1965 Shirley Ellis hit full of wordplay / THU 1-27-22 / German physicist after whom a unit of magnetism is named / Republican politico Michael / Garden produce named for an Italian city / Rodomontade / Foofaraw / What two sets of dots within double lines indicate in musical scores / Setting for 2009 film Precious / London district named for its botanic garden

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Constructor: Lewis Rothlein and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Medium to Medium-Challenging

THEME: REPEAT (47D: What two sets of dots within double lines indicate, in musical scores) — the clue somehow declines to add the ". . . or a hint to what's happening in [all the themers]," but that's what's going on: those answers have the musical notation in them, and you just REPEAT the letters in those sections to get the correct phrase:

Theme answers: 
  • NOWWH:EREW:E (17A: Question after a digression)
  • :GEOR:WELL (30A: Who wrote "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past")
  • NOM:ANIS:LAND (35A: Classic John Donne line)
  • R:OMAT:OES (41A: Garden produce named for an Italian city)
  • R:IDES:ADDLE (57A: Go on horseback à la Lady Godiva)
Word of the Day: GAUSS (5A: German physicist after whom a unit of magnetism is named) —
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (/ɡs/GermanGauß [kaʁl ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈɡaʊs]; LatinCarolus Fridericus Gauss; 30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855) was a German mathematician and physicist who made significant contributions to many fields in mathematics and science. Sometimes referred to as the Princeps mathematicorum[ (Latin for '"the foremost of mathematicians"') and "the greatest mathematician since antiquity", Gauss had an exceptional influence in many fields of mathematics and science, and is ranked among history's most influential mathematicians. // The gauss, symbol G (sometimes Gs), is a unit of measurement of magnetic induction, also known as magnetic flux density. The unit is part of the Gaussian system of units, which inherited it from the older CGS-EMUsystem. It was named after the German mathematician and physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1936. One gauss is defined as one maxwell per square centimetre. // As the cgs system has been superseded by the International System of Units (SI), the use of the gauss has been deprecated by the standards bodies, but is still regularly used in various subfields of science. The SI unit for magnetic flux density is the tesla (symbol T), which corresponds to 10,000gauss. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well, I had to solve this on the app because of its "special feature," which turned out just to be two dots and two lines (I couldn't even really see the lines), so I had to put up with the grid telling me "you're halfway done!" and then the stupid music at the end ... but if we strip away that those annoying experiential frills, and just focus on the puzzle per se, then it's not nearly so annoying. It's also not that exciting. It's just phrases with four repeated letters, and the answer kind of doubles back on itself. Not a hard concept to grasp, and if you've had any music education then you probably got the concept before you even hit the revealer. The problem is that once you get it ... it's not like it's particularly fun to get. Maybe it makes the puzzle a little easier. It definitely made the theme answers easy to get, now that I think of it. I had a bit of trouble at first sorting out "NOW WH:EREW:E...," mostly because it looks like an *incomplete* phrase, not a doubled-back phrase (I thought maybe the answer veered off in some direction or other, but if I followed STEREO Down, that only took me to "NOW WHERE WERE O ..." so after that dead end, I remembered the musical meaning of the dots and saw what the answer was doing. A couple of times I still had trouble parsing the answers. I wrote in SIDESADDLE for the Lady Godiva one and then wondered how [Something well-placed?] could end in -SIG (it's -RIG because it's R:IDE:SADDLE, i.e. "ride sidesaddle"). The whole thing felt a little INERT to me, and the revealer was a giant let-down (just ... the word ... indicating ... what was obviously going on). But the puzzle sets out to do a thing and it does that thing, so there you go.

There were a bunch of (unintentionally?) paired answers that messed with my brainwaves. Having had KEW Gardens early in the puzzle meant that when I saw the word "Garden" at the beginning of the R:OMAT:OES clue, I kept seeing it as a noun, not an adjective, and so I was looking at first for a place, not a food. My knowledge of German things is apparently very shaky, because I faltered badly with GAUSS and then HESSE, despite having seen both before. And then there were the oil wells, the OIL RIG and the GUSHER. I probably wouldn't have had any trouble with OIL RIG if I hadn't had that whole aforementioned SIDESADDLE error. I guess the paired clues continue with that pair of famous mathematicians, NEWTON and GAUSS. So GAUSS is part of two pairs and an answer I didn't know and it sits at the very tip-top of the grid, so this is now The GAUSS Puzzle, nevermind that he has nothing to do with the theme. 

The hardest part of the puzzle, the one that took it out of the normal / Medium range a bit for me, was the NE, where UNDOSEND was an absolute ???? I didn't know you could actually undo a send, and so parsing that word was a nightmare, down (almost) to the last letter. And that trouble came on top of a brutal (if clever) clue for REMOTE (22A: It can be a show-stopper), which made that section hard to get into in the first place, and a clue on BIG TALK that I had seen before but completely forgot (12D: Rodomontade). I had the -ALK and thought "well, it's probably some kind of WALK." It really sounds like a WALK. Either a walk you do during some segment of some fancy dance, or a WALKway ... perhaps through a garden. "Have you seen Chester?" "Yes, I believe he's taking his morning constitutional on the rodomontade." "Did he have his top hat, monocle, and cane with him?" "Of course he did, he's not a barbarian! Do you think he'd risk causing a foofaraw on the rodomontade? I should think not!" I blame the word "promenade," at least a little, for my "rodomontade" = WALK confusion. 
Other things:
  • The ERMA in 60A: "Forever, ___" (1996 humor book) is ERMA Bombeck
  • ISOLDE is from Wagner's "Tristan und ISOLDE"
  • PUBS are [Round houses?] because you order rounds ... of drinks in them
  • An OIL RIG is "well-placed" because it's placed ... by a well (an oil well)
  • "THE NAME GAME" is ... well, if you don't know if, or if you do, it's a fine way to round out this write-up:

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 6:05 AM  

Right. There is no such thing as "Undo send." Yes, gmail does (or did) offer it as a thing you can do, but it doesn't work the way you might expect: https://askleo.com/how_does_gmails_undo_send_work/. So that stumped me, as did "rodomontade," a word I'd never encountered before and hope never to encounter again.

Kevin 6:07 AM  

The biggest set back was an error in the puzzle itself. I use the official Times app, but on 35 across, the special characters are at M and I (shifted one space sideways). Instead of “No man is an island,” I’d get “No, man. I’m an island!”

I’m not sure why Rex shows the correct display but I don’t. But the “:” symbols are in the wrong boxes for me.

Sioux Falls 6:11 AM  

In the ipad version the symbols for REPEAT are off by one square.
NO MANI SLAND instead of NOM ANIS LAND. Completely threw me off.

Anik 6:19 AM  

There was an error in my app. The repeat section for nomanisanisland was around “mani” instead of “anis” - so that was a bit tricky.

Sioux Falls 6:27 AM  

When I look at it on a Fire tablet rather than iPad the symbols were in the correct place

OffTheGrid 6:48 AM  

This was BLAH. I'm not UPSET or AILing, just hoping this idea won't REPEAT. My energy is SAPped. I'm gonna NAP.

Anonymous 6:51 AM  

Solved on paper. Had sparse fill, encountered the revealer, and immediately filled in the theme answers. (Was fumbling with COLON before that.) NE corner hardest due to nonsensical UNDOSEND. I liked this one.

Chavenet 7:04 AM  

or as the kids might say, ERMA's gerd berk

kitshef 7:09 AM  

Very interesting, educated, challenging puzzle that I wish had been a themeless, which is pretty much how I solved it. I think I’m missing part of the theme. I get that four-letter strings repeat, but is there more to it? [Update: apparently it is something to do with musical notation and symbols that did not appear on my copy.]

NE corner gave me fits with UNDO SEND(?????) and BIG TALK being pretty baffling. The rest of the challenge though was in clever clues and vocabulary-stretching fill.

JJ 7:10 AM  

I can’t believe the early comments, Arw you kidding me? What a clever discovery, mixed with fun wordplay throughout. I’ve also learned rodomontade. It’s everything I enjoy about crosswords. The world would be a better place with a little more Lewis, and a lot less Rex.

wrollinson 7:14 AM  

Printed it from the NYT site just after 10pm last night… no “:” in any of the clues, therefore the revealer meant nothing to me. Good times.

Anonymous 7:14 AM  

Probably fun for the constructors. Maybe not so much for solvers.

Zed 7:15 AM  

Well, what a technological cluster f*ck. I was quite pleased to see @Lewis in the byline and breezed through this. But there was an odd (polite, but odd because @Leslie didn't want to risk spoilers) late last night and then I see the problem @Leslie must have been having is the misplaced ||: symbol. I print out the "newspaper version" and it is placed correctly so that NO MAN IS AN ISLAND is NOM||:ANIS:||LAND. But then I check my iPad app. No repeat symbols. NONE. NOT ONE. What. The. Actual. Fuck? I check Twitter and all the comments are from early solvers and mention 35A, and that the NYTX team is working on fixing it. Well, as of 7:00 a.m. my iPad app is not what I would call fixed.

