Nocturnal lemur native to Madagascar / THU 11-14-19 / Muppet trio Oinker sisters / Aladdin character named after literary villain / Olympic sport discontinued after 1936

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Constructor: Alex Eaton-Salners

Relative difficulty: Easy (untimed clipboard solve)

THEME: FRENCH OPEN (60A: Big clay court event ... or a hint to the answers to 17-, 26-, 40- and 52-Across) — familiar phrases have first words translated to French:

Theme answers:
  • AMI REQUEST (17A: Invitation to connect on social media)
  • EAU SKIING (26A: Sport requiring a tow)
  • ÉTÉ CAMP (40A: Short-term employer of counselors)
  • OUI INDEED (52A: "By all means!")
Word of the Day: ELI ROTH (46D: Film director with a co-starring role in "Inglourious Basterds") —
Eli Raphael Roth (born April 18, 1972) is an American film director, producer, writer, and actor. As a director and producer, he is most closely associated with the horror genre, first coming to prominence for directing the films Cabin Fever (2003) and Hostel (2005). 
Roth continued to work in the horror genre, directing the films Hostel: Part II (2007) and The Green Inferno (2013). He also expanded into other genres, directing the erotic thriller film Knock Knock(2015) and the action film Death Wish (2018), a remake of the 1974 original. Also in 2018, he directed the fantasy horror film The House with a Clock in Its Walls, his first PG-rated film and his highest domestic grosser to date.
As an actor, Roth starred as Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz in Quentin Tarantino's war film Inglourious Basterds (2009), for which he received a Critic's Choice Movie Award and a SAG Award. He also starred in the horror film Death Proof (2007) and the disaster film Aftershock(2012).
Many journalists have included him in a group of filmmakers dubbed the Splat Pack for their explicitly violent and controversially bloody horror films. In 2013, Roth received the Visionary Award for his contributions to horror at the Stanley Film Festival. (wikipedia)
• • •

This felt like a puzzle from a lesser publication published some time last century. By which I mean, it works fine, but it's simple and corny, yielding nothing above maybe a wry smile when you first figure out the gimmick. But once you do, there's nothing waiting for you but some French 101 translation. The most familiar French words. I didn't have to look at some of the themer clues after I got the first one—if I had a couple letters in the first word and virtually any of the next word in place, the answer pretty much presented itself. The revealer didn't reveal much. I mean, it's a fine phrase to describe what's happening here, but by the time we get down there ... yeah, we already know. Revealer is a huge let-down, actually. Apt, but somehow sad. This honestly feels like a Newsday theme. In fact, if the NYT daily puzzles had titles (Which They Should, and which Newsday's do), then you could just ditch the sad revealer, make it the title, and turn this puzzle into a very simple early-week puzzle. Also, you could've opened up the grid a little and gotten cleaner and more interesting fill in there, maybe. No idea why this grid is so choppy and gunk-laden. The long Downs are fine, but mostly this felt like being on a kiddie ride while someone threw trash at me—way too much 3- to 5-letter garbage flying by as I cruised easily through this grid.

I had the theme before I exited the NW. I couldn't figure out either 2D: Recognition for an actor, informally (NOM) or 3D: "Aladdin" alter ego (ALI)—actors sometimes get Oscar NODs, and I wasn't sure if the spelling on ALI was maybe ALY (?), so I had those blank. Easily got the back end of the first themer from Down crosses and then thought, "Do you make an ADD REQUEST ... like, 'I want to ADD you as my Friend???'" Then I thought "No, that's FRIEND REQUEST." And that's when I got the theme. Aha! The rest of the puzzle was just scut work.

  • 6D: Turn up, as the volume (LOUDEN) — Please. Stop.
  • 30A: Potentially offensive (UNPC) — I will never ever not complain about this stupid term. The very concept of "PC" is right-wing garbage designed to make it easier to dismiss the concerns of marginalized and oppressed groups. Only the worst humans gripe about "PC" this and "PC" that. Boo hoo. Just admit you want to keep being a sexist racist homophobic asshole and don't want anyone pointing it out. At least that's honest. 
  • 45A: Nocturnal lemur native to Madagascar (AYE AYE) — LOL. I mean, nice try, but this is still just old-school junk fill. To its credit, though, figuring this out was probably the only time I smiled this whole solve. Oh, no, I smiled when I saw MISSY too (55A: Grammy winner Elliott):
  • 64D: Long stretch (ERA) — the word you want is EON. An ERA can be relatively short, actually. It's defined by what makes it thematically cohesive, not by its length.
  • 66A: "Let me think ... hmmm, I don't think so" ("UM, NO") — I had "UH, NO." What a fun mistake! :/
  • 49A: Reviews, collectively: Abbr. (CRIT) — Pffffff, in what context??? "The Collected CRIT of Roger Ebert"? I get that this is an abbr. for "criticism," but alleged context seems off. Horrible to have to wait on that "T" too (the Down cross, bygone crosswordese, could've gone a couple ways—35D: Latin 101 word (AMAT))
  • 67A: Anthem alternative (AETNA) — so, Anthem is ... an insurance company? Teach me more fun things, puzzle! Sigh. 
  • 62D: Down-to-earth types? (ETS) — OK, ETS is not good fill, but this clue, I kinda liked!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


WeesaSuzi 5:26 AM  

Felt like a slog, but almost beat my fastest time, so I guess that’s something? I had hoped after getting a rebus yesterday that they had a real gem for us today...I think they got the days swapped or something. Not a bad puzzle, just very 55-Down.

