Ally in Super Mario games / WED 4-14-21 / One-named rapper with the 2015 #1 album "The Album About Nothing" / Expensive Italian car informally / Financial guru Suze / Congressional hearing airer / Double-reeded aerophone with keys

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Constructor: Nathan Hasegawa

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: COUNT / SHEEP (60A: With 61-Across, advice for an insomniac ... or what you can do 12 times in this puzzle, reading across and down (not including this answer) — RAM, EWE, and LAMB can be round a total of 12 times if you treat the finished puzzle like the most remedial word search puzzle you've ever seen

Word of the Day: LAMBO (37A: Expensive Italian car, informally) —
Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. (Italian pronunciation: [lamborหˆษกiหni]) is an Italian brand and manufacturer of luxury sports cars and SUVs based in Sant'Agata Bolognese. The company is owned by the Volkswagen Group through its subsidiary Audi. (wikipedia)
• • •

Find them all!
Don't turn my grid into a kids' placemat puzzle and call it a crossword. Please. All this theme does—and I mean All it does—is compromise the overall quality of the fill like crazy and make the whole solving experience dull and somewhat tedious. Exhibit A: RENEWER (22D: One extending a library book loan). At no time, under no circumstances, on no planet is that an answer that anyone wants to see in their grid. It's an awkwardly ER'd word that is here *solely* to give us one of our twelve (Why Twelve?) SHEEP. Exhibit B is ECRUS, the most abominable thing in the grid; while not technically a themer itself, it's sandwiched right in between two theme answers (HEREWEARE, SHEEP) and crossing another (MAEWEST). No way you're seeing plural (!) of already tired crosswordese if desperate times didn't call for the desperate measures that ECRUS represents. As you're solving, you're not thinking, "ooh, look at the sheep!" (That's something you say while driving around New Zealand.) Instead, you're wondering why the fill is so dry and odd. Only later do you realize, "oh, it's because three RAMs were all squeezed together in the western part of the grid ... for some reason. And to make solvers finish a puzzle and then go Back and hunt for 12 sheep... why?? Where is the fun there? No way I would've done it at all if I hadn't felt obligated to post a fully sheep-searched grid. I'd just take the puzzle's word for it and get on with my day. Instead, I had to sit there like an idiot and not just do a word search, but do a word search For The Same Three Words. Even a child would be insulted by such a chore. Oh, and good luck to you if you decide to tell a real insomniac to COUNT / SHEEP. If all they do is tell you to f*** off, consider yourself lucky.

People in MENSA aren't "smart," stop propagating that dumb idea (41A: Smart society). [Club for self-styled geniuses], that works. This, from the wikipedia page, is instructive:

Roland Berrill, an Australian barrister, and Dr. Lancelot Ware, a British scientist and lawyer, founded Mensa at Lincoln College, in Oxford, England in 1946, with the intention of forming a society for the most intelligent, with the only qualification being a high IQ.

The society was ostensibly to be non-political in its aims, and free from all other social distinctions, such as race and religion. However, Berrill and Ware were both disappointed with the resulting society. Berrill had intended Mensa as "an aristocracy of the intellect" and was unhappy that the majority of members came from working or lower-class homes, while Ware said: "I do get disappointed that so many members spend so much time solving puzzles."

I think we've had about enough Mario-related answers for this month (TOAD, again, meant nothing to me) (64A: Ally in Super Mario games). Only struggles for me today came when I wanted BONE-TIRED instead of BONE-WEARY (I've only heard and would only use the former) (19A: Completely exhausted), and then, crossing BONE-WEARY, there was ON A WHIM, which I thought was ON A DARE or maybe ON A LARK (4D: Impulsively). Later, there was ECRUS, which my brain wouldn't let me accept as real. Oh, and I went with ANACIN before MOTRIN (25A: Tylenol alternative). But that was it for challenge. Hoping for better things tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:27 AM  

I always do a little jump for joy when a new constructor enters the fold. I happily picture their thrill at getting that first puzzle in the NYT, and I selfishly am thrilled myself, as the future of this hobby I love grows stronger and longer. Congratulations, Nathan!

There is great skill shown in this grid. Hiding a dozen sheepish terms of at least five letters, plus a ten letter reveal, called for an over-the-top number of theme squares, and to do so as smoothly as you did – that would be tough for even a seasoned constructor. It is an impressive feat. That kind of skill bodes well for your future puzzles.

It solved like a themeless; I counted the sheep afterward. Your next challenge, Nathan, is to come up with a theme that adds to the solve during the solve, which makes a puzzle more involving, and after seeing what you did here, I know you can do it.

As it is, you taught me “aerophone”, and, as a musician, I’m very happy to learn that. You also made me, the resident alphadoppeltotter here, quite happy by producing a puzzle with an unusually low number of double letters (4), a rare occurrence indeed. That was my second jump for joy. Thank you and keep ‘em coming!

Conrad 6:30 AM  

Found it easy. Liked it more than @Rex and less than @Lewis. But thank you, @Rex, for saving me the trouble of doing the sheep search. I found one EWE, one RAM and one LAMB and came here to see if I could save having to look any further.

smalltowndoc 6:32 AM  

Horrendous puzzle. Just...horrendous. Played like a badly constructed themeless. The revealer just led to, as Rex points out, to a Word Search. Completely unenjoyable.

For sure, worst clue was "send" for ELATE. Has anyone in the last 75 years used "send" in that context?

mooretep 6:34 AM  

Great Wednesday puzzle on top of a puzzle.

Zwhatever 6:38 AM  

Started search for SHEEP and stopped to ask “WTF am I doing?”

WALE (Wall Aye)

I am beginning to wonder if James ABRAM Garfield is the only ABRAM.

Rex was too kind about MENSA. I think I have waxed excessive before about the underlying racism in IQ tests.