JJK 7:19 AM  

UNDOSEND was bad but the POEM/PUBS crossing was a Natick, as neither of the clues made sense to me. But I kind of liked the theme. I solve using the NYTXW app on an ipad and the repeat signs were in the right place.

Zed 7:20 AM  

Boy Howdy. As I mentioned I print using the “newspaper version” option and it displays correctly. But seeing these other comments I just tried the “Standard Layout.” No repeat symbols. If you’re going to insist on keeping the tech in house maybe make sure you get the tech correct.

mathgent 7:26 AM  

Completely blown away by this masterpiece. A near record number of red plus signs in the margins. -- 18. Elegant cluing. And, of course for a Lewis-Jeff creation, no junk.

I hope that Lewis explains how he and Chen discovered the five themers in the puzzle plus the three others they didn't use (see Chen's blog). I have no idea how you write a program that pulls them out of the word list. Making it harder is that the repeats are all four letters long.

I solve in ink on a grid printed up from the NYT website. It didn't show the dots and lines. I presume the grid in the newspaper does.

RIDESIDESADDLE was the hardest. "Naked" didn't work. "Au naturel" didn't either.

I'll bet a lot of us got the Final Jeopardy question last night. Amazingly, the genius champ didn't and she was finally defeated.

tb 7:36 AM  

@Z,what everyone is really waiting with bated breath for is to see is how well you did on wordle. Why are you wasting time on this puzzle?!

SouthsideJohnny 7:39 AM  

Not quite sure what to make of this one. I don't know what the northwest section was meant to be - but I know what it is - a trivia test with the answers placed in what potentially could have been used as a grid for a crossword puzzle - SINBAD, ISOLDE(?),NEWTON, KEW, DENALI(??), HARLEM, GUERNICA(???), GAUSS, ARES, LECARS . . . HESSE, omg will it ever stop?

Well, obviously not for me. Definitely nothing to keep me interested enough to claw and fight my way through another unduly complicated and gimmicky theme. I don't pay as much attention to who the constructors are (unless they are one of our own, of course!) - apparently Jeff Chen is pretty well-respected. Is this truly representative of his best work?

Maybe this one will be enjoyable for those who enjoy Saturday-level difficulty, are into trivia, or who like other types of puzzles. To me, it definitely seems out of place appearing on a Thursday where the NYT crossword puzzle usually is.

The Joker 7:39 AM  


Son Volt 7:40 AM  

Liked this one fine - elegant theme and solid fill. I solve on my phone and didn’t even notice the REPEAT symbology so any app screw up didn’t effect me. Really liked the unadorned revealer.

Got the trick with ORWELL but RIDE SIDE SADDLE was still difficult for me. Although I think of GAUSS as a mathematician - doubling up with NEWTON is fantastic. Learned ROMATOES. Seeing LECARS was neat - could do without the plural. A couple short of a pangram - the overall fill was slick.

For all of you Wordle lovers who like to live on the dark side - I was referred to this yesterday.

Very pleasant Thursday solve. Well done @Lewis!

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

@JJ - right on. Your comments nail it for me too.

@Z - That’s how I print it too. Comes out just like the printed edition. I’ve noticed that the site has several different legacy print routines and what one prints varies wildly depending on how you arrive at print. This is annoying but I get that it’s not worth cleaning up for those who maintain the site. (I hope they don’t change anything that would change how I get the print edition printed.)

Mikey from El Prado 7:46 AM  

I solved this morning in the NYT app, which they must have fixed by the time I got to it, which was around 5:30 AM MT (7:30 ET). I found it tough, but got through it. I totally missed that 47D was a revealer. Was there something indicating that it was a revealer? I knew the answer only because I play guitar, and it just never dawned on me. I must be half asleep.

Anonymous 7:47 AM  

Loved it. Favorite puzzle of the year so far !

PaulyD 7:51 AM  

Elegantly constructed, cleverly clued, two giants of physics - what's not to love about this puzzle? More like this, please!

J.S. Bach 7:51 AM  

Cute puzzle, agreed NE was the hard part.


Zed 7:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zed 8:00 AM  

Oh yeah, the puzzle. It just screams Rothlein/Chen. As is Chen’s wont, the theme is based on letter-play more than word play, and as is @Lewis’ wont, a puzzling (in a good way) look at how things go together, and also an extension of his alpha doppelgänger fascination. I had a strong inkling from the moment I printed the puzzle of what the theme would be because I did get the bare minimum of musical notation training back in Choir class in high school. That did make the themers pretty easy (and since I printed out the right version all the symbols were there and in the right place). My nose did wrinkle a little bit at the revealer, just so straightforward. But then I realized that if you didn’t read music at all that revealer was probably very necessary.

I did arch the eyebrow at a couple of clue choices. GAUSS is never going to be easy to clue. Magnetic induction is just not a topic of everyday conversation and as scientists go the guy is probably an all-star, but not a Hall of Famer. But then going Principia for your NEWTON clue seems more like a Saturday choice to me. I felt the same way about going to Fantasia for the STEREO clue. First, it doesn’t have to be PPP at all, but then going to 1940 for the PPPification seems doubly unnecessary. Not that I liked taking ARES out if Greek mythology and sticking him in the DC Universe was any better. As for IN E, I just roll my eyes at the random classical work to clue the IN a random key three letter answers clues. Non Crossword person: “How do you know all those classical works and what key they are in?” Crossword solver: “🤣😂🤣😂🤣- I don’t.”

My favorite clues today were the titillating “Escort’s offering” and “Go on horseback à la Lady Godiva.”

**Wordle Alert with potential spoiler but not really**
I went with a word from the puzzle to start, got a yellow and a green on the first guess, felt like my second guess was highly probable, had the last four letters right on my third guess and still took five guesses to get it right. I will not be surprised if today’s entry yields some DNFs. I was amused that the correct answer applies to one of today’s themers.

Apparently hitting publish with an incorrect tag will also wipe out emojis.

Tom T 8:07 AM  

I thought this was a Thursday worthy concept, and lately we've been missing those. Very clever use of musical notation. Impressive.

BUT IT WAS A WEIRD SOLVE! I solved it on my phone app last night, which I don't normally do. I grasped the theme gimmick immediately from my musical knowledge, so NOWHEREWE fell in right away. I was breezing along, seemingly on my way to my 2nd personal best time this week. Then I ran into the misplaced !: :! markings in the NO MAN clue, but I realized quickly that had to be an editor problem, so on I flew! But alas, I had not dealt with the NE corner, which was a woe for all the reasons Rex and others have cited "Hello, UNDOSEND"). That corner took almost as long as the rest of the puzzle. Finally the "Show went on" when I got REMOTE and I finished a little below my Thursday average (which is a whopping 46 minutes).

BUT WAIT! I entered the last letter and ... no "Congratulations!" No happy music! No "almost there." "Hmm," methinks, "There must be a square I failed to fill." Nope. All filled in, but no indication if I'm done. So, try to pick a letter, delete it, and type it in again. Nope--the grid is frozen!

Frustrated, I see a button I haven't noticed before: "RESET." Maybe that will help the APP notice I am done. I push the button and find myself staring at a clean grid. Nooooooo! I hit "back" but to no avail. So, I reenter all of my answers in 5 minutes, 49 seconds, and get the happy music. I hope for better days to come with the app and the editing.

If I had given you a Hidden Diagonal Word clue for today, it would have been Teresa of Avila, e.g. The answer is STE (feminine saint), which appears twice in diagonal form.

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

This one is clearly baffling and annoying to those who don’t read music and also don’t have the right grid to work with. If one reads music and has the grid, it’s clever and a delight throughout.

HamboneReferee 8:13 AM  

UNDO SEND: not a thing! On MS Outlook there is a "recall" function, and even that isn't quite the same as an "undo send". Boo.

amyyanni 8:18 AM  

Lots of fun. Reminded me of high school band and chorus days. Thanks, gents!

mmorgan 8:25 AM  

The themers made my head spin a bit, but not in a bad way. Super clever gimmick, kind of an internal quasi-palindrome — never seen that done before. I’ve seen words spelled backwards, yawn, this was much more entertaining. The rest of the puzzle was fine, barely noticeable (except for ROTOMONTADE, hoo boy). But the themers really dominated my solving experience. Very distinctive!

TJS 8:29 AM  

Liked it a lot. Beat the hell out of a Thursday rebus-fest.

I'm trying to remember if Rexie has an animus for Chen. Can anyone help?

Oddly enough someone mentioned to me yesterday that you can undo a send in Whats App. I was stunned. When I asked how, the third person in the conversation, who knows my pitiful skill level, said "Don't even try. I'll show him later".

Zed 8:29 AM  

UNDO SEND is a thing. The interwebs say it is a feature available with gmail and Outlook. Here’s the thing, what the feature does is pause sending the email when the sender clicks on SEND for some prescribed length of time, say 30 seconds. So the sender has 30 seconds or less (if the feature is activated) to have a change of heart. But once that 30 seconds is up the email is beyond recall. This feature is easily replicated without the need of computer assistance. Don’t hit SEND. close the email you’ve written so it is sitting in your drafts. Get up. Walk away. Get yourself a cup of coffee. Ask yourself a simple question, “Would I mind if what I just wrote appeared on the front page of the local paper?” If the answer is “yes” go back to your computer and UNDO SEND by deleting that draft. Simple. And something the former president of the University of Michigan apparently never did.

