Julius Caesar's first name / SUN 3-7-21 / After the fact as a justification / Zoom Zoom sloganeer / Most in the style of comedian Steven Wright / Peak in Turkey mentioned in both Iliad and Aeneid / Man's name that coincidentally is Latin for honey / Hit musical with an Emerald City Sequence

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Constructor: Celeste Watts and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Very Easy

THEME: "Take Two" — Every theme clue has had "two" letters "taken" from it: the answers are punny explanations of the clues and their missing letters. Thus:

Theme answers:
  • STRIPTEASE ARTISTS (23A: ILLUS_RA_ORS) (word meaning "artists" has had its "T"s "stripped")
  • EASE OFF THE GAS PEDAL (39A: ACC_L_RATOR) (word meaning "gas pedal" has had its "E"s taken "off")
  • UNWISE INVESTMENT (49A: LUXU_ _ACHT) (possible "investment" is without "Y"s)
  • NO EMPTY THREAT (66A: ENDANGER_EN_) (word meaning "threat" has no "M" or "T")
  • YOU ARE OUT OF ORDER (85A: CONFIG__ATION) ("U" and "R" are taken "out of" word meaning "order")
  • UNENVIABLE POSITION (93A: POI_T OF _IEW) (phrase meaning "position" has been un-"NV"'d)
  • WITHOUT ANY WARNING (113A: _OTIC_) (word meaning "warning" is "without" its "N" and "E")
Word of the Day: IAN Somerhalder (90A: Actor Somerhalder) —
Ian Joseph Somerhalder (born December 8, 1978) is an American actor, model, activist and director. He is known for playing Boone Carlyle in the TV drama LostDamon Salvatore in The CW's supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries and Dr. Luther Swann in Netflix's sci-fi horror series V Wars. (wikipedia)
• • •

It's a slightly old gag, the "treat letters as words" thing (NV as "envy," or EZ as "easy," etc.). But this iteration is restricted and sharply defined in a way that makes it seem interesting and worthwhile. That is to say, the letter removal conceit really works. Some of the themers are more solid than others—loved EASE OFF THE GAS PEDAL, best of the lot ... whereas YOU ARE OUT OF ORDER feels slightly jury-rigged; it's a phrase one might say, but the YOU ARE part feels arbitrary and tacked on ... OUT OF ORDER stands alone nicely, the YOU ARE ... just appended. You have to play fast and loose with grammar to make the phrases work, e.g. technically you strip the "T"s from the word meaning "artist" ... and "un-NV-able" is a bonkers non-word ... so phonetically you've kinda gotta just go with the flow and accept that it's all Close Enough. And it is close enough. There are two UN- words in the themers, and maybe it would've been slightly more elegant not to repeat letter-removal strategies (in this case, the UN- prefix), but meh. This is a quibble. Overall: It's cute. It's whimsical. It's not terribly corny. It takes an old trick and gives it interesting new life. I can live with this theme for sure.

But wow was this easy. Like ... with the help of only one Across answer in each case, I got the first sixteen (!) Downs in a row without stopping. Wasn't sure about 1A: After the fact, as a justification, so I went to 1D: Entourage, wrote in POSSE, then immediately thought "oh, 1A is POST HOC," then proceeded to get every Down cross. Threw STRIPTEASE ARTISTS across the grid, so I had the NW done and the theme in hand, all inside of something like 20 seconds:

From there it was HEFTS, BEST OF, and then a repeat of the NW corner, with Every Single Down in that northern section falling in order, all hits no misses. First real hesitation was when I got to the PETER guy—figured his Roman numeral was probably "I," but didn't commit. Had SAMBA before SALSA (32D: Lively dance genre)and YES YES before YES I DO (31D: Emphatic assent), but despite those neighboring errors, I flew through the west as well. There are little moments of wrongness or hesitation here and there, but overall I kinda wish I'd had the timer on, because this felt close to a record-setting time (i.e. low 7-minute mark). No idea who IAN Somerhalder is. Spelled WRYEST thusly. These are the kinds of "problems" I was having, i.e. I was having hardly any problems. BLURRY before BLEARY (92A: Unfocused). Some STN / TENUOUS issues. But otherwise, as the clue for MAZDA says, "Zoom Zoom." Only wrinkled-nose moment of the solve came with the clue for OVERDO (47A: Exercise too much, say). The answer for *that* clue should be OVERDO IT. I exercised too much, I overdid it. Same thing. I overdid ... no. Also, OVERDO has no specific relationship to exercise. Bah to that clue. But yeah, otherwise, acceptable all around. Very OK. Sadly, "very OK" means this is one of the best Sundays of the year so far. This should be average! Good should be normal! OK, that's all, happy Sunday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:03 AM  

I thought this one was brilliant and fun. The puns you have to sound out are always my favorites. This had that plus a written angle.
What's not to love?

For a minute there, I was trying to figure out what the IOdA Writers' Workshop was...then I realized it was my stupidity.

Wait...there was fill? I guess I didn't notice because
(a) The theme was so enjoyable
(b) The fill was not at all your basic blah...with one exception for me.

The "she died on quibble hill" NIT: BRAs were "...said to have been burned..."?? Is there some question here? Drop the "said to have been" - it's not a rumor. Don't tell me nobody noticed.

What did the squeamish hit man say to the kill order?

I know. 🀷‍♀️ You think of an appropriate DOOK joke.


John Culhane 12:29 AM  

Agree. Fun but way easy. I did laugh out loud at myself for thinking one of the answers was: “I can’t, goon!” (Rather than “I can’t go on!”) when my mush brain was finally able to pull “goon” apart, I really did have the best laugh at my expense in a while.

Joe Dipinto 12:43 AM  

I really enjoyed this theme. The aural reimaginings of common phrases to describe the clues work really well. ("Unenviable" is an honest-to-goodness word, Rex.) The puzzle title seems kind of tacked on after the fact, and falls flat, imo – but otherwise the whole concept is inspired.

I had one mistake with DRIEST for most like Steven Wright, which I only noticed when I glanced over the grid later and said "Wtf is IODA"? No other issues. It was fun figuring out exactly how the missing letters were going to be dealt with in each instance. Bravo to Jeff Chen and Celeste Watts. I give it a Pow!

