So-called "Godfather of the Teamsters" / WED 8-4-2021 / 1986 #1 hit for Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald / "Full Metal Jacket" setting, in brief

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Hi everyone, I'm Malaika, filling in (ha!) for Rex today. You might know me from 7xwords or from Boswords or from Crossword Fiend. Reading this blog is what got me started constructing puzzles, so it makes me feel very warm and fuzzy to help out. Anyway! On to the puzzle.

Constructor: BRANDON KOPPY

Relative difficulty: AVERAGE

THEME: FILM SPLICER — Each theme entry is an in-the-language phrase made up of two movie titles

Theme answers:
  • MONSTER | MASH (17A: Classic song that starts "I was working in the lab late one night" [2003, 1970])
  • WALL STREET | CRASH (23A: Start of the Depression [1987, 2004])
  • CONTACT | US (33A: Line at the top or bottom of a website [1997, 2019])
  • RUSH HOUR | TRAFFIC (46A: Commuter's headache [1998, 2000])
  • FILM SPLICER (52A: Editing device suggested by 17-, 23-, 33- and 46-Across?)
Word of the Day: HOFFA (So-called "Godfather of the Teamsters") 
James Riddle Hoffa (born February 14, 1913 – disappeared July 30, 1975, declared dead July 30, 1982) was an American labor union leader who served as the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) from 1957 until 1971.
Hoffa became involved with organized crime from the early years of his Teamsters work, a connection that continued until his disappearance in 1975. He was convicted of jury tampering, attempted bribery, conspiracy, and mail and wire fraud in 1964 in two separate trials. He was imprisoned in 1967 and sentenced to 13 years. In mid-1971, he resigned as president of the union as part of a commutation agreement with US President Richard Nixon and was released later that year, but Hoffa was barred from union activities until 1980. Hoping to regain support and to return to IBT leadership, he unsuccessfully tried to overturn the order. (Wiki)

• • •

This theme was so over my head that I had to ask a friend to explain it to me! I have only heard of two of the eight movies mentioned (Crash, and Us), so nothing made any sense to me. (I know M*A*S*H is a show, but didn't realize it was a movie.) That's not to say that the other movies are not well-known (cursory Googling says they definitely are!), just that this theme was certainly not for me. As a result, it was hard to get excited about it, although it seems to be executed well?? Also, today I learned that "splice" means "to combine" rather than "to split apart."

I pretty consistently plodded through this puzzle, with no major break-throughs (due to not realizing the theme) or major hang-ups, except maybe in the central left, where I've never heard of 
FIFE (had PIPE) and I really struggled parsing CONTACT US. Once I had ????ACTUS, all I could see was "cactus" and was trying to figure out why on Earth a website would have a cactus on it. Beyond being, like, a plant nursery or desert retreat. 

A ton of those seven-letter downs were gimmes for me-- I put in TONE LOC (3D: "Funky Cold Medina" rapper)AP TESTS (12D: Hurdles for many honors students, in brief), and BASMATI (37d: Type of rice) with no crosses. But ultimately this played as a sort of lack-luster themeless for me.

Lots of First Lady content, with FLOTUS (58A: Michelle Obama or Jill Biden, informally) being cross-referenced by ELEANOR (26D: 58-Across between Lou and Bess). That abbreviation always reminds me of my favorite (jk, I have one thousand favorites) Veep scene, where Jonah refers to the president's dog as FDOTUS. I can't find a clip of that, so here's this instead. (Very NSWF, language-wise.)

  • BEE (39A: Busy body?) — This felt super weird to me. I guess because you say "busy as a bee" and a bee.... has a body? Just felt off. 
  • BARNARD (11D: Alma mater for Martha Stewart and Joan Rivers) — I didn't know that either of them went here, but this was a pretty easy get for me. I just finished watching Hacks on HBO, which was inspired by Joan Rivers, and it was lovely.
  • ADWARS (61A: Mac-versus-PC and others) — Do people say this? Or is this just a thing we pretend people say so that we can fill our crosswords more easily?
Signed, Malaika "7x7 overlord" Handa

P.S. The New York Times announced that they are going to stop providing .puz files. I'm really excited for this because I think it means they'll be running more creative puzzles that the constraints of a .puz file do not allow. But other people are disappointed. Before you share your disappointment, here are some things to think about:
  • Are there any other mainstream publications that provide .puz files for their puzzles?
  • What percent of Times solvers do you think use .puz files to solve?
  • Will I still have access to multiple different ways to solve the puzzle?
  • Am I sharing my disappointment in a way that is constructive, or a way that is neutral, or a way that is entitled / condescending / hateful?
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:56 AM  

Medium. I got hung up at the bottom when I had enc before PSS for longer than I should. Didn’t grok what was going on until I hit the reveal. Great Wednesday with plenty of sparkle (BEIGNET alone is worth the price of admission) liked it a bunch and Jeff gave it POW.

okanaganer 12:57 AM  

I just loved this theme. As a movie fan, and old enough to have seen almost all of them, I am in a sweet spot. Welcome Malaika, and sorry that you are not so lucky.

Re: Across Lite... my problem is that the web version of the puzzle is clunky. The grid is tiny, and the clue lists are also tiny. The whole puzzle interface takes up only about 25% of my screen. And it only shows about 30% of the clues at one time. So there is a LOT of scrolling to see the clues. I know I can zoom in, but it's still a mess. It's just plain clunky. Not fun.

And don't suggest the app... there is no way in HE-double-hockey-sticks I am going to try solving on my phone. Are you people crazy? I have this computer with two lovely big monitors. Solve on my phone?

And Malaika, I think one big reason they are cancelling AL format is they suspect people can share their subscription with other non subscribers, i.e. by emailing them the .puz file. Strictly dollars, nothing to do with creativity.

I guess I am probably going to cancel my subscription in a few days. After 10 years.

Monty Boy 1:55 AM  

I liked this one a lot. About average time for me so Medium? My experience I]was about the opposite of Malaika. Her slam dunks were my gimmes and vice versa. Probably cuz I'm 77 and she probably isn't (I know better than to mess with women and age).

I like the theme because I worked as a movie projector operator way back in the 60s and know how to spice 35 mm movie film. I made $2 a night, $3 for a double feature. The evening was usually a couple of cartoons, a MovieTone news reel, four to six 20 minute reels for the feature and the night is full. Saturday night was the Owl Show after the feature (and another $1), usually a MONSTER movie. All the cool kids were there.

And to this day I cannot watch an old movie on TV without seeing the little circles (called cues) in the top right of the screen signaling the time to change to the second projector having the next reel. There's two cues, one about 10 seconds before the end of the reel and the second cue at the precise time to switch. Ahhh the good old days.

Monty Boy 2:01 AM  

Oh, a PS (or PSS?), I have only used the NYT and have few problems with it. Maybe being a relative newcomer to the subscription and on-line solving rather than the syndie paper version. No skin in the AL discussion.

RyAnna 2:02 AM  

Liked the theme, got caught up on teethe and arte but besides that it was smooth sailing.

Quick question for the comment section - is PSS a thing?! I always thought it was PPS...

albatross shell 2:27 AM  
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chefwen 2:45 AM  

Finished and still didn’t know what the hell was going on. Had no idea they were movies as the only one I had seen was MASH and didn’t know that was in reference to a movie.

Oh well, better luck tomorrow.

Loren Muse Smith 3:35 AM  

This is such a neat theme. It took me a minute to understand it, but when I did, I smiled.

I had Martha and Joan being Harvard grads first.

