TV journalist Pressman with a Peabody and 11 Emmys / THU 7-22-21 / Ones sporting man buns and ironic t-shirts say / Closest living relatives of whales / Home to Planck Einstein and Heisenberg when they won their Nobel Prizes / the Autopilot inflatable balloon character in Airplane / Ziff Marge's ex-boyfriend on the Simpsons

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Constructor: John Guzzetta

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (this is going to vary widely ... also the grid is oversized (15x16))

THEME: JOINED AT THE HIP (57A: Inseparable ... or like three pairs of answers in this puzzle?) — HIP runs alongside HIP three times (how you're supposed to make sense of the crosses, I don't know):

Theme answers:
  • HIPSTERS (17A: Ones sporting man buns and ironic T-shirts, say)
  • HIPPOPOTAMUSES (20A: Closest living relatives of whales)
  • PARTY WHIPS (35A: They enforce discipline among legislators)
  • SHIPWRECKS (42A: Locations of some dives)
  • PITA CHIP (63A: Little dipper?)
Word of the Day: GABE Pressman (11D: TV journalist Pressman with a Peabody and 11 Emmys) —
Gabriel Stanley "GabePressman (February 14, 1924 – June 23, 2017) was an American journalist who was a reporter for WNBC-TV in New York City for more than 60 years. His career spanned more than seven decades; the events he covered included the sinking of the Andrea Doria in 1956, the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King Jr.the Beatles' first trip to the United States, and the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. He was one of the pioneers of United States television news and has been credited as the first reporter to have left the studio for on-the-scene "street reporting" at major events. Dubbed the "Dean of New York Journalism", Pressman's numerous awards include a Peabody and 11 Emmys, and he was considered a New York icon. (wikipedia)
• • •

There must have been some kind of printing error. The Downs don't make any sense if HIP and HIP occupy entirely separate squares, so I figured the newspaper version of the puzzle must have used enlarged cells, like a double-decker cell for the "H" and the "I" and the "P" so that they could be part of both Acrosses but still represent just one letter in the Downs. But that is not what the newspaper version looks like. It has HIP alongside HIP as well. So I'm back to the first and most obvious problem, which is ... the crosses. The Downs. They make no sense. Full stop. The End. I genuinely don't understand how you can just neglect the Downs like that. The grid is now full of nonsense like AIIR and TEPPID. Baffling. The NYTXW has really lost its bearings this past week. The puzzles have either been exceedingly weak or  lazily executed. Not sure I've ever seen a summer puzzle dump quite like this. We're in a brutal run right now. I hope it's over. Tomorrow is Friday. Hope springs eternal on Fridays.

I got the theme concept early ... or so I thought. See, I'm one of those people who figures the Acrosses *and* the Downs will make sense, so my first instinct was that the Downs had to work and that the gimmick must have something to do with leaving certain squares empty. Here's what my puzzle looked like after just a half minute or so:

REHAB ARISE TEPID. I got RAT (1A: Bad singer?) and then got *all* of those Downs right away. When one didn't fit, I figured I was wrong, but when they all didn't fit, and they all didn't fit in exactly the same one-too-many-letters way, I "knew" there was a disappearing-letter theme afoot. When I saw that the long Across up top was HIPPOPOTAMUSES, I figured the "HIP" and just hopped (hip-hop!) up to the line above (i.e. to HIPSTERS), so the theme must have something to do with "moving your hips" (up, down ... side to side?). But apparently hips *do* lie because these hips are not moving; instead, they just sit there, alongside other hips, trying to convince me that monstrosities like ARIISE and DOPPED are actual words. I just can't forgive the puzzle for making me fill in those squares, thus murdering the HIP-crossing Downs. Beyond the theme, I found the NE corner very hard, but the rest of it was pretty normal, maybe even easy for a Thursday. In the NE, I got EGOS and ENRAGE and DRESS SIZE, but really struggled to get TEX (wanted maybe NEB?), WEIMAR, INCUBUS, ICEBOX, and especially GABE, who ... how would anyone outside of last-century NYC know who that is? He seems to be a local media legend, but yeesh. Come on. You're an international puzzle. There are lots of GABEs in the world. OK, there are some GABEs in the world. You can find one known outside the tri-state area, I promise you. Anyway, GABE, sure. 

Five things:
  • 32A: Pelvic joints (COXAE) — there's a coxa? I know of the coccyx, sure, but wow, you are asking for some deep pelvic knowledge here ... and the plural. Not the prettiest X-word I've ever seen
  • 35D: Rodentlike relative of a rabbit (PIKA) — huh, it's really test-my-taxonomic-trivia day, isn't it? Like COXAE, never heard of it. I had PACA here. PACA, like PIKA (now), is a four-letter creature I've only ever seen in crosswords. The way to tell them apart is a PACA is an actual rodent (not "rodentlike"), and the PIKA is slightly adorable (very much unlike the PACA):
ohhh look how cute...

Gah! Run!
  • 17A: Ones sporting man buns and ironic T-shirts, say (HIPSTERS) — are we still doing this sneery stereotyping? It's lazy and dumb. People have hair. They wear shirts. None of this has anything to do with being hip, or hipsters. Next you're going to tell me beards are for hipsters, or IPAs, or some other thing you don't have or you don't like. HIPSTERS seems to be a largely imaginary class of person onto whom people anxiously project a self-loathing that comes from the horrifying realization of their own hyper-consumerism and hyper-conformity. "Look at those people ... doing things I don't do ... with their hair ... and shirts ... enjoying themselves! ... so pretentious!" Sure, the HIPSTERS are the pretentious ones. Whatever you say, pal.
  • 60D: Texter's farewell (TTYL) — still never seen anyone actually text this, perhaps because BYE is actually shorter. TTYL still feels fanciful and imaginary (stands for Talk To You Later, in case you somehow didn't know)
  • 42A: Locations of some dives (SHIPWRECKS) — I like this clue, probably because I like imagining run-down bars, diners, etc. Reminds me of my favorite crime fiction. It's rare that misdirection truly pleases me, but this misdirection did.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. oh hey I forgot to mention that the Boswords Crossword Tournament is *this weekend* (July 25). Here's the announcement from tournament organizer John Lieb:
Registration is now open for the Boswords 2021 Summer Tournament, which will be held on Sunday, July 25. This event will be ONLINE only. Solvers can compete individually or in pairs. To register, to see the constructor roster, and for more details, go to, where past tournament puzzles are also available for purchase.
A percentage of the proceeds goes to local Boston charities. There are cool constructors involved, like Malaika Handa and Wyna Liu. You should definitely check it out.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 6:29 AM  

I half expected the HIPs to morph into larger letters of 2 squares each so that at least the finished puzzle would make sense...ish.

It always rankles when a theme doesn't work in both directions, and especially when the grid is littered with babbletrash like ARIISE and AIIR and DOPPED - which oddly looks like a legit word...something done to weather radar, maybe? You know, to make it Doppler.
Never mind.

HIPPOPOTAMopodes might have saved it, but that was too much to hope for.

The fill actually wasn't half bad if not for the theme-WRECKed entries. Alas, it needed to be stellar to mitigate the lackluster, sloppy theme and it was not, IMHO.

The difficulty was high for the Thursdee (for me), so that's something. πŸ‘
Come to think of it though...most if that was due once again to theme nonsense. 🀷‍♀️

Oh, well. Finally starting to expect underwhelmment on the Thursdees these dees.


oceanjeremy 6:47 AM  

I laughed at loud at OFL’s decrying of the term “hipster.” Couldn’t agree more.

In the aughts (2003 to 2011 or so) I was a bartender, in a band, with a liberal arts degree, wearing thrift store clothes, living in Williamsburg Brooklyn. So I heard this lazy and meaningless term lobbed around incessantly. The only people I heard complaining about hipsters were A) those who fit the stereotype but refused to admit it and B) people that were somehow proud of their bland normie status.

Both sides of that coin are so gratingly irritating, and so blatantly insecure and sad. So I have been so relieved over the last five(ish) years that the term hipster has slowly and finally fallen out of favor as a derisive/derogatory term.

Unless you construct/edit for the NYTXW, apparently. (Boo.)

Sioux Falls 6:52 AM  

Didn’t work for me. Same initial reaction as Rex. The blank square conundrum. What goes there? Oh… Just repeating a letter to make nonsense words that have nothing to do with anything. And for me, the theme, “Joined at the hip” doesn’t work. Sitting on top of each other does not equal “joined.”

