First word of the song Simple Gifts / THU 7-1-21 / Point value commonly assigned to a queen in chess / Instrument that largely replaced the ophicleide

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Constructor: Joe Deeney

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Big — phrases where the last two words are "big ___," but instead of the word "big" appearing in the grid, the final word simply appears in "big" squares (in the newspaper version of the grid), and I guess they are expecting that you will then write that final word "big"ger than the other words in the grid, thus giving you a literal representation of the word's "big"-ness. Here's what the puzzle looks like *after* you finish it at the NYTXW website:

Theme answers:
  • ME AND MY MOUTH (20A: "I can't believe I said that")
  • WHAT'S THE IDEA (30A: "Hold it, buster!")
  • YOU OWE ME TIME (39A: "This favor doesn't come cheap!")
  • THAT'S A VERY IF (51A: "Really can't count on it, I'm afraid")
Word of the Day: ST. REGIS (5D: Luxury hotel chain) —
St. Regis Hotels & Resorts is a luxury hotel chain that is part of Marriott International. // In 1904, John Jacob Astor IV built the St. Regis New York as a sister property to his part-owned Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Exhibiting luxury and technological advance, each room had its own telephone. Ownership changes, a new wing, and restorations occurred over the following decades. In 1966, Sheraton Hotels purchased the property. After an extensive restoration in 1991, the hotel became the flagship for the Sheraton premier hotels rebranded as the ITT Sheraton Luxury Collection. In 1998, Starwood acquired the Sheraton brand, and created a new St. Regis brand. In September 2016, Marriott gained the St. Regis chain as part of its acquisition of Starwood. The brand name cannot be used in the lower mainland of British Columbia, because the name is legally owned by the independent St. Regis Hotel, Vancouver, built in 1913.
• • •

Opened my puzz file and got one of those notes saying "such-and-such squares look different in the newspaper version, you should solve this in a different format." Sigh. So I opened the newspaper version (or, rather, went to print out the "newspaper version" so I could see what it looked like (and what I saw were these somewhat bigger but *also* (?) slightly askew squares at the ends of the longest Acrosses. Here's the newspaper version:

Those last squares looked like playing cards to me, so I was dreading, I don't know, a poker theme or some such nonsense. Anyway, with the shape of those squares in mind, I just went back and solved my puzzle in my regular software like I always do. And I got the first themer, and then got the second themer and was like "that's it?" Very bored right about here:

Maybe the fact that all the clues are spoken phrases is supposed to give this thing a unified feel, but mostly I didn't feel anything. The squares in the newspaper don't suggest "big"ness so much as jauntiness and wackiness, and the squares in the website version (and app, I assume) aren't especially "big" before you finish the puzzle (at which point the digital crossword pixies magically make them "big"). So the "big"ness just doesn't come across. Newspaper solvers aren't necessarily going to write the letters any "big"ger than they normally do. And my goodness how many wasted 15s is this!? Four, that's how many! That's all I can think of—the phrases themselves are fine, and would look really nice as grid-spanners, but instead their languishing in this half-theme, where three black squares replace the three-letter word "big." The puzzle just doesn't work on a visual level, in any of its versions ... which is the only level that matters. There are some nice longer phrases in the puzzle ("HOW ON EARTH...!," "I'LL ALLOW IT"), and the theme phrases themselves are just fine, but thematically, this fizzles. Also, a much smaller thing issue: the "very" in "THAT'S A VERY (BIG) IF" feels semi-gratuitous. The phrase is "that's a big if." Sure, put an adverb in there if you want, people sometimes do, but the base phrase doesn't have one, so that answer felt artificially stretched for symmetry's sake.

Only a few trouble spots today. I don't really know the ST. REGIS hotel chain, although it must have rung some faint bell because after ST. R- was in place, my brain was able to parse the "ST" as "ST." (i.e. an abbr.) and not the first two letters of a word. And REGIS was the first thing to come to mind. Still, I think I just know the saint, not the hotel. Guess I'm not sufficiently into "luxury." I wrote in APP before GPS (6A: Feature of a smartwatch, e.g.), and then "confirmed" my wrong answer by getting PENDS (7D: Is unresolved). Hate when that happens. That "Simple Gifts" clue on 'TIS meant absolutely nothing to me (58D: First word of the song "Simple Gifts"), until I looked it up just now and read the first lyrics and realized "Oh, the 'Appalachian Spring' song!" 
'Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

Ironic that BEAMER (45D: Visibly happy person) appears in the same grid as "I'LL ALLOW IT" because I will not allow it. And I don't think "NO NEED" is particularly "polite" (29A: Polite refusal). It's brusque, potentially, and at best it's neutral. I mean, sure, it's "polite" enough, more "polite" than "don't bother" or "*$&% off!" but there's nothing intrinsically "polite" about "NO NEED." What else? ETAILER is bad and ETAILER crossing ETHANE is very bad and ETAILER crossing ETHANE *and* E-COLI is cursed. No BEAMER, I. I need my coffee now. Have a nice day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. [Something that turns light green?] is a very nice, and very deceptive, clue for SOLAR POWER

P.P.S. as for 6D: 50s president (GRANT) ... think money!

P.P.P.S. a potentially great new subscription crossword debuts today. It's called Crucinova, it's run by Lisa Bunker, and there are some familiar names on the first month's constructor slate, including Michelle Kenney & Jeff Chen, Quiara Vasquez, Will Nediger, and Amanda Chung & Karl Ni. Here's the promo blurb from Lisa:
Crucinova is a brand new weekly subscription puzzle service, debuting
today. It was created by, and all grids will be edited by, longtime
constructor Lisa Bunker. The mission of the site is to champion
innovation in puzzle construction. She invites constructors to
challenge the usual conventions of size, shape, symmetry, block
placement, the use of bars and circles and shades squares and so on,
and join her in imagining what else crosswords could also be. The
first two puzzles, which are shaped like a cake and sword, go live
today (THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2021) at 4p ET
Lisa is offering a 30-day free trial period on her annual subscription.
I'm excited to see where this goes

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Kyzyl 6:09 AM  

Can someone explain how GRANT is a “50s president” to me?

amyyanni 6:37 AM  

Rabbit, Rabbit; Happy July. Best wishes to all trying out a Dry July. Grokked the theme half way along, and that usually predisposes me to like a puzzle. Plus I was listening to a charming NPR story about the bell ringers in the Old North Church in Boston while solving, so in a lovely mood.

Lewis 6:40 AM  

Well there you go, the complete Thursday package.
• A trick, and this one with the bonus of a visual pun.
• A theme that helps the solve – once you get one answer, others fill in.
• Lovely theme answers. Down-to-earth and colorful.
• Resistance. It came today from working to figure out the theme, and from the end-of-the-week cluing. Look at the words in the grid – they’re practically all if not completely all in the language. Thus, the resistance comes from the cluing. For me there was plenty of sweet resistance until I grokked the theme. Then I knew too much, and the resistance fell.
• Some of those clues wickedly terrific, my favorite being [A little snowy, perhaps?] for OWLET. World class.
• Non-theme beauty. HOW ON EARTH, I’LL ALLOW IT, ABOUND, TUBA, NO NEED, MERYL (Sorry-not-sorry, but she’s so good any part of her name will shine, in my book).
• A well-made, clean grid.

