Brain-enhancing device used by Professor X / THU 3-18-21 / Dance featuring jerky arm movements / Daisy Mae's man in old comics / Salk and Pepper in brief

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Constructor: Tom McCoy

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: MUCH ADO / ABOUT / NOTHING (33A: With 39- and 44-Across, dramatic work depicted in this puzzle's grid) — circled squares (containing words synonymous with "ADO") surround empty squares (i.e. "NOTHING"). So there is MUCH ADO ABOUT (in the sense of "surrounding") NOTHING:

The ADOs:
  • FRACAS
  • FUSS
  • HUBBUB
  • UPROAR
  • STIR
  • RUMPUS
Word of the Day: ORGO (64A: Notoriously difficult chem class) —
It does seem to be a regional thing. On the west coast (of US) and Texas I have only ever heard it as Ochem, but I have had students from the east come back and ask me why we don’t call it orgo. I could say “because it sounds funny” but I don’t. ;) I would guess that it wasn’t [shortened] to orga because that had too many other possibilities. (Barbara Murray, Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1984), answering a question about "ORGO" on Quora)
• • •

I don't have much to say about this one beyond the fact that I think it's probably the best themed puzzle of the year so far. I don't keep track of such things—no Top Tens or Best Ofs or "Rex's Favorites" or whatever—but this one unfolded perfectly for me, with a "huh, interesting" when I figured out the gimmick, and then a genuine "wow" when I got the revealer (that answer takes up a Lot of real estate, and contributes mightily to the puzzle's skewing Easy). Conceptually it's just ... perfect? I was just thinking, and often think (seriously, I do often think about this), that there are So Many Damn Words for ADO, all of which I know because they appear as clues for ADO, a very common crossword answer. So in addition to just being a great idea, this theme also seems like a kind of shout-out to the word ADO, to the vocabulary of ADO, which all constant solvers know well. It's like "hey, you know what word you see all the time in your puzzles ... let's do something fun with it," and then all the old familiar Hall-of-Fame ADO clues (Stir! Uproar! etc.) get to do a little victory lap in a golf cart, like old-timers being honored before a baseball game or something. We do get a lot of short fill, which usually saps a puzzle of its interestingness, but here, because so much of that short fill occurs in and around the theme stuff, I was sufficiently distracted by the theme stuff, i.e. navigating the empty squares, seeing what ADO word was coming into view in the circled squares, that I didn't care much that stuff like UPS and SIB and OFA is not terribly scintillating on its own. Also, where the circled squares are concerned, it is Not easy to navigate that many fixed squares cleanly when they aren't all on the same plane. That is, not hard to build a corner around FRACAS if it's just a simple, regular answer; but when you run its letters through four Acrosses and three Downs, getting the surrounding fill to come out acceptably, let alone entertainingly, gets a lot harder. And to have to handle not only the circled squares, but the stacked revealer in the center ... this grid is just thick with theme material. And yet it's smooth as hell. So this just was just very well done, stem to stern. NICE ONE, indeed.


This puzzle makes me realize that the key to a great solve isn't just a great theme, but a great theme that unfolds in the right way. There's obviously no way a constructor can completely control the path you take through the grid, but if you take a pretty standard falling-water path (i.e. start in the NW and just ... fall down and out of that section, as the gravitational pull of your answers takes you), you go from FRACAS surround empty squares (intriguing! mysterious!) right into the revealer (huge aha!). Now, maybe it's more fun to have the revealer hit you late, so that the mystery of the empty squares comes together in one climactic whomp, but I have to say I really enjoyed getting that whomp early and then riding the joyful feeling it gave me all the way to the finish line. There were some interesting non-theme moments along the way. Briefly got stuck thinking about lard or Crisco at 37A: Shortening, for short (ABBR.)—it's nice for otherwise unremarkable fill to get a clever little clue like that. My one big mistake of the day was actually small: I thought the [Cousin of a club] was a BAT. Makes sense. But there's no such thing as an AALEN wrench (42A: Kind of wrench); so I changed BAT to BLT, and tada. Semi-wicked that only the one letter separates two perfectly reasonable answers there. I'm very grateful AALEN looks as insane as it does, or I might not have noticed my error. 


I always find the "I WIN" v. "I WON" dilemma tiresome (esp. as I rarely hear anyone "cry" either) (45D: Exultant cry), and I initially blanked on Professor X's brain-enhancing device (CEREBRO), but "O" seemed a more likely terminal vowel than "I," and crosses eventually proved me right. The only thing about the puzzle I don't really care for is also its most original answer, which means I almost like it. Almost. That answer is ORGO. I just wouldn't go with ORGO in that position. I think it's an OK term to use, but only in a pinch, when you can't get more ordinary (and broadly clueable) stuff to work. Even leaving ÊTRE and SIB in place, you have lots of different options for filling that southernmost section, none of which involve semi-regional collegiate slang (only slang I ever head for Organic Chemistry when I was in college was O-CHEM, which I would also accept as crossword fill ... but also only in a pinch). Just changing SON to SEW gives you nice answers all around, but there are many, many other options for redoing that section as well. And yet, as I say, ORGO is bizarro in a way that I find almost charming, and it wasn't tough to get, so maybe it's just fine. 


Finished up with 60D: Salk and Pepper, in brief (DRS), which keeps making me smile every time I think about it. The salt & pepper pun combined with the odd-couple doctors is just ... mwah! Good stuff. Hope you enjoyed yourself at least half as much as I did. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

200 comments:

Frantic Sloth 6:03 AM  

Well, I bet this one's gonna ruffle a feather or thousands - and not necessarily for the same reasons. Then again, what else is new?

For me, once more, it comes down to the NYT website's repeated inability to accommodate the puzzles they publish. What a bore. So, despite a nearly overwhelming desire to crank about it, I'll resist.

You have no idea how welcome you are.

The theme became apparent early on when, as is the usual clue for the Thursdee shenanigans, nothing made sense.
Why do I always feel like I'm fighting with a toddler deep in the sweet-spot of its "terrible twos" stage??
Can I put ORC in here?
No!
Can I put ORRC or ORCC in here?
No!
Is there some other word that belongs here?
No!
Go to your room, you little...
No!
*sigh*
And so goes the Thursdee Terrible Twos.

Luckily, I was able to dropkick the little bastard through the goalposts early on.

Are 6 ADOs really that MUCH? Perhaps not, but I admit they were enough for me to enjoy this thing for the most part. Plus I like the ADOs chosen, especially HUBUB, FRACAS, and RUMPUS.

Some quibbles/questions:

It's been an epoch since I was in school, so it's possible I'm just out of the loop, but do people really call it ORGO? I presume we're talking Organic Chemistry or the like.

Seems like a healthy smattering of superhero and/or LOTR stuff (ORC, Avengers, CEREBRO), but at least we have a smidge of Willy the Shakes for counterbalance.

Does anyone else have an impressive collection of ALLEN wrenches or am I the only one who buys all kinds of self-assembly whatsits? I think I'm up to about 30 of different sizes.
That's just wrong.

Remember: Nobody doesn't like SRIRACHA LEE.

πŸ™„

🧠🧠
πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

FKD 6:53 AM  

Ugh. So bad in so many ways I can't waste the time commenting.

vtspeedy 6:58 AM  

Great flow, great reveal! Solid but not tortuous! Like.

RTWhite 6:59 AM  

Noting how much this puzzle was a clusterf**k for Across Lite solvers, all I could think about while solving is how the ACPT is going to run its online tournament. No gimmick squares?

Lewis 7:03 AM  

Oh Tom, it’s been a year and half since you’ve showed up with one of your wonderful offerings – always clever and brain-waking – and how I’ve missed ye.

Entries today from all over the place – STAVE for chapter. Avengers and Dr. X references. ORGO. Two out-there (for me) math references. Then there's that mini stagger-stack in the middle plus two fun dooks (ADOUT and MUCHADO) and the marvelous trio among the Circled-Six: FRACAS / HUBBUB / RUMPUS.

I never know what to expect from Tom -- only that the puzzle will be an adventure and that I’ll be glad I did it.

It was clear early on that what was inside the circles would not be part of the answers to the clues. Uncovering the reveal not only confirmed that, but disclosed what was happening in the circles, which helped my solve. And trying to figure out those circle words added puzzle to the puzzle, to my joy.

Your crosswords have your stamp, Tom, and when I see your name atop a puzzle, my brain does a happy-flip. I’m SO glad to see you again, and thank you for making this!

Anonymous 7:05 AM  

Nothin' but hate for this but at least it wasn't a rebus. I threw it against the wall pretty early on.

Gratitude School 7:06 AM  

I can't figure out how to "finish" the puzzle. I've filled in all the word answers, but with the blank spaces, the timer won't stop running, and the app won't declare that I have solved the puzzle. Any hints?

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

It's a lovely puzzle -- I had fun. But how do you get the puzzle timer to turn off? Thanks to those that can help me. I'm not that bummed (I can't believe I actually got the gimmick), but still.

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

Orgo is a common term among the pre-med people. And is a class I knew that people would purposely not take at my university, but over summer school so not to wreck their GPA.

ncmathsadist 7:22 AM  

I am a subscriber to the puzzle. And the puzzle software thinks the puzzle in incomplete because of the blank squares. How do I get around this. If you know, I am morrison@ncssm.edu

Anonymous 7:23 AM  

Extremely not happy. I am using the NYT Crosswords app on IOS and the implementation of the puzzle appears to be screwed up. If the “nothing” squares are left blank, the app thinks the puzzle is incomplete. So now I have to start the guessing game: what do they want in the squares to represent “nothing”? A redus “nothing” results in a snarky error message. So does “ado”. So does a 0. So what the hell are they looking for? I hates when they pull this kind of crap... Any ideas on how to complete this puzzle. I have an 1139 completion string on the line here!

kitshef 7:32 AM  

Just one of those days where I feel like the constructor lives in a different world than I do. STAVE crossing ABU? ALT-weekly? MIA Love? ORGO? None of these are exist in my world.