Solverinserbia 5:30 AM  

9:32 a Thursday record for me. I liked the theme. Some of the fill was wacky like LOUDEN and AYEAYE among others, so I could have done without that.

Hungry Mother 5:55 AM  

It didn’t seem PIE-like, but it went fast, a half cup of coffee. The theme was obvious without the reveal and fun to work with.

Anonymous 5:56 AM  

Easy because the reveal was so easy. My gripe? Two Aladdin clues in the top half. I react to some pop culture references with "I'm proud that I don't know," then wait for the crosses.

BarbieBarbie 6:08 AM  

Easy, I agree. Dull, no. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve figured out a revealer and giggled. I probably didn’t help myself by wondering whether “HRBlock” was a legit 7-letter answer for temporary counselor employer. And I saw AMIREQUEST and just figured I’d missed the foreign language hint in the clue. So I was primed for an Aha, and got one. Fun! Thanks Alex.

Karl Grouch 6:15 AM  

This was neither clever nor a pleasure to solve.

If you know the first thing about tennis you get the revealer just by seeing the word "clay" in the clue.
Once you have the monday-easy revealer in place, you realize that it's all about a french "opening" word and not one which means "open" in french, as "ouvert" for example.

The fact that the starts of the theme answers consist of three-letter french words is elegant, but then again you end up wondering why three, is there a theme-related reason to that?
I didn't find any.

An énorme disappointment for the start of my jeudi.

Lewis 6:21 AM  

Alex, the crossing SKIs were cool as a vin cellar, and given that constructing is practically a pas-for-profit endeavor, I appreciate your skill in and bon-heartedness in making this enjoyable puzzle!

king_yeti 6:24 AM  

I liked Debt ceiling. The rest manque

Anonymoose 6:48 AM  

I'm just starting and have most of NW done. Three stinker entries already. AMIREQUEST, UNPC and LOUDEN. If there are more I may have to call it a day. LOUDEN???????

QuasiMojo 6:57 AM  

From faim.

Alex M 7:10 AM  

EVERY lemur is native to Madagascar. They are all endemic to that island. Some are diurnal, some crepuscular, but they're ALL Madagascan. To properly clue AYE-AYE one ought to mention their abnormally long bony middle fingers, used to tap on tree trunks in search of bugs, or perhaps their unfortunate reputation as harbingers of evil that has led the Malagasy to hunt them to even nearer extinction than the rest of the lemurs. Just sayin'.

Alex M 7:15 AM  

That's nothing to be proud of, there's nothing praiseworthy about living under a rock. Also IAGO comes up again and again, so you'd be better served learning something here than puffing your ego with your ignorance.

Z 7:16 AM  

Can we get an ENLOUDEN? Then maybe use that as an ENS clue? Three letter French words... AKA Francophone crosswordese. Woo Hoo. Everything else has already been said.

Almost a DNF/DNC in the ELI ROTH AYE-AYE section, then it dawned on me that Elliott wasn’t some dude I’d never heard of and -LIROTH broke apart into two names and I was done. Hand up for having to fix Uh, NO and I also had a malapop when I initially was getting complimentary robes at the innS I don’t frequent.

amyyanni 7:16 AM  

Didn't love it. Louden is just yukky. Theme is Meh. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a nice touch.

kitshef 7:30 AM  

Just a wonderful solving experience. Fantastic theme. One of those that makes all the little flaws in a puzzle melt away, like tears in rain (to steal from Blade Runner). That all the French words are three letters gives it that extra polish.

You do enough puzzles, you learn some things about Will Shortz's clue style. For example, "sheep sound" will be BAA, while "goat sound" will be MAA. The relevant thing today is ERA. When the clue appears to want eon, it'll be ERA, and vice versa.

Anonymous 7:38 AM  

AYE AYE is the real name of a real animal.

Barney 7:38 AM  

Consider me the naysayer of this bunch: I thoroughly enjoyed it. No naticks, not an overwhelming number of names, not too much hipster or geezer-isms, yes, a bit of filler-fluff here and there, but few puzzles are perfectly clean, so why grumble? Good job, AES!

GILL I. 7:40 AM  

Well, I liked the theme and all but the surrounding MEH made me wince. I filled in the junk GPA EPA ETS ERA NOM AMAS UMNO AHYES before I figured out the FRENCH. I got to FRENCH OPEN then went back up the ladder to fill in the cute, simple, everybody knows these words even if they don't speak the language. I suddenly felt like writing that this deserved a "When PIGS fly" adynaton.
So I had a Natick at ELI ROTH/MISSY. Can someone explain how 68A Flag suddenly becomes TIRE? Is there someone here that utters LOUDEN? I'm going to use that today when I ask my husband to turn up the TV volume. Hey honey, can you LOUDEN Judge Judy.
I made the mistake of watching "The BLAIR Witch Project" and got sick to my stomach. No one told me that that's what it was supposed to do. I kept telling my son that it was giving me vertigo and he just laughed. He didn't think it was so funny when I actually got sick on his new shoes.

Petsounds 7:46 AM  

Zut! A puzzle filled with merde. The eon/era thing bugged me too. LOUDEN? UMNO? OILUP? SOFTG? DEFAT? AETNA? Tired clues from a lazy constructor. Bah!