Amie Devero 8:36 AM  


Diane Joan 8:37 AM  

I used the NY Times app on my Iphone and the repeat symbols were in the correct squares. I enjoyed the puzzle but I am sure I would have been flummoxed if there had been an error in the placement. I also learned rodomontade and foofaraw. I don't mind learning new words through a crossword.

My whole family was rooting for Amy Schneider on Jeopardy. I had a feeling something was wrong when she had the lowest score at one point last night. We hope to see her again in the Tournament of Champions.

TJS 8:37 AM  

@Southside, apparently one mans' "trivia test" is another mans' lay-up. Nothing on your list was unfamiliar.

bocamp 8:39 AM  

Thx Lewis & Jeff; a Thurs. puz with Fri.-Sat. crunch! Well done! :)


Loved the wordplay!

Unless I'm parsing it wrong, it appears the REPEAT indicator for NO ||:MANI:|| SLAND is misplaced. Didn't adversely affect the solve, tho.

Lots of great clues and answers in this one.

GAUSS / GUERNICA; HESSE / STEELE were somewhat tricky crosses, and BIG TALK, NAME GAME were new to me.

All told, a very enjoyable journey and a worthy challenge! :)

@puzzlehoarder 👍 for 0 yd
yd pg (38:36) / Wordle 3/6

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

A Moderator 8:45 AM  

I just deleted 64 spellcaster posts from a single 2014 comments section. Wordle Schmerdle.

Mr. Grumpypants 8:53 AM  

Ignored the Notepad, solved on AcrossLite, and had a great time figuring out the trick for myself rather than being hit over the head with the symbols [which were in the proper place on my PC]. The only I don't get is why the clue for 47D did not indicate that it was a hint to solving the puzzle. Did the constructors think that would make it too easy?

GILL I. 9:02 AM  

BRAVO...BRAVO...Primo. I want an encore, please. Now if only @Lewis and @Nancy collaborate on a puzzle, I'd be a happy little pig frolicking in some home-made mud.
My attic light bulb clicked on at :GEOR:WELL. It then got brighter and brighter at NOM:ANIS:LAND. I did my favorite fandango dance...yes, I did. I was one happy IT GIRL.
Two little head scratchers: I've never met GAUSS in person but I'm sure he's a nice man. I guessed GAUSS because I knew all the downs. Oh, you two...you gave me GUERNICA and my immediate recuerdos of staring at the one Picasso that I loved. It's mesmerizing and to think he dared defy Franco and his collaboration with the nazis. Sure..go ahead and bomb all the Basques you want...I don't care...they don't even like me.
You can see Picasso's Guernica at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid.
My second little head itch was the word "rodomontade." I've never met him the wild, much less in my neck of the woods. I tried to translate it to Spanish, maybe Italian or French...Nada. I left the BIG TALK on the table and went off to finish my business. Eventually, my shiny attic light bulb turned brighter. I will never use that word in my world of silly imaginations.....ever.
I loved it all, Lewis and Jeff. I don't for the life of me understand why some are even complaining. As far as I'm concerned, this is the BEST Thursday I've done in a long time.
You two are invited to my humble home for some WINES. The good kind!

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

I hated this puzzle so much it's making me consider swearing off of crosswords forever.

Frantic Sloth 9:07 AM  

@Lewis You sly boots! What a sneaky (and fun!) little trick you played on us!
Well, me anyway. Saw the double dots - and only the double dots - so was thinking something like ratios or analogies...?
But then the answers wouldn't fit, so many nanos were wasted trying to rebus everything to death.
My death.

The W's and E's and R's in the first themer seemed to multiply like rabbits, creating a downward spiral to the googly eye netherworld.
Head a-spin and eyes a-googly, I beat a hasty exit from its dastardly clutches, hoping to find solace elsewhere in the grid.

And then "Rodomontade" happened. I believe here is where I cursed the (still unknown) constructor.*🤣

"Oh yeah?", says I. "It's on, bub!"

*Here I should note that had I known you were behind some of this....nah. I still would have cursed you. 😘

Stubborning my way through, it started to sink in and come into focus what was happening....

Then the revealer rapped its knuckles on my forehead with a "Hellloooo?!" and I sighed the sigh of a dim bulb.

I love when that happens!

And the fill ain't too shabby either. The aforementioned BIG TALK, DENALI, LECARS (we had one !), NAME GAME (I sing that often. Don't ask.), GUERNICA, and oh, what the hey - it was all clean and tight and shiny.

Thanks to you and JC for a good tussle, a wild ride, and great fun!


Eric 9:16 AM  

My (Japanese) wife and I loved the “Sick of your repeating stories!” song that was linked in the blog! Great laugh. Thanks!

Me 9:17 AM  

You know you can turn off both the jingle and the milestones in the settings right?

Phil 9:29 AM  

No complaints about gender bias today? Wow.

Leslie 9:34 AM  

I loved this puzzle because it made me think. Didn't hurt that it was mostly in my wheelhouse. Learned rodomontade.

Nancy 9:34 AM  

When Lewis let me know a week or two ago that he had a puzzle with Jeff Chen coming up on Thursday, January 27, this was my response:

"Great, Lewis!! Congrats! I'm expecting lots of Thursday-style trickery. Maybe even fiendishness!"

And I was not wrong! Boy, is there trickery and boy, is there fiendishness!!!

I could not for the life of me figure out what was going on. I don't read music, I'm a word person, so those dots to me represented "is to" -- like you see in those SAT word analogy tests. But "is to" sure didn't work here. With a great, great, great deal of effort I finally had NOWWHEREWE at 17A. I had wanted WHERE WAS I, but I realized that I was working in some fiendish, yet-to-be-parsed way with WHERE WERE WE.

With additional effort I had ROMATOES -- but I couldn't parse that either. Then came NOMANISLAND and GEORWELL. I will figure this out, I promised myself -- I absolutely will.

Meanwhile, what was Lady Godiva doing? Why wasn't she riding NUDE? Or BAREBACK? She wasn't doing either one. What on earth was she doing?

I needed the revealer to figure out what was going on -- and the revealer was, quite unexpectedly, a Down answer. Then, at long last, I said "Aha!!!"

Oh, and the cluing!!! So Rothleinian!!! Brilliant, original clues for UPSET (15A); REMOTE (22A); USES (7D); POEM (10D); LOTTERY (39D). So good!!!

Loved this puzzle!!! Very, very crunchy and very, very clever. Congrats, Lewis and congrats, Jeff. You're a great team.

pabloinnh 9:34 AM  

This would have been infinitely easier if the repeat signs had appeared when I printed this. Alas, they did not. I did see the trick early on and it was moderately helpful with the themers.

Not much was helpful in the NE, however. Some very nice misdirection and "rodomontade" running right down th4 middle of everything, plus the unknown UNDOSEND (??) Ay ay ay. And I was feeling so smug for remembering GAUSS after my bout with physics in college. Did know GUERNICA instantly, so that gave me the G. Finally had a chance to see that impressive piece in person, and it was much bigger that I was expecting.

Very nice Thursday with some excellent crunch. Thanks a bunch, LR and JC. For me, it Lacked a Reveal so I was Justly Confused, and that's OK.

puzzlehoarder 9:38 AM  

I printed this out like I would any other Thursday puzzle and I got no dots or any other indication of what was going on. This made little difference as the fill was so easy and I've done a ton of puzzles that were convoluted in one way or another. I finished having no idea what the pattern was that the themers were following and I was baffled as to why there was no reveal.

I saw the explanation at xwordinfo and I was underwhelmed by it. However I was pleasantly surprised to see @Lewis' photo. Congratulations to him on another puzzle. He's just Lewis to me so I completely glazed over his name when I printed the puzzle out.

What did put this puzzle into the challenging range was that NE corner. Whenever I see rodomontade I think of the word rotogravure and I'm not sure what that means either. Putting BIG in front of TALK is what finally cracked it.

It turns out the origin of rodomontade is similar to that of malapropism.

yd pg-1, not even a difficult word just plain old word finding fatigue.

Cris S 9:51 AM  

There is an undo send on Instagram, though!

jberg 9:54 AM  

I loved this theme! The paper on my doorstep this morning had the dots in the right place, but it was still an interesting challenge to actually see how the repeated letters worked, and so satisfying when they fell into place. The toughest one was RIDE bareback, a better answer in its own right, but not with this theme.

@Lewis, I imagine you recuse yourself from your own puzzles, but the clue for 39D, "Cause for many people to scratch" == LOTTERY definitely belongs in your weekly list.

I thought this was going to be a DNF because of the NE, but I finally saw that PUBS were places where people bought rounds, and that lip could be EDGE and not sass. I misremembered the meaning of rodomontade as including some anger, so I held off from BIG even when I had TALK; and as for UNDO SEND -- well my version of Outlook calls it 'recall,' if I remember correctly -- and all it does is send a message to the recipient saying that I want the earlier one back. But it all fell into place at last.

