Magician known for debunking paranormal claims / SUN 4-1-18 / 1988 crime comedy / Like fictional Casey / Final song in Fantasia / Big name in nail polish / Patriotic song lyric before Mind music and step / Chemicals proscribed by 70s legislation

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Constructor: Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Challenging


THEME: "1 + 1 = 5" — rebus puzzle where a "5"-letter word with AND in the middle appears in the square going Across, and just the letters on other side of the AND appear in the Down; thus:

Theme answers:
  • KID IN A [CANDY] STORY / MA [CY] S (both "C" and "Y" are in the square, but going Across the "and" is included in the answer (CANDY), and going Down it is not (CY))
  • [PANDA] EXPRESS / PA [PA] CY
  • ALL [HANDS] ON DECK / FUC [HS] IA
  • [LANDO] CALRISSIAN / BORDEL [LO]
  • YANKEE DOODLE [DANDY] / GO STEA [DY]
  • HURRICANE [SANDY] / NOT AS EA [SY]
  • THE AMAZING [RANDI] / [RI] GHT FIT
  • ELASTIC [BANDS] / DA [BS] AT
  • A FISH CALLED [WANDA] / RE [WA] RD
Word of the Day: IRENE Ryan (17D: Ryan of "The Beverly Hilbillies") —
Irene Ryan (born Jessie Irene Noblitt; October 17, 1902 – April 26, 1973) was an American actress who found success in vaudevilleradiofilmtelevision, and Broadway.
Ryan is most widely known for her portrayal of Granny, the mother-in-law of Buddy Ebsen's character, on the long-running TV series The Beverly Hillbillies (1962–1971), for which she was nominated for Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1963 and 1964. (wikipedia)
• • •

Conceptually, I kinda like this, but there were two main problem, for me: 1. "1 + 1 = 5" is not a saying. It's not a play on anything. It's random math nonsense. I think I've seen  "2 + 2 = 5" as a joke signifying, I don't know, the "new math" (whatever that is/was), but that expression plays on the concept of "2 + 2 is 4" as an equation exemplifying simplicity. "1 + 1 = 5" plays on nothing. I get that expresses mathematically what is going on in the puzzle (i.e. 2 letters in one direction = 5 in the other), but the puzzle title is important, and its wordplay should be spot on. Naming-wise, this title feels off. Second, and this is more a technical issue: writing five letters in one square? Not ... easy. Hard enough w/ pencil, but impossible on my computer—that is, I can do it, but I can't see them all. I guess the idea was we were only supposed to write in the two letters? OK. I can see that in retrospect. Seemed like the "and" was crucial so I wrote it in. At any rate, still seems like a lot to cram into one box. The concept is clean, but the reality of its execution on paper, by the solver, is not. Too many questions about what, exactly, to write in the box, and too much stuff in the box, period. Once I figured out the gimmick (took a little while), it was kind of fun to find the ?AND? words. With HURRICANE [SANDY] and YANKEE DOODLE [DANDY], I actually found the ?AND? square first, and then wrote in the entire rest of the answer immediately. But most of the time, the hunting was a little harder. Trouble with [RI]GHT FIT because it's kinda "green paint"-y, i.e. not really a strong stand-alone answer, more a loose adj/noun pairing. And I nearly missed the [BANDS] of ELASTIC [BANDS] completely because I just had ELASTICS, which somehow seemed fine for [Stretchable wrappers]. I think just the work of figuring out the gimmick takes this one into the more challenging range.


