Warning before a gory movie scene / THU 6-30-22 / Fictional Christian of books and films / Some cryobank deposits / American home or a royal palace / Obsolescent music holder / P.M. preceded and succeeded by Churchill / Vampiric in appearance / Playmate of Fido and Rover

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson and Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (more one or the other depending on how long it takes you to figure out the gimmick)

THEME: "COVER YOUR EYES!" (40A: Warning before a gory movie scene ... or a phonetic hint to answering four rows in this puzzle) —four 15-letter theme answers are impossible to see at first because their "I"s have been "covered" by black squares. That is: four Across answers that start on the far left-hand side of the grid (17A, 24A, 53A, and 62A) appear to be mere 3- or 4- letter answers but are actually 15-letter grid-spanning answers that continue onto subsequent squares in their respective rows. The rows that they are in look like they contain three Across answers, but the row is all one answer once you put "I"s in the black squares on those rows. Each of the three regular-seeming "answers" in the affected rows appears to be clued separately, but those clues are just clue parts—you need to read all three Across clues in that row in succession in order to get the clue for the full, "I"-containing, grid-spanning answer (the "covered" "I"s have no effect on Down answers). And so:

Theme answers:
  • VENDING MACHINES (17A: Mechanical + 18A: Snack + 19A: Dispensers)
  • MARIE ANTOINETTE (24A: French + 27A: Cake + 30A: Advocate?)
  • DETROIT RED WINGS (53A: Atlantic + 55A: Division + 57A: Skaters)
  • ALL-IN-ONE PRINTER (62A: Home + 63A: Office + 66A: Convenience)
Word of the Day: NAVARRE (32D: Pamplona's province) —

Navarre (English: /nəˈvɑːr/SpanishNavarra [naˈβara]BasqueNafarroa [nafaro.a]), officially the Chartered Community of Navarre (Spanish: Comunidad Foral de Navarra [komuniˈðað foˈɾal de naˈβara]; Basque: Nafarroako Foru Komunitatea [nafaro.ako foɾu komunitate.a]), is a foral autonomous community and province in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Autonomous CommunityLa Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Nouvelle-Aquitaine in France. The capital city is Pamplona (BasqueIruña). The present-day province makes up the majority of the territory of the medieval Kingdom of Navarre, a long-standing Pyrenean kingdom that occupied lands on both sides of the western Pyrenees, with its northernmost part, Lower Navarre, located in the southwest corner of France.

Navarre is in the transition zone between Green Spain and semi-arid interior areas, and thus its landscapes vary widely across the region. Being in a transition zone also produces a highly variable climate, with summers that are a mix of cooler spells and heat waves, and winters that are mild for the latitude. Navarre is one of the historic Basque districts: its Basque features are conspicuous in the north, but virtually absent on the southern fringes. The best-known event in Navarre is the annual festival of San Fermín held in Pamplona in July. (wikipedia)

• • •

OK, a proper Thursday then, let's do this! Floundering was the name of the game for the first part of this solve, that's for sure. Just that first little bit, the tiny NW corner, left me a little queasy, as I didn't understand how [Mechanical] could mean VEND. Was DEV wrong? (1D: Part of R & D: Abbr.). Was TEN wrong? (3D: Face value?). The latter seemed quite possible, as it had a "?" clue and who the hell knows what's going on with "?" clues half the time! I left VEND in place and floated down into the middle of the puzzle where things were still eerily off. I noticed there were no clear *theme* answers in this thing, no longer answers except for that middle Across. I'm not even sure I really noticed the middle Across answer, I just noticed that there was a creepy lack of apparent themers, so it was like, I don't know, being in a ghost town where zombies or some faster creatures were going to jump out and maul me any second. After solving a bunch of answers but also getting weirdly mildly stuck all over, I just went looking for a revealer to see if I could get a grip on what was going on. Scanned the clues and found 40-Across, with its soothing post-elliptical indication that yes, some weird stuff was afoot. So I just went after the [Warning before a gory movie] answer. The problem was, whose "warning?" I figured it would be some kind of pre-movie advisory from the movie itself, but apparently it's a warning from a friend of yours who has already seen the gory movie and has dragged you to the gory movie even though you are apparently squeamish about gory movies (you two have a weird dynamic). Or it's a parent's warning to a child, which raises the question "why is your child watching this movie at all, have you not heard of 'The Little Mermaid'?" The more I think about this admonition, the less I understand it. I didn't come to a movie to Not watch, presumably. But the warning appears to have lots of currency in horror-related contexts, and I figured it out without too much trouble, so it's fine. But even after getting it, I didn't *get it*—that is, I didn't know how it applied to the grid. I looked at VEND and thought ... "are there "I"s under there ... somewhere?" It was right ... here that the penny finally dropped:

I must have seen all the Across clues lined up in a row in the clues list—Mechanical / Snack / Dispensers are stacked one atop the other in the Across clue list. I never read the clue lists in order like that—I'm always toggling between Across and Down, working on whatever seems likeliest to give me my next answer success. Or, because I knew the "I" thing affected "rows," not just individual entries, maybe I just pulled back and looked at the row as a whole and saw VENDING MACHINES there. At any rate, I saw it. The most impressive thing about this theme, to me, is the way the theme answer clues are parceled out over three apparently separate clues. Totally devilish. You absolutely have to get that revealer answer; until then, you're going to be stuck solving partial clues as if they were full clues and getting gibberish as your answers. I don't know what to make of the "I"s not "working" in the Downs. I think I'm OK with it. They're ghost "I"s. I enjoyed working for and (finally) getting this theme, and I think the cluing trick is really ingenious. I am always happy when Thursday decides to be Thursday! I hope there aren't too many howls of "unfair!" today, but then again ... I don't mind the sound of howling. It's soothing sometimes. 

There was so much theme business to take care of that the rest of the grid didn't make much of an impression on me. It must've held up just fine. I see a lot of short repeaters, but they're not particularly ugly or bygone, and they're mostly just doing their job of holding the elaborate theme framework in place. DEBARK hurts my ears a little. I would say DISEMBARK, wouldn't you? Isn't that a word? DEBARK sounds like you're saying "depart" or "the bark" ("which bark?" "dat bark over dere!"). I had a hilarious hard time with the clue ["Blown" seal] because I thought for sure there was a movie called "Blown" starring some trained seal, like an ocean-Lassie or something, and I'll be damned if I know the names of any famous seals. I enjoyed seeing ENO and then finding out he was just the OPENER for ELO. Wait, no: looks like AC/DC was the real opener back at 4D: "Thunderstruck" band. Would not have minded having ONO show up for a song or two. There are worse directions for crosswordese to go. I know PETARD only from Shakespeare, but I do know that it is explosive, so that was easy enough. Christian GREY is the "50 Shades" guy. Way way outside my area of interest, but big (uh, famous) enough to have made an impression in my brain somewhere. ELON *University* is welcome in my grid any time. Anything else? Are the "?" clues clear? "Face" cards count as "ten" in Blackjack (and maybe other games) (3D: Face value?). PARK is the [Top gear?] because it's presumably at the (literal) top of the gear selector in your (automatic transmission) vehicle. The "relief" in 24D: Guide showing relief, maybe just refers to a relief map (you know, a map with 3D representation of elevation). I'm overexplaining. I'll stop. Good, challenging puzzle! See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Ann Howell 6:31 AM  

Had a lot of fun with this, despite being a total idiot about the theme until I had filled in nearly the entire puzzle, and then went back to clean up... Very solid Thursday effort!

