Bug-eyed primates / SUN 2-9-20 / New York city where Mark Twain was married buried / Energy-efficient Navajo structure / Cruise line that owned the Lusitania

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Constructor: Brian Kulman

Relative difficulty: Easy (8:28)

THEME: "The Emoji Movie" — movies clued via emojis (or so I'm told—Across Lite just gave me [bracketed explanations of emojis]," LOL):

Theme answers:
  • "KING / KONG" (1A: With 115-Across, [gorilla] [woman] [building])
  • "ELF" (16A: [Santa] [city at night] [present])
  • "THE LORD OF THE RINGS" (23A: [jewelry] [elf] [volcano])
  • "HER" (26A: [man] [heart] [smartphone])
  • "TITANIC" (38A: [ship] [painter] [iceberg])
  • "CITIZEN KANE" (42A: [newspaper] [money bag] [sled])
  • "DUMBO" (55A: [elephant] [mouse] [circus])
  • "PLANET OF THE APES" (60A: [rocket] [primate] [Statue of Liberty])
  • "SPEED" (72A: [bus] [construction sign] [bomb])
  • "MARY POPPINS" (82A: [umbrella] [handbag] [merry-go-round])
  • "DRACULA" (87A: [coffin] [bat] [castle])
  • "BIG" (101A: [boy and man] [piano] [crystal ball])
  • "A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN" (102A: [baseball] [female symbol] [crying face]) 
  • "TED" (112A: [bear] [beer] [cigarette])
  • "PAN" (30D: [fairy] [skull and crossbones] [crocodile])
  • "ALI" (88D: [boxing glove] [butterfly] [bee])
Word of the Day: LORISES (68A: Bug-eyed primates) —
Loris is the common name for the strepsirrhine primates of the subfamily Lorinae (sometimes spelled Lorisinae) in the family LorisidaeLoris is one genus in this subfamily and includes the slender lorises, while Nycticebus is the genus containing the slow lorises. // Lorises are nocturnal and arboreal. They are found in tropical and woodland forests of India, Sri Lanka, and parts of southeast Asia. Loris locomotion is a slow and cautious climbing form of quadrupedalism. Some lorises are almost entirely insectivorous, while others also include fruits, gums, leaves, and slugs in their diet.
Female lorises practice infant parking, leaving their infants behind in nests. Before they do this, they bathe their young with allergenic saliva that is acquired by licking patches on the insides of their elbows, which produce a mild toxin that discourages most predators, though orangutans occasionally eat lorises. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well, I'm guessing this was probably better (in the sense of "more to design specifications") in the app and on the website, because in AcrossLite (how I get all my crosswords), the theme cluing involved a comical translation of emoji back into text (the clues as I list them, above, are exactly as they appeared in my clue list). I think the text-based clues likely made this puzzle even easier than it would've been, which I'm guessing was pretty easy to start with. All the movies are super familiar mainstream hits. Slightly weird to have "STAR TREK" (also a movie) in here when it's not a themer, but no big deal. As for the theme ... it wasn't bad? It also wasn't terribly exciting. Mainly what it was was A Lot. 16 themers!?!?! It felt like the puzzle was anxious that the theme wasn't strong enough, so it tried to compensate for its one-note-ness by just *cramming* the grid with themers, many of them so short that they don't really feel like themers. Only five of these things are eight letters or longer, which is the typical minimum length of a themer, especially on a Sunday. But as I say, the films are all pretty mainstream and thus gettable. The only one I struggled to understand was "PAN"—I don't remember that as a movie title. I get that it's the story of Peter Pan, but I forgot there was a movie called just "PAN." The rest were cake. Maybe the puzzle seemed more interesting if you just had the emojis to go on. Maybe there was humor in there. From my perspective, it was just easy and not particularly cute or funny. The grid overall was smooth and I don't have any real objections to any of it. The full impact of it just didn't land, and I'm having trouble imagining that even *with* the intended emoji clues it was that joyful. But people like emojis, I guess, so ... if you loved it, fantastic! My "LOTR"-loving wife wife would like you to know, however, that [jewelry] [elf] [volcano] is an awful clue, as "THE ELF DOES NOT THROW THE JEWELRY IN THE VOLCANO." Also, what is up with the clue on "A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN" (102A: [baseball] [female symbol] [crying face])? The quote—the very famous quote—is, "There's *no* crying in baseball!" That's the quote. It's iconic. There should be a 🚫 symbol in that clue!

Weird to base your puzzle on a movie that was by all accounts horrendous. "The Emoji Movie" won Worst Picture, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay at the 2017 Razzies ... And yet it made over $200 million. ANYway ... I did a weird Chutes & Ladders solve because of KING / KONG. Started in NW as usual, but when I figured out the second half of the answer was going to be KONG, way on the other side of the grid, I went down there to fill it in and ... never came back. I just solved my way up from there. Felt like I was all over the map, solving scattershot, rather than my usual orderly self, but the puzzle was so easy that solving path and solving style and all that really didn't matter. My main difficulty with this puzzle was LORISES. The difficulty arose from my forgetting that there was any animal called LORISES. Even after I got it, it looked wrong. There's nothing else that caused me the least bit of difficulty. One important final comment: you can take notorious racist dips**t NIGEL f***ing Farage and shove him ... wherever you like. Just not in any future grids, that would be fantastic. As a clue writer, and especially as an editor (the one with final say over clues), you have a choice of NIGELs. Your choice of this particulary NIGEL tells me you make bad choices. Get bent.

On the Clipboard:

