Mockumentary Kazakh journalist / TUE 3-9-21 / One of family of stringed instruments

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Constructor: Simon Marotte

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: REVERSE (38A: Certain auto gear ... as suggested by the circled letters) — circled letters contain the names of makes of cars in REVERSE order:

Theme answers:
  • FALSE TEETH (17A: They often come out at night) (Tesla)
  • LAURA BUSH (28A: First lady of 2001 to '09) (Subaru)
  • HAD NO HOPE (47A: Was destined to fail) (Honda)
  • KUBLAI KHAN (62A: Host of Marco Polo) (Kia)
Word of the Day: EVELYN Ashford (49D: ___ Ashford, National Track and Field Hall of Famer) —

Evelyn Ashford (born April 15, 1957) is an American retired track and field athlete, the 1984 Olympic champion in the 100-meter dash. She ran under the 11-second barrier over 30 times and was the first to run under 11 seconds in an Olympic Games.

As a 19-year-old, Ashford finished 5th in the 100 m event at the 1976 Summer Olympics. After beating the world record holders in the 100 m and 200 m in 1979 at the World Cup of Track and Field in Montreal, Ashford was one of the potential medalists for the 1980 Summer Olympics, but these Games were boycotted by the United States. Ashford also tore a quad muscle in May of 1980, when participating as herself in the filming of Personal Best, and was out for the rest of the season. (wikipedia)

• • •

Hello there, Monday puzzle. Where were you yesterday? I imagine this puzzle got stuck in traffic and was so late that they had to sub in yesterday's puzzle, which was supposed to be Wednesday, so presumably we'll see Tuesday tomorrow. They probably called Tuesday to fill in for Monday but have you ever tried to get Tuesday to do anything on short notice? Probably wasn't even answering the phone. So anyway, the Mon. / Tue. difficulties are way off this week. I filled this one in as fast as I could read the clues for a good long while, stopping for the first time only when I got to the toughest (and worst) theme answer: HAD NO HOPE. Compared to the others (all solid), that one feels very handmade, very roll-your-own, very rough-hewn. Just not as sturdy a standalone phrase as the others. Something about the past tense and contextlessness of it all. Plus, it could very plausibly have been HAD NO SHOT (assuming you didn't know the theme yet). Later, I wrote TOLL before PEAL (55D: Sound of church bells) and AGRA before ROMA (11D: The Eternal City) (a very crossword-brain error). But that was it for errors or struggles *except* for what is truly the worst thing about the puzzle: the clue on NAME (56D: What every make of auto has). Classic Trying-Too-Hard. This puzzle Does Not Need more theme material than it already has, and that clue ... just for NAME? It's so weird / non-intuitive. The make *is* the NAME. What are you even talking about? This is like if the clue for NAME were [What every company has], or [What every NFL team has]. [What every U.S. president has had]. Come on. You see how that's awful, right? It's a totally inapt clue, all because you wanted, what, a bonus theme answer? That instinct is so bad. Ruinous. Just give NAME a good clue. There are probably infinite good NAME clues. This is not one of them.

Three names might've given trouble today, and they are the only potential obstacles to an otherwise Monday sprint: BIFF (1D: "Back to the Future" bully), Robert SIEGEL (6D: Longtime "All Things Considered" host Robert) and EVELYN Ashford. They're both very familiar to me, though I will confess to not knowing *how* I knew EVELYN Ashford's name. There were a number of superior US women runners in my childhood, and she was one of them. I keep thinking "didn't she have a hyphenated last name?" but that was Jackie Joyner-Kersee. I think the musical duo Ashford & Simpson are running interference in my brain. Like, if you'd told me EVELYN Ashford's married name was EVELYN Ashford-Simpson, I'd've thought, "Yes, that sounds right." I'm just grateful that her name was there in my brain when I needed it. Elaine CHAO's name was also in my brain, but that was a much less pleasant experience, for a bunch of reasons (mostly recently, the repeated family-enriching ethics violations). Overall, this theme felt basic and not terribly remarkable. But not terribly terrible, either. Sturdy. Adequate. Solid.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


OffTheGrid 6:03 AM  

This was solid and enjoyable. Don't know why but I'm entertained that SUBARU is hidden in LAURABUSH.