Cassieopia 6:43 AM  

Nice puzzle but thought the ELIA - ALBA cross poorly conceived, as ELIe - ALBe kept me from the happy music. Loved seeing FLAMBOYANT in the grid, though.

OffTheGrid 6:54 AM  

@smalltowndoc. Your post reminded me this GOLDIE OLDIE

SouthsideJohnny 6:56 AM  

I can tell that I have been solving for a while now - a lot of things popped up today that I only know from crossword puzzles - ELIA, ELSA, CAMO, ETNA, ABRAM, CAPO, Bae, et c. Once again, I totally spaced on the Hawaiian trivia (Mauna LOA) - even though I’ve seen them like a hundred times in CrossWorld - I just can’t keep those 3-letter jobs straight (similar to the FDR abbreviations from about a century ago).

I couldn’t sleep one night and tried counting sheep - I drove around for like an hour, and didn’t see even one, but when I got home I was really tired.

pabloinnh 6:57 AM  

In a hurry so I skipped the sheep-counting thing and when I learned how all that worked I was glad I did. Not for me.

Liked seeing OYE which is literally "hear" if you use that as a command, which we don't, unless you count "hear hear", frequently misrepresented as "here here", which should only be used for an emphatic indication of one's presence.

Onward and upward with the moving process.

SomeOneHasToBeMe 6:57 AM  

Actually, this is current slang. "Like oh my god, that album sent me" is (depressingly) common.

BarbieBarbie 7:00 AM  

What’s with all the Mondays this week? The ghost of Pogo is in the machine.

Other than RENEWER I liked this puzzle just fine. Hope the constructor returns with more!

@Z, ABRAM Hewitt was mayor of NYC, so you’d think the editors would ring him in once in awhile. Beat T. Roosevelt! Google on ABRAM plus “New York City.”

Frantic Sloth 7:06 AM  

I am so glad this grid didn't include circles. It was better to find the RAMs and EWEs by myself, thank you very much.

Didn't fall for the trick clue at 59A, but thought it was cute and clever. TEN isn't exactly an earth-shatteringly exciting word, so I appreciated the effort.

Likewise, ECRU isn't a particularly flashy or vibrant kind of color - so do we really need more than one? ECRUS smells like a POC.

Got a little emotional when I spotted FEE crossing TEE as "Feety", well more specifically "Little Feety" was my father's pet name for me for all my life. FYI Feety was an infantile variant of "Sweety", not an indication that my feet were small or that I had more than 2 of them.

This puzzle was one more in the easy-peasy week we've had so far, but I enjoyed it all the same. Nice work for yet another NYTXW debut! Congratulations, Mr Hasegawa, and keep 'em coming!

๐Ÿง .5

Rob H 7:13 AM  

Utter waste of time and checked blog just to see if it was only me. As usual Rex was right on

JOHN X 7:14 AM  


If there's ever been a bad sheep-themed puzzle I haven't seen it.

Flying Pediatrician 7:29 AM  

Oh c’mon, @Rex! It’s fresh and fun. My kids will enjoy doing the word search tonight!

My 4th Grade teacher’s name was Kris LAMB (her husband’s name, to my infinite bemusement, was Chris LAMB). She exclusively used the word EWE as a substitute for “you.” I thought it was a hoot (probably foreshadowing my future obsession with crossword puzzles). Fortunately I never got a “I need to see EWE after class” margin note.

Happy Hump Day, Crossworld!

kitshef 7:32 AM  

I think we’ve seen the horrible LAMBO once before, which does not excuse using it again.

I’ve heard of all the proper names today, which feels odd. Mind you, I can’t tell you why I’ve heard of Wale, maybe because he is (somewhat) local.

Solved with no use of, or awareness of, the theme.

BONE-tired versus BONE-WEARY. They Google almost equally well, and Google Engram shows that they have always been used about equally.

Brit solves NYT 7:37 AM  

I’m with Rex on renewer, didn’t know the name that gave the first letter and thought renewer was so ridiculous it wouldn’t be allowed in a puzzle so stopped me finishing the puzzle on that letter... has anyone ever used that word real life? Think the editors would have been better off asking for that word to be replaced rather than releasing as is.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

@Z: There are quite a few notable ABRAMs, but there's another quite famous ABRAM who changed his name, and is almost universally known by the name he took when he became a U.S. citizen.

Abram Saperstejn was born in 1906 in Bialystok, Russian Empire (present-day Poland), emigrated with his family to the U.S. in 1921, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1930.

He started his university career in a dentistry program, but changed to virology, earning a medical degree in 1931.

In the 1950s, he developed a vaccine to eradicate a paralyzing disease: polio.

His newly adopted name: Albert Bruce Sabin

bocamp 7:44 AM  

Thank ๐Ÿ‘ @Nathan for this fine Wednes. puz; You really ๐Ÿmed it home! Baa ๐Ÿ‘ Baa๐Ÿ

Easy+ solve.

Started in the NW and moved clockwise to the finish in Cali.

Very much in my wheelhouse; smooth journey all the way.

I do a form of COUNTing SHEEP, which has helped me fall asleep much quicker than I used to.

One of my fave sleepy-time songs: Schlafe, Mein Prinzchen, Schlaf Ein ~ Regensburger Domspatzen

Schlafe, mein Prinzchen, schlaf ein!
Es ruh'n Schรคfchen und Vรถgelein
Garten und Wiese verstummt
auch nicht ein Bienchen mehr summt
Luna mit silbernem Schein
gucket zum Fenster herein.
Schlafe beim silbernem Schein
Schlafe, mein Prinzchen, schlaf ein
Schlaf ein, schlaf ein!

