Galactic Empire superweapon / WED 10-16-19 / Push-button bankers / Modern replacement for cash register / Classic story in which Paris figures prominently

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Who knows? Normal level? Dumb quips are harder than regular themers because they are dumb, so ... I was a little on the slow side, but the rest of the puzzle was easy

THEME: a "quip" — specifically, a quip about "a hobbying group": "WE HEARD THE / ORIGAMI CLUB HAD / FOLDED BUT IN FACT / INTEREST IN IT IS / INCREASING" (get it, "in [space] creasing"?)

Word of the Day: LENI Riefenstahl (26D: Filmmaker Riefenstahl) —
Helene Bertha Amalie "LeniRiefenstahl (German: [ˈʁiːfn̩ʃtaːl]; 22 August 1902 – 8 September 2003) was a German film director and actress. [...] In the 1930s, she directed the Nazi propaganda films Triumph des Willens ("Triumph of the Will") and Olympia, resulting in worldwide attention and acclaim. The movies are widely considered two of the most effective, and technically innovative, Nazi propaganda films ever made. Her involvement in Triumph des Willens, however, significantly damaged her career and reputation after the war. The exact nature of her relationship with Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler remains a matter of debate. However, Hitler was in close collaboration with Riefenstahl during the production of at least three important Nazi films, and a closer friendship is claimed to have existed. When in 2000 Jodie Foster was planning a biographical drama on Riefenstahl, war-crime documenters warned against a revisionist view that glorified the director. They stated that publicly Riefenstahl seemed "quite infatuated" with Hitler and was, in fact, the last surviving member of his "inner circle". Others go further, arguing that Riefenstahl's visions were essential to the success of the Holocaust. After the war, Riefenstahl was arrested, but classified as being a "fellow traveler" or "Nazi sympathizer" only and was not associated with war crimes. Throughout her life, she denied having known about the Holocaust. (wikipedia)
• • •

6D: Family name of Morticia
and Gomez
A quip puzzle? In 2019? Did y'all not get the memo that people actually hate these. Well, "hate" is strong. But quip puzzles are almost always objectively bad. They are usually terrible dad jokes (like today's), and they are not fun to uncover. Solving ends up being like going on a treasure hunt or through a corn maze or something but at the end is just a pile of garbage. You do it, because, I mean, what else are you going to do, but there's no joy, because you know you're going nowhere good. Usually you don't see an Actual Nazi along the way, but today is special, I guess. How do you all still support the editor of this here puzzle? These editorial decisions are bad. Dude brags about how many submissions the NYTXW gets a month (~500, I hear), but then continues to serve up fairly mediocre puzzles, and then whatever this is. Did you know LENI Riefenstahl not only directed one of the most famous (Nazi) propaganda films of all time, she directed another movie called Tiefland where "she utilized [Romani] from internment camps for extras, who were severely mistreated on set, and when the filming completed they were sent to Auschwitz" (wikipedia)? Did you know that? Well now you do. Maybe LENI is  here to make ORRIN Hatch look human. At any rate, this puzzle has no redeeming features. Except, perhaps ironically, DEATH STAR (11D: Galactic Empire superweapon)

Thank god for Crossword Twitter. I woke up, solved the puzzle, shook my head in disbelief, and then went over to find virtual unanimity:

I would like to apologize to filmmaker LINA Wertmüller for (briefly) confusing her with LENI Riefenstahl. L + vowel + N + vowel + three-syllable German name got me all mixed up. As for the rest of the puzzle, there's not much to say. This puzzle is all quip/Nazi, and not much else. I have never heard of a single HEAD GAME, so that one took me a bit (5D: Instance of psychological trickery). I had HEAD FAKE, which is not "psychological," I guess.

ONE / OUT threw me, as I tried to put OUT in the first position after getting that initial "O" (41A: With 42-Across, usual result of a leadoff batter getting three strikes), and then decided to change Stones guitarist RON Wood to STU or maybe LOU Wood (!?). I had REVIEW for REPLAY (45D: Opportunity to determine if the referee blew it), and still have no idea what [Back-comb] means (TEASE). I assume it has to do with hair, but hair that is combed back is not teased. I guess you comb against the ... grain? Does hair have grain? Throwing this puzzle in the garbage now, bye.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    da kine 6:34 AM  

    "Maybe LENI is here to make ORRIN Hatch look human." Wow, good way to otherize someone you politically disagree with.

    Lewis 6:38 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lewis 6:45 AM  

    LENI could have been avoided -- LEVIS to NOBIS, LENI to LONI, CON to BEN, CUT to BUT, and CLOT to CNET.

    Regarding quip puzzles, I like them, usually a lot, mainly because a huge chunk of the puzzle (here, almost 30%) has to be figured out without the help of clues, so the brain gets extra involved in coming up with words and fitting them together. It's a very involving solve, which is most satisfying, IMO. If the quip brings a chuckle (and this one did), that's icing on the cake. I emitted a silent whoop of joy when I saw this was a quip puzzle, and a wave of thanks afterward to the PAC man for a solve I enjoyed.

