"Not that shrink!"? / THU 11-9-23 / Dried version of the almost-ripe poblano / Special effects devices at a rock concert / Tally of samples at a geology competition? / Pigment akin to ocher or umber / Prosecco alternative, familiarly / Iconic feature of The Who's "My Generation" / Full moon period on the Roman lunar calendar

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Constructor: Simeon Seigel

Relative difficulty: Medium, Easy-Medium, somewhere in there

THEME: INSIDE OUT (64A: Thoroughly ... or how to read the four Across answers with parentheses in this puzzle) — grid has four answers with *double* parentheses—to understand the wackiness, you have to read the answer from the "inside out," i.e. inner parenthetical first, outer parenthetical second, entire entry third:

Theme answers:
  • C(R(AFT)S)MEN (i.e. aft rafts craftsmen) (17A: Workers at the rear of some flat boats?)
  • S(P(LATTE)R)ED (i.e. latte platter splattered) (25A: Result of dropping a tray of coffee drinks?)
  • PSYCH(O(THE)R)APIST (i.e. the other psychotherapist) (39A: "Not that shrink!"?)
  • S(C(ORE)S)HEET (i.e. ore cores scoresheet) (51A: Tally of samples at a geology competition?)
Word of the Day: Scott O'DELL (7D: Scott who wrote "The Black Pearl") —

Scott O'Dell (May 23, 1898 – October 15, 1989) was an American writer of 26 novels for young people, along with three novels for adults and four nonfiction books. He wrote historical fiction, primarily, including several children's novels about historical California and Mexico. For his contribution as a children's writer he received the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1972, the highest recognition available to creators of children's books. He received The University of Southern Mississippi Medallion in 1976 and the Catholic Libraries Association Regina Medal in 1978.

O'Dell's best known work is the historical novel Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960), which won the 1961 Newbery Medal and the 1963 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in its German translation. It was also named to the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award list. He was one of the annual Newbery runners-up for three other books: The King's Fifth (1966), The Black Pearl (1967), and Sing Down the Moon (1970). (wikipedia) 

The Black Pearl is a young adult novel by Scott O'Dell first published in 1967 about the coming of age of the son of a pearl dealer. (wikipedia)
• • •

My downloaded puzzle did not have the parentheses, so I had to infer what was going on, which added a level of challenge—always welcome on Thursday. Unfortunately, without the parentheses I actually failed to see that there were actually two "inside" word, one embedded inside the other. In other words, all I saw as AFT CRAFTSMEN, LATTE SPLATTERED, OTHER PSYCHOTHERAPIST, ORE SCORESHEET, leaving me to wonder why the clues sounded kind of off, and why finding one word embedded inside another was at all theme-worthy. But as I typed in the revealer clue, I got curious about what "answers with parentheses" meant, then suddenly realized, "oh, there's gonna be some pictorial element that my software missed, isn't there?" Yes. The double parentheses is indeed more impressive, from a technical perspective, and THE OTHER PSYCHOTHERAPIST is a real winner all around—funny, perfect phrasing on the clue ... with the parentheses sitting dead center, mwah, lovely. The others, to varying degrees, feel forced and contrived and not quite right, and that offness kind of saps the wackiness. AFT RAFT CRAFTSMEN is what the phrase wants to be—that's the wacky phrase juste. But with this parenthetical set-up, we're asked to accept the plural RAFTS—AFT RAFTS CRAFTSMEN—and that just sounds wrong. The same issue arises with ORE CORES SCORESHEET, although there it grates slightly less. One of the reasons THE OTHER PSYCHOTHERAPIST beats the others by such a wide margin is that you don't have to imagine a completely nonsensical situation in order to make sense of the wacky answer. It's funny in part because it's plausible and clear. Whereas there's no such thing as a "latte platter" (to say nothing of a "geology competition" (!?)) unless I wish real hard and the Wackiness Fairy makes it so. This ends up being one where you're supposed to CLAP at the cleverness, but the actual on-the-page results are mixed. (sidenote: since when is a CLAP a "gesture" ???! (34A: Two-handed gesture)?)

I'm a middle-aged man who has been teaching Cyclops-containing literature for decades and I've never heard or seen the term CYCLOPEAN. They are indeed big, the Cyclopes, but if I were to make an adjective out of their name, I would think the iconic trait would be one-eyed-ness. Lots of things are big. Gargantua was big, and they made an adjective out of his name, and it made sense. CYCLOPEAN is an offering from the Great God Word List, something no one would use unless the A.I. suggested it. The same is not true for "echo pedal" (singular), but it seems kinda sorta true for ECHO PEDALS plural. How many do you need for your so-called "rock concert"? But it's really the clue I'm quibbling with there, not the answer, which is a simple plural, and fine. PHAT is less fine. INURN is much, much less fine. The fill otherwise holds up OK. There's no real THRILL here, but I wasn't BORED, either.

[Odilon Redon, The Cyclops]

Hardest section for me was the SW, largely because of the bizarro "Citizen Kane" trivia (62A: Love of Charles Foster Kane in "Citizen Kane" = OPERA). I've seen that movie several times and when ROSEBUD and HIMSELF didn't fit here, I was completely at a loss, trying to remember some love interest's name that had somehow slipped my mind. But apparently he loved OPERA. I know there's the whole bit where he arranges for his girlfriend to star in an OPERA and she's pretty bad. But as with the Cyclops's size, I never thought of Kane's love of OPERA as particularly iconic. And since the two answers underneath OPERA (GRAIL, SINGS) were both very vaguely clued (66A: Coveted cup / 69A: Finks), I struggled a bit to get that corner to work. But overall this puzzle probably actually comes out on the "Easy" side. On Thursdays, it's usually the theme that gets you, and this theme was not particularly thorny.