AT THE BAT? Er, way way too long an answer to be that single-context specific. Nothing and no one else in the history of humanity has ever been AT THE BAT. Just Casey. But the grid is mostly solid, with some nice original stuff like "LEMME SEE..." and "YEAH, MAN" and BACKLOT. I had a bunch of missteps, starting with DEKES for FAKES (1D: Deceptive moves). Really struggled with A PERSON (89D: Each). Brain conked out after APOP and APIECE. GRR for GAH messed me up a little in the S/SE (101D: "This is SO frustrating!"). Second day in a row where I had a cross I had run the alphabet on (ER-ADER / OL-S) (119A: Device many use in bed / 11D: Whoops?) because nothing looked like it made sense and I thought maybe another ?AND? word was hiding in that square. Both clues were vague / tough, and ER-ADER made me think I actually had an error. But it's just a simple E-READER, which, I guess, people use in bed. And on planes. And in chairs. But yeah, beds too. Second day in a row with a very tricky theme concept. I liked this one better, mostly because I still can't forgive that GOING IN ALL / DIRECTIONS answer from yesterday, What The Hell???! GAH! I hope we've all gotten the April Fools crap out of our system. Have a Happy Easter or Passover or whatever you do or don't celebrate!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. an update from Nate Cardin, organizer and editor of Queer Qrosswords (which you can find out about here):
Queer Qrosswords has officially passed the $12,000 mark for money donated to LGBTQ+ charities on behalf of the project, thanks to 331 (!) total donations.  We're continuing to expand where we're promoting the project and will have a presence at upcoming crossword tournaments as well as RuPaul's Drag Con.
The puzzles are cool. People seem really into them. Tell a friend. Give them as a gift. Spread the love.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

123 comments:

Trombone Tom 1:07 AM  

I'm lovin' it! Two days running of something different. (I commented early on as one in favor of Der's puzzle.)

Once you get the conceit, this one is fairly straightforward. I agree with some of @Rex's quibbles, but disagree with his pan of the title theme.

Since I print the puzzle out I had no problem with entering the theme answers. I just put in the two letters and implied the "AND" by circling the square. (Another reason I don't do these on my iPhone or computer.)

I hope not to see as much negative reaction to today's puzzle as I saw yesterday. It's nice to put a little spice in our lives, even if it's not something we are expecting. (Confession: When I was 10 I used to sit in the family car in the evening when my parents shopped for groceries and amuse myself by reading all the nearby neon signs backwards. DRADNATS SNOITATS is Standard Stations and ECUDORP STAEM is Meats-Produce. Being able to readily read upside down and backwards proved handy in the legal profession.)

mmorgan 1:12 AM  

For me, after I figured out what was going on, this one was more about admiring the construction than enjoying the solve. Still, it was mostly smooth. Except for the fact that for some reason the NW corner nearly killed me.

Carola 1:17 AM  

I thought this was a terrific puzzle, so creative and witty. I recall a couple of weekday puzzles that relied on a similar use of AND (one where the reveal was CANDY), but what a difference the Sunday size makes, where the 1+1=5 can be hidden in longr phases.
And what a wonderful cast of characters: the trio of LandO CALRISSIAN, YANKEE DOODLE DandY, and THE AMAZING RandI, plus a KID IN A CandY STORE and A FISH CALLED WandA. Apt that ALL HandS ON DECK are needed to confront HURRICANE SandY.
I caught on early with PandA EXPRESS x PAPACY, and agree with @Rex that the "ands" made the solve go faster.
Toughest for me was the NW where the deceptive moves of 1D were deKES and juKES before FAKES.
I liked PUNITIVE over AVE MARIA - isn't she called upon to intercede?

Unknown 1:47 AM  

Anyone else immediately get PFCHANGS in the northeast corner and spend 15 minutes trying to make that work?

Anonymous 1:51 AM  

Uh, I think OFL misses the title a little bit. The title can't contain the word "and" because that's in all the rebus squares. The "+" sign does not mean "1 plus 1," but "1 and 1." Was a little bit of a difficult solve, but I think the title works just fine.

Tom Rowe 2:08 AM  

Hmmm. I learned in math class that 1 + 1 = 2 "even for very large values of 1" Very tough to suss out the theme, but after that it was pretty easy. I have never, ever thought that of a puzzle that Rex called challenging. Usually its the other way around.

Joe Dipinto 2:20 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jae 2:25 AM  

Tough for me too and I couldn’t figure out what the Standalone App needed to give me the “finished” screen and my finished grid looked exactly like Jefff Chen’s. Liked it tho.

chefwen 3:24 AM  

Yeah, I’m done with the April Fools trickery also and we still have a day to go.