    I'm off on a little trip and will return in about a week.

    Clueless 6:57 AM  

    Psych Trick = Head Trip

    Hungry Mother 7:00 AM  

    DNF. I thought COz was a good answer.

    Adam F 7:07 AM  

    I enjoy quips and puns, and quite liked the theme. Cox and Rathvon once did an entire cryptic with occupational puns - one of my faves of all time.

    The Nazis, though - wtf? (And ORRIN Hatch looks a lot better in comparison not just to the Nazis but to McConnell et al., so there you go.) But I thought the puzzle was way easy, if stupidly offensive. And except for the Nazi, I thought the fill was fine. I associate Crazy Horse with Neil Young, and DEATH STAR was cool as well.


    kitshef 7:29 AM  

    Count me among those who, like Rex, really don’t like quip puzzles. Of course, I also hate the term “dad joke”, which Rex seems to be OK with.

    Theme aside, there was some nice stuff in here: INCUBI (a reverse PoC), HEAD GAME (though I hate the Foreigner song), DEATH STAR, ILIAD, ADDAMS. So I kinda enjoyed it anyway.

    I always remember CATE Blanchett spells her name funny, but never remember the precise funniness. Today, I want with CAit at first. Only other fix was wAil before BAWL.

    Anonymous 7:35 AM  

    "Wow, good way to otherize someone you politically disagree with."

    Let's take a gander at what Orrin Hatch said about homosexuals:

    "I wouldn't want to see homosexuals teaching school anymore than I'd want to see members of the American Nazi Party teaching school."

    Mark 7:39 AM  

    Why does Rex do the puzzle? Retire. You hate more of them than you like. Who cares if quips are corny? It’s a puzzle. It puzzled you. I agree about a no Nazi rule. But this puzzle did avoid most of the common awkward fills. Some people love to hate everything. I discovered Rex a few months ago and thought it was funny and cute. But the blog is boring, trite, predictable, and, at times, hateful. Goodbye.

    Anonymous 7:41 AM  

    Love quip puzzles. Great editing job, The caterwauling about Leni is pathetic. There are a lot of horrible people in history. They shouldn’t be banned from puzzles. What is wrong with you people ?

    Glenn in East Hampton 7:45 AM  

    Sorry, but head games and teasing hair are ultimately knowable. Quips are not up there with genocide or *so* yesterday. Your point about a neutrally clued nazi is very well taken.

    RavTom 7:50 AM  

    I like quip puzzles. Maybe it’s because I’m a dad. But LENI? Really?

    Suzie Q 7:57 AM  

    I thought the quip was a funny pun and the clue for tacos was particularly clever.
    I was interested in the history lesson. Info like this does not send me off the rails. Geez, what's next, book burning?

    Anonymous 8:01 AM  

    Leni has been in crosswords forever. All of a sudden she’s an objectionable answer. Grow up.

    Anne Hutchinson 8:06 AM  

    Good idea. Let’s expurgate all offensive words and names from the puzzle.

    Sir Hillary 8:27 AM  

    As "dad joke" quips go, this one is pretty good. That said, quip puzzles are never much fun.

    @Rex's hyperbole and idiotic comparisons aside, LENI Riefenstahl clued as such is horrible.

    My problem for a while was CLOg at 25D. I kept picturing paper grasshoppers or the like.

    Excellent video captures from @Rex. I was humming HEADGAMES after I wrote that entry in. I wore that album out in middle school. Much of it has AGED poorly though. Ben Folds, on the other hand, always sounds good.

    @Rex's comment, "Thank god for Crossword Twitter" is revealing. Rex, do you really need comments from random Twitterati to reinforce your opinions? Were you somehow hesitant to condemn LENI and/or the puzzle until some strangers confirmed that it was OK to do so?

    RooMonster 8:28 AM  

    Hey All !
    Two part quip! As in, not just the funny at the end, but funny in first and end part. What more could you want in a dastardly Quip puz?

    I enjoyed the puz. Lately, the puzs seem to be getting easier. Is that just me, or am I becoming a solving superpower? (I'm sure it's the puzs getting easier.)

    With that easy rating, I did have a few writeovers, oer-TIS, CLOg-CLOT, IcOn-IDOL, LEe-LEA.

    You could say the puz has ROSY SASS.

    For 47D, kept reading clue as PAtrol units, and the ole brain just could not come up with a viable answer. Got everything else in puz done, last square was the L at 47, finally seeing PEtrol units, and let out a D'oh, put in the L for LITRES. And the Lame LAME(` over that E).

    Didn't know LENI the Nazi, but as @Lewis pointed out, would've been easy to change.

    General SUV for @Nancy. Nothing specific to worry about. :-) I TEASE, IN FACT.


    SouthsideJohnny 8:33 AM  

    Definitely a bit of a slog since the quip isn’t at all interesting, at least to me. Does anyone else feel that the clue for 24D is really off ? An IPAD is useful for many things, but cash register ? Yuk ! Maybe has something to do with credit cards ?