@JJK -- the metric units of a POEM are called feet; see last paragraph for PUBS.

Personally, I thought it was a plus that the revealer did not self-identify as such.

Whatsername 10:02 AM  

Wow! I’m impressed. This took some doing and I think someone else even referred to it as a masterpiece. A dazzling example of what two brilliant crossword minds can produce.

I found it tough going, primarily due to the proper names and trivia. Just not in my wheelhouse today. Took a bit of thinking before I fully understood the themers. I kept trying to make 17A WHERE WAS I. And I guess my mind was in the gutter with @mathgent (good company to be in) because I wanted Lady Godiva BAREBACK. Never really thought of GRITS as a cornmeal dish or a fist bump as a DAP but … loved the clue for LOTTERY.

A work out, but a good one. Thanks @Lewis and Jeff.

Nancy 10:03 AM  

(I posted this a half hour ago. Will try again.)

When Lewis let me know a week or two ago that he had a puzzle with Jeff Chen coming up on Thursday, January 27, this was my response:

"Great, Lewis!! Congrats! I'm expecting lots of Thursday-style trickery. Maybe even fiendishness!"

And I was not wrong! Boy, is there trickery and boy, is there fiendishness!!!

I could not for the life of me figure out what was going on. I don't read music, I'm a word person, so those dots to me represented "is to" -- like you see in those SAT word analogy tests. But "is to" sure didn't work here. With a great, great, great deal of effort I finally had NOWWHEREWE at 17A. I had wanted WHERE WAS I, but I realized that I was working in some fiendish, yet-to-be-parsed way with WHERE WERE WE.

With additional effort I had ROMATOES -- but I couldn't parse that either. Then came NOMANISLAND and GEORWELL. I will figure this out, I promised myself -- I absolutely will.

Meanwhile, what was Lady Godiva doing? Why wasn't she riding NUDE? Or BAREBACK? She wasn't doing either one. What on earth was she doing?

I needed the revealer to figure out what was going on -- and the revealer was, quite unexpectedly, a Down answer. Then, at long last, I said "Aha!!!"

Oh, and the cluing!!! So Rothleinian!!! Brilliant, original clues for UPSET (15A); REMOTE (22A); USES (7D); POEM (10D); LOTTERY (39D). So good!!!

Loved this puzzle!!! Very, very crunchy and very, very clever. Congrats, Lewis and congrats, Jeff. You're a great team.

RooMonster 10:08 AM  

Hey All !
Dang, @Lewis, you done kicked my ass. What a tough puz, even though I had the Center Themer with the correct alignment of the REPEATers. Obcure cluing throughout had me running to Google screaming "help me!"

Also, being unsophisticated, had to look up the REPEAT symbol, cause I don't know musical connotations. But the REPEATers seemed inconsistent to me. The first one was ERE-W, the second GEOR-GE, the third AN-IS, the fourth MA-TOMA, the fifth IDAeS-S. It's tough to convey what I mean, but I got the first and fifth ones early, and thought the rest would follow the xxx-x-xxx pattern.

Anyway, that weak explanation aside, Googed a few more times for stuff, like Rodomontade. So if I brag, it's a RooMonster Rodomontade?

And who know Picasso's GUERNICA? Well, I'm sure a lot of y'all, but not non-art me. I did know LECARS, as automobile knowledge for me is good. Thought of @Nancy on that one, saying, "How the heck am I supposed to know that?"

Anyway, great concept @Lewis, but for me, more clever that I could figure out sans cheating. Might be record slowness for a ThursPuz. Checking my average on the NYT site, it's 25 minutes. Today was 46 minutes! Dang.

Gonna crawl away and lick my sounds. Har.

yd -many, should'ves, a bunch (I'm on the downside of caring how many words I've missed)

No F's, I REPEAT No F's 😁

Frantic Sloth 10:10 AM  

So glad dropping the .puz format made it possible for the overworked NYT staff to bring us such a technological wonder. 👍
Yes, I will die, get resurrected, and die again on this hill. Rinse and repeat.

At least I didn't experience these glitches while solving on the website. I feel for all y'all - it's maddening.

Also took me a while to get UNDOSEND because even though I remember having seen it at some point in my life, it was probably only once or twice and a long-ish time ago.

@The Joker 739am 🤣🤣🤣 Simple, clean, and elegant.

@GILL 902am Oh! From your mouth to Gof's ears - a @Lewis & @Nancy puzz would be awesome!

BTW, I can read music, but not seeing the double bar, well, I already explained what happened.

I know I'm gonna regret asking this, but WTH is a "spellcaster"? Never mind, I googled and don't want to know.

@Z 800 am I know what you mean

Wordle 222 5/6


Carola 10:11 AM  

Now I wish I'd waited and solved the puzzle in the paper, where the REPEAT symbols appear, rather than doing it last night on the dot-less app. I did figure out that chunks of 4 letters REPEATed, but I just didn't make the connection with the final Down, so I was left with an "Okay, nifty, but whatever," rather than the delight that this theme deserved. @Lewis and Jeff, you deserved better from the tech folks.

On the non-theme side, I found the puzzle easy, just because I scored a rare 100% in the NAME GAME. Loved getting reacquainted with "Rodomontade" and enjoyed the bedevilment of UNDOSEND, and WHERE intersecting KEW, HARLEM, and GUERNICA.

JD 10:11 AM  

Oh my. These guys weren't messin' around. Newton, Guernica, Isolde, George Orwell (I made that way harder than it was), Guass (I felt like a Sap on Guass, no idea who it was but I know it now), Sinbad. John Donne. The UnTrivial pursuit.

Steeply Big Talk, a challenge worth the effort. Oh Frabjous Day!

Toughest. Apres Midi (hint, it's not Afterskirt). Clue of the year on Remote. Was that yours Lewis? Took me foooorever. Gauss was a Hail Mary with a check.

Great, great work.

Joaquin 10:13 AM  

Thought this was terrific, even though my printed grid did not show the symbols. Super wordplay.

Surprised at all the comments regarding UNDO SEND. I have that feature added to my Gmail (and I use it from time to time, especially when I forget to add a file or photo).

I give this puzzle the standard @Lewis review, which is to say "mazel tov!".

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

As usual, I printed the blank puzzle and began to solve. Great difficulties ensued. Until I saw the extra marking in the solution online, I did not know that they existed. Boo.

Joe Dipinto 10:18 AM  

||: Nice job, Lewis & Jeff! :||

🟩Click here.

Nancy 10:23 AM  

Is my comment on this puzzle -- a highly favorable rave, by the way-- deliberately being deleted???? What's going on???? I posted around 9:30 and re-posted around 10:05. I don't get it.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Fantasitic puzzle Lewis. And if Mr. Chen comes around, you too sir!!

As for Gauss, anyone who's worked in TV or film production knows guass. De-gaussing tapes was a standard activity.

Nancy 10:40 AM  

I've given up. I've already sent my long, complimentary comment on today's puzzle -- which I really want Lewis to see -- directly to Lewis in an email. If anyone here wants to see what I wrote, go to Wordplay.com and use the F3 key to find "Nancy".

What's happened this morning is truly weird.

Bruce R 10:46 AM  

Outlook does not have UNDOSEND. It has Recall Message. Intuitively those might seem to be equivalent but I've been using Outlook for years but heard UNDOSEND for the first time today. Don't know about gmail.

CDilly52 10:52 AM  

True that, @Kevin. I ignored it, hoping that the app would reward me at the end anyway and it did.

jae 10:54 AM  

Mediumish. Very clever, liked it a bunch! I did not know the music notation but the theme was fairly easy to figure out and the reveal help make sense of it. I had the same problems in the NE that @ Rex et. al. had.

A very very tangentially related bit of trivia: We saw Kristin Stewart on Colbert this week and he noticed a tattoo on her forearm of the sun symbol from the GUERNICA painting.

Beezer 10:54 AM  

Let me say that @Mathgent’s comments pretty much took the words right out of my mouth…masterpiece for sure!

I work on the iPad NYT APP (NOT the website) and it must have been fixed by the time I solved (10 am) because all was good.

I learned ROTOMONTADE and had one heck of a time in the NE because I first put in PUBS, then changed it to INNS because I had a wrong down answer. Like @Z (I think? or maybe Rex) I thought a rotomontade could be a WALK. Hah, too much like promenade, I suppose.

@Mathgent, like you I DID Final Jeop last night but I just figure my brain was in the right place at the right time. For whatever reason my brain said [STOP-SPOILER!] go with SH. None of my Jeopardy texting friends got it nor did my husband (I had taped it and called him out of the den with “Amy LOST”! The new winner librarian guy was just so gobsmacked it tickled me to death!

CDilly52 10:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymoose 10:57 AM  

@JJ. You must know Rex and Lewis quite well to make such a judgement.

Joseph Michael 11:05 AM  

Mommy, my brain hurts.

