Pirate plunder / THU 2-20-20 / Sweet and healing medicine of troubles per Horace / Oscar-nominated actor with nearly synonymous first and last names / Where the Ko'olau range is located

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Constructor: Joe Deeney

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (not sure of exact solving time as I had to wrestle with rebus squares in my software)

THEME: PIECES OF EIGHT (53A: Pirate plunder ... or a hint to interpreting an appropriate number of squares in this puzzle) — eight "8" squares, I guess ... so it's "eight" phonetically (i.e. "ATE") in the Acrosses and two "O"s in the Downs ... I guess the numeral "8" represents two "O"s one on top of the other ... [sigh]

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: Chicago's EDEN'S Expressway (67A: Chicago's ___ Expressway) —
The William G. Edens Expressway (also known as the Edens Parkway and the Edens Superhighway) is the main major expressway north from the city of Chicago to Northbrook, Illinois. Only the short portion from the spur ramp to the expressway's end in Highland Park does not carry I-94. It was the first expressway in Chicago and was opened on December 20, 1951. It has three lanes in each direction. The original name of the expressway was the Edens Parkway, named after William G. Edens, a banker and early advocate for paved roads. He was a sponsor of Illinois' first highway bond issue in 1918. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was annoying to solve. Why do constructors keep trying to do Soooooo much? I don't mean mere ambition, I mean whistles and bells that just make things a mess. It's "8" in the grid but ATE in the Across and "OO" in the Downs *and* there are 8 theme squares and there's a "pirate" (?) phrase for a revealer?! People will ooh and aah at the "impressive feat of construction," but the solving experience was unpleasant. It was especially unpleasant if, like so many people, you didn't solve it on paper. For me, it was just a dumb "why is ATE crossing OO and really is that the only thing that's happening? and it's just going to *keep* happening!?!?" HATERS GONNA HATE is a fun phrase, and I enjoyed remembering that "SCHOOL DAZE" existed, but the rest of it, no thanks.

Found the ATE/OO thing very early with UPLATE / GOOF UP (two "up" phrases crossing, really? OMG no, SAT UP is right there too, with "UP" crossing the "UP" in GOOF UP— that's all truly horrid). And then it was just a slog, with PIECES OF EIGHT only kinda sorta bringing it all together. I guess the "PIECES" are the 8 squares? I had some trouble seeing PIECES OF EIGHT because I had MOOR instead of COVE at one point (54D: Spot to lay anchor). I had a *lot* of wrong answers. PARKS for POLLS (24A: They close at 9 p.m. in New York); MLS before XFL (59D: Sports org. with the New York Guardians and Seattle Dragons); Nation of ISLES instead of Nation of ISLAM (don't ask, man, I have no idea what my brain was doing there) (30D: Nation of ___). The worst error by far was SLOGS (and then PLODS) for PLOWS (49A: Goes (through) laboriously). What a gangly awkward clue on such a basic word. Because of my wrong answer(s), I couldn't see YIPE (43D: Cry of surprise) (it's YIPES, btw). I also just couldn't get to CLICK (47D: Hit it off), and I really really wasn't expecting a theme square down there, so CRATER and WHOOPI were rough. The rest of the grid wasn't much trouble. It also wasn't much fun.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:09 AM  

Mediumish once I caught on. Pretty darn clever. Liked it a bunch and Jeff gave it POW.

Brian P 12:12 AM  

The NY Times app accepted OO in the rebus square making it all worthwhile. TAILGOOPARTY lol.

Joaquin 12:15 AM  

I found this pretty easy so maybe @Rex is right (as I solve on paper). Once I found the first OO/ATE it became a search and destroy mission of finding and entering the rest of them. And that wasn't at all difficult. Unusual (for me) to be able to fly through a Thursday.

Patrick O'Connor 12:23 AM  

I'm sorry you didn't have a good time, Rex. I was right on the puzzle maker's wavelength, but it actually sounds as if, objectively, you were too: you said, "Why is ATE crossing OO going down, groan!" and I was, "Why is ATE crossing OO going down, interesting!" and then when I got there I felt that the revealer, y'know, revealed--

asdfasfd 12:29 AM  

Even more annoyingly, this echoed the random rebus in the mini, which I wish they'd just ditch entirely. What the heck is the point of doing rebuses there if you're only gonna bust them out every 3-6 months? My casual solver friends all forgot that you could enter something other than a letter.

This was a slog, especially the garden of EDENS in the south. Agree with rex that the pieces of 8 revealer was cheesy and overcomplicated.

29:04 and I felt accomplished when I finished even if I was only about 40% sure I'd be completing it when I figured out 20A.

Ron 12:30 AM  

I personally found this to be a really cool and fun Thursday theme. I got the theme pretty quick and everything fell into place except for the SE. I don't really track times, but definitely a much faster than average Thursday for me!

asdfasfd 12:30 AM  

Also come on, Rex. The pieces of eight are the two 0s that make up an 8.

Anonymous 12:32 AM  

Silly me used the rebus to write "ATE/OO" in the required squares. 8? Really? Of course, the app said I had at least one wrong square. I couldn't find a thing wrong. I came here to be saved. Donation forthcoming.

G. Weissman 12:36 AM  

Worst NYT crossword week ever?

One nit: I’d have thought that “goes (through) laboriously” would be PLODS. PLOWS generally refers to going through something sizable, like a big meal, a crowd of people, or a pile of work, surprisingly quickly. “Wow, you really plowed through that ice cream sundae” does not mean that you ate it in a laborious manner. Am I mistaken?

Hey, ever notice that one O above another kinda almost sorta looks like an eight? And that eight sounds the same as ate? Ergo, O O = ate? That’s what this puzzle’s all about, sadly. Yes, it’s come to this.

okanaganer 12:38 AM  

What the heck..
Ohh! a rebus... 'ATE' something...
But no, in the down direction it's 'OO'?
OK it's both... I'll just put in the digit 8 until I figure this out...
WTF!... happy pencil???!!
Oh oh oh! Nice!

The best Thursday in a long time. Fun and crazy.

Anonymous 12:55 AM  

It’s actually worse than your assessment (IMO). The app won’t accept “ate” for the rebus squares but will accept “oo”. I never actually put together what the theme was getting at, but still finished with an average time until I had to “check puzzle” and all my “ate”s were “wrong”

Randy (Boulder) 1:08 AM  

I thought this was a really fun one.

Bourbon Street 1:10 AM  

Horrible. Just horrible. I got the ATE/OO “theme” right away, but the NYTXW app wouldn’t take those entries as an answer, so I had to insert “8” instead. Ridiculous. There have been some puzzles I haven’t liked, but this one rises to the top.

Anonymous 1:21 AM  

There is something so unbearably clumsy about solving these complex rebuses online--and needlessly so; it's just a bad, frustrating, and unsatisfying user experience. Online solvers are essentially punished by the inability of the software designer to make entry of rebuses easy and intuitive.