    Mary Lou 8:37 AM  

    I, for one, enjoy the occasional quip puzzle. This was is cute.

    Nancy 8:48 AM  

    I dislike quip puzzles, too. For one, I find them frustrating to solve -- sort of like having to type a letter with one hand tied behind your back. For another, I'm not sure I've ever seen a quip clever or interesting enough to build an entire puzzle around. And this quip certainly wasn't it.

    But now I'm putting my "constructor's hat" on and trying to think what the constructor would be looking for in a quip. Aha. A combo of words at the beginning of the quip that will be absolutely baffling and that no one would ever think of in a million years. ORIGAMI CLUB certainly falls into that category. The most popular club after the Chess Club and the Glee Club and the Debate Club? "Here's my ORIGAMI; may I see yours?" "Would you like to work on a joint ORIGAMI with me next week?"

    A pretty silly puzzle. But for those who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they like.

    Adult in the Room 8:52 AM  

    Cancel Culture comes to Crosswords brought to you by Rex Parker and his Twitter mob. LOL.

    SJ Austin 8:52 AM  

    If you haven't read My Name is Asher Lev, I highly recommend it. It's about a boy in a Hasidic Jewish family who shows a remarkable aptitude for art, and the strife that is introduced into his family (especially with his father) when he begins to paint crucifixions as part of his training. For anyone interested in the intersection of religion and art, or like a dramatic family narrative, it's wonderful.

    GILL I. 9:00 AM  

    Well I'm not CRAZY about quips because you have to get just about all of the downs in order to figure out where the pun is going. I actually thought this was funny. But then again, I'm easy to please.
    As I was going about my way, my thoughts did run toward the oldy moldy, tried and true entries. Then we have the DEATH CLOT INCUBI floating around and I began to FRET..Nah.
    Yeah....LENI could've been substituted a la @Lewis but she's pretty well known. I wonder why you didn't bat an eye when Erik clued CHE as a hero. When and where does tippy toeing becomes ipso facto.
    I will always stand for a TACO. I love those suckers. I'm trying to master making my own corn tortillas.
    Let's see...what else...Ah...Kama SUTRA: "Live less out of habit and more out of intent." In other words....go feed the homeless.

    Anonymoose 9:08 AM  

    @Roo, What's this about Rosy's ass?

    bookmark 9:09 AM  

    Rex, Have you read 1984? Do you really want to erase history?

    Z 9:14 AM  

    I dunno, “hate” seems a little mild. “Despise,” “detest,” and “abhor” all come to mind.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but HEAD GAME is clued incorrectly. “Psychological trickery” is a “mind GAME.” A HEAD GAME is related to being a HEAD case, that is performing sub-optimally because of negative thinking. I will sometimes tease teammates after a dropped pass because they had to much time to think. Much harder catches are made because they react, That’s the HEAD GAME every player has to learn to win. A MIND GAME is when your opponent tries to impact you by trash talking or (weirdly) trash praising.

    As a dad let me just say to my fellow dads, “own it.” We tell those terrible jokes for good reasons, i.e. embarrassing our children. That does not make dad jokes fit for adult company. Personally, I love a groan inducing pun (and Rex only got half of the double pun in the quip) but I don’t pretend to be actually funny. At most I hope to occasionally engender a wry smile.

    @da kine - see @anonymous7:35 a.m. Political differences are about disagreeing over things like tax policy and how to pay for health care. That’s not what makes Hatch deplorable.

    I have no problem with Nazis in my puzzle. I have no problem with honoring the request of those who do. There are lots of words I no longer use because I’ve learned the words offend some. Shockingly, my ability to convey my thoughts has not been hampered by the loss of those words.

    gregg 9:14 AM  

    Liked the quip and the puzzle. Historical bad people don't bother me as long as I am just reading about them. "Those that don't learn the lessons of history are destined to repeat them" George Santayana

    David in Brevard 9:16 AM  

    Loved this great effort by Peter Collins. Whilst I don’t specifically ‘love’ quip puzzles they form a welcome change from the usual stuff. So, keep ‘em coming, just not too many.

    I finished in record time for a Wednesday but got no happy face/cigar/well proportioned gender neutral person singing so spent 9 precious minutes finding that TUTSE and ORIGAME were wrong.

    LITRES started out as LITERS despite my aversion to the latre spelling. INKUBI was a struggle until I remembered our CATE! What a blessing she spelled her name that way.

    Overall loved it!

    David in rainy Brevard

    Michiganman 9:17 AM  

    PPP-Pretty Pathetic Puzzle. I hate the quip theme and haven't seen one in ages. The xword that ran in the Detroit Free Press years ago frequently had one. I avoided the quip answers and solved with downs and in between acrosses. I still don't know what the quip is.

    Where did you go on vacation?

    The BEACH. (said no one ever)

    Anonymous 9:18 AM  

    I concur, “ipad” is clued inappropriately. But it is typical of the inappropriate editing by Mr. Shortz.

    albatross shell 9:20 AM  

    When I first read 51D I thought the answer should be lemonade, but TACO was
    pretty good.