Might have worked better for me if the two HIPs crossed each other at the “i” (i.e., a plus sign). Don’t know what the print version looked like, but with all the grid art they do electronically, was surprised that, upon completion, H I P grew to cover both downs … the revealer might have made more sense … the two squares “joining”

Looked to see if there was a disclaimer in the notes ():but none to be found.

Lewis 6:58 AM  

Ah, a puzzler’s feast for me, with deciphering tricky clues, figuring out a tricky theme, and discovering exactly how it works – making for a very satisfying solve. This was enhanced by lovely words along the way: WIDGET, WEIMAR, INCUBUS, PIKA, and every one of those six HIP answers.

The Libra in me loved that the HIPs in the NW and SE are symmetrical, with the third pair being dead center (this being a 16-square tall puzzle.)

Thus, I’m satisfied, beauty-struck, and balanced, and all through a simple grid of letters – the miracle of crosswords. This grid was made with cleverness and an obvious desire to give the solver a pleasing experience. And in that, John, IMO, you roundly succeeded. Thank you, sir, and please drop by again soon!

OffTheGrid 7:14 AM  

I had the same thoughts as @Rex. He is exactly right. No trick is worth nonsense "words" in the grid. Joined at the hip would not be a bad concept if the "H I P" words were crosses at the "I".

Mikey from El Prado 7:15 AM  

How do you put a puzzle like this together and not have HURRAY in it somewhere like right smack in the middle? A lost opportunity to an otherwise decent puzzle (although I ended up working the bottom and got the revealer first, immediately helping me with the HIP HIPs).

ow a paper cut 7:17 AM  

This puzzle made no sense to me

Joe Welling 7:17 AM  

My guess is that the original plan was double high squares, but then someone decided that'd make it too easy.

kitshef 7:21 AM  

Fun Thursday.

Had 1-2-3 down as REHAB, ARISE and TEPID, knowing of course that there was something amiss there. But that led to the seemingly plausible ASIAN ELEPHANTS for the whale relatives.

Throw in house WHIPS before PARTY WHIPS, hare before PIKA, and doodad before WIDGET, and let’s just say it took me a long time to unravel this thing.

I had to look up the what the group (technically a suborder) that includes whales and hippos is called. Turns out it could have been a themer; it’s called Whippomorpha.

Mohair Sam 7:24 AM  

According to Flanders and Swann it is "hippopotami" not HIPPOPATAMUSES. And they'd know - their Hippopotamus song has outsold all other hippo songs combined. Let's do a little editing Will Shortz.

thfenn 7:24 AM  

HIP HIP HOORAY! HIP HIP HOORAY! I thought this was a fine Thursday. Sure, if only there was one big box for each HIP so that the downs 'worked' this would've been fine, but I don't think it's hard to get the idea and go with it. And once I saw the theme "two hips on top of each other" (hmm, as in TRYSTS) it helped the solve, so that worked fine too. Lol, what I thought would be a big problem was having HIP in the reveal also joined with another HIP, but no, that appears to be of no concern.

Also don't get the rage at HIPSTER - seems like a word used to either genuinely convey someone is hip or convey that someone is trying a little too hard to be so, but I don't have it on a list of words that are derogatory, or the list who's usage suggests more about the user than the object. Think this was just a fun Thursday puzzle.

Unknown 7:28 AM  

Inre the hipster commentary: Ditto.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

I wish Will Shortz didn't allow so many nonsense answers to the puzzle. This one reminds me of the Falling Rock Zone puzzle from August 2020, where the final theme answers were FONEINGROCKZALL and other gibberish. This lies completely on the editor and not the constructor, because the big boxes would have avoided this issue and still fit the "JOINEDATTHEHIP" theme.

Evan Birnholz makes plenty of tricky puzzles for the Washington Post and always has answers that still make sense. Yes, those puzzles are harder to write, but they are better. Shortz seems to love the gibberish.

Unknown 7:39 AM  

Just write the word HIP really big so it takes up both vertical squares.

Son Volt 7:41 AM  

I’ve been digging Guzzetta’s puzzles lately - but this one doesn’t hold up and is just brutally bad. Theme is off - agree with Rex on the crosses. Overall fill does nothing to help.

INANEST, HO HUM and DETEST are all apt descriptors here.

Stimpson 7:42 AM  

I'm with Jeff Chen today. I enjoyed this one - a big improvement over the other puzzles this week.

Rex has a pretty narrow range of acceptable themers. They've been done too many times, aren't elaborate enough, are too elaborate, or violate some tacit rule. It's a conundrum.

If hipsters, and their stereotypes are not a thing, should we also say hippies and beatniks are not a thing? On the other hand, if I have a goatee and snap or wear a tie dye and peace signs, am I guilty of appropriation? /s

Richard 7:46 AM  

I always print the puzzle and do it with a pencil, and today I was especially happy for it -- I just put very tall Hes, Is, and Ps spanning two boxes each in the theme answers and felt great about things.

The hardest clue today was 64a, "Can't Stand". The answer is DETEST, which feels completely wrong to me tense-wise. I want it to be DETESTs, even now that I've retroactively convinced myself it's ok. The present formulation works: replace "can't stand" with "detest" in the phrase "I can't stand him". But alone, it just feels wrong.

Birchbark 8:00 AM  

Hooray --

It is good to see the puzzle toy with wormhole perceptions on the down themers. No need to adjust your glasses -- just let the HHIIPPs do their thing. Like the dancing HIPPOPOTAMUSES in "Fantasia."

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

OG Hipster Rex getting triggered. Too Funny :-)

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

Liked the HIPs. Liked GABE as clued. Liked HIPSTERS as clued. Thanks to John Guzzetta and a shout out to Will Shortz. I can’t imagine having my work critiqued by some rando on the internet day after day.

Zwhatever 8:12 AM  

Hand up for being puzzled by the theme execution. We’ve seen the oversized squares before, the revealer speaks of JOINED, so why not use the oversized squares and have the downs make sense? I can lawyer a justification for this presentation of the theme, but it is not satisfying.

Rex - the PIKA Adoration Congress of America would like a word…

deep pelvic knowledge - Anyone else have an eyebrow arch upon reading this?

bocamp 8:14 AM  

Thx, John; I was definitely doubly HIP to your puz! :)

Med solve.

Got HIPPOPOTAMUSES early on and branched off from there.

Hit and miss until the revealer confirmed my suspicions re: the doubling up of letters, and the rest unfolded quickly.

A very HIP and enjoyable puz!

Fondly recollect G'ma's icebox and the iceman (with tongs) stocking it with the big block of ice.

@TTrimble (6:44 PM yd) πŸ‘ for 0

yd 0 (last two words unknown, but not too hard to guess)

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

JamieP 8:23 AM  

John GuZZetta should have constructed yesterday's puZZle. He would have fit ZZ Top in there.

SouthsideJohnny 8:26 AM  

Oh well, maybe it was a slippery-slope type of deal - once they got into the practice of making up words, perhaps it was only a matter of time before they would go on to more hardcore behavior and give us a whole theme utilizing basically gibberish. Personally, I would prefer a more old-school “approach” (I.e. use real words in your CrossWORD puzzle) with actual, current clues (yes, we can do without the journalist from the 1920’s as well). To paraphrase Mr. Zimmerman - “ The NY Times, They Are a-Changin' ”.

Zwhatever 8:32 AM  

@thefenn - I’m with you on the HIPSTER thing. The youngest was a HIPSTER starting in about 7th grade, but he was just being him. About the only thing I never understood was the skinny jeans. Having raised one has never stopped me from being judgmental about the HIPSTER dude (it’s always a dude) so obviously trying hard to conform to some non-conformity standard.

Kevin 8:44 AM  

The criticism of the double-layer HIPs is over the top. Rex and the other complainers would have complained had those squares been drawn as jumbo-sized boxes: "The revealer is 'JOINED at the HIP,' but you have to have TWO things to JOIN! The revealer doesn't make any sense! This should have been double-layers of HIPS!"

Once you figure out the gimmick, precisely no one was actually conufused about the double-letters iin the crosses.

TTrimble 8:56 AM  

About the only thing I don't agree with Rex about today is that I've seen people use TTYL: it feels less "fanciful and imaginary" if you see people use this IRL.