Just an ugly and frustrating experience--and I got the rebuses.

Jyqm 1:44 AM  

Well, I don’t solve on paper either, but I possess enough imagination to understand what this concept would look like were I actually writing the answers in manually, plus I don’t rigorously time myself on what is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby, so I found this to be an absolute delight, even if HOORSGONNAHOO and other answers look supremely silly in the app. I expect a weird challenge on Thursday, which this certainly delivered, and for my money, there are very few truly bad fill entries in this grid. Figuring out the rebus was a brow-furrowing and then smile-inducing process, which is exactly what I enjoy at this point in the week. But I suppose if your only real goal is to constantly find fault — “This is barely a theme! This other theme is too complicated!” — this puzzle might necessarily fail to pass muster.

Ah, well. Some people continue to solve this puzzle every day despite hating it nine times out of ten. And some of us continue to read this blog every day despite the inverse ratio of interesting/insightful commentary to utterly boring pissing and moaning. Whaddaya gonna do?

Solverinserbia 1:48 AM  

I liked it. I see a slight problem with all the UPs in the NW but otherwise it was a cool trick to have 8 mean "ate" and OO.

I thought UPLATE would be an answer so that's when I suspected a rebus and it clicked on THEFOURTHEST8/SCH8LDAZE both of which I knew were right.

JW 1:59 AM  

This one was a big NOPE for me. Rarely do puzzle acrobatics irk me, but this one did. It was trying too hard to be clever, and just did not succeed.

albatross shell 2:25 AM  

Loved the whole thing, including going back and changing the ATEs to 8s after the 3rd or 4th one after I saw the downs had to be read as OOs. Knew this would piss off the speed solvers. Crocodile tears shed I, but no ill will at all. I did not count them, but assume there are 8 8s, and no other 8s in the puzzle except the reveal, which is a written eight, and not an ATE 8. Perfection.

And the reveal a common phrase, a real thing. Which Rex always demands.
Several wrong answers but I thought were clever traps. I only wrote one wrong one in for 9pm closings, but thought, in order, jails, cells. tolls polls.

RIPTORN ha! But I think it is a repeat. Many things I did not know but got anyway:OAHU KEPI XFL EDENS ENID OLEG. I did look up the Spike Lee movie cause even if I could finish it would take more time than I had to give. My only look up. Good for me on a tThursday.

Liked the clue for STRIP.



WaIting for the Epstein

My PHEW GURU says he knew.

Gabe Tuerk 2:59 AM  

To each their own. This was pure (Spanish) gold for me. They should have worked in dubloon as a theme clue though. Lost opportunity!

cap10david 3:58 AM  

Jeez Rex, curmudgeon much? I check in every day just to see what you found wrong with this one, and you rarely disappoint. Do you really hope that every constructor can reset the bar for what is linguistically possible every day? When I got the rebus today it was a nice little aha and I saluted the constructor for his efforts. I suspect for most of us all we expect is a pleasant bit of wordplay with our morning coffee and most days provide that just fine. Some people even appreciate a groaner or two along the way - dad jokes are a thing is dads have a weakness for famously. Interesting one of the only phrases you liked today is 35 across....

Rique Beleza 4:29 AM  

Everyone complaining about the clumsy rebus simply didn’t think of typing in “8”. No rebus, no complaints.

Ver Fun!

bulgie 6:15 AM  

Loved it except when the app told me I failed somewhere. Then the "aha" came, and I had to go back and change 8 squares from "ATE/OO" to "8" -- my bad! Then I was still a DNF because I had never imagined a sports league could start with X, so I assumed the adult film must be RRATED.

I hate to DNF but I'll take the blame. At least I learned something. Loved the trick, perfect Thursday teaser.

BarbieBarbie 6:17 AM  

Wow. What a bunch of whiney mini-Rexes. Me too, me too, let ME pile on and I’ll even ostentatiously walk out of a football game if you just give me the chance... oh wait, that’s Pence. My mistake. Different sucking sound.

I did not and do not marvel at the construction. I did not solve on paper. I did love love love solving this puzzle because first there was the growing awareness of rebushood, then figuring it out, then a huge chuckle out of the revealer. If you actually wrote “OO” in the rebus square you may not have had the same fun Aha, plus you were wrong by 90 degrees and I’m surprised the app allowed it. It would definitely have introduced a “wait- what?!?” to the solve.

I love a good Thursday. And this was a gr8 Thursday. It’s going to be a good day! More please!

Anonymous 6:28 AM  

Had to come here to figure out how ateoo, written crossing each other, worked out. Duh.
New clue for 35A: "What Will Shortz would say to Rex Parker"

PGregory Springer 6:28 AM  

Great fun. Granted, I had a couple of squares with a-t-e/o-o before I got it, but then plunked down an 8 in the online puzzle and finished more quickly than usual for a Thursday. Kudos.

Hungry Mother 6:30 AM  

Great theme and almost a good puzzle spoiled by the Natick in the S. No editing?

ncmathsadist 6:34 AM  

not ATE but 8.

Ernonymous 6:39 AM  

@anon I did the same except I wrote OO/ATE in the squares.

Lewis 6:46 AM  

Biiiig AHA and HAHA when on the app my double-0's turned into 8s and I saw those 0's go vertical!

I'm not going to detail my solving process on this gem of a puzzle; I'll just say that it was gradual and very satisfying.

What I most of all want to say is this. I have done many competently-made crosswords over the years that just felt like exercise for exercise's sake. That is, that despite the able construction, the puzzle came off as vapid, it fell flat, and I left the puzzle thinking that my time could have been better spent. Only very rarely has that happened with the NYT puzzle, which consistently has wit, spark, and shine, today's fine puzzle included.

High credit to Shortz and co. for the effort and talent to pull this off, to keep the bar that high. And to you as well, Joe, for one terrific solving experience!

LeaveItToYourGoat 6:51 AM  

Man, I can't disagree more with Rex. Aside from the UP answers in the NW, this one was brilliant.

I started with BAR and RELET immediately in the NW. I couldn’t figure any more out, so I worked my way south. I was 1000% sure 28-D was going to be TOO SOON, so I figured I was dealing with a rebus, but had no idea which square it was going to be in. Got down into the SW and figured out X-R8D pretty quick, so I immediately went back to 28-D and filled in 2 SOON, thinking this was going to just be a GAME of number/word homonyms. Then TAILG8PARTY basically jumped out at me, so that ZAPped that idea. Next one I got was ONAD8, so at that point I realized I’d pretty much just be dealing with 8s. I filled in H8TRS GONNA H8 with only the R in place, and it finally CLICKed. The 8s in the acrosses make the “ate” sound, and the 8s in the downs make the “oo” sound. MIND BLOWN, to borrow an answer from a couple weeks ago. I’ve never seen this theme before, so it was a real pleasure PLOWing through it.

My biggest disappointment with the theme was that the revealer at 53-A PIECES OF EIGHT only hinted at the “ate” sound for across answers. I’d figured that part out first, so for some reason I was expecting the revealer to hint at the “oo” sound for the down answers. Something about bOOty? Or lOOt?