One more thing, specific to this puzzle: A minitheme of “light”, with SOLAR PANEL, MOTHS, and BEAMER. At first when I saw the latter, I went “HUNH?” But then I pictured a beaming face and it made me smile. This whole puzzle made me smile, Joe. Bravo, sir, and many many thanks!

Michael A Macdonald 6:40 AM  

$50 bill

Stimpson 6:44 AM  

Ugh. I dislike the "it's too luxury for me" attitude. Where do we draw the line on what is too 'luxury?' How many things are banned because 'those' people know about it, but I don't.

The St Regis is a famous NYC hotel founded by John Jacob Astor. It's part of NYC history and perfectly eligible as a NYTX answer.

David Fabish 6:44 AM  

@kyzyl,he explained it in the PS. Grant is on the $50 bill.

I wasn't as bothered by the puzzle as Rex (I rarely am...), but it was kind of blah. I got through it so fast, though, that there really wasn't much pain involved.

Oh, and in the app, the squares WERE slightly bigger, with shading under them. It felt more like they were floating above the grid, and I wondered at first if there might be some kind of over/under thing going on.

OffTheGrid 6:49 AM  

I think I liked this even less than @Rex did. We disagree on the SOLAR PANEL (Rex mistakenly wrote "POWER") clue. I don't think it's "very nice". I think it's non-sensical. A SOLAR PANEL does not turn light green. It turns (sun)light into electricity. I know. They call that "green" in an eco-friendly sense like any other non fossil fuel energy production. But that doesn't save this bad cluing. Way too cute!

Benjamin Sakcs 6:52 AM  

He’s on the $50 bill

Frantic Sloth 6:55 AM  

Not sure how I feel about this one.
This theme...I liked the clues and theme answers, but the gimmick was lacking. Ooh, look! Big letters! And they stick out, all three-dimensionally-like and all. Any rebuses need not apply.

But, as I said, the colloquialisms were sparkly, fun, and dead-on. Fill was pretty good all around, too.

It was the best and worst of times. My Dickensian conundrum runneth over.(Hi, @GILL!)

Clever clues for OWLET, GRANT (no "?" either!πŸ‘), and MOTHS were among my faves.

PERK, GOB, and RINKS sounds like another one of @JD's law firms. One of the odder ones, I'll admit.

Hello, NEWT! Will "eft" be joining us as well? He's been a stranger lately.


Geezer 7:00 AM  

I can't even imagine how bad the rejects must have been for this to be the choice.

PSmith857 7:06 AM  


Ann Howell 7:12 AM  

Cute theme, enjoyable solve (though not as enjoyable as yesterday's, which was epic!). Guessed "TORA" (misspelled, I know!) for 48A and that held up the solving music at the end...

Unknown 7:14 AM  

He’s on the $50 bill.

Son Volt 7:16 AM  

Nice puzzle - not as tricky as I want for a Thursday but the fill is so clean and smooth that i liked it. All the longs are solid - HOW ON EARTH, STAY ON TASK, ILL ALLOW IT are really good. OWLET has a cute clue as does BEAMER.

THATS A VERY BIG IF is awkward. VLOG, HORA and GITS are clunky.

Enjoyable solve for me this morning.

Zygotic 7:18 AM  

A puzzle that only really works when the application changes your answers for you is not my cuppa. Solving the “newspaper version” means having those weird squares that evoke a Teen’s bedroom floor more than BIGness. What the constructor is going for is a nice idea, but this way of executing it just doesn’t work for me. Nor would the NYTX App way work for me, either, because the solver doesn’t “solve the final piece, the app does.

I never reparsed STREGIS. I got it so at worst a technical DNF, but I sort of like STREGIS as a luxury hotel chain. Makes as much sense as Omni, which are Omnipresent in Crossworld but nowhere to be found in the real world. Maybe we should just name the upstairs rooms for rent at Z’s Placebo and Tentacle The STREGIS.

Liked most of the puzzle, lots of good stuff here, but the unnecessarily long clue for “Italian spelling of Rome” produced some side-eye here. Lazio is Italian for Latium, by the way. I’m also right with Rex about esey ETAILER propping up ETHANE and E COLI, not to mention (since Rex didn’t) HORA. Three crosswordese crossing another crosswordese is the kind of ese orgy we ban at The STREGIS.

Georgia 7:21 AM  

He's on the $50 bill. Rex's "think money."

kitshef 7:30 AM  

Fun clue for OWLET, and I wish there were a lot more like that. But overall, the clues were much too straightforward. SOLAR PANEL was good, too.

WON, WONt, hoWONearth. That’s a WON ton.

NO NEED is polite??

kitshef 7:30 AM  

@amyyanni – interesting; we had to say ‘rabbit rabbit rabbit’.

puzzlehoarder 7:37 AM  

My printer took an extra long time to spit this one out. When I saw the lopsided squares I thought it was just another sign of the printer being messed up. As soon as MOUTH and IDEA went in, however, the theme became clear. This happened early in the solve due to the way the NE corner got filled. This was in spite of 9A being flat out wrong so no " perniciousness done. Another little hitch was thinking 29A had to be NOMAAM which of course conflicted with the equally obvious MINE. I also had a moment of hesitation with is it BENT or BIAS for 36D. In the SE corner I misread the 64 A clue as being "Curing locales". Naturally I wasted time trying to make RACKS work.
The clue for OWLET was the highlight of the puzzle it helped to make that NW corner the one truly challenging section. The 2D clue reminded me of one from last week regarding toes.
Other than that NW corner and the above hitches the solve felt like a gimmicky Wednesday so WUP (get it?)

Son Volt 7:40 AM  

@OffTheGrid 6:49a - my take on green was the $$ all these fly by nights are clearing selling PANELS to the uninformed.

bocamp 7:51 AM  

Thx Joe, for the BIG themed puz; very nicely done! :)

Easy-med solve.

Moved from the NW to the NE and more or less picked up on the theme at MOUTH.

Bit a side-eye for GRANT, as I knew his presidency wasn't in the 50's, but didn't clue in to the 50 dollar bill until post solve analysis.

Good to see the NINE point queen in the puz.

Very much on Joe's wavelength for this one. Quite a changeup from the last few days of toughies.

Liked it a lot. :)

Aloha 'Oe ~ The Rose Ensemble

yd 0

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

Mark 7:56 AM  

One more problem: On paper, or at least in my newspaper, the two "big" squares in the last column had their right-hand sides cut off in printing. That made it unclear whether those (non-)squares were part of the answers, and consequently made it unclear whether I needed to look for something weird in the other themers. If you're going to play with the layout, you at least need to deliver what you intend. The answers were easy, so it didn't prevent solving, but that also made it unclear why we were bothering.

