Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fireball 11:11 (Amy) 
NYT 6:46 (Amy) 
LAT n/a (Gareth) 
CS 13:15 (Ade) 
BEQ 8:03 (Ben) 

Jacob Stulberg’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 1 8 15, no. 0108

NY Times crossword solution, 1 8 15, no. 0108

I like the theme here, but the fill was so distractingly off-putting that the overall solving experience was tarnished. First up, the theme: 59a. [Inadequate effort … or the contents of six squares in this puzzle?] clues HALF MEASURE. Familiar phrase in the plural; less savory in the singular. The six squares that are mentioned are rebus squares, and the letters that spell one traditional unit of volume in the Across answer are replaced by rebusized half versions of that unit:

  • 17a. [Place for a bed and dresser], LIVING QUARTERS. One quart is two PINTs, which you get in 6d. [Tear asunder], RI{P IN T}WO and 7d. [Use as a resource], TA{P INT}O.
  • 33a. [2005 Nobel-winning playwright], HAROLD PINTER. A pint is two CUPs, in 23d. [Minor problem], HIC{CUP} / 35d. [Winged god], {CUP}ID.
  • 41a. [Got well], RECUPERATED. A cup is two GILLs, one of those very old measures that nobody uses today. If you don’t know GILL and you hesitated at either of the proper nouns using that rebus bit, heaven help you. 32d. [Montreal university], MC{GILL} / 42d. [Funny Terry], {GILL}IAM. Plus, Terry Gilliam’s post-Monty Python directing career has been full of arcane weirdness and not funny ha-ha stuff, so that’s a tough clue. Don’t know why one of his movies or Python weren’t mentioned in the clue.

Neat theme concept, though four quarts in a gallon is far more familiar than two gills in a cup.

Now, this puzzle’s fill screamed its ill will right from the get-go. When 1-Across is [Nobel-winning novelist ___ Kertész], well, a lot of people aren’t going to know old IMRE. So they’ll look to the crossings, and … 1d. [___ Marías (Mexican penal colony)] and 2d. [Actress Kelly] and 3d. [11-Across maker] and 4d. [African nation with a much-disputed border] are going to be pretty tough, especially without crossings in place. There are about 10 7-letter African countries, most Americans don’t know the names of a single Mexican penal colony, actress Kelly could be missing a first or a last name, and that cross-reference is unhelpful. (ISLAS, MOIRA, RAVEN, ERITREA.) Crosswordese ARETE crosses that quartet, with an uncommon clue: 20a. [Excellence, to ancient Greeks].

Elsewhere in the puzzle, there’s the rare ONE-K with its weirdly spelled-out number. MFG with a nonspecific clue, 31d. ORE clued as [Part of a krone], right beside the {GILL} spot. Literary monogram RLS, plural TAHINIS, LUI and EEO, ULEE crossing OVULE, unfamiliar TENT SHOW, crosswordese AYR and EFTS near each other, old TV actor George MAHARIS crossing two theme answers and an Italian city. It’s just a mess on the fill front. It’s even a 78-worder, the typical maximum, so it’s not as if the constructor lowered the word count and tightened the constraints on the grid.

I did like the theme, though the singular HALF MEASURE and the less-familiar GILL were not marks in its favor. With the roughness of the fill, I can’t set this one higher than 2.75 stars.

Paolo Pasco and Frank Longo’s Fireball crossword, “Sign on the Dotted Line”

Fireball crossword solution, 1 8 15 "Sign on the Dotted Line"

Fireball crossword solution, 1 8 15 “Sign on the Dotted Line”

I did this puzzle before the NYT and now that I’m looking at it again and pondering the title, I’m realizing that I missed a whole level of the theme. It’s fancy stuff!