Some really good clues here as well. 12-A (Support for a religious group?) was pretty clever for PEW. Same with 32-D (Pockets of the Middle East?) for PITAS. Had EST at 37-A for the longest time. I didn’t like LIE IDLE at 41-D. I really wanted Lay IDLE. Not sure which one is grammatically correct, but “lay” sounded better. I was proud of myself for knowing ODIN right away at 57-D (For whom Wednesday is named). I can’t remember how I know that one for the life of me though.

41 minutes / no mistakes is pretty good for me for a Thursday.

Syndicate Bob 6:52 AM  

Super easy for me. No sweat converting ate\oo to 8 after the revealer. I must confess to getting a wee bit of pleasure at the utter anguish some solvers like OFL had with slow times related to need-for-speed, power user, fancy computer applications. Today, the turtle beat the hare with paper and pencil. “Top of the world, ma!”

BobL 7:02 AM  

That was fun. Agree with the POW.

@barbibarbi - "bunch of whiney mini-Rexes" Also a POW (phrase of the week)

Biffissimo 7:04 AM  

Rex I loved it. I had a little trouble at first but then saw haters gonna hate and figured out the 8 from there. You’re not a fan? I guess haters gonna hate

kitshef 7:09 AM  

Not to brag, but I am also a two-time Time Magazine Person of the Year (1966 and 2006).

Just learned the New York Guardians at pub trivia last night, so that was lucky.

A gem of a puzzle. I do with OPAH could have been eliminated. The rest … mwah.

R. Koothrappali 7:11 AM  

Loved this. Fantastic Thursday. Best in a while Lots of fun to solve and to suss out.

And on top of it all, a meta anticipating Rex's reaction (see 36A)!

OffTheGrid 7:11 AM  

***************THE MINI SPOILER ALERT******************

THE MINI also used "8" today but at least had the decency to have the "8" work both ways at the cross.
I'm not a HATER but I'll make an exception for today's main event.

LeaveItToYourGoat 7:28 AM  


You're right on the money. I believe speed solvers, like Rex, tend to fill in the down answers first. So for them it's much harder to see how "OO" can make an "ate" sound than it is to see how "8" is literally two Os on top of each other.

I had five 8s filled in for across answers before I noticed that they were double Os for the down answers. That was a real moment of satisfaction.

"No rebus, no complaints," you say?

Pirate meme says, "Well yes, but actually no."

RavTom 7:32 AM  

@LMS: Come back. We miss you.

Petsounds 7:32 AM  

I thought this was a great puzzle, and I'm not a big fan of rebuses. But here they were used to good effect. My first get was SCHOOLDAZE, which got me the OO rebus but didn't get me to 8. And I'm looking at 20A and wondering how a description of journalism could possibly end in OO. Finally got that at TOOSOON crossing with H8RS. Really enjoyed the brain workout and still came in under my Thursday average. I do have to agree with Rex and others who thought that PLODS fit the clue, not PLOWS. That one hung me up for a bit. But that's the only nit I have to pick. Thank you, Joe!

Seth 7:38 AM  

Looks like the makings of a theme! Turn "ATE"s sideways into "OO"s, wackiness ensues.

QuasiMojo 7:42 AM  

Can someone please explain why "through" is in parentheses in the PLOWS clue?

Z 7:42 AM  

Well, at least there’s no middle ground on this one.

Reactions seem to really depend on how one feels about the whole “8 is a homophone one way and a visual pun the other way” thing and how well one’s software handled the rebus (it is a rebus). Let me suggest that if a large subset of solvers’ experience is going to be negatively effected by something unrelated to the actual puzzle, fix that something. The complaints about software that happen whenever a constructor tries something like this usually overwhelm the early comments. Today, I don’t see why any software would except anything but an 8 in those squares.

Setting aside the whole software thing and the ongoing inability of anyone but PuzzAzz to ever get it consistently right, I had a DNF because I wrote 800 in each square and never sussed out that a simple 8 would suffice. Discovering that my DNF resulted from not remembering something that was interesting when I was six was, well, not exactly an aha moment. More of a “seriously?” moment. I see lots of people liked this, but it just did not tickle my funny bone today.

I am also wondering about other’s response to the pop culture cluing. The whole solve I kept thinking the cluing choices were a little forced. OLEG, ENID, ADRIAN, OAHU, WHOOPI, going to Horace for the MUSIC clue. All of them had a “let’s go a little further down on the Wiki page” feel to me. I did appreciate not trying to force a bad plural clue on EDENS (having listened to WLS as a teen helped there) and the straightforward clue for LOHAN, but those were the exceptions today.

Z 7:53 AM  

@Quasimojo - Seems superfluous to me. Normally the parenthetical is needed to make the answer actually work, but since PLOWS can mean “PLOWS through” it doesn’t seem necessary to me. Maybe “Goes laboriously” was thought to be too much of a stretch, but then why not just “Goes through laboriously” sans parentheses? The only explanation I can come up with is that some people never use PLOWS for “PLOWS through,” but I’m not really buying that explanation.

pabloinnh 8:00 AM  

It appears that solving on paper eliminates lots of problems. I just made my little 8's look like slightly disconnected circles stacked up, and there was my 8 and my oo sound, problem solved.

This puzzle was a lot of fun. That's a fact.

This puzzle was a slog and too clever and no fun. That's an opinion.

Thanks for the fun, JD. Loved it. Thursdazo!

Suzie Q 8:05 AM  

I love rebus puzzles so to get a double rebus really made my day.
I got the "ate" part very early but when I realized the "oo" part
and the light bulb turned on I was thrilled.
As a pen and paper solver I get bored hearing about the glitches of on line solving. Sorry but some days it pays to be a dinosaur.

Devon 8:16 AM  

My personal favorite was HOOERS GONNA HOO

Unknown 8:27 AM  

Couldn’t disagree more, Rex. This was a joy to solve and discover the 8 gimmick towards the end. I typically enjoy your snark but have a hard time seeing how this well constructed and clever theme could elect such a review.

wgh 8:43 AM  

Checked off all the right boxes for me. H8rs gonna h8.

gregg 8:50 AM  

Agree wholeheartedly. We read this blog for the insightful comments rather than OFL's daily screed.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

Huge flaw that the app accepted 'oo' or '8' but not 'ate' in the rebus squares. Spent ages trying to figure that out.

Nancy 8:54 AM  

Oh, wait -- I see now. You put one O right below another O -- as you do in the case of the Downs -- and the two "O"s now look like an 8. Sort of. I mean you can create an 8 that way, but how many people actually do? Still, at least it explains the "OO"s as PIECES OF EIGHT -- each O is one PIECE of the 8. I get it. And I'm very happy to have this explanation, to tell the truth.

Birchbark 8:56 AM  

In WHIRLP8LS, the "8" maps a surface current sometimes seen heading down the river. Cross it with SALEM and you don't want to spend too much time looking at it.

