Ridge formed by glacial streams / THU 4-16-20 / Country/rock singer Steve / Repeated word in Ten Commandments / It's snowy in Florida

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld

Relative difficulty: Challenging (6:59)

THEME: DROP ME A LINE (69A: "Don't be a stranger!" ... or what you have to do three times in this puzzle) — Three phrases containing "ME" don't actually contain the "ME" because the "ME" has been "dropped" to the next row (creating nonsense answers where the "ME" gets dropped, so that's fun...)

Theme answers:
  • "KISS / KATE" (33A: With 35-Across Cole Porter musical) ("ME" dropped down a row to SHA(ME))
  • "THANK / LATER" (42A: With 44-Across, "You can wait to show your gratitude") ("ME" dropped down a row to THY(ME))
  • HAND- / -DOWN (54A: With 56-Across, clothing item for the youngest in the family) ("ME" dropped down a row to NO TI(ME))
Word of the Day: ESKER (5D: Ridge formed by glacial streams) —
a long narrow ridge or mound of sand, gravel, and boulders deposited by a stream flowing on, within, or beneath a stagnant glacier (merriam-webster.com)
• • •

It's late and I don't have the energy to go into all the problems with this one. The worst part for me was that it combined two things that I find really unenjoyable: the [With such and such-Across...]-type clue and the answer-that-is-wrong-for-its-clue (today, all the "ME"-containing answers). Couldn't make any sense of clue phrase "You can wait to show your gratitude" (who in the world would ever say those words?), and since I had GETS BY instead of DOESOK (yuck) for 6D: Manages, I didn't have the "K" I needed to see "KISS," which might've helped me figure out "KISS (ME) KATE." Speaking of KISS crosses, CAPEESH is just bull****. That is a variant spelling and should be clued as such. The actual spelling (CAPISCE) fits perfectly, so, yeah, I resent the hell out of that. Here, check out the dictionary, it's fun:
note "variants" and "less commonly"
Mostly I found the revealer deeply unsatisfying and, from my standpoint, contradictory. I have to raise ME, not drop it, to make sense of the puzzle. Raising ME makes sense of the answers that are missing it *and* makes sense of the answers into which ME had been dropped (dropped, you'll note, by the puzzle, not by me ... I cannot "drop" the ME ... where would I "drop" it from, there are only black squares above the ME). The ME has been dropped in the grid. I do not do the dropping. Because *raising* the ME makes sense of *everything*, this is why DROP ME A LINE absolutely does not work as an explanation of what I "have to do." I see that the revealer is defensible, but a. it's at best ambiguous, and b. just does not account for the gibberish answers that result from the dropped "ME" — SHAME Na Na?! Not even a wacky "?" clue for that? And, more ugh, the dropped ME doesn't create a new phrase, just a phrase with a gap, *whereas* the answer that *receives* the ME (SHAME, THYME, NO TIME) is new ... and completely inappropriate for its clue. So everything is just a mess. Also, the fill is terrible in this. SOARERS (52D: Eagles and hawks, typically) (?), III ESKER NAG NAG (without third NAG??), HIES THEA AHN ANTIS (!?) ILE. It's just rough rough rough and stale all over. EWW, indeed. 


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Roberto 2:04 AM  

One of the worst most uninteresting Thursday puzzles in a long time. I got capeesh from the crosses but I wasn't sure it was correct

alawi 2:07 AM  

I humbly agree with you on this. I'll also say that, as much as I've enjoyed the videos of you solving the occasional crossword over the last few weeks, *this* is the one I want to watch you do.

It was a bit of a nightmare for me. 37 minutes.

okanaganer 2:49 AM  

Predictable Rex Rant&copy: today. Partly agree with him.

I have to admit I completely missed half of the theme, where ME needs to be omitted from the answer on the next line down. OK yes, NO TIME is not really a "denial of responsibility", but jeez, it's pretty close, man. I thought 39A must be SHA NA (na na), which would involve park rangers handing out NAPs, I guess. Kindergarten park rangers??

I always make a point of saying how much I really really hate college clues. Man, I really really hate them. Today for 37D we have "Durham sch.". I have heard of Durham, NC. So I guess UNC it is, though hated be it. But no, turns out it's UNH. So in a rage I search for Durham, and get this list. You will notice that Durham, NH, is not only well towards the end of Durhams of the world, it is in fact 14th even in the list of USA Durhams. 14th!!! arrrrghghghghg.

About 35 years ago in architecture school, I ran up against the petty fascist department head who actually failed me for the entire graduating year for submitting a "concept board" with the wrong dimensions (required: 36" x 48", submitted: 32" x 42"). He thus gave me a grade of zero for the project, which failed me for the year for just that. I am not making this up. I took him to the Ombudsman, so eventually he relented and backed down. When he came to so graciously say I could graduate, he said "So we're okay, CAPEESH?" Because I had studied Italian, I replied: "Si, capisco". His baffled expression was almost worth the whole nightmare process. Almost.

Unknown 3:13 AM  

Couldn't agree more. I did NOT like clues AND answers that make no sense to me even after I successfully enter them.. The added ME's confused me terribly. Shame and thyme ... Ugh.

Joaquin 3:16 AM  

Maybe I’ve always liked the play because when I was a high school senior in 1959 (< not a typo) our class production was KISSMEKATE. The play opens with one of my all-time favorite show tunes, “Another Op’nin, Another Show”. Here’s a revival cast performing that number.


As a bonus, the KMK song on this link is followed by some Louis Prima & Keely Smith - the best and coolest singing duo ever. And, finally, speaking of *best ever*, Louie and Keely’s back-up band was Sam Butera and the Witnesses. Could there be a better name for a band? I doubt it.

Vidiot 3:23 AM  

Between the CAPEESH error today and the FROTH error yesterday, I wonder what NYTXW has against Italian.

Unknown 3:48 AM  

Couldnt agree more. This was one of the worst puzzles I've attempted to date. Didnt even attempt to finish after I saw where the theme was going and seeing capisce spelled capeesh.

Unknown 3:53 AM  

Where is Thyme in the 10 Commandments?

BarbieBarbie 5:03 AM  

Wow, @Rex, you need to get out more (snare drum). DROPping ME is what you do when you fill in the puzzle. It’s legit. Well, there goes that 60% of your review.
I found this puzzle fun, mainly because I somehow managed not to read the dumbed-down part of the revealer clue. So it made a really great Aha, which is most definitely what I want from a Thursday puzzle. Even when I semi-figured the trick out, it could have been any of rebus/black-square-participation/other, and it took the revealer to make me look back at KATE and ?????NaNa, and go OH!
Good one, and more please! Though I do agree about alt-CAPISCE.

And now my whine: on Thursdays, could we please find a way not to put a huge blinking neon arrow on the revealer clue? It really spoils the fun. By this point in the week, the team should be done throwing scraps to the neophytes and thinking more about the NYTX reputation for crunch. Edit Policy Fail. Not Alan’s fault.

Rique Beleza 5:12 AM  

People, those three answers make sense, SHA na na, THY and NOT I. Then the ME gets dropped a line to make the new words SHAME, THYME and NO TIME.

I actually enjoyed the aha moment.

Diver 5:43 AM  

Have to agree with Rex this time, unenjoyable and I had to stare at the completed puzzle for a bit to get the sense of the revealer. Also wrote in CAPISCE because, well that's how it's spelled. Also, if you're going to do something like this than ALL the two-blank blocks should be themed, not just 3 out of 7.

Anonymous 6:38 AM  

Capeesh is stupid, esker obscure, but swale is wrong, or just misleading, and not in a playful way. A swale is not a low-lying wetland. It is a low spot where water collects, often human-made a a way to divert or hold water from the land around it. It's another word for ditch. A wetland is an area with certain kinds of soil that have certain kinds of hydraulic capacity and from which certain vegetation grows. A swamp is a wetland. So is a fen, a marsh, or a wetland. Not a swale.

Anonymous 7:00 AM  

It gets worse. Moselle is a German wine.

Anonymous 7:03 AM  

Ugh. This would have been better if the ME answers worked with or without the ME. I wonder if that was the original goal, because it kinda works with NOT I and NO TIME. I don't think it would have been that hard, but, you know, why do it right?

Lewis 7:05 AM  

I'm with @BarbieBarbie.

I had a lovely time with this. There were two things to figure out. I got the first (dropping the ME) when I uncovered the reveal, and the second (the ME's are to be ignored in the across answer where they land) while pondering "SHAME-la-la?".

