Dance craze of early 2010s / SUN 2-23-20 / Color akin to cyan / Pullers of Artemis's chariot / Locke who was called father of Harlem renaissance / Home planet of ming merciless / Southeast Asian ethnic group /

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Constructor: Sophia and David Maymudes

Relative difficulty: Easy to Easy-Medium (9:15)

THEME: "RESOLVED" — you "solve" the puzzle by adding "RE-" to the beginnings of words in familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued wackily (i.e. "?"-style)

Theme answers:
  • REPRESS YOUR LUCK (27A: "Stop rolling sevens!"?) (are sevens "lucky"? Is this a craps thing?)
  • RELATE TO THE PARTY (45A: Build rapport like a presidential candidate?)
  • RESENT PACKING (70A: Hate getting ready to move?)
  • RESTOCKS AND BONDS (97A: Makes friends while working retail?)
  • RETURN THE TABLES (115A: Event planner's post-banquet task?)
  • RECOVER GIRL (16D: Young woman to call when your data gets deleted?)
  • RECESS POOLS (69D: Places to swim during school?)
Word of the Day: MONGO (106D: Home planet of Ming the Merciless) —
a monetary subunit of the tugrik ( .... or ....  
Mongo is a fictional planet where the comic strip (and later movie serials) of Flash Gordon takes place. Mongo was created by the comics artist Alex Raymond in 1934, with the assistance of Raymond's ghostwriter Don Moore. Mongo is depicted as being ruled by a usurper named Ming the Merciless, who is shown as ruling Mongo in a harsh and oppressive manner.
The planet is depicted as being inhabited by different cultures, and having a varying ecosystem.The technology of these cultures varies from groups at a Stone Age level, to highly technologically advanced peoples. At the beginning of the comic strip, almost all of these cultures are shown as being under the domination of the tyrant Ming. In all the versions of the Flash Gordon story, Flash Gordon is shown as unifying the peoples of Mongo against Ming, and eventually removes him from power. Later stories often depict Mongo under the rule of its rightful leader, Prince Barin. (wikipedia)
• • •

The one positive thing I can say about this puzzle is that 1-Across (DESPAIR) is apt. Nice touch. Tells you exactly what you will feel about 1/3 of the way through the puzzle when you realize that this is it, it's not getting any better, you're just gonna be putting RE- onto the front of words ad nauseam. And the fill, that also isn't going to improve. It's just gonna tread water, struggling to keep its head above Adequate, for the remainder of the solve (which, thank merciful god, was not that long). ORME, ONYOU, TIRO, UIE, NNE TIRO INLA ANI ORIEL ISE IHAVEENCARTAATPAR! My investment in this puzzle, my care, my serious attention, they all checked out completely at -ONYM (15D: Ending with pseud- or syn-). ALOAF!? ORNITH.!!!!! hahahaha wow, wow. And the single ARREAR returns to haunt the grid once again ... stunning. What is happening today? HOY VEY!

I was forewarned that this would be a very easy puzzle, so of course I didn't come anywhere close to my record time (I have never ever done well on a puzzle I've been told by others is easy, which is why I stay the hell off of social media before I've solved and why you should never ever (please!) send me comments or questions about the puzzle until after I have posted my write-up. I know sometimes you are eager to get your feelings out, but ... courtesy! Still, though, this was pretty much as advertised, i.e. easy. UGLI, but easy. Here are the places I stumbled:

  • 1D: Pullers of Artiemis's chariot (DEER) — really should've gotten this one straight off, but did the sometimes reasonable but today dumb thing of putting "S" at the end of the answer and waiting to see what would happen. My brain had that chariot being pulled by HENS at one point.
  • 53A: Dance craze of the early 2010s (DOUGIE) — sigh, bygone fads. Great! I vaguely remember the phrase "teach me how to DOUGIE!" and that is all I remember.
  • 47D: Brexit exiter (THE U.K.) — ugh, THEUK. Especially ugly when the clue doesn't even bother to signal the abbr. part. Also, the cluing is awkward as heck, as it sounds like the answer should be "one who exits Brexit," not "the party whose exit is signified by the portmanteau 'Brexit'." Awk, I say!
  • 84D: Study of birds: Abbr. (ORNITH.) — I just could not have foreseen a six-letter (!) abbr. I mean, of course ornithology is the study of birds, but ORNITH.!? It's just ... who expects ORNITH.!? (an entry not seen in sixteen years, and hopefully not seen for at least another sixteen)
  • 99D: Rehearsals (DRY RUNS) — I kept wanting it to be TRYOUTS. Over and over. The fact that this answer ran through the very wince-y NNE SOL UIE NINO section didn't help matters
RECAP AND GOWN! REBOUND FOR GLORY! REFORM-FITTING! These aren't hard to come up with, and the funniness ceiling on the whole concept is pretty low. Sorry the news isn't better.

On the Clipboard this week ...