I guess I do wonder what's a good way to clue HIPSTER without resorting to stereotype. Perhaps the thing to do is actually insert some form of the word "stereotype" in the clue.

Anyway, it's been pointed out a lot by now that something went horribly wrong with today's puzzle. I do it online, and fully expected the software to merge each pair into one giant HIP after I was done. It feels like someone seriously dropped (DOPPED?) the ball. Terrible.

Despite the fact those are some famous names in physics, that's a pretty obscurely trivial way to clue WEIMAR. Surely there are better ways. Who is going to get this via the clue alone?

Oh, it's you again. OATY.

Ugh, the more I look at this puzzle, the more I don't like it. I won't say I DETEST it, or that it's the INANEST puzzle I've ever seen, nor would I even characterize it as HOHHUM, but I really can't muster many ZEALS for it (btw, thanks to @Z for last night's info about pluralizing uncountable nouns in the NYTXW). It could stand a lot of improvement.

Congrats on battling through. Yeah, one of the 4-letter ones of yd was not known to me.

Today's looks hard IMHO.

JBH 8:58 AM  

Puzzle nitpickers often come across as frustrated constructors whose own puzzles don't get accepted anywhere. (If they even bother to try to create their own.)

I thought this puzzle was a fun solve and couldn't care less that there were double letters.

At first, had GADGET for 8A - and ZEAL for 40A.

Question: why is 22A ASIA 'land of plenty'?

Rich Glauber 9:02 AM  

I am mystified by the consistently hyper critical tone of both the blog writer and many of the comments, as if we are 'entitled' to some kind of perfection in our crossword solving experience. Or else... And of course there's the 'I didn't get it, so it must be bad' theme that we often see here. It's a puzzle, a diversion, a brain waker upper, something to enjoy. The vitriol and smugness say much more about us than about whatever puzzle we're judging. OK sermon over, this was a solid, fresh effort, very fun to solve. I had DOSSED for DOPPED for a minute, which slowed me down, but so what? It's a puzzle, enjoy it.

amyyanni 9:16 AM  

Maybe this Mark's me as crusty, but I share Rex's feelings about the double letters making the puzzle sport nonsense words in the downs. Still appreciate having a puzzle. Slept in but I have a good excuse. TBC.

Nancy 9:20 AM  

Loved it. Figured it out at the first HIP where, when TEPID almost worked but didn't quite, I wondered what fiendish trick was in store for me today? Thank heaven it was Thursday and I was Prepared. BEDTIME gave me the B of REHAB -- which also almost worked but didn't quite -- and I said: "OK, leave 'em blank."

When I saw the double HIP -- one atop another -- I thought: "OK, write one of 'em small." I put in a teensy tiny little HIP above the real HIP. Just to show I knew what was going on, you see.

Without looking at the revealer length, but spotting the word "inseparable" in the clue, I knew immediately that the answer would be JOINED AT THE HIP.

(You do enough of these things, Dear Solver, and you'll immediately know that, too.)

All the other themers became very easy and obvious after that. But they were much fun to ferret out. I didn't worry about how to fill them in -- blank space, repeated HIPS or half of them teensy tiny little mini-HIPS. I solve on paper, not on some WIDGET, and it didn't matter a whit how I filled them in. Run into enough of these, Dear Solver, and you'll solve on paper too. Anyway, for me, very enjoyable.

Mr. Grumpypants 9:21 AM  

I had no issue with seeing the doubled letters going down as a single one. Just takes a little imagination. Not a great puzzle but not a bad one.

chuck w 9:24 AM  

why is a rat a "bad singer"?
JBH: I think "Land of Plenty" means plenty of people.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

I'm a bit puzzled by the charges of "gibberish" against the downs. They are perfectly legible as words in which a letter has been doubled. Is it inelegant? Sure. Could the problem have been solved by making the letters extra big, as some commenters have suggested? Absolutely. But is it gibberish? I think not.

Agree with everyone who DETESTs the hipster clue. Do man buns and ironic t-shirts even describe hipsters? I think of skinny jeans and PBR before I think of man buns and ironic Ts.

Richard Stanford 9:26 AM  

The NE was really rough for me.

I also had random duplicated letters (I knew something was doubled) making some of my crosses complete wrong until the revealer pointed out that HIP was the right set to duplicate. D’oh! Went back and fixed that and life got a lot better.

rjkennedy98 9:33 AM  

I greatly enjoyed this puzzle. There was nothing wrong with the double HIPs. They are joined downwards so it makes sense. I'm not sure what the constructor could've done to "fix" that problem.

But I do agree that the rest of this week has been full of truly bizarre puzzles, like the quip that made no sense and the "Z" theme puzzle. This Thursday was a nice return to normal.

As for Rex's Hipster rant about "a largely imaginary class of person." They aren't an imaginary class just like Punks and Goths aren't an "imaginary class." I met my friend's daughter for instance who is 20 and from about 2000 miles away from where I grew up, and she is a hipster (about 10 years after I went through that phase), and they still do the same exact "non-conforming" activities we did: listen to indie music, take art classes, go to music festivals, smoke weed, ect. Sure they are against hyper-consumerism, if you don't count the $200K art school degree paid for by Daddy's corporate job. As they said in Good Will Hunting, I could get the same education "for 2.50 in late charges at the public library."

fuzzle47 9:34 AM  

Loved the " joining of the hips"! A really satisfactory "aha" moment when I realized what was going on.

pabloinnh 9:35 AM  

Well I liked this one a lot, but I'm easily pleased. Knew something was up right away in the NW when ARIISE had to be right, but wasn't. Left me thinking A-R-I-i, hmm, two I's, as in ARI's, pronounced ARISE? That didn't go anywhere, and I just accepted the idea that there would be a couple of random double letters. Never saw the HIP+HIP juxtaposition until I hit the revealer, which is just the way I like it. Nothing like a good aha! to make your morning.

GADGET for WIDGET, TAKESASIDE for TAKESIDES--those were my big slowdowns for today. Hadn't seen that clue for SILEX and wanted PIKA with a C, which is incorrect, but makes for an interesting kind of ranger pants.

Anyone bothered by HIPSTERS can move to this part of NH, where they are largely endangered species, even at our local college. They must favor an urban habitat.

Thanks for all the fun, JG. I for one thought this one was Just Great.

-3 yd, with two words that were just a random collection of letters. I never feel bad about missing those.

Unknown 9:35 AM  

I could not make a better argument for Shortz' retirement if I tried.

JD 9:43 AM  

Looking back on the finished grid, I see a fun person's brain attic. Look, there's a Rat and a Widget, some Hippopotamuses. Party Whips and Shipwrecks. Joined at the Hip with a Pita Chip. Expecting the Coxae to say, "Ready, Row" in unison and hearing them yell back, "We're Pelvic Joints dammit!"

Khaki always reminds me of the Khaki Scouts in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom. Whenever I go on my walk in my retirement-from-caring-about-how-I-look clothes - baggy Bermuda shorts, collared white shirt, and sandals with socks - I think, "Khaki Scout." I don't care what the Eliite think in their Lulu Lemon!

Wait, Eliite? Believing in my sweet, naive way that this guy was going to come up with double I phrases slowed things down for a bit until I suspended disbelief and carried on.

Otto 9:46 AM  

This must have been intended to have those HIP boxes 2 high. Because then they would have two words actually joined at the HIP. Then the theme would make sense as would the downs. Instead, lazy execution, or missed opportunity by the Times here.

GILL I. 9:46 AM  

Hippety hippety hop
a hipster meets a cop,
away, pell mell
to a dungeon cell,
Hippety hippety hop.

I can't figure out what I'm supposed to like about this. I want any down you give me to make my HIPS jive with the best of them.
I knew you had a HIP problem going on at the start. I wasn't sure why. I get to the JOINED reveal and instead of letting out a OOOOH or an AAAAAH, my COXAE let out the SILEX scream.
I had the usual doovers....I push back errands on the weekend and my thingy is anything but a WIDGET (use your imagination). My nightmares don't involve an sireebob....No male demon has ever dared to have sex with me while I'm sleeping. I'd tear his man buns to smithereens.
I wanted to like this, John. I did like HIPPOPOTAMUSES, though, only because I fell in love with Hyacinth Hippo in the movie Fantasia. I even got a little tutu like hers.

Georgia 9:49 AM  

I wanted the reveal to be Hooray! Guess it's the 60's cheerleader in me.

Georgia 9:50 AM  

The huge population of Asia.