First, we got two tricks for the price of one, and second, these tricks were discovered IN SITU, that is, during the solve rather than during a post-solve perusal. I'm grateful for the former, and greatly prefer the latter. In addition, there was plenty of figuring and battling overall. All of these elements made for a fun and stellar solve. Bravo and muchas gracias, AA!

ncmathsadist 7:29 AM  

Get out the green paint. This theme was pretty useless and the revealer (?) didn't reveal anything of use. Ugh and aargh.

Suzie Q 7:34 AM  

I'm on team @BarbieBarbie and @Lewis. Confusion leading to enlightenment. It's Thursday!

kitshef 7:35 AM  

I guess I'm an outlier here. I thought this was a really good, really fun puzzle. Enough misdirection to make it puzzling, a clever theme, and a perfect revealer.

I wish the puzzle could be like this every day.

kitshef 7:41 AM  

@Anon 7:00 - Moselle is French: Mosel is German.

pabloinnh 7:42 AM  

Ahem. UNH is of course in Durham NH. There are two ways to get there from my house, and each takes two hours. I have done both routes many times, as both my sons are UNH alumni, and they are both doing well, thanks for asking. The school may be more famous as a D1 hockey school but it is possible to receive a fine education there as well. There, I feel better.

The dropping-down-to-make-a-new-word aspect escaped me, I must confess. Just looked at the two black squares between the parts of the phrase and said, hmmm, ME goes in there. How about that. End of thought process. The dropping thing makes much more sense.

Hey@Joaquin-I've sung "Another Open'in'" too, as part of a variety show where I also performed in a tutu, which I know is TMI.

Agree on CAPEESH. Abominable as clued.

OK Thursday, AA, but like many, I was hoping for something a little more spectacular.

Unknown 7:43 AM  

How odd - I thoroughly enjoyed this, even though it took me almost twice my Thursday average. It drove me nuts at first, I mean how could the answer for "___ Na Na" be anything other than SHA? And the theater geek in me got KISS (me) KATE right away, but I figured dropping the "me" meant deleting it.. The key for me was realizing that dropping "me" A LINE turned the correct answer in the line below into another valid word or phrase. As Rique Beleza points out, SHA, THY, and NOT I become SHAME, THYME, and NO TIME. Very clever.

I didn't have too much trouble getting CAPEESH. I've seen it before. It was fun to see ESKER, one of those words I'd see all the time back in the 60's and probably haven't seen since. Funny how crossword puzzle words go in and out of fashion.

And I was surprised that Rex finds "thank me later" unacceptable. Here, hold my beer while I fix this. You can thank me later.

Pros are a bloc of people in favor of something. The antis are against it.

And what's the problem with percent-ILE? Anyone who has taken a standardized test should know that one.

D. Plorable 7:49 AM  

The Washington Post has been running a summary each of the of the previous afternoon's White House presser, "What you need to know from Wednesday’s White House coronavirus briefing."

Honestly, I thought this puzzle was in response to that headline: It's all about ME.

G. 7:52 AM  

I don’t know about you all but I found this fun.
As for the dropped ME answers, SHA, THY, and MAY are the intended answers but are also words with the added MEs.
You folks are all too rigid. Think outside the grid,

Durham, NC

Hungry Mother 7:53 AM  

Some quick fun today. The theme and its reveals were pretty obvious, but there was enough crunch for a Thursday. Very nice use of WAX.

Richard from NYC 7:53 AM  

please explain clue and answer for 29D

G. 8:01 AM  

To Richard
Greek alphabet

webwinger 8:39 AM  

I’m with the pro bloc on this one. Got the black square part of the theme gimmick about half way through, with some satisfaction. Took longer to sort out what was happening with the “ME too” words, but smiled again when that bulb went on. Finally got to the revealer and thought, brilliant! Especially with the symmetrical identically clued answer at 19A…

CAPEESH is a listed variant; seems fair game on Thursday. UNH is a state university located in Durham, NH, which I did not know, and was trying to reconcile with the better known NC Durham (home to Duke, not UNC), but isn’t that just the kind of sneakiness that adds desirable crunch to late week puzzles?

My time was slow today, partly reflecting the aforementioned crunch, partly because I put down RuG for 70D and didn’t see the problem and get the Happy Tune until after much grid-staring because of being clueless about singer Steve (and continuing my now more than 100-day Google fast). But overall I give this an unqualified thumb up; could not disagree more with @Rex.

BTW, @Unknown, may I introduce you to my friend @Anonymous? I’m sure you two will get along great, what with both having multiple personality disorder. Seriously, today we have numerous early posts from at least one Unknown firmly in the ANTIS camp, then get a nice ode to the puzzle from @Unknown 7:43. Dear 7:43—please read yesterday’s discussion with Anonymous and pull up a chair…

bulgie 8:42 AM  

Caught on to the theme right away with KMK, which let me fill in the other themers and the reveal from almost zero crosses. Good fun (if too easy), except for CAPEESH, which is indeed bullstuff.

Agreed that the highlighting is ugly and distracting, and the dumbing-down is not appropriate on Thursday.

GILL I. 9:00 AM  

Ay, @Rex....I know thee well. As soon as I saw our old friend ESKER, I knew you'd hate on this puzzle.
Well...I, for one, found this rather enjoyable but in a work-out hard way. I felt like I was at the gym and sweating all over the place and asking myself what the hell am I doing here. Then you finally finish and some of the pleasure from the work-out, pays off.
Let's see.....I got the ME ME ME at KISS KATE. Oh, so it' DROP DROP DROP. Hah, cool beans. Aren't we running out of Thursday fun? This was different. Some entries were hard and I had to do a lot of thinking and remembering some old favorites. I like that.
I don't know who Jack Robinson is or why he has something to do with IN AN INSTANT but I got it. The hardest one for me was 76A. I had Rome instead of ETRE. The rest was gettable - taking my time.
I love Dev PATEL. I just wish he had been clued in one of my favorite movies "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." It has Judi Dench and Maggie Smith and it's just plain fun to watch. I'm sure it's streamlining somewhere.
MOSELLE is perfectly fine but if you go to Germany it's Mosel. I've seen CAPEESH spelled that way because Americans do that to foreign words. No problemo here.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

@Anon 7:03: How about FLU AND FLUME: "Condition with moisture flowing down narrow channel"?

OffTheGrid 9:03 AM  

The theme fails for the reason pointed out by @Rex. You RAISE the "ME" a line in order for the two answers to make sense. E.G. You raise ME from SHAME to complete KISSMEKATE and that leaves SHA so then that makes sense. When you drop the ME (as the puzzle does) you have KISS KATE and SHAME, which are nonsense.

Petsounds 9:07 AM  

"Everything is just a mess." You said it, Rex. A horrible puzzle in every way--construction, theme, cluing. Most of the cluing horrors have already been mentioned, but I'll add MANNA to the list; "divine nourishment" strongly implies nourishment for a divinity, not from a divinity for others. Ambrosia is divine nourishment. Also EMBER for "fading light." An ember is not a light; it's a producer of light. It felt as if someone with only a passing familiarity with English came up with some of those clues. And you know you're in trouble when the puzzle is peppered with stupidly easy clues--letters of the alphabet spelled out (DEE), "Put down in words," etc.--and clues that are meant to be clever but are utterly transparent--"It's snowy in Florida," "Some shells."

But the worst part was a theme that could have been clever but ended up being a clunker, since the words that ME was dropped into had no relation to the clues. SHAME NA NA? What the....? Where is the satisfaction in that?

I started the puzzle with a big smile, enjoying the cross of OBIS and ORIGAMI and moving right on to BASEMEN. I thought it was going to be an enjoyable solve. By the time I got to SOARERS for raptors, I was knee-deep in the kind of over-reaching and sloppiness that too often defines the Shortz era. Friday can't come soon enough.

Mark 9:07 AM  

One more: "Legal violation, and its possible result in Paris": CRIME and CRI.

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Loved it. Count A fan

MR. Cheese 9:12 AM  

Call me thick. I get that dropping ME down yields a new word but what’s that got to do with that word’s clue. Just leaving ME out makes more sense to me.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

"Black bird in Eastern animation": ANI and ANIME.

Foldyfish 9:15 AM  

DNF. Should've been DNFL. Did not F'ing like.

QuasiMojo 9:15 AM  

Robert B. Parker used "Capeesh" in his books. Works for me.

I think the imperative: "Drop ME a line" makes perfect sense. Is it clever and amusing? A TAD.

@ GILL -- I would go blue if I could use any email address to sign in. But this blogger page requires using a gmail account. I don't want to.

Plus how could I use the various other names I've concocted over the years? :)

Blue Stater 9:24 AM  

Yet another NYTW example of a puzzle being made difficult by the introduction of errors -- MOSELLE, in particular, which as an earlier commenter pointed out, is a German wine. The name of the wine is the French version of the river (the German is Mosel). Trickiness is not more important than linguistic and factual accuracy, at least not in my book.

