Palindromist Jon of Sit on a potato pan Otis / WED 10-28-20 / Whispered name in The Raven / Frequent SNL role for Beck Bennett / US Navy builder / What members of the Church of the SubGenius parody religion claim to be descended from / Rare weather phenomenon that's white unlike its cousin

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Constructor: Peter Gordon

Relative difficulty: Challenging (like, hilariously off-the-mark for a Wednesday ... high 5s, i.e. my average Friday time) (it is oversized, but still, yikes)

THEME: a quote from Carrie Bradshaw (of the TV show "Sex and the City," which, bizarrely, the puzzle never indicates) about men ("Men!") in their 40s and crossword puzzles — "Men in their 40s are like the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle ... TRICKY, COMPLICATED, AND / YOU'RE NEVER / REALLY SURE / YOU GOT THE RIGHT / ANSWER"

Word of the Day: IMARET (18A: Turkish inn) —
Imaret is one of a few names used to identify the public soup kitchens built throughout the Ottoman Empire from the 14th to the 19th centuries. These public kitchens were often part of a larger complex known as a kรผlliye, which could include hospicesmosquescaravanserais and colleges. The imarets gave out food that was free of charge to specific types of people and unfortunate individuals. Imarets were not invented by the Ottomans but developed under them as highly structured groups of buildings. Nonetheless, imarets indicate an appreciation of Muslim religious teachings about charity found in the Qur'an. (wikipedia)
• • •

I knew I was in for ... something ... when I rolled out of bed, picked up my phone, and saw this thread in my Twitter mentions:

Good morning!


Carrie Bradshaw*
If you crowdsourced ideas about how to make a crossword theme that's completely unpalatable to me, I'm not sure you could, in your collective wisdom, come up with a "better" theme than this. Let's start with "quote puzzle." We could end there, but today, we start. Next, make it a quote from "Sex and the City," a show ... well, look, different people enjoy different things, and surely many of you enjoy(ed) that particular television program, which is fine, but nothing smacks of a certain kind of smug NYC provincialism more than that show, and, for a variety of reasons, it has, uh, never been to my taste. Speaking of smug NYC provincialism, the NYTXW is so certain of the centrality of Carrie Bradshaw to everyone's everyday life that they don't even indicate, in the clue or anywhere, that she's a fictional character from a TV show. I knew who she was, but it's a weird assumption that everyone will. Also, "men are like ___" or "women are like ___" or "life is like a box of chocolates" or "men are from Mars" or whatever little aphorism you're putting down, yeah that's not likely to sit too great with me. But if you are going to lay down an analogy, dear lord, let it be somewhere near the mark. Where to begin with this quotation? I can't speak to "men in their 40s," but crosswords, I know. First, the Thursday puzzle is the "TRICKY, COMPLICATED" one. Can Sunday be like that? Sure, but if you're going to run a crossword quote in a crossword, for crossword solvers, best not to propagate myths about crossword difficulty (do you know how widespread the idea is that the Sunday is the hardest? do you!?). Next, what "right answer"? The puzzle is not *an* answer? Do you mean that you're never really sure you got the right overall solution? I thought it was gonna end with something like "you're never really sure if you're through," because maybe guys in their 40s leave things ambiguous a lot (?) and certainly you might *think* you've finished a puzzle, but you could have wrong answers somewhere. That's ... plausible. But "the right answer" is just the wrong phrasing here. Also, the internet exists (even in Carrie Bradshaw's day) and the solution key exists, so you do, in fact, know if you have the right answer, if you just wait. But to explain the thematic grief, again, we can just go back to "quote puzzle." It's a quote puzzle. 

Then there's the fill, by which I mean mostly the ridiculously hard (for a Wednesday) cluing. Clues on YETIS CORP DDAY HURT ICEAX etc. were more Friday/Saturday level, but the real problem was the dump truck full of proper names, my god. Peter is a huge trivia fan, creator of an app called Celebrity, which involves knowing famous names, but you know my feelings about proper names, especially in abundance and especially when they're, er, marginal, and especially especially when they're crossing or abutting. I'm not concerned about the total number of names today (though there are a lot), I'm concerned about the relative marginality of the names. Any one of these might be worthy individually, but all at once, yeesh, it's a lot: GABE AGEE (those ones cross) MAUREEN TESLA (fine answer, but as clued, yikes), LEVI KIDD IRA LENORE. I guess you could throw in Lil UZI Vert (the current go-to UZI clue for those who want to pretend they didn't put a murdering machine in the grid). Now, I knew roughly half those names, so I'm not pleading obscurity on every front. But when your names aren't of the household variety, things can and do get dicey. 

Filling this puzzle out was a chore on every front. Puzzle couldn't decide what it was, and ended up being a trivia-heavy Friday mashed up with a Tuesday-type theme, and the result was ... well, it's Halloween week, so maybe the horror was intentional, I don't know. But FOGBOW (!?) is not a Wednesday answer (54D: Rare weather phenomenon that's white, unlike its colorful cousin), and MIKE PENCE ... (19A: Frequent "S.N.L." role for Beck Bennett) what are you even doing here, NYTXW? The Mini included the horrible new Supreme Court justice yesterday, and today the actual grown-up crossword gives us ... this guy. This disgusting lickspittle. This walking embodiment of fraud and moral decay. This abetter of incompetence and, frankly, where the COVID response is concerned, murder. Fuck him. Pardon my French. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

*yeah, I know, just roll with it

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:45 AM  

@rex -- "Lickspittle" -- Hah!

I like quote puzzles because the theme answers are clueless, and thus for a big chunk of the puzzle, so is the solver. The solver deduces the theme answers through syntax and context – which, to me, is an interesting and fun solving skill that isn’t often called upon in crosswords, and one I like to use.

Because so much space is unclued in quote puzzles, they put the solver three steps back, right from the start. Peter Gordon puzzles also put me several more steps back, because there always seem to be answers that are out of my wheelhouse. Throwing me ever farther back, if it’s Wednesday or beyond, will be a number of hard-to-crack clues, something Peter is expert at, tricky clues that turn out to be fair.

Entering a puzzle so far behind – now THAT’S a puzzle I feel great about conquering. And having experienced enough of Peter’s artful constructing and the NYT team’s skillful editing, I know I usually will.

This puzzle had the bonus meta feel of the quote itself echoing the solve – novel and cool. Oh, your talent is always evident in your puzzles, Peter, but I appreciate how it’s employed not for showing off, but rather, IMO, in the mission of making a very satisfying solve. Thank you for this!

Harryp 6:59 AM  

I found this Moderately Challenging for a Wednesday, and very enjoyable. I had never heard of the theme phrase, and didn't know KVELL, but the crosses were fair.

OffTheGrid 7:07 AM  

I hate quote puzzles so much that if all puzzles were quote puzzles I would do word search puzzles instead. It would be a lot more interesting. So I decided to find the quote, plug it in, and do the rest of the puzzle. Well someone made a mistake, either the constructor or the source I used, which has "YOU've GOT" not "YOUGOT". But then there were so many awful clues I just stopped. One example: 33D, Modern pentathlon event/EPEE. NO!

Andrea 7:08 AM  

This was brutal! It took me as long as a Saturday and then the quote turned out to be a really bland, uninteresting one.
Also, some of those crossings were just painful: FOGBOW/SEABEE? KVELLED/IMARET? On a Wednesday?
Not to my pleasure, but I’m no expert. Let’s see what they think.

JOHN X 7:14 AM  

This post was REX GOLD right from the get-go.


It just kept getting better from there. Bravo!

kitshef 7:19 AM  

Not sure why somebody decided to throw a Saturday puzzle in on a Wednesday, but I guess that’s a good thing. Otherwise we’d be stuck with your basic terrible quote puzzle. By supercharging (or revving up?) the difficulty, at least we had to exert the grey cells.

Fill was much too name-driven, but I do think the cluing was very well done. Time after time (after time after time) I would read a clue and say “I have no idea”. But at the end, I was fairly sure my grid was filled in correctly. Answers I would never be able to guess, but they were clearly correct once filled in.

Interesting IM A MAC/IM A RET cross.

Chad Jeremy 7:26 AM  

The most unpleasant experience I have ever had solving a puzzle.

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

In the same NW corner you have kvell and trice. Those are not Wednesday words by any stretch of the imagination.