Georgia 9:51 AM  

Singer as in singing to the cops. Channel what Cagney never really said in a film, "You dirty rat!"

G. Weissman 9:53 AM  

Anyone who has read this blog for years or even just months if not weeks will recognize the cycle: Rex mercilessly critiques an unexceptional, flawed puzzle; others agree or defend the puzzle, or add points or explanations; and still others voice surprise that a blog devoted to critiquing crossword puzzles should critically evaluate something insignificant that is only meant to entertain. Amidst this, one daily poster seems capable of praising to high heaven a stool sample: the undigested corn kernels are exquisite, the colors and odor a reminder of the beauty of the human digestive system — thank you, sir, and please drop off another soon! The repetition is, I suppose, part of the fun of reading this blog. Those thoughts aside, my guess is that the constructor of today’s puzzle tried and failed to find enough words and phrases containing HH, II, and PP, and then went with double-sized boxes, and then had those replaced by the editor with repeating boxes that (for the downs) make no sense.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

This was a fast (for me, for a Thursday), no cheat solve for me. Solved the SW corner completely first and quickly found the theme clue. The doubled letters were weird but hardly puzzle ruiners. Only thing to complain about there would be that answers I had originally come up with and rejected as too short turned out to be the right answers after all, but it's not as though I forgot what those answers were.

And HIPSTERS are absolutely a thing, thankfully less so nowadays. The clothing and hair style was never the grating thing about them - not something I wanted to imitate, but not grating, either. And it was never really about anti-consumerism. It's the non-mainstream interests combined with patting oneself on the back for them that makes the scorn for the stereotype.

RooMonster 10:07 AM  

Hey All !
Odd puz. Agree with the peeps* who wanted a double-square thingie so the Downs weren't wonky.
*HIPSTER speak for "people" πŸ€ͺ

And isn't it sorta kinda cheating to have the Revealer contain HIP? Seems like it's at least a "Shenanigans!" call.

Noticed the 16 Long grid. Also noticed still only 38 Blockers, which is nice. More puz, same blocker count!

HIPPOPOTAMI, Har. Always misspell it as HIPPOPOT"O"MUS. Always. And shouldn't it actually be MUSSES? Asking for @LMS. 😁

NE corner was a Nightmare personified. Holy EGIS. Didn't know GABE, ended up Googing him. WEIMAR is a Where The Heck!? Also wanting dEl for TEX ,(thinking about it now, DEL was the First State, so circa 1785 or so?) Wanted suCUBUS and gaDGET. Ouch.

I'll have to ACCEPPTS this puz, doesn't mean it's on my fav list, though. TEPPID HOHHUM, maybe.


No F's (how AWFFUL!)

Carola 10:09 AM  

I expected that the problematic Downs would keep @Rex from adding his "hooray," but I really enjoyed puzzling out how the HIPs worked, followed then by the instant flash of the reveal. I liked the rebus (sorry, @Anoa Bob!) variation of spreading the same letter over 2 squares instead of crowding multiple letters into one. Starting out, I was willing to accept that ARISE and TEPID somehow were wrong, but at the point of the too-short EXHALE, I had my wait-a-minute pause for reconsidering...light dawned on the HIPSTERS and HIPPOs, and helped me see the WHIPS and SHIP. It was an asy cruise after that, but I appreciated the struggle I had at the start - what I want in Thursday trickery.

Joaquin 10:10 AM  

Sign me up as another one who didn't know that "hipster" was a derogatory term. And I certainly never knew that a man bun was a hipster thing. I just thought it was cultural appropriation of ancient Chinese warriors.

Some might say I'm jealous but what I say is this: Of all the things I've ever lost, I miss my hair the least.

Nancy 10:10 AM  

Re: ICE BOX. I don't know if what we had when I was young was actually an ICE BOX, but I know that's what we called it. "Put it in the ICE BOX," my mother would say, and she was still saying it long after the late '40s and the '50s were over. The term was so ingrained in me that I probably continued to say it through the '60s and '70s and '80s -- right up until the time that someone, I can't remember who, looked at me with a deeply furrowed brow and said: "What did you just call your refrigerator???"

I have watched my terminology carefully ever since. But, trust me, it takes a great deal of prior thought for me to remember to use the word "refrigerator". And as for the awful "fridge" -- I just can't. The word makes me cringe. Even though I can't entirely explain why.

jberg 10:27 AM  

Count me among those who like this one. It's Thursday, there's a trick, and the trick is that you have to read those pairs of hips as "joined." Big squares would have made it way too easy, and undermined the fun of trying to thing of words with a double H in them. I solve in the paper, but I do agree that it would have been fun to have the app morph the pairs of hips into single larger ones after the solve was finished.

I got TEX entirely from crosses, but I'm embarrassed that I didn't know it -- the date, during the Polk presidency, should have given it away. OTOH, I knew PIKA -- only because the invisible rabbit in "Harvey" is a pooka, and I guess they're related somehow.

SILEX, though, and that Bob guy, were complete mysteries. Fortunately, I didn't think one could be rAPED on audio, so I guess he's SAGET.

Photomatte 10:31 AM  

Hipsters are rightfully denigrated. I've yet to meet one (and I've spent lots of time in Portland so believe me, I've met many!) who didn't have the perfect blend of condescension and irony, topped off with a dash of defensive pugnaciousness. They should just admit they're closet neo-cons and stop trying so hard to be something else.
On to the puzzle: who in the holy hell let this one slip through? Solving online, I was sure I'd get an error message when I'd filled in my last square, since the Down answers were all nonsensical. Perhaps that's the theme of the puzzle: hipsters don't make any sense? Okay, now I like the puzzle!

jberg 10:31 AM  

@Nancy and @Barbara S. from yesterday -- I love this blog! Or at least the comments section. Where else could I find such interesting discussions of everything under the sun.

gregg 10:34 AM  

That is not correct. Just google it. Hippopotamus is Greek not Latin.

Mary McCarty 10:35 AM  

Good grief! All that malarkey (when are we gonna see THAT word in a puzzle?) about the HIP squares —aha! A pun? “It’s HIP to be (in a double) square!”
The *squares* are joined at the HIP, not the words. Would’ve liked to see *square* and *hurray* in a HIP-HIP puzzle, like so many others.

Whatsername 10:36 AM  

Started out thinking Rex is going to DETEST this one and when I finished knew without doubt I did. Not the INANEST concept of a theme ever, just not a very enjoyable one. It might’ve worked better with oversize squares at the “joint” instead of the double letters in the downs. That IMHO would have transformed this from clunky to clever because it’s not a bad concept, but the gibberish in the crosses just ruined it.

The best part was the learning that whales and HIPPOPOTAMUSES are close relatives. I had no IDEA. We’ll, that and OTTO Pilot. Don’t call me Surely!

Keith D 10:36 AM  

Oh, Rich. Poor, poor, naive Rich. Welcome to the blog.

(Totally agree with you, in case that wasn’t obvious ;) )

mathgent 10:37 AM  

I'm really disappointed that so many of us didn't like it. Of course, the speed solvers didn't like it. Figuring out the gimmick slowed them up. But it doesn't take a lot of imagination for the rest of us to see the three HIPs sitting one on top of the other, sort of stuttering through the three downs. It's Thursday, we should expect something out of the ordinary.

Nice touch. COXAE right in the middle of the grid. They're hip bones.

I thought that it was great. Single-digit threes, making room for an above-average number of longs. Twelve red plus signs in the margins, also above average. Smart cluing. Junk-free.

Dan P 10:39 AM  

I've seen many a PIKA in the high Rockies, cute indeed. And much more appealing than a pica, a term I learned recently when I found an old 1992 NYT Sunday magazine and solved the puzzle. That pica was crossed with topi, another obscure animal, and I could not get the P.

A 10:48 AM  

First thing I noticed was the zz in the constructor’s name. Took a while to find what Mr. Guzzetta HHad IIn PPlace.

This is a smart ALEC of a puzzle, taunting right from the OPENing, and I had to settle for an entry here and there until I finally caught on at the reveal. Went back and in no time found the other two (“oh, that’s why TEPID and EXHALED wouldn’t work”). Short work from there to my last square, the B in GABE/ICEBOX. I know about ICEBOXes - my grandfather supplemented his income during the depression delivering ICE, but I had plopped in TEn for the state, and GALE seemed reasonable, so it took longer than it should to oust the Icelon machine.