The special squares contain two letters for the Down crossings, but in the Acrosses, you’re to fill in a row of dots (little o’s) above the second letter (each time, the first of the two rebused letters is an O). Those dots/o’s make a dotted line above the Across answer that’s clued there, made up of the second letter in each rebus pair. And! The letters in the answers above the dotted lines spell phrases that can be found on road signs. Hence, “Sign on the Dotted Line.” Nifty! So we have the DO NOT PASS portion of DO NOT PASS GO on top of STUNTWORK (20a. [Double duty?]) interspersed with O’s. We have a ONE WAY sign on the dotted line over UNSOILED (41a. [Pristine]); the E and D don’t get the rebus treatment because only ONE WAY is on a sign, not ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. DEAD END sneaks out of DEAD-END JOBS above BANNERS (62a. [Big headlines]) and a dotted line.

It’s a really inventive and bendy theme concept, and I’m impressed that Frank’s co-constructor on this is a high-school freshman. Yes, there is some woeful fill (EOAN, EZE, I DO SO, TEA OIL, I’m looking at you). With 22 rebus squares tied to very specific answers above them, the constraints on the fill were sizable.

Four more things:

  • 11d. [Ditzy type], BIMBO. Really, guys? Derogatory slang terms for women? This was so easy to remove. BAMBI crossing HAT and SPIT. Done. It just takes giving a damn about not using sexist language. (Not the first time the Fireball puzzle has transgressed thus. I’m laying this one at editor Peter Gordon’s feet, not the constructors’.)
  • 6d. [Slimy shore deposit], SEA OOZE. This is as familiar to me as that TEA OIL of Hunan cooking.
  • 44d. [In Beta?], VIDEOED. Wow, a reference to Betamax videotapes, and an old verb. Weird.
  • 52d. [Like a speedsolver’s Rubik’s Cube, often], LUBED. Would you like to try the 17x17x17 cube now? (Hat tip, Patrick Blindauer.)

4.5 stars from me. The awkward bits in the fill and that BIMBO knock it down from a higher rating.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “No Funny Stuff” — Ben’s Review

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 6.53.54 PMI’m torn on this week’s Thursday BEQ, you guys (cue the Natalie Imbruglia). There’s a lot about it I like, but also a few things that made this a less-than-enjoyable solve.

This week’s entry, “No Funny Stuff”, is a quote puzzle, with the through line on clues 20A, 37A, and 52A.  I’m not the biggest fan of quote crosswords, but I do love a good pun, and this one’s a heck of a groaner: “IF ATTACKED BY A/ MOB OF CLOWNS, GO/ FOR THE JUGGLER“.  There’s something about having a good punny answer for a puzzle – if you’re the creator, you can always tell when someone nearby’s solved it by the corresponding “UGH”.

As a big music fan, there was also a lot to love here, with references to the PIXIEs (15A), classic rock OLDIEs (28A), and Neil PEART (65A) all showing up in the grid along with Kendrick Lamar in the clues.  RAKIM (40A, “Eric B’s partner in rap”) was the only one I missed – admittedly, my hip-hop knowledge is more limited than my indie rock.  There were a few other great clues in this one – OBGYN (19A, “Person doing a smear campaign, for short?”) was particularly good and got an audible chuckle once I figured it out.

A few tricky clues sunk my time this week, particularly in the upper left corner’s downs.  AWAITS (1D) took longer than it should have to figure out (although it wasn’t the first word that came to mind for “Stays on hold, say”, and although I knew 2D had to be some sort of fit, it took figuring out the acrosses to realize it was a CATFIT.  Elsewhere in the grid, my general lack of sports knowledge (even the crossword-y kind) made the crossing between MASSE (43A) and WIE (38D) take until the very end to figure out. There’s a lot to love in this one, but a few sticky spots made it less enjoyable than it could have been.


Steve Blais’ LA Times crossword

LA Times 150108

LA Times 150108

Soz brus, today’s just been too hectic. Soz to Steve too! If anyone has the energy to blog this they’re welcome to it. Otherwise I may fill this space tomorrow.

Very smart revealer – SECRETHANDSHAKE means that HAND is anagrammed (I don’t care about your stupidly narrow definition of anagram) and hidden in longer phrases: FLAS(HDAN)CE, GR(ANDH)OTEL, RALP(HNAD)ER and I(HADN)OIDEA. Solid theme choices.

