Struck old-style / SUN 8-9-20 / Ferris Bueller's girlfriend / First Alaskan on major U.S. party ticket / Where to get mullet trimmed / Painter of four freedoms series 1943 / Bygone apple messaging app / Hogwarts professor who was secretly a werewolf

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Constructor: Ruth Bloomfield Margolin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (a shade under 10 min.)

THEME: "Craft Show" — you draw on your puzzle at the end and make a kind of boat. The revealer and its clue explain: 66A: In perfect order ... or, as two words, what's formed by applying the answers for the five starred clues to the circled letters (SHIPSHAPE) (so ... you make a ship shape ... based on the shapes described in the ...

Theme answers:
  • LOVE TRIANGLE (36D: *Rick, Ilsa and Victor had one in "Casablanca")
  • SECURITY LINE (35D: *Airport logjam)
  • STORY ARC (84A: *Multi-episode narrative)
  • TOWN SQUARE (113A: *Civic center)
  • SKI SLOPE (48A: *Winter vacation destination)
Word of the Day: ST. PIERRE (53D: French island off the coast of Newfoundland) —

Saint Pierre and Miquelon, officially the Overseas Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon (FrenchCollectivité d'outre-mer de Saint-Pierre-et-MiquelonIPA: [sɛ̃.pjɛʁ.e.mi.klɔ̃]), is a self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France, situated in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean near the Canadian province of  Newfoundland and Labrador. It is the only part of New France that remains under French control, with an area of 242 square kilometres (93 sq mi) and a population of 6,008 [ed: !!!?!?!?] at the March 2016 census.

The islands are situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near the entrance of Fortune Bay, which extends into the southwestern coast of Newfoundland, near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. They are 25 kilometres (16 mi) from the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland and 3,819 kilometres (2,373 mi) from Brest, the nearest city in Metropolitan France. (wikipedia)

• • •

Whole lotta mixed feelings about this one. Nice to (finally) see a solo female constructor after more than two weeks without one. And this is conceptually ... well, interesting, at least. You draw a ship on the finished puzzle, and I can tell you I have *definitely* been asked to do that with a Sunday puzzle before (I feel like it was a puzzle about a painting that had been hung "upside-down" in some gallery for a long time and nobody noticed? Does that sound familiar? I may be conflating that puzzle with an entirely different draw-a-ship puzzle—I've been doing this for almost fourteen years ... there've been a lot of puzzles). But you build the puzzles out of shapes, and the themers describe both the shape and the letters you need to connect to make that shape: that is definitely clever. Whether I enjoyed the solving and (esp) the drawing, that's another question, and the answer to that question is an extremely equivocal, "I've definitely had worse times on a Sunday than I had today." The grid has a slightly oldish feel and the fill creaks a bit in places. And yet, honestly, it was probably smoother and more solid than most of the Sunday puzzles of late. The SW corner gets very very rough, but that's also the most thematically dense portion of the grid, with a whole bunch of circled squares crammed into a very tight area, so the roughness is at least explainable. I have never enjoyed puzzles that asked me to treat the finished grid like a child's placemat at IHOP, connecting dots and drawing pictures and what not, but if that sort of thing is your sort of thing, I don't know how you dislike this puzzle. It's ambitious and interesting. It's not for *me*, but it's not bad.

The main issue for me, from a satisfaction standpoint, is that I literally have no idea what two of these ship shapes do. Is the TOWN SQUARE some kind of ... tiller, is it? (nope, it's the rudder ... to my very very small credit, the tiller does control the rudder). And the SKI SLOPE is like ... some kind of narwhal unicorn dealie? Ooh, a bowsprit, is it a bowsprit!? [checks internet] Hoooooooly ****, it is! Ha ha, I'm nautical now, mateys!
It's weird how I know things that I don't know I know. 

I had lots of trouble in precisely two sections of this grid: the aforementioned SW (with its NWT and OHI and TNOTE and plural ANTICS with a singular-looking clue) and then the NW, which was where I started, to very little avail. I had AROAR and ERS and that is it. The clue on NOODLE was completely inscrutable to me, to the bitter end, and ADDL had me ... that's right, addled. I figured [Not incl.] was EXCL. though I also figured that was far too stupid to be plausible. I imagined the coast after a storm would be strewn with driftwood and other detritus, not ERODED. I just whiffed the whole thing and had to back into it later, and even then, that NOODLE answer had me sweating til the very last letter. Other parts of the grid caused pain (SMIT!? LOL wha?) but not the kind associated with real difficulty. I had TIMESUCK before TIMESINK (52D: Endless YouTube viewing, e.g.), SCANTY before SKIMPY (63A: Meager), MOSTLY before MAINLY (119A: By and large), and could not process the silverback gorilla clue at all ("why ... is the answer ALOHA?). That's it, that's the whole experience.

Your final reminder: Lollapuzzoola is one of the best crossword tournaments in the country, is entirely online this year, and it takes place THIS SATURDAY (Aug. 15) from 1pm-7pm. There are lots of different ways to compete, or just get the puzzles and solve in a leisurely fashion at home. All the details are here. Highly recommended.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:02 AM  

It took me forever to figure out what the revealer meant; when I finally did, it was more “oy” than “aha”.

Another one of those “fun for the constructor but meh for the solver” puzzles.

Alex 12:11 AM  

I think the answer to the gorilla clue is Alpha.
Must have been on the easier side if I completed clean.
Thanks Rex for this forum. Love reading about the solving journey (and smiling at me too!). Even if my times are generally 3-4x

JD 12:38 AM  

I puzzled my way around the grid like Georges Seurat. Dab dab here-n-there til I finally worked my way to the SE corner where I didn't know Issa Rae, Ckone and Yo Mama and still don't think All In All means Mainly. It means everything considered. Maybe that means mainly to some people but not to me. And I'm never wrong. Hardly ever. Maybe now and then.

Swagomatic 12:53 AM  

I liked it. I didn't have a clue about the theme but I enjoyed solving.🙂

Z 12:53 AM  

TUSH screams for some Cardi B, but I’m being good.

LEOV? Is that Liev Schreiber‘s cousin? Seriously. stop with the Pope nobody knows clue and just clue it as “Random Roman Numeral Pope.” And how about the middle finger clue for RYE? If you thought yesterday’s clue for “ere” was arcane, how much more “hey, it’s just some crosswordese so guess” can you get than “city with a marina.” If the most you got for cluing potential is that you have a marina then, boy howdy, you are not a tourist destination.

Otherwise, I liked this fine. I’m not sure about the proportion of sail to ship, but grid art requires compromise. Hand up for having AL-HA in place and wondering how ALoHA worked followed quickly by the D’Oh slap. No real struggles, although I did pause at SLOANE. I guess there aren’t many non-Ferris Bueller options, but Mia Sara is 53 and the movie is 34. Yikes.

Ken Freeland 1:14 AM  

Why is virtually every NYT puzzle constructor obsessed with including Harry Potter clues, as if they were somehow de rigeur? If it's not that, it's Disney characters. Teally, NYT readers spend their limited time reading children's books and watching children's movies? Wow.Clearly NYT puzzle constructors do little else between puzzles.
I'm personally rankled by it; I 'm not spending my limited time reading Harry Potter, or allocating limiting memory space to Potter and Disney characters just because these constructors quiz me about them every week. There's a plethora of fine adult literature to draw from.... why are adult solvers instead endlessly expected to be up to speed on children's pop culture icons?

jae 1:23 AM  

Medium. Pretty much exactly what @Rex said.

Lance 1:38 AM  

I paused at Sloane too, because it was clues as first & last name, but answered with just the first...plunked in the answer no problem, but it felt like an editorial oversight

Frantic Sloth 1:43 AM  

I'm just gonna say if I needed to grok the theme in order to finish this puzzle, there is no way in heaven, hell, or ectoplasm I would have been successful.