  • It's been a very Berry week, for sure. First of all, Patrick Berry's New Yorker puzzle this week was humblingly smooth and gorgeous. The kind of thing where even as you're solving, you're just shaking your head, marveling at the fact that any one human can be this good at anything. I wish more constructors would study his work and aspire to his level of craft. I mean, you're gonna fall short, but falling short of Patrick Berry can still leave you in a pretty wonderful place. See his puzzle here
  • The other Berry thing that happened this week was his release of "Sweet 16," a puzzle suite (!) consisting of 16 smallish variety puzzles, each one leading to its own meta-answer, and then the whole set leading to some final meta-answer. I just started in on these and they're delightful. Well worth your $10. Buy "Sweet 16" here, for yourself, for a loved one, for America. 
  • My favorite puzzle of the week was probably Amy Goldstein and Joanne Sullivan's WSJ crossword from Tuesday 2/18—and it's a theme type that I normally really don't care for. The puzzle was called "Behind the Scenes," and the theme answers were all two-word (or compound) phrases, where both words (or word parts) could also follow the word "PLAY" in familiar words/phrases. MONEYMAKER, DATEBOOK, etc. No great shakes, really. But the grid! It was so smooth and had such vibrant fill, stuff like HOTCOMB and PHOTOBOMB and FRONT TEETH and POOH CORNER (!!). I just *enjoyed* solving it. This puzzle was proof that you don't have to have a startlingly original theme concept to make a truly *enjoyable* puzzle. It's also proof that the WSJ should publish way way way more women. They're sitting at 6% for 2020 so far. That is embarrassing. The very existence of this puzzle proves that there are women constructors who can make puzzles not just as good, but better than the WSJ average. So why the incessant mediocre old white guy parade!? It's gotta stop, or at least ... abate. Please.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:06 AM  

I am utterly gobsmacked! Not one word from Rex regarding NOOSE crossing RECESSPOOL. Hoy vey, indeed!

Gio 12:20 AM  

@Joaquin Rex is at the end of his rope!

Richardf8 12:31 AM  

Cottoned on to the theme early so when I hit 69d I was more or less dismissing the REs. So, um, ick? Glad I wasn’t solving over breakfast (or anything from Taco Bell, really).

jae 1:02 AM  

Easy-medium seems apt. Liked it a tad more than Rex did but he is right about the fill.

Loren Muse Smith 3:44 AM  

Ok. So I have a crap ton of papers to grade. Facing freshmen’s first attempts at MLA in-text citations is not for the faint of heart. But I knew Rex would skewer this, and I need to come to its defense.

During the solve, I did notice the ORMEs and the ORNITHs. But I was reminded how much of a theme gal I am. The glue bothers me not one whit; it just helps me chip away at the expanse of white until I can see the money shot. This morning it was RESENT PACKING.

I was delighted.

Just a simple little change – the addition of RE – results in such a startling iteration of a common phrase. When RESTOCKS AND BONDS fell, I actually laughed. Guess I live in a place with a low funniness ceiling. I’ll take it.

“Like a medium-rare steak” – nonexistent. I tell waiters in restaurant, my husband on the grill…anyone responsible for cooking the steak… that I want mine rare. It’s been years since I’ve seen any hint of red or pink in my steak. It’s always tough, done, grey, ick. So I just buy Heinz 57 now. Sigh.

I love the ambiguity of STRUCK OUT on my own. Been there, done both.

I also love that “run” can clue FLED or bled. Right before I started the puzzle, I put in a load of whites with bleach ‘cause my towels are the color of a medium-rare steak. Husband doing a load, new red shirt, and all that.

I had a brief KIR phase as I was trying out which cocktails would make me look worldly and mysterious. I was 19 and insufferable.

Had no idea about ALAIN Locke, the Harlem Renaissance guy. Took one look at “Locke,” and my mind went blank.

Sure, there are other themer possibilities. So? I was happy to sit there and imagine more. RELAY WASTE, RESTING OPERATION, REPULSE RATE, RESIGN LANGUAGE (don’t I wish). . .

Sophie and David – thanks for the amusement. I really got a kick out of each themer.

Mary Kyritsis 5:59 AM  

I got totally hung up on RECESS POOLS, was screaming that it just had to be HEATED but finally gave in. Of course ignoring the fact that all the long answers had to begin with re-. Wasn't all that happy when I worked it out, what pools, pools of water to splash it? but the gimmick was undeniable.

Anonymous 6:14 AM  

Did this in the car with my wife (no, I was not driving!), on an hour+ long trip. But, we made some mistakes, like "Mondo" instead of "Mongo" (dang, somehow, "ugli" eluded us) and the "Doughie" dance craze (I'm a terrible dancer, don't dance and know nothing about dances; you don't want to see me "dance").

@Loren Muse Smith: I too found the theme answers to be amusing.

But the most amusing thing about this solve was how my wife insisted she would know "most" of the answers if I simply supplied her with the clue, etc. I think she got 2 out of 20, and this led to a little friendly back-and-forth on this in the car.


Lewis 6:18 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:20 AM  

As with @loren (and welcome back!), the most fun for me in this puzzle was provided by the theme answers -- for me, trying to figure them out with as few letters filled in as possible. I love when the theme brings enjoyment during the solve instead of only revealing itself after the solve. Thank you, father-and-daughter Maymudes!

My Libra sensibilities like how the darkness of the symmetrical DEATH TRAP and STRUCK OUT is balanced by the symmetrical promise of SEEDLING and PERFECTO, and how the corner of DESPAIR and RAPSHEETS, is countered by the JOY LUCK club next door. Also, with THEUK, we get a rhyming dook!