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

Maybe it's just because I'm an art school guy, but CRIT makes total sense. Weekly CRITs, where my work was reviewed by a group (my peers and teachers) were both painful and incredibly valuable. So for me, this was clued perfectly. So Pfffff to you, Rex.

TJS 8:11 AM  

Agreed with Rex ! This was garbage. But of course we had to be lectured by the enlightened professor. I occasionally say "Thanks, dear" to a waitress. It may be unpc, but does it also make me "a racist, homophobic asshole"? Have a nice day,d***head.

Tim Pierce 8:12 AM  

I don't like being harsh about the puzzle, but this was just dreadful.

* The theme doesn't make any sense. It's just random English phrases with the first word translated to French, resulting in... a French word and an English word. Like, yay? I guess? "Guess what, guys, if you take WATER SKIING and translate 'water' to French, you get EAU SKIING!!" Where's my cute wordplay? Where's my EAU MYYYY? Where's my OUI THE PEOPLE? You can't work for it even a little?

* I'm with Rex on UNPC, which is a stodgy Republican boogeyman that was tired by 1995 and hasn't gotten better with time. COED too. And UNBORN makes me extremely uncomfortable. It's not simply a word meaning "not yet delivered". It's specifically a conservative reframing of pregnancy to promote the notion of fetal personhood, and that needs to be called out.

* I got stuck on NOM/NOD for 2D. Not knowing French, for all I know ADI could be French for ADD, and I feel like I have heard FRIEND REQUESTS described as ADD REQUESTS, so I just couldn't get there. Unfortunate for me, but I think the trickier bits need less ambiguous fill.

* LOUDEN. No. Sweet Jesus. No.

* Things I liked: "Anthem alternative", "Musician's better half?"

Klazzic 8:13 AM  

Morning boss. Loved your diatribe on UNPC. Those right wing nuts bloviating and ridiculing those of us who are sensitive to diversity belong in a landfill, d'accord? I actually enjoyed this puzzle, found it rather amusing. But then, I'm an easy mark. I like fluff in the morning.

Suzie Q 8:15 AM  

I feel the same as most everyone else. Just a few added thoughts.
Could have kept up the French theme with nom.
Robes again?
Nice clue for Side A.
I am annoyed by clues like the one for piano. Usually it's needle holder for fir or pine. Just rubs me wrong.
I do not agree with the un-pc rant. Had to be something I suppose.
No idea who the singer or director are. Easy enough to guess.
Bit of a let down. Not a lot of fun.

mathgent 8:20 AM  


I usually like Eaton-Salners so this was a letdown. Absolutely no sparkle. MEH cluing. LOUDEN. NOM.

EAUSKIING reminds me of the great Cirque du Sileil show O which has been running continuously for over twenty years at Bellagio in Las Vegas. It's a water show performed in a 25-foot deep tank. The producers originally called it Eau, but Steve Wynn changed the title to how that French word is pronounced.

pabloinnh 8:21 AM  

Kept wanting to make" a dire" quest into a thing, as in the French "C'est a dire.."--"That is to say". Not a good idee.

Also wished AYEAYE could have been clued as "lemur you haven't seen in a crossword puzzle in a very long time, but still sometimes necessary fill". See also, ADIT, ATLE, tWO of my old favorites now MIA.

OK Thursday, but left me asking, where's the boeuf?

Joaquin 8:22 AM  

Maybe in Brooklyn, they trim DE FAT from a steak and perhaps they crank up the volume in LOUDEN, Ohio. Who knows?

And how are we retired folks supposed to keep track of which day of the week it is when we get a rebus on Wednesday and an easy one on Thursday?

Steady Freddy 8:38 AM  

Agree that we had a very MEH offering today, for the reasons that OFL and others have commented on. If your theme is going to revolve around foreign words, don’t further slog it up with a latin AMAT (made worse by crossing with an awful clue and awful answer CRIT).

The one bright spot was the presence of the UNPC COED (and yes, I want to keep being a sexist racist homophobic asshole and don't want anyone pointing it out. At least I’m honest).

Rube 8:40 AM  

There's not much here. Louden is of course awful.
Let's talk about 49A. In architecture school, students periodically have their projects reviewed as they build. Although their grades are based on the final submission, getting positive feedback along the way is huge. This is called CRIT. It is not an abbreviation, it is more of a clip form of critique. It would be a fine clue if they had left it as Reviews, collectively

Hartley70 8:50 AM  

J’adore this. I kept stubbing my toe on the long answers, with the exception of AddREQUEST because I was sure an actor got a NOd. I had a little giggle when I got to FRENCHOPEN. Sure it was easy. I had it off the H, but I quite liked the trick.

Bridget 8:54 AM  

Liked it. Favorite answer is UNPC.

Unknown 8:55 AM  

Ok puzzle with afew cute clues. Thanks for highlighting them. I think there are much livelier ways to clue aye aye than an obscure reference. Missed chance for something good.

Hartley70 8:55 AM  

Joaquin @8:22am. Good laugh at your second paragraph. So true!!

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

Sharp’s reaction to UNPC is telling on himself.

Dorothy Biggs 9:09 AM  

I knew GRAF because of last week...or very recently.

I knew all of the [xword-esey] French words, but I just couldn't figure water skiing out. I guess I don't see water skiing as a sport, per se. I wanted some kind of winter form of skiing...maybe because that seems more like a sport and because right now it's cold outside? IDUNNO. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

"Muppet trio the Oinker Sisters, e.g." See yesterday's r/AnAttemptWasMade "ROOT" clue. My brain hurt reading it. Should there be a comma in there? Should "the" be capitalized?