My head hurts from going back and forth between italicized clues and finding the words via the circles to connect the circles to make a shape to make a ship that lived in the house that freakin' Jack built!!

I helped myself by ignoring the theme during the solve and shot myself in the foot by trying to follow it afterward.

Other than that, I did enjoy the play, thank you very much. - Mrs. Lincoln

@JD Catdog rainstick avatar FTW!

@Z & @Rex ALoHA, mateys! The Land of D'oh! beckons....


Ando 1:50 AM  

Kind of a bummer that in NYT app and on website it draws in the shapes for you immediately upon completion, denying solvers that tiny challenge at the end. It's not the kind of reveal that helps you complete the puzzle, so you wouldn't really be poking around it until the end. Annoying.

Otto 2:07 AM  

Oh, It's a sailboat!

Joe Dipinto 2:20 AM  

I feel like it was a puzzle about a painting that had been hung "upside-down" in some gallery for a long time and nobody noticed? Does that sound familiar?

@Nancy, you want to field this one?

Dave S 2:31 AM  

ooops, completely forgot that there was a theme until I opened rex's blog. Had a lot of fun on the top half, not so much on the bottom half which might explain why I was just in a rush to finish it up. I usually like that stuff too, and certainly appreciate the effort. It took me a good long time, though I can't really point to any area that was a big problem. Just a lot of initial errors "team hat" for beer hat" "scanty " for skimpy, "SAT" for "ETS" (since at that point I wasn't focusing well.) Thinking now my problem was starting it too late at night. did enjoy the clue for fish market and lira, and story arc was a nice term to have in there.

chefwen 2:33 AM  

I used to love Elizabeth Gorski’s draw on me puzzles. But this was so convoluted I didn’t even try to figure out the ship after I was done.

Had the most difficult time in the SE where I had FISH Monger at 109A and was so sure that was right. Struggled mightily until I caved and Googled Unisex Fragrance. I keep far away from any fragrance unless it’s like garlic and butter. They all give me a headache and make me sneeze.

Was so sure of a Sunday win but that little corner beat me.

JFS 4:20 AM  

I, too, am baffled by the NOODLE answer. The only thing I can figure is that if you’re looking at a bowl of chicken noodle soup, a noodle might form an S curve. IDK. If there’s a better answer, I would delighted to hear it.

GILL I. 5:21 AM  

Can someone explain to me why WAC is a little sucker and why I want to sing WICK WAC Patty whack? I want to join @Frantic and live in the house that Jack built. I'll make the ARROZ and we can walk @JD's cute little CatDog.
I don't mind drawing on my little IHOP placemat; reminds me of Liz G and her Guggenheim. I did exactly like I was told and drew that little sucker. I finally became WEARY and WARIER because my SHIP SHAPE looked like a BEER HAT.
So I finished and then did a look see. I always want to find something that amuses me. AHA...SMIT...that's it. I will use my WRATH to SMIT you on your TUSH. Americans shouldn't say fanny in Great Britain.
All said and done, this was pretty easy as Sundays go. I've never heard of a NO GO AREA nor STORY ARC nor TIME SINK but that didn't stop me from sailing away in my little SHIP..... STAYS and all.

Lewis 6:21 AM  

It was a fairly smooth and completely pleasurable sail, contrasting with the maneuvering through choppy waters and froth of Friday and Saturday (a different kind of pleasurable).

Afterward, I kept asking, "How did she think of this?", and "How did she know you can make a sailboat out of five shapes?" (That question coming from one whose idea of decorating a wall is putting something square in the middle.) And I was blown away with what it took to construct this grid, where the corresponding symmetrical square of every circled letter could NOT be a black square. I was also impressed that in every theme answer, the shape is the second word. Brava and molto bene, Ruth!

I was left thinking about DELIMIT, how it sounds like the opposite of what it actually means. And I also looked at the names inside the sail and body of the sailboat: ELSA, INDIRA, and PALIN, indicating that this craft is probably a she.

Thank you, The Notorious RBM, for coming up with this, making it work beautifully, and for a most pleasurable spate in my favorite pastime!

Geezer 6:32 AM  


ChuckD 6:45 AM  

The construction is so elegant and clean - title, themers and revealer all added to. A little bummed that the app drew the boat after the solve but that’s ok. The overall fill here was rusty though - lots of glue I guess required by the grid art. Always nice to see Zora NEALE Hurston in a puzzle and I liked the ROCKWELL/BEER HAT cross. The rest of the fill went in quickly but was not memorable. I’ve sailed into the RYE boat basin - but wouldn’t expect an out of towner to know that. I say it every time - please keep Harry Potter out of my puzzle.

Anonymous 6:52 AM  

I solved this in a reasonable time, but scratched my head about the theme for a while. Even after drawing the "ship", I was scratching my head. Still scratching my head about NOODLE, ALPHA, and a few others. Maybe I have head lice...

DELLA Street reminded me of the old Perry Mason TV theme song, "Park Avenue Beat", which I loved.


Anonymous 6:53 AM  

I think answer to 12 across "little sucker?" is VAC (for vacuum cleaner )

J.P Narayan 6:55 AM  

Yikes. To call INDIRA Gandhis "one of the Gandhis" is, while, technically true because she acquired that name by marriage, is a super-duper stretch for a couple of reasons.

First, she was a Nehru, the daughter of Jarwaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister. She took on the name Gandhi when she married Feroze Gandhi, whom she met in London.

Second, Feroze Gandhi is no relation to Mahatma Gandhi. So, even by marriage, Indira was not at all related to the Mahatma Gandhi family. No connection.

Admittedly, the clue does not expressly make a connection with Mahatma Gandhi, but it is strongly implied. And while it is true that both her sons, also carrying the name Gandhi, went on to become famous (infamous) politicians in their own right, the wide-spread use of the name Gandhi in India renders the clue almost meaningless. It is like using "one of the Smiths" or "one of the Jones" for an American. So what?

Andrew Heinegg 6:58 AM  

Probably because I'm generally cranky anyway and didn't care for the puzzle but, show me the sailor that brings you to see their new vessel, points to a sailboat and announces: 'that's my ship'. What?

Diver 7:00 AM  

This was just fine as a themeless puzzle.

pmdm 7:02 AM  

I think I am clueless as to what the solving time has to do with the quality of the puzzle. At least that's what I though after reading the write-up. Interestng how it is so important concerning some people's evaluation of the puzzle.

My paper was not delivered yesterday, and I had to print out a reduced size of the puzzle. I had to squint so much I did not even try to complete the drawing. Too bad. The construction of the puzzle fairly amazes me, and how good the completed drawing looks is impressive to me. This will be a tough puzzle for the constructor to beat.

Z: Rye is well known to people who live in the area, but not so much so to others. It is home of Playland, I think the only government run amusement park in the country, home of the wonderful dragon coaster. Kind of unfair to those who dont live in the area, but a wonderful place to visit if you like amusement parks.

Off to work.

Small Town Blogger 7:04 AM  

It’s not WAC, it’s VAC, as in vacuum cleaner.

BarbieBarbie 7:27 AM  

@Gil, it’s VAC.
@Ken, because for most adults a life is incomplete without children in it.
I wish the app didn’t do the art for me. Needs a “go” button.
A SLOPE is not a shape.
I like grid art, but this was two puzzles- a huge meh themeless and some cool grid art. Less and more, please.

Anonymous 7:32 AM  

@JFS: The NOODLE answer is referencing alphabet soup, where each letter (including "S") is a noodle.

@GILL I.: It's actually VAC (short for vacuum cleaner) and not WAC.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

The sail is word love is in the shape of a triangle. The word security is in a line, which is the deck of the boat. the word story is the arc which forms the hull. The word town is a square which forms the rudder, the word ski is a slope which forms the bowsprit.