    The quip was excellent with a double element with "folded" and "an interest in creasing".

    LENI was standard crosswordese for years. Big so what to me. Certainly don't want Nazis in the puzzle every month.

    Liked INCUBI ELECTRON DEATHSTAR and the NW and SE corners with BEACH BAWL and ENDED AGED.

    Clouds in my coffee 9:21 AM  

    Thinking about how Rex hates "dad jokes" and what that means. Is it any joke that you could tell with grandma at the table? Does a joke have to be dirty to be funny?

    Anonymous 9:24 AM  

    To answer Mr. Parker’s question: no one supports Mr. Shortz’s editing, but what can one do? What does Mr. Shortz have as a hold over the NYTimes powers that be? Or could it be that they just don’t care, as reflected in the general (and much specific) loss of interesting, educational non-news items in the paper?

    EricStratton 9:46 AM  

    My goodness, Rex. You don't agree with Republicans, which makes you way better than us. You're smarter, kinder, better looking, and people like you. In fact, we Republicans aren't even human. Orrin Hatch certainly isn't, anyway. I guess the feeling of moral superiority that comes from publishing that comment about Senator Hatch is worth it to you, but you must know that it comes at a price to you among your fair-minded fellow Americans and to the tone of public discourse. Shame on you.

    pabloinnh 9:47 AM  

    I like quip/quote/stepquote puzzles. They remind me of acrostics, which I also like, because filling in blank letters to make an appropriate word is part of the challenge, and the syntax aspect is helpful.

    I like dad jokes. They remind me of my Dad, who used to tell some awful ones, and knew they were awful, and knew I would think they were awful, and we both laughed anyway. I had to put one or two in when I delivered his eulogy. I think most people knew why.

    So an OK Wednesday by me, Leni notwithstanding.

    Anonymous 9:55 AM  

    I was so relieved that LAME was being clued as fabric rather than as ableist that I totally glazed over LENI ...!

    albatross shell 9:57 AM  

    @bookmark 909 am
    I do not think not using Nazis in NYT crosswords means you are for erasing history.

    The Double Standard 10:15 AM  

    Anna's tweet in Rex's review summed it up best:

    "You're afraid a putting certain body parts in your puzzles but people who support genocide are fair game?"

    I think that's definitely an "emperor's new clothes" moment for WS and his staff. They yammer on about how legit (and innocent) it is to include names of nefarious people in their puzzles, but anything blue or vulgar or that doesn't pass the "breakfast test" is off limits.

    Americans, evidently and according to WS, are fine with cluing universally recognized terrible people as just another person we must remember (without any kind of "judgment" about their character), but mentioning feces, or genitalia, or vulgar words...things every person everywhere comes into contact with every single day, not so much.

    I'm not advocating adding in words that don't pass the "breakfast test," but maybe, if you're going to have that subjective metric, add another metric that at least requires you to clue offensive people as actually offensive. Like "Nazi filmmaker, Riefenstahl." Or "Homophobic Hatch."

    TL;DR: If you won't allow FUCK, then don't allow muck.

    kitshef 10:17 AM  

    @Michiganman - maybe not in Michigan, but in these parts the BEACH would be a very common reply.

    leia organa 10:19 AM  

    Awful lot of complaining about Hatch and Leni, but that Death Star killed two billion people - where's the outrage about that?

    Petsounds 10:21 AM  

    A bad puzzle all around. Quip. Count me among those who detest them. They're just not much fun. Even though my time was 'way under my average for Wednesdays, I didn't enjoy the solve. Also, please stop using car models as clues (TAHOE = SUV). These stopped being cute about 30 seconds after the first such clue appeared. As Z pointed out, HEAD GAME just isn't: It's MIND GAME or HEAD CASE. Hate that kind of sloppiness.

    As for the LENI controversy, I'm not for banning all the horrible people in history, past or present. If you ban LENI, you're also going to have to ban MEDICI, IDI AMIN (who appears frequently), most of the TUDORs, STALIN and LENIN, and the majority of today's politicians, including Orrin HATCH, my inclusion of whom shows the difficulty of deciding who is actually horrible. But I'd support making the clues somewhat less neutral, as in "Disgraced filmmaker Riefenstahl."

    Anonymous 10:24 AM  

    Leni Riefenstahl's photography and films are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and excerpts are available on their website. Are you saying that she shouldn't be there either, Rex? Wouldn't that be the exact kind of censorship that the Nazis did when they banned art they deemed decadent or unacceptable? We have all sorts of people -- heroes and villains -- mentioned in crosswords. No one is claiming they were all saints. They are figures of history. Part of life, whether you like it or not. The tendency lately by politically "correct" zealots to eliminate anything that upsets their feelings -- rather than putting them in context-- is the worst kind of hypocrisy.