With no dots in my printout of the grid, this was especially hard to figure out. And even when I did, I still wasn’t always quite sure what was going on and totally missed that 47D was a revealer. However, I did complete the puzzle after finally working my way through that thorny SE corner. (Nice misdirect on the Lady Godiva clue.)

That said, I loved the puzzle for the workout it gave me and all of the clever clues. The next time Lewis posts his favorite clues, it will be hard not to include mostly his and Jeff’s from this puzzle, especially the clues for PUBS, USES, GEORWELL, BREAK, and OIL RIG. To second @Joaquin, mazel tov!

Zed 11:11 AM  

@Nancy - All of your comments have been showing up in a timely fashion for me. I don’t know what the issue could be. Blogger has been weird with my comments a couple of times lately, too, so I’m guessing it is a Blogger issue.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

If you didn’t see any repeat symbols in the app grid, make sure you’ve got the setting “Show overlays” turned on.

CDilly52 11:16 AM  

I almost wish I had no familiarity with the musical REPEAT sign because knowing it (and all of the theme answers) made this snappy puzzle easy, and disappointing. Disappointing only because upon seeing our @Lewis’s and Jeff Chen’s bylines, I expected clever wordplay and lots of crunch. My husband would, under these circumstances remind me that 50% in baseball is batting 500 and a damn good average.

As I reviewed the opus following my speedy solve, I was impressed with the effort it took for our wizards to identify answers for which the sign would work. I recall once not many moons ago that some answer or other made me “see” this possibility for a theme, but upon further consideration, I deemed it certainly way outside my wheelhouse. So congrats GENTS! @Lewis, I look forward to your daily contributions and your “clues of the week” (and find that we are nearly always of like mind on most), and Mr. Chen, your puzzles have been high on my list of favorites for as long as I can remember seeing your byline.

My absolute favorite clue today is “It can be a show-stopper.” Brilliant and funny. Checks all the boxes.

On another note, the content review department and I must be having a disagreement because at least once a week lately, I finish commenting, hit publish, get the usual message and then my comment never appears. Any way to figure this out?

I am especially disappointed that my enjoyment of yesterday’s “Eye Test” didn’t make it because I enjoyed the memories it evoked, and thought perhaps the constructor might have been deliberately presenting a themed puzzle with tongue rather deliberately (and cleverly) in cheek. Oh well.

Great job today.

Seth 11:17 AM  

Yeah, it was fine on my android phone. Must be an iOS issue.

PGregory Springer 11:17 AM  

What a good puzzle. Just what Thursday should be. I use undo send on Gmail all the time, usually when I forgot to include an attachment. It's even called "undo."

Beezer 11:17 AM  

Okay. This is the last time I will speak of Wordle (probably). The first second time I played (when I actually understood the rules-d’oh) I thought long and hard for a good starting word. I got it in two. After having less success with other starting words I decided to go back to that one word and use it every day for a jag. With that TOP SECRET word I managed to get another puzzle in two, three in three, and 5 in four…never did I have one more than four. Changed back to random first word selection. Immediately got a 5, 4, and 6.

Anyway, I don’t do Wordle until after I work NYT and read comments but after reading @Z, I decided to use my secret word again. Not stunning but DID get par. Looks like a climb up a Mayan pyramid!

Wordle 222 4/6


pmdm 11:25 AM  

First, Nanxy's comment seems to have appeared above more than once. Just to let you know.

And the puzzle? I like it a lot. Too bad Lewis is away when it's been published. Would have liked to read his comments.

Sharp kind of likes a Chen puzzle? Wonders will never cease.

And I'll repeat myself. I liked the puzzle. A lot.

Nancy 11:26 AM  

@Z -- You saw my original (extensive) comment today about the puzzle, circa 9:30? Really? I still haven't seen it -- nor the re-post, circa 10:10. Anyone else see it/them?

@GILL, @Frantic -- There will be a Lewis and Nancy puzzle in the LAT, but don't know when it will appear. We were notified towards the end of November that it had been accepted.

Newboy 11:31 AM  

Solving on PST here in Idaho today was an obvious advantage since the NYT IT GIRL had descended the stairs and worked her charms on the app which worked as well as could be expected on a geriatric iPad. Delightful too to see the Lewis & Jeff byline and know that the game was truly afoot. NOWHEREWE fell right away and tipped the theme and it was off to the ROMATOES. Hand up for the “rodomontade” parade & the Snidely Whiplash deviousness of the PUBS clueing. Where grids are being schemed, this dynamic duo has again proven that NOMANISLAND beyond all doubt.

PHC 11:34 AM  

For me the easiest Thursday in quite a long time. I saw the repeat signs, and only hesitated a moment to wonder “how will people who don’t read music do on this?” followed by “can it really be this obvious?” For a trained musician an obvious gimmick, and either you enjoy that the repeats work (as did I) or you don’t.

Perhaps I was lucky in starting the puzzle a little late; the problem many have reported with the repeat signs being off by a cell was a bug and fixed by NYT in the course of the day. I only know about it because I finished off by reading the “official” solving notes on the Times’ website.

In general a lucky day for me; I’ve been to Wiesbaden many times so only needed to think for a moment which state it’s in (It’s the political capital of the state, despite Frankfurt being the much larger city) and GAUSS was also a gimme. NE took the longest to crack, having attempted the obvious sass for 19A and not wanting to let go. On top of that, I know you can’t UNDO SEND with normal email, so kept hoping something else would come along. Rodomontande I didn’t know, but I have no problem using a dictionary for clues. That’s why God gave us Merriam and Webster, and it’s a chance to grow my vocabulary.

What? 11:36 AM  

Terrific dipsey doo, placing letters in places indicated by the :. Got it with no knowledge of that musical notation.

Don’t know why people complain of RODOMONTADE - it right there in Wikipedia.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

I'm among those frustrated/confused by lack of dots on the print out. Now a horrible puzzle makes sense, and I understand REPEAT as the revealer. If they include such graphics, they should include them in the printed version!! In retrospect, (i.e. retro-respect) UNDOSEND and ROTOMONTADE were educations for me. Was going to sign on to rant but now I realize this was well done! Thanks Rex et al. You have done the NYT and these constructors a solid.

egsforbreakfast 12:02 PM  

The problem that many of us had with 35A can be resolved if you have an intimate knowledge of Donne’s earlier drafts of his Meditation 17, which famously begins “No man is an island.” Initially Donne was skeptical of his own line of reasoning on this point, so he continued with a second line, now largely forgotten by all but @Lewis, Jeff Chen and me, that read “No, man, I’m an island”. This is exactly how the “incorrectly” placed repeat signs make the quote read in the version of the puzzle that many of us got. Of course, he dropped that second, little known line just before the messenger boy arrived to collect the poem for the printer. When the boy asked “Are you the author with the poem, and is it finished?”, he replied “Yes, I’m Donne”.

I thought this was a fantastic puzzle both in concept and execution. Thanks to @Lewis and Jeff Chen for a most enjoyable Thursday.

Frantic Sloth 12:04 PM  

@Nancy I've recently had similar issues. @Z has the best explanation as far as I'm concerned, but it still stinks. Are you sure you didn't hit UNDO SEND after submitting? ;)

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

The Newton clue was fine, perfect even. But Gauss is more than a bit off-point; he's known mostly for statistics.

The ||: (if that's what it is?) came through as just : up against cell borders in my dead trees version. Whether having the correct glyph would have been recognized? Probably not.

So foolish, it makes me yen for rebi.

egsforbreakfast 12:06 PM  

@Nancy. I’ve been seeing your comments in a timely manner.

GILL I. 12:09 PM  

@Nancy 11:26. I saw all f your posts... :-)
Please let us know when you and Lewis appear in the LAT. I only do the NYT but I will certainly do yours and Lewis'...

Unknown 12:10 PM  


Usually Very DOSEND 12:13 PM  

But today, I'm feeling very UNDOSEND.


A 12:16 PM  

It’s Mozart’s birthday. Just recently performed a piece with a ton of REPEAT signs in the last movement. I preferred the first movement. There’s plenty of horn (Hi, @Nancy - your puzzle made my day with that!) in this recording.

I printed the puzzle last night. No repeat signs. (Must have been the Kalmus version.) Took a while to figure out the trick because the first themer had two complete words. GEORWELL cleared up the confusion.

If the repeat sign had been off by one letter in 57A, the answer would’ve been RIDE SADE-SADDLE.

Applied Joaquin’s Dictum to UNDO SEND.

Actually remembered the old Renaults.

Thanks, Lewis and Jeff - this was fun and challenging (thanks to the missing repeat signs) to solve. Sending good thoughts for you and yours, @Lewis.

Geezer 12:17 PM  

Using the musical notation for REPEAT was way too cute. The idea was solid but shaded squares or circles would have been much much better. As presented there's a "Look what we did" vibe.

Trey 12:25 PM  

What a challenge! Parsing phrases like this was tough to see, making completion of the phrase slow to avoid missing or adding letters. The already-noted error on the app with NO MAN IS LAND really screwed with my head awhile.

