Modern digital asset in brief / THU 12-1-22 / McKenzie of the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords / Giant star in Scorpius / Behave like a certain surface-feeding shark / Chinese American fashion designer with a Dolly Girl line / Joe-___ weed / Source of iridescence in many mollusks

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Constructor: Daniel Mauer

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (very easy theme, with somewhat challenging fill at times)


THEME: ANTICI / PATION (1A: First half of this puzzle's theme ... / 65A: ... and the end of the theme (finally!)) — phrases associated with anticipation:

Theme answers:
  • "ALMOST THERE ..." (24A: ...)
  • "WAIT FOR IT ..." (33A: ...)
  • "NOT QUITE YET ..." (51A: ...)
Word of the Day: BASKing shark (63A: Behave like a certain surface-feeding shark) —

The basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) is the second-largest living shark and fish, after the whale shark, and one of three plankton-eating shark species, along with the whale shark and megamouth shark. Adults typically reach 7.9 m (26 ft) in length. It is usually greyish-brown, with mottled skin, with the inside of the mouth being white in color. The caudal fin has a strong lateral keel and a crescent shape. Other common names include bone shark, elephant shark, sail-fish, and sun-fish. In Orkney, it is commonly known as hoe-mother (sometimes contracted to homer), meaning "the mother of the pickled dog-fish". (wikipedia)
• • •

Well, ironically ...


The whole premise gets blow apart pretty early if you are able to see what the "first half" of the puzzle's theme is the first half *of*. Turns out not many things begin ANTICI-, so once you've checked all your crosses to make sure that ANTICI- is in fact right ... you're in business. Anyway, all of the anticipatory phrases don't really make sense when the sequential, orderly, top-to-bottom solving that the second revealer clue relies upon does not come to pass. Not only doesn't come to pass, but happens in reverse. The 1-Across "first half" revealer fairly *begs* you to figure out the ending first. Surely someone must have, uh, anticipated this. And yet we PRESS ON with the charade that this is happening in predictable order. I like the creativity here—breaking the revealer is an original idea, and refusing to clue the themers with anything but ellipses adds a nice dimension to the theme. "WAIT FOR IT" is the best of the themers, as it feels the most anticipatory as well as the strongest in its stand-aloneness (the others are fine but might just as easily have been shorter things, i.e. "ALMOST ..." and "NOT YET ..."). "IT'S A NOGO" runs weird interference in this puzzle, appearing to abort whatever process the theme has gotten underway (it seems to be in a theme-like position early on ... and then you get "HOUSTON..." which makes me think "we have a problem" and maybe have to scrub the mission ... But of course I'm just seeing things there. The theme is conceptually very interesting, but it's just not gonna play right for anyone but the most methodical, sequential solver.


All the themers filled themselves in pretty easily via crosses, so despite being essentially unclued (...), they added very little difficulty. Only real difficulty for me came in the SW, where I completely blanked on ANTARES (40D: Giant star in Scorpius), and had no clue initially which NEO- genre they thought Yoko Ono was involved in (39D: One of many genres for Yoko Ono). Seemed like you could throw any number of four-letter words in there and have a shot. Worst of all for me, though, was that I'd somehow never heard of a BASKing shark, and so that BASK clue was bonkers to me (63A: Behave like a certain surface-feeding shark). All the definitions suggest that they "appear to be basking" in the sun / warmer water, but that "appear" is doing a lot of work. The clue says that BASKing is their actual "behavior." I think they're just being sharks, doing normal shark things, and only look like they're BASKing from our perspective. A fine distinction, but, I dunno, respect shark agency, I guess. Not sure why you went to a shark to clue a totally non-shark word—it's a wild stretch. I thought maybe the shark was MASKing at one point. Had to really hack at this whole SW area to get it to fall. Most of the rest of the fill felt normal-to-easy, difficulty-wise.


Bullet points:
  • 10A: Sky: Fr. (CIEL) — kind of a deep cut where foreign words are concerned. I can read French, so no problem here, but I don't think I'd cross this one with Yet Another French Word (LES) if there were any other way to do things (13D: Article in Paris Match). And with NOUS at 31A: Toi et moi. Dial it back, peut-Γͺtre?
  • 43D: Chinese American fashion designer with a Dolly Girl line (ANNA SUI) — proud to have (finally!) semi-remembered her. Less proud that I wanted to spell her last name like "feng shui" (i.e. ANA SHUI, [sad trombone sound])
  • 48D: Joe-___ weed (PYE) — LOL what? No idea. Less than no idea. Figured it must be JOE-POE since that at least rhymes. 
  • 9D: Hit the road with roadies, perhaps (GO ON TOUR) — cool answer if you parse it right. If not, well, you're on the GOON TOUR, and that could get ugly.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

147 comments:

Anonymous 5:43 AM  

No mention of the ridiculous factual error at 28D? Canberra is in the Australian Capital Territory, NOT New South Wales. This is like MARYLAND as the answer for "Washington, D.C.'s state".

Conrad 6:00 AM  


WOEs included the ones OFL mentioned, NEODADA (39D), ANNA SUI (43D), Joe-PYE weed (48D) and BASKing shark (63A). All were gettable or inferable from crosses so maybe a little on the Medium side of Easy-Medium.

Unknown 6:15 AM  

The answer to 28D is incorrect. It should be ACT. Australian Capital Territory.

Anonymous 6:16 AM  

Shark that BA_K(s). BARK? Like a seal? Doesn't seem likely. Seals are mammals. Fish don't bark. Well maybe........WAITFORIT...........the dogfish.

I once visited ANTICI in northern Italy. I enjoyed a delightful PATION Parmesan.

Anonymous 6:18 AM  

28 down: “NSW” is not Canberra’s state. Canberra is in the Australian Capital Territory (as the name suggests, not a state). It would be nice if the NYT would correctly understand basic facts about the non-American world.

Anonymous 6:24 AM  

Mini-theme:

TURN ON, PRESS ON, ON ME, GO ON TOUR

cONchs, HoustON, patiON

David Cecil 6:40 AM  

Canberra is NOT in New South Wales. It is in the Australian Capital Territory. Saying it’s in NSW is like saying Washington is in Virginia. How did this awful error get through the editor?

Gunner 6:53 AM  

My wife grows Joe Pye Weed in her flower garden. Otherwise I never would've known.

Anonymous 6:53 AM  

Eupatorium purpureum, or Joe-pye weed as most people know it, is far from an unwanted weed to me. This attractive plant produces pale pink-purple flowers that last from midsummer through fall. It’s a great addition to nearly any garden and a must have for wildlife lovers, attracting a multitude of butterflies with its sweet nectar. Growing Joe-pye weed flowers is a wonderful way to bring a little bit of nature to your backyard. What are Joe-Pye Weed Flowers? Joe-pye weed flowers were named after a New England man that used the plant medicinally for helping people with typhus fever. In addition to its medicinal properties, both the flowers and seeds have been used in producing pink or red dye for textiles.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Joe-Pye Weed Care – Growing Joe-Pye Weed Flowers And When To Plant Joe-Pye Weed https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/joe-pye-weed/growing-joe-pye-weed.htm

Anonymous 6:54 AM  

I was floating along pretty well until the error in 28D slowed me down. ACT (Australian Capital Territory) is the home of Canberra, not NSW (New South Wales). I mean they are close to each other but not the same.