Sleep, my little prince, sleep,
The SHEEP and the birdies rest,
The garden and the meadow are quiet,
Not even a little bee buzzes anymore.
Luna, with a silverly glow
Looks in through the window,
Sleep by the silvery glow,
Sleep, my little prince, sleep,
Sleep, sleep!

yd 0

"For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it."

~ Amanda Gorman

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Son Volt 7:48 AM  

Yea - not the most erudite of puzzles but not as bad as Rex makes it out to be. Theme was wasted on me - but the fill was decent. I liked ON A WHIM x BONE WEARY and FLAMBOYANT. Same side eye on RENEWER and I’ll add the side by side RAMPs. TATAS do tend to Send me.

Quick, smooth solve - just nothing behind the curtain.

Richard Stanford 7:53 AM  

This one threw me too. I had EmAIl sitting there making no sense for a while. Backed into ELATE but assumed that was worse even though all the downs made sense (I had a typo in DEuEY that I hadn’t caught preventing the solve).

Maybe it’s regional. Even with two teens in the house this was a new meaning for me.

Hungry Mother 7:55 AM  

Very easy today. I found a few of the sheep before losing interest. I think I need a list of rappers to add to my list of European rivers.

Nancy 7:57 AM  

I noticed nothing at all until I got to COUNT SHEEP. If there hadn't been a revealer, I could have gone to my grave without having noticed any of it at all. Only then did I spot the EWE at HERE WE ARE, circled it, and went looking for more EWEs. I could only find five, though Rex shows me that I missed the Down one at MAE WEST. Even then, that would have only made six. I needed 12. Damn! Might there also be some RAMs?

I went looking for RAMs and could only find three. Now I'm up to eight (which should have been nine, but I didn't know that.) Might there also be some LAMBS?

Found two. Now I'm up to ten SHEEP (which should have been 11, but I didn't know that.)

What was I missing? Was there a BAMBI or a DOLLY somewhere in the grid?

This puzzle has been much, much more fun to write about than to actually solve. And once more it's brought home to me how bad I am at noticing letters embedded in other letters. I'm just not observant. Never invite me to be a witness at your trial.

mmorgan 8:01 AM  

I started seeing BO all over the place and starting counting them, y’know, as in Little BO Peep. I didn’t get to 12 but I thought that was a pretty bizarre gimmick. (Never saw the EWEs or the others. But there were sure a lot of BOs.)

Frantic Sloth 8:12 AM  

Obviously, I'm the only dolt who likes having a little something "extra" at the end of my solve. But I have to admit that after locating a couple RAMs and EWEs, I stopped counting. Never even saw the LAMBs. Oops. I'm stricken. Not.

RENEWER bugged me, too. The best thing I could say about it is that it rhymes with manure - something only George Costanza would care about.

Barbara S. 8:23 AM  

I find all the criticism of this puzzle…well, puzzling. I thought it was fine, and got a kick out of the ovine inventory at the end. There were twelve sheep plus an extra anagrammed male in ORMAN. I use the expression BONE WEARY (wish it didn’t seem appropriate as often as it does). I liked BONE WEARY crossing LEAR (who was BONE WEARY, if anyone ever was, by Act V) and also AWRY, an apt description of his kingdom. I also liked the CAMO/CAPO and RAMEN/AMEN crossings. A long set of final As: CLARA, FRA, OPERA, ELIA, MENSA, LOA, ETNA, ALBA, AREA, ELSA. And another of final Os or O-sounds: CAMO, AGO, SAYS NO, LAMBO, ADD TO, CAPO, TYPO, ECHO, OBOE. Great answers: TREBLE, TARTAR, TRAMPOLINE, RAMPART, ON A WHIM, MAE WEST, FLAMBOYANT. (I suspect MAE WEST did a lot of FLAMBOYANT things ON A WHIM. Whether any of them involved a TRAMPOLINE may be lost to history.)

Today’s quotation is from ARNOLD TOYNBEE, born Apr. 14, 1889.

“Compared with the life-span of a human being the time-span of a civilization is so vast that a human observer cannot hope to take the measure of its curve unless he is in a position to view it in a distant perspective; and he can only obtain this perspective vis-a-vis some society that is extinct. He can never stand back sufficiently far from the history of the society in which he himself lives and moves and has his being. In other words, to assert of any living society, at any moment in its life, that it is the consummation of human history is to hazard a guess which is intrinsically unsusceptible of immediate verification. When we find that a majority of the members of all societies at all times make this assertion about their own civilizations, it becomes evident that their guesses have really nothing to do with any objective calculation of probabilities but are pure expressions of the egocentric illusion.”
(From A Study of History, Volume 1)

Dan Hamman 8:25 AM  

Who the hell eats ramen with a spoon?

Karl Grouch 8:25 AM  

I'm with Team Rex.

But he forgot to mention FLAMBOYANT, that was a gem.

EWE can COUNT me out.

Got nothing more TO AD.

ABRAM I know goes by the name of Stoker

Anything interesting to George Costanza, is interesting to me. The guy would even make TARTARus a funny place:)

pmdm 8:26 AM  

I think I red about 2 sentences of teh write up and then stopped. In a certain sense, I can understand why Shortz doesn't read this blog. I enjoyed solving the puzzle and could care less about the theme, although I am impressed with its construction. For me, the point is that someone worked hard to construct debut puzzle seemingly absent of the PPP that most new constructors rely upon. Bodes well for the future.

Sharp's comment about mensa members seems off-base to me. [I am not a member but I think my SAT scores allowed me to automatically qualify for membership.] As Z points out, the manner of assigning an IQ number may be racially biased, but that does not diminish those who make the cut. It just means that those who miss the cut may be just as smart. Being in the society does have meaning, but not being in the society means nothing. And one's assigned IQ number similarly infers nothing about the person's native abilities. Or so I think.

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

I would have clued 63A differently.

Wundrin' 8:42 AM  

Do Muslims ATONE to be AT ONE with Allah?