Some really interesting puzzles this week outside of NYTXW-ville. 
  • Anna Shechtman's Monday New Yorker puzzle had some wonderful answers, like PICKUP LINE and PINKWASH, but I especially loved it for RACHEL CUSK, whose book of essays, Coventry, I was, coincidentally, in the middle of reading when I solved the puzzle. Such a great writer. Thumbs up for Anna's puzzle *and* RACHEL CUSK.
  • Monday's Universal puzzle was by Joon Pahk and Ann Haas, and I thought it was the best themed puzzle of the day—very simple, with familiar phrases imagined as bad Yelp reviews, e.g. [Bad Yelp review for a malt shop?] = NO GREAT SHAKES, [Bad Yelp review for a bakery?] = BUNS OF STEEL. I was thrilled to find out later that Ann is Joon's goddaughter, a high school student, and this puzzle was her debut!
  • The Fireball this week was entitled "Fifteen Divided by Five," by editor Peter Gordon. Premise: every themer is 15 letters long and made up of five three-letter answers. I thought the puzzle was OK, but what I really liked were my wrong answers on a couple of the themers. [Longtime British television series presented by Phil Drabble featuring lots of sheep] is apparently "ONE MAN AND HIS DOG"; I thought (given the sheep), it was "ONE MAN AND HIS RAM"! Also, apparently Lillian Jackson Braun wrote a 1986 novel titled "THE CAT WHO SAW RED"—I thought it was "THE CAT WHO SAW GOD" (mine's better, imho)
  • The Amerian Values Crossword Club (AVXC) puzzle was called "Swingers" and had the names of monkeys hidden inside wacky theme answers (with the revealer MONKEY IN THE MIDDLE). Now, hidden (or embedded) word puzzles aren't anything new, but usually the word you're hiding is something short. This puzzle was remarkable for how outlanding the hiding monkey names were. MACAQUE is hidden inside the ridiculous answer TAYLOR MAC AQUEDUCT. Then TAMARIN is hidden inside GUATAMA RINGTONE. I always say that with "wackiness"-driven puzzles, you need to go big or go home. Well, you might love or hate this one, but it definitely went very big in the wackiness department. BATMAN DRILL BITS!
  • On a much less wacky but still elegant note, the Tuesday Feb. 4 USA Today ("Toymaking" by Karl Ni) sneaks up on you with its simplicity. Themers don't really seem to cohere until you get to the revealer, BUILD-A-BEAR, and realize that the last words in all the themers combine to make ("build") a very famous bear: PAD, DING, TON! I love artful easy puzzles, and this was definitely one of those.
  • Lastly, a puzzle that was both beautiful and infuriating. The Chronicle of Higher Ed. puzzle by Joanne Sullivan ("Switch-Hitters") featured famous titles clued as having come out in two different years. Turns out the different dates relate to when the title came out as a book (earlier date) and as a film (later date). The revealer is the real stunner here: you get ___ CLUB, and both BOOK and FILM work (i.e. the Downs are all plausible when either BOOK or FILM is in place). The infuriating part was the themer clue, which was impossible to parse—just horribly written, so instead of having the great aha moment that the puzzle deserved, I had ... no moment. Had to go look up what the clue was getting at at crosswordfiend.com. Such a shame to ruin a brilliant puzzle with a botched revealer clue. So important to stick the landing. But still, conceptually, this was great work from Joanne.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. that NIGEL clue was *not* the constructor's, which is *not* surprising πŸ™

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:07 AM  

I had one *minor* error - had the IN in place at 35D (Penny-ante) and confidently filled it in as mINor (instead of DINKY). The rest of this Sunday slog was just the usual Sunday fill-in-the-blanks, albeit with some goofy emoji clues (most of which were too dang small to be of much help to this old guy who could barely make them out.)

I did have a reaction to 70D (Reaction shot?) when I saw the answer (EPIPEN). Struck me as a bit “odd”.

jae 12:36 AM  

Mostly easy. I printed out the PDF version and ended up with tiny black and white emojis. So, I downloaded the PDF to my iPad and expanded the clues so I got big emojis in color and then I solved on my printout. Sweet.

Fun and clever, a delightful debut! Liked it a bunch.

moe before APU was pretty much it for erasures.

Joe Dipinto 12:42 AM  

When I first looked at this I thought, hmm, this could be fun. But I wasn't getting it at first because I thought I was supposed to read the emojis as a sequence of events in the movie. The first one I got was MARY POPPINS since I had a few letters in place, at which point I realized the emojis are just things associated with the movie. Okay.

I give this one props for the planning: 16 themers symmetrically placed, only three emojis used for each, and no repeat emojis.

I disagree with Rex about the crying emoji; in the movie the player does in fact start to cry, precipitating Tom Hanks's famous line . That emoji set works perfectly, and was my favorite out of all of them.

Some of the images were hard to discern in the print edition. I couldn't tell that the first thing in the CITIZEN KANE set was a newspaper. I guess there's no Empire State Building emoji? Cause we just get a generic 6-story flat-roofed stand-in for the KING KONG set. Looks kind of silly. And the TITANIC seems to have run into an ice cube instead of an iceberg. The emojis Jim Horne plugged in at XWord Info look better, on the whole.

Ultimately I did enjoy this puzzle quite a bit. RARES is the very best puzzle answer I have ever seen. To the constructor I must say "Well-dones!"

Here's Little Eva being drowned out by Carole King.

Anonymous 1:09 AM  

On the website where I was trying to solve this puzzle, the pictures of the emojis were so tiny as to be nearly unrecognizable.

chefwen 1:56 AM  

I printed the puzzle using the suggested method, but the emojis came out so faintly I could barely see them. I resorted to Across Light and relied on the written words, a lot easier.

KING KONG was my first fill which made me smile, I see KING KONG mountain every day, which makes me smile, it’s beautiful.

Very easy Sunday, yet entertaining. Two thumbs up.

Tom R 2:03 AM  

I solved the puzzle (I agree it was easy) then took a look at the puzzle with actual emojis. Yuck. I rarely use anything but simple happy/sad face emojis and would not have recognized half or more of those in the app version. I would not even have tried to solve it in that form. A case of a constructor trying to be too cute.

Ron 2:23 AM  

I couldn't get HOGAN crossing HARPO and NATCHEZ, nor LORISES crossing ALDEN. Overall quite fun, it's nice to see pop culture references I actually know, but didn't find those crosses very fair!

Lee Coller 3:23 AM  

Sorry - No - I read the note and decided to solve in the online app rather than via across lite, so I ended up with the emojis. Maybe people in younger generations than me instantly recognize them, but I was raised with emoticons (i.e. :-) so all these fancy emojis mean nothing to me. In many cases they are so small I really can't recognize them. In hindsight I see how some of them and that they tie into movies, but for the most part, it was simply identifying that the theme was movie titles then figuring them out from the crosses and then seeing that one of the emojis would tie into the movie.

Bryan 4:08 AM  

76A - clue should’ve been past tense. Hank Azaria is no longer voicing this character as Apu retired and shut the Kwik-e-mart.

Hartley70 5:01 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mmorgan 5:08 AM  

Greetings from Australia. I’ve been doing the puzzles while traveling but sadly have had no time to read the blog. Hope you all are well! Like Rex, I did this from the verbal clues in Across Lite, though I occasionally looked at the images on the NYT site. Verbal clues definitely easier!

Had no idea about LORISES but it worked out, whew. And yes, NIGEL, ugh... what a mess. Things are a mess here in Australia, things are a mess in China, things are a mess in Britain, things are a mess in Argentina, things are a mess back home in the US... things are just a mess.

Not a bad Sunday as things go these days but I miss the days when we struggled for a week, not for 10 or 15 minutes, to solve them and they were filled with AHA moments. Not sure if this is just Norma Desmond syndrome.

Still struggling to learn how to speak Australian. Gday, mate!

Oliver 5:41 AM  

My first Sunday puzzle, I got stumped with leto/lento, wholly unfamiliar with both and thought it was an "a" at the cross...

Jason 5:42 AM  

Rex: "I truly appreciate a grid that's diverse, contemporary and inclusive."

Rex when ANY conservative figure sneaks into the puzzle: "Are you [expletive] kidding me?!? Keep that [expletive] [expletive] donkey [expletive] mother [expletive] out of my [expletive] crossword!! That [expletive] [expletive] is NEVER OK to put in a clue!!"

Oh, what I wouldn't give to see him review a grid themed GET YOUR MIND RIGHT and chock full of themers like SEKULOW, GRAHAM, HANNITY, SHAPIRO, DEVOS, IVANKA, DONJR, etc.

So triggered. So intolerant.