Anonymous 6:55 AM  

Way too many names and foreign words in this one. I found the fill to be quite a slog.

Wanderlust 6:56 AM  

The theme made me think of the Carly Simon song, of course (written while she was waiting for Cat Stevens to show up for a date, I believe), but also the moment in “Rocky Horror Picture Show” when Transylvanian transvestite Frank N Furter says the word exactly like this, holding his lips in the “p” position for several seconds, everyone waiting expectantly for him to let out the “…pation.” (Whew, that was quite a sentence.)

The ketchup ad with the Carly song is an interesting case of an advertiser emphasizing a flaw in its product. All of us oldsters remember turning the glass bottle upside down, pounding on the base and waiting excruciatingly long for that first ooze of red. The spoiled kids today with their plastic squeeze bottles! They had no idea of the living hell we went through before we could eat the burger! And get off my lawn! (Seriously, though, what a design flaw - why didn’t they just package it like mustard jars with a wide mouth so you could use a knife?)

I solved differently than Rex so the theme worked a little better. I got the NE right away but not the NW, then I worked my way through the middle. I skipped over the … clues until one of them revealed itself, then I immediately saw the other two, then looked at the top left, saw ANTICI and went down to the bottom to add PATION. As for Rex, the SW was the hardest for all the reasons he mentions. Plus, BARED IT ALL and BIB had clever clues that took a while to grok.

I liked this one!

Karl Grouch 6:56 AM  

Any reference to the scene in The Rocky Horror Picture Show where FranknFurther says :"I can see you shiver with antici...pation" would have saved the day for this lame theme.
If you didn't know that, ask Siri.

Anonymous 7:02 AM  

The three dots for the unclued themers was clever. Like when you are anticipating a text

Anonymous 7:04 AM  

Got the themer and the top half quickly, but the bottom half was challenging for me. Two names, a star, and an art movement… none of which is ever heard of. Then whatever “Joe pye weed” is. Had USS instead of USN and couldn’t get NOT QUITE YET. Ugh. Went from enjoyable and breezy to painful.

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

First word spoken on the moon was "contact" as in contact light. Then a few tech phrases as they shut the engine off, and THEN Houston.

SouthsideJohnny 7:14 AM  

After two days two days of relative calm, we are back in the NYT’s wheelhouse. A cryptic theme (yes, it’s Thursday, so have fun), a virtual banquet of answers in other languages in case we are concerned about forgetting what we never wanted to learn in high school (UNA, CIEL, LES, ORO, NOUS, MINUTO, TRES, ET ALIA), a healthy dose of trivia such as ANNASUI and ANTARES, and of course we need something esoteric or simply archaic - ah, yes, DINT will nicely fit the bill. At least you know what you are getting with the Times - consistency is a good thing. I feel bad for the lovely Ms. Teri Garr (aka INGA) - she should be treated with more respect than this one.

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

Fairly poor grasp on geography to say that Canberra is in NSW though... this puzzle lost a fair few points just on that glaring error.
Its like saying Washington is a city in Maryland.

kitshef 7:15 AM  

Either ‘kitty’ or ‘PREENER’ is being used in a sense I don’t recognize.

Just look at all those foreign words: CIEL, LES, NOUS (French), ORO, UNA, MINUTO (Spanish), ET ALIA (Latin), TRE (Italian).

I don’t know if this is a true trend yet, but this week we have seem some really awful crosses. An absolute rule should be that if you have an initialism (e.g. NFT), you have to cross it fairly. Which means not with a name that could be Brea or Bree or Bret or Brer or Brew or a few less likely answers.

And then we have a proper name ANNASUI crossing a non-universal foreign word MINUTO, which seems unfair.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

Never heard of NEODADA, so had HAUNT, not DAUNT for “Unnerve” which left me hanging for a long time.

The Joker 7:31 AM  

I DINT have too much trouble with this one.

Anonymous 7:32 AM  

“Respect shark agency.” LOL. Rex, you (and I) have spent too much time in academia.
Did a fairly typical-for-me clockwise solve, so the theme misfired a bit.

JJ 7:36 AM  

I thought ANTICI was either Italian, or Latin, for “Start”, and I wanted the last entry to be the same for “End”-like Finiti. When I finished I looked up the meaning of PATION. Doh!

glennkenny 7:40 AM  

Also, re 26 -down, Brian Eno did NOT co-produce Bowie's "Berlin Trilogy." He was a major contributor to the recordings but not a producer. As he would be the first to tell you. Unless actual co-producer (with Bowie) Tony Visconti beat him to it.

Bob Mills 7:42 AM  

Figured out the theme, but got a DNF because of the SW. Never heard of NEODADA and didn't know ANTARES.

Can someone explain UNA for "A as in Argentina"?????

OffTheGrid 7:49 AM  

I submit that since the Australian Capital Territory is completely within New South Wales that it is not incorrect to say that Canberra is in NSW. Certainly close enough for Xword puzz.

George 7:53 AM  

Just raising my hand to say today was a DNF Thursday for me, first one I can remember. Maybe it's just too early in the morning, but there were just too many places where I couldn't get it. -- E.g., Min_to crossing AnnaS_i, Cie_ crossing _es (what is a Paris Match?), Tr_stan crossing Br_ggs (is it I or Y?), Neo_ada alongside Ant_res crossing (_)(_)unt

So, if you DNFed also, it's not just you!

Gary Jugert 7:56 AM  

And then things got tough. πŸ¦– figured out the jig early, but not me. When I finally saw the theme, I went from aggravation to "haha that's pretty funny." So yeah, I am a fan. We'll probably see plenty haters on this one, but I think it was worth the struggle.

With our lonely NYTXW editors forever sneaking in their tee-hees (LNETHS) in the most clunky and embarrassing ways weekly, I'm surprised they passed on salty clues for TURN ON and BARED ALL. So grown up of them.

I love the phrase GROWN UPS because it's so kid-centric. I love WAIT FOR IT as it's a twice-a-day reminder for our dog at feeding time -- that and "inside voice!" Loved Teri Garr as INGA and mostly the whole movie.

DAUNT/TAUNT conundrum with the Yoko nonsense.

Sadnesses:

IT'S A NO GO took forever to grok and I couldn't remember ANTARES. Looked up BRET because who last cared about that band? PYE seemed wrong, but I guess it's something. Never would believe DINT is a real word. Certainly nobody knows ANN ASUI except her mom.

Foreign-isms:

Seems like way too many: CIEL, NOUS, ORO, NSW, UNA, MINUTO, ET ALIA, TRE, LES.