TheMadDruid 8:43 AM  

Sam Cooke.

Monty Montague 8:50 AM  

Everyone in Asia. When you go to a Ramen restaurant you get a porcelain "ramen" spoon and chopsticks. Ramen has more in it at a restaurant than the cheap packs here in the states. Lots of broth.

Monty Montague 8:54 AM  

I enjoyed the solve, especially from a new solver. Not as harsh as Rex. On the Mensa topic, many members do have a well earned reputation of being very high on themselves, often unjustifiably so. I strongly recommend the Jamie Loftus podcast, "My Year in Mensa". Explores many aspects of the group in a thorough yet humorous way.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Sam Cooke still elates me after 64 years:

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

BEAU Monde

@mmorgan 8:01

Perhaps unconsciously, a correction for haut monde

Axel 9:04 AM  

A Lamborghini is not a Lambo. A Porsche is not a Porsh. A Mercedes is not a Benz. Leave the slang to the fan boys.

Joaquin 9:04 AM  

This puzzle was constructed by a high school senior as a senior project. I think he deserves major props for his accomplishment.

Also, @kitshef (7:32) - LAMBO is a perfectly good nickname, as common among car folk as Chevy or Caddy.

RooMonster 9:06 AM  

Hey All !
First, let me give props to Nathan. This was probably excruciatingly tough to construct. Jamming 12 SHEEP in a grid (sure, most are three letterers, but still), and coming away with dreck-lite fill is an accomplishment. I would've gave up on this idea after a couple of hours. ☺️ I do agree with the arbitrary 12. Unless that's the magic number one is supposed to count to?

Still, this had to be hair-tearingly tough to fill. Looking back over the grid just now, gonna update my dreck-lite to nearly dreck free! Dang!

Took me some time to figure out what the puz wanted once I finished (100% correct, btw ๐Ÿ˜), but finally saw a EWE, then went searching for more. Came up with 6, said "Hmm, what else is in here?" Glanced at FLAMBOYANT, seeing LAMB, then saw the center LAMB. 8. Then saw the RAM jam in West-Center. 11! Where's the last one? Gave up and came here to see it in RAMEN. How could I have missed that one! No MENSAn here. ๐Ÿคช

Only 4 doubles? Dang, three of them are right near each other in FEE, TEE, SHEEP. And the fourth is right over there too, ADDTO.

Took until after the puz, and after figuring out the meta to kick the puz UP A NOTCH. It was ADORbS. Har.

Two F's

bocamp 9:19 AM  

@Barbara S. (8:23 AM)

Thx for the TOYNBEE quote; I like it a lot!

@pmdm (8:26 AM)

Like your Mensa assessment, especially the penultimate sentence.

@TheMadDruid (8:43 AM) / @Anonymous (8:55 AM)

Thx for the Sam Cooke shoutouts.

You Send Me ~ Sam Cooke (Ed Sullivan Show - 1957)

@Joaquin (9:04 AM) wrote:

"This puzzle was constructed by a high school senior as a senior project. I think he deserves major props for his accomplishment."

Well said!

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

EdFromHackensack 9:20 AM  

@TheMadDruid - exactly. “You Send Me”. Finished quickly but didn’t bother to look for sheep. I don’t do stuff like that. Once I am done 100% that’s it - I move on with my life. RENEWER was horrible and I knew as I filled that in that Rex would have an issue.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

I recently took a crossword construction online course and developed a new respect for the art of puzzle making. I applaud Nathan for his highly creative and enjoyable NYT's puzzle debut. While I enjoy reading Rex's blog each morning, I couldn't help but feel today's critique was unnecessarily harsh.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

since when did HAUT monde become a syn. for beau monde?

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Near as I can tell, MENSA became, rather quickly, a cabal of idiots savant. I did not know it went back so far, though. OTOH, without a stock of smart people making smart decisions, we would all have been forced to inhale bleach in order to make Covid disappear in a few days. Be careful snickering at smart people.

Carola 9:52 AM  

I couldn't believe I'd wandered through a whole flock of SHEEP and not noticed a one - so, I say hats off to the constructor for this impressive feat of disguise. I agree wholeheartedly with @Lewis 6:27: "Your next challenge, Nathan, is to come up with a theme that adds to the solve during the solve, which makes a puzzle more involving"; still, I don't mind the occasional after-the-fact reveal, and was happy to go on the hunt for the sheep. Alas, I could only get to 11, even after combing the grid twice. I see now that among her other talents, MAE WEST was great at hiding sheep.

@Barbara S. 8:23 - Thank you for that summation of the puzzles pleasures.

@Nathan Hasegawa - I thought this was WHIMsical and fun and look forward to your next one.

Canon Chasuble 10:01 AM  

“Old Abram Brown is dead and gone. You’ll never see him more” is the start of an old song/poem from childhood that I can no longer recall.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Really, now "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Newboy 10:09 AM  

OYE indeed. I agree with @Conrad’s midrange assessment. Longer to round up the flock than to fill Nathan’s grid. Only OlE before OYE caused a pause for mr happy pencil proving that at least reading the crossing clues remains important. Congratulations on the debut Nathan & thanks for being socially engaged! May your days on the Claremont campuses be as delightful as your senior project.

jbh 10:11 AM  

I agree with Rex this time. (A rare event.) The fill was pretty trite all the way through in order to make the theme work.

I, too, went ANACIN before MOTRIN. Anacin, also blessed with caffeine, which has always seemed odd to me. And I first thought DEMI MONDE but of course it didn't work.

Joseph Michael 10:16 AM  

I started counting the sheep and fell asleep.

Jess Wundrin 10:22 AM  

Wither the WETHER? 'Sup with no TUP?

Knitwit 10:30 AM  

Came here out of frustration because my take of COUNT SHEEP had me looking for the numbers 1-12. Found ONE and TEN and gave up. Boy do I feel stupid......