Liked it a lot more than yesterday’s, but it did take a long time to finish. Got the gimmick at 25A EXPRESS filled in and did some head scratching trying to figure what was going fit in that first square. Finally just put in PA, the AND part came to me much later. Yes, I know, a little slow on the uptake. ALL HandS ON DECK was the lightbulb moment.

puzzlehoarder 3:35 AM  

This made yesterday's slog feel like a cake walk. The theme was easy enough to figure out but knowing it never sped up the solving. I had to work for every section. The SE corner was particularly resistant. It's a good thing we just had RANDI back in February or that could have been a Natick crossing RIGHTFIT.

As it was I just avoided leaving in BORDELO. The "Star Wars" name didn't look right and at the last minute I remembered LANDO

Not really an April fool's kind of puzzle. It's the kind of theme you expect for a Sunday just more than the usual work load. It was some good mental exercise for a clean grid

Anonymous 3:37 AM  

1 + 1 = 5 is arguably a play on 2 + 2 = 5, the latter famously being from 1984.

Anonymous 4:01 AM  

Fun. Twice my Sunday average. Lotsa time spent tracking down errors. NOTsoEASY was the last to fall.

Harryp 4:13 AM  

This one took all kinds of time to get the rebus format correct. Then I found out that I had HEE instead of HEM at 67Across, so that was why it wasn't giving me my happy tone. Great puzzle by Sam Ezersky if I even got his name spelled correctly!

‘mericans in Marseille 4:25 AM  

Mrs. ‘mericans and I usually do both the Saturday (on an iPad) and the Sunday (on paper) puzzles on Saturday, so our feeling about this Sunday’s is probably influenced by comparison with the Saturday, which we regarded as brilliant.

To us, this week’s Sunday played easy-to-medium, but was mostly a 3- [and] 4-letter slogfest. We kept passing it back to each other, hoping the other would speed through and bring it quickly to an end. So why did we continue? Sense of duty? I don’t know.

Favorite part, for me, was the far north, with INSIPID crossing POT PIE. After my parents moved us from a farm in cold Maine to hot [and] muggy suburban MIAMI, she lost interest in cooking, so we are a lot of Swanson’s best. POT PIEs were her go-to meal, especially once she and Dad felt the reward-risk ratio of leaving their three boys at home for the evening was greater than unity. (I’m still surprised I lived to tell the story.) I liked the crust of the PIE, and sometimes the meat, but the rest ... yuck! I’m fairly sure that a chemical analysis would reveal that they were being used as a means for secretly disposing waste PCBS.

On that note, enjoy the holiday, y’all!

April Patriot 4:51 AM  

The song "Yankee Doodle" has the words "mind the music and the steps." Cohan's "Yankee Doodle Dandy [Boy]" is a totally different song. The clue is both wrong and misleading. PS: totally ageee with Rex's evaluation of this puzzle. And Mark Twain tells us that this is the day that reminds us what we are the other 364 days of the year,

Anonymous 5:33 AM  

Did folks solving electronically enter ampersands, spell out the AND's, or just rebus the 2 downward letters?

Lewis 6:17 AM  

Solid Sunday, with a strong theme, deceptive cluing, and a smile-inducing aha at figuring the theme out. I found the title intriguing and helpful and was quite satisfied with it. I hadn't heard of PRESALTing related to agriculture, and finally see that it isn't! -- Got me good on that one, Sam!

BarbieBarbie 6:46 AM  

Thanks a lot, @JoeDiP, I haven’t gotten the paper yet and now the Acrostic is ruined. Can we please agree not to include spoilers?? Hey moderator...

What @Carola said. Fun puzzle with great cluing. My app took the 5 letters just fine and they are perfectly visible on the iPad. Pencil solvers could use a +.

Took me until AFISHCALLEDWANDA to find where the rebus was. I had already figured on THEAMAZINGRANDI but had no idea where to compress— so then I spent awhile thinking the rebus would always be a name, which caused me to write it into the correct square for the wrong reason... but eventually my brain woke up.

Good Sunday, average difficulty. Fun. I’m always a rebus fan.

More snow tonight?!?! In inches?!? What is this, Boston!?! April Fool’s back atcha, Mother Nature.

Riley Cooper 6:55 AM  

The third option - 2 letters.

Anonymous 6:59 AM  

@April Patriot - you might try either singing "Yankee Doodle" right through or you could be modern and look it up on the internet. Either way, you'll discover that "Yankee Doodle Dandy" is a phrase in the colonial-era song, exactly as clued in the puzzle.