The Joker 6:33 AM  

8D OVA? The correct term is ELLIPTA!

Chris from LI 6:46 AM  

Loved this puzzle.

Took my wife to see The Blind Side in the theater. It starts with footage of Lawrence Taylor destroying Joe Theisman's leg. I knew what was coming as soon as I saw the line of scrimmage, and told her not to look. Lots of groans of anguish in the theater at that scene.

Scott 6:52 AM  

A very enjoyable puzzle today with a clever theme.

JD 6:53 AM  

For me, this was an exercise in the known knowns, the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns (people made fun of Donald Rumsfeld when he said it but there it is).

Knowns are obvious. Theme was the known unknown (it’s there, just had to figure it out, fun when I did but started with Close Your Eyes).

The unknown unknowns just frustrated me. Detroit, Nevarre, Grey, Roto, Elon. Have heard of the Red Wings but thought it was Toronto. Nevarre? Grey? Fantasy sports, no. Elon, a college with 7,117 students that we get because Elon Musk offends people (I’m one of them but c’mon).

Some odd language use to my ear. Like “Blown” Seal. Yeah I know “blow a Gasket” but all of them aren’t Blown all the time. Disembark before Debark. And French Cake Advocate would be something like a Gateau or Charlotte Ruse, no? Wouldn’t Marie Antoinette* have to be a French-Cake Advocate. Even then it’s a stretch. Nothing inherently wrong here though, just jangly.
Good fun overall.

Oh yeah, Tank for Top Gear but Park was a nice aha.

*Marie got a bad rap on this. Historian say it’s unlikely she said it.

thfenn 6:57 AM  

Took me well over half an hour but I loved the ride. Latched on to what was going on when NGMACH had to be 'right'. The "let them eat cake" lady was the last to fall in, a genuine OHO for me.

Went to sleep without finishing, hitting a couple spots I couldn't complete. Would not enter 'D' even with PETAR_, as I had know idea, sad to admit, of that phrase's origins - it just meant "doing yourself in" to me, and I couldn't see DREG. Also slept on a little knot over there with KNELLS/ELON/ODOUR, partly because I had BAS taking the GRE, not SRS, but that was easily resolved with a little sleep.

Enjoyed the fill almost as much as the theme, GASKET taking the cake on that front.

Joaquin 6:58 AM  

A very cool puzzle with a great reveal. Plus there were no "I"s anywhere in the grid. A perfect Thursday!

Anonymous 7:01 AM  

It’s satisfying that there are zero “I”s in the puzzle. Some of the fill to get there was a bit weird but I think the end result is worth it.

OffTheGrid 7:04 AM  

Well, I'll never get those ten minutes back but as soon as I saw the stupid "letters in black squares resulting in gibberish in the white squares" trick I was done. How does this crap get published?

kitshef 7:09 AM  

Fun. What a Thursday should be. A little odd that it only works on the acrosses, but I’m guessing making it work on the downs would have been too difficult.

I find Yelp to be useless.

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

Joaquin: By golly, you’re right. Now I’m even more impressed with this puzzle!

Prefab 7:12 AM  

The "cover your Is" concept was great, but some of the fill on this was the absolute DREGs. I had the hardest time with "ROTO" crossing "PETARD," but "RECD" and "DEBARK" were also pretty bad.

LindaB 7:20 AM  

You don’t need a SAG card to audition

John H 7:22 AM  

Really enjoyed this one. Note to Will: data are "they," not "it'. Really sorry to see that this error is now the norm. But I hope for more from an "editor."

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

The NY Times apps shows the clues one at a time. Could not see the pattern

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

Looks like the constructor is a victim of evolution denial rhetoric. A scientific theory isn’t “not quite a law”. It’s just a broader explanation of how and why something exists. Both are equally regarded as fact, and both are equally vulnerable to being overruled if new evidence is discovered.

kitshef 7:25 AM  

In other news, I sold my first puzzle today - to David Steinberg at Universal. A big thank you to Rex and to all the posters here, whose carping about PoCs and Naticks and theme density and PPP overdose were in my head constantly, and (I hope) served to make the final effort better.

Lewis 7:26 AM  

One of the great moments in NYT crosswords for me is when I figure out what’s going on in the Thursday puzzle. It’s an “Aha!” – a genuine THR_LLOFV_CTORY – combined with relief at cracking the mystery that was messing with my head. It is joy combined with invigoration, as I go scurrying to attack the remaining theme answers.

And there it came again today. God bless crosswords.

This was not a show-off puzzle, IMO, but rather a for-the-solver offering, throwing out a conundrum for the purpose of giving the solver that glorious aha/relief moment to experience. Oh, there’s impressive skill in the making of this grid, especially in keeping the letter “i” completely out of it, but, IMO, that’s in service to the theme, which today is in service to the solver.

God bless puzzles made to please the solver.

The no-i’s in this grid, combined with the rare Wednesday rebus yesterday, and Tuesday’s all-clues-starting-with-the-letter-t, have given this week a sweet breaking-the-mold feel.

I did enjoy that today’s puzzle had more than one PAL_NDROM_CWORD, with ERE and SRS.

But mostly I enjoyed that quintessential Thursday glorious moment, and coursing through the excellent work of two puzzle-making pros. Thank you, gentlemen, for this gem!

Rex Parker 7:28 AM  


Anonymous 7:28 AM  

I liked this one. Clever theme clueing. Stumbled a bit. I had CLOSE your eyes for a while. Nicely done all around.

Anonymous 7:40 AM  

I'm in total agreement with @Lewis: This mind bender was for the solver. And this solver was challenged and delighted. My solve experience was just like Rex's: NW corner...VEND?? Confusion reigns. It took me a while to figure it out, even after I got 40A and knew there were missing I's somewhere. But when I did, pure joy! A terrific Thursday puzzle.

@kitshef: Congratulations on your first puzzle sale!

OfftheGrid: If you didn't like this puzzle, it's hard to imagine a puzzle you would like.

Zed 7:44 AM  

Toronto RED WINGS? - @JD - We can no longer be friends.

I have a question mark after “Mechanical” in my grid because there’s no way that clues VEND. But rather than go down into the middle section I went to the N and NE sections. I think it was when I put in URGENT, giving me the NGM sequence, that I saw VENDING MACHINES and how it took three “clues” to make the clue. So a challenging first couple of minutes, but clear sailing after that.