Nancy 9:27 AM  

Everything about this puzzle is gorgeous. I loved it!

My first response was wondering why the word ME was hidden in the black squares. "I'd better go find out", I thought, and scurried down to the revealer. But no, the "ME"s weren't hidden, they were instead DROPped down one line. And the line below had a real answer cleverly transformed into another real word or phrase by the added ME. Ingenious!

Also, look at how obliquely the revealer is clued. The clue could have been "I'd love a letter from you" or something like that. But there's nothing about "Don't be a stranger" that gives away DROP ME A LINE. The answer could just as well have been the Mae West-ish "DROP in and see me sometime."

Add to that the fact that the grid is completely junk-free and you have a sensational puzzle on every level -- pun intended.

puzzlehoarder 9:28 AM  

This came in at between a Friday and a Saturday solve time. I was surprised to see to see that high of a time probably because it was so easy to finish once I'd figured out the trick.

The UNC/UNH was an early sticking point. Not because I haven't been down that wormhole before but because that H implied that 48A could be SHALT, as in "Thou SHALT not" this and "Thou Shalt not" that. I just left that alone and restarted with ESKER. KISS and KATE went in all by themselves. As with THYME, the SHAME entry remained incomplete until I got the reveal.

My one disappointment was that the three "dropped" entries were just random other than that they ended in ME. Other than that the puzzle was a very well made Thursday and an enjoyable solve.

Rug Crazy 9:32 AM  

SHAME NA NA sucked the most. Otherwise, enjoyed it. Knew Rex wouldn't

pouty 9:32 AM  

I enjoyed this perhaps because it was my fastest Thursday ever (less that 20 minutes as I don’t time myself). The trick was good and the revealer great.

blinker474 9:37 AM  

I find it odd that Rex, and many others posting here, will take shots at a puzzle that someone has spent a long time putting together without ever acknowledging that fine effort. There will never be a perfect puzzle that pleases everyone. The long and addled Rex complaint about the ME being raised and not dropped indicates that he was tired and perhaps angry when he wrote it. It's just babble. This was a challenging puzzle, but it was doable, and a pleasant diversion. Gave no thought at all to THE BIG VIRUS while doing it.

Paul Emil 9:43 AM  

Seventh letter in Greek alphabet.

Nancy 9:46 AM  

@Quasi -- We all would so much like to see you in blue. Certainly I would. Why not set up a Gmail account just for this one purpose and then never use it for anything else? If there's absolutely nothing on it -- not your friends, not your bank account, not your purchases, zippo -- there's nothing they can learn about you that you have to worry about.

I know whereof I speak. I have a Yahoo account that I use for everything. My composer-collaborator helped me set up a Gmail account when his music files didn't come through on Yahoo. I've since discovered that Gmail also works when certain photos sent to my Yahoo account don't go through. But other than that, my Gmail account is my secret. None of my friends have the address. Not even my family has it. I almost never remember to check it. It lies there dormant and costs me nothing. However, when I wanted to get a blue name on the Rexblog, I found it unexpectedly useful to already have that account. You could do the same, @Quasi, and not be compromised in any way.

xyz 9:49 AM  

Amateur Week at the NYTXWP continues. Gee, thanks, Will. I did fill in the three "Theme Answers" immediately figuring the paired black squares obscured the "ME". Cute, but Clue/Answer airs were UGHly

Awful in so many ways.

I also knew "Connected to a Hipbone" was going to be all wrong, the ILIUM ........ IS ...... a HIP (Pelvis, actually) BONE. It is the 'hands on hips" hip bone(s). Stand up, put your hands on hips, yep them's yer ILIAE. It's not connected, it is. Well, technically HIP is a joint and the hip joint is made up of four bones or two depending.

1 - (head of FEMUR) & INNOMINATE BONE 2bones
2 - (head of FEMUR) & Acetabulum (Socket) made up of ILIUM, ISCHIUM, PUBIS - all merging at the ACETABULUM.

MOSELLE is the French var. of Mosel. Mosel is a German wine region, Moselle French is very (Saturday) obscure.

mmorowitz 9:57 AM  

This should have been flatly rejected. Full stop. Terrible puzzle.

TJS 9:58 AM  

I was stumped all over the place by the extra "me" dropping in, and never grokked the concept, so I was kinda pissed until I read OFL's over the top rant. I think someone could collect all his virus-quarantine related reviews and turn them into a Neil Simon type comedy. I see a Tony Randall/Jack Lemmon type in the lead. I'm taking the laughs wherever I can get them these days.

JC66 10:00 AM  


@Nancy beat me to it. You can get quasi@gmail.com (or any address you'd like), not share it with anyone and go blue.

JeffE 10:00 AM  

Gee, it's not THAT bad. Honestly? "one of the worst puzzles I've attempted to date" ?

David 10:01 AM  

There are vineyards along the Moselle in Lorraine, most of which produce wines never exported. It's much more common to purchase wines produced along the Mosel here. Of course, many people want Alsace-Lorraine to be in Germany again. Some folks never give up on old grievances.

I got the dropped "me" with the ridiculous "answer" to __ Na Na, said "ugh" and finished this one rather joylessly. Didn't even read the clue for the unnecessary "reveal" as I had 4 or 5 letters from downs. Also never stopped to ponder on the great down/up controversy.

Since we now use the internet rather than reference books, you'll find all manner of errors are deemed "acceptable," including those that make our citizens seem to be ignorant fools who know they're ignorant and enjoy that that bothers others.

Had "no more" before "nag nag" because this isn't the 1950s and I respect my wife; winced when I changed it to that insult.

Just went back to the grid to search for joy. Sorry, none for me.

Ann Hedonia 10:04 AM  

A new low, even for the terrible NYTXWs. All around yuck. I'm gonna cancel my subscription, I think. this is ridiculous. I do enjoy your commentary though.

Gallo 10:07 AM  

I think the score is now 2-1. 2 for MOSELLE being French and 1 for it being German.

Z 10:07 AM  

First, I really like the theme (the me - I think we all know this clue) and it’s execution. But, boy howdy, did the rest beg to be put down (I count three ways to read those last two words, all apply).

OBIS? You are starting your puzzle with OBIS? In a corner with no theme relevance? Well that’s a harbinger, ain’t it. ESKER, DEE, ETA, ASS’T, and the already much maligned CAPEESH (so we have Robert Parker to blame?). It’s always good to remember that SKYE is the terrier and SKYy the vodka. Also good to remember that plural starting points are GENESES and not genepodes. Sheesh indeed. In short, The joy at sussing our the theme was pretty much wiped out by dealing with the rest of the fill.

I did have an arched eyebrow at the reveal until I noticed it parallels. the cluing for the symmetrical 19A. “Don’t be a stranger” suggests I want to see you again. KEEP IN TOUCH is actually a better clue for DROP ME A LINE, as in “I know you can’t visit but I still want to hear from you. Not wrong, but just off a shade in how I understand the phrases.

It never hurts to look up something like MOSELLE before making an erroneous pronouncement.. Likewise, I don’t know if people are confused by SWALE, “wetland” or that a SWALE can be either natural or artificial. Either way, both clues are fine.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

SHAME on Shortz. It's NOTIME to be publishing crappy puzzles. If you HAVE to use the black squares, make it work.

Z 10:14 AM  

Ugh. At least three typos. Spent time making sure the links worked and didn’t catch “our” or the bonus period or the missing close quote. Ugh.

DavidL 10:15 AM  

Yeah, I'm with @BarbieBarbie and the others who think this theme is totally fine. I don't get the complaints -- the "ME" does in fact "drop" to the line below where it belongs. And of course that makes the other answers where "ME" is inserted very confusing....but a perfectly legit Thursday trick. The revealer actually worked great for me -- I had already figured out the trick, and was wondering what it meant....and had a satisfying aha moment.

And all the whining about "CAPEESH" - sheesh! Of course it's an incorrect folksy spelling, but it's definitely out there -- pretty sure it's even been in a puzzle before. Maybe it did need a modifier like "colloquially".....

My only complaint is too many obscure proper names -- ESKER, KYD, AHN.

But otherwise a difficult but solid Thursday in my book.

LB 10:24 AM  

I got the whole me down, but couldn’t finish. Read a book reviewing Sunday NY Times that mentions you because a book mentions you.

JC66 10:24 AM  


FYI, ESKER isn't a proper name.

amyyanni 10:25 AM  

Amusing puzzle. Like @Joaquin, Kiss Me Kate has a special place in my heart. Learned ESKER today. Smiled at the Durham feint. Stay well.