Uniclues:

1 The metaphorical pathway leading to your headstone.
2 Tell western state inhabitants they'll be running out of water and as a result they'll be turning off all those twinkling lights.
3 Step on a cocklebur.
4 Well, at least for the Denver Broncos it's, "Let's see how long they'll keep hoping we'll field a team worth watching while buying our beer."
5 Sing songs at your laptop in the back bedroom.
6 He planned on wearing clothes, but just didn't.

1 ALMOST THERE RUT
2 DAUNT NEVADANS
3 IRRITATE INSOLE (~)
4 GM'S LITTLE TEST
5 GO ON TOUR REVAMP
6 EMPEROR MEANT TO

Anonymous 8:04 AM  

They’re both within Australia, but neither is within each other. They are separate pieces of land.

Lewis 8:08 AM  

Well, the ANTICIPATION theme worked for me. It produced that feeling of suspense through the entire outing. I loved the huge space between ANTICI and PATION, graphically demonstrating that word’s meaning. There was suspense in the three long unclued answers, and when they did fill in, the answers kept the anticipation feeling alive, like a musical motif.

My last square to fill in, the cross of BRE_ and NF_, which prompted a run of the alphabet – and after that I still wasn’t sure what it was. The perfect cap to a puzzle about suspense.

I was pleased, afterward, to see three palindromes (BIB, ORO, LIL), to see the dook GOONTOUR and speculate on what a goon tour might entail, and to see NEODADA (which makes me think of a new father) and AT BIRTH.

I also had one of those astonishing moments where just from the initial A, my brain trumpeted ANNA SUI – and I have no idea how I know this. Who planted this in my brain?

Daniel, your two previous NYT Thursday puzzles were complicated and tricky (and satisfying), and suddenly here’s a puzzle whose theme is rich in a lovely way – and thank you for that! – but certainly not complicated and tricky. So I just don’t know what you’re going to come out with next, but I’m guessing I’ll like it. Talk about anticipation!

Son Volt 8:12 AM  

I think the big guy nailed this one. The idea could be neat - but not the way it’s done here. The overall fill is rough - simple as that. Too much French and INURE TO, PREENER, NEO DADA etc are bad. I can almost see HOUSTON from here.

Did like CONCHS, the penguins and the Sagebrush State.

WATUSI Rodeo

Not what I’m looking for in a Thursday solve.

Cynthia Powell 8:16 AM  

"(39D: One of many genres for Yoko Ono). Seemed like you could throw any number of four-letter words in there and have a shot"

Neo Crap comes to mind.

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

Everyone should know Joe Pye. It is a lovely native that should be in your garden. Get rid of those silly ornamentals that provide little to no benefit to the local fauna.

Phillyrad1999 8:32 AM  

I am unnerved but the fact that the construction used DAUNT instead of HAUNT!

kitshef 8:33 AM  

Yep, the NSW, ENO and HOUSTON clues are all incorrect. Pretty damning.

Also, sidecars should be more popular than they are.

Jobs update Live 8:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kent 8:41 AM  

Like Rex, as soon as I confirmed ANTICI I dropped down and filled in the second half of the themer (and that ketchup commercial ran through my head the rest of the solve…there’s probably some pretty minute generational lines to be drawn depending on whether your first thought is Carly Simon, ketchup, or Rocky Horror). That insta-get could have been disappointing, but the remainder of the theme was interesting/challenging to me.

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

We have a huge Joe Pye Weed that has taken over our back garden…so that one was easy for me! But I think people who haven’t been cultivating a perennial garden would have no idea.

pabloinnh 8:48 AM  

Give me a puzzle with lots of answers based on Romance languages and I'm all set. Started with CIEL and went south, bounced back up to the NW, went back to the SE and since I had ANTICI the obvious conclusion was PATION, the theme was revealed and zipped through the rest of this.

A day for feeling smrt, as I knew ANTARES and BASK and GROWNUPS right away, OTOH, BIB took forever, even though I'm a runner and have small grandchildren. And how do you do, ANNASUI. Can't say I've ever heard of you. Do you enjoy NEODADA? Does anyone?

@Bob Mills- The A in Argentina refers to the indefinite article, which in Spanish is UNA. You may hear more about this.

Any news about CANBERRA?

I liked this one just fine, DM. Didn't Make me wait to long for any of the answers, and thanks for all the fun.

TTrimble 8:57 AM  

The thing I paused over the longest was the PYE-PREENER cross. I didn't know the plant. PREEN is a word, obviously, and does indeed refer to animal behavior (of birds and cats), and so if I grudgingly admit that PREENER is a word, this may be the most plausible usage. That said, PREENER smells a bit desperate as a crossword constructor move. I'd wager that most people would never use the word a single time in their lives.

Also not familiar to me are ANNA SUI and NEODADA. (By choice, I have not familiarized myself with the [presumably many] oeuvres of Yoko Ono.) I didn't know BASK as shark behavior, but it was guessable after entering BIB -- great misdirection on that clue, btw.

Other than that, I found it a pretty easy puzzle (not crazy easy like yesterday's though), and liked it okay. I guess thank goodness I still remember many of the words "we" never wanted to learn in high school, such as DINT (which I thought was pretty common, actually -- sorry, @SJ).

Thanks also to the sharp-eyed commenters who spotted the mistakes with NSW and ENO.

Speaking of ANTARES, here is a lovely little applet called "Scales of the Universe", created by Cary Huang when he was 14 years old*. (Click on a language to get started.) You can zoom way out or zoom way in, starting from familiar human scales, and click on images to learn more. ANTARES is a red supergiant, on the order of a trillion meters in diameter. To give you some idea: if you multiply the distance from the sun to the earth by about 3, then that's about the radius of ANTARES.

*I've linked to this before, but even so it probably won't be the last time, because I return to it every couple of years.

andrew 8:57 AM  

The late Cynthia Powell (Lennon) WOULD slam Yoko for her Neo Crap. kudos on the reference.

“Neo dada” would work as the first words of Julian Lennon if he wanted a new daddy to replace his missing and angry daddy (Sean was treated much more kindly by the ex-Beatle in 1975).

Took twice as long as usual today. UNA (as in the article “a”) threw me, as did the aforementioned NEODADA. Was thinking Ono vocal styles but SCREECH didn’t work…

RooMonster 9:25 AM  

Hey All !
Tricky-ish ThursPuz. Like Rex, once I had ANTICI and ALMOST THERE, figured out it would be PATION in the last Across. Amazingly enough, the NW was first to fill. That hardly ever happens, not sure if it's psychological to seem to get a toe-hold in other areas of a puz, but the NW usually seems to be close to the end of my puz solves. Weird.

Two letter FWE, NACRo/EMPoROR, defensible, NEOhADA/hAUNT, a bit less defensible. Had to Goog for ANTARES, as was just plumb stuck down in that corner. So a tougher-than-they've-been-lately puz.

The PREENER clue was odd. Wanted tREE___ at first. TREE PET? Joe PYE weed . OK. Could've been a number of different things. BYE, DYE EYE, LYE, RYE, TYE, WYE. TYE sounded about the best, to go with your Tye-Dye shirt. Or is it Tie-Dye? Never mind.