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

CK One ;)

EdFromHackensack 8:00 AM  

ok, finished no errors, enjoyed it - not too tough. I did not understand the theme and I still dont and dont have it in me to spend any more time on this. ISSA RAE is getting a name for herself if only through NYTXW.My youngest daughter, Maeve, turns 18 today. I just told her.. Happy Birthday, Now my job is done :)

mmorgan 8:08 AM  

The puzzle was pleasant enough for a Sunday but I Could Not Figure Out the theme instructions — applying the answers to the starred clues to the circled letters made no sense to me for some reason, so the entire theme was lost on me. Humph.

TTrimble 8:17 AM  

(Back after losing power to the hurricane -- got our generator back from the shop on Friday, and got the internet last night, now just waiting for power restoration. Solving puzzles on the cell phone was a novel experience.)

Re the NOODLE clue: my own guess is that it referred to that alphabet soup we used to eat as a kid (not Alphabits, that's a cereal I think -- oh, whatever it was called). ADDL of course is short for "Additional".

Like @Frantic Sloth, I pretty much ignored the theme, which sounded pretty complicated in the midst of battle. After getting SHIPSHAPE, I think I got the basic gist, but any pleasure I might have had channeling a kid connecting the dots in an IHOP was deprived by the cell phone app drawing the figure for me, distracting me while I was trying to track down the one mistake I had, which gobbled up time. I don't know, that was a big TRIANGLE that we were supposed to interpolate using those sparsely separated letters in LOVE. But now that I'm reviewing the construction, my hat is tipped to the constructor for such inventiveness. Count me on team @Lewis as a result -- my admiration grows as I write these words.

I didn't remember SLOANE at all; had to be deduced from the crosses. Gee, what would be a better way to clue that? There's some film "Miss Sloane" starring Jessica Chastain (although that wouldn't have helped me none).

---[SB Stuff]---

My, it's been quiet as of late. Reading over comments from the past 5 days, I notice more people declaring that they are calling SB quits. Given the power outage and the need to conserve cell phone charge, I only started up again last night, without benefit of nytbee, and so I rested content with getting genius and the pangrams. I think that's a healthier mode of being anyway (turned out I was 5 short). I understand from y'all that recent days have proven difficult. These are the times that try men's (and women's) souls.

Hungry Mother 8:22 AM  

DNF. I thought that the SE was going to get me, but it was ScIMPY and ENDuRA. Big surprise when I turned on the red letters.

Emily G 8:39 AM  

It’s The New York Times. The clue on Rye is fine with me. I’m not from there but it’s nice to see some regional flavor. If I want a vanilla one size fits all puzzle I’ll do the USA Today crossword.

Sgreennyc 8:45 AM  

If Rex got ALOHA instead of ALPHA, he didn’t complete the puzzle correctly. Why didn’t he question OPAPAYA?

Aketi 8:47 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zora Neale Hurston 8:48 AM  

Ships at a distance have every man's dreams on board.

Unknown 8:53 AM  

If you take all the circled letters and unscramble them and apply to clues in italics, you can make alternate answers to them. E.g., stowe for a winter vacation destination. Voice for multi episode narrative. UN for civic center. Casablanca---tryst. That leaves me w/ airport logjam, but I think it's a stretch: kilo. But I suppose finding a kilo in a security line would qualify to create a logjam at JFK.

Unknown 8:59 AM  

Loved the smooth solve until the over eager app started repeatedly drawing the ship before I found my last typo...I'm not a speed solver but it made the search long and tedious. Certainly discouraged any attempt to understand the theme.

The tech guys do an amazing job churning out changes, sometimes daily, it looks like. But someone needs to schedule some useability testing! This. Double word rebuses where it isn't clear what to enter. Little stuff that only someone who didn't write the software or the puzzle will notice. This is a paid app. Treat it that way, NYT.

Leon 9:01 AM  

Meet the real people behind-these famous norman rockwell paintings.

Aketi 9:01 AM  

My app did not draw the SHIP SHAPE, nor did those circles immediately look like a reasonable FACSIMILE of a SHIPs SHAPE. I did eventually connect the dots but there are many other SHAPES I could have drawn. I bet Nancy is going to hate it.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Has anyone figured out an explanation for the clue for NOODLE?

As for Harry Potter, I think it's the large number of unique names in the series that make it the source for so many clues.

The constructor builds her puzzle, and discovers, oh it would be so nice if Lupin were a proper noun I could clue. She Googles it, and discovers he is a Harry Potter character. Much easier to clue that character than to struggle for a way of fitting in lupus, or lapin, or something else.

Not sure why someone (Rex? - when I look in Wikipedia now there is no question there) is doubting that St. Pierre and Miquelon might have a population of only 6,008. A look at the Climate section of the Wikipedia article explains it right away.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Not incomplete - different.

Matthew B 9:07 AM  

Alphabet soup

Matthew B 9:17 AM  

You folks who do it online... I do it in pen and paper , printed ..., you didn't have the opportunity to find the shapes? Seeing the town square and then looking for the other shapes added some fun to the puzzle. I didn't think to connect the dots , though. Cute ... Much better than average Sunday .

RooMonster 9:19 AM  

Hey All !
Props for RBM, as this puz couldn't have been easy to get clean fill, at least on the Bottom with most of the themers crammed in a smallish area. But, kinda lost on the solver, as it seems some didn't fully get what in tarhooties was going on (raises hand.)

It took me until reading the comments for the theme to finally click in the ole brain. Slow some days... I will spell it out, ad it were, for those still not getting it.
48A-Winter vacation destination is SKISLOPE, and if you go to Square No. 93, you'll see right after that, three circles which spell SKI in an upSLOPE.
84A-Multi-episode narrative is STORY ARC, if you go to Square No. 92, you'll find STORY in five circled squares that form an ARC that is the rounded base of the ship.
113A-Civic center is TOWN SQUARE, if you go to Square No. 99, you'll find four circles that spell out TOWN in a SQUARE.

Hopefully you know what the hell I'm trying to say, and grok the theme.

When looking at the various things that had to take place here, it's again quite a construction feat.

Liked it for the neatness idea, but solved without using theme, as said before, I just couldn't see it while in the trenches of solving.

NW tough in that FENCE just did not want to reveal itself. Had to Goog pentahlon as it was last section to go, and I was getting my antsy feeling by then. But, still had a DNF. (At least it wasn't a one-letter one.) Had SKIStOrE. Which gave me ROCKWELt for 8D, and rATH for 49D, although neither one made sense. Oh well.

I did like the App connecting the dots for me. Lazy, and all that.

Two F's

ScottK 9:25 AM  

For those who would not expect solvers to have read Harry Potter children’s books, I note that many who would have read those books as children would be in their thirties today, or at least late twenties. The first books came out over twenty years ago, and the first movies almost twenty years ago.

I have not read or watched any Harry Potter, so those references are a speed bump for me when solving. However, I think these are reasonable references for the puzzle.

Nancy 9:25 AM  

First of all, I don't know or care what all those stupid little circles that are randomly strewn hither and yon all over the bottom of the puzzle are doing there. No, please don't tell me.

Secondly, I'm quite sure I did absolutely no thinking at all until I was all the way down at ENTRENCH (69D) crossing CYTO (79A).

I had a bit of trouble with FISHMONGER before FISH MARKET and MOSTLY before MAINLY -- but that does not a puzzle make.

CKONE??????????????? I kept thinking it had to be wrong. But (sigh) it's not.