Unknown 8:00 AM  

For all the nit-picking, there were some very lovely clues for GRANT, SOLARPANEL, and OWLET.
For me, it was the bottom center grid where I didn't know my Swahili, so I was looking for a dialect of English (thinking along the lines of Gullah?); never saw the film Toy Story; and knew OREAL couldn't be the answer for the P&G brand. Had to Google P&G brands to see ORALB, at which point everything fell into place. My technical DNF didn't diminish the pleasure of the puz.

ETHANE was a gimme, so I'm guessing anyone who took high school chemistry (assuming they passed) should have gotten that. And ECOLI is not an uncommon answer, so I thought that part of the puz was eminently fair.

GILL I. 8:16 AM  

Well, my squares looked like a squiggly piggly who might've had too much to drink Thursday morning.
Where is this going, you might ask? My uncle was a monkey because I had to forego my fandango tango. What does this mean? Everything around the squiggly made sense but SOMETHING is missing. What is it? Why am I so dizzy? OH MY GOD....IT"S BIG. Couldn't you have had a little reveal like THE BIG EASY? No?
Did I like this, you ask? Well, you don't have to ask any longer because I actually did. My favorite was ME AND MY {BIG} MOUTH. I have one. I'm proud of it. I use it every day. I make no excuses. My GOB runneth over (Hi @Frantic).....
Nothing really gave me pause. I kept sailing along; I left my Bra AT HOME, ate some FOCI, used my ORAL B and burst with ETHANE.
I need a vacation.

mmorgan 8:23 AM  

I didn’t read the note (not on purpose). I kept looking and looking for a rebus, but realized the word BIG was just missing. But I had LOCI for FOCI (seemed reasonable) so I ended with that nonsensical error of a VERY BIG IL.

Perry 8:31 AM  

That was stupid. Thursday is generally the least enjoyable xword day of the week. I like puzzles not games. This was a game, and a pointless game at that.

rjkennedy98 8:34 AM  

I normally don't complain about gimmicks, but this looked and felt awkward on the NY Times App. I agree with Rex that they didn't look BIG so much as they looked like cards sitting on top of the grid. Also, the squares were big for the down crosses to no effect and interfered with adjacent squares.

Otherwise Easy Thursday. The fill itself was quite good with awesome long answers, especially I'LL ALLOW IT, HOW ON EARTH, ME AND MY BIG MOUTH. This millennial especially appreciated the lack of names. It makes me feel like I'm actually decent at these puzzles!

Lastly, knew St. Regis from having been a Marriott status member in my business traveler days. Still could never quite get enough points to afford a stay at the St. Regis in Deer Valley Utah which has its own elevated tram car connecting it to the ski resort. It's always been a dream of mine to stay there.

Conrad 8:38 AM  

@PSmith857: 1850's was my initial thought as well. I knew that nothing about Truman or Eisenhower would fit, so I focused on the "president" part of the clue and got GRANT with help from crosses and moved on. It didn't dawn on me that Grant was president in the (18)60s and 70s until I came here and read @Rex's PPS.

Sometimes it helps not to overthink things.

TheMadDruid 8:48 AM  

Not an 1850s President.

Barbara S. 8:49 AM  

Hujambo, everyone! Thanks to @A (last night) for missing me. I was beset by medical stuff for the last two days, including, but not limited to, the worst reaction to a second COVID shot of anyone I know – dammit. The thing that saved me was remembering that @Roo Monster said to hydrate like mad after getting the shot and I did, which seemed to pull me out of it. So I’ve decided I’m going to look to @Roo Monster for the solutions to all my life’s problems from here on – my GuRoo.

Right – the puzzle. Well, I liked it, clunky big squares and all. I was intrigued from the outset by what those weird-looking squares were going to turn into, and that sense of engagement didn’t flag.

Mini baseball theme: STATS, RBIS, OUTS.

Mini couch-potato theme: AT HOME, EATS IN

Mini global warming theme: SOS, SOLAR PANEL, REEF (as clued)

Mini Weird Sisters theme:
“Eye of NEWT, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and OWLET's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.”

Things I loved:
1) Learning “Ophicleide,” the TUBA preceder.
2) 45D Visibly happy person = BEAMER. I love everything about this clue and answer combo and I now aspire to become a BEAMER. What a happy way to live.

Barbara S. 8:53 AM  

Today’s passage is by GEORGE SAND (Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, baronne Dudevant), born July 1, 1804.

“Nothing is so easy as to deceive one’s self when one does not lack wit and is familiar with all the niceties of language. Language is a prostitute queen who descends and rises to all roles. Disguises herself, arrays herself in fine apparel, hides her head and effaces herself; an advocate who has an answer for everything, who has always foreseen everything, and who assumes a thousand forms in order to be right. The most honorable of men is he who thinks best and acts best, but the most powerful is he who is best able to talk and write.”
(From Indiana)

j. 9:12 AM  

Half a Benjamin

Nancy 9:14 AM  

Loved it! Or at least I loved it once I got over the distorted funhouse horror aspect of it. Scrolling down through Rex's version, I liked that a lot better. Very BIG squares. Nothing scary or disturbing about them. Here in the newspaper, the squares are wavy and distorted -- like something is very, very wrong with your vision.* I suppose it's a way to disguise what the theme is: you look at the squares and you don't think BIG, you think twisted or curvy or just plain drunk as a skunk.

Anyway, once I got to ME AND MY MOUTH and found out that it didn't bite at all, I filled in the rest of the puzzle with greater alacrity. And I absolutely loved the colorfulness and panache of all the theme phrases. This is an extremely lively puzzle and there's no VERY [BIG] IF about it.

Only stumble: NO MA'AM before NO NEED. Lovely clue/answer for SOLAR PANEL. Not the hardest Thursday I've ever done, but very entertaining.

*Maybe ten years ago I developed a condition in which, when I close my left eye and look only through my right eye, all the straight edges in my line of vision are curved. It can't be corrected by eyeglasses, it would require some ghastly surgery where afterwards you have to lie on your stomach non-stop for days or weeks or something, and the condition makes reading even harder than it already was. Fortunately, the condition is in my already very weak non-dominant eye-- which I've barely used since age 6 when "lazy eye" was diagnosed in my right eye. I worry that the condition might also develop in my good eye. Anyway, the condition results in squares that look quite a bit like what's in the newspaper today and it was disquieting to be reminded of it.

MofromLI 9:17 AM  

He is on the fifty dollar bill

thfenn 9:21 AM  

Fitting in theEASY would've been great (@Gill I). As would have something related to big leagues ("where Franco Wandered recently", for baseball fans amongst us (theLEAGUES), or, LOL, "how a TV host said he'd win an election" (LY). IMNO expert, but thought the cluing was great and the fill was fun. Plus I love birding, fly fishing, and Sophie's Choice, so there was lots to like, and all the Brown Tail Moths around this old house I'm in that badly needs PAINT rendered it timely.

pabloinnh 9:23 AM  

Hand up for printer problems, as this was one of the days when the numbers and first parts of the clues on the left most column went missing. Looked fine on the screen, on the paper not so much.