Benny 10:36 AM  

“ It solved like a themeless; I counted the sheep afterward. Your next challenge, Nathan, is to come up with a theme that adds to the solve during the solve, which makes a puzzle more involving, and after seeing what you did here, I know you can do it.”

Dance for me dear boy!
Say what you will about Rex’s criticisms but the above condescending, directive of servility is a thousand times more offensive and annoying. Yuck.

JD 10:36 AM  

It's not "your grid" Rex. It's the constructor's grid. You're just a commenter.

What I said yesterday about a theme rarely eliciting an AHA! This one did it. And no circles. Brilliant!

OldWhiteGuy 10:37 AM  

Child or not, monumentally disappointing, about as trite as it gets. Full of truly tired old clue/answer pairs.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

LAMB - 2
RAM- 4
EWE- 6
Too bad the count couldn't have been the same (4/4/4) for each term!

Maybe there's a puzzle possible with sheep puns; e.g.,
"Ovine Movie Idol?" MERINOHARA

mathgent 10:48 AM  

I call Lewis the AntiRex. Rex racks his non-Mensa brain to find fault with very good crosswords while Lewis strains to find value in very bad ones. But they both dinged today's for the same reason. Rex said that no one while solving the puzzle said "Look at all the sheep around here" as if they were driving around New Zealand. Lewis said that the theme did not add to the solve. I agree with them both.

We're like Mensa. Our only qualification is that we do this puzzle every day. Theirs is that they score high on IQ tests. The difference is that Mensa is a subset of 2% of the population. We are a subset of what percent of the population? 5% maybe?

When I have trouble going to sleep I use the relaxation techniques I learned when going to Lamaze classes with my wife.

It was fun finding the twelve sheep, more than filling the grid.

The constructor is a teen going to a private Jewish school here in San Francisco. I hadn't heard of it before.

Whatsername 10:52 AM  

The crossword part of this was just fine, adequate for a Wednesday, no complaints. But I have to agree with Rex about the “find-a-word” portion of the theme. Even a child would be bored with that part of it. At least there weren’t any circles.

I had a couple of books that are due back at the library today and before I started solving the puzzle, I went online to check them out for another three weeks. That makes me a RENEWER. Yesterday I’d never even heard of that word, and today I am one. What are the chances?

@Dan Hamman (8:25) Who the hell eats ramen with a spoon? I do, because the broth is the best part. Doh!

TTrimble 10:57 AM  

I don't remember for sure, but might have told my MENSA story here before, so I'll hold off on that. But my one interaction with the MENSA society in the Chicago area left me with a sad feeling for some of them. It's not hard to understand that it could be attractive to people who test well but who have insecurities. (Which is not to say all members are that way, obvi).

I had to look up CAPO as guitar accessory. It's a kind of clamp that fits over some or all the guitar strings at once, raising the pitch by shortening the open strings rather than by increasing the string tension (as you would with the nut).

The grid is sort of choppy, and so there's a lot of short fill. FLAMBOYANT and BONE-WEARY are good, but most of the rest isn't too exciting. The theme really does nothing for me.

I'm not a RAMEN aficionado or anything, but the one time I went to a place that specializes in the stuff, I believe I was provided with a large spoon with which to capture the broth as well as noodle. A very slurpy filling dish. Those ramen packets in the grocery store which used to go for 20 cents a pop: perfect for students who live cheaply. Brings back memories of being a grad student, poor but happy, doing what I loved to do.

@Frantic Sloth
Such a sweet reminiscence of your dad! I doubt that anyone in my family but me remembers this, but I believe I was "Chuka", I'm guessing for "Sugar", to go with my younger brother "Bear".

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

Dolly was a sheep. Bambi was a deer.

Miss Manners 11:04 AM  

@Whatsername - You're supposed to drink straight from the bowl. What kind of heathen are you?

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Joaquin's right. Lambo is a very common usage.
The Lamborghini story is a pretty good one. Ferrucio Lamborghini manufactured tractors after World War II--he started his company in 1948, about year after the first badged Ferrari arrived in the world. Anyway, Signor Lamborghini did well and could afford nice things. Like Ferraris. But, the story goes, he was not happy with some of their build quality. While repairing one of them, he discovered some of the clutch parts were identical to what he was using to manufacture his tractors. He supposedly went to Enzo Ferrari and told him he should use better parts. Mr. Ferrari was not pleased. He called insulted him ( and later always referred to Lamborghini and his cars with some form of a tractor insult). Undaunted, Lamborghini started his own car company and within a few years produced one of the most important cars of all time. Certainly of the second half of the 20th century. The Lamborghini Miura. Most people consider it the world's first super car. It's almost stunningly beautiful. Not all like the folded paper designs Lamborghini has used extensively since the Countach.

On a side not, many people, many smart people reject the claim that IQ test are biased in any way. Either against an ethnicity or gender. They're a popular target for a certain type of person with a certain political and philosophical bent. And those folks may be right. ( Though you wouldn't want to eat a meal with any of them). But of course, they may be wrong. There is nothing at all even approaching consensus on the issue.

JD 11:19 AM  

@mathgent, funny you mention, "We're like Mensa." A friend took me to her Mensa meeting once and my first thought upon reading the Mensa complaint here was, "Ha! If I picture a meeting of this group, it looks something like."

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

JeffE 11:32 AM  

Rex, do you even like Crosswords?

egsforbreakfast 11:40 AM  

I thought it was a little odd to break up the “advice for an insomniac”. Into TAKEA MBIEN, but it certainly works for me..