  • 16A: Spoiler alert! It's bacteria! (E. COLI) — Why are you shouting!? About bacteria!? Is it because you're warning me not to eat the "spoiled" food?! OK, I hear you.
  • 36A: Shrunken snack item (PRUNE) — I guess all dried fruit is in some way "shrunken," OK. I was looking for some brand-name mini-donut or something...
  • 7D: Scott who wrote "The Black Pearl" (O'DELL) — Never heard of this guy, never heard of "The Black Pearl." I just never read much "young adult" fiction even when I was a young adult. I went from "Peanuts" to grown-up novels (via The Catcher in the Rye) and just skipped whatever was supposed to come in between. So I'm aware of some of the names of last-century YA stuff (The Chocolate War? A Separate Peace? The Outsiders?), but I have no specific experience with it. My mother can tell you if I'm misremembering any of this. My adolescence was mostly MTV and video games.
See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 1:57 AM  

I think the "plural" rafts and cores may be somewhat less irksome if you consider the "s" as being possessive. Still quite forced, but easier for me to live with. With this, the boatman is the "aft raft's craftsman" and the geological log is the "ore core's scoresheet"

My attempt, though, is no better.

How a scammer improves his craft: dis(h(one)s)ty

Anonymous 2:03 AM  

Disagree that Cyclopean is a word list word. It’s definitely a real word that I use in the wild and that I’ve heard others use. Not super common, but is out there.

Anonymous 2:16 AM  

What an awful Thursday. So many "Ugh... really!?" moments like the ones Rex mentioned: INURN, CYCLOPEAN, the clues on CLAP and ECHOPEDALS ... All alongside dreadful fill.

To say the themes felt forced in an understatement

I will give it up to the marquee THE OTHER PSYCHOTHERAPIST, but I feel like the entire puzzle was built just so the constructor could feature this one neat pattern in that word "psychotherapist"

jae 2:20 AM  

On the tough side for me. I tried to ignore the (( )) clues but I eventually needed them to solve the NW. Pretty clever but a tad annoying, didn’t hate it.

I also did not know ODELL.

It took a while to grok the ABBOT and DARE clues.

wear before FRAY.

Liveprof 2:24 AM  

This puzzle is acting in loco parenthesis.

frankbirthdaycake 4:25 AM  

This was a great puzzle and a lot of fun. The parentheses appeared on the NYT crossword app, so chalk up a win for them. I don’t particularly remember Kane being an avid lover of opera, but it is congruent with his character. Although the reference might be a little obscure, the movie is about 80 years old, so pretty much everything, scant a few details (e.g., Orson Welles, “Rosebud”), are obscure in 2023.

As Veterans’ Day approaches, please take time to thank and remember not only our veterans but also the men and women who continue put themselves in harms way to protect us, as well as their families who continue to make sacrifices in support of Service Members.

Conrad 5:26 AM  

Medium Challenging for me. Like @Rex, the SW gave me the most trouble, and like @jae I tried to ignore the themer clues but needed them.

Off the C in ESC I tried several misspellings of Colossal for 33D. When I did get it, I misspelled it CYCLOPiAN
Wanted SAnDY before SAUDI for the Arabian Peninsula at 15A
wear before FRAY at 18D
YEOu before YEOH for the actress at 28A
LAP on before AT (46A)
fAncy before CAPRI for the pants at 52D

Wanderlust 6:30 AM  

I liked seeing the strange parentheses, wondering what sort of Thursday trickery was up, then working my way through to the revealer before I got any of the theme answers. I had enough crosses to make INSIDE OUT obvious, then saw PSYCHOTHERAPIST and got the theme, kinda liked filling the others, even if they were straining. Rex, I loved “unless I wish real hard and the Wackiness Fairy makes it so.”

Loved the clue for SENATE PAGE (one running for Congress). I liked the misdirection on the Charles Foster Kane clue as I tried to remember some love of his named OPiRA? OPaRA? Didn’t have CYCLOPEAN yet. I might never have heard of that one but I like saying it. I liked but was not fooled by “one with many priors,” but I thought it was ABBey. “Seat in Parliament” for BUM was fun, and a nice change from our usual ASS.

We will have a delayed Celebration of Life ceremony for my father, who died in June, in a couple of weeks. I vow to use the word INURN when we discuss his ashes and impress my siblings with my vocabulary.

I neither CLAP at nor THRILL to BASS SOLOS at rock concerts but I do like the occasional ECHO PEDAL(S).

mathgent 6:38 AM  

My printout had the parentheses and I had INSIDEOUT, but it took me a couple of cheats (YEOH, ODELL) to get S(P(LATTE)R)ED. But even then, knowing the gimmick, it wasn't easy for me to get the other three themers, two of which are clunkers.

I had fun with this one, despite its flaws (two bad themers, some stinky cluing).

Anonymous 6:41 AM  

And please remember that there are many organizations that deal with the epidemic of veteran suicides—twenty two a day.

Anonymous 6:47 AM  

I read Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell for school (4th or 5th grade?), and so did my partner who grew up elsewhere, so the author's name feels like fair game to me. It's a lovely book.

I put drumSOLO instead of BASSSOLO which messed up that whole area for me.

Overall, felt like a decent Thursday puzzle.

JD 6:56 AM  

Thought it was very clever, but for me somewhat difficult.

