Serfs of olden days / THU 10-29-20 / Large urban area in Normandy France / Biblical companion of Moses / Bug's sensory appendage / Wariest animal

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Constructor: Kurt Weller

Relative difficulty: Medium (6-ish, first thing in the morning)

THEME: NOT NOW (71A: "I'm busy!" ... or, if read in four pieces, an aid in solving several clues here) — several clues need to be read as if they contain NO "T" and NO "W":

Theme answers:
  • FREEZE (1A: Twice over) (so, Ice over)
  • AMALGAMATE (17A: Tallowy) (so, Alloy)
  • NO MATTER WHICH (37A: Tawny) (so, Any)
  • FAST ASLEEP (62A: Twin bed, perhaps) (so, In bed, perhaps)
  • RAM (2D: Wariest animal) (so, Aries animal)
  • COARSE (12D: Wrought) (so, Rough)
  • CAVIAR (47D: Wrote) (so, Roe)
  • EGO (64D: Freudian "wit") (so, Freudian "I")
Word of the Day: "SUPERCOP" (56A: Jackie Chan police film) —
Supercop (Chinese警察故事3超級警察Cantonese Yalegíng chaat gu sih sāam: Chīu kāp gíng chaat), also known as Police Story 3: Super Cop, is a 1992 Hong Kong action film starring Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh. Jackie reprises his "Kevin" Chan Ka-Kui character, a Hong Kong cop from Police Story and Police Story 2. It is the first in the Police Story series not to be directed by Jackie, with Stanley Tong taking over the helm. It is also the last appearance in the series for Maggie Cheung as Jackie's girlfriend, May. (wikipedia)
• • •

An easy puzzle with these weird, occasional clues that made no sense. Got a bunch of the mystery answers fairly easily, from crosses, and eventually stumbled upon the revealer, also easy, and then that made figuring out the mystery clues much easier. So this is basically a very easy, very boring puzzle, with a theme element that causes some delays up front ... unless you did the smartish thing, which is look for the revealer first, and work backward. I always find this much easier to do on paper, where I can just move my eyes to the final Across clues, where I'll usually find something that looks like a revealer clue (look for a longish clue with an ellipsis, or just look at the last long Across clue ... though today I did that and missed the revealer, which is weirdly in the Very last Across clue). I get tunnel vision when I solve on screen, and only look at the clue that is directly above the grid, i.e. the one that my cursor is on. This is great for avoiding eye movement time loss (a real thing in speed-solving), but on Thursdays, I should probably be slightly more disciplined about taking at least a few seconds to try to find the revealer. I didn't really enjoy the puzzle, because there wasn't much in the way of good fill, nothing interesting happening at all outside of the theme, and the theme was invisible for most of the solve. Just answers I got without knowing why. Getting NOT NOW made me go single-O "Oh," not double-O "Ooh!" I also didn't like how the arrangement of the theme material meant that the NW was by far the hardest part of the puzzle to get, simply because of the theme density, i.e. the *three* theme answers up there. While I could work out the isolated themers from crosses, I couldn't work out FREEZE / RAM / AMALGAMATE at all, and had to wait til the end to get those. Had -ALGAMATE and honestly wasn't sure I had all the letters right. I don't really know from alloys, and wasn't gonna risk anything until I knew what was going on. I also thought the CDC was the [Federal vaccine agcy.]. That didn't help.

OSMO- is some kind of terrible, as prefixes go (59D: Odor: Prefix). Not sure I've seen it standing alone like this—not a look I'd recommend to it. I *know* I had no idea it meant "odor." Luckily I'd seen CAEN very recently (58D: Large urban area in Normandy, France), so I had no trouble with it, or APPLET, or PEW, and thus the SE was much much easier than the NW (that's probably due in part to the fact that the revealer clue was pleasantly literal). The real issue today isn't that the theme isn't clever (it is), but that that cleverness doesn't translate to much of a solving experience. Also, the way the grid is constructed, there's virtually no interesting fill, no longer answers to add color to the grid. There's "SUPERCOP" and ROADHOG (21D: Driving nuisance) and that's about it. Consequently ... or coincidentally ... there's a preponderance of short overfamiliar stuff. Was glad to remember HELOTS today (13D: Serfs of olden days), a word I know best from a very memorable scene in one of my favorite movies, "Meet John Doe" ("a lotta heels!"):

See you tomorrow, everyone. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 6:24 AM  

Ran through this puzzle in ridiculously quick time, then couldn't figure out the theme. WTF, the W's and T's in the Clues were superfluous. Too Cutesy for me.

MikeyV48111 6:25 AM  

Even with the explanation, it took me a bit to understand the revealer.

Joaquin 6:35 AM  

This is, after all, a “crossword puzzle”. And I got the crossword part - but dang! I couldn’t get the puzzle part. Finally had to read the notes section to get my “aha moment” which, truth be told, was more of an “oy vey moment” as I realized I never would have figured it out on my own.

All-in-all, an interesting challenge; “Not your father’s crossword puzzle!”

Marc 6:38 AM  

So according to the NYT, is 2 no longer a prime number or has it recently become an ODD one? Incidentally, I learned from Wikipedia that 1 is not considered a prime, so 36A is amazingly incorrect.

Z 6:46 AM  

Whew. A puzzle that didn’t make me want to swear so this definitely gets my POW award. ROAD HOG was serendipitous with this meme I just saw:
I realized I had a ROAD rage problem when my five year-old daughter shouted, “Pick a f*cking land, you d!ckhead” while sitting in my grocery cart.

Replace ROAD with “crossword” and that was me the past couple of days (and not just with the NYTX).

Had lots of gaps as I worked down the west side of the puzzle. I put in the C in SCATHE finishing CAVIAR and wondered how that was the answer to “Wrote” and the light went in. Pretty quickly filled in the missing gaps and had few slow downs the rest of the way.

Percy Bysshe Shelley cluing ODIST was a bit of a hiccough. He is forever reduced to two facts in my mind, Mary’s husband and the writer of Music When Soft Voices Die, a choral version in a minor key we performed in high school choir. So, not an ODIST in my mind. But that’s on me. A fine Thursday effort.

travlin 6:53 AM  

@Marc, I believe you misunderstood the cluing for the 36A. "Like all prime numbers besides one." It was not referring to the number one, but to a single prime number, that number being two. All prime numbers other than one prime number (two) are in fact odd.