Really cool theme, though. Seriously, just amazing. Utter confusion until I hit the revealer; then magnificent moment of realization.

Unknown 7:36 AM  

Great puzzle. If you are doing it online and want to "complete" it (for a streak or whatever) you have to put *something* in those boxes. I put X's and it worked.

Joaquin 7:43 AM  

Rex coulda, shoulda stopped his review of this puzzle after his first three sentences.

It was a great puzzle, no need to find some nits to pick.

smalltowndoc 7:44 AM  

Great idea. But the NYT app on my iPad made it virtually impossible to correctly guess what should go in the "nothing" squares. Leave them blank? Nope, didn’t work. Put the number "0" in each of those squares? Again, nope. Out of despair, I tried Xs and got the solve. That’s just wrong. "X" doesn’t mean nothing. Blanks or zeroes do. But X is an algebraic symbol for unknown, and is usually non-zero. I cry "no fair"!

Sank 7:46 AM  

This was fun and took me a long time to figure out the theme. HNNBO?
Slightly perturbed that I couldn't figure out how to mark this as complete online because, I suspect, the online version doesn't know what to do with blank squared. Sadly my 45 weeks in a row run of Thursday's is going to be broken.

mmbeitlermd 7:50 AM  

I finished this puzzle correctly leaving the required blanks and the nyt app doesn't register it as done. Anyone else having this issue?

Patricia C Munyan 7:50 AM  

My completed grid looks just like the one here. There are empty spaces in mine just like the one here. But I keep seeing a blue square where my gold square with a star should be. What have I done wrong?

Thanks,
Pat Munyan

David in Brevard 7:51 AM  

I want my money back! There are holes in this crossword.

I got the theme at ORC and the ‘revealer’ quickly fell after another couple of AFFRAYS.

Enjoyed this very much and completed in just slower than fast but better than average.

Nice Thursday and if only it would stop raining here in WNC.

Cheers

Chas Grundy 7:53 AM  

SOLVING ON THE WEBSITE
For anyone else looking, the NYT website didn't want to consider it solved until I put a - into each of the empty squares.

Karl Grouch 7:54 AM  

I found this purely formalistic and a very apt example of its theme.

Had absolutely no foothold to begin with, even after getting some hard ones in.

I had a bunch of circles all over answers I knew but didn't fit.

I kept staring at the strangeness of that MUCHADO in the middle only to realize it must be a portmanteau word for a Spanish youngster playing pick-up sticks.

As Thursdays go, this wasn't the real McCoy.










Dan A 7:55 AM  

Using the app, I entered NOTHING as as a rebus in the empty squares to complete the fill, as the app did not mark this complete with empty squares

Mike G 8:02 AM  

Such a huge letdown when you finish solving a decent puzzle on the NYT website only to have to search the web to figure out what to put in the $%^#@ blank spaces to complete the solve.

Completely spoiled the mood for me.

Tom: Take your talents to a website that can implement them without frustrating the solver.

Ted 8:02 AM  

For anyone else solving on the NYTXW website: you need to type NOTHING in to the Rebus squares. Each of them.

Yay.

bocamp 8:05 AM  

Thank you @Tom; what an amazing Thurs. puz! Very much enjoyed the FUSS. :)

Very challenging solve.

Everything about this puz was hard for me. Even after I grokked the idea, there were still some rough patches. Battle well fought, tho, and very satisfying at the end.

One guess (educated?) at STAVE / ABU.

Love my SRIRACHA peas (added to snack mix).

HoBO's Lullaby ~ Emmylou Harris / Woody Guthrie
___


yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

Can't believe you need to rebus-in 'NOTHING' for each blank square.........

Get back Jack 8:19 AM  

If you had the first and last letter of 60 across....as I did, and know the origin of the band's name.....then maybe you also had a "No way in hell THAT can be the answer" moment.

Tom T 8:25 AM  

What I lacked in intuition I eventually overcame with sheer persistence! I got MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING early on, but it did not help me unlock the secret of the empty squares. Started last night, went to bed with the grid still half empty; got back at it this morning and finally--duh!--realized that (for instance) that Steely Dan had to be DUO (or shall I say, DU--O). Still didn't notice the "ado" synonyms and struggled with the NE, having entered ScenE instead of STAVE for 9a. Finally, the "much ado" lightbulb blazed, HUBBUB fell into place, and I was done.

Except ... I didn't get happy music on my computer! Before that could happen, I had to go back and put a hyphen in each of the empty spaces. My average Thursday solve time has taken a beating, but my longish (for me) streak remains intact.

Thanks for a truly clever puzzle. Nice 70th birthday gift.

JonB3 8:26 AM  

As a PhD Synthetic Organic Chemist, albeit an east coast one, ORGO is totally acceptable. Ask any Pre-Med who failed the course.

Kathy 8:27 AM  

Annoying!

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

I absolutely abhor this puzzle. So much so that if I see another Tom McCoy offering, I'll pass.

Martini Mike 8:34 AM  

Didn’t get a CONGRATULATIONS after finishing the puzzle?
In the blank squares place an “X” and Voila!

TTrimble 8:35 AM  

I can't believe this isn't already the EGOT of the day, but to all the frustrated online solvers: dashes worked for me for the blanks. The software will then promptly remove them and sound the happy music.

Devious little puzzle. I liked it!

Rube 8:38 AM  

Went straight to comments so have not read Rex remarks yet. We all want puzzles that minimize 3 letter answers. This one glorifies them yeech.
The avengers ASSEMBLE? so many better clues.
And for me the ultimate natick. IWIN or IWON..impossible to know without the cross. Who is Professor X? And is there a difference between CEREBRI and CEREBRO? I went with the O still not sure if that was right.

If this puzzle was the real MCCOY then Walter Brennan is turning in his grave not to mention DeForest Kelley

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

Hated this. Besides the totally inexcusable incompatibility with Across Lite, I guess I have to read more comics to know CEREBRO and what the Avengers do

schmuzz 8:43 AM  

OMG ‘get back jack’ @8:19 am- what a great laugh out loud moment I had after looking up your post

mambridge 8:43 AM  

I tried leaving it blank, I tried an initial N, I tried a zero (0), and the only thing that worked was actually entering NOTHING into the empty squares. Time consuming, but I kept my streak going.

Guilherme Gama 8:44 AM  

> For me, once more, it comes down to the NYT website's repeated inability to accommodate the puzzles they publish. What a bore. So, despite a nearly overwhelming desire to crank about it, I'll resist.

I guess they just figure that it's cheaper to have the NYT Games staff manually restore streaks to complaining users (such as myself) than update the web backend to accommodate empty squares.

Mary S 8:45 AM  

Just leave it blank

mmorgan 8:46 AM  

I got the long three-part theme answer early on but didn’t realize it was a theme answer even though the clue told me that it was. But then when I realized what was going on, it was a lovely Aha! Moment. I thought I was done but it turns out Across Lite wanted me to jam NOTHING into each square. Oh. But no big deal.

I did think Rex would like it, but didn’t expect such a rave. Very pleasant.

@Frantic, I feel your pain, but I have way more Allen wrenches than you do. I am convinced that they multiply on their own but I haven’t yet figured out how.

Terrific puzzle!

Anne 8:55 AM  

As soon as I typed a hyphen in one of the empty squares, my puzzle was considered finished by the NYT.

DeeJay 8:55 AM  

Perhaps you have a mistake.

DeeJay 8:56 AM  

I think he should have just mixed the first 13 or 15 words...

kfja 9:04 AM  

I used the NYTXW app on my iPhone just now and it gave me the Congrats! at the end and I just left those squares blank. Maybe they’ve adjusted the app? Maybe go back to see if yours works now?

bocamp 9:05 AM  

@jae 10:22 PM πŸ‘
___

I sympathize with those who had empty cell issues; bummer! I did the puz last eve via the NYT app on my iPad Pro, and was credited with the finish, even tho leaving the NOTHING cells blank; … ah the mysteries of cyberspace. πŸ€”
___


Peace ~ TOLERANCE ~ Empathy ~ Kindness πŸ•Š

Z 9:09 AM  

Starting with I don't have much to say about this one followed by a long paragraph usually means a pan is coming, so the rave was a smile inducing surprise. Well, that and the “not much” running on and on. Lord help us when Rex has a lot to say.

Pretty much agree with Rex on this, although I had to take a second look after finishing because my first impression was that the puzzle was aggressively Paleozoic/AARP skewed. What struck me as I solved was RCA/SSRS/Lil ABNER/Scrappy DOO/Steak DIANE (it has a Wikipedia page that asserts that it is now “retro.” How would you like your steak, sir? Retro, please). Given the NYTX propensity to skew dead I was ready to skewer this, but a second look post-solve shows a nice balance in the age of the answers, with “Euphoria,” Ang LEE, and MIA Love all bringing a little currency to the puzzle. Thank you.

Why is ORGO such a hard class everywhere? Is it that the material is really all that tough? Or is it that pre-med programs are really about winnowing the pool of perspective doctors and not about education. Methinks it is the latter.

@Incomplete Puzzle Whiners - If you solved the way god intended, on paper with a pen, you wouldn’t have these disordered feelings.*

Speaking of Steak DIANE, I can’t decide whether Z’s Placebo ant Tentacle Pub should have Steak Sam and DIANE or Steak Jack and DIANE on the menu.**

iBn before ABU was my only writeover Father? SON? Seems like a Cat Steven’s tune could be written about this.

Put me on Team Perfect Thursday.










*If this comment made you snarl instead of smirk you’re taking my comments way too seriously.
**I am not actually the author of that late post last night, but the actual author foisted posting it onto me. You are welcome.