    Hack mechanic 10:26 AM  

    Coupled with square, Apple pay or google pay it's absolutely brilliant.
    A portable cash register

    jberg 10:27 AM  

    The quip was dull until I noticed the second pun, which was too late. IPADs are used as cash registers all the time in small independent businesses though, so I liked that.

    Nazis should be clues as Nazis, but there are all those umlauts.

    Geezer 10:28 AM  

    Sounds like you think you're the moral superior.

    puzzlehoarder 10:31 AM  

    INTERESTINgly 49A like the rest of this over long dad joke theme did not go quite where I thought it would. Despite the themes rather unpredictable outcome this solve was faster than yesterdays due to the Monday level fill.

    It's INTERESTINg that the second half of 49A is TINITIS. It seems that some people are outraged that the NYT turns a deaf ear to the sound of LENI in a crossword puzzle. While this "filmmaker" will always be remembered as someone who glorified Nazism and that's something we should never forget I don't need a crossword puzzle clue to spell it out for me. Virtue signaling over crossword entries is a way for people to expiate their own sense of guilt.

    John Hoffman 10:39 AM  

    I like quip puzzles!

    Crimson Devil 10:39 AM  

    LEzI and COz worked for me, thus DNF.

    David 10:42 AM  

    @Sir Hillary, wasn't Ben Folds just in the New York Magazine puzzle?

    Yes, back in the 60s that would have been a "head game," at least in my neck of the woods.

    Southside: iPads all over NYC as registers, swipe, bump, use your AppleWallet, whatever; it make it so easy to make money something one doesn't think about as real so they'll spend a whole lot more of it. Pretty interesting concept, eh? They're also used to shame customers to giving "tips" to people who generally don't get tipped, i.e. counter workers. Before you sign, the program asks you how much of a tip you're leaving just as if you'd naturally do that.

    This was super easy for me; I'm so used to filling out the acrostic when it's about 60% full it didn't matter what the quip was, the fact it was a quip helped my solve.

    I had Wail at 1D for far too long though. And Clog at 25D. Clot next to Leni, wishful thinking?

    Is there a time limit on bad people being in xwords? I mean, Caesar was no nice guy either and he's always popping up. How about Andrew Jackson? And why no crying over the fate of the Tutsi, which is apparently not even worth a mention?

    Orrin Hatch may have said the above, but it's a list, not a comparison if that's how you're reading it. He was also instrumental in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act, so there's that. But he did oppose the Heritage Foundation's ideas when presented by a Democratic President; that shows somewhat less care for his constituents or, even, the origins of ideas and policy. I won't be nominating him for anything.

    By the way, I laughed at "had folded" but not "in creasing".

    albatross shell 11:02 AM  

    My local library actually started an ORIGAMI CLUB. I no longer see it in events. So l guess it did fold.

    eddy 11:05 AM  

    Sheesh. This argument about "appropriate" words in Crosswords is absurd. The German film maker is a name, a person, and is therefore part of our knowledge base and thereby applies to Crossword puzzles. Nobody has the right to eject any word in usage, or any person or animal or mythological creature or even, horrors, political figure from our brains. And in my opinion, that includes slang and slurs. Having a person or a word be a non-person or word because someone is likely to object is Orwellian. I realize that Rex creates puzzles, and understands that you can change this and that and still have a working puzzle, but as a solver I don't care so much.

    North Austin 11:08 AM  

    Your friendly, old solver here again. (been at it for over fifty years). I don't really enjoy quips nor puns but I completed the puzzle in near best Wednesday time so it is hard to complain.Part of why I still do the NYT puzzle every day is it gives me a mix of the old and new. If it is in the NYT I assume I should at least be aware of it. That is my thought about Nazi's or war criminals or other unpleasant, nasty things being in the puzzle. Everyone learns differently. Lessons of Nazi propaganda, some would say specifically Triumph of the Will, can be seen in today's world. It is a shame to sanitize words for any reason.

    Anonymous 11:16 AM  

    it happens:

    may be Orrin should sponsor a bill to exclude Nazi-ism from juvenile schools????

    Joseph M 11:19 AM  

    More annoying than a quip theme is a bunch of Twitter anonymice using a crossword puzzle to vent their frustrations with the world. I know, I know, I don’t have to read them. But there they were in the middle of a review that I did want to read.

    Not a huge fan of quips, but I did enjoy the solve which kept me thinking from beginning to end. Took a really long time to finally see ORIGAMI CLUB at the top of the quip, made challenging by my original entry of EPAY instead of IPAD and HEAD TRIP instead of HEAD GAME.

    LENI Riefenstahl is part of a history we should never forget, but I agree that crossword puzzles are not the place to accomplish this. Other than that, I thought this was a good puzzle with many great clues.

    Anonymous 11:22 AM  

    In fact, we Republicans aren't even human.

    No, actually, your not. Your predatory Social Darwinists, making kissy face with the world's dictators. Trump and the rest of you whine like a baby when you get called out. Grow up.