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

@anon 5:33 am I solved on my iPad using the App and just entered the two letters (using the rebus key) omitting the “and” part of the answer. The App accepted that as correct. Based on the puzzle’s title I assumed that was what the puzzle’s constructor intended, namely: 1 letter (and) 1 letter equal a five letter answer.

I was very surprised to see Rex give this a challenging rating. I don’t solve the puzzle linearly but sussed the thene early on in my solving at ALLHAONDECK, which was the six or seventh answer I entered in the puzzle. I finished this quite a bit faster than my usual Sunday solve time. Was stuck the longest at LEtMESEE and TVtA, which I knew must be wrong but that was the only hitch for me. I’d rate it easy medium.

chefbea 7:18 AM  

Had NO idea what was going on...could not figure out the puzzle...guessed it was an April Fools joke.

Happy EASTOVER to all!!!

Joe Welling 7:36 AM  

"AT THE BAT? Er, way way too long an answer to be that single-context specific. Nothing and no one else in the history of humanity has ever been AT THE BAT."

You mean other than Casey, right? AT THE BAT is in the title of the poem and is perfectly fine as clued.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

I just filled in the two letters of the down answers while solving. I felt like this was a slog as there were several answers I needed to google. I don't care much about Star Wars characters and had to read through about forty names to find the answer (which still seemed obscure to me even though I have watched a few of the star wars movies). On to Monday.

JJ 8:15 AM  

Rex, it's not 1+1=5 "2 letters in one direction and 5 the other". It's 1 letter, the word AND plus a second 1letter equals a 5 letter word. Interestingly I got the puzzle solved on the iPad and then noticed I just had HURRICANES-no Y at the end, and I still got the CONGRATULATIONS

John Hoffman 8:17 AM  

I was glad to read Rex’s explanation of the theme. What I was doing was (1) using the first and last letter of the word one way, and (2) using the entire word the other way. I never saw the AND inside each.

IrishCream 8:33 AM  

I spelled out the ANDs on my iPhone and it worked just fine.

pmdm 8:38 AM  

I realized the answer to 23A [KID IN A CANDY STORE] a;most immediately. although at at first I though the correct answer was KID IN A TOY STORE. Either way, I understood a rebus had to be involved. I then tried to intuit the content of the rebus square from the title puzzle. Rather than helping me, the puzzle title more likely confused me. But were that not the case, the solve would have been way too easy.There's a mandate for a Sunday puzzle to have a title, and for a puzzle like this the titles has to be a bit cryptic to enable the solver to have an AHA moment after finally figuring out how the rebus works.

In Mr. Ezersky's comments revealed on XWordInfo, he states his original puzzle with this theme aimed to be published on a Thursday. If you'd like to look at that puzzle, take a look over there. He also worries that solvers would grumble at the entry RIGHT FIT. Based upon what's been posted here so far, he was unduly worried.

The puzzle was enjoyable for me to solve, if more difficult for me than the typical Sunday puzzle. When I figured out how the rebus works and what the meaning of the puzzle title really meant, I had a added certain sense of satisfaction I usually don't get when solving a puzzle.

For those who solve the Sunday Times acrostic puzzle but have not yet done so, be warned that my following comment contains a spoiler.









I get the Sunday puzzles on Saturday and do them after finishing the Saturday puzzle. Normally I finish both crossword puzzles before doing the acrostic, but I decided to do the acrostic first because the slues looked easier than normal to solve. Turns out, the acrostic was the "April Fools" puzzle this year and included a feature in common with Saturday's crossword puzzle. [Now you know why I couldn't state this comment yesterday.] So if you enjoyed Saturday's puzzle, you very well might enjoy today's acrostic and hone a certain skill.

Happy April Fool's Day. Happy Easter. and Happy [ongoing] Passover.

Teedmn 8:40 AM  

GAH, three errors on this one - I had LEMME SEE and changed it to LEMEE SEE because I thought HEe went with HAW when I should have been HEMming and HAWing. And I've never seen ESSIE nail polish except in puzzles so although I knew ESteE might be wrong at 59A, I couldn't see PRE-SALT to save my solve. And that's after we had 6 inches of snow Friday night and could have used a bit of salting. (My plowing wanted to be PRE-TILLed but that didn't work).