Catherine OHARA is on quite a puzzle run. Besides back to back NYTX appearances I think she has been in three or four of the indie and New Yorker puzzles I solve. In Crossworld she’s only done two things.

Interesting to me that only six of the twelve “theme answers” are debuts. Yes, NETTE has been in the NYTX before.

@kitshef - Congrats! 🎉👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽🎉

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

Loved seeing REX in the grid! He is the specter in my daily solving experience — fitting for a “ghost-i” puzzle!

Son Volt 7:52 AM  

The trickery was cool - not sure the rest of it held up. I jumped to the revealer quickly and got the aha with MARIE ANTOINETTE. VENDING MACHINE and ALL IN ONE are not exactly splashy themers.

I could do without the BELAYED x DEBARK cross. KNELLS and PETARD are oddly cool. Not much else in terms of wordplay.

That center down really got me today - I could go Maiden or Springsteen but the latent prog in me points this way If you can get past the way he looks - there are none better than Steve Howe

Fun gimmick - but a disjoint solve.

SouthsideJohnny 8:07 AM  

Rex used the word floundering to describe his initial attempt at this puppy and I suspect he may have a fair amount of company today as people struggle to gain a toehold and discern the theme.

Some of the foreign entries today go a little too far in my opinion, such as NAVARRE (I wonder if people in Spain enjoy guessing what state FARGO is in when they are doing their allegedly Spanish crossword), and I’ll bet the citizens of Ireland would really enjoy a clue like “City in the Northern United States” and of course the good people of ESSEX would enjoy “Toledo war game” as a clue (for MANEUVER). Just seems a little presumptuous to me . . . OR NOT.

PETARD was new to me and I misread CRYO has “Crypto” and was scratching me head re OVA for a bit. All-in-all a pleasant enough Thursday romp as we head into the holiday weekend here in the US.

Laura 8:20 AM  

Can't top what Rex said. A proper Thursday, one that felt "too hard, I eat my words" until I got the theme. Getting that first themer was my best aha in quite a while.

I'm working on older puzzles and they really were harder, though only sometimes. Maybe the NYT will give us a mix henceforth. Like this!!

blinker474 8:22 AM  

This has been a good week of puzzles for Will Shortz and the authors. I struggled until I got enough down answers to find "cover your eyes". Vending machines then revealed itself, and the other three themers came next. Just a real treat that took me a bit over a half hour to finish.
Donaldson and Peterson are a great team, and I am very grateful to them for this lovely puzzle. I see that, as usual, some of the comments complain about the fill being dull or about the themers being not splashy enough. Given the difficulty of constructing a puzzle as complicated as this one these complaints seem to me to be unwarranted nit picking.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Amy: Congrats!

floatingboy 8:33 AM  

Freaking ALL_NONE screwed me up big time. Sat there trying to figure out where my error was because I was sure that was it, since there's obviously no such thing as an allinone printer. Ohhhhhh...ALL IN ONE. Ugh. Turns out I had GREG as the Christian of filmdom. Giving me GELPER as a modern food critic. Double duh.

kitshef 8:41 AM  

I should also add a big thanks to David and his team. They are great to work with - patient, helpful and very aware of their solver base and what will work for them. I think all of three words (all themers) in the final product are the same as the initial submission. They had to see the sculpture in the marble and make it real.

beverly c 8:43 AM  

Great puzzle and lots of fun.
I did hang myself up until the bitter end by putting in CloseYOUREYES. I didn't know ROTO or PETARD and the facepalm emotion - disgust? Embarrassment? Frustration? or a synonym of any of them? If not for NAVARRE I'd probably still be stuck!

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

Totally with you on that, brother! (Not so latent in my case.) Big regret: Not braving a blizzard to attend Yes concert in my native Cleveland '73(?) '74(?)

Anonymous 8:53 AM  

Especially loved the decision to split the clue up when they could have gone with the entire clue in the first across spot with “—“s in the rest, as seems so common lately. One of the most fun gimmicks in quite a while.

Johnny Mic 9:11 AM  

Well thank you Rex. PARK just didn't make any sense to me until reading your (over) explanation. Is it because I still drive a stick shift?

Bob Knuts 9:28 AM  

The Marie Antoinette clue is priceless and the puzzle totally worth it. But/and isn't the right way to clue multiple strings as follows:

17 - Mechanical snack dispensers
18 - ---
19 - ---

Splitting them up seemed like an artificial way to make a nicely put together puzzle harder for no real reason.

JD 9:28 AM  

@Zed, Noooo 😳! Go Pistons!

@the fenn, Thank you. I forgot Petard. Need a hoist clue for that.

And btw, Gaskets, Loud Firework, Fantasy Sports Leagues slang, Gory Movie, Play Station Rival. Perhaps I'm Wrong* but this would've been a lot easier if I could've channeled my inner 17-year-old boy self.

*HA, like that would happen.

DavidL 9:43 AM  

What made this especially hard was that there was no indication - none - that the three clues in those four rows were connected. So there were really two gimmimcks - the hidden "i's" and connecting the three clues. It was really satisfying to figure this out one. Good job constructors.

Lewis 9:48 AM  

@kitshef -- Woo hoo! And you are right about D.S. He greatly respects the constructor's intent, and when he does make changes, they always feel right, and sometimes brilliant.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

@kitshef - congratulations!

It took me a really long time to figure out how the theme worked. I had CLOSEYOUREYES for a long time, and I also tried to make DEBARK into DISEMBARK through some kind of rebus magic for way too long. I ended up doing half of the theme rows through the downs without having a clue what the theme was. Since the NYT lets you have nonsense answers, having nonsense strings wasn't much help one way or the other.

Then the light went on! A very nice puzzle.

Blue Stater 9:56 AM  

Beyond outrageous. Not a crossword puzzle at all, but a gimmick on top of a gimmick on top of a gimmick. Even after I came here to get the principle I couldn't figure out, I could not finish the puzzle. The appeal of this sort of thing is utterly lost on me.

Gary Jugert 9:59 AM  

I liked the puzzle. Normally I try to avoid the revealer to get the OHO moment, but this puzzle was getting out of hand fast. I even researched if DETRO was some weird Atlantic name I'd never heard before.

When I finally grasped the idea, a lot of pressure ensued on the downs. ROTO, ATTLEE, and NAVARRE were stacked "no knows" all crossing themers so deep research was approved.

On ROTO (a term I won't bother to learn): Sports betting is probably fun for most, but it also destroys too many while buying yachts for the despicable. Betters are hoping to bring meaning to the meaningless while helping fat @#&$'s diddle their staff members in the Caymans.


Puzzle ends with REX!

I thought PETARD was a stick; turns out it's a bomb. Who knew?

It doesn't go all the way across, so banned as a uniclue, but URGENT YURT sounds like a great bar in Dublin.

Speaking of Ireland, DERRY GIRLS is a fun series.


Face-palm (needs a hyphen) emotion = REGRETS. I try to move as little as possible when I am filled with rue. The face-palm thing is more DOH than anything.