Will Shortz's intro to this puzzle on (click on the SOLUTION button by the constructors' photos) has a link to another father/daughter puzzle that for me, was jaw-droppingly and astonishingly a fountain of delight, clever and hilarious, titled Green Eggs and Hamlet. I don't believe you will regret the two minutes it takes to get to and eye this puzzle over.

fkdiver 6:28 AM  

Simple, bland puzzle for a Sunday morning. Just a half cup of coffee, and for once I beat Rex's time. OK, off to the LAT and WAPO!

Anonymous 6:51 AM  

Wow, this was a rough puzzle... so much awful fill (vars, six letter abbreviations and pesky filler words ad nauseam). Sunday puzzles should not be this bad.

Hungry Mother 6:55 AM  

Super fast today, once I cleaned up my spelling. Nice theme, very helpful. Very appropriate challenge.

Suzie Q 7:48 AM  

I'm walking on the sunny side of the street with @Loren and @Lewis.

Yesterday we had Hilda and today her twin sister Tilda shows up.

Paul Emil 8:14 AM  

Brevity is the soul of wit

FPBear 8:23 AM  

Loved the theme. Fun solve. Rex being a curmudgeon. As usual.

RavTom 8:29 AM  

Welcome back. We’ve missed you.

Joe Dipinto 8:35 AM  

I agree that the fill was kinda dull but I did think the theme answers were clever. So you can do this with a passel of other words too: I fail to see why Rex always characterizes that as a negative.

The Dougie dance craze seems to have bypassed me. I don't recall its existence at.all.

Hey hey, @LMS is here! Folks have been asking after you. @Lewis – I saw the Kahn/Kahn puzzle at XWord Info too. Excellent, and really funny. I second Lewis – go check it out. Somehow I don't remember solving that one at the time; I'd think it would have stuck with me.

"Ornith" would make a good first name for a person, I think.

Debra 8:38 AM  

Awww, I thought it was fine, easy, cute. Liked the theme. Love to travel, resent packing, so that was sweet.

pabloinnh 8:46 AM  

I'll say too that the themers made it all worthwhile. Couldn't get a start and the first one that appeared was RECESSPOOLS (eww, BTW). I've had more than enough experience with cesspools and don't want to see them repeated with a RE. No thanks. Many or the others elicited a good one! from me. Being easily amused is the way to go.

Thanks for the fun guys. Even had enough sunshine this AM to see the tiny numbers without my magnifying glass, so a good day all around.

Nancy 8:52 AM  

An easy but pleasant Sunday, with very nice clues for the wacky theme answers. And it can't be that easy to change the meaning of a phrase just by adding RE to the beginning. It's a well-conceived theme, with cute phrases, but I wish it had provided more challenge. Plus the fact that the title gives too much away. (I was trying to think of a substitute, but couldn't come up with one.)

Of all days of the week, Sundays seem to vary the most in difficulty level. There's a Suday coming up very soon -- not immediately, but very soon -- that I think you'll find much more challenging. And the title, rather than giving too much away, will more likely perplex you. At least I hope it will.

Meanwhile, this puzzle has a great backstory. My dead tree version features that story right below the title. If you're solving digitally, follow @Lewis's instructions to find it. Congrats to the Maymudeses!

Edwords 8:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Edwords 9:01 AM  

I agree, LOLed a few times on the themers. Doesn’t deserve the hate, IMO. Although my daughter went to Carleton. Also, I went through an insufferable search for a sophisticated drink, though I landed on a martini. Also, a recommendation- describe to the wait person how you’d like the meat - I use “as red as it can be while still being warm in the center” - only works when the steak costs $30 or more, however.

Marjorie 9:03 AM  

@LMS has been missed. My favorite was Restocks and Bonds.

HobbesEsq 9:10 AM  

Any puzzle that includes Neil Gaiman is automatically good.

kitshef 9:28 AM  

LAH VEY YOO - the day of awful partials. YEESH.

UIE - which is a dumb non-word invented for crosswords - right over NNE is awfuller.

And I'm pretty sure he's DR J not just to his fans, but to everyone.

Birchbark 9:31 AM  

JOYRIDE through time -- It's February 2001. So what are PATRIOT ACT and THE UK (clued as "Brexit exiter") doing here? Turns out I wasn't in the Archives last evening where I belonged, but accidentally solving the current puzzle. For a moment, the temporal fluxions were just like those seen on TV right before a full-on warp-core breach. Then all was calm, today's was solved yesterday, and back to February 2001, a time when answers like LOTHARIO and ON TOP OF SPAGHETTI didn't make anyone mad.

DOUGIE = Agent Cooper's mindless/beatific doppelgänger in the second series of "Twin Peaks."

kitshef 9:35 AM  

Maybe I'm just an old grouch, but I didn't laugh at any of the themers. I did laugh at TIRO, though.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Tryouts are not rehearsals, Rex, rather auditions.

pmdm 9:47 AM  

Sounds like Nancy has a puzzle coming up soon. I look forward. Hope O will like it.

After my first go-through of the clues, I was not engaged. But I warmed to the puzzle as I fought through. Now that Im done, I would give it a thumbs up with a caveat. Just a little too much PPP I did not like.

LMS: Maybe it's a regional think. I also like my steak medium-rare, and ordering rare usually result in a steak cooked medium rare. Where I have problems is with the salt. If I emphatically request no salt, the steak is usually edible. If I don't order that way, my blood pressure may rise quite a bit. Like the way it did when no paper arrived. Sixth week in a row without the Sunday puzzle, and this week I got nothing. Be careful what you ask for.

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Z 9:55 AM  

If the themers make you laugh you don’t mind the fill so much. Conversely,...

I was upset by only one thing in the puzzle, choosing to clue THE LORAX via the movie rather than the book. I’ve yet to see a live action adaptation of Dr. Seuss that doesn’t make me wonder what is wrong with people involved in making the movie.

@LMS - OMG!!! MLA? Why Why Why? Strunk & White I’m all for. But the minutia of citations? Even the kids going to college have absolutely no need to learn this stuff. Half of them will end up using APA style and, AND, there’s software that handles this crap, now. I think the tag line for one such software program says it all, Focus on writing, not formatting. I’m guessing you don’t have much choice on the matter, but Gah! I’m imagining the thrill of your students is roughly equal to your thrill at that stack of papers.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

How do you show the world what an ageist and racist you are in one simple sentence? Read the last of Rex's review.

Mary Beth 9:58 AM  

In Massachusetts, home of Natick, UIEs are a thing. I really wanted leotard until the seedling sprouted up.

RooMonster 10:14 AM  

Hey All !
All TOGged up and no where to go. TOG? YEESH. The fact that the G made the most sense saved me from my one-letter DNF today. RING CYCLE for a Wagner opus? Sounds like a Rap Song. :-)

Anyway, I enjoyed this puz, despite the iffy fill that Rex listed. SunPuzs need YEESHy fill to get the neatness of the theme across. Like HMONG, et al.

@Nancy, you've got the secret to getting published in the NYT. Can you tell it to me? Congrats on a SunPuz, if that's what you were hinting at.

Writeovers today included bLED-FLED, Auction-ARTSALE, vOlGa-MONGO, tRYoUtS-DRYRUNS, eTA-STA, leITARDS-UNITARDS.

INSUM, a nice puz.

Three F's

David Maymudes 10:16 AM  

Rex is correct that there are lots of possible theme answers that fit this pattern; the hard part of course is coming up with matched pairs, fitting them into the grid, and coming up with 130 other words that work!

My favorite theme answers that we didn't use were REX FACTOR ("What a puzzle needs to keep the bloggers happy?") and RESIGN OF THE TIMES ("What Rex will suggest Will Shortz do if this puzzle gets published?")

We knew that there were more three-letter entries than we would have liked--I definitely have a lot to learn, but it was great fun working with Sophia on this.

Teedmn 10:17 AM  

Curses, foiled by my impatience. I didn't know the title of the Whitney Houston song (68D) but with _HA__ in place, I decided it would be "thAt's Nothing" so 90A became AtEN__. I entered GORGES at 91D and realized 90A would be AVENGE but was too lazy to change the T to a V. Instead, I hit the Tab key and teleported to a different part of the grid via my random-solve method, figuring I'd change the T to V when I got to 68D again. Instead, I got there and decided the name of the song as "I HAtE Nothing" looked fine, no need to check the crosses :-(. So a one letter DNF, YEESH.

I've never noticed before that PATRIOT ACT has RIOT ACT embedded in it.

I like the theme and I think the theme answers are sufficiently punnish for a Sunday puzzle but there's a dearth of fun in the rest of the clues. "Spot for a laundromat" was an attempt at misdirection, (but failed, for me), "Rough talk" = RASP has been seen too often recently. "Brief glimpse of a star" didn't fool me either and I had too many crosses in place for 123A to mislead me.

DEATH TRAP - I've owned more than one car to qualify for that moniker.

Favorite theme answers were RESENT PACKING and RECOVER GIRL. Least favorite was RESTOCKS AND BONDS.

Thanks, Sophia and David, and David, congrats on the debut.

SouthsideJohnny 10:19 AM  

I really thought I was poised and ready to make a run at my first unassisted Sunday finish today. Alas, I was not able to piece together enough of the crosses to overcome the dreaded PPP onslaught in the NE. I don’t know RING CYCLE, which I’m guessing is a symphony or opera, never heard of HMONG and could not parse out enough to take a stab at MILNE and even found NEIL to be elusive. Oh well, this is as close as I have gotten though, so that’s cool.

I’m guessing SOL is a foreign word for sun ? If so, that’s a pretty pathetic clue - made even worse by crossing it with another foreign word (NINO) since SaL and NINa are equally plausible.

Is SAL soda a pretty common term - it’s brand new to me at least.

TJS 10:26 AM  

"Never ever (please!) send me comments or questions about the puzzle until after I have posted my write-up." And follows up with his now regular section revealing the cluing and fill for puzzles we haven't done yet. WTF is wrong with this guy???

Suzie Q 10:39 AM  

@ David Maymudes, Thanks for stopping by. Great post. I loved your other theme possibilities as well. Congrats to you and Sophia.

Nancy 10:40 AM  

@Roo (10:14) -- In answer to your question: Remember how Fred Astaire could make even the coat rack and the broom look like great dancers? The secret to NYT puzzle acceptance is to get a truly gifted and brilliant partner. Mine has the initials W.N. and I'm darned lucky to have him!

Carola 10:42 AM  

I thought RESTOCKS AND BONDS was genius, and the others were fun to figure out, too. Due to the joys of short-term memory loss, I don't recall the offending fill.