    Clover 11:25 AM  

    Not sure why so many folks in the folks in the comment section jumped down Rex’s throat, annoyed with him for wanting to “erase history.” I read the same blog post as everyone else and all I saw was somebody annoyed that an actual Nazi was clued in such a neutral way. Calling Riefenstahl a “filmmaker” with no other qualifiers is like calling Hitler a “public speaker.” Neither are technically wrong! But both are irresponsible and verge on glorifying. Didn’t realize that wanting actual, canonical Nazis to be recognized as such was such a radical idea.

    I think the comments complaining about Rex’s complaints are way more annoying than the original complaints themselves. Write your own blog if you hate this one that much.

    Anonymous 11:26 AM  

    Awful lot of complaining about Hatch and Leni, but that Death Star killed two billion people - where's the outrage about that?

    may be because two are real, right here and right now (Leni as meme)? being sarcastic about the objection just reveals one's affinity for those two loathesome creatures.

    RooMonster 11:29 AM  

    @Anonymoose 9:08
    That was a DOZEy! Har. Could've gone the whole hog with ROSYS ASS ENDED.


    RooMonster LAME SENSE Guy

    What? 11:32 AM  

    Pretty easy and I’m a Dad so the quip deserves at least a polite golf clap.
    Putting a name of a despicable person in a crossword does not indicate approval. Is this not obvious?
    On the other hand, as a history lesson, LENI could have been clued differently to indicate her Nazi connection, an essential part of her “history.”
    I dread to think how many young people today, even in this country, don’t know much about the Holocaust and it’s supporters. History can teach us but it must be taught.

    Newboy 11:34 AM  

    Having a grandson on the “spectrum “ as they say, I am having to learn to communicate without Grandpa puns and other verbal ambiguity. Thanks to Peter for today’s playful return to zaniness with great clues for TACOS & NOMINATE (after the ONE OUT baseball I really wanted pinch??). Not to paper over the flaws Rex and his political CORPS envision in today’s offering, but for this TEASE I’ll ANTE up any day.

    Gene 12:09 PM  

    I don't know who Anonymous is, but I do know they have no sense of humor 🤣

    Z 12:26 PM  

    Thanks to @pabloinnh for a perfect example of where dad jokes are good.
    Thanks to @Clover for saying what I wish I had said.

    @michiganman - Huh? South BEACH, North BEACH, Oval BEACH, Ottawa BEACH, Tunnel Park, Grand Haven State Park, Stearn’s BEACH, Ludington State Park,... going to the BEACH for vacation drives most of West Michigan’s tourism economy..Well that and tulips and beer.

    White Rushin 12:41 PM  

    All you "we shouldn't exclude any words blah blah" people, well then, (and as an example, this post will most likely never see the light of day) why isn't Nigger or Fuck or Shit in puzzles?

    White Rushin 12:45 PM  

    Must be a a Republican

    Anonymous 12:52 PM  

    The quip was not that bad, and it helps once you get an inkling of what's going on to fill it up. Yeah, keep Leni out.

    Teedmn 1:11 PM  

    This is the 3rd puzzle in a row this week that took me longer than my average. Today, I can blame LENI. Now that I've read Rex's "word of the day" section, I do remember her, but didn't while solving.

    I had forgotten LEVIS was at 28A and threw in LEvI at 26D also. But what was COv as "Reason why not"? Has COvfefe already taken on a new meaning and gained an abbreviation to boot?, I asked myself. I solved around that, finished and went back to run the alphabet and finally saw CON, aha.

    Quip puzzles are usually not my cup of tea but I think the puns here were worthy. And it's not the unclued aspect of quip puzzles that annoy me - heck, I like to do cryptoquips in my head without a letter hint so I think word recognition is fun.

    So thanks, Peter Collins.

    Chip Hilton 1:12 PM  

    Fact: LENI Riefenstahl was a filmmaker. The clue is accurate. It doesn’t say that she was a terrific human being, now does it? Trying to eliminate all people who don’t measure up seems a bit much to me. Columbus? Jefferson? Where does it end?

    I loved the quip. Of course, I also love the comic strip “Pearls Before Swine” and its painful puns. Thanks, P.A.C.

    Blue Stater 1:19 PM  

    In answer to OFL's question, *I* haven't supported the editor of the NYT Xword since a year or so after he took over from the greatly missed, by me anyway, Eugene Maleska. The puzzles became based on tricks and tomfoolery, and were increasingly riddled with factual and linguistic errors. Then WS seemingly lost interest in the puzzles and became focused on being famous. But in that he is consistent with the NYT as a whole, which is nowhere near the paper it was 25 years ago. The WaPo has been eating the Times's lunch for quite some time now. Sad.

    Anonymous 1:34 PM  

    Leni Riefenstahl also made Jesse Owens the star of her documentary about the '36 Olympics....

    Joaquin 1:37 PM  

    For Rex and those of you who are offended by cretins from history appearing in the NYT crosswords, take note: This week, and this week only, Home Depot has a special on DIY safe spaces. Just $999 for all the lumber, hardware, and tools needed to build your personal safe space. Buy now - quantities limited.