I had innS for places that give complimentary robes...until I saw "Roadside establishment." Some inns give you a robe...they're expensive inns, but the Omni, the Ritz-Carlton, etc. give you really nice heavy robes. I put them on before graduation.

I agree with Rex about UNPC. It's just manners, people. Being polite to others.

I didn't really like today's puzzle, if you can't tell.

Jason 9:11 AM  

Didn't really need to see your hate-filled, intolerant rant about UNPC, but I giggle a little at how you get so easily triggered by 4 letters. So intolerant.

SouthsideJohnny 9:22 AM  

Good, accurate review from OFL today (sans the venom-spew, which today is directed at the one-third to one-half of the population who aren’t troubled by the phrase UNPC - what is that, like 150 Million people, lol). He did make a very salient point about the impact of the lack of titles on a daily basis. The NYT puzzles get over-burdened by the theme entries (and the revealers). Those who comment here on a regular basis don’t just enjoy Friday and Saturday puzzles because they are more challenging, but also because they are more crisp, clean and not bogged down with unnecessary fill. The use of an early-week title could reduce that burden by as much as 25-33%, which would be a significant improvement.

Jyqm 9:24 AM  

@GILL I. — “Flag” and TIRE are both verbs here.

Agree with Rex that this puzzle belongs in a lesser publication. As though Shortz accidentally sent this in to the NYT as opposed to the Delta in-flight magazine...

SomeOneHasToBeMe 9:35 AM  

The instant I got UNPC I went "ooooooh Rex is gonna be maaaaad".

DEFAT ugh. it is apparently a real word, but it shouldn't be. I ended up not remembering that ETE is French for summer, but I had a real lovely time in the CAMP SKIMPY and associated crosses working through it one letter at a time. It gave me that Sherlock Holmes thrill.

Fast for a Thursday, so probably too easy.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Who knew?

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

I'm really tiring of solve times related to coffee consumption. Meaningless and quite lame.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nancy 9:55 AM  

Since I can only evaluate this puzzle according to moi, without taking toi into full consideration, I will say to this puzzle: je t'aime, je t'aime, je t'aime! My "Aha Moment" was huge -- made all the more delicieuse by the tennis revealer. Since I both play tennis and studied French, this was as much in my wheelhouse as a puzzle this tricky can be. If the same stunt had been pulled in Spanish or Italian, much less in Hungarian or Chinese, I would have screamed foul. So opinions ici should vary greatly. I'll go back and read y'all now. But this is certainly one of my favorite puzzles d'annee. Merci, Alex!

I'll be a mod, FFS 10:00 AM  

Why are there even moderated posts when so much trolling still manages to get by?

Paul Emil 10:01 AM  

Some things are not worth knowing.

N. Minow 10:04 AM  

A small nit...

The FCC does not really monitor networks. It monitors broadcast stations through its licensing function. Networks are not licensed, and therefore not subject to FCC monitoring. Any FCC influence on networks is indirect: networks enter into affiliation agreements with broadcast stations and provide content, but it is the stations themselves, not the providers, who are monitored. So, for example, NBC is free to produce whatever content, with as much obscenity, explicit sex, violence etc that it wishes and do with it what it likes. But it is only if and when a broadcast station choses to air the content that the FCC exercises its monitoring - and only over the individual stations themselves. Any fines or other penalties are given to the offending stations, not to the networks. Though at times you may have heard of a ABC, CBS, NBC or FOX companies being fined, it was not the network itself that was fined, but the stations that the parent company may own (typically, these big companies own a handful of stations - but this ownership is through a whole separate division than the network division)

Though a small nit, It's an important distinction, and is why networks can produce much "racier" content for their cable divisions than they can for their broadcast stations division.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

"Louden"?? What's next, "embiggen"?? Not a real word, though both are perfectly cromulent.

Rastaman Vibration 10:08 AM  

Does anyone else find it hysterical that Rex disdains someone who uses the term UNPC, yet he is actually supportive of sexist racist homophobic assholes like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog and the rest of their ilk ? ROFLMAO ! Jeez what a hypocrite . . . Smh.

Masked and Anonymous 10:16 AM  

French weejects [OUI-jects?] theme? NON WAY JOSE. That was my first ahar moment reaction -- but I got over it. Different. M&A kinda admires different.

LOUDEN … har+.
staff ouiject picks: AMI. EAU. ETE. OUI. and sometimes NOM.
staff weeject pick: REY. A drop of golden Ow de Speration.

Really feelin awful powerful sorry for sweet lil MER, all of a sudden. Snubbed & TORPEDOed by the puz. Ooooh … and MERHORSE woulda been soooo catchy…

@RP: Primo blog write-up, especially the flood of bullet points. Also, enjoyed Debbie Harry.

MER-SEA, Mr. ES. Nice ouiject stacks in the NW & SE, btw. Is NET French for "neigh"? Also, nice Latin AMAT break from all that day-um French. [M&A don't know much French -- so SOU m&e.]

Masked & aNONym007Us

les themeless aperitif:

Escalator 10:17 AM  

Liked “Signin” leading to “In” 👍

Music Man 10:23 AM  

Rex’s review had me laughing today. I agree - too much junk in today’s puzzle.

Nancy 10:28 AM  

While we may be in different corners in our respective reactions to this puzzle, @Quasi's "From faim" is nevertheless my favorite line on the blog so far today.