We could have been cluing ELON as a college all along? What the heck is wrong with the brains of NYTXW editors?

1 Movie mogul made Gardner great despite guffaws.
2 Natives end canoe excursion.
3 Enjoyed the sounds of death.
4 Stoics credo.
5 Fleeting fame illustrated.


Carola 9:59 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 10:00 AM  

I will assert that I got the theme before figuring 40A, i.e. the 'covered' I's. The first 'rebus' puzzle I've ever cottoned to. Please don't do it again.

RooMonster 10:01 AM  

Hey All !
First, Congrats @kitshef! Color me jealous. I haven't submitted to any other puz place, was really hoping to get one in the NYT before going anywhere else. Stupid stubbornness, here. 😁 Let us know when it comes out!

Interesting puz. I saw a bunch of one word clues, which is odd to have so many. Having a bunch of Downs in the top half of puzzle and amazingly the ole brain deciding to read the single clues together, helped me to see what was happening. Think I had two Themers in before getting the Revealer! Wow. I be smart today. 😁

40 Blockers, although 8 of them are substituted for I's, so really, a low count of 32. Wondering how that factors into @Anoa's Blocker/S THEORY.

Surprised no complaints about entries that make no sense, ala NGMACH. We all know it's part of the theme, but some still like actual words in their crosswords.

I liked it. And that's what matters. Har.

Got a ROO almost dead center in TROOPER. SEE it?

yd -7, should'ves 3
Duo 36, missed 1-2-6-10

No F's (not even any COVERed up)

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

@Bob Knuts:

such is the point. whether the constructor/editor are cheats by doing it this way: that is the question.

bocamp 10:06 AM  

Thx, Samuel & Doug; doesn't get much better than this. Well done! :)


Finally twigged at EYES. Yes, the 'i's are covered by black squares, but still trying to grok how 'Mechanical', 'French', 'Atlantic' & 'Home' relate. A plane or ship traveling from Europe to the US might tie these themers together, but I suspect I'm missing something more obvious. I do see the connection between each clue and its answer, e.g., the Red Wings being in the 'Atlantic' division of the NHL, etc., but the overall punch line eludes me at this juncture. :(

Nevertheless, a most invigorating, refreshing journey. Loved it! :)
yd 0

Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Beezer 10:06 AM  

Congrats @kitshef!
My brain must have been working on all cylinders today because I grokked the theme quickly and finished close to record time for a Thursday! Like some others here I had a short blip with CLOSE before COVER and I ALWAYS have to remind myself that the thing one might get “hoisted” on is a firework. Super duper puzzle!

Carola 10:09 AM  

Easy-medium here, thanks to getting the theme early. A happy display of VEND...MAC...N... made VENDING MACHINES spring to mind, and a look back at the clue list confirmed it. After that, I was on the lookout, and an M on the left and a ETT toward the right revealed the - in this case - delightful MARIE ANTOINETTE. I went wrong with a guess at Close YOUR EYES (which is what I do), but COVER is, of course, much better for what's happening with the I's. The "easy" continued through the RED WINGS, but I got jammed up at the bottom, needing lots of crosses for the PRINTER (wished the puzzle could have gone out with a phrase with more fizz). A fun variation for a Thursday. More smiles for PETARD, DEBARK, BELAYED, and the idea of a single DREG.

@kitshef - Congratulations! I hope you might be able to post a link for us when it's published.

Zed 10:09 AM  

@kitshef - Regarding YELP reviews, the key is to ignore all the complaints about service. All of those should be posted on reddit’s AITA subreddit.* The second key is to ignore “best ever” reviews. That’ll eliminate 67% of the reviews and the remaining ones are actually useful. Sort of like @Nancy’s manuscript test.

@Anon7:25 - Here’s a more accurate description of the difference. Your description isn’t exactly wrong, but it’s not exactly right, either. That clue is how the difference sometimes gets explained in 7th Grade Physical Science classes, so I only winced a wee little bit. The article provides a nice mnemonic I hadn’t heard before. I feel like all 7th Grade Physical Science teachers should use it.

@Johnny Mic - I miss driving a stick.

@JD - Well, it’s been a very down decade for all the teams in Detroit except DCFC, so I guess all is forgiven. The mid naughts to the mid teens was a good run for DETROIT sports fans, but it’s been tough since then. Go Rouge!
Also, Yep on the inner 17 year old boy feel.

@Anon/Amy - If you choose the “Name/URL” option when posting you can type in “Amy” and you will show up as Amy instead of Anonymous. I was briefly confused by your congratulations today because I wasted a precious nanosecond thinking you were congratulating “Amy.”

@Son Volt - That video made me think of a meme posted on my team’s GroupMe: The image is The World’s Most Interesting Man, the text is “I don’t always roll a joint but when I do it’s my ankle”
I’ll leave it to everyone else to discern why that video elicited that reaction.

*AITA - Am I The Asshole - In the case of people moved to post complaints online about restaurant service the answer is “Yes” 98.99% of the time.

Gary Jugert 10:14 AM  

Woo hoo!

jberg 10:17 AM  

Like @Zed, I saw what was going on when I had NGMACH at 18A (though that took a bit of time, as my accountants had stamped 'paid' on my receipt). MACH_NES just leaped out at me, so I went back to VEND and there it was. I put in COVER YOUR EYES off of the second Y. I thought at first that we were supposed to read the stacks of 3 black squares as Is, but that only worked with two of the four themers.

ELON University (nee College) has been in crosswords since long before Mr. Musk; I especially enjoyed seeing it just above ELO. Oh, and there's ENO as well! I hadn't noticed him in solving.

I used to teach research methods occasionally (until we hired some younger people who were much better at it); getting students to understand the difference between a hypothesis and a THEORY was one of the hardest parts. The clue for 74A makes it harder.

My maternal grandmother's name was ANTO(I)NETTE, so I always enjoy here infrequent puzzle experiences. My other grandmother, Lena, makes it more often.

TJS 10:20 AM  

Of two minds on this one, but not in @kitshef achievemnt. Way to go !

andrew 10:26 AM  

This one was fun! My CloseYOUREYES threw me for a bit, but NAVARRE showed me the error and the rest came to me when I looked at my 2/3rds completed puzzle and saw the trickery.

Glad they didn’t have full clue followed by —— ——- for the 2nd & 3rd parts - the clue trickery was what made this great!

Aelurus 10:29 AM  

I finally finished cleanly after getting the COVER YOUR EYES revealer but still was bewildered how the clues for the four long grid spanners fit the answers.

Was it simply:
VENDING MACHINES are mechanical?
The DETROIT RED WINGS (completely unknown to me) are in an Atlantic division even though Michigan is nowhere near that ocean?
A home could have an ALL IN ONE PRINTER? (Mine does. Except for the unneeded fax.)

What was I missing?

[key Indiana Jones music]
Rex and the commentariat came to the rescue! Not just the first clue but all three across clues knit the answers together! Whew.