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Put the word "NOTHING" into each empty square as a rebus. That's how I ended it, in any case

Blue Stater 9:13 AM  

Wow. I can't remember ever having differed with OFL so fundamentally about a puzzle. I thought this one was utterly worthless (except perhaps for the implied theme, which the Romans would have called Nihil ex nihilo). Uninteresting, unfunny, not worth a fraction of the headbanging time required to unpick it (I did not manage this). Its biggest flaw (among many) was that it relied on one cheap trick throughout. A prime example of what has become of the NYTXW under WS. Disaster.

John H 9:14 AM  

Wow, the Across Lite timer problem is a bummer that I didn't realize and didn't have to deal with. Running late this morning I printed it out from A.L. and solved on paper.

Loved it. Had a hunch about the theme as soon as I did the NE, then confirmed with the NW and went looking for the Shakespeare title. Wasn't hard to find, and then the puzzle pretty much filled itself in from there.

I am surprised at the number of people who hated this. I thought it was a real tour de force. Also surprised at the rebus hater, because those are generally my favorites.


Anonymous 9:14 AM  

"Why is ORGO such a hard class everywhere? Is it that the material is really all that tough?"

Spoken by a man who clearly never took organic chemistry.
And, even if the second part of the comment about winnowing the pool of potential doctors were true? It' still well within the realm of the possible that Orgo is so tough that it does the winnowing indepently of any external interest and or pressure.

JEPlanet 9:15 AM  

Thanks to Unknown at 7:36!

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

@Get back Jack 8:19a

I did exactly what you did. And I had exactly the same reaction. If the constructor did that intentionally it was absolutely brilliant.

Barbara S. 9:19 AM  

Wow, so many people having technical trouble today – I don’t understand why the App accepted my blank squares and turned off the timer as soon as I filled in the last correct letter. I was lucky, or somehow the software aligned in my favor. I feel badly for those who are struggling to complete this and whose streaks are on the line.

Otherwise, I thought the puzzle was great! Those synonyms for “ado” are just such fantastic words: FRACAS, HUBBUB, RUMPUS, even UPROAR is pretty vivid. I got the first three acrosses along the top – bang, bang, bang – and then started merrily filling in the downs only to be brought up short by the problem of having too many squares for the most reasonable-seeming answers. Huh? Anyway, as veteran puzzlers know, the only thing to do in the face of an apparently unsolvable mystery is to continue on as if there’s nothing wrong and have faith that all will become clear. The first circle word I completed was FUSS, arranged around a blank square and I thought, No, it couldn’t be. And then I got STIR down at the bottom, and I realized that it was.

OBSERVATIONS:
* Shouldn’t “Runaway” in the clue for 15A be two words?
* I don’t know the Avengers, but I sincerely hope they do more than ASSEMBLE. “How did you save the world this time, Mighty Heroes?” “We ASSEMBLEd.”
* Glad to see the Monty Python “TIS but a scratch” reference. It always makes me think of its Shakespearian forebear: Mercutio (having been mortally wounded) saying, “Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch”.
* Fabulous art historical content three days in a row: HALS, MAN RAY, now DÜRER.

Today’s passage was written by John Updike, born Mar. 18, 1932.

“A morning later, Nancy described her first dream, the first remembered dream of her life. She and Judy Thorne were on a screened porch, catching ladybugs. Judy caught one with one spot on its back and showed it to Nancy. Nancy caught one with two spots and showed it to Judy. Then Judy caught one with three spots and Nancy one with four. Because (the child explained) the dots showed how old the ladybugs were. She told this dream to her mother, who had her repeat it to her father at breakfast. Piet was moved, beholding his daughter launched into another dimension of life. Like school. He was touched by her tiny stock of imagery: the screened porch (neither they nor the Thornes had one; who?), the ladybugs (with turtles the most toylike of creatures), the mysterious power of numbers, that generates space and time. Piet saw down a long amplifying corridor of her dreams, and wanted to hear her tell them, to grow older with her, to shelter her forever.”
(From Couples)

Jub 9:20 AM  

I'm with the guy who threw it against the wall earlier...except can't throw the IPad!

Z 9:21 AM  

I solve the way god intended so I don’t care one rat’s patootie about any streaks, so I just hit “reveal puzzle” in the NYTX app on my iPad and it shows empty squares. PuzzAzz does the same, as does Rex’s software apparently (He used to use Black Ink, I don’t know if he still does). I am not going to fire up my laptop, download the puzzle to AcrossLite and check it.

And, since we need something else taking up space instead of software complaints - from last night:

Z's Placebo & Tentacle

Ollie-Ollie Octopodes are our mascot πŸ™ (Yes! We even over-stuff our marketing!)

Does your hunger have a death grip on you? Are you CRAVEN some tasty, deep-down-home cookin'?
Z's Placebo & Tentacle has the cure - and not just for half of you! We've proudly served our secret family recipe to generations of loyal customers.
Come for the Fried Calamari, dusted with Powdered Sugarpill, stay for the Powdered Sugarpill-dusted Fried Calamari.
And beer.

But don't take it from us - see what our diners have to say:

"Captain Zemo's imaginative concoctions are simply fantastical!" - Jules. V.
"SCUBA-doobie-doo and two thumbs up!" - Jacques C.
"My hunt for the perfect meal is over - and it's sea-licious!" - Lloyd B.
"I wish they'd open one of these suckers down here!" - T. Kracken

And Now Serving Dessert!
Our Giant Squidchip Sugarpill Cookie (serves 8) is just what the doctor ordered - and we ain't squiddin'!

Sea you there!

ZPT

Z 9:25 AM  

@Anon9:14 - Written like a person who never studied teaching and learning.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

X

The Vez 9:29 AM  

A great puzzle. It took a while to figure out the theme but once I got it everything fell into place.

EdFromHackensack 9:31 AM  

wow - I can’t believe the hatred for this puzzle. I just came on to say I was amazed at the construction. The 3 stacked revealers, the circled synonyms for ADO, around blank squares. HOF in my book. Well done Tom McCoy!! most folks are pissed about their little apps not working. Do it the old fashioned way - hard copy, the way crosswords are meant to be solved.

Moshermind 9:31 AM  

Completely agree. And doing it in the app was a pain.

Photomatte 9:34 AM  

Tried putting an X in all the 'nothing' squares. Didn't work. Not only was this the worst puzzle I've ever seen, the online version didn't even let me finish. Thanks, NYT!

Paul 9:36 AM  

Simple Xs worked too. Sorry you went to all that trouble!

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

@Z My argument has a logical underpinning. Yours is purely speculation. The musings of, well, someone who doesn't know a thing about organic chemistry.

Ethan Taliesin 9:52 AM  

That was weird. Timer wouldn't stop, checked the comments and read that *something* needed to be entered and X's worked. On my third X it suddenly registered as complete.

I thought this puzzle was brilliant. 10/10

Cliff 9:56 AM  

I finished the puzzle, but like others here, the online version wouldn't let me finish. Filled in all the blanks with zeros ... still no. Removed the zeros, and his the "check" for errors and discovered no errors. Finally had to enter a dash in every blank square to get the "congratulations" message, after which all those dashes miraculously disappeared. I feel cheated.

100proof 9:57 AM  

No one has pinned out what I think is the elephant in the room. 60 across Steely Dane.g. I got the D and the O and filled in the proper five letter word for what a Steely Dan is according to William Burroughs, and whence the band took their name. Took me a little while to correct. I am 100% certain the constructor had to have know this and gave us a little two-fer (and a nervous smile)

Birchbark 10:00 AM  

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING -- I waited to read the comments before completing the puzzle and getting the "Congratulations" music. Two X's was enough to trip the switch. Thank you to all who contributed on this point, creating MUCH meta-ADO.

STAVE -- Before moving to our house seven years ago, we came very close to building one patterned after a Norwegian STAVE church. It would have been on a hill on the outskirts of the village, backing up to woods and swamp, spring fed streams that go down to the river. Too many wetlands issues -- bridge building to get there, etc. -- so now we live in a "normal" house above the river, and happily so.

@Frantic (6:03) -- "Luckily I was able to dropkick the little bastard through the goalposts early on" -- a genius turn-of-phrase.

@Z (9:21) -- I don't really know what you're selling, but if I'm honest that's never stopped me from clicking the "Buy it Now" option.

Paul & Kathy 10:00 AM  

The crazy part was, I left the squares blank on the website page and it wouldn't mark it finished for me. Then I launched the puzzle in the app and the app immediately marked it done.

But the webpage still didn't. So I went back in and filled in the Xs.

I have no idea if my streak would have been maintained if I hadn't filled it into the website.

EdFromHackensack 10:10 AM  

@100proof - I noticed the same. But knew it would no pass NYT muster

Newboy 10:12 AM  

NICE ONE! @MMORGAN already said my say for the day. Just noticed that HBO stepped down in the reveal to make a DUO with 19A: error or Easter egg? Fascinated either wayπŸ˜‰

GILL I. 10:15 AM  

I borrowed @Nancy's wall. I seriously said shit ORGO off the pot. (sorry to the sensitive).
You give me a MUCHADO and I listen to DEAD AIR. HUBBUB sounds like what someone from Texas might call their ex...(with apologies to Ted Cruz). If it ain't Tabasco it ain't hot sauce...(no disrespect to Indira Ghandi)......
I shall now PARTAKE my exit.

Unknown 10:16 AM  

I do this puzzle on line I just broke a 58 day streak because I did not know how to effectively insert a blank into the grid. How is that accomplished

pabloinnh 10:22 AM  

Another day when I am happy I print this out and solve it with a pencil which has an eraser. I can imagine online frustrations, of which I have many, but thankfully doing crosswords does not fall into this category.