    Annie Ludwig 2:16 PM  

    Teasing/ back combing/ ratting hair is when you literally run a comb along the hair towards your head. It essentially tangles it up to create volume, usually for fancy updos

    Anonymous 2:23 PM  

    @Michiganman 9:17 - Perhaps no one in Michigan goes to the beach for vacation, but here in NC almost everyone does.

    My pet peeve on this blog is people making authoritative pronouncements that "no one says that", when in fact it us quite common. You should leave that to Rex, that's one of his specialties.

    Anonymous 2:45 PM  

    My pet peeve on this blog is people making authoritative pronouncements that "no one says that"

    I guess you saw this coming: my pet peeve is the unhinged justifying every batshit thing they do with 'many people say' and 'I hear that...' etc. At least on this hear blog, no gets hurt.

    Yam Erez 3:04 PM  

    Um. Isn't "one out" what ANYONE getting strikes is? Leadoff batter or not? I didn't mind the quip themer, but this was easy for a Wednesday. What's going on?

    Alex M 3:20 PM  

    I (a millenial) found the IPAD clue super fresh and got it right away. Rex, you reeeally need to chill on bashing clues that you personally don't know, I.e. TEASE, before stopping to think whether the 50% of the population you claim to champion (us ladies) would know that, no problem. Not knowing TEASE means backcombing or hair ratting is ignorance/a blind spot on your part, not a failing by the constructor. I get it, you're bald, but learning about hair styling 101 won't kill you! As for the Nazism, last month's Bonus puzzle by Fred Piscop literally had ALLES clued like "Deutschland Uber ___, German slogan" or something to that effect, a LITERAL NAZI MOTTO, just chillin there, no problem. I actually emailed the NYT Letters AND XWord Editors accounts about it... Crickets. Considering how easy it would be to either rejig that section or at LEAST clue it as "California Uber ____, Dead Kennedys song", I thought that was beyond gross, and then they didn't even reply. Nasty.

    Anonymous 3:22 PM  

    Leni Riefenstahl was a certifiable genius. She's taught at all film schools.

    The real scandal today was NBA. That organization is deplorable. Talk about Ant-American. Sheesh. Give me Riefenstahl's propaganda over Adam Silver's craven dissembling any day.

    tea73 4:26 PM  

    I'm okay with bad people in my puzzle, but at least clue them that way.

    I usually hate quips, but kinda liked this one, maybe because an essay on ORIGAMI got my son into college?

    Woke Millenial 4:46 PM  

    I was microagressed by incubi, both by horrible mythical creature and the bogus pluralization,

    Philomena 5:10 PM  

    Have we really become so hypersensitive that we must clue lame to mean lamé ? I’m cool if if it’s a one off, but if this is the new normal then I’m out.

    Anonymous 5:20 PM  

    Anonymous 9:24 - "No one supports Shortz's editing"? That's quite a pronouncement. I, for one, quite like his editing. Shortz is a rock star in puzzledom, whereas Rex is a pretentious whiny jerk, who obviously has a personal vendetta with Shortz. Perhaps Rex's followers are fellow Shortz-haters, but I suspect they are in the vast minority.

    Many commenters here will suggest better ways to clue things. For the most part, the suggestions are terrible. I've been doing the NYT puzzles regularly during the Shorts era, and have never failed to "get" a clue unless it was a word I just didn't know. The editing is not the problem.

    I read this blog for the additional insights from Rex and many of the commenters, but the bitching and whining drives me nuts.

    Richardf8 5:52 PM  

    When I was young I always dreamed of doing the NYTXW in pen. But 26d here is a strong case for doing it in pencil, that her name may be erased.

    Richardf8 5:53 PM  

    I suppose it could have been clued “what a teen might call the pun in the quip.”

    Richardf8 6:00 PM  

    If I were on Twitter at all, I would look at that feed and feel relief that it wasn’t full of praise for her work.

    Woke Millenial 6:09 PM  

    Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy were best friends. One is a homophobe and the other committed manslaughter, They should both be banned from future puzzles.

    Anonymous 6:10 PM  

    @Clover 11:25 - No, the comments complaining about the comments complaining about Rex's complaints are more annoying. People have a right to react to Rex's rants, just as you have a right to come to his defense. If such comments annoy you, don't read them.

    Bonnie Buratti and Kai Lam 6:35 PM  

    So bad I actually had to fill out every square before I got the quote. And I strongly agree that Riefenstahl, along with other Nazis, should never be in a puzzle.

    Anonymous 6:56 PM  

    @Bonnie... 6:35 - It wasn't the puzzle that was so bad. The fault lies elsewhere.

    Hal Medrano 6:59 PM  

    There's a wonderful documentary called "The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl" which correctly juxtaposes her amazing talent with her horrendous personal views. Worth watching for anyone who's interested in more than arguing via sound bite.

    Let’s Be Honest 7:37 PM  

    Barack Obama droned, murdered innocent people. If I see his name in this puzzle I’ll raise holy Hell.

    Richardf8 8:22 PM  

    Only the leadoff batter can get the first out. So the for the next batter to strike out, it’s "two outs”. Running tally for the team.