Why aren’t there two p’s in tepid?

Since there are only three themers, including the reveal, seems like they could have avoided the extraneous double letters - OTTO, JEER, ACCEPPTS, and TTYL, not to mention the triple in DRESSSIZE. Also, JOINED AT THE HIP implies two people facing the same direction, so the joined hips should be in the middle, like in the central themer. Kind of awkward to be joined at the hip the other way. The other two were symmetrical, at least. HIP TRYSTS?

On the upside:
“Quiet” for DEADEN

Learned PIKA and SILEX
Now I can type €

Take a HIP Trip with jaZZ organist Don PaTTerson, born July 22, 1936.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Once again OFL refuses to get it. Don't know why. The revealer is clear: 'joined at the hip', so that means 2 (or, potentially, more) bodies, each with a HIP joined together at that point. In the crossword, that has to mean each answer has to have its own HIP at the join point. They do. In the cross direction, however, it is seen as ONE HIP, and thus it works. If they (constructor/editor) had gone with the double size 'square', the conceit would fail; only ONE HIP.

A short trip to the wiki, and one discovers that 'joined at the hip' isn't just rhetorical
"Pygopagus or Iliopagus: Two bodies joined at the pelvis."

faber 11:02 AM  

I read through the puzzle without filling in anything until I found the revealer and filled in JOINEDATTHEHIP. I marveled at how clever I have become. Then immediately decided 63A must be POTATOCHIP where the hip part is shared. This allowed me to fill in SW corner. After that, I was hopelessly confused. OK, I'm still not great at this.

Masked and Anonymous 11:03 AM  

yep. That wordin on the revealer's clue does get a bit fuzzy. But it's pretty clear what the theme mcguffin is: Each of the two HIPs should be dealt with as if joined together, as one, for solvin their Down crossers such as RE(HH)AB, AR(II)SE, and TE(PP)ID. Nuthin too deep, there.
Cost m&e very few extra nanoseconds, as I got the revealer when it was still blank, with the help of them HIPPOS & HIPSTERS.

staff weeject pick: AIIR. Too bad ERE couldn'ta been ERRE, just for hars.

fave fillin: INCUBUS.

Thanx for the hip fun, Mr. Guzzetta dude.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


prostheticgod 11:12 AM  

Thank you! This is an excellent summary, and it is kind of amazing how much like clockwork it almost always is. I’m particularly interested in the negativity about negativity, and how pearl-clutching it can get. Sometimes people feel negatively about things - why do people get so agitated by that? Is it a Midwestern thing?

Joseph Michael 11:19 AM  

Having dopped too much again, the inanest hipster exhhaled a heavy breath of aiir and with teppid resolve exclaimed, “Ok, Ok, I’ll arrise to the occasion and go to rehhab this once, but it has to be an eliite establishment and not one of those hohhum dives that acceppts just anyone. TTYL.”

Anonymoose 11:21 AM  

@Richard. It depends on the subject. I can't stand bagpipes. I DETEST bagpipes. She can't stand bagpipes. She DETESTs bagpipes.

I.M. Hipp 11:29 AM  

Agree that the centrally located COXAE (pelvic, aka hipbones) was a clever addition. I had missed that before mathgent pointed it out. Thanks.

jb129 11:31 AM  

I haven't read all the reviews yet (only Rex's) but I gotta say I did NOT enjoy yesterdays or todays puzzles.

Totally unjoyable (yes, to repeat myself!)

egsforbreakfast 11:32 AM  

Because it’s always fun to beat a dead horse, my take is that the way the Downs work with the theme is better thought out than many are giving Mr. Guzzetta credit for. The theme pairs are joined at the HIP, but not elsewhere. So, the way the HIPs interact with the their crosses is as one, just the way the expression is used about two people.

This explanation, which seemed incite foul when I started typing it, no longer does. Let’s agree to forget I ever said it.

But I liked the puzzle and the fact that the revealer really revealed what was going on for me.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

We have SILEX. What happened to Proctor?

The Joker 11:46 AM  

I don't have any thoughts about "hipster" but I DETEST the man bun to an unhealthy extent. I carry hedge shears wherever I go in the hopes I'll get a chance to lop one off.

What? 11:47 AM  

Ditto. Makes me wonder why I read the bloggers. It’s kind of a perverse pleasure, like reading the latest COVid gibberish from Trumpers (item in the Times about a physician claiming vaccines magnetize people and interfere with 5G networks). Amusing and aggravating at the same time.

mathgent 11:49 AM  

@G Weissman (9:53). Wonderful parody of Lewis praising a bad puzzle.

Sgreennyc 11:54 AM  

If you want to understand Rex’s dislike of Will Shortz just imagine Rex as Trump and Will as Obama. It’s as simple as that. Envious resentment of the smart and talented by a pretentious hack.

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

@Unknown 9:35- Unfortunately for you Will Shortz recently told The Guardian that “he has no intention of retiring- ever.” Fortunately for you there are plenty of other crosswords out there if you don’t like this one.

albatross shell 12:05 PM  

I grew up last century in the tri-state area and GABE was a gimmie and this puzzle seemed on the easy side especially the West half. So Rex nailed that.

I got to the reveal with 2 crosses in and JOINED AT THE HIP went right in. When a second stack of HIPs showed up the SE end, the game was almost up.

Hibberry Gibberry Gibberish. I do not care. My flirtation with anarchy or Lewis Carrol or math or infinity or GΓΆdel or science fiction or whatever. (I think it may have more to do with being southpaw. I do not expect world to be overtly rational) The apparent gibberish in grids does not bother me as long as there is a method in the madness. This is particularly true of Thursday crosswords. It is a puzzle figure it out. It just seems that there is no rhyme no reason today. There is. It's part of the game and the NW and SE corners alone make it consistent and solvable. Rejoice and have fun. Your basic puzzle philosophy. Albie's Lemma.

Which brings me back to yesterday's complaints about uncrossed squares. We have had them before. When are they allowed? When they are in some meeaningful way connected to the theme. Not what the rule book says? This ain't baseball.

I always confuse my incubi and succubi. Even in crosswords since I always forget thee are two C's in the latter. New mnemonic solution: Succubus is woman, breasts shaped like C's.

Distant cousin of whale has laugh-inducing weed. Now I can spell HIPPOPOTAMUSES too.

Most suggestive answer: PARTY WHIPS.
Oddest looking hip-related non-themer: COXAE
Favorite other answers: HO(H)HUM SHIPWRECK (Rex nailed that one too) ICEBOX TRYSTS WIDGET
Proudest moment: Getting BEDTIME with no crosses in under 30 second. Whoa, Nellie. Is that a left-handed compliment to myself? Did I just use left-handed as a slur? Lemme out of here.

Molly 12:08 PM  

Loved this puzzle. No junk clues, clever twist to sole - perfect Thursday IMO

old timer 12:13 PM  

I stopped reading the comments, as so many of you just did not get the point. In Across World, there are two HIPs, one HIP under the other, figuratively JOINED AT THE HIP. But in Down World, the revealer tells us there is only one HIP -- the HIPS are literally joined together as one, Siamese twin style. Since there is only one HIP, the Downs are required to act as if there was only one HIP.

It is a wild and crazy concept. But today is Thursday, the home of wild and crazy. I say, Very Well Done. A minus work, or at least B plus.

I was intrigued by "hipster". I don't have an OED, but plan to look it up someday at the library. My Merriam Webster Collegiate says the word first appeared in 1941. I imagine hep, and hip, in the sense of having special, insider awareness, is a good deal older. The date makes a lot of sense, too: the hipsters of my youth were Kerouac, Burroughs, and the gang, whose hipsterdom started after the War, or in some cases during the War.

And I believe the reason the San Francisco counterculture types sometimes allowed they were hippies, and not hipsters, is precisely because they felt they were more aware, more hip, and certainly less pretentious than anyone whom you might call a hipster, back in 1965-1967. Thanks mainly to LSD, which was the enemy of pretense and pretentiousness. Think of Marty Balin, Darby Slick and his sister Grace. Think of John Sebastian and his New York crowd. All of a sudden, it was cool to make tunes that were simple and overwhelmingly beautiful. Aging hipsters may have preferred jazz, but hippies loved classic beauty -- and in San Francisco, chose to live in Victorian and Edwardian houses that were beautiful and a joy to behold.