I had a similar experience to OFL when solving, ran into the revealer early, and saw what was going on. I think of a word like RUMPUS written in a circle with nothing but space in the middle to be a prime example of a rebus as I used to understand that word before it became applied to all sorts of things in crosswords. So today was a Thursday and I was looking for a rebus and found an actual rebus. All good here.

A Thursday that knows how to Thursday, oh yeah. Many thanks to TMcC for a Terrifically Made Crossword.

Nancy 10:24 AM  

No, I didn't get it. All I knew (eventually) was that there were seemingly random empty squares -- sometimes two at a time, sometimes only one. And I had no idea why. Simply coming up with which squares were the empty ones was all my besieged CEREBRO could handle. And even that -- not very well. Since I didn't know THE ROBOT dance and I didn't know the "notoriously difficult chem class" (they're ALL hard to me), I had a DNF in that section.

By this time I (finally) had MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. Was I looking for something having to do with ADO next to the empty squares? Sure I was. But not in a circle around the empty squares!! I never saw that. I'm not visual and there's so much I don't see. You don't know what it's like going through life as an unobservant person. (Sob.)

I stuck with this puzzle and didn't throw it against the wall only because it's by Tom McCoy, and Tom McCoy created one of the best, if not THE best puzzle I ever did in my life. I made a mental note at the time (whenever that was) to remember that it was by Tom McCoy because I loved it so much.

What was that puzzle? Aye, there's the rub. I don't remember what that puzzle was, only that it was Truly Great. And that's because I have the world's fuzziest memory. You have absolutely no idea what it's like to go through life with the world's fuzziest memory. (Sob.)

Aintitgrand 10:27 AM  

Am I the only solver who is frustrated by the use of at least two abbreviations per puzzle, not otherwise so indicated, such as with the words “briefly” or “in short” or with an abbreviated indicator such as “subj.”? I give you 2D and 38D as examples today. Very frustrating.

newbie 10:35 AM  

Agree with Rex on everything! Got tripped up on win for WON. I even figured out missing squares, which I didn’t even know could be a thing.(I finally had to check that because I am just that insecure and, besides, the “Congratulations!” never happened.) So I never yelled “I win” or “I WON!” It was easy enough to be able to navigate the grid until I could see what was going on, which I very much appreciate. And just quirky enough. Fun. Oh yes, and I also agree with @Lewis about everything - except never heard of ORGO, even though I got it right!

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

I also agree. A very unpleasant solve.

Steve M 10:46 AM  

Nope didn’t care for this at all

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

OK, so now we can put multiple letters into a square or just leave it blank. I'm sorry, this is NOT a "crossword puzzle." It's a visual "pun" of sorts and a badly-made one. Shortz is making me long for the days of Maleska and Weng.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Again today, only one “Non” clue quotation marks limited: 43 down. But the puzzle was not enjoyable anyway.

Whatsername 10:52 AM  

It’s Thursday. I look forward to Thursdays because I love my Thursday crosswords. But I didn’t love my Thursday crossword today because in order to get to the oh-so-clever trick, my frustration level with the look here - no, look there - no, look someplace else - combined with the circles - okay, synonyms for ADO - then figuring out what’s supposed to go in the middle - oh nothing goes in the middle? Well, by that point I no longer cared.

I solve – to quote @Z - as God intended, with a pencil and a paper. So my consternation was not caused by an app that didn’t work or some glitch in an electronic device. Let me clear about that. This one got wadded up and not thrown, but smashed into Nancy’s Wall. Then ripped into tiny little pieces and burned. I finished it, I “got” it, and you can have it.

Hungry Mother 10:54 AM  

I began with a slow crawl and almost gave up, but then I saw the light and sailed on through. Quite a nice challenge.

Scott White 10:54 AM  

On the online puzzle, you need to put X's in the blank spaces to complete the puzzle. You're welcome.

Frantic Sloth 10:55 AM  

To all those whose pain I feel:

CliffsNotes version: Type the word NOTHING into the empty squares.

This worked for me on the NYT website and I just tried it in Across Lite with success as well. Can't speak to the APP. I hate that APP.

Also, shut up, @Z. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜˜ And aren't you the one who used to hustle Puzzazz, Mr. Pants?

newbie 10:57 AM  

So a hyphen, an x or the word NOTHING as a rebus in each of the blanks works, according to some solvers who got to yell “I WON!” Seems fair enough to me - an extra puzzle to solve. Delightful.

Tom R 11:02 AM  

What I did not do and what I do not like about this puzzle comes from AcrossLite: To get the happy pencil you have to fill all the blank spaces with a rebus "nothing" - too much meaningless typing.

Masked and Anonymous 11:04 AM  

First of all, we solved this fine puppy in pencil/paper/eraser mode, at our house. Didn't have to "fuss around" with X's or O's -- just left the blank squares blank, as that there Shakespeare dude intended.

Secondmost, upon finishin up the solvequest, M&A thought to self: "This has gotta be one of the best puzs I've seen, so far this year!" Much to my amazement, @RP agreed. And the puztheme had The Circles -- go figure. Is it really @RP, or a sub usin his nametag?? har

staff weeject pick: Tough call, what with 29 choices. Hard to beat a good, solid DOO, I reckon. Kinda rhymes with [and crosses!] ADO, too boot.

Some sparkly stuff: AXXSSEMBLE. SRIRACHA. SCHMEAR. CEREBRO. ANAGRAMXXS [with great clue]. DEADAIR. ORGO [Ow de Speration hi-lite]. Interestin, that Otto Correct underlined everything in my list, except for CEREBRO and ORGO. And the second time, it underlined CEREBRO. Weird,bro.

Five circled U's, in case U ain't had a chance to count em, yet. :-)

Thanx for the fun with huge ahar moment, Mr. McCoy dude. Gets a POY [6-Down-wise], from M&A.

Masked & Anonym8Us


**gruntz**

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Same issue on my Android phone. I tried blanks, a rebus, and N. Nope, nope, and nope. X worked. This problem spoiled a great puzzle.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Same issue. Try X.

Oknazevad 11:11 AM  

Clearly the constructor here is a Marvel fan, what with using the Avengers' battle cry and a key part of X-Men lore.

egsforbreakfast 11:11 AM  

Awesome theme idea and construction feat. Starting with about 1/4 of the grid locked in place and producing a puzzle with passable fill would be a Herculean task. Building it around such a clever theme made it almost ORGOsmic (portmanteau of cosmic and orgasm).

You know why you’re seeing so much Sriracha stuff these days (almonds,salt,Cheetos,burgers, ice cream, etc). It’s considered a generic term and no one controls its commercial use. So, @Z may want to add a few Sriracha items at rhe old Placebo and Tentacle.

Oknazevad 11:12 AM  

I had much hole for this when I saw the Avengers and X-Men clues (plus a touch of Tolkien).

And normally I like a Shakespearean theme.

But this one just stinks. Gaps in three-letter cross fill is terrible.

newbie 11:15 AM  

Ok, I tried the hyphen and got the “Congratulations!” but then it goes back to being incomplete. So I deleted the hyphens and tried to rebus NOTHING. It keeps going back to the hyphens. Same thing happens with x. So it looks like there IS a glitch. They should fix that for those who want to keep their streaks going. Happily, I’ve chosen not to worry about stuff like that - life is too short. 🌞

What? 11:24 AM  

Is Tom McCoy from this world? The first Thursday since I can’t remember when I not only didn’t finish but didn’t even come close. I’m not complaining because 1. I love tough puzzles of all sorts even when I don’t get it and 2. I just marvel at the construction which, as mentioned above, cannot be from a human brain (to come down to earth a bit, the puzzle may have had its inception in 1947 - it would’ve taken me that long to construct, never mind to think of the conceit).

Mrs McCoy 11:26 AM  

a little write up on the talented Tom McCoy

https://hub.jhu.edu/2019/12/12/tom-mccoy-crossword-puzzlemaker/

jae 11:29 AM  

Easy-medium. Clever and fun to solve. Liked it a bunch!

My biggest hang up was wanting ages before ERAS.

Son Volt 11:35 AM  

This was a fantastic Thursday puzzle. The revealer was spot on and the visual trick fell right in. If the overall fill here was a little cleaner and sparkly - I’d put it on best of list. Agree that a lot of it trended musty - STAVE x SCHMEAR eh. Was looking for Manny MUCHADO. Liked PR FIRM. I left the empty squares blank and the app accepted it. Appears to be different versions in use out there.

I took ORGO but have also heard ochem. I loved the class. I suspect the difficulty comes from the turn away from the memorization and calculations of analytical chemistry and the necessity for spatial reasoning and the logic behind the shape of molecules and compounds. You do memorize reactions - but it’s a totally different affair after that.

Very enjoyable solve today.

Boo Radley PA 11:37 AM  

The Crosswords app on my old android tablet had no problem with this one. I left the squares blank and it told me I had completed the puzzle!

A 11:38 AM  

Happy Oranges and Lemons Day!

Bells of St. Clemens

“Oranges and Lemons,” say the bells of St Clement’s.
“You owe me five farthings,” say the bells of St Martin’s.
“When will you pay me?” say the bells of Old Bailey.
“When I grow rich,” say the bells of Shoreditch.
“When will that be?” say the bells of Stepney.
“I do not know,” says the great bell of Bow.

For those interested to see bellringers at work: Quarter Peal

Whew! I was trying so hard to make the ADOs do-si-do around and make longer words it was making my head spin instead. (Talk about expecting a lot from your puzzle!) Would’ve helped early on if I knew ORC from awk. It’s also Awkward Moment Day, btw. But I’m used to having to leave the NW and come back, so no more awkward than usual for a Thursday.

Had a few letters in the middle and got the play with a most satisfying aha moment! Saw there was no need to make the ADOs spin in circles, just leave the center blank!*

I followed a longer path to BLT than Rex - I tried Bar before BaT, then got to BLT thru ALLEN. A Bar can be a club relative, yes? A triple misdirect! And with three little letters. I’m impressed.