I wanted GUSHER to be OIL _ _ _ until I saw OIL RIG. Lots of good clues: LOTTERY. REMOTE, UNDO SEND, ANSEL. I know know what an IT GIRL is. I thought that she worked on my computers at work.

Thanks Lewis and Jeff - enjoyable and challenging.

Wordle 222 2/6


DrBB 12:25 PM  

I thought the musical notation cue was cute and a lot of fun. I too had the hardest time in the NE thanks largely to UNDOSEND but it wasn't a mystery to me once I saw it. Gmail still offers this option, basically just delays for a few seconds when you hit the send button, because that's almost always when you see a mistake or change your mind. The nice thing is that you can adjust how long to have it wait in your settings. I've used it quite a few times.

pabloinnh 12:30 PM  

@Nancy--Looks to me like you hit UNDOSEND a couple of times. (Subdued har!

What? 12:30 PM  

I’m pretty familiar with constructor’s tools and I can’t imagine how the authors came up with the theme fills. Where could they have looked up them up?
It’s possible it’s just hard work and they started the puzzle in 2011.

Beezer 12:31 PM  

@Nancy, you are not crazy. The first time I went through the comments (around 10:15) your comments were NOT there. I just looked now and they are now mysteriously there. If you scroll up you can see that my Wordle only shows my correct answers and in little black question marks. I will say also that since I’m not a blue blogger the Recaptcha was very low today….who knows!

mathgent 12:38 PM  

My favorite comment this morning.

Beezer (10:54)

Zed 12:42 PM  

@Anon11:16 - That did it! I don’t usually use the iPad app except as a reference point when there are complaints.
For others, with the puzzle open I went to the settings (the cog symbol in the upper right) then scrolled down to “Show Overlays” and changed it to be on and the rest symbols appeared. The symbols were in the right place for 35A.
I don’t think I’ve ever messed with the setting apps and think it is a little odd that the default would be to have “Show Overlays” to off. But I use that app so infrequently that I can say for certain that I didn’t turn the overlays off.
Now, can someone explain why the “standard layout” doesn’t have the rest symbols?

@Nancy - I see posts from you at 9:34, 10:03, 10:23, 10:40, and 11:26. I don’t know exactly when they appeared, but they’ve been appearing about when I’d expect given moderator delay.

@pmdm - going backwards on Chen puzzles we get “adequate,” “solid,” a pan, “solid enough,” “interesting and worthwhile,” “interesting but weirdly executed,” a Mike Lee rant, a pan of the theme (this is the last Chen solo effort published it seems), and “Appreciated this one much more after the fact than I did during the solve.” I would say that it is rare for Rex to give Chen a glowing positive review, but that the posts lean positive. My personal impression is that I prefer Chen collaborations to his solo work, but was surprised how infrequently he has had solo efforts recently.
Having said that, Rex has soundly criticized xwordinfo.com for its lack of independence from the NYT.

@beezer - As you can see from my chart at least a little luck must have been involved. My first letter was never from the RSTLNE group. I suppose my first letter miscues in guesses 3 and 4 might have been already eliminated earlier by you. But I suspect getting it from the back will be common and there are three good words to try when you have the last four letters. So I had a 33% chance at guess 3 and a 50% chance at 4. I think at guess 5 I had eliminated all the possible wrong answers.
Wordle 222 5/6*


Nancy 12:44 PM  

Yes, @Beezer's right -- My comments are b-a-a-a-ck! Now even I can see them!

Whatsername 12:50 PM  

Wow!! I’m impressed. This took some doing. A dazzling example of what two brilliant crossword minds can create.

That said, I found it tough going, primarily because of the proper names and trivia. Just not in my wheelhouse today. Took me a while to figure out exactly what was happening with the themers since I was thinking more in terms of ratios. I kept trying to make 17 across WHERE WAS I instead of WE. And my mind was in the gutter with @mathgent’s (good company to keep) because I wanted my Lady Godiva to be riding BAREBACK. I thought the clues for GRITS and DAP were a little weird but I loved the one for LOTTERY.

A masterful job of construction which translated into a pleasurable solve. Thanks @Lewis and Jeff. Nicely done gentlemen.

@Nancy: I know that left out feeling today as well. I posted something close to the above comment about two hours ago. Saving this one so I can email to Lewis if necessary.

Pete 12:56 PM  

@JJ You want to have a world with a lot less Rex? Go away. That simple. Go to Wordplay, or Diary of A Crossword Fiend or XWord info. No Rex there. Revel in it. Have a ball. Write odes to that fact. Just don't go to Rex's place and say the world would be better without Rex. It's just plain rude, and contradictory.

@Whomever said "how did they find ....". It's simple if you have the data base, and know how to write code to access the data base. I'm guessing that was the impetus of the pairing - to me, the conceit screams Lewis and his letter pattern obsessions, Jeff was there for coding.

In 5 seconds of thinking, here's the pseudo code:

string isGood(string aWord)
bool good = false;
aWord = aWord.toUpper();
for (int i = 0; i < aWord.Length()-8 +1; i++)
{ if (substr(aWord, i,i+4) == substr(aWord,i+5, i+9) ) good = true; }
return good;

declare cursor allLongWords as Select ANSWER from xwordinfo.db where len(ANSWER) >= 10;


string aLongWord = allLongWords.getFirst();
if ( isGood(aLongWord) ) print aLongWord;

for (each string word in allLongWords.getNext() )
if ( isGood(word)) print word;

It's very easy if you have knowledge in this particular field. Jeff has that knowledge, and Lewis knew that.

It's even easier if you know about regular expressions, but my brain isn't wired that way.

beverly c 12:57 PM  

Fun puzzle. I recognized the notation and jumped right in with NOWWHEREWE. No issues with the app.
My biggest obstacle was parsing UN DOSE ND ? UNDO S END? What the heck? Finished in about half my usual time, which is the only downer.
RODOMONTADE was new to me. While blundering about, I considered Ms Godiva to ride, if not nude, hidden in hair or something.
@Z Nice UNSEND technique. I like it.

Pete 1:01 PM  

@Joe Dipinto - Man, did clicking on your little green box invoke a powerful Pavlovian / madeleine response in me. It's been what, 45, 50 years?

Wanderlust 1:05 PM  

I see it posted twice.

Lewis 1:09 PM  

I'm still away (and busy) but I've made it a point to read all the comments (and will continue to) -- It makes me very happy that a good number of you got enjoyment out of this puzzle. That's always my goal! I should be back commenting mid-next-week, and miss you all!

A Moderator 1:17 PM  

@Nancy commented at 10:23

"Is my comment on this puzzle -- a highly favorable rave, by the way-- deliberately being deleted???? What's going on???? I posted around 9:30 and re-posted around 10:05. I don't get it."

I read this around 10:30 and began to investigate. I saw that, for some reason, Blogger had categorized them as spam and I immediately approved both comments.

One mystery solved (why Nancy's comments didn't appear in a timely way) and another mystery still unsolved (why Blogger thought they were spam to begin with).

Wanderlust 1:21 PM  

Never in the history of the NYTXW has a puzzle been more outside my wheelhouse. I don’t know anything about musical notations, and I always struggle with Italian words for tempo and such. Took me a long time to get REPEAT, and thinking the first themer was some rebus form of WHERE Was I (as opposed to WHERE WERE WE) also hurt. Even when I got the REPEAT, it took a while to figure out how to fill things in. But once I did, I liked the theme.

Then there was the NE. I also didn’t know you could UNDO SEND, which seems like a very useful thing to know how to do. I can recall getting emails followed by a “so-and-so would like to recall this message” — which, of course, makes me want to read the message even more. RODOMONTADE was a total mystery but a good word to learn. And the clues for PUBS and REMOTE were very tough. I absolutely loved them when I got them.

Escort’s offering… hmm, “sex” isn’t working with crosses. Another great misdirection. DENALI, GUERNICA and KEW all brought back fond travel memories from the before times.

Finally, I have a friend named Roma, so I sent her a screen shot of ROMA TOES. She is justifiably proud of hers. Nice work, Lewis!!!

Wanderlust 1:23 PM  

Cool to hear from a real live moderator. Thanks for your work!

Beezer 1:24 PM  

@Z…absolutely luck is involved big time If I am right, you and @Frantic picked a word out of two [ SPOILER!] that is associated with numbers. For whatever reason THAT word didn’t occur to me. The results of my “experiment” really doesn’t mean much but it might have a placebo effect for me.

Anoa Bob 1:41 PM  

Yesterday we had BIG and today we get BIG TALK. Another carry over. Coincidence or meta?

I finally figured out why the Wordie thing colors seem familiar to me. In the Navy we were shown a chart that told us what sexually transmitted disease we likely had based on the color of discharge from you know where.

Another Navy memory was the "Degaussing" that our ship went through as we were leaving port heading out to sea. It was supposed to reduce the ship's magnetic field. It was years later that I learned the process was named after the physicist Carl Friedrich GAUSS so nice to see him in the grid.

I'm still puzzling on the REPEAT letters between the thin vertical lines and colons. Are the bracketed letters supposed to REPEAT in the same exact order in each themer or do they change sequences from one themer to the next? Or has this puzzle uncovered some kind of dyslexia I never knew I had?