DavidL 9:00 AM  

Did EVERYONE just know that PIECES OF EIGHT are Spanish coins? Is that just a commonly known thing that somehow fell through the cracks of my reading/schooling? Doesn't even ring the faintest bell. I hate when that happens.

Mohair Sam 9:09 AM  

POW for sure, and best Thursday in a while. Tons of fun to fill, great "aha!" moment - and a nod to a terrific (and new) idea from the constructor. "PIECES" OF EIGHT a perfect revealer, btw.

@Z - well said. Seems like Rex had a software problem and blamed the puzzle. The downside of speed solving I guess.

And Rex enjoyed H8TERS GONNA H8? Irony.

Ernonymous 9:13 AM  

Notice that Rex doesn't post his time if on a weekday it's more than 6 minutes. My guess is without his excuses this took him 20 minutes to 30 minutes so he won't tell us.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

Solving with the app, I tried ATE in all the rebus squares. Then, when i got the red slashes, I tried OO which worked. Finally 8 appeared in all the rebus squares. Then, only then, I finally understood the ATE/OO squares -- until then the ATE/OO substitution mystified me. That was a delightful aha moment, even if it did come when the puzzle was completed. Two ways to look at 8 -- a cognate and a stack of O's -- beautiful.


Mikey from El Prado 9:24 AM  

If Rex wasn’t so obsessed with his time to complete, he may have enjoyed it more. So it took longer to switch from letters to numbers in the app. I thought it a clever theme, with little impact on the fill.... In fact, the 8’s enhanced the downfall in elegant fashion.
Find the good instead of the bad, and life is better.

Paul Emil 9:29 AM  

Lots of reaction today. Full scope of responses. Rebus expected on Thursday.Today's what a rebus should be. A successful puzzle construction.

WinthorpeIII 9:35 AM  

H8ed it. Next.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

Truly a terrific puzzle Mr. Deeney. The nifty two-planed rebus was of course marvelous. The bonus for me was Rex missing the point of OO's making an eight. Hard to decide whether that whiff or the fact that he thinks, or ever thought, NYC parks close at 8. Man, he really is in the hustings.

Thanks again. Look forward to your next puzzle.

RooMonster 9:48 AM  

Hey All !
Put me in the Liked It camp. Some H8 comments so far. It's just a puz, a distraction for a few minutes (or longer), it's not a reflection on your mental abilities or IQ. Don't get upset about the little things.

Off my soapbox, this was a pretty cool concept. I was one of the "wrote in OO's" people, and just took for granted the "ate"-ness in the Acrosses. Did online today, on the $39/year NYT App, and it accepted the OO's, then once I got the Happy Music, it turned the OO's into 8's! Then an, "Ohhh, I see now!" moment. Too clever for the ole brain to grasp as I was solving.

Some tricky clues and answers. Took me a while to figure out the theme, thought for a minute the answers would go throught the OO's, then turn down one square, or somesuch. Got it at WHIRLPOOL, figuring XFL was probably the answer to 59D, and with the OO of WHIRLPOOL, grokked XR8D, and then the dominoes fell. Filled in the other rebus spots where I was having trouble getting anything to work.

So, chalk this up to a cool puz. HATERS GONNA HATE, ain't that the truth. Why isn't there a LOVERS GONNA LOVE phrase?

Two F's

Sir Hillary 9:49 AM  

L∞k, I won't p∞h-p∞h the effort here -- this must have taken a g∞d amount of time to cre8, and I congratul8 Mr. Deeney on pulling it off. But ultim8ly, I'm with @Rex -- there's just t∞ much going on for me to appreci8 it from a solving perspective.

Loved the PEW clue though!

relicofthe60s 9:50 AM  

Great puzzle and didn’t require a rebus. Just put 8 in the 8 squares. For those who solve in the NYT app, it was cute that the mini puzzle also had an 8.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

I could be wrong, but it seems like the people who time themselves have the most negative things to say about a given puzzle. I've never understood the appeal of trying to beat the clock on an activity that's should to be amusing and relaxing.

But then again, maybe trying to beat the clock (or their own best time) is fun to some. I call it an exercise in frustration. They're always angry when the clock wins. And some, like Rex, blame the puzzle.

Z 9:58 AM  

Accept, not except - Why does auto-corrupt not catch those kinds of mistakes?

@DavidL - Because pirate movies used to be a big thing and even if you didn’t actually watch any the lingo crept out into general usage. For all the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels nothing much seems to have stuck in the zeitgeist from those movies. Well, maybe the image of Johnny Depp channeling Keith Richards, but that’s it. Anyway, I’m thinking anyone under 40 might be less familiar with the term.

@Mohair Sam - How can it not? As a general paper solver I always dread the days when software glitches impact the comments. Thinking you’ve finished the puzzle and then having to guess what the puzzle software will accept is always irksome. Add to it that all the software apps time the solve, enticing you to care even if you know you really shouldn’t, and it’s a recipe for frustration. I love having puzzles available on my iPad wherever I go. But solving on paper is a better experience. But, yeah, you have to wonder if Rex would have liked this more if he had hit on using the 8 sooner.

I’m seeing several comments like @Roo’s “ HATERS GONNA HATE, ain't that the truth. Why isn't there a LOVERS GONNA LOVE phrase?” Let me juxtapose “Good is the enemy of Great.”

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

I always solve on paper, so the only problem I ever have is having the ability to scrunch in the letters. Often, I just put a black dot in the appropriate squares. I don't have to worry about whether an AI program believes I am correct. I guess I amluckier than some ere. But I must say that if you pay for something, it should work properly.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Anybody else find it insulting that Z says that the crux of this puzzle was something he found interesting when he was six years old? What's that mean Z? do those of who found it interesting have the mental ability of six year olds?

Nancy 10:16 AM  

I wrote a long comment earlier and it got lost. I don't have the energy to re-write it. I liked the puzzle a lot, but would have liked it more if I'd actually understood the OO Downs. I was perplexed by the puzzle, but very proud of myself for solving it. For my original comment, you can find it on Wordplay, but I wouldn't bother if I were you.

Swagomatic 10:19 AM  

I liked it. It was a bit frustrating, having the grid almost totally filled in and still being flummoxed. But, PIECES OF 8 & WHOOPI came to the rescue, and it was all downhill from there.

Z 10:34 AM  

@Anon10:06 - That’s certainly one way to read what I wrote. I dunno, maybe not everyone noticed that an 8 can be made by making an o on top of an o back in first grade, but I assumed most people did. For some, being reminded of this will be amusing. For me, it wasn’t. So another way of reading what I wrote could be de gustibus non est disputandum (which is a Latin phrase meaning roughly the same as my last sentence in that paragraph). {In case anyone is wondering - this post has already been edited for sarcasm - Any sarcasm left is just a character flaw}


Taffy-Kun 10:36 AM  

Hear Hear!

