Classic 1980s space warfare video game / TUE 12-1-20 / Heisman winner Torretta / Ollie's partner in old comedy / South American palm cultivated for its fruit / Automotive brand with oval logo

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Medium, leaning Medium-Challenging (?) (untimed, but with all those longer answer, I dunno, it felt like it played a little bit slower than usual)


THEME: REC CENTER (33D: Community sports facility ... or a hint to the answers to the five starred clues) — themers are phrases that all have the letter string "REC" sitting dead center:

Theme answers:
  • SOFTWARE COMPANY (17A: *Many a Silicon Valley business)
  • HOME FORECLOSURE (39A: *Devastating event in a real estate bust)
  • "WHAT MORE CAN I SAY?" (61A: *Question suggesting "That just about sums things up")
  • IMPRECISE (10D: *Like a guesstimate, by nature)
  • PRESSURE COOKERS (7D: *Highly stressful situations, metaphorically)
Word of the Day: EMBAR (16A: Put a stop to) —
to stop, check, or hinder by or as if by enclosing with bars: such as 
aobsolete to interrupt or impede (something, such as commerce) by an embargo
barchaic ENCLOSEIMPRISON
cobsolete to put a stop to by legal means BARembar a claim (merriam-webster.com)
• • •

Ironically, not dreck! Thought this one was really NIFTY. The meaning of the revealer is precise (those RECs are very much in the CENTER of their respective answers) and the arrangement of the long themers in a relatively intricate interlock pattern (with every themer intersecting at least *two* others) makes this puzzle that rare feat: an architectural achievement that is also a pleasure to solve. While the themers aren't always scintillating, they hold up fine, and since the requirements for inclusion in the theme set are so narrow (needing REC at the center and needing to cross two other themers at exactly the right letters), it's slightly surprising the themers hold up as well as they do. I found the puzzle a little tougher than usual largely because I had trouble finishing off the long themers. Got SOFTWARE, couldn't finish it off without crosses. Got FORECLOSURE, couldn't finish it off without crosses. The question "WHAT MORE CAN I SAY?" seems very much the right phrase and yet my brain fumbled with it for a bit. But these were all very small hangups. The difficulty level felt more or less appropriate for a Tuesday. Nice to have a Tuesday (i.e. an "easy") grid that has so many interesting longer answers. There's a lot of your typical 3-to-5-letter stuff, but it's mostly clean and you don't really notice it. The theme is the attention-grabber, and when your theme is successful, the rest of the puzzle simply has to not fall on its face. Mission Accomplished.


Weirdly, the toughest answer for me today was CHANGETO (5D: Replace with). Something about the verb-preposition arrangement was so unexpected that even when it was clear that the first word was CHANGE, I wasn't quite sure what the next two letters were going to be (?). CHANGETO sounds like the arch-nemesis of "X-Men" villain Magneto. Although if CHANGETO is made entirely of change, i.e. coins, seems like Magneto might have an advantage, but only if the coins were magnetic, like the 1943 steel cent, and certain UK coins. Against ordinary US pocket change, Magneto would be powerless. CHANGETO! Copyright Rex Parker 2020! Moving on: EMBAR, yikes (16A: Put a stop to). I had the "E" and confidently wrote in ENDED. I made EMBAR the Word of the Day today, and you will notice that the three definitions Merriam-Webster.com provides begin "obsolete" "archaic" "obsolete," respectively. This suggests to me that no one should use this word ever. Never ever. Unless you are writing a novel about the past, or about a fellow who likes to sound smart but isn't. I could've also done without the prosperity-gospel huckster (not naming him, ultra-wealthy televangelists can rot). College football is the least interesting thing on the planet to me, sports-wise, so GINO ... well, I know I've heard the name, but I had to get the top half to guess the bottom (26D: Heisman winner Torretta). I had no idea LAGOS was the most populous city in Africa (23A: Africa's most populous city (21+ million)). Really wanted CAIRO there at first (population a mere 20.9M). Oh, I just noticed RCAS, which is unfortunate, as I never saw it while solving, and it's easily the worst thing in the grid. I'm going to go try to forget about it now. Puzzle: good. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


86 comments:

EdFromHackensack 6:37 AM  

LAGOS? never heard of it. Wanted Cairo also. WHATMORECANIask, then add, before SAY. Tough for a Tuesday

Hungry Mother 6:47 AM  

Almost a PR today. I did more downs than usual as I sailed through. I saw the theme, but didn’t use it.

Anonymous 6:58 AM  

Pretty NIFTY puzzle!
M

Frantic Sloth 7:02 AM  

A NIFTY little theme with REC(absolutely dead)CENTER in every one of the themers. Neat and tidy with a minimum of dreck.

I'm not fit to shine the shoes of those who can create these lovelies (or understand the intricacies), but this seems like it would have been a bear to construct.
Not a koala bear (which we know isn't actually a bear at all, and is cute, cuddly, and lethargic due to the poor nutritional value of a steady diet of eucalyptus burgers) or a Grizzly bear (which could probably kill and devour all the other bears, except maybe the polar bear whose own sweet-looking appearance belies an equal ferocity), but more of an American black bear whose disposition lands somewhere between cute and playful or frighteningly aggressive. Depending on whether there's a house cat nearby.
Aaaanyway, speaking as someone whose lame attempts might yield only a Yogi Bear level of complexity, I'm impressed.

With some crunchy bits sprinkled throughout, providing an overall difficulty level attractive and doable for the beginner while still managing to hold my interest, it did its Tuesdee job.

Now I've gotta go watch some "Gentle Ben" reruns. Good day.


🧠🧠
πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

Lewis 7:13 AM  

Tuesday puzzles are so often filled with very common words that are directly clued, and the theme is the star. The theme is also the star of today’s puzzle, but there are many answers that are in the language, but not “everyday common” – EMBAR, LAGOS, AGEIST, ACAI, CONSORTS, MISO MALI, LITIGANT, IMPRECISE, TRYST, CIS, ABACI, ELAN, and I’ll throw in “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean”. It gives the puzzle a different feel than the normal Tuesday, a feeling of richness I get from every Byron Walden offering.

I loved encountering that feel today. I also loved the sound of the words “mawashi” and GALAGA. And O how I love patterns: MISO / SUMO / NATO / GINO / AMOCO. Not to mention picturing the unlikely headline in the penultimate column: NANAS TRAP GANG.

Then there’s the technical prowess underneath it all: 78 theme squares – 78! – with one theme answer intersecting three others, and two theme answers intersecting two, all the while with five answers having REC precisely in the center. Wow. A constructing marvel.

I was in the hands of a master today. Thank you so much for this, Byron!

Frantic Sloth 7:26 AM  

Well, I guess I must have tapped Rex's wavelength today. LOL!
What's more, I was happy to see him confirm my thoughts about the constructioneering. And that whole CHANGETO/Magneto schtick was classic.

@Lewis 713am Was counting on your expertise to back me up and (as usual) you came through!


Cats vs Bears: A Fear Story

Rich Glauber 7:29 AM  

Byron suRE Can make a classy puzzle. Not a lot of misdiRECtions, but wow, what a concept. Such pRECision! We can admiRE Creativity.

John 7:29 AM  

Joel Osteen and home foreclosure? Pass. Total turnoff for me.

kitshef 7:33 AM  

2nd day in a row solved as a themeless. Even once I got the reveal, there didn’t seem to be any advantage to using it.

I only know one OSTEEN, and that ain’t it. On the other hand, Claude OSTEEN, while familiar to baseball fans, was never sufficiently famous to be in a crossword. Good, reliable pitcher for a decade, and a good hitter, as pitchers go.

Want to know how baseball has changed? Claude OSTEEN’s loss in game three of the ’66 series took an hour and 55 minutes. Drysdale’s loss the next day took 1:45. In 2020, each team used four or more pitchers in every single game of the series. In 1966, the Orioles used only four pitchers for the entire world series, and never more than two in a single game.

ChuckD 7:38 AM  

Wow - nice Tuesday puzzle - this constructor has become one of my favorites. The symmetry and interconnection of these long themers is impressive but as Rex said - interesting and enjoyable to solve. PRESSURE COOKERS right down the middle was top notch. A little oddball glue but for the most part the fill was smooth. CONSORTS, TRYSTS, GAGS - hmmm? EMBAR is an outlier - but I got it from EMBARgo.

Enjoyable start to a Tuesday.

pabloinnh 7:40 AM  

A practically perfect Tuesday. Nice long answers, had no clue what they had in common, get the revealer in an appropriate place, check your answers, and hey presto, there it is. Nicely done indeed.

I would suggest to OFL that banning EMBAR is fine, unless you're doing a crossword.

GEM reminded me of my dear old Vermonter friend Burns, who used to tell jokes like this:

Teacher: Use "oak lumber in a sentence.
Student: "Oak lumber, the gem of the ocean...".

Smooth as a smelt, BW. Looks like a Thursdazo to me.

bocamp 7:46 AM  

Thank you @Byron for this clever Tues. puz! :)

I butchered 61A due to two incorrect fills and a sp. issue at 41D. Sorting this all out took me as much time as the rest of the puzzle; so, over av. time. :(

Started out in the NW with no probs. Moved steadily down to the depths of despair at 61A, eventually managing to straighten it out and surface for air.

Write-overs: 62D "DDs"; 60D "yeas".

Sp.: 41D "litig-nt" (which contributed to my 61A problem); so, the question was "what do …" and parsing was not happening.

New: "Galaga" (because of the (y) for "yeas", I wanted "Galaxy", but obviously 59D wasn't in favor of that idea, so …); 66A "Nine".

Hazy: "gang" (as clued); "obs"; "consorts".

Fav clues/answers: "what more can I say"; "consorts".

WOTD: Galaga

LOTD: Songhai

SOTD: Figaro - Luciano Pavarotti

FOTD: "açaí"

Currently working on my "pawn" endings.


Peace εΉ³ε’Œ Paz Kedamaian πŸ•Š

mmorgan 7:50 AM  

I enjoyed it (as I usually do) but was sure Rex was going to slam the themers for blandness. I’ve been reading his blog for quite a few years and I still can’t predict when he’ll like a puzzle, except maybe for a solid, tough, Friday themeless from certain constructors. I also expected him to complain about NINE being too obscure (it was a gimme for me). I thought I knew my prosperity-gospel hucksters, but I guess not, as this was a new one for me (though gettable from crosses).

Small Town Blogger 8:14 AM  

Anyone else have Software Startup before changing to Company?

Karl Grouch 8:17 AM  

No complaints about this one, except for 29D.
If your answer is "hockey", would you ever clue it as " player in a rink"?
(SUMO is the wrestle, the wrestler being a "sumotori". Either that, or the clue should be " _ wrestler").

Lots of appreciation for the construction, it must have been very hard to get the puzzle right, even if "rec" is a common streak of letters.

Chapeau monsieur Walden!

(And I'm pretty sure that you were tempted to find a 15-word revealer to fit in 7D, alas to no avail).

All in all, a very RECommendable TuesdΓ©.

TTrimble 8:17 AM  

This played a bit tough for a Tuesday. For some reason I didn't know where Timbuktu is (the little Dr. Seuss snippet "Constantinople and Timbuktu" notwithstanding), and that was the beginning of plenty not clicking right away. "Automotive brand" seems to me a very odd way to clue AMOCO -- short for American Oil Company, IIRC -- all I know is that they sell gasoline. That makes it an automotive brand? Okaaay... Even when the crosses seemed to compel AMOCO, I thought, "that can't be right".

Do people often refer to it as BICARB? Bicarbonate of soda, obviously. But I'm sure I've never heard it referred to like that. Now, I admit that my initial attempt BIsmol was quite lame and I knew it at the time, but the correct answer didn't come easily.

I feel that I've seen TPKe more than TPK. Latter looks weird to me. Same with OBS -- OBgyn is much more familiar than just OB. I go to Google and click on "People also ask" -- "can you be an OB and not a GYN?" The answer was no! Well, that explains why I've seen OBGYN much more. (Don't bother explaining it to me. I get it.)

GALAGA is completely unknown to me.

Rough start to the day. Rough SB as well. But then, these days have been generally rough. Even though we just had Thanksgiving, I'm really itching for Christmas! Can't come soon enough!

MKV 8:20 AM  

ADIN might be my least favorite answer ever, eesh. And that's saying a lot given that RCAS is in here, ugh.

Laura 8:34 AM  

Fun, fun, fun. A Tuesday puzzle tha made me work for it. An faint, fond memories of the only arcade game I almost mastered. Only one clever clue (obits) but many of the others required some thought. Hope to see more like this.

Always fun to follow up with a review of the good parts.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

@TT. While OBGYN is common usage, each can be a separate term. Obstetrician. Gynecologist. I guess, though, if you're one, you're also the other. You know, as long as you're down there......

albatross shell 8:59 AM  

I'll let EMBAR go in an S-car go.

I did not GAG on GALAGA. No BICARB needed.

Pamela Anderson, an overlooked gift from Canada, was a lot of fun as Barb Wire. Mamie Van Doren was pretty good in Rock and Roll Prison too. Caught Tilda Swinton in Orlando too. The last two were recently on TCM. Good stuff.

MDS & OBS

WHAT MORE is there
WHAT MORE CAN It be
WHAT MORE CAN I ask
WHAT MORE CAN I See
WHAT MORE CAN I SAY
yes'S yayS AYE AYE

Carola 9:30 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 9:39 AM  

Thanks to @Rex and commenters for helping me to appreciate the constructing feat. The theme answers were something of a letdown, with the zing of WHAT MORE CAN I SAY? outweighed by the dull SOFTWARE COMPANY and the unpleasant PRESSURE weighing down on FORECLOSURE. But like @Lewis 7:13, I enjoyed entering the "not 'everyday common'" words sprinkled throughout.
OBScure to me: TERI, GINO, GALAGA. Favorite cross: MALI meets MISO.

GILL I. 9:41 AM  

Only one oof de oof in this lovely Tuesday puzzle.. The AMOCO FOOL. I also thought briefly about a GIRDLE for 31D. But then I really thought about a tummy smoother some more and the. thought of wearing a girdle would make me want some of that BICARB.
This gets my cool beans award. REC in the middle of our PRESSURE COOKER 2020. Byron knows his onions even though he sneaked OSTEEN in there. Speaking of.......I accidentally had him on my channel. I don't watch a lot of TV but I listen to things while I'm cooking. He's kinda interesting...not in a PTL Jimmy & Tammy Faye way (his mascara doesn't run down his face)....but in a practical get your wallet out and I'll tell you nice things about life, sorta way.
I liked that Byron bounced around with OPAL/GEM, some EMBAR/LITIGANT a MALI/LAGOS/ASIA and thinking of NANAS TRYST. (That one is a long story).
And for the REPUBLIC for which I stand....I will now go dance the CHANGETO.....


RooMonster 9:44 AM  

Hey All !
Had an arcade/RECreational CENTER close to Milford, CT where I lived for 13 years, got hooked on GALAGA, and was able to kick its ass! Circa mid 90's, when I was mid 20's. Good times. Pre-Covid. Har.

Liked this puz. The Revealer tidied things up nicely. Before getting it, just thought the themers a hodgepodge of nonsense. (I'm gonna trademark "hodgepodge of nonsense", what a cool phrase! Sometimes I amaze myself...) Light on the dreck, tough to do with the "lots of theme" constraints.

lCdS-RCAS, jOke-FOOL, AGEISm-AGEIST.

Didn't Byron Walden write "On Golden Pond"? ☺️

Three F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

TTrimble 9:52 AM  

@Anonymous
Thanks, but as I said in my comment, no need to explain, because I get it. I am quite aware of what they stand for. I never said that OBS is wrong, just that I don't see it all that often. (Also one could level a minor complaint that OBS is a POC.)

(By the way, the "People also ask" entry also said that you can be a GYN without being an OB.)

Xcentric 9:54 AM  

A Very enjoyable Tuesday!
Had Galaxy before getting GALAGA on crosses.
ADHOC held me up for a bit.
Nifty clue for CAPS.
Have to look for more from Mr. Walden in the archive.

GHarris 10:00 AM  

Fun puzzle probably better placed on a Wednesday.

Nancy 10:03 AM  

What a NIFTY piece of construction! And to have it appear on a Tuesday is an unexpected pleasure and a real bonus. What's more, the difficult-to-achieve and densely-packed theme -- going in both directions which I've been told is much more difficult to construct -- produces interesting, grown-up fill rather then crosswordese or junk. There simply isn't a trace of either one.

Everything in this puzzle shows thoughtfulness. PAWNS, for example (49D). By the time I got there, the answer was clear from the crosses, but it's clued in a way meant to deceive -- as the answer would seem to be WHITE or BLACK which are also 5-letters. Had I gotten there earlier I would have been fooled.

A word about Timbuktu. I'm embarrassed about Timbuktu. All my life I've heard about Timbuktu. Such a romantic and exotic-sounding place filled -- with the thrill of bygone adventure.

I had absolutely no idea what country it was in!! None, whatsoever. Did you?

Nancy 10:06 AM  

than.

mathgent 10:07 AM  

It's one of those puzzles where the excellence of construction doesn't translate into solving fun for me. Only four red plus signs in the margins, low even for a Tuesday.

NIFTY! That wonderful word of yesterday.

I see the intricacy of the construction and was a bit surprised that Jeff Chen, the pro's pro, wasn't more impressed.

I was in a FULL Rose Bowl the year that Jim Plunkett and Stanford beat Ohio State. I can still remember the rush of emotion I felt when the many thousands of us simultaneously leapt to our feet and screamed for a touchdown.

albatross shell 10:17 AM  

0ne more thing:
In light of recent todos:
Columbia is not a stone, but, oh brother, we got O PAL.

Banya 10:22 AM  

Figuring out the theme really helped the rest of it along. I had both tire clues wrong: rim for AIR and LEAK for tire but adding the REC helped me correct both of them & get that longer SOFTWARECOMPANY

Newboy 10:23 AM  

WOW! Byron Walden hits the century mark with a TUESDAY?? His byline is one I look forward to seeing on a late week grid with really sneaky things that I just adore discovering (but usually miss). Today’s REC CENTER i saw after the third 15 character answer filled itself with pretty standard short stuffing. Checked for the other two asterisks, and yep, there was REC smack dab in the CENTER. WHAT MORE CAN I SAY!

Hack mechanic 10:26 AM  

Liked it. Only hang up was galaga, tried to make galaxy work for a while

Whatsername 10:35 AM  

Like yesterday’s, I solved this as a themeless and didn’t see the NIFTY trick until I was finished. I tore through it so Rex calling it medium challenging makes me feel super extra smart today. I can’t think of a thing to complain about. WHAT MORE CAN I SAY? Well I can add that it’s the constructor’s100th NYT publication. So Byron, big thanks for today and congratulations on that NOTED milestone.

If you met your CONSORT for a BOOM BOOM at a no-tell motel, would that be called a TRYST? Asking for a friend. Sounds risky to me. You could end up in a PRESSURE COOKER or worse yet, a LITIGANT.

Sami 10:40 AM  

@Nancy hand up here for fooled by black. I knew it as soon as I filled it in.

I guess we know the locale of our Rexword meetup meeting: Timbuktu, Mali.

Bye bye, day 44. I wish there was more to say about this puzzle, but....

bocamp 10:44 AM  

@Nancy 10:03 AM - Yes and no for "Timbuktu". I've seen it so many times (and looked it up so many times) that I may have finally got it down pat. I did drop it in without any crosses, but the four letter answer "may have" been my cue. Ask me sometime to point out "Timbuktu" on the map, and I might not be so fortunate. LOL
___

What Kind Of "Fool" Am I - Sammy Davis Jr. (Live in Germany 1985)

Is That All There Is? - Peggy Lee

Byron & Jeff comments at XWord Info: here.

Amy Reynaldo comments at Diary of a Crossword Fiend: here.

-2

Peace εΉ³ε’Œ Paz Kedamaian πŸ•Š

jae 10:47 AM  

Medium. Congrats to Byron on his 100th NYT puzzle. An excellent Tuesday, liked it a bunch.

GALAGA was a WOE and I see I’m not alone.

Newboy 10:48 AM  

@nancy 10:03 I feel your geographical pain. And your white/black/PAWNS observation as well deserves a second—yet another point I’d missed when posting in glee before reading commentariat. And to improve our REPUBLIC I wonder if there is some way to engage @Lewis who finds the good in every grid as an advisor to our outwardly bound President who seems unable to see the positive in anything .

c.w stewart 10:57 AM  

I did this same theme on Feb. 10, 2014, even though this puzzle is more elegant than mine. My revealer in the puzzle was also rec center.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

@TTrimble:
Do people often refer to it as BICARB? Bicarbonate of soda, obviously. But I'm sure I've never heard it referred to like that.

watch more 1930's movies, especially comedies. :)

@8:58
Ouch!! a few minutes extra and have a snack?

thfenn 10:58 AM  

Thought this was a really impressive and elegant Tuesday. Had lEAk before WEAR, team before GANG, and like others naturally thought of Ended before EMBAR and black/white before PAWNS, but all the correct answers were more fun than my original thinking would've been, and that always makes me appreciate a puzzle more. Had the same appreciation for STP and AMOCO being clued as automotive brands - they are, that works, and it's fun - especially when my first thought for STP was kia. LAGOS and MALI offered up memories of times in both, so those were fun.

@kitshef, thanks for the walk down memory lane with Claude Osteen, and yes, I sure wish the clue had referenced him instead of Joel Osteen. The 1966 World Series made me a baseball fan at the young age of 8, and to this day Boston and Baltimore are my two favorites. After Drabowski's 7 IPs in relief of McNally to win Game 1, Palmer, Bunker, and McNally threw three complete game shutouts against the mighty Dodgers - an incredible series.

Z 11:06 AM  

GALAGA had this feature. On the first round the player destroys all but one of the attacking aliens, I think it had to be the back left red one but I could be misremembering, and then avoids it until it made two consecutive passes without shooting at the player. Destroy it on the next pass and the aliens would not fire the rest of the game. Player then proceeds to set a personal record/high score.

And thus the reason I liked this less than Rex. I didn’t find the theme answers especially scintillating and I circled five clues for being dated PPP of marginal crossworthiness. GALAGA, oof. PAMELA Anderson and her sex tape is very 1990’s. GINO Torretta won the Heisman in 1992. AMOCO merged with BP in 1998 and essentially disappeared not long after. And then STAN and Ollie, or as they are more familiarly remembered, “Laurel and Hardy.” I guess the recent film makes them less dated. Individually these are fine. But when you start noticing how the puzzle is biased towards seniors seeing five answers like this stands out.

PPP comes in at 25 of 74, so right at the excessive line. I won’t be the least bit surprised if solvers under 35 struggle with this.

Columbia, the GEM of the Ocean.

egsforbreakfast 11:10 AM  

Another good one in what is now, for me, a string of 5 or 6 very enjoyable puzzles.

Regarding the OBS discussion, the clue is “Doctors making deliveries, in brief”. By the terms of the clue, such doctors are practicing Obstetrics. If the clue had been “Doctors providing Pap Smears, in brief”, it would have been a not clever way to clue GYNS, as the doctor, likely the same doctor, is a specialist in Gynecology as well. So the clue and answer are fine.

Nice construction Mr. Walden.

Z 11:28 AM  

@c.w. stewart - And Rex seemed to like it fine but what the hell happened in the comments? I see at one point I counted 48 of those weird anonymous posts. I remember the spell casters, but I had forgotten the young and the restless.

Masked and Anonymous 11:34 AM  

Liked it. Central Stuff mcguffin has been done before, but this puz really elevated the genre.

Also liked REPUBLIC. REC roomier! fave fillins rep.

Didn't know: OSTEEN. PAMELA. GALAGA. GINO. Barely knew: CIS. Kinda cool how the GALAGA clue shamed m&e into not knowin it, with the word "classic".

staff weeject pick: panel deliberations -- an inside look ...
* Only 8 weejects (3-letter pups) to choose from in the puzgrid.
* Only two of em are words: GEM & AIR -- cancel each other out.
* LPS, MDS, OBS all plural abreve meat -- cancel each other out.
* TPK has desperation on its side.
* CIS has neo-obscurity on its side, as clued. CIS is also a "classic" chemistry term, evidently.
* STP has blatant product placement on its side.
* REC gets used as part of the theme mcguffin. Show of weespect. Now U R talkin.
Gotta go with: REC.

Thanx for the primo rec-creation, Mr. Walden dude. And congratz on yer NYTPuz #100. No biggie, but when U gonna do a MonPuz, tho? … it's yer missin hit-for-the-cycle at bat.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


**gruntz**

CDilly52 11:40 AM  

Like so many others here, I marvel at the intricacy of construction -period. But I would feel remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the artistry. Those who conceive and execute puzzles of this quality with a dense, clever theme and very little “standard” easy yucky fill and who can make a puzzle interesting and accessible even to folks fairly new to the world of cruciverbalism deserve extra special recognition. Our constructor today deserves such recognition. I give it a wholehearted WOW!

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

Hate evangelists or Love evangelists. . . Doesn't matter. . . Fact is, they EXIST. . . and,therefore, they earn a place in any X-word puzzle. . . But, give the culture-cancelers time>>> GOD HELP US!

kitshef 12:08 PM  

@c.w. stewart - I was about to anoint yours as the superior development of the theme - until I got to the very bottom: OTERI and TERRY, YABBA, and ORTS made me call it a draw.

TTrimble 12:14 PM  

Yes, everyone, OBS is fine (except maybe the part about being a POC, and even that is no biggie to me), and the clue is appropriate. I was trying to say something else, but I probably said it badly, and never mind now. Sorry (sore-ee) for the noise.

(Lesson learned: never, ever ask of others, "don't bother explaining it". I should have known better.)

@Anonymous 10:57 AM
You're undoubtedly right! Any particular suggestions?

@bocamp
How do you do it? I'm still -1 for yd, and still some distance away from today's. Grrr!

sixtyni yogini 12:37 PM  

πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ§©πŸ‘πŸ½
Had change up for Change to.
Yep, good one.
πŸ€—

Nigel Pottle 12:37 PM  

I’m glad Rex liked this puzzle. I found it blah. Finished it faster than usual for a Tuesday and my first fill in was MALI. I got RECCENTER before some of the other themers and SOFTWARECOMPANY was obvious from my crosses - I often do the Downs across the top, and many of them were easy-peasy. I’ll be impressed by the construction but not by the answers to the theme, other than REC in the centre (which is how we Canadians spell it). They were dull as dishwater. Hate me now.

bocamp 12:53 PM  

@Emma: Two consecutive days of sunny skies in Vancouver. πŸ˜‰

@c.w stewart 10:57 AM: Your Feb. 10, 2014 puzzle was most enjoyable. ty :)

@TTrimble: Two consecutive days @ 0 😊


Peace εΉ³ε’Œ Paz Kedamaian πŸ•Š

Anoa Bob 1:03 PM  

Yesterday the grid had 44 black squares while today we get 32. What a difference those 12 black squares make, going from a somewhat dark and gloomy feel to an open and sunny one.

All that open space, however, did extract a toll on getting the grid filled and the letter S plays a prominent role in that regard. There are several run-o-the-mill POCs (plural of convenience) like CAPS, RCAS, OPERAS, OBS, OBITS, NANAS, LPS, CONSORTS, PAWNS, et al. And the very grid-fill friendly two-for-one POC (where a single S boosts the letter count of two entries) makes appearances at the ends of YEN/LP, MD/SCAR and AYE/GAG.

The POC that jumped out the most for me was one of the theme entries. PRESSURE COOKER neither has the REC in the exact center nor will it fill its 15-letter slot at 7 Down. So just tack on a gratuitous S and a major problem is solved. How easy is that? Too easy I think and a major demerit for the puzzle in my book.

All those AD HOC Ss give the grid a POC assisted or even POC marked feel for me.

jae 1:09 PM  

@Z - your comment on saying thank you yesterday brought to mind David Foster Wallace's Commencement address at Kenyon College. Not a bad way to try to live a life.

@eggs from yesterday - Darrell Issa's constituency is primarily the eastern part of San Diego County. He now has the seat formerly occupied by the disgraced Duncan Hunter.

Teedmn 1:10 PM  

GALAGA could have been GALAnGAl for all I know, except I know what galangal is, or at least I've known ever since I got a Thai cookbook. Not an arcade game I've ever seen. I never had enough money to get good at video games, thank goodness.

Thanks, Byron Walden, for a satisfying Tuesday. The revealer elicited a "NIFTY" from me.

And Rex, CHANGETO sounds like an Xman who sheds orange, cheesy dust.

Frantic Sloth 1:50 PM  

@GILL 941am NANAS TRYST? [arms folded, toe tapping, lips pursed] Waiting…

@Nancy 1003am I had Timbuktu pegged for somewhere in the Nepal vicinity. Yay, me! No wonder "from here to Timbuktu" was born.
I wonder if I'll remember. Something keeps rolling around in my brain: "Timbuktu and Mali, too!"?? Nah.

@c.w. stewart and @Z I did that puzzle (just now – I liked it) and was curious about the comments. What the hell? All those Anons! But, the GEM at the end of it was this:

Danp 7:45 AM
So much for the effectiveness of captcha.

Unknown 2:20 PM  

@ Frantic Sloth 1:50 I think you are thinking of Kathmandu, which I believe is the largest city/airport for those trekking/climbing the Himalayas.

The only clue I didn't care for was RCAs, which I think of in the context of old TV sets with vacuum tubes, not HDTVs (although I'm sure they make them).

Perfect Tuesday puz: very easy, but w/ a crisp theme.
And whatever medications rex is taking, I sincerely hope he stays on them. An entirely different personality. Yay rex!

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

I'm with @Anoa 1:03. Ban the "S"! If the Spelling Bee doesn't need the "S", crosswords don't either!!

JC66 2:44 PM  

@M&A

For @Anoa Bob's birthday (whenever that is), maybe you could construct a runt puzzle where all the clues and answers end I S,

pabloinnh 2:49 PM  

@Anon-2:25

Banning the S might create a problem, as it is the most frequent initial letter in English.

Whatsername 2:57 PM  

@GILL: I’m with @Frantic (1:50) waiting to hear about NANA’s TRYST. No fair throwing out that tantalizing little tidbit and then withholding the details. Spill.

TTrimble 2:58 PM  

@bocamp
I feel as though I received your benediction all the way from Vancouver! Practically immediately after I read your comment, when I was still at "Amazing" and pangramless, the whole thing unraveled effortlessly and I got to 0 for today. (Two answers from yesterday would be appropriate to say here. One has four letters, the other has six.)

Now for another crack at yesterday's (I'm at -1)...

Z 2:59 PM  

@Gill I - What @Frantic Sloth 1:50 said. Preferably with some Young and The Restless theme music in the background.

@Frantic Sloth - Maybe this will help you remember that Kathmandu is in Nepal and Timbuktu is in MALI.

@AnoaBob - I had that exact same thought about PRESSURE COOKERS. As a feat of constructioneering this is pretty impressive, but that still leapt out at me.

@jae - I got an “url not found” message. Here’s the audio.

RooMonster 3:23 PM  

@bocamp - and others
Officially went a whole month without a 0. Last one was 10/30. ☹️😭

Closest was (4) -2's and (1) -1. But since I live vicariously through you, I don't feel too bad! πŸ˜€

RooMonster 0 0's Guy

Anoa Bob 3:31 PM  

JC66 @2:44, I think M&A already did a POC tribute of sorts several months (years?) ago.

I've never seen an xword grid without a POC or three or more in it, certainly none that I have ever made. For me, how much of a negative impact the POCs have on the puzzle's overall quality depends on how many and what kind. A few here and there in the service of an otherwise good puzzle is above reproach but, as I described @1:03, I think today the quantity and quality of POCs combined to have a significant negative effect on the puzzle's overall rating.

bocamp 3:42 PM  

@TTrimble 2:58 PM πŸ‘ / @RooMonster 3:23 PM πŸ‘

Peace εΉ³ε’Œ Paz Kedamaian πŸ•Š

ow a paper cut 3:45 PM  

This was clever and fun. We’re on a string of good puzzles.

GILL I. 3:58 PM  

Ok...if you insists...I will tell you about NANAS TRYST:
My grandfather's name was Art Jones - although we all called him Skip. He was a real estate developer during the Malibu Colony era; he owned the (then called) Malibu Inn and sold and developed property in Malibu. He was quite the ladies man; very handsome and the Hollywood ladies found him quite dashing. Nana (his wife and my grandmother) was a no-nonsense, women's lib type... before her time. She rode horses, could shoot a rattlesnake dead, drive cross country by herself and, well, do just about anything. she caught Skip (who was a bit drunk) smacking wet lips with the wife of his best friend. Nana hit her over the head with a broom and burned all of Skip's underwear. Now mind you, this was told to me by my Mother. Some things might've been omitted but I doubt it. I spent many summers with them in the Malibu Hills and I know Skip had the roving eye. Nana went on to divorce him and have a secret TRYST with the person that took care of the horses. This is a true story that belongs in Hollywood's sordid story file. And the rest is history!

Frantic Sloth 4:51 PM  

@Unknown 220pm That's what I was thinking of! Thank you. I suppose I could have looked it up, but then I wouldn't recognize myself. Also, I think I even knew that once upon a lifetime ago…sad.

@Z 259pm Thanks for the link, but I seriously doubt it could help me. Too subtle. πŸ˜‚

@GILL 358pm LOL! Thank you – and well worth the wait! I might want to enlist your NANA as one of my spirit animals…may I?

Honey 5:16 PM  

What is a "0" in the Bee?

JC66 5:23 PM  

****SB ALERT****

@Honey

0 means Queen Bee has been achieved in the Spelling Bee (SB) game.

-1 means one word to go, etc.

Gloria 6:02 PM  

GIL. And your grandfather even had James M Cain write him up. Quite man of Malibu. Sweet.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/1933/08/malibu-beach-colony-193308

jae 6:04 PM  

@Z - I meant to hit preview and hit publish instead.

Here is the text.

GILL I. 7:18 PM  

Oh...wow @Gloria 6:02. Talk about a mind explosion. Yeah...that was Skip all right. He was a character and I loved him dearly. I guess the ladies did too.
Thank you for getting me to re-live some of the Malibu memories. I was pretty young when I first went but we went back to Malibu years later. I have a picture some where of the original Malibu Inn where I used to go and buy candy.

Whatsername 7:43 PM  

@GILL: That’s a great story, and I’m absolutely certain I would have loved your NANA. She sounds like my kinda woman.

Natalie Elaine 7:58 PM  

I had change up in there before I changed it to CHANGETO

Nancy 8:05 PM  

@GILL -- Damn! It's all about Malibu real estate. I wanted it to be about Skip's TRYSTS. With lots of details.

Damn! All the photos are of Malibu homes and beaches. I wanted them to be sexy photos of Skip at the height of his appeal to Hollywood actresses.

Quelle disappointment. But at least I found out that Skip looked like Charles Lindbergh.

Actually, though, it's your NANA who sounds even more interesting, @GILL. She sounds like a cross between Annie Oakley and Gloria Steinem.

What a colorful family! It must have been a lot of fun growing up among them. My family is looking pretty tame right now.

RAD2626 10:49 PM  

@KITSCHEF. Claude OSTEEN was a fine pitcher (I started liking him when he pitched for the Senators) who epitomized the term “workmanlike”. He finished one game over .500 for his career (196-195) but had an astonishing 140 complete games.

On your point about time of game and pitcher stamina, on June 2, 1963, Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal pitched a 16 inning game that ended 1-0 in 4 hours and 10 minutes, the exact time of this years’s World Series Game 4 that utilized 13 pitchers.

Terrific puzzle by the way. Enjoyed it immensely.

Unknown 10:51 AM  

Solved it fairly quickly (for me) but never saw the theme until pointed out in the comments. Still, a nice puzzle to solve for one my age (85)

Burma Shave 11:20 AM  

CANISAY I’MIN?

PAMELA is no BOOMer AGEIST,
and her CONSORTS YEN for a TRYST,
her GANG over fifty
make COMPANY NIFTY,
but call PAMELA ‘NANA’, she’s PSST.

AMOS OSTEEN

thefogman 11:51 AM  

The NYTXW is on a good roll. All of the syndicated ones have been pretty good so far for 2021 - including this one. WHATMORECANISAY?

leftcoaster 2:39 PM  

A nifty-shifty puzzle.

The REC CENTERs theme is fine, but it’s more like a diversion from the real action found in the SE corner:

NINE clued by "81/2", AYE instead of yea, and GALAGA instead of GALAxy.

The rest is pretty easy.

rondo 4:31 PM  

If I were the first poster above I don't think I'd admit never having heard of LAGOS.

Fine Tues-puz. No train REC.

PAMELA and TERI and ERIN can fight it out. There's a pay-per-view.

NIFTY.

Diana, LIW 8:45 PM  

oops - got busy with a jigsaw and forgot to post. Thought it was Tuesday-ish and fine. My personal RECCENTER.

Diana, LIW

leftcoaster 9:02 PM  

Keep it comin’ BS,
You’ll always be ready
For a GANG-bang TRYST.

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