This was a clever puzzle - I got the across trick at A FISH CALLED W[AND]A (solving randomly) but I didn't get the downs until 12D's PAP[and]ACY. I even used the theme to remind me who was all that AMAZING in 88A. 90D had to be RIGHT FIT so R[AND]I.

At first, I thought Sam was playing hard and fast with plurals. 100D had to be DABsAT but it didn't fit. 7D had to be MACYS, didn't fit. It was nice to finally have that explained as the theme took shape. I'm not too excited by the 1 + 1 = 5 title; no help at all for me.

But it was an exciting Sunday for me, not a common experience at all, so thanks, Mr. Ezersky.

John Morrison 8:45 AM  

Two hateful theme days in a row. GRR, not GAH.

Glimmerglass 8:50 AM  

A somewhat challenging puzzle for me, until I figured out that the plus sign in the title means the word AND. Even so, today’s puz was three times easier than yesterday’s, which took me three hours.

'mericans in Marseille 8:57 AM  

Since @Rex likes to use the slash to represent "and" (among a dozen other things), I'm surprised he didn't suggest changing the formula to "1 / 1 = 5"

irongirl 8:58 AM  

@April Patriot, I learned the song Yankee Doodle with the lyrics "Yankee Doodle keep it up / Yankee Doodle Dandy / Mind the music and the step / And with the girls be handy."

Maybe I was taught a conflated version of two songs, but since I learned it that way, the clue worked for me.

I typed in the whole word (e.g., candy) and when I finished, it showed up as just the 2 letters. Only problem was, I had "demi" for "deci" and didn't know Lando Carrissian or whatever it was, so the M didn't bother me. I hate it when I miss it by one letter. Enjoyed this puzzle, though.

Ross T 9:15 AM  

I remember seeing a similar theme in the Times: 11/12/15. Each of the rebuses were PA, with PANDA as a revealer. (In that puzz, you didn't have to cram P AND A into one box.)

Birchbark 9:19 AM  

Engineer before AT THE BAT, as in Casey Jones. Guessing @MaskedandAnonymous will like this puzzle.

Looking out at the snowy meadow this sunny Easter morning, I can't wait for the components of summer clouds. GNAT made me laugh.

In the holiday multitasking department, now upstairs to ask my daughter why the dog is on the roof.

michiganman 9:24 AM  

I don't think moderator intervention or a rule is necessary for possible "spoilers". Take it upon yourself to do your puzzles before you read the blogs. I had a lot of fun with today but got bogged down in the north central. Never heard of LANDOCALRISSIAN and was having trouble with crosses. Somehow my brain found the theme relatively early. Couldn't relate it to the title but didn't worry about it. I'm sort of a Michigan State fan but GO BLUE.

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

If you read the clue, it says patriotic song LYRIC before...

John McKnight 9:29 AM  

Difficult for me. I didn’t even get the “and” bit until I had to circle all the way back at the end for KIDINACANDYSTORE. Good puzzle.

FLAC 9:34 AM  

Wonderful puzzle with a perfect title. Open your mind a bit, Rex.

Nancy 9:34 AM  

Absolutely loved it! I always love it when...

...you need the trick to solve the puzzle and would never be able to solve without it.
...completely different things are happening in the Acrosses and the Downs.
...you're dealing with any kind of rebus at all! In this case, quite an unusual one.

I got the trick at ALL H AND S ON DECK -- a wonderfully specific answer that made the trick gettable and made the puzzle extremely fair. It gave me the help I needed to finish the NE-- for me the hardest section. I'm pretty sure we don't have a PANDA EXPRESS in NY and in any event I've never heard of it. Nor was that section made easier by my having MsAT instead of MCAT. What with PA-s- at 12D, I certainly wasn't seeing PAPACY. (I didn't have the fiendishly clued NICE DAY yet at 32A.) But knowing the rebus trick made all things possible. A clever, fun puzzle.