Carola 10:38 AM  

On the Goldilocks meter, this one was Just Right for me: tough to get a handle on + a gratifying moment of comprehension + fun writing in the two coins in the proper squares (that they could be stacked into 8s didn't occur to me; all the nicer).
One do-over: Me, too, for PLOdS. Help from previous puzzles: KEPI. No idea: OLEG, ADRIAN.

@Joe Deeney, terrific Thursday, thank you.

webwinger 10:40 AM  

With help from the revealer got the ATEs pretty quickly and entered that string as a rebus, correctly assuming it would appear eight times. Then took way longer than it should have to see the OOs. (Agree it would have helped if the revealer clue had referred to bOOty instead of plunder.) No happy music on completion led to a long and fruitless search for errors, until finally the light bulb lit and after quickly putting in the eight 8s got the tune. I’d rate it a pretty satisfying AHA! moment.

Given the theme density I thought the fill was pretty decent. Knew most of the PPP stuff. Having lived in Chicago for many years made EDENS a gimme, way better IMO than pluralizing the garden as was done in another recent puzzle I recall.

TJS 10:41 AM  

I'll tellya how bad this puzzle experience was: I agree with everything Rex and @Z said about it. Sheesh.

Brad Johnson 10:41 AM  

Solved on paper, it was fun. Too many UPs but otherwise the FILL was very good.

I feel like H8TERSGONNAH8 was directed at Rex...

Ethan Taliesin 10:44 AM  

I liked it, I was really perplexed at the start.

I had to get PIECESOFEIGHT before I realized the trick and then mopped it right on up up.

Skaters used to use the 8 as in "Sk8 or Die!"

Pete 10:44 AM  

@Z - No it wasn't. I mean, it wasn't a realistic way of reading what you wrote. It's just HATERS gotta (it's gotta, not GONNA) HATE. I'm about the same age as you but with different geography, but in the first grade we were actually taught that an 8 is a stack of little 0's. As a 64yo, it's not that interesting. Finding words or phrases to cross [ate] with [oo] and replacing them with a rebus is no more or less interesting, nor probably difficult, than finding words that cross at [z].

Ernonymous 10:47 AM  

@anon you are such a tr0ll. You come here to troll Z and your schtick is really getting old. You try so hard to twist his words. Find another hobby.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Maybe I'm too sensitive, but it seems to me Z's comment denigrated not only the puzzle but those who found it interesting. How is that twisting what he said? hell, Pete just reiterated Z's centrail claim. Is he twisting Z's words?
I'll bow out, but i'd love to know.

Newboy 11:17 AM  

XR8D indeed in Rex’s house, but then H8RSGONNAH8 as the puz suggests. I’m with Chen whose POW is certainly justified today. I live for Thursdays, especially when a rebus plays in as a secondary TRAP. I too had moments of stunned silence looking for the missing X in that final empty SW square & cringed at the W where I knew PLOdS had to go, but I was delighted to have those coinages emerging to complete my grid. Ample space in most puzzles for those who love & those who H8; wish there were equal latitude for OBAMA & all other POTUS past and future. And before I finally tip my KEPI to Joe, I have to recommend an excellent read about how the RIO Roosevelt got its name: The River of Doubt by Millard is a gripping yarn if you enjoy nonfiction.

Debra 11:21 AM  

Very clever puzzle. Enjoyed it.

Anonymous 11:41 AM  

the thing about timers is that it only makes sense, i.e. getting faster, with the various apps which allow, so far as I know, an infinite amount of overwrite. can't do that on paper, so most of us (assuming I'm like most of us!) check the crosses before writing in anything that isn't PPP, and obvious. even if you're instrument of choice is a pencil, since paper, esp. newspaper, can take only so much scrubbing. and NYT didn't pack in an Arts section in any of the papers on my newsstand. again.

Ernonymous 11:48 AM  

@ethan T yes us sk8ers actually said SK8 FREE OR DIE! I have the tee shirt!

webwinger 11:58 AM  

How about: Found with doublOOns in pirate bOOty, in the clue for 53A?

Remembering the theme song for The Mystery of Applegate’s Treasure with the Hardy Boys on the old old Mickey Mouse Club shows: Gold doubloons and pieces of eight, all belonged to Applegate...

Eben 11:58 AM  

Fascinating that this one is so polarizing. I loved it. I got the revealer very early and it gave me the info I needed to get moving! It was fun sniffing out the rebuses after that. H8RSGONNAH8 and T8S8 (Too Soon) were fabulous.

Suzie Q 12:03 PM  

@ Birchbark, I always read your comments but today you are too enigmatic for me. I'd love to know what you are talking about.

jberg 12:04 PM  

I liked the theme a lot. But for me the best part of the puzzle was reading the clue for 15A, "Robert Galbraith, to J.K. Rowling," having no idea but figuring if it was 5 letters he must be or have been her lover. Fortunately, I didn't write it in, as I couldn't make any of the crosses work.

Having ruled that one out, I kept working the acrosses vainly until I finally got to 19A and was able to write in wHEW. That made it tough to see RIP TORN, but it eventually sorted itself out.

I got the OO part from SNOOPS, so I wrote in two little Os on the diagonal; it took me much longer to see the horizontal 8. But at last I had TAIL at 40A, and the scales fell from my eyes. I really enjoyed figuring it out.

The hardest part for me was THE FOURTH ESTATE. I was so sure of it that I wrote it in, without the article, without checking the length-- and was suddenly looking at empty squares between T and 8. I figured it out right away--the hard part was trying to determine what letter I had in each of those squares after writing the correct answer over the incorrect one.

@DavidL -- nothing particular to pirates about them, just that PIECES OF EIGHT, aka Spanish Dollars, were the most widely used international currency of the 16th century. They were minted to exacting standards of silver content, and milled around the edges so that one couldn't scrape off bits of silver without getting caught. So people would accept them at face value.

@Rex, you need to find a friend who'll take you out in a yacht; you always get these nautical terms wrong. Moor is a synonym for "lay anchor;" a COVE is a place where you might moor.

jberg 12:05 PM  

Also, @kitshef, if you're telling the truth about 1966, we all owe you our thanks.

Anonymous 12:06 PM  


Wundrin' 12:14 PM  

THEFOURTHESTOO? HOORSGONNAHOO? What the hell's going on here. Did I have a stroke?

ghostoflectricity 12:18 PM  

About the puzzle: Yes, annoying, "clever" in all the wrong ways, and unpleasant solving experience.

Funny that you chose not to mention that The Nation of Islam is a hate group. Interesting for someone- a university instructor, no less- so quick to use anal profanities to describe anyone who doesn't share HIS definition of political righteousness and correct thinking. If I ever author my own dictionary, I will use the name "Rex Parker" as synonyms for "selective outrage" and "hypocrite."

