Rhythm-interrupting jazz technique / THU 11-16-23 / So-called "African unicorn" / Married a woman, archaically / Mack 2010s Disney show / 2012 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis single with the lyric "I can't change even if I tried"

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Constructor: Paolo Pasco

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Evel Knievel jumping over a line of buses — this feat is literally depicted in the grid, i.e. EVEL KNIEVEL appears in circles that form a bell-curve arc, and that arc goes over a line of three BUSes, each entered in a single square (63A: Group that's cleared by this puzzle's subject, depicted literally). 

The BUS squares:
  • COLUM(BUS) (41D: State capital with the nickname "Arch City")
  • RE(BUS) (57D: "T_RN," for "No U-Turn," e.g.)
  • SYLLA(BUS) (42D: Paper handed out as a matter of course?)
Other theme material:
  • GET OVER IT (3D: Punny advice to this puzzle's subject)
  • DAREDEVIL (9D: Description of this puzzle's subject)
  • LIVING ON THE EDGE (23A: Acting dangerously, like this puzzle's subject)
Word of the Day: URL hijacking (56A: ___ hijacking, another term for "typosquatting") —

Typosquatting, also called URL hijacking, a sting site, a cousin domain, or a fake URL, is a form of cybersquatting, and possibly brandjacking which relies on mistakes such as typos made by Internet users when inputting a website address into a web browser. Should a user accidentally enter an incorrect website address, they may be led to any URL (including an alternative website owned by a cybersquatter).

The typosquatter's URL will usually be one of five kinds, all similar to the victim site address:

  • A common misspelling, or foreign language spelling, of the intended site
  • A misspelling based on a typographical error
  • A plural of a singular domain name
  • A different top-level domain: (e.g. .com instead of .org)
  • An abuse of the Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) (.cm, .co, or .om instead of .com)

Similar abuses:

  • Combosquatting - no misspelling, but appending an arbitrary word that appears legitimate, but that anyone could register.
  • Doppelganger domain - omitting a period or inserting an extra period
  • Appending terms such as sucks or -suckes to a domain name

Once in the typosquatter's site, the user may also be tricked into thinking that they are in fact in the real site, through the use of copied or similar logos, website layouts, or content. Spam emails sometimes make use of typosquatting URLs to trick users into visiting malicious sites that look like a given bank's site, for instance. (wikipedia)

• • •

Conceptually, this is ridiculous. The good kind of ridiculous. I mean, it's absurd, fantastical even, that any DAREDEVIL, even Evel, could get that kind of lift. He's ten buses high at his apogee! Or maybe he's jumping Matchbox buses. Also, if you build ramps that are three buses high, I'm pretty sure lots of folks, even non-DAREDEVILs, could jump a line of three buses (and only 3? seems like Evel would jump more). It's proportionally preposterous, but as a visual evocation of the act, mwah, it's perfect. Wheeeeee, there he goes through the air. Perfect landing! The only question is: what, exactly, is he jumping. I thought maybe a shark, but that's Fonzie. And it didn't fit. The trickiest thing about the puzzle was probably that BUS line, in that it's tucked down there, very cut off from the rest of the grid, and every pathway in (i.e. all three Down answers that reach down there) is a rebus-containing answer, which means the lengths are all wrong. I spent a good deal of time refusing to go forward until I could remember the six-letter state capital that started COL-. “I thought I knew all the state capitals! No, I do know all of them! Ugh, what am I forgetting?” Only by crawling down into that empty section can you find the revealer (I typically follow crosses and do not jump into any empty section unless I have to). Once you do see the revealer, OK, great, it's BUS. But BUS ... fits in the three letters, so probably some of you are going to be like stupid me and just write in BUS. I figured COLUM-, RE-, and SYLLA- all just shared the one BUS. But no, of course, there's a *line* of BUSes. Once I rebusified those three squares, boom, Happy Completed Puzzle Message! It wasn't graceful, but I landed unscathed.

What I liked most about the puzzle, though, was how stupidly punny and playfully self-referential it was. It taunts you right off the bat with the corny GET OVER IT pun (before you even know what the puzzle is about), and then backs that up with a literal dad-joke STEAK pun (36A: "___ puns are a rare medium well done" (dad joke)—get it? rare? ... medium? ... well done? ... STEAK? ... it's pretty subtle). But the really, truly great pun = the buses themselves. A REBUS puzzle that uses REBUS as a REBUS answer!? A REBUS puzzle that is about buses—that is RE: BUSes!?! That ... is bold. That is the extra layer that takes this theme from good to great. From great to art. Now I know why EVEL seems to enter lower orbit there at the peak of his jump—it's a visual representation of the puzzle's own thematic ambition ... just leaving the earth's gravitational pull for a bit ("actually, if he left the earth's gravitational pull he wouldn't come back down" "you don't say, fascinating"). There's also something oddly pleasing, even soothing, about the fact that both ramps have EVEL's name on them. And that EVEL is a prime piece of crosswordese in his own right. This theme just keeps on giving.