Plain awful. Now, I've been one of Will Shortz's staunchest defenders -- even defending him though the plethora of pop culture trivia fests that appear more and more often and that I hate so much. After all, tomorrow may be the kind of sparkling wordplay romp that WS chooses and edits so well. But I cannot defend him through this "grid art" nonsense that seems to be an entirely new wrinkle of the NYT. It's a really dumb puzzle conceit, with no payoff for solvers, and I think it should be lost and buried forever. Right along with this stupid ship.

kitshef 9:33 AM  

@Z, @TTrimble - how about 2017 US OPen winner _____ Stephens? I'd choose that in a hot minute over the Ferris clue.

Nancy 9:44 AM  

How well you know me, @Aketi!

OffTheGrid 9:46 AM  

Thank you for your accurate description. I hated this puzzle.

SBpianist 9:57 AM  

I hear ya, Ken.

jane 10:02 AM  

Yes, the silverback is the alpha. After all, "oapayas" aren't a fruit. Actually, it's kind of nice for you to make a mistake. You finish this puzzles in minutes, while I chug along for a half hour, at least. Also, if you don't like drawing, don't. I kind of like that you did draw the boat (gives you something to grumble about, which you seem to require while solving a Sunday puzzle). But, I love that you got into researching what the various boat-puzzle-pieces were. In spite of yourself, you enjoyed this. Here's wishing a good day to my favorite grouchy puzzle solver. Jane

Z 10:07 AM  

@TTrimble - welcome back

I see again that solving on paper is better than having the app. I was wondering (for maybe a half nanosecond) how online solvers were going to draw the picture. That figuring out how to draw the shapes is part of the puzzle makes the app just doing it especially annoying and a little condescending.

@Frantic Sloth - I guess an Isle of D’Oh wouldn’t be big enough.

@Ken Freeland - There was a Harry Potter clue? They happen so often I didn’t even notice.
@ScottK - And the parents who read Harry Potter to their children could easily be 60 by now (I think we only read the first one or two to them, after that they pretty much gobbled them up as they came out). Personally, I think A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket are better as a whole, but those books didn’t become a Godzilla of Filmdom so we never see clues from those books.

@Geezer - Yep. I started with idylIC (eye dee why el eye sea - I know).

@kitshef - If she ever regains her form she might become the go to SLOANE. Seems like she plummeted. I’d totally forgotten about her until you mentioned her, but tennis is a sport I’m only aware of because I read the sports page every day.

@pmdm - I was wondering why you thought Rex was so concerned with his time and I think I figured it out. I’ve definitely had worse times on a Sunday than I had today." as in “I’ve been to lots of parties and I’ve definitely had worse times at a party.” Not, “I’ve definitely had worse times running a 10K.” No, I don’t know who he is quoting.

@Sgreennyc - Probably because he fixed it.

@pmdm (and @Emily G) - Any of that would have been equally as helpful. I’m still amazed at the FU nature of “city with a marina.” Up next, “city with an interstate” and “city with a water tower” (the latter would be perfectly copacetic as a clue for Ypsilanti, the Cardi B/Megan Thee Stallion of water towers).

Carola 10:08 AM  

I think the earlier sailboat puzzle @Rex refers to was a 2008 puzzle by David J Kahn, based on Matisse's "Le Bateau." The circled letters in the upper shape spell "sailboat," and those in the lower spell "reflection."

As for this one - for me, a rather MECHANICAL top-to-bottom solve, with the tough part coming at the end with the arrangement of the 5 shapes and lines. Solving in the mag, I eventually puzzled them out and dutifully drew them in. I liked the detail of the bowsprit, but couldn't figure out why a crate had been dumped overboard off the stern.

rube 10:10 AM  

@Nancy....Right on. This is the worst Sunday in months if not years. No challenge. No snap. A totally ridiculous theme that required no puzzle solving skill whatsoever. Clues and answers that have been overused and/or are just awful like CKONE whatever that is.

Ooh ooh pick me? At least make it a Horshack reference. EDENIC? SANCTA? I've eaten a lot of noodle soup in my life, and some of it was alphabet soup. but never ever have I considered the noodles to be "S" shaped

After good Friday and Saturday, this was a huge letdown.

I hope that the constructor's theoretically future daughter in law doesn't see this puzzle ... because she might reconsider if it is somehow indicative of the family she is about to marry into.

Birchbark 10:15 AM  

@Anon (7:33) -- I missed the relationship of the theme words to the part of the ship they connect -- interesting. I also like how FISH MARKET enters the boat: it's a successful voyage.

Of the little island of ST. PIERRE in 1520, Samuel Eliot Morrison says this:

"[Joao Alvarez] Fagunde's next discovery he called the Archipelago of the onze mil virgenes. He meant ST. PIERRE, Miquelon, and the numerous islets between them and the coast of Newfoundland. The story of St. Ursula, princess of Cornwall, and her eleven thousand sea-going virgins, who toured the waters of Europe for years but were murdered by the Huns at Cologne, was one of the most popular legends of the Middle Ages; and whenever an explorer found an extensive group of small islands he was apt to give them this name."

-- "The European Discovery of America, v.1: The Northern Voyages" (1971).

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

At the end, It took me a while to figure out how to get the ship shape, but finally, after reading 66 across multiple times the light turned on. You have to make the shape of the 2nd part of the answers to the bold face clues (slope, arc, line, triangle, square) using the circled letters of the first parts of the answers (ski, story, security, love and town) of the bold faced clues. Made a nice looking ship (shape)

Z 10:20 AM  

Rex’s write-up of the Kahn puzzle.

Aketi 10:20 AM  

@Nancy, I figured out the point was of all the circled letters only after I drew the SHIP SHAPE. I’m not going to tell you what they are because @anonymous 7:33am and @Roo Monster already revealed the spoiler. If you want to see it you can click on my avatar and squint real hard. I am not taking any bets that you will actually do it. Haha.

@pmdm, my son enjoyed Rye’s Playland when he was little.

-*- 10:23 AM  

@Z you post here early and often. Everyone who reads these comments knows your OPINIONS about whether the Times should include clues that locals may know better than non locals. Why you feel the need to express them ad nauseum is beyond me.

egsforbreakfast 10:34 AM  

@ Joe DiPinto and @ Nancy. Joe seemed to be smirking about the “upside down painting” puzzle, but left it to Nancy to expostulate upon it. That didn’t happen. Could one of you step up? I have something vaguely rumbling around in my brain about it, but can’t make it gel.

I thought the puzzle was well-executed considering the constraints, but I’m very disappointed that the app revealed the drawing immediately upon finishing. Couldn’t there have been a finished version with the ship drawn in contained in the “i” section?

Speaking of DELLA, the last episode of Season 1 of the new Perry Mason series On HBO airs tonight. The show is engrossing and radically different than the old TV series. Much, much darker and, apparently, much closer to the original by ESG (not for breakfast). If you watch it, I strongly recommend turning on the Closed Captioning function from the start, as much crucial early action takes place amid mumbled, but important, lines.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

You’ve seen Rye’s marina many times in film and television. We jousted over Riis years ago, and this is very similar. Rye is a very well known town in West Chester county. It’s on Long Island sound. Home to some pretty high cotton. I know you’re from the Hustings, but you probably should know the big and or prominent towns in the NY metro area. Especially if you’re going to do The NY Times crossword.
I saw you’ve come around on Riis; I suspect you’ll come around on Rye too.
If you do, I’ll treat you a day at Rye Playland.

OxfordBleu 10:58 AM  

Harry Potter is 20 years old. Young readers then are adult solvers now. If you don’t know Harry Potter you’re old! Get over it. Young solvers probably don’t know who Ferris Bueller is. The idea of a puzzle is to stretch your knowledge a little.

WestBay 10:59 AM  

...or refers to lines as ‘ropes’.

Canon Chasuble 11:05 AM  

Thank you, Nancy @ 9:25 a.m. you expressed my feelings exactly. The sheer boredom of this puzzle hit me after about ten minutes, and I just put it aside to go out to watch the grass grow, which turned out to be far more interesting.