Bruce 5:47 AM  

One giant piece of garbage—especially if you use the NYT app, where the teeny-tiny emojis are indiscernible. No matter. Just fill in the super easy crosses and the themers pop right out. What a waste.

TokyoRacer 5:49 AM  

I solved this in the actual paper edition of the NYT and quite a few of the emojis were very difficult to see. The NYT is still a newsPAPER, so if the clues don't work there, the theme is not a great idea.
Doesn't HOGAN crossing HARPO (Productions?) qualify as a Natick? Both pretty obscure - I'm sure very few people have ever heard of either.

Lewis 6:21 AM  

Refreshing and fun to have pictures as clues; it throws the brain into a place bypassing letters and words -- a "con-text" zone, if you will.

It's easier to remember faces than names, and, in the same way, I found it easier to remember answers using pictures rather than words. Oh, it was great fun, and thank you for that, Brian, and for coming up with such a cool idea. And for working so consciensciously and long on this.

But Will, I am a word/wordplay guy -- it's why I do and love crosswords, so please, pretty please, space these picture puzzles, however lively and amusing, as today's was, far apart!

Anonymous 6:23 AM  

My eyes strained to see the emojis in the NYTM print version... I suspect my dad will not enjoy this! A pretty fast solve for me. I smiled especially at the Statue of Liberty emoji from Planet of the Apes: "Oh my God, I'm back. I'm home.... You maniacs! You blew it up!...."

"Lorises" brought me back to the days when I scoured an encyclopedia of wildlife growing up. "Rennet" was a new word for me... and I hate cheese.

I would argue that "Star Trek" is far more well-known for its TV series (TV "program") than its movies. I was able to find other obscure movies from IMDB, embedded in the puzzle as well: "Erie," "Hogan," "Ravine," "Mop," "Ninny," "Data," "Ogden," "Combo," "Salami" and so on (many of these movies are shorts).


Dave 6:25 AM  

I always print my puzzles, and the teensy emojis were hard to discern, so that made it a bit more difficult - but not fun

Anonymous 6:26 AM  

@TokyoRacer: I didn't know "hogan" either, but Harpo Productions is actually pretty famous - Oprah Winfrey's company. Oprah spelled backwards = Harpo.


Geezer 6:27 AM  

emoji cluing? Think I'll just skip this.

Conrad 6:31 AM  

Solved on the iPad app and couldn't make sense of the teeny-tiny emojis in the clues (and never saw the hint until I came here), so I just solved it as a themeless. About a third of the way through I realized that the themers were all movie titles, so I just solved it as if it were a movie-themed puzzle where the theme clues were all "Movie title." Toward the end I caught on that the emojis represented key elements in the respective movies. Still an easy puzzle (about half my average time).

Wundrin' 6:40 AM  

The NYT E-edition had just emojis and no note. What did other formats have? It sounds like on some it was much easier.

Anonymous 7:18 AM  

I’m with @Geezer on this one - probably because I’m a geezer myself. Even though I’m incredibly opinionated, I rarely actively dislike a puzzle, but this one annoyed me no end. I don’t find emojis amusing, particularly because I can’t identify what they’re supposed to stand for and (more importantly) mean. So I solved this puzzle with 16 fewer clues, guessing at movies when I got enough crosses. Fortunately, the puzzle was easy enough to complete minus those clues. Please spare from cutesy puzzles like this in the future!

End of grumpy old guy rant.

- Jim C. in Maine

amyyanni 7:22 AM  

While I appreciate the cuteness, once is enough. It was ok, but no more emoji puzzles, please. Or create a spot just for emoji puzzles, like sudoku, so folks who are delighted can do them.

Nigel Farage 7:26 AM  

Couldn't make out the emojis either so I didn't bother. Instead, I filled in the answers after getting enough crosses to make out a movie title. Resolving the last letter of LETO/LENTO took a minute to find. I was almost 4 minutes slower than Rex but I can't blame it all on stupid emojis.

Rex is laughably predictable in his intolerance.

Anonymous 7:34 AM  

I got an emoji for you!


Todd 7:48 AM  

I think most people would think of a earlier version of King Kong, not the new bad one when it is first mentioned. The Fay Wrey classic for example.

Joe Dipinto 7:49 AM  

@Wundrin' – the print version likewise has just the emojis, with no note.

Forgot to mention earlier: Today is National Pizza Day! Go out and have a slice, or two, or a whole pie!

Hungry Mother 7:55 AM  

Semi-fun theme, but had to go to the red letters to pick up a random trivia letter.

QuasiMojo 8:03 AM  


Hated this. The emojis were impossible to see. Mine sort of shimmied, making them indecipherable, and causing instant myopia. I'd have had more luck reading hieroglyphics upside down while picking aphids in the hanging gardens in Babylon.

I also only have heard of a few of these movies.

I did learn one thing. I looked up Artemis and Apollo online and found out that after being born to Leto, Artemis acted as a midwife and helped deliver her twin brother Apollo. Now that's true devotion.

John H 8:03 AM  

Until reading Rex it never occurred to me that there should have been actual emojis in the clues. I will get the NYT Magazine out and have a look.

Sardines do ot come in a "tin" in this country, they are in a "can." Submarines are famously called "sardine cans," as are any fully packed human spaces, like Volkswagon Beetles. Also "rates"? C'mon!

Paul Emil 8:06 AM  

Easy Sunday. Doable even without the emoji.

GILL I. 8:15 AM  

When I printed this out and saw all the colored emojis I thought to myself that this better not be a colossal waste of my color ink. I got out my spy glass and went to work.
I thought this was different and fun. I like emojis. I use them - especially the heart one. I've also seen all these movies except for "HER." I'm not a big Joaquin Phoenix person - too dark and serious. I guess he might WIN one for the "Joker."
Some seem to be having problems with LORISES. My problem is that I read it as blue-eye primate. I don't think I ever saw one with blue eyes.
@mmorgan 5:08. Are you in Australia trying to help salvage what's left of the poor critters harmed by the fires? Yes, everything and everywhere seems to be a mess. I tried watching the impeachment hearings but just couldn't. I wanted to be all "au current" so that I could have a sophisticated conversation with my friends. Turns out they didn't bother watching either. We talked about my pumpernickel bread recipe instead.
NIGEL Farage IS an idiot. So is putting SALAMI in a sandwich. Sopressata...on the other hand!
I did enjoy your puzzle, Brian. Gave me a smile.

pabloinnh 8:18 AM  

Did the Rex thing, going from KING to KONG and up from the bottom.

My printer gave me all the emojis clearly and in color, but also filled me with misgivings, as I have yet to include or receive an emoji in anything. When I saw they were just elements from the films, sigh of relief, and speed solving. First guess was almost always right, and no need for emojis whatsoever.

Knew HOGAN, which is making me feel smart.

Fun enough Sunday, BK, and unexpected enough to be interesting, although another of these would be one too many.

mambridge 8:18 AM  

I hate emojis and falter when reading posts where people have used them. Other than the couple of instances where and emoji clue crossed an emoji clue, all the answers were easily filled in by their crosses. Did I say I hate emojis?

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

I solved using the NYT app on my iPad. “King” in 1A was flagged incorrect although it was correctly entered. Weird.