Amelia 10:30 AM  

Liked the puzzle AND agreed with Rex. (About the titles, that is. And why not mention the WSJ? Will never get HIS PC rants. So I'm a terrible human. I can deal.)

Louden? Um, no.

Joe Dipinto 10:31 AM  

A very un-ooh-la-la pûzzélle. Maybe if the French opens had been parts of actual English words/phrases? OUIja board, ETErnal, AMIno acid – that sort of thing? DEBT CEILING and PARTING WAYS are good long answers but the rest of the fill is kind of bland. The constructor says he did not slate this for a Thursday.

We could check out the pùzzêlles on Mizar 5.
You'll enjoy the Cafe D'Escargot

jberg 10:34 AM  

Yeah, Rex, you oughta tolerate intolerance.

Gotta run. This shirt I have on is too bland, need to louden it up.

OffTheGrid 10:38 AM  

@I'll be a mod, FFS 10:00 AM.

I was thinking along these lines, too. Anonymous 9:46 is clearly out of bounds with the name calling. Moderators?

oopsydeb 10:43 AM  

LOUDEN? Gross.

Best thing about this puzzle is that it led Rex to post one of my favorite music videos.

Kathy 10:44 AM  

Couldn’t get there on my own. (Being new to this, I really don’t expect to finish a Thursday yet.) I solved with extra clues being fed to me by my non-cross wording husband who was looking at the answers, as is our custom. It’s fun for both of us.

Despite not finishing, I enjoyed the puzzle anyway. But I love wordplay, the more the better. And the theme was cute.

POESEY: new word to me, I had correctly guessed that the word play referred to Robert Frost, but still no dice.
LOUDEN? Puhleeze
NOM? Does anyone say this? I, too, had nod.
DE-FAT: just no.
Then other times I got lucky...I worked for Anthem.

@Lewis 6:22. Good one!

David 10:47 AM  

Yeah, Louden and Defat, both words the auto-correct of this blog software flags.

My wife got her terminal degree in painting. She says it didn't kill her, but the CRITs nearly did. Nod in agreement to Anon at 8:01. Umami is the flavor of MSG. Yay. Eons are subdivided into Eras, it's true, that doesn't make them short geologically. Historically eras may be only 100s or even 10s of years long. Still longer than Rex allows. Perhaps in this era of 3 second attention-spans they actually can be quite short, I don't know.

Yes, tire, as in, "I'm flagging." A long time ago in a galaxy far away I could read, speak, and write French very well. That's gone through disuse, but this was very easy. I also nearly passed on it because of the 2 Aladdin keys early on. Don't make presumptions about my disinterest in anything to do with Disney please.

Oui oui, aye aye, yes yes. A bit of fun but not Thursday level.

I'll pass on the PC debate but will also point out that being polite to strangers is a nice thing to do.

Ryan 10:49 AM  

I'm not crazy about LOUDEN, etc., either, but I enjoyed this breezy Thursday solve. Too often Rex writes as if the Times puzzle should be exclusively for old pros. I'm glad Mr. Shortz disagrees.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

There were a couple of right wing dog whistles -- unborn, unpc-- which I found jarring.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

Lt CRIT:literary criticism

Literary criticism (or literary studies) is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of literature's goals and methods.

jae 11:15 AM  

Easy-medium. Only real problem was @Rex NOd before NOM and I should know better because I’ve made the same error before.

Cute, liked it.

Donna B. 11:17 AM  

I would never say it about Rex because I don’t know him but I’ve found in general people who habitually call others racists and/or sexists are themselves racists and/or sexists. The best defense is a good offense.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

"Thanks, dear" to a waitress.

Well... all the 'girls' at my local Panera call me Hon or Dear. But, then, I'm too old to be of use to them. In that sort of way.

If you order your steak 'Pittsburgh' (at least, here on the East Coast what we call it), you need the fat to really, really char the meat under the salamander. All that crust may be cancer causing, but it's the only way to eat a decent hunk of meat.

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

@anonymous 10:50 AM: If you are implying that only right wingers care about the unborn I take exception to that.

OffTheGrid 11:36 AM  

LOUDEN is awful but it brought to mind Dick Loudon, proprietor of the Stratford Inn in Vermont.
The inn in NEWHART is actually the Waybury Inn near Middlebury VT. This was my favorite of Bob Newhart's shows and is one of my all time favorite sit-coms.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

The only appropriate clue for CRIT is "20, in D & D."

John Hoffman 11:38 AM  

LOUDEN? J’accuse!

I.M.A. Crit 11:58 AM  

Might we please soften the criticism of louden?

Molasses 11:58 AM  

Dope slap of the day: I was still trying to figure out who Elliott Missy was (got it from guessing the I in ELI ROTH)) when I came here and saw the link. Of course I've heard of MISSY Elliott. Not my kind of music but I did enjoy the visuals on the video of Throw it Back on her website when I looked her up to see why I've heard of her and why I didn't exactly know who she was. The song is kind of hypnotic. And those teeth in that video - ouch!

I'm siding with Rex on UNPC. It's unkind and rude to belittle other people, there's no need to invoke politics. UNBORN also made me cringe, although I suppose it had the merit of making me think of the power of words to influence perception, which I guess isn't a bad thing for a crossword puzzle to do.

puzzlehoarder 12:02 PM  

I found this puzzle to be even more difficult than last Thursday's. When I finally cleared things up I was still confused about certain aspects. Is the first word of the 49A clue a conjugated verb or a pluralized noun? For that matter is CRIT an abbreviation of the word criticism or critique? In today's comments a couple of people saw CRIT as a separate word, sort of half speak like za for pizza or ed for education. I can't be sure of any of this. Since it took me a long time to remember ECCE, and for just as long COTY blocked out COCO, the center was the last section to fall.