Thought we'd end the week with 71d at the movies (including, suitably, a Kurosawa knockoff):

The Great Escape

To Kill A Mockingbird

Brynner, McQueen, Bronson, Coburn, Buchholz, Vaughn...quick, name the seventh one

Ken Freeland 1:28 AM  

Though I thought the theme was relatively clever in conception, I felt it was flawed in execution...I can give this constructor everyone but the last one, and here he breaks the mold. How is "without any warning explaining a missing "n"? Oh, I get it...the constructor thinks an "an" sound can be transformed for his purposes to an "en" sound. Well I don't...this was off-putting and disappointing. On top of this, the SW corner, with its flood of PPP, had several naticks, all stemming from this supermodel's name (how many people pay attention to this sort of thing, anyway? The last model whose name I remember is "Twiggy.") We have the rapper's name bleeding into this (must be the case that NYT readers all follow this genre, because rappers' names abound in these Sunday puzzles) and then "singer James" also branching off from it. I was, pardon the pun, clueless. Notwithstanding these problems, I felt the puzzle was relatively enjoyable. Just wish Shortz would look at every submitted puzzle, and if some stupid PPP clue crosses another stupid PPP clue, hand it back to the constructor until he can get at least one of the clues replaced with something intelligble.

puzzlehoarder 1:48 AM  

A very clever theme. With the exception of 85A all the themers were spot on in the language. It took a few careful readings of 113A to suss out the missing letters.

The fill was mostly routine. As best I can remember I had five write overs. The toughest area of fill was that middle east. Knowing MAZDA cleared the fog and supported the change of BLURRY to BLEARY.

We've had back to back supermodels. I surprised myself by spelling GISELE correctly on first try.

My grasp of math is so TENUOUS that when I had ROO_ at 68D I was thinking ROOMS?. As always I was saved by the crosses.

Why do I know the name Sebastian COE? As best I can remember it's also a midwest college and some SF landmark. I'll be wearing diapers in some facility one day and still filling this stuff in along with the diapers of course.

chefwen 1:51 AM  

Well, that was fun and different, really enjoyed it. Made the same mistake as @Joe Dipinto with DRIEST @91A, unlike Joe didn’t find catch my error, IOWA Writers Workshop could have bee IODA for all that means to me.

51D was fitting, Mt WAIALEALE added at least six inches to its yearly total, it rained all freaking day. I feel sorry for anyone here on vacation.
Waialeale means rippling water, which I’m sure it was doing today.

JOHN X 2:27 AM  

I thought this a great Sunday puzzle. I solved almost all the themers early on but that was fun.

If you want to hear Steven Wright at his WRIEST listen to his interview on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. Wright describes a dance recital he was taken to and one dancer in particular.

I filled up with 92-octane Chevron PREMIUM today and boy is that Techron something else. Chevron stock pays a very healthy dividend.

Certain AMMO is completely sold out everywhere. Try finding .270 Winchester on-line. You can’t! Fortunately it was in stock down at the local Big-5.

There is a privately owned 747-8i parked near my GULFSTREAM that belongs to the Qatari royal family. The 747-8i is the “Boeing Business Jet,” and the inside of this one is pretty swank. Google “A7-HBJ” if you’re interested in buying it.

EdFromHackensack 2:27 AM  

Yep, hand up for BLurRY instead of BLEARY, smooth sailing up to that point. Had to straighten out MAZDA too. great puzzle, got the trick early at STRIPTEASEARTIST so that helped. At first glance I thought the puzzle would be real hard, but I proved to be wrong. I thought Julius was Caesar;s first name. My 24 year old son knew it correctly in an instant.

Frantic Sloth 2:40 AM  

@J-Dip 1243am Dexter! Thanks for the the E.B. retrospective. Coincidentally, Sweet Smell of Success was on TCM the other day.

jae 4:11 AM  

Easy-medium. Fun, clever, liked it a bunch.

...and me too for dRIEST before WRIEST.

Anonymous 5:55 AM  

I can't really find any fault with this one; I just didn't enjoy it that much.

Anonymous 5:56 AM  

Nice puzzle. Enjoyed the theme. Only nit: IAN crossing GAIUS

Anonymous 6:18 AM  

84A is wrong---ACID is sour not bitter. Who edited this POS?

mmorgan 6:21 AM  

Totally agree with Rex — really good themers and super easy. I also had YESYES and BLURRY and didn’t know IAN, so I must have been channeling Rex.

Colin 6:23 AM  

Congratulations to Celeste! Perseverance is indeed key, and this was a nice collaboration with Jeff Chen. I enjoyed the theme. I don't quite get why MEL is "coincidental". Also, should (and I'm being NITpicky here) the clue for 60A be "Post productionS"? Anyway, I also thought having all those OATs in the NW corner (OATES, OATMEAL, OATH), and all the "guest"-clued fill in the south was cool.

Lewis 6:37 AM  

Jeff reveals in his notes at XwordInfo that he and Celeste brainstormed for more than two months to come up with this puzzle. I don’t doubt it. Every time I revealed one of the theme answers, I thought, “How the heck did they come up with this?” Finding words representing letters, like TEASE for T’s, that’s not too hard. But coming up with theme answers that indicate those letters are missing from a word AND define that word – that is jaw dropping for me.

That was not only mighty impressive, it was entertaining, and easily made this puzzle memorable.

Oh, I liked EDGES sitting on the edge, GAS PEDAL in the same grid as a “Zoom-Zoom” clue, and even NIT abutting the NIT of UNITE. But the theme answers – that was a wow, and I’m so glad you two stuck this one out. Congratulations for booking your 121st NYT puzzle, Jeff, and your very first, Celeste, and thank you both for making this!

smalltowndoc 6:45 AM  

Didn’t really understand AAA for "letters on many towers". I’m guessing the last word of the clue is to be pronounced "tow-ers"?

Last square to fall was the GISELE/NAS cross. Had a "z" instead of an "s". I didn’t know the correct spelling of either of those two proper names, obviously.

I liked the wordplay, and overall a fun puzzle. Also shaved 8:30 of my Sunday average.

OffTheGrid 7:11 AM  

I've been enjoying this puzzle more than any Sunday in a looooooong time. My grid is full but still searching for error. I haven't "cheated" so I am determined to find it. I had to laugh at myself for a self inflicted DOOK in 77D. I had OON at the end and was looking for something to rhyme with moon. I didn't know Bundchen but saw that "G" was a reasonable guess. So then I had GOON. WTF is that? I thought. Then it hit. FACE PALM ensued.

OffTheGrid 7:32 AM  

I posted the above without reading @Rex or the early comments. Now I've finished and read the comments. Glad I wasn't alone on the GOON DOOK.

SouthsideJohnny 7:40 AM  

Does anyone else think the clue for SRO (“Good sign for an angel”) is a bit of a stretch ?

F. Ermentation 7:44 AM  

@ Anonymous (6:18) Though your post offers us a perfect example of when sour and bitter intersect.

amyyanni 7:45 AM  

Another Blurry instead of BLEARY here. Also had Sue me instead of SEZ ME. Made that section the toughest. Learned MEL is connected to honey. Fun. Happy Sunday indeed.

Hungry Mother 7:55 AM  

This was a fun puzzle! Some of the names caused me some pause, but all were inferable. Very nice theme to help the way. More like this.

Carol S. 8:14 AM  

All of us in New England know who Gisele is - Tom Brady's wife.