Masked and Anonymous 12:19 PM  

This puppy 8 my lunch, for many many nanoseconds. Then I finally sorta caught on, once I figured out the SCH(ATE?)LD?ZE answer. Woulda been somewhat easier, if I hadn't misread "plunder" in the 53-A revealer clue as "blunder". Self-confused again, M&A breath. Arrrrg.

Good ThursPuz challenge. Fave themer: UPLOO. Sorta like up late, on the can.
Only 6 U's here, which normally would be gr8t -- or groot, if U will -- but there really should be 8 U's today, just for completeness sake.

staff weeject pick: ATE. Lil rebus darlin.
fave fillins included: RIPTORN. PEW/PHEW. HUNCH [Wanted SENSE, for tooo long].
Nice GAME clue … sucked m&e into wantin SUIT, as no doubt designed.

Thanx for the feisty plunderin pirate puz, Mr. Deeney. Really not much OO de Speration in the puz, other than what I inflicted on myself. Good job.

Masked & Anonym6Us

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

@Anonymous Trolling Z. Yes you took what he wrote, and examined to see if you could find another meaning in what he said, that was insulting, so you could bring it up. You think you may have found something hostile in his comment, something he certainly didn't mean. Your words: What's that mean Z? do those of who found it interesting have the mental ability of six year olds?
If you have to ask what it means, then it doesn't mean that and you and we all KNOW he didn't mean that. You are really looking deep into his comment to find something to call him out on. It's not twisting his words, so sorry I said that. It's trying really hard to pull something out that isn't there. For the sake of sh*t stirring ie trolling. Try harder next time.

Amelia 12:32 PM  

Did it on paper. Biggest problem was figuring out how to put the o's or whatever they were. Got it at the fourth est8. Not exactly thrilled but I get it that the 8 was just the sound, not the spelling. As I write that, I think that's a bit of a nitpick. Ok puzzle. Reminded me of the WSJ.

Amelia's complaint of the day: It's not ALIAS. It's PSEUDONYM. Ok, maybe it's okay, but doesn't it usually mean something or someone nefarious? Don't answer that.

Robert Galbraith wrote a series of mysteries starring CB Strike. They're FANTASTIC. Especially on audiobook. There's a Cinemax series, too, that's also great. Really under the radar. I think it's called CB Strike. That would be Amelia's recommendation of the day.


Whatsername 12:40 PM  

Similar to my reaction yesterday, I applaud the constructor’s effort at creating this puzzle for my entertainment. And it was a brilliant effort today, with the end result a stellar example of how to use a rebus in a crossword. Unfortunately I did not get the whole visual 8/oo concept and instead had a grid filled with double rebuses of OO over ATE, so it was more of a frustrated “what the heck” than a joyful “aha” moment for me. Seemed like kind of a cruel trick at first but now that I see it, I can understand why others loved it, and I probably would have too if the light bulb had come on sooner.

@kitshef at 7:09 - I am happy to know that I’m right there with you as a twice honored Time Person of the Year! I had no idea, so thanks for that bit of trivia this morning.

@Z at 7:42 - Rest assured that your comment was not the least bit insulting. I learned many things as a six-year-old that are not as interesting as they probably seemed then. One lesson I learned was to form the number 8 as one continuous loop from the top to the bottom and back to the top and NOT as two stacked O’s. Maybe that’s why I didn’t get the whole pieces of 8 thing, I wasn’t taught to do it that way. Anyway, your remark was inoffensive, innocuous and I’m sure innocently stated.

Big Daddy Dave 12:40 PM  

I like me my Rex. Almost always agree with his take on the puzzle. But not today. This was about as good as a Thursday every gets, and the different meanings across and down make it sparkle.

Geezer 12:43 PM  

The constructor really reached far for this and yet, still missed.

Marc Kwiatkowski 12:47 PM  

I really enjoyed this one. I knew 10D had to be SCHOOLDAZE (I just watched it the night before!) and just needed enough crosses to work out which letters were doubled up. that got me TOOSOON and SNOOP. PIECESOFEIGHT was a gimme for anyone who's read Stevenson's Treasure Island.

I knew 40 had to be tailgateparty but I couldn't figure out how to get there. I counted eight "OO"s, mulled over the revealer and then it clicked. I thought it was very enjoyable. I found the asymmetry of the rebus clever. I can see though, if you got one of the crosses early on and put ATE or ATE/OO in the rebus square, that you'd really be fighting the app and your technically correct answer would prevent you from seeing the theme.

Nancy 12:47 PM  

It was killing me, absolutely killing me! As it happens, I know @kitshef's real name. As it happens, I have corresponded with @kitshef via email on quite a number of occasions. So how could I not have known that he was Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1966 and again in 2006 as per his 7:09 post? How could I not know how famous he surely must be? It was galling. It was embarrassing. I was ashamed. Not to mention intensely curious.

So I went to Google and looked up Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1966 and in 2006...

Too funny, @kitshef! What a sly dog you are! But how did you ever remember each of those "awards" from so long ago?

Newboy 12:49 PM  

Have to admit that @kitshef brings me back—does that make me a card carrier in the Me Too movement also? As did he, I too appeared on Time’s cover in 1966 & 2006, an almost unbelievable stat! Check us out at 2006 time person of the year on Professor Google.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

I wish this comments section had a "reply" button with each comment so we could reply to the specific comments and not have to refer people back to a comment from hours before. That way, we could also have a conversation flowing down from a specific comment without all this searching, and people who don't want to be a part of it can skip it.

kitshef 1:05 PM  

@Whatsername - if your user name implies your sex accurately, you may be a three-time winner (1975).

What? 1:09 PM  

Just when I thought after all these years themes have finally been exhausted, along comes a fun and clever rebus puzzle that makes one marvel at the imagination of the human brain.
Maybe because I use the paper edition, it came fairly easily to me, with ate aha moments. I always do well with rebuses anyway because of that ancient and wise adage, “If it don’t fit, and you know the answer, it’s a rebus”. It helps to know what you’re looking for.

PapaLeRoux 1:10 PM  

We liked it. The complaints are something else. Worse than Facebook.

Teedmn 1:12 PM  

Am I the only one who tried "efF UP" for 14D? With eyebrows raised, of course. But nothing worked in the NW with that in place so I abandoned it.

With the VEE notch in the NE, I tried caVe for "Say maybe, maybe". _SV_ messed me up when SCH∞L DAZE pushed caVe out of the way.This was after T∞S∞N and H8TERSGONNAH8 clued me into the theme, though I needed the revealer to tie the crossings together.

This made for a great Thursday solve - thanks, Joe Deeney.

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

Joe Deeney, this was a very good puzzle. Thank you for the entertaining solve. Loved it.

ani 1:27 PM  

@mohairsam—welcome back. Now if only @lorenmusesmith would return. . .

Joe Dipinto 1:29 PM  

The puzzle seems to have developed a homophone fetish. Yesterday instead of words that are synonyms of "swipe", for no apparent reason we got homophones of words that are synonyms of "swipe". Today instead of "eight" it's "ate". Or instead of "ate" it's "8". It's already Tyre sum.