SouthsideJohnny 10:30 AM  

Another puzzle that just buckled under the weight of an ill-conceived and poorly executed theme. Add the outright errors, the stupidity (see SHAME) and more slipshod editing and well, it’s very sad to see the once proud puzzle fall on such hard times.

FPBear 10:39 AM  

A lot of garbage but a wonderful puzzle. Fun to solve. As often Rex's remarks were just stupid.

Thevez 10:40 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle even though it was easy I liked the construction

bauskern 10:42 AM  

This was a toughie. I got the clues that were "missing" the ME pretty quickly, but couldn't suss out the nonsense clues that had the ME added on the end. So 59A: NOTIME kind of made sense to me (i.e., the person didn't have enough time to do the task), but SHAME and THIME (which is what I had) got me!
So yeah, not a perfect puzzle, but I did enjoy the challenge. Unlike Rex, if I get a DNF, it doesn't ruin my day. On a plus note, Rex said nothing about the gender of the constructor, so I take that as a plus.

Perry 10:49 AM  

It is as though ALAN ARBESFELD feared that he would never get another NYT puzzle, so he decided to throw every xword gimcrack he could think of into this one. The result is a puzzle overloaded with gimmicks. For once, Rex and i basically agree.

Anonymoose 10:50 AM  

HAND DOWN for liking this mess.

Ernonymous 10:53 AM  

I got the theme of dropping the ME but but not adding back in. I was totally stuck on RAWRECRUIT because I had PAD then MAX not WAX which I still don't get. I didn't have HIES and I had POP for RAP. I haven't ever been in corporate culture (thank god) so I'm really not familiar with raw recruit.
I loved the movie Lion so much that I bought the book. It's such a great story. LION is a dumb title though.
I used to be an Italian teacher, in fact I taught Italian as TA at SUNY Binghamton for 2 years where Rex is! Somehow I knew these fockers wanted it spelled CAPEESH. It didn't bother me as much as cluing AGITA as anxiety, which is incorrect, yet appears in English dictionary as the 5th definition. Of course Shortz always and only clues it as anxiety, the iffy incorrect, 5th definition, not the common, correct definition meaning indigestion and aggravation. Of course if you complain at Wordplay, their resident jacknozzle will post the link to the 5th dictionary definition and tell you Shortz is right. Sorry, just needed to get that off my chest.
I will personalize my skin today, I had my poodle as avatar but it's gone.

Sir Hillary 10:53 AM  

Sharp's Law: Arbesfeld + Shortz = opprobrium from Rex

To be fair, some of today's criticism is valid. Fees like it would have been better to clue SHAME, THYME and NOTIME, and have "Look me up" as the revealer. Or keep DROPMEALINE, but have the MEs above the theme answers rather than below.

As someone above noted, NOTI and NOTIME both answer that clue, so would have been amazing to clue THY/THYME and SHA/SHAME with single clues, but that seems impossible.

I didn't find the fill to be especially poor or fusty. If people want to freak out about CAPEESH, well okay, but spelling variants are hardly new or rare. I thought SOARERS was far worse. It's also annoying that there's a THEA and a rHEA, but whatever.

Missing the days when KEEPINTOUCH was not a physical impossibility...

QuasiMojo 10:55 AM  

Dear @Nancy and @JC66, I already have a gmail account which I use for work that already is attached to Blogger and which I don't want to use here. If I created a second gmail account, I would have to log out of my main account every time I commented and re-signin and then log out and rel-login since I am using my main account all day long otherwise for work. If Blogger would just let me use a non-gmail account here I would "in a NY minute" which is what I first put in the puzzle today for 3D. For the moment I am very content being non-Blue (except when being an Eli at alumni functions.)

Whatsername 11:01 AM  

Started out really liking this but was less of a fan by the time I finished. Got the ME theme but just treated it as a missing word or a black square fill-in, so the resulting “wrong” crosses in the next row gave me fits. Upon seeing the revealer, I concede it is accurate in the sense that dropping the ME is “what you have to do” in order to complete the grid. But I am firmly in the ANTIS camp along with Rex, @OffTheGrid and others. A much more satisfying solve would have been PICKMEUP as a revealer because if you take the ME out of the line it’s in and raise it to the line above, the answers on BOTH lines are then correct. Either that or work the ME into the crosses so the clues fit. That would’ve been a thing of beauty, and I would’ve been smiling with the delight instead of raising a metaphorical middle finger as we did on Tuesday.

@Richard from NYC (7:53) I didn’t see were anyone else had answered your question but apologize if this is a duplication. There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet. ETA is the seventh.

egsforbreakfast 11:02 AM  

I have now read through the Rex rant 3 times, and all I feel is embarrassment for him. Kind of like I do for Trump when he blusters without any clue as to how absurd he appears to anyone listening. If the revealer were stated as “To solve this puzzle, move the phrase ME down by one row in three different answers” it would be an uninteresting revealer. For anyone capable of doing a NYT Thursday puzzle, it eventually becomes clear that that is the disguised intent of the revealer. The disguise lies in the alternate meaning of the phrase “drop me”. This never, however, became clear to Rex.

I thought the puzzle was very good and challenging. If the clue needs to alert the solver that an answer is a variant spelling of a foreign word, why hasn’t anyone been complaining about tsar/czar?

Barbara S. 11:08 AM  

I liked this puzzle and thought "DROP ME A LINE" worked perfectly. That's what the puzzle does: it DROPs "ME" A LINE.

As for the nonsense of NO TIME, THYME and SHAME:
1) they're all legit single words or a pair of words.
2) there's precedent for this type of answer in previous NYTXW puzzles. I know we've seen this before: answers that are nonsensical in relation to their clues because they've been transformed by the requirment of the theme. So when I saw what was going on with these, I thought, "Ah yes, this again."

In other words, I had no problem with any aspect of the theme. I did, however, get hung up in the North-central and NE areas for a while. I obviously don't know my ESKERs from my "aretes." I had percentage before percentILE. I thought a good name for a cook was "Fry" (last name, obviously), and I filled in "ego" for TIC, which was just dumb. I also object to the use of EMBER (hi @Petsounds). It's not immediately clear whether "put" is present or past tense so I had "write" instead of WROTE, which gave me DOES iK for "manages." (Sounds like the opposite of managing, with a variant spelling of "ick.") I had MS Dos before MS NBC -- there were lots of these until I got the whole area sorted.

But in sum, THUMBs up (hi @Tuesday's puzzle)

Frantic Sloth 11:10 AM  

All this drop me/raise me(prop me/praise me) garbage Rex was babbling on about made me cringe more than (some of)* this puzzle.
How is this confusing? You are instructed to literally drop "ME" a (one) line.




One ME. One line. Dropped.


*CAPEESH? No. Just...no.
*SOARERS? blech.
*the whole double answer/single clue debacle created by the dropped MEs reeks of a "do we change the clue or do we add another layer of WTF?" vibe to me.
Can't decide which is better/worse.

Overall, once I wiped the SHAME-NANA out of my eyes...with bleach...I actually enjoyed the play here. Got that lusted-after "Aha!" you've heard tell about, and that just counts for more than all the nits combined - in my world anyway.

You're welcome to it.

Leslie 11:25 AM  

So much fun!

CDilly52 11:27 AM  

I am also with the pro bloc today. @Barbie, Lewis and Nancy, you have summed it up nicely. @Gil: I laughed out loud as you beat me to the ESKER punch! What would crosswords be without some of the little tidbits of knowledge one picks up over the years? Knew @Rex would hate it.

I got the conceit at KISS KATE, that being the first Coe Porter that comes to mind. My daughter, Kate and her father used to do their own riff on the Kiss me Kate, Bellissimo! lyric from a very early age as they would say good night. And she, an actor and teacher adored the work, especially “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.” Good memories. Good puzzle, fun Thursday.

RooMonster 11:29 AM  

Hey All !
Only wish Rex wasn't so tired and really ripped this puz like it should've been. What a cluster(expletive deleted). Compounded by the fact that NO TIME actually fits and is a viable answer for 59A. So then you don't see the "dropped" MEs. It just looks like the Revealer is telling you the MEs were "dropped" from the grid completely and replaced with black squares.

So struggled forever with SHAME and THYME. Was this done to make it ThursPuz worthy? This would've worked great on Wednesday, or even Tuesday, where you put shaded squares where the MEs are, then the clues as clued would he neat. We'd all he saying, "Hey, cool, the dropped MEs added to the answers make actual words!" and then the constructor would get praise and we'd all have a party. But for Thursday, it doesn't work. Blargh, as Rex would say.