Anyway, the funky squares were apparent and as soon as I saw what was going on, fun was had. I see this as the most basic kind of rebus, where you take the letters M-E-A-L, for instance, and put them in the shape of a square to represent a square meal. My granddaughter has been saying WHATSTHEBIGIDEA since she was two, so a smile there.

A friend takes terrific bird photographs, with a concentration on owls, so the "snowy" clue was a gimme. And I've sung "Simple Gifts" many, many, times, so another gimme there.

@Z-There are Omni hotels to be found in the real world. The Omni Mr. Washington in Bretton Woods (NH) is probably one of our state's most iconic. To me it's always looked a little like a beached luxury liner, and the setting is spectacular. Side note--they put up our doo-wop quartet there during a 50's and 60's revival weekend, probably our best gig ever.

So a breezy easy Thursdecito here, JD. Just Dandy. Thanks for the fun.

D-Squared Media NYC 9:25 AM  

Me too! Annoying

Nancy 9:31 AM  

@Barbara S -- Glad you're OK now, but sorry you had such a bad reaction to the vaccine. And whatever other health problems you were going through in the last two days. Welcome back to the blog.

@GILL -- Great minds think alike. We both looked at those distorted squares and immediately thought: "Drunk!"

Cassieopia 9:36 AM  

The gimmick fell flat for me, but there was some first class - dare I say STREGIS-level - cluing in this one. Enjoyed it a lot.

Whatsername 9:40 AM  

Oh my what fun! A terrific Thursday most deserving of POW recognition. @Lewis at 6:40 summed it up expertly (as usual). A different/visual theme which aided the solve, terrific clues like the ones for GRANT, OWLET, SOLAR PANEL, and a grid so well constructed that I was able to work my way down, across and through to get every last answer without having to cheat once. Last but certainly not least, just the right amount of PPP.

I completely disagree with Rex today; this did not fizzle or even flicker. It sparkled, glittered and shot off the page like a Roman candle. Do they still make those? When I was a kid it was all we could ever afford besides firecrackers. Thank you so much Mr. Deeney! Your puzzle gave me a glowing start to my day.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Omni is very much a real-world hotel chain, and unusually, nearly all of them are corporately owned. The chain dates back to the 1950s, and since has had various names and several owners. It got its start in New England, but the HQ are now in Dallas.

The Parker House in Boston (namesake of the Parker House roll, creator of the Boston cream pie, and the oldest continually operating hotel in the US) has been in the Omni family for decades.

JD 9:48 AM  

Felt an emotional detachment while solving. The brain was there but someone forgot to pick up the party favors.

The unifying theme here is bad news served cold. No one in this puzzle is willing to just say: Sorry I said that. What were you thinking? I'll do this for you but I'll extract my pound of flesh. We might be able to pull this off but don't count on it.

The rest of the puzzle were odds and Sod(s) from someone's mental attic that I can appreciate though. An Owlet, a Tuba, Stats, a Solar Panel, a Reef, a Doll, a Gob of something, Rinks, a Perk, the Hora.

@Frantic, Here's a thought. Did Crayola ever consider Spume Green. @Barbara, Glad you feeling better. @Whatsername, We're usually on the same page, but not today!

RickA 9:52 AM  


Anonymous 9:53 AM  

I cry foul on this puzzle. My NYT paper has squares MISSING at the ends of 20A and 39A. What's up with that?

RooMonster 10:00 AM  

Hey All !
When I opened the puz on the NYT app, the squares were bigger to begin with. They weren't all squirrely/tilted as in Rex's picture, but they were "raised" above the grid. After completion, the app did put "big" letters in the raised boxes, ala Bold letters.

So I thought it was a hoot. Different. Gonna channel @M&A and say "different is good". Rex's silly rant about the "BIGs" being changed to blockers is wacky. Imagine what he would say if "BIG" was in all the themers, he would spend three paragraphs about "Why are there BIGs in every themer? Totally inelegant." C'mon you know he would.

Surprised the NYTXWApp actually got the grid correct!

SE was tough. ILL ALLOW IT was tough to parse. Crossed by WON with that W being a potential Natick. And VLOG.

Fill ended up pretty good. Great clue for OWLET. GITS fun to see, too. Reminds me of Monty Python, "you stupid GIT!" Har.

Nice one, Joe!

Two F's (One BIG!)

Carola 10:03 AM  

Cute theme, nicely resistant cluing. I started out tentatively probing the grid, finding an OWLET here and a TUBA there, making my way to AMES and ROMA, but wandering in the wilderness as far as having any idea about the theme was concerned. It literally took TIME in order for me to get it - and understand that what had appeared to be a grid formatting error was actually a big deal. Fun to fill in the rest of the snappy phrases.

Do-overs: plAyS before STATS, evil before HARM. No idea: Why GRANT was right. Hardest for me to see: ILLALLO?IT.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

I'm looking at a picture of me riding a K75S down the Mt. Washington road. I'm on way to the very omni at Bretton Woods. It's a lovely hotel. But about that picture... You cant tell, but I was scared to death. No, not because there are no guard rails, or the switch backs or even the usual problems motorcyclists face daily. No, I was terrified because the picture was taken by a guy who literally leapt out from behind rock, stood in the middle of the road and took the shot. Why you may ak, would a random man leap from hidden position near the top of Mt. Washington to take a picture of another man he doesn't know. The answer is that, unbeknownst to me, this wa the "ride to the sky" day at Mt. Washington. Its day where bikers gather and ride up to the top. A photographer is hired and he takes pics of all the bikers as they ride up and another as they descend. But i didnt know any of that when he took that ( lovely as it turns out) pic.
And the reason I didn't know is that I was on the mountain well before any of the bikers or the photographer. I was there at first light with some other birders looking for a Bicknell's thrush. They're plenty rare and only nest above a certain altitude in terrain like Mt. Washington. We did in fact get the bird ( a lifer of course) and my partner for the trip even held a blackpoll which some banders had captured. I know this went on too long, but that omni is part of a very happy memory of mine.

PS. The photographer of course has a website where riders could view the picture he had taken an buy it. ( I got this info when i got to the bottom of the road). Anyway of the many hundreds of biker pictures only two bikers have only one picture. That's me and my dad. He didn't get a picture of us going up because we were so early. Anyway i bought a picture for dad for gift and he did the same for me. His framers did a better job than mine....

Pete 10:15 AM  

I'm descended from Bunny Bunny folk. The Welsh say White Rabbits. I've searched for a explanation if this nonsense to no avail. so I continue to say Bunny Bunny even though it never seems to work

Joseph Michael 10:15 AM  

Maybe I’ve been watching the news too much, but the distorted boxes and missing lines made it look as if the puzzle was collapsing on one side like the Surfside condos building in Florida. This made for a somewhat disturbing solve as I tried to STAY ON TASK. Good puzzle, Joe Deeney, but YOU OWE ME BIG TIME.

Great clue for OWLET.

Dave 10:18 AM  

Can someone explain 2D? Why does " <-- " mean two? (The answer filled in.)