Wrestled with The Black Pearl, trying to pull from the attic the Pearl book I'd read and who wrote it. Finally came up with Steinbeck and then knew I didn't know the answer.

Sepal, it gets me every time. Made No Win harder than it was. Wanted a rock to be in Score Sheet before I got there and that took a while.

Loved the clues for Abbot and Senate Page. Your Grail my Liege was nice.

Psych(o)the)r)apist reminded me of my all time favorite TV show, Arrested Development and Tobias Funke's Analrapist. I laughed just typing it.

Great fun.

Rick 6:59 AM  

"One with many priors, maybe" is a bad clue. An abbot has a single prior (unless the abbot outlives several priors)

Cyclopean is commonly used in certain genre fiction (e.g. Lovecraft and adjacent literature)

"Inurn"??? really?

Rob Buccino 6:59 AM  

A nit to pick: Rock musicians call them reverb pedals (or stompboxes) or delay pedals, but I've never heard them called "echo pedals".

SouthsideJohnny 7:12 AM  

I feel bad for the constructor - the PSYCHOTHERAPIST theme entry is a real winner, but the others (and especially the ORE-CORE-SCORESHEET job) just seem too forced and contrived. I’m sure that with all of the constraints regarding size and symmetry that it was probably a HERCULEAN (but not CYCLOPEAN) task to find other themers that actually worked/fit etc. So, respect for the effort, but for me it seems the results came up a bit short.

Nits for me would include the usual cast of characters that populate the NYT grids with regularity but are rarely encountered in the wild - stuff like YEOH, PHAT, RHEAS and DREG. That’s all just par for the course though.

Megafrim 7:15 AM  

I was thinking that I've seen "cyclopean" frequently in literature, but then I realized it wouldn't be so frequent if I hadn't read much Lovecraft, who often used the term in descriptions of alien landscapes.

kitshef 7:17 AM  

DNF for me today at CYCLOPiAN/OPiRA. Never seen citizen Kane, and figured OPiRA was a woman's name.

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

I had SUSAN instead of OPERA as Kane’s love. I don’t think there’s any indication he loves opera particularly. He narcissistically forces his second wife (Susan) to sing opera because he wants to feel like he can control public opinion.

Son Volt 7:29 AM  

Fun trick - oddly filled. App worked well with the graphics - although they definitely dumbed down the overall test. Can’t unsee PSYCHO THE RAPIST.

Liked the revealer. RHEAS, INURN and the other DREGs don’t supplement the theme very well. Actually thought CYCLOPEAN was cool.

Pleasant enough Thursday morning solve.

INSIDE OUT - outside in - everyday

JonB3 7:43 AM  

I've been in a Classic Rock band for 21 years. Only used a delay pedal. Never an echo one.

Hyk 7:52 AM  

I loved this theme but I am so stuck on ABBOT. I got the answer from crosses, but can anyone explain the meaning of the clue? The NYT column is no help

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

Can someone explain the various objections to INURN? It's a perfectly legitimate word in the English language, and variations of it are in print every day in obits.

mmorgan 8:10 AM  

I struggled with the puzzle (no parentheses in my Across Lite grid) but I loved Rex’s write up.

Dr.A 8:11 AM  

Agree with all of the above, but there could be more than one Echo Pedal if there is more than one guitar, and then the Bass guitar and maybe they are talking about multipe concerts etc. That bothered me less than Cyclopean!
But as far as YA lit, I also missed all of it, went straight to “adult” books. As my daughter has been growing up, I’ve read quite a bit of this genre with her and there are some real winners that I am glad I did go back and read.Island of the Blue Dolphins, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH being some of the highlights of that era for us.

M. Helper 8:13 AM  

Loved it

No mention of CAPRI pants (52D) can pass without acknowledging the genuinely transformative moment in television when a very young, unknown and untested Mary Tyler Moore insisted that Laura Petrie forgo the up-until-then standard suburban TV housewife attire of dress, apron, heels and (optional) string of pearls in favor of Capri pants and flat shoes - even in she faced of network exec. concerns about "cupping."

Sutsy 8:20 AM  

I'm with Rex. CYCLOPEAN, ECHOPEDALS and OPERA are pure duds. Solved with a disappointed sigh rather than an enthused chuckle.

Andy Freude 8:28 AM  

@Anonymous 7:25, you’re exactly right. Kane didn’t give a damn about opera. I’d like to INURN that clue.

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

Cyclopean is much more commonly used to describe ancient architecture. Cyclopean Masonry is usually the term.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

I agree He could have a prior and a sub prior but not many priors

Norm 8:50 AM  

DUMB, DUMBER, AND DUMBEST. Put the () where you will, this was a stupid gimmick puzzle.

Kid Phoneme 8:55 AM  

Kinda a cool idea. Was expecting something a little more tricksy from a Thursday. Thought the NE might sink me. No idea who Norah O'Donnell is, never mind her network. Eventually, CACTI fell and the rest of that corner came together.

Being server in a restaurant, I thought LATTE PLATTER SPLATTER was pretty good, (if maybe a little Seussian); simply someone having a bad day carrying a tray to a table.

andrew 8:58 AM  

Thought POWER, SLEDS or SUSAN for Kane clue. Also thought MONEY but old Charlie was happy to lose a million a year for the fun of newspaper publishing. But agree OPERA was NOT a concern for Charles Foster Kane - just wanted to legitimize his love nest bae as a talented artist (which Susan Alexander clearly was not). Just like all the art pieces he amassed in hoarder fashion did not make him an art lover.

Felt no guilt in googling ODELL and YEOH - the specificity of their clues and obscurity of the answers almost prodded me to do the mini-cheats.