And wow. Beautiful puzzle, Samuel and Doug. A fun roller-coaster ride.

[Except, Michigan really is nowhere near the Atlantic Ocean.]

@Joaquin 6:58 am – I didn’t notice that i-less detail, thanks!

@kitshef 7:25 – Congratulations!

@okanaganer yesterday – :)

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Nice touch that there are no other i’s in the grid

Nancy 10:31 AM  

A complete masochist's "one of the best puzzles ever" puzzles. Was the absolutely huge "Aha Moment" worth all the many, many, many minutes of abject suffering that came before it? I'm in both camps on this one. Because I really suffered today! It's not just my wall that almost got destroyed. It's also my hair that almost got torn out.

I never look at a clock, so I don't know how long I spent on this bear. I only know that 93% of that time was spent in complete befuddlement and that I came SO close to giving up SO many times. And I was so sorry that I didn't give up before the Aha Moment. And I was so glad I hadn't given up after the Aha Moment.

Where was I when the scales fall from my EYES? It was at one of the theme answers, not at one of the theme clues. I went looking for "I"s in the black spaces and there they were: DETROIT RED WINGS. (Though first I had to change kERRY to DERRY to see it.) I then went back to look at those clues. "Atlantic Division skaters"! Aha!!!!! I see!!!!!

My absolute favorite is "French cake advocate" for MARIE ANTOINETTE. Is that brilliant or what?

What a workout, Sam and Doug!!! But please don't do this to me again any time soon. Do we have a deal?

Harry 10:32 AM  

Not the best solving experience, due to my aggravation with what felt like detritus accumulating in the themed rows of the grid. I kept questioning every crossing fill.

Once I sussed the theme, I was relieved, but the sense of frustration dissipated slowly. Upon review, I was tickled by the cleverness, but I couldn't entirely let go of my interim frustration.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

ALL NONEPR NTER was the giveaway for me. This was a good puzzle!

Gary Jugert 10:43 AM  

Your enrollment figure may not be the best test of notoriety. From College Raptor, some famous schools with way lower enrollment:

California Institute of Technology 2237
Swarthmore 1587
Amherst 1839
US Coast Guard Academy 1069

And the most famous:
Julliard 960

Joseph Michael 10:48 AM  

Congrats to Sam and Doug for a great Thursday stumper that at first I thought would be impossible to solve. VEND? NGMACH? NES? Got the revealer off the initial C and that eventually led to figuring out the trick. The final themer to fall was also the best: MARIE ANTOINETTE.

Also enjoyed today’s write up and appreciated the explanation for PARK which I had written in without understanding what it could have to do with top gear.

SAG cards are irrelevant in theatre auditions.

egsforbreakfast 10:49 AM  

Congrats to @kitshef!

I was supremely confident when I got to the revealer that it was hideYOUREYES, as I had already grokked the theme and hide seemed to be the perfect descriptor. I also thought for about 17 nanoseconds that the hidden i gimmick might work both ways, as the first instance would make 21D Facepalm emotion into iREGRET. Yeah, sure.

Do you suppose that the office of a 12-step group has an ALaNONPRINTER?

What we need in order to guard against future pandemics is ACDC that is apolitical.

This was a wonderful puzzle on 3 levels (theme, disjointed theme clues and no i’s). Thanks, Samuel A. Donaldson and Doug Peterson.

bocamp 10:50 AM  


Kudos! looking forward to it. :)

@Anonymous (10:29 AM)

Good catch! :)
td pg -3 / yd Duo: 33

Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

pabloinnh 10:50 AM  

Great puzzle!

Didn't anyone else use @Gary Jugert's "unclue" constructions to help solve this? Made the gimmick obvious to me.

CLOSE before COVER was my only real glitch. I'll join the complaints about NAVARRE, because I wanted NAVARRA, but I guess it is an English language crossword.

Congrats to @kitshef! Well done you!

Really enjoyed this one, SD and DP. Sheer Delight and Damned Pleasing. Thanks for all the fun, and please accept the Thursdazo! Award from a grateful fan.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

But… if it’s the norm, why is it an error? It used to be an error to say “Jupiter” instead of “Yupiter”, but once it became the norm, it was no longer an error. Language is about communication, not preservation.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

I agree with both Rex and Lewis. Don’t happen often. Great puzzle!

Nancy 10:56 AM  

Way to go, @kitshef!!! Hearty congrats!!!

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

@Joseph Michael:
SAG cards are irrelevant in theatre auditions.

so, is an Actors' Equity card required? only for Broadway productions? never? (if so, what's the point of being in Equity??) if you can audition w/o a Card, does landing the role get you the card?? (I know, the wiki likely has all these answers, but having them here completes the issue. I think.)

GILL I. 11:05 AM  

Ay Dios mío!...This was hard. I danced all over the place; tripped on my toes...got up from the floor several times...the music stopped. I got up with little dignity left, polished my shoes and decided I wasn't done (yet).
I got the reveal before I could figure out who this NGMACH character was. I have to cover some I's it tells me. OK..I'll do that. OOOOH look here...it's VENDING MACHINES. NGMACH gets a name. I'm liking this but I'm still having a hard time.
If someone gave me a body spray with the word AXE, I would hoist my PETARD. In my world of fantasy, I would call Pamplona's province "Nafarroa"...just like the Basques do. Further, In all the years I lived in Spain, the Spaniards call it NAVARRA. No French allowed.
After getting the reveal I jumped downstairs and got my second ALL IN ONE PRINTER and victory was becoming mine. I still kept seeing myself as Sisyphus on a hill with little boulders being flung at me hither and yon. I had to cheat several times for words like SAG and EVA and AXE. I didn't mind. Little by little a window opened up and let in some fresh air. It felt good. Phew...workout over and I lost a few pounds.
Thanks for a pleasant day.

@kitshef....En hora buena. PLEASE let us know when your puzzle comes out. I'll plan my day around it!

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Turns out The Little Mermaid has awful messages for kids:

Whatsername 11:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 11:13 AM  

Easy-medium. Delightful, tricky, and amusing, liked it a bunch.

...and speaking of delightful, I highly recommend “DERRY Girls” on Netflix.

Jill 11:14 AM  

Ova totally works. Fertilized eggs are cryogenically frozen and kept under liquid nitrogen.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

I was literally sitting across from a vending machine in a waiting room when it all made sense 🤣

JC66 11:17 AM  



BobL 11:18 AM  

Great fun!

Whatsername 11:19 AM  

A very welcome fresh new approach to Thursday. I really ATE it UP once I got past a bit of initial frustration at the theme entries not making any sense. Really no need for even a revealer but it was such a clever one that it made for a nice finish.

DEBARK raised an eyebrow at first but I have heard it used on cruise ships. So much easier to say than disembark.

@kitshef (7:25) Congratulations on the big sale! Be sure and let everyone know when it’s going to hit the PRNTER.

mathgent 11:19 AM  

I've been doing these things long enough to know that if I keep at them long enough the gimmick will reveal itself. That's what happened last night. An ocean of white squares. But nibble, nibble, nibble, ... Wait, could that be DETROITREDWINGS? Yessss! Then it completely fell apart.