RENEWER sounds like a back-woods take on how to pronounce Renoir

I’m with the @Joaquin gang. This is a high school senior who produced a NYTXW worthy puzzle, and a difficult one to construct at that. I enjoyed it and I congratulate you, Nathan Hasegawa on your successful project and auspicious debut.

bocamp 11:42 AM  

"The Whiffenpoof Song" (Rudy Vallee, 1927)

RAMEN at home: fork and tip bowl / RAMEN or pho out: chopsticks, white spoon, tip the dregs.

Re: themes: during solve, don't pay much attn, unless useful. Always enjoy sussing them out post-solve. So, for today's, the well hidden themers did nothing to diminish my enjoyment of the puz. Afterwards, I marveled at the skill and creativity it must involve to construct such a fine work.

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Chip Hilton 11:47 AM  

@Axel - I’ve owned three of ‘em and have never used the term Beemer.
Why the problem with RENEWER? I got it off the Initial R. Makes sense. Somebody who renews.
Same with ECRUS. My wife does lots of needle craft projects and often pluralizes color family names.
CAPO and FRETS. Wonder if Nathan is a guitarist?

Zwhatever 12:01 PM  

Thanks for all the ABRAM’s, but I really wasn’t asking. That was just an (apparently more subtle than I thought) jab at Garfield being the go-to ABRAM clue. It’s Wednesday, could we branch out a little?

@Barbara S - As a themeless the puzzle was o.k. Word Searches are most definitely not my thing, so basing a dense theme around a word search concept and compromising the fill because of it is not going to earn praise here. Not every puzzle is going to hit my interests, and this one didn’t. I did enjoy learning about WALE, though.

@mathgent - Hmmm, that “subset of 2% of the population” hits my ears funny. Technically true, but it can reasonably be argued that a non-racist “intelligence test” taken by all Americans would end up excluding a sizable portion of current MENSA qualifiers. I had to put “intelligence test” in quotes because the theory of “intelligence” is so value laden as to be essentially meaningless when trying to assess relative intelligence. Was Einstein smarter than Picasso? Was Frank Lloyd Wright smarter than Katherine Johnson? Would any of them have scored in the 98th percentile on the Stanford-Binet?

@JD - Put me firmly in the camp of once it’s out there for public consumption a puzzle is no longer the creator’s. I’m reminded of listening to Michael Stipe discuss how people think The One I Love is the kind of love song one plays at their wedding reception when it was written as a pretty vicious anti-love song (describing pretty messed up relationships-just “props to occupy my time”) and Stipe just having to accept that once you make music it’s no longer really yours anymore. When I print the puzzle and put it on the clipboard it is now “my grid.”

A high school senior making a crossword puzzle is no more remarkable than me solving in pen. That is, not remarkable at all. The only time anything age-tangential has impressed me was Bernice Gordon still making high quality puzzles into her 100’s, and even then the impressive thing is she did it without software (and being over 100 is impressive in and of itself), not that she was a centenarian making puzzles.

Unknown 12:08 PM  

I think you need to count twelve sheep to get a DOZEn.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Lucky for every song writer, author, filmmaker etc. US legal code does not agree with the bizarre proposition that once a work is released for public consumption, ownership transfers from the creator... to, well, apparently everyone but the creator and rightful owner. Wow!
You do you Z.

JD 12:28 PM  

@Z, Wait for it. Wait for it. I can't argue with that!

Anoa Bob 12:28 PM  

This solved like a midweek themeless for me, with some nice entries like FLAMBOYANT (wonder if that's an NYT xword first) and TRAMPOLINE. But when the reveal asked me to do a word search for 12 (!) SHEEP, I thought I'd rather do a plural of convenience POC search, and there was a good crop of those, ECRUS being a prime example.

The ultra grid-fill friendly two-for-one POC, where a Down and an Across share a single pluralizing S, also made several appearances. There are a couple of straightforward two-for-ones at the ends of SEMI/PAINT and FRET/TATA. Those Ss could be changed to black squares, the clues slightly tweaked, and little of value or interest would be lost. (Okay, maybe with a different clue, TATAS would be something of interest!)

And then there's the rare, seldom seen stealth two-for-one POC, where one of the shared Ss is embedded within an Across or a Down. Only those with a high PQ (POC Quotient) score would likely notice this one. See it? It's where ARBOR and SAY NO both get a gratuitous one-letter boost to fill their slots. Nifty, right?

Want to brighten your day? Check out Santana's OYE Como Va (Listen How It Goes). Bet you can't sit still!

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

@Z. I'm guessing Stipe still cashes the royalty checks from The One I Love. So unless he's a thief he not only still owns it, he endorses that position. Perhaps literally.


@anon 12:09 Ownership vs. "Its no longer really yours anymore" are 2 different concepts. Try harder to find fault with Z. Yawn.

jae 12:37 PM  

Easy-medium. Had the same missteps as @Rex and didn’t go looking for the sheep. Liked it more than he did.

A 12:38 PM  

Happy Birthday to Emanuele Barbella, Napolitan composer, b. 1718. Here is his Alla Venezia Allegro for two mandolins. These ladies tear it up!

Did the puzzle in just over half average time, with only blues before ECRUS to slow things. No real complaints, except maybe that extra ECRU. FLAMBOYANT, TRAMPOLINE, and MAE WEST spiced up the RAMEN. Different clues for the musical entries OBOE and TREBLE. I didn’t mind going back to round up the flock - it was only a dozen, after all. Still, Rex’s "placemat puzzle" line was funny.

Deja vu: PART B_LEAR’s back from yesterday.

Having to go back and parse the sheep out of their entries got me seeing things. So for your amusement:

A dozen SHEEP are running the quarter mile MOTRIN Classic today, herded by Australian Shepherd Champion TEN ARBORS REGAL ROB. The field of ovines are:
(ON A WHIM, Bae Bae, and Daddy’s FEETEE were scratched prior to post time.)

Thanks, Mr. Hasegawa, not bad, not baaaad at all!