Liked ORAL crossing FALSE TEETH


Hard to put a LEASH on an ALPHA wolf

ROMA reversed is AMOR(e), crossing LOVE

BORAT is a fine first entry but I really don't care for his shtick. (although I got a kick out of the Giuliani thing)

Mae W. 6:08 AM  

Is that a rocket in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Dave in Florida 6:12 AM  


I've literally heard of one person total so far this week who thinks today's puzzle is harder than Monday's strange economics lesson with its double Natick in the SE. Rather, the near universal consensus is the opposite; Monday's puzzle was comically misplaced . . . Monday is a "straight" guy having his bachelor party in Vegas but insisting on going to "Thunder Down Under" at the end of the night...

At any rate, I thought today's puzzle was an impressive debut for a 16-year-old kid (a fact I only learned from reading Wordplay last night after solving the puzzle). Not sure if you knew that fact prior to your write-up, but if you did, hats off to you for giving his puzzle the same treatment as any other and not using "kid" gloves with him (which is a compliment in and of itself, IMO).

Roberto 6:19 AM  

I told my wife... When we finished... That you would not like the Chao answer for the reason you mentioned. Otherwise puzzle was fine

mmorgan 6:22 AM  

Pretty darn good puzzle but I hate hate hate circles even if they’re car names backwards and two days in a row especially after yesterday’s debacle is too much. But this is a pretty good puzzle with some nice crunch, especially if you ignore the damn circles and what day it is.

Lewis 6:34 AM  

I love the puzzle’s backstory, where a 16-year-old starts solving crosswords, then a few months later gets the bug to make them, finds a mentor, and in just a year after he began solving puzzles, he gets one published in the NYT -- today. Hearing about success like this makes me glad to be alive, makes me smile through and through, knowing that this sensational hobby of ours has a long future ahead.

The grid is clean, with a simple theme, just right for the early week, and its REVERSE theme is echoed by that backward AMOR crossing LOVE and that backward RAT crossing FLEABAGS.

When I look at the bottom center square, what pops out at me is “KIDs SAY the DARNedest Things”, which circles right around to the backstory, because Simon did the darnedest thing, going from zero to hero in a year’s time – in crosswords! Congratulations on your debut and on this accomplishment, Simon!

amyyanni 6:48 AM  

Clue for False Teeth was most excellent. Had No Hope is ok because of Honda. Sprightly Tuesday puzzle.

SouthsideJohnny 6:58 AM  

A bit of a redemption today after yesterday’s debacle. A very nice, workmanlike Tuesday with just the right early-week difficulty level. The only area that was dicey for me was the SE - I don’t know anything about the KUBLA IKHAN dude (for all I know that could be the name of some ancient country even) - so I had to parse out every cross, which included a Track and Field athlete, an (apparently) unethical former government official, a biblical reference and a TV network, non of which regularly show up in my PPP wheelhouse, lol.

I see Ms. LIU is moving up the list and has probably earned the the title of full-blown crosswordese (granted, she hasn’t yet achieved the stature of an ONO, ELS or OTT - but that his Hall of Fame territory for goodness sake). Welcome to the club, Miss Lucy.

pabloinnh 6:59 AM  

I caught on at SUBARU backwards and I should have caught on at TESLA backwards. Lots of SUBARUS in these parts--we have an Outback, because winter and because Mud Season is coming, and our town has the most miles of dirt roads in the state. Maintenance has improved, but the rule used to be "just find a rut and try to stay in it".

Nits: the revealer is in the middle, when it should be at the end, I don't associate "smiled" with SNEERED, and think of PEAL as a verb and not a noun.

Nice to see: EVELYN Ashford, whose name popped into my head, and THEBOXER, which is on my favorites list of songs I like to sing. Cant wait to say ciao to CHAO. Lock them all up.

Good on ya, SM. Congratulations on your debut and wishing you a long and happy constructing career.

@Oj from last night--thanks for the good thoughts. Now we have to figure out how to fit the contents of a big house and a big garage and 50 + years of marriage into a condo.

bocamp 7:07 AM  

Thank you @Simon for the smooth ride. :)

Medium solve.