What a great puzzle. When I saw who created it, I knew it was going to be special.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

What??? No one recalls pulling the handle that, sorta kinda, looks like a chess piece (castle) to get your desperately needed batch of cancer sticks?? Was it that long ago?

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

I don't know. DEBARK will always conjure a beaver gnawing on old growth maple trees. not getting off a cruise ship. NB: an NCL boat just ran into an ice berg. didn't sink.

Newboy 11:27 AM  

Well, since we had our dose of rebi on Wednesday, having a reveal that truly revealed was a Thursday treat! Having been accused of being a 25d on many occasions, I instantly dropped ALEC into the grid, saw the reveal revealed and EYES off to the races. What a Hoot! No CHAR GREY ODOUR today in Samuel & Doug’s puzzle, just the sweet napalm smell of Victory in the morning.

600 11:35 AM  

Okay. I'll admit it. Without Rex I never would have figured this one out. I finished the puzzle, got the stupid congratulatory music that it was right, and had a whole list of "?" answers that I just KNEW were wrong. Never figured out the missing i's, never saw the clues going across.

And I loved the puzzle anyway, even the facepalm moment (not quite regret) when I read Rex's explanation for the weird answers that had to be right at the same time they could not be right.

I do love Thursdays, even when they whip my . . . well, you know the rest.

JD 11:48 AM  

Point taken.Yet somehow, @Gary Jugert, I know of all those storied institutions but not Elon. BTW, I'm a fan of yours. Where have you been all these years?

@kitshef, Congrats! Can't wait for the heads-up on the run date.

Unknown 12:06 PM  

PARK isn't actually a gear. Its a type of lock

Grammudgeon 12:23 PM  

Took this solver much longer than it "should" hve, because without checking the downs after having the 'C' in the revealer, filled in "CloseYourEyes," and was really self-mis-directed, looking for an impossible gimmick..🙄

Masked and Anonymous 12:25 PM  

@kitshef: Way way cool! Congratz on yer upcomin debut. Let us know, when it comes out.

Today's ThursPuz lived up to its day-of-the-week-feistiness. I did figure out the theme mcguffin fairly early, right after I saw that my 18-A answer was gonna start with NGMA??. Had my spissions raised pretty high ahead of that, tho … what with no long puzgrid entries, and an 80-worder in a standard 15x15.

Really liked the COVERYOUREYES punchline, as it reminded m&e of a runtpuz that I'd just cranked out *yesterday*! [It has a sorta "cover" mcguffin also, but what it's up to is a bit different. Sooo… the two puzs can still comfortably co-exist in a single universe.] Must publish it, soon…but not today, as the test solvers need to give it a pass, first.

staff weeject pick: NGS. All the other 3-letter themer bits fell short of havin this raised-by-wolves look.
[And yet, believe it or not, NGS has appeared before in NYTPuzs! Can U guess how it got clued up? … Those clues barely made more sense than today's {Skaters} clue, tho.]

No-knows abounded: PETARD. ROTO. NAVARRE. All in one area, spiced up further with some nearby entries with ?-marker clues. Lost many precious nanoseconds.
Also gave a few honorary side-I glances to that there BELAYED answer.

fave Across answers: ODOUR & DEBARK. har & har
fave Down answer: REC-DIP-ARK-DERRY.

Cool MAP & SENATE clues.

Lotsa debut words. Only trouble is they was stuff like NGMACH.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Mssrs. Donaldson & Peterson dudes. Two of our favorite -sons.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


GHarris 12:27 PM  

Got the masked is concept, went looking for them and, at first, no dice. Kept putting in letters until I got congratulations from my iPad. Still had not grokked the gimmick and some of my entries made no sense as stand alone words. Kept reviewing the grid and, finally, boom it all came into focus.

RooMonster 12:31 PM  

@Son Volt 7:52
Yes! Yes! 😁

RooMonster Have Every Album Up To Big Generator Guy

not a gearhead 1:13 PM  

The clue for PARK seems like it is 180 degrees off (i.e. totally backward). I believe PARK indicates that the transmission is not in any gear at all, and is temporary locked. A manual transmission doesn't even have a PARK alternative, although the PARKing brake prevents the wheels from turning, which is a horse of a completely different color. Is this really such inside baseball that an experienced editor wouldn't/shouldn't catch it. It does seem a little sloppy at least. If there is a true gearhead around, correct me if I am mistaken.

Smith 1:15 PM  

@kitshef - congrats!

Puzzle was hardish. Close before COVER like many. Got that we were talking about "I"s, noticed no "I"s in puzzle. Because of erroneous Close, I was looking for something like the m>rn switch or crossing the T but couldn't parse how to close an I, because if you close an i it would look like an I. I think. So I never got it, despite having filled in all the squares.

In my defense, still jet lagged from 21 hour trip back from Berlin. Happy about A/C, unhappy about SCOTUS.

Smith 1:17 PM  

Also, I used to teach at a school called Sussex, so I laughed heartily thinking about the smell!!

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

Anon@11:02, my understanding is that you don't have to have an Actors Equity card to audition for a Broadway show, but most auditions will see the Equity members first and there commonly isn't time to see any of the non-Equity members. So not having the Equity card basically means you're not being seen for many shows.

Once you've gotten a Broadway role, you have to join Equity. That's why Equity is pretty powerful; every single Broadway cast member is an Equity member. For a regional theater, there is more variability.

I believe the same general principles hold true for SAG/AFTRA in the film/TV world as they do for Actors Equity in the theater world. But others may know more.

Teedmn 1:26 PM  

Although I saw the gimmick early (when VEND NGMACH NES filled in), I kept forgetting to menatally add in the I's, thus delaying the meaning of each theme answer. Especially 24A. I had NETTE in place at 30A and Advocate? was not making sense. No,No, Nanette? The I's probably would have helped that.

A few tough answers (e.g. Revival figure = HEALER) and a face palm feeling, not of regret but "yoohoo, idiot) from things like YELPER not filling in (I will confess to have avoided all things "50 Shades").

Over all, a pleasant solve with some grit to it. Thanks, Samuel and Doug.

Per yesterday's discussion about "The Goldfinch", I'm so glad everyone pretty much reinforced my decision to not go near the tome. I kept seeing it on best-seller lists and often wondered if there was something there, but having read the author's previous work, "The Secret History" and hate-hated it, I determined to shun the new book and now I'm glad I did.

JC66 1:38 PM  

I think the clue "Top Gear" for PARK was referring to this.

albatross shell 1:39 PM  

More like 30-45 minutes feeling like Rex described. By the time I actually completely understood what was going on I only had 3 small areas to clean up.

Great Thursday and another good write-up by Rex.

Thought maybe @Gary G. might skip his uniclues since the puzzle came with its own, kinda.