Wanted SCREAMS for NEODADA. Har.
DINT. Odd
Hates the Roman year 101? - ANTI CI
Heavies on the road? GOON TOUR
Embarrassed to admit I didn't know NEVADANS from the clue. And I'm one. Oh well, how many of us know our State's anythings? Motto, flower, etc.

One F
RooMonster
DarrinV

Smith 9:25 AM  

Exactly average time... slowed a little by looking for PATION in all the wrong places! Joke's on me.

ALMOSTTHERE seemed like it came too soon; it needs something more like "hold your horses" or "getting warmer" before you can be ALMOSTTHERE, but did clarify the ellipses. Interesting that one of the Anons saw the ellipses as "waiting for a text." Thoroughly modern. Young!

Overall, though I didn't love it. Not really Thursdayish despite the unclued entries (ottocorrect changed unclued to unglued, 2x now, so I guess it doesn't do xwords).

My Name 9:30 AM  

There's no sense arguing _administratively_ versus _geometrically_ as for a puzzle the later is an acceptable, and in my opinion, clever misdirection. But if there were any need for an additional defensive argument, then let me remind to all of the pro-administrative criticisms that the Canberra and the surrounding Territory were, initially and historically, built on the NSW lands.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

@ My Name

This doesn't hold water. The clue is not "State surrounding Canberra?" or something. It is "Canberra's state". It's just wrong. The land which is now Washington, D.C. was formerly Maryland and it is absolutely incorrect to say "Washington's state" is Maryland, as already pointed out above.

JJ L 9:46 AM  

I thought the apparent simplicity of the theme was going to reveal itself to be more complicated somehow. My interest was piqued when 5d/6d and 10d/11d both contained identical “CO IN” structures. So I, in fact, ANTICIPATEd something was going to happen with COINs. But alas, my anticipation was wrong. Which made the theme rather disappointing.

burtonkd 9:57 AM  

@Wanderlust - if you ever again get stuck (ha) with a glass ketchup bottle, look for the little raised "57" in the glass. Give it a good rap right there and it will break the surface tension and release the goods.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Not really that ridiculous since until 1913 the area was a part of New South Wales and was ceded by that state to create the capital territory. It is also landlocked within New South Wales and very tiny compared to all the other Australian states. So, not really that ridiculous.

Diego 10:03 AM  

A hodgepodge of a puzzle, minimal fun, a few good non-themers, so (alas) another ho-hum Thursday, my least favorite p-day of the week. Back to words and some real play tomorrow, no gimmicky architecture and tortured languages 101 clueing.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Truly

Blue Stater 10:04 AM  

Riddled with mistakes, as is often the case on Thursday -- of which the worst (as has been already amply set forth above) is the blunder about "Canberra's state." I Do Not Understand how the NYT can continue to disgrace itself by letting junk like this appear in its pages.

Alice Pollard 10:05 AM  

NEODADA? what garbage. NSW is plain wrong. CONCHS... should that not be CONCHeS? Joe-PYE weed? Sorry, the theme was good but the puzzle overall was not. at all

Dr.A 10:09 AM  

I did not get Pation from Antici and tbh it took me forever to get the T. Dint? Force? Not really. Anyway, not my fave set of weird and somewhat erroneous clues.

jberg 10:10 AM  

As soon as I figured this out, my inner voice started screaming "Where's Carly Simon?" Two five-letter words, should have been possible to place them symmetrically, and would have made it a much better puzzle. It was still pretty good, if easy.

OK, you could argue that Canberra is "in" New South Wales, in the sense of being surrounded by it -- but read the clue! Which is, "Canberra's state: Abbr." No way you can make that right.

I knew Joe PYE weed right away, but I've got a patch of it growing outside my kitchen window. It's kind of a thug, actually. It wiped out a nearby planting of New England asters, and by the time it gets tall its leaves are all chewed up by insects. I keep it around hoping one year it will mature unblemished, but it hasn't happened yet. (I'm the gardener who is more interested in growing the plants than in what the whole thing looks like.)

I have become increasingly dubious as to what constitutes a "genre." Wiki calls NEO-DADA a "movement," which seems to fit better. There's a particular branch of it in the sagebrush state, NEVADA NEO-DADA.

As for ketchup bottles, I think the modern trend of putting the labels on them upside down to encourage you to stand them on their heads is undermining the moral fiber of our society.

lodsf 10:20 AM  

Liked it. Whipped through the top but had to WAIT FOR the bottom (well, the SW mainly). All of my unknowns were there: Yoko Ono’s music, Joe who? (I was trying to come up with slang for the other weed - marijuana), and Mr. or Ms. McKenzie. Somehow did remember ANTARES.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

A or one is una in Spanish.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

UNA means “one” or “a”. If you ask for A Beer, you ask for UNA Cervesa

Carola 10:35 AM  

Medium here. I had to WAIT for the the theme to become clear, as I couldn't make sense of 1 Across with A?T??I. Only after filling in the next half-dozen rows was I able to fill in the NW Downs and understand ANTICI... and then went to fill in it's partner PATION. And that definitely helped me get the central theme phrases. Nice layout, but I agree with @Rex that getting the concluding PATION early deflates the theme a little.

re: ABOUND: that would be the proper nouns and the foreign words. BRET was my only unknown - for me, this was one of those days when the brain's junk drawer section has exactly what you're rummaging around for, but I was thinking @SouthsideJohnny 7:14 sorts of thoughts as I wrote in PYE, ET ALIA.

Do-overs: USs, dARED before BARED. Most surprising: CONCHS doesn't need an "e" for its plural.

@Anonymous 7:02 - I like your three dots indicating "text ANTICIPATION"!

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

That’s what came to my mind, too!

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

“Una” is an article in Spanish meaning “a.”

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

So nobody else thought that the BRET/NFT crossing was a Natick?

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

As an Australian - originally from a small town near Canberra, as it happens - I just have to have my say on this one. Having read the clue, I confidently tapped in ‘ACT’. That’ll baffle many American solvers, I thought to myself. Smugly, and prematurely.
The Australian Capital Territory is most definitely not in New South Wales. The border is signposted. They have their own police force and goverment. They elect a senator or two to the national parliament. Their cars wear different registration plates. So I’m firmly on the side of the person who compares it to the District of Columbia…

Guerin 10:48 AM  

Joe-pye weeds grow wild in abundance in moist sunny areas, in Michigan at least. It is late-flowering, showy and (if it weren't for purple loosestrife) the most familiar and easily-recognizable wildflower at that time of year. One species here can attain a height of over eight feet.

Joseph Michael 10:56 AM  

What I remember most about Canberra is how sterile and controlled everything was. In the public toilets on the street, for example, the toilet paper dispenser would dispense only a certain number of sheets and the door would automatically spring open after a certain number of minutes. I love Australia, but Canberra is at the bottom of my list of reasons why.

Though I ended up with a DNF at the ANTARES and BASK cross, I enjoyed this puzzle’s sense of humor and wish it’s critics would have a little more of it.

Whatsername 11:01 AM  

Yeah, no. One of those puzzles that is a really slick piece of construction but does not necessarily translate to much fun as a solve. At least it didn’t for me. I actually liked the theme but having the revealer at 1A kind of got me off on the wrong foot and then the blank themer clues fueled my frustration. ANNASUI was not guessable and I have an IDEA that NEODADA alone was BOUND to IRRITATE QUITE a few of the GROWNUPS who tackled this.

Those folks at Myers-BRIGGS really know their business. I had a profile done once and the results were so accurate it was scary. I always thought NEVADANS lived in the Silver State but apparently sagebrush is pretty popular there too.

First word spoken on the moon? Seems that’s debatable.

jae 11:03 AM  

Medium with SW on the tough side for me too for the same reasons @Rex covered. Sequential solver here, so I thought this was delightful, made me smile, liked it a bunch!

bocamp 11:03 AM  

Thx, Daniel, for this somewhat DAUNTing poser! :)

Med+

The NW took a fair amt of time to piece together, but it was worth the effort, as ANTICI begged for PATION to show up somewhere.

Top to bottom solve, so had to be patient and WAIT FOR IT. lol

Had the ST of HOUSTON and wanted one STep, but the WATUSI wasn't having it.

Coincidentally, came across an article yd re: the Myers-BRIGGS 'assessment'.

"Myers-Briggs Test Has Been Debunked Time and Again. Why Do Companies Still Use It?"

Cute theme; enjoyed the cryptic element and didn't mind the WAIT. :)
___
Peace πŸ•Š πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ™

My Name 11:04 AM  

OK, let me put it this way: geometry wise Vatican is inside the city of Rome and country of Italy, so to me the clue for Rome as a city in which Vatican is located is fine. Even though Vatican is a different state. And they both hold the water of Tiber river.

TTrimble 11:10 AM  

@Dr. A 10:09 AM
Sample sentence: "By DINT of sheer determination, she managed to complete the course." I almost never hear or see DINT without its being flanked by "by" and "of". Anyway, it can mean "force", as it does in the sentence. It might also mean a nickname of someone known for his beef stew, but I'm not entirely sure of that.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

@ My Name

Why not address the Maryland/DC example? Or presumably you'd also accept South Africa for "Lesotho's country"?

Nancy 11:16 AM  

What in heaven's name was PATION? Or would it be PiTION (ET ALIi instead of ET ALIA?). By the time I got to PATION I had forgotten all about ANTICI. This can happen to you when you get old:)

I also had BARK/ANTARER instead of BASK/ANTARES. My shark was a much scarier shark.

What to do with EREENER? I finally changed the weed from Joe-eYE to Joe-PYE. I know even less about weeds than I know about sharks.

Not my finest hour. Thought the puzzle would be too easy when I was up top, but it got progressively harder -- at least for me.

Newboy 11:17 AM  

NFT still makes as much sense as a NEODADA Ono classic. Planting JOE-PYE, however, is a sane choice if one has the space to let it feed the endangered butterflies. Just enjoy
this mentioned already by several earlier posters.

Easy for Thursday I agree, but still a nice solve (except for some rather cryptic crosses). Thanks Daniel for sharing πŸ‘πŸΌ

Tom T 11:17 AM  

One of those odd but enjoyable moments when I entered my final letter (the A in UNA/ANTERES) anticipating the dreaded, "Close, but not yet" message, and instead heard the "Happy Music." There were at least three or four letters that I was unsure about (all of which have been mentioned by previous comments), but it turned out to be a day of good guessing.

It felt slow and medium difficult, but came in under average.

As pointed out, there were many many ONs in this puzzle, including a wrap-around ONO in the extreme SE corner. So Yoko gets the final word, I suppose.

lydianblues 11:24 AM  

Not to be too pedantic, but there is another error in the puzzle…. In Spanish, the letters of the alphabet are feminine, so “un a” is incorrect. It should be “una a”. In fact the letters are “superfeminine”. In comparison, “agua”, which is always feminine, becomes “el agua”, even though agua retains its femininity. But since letters are superfeminine, “una a” stays “una a”.

These sort of explanations, are why I can’t keep a girlfriend!!

OffTheGrid 11:37 AM  

@jberg. Your statement, "As for ketchup bottles, I think the modern trend of putting the labels on them upside down to encourage you to stand them on their heads is undermining the moral fiber of our society." is a great truth. That practice is so wrong.


After reviewing the clue for NSW I am changing teams(no, not those teams,NTTAWWT). It is indeed an error.

Masked and Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Got ANTICI filled in early, noticed the " … " clues, and pretty much had the theme in hand. Sooo … mighty ThursPuz eazy-ish theme, but also different … and … wait for it … M&A likes different.
The NEO???? = {One of many genres for Yoko Ono} thingy was kinda more difficult and more fun to figure out. Had NEODODO, for a while, since the shark behavior entry weren't helpin m&e out a whole lot.

staff weeject pick: NFT. Debut word-let. Fortunately for the M&A, had a runtpuz a while back that thoroughly explained them NFTs.

some fave stuff included: GROWNUPS and its clue. NACRE/CONCHS mini-theme. GOON TOUR. WATUSI dance craze. ITSANOGO, HOUSTON. SQUEAK.

Thanx for the … weird ... fun, Mr. Mauer dude.

Masked & Anonymo9Us


**gruntz**

Masked and Anonymous 11:41 AM  

p.s.

Happy December, y'all.

Only 24 more days until Christmas!
(Hafta go shoppin soon, to get more "stuff" for all the kinfolks.)

M&Also

egsforbreakfast 11:43 AM  

Until coming here, I was pretty sure that Joe Pye Weed had to be the next Maui Wowee or something. Maybe laced with Fentanyl. Once again I find myself missing JohnX.

There has been not one good thing said this morning about Yoko or NEODADA. Although I don’t know tons about it (I assume that @Barbara S will chime in) I know (after taking a Wikidive) that artists associated with NEODADA include Joseph Beuys, George Brecht, John Cage, Christo, Merce Cunningham, Jasper John’s, Claes Oldenburg, Nam June Paik and Robert Rauschenberg among many others. I also know (not from Wiki) that Yoko Ono was and is a serious and powerful artist who is resented widely for having brought a bit of sophistication into the life of an adult man who was desperately trying to grow intellectually. WAIT FOR IT ….. rant over.

With regard to the ketchup bottle, I seem to remember a few attempts over the years to rationalize the shape vis a vis the function. It just doesn’t work psychologically to have it in a wide mouth jar. Which is kind of odd, since mayo in a narrow squeeze bottle seems perfectly fine. Go figure.

I thought that this was another nice entry in the super easy puzzle week contest. But the theme idea and include themers were great. Thanks, Daniel Mayer.

Joe Dipinto 11:55 AM  

@lydianblues – I think the clue "A as in Argentina" is supposed to be interpreted: "A as translated into Spanish" (which is spoken in Argentina), and is referring to the indefinite article "a" which could be UNA or UNO. Another tortured clue.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hell man 11:58 AM  

Oh no, no, no,no, @egs. Squeeze mayo is NOT perfectly fine.

camilof 12:11 PM  

@kitshef In addition, the French was clustered in the NE corner, the Italian SE, the Spanish SW (if you count TIA) and yet the NW... nothing foreign. I was 100% sure the theme was going to be about Romance languages, as it might excuse their overabundance. But no. Not complaining though since I grew up in Spain. No wait– I still don't like it.

pabloinnh 12:17 PM  

@Joe D-Well, when you want to use an indefinite article that is masculine, it's "un" as in "un libro". "Uno" is used for "one".

While I'm being pedantic, and since were having a ketchup discussion, ketchup behaves the way it does because it's thixotropic. I have to bring this up whenever I can because opportunities are limited.

sixtyni yogini 12:24 PM  

Did not get full theme until PATION … had not ANTICIpated that.

Good one.

Pleased that my native garden had taught me JOEPYE “weed.”

Love NEODADA! even tho it hung me up —couldn’t decide if -AUNT was completed by HAUNT or DAUNT. Maybe NEOHAHA will be new neo art movement?

Very tight 🧩 conceptually! Clues were fun bc they were not always immediately “gettable.”
πŸ˜πŸ¦–πŸ¦–πŸ¦–πŸ¦–πŸ¦–πŸ˜

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

Glad to see I'm not the only one who assumed "Joe-___ weed" was referring to some kind of marijuana slang.

I can't imagine someone cluing "Maryland" as "Washington's state." The Canberra situation is extremely similar. At any rate, the constructor was very gracious and wrote a comment on the NYT Wordplay column that the Canberra clue was a simple mistake.

egsforbreakfast 12:51 PM  

&Hell Man’s comment about mayo leaves me with egg on my face.

JonP 12:59 PM  

Trivia (PYE, ANNA SUI, NEODADA, ANTARES), about three too many non-English words and two errors to boot. Awful.

Teedmn 1:09 PM  

I read 1A as ANTIC I and was anticipating a series of jokey antics in the grid. Thus, when I got to 65A, I was scratching my head a bit with PATION. Fortunately I had the wherewithal to look back at the beginning and have the light bulb go on. (Having REVise in place at 49D didn't help that corner fill in at all.)

Not exactly a Thursday-style theme but overall I liked it and the fill was interesting. That has to be the weirdest clue ever for BASK (63A). I circled 47Ds clue, "Sound a little rusty, maybe" because I was sure someone hadn't practiced their musical instrument, tsk, tsk, but SQUEAK is a sweet answer.

Daniel Mauer, thanks!

Mr. Grumpypants 1:19 PM  

Anonymous @ 10:39

I agree. NFT/Bret = Natick
Of course, my French is weal [understatement of the year], and I had VFT even after guessing BRET since "video something something" seemed to fit the clue.

Just a stupid puzzle, totally apart from that. A boring slog. But that Natick was the last straw.

pmdm 1:20 PM  

I did not like this puzzle at all, mostly due to the error. An error that anyone who went to XInfo might have read about. One that Mike Sharp should have added to his write up.

Yes The clue to 28D, as printed in the NYT, was wrong. According to Jim Horne [thanks much] the clue should have read Sydney instead of Canberra. And yes, Sydney is indeed in New South Wales.

I've got more important things to do than fail to solve a crossword because of an editing error. Even without the error, I think I still would not have liked today's puzzle. I guess I'm just in a bad mood.

600 1:21 PM  

Am I the only Georgian who visits this blog? Joe Pye weed was an absolute gimme. It's a beautiful tall wildflower that signals the coming end of summer here in the mountains north of Atlanta. And yes, some people cultivate it, but dusty rose fields of it in August and September are spectacular. Hope you get to see it one day.

Joe Dipinto 1:24 PM  

@pablo –
You're absolutely right and I was wrong.
I'm wrong.
I'm wrong.

[Guitar lick and out.] ♪

JonP 1:32 PM  

Replying to myself to point out all the words said on the moon before "Houston":

CONTACT LIGHT.
Okay. ENGINE STOP.
ACA - out of DETENT.
Out of DETENT.
MODE CONTROL - both AUTO. DESCENT ENGINE COMMAND OVERRIDE - OFF. ENGINE ARM - OFF.
413 is in.

And only then
Houston, Tranquility Base here. THE EAGLE HAS LANDED.

https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/a11transcript_tec.html

https://www.americaspace.com/2012/07/21/tranquillity-base-here-the-landing-of-apollo-11/

Diane Joan 1:36 PM  

How I wish there was a list of genres somewhere! I’ve seen one of Yoko Ono’s pieces on video from MoMA but in a million years I would not have come up with “NEODADA”. It didn’t help that I thought “TAUNT” or “DAUNT” was the cross. I needed an autocheck on that one. Quite unnerving! Then I overthought the Ora clue and tried to come up with a musical piece by Rita Ora. The rest of the puzzle was fun though!

Newboy 2:03 PM  

Thanks @pablo for the mini lesson on “thixotropic“ which I will lovingly share with a couple grandsons in the days ahead. Stressed Viscosity should be the name for a band practicing for their NEODADA debut in someone’s garage don’t you think.

Anoa Bob 2:24 PM  

So TRISTAN, ANTARES and TIA ANNASUI decided to GO ON TOUR. They were doing a NEODADA variation of the EMPEROR WATUSI in HOUSTON where they BARED ALL in an attempt to TURN ON and NURTURE a mating RUT in all the GROWNUPS there. It began to IRRITATE BRIGGS MAGOO (who was smoking a LIL COGNAC infused PYE-weed joint he got from some NEVADANS---it's legal there). He yelled "IT'S A NOGO. You need to REVAMP your IDEA of that dance. You're ALMOST THERE, just NOT QUITE YET". They were unDAUNTed and decided to PRESS ON.

This was only a NSW/NFT TEST. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

CDilly52 2:25 PM  

First off, thanks Anon 10:42AM for the lengthy explanation re ACT as the unquestionably correct answer. My son in law’s sister married a wonderful Australian and they live in the ACT. My kids got to go to the wedding and I remain so envious but have thoroughly enjoyed the pictures and the holiday and other miscellaneous zoom-fests to which Jon’s family so kindly invites me.

My solve so precisely mirrors that reported by @Rex today that it’s a but eerie. I did continue sequentially through ALMOST THERE, but as soon as I got that, I went back to look at what I had at 1A, whammo! I did have to solve the NW by Downs and the remainder was easy, mostly.

A couple differences from @Rex, included knowing ANTARES. In all of our camping and older age RV trips, we sought out dark sky locations so that my astronomy loving husband could enjoy the bounty of the unpolluted night sky. Often, we would take blankets and sleeping bags and spend all night with him pointing out constellations, nebulae, planets and moons, and occasionally the hazy swath of the Milky Way. Every time I gaze at the night sky, I am so thankful for those nights.

If you have never truly seen the night uncluttered by the glaring electrical evidence of “civilization,” you should. Search “dark sky location nearest me” and go there. I promise it will leave you awed and feeling very, very small. The glorious silence and the vastness of all that’s out there renders me speechless every single time.

this one didn’t really frustrate or confuse me, and I did learn that what i learned as a Whale Shark is also called a BASKing Shark, and it gives me a chuckle to think of these mammoth creatures who glide slowly along, open mouthed collecting plankton as BASKing.

I missed my Thursday rebus, but found this one enjoyable, if a tad easy.

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

πŸ˜†!!!

albatross shell 2:34 PM  

I had the 2 Ds in DADA and put in emoDADA because it is almost always EMO for sem-faux musical genres and pairing EMO with DADA seemed accurate enough and too intriguing to ignore.

I got HOUSTON from the SHOO and WATUSI crosses. I had never heard that before. More a Houston legend than a fact but fairly close. One of the first 3 words I guess. I was not sure if they wanted the first word said by a man in a vehicle on the MOON or said by a man in a spacesuit standing on the moon. Did Buzz say mankind before his feet were on the Moon? What was the next word said? Wonder what the first woman on the moon will say.

I was never a huge fan of the Moon program. I am much more enthusiastic about the space telescopes.

I had to google to find ACT after I found AUS was wrong because of HENS. So that didn't help much. Did finish in the NW and got the other crosses but had no idea why NSW.


Is the Vatican in Italy? Yes I would say. Is Rome the Vatican's city? Quite a bit of haziness there. More than NYC is I guess.

Birds PREEN, kitties PREEN. Is there a problem HOUSTON?

PYE was easy as, here. An 8 footer in the garden and one miniature too. My favorite is hollow- stemmed Joe PYE weed.

@Barbara S
That Thursday Nov. 17 puzzle was a hoot. Loved doing it. That one I didn't start til Thursday night and only scanned a few comments. I did happen on your link to Hepburn but I am not even sure I knew it was yours. Great story. Missed your first post completely. Read all of them last night. Good day for the commentariat. CHINS Emmy ( Me) and much more. Anyway by the 17th I had stopped searching the posts for Barbara. I was afraid you were lost. Sorry to make you rehash your ignominy.

Doctor Work 2:35 PM  

I wonder if the creator of this puzzle mixed up his monster movie spoofs. The long gap between "antici" and "pation" is, as others have pointed out, right out of Rocky Horror, not Young Frankenstein.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

Proudly thixotropic here. Plopped down and blob like in my favorite easy chair, I can barely move. Occasionally I become less viscous out of necessity, usually when a sandwich is located across the room in the refrigerator.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

Totally agree. What the hell happened today??

Anonymous 2:45 PM  

NEODADA is not a thing. PYE is awful. Why are GMS ball club vips? INURE TO is garbage. Don’t have the patience to figure out where APO could stand for. CIEL?? PREENER?? UNA crossing USN and ANTARES?? How did this get published?

My Name 2:48 PM  

Well, this is a crossword puzzle, not a postal service, so a little misdirection is usually a positive thing, not to be returned to sender. And no need to go postal if you don't agree with me, I certainly can live with that and you should be able too πŸ™ƒ

Camilita 2:54 PM  

I love Bret McKenzie and Flight of the Conchords. Bret won an Oscar for best original song. He wrote Man or Muppet. I'm obsessed with everything Aotearoa New Zealand though.
@600 1:21
I have lived in Georgia for 38 years and I never heard of Joe Pye Weed. I guess I'm actually a Yankee not a Georgian. YANKEES IN ATLANTA!! HOW DID THEY EVER GET IN! Did you vote?

Nancy 2:58 PM  

@Joseph Michael (10:56)-- The door springs open????!!!!! Surely you jest. Boy, is that ever a good reason not to visit Canberra!

kitshef 3:29 PM  

The Times has now posted a correction for one of the errors: "A correction was made on Dec. 1, 2022: An earlier version of the clue for 28-Down misidentified the city in New South Wales. It is Sydney, not Canberra."

beverley 3:45 PM  

Sad to see that Canberra is thought to be a part of NSW rather than the correct ACT. It’s not as though Austrlia’s geography is all that tricky, either… c’mon NYTXW editors.

Pdxrains 3:54 PM  

I figured for most of the puzzle that Antici was some ancient Italian writer or artist I was supposed to know about...

Anonymous 4:40 PM  

Agreed. Today’s puzzle has way too much junk fill. Foreign words, names no one has heard, and made-up nonsense. How this rated easy-medium is beyond me. This was the worst I have done on a NYT puzzle in weeks.

pabloinnh 5:22 PM  

@Newboy-Good for you for teaching thixotropic to your grandsons. It's just a cool word.

Our boys can still recite the ketchup jingle-

Shake and shake the ketchup bottle,
First none will come and then a lot'll.

I'm sure their kids are learning it too.

600 5:48 PM  

@Gio--Joe Pye grows in the mountains north of Atlanta. If that's where you live, you've seen it, but no one has told you the name. I'm a Georgian by choice, not by birth--actually a midwesterner, not quite a Yankee--but I also sometimes wonder how they ever let me in. And you bet I voted!

Citizen Dain 6:05 PM  

"I see you SHIVER /
With antici----





----




------



- PATion."

Anonymous 6:19 PM  

Joe-Pye Weed is a lovely addition to any garden. I found that it does well in sun and shade. If you google it, you can see some nice specimens.

Great puzzle!

Anonymous 6:43 PM  

Having lived in Australia for 5 years, I can assure you that Canberra is part of the Australian Capital Territory…..not New South Wales!!

Birchbark 7:10 PM  

Late solve today. I join the blog's Joe PYE Weed Admiration Society. We have a ton of it in our meadow, and the pollinators really like it. But I spelled it PiE. -- and that tiny error slowed things way down, with dire implications felt across the entire southwestern portion of the puzzle.

Harry 7:14 PM  

Kudos to Rex for my daily laugh ... odd as it may seem, the following had me busting my gut:

"I think they're just being sharks, doing normal shark things, and only look like they're BASKing from our perspective."

I'm at the tail end of a 2-1/2 week vacation that took me to Puerto Vallarta, then to LA to board a cruise back down the Mexican coast, and am now finishing up in Las Vegas.

I may need to detox from "vacay" when I return home Friday ...

Anonymous 7:34 PM  

This sloppy error tripped me up too. I sent NYT a message on Facebook to point out the errror.

Anonymous 8:35 PM  

A lot of disappointed people here. As an underachiever, I just try to finish, no matter how long it takes me. My reward today was the Flight of the Conchords video! Thanks, Rex!

SFR 8:43 PM  

The contrast between the hard 'c' in 'ANTIC...' and the soft 'c' in 'ANTICIPATION' threw me off

Peter P 9:20 PM  

They must have fixed it, as the NYT crossword app has “Sydney” instead of “Canberra” for the NSW clue.

To whoever mentioned CONCH’s plural, “conchs” is completely okay. It depends on how you pronounce it. That word can be pronounced “conk” or “con+ch”. The former pluralized as “conchs,” the latter as “conches.” Check the dictionary.

Anonymous 9:22 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 9:25 PM  

The constructor said it is RHPS themed. The clue for INGA is not part of the theme.

Anonymous 9:26 PM  

The Rocky Horror theme made me smile hard, which overcame the minor shortcomings. Clever!

Anonymous 9:38 PM  

The clue reads “A as in Argentina.” In Argentina (and also because “Argentina” is feminine), the article “a” is “una.” The clue isn’t “How to say ‘an a’ in Spanish.” The answer is UNA. Not “un a.”

Dan M 10:09 PM  

Really appreciated this comment, thanks! I'm getting the sense that how a person solved this one made a huge difference in whether or not the theme "landed". But who knows? Glad you enjoyed. And even Rex had a few nice words to say, so hey, I'll take it :)

Dan M 10:17 PM  

So... as the constructor I can embarrassedly affirm that it wasn't misdirection, it was just bad geography. Thought "I need a clue a bit tougher than Sydney" and looked at a map... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anonymous 10:32 PM  

Including "as" in that clue was confusing to me. Rather misleading, in my book.

Anonymous 10:44 PM  

As an American, I was trying to come up with 3 initial letters, perhaps something something district. I saw NSW was the "answer" and was puzzled. Thanks for the facts!
BTW Washington DC was taken from Maryland so it is no different than the ACT.

Dan M 10:46 PM  

Well, in the plus column, I guess I can now claim that my work has been in *two* sections of the NYT: Puzzles and also Corrections. Hooray!

Dan M 10:53 PM  

I was pretty excited they kept my BRET clue, he's never been in the puzzle before and is a superior BRET to the other available famous BRETs, IMP. Also, love that Rex happened to pick one of my very favorite FotC tunes, which coincidentally also features a long pause that is itself the joke (funniest joke in the whole song, I'd say, even).

Anonymous 11:01 PM  

ACT is a territory not a State

Anonymous 11:05 PM  

FWIW conch is pronounced like conk, hence the spelling of the plural, conchs.

andrew 11:16 PM  

@Dan M -
Congratulations on your 2 section achievement - and more importantly, your 6th puzzle.

As was mentioned yesterday (I think), most of us commenters are in awe of those who actually construct these crazy things. The concept creativity, the patience in all the revisions, all to be downplayed for a geographical mistake.

You have a sense of humor - obviously - by your self-deprecating comments here. Keep constructing - CAN’T BERRA the thought of a world without xwords (ok, that’s a groaner but it’s late)…

Made in Japan 11:55 PM  

I'm glad I'm not the only one that saw the ANTICI.........PATION split and thought of the end of "Sweet Transvestite" in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"

albatross shell 1:16 AM  

Interesting connection between Wednesday puzzle this one one.

A shaggy dog story is a JOKE or that is long complicated and keeps delaying the punchline and when it comes, if it does, it is anticlimactic and barely funny. It is an exercise in constantly delayed gratification.

In other words a long gap between ANTICI...............and.............PATION.

An example given is David Bromberg's Buullfrog Blues on How Late'll You'll Play 'Til. I was listening to this song as I was finishing up this puzzle because of yesterday's puzzle.

Scott 1:41 AM  

The contact light came on when the lunar module was about 5 feet above the surface. The contact was with a probe dangling below them.

Unwiseowl 6:18 AM  

Surprised not to see the obligatory Rocky Horror Picture Show link here, Rex. https://youtu.be/OqOEnbXmnGc

Not surprised to see my countrymen in the comments all up in arms about the misplacing of Canberra. We have to learn every second town in upstate NY, surely it's the least the NYT could do to look at a map before putting something in the puzzle?

The city of Canberra has never been in New South Wales. The region was, once, but not for a century or so. It would be more correct to say that Madison or Cincinnati are in Virginia.

Dan M 9:11 AM  

Thanks for the kind words and the awful pun!

Chris Ruebeck 9:37 AM  

It was a fun crossword, but a toughie for me. NEO_ADA is where I failed, but it was due to an entire lack of understanding the APO entry. I’m amazed to see no commentary on that in the various sources, other than one comment here. And I’m still unsure what it really means—trΓ©s obscure.

thefogman 11:00 AM  

Liked this one. The moment I solved the gimmick I thought of that Heinz commercial with Carly Simon singing that song. Funny how certain things stay stuck in your hard drive like that. Got stuck in a RUT at 38D, 38A (USN-UNA) until I did an alphabet run and hit the U. Non-English words ABOUND: CIEL, LES, ORO, MINUTO, ETALIA, NOUS, TIA, UNA etc. Other than that it wasn’t too DAUNTing. Not perfect, but fun to solve and that’s the whole IDEA.

spacecraft 11:53 AM  

This page was an absolute bear to find, and I'm not coming back. My search went from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. I don't even know how I got here! Our sleepy Syndilinker has done it again, stuck on, of all dates, Nov. 1! PLEASE, can't we do SOMETHING about this? Blogging here is getting to be hard work--AND I'M RETIRED!!! I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS!

To the puzzle. For a change I nailed the NW, which gave me the last word across, but for a long time that was the only word I had in the entire south. Yowtch! NEODADA? ANNASUI?? And then the total natick at NF_/BRE_. Never heard of the "comedy duo" of 41a, let alone the name of either, while 31d is some tech term--'nuff said.

But the killer was NEVADANS, I AM ONE, for cryin' out loud, and it's the Silver State! NO ONE EVER calls it the Sagebrush State. It's the Silver State; that's my story and I'm sticking to it. That clue is a foul ball if I've ever seen one. Where's the editor??

North: easy-medium; south: challenging. Theme is cute, and I can't believe we saw a link to a ketchup ad instead of Tim Curry in "Rocky Horror." But getting there was no fun. Bogey.

Wordle bogey as well.

Burma Shave 2:15 PM  

IDEA NOTQUITE THERE

ANTICIPATION is A DAUNTing TEST,
one GROWNUPS need TO learn ON,
like when INGA ALMOST BAREDALL the rest,
IT was MEANTTO be A TURNON.

--- BRET BRIGGS

rondo 2:37 PM  

ONs and TOs ABOUND. GOON, PRESSON, TURNON, ONME. MEANTTO INURETO. But better than a rebus.
Wordle par.

Diana, LIW 2:53 PM  

Did OFL say easy theme and "challenging fill?"

Is there anything more disappointing than getting the theme on a Thursday, filling all the themers in correctly, and then getting a dnf due to *&^ #$% names? Ugh. That's not a crossword - that's a trivia contest. Phhlllgggg.

Diana, LIW

Diana, LIW 2:57 PM  

@Spacey - I emailed Rex about the link problem - we'll see... OTOH, not sure what your screen looks like but it's not too hard to find a particular day - the links are on the right side for both month and days.

Lady Di

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

WTF; Anna Sui? Minuto? Dint? Pye? Neodada? Just enough that I DNF. Any other day Antares would have been “whatevs” but c’mon…

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