    Art 9:34 PM  

    So I guess my “modern day dictator’s” themed puzzle is out. God forbid that the NYT Crossword would ever call out evil in advance. Let’s focus on not mentioning past evils. Shame on us!

    Swagomatic 11:36 PM  

    Quip puzzles are the sux, period. So are NAZIs.

    Countess Jackson 3:18 AM  

    I would like to say that I personally enjoy Nazi references. I no longer support them but I do enjoy hearing the names ever so much. They were such proper fellows.

    Bill Millions 3:56 AM  

    Everyone is so polarized these days. I’m very left politically, but want to try to have sympathy towards other viewpoints. The debate about Nazis in crosswords is very interesting. Historical facts seem fair game for trivia, as they are at my pub trivia night. So I can understand being torn regarding their appearance here. How much should a puzzle or quiz be simply non-endorsement facts or knowledge answers vs sympathetic emotion or politics? I definitely lean personally towards NOT wanting an “ugh” reminder of a historical villain during my pleasant crossword solve, but can see why others might think this is just a quiz solve. Does it have to be so black and white?

    Hank 4:31 AM  

    The controversy regarding Riefenstah, as I see it, isn't that she was associated with Nazi-ism as a propagandist (which is what she was), but that she lived the lie of being ignorant of the realities of the details of Nazi rule.

    That is perhaps where outrage should be directed (no pun intended). But I certainly can't fault the NYTCW for acknowledging her place in history nor can I ask that a clue should speak toward the complex issues I mention above.

    It certainly doesn't hurt my sensibilities to see her name in print.

    That being said, for some people I can see that it is distasteful (along the lines, say, of having the name of a serial killer in the puzzle).

    Also, I am glad that more people have come to know of her because of this inclusion.

    kodak jenkins 7:14 AM  


    It was a little easy for a Wednesday but I finished the puzzle and the quip at the same time for the double satisfaction groaner bonus. Nothing wrong with quote/joke/quip themers!

    Almost zero bad fill: CLE, STN
    Very little mediocre fill: CFO, MPH
    Some decent fill: ICI

    Thank you for the LESI answer. Now we are all more educated about Nazi propagandist filmmakers. See? The power of crossword puzzles. Let's keep Nazis out in the open where we can see them instead of burying them into obscurity with shovel fulls of political correctness.

    Rex: get some new Twitter friends that maybe don't all think just like you do. That's called a closed loop and is not conducive to true open-mindedness.

    Ben 12:12 PM  

    "Did y'all not get the memo that people actually hate these."

    I love how in Rex's world "I don't like this thing" equates to "everyone dislikes this thing" Thanks for appointing yourself the arbiter of good taste, Rex!

    Bea 7:10 PM  

    Orrin you glad you're not Leni Riefenstahl? (I'll get my coat.)

    Burma Shave 11:32 AM  


    EXTRA INTEREST to transact.


    Diana, LIW 12:50 PM  

    CREASE - oh please.

    I didn't "get" that until I was done, done, done. Made my Wednesday, in a groany sort of way. I take it @Rx had qualms? How interesting...

    Dina, LIW

    rainforest 1:54 PM  

    There are themeless puzzles, themed puzzles, tribute puzzles, rebus puzzles, puzzling puzzles, and among others, quip puzzles. This was a good quip, with two plays on word, and I found it worth a chuckle. Maybe that's one of my weaknesses.

    Other than the quip, this was just a good puzzle, constructed with care and pitched at the appropriate difficulty level.

    Including the name of a Nazi is certainly not a problem. I believe that, though her perspective was despicable, she was a brilliant film director, and clearly her name is well known judging from the comments. So, again, no problem. We've had Joe McCarthy in the puzzle, and HE was a disgusting individual. Ah, forget it.

    I was entertained by today's puzzle, and amused as well. Good job.

    leftcoaster 2:16 PM  

    Quips can be amusing the first time you hear them, perhaps; after that, they can be annoying. Hadn't heard this one before, and did give it a small chuckle.

    Liked the BEACH BAWL in the NW corner. CATE Blanchette is a favorite actor; was especially impressed by her in that Woody Allen movie of a few years ago. (Don't recall the title off-hand.)

    INCUBI is a neat word; so is LAME`.

    As to the LENI Riefenstahl controversy: She has notoriously found her place in the history books. Should her name be censored here? Inclined to think not.

    leftcoaster 6:01 PM  

    The movie was "Blue Jasmine" (2013).

    Anonymous 6:17 PM  

    Agree. Abhorrent, but still history. Paraphrasing from Santayana...we should remember the past, lest we repeat it.

    wcutler 7:12 PM  

    I loved the quip, was the first time I've heard it, so I even laughed. And it helped me with the solve - I like getting to apply linguistic logic as well as just definitions and PPP knowledge.

    The only thing I find offensive and really unpleasant here is commenters saying nasty or hateful things about other commenters, particularly when the hateful things are about the people more than about what was said.

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