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

RENEWER sounds like a back-woods take on how to pronounce Renoir

You dirty effete Eastern intellectual, nattering nabob of negativism!! :) Or one of those hillbillies who hate the TMen who chop up moonshine stills.

Barbara S. 12:49 PM  

If you like dance [or even just human bodies ;-)], have a look at this. The second section beginning about 1:20 is especially good.

Baby you send me

GILL I. 12:57 PM I have the urge to sing baa baa black SHEEP. Do I have any wool? "Look at the SHEEP" made me think of MAE WEST and ask "Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you happy to see me?" Is that someone who is BONE WEARY? Does that raise a big stink?
Nice little Wed. I like the OYE TATAS at the end. I like FLAMBOYANT and my bestie Ru Paul.
So we're talking MENSA now? Notice it meets up with TOAD?
My Feety runneth over.

Thecla 12:59 PM  

Disliked this puzzle, especially the crosswordese filled middle section. However, if the monthly proportion of Mario clues to baseball clues were reversed, I would enjoy the crossword much more. I have a feeling that video games are going to be the chosen hobby activity of the next generation of crossword aficionados in the way baseball has been for the last thirty years.

bocamp 1:06 PM  

@A (12:38 PM)

Wow! what talent and flair! thx for the vid. :)

Not Barbella, but here's some talent and flair on the OBOE: Mozart: OBOEnkonzert C-Dur KV 314 ∙ hr-Sinfonieorchester ∙ Franรงois Leleux ∙ Andrรฉs Orozco-Estrada

pg -20

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

Have a hunch the people who chose The One I Love for their wedding song aren’t Mensa members.

SharonAK 1:13 PM  

Not surprised Rex didn't think much of the theme. ( I couldn't find the sheep until I came here and realized it wasn't the word sheep I should be looking for)
But I was surprised at his bashing of the fill.
I loved bone weary, trampoline and flamboyant, and rampart. I didn't object to any of it. smiled big at the trampoline clue when I realized the answer and smiled smaller at the esp clue and the mensa clue.

Well, I did think "ecrus", plural, sounded kind of ugly and was unlikely to ever be said. But "bone weary" is so much fresher and more elegant than " bone tired" and definitely something I have heard or read.
Oh yeah, I questioned "fra" for brother with no indication it was French.
But mostly it was a fun and fresh puzzle, sort of themeless

Teedmn 1:13 PM  

Yes, I still had all the joy of a six-year-old when looking for the flock of SHEEP. And I found them, yay.

I circled the clue for 27D as excellent. TRAMPOLINE = "Spring recreation?" is great in my book, and it also brings to mind those spring LAMBs gamboling about.

Yes, I had some silliness going on here but it all got corrected. I didn't really think OlE was a Spanish attention-getter but hadn't read the DEWEY decimal clue yet. And I was expecting le beau monde, not the HAUT.

Nathan Haseqawa, like @Carola, I think your puzzle was a WHIMsical treat, and congratulations on your NYTimes debut.

Mr. Benson 1:14 PM  

I’ve never played the Super Mario games, but I learned about TOAD from Stormy Daniels’s description of a certain part of Donald Trump’s anatomy. So that answer makes me smile when I see it.

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

People who want to taste the broth. Ramen is served with a special soup spoon for a reason

foxaroni 2:35 PM  

Sam Cooke: Darling, EWE send me. Then there's the sheep herder song, I'll never find another EWE.

I intensely dislike word-search puzzles. Otherwise, enjoyed this one quite a bit.

@Southside Johnny-- laughed out loud at your driving around looking for sheep to count. Thanks!

Zwhatever 3:13 PM  

@Barbara S 12:49 - I enjoyed the opening section just fine. I know when I first get up in the morning I look just like that, crop top and all.

@Anon1:13 - There’s also the irony of Stipe’s lyrics actually being discernible and him still being misunderstood.

@ESMERELDA - ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ

@Anon 12:29 - Hmm - So he cashes that royalty check. Who owns the song now? This has nothing to do with my original point, but is an especially weak retort to the point you seem to imagine I made.

A 3:20 PM  

@bocamp, enjoyed the Mozart, and the Schlafe, Mein Prinzchen is wonderful. Looked up the boy soprano to see where he is now - he became a music teacher and choral conductor. Sorry to see he died just a couple of weeks ago.

@Barbara S, thanks for another fascinating quote. I love the phrase “intrinsically unsusceptible of immediate verification.” Every day is another treat! Really enjoyed the Eudora Welty yesterday. I live a couple of miles from her home/museum. She was a wonderful photographer as well as writer.

@Frantic, love the fweet feety ftory!

@Unknown at 12:08, that was baaad.

Mutton bustin’ with kids commentary

Unknown 3:21 PM  

Ugh. I agree. Random placements of three letter words is not interesting, nor was it enjoyable to go back afterward. This wasn't wordplay, but child's play.

JennyO 3:24 PM  

Yes, thanks to Rex. I started counting sheep last night & then thought, I can just leave it to Rex, thank goodness!

Anonymous 3:37 PM  

Please. I know exactly what you meant and what the phrase means. I was pointing how silly and inane it is. The idea that listeners to a song or solvers with a crossword puzzle have anything like ownership in the work is absurd, so silly that it really doesn't even merit much of a response. It's meaningless. No amount of fandom or interest, or obsession confers ownership. Or anything even resembling ownership. That people embrace something and hold it dear just isn't a reason to use such an inane expression. It subverts reason without any of the whimsy or beauty of poetic license. its just idiotic. I know the phrase is a popular. But it's moronic.