@Loren - Glad to see you! Your opening sentence reminded me that my teacher daughter told me she was spending the weekend in "grading jail." I'm sure you have fellow inmates across the land spending Sunday with a stack of papers. I hope you'll encounter some uppers among the bunch.

JC66 10:49 AM  

@David M

Thanks for showing up.

Loved your RiPOSTe.

Amelia 10:49 AM  

First, let me say in advance of the event, congratulations @Nancy.

And I agree this was a fun, if easy puzzle. I won't give examples, but I didn't mind putting in the RE, because it didn't help with the finish of the clue. So congratulations to the constructors. If I thought either of my (grown) kids could spend the time with me to do this, I'd try it myself.

I find it fascinating that Rex complained about people (not us, the vaunted Twitterverse) sending him clues to the puzzle as to its relative ease or difficulty. Didn't want the spoiler, Rex?

But he continues to spoil all his pals' puzzles, as if we aren't worthy of going to find them and solve them ourselves. It's mean and immature. He knows what he's doing. One of my earliest lessons in life and one I make sure to share with others was learning when not to go where one was not wanted.

I have better things to do.

That was Amelia's complaint of the day.

And scene.

RooMonster 10:51 AM  

As others will probably lambaste you (because ANONs love to hate you) about your THE LORAX comment, technically the clue Is clued with the book. Clue reads: Children's book made into a 2012 3-D animated film. So it covers both.

@David Maymudes
1) Congrats on your puz debut, a SunPuz no less, and don't get too upset with a Rex review, cause it sounds like you know his reviews, 2) your non-included themers were a Riot!

RooMonster Random Observations Guy

JC66 11:01 AM  

@TJS & @Amelia

Just curious, since it appears you know from past experience that @Rex's "On the
Clipboard" will contain spoilers, why do you continue to read it?

GILL I. 11:08 AM  

I'm going to picture @Amelia's head exploding because OFL let the cat out of the bag again. Try to skip over the comments.
@Loren. I'm betting Ivanka owns stock in Heinz 57..... Daddy's girl?
I rather enjoyed today's puzzle. Why not? It was different and it entertained. I'm easy at times.
Doesn't CHEEPO need his El in front? During my very strange and happy youth, I danced in a cage. Try swinging your arms up and down like some deranged clown in boots that come up to your thighs. The boots never quite fit because no one in my era wore a size 10. Anyway, I hadn't heard of the DOUGIE. I finally got past the nae nae and now we have something that actually looks like cool beans. I haven't needed a hip replacement yet so I think I might try this one out....
My favorite of the RE's: RE LATE TO THE PARTY. You invite me to a party, I'll go. I won't be drinking any KIR though....I don't want to look worldly and mysterious. I'll be the gal in the corner with the green gauchos drinking Bud Lite.

TJS 11:11 AM  

@JC66, I dont. I give it a quick scan and jump to the comments section now. But I am mystified by the sheer idiocy he is displaying. IMO, it is indefensible. But maybe @Z will try.

Malsdemare 11:14 AM  

The only thing I didn't like about this puzzle was that it went by too quickly. Like others, once I saw the gag I felt challenged to fill in the answer with as few crosses as possible. But, oh, @David M, I do wish those rejects had been included. Me thinks someone needs to do a politically (for Rex) incorrect puzzle and share it with this blogosphere. My favorite themer was RECOVERGIRL, followed by RELATETOTHEPART. And THEUK, was just fine. That's who it is; who's leaving the European Union? THE UK.

@TJS, I loudly second your complaint about his revealing too much about the puzzles he promotes. I'm guessing he doesn't read us so maybe someone who's on Twitter could tweet him a polite request to cut it out?

Yay! @LMS is back! @Z, I disagree about learning how to cite sources. Maybe not MLA—APA is much more universal. But learning how you give credit to those upon whose shoulders you are standing is critical. And citation format teaches you the underlying principles, names, specific time, and location, including publishing type. The format makes sure you include all the important information and helps the reader process more quickly.

You can argue that her students may not be college-bound. But there are lots of places that citing a source is important. Got a good idea? Your boss is going to know where it came from. Doing genealogy? Better be specific about where you got your data. Think of the facebook posts of quotes or pictures that are out-of-date or from unreliable sources. Think of the posts that are from the Onion. This stuff, without source information is wildly misleading. So I applaud Loren's Sisyphean task. You go, girl!

Z 11:30 AM  

@Roo - You’re right, but did we really need that reminder?

@JC66 11:01 - beat me to it.

@David Maymudes - TeHee.

Knitwit 11:45 AM  

I actually said “YES!” out loud when I saw your name! Missed you and your posts!

jberg 12:04 PM  

The theme was lots of fun, and I didn't mind the fill. And I got through it quickly, a big plus as I have a lot to do today.

@Loren, RESTING PLACE differs in having a short e sound in the RE; I tried to think of others, but can't. (REX FACTOR is clever and fun, but too inside-jokey to actually use in a puzzle.)

@Lewis, I dunno, THEUK looks kinda Germanic, so I bet it's pronounced "thoyk."

@Nancy, how exciting! I can't wait -- and I'm glad it's not immediate, because next Sunday I'll be driving across Florida, and don't expect to be able to get a paper.