Even cream of the crop constructors like today's duo depend on the plural of convenience (POC) to fill the grid, including several two for one POCs. At least one of the themers needed a letter count boost when ROMA TOMATO wasn't up to the task of filling that slot and I'm still trying to figure out if it's supposed to be RIDE SIDE SADDLE or the POCified RIDES SIDE SADDLE. And why would anyone ride in such a precarious position as SIDE SADDLE in the first place?

okanaganer 1:47 PM  

Like @Mr. Grumpypants 8:53, I solved on Across Lite. I did keep the NYT web page open in my other monitor so I could check where the marks were. No problem. So the visual gimmick was just fine with me!

[Spelling Bee: yd pg in 15 min., but eventually gave up at -4 and I even missed one of the pangrams -- the longest one.]

Masked and Anonymous 1:51 PM  

Different theme mcguffin, and in the ThursPuz-feisty range. Like.

staff weeject pick: INE. Cuz of the INE/INERT repeat sub-themery. [ :har: ]
Primo weeject-rows, on ADO-RNS-HER-SAP & especially the AAAA-rated ATE-AIL-ARM-AXE one.

fave sparklers: GUERNICA. BIGTALK/Rodomontade. GUSHER. LOTTERY clue.

Had SHARPLY before STEEPLY. Also had some trouble figurin out UNDOSEND; had to do some undowritin. Lost a few precious nanoseconds, there in the NE.

Thanx for gangin up on us, @Lewis & Chenmeister. GO:OD:D STUFF.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Whatsername 2:06 PM  

@Moderators: The same thing has happened to me that happened to Nancy’s comments today. I posted original comment at approximately 10:00 and again at about 1145. Neither one has ever appeared.

Whatsername 2:11 PM  

@Southside Johnny (7:39) and others who may not be aware: Today’s co-constructor is @Lewis, a most esteemed member of our commentariat.



I found your 10:00 AM comment (it was right under @Nancy's) and approved it, so you should now be able to see it. I couldn't find your 11:45 comment.

Whatsername 2:38 PM  

@Mod: Any other time it wouldn’t have mattered, but since it was @Lewis’ big day I wanted to add my two cents. Thank you for the update and for all your efforts to keep this place going.



I just checked and there was a comment from @jberg right under yours that also got quashed. I OK'd it, too.

I'm really curious how that could happen.

JD 3:01 PM  

@Anoa Bob, I loved your info about degaussing. Thank you for giving me something to fun to think about today.


Douglas 3:09 PM  

@JJk - I don't think you understand what a Natick is. A clever, difficult wordplay clue it definitely isn't.
I loved this Thursday treat - way below my average time but a fun twist to make it interesting.

Carola 3:15 PM  

@Anonymous 11:16 wrote:
"If you didn’t see any repeat symbols in the app grid, make sure you’ve got the setting 'Show overlays' turned on."

Thank you so much for this very helpful tip! I hadn't looked at the app settings since installing it and turning off the timer and sounds, and I had no idea what "overlays" was supposed to mean. After turning them on now, presto-chango, the dots appeared in my completed grid.

Nancy 3:37 PM  

A big thank you to the 1:17 Mod!!! So I was deliberately deleted -- as "spam" of all things! --even if not by an actual human person. Okay, so now this Luddite -- who doesn't even understand what "Blogger" is, much less what it wants out of us commenters, is going to try to guess. I'll need the help of all you computer-savvy types, of course.

You see, I don't know the "why", but I think I may have identified the "what" that so disturbed the delicate sensibilities of Blogger. For my first paragraph in my original post, I cut and pasted part of an email I sent to Lewis two weeks ago. Maybe Blogger doesn't like personal emails being cut and pasted onto a blog comment. Maybe Blogger thought I was a spellcaster or something even worse? Y'all who understand these things, please let me know if I might be right. I'll then have to slap myself on the wrist and make sure I don't do it again.

bertoray 3:46 PM  

Thank you @Lewis for your contribution to an amazing Thursday romp.

mooretep 3:46 PM  

This was a great puzzle.
Everything I ask for on a Thursday and more than just a rebus.
Solved on paper with no "clues" as to the repeat musical notation.
It all just sat there for me to suss.



Don't take it personally. It wasn't you.

3 comments (in a row) got squashed for no apparent reason, @jberg's 9:54, @whatshername's 10:02 and yours 10:03.

I don't recall this happening before and have no idea why it did.

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

The word you're looking for is quashed, not suqashed. A common mistake. And, if not proof, at least highly suggestive of what i;ve long thought. You moderators are a dim bunch.

GILL I. 4:12 PM  

@Anony 3:54....Sometimes autocorrect (incorrectly) does the dastard deed. It happens to me often. Jumping to any conclusions? Well....you know how that works out!

The Cleaver 4:22 PM  


Now, that's hardly a fair statement. Either is acceptable. You quash an indictment (L&O episode just ran). And you squash a rat with your foot.

And may the Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) spend the last years of his life in orange in Leavenworth, having been convicted of treason.

thfenn 4:32 PM  

Late to the party today so just wanted to quickly add congratulations to @Lewis on a fine puzzle. Perfect Thursday fare, I thought - tough and rewarding. On the NYT App those bar/colons would drift. They'd start out in the right place, and then move somewhere else. Had no idea what was going on, but if I left the puzzle and came back they'd be in the right place. Jumped on theme at GEORWELL, and the theme definitely helped the solve, so that was fun. Hiccups in the north, first having Tesla and then figurings arenas have lots of fans, but eventually got to GAUSS. And now I know what Rodomontade is, LOL, and there doesn't seem to be a huge shortage of it. My favorite puzzles spark memories, associations, and enquiry. This one did all three. Thanks.

thfenn 4:38 PM  

Wordle 222 5/6

Like pulling teeth today. Almost wish I'd gotten one yellow the first try. @Trey, yours looks quite elegant.

Another Anon 4:45 PM  

@Anon 3:54. What is "suqashed"? If you're trying to look smart it's not working.

Anonymous 5:21 PM  

Agree with an earlier commenter who said this was a technological clusterf*ck. Stupid concept, lousy execution. Even Rex can't explain it clearly!

Whatsername 5:38 PM  

@Anonymous (3:54) Your personal insult directed at the moderators is way out of line. And by the way, your two-line comment contains two obvious typos and two incomplete sentences. If you’re going to correct someone else’s post, you really should try a little harder to make sure your own is correct.

Wanderlust 5:39 PM  

My comment (about 1 pm) also did not post. I didn’t copy it unfortunately.

Chip Hilton 5:59 PM  

Loved it. I knew the musical notation so knew what I was looking for, but that didn’t ruin the fun. Just amazed that constructors can come up with things like this. Loved the LOTTERY clue! Great job, Lewis and Jeff!



Found it and OK'd it.

This is really weird (at least the anon troll(s) can still post).

Zed 6:17 PM  

Is there anything meaner than not squashing @anon 3:54’s comment? I thought the mods were kind people but allowing someone to embarrass themselves like that borders on cruelty.

@mods - Thanks for clearing up the missing comments mystery.

@Nancy - I doubt it was anything you did, especially since others got dinged. Blogger is free software created by Google for “web logs,” aka “Blogs.” Rex Parker is hosted on Blogger (as opposed to WordPress or Medium), so you’ve been using Blogger daily for a couple of years now. Blogger is old software (1999) and not all that well supported so weird things occasionally happen. There’s also always the chance of human error, too, but probably not yours.

@anon5:21 - To be clear, I was referring to the NYTX’s technical challenges having the grid display as intended, and part of the problem turned out to be me. I liked the puzzle.

**wordle alert**
@beezer - My belief is that anything under par is due to luck, with the further under par one is the more luck played a role. It’s only around guess four that you ever have enough letters eliminated to make informed guesses. Even then bad luck could play a role in a DNF. I think SH-RE had a lot of DNFs on Twitter because people tried SHaRE and SHoRE before the desired SHIRE. If I’m remembering correctly I knew from an earlier guess that an I was needed. That’s at least a little bit lucky.

Anonymous 6:19 PM  


Hey, we're not all knuckleheads!! Since when is mouse synonymous with troll???

Pete 6:19 PM  

@A Moderator - Why not just put posts through a spell checker? That way, you both quash and squash the one particular Anon who averages 40% misspelled words per post without specifically picking on them.

A Different Moderator 6:27 PM  

I went through all the spam and found old comments from Gill I, Frantic Sloth, DrBB, and a couple of others, going back to 12/29/21. They have now been approved. I don’t normally look at the spam folder, but will make a practice of checking it at least once a day.

JC66 6:28 PM  


Good one! 👍

Smith 6:28 PM  


Wow! Thanks! Did the puzzle early (no tech glitches, solving on Android phone) and got distracted before I could comment. I loved it, very clever. And even better that it was by you and Jeff Chen.

Art 6:47 PM  

I fully agree!!

Smith 7:00 PM  

So I don't play in hard mode, but was pretty happy with this..