Alexa & Dan 8:21 AM  

We enjoyed the theme! Our biggest complaint was that SEZ ME needed "in slang" in the clue. Also not sure what the coincidence was with MEL.. any ideas?

bagelboy 8:22 AM  

Yeah - Ian/Gaius crossing a real problem. You are not alone (5:56)

bocamp 8:27 AM  

Thank you @Celeste & @Jeff for a most ENTERTAINing Sun. puz. :)

Easy+ solve.

Another great start in the NW, with a steady clockwise route to finish up in the SW. No hiccups along the way.

Nice theme, but not a big help in the solving process; made perfect sense in the post-solve analysis, tho. Liked it. :)

RASSLEed in jr. hi.; dropped it for bball in h.s..

The ENTERTAINer ~ Scott Joplin

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Barbara S. 8:40 AM  

What a terrific puzzle! I think YOU ARE OUT OF ORDER is Parliamentary, something the Speaker of the House says to an unruly Member who is trying to raise a point at an inappropriate time. It’s said frequently in our House of Commons. What gave me pause about that themer is whether “configuration” means ORDER, but Oxford does cite ORDER as a similar word in its definition. I also wondered about “notice” meaning WARNING, but M-W uses “warning” in its definition at 1 a (1), in other words, right off the bat. So in the end I thought everything worked like a charm, and I loved the wit.

The difficult area for me was on the coast of Oregon with RUMPS, MT IDA and POLO. I couldn’t imagine anything but babies’ feet for “booties”, I didn’t grasp that MT was part of the answer for the Turkish peak, and I tried to get British schoolboys to play “bowls” or “boules”, spelling it incorrectly as bOLs. Couldn’t make heads or TAILS of any of it until inspiration suddenly struck.

BEA ARTHUR made a splashy comeback, her whole name top front center. I loved VINE RIPEN as an answer. I’m a bit unsure about SRO being a good sign for an angel. Is that an angel investor? I liked the Scots content with OATMEAL and REEL.

Today’s excerpt is by ANDREA LEVY, born Mar. 7, 1956.

“Caslon or Garamond or Baskerville is shouted as the compositors search for as many cases of these types as can be found. But never is there enough of those metal letters. The apprentice is charged to clean the ones just used so he can distribute a constant supply, lest a compositor be forced into some fancy spelling for the want of Es. With his uppercase upper and his lowercase lower, the compositor, standing at his frame with his stick held in his hand, like an artist with his palette, looks first to the handwritten copy, before click, click, clicking metal letters into a line. Then, line by line, each page is built up upon a form and the metal words are banged home with a mallet, tightened and spaced with slugs of wood, then locked within this frame by the teeth of quoins. And when the page is set, ‘Proof’ is yelled at the door.”
(From The Long Song)

pabloinnh 8:41 AM  

This is a great, rebus-y kind of concept that I really enjoy. Thought we were dealing with double letters, like E's and Y's, but the two different letter concept made it even more fun. Like OFL, I flew through the NW, but the rest of the puzzle had enough resistance to make it satisfying.

BRAs may be "said to have been burned", but in Idaho people are burning masks in protest and encouraging their children to join them. I'm crossing Idaho off my "places worth visiting" list for the time being. C'mon you guys.

Thanks for a very nice Sundecito, CW and JC. Best one in recent memory.

Yooper 8:54 AM  

I enjoyed this easy solve and was amused by the jokes.
My only question was re: 70A. Why is Mel a coincident?
I think meil is honey in French but I don't understand the clue.

Hartley70 8:59 AM  

I’m stuck on the ROOT answer for “Two, for four”. In every other way the puzzle played easy, especially the long themers but was still quite ENTERTAINing.

kitshef 9:12 AM  

Is a luxury yacht in investment? I would have thought it was a great big cash suck. Other than that, the themers, and the puzzle in general, were very good. I do question the wisdom of using a cutesy “?” clue for EPA when it already crosses little-known ECCE and PIA.

My A Fish Called Wanda co-star was Jamie Lee CURTIS at first, “confirmed” by POST HOC, so that caused some confusion.

Nice to see the reappearance of SRO – Sold Right Out. It’s been a while.

Looking into the New Deal NRA led me down a series of articles that allowed me to learn that the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles were named for the “blue eagle” symbol used in NRA posters.

Z 9:13 AM  

I guess I’m all alone on Grumpy Island today. I can appreciate the work in creating the themers, but I just found myself slogging through short fill to get to jokes I didn’t find particularly interesting. I can’t disagree with any compliment offered, it just did not land for me.

A couple of nits, One of the Greats —> PETER I
VIEWED as an answer when POI_NT OF _IEW is a clue.
Hall and OATESMEAL (actually, I sort of like that crossing).

@Carol S - The proper formulation is that Tom is GISELE’s husband. She’s the bigger earner, after all.

@smalltowndoc - Correct on towers as in tow trucks, with their AAA insurance logo on the door.

@Whoever asked about “Angels” - “Angels” as slang for Broadway investors is a crossword clue staple. I think this week was the first time I saw it used for business investors. Anyway, very common cluing “misdirect” that loses it misdirective cred the more puzzles you do.

R. Greene 9:19 AM  

Had to look up NRA regarding FDR new deal. Apparently, it stands for National Recovery Administration, which was created in 1933 and dissolved in 1935. That is some crosswordese. If only there were a well known current organization with the same three initials. Oh, well.

Z 9:21 AM  

@Yooper - I assume the name MEL has origins other than the Latin word for honey, so it is just a coincidence that they are both MEL.

@Hartley70 - Two is the square ROOT of four.

@kitshef - I had the same thought on yachts. I don’t actually know, but they seem more like a luxury expense.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Can someone explain SRO? Is it referring to angels standing on the head of a pin? Clever, if so.

Mike G 9:31 AM  

Same for me with IOWA/IODA.

Birchbark 9:31 AM  

LEERY crossing BLEARY, the illegitimate eighth and ninth dwarves.

WITHOUT ANY WARNING, I solved the wrong Sunday puzzle (3/31/2002) first this morning. I clicked the wrong bookmark and went back into the Archives by accident, saw it was a Sunday, asked no further questions, solved it and liked it (Lynn Lempel, if you're reading, thanks for including the river down the hill at 87D).

Fast forward nineteen years. UNWISE INVESTMENT is a nice reminder this time of year -- the snow melts and thoughts wander to how nice it might be to own a pontoon boat. Well, the sun-faded fiberglass canoe will happily serve for another year.

kitshef 9:31 AM  

On the clue for "MEL", while I would have preferred the clue without "coincidentally", the point of that was to state that the man's name is not etymologically related to Latin for 'honey' - it's just a coincidence.

@Ken Freeland - OK, I'll bite. How do you pronounce "any"? I've never heard it pronounced any way other than as a rhyme with penny/Bennie/many/jenny.

Peter P 9:32 AM  

@kitschel - Isn't SRO "standing room only" not "sold right out"? Or maybe I'm missing a bit of a playful quip.