WAX as clued, huh? Please explain (if it hasn't been yet, haven't read the comments) so I can say "Duh" when I get it.

And ESKER? Holy Ridge!

THANK crossing NIH, UNH, KYD, plus the silly THY-ME was a disaster.

You should know that I like 9 out of 10 puzs in the NYT. I usually can find something neat to like about it. This is No. 10.

Like I said, TuesPuz, it would've been great! (There's the positivity!)

And No F's to boot!

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Velvet fog over a craggy hill- Tor(me), but that’s would be a different puzzle. Still gave me a chuckle.

Teresa 11:30 AM  

Don't listen to Rex. To make this grid work out at all is genius. It took me all day to figure out the rest of the revealer, i. e. to drop it BY a line. When I did, I sailed to my 31st consecutive win. Loved it.

57Stratocaster 11:31 AM  

Interesting concept. Not very satisfying. I look forward to Thursday puzzles for the trickery, etc. Didn't get the kind today.

GHarris 11:37 AM  

Rex's raise/drop exegesis is simply absurd. Loved everything about this puzzle. And yes, I can think of someone who says you can thank me later. He also says you should thank me now, later and forever but you damn well better thank me.

Speedweeder 11:41 AM  

Rex's rant today is pure gibberish. The theme makes perfect sense. The ME in each theme answer gets dropped one line down, so you drop ME a line. Then you ignore it for the purposes of the row it gets dropped into, so the answer to 38 across is SHA, not SHAME. If you didn't get that, the failing is yours, not the puzzle's.

I thought the puzzle was clever and fun, if a bit too easy.

For those who thought UNC might be in Durham NC, the folks in Chapel Hill might take exception to that, and the Dookies aren't too happy with you either.

Bax'N'Nex 11:42 AM  

Would like to thank Z Zed Zed (The artist formerly known as “Z”, right?) for helping me burst out of anonymity with his help yesterday. No longer will I lurk in the shadows of “anonymous”. Thanks, dude. (I’m assuming)

DNF...could not get past “age” for suffix with percent. Just didn’t click.

And this left coast boy had no idea that there were a) two Durhams and 2) they both have major universities. I’m a sports guy, but totally blanked on the fact that Duke is in Durham, not UNC. Sorry Coach K.

Just glad we had a Thursday yesterday...

Peace and love, peace and love.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Very enjoyable puzzle!
Just remember REX, as "king of the haters", all the bad karma and energy you create will someday come back to you and/or your loved ones.

Crimson Devil 11:47 AM  

Bustin buttons this am ‘cause finished puz Rex declares “challenging”, for second time this week.
Best answer ETRE.

jae 11:48 AM  

Medium-tough. I’m looking for some trickiness and some crunch on Thursday, and this puzzle delivered. Yes, there were problems (Jeff discusses several at Xwordinfo) but over all I liked it.

Bax'N'Nex 11:53 AM  

And another question as to the workings of this page...why are some names blue and some black, such as barbiebarbie or Teresa?

Pamela 11:56 AM  

Just read Rex, responding before reading your comments. I thought ME was in the line above, not below, so it had to drop down. ALAR doesn’t work as red, but I saw NOTIME as an ok excuse so the ME didn’t stand out there either. Otherwise, I’d call it medium today. The NE is where I had the worst time, because I was committed to FRY as the cook and EGO seemed to work for the personality bit. And Capeesh is ridiculous, I agree- if it isn’t the actual Italian word, it’s Kapeesh.

OK, now I’ll see what you all had to say.

Bax'N'Nex 11:56 AM  

Oh, and Newboy, I Now have a profile. Stalk me to your heart’s content...

Barbara S. 11:57 AM  

This is not an exact parallel, but check out the puzzle from Thursday, 5 March. The theme was NO MAS: words that should have "MA" in them don't.

So 1A was "Mugged for the camera, maybe" and the answer was DEFACES. That clue and its answer don't match, unless you remove the MA from MADE FACES. Likewise, today, 48A "Repeated word in the Ten Commandments" has as its answer THYME. Again, no match unless you ignore the freeloading ME, which is really part of the answer above.

The difference is that in the earlier puzzle the nonsensical clue/answer pairings ARE the theme, whereas in today's puzzle, the nonsensical clue/answer pairings are collateral damage as a result of the theme.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

The school may be more famous as a D1 hockey school but it is possible to receive a fine education there as well.

We used to say the same thing about Clarkson, back when it was just a college. Imported Canadians for the team.

And, one might suppose, if this were a gal puzzle, all the miscegenists out there would be bitching that Shortz has lost his mind letting 'this' gal get a puzzle slot. Ya think?

Frantic Sloth 12:00 PM  

Congrats @Bax'N'Nex 11:42 am and thanks/welcome back to @Z (formerly Z_Zed_Zed or some such ---- "Z" is soooooo much easier to type!)!

Future apologies for abbreviating to "Bax" because F$#$ autocorrect.

Malsdemare 12:03 PM  

It was fine, and fun! I caught the dropped MEs at KISS ME KATE and smiled, totally missing that the dropped MEs showed up one line down. The consequence is that I never understood why THYME, SHAME, AND NOTIME were correct; typical ME, I just waited for rex to tell me what was up.

It’s funny how some of us see the trick as absolutely working and others see it as a giant fail. Maybe it’s something in the way our brains are wired differently?

I'm not sure who wants Alsace to return to Germany; my relatives sure don't. During WWII, Germany took over the region, drafted its men and sent them to die in Russia. Today the area is resolutely French; for a long time they refused to teach German in the schools and even now, the residents preferred my atrocious French to my slightly better German. True in both Haute and Bas regions (my ancestral homes). Maybe not in Lorraine?

And yeah, CAPEESH bothered me a bit, but I've seen it used often enough that I felt it was legit. There are battles that aren't worth fighting. Like "au jus." My mother-in-law used to ask about the "au jus" ("Waiter, where is the au jus?" and I'd bite my tongue to avoid correcting her. She was too nice to hurt.

Good job, Alan; not your fault I'm too impatient to spend time figuring out how the entire puzzle works.

Joe Dipinto 12:04 PM  

The dumbest thing here is that you have a theme revealer DROP ME A LINE; you have three theme answers that do what the revealer specifies; and then you have, symmetrical with the revealer and clued identically, another ostensible theme answer that does nothing whatsoever in the scheme of things.

This puzzle could never be a true love of mine.

JC66 12:08 PM  

@Giovanni &Roo

WAX and wane.


Way to go! Welcome to blue.

Pamela 12:12 PM  

Wow! So many hates! I liked it. I enjoyed the challenge, especially the Aha moment when THANK LATER was joined by ME (which I saw above the line, not below. But that’s a different problem:/)

For me, this was just enough harder than earlier in the week to make it fun. The nits don’t spoil it.

Carola 12:13 PM  

I found it clever and enjoyable, with a terrific reveal that tells you exactly what to do. It took me a bit to locate the ME that KATE is to KISS, but then it was easy to drop in the remaining MEs into their places. Also liked RAW RECRUITS, MOSELLE, and the sort of alpha-omega line of GENESES...EMBER. My eye was also caught by the line MAYBE GESTURE and I wondered if there's an emoji for that.

Wisconsin terrain still shows the marks of the last glaciation, and (in my experience) our state parks do a good job of alerting hikers to ESKERS, moraines, drumlins, and the occasional impressive erratic along the trails.

ccredux 12:14 PM  

The me is dropped in 2 senses: it is dropped to give correct answer to the clue and it is dropped down to complete the correct answer above.

Z 12:15 PM  

I have no problem with the theme execution, but let me point out to everyone bashing Rex’s rant that several other commenters see the theme the same way. It’s like that optical illusion where one second it’s a vase and the next it’s two people looking at each other. If I hadn’t slept in I’d have been #TeamWTFRex, but several of the early comments let me see what Rex was going on about. Also, needing help recently with “carousel” reminds me that we all have moments of D’Oh, even OFL.
In this same vein, @Sir Hillary is on to something. Wouldn’t two revealers, the current one and “look me up,” have been cool? I don’t know how to fix the asymmetrical word lengths, but the two really explain the theme conceit.

@Bax’N’Nex - Welcome! Yes, I’m back to my single letter nom de blog (26 of 26). I forgot to update my profile last night, so thanks for the reminder.

@JC66 - Thanks for the ESKER link. I always always always wonder why moraine doesn’t fit.