What I didn't care for too much was the Heavy reliance on proper nouns, particularly contemporary pop culture proper nouns. The pop culture lane feels a little narrow, and it's definitely gonna prove exclusionary for a huge chunk of the solving population. I count three hip-hop/R&B answers, at least three TV shows, and a Super Mario Bros Movie —and that's on top of your usual array of proper nouns. Got to feeling like a trivia test at times, and though I knew some of the trivia ... I dunno, it just felt like it was leaning into pop culture so heavily that it was bound to wreck some solvers, and that is the worst way to get wrecked. I don't think there are any bad crosses. Everything seemed ultimately gettable, which is what counts. Still, the pop culture stuff felt mildly excessive today. But then I look up LIL MAMA (53A: Rapper with the 2007 hit "Lip Gloss") and find that she actually played Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in the TV movie CrazySexyCool: The TLC [!] Story (see 43A: R&B trio with the album "CrazySexyCool"), and I'm right back to admiring the puzzle's winking playfulness. Whatever the puzzle's doing, it knows it's doing it, and it's doing it with confidence and purpose. And humor. And good will, I assume.

What else!?:
  • 1A: Sonic boom generator? (SEGA) — because SEGA is the company that produces the Sonic (the Hedgehog) games, and yeah, I guess there was a (sales) "boom" in those games at some point, why not?
  • 12A: Motion propellers (AYES) — not OARS!? Not OARS.
  • 31A: Married a woman, archaically (WIVED) — LOL this offsets the pop culture trivia a bit. Gotta balance the contemporary with the archaic! I kept thinking the "a" in the clue was a typo, that the clue was supposed to be [Married woman, archaically]. Not sure what that answer would've been. But it doesn't matter now.
  • 60A: "Dominus illuminatio ___") ("MEA") — this had to be it, but the gender of MEA seemed off to me. But no, turns out illuminatio is indeed feminine, so MEA, yep, makes sense. MEA culpa.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Bill Hood 6:12 AM  

In my software version once I completed the puzzle the three bus entries turned into actual pictures of buses and an animated man on a motorcycle started occupying the EVEL KNEVEL squares and looked like he was actually jumping over the buses.

Anonymous 6:43 AM  

I was 100% convinced that "motion propeller" was "OYES" (because courts, right?), and SoMELOVE seemed to fit just fine. So I DNF'd today but a great puzzle nonetheless.

Anonymous 6:58 AM  

Yeah! Hope Rex sees it

Anonymous 7:01 AM  

I found the solve a bit of a slog and was grouchy about it (I was also misled by the "living on the edge" and the three BUS clues into thinking the puzzle's answers overlapped the edges of the grid - I didn't get the rebus at first). And then I finished and the buses turned into bus symbols and the little motorcycle guy started jumping over them and I was so delighted I watched it about five times.

SouthsideJohnny 7:09 AM  

Strange puzzle. It seems like the theme would have been tremendous and timely about 50 years ago - and it’s dropped into a grid full of rap artists and other contemporary trivia (WIVED notwithstanding). Just seemed like quite a mismatch to me. I’m guessing Rex is really impressed by the construction (or maybe he’s friendly with the constructor) - he seems unusually enamored with today’s offering.

I think my favorite entry today was 13D - silly me figured that you would actually PLUG the car into the outlet to charge it, lol. Talk about “thinking inside the box” - but I guess the laws of physics work in both directions. So do different manufacturers use different “outlets” which means they all have their proprietary “PLUGS” - like trying to charge an IPhone v.v. an Android? You can probably tell I don’t get out much lately.

kitshef 7:12 AM  

I like the idea here, and in particular the rebusing of REBUS.

But I felt like I was being hit over the head with the pop culture today: SEGA, PBS, PRATT, METS, ELO, SAME LOVE, ANDI, STOP TIME, TISH, ERIE, VERDI, DRAC, TLC, LIL MAMA, ETHAN, MTV ... several of which are complete WoEs.

Made for a mostly unenjoyable solve.

Mark 7:13 AM  

Really tough, but good

Anonymous 7:14 AM  

4D + 13D = ASS PLUG.

Son Volt 7:15 AM  

Nifty trick and fun in places but overall just a mess of a puzzle. The grid constraints overwhelm the fill and we get some real oddball content. Agree that it tends trivia - but nothing too obscure. Loved the post solve graphics.

For a Thursday with so much unfortunate fill - this was a weirdly satisfying solve.

Stop that TRAIN

Twangster 7:25 AM  

If this doesn't merit a Challenging rating, I don't know what would. Had to a google a few to finish.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

Really tough slog. The NE corner just completely confused me. I had AFT for “Back” and FARE for “Going rate?” and then was stuck. Why is there even a question mark in the clue for GAIT? I just didn’t click with the composer’s clueing style.

Eureka 7:39 AM  

I don't understand the clue "T_RN" for "U_Turn" with the answer being REBUS.

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

Amazing how many of us fall into the same trap(s). Also had the FARE/AFT combo, OYES instead of AYES, and a single BUS at the bottom.