Donkey Kong was an “app” before APE. So my six-month-old baby was gonna, mystifyingly, “sprawl” or “sprout” by six months. I can tell you that my kids around that age, having begun to eat solids, became small wind instruments.

“Donkey Kong” feels naughty. Phallic almost.

Entertained “peter out” (too long) before RUN LOW. “Peter out” feels more openly naughty than Donkey Kong.

Teeth/TEETHE, sheath/sheathe, cloth/clothe, bath/bathe, loath/loathe. . . wonder why baristas don’t frothe the milk. And could we say that a certain megalomaniac sociopathed for four years?

I’ve had like a bajillion million life changes over the past months, but I’ve been keeping up with the comments. I’ll try to avoid spoilers for those who haven’t done yesterday’s puzzle, but the grammar “rule” that people are citing yesterday was made up by this man, Robert Baker back in the late 1700s. Before that, speakers happily used either word with no fear of being shamed by pedants, pedants whose real dog in the fight is not to protect precise language, but rather to flex their superiority.

Oh, and I was never and never will be the teacher who responds to the perfectly understandable, in-the-language question, CAN I go to the bathroom? with the tired I don’t know. Can you? Puh. Lease.

okanaganer 4:00 AM  

@Loren I would really like to hear about your bajillion million life changes, if you would care to share. I have really missed hearing your voice in this forum.

Agree about the made up grammar rules, especially the split infinitive.

jae 4:16 AM  

Hi @LMS - Nice to see you back with a timely answer to @Stephen Minehart’s question from yesterday. Let sanity be restored.

Conrad 5:33 AM  

Welcome back, @LMS! FWIW, I read once that "Donkey Kong" was a mistranslation of the Japanese for "Stupid Ape".

@okanaganer: Please consider staying on; we'll miss you. You can probably increase the size of the grid in your Web browser by hitting Ctrl-Plus. You can do that multiple times for a greater enlargement and Ctrl-Minus to reverse. You can go back to "normal" with Ctrl-Zero. If this doesn't work in your browser, try a different one. It definitely works in Firefox and Chrome.

Not knowing anything about celebrity curricula vitae, I guessed juliARD and then hARvARD (Hi, @LMS) before BARNARD. Which is inexcusable since my sister was a Barnard alumna.

DeeJay 6:32 AM  

Always a pleasure, LMS.

Brooklyn Roasting 6:36 AM  

Had PSD for PSS. What is pss? I knew it was adwars so felt stuck. Fast otherwise.

Son Volt 6:37 AM  

Liked it for the most part - aside from one of the worst plural crosses I’ve ever seen. The dual dates in the theme clues were the giveaway for me. Liked how they are all common phrases instead of the goofy stuff we often see - but in the end they were pretty boring.

Liked a lot of the fill - ANOMALY stacked with TONE LOC and BASMATI are nice. GROPE is apt today in NY where hopefully our corrupt and slimy governor will resign. The BARNARD Alma mater clue adjacent to GRADS was neat.

There’s no logical reason for a postscript in an email - double down and use the plural addenda and you almost ruined the entire puzzle for me.

Lewis 6:39 AM  

Well hello, Ms. LMS! Mwah!

Four lovely theme answers, spot-on revealer, and the ethereal trio of BEIGNET, FLOTUS, and BASMATI gave this puzzle sweet shine.

When Brandon says in his notes that he made a couple of revisions, it might not sound like much, but don’t be fooled. That means he made at least three completely different grids and probably two complete sets of clues.

That is a lot of effort, and thank you Sam for guiding the improvement (you were a heck of a Koppy editor), and thank you Brandon for putting forth the effort. It most certainly paid off. This was clever, lovely to solve, and beautiful to behold.

Anonymous 7:08 AM  

I knew that MASH was a book, before it was a movie or a TV show. But I don’t know any rapper answer. Haha.

TTrimble 7:11 AM  

If I remember correctly (and hope I do), Rex mentioned you, Malaika, as a cool constructor, and linked to your January collection. Roughly speaking, from January 1 to January 31, the puzzles would gradually decrease the number of "black squares" (oh, I forget what I'm supposed to call them) down to 0. I think it was Malaika and Friends (not just Malaika) constructing. I did not find them trivial! Lots of references to modern-day pop culture, which does not play to my strengths. On the other hand, FIFE and SPLICE(R) do. Just goes to show that Crossworld is a mighty big tent.

I ended at South Central, wanting to put in "SUd" (which is French) rather than SUR (which is Spanish, like Norte), being at the same time stymied a bit by AD WARS which for some reason didn't seem a great answer to the clue. I guess it's okay. I would've cottoned onto it better if they had referenced Popeye's vs. Chick-fil-a instead. Or Pepsi vs. Coke. I can't recall seeing Apple commercials that reference PCs, or vice versa. Making it not as much of an AD WAR to me.

It played medium (or harder) for me as well. Nothing was really hard, but it went a bit sluggishly. I too had ____ACTUS and wondered what could it be. It doesn't make me feel good that NAIR came immediately to this member of the Pepsi generation. Knowing TONE LOC wasn't much compensation or consolation.

I too like BEIGNET, as well as FLOTUS, but otherwise this puzzle excites me not at all. The answers are boring as words go, and PSS is a POS. Soggy cluing for CAN I. No bounce, no sass. I'll pass. On, that is.

yd 0

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

Am I the only person who prints the puzzle and solves on paper?

Joaquin 7:20 AM  
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Antiantifa 7:24 AM  

Thanks, Malaika. Love your advice on .puz comments. Civility and constructive conversation rule!

amyyanni 7:27 AM  

A puzzle with a BEIGNET, BASMATI Rice, and several of our FLOTUS (L = Ladies), plus a movie theme. Wednesday is off to a good start! And that reminds me, there is a vegetarian Indian Restaurant less than a half mile from my new abode. (The Saag Paneer and Roti are more than worth the stroll, too.)

kitshef 7:28 AM  

Really good theme, well executed. We’ve been on a bit of a disappointing run of late, so it is to be hoped that this is a sign of things to come.

Amazingly I’ve only seen one of these movies, although four others are on my “want to see” list.

I’ve mentioned this before, but jASMine shares a lot of key letters with BASMATI.

Greg in Sanibel 7:29 AM  

Re PSS: sorry to be a pedant, but it’s wrong. PS = post script, so PPS = post post script. It makes no sense to say post script script

Joe Welling 7:34 AM  

RyAnna said: "Quick question for the comment section - is PSS a thing?! I always thought it was PPS..."

PPS (post post script) would be a post script after a post script. I think the puzzle was after a plural for regular post scripts (many PSs appended to many different writings, so none of them are post-post).

OffTheGrid 7:43 AM  

I liked this a lot. Solid theme and good fill. But I was done in by 4 squares, the DA of ADA, and the HA of PHAT. The involved crosses, THUNDER & BASMATI, were unknown to me. I had no idea the Sonics became the THUNDER and moved to OKC.

Angelcook5 7:46 AM  

Beignets are breakfast. Not dessert!

staili 7:48 AM  

okanaganer, thank you for sharing your experience with the NYT web interface. If you push F11, which makes the display "full screen," the tabs at the top go away and the grid + clues take up about 90% of the screen.

You still have to scroll to see all the clues, but that would only be fixable by making the grid smaller or the typeface smaller, both of which would be worse IMO. But I dislike clues that cross-reference as a result.

The F11 trick works with any website and really helps one to see more of the site itself.

Joaquin 8:01 AM  
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John H 8:05 AM  

Liked this a lot. Pretty accessible all around, except most of the movies are pretty old and probably not familiar to a younger crowd. And how many of us are old enough to understand what "Monster Mash" was?

Beignets are more commonly thought of as breakfast items than desserts.

@Monty Boy, Aren't slam dunks and gimmes the same thing?

albatross shell 8:08 AM  

Find the hidden ROO
Win a kanga too.

Two theme spanners, an eleven, a niner and an 11-revealer, all symmetrically placed. Plus an ANOMALY, a BEIGNET, a RAMPAGE, a CLOSET (is that where Roo is hiding?) GROPE (in honor of the Gov. Cuomo), a quintet of FLOTOPODES, ADA and ISABEL, a Blakian ASPiring, and a little SUR to boot. A solid theme. The movies a bit meh, the phrases good to green paintish. Only MONSTERMASH sparkled. All that theme space and solid fill. Oh yes,an ANON finally gets the praise I thought he was going to get yesterday (not for the (s)creed, but for all those quotes that one is famous for).

Ann Howell 8:14 AM  

What a wonderful Wednesday puzzle! For once, the theme answer was the last thing I filled in, so offered a delightful dollop of goodness when it clicked. 'AD WARS' was definitely a thing in the 80s (Mac vs PC, Coke vs Pepsi, etc), so age helped with that one. No real clunkers - BEIGNET and FLOTUS both fab answers. Had a little snag at 11 as I had HARRVARD before BARNARD, but that was quickly rectified. Great start to the day - would love to see more puzzles like this!

cap'n 8:23 AM  

F-Dotus clip from Veep on getyarn

Joaquin 8:25 AM  

In case your wondering where LMS is at - well, she's back! And whom better to keep us realer Englishwise?

Good to see ya, Loren.

Just yesterday I was calling on LMS to support me in the “fewer/less” debate. And now, here she is. If only I could have the same effect on John Beresford Tipton …

jbh 8:26 AM  

Hello, 715 Anonymous:

We subscribe to the NYT print version so I solve every day on paper.

The pandemic got me obsessed with doing every puzzle, every day -- (and then, for some crazy-ass reason, going to this blog.)

Paul 8:29 AM  

Not a movie buff, but 58 and familiar with all eight titles. Looked up the origin of the word BUFF. Interesting story there.

SusanMontauk 8:40 AM  

I always use the .puz format. Printed out it is so well organized. Much better than the PDF. if they are going to get rid of it, I wish they would take at look at the print version and clean up how it looks.

pax234 8:46 AM  

As for people who still use the .puz format: Even though my husband and I have 2 subscriptions (he got a free one), we do find that there are times when his puzzles (the crossword and spelling bee) will be filled with my solvings. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to this. We are definitely signed into different accounts, don't share ipads/iphones. This has happened when we are not near the computer (which is the only device we both use but I'm the only one that uses it for puzzles). And I like the .puz format on my ipad. When on a long plane ride, I'll download some older puzzles and have plenty to keep me occupied!

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

I don't usually like theme puzzles, but I enjoyed this one. The clues were strong enough independently that I was able to fill some answers in before understanding the theme, and then the revealer actually, well, revealed. It dawned on me what was going on as I was filling in RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC. I actually haven't seen most of these, but the titles are all familiar to me. Non-theme-wise, I enjoyed BEIGNET, the clue "Mystery writer?" (ANON), and FIFE. Overall, I'd rate it easy shading into medium.


bocamp 8:50 AM  

Thx, Brandon for a very crunchy and challenging Wednes. puz! :)

Hi Malaika; thx for the write-up and your perspective on the .puz issue. :)

Med++ solve.

Got a decent start in the NW, but as I moved down south, thing started to go a bit south. Did eventually sort it all out, and ended up in the NE, trying to make sense of BEIGNET.

I was nowhere near Brandon's wavelength on this one. No matter, it was a most enjoyable adventure.

@TTrimble πŸ‘ / @pabloinnh πŸ‘ for yd's 0s

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Keith D 8:55 AM  

Solid and enjoyable. As for Malaika’s write-up: she didn’t like the puzzle, yet the write-up was still constructive and entertaining. She didn’t take the puzzle as a personal affront. How refreshing. The world needs more of this grown- up approach, and less whining and arrogance. Keep it up!!

SouthsideJohnny 9:01 AM  

Enjoyed the guest write-up today. It's so refreshing to be in the midst of what is shaping up to be a vitriol-free week.

I didn't know TONE LOC, and had forgotten about MEAD - so chose to DNF on the trivial rather than run the 7-guess crossword sprint over the finish line.

Welcome back LMS ! Feel free to offer your thoughts on yesterday's Fewer vv. Less discussion.

Beignets for dessert ? In what country - (or what planet) ? Is Cafe Du Monde even open at dinner time ?

Ξ© 9:14 AM  

{Insert Rant Against PPP based themes here}

Otherwise a fine solve, just did it as a themeless once I figured out (at 17A) what was going on. This is two days in a row of a great revealer in search of a puzzle.

I woke up to a long email from @Angry Sloth because of some of the responses from Mason to Dan Feyer’s Tweet thread that I shared yesterday. So I read the replies. Boy Howdy - Rookie mistake after rookie mistake. To our guest blogger’s point, why wasn’t Mason prepared with these very points both in the original announcement and when responding to complaints. There are ways to handle this response without making customers even angrier. Apple does this kind of thing all the time and has it down to an art form. Announce the discontinuation of old tech. Explain how the new tech is a gazillion times better than the old tech. Customers scream because they are heavily invested in the old tech. Let some third party companies make money supporting the old tech. Old tech disappears eventually because the new tech actually is better than the old tech (when’s the last time you used a floppy disc or cd to load new software?).
Mason denied the economic motivation, saying she is just trying to create a better working environment for her small staff… which… okay, I’ll accept while not really believing her (or rather - believing it isn’t her motivation which is another rookie mistake in working in a large org)… but change is hard and the leader needs to be prepared for this reaction and it doesn’t seem like Mason was prepared for the fall-out. I poke fun at times at corporate speak and well-massaged messages, but they exist for a good reason. I fully anticipate some sort of “we stand by our decision but regret how we presented it” sort of statement to appear at some point.
(BTW - “rookie mistake” is one you make the first time and then hopefully learn not to repeat - I’ve seen some very veteran admins make “rookie mistakes”)

@Joe Dipinto 6:28 yesterday - πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

jberg 9:14 AM  

Not even 9 AM, and both of my snarky comments (Andrew Cuomo and BEIGNETs for breakfast) have been made already. All I can add is that I think of FLOTUS as an official designation (esp. in the Secret Service), not informal, so I put in First-L; took a little fixing.

I'm with Malaika in that I'm not really a movie person; I guess I knew there was a movie named "Wall Street" but that's about it. Since the first two themers ended in rhymes, I was looking for some kind of DASH in 33A, but couldn't find it. RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC convinced me it wasn't a rhyming theme, but I still needed the revealer (which I wanted to start with FILe, btw.)

@TTrimble - well there's this 1984 Superbowl ad for the Macintosh, and the whole "Think Different" campaign,
but I don't think the attacks were reciprocal.

@Loren, let me join the welcome-back chorus! I hope you'll be able to stick around!

tb 9:16 AM  

I always use Across Lite because I really don't like the web version and there's no way I'm solving on my phone. I'm considering stopping my subscription. The only thing I'll miss are the Cryptic crosswords which appear sporadically on Sunday.

On another topic, I don't understand why people are so proud of their cultural ignorance of movies, books, music, etc. that was "before they were born."
"Casablanca" was released before I was born, but I've seen it. I'm not a movie buff, but I've seen a lot of old movies that were made before I was born. What about all the great music artists that died before we were born? Duke Ellington? Louis Armstrong? Ella Fitzgerald? Are these people irrelevant to anyone who was born after they died?

This is to say nothing about non-popular culture. What about all the great classical music, literature, art, etc. that is hundreds of year old?

It seems that there are many people who are proud of their ignorance. It is really sad that people are missing on such such a great feast of cultural riches.

tb 9:20 AM  

Here's another thing: Are all you posters who are glad that Rex is off for two weeks being forced to read this blog? Sheesh. Talk about whining!

Jim in Canada 9:21 AM  

Just canceled my decade-old subscription. It doesn't expire until Dec, so if they see the error of their ways before then, I'll happily re-subscribe.
I hate their app and I hate their website version even more. I use puzzazz to do the puzzles and I'm familiar with it. I also use it to solve other XW and other kinds of puzzles as well.

I wonder how many subscribers they'll lose over this?

Mikey from El Prado 9:26 AM  

Excellent theme. Two nits:

1. ARTE should have been clued either “Obras de Picasso y Goya” or “Works of Picasso and Goya (sp.).” As is, the answer is ART.

2. Brandon (or WS) just had to use the Game of Thrones crap for the clue for IRON? Ugh.

Ξ© 9:28 AM  

BTW - I print from the NYT website and always select the “newspaper version” but they also offer Standard Layout, Large Print, and Left-handed layouts. Neither their browser version or the app version of the puzzle is as good as PuzzAzz in my opinion and agree that having to scroll rather than being able to see all the clues is super annoying.

Vaccine Passports are Racist 9:32 AM  

Cool puzzle. Would’ve preferred a Don Knotts clue for 31-A.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Rex should ask himself this before he does some of his write ups. :) "Am I sharing my disappointment in a way that is constructive, or a way that is neutral, or a way that is entitled / condescending / hateful?"

Liz T 9:39 AM  

Nope.I spend too much time on my computer for work, so I print the puzzle to get away from the screen.

Chivalry is not dead 9:40 AM  

@ TB 9:20-??? I would hardly characterize someone who comments that they rather enjoy civility as "whining", although I respect your opinion of course, so I guess it's a case of Γ€ chacun ses goΓ»ts.

mathgent 9:41 AM  

One of those themes that didn't help in solving. Only after finishing and wondering about FILMSPLICER did I notice the movie titles. So superfluous theme, bland cluing, 22 threes, scarcity of longs, no crunch. What's to like?

Elaine was my favorite character on Seinfeld but I didn't get into VEEP even after it won the Emmy every year. FDOTUS is cute although hard to pronounce. It reminds me of calling the character in the Geico ads the spokeslizard.

I don't know if they were part of an ADWAR or not, but I enjoyed the old Apple tv ads with the oafish PC character standing next to the cool Mac character.

Joseph Michael 9:42 AM  

Another case of solving a puzzle without understanding the theme. When I came here and finally realized what the theme is, I liked the puzzle a whole lot more. Which is to say I ended up sorta kinda liking it. Was surprised to see that Jeff Chen named it the Puzzle of the Week. What does that say about the rest of this week?

Have to run. My BEIiGNET is calling.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

should have been Crash [1996]

RooMonster 9:57 AM  

Hey All !
PHAT supposedly stood for Pretty Hot And Tempting, it's been in a couple of movies where guys call a woman PHAT, and the woman thinks the guy is saying their FAT. Hilarity ensues.

Anyway, wondered what the (years) in the clues meant, figured out after getting the FILM part of the Revealer. Normally, these type movie mashups end up as non-things, but this one was hidden by the Themers being actual things. So that was neat.

Never heard of a BEIGNET, and I like desserts! Have to watch my sugar intake, on small dose of medication for it, but, life isn't worth living without Oreos! Hardly ever drink anymore, never smoked, couch potato, so Oreos are my allotted vice. 😁

Always seem to miss TEETHE in SB. Been getting my butt whipped lately in that. Didn't even get G YesterBee. Oof.

Had EMINaNT spelt thusly, leaving me FILMSPLICaR, wondering what the heck that was. FILM SPLICaR? FILMS PLICaR? Har. Did change it to save me from a DNF.

There've been two movies named CRASH. The older one was quite bizarre, roughly about people who deliberately get into car crashes because it turns them on sexually. The one (I think) this puz references is much better. YMMV.

Anyway, my ramblings aside, good puz, PSS notwithstanding. 😁

Six F's

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

I’m not a stickler but if I were I’d probably point out that the name of the 1970 movie referenced in the puzzle is M*A*S*H not MASH.

pmdm 9:58 AM  

I guess after reading some of the comments here that I am fortunate to solve the paper edition of the puzzle. Doesn't help, of course, when the puzzle is filled with PPP I am unfamiliar with. Which means I don't know where I stand on today's puzzle.

It is possible to link an app to a specific computer. The Finale app, for example does this. If the NYT wanted simply to prevent non-subscribers from accessing the puzzle, I would guess there is a way to do that. Theoretically. But one can always take a screen shot, save it in pdf format, and share it with others. That blows a hole in my reasoning.

Mr. Grumpypants 10:02 AM  

Are there any other mainstream publications that provide .puz files for their puzzles? I don't know who creates them, but WSJ, LAT, and the Universal puzzles are all available in .puz format, as well as the WaPo Sunday. That's a fair amount of mainstream IMO.
What percent of Times solvers do you think use .puz files to solve? None of us knows. I doubt that even NYT knows. And they will never tell how many people will cancel their subscriptions.
Will I still have access to multiple different ways to solve the puzzle? Irrelevant, if you prefer the .puz format.
Am I sharing my disappointment in a way that is constructive, or a way that is neutral, or a way that is entitled / condescending / hateful? No more condescending than your post.

Nancy 10:13 AM  

When a theme is based on pop culture names, you can always count on me to miss it. Ditto when a theme requires you to remember what you did or heard about just last week. So, needless to say, I didn't get the two-films-into-one SPLICE. If you hadn't told me. I never would have known.

FWIW, here are the films I saw and whose titles I remember:

TRAFFIC (I think)

Here are the films I didn't see, but whose titles I knew:

CONTACT (Didn't remember it, though)

And here are the movies I didn't know were movies:


Anyway, when you start me off with an unknown rapper crossing an unknown "classic" song (not so classic!) don't expect me to be a happy camper. I finished this, but didn't enjoy it at all.

jazzmanchgo 10:18 AM  

Anyone who teaches English Composition will affirm that a "comma splice" refers to using a comma (instead of a period or a semicolon) to join two complete sentences (e.g., "I was doing the crossword puzzle today, I had no problem with the word 'splice'.") And, of course, even though we no longer use physical tape in recording, we still use the word "splice" to describe joining two erstwhile disparate recorded passages together.

Unknown 10:28 AM  

I did too but realised the clue is plural with addenda so therefore it's PS/S for the plural answer.

Whatsername 10:28 AM  

As a lover of FILM, the theme appealed to me but I had no idea what it was until the revealer was filled in. SW was tough without knowing the song, the rice or the NBA. I second the emotion of whoever it was yesterday who said they look forward to the day that GOT clues are laid to rest, and CAN I just say God bless the EMINENT person who invented BIFOCALS.

Couldn’t help but wonder if there was any significance to the proximity of GROPE to the Big Apple initials. Governor-wise that is.

Some really wonderful movies featured here. Michael Douglas in TRAFFIC and his iconic role as the ultimate wolf of WALL STREET. Donald Sutherland as the original Hawkeye Pierce and Jodi Foster before she came out of the CLOSET. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Laura 10:30 AM  

Surprisingly, I have actually heard of all of the movies in this puzzle - but I would think anyone born after 1995 or so would likely not know them. Most of these are action movies that people of a certain age saw in the theaters...

tb 10:32 AM  

@Chivalry, my point is that if they enjoy civility and they don't think Rex provides it, why keep reading and then "whine" when he doesn't conform to their standards.

The Joker 10:32 AM  

I read that Melania had a gas problem and her Secret Service code name was Flatus.

GILL I. 10:33 AM  

Well lookie here....! My friend, @Loren, comes back to us and I do a Hump Day fandango tango with a BEIGNET....!
Did you know what was going on, you ask? Why no....What are the ODDS that a BAT an APE a POM and a BEE hide in that CLOSET and bite me in my FLOTUS? If there's a WILLS then there's a FIFE and away I play.
I had fun and that's all that counts. Like the rest of this smart crowd, I didn't know what I was paying for until the very end. Should I leave a tip, I asked? Yes....this was worth the price of my movie admissions. Cool frijoles.
Where did you have trouble, you ask? I forgot about that lovely song, ON MY OWN. I also forgot CATHY is frazzled. I always thought she needed a new hair-do....Speaking of hair....I finally am getting about 6 inches lopped off today.
Then we move to GROPE. I'm betting a lot of the interesting women on this blog have met a GROPE or two. I did....They all looked like they needed NAIR around the nostrils area. I would focus on that then I'd imagine getting my little Colt 45 out of my Louis Vuitton and aiming it at his PHAT ANOMALY.
Nice write-up, Malaika....and I love your name.

Carola 10:44 AM  

I liked this one a lot, for it's keeping me in the dark so nicely all the way until the reveal. I couldn't see a pattern to the theme: after CRASH and MASH, I wondered if we were going for a rhyming pattern, or synonyms for squishing? CONTACT US squelched those possibilities, so I sat back and waited for the lights to come up at 52A. I thought the reveal was great and really admired how nicely hidden the theme was in those natural-sounding phrases. Overall I found it on the tough side for a Wednesday, another plus point.
Do-overs: APp, CAPn. No idea: TONELOC, ON MY OWN.

@Malaika - I usually solve the puzzle in the newspaper but sometimes solve online, using Puzzazz. When I've used the NYTimes site, the external keyboard for my iPad hasn't always been supported, and that's a must for me.

JD 10:46 AM  

This solved easily without having to know the theme, which came up (wait for it) after the themers! Aha, these were movies! No wackiness. Not a lot of dreck. Real thoughtfulness and craftsmanship.

But! Who post scripts an email? Sloppy cluing on an incorrect term. Second thought on letter - PPS.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

the revealer was irrelevant in this puz. the clues were so transparent.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

@TB @10:32

I can't speak for others, although I suspect that some find it interesting that Rex keeps solving NYT puzzles that he hates and then "whines" when they don't conform to his standards.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

@The Joker/10:32

Turns out that was Giuliani. You can read all about it in Wolff's new book. The dripping hair dye would be enough, but stinking up the joint on a continuing basis is too rich for words. But I expended a few.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

No way. No one uses splice like that. The word used unanimously, in both audio and video, is edit. I say this as someone who still has a splicer in his office. And film reels. And a Moviescope viewer.
I haven't heard the word splice in a long, long time.
Silly, but sine I'm now feeling nostalgic, when i first started some of the older guys used to kid about unionizing. They even had name: SPLICE.
Society for the Prevention of Low Income for Cinematographers and Editors.

Nancy 10:57 AM  

No, Anonymous, you are not the only one who solves on paper! I do! Always have, always will!

bocamp 11:03 AM  

@LMS, good to hear from you, and trust that all is going well with your bajillion millions. Always appreciate your reasoned take on grammar! :)

"P.S.S. means 'Post scriptum scriptum' which is the complete formula of the shorter 'P.S.' (written after what has been written). If you mean an additional postscript, then it is P.P.S.: post post scriptum. Nevertheless, I would write both them without any dots: PS and PPS. (from PRO

I'm thinking that 'addenda' indicates PS's (post scripts) in general, instead of more than one addendum.

td g-1

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Monty Boy 11:03 AM  

@John H 8:05. You are right. I failed to put in a "not" as NOT my gimme. That and poor editing. Thanks for the catch.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  


Recently discovered that the A.S.C. appended to the cinematographer's name in the credits isn't an earned certification, but an honorific, bestowed (IIRC) by the A.S.C. members.

Ξ© 11:07 AM  

@Anon10:51 - Merriam-Webster has this cool “recent examples” feature. The examples range from San Diego, to Mississippi to The Atlantic to Car and Driver. It seems pretty much in the language to me.

@Anon10:50 - The blog is Rex Parker Does the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. Shockingly, the posts are “Rex Parker’s” opinions about the NYTX. What you’re doing is the equivalent of reading a Harlequin romance and complaining that it’s not Shakespeare. You’re not alone, even some regulars here do the same thing. It just has never made any sense to me. Some regulars skip Rex because they don’t like what he writes but like the chatter here. Cool. That makes sense to me. But reading Rex when you don’t like what he writes seemingly just so you can complain about Rex seems weird to me.

pabloinnh 11:16 AM  

Did this in a hurry early this AM as I was up against a meeting time (not business, a men's service club). Knew the themers as phrases or titles--hello MONSTERMASH!-and missed the movie connection entirely, mostly because i saw LICER and made it into SLICER. In reading through the comments, I see that no one else mentions this, which makes me feel dumber than ever, although somewhat special to be the only one.

Welcome back to LMS. I know one thing taking up her time has been moving, as we were out of house and into a condo in April, and I feel like we're still moving. Not an event but a process, we discover.

Very nice Wednesday, BK, and I'm sorry that much of it was lost on me. But Keep trying, that's what I'll do.

Douglas 11:20 AM  

So…you’re basically a stickler

Tom T 11:24 AM  

Not only does Cafe Du Monde stay open in the evening, it stays open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless it happens to be December 25 or there's a big hurricane coming through. There's never a bad time to have a beignet.

Dan 11:28 AM  


I think the reason people may keep reading, even though they have complaints about Rex, is that this blog is about so much more than just Rex. It's the community of voices as a whole. It's such a fascinating drama that unfolds every day on this site. And there are many regular commenters who one may consistently appreciate and others who one will consistently find issue with.

I almost never comment myself, but I read this blog almost every day. I often find at least part of Rex's commentary to be overly curmudgeonly. I tend to fall more toward @Lewis in my appreciation of puzzles. But, there are some days when Rex surprises me with a really positive review. And, there are days when he surprises me with just how harsh his criticism can actually be. No matter what, it's always interesting. But that's just the beginning of the experience. I know that when I get to the comments, there will be a lively discussion going on!

Anyway, I'm not complaining about Rex. But I do appreciate the voices of those who enjoy their puzzles like they're savoring a meal made by a friend, not trying to see how fast they can eat it.


egsforbreakfast 11:51 AM  

For your amusement regarding ADWARS:

Wendy’s And Burger King

Advertising wars between fast food brands are nothing new. Various fast food restaurants have used advertising to claim that their product is of higher quality than their competitions. The subject of these advertisements usually revolves around the issues of price, food quality, service, and portion size.

Because they have very similar menu items, the burger brands have been especially competitive with one another. The most interesting rivalry has played out online between Wendy’s and Burger King. The battle started over Burger King’s 5 for $4.00 offering and Wendy’s 4 for $4.00 special. Because Burger King’s special was announced after Wendy’s, many social media users saw this as an underhanded and passive aggressive move. Burger King then doubled down on Twitter by posting a picture of the items offered with the statement “5 for $4, because 5 is better than 4.”

A Twitter user posted a simple question directed at Wendy’s, “What are you firing back?” The response was brief, simple, and came almost immediately, “Edible food”. Two words, resulting in what is widely believed to be one of the sickest advertising burns so far this year.

bocamp 12:04 PM  

@Malaika, my niece was originally named Melika, but changed to Ishani (Ish) after living in an Asheville, NC ashram for a period.

Here's one of my fave performers singing Malaika: Miriam Makeba (Live Performance 1969)

Thx, again, for your comments! 😊

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

The Joker 12:05 PM  

@Mods. I guess my flatus joke didn't pass the smell test. (or maybe it didn't get scent)

The Joker 12:09 PM  

@Mods. Never mind, sorry.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Count me among those who only view BEIGNETs as a breakfast pastry. It's a shame that a wonderful entry was spoiled by such a bad clue.

albatross shell 12:10 PM  

@832am anon said:
"Rex should ask himself this before he does some of his write ups. :) "Am I sharing my disappointment in a way that is constructive, or a way that is neutral, or a way that is entitled / condescending / hateful?"

How do you know he doesn't?

Noreen 12:24 PM  

Welcome back, LMS! Missed you and your great comments. I have been sending paraprosdokians to all and sundry, thinking of you. Keep on.

Sharonak 12:31 PM  

Thank you LMS for that article on less versus fewer. I was surprised at the comments yesterday and could not like the sound of "10 items or fewer". I knew the rule in general, but this use sounded wrong. Actually "10 or fewer items" sound okay, but "10 items or less" is better communication on those signs.

Okanaganer, that was an interesting article, but gave a slightly off impression about the rightness or wrongness of the "rule". I've forgotten the details, but the no split infinitive "rule " was made up by someone a few hundred years back. It was historically never true of English.

kAnon 7:15 NO, you are not the only one.

Newboy 12:33 PM  

Well said @Dan. I spent at least a decade before making my first post here & often find all the cynical comments covered by easterners and early risers. Still, like today’s exchanges, worth eavesdropping. As one who always solves in .puz format if available, I hope that commentariat will suggest alternatives that work smoothly on an iPad without an extra keyboard. I do solve the New Yorker grids though I’m not a fan of their formatting & if truly desperate an Android phone will keep me amused......still?

Joining the @LMS fan club meeting and hope that all remains well for her presence and common sense humor is sorely missed. Thanks, of course, to our constructor, today’s guest REX lite critique and all the host of moderators/editors & commentariat making puzzle world worth the daily visit.

Masked and Anonymous 12:42 PM  

Good to see U, @muse darlin. Hopin all them zillions of changes was good ones.

yep. M&A can never remember if it's PSS or PPS. So I always go with PPSS.

Liked the themers. Oddly, caught onto the theme mcguffin at CONTACTUS, which evidently contains a flick I've never seen … "Us" ? … Or maybe it's "U's" ? … which would make it an M&A mUst See.

Luvly weeject stacks galore … in the N, S, NE, and SW. Staff stack weeject pick: The South's MTA+SUR+PSS. Which is almost sorta a cornered MARSUPIAL.

fave fillins: BEIGNET. Them things are a *real* [maybe even *realer*] treat. Almost as good as homemade cinnamon rolls. Had long lines to get at em, in Nola; but we toughed it out. Also used to be a neat little cafe in a small Wisconsin burg where we would often visit, that served em up -- mighty good eatin. But, I digress.
Also kinda liked FLOTUS, as it was a NYTPuz debut wordletus. Made me wonder, too boot, if there might be a flick entitled "FLOT"…

Didn't know that there BASMATI rice dealy. Otherwise, pretty easy WedsPuz, at our house.

Thanx for the splicefest, Mr. Koppy dude. Good job. Luved MONSTERMASH. by Bobby Boris Pickett, I believe.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

@Malaika: And that there ACROSSLITE Purge is merely the first minor step in the big puzbiz reorg. Next step … all daily puzs will be runtpuzs. Third step … NYT will pay folks to subscribe. Just sayin.


camilof 12:47 PM  

@bocamp I understood the PSS clue differently, as the clue refers to ‘addenda’, the plural of ‘addendum’ — thus the answer is the plural of PS: PSS.

bertoray 1:05 PM  

What a pleasant suprise to see your post. Wind instrument indeed!
May all your life's changes be positive.

TJS 1:08 PM  

Hey,@Dan, I'm with you re. the community of voices. It's addictive. And knowing that there is a community out there that is just as obsessed with crosswords as I have been for about 60 years is a relief. Ever try explaining to a non-solver that your entire day is off-kilter if your puzzle isn't available at your expected time ? I always get that strange look in response.

As to OFL,even though I am a frequent critic, I respect his daily revealing of what I think of as his weirdness. There is a certain courage in that, imo.

Wait, there's a website called "Pro Z" ?

Joining the chorus of greetings to @LMS. Good to hear from you again and hope all your "life changes" have been resolved positively.

Finally, so now whenever we comment critically we have to reflect whether we are speaking out of our entitlement ? Sigh...

Whatsername 1:09 PM  

@Anonymous (10:50) I’m reading that book too and laughed out loud at the Giuliani fart passage. Also didn’t realize his weight was that extreme. Must be all the late-night strategy sessions over hamberders with his puffy pal. For those not familiar, we’re talking about Michael Wolfe’s new book, Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency. I’m about midway and enjoying it immensely.

@Loren: Good to see you again. When you get time, check your email for a naughty little peter out poem not fit for publication. πŸ˜‰

In the FWIW department, I solve on paper and always did. Wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is already made overly complicated with all the gizmos and devices I’m forced to contend with in order to get thru an ordinary day. I’ll have my crossword puzzle straight up with a side of pencil and eraser, the way God intended, thank you.

Taffy-Kun 1:13 PM  


CDilly52 1:16 PM  

My kind of theme. Made me think a bit to suss it out, and like others, I am (alas) old enough to have seen all of these movies. And the reveal made me think a bit because of the cleverness of the theme answers which stood in their own as independent crossword answers. Well done!

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

I first thought, with MASH and CRASH, that the theme would involve things that end in ASH (volcano-related?) but moving down, that idea went up in smoke.

I've heard of all the movies and have seen some so that was no real problem, though 33A, with _ONTA__US, I could only see as cONTAgiUS (yes, I realized that was misspelled) and could not connect that to any websites, but I figured it out eventually.

I faltered on my French, painfully dredging up how to spell BEIGNET and then putting in SUd as the French version of south rather than the Spanish. ADWARS to the rescue? Ick.

Thanks, Brandon Koppy, and thanks, Malaika, for the write-up.

bocamp 1:23 PM  

@Newboy (12:33 PM)

I like .puz for Inkubator and Croce's Freestyle on my MacBook Air, but prefer the NYT app for solving on my iPad Pro, which always provides a smooth experience.


Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

old timer 1:27 PM  

OH FRABJOUS DAY! CALLOOH CALLAY! I chortle in my joy. Our Muse is back. We felt the lack, don't ever more be coy!

And @LMS, by all means fill many columns with a description of your trials and tribulations.

I was very amused by the puzzle, though I only barely knew about Mr. TONE LOC, and did not know more than half the movies being SPLICEd together. It was fun to hear from a veteran SPLICEr, though.

Never been to New Orleans, but certainly heard of the Cafe du Monde. It so happens that at my favorite restaurant here in Santa Rosa, BEIGNETS are on the Dessert Menu. I have some dessert there every Sunday, and during the lockdown bought many BEIGNETS to consume at home.

JC66 1:27 PM  

Welcome back, @LMS. You were missed.

For @Nancy.

mmorgan 1:38 PM  

Frankly, I don't think terms like "entitled / condescending / hateful" apply in this case, at least in terms of my own complaint. I very much like the look and feel of a .puz file on AcrossLite on my iPad (despite its limitations). I am extremely used to solving that way. I won't be able to solve the NYTXW that way anymore in a few days, and I'm sad and angry and upset about that. I know things change all the time, but this came out of the blue and I will miss it. I'm not insulting anybody, I don't feel especially entitled about it, but I do feel entitled to say I'm unhappy with the situation. I'm not condescending to anyone who doesn't like ACL or who doesn't care one way or the other. I don't think I'm being hateful though I hate the idea of not being able to use ACL for the NYTXW anymore, and I really really really don't like the NYT app very much, at least on my iPad -- I can deal with the desktop or laptop version but I prefer to do the puzzle while snuggling up with my iPad. Maybe if the NYT app were to offer more custom layouts (as ACL does) it wouldn't be quite so bad.

Will PuzzAzz still be usable with the NYTXW or does that rely only on the .puz format as well?

rjkennedy98 1:58 PM  

Another puzzle where I just didn't like one of the themers. As a software developer I parsed the "line at the top or botton of a website" totally wrong. I thought they were referring to divider lines for a website header or footer. "Contact Us" is just not something that's on all or even most websites, especially with Twitter/FB icons being standard. When it is on a website it is most often a tab or separate page for sending an email. That difficulty, along with not having heard of the movie "Us" (an usually short movie name) made that center themer a huge pain.

Donna 2:01 PM  

I solve on paper unless I am stuck somewhere, such as a waiting room, with only my phone for solving. I am thrilled that the NYT now offers a large print option, specifically for the Sunday puzzle.

Donna 2:04 PM  

Creme brulee is dessert, NOT beignets!

bocamp 2:13 PM  

@camilof (12:47 PM)

Unless I'm missing something (wouldn't be the first time), I think we agree: you wrote, "PS/S", I wrote "PS's, so I think the answer PSS works by that definition. The clue is tricky by virtue of the answer not allowing for punctuation between the PS and S.

An interested proposition would be: if it was a 4 ltr. answer, would PPS/S work? or PPPS/S for a 5 ltr. answer, etc.?

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

Lotsa 2-ltter movies.

I'm sure there are lots more.

The only time I've ever had beignets in the morning was when I ran out to get some for my wife on our first wedding anniversary.
Every other time I've been at the Cafe du monde ha been well after breakfast. And I aint eating a beignet anywhere but there.

Andrew H 2:27 PM  

I'm a web developer and "CONTACTUS" was one of my last fills. 🀦🏼‍♂️

Anonymous 2:33 PM  


Joe Dipinto 3:06 PM  

"Would you like more beignets, monsieur?"

"Beignets are countable, mademoiselle. Therefore you should have used a form of 'few'. 'Would you like less few beignets?' is what you should have asked me."

"Oui, monsieur. Would you like more cafΓ© au lait? In your lap?"

camilof 3:08 PM  

@bocamp Ha ha I also meant PS's – No idea what PS/S would be, but am happy that we agree! But I still don't think it's ambiguous, because the clue is 'Email addenda, for short' and not 'Email addendum, for short', showing that a plural is wanted. Or am —I– the confused one??

albatross shell 3:09 PM  

Just for the record:
The hidden Roo starts at the R in GROPE and heads southwest. The kanga you win must have hopped away.

albatross shell 3:13 PM  

Are funnelcakes just as good? Had them for breakfast many times at event camping. Best camping breakfast ever.

Tim Carey 3:52 PM  

"Am I sharing my disappointment in a way that is constructive, or a way that is neutral, or a way that is entitled / condescending / hateful?"

Thank you Malaika... this was lovely.

Tim Carey 4:07 PM  

We print the puzzle and solve on paper. We solve independently on MTWTh, but it takes both of us for a credible effort on F&S.

We're always kind of amused by people who try multiple letters in squares to "get the happy music". We just find the paper solve more relaxing. Today was a DNF: had TONELuC, as I never saw the ALOE clue. I guess the software would have yelled at me until I got it right, but I have enough people yelling at me, I don't need it from a crossword puzzle.

bocamp 4:10 PM  

@camilof (3:08 PM)

Ha ha back atcha. LOL

I wrote PS/S in my followup post because I thot maybe that was another way of saying PS's. Anyhoo, I think we both agree that 1) the clue is plural; 2) that both the clue and answer are unambiguous and 3) that PS'S is the correct answer. Imo, there's no way that PPS could be the right answer cos that would be post postscript, i.e., a singular answer for a plural clue. As I indicated, PPS would only work if the answer called for a 4 ltr word, i.e., PPS'S.

One or two commenters have suggested that no-one would be using PS'S in an email. Not true, I've definitely used PS's on occasion; maybe even rare PPS'S.

Let us go in peace, being un-con-fus-ed! πŸ•Š

PS Here in western Canada, someone originally from Maine might refer to the #2 fielding spot in baseball/softball as the 'back catcha'.

PPS There was a doozie of a call in the Korea vs Japan Olympic baseball game in the 8th inning, altho the catcher was not involved. (hi @Albie / @pabloinnh, you'd love this one)

PPPS I'm done. πŸ˜‚

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Unknown 4:11 PM  

If you didn't love this puzzle, you're a bit of a curmudgeon. Although I could see how someone pretty young wouldn't recognize the movie names, hence, the sheer brilliance of the construction would go right over their heads, so they're forgiven. But otherwise, great theme, clever construction, two full length spanners (I guess that's redundant!), and lots of zippy fill. A perfect Wednesday.

To those of you in such a huff about having to solve the NYTXW on its own app, I guess if you're a speed solver and invested in your nanoseconds, yes, the format is a little clumsy & you have to do a lot of scrolling. But if you're here just for the enjoyment of the puzzle without really worrying about speed, it's perfectly fine. To those of you quitting the app, I doubt the NYT will miss you, financially speaking that is.

RooMonster 4:15 PM  

Dang @albatross
It was so hidden even I didn't see it!

Ah, funnelcakes, good stuff!

RooMonster Roo-Unnoticed Guy

Cc’d 4:51 PM  

Another puzzle based on pop culture. Movie titles; rappers… How many movie directors and rappers are we supposed to know? Jeopardy is all almost pop culture these days. Could we have a few STEM topics occasionally to balance things out? OK I’m done venting LOL

manitou 4:54 PM  

Digital subscriber here, meaning I pay 40-ish dollars per year. That's in addition to a monthly digital subscription to the Times at $17/mo.

I solve the .puz file using AcrossLite. Pretty sure that's how Rex does the puzzle. I'm very interested to hear his take.

While I don't love that software, I greatly prefer it to solving on the website. And, for various reasons, I like having the files saved in a folder on my computer.

I don't have a functioning printer and I just prefer solving on a computer screen. I suppose there's away to fill in a PDF on screen but that doesn't sound ideal.

I don't share .puz files with non-subscribers. Also, if illegal sharing is why they're ditching the .puz format, isn't it just as easy for a subscriber to share a PDF (or any printable file) with non-subscribers?