@Southside Johnny - Yeah, I had my brow raised for that one, and I'm not sure if the cluing is off or I'm jus not getting it. Is there another meaning of SRO meant there? I thought maybe it refers to an angel as in a baseball player from California, but that angel would be capitalized, so I'm at a loss to reconcile the clue with the answer.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

@9:13am: You're NOT alone on Grumpy Island.

I was NOT impressed; did NOT find it easy; did NOT enjoy solving this at all. It was just a tedious slog with nearly zero payoff.

Lewis 9:39 AM  

@anon 9:26 -- Financial backers of a show are called angels. Thus, they would be very happy to see an SRO (standing room only) on their show.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Completely agree! Acrid, yes. Acid, nope.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

It's such a stretch that I dint get it all! What did you suss out?

Bill T 9:43 AM  

@franiicsloth - I expect someone has burned a bra somewhere at some time. I think the clue is qualified because the term originated from protests at the 1968 Miss America pageant and no bras were actually burned there.

RooMonster 9:45 AM  

Hey All !
So, I was at the IODA Writers' Workshop the other day... They said you want the IOWA one. Oops. Nice friendly people, though.

That, and POSTdOC led to my DNF. Having that incorrect d, led me to dEf for 5D. Which started 23A as STRIfTE____, and wondering what in tarhooties that could be. "Strife-something? But where's the E?" I was asking myself. Did change the wrong f (sacrilegious!) to the correct P, but still had dEP. Ugh.

Held up also at the GAIUS/IAN cross. Not knowing either the actor or Caesers first name, had me guess a D. Who knew Caesers first name wasn't Julius?

So a three letter/six word DNF. Oh well. At least Rex liked it. "He likes it, Hey Mikey!"

Seemed a lot of threes, but made up by the long Acrosses in North middle and South middle. Tough to fill 9's stacked on top of a themer. And they were clean. Very TENUOUS. (Which has a cool vowel run of UOU)

My entry for the DOOK of the day:
Refusal to fight a henchman? I CANT,GOON. πŸ™„

Some writeovers I can remember, YESyes-YESIDO, RearS-RUMPS, dAis-OATH, eRS-ORS.

The themers as explained by Rex work well. Taken as they are in the grid, though, the first one is off to my ears. Seems it should've been STRIPped TEASE ARTISTS. The EASE one works. As does the UNWISE one. NO EMPTY THREAT works, but it that a real phrase? The OUT OF ORDER one works, as that might be something you'd hear in court. UN "NV" one is off, also. It's an UN NV POSITION, not UN NV-IBLE. Last one works, albeit backwards. WARNING WITHOUT NE. But all that are just nitty NITs. 😁

Great puz, you two. Pay no attention to the NITter behind the post.

Six F's

Wi-Fi 9:53 AM  

The missing letters in the 113A clue are N and E, which said out loud sound like "ANY".

Sixthstone 10:04 AM  

Not sure why, but this just didn't land for me. The theme seems clever but just feel flat--maybe because most of the theme phrases are just unexciting in themselves: UNWISE INVESTMENT, UNENVIABLE POSITION.

The other real issue I had was the sheer quantity of 3-letter answers (nearly 50 I think). This made it feel at times like doing a child's crossword.

I am usually a big fan of Jeff Chen puzzles but this one missed me. I didn't even get a single libation out of the deal. With all the 3-letter answers, I could have at least enjoyed an ale, IPA, or a glass of red!

Fischgrape 10:05 AM  

Acid is sour, not bitter!

Liz1508 10:09 AM  

I wondered if the coincidence with “Mel” is that his wife or SO is calling him by name and “Honey” at the same time. Otherwise I don’t get it either. I don’t think coincidence applies in any other way.

Ken Freeland 10:11 AM  

much more like "annie"

Nancy 10:20 AM  

Oh what delightful fun!!! So much for the solver to do. So much thinking required. No dull moments. Wordplay at its cleverest and most inventive. This is the kind of puzzle I absolutely love!

I made it even more fun for myself by trying to guess the theme answers with the fewest crosses possible -- though I didn't write anything in until I had some corroboration. I came up with one answer that I think may be actually funnier than what's there. For CONFIG__ATION I wanted YOU ARE OUT OF SHAPE instead of YOU ARE OUT OF ORDER.

The only theme answer I had trouble with was LUXUR_ _ACHT. I so wanted to find a BOAT in there, somehow. I guess I don't think of yachts as INVESTMENTs, whether wise or UNWISE. I think of them as something to be used and enjoyed, not hoarded and flipped.

A terrific theme that is beautifully executed.

P.S. Why is the fact that the name MEL means "honey" in Latin "coincidental"?

Teedmn 10:27 AM  

I'm really impressed with the precision these themers made with the overall theme. I think the least successful was the last one with ANY equaling N E, (not sure why that one stands out as iffy), and I didn't think VIEWED should cross a theme answer with POI_T OF _IEW as the clue but otherwise I found this delightful.

I had a couple of time-consuming errors, with RearS at 44D, figurE skates at 96D and _W_ at 17A, (where I was anticipating to "knock over" would be to awe, with no crosses to justify it). But otherwise, this was about 10 minutes faster than my average Sunday random solve, pretty smooth.

NO M T THREAT, UN N V ABLE POSITION and E'S OFF THE GAS PEDAL were the most successful for me.

Celeste, congratulations on a great debut, and thanks to you and JC.

From yesterday, @Frantic Sloth, I think you're right about the Rice-A-Roni year/lifetime supply prize. And who does the calculations that tells us how many boxes a lifetime or year's supply comes to.

Matt 10:29 AM  

On the one hand, I believe I set a record for a Sunday puzzle.

On the other hand, I'm not that good a solver.

An amusingly tempting schtick -- I liked the schtick answers, even if I guessed three of them correctly (including the very first one) without *any* down letters -- but the rest of the puzzle. Oh my, it's weak. Will Shortz or whoever is actually doing the editing these days really should have resisted the temptation to accept this in its current form.

I won't beat a dead horse here but must get the particularly unforgivable cross of OATES and OATH over OATMEAL in the opening NW corner off my chest. BLEEEEEEECCCCCHHHHH

Sorry. I really did like the theme qua theme. But I solved this straight, corner to corner, like it was a Highlights puzzle.

GILL I. 10:54 AM  

@Frantic...I can't GOON made me PUMPS some ACID through my ECCE. In other words, my LEPEW did a spew on the laugh button. (I told you I need life)...
I really like this puzzle. I did a few head bonks on the wall because I couldn't figure out some of the missing letters. 39A was one of them. The L looked like an I to me so I moved on to the BRA section. I remember I was visiting my brother in NYC when this movement became the "thing." I had only one female friend who did the dastard duty. Unfortunately, she had bazookas the size of ten watermelons. I tried to tell her in a kind way that she needed something to hold up the Statue of Liberty. The only thing I ever wanted to burn was the damn girdle I had to wear to hold up my panty hose. No one seemed to want to make my size and the crotch came down to my knees. YOU try wearing a girdle when it's 100 degrees outside.
I didn't find this as easy as OFL but for some reason, when I see Jeff Chan's name, I know I'm in for fun and some surprises. Now I have Celeste's name to look forward to.

burtonkd 10:56 AM  

@Peter P - Rex refers to SRO as sold right out, because he thought that is what it stood for when he first saw it. Inside joke for longtime regulars.