Joe Dipinto 11:08 AM  

@egs – @Carola identified the puzzle that actually depicted the artwork, "Le Bateau", in the grid. But it was also a clue/answer in @Nancy and Will Nediger's recent Sunday puzzle of 3/15/2020, though not part of the theme. Maybe @Nancy forgot. :-)

Unknown 11:12 AM  

your bizarre fixation with wimmen konstictors is getting stale

Mr. Cheese 11:15 AM  

Playland is where the Zoltan machine was filmed for the “Big” movie.
Spent many days there when I was young

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Various people refer to ALoHA and oAPAYAS. But I see no sign of those in Rex's post. Did he edit the post?

JD 11:20 AM  

Did this puzzle last night, DNF because of the SE corner, so no pop up drawing. Saw it here but didn't bother figuring out how the dots connected.

Finally got it with @Roo's explanation (I can be obtuse).

So really, Wow. The ambition that construction demanded could've resulted in a ton of junk and I really don't see much. LeoV doesn't bother me. If it's I-V and three letters, it's Leo. Loved that RNs are the hospital VIPs. Agree.

Thanks to the people who mentioned Oapayas. Could be Canada's future anthem if we don't do something about global warming (well it made me laugh).

And thanks for noticing, @Gill and @Frantic!

Frantic Sloth 11:21 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 11:32 AM  

A SALE boat? Not bad, but this event was a bit off.

Frantic Sloth 11:34 AM  

@Sgreennyc 845am I think I can speak for @Rex since I was "guilty" of ALOHA for a time, too. It was about the thought process, not the final answer...I think. In your defense he never really says as much, but I inferred it. I could be wrong.
And then there's my favorite typo of the day: OPAPAYA! Now I have "Oh My PAPAYA" careening through my head. Thanks for that. 😉

@Leon 901am Thanks for the link - that was fun!

@Z Neither an island nor an isthmus will do. A whole Land is best. And I just wanted to say/type "isthmus."

@Roo, I actually do understand the theme, but as @TTrimble (Hi and welcome back!) described, during the solve was not the time. Afterward, the difficulty came in looky-loo-clue fashion as I didn't understand which circle(s) to start where. Once the ship automatically appeared, I looked more closely, saw what @Lewis, et. al. saw, and -💥smack💥- chin? Meet floor. Brilliant feat of construction indeed!

Pete 11:37 AM  

I still do not understand how 66 across instructs me to draw lines to make a ship shape. “Applying the answers for the five italicized clues to the circled letters”? What does that even mean?

Nancy 11:39 AM  

@Joe D and @egs -- I didn't see Joe's challenge to me before I wrote my comment; in fact I didn't see it until just now. But since I didn't draw the boat -- indeed I never connect dots or draw stuff -- I wouldn't have known whether it was upside down or rightside up. Wouldn't have cared either.

And, @Joe -- of course I forgot that that painting was a clue in one of my puzzles! I don't remember off the top of my head a single non-theme clue I've written in a single puzzle I've done. Except for "best"= WORST. That's what I'm so extraordinarily good at: I forget stuff, esp. details. The fact that you remember it, Joe, I find truly extraordinary. But of course you're using the same memory-of-an-elephant ability that enables you to identify songs that were at the top of the Billboard chart in every single year from 1955 to 2020.

I don't understand people with memories like yours, Joe. If one day they autopsy both of our brains in [hopefully] the very distant future, what they're going to find, I imagine, are two very, very different brains :)

JC66 11:55 AM  

@ thefrogman

"A SALE boat? Not bad, but this event was a bit off."

Best comment of the day. Agree 100%.

Harryp 11:58 AM  

No sailor worth his salt would sail a boat without a keel.

Masked and Anonymous 12:07 PM  

M&A thought he'd be too much of a landlubber to draw the boat. Otherwise, a pleasant enough themeless puz solvequest, at our house. Turns out, U just need to know what a triangle/square/etc. is. Cute.

staff weeject picks: OHI & UTA. Good clue for either: {Incomplete way to state something??}. Primo quad weeject stacks alert, btw.


Thanx for the fun voyage, Ms. Margolin darlin. M&A *can* draw a BEER (HAT).

Masked & Anonym007Us


J. Ratzinger 12:14 PM  

@ -*- (10:23) Because Z is the mayor and the pope of this blog. That's why.

Ernonymous 12:21 PM  

@scott K I read the books to my kids, and you're right they are 31, 28 and 26. Who knew at the time it would help me in my old age with crosswords?
The last time this came up someone pointed out that these books sold 500 million and it is the best selling book series in history.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

came here to find out what the bowsprit shape was. did not leave disappointed

Ernonymous 12:28 PM  

@pete I agree. I didn't understand how anyone could take that to mean you had to draw something. I still don't see it, even though I know what it means now. Then I thought maybe you apply the Triangle to the Triangle? But that answer isn't near the circled letters or the drawn triangle. It's fine, I just wonder how people knew drawing was involved and not adding the circled letters to the answers to make a new phrase.

Bonnie Buratti 12:28 PM  

Okay, I realize the NYT has to have super easy puzzles once in a while to get new people interested in solving, but the problem with this one was it was *so* easy that I never bothered to figure out the theme, which of course is half the fun.

sixtyni yogini 12:29 PM  

Enjoyed the 🧩.
However, Unless the theme or outcome drawing relates to the solving grid answers ie.not just an add on afterward however clever, I end up ignoring it. Sundays I solve on paper so the circles get obscured also.

Joe Dipinto 12:29 PM  

@Nancy – well actually I didn't remember that it was in *your* puzzle. I just remembered that it was in a puzzle fairly recently, and I remembered the name of the Matisse picture. So I searched BATEAU at XWordInfo and lo and behold saw that it had been in your puzzle. But I was sort of thinking that the Kahn puzzle with the actual grid artwork was more recent.

Anyway, probably the only reason I remembered any of it was because the fact of it being hung upside down at MoMA is so unique it stuck in my head. So I thought maybe you'd remember having used it for the same reason.

sixtyni yogini 12:34 PM  

Ps. The potter clues 🗝🔦🧙🏼🔦🗝 are tiresome to me also. Just don’t want to read the books/see the movies.

Z 12:40 PM  

@Anon10:55 - You’re missing my point even though I’ve said it at least twice already - “city with a marina” is akin to yesterday’s “Infinitive verb suffix in Italian,” a non-clue clue only used to “freshen” the cluing. It seems to me that “Home to an oft filmed marina” or “Home to government run amusement park” actually suggest why RYE the place might be crossworthy. Of course, RYE the place is not actually crossworthy because nobody who lives more than 10 miles away knows or cares about any of that (well, maybe wooden roller coaster enthusiasts). It is only clued that way because somebody didn’t want a grain or whiskey clue today. Hell, even “city with a famous marina” would have been better, even though “famous” is a stretch.* As for Riis, he is the Yma Sumac of journalism, which I suspect is probably what I thought whenever we had our previous debate.
Also, “hustings?” I feel like you meant “hinterlands,” otherwise I cannot parse what you are trying to say there.

@Pete - several good explanations in the comments already. Quick partial explanation - LOVE TRIANGLE tells you to take the circled letters L O V E and connect them to make a triangle. The same applies to the other four answers with italicized clues.

@Frantic Sloth - Rex has the habit of putting puzzle answers in bold purple, so the fact that “ALOHA” is not in bold purple suggests that it wasn’t a puzzle answer. How’s that for Land of D’Oh power of inference.

@-*- - Good to see that you are still reading every word I write with the rapt attention it deserves.

*Yeah, but “it’s the clue not the answer that’s the problem” isn’t nearly as much fun to write.

JD 12:43 PM  

@Frantic, Oh my papaya ... I'll be laughing out loud for seemingly no reason all day!

Matt 12:43 PM  

I give it a solid B+. It would have been more fun to find the ship shape without the circles though! The shapes were already obvious by the clustering of circles, finding the word ("love" in a triangle, "ski" on a slope, etc) was not necessary at all. I wish for the "payoff" on such gimmick puzzles the editors didn't feel the need to make it so easy, especially with an easier than average grid.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

so, it's the case that, in any group/clan/tribe of gorillas there's but *one* Silver Back? how does that happen? only one is born to the group, and is automatically bowed down to by all others? no other silvers are born? it's never the case that no silvers are born? the alpha-ist male is found, and the rest of the group/clan/tribe give him a dye job? there's no competition for dominance, which the Science Channel tells me how Mother Nature works? even The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) finds it needful to dominate the streets (a Yellow Bellied Sh!tgibbon?). none of it makes sense.

Crimson Devil 12:56 PM  

Smooth sailin. Nice Sun puz.
MITT reminds of great line by SF Giants sportscaster one summer when team led league in errors, as this season: he riddled Ya know what Giants have in common with Michael Jackson?...They all wear a glove on one hand for no apparent reason.

rjkennedy98 1:06 PM  

Most of the puzzle solved pretty easily, but I did have trouble with SE and NW corners. I didn't see EDENIC, and the clue for NOODLE was just ridiculous. I still wondering what type of noodles the constructor uses that are actually shaped like an S. I also put EXCL like Rex did which hampered that side.

In the SE, didn't know DELLA or CK ONE or ISSA RAE. Luckily I was able to get the crosses eventually. I also put in MOSTLY before correcting to MAINLY after getting REIN. Didn't enjoy this one as much as Friday or Saturday, but its Sunday and as Rex said it probably is better than the recent Sundays we've been getting (which isn't saying much).

Some people liked the theme, I didn't. The theme should be related to the solving of the puzzle - not to something you draw on the puzzle after finishing. My idea of a complete puzzle is not a ship being drawn on top of it. In the case of app solvers - it was drawn automatically by computer animation.

What? 1:06 PM  

Enjoyed the solve, ignored the theme. I hate connect the circles, usually not worth the effort.
This is a perfectly fine themeless puzzle. Why not have themeless on Sundays?

oldactor 1:11 PM  

@Andrew Heinegg: I have a friend who circumnavigated the earth in her 68ft. sailboat.
I had the pleasure of joining her in the Greek Islands. She would never say,"That's my ship". But I wouldn't be surprised to hear her say,"That's my yacht and it's in Ship Shape".

Frantic Sloth 1:12 PM  

@Z 1240pm Good point about purple. Perhaps, subconsciously, I can lay claim to knowing that. But, I doubt it. 😉

And at the risk of NEDFLANDERS-ing* this question to death...

Like @Giovanni and @Pete, I agree there is no indication that a drawing is required...unless you want to count the automatic one that appears after solving. (Oh, yay, that.) ADDLy, there appears to be no logic as to which circle one needs to start with, how to proceed, and where to end. The location is nowhere within the italicized clues or their respective answers. Are we just supposed to willy-nilly our way around? Because that way madness lies - call me living proof.

@JD 1243pm Haha! Thanks -- I hoped you might. 😉

P.S. @Z 🎶 I think somebody has a crush on you. 🎶

* For most of you, this reference will mean nothing - just be grateful for that. Seriously. Don't ask. Seriously

burtonkd 1:24 PM  

@Ken Freeland - I hear you, but Disney and Potter have at least reached a cultural saturation point that you may have heard of these characters even without seeing the films or reading the books. Many adults have children to take to these movies. Adult literature, as wonderful as it is, has less chance of being, as Rex said today, known without knowing you know it.

@pmdm, what you said about RYE. + NY Rangers train there, nice beach, swank mansions, charming downtown. Granted, still probably obscure out of the NYC Metro area, although we have seen RYE clued as the town a few times in the NYT. To Z's point, it is probably not well know enough as a clue/answer to start using obscure references like you would citing odd statistics for ORR or OTT.

JC66 1:24 PM  

@Anon 12:55

Scroll down to Silverback Gorillas to answer your questions.


Since you obviously missed the numerous explanations for NOODLE already posted, maybe this will help.

Unknown 1:46 PM  

Because the fill was relatively easy (no sports names!), I finished this puzzle quite handily. Some of the cluing, however, well...okay. But ship shape? Since when is a slope or an arc a "shape?" A line perhaps....and the draw a "shape" conclusion just seemed...juvenile and too random. Otherwise enjoyed this puzzle largely because it was easy. PS: every story has an arc whether multi-episode or not....

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

"Generally, only silverback males become the leader of a troop."

that introductory adverb matters.

but the clue says: "Silverback gorilla, e.g." but, in fact, any male gorilla can be the alpha, and not all silverbacks are accorded such status. some how I can't see an (age equivalent) 90 year old silverback being the alpha, which means that there has to be cadre of Medicare silverbacks in any group. I didn't see in the article how 'kingship' is passed on. may be humans just don't know, and we only find and study groups with a prime age silverback and no younguns or geezers in the group? OTOH, Rocky and Tyson still box (sort of) at 50.

just a niggling clue.

pmdm 1:52 PM  

Back from work.

burtonkd: I don't believe they practice in Rye anymore. I think they moved their practice center to Elmsford on the road that connects NY 100C to the Saw Mill River Parkway. I'm not even sure it's technically in Elmsford.

You must have been doing some research since you posted that the Dragon Coaster is wooden. They use the same grease that they always use, so when you board the coaster to are treated to a specific odor. Many seem to cherish this. When you board, it's like meeting an old friend.

For roller coaster buffs, there was a second coaster that they lamentably tore down in the 50s that I never had the chance to ride on. (I was a scaredy puss in my youth.) Before the pandemic hit there was talk of rebuilding it.

I have to chuckle at the person who offers to treat Z to a ride on the Dragon Coaster but posts as anonymous.

Barbara S. 1:56 PM  

@Gill I. from yesterday
You said about having an avatar: "Make[s] it pick you out of a line up." Har! I guess @JD and I are among the usual suspects. Thanks for the thought and right back at you about enjoying your posts. I'm still equivocating about turning blue and getting an avatar (for a host of truly excellent reasons!), but I promise to take your request under advisement.

I filled in the grid last night before bed but there was a mistake (no happy music), so I gave up and conked out. This morning when I went back into the app, it was already merrily drawing the boat, even though I still had an error and the timer was continuing to tick away. Odd.

Somehow I thought there might be a lot of alternate answers for the 28A clue "Words after 'ooh, ooh!'" But since everyone's behaving themselves, I guess I will, too.

DWI -- interesting. I think in Canada miscreants DUI. Or maybe both terms are used in the USA?

So glad nobody's posted this yet. It's one of my favorite lines in filmdom.
My she was yar

***SB ALERT***
@TTrimble. So glad you're back. Not only because you seem an all-around good sort, but because the SB ranks are shrinking alarmingly. I'm not doing particularly well these days -- can't get beyond Genius -- but I'm soldiering on. Yesterday DIPINTO was spellable, although I don't think @Joe D. does the SB. But we've also had PAMELA recently, so perhaps the puzzle will eventually get around to spelling everyone's name (except those with Ss).

Anonymoose 2:10 PM  

Some of the clues/answers the last few days remind me of Kevin Bacon. Six degrees of separation.

old timer 2:12 PM  

I did the puzzle, and didn't bother with the drawing. I pay @Rex to do that for me! (Of course I knew it would be a SHIP SHAPE). I know RYE if only because someone in my freshman dorm was from there -- perfectly good answer in a puzzle based in New York.

Harry Potter falls in the category of Fatherly Duties, for this 75-year-old. We had to own all the books. We had to see at least the first movie. Another Fatherly Duty was go visit my daughters when they were overseas -- once, to Chile, twice to England, and on the first of the England trips, I was charged with buying the English version of one of the HP books -- the reason now escapes me, was it not yet published in the US? Pretty sure I bought it at Blackwell's in Oxford, when we visited an old friend who had bought a house there. I remember my friend's neighbor telling raucous tales about the literary figures he had known, who all lived, as my friend did, in Summertown.

jberg 2:23 PM  

I thought while solving that I would make a joke about falling asleep; but then I actually did fall asleep. Fortunately, I do not time myself. Unfortunately, but the time I had written in all the answers, I couldn't find most of the circled letters (I know, I should have written more neatly, but there it is). So I pretty much gave up-- I could actually sort of get a SHIP SHAPE by combining those circles that I could find, and treating the starred answers as straight connecting lines. It didn't look much like a ship; but then, neither did the correct drawing, which is clearly a boat.

I saw SMIT right off, but was thinking "Isn't it smite, smote, smitten?" According to, SMIT is an obsolete form of both the past tense and the participle. So now you know. RYE is fairly well known in the NE, if only because as you approach NYC by car from the north you see exit signs marked RYE Mamaroneck. As for the marina, that's just another way of saying "coastal." And it's three letters, so what else can it be?

Folks need to realize that Rex is a little more subtle than they give him credit for; those ALoHA remarks are meant to amuse. He probably even knows more about nautical matters than he's willing to admit in public.

Ethan Taliesin 2:39 PM  

LOVE triangle, STORY arc, SKI slope, and TOWN square.
Thanks anonymous. Maybe I would have figured it out eventually but I glad I didn't commit the time. I knew SECURITY was part of something..

I did not enjoy this one very much

voileksecuritystonwtro whatever

Nancy 2:41 PM  

I agree about the answer to “Silverback gorilla” Alex.

Joe Dipinto 3:00 PM  

I think I would have preferred gray boxes to circles in this one. When I finished I couldn't really see where all the circled letters were since some were spaced very far apart and others bunched up together. And the directive wasn't quite making sense to me. I saw SECURITY going across, but the rest of it was eluding me.

Plus, you have the same S being used for SECURITY and STORY, which doesn't happen anywhere else. And the E in the LOVE triangle should really be next to the L to complete the figure – as indicated by the letters, it's really only an acute angle, not a three-sided object.

So the artwork is kind of messy. It looks more to me like a wedge of cheese standing upright in a large soup spoon than a sailboat. With a crouton on the table next to it. But hey, so what?

RPCV Cameroon 3:04 PM  

We visited St Pierre a few years ago. The ferry was packed with Canadians going to buy wine. Previously the island’s importance relied on the fishing rights that came with the territorial waters but with overfishing Of cod the economy took a big hit. Discovery of oil and natural gas brought new importance to the disputes (since the islands are only a few miles from Canada claims are overlapping). During prohibition the islands were a hub of smuggling.

JC66 3:11 PM  

@Anon 1:48

Dian Fossey probably wouldn't agree with you (read the last paragraph).

RooMonster 3:31 PM  

As I said earlier, I didn't figure out theme as I solved, and I agree with those who said the "instructions" didn't tell you where to begin. The Revealer clue says "what's formed by applying the answers for the five italicized clues to the circled letters". So it's up to you to figure out what goes where, to get a SHIP SHAPE. I don't have the patience or tenacity for such things. Which is why I finish a puz, and come here for my "Oh, I See". 😋

***SB Argh-ings***
Easy words are getting missed more and more by me lately. Why, I couldn't tell ya. Hit Genius today after lots of time, decided to look back at my "missed" lists I've been keeping for about 3 months now. Found 5 answers from 6/8 that had similar letters that I missed then, as today. Hey, at least I'm consistent! Still a few away from Q, but think I'm done for today. Rock on, all you QB-seeking SBers!

RooMonster Come Sail Away Guy

Pamela 4:38 PM  

I got to the puzzle only this afternoon, much later than usual... you’ve all been very busy!

I found it difficult, but at some point I began to notice a salty ocean breeze wafting through, which helped some.i actually read all the Harry Potter books. After the first couple, I pre-ordered so as to get delivery on the first day each later one became available. I loved the mix of normal and not, the cleverness of the semi-archaic names and how they fit their characters, the whimsy throughout, and the storytelling. It doesn’t always help now, though, as I haven’t put any effort into keeping all those details current in my memory.

Today, there were many, many stops and starts, but the SW corner was the killer. I ended up with a DNF, as I came here for ETS, OHI, NWT, TAC. It took a couple of those little ones for the downs to show themselves.


I didn’t quit, just stopped working so hard. I don’t mind not knowing a word (actually I do, but I know it’s fair), but I got tired of feeling gypped. Yesterday I was only missing one word, PITAPAT. To me, that’s one of those made-up words that appear here so regularly and are so annoying. The word I know is Pitterpat, as in the pitterpat of little feet (or maybe pitter pat?). I think that’s a quote from something half remembered from my childhood.

Today I have 40 words so far. I have the pangram, but not yet Genius. I’ll keep trying for that, as I think I’m only a word or two off. But the fun part is over, now it’s a slog.

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

When I’m asked where I’m from I answer with the place I grew up not where I live. AOC grew up in Yorktown Heights, which, like Rye, is in Westchester County, and she lives in Queens. Part of her district is in the Bronx so give that clue a pass. Nice to see some New York flavor in the grid.

Ken Freeland 5:22 PM  

Yes, but not always in the same direction... this is every Sunday now.

Mr. Cheese 5:26 PM  

I can’t remember the name if the other Playland roller coaster. I do remember: A: it was MUCH faster than the dragon And B: only wimps rode the Dragon.

Ken Freeland 5:26 PM  

You so right😁!

Mr. Cheese 5:42 PM  

I remember! It was called the Cyclone, yes!

Xcentric 5:44 PM  

Fun puzzle. The extra work in making a love triangle, security line, story arc, town square and ski slope into a ship was really neat.
I wonder which came first in the construction of this puzzle - my guess is the picture, then looking for expressions for each part of the drawing triangle, line, arc, square and sloping line, then fitting them into the grid. Really nice work.
Fill was straightforward. Only real slow up was “plonking” down Tbill instead of Tnote. Oh, and wrote strode before struts until I re-read the clue and realized my goof.
Agree that figuring out which Pope to put in the puzzle is always a pain, but if it starts with an L it’s probably a Leo, P it’s probably a Pius. Arghh.
Took a hit on smit. I have seen smite, smote and smitten, but have never seen smit in anything I have read. I guess old = obsolete. Or am I just not reading the right stuff?

Wanderlust58 6:09 PM  

I was in the US Navy. E4-E5-E6 are called petty officers, whereas in other branches they are NCOs. I hate to be so petty about it, but as you can tell nautical terms are a language all their own.

Fred Wollam 6:12 PM  

We geezers might've recollected the word "edenic" ...some contend it's as old as the oldest of (d)US(t).

Wanderlust58 6:13 PM  

Kinda like music that is more fun for the performers than the audience (e.g., bluegrass, bass solos, barbershop quartets).

pmdm 6:15 PM  

Mr Cheese: It was called the Airplane Coaster. According to the Wikipoedia entry, it was torn down after being condemned by the insurance company. My mther rode it on opening day and was so frightened that she never rode a coaster (any coaster) again. And yes, many would call me a wimp as far as amusement park rides are concerned.

By the way, if you search you tube for videos of the Airplane Coaster at Rye, you will find one which simulates the entire ride, followed by actual footage. It's humorous because at the end someone who was on the ride shouts "Let me out of here."

Joe Dipinto 6:51 PM  

@Mr. Cheese – uh, no. The world-famous Cyclone is in Coney Island.

In grade school we altar boys used to go on an outing to Rye Playland every spring. In those days the Dragon Coaster was the only coaster there. They also had a Wild Mouse ride which I liked.

Colin 6:57 PM  

Has anyone here done the Lollapuzzoola? Sounds like fun, and I'm wondering if it is fun enough to spend much of this Saturday on it / in it...!

Pamela 6:59 PM  

Huh! My last post duped! I thought I’d hit the Publish button, but my text was all still there in the little box so I clicked it again. Sorry!


After posting, I googled. PITAPAT is the accepted version, pitterpat is Brit. Humph. And the little feet pitter patter. Oh well.

I finally got to Genius today. I see @Roo did too, congrats. Smart to keep a list!

Another day with lots of words. I may look again later, but that’s it for now.

TTrimble 7:32 PM  

@Barbara S. and @Z and @Frantic Sloth -- don't feel offended if I left someone out, please -- but thanks for the kind words and the warm welcome back!

*** SB

I have all but three today. Two that I got were educated guesses.

I may call it quits (or just make a light effort before I turn in), but today's words were mostly pleasant. A nice mix. At some point I had 20 or so when I felt like I hit my first wall, at some ridiculous stage like "solid", but got a second wind and was pleased to see that experience with SB has paid off in slightly enhanced word recognition. I'd be pleased as punch if one of us got to QB, whoever that might be, and think that's entirely possible, despite the fact that it's a relatively long list of words today.

Does anybody here play Scrabble competitively? I've fantasized about it, having read the book by Stefan Fatsis and having seen some of the video documentaries. Some of the crossword heavyweights, such as Patrick Berry, seemed to have ventured into that world.

RooMonster 7:55 PM  

Scrabble, although similar to crosswords, or better yet SB, is an entirely different animal competitively. Playing for fun with a peer of equal intelligence, sure, it's fun. But the pros, wow. You need to know many obscure two-letter words, such as AA or XI, and be able to SB your rack into a seven-letterer. It's called something, I can't quite remember what it is. They used to televise matches, it was fun to watch.


Anoa Bob 8:03 PM  

I've been a sailor since the 1960's. I presently have a 28 foot sloop-rigged sailboat. A SHIP is a sea going vessel that's large enough to carry a smaller vessel on board, often called a tender or dinghy. I have a nesting dinghy that can be carried on the cabin top of my sailboat so she is indeed a SHIP. A small SHIP, but a SHIP nonetheless.

I'm still trying to decipher the clue to the reveal SHIP SHAPE. I get that "circled letters" can be found inside the TRIANGLE, LINE, ARC, SQUARE and SLOPE drawings, but the reveal is SHIP SHAPE and only SQUARE and TRIANGLE are SHAPES. LINE, ARC and SLOPE are not.

Now hear this:

SHIPs have ropes. Maritime law, for example, requires vessels to have a SHIP's bell, and every bell will have a bell rope. My little SHIP has one. It also has bolt ropes in the edges of the main sail. Her mast is held up by stays and shrouds that are made from wire rope. She also has a bowsprit that is connected to the hull by a wire rope called a bob stay. SHIPs have ropes.

That is all. As you were and continue SHIP' work.

Anonymous 8:14 PM  

You scream and scream week after week for more puzzles constructed by females. . . and, then, when you get an absolutely, nonsensical piece of dreck like this, you treat it with kid gloves. . . Connect-the-dots?? REALLY??? If this was done by a man, the REX-VENOM would have been flowing. . . Hypocrite.

GILL I. 8:28 PM  

A late thank you to my friends who gave me a heads up to the WAC/VAC....give a dog a bone.

JC66 8:51 PM  


I, for one recommend you give Lollapuzzoola a try. It's fun.

TTrimble 10:03 PM  


Yes, I am aware of all this. The "seven-letterer" is called a bingo.

Emily 11:10 PM  

I am a long-time lurker, first time commenter. I just wanted to point out that there are many adults nowadays that are crossword enthusiasts...who grew up reading Harry Potter. I started reading those books in middle-school. I am now an adult in my 30s. I don't always know the cultural references from time periods outside my experience, but I enjoy learning about them when the pieces fall into place. I guess what I'm saying is, try not to take it so personally - everyone has some topics they know and enjoy and some they don't!

Mr. Cheese 7:07 AM  

Yes! My brain confused Coney Island with Playland. The Cyclone and the Airplane coasters were both super fast rides. I enjoyed both many times.

TAB2TAB 9:37 AM  

I actually felt bad for the constructor. This is one of the more elaborate themes and probably an incredible amount of effort to pull off the shape of the boat, the shape of the parts of the boat, the words in the circles corresponding to their individual shapes that match the actual themers you would ordinarily expect. Yet, with all of those simultaneous components, my response at the end of the solve was that I just couldn't be bothered to work it out.

Nigel Pottle 12:47 PM  

I don’t know if others have mentioned this, but the drawing on the puzzle is not a ship. It might be a sloop, but ship? Never? Ships are big - cruise ships and cargo ships, for example. The general term for floating vessels (other than vessel) is boat. Yes a cruise ship is a boat. But a sloop is not a ship. I’m surprised that Rex dudn’t call the NYT on this one, but it appears his nautical knowledge is limited.

Nigel Pottle 12:49 PM  

S NOODLE. Think Campbell’s Alphabet Soup.

spacecraft 12:07 PM  

Have I had a worse experience on a [finished] Sunday puzzle? Maybe, but I can't remember when. This grid is like that coastline after a storm: not ERODED, but littered with flotsam and jetsam. Far and away too many bad fills to list here.

The theme? Well, first I gotta say, I do not draw well. so connecting circles to make a picture just isn't my thing. Circles, in the first place...not the best. But then the letters in those circles are totally random. They don't spell out anything. Never mind; the fill suffered way too much as it is.

Our anonymous friend who loves the word would say: too many pissers. Rejected. I would say, *other.

*That's worse than double bogey.

Burma Shave 12:28 PM  


If they PICKME, OH,I will take A SHOT,
and take their OUTLAW ANTICS to DELIMIT.


Jackie 6:00 PM  

I’m 78 and read Harry Potter just for me and loved it. Well written and captures the essence of kids. What always throws me are the pop culture clues. Not my music, not my time wasters.��

Anonymous 8:31 PM  

I actually found the fill mostly entertaining and less of a slog than recent weeks. Since my paper never italicized any clues I had to ntuit the theme, which I pretty much did., at least in my mind.

Diana, LIW 9:50 PM  

@Spacey - I'm with ya today. Couldn't finish the SE, and by then I didn't care enuf!

Paper was late, and I was filling in a grid I had printed from the online version, which was a tad too small for my poor eyesight. So an all-around Sunday Slog for me.

Diana, LIW

Unknown 9:42 AM  

The puzzle itself was dead simple, but while I assumed the circles could be linked to make the shape of a boat, I couldn’t be bothered to figure it out. I did like the mullet, ban or bandit, and Ford clues, but so much small and vaguely contorted filler left me glad it didn’t take long to fill in. No resorting to Google at least, until I checked now to see what other people thought of it!

Unknown 9:26 PM  

Great quotation.

Anonymous 10:53 PM  

Was working my way through. Got stuck at some of the odder answers (NOODLE?) and hit check grid and 12A/D came back with the first letter wrong. Hit the fill button and the website apparently thinks the answer should be vAC/vICK with the first letter lowercased. I immediately had no clue what was going on with the puzzle and gave up. Who knew it was just a bug or something.

JT 1:04 AM  

“ Whole lotta mixed feelings about this one. Nice to (finally) see a solo female constructor after more than two weeks without one.”
Yes, truly the cause of justice is served. The cosmic scales are balanced, for there is no signifier of equality greater than the sexes of people who make crossword puzzles.

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