It was an absolute joy to be alive, and in San Francisco, in those days, and everyone knew they were living in a time they would see only once, and most likely never again.

jb129 12:15 PM  

Please give us an Erik Agard or Robyn Weintraub puzzle tomorrow (Friday) after a dismal week (but I did love SHARK!).

Sorry all other constructors - love you all but they are my favorites.

BTW - never finished today's puzzle - got the theme right away but had to cheat - maybe I just didn't care.

pmdm 12:20 PM  

My reaction to the puzzle was one of ambiguity. Neither liked nor disliked the puzzle, just accetped it.

My reaction to the comments here (at least some of them) is surprise. Thursday tends to be a tricky day. If the puzzle deleted the horizontal line separating the two HIPs over each other, the down entries would have made total sense. But on a Thursday, you are supposed to think, something apparently did not do before composing their comments. Slow down and work it out for yourself. Give yourself an AHA moment. It's a bit more fun that way.

In the world of crosswords, police informer is called a RAT. A person who informs on someone (in the world of crosswords) sings on that person. Put the two concepts together, and you can understand the clue for 1A. Took me a while to put two and two together.

bocamp 12:23 PM  

Youngest granddaughter and I use TTYL frequently when texting, usually meaning the conversation will resume later in the day. 'Bye' is indeterminate.

Those double HIP down crosses were a bit of a stretch, but I didn't find myself overly concerned with the aesthetics. And, with a stretch of the imagination, those two HIPs are JOINED as they are or as they would be in one larger cell.

I Want a HIPPOPOTAMUS for Christmas ~ Gayla Peevey

I want a HIPPOPOTAMUS for Christmas
Only a HIPPOPOTAMUS will do
I don't want a doll, no dinky Tinkertoy
I want a HIPPOPOTAMUS to play with and enjoy

@TTrimble (8:56 AM)

Thx, yd was tough, but td was a bear just to get to pg -10

@pabloinnh (9:35 AM)

I agree! I never feel bad about missing SB words that are unknown and seemingly un-intuitable or unguessable. Such was the case for me the dbyd.

Btw, thx for sharing your results. I wish more folks would share (keeping it brief and unobtrusive).


pg -10

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

Whatsername 12:26 PM  

@Rich Glauber (9:02) And I am mystified by those who feel a need to critique the critics. Just as the crossword is “a diversion and something to enjoy,” the comments section is “about whatever puzzle we're judging.” I’m here to share my reaction and compare with what others thought, whether they sang its praises or threw it against the wall in frustration. If I loved it and someone else hated it, I’m interested in understanding why and vice versa. I don’t feel entitled to perfection but we’re all - vitriol and smugness notwithstanding - entitled to our opinions, including yours of course. Why else would we be here?

@GILL (9:46) Nice poem. Would’ve been a good one for the tortoise and the hare puzzle the other day.

@RooMonster (10:07) “isn't it sorta kinda cheating to have the Revealer contain HIP?” Excellent observation! And what’s up with that anyway?

@Nancy (10:10) Same here for ICE BOX. I was an adult before I realized I probably should start calling it a refrigerator.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Hippies were gross. Straight up self-involved bums.
Hipsters are as bad. And yes, Rex, the ironic t-shirts, skinny jeans, man buns, really any hairstyle (including facial) designed to draw attention-- are all part and parcel of a genuine phenomenon.

Fantastic puzzle. I'm with Chen who gave it POW. It doesn't hurt that Rex doesn't actually understand the theme. Again.

camilof 12:53 PM  

Like many have said above, at least a couple of decades ago 'hipster' was very much a type in urban settings, but for me the defining characteristic was that if you expressed a liking for something, it was to be derided because they had liked it long before you — back when it was still cool.

JonP 1:03 PM  

If you do it on paper, the theme works perfectly fine. I wrote in HIP on each of the acrosses and struggled with the downs. When I finally figured out what was happening I overwrote the individual HIPs with a large HIP, thus "joining" the squares. Seemed thematically fine to me.

Meeeek! 1:04 PM  

Hooray! Loved it as the struggle with the downs made me work around for a while. Struggle with an eventual resolution feels good. Joining hips makes sense and the puzzle eventually came in under my average Thursday time.

jae 1:05 PM  

Easy-medium. I had a couple of spelling problem (COXAE, HIPPO....) which required fixing otherwise this would have been easyish. According to Xwordinfo the decision not to have oversized squares was a conscious one and Jeff gave it POW. Liked it more than @Rex did.

Teedmn 1:14 PM  

My progress on the theme took a three-step approach - when I had HIPSTERS and HIPPOPOTAMUSES in place I thought maybe the theme was going to be things that can be submerged, like the hippo is underwater so you ignore it (on the other hand, that makes no sense because most of the word wasn't submerged. On the other, other hand, an iceberg and a hippo are similar in that the bulk of them is submerged. But that's not what was happening here...). Anyhoo...

Once I hit the second set of HIPs, I was going for @Birchbark's HIP, HIP hooray. But hitting 57A, all was revealed and I was fully satisfied with the trip.

John Guzzetta, thanks.

David Grenier 1:16 PM  

100% this.

Phil 1:34 PM  

So Rex is saying the down squares should be 2x tall and only one HIP occupying it?

If so I don’t understand how giving away the trick before you even start would make sense. I thought we had one recently with the doubled up square. I still had to fill it in like this one and when I was done the happy pencil showed it as an extralarge square. But it didn’t happen here.

EdFromHackensack 1:58 PM  

Exactly. I think a lot of these folks use the app. Most complaints I read today have to do more with the app than anything else. I’m a traditionalist and do it in the actual newspaper.

Blue Stater 2:28 PM  

Rex, the NYTXW didn't lose its bearings this past week. It started losing them in 1993, when WS took over the puzzles. They are now a colossal mess. We badly, badly need a fresh approach and a new editor. But if there is one thing of which the current NYT management is incapable, it's admitting and fixing a mistake. Kinda odd for a newspaper, but there you go.

burtonkd 2:33 PM  

For some reason, I went straight to the revealer and was so proud to get "Like peas in a pod" for the "inseperable". I then kept looking for the multiple P's rebus squares. Eventually had to ditch the idea, but @Nancy, perhaps this could be "our" next puzzle:)

@Z - hands up for arched eyebrows at deep pelvic knowledge, although it is a nice thematic touch (oops).

@ G Weissman - that is the least charitable description of the most charitable person I've ever read.

UTE seems incomplete. ATV or SUV work, but UTE is just short for utility.

GILL I. 2:46 PM  

Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer HIPSTER
That is what I want to be
And If I were an Oscar Mayer HIPSTER
I would be a big fat S.O.B. lets talk about the ICE BOX because @Nancy brought it up and I always listen to @Nancy. In case you care, I've never seen that word EVER. I learned it from watching TV. Probably "I LOVE LUCY." I know we had ice in our "fridge" because my dad made daiquiris every night. He'd pound those little cubes in a towel and hammer them to smithereens and the glasses had to be frosted so I'm sure we had one of those things.
I have to ask....What color was your first "refrigerator"? Ours was avocado green. Then we got a caca brown one. My brother, who lived in NYC, had a retro red one.
I'm bored and it's hot today so I thought I'd just pose this question. Feel free to get up and walk away.

Aaron Riccio 2:55 PM  

I don't understand how recognizing that the HIPs are joined going down (and thus only read once) is any more problematic than knowing that you have to read an entry backward, as you praised in, say, the February 22, 2018 puzzle. There's nothing wrong with disliking a gimmick, but the criticism seems inconsistent.

blinker474 3:05 PM  

Don't understand all the venom directed at this unusual puzzle. It's different, and it's easy to figure out the gimmick. It's supposed to be a diversion, not a Nobel winning construction. Give the creator and the editor a break. Welcome the unusual, don't condemn it.

Zwhatever 3:17 PM  

@oldtimer has the best explanation of the theme I think, but I’m unswayed. The end result is still gibberish in the puzzle when it was avoidable. I suspect whoever said the double sized squares would make the device too obvious has identified the underlying decision point. Also, @oldtimer and others can’t get away with the most obvious flaw with their justifications, the revealer is JOINED AT THE HIP not JOINED AT THE HIPs.

I would compare this particular execution of the theme like going to a concert and really wanting to like the music but somebody’s instrument is out of tune. Which wouldn’t bother @Richard Glauber because a concert is just a diversion so no worries about an out of tune instrument.