Chip Hilton 1:42 PM  

“This was annoying to solve,” said Rex, as a starter. I’ll go with, “Geez, this was fun!”

I’m a paper-solver and oh-so-glad to be. The aha! moment today was a real hoot, as I went from “What the heck?” to “Dang, that’s clever!” in an eye-blink. No complaints, everything gettable, even when it was brain-scrambling. Thanks, Joe Deeney! And excuse all the hyphens.

Lewis 1:44 PM  

For those asking -- and I know this because I communicate with her at times -- Loren is busy with school stuff, lately too busy to comment, but she still reads the comments regularly.

Whatsername 1:51 PM  

@kitshef at 1:05 - Wow! I feel so special! Again, thank you. I am in awe of your historical knowledge of such facts. I really need to start paying more attention to the news.

@Nancy - we are are even more honored than we thought. See Time 1975. Who knew?

Anoa Bob 1:55 PM  

From the for-what-it's-worth department: I did a six-year hitch in the Navy long ago in the previous century (1964-1970), bought my first sailboat in the early 1970's, still have one these days (a beautiful '79 Cape Dory 28), and I have a large collection of sailing books---including Earl Hinz's "Complete Book of Anchoring", and I have never heard the phrase "Lay anchor" (54D clue). It's always been "Drop anchor". Once the anchor is dropped and set, you "lie at anchor". That is all. As you were and continue ship's work.

Frantic Sloth 2:18 PM  

@Anonymous 9:55 AM (not the "troll"-y one)

I couldn't agree more with your assessment and I feel a quasi-rant coming on...
As a former "speed" solver (now a more laid-back, semi-retired chill type) I can see how using the various apps would tend to grate [enough of the clever 8s for ate already! ;)] on the last nerve.
I solve all electronically these days and have experienced numerous irritations myself, but I don't think this forum is the place to vent about it.
It's about the puzzle and/or Rex and does anyone really care about how getting mired in the peccadilloes of an app ruined it for someone??

@Z is certainly justified in dreading the morass of crap-app-therefore-crap-puzzle comments that litter this page, but people being people this will no doubt continue unabated.
They can write what they want - I don't have to read it.
End rant.

Now, about the puzzle...I actually enjoyed it because I'm always a sucker for a rebus - good, bad, or ugly. This one gave me minor fits trying to figure the connection between "ate" and "oo" because I was being waaaaay too literal. Eventually the dubloon dropped and *smile* my Godfather II Fredo moment was born!

Did NOT like all the "UPs" convening in the same puzzle, let alone the same corner! Yuck.
And it IS "YIPEs", not "YIPE".

Nits picked. I'm out.

For those who need reminding of or exposure to my Fredo reference:


Slow Motion 2:41 PM  

Great Thursday puzzle! Clever (but not ridiculous) double rebus, Got the double-o going down first, in two or three answers, before getting the “ate” going across, and then the aha moment when “8” put it all together. Well done!

Frantic Sloth 3:01 PM  

Oh! Just figured out how to do the elusive blue link! This should work:


Yay, knowledge!

Nancy 3:19 PM  

@Whatsername (1:51) -- What wonderful news! I'm a 3-time honoree, too! As you say, who knew? Way to go, Time Mag.

It's so interesting how differently people solve puzzles. That's one of the best things to be gleaned from a crossword blog. Based on the revealer, I would have thought that, like me, everyone would have gotten the 8 rebus well before they got the OO rebus. But it seems that many people, including @M&A, @Marc K and @Slow Motion got the OO rebus first. Would that have made their solve more confusing? Or less?

@What (1:09) -- I love your "ancient and wise adage" rebuses.

David 3:25 PM  

Enjoyed the overall solve but have never in my life heard of "pieces of eight" so the revealer fell totally flat for me.

LenFuego 3:50 PM  

What a fun and clever puzzle. Made you exercise your brain in more ways than just knowing and manipulating words. That is why Rex and his ilk do not like Crossword Puzzles like these - they are fans of "crosswords" (and "cross words", heh), not "puzzles".

BTW, I suspect when Rex does not report a time on a puzzle like this, it is not simply to protect his fragile ego from others knowing a slow time ... it is because he did not get a time at all because he was not able to finish on his own.

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

Hope this isn't too trollish, but David, pieces of eight has a great etymology. Eminently sensible and part of the reason we use the term two bits for a quarter. Worth a google.

Joe Dipinto 4:15 PM  

@Frantic Sloth – lol at Fredo

Anonymous 4:19 PM  

I was confident Rex would hate this wonderful, ingenious and entertaining puzzle. His relentless pursuit of negativity and unhappiness is a wondrous and, yes, sad thing to behold. So little joy. Why?

Z 4:19 PM  

Wow - Two @Anon arguing over me. I am honored. @InsultedAnon - I did re-read what I wrote and I see why you read it that way. But I agree with @NotInsultedAnon - You really have to be assuming the worst to read it that way. Of course, I’m biased since I know what I intended to convey.

@TJS - You’ve said that a couple of times now and it makes me laugh every time.

@Frantic Sloth3:01 - Woo Hoo

@Frantic Sloth2:18 - You’re right, of course, which is why I dread it. I tend to read everything posted and sometimes the crap app carps yield a good one-liner, but mostly I wish the apps all worked to display the completed solve the way the constructors intended.

@anon11:41 - I have several pens that allow me to lightly write guesses, an important feature for me Thursday through Saturday. I also sometimes use a lighter colored pen and overwrite corrections in black. There have been a puzzle or three where the correct letter is more a question of faith than legibility. Right with you on the drawback of erasers.

@Whatsername - Thanks and congratulations.

@anon3:54 - Don’t leave us hanging.

-Double OTZ

Sandy McCroskey 4:38 PM  

The first one I put in was PIECES OF EIGHT. It took a few minutes to see what was going on with the 8s, but after that pretty smooth sailing. I found this enjoyable enough, no complaints.

Anonymous 5:20 PM  

Couldn’t agree with yqlm and Gregg more.
Did this on paper on a train from
Madrid to Toledo.
30 minutes there, 30 minutes back.
Enjoyed the challenge and the fun solve.
I pity the Rex’s and his computer fill followers who do these every day in 8 minutes
then spend the rest of the day bitching and moaning about the state of the world.
Grab a cafe con leche, a pen, fold the newspaper in half, look out the window and enjoy your existence.
And please Rex, for the sake of this blog, smile for once...

Anonymous 5:30 PM  

(present tense of 8) Me.

kitshef 5:39 PM  

@Nancy 12:47 - well, I had to look up the others but 2006 I know as its on my resume.

Sydney 6:22 PM  

I loved the puzzle. I solve online, but have not mastered the way to handle squares with more than one letter... I just put down the first letter and hope for the best. In this case, I entered A. I just had to remember that it was ATE going one way and OO going the other. The checker didn’t like that, but I was happy. No gnashing of teeth.