Good start in the NW, then altered my route and traveled down south with the BOXER, finishing in a counterclockwise direction. No delays or detours along the highway.

EVELYN Ashford 100m World Record 1984

The BOXER ~ Simon & Garfunkel (from The Concert in Central Park)

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

JD 7:31 AM  

A great puzzle. Clean, fun grid. Loved how the clue for Name tied to the theme.

I used the phrase "Had No Hope" quite a bit over the last few years (e.g., had no hope it'd be a tweetless day so I shouldn't complain). Not using it so much these days but loved seeing it in a puzzle.

Good pushback on Kublai Khan.

I get deep evil satisfaction from referring to a friend's two spoiled Maine Coons as "those Fleabags," so that added to my overall enjoyment.

Looking forward to this new constructor's next entry.

kitshef 7:32 AM  

Back-to-back very easy puzzles.

Great FALSE TEETH clue.

Had the great fortune to see Paul Simon in 2016 at Wolf Trap. He had a large band backing him most of the night, but for The Boxer they all cleared out and it was just a man, a guitar, and chills down the spines of 7000 people.

oceanjeremy 7:40 AM  

Definitely more appropriate for Tuesday than yesterday's was for Monday. Yet I finished today's puzzle 13 seconds slower than I did yesterday's.

Agreed with Rex: The clue for NAME is dumb.

I also have a nit to pick with ALPHA wolf: the "alpha" terminology for canine social hierarchy is simply a myth. The term was coined by Rudolf Schenkel of the University of Basel in 1947, but he was studying only canines in captivity — canines that were not related. The term didn't become widespread until L David Mech published The Wolf, but Mech did a 180 on this in the late 90s. What he found is that wolf packs in nature are usually a family and the "alpha" wolves are the breeding pair. He determined that calling them "alpha" wolves was "no more appropriate than referring to a human parent or a doe deer as an alpha." Wikipedia says, "In 13 years of summer observations of wild wolves, he witnessed no dominance contests between them."

This myth of the "alpha dog" is, today, most often utilized in defense of perpetuating toxic masculinity. The NYTXW should know better, and this terminology should be retired.

Otherwise? A fine puzzle for a fine day!

Hungry Mother 7:46 AM  

Very quick, but made use of the theme as I went. Perfect Tuesday.

Barbara S. 8:18 AM  

Wow, that’s an astonishing achievement for a beginner at anything of any age – kudos to you, Simon Marotte. I liked the puzzle but don’t have a lot to say about it. Enjoyed FLEABAGS, TENTACLE, PLACEBO and, among the themers, KUBLAI KHAN. Had the same reaction as @OffTheGrid (6:03) to LAURA BUSH’s secret SUBARU. I love the song "THE BOXER". I’m glad that at least some 16-year-olds know it (assuming that was one of Simon’s clues.)

This is a passage by KERI HULME, born Mar. 9, 1947.

“What do I love?” musing on it.
“Very little. The earth. The stars. The sea. Cool classical guitar. Throbbing flamenco. Any colour under the sun or hidden deep in the breast of my mother Earth. Ah Papa my love, what joys do you yet conceal? And storms…and the thunderous breaking surf. And the farout silent waves…and o, dolphins and whales! The singing people, my sisters in the sea…and anything that displays gentle courage, steadfast love. The still brilliance of garnet, all wine, water of life and bread of heaven and grave shimmering moon…”
(From The Bone People)

Brit solves NYT 8:18 AM  

Nice simple puzzle and an impressive debut for a 16-year old!

Only a few hold-ups today but I managed to get there without too much hassle - caused by names as usual (CHAO, EVELYN and SIEGEL all unknown to this Brit) but was able to get them from the crossings.

Sixthstone 8:34 AM  

Fun puzzle with a clever little theme, but really I just stopped in to note my fastest Tuesday ever. Great work from this young constructor!

Nancy 8:35 AM  

I found this crashingly uninteresting to solve (pun intended). It's a *look-what-I-can-do* puzzle that I'm sure provided great challenge to the constructor in making it. Especially embedding LAURA BUSH backwards. Unfortunately, it didn't provide any challenge at all to me.