I, for one, am very disappointed. πŸ˜•

Jeff B. 5:03 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle and finished it quicker than yesterday's. The song MONSTER MASH originally came out in 1962, so it wasn't till the end that I saw that the dates in the clue were about the two films and not the song.

I guess Lou was Hoover's wife. Who knows that, other than presidential historians?

Time to go back to Cafe du Monde for a BEIGNET order!

mmorgan 5:14 PM  

@Unknown — I definitely do not speedsolve. When I use the NYT app, I do not enjoy the puzzle as much because I feel like I’m distracted by struggling with the software. I like the size of the grid and the keyboard in ACL much more than in the NYT app. I loved solving on paper for many years, but now I find it increasingly difficult to navigate a pencil. I am not denigrating anyone’s preferred way of solving. I’m upset because I’m losing a way of solving I truly enjoy.

Gio 5:47 PM  

Since I started solving with the NYT app on my phone, I can't solve on paper anymore. It seems so strange to me.
I absolutely cannot solve on my computer. I did a few of these online tournaments, but they all required I use the PC (my laptop). I even asked the directors about doing the tournament on my phone but it was not set up for that.
It really slowed me down. One thing I noticed was the angle of my head and eyes is different, which made it harder to parse words, especially longer phrases. Your brain gets used to a certain angle of sight to parse the sentences. I tried to explain that to someone and they thought I was nuts. I could not see in the same way I'm used to!
I usually am reclining on my sofa with my heas on a pillow when I solve. For the last Boswords tournament, I set the laptop on the kitchen table, and sat up straight in a chair but it was so hard to move around the page quickly. If I had to delete or backspace, it was really unwieldy and I lost valuable seconds. I can speed around the NYT app.
It seems that if your mind and body is used to a certain format, other formats can be difficult to pick up comfortably.

bocamp 6:02 PM  

@Gio (5:47 PM) wrote:

"It seems that if your mind and body is used to a certain format, other formats can be difficult to pick up comfortably."

Very good point; such is life. Willingness to give new things (and new ways of doing old things) a fair try can be a valuable asset. πŸ€”

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Ξ© 6:22 PM  

Rex’s only Tweet on the .puz issue because he seems to be dealing with some other stuff.

Tom R 7:35 PM  

A fond farewell.

Based on the decision to no longer support .puz files for the crossword, I have cancelled my subscription (after decades, I might add). Since I won't be doing the puzzles anymore this serves as a farewell message to the other bloggers. I wonder if anyone else feels as strongly as I do about this. Obviously Malaika doesn't feel this way.

I have lived long enough to know a single voice lamenting a change of policy is meaningless so I have no hope the Times will reverse itself. Alas, I will have to search around for another source for fun.

Unknown 7:46 PM  

@Tom R

See ya

Joe Dipinto 8:52 PM  

So what is the percentage of Times solvers that uses .puzfiles to solve, as our guest blogger suggests solvers "think about"? Has anyone said? Does anyone know?

It seems to me it would have to be a relatively small (in their eyes) amount for them to cavalierly drop the format and risk losing subscribers, as is apparently going to happen.

Nancy 9:20 PM  

Ah, yes, the ".puzfile" that everyone's talking about today. It seems to be leaving NYT puzzle world as quietly as it entered -- and without my having the faintest idea what it is or what it does. Apparently many will miss you, .puzfile, though I regret to say I won't even know you're gone.

But I'll wish you well anyway, .puzfile. I'm magnanimous that way. I wish you wonderful new adventures and devoted new admirers. Somewhere in cyberspace, I imagine. Have a happy life.

David Pinkus 9:31 PM  

I’ve only ever used the app and while I can’t even conceive of how somebody could achieve Rex’s times on the app, I still find it a delightful overall experience.

Today was fun, except I really struggled with PROAMS, because honestly the word PHAT never was (or will be) cool :)

And never heard of a FIFE either, but now I know.

Nancy 9:56 PM  

@Anon 9:44 -- 9:28's a troll, but you're very funny. Good one.

Anonymous 10:04 PM  

Cheers to you Nancy!
Hope Central Park has good things for you.

GILL I. 10:36 PM  

@Anony 9:28...HAH...but I doubt it.
What in the world did we do before Amazon? We actually went to a store ad bought things. Now lovers of .pus have to actually go back to the store?

mmorgan 10:44 PM  

I would miss Nancy a lot and I will miss ACL a lot. I would not miss anonymice who make unnecessarily snide comments.

I’m still eager to know if PuzzAzz will work after the NYT banishes the .puz format.

I was going to force myself to do tonight’s Thursday puzzle on their app, but I decided to allow myself the pleasure of enjoying these last few days of solving on AcrossLite.

mmorgan 11:32 PM  

@GILL I. — I’m a fan of yours but from my perspective that’s not quite it. I’m fine with going back to the store (if going back to the store means solving on paper) — I just have physical trouble doing it that way these days. There are all sorts of ways of doing it now that don’t require going back to the store. Some are better than others. There’s one I really like, and one I like a lot less. They are taking away the one I really like. That’s it, no mas. Algun dia, tenemos que discutir sobre el tema. Un abrazo.

Ben 1:26 AM  

Speaking of condescending -- those questions at the end.

VancouverNana 3:48 AM  


Gio 11:23 AM  

Someone commented yesterday but now I can't find the post, but said they pay $17 a month for NYT digital subscription plus $40 for xword app.
That is too much. If you chat to their customer service and tell them you want to cancel, or are are looking for a deal, they quickly hand you a deal.
I pay $4 a month but $17 and $20 a year not $40. I got this through the customer service chat. I asked if I could combine the xword app with the digital subscription and they gave me that.
The person who posted said they were going to cancel due to the puzz file issue and the cost. You could contact them with this and I bet they reduce your fee.

thefogman 10:14 AM  

I think I’ve seen this gimmick before. It took me a while to understand the theme but that was because most of the movies are not all that famous, at least to me. For this to work, you need to have movies people instantly recognize - or else it clunks.

spacecraft 11:00 AM  

Solving on newsprint without any of that "app" stuff, I won't miss it at all. I will just trudge merrily along, wondering what in the WORLD could be a TWO-letter film title behind that wonderful movie CONTACT. The crosses yield US, which makes sense for the clue: CONTACT US. That's a movie, really? US?? Aha (had to Google it post-solve): it's a horror flick. No wonder. Sorry, but there's enough horror to go around in the real world; I don't need any more of it on a screen. Same deal with MONSTER.

Other than those two, I recognized all the theme films. Pretty cool (not to say PHAT) idea, M*A*S*Hing up two titles to form familiar phrases. Good job, that. And how could the DOD be other than FLOTUS ELEANOR? In the marquee position, at that. No real fill complaints, either. A solid birdie.

Burma Shave 2:29 PM  


that's what LOW CONTACT is FOR.


Anonymous 4:10 PM  

I really loved the ending of our guest host, Malaika's, post. I have no idea if it was intentional or not, but that sounded just like Leonard's mother on Big Bang Theory.

leftcoaster 4:14 PM  

Started by thinking rebus (REStarTS instead of RESETS), then went random, got TONELOC, SPLICER, etc., but didn’t make the cut and didn’t get the theme either !

What was I otherwise sure of? SUd instead of SUR and PpS instead of PSS. Also had eaten some delicious BEIGNETs in New Orleans, but forgot them and their spelling.

Today, at best, I am the AM in PRO-AMS.

Diana, LIW 7:46 PM  

I did the SUD/SUR switch, too. But overall, this made me want to go to the movies. Not these movies, but off to the movies.

But those BEIGNETS were my downfall to a 1-letter dnf. Oh well. Fun anyway.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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