Excuse the puzzle for not using the "standard" form for clueing multiple answers because of the covered I's and because the puzzle is much better as is.

Thumbs up for @kitshef. Take care getting off the ceiling and be careful going through doorways. Enjoy every minute of it.

Teedmn 1:47 PM  

Congratulations, @kitshef. I look forward to solving it!

okanaganer 1:56 PM  

This was a great theme, unfortunately totally ruined for me by unknown crosses and other confusion. ROTO and ELON were WTF?s for me. I also had UNSENT for 6 down "! in emails". I don't think I've ever seen such a symbol in my email program (Thunderbird). I also had KERRY for 56 down. Now with all that going on, I had no hope of understanding the trick. Too bad!

And I also agree with @Bob Knuts that splitting up the clues increased the difficulty by an order of magnitude or so.

[Spelling Bee: yd pg-1; missed this 9er... are you f**ing kidding me, that's not a word!! Didn't George W Bush make that word up?]

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

I found the theme easy enough to unravel. ROTO/PETARD not so much. Also, DEBARK??

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

God awful fill and cluing

bertoray 2:40 PM  

Grats @Kitshef. Way to go!

Masked and Anonymous 2:49 PM  


OK, now M&A is officially overly impressed by today's NYTPuz. Just recently realized that there were no (visible) I's in this puz, at all. They poked all the I's out! That sounds like a tough constructioneerin constraint.
Well done, -sons!

Also, we now have emergency approval from a test solver, for the followin "cover up" runtpuz to be let out of the pen… [The committee will release it to the DOJ later, if needed.]



Anonymous 3:07 PM  

Am I the only one who thought Guide to Finding Relief was a map to the bathroom???

Zed 3:20 PM  

@JD - FWIW ELON has been in the NYTX 267 times. Only 18 of those (~7%) have been the nut job. The vast majority of the the other 249 appearances have been the University, with some token appearances by Amos ELON and the biblical Zebulun’s son before Shortz came to town.

Re: PARK - Rex explained it and @JC66 1:38pm linked to a picture that explains it.

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

If Elin is a nut, please more nuts.
What Space X is doing is straight out of science fiction.


Anonymous 3:42 PM  

Things may have been updated since I was in high school, but PARK is sorta kinda a 'gear'. It's full name is 'parking pawl', and it's inside the transmission. It's not really a lock just a pin, and is easy busted if your not careful. The safe technique (which is mostly ignored), is stop the car in gear, pull/kick the E-brake, put the tranny in PARK, turn off the engine. If you just come to a stop and shift into PARK, you'll eventually break the pawl. SFAIK, you just bought a new tranny.

okanaganer 3:43 PM  

Also re PARK... I was so sure it would be HATS or CAPS. "Top gear"... get it?

Anonymous 3:51 PM  


SpaceX uses the same methods and materials as NASA and its contractors have for nearly 70 years.

"In 1857 Carl Wilhelm Siemens introduced the concept of regenerative cooling." So, yeah, Musk is the cutting edge.

"The V-2 rocket engine, the most powerful of its time at 25 tons (245 kN) of thrust, was regeneratively cooled, in a design by Walter Thiel, by fuel pumped around the outside of the combustion chamber between the combustion chamber itself and an outer shell that conformed to the chamber and was separated by a few millimeters." Should we now make the inevitable inference?

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

It is Navarro, not Navarre.
Just as it is Brugge, not Bruges.
The urge to anglicize the names of foreign cities is offensive.

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

What a crappy puzzle! Why don't the hidden "i" letters work to spell out something in the OTHER direction as well? Why didn't the constructor go all-out and turn 70A into "season opener"? This "gimmick" is waaay less than half-baked.

Anonymous 4:15 PM  

The Joker is referring to yesterday's discussion of "oval" vs "elliptical" - you had to be there 😉

JD 4:34 PM  

@Zed, And yet Elon is all new to me after 30 years of the NYT. Go figure. Eventually got Park (liked it), it just started with Tank.

Joe Dipinto 4:48 PM  

"I have an idea for a theme: 'Cover Your Eyes'. Like people say in a movie theater."
"People say that in a movie theater? To who?"
"Well duh, at a horror movie, yeah. To the person they're with."
"But how do they know when to say it if they haven't seen the movie?"
"Pfft. They can tell what's gonna happen. Anyway, here's the gimmick: it won't be eyes, it'll be I's. Like the letter I."
"So we can put them in phrases and black them out. And then we do the 'phonetic equivalent' bit in the clue."
"So we're putting the covered I's inside movie titles..."
"Not in movie titles, in phrases that have nothing in common."
"You're losing me..."
"But wait, there's more! We give three separate clues for each theme answer! The solvers will never figure out how we figured this out!"
"Or why. Well okay, but I think we should use movie titles. Too bad "The Goldfinch" only has one I."
"Yuck. I wouldn't want to use that anyway."

Congratations, kitshef.

Anonymous 5:07 PM  

Anon 4:00,
Huh? Setting aside the developments in metallurgy, manufacturing ( extrusions to star w), when has NASA ever landed their ship on land, upright, exactly where they intended, ready to use again?
His company is Space X not rockets inC.
Besides using your last jibe—regarding V2s — WTF?!
What does a rocket from the 1940s have to do w what Space X is using?
If you want to belittle Space X for an insufficiently powerful rocket— despite the fact that the rockets they’ve used have been up to their job—compare it with a worthy rocket like the J5.
But all this is a non starter. Space X is doing things NASA has never done. Things no outfit has ever done.

Joe Dipinto 5:13 PM  

Or better yet, congratulations.

GILL I. 5:15 PM  

@Anony 4:00. Is that a typo? In Spain you'd most likely refer to the province as NavarrA. (As in A for Apple). The English spell it NAVARRE (E as in England). You could also perhaps think French Pyrenean for the E spelling.
Isn't language fun?

Alexandra 5:17 PM  

Congrats! Just started fooling around with construction - makes me appreciate how hard it is to make a puzzle without all the dreck!

Alexandra 5:20 PM  

The puzzle was clever. Me, less so. Too much floundering around even after filling in the revealer.

burtonkd 5:32 PM  

Boy, this felt like one of those puzzles that was never going to make sense. I was trying to solve this morning in a hurry to go out for something, so thought I would just take a peek at Rex to see if I had made an error, but saw too much and didn't get the AHA moment on my own. Still a fun outing, but miffed at myself. Haste makes waste...

Nice clue for PARK. Even if you drive a stick, you've surely been in an automatic with a friend, family member, or taxi; or were paying attention to the recent PRNDL clue. For the record, I do enjoy a driving a rented manual, but always appreciate the more coffe-slurping-friendly automatic when I get back to my own car.

I second the recommendation for DERRY Girls. Very sweet show - sometimes it has all the disarming innocence of a high school skit; Sister Michael an all time great character. I'm also endlessly tickled by the accent.

I didn't know that when I was hoisting a PETARD, I was lobbing a bomb, yikes!!!

Anoa Bob 6:21 PM  

I would like to blame my missing the theme on an early morning solve following a bad night at the poker table but the real reason is that I was trying to find the COVERed EYES in each of the three individual answers in those rows. Having each of those clued separately hid the fact from me that it was actually one three-word clue for one 15 letter answer and I never did figure that out. Looks like I was hoist on my own PETARD. At least I didn't blow a GASKET.

I was disheartened to learn that my CD CASE is an "Obsolescent music holder". And I was just listening to Ottmar Liebert's "Isla Del Sol" from his "Borrasco" CD earlier today. What does that say about my vinyl LP record collection? Antiquated? Bygone relic?

I think DEBARK is something you do to lumber at a saw mill.

Susan 6:30 PM  

PARA and ANELLS an alternate solution for 34D & 45A: PARA works as a prefix for sailing and diving gear, and ANELL = ring in Latin.

puzzlehoarder 6:57 PM  

@okanaganer, it sounds like you're questioning it's facticity.

puzzlehoarder 7:04 PM  

A late solve today. This was frustrating for a while as so much gibberish kept cropping up. I'm not familiar with this meaning for ROTO but the rest of the crosses were solid so I just let the nonsense be. I had the puzzle mostly filled when I finally recognized DETROITREDWINGS and picked up on the triple clue gimmick. Very clever idea but not my kind of puzzle.

yd -0 dbyd -0

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

What does a rocket from the 1940s have to do w what Space X is using?

ummm... because SpaceX/Musk is using tech from ages ago, regenerative cooling isn't Musk Magnficence. the ohhing and ahhing about Musk being so smart is 99.44% propaganda. as to the 'returnable' first stage:
- the miniaturization of circuits since the last Moon Landing is 99.44% of why SpaceX can do it; anyone could
- if your concerned about throw weight, which is the prime concern when leaving Earth orbit, then no way in Hell your going to leave 10s of thousands of lbs. of fuel in the stage just so you can land it.

SpaceX machines uses the same liquid fuel as has been used for decades. the reason is simple:
- physics has no better
- chemistry has no better

Musk is a grifter, same as Trump. believe him at your peril.

Anonymous 7:11 PM  

@Anoa Bob:

the High End market continues to make ever more 'realistic' CD players, and vinyl continues to grow, again. if you've got the Bongo Bucks, you'll be able to listen for at least another generation. what the kiddies don't know (or care) is that the quality of streaming, etc., is the 8-track of today. once again, here in the Land of the Free, is the race to the bottom.

kitshef 7:50 PM  

Thanks to all for the congratulations (and congratations).

Alexandra, two key things learned from the journey so far. 1) don't be afraid to change your grid - add some black squares here, take them away there. It can really unjam a clogged-up section. And while it feels like a step backwards, it can totally be worth it. 2) Every NYT puzzle I've seen has had some dreck. It's OK to have, to use examples from today, DEV or ROM in your grid you have to to make it work.

Zed 8:28 PM  

Space X is amazing.
Tesla is amazing.
Musk is amazing. Really amazing.
Want to know who is actually doing good stuff for space exploration? The Planetary Society. you should be a member if you can afford it.

Anonymous 8:39 PM  

Z, really?
Ed White, Gus Grissom and River Chaffee would like a moment about your using a launch fire as proof of Musk’s failure.
Oh wait, they’re all dead.
Musk hasn’t killed anybody.

Anon whatever,
Um… again, what? Again, who the hell has landed a rocket back, perfectly, where they wanted?
Whose tech exactly is Space X stealing to achieve that?

Lorne J. 8:42 PM  

Would rather my 3 year old watch gory movies than the horrifically sexist Little Mermaid (tho songs still slap)

SueO 8:52 PM  

This was tough for me. Had papers before PROVE, report before PETARD and close your eyes. But still loved the concept once I got it. Nice job.

Anonymous 9:22 PM  

Whose tech exactly is Space X stealing to achieve that?

you do understand that it's simple mechanics, right? you know that Musk didn't devise and deploy the GPS?? and that without it, it couldn't work?

again, the mechanics of landing a vehicle with retros is old hat. NASA did it on the moon once or twice 50 years ago. with a computer:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_Guidance_Computer

about as much computer as your average smartwatch. Musk is a grifter.

Anonymous 1:08 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
B Right There 7:50 AM  

Got to the puzzle a day late and then wished I had skipped it. It completely did me in. Could not get over the thought that a covered i would look like a T, so kept looking for T substitutions for i's way, way too long! Never stepped back to see the 3 clues in a row. Utterly destroyed. Big old DNF in the end. Brain just wasn't up to the tricky cluing AND the i thing. Sigh.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

A Mongolian tent is a ger. It’s called a yurt in Russia.

TAB2TAB 11:49 PM  

This one just clicked for me. Got most of the acrosses and downs in each of the top 3 blocks, saw VEND for "Mechanical" and was thinking 'huh?' but looked again and VEND_NGMACH_NES just jumped off the page; I re-read the three clues and the code was cracked several minutes into the puzzle. I almost wish it had put up more of a fight as the "aha" seemed a bit tame compared to puzzles I've really had to work hard to crack. However, I'll take this kind of wordplay cleverness any day over a puzzle that relies on ridiculously obscure trivia for its difficulty. But my question: has *no* constructor ever come up with that distributed cluing "trick' before?? It's extremely clever, but hard to imagine decades of constructors never saw this twist.

thefogman 10:36 AM  

Nice puzzle with a well-executed theme. Even REX (Playmate of Fido and Rover) liked it. Every now and then the GREY Lady churns out a good one. Not a TEN but a solid eight.

Burma Shave 11:12 AM  


SEE, she's ALL over the MAP,


spacecraft 11:48 AM  

First of all, the (syndicated) month is about to change, so please, somebody WAKE UP THE LINKER--AGAIN!!!!!!! We've been stuck on Monday all week.

Second: if OFF's rating didn't include the word "challnging," I was seriously thinking of mayhem. But it did, so you're safe, 69-down--for now.

Spent the first hour totally at sea, nothing at all making sense but knowing that if I could get that revealer I might crack it. Trouble was, all I had for 40a was a pair of Ys.

Eventually enough letters appeared that I knew it ended in --YOUR EYES. If smart was ALEC, there was the C for CLOSE. Oh man, another kealoa! Five letters, starting with C, blank your eyes. Now we have to wait to see whether it's CLOSE or COVER.

The actual implementation of the trick hit me at DETRO[I]TREDW[I]NGS, where I could plainly see the series of clues, and what was pure jumble before came into focus.

Even after this, the central west remained an enigma. Just couldn't finish it off. Only then did the second firework explode: what if it's not CLOSE? It could be COVER! And at last, done. Whew! Uncountable triumph points, with weekend-level clues piling on even more. DOD EVA Mendes is the cherry on top. Eagle.

Wordle par.

Diana, LIW 5:03 PM  

Yes, I sent Rex an email.

And this puzzle. Ugh.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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