Pepper 8:39 AM  

What the heck I’m so confused by how many people don’t understand what emojis stand for? It’s one thing to point out that they’re not displayed or printed large enough, but they are pictograms, what is so insurmountably difficult about parsing them? I mean I grew up with keyboard emoticons too, but I have also existed and had contact with the world since growing up, it’s not like you stop absorbing all information after a certain age. Anyway, agree with Rex, too many themers.

Mike E 8:48 AM  

Altogether too easy, if that qualifies as a complaint. The emoji clues were very small and so I just ignored them for the most part and breezed through the regular clues. When a film title became obvious I just filled it in without trying to make out what the emojis were hinting at. And if that is a successful approach to the puzzle, then it didn't matter whether the film clues had emojis or pictures of the stars or in a substitution code or in Russian. The easiness of the other clues made the theme just about irrelevent. And that shouldn't happen. I did have a laugh as I kept mentally trying to turn the LORIS into the LORAX.

John Child 8:51 AM  

I bailed after two minutes. Nothing fun here.

Mike E 8:53 AM  

Altogether too easy, if that's a complaint. The emojis were very small and so I ignored them and just went with the regular clues, and when a film title appeared obvious I just filled it in. So it didn't make a difference whether the theme clues had emojis or miniature pictures of the stars or were encrypted in a substitution code or in Russian. And that shouldn't happen. The theme clues shouldn't be irrelevent but they were, for the most part. I did get a laugh as I mentally stalled thinking it was the LORAX instead of LORIS.

Nancy 9:02 AM  

This puzzle is so funny and so witty in so many places -- and yet I came within a hairsbreadth of not attempting it at all.

Look, I'm no more an EMOJI GAL than I am a GAL GADOT and when I saw those teensy tiny little figures that I needed a magnifying glass to make head or tail of, I thought: This is going to be really annoying, plus I'm not up to date on all that many movies, either.

But then I said: let me see how many non-EMOJI answers I can get and whether that will be enough to enable me to solve this. And, of course, I could readily get them all; the surrounding fill is very easy. Add to that the fact that these are really well-known and familiar movie titles, even to me, and it was all smooth sailing. After which came the reward: much appreciative laughter at the EMOJI jokes:

My absolute favorites: the big teardrop in A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN that represents "There's no crying in baseball!!!" The butterfly and bee in ALI, as in "Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee"; and the black humor of the ice cube for TITANIC. And where there wasn't outright laughter, there was always delight: the Statue of Liberty in PLANET OF THE APES; the piano keys in BIG.

Innovative, imaginative, clever and funny. I'm so glad I did this, Brian. It's a real hoot and immensely enjoyable to solve.

Rube 9:04 AM  

This was a disaster. First of all it was ridiculously easy. But more importantly I do crosswords for the words not the pictures. If I wanted to do rebuses (real rebuses not the ones referred to on this blog as a crossword style), I'd watch reruns of Concentration with Hugh Downs. I don't use emojis and I don't know what they mean. The puzzle could just as easily clues every theme answer as "movie" . and it STILL would have been way too easy.

And who stuck an E inside AGING?

An absolute waste of time, but at least not much time.

BarbieBarbie 9:17 AM  

My problem at first was that I thought the emojis were supposed to read like rebus puzzles (the other kind). You know, an eyeball for the sound “I,” etcetera. Once I figured out that they were just, well, emojis, the puzzle became PR-easy. Some good clues, and good entertainment, but over way too quickly!
Side-thanks to @OFL for putting a title over his other-puzzle section so we could avoid spoilers.

HobbesEsq 9:18 AM  

Among the least enjoyable puzzles I have ever finished. I could clearly see the emoticons on the NYTimes app, but I could not understand what they were trying to symbolize. I was able to figure out the answers merely by guessing movie titles. This was not fun at all. Perhaps if I was young and texted in incomplete sentences, then I could understand. But, I am a literate adult. After a decade of reading this column, this was the first time I felt compelled to share my opinion.

kitshef 9:19 AM  

Not sure how M&A would pick a favorite moo-cow easy clue today … almost every clue is moo-cow easy. I thought Rex's time would be sub-5:00.

The only other thing I have to say is that LORISES are cute and weird and amazing.

Z 9:19 AM  

Sometimes you have a really really neat idea. Then you implement it and realize what is good in concept doesn’t work once executed. Or not.

Going to go add something to Saturday’s comments, now.

BarbieBarbie 9:26 AM  

@Z, I still have my XWordInfo “unique to Shortz era but used previously “ issue. “Unique TO Shortz era” means “never used in any era but the Shortz era.” “Unique IN Shortz era” would mean “this is the only time it’s been used in the Shortz era,” which is what I think @JeffChen means. As it stands, the complete phrase says “this answer can only be found in the Shortz era, but this time was not the first instance in the Shortz era.” Which is not very interesting.

It’s ironic that the choice of 2-letter word can completely change the meaning of that sentence, seeing that 2-letter words aren’t allowed in Shortz-era puzzles.

JP 9:27 AM  

Is there a psychological term for our belief the what we know is common knowledge, and what we do not know is obscure?

Hogan and Harpo are both familiar to me, but I can imagine they are not familiar to someone else. And: I don't know what a droid in Star Trek would be called, but I recognize that many do.

Somehow this is reminding me of a famous experiment with three year olds who believe that if they know where something is hidden, everyone knows where it is hidden. Help me out here, people who remember college classes better than I do.

Lljones 9:43 AM  

Very fond of lorises...my mother's name was LORIS.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Can’t believe all the complaints. 16 well known movie titles represented as emoji. Figuring them out was FUN albeit too easy. This felt far less a Sunday slog than usual. DNF’d at the C in Keach/Dieci crossing πŸ˜‘πŸ˜ŸπŸ˜› but I had a great time. Maybe coz’ I’m just a bit younger.

Unknown 9:48 AM  


Z 9:50 AM  

@BarbieBarbie - Yep. For me I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve realized after the fact that I’ve omitted a “not.” Those two letter words can be tricky because the writer knows what they mean so even re-reading doesn’t help since they read what they mean, not what they actually wrote.

pmdm 10:00 AM  

For the fourth week in a row, the Magazine section went AWOL from my paper delivery. So I had to print out the puzzle in black and white and reduced in size to fit on a 8.5x11 piece of paper. I could not read the graphics, but it doesn't matter because I'm not up on emojis. So I solved the puzzle as if the theme simply referred to famous movie titles. I'm not so sure a puzzle whose theme clues are ignorable is a very good puzzle. The concept is great, but no so the implementation. Does that sound familiar?

That said, it only takes a few clues like the one at 74D to engage me. If the theme clues would have been humorous rather than unreadable, I would rate the puzzle very good.

josh mishell 10:03 AM  

Fastest Sunday solve for me, a hair under 21 minutes. I solved all the Emojis first and they were all very easy and that gave me help in all the sections. A different approach to clueing was interesting (and infuriating to the indoctrinated solvers), but these were just far too easy to get.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Of course many people won't know HOGANs, but they figure in both real life and in literature.