Luckily I did get several correct first tries, dredging up several things I hadn’t thought of in ERAS, like Steak DIANE, Harriet Beecher STOWE, and where the heck they take prisoners on a ship.

Took some time to repair the SIs to SIB relationship. Nurse before MEDIC. YummY before TASTY. And I agree with Rex about ORGO. How about “Stay______; it’s up to you”? instead of the strange chemistry clue?

Liked DEAD AIR and STERILE as nods to the theme. Maybe Dr. X, too?

*Leaving the center blank turned out not to satisfy the grid gods, even when I opened a rebus on each one, then closed it again, which I thought was very clever. Found that x marked the spot, and got the treasure music.

Thanks, Mr. McCoy, it was EPIC.

Boo Radley PA 11:40 AM  

As I was doing this one last night I said to my husband, "This puzzle was genius!" I've done thousands upon thousands of crossword puzzles before and don't remember one like this. It was a joy on so many levels! Brilliant!

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

I took organic (we didn't abbr. any more than that) here on the Elite Coast, granted decades ago, so never heard or said ORGO. sounds too much like a sex thing, and among horny undergraduates, too much piling on. so to speak.

flowerchildska 11:42 AM  

I agree with Rex that the puzzle was fun and well-constructed. I also agree with the nay-sayers that the digital form was not fun. I do like to keep my streak going and it is a pain when I have to waste time figuring out what, exactly, to put in those empty boxes. Nevertheless, worrying about that is "much ado about nothing" so I won't.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Bye the by: organic chemistry isn't the course that sends the kiddies into sociology, it's PChem, aka physical chemistry.

What? 11:44 AM  

Re ORGO. As a faculty member (retired) at a medical school, I can affirm the undergraduate grade in organic chemistry is an important consideration for acceptance or rejection. It supposes that orgo is a uniquely difficult subject and as such is a reliable predictor of success in getting through a medical school curriculum .
A friend is a university professor of orgo and when asked why the subject seems to be so difficult for undergraduates, he replied that one reason is the very large number of chemical reactions involved. I would add that another difficulty is parsing isomers that require the ability to imagine in three dimensions, a unique and difficult kind of intelligence.
What does all this have to do with becoming a good physician? Not a lot. It’s more like an obstacle course to cut down the number of applicants to a more manageable level.

Frantic Sloth 11:46 AM  


So, guess I should have read the comments before my last comment, but I wanted to comment my comment ASAP just in case no other commenters had already commented on the comments commenting about the various e-issues. My bad and wrong.

@Chas Grundy 753am Ha! That was my next plan. It's especially maddening because like many others I started with blank squares, then zeroes, then NOTHING "frebused" in, which worked - and, oh by the way, showed as completed with blank squares. Infuriating, really.

Thanks to everyone who verified ORGO...some of you more courteously than others. You know who you are.

@TTrimble 835am "I can't believe this isn't already the EGOT of the day..." 🀣🀣🀣 Have you met the comments?? EGOT got nothing on NOTHING. πŸ˜‰


@Guilherme Gama 844am That could be it, I suppose, because everything comes down to the money. Always. 🀷‍♀️
If only annoyance could be measured in dollars, etc....

@mmorgan 846am Good to know I'm not only not alone, but a rank amateur in the ALLEN wrench-collecting/breeding biz! Thanks. (Hint: Might wanna set up a wrenchie-cam)

@Z 909am You say "foisted", I say "gifted". 🀣🀣 Not.

@Barbara S 919am The "Runaway" (in the ROUT clue) is a noun and therefore, one word. Also, I believe The Avengers have a rallying cry: "Avengers, ASSEMBLE!"
which I assume is what's the what there.

@Birchbark 1000am Wow! That's high praise coming from you - thanks!

@GILL 1015am So, what did you think of the puzzle? 🀣 Also, why in the name of all that is holy, would you (or anyone) apologize to Ted Cruz?? πŸ˜‰

@Nancy 1024am Did the paper version not have the circles? Or has your level of abhorrence raised them to invisibility status? ;) If the Tom McCoy puzzle you're referring to was a NYTXW, it should be one of these, right?

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

@A - now that you mention it, Dr. X makes lot of sense as the revealer to the blank squares. Wow - good one!

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

@Z:
Why is ORGO such a hard class everywhere?

Have you seen an organic chemistry text? Even decades ago, when organic chemistry was still a teenager, it was well over 1,000 pages. Biggest chemistry text in the college bookstore. And you have to know it pretty much by heart.

RooMonster 11:51 AM  

Hey All !
I came here cause I had the same "puz not registering complete" problem seemingly 90% of people had. Read the comments, and saw someone said put an X in the blanks, so I did,and viola, Happy Music. Why others just post over and over and over and over about how to complete the puz without reading the comments is a puzzle in and of itself.

Anyway, that berating aside, add me to the "way cool puz" group. Non-puz-constructors have no idea how difficult this puz was to make. Holy ORGO! First, Tom had to figure out how to get MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING in the grid. Normally, you'd separate them, as in put MUCHADO in the NW, and NOTHING in the SE. But, Tom had to find another place, since he had six (six!!) ADO synonyms in each quadrant, which is itself an impressive feat to pull off. Trying to get any kind of sensible fill is way tough. So he decided to stack them (!) in the middle! Then had to shove those six (six!!) ADO synonyms, while still having a grid that could flow enough without having having cut-off spots that people would complain about. Man, major props, Tom!

I can see CEREBRO causing non-X-Men knowers trouble. I've seen the movies, and it even took me a minute. One of the best lines/times in Avengers:Endgame, is when everyone who was brought back from Thanos' snap by Banner/Hulks' snap, was Amerwhen Captain America utters the line "Avengers!! Assemble." Good stuff. (Still unsure why it took Captain Marvel so long to get her ass to Earth and tell the Avengers.) Movied out yet? πŸ€ͺ

So a great puz, figured out for me in the SE corner. Then got the Revealer after figuring out to leave blank squares, and let out a chuckle. Happy to PARTAKE of your fine puz, Tom. Although PRFIRM is iff-unfair-territory, at 2D in a bkank-square corner, with a wacky ? clue. πŸ™‚

Two F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

RooMonster 11:54 AM  

Meant to say,
@Z
Your Placebo & Tentacle Bar & Grill & Pub & Cafe & Diner & Night Club needs to be built on a marina, also wooden roller coaster adjacent.

RooMonster Would Be A Regular There Guy

newbie 11:57 AM  

Closed the tab (ipad pro air - I do it online) and opened it again and now it seems to have registered that it’s completed. I forgot that I have to do that sometimes. Just in case that helps anyone else - but you have to get the “Congratulations!” first or it’ll break your streak.


newbie 12:00 PM  

That 11:48 am Anonymous was me - I messed up πŸ™‚

Carola 12:07 PM  

Coming here, I first looked to see which commenter(s) had already reacted with NICE ONE! (hi, Newboy 10:12!), which was the first thing I thought after finishing. I was fortunate to get FRACAS and HUBBUB early on, and that helped so much in getting the other forms of ADO. At first I guessed that there would somehow be a "ring" theme, so the reveal was a delightful surprise. But it's not as though the puzzle then rolled over and played DEAD; it kept up some resistance to the end, especially around the CEREBRO-THE ROBOT cross. Very fun to work it all out.
Help from previous puzzles: the ANAGRAMS trick; do-overs: iBn before ABU; SIs before SIB; no idea: ORGO (the pre-med students I knew always complained about "organic," so I didn't know what to do after ORG-).

@commenters who had trouble with the NYT app and solve on an iPad: you might want to check out the Puzzazz app, which does a much better job of mimicking what's in the newspaper (recommended here some years ago by commenter Ellen S.). I use it when it's not convenient for me to solve in the paper, like today, and it accepted the empty spaces.

Frantic Sloth 12:16 PM  

@A 1138am Wow! That Quarter Peal video was something. I have to admit that I couldn't listen all the way through (how do those people not go completely deaf?? I didn't see any ear protection), but it sounded glorious. Also, I was fascinated by the (sort of double-clutch) technique.

And then there's this cheery little "Oranges and Lemons" tidbit!

@Anonymous 1142am So "organic" was the term all those decades ago - that's what I remember, too. I feel better now.

@Roo 1151am Spoiler alert, dude! 🀣🀣 (Not that I'd heed the warning.)
1154am Isn't Z's P &T already in Rye?

H.C. Minh 12:17 PM  

As I have said so many times, NOTHING is more precious than freedom and independence.

But if you'd care for a complete reinterpretation (or deeper interpretation), check out Viet Thanh Nguyen's "The Sympathizer" and his recently published "The Committed." Seriously.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Cute visual gimmick that takes this out of the crossword sphere. It's no longer a crossword
puzzle.

sixtyni yogini 12:35 PM  

Now THAT was a great puzzle.
⚡️❤️πŸ‘πŸ½❤️⚡️

A 12:38 PM  

BFFs (Blog Fun Forays):

Rex’s whole writeup was sparkly, especially “little victory lap in a golf cart” taken by the ADOs.

@Frantic, awesome Terrible Twos shtick!

@Lewis invited us to envision his brain acrobatics! (the “happy-flip”)

Happy Birthday, @Tom T! Hope it’s Terrific!

@Barbara S, a game that is not even close is a runaway, or a ROUT. Thanks for the Updike excerpt - it’s magical!

@Nancy, wish you could remember that Truly Great puzzle. You might check out this article about Tom to see if his favorite is yours, too.

@Roo, Holy ORGO! you’re right, about the PRFIRM being iff-unfair-territory. Great marina suggestion - If @Z builds it there, they will come.