Two actors from the classic late 70’s(?) Sci-Fi show: ERIN Gray & GIL Gerard. As I recall it only had 2 seasons, but lived on on the Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy) when I was growing up.

[2011 Cricket World Cup winner], INDIA reminds us that next month is the 2015 edition. Canada missed qualification this time, and the USA have never qualified.

In general the puzzle grid deals well with its constraints, but is mostly AUSTERE. Outside the fill the big hits were IMPROV & TAGALOG, but it is low on kak fill.

3.75 Stars

Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Change of Direction”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 01.08.15: "Change of Direction"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 01.08.15: “Change of Direction”

Hello there, everybody!  Hope you’re all doing well and staying warm, as we were in the single digits last night in NYC, and almost more of the same temperatures for tonight. Today’s crossword puzzle, offered up to us by Ms. Lynn Lempel, makes us go any which way…sort of. Each of the four theme answers are phrases and/or proper nouns in which one of the words also happens to be a direction, but the letters of the directions (East, West, North, South) are rearranged to form an anagram, making for some sweet puns.

  • SEAT OF EDEN: (17A: [Where Adam and Eve rested in Paradise?]) – From “East of Eden.”
  • STEW SIDE STORY: (27A: [Digressing in the tale of a one-pot meal?) – From “West Side Story.” That entry required some real cleverness in trying to clue it.
  • MAGNETIC NORTH: (44A: [Really attractive sticker?]) – From “Magnetic North”…or North Magnetic Pole, I guess.
  • SOLID SHOUT: (57A: [Perfectly executed scream?]) – From “Solid South.”

How awesome of an answer is I TOLD YOU SO (11D: [“Hah!”])? Got slowed down for a while when I put in “lessees” instead of TENANTS, which really made my time slower than it should have been (9D: [Many rent payers]). Finally remembered AUEL after being tripped up on that word a couple of times when I couldn’t remember it (38A: [Jean who wrote “The Clan of the Cave Bear”]). There was a nice little trivia bit with NAACP (1A: [Thurgood Marshall was its chief legal counsel (abbr.)]). Then we have the two similar-looking clues, with the clue for TROT (61A: [Pace between a walk and a run]) and the clue to…

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: LOPES (65A: [Paces between walks and runs]) – Former Major League second baseman Davey LOPES was a mainstay on the Los Angeles Dodger teams of the 1970s and early 1980s that was one of the most dominant teams in all of baseball. Lopes’ best attribute was his speed, as he stole 557 bases in his career, and once, in 1975, set a Major League record by stealing 38 consecutive bases without being caught. (The record has since been broken.) Lopes currently is the first base coach for the Dodgers.

TGIF tomorrow!  Hope you’re well and have a good evening!

Take care!


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48 Responses to Thursday, January 8, 2015

  1. Evan says:

    Re: this week’s Fireball:

    I entered the rebus squares in 17A, 38A, and 59A — so the O’s appeared second in every square — which Across Lite accepted as correct. I guess it go either way depending on how you interpret the title. If you have a sign literally on the dotted line, then the sign and the dots can appear on the same line in the crossword, or on top of the dots like in a regular signed form. So in a sense, the puzzle has yet another layer in which it works. Dunno if that had been intentional.

  2. Ethan says:

    It amazes me how Fireball gets the kid-glove treatment time and time again. Don’t get me wrong, I love Fireball even though I had a few wrong squares today (EOUS seemed just as plausible as EOAN). But it’s Fireball gets a 4.75 rating despite its bad fill and the NYT gets a 2.75 rating because of bad fill? And of course every single bad entry in NYT is trotted out in the review while the reviewer mentions just 4 bad Fireball entries, keeping silent about SAONE, NODOSE, MOO U (????), ISOLA (ISLAS bad, ISOLA fine, got it), ELENORE (47-year old pop song never in the Billboard Top 5), NSW, ENE, WSJ, ORD, OED, OONA. And this might have been a 5-star puzzle had it not been for a political correctness violation?

    Really, the unequal standards are pretty noticeable and the Fireball is not a free puzzle like BEQ either. The constructors are paid well; you’re allowed to hold them to high standards.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      That’s a fair criticism, Ethan, and I’m giving it plenty of thought.