@Mary Catherine - Great. Your comment firmly planted this tune on replay in my head. Going to have to play more Sex Pistols, now.

JD 3:29 PM  

@Gil, Har, that second poem was even better!

@Lewis, You were particularly poetic today. You're an oasis of decency. Thanks.

Eliza 3:46 PM  

You're right.

A 3:50 PM  

@Nancy, I am so glad I started printing the puzzles, and grateful to you for encouraging that! Not only can you sidestep so many online obstacles, it’s better exercise for the brain. I wasn't upset by the "double-downs" either; in fact I enjoyed the momentary confusion seeing two II's and wondering WOE is that? I was puzzled - hurray! Hi, @albatross, @Birchbark! What’s life without a bit of whimsy?

I think I have relatives who still call it an ICEBOX, and it doesn’t even make me blink. Beats the 5-syllable ‘refrigerator.’ Can’t say I mind ‘fridge except that it makes me want to spell refrigerator with a 'd'.

@Roo, the HIP in the revealer caught my eye but I’m not up on puzzle rules so who am I to complain?

What did strike me as a real slip up was that JOINED AT THE HIP and PITA CHIP were also joined at the T. Methinks the revealer reveals too much.

Every so often πŸ˜‰ someone chides others for their posts. Today @Lewis was on the receiving end. You might consider the possibility that @Lewis deliberately challenges himself to 1) enjoy every puzzle purely for his own benefit, and 2) write comments that are unique and point out things the rest of us may enjoy. @Lewis’ comments combine colorful turns of phrase with clarity of purpose. I admire his imagination and command of the language and would be happy for the opportunity to read a Lewis novel.

puzzlehoarder 4:06 PM  

Harder than your average Thursday. I didn't expect there to be an A in HIPPOPOTAMUS because of course I can't spell. That along with the doubled P made ACCEPPTS hard to accept.

In the NE I actually took out INCUBUS do I could put in GADGET. I finished by coming up with WIDGET and WEIMAR.

@ G. Weissman, are you a hipster?

Bad Mouse 4:24 PM  


last time I looked, the phrase is, in fact, 'joined at the HIP' singular. always has been.

IIRC, when I was told it, the meaning was somewhat Erich Fromm-ish: the susceptibility of some people to mass and follow blindly some demagogue. The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave)!!

albatross shell 4:28 PM  

I solved both your spelling problems beause great minds misspell alike. Unfortunately I don't know a good way to misspell "alike". You're welcome. Revealers banned from hipness? Revealers banned from themeness? Bah. Humbug. Even on a non-thursday. See my first post. Didn't you ever do double duty? The clue does double duty, why not the answer. Signs and rulebooks.

Dang you, which is my way of saying great minds, same gutter, and I find out you published first.

@old timer
Great post on puzzle and the 60's. Always some unimagiative annonopode hater in the background. Somethings never change. I still would like to have a Spoonful shirt but can never find one. The soccer-style ones aren't the same. But dressing in black is always fun too. I went to a 60's party in the late 80's and was wearing a full-sleeved Errol Flynn pirate shirt in mindblowing green (I had bought in '66) with extra-wide striped bellbottoms and got accused of being disco by people dressed as college student war protesters who were 10 years younger than me. Not that I wasn't part of that crew too. Cassidy Kesey Ginsburg Leary folkies beats hipsters politicos "hippies". A lot of threads merging in just that side of the 60's. And the music.
Gibberish foolish inspiring brilliant dangerous daring rebellious conforming. And it all merged and worked for a while. A lot to love, a lot to fault. A lot to fall apart. Still like it better than the other side.

Manbuns. Still a lotta hate based on hairstyles. When will they ever learn.

If this puzzle is your best argument for getting rid of Shortz please please please say no more about the issue.

If you can't imagine how Shortz feels about having his work criticized by some rando on the internet everyday try imagining how Rex feels about some annonymous here. Or @Z for that matter.

Rex is informed and knowledgeable about crosswords and the crossword world. He devotes time and effort to it. Why not take what he says about it at face value. It is opinion based on what he believes crosswords should and could be. He thinks the NYTCW is the most influential one in the world and it should and could be better. It seems like many constructors agree with some of his criticisms. Some changes have happened that he may in part be responsible for. Will has possibly some agreement there. Respond to Rex or the puzzle. Rex and Will do not read or respond. So have some respect for your fellow bloggers who do read your posts here. And keep your personal insults and antiRex and antiShortz rants to a minimum and maybe when you have something new to say.

Still naive after all these years.

Not all conforming is equal. Depends on the size and scope of what you are or are not conforming to. Simple logic only goes so far. Witty observations are not indicators of wisdom.

crayonbeam 5:02 PM  

As a park ranger, I really objected to 44A - park ranger pants, often: KHAKI

It just seems... unresearched

Federal, state, and city park rangers around NY don't have khaki as part of their uniform, so where is this coming from? International park rangers?

Certainly the iconic park rangers in the US wear green pants.

It annoyed me.

Plus DIRTY MUDDY ITCHY ILFIT BAGGY CARGO TIGHT all would be more accurate =)

RAD2626 5:09 PM  

Totally on the like side today. Easy to envision the double box which I found not at all distracting. Revealer made the use of my imagination worth it.

Like others had trouble in the NE. Unlike Rex, my toeholds were only GABE and SCABS. EGOS broke it open for me finally. Never have used INCUBUS to describe a nightmare, maybe because I only took one year of Latin, or because I always have sweet dreams.

Belvy 5:18 PM  

My fastest Thursday puzzle ever

albatross shell 5:38 PM  

If a clue and answer correspond in a single interpretation out of many all is hunky-dory. If a theme works in one interpretation but not in others let's find a new problem.

Joined at the hip. It means in normal usage 2 people who are inseparable as if joined at the hip. 2 people, 2 hips, but the phrase is joined at the hip, not hips. The phrases are likewise joined at the hip, not hips.

People would have to have both of their hips both joined to be joined at the hips, relative to the normal usage. Yes, the phrases only have one hip each. And the phrases are not people either. But how desperate do you want to get? It's perfectly ok to not like it even it works. Maybe you just feel its awkward. But the hip-hips thing is not a flaw.

By the way I rambled a bit about the Lakers last night. Also answeresd an anon.

Anonymous 5:38 PM  

Great puzzle. Ignore the haters.

Nancy 5:51 PM  

@GILL (2:46) -- White. Every ICE BOX or refrigerator, whichever one it was, was white. Growing up in my family's apartment, it/they were white. When I moved into my first apt, I inherited one that was white. When I had to replace it, I replaced it with white. When I moved into my current apt, what I inherited was white. When I had to replace it, I replaced it with white. And, heaven forfend, I have to replace it again, I will replace it with white.

Am I just about the dullest person you have ever met, @GILL?

Speaking of being considered dull: @old timer (12:13), (usually one of my favorite posters), -- you've cut me to the quick today. Mind you, I've never had any wish to be either a hippie or a hipster -- even back when it was the in-thing to be. But when you say I couldn't have been one unless I'd have been willing to take LSD; when you say that I couldn't truly have appreciated beauty or found real joy in life unless I'd been willing to take LSD -- well that's not fair. I believe that your own brain and consciousness are the most precious thing you possess and to risk totally mucking it up in the future by taking LSD and chancing a "bad trip" is, well, absolutely nuts. I considered people who experimented with LSD to be unstable and if I knew about it (I'm sure I didn't always know in every case) I tried to stay far away from them.

Chip Hilton 6:06 PM  

I played golf today so I’m late to the party. I didn’t like the look of the finished product until I erased the three HIP stacks and replaced them with three HIPs writ large. Suddenly, it looked quite attractive.

Nancy 6:09 PM  

I have a friend named Carol who is very much like Lewis. She has almost never read a book she didn't enjoy. She has almost never seen a play she didn't think was a good play. (And some were real stinkers; I know because I was at the theater with her.) She also gets along with just about everyone she's ever met -- including some people who most people would find absolutely impossible to be around.

I wouldn't necessarily buy a ticket based on her theater recommendations, but she's a great friend and one of the most truly happy people I know. People like her make the world a kinder, gentler, happier place. Our Lewis is like that. He deserves to be praised for his sunny, reliably good nature and positive outlook. I'm not always in agreement with him on every puzzle, but I always enjoy reading him and I know that he makes this blog a kinder, gentler, happier place.