Rastaman Vibration 12:06 PM  

I never realized how many companies make vacuum cleaners until I started doing Xword puzzles. I don’t know what UNITARDS means and I’m afraid to google it, lol.

Nice to see that the constructor stopped by - I like when they explain some of the challenges they face filling out the grid once the theme is set. It makes it easier to have sympathy for entries like TOG, YOO, IDA, NNE, UIE, etc. that were probably just sitting around minding their own business when they were summoned to duty, only to incur the Wrath of Rex.

I wish they could find a way to throttle back the number of trivia questions. Some, like ALALIN are gettable from the crosses. It’s much more difficult (and annoying) when the trivia answers cross each other (like DOUGIE and TILDA today, for example).

sixtyni yogini 12:10 PM  

Theme was fun. 👍🏽🧩🎯🧩👍🏽

Z 12:28 PM  

@TJS11:11 - Nope. I skip that section. It is his blog so he can do what he wants but I really wish he would list the puzzles first so I could come back after doing the puzzles. My regular puzzles are the NYTX, AVCX, Inkubator, BEQ, The New Yorker, and the Stumper. I’ll occasionally do the USAToday one now if I have 10 minutes. But other than the NYTX I tend to do a bunch in a sitting rather than do them as they come out, so I usually haven’t done the puzzle when he posts his spoilers.

@Malsdemare - Where we agree is that learning to cite and why is important. And knowing that all citations include the important answers to Who, What, Where, and When is important. And knowing the difference between what is mine and what is someone else’s is important (and a lot stickier than the rest and also stickier than most people realize). But MLA or APA or any of the other style guides (the Wikipedia page on the MLA Handbook listed 20 some style books)? Nah. No high school student needs MLA exposure. Most college students will need either MLA or APA exposure, but not even all college students will. It’s probably not until graduate school that almost everyone needs some level of comfort with their discipline’s preferred citation style. I hope what’s going on is that MLA in-line citations were just picked as an example to get at the deeper idea of why we cite. But what too often happens is that emphasis on the form replaces learning about the why. And any discussion of the form that lasts beyond 47 seconds is a fine cure for insomnia.
Your post did lead me to a schadenfreudesque chuckle, though. The APA 6th Edition was printed with errors! I missed that episode (I think I last bought a 4th edition), and now cannot stop laughing at the idea of style guide misprints. I wonder how many poor copy editors were hanged over that?

Newboy 12:31 PM  

Welcome back @Loren & I agree that today had brighter moments like CEO crossing EXECS and EVE for “second person?” (Better without the question mark?) I’ll take my smiles for the god awful puns and happily fill in an RE at the start of any longish strings instead of groaning as I slog through another Sunday. Had to first reward LMS for escaping jail grading time, but now back to enjoy the wit and wisdom of y’all which keeps me coming back as does the joy of splitting an infinitive just for fun.

What? 12:39 PM  

To all those out there who never tried constructing a puzzle, remember that in addition to the theme, there are all those other words that have to be meshed in, making things more difficult and providing people like Rex with more material to kvetch about. I suggest a puzzle that would consist of themes only, with no cross words but partially filled in. Complete the fills referring to the clues. Much easier to construct, no funny words or letter combinations to complain about, and still fun.

bertoray 12:43 PM  

Welcome back Loren. I'm imagining a sitcom with a swell teacher and colorful students wherein wacky hijinks abound.

Perry 12:51 PM  

Man, what a slog. I really am getting to the point where I hate themed puzzles. Thursday and Sunday are becoming my least favorite xword days of the week.

Frantic Sloth 12:52 PM  

Well, I guess the cheese stands alone.
Far be it from lowly me to be contrary, but I’m taking back my REs.

First of all, it’s unsettling to find that I actually age with X. Perhaps I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but - wait a minute....I did the puzzle last night. Hmmmm.

Very happy to see @LMS back, even though our opinions don’t match up today and I have no idea what MLA is.

More (mo?) REs claimed might look something like this:

Ad between the lines - seen on just about any page on the internet
Al McCoy - how the Hatfields prefer their pasta
D Herring - is in d jar
D-letter day - best I can hope for in LMS’s MLA class

My work he is done. I’ll quiescat in pace now.

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

ALOAF and TIRO were the only parts I didn't like. Otherwise I really enjoyed this. It took me 25 minutes.

Frantic Sloth 1:01 PM  

Ack! Corction:

Al McCoy - how the Hatfields pfer their pasta!

This is getting tisome now. (Getting??)

Joe Dipinto 1:06 PM  

@Southside Johnny – the Ring Cycle is a series of four operas Wagner wrote based on Norse mythology. The cycle's official name is Der Ring Des Nibelungen, but everyone just calls it The Ring or The Ring Cycle. I won't go into further details because you can look it up if you want to, but a ring is the object that sets the story in motion in the first one (Das Rheingold).

Malsdemare 1:24 PM  

@Z Point taken. But I think the easiest way to teach the principle is to give a concrete method. “You need to tell me where you got this, and here, use this template. Fill in the blanks.” Kids get that. For what it’s worth, I edit for a major textbook (college) publisher, and the assignments I see assigned at the undergrad level require research or position papers that cite sources. As long as students have to learn it, they may as well learn to do it correctly, and high school isn’t a bad place to start. But, yeah, maybe not MLA.