Todd F. 6:53 AM  

I think “one” refers to “one number that I isn’t odd” AKA “two”. Clouds use two in the clue because of the theme. Took me a minute too.

Z 6:54 AM  

@Marc - 36A almost got me, too. There is only one prime number that isn’t odd, the number two. To fill out the clue, the misdirect reading is “Like all prime numbers besides {the number} one.” The correct reading to get to ODD is “Like all prime numbers besides one {of the prime numbers.}.”

Teresa 6:58 AM  

I loved it! Clever trick well executed. I actually thought the "wrote" clue had to be an autocorrect error no one caught, which as far as I know would be a first for the NYTXW.

callyellen 6:58 AM  

Thank you! The answer was obvious regardless, but I felt like I was taking crazy pills when I read that clue.

RooMonster 7:00 AM  

Hey All !
In case some of y'all are still confused about the theme, which I don't think Rex explained thoroughly enough (there I go, thinking I'm an expert!), you have to take out the T and W of the clues for 1A, 17A, 37A, 62A, 2D, 12D, 47D, 64D. Ergo, 1A's clue says "Twice over", take out the T and W, becomes "Ice over", which is FREEZE. That's what the Revealer is trying to, well, reveal. You parse NOTNOW into four pieces, NO T NO W.

Anyway, I liked this one. Something a bit different. Doesn't bother me when the theme is in the clues. Took a bit to figure out what in tarhooties was happening, but once it clicked, was able to finish rather quickly, and EMERGE victorious! Only one writeover, turn-HAUL (good one, Kurt!).

Early start at work today. Was doing puz when normally I'd be FAST ASLEEP. 😋

Enjoyed some of the regular clues, such as the one for MUTE.

Two F's (one right out of the gate!)

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

Nope, didn’t get it either.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

I quite enjoyed trying to puzzle out the theme while solving, but never came anywhere near it until I hit the revealer. Even then, my first interpretation was “not n, o, w”, and that made no sense either.

And I have to say THANK YOU to Will S. for not telegraphing the theme by starring the clues or some other means.

Could have been a little tougher, but I understand with a theme like this, that’s a tricky line to straddle.

Do people really dial 911 for UFOs?

OffTheGrid 7:21 AM  

NO T, NO W, NO FUN, NOnsense.

Solvers have to change the clue for answer to work? Look, the deal is this: Constructor does the clues. Solver does the answers. Sorry, but that's how it works. The "Look what I did" style of puzzle is getting old.

thfenn 7:21 AM  

ugh. I broke the revealer up as NOT N O W, not NO T NO W, and to make things worse, tried to do that with answers, not clues, so what seemed like what was going to be an easy thursday became a slog I came here to finish. Not my week.

Lewis 7:24 AM  

I tried and tried, when NO MATTER WHICH, CAVIAR, and COARSE appeared, answers whose clues didn’t fit, to figure out the gimmick, and got nowhere. When NOT NOW filled in, I tried to apply the TW proscription to the theme answers, which proved futile, and when it hit me to apply it to the clues, the “Life is good!” wave that washed me over was one of those moments that makes crosswords so worthwhile.

Kurt, in your notes you say that your waning interest in crosswords was rekindled after discovering the NYT puzzles a couple of years ago, due to its focus on wordplay, which your homeland Australian puzzles lacked. You can thank Will Shortz for that wordplay emphasis, as I do, because to me, the wordplay is the life of the puzzle. Will transformed the crossword universe with that shift.

This puzzle contains a six-letter semordnilap, something I rarely see, and it’s the reveal!

A most lively and lovely debut, Kurt. Please keep ‘em coming!

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

Wow, y'all are making the prime number thing way too hard. It's very simple.

Conrad 7:26 AM  

@Todd F: Good catch! The clue should have read "Like all prime numbers except two", but the theme forced it to be rephrased so we wouldn't read it as "Like all prime numbers excep o"

ChuckD 7:31 AM  

I liked this one. Went right to the revealer and worked it out ultimately with CAVIAR. Thought the themers were clued to be fairly evident of the trick - so the overall solve went smooth and quick for a Thursday. Not a lot of splashy fill but nothing terrible.

Pleasant puzzle for a dreary morning.

Andrew 7:31 AM  

My wife wondered why I was frustrated with the puzzle this morning. I told her there’s always a trick on Thursdays and if you figure out the trick it’s easy but if you don’t, it’s aggravating. Guess which camp I fell into?

Coniuratos 7:32 AM  

Enjoyed it well enough. Bit odd to have SPARTA and HELOTS in there and not have the clues reference each other.

Lewis 7:35 AM  

Do note that none of the non-theme clues contain T's or W's.

Todd 7:56 AM  

I finished it in near record time without a clue as to the theme. I still couldn't figure it out after I was done. Had to read Rex just now to get it.

Moxer 7:57 AM  

I completed the puzzle without understanding how the revealer worked. Thanks to Rex, I now get it. But I have to say this was one of my least favorites. No fun at all!

Pamela 8:00 AM  

I didn’t get it either. Sigh.

JJK 8:01 AM  

Ugh. I didn’t get the theme (and therefore several answers made no sense) until I read Rex’s blog. I guess it’s clever but it certainly wasn’t any fun. This whole week - actually Monday was fine - has been a no fun crossword week, and that’s such bad timing. Running up to this crazy election, during this awful pandemic, I’d like the morning crossword solve to give me a nice little boost into the day, not contribute to my grouchy, gloomy state of mind.

Birchbark 8:11 AM  

HELOT -- Like @Rex, I had Frank Capra's "Meet John Doe" in mind when I sew that word today. Gary Cooper stars as a likeable everyman who's lost hope. Barbara Stanwyck is a reporter who's decided to tell his story. Hobo-sage Edward Arnold's HELOT remarks recur throughout. His speech here recalls the "Economy" chapter in Thoreau's Walden.

mmorgan 8:14 AM  

Finished this and got Mr Happy Pencil and had absolutely no idea how the theme/gimmick worked. Zero. Baffled. I tried and tried... I finally parsed NO T NO W correctly, but kept trying to remove those letters from the ANSWERS, not the CLUES. Oh. Now I get it. Oh. If I’d removed those letters from the clues and not the answers , the puzzle would have been immensely easier!

derrick eckardt 8:15 AM  

I really wanted RUSHHOUR instead of SUPERCOP, since he did make three of those.

Hungry Mother 8:24 AM  

I got the theme about halfway through, but I was already speeding through it. Very clever theme and reveal.

pabloinnh 8:26 AM  

This is the kind of Thursday I like, when I get everything filled in and think--really? That's got to be right, and then I get to the revealer, which is where it should be, and then it takes some time to figure out how THAT works, and finally everything makes sense. So yay for this Thursday.

Not sure I've seen SCATHE as a verb--man, I'm gonna SCATHE that sucker! Uh, no. Missed some of the themers--maybe RAMs are really wary? EGO="wit"? Yeah could be. Glad CAEN was around recently, because a four-letter Normandy clue is usually STLO, not today though.

Anyway, a good old time, and thanks for that, KW. Now to find something equally amusing for the rest of this fogged-in morning (with snow in the forecast).

KnittyContessa 8:38 AM  

I finished fairly quickly without having a clue what the revealer meant. I did this before any coffee so maybe that's why? If I can finish it without knowing what 8 of the clues were talking about AND no caffeine that's a super easy Thursday.

@Marc I read it the same way. I was very confused.

Z 8:46 AM  

@pabloinnh - I feel like I only ever see SCATHing in the wild, but both American Heritage and Merriam-Webster list it as a noun and as a verb. M-W’s example sentence from the web is British, so maybe the verb usage is more common elsewhere.

Ellen C 8:47 AM  

@conrad ... See the comment above by @z clue is fine but, like this puzzle, intentionally confusing

webwinger 8:55 AM  

This one really tickled me. Lots of head scratching until I got to the revealer; took a minute even then to click, and finally, a great aha as the three long themers explained themselves. But not yet the end: fun surprise—noticed the sneaky fourth themer at 1A, and then another two hiding as 3-letter Downs. Now that’s what I call a puzzle! Nice misdirection in declining to specify a number in the clue for 71A.

And having just checked in with @RP, I find there were in fact two more Downs in the theme: CAVIAR and COARSE (of course). Way to go Sam Weller!

Still nearly an hour until sunrise, later by the clock now than at the end of December, thanks to the weirdness of DST. By the dawn’s early light I see out my window the remains of more than a foot of snow that fell on Fort Collins at the beginning of this week, followed by a low temperature of 0 degrees (or -0, as my weather app informed), Fahrenheit! Didn’t extinguish the wildfires, but at least iced over them, and brought back blue sky for a while. Added to the creepy apocalyptic feeling in the air. Maybe we’ll wake up on the morning of November 4 and find it’s all been a bad dream...

Desperate to watch a new movie, streamed Kajillionaire yesterday. Twice, in fact. First time completely baffled. Second time, enchanted. It’s truly a modern fairy tale, brilliantly acted by Evan Rachel Wood and a terrific supporting cast, and written/directed by Miranda July.

Bruab 8:57 AM  

I love the shout-out to Meet John Doe. I never knew HELOT was a real word until now!

Mr. Cheese 9:09 AM  

I love Thursdays although I’m often stumped for a while.
Always impressed by the clever schemes... but I cannot imagine how this scheme would ever come to mind.
Maybe I should stand on my head to think down under.

Frantic Sloth 9:14 AM  

I'll start with the obvious: much easier than yesterday...except clearly I'm a total lunkhead because I have questions. Mighty questions.

What is this theme supposed to be? (Though I'll likely grok it immediately after posting this.)*

How is "Freudian 'wit'" EGO?
How is "Twice over" FREEZE?
How is "Wrote" CAVIAR?

And why do I think these have something to do with the theme?
*maybe even sooner. 😉
Aaaaand there it is! Brand new shiny penny doing its long-delayed drop!

71A NO "T", NO "W"!! In the clues!

CAVIAR = [w]ro[t]e
FREEZE = [tw]ice over
EGO = Freudian [w]i[t]
AMALGAMATE = [t]allo[w]y
FASTASLEEP = [tw]in bed, perhaps
RAM = [w]aries[t] animal
COARSE = [w]rough[t]

Did I miss any? I like me a robust helping of themers. 😁

This is the second time this year that the theme was hidden in the clues instead of the grid. (The previous one used the clue numbers which was evil.)
I like this one much better because
(a) the revealer clearly spells it out after only a few light years.
(b) I figured it out and feel very, very smart for no damn good reason.
(c) There should be a 3rd reason, but I can't think of disregard (b) I guess.

The fill was pretty good, too. Clever constructioneering + fun solve + crunchy theme = winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Fine print:
The preceding was brought to you by Frantic's Brain Train
Frantic's Brain Train: when it absolutely, positively has to be there by the most convoluted, meandering, and inefficient way possible.

🧠🧠 (solve)
🧠🧠🧠🧠 (theme grok)

mathgent 9:17 AM  

Clever theme but the direct cluing makes it irrelevant. It’s easy to get the eight answers without understanding the clues. It’s almost a meta. After filling in the grid, you go back and see that striking out the T’s and W’s makes the clues correct.

The only word I know with prefix OSMO is “osmosis.” That has to do with smelling?

I learned a couple of things, HUR was a buddy of Moses and those appendages that some bugs have are called PALPs. But practically no sparkle besides the themers and 23 Terrible Threes. I’m underwhelmed.

Blue Stater 9:25 AM  

First Thursday I've solved without cribbing for many years, chiefly because I just ignored the theme -- rightly, as it turned out. This piece is not a crossword puzzle but another WS-engineered word game, and not a particularly interesting one.

Nancy 9:29 AM  

I had no idea, no idea at all, why "twice over" was FREEZE, "tallowy" was AMALGAMATE, "tawny" was NO MATTER WHICH, "twin bed" was FAST ASLEEP and, most puzzling of all to me as a writer, "wrote" was CAVIAR. In a puzzle like this, you just have to go with the flow. Fill it all in (filling it in wasn't especially hard) and hope that the revealer will clue you in on the trick. And if the revealer doesn't clue you in on the trick, someone else will have to do it.

Someone else had to do it.

It's sort of like being amidst gorgeous scenery -- only it's pitch-black out and you don't have a flashlight or a candle. If you don't see the scenery, you can't appreciate the scenery, if you see what I mean. This puzzle's theme sailed right over my head and made me feel...well, dumb actually. I filled in all the letters correctly, but there was no feeling of satisfaction.

pmdm 9:31 AM  

A Thursday puzzle is supposed to be the most difficult themed puzzle of the week (except for the rare times a theme invades a Friday or Saturday puzzle). The difficulty is usually dependent on the cluing and occasionally on a surprising uses of squares (blank squares, rebus squares and so on). On occasion, the difficulty is really understanding the theme, which applies to today's puzzle. Most of the clues were easy to solve. But trying to figure out the gimmick behind the themed clues/entries was the tough part of today's puzzle. I must admit I tend to stop solving a puzzle after I finish filling it in, so I failed to work out the gimmick.

So easy puzzle? Yes for the non-themed entries. Boring? Not to me. After finally understanding the gimmick, I give it a thumbs up.

Until reading how to parse the 36A clue, I could not figure how the entry could be correct. Thanks to those who demonstrated the correct way to parse the clue.

Left my NYS absentee ballot yesterday at the Yonkers Public Library. The line to cast a vote must have been over an hour long. Encouraged to see that so many voters are eager to cast their ballots. And it is nice living in a state that removes roadblocks to voting rather than the opposite. I will be very happy when this is all over, but not so happy if the candidate I voted for does not win. Realistically, I don't know if I voted against or for a candidate. Not that it matters in NYS whose Electoral College votes will undoubtedly be cast for Biden.

That's enough of politics in a crossword blog.

bocamp 9:36 AM  

Thanks @Kurt, lots of diversity; a very pleasant solve; enjoyed it immensely! :)

After slowest Wednesday comes a Thursday record. Tricks and treats. 🎃

On my wavelength throughout.

New to me: "Super Cop"; "Didi" Conn; "osmo"

Slightest hesitation in the NW, due to "ram"; knew that it must have some relevance to the theme, so just kept filling in the cells without much aforethought.

Bach - Mass in B minor BWV 232 - Van Veldhoven | Netherlands Bach Society

Ben-Hur(1959) - The chariot race

Writing this Wednes. eve.; half-"fast asleep". 😴

No more, "not now"

Peace Frieden שָׁלוֹם Filemu Paz ειρήνη Paix 🕊

GILL I. 9:36 AM  

Oh, no...I guess I'm not smart. I never want to jump to the revealer first. That's no fun. It's like eating your dessert first before you touch your delicious Croque Monsieur. No, No...You have to do a Thursday in its order. You start at 1A, scratch your Thursday head and slowly move to the end. What's neat about this one is that it took a lot of lice eating scalp before the AHA finally got rid of those pesky mites.
So that's it I shout. NO T NO W. OOOOH. No wonder CAVIAR makes sense. I see that little ROE sans his WT.
I started out solving as a themeless because I was scavenging around for the reveal. None came immediately. No sireebob....I had to wait for my sweet. Yes....this was fun.
My only never heard of was SUPER COP. I'm not much of a Jackie Chan fan. The easy to get downs helped me on that one.
I feel smart that I "got" this. Just desserts, my friend.

L.H. Puttgrass 9:38 AM  

I rather liked this one. I didn't get to the revealer until late in solving, so I spent a while wondering what was going on with answers that didn't seem right. After the revealer, the rest of the puzzle went pretty quickly.

Also "NO T NO W" applies to all the clues, not just the themed ones. The only clues with a T or W in them are the themed clues. That's kind of cute, though it would have been more impressive if the grid didn't have those letters either (except for the revealer).

Azzurro 9:42 AM  

I hadn’t noticed until reading the constructor’s notes that T and W only appear in theme clues. That cannot have been easy. I like this as both an impressive feat of construction and a fun solve!

Nancy 9:47 AM  

Thanks to @pabloinnh for reminding me that I, too, was baffled by why the RAM is the wariest animal. I wouldn't think it's even close to being the wariest animal.

And, @Lewis, thanks for offering Kurt (and everyone else) your shoutout to Will Shortz for bringing a focus on wordplay to the NYT puzzle. Shortz comes in for a lot of criticism on this blog and I think people really need to be reminded of that from time to time. My consuming interest in the puzzle really began in the Shortz era. Prior to that (my mother's era) there were a lot of clues along the lines of "a three-toed sloth in Madascar"* and stuff like that.

*I think I just made that up, but I'm not entirely sure. It may ring a vague bell from the distant past.

Nancy 9:57 AM  

My initial post seems to have been lost. Here it is:

I had no idea, no idea at all, why "twice over" was FREEZE, "tallowy" was AMALGAMATE, "tawny" was NO MATTER WHICH, "twin bed" was FAST ASLEEP and, most puzzling of all to me as a writer, "wrote" was CAVIAR. In a puzzle like this, you just have to go with the flow. Fill it all in (filling it in wasn't especially hard) and hope that the revealer will clue you in on the trick. And if the revealer doesn't clue you in on the trick, someone else will have to do it.

Someone else had to do it.

It's sort of like being amidst gorgeous scenery -- only it's pitch-black out and you don't have a flashlight or a candle. If you don't see the scenery, you can't appreciate the scenery, if you see what I mean. This puzzle's theme sailed right over my head and made me feel...well, dumb actually. I filled in all the letters correctly, but there was no feeling of satisfaction.

57stratocaster 9:58 AM  

Finished the puzzle in average time for me, and never figured out the theme. Had to come here to find out. I thought it was just an okay trick, until LEWIS pointed out that all other clues are T- and W-less.

jae 10:21 AM  

Easy. I caught the “theme” early so this was a quick solve. Much faster than yesterday’s. Cute, liked it. Nice debut from Down Under.

jberg 10:22 AM  

I appreciated the return of the ERN. It’s been too long.

I didn’t understand the theme until I gave up and was about to come here, when I suddenly saw “ice over” right at the to of the clues. So ok. I wish it had been a bit harder, so that I would have needed to figure it out in order to fill the grid. Still, it was some nice work from Kur Eller .

Whatsername 10:41 AM  

Breezed through it only to hit a brick wall trying to figure out the trick. Puzzle was great but the nicest thing I can say about the theme is that WT__ is a better title for it than TW. And NO MATTER WHICH place the revealer was, I don’t get why it only refers to “several” clues. What? You weren’t sure how many? Not helping! I love Thursdays and liked this one until the joy was somewhat dampened by a frustrating has-to-explained-to-me theme. Thanks but no thanks. It’s not you, it’s me.

@Z from last night: Good on you for doing your civic duty! People like you who are willing to give of their time are vital to keeping the process running efficiently. After much consideration, I opted not to do so this year out concern over Covid, despite the fact that our 0FL assures us we have nothing to fear. It is my opinion that Fear is not the enemy in the battle against this pandemic. Complacency is.

EdFromHackensack 10:42 AM  

I got the puzzle 100% correct. tried to figure out the theme, with the NOTNOW revealer . If you take the A and O and W out of “Tallowy”at 17A you get “Tally” and AMALGAMATE seems to fit. But that theory fell apart quickly, so I came here. I always consider it to be error free even if I do not get the theme. Great puzzle though. THANKS to Travlin for explaining 36A.... I had a real nit with that one until I read your explanation. How did you ever figure that out?

Mikey from El Prado 10:43 AM  

As with many posters here, I finished rather quickly and had no idea what the theme was. In fact I spent more time trying to figure out the theme than solving the puzzle. Thanks to Rex for clearing it up. But, all this begs the question:

If you correctly fill in the entire grid, but cannot suss the theme, have you completely solved the puzzle or does the ‘teacher’ give you an incomplete?

Talk amongst yourselves....

Mikey from El Prado 10:47 AM  

You are correct that 2 is a prime number. The clue should have been written either “Like all prime numbers except 2” or “Like all prime numbers except one of them.”

Carola 10:49 AM  

I really enjoyed this stumper of a theme. After being flummoxed by the mismatch between the clues and COARSE, FREEZE, RAM, AMALGAMATE and NO MATTER WHICH, I kinda cheated by going to the reveal, hoping that would allow me the fun of picking up the remaining tricks. And it did, kind of: I still looked at 47D and thought, what word for "Wrote" starts with CA?? Ohhhhh, wait a minute. At least I was alert enough to get FAST ASLEEP immediately. Loved the Freudian "Wit" as a closing flourish.
All that and more: SPARTA and its parallel HELOTS, SCATHE, ROADHOG, PEGASUS....terrific puzzle.

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

didn't notice some of the T/W clues, having filled in from crosses, and, also, didn't try to square with the revealer, since clue/answer pairing didn't make much sense. what caused the missing? the fact that the 'obvious' T/W clues were single word. 1A isn't, which led one astray from the get go.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 10:59 AM  

I agree,
Too cutely for you,
Too cutesy for me.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

Drove me nuts but liked in the end. Needed the revealer to finish.

Photomatte 11:09 AM  

Never figured out the theme but didn't need to in order to solve the puzzle. Looks like there's a dearth of intriguing puzzles recently.
NO MATTER WHICH constructor submits a puzzle, it's up to Mr Shortz to set aside his EGO and not RAM these COARSE answers through, making us go FAST ASLEEP as he tries to AMALGAMATE fishy clues into CAVIAR and hope he doesn't FREEZE us out by doing so.

dadnoa 11:09 AM  

+1 for both crossword and puzzle comments. Oy vey indeed. Puzzle part was just a tad too cute...

SaltySolver 11:11 AM  

Much needed puzzle follow-up to whatever abomination Wednesday was.

Unlike Rex (most of the time), I enjoy these puzzles that remove/add letters to clues to hint at a different word. Fun theme, clever handful of T/W clues, and generally didn't mind the fill (no over abundance of proper nouns helps).

Perfectly good Thursday IMO.

KRMunson 11:11 AM  

@RooMonster. Thank for the Not Now explanation. Was an aha moment for me!

What? 11:12 AM  

I remember. AI

Newboy 11:20 AM  

Life is so short that I always eat dessert first, so of course I went straight to 71A. Following that approach as Rex noted was today’s big mistake. I had to literally stumble my way back to 1A where the reveal EMERGEd at last. Then began the search to uncover the APPLET for NO T NO W removal. Got most before needing Rex’s help for EGO which I had totally spaced as now seems appropriate. Fun Thursday and only a blessedly few days before goodness and light return. Thanks Kurt for working so hard to make sure we solvers had to as well!

Linda R 11:34 AM  

Clever, fun puzzle. I was sure 36A was a mistake until I finally read it correctly - and when I did, I thought it was a great clue.

trebore 11:36 AM  

@Birchbark 8:11, I watched "Meet John Doe" a number of times when young. I think the hobo sage was played by Buddy Ebsen. Edward Arnold was the bad guy.

jb129 11:42 AM  

Got the puzzle - never got the theme.

Dave S 11:43 AM  

So, I guess I'm incredibly slow since I completed the entire puzzle correctly, including the revealer, but still had no idea what was going on until I logged in here. My bad, I guess, but I'm still slightly annoyed, which makes two days in a row now after the dumb quote puzzle on Wednesday. Needed that "aha!" moment to be interesting, and my light bulb never blinked on.

Sir Hillary 11:59 AM  

I found this quite enjoyable. It was Monday-easy, so despite not understanding the theme, I was able to solve it top-to-bottom with no problems. The theme answers were so gettable via crosses that I just went with them, figuring I would discover what was going on once I got to the bottom. And sure enough, I did -- and sure enough, I smiled.

Nice job by the constructor, whose real name, I assume, is Kur Eller.

Birchbark 12:03 PM  

@jberg (10:22) -- Amen to ERN. It seems to show up right when you need it.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 12:10 PM  

In what sense are ALIBIS excuses?

bocamp 12:13 PM  

Had no "clue" re: the theme until 71A: "no t no w"; went back, looked at the themer clues, and Bob was my uncle. Nice effect. :)

Just one of those rare occasions where everything fell into place; no issue parsing the themer and heading directly to 1A to remove the "t" and "w" from the "clue". So different from yesterday's puz.

Phantom of the Opera vs "Bach" Mashup!

Do they place daisies on "daises"?

@Lewis 7:24 AM / @Lewis 7:35 AM

Nice catches on the "reveal" being a semordnilap, and no "t"s or "w"s in non-reveal clues. :)

Love the obscure clueing for 36A; what's the history of misdirection in xword cluing? I think @Nancy 9:47 AM just answered my question: "Will Shortz for bringing a focus on wordplay to the NYT puzzle." Wouldn't have wanted 36A clued in any other way. Thanks, @Kurt and @Will! :)

@mathgent 9:17 AM

I'm on your wavelength re: your first two paragraphs.

Peace Frieden שָׁלוֹם Filemu Paz ειρήνη Paix 🕊

CT2Napa 12:14 PM  

@todd 7:56 ditto

Unknown 12:23 PM  

Thanks, Todd F. I read it the same way as Marc and just thought it was wrong. But your explanation makes sense.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

No AHA! moment here. Just a big OH NO!!! But 36A ODD (prime numbers) was immediately obvious. "Except" would have been far better than "besides" in the clue but the T would would have "ruined" the theme, I guess. I'm taking a win.

Anonymoose 12:33 PM  

This a common pairing and it bothers me, too. The only way it makes sense to me is that an alibi excuses one from the list of suspects. Kinda lame.

RAD2626 12:45 PM  

I had the S-P-C for the Jackie Chan movie so I filled in Skipchase, making the KI a rebus square, and wondering why I was only coming to my first rebus entry that late in the puzzle. When the other crosses did not work I thought of SUPERCOP. It took the revealer for me to figure out the clever and well done gimmick.

I truly don’t get why not figuring out a clever idea like this is the puzzle’s fault or makes the puzzle less fun. I think okay to be frustrated but I would think at yourself, not the constructor. I like DOH moments, perhaps because I have so many. The revealer here was great, even if its cluing was convoluted, and the construction and cluing throughout were very well done given the constraints. A fine Thursday effort.

Chip Hilton 12:48 PM  

@OfftheGrid - My advice, enjoy Monday-Wednesday & Friday-Sunday. Thursday, as you know, is the day for trickery, including the type presented today. There are those of us who love them. Sorry you don’t.

Well worded 71A. I tried to ignore it and went for a five piece key: No T, N, O, W. I realized I was off when I crossed out all the appropriate letters in NOMATTERWHICH. MAERHICH left much to be desired.

Thanks, Kurt. On the easy side, fill wise, but lots of fun on the trick.

Anoa Bob 1:08 PM  

If there's any room left, I'll join those who filled the grid without grokking the theme.

I thought 40D "Home in Havana" would be HOGAR, the place where one lives (Kind of like "Home is where the heart is") and CASA would be "house", the physical structure itself.

"Odor; prefix" at 59D had me thinking along the lines of "olfaction", the technical term for smell. I don't recall ever seeing OSMO used that way.

I was in the kitchen while in the background one of those TV insurance ads was running, the one where some guy is using his laptop and acting like he is on a caffeine (or something stronger) rush and when the front guy, who is calm and collected, asks him what in the world he is doing, he replies that he is binge posting. Really? Does that ever happen?

I've seen a lot of sea birds in my life, but the only place I have ever seen an ERN ("Flying fisher" 63D") is in a crossword puzzle. Since today is what I call a "San Diego day", totally clear blue skies, temps hovering around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and with a gentle breeze down here in Gulf of Mexico coastal TexMex Land, I'm going out to see if I can spot one. I wonder if they look anything like the terns, such as the aptly named Royal Tern.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

Completed the grid, warily. No blinkin' idea what was going on. I must be missing something.

Clearly, something peculiar going on (AMALGAMATE, NO MATTER WHAT, etc.). But, a RAM is the wariest animal? Okay, you must know some adage I don't. Wrought = COARSE? Okay, wrought iron isn't the most finished and dignified of all alloys. Freud's "wit" is EGO? Well, I thought it was a Latin term, but I didn't take German, so alright. I figure CAVI?R is CAVIAR, but I'm not familiar with film performer Taye Diggs, or Diggs Taye. (Is French for "Wrote" TAVIER? I'd have to ask Diggs Teye, or Teye Diggs...)

Checked the Rex site... Yeah, the grid is fine. I was disappointed, then, that I missed the theme. Then, in checking these comments, I was gladdened to find out I was far, far from alone. So many of us, I was briefly afraid we weren't socially distancing properly.

Fairly easy puzzle, for a Thursday; theme: too clever by half.

Joe Dipinto 1:11 PM  

No comment on today's puzz (I didn't bother doing it) but, apropos of yesterday's SATC quote puzzle–

Several posters mentioned that the quote was referenced in a recent crossword book "Thinking Inside The Box" by Adrienne Raphel, so I looked it up on Amazon. Here's an amusing passage from one of the customer reviews:

The extent of her research in writing this book appears to be watching Wordplay, the excellent documentary about crosswords, and reading through an obscure blog, Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle. And rather than talking to Michael Sharp (aka Rex Parker), she just uses scores of verbatim quotes from his website. Not only from him, but from random anonymous posters in the comments section. The whole credibility of her research rests on some random person making a throwaway comment on a blog read by maybe a couple of hundred people.

I propose we make this our theme song.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

The closest I came to understanding the theme before hitting the revealer was getting CAVIAR and thinking, "Wrote sounds a bit like roe but..." Thus my reaction at the revealer was "Ooh, ooh" and I got to go back and fill in my blanks in the NW and get rid of the cDc. I had been avoiding putting ZIGS in at 5D because I would have c_EEZE in that place and "Twice over" = CHEEZE was unlikely.

I went with @Roo's U-turn and had to HAUL ASP to get the right answer there.

Kurt Weller, this was fun. Congratulations on your NYTimes puzzle debut!

old timer 1:17 PM  

Me too. Solved the whole thing, and could not figure out the disconnect between the clues and answers. Got NOTNOW and was searching for both NOT and NOW in the clues, to see if they should be removed. Had to come here for the explanation.

When I learned No T, No W, I was delighted and am beside myself in admiration. Brilliant!

ALIBIS are not excuses, they are defenses. ALIBI is Latin for "I was elsewhere". If a defendant in a criminal case can raise even a reasonable doubt that he was at the scene of the crime, he is entitled to an acquittal, and the judge will tell the jurors that.

But in common parlance, it is a lame excuse for regrettable behavior. "That's just an alibi" says the chorus in the Four Seasons' Big Girls Don't Cry" and that reflects common, if inaccurate usage.

Unknown 1:28 PM  

@ old timer 1:17 ALIBI seems to be regularly mis-clued. As a crim defense attorney, it drives me a little crazy.

Loved the theme, made me feel clever for getting it.

The toughest piece of the puz for me was the linkage of DIDI / ODIST / HELOTS.
Didn't see the D in -IDI.

Given Rex's typical scorn for today's puz ("boring," "terrible"), I wish he'd stop and realize that the constructors are actually creating something for us to enjoy, and the daily public scathing criticism is a downer. If I were a constructor, I'd want some program designed to block rex from getting access. Sheeeesh! And I don't mind true constructive feedback (get it?), but the constant negativity is draining.

Joe Dipinto 1:51 PM  

I knew I remembered there was a song with this title.

TheOmnivorousReader 2:29 PM  

I'm not a math person, but I think the clueing for 36A is just plain wrong: the clue: "Like all prime numbers besides one"; the answer: odd. But 2 is a prime number, and two is even. So the clue should have read "Like all prime numbers besides two." In fact, a correct version of the clue appeared in another puzzle within the past couple of weeks.

ow a paper cut 2:30 PM  

Solved it before I understood the TW thing

dhamel 2:58 PM  

This puzzle is lousy with classical references! I count five: 49, 52, and 69 Across, and 13 and 46 Down.

Inspector Closeau 2:59 PM  

Nope @Nancy. It is just where you left it.

Perry 3:02 PM  

This was one of those puzzles that I solved fairly easily without ever understanding the theme. Thus, I'd say that the theme, which somebody thought was clever, was a complete waste of mental energy.

Mme Laffargue 3:04 PM  

@Mickey from El Prado 10:47. No it is not two, it can only be O. Logic mon ami.

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

I hated this theme and the obviously wrong clue at 36 across made it worse.

Frantic Sloth 3:21 PM  

@J-Dip 151pm Thanks for that musical (and visual) horror. 🤣 My God, the 80s were embarrassing!

Not for nothin', but why are we relitigating the whole 36A thing again?

Roth 3:26 PM  

I was away from NYTXW for years and recently restarted. Could someone tell me, when did Thursday go from being a reasonably tough crossword to the current -- what? Some kind of goofy thing that makes no sense? I really detest them.

Masked and Anonymous 3:32 PM  

twAs crazy as it gets. Tricky theme mcguffin, but I got it pretty early, off the AMALGAMATE = {(T)allo(w)y} themer's answer and clue. Which immediately made the FREEZE & RAM clues look less mysterious.
Always extra-feisty, when they mess with yer clues -- especially to such a degree in the openin NW corner. Hard to do a puz, if U don't have a clue. Lost precious nanoseconds, until I got one.

Once again, a fairly shortish-length set of puz answers, altho certainly some winners abounded in: PEGASUS. SUPERCOP. SCATHE. ROADHOG.

staff weeject pick: RAM. Becuz of its weird (theme-related) {(W)aries(t) animal} clue. Always fun to have weeject-sized themers, so honrable mention to EGO. Nice weeject stacks adorned them NW & SE, too boot.

Thanx for givin us a twinklin' of a chance to solve this puppy, Mr. Kurt Weller … alias Kur Eller?
And congratz on yer debut. Scary, that U immediately are thinkin in terms of ThursPuz theme ideas, but hey -- bring it.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Anonymous 3:37 PM  

The "revealer" is complete hogwash b/c a "crossword puzzle" does NOT require ME to go back and change THE CLUES in order to solve it. Not now, not ever!

No, no, no, no, no - a million times NO!

The constructor should go back and read what a "crossword puzzle" is, b/c this is NOT a crossword puzzle, it's an ego-exercise for the constructor.

And shame on Will Shortz for letting this puzzle be published at all.

I never look at the constructor's name, but in light of THIS piece of crap, I'll certainly check for the name "Kurt Weller" so I won't spend a second on any future so-called "puzzle" he creates.

If I'd wanted to engage in an activity that would make me want to bat my head against a wall, I'd spend my time reading about the election.

Flugler 3:41 PM  

I believe that the clue for 36 across was incorrect. It should have read "Like all prime numbers besides two". Do you all agree?

bertoray 3:48 PM  

I echo @Nancy's sentiment. Way more suprise than satisfaction upon completion. And then like an idiot, I tried to remove the T's and W's from the answers. At one point, I even rationalized that the German word for ego was wit. And so it went.

GHarris 3:57 PM  

Because I didn’t grok the theme I had a one letter dnf. I knew wariest animal had to be a rat. For anyone interested my letter to the NYTimes predicting the election outcome was published online. Didn’t make the print edition.

Anonymous 3:59 PM  

I hope when Kurt Weller gets to the pearly gates, St. Peter tells him "not now!"

Anonymous 4:04 PM  

More emordnilaps today:

ARES, BRO, DIAL, RAM, ERA, ETAL, AVE, RIAL, BAD, and one palindrome, AAA

Anonymous 4:09 PM  

36A is not wrong. It's simply open to misinterpretation, like many a crossword clue.

Z 4:19 PM  


I’m not yelling. You’re yelling.

Anonymous 4:26 PM  

It's F***ing exasperating, isn't it?

chefwen 4:48 PM  

This type of puzzle has fooled me before and it did it again, I’ll be damned if I’ll let it happen again. Pay attention Wendy!

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

Today's has brought out a special level of bile, so it you're into bile, give the The Times of London puzzle a try.

Joe Dipinto 5:00 PM  

@GHarris – re your letter: sounds plausible. Hoping your last 10 words pan out...

scott 5:26 PM  

OSMO Vanska. Music Director Minnesota Symphony

Joaquin 5:38 PM  

I don't get it. All you guys arguing about Prime being one or two. I pay 119 every year (plus I have to send them a naked photo every six months). What's up with that?

Barbara S. 5:55 PM  

Apropos of absolutely nothing, Kurt Weller is also the name of a fictional character, one of the leads on the thriller TV series "Blindspot", which I think has ended now. He was played by the actor Sullivan Stapleton. I'm sure *this* Kurt Weller is the real thing, though, and I liked his puzzle. I'm in the very crowded room with the people who didn't understand the theme until after solving. (But don't panic -- we're all masked and we're social distancing.) I'm happy that I figured it out on my own when I looked back at the completed grid, reread the clues, and wracked my brains for a bit.

I watched Walter Brennan's rant from "Meet John Doe". Funny that the writer hit on the word HELOTS. Was it just because of its sound similarity with "a lot of heels"?

Wow, I wonder if a whole bunch of us are now going to order Adrienne Raphel's book! (Hmm, or maybe we shouldn't line the pockets of anyone who calls us random people making throwaway comments on a blog no one reads. Tee Hee.)

Is anyone else worried about JC66?

John James 6:20 PM  

To those of you who don’t grok 36A here’s an analogous clue/answer: Q: Like all US Presidents besides one A: White

Barbara S. 6:23 PM  

Oops, just realized that I dissed Adrienne Raphel completely unfairly. It was, of course, *the reviewer* who made that comment about us, not Ms. Raphel. She may think we're brilliant. Sorry, Ms. R.

Kiki 6:54 PM  

I agree with @Lewis, as usual. He's classy and upbeat and always appreciates the effort that goes into each puzzle. Rex, you are still the most dour, unpleasant puzzle critic ever. Congratulations!!!

bocamp 6:58 PM  

@John James 6:20 PM

Best explanation yet! What makes 36A extra special, is the wordplay on "one"; you know you've done the job when so many have taken the bait. Plus, the answer was easy to get, regardless of the misdirection. 😉

@Barbara S. 6:23 PM 👍

Got the audiobook on hold; next in line. My review to follow. :)


Peace Frieden שָׁלוֹם Filemu Paz ειρήνη Paix 🕊

JC66 7:18 PM  

@Barbara S, @Joe D, et al

Thanks for your concern. I had a procedure last week, and recovery is slow.

I still read the blog, but commenting is difficult (this took a loooong time to type).

Hope I'll be back to normal soon.

Anonymous 7:30 PM  

JC 66
Hope you have a speedy recovery.

Barbara S. 8:08 PM  

@bocamp 6:58 p.m.
I hope you'll tell us what you think.

@JC66 7:18 p.m.
I'm SO glad to hear from you -- but don't write in again till you're good and ready. I wish you a pleasant and rapid convalescence.

bocamp 8:13 PM  

@JC66 🙏

Peace Frieden שָׁלוֹם Filemu Paz ειρήνη Paix 🕊

chefwen 8:22 PM  

@JC66, healing thoughts coming your way.

CDilly52 8:24 PM  

Hi everyone! I am in the Oklahoma ice vortex! We had a terrible ice storm on Tuesday, yes, October 27! It took the power out all over town, and almost 12,000 folks still are out including me, and all of downtown. Not only that, limbs fell all over my yard (again- just had a lightening strike on July during a terrible “straight wind event”) and one took the power line off my house and ripped the meter off the wall! So I will be dark for quite sometime. The cats and I are hunkered down in a hotel thankfully.

All of that whining perhaps as an excuse for being brain dead and never getting the theme until I came here. I did finish but with the downs. And did a giant head smack when I finally got it. I’m so tired. My yard looks like a war zone (every bit as bad as July) and I have a gigantic limb (log actually) still partially attached to a 50 year oak tree lying on the corner of my roof and a couple thousand dollars worth of cutting, stacking, removal and cleanup to be done - again.

I am not a big NewYear’s celebrant, but I am absolutely going to make an exception for 2020.

GILL I. 8:29 PM  

@JC66 and counting....Get better, amigo. I always miss your daily posts. Abrazos.

bocamp 9:13 PM  

@CDilly52 🙏

Peace Frieden שָׁלוֹם Filemu Paz ειρήνη Paix 🕊

Z 9:30 PM  

@JC66 - Hoping recovery goes well.

@CDilly52 - Here in Western North Carolina we were rocked by the remains of hurricane Zeta which caused a fair amount of power outages but also left town early in the day and left us with a gorgeous 80° afternoon. I’ll take our power outages over your ice storm induced outages any day. Be safe.

Lewis 9:44 PM  

Godspeed @JC66!

Masked and Anonymous 10:01 PM  

@JC66 - Get as well as can, be as soon as possible! Wishin U all the very very best.


Anonymous 10:17 PM  

Thought it was crazy that this puzzle had pretty much the exact same trick and revealer (NOTNOW vs. NOW) as Robyn Weintraub's Thursday on 7/23. I liked that puzzle better (it had like 16 clues and really shocked me when I figured out what was going on!), but maybe it made an unusual impression on me since other folks don't seem to be referencing it! :)

Nancy 11:00 PM  

@JC66 -- Wishing you a speedy, complete and uneventful recovery from NO MATTER WHICH. Come back soon!

Wendy D 11:38 PM  

This was one of the stupidest themes / gimmicks EVER. I hate it!

Mr. Alarm 11:59 PM  

The best part of this puzzle for me was remembering Walter Brennan yelling "outta the way, you helots!" from "Meet John Doe".

Diana, LIW 10:48 AM  

I got it all, but I didn't get it at all. I was trying to take the Ts and Ws out of the answers. Ha ha on me. But still, I got the puzzle done.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 11:29 AM  

This one should have run yesterday NOTNOW. I agree with Rex. Overall, it was quite BAD.

spacecraft 12:55 PM  

For the longest time I thought the reveal answer was NOTime. That got me no place. I filled stuff in because the crosses were so obvious, so I had the whole grid except for the SE. Plus many questions. When I finally got NOTNOW, and (at last!) paid attention to the four-part split, it all crystallized.

Pretty good aha! moment, and a cleverly done "messin' with the clues" theme. Vivacious DIDI Conn wins DOD. Birdie.

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

Puzzle straight forward and easy. Theme failed.

rainforest 2:38 PM  

I had the entire puzzle solved but couldn't get the theme until I came back to it about a half-hour later and finally decoded the revealer. So, huge triumph points there.

Overall easy, but still, nice fill and execution. Liked it.

Burma Shave 2:55 PM  


ARES as man OR PEGASUS as horse,
DARNIT, NOT talkiing is ODD,
so who's MUTE? Of COARSE, of COARSE.


leftcoaster 5:47 PM  

Unlike its cousin of a couple of days ago (Luci's and David's), today’s puzzle’s clues delete letters, here T and W, instead of using same letters twice.

Today’s was not as TRICKY as the earlier one. Or was it more-so?

NOMATTERWHICH, “tawny” makes for almost as good a revealer and finale as NOTNOW (NO, NO).

Fun stuff.

leftcoaster 6:25 PM  

Congratulations, Kur Eller, on your debut

rondo 6:38 PM  

Took a while for the reveal to sink in. Kind of a meta/cryptic twist that I expect in the Harper's puz but not the NYT. More interesting than a rebus.

Wendy Cutler 7:38 PM  

59 Down: Odor: Prefix, as in Osmanthus: from Greek osme, fragrance, and anthos, flowers, from
I was excited to learn that.

I needed the revealer to explain why FREEZE was twice over, then had fun with the rest. I didn't realize the EGO was part of the theme though, so one extra bit of fun after reading this blog.

The captcha seems to have changed recently for blue IDs. If you clicked it previously, it didn't cause any extra work, but now it makes you do the selections. If you skip it, it carries on (or says it does) and does the post.

Unknown 9:01 PM  

Thanks for explaining more thoroughly. I needed it!

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