GILL I. 10:21 AM  

@Nancy....A lazy eye is called amblyopia. It tends to run in the family. The "give-away" is the eyes crossing when you're a child. My nephew and my youngest sister both had it but fortunately it was caught early and corrected with eye patches and surgery. My eyes never crossed so I wasn't diagnosed until my adult years. I had farsighted vision in one eye and nearsighted in the other. It wasn't until I had cataract surgery a few years ago that my eye doctor told me she could put a lens in one eye and correct my nearsightedness. It worked. They do so much now with laser and corrective eye surgery. You might want to see your eye doctor once again. the only draw back I have is that sunlight bothers me and I always have to wear dark glasses. That helps me when I frown at idiots and they don't even know it.

jberg 10:38 AM  

A couple of folks who solve in the printed paper have mentioned that part of the right edge of the grid was missing today. That wasn't the case for me; but since I have seen it in the past, I assumed at first that the weird looking squares were some other kind of printing problem. (If you think about what's involved in printing and assembling all those newspapers, it's a wonder the result is even readable.) Then I notice that there were four of them, each at the end of an answer, and got enough crosses to see what was up with the MOUTH. I might have got it sooner, but I was fooled by the 'Quarry' misdirect and filled in prey instead of MINE.

@Z,@Pablo, @anon -- Both the Mount Washington Hotel and the Parker House were famous under those names long before Omni acquired them and stuck its name in front. I think most people outside the media just continue to use the old names.

The GRANT thing had me going, as well. Fortunately, I didn't think of putting in Harry when Truman wouldn't fit, so I decided it might be president of some other country, or maybe a big corporation, and waited for the crosses; even then it took some precious nanos to see the money angle.

Small, nerdy nit -- REEFs aren't being bleached by warming, but by the increased acidification of seawater as more carbon dioxide is dissolved into it.

Oh yeah, BEAMER. I'd take it as slang for a luxury car, but as clued it's not a real word.

I may not be here tomorrow, due to a medical procedure, but will be back Saturday.

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

@Dave: Interesting. In the web version, the 2D clue is "Snake eyes". In the newspaper version is a left-pointing arrow, pointing at the number 2.

SouthsideJohnny 10:39 AM  

I thought the foreign contingent was pretty impressive today - cluing an English word (WON) as its foreign kinsman is probably a valid way of amping up the difficulty level for a Thursday. Not a fan of the clue for ROMA - but I would contend that the capital of something in Italy (on a Thursday) is still superior to the "largest county in Nevada" nonsense we were subjected to not too long ago. And by far the most stellar achievement today is we actually have a clue in Swahili ! That is so bad, that it's actually good (for a laugh at least).

Ok, I'm off to confer with Uncle Google to see if I can find out what an ophicleide is/was.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

It's pointing at the clue number. Not the only way that trick is done.

Jim in Canada 10:48 AM  

As soon as I saw the grid, I just *knew* that half of today's entry was going to be Rex bitching about how he had to solve it on paper, because his app didn't handle the unusual squares properly.

Meanwhile, people using Puzzazz or the NYT site or pretty much any app that Rex doesn't use had no issues whatsoever.

Maybe, Rex, instead of complaining Every. Single. Time. there's an unusual grid, maybe just start using a better app?

Le sigh.

In other news, I was expecting a few Canada-centric clues today, what with it being Canada Day and all.

Oh, well. I liked the puzzle just fine.

Tim Carey 10:50 AM  

Apparently the arrow is pointing at the clue number "2". I had TAB, which pretty much destroyed my solve.

I found the cueing impossible

RooMonster 10:57 AM  

@Barbra S
Glad my suggestion worked for you! But you might want to reconsider my GuRoo status (which is inspired, btw!), as I don't even listen to myself!

Plus I don't want to bore others with constant advice. πŸ€ͺπŸ˜†

RooMonster GuRoo Guy

mathgent 10:59 AM  

I often think that Lewis overpraises the puzzle. But not today. I think it's actually better than his rave review says.

Joe Deeney has authored eleven puzzles since 2017. I think that they've all been excellent. He looks young in the Jeff Chen picture. Does anyone know much about him?

Today's puzzle is a litmus test for who I welcome into my corner of our little playground. I've got cupcakes today. C'mon over Nancy, Lewis, Carola (10:03), RooMonster (10:00), Whatsername (9:40), bocamp (7:51).

jae 11:00 AM  

Easy-medium. I did what the note said and printed out the PDF with the whimsical squares. Fun solve with some amusing theme answers. Liked it quite a bit more than @Rex did. I agree with Jeff on the POW award.

Ellen S 11:04 AM  

@Barbara S - glad you survived dose #2. I think that means it stimulated your immune system. I didn’t have **ANY** reaction to my second dose of the Moderna, in fact barely felt the needle go in, no sensitivity around the site as I had with dose #1, and no side effects. Makes me worry that the tracking chip isn’t working.

Or is the chip supposed to do mind control? If so, good luck. Not much mind left to control. Read on:

I was less than enthralled with the puzzle because I thought the SOLAR PANELS clue was lame, there’s no green light filtering through them, you .... oh, environmentally sustainable. Brilliant!
Same process with the 50s President. Not Truman, Eisenhower ... some other country’s president? What, Grant? He wasn’t president in the 1850s, what kind of lame clue ... oh, $50 bill. Right.. I knew that. Brilliant!

sixtyni yogini 11:08 AM  

Thinking I will always appreciate any creativity within the parameters of a crossword puzzle.

So had to love this one— tho too bad I did not get “big” from the gray 3d ish squares. The apps visuals just did not allow it. (And apparently the hard copy didn’t either..)


Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Easy fun

What? 11:13 AM  

Good thing I’m not a beginner else I would’ve thought those weird shapes were from printing press (or whatever they use now) errors. Fortunately, all those years doing crosswords were not wasted as I immediately thought “rebus”, followed by “Oh boy” because I like them. I was not disappointed. A pleasant struggle followed by success! Not a bad way to start the day. A [ ] hand for Mr. Deeney.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Who said anything about banning? Calm down with your "cancel culture" hand wringing.

Joe Dipinto 11:16 AM  

Someone's upset...

Usually squares spanning several columns or rows are used to connote largeness or stretched-outness. This seems like a poor substitute. Out of perverseness I was tempted to write those theme words in lit-tle teeny-tiny letters.

And one might point out that "What's the idea?" –sans "big"– is a commonly uttered phrase on its own.

But I can't get too mad at a puzzle that mentions the ophicleide. Here's its replacement x 4.

Zygotic 11:16 AM  

Anybody know why GRANT is a 50s president?

“Hyperbole and the difference between Crossworld and the Real World” is going to be the title of my Ted Talk.

@Barbara S - Glad you’re feeling better. And happy that you’ve joined the vaxxed.

GuRoo! πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½

@Unknown 8:00 - Who needs HS Chemistry. Just do puzzles for a year and you’ll learn everything there is to know about ETHANE.