Your note about APA made me check; I have the 4th edition too. The publisher of the 6th must have gone berserk. I use the online APA and Webster in my editing job, along with my publisher’s style guide, Chicago, Strunk and White, and another half dozen writing guides. Oof!

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

Sorry. But regulars can catch tge hoodoo routine on TCM. Rught now!!!!

Joe in Canada 1:46 PM  

Never saw Flash Gordon, but at a different stage of my life did see Flesh Gordon, so put in (planet) PORNO by mistake. Hoy vey.

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

@ Davis thanks for your comment, loved the puzzle!!

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

C'mon, am I the only geezer who's absolutely delighted by old crosswordese? Had a moment of sheer delight this morning when ORIEL, a word I haven't seem in years, came to mind right away. No sputtering, no casting about, no moment of panic because that bit of trivia had faded away. (Almost began to weep a few days ago because I couldn't come up with Joanne Woodward's last name.)

Know what's on my bucket list? I want to see beautiful Lake Itasca in the puzzle just one more time before I'm too feeble to hold a pencil.

John T. Vian 2:10 PM  

I admire the fact that David Maymudes and his daughter Sophia spent quality time together in constructing a good quality puzzle. So it was a rework, the joy of resolves, (pun intended,) was still there. I pray that they may have a long lasting relationship with a history of charitable moments. I even hope they can come out with more NYT puzzles in the future. It would be a waist of potential talent for them not to. I think the biggest waist of time is someone who has never published a puzzle in the NYT, to sit and cry over them...

Masked and Anonymous 2:44 PM  

This SunPuz's heart was in the right re-placement. The themers had some definite a-@Muse-ment value. Despite M&A's first-spittake inclination to add WEE- instead of RE- to the themer fronts, in retrospect I believe they made the right choice.

I also see very little wrong with today's fillins. This likely boils down to a steamin pile of personal preferences, but M&A always enjoys him all these followin things in his solvequest experience, fill-wise:

* Vowel respect for the letter U. We have 8 of the lil darlins today, which is about average for a SunPuz. Sooo … ok.
* Some sparkly fill. This puppy has a high 75.1% Freshness Factor, per the xwordinfo.chen puz analysis page. faves at our house included: JOYRIDE. STRUCKOUT. MARIMBA. … And staff weeject pick HOY, which has the coveted Patrick Berry Usage Immunity, btw (yo, @RP).
* A slight raised-by-wolves vibe. Here, U get that with such wolfhowlers as: HMONG. MONGO. PERFECTO. CHEAPO.
* A dash of Ow de Speration, for an extra-nice humorous tinge. Today's out-and-out winners: ORNITH [receiver of the Har Trophy]. ONYM. TIRO.
* A sprinklin of partial answers. Today's crop includes: IHAVE. ALOAF. ORME. Possibly ONYOU. Some solvers have an "Arrrg. Partial. Bad." reaction, but I think they're great, when used sparinly. Keeps U on yer toes, not knowin when a fillin-the-blanker answer has them multiple words. Variety. Different. Good.
* A fair fight: No impossible crosses. Don't recall any of them problem squares, today.

Thanx for the fun and for gangin up on us, to the Maymudes clan. Congratz to Pops on his debut. [Too bad his first name ain't Oscar. Coulda had them a cool RE-VEALOSCAR themer.]

Masked & Anonym8Us

p.s. Way to hang back in there, @Muse darlin. Real awful sorry about U havin to climb that dern paperwork mountain. Buildin a runtpuz would be much more fun -- and I sure need the help, lately, as M&A's mind continues to turn to pewitpoop.
Sooo … maybe give out an "A+" to whichever student uses the most U's, whydontcha? Just sayin.

Unknown 3:28 PM  

Despair is an understatement... Dreary is more like it - quit after 5 minutes not worth the Dreariness!

Tom R 4:19 PM  

Wait a minute! After reading Rex, I have to ask, Do you really want to clue cess pool with swimming? Anyway, I never heard of a grade school with its own swimming pool, so I think the whole things stinks.

Gio 4:36 PM  

The noose clue and answer was abominable. Not sure why it's only mentioned by one post here. WS should be fired for that. I wonder if rex's Twitter pals are mentioning it?

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

The noose clue was certainly in bad taste, but since when do people get fired for the occasional venture into bad taste?

BobL 5:09 PM  

Posters at 3:28, 4:19, 4:36, please go away.

RooMonster 5:09 PM  

Another great post, HMONG one of your best.
Wolfhowlers. LOL
The Har Trophy! I want one!

ONYM out of here.


Anonymous 5:27 PM  

You're right. I am one twisted and deranged individual thanks to playing "Hangman" when I was young. When I see NOOSE in a crossword it makes me want to string someone up.

Geezer 5:36 PM  

Indeed, they should be SENT PACKING.

Z 5:37 PM  

@Southside Johnny - SOLar System ring a bell? SOL is Latin. And a Mexican pilsner very similar to Corona - because allusions to the sun are a Mexican brewery thing, apparently.

Fred Wollam 5:38 PM  

Los Maymudes appear to have been LURKing near Matt Gaffney's recycling bin.

Fred Wollam 5:47 PM  

...aka, if all else fails, lower your standards.

Gio 6:37 PM  

@anon etc. Jokes about suicide seem like more than "bad taste." Dead loved ones and mental illness are perfect for the NYT SunPuz? What the he'll was Shortz thinking? He wasn't. Not cute. We've seen bad taste, this is a whole other category. Hope it never happens to someone you care about.