If you travel to northern Arizona or anywhere in the Four Corners area (very scenic) you will see lots of references to hogans. Or read Tony Hillerman, who is well worth reading.

Of course, NATCHEZ and WHEATON aren't exactly household names either. I had to run through a lot of IL cities in my head to get to WHEATON (nothwithstanding that my aunt lived there from 55 to 40 years ago).

SouthsideJohnny 10:05 AM  

When I saw the clue for 1A my first thought was “This is going to be a real stinker”. Once I figured out that they were just pictorial clues for movie names I was able to progress and found it somewhat enjoyable (probably because the theme entries were all pretty discernible).

Stinker content for today includes PRESTON (useless trivia) and OVID (please, just go away).

Stinker clueing (and content) for today includes the foreign arithmetic quiz DIECI crossing a mythical figure LETO crossing a somewhat obscure musical term LENTO. That whole section was a dud and apparently stumped a few of us here as well.

Is DATA the name of a robot in one of the Star Trek movies ? If so - cute. Never heard of NAIAD, but not surprised to see it appear in the Times (I’m surprised that it’s not clued as some obscure foreign word in a language that nobody has heard of, lol).

Just a reminder that Rex had another (mini) hysterical episode today regarding Nigel FARAGE, yet as a matter of course he condones (and occasionally welcomes) the inclusion of vulgar, racist rap artists who preach and encourage violence against women. Obviously, Rex has a right to his opinion and is free to write whatever he wants to in his blog - it does seem to be over-the-top hypocritical though.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

@JP, re: Is there a psychological term for our belief the what we know is common knowledge, and what we do not know is obscure?
Sorta like... Confirmation bias?
But not quite.

All the negative comments about the emojis are interesting. I myself do not own a smartphone and have a very limited Facebook presence, and so only rarely use emojis. Agree with the comment that we should just think of these as pictograms. I think the only REAL complaint one can lodge is the NYT needs to make sure the emoji clues are legible on ANY reading platform. What we do or don't know, what's obscure to one person but not another... that's how puzzles work, people!

'Nuf said.


Birchbark 10:09 AM  

A very playful solve. Didn't pay attention to anything technical, just wondered what the next one would be as I loped along.

PLANET OF THE APES in the center, KING and KONG at the corners. Old-time comics-section symmetry with PEANUTS and Sgt. PRESTON.

Steady snowfall on the heavy side this morning. Give it another hour or so to accumulate, then I'll fire up the DEERE, plow and blow it into the stormy gray void.

JP 10:40 AM  

Thank you @Colin, for considering my question!

And obviously I agree -- "what's obscure to one person but not to another" IS how puzzles work. Now I know, I guess, that DATA is a droid or a robot or something from Star Trek.

klazzic 10:50 AM  

Clever idea for a Sunday Puzzle. The emojis were a test(strain) for my 60+ year optics but I scraped through. Agree with Rex: Nigel belongs in a landfill. Keep the NYTX-word Fascist Free.

Teedmn 10:56 AM  

A stupid mistake in the center bottom which I owe to originally putting in RENNin at 109A and then deciding NIGiL Farage looked just fine going down. Sheesh.

@kitshef is correct, this was easy, taking me 10 minutes less than my usual Sunday time, but I still enjoyed it. Thank goodness I didn't read the note and decide to solve on paper today. I am the absolute worst at interpreting emojis (though I would know what was meant if someone sent me an eggplant :-). So having the emoji names written out helped greatly, I'm sure. (Oh yeah, after looking at the version with its emoji images over at xwordinfo.com, I KNOW I would have never solved this puzzle easily).

There were a few nice clues, such as "Looking over before knocking over" = CASED, (28A), 80D's "Space program" for STAR TREK (my Grandma always called her TV shows "programs" so that made me smile), the 96A "Unavoidable process" of AGEING, 56A's "Get the bugs out of" = DELOUSE and my favorite, 74D's "Looked over slides at home, say" = UMPED. I certainly fell for that misdirection until the crosses filled in!

I recognized all of the movies (eventually) from their emoji names except BIG. I've never seen that movie and the crystal ball and piano keys has me wondering what part those played but not enough to seek it out.

I much admire your debut puzzle, Brian Kulman. Congratulations!

Joyce 10:58 AM  

I still don’t get EPIPEN...help?
I could only make our about two-thirds of the emojis with my elderly eyes in the print edition, but they were enough, once I cracked the (theme) code.
I can honestly say nothing was unfamiliar to me, even Sgt Preston, though he hasn’t crossed my mind I half a century!

Peter P 10:58 AM  

I really enjoyed this one with a big smile on my face once I grokked the theme, and I absolutely smashed my Sunday best time and finished it in under half my average Sunday time. (I tend not to do a lot of Sundays, as I don't really have the patience for them, but I'm glad I gave this one a go.) I solved it in the NY Times iOS app, and I do agree with those that the emojis were a wee bit difficult to make out, but not impossible. It's not very often I get to lay down huge 10+ letter acrosses without some down clue along the way, but pretty much all the long themers came without more than a couple seconds' thought.

First Sunday I truly enjoyed in a long, long time, but, like I said, I don't tend to do a lot of them, and I assume I want something different out of my Sundays than the most solvers do.

Newboy 10:59 AM  


Amelia 10:59 AM  

Oh, yuck. I'm with the person who gave up after two minutes. I never do that. But I did half the puzzle and thought screw you, I'm not wasting my time on this. Left it. Thank God for the Puns and Anagrams and the Spelling Bee and the other games today.

Print edition, EMOJIS TOO SMALL.

@TokyoRacer Not a Natick. Not with Oprah/Harpo.

@Rex Why are you spoiling all the puzzles you're referencing? Can't you just say these are great, give them a try? I'm sure the constructors aren't pleased that you're doing that. Which reminds me. I did yesterday's Agard USA Today. Much too easy. And that was Saturday. Don't waste your time, people. Unless you miss doing the TV Guide puzzle.

Matthew DiMera 11:02 AM  

In the online NYT crossword version of this, several of the emojis are missing or wrong. For the King Kong clue, the gorilla is a man. In the Lord of the Rings, there is a ring and volcano, but no elf. In the Ali clue for example, there is just a bee, no butterfly and boxing glove. There is no sled in the Citizen Kane clue. No primate in the Planet of the Apes. No bat in Dracula.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

@JP: Data is not only a droid on Star Trek (debut on The Next Generation series), but THE only living, sentient android in the entire universe. And always trying to be more human. Played by Brent Spiner, Data became one of Star Trek's most famous and beloved characters.

@Joyce: An EpiPen is a prescription, pen-like device carried around by people who have severe allergies and are at risk of anaphylaxis. It contains epinephrine. You jab this into your thigh if you are having a severe reaction to something. There was a relatively recent outcry when the company which produces these jacked up the price many-fold.


Anonymous 11:10 AM  

As if "rebuses" were not bad enough, we get this garbage.

Jyqm 11:14 AM  

I figured this was inevitable the first time I saw an emoji in a clue. There are much better, cleverer, more challenging versions of this game to be found around the internet. I took one look at 1A, then dutifully filled in the rest of the long themers in the ensuing thirty seconds or so. So we’ve got a bunch of completely unrelated movies in the grid. Cool. On the bright side, I guess a puzzle can’t be a “slog” when it flies by this quickly.

Nampa 11:20 AM  

Not fun on an iPhone...

PapaLeroux 11:22 AM  

We liked it, although on our iPadPro, the emojis were tiny and hard to see.
We figured out the movie thing fairly early on.
We liked repos for “Outbacks taken back.”
And dinky for “Penny-ante “
And Elmira. I have Pickering ancestors from Elmira.
And up,Ed for “Looked over slides at home, say”
Fun Sunday.

Benjamin Blanchard 11:27 AM  

Comment on the LOTR cluing: Maybe the elf is referring to Elrond! Don't forget that Elrond goes with Isildur to throw the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom, but despite Elrond's pleading, Isildur is overcome by the power of the One Ring.

mbr 11:30 AM  

@GILL.I: it's "au courant"
@pmdm: by any chance, did you not tip your newspaper deliverer for Christmas? ;-)
@Teedmn: BIG is a wonderful movie starring Tom Hanks, & is the story of a 12 year old boy in a grown man's body. Best scene: the 12 year old's reaction to his first taste of caviar.

Malsdemare 11:33 AM  

I haven't read y'all yet so forgive me if I'm beating a dead horse. But why oh why is Rex spoiling all these puzzles that he recommends? He'd have our asses in a sling if we did that (or someone would).

I expected this to be harder, mainly because with 73-year-old eyes, figuring out the emojis was HARD! And I honestly expected the whole thing to be over my head, that the emojis had some esoteric meaning that I would not know. But turns out the whole thing was cake, as Rex said. My sole hangup was finding my typo at CUNAtD, which gave me tENNET which could be right, what do I know?

Also, for a fun puzzle from the archives, dive into June 26, 1994.

On to see what y'all have to say.

The Clerk 11:34 AM  

I loved this! Very cute and enjoyable for a Sunday morning.

Taffy-Kun 11:37 AM  

Turned on I-pad
Loaded puzzle
Saw tiny emojis
Turned off I-pad

Hartley70 11:46 AM  

I’m trying to remember what inappropriate thing I could have said at 5am to have my post removed by an administrator. This is a first for me. I will repeat briefly that the theme was cute, the emoji’s were minuscule on my phone but I could discern most of them, the puzzle was fast and easy and good for the whole family because the emojis would make it fun for kids to participate. I liked this.

OffTheGrid 11:48 AM  

If this puzzle were a car it would be a Yugo.

Ragu 11:54 AM  

Several have mentioned the difficulty seeing the emojis - for anyone solving on an Iphone or Ipad, you can turn on the magnifier via Settings, Accessibility, Zoom. You can turn it on and off by double-tapping with three fingers. I imagine that other platforms have something similar.

Frantic Sloth 11:55 AM  

Well, once I stopped reading the emojis like a rebus puzzle, it was funnish. These old eyes had trouble seeing the microscopic pics and I probably would have preferred the written version offered by AcrossLite. Then again, where's the fun in that?

And *I* cried at the end of "A League of Their Own", so that emoji made perfect sense to me.

If you want a cuteness overload, here it is:
(You'll have to cut/paste - sorry! Not smart enough to do a hyperlink. [sad face]


Malsdemare 11:58 AM  

I see folks struggled with HOGAN. I''m one of the lucky ones. I spent my sabbatical teaching on the Navajo reservation (Dinetah) and hogans are ubiquitous there. A dear friend, a Navajo elder, uses his hogan as his office. It’s been offered to me as a home away from home should I get back to the Big Rez this summer. That offer alone is enough to get me loading the car.

Nancy 12:01 PM  

@Teedmn -- BIG is one of my favorite movies of all time -- this coming from someone who normally doesn't like fantasy or sci fi. It's almost flawless in how it's written, performed and directed. It's warm, it's sweet, it's compelling, it's suspenseful and it's funny. An indelible screen comedy for the ages. Rent it immediately -- you hear me? You'll thank me, I promise.

Oh, and btw, I looked it up on Rotten Tomatoes just now and it got 97% approval. Which is off the charts, as you know.

webwinger 12:03 PM  

I too was initially put off by the hard-to-see emojis. (I solve with the NYT app on my iPhone, so they were in color but very small.) Once I got going, though, I found them amusing, if not very helpful, but also not making this quite easy Sunday any more of a challenge.

As others have commented, there were numerous dandy clues today; UMPED probably had the best one. What most impressed me, though, was the use of six three-letter answers as themers, which must be a record of sorts, and the faultless symmetry involving a very large number of theme answers.

Agree with others about the hypocrisy of today’s RexRant over NIGEL [eyeroll emoji]. And please stop it with the spoilers, @RP!

Frantic Sloth 12:03 PM  

I hate it when I forget to close parentheses. [angry face]

Knitwit 12:08 PM  

(EPI= epinephrine) An EPI pen is an auto-injection given to someone with having a severe allergic reaction (to peanuts or shellfish)

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

Nigel Farage is famous and has been in the news lately. The idea that he shouldn’t be in the puzzle because some people don’t like his political views is dumb. I’d say the same thing about Jeremy Corbyn if he had been in the puzzle. Stop it. Keep your politics out of my puzzle. I really hope Sharp’s whining doesn’t hold any sway over Shortz’s editorial decisions. Will, if you happen to read these comments please ignore him. Thanks.

bookmark 12:22 PM  

I'm with @Nancy all the way with this puzzle. My exact solving experience, too. Loved it, even though I groaned and almost skipped it.

sixtyni yogini 12:28 PM  


(Easy but super fun)

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Emjois too small to be discernible. Annoyed, gave up before I had started. Maybe a separate category of cross-emoji puzzles and leave cross WORD puzzles to be coomposed of words? PLEASE!!

Teedmn 12:39 PM  

Thanks, @Nancy and @mbr, for the recommendation on BIG. I was acquainted with the basic premise of the movie but I still want to know what part piano keys and a crystal ball could play, considering said premise.

@Hartley70, I was brimming with curiosity about what might have gotten your early comment nixed. Since you are never troll-ish, I assumed you inadvertently included a spoiler for an earlier puzzle.

sixtyni yogini 12:56 PM  

My fastest time

Mr. Cheese 1:04 PM  

“Looked over slides at home” = one of my all time favorite clues!

JC66 1:08 PM  


Both piano keys and a crystal ball are key parts of BIG. Email meif you don't mind spoilers and I'll give you the deets. However, I'd recommend watching the movie, instead.

Masked and Anonymous 1:14 PM  

@RP: Cute kitty pic in yer blog write-up. Better caption: "Man, are them emojis ever *small* !"

M&A averaged about a 1.5 out of 3 emoji-recognition success rate. Examples:
* Gorilla/gal/beehive = KING KONG. The gorilla really helped, tho.
* Ring/gal/tepee on fire = THELORDOFTHERINGS.
* Santa/outhouse?/gift = ELF. [Really had no idea, on emoji#2, here]
* Face/heart/abacus = HER. Yikes … extra tough one, at our house.
* Half boat/plumber/water cooler = TITANIC.
* Cigar/dragon/castle = DRACULA. Played by George Burns.
* Two faces/keys/balloon = BIG.
* Mosquito/skull/gator = PAN.
* Curled-up fox/butterfly/bee = ALI. [Decided emoji#1 might be a boxin glove, mid-solve, tho.]
Got the rest of em, ok.

Fun theme idea, with some really puz-worthy clue pics. Part of the challenge, I reckon. Still woulda hung a "?" at the end of that HER clue, tho.

Primo weeject stacks in all four corners. staff weeject picks: PAN & BIG & ELF & HER & TED & ALI. Nice respectful use of the lil guys, in the puztheme.

Near-movie-title misses: STARTREK. ANTS [Antz]. SUPERG [Super 8]. ONE [Ten, or Rogue One].

Thanx for the fun pic pics, Mr. Kulman.

Masked & Anonymo11Us


Joe Dipinto 1:45 PM  

Two Penny Marshall movies represented in the puzzle. What happened to "Awakenings"?

An astute co-worker once observed that Penny Marshall movies all seemed to follow the same trajectory: an ordinary person with a rather mundane existence gets thrown into an amazing situation that alters their life dramatically. But it never lasts; at the end of the movie the person always reverts to the existence they had at the beginning.

At least that's true of her three biggest movies.

Hartley70 1:57 PM  

@Teedman, (head slap) Yes! Now I remember. That’s exactly what I did! I guess I can solve, but I should give up posting when I’m half asleep. Thanks

Dorothy McGuire 2:02 PM  

Have to wonder about the maturity level of someone who gets upset over seeing a name in a puzzle.

American Liberal Elite 2:16 PM  

Quick solve without reference to the minuscule emojis. Would have taken much longer with them.

Anonymous 2:26 PM  

Can't figure out why people who don't seem to have a problem with the puzzle's itsy-bitsy font size couldn't see the emojis. I need a very bright task light to solve anyway -- using that, the little pictures were very clear.

By the way, hats off to all the old coots who solve on devices. I can't even manage this Uber thing.

QP 2:26 PM  

I solve on the app on my iphone and the emojis were of perfectly acceptable size! I love emojis, I even liked the movie.

πŸ‘ŒπŸΌπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜»πŸ‘πŸΌ thank you Brian!!! πŸ’šπŸ’›❤️ed the puzzle!

Brit solves NYT 2:26 PM  

Liked this puzzle, a fun change from the norm and probably a one off.

Always surprised how uninterested in variety some commenters are here, like how many say they dislike anagrams when they come up and now a single puzzle using emojis. I enjoy puzzles in general so these variants offer a nice challenge that’s different to the standard fare - hope the NYT keeps them coming occasionally. And also feels free to clue names how they like, within reason, rather than letting one person say because they don’t like x the entire world must be censored from clues using that name too.

Andrew 2:44 PM  

I am clearly in the minority here, but I loved this puzzle -- yes, including the emojis. I will freely admit I'm young(-ish) with fairly good vision, so didn't have a problem at all with the emojis on my phone, and I'm in a peer group/of an age emojis a lot, so this felt to me like a fun way to tie a puzzle into contemporary culture.

(I can totally understand that it would be frustrating to do if the emojis were too small/unclear, and I think that the text "translation" is not particularly effective. I am glad I came here, because I had been wondering how the puzzle would be translated onto paper, as someone who does the crossword exclusively online/on my phone.)

I'm often stymied by cultural references from before I was born or from domains of life, like professional sports, that I have no knowledge/interest in, but I realize that's just part of crossword solving. This one felt like one that was finally in my league!

Anonymous 2:47 PM  

Things were going pretty quickly until I hit the middle and just got stuck there for prob. 80% of my solving time, heh. I had _ATCHE_ and filled in an R at the end figuring it seemed to make sense given the word structure, and that bamboozled me for a lonnnnng time until I eventually worked it out by leaving it, then coming back and just looking at the letters I already had. I'm one of the few I know who never saw CITIZEN KANE (though I've promised myself to do so this year!).

Regarding those who're mad or trollish that Rex is mad about NIGEL: He is free to be as mad and 'triggered' as you are about those with whom you disagree with politically as well. It's that whole 'free country' thing that the right wing adherents espouse as so precious to their ethos. A lot of us on the left are mad at what this country has become under the current regime, and how those uninformed on the right (many newly minted to that party wanting to get in on the fun of a political figure they back for generally completely apolitical reasons) blatantly don't care in the name of their 'team winning'. There will be a time when you regret this, or moreso, your children will. This is a blighted stain on our democracy in the name of a twisted populism, and if you did an ounce of research outside of your normal paradigms, any intelligent free-thinking individual might start to question exactly what benefit any of this brings them and their friends/family. Understand this: That guy in that chair seriously couldn't give a shit about you unless it benefits him personally. This is the way he's lived his entire life. Rich and without ever struggling in any way that relates to the average American struggles. This was a feather in his cap.

Unless of course you are rich, in which case it never really matters who is in the highest office.

What? 2:49 PM  

HARPO is a production company formed by Oprah, which is harpo spelled backwards

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

Farage hasn't only been in the news recently, he was the architect of one of the most incredible politcal wins in recent history.
Despite going up against every institutional power on the island-- The BBC, The Church of England, The Bank of England et al, Farage beat 'em all. It was a master class in politics. I say bravo, Mr. Farage. Let the cake eaters and hysterics like Mr. Sharp enjoy the blesdongs of liberty. Good and hard.

What? 2:54 PM  

Seeing the emojis was half the fun. Spend the $6 for a print edition - easier to work the puzzles, imho.

What? 3:07 PM  

I just had a puzzle rejected (won’t say by who) because, among other problems, it had ASSAD as a clue.

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

Yes, Lt. Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series was an android

CDilly52 3:08 PM  

I think this was a fabulous idea for anSunday puzzle, and it was expertly executed. And it took me forever! I waiting to ha e retina surgery and trying to suds out those tiny emojis took forever. Mostly, once I got the idea, I just waited until I had enough crosses. . . and that took a long time in short spurts but I enjoyed the trip!

I think this is a perfect example of a 21st century theme. Well done Mr. Kidman!

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

About half my emojis were little rectangles.

Ramblin Wreck 3:32 PM  

@Anon 2:47pm I hope you don’t fall off your soapbox and have to go to the hospital. We, being incapable of rational thought without your wisdom and guidance, would be lost without you.

Loved the emojis - just the right size on my NYT app on a tablet.

Didn’t like DIECI - wish they would tone it down with the foreign phrases that are not readily recognizable (au revoir is about right).

Moon Willow 3:59 PM  

Best Sunday time ever for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Solved on the app on my iPad and had zero issues with seeing the emojis.

I don’t get all the hate for this puzzle - other than it was easy for a Sunday. I’ve spent a ton of time out west, so HOGAN was familiar. I’m in Chicago so, HARPO and WHEATON are just down the road. I think it’s a fun approach.

Language evolves. That includes emojis - and pictographic language isn’t exactly a new thing. Culture evolves. I’m always happy to see sci fi cultural references instead of sports. I hated rebuses when I started solving NYT puzzles. Now I appreciate them. Half the reason we do puzzles is for the challenge of something new and different. This was new and different.

Anonymous 4:05 PM  

@anon 2:47: Way to knock down a straw man. No one said or implied that Rex shouldn’t be able to say or write whatever he wants. The only reason I, for one, don’t like reading his hissy fits, but feel compelled to, is because I think may they affect the decision making process of the editor. It would hard for Will Shortz not to be influenced by being attacked on an almost daily basis by someone who is widely read among the crossword community. Rex has a bad effect on puzzle that’s been a part of my everyday life for thirty five years. I wish he’d just go away but as long as he’s here I’ll be here pushing back. I hope others will as well.

pmdm 4:40 PM  

This may be off-topic, but I think mbr does deserve a reply. The person who delivers my paper just throws it on the sidewalk. In past years, the deliverer inserted a self-adressed envelope and I mailed his tip to him. I did not receive an envelope for the past two years. Therefore, I unfortunately have no way to tip him or even telling why I can't tip him.

pabloinnh 5:41 PM  


Just want to say good luck with the retinal surgery. I've had three, and I'm still doing crosswords and enjoying the commentary. Bet you'll do just fine, fingers crossed.

Anonymous 7:16 PM  

I come from the land of STEM, not English lit. So I got Hogan and lorises and Natchez, but not harpo. Who cares about TV shows? After 60 years of reading Nat Geo, a few facts remain in my head, and not just math and physics.

Jason 8:06 PM  

Thank you for further advancing the stereotype that leftists have a sense of moral and intellectual superiority, and stare down their noses at anyone who dares not to conform to the tenets of a fact-averse, emotionally motivated, nonsensical and, frankly, oppressive and tyrannical quasi-Marxist ideology.

Those "uninformed" Americans that you loathe so much build your broadband networks, deliver your Amazon packages, maintain your water and sewer plants, collect and recycle your garbage, stock your grocery stores, and a million other things that contribute to your health, safety and convenience.
In a way, they understand the power of the collective even better than the most intellectual and learned academics on Earth. And in many ways, they grasp "Americanism" like no leftist ever could.
They KNOW that this isn't a 'free country'. They know that the United States, at the federal level, is NOT a democracy and, more importantly, they know WHY. They KNOW that the 2nd Amendment is the ONLY thing that keeps foreign tanks and troops from invading our borders. They KNOW that government interference is RESPONSIBLE for both the healthcare and student loan crises, and that MORE government interference will only make things worse.
They understand that the elected officials in Washington are SERVANTS to the American people, not SAVIORS.
Liberals want a SAVIOR in office - someone to guide and lead the people to the utopian holy Land.
Conservatives want SERVANTS who will keep government as unobtrusive as possible, so that the people can forge their own destiny and solve their own damn problems.
People like YOU can't tolerate Donald Trump because he ISN'T a Savior. He's a threat to everything the progressive movement has achieved in the last 50 years.
He's driving Union workers, minorities, immigrants and independents away from class warfare, victim mentality and identity politics.
He's exposing the left as the hate-fueled, petulant children that they are, and it's driving them insane.

It's glorious to behold.

Crimson Devil 8:12 PM  

Print edition emojis way too small. Puz so easy it completed itself without ‘em.

Northwest Runner 8:21 PM  

Nobody else seems to have mentioned, and at the risk of missing something...Isn't it the case that "The Lord of the Rings" is not the name of a film, but rather the name of the franchise, with each film having its own name?

GILL I. 8:49 PM  

Wow, @Jason 8:06. Good post and boy do you write well. I may not agree with everything you wrote but you sure made me sit up a bit.
Still won't change my mind on Mr. Brexit, Nigel Farage. Maybe because my in-laws are British and they've told me horror stories. The emotions of Brexit run so hot and cold and the UK is not yet at ease with itself. I guess we have our own bugaboos to contend with.

Geezer 3:59 PM  

I think the profound issue today is UNGER VS UNGAR. I know it's changed my life.

albatross shell 8:21 PM  

What you have wrong is that the "they" you are talking about see Trump as a savior far more than the left ever saw Obama as a savior. It was they who claimed the left saw Obama as a savior and ridiculed him as the chosen one. That was only used by the left relative to his ability to break the color barrier for the presidency.

And they are wrong by believing what they think they KNOW is true. Guns keep us from invasions. Hard to prove that one since the 2nd amendment only became court ratified law recently. Antigun laws were common. Canada a friend for a long time and Mexico not a serious threat. Invasion by sea not stopped by citizens in yachts with guns, but by navy army coast guard and airforce.
It's the religious right that loves saviors. And the corporate right that wants government to be small and serve them. And the republican right that clings to every anti-democratic part of our government: unfair gerrymandering in the house. The electoral college in the presidency. Equal representation for CA and WY in the Senate. And voter suppression in the cities. And more of the same in state houses. The more they manipulate the system against the majority the more they have to lie and look for foreign help. Are they willing to destroy the country to keep it theirs? It sure looks like it. Is there more of a petulant child than Trump?

Unknown 9:07 AM  

We need a better emoji for a hobbit.

Rina 8:18 PM  

Unable to discern the emojis due to presbyopia, I couldn’t see the clues. This sucked.

Rina 12:47 PM  

Did it anyway. The fill was pretty good!

Joe 9:29 PM  

Another meltdown because the puzzle creator included the name of a person that Rex despises. How did you ever get through history, philosophy, even science classes? Laughable.

Joe 8:17 PM  

I want you to know that I am considering a moratorium on further donations to your annual request for financial support. My decision has nothing to do with your criticism of the NYT Sunday crossword with one exception: Your myopic, and absurd rants against crossword clues/answers that you perceive to be beyond the pale. You are intelligent enough that I don’t feel any need to elucidate. FWIW, my donation has been $15 to $25...a pittance.

Burma Shave 1:01 PM  

The above puzzle was not published in my newspaper today (02/23/2020).
I obtained it through other means.




BS2 1:11 PM  

Or (correct pronunciation):

and HER LEWD spot was SUPER_G.


Diana, LIW 7:04 PM  

Got this puzzle in today's paper, but a lot of my SyndieCat friends didn't.

Anyway, I grew to hate it less as the solve wore on. ;-)

Diana, LIW

Unknown 1:00 PM  

I came by this puzzle via the syndicated version which appeared in my local newspaper on February 23rd. The themed clues only said "[Insert Emoji Image file]" Pretty hard to make any sense of it, so I threw it out.

Anonymous 1:10 AM  

I do this crossword on the Seattle Times website and there every single emoji clue just says [EMOJIS] and I got so mad because I was able to infer from the title that they were all movies but when all your clues are essentially [3 letter movie] or [5 letter movie] it's pretty darn awful. The other clues were mostly easy enough that I was able to make good headway but there were more than a few times I almost just gave up. Glad to hear that was a publishing issue and not the way it was actually printed.

However, 109 is factually wrong. You don't need rennet to curdle cheese and there are many fine vegetarian cheeses such as Cream Cheese and Paneer.

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