Anonymous 7:34 AM  

Although I suppose it's not particularly rare, still, it is unusual to see icefog and that's what I wanted for 54D. As it obviously had to be wrong I was totally put off continuing, and didn't. Glad I didn't try. I never saw Sex and the City and certainly the reveal by Rex didn't make me wish I had. Yuk.

ChuckD 7:38 AM  

Maybe next week we’ll get a famous quote from Friends or Entourage in our puzzle. This was ridiculously bad - never had an interest in the show - and less in a puzzle based on it. Took me all the downs to back into this one - didn’t think it was clued as tricky as Rex did but it was a slog.

I knew the REMORA x IMARET cross but I could see that NW corner being the downfall of many on a Wednesday especially with the Yiddish KVELLED. Liked the TOMATO soup entry.

My dad was a navigator and meteorologist flying bombers in the war so growing up we were inundated with weather facts including the fantastic FOGBOW. He would call it a ghost rainbow also but always explain how and why they appeared. So - overall this puzzle was brutal - but also provided fond memories.

SouthsideJohnny 7:49 AM  

Rex is right - one has to wonder what the Times is doing subjecting Wednesday solvers to this very difficult “niche” puzzle (in the sense that it has a nearly indiscernible theme because the quote is not even b-list or c-list famous, and a lot of really esoteric PPP and true gunk like IMARET and REMORA).

Rex seems to endorse the presence of Lil UZI Vert, who btw, is a vulgar, n-work spewing, glock-worshipping misogynistic creep.

Lil UZI Vert - Myron

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

I agree with Rex: One big sexist in-joke quote, not a Wednesday level, too many obscure celebs, not fun, not funny, not satisfying.

Hungry Mother 7:57 AM  

I needed to look at the calendar carefully to see if I missed a couple of days this week. This was absolutely a slog, but I got through it successfully.

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

Was I the only one tripped up by the 1A clue, which says TRICKY is the *end* of the quote?

Frantic Sloth 8:13 AM  

๐Ÿค This close. ๐Ÿค This close to chucking the iPad across the room. Then I realized that might be an overreaction.
But, I did it. My teeth clenched, jaw rigid, and my mind resigned to the vile task...and dared a little hope that I would be pleasantly surprised...๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž

Then that hope went *SPLAT* like a bug on a windshield at 70mph. Little did I know I'd envy that bug as the slog dragged on.

And the level of difficulty was absurd for a Wednesdee.

- College mascots!
- WTF is a Piolet?? An aviating purple flower?
- "Church of the SubGenius parody religion" ??????
- That clue for RETAIL at 51D "Go (for)" is a perfect example of obnoxious misdirection.
- Speaking of obnoxious...the PPP was mostly in my outhouse...perfect location for this dreck.

I guess you could say I didn't love it. Usually, I like learning new things, but I was so soured from the start the mind was closed for business, taking a day at Venom Beach.

One thing. I liked one thing about this nightmare: KVELLED. The end.

Wonder what Rex will say.

๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง 

SteveCol 8:20 AM  

“IMARET” goes back to the days when the Information Please almanac had a crossword puzzle glossary. It was a standard in the 50s because of the letter sequence. Not sure how much it’s been used since the Eisenhower administration.

Z 8:23 AM  

What a gawdawful 24 hours of solving. Yesterday’s spelling junk, the AVCX puzzle involves anagramming, the Gorski is a Halloween Dad Joke quote puzzle, and then the NYTX combines a pitiful “joke” quote with a trivia-fest. Oh - For - Four with my refuge puzzles being just as bad as the crap Shortz foisted on us. If I were a religious person I’d be worried that I’d angered the Flying Spaghetti Monster and they were extracting vengeance by casting me forever onto the wooden roller coaster in Rye with nothing but quote puzzles and anagrams.

@Southside Johnny - I don’t think Rex says anything about Lil UZI Vert. That line is a shot at cluers trying to not clue UZI as the weapon it is.

@Lewis - I mentioned yesterday that you used to provide little puzzle based puzzlers and complaints to Rex caused you to stop. I was then asked by @Frantic Sloth for an example. Maybe you could quench her curiosity.

Scott McClure 8:23 AM  

A very enjoyable Peter Gordon puzzle and I never watched “Sex and the City”. Interesting to see a Saturday-level puzzle on a Wednesday, but every day is Blursday anyway!

Pamela 8:37 AM  

For a show that was meant to be pithy and slightly titillating, the quote is meh. The puzzle was worse, at least for a Wednesday. I got through it, but the fun today was reading Rex.

Badria 8:40 AM  

This puzzle was hell and not in a good way. Thank you, Rex.

Arrest Jordan Pickford 8:41 AM  

Long time lurker on this blog but just had to break the silence to say how much this puzzle sucked, and not in a good way. A good tough puzzle makes me laugh out loud when I finally figure out the answer. This was just garbage. I'd say a computer made it but that'd be an insult to computers.

Mike Mangan 8:45 AM  

trice + kvelled / imaret = terrible

pabloinnh 8:50 AM  

"Syntax and context" (per @Lewis) are the things that got me to the finish line on this one. For those of us that enjoy the acrostics, this felt familiar. Quote puzzles are out there and this is one and I certainly don't mind them occasionally. I guess some folks do.

Hey, hi IMARET! How have you been? You used to be around a lot.

Wanted SWELLED but that wouldn't work and then KVELLED rang a distant bell. Ditto for PIOLET.

Today I learned that IRA's last name is Flatow, which was disappointing, because I always heard the host of "Science Friday's" last name as Plato and thought, how cool is that for a last name for a show celebrating intelligence?

Have yet to see SITC even once and some of the propers were totally alien, but got through it so thanks for the challenge, PG.

Joaquin 8:51 AM  

I really don’t care for this sort of puzzle - one with a quote that involves Part 1, Part 2, etc. But that wasn’t my biggest issue on this one.

Despite having the correct entry from the crosses for 32D, it took me waaaaay too long to understand the clue and answer - Saw print/RAN.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

Hi, Barbara here. In a world that is currently seems to be focused on everything other than human decency, I didn’t appreciate the aggressive hateful language in the tweet you posted this morning @Rax. Just sayin...

Joe Welling 8:52 AM  

Anonymous said:
"Was I the only one tripped up by the 1A clue, which says TRICKY is the *end* of the quote?"

Read the clue again. It says 1A and the rest of the themers together are the end of the quote.

Praise Bob!

Snoble 8:59 AM  

I made a rule for myself that I cannot not read Rex’s blog until I finish the puzzle. This puzzle was a good example of why I made the rule. I kept thinking, “Ooh, I can’t wait to read Rex on this one!” I was not disappointed—the blog was brilliant. Thanks, Rex, for making it worth my time to do the puzzle.

TJS 9:06 AM  

Where to start ? Well, how about the fact that our resident holder of a doctorate in English chooses to begin with comments from some idiot with the vocabulary of an grammar school drop out, who apparently is part of a family of four whose members are all unfamiliar with the words tsar,hurt, thence,sundevil,arc and route (abbr.) and the name of our current V.P. And the fact that Rex can have a fainting spell over the word "nip" but apparently is OK with "Jesus F---". Thanks for sharing. Can't imagine how edifying your lectures must be.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

It's fitting to see MIKEPENCE because today's NYTXW the Trump of puzzles -- anti-intellectual, obsessed with celebrity, and a tiresome bore.

fuzzle 9:10 AM  

So...Rex...I gather you didn't like this one?

Menemsham 9:17 AM  

Loved it, and amen to Rex’s coda!

bocamp 9:21 AM  

@Peter, thank you for the super challenge. I'm never very good on these "quote" puzzes, but I just kept plugging away on the "downs" until the themers started to take shape. This was a real workout for a Wednesday, but the mental exercise was worth every minute of the struggle. :)

I was not on @Peters wave length at all; and, it was not just the difficulty of having no idea what the quote was leading up to; there were so many clues and answers that totally befuddled me. I felt like I was doing a Saturday puzzle with a theme. So, let's see what I'm going to be learning from this one: ๐Ÿคž

New to me: "Carrie Bradshaw" (have heard of Sarah Jessica Parker, but couldn't name anything she's acted in); The "Carrie Bradshaw quote"; "piolet"; "Leonore"; Sue Monk "Kidd"; "The Secret Life of Bees"; "Levi" (as clued); John "Agee"; "kevelled"; "verklempt" (I've seen, but the definition hasn't sunk in yet; maybe now); "le tour J"; "Campbell's" first soup flavor; "Lil Uzi Vert"; "poke" (as clued); "War of the Currents" (sounds interesting); "Idena Menzel"; "Maurine"; "fogbow"; "Ira Flatow"; "Gabe Kapler" (hazy);

Not understanding (yet): "saw print / ran" (still trying to grok it); "helm / steer" (more grokking needed).

Overall: tricky clueing, hard to parse long quote, tons of unknowns, but still standing after 15 rounds and winning on a disqualification for too many low blows. LOL

Bottom line: a really good puzzle (I think), and no particularly good day to run it (for me anyway). Finished successfully, but 2 1/2 x over ave.; hopefully learned some stuff. :)

Peace Mir ืฉืœื•ื BarฤฑลŸ Pax Maluhia Paix Pace ๐Ÿ•Š

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

I like it when the NYTXW recognizes its home town with a little Carrie Bradshaw, some Yiddish, and even Baruch College.

me 9:27 AM  

This odd puzzle made me sore. It hurt my ego and I felt like a fool. Yeti managed to solve it. Although I’d like to take an ice ax to Mike Pence. Or maybe an uzi. Back to my Oreos and TiVo now.

me 9:28 AM  

This odd puzzle made me sore. It hurt and I felt like a fool. Yeti managed to solve it. Although I’d like to take an ice ax to Mike Pence. Or maybe an uzi.

jon777 9:34 AM  

Long time lurker, but felt the need to comment.

IMARET which I've never heard of, crossed with two ambiguous answers that easily could have different correct answers.

TRICE could have (and in my mind should have) been TRaCE. And CORP could just as easily by COmP.

Ethan Taliesin 9:35 AM  

Jesus H Christ. That was more like a Saturday time for me. KVELLED and IMARET were not words I expected from a Wed.

Most difficult area for me was that NW section. Went to LAMPREY before REMORA, giving me YARD for ACRE at first. IMAMAC cleared up the confusion but gosh this was a tough Wednesday.

I knew Yetis. Must. Have. Slack.

RooMonster 9:37 AM  

Hey All !
Any particular reason puz is 16 wide? Could have done this puz as a regular 15 wide. That would have eliminated some of the black squares. Thoughts?

I did notice the 16 wideness as soon as I looked at it, so the ole brain isn't done quite yet. I also noticed the ridiculous NW corner, which I left till the end, and stared at for a good 5 minutes before I started to Goog. Had swELLED for KVELLED (??!!), not jiving with the crosses. Had the whole quote except for 1A, and just couldn't think of a word that would work. Finally figured out YETIS from __TIS, somehow dredged up IMAMAC from the morass of my memories, but ended up Googing for TRICE and IMARET. Erased the wrong sw of swELLED, put back in YETIS which I erased, finally saw TRICKSY and REMOVE. Even CORP toughly clued. So a bad corner. Bad corner! ARF!

diTtO-METOO, veTo-ETTU, gErm-SEED (GERM further down, what's that called again?[See, rotten memory.]), iLl-FLU

So a toughie WedsPuz. Which is OK, but this one seems to have struck a *Meh* *Stupid* *Too hard* chord in alot of people. Quote puzs aren't the top of my list, but they're fine. Have to rely on pattern recognition to figure it out, although the Downs are usually easier to help you out.

Three DD's. Odd, stuck out to me.

Four F's

Blue Stater 9:38 AM  

I'm with Chad Jeremy -- never had a worse experience trying to solve a puzzle. Grossly unfair, inaccurate cluing of achingly obscure answers. What is WS thinking when he publishes junk like this? *Is* WS thinking when he publishes junk like this?

DeeJay 9:40 AM  

Terrific puzzle! Rex is a male chauvinist pig! Sex in the City was, next to Friends, the most popular show among women and girls back in the day. If you don't know who Carries Bradshaw is, you've been under a rock for the last 30 years.

I had no idea what the quote was, but the fill around it was solvable enough that I was able to crack the puzzle.

And, I've never seen an episode of SITC.

Lewis 9:43 AM  

@z -- So, a PPP (Post-puzzle puzzle) for today's puzzle might go something like this:

PPP: What us contrary about the clue/answer for ODD?


PPP: One of the most famous 8-letter palindromes is sometimes written as one word, and sometimes as two words. When it's written as two words, this puzzle has as answers both the anagram of the first and the second word. What are those answers?


PPP: Which answer contains the same letters as one of the books of the Bible?

Answers later this afternoon.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Joe Welling: I read it the same way. I thougt odd that the end of the quote was 1a. Took some time to realize that the end of the quote is beginning at 1a, along with the rest of them

Barbara S. 9:52 AM  

I’m among those who don’t like puzzles built around quotations, so I wasn’t happy to see this one. I didn’t have the same reaction as Rex to the details of what was said, though. It seems to me that thinking metaphorically of a puzzle as a whole or a person as a whole as something to which you’ve got to get THE RIGHT ANSWER works.

That NW corner was a REMORA which nearly sucked the life out of me. I had a number of failed attempts at several answers: NonCE for TRICE, It’s MAC for IM A MAC (although, once reminded, I remember those commercials very well), swELLED for KVELLED, overlY for TRICKY, REtirE for REMOVE. Nothing worked with anything for the longest time. REMORA, IMARET and YETIS were all WOES. Aargh.

In more positive news, I enjoyed learning that OBOEs tune orchestras and that there’s a palindrome out there which goes “Sit on a Potato Pan, Otis!” I’m getting better at sussing out possible names for team mascots: I divined SUNDEVIL from SUN_____. It’s going to be a pleasant challenge to work Piolet into everyday conversation. I liked the PENCE/THENCE cross. (MIKE PENCE in Washington, D.C., get thee THENCE!)

@Joaquin (8:51 a.m.) I still don’t get it: how is RAN the answer to “Saw print”? Is it something about a print run?

@Lewis (9:43 a.m.) What's the etiquette here? If someone thinks they know the answer to any of these, do they speak up or sit on it?

Thanks to @everyone who responded to my SB post yesterday.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:57 AM  

For the record, I ended with a coupoe of blank letter at the end of 25A, but I looked 'piolet' up, because I thought it might be botanical and I like plants. What I got was

Did you mean: pilot

Then later on it said:an ice axe.

Note the 'e' on the eld of AXe.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Can a whole puzzle be a Natick? Surprised I got anything - several just came to me out of the blue or, I should say, out of a fogbow (you learn something new every day) - Mike Pence (yes, Rex, ugh) from SNL (had no idea who the guy plays him was), D-Day, etc. Never could make it through one episode of Sex and City (Sex in the City? Never could get that straight.) but then I also despise 5-inch stiletto heels (used to be spike heels), obsessions with designer shoes, bags, clothes. This show and some others supposedly promoting "girl power" set women back many years IMHO by sucking in young girls and making them think this shallow tripe was sophisticated and/or reality, or even New York. Sorry - feels good to get that out - now I better understand how Rex does this every day! ๐Ÿ˜Š - newbie

DavidL 10:03 AM  

I rarely post, and I rarely agree with Rex's pans.

But, yeah. Ridiculously obscure clues and answers, and then not even a payoff at the end. Even if I had been able to place the name "Carrie Bradshaw," it wouldn't have mattered. The quote is utterly inane.

Joaquin 10:03 AM  

@bocamp and @Barbara S - Re: "Saw print". The article "RAN" in the newspaper. Ergo, it "saw print".

Z 10:07 AM  

@Barbara S - I did finally suss out “Saw print.” My Op Ed finally saw print. My Op Ed finally RAN.
As to etiquette, I would think a “***PPPPSA***” would be appreciated (Potential PPP Spoiler Alert) by those still puzzling. Waiting for @Lewis to provide answers is probably a smidge better, though. Some people **coughfranticcough** have a hard time avoiding spoilers even when alerted.

MaryEllen Schneider 10:11 AM  

Especially happy to read Rex's post today! Almost 8 minutes over my average Wednesday solve and not fun. Agree ๐Ÿ’ฏ

Old White Guy 10:19 AM  

KVELLED crossing IMARET is marginal

Whatsername 10:25 AM  

You know it’s going to be bad when the F word appears in Rex’s writeup five times. Possibly an all-time record? While Carrie Bradshaw was immediately recognizable to me, I have to agree that it was a little unfair to not specify a TV character, especially since that show went off the air 16 years ago in 2004. I felt a little sympathetic for the male solvers since SATC was pretty much a show that appealed mostly to women but that factor aside, this was way too TRICKY and COMPLICATED for a Wednesday. Other than that, I liked the theme but I adored the show, and I’m betting that makes a big difference in whether or not you loved or hated this puzzle.

Rex’s comment “I can’t speak to ‘men in their 40s,’ but crosswords I know” reminded me of another Carrie Bradshaw line: “Men I may not know, but shoes I know.” And I couldn’t help but wonder . . . is he REALLY a closet SATC fan quoting the actual Vogue article episode? Or was it just a coincidence?

pmdm 10:30 AM  

As one who enjoys solving acrostic puzzles, quote crossword puzzles do not bother me. After all, the answer to an acrostic puzzle is basically a quote from a book or some other text. Many of those who post here have made it very well known how they feel about quote puzzles (pro and con), perhaps less gently than Jeff Chen does. Inother words, I knew what type of review those like Sharp and Z would give this puzzle. And I would have to agree with the thumbs down rating. While I didn't mind the quote, the rest of the puzzle was not to my liking. On any day of the week.

I would guess that most of the test solvers come from the NYC vicinity, accounting for the publication of the puzzle on a Wednesday. That might account the why some thought the puzzle was too hard for a Wednesday.

With 120 puzzle published, Gordon is not exactly inexperienced as a puzzle constructor. My memory, which can be faulty, tells me that I more often than not don't care for the fill he jams into the puzzle. I would call my reaction to his efforts today typical.

Enough of my venting.

Nancy 10:31 AM  

How can the 1A clue not provoke an almost unbearable curiosity in any true crossword puzzle devotee? Ooh, ooh, how are men in their 40s like the NYT Sunday crossword??? Please, please tell me: I can't wait to find out!!!

A puzzle that manages to create genuine curiosity in the solver has accomplished something I value a lot, and therefore that aspect of today's managed to somewhat offset two things I tend to really dislike: quote puzzles in general (so little to work with if you don't know the quote) and pop culture, of which there was a ton today. I'm looking at you (as clued) IMAMAC; YETIS; KIDD; MAUREEN and GABE. As for UZI, I'd use a ZAPper on the rapper who names himself after an assault rifle. I haven't read the blog yet, but I hope no one has put up a link to any of his songs, because I'm not going there.

Everything about this puzzle felt like a Saturday and I am gratified to have finished it without cheating. My feelings about it are not entirely positive, but it certainly held my attention -- so there's that.

jberg 10:33 AM  

Quote puzzles are kind of like the Sunday acrostics—you get a few letters and try to find plausible words and eventually see where the quote is going. In this case, the clue for 1A helped a lot with the context

The names, though! I knew LENORE, IRA, MIKE PENCE, and KIDD. The rest needed a lot of crosses.

But you folks should learn about REMORSs. They’re neat.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

You need help...I am not trying to be mean but this hatred you harbor is easily is not healthy

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

You're so right - he's a miserable guy.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Agreed Barbara.

Smith 10:44 AM  

@Barbara S 9:52

Haven't seen a reply yet, but if this is a dupe my apologies.

Saw print as in "That article saw print just before [whatever, you know, these days]" meaning it RAN in the paper or magazine.

Debbie 10:48 AM  

If this puzzle left you feeling SORE, maybe you'll get a laugh from Peter's constructor notes on XWORDINFO:

Some nixed clues for 19-Across:

Noted fly catcher in the news?
Politician who was bugged during his debate?
Politician who was recently in a fly-over state?
Politician who clearly doesn't believe in no-fly zones?
A popular Halloween costume this year is a wig of his hair with a fly in it
Politician with a fly open for all to see

What? 10:48 AM  

What Rex said.
Shortz is working on June submissions and this is what he comes up with. What’s the retirement age for crossword editors?

Smith 10:51 AM  

Thought this was waaay hard for Weds. Never watched SITC; kinda knew who CB was. swELLED begore KVELLED, dEletE before REMOVE. Still, got the quote from crosses, syntax, grammar.

๐Ÿ‘‹ Lewis, yes, being an acrostic fan helps!

mathgent 10:51 AM  

Disappointed that I needed big cheat to solve this excellent puzzle. I like quote puzzles for the reasons Lewis eloquently expressed.

I needed the cheat because I didn’t get IMAMAC even though I had ??AMAC. I loved those commercials. The cool young guy saying “I’m a Mac” and the dumb-looking guy saying “I‘m a PC.” But I was convinced that it started with an E because THEYRE fit the quote so well at 1A.

Even though the quote itself was bland, everything else was wonderful. Good crunch, smart cluing, no junk, some things I didn’t know.

I used to read The Fibonacci Journal. All its articles were about properties of the Fibonacci sequence and Fibonacci numbers, but I don’t remember ever seeing the theorem that two-thirds of the Fibonacci numbers are odd. Probably because the proof is trivial and the result doesn’t lead to much. The sequence is 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, ..., starting 1, 1 and every number the sum of the previous two. It’s easy to see that the pattern “odd, odd, even” repeats itself throughout.

I got a kick out of learning that the French say “Jjour” for “DDay.”

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Couldn't agree more

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

The first word of 1A is WITH.
Don't understand what the problem was.

Anonymoose 10:59 AM  

@Barbara. I endorse @Z's second option. Wait.

@Snoble 8:59. I'm confused. If you cannot not read @Rex before solving, that means you do. Yet it sounds like you did the puzzle first.

@Bocamp. Apparently Helm can be a verb when STEERing a boat.

And just to clarify, It's Sex And The City

Carola 11:05 AM  

Ambivalent. Never having seen the show, I wasn't at all interested in the theme, but I enjoyed the challenge of a difficult Wednesday puzzle - for me it was more like putting together a jigsaw than solving a crossword.

Help from previous puzzles: IMARET, OPS, SUN DEVIL. Help from a January aquarium visit: REMORA. No idea: UZI, YETIS, D-DAY, AGEE, ICE AX, GABE, IMAMAC, MAUREEN. Liked: BOATYARD; FLOUT + TSK.

GILL I. 11:09 AM  

Oooooooh.....I couldn't wait to come here and read @Rex. And then @Frantic gives me the much needed *SPLAT* like a bug.... so my day is complete.
I'm not sure where I should begin. I'll start by saying I wouldn't use the *F* word like twitter Sandifer, but dang....this ate my goose. Peter Gordon does that often. He gave me a piolet, a FOG BOW a little KVELLED of a GERM and I'm supposed to enjoy my dinner. I didn't. I saw print and I RAN to the skip to my loo.
When I looked at 1A this first thing I thought was why the hell does this Carrie character or person even care about men in their 40's being like the Sunday crossword. And what does that even mean? Oh...THAT one ....played by the talented and funny Sarah Jessica Parker. I watched all of SATC and loved it. She said a lot of stuff about men. Now, all I can remember about it was that they all drank Cosmos. was TRICKY and didn't belong in the Wed slot. I'll throw a mealy TOMATO to Will and will add an OREO and even our Maleska friend, IMARET in the bushel of fray.

Photomatte 11:10 AM  

The number of Supreme Court seats has been changed six times, all via Acts of Congress, I think it's high time that happens again and I'm not advocating another increase (the number was bumped up to 10 in 1863) but, rather, I'm hoping the precedent set in 1866 - the Judicial Circuits Act - will prevail and the number of Justices gets reduced. It's time to return to a six-member Court and to throw out the last three appointees, all three of whom were nominated by a man who was never elected and who's an actual Russian agent. The GOP has spent decades trying to take this country backwards so the karmic irony would be rich indeed if the 2021 Congress were to follow the actions of the 1866 Congress.

EdFromHackensack 11:14 AM  

Googled, which I never do, and still could not get theNW corner. Worst puzzle in recent memory. Peter Gordon, you can do better

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Hey, I still don’t get “saw print/RAN” help!

Lewis 11:18 AM  

@Barbara -- As best as I remember, people reported if they solved the PPP, but didn't give the answer, so as not to spoil someone else getting it on their own.
@mathgent -- You used to read the Fibonacci Journal??? You need to take a stab at PPP #1.

Perry 11:18 AM  

I hate puzzles like this with the fire of a thousand suns. If you don't know the stupid Carrie Bradshaw quote, you're pretty much SOL. I even watched all of Sex and the City. I thought it was hilarious, but there was nothing particularly memorable about the dialog and I don't go around quoting lines from it. Ughh!

Ernonymous 11:24 AM  

A lot of you think knowing the show was an advantage- it wasn't. Even if you are a big fan of Sex in the City and have watched the series 4 times, you would not know this quote by heart. Carrie said thousands of similar things in every show. The show opened with her reading aloud her column where she would compare men and relationships to everything under the sun. This did not stand out any more than any of her other musings.
The constructor saw a quote with crossword puzzles in it, and there was his original idea for a theme.
I had trouble in the NW like a lot of you. 1 across could have been anything, so as Rex likes to say, without a good start at 1D or 1A you are pretty much going to face a struggle. The stock exchange answer could have been many things. All I had was I'm A Mac.
Got it done somehow but took me 90 minutes!

Frantic Sloth 11:26 AM  

@Roo 937am I think you're looking for "malapop" there.

@Lewis 943am Wow - Thank you! As usual, you're unique take on these puzzles and the "Easter eggs" discovered by you never cease to amaze me. WOE did people have to complain about with these?? Personally, I enjoy the extra crispy puzzlers (though I think I could only do 2 of these...I think) and wish I'd been around back in the day. Thank you again for taking the time and making the effort for silly ol' me, ๐Ÿ˜Š

@Barbara S. 952am An unfortunate choice of words, but "sit on it" is best. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Like you, I figured the whole "saw print"/ RAN fiasco had to do with a print run. Better yet - what @Joaquin 1003am said!

@Z 1007am ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ Got a little suttin'suttin' caught in your throat there?

SaltySolver 11:27 AM  

Good grief what a miserable puzzle. Agree with Rex and most of the commenters on what a slog this was. Self-aggrandizing, masturbatory experience from the NYT to showcase themselves.

First of all, it felt like half of the puzzle was useless to me because of the quote being not being well-known or easily guessable until you had a number of Down clues. Secondly, all of the bizarre proper nouns, foreign words and smugness of comparing Men to the Crossword reeks of that "coastal elite" attitude that people pretend exist.

The NW in particular was an incredibly hot mess. Originally had RaMORA instead of REMORA. TRICE, IMARET, KVELLED, YETIS are all nearly impossible as clued (and also I guess I need to have a strong background in Yiddish and French to solve these things today..)

Outside of REMORA and IMAMAC, I barely had any room to navigate the NW. You can't infer TRICKY or COMPLICATEDAND without more Down answers and TRICE (?), KVELLED (??) and YETIS(??? -- as if anyone should know what the Church of the Sub-genius is? More contemporary cluing might look to FSM) are difficult to see without more acrosses, but then you're stuck with the stupid quote and around and around you go. The Turkish Inn/IMARET clue was especially brutal in that spot because at that point you're really just guessing and don't have much way to break into the rest of the grid (again, because half of the grid is taken up by the stupid quote.)

Also - Sex and the City as a show ended 16 years ago, the movie apparently came out 12 years ago. If we're going to pat our own backs on how great the Times puzzle is, surely we can find either a more recent quote or, if we must use a dated one, a speaker who is either real or more well-known? My vote is to lay off the "wow we sure are tricky and special aren't we?" self-promotion. You already have us here, you don't need to remind us.


Whatsername 11:29 AM  

@ChuckD (7:38) I’ll bet your dad told some great tales. Thank you for sharing his ghost rainbow story. FOGBOW was new to me and I still didn’t understand the “colorful cousin” part of that clue, but now I get it.

@TJS (9:06) Well said! My sentiments exactly. I’m guessing Rex used that particular profane tweeter because of the more or less complimentary reference to Himself.

Unknown 11:31 AM  

Wow, I'm glad I don't know you folks in real life. What a bunch of complainers. About a mere XW puzzle.

Was this certainly tougher than the typical Wednesday? Absolutely.
Was it a challenge to solve? Yes. So what??!!

And Z 10:07, thank you for the explanation for RAN. That stumped me.

Sir Hillary 11:35 AM  


Joe Dipinto 11:38 AM  

I don't get the quotation from either a puzzle or a men-in-their-40s angle. You're never sure you got the right answer from a man in his 40s? To what question? Or is the man in his 40s himself the answer you're not sure is right? What the eff does it *mean*?

Just awful. D.O.A. This puzzle will never meet my new friends.

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

[scanned the comments, and didn't see, so...]

Does anyone honestly admit to recognizing the full quote, wrote it in, and did the rest of the puzzle?

As for Sunday Difficulty: mentioned a few times, I'm working through a book of late 90s Sundays, and they're NOT Wednesday difficulty, closer to these days' Thursdays. Unless, of course, the whole week was waaaaaaaay more difficult than today.

kitshef 11:46 AM  

@TJS - you repeat a common but untrue criticism of Rex. His position has been that generally benign words with one bad sense are OK in puzzles.

There definitely are people who rail against words like 'nip' or 'chink' in puzzles, but Rex is not one of them.

He did go off about 'beaner', on the grounds that it really has no benign use - at least not one that anyone besides Will has heard of.

KRMunson 11:48 AM  

Piolet is most definitely NOT a Wednesday clue.

KRMunson 11:50 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 11:51 AM  

Agree with those who question 25A—Piolet, e.g. Piolet is the French term for ice ax, which is a mountaineering tool. Because mountaineering had its roots in the French and Swiss Alps, lots of French mountaineering terms are used by English-speaking climbers, such as crampons, arete, rappel. But I agree that for most “Piolet” is quite obscure, even among most American climbers. But why the “e.g.”? Piolet is a synonym for ice ax, not an example of a type of ice ax, which is what the “e.g.” suggests.

CT2Napa 11:57 AM  

This was the BEST REX REVIEW ever!

sixtyni yogini 11:59 AM  

Puzz definitely lived up to its quote/theme for me. ๐Ÿงฉ๐Ÿคฏ๐Ÿงฉ
Lost confidence from start in NW and it did not come back: never sure i “got the right ‘answer’”.๐Ÿ˜œ
Rex’s review very incisive. ๐ŸŽฏ Wednesday or not, a difficult mix of interesting and miserable adventure for YT.
(Grateful for anything that diverts Nov 3 high anxiety — ๐Ÿ˜‚despite the “MikePence” presence ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜‚)

Crimson Devil 11:59 AM  

What he said.

kitshef 12:12 PM  

@Lewis- did you mean 7-letter palindromes?

Newboy 12:15 PM  

I’ll read commentariat next, but first let me say that Rex nails my response perfectly today. That and thinking that 43D was a cleverness way to cluing seasonal affective disorder to start the grid smack in the least tomorrow is Thursday!

Snoble 12:15 PM  

@anonymous (10:59)—typo! Yes, I did the puzzle first. Is there a way to fix errors in a post?

jae 12:18 PM  

Tough. Add me to the slog/anti quote puzzles contingent.

bocamp 12:20 PM  

@Joaquin 10:03 AM / @Z 10:07 AM / @Smith 10:44 AM

Thx, I was in the ballpark, but from the "Uecker seats" I couldn't see home plate. LOL

@Anonymoose 10:59 AM

Thx, that was my conclusion, as well; I just haven't done the research to see how it would be reasonably used in a sentence, e.g., "who'll be "helming" the ship", etc.

@Lewis 9:43 AM

Thx for the PPPs; don't understand why they were ever a contentious issue?? I'll give them some thought today. :)

My take on today's quote: from Carrie's pov, men in their 40s are tricky, complicated and it's never easy to figure them out; same goes for the NYT Sunday xwords.

One additional "new to me" was "Beck Bennett" (haven't watched SNL since Moby Dick was a minnow).

Thoughts re: Spelling Bee: if SBers would simply indicate their progress with a minus number at the bottom line of their posts, this might be less innocuous to others. We could also consider an email "SB digest" for more in-depth discussions. I would be willing to share my addy with those interested in forming such a group. I agree with @Barbara S. re: other SB blogs that don't meet our needs.

y.d. 0

Peace Mir ืฉืœื•ื BarฤฑลŸ Pax Maluhia Paix Pace ๐Ÿ•Š

clodpated 12:28 PM  

Hands down my least favorite puzzle of 2020. Just when I thought that trophy was going to be held by Sunday's puzzle.

Nancy 12:36 PM  

@Lewis (9:43) -- I've got the 3rd, the Bible one, but the others are way beyond the powers of my little gray cells. [Sigh]. Were the ones you used to provide this hard???

And I do have a question. Why on earth did Rex tell you to stop posting them? What possible harm could they have done either to him in particular or to the blog in general? It makes no sense. If anything, they enhance the blog experience -- providing additional puzzlement for anyone who didn't have enough for the day. Weird.

I also have a question for @whatsername (10:25) -- Rex used the F word today five times and you continue to read him??!! Why? As for his foul-mouthed Twitterers, you read them too??!! Why?? There has to be a better way to spend your mornings, girlfriend. There just has to be.

@Debbie (10:48) -- Thank you, thank you for the [wonderful] nixed clues for 19A. I would have missed them, having not read the constructor's comments. It puts a whole other slant on including MIKE PENCE in the puzzle, doesn't it? Big mistake by WS to nix them, I'd say.

Chip Hilton 12:38 PM  

Hard for a Wednesday. Frustrated me at times. Asked my wife for one answer upper left and finished. In all, I liked it. I’d much rather have a challenging slog on Wednesday than a carefree, no resistance romp.

My last part of the quote to fall was one-across. I was sure it was They’re for the longest time. An error in the NW today was truly punishing.

Thanks, Peter Gordon. (Is it just a coincidence that there’s a Chad Jeremy poster here?)

Swagomatic 12:45 PM  

I also hate quote puzzles. I never watched the TV show from which the quote came, but I knew the character's name. To be fair, the quote was fairly easy to infer, but a quote puzzle is a quote puzzle, and they suck. I finished way above my average time. It played more like a Friday for me.

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

Seriously. May be the worst NYT puzzle I have seen in 20 years

Dan Sachs 12:58 PM  

Me too

jb129 1:03 PM  

Bocamp - I love spelling bee sometimes more than the Sunday puzzle. Feel free to respond.

BTW - Saw print/Ran took me way too much time & I resented it.

Hard for a Wednesday but a good challenge for a Wednesday.

Dan Sachs 1:03 PM  

I too interpreted the clue to say that 1 Across was the end of the quote.

chance2travel 1:04 PM  

Pretty much agree with Rex on this one. I think the first quote puzzle I ever did was enjoyable because it was novel. Now they just come across as a slog. Although I can see the point about enjoying the challenge of so much "unclued" real estate.

After guessing things like KVELL, MAUREEN, GABE/ROE, I ultimately DNFed by having TRaCE and COmP cross aMAmET. Fairly embarrassed about missing CORP.

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

Come on, people. This is the NEW YORK Times XW, not the Washington Times. Kvell is a fine word, and obvious from the clue. Anyone with just a smattering of Yiddish should know both "verklempt" and "kvell." That small point being made, I agree the this puzzle was bad on many fronts.

Teedmn 1:18 PM  

Like many here, I had to REMOVE the sw at 5D to finally finish in the NW. I have not internalized IMARET or IMAMAC and couldn't think of what ___P was a NYSE listing (duh). Finally, with ____IS, I decided a parody group might claim YETI ancestors. Very tricky corner!

I usually hate quote puzzles but a combination of @Nancy's curiosity about what men in the 40s had in common with the NYT Xword and a love of SATC ameliorated my dislike somewhat. But I agree with Rex on the Sunday quibble. I looked at the clue twice after getting COMPLICATED - Sunday, REALLY?

I was totally flummoxed by 25A. Piolet rang no bells and looked like a portmanteau of puce and violet (both purplish). Even ICEA_ didn't give me the AX until I finally parsed "See through?" as XRAY. Sheesh.

Is a FOG BOW like a SUN Dog? If not, I don't think I've ever seen one.

Well Peter, this was harder than your usual Fireball puzzles for me, almost twice my usual Wednesday time (3 Rexes today) so thanks for the struggle.

Unlike most TV I've watched, I actually remember a bunch of Sex and the City episodes. When Harry proposes to Charlotte was the most romantic thing I've ever seen on TV.

burtonkd 1:22 PM  

I thought Rex was a bit too kind to this puzzle, more a Wednesday level diatribe than the thorny Saturday it deserved.

Can you call the Twitter quotes a "thread" since it is the same poster using the same (#*@&$ (GRAWLIX), unrelated to gravlax, synonym for smoked salmon.

Southside Johnny - my thoughts exactly: why clue UZI as just a murder weapon, when you can also allude to vulgar, n-work spewing, glock-worshipping misogyny?

Bonnie Buratti 1:40 PM  

Lame. The puzzle was just trying to figure out what the public perception of the NYT Sunday puzzle is.

Anoa Bob 1:41 PM  

This was a first for me. When I read the clue for 1 Across, realized that I've never seen "Sex and the City" and didn't know who this Carrie Bradshaw is/was, I thought "no mas" and quit the puzzle before I ever filled in a single word. In hindsight, I'm glad I did.

The quote borders on the nonsensical if yous ask me. Maybe if I heard it rapid-fire on the show, squished in between other rapid-fire witticisms, and immediately followed by a sudden burst of pre-recorded laugh track, I would appreciate it more.

So I decided to do a puzzle from the NYT xword archives instead. I just started 2002 and so I opened the Monday, January 7 '02 puzzle and guess who the constructor was. Yep, Peter Gordon. The grid-spanning central across was COULDNTCARELESS(!). Apropos, no?

L.H. Puttgrass 1:55 PM  

Rex is usually too hard on the NYTXW IMO, but in this case he's spot-on.

I'm not a big fan of quote crosswords (if I want a quote, I'll do an acrostic or a cryptogram), but they can be tolerable if the quote is clever. This one...was not.

Hana 1:57 PM  

This puzzle is atrocious. It was not diverting or interesting. I didn’t learn anything. I hated the quote. There were too many obscure proper nouns. Mike Pence should not have appeared. Nothing about this was enjoyable. I solve the NYT crossword puzzle every night, but I’m thinking of switching to a different publication.

sixtyni yogini 1:59 PM  

It’s raining here so whatever... and just reread the Rex post. His Pence-trash ending is Shakespearean!
It’s in the league of Will's own.
A few faves... Enjoy!

A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of not one good quality.

That trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey Iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years?”

I must tell you friendly in your ear, sell when you can, you are not for all markets

old timer 2:09 PM  

I hate quote puzzles, at least on weekdays. If I loved that art form I would do acrostics, for as I recall every acrostic is author + quote. Used to be when I was young, anyhow.

But even as a quote, it is not an enjoyable quote. If we get a new xword editor (Patrick Berry can have the job if he wants it, I think), the rule should be no quote puzzles on weekdays.

Z remember being a man in his 40s. I was far too busy raising children and trying legal cases to be whatever Bradshaw was thinking.

(BTW, I have no problem with posters citing answers from the day's puzzle. I'm sure most of us have done the puzzle before coming here, even if we had a DNF, as I certainly did. By the time I solved the quote I was no longer interested in the missing parts of the solve, and had to consult Dr. Google).

Karl 2:12 PM  

I am pretty up on my Yiddish and I had never heard KVELL.

Ernonymous 2:17 PM  

I know Rex doesn't read the constructor's notes, but I'm sure he'd love today's. I think I might tweet him too check it out.

Masked and Anonymous 2:20 PM  

yep. Tougher than snot WedPuz.
What made it tough, at our house:

1. Feisty clues.
Exhibit A: 25-A's {Piolet, e.g.}.
Exhibit B: 70-A's {Dolly's last name in "Hello Dolly!"}.
Exhibit C: 29-D's {Good eggs?}
Exhibit D-Z: 6-D's {What members of the Church of the SubStableGenius … etc.}.

2. Feisty quote theme.
Exhibit A: 1-A's: Start of end of weird (and verbosin) quote by some mysterious person.
Exhibit B-Z: 21-, 30-, 49-, 61-, and 74-Across -- with helpful clues like "Part 3".
Quote theme rodeos are kinda like the Rodney Dangerfield of crossword puzs -- they just don't get a whole lotta respect. (Yo and har, @RP)

3. Unknown answer stuff: KVELLED [This rascal even made Otto Correct snap to attention]. TRICE. KIDD. MAUREEN. GABE. LEVI. FOGBOW. UZI. Many of which were crossin that there hard to figure out theme quote thingy.

On the other hand, this puppy had some sparkly answers, too: SUNDEVIL. THENCE. FLOUT. ARFS.
TOMATO also pretty good, but can't hold a candle to ARFS.

Of more interest: YOUGOTTHERIGHT is made from just the letters of ROUGH YETI. Who knew!
Of mosteth interest -- staff weeject pick is: ETH.

Thanx for bein so scrappy, as usual, Mr. Gordonmeister. This rodeo dern near Raw fish dish-ed my brains out. But that's ok … it is good for us to suffer. [And U can quote m&e.]

Masked & Anonymo6Us


jberg 2:24 PM  

OK, I had to take the dog out and go get the car inspected. In all the excitement, I forgot to mention my big problem: confusing KVELLED with kvetched, So I resisted putting that one in for far too long.

Also, apologies for my earlier typo: what's neat is REMORAs, not remorss.

Joe Dipinto 2:25 PM  

@Lewis – I think you mean 7-letter palindrome, like Kitshef said.

oldactor 2:26 PM  

Had blank A N for saw print and ran the alphabet, hit the R and bang that's it. Loved the puzzle and all its mystery. What more can you ask for. Welcome back Imaret long time no see.

Maud 2:29 PM  

Can someone explain how that clue yields that answer? Still don’t see it

Joe Dipinto 2:34 PM  

@Chip Hilton 12:38 → Thanks, Peter Gordon. (Is it just a coincidence that there’s a Chad Jeremy poster here?)

Good catch! That's very funny!

algiardello 2:40 PM  

Can you post the link here? I don’t know where to find these. FWIW, I’d have no serious complaints if this were a Friday or Saturday puzzle. But a Wednesday? Sheesh.

Tim Aurthur 2:40 PM  

I never watched a single minute of "Sex and the City." For all I know it could have been drama of Shakespearean greatness. But I really really hated the NYT's obsessive worship of that show. At some point around the year 2000 if you were writing a NYT article about agrarian reform in Burkina Faso, you were required to mention "Sex and the City" somewhere in the article.

So yeah, this puzzle wasn't for me.

egsforbreakfast 2:40 PM  

1A could have been clued to make the entire puzzle Monday easy:

Along with 21,30,49, 61 and 74 Across, reaction of husband to wife’s query regarding which outfit looks better on her.

Unknown 2:49 PM  

I always try to find something good to say about puzzles I do not like, but this one was simply substandard and not befitting of the New York Times.

Barbara S. 3:00 PM  

@Joaquin (10:03 a.m.) et al. Thanks re “Saw print”/RAN.

@Lewis (11:18 a.m.) et al. Thanks re Lewis’s PPPs answer-posting etiquette.

@Joe Dipinto (11:38 a.m.) I’m not inclined to defend the sensicality of the statement: it’s ambiguous at best. But I take it to mean that these men are tricky, complicated and you’re never really sure you’ve figured them out. And because you can’t figure them out, you’re never really sure that they’re the right guy for you, i.e. the right answer to solving the puzzle of your life. I’ve probably just used way more electrons than the quotation deserved. Let’s just listen to Sade – so mellow.

Marge 3:08 PM  

Just finished reading “Thinking Inside the Box” by Adrienne Raphel which has a 4 page comment on this very quote .

Anonymous 3:22 PM  

Too difficult for you so you had to dis it. You are so obvious.

Andrew 3:25 PM  

What a horrible, boring puzzle. Time for this constructor to call it a day already.

Lewis 3:29 PM  


@kitshef and @joe dipinto -- You are absolutely right, and my deep apologies, It IS a seven-letter palindrome and by you two pointing it out, I know you got the answer.
@nancy -- My monumental goof at saying "8-letter palindrome" instead of the correct "7-letter palindrome" made #2 practically impossible, save for the alert @kitshef and @joe dipinto.

Here are the answers:
1. The puzzle number for the clue/answer ODD is 34. I didn't know this, but I was hoping it is one of the numbers on the Fibonacci sequence, and a quick wiki look confirmed that it is! So what is contrary is that the clue and answer are focused on ODD, while their Fibonacci number is actually even.
2. Two of the most famous palindromes are "A man, a plan, a canal -- Panama!" and "race car". In the puzzle, the anagram of "race" is ACRE, and the one of "car" is ARC.
3. The puzzle answer that has the letters of a book of the Bible is HURT (the Book of Ruth).

Again, I apologize for screwing up #2 by saying it has eight letters.

Ernonymous 3:32 PM  

@ sigardello go to
There is a lot of info on each day's puzzle. It links to all the answers and how many times they've been used before and when. Also there will be a write up by Jeff Chen and comments by the constructor. And many other fascinating stats about the NYT puzzle. It's a record of the puzzles.

N 3:47 PM  

The article RAN on page A7.

Pdxrains 3:48 PM  


N 3:49 PM  

I assumed the tweeter was referring to the northwest corner, given their complaints about 1A. (I mix up east and west all the time, myself.)

Whatsername 3:49 PM  

@Nancy (12:36) Point taken but to be fair, this was a rare occurrence today. Rex Parker doesn’t routinely resort to profanity, but it does happen now and then. To his credit, on those occasions he normally makes an effort to **** out the bad stuff. Today‘s tirade resulted in one expletive - and only the one - at the very end of his writeup. The other four EFFs appeared in the screen shots of the tweets he posted from someone who apparently has an extremely limited capacity for articulate conversation. It wasn’t a matter of reading them so much as it was that they were pretty hard to miss.

I do as a general custom at least skim Rex’s synopsis because most days it enhances the experience of solving the puzzle. He often makes observations I missed or explains points I didn’t fully understand and always, with his Word of the Day, takes one clue/answer and provides some little nugget of information that I didn’t know, thereby hopefully making me a teensy bit smarter for having made the effort. However, if the extent of the vulgarities appearing today was the rule instead of the exception, then I would not only stop reading, I would also find someplace else to get my crossword analysis and solver commentary. That’s probably far more than you ever wanted to know but as Joe Biden says, I hope I answered your question. ;-)

Greg 3:51 PM  

IMO, if you're going to put IMARET in a puzzle, every one of the crosses had better be unamigous. I had COMP instead of CORP, giving me IMAMET.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

I’m kvelling. I managed to finish this Friday/Saturday puzzle. I can only describe this with another Yiddish word: shonda!

bocamp 4:12 PM  

@jb129 1:03 PM ๐Ÿ‘, although not quite sure what you mean by "feel free to respond". :)

@Barbara S. 3:00 PM

I think you're right on with your analysis of today's quote.

@Marge 3:08 PM

Thx for the “Thinking Inside the Box” heads-up. I've got the audiobook on hold at my local library. :)


You Always "Hurt" The One You Love - The Mills Brothers

p.g. -18

Peace Mir ืฉืœื•ื BarฤฑลŸ Pax Maluhia Paix Pace ๐Ÿ•Š

GILL I. 4:15 PM  

@Nancy....I'll tell you why I read @Rex (although you didn't ask me. ;-) )....I have this game I play: Will @Rex like this? Hate this? Like it because it was a female constructor? Have a drink before his solve? It's fun. Also....I like his word of the day game. I'm pretty good at guessing his choice.
This is his house and I've chosen to play a bit by his rules. Sometimes he's spot on his assessments and other times he can be....well....a tad abstruse, pompous, stilted and didactic. Choose your drink.......

Cristi 6:01 PM  


mathgent 6:02 PM  

@Whatsername (3:48). I had stopped reading Rex for a while but now I skim, taking in the information, skipping over his opinions. I skipped a lot today. I also skip the videos.

Elizabeth Sandifer 6:04 PM  

For the record, in my apoplectic despair while tweeting I got lost on my compass and complained about the NE when what I meant was the helllish NW with the IMARET/THRICE/KVELLED triptych.

Four adults in my family, and one of us had heard of one of those words.

Still angry about this puzzle nearly 24 hours later.

Anonymous 6:09 PM  

NE was super tough for sure. More than one would expect for a Wednesday. Too much whining about the theme. It’s a quote that was highly “gettable” when a good portion of the crosses were in there. Silly to try to parse out whether the speaker was correct in their opinion or not. And if all the misinformation that’s out there, are we really whining about perceptions of which NYTXW day is the hardest? I enjoy something different, even if this timeit took me 3x longer than a typical Wed. Apparently others like to spend 10 minutes complaining it took them 1.5 minutes extra.

Joe 6:41 PM  

Surely the cross of IMARET and REMORA is the definition of a Natick? I never heard of either term, and virtually any other letter besides M could have filled the cross space.

Eniale 7:12 PM  

Not only could I not do the NW corner AT ALL -- but


I only just got to Genius and there are still about 20 more words!!! Boo hiss.

BarbieBarbie 8:00 PM  

@photomatte, exactly the proposal I’ve made recently (though not here)! It’s a groundswell! And a darn good idea. I guess we’ll let the B-team have their stare decisus. Too complicated to unspool. Thoughts?

I love acrostics. A quote puzzle where the quote takes up an appreciable fraction of the total white space is not at all like an acrostic. In an acrostic, each solved clue gives you a sprinkling of letters throughout the quote, not just one. And in an acrostic, the white space is divided by black squares where the words end, which helps in the grokking of patterns like —IGHT. In today’s puzzle, the unsolvable white space just chops the grid up into a bunch of isolated almost-minis. Didn’t love it.

I did enjoy the little Parrothead reminder about REMORAs.

GaryMac 8:05 PM  


Wanderlust 8:34 PM  

I know I’m just piling in, but this was possibly the most infuriating NYT puzzle I’ve ever done. Other than the occasional natick, I don’t think I’ve ever not finished a SATURDAY puzzle. I couldn’t finish this Wednesday puzzle because the NW was ungettable for me. Sooo much in this puzzle was unknown to me, and much of what was known was clued so bizarrely that it might as well have been KVELLED or FOGBOW. And then there’s the fact that it was a god-awful quote from a show I watched one time, which was one time too many.

bocamp 8:54 PM  

@GaryMac 8:05 PM ๐Ÿ‘


Peace Mir ืฉืœื•ื BarฤฑลŸ Pax Maluhia Paix Pace ๐Ÿ•Š

Z 9:09 PM  

We processed 6,100 absentee ballots and 500 more military and oversees absentee ballots. Busy week. The actual election service employees say this is their busiest few days other than election day. For comparison, what we processed this week i was more than what this county did in all of the 2016 election.

As to all the puzzle haterade, one of my crossword apps offers whole collections of quote puzzles and I see them sitting there and ask, “Why??” and “Who??” But it is a little surprising how many share my deep loathing for the genre. Here’s the thing, there’s a perfectly acceptable puzzle for quotes and people who want to suss them out, Acrostics. Similarly, if you love anagrams google “jumble” and have at it. Neither of these puzzle types can incorporate a crossword the way a crossword can accommodate quotes and anagrams. BUT... Just because a crossword can accommodate an acrostic like puzzle or a jumble doesn’t mean it should. I want word play, not unscrambling letters or sussing out quotes, when I solve a crossword. Leave that other stuff to the puzzle forms designed for them.

bocamp 9:53 PM  

@Z 9:09 PM

Keep up the good work, Z ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

Signing off for the day at 0

Peace Mir ืฉืœื•ื BarฤฑลŸ Pax Maluhia Paix Pace ๐Ÿ•Š

Anonymous 10:32 PM  

Study for 5 down by listening to "Pretty Fly for a Rabbi" by Weird Al Yankovic.

algiardello 11:09 PM  


Paulos 1:15 AM  

I'm not sure if this is relevant to the quote but in a fairly new book about crosswords (which Will is in of course) the author devotes quite a bit of space to the Sex/City quote. Something about crosswords in the media, etc. Good book otherwise. Adrienne Raphel–Thinking Inside the Box: Adventures with Crosswords and the Puzzling People Who Can’t Live Without Them (2020)

Mr. Alarm 2:23 AM  

1. Yes, a messy puzzle, too many obscure names
2. Annoying clueing
3. Saturday puzzle is the “tricky” one
4. Dumb quote (it’s here because it mentions NYT?)
5. “You got the right WORD” maybe more accurate?
6. All that said, I figured out the quote pretty quickly
7. And found it to be not that terrible.
8. But still, a lot to loathe in this!

WinthorpeIII 4:52 AM  


Anonymous 9:51 AM  

Really challenging puzzle, lots of words I had never heard of and had to cheat a lot to finish it. But I have to say that Rex's disdain for Sex and the City and not realizing that it's an important TV show for many young-ish women smacks of sexism. He's always railing against the puzzles being for old white men but then as soon as a clue doesn't fit that he gets really bent out of shape. There are a lot of fictional characters that aren't clued as such but because they've seeped in the cultural lexicon they can be assumed to be known. I'd say Carrie Bradshaw is such a character. She's as important as Tony Soprano in bringing forward our current anti-hero(ine) TV paradigm.

Kathy 7:48 PM  

i liked the puzzle. yes, sex and the city has lots of problems with racism and classism and transphobia and whitewashing new york city, but it helped me grow into my identity as a careerist, nonmonogamous, bisexual woman in her thirties. anyway yetis are fun, trice is fun, kvelled is fun, fogbow is fun, and a self-referential quote about the nyt puzzle was fun, for me.

thefogman 10:25 AM  

I agree with Rex that this was a mis-filed puzzle that should have run on Saturday. The qupte perfectly describes the solve experience with clues like 32D e.g. Had plenty of Argh! moments but I enjoyed it anyways. And I enjoyed Sex In The City, so maybe that helped.

Burma Shave 10:42 AM  


He's a TRICKY FOOL to endure,


thefogman 10:54 AM  

EDIT - Make that quote not qupte.

Diana, LIW 12:15 PM  

The last time a REMORA attached itself to me, I was staying at a IMARET with the YETIS. I was able to REMOVE it in a TRICE and I KVELLED with pride.

Guess which corner had my giant Natick?

The rest I got, which I did KVELL at. Yes, as others have said, this was a TOUGH THURSDAY or SATURDAY. C'mon! We're in a pandemic and nobody knows what day it is anyway.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

From Syndication Land:

Love, love, love a quote puzzle! So much wordplay involved here. You start out thinking, "That's a lot of unclued space out there!" Next you think, "Boy, I don't know any of these proper names. How unfair!"
Then you fill it in square by square until the quote starts to make sense. Then you run the alphabet to find the X in icea_ because you've never heard of a piolet. When it's done you marvel that Peter Gordon could have made such a difficult puzzle that turned out to be quite fair! Well done!

spacecraft 2:50 PM  

DNF: totally hopeless. I didn't know a single thing in it. Half the clues made no sense at all to me. First time I've ever been stopped by a Wednesday. Way, WAY out of position.

rainforest 3:52 PM  

I thought this was an excellent puzzle. I don't know who the quoter is, but that doesn't matter. What one has to do is to get as many non-theme answers as possible, and then work out the quote section by section. Thus, words like KVELLED, POKE, DDAY, XRAY,GOLF, and LEVI just fall into place as the "easier" answers and parts of the quote appear. I found the puzzle built on itself as I made my way through.

There wasn't a single answer I winced at, and severaL (RAN, XRAY, FOGBOW, TOPS to name a few) had clever clues. I *could* nitpick the use of "compass" rather than "pair of compasses" for 13D, but that would be pedantic.

Really enjoyed this even though I don't think the quote applied to me when I was in my 40s.

leftcoaster 6:18 PM  

Posted a comment a few hours ago, but no show. Anyhow, in short: only hang-up was in the TRICKY NW corner.

rondo 6:27 PM  

Carrie Bradshaw, why the long face? Aware of but never saw nor cared about the TV show, didn't much care for the sentiment of the quip, didn't much care for the puzzle. I'll be on OFL's side today. Don't much care.

leftcoaster 8:25 PM  

Will @Lewis ever become aware that he often comes across as condescending to solvers, or, as in this case, to constructors?

Wendy Cutler 2:50 AM  

What was notable while solving this was how much of what Rex complains about in a puzzle was in this puzzle - a quote for starters, obscure names crossing, obscure words crossing the quote, the tsar/czar thing, OREO, METOO. It's like it was designed to get him going.

So much of the puzzle was this quote. But it was irrelevant who said the quote and whether or not you ever heard it. I used to do acrostics, never ever had heard the quote before, and often had not heard of the author either. The game is trying to make some syntactical thing of it.

I had IMAmET - isn't there come COMPosite index?

What I really liked were FOGBOW (I was thinking SUNDOG), and REMORA, which I was surprised I remembered from learning about in a Sherman's Lagoon cartoon strip one year.

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