Lewis 7:51 AM  

Random reactions:
• In the major crossword outlets, since 1994, TSP has had some 500 clues, but never [Abbr. that completes “_ea_ _ oon”]. Absolutely brilliant to see the TSP in “teaspoon” and play on it – the mark of an original thinker.
• Remarkable piece of luck for to have N as the middle letter of LIVINGONTHEEDGE to make the perfect apex of Evel’s jump, as well as be the middle letter of EVELKNIEVEL. Paolo must have cartwheeled when he discovered this.
• Eight answers out of my knowledge base – YEOW! – giving this puzzle a Saturday feel. Time to shut the door, tune out the world, and coddle the brain, let it work behind the scenes. My brain loves this. I live for it. It’s one of Crosslandia’s precious gifts, IMO.
• Very impressive grid-build, with 33 theme squares in the top half, diagonal theme squares and three rebuses on the bottom, all in a configuration of black squares to recreate a motorcycle jump. Wow!
• Sweet to see EDGE abutting the border.

Most tribute puzzles simply list answers related to the subject. Paolo, you took the genre to a higher level. Like Evel, you leapt above and beyond, and like Evil (usually), you landed cleanly and with panache. Thank you. I loved this!

mmorgan 7:55 AM  

I found this really, really difficult, due to a combination of difficult clues and (to me) lots of obscure/arcane/unknown pop culture. There were a number of answers I couldn’t get to fit, so I kept thinking rebus (because Thursday) but that never worked. Then I thought LIVING ON THE EDGE meant that some answers continued off over the edge/border of the puzzle, but that didn’t work either. Then I somehow got everything else except that bottom middle, and then bam! flash! boom! there it was!! Sweet! What fun!

And a great write up from Rex as well!

Andy Freude 7:56 AM  

Rex, I’m happy for you. Me, I didn’t find it so much fun. Closed-off corners packed with three-letter fill about trivia I couldn’t care less about. For most of the solve I was thinking, “Well, could be worse. At least there aren’t any @#$& rebuses.” Then I got to the bottom. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow to look forward to.

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

Hardest NY T puzzle in years.

thfenn 8:22 AM  

Loved this. Sat forever trying to figure out why no chimes were ringing, because like others I just had BUS at the bottom figuring that sorta worked (ORSO). But when BUSBUSBUS went in the wait was worth the reward.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

He’s jumping over a giant T

Dr.A 8:27 AM  

Super cute, a little hard, as @Rex mentioned, all the proper nouns!! And then the tough BUS piece but the hardest was the NW corner, I had to look up the Macklemore song which I did not know. *hangs head in shame* I really should have. I think my favorite clue was “is a no-body” for DISAGREES. I laughed out loud at that one.

jberg 8:33 AM  

Two errors, both mentioned already by anonymous commenters. fAre/Aft confirmed each other, and have the great advantage that FARE actually fits the clue -- a GAIT isn't a 'rate,' it's a pattern of leg alternation. You can do a fast trot or a slow trot. That one held me up for a long time, but I finally saw DISAGEEES, and that fell into place.

I was not so lucky with oYES/SoME LOVE. OYES was horrible, but everything seemed to work so I never went back to it. If I'd known the song, of course, it would have been easy.

The PRATT/TISH crossing was a lucky guess, informed by plausibility, but man, that was tough. So was OKAPI--they don't have horns, so why unicorns? I made up something called the Orynx, but eventually that got sorted.

But the theme made it all worth it, even though the paper I found on my doorstep this morning did not have the animation features others have mentioned. As Rex points out, so many levels!

Here's Cole Porter on getting WIVED. You can hear the recording if you have Apple Music, but here are the lyrics anyway. (And apologies for having posted a bad link the other day.)

Ted 8:35 AM  

It's not WIVED, it's WIFED. And it's still in use, in a kind of funny modern pidgin English turn-a-noun-into-a-verb-poorly way.

"Wife her immediately!"

Warren G. 8:37 AM  

Loved this puzzle, but I also cut nearly 25% off my average Thursday time, so difficulty-wise I may be in the minority.

Don't think the "boom" in 1A was a reference to gameplay but instead Sonic's popularity in the marketplace (24M+ units sold, still good for #48 all time if Wikipedia is accurate).

I find 31A even more clever when positioned against the modern use of "wife(d)" or "wife(d) up" as a verb.

Aaron 8:49 AM  

Great concept, many fun clues and reveals, but dear god. Please please please do not start a puzzle with barely relevant pop music clues from the 2000s or 2010s. When you're asking us to recall what are now forgettable tunes by questionably talented artists, it's murdering my soul. Daggers, right in the essence of joy that could be a super fun puzzle.

Then we finally get near the end and you stab us with another one. Please, please, please, no one cares about these "hits" or remembers them anymore. It's dreck all the way down when you throw this stuff at us. And so sad because it spoils so much fun otherwise.

A+ for the theme and most of the clue
F- because of Macklemore and Lil Mama

Mike in Bed-Stuy 8:59 AM  

@Eureka 7:39 AM - That's because a rebus, in addition to being used the way we use it in Crossworld, can also refer to a kind of pictographic spelling where, for example, πŸ‘️ 🍬 means "eye candy" or πŸ‘️ can simply mean "I." Or as dictionary.com puts it: "a puzzle in which words are represented by combinations of pictures and individual letters; for instance, apex might be represented by a picture of an ape followed by a letter X."