Thanks, @newbie! Here’s another one to wonder ABOUT: Is CEREBRO a subtle constructor signature? Wiki says the device was created by Professor X and Magneto, and later enhanced by Dr. Hank MCCOY. ???

mathgent 12:38 PM  

I was where Nancy was. At a dead stop. Then I decided to look at the circled letters. They spell out different ADOS around blank squares. BINGO!

This is almost a rebus with NOTHING filling the central square, except four of the blanks are two squares.

I've been reading Rex for some years now and I can't remember a more complimentary review. I loved it, too. So many times in the past. I've loved a puzzle and was annoyed when Rex trashed it. I'm a happy camper this morning.

Barbara S. 12:41 PM  

@Frantic (11:46)
Thanks for the Avengers clarification. I'm so glad it's a rallying cry and not a summation of their CVs.

And I appreciate the attempt, but I still don't get the relationship between "Runaway" and ROUT.

MERRIAM-WEBSTER
"rout" noun (1)
1: a state of wild confusion or disorderly retreat
2a: a disastrous defeat : DEBACLE
b: a precipitate flight

"rout" noun (2)
1: a crowd of people
specifically : RABBLE sense 2b
2a: DISTURBANCE
b: archaic : FUSS
3: a fashionable gathering

I thought a runaway was a single individual who has, well, run away from something. But I'm not seeing that in these definitions. However, I know the problem may well be my own synapses misfiring. It happens a lot.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

just to check in with my recollection, from Amazon (list from a quora page):

Organic Chemistry - Francis Carey 1,250 pages
Organic Chemistry - David Klein 1,344 pages
Organic Chemistry - Jonathan Clayden 1,264 pages
Physical Organic Chemistry - Eric Anslyn 1,104 pages

can't tell from Amazon what's stocked in Your Local College, of course.

Harvard (as of 2014) lists a different Klein and this:
Organic Chemistry - G. Marc Loudon 1,421 pages

gee this was fun. so, yeah, if you're not determined to work for Pharma after graduation (and likely, a Ph.D.), then rather an intimidating experience.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

can we stuck to the three and done rule ? (FranticSloth.. EVERYDAY you seem too break this rule, no offense)

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

Having sussed out ABOUT NOTHING first, how many (hands up, please) got stuck with a Seinfeld ear worm?

bocamp 1:06 PM  

@A (11:38 AM)

Thx for the vids, especially the Quarter Peal; I had no idea. :)

@Barbara S. (12:41 PM)

My take on RUNAWAY = ROUT: It was a RUNAWAY victory for the team. They won the game in a rout.
___


pg -3

Peace ~ TOLERANCE ~ Empathy ~ Kindness πŸ•Š

Nancy 1:07 PM  

@Frantic and @A -- Thanks to @Frantic's very helpful link, I was able to nail down the "Truly Great" Tom McCoy puzzle I alluded to in my comment. It's the Sunday NYT puzzle of 3/8/15.

I was wondering all along if that was the puzzle for which I remembered Tom McCoy and suspecting that it probably was. Because the puzzle of 3/8/15 is my favorite puzzle of all time -- even including the Clinton/Bob Dole puzzle.

kitshef 1:07 PM  

@Barbara S. 12:41 - you just needed to to the same for runaway, and would have found:
1: one that runs away from danger, duty, or restraint : FUGITIVE
2: the act of running away out of control
also : something (such as a horse) that is running out of control
3: a one-sided or overwhelming victory

So "rout" 2a is likened to "runaway" 3.

A Moderator 1:09 PM  

@Anon 12:58

There is no such rule anymore.

One can always scroll past comments that don't interest them.

Joaquin 1:11 PM  

@Anonymous (12:58) - Sorry that your scroll wheel is broken.

Teedmn 1:11 PM  

I left the NW feeling rather uneasy, what with those empty squares. I trusted that eventually I would find out what was wanted in those squares, but I hit the revealer and found that I had filled them with exactly what was called for - NOTHING! Cool. I also wondered how the apps were going to handle those squares. I was solving in pen and paper so it wasn't a problem for me.

I WON at 27D. I had nothing there and DURER floated right into my head and helped me see ABBR much earlier than I think Tom McCoy had planned for :-).

Slick Thursday, thanks Tom!

The Abbreviator, a short Avenger 1:14 PM  

Sometimes abbreviations become the norm, and henceforth don't get clued as abbreviations. Think SCUBA. Then think BLT. You might have a valid nit about PRFIRM, but I really don't think so. Also, abbreviations aren't always noted later in the week.

Z 1:24 PM  

I Stand Accused. I plead guilty to suggesting that if you are going to violate god’s law and solve electronically PuzzAzz is the way to go. Back when I used to travel places it was my non-paper app of choice because it most faithfully replicates what appears in the paper. I see @Carola agrees.

@Roo 11:54 - Absotively. I’m thinking the emblem has to have a Pewit riding a goat (only because I’ve never seen a picture of a dook).

@Aintitgrand - I understand your annoyance. In these two specific cases the shortened versions strike me as the more common version. I don’t remember the last time I heard it referred to as a Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich. It is always just a BLT or B.L.T. I see variations on menus (B.L.A.S.T. and B.L.A.T. for example), but never the fully spelt out name. PR FIRM is a little shakier in this regard, I do hear “Public Relations FIRM” on occasion, but nowhere nearly as often as PR FIRM. I also feel like the eschewing of some sort of suggestion of a shortening becomes more common later in the week. So, if the shortened version is commonly used and it is later in the week the solver has to be prepared for no hint that a shortened version is wanted.

***Boring Educational Discussion Alert***
@Anon 9:36, 11:50, & @What - From an educational standpoint what you are all talking about are not intrinsic to any subject matter but reflect pedagogical choices (or more likely, failure to make choices). There is nothing special about ORGO. It is well established knowledge. People master it all the time. The mechanics and practicalities of conveying subject matter to people who don’t yet know it are well studied. There’s nothing especially unusual about needing to teach somebody to think in three dimensions. Coaches and technical programs teach in three dimensions all the time. Simply, failure to convey the extant knowledge to everyone interested in learning it is a pedagogical failure. Even more bluntly, there is no such thing as a “tough subject,” only bad instruction. The “500 page” textbook that needs to be memorized is a perfect example. Such a textbook is a decision to intimidate, not teach. If the chemistry department had the goal of doubling the number of people who master ORGO they could do it. That bad instruction is acceptable, preferred even, is a culture issue, not a knowledge or difficulty issue.

What’s interesting about this to me is that this specific dynamic (the idea that a subject matter is just too difficult for some people) is deemed acceptable by practitioners more often in STEM subjects, who are then often the same people to bemoan innumeracy and scientific illiteracy. If you spend time with education research there’s a deep understanding of why this is so. If you also spend time with leadership research you also will understand why it is so hard to change.

Okay, enough ranting about ORGO, at least from me (btw - all this applies to PChem and Calculus as well)

albatross shell 1:24 PM  

Yesterday someone mentioned sodomy. Today I had my DildO moment.

Got held up in the the NE by trying dUstUp with cUp SenE InpUt. But I thought ABU was correct and some clues did not work well. Finally hit on SCHMEAR VIBE TUB and HUBBUB. And this led to the mysterious STAVE to finish. Then looked up STAVE to find out why.

The NYTCW app (I guess that is what I use) worked wonderfully with empty squares.

Some crosses and thinking of cerebellum made my first guess CEREBus and the corrections came fairly easily.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING always make me think of (Bertrand) Russell, Heidegger, and Sartre.

Nancy 1:25 PM  

Oh, and @Frantic (1:46) -- Yes, there indeed were tiny little circles in the print edition. I certainly saw them. But all I saw was that there were a lot of them, and to my undiscerning eye they seemed randomly placed. What I failed to see was that different groups of them comprised a circle [of sorts] placed around one or more letters.

It's called having a feeling for "spatial relations" and if IQ tests back in the day had only tested that capacity and left out language and mathematical skills, I would have been placed in the Dunce Class. For example: You show me a cube made up of smaller cubes with one cube removed (they did that sort of thing a lot!) and then tell me you're going to rotate the diagram 90 degrees and then show me five diagrams and ask me which is the same cube rotated 90 degrees and I'll have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA. Zilch. Nada. It's probably the reason that I can't visualize maps in my mind's eye. Three seconds after you've removed the map from my line of vision, the map and everything on it is erased from my mind.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

Mods,
Could you list the rules? It's hard to know what is and what isn't allowed when often it's only after the fact that a rule is explicitly stated by a moderator.

Also,
Isn't Joaquin's post of 1:11 a violation of the rule about demeaning or mocking posts. Surely his is a sarcastic barb intended to do nothing but inflict hurt. I mean a scroll wheel? I'm not even sure what that is, but I sure as shooting know what his comment is.

Richardf8 1:33 PM  

I left it blank in my NYT Crossword for iOS and got the music just fine.

That said, I am not fond of these Emmental puzzles. This one was at least a bit worth it.

Phil I. Buster 1:34 PM  

@ A Moderator(1:09 PM)

I was never aware that there was such a rule. But such a rule, or something like it, is not a bad idea.

Whether one can scroll through the posts of others or not, the ability to post with no limits allows some peoplez on some dayz to take over and dominate the conversation. As a result, on those dayz, a good chunk of the conversation becomes response/reaction between the multiple posterz and a not insignificant number of others (who may vary from day-to-day) - changing the character of the entire comment section. When that happens, it becomes decidedly less interesting and myopic.

Just sharing here..

Anonymous 1:35 PM  

This puzzle was boring. Probably more fun for the creator. The gimmick was irrelevant. I just filled in the easy answers noting only that I had to skip a space.

Anonymous 1:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Malsdemare 1:50 PM  

I loved it! It resisted, resisted, RESISTED until it didn't. For once I actually stopped to figure out what the circles were doing but not until I saw MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. Golly, this was fun, even though I had a dnf at CEREBRO. Not a clue about Professor X so why not a CEREBRI? But even that didn't spoil the fun of finding all the ADOs.