      One factor is intended difficulty—the Fireball puzzle is supposed to be a good bit more challenging than any day’s NYT or LAT puzzle, so tougher vocabulary fits better there. ISOLA was clued in the sort of way it’s been clued before (Italian name of an Italian island), whereas there was zero hint in the NYT ISLAS clue that we were looking for “islands.” Who the heck knows of Mexican island penal colonies? ISLAS with a Canary Islands clue would not have jumped out. Also, 22 vs 6 rebus squares makes a difference, as does struggling with the theme/gimmick content vs struggling to figure out basic fill.

      But I will keep your comments in mind, Ethan. (Addendum: By the time I was blogging Fireball, it was 10:30 and I wanted to be done already. Less interest in combing through the puzzle to record the less-than-savory fill when it’s bedtime.)

      • Giovanni P. says:

        This is clearly C O R R U P T I O N at work. How high does this go? [sarcasm!]

        The Fireball was a cute idea. Hard one to get through though, especially the area around the bottom theme entry.

  3. Brucenm says:

    NYT — I saw the gill – cup, quart – pint parallelism, but still found it difficult to figure out how to enter them. (I guess what I’m saying is that it took me a while to figure out what is obvious in retrospect — that you enter the half measure twice to create the full measure in the other direction.) Still, a really neat puzzle which has been unfairly trashed (I think) in the ratings.

    To a prosopagnosic such as myself, Oliver Sachs’ *The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat* is a sacred text (though my version of the disorder is not remotely that severe.)

    I would have liked to see the conductor Istvan Kertesz at 1a, but at least it wasn’t the latest 19 year old Hungarian superstar rap sensation Ferenc Kertesz. :-)

    • Lois says:

      I agree, and I didn’t even get the theme fully by myself. I didn’t realize that of course the halves had to be doubled, but I went nuts when I saw that in the solution here. I thought the puzzle was great. It’s true that some of the crosses were tough, so Amy’s rating was understandable, but nine people giving the puzzle a 1.5 was just weird. (Unfortunately I couldn’t remember KESHA (47d), but I thought that answer would be a plus on this site.)

    • Brucenm says:

      That is, of course, Lil’ Fer 50-forint Kertesz.

  4. CY Hollander says:

    Re the NYT puzzle, I’m a bit torn about puzzles like this one. On the one hand, the fill was maddening—lots of obscure proper nouns crossing each other—and, combined with the difficulty I had in figuring out the details of the theme, made this puzzle much harder than an ordinary Thursday for me. On the other hand, I like a challenge, as long as it’s fair, and since I was able to get to the end at last (one mistake, but it was my fault), surely I have to admit that this was fair. I came down on the second side, and since I liked the freshness of the theme, I gave this one 4.5 stars.

  5. Kameron says:

    It’s too bad IMRE is considered bad fill — not that I don’t see why. IMRE Kertesz (“Liquidation,” “Kaddish for a Child Not Born”) is great, though, and actually, since the NYT crossword appears in the Arts Section of the paper, shouldn’t a 21st-century literature Nobelist be considered more than fair game?

    Puzzle itself didn’t do it for me but it was definitely a respectable effort.

  6. pannonica says:

    Fireball: “11d. [Ditzy type], BIMBO. Really, guys? Derogatory slang terms for women?”

    To be fair, there’s nothing explicit about gender in either the clue or answer. I’m willing to expand the term(s) for equal opportunity insults.

    • Brucenm says:

      Of course, bimbo is actually masculine (i.e. male) in Italian — short for bambino.

      • Gary R says:

        Bimbo is a huge (+ 10 billion USD sales) brand name for bread and snack foods in Mexico. In a puzzle with this level of difficulty, I think the Mexican brand name clue would have been fair game, and would have avoided the PC issues.

    • CY Hollander says:

      I’d go a step further and suggest that equality can be satisfied by having special terms of insult for both sexes. After all, there are plenty of male-gendered insult terms (more, I’d guess, then female-gendered ones), dork being a relatively clean example of one. (That might not seem particularly male-gendered to you, but I’d say it tends to have that connotation, and, furthermore, etymologists’ best guess is that it originated as slang for the one thing that is peculiarly male [which is how most of these gendered insults originate, in either direction].)

      • pannonica says:

        I feel equality is better satisfied by not having “separate but equal” insults.

        edit: I think I may have originally misinterpreted what you wrote. It is ambiguous, you have to admit.

        • Bencoe says:

          The fact that there is such a term as “himbo” as the male version of “bimbo” implies that the original term was meant for females.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Sure, the clues and some of the dictionary definitions play at being gender-neutral. But we live in the real world, a place where far more women have been demeaned by the “bimbo” label and where women are markedly more likely to be called “ditzy.” I checked several dictionaries last night—would you believe that of the four references that included usage example sentences for “ditzy,” all four applied the term to a woman?

      The English language has far, far more female-specific words that minimize women’s humanity (pretty sure I could list twenty of them with little effort) and very few that apply only to men. “Dork” and “dorky,” I assure CY, have certainly been applied to women. I think my husband called me dorky this week, in fact (affectionately).

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        P.S. I came up with 23 insults and slurs for women in about 3 minutes.

        It would take me a helluva lot longer to create a comparable list for men, as men don’t get shamed for being sexual or being strong-willed, which knocks out most of the field. It bears noting that many of the most potent insults for men suggest that being sexually receptive (female or gay) is the worst thing any man could be. Those insults against men also work to dehumanize women. Thanks, patriarchy!

        • Tuning Spork says:

          Okay, maybe I’m just thinking like a guy, but I don’t see what is “dehumanizing” about gender-specific insults. “Demeaning”, of course. They’re insults. But they reference very human, if exaggerated, characteristics.

          Is a gender-neutral term like “airhead” acceptable, whilst the (usually) gender-specific “bimbo” and “mouth-breather” are not? If, so, why?

          Is it because you take a gender-specific insult personally, as if calling one woman a bimbo is calling all women bimbos? I assure you that we, the patriarchy, don’t feel that way. :-D

          By the way, why wasn’t the LAT’s clue for 8-D [that’s what she said]?

        • Papa John says:

          >>> …It would take me a helluva lot longer to create a comparable list for men…<<<

          Why don't you give it a shot. .?

          By the way, how did you create your female list? Is it made up of words that you know or are you using some trick search premise to have Google find them for you?

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            I got at least half of the list just by thinking of words, mostly old ones. The rest came from the thesaurus (oh! I forgot biddy, which takes me to 24).

            Dick, prick, schmuck, douchebag, dudebro… Seems like it’s mostly semi-dirty words for “penis,” doesn’t it? Given how fond men are of their penises, it’s curious that it became a term of derision.

          • Bencoe says:

            The other day I heard a guy who used this term in every sentence, but he meant it affectionately. “Dude, bro!” Very annoying. Is that what the slur refers to?

          • Gary R says:

            So, I came up with about 20 male-oriented slurs in 5-6 minutes (I’m not a speed solver).

            Many (as Amy notes) are related to male genitalia (and what the men do with their genitalia). Some are related to homosexuality and/or lack of ‘manliness.’ Many are related to lack of intelligence, slovenliness and/or rudeness (many of these are rooted in reality).

            It certainly seems, as Amy says, that insults toward women lean toward their aggressiveness/assertiveness and/or sexual promiscuity, while the insults towards men lean in the opposite direction.

            Still and all, I can’t get too worked up over bimbo.

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            Gary, how would you feel if someone called your mother, sister, wife, or daughter a bimbo?

            Bencoe: I reckon what you observed was a dudebro in his natural habitat! I didn’t realize that, like the whippoorwill and chickadee, he was named after his call.

          • Gary R says:


            I would prefer that no member of my family, male or female, would be called names – especially if they are undeserved.

            I’d include in those names, “jerk(off),” “nerd,” “wuss,” “oaf,” and “buffoon” – all of which I think are be primarily male-oriented pejoratives, but which from time to time, show up in crosswords (without any outcry from the XY community).

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            Gary, have you been to ACPT? There are a lot of female nerds out here!

            “Wuss” is often used to tar a man as falling short of the societal dictates for “manliness.” That’s an offense of the patriarchy, too.

          • Gary R says:


            I know there are female “nerds,” though I maintain it is a term usually applied to men.

            “Slut” is a term usually applied to women, but I had dinner with a heterosexual male friend a couple of weeks ago who, after flirting (not entirely innocently) with our female server, said to me, “I’m such a slut.”

            Many of the pejoratives for men, like”wuss,” have to do with falling short of the standards for “manliness,” just of many of the pejoratives for women have to do with fall short of the extant standards for “femininity.” I don’t suggest that any of these aren’t offensive, but I’m not convinced that they are necessarily imposed by the “patriarchy,” either.

        • CY Hollander says:

          There are negative stereotypes about women. There are negative stereotypes about men. Naturally you tend to notice the former, but that doesn’t mean the latter aren’t just as prevalent.

          Heck, just today someone linked me to the latest in the series of ridiculous “man-[some annoying habit]” series of sexist words coined by feminists: manslamming, or the process of not stepping aside for a feminist when she walks into you.

      • CY Hollander says:

        “Dork” and “dorky,” I assure CY, have certainly been applied to women.

        Sure they have, and I never claimed otherwise, just as you didn’t claim that “ditzy” has never been applied to men (it certainly has been). But if you’re talking connotations, well some negative stereotypes have been applied to women, and some to men. It seems one-sided to get up in arms about the former while taking the latter in stride.

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          And those poor men have really suffered in society! They’ve really been held back. Why, they only hold about 80% of the seats in Congress now! Darn that anti-man language—it’s really hurting men as a class.

          • CY Hollander says:

            (thought better of my original comment)

          • CY Hollander says:

            I’m trying to figure out a productive way to engage here. We clearly see certain things from very different points of view. I don’t want to antagonize you, especially as this is your blog and you have a right to your opinions.

            Maybe the most productive thing is for me to try to see things from your view. I’m going to try. Tell me if I’m getting it wrong:

            While it may be true that there are negative stereotypes about both sexes—let’s say, for instance, that women tend to be more frivolous and men tend to be more selfish—women have been hampered by negative stereotypes in more significant ways than those about men have hampered men. People not taking women as seriously accounts for the relative dearth of women in powerful positions in government and elsewhere.

            Is that about the size of it? (I’m not asking in order to debate you. I just think I ought to think about your position instead of fruitlessly butting heads with you over it and making both of us frustrated.)

          • ahimsa says:

            [Note: This was a response to Amy’s comment above — I was just too slow hitting the save button]

            Agreed. :-)

            I do think that patriarchy and sexism can be damaging to both men and women. But not in the ways that many MRA folks (MRA = “men’s rights associations”) claim.

  7. joon says:

    i wish BIMBO hadn’t been in there, either, but the fix is not quite as clean as amy suggests, since HIT and SPOT are part of a three-entry answer with A SORE. removing HIT and SPOT leaves A SORE as a partial instead of the middle section of this (somewhat ungainly, although i kind of liked it) compound answer.

    (that said, BILBO/ALP solves all the problems. i never did love ALP in the singular, but here it seems preferable to the alternatives.)

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      A three-part, four-word phrase involving multiple clue cross-references isn’t a plus in my book.

  8. Papa John says:

    RE Fireball: Unless I’m missing something, the solution given in Across Lite makes no sense – 20A STUNTWooRK, 42A UNSooILED, 62A BANNERS. Of course, putting the rebus letters atop each other and supposing all those o’s are dots, doesn’t make much sense, either. Let’s say we give this puzzle some artistic license and let it go at that.

    • pannonica says:

      Looks as if you’re treating those % answers differently than the other º/ ones.

      • Papa John says:

        I’m not “treating” anything, differently or other wise. I’m merely explaining what Across Lite will accept as a proper solution. See Amy’s solution gird above.

        I’m giving the puzzle artistic license for supposeing o’s to be dots.

        (I’m not sure why I’m explainging it again. I thought what I wrote was perfectly clear.)

        • pannonica says:

          Not having solved it, in AcrossLite or otherwise, I didn’t appreciate the nuance of your comment. Apologies.

    • joon says:

      i don’t know what is supposed to happen in across lite, but on paper it works fine. you put O’s on the horizontal line between the two boxes, and then you are left with a “sign on the dotted line”. the O’s are not part of any across answer.

  9. Lois says:

    In the NYT, the clue for 63a, “Word with bar or bed,” OYSTER, works just as well for 62a, “HOP.” Surely that was what was intended, the same clue for both answers. I don’t find the clue used for 62a, “Pogo, e.g.,” to be easier or an improvement.

  10. Avg Solvr says:

    NYT: Just strikes me that if you need to you use the obscure “gill” in rebuses of somewhat obscure names you may want to rethink your construction. The NW is borderline ridiculous with all the names and languages grouped and I’m with Rex that ERA is a wrong answer and the clue for KARATS a poor one, at least. My first thought was that Mr. Shortz was asleep at the wheel on this one.

    Hoping for a spectacular video review sometime soon!! (Just kidding, whatever comes comes.)

  11. Greg says:

    I’m puzzled as to why the NYT puzzle was so unpopular. I thought the gimmick was very clever and “gill” was perfectly acceptable in a Thursday-level puzzle.

  12. Gareth says:

    I can’t remember when I last had a DNF, but today’s was impossible for me in the top left. Crossing Igor with grace didn’t help, but after that I still couldn’t get anywhere. Eventually dredged up SANREMO which allowed me to see NEER and ERA and make MAHARIS (no idea) appear. Clue for ARETE was impossible and made the clue read [Letters]. I considered ISLAS but had teAR not SOAR for [Take off]. So i gave up with 4 blank spaces + the wrong TE(ar): I??AS, ?E??A (can never remember MOIRA Kelly), and ??ETE and ??VING(???)ERS. So pretty much what Amy’s one paragraph said. I didn’t fully get the theme, ah well. A lot to do with the fact I had no clue what a GILL was or even that it measured the same thing as a CUP…

  13. sandirhodes says:

    There is always and forever a lot of discussion about the peculiarities of the sexes. But in all of the discussion, not one ever explains WHY men are the way they are, and women are the way they are. Let me give some thoughts to ponder:

    Posit: Women are, in general, more nurturing than men. They have children, for Caissa’s sake! Their bodies nurture the child for the better part of a year before it’s born, and then for up to several years after that with nursing, holding, etc. etc. Do men help? Of course. Do men feel that unique feeling that everyone says you’ll never understand until you have a child? Yes (although I don’t know how it could be more intense in a mother than as a father, but I admit it is possible). Women are, *by nature* the more nurturing. (I could go on about cycles, etc., but that’s another posit).

    Posit: Men are, in general, more involved with their sexual appetite and genitals than women. But why? It is because from the time one hits puberty, their physiology is constantly churning out sperm and the semen to carry it. Whether that building pressure ever gets relieved doesn’t matter, because the body will release it nocturnally, even while more is on the way (note: sexual preference is irrelevant here, I would presume). Are men pigs? Yes, but I contend they can’t help it. A little decorum may show maturity, but even the most polite male still has that constant push to release in the background. And so they want to try to release it as often as possible. I think that explains a male’s ‘love’ for his penis, and the things he is *naturally* required to do to resolve his internal conflict when a lover is unavailable. It also explains the bawdiness of their behavior (again, rudeness notwithstanding) in some mixed company. Men in a long term relationship generally act maturely about their needs. But if that relationship ends, they revert to their former selves. It’s only *natural*. I’m not excusing any behavior, just trying to define it.

    Now of course, this has nothing to do with inequalities. We’re talking differences. Natural differences.

  14. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Hey, CY: I wore snow pants today despite the sunshine, because I hate to be cold and it’s very cold out. My cousin called me a dork not once, but twice. Pretty sure that one’s entirely gender-neutral these days.

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