Finally I had to resort to reading the revealer clue to be sure of which entries we're themes. This allowed me to change NOM to NOD. Like others I kept seeing ADDREQUEST which of course had to be wrong. There's no ALD in "Aladdin". Still I hate having to use a revealer to figure out a themed puzzle. As always I tried to pretend I'm doing a themeless puzzle and today I found it Saturday hard.

After solving I learned that that the word for a bouquet is "posy" not "posey" This means it is neither an anagram of POESY nor an exact homonym for it either. That confusion on my part made me question the spelling of 38D.

AYEAYE as an animal is a debut cluing for the Shortz ERA. Recognizing it off of _EAYE didn't come from doing puzzles. "Anthem" as an insurance company is new to me. I was able to get a clean grid today but it didn't click for me.

Carola 12:03 PM  

Weak tea. Or, maybe weak brain on my part: I needed the reveal + OUI in order to get it, having accepted Add and left the EAU and ETE spots filled with mental ??? Anyway, for me it added up to too little esprit for a Thursday.

Ellen S 12:14 PM  

Nice to see “N. Minow” weighing in here. Reminds me that since I bought too much Halloween candy I have developed a “vast waistland.”

I disagree with everybody: LOUDEN helps us biggen our vocabularies.

@Karl Grouch - love your nom de blog. My two faves.

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

Actually, LOUDON is in NH (right Pablo?), and its claim to fame:

Sir Hillary 12:24 PM  

I will never ever not enjoy @Rex's complaints about UNPC.

This puzzle? Non, merci.

xyz 12:36 PM  

Less than stellar

actually quite lame

kitshef 12:42 PM  

On puzzle titles - I go out of my way NOT to read the titles on Sundays, as they sometimes give you too much information and rob you of the joy of figuring out what is going on. Even on @M&A runts I skip the title unless I desperately need help to get some traction.

CDilly52 12:42 PM  

Clever comment, @Lewis and tres apropos, mon ami!

CDilly52 12:46 PM  

@Alex M I just have to like a person who knows his lemurs! I have, since grade school, had a ridiculous adoration of lemurs and meerkats. Passed the love affair on to my daughter who watched every episode of Meerkat Manor. Thanks for sharing all the interesting tidbits.

old timer 12:54 PM  

I liked the puzzle a lot. So there.

As for LOUDEN, my standard is if it is in the M-W Collegiate Dictionary, it's legit for use in a crossword. But its first use apparently was in 1944. Haven't checked the OED to see if there is an earlier use. But my guess is LOUDEN was a nonce word, invented on the spot by some author and not used often after that. Though I myself have re-invented it from time to time: "Dear, can you LOUDEN the TV?" Never seen it in print before today, and I wonder if you mavens can find an earlier use in the NYTXW.

CDilly52 12:54 PM  

When one begins to show signs of weakness or tiring, he may be said to be flagging.

I had plenty of energy at the beginning of moving day, but began to flag after a few trips up the two flights of stairs to my new apartment. The thrill of the extra space in my new place kept me from utter exhaustion.

CDilly52 12:59 PM  

@Rube. Same with grad school very often. While you work on your thesis or dissertation, you bring in a new chapter or extended outline for CRIT so you can be reasonably certain upon final submission that you will pass!

CDilly52 1:03 PM  

@Hartley70 Hand up for Oscar NOd. Even after I had quickly tossed In all of the NW and had A_I REQUEST it took me until EAUSKIING to do the head smack. After that, a breeze. Like everyone, LOUDEN? Non, non, non!

RooMonster 1:11 PM  

Hey All !
@Anonymous 10:08 embiggen, AH YES. :-)

Don't know much French, but these M&A's OUIjects are seen quite frequently in puzs. Still couldn't figure out the first one, though, as I didn't see REQUEST, kept parsing it as AdIRE QUEST (with the incorrect NOd.) Har. AdIRE, oh dear.

A writeover I had amongst others I'm forgetting, REdACt-RECANT.

Lots of partials today. AYE AYE.
Speaking of that, what about "Naval affirmation"? or somesuch. A lemur? Yowser.


Teedmn 1:17 PM  

As is usually the case, AES provided me with quite a struggle today. I needed to get to the revealer before I realized what was going on. This is because a couple of key errors early on TORPEDOed my ability to get the theme. I had the NOd at 2D so I went through both Rex's "Add REQUEST" consideration and @pabloinnh's AdIRE QUEST parsing. I finally circled the I of Ali because I had no idea if that guess was correct on Aladdin's alter ego. (And because of that ignorance, I groaned when I saw the second Aladdin clue at 16A and wondered if this was a tribute puzzle.)

My second error, after NOd, was misremembering the Indian flatbread as ROTaS. Then 10D's SIGN up. INN got me to change "up" to IN but I changed it again to SIGN oN when I had two I's next to each other as I was still oblivious to the theme and was wondering if flIMsY would work for "Revealing in a way" at 22D.

Count me in on the Eon ER[A]ror at 64D and 33D with RECAll before RECANT (hey, they "take back" products when they RECAll them, OUI?)