Because whether SUBARU was in LAURA's name or whether MERCEDES BENZ was in her name, the answer was so on-the-nose obvious that no one on the planet would have needed the embedded car to solve. Which is equally true of all the themers. And, so, like too many puzzles, this one is all about the constructor.

I do so wish constructors would put themselves in the solver's place when deciding on a theme and ask themselves: Will the solver need to pay any attention to it at all? And, if not, why am I doing this in the first place?

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Enjoyed this although I may be the only one who found yesterday's significantly easier? One perk of having to sit through econ classes recently, I suppose!

Z 9:15 AM  

Yep, a fastball right down the middle just asking to be hit out of the park.

I agree with @SouthsideJohnny that Lucy LIU isn’t Crosswordese Hall of Fame material yet. She has to do it over a career to reach Ono Oreo HoF stature. Which raises the question of Yma Sumac. Does Yma lose HoF standing because she seems to have been retired from everyone’s wordlists? I miss the occasional Yma appearance. Asta, too. Nothing says “welcome to Crossworld” quite like Asta hiding under the bed.

EVELYN would seem to be a bit of a conundrum. Mostly really useful letters with a bonus high scrabble letter in the mix means it should be useful for constructors. But,... how many truly crossworthy EVELYNs are there? 1980’s track stars is Priyanka level fame to me. Waugh has been dead 55 years and I don’t know how well known he still is. I type in EVELYN into my search bar and the suggested searches are all people I have never heard of. So a pretty useful name with no truly 21st century crossworthy clue options. Too bad Rowling went with Hermione instead of EVELYN.

Nancy 9:17 AM  

My apologies, Simon. I wrote my previous comment having no idea that you were only 16 and that this was your debut puzzle. Had I known, I would have written an entirely different comment praising the intricacy of your construction-- and that's because "look what I can do" seems absolutely understandable and totally legitimate from a very young, first-time constructor.

What you accomplished is not easy to do and I applaud it. It's obvious that you have a real future in puzzle construction. But I always write my critiques from the solver's standpoint and the puzzle didn't leave ME with much to do or think about. I hope you'll keep that in mind for your future efforts. Just remember: A perplexed and puzzled solver is a happy solver!

Frantic Sloth 9:24 AM  

Rex's imagined M-T-W snafu was very funny. (I've got to stop using "hilarious" so much. It's to the point where it's become my version of how people have been using "literally". Ugh.)

Short stuff today:
Haven't read past @Dave in Florida 612am where I was quite impressed to learn the constructor is 16. Then to xwordinfo for a picture and saw that this is his debut!

Congratulations, young sir! And well done you - I thought the puzzle was clean and tight with just enough bread crumbs as evidence of your youth (maybe even the theme? I mean, teenage boys and cars? It's classic) I hope this means we will be seeing you for many more years to come.

Gotta run, y'all. Later.


RooMonster 9:27 AM  

Hey All !
I guess I'm the only one who never knew about the I in KUBLAI KHAN's name. Only ever knew it as KUBLA KHAN.

Another "make me feel stupid" moment, this puz being made by a teenager, one year after starting solving, and getting published. @Lewis sings the praises of Simon for it, which I can see, but I'm the opposite in being upset because I haven't had such an experience. Boo hoo, I know! πŸ˜†

Anyway, that self-pity silliness aside, this was a NEATO puz. Backwards car NAMEs. Who knew? Simon did, apparently. Light on dreck, quite polished grid. INA about the worst, but clued well.

Managed to spell Lucy LIU correctly today, usually REVERSE the vowels. I can see 1A/1D cross being problematic for some, two movie names. I knew both, YAY ME! Even though BIFF is a Butt-Head, he gets the only two F's in the puz!

Had gdAY for ISAY first. Mixing up my accent-having Countries. Of course, they say we have the accents...

Nothing GROSS in this puz. Congrats Simon, really, don't let the bastards (read:me) get you down! 😁

Two F's

Hartley70 9:35 AM  

So how did that “I” sneak into KUBLAIKHAN? Coleridge and I do not approve.

This was a very appropriate early week puzzle and since circles don’t bother me in the least now that I meditate, I calmly zipped right through it. I’m looking forward to seeing what Simon can do at 17!

RyanSem 9:37 AM  

Enjoyed this puzzle. I'm getting more comfortable with the first two days of the week. I consistently get tripped up on clues like ROMA where I need to remember it's not ROME to a native.