@quasimojo - I have three google accounts I use on occasion, this one most of the time, a second tied to @me.com account because of googledoc shared docs sent to that email, and the ultimate club account because of responsibilities managing that google account. It’s fairly easy to switch back and forth, but when I do it I’m going to be working in that account for awhile. Switching accounts for five minutes to post something seems like a recipe for inadvertent commingling of work and recreation, with the attendant sit-com like consequences.

jberg 12:18 PM  

Dangnab it, I just posted without noticing that my Internet connection was momentarily down, and lost the whole thing. I don't have the energy to compose it again, will just make three points:

1. You do DROP ME A LINE when you are writing in your answers; once you are looking at the completed grid, you have to raise it back up again. Rex just didn't think of the first part.

2. After about 15 minutes of searches, I see that there really is a French AOC MOSELLE. But it's tiny-- fewer than 500 acres grown -- so that's a bit unfair.

3. I figured there must be a Ten Commandments of herbalism somewhere -- but then the truth dawned on me.

I liked this puzzle a lot once I figured it out.

@Pabloinnh--you have a blue name, but no avatar. How about using a photo of you in that tutu?

Z 12:24 PM  

@Bax-11:53 -(Hi @FranticSloth) Below the comment box you’ll see three options. The second option allows you to type in a name. If you do that the name will show up in black.
Also, Once you go blue you can skip the proving you’re not a robot step.

CaryinBoulder 12:28 PM  

To @Giovanni and @RooMonster: WAX as the waning and WAXing moon.

@GILL I: 20 lashes with a wet second BASEMAN for you. One for every time that the great Jackie Robinson stole home plate. Actually the phrase “quicker than you can say Jack Robinson” has been traced at least as far back as the 1700s. But Jackie was wicked fast, leading the National League in stolen bases a couple times. Coincidentally, he made his historic Major League debut 73 years ago yesterday.

Maybe when I’ve done as many of these puzzles as Rex has I will be too jaded to enjoy something like this one. But enjoy it I did and was able to CAPEESH (which I agree is abysmal) some of the trickier fills like OBIS, WAX, ANTIS and UNH (which I figured @Pablo would know IN AN INSTANT). The theme worked for ME, although it was obviously either too easy or too devilish for others.

Previously unknowns: AHN and ESKER. But I got them from crosses and finished a whopping eight seconds ahead of my Thursday average. Final fills were the tough KYN/THYME cross and DOESOK, which gave me a very hard time since I had dropped in WRITE early on.

PS. I finally got me one of them blue names, courtesy of @Z’s comments yesterday.

Newboy 12:31 PM  

DROP ME (in) A LINE of those who got a double AHHHHAHH on Alan’s grid. First saw that ME was in the line below the two black squares for the double answers and a couple moments later realized that the ME also needed to be dropped to have SHA, THY & NOT I as legitimate answers as clued. Not a rebus, but a DECOY that had me muttering “Drop kick me Jesus!” I’m off to see if others found today as amusing as did I, or if like Rex....need I say more?

I raise my CLARET to Mr. Arbesfeld; hope he and Will can STAY IN TOUCH to provide more little gems to amuse & delight.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

WAX as compared to wane, like moon phases

jb129 12:32 PM  

I enjoyed it -kept me busy until Governor Andrew Cuomo came on TV. Love that Cuomo!

old timer 12:43 PM  

I finished this one. With difficulty, but I finished, and when I did, I told myself, this is one of the cleverest puzzle I've seen in weeks. I really, really liked it. No trouble with MOSELLE. Hang out in any Paris wine bar, you are likely to be offered a splendid, flavorful glass. From France, of course. No, my only disappointment was that the boring, green-painty SOARERS replaced the Raptors I had wanted.

I decided against going blue here, for the simple reason I established a moniker early, it describes me to a T, and don't use my google account, which has a different name, very often.

Masked and Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Cool & weird. M&A's personal fave of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not covet thyme … et al." Rosemary did not make the list, sooo … ok.

But … poor ME. (Not m&e … the other one.) The little squirt gets no respect. First, ME gets dropped from the long Across answers, then it gets dropped again, from the shorter Across answers it's passed to, down in the nether regions. As a consolation prize, it sorta hangs around as ig-no-mini-mouse unchecked letters in the devourin Down answers.

M&A kept desperately tryin to come up with answers to SHA?? [wanted another NA], THY?? or maybe THI??, and NOTI?? -- for way too long. Lost precious endgame nanoseconds. Those were the last letters that M&A did not fill in. In the end, sorta admired the raised-by-wolves *Thursday/different* way that SHAME, THYME, and NOTIME got clued up. But I'm sure some folks ain't gonna like it.

Did not know MOSELLE. Do know PINOT GRIGIO, so am ready for that wine-name-drop, someday. Sorta somehow knew AHN, PATEL and ESKER, tho.
Enjoyed the loongball INANINSTANT and RAWRECRUITS answers. Also, DIMPLE and GESTURE were kinda neat.

staff weeject picks: THY(ME) & SHA(ME). Theme participation honors, for the lil THY & SHA runts. Like.
fave Ow Ow de Speration: NAGNAG.
Noteworthy DECOY clue.

Thanx, Mr. Arbesfeld. KEEPINSITUTOUCH.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Caryin boulder
Nah. Robinson stole home 19 times. Tied for 9th all-time w/ The Fordham Flash.
Pretty good, but nowhere near the best.
One nice bit of trivia: his success rate gor stesling home is for all intents and purposes the same as his rate for the other bags.

Pablo 1:01 PM  

This felt like it was written by someone who grew up in a parallel universe, just filled to the brim with people and phrases I'm apparently supposed to know, but don't even ring a bell. When I get to puzzles like this I usually look at the number of "ungettable" clues on their own for me. This was an outlier by a large margin

CAPEESH (due to spelling)

Just... oof. On top of that list there are so many unnecessarily awful clues here.

Go SOLAR... I used to do solar cell research and I've never heard this term. You "go green." Go solar is just two words that don't sound horrible next to each other. It's not an actual phrase.

Undisturbed for INSITU doesn't capture the the term in a specific sense at all.

SHA Na Na is weak at best. Add in the theme material and it's outright awful.

Is stew traditional mess hall grub? I had JOE for sloppy joe, and all my mess hall experiences have been stew-free. MAYBE that's just me.

TIC... ugh.

RAWRECRUITS. Raw? Also ugh.

SOARERS is just awkward.

NAGNAG feels like some sort of cluing violation.

The clue for BAIL should earn any constructor a 6 month suspension.

The problems just go on and on with this thing. Then the themers... dropping the ME but then cluing as if the ME isn't there is clunky and confusing without any sort if satisfying "aha" when you figure it out. This is partially because the clues are so bad. SHA na na. THY (only thou makes sense here). NOTIME was just awful as well. NOTI? That's it? Okay...

They should have clued both words. Like, "___ Na Na... or something nearly every other puzzle puts this one to"

Banya 1:05 PM  

Fun Fact: Bel Ami is also a gay porn company.

Whatsername 1:11 PM  

@oldtimer: You can go blue and still keep your moniker. Just enter that as your “Display Name” when you set up your profile.

FWIW, Rex did not object to the answer THANKMELATER. Yes, lots of people do say that. His rant (that portion of it) was about the clue: “‘You can wait to show your gratitude" (who in the world would ever say those words?)”

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

Not sure soarers is green paint, but I agree it wasn't optimal. But for me, the reason was the inclusion of hawks. True hawks--accipters-- as opposed to buteos, eagle, and vultures, do a lot less soaring than those big bodied raptors. Accipters mostly flap flap glide. Sure they soar, especially in migration. But they're woodland birds short-winged and long tail to navigate wooodlands not soar over open land.

Yrhumble 1:14 PM  

I’m with blinker474. What’s with the vitriol?
In this as in all things some appreciation for the myriad complications of achieving some good thing in the real world, please
Maybe the blog is victim to a world of crabby shut-ins. Maybe challenge yourself to create a puzzle. That should keep you busy for a while.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

I was quite leery about ESKER; unlike @Gill I, it was not an old friend to me. And because in Iceland, the original geyser is named Geysir, I was willing to guess that plural GENESES could be spelled like the singular and 5D could be ESKiR. But I used the E and avoided the DNF.

I haven't read all the comments but I'm sure I had all the same errors as everybody else: agE before ILE at 7D, MS DOS before MSNBC at 20D, rHEA before THEA at 68D. One I had that probably no one else did was blatantly misspell GESTURE as jESTURE but NAj, NAG kept me from failing there.

A fun writeover I had was at 16A. Because I had 7D as agE, I thought 16A could be "vegan" with "going green" pointing to eating salads? My haircut TRIM helped me go SOLAR instead.