A Moderator 1:54 PM  

@Anon 1:27

I'm not aware of a specific list, but if a comment is inappropriate for any reason, it's deleted.

@Phil I. Buster

Some might say that's what makes this blog a community.

Barbara S. 1:55 PM  

@Frantic, @A, @bocamp, @kitshef
Thanks for the further runaway/ROUT explanation -- I get it now. And, yeah, it does sound familiar in the context of sports. But I'm assuming you wouldn't say "The Romans' victory over the Gauls was a runaway." Or would you? I'm thinking that in the military context, you'd always use ROUT?

Phil I. Buster 2:14 PM  

@ A moderator (1:54)

And others might say that that's what has made the blog devolve nore and more into a fiefdom dominated by a self-appointed few.

bocamp 2:22 PM  

Rex's Blog FAQ
___


pg -2

Peace ~ Tolerance ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

A Different Moderator 2:40 PM  

Rex gave us some guidelines but mostly it’s talk about the puzzle and don’t be a jerk. Both are liberally interpreted. In my experience it is almost exclusively anonymous comments that I do not approve or later delete. For example, I just deleted a comment because I deemed it to be only an insult to another poster. We do try to moderate with a light touch.

kitshef 2:50 PM  

I am not a moderator, but have been in the past. We had at that time several rules:
- no vulgarity
- no personal attacks on other blog commenters
- no complaints about blog moderation
- no totally off-topic posts
- no spoilers for recent or upcoming puzzles.

All of those are to some degree subjective.

Based on what we do see, the mods are doing a better job than I did dealing with the gray areas.




Anonymous 2:58 PM  

A different mod
B. S. Z rules the roost. He says snide and petty stuff all the time and you guys let it slide.
My post was not an insult. It was a legitimate rejoinder to z’s assertion.
As for my comments regarding his employment history, tens of millions of Americans are tired of the public school system .z has crowed about his involvement in what many call a fiasco for the better part of a decade around this blog. Criticizing what he believes confers authority is well within the realm of civil, if vehement, disagreement.
It’s more than fair to believe that school administration is a boondoggle. They don’t teach, they leach. And the fact that every two bit hamlet has its own school district necessitating an administration is, to many reasonable observers, grotesque. Not, as z believes, a virtue.

Anonymous 3:02 PM  

@Z:
there is no such thing as a “tough subject,” only bad instruction.

yet another human who has never tried to get his/her head around differential equations or mathematical analysis. I'm guessing, of course. fact is, STEM curricula are more difficult to assimilate for the 'average student' than, say, 'The Ontological Meaning of Comic Books'. were that not true, we'd all be Newton or Einstein, there'd be no wars or poverty; etc.

[captcha died, so this is rather late.]

hankster65 3:04 PM  

I have never liked Thursday puzzles and this one adds to my dislike. The puzzle was fine and I even liked the gimmick, but I had to spend hours figuring out how to end the darn thing. Eventually typing NOTHING into every stinking blank square did it and to me that is just plane BS.

sharon ak 3:15 PM  

Huh? Easy medium.?? This must have been example of "not in my wheelhouse" because even once I cheated to learn the gimmick and then caught onto the reveal with just a few letters so I understood the empty squares, I found it tough.
I enjoyed the theme, clever and fun.

GILL I. 3:16 PM  

@Frantic...HAH. Ted Cruz wouldn't know an apology if it hit him in some Cuban black beans......Or, as we say it where I'm from....in his fondillo.... :-)

A 3:23 PM  

Thank you, moderators!

I just did a quick search. Friday thru yesterday, @Frantic made between 0-2 posts. Only today were there more than 3.

It seems to me that this blog has been accommodating more posters, not less, with many different conversations going on at once. There are some discussions that get rather involved. I think that could be a function of "pandemic cabin fever." As so many others have said, if you find a discussion tedious, it's easy to exercise your option to "walk on by." I know I do. I need all the exercise I can get!

Not a Moderator 3:26 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Swagomatic 3:35 PM  

I was mad when I couldn't get the happy song with the blank squares, so I tried dashes. That ended up working, but I only had to fill in about half of the empty squares. It was weird, but kind of fun.

AndyinVt 3:40 PM  

Having the sane frustration as others, I decided to "cheat" a little and searched for the answer for "father of in Arabic." It gave today's answer as ABNU. Knowing it was actually ABU, I put "N"'s in every blank square - no dice. So I too lost my streak. Bummer.

oceanjeremy 3:49 PM  

I loved this puzzle!

Even before making it here, I guessed it would be a divisive solve. Thursdays often are — if the trick doesn’t click, the experience is … ick? (I tried!) So I was unsurprised to find that so many hated it.

Especially those of us solving electronically. If you couldn’t get the puzzle timer to stop, do you know if you really have every answer correct? Or did you type the wrong symbol or rebus in? Early on I wrote the “NOTHING” rebus into the empty squares — more for an aid in solving than anything else.

I've been on the "I hated this" side of a Thursday that just didn't land for me, so everyone has my sympathies.

Some favorite clues:
- “TIS but a scratch!” “A scratch? Your arm’s off!”
- SRIRACHA: There was a bottle sitting on the table next to me while I solved. Does this count as cheating? I didn’t have to look at it to know the spelling, so I don’t think it does.
- Albrecht DURER: I have a very distinct memory of being in the 5th or 6th grade, in the school library, with a book of Albrecht DURER’s artwork. I was in awe of a landscape he had drawn, or etched. Can’t remember which artwork it was, but I just remember being transported elsewhere. It was a very magical moment His name has stuck with me ever since.
- ANAGRAMS: I solved this puzzle last night. Literally one day earlier (on Tuesday) I chanced across a Reddit thread about strange coincidences, or funny thoughts, or something like that. And one of the posts was that “Eleven plus two” and “twelve plus one” are anagrams of each other — and both add up to 13. And I LOVE anagrams! Then the following day it turns up in the NYTXW. Of course I answered without hesitation. But how the hell does that kind of timing actually happen in real life?

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

@A:
many different conversations going on at once.

For myself, naturally, I'd put the ORGO threads into that situation. Starts directly in the puzzle, then metastasizes in multiple directions. For myself, that's the main reason for bothering to visit. If I only cared about the answers for today, rather than wait for tomorrow's paper, I'd hang out at xwordinfo. Perhaps those who dislike tip toeing through the tulips of diverse back-and-forth should hang out there? dontcha think?

Anonymous 3:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 4:14 PM  

Doesn't anyone buy the dang Newspaper anymore?

newbie 4:31 PM  

@A 12:38 pm - I think it must be. That McCoy reference can’t be a coincidence. Very good. Lots of Easter eggs in this one.

@Nancy - some spatial skills can be worked on...I like a free android app called Brain Yoga - it has different kinds of puzzles and one is a box flattened out with different colored sides. You have to match it to one of the answers that are closed up (cubes). I kind of hate that one. But you can set each type of puzzle to a difficulty level from 1 to 10. I’ll probably be at a 3 forever on the box thingy and I still get it wrong a lot. (Btw, I haven’t liked any of the other brain game apps I’ve tried at all - they seem too much like old IQ tests.) Hey, there was a time when I had no idea how to complete a NYTXword either, so there’s hope! πŸ™‚ Also, I didn’t really see this crossword as a spatial problem. I finally just realized that it said MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and there was nothing in some of the squares and “about” can mean “around.” So I came at it sort of verbally - then, yes, I checked in with Rex because I wasn’t sure you could do that skipping squares thing. If I hadn’t, I probably would still be scratching my head. When I first did crosswords, two-word answers threw me because I didn’t know they were allowed.

Yes, I did first think of Seinfeld, briefly.

Note: somebody should give these Moderators a raise!
They can’t just scroll past this stuff! Presumably.

Let’s give the Mods a hand, everyone. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

O.M.G. - Now people are trolling the Moderators! πŸ˜…

Not a moderator 4:40 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mr. Alarm 4:42 PM  

Ditto. I like puzzles because they are word-based, not empty space gimmicks. Trying too hard to be clever. Yuk!

BarbieBarbie 4:48 PM  

This puzzle was great great great. It's a perfect Thursday, a theme with a little bit of mystery. I loved it.

Here's my mystery: I solve the night before the publication date, so I don't benefit from changes due to complaints, and yet I had no trouble at all solving on an iPad and leaving blanks for the "nothing" squares. I just checked again, and I didn't accidentally put anything in any of them. Nope. Blanks did it. Medium-easy time. I'd be interested to know if anybody who had the blank-square problem gave up and hit Reveal, and what they saw when they did.

As for ORGO: I'm a chemist who was never a pre-med student. On the information processing continuum that runs from "make a big coherent picture out of all this parallel information" to "make a coherent stack of smaller pictures out of all this serially related information," organic chemistry and medicine are on one end, and physical chemistry is on the other.I know close to zero doctors who enjoyed physical chemistry, and I know a lot of doctors. It makes perfect sense to me that med schools would use ORGO as a proxy for academic success in med school.

Whatsername 4:53 PM  

I find it incongruous that the person complaining about others posting too many comments is himself/herself posting Anonymously and therefore not subject to the same “rule” he/she proposes should apply to everyone else.

Joaquin 5:35 PM  

@Anon (1:27) - I guess it's a fine line between mocking and sarcasm, and it was the latter I was going for. My point was this: Who cares how many posts someone makes? Unless it is one of the many "Anon" posters, we can simply scroll right on by. If you don't care for my posts, they are quite easy to identify by my name and equally easy to skip. Same for anyone else who posts under any name other than "Anonymous".

Anonymous 5:45 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 5:47 PM  

@Whatsername:
the same “rule” he/she proposes should apply to everyone else

You talkin TO ME??
Youuuu talkin TO ME???

who, in fact, is ME????

fact is there are many of we mice. anyone can post as a mouse. some with 'names' occasionally make the mistake of being Anonymous. some who are now mice used to have a 'name'. some who used to be a mouse now take a 'name'. and so on.