KUBLAIKHAN and TENTACLE were great clues for the SE. I only know the former from a bio I read on Teddy Roosevelt's trip down the River of Doubt - in a fevered state he kept repeating Samuel Taylor Coleridge's, "In Xanadu did Kublai Khan, a stately pleasure dome decree..." If not for that obscure memory I would have been doomed save for the crosses.

Theme was great, I was scratching my head to figure it out at first but I knew my 28A was correct. I replaced HELP for HOPE initially in 47A which threw me off with everything connected to it, but fixed that fairly quickly.

Overall, really enjoyed this one.

John McEnroe 9:37 AM  

@oceanjeremy - you cannot be serious about retiring “Alpha Dog” . this cancel culture is offended mighty easily. grow a pair.

Whatsername 9:51 AM  

NEATO and fun fun fun! I could ADD “til your daddy takes the T-BIRD away” but that lyric is way older than the constructor who probably wouldn’t recognize it. Imagine a 16 year old who only recently began solving crosswords last year during the quarantine. Then look at him now - constructing a puzzle published in the NYT and chosen as Puzzle of the Week by guru Jeff Chen. A solid theme with an excellent revealer which actually aided in the solve. I do LOVE it when that happens. Congratulations Simon, from a Missouri neighbor. Well done!

I gagged at 58D and her accompanying VICE but was mollified by the lovely LAURA BUSH, an icon among First Ladies of the USA.

I know it’s a title of distinction in royal circles but whenever I hear of a DAME So And So it always makes me laugh. I think because I ONCE heard Fred Mertz refer to some poor woman as “that crazy dame.” What can I SAY? I was a child of the Lucy ERA.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Ah yes, Mud Season. Welcome to New England. Even the southern climes.

mathgent 10:09 AM  

No crunch, no sparkle, no fun.

Anonymoose 10:11 AM  


Elaine CHAO is wed to the Great Obstructor, Moscow Mitch.

*In Case You Didn't Know

Son Volt 10:14 AM  

Nice early week puzzle. Theme was fun - overall fill went right in. I liked the LEASH - ALPHA adjacency. I see them a lot in grids but haven’t road a T BAR in years. I think there’s a newish one at Sugarbush but most have been replaced by now.

Enjoyed this one.

Bustedarmart 10:19 AM  

Over 30 years ago someone asked me what Subaru backwards was:
“You’re a bus!”
That’s been in my head ever since.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

Thank you for this link to The Boxer. I was there.

Jeff 10:25 AM  

I haven't seen a LATEX glove in a hospital in fifteen years. In truth, a hospital is likely the *last* place you'd find a latex glove.
SCORE really has nothing to do with movie music, per se. Oddly specific clue.
Other than those nits, good puzzle, even if I didn't use the theme at all.

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

I'm sure it was great, but you need the harmony.

Masked and Anonymous 10:29 AM  

The Circles! Two days in a row. Sooo … it may not be OX-Word Week, after all. It's The Circles Week!

staff weeject pick: INA. Which is ANI in reverse on his hovercraft.

Liked THEBOXER, with its lyrics clue. Also admired PLACEBO & TENTACLE.

Weird but funny NAME clue. Certainly shifted @RP into another gear.

Thanx for the makeup MonPuz, Mr. Marotte. And congratz on yer debut, at only age 16. Real good job.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

***Still hopin @GILL I. was able to at least get a look at the Wine And Dine runtpuz … if not, M&A will have to think of somethin else, to help ...

GILL I. 10:30 AM  

THIS WAS DONE BY A 16 YEAR OLD?????? Holy tomato on a hot potato. You go Simon......!!!! first we start with @Rex and you giving me Cher and her nasal rendition of "I Got A Name."!!!!! Why on earth didn't you give me Jim Croce? No wonder FALSE TEETH made me think of FLEA BAGS...which brings me to @OfftheGrid stealing my PROM LOVE. My new avatar is me and my prom picture from The American School of Madrid. My date was the sweetest nicest person on this earth (at that time). We met up again in San Francisco many years later and he told me he was gay. DARN....I always seemed to attract handsome, funny, smart men who preferred anyone else other than me......
Well, I really liked this puzzle. I liked it even before I knew Simon was just a wee lad. I had some trouble with the names, but they were easy to get.
How to spell KUBLAI KAHN? Do I remember BIFF? Why, yes...I do.
My TENTACLE runneth OVER....