Thought SPLATTERED was the best of the theme answers and that it was a decent Thursday. But how does NYT still have so many glitches when it comes to simple symbols that are key to solving?

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

I wanted "felon," but the crosses made me think of monks.
Merriam Webster: "The superior ranking next to the abbot of a monastery." There may have been "priories" in "The DaVinci Code."

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

I liked this puzzle. I was worried about the parenthesis though at this particular moment (https://www.adl.org/resources/hate-symbol/echo) but guess the timing is unintentional

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:07 AM  

@Hyk 7:52 AM - It's a Catholic Church thing. A prior is a church official that reports to an abbot. Many priors may report to a single abbot.

Bob Mills 9:08 AM  

I agree that CYCLOPEAN suggests a one-eyed being, not great size, and also that OPERA doesn't apply to Charles Foster Kane (or to Orson Welles, for that matter). His true love was Marion Davies, who lived at his Xanadu. Never heard of ECHOPEDALS, either.

I had to cheat to get Michelle YEOH, but otherwise finished the puzzle with trial-and-error. Oddly, I caught onto the theme early, but was held up by several crosses. I had RYDER for coveted cup, never considering the Holy GRAIL until i recognized that SINGS is a synonym for (the verb) FINKS. Until the end I was thinking of FINKS in the noun form. I also thought FANCY would go with "pants."

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:08 AM  

Regarding Kane's love, I was hoping for ROSEBUD

RooMonster 9:10 AM  

Hey All !
Pretty neat idea. I got a chuckle out of LATTE PLATTER SPLATTERED, picturing someone with a tray full of Lattes coming to a table, tripping, with LATTES SPLATTERED everywhere.

Took a minute to unravel what in tarhooties the theme wanted. Got the Revealer first, which helped suss out how to read the Themers, so that helped. Do agree with Rex on the S's sounding forced, but they're necessary to complete the trifecta.

Had wawaPEDALS first for ECHOPEDALS. Aren't those things on guitars called that? CYCLOPtic-CYCLOPEAN, CArgo-CAPRI, think that's it.

When I fall asleep while reading a Melville novel? - R(O(OMOO)N)STER
Har. 😁

One F, but technically used Three times!

Rachel 9:17 AM  

I thought this puzzle was so hard, even for a Thursday!

Also, I couldn't NOT see "rapist" in the therapist answer, and was surprised the word was broken up so that "rapist" appears, but whatevs. For some reason it reminded me of "analrapist" in Arrested Development, which was funny.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  


thfenn 9:26 AM  

Island of the Blue Dolphin is the first book I remember reading on my own and loving - kind of that moment when i got why sitting down and reading a book might be fun to do.

Thought this was a fun Thursday. Spent too much time trying to make something CRAb boat related work (and had competitive boat docking and the Chesapeake cowboys on my mind) so it took LATTE for things to click and then the marquee answer went in from just THE. Got held up refusing to let DRop go for DREG, oh, and SAnDy for SAUDI, but otherwise fun.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Re. geology competitions: I'm not sure about ore cores, but soil core competitions are definitely a thing! https://www.agronomy.org/undergrads/contests/soils-contests/

MkB 9:28 AM  

Had -CLOPEAN and thought that surely that couldn't be CYCLOPEAN, because even though it was the only sensible prefix that I could think of, it clearly means one-eyed. Also not a fan of two relatively obscure proper nouns crossing each other, even if both names are sorta guessable. And INURN is just awful.

And yet...the gimmick is just so much fun. Made me happy all the same.

RooMonster 9:28 AM  

Har, got carried away trying to make my nom de blog into something, and added an extra O! Silly me.

RooMonster Not RooMoonster Guy

Ben E. Dict 9:34 AM  

Following up on prior conversations....

The whole complex of ABBOTS and Priors (and sub-priors) in the Catholic Church can be pretty arcane. The term prior can mean one thing in one religious order and something a different in another religious order. In some they are second in command in an abbey serving under and abbot, in other orders a prior is the number one person. Their authority can be inherent, delegated, or not at all.

In SOME cases in SOME religious orders, however, an abbey (led by an abbot) may become so large that it begins to establish satellite monasteries, with a prior appointed to govern each satellite monastery with delegated authority from the abbot. These are technically known as "obedientiary priors." In such cases, ABBOTS may, indeed have many priors, and so the clue for 4A is accurate.

But like I said: arcane stuff.

Chicago Chica 9:39 AM  

Cleaver! I loved it.

Carola 9:42 AM  

Easy solve, admirable construction feat, satisfying to dot all the i's and cross the t's. Extra treats: POWER SUIT and CYCLOPEAN.

On Charles Foster Kane's love: my Cargo pants gave me Or??? and my first thought was, "Organ? No way! I can't believe it's not OPERA." In other words, time to erase Cargo for CAPRI.

pabloinnh 9:49 AM  

Another one of those Thursday puzzles where the printed version cuts off the left hand margin, leaving parts of the Across clues and all of their numbers missing. I printed it out anyway with the idea that this time might be different. It wasn't. So I decided to go ahead and see how much I could do with what I had, half of the Acrosses and all of the Downs, When that got to be impossible I thought about doing it online and filling in the answers I already had, but that was going to be tedious, so I wound up with my printed version and reading the clues off my laptop. In short, not much fun.

My misguided approach meant that I got the revealer before any of the themers and it still took me forever to see how they all worked. CRAFTSMEN was just not appearing due to wrong crosses so I finally looked at the themers I had filled in and, finally, the penny dropped, as folks are wont to say around here. Sheesh.

Nice trick indeed, SS. Shouolda Seen what was up long before I did, which is my own fault, darn it. Thanks for a fair amount of head-scratching fun.

Whatsername 9:50 AM  

Well this was a little different, reminded me of a Sunday puzzle and why I don’t do them. But I did enjoy it and found it just the right level of Thursday challenge. Was sure I was going to have to Google a name or two before I finished but I managed to EKE it OUT with no cheats. I consider that a SIGN of a very well constructed puzzle. Biggest snag was CYCLOPEAN because I kept wanting a woman’s name at 62A. Believe it or not, I even tried OPRAH.

As far as I’m concerned, you can take the Michelle YEOH “Everything” film and put it permanently IN an URN for burial. One of the worst movies I’ve ever tried to watch.

CyC 9:58 AM  

I really like this one! The issue with 'echo' pedals is that I feel like they aren't very common. Delay pedals much more so. Also there is "reverb" which is often a knob on an amp or a mixing board, though they make pedals for that too.

Druid 10:05 AM  


andrew 10:08 AM  

@rachel 9:17 - yeah, that ANALRAPIST portmanteau coined by Tobias (combining analyst/therapist) did not work out any better than his personalized license plate celebrating A NU START (read ANUS TART by everyone else, including the To Catch a Predator crew.)

Tobias Funke, Analrapist

Nancy 10:10 AM  

Well, if this isn't just the cutest, cleverest thing!

At first I felt a bit annoyed as those things mucking up my ability to put letters neatly in squares impeded me. They weren't annoying tiny little circles, so what were they? I headed to the revealer to find out they were parentheses (and that is what they looked like, after all) and my curiosity was provoked. Why were they there and what was I supposed to do about them?

I took my usual approach of beginning with answers that didn't have parentheses. It was a relief to then see that I could fill in the answers that did have them -- without skipping anything or doubling up on anything. So at least this already-cluttered grid wouldn't get any messier with my own write-overs.

INSIDE OUT blew me away when I finally got to it. Wow! Read these answers that way and they all make complete sense. And they're almost grammatical too! What a job of construction and what a fabulous revealer.

I thought I might suffer today, but I didn't. Wonderfully enjoyable and interesting puzzle.

Gary Jugert 10:18 AM  

I hate CYCLOPSES, or CYCLOPODIANS or CYCLOPODIPI. When I see an CYCLOPS walking toward me on the sidewalk, I cross the street. And I never make eye contact (tee-hee). If my daughter married a CYCLOPS, I'd disinherit her. I'm sure that the term CYCLOPSOPY came from their tendency toward one-eyed-ness. I refuse to compose with fermatas (fermati) because they look like one eyeball staring at you. I even avoid looking at pirates. I've spent my entire adult life planning to poke out both my eyes if ever I can only use just one. I don't agree with your woke Critical CYCLOPS Theory.

Lumbered through this one like an ENT looking for the GRAIL. Almost tossed in the towel several times, but stuck with it and finished clean and loved every minute. I love the theme. The reveal clue is terrible, but otherwise a great puzzle.

I will never see the word PSYCHOTHERAPIST the same way again.

[One with many priors] is wonderful.

Didn't know SEPAL or ODELL, had IRANI for SAUDI forever, thank god for crosses on YEOH, POWERSUIT feels dated, and of all the things that are ALIKE you pick stormtroopers?!

And probably half my time was devoted to the area around ASA Hutchinson because I could've sworn her name was ANN. Two letters 20 minutes. Sheesk.

Tee-Hee: Thank you to the Muse of Clues for helping us picture Tory tails. Ah those BUMS.


1 Agreeable Arabian belly bugs.
2 Our daily effort on the πŸ¦– blog.
3 Doctor whose a boss with a glass of wine.
4 Catch big ollies.
5 What the NYTXW slush pile editor looks for.
6 What I spend most of my time reading as a perennial 4th chair denizen.


My Fascinating Crossword Uniclue Keepsake from Last Year: The guy at the university in charge of rolling out the baroque harpsichord decorated to look like a unicorn barfed rainbows on it. CLAVIER ROADIE.


Ron 10:18 AM  

HP Lovecraft used it all the time, "cyclopean architecture"

JD 10:34 AM  

Good for you if you didn't know it, but when someone is cremated and not scattered, they may likely be Inurn(ed). It's a thing, and not uncommon. More cremations in America now than burials. And here's another word to know, the urn might go in a columbarium.

Whatsername 10:41 AM  

@pablo and others with printer issues: When this left-margin glitch occurs, try choosing the Newspaper Version of the printout. Then when you go to the PRINT command, look at your printer settings and check the box that says fit “Fit to Page” or “Fit to Sheet.” That solved the problem for me, thanks to someone here who advised me to try it. Unfortunately, I don’t recall who it was but I will remain eternally grateful to get rid of that frustrating annoyance.

x 10:47 AM  

let's take turns turning urns to turds.

Beezer 10:56 AM  

Wow. This was a very clever concept and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Very little dreck and things like ECHOPEDAL were inferable with crosses. The commentariat remarks about Citizen Kane made me realize how little I remember about it other than Rosebud, so I’m motivated to rewatch it. And yes…I basically looked at CYCLOPEAN after it was filled in and thought…REALLY? It may be right, but I doubt I will ever a huge person or thing as CYCLOPEAN unless there is one eye.

I’ve asked this before and I’ve not gotten an answer, but what IS it about Across Lite that makes some of you prefer it to the NYT app?

bocamp 10:59 AM  

Thx, Simeon, for this crunchy Thurs. puz! 😊

Very hard (Sat. time).

Way over my head. Don't ever recall being so off a constructor's wavelength. And, not just the theme. πŸ€”

Speaking of the theme; will spend all the time it takes throughout the day to try to grok it.

Nevertheless, enjoyed the challenge, and felt quite relieved to have gotten it right. :)
Peace πŸ•Š πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness ~ Freudenfreude & a DAP to all πŸ‘Š πŸ™

egsforbreakfast 11:00 AM  

Impolite but careful legal descriptor
Consumed a subsequent BENTO
Not useable in an individual musical performance
(Answers below)

Boy, talk about failing the breakfast test: CLAP, BUM and PSYCHO THE RAPIST. The only thing that would make it worse was if it had ENTS, who I hate irrationally.

Did you know that _ Y _ _ _ _ _ _ _ will accommodate both CYCLOPEAN and gYnormous? I do now.

This was probably an easy puzzle to construct if you're a Jeff Chen-like computer geek. You use some command like "find/:3word//5word//big word/:(then):/(((nest/nest/nest))). However, as you'll see if you try to solve my pathetic new attempts, it ain't easy for us luddites. So, I say bravo and thanks to Simeon Seigel.


Essbee 11:01 AM  

For what it's worth, cyclopean is a favored Lovecraftian adjective. That's the only use of it I've ever encountered.

Photomatte 11:05 AM  

I confidently wrote in WAWAPEDALS, since that's what they're called (never heard of an echo pedal), and that made the puzzle very challenging.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

Nicely done

Heinrich Schliemann 11:24 AM  

Cyclopean is a term used to describe the massive stones used for the outer wall of Mycenae: so large that it's as if only giants could have constructed the city.

GILL I. 11:24 AM  

Well, I talk out loud to myself. My TIN EAR was dancing with me. Parens....Will I figure them out?
First: CRAFTSMEN. I looked at it and talked to it. What should I do with you....All I saw was a CRAFT RAT sitting with some MEN. OK...Move to the next. All I could figure out was a PLATTER LATTE. What?
NEXT!...AHA!!! I saw THE OTHER PSYCHOTHERAPIST. Cool beans. But why can't the others make sense.
Get to the reveal: INSIDE OUT. Oh...Go to the others you've managed to fill out and then make sense of it. I did. So now I see LATTE PLATTER SPLATTERED. A TIN EAR whoop.
These are great and they are fun and I'm sure it was one big bear to create.
Now to tackle the other answers that don't have the parens...
I get to the love of Charles Foster Kane and I toyed with OPRAH. She is pretty lovable. CAPRI pants - not cargo nor fancy...just those awful looking CAPRI. The P finally gave me OPERA.
One cheat on top....ODELL. I had my usual Thursday angst, agita, dyspepsia moment. What do priors want...Oh...it's that kind. ABBOT of course. I clapped at that clue.
I got it done and danced a bit. ECHO PEDALS was the hardest of my partners. But....I did a nice fandango tango with CYCLOPEAN. A one-eyed wonder and he only had eyes for me.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

Totally disagreed with Rex. Loved the theme and the theme answers. Can’t believe he didn’t know Scott - Island of the Blue Dolphin - Odell. Great fill too - all in all a great Thursday effort.

jberg 11:32 AM  

I guess I'm an outlier. I loved saying LATTE PLATTER SPLATTERED and ORE CORES SCORESHEET--just like something from the young-non-adult Fox in Socks (Hi, @kid phoneme), and was disappointed by THE OTHER PSYCHOTHERAPIST because it didn't rhyme. But I can see the other point of view.

Until today, I thought a prior was the head of a priory and was just like an ABBOT; so I put in ABBey instead, but my TIN EAR was corrected by the eponymous phrase. Crosswords are so educational!

As for CLAP-- is this a gesture?

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

The marquee answer reminds me of this.

pabloinnh 11:57 AM  

@Whatsername-Thanks for the tip. I've tried the "newspaper version" ploy (same result) but have not added the "fit to page " step. If I can remember that until the next one like this shows up, which is always when the "Answer to previous puzzle" is on today's puzzle page.

Newboy 12:00 PM  

Thanks Simeon for a truly delightful Thursday! And I certainly second @Beezer’s plan to rewatch Citizen Kane; Welles was decades ahead of the industry and the innovations he introduced have become SOOO commonplace that current viewers miss how great it is. And thanks too for the excellent print problem work around @Whatsername shares today…no matter the ultimate source, Rexblog remains a community of support we can all appreciate πŸ‘πŸΌCLAPπŸ™πŸΎ.

Oh, and the grid? Penny dropped (appropriate verb that) at S(P(LATTE)R)ED and then the fun began IRL. So engaged was I in besting the brackets that I missed the excellence of SENATE PAGE & CYCLOPEAN as entries. Any visitor who has stood in AWE before the lion’s gate at Mycenae or strolled Tiryns will instantly fill 33down without pause or second guessing.

egsforbreakfast 12:03 PM  

@Gary Jugert. Perhaps we should collaborate on a rewrite of Aesop's The Grasshopper and the Ant. The Cyclops and the Ent.

jb129 12:12 PM  

I FINALLY finished & "got it" but it was a struggle.

Good to see "The Who."

I guess I should say "Thanks for the workout Simeon" (??)

jb129 12:13 PM  

BTW - I miss Lewis :)

hankster65 12:21 PM  

Clever construction! I thought it was brilliant. Yes, there were a couple of clunky clues but overall I really enjoyed this one. And I'm usually am not a fan of the Thursday trickery so that's saying something.

Canon Chasuble 12:34 PM  

Regarding 62A: Charles Kane's greatest loves, in probable order, were Power, Money, and
Rosebud. Opera? Pretty much down the list.

Niallhost 12:38 PM  

Super easy for me. Finished in just over 12 minutes, even with only sort of getting the theme. Just looked for words in the parentheses that corresponded with the brackets and voila.

Masked and Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Liked it a lot. Cuz …

Solved the printed version, which always shows all the xword add-ons, includin parens. Still took m&e a little while to think inside the box. Would rate this rodeo as around average ThursPuz feistiness.

staff we(eject) picks: AFT. THE. ORE.


Thanx for the BASIC(FUN)DA(MENTAL)S, Mr. Seigel dude. Musta spent many nanoseconds, comin up with yer symmetric(al) list of themers. Twas worth it.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Anonymous 12:44 PM  


okanaganer 12:45 PM  

Yes THE OTHER PSYCHOTHERAPIST was just superb for the reasons Rex said.

I'm not very well read but I've seen the word CYCLOPEAN, though didn't know what it meant and if I had to, I would guess it meant "all seeing".

For "Iconic feature of 'My Generation'", I wanted STUTTERING.

The clue "Musical Horne", in the font used by my Across Lite looks 100% like "Musical Home" which was baffling.

[Spelling Bee: Wed -1, missed this 6er to end my QB streak at 14, darn it.]

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

This old timer knows that an abbot might be in charge of many priories. Whose in house leader is of course a prior.

Masked and Anonymous 12:55 PM  

… well, hey -- PRESTI(D(I)G)ITATION might notta been all that impressive a find, but it definitely is


Sailor 1:19 PM  

Count me among the word-lovers who were glad to see CYCLOPEAN make an appearance today!

It's interesting that, for so many of us, the defining feature of the Cyclopes is their one-eyed-ness; while for most of recorded history, they were known primarily for their huge size and strength, enabling them (for example) to lift the huge stones to build the ancient Mycenaean walls.

The word has been in continuous use, with the meaning as clued today, for (literally) centuries.

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

The iconic bit of M-M-My G-G-Generation (to me) was the “STUTTERS” — Bass Solo, not so much. I thought O’Dell was fair game - one of favorite required reading books from 5th or 6th grades was “Island of the Blue Dolphins” - read it to my kids when they were young and they loved it too.

LakeGuy 1:53 PM  

10D printer version had “Prefix with -cide” not “Prefix with -tourism.” Anyone else get snagged on this clue?

Gevin Shaw 1:53 PM  

It's been way too long since I listened to Mighty Lemon Drops if the theme didn't even raise a glimmer of their song. Time to spend a little time with them!

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

Never weighed in before but I just got back from Greece. The ancient walls of Mycenea were said to be cyclopian because legend had it they were so formidable that cyclopses must have built them. The wall around the Parthenon in Athens is said to be cyclopian because it's in that style ( huge blocks of stone).

Hyk 2:01 PM  

Thank you! Very far outside my own cultural knowledge, clearly

burtonkd 2:26 PM  

@photomatte &CyC, I haven’t heard the term echo pedal, the one that creates that effect is a delay pedal. Every guitarist would have that on his pedalboard. A Wah pedal is a different effect, basically a treble knob. It gives that disco waka waka sound.

I thought this was a nice Thursday variation from the frequent rebus trope.

johnk 2:53 PM  

It's important to get your priorities straight.

Nancy 3:23 PM  

@jb129 -- or anyone else: Where IS Lewis? Did I somehow miss his post that told us he would be away from the blog? I do hope that's it and that he's off vacationing somewhere nice.

JC66 3:48 PM  

@jb129 & @Nancy

@Lewis posted that he would be gone for a few days.

I think he'll be back Monday.

Liveprof 3:56 PM  

On stuttering, I once read about a character who spoke perfectly well but stuttered when he wrote. E.g., he had no trouble saying the word "but," but when he typed it came out b-b-b-but.

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

I've seen the word Brobdingnagian to describe something huge pretty regularly, but not so much with Cyclopean.

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

We are going to play a rock and roll concert for you now. Please press your hands together quickly and repeatedly for our music group. We hope you enjoy our rhythmic sound making and our strumming of amplified metal wires. And especially our ECHOPEDALS.

Aliens promote a rock concert.

Beezer 6:23 PM  

I guess I am giving up on my question as to why some peeps prefer Across-Lite.I may go to my grave not knowing.

Gary Jugert 7:49 PM  

@Beezer 6:23 PM
The main reason people use A-L is they can upload other .puz files from other websites and play them on the app. I also think some people don't like paying for the New York Times puzzle subscription at its scandalous 14¢ per puzzle. The Times tries to push the boundaries within its app, and occasionally (or regularly!) fails with some of the fancy stuff it tries, and those things never translate well into Across Lite.

JC66 8:04 PM  


Hold the shovel.

I prefer AcrossLite because I find it easier to navigate (it just may be that old habits are hard to kick).

Anonymous 9:05 PM  

Rex has not visited the ruins of Mycenae and seen the cyclopean walls—massive stone blocks laid without mortar and still standing after millennia. So massive that only the cyclops could have built them.

Anonymous 9:12 PM  

The clue also alludes to “priors” on a rap sheet—previous convictions.

okanaganer 9:39 PM  

In Across Lite:
- Agree with JC66 that navigation is easy
- I don't have to scroll at all (except on Sunday a bit).
- It fills the whole screen without showing any ads or other content
- Easy to have multiple puzzles open from different sources (WSJ, New Yorker,etc)
- Not slowed down by any other browser tabs hogging the CPU
and many more...

CDilly52 10:14 PM  

I’m late to the party but HP Lovecraft immediately came to my mind. Well spitted, @Ron.

CDilly52 10:15 PM  


CDilly52 10:51 PM  

I’m with @Nancy that this is the cutest grid. I gazed at it with all the parentheses sneering at me - sideways no less! “Well harrumph,” said I to the puffed up grid! “A musician such as myself sees through your ruse. You want me somehow to see the graphic as an incomplete musical notation for ‘repeat.’”And thus endeth my thinking way too highly of good old Self. Boy dis that bad idea slow me down!!

Now as collective consciousness here quits laughing, let me admit my (creative?) folly and just express my unbridled joy at being well and truly messed around by this super creative idea. This one gave me absolutely everything I want in a Thursday. Including - no, especially including a reveal that revealed!

I started kind of getting the general idea at THE OTHER PAYCHOTHERAPIST, but I was still trying to TETRIS my (probably about hexagonal) idea into a nice smooth round hole. A while back I mentioned that sometimes my ΓΌber analytical lawyer-brain makes me tend to overthink things. Might be the crux of my confusion today. Ya think?!?!

When I got to the reveal and followed its direction, it led me back to the rivermen moving their longboats filled with cargo slowly into port. I actually said “Wow!” I loved going back to complete the AFT RAFT’S CRAFTSMEN (punctuation added to help the less than stellar clue) and the LATTE PLATTER SPLATTERED. The visual and auditory images of that one gave me a real chuckle. I enjoyed the dreaded situation lest our worrier not get THE OTHER PSYCHOTHERAPIST, but it was my second choice for funniest theme answer today.

This just sparkled despite some pretty confusing (not in a good way) and downright poorly constructed clues. The concept was clever, well executed and fooled and confused me all the way to the reveal. That hasn’t happened in ages. I can’t recall a better Thursday this year but I shall check. Please keep the ideas coming Simeon Siegel - BRAVO!!

dgd 11:51 PM  

Probably no one will see this but never got the gimmick till Rex explained it. Did the whole puzzle as a themeless. Found it on the hard side like a Friday or Saturday. I guess I am the only one

Jeremy Green Eche 5:20 PM  

I loved seeing cyclopean in there. I always use that word to describe the huge, 25-foot-wide rowhouses in Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill with 10-foot windows in the parlor, because they look like they were built for giants. The only place I can remember seeing the word is in H.P. Lovecraft stories though. He uses it a ton.

Anonymous 4:16 AM  

Norah O'Donnell anchors both the CBS evening news, and Face the Nation on Sunday mornings...so that clue and answer was very much fair game.

Anonymous 4:23 AM  

I'm frankly surprised at how many solvers and commenters didn't know who Michelle Yeoh is. She won the Oscar last year for Best Actress, and was all over the entertainment media.

Brett Alan 11:58 PM  

Puzzle on the Seattle Times site naturally does not have the parentheses, so I had a similar experience to Rex of not fully getting the idea even after getting the revealer.

Love that Mighty Lemon Drops song!

Brett Alan 12:00 AM  

The Seattle Times has this one up without the parentheses, so I had a similar experience to Rex of not fully getting the theme even after getting the revealer.

Love that Mighty Lemon Drops song!

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

BASS SOLO was not the First Feature of My Generation that came to mind…

thefogman 11:00 AM  

Two of the themers were good and two were not so good.

spacecraft 11:44 AM  

Yeah, for "My Generation" I was undecided between STUTTERS and STAMMERS. That section was a while coming in, until I grokked the OTHER meaning of "priors."

Also tough was the SW. A blogger states that CYCLOPEAN "has been in continuous use, literally for centuries." Well, I dunno about the definition of "continuous" there.

As to PSYCHOTHERAPIST, there's an added bit of fun with a simple separation: THE RAPIST. OK, not fun, you know.

Interesting theme, with words inside words inside words. Lots of examples in this wacky language of ours. But the fill has some serious flaws. I can't believe INURN is a word, but it is--unfortunately. And EKE is a stroke penalty. Par.

Wordle birdie--almost an eagle with GBBBB GGBGG GGGGG. One letter can make a world of difference.

Burma Shave 12:25 PM  




Diana, LIW 12:44 PM  

Got all but 6 squares. The NW gave me fits. Oh...that kind of priors. (And if you don't get ABBOT, you just might miss on another unknown name.) And a bit of the SW was trying to fool me and succeeding at it quite well.

Always thought PSYCHOTHERAPIST was a great oxymoron. Good to see it here.

Rebus-free Thursday - always a treat.

Lady Di

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

The very opposite of a fun puzzle. Distasteful.

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

The hate for inurn is weird, since this is what is often done with the ashes after a cremation, and then often is interred in a mausoleum. I, myself, have scanned obituaries religiously since I was a little kid. I have a very very common first and last name, so I would go through them looking for my name, and when I would find it, I would say : look I'm dead! πŸ€ͺ
Ps: I still do it.

rondo 4:48 PM  

On the plus side, only one letter per square. Got the gimmick on PSYCHOTHERAPIST. So that helped with the OTHERs.
Wordle - could have been birdie, would end up with par4.

fakt chekker 5:02 PM  

ANON 4:16 above is so wrong - Maureen Brennan anchors Face the Nation on Sundays. Norah O'Donnell is on the evening news.

Anonymous 8:06 PM  

Yuck, horrible theme. Unpleasant solve

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