Larry Rosenthal 11:22 AM  

Move over, Jean-FranΓ§ois RΓ©gis. There’s a new ST.REGIS in town, er, the eternal hereafter. We miss Regis Philbin! A saintly gent if there ever was one.

johnk 11:26 AM  

I should have disliked this "game", but ended up enjoying it - probably because it was so easy for me.

Newboy 11:31 AM  

ILLALLOWIT Joe & Will, but YOUOWEMETIME! Thought it a delightful way to start a Thursday. And thanks to 9A clue I now understand why some folk with anemia really need the extra iron. And a delightful morning to eavesdrop on the commentariat riffing on hotels, birding, biking, maladies, etc. Even the ??? clues, a frequent cause of consternation, today turned me into a BEAMER ;^)

Whatsername 11:41 AM  

@Barbara: VERY happy you’re back and feeling better. That second jab did me in too. I was like a dishrag for about 12 hours but then the fog lifted as quickly as it fell. Excellent quote today, I hope @Loren Muse Smith sees it. Maybe you should email it to her just in case. I bet she’d love it.

@JD (9:48) I’m honored to be on the same page with you any day. 😊

Tom T 11:42 AM  

I got held up in the NE, because I was hanging on to "bias" for 19 Across (Leaning), instead of WONT. I finally relented and it all fell into place.

Also, I was a whiz in high school chemistry, even went to college with thoughts of a chemistry major. Unfortunately, that was over 50 years ago!

JD 11:42 AM  

@Z, And they say you can't read sarcasm on the web.

@Roo, I don't even listen to myself!

@Gill, I always have to wear dark glasses. That helps me when I frown at idiots and they don't even know it.

🀣 πŸ˜‚ 🀣 Thanks you three, I needed that.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

Who cares?

A 12:06 PM  

Rex, HOW ON EARTH did you come up with that particular Simple Gifts video? I love live community orchestras but prefer to link recordings that are either top notch or unique in some way. TIS my pleasure to offer these alternatives:

Utah Symphony Orchestra

Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss

Judy Collins and recorder

Obama inauguration (John Williams)

Georgia 12:07 PM  

The online NYT puzzle has the clue "snake eyes" for 2D.

pabloinnh 12:07 PM  

@anon 10:08-That's a great Mt. Washington bike story, and adding the bird search makes me like it even more.

There's also a road race up the auto road in June, 7.6 miles of uphill. There's even a lottery system to be able to torture yourself like this. I have a friend and fellow runner who actually did this and I saw him a few days afterwards and he was not walking with any great ease or comfort. How'd it go? I said. Bet you can cross that one off your bucket list. He just said no, he'd love to do it again, as he now had a better idea of where he could get some rest on the way up. I just shook my head.

Dave 12:10 PM  

So, how often are clues different in the print version vs. the online version? I flip between the two and sometimes my wife does one and I do the other. Then our puzzles don't match!

Nancy 12:21 PM  

Sounds delightful, @mathgent. Thanks for the invite. I'll bring the wine.

@Ellen S -- What a hilariously sardonic vaccine comment. Right out of today's off-the-wall political delusions. I wish you posted more than you do, Ellen. I really enjoy your comments on the rare occasions that you make them.

*[belated] EYE ALERT* -- @GILL (10:21) -- I also wore an eye patch over my good eye to force me to use the bad eye. I was in 1st grade and the doctor promised me that if I was "very good" and "didn't cheat" by peeking over the patch, he'd reward me by removing it in 6 weeks. (I don't remember this, mind you, could have been a year for all I know, but my mother filled in the details when I was older.)

My eye "wandered" in the opposite direction from yours, @GILL: -- away from the other eye and toward the outside corner. I wasn't aware of it when it happened, but it happened A LOT when I was young. What I remember is my mother looking at me with what seemed to my 6-year-old mind like pure horror and interrupting our conversation, whatever it was, by abruptly interjecting: "Bring your eye back, Nancy!!!!" I had no idea what I was supposed to do to accomplish that, but I would try blinking and I guess from my mother's reaction, that took care of it for the time being. I always felt that I'd done something wrong and that I was being criticized for it. My mother was a wonderful mother who I loved very much, but she was also a world-class worrier. In retrospect I think she handled the whole wandering eye thing very badly -- now that I think about it.

My eye doctor didn't believe in surgery for "a child that young". Evidently the weak muscle can revert over time -- rendering the operation useless. I was instead given Bausch and Lomb exercises that I loved. They were comprised of 3-D glossy geometric pictures that you viewed through 3-D glasses. If you were using only one eye, the figures lay flat on the page. When you used both eyes, the figures would project right out of the page at you by what seemed like a foot or more. My favorite was the spiral.

Eventually I was using both eyes well enough that surgery was unnecessary. But the eye has always been weak and the left eye is definitely my master eye.

Were those by any chance the exercises that you did, GILL?

bocamp 12:36 PM  

@Barbara S.

Happy for your speedy recovery! 😊

@mathgent (10:59 AM)

Thx for the cupcake and good company! 🧁

pg -5 (very tough; feel fortunate to be where I am)

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

Whatsername 12:43 PM  

@GILL (10:21) “That helps me when I frown at idiots and they don't even know it.” Same reason I don’t mind wearing a face mask. 🀣

@jberg (10:38) Hope all goes well tomorrow.

@mathgent (10:59) Cupcakes you say? And such distinguished company. @Nancy’s bringing the wine but I think we need ice cream too. Can’t wait!

Frantic Sloth 12:55 PM  

I agree with Rex on NONEED's politeness pedigree. And (speaking of pedigree), it gave me paws.

@Z 718am It scares (first typoed that as "scars", which might be more apt) me to learn we had the same reaction to STREGIS. I got the words, but I prefer the word.
I'm behind the STREGIS Rent-a-Room idea, too. Somebody shoot me.

@GILL 816am "Squiggly piggly" made me giggly. So does Piggly Wiggly. Squiggly Piggly Wiggly makes me biggly giggly.

@Barbara S 849am Welcome back! So sorry to hear of your medical troubles - and I love "GuRoo" - and am grateful he helped you! This blog would suffer mightily without you!

@JD 948am Your love of "party favors" is clear and just. I award your alternate theme πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰+πŸ›’πŸ›’πŸ›’ofπŸ’πŸ’! 🀣🀣
Hear's a thought: probably, and around the same time as "Moist Mauve". The decision to forgo was Crayola wise.

@Nancy, @GILL Do you remember when Sally Brown had amblyopia? She went through the entire process from diagnosis to wearing the eyepatch to the cure. Charles Schulz was always much more than "a cartoonist".

@Ellen S 1104am Here's the bad news: I had that same thought process for those same clues. Here's the good news: Sorry. I got nuthin'. 🀷‍♀️

Thanks to those who recommended Arrival. Watched it last night and was glad I finally did - was on my "list" forever.

JC66 1:18 PM  


If I knew there were cupcakes, I would have posted earlier.

CDilly52 1:21 PM  

@ Anonymous 11:15 AM. I believe @ Stimpson was remarking on a very “@Rex-ish” habit of complaining about answers that contain facts or things with which he has not become familiar. To me, a great deal of my enjoyment of crosswords is learning new things. Although like @Stimpson, I was familiar with the historic St. Regis brand.

JC66 1:22 PM  

And welcome back @Barbara. Glad you're vaxxed and OK.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

@Tom T:
I was a whiz in high school chemistry, even went to college with thoughts of a chemistry major.

I was too, and did. But PChem killed me. From what I've read, the life of a bench chemist isn't all that great.

Al and Sheila 1:34 PM  


Good to hear about your handling your lazy eye when a chlld. Mine would have been with me for life, but mom sprung for exercises that fixed when I wa 10… that was 1950

Our lives are transformed by such care

Al Rodbell

CDilly52 1:38 PM  

Liked this one lots, although it might have been a tad easy for anThirsday. Or, for one brief shining Thursday, perhaps I simply was able to have a pleasant “mind meld” with our able constructor today. Whatever the cause, this was a very enjoyable solve with some wonderfully clever clues. Especially liked the clues for OWLET, SOLAR PANEL and GRANT (my personal favorite).

Another favorite was an answer I have heard too many times to count during my myriad of jury trials (and other hearings).

Judges have a tough job. Nearly every judge before whom I have practiced takes the job seriously and tries to be fair and impartial. The very most difficult part of the task (in my opinion) is adjudicating jury trials and trying to find the balance between holding counsel to the rules without impeding the progress of the trial. Juries hate sitting through endless sidebar arguments - especially when they have to be sent out of the room lest they hear things they shouldn’t as lawyers get a bit - shall we say - enthusiastic about their positions on the issue at bar.

Anyway, I have observed that judges tend to let in more than they keep out (in terms of evidence and arguments). As judges (especially the best judges) quickly learn, they are much less likely to get something back on appeal if they err on over-inclusion as opposed to sustaining objections not absolutely on point and supported by appropriate authority.. Ergo, the studied judicial stare at the party objecting and, after a judicially stern look of contemplation, the dreaded phrase I’LL ALLOW IT.

Nothing but fun today. Liked it all including the “big” squares.

A 1:49 PM  

@Barbara S, welcome back and sorry you were ailing. I, too, heeded the sage advice of the GuRoo (!), though it seems to have worked better for me, maybe because I thought he said to hydrate both before and after. Excellent thoughts from George Sand.

@Nancy, @GILL I (and Rex), same thought here with the “squiggly piggly” “distorted funhouse horror” overshadowing the BIGness. Slight disappointment when true wackiness did not ensue, but that’s on the NYT, not Joe. Quality construction, interesting fill, fun, solid themers and clever cluing. @mathgent, too late to qualify for TEAM Cupcake?

Particularly got kicks out of “A little snowy, perhaps?” “Something that turns light green?” and “Instrument that largely replaced the ophicleide.” Largely - get it, HUNH, HUNH?

@Joe Dipinto, Rex could take a lesson from you on finding unique and top-notch posts. One guy playing three different instruments: a regular TUBA, a euphonium (TWO separate parts), and a Wagner tuba, which is usually played by horn players and has a much smaller mouthpiece. Very impressive technique and intonation.

Hector Berlioz used the ophicleide to reinforce the more subdued serpent: “The essentially barbaric timbre of this instrument would have been far more appropriate to the ceremonies of the bloody cult of the Druids than to those of the Catholic religion. There is only one exception to be made – the case where the Serpent is employed in the Masses for the Dead, to reinforce the terrible plainsong of the Dies Irae. Then, no doubt, its cold and abominable howling is in place.”

kitshef 2:15 PM  

I went to the crucinova site recommended in Rex's PS. They have a few sample puzzles you can try out here.

I wen to the first puzzle - April 7. The clue for 1-Across reads:
"A ___ is a fine 14 Down of 69 Across in 39 Down".

Of course, right there one is tempted to quit and never come back. But I continued, and it was a wonderful puzzle.

Missy 2:16 PM  

Yes! I've got it, no need, thanks!!!

GILL I. 2:18 PM  

@Nancy.....My eye[s] didn't wander, which is usually the very first indication of amblyopia in a child. That's when the doctor can start whatever process they can to correct it. Instead, I was diagnosed at around age 17 by none other than Franco's doctor......He recommended an eye patch which I wore with glee. It was black. Spaniards are very curious and would come up to me and ask what happened....I told them I lost my eyeball in a bar fight. They believed me and I met some handsome men in the process.
@Barbara S. Let me echo the welcome back to our little biggly giggly fold.

JD 2:29 PM  

@Frantic, Barrels of monkeys and party favors! Finally, all I ever really wanted.

Amy 2:54 PM  

Loved it. The NYT app makes the boxes big from the beginning, not just when you have solved it, so I got the visual immediately. Not sure why Rex still uses Across Lite, which I gave up on when it removed many features in its iPad version several years ago. The NYTXW app is really very good.

Really enjoyed it.

Nancy 3:20 PM  

@Frantic, @GILL and @Al R. -- I had never heard the word "amblyopia" until about 9:30 this morning -- not from my eye doctor, not from my mother, and not from the wonderful Sally Brown either. She was just "Sally with the eyepatch" to me -- and I think Charles Schultz did all of us who had the ailment a huge favor.

@Al R -- I would have been doing those exercises circa 1948, so if you were doing them in 1950, we may have been doing the same exercises.

@GILL -- When you're 6 rather than 17 years old, you don't (alas) attract handsome men by wearing an eyepatch. Sigh. And besides, my eyepatch was a piece of black plastic fitted into a most unattractive pair of eyeglasses and not some daredevil piece of black cloth that a female action heroine might have sported. Sigh again. But the miracle is that I have no memory at all of being teased or made fun of at P.S.6. Either I've blocked it out (unlikely) or the teachers did a masterful job of creating empathy in very young children. My only real memory, extremely fuzzy and vague, is staring and staring and staring as I struggled like hell to make the 3-D figures protrude out of the page.

Baack to the puzzle: @A -- It's interesting. You say you experienced "slight disappointment" when today's theme answers turned out not to be distorted funhouse horror answers. What I experienced was a big sense of relief :)

Nancy 3:23 PM  

Forgot to say: "amblyopia" means "wandering eye"? I wonder if it comes from the same root as "amble"?

pmdm 4:41 PM  

Did the puzzle late after attending a funeral. Found the puzzle quite easy for a Thursday, perhaps more of a Wednesday difficulty level for me. But somehow I felt the "reveal" let me down.

I'll try to be terse lest this comment be removed. I think Berlioz wrote the Symphonie Fantastique just as the tuba was invented, which is why it was not originally included in the orchestration. The tuba became accepted by composers like Tchaikovsky and even Brahms, and Berlioz became confident enough in his later life to revise the piece, substitution the tuba as the bass brass instrument. Gardner recorded the work with the original instruments. Here is the link to the last two movements. The fourth movement includes an oft deleted repeat at its start. Just before the repeat, you can hear the bass brass bleating out loudly. By the way, the work is a "tone poem" that tells a story. Read the story before listening to the music. See if you think Berlioz did well when he tried to compose music that represents a bouncing head. (That's gross.) And enjoy the Dies Irae theme played during the dance of the witches. Rachmaninoff must have.