Richardf8 6:49 PM  

The theme, I picked up easily. The SW corner fill? I had ease for LOSE, well for FILL, looked at Xwe and said “OK, sportsball, that could be anything”. When it gave me the dnf message, I tried replacing my 8’s with OOs, but that just looked wrong and didn’t appease it. So I came here for illumination. Ah, XFL - OK, sportsball, whatever.

Anonymous 6:52 PM  

Loved it. Thank you, Joe Deeney.

Unknown 7:27 PM  

Thought it was kind of gr0

TexanPenny 7:36 PM  

I’m amazed that I found a puzzle to be easier than Rex did. That’s a rarity. I never did figure out that I should be putting the number 8 in the puzzle but still finished in a faster-than-average time by placing the “OO’s” in the right places. I didn’t know why “OO” meant “ate” or “eight” but that’s okay.

Space Is Deep 7:38 PM  

Loved this puzzle. Solved on paper. I've never even tried to do one online.

SBpianist 7:42 PM  

Enjoyed today a lot, As much as I loathed yesterday’s.

Birchbark 8:06 PM  

@SuzieQ (12:03), re my (8:56) -- Thanks -- some of our best friends are enigmas, but if we can explain, we should.

The first part about the "8" mapping the surface current on the river: It's a lot of fun to watch little eddies (WHIRLP8LS) travel down the river (as down the hill from our house). They're swirling but also moving from upstream to downstream. It can be kind of hypnotic if you sit there long enough -- the current and its changes are mysterious, powerful, beautiful, and occasionally dangerous.

Once in a while you see a pair of eddies (OO, or the "8") moving along right next to each other, swirl and counter-swirl as I think of it. So I liked the resonance of that infinity-like-figure-8 nested in WHIRLP8L, doubly clever whether intended or not.

The second part -- the SALEM/WHIRLP8L cross and not looking too long at it -- just sort of a goofy caution: if you experience darker SALEM-like vibes in your wonderful meditations on river eddies and their mysterious ways, it's probably a good idea to break the charm, head back up the hill, mow the lawn or otherwise engage in wholesome activities until the danger has passed.

Sorry to post so late -- It's more than I expected to write, and I fear we may be left with more of an enigma than when we started. But that is why God invented dinnertime.

tea73 8:47 PM  

I don't think any of the regulars are still reading, but on the off chance that the constructor reads the blog, I just want to say I LOVED THIS PUZZLE.

As an architect I have been making my 8's by drawing two circles on top of each other for eons, so that's what I did in this puzzle. Got the trick on the first clue at UPL8/GOOF UP which made me wonder if "up" was somehow part of the trick, but other than than no complaints.

It never ever occured to me to put slashes between words, there have been a handful in the past that did something like that black/white maybe? I just wrote my 8's and thought it clever. Loved 35 across.

Unknown 9:07 PM  

puzzle score: 0.0

Anonymous 9:10 PM  

Can someone please explain the "Nation's Borders?" clue leading to ens?
Thank you!

Lewis 9:25 PM  

@anon 9:10 -- The borders, that is, edges of the word "nation" are the two letters N, or ENS.

Suzie Q 9:43 PM  

@ Birchbark, I've stared at those eddies but only rarely with the dark influence evoked by Salem. As for breaking the spell, shoveling snow works as well. Cheers friend.

albatross shell 10:22 PM  

@kitshef and other Time POTY winners. Congrats. You now have something in common with Hitler Stalin and Trump. No I am not saying Trump is like those two. He reminds me more of Ill Duce who was never so named.

@Birchbark856am, Susie Q or any one else: can anyone help me 'n Q? What is Bbark talking about?
A dirty joke? The 8 could be two eddie's gwine downriver, pronounced ate or oo, male balls, female tits, Salem is an anagram of males or a cigarette or a town of witches. Pools is sloop backwards. But I am not any more dizzy daffy or dopey than normal after staring at it.

I did think you were suggesting the reveal and double rebus were not very impressive to you. And just eight may be written as two o's. So meh. Which may be true for you. But to me the oo=8, pronounced and spelled differently in different directions, and with the pieces of eight reveal in a pretty decent crossword is far more than oh, 2 o's can make an eight. And that's true for me. I was somewhat surprised Rex seem to have trouble seeing it at all, or at least that seemed likely from his remarks. Arithmetic may not be his strong suit.

kitshef 8:27 AM  

@albatross shell - Well, Hitler only won once, so we're still up on him.

Burma Shave 9:46 AM  


It’s not TOOSOON to go ONADATE,
and PATTI’s XRATED PARTY can’t wait,
I can’t GOOFUP seven,
but I AIN’T doin’ eleven,


thefogman 10:44 AM  

Did it but the gimmick stumped me. Had oo/ate in all of the squares that should have had an 8 in them. I get it now. Quirky, but not much fun...

spacecraft 11:45 AM  

Score one (or 8?) for paper solvers! Mr. OFC didn't like it because he didn't GET it, totally! PIECES, sir. PIECES of EIGHT. As in: the O's! This is an absolutely perfect revealer, far from "only kinda sorta brings it together."

Yes, the 35-across, but I'm not one of them. While theme density practically ran off the scale, the resulting fill, sans all the NW UPs, was actually pretty solid. DOD is Talia Shire: Yo ADRIAN! Eagle!

rondo 12:14 PM  

If you’ve ever taken a drafting class those vertical OOs are *exactly* how you make an 8. I’ve been doing it like that for probably 50 years. Good on the constructor for that.

PATTI Smith had her day and Lindsay LOHAN may still be having her days, but I’m thinking Annie POTTS has had continuing days: Corvette Summer to Ghostbusters to Young Sheldon. Yeah baby.

Hey, it was a rebus puz I actually liked, nothing to H8 here.

Unknown 2:03 PM  


Diana, LIW 2:48 PM  

Yes, I got the rebii - both across and down. Me. The anti-rebus.

I did check for a bit of help, but basically got it. Even with my mind roiling around the Big V news. I usually love going to the store (grocery - do it daily so it's not a chore) but have been going less often. Still venture out now and then. Take walks. Pet cats. Solve crosswords. Repeat as needed.

Diana, Still Waiting

leftcoaster 4:32 PM  

For me, the low row of 8s uncovered the trick when WH00PI showed up with the two PIECES OF EIGHT and, voila, there were eight 8s that split into eight 00s.

Pretty impressive, and ended the fun all T00 S00N

Fritz Golden 4:24 AM  

I thought De Gaulle's hat was going to a Ber8. Fun puzzle. Grew up in Chicago. The expressway was a gimme.

Anonymous 12:58 AM  

I thought the theme was cute and I was able to just put in 8s so it felt smoother than other rebi. Something about h8r, cr8r, and x-r8d just really bothered me--I would have like this more if 8 had replaced āt rather than ate as using it for more than one syllable felt wrong.

Also that "Enid" "Edens" cross in the south was brutal. Do people in Chicago call it the Edens expressway? I could not name a single freeway where I live because we just use their numbers.

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