NYTom 9:02 AM  

This puzzle made me laugh out loud at the end. Especially the crossing REBUSes! Loved it

Nancy 9:05 AM  

In vain did I look for clues that were not about forgettable movies, bad TV and pop record albums. You can generate this junk, Paolo, but you'll never get me to spend more than 40 seconds with a puzzle such as this. It will actually be more fun to go back to the NYT and read about the truly awful state of the world right now.


Sutsy 9:05 AM  

@Eureka 7:39
This word puzzle "T_RN" ciphers to No U-turn because it's turn with no "U" and is called a rebus.
DEF: rebus puzzles use words and their positioning to reveal a popular phrase or idiom.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:09 AM  

@Anonymous 7:45 AM and others, with reference to the idea that a single BUS at 63A is "wrong": I disagree. I too had BUS as my entry for 63A, and I consider that correct. I solve in pen on newsprint (which I why I get really pissed off every time my NYT is delivered late). Consequently, I was not seeking any "happy music" from some online version of the puzzle. Sure, you could enter BUS three times as a rebus in each of the three squares of 63A. But it's a distinction without a difference (Ah, one so seldom gets to use that phrase, and so aptly!). It did give me pause because the clue did say "depicted literally" and I thought, huh, does that really depict it literally? But then I thought, well, yeah, I get that each letter of BUS sort of represents an individual bus; and COLUMBUS, REBUS, and SYLLABUS do in fact constitute a line of "buses," so, yeah, fine. That is, I'm at not saying BUS at 63A is *preferable* to BUS BUS BUS at 63A; but I am saying that, once one has figured out the basic conceit that 41D, 57D, and 42D are words that end in BUS—You are for all intents and purpose "there." Anyone agree with me?

Alice Pollard 9:20 AM  

this was tough. so tough I did two Googles. one for the Macklemore song (not a fan) and one for Dominus illuminatio which sounded like a Hogwarts spell. When I got the BUS business bottom center.... it was a genuine AHA moment. Well done. I kept on looking at the EVEL in the circles on both sides of the puzzle and Was thinking it had to do with “leveling”. Evel K and the bus jumping had to be almost 50 years ago... so maybe the younger-than-a-baby-boomer solvers wouldn’t get the trick. I loved how in The NY Times App once you solved there was an animated Evel jumping the buses. This was a great puzzle though I had to cheat. which I hate doing. Especially on a Thursday.

pabloinnh 9:25 AM  

DAREDEVIL showed up right away, YAY, and so did LIVINGONTHEEDGE off one letter (takes bow), which had me looking for EVELKNIEVEL, since I couldn't name another DAREDEVIL if I had to.

And then the pop culture appeared everywhere. I would have guessed TLC, because of good old TLC, but I missed the ISLE connection to "key" and the triple BUS rebus. Ah well, life goes on. I wish my printed edition had an animated motorcycle rider jumping over stuff, but I'll have to make him do that by moving the paper around.

Impressive feat of Thursdaying, PP. Some Parts Passed me by completely, but that's on me. Thanks for some thorny fun.

DrBB 9:25 AM  

Love the meta RE-BUS. Made me think of...

O Sybilli, si ergo
Fortibus es in ero
O nobili, demis trux
Sevatis enim causen dux

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

You seem nice

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

Arch City?ARCH CITY?! I was born and raised in Columbus 73 years ago and have NEVER heard that nickname used.

Toddard 9:29 AM  

Here's a GIF I made of the puzzle showing Evel jumping over the busses. https://photos.app.goo.gl/2qFhKvS2hWeUFeL38

RooMonster 9:35 AM  

Hey All !
I got the animation! Tres cool.

I thought the Large T would factor in somehow to what EVEL was jumping over, as didn't get the BUSES until the very last entries. Figured at first like Rex, that just BUS would work, rationalizing that SYLLABUS could just use the letters backwardly. Why not? But, couldn't get REU to mean anything. Scrutinized it further, saw that if you put a BUS rebi-ed under COLUM and SYLLA, that'd work. Then the realization of a BUS under RE to get REBUS was a genuine Aha! moment.

Finished with the Happy Music, went back to the puz to see EVEL jumping! NEATO.

Agree puz was PPP-heavy, with me running to good ole Goog at least four times! Ah, well.

Thanks for the animation, NYT. The jump seemed excessively high, har worthy high!

Most of the time, EVEL crashed instead of landing safely. His son did a much better job of landing. Just sayin'.

No F's (Jumped the shark...)

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

It was a fun solve, although I too did the single BUS for 63A, so didn't get the animation. But am I the only one disturbed by 45D? The Paste function is Command V, not Control V, so that answer should be COMMV or CMNDV, not CTRLV.

IGNATZ 9:44 AM  

What's with the giant "T"? IMHO a tech -heavy dumpster fire.

Sir Hillary 9:50 AM  

Hilarious puzzle. Feels very "on drugs", if that makes sense.

I'm the perfect age to remember the frequent EVEL KNIEVEL appearances on "Wide World of Sports", always with Frank Gifford's semi-comical seriousness. It's a miracle that EK survived to make as many attempts as he did, because his misses were spectacularly frightening.

Speaking of misses...I spent as much time on the bottom 3x3 than I did on the rest of the grid. Which is saying something, because the whole puzzle was tough. My experience down there was exactly like OFL's -- running the list of capitals, etc.

But the payoff was worth it. Great fun.

Conrad 9:51 AM  

I don't give a rap about rap, so I had trouble with the rap songs at 1D and 43A, and I guessed LIL nAs x for 53A.
Wanted the non-writing pencils at 2D to be some kind of drEsS (thinking "pencil skirt")
@Rex oars before AYES at 12A
Didn't know the Disney show at 20D

webwinger 9:56 AM  

Fun, fun, fun, but hard, hard, hard! Time was 50% more than my Thursday average, despite relying heavily on my pal Goog for the pop culture stuff. I thought the -US endings at the bottom were supposed to be off the page, so finished with BBB at 63A. Having figured out the theme, I reasoned that Evel must have had some improbable connection to the Better Business Bureau. But I got the happy tune anyhow—that seems to often be the case when only the first letter of a REBUS is entered—and just like that the Bs turned into little busses! As OFL said, mwah, it’s perfect!

I had a very brief near encounter with EK in 1977, when I was an intern in the ER at the old Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. Evel had wiped out while practicing for a much hyped planned stunt at McCormick Place, and was brought in with a broken clavicle, as I recall. He was still wearing his “Captain America” duds, and in a foul mood, mainly because his performance would have to be canceled. The intake person, I was told, had asked him if he had medical insurance, to which he replied, “I can’t get it. But I have a lot of cash…”

Megafrim 10:04 AM  

Challenging (my solve time was the same as my Sunday average), but so rewarding. Brilliant!

Beezer 10:05 AM  

Given the split in the commentariat I don’t know how this will play, but count me among those that think this puzzle was tremendous fun! Somehow I managed to get the theme idea and the 3 BUS(es) BUT DNFed due to my unwavering devotion to “aft” and “fare” (hi, @jberg!) which resulted in an unsolvable impasse for me in the NE corner.

Yes. I had a “leg-up” for some critical trivia such as SAMELOVE (my son had a rap music phase), LILMAMA (to the extent I plugged in LIL then waited for crosses) and the fact that ETHAN Hunt popped into my head as Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible movies.

@jberg…after completion (cheating) I found GAIT fine because I thought of a horse’s GAIT…trot, canter, gallop, but I see what you mean!

@Mike in Bed-Stuy, IF I understand you correctly I agree to extent that one BUS written into 63A completes COLUMBUS, REBUS, AND SYLLABUS then who cares whether you squeezed BUS into each tiny square on paper! You solved it in my mind. Unfortunately the app requires it for “completion.” But like I said, I DNFed elsewhere and I go ahead and fill in the squares just so my app “moves on” in the event I get a little show at the end like there was today.

thfenn 10:09 AM  

@Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:09 (for those not seeing embedded replies), Yes, agree.

andrew 10:10 AM  

One of the days I’m grateful for subscribing to NYTXW app for iPad.

- Difficult but ultimately rewarding xword (with a couple Google cheats) - complete with the best graphic depiction yet upon completion!

- wordle solved on second guess!

- another Connections challenge that sorts itself out logically after a couple minutes. Probably the most focused my mind gets these days (another shout out to Wyna Liu - this type of puzzle can be Highlights For Children easy or WAY too esoteric but Wyna seems to hit the sweet spot 9 times out of 10!)

As to the xword, didn’t mind the too-recent-for-me PPP because cluing made it easy to G-cheat the answers. Also seemed generationally fair. Wonder how many non-old farts know who Evel Kneivel was or why we should care (hard to believe his stunts reached closed-circuit arena status. Ford pardoned Tricky Dick on the day of Evel’s Snake River Canyon debacle, presumably hoping this seditious* act might go unnoticed by us distracted Nixon haters.)

* using the current understanding of “seditious” - a political act or statement with which we disagree.

Nice Thursday Paolo, Wyna and NYT graphics department!

(Ps - recently happened upon BARONESS von Sketch Show on the free Pluto app. Fast-paced, fresh and FUNNY - 46 episodes from 2015-2020 created and acted by four Canadian comediennes (can we still use that term?) that are on the level of Key & Peele and SCTV. Check it out!)

Rich Glauber 10:23 AM  

I got ReBusted. Usually if there are multiple letters in some squares, they will show up throughout the grid, but not today. I had most of the letters of Evel Knievel, and I whiffed on seeing it. That and a very 'proper name' heavy NW gave me a DNF. At one point I had _OL___ for the state capital and I thought TOLEDO. No wait, the capital of Ohio is Columbus, so Toledo is wrong. And I STILL missed it. Damn!

But it's a great and original puzzle

Bob Mills 10:30 AM  

Very frustrating. I caught onto the trick, saw Evil Knievel in the circled letters, got DAREDEVIl and GETOVERIT, but couldn't get the BUSBUSBUS trick. I know all the state capitols, so I knew it couldn't be a six-letter word like "Helena" or "Topeka," but COLUMBUS never came to me. I tried to think of states in foreign countries, but the puzzle was just too tricky for me.

Quite an achievement by the constructor, I'd say.

egsforbreakfast 10:41 AM  

I note that EVEL just brushes against AUTOPSY at the apex of his jump. Seems appropriate since he appears to be around 220' off the ground, assuming a BUS is around 20' tall. IRL, Mr. K died of diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, per Wikipedia.

It seems like SNOG has been making frequent appearances of late. It got me to wondering whether Brits call a brown-noser a SNOG ASS.

I once pulled off the feat of marrying a woman who was standing by the highway without even stopping. I WIVED as I went by.

Fabulous way to ratchet up a tribute puzzle, Paolo Pasco. I'd take a crash course in puzzle-making from you anytime.

mathgent 10:45 AM  

Great one! Beautifully done on several levels. A work of art.

I guess you can twist the inexact definition of REBUS to accommodate 57D but it's really a cryptic clue.

As DrBB (9:25) noted, 57D is meta. A rebus entry of the word rebus.

I have fun guessing the names of rappers I've never heard of, like LILMAMA. It seems that rappers often start their names with LIL.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

@eureka - it’s not “U-Turn” it’s “No U-Turn”. As in turn with no “u”

Carola 10:47 AM  

Admirable (witty, fab construction) but veered off-road into "not a lot of fun" territory (the one-too-many pop culture references). I had an inkling early on that we were going for EVEL KNIEVEL, but, man, getting to him was really hard for me. My nearly fatal self-inflicted wound was in the NE, where, like others, I had ActS over fAre crossing Aft. After I was able to repair that corner, things went a little better. I was greatly helped by filling in the circles in the lower Rows, especially the V-E-L in the SW - not sure I'd have gotten CTRLV, APRIL, or ISLE otherwise. Nod of exhausted appreciation for the three BUSes.

Newboy 11:07 AM  

Wow, I had to drift into the Grand Canyon today with parachute deployed as like Evel I was unable to complete the leap. Sorta lost track of it being Thursday and rebus deployment failed to materialize. Really glad the solve was on iPad as the paper solvers missed the wonderfully appropriate graphic the app provided. I whine often about missing AcrossLite as an easy option for NYTXW, but today’s corporate replacement was a true delight & like others I watched it repeatedly before sliding over to Rex’s excellent review. Paolo was at his best with this grid as @Lewis described above; no wonder Pasco has over two dozen puzzles already, and most are late week challenges! Just so many well laid traps from oarS & Aft on down to the COLorado River at the canyon bottom coupled with LIL MAMA’s TLC were too much for an early morning solver! Not even sure that a second cup of coffee would have made a difference.

Karl Grouch 11:14 AM  

Columb, Reb and Syllab:
The three wives I wifed.

GILL I. 11:26 AM  

Gaaaah. Or should I say AY DIOS MIO...
It's late last night....Open the puzzle...Stare....AUTOPSY...You were it. Look around and wondered why I've never been to one of those trivia bars so that I can do a Paolo puzzle. It seems I can't...Or maybe...
Sleep well and decided maybe I could give it a try. I am curious and hard headed. ASS, you were next. Stare and ask myself "Is this really worth a try?" Yes...Give it the GILLI. I did.
So I cheated like hell. SAME LOVE? OK. I can't change even if I tried. AYES? Yes you were next.
So proud that I managed LIVING ON THE EDGE and so I see the N in a circle.
Got corny STEAK and the K and IDOLS and its I so I stare at KNI and shrug.
So many names....way too much trivia for my liking....Maybe I'll go over to @Nancy's and splat her wall. No. I'll continue to bash my head.
Got the EVEL parts; never saw the BUS BUS BUS. Cheat cheat cheat.
So I have a KNI and wondered where the rest of his name is hiding. Never figured it out. I don't know much about EVEL. And don't get me started on WIVED.
Not a fun experience at all....UNTIL...I came here and read @Rex and the comments. And guess what? A LIL wow escaped my mouth. Now I see where the KNI goes. It would've helped me had I known how to spell his name. KNI EVEL. Impressive. And....he's jumping over three buses. Wow.
So I changed my mind a bit and decided this was quite a feat. I'm still mad, though, with all the trivia and the names. I think I may go to a trivia pub.
I hope Friday doesn't kill me.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

Sonic Boom was a spin off franchise from Sonic the Hedgehog. They had a TV show and a couple games and were the face of the brand from about 2014 to 2018ish. Really I think the pun should have been "Sonic Boom generator?" but I think that might have been either too on the nose or too much of a trivia test.

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

My only complaint is that I thought the animation would show Evel doing a loop at the top (to follow the sequence of the letters), rather than an arc.

floatingboy 11:37 AM  

Challenging in a good way. Best Thursday...ever? Low bar, but, I think so.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Oops - forget my comment. I mistakenly thought his last name was spelled KINEVEL.

Karl Grouch 11:39 AM  

"Crash course"!
Pun intended?

Whatsername 11:40 AM  

Curious George, Mario Brothers, English rock band, MLB team, pine tree company, an opera, its composer, a lake home for Bessie(?), a hotel nickname, an R&B trio, a rapper, something alphabetical, typosquatting?!, an actor in a spy film, a random school motto, fox prey, and a mathematical term - I think. And that’s just the crosses. Tough to get a foothold among all the trivia and the convoluted theme. After one full run through, my grid looked more like a difficult Saturday than a Thursday. I don’t have that kind of time today.

Headed to @Nancy’s house now. I hope there’s still some room left on her wall.

Gary Jugert 11:44 AM  

Hooray! A real first-class fun puzzle with a motorcycle that actually motors, three buses I can convert and live in, the highest jump ever, rebipodes, and funny funny clues. The technology worked this time. So exciting and fun.

LIVING ON THE EDGE is how most cruciverbalists spend our days. WIVED is funny.

When something's this good, maybe they could make the junk fill cluing a little less awful. PBS, MTV, METS, ELO, TSP ... all pretty rough.

Tee-Hee: Did you guys see they snuck ASS past Will? Ohemgee.


1 Chris lover loves to see him go.
2 The area around Cleveland is bee-oo-tiful.
3 Mrs. O'Leary's, Elsie, Pauline Wayne, and the one that hopped the slaughterhouse fence in Cincinnati.
4 Love dangerously outside Braşov.
5 Why she looks like Elvira.
6 Week by week reason I slept through Organic Chemistry.


My Fascinating Crossword Uniclue Keepsake from Last Year: White male boomers with working legs. MANDUCATES TO GO.


Anonymous 12:00 PM  

Wive is archaic but correct. From etymonline:

wive (v.)
"to marry (a woman)," Old English wifian, from wif "woman" (see wife). Compare Middle Dutch wiven. Transitive sense "provide with a wife" is from 1510s. Related: Wived; wiving.

johnk 12:01 PM  

I'm with you today, Nancy. But I did spend over 40 seconds, hating every minute of it.
An additional advantage to my solving on paper is that I can wad it up and throw it at the wall.

Foldyfish 12:05 PM  

my first DNF in ages. Blech. Hard pass on this one.

jae 12:22 PM  

Tough. I took me quite a while to realize who the theme was about. Plus I had a bunch of erasures…Port before PLUG, nAsA before SEGA, aFT before AGO, I SeE before ISLE… And I did not know SAME LOVE or LIL MAMA. On top of which it took some staring to realize it was a three square rebus (I didn’t‘ remember what he jumped over)…so tough!

The app graphics were worth the effort. A impressive Thursday, liked it.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

For those who are unfamiliar with SAMELOVE, it was the first (and maybe the only) hit song in the US about equality and advocating for gay marriage. The lyrics remind me a bit of Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning," in that the writing is very casual, where the writer is talking his way through it:

America the brave still fears what we don't know
And "God loves all his children" is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five hundred years ago
I don't know

The verses end with

When kids are walking 'round the hallway
Plagued by a pain in their heart
A world so hateful, some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn't gonna solve it all
But it's a damn good place to start
No law's gonna change us, we have to change us
Whatever god you believe in, we come from the same one
Strip away the fear, underneath it's all the same love
About time that we raised up, sing

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

Sparkling commentary for a sparkling puzzle…as long as it’s ok to cheat. I was real proud of myself for nailing(or so I thought) the rapper. I confidently put in LILNASX, MY favorite rap name! Wrong. This was so bad it was actually amusing.
See, e.g. , comment by @Whatsername, supra.

okanaganer 1:02 PM  

@Toddard 9:29 am, thanks for the Gif! For the first time ever, I kinda wished I used the app. But only for a minute or so.

Funny: for 9 down, looking at D---DEVIL, for ages I couldn't think of anything but DUST DEVIL and for the life of me I couldn't figure out how a dust devil was scrambling a bunch of buses around.

EVEL KNIEVEL, boy he was a big deal back in the day. He seemed to be everywhere. According to this list, he once jumped 14 Greyhound buses, and in his last (unsuccessful) jump, 13 sharks!

Rex, hands up for OARS for "Motion propellers".

[Spelling Bee: Wed 0, QB streak 7.]

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

The creator used “bus” more than once…he re-bussed :-D

Teedmn 1:48 PM  

I had to trust that this puzzle would allow me to finish because it was looking pretty bad at times. The two biggest holdups were "oars" being my motion propellers at 12A and aeoNs at 26A. LIL nas x at 53A didn't help either but finally seeing DARE DEVIL, which enabled me to get the circles filled in, was the key.

I think it's funny that the "key" answer, ISLE, crosses the CTRL-V answer.

And SYLL?? (sylabi? syllab?) was what led me to the line of buses.

So while I groaned a bit while solving, I enjoyed it once I got over the edge! Thanks, Paolo!

bocamp 1:48 PM  

Thx, Paolo, for the extended challenge! 😊


Way above my pay grade; not only the theme, but in general. πŸ˜”

So much to learn today. πŸ€”

I think I've got it all filled correctly except for the center bottom 6 cells. It's definitely going to involve 'buses' (likely a rebus or rebuses).


Will continue to work on it. Loving the battle!🀞[update; got it! yay! 😊]

Coincidence: literally blew a gasket! Our condo is undergoing a major upgrade. The crew working on our balcony used the outdoor plug and overloaded the circuit. ⚡️

Bottom line: all is good now! :)
Peace πŸ•Š πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness ~ Freudenfreude & a DAP to all πŸ‘Š πŸ™

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

Thanks for this post. The puzzle was hard for me. I only stuck it out to see the jump.

OISK 2:02 PM  

(note: if previous comment went through, kindly delete this one...)

Alfred Drake had excellent diction, so I am sure that he sang "I've come to WIVE it wealthily in Padua." (Kiss me Kate).

I finished without help, and smiled as I filled in the barrels, my last entry. But the enjoyment was greatly diminished by the extreme overreliance on pop culture. Just in the top half, Same Love? Sega? Curious George channel? Chris Pratt? ELO? (OK, that one I have seen in crosswords before...) Andi Mack?

Brilliant construction and creativity, marred by bad cluing...

Masked and Anonymous 2:08 PM  

This LIL MAMA had somethin to please and displease just about everybody.
Top puzgrid half was extra-wide-open, with tons of longball answers.
Bottom half was more compact, with lotsa weejects, circles, big T stuff, Jaws of Themedness, and re-buses. Not to mention dad jokes.
Weird. M&A kinda likes weird.

Didn't think the no-know names were especially overwhelmin, at our house. PRATT mighta made @Nancy darlin splat the wall, but shoot, he was the star of "Guardians of the Galaxy", a totally epic sci-fi [I am Groot] flick.

staff weeject pick: BUS BUS BUS! And crosser RE[BUS], with its primo T_RN clue.

fave longballs: GETOVERIT. DAREDEVIL. AUTOPSY. DISAGREES & no-body clue.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Pasco dude. Heckuva constructioneerin jumpjob.

Masked & Anonyb2Us


burtonkd 2:08 PM  

@anon 9:35 CTRL-V is the sequence on a PC, no use getting mad over this decades old rift with Apple.

anon 12:32: thank you for this; I didn't know this, but am now glad that I do, and will probably hear it somewhere this week...

CT2Napa 3:15 PM  

Actually BUS can't be the answer for 63A because the clue is "Group cleared..." and BUS is not a group.

Liveprof 3:27 PM  

Thanks for the info on SAME LOVE, Anon. Lovely.

andrew 3:52 PM  

One additional kudo* for Team NYTXW. The iOS app accepted both BUS and B, which came unexpectedly for me. I had inadvertently spelled REBUS with an H (which I can only attribute to the trapezoidal clue right before making me think of RHOMBUS.) Which I corrected upon seeing the misspelling when I hit the key called - wait for it - REBUS! But before I could add the US to the REB, the music was playing and the bike/bus graphics were playing.

As one (of many) who has complained when the app version failed - evidenced by the black space clues fiasco a few weeks or months ago (when you’re retired, how can you remember the significance of the passage of time?) - it’s only fair to give praise when they get it right!

* (sic) - the term is typically kudos for both singular and plural (from Dictionary.com: Kudo is a back formation from kudos. Back formation is the creation of a new word based on a misinterpretation of an existing word.)

Anonymous 4:33 PM  

The buses are all on the bottom. The bell curve goes all the way up the middle. Ergo, he is not jumping over the buses. That ruined it for me. Too much proper names. And the AEONS for ONEND led me to an almost DNF.

Anonymous 4:39 PM  

"EVEL seems to enter lower orbit there at the peak of his jump"

Not to be a pedant, but I believe the phrase is "low Earth orbit."

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

Anyone else say to themselves, "it's a three bus ree bus!"

Anonymous 4:56 PM  


Anonymous 5:04 PM  

Wouldn’t one think that seeing the tsp in teaspoon isn’t that earth moving, as that’s probably the reason that, Yknow, it’s the abbreviation?

Anonymous 5:59 PM  

I managed to finish it, but I have never been a fan of gimmicky crosswords, and this one is beyond the pale. Knew Rex would love it or hate it passionately. I can only work up a “meh.”

JC66 6:38 PM  

Deb Amlen's tribute to Will Shortz's 30 anniversary as NYTs crossword editor.

okanaganer 9:57 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 11:53 PM  

As noted above, Kiss Me Kate “ I Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua”.

Anonymous 12:44 AM  

It had a few sore spots, like LIL MAMA and the NE corner, but overall the puzzle was an absolute delight. So many fun clues and the theme really came together. It was more of a boisterous romp than an elegant symphony but my puzzling partner and I both had smiles on our faces by the end.

Christopher 10:25 AM  

God help me, I've lived in Columbus for 9 years.

But until today I'd never heard anyone refer to it as "Arch City."

That's pretty much how half the puzzle went, after the theme revealed itself almost immediately.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

No, one wouldn’t.

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