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

My last thought Z. You solve in ink with a pen. You do not solve in pen. Just one more unbelievably bad use of language.

bocamp 4:19 PM  

@A (3:20 PM) ty ๐Ÿ˜Š

"That all of good the past hath had
Remains to make our own time glad" ๐Ÿ™

~ John Greenleaf Whittier

pg -6

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

chefwen 4:19 PM  

@Knitwit 10:30 Don’t feel too stupid, you weren’t alone. ๐Ÿ˜–

Whatsername 4:23 PM  

@Miss Manners (11:04) What kind of heathen am I? Why a well mannered one, of course. Which is to say I try not to dribble when I slurp my Ramen even if it’s directly from the bowl - which according to etiquette books, is technically permitted as long as you do it with both pinky fingers raised. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Barbara S. 6:07 PM  

Egad, @Z (3:13 PM), the mind reels. I hope your early morning calisthenics are as vigorous as hers!

@A (3:20 PM)
I love all Toynbee's five-dollar words -- probably not surprising as I throw a lot of fivers into my own writing. On the other topic -- ooh, I'm just gazing at photos of Eudora Welty's home. It looks lovely. Lucky you, being so close.


@anonymous 3:53 Any thoughts on the puzzle? I didn't think so. You really have no idea about how people use language when speaking to each other. You need to get out of the house.

JF 8:06 PM  

A clue about a Mensa on the day that I finished the podcast My Year in Mensa... Coincidence? Yes.

Bruce Fieggen 8:16 PM  

@bocamp 7:44. Reading your lyrics to the German lullaby brought this video to mind.
Even though I studied German in college, it’s hard to imagine singing my children to sleep with it.

Zwhatever 8:22 PM  

@Barbara S. - ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿฝ

@ESMERELDA - I’m surprised they haven’t been back to accuse you of being a sock puppet. That’s always their next move.

bocamp 8:38 PM  

@Bruce Fieggen (8:16 PM) ๐Ÿ˜‚

pg -5

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Anonymous 9:45 PM  

Wrong again z
Also. I note you don’t refute my argument. Telling.

albatross shell 10:10 PM  

ONAWHIM MAEWEST TRAMPOLINE FLAMBOYANT BONEWEARY. that's entertaining enough for me and an interesting story no matter the order.
@Unknown 1208pm
Thanks for answereing the why 12 question. Twelve is the only number to get you a dozin'.

No it was not necessary to do the word search. I only did enough to see the 3 variations of sheep.

I vote against the Rexit movement. Those for it can pull up posts and vote with their feet.

I never do the word search puzzles. Agree with you there. I liked the sounds like its middle letter clue yesterday. I assume you did not like it cause it was not only a words are made of letters but also a words are made of sounds clue. Of course phrases, sentences, paragraphs, poems, and books are made of words which are made of sounds and letters. Tastes are tastes, joys are joys. I know.

Yes I have noticed such plurals. Often they show up in a theme which are often phrases. In these cases I sometimes give them pass if the common theme phrase demands the plural.
If you look at yesterday's puzzle at 32D and the PoC at its first and last letters, I think that situation is a interesting triple PoC of sorts. Maybe it needs its own name. Or an award. The Anoa? No, you would probably prefer the albie. TriPoC?
31A 32D 51A.

Anoa Bob 11:07 PM  

albatross @10:10 PM, I saw the two-for-one POC yesterday at 32D and 51A at the ends of SOFA and ERA, but totally missed the additional tie-in POC at 31A YEAS. Wow! That's an impressive catch on your part there, kind of like a birder sighting an Ivory Billed Woodpecker. I'm calling that an upside-down POC! I think it's customary to name a newly sighted phenomenon in honor of the first person to observe it and bring it to our attention, so I'm calling the triple POC an Albie! Thank you for that. My day is now complete.

Edac2day 11:27 PM  

I think Monday and Wednesday got switched.

Schuly 10:26 PM  


Barbara A 11:30 PM  

40A clue: Director Kazan answer: Elia. Elia was also the pen name of Charles Lamb, late 18th-early 19th-century essayist. His Essays of Elia was a best-seller in its day

thefogman 10:04 AM  

RAM bam thank EWE LAMB.

spacecraft 10:48 AM  

Two parts: the solve, much like a themeless and fairly easy; and then the hunt for the twelve. The EWEs stood out, but only six. Hmm, and then the RAM cluster in the (honorable mention DOD MAE) WEST. And finally, two cute LAMBS to finish it off. Plus, as just mentioned, ELIA of Lamb fame for a lagniappe.

Yeah, the fill gets a little bent at times, but no wonder. I can live with CSPAN, even if I never watch it, but you can take PARTB and put it with SIDEB and PLANB and throw the whole package into the dumpster. I SAYSNO.

Yes and OYE, however, to DOD Jessica ALBA. I expect @Burma to do something with 63-across. Birdie.

Burma Shave 10:58 AM  


LET the EWE be LEARy,
that RAMPART from long AGO


BS2 11:01 AM  

@spacecraft - thought about it.

rondo 11:12 AM  

@D,LIW - your cat made the puz dead center!

I was also counting aMEN raMEN MENsa orMAN flamBOYant onawHIM.

Glad folks noticed ELIA.

There's a CARPOD in the corners, whatever that may be.

Ms. ALBA taken, so MAEWEST.

Still thinking there's a Tues/Wed flip-flop.

leftcoaster 2:47 PM  

Actually liked doing the themeless part better than looking for the twelve SHEEP, the latter being a bit tedious. Still, liked the puzzle overall, and even enjoyed the exercise.

[Just for the record: 6 EWEs, 4 RAMs, and 2 LAMBs.}

Diana, LIW 5:19 PM  

yes, yes - LAMBO is right in the center of things, as he always is during puzzle solving. So apt. And ept.

Agree this is Tuesdayish, but I thot Tues was EZish.

Diana, Mother of Lambo

EightAndEight 5:21 PM  

Anonymous at 3:53: I suppose you also say that children "colored these pictures in wax"?

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