Northwest Runner 10:50 AM  

Didn’t know that Simon is sixteen till I had finished the puzzle and seen some Twitter comments. Well done sir.

Carola 11:01 AM  

I'm with @Nancy on both her posts (8:35 and 9:17). My first reaction was, "I bet all the people who SNEERED at yesterday's puzzle are sorry now," but after learning the constructor's backstory I regret my own sneering today,

Perry 11:04 AM  

Interesting that Rex thought that yesterday's was beyond the pale and that today's was easy. I found their difficulty level to be almost indistinguishable and neither was appropriate for a Monday or a Tuesday. They are both Wednesday or Thursday puzzles.

RooMonster 11:06 AM  

Dang, quite the looker! Why is it the gay guys get the good looking women?

RooMonster Apologies To @Gill's Husband Guy 😁

oceanjeremy 11:24 AM  

I'm offended easily?

You're the one getting your hackles raised over my purely rational stance that we should retire a phrase because it is based on science that has been found factually incorrect. And this offends you. It would appear that you are the sensitive one whose "fee fees" got hurt.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks. (You're "the lady" in this instance, Mr McEnroe.)

A 11:29 AM  

Opening line of THE BOXER - “I am just a poor boy….” Looks like that 14 year-old boy from my comments Sunday matured a couple of years and constructed a good puzzle for us!

He ENSUREd it would be easy for beginners, too. I don’t keep track of solve times, but now that I solve online I do look at the time - pretty sure this is my fastest time ever. Definitely Monday fare. “‘sup, Will?” ELIDED my inner 14 year-old.

Some teenage thoughts?
Well, that took an unexpected turn…..

SHE'S got the dEVIL in her heart

Looking BACK at the grid, I’m noticing some interesting pairs:
LATEX LAUR….never mind

Easy, but PAREd of junk and with a few choice entries. I SAY NEATO, Mr. Marotte!

Anonymous 11:32 AM  


Cancelling Elaine Chao an immigrant woman and first Asian-American in the cabinet? Hmm. Sounds like someone's got a bad case of toxic masculinity.
Her ethics violations included having staffers arrange Christmas ornaments. Yep, that's what The Wapo included in the purported offenses of Ms. Chao. As for allegations that she helped enrich herself or her husband that same Wapo article acknowledges that investigators found no evidence to support those claims. It's worth noting, since you've buried the lede, that "instigators did not make a formal finding that Ms. Chao violated ethics rules." (NY Times March 3, 2021
But yeah, it's unpleasant to include her in a puzzle. May I ask if it's unpleasant to include the mob that was outside her home threatening her and her husband? (June 26, 2018)

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

Not to nitpick, but from what I've read Teslas don't have gears; it can sense from its presence if you need to go in reverse. It does apparently have a touchscreen override if you have the option to go either way.

GILL I. 12:18 PM  

To my favorite M&A gruntz...Am I wearing my stoopid hat? I can't seem to download your Wine and Dine....what, pray tell, am I doing wrong. Help.....

CDilly52 12:27 PM  

I’m in complete agreement t with@Rex on this one. Except that I am pretty BORAT challenged and skipped that one for a nano second thinking that BORAT was the likely answer but not knowing. After that, not a single stop. I actually chuckled at FALSE TEETH “coming out at night,” and think that the very best clue of the bunch.

The theme gets Monday-worthy points. Car themes with a nice easy yet appropriate and clever twist. I think of my young self sitting with Gran and actually knowing some of the answers at the age of 8-10 and being so proud to get to put them in myself- and in ink!! Those memories of such quality time with the one person who always loved me most in the world always brightens my day.

As did this puzzle. But for the placement on the wrong day, this is a winner all the way ‘round in my book. Here’s a big shout of encouragement to all those newer solvers out there for whom this might just be their very first complete no-cheat solve. πŸ‘ Well done, and keep on keepin’ on! Have a great day everyone!

wrollinson 12:31 PM  

Rex's reverse image reminded of this classic Simpson's scene:

"Put it in H!"

JC66 12:31 PM  


Do you have AcrossLite installed?

jae 1:02 PM  

Easy. Solid smooth Tues. Liked it. Another fine debut.

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

Sure, easy enough for a Tuesday but I got all caught up in the SE - blame it on KUBLAI KHAN. I had KUBLAI in place but the "Suits" clue at 63D had me thinking HBO, so maybe it's Khubla KHAN (I wasn't sure about that "I" in KUBLAI either). I put it all back but it looked pretty messy after I was done.

17A's clue got circled as a great find, nice! But I'm glad I solved the SW fully with the Across answers because Rex is right, that NAME clue is weird.

@Roo Monster, I know what you mean about Lucy Liu and wanting to REVERSE the vowels. I always have to say it to myself - Lui would be Italian and, I think, sound like lwee, so that lets me know it should be LIU.

Simon Marotte, congratulations on your NYT debut and kudos for your meteoric rise in constructing.

albatross shell 1:28 PM  

Only had to circle around in few places. The extra space in KAHN's name, waiting for Ashford's name to be cleared of memory dust, and unbelievably had a mental block on W's spouse. Got BUSH and needed 2 crosses to get it. Easy-Monday easy.

If you want to bitch about the day of week difficulty, do it like Rex today. Nice shtick.

I was OOR* today. I usuually spell LIU correctly. Not this time.

Did anyone get too distracted by the song to notice BOXER a car NAME forward?

Did our @BOcamp notice the BOrat and the placeBO in the puzzle?

Is @GILL I going to tell us what is that look at the dance? Worry concern trouble? Certainly not PROM LOVE. What are you looking at? Nice hair, beautiful couple though.

What I liked best was the single clue with the paired answers EVIL VICE beneath HADNOHOPE. If wicked were the single clue the answers could be EVIL VILE. With REVERSE in there I was hoping for a matched pair in the symmetric positions above. No TRUE LOVE, but YORE PARE which at least sounds like 'your pair'. Pocket rockets? So many possibilities unfulfilled.

*reverse ROO.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

@oceanjermy: ALPHA by definition indicates either gender. In fact, your example of the wolf is one species in which the alpha is often female. It basically means "leader of the pack" and does not necessarily indicate male dominance. To suggest it be banned from crosswords because you interpret it as being toxic is not what I'd consider a rational stance.

mathgent 1:47 PM  

Those of us who played super-senior tennis would say that we were like talking dogs. It wasn't that we did it well, it was that we were able to do it at all.

oceanjeremy 2:09 PM  

Did you intentionally misinterpret my comment, or did you just not read it carefully?

It should be retired as a term because it is scientifically inaccurate. It does not reflect reality. The biologist responsible for the term, L. David Mech, agrees that it should be retired.

Because it's false. It's wrong. It's a myth. This is a very rational stance to take.

GILL I. 2:21 PM  

@JC...I thought I did but I guess I don't....I'll try to install it. Don't want to miss our favorite M&A puz.
@albatross. HAH! I do look a bit troubled....Maybe it was the tortilla de patata they were about to serve me?

M&A all I got from opening you was "Pernubulu." Is that a sign of some sort?

kitshef 2:29 PM  

@ Gill I - I just emailed you a word document with M&A's runt puzzle. Good luck!

GILL I. 3:18 PM It....Gracias, amigo.
M&A....1Across...."It may be assumed to be dead"......Well I'll use a @ROO DANG and say you got my attention. hahahahah.

bocamp 3:23 PM  

@albatross shell 1:28 PM

Hadn't noticed, but since you mentioned it, I'll take the two bo's and make Bobo for one of my fave BOXERs of the '50s: Bobo Olson, nicknamed the Hawaiian Swede. πŸ₯Š

pg -4

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Z 3:34 PM  

@Son Volt - I like your nom de blog, but that “road” is driving my uncle Tupelo absolutely grammar nazi bonkers.

@Masked & Anonymous - If I ever open a pub I’m going to call it “Z’s PLACEBO AND TENTACLE.” Probably by a marina.

Frantic Sloth 3:45 PM  

@GILL Well, you are just the little hottie, aintcha. Such a nice picture, really. I have a question: Did your beau tell you he was gay just before that shot was taken?

@Z 334pm I'd pay good money at that club. At least TENTACLE ties in nicely with being on the water.

Masked and Anonymous 4:13 PM  

Wine vats of thanx to @kitshef, for findin a way to help @GILL I. darlin out.
@GILL I. - yep & har. That is indeed the 1-Across clue. Sounds like U are in business. M&A is very happy & relieved.

@Magnificent beast Z: Excellent club name pick. Sounds like you're already gettin a few customers lined up. Maybe send m&e its address, when U open up for business?


kitshef 5:03 PM  

Any moderator - on yesterday's comments, the 9:36 post (the last one on the board as of now) is spam. Seeing that made me realize what a great job you are doing, by the way, as it has been a long time since I've seen spam.

A Moderator 5:30 PM  


It's been deleted. Thanks.

Son Volt 5:38 PM  

@Z 3:34p lol - old, fat fingers, a new iPhone and I’m assuming autocorrect gets me there. I usually don’t ride that road.

Joe Dipinto 6:55 PM  

Impressive debut puzzle.

(another Evelyn) "I'm Evelyn Mulwray"
(another Ashford & Simpson song) I'm Every Woman

Anoa Bob 7:51 PM  

In Texas Hold'em each player is dealt two cards down so two Aces (7D) are the best possible starting hand. If the outcome were determined at this point, the Aces would win every time. But in reality they can lose if someone hits a better hand later when community cards that everyone uses are turned up. Pocket Rockets, a.k.a. Weapons of Mass Destruction, can win a lot of money in Hold'em but they can also lose a big bundle when they get crushed if someone flops, say, two pairs or three of a kind by using the community cards.

I recently suggested that the partial I AM could seen as the first name IMA and be clued as "___ Hogg, who for many years was called 'The First Lady of Texas'". Today we get another partial IN A (63D) that could also be INA and clued as "___ Garten of the 'Barefoot Contessa' cooking show".

Obren B. 9:22 PM  

I haven't spoken before because everything's been great, but T-bars haven't been a "Skier's conveyance" for fifty years.

thefogman 11:34 AM  

ISAY it was DARN good even NEATO in spots. Liked, almost LOVEd it. INA word, AMEN to what Rex said.

spacecraft 12:28 PM  

Hmm...OFC lists three (count 'em) names and then refers to them as "both." I know you're not a math professor, dude, but yeesh!

Today's theme makes it appear that the constructor Didn't Want To Do Too Much--and then we get that clue for NAME. You should have followed your first, best instinct, young grasshopper. Editors change clues all the time; why not this one, Will?

Important: each car name runs through two words of the theme entry. Neat (and PLEASE, without the -O! It's been a long time since the '50s). Lucy LIU retakes the DOD sash, with most honorable mention to EVELYN 9-downford. Good debut. Birdie.

Burma Shave 1:34 PM  


ISAY SHE'S one to LOVE GROSS stunts;


leftcoaster 1:57 PM  

Neat, clean, and easier than yesterday’s. (But be careful of four cars in REVERSE in a parking lot.)

Some pausers: Simon and Garfunkel’s THE BOXER sparring with Robert SIEGEL, EVELYN Ashford, and Elaine CHAO.

BORAT may be GROSS at times, but he can be a DARN good actor as well as a comic genius.


leftcoaster 2:05 PM  

Congrats to young Simon Marotte on his debut !

Diana, LIW 4:03 PM  

Totally agree with @Lefty's opening statement. Including the parking lot imagery.

Lambo and I were solving this, and couldn't think of what came out at night. Sometimes. Moths? Dreams? Vampires? Spam phone calls at dinner time?

The correct answer brought back memories of FALSETEETH rattling around in my grandparents' mouths at dinnertime. Ah - those were the days.

And any reference to S&G bring back the music of my dorm-living days. La la la to you to!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 6:04 PM  

An appropriate use for TAR as an answer, not the best use of TAR in real life. And a bunch of cars in reverse including my big brother of @Diana's HONDA, or ADNOH.

Lucy LIU always a winner.

I take it OFL did not hate this one? I'm on hiatus from reading him. OK puz.

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