Once I grokked the theme, I was able to fix all my errors, whew.

I have seen the 2nd half of "Inglourious Basterds" several times but never the first half, so I don't know when ELI ROTH's character appears. You know how there are some things you always come into at the same time - like having seen only one episode of a TV show, and when you finally run into that show again, it's a rerun of that one episode you already saw. How does that work?

Thanks, Alex Eaton-Salners, nice job.

CDilly52 1:35 PM  

Such a stop-start-slow-fast-medium-speedy day for me. And 10 minutes faster than my average Thursday according to the app. I do not pay attention to time but I do notice when my time is unusual (be it fast or slow).

So sue me, I’m getting up there (yes, as someone correctly supposed last week, the 52 in my handle is my birth year) and I enjoy this kind of old school format. I see nothing at all inappropriate about imitating a form that has been successful and enjoyable in years (or even ERAs) past. Sincerest form of flattery and all. The French theme was still clever, still works, still gettable and most assuredly Thursday appropriate (or should we say apropos today). And this one worked. Not difficult, not a terribly clever revealer, but certainly appropriate, and as @Nancy says in my opinion.

Could have been tighter, could have been fewer crosswordy entries, but overall, to me it lacked truly offensive drek and my one and only complete cringe was LOUDEN. Can anyone ever, before today said “Please louden the tv?” I’m going to do it today just ‘cause, and I’m going to use it with a dear friend who tends to be the language and grammar police (more than just occasionally at inappropriate moments) just gig him.

I can’t complain at all today. It’s Thursday and we had a Thursday puzz. That’s just my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Judge not lest ye be judged.

Or, if you prefer:

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Frantic Sloth 2:23 PM  

Forgive me if someone has already asked this, but...

If you want to turn up the volume on "Dead Skunk (in the Middle of the Road)", you LOUDEN LOUDON Wainright, right?

Jeff in New Paltz 2:24 PM  

And how about a little better timing...the French Open is in May. Tennis is in the indoor season now (in London for the ATP finals to be specific).

pabloinnh 2:27 PM  

@Anon 12:15-Yep, Loudon is right outside of Concord and home to the big speedway. To be avoided during NASCAR events, unless you're a fan, which I am not. Traffic backs up most of the way to Maine.

Whatsername 2:35 PM  

Well this was kind of cute and pretty easy and I’m not even French. However, it was odd to have a rebus yesterday and then this easy breezy one on Thursday. Makes it hard to keep track if you’re like me and @Joaquin at 08:22. In retirement, knowing what day of the week it is can be a challenge. There’s no dreaded Monday or hump day or TGI Friday so sometimes I rely on the crossword to help keep me straight. I love it though and as far as I’m concerned, every day is Saturday.

@jberg at 10:34 - You win the prize for best dig at 6D. I’m laughing out LOUDEN.

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

Anon 11;24,
You haven't been paying attention. The dems have moved very far from the safe, legal and rare tripe Clinton spouted now it's unfettered, unrepentant and unlimited abortion. Hell, they'll kill babies that ve been born aster they've made them "comfortable".

Anoa Bob 3:21 PM  

From an old tin-can (nautical slang for a destroyer) sailor who was a sonar tech, I would think a destroyer would be the least likely type of ship to be destroyed by a TORPEDO (4D), but I guess the powers that be went with "Destroyer destroyer" for its repetitive cleverness.

25D DEBT CEILING could have been clued "When legislators are ask about it, they say the sky's the limit". What is it these days, a trillion dollars a year? As someone opined, a few trillion here and a few trillion there, and pretty soon you're talking about serious money.

My first thought for 70A "Host of Fox's 'Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey'" was (Carl) Sagan. But then I remembered his "Cosmos" was a PBS production, and wiki helped me remember the second part of the title was "A Personal Voyage".

I watched some of TYSON's Cosmos, but it became obvious to me that it was designed for a newer generation of viewers. The overall pace was much faster, especially the dialogue, and no single video scene seem to last for more than a few seconds. It was like "If I don't keep things moving briskly, viewers will get bored and look elsewhere".

Fred Romagnolo 3:48 PM  

It is my understanding that of all existing primates, lemurs are the earliest. I found The BLAIR Witch Project insufferable because of it's vocabulary, incessant use of the F-word, apparently acceptable to the P. C. crowd. How come OFL wasn't offended by TYSON, an accused offender of the Me Tooers? Does his race protect him from the racist P. C. virtuous?

Anonymous 4:01 PM  

Hell, they'll kill babies that ve been born aster they've made them "comfortable".

The right wingnuts have been passing on that propaganda since at least Alzheimer Ronnie. The right wingnuts could have fixed the issue decades ago by simply establishing an 'adoption network' for all the unborn. All those 'pregnancy offices' would just have a contract of adoption for the mother to sign. Put their money where their mouth is. Keep em poor and pregnant is the goal, of course.

Geezer 4:35 PM  

@Fred, The Tyson in the puzzle is Neil Degrasse, not MIKE. Sure hope you don't eat Tyson chicken if the name offends you.

Joe Dipinto 5:30 PM  

@Geezer – Neil DeGrasse Tyson was accused of sexual misconduct in 2018, I believe that is what Fred is referring to.

GILL I. 5:31 PM  

@Jyqm. AH. the verb got me again. Merci, mon ami.
Do we have more than usual trolls today? Alzheimer Ronnie...? Pretty nasty, Anony 4:01.

albatross shell 5:54 PM  

What's the problem? It's in M-W.
First use 1848. A couple uses in the 21st century. Yes you can make up instances where it sounds totally awkward.