Photomatte 7:16 PM  

One can relate to the party or be late to the party. One can return the tables or turn the tables. One can press your luck or repress your luck. Those make sense, kinda. But restocks and bonds? No. Recover girl? No. Recess pools? No. The theme didn't work, no matter how many times I re-worked it....

Z 8:30 PM  

@Photomatte - I don’t think you are explaining those theme answers as intended. RETURNing THE TABLES is very different than turning the tables on someone. RESTOCKing is something a greeter at WalMart might do while BONDing with their other greeters (I know, just for example here). If your hard drive crashes you might take it to somebody who does disc RECOVERy, a RECOVER GIRL, which is not related in anyway to a COVER GIRL. And @Tom R while rare, I worked in a district with several elementary schools with their own POOLS, although they would never have been used for RECESS. Anyway, the idea is that all the themers are distinctly different in meaning from their original phrases.

@Giovanni - My reaction was old westerns, not suicide. While I agree that going wordplay on NOOSE is ill-advised and I’ve been harsh on Shortz for prior insensitivities, being insensitive in and of itself is not a fireable offense.

Fred Wollam 8:58 PM  

...aka, if all else fails, lower your standards.

Okoume 9:07 PM  

@loren so happy to see you here again. Please stay! This blog isn't the same without you. :)

TJS 9:23 PM  

Geez, @Giovanni. Ever watched a western? Ever been to a rodeo? If you have personal experience that triggers your response, then I am sorry for your reaction, but there's a whole other world out there.

albatross shell 10:16 PM  

Is NOOSE offensive or only as clued? My thought was clever clue. But I can understand the complaint. But then there is car accident. cancer, deep six, avalanche, war, battle, bomb etc. Can we worry about any word that might produce negative reactions? Can we live this way? Are noose and end of a rope really over the line? Can we treat every person like they have some fresh wound we do not know about?

When I was in kindergarten or first grade I saw my older brothers playing hangman. Next day I was suppose to draw something in school, so I drew the hangman stuff. Principal called my parents to come in and talk about my home life.

Memo to students and staff
All open cesspools are closed for swimming during school hours by order of the Mgt.

Azzurro 10:42 PM  

I liked this one. It’s rare that a theme answer makes me literally LOL, but RECESSPOOL got me. Some of the fill could be better, but I was in the mood for an easy Sunday puzzle I could solve on a break while having to work the weekend, and this fit the bill.

sanfranman59 11:45 PM  

Hilarious, @David Maymudes! I wonder if Will would have allowed those themers? You should have tried. Congrats on your puzzle. I was amused and that's all I ask of a crossword.

sanfranman59 11:56 PM  

Congrats @Nancy ... I look forward to doing your puzz!

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

Can someone please explain what the words TIRO and UIE are, and what a SAL soda is?

albatross shell 11:41 AM  

TIRO spelling variation of TYRO meaning beginner.

UIE as in do a uie or uey meaning turned.

Salt soda: sodium salt of carbonic acid. Industrial uses and used for dissolve meat and fat off bones. Also called soda ash and washing soda.

Try google.

spacecraft 11:42 AM  

The one thing I took away from this is a classic movie moment:

LANCEY HOWARD: You're good, kid. Maybe the best I've seen in a long time. But as long as I'm around, you'll always be SECONDBEST. You're gonna have to learn to live with that.

Thus, I wrote in beST in the SW corner, my only writeover. Shoulda known. But YEESH! What fill! Practically the whole east coast was a disaster area, as if KATRINA had hit there instead. I will not enumerate. And we paid this awful price (XES?!?) for a so-so theme. Thank goodness I don't have to "resolve" this puzzle. Once was more than enough. Double-bogey.

Burma Shave 3:17 PM  


"Don't DESPAIR, give SECONDBEST a whirl,


Anonymous 5:10 PM  

Do only snowflakes solve puzzles? "Noose" and/or its clue is...insensitive? Surely what with the China threat, coronavirus, and either a Commie or a dementia patient being the only hope we have of unseating El Trumpo, we have more substantial things to stew about.
Get a life...

rondo 5:47 PM  

Got a small tehee from RECOVERGITRL and RECESSPOOLS.

I put a big square around NOOSE expecting another NOOSE rant from OFL. It seems others have taken up the cause in place of OFL. The word NOOSE is only offensive if you make it so. A NOOSE at the end of your rope could be for catching your horse, tying on to something from your boat, even to rescue someone, like Timmy from the well. Stop being pre-offended by an innocent word that has never done anything to you. A NOOSE is a fancy loop and nothing more. Any other interpretation and you're so 'woke' you'll never sleep. Get over yourselves. YEESH.

Apologies to Ms. ENGEL, Ms. SWIT, LAURA, SARA, TILDA, and TYRA (no TIRO), but today I single out the only KATRINA I ever 'knew'. One-time beer cart GIRL and bartender; 6 feet tall with long raven hair; smart as a whip. KATRINA could turn any man's (or woman's) head. Last I heard she was working for a think-tank in D.C. Yeah baby.

Simple concept; probably time to reciteyoursources.

Diana, LIW 7:23 PM  

A fine Sunday - nothing more or less. Nice to see a daughter/father team!

Diana, LIW

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