Hands up for liked it crowd!

jfpon 11:14 AM  

@fishgrape et al. A bitter/embittered remark is also an acid remark.

Joe Dipinto 11:15 AM  

It strikes me that AN ENVIABLE POSITION is actually a better answer for the POI T OF IEW clue, rather than UNENVIABLE... If something is NV-able, that means you can add NV to it. If it's un-NV-able, you can't add NV to it. Since POI T OF IEW needs an NV, you want to add it. So, it should be "An NV-able position".

But hey, what do I know. I accidentally thought IODA was a thing.

"A wriest, a wrabbi and a wrinister walk into a bar..."

Amy 11:19 AM  

wrote see me instead of sez me 🀷🏻‍♀️

Unknown 11:21 AM  



kitshef 11:30 AM  

@Peter P - what @burtonkd said. See e.g. Rex's columns of 6/4/16 and 1/1/20.

sixtyni yogini 11:42 AM  


CreamyT 11:45 AM  

For my wife and I this was by far the hardest puzzle of the week. I was shocked to see this one as "Very Easy," definitely not for us. I don't know if it was PPP (which there was a bit of), or what. The long acrosses were easy, but there was just a lot of stuff that was weird. SRO/CLEESE - I know who he is, but no clue about SRO or the actual movie. SEZME/MEL/LEERY/BLEARY/ELMER/SERENA was weird because MEL was a complete guess, no idea who ELMER Berstein is, SEZME is just...I don't know, dumb? I know who SERENA is but I've never heard the term SERENA Slam.

The SW corner gave us fits too - everything seemed so iffy that we could fill in. I'm not entirely sure why in retrospects. Just couldn't get the letters to line up in a way that made sense to us. We also had to do a check because we didn't know the cross for ysL/reeL, and had dRIEST instead of WRIEST. IOWA should have seemed obvious in retrospect, but IODA seemed possible, and honestly didn't really think of it because DRIEST seemed like a perfect fit.

Mostly enjoyed it still, just found it to be quite hard. Our longest time before this in a puzzle this week was 50 min (Saturday), this was nearly 90.

Alison 12:03 PM  

One of the constructors is a woman

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

64A caused some heartburn, or brain cramp. know DURA mater for ages. just wiki-ed PIA mater. never had heard of it. thank Maleska for crosses.

Carola 12:16 PM  

Really fun, and, for me, a worthy challenge: the first cross I was sure of was ROB x BRA in the far NE, so working from there -- following my self-imposed Sunday rule of working only from first cross, no skipping around or SNEAK PEEKs ahead -- I had to back into the first few theme answers, which took a while. Once I caught on, I really enjoyed guessing the rest. I thought the phrases were genius, especially UNWISE INVESTMENT and NO EMPTY THREAT..

Snarl city: me, too, for BLurRY, made worse by its cross with ...OUT OF shape (hi, @Nancy). Thankfully, I knew MEL and remembered ELMER, and they bailed me out.

@Birchbark - LOL on the dwarfs. I can see why they'd be less well known, their traits making them less likely to venture forth.

Newboy 12:18 PM  

Thanks Jeff for your patience and congrats to Celeste for wit & grit in her debut. I’ve been reading the NYT series on creating puzzles to get a better understanding of the NITS that Rex often picks. (See it at www.nytimes.com/2018/06/13/crosswords/how-to-make-a-crossword
The final themer fell into a SEA of white squares w/o a single cross, so I have to admit that Sunday solves are still easier than html codes for this blog.....both of which have kept me sane and amused this past year! Emerson was right to caution that “A little learning is a dangerous thing.”

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

I think the " " add to the confusion on MEL and *coincidentally* could have been omitted, too.

70A Man's name that coincidentally is Latin for "honey"

thefogman 12:22 PM  

One of the best Sundays in quite some time. A very enjoyable solve with plenty of Aha! moments. Hey Jeff, can you co-construct one with me pleasez/

Masked and Anonymous 12:36 PM  

RP: Wha--? U thought YOUAREOUTOFORDER felt slightly jury-rigged?!? har … Just give this muttpuppy a try:

{ _NDER_TILIZEUP??} = ?*

In the meantime …

staff weeject pick: Oh bow and wow … 49 choices! Quad weeject stacks! [Insert ecstatic gurglin sound here] Gotta go with either ATT or STN, as they were part of the same central 3-stack. M&A'll toss a coin and go with STN, as it could be clued as {Stun with a lack of U usage??}.


Thanx for the primo SunPuz combo of humor and wordplay, Celeste Watts darlin & Chenmeister. And enthused congratz to Celeste on her half-debut. [Only 14 rejections in a row? Not-respected-M&A is not impressed.]

Masked & Anonymo11Us



Mikey from El Prado 12:46 PM  

Agree with @Frantic Sloth... this one was brilliantly fun, and I also wondered about IODA Writers Workshop. While I corrected it (knowing a couple people who were brilliant enough to get into it helped me fix the error), I have to say that Steven Wright’s humor is DRY more so than WRY.

GAIUS crossing IAN was a near Natick nemesis. GADUS/DAN just didn’t look ‘Wright,’ “Write,” “Right.”

chance2travel 12:56 PM  

Was fortunate enough that 1A POST HOC just surfaced immediately which got me off to a quick start.

Actually thought the theme was about removing 2 of the same letter (Ts, Es, Ys) so had a bit of a shock when 66A called for removing the M and the T. Oh well, overall enjoyable.

That was after balking at grammatical contortion on STRIPTEASEARTIST

Made the same mistakes of YESyes before YESIDO and BLurRY before BLEARY.

@Frantic Sloth - also found myself staring at IOdA Writers Workshop before realizing that dRIEST was actually WRIEST.

@Matt I'm not a fan of OATES crossing OATMEAL either.

Answers I never saw because I filled in the crosses include SRO and ZESTER

burtonkd 1:05 PM  

That MEL clue is strange, but this scene may clear it up:

- Hi, I'm Mel
- Hi Mel, does your name mean "honey", like the Latin root? Or miel in French?
- no, that's just a coincidence. It's actually short for Melchizedek, which means "king of justice".
- I think I hear my spouse calling me.

End Scene

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Nobody pronounces “any” as “Annie”. Nobody. Eh knee dictionary will bear this out!

RooMonster 1:08 PM  

Har! I agree with your [Only 14 rejections in a row?] being not respected. I would bet money I'm the leader of that catagory. It's too embarrassing to admit the number!

And sorry for misremembering your Runtz' as 5x5, and not 7x7. I must be doing too many of Joel's Minis. (And obviously not enough of Runtz.)

RooMonster Puzzled Guy

sanfranman59 1:09 PM  

Easy-Medium NYT Sunday ... 12% below my Sunday 6-month median solve time ... another new constructor for my solving database ... I think this makes five(!) NYT debut constructors this week ... Last week, I had my fastest ever cumulative solve time with NYT puzzles. This week is my second fastest. What the heck is going on with the difficulty level of their puzzles? I don't think I've just all of the sudden gotten better at doing this.

I don't seem to enjoy many Sunday size puzzles these days. I somehow knew that I'd have a single-letter DNF with this one. I failed to check the WRIEST {91A: Most in the style of comedian Steven Wright}/IOWA {79D: ___ Writers' Workshop}(???) cross and submitted with 'dRIEST'/'IOdA' (doh!).

I was okay with the theme through the first few themers, but grew pretty tired of it by the end. In fact, I didn't even bother trying to understand WITHOUT ANY WARNING {113A: _OTIC_} until after I'd submitted my solution. It's possible that I wouldn't feel as negatively about the puzzle if that answer, SEZ ME {83A: Comeback to a challenge of authority} and MEL {70A: Man's name that coincidentally is Latin for "honey"} hadn't come near the end of my solve. I don't get how MEL being Latin for "honey" is "coincidental". If that was supposed to somehow help me get that obscure answer, it failed. I also had 'YOU ARE OUT OF shape' instead of YOU ARE OUT OF ORDER {85A: CONFIG_ _ATION} and 'BLurRY' instead of BLEARY {92A: Unfocused} in that section of the grid.

Once again, the most positive thing I can come up with to say about a Sunday puzzle is that it was over relatively quickly.

jae 1:10 PM  

@bocamp - I spent a lot of yesterday off and on doing Croce's Freestyle #588. Another Stumper worthy creation. I missed it by one square which I never would have gotten. May you have more luck.

@the folks who gave me an email heads up about an upcoming event this week. Thanks, I'm looking forward to it.

burtonkd 1:10 PM  

While I'm down this rabbit hole, I see that "Melo" is a Spanish name that means "rival", which was apt this week when cagers Carmelo Anthony and Lamelo Ball squared off.

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

70A MEL. Perhaps it has been said earlier, but I'll chime in here, since there is puzzlement over the term of the clue, "coincidentally." If you name a baby girl *Amanda*, the word is Latin for "she who is to be loved," or *Beloved*. That is not a coincidence, even if you don't know what *amanda* means in Latin. A great number of other names work the same way with Latin and other languages. If you name a baby boy (I assume a boy) *Mel* it is probably not because you want to call him "Honey." It's probably short for Melvin or something similar, and the relation to the Latin *honey* is purely accidental or coincidental.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

puzzlehooarder 1:31 PM  

My take was it refers to an angel investor for a theatrical production hence the relevance of SRO being a good sign.

GHarris 1:32 PM  

Today provided another good example of why there is a distinct advantage to solving electronically. I did it first on paper and thought I had finished triumphantly. Later, just to test how quickly I could complete the puzzle putting in answers already known, I failed to get the congratulatory fanfare I expected. That made me reexamine the grid and question my naming of Caesar. Once I changed Dan to Ian I got the love I needed. So the nature of the medium got me from dnf to victory.How many others may have experienced a similar fate.

Charles B. 1:36 PM  

Nice to see that the National Rifle Association has been replaced by an obscure federal agency whose two year charter expired eighty-six years ago. Great work guys. I am, however, concerned with seeing PepΓ© Le Pew. I cancelled that perverted skunk last week didn’t Shortz get the memo ?

bocamp 1:39 PM  

@jae 1:10 PM

Thx; I'm on it! 🀞

p -3

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Peter P 1:43 PM  

@burtonkd, @kitshef - thanks for the explanation. I _knew_ I must have been whooshed.

As for "angel" and SRO, I've only known "angel" as in "angel investors" in regards to businesses like start-ups. I did not realize the concept also existed for Broadway. Now the answer makes some sort of sense, finally.

puzzlehoarder 1:46 PM  

My best guess on that is it's a Mel Torme reference. Maybe his vocal tone could be considered 'honeyed.' It sure doesn't refer to Mel Gibson.

Mike 1:52 PM  

I put in WHO for 34A, because the World Health Organization really is headquartered in Geneva. 35D didn't make sense, but WHO just *had* to be correct, you know? I ended up with the puzzle all filled in, but that square wrong.

Unknown 2:04 PM  

I still don’t understand 25A PDA? (“What a third wheel might see, in brief.”)

mathgent 2:09 PM  

Absolutely brilliant! I just finished it and I'm totally in awe.

The themers are totally solid. Each one tightly describes two letters being taken out of a word.

I also thought that the cluing was very sharp.

old timer 2:14 PM  

I hated this one. Sloggiest of the Sunday slogs, and boring to boot. I'm in @Z's camp today. I thought I might actually have a DNF, but at last it was over and complete.

Now GAIUS I knew. Latin names are two or more often three-part names. The first, one of the very limited set of first names traditional in Rome. Gaius is one. The second, the name of your paternal family. Julius is one. Ovidius was another (Ovid). Often your family name can become an adjective -- hence we have a Julian calendar. The last is essentially a nickname, often given to you by others (Caesar, which JC was called -- Octavius awarded himself both Caesar (after his kinsman Julius) and Augustus). Apparently Ovid's nickname, Naso, had nothing to do with his nose -- he was from a village of that name.

A 2:24 PM  

I see that it took quite an effort to construct this puzzle, with the symmetry and intricacy of the themers, and it’s certainly better than a lot of Sundays. And I did enjoy a lot of it. It just didn’t thrill me the way it obviously wanted to. The theme seemed to try too hard, like a really smart 14 year-old boy desperate to be liked, or a joke that has to be explained, or both. (U R OUT OF ORDER, get it, huh, get it? You take the U and the R out of configuration!!! And then you’re out of configuration!!!! See?!?!?!)

Lots of small FRY (the best of the bunch, SEZ ME): TMI TRI APR PDA PIA FBI……

HEP. Stephen Wright was HEP. Knew the answer would be dRIEST or WRyEST. When TAILS turned up, dRIEST went it, until I saw it was less like much of Mars and more like the rollercoaster town. (Hi @Z)

One funny ERR - I had RuB for knock over (thinking “knock off”) and PETERS, which made the law an uRDsNANCE. “Oh, ROB!”

Isn’t it GAIUS Pepe LEPEW?


InterestingISH thing to notice: the center down column was a series of 3-letter entries: AAA TVS LYE ESP TAN. (None of which I used in my list of small FRY. Total coincidence. MEL, honey, sorry I left you out, too.)

Random personal bright spots: HASP, VINE RIPEN, I CAN’T GO ON, FED/pets and parking meters, the mirroring SALSA SOLOS. I love that baby foxes are KITS. Makes them sound so adorable. And UNWISE INVESTMENT and NO EMPTY THREAT both seem timely.

Overall decent Sunday-tainment and a reason to ramble. Thanks, Ms. Watts, Mr. Chen!

nyc_lo 2:31 PM  

I’ll agree this was 95% very easy and 5% annoying. Add me to the multitude of MEL dissenters. The use of “coincidentally” was a deliberate attempt to mislead. We typically don’t use the term to mean unrelated, usually throwing in “odd” to point out two things that seem connected but aren’t. Boo. Also, SEZME without an indicator like “slangily” or “informally” is just wrong. I reiterate, boo.

Joe Dipinto 2:43 PM  

@unknown 2:04 – PDA = public display of affection. It usually means too *much* of a display. If you are tagging along (i.e. a third wheel) on a jaunt with a couple, chances are you'll be privy to some unwanted PDA action.

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

@anon 204pm:
Third wheel = chaperone or odd person acccompanying a couple
PDA = Piblic Display of Affection

Anonymous 3:09 PM  

The National Recovery Administration is of great historical importance. It was FDR's first attempt at getting the US out of the Depression, and it was deemed too socialist by the then very conservative Supreme Court and outlawed.

Had we had a somewhat different Court, perhaps the Depression would have ended sooner and our economy might have evolved differently. It's the fact of of its quick demise that makes it so critically important.

Anyone who did not learn about the NRA in high school American History had a deficient experience in that class. As a possibly comparable example, should Seward of Seward's Folly be off limits because of obscurity?

Preferred Customer 3:19 PM  

Thank you! πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

@3:09 : Nothing to see here move along. LOL.

Z 3:40 PM  

What do you call it when you espy Alexa and Siri snogging?

@Peter P - I think “angel” in the financial backer sense actually started in theater as has only lately been appropriated by other businesses.

@Anon1:06 - I would agree except vowels are notoriously unstable. While I can only ever recall hearing “any” pronounced like “en knee,” I would not go as far as saying “nobody” says it like “Annie.”

The MEL clue confusion is really confusing. I did a quickish look at various baby name sites and there is some disagreement, but MELvin seems to mean either “Council protector” or “mill worker.” As I suspected, the shortened MEL has nothing to do with “honey” so that the name and Latin word share a spelling is purely coincidental. What confuses me is how this clue managed to confuse so many.

I’m wondering if Sci Fi fans just learning that his name was GAIUS Julius Caesar are rethinking their understanding of GAIUS Baltar in Battlestar Galactica or the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother GAIUS Helen Mohiam in Dune.

Barbara S. 5:15 PM  

My problem with the PDA business is not PDA at all, but the term "third wheel" in the clue. I know that expression as "fifth wheel", referring to an unnecessary additional wheel on a car (or, I guess, cart, depending on when the expression entered the language). In my understanding, you could be a fifth wheel as a member of a group of three -- yourself and a couple. The expression doesn't have anything to do with the number of people in the group, only with the idea of being superfluous, as a fifth wheel would be on many wheeled vehicles.

A 5:20 PM  

@Barbara S, fascinating excerpt about printing and especially the part about compositors being “forced into some fancy spelling for the want of Es.” A NOD to today’s theme! Levy’s prose perfectly describes the romantic notion I’ve always ENTERTAINed of that profession. Thanks for that choice!

@Birchbark, thanks for your illegitimate 8th and 9th dwarves - they reluctantly brightened the puzzle.

@Nancy, they should have asked you! YOU ARE OUT OF shape not only works, it’s hilarious and very descriptive of my current state of affairs. I see @sanfranman59 thought the same.

@Joe Dipinto, I know, wright?

@puzzlehoarder, good one- I hadn’t thought of honey-voiced MEL Torme. I went low-brow, with Flo telling Mel “Honey, kiss my grits!” (from the TV sitcom “Alice”)

Someone said they didn’t know ELMER Bernstein. Check out @Joe Dipinto’s third link at 12:43. Listen to at least 30 seconds. Also, the Mockingbird theme is outstanding. Thanks, @Joe! Here’s a bonus: National Geographic theme

Frantic Sloth 6:06 PM  

@Bill T 943am It's true the 1968 Miss America protest is the most famous example of "the bra burning that never happened". What I don't get is where did I see all these non-events? Mrs. Sloth swears it started elsewhere (where? no idea) and before the Miss America incident. She offers no proof other than righteous indignation (which I've learned to take with a grain of salt). Furthermore, I was hard-pressed and starched to find any footage except this paltry example:
Bra burning on the ground?
I still have 'mammaries' of watching bra-burning on the TV machine back in the 70s, but I guess it shouldn't surprise me that I might have hallucinated the whole thing. πŸ˜•

@Roo 945am Laudatory attempt to milk the GOON DOOK cow of jokes. She's a reluctant beast. πŸ˜‰

@Teedmn 1027am I had to laugh because I did say lifetime supply instead of 1 year. What was I thinking?? To answer your question: Nobody does that calculation. πŸ˜‚

@GILL 1054am You need a life? What does it say about me that I live for entertaining you?? We're pathetic. 🀣 You, your friend, and your respective undergarments (or lack thereof) spark quite the image in my mind. (I'm dyin' here!) BTW, they also faux-burned girdles at the pageant protest.

@Z 340pm "What confuses me is how this clue managed to confuse so many." Here's how: it's a stupid clue. You're welcome. πŸ˜‰

So glad I wasn't alone with IOdA - and I agree with @Mikey from El Prado 1246pm - dRY before WRY to describe Steven Wright's style.

Crossword Kev 6:14 PM  

Shocked that "Sez me" wasn't mentioned in your write-up. That's gotta be one of the most terribly clued answers I've ever seen in a crossword puzzle. "Says me" would be fine... but "sez" is not even a remotely common slang version of "says." Just a really bad clue lmao.

A 6:25 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve M 7:12 PM  

On my top 10 list of worst solves ever

Joe Dipinto 7:48 PM  

Santa baby, I want a yacht
And, really, that's not a lot

For SezmΓ©, With Love And Zqualor
–story by J.D. Salinger

I think we can all agree that the second half of the MEL clue is superfluous and useless and only there because, you know, Will Shortz.

RoadshowReject 8:10 PM  

Did anyone do the Two-for-One Crossword puzzle on the Puzzles page? Pretty interesting and also fun! The puzzler must have been keeping lists of two for one words/phrases for awhile...the solving was not hard, but I was impressed by this feat of puzzle making.

A 8:12 PM  

@Barbara S, I had the same feeling about fifth wheel, and after seeing your comment, I decided to ask the internet what else we could call a third wheel. Oopsie-daisy. No, world wide web, I am not looking for a threesome! So glad I used my default search engine DuckDuckGo instead of Google. But now I will always think of PDA as Polyamorous Display of Affection.

kingston 8:20 PM  

2 is the square root of 4

Michael M 8:29 PM  

Except bras were never actually burned, that’s a misconception so the clue’s hedging is correct

oceanjeremy 8:53 PM  

A third wheel on a bicycle (or motorcycle) is superfluous and, in fact, would likely cause balance problems. Definitely an awkward addition!