Anonymous 5:56 PM  

Joaquin,
Sure, I could skip your posts, but that puts the onus on the wrong person. I say you were mocking. Sarcasm is a rhetorical tool often used to mock, or degrade or abase someone else. Why should anyone be subjected to that?

Anonymous 6:24 PM  

Thank God. Rex liked it! I did too...

Joaquin 6:32 PM  

@Anon (5:56) - I'm afraid that your plea has not persuaded me and I will continue as I have for the past several years, apparently putting the onus on the wrong person. If you choose to ignore my future posts I will not be insulted; OTOH, if you read them and respond consider this a "thank you" in advance. In either case, I am outta here for today (and with no hard feelings or ill intents).

oceanjeremy 6:37 PM  

I, for one, greatly appreciate Frantic Sloth's frequent comments. (Frequent Sloth's Frantic Comments?)

The Rule of Thumb for the Internet is that the onus is on the reader to decide what they want to read, reply to, ignore or scroll past.

Anonymous 6:55 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jae 7:02 PM  

@Z. - I mostly agree with your comments about bad instruction. The fact that curved test scores are prevalent in college courses is evidence that many professors don’t really understand or care about teaching to mastery. That said, the bell curve is real.

David 7:04 PM  

Had the same thought!

razerx 7:12 PM  

Before I figured out the gimmick I had entered DILDO when I got D____O for Steely Dan.

Colette 7:14 PM  

Just a shout out to the Constructor Tom McCoy. I capitalized Constructor, because you are clearly a God. The brilliance of this puzzle amazed me. The revealer -- how you managed to clue the synonyms for ado in perfect circles -- truly mind-blowing. You are a genius. Thank you for a great puzzle! I can't understand anyone complaining about this.

GILL I. 7:18 PM  

Yikes.....The Anonys are attacking .
@Frantic. Yous Go Girl. POST at least cinco mil times. We love you......

Whatsername 8:03 PM  

@Anonymous (5:47) "who in fact is ME? ... anyone can post as a mouse"
I don't know to whom I'm talking. That's precisely the point. Unless a unique name is added, every comment posted by a mouse (your term) appears the same as every other mouse. There are over 30 anonymous posts so far today. That could be 30 different mice posting once or just as easily, one mouse posting them all. How many were posted by you? Unless the Mods have some distinct way of differentiating one from another, the theoretical three-post rule proposed by @Anonymous at 12:58 could not be uniformly applied.

At 5:56 p.m. @Anonymous (you??) stated to @Joaquin that skipping posts puts the onus on the wrong person. I agree but I do it often on this site as well as others. And BTW, I'd say your opening comment ("You talkin to me") most definitely constitutes sarcasm. So are you breaking your own rules again by trying to mock or degrade me? See? I don't know because I can't be sure whether you and @5:56 are the same person. I suspect you are but in any case, as @Joaquin said, I'll bid you a good evening with no hard feelings or ill intent.

On that note, thanks Moderators. You have a tough job but you do it well and as nearly as I can tell, quite fairly.

Anonymous 8:34 PM  

Thank you to the people who helped me figure out how to fill in the blanks. When are the editors going to give help to those of solving on line? Fortunately it doesn't happen that often, but why should it happen at all? Whatever joy I might have had from this puzzle was overtaken by serious frustration.

Ernonymous 8:58 PM  

The really annoying snotty anon, has been the most annoying today as well. What's interesting about this anon, is every single post by him breaks the rules. He has NEVER once posted about the puzzle. All his posts are to tell another poster that they are stupid. He really should be banned for never discussing the puzzle, but using this place to get his pent up anger out on strangers.

Anonymous 9:04 PM  

This puzzle was horrible. there. I said it.

mjddon 9:58 PM  

I’m confused. I use the nyt app on my iPad. I left the holes blank and it told me I had completed the puzzle. After reading the comments I tried to put x in the hole but it would not let me enter anything. Like it won’t let you erase a correct letter. Maybe they fixed it?

Alicat 10:40 PM  

Still scratching my head...

Nancy 10:48 PM  

To those Anons who have been complaining all day about multiple posts leading to too many comments on the blog that they find burdensome to have to scroll through -- may I direct you to the Wordplay Blog which as of three minutes ago totaled 717 comments! Now that's what I would call burdensome!! And I'm sure that a great many of them are dupes...or multi-dupes -- it's impossible to ever tell because the scrolling system over there was invented by the Marquis de Sade.

So stop kvetching, Anons, and count your blessings that you're over here and not over there.

Z 11:11 PM  

Rex read the comments today and our kvetching made him happy. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Anonymous 11:12 PM  

@Whatsername:

I say with authority that 5:47 & 5:56 are different mice, in that I was 5:47. And my intent was neither mocking nor sarcasm of/toward you, rather to make the fun of the Anonymous posters by channelling DeNiro. Of which I am one. Wasn't always, but the baloney directed at 'named' posters became too much, so I went Anonymous. And, just for fun, I've developed multiple syntax/semantics/dialect posters. I suspect other mice have done the same. Forest for the trees and all that. For the record, generally only one each day, and I don't engage in argument with altermice. Can't speak for the other mice.

As to identifying, which unless you've got a Blogger ID doesn't mean much in fact, it doesn't really matter. What matters is the content of the text. Yes, it does veer off the puzzle, and does appear to be a bit more so than previously. As one mouse said: if you don't like the conversations, there's always xwordinfo.

stephanie 1:14 AM  

@Chas Grundy thank you! blanks, 0's and X's didn't work but the dash did. the puzzle was enjoyable before that. appreciate it.

Dave S 1:18 AM  

Loved the theme's execution. Hated the technical glitch.

Joe 5:45 AM  

I loved this puzzle.

Steve 10:56 AM  

I took various organic chemistry courses at Ohio State and MIT and never heard anyone call them either orgo or ochem. It was just plain organic. The notorious one was physical chemistry, which was always called P-chem (with the hyphen). Organic was the course that separated out pre-med students who would not go on to medical school from those who would. But even the future doctors shied away from P-chem because of the likely negative effect on their GPAs.

Bradford Caslon 5:18 PM  

It's a Thursday!

pdplot 7:48 PM  

Like @Nancy, I flunk spatial relations. Can't do algebra either. Words? Yes. Did not like this puzzle and had trouble finishing. Couldn't figure out Machado. Rod Machado, the aviation writer? Oh - much ado. I get it. The blank spaces seemed random and rubbed me the wrong way. But then I'm in my late 80s so what did you expect? I'm also not allowed to post on Wallstreetbets because of "low karma".

Unknown 11:22 AM  

Strains the definition of crossword puzzle. Do the words cross, somewhat; is it a puzzle, more of a mess. And "orgo" for organic chemistry is just nonsense in a paper that actually publishes a style guide. The answer could have remained and be clued differently. Oh, and for people who thought that organic chemistry was a mick (much more prevalent a term than orgo), the clue was not just obscure, but nonsensical.

Unknown 11:42 AM  

Disliked the puzzle a lot. I know it's a Thursday and therefore contains a trick but this is hardly even a crossword puzzle.
Some of us don't solve in a particular way, I look for a blank in the across clues and then work on connecting words in an effort to make the puzzle more difficult.
Finally, the cluing for orgo is absurd. There are plenty of sane (if not clever) ways to clue that answer. But, to use regional teenspeak is close to cheating and certainly off-putting

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

For the comment about ORGO vs OCHEM: it's generally an East Coast term for organic chemistry - on the West Coast, students say OCHEM and if you go to college somewhere in between you'll often hear a mixture depending on where students came from.

Unknown 9:10 AM  

Garbage! Another puzzle where the constructor is more interested in showing his own cleverness and superior intellect, than providing a solid solve.

rondo 11:27 AM  

Not sure I liked it that much other than it seems to have frustrated a lot of device-solvers. My biggest mess was at 38d cousin of a club going from sub to Bar to BaT to BLT.
Yeah, there is MUCHADO ABOUT NOTHING, which really UPS the three count. Unlike the Chauvin trial, my jury is still out on this one.

thefogman 11:29 AM  

Wow! That was a masterpiece of a puzzle. Bravo to Tom McCoy on a job well done. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were all this good?

spacecraft 12:20 PM  

Seeing a bunch of circles, I thought "Uh-oh." and began looking for a revealer clue. I like when it's centrally located; then I can rotate out in all directions and not just be cramped up in one corner.

And here were gimmes: (Li'l) ABNER and the infamous tennis score--but this time ADOUT instead of in. First clue that this was going to be refreshing. Shortly, or "ABBR.-ly," I had the play, and inferred from the get-go that the interiors of the circled words would be left blank. This helped a LOT.

So, easy enough to do, but a pleasure also. Never heard of ORGO, but it affected me personally in a life-changing manner when I went to my first college. Chem major, natch. I sailed through inorganic like a hot knife through butter. Then came "the other." All of a sudden I was "Wha?" Yep, had to switch not only majors--but colleges!

Anyway, considering the ubiquitousness of the theme, this was a very well done effort, fun to solve, and with MIA Love as DOD. Eagle.

Burma Shave 12:45 PM  

RUMPUS SLIPUP

They call DIANE "THEROBOT",
NOTHING MUCH for peril.
"A NICEONE", ALLEN thought,
"to DOO if she's STERILE."

--- DR.S ABNER STOWE & IKE DURER

WestCoastPete 1:32 PM  

This is effectively Max Carpenter’s AVCX puzzle of March 21, 2018 all over again. That one had the same revealer but only four empty ADOs: HURLYBURLY, HULLABALOO, BROUHAHA and BALLYHOO.

Diana, LIW 5:09 PM  

Not my cuppa

Lady Di

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