Anonymous 6:13 PM  
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Anonymous 6:20 PM  
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PGregory Springer 6:27 PM  

Nobody would read the blog if it was all sweetness and delight. Rex's blog is my second entertainment of the day, right after I finish the puzzle itself.

Lewis 6:38 PM  

@jd, @a, @Nancy -- Thank you for those very kind words. Believe it or not, there are puzzles that I do not like, even detest, especially puzzles in which it feels like the constructor and/or editor just mailed it in. And there is a lot of that out there.

But I don't feel that way about the NYT puzzles, in which I find wit, polish, and effort. And when that is the general offering that is published, I'm more forgiving of occasional slips. I also know that compromises often have to be made when putting together a puzzle and when editing it, because perfect words for various spaces often don't exist. I personally know the effort that goes into the final product at the NYT (such as having constructors rework various puzzle areas or change theme answers), and so often sense the talent that went into the making of the puzzles, knowing as I do what making puzzles is like. So yes, I have rarely met a NYT puzzle that I haven't liked.

Anonymous 7:45 PM  

The NYTXW has over a half million subscribers, This blog gets a few hundred comments a day. I’m sure Shortz sees Sharp as a minor pain in the ass but he’s small potatoes.

Anonymous 8:08 PM  
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William Blake 8:10 PM  

@A Shell- Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the wither'd field where the farmer ploughs for bread in vain

Anonymous 8:39 PM  

Nancy, believe it or not, when I was a little kid in the 1950s my parents had an old 1920s refrigerator (not an ice box, though maybe actually it was a converted ice box - it had a compressor on top) and it was BEIGE.


Anonymous 8:50 PM  

@8:08- Binghamton is a good school. I like to hire State School kids, Albany, Binghamton, Stony Brook, Buffalo, etc. Get a great education (if you really want to learn) and leave without piles of debt.

Anonymous 9:00 PM  

Ice box reminds me of The Honeymooners Christmas… That is beautiful, Ralph. I mean it. You know something else? You know, it was a smart idea of yours to put that underneath there, because in case accidentally if she goes in there and finds it, she'll just think it's a pan for under the icebox. It's novel, too, you know. I mean, she's not gonna get another present from anyone like this. She couldn't.
Ralph Kramden : No one would have a need for two of those.

Anonymous 9:04 PM  
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Anonymous 10:03 PM  

Rex, if you have only ever seen pikas in xword puzzles then you travel to our western mountain states and especially our national parks. They are adorable little creatures who shouldn't be dismissed so cavalierly.

Zwhatever 10:26 PM  

@Albie - I think we don’t disagree all that much. When I said I was not swayed I was referencing my initial comment of knowing the execution can be justified, but that the justification was unsatisfying. @oldtimer has the fullest and most accurate description of the theme, but the down answers still grate. You are correct that the idiom references two HIPs despite being singular. What I find irksome is that the puzzle wants it both ways. Would it have been too easy if the squares were doubled up? I don’t know. But I do think it would have been a more elegant and satisfying execution of the theme.

albatross shell 12:34 AM  

@anon 628pm
Anonymous in the sense I use a made up name more akin to a pen name. But you know what I have said currently and in the past. A single person on this site. I feel that is an important difference in the back and forth of contentious posts that happen here. I have nothing against the anons on this page. Many make worthwhile contributions. Even the ones I have problems with have worthwhile posts. But it would be nice if you could tell them apart instead of guessing. I was replying to an anon I when I used the phrase "some rando" if that is what you are referring to. It was a quote from his post. The hater was to another anon that I felt earned the title in his reply to old timer.

@anon 628pm
Seldom gets over 130 here. No idea of twitter or facebook. He seems to be relatively well-known. The NYT site gets only 3 times that many if that is an apt comparison. Shortz is certainly in a position to ignore him. Never said otherwise. Shortz has changed some because of Rex or others who knows.

Anon 620pm

I mention Spoonful shirts because they were an iconic for a couple years at least on the East Coast and I liked them, the Spoonful, and Sebastian who contiues have to put out good stuff. But really it was because @oldtimer mentioned them. Ginsberg putting his queer shoulder to the wheel and Howl is still well known I think. Cassady was a figure in Kerouac Kesey and Wolfe writings. Kesey and Leary were acid proponents. I was just mentioning some intertwining strains that helped form the 60s. Not saying they were great writers of the 60s. Ginsberg and Kesey were fine writers. The beats hipsters folkies etc. Kesey wrote 3 excellent novels.

At this point I find the posts I was replying to have disappeared. I do not know why. I for the most part saw no reason why they should have been. Anybody complain or know anything? Offtopic?

To the 6th paragraph complaint:the one @anon or the one about Rex? Don't know how you're counting. I can see how one might think there is in either but no. You'll have to explain.
I do apologize for all the misspelled names. Quite streak of them. I outdid myself.

To Nancy: Agree completely about Lewis except I think he is capable of critcism so is unlike your friend. But the spirit he brings to this blog you nailed. The only comment I truly despised today was that nasty one about Lewis. But I do not see him as weak or brittle either. But where he might draw a line at not worth the trouble I am not so sure.

To PGregory:
Yes. All sweetness and light almost bad as all carping and insults.

To Bill Blake
Almost mentioned Ginsberg's rendition of Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience today.
What is that quote from? Or do I have to look it up.

Chelsea 10:34 PM  

I’m kinda a novice but this was my fastest Thursday (15:45!!!) I liked it. Why the hate on Joined at the hip? I thought it worked. Noticed the first Hip Hip and my mind immediately went to Weezer’s “island in the sun” then ran through other Hip idioms and got to joined at the hip before I even got to the long theme clue part.

My only struggle was an unwillingness to accept my own memory insisting it was Arnie Ziff instead of Artie.

wooody2004 3:47 AM  

A bonus track just for you Syndicats (or hep cats)

What Is Hip?

wooody2004 4:05 AM  

A bonus track just for you Syndicats (or hep cats) take two:

what is hip

thefogman 10:30 AM  

Really bad. The decision not to use a common elongated square for each of the HIP letters was simply wrong. It’s the only way to salvage something out of this mess which is still bad even after you do that, only less so.

spacecraft 11:09 AM  

I have to agree foursquare with OFC's OPEN. As printed, this grid Just Doesn't Work. Maybe if the squares in question had been elongated, I could see it. At least there, precedents have been set.

Also troubling were some errors that led to inkblots here. Started with the ADHD/IDEA cross, and with H the second of five describing park rangers' pants, I naturally wrote in sHort! C'mon, have you ever seen a P.R. in long pants??

Then in the NE I fell into the gaDGET trap. Both these took some time to sort out and correct. And then there was the inconsistency: compare the plurals HIPPOPOTAMUSES and COXAE. The latter being advanced for a Thursday--as is PIKA. I got through it, but it seemed like a chore without any big payoff. What the heck is a PITACHIP? Bogey.

rondo 12:00 PM  

Also agree with OFL re: the grid and those downs. Disagree re: HIPSTERS; they are soooo pretentious, too self-centered to recognize the rest of us. I know from experience.
Also fell into gaDGET trap; only write-over was there.

52 years ago today I played in a band that OPENed for Johnny Cash. Biggest crowd ever at the MN State Fair grandstand. 24,000 plus.

DETEST might be too strong, this puz ungood.

Burma Shave 12:28 PM  


EDY'S one of those SHIPWRECKS
who get SMASHED AT every PARTY


Diana, LIW 1:02 PM  

Had to check and change a couple - gaDGET and REA - but the rest came fairly easily. And, for once, the "trick" showed up early, and actually helped with the solve. Guess I'm just HIP. (We all play what we are DELT.)

@Rondo - it always amazes me that you were only five or six when you were playing in a band. Kinda like Mozart - eh?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

Straight forward, challenging puzzle ruined by the double letter crap.

leftcoaster 4:34 PM  

This looked tough until the double HIPs showed up, but their down double-letters looked pretty out of joint. And they aren’t just WIDGETs or thingies; I’ve now learned that they’re more obscurely known as COXAE.

PIKA (relative of a rabbit) and the adjacent ADHD (treated with "fidget tools") were trouble spots; and also a bit obscure.

Not HOHHUM. Beware the INCUBUS.

rondo 4:35 PM  

@D,LIW - haha, if only that were the case.

Joshua 10:08 PM  

How do HIPPOPOTAMUSES qualify as the "closest living relatives of whales"? Dolphins and porpoises are much closer.

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