For the record, I've heard "third wheel" used *quite* often.

oceanjeremy 9:06 PM  

Completed the puzzle this morning with my fiancΓ©e, as per usual, before diving into chores that we didn't get to yesterday because of apartment hunting.

Now, with a large slow cooker of white borscht going, I find myself with time to read and reply to Rex's write up!

I did like the theme, though like Rex I found this to be on the easier side for a Sunday. Just fine by me. The theme itself was eminently helpful, as we could figure out the answer on most of them without "NE" crossings (har).

My only nit to pick was "SEZ ME." I wanted to see some kind of indication that it was phonetic or spelled slangily or something. Even this, however, didn't bother me. Good puzzle.

@Frantic Sloth: Thanks for your prayers and luck-wishing yesterday! We saw only two apartments, both were amazing but the latter far more amazing. Miraculously we were the only ones to put in an application for it, and as soon as we did they took the listing off the market.

That rental application, however, felt more invasive than some medical procedures I've undergone. I was working on the document until well after midnight. But it is a Dream Apartment, so — fingers crossed, we should have a confirmation tomorrow!

Barbara S. 9:25 PM  

Thanks for your intrepid foray into the world of multi-partner hookups, all for the sake of increasing everyone's knowledge of English idioms! Also -- glad you enjoyed the Levy and noticed the connection with the puzzle's theme. I'd chosen the quotation before I saw the puzzle and was quite delighted at the tie-in.

Anonymous 10:42 PM  

Shouldn't 111A, NOD, have been clued "Drop (off)" rather than "Drop off"? One doesn't NOD; one NODs off.

Nancy 10:44 PM  

I've lived in NYC all my life, @oceanjeremy, and I've never heard of an apartment-hunting experience like yours, ever! I would have thought that @Frantic was a lot closer to the truth. Congratulations on your extraordinary luck in finding your Dream Apartment with virtually no effort at all. I know you'll love it: Visceral first impressions upon seeing an apartment are never wrong. I fell in love with both apartments I've lived in from the moment I saw them and I've been exceptionally happy in both.

Joe Dipinto 10:59 PM  

@RoadshowReject – I did the Two-For-One puzzle, it was fun. I didn't think it was too difficult.

I wonder how it would be to solve with no pre-placed letters in the grid. I count 10 entries (most of them downs) where I think you could be reasonably certain of both answers without the assistance of crosses or pre-placed letters.

21a strikes me as a bit of a cheat because one album did not actually exist in the earlier decade.

Z 11:47 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - It’s a stupid clue - But it’s not. When I’ve been in that position (overthinking a clue or just flat out missing it) there’s usually one or two for company. Or there are lots of people tricked and I can see how the clue tricked us (or sometimes I see it but understand how it trips others). This particular clue didn’t seem especially tricksy to me and I can’t wrap my head around how it tripped so many people.

albatross shell 12:04 AM  

I think te SEZME complaints are TENUOUS, at best. The clue refers to the comeback which you might suspect to be snappy or even slangy. Also you have to consider what the original challenge to authority is. Clearly it is "says who?" or "sez who?" which are also pretty much indistinguishable from each other. The normal reply is says me or sez me. The spaces available, if not common usage, makes the answer clear.

ACID is tasteless. Ask JohnX or Tim Bleary. Also as noted in a earlier post above ACID = bitter as in remark.

Also I do not care how you pronounce ANY because I know how the puzzle pronounces it. It sounds like 'en knee'.

albatross shell 12:25 AM  

Really? You can't wrap your head around it? On a site devoted to nits and complaints?

Also just consulted the M-W. ACID taste and bitter taste are both defined as sharp tastes. Wrap on that.

LarryR 1:31 AM  

The 44s two ways!
[Grapple, in dialect 44A] and [Booties 44D]
Howzabout HASSLE, HUMPS?
Not bad at all ....

oceanjeremy 7:56 AM  

I've been in NYC since 2003! Early on I was young and often seeking an open room in an apartment. I had many friends so seeking a living space was informal, organic, and often easy.

If we *do* get the place (fingers crossed!) it'll be the easiest and most seamless experience I've ever had. If we don't? It will be more in line with my past housing searches.

We are supposed have a confirmed answer today, so our fingers are still crossed!

bswein99 9:02 AM  

Aside from all the other objections, today is International Women's Day and the sum total of women represented in this puzzle is a winner of the Miss World contest. Okay, there's also the LPGA. Not even a shout-out to Janet Yellen, the first woman economist (or just first woman) to be Secretary of the Treasury, and an immense upgrade from Steve Mnuchin in every way.

I'm just saying... 11:43 AM  

Yes, a little hard for Monday, yes the price cluing was off, but the puzzle was not dull. I am a very mediocre puzzle solver and it was not all that hard to figure out, even the toughest sections. How could you have found yesterday's (Sunday's) puzzle acceptable with all those boring 3 letter words and this one so terrible? You can say what you want, obviously, but I do sense a bias in your remarks, and I don't mean against the NYT editor, but the constructors. You are absolutely justified in bringing the NYT to task.

shocked anonymous 7:51 PM  

didn't get to the puzzle until today. Shocked - shocked I say! - to see Pepe le Pew in the puzzle. I stopped there and denounced the puzzle and the editor and creators. For shame NYT! And the day before women's day.

Ms. Horan 8:14 AM  

I don’t know the exact word for Honey in Latin and neither does Siri. But I do know that MEL in Italian is honey or some variant of mel is in the word

Vince 6:49 PM  

Well yeah...they were in the early 70’s. I remember when.

Peter 10:58 PM  

https://www.thoughtco.com/bra-burning-feminists-3529832 Of all the myths surrounding women’s history, bra burning has been one of the most tenacious. Some grew up believing it, never mind that as far as any serious scholar has been able to determine, no early feminist demonstration included a trash can full of flaming lingerie

Burma Shave 12:49 PM  




rondo 1:12 PM  

Pretty good Sun-puz. Don't say that too often. There's about 40 threes, is that INLINE with a Sunday?

YESIDO see GISELE there. Can't ignore a supermodel even when it's Mrs. Tom Brady.

Had to RASSLE just a little with perhaps the BESTOF Sunday puzzles this year.

spacecraft 6:26 PM  

Always nice to see a Chenner. We know there will be clever wordplay, and this one didn't disappoint. Helping to restore Sunday to its former grace, it gets an eagle.

EightAndEight 9:34 PM  

R Greene: there is another organization for 66-Down, but it is a well-known "trigger" of the host of this blog. Seems Rex finally has the Editor's ear.

Stella 11:53 PM  

No the word of warning is notice without the n and e

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