I find AA puzzles are often full of crosswordese, but I enjoyed this theme and the drops of ME. Thanks, Alan Arbesfeld, for a nice Thursday solve.

kitshef 1:23 PM  

@M&A - I'm fairly sure there is an error in today's runt. See my puzcomment on r.alph's site.

Anoa Bob 1:26 PM  

Hello ESKER, my old friend. You've come to help my solve again.

Class assignment: ESKER and ARETE---compare and contrast. Talk among yourselves.

Not sure why the "plus ME" entries, SHAME, THYME & NO TIME, weren't clued straight up rather than being clued for the ME-less versions, SHA, THY & NOT I. That's a big-ass fly in the ointment for me.

So AHN LAO and KYD THEA III walk into a bar...

PUREST (51A) does not correlate with its clue,"Least polluted" methinks. Even if it is "least", it's still "polluted" and can't be any kind of PURE, right?

Z 1:27 PM  

For @Pablo and anyone else not familiar with Steve EARLE. Emmylou Harris is just a bonus.

GILL I. 1:41 PM  

@CaryinB 12:28. First and foremost.... YAY, you've gone BLUE. And your avatar is, well, cute!
As to Jack Robinson....I know I sound like a communist but I don't like baseball. To me it's like watching my pot of water coming to a boil. Both my parents were fans. One was a Yankees fan and the other a Dodger. We had a big old clunker of a tv when we lived in Havana and it resided in my parents bedroom. I didn't care because the only thing you could watch was I Love Lucy and The Thee Stooges. Anyway, they always watched the World Series because Cubans LOVE baseball and they would televise it. SNORE. I would go outside and pick mangoes.
Don't get me wrong...I do love sports - especially soccer. I would marry Ricardo Kaka just to stare at him every day. I would, though, make sure he changed his last name.

BobL 1:46 PM  

Gee, there is a lot of stuff you don't know...... or like.

Masked and Anonymous 1:56 PM  

Yo, @kitshef: yep. Good catch, which eluded M&A and, evidently, the first-line test solvers.
Drop m&e on the floor … wrong again, M&A breath.
Improved version is attached.

M&A Repairs Crew


pabloinnh 2:10 PM  

@Anon,-11:59-As a proud graduate of your neighboring D1 hockey school, namely St. Lawrence, I know all about the tradition of Canadian imports, a situation which still obtains. My old school is almost unrecognizable, as I discovered when I went to a reunion last year.

@Malsdemere-Your description of Alsace and its relation to Germany made me think of that wonderful short story, "La Derniere Classe", about a student attending his last French class in Alsace before it is annexed by Germany. Heartbreaking.

@jberg-There will be no avatars of me in a tutu, as I paid the blackmail and destroyed the negatives.

FWIW-NB that there is also a Pablo, capital P, whose opinions and knowledge base frequently differ from mine. Just sayin'.

Heidiho 2:10 PM  

Wax as in wax and wane

JC66 2:15 PM  

@pabloinnh & @jberg

Check out @CaryinBoulder's avatar.

David Stone 2:21 PM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle for the most part. Sure, there were a few clues I didn't like or know (ESKER, UNH), but the aha moment where I realized that the two squares stood for ME was enjoyable, and the 2nd aha moment -- when I finally realized that the MEs had all been dropped into the clues below -- was delightful.

[As for MOSELLE, someone incorrectly noted that it's German, rather than French. In fact, it comes from a region that includes France, Germany, and Luxembourg.]

Unknown 2:32 PM  

I had the same thought?

LenFuego 2:32 PM  

I wholeheartedly agree with Rex about "drop" versus "raise". I diligently tried to do what the puzzle told me, which meant that ME had to be in the line above KISS and KATE. That led to CLAMEY rather than CLARET (with "clay" being the red color referred to in the clue--a la Roland Garros tennis courts--after dropping ME from CLAMEY, which seems at least as plausible as using "claret" as a color) since there was absolutely no other place for the ME to be in that line. (Yes, it bothered me that I had never heard of a CLAMEY.)

The M in CLAMEY then led to "newbies in the work force" being "MAY RECRUITS", which seemed like a very realistic phrase a la "May-December romance" - if the young person in a May-December romance is described as being "May", it seemed perfectly logical to use it in the same way with respect to the work force. For that matter, the word "recruits" generally refers only to people *before* they are actually in the work force, not "in" the work force -- only in the military do we use "recruit" to mean someone actually in the work force.

Anyway, that area was a mess and took me forever to unwind. My average Thursday time took a major hit today.


This puzzle was a fit offering unto me!

Unknown 2:33 PM  

I had the same thought.

TJS 2:34 PM  

@Z, just noticed your response to me late yesterday. Appreciate it. Thanks.

What? 2:40 PM  

Amazing how so many liked it and so many hated it (Rex in this group is a gimme). I liked it a lot (may have something to do with the fact that I finished). Clever theme, nicely executed and I’m sure it was difficult to construct.

Why does anybody read Rex’s rants? He’s like a resident troll. I’m giving him up.

Pablo 2:44 PM  

@BobL, like I said, it felt like someone coming from a parallel universe wrote it, an absolute outlier. I can't recall a puzzle since I've started solving about a year ago, even a Saturday, with this many ?!?!? answers for me. Could be age, I'm only 27 and this constructor and editor are from an entirely different generation, but still, an attempt at universal but clever clues is always appreciated. I'm usually able to push through the unknowns by guessing good letter combos on old-timey language and proper nouns. This was hopeless though. First Thursday DNF in a while. I think there was a puzzle with Ts built into it that wrecked me a while back that rivals this, but I appreciated it more once I got the theme.

@Z, thank you for the introduction

Ernonymous 3:39 PM  

@gill I at least what you could watch in Cuba were 2 of the greatest TV shows ever made, I Love Lucy and the 3 Stooges! Add the Honeymooners to that list and I wouldn't even need Netflix.

GILL I. 4:01 PM  

@Giovanni....Let's have a drink sometime. Maybe a Cuba Libre?

Georgia 4:07 PM  

It's "Thy." The "me" dropped from above ... like the "me" that dropped after "Sha" na na.

Monty Boy 4:14 PM  

I liked this one a lot. I'm with @Lewis et. al. in the pro camp.

I consider myself an average solver, not a newbie, not a speed pro. I thought the puzzle was challenging and very pleased that I finished with lookups only to confirm answers. I thought the theme and reveal very clever and the construction amazing. The odd thing is this challenging puzzle had an average time for me.

Like most puzzles there were answers out of my wheel-house and I learned something. Some answers were in the w-h such as ESKER which I learned in my geology class. Those who didn't like ESKER probably knew the playwright was spelled with a Y and that just looked so wrong to me. Who knew an ETUDE is a practice piece? Not this non-musician. Learn and enjoy.

The Sage 4:17 PM  

FYI: The Thyme in the 10 Commandments is right after Oregano Sin. Please contemplate this and recite some Hail RoseMarys.

Bax'N'Nex 4:36 PM  

Ok, THAT’s funny, @The Sage

Joe Dipinto 4:50 PM  

Also, pray for the canonization of Queen Catherine of Tarragon.

Z 5:11 PM  

@Pablo - I’m a little older than 27, but looking at your list a fair amount is crossword only knowledge for me.

OBIS learned from crosswords (LFC)
AMI -Clue meant nothing to me, educated guess confirmed by crosses
CLARET -learned somewhere along the line, now because it’s the color of Burnley’s kit
SWALE -Knew this
HIES -Knew this from Shakespeare maybe
EARLE - I know him
LEIGH -I know her but actually watched the film for the first time this year
ESKER -LFC but I did learn about moraines in 7th grade
CAPEESH -LFC - I think I’ve seen this spelling more often than the correct one.
PATEL -Clue meant nothing but I recognize the name
TIC -Knew this although usually as a physical TIC as opposed to as clued
KYD -LFC, but only enough to not question it when it appeared.
AHN - No clue
MOSELLE - Like everyone else, I knew MOSEL which I probably learned about the same time as I learned CLARET.
MAMET -Is this the one @LMS adores? Mostly a LFC

So really it’s more crossworld experience than real world experience that clued me into most of your trouble answers.

@Sage and @jberg - Har! I assume the first commandment is Thou shalt not be a Herb.

Aketi 5:34 PM  

I kinda liked the DROP of the ME down A LINE. HAND ME DOWNs were common when I was a kid. As the oldest child, I never had to feel the SHAME she felt from getting my cast offs.

Jusr got an invite as a Cornell alum for a webinar by a female crossword puzzle constructor whose puzzle appears tomorrow.

JC66 5:44 PM  


Isn't it too soon for another female constructor? Rex'll go nuts.