The problem may be more the clue.

Glad this is online. If it was a live debate with a live audience I am sure I would be hearing a loudening chorus of boos.

Anonymous 6:47 PM  

@Anonymous 4:01 PM- Kermit Gosnell was sentenced in 2013 to three life sentences in prison for killing three babies who were born alive at his clinic in Philadelphia. Those crimes would have been legal had they been committed in New York in 2019 under the bill signed by Andrew Cuomo. So anon 2:42 PM has a point.

bauskern 8:39 PM  

We have a corrupt president. The glaciers are melting. And we're unhappy about LOUDEN? Let's pick our battles, folks.

JMS 10:30 PM  

Ugh, louden.
And Friday's puzzle has an equally, and similar, bad word.

the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד 12:05 AM  

I am almost certain that the term PI (politically incorrect) preceded the term PC, which was a back-formation. PI somehow became less common, but there is no possible reason to call something unPC when it is simply PI.

Anonymous 12:26 AM  

About the titles, the dailies in the NYT actually do have titles, they're just not published. You can see them when they are re-published in their various puzzle books.

Bruce Fieggen 1:12 AM  

Ironic that a French-themed puzzle would set Rex off on a rant with the word UNPC. Je suis Charles.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Check out “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love” available to stream from Amazon and Apple. You may have a different opinion of Leonard Cohen after watching it.

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

oops posted on wrong day

Andy D 2:53 PM  

Hi. Ever since Rex mentioned the New Yorker crossword, I have been a big fan. Does anyone know whether there is a site that reviews the puzzle just like Rex reviews and NYT crossword? Thanks!

Burma Shave 9:53 AM  


MISSY, this FRENCHOPEN’s done,


spacecraft 10:31 AM  

I have never been so totally lost. DNF--in fact, hardly even started. NOd instead of the absurd abbr. NOM was fatal, but even want me to accept: LOUDEN? Come on, man. "Honey, could you LOUDEN the TV a little? I can't hear what they're saying."

"What'd you say?"

Ridiculous. Jumped down to the other fatal "gimme:" my man Carl Sagan. Oh, no. It was that OTHER "Cosmos." The "cover." When will people stop doing "covers?" Except for "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," which is such a bitchin' song that even covers can't ruin it, all covers ought to be banned. Don't get me wrong; I like Neil.

So, I never did get the theme. Just one big splatz. LOUDEN it up for me a little next time.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

It seems the lunatic fringe is freaking about UNPC, no doubt because they know very well that the whole reason for PC is censorship of any but the purest Snow Flake doctrine.

Diana, LIW 12:47 PM  

After completing yesterday's you-know-what successfully, this was a dnf letdown.

First, because I did successfully get all of the themers right away. Years and years of not learning French in school came in handy.

Only to be defeated by a bunch of PPP that I'll never, ever care about.

And a COty vs. a COCO didn't help me any, but that was a fair error.

And then there is LOUDEN. Anyone want to LOUDEN their comments? Nae. Not a soul.

Diana, LIW for Croswords

Wooody2004 3:09 PM  

Happy Impeachment Weekend Syndicats!

This puz was NON Problemo. MISSY PIGS-ey always used to say "MOI?" so it's too bad they couldn't squeeze in "MOI so horny.

I wish 51A could have been clues to our Menteur-In-Chief. Hopefully we will soon be PARTINGWAYS with him. BYE BYE BYE!

rondo 3:49 PM  

After making the FRENCH connection somewhere in the lower regions I came back and changed my NOd to a NOM, et voila, complete. I suppose it couldn’t have been ‘NOM de plume’ without throwing off the FRENCH stuff. The NOM I have circled is Steffi GRAF, so OUI baby. IDUNNO, yesterday’s rebus may have been more fun.

leftcoaster 4:13 PM  

Easy as PIE? No way.

Got the FRENCH words starting with AMI REQUEST after diverted by double letters in a couple of themers. But sorted them all out OK.

The spoiler was in the middle: Badly wanted COty instead of COCO. Had to look her up to finish in that prickly little area.

Agreed, LOUDEN is the word-that-should-not-exist.

(Diana, read your post after posting mine, another case of "Great minds....")

rondo 4:57 PM  

BTW, Steffi GRAF won 6 FRENCHOPEN titles.

Gloucester de la Vegas 2:13 PM  

This is about a month late and pointless...but I'm quite sure the 2D "Recognition for an actor, informally" is an error, and it's easy to see where it comes from. It should have been "NOD", and the "request" should have been "ADD REQUEST". What happened is, there were elements that were tennis-based (as in, "Ad" for "Advantage", and that's why GRAF is there), others French language-based, and the constructor flipped somewhat, then it was rushed to print, and the 2D clue was never changed, as it should have been. Because there's no way "NOM" can stand as the correct answer. Of course there's "nom de plume", "nom de guerre" -- but not "nom de film" or "nom de screen". That's "screen name". The answer was changed for 2D, but not the clue.
By the way, I know this isn't written well, with everything spelled out exactly...but the substance is right. It's not a "let them slide on a bad clue" thing, it's something that should have been changed but was missed.

Jon R 3:32 PM  

This wasn't all bad, but ECCE -> CRIT --> AMAT is unacceptable. And then you have stuff like AYEAYE and all the garbage 3 and 4 letter answers. At least the theme was ok?

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP