Ancient Jewish ascetic / WED 1-6-21 / City near Leeds with historic walls / Anxiety about being excluded from the fun for short / East Coast city on a western coast / 1950s-60s entertainment group / Third and fourth word in many limericks

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Constructor: Eric Bornstein

Relative difficulty: Well, probably easy in the app, but for me, using my software, where the clues were laid out normally, and the Down themers just had [See puzzle notes], and I refused to do that, it was slower. Here's the "note" I was supposed to read:

THEME: ___ AND ___ — apparently the clues were presented as one set, with no separate Acrosses or Downs, and then for the numbers that were shared by an Across and a Down, that Across and Down formed a ___ AND ___ phrase; thus:

Theme answers:
  • STOP & STARE (1. Rubberneck)
  • PRIM & PROPER (5. Stiffly formal)
  • STARS & STRIPES (9. Old Glory)
  • SWEET & SOUR (33. Kind of sauce in Chinese cuisine)
  • BORN & BRED (41. Fully from, as a place)
  • SOCKS & SANDALS (43. Footwear fashion faux pas)
  • DRINK & DRIVE (45. Risk losing one's license, say)
  • TRIED & TRUE (56. Proven to be reliable)
Word of the Day: FOMO (66A: Anxiety about being excluded from the fun, for short) —
fear of missing out fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing (
• • •

***HELLO, READERS AND FELLOW SOLVERS!**. The calendar has turned on another year (thank God), and while that might mean a lot of things to a lot of people, for me it means it's time for my annual week-long pitch for financial contributions to the blog. Every year I ask regular readers to consider what the blog is worth to them on an annual basis and give accordingly. Last year at this time, I wrote about what a melancholy year 2019 was; my oldest dog had died and the world was kind of a wreck. And then 2020 happened, and I learned what a real wreck looks like. In February, my other dog died (R.I.P. Gabby). And then, well, COVID. And let's be honest, even with a new president, 2021 is going to be, uh, challenging as well. But I hope that the regular ritual of solving crosswords brought some solace and stability to your lives this past year, and I hope that my blog added to your enjoyment of the solving experience in some way. This year my blog will celebrate its 15th anniversary! I feel so proud! And old! A lot of labor goes into producing this blog every day (Every. Day.) and the hours are, let's say, less than ideal (I'm either solving and writing at night, after 10pm, or in the morning, before 6am). Most days, I really do love the writing, but it is work, and once a year (right now!) I acknowledge that fact. As I've said before, I have no interest in "monetizing" the blog beyond a simple, direct contribution request once a year. No ads, no gimmicks. Just here for you, every day, rain or shine, whether you like it or, perhaps, on occasion, not :) It's just me and my laptop and some free blogging software and, you know, a lot of rage, but hopefully some insight and levity along the way. I do genuinely love this gig, and whether you're an everyday reader or a Sunday-only reader or a flat-out hatereader, I appreciate you more than you'll ever know.

How much should you give? Whatever you think the blog is worth to you on a yearly basis. Whatever that amount is is fantastic. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

Second, a mailing address (checks should be made out to "Rex Parker"):

Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905

And heck, why don't I throw my Venmo handle in here too, just in case that's your preferred way of moving money around; it's @MichaelDavidSharp (the last four digits of my phone are 4878, in case Venmo asks you, which they did that one time someone contributed that way—but it worked!)

All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. I. Love. Snail Mail. I love seeing your gorgeous handwriting and then sending you my awful handwriting. It's all so wonderful. And my thank-you postcards this year are really special. They are portraits of my new cat Alfie (a bright spot of 2020), designed by artist Ella Egan, a.k.a. my daughter. And they look like this:

He's eating kale in that middle one, in case you're wondering. Anyway, these cards are personally meaningful to me, and also, I believe, objectively lovely. I can't wait to share them with the snail-mailers. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just indicate "NO CARD."  Again, as ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support. Now on to today's puzzle...

* * *

My solving experience was very different from most of yours, and not in a good way. The thing is, I can tell that if my experience *had* been the same as yours, my feelings about this puzzle wouldn't be much improved. I would've solved it more quickly, and sure, that always makes a puzzle easier to bear, but the whole concept ... just kind of bleh. I've seen this before, first of all, so there's nothing new here. And what's here, pairing-wise, is really ragged. I mean, there's a lot of it, but I'd say too much of it, as the pairs run the gamut from very tight (STARS/STRIPES, SWEET/SOUR), to tight enough (TRIED/TRUE, BORN/BRED) through the very grim (DRINK/DRIVE) down to things that don't have a tight association at all (if I said SOCKS & ___ you'd say SHOES). Also PRIM works on its own for (5. Stiffly formal), as does PROPER, but the others require the full phrase. So the themer set is ragged. This is a sight gag, really, the whole "uniclue" thing, and I can't understand caring. Also, having [Each] clue EVERY was a major distraction, as all I could think was "why isn't EACH & EVERY an answer in this puzzle??" My themers were hard to figure out initially, as my solving software presented the clues in regular format, and then the Down half of the themer just said [See notepad]. Of course I never ever [See notepad] when I'm told to [See notepad], so I made it hard on myself. I wonder if my way wasn't actually *more* fun, since I at least had to struggle to put the gimmick together. But in any format, I'm gonna pass on this whole "uniclue" thing that the NYTXW is trying to make happen. 

Fillwise this was average. Some good stuff (KNOCK IT OFF!, he said, to the puzzle) some less good (UOMO ESSENE FROS TRUTV RIATA WASA IATE). I'm definitely not pro-TIER TWO, as it doesn't feel like enough of a thing, but at least it's weird instead of boring (29. Second-level). I remain legit stunned that anyone thought DRINK & DRIVE was an appropriately whimsical phrase for a crossword theme, just as I'm stunned that "losing one's license" is the "risk" they've decided to worry about. [Risk killing pedestrians, say]—how do you like that clue? Sound good? No? OK, then maybe rethink what you're doing here. 

OK, I gotta get back to watching GA election results (which is to say, watching people celebrate said results on Twitter). I feel like the write-up is a little light tonight, but maybe that's appropriate for a puzzle that's a little light on clues. To make up for the short write-up, here's some pictures I took today while *trying* to work at my desk. Take care!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:04 AM  

I enjoyed it!
Crossword rules are made to be


(Yeah, I know. But it's the best I could do. So sue me!)

Frantic Sloth 12:11 AM  

Fun puzz - once I downloaded it to PuzzAzz so I could see the note. I'll ask again: why can't the NYT website show these stupid notes??? It is so maddening!
I suppose that eventually I could have solved without the note, but the website was acting all squirrelly whenever I tried to enter anything around the theme answers. Just ridiculous and totally unnecessary.

I've already cranked too much, so on to the puzzle...

This was a fun Wednesdee that was actually on a par with(or an improvement over) some recent Thursdees, IMHO. Tight theme with no outliers that I could see and the fill was just fine.

I especially liked MADEATOAST, KNOCKITOFF, and to a lesser degree, ODOREATER - mostly because it led me to ARDOREATER, which is a good synonym for party pooper or killjoy.

Maybe this was a side-effect of the two-word corner themes, but I noticed a couple of places where a word would go in one direction and then make a 90° turn to make the same word. The sole perfect example of this is TROI. Then there were the nearly right angle ones like TORAH, RONA, THRU, and RIATA.

Aside from this obviously Nobel prize level discovery, I noticed nothing special.


jae 12:18 AM  

Easy-medium. Actually taking the time to read the note was really helpful. Instead of slashing through the grid with no idea of what was going on (my usual approach to “NOTED” puzzles), I started off with 1 a/d and just kept going. No WOES and no erasures, liked it quite a bit more than @Rex did.

Frantic Sloth 12:23 AM  

Rex makes an excellent point about "each" & EVERY and how they should have been one of the themers. As it is, "each" doesn't mean EVERY in a real sense. It might make "crossword sense", but what sense is that? Note to self: Stop saying "sense".

Love that cat!! Is that Alfie or the other one? (I forgot the name! πŸ™„)

Syndicate Bob 12:53 AM  

Hated it. Why? It was hard to unlearn where to find the clue. Only way it could have been worse was if they put the clues in random rather than numerical order. Would that be clever and neat? No. Here is an idea, instead of numbering the clues use formulas, square roots, or exponentiation you have to solve to match clue with answer. Hated “Uniclue” the first time I saw this trick. Still do.

Z 1:12 AM  

I didn’t realize this “snappy” (that’s Sloth’s adjective) tune fit today’s theme when I posted it last night.
And @Frantic says I’m repeating my New Pornographers links, so maybe we can get @Gill I to sing us Spanish Techno.

The note in the print version is different than what Rex posted. Gotta love when the technology messes with the solving experience. I’ve seen the “uniclue” thing before. Much like a unibrow, a little tweezing would help. Not a fault of the this style of presentation, but I’m trained to look for clues in specific spots on the printed page, so finding the clue I wanted to read wasted precious seconds. Irksome. Beyond that this seemed like a puzzle more interesting to construct than to solve.

Just because
And Phoebe Bridgers

Pablo 1:47 AM  

I think the Bornstein is trying to do too much. Doing more is not necessarily better if it doesn't fit into the bigger theme motif elegantly. Between the each and EVERY clue, the sometimes crossing themers, and not all of them requiring the whole phrase, the lack of consistency is a bit disappointing. In his notes, he even mentions wanting to include a double clue like "OVER and OVER" or "NECK and NECK." Pick one set of rules and stick to them man!

I also take umbrage with the ISNOT/ESSENE crossing. Nothing else makes sense there, so it's easy enough, but as far as grunting versions of the word "no," I'd place "nuh-uh" and even "uh-uh" far before "huh-uh" in terms of readable vocalizations.

Otherwise, I enjoyed it. Very quick for a Wednesday.

chefwen 1:54 AM  

I usually print out the puzzle in Across Lite because the squares are bigger and my eyes thank me. After the fourth (see notepad) I went back and printed it out in the newspaper version, I know, wasted ink, but it saved me a lot of grief. Seeing all the uniclues in order really threw me off, that was just weird. Finally got the hang of things and finished with a flourish.

Loved the clue for I FOLD. Fun puzzle, but once was enough.

TTrimble 2:02 AM  

Not really grasping the hate. It seemed straightforward enough, and I breezed through this much faster than my average Wednesday.

@Frantic Sloth
I solve these puzzles in the online edition of the paper. Above the puzzle, the notes read:

"In the print version of this "uniclue" crossword, the clues appear in a single list, combining Across and Down. When two answers share a number, they also share a clue."

Are you seeing something different? For the Downs, it says "[See notepad]". I think I caught on quickly enough.

I liked the long downs MADE A TOAST and KNOCK IT OFF, and also ESSENE and UOMO. I do not care for ODOREATER: too commercial. Nice to see the name of SIDNEY Poitier. Liked the clue for TAMPA. Agree with Rex on TIER TWO: it's clunky.

I do not know TRU TV and I'm not even sure I read the clue: I was filling in Downs and that's what emerged. (I have a fairly narrow palate when it comes to TV, or rather I just wind up (half-)watching whatever the rest of the family is tuning into, whether cable or Netflix or Amazon or YouTube or heaven knows.) Anyway, Impractical Jokers, what's that. Anything like that odious Punk'd? God, I hated that show and Ashton Kutcher's punchable face. I rather like Dave Chappelle's take on it.

(Well, looking up IJ, it seems more like Jackass or something, perhaps going more for cringe than physical pain. Definitely seems to skew "guy".)

SB: -0 yesterday.

albatross shell 2:04 AM  

What I liked about it:
IFOLD , great clue.

MADE A BOAST cause not knowing my OLAs from my OLos, I had A BOOST which solved to MADEABOOST. Well gaveABOOST maybe. Oh, that question mark. tOAST? rOAST? Aha BOAST. That was fun.

But what made this puzzle special was the integration of grid structure and theme. Each and every corner that had a word starting both Eastward and Southward had a pair of theme answers. Talk about consistent themes. You got it here.

What I didn't like:

The myriad of double POCs didn't matter much.

What I didn't care about at all:
[See notepad]
Just ignored it. If I needed to understand that clue to claim a solve then I did not solve.

JFS 4:53 AM  

Welp, I had no idea that [See Notepad] had anything at all to do with the Puzzle Notes, so I was completely mystified. Very poor clueing there. I did figure out the gimmick though, and my time wasn’t awful, so I guess I won’t complain too much.

Todd 4:58 AM  

Uomo crossing Trutv was hard for me. If I ever knew Uomo it wasn't coming and I 100% I never heard of trutv

mkyritsis 5:24 AM  

I loved it. Once I got the point I found it logical and friendly. I missed on UOMO, wrote homo, because i'm not up on fancy TV names, hardly ever turn it on. Too many other interesting things to do, like reading a book.

mkyritsis 5:26 AM  

PS: loved the cat. They do hate to be ignored.

Loren Muse Smith 5:44 AM  

I guess we all have our little dealies that get under our skin. Rex – you hate notes to read before solving. A consummate game-player and rule-follower, I can’t share your anger. Note says to change into some winter pajamas and use a pink pen while solving, and I’m all over that s%$#. I accept the daily puzzle and whatever challenge it offers happily and obediently.

[My rage dealie is when the sign clearly says that the right lane is ending and you need to scootch into the left lane. I scootch early and then hate all the sneaky sneaks who come up on my right, pass me, and then put their blinker on to scootch in in front of me. I know that their way, merging at the last minute, helps keep congestion down, but I’ll happily sit 10 minutes longer if it means that that jerk who was behind me and now wants to merge in front of me sits there while we early-mergers inch past him. I usually try to have a look on my face, distracted, as I pass him so he doesn’t understand that my goal was to have him sit there.]

Rex – I had only one margin note: “Each” and EVERY. Again, though, we differ in our reactions. I like little hints of the theme here and there; it never distracts me, laser-focused solving beast that I am.

“Orange discard” – where do you even start with a gem clue like this? I usually just throw my orange discard away and am happy never to give it another thought. It’s oily and useless.

@Frantic – love your ARDOR EATER.

@ mkyritsis and @Todd – I agree on the toughness of the UOMO/TRU TV cross.

“Store hours word” – UNTIL. I like the hastily-hand-made signs on establishments. And words like quarantine are just the gift that keeps on giving. So I saw one sign that said admonished people who were feeling sick to go home and corn teen themselves. Think about this a minute. Not the misspelling but rather the confusion the poor guy who made the sign must feel about corn teening - where the heck that expression came from and what the heck it really means. Did he think Lebron James, Rookie of the Year at age 19, was a pro teen?

I thought that SOCKS and SANDALS was a Thing right now for guys. The footwear faux pas my mom always preached against was wearing a shoe that was a lighter color than your skirt. I still can’t bring myself to do it. (Rex – with some major grid revision, Eric could have put SCRATCH/SNIFF for 43 across and down. Hah. Scratch and sniff, the Do-I-Need-a-Shower maneuver perfected by high school boys everywhere.)

Loved the clue for WORN.

I liked this trick a lot and attacked each alliterative X and X expression with relish. Hard not to stare off and think of others: rock and roll, short and sweet, thick and thin (my misshapen bagels), sticks and stones. . .

I’ll leave you with this clip. ORCAS prey on cute little otters, too. This one has a happy ending.

Lewis 5:56 AM  

Alternate answers HOOTIN' AND HOLLERIN' and ROCKIN' AND ROLLIN' come to mind as I peruse today's front page...

s r 5:58 AM  

Not only is there DRINK and DRIVE, there is MADEATOAST, and rubberneck. Not OK.

kitshef 6:21 AM  

I would not have gone for Leeds to clue YORK. You’ve got Nether Poppleton, Acaster Malbis or Allerton Mauleverer right there to use.

Grandparents lived in Kingston-upon-Hull and I spent a lot of time in my youth in the general area between YORK, Hull and Scarborough. Strongly recommend a Dracula tour in Whitby and the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, if you are in the area.

I don’t know if it is a natural outcome of the puzzle style, but there are a lot of close crosses today: ROI/tROI, RONi/RONa, fOMO/uOMO, drINK/oINK

RANT and RAVE 6:48 AM  

What's this "notepad" bullshit?? If you want me to read a note tell me to read the goddamn note. I don't look for notes. This is not a regular thing. This whole puzzle is an outlier. Notepad? How am I supposed to make any sense of that?! Giant POS puzzle!

Z 7:02 AM  

@TTrimble - Yes, the print version note reads:
Note: The clues in this “uniclue” crossword appear in a single list, combining Across and Down. When two answers share a number, they also share a clue, in a manner to be determined.

@LMS - Oh Ho! So you’re one of Them. Early Mergers grind my goat. Here, let me reframe it for you. That “get over early” thing you had ingrained into the depths of your soul, when applied to a construction zone, is the equivalent of insisting that people know the difference between “who” and “whom” or “lie” and “lay.” Throw of the shackles of thinking what works great at McDonalds works just as well on an interstate. On the interstate your “rule” makes thing worse for everyone. Zippering is best.

Unknown 7:09 AM  

A pleasure to figure out the two word combinations.

Loren Muse Smith 7:16 AM  

@Z- I know this. I still can’t help it. But you’re absolutely right.

Dan Sachs 7:22 AM  

When I read the "Orange discard" clue my first thought was of a political nature.

Guilherme Gama 7:22 AM  

Underrated comment right here.

SouthsideJohnny 7:24 AM  

Yesterday a small contingent of us were lamenting about how evil and inferior the dreaded PPP clues are, and today we have a text book example (in fact, I would go so far to say that Shortz has really outdone himself today). I have no idea who ROI Lewis (or Lewis ROI) is or was, and I have no clue who the (fictional?) TROI Deanna (or Deanna TROI) is/was. So if you are left with T_OI crossing _OI we will give you 13 guesses so that you have about a 50% chance at a successful completion. Awful, absurd, unnecessary . . . It really stinks - and even more unfortunately, is not at all uncommon from the current NYT regime. Yuk.

ChuckD 7:29 AM  

I didn’t mind the gimmick - presentation was a little goofy in the app. Liked SWEET/SOUR and TRIED/TRUE. DRINK/DRIVE is a little rough. KNOCK IT OFF is a nice long non-themer.

Overall fill I though was flat. Side eye to the TROI X ROI, FOMO x UOMO and RONA x RONI crossings. Actually we’ve had enough of the RONA so keep that out anyway. Liked RATPACK.

Not my favorite puzzle.

amyyanni 7:33 AM  

Uniclue makes me think of unibrow, which I kinda have. My sis in law once told me I had on too much eyebrow pencil,something I've never used in my life. Ouch.
Puzzle was amusing. Like yesterday, an abundance of themers. One of my cats is staring at me to say she's starving (IDIDNTEAT) so 'bye.

bocamp 7:43 AM  

Thank you, @Eric. This was a fun puzzle! Enjoyed seeing the theme unfold, from not fully grokking to totally getting it halfway thru. Very nice, indeed! :)

Medium solve, with some crunch; lots of stuff I could relate to.

Rented a houseboat on Dal Lake, Srinagar, in the Kashmir Valley of "India" ('70).

Fan of Rice-A-Roni (The San Francisco Treat!) since '66. Had to say goodbye last year; doesn't quite meet vegan criteria. :(

The "Stars and Stripes" Forever - John Philip Sousa

yd 0 / td -1

Peace and Tolerance πŸ•Š

JD 7:44 AM  

So much here to love. Favorite highway sign is Thru Traffic Merge Left. Reducing that instruction to 20 letters so melodiously is impressive. I hope the Democrats change the spelling of the ridiculous Through. It's time.

Socks and Sandals. What greater footwear experience can there be. Shoes of preference look like they were made from a recycled tire, with elegant thin white socks that I buy in 6 packs from Amazon. Complete the ensemble with my high waisted skinny jeans, fake fur jacket and a mask, and I notice people at the grocery store staring in admiration.

I love the single clue concept here and its execution, solid themers. Finished in Tuesday time with a little quick thought and without my usual typo.

Ted 7:44 AM  

This was a simple enough theme and a fun puzzle. Good for a Wednesday to introduce some more timid solvers to a little razzle dazzle. Just a little.

All y'all who refuse to read the notes and use some wacky third party software need to probably like... not do that so much? Or keep doing it. But it clearly aggravates all of you to no end.

The NYT website version works fine. Just fine. You don't want to use that? Cool! Go, be free! But please stop complaining so bitterly and so often about your degraded solving experience.

Rex. You need to read the notes. You sound like a crazy person sometimes... I can't count how many times you've repeated this complaint about "I won't read the notes and my solve was SUPER BAD because of it!"

They don't print a lot of notes. Read the notes.

Anonymous 7:55 AM  

The problem with solving on software is that sometimes the software can't render the puzzle correctly as intended,and you're left with a mess like this.I felt completely cheated out of all of the fun of this puzzle by the notes, and especially by the yellow highlighting when you were in a theme slot. Who thought it was a great idea to spoon feed the online solvers and leave the good challenge to the print solvers? Lastly, I think it's unfair to the constructor to completely undermine their theme with this nonsense. We have puzzles with colored squares, blinking things, etc, and yet you couldn't render this simple concept correctly? Bah.

mmorgan 8:12 AM  

I never understand why Rex so adamantly refuses to read notes.

Frantic Sloth 8:20 AM  

@TTrimble 202am I had to go back to the puzzle page: no note. Since I also got "see notepad"ed to death, it occurred to me to check the big blue "i", (which I always ignore) and as they say in internet-speak wahlah! There be the note. Thank you!

@LMS Didn't realize it until the happy ending, but that video had my stomach in knots the entire time! I was the otter! Thanks for sharing - always enjoy a cute animal video. 😊

@Z 792am Does it matter that my motives are less pure concern for easing the traffic sitch and more being impatient AF? Coincidentally, also why I'm not a fan of that whole "see [fill-in-the-blank]" crap. It's the lookie-loo from hell.

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

For "orange discard" I originally had "Trump"

Eugene Debs’ Ghost 8:23 AM  

Feel the Bern and Raul Castro. Appropriate answers in a day that is crucial to our inexorable march to becoming New Venezuela. Nice work comrades.

Hungry Mother 8:27 AM  

Guessed wrong at FOMO/FOnO. Have no idea what it would mean and have no interest knowing. I’ll gladly get it wrong again.

TTrimble 8:33 AM  

@Southside Johnny
I'm sure I'll be neither the first nor last to say this, but this "Lewis" is actually Louis and they're referring to French kings, the last of whom was Louis XVI. ROI is French for "king".

Mike Herlihy 8:35 AM  

Louis (XVIII) was the last king (ROI) of France.

TTrimble 8:41 AM  

Hm, I'll bet Rex doesn't read notes because it would take away precious speed-solving time.

But, I agree with @Ted and @LMS. Read the notes.

As a teacher, I expect my students to read my syllabus, read my write-ups and notes, etc., etc. Rex is a teacher too, and presumably expects his students to do the same. Doctor Sharp, Heal Thyself. Read The Notes.

Alternatively: don't. But then quit your bellyaching, because you have only yourself to blame.

SouthsideJohnny 8:45 AM  

@TTrimble - OMG, my worst fear has been realized ! They've made it even worse - a foreign language PPP crossing the completely indecipherable TROI. Wow, like I said, Shortz really outdid himself today - and has definitely established a new high in low. Brace yourselves everyone, the apocalypse is upon us.

TJS 8:47 AM  

@Southside, you crack me up.

I'm with @LMS if the lane crasher ain't got no etiquette, comes flyin' up on the right and tries to push his way in. UhUh, not happenin'. Put on your signal and glance back for approval, no prob.

Rex "I would have solved it more quickly, and that always makes a puzzle easier to bear". I disagree absolutely, and that is why this puzzle was just a waste of time to me, because there was no degree of difficulty to the fill. This could have been a Monday without the gimmick, and I always hope wednesdays start to turn the corner re. difficulty. On to the archive.

CDilly52 9:02 AM  

@Rex-your daughter is gifted! And I would say that as an art enthusiast even if I were not also a “crazy cat lady.” All of the cards truly capture cat spirit as well as Allie specifically. I hope you have had the original artwork framed.

So the puzz-my NYT app did show the note. I start each puzzle by opening the grid to see what augurs there and then I look at the constructor(s) name(s). And it a note appears, I read it.

Today, I almost wish I had not read the note so that I could enjoy at least a brief tussle figuring out the gimmick but alas read I did and I ripped through this with exactly zero resistance other than the sluggishness of typing with my thumbs on my phone.

Some very cute clues, my fave being “Pen sound” for OINK. Cute. Also liked “. . . Not going to call” for I FOLD and “raised. . . Spirits” for MADE A TOAST (although that one was obvious - enjoyed it nonetheless.

This was a very silly Wednesday. Kudos to Mr. Bernstein.

Z 9:02 AM  

@LMS - I know, you and millions of others. Ingrained so so deep. I blame kindergarten teachers for being too good at their jobs.

@Frantic Sloth - The irony is that the impatient AF people, who might normally be viewed as being selfish, are the people actually doing the unselfish thing by staying in their less cluttered lane until the last. Our societal antipathy towards line cutters is usually a good thing, but here is one instance where you can be as impatient AF and wear the Halo of Virtuosity™️.* πŸ₯

New Yorker Spoiler, don’t click if you plan to solve. I was 40+ when I learned this was a Canadian singing about the US, not his ex-girlfriend.

*Yes, I know what it means. That’s intentional.

Todd 9:04 AM  

I do think Rex should self evaluate why he feels the need to have the vapors when any Republican politician or celebrity who leans rigth makes the puzzle but has no issues with an actually murderer like Raul Castro. How many people did his brother and he put in front of a firing squad in the day. I guess in Rex's world Tom Selleck or Ted Nugent is way worse than a Castro brother. Which shows an awful big blind sport in Rex.

mathgent 9:12 AM  

Very nice puzzle. Eight three-word phrases with "and" in the middle and the two ends beginning with the same letter. Sweet.

One of the best things about being in Hawaii is that I can wear shorts, tees, and flip-flops every day. One of my sons has pointed out that it isn't cool to wear socks with the flip-flops but it's more comfortable that way.

My favorite word puzzles are the variety puzzles in the Saturday WSJ. They often have novel rules for filling in the grid. I usually end up reading the rules several times in order to solve.

Cute clue for IFOLD.

Penulis Konten Freelance - WA/HP 0812.134.5587 9:12 AM  

I love this puzzle

Mr. Cheese 9:15 AM  

I solved without understanding what “see notepad” meant. I got the trick at 1A. Stop & Stare.
What notepad is being referred to? Uh,oh! The preposition thing again!

KnittyContessa 9:30 AM  

Didn't take long to figure out what was going on. I thought it was fun. I loved SOCKS/SANDALS.

The only place I stumbled was DRINK/DRIVE. I had DRuNK at first and TROu looked fine to me.

Did anyone else see Orange Discard and think January 20th?

Z 9:38 AM  

@Ted7:44 - Two things. First, “Notes” often contain info that can be considered spoilers, so many people eschew them because they want the challenge. Indeed, you mischaracterized what Rex wrote. He didn’t say his solving experience was super bad, he said the opposite, I wonder if my way wasn't actually *more* fun, since I at least had to struggle to put the gimmick together.
Second, it is an ongoing software issue that the online versions do not faithfully replicate the printed, intended, version for puzzles that stretch the usual format. Once again, PuzzAzz, an iOS only app, seems to be the only software that actually presents the puzzle mostly as intended (it does have the altered note and the annoying highlighting thing). Very very rarely (maybe twice) the print version hasn’t replicated the intended online version. Most often what we see is like today, where the online solve is a degraded version of the puzzle. So, no, the NYTX website version doesn’t work just fine. I find all the complaints annoying, too, but they are justified.

@TTrimble 8:41 - Please see paragraph 1 above.

@TJS - Ah, another one in the thrall of kindergarten teachers. No Halo of Virtuosity™️ for you.

@Southside Johnny - ROI is coming to a puzzle near you soon. Anything kingly and foreign language in the clue and it is probably the answer.

@Hungry Mother - FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out - As in doing something not because you want to do it but because you are afraid of missing something fun or not being “one of the cool kids.”

TTrimble 9:39 AM  

"Not the misspelling but rather the confusion the poor guy who made the sign must feel about corn teening - where the heck that expression came from and what the heck it really means."

My own guess is that the poor guy wrote that without a second thought or feeling, either about origin or meaning. Or if there was a thought, it was quickly displaced by another and then forgotten.

(It would be nice if that were some kind of eggcorn, but I can't imagine what it might be.)

***Oops Alert***
I acknowledge that my knowledge of French kings is spotty. Maybe I was thinking before the Revolution. But does Wikipedia's account invalidate the accuracy of 38 Across? Talk amongst youselves.

***SB Alert***
I think I set a PR this morning getting to QB. Fellow SB-ers: give it a try. (Also got to QB yesterday, but that took a lot longer.)

RooMonster 9:42 AM  

Hey All !
In a perfect world, the "zippering" thing works terrific, but, naturally, you get the assholes on the road whose sole goal is to beat Every. Single. Car. on the road, trying to get as far up as they can, to show their superiority/machismo/assholery (you know it's men 9 out of 10 times). And then they cut in front of you with no blinker, almost hitting your car, making you hit the brakes, which causes others to hit their brakes, further exacerbating the whole situation and causing traffic to be backed up more. It's worse when driving a Limo, because they see a long car, and then Really want to get ahead of it, as if they don't, they'll never get to where they are going. You see these idiots all the time flying down the highway, weaving in and out of traffic as if the rules don't apply to them. Then wonder how it happened if they get into an accident. Bitter? Nah...

That Rant aside, thought this puz pretty neat. Saw (and read!) the note, so went to the "Print" part of puz, which on the NYT App, usually has the online version, and the paper version, and clicked on "Newspaper Version", and saw the singular clue list. Studied it a bit, and realized that doing that, turned it into an all Down solve, essentially. Saw how it worked, said "Cool", and went back to the online solve with the "See notepad", and solved away. Turned out to be a quick solve. Plus, 100% correct!!

I've seen this trick before, but EVERY once in a while, it's fine. Isn't variety the spice of life?

TRUTV is for my ilk, the immature! Although, Impractical Jokers is a stupid show to me. It's four guys who pull practical jokes on unsuspecting people, with one guy doing it while the other three tell him what to do. As a Non-fan of practical jokes in general, it doesn't tickle my fancy.

No gripes about dupe TRUE and TRUTV. Har, had to get a nit in!

I'll just KNOCK IT OFF now.

Three F's

Newboy 9:47 AM  

Fun and games didn’t fit, but still appropriate! Now back to enjoy Rex’s kitty & yall.

pabloinnh 9:59 AM  

On this of all days, the numbers in the left hand margin disappeared when I printed the puzzzle out. I had to go back and fill them in, along with the first letters in some words. Also, the explanatory note read like a bad translation. I did catch on to the two-way stuff sooner rather than later, and have done enough crosswords to be able to fill in each particular square with the correct letter, but I'm afraid this one wins Most Annoying Puzzle in Recent Memory. Yikes.

@LMS, thanks for posting an otter video, but I'm not going to watch anything that even suggests something bad is going to happen to an otter. Just too awful to contemplate.

About the only enjoyment I got out of this one was wnodering if a FOMO UONO is some strange kind of Italian man. Hope so.

How about a nice rebus tomorrow? Fingers crossed.

Also, way to go Georgia!

Z 10:00 AM  

@LMS - Your state gets to brag.

A 10:04 AM  

Happy Feast of Lights, or, Trying to keep the wax from dripping on your hand in the car on the way home Day!

Good Wednesday puzzle. Only a few complaints mostly covered by OFL. What about TRUE/TRUTV? It seems that each and EVERY NYT puzzle this whole year has had some such duplication. Are we being punished for complaining about them? Oh, and by the way, never rub your dogs nose in his accidents.

I liked seeing the neighbors today:
(bit of a food theme going there)
and my favorite, INERT 'RONA. The day we can play and attend live concerts cannot come too soon.

Speaking of (sadly, not live, but great) music, I highly recommend the "Five minutes that will make you love the flute" that is in today's NYT. There are several wonderfully contrasting styles represented. Plus, it's something to do besides wait for elections results.

Looking forward to throwing the RINDs on the compost heap.

Seeing PIETIN was almost as good as Rex's photos today. Actually, PIETIN/INDIA makes me think of food again.

@Frantic I noticed a few of your almost right-angle words but not TROI - SWEET EYES!

I did notice I FOLD, I ATE, I SNOT.

Seems to me if everyone followed the same merging rule then either would work. I do believe that most people who pass on the right are just trying to get ahead, not honorably following a rule they believe in. Present company excepted, @Z.

@Loren, I can't wait to see the note telling us to put on our winter pj's and use a pink pen. There's so much potential there I wish whoever is inserting all those doubles in our 2021 puzzles would get to work on it. And they should also put corn teening in there someplace. That is too awesome to let get away.

TTrimble 10:08 AM  

Sorry, I find it a slight stretch to put that in the PPP category: that there were French kings named Louis can be safely assumed as background knowledge for adults of ordinary education. (I think of PPP as connoting people, product, places that "you either happen to know them or you don't", i.e., calling on more specialized knowledge, but this should be general knowledge.) Also, ROI seems to be pretty common in crosswords. Seems to me about par for a Wednesday.

Here's another point of view: it makes sense to spend more time criticizing politicians in your own country, because really that's the only country where you have any *reasonable* hope of exerting an influence of whatever sort: letters to your congressperson, letters to the editor, the ballot box, peaceful assembly and protest, etc. So while there are awful politicians in other countries, there it's more a case of, "yeah, well, what are you gonna do?", whereas here, there's plenty one can do and say.

So that's why it makes sense to me that Rex wouldn't necessarily wax apoplectic about Raul Castro, but would about things that disturb him in his own country.

Frantic Sloth 10:11 AM  

@Z 902am Thanks for the Frisbee hat. I have a drawer full of halos, but no Halo of Virtuosity™.

@pabloinnh 959am To answer your question: UOMO FOMO CUOMO was a politician in Italy who was the ancestral inspiration to the Cuomos of today.

Ted 10:18 AM  

@Z - He kind of goes back and forth on whether it's good or bad... the very start of his review:

"My solving experience was very different from most of yours, and not in a good way. The thing is, I can tell that if my experience *had* been the same as yours, my feelings about this puzzle wouldn't be much improved."

So that's not a super happy solving experience. ;)

Fweedom 10:30 AM  

@Ttrimble- Now do Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who are a much graver threat to our country than any R politician.

Nancy 10:30 AM  

A terrific trick -- expertly pulled off and lots of fun for the solver. It's lively, it's imaginative, it's different. I can't remember anything else by this constructor -- I have a lot of trouble remembering constructors and their puzzles -- but I would imagine I've always liked him. I like the way his mind works.

As for the way my mind works: it's not all that flexible, truth to tell. The process of filling this in: well, I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. If I'd been doing this in a tournament under time pressure, it would have driven me crazy. So much time was wasted looking for the clues. Fortunately, though, I had all the time in the world.

And huge kudos for Eric's almost complete avoidance of proper names. It can be done, constructors!!!! It really can!

I also love the way 28D runs through the wonderfully surprising SOCKS AND SANDALS. Yes, that's a really, really terrible look. KNOCK IT OFF!

Joaquin 10:30 AM  

@pabloinnh (9:59) - For future reference: When the puzzle prints in a funky way as it did today (numbers not printing properly) you can overcome this problem by downloading the puzzle to your desktop and then printing it from there.

Frantic Sloth 10:31 AM  

@A 1004am I'd like to second your recommendation for that article and here's the link. The "5 minutes" is a tad misleading, but who cares? In particular, the Concerto In D minor (C.P.E. Bach) performed by Emmanuel Pahud, with introductory note by Brandon Patrick George, left me gobsmacked. Stunning virtuosity. Should get a halo. πŸ˜‰

@TTrimble 1008am Good point re: Rex, but I seem to recall him railing against foreign "questionables" at times as well. I have no examples to cite, but maybe @Z can back me up or you can both tell me to go $&!t in my Halo of Virtuosity™ and pull it down over my ears.

Whatsername 10:35 AM  

OLA and what great fun! Didn’t fully understand the concept at first and thought I was in serious trouble, so I jumped in and started plopping in the obvious. It WAS A good plan and what looked to be a big THUD quickly became a SWEET solve. An absolute marvel that I loved from start to finish. I bow to your awesome power of construction Mr. Bornstein, and thank you.

I solve on paper which seems like it may have simplified the process compared to using an app. My biggest challenge was finding the clues. EVERY time I TRIED to go back to the place where a clue would normally appear in a traditional across/down format, I felt like I was DRIVING on the wrong side of the road. I may need a DRINK later. Or a big bowl of EDY’s butter pecan.

Stayed up late last night like many, and more must-watch TV today with the circus spectacle this afternoon. What an utter disgrace to the STARS and STRIPES. At least it’ll be a good time for a nap. Maybe @John X will STOP stop by with one of his YARNS. πŸ₯±

Crimson Devil 10:38 AM  

Really enjoyed puz and format. Best and timeliest clue: ORANGE DISCARD. I hereby raise a TOAST to Stacy Abrams.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

@Ted 9:04. The only person worse than Ted Nugent is the Trumpman himself.

Newboy 10:49 AM  

Zippered right THRU comments both SWEET & SOUR to realize that like @LMS I seethe as I STOP & STARE as @Z buzzes by in the slow!! lane....and yet I know it’s more effective. Just another of those human moments when head and heart don’t play nice. And I missed a kindergarten to keep me in line.

I wanna go shopping with @JD whose super supermarket experience seems a model of rectitude for us PRIM & PROPER ones — IF OLD or not.

Expected more puckish whimsical reaction to Eric’s delightful froth of a grid, but maybe we’re too distracted by Georgia polling to take anything lightly. Whatever? I will simply grin and bear it.

burtonkd 10:50 AM  

Hands up for "read the notes already". The Times site gave fair warning what is up, plus let you know that you could/should print the puzzle for the intended solving experience (I didn't). It's nice every so often to have a stunt like this and felt Wed appropriate.

@LMS, Z, et al: Here in NY, we have a critical mass of people who wait until the last minute, so the zippering this works. I took my NY driving habits to the Pacific NW and stayed in the lane until the last minute and was prevented from entering by at least 30 cars doing the LMS move - we know you see us. I didn't make that maneuver again out there, when in Rome... Way more generous, kind people in NY that let you in without a thought, proving again that the regional reputation is undeserved (but don't tell anyone).

Now that we know LMS is the poster driver for anti-zippering, the one I want to know is: who are the people who drive 5 mph under the speed limit in the left lane forcing everyone to pass them on the right. They tend to wear hats a lot, plus in the current era, they tend to also wear a mask in the car by themselves. They can clog up a highway for miles at a time.

pabloinnh 10:51 AM  

@Joaquin-Thanks for the help. I've read that before, and probably tried it before. I'm unsure if seeing the proper printed version of this one would have increased my enjoyment considerably, but maybe.

@fraslo-Good to know about the Cuomos--I always assumed that the patriarch was a majordomo in a dojo, so I'll let go of that one.

Frantic Sloth 10:52 AM  

@Crimson Devil 1038am Cheers!

***Apropos of Nothing Alert***

I smell controversy. The ugly kind.

It seems the impending loss of control over the US Senate has prompted the bubbling up of more political commentary than the average bear cares to tolerate - and I foresee it only getting worse - so until tomorrow, my friends. And good luck to youz!

Anoa Bob 10:55 AM  

Still not sure what this "uniclue" thingie is. I did the NYT online version, then checked the Across Lite and the NYT print version, and still couldn't see how it was much different from the usual "multiclue" version. Is that all there is, just having a single list of clues rather than an Across and a Down list? Would not that work for any puzzle? Seems like a distinction without a difference.

Yeah, I got the "When two answers start with the same number, they also share a clue" schtick right out of the gate with STOP and STARE and then pretty much filled in the other ones in without any crosses. Then I thought maybe the 6D RONI crossing 15A RONA was part of the "uniclue" trick and then ROI/TROI, FOMO/UOMO, WASA/USA and IATE/RIATA kept me looking for something that apparently wasn't there. If the STOP/STARE, et al., was the only thing going on here, why do we even need a "note"? Just putting all the clues in numerical order rather than splitting them into Across and Down clues doesn't add anything to the puzzle that I can see.

I guess if one wears SOCKS and SANDALS, there isn't much need for ODOR EATERs.

I did enjoy seeing the rarely seen, much larger version of Michelangelo's Pietà, the Pietìn.

Barbara S. 10:55 AM  

Repetitively Redundant All Around Alliterative Story Saga

Aidan Abet here. I’m sitting in the courtroom on trial for my life, but I’m cool and collected, in perfect balance: I’m Yin and Yang. This is merely one of my many trials and tribulations. They say I helped rob the bed and breakfast, pulled some kind of grab and go routine, but it’s not true. Here’s Sloan Steady, the prosecuting attorney. God, he’s weirdly tall and thin, but he always looks so happy and healthy, so nice and neat. “Where were you on the night of Friday, February 14?” he demands. “Objection!” shouts my own lawyer, Rakan Ruin, “Asked and answered.” I love it when he gets down and dirty and I must say, he’s defended my interests loud and long through thick and thin. There was that time when the judge reprimanded him for ranting and raving, but that just demonstrated his vim and vigor. I look toward the public benches at my kith and kin. Hey, there’s Jack and Jill! Really, they have such an on and off, mix and match marriage that I thought they’d split. OK, back to business. DA Steady is summing up. I really can’t believe my eyes and ears at the picture of me he’s painting. And I won’t soon forgive and forget, let me tell you: he’s completely muddled fact and fantasy! Well, you know what they say: sticks and stones… The jury’s making notes; they’re scribbling furiously with pen and pencil. My defender, Mr. Ruin, after some initial hemming and hawing has turned to address the court and he’s really rocking and rolling. Well, it’s now or never. It’s up to judge and jury. Those twelve, with my fate in their hands, file out quickly and quietly. But I’m not worried. I know I’ll end up safe and sound. And tonight, in celebration, me and mine will jump and jive at a wild and woolly wingding!

pmdm 10:57 AM  

Whatever the rationale, I don't get why some people insist upon retaining behavior that robs them of enjoyment. I'm not a fan of hedonism. But I'm not a fan of masochism. On the other hand, I am a fan of this puzzle, which perhaps should have been published on a Wednesday as it felt too easy to me for a Thursday.

GILL I. 10:58 AM  

Well....let's see. This felt like eating my Eggs Benedict on Monday. We all know that that is probably worse than wearing SOCKS with SANDALS unless you're shopping at Walmart. And of course I read the note. I read all notes. I obey the law. If there is a fire, I pull that little thing that says "In Case Of Fire Pull This Thing."
I got to the STARS & STRIPES and let out a little "Star Spangled Banner" song. I especially like singing the red parts we washed.
So this was different. I like different. I actually watched @Z's Pornographers link and wondered if I could pull off my favorite drag queen, Ru. Paul impressions. He's taller than I am.
@Todd: 9:04....RAUL is a peach compared to Fidel. The killing machine was CHE. Raul has actually tried to bring some sort of democracy to my island. He met with Obama and they tried to forge a decent relationship with the USofA. The Orange Rind nixed that, but........there may be hope with our new administration. I'm keeping EYEs on Pence......will he or will he not?

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

or Todd, sorry.

Carola 11:02 AM  

Reading the note, I thought, "On a Wednesday?!" (it sounded hard). But then, for 1A/D I gave up on "gawp" and "gape," took some time to STOP and STARE at that corner, and then caught on. The rest was easy fun. Nicely constructed puzzle!

@kitshef 6:21 - I have fondest memories of a 1998 trip to York and its surroundings, from the sublime (the cathedral; the abbey ruins in the neighborhood) to the, well, also sublime (a scone known as a Fat Rascal at Betty's Tea Room).

What? 11:05 AM  

Would’ve been more fun if they left out the note.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

@Nancy. I agree with your take on socks and sandals. Another bad one is dark socks when wearing shorts. Combine the two and you should be fined.

@Z. Yes to zippering. I know that every time I'm in this situation all the drivers cooperate like clockwork. Then we all get off at the next exit, build a bonfire and sing Kumbaya while making S'mores.

sara 11:10 AM  

bravo barbara S!!!

What? 11:10 AM  

So we should’ve kept quiet about Hitler?

sixtyni yogini 11:12 AM  

See note pad? What note pad? Where?
But got the idea and it was fun, quick one. (for me, newbie πŸ€—πŸ€©πŸ€—)

tea73 11:14 AM  

I see I was far from the only one to see "Orange Discard" and think Trump?

I did this in the NYT app, read the note and had no trouble figuring out what to do, though I started with the assumption that I was dealing with synonyms not words connected by "AND".

I loved SOCKS and SANDALS. Yes it's not quite like the others, but it made me laugh.

Today is a good day.

sixtyni yogini 11:15 AM  

Ps love the pics w cat!

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

with all the Orange-isms today, may haps the author of 'The Orange Sh!tgibbon' could stand up and take a bow?

and, if all goes as it is at the moment, The Orange Sh!tgibbon and Moscow Mitch will retire to their dacha in Praskoveevka, down the beach from one of Putin's favorite dachas. they can were their 'Hero of the Russian Federation' medals while supping with Vlad.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

A secondary game has emerged. While doing the puzzle, one can make notes on what The Curmudgeon will find odious. Then when the writeup appears, one can see whether the guesses were accurate.

TTrimble 11:32 AM  

Could be. And I wouldn't think any differently of him if he did, nor would I see that as really detracting from my point -- I doubt he makes a hard and fast rule about the areas of outrage that he specializes in. That said, there's too much in the world to be outraged by, so it makes sense to be somewhat selective in one's outraged, hence my proposed explanation.

(And I guess you know that I'm not really on board in the first place with Rex's complaints about names of politicians or organizations he hates in puzzles. They're only names that people make reference to now and again.)

@Barbara S. (if you pop by today)
On your recommendation from yesterday, I wandered over to the Jennifer Vyvyan tribute site. That her voice is agile is quite the understatement! I listened in awe to her rendering of "No, No, I'll Take No Less" from Handel's SEMELE, that one can find on the front page.

Masked and Anonymous 11:33 AM  

@RP: Well, shoot -- if note readin is a no-no, I guess we should start bypassin yer annual plea for fundin note? [Still gonna contribute, cuz I luv the KaleKats.]

This puztheme was sorta different, but as @RP "noted", I've seen this uniclue thing before. xwordinfo.chen actually has a page dedicated to summarizin the uniclue puz crop. There's been a total of seven of em, now.

It was a fun solve, even tho I often wanted to say "Uniclue, Uncle!", as I often drifted off to look for Down clues, on auto-pilot. Thought SOCKS(&)SANDALS was the weakest themer. Is it really a well-known standalone phrase? Or is more like a SOAP(&)SHAMPOO thingy?

staff weeject pick: AND. The unseen weeject of the themeunderworld. honrable mention to OLA, the un-C cola.
Only ten weejects today, btw.

fave splatz(&)sparkle entries: KNOCKITOFF. AUCTIONED. MADEATOAST [nice clue].
Other end of spectrum: FOMO(&)UOMO. Better clue: {Crossing that M&A would never quite get right}.

Thanx for the UNI-formed solvequest, Mr. Bornstein dude. Don't ever drink(&)drive, or mess with @Muse in traffic.



TJS 11:35 AM  

@Z, Nope, kindergarten was not the cause of my lacking an H of V. I only lasted a week, apparently. Something about being born in December, my Mother told me. But then, she also told me I used to latch on to my Dads' leg when he was leaving for work and cried "Don't leave me with HER !" Just weird at an early age, I guess.

A 11:49 AM  

Forgot to thank @Loren for her avatar. NO TED - just no.

Enjoyed e-exploring Dal Lake, Srinagar, and Kinston-upon-Hull after mentions by @Bo Camp and @kitschef. They both look like lovely places to visit in real life. Thank you internet; this pandemic wouldn't be the same without you.

Thanks for sharing the flute link, @Frantic - I went for the Prokovief and the bass flute stuff first but I'm on my way to the rest!

Following @Z's traffic link, while they say to zippering is safer in heavy and slow traffic, at the end we are advised: When traffic is moving at highway speeds and there are no backups, it makes sense to move sooner to the lane that will remain open through construction. The bottom line is to merge when it is safe to do so.

Brava, @Barbara! You must have been locked and loaded for this one!

Peach 11:52 AM  

@Crimson Devil 10:38: isn’t Stacy Abrams the losing 2018 Ga. gubernatorial candidate who still hasn’t conceded? Drink a toast for starting this madness ? Sure, why not ? Cheers.

RAHHHHB! T. 11:57 AM  

I don't know what browser you are using but on mine (firefox) the note showed on the NYT website!

Sam 12:10 PM  

@Rex, why do you hate reading the notes so much? Asking earnestly, I think I don't read the blog enough to know why.

SENIOR MS. 12:19 PM  

I loved it!

Had trouble in the SE corner with FOMO, FROS (yes, I know afro is practically a throw-away but this stumped me after I put in HITS) TRUTV and ODOREATERS. ESSENE was new to me but it looks like a useful word to remember.
Other than that, it was fun. Even if I agree with the EACH and EVERY cluing.

You gotta read the instructions, just like on a test, Rex.

old timer 12:47 PM  

I hated it. I solve on paper, and am so used to glancing at a shorter number of Across clues and a shorter number of Down clues, and it seemed to take forever to match the clues to the starting squares. And it hardly made the solve easier, except for STARS and STRIPES.

The last king of France in the old regime was Louis XVI, who literally lost his head. But after the defeat of Napoleon, the Bourbon line provided a couple of bozos, who were deposed in 1830 in favor of Louis-Philippe, of the House of Orleans. I guess you can lawyer ROI as the answer, but no one referred to Louis-Philippe as plain "Louis", and he was the last king of France.

(Not the last Emperor, though -- in 1848, there was a revolution that deposed LP, and created the 2d Republic, and the people decided to elect Napoleon's nephew as their President. Four years later, the nephew staged a coup and declared himself Napoleon III, of the Second Empire of France. He survived until 1870, when, having lost the Franco-Prussian War, he was deposed in favor of the 3d Republic, which lasted until Hitler occupied France in 1940. If you ever travel to Paris, you will find hundreds of places with an ornate N, because Paris was rebuilt and many of the grand boulevards and buildings were created during the Second Empire.

Mr. Cheese 1:09 PM  

I have always used the phrase, “Rust-colored Menace”. To fit in here I’ll switch to “Orange Shitgibbon” ..... nice!

egsforbreakfast 1:24 PM  

@Barbara S 10:55. Very nicely done. I was thinking of composing something along those lines, but you beat me to it and surely did a better job than I would have.

@Anna Bob 10:55. Have to disagree with your assertion that “Just putting all the clues in numerical order rather than splitting them into Across and Down clues doesn't add anything to the puzzle that I can see.” Actually, I don’t disagree that you can’t see the difference. But if 1A was clued “With 1D, rubberneck”, and 1D was clued “See 1A”, it would have played very differently for me. I thought the gimmick was sweet, mostly because of the way the “uniclues” were done.

Wasn’t Naipoulean Soilou the Man from Uniclue?

Teedmn 1:26 PM  

As @Nancy and @M&A (and probably half a dozen people I haven't yet had a chance to read) point out, finding the clue in the list certainly caused me to STOP and STARE more than once. It's amazing how you can develop "muscle" memory in solving crosswords.

My co-worker and I discussed whether we would write 18D's clue as it is in the puzzle. I said it should be "Uh-uh" because I never use a leading H when I say that. He thought it should be "Nuh-uh", which certainly nails down whether it's a negative statement.

TA___ at 25A had me wondering what in hell they meant by calling TAhoe an East Coast city. Co-worker, with T_MP_ had a similar question about TeMPe. TAMPA, har!

@Nancy, I thought you were going to say this puzzle KNOCKs your SOCKS OFF.

Eric Bornstein, nice one, thanks!

Sharonak 1:26 PM  

@BarbaraS 10:55What a fun story, Thank you.

I Thought the puzzle was a bi harder a Wednesday until I caught on to the double answers. Then it went faster.
Liked a number of the fill answers and clues

MichGirl 1:27 PM  

My only real issue with the format of the puzzle is that I apparently have looking behavior ingrained to the point where I was almost giving myself mini whiplash going to look for a clue where it "should" have been.
I liked the theme with the exception of "drink and drive". Someone really needs to start reading the room a little better in the editing process.

TTrimble 1:30 PM  

@pmdm 10:57 AM
So we're in luck: it was published on a Wednesday!

@Whatsername 10:35 AM
Let's rejoice that democratic institutions in the USA are still alive and kicking! Quite independent of the current WH occupant and perhaps soon-to-be squatter (wouldn't that be a hoot).

There may be some Proud Boys protests, etc., but chances are that they will be contained and that any attempts to overturn the election will come to nothing. The last days of Trump as President will all be over soon, and we'll have a new Administration.

sanfranman59 2:12 PM  

Easy-Medium Wednesday (13% below my 6-month median solve time) ... I groaned when I saw all of the cross-referenced clues in the list (usually, a speed-solvers nightmare) and sure didn't care much for this theme until I had my aha-moment when I got to about the third or fourth pair. Then, it was smooth-sailing the rest of the way since I just ignored the cross-referencing.

There were a few eyebrow-furrowers along the way:
-- TIER TWO {29A: Second-level} ... ugh
-- EYES {24D: Emoji that can mean "Get a load of this!"} ... just EYES? Huh?
-- FOMO {66A: Anxiety about being excluded from the fun, for short} ... this has got to be a Millennial-era malady, right?
-- WAS A {34D: Third and fourth word in many limericks} ... ick
-- UOMO {60D: Italian man} ... I was close (kinda) with 'dOMO'

Not surprisingly, I don't see anything at all wrong with wearing socks with my Keens. If it's comfortable, I say screw fashion!

Whatsername 2:20 PM  

@TTrimble: turn on your TV. They are storming the steps of the capital. It’s horrifying.

Pete 2:21 PM  

@TTrimble - Don't give up your day job to become a political forecaster, ok?

Barbara S. 2:25 PM  

@kitshef (6:21) and @Carola (11:02)
I'm with you York-lovers. I once spent a lovely day there. I thoroughly enjoyed tramping along the top of the network of old city walls that have somehow survived the ravages of time. The Evensong service in the Minster was absolutely beautiful with the harmonies rising and playing around the vaults. Always, always, if you can, visit a cathedral or other large vaulted or domed church when there's music playing and/or being sung. When I was 16, I was lucky enough to wander through Chartres Cathedral while an organist was practising and man, the whole experience changed my life. But back to York, if you like a good street name this is a Do-Not-Miss: Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate.

@sara, @A, @egs, @Sharonak
Thanks. And, @egs, I bet you'd have told a lulu!

Anonymous 2:44 PM  


as the saying goes, the revolution *will be* broadcast. some considered those of us who warned that The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) would incite sedition were just paranoid snowflakes.

TTrimble 2:53 PM  

@Whatsername, @Pete
Yeah, I'm watching. Admittedly, the article I linked isn't being borne out at the moment. Horrifying, appalling, indeed.

Z 3:19 PM  

@Anon11:07 - Kumbaya and s’mores indeed.

Tale Told By An Idiot 3:44 PM  

@ Barbara S 10:55. What a fine and dandy story!

Tale Told By An Idiot 3:48 PM  

@ Barbara S. Oops, pressed send too soon. Hope you are acquitted and can once again be footloose and fancyfree.
(OK, not quite following the patten in spite of my attempt to make each phrase one word, but don’t we all want to be foot loose and fancy free?)

ghostoflectricity 3:59 PM  

Hard to concentrate right now, now that the fascists have put their coup attempt into full, nightmarish action, but- da** cute cat!

Sheila 5:05 PM  

What could possibly have caused these morons to think that there wouldn't be any consequences for attacking and occupying a gov't building ? Hmmm it's a mystery to everyone. This kind of thing will continue until there are reliable, predictable, and harsh consequences for this kind of behavior. It is not ok, it has never been ok, we should condemn it all the time or we will just get more of it.

Unknown 5:12 PM  

TTrimble @ 1:30
Hmmm, might want to rethink your earlier comment.
This is the inevitable end-game of a Trump presidency.
Is anyone shocked? I would hope not.

As far as the puz, if rex isn't going to take the time to read the instructions, then he shouldn't get irritated.
Somehow I knew he was going to hate drink and drive. Call it intuition.

jberg 5:13 PM  

Actually, I think the notes weren’t needed, especially if this ran on Thursday. Just list the uniclues in order and let us figure it out.

But it’s late. I just came here to complain that ETAT is not a “French political division”— that would be dΓ©partement.”

Now back to worrying about the fascist gang in the Capitol.

TTrimble 5:39 PM  

@Unknown 5:12 PM
To put this into context, my democratic institutions comment was referring to the Georgia runoff. I have confidence the outcome will be upheld.

No, like you, I'm not a bit surprised that this is the outcome of the Trump presidency. Deeply saddened though by the lack of preparation on the part of Capitol police, who should have known what to expect.

Anonymous 6:18 PM  

@TTrimble You know it was allowed, right? No one could've got that close to the Capitol without the cops being right there. C'mon, use your head.

TTrimble 6:37 PM  

You mean with the cops being there, right?

Such speculations have occurred to me, yes. In particular, the disparity between how the cops treated the seditious mobs today and how they treated peaceful BLM protestors in Washington last summer couldn't be more glaring. But I think I'm done here. It's been a hard day.

Have a good night, everyone.

ow a paper cut 7:04 PM  

I like the cat. The puzzle was easier than most. I’m sure not getting any smarter.

Anonymous 7:10 PM  

Wow, wonder why the country is so messed up. Backward thinkers.

Anonymous 7:35 PM  


this is the NYT crossword. there's more in that newspaper than some pencil puzzles. read that other more, more often.

What? 9:03 PM  

I knew I’d seen this clue arrangement before. In a Shortz collection from 2009 (“Wittiest, Wackiest Crosswords”), number 9 by John Duschatko, Shortz introduces it as the only time a Times crossword has ever been published without the clue headings Across and Down. Plus ca change...

What? 9:05 PM  

Anon 8:36 Where is the moderator? Who allows garbage like that to be published?

Kell 9:56 PM  

Just wanted to add that to my ears (perhaps more to younger internet denizens?) "socks and sandals" is absolutely a strong standalone phrase, much more so than "socks and shoes." Because "socks and sandals" is a *thing,* something that people comment about. Or that people compare other things to. Sorry that y'all hadn't heard about it, I guess.

Unknown 2:30 AM  

Solvers, please stop whining that the the cluing slowed your time down. if you're only interested in besting your best time, you might be missing the point entirely. (Cue Alan Watts 'Journey of Life' video on Youtube). And Rex, chill on the 'drink' & 'drive' outrage. Seemed to me to be a solid pairing. And appropriate cluing. Believe it or not, there are some folks who drink and drive and don't mow down pedestrians. Sheesh.

Anonymous 5:47 PM  

I care nothing for the time it took. I just thought the entire concept was complete bullsh!t.

kps 7:40 AM  

Stop using ....

thefogman 10:25 AM  

I liked this one. Maybe it wasn’t perfect in every way, but it was fun to solve.
PS - That Jumpin Jive video Rex posted must be from the days when Coca-Cola had real cocaine in it.

Diana, LIW 1:13 PM  

That's TRIED and TRUE
Like "you know who"
Burma Shave!

Onward BS, to I C D book deal in your future

This one scared me until I started it - then I enjoyed it.

Lady Di

spacecraft 2:56 PM  

Yes, daunting at first glance, but really pretty simple. The theme is right there in the note: "Across AND (emphasis mine) down." It belongs no later than Wednesday--except for the gross outlier UOMO, which...just doesn't belong, period.

I agree that EACH & EVERY should have been either theme-placed--or not in the puzzle at all. I do love me some Deanna TROI, DOD Marina Sirtis whose photo op I have showing her arms around me and my son, from a Trek-con a few years ago. Her presence alone almost elevates the score to birdie, but the putt lipped out. Par.

Burma Shave 6:15 PM  


so TRIED & TRUE I could NOT STOP her.
A DRIVE TWO EDEN in her car


leftcoaster 10:28 PM  

Only the lOwer-sOuth blOc Of UOMO, ARDOR, ASTROS, FOMO, FROs, and ODOR gOt sO many Of the O vOwels. GOOd wOrk by Eric BOrnstein.

Unknown 11:04 PM  

i don't use any software. Solve puzzles with pencil and paper. I found this one to be really interesting, fairly challenging, but I got it.

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