Carola 5:00 PM  

@mathgent - Thank you for the delightful invitation!

chefwen 5:03 PM  

Hey, I’m the cook here, don’t I get to come?

ddd 5:37 PM  

Yes! This was a major printing error.

TTrimble 5:40 PM  

@Nancy 3:23PM
Drive-by comment to say: no connection between the ambly- in amblyopia and "amble". The latter is from the Latin ambulare, to walk, compare "perambulate" and "ambulatory". The ambly- is from the Greek, meaning "dull", "dim", "blunt" (Merriam-Webster says more at mollify).

Anonymous 5:45 PM  

Grant was in his 50s when he was president. There were others but GRANT was only one that fits.

Barbara S. 5:51 PM  

Thanks to @Nancy, @JD, @Ellen S., @Z, @Whatsername, @bocamp, @Frantic Sloth, @JC66, @A and @Gill I. for the good wishes. Much appreciated.

And @RooMonster (10:57) -- don't worry. I won't trouble you with the little stuff, like should I buy the pink top or the green top, and do these jeans make me look fat. Only the big ticket items like Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce, Retirement, Investments and Major Moves. πŸ˜‰

Pdxrains 6:25 PM  

Can some explain the clue "Habit" for WONT???

JC66 6:40 PM  


WONT (notice there's no apostrophe between the N and the T.

Anonymous 7:15 PM  

Ugh!!!!!!!!!!!! Another faux scholar pretending to know Attic Greek. God help,us.

Anonymous 7:39 PM  

You are way out of your depth. In Classical Greek amblys refers to weak eye sight.

Anonymous 7:48 PM  

I agree. Wacky and jaunty, like playing cards, not "big>'

TTrimble 8:10 PM  

Please feel free to cite a source that "amblys" on its own refers to eyesight. Meanwhile, the results of a simple Google search:

From Merriam-Webster:

"New Latin, from Greek amblyōpia, from amblys blunt, dull + -ōpia -opia — more at mollify"

Nancy 9:55 PM  

To Dora Downes, our chilly, fearsome, British-born high school English teacher at Dalton, there was only one source we were allowed to use for word derivations: the OED. Miss Downes ws made about word derivations and was never happier then when she was making us look them up.

So when I saw the great "amblyopia" debate raging here just now, I immediately went to the only permissible source. Here's what the OED has to say about "amblyopia":

Early 18th century from Greek ambluōpia ‘short-sightedness’, from ambluōpos (adjective), from amblus ‘dull’ + ōps, ōp- ‘eye’.

It sure seems as though @TTrimble is right, doesn't it?

albatross shell 10:07 PM  

Any time you fill in all the squares correctly I would say it is technically speaking, a solved puzzle. Just like in baseball. If a fielder loses the ball in the lights and the pop-up lands next to him on what should be an easy out, the fielder erred, but it is not counted as such. It is hit for the batter and no error on the fielder. Or like getting TUBA and guessing that the instrument had something to do with Hamlet being responsible for his girl friend's suicide. Or getting HELLO without knowing any African languages.

I also enjoyed the E-orgy. A matter of taste. And the NYT app should create a grid capable of displaying such puzzles one of these decades. Having the puzzle show the proper display at the end was a plus. I doubt if anyone would solve this and not realize what it should look like. My biggest complaint about the way it worked was the down answers where the squares stayed big, suggesting something might be afoot there too. But it soon became clear there wasn't.

I'm with the party crew today, but don't worry, I won't crash the party without an invitation. Loved that there was a curling clue. And all those other clues so perfectly suited to a Thursday puzzle. Only 1 double POC and a double ED but only one was a Past Tense Of Convenience. Snazzy all a round.

All of Z's restaurants will have a Stregis Flophouse next door. Sloths get a 20% discount.

Nancy 10:16 PM  

Miss Downes was mad about -- not ws made about

TTrimble 11:36 PM  

Yes, there is some irrational ad hominem raging taking place. Summer is the season when little gnats come out.

Thanks for copying out the OED citation! I wish I had the OED in the many lush, luscious volumes that are readable with normal eyesight. I have a compact (more or less microfiche) version that is hard to read even with the magnifier that came with the edition. So that tends not to be my go-to dictionary. Mostly I'm lazy and go online, but I do have a dilapidated but treasured Random House Unabridged from my teenage years that I still consult. It strikes a nice balance, educational but not overwhelming in the wealth of citations that are to be found in the OED.

Larry Rosenthal 11:46 PM  

I’m a font of definitions as, my friends will tell you, is my WONT (i.e., my custom or habit). Pronounced like “want.” Examples (from m-w):
“she paced about the room, as she is wont to dowhenever she is agitated”
“he got up early, as is his wont”

Joe Klonowski 9:29 AM  

If he was an 1850s or 1950s president they would clue it as '50s president with an apostrophe. So the no apostrophe is a hint that they're not talking about decades.

Also yeah as others said he was not president during the 1850s. He was later than that.

Burma Shave 11:09 AM  




spacecraft 11:27 AM  

I might start a new feature here, called "You Know You're Past Humpday When..." We'll lead off with: You Know You're past Humpday When the word WON is clued as "South Korean currency." (Other examples ABOUND, but that one was short)

My first impression when eyeballing that printed grid: This is about getting drunk. I was afraid to go anywhere near that NE/E section until I got a handle on what was going on. But then I did, and it WAS sort of a letdown: is that IT? So, although the solution was considerably accelerated by the aha, we still had these late-week-style clues to deal with. The 50s thing has been done before, so NONEED to worry there (BTW, I agree with OFC that that answer is pretty far from "polite"). But stuff like a mountain range that would be known ONLY by local residents, or the Swahili word for HELLO is what I'm talking about.

OFC complains about the adverb in THATSAVERTYBIGIF; I want to lodge a similar one regarding STAYONTASK. No, no, no. It's "stay on TRACK." Nobody says STAYONTASK. But we had to make it fit. EWW.

BEAMER could have been much more simply clued as "BMW." If you want to, you might add ",familiarly" or ",slangily." But perhaps that'd be too easy for post-Humpday. MERYL is DOD. Despite flaws, the theme expressions are in-language, and there's a lot of good fill--notwithstanding ETAILER. Par.

thefogman 1:35 PM  

This one probably must have sounded like a good idea at the conception stage. Sadly it falls flat on paper - and online.

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

The "big" theme was very evident, in that this was a "big-mess". Rejected.

Diana, LIW 2:10 PM  

Like @Spacey, whey eyeing the grid I said to Mr. W., "oh dear."

But then it wasn't a BIG you-know-what. Yeah, DEAL with it.


Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 4:46 PM  

Too quirky and odd-ball to my mind. As a judge (which I”m not) would I say I’LL ALLOW IT? No, not in this case.

leftcoaster 4:52 PM  

Oh god, I wish @Lewis, way above, would cool down a bit.

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