KP 5:55 PM  

I didn’t mind the revealer but it caused total HAVOC in the clues. I came here to understand how “thyme” was a word that appeared in the 10 commandments, forgetting that the me was dropped which, I think is an abomination if you can’t fit it into the answer for the clue it drops to. JUST SO CRAZY. Not clever, just kinda sloppy and gimmicky.

August West 5:56 PM  

Arbesfeld is the worst. But at least he's an old white guy, right, Will?

* Me Kitten

Anonymous 6:38 PM  

@August West- LOL Totally agree. If this puzzle had been constructed by a Transgender Person of Color it would’ve been nominated for Puzzle of the Year.

Anonymous 6:47 PM  

Some folks don’t know August was playing y’all.

Krytykal 7:03 PM  

Don't always (okay, usually) agree with Rex, but on this one -- I feel like we're a married couple. And if we were, I'd renew my vows with him on the spot. Awful, awful puzzle in every way.

Mary Jane 7:10 PM  

Anon:6:38pm Maybe Trump can institute the National Defense Act and have RuPaul construct a puzzle.

VictorS 7:50 PM  

UNC is in Chapel Hill Duke is in Durham. (And NC State is in Raleigh)

Anonymous 8:14 PM  

Assumed it referred to New Hampshire but what do I know

Azzurro 8:18 PM  

Agree with Rex. This had a few bright spots, but a lot of the fill is lazy. And I don’t understand why SHAME, THYME. and NOTIME were not clued as such. SHA, THY, and NOTI are bad crosswordese, not things to be celebrated. Ugh.

Anonymous 8:30 PM  

@The Sage

Didn't you mean Oregano Cinnamon?

tea73 9:02 PM  

Just in case the constructor stops by - LOVED the puzzle, LOVED the revealer. Thought for a while we had to write ME in the black squares and then had a great aha moment when we figured out what we really had to do.

Was it perfect? No, looking at you ESKER and AHN.

No issues with MANNA or MOSELLE (which I only knew as German, but the spelling was totally a fair give away.)

Laughed at the CAPEESH spelling. I might have preferred a hint that we are going American accent on this, but no problem(o) here.

Sir Hillary 9:57 PM  

@Z -- If you don't see this tonight, hopefully I'll remember to ask it again tomorrow. Anyway...Burnley?? Explain, please. I get questions about my support of Newcastle all the time, so I'm interested to know if/how Burnley is your club. Mind you, their last top-division title (1960 or 1961, I believe) was far more recent than Newcastle's (late 1920s), so maybe it's me who should be explaining myself.

Z 10:23 PM  

@Sir Hillary - I’m City til I die (Detroit City, that is). But I enjoy my weekend morning Premier League games. Hard to miss Burnley being called “the Clarets” when they play. Leicester’s run makes them my favorite EPL team, but you have to love Klopp. I liked him already, but this response on coronavirus impressed me. Otherwise, I’m a neutral who enjoys the games.

Richardf8 12:20 AM  

I liked it. My wife and I hiked the ESKER trail at one of our state parks last week and had a blast. As for the theme; I liked it well enough. The dropped MEs didn’t put nonsense into the grid (as I have seen other, similar themes do) and I enjoyed working out the mechanics. The fill was fill, mostly. It didn’t bother me. CAPEESH was . . . well a cheap way to get to a place.

Nick D 1:09 AM  

Rex's take is 100% spot on. "Drop ME a line" is not something you have to do, as the clue suggests. It already HAS been dropped. If you drop ME a line, then ME will be two lines below where it's supposed to be. Horrible, unforgivable revealer, ruined an otherwise decent puzzle. Yuck. Gross. Barf.

The Sage 7:28 PM  

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for being more Radicchio than I.

Music Man 5:40 AM  

Hopefully, the WP summaries are a recap of what’s actually useful info, without all the bluster, ranting, media attacking, campaigning (!!), and other blame-shifting, time-wasting tactics.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:14 PM  

After 158 comments, no one seems to have mentioned going off on the wrong track exactly as I did, although @tea73 comes close. With just part of the grid filled, I had KEEP IN TOUCH at 19 A, and KISS___KATE at 33 A et seq. Seeing that ME was needed in the gap, I believed that the final reveal would be something along the lines of DON'T KEEP "ME" IN THE DARK (not counting length at this point) with ME in the two dark squares of the themers.

rondo 10:13 AM  

I agree with at least a couple of posts above. DROPMEALINE is Ex.Act.Ly what you must ‘do’ to fill in the two-clue answers, so most of OFL’s rant is off base. And in my world a SWALE is a gently sloped (both the sides and the gradient) ditch that will allow water to flow away slowly enough so as not to erode, unlike a flume which moves large volumes rather swiftly. And mostly agree that I did not particularly enjoy it in part due to the non-sequitur words the ME created; something shoulda been done about that.

I’d give a yeah baby to Vivien LEIGH, or Janet LEIGH for that matter, or LEIGH Olson whom none of you would know. LATER.

Burma Shave 10:42 AM  


ISAY she has NO SHAME,
KATE’s NOT the PUREST miss,
HANDs DOWN the TYPE to claim
she gave a MANNA KISS.


thefogman 10:46 AM  

SHAME on the editor and the constructor. This was one of the worst themes ever.

spacecraft 11:21 AM  

Ha! Nobody--not even OFC!--got it until @Rique Beleza, and few after. The ME has to switch places with the black squares, then it all makes sense. While I agree that the revealer is a tad murky for all that, it works IMO, and poor AA doesn't deserve all the haters' hate.

A rarity: my entry point turned out to be a mistake! 5 letters, word repeated in the Big Ten: why, "shalt," of course!! Thou shalt not this, thou shalt that. Naturally, nothing worked, so I did my go-to move, I worked crosses on the revealer line. From that I got HAND ME DOWN INANINSTANT, and off I went.

38, 48 and 59a bothered me a great deal. I guessed NOTIME might stretch to a denial of responsibility, but the clue felt really off. The clincher, though was SHA[ME]. I just knew that had to be Bowser and the boys--and then I saw it. The ME didn't belong there, the blocks did! An aha! moment for the ages. So cool that the -ME endings formed real entries on their own. Cluing them the short way was stretching Thursday to the edge, but okay. Fill ills are few; looking at you, III. I do hate when the clue contains a verb that doesn't change with tense, such as "put." That always throws me off, and made me write over WRiTE.

DOD, since the LEIGHs are taken, will be KATE Hudson, with honorable mention to Ione SKYE. This puzzle may not be the PUREST, but it's a birdie.

Diana, LIW 2:15 PM  

News flash from WYOY. Y oh Y did KYD use a Y? My only error.

Me! On a Thursday! Got the trick early on, and it "helped" with the solve. Except for that one, teensy bit of PPP. plgggggh

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 3:30 PM  

Since this is a puzzle by Alan Arbesfeld I didn't read @Rex (good call, rainy). Actually this was a tough puzzle for me until I eventually figured out the theme. DROP ME A LINE, ie, drop "ME" a line. Works for me, har. So the ME is not part of the answer in the line where it appears. Maybe a bit awkward, but no prob.

Other than the theme stuff, it was OK. I think CAPEESH is usually spelt "Capisce", but I'll bet the puzzle spelling is acceptable in some dictionaries. I liked some of the long downs, and many of the clues, too. I mostly associate Moselle wines with Germany, but TIS true, they are also made in France.

All in all, a challenging puzzle which entailed, for ME, a lot of thinking, and rethinking.

wcutler 4:31 PM  

@QuasiMojo 10:55 AM
Dear @Nancy and @JC66, I already have a gmail account which I use for work that already is attached to Blogger and which I don't want to use here. If I created a second gmail account, I would have to log out of my main account every time

I'm sorry I'm in syndi land and the chance of your seeing my reply is unlikely to be read by you. I want to tell you that you can have two or more accounts open in gmail at the same time. You click your avatar at the upper right, Add Another Account (you have to have it already set up, I think). Once you have added it, you can (click on your avatar and) click the other account when you want to open it, and the first account stays open. So you can go back and forth all day, just click on the tab you want to use.

leftcoaster 5:00 PM  

Pretty clever once you get the gimmick, dropping the MEs down a line, but seems a bit clunky too. Revealer definitely is clear enough.

"Put down in words" (WROTE, not WRiTE) created a little non-theme related noise, as did the stiffly espressed "NOT I" (instead of NOT__ ME) denial. And is the symmetric KEEP IN TOUCH intended as an extension of the revealer? Seems so.

Putting it all together, I liked the touch of awkwardness. Sort of a cute ugly duckling.

ramroot 3:41 PM  

So maybe I'm a little thick, but is TIC referring to personality traits, such as romantic?

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