Wordle 222 3/6


Smith 7:03 PM  


It's late, but all your comments are showing up. Hope @Lewis checks in this evening.

brian 7:38 PM  

I am not a fast crossword solver by any stretch of the imagination, but this puzzle took me over an hour to complete. This was extremely uninviting for me as a solver.

Having said that, I did feel relief and joy as the grid steadily filled in.

Everywhere, that is, except for the NE corner.

That section was not fun overall. I did appreciate learning the word "rodomantade," and I also think the POEM clue was a really good groaner (this is a good thing: it's a double pun, where "measure" is both number of feet per poem AND the rhythm of the poem itself). Those two elements were difficult, and I had to Google "rodomontade," but I still felt satisfied when I figured out "_ _ _ _ALK." Google only helped me get the T. The rest could have been either "all" or "BIG," so I felt rewarded without being cheated out of discovery.

But the NE was also irritating and infuriating. Here are my gripes:

1. Who the heck says "UNDO SEND?!?!" We have a word for it now -- "UNSEND." And that recent word, which is vivid and descriptive, would have worked so much better as a cross for |:GEOR:|WELL who was so fascinated with language.

2. Not all mountain roads rise STEEPLY. In fact, most mountain roads are not steep, but rather gradual climbs. This is just factually wrong and therefore gets deep under my skin.

3. The clue for PUBS is tortured to the point of breaking. People drink ale in rounds, and pubs are alehouses. Fine. But nobody calls a pub a house! This answer felt like, "Guess what I'm thinking?" I mean, I was able to infer my way to an answer, but I rolled my eyes so hard that I caught a glimpse of my prefrontal cortex.

As I wrote this comment, though, I realized that I came here annoyed and leave appreciating the puzzle a lot more than I thought I did. I actually struggled to solve, which is why it took so long, but nearly ALL the clues rewarded literal or lateral thinking.

The NE corner was extremely difficult, but works pretty well overall.

The gimmick was fun to discover for me, as I don't have a musical background. Gimmicks that teach me something new are my favorite -- I'll never look at the refrain in a hymnal again!

4.5/5 and bravo to the constructors for their real thinker, and the reward for patience.

Ellen 7:42 PM  

I had the same experience as you. Perhaps the app gods fear Rex (he is, after all, OFL) and figured out how to deliver the correct grid to him lest they release a Rex rant @rexparker

Ellen 7:43 PM  

Wrong on my Android

Ellen 7:48 PM  

Seems close enough. If email has not been opened by the recipient, the recipient has no indication that an email had been sent. Still, hard answer

Anonymous 8:28 PM  

So many names ... I eventually got the theme and that helped to about 80%, then the north - ISOLDE, KEW, ARES (clued as a DC villain), GUERNICA, APRES (still dont get that one). Thursdays always seem to be statistically toughest for me, and this one held serve.

tea73 8:46 PM  

My husband and I do Thursday puzzles over supper, so I rarely comment, but wanted to say congrats to @Lewis. We enjoyed the puzzle very much, and this is a fine example why I've always maintained that reading music is part of being educated. (And by reading music I mean I can pick out a tune with one finger on the piano,and can sing slightly out of tune.)

And as long as I'm here. We also enjoyed @Nancy 's Sunday feast, which for one reason or other we did on Tuesday I think.

Chris Mc 9:09 PM  

Rex - If you don't like the sound it plays when you solve, turn it off in the settings on the left!

Chris Mc 9:11 PM  

You can also turn off "puzzle milestones" to suppress the halfway message.

Lewis 9:17 PM  

@smith -- I did check in a bit earlier, and thank you for your kind comments!

Unknown 10:09 PM  

Perhaps my fav puzzle of the year.
Having a musical background certainly helped.
And a science background -- Gauss & Newton came pretty quickly.
The fact that @Lewis was one of the constructors just made it that much sweeter.
And by the way,
Wordle 222 3/6


TTrimble 10:39 PM  

A brilliant puzzle. Thank you @Lewis and @Jeff!

For those opining on the relative stature of Gauss: it would take a while to give a proper impression of the truly vast and revolutionary impact Gauss had on mathematics, and by extension on science generally; for example, he essentially inaugurated differential geometry, the mathematics that underlies General Relativity, and established connections between curvature of space and topological concepts like the Euler characteristic. Among so much else. Unfortunately, he didn't publish everything he knew, and so it took decades before his impact began to be properly appreciated. But in his time, he was leagues ahead of anyone else.

It is often said that he and Newton and Archimedes were the greatest mathematicians in history, and I'm inclined to believe there is a lot of merit in that position.

(Probably part of the reason he published much less than might be expected of such a superlative genius is that his standards of rigor were much higher than what was typical in his time. He was also quite a prickly character, as was Newton. For example, he never published his findings on non-Euclidean geometry, probably because he didn't want to be bothered with the objections of relatively puny intellects -- puny compared to his own. Much like Newton. In private correspondence, he would speak of the "howls of the Boeotians, were he to make his findings public.)

In mathematics, he is known rather more for his work on number theory than he is for statistics.

SB: I had some trouble today reaching pg. Currently -1; need a 7-pointer. yd: 0.

albatross shell 11:52 PM  

Android phone Tcrossword app from google, connected to but not the same in appearance to the one that wordplay takes you to in the link at the end of the column. But filling in one fills in the other. Anyway my phone had the dots and the line at 11 pm last night.

Great puzzle. Much fun. Whatever @Nancy said repeat 3 times. Oh she had to twice. So add one.
Had to look up rotomontade to close off the NE. Also checked the spelling of GUERNICA out of laziness.

Late posts: Sounds suspiciously like what happened to me yesterday, just when I almost convinced myself I had somehow just missed it.

Horse before hill
Too close to midnight to spoil. Never again I repeat.

Bless you Lewis.

Robert Berardi 11:59 PM  

Had SASS for Lip, and when I saw it wasn't, I said, "It's not SASS? Where's the sass?!" Then I saw Shirley Ellis and all was sassy in the world.

Mr. Alarm 2:08 AM  

Rex, you can turn off the annoying music on the app’s options, and I think the equally annoying “halfway there” cheerleading pop ups can be turned off, too.

Mae 2:41 PM  

I could not solve on the printed version because the double dots notation were not printed. Are we now required to solve on the app? Tell us.

jessica tilton 6:15 PM  

The dots were in the wrong boxes for me as well on the app!

Anonymous 5:38 PM  

I agree with you on undo send. I kept thinking that it must be unsend. No one calls it undo send. I finally got it, but it took a while.

spacecraft 10:46 AM  

Fussbudget Fussbudget, bo-bussbudget, banana fanna fo-*ussbudget, fe fi mo-mussbudget, Fussbudget!

Hadda get that outa my system. A cute puzzle, somewhat different--at least in the added markings, which I assume are a first. I thought it was easy-medium, only because of that tortuous NE. The only other thing I didn't like was INE, especially as clued as a RMK.

Closest thing to an ITGIRL today was ROMA Downey. A fun Thursday; birdie.

*Following the NAMEGAME rule of droppong the first letter when it mnatches

Burma Shave 11:50 AM  


how NOMAN REMOTEly sits,
where HER LEGRESTS - hard to HANDLE -
she EVEN shows HER GRITS.


Diana, LIW 12:16 PM  

There is that dreaded word: THURSDAY.

But...for once the revealer and the little hints (those dots) actually helped me - actually made it "easier." Can you guess that I finished it successfully? Yes!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 1:52 PM  

I recognized the music bars right off, so that helped. But count me in the group that found UNDOSEND hard to get.

That's as close as TAR will ever get to an OILRIG.

Careful, STDS in the corners.

Cool idea. Enough BAH BLAH BLAH from me.

thefogman 2:13 PM  

The REPEAT gimmick took a while to SINK in. But after it did I was ONIT like a hungry dog on a bone. A very enjoyable solve with plenty of Aha! moments. Rex didn’t exactly EXALT the constructors. Is he still UPSET with Jeff Chen?

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

Great fun, and a varied challenge. PUBS and UNDOSEND stumped me.

Waxy in Montreal 6:59 PM  

Found this theme was rather cleverly designed. I didn't encounter much difficulty with it once I parsed the "NOW..." entry though, as a musical ignoramus, had no idea that the colon meant REPEAT. Enjoyed a good guffaw when the reference to Lady G. was revealed as SIDESADDLE rather than one of the various lewd possibilities I had contemplated.

The problem with UNDOSEND is that there are many email apps now out there which offer it as an optional setting while others don't. For example, both Outlook on the Web (OWA) and Gmail, two of the apps I use, have UNDO SEND: (From Gmail settings - "Next to "Undo Send," select a Send cancellation period of 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds"). Older email apps such as Outlook 2007 which I use on occasion don't. So it's a thing for some of us, some of the time but not all of us, all of the time.

And couldn't a female computer programmer could also be described as an ITGIRL?

leftcoaster 8:03 PM  

Clever theme of overlapping REPEATs (and some stray fill) that UPSET things in the NE.

NOM:ANIS:LAND [NO MAN IS AN ISLAND} was the key themer on this one.

Nice work by the two GENTS who constructed it.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP