer. Even though I'm not a fan of rebuseses, *fun*.

Loved the puzzle, loved NARC, PHOTOLAB, MEMO, and MIMEO.

Fyi, "Gone D", would've been trash. I always pronounce it to rhyme with "candy" anyway.

Diana, LIW 5:19 PM  

I almost said that this did nothing to increase my liking of the rebi, but at least I'm getting faster at identifying them. GHI - NAH.


rondo 8:05 PM  

150 years in the books and this is what G AND HI gets.
I can't PRETEND to like a rebus.

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