QuasiMojo 9:39 AM  

I guess the joke's on me since I've never ever heard of this LANDO fellow. It is a guy, right? So I had a DNF (second day in a row) because BORDELO seemed acceptable as a variation (kind of like BAZAR or BAZAAR.) Otherwise a very simple gimmick that grew tedious early on. At first I thought it might be one of those awful word ladder things but the old "and" trick is nearly as tired.

6D kind of threw me as I interpreted "forested" as a verb meaning to deforest. But I finally caught on.

I had hoped for some real wit and sparkle for April Fool's Day. Or at least a pun here or there. Did I HOP over it?

Doubleplusbaffled 9:41 AM  

How in the name of all that is holy does a Ph.D. in literature not know that “2 + 2 = 5” is from Orwell’s 1984. Beyond my ken, Winston, beyond my ken.

Aketi 9:48 AM  

Suspected the rebus when KID IN A C(AND)Y STORE and ALL H(AND)S ON DECK wouldn’t fit. The common ANDs gave away the trick.

I did yesterday’s and today’s puzzle this morning and has no trouble with yesterday’s weave even if it wasn’t an exact replica of Manhattan streets. Personally I think the worst of it is down near Battery Park City. I used to work in a building that was on a street on one side of an intersection where the street was a one way that went north on on one side and was a one way going south on the other side of the intersection. The cross street was a one way going west. The ONLY way to get to the building was to go north on the West side highway, turn right (west) and then turn right again (south). Taxi drivers never believed me. It was at least $10 more if they insisted on going the wrong way and had to circle around in that tangled mess of illogical one way streets. So I’d bet them the taxi fare if they insisted on attempting to enter from the east. I saved money whether or not they took the bet.

Michael5000 9:49 AM  

It's been quite a weekend for people who like themes, and people who don't like themes. Happily for us, we like themes. We don't know a damn thing about television ratings, though, so a third of our time on this puzzle was spent hunting down that "let me see" wanted to be "lemme see." Could have declared victory much sooner with a paper and pencil version!

Nancy 9:50 AM  

So once again a $%@#$"Star Wars" clue has been my downfall. I see now that 44A is not OCALRISSIAN, which is what I ended up with. (The good news being that BORDEL(L)O is not misspelled after all). But because I feel no moral, ethical or intellectual obligation to know who the peculiarly named LANDO CALRISSIAN is, I pronounce this puzzle "solved". What would the Tournament Director say? Ah, but there is no Tournament Director:)

Aketi 9:52 AM  

@Quasi, some of us (me) recognized L(AND)O easily because he was UVEA C(AND)Y In Star Wars.

Stanley Hudson 9:53 AM  

This was a pleasant puzzle to start a day that will be spent with family, friends, food, and drink.

Sunny with a high of 78 here in NorCal. Glorious Easter Sunday.

Wm. C. 10:05 AM  

I've never heard of PandaExpress, even though after googling "express" I Knew what it hadda be, but didn't get the trick.

[I now see there are stores in both areas I live, but pretty far away in cities I only occasionally visit. I get my Chinese takeout here in FL at a nice little place across the street from my community, and in the town center up north.]

I also knew that KidInACandyStore hadda be the answer to the left of it, but was confused again by the non-fill. Filled in MACY first for the down cross, though I was scratching my head about thinking the name was actually MACY'S. And the puzzle title meant nothing to me.

Finally, I just finished the grid by filling in the rebus pairs in the downs, and turned to RexWorld here to figure out what I was missing. Overall, I enjoyed the puzzle, but I think the trick in the theme was too obscure. Either the puzzle name, or a clue/fill pair should have been clearer, IMO.

Just sayin ...



Anonymous 10:11 AM  

So "AND" is critical to providing the answer but you're not supposed to write it in the box? Then it's not critical. It's worthless. Just like this puzzle.

Hey, here's a wacky idea...let make the solvers put 14 letters in a box 17 times in a puzzle and see if they can decide which letters--and when those letters--should be used to solve subsequent clues. Genius!!

QuasiMojo 10:35 AM  

@Aketi 9:52am, hilarious! Maybe I should check it out. But as I said here once before, maybe more, and I apologize for being a bore, I walked out of the original Star Wars on the day it premiered and I’ve never seen another one. But my UVEA could use some Easter candy!

Z 10:36 AM  

Liked it well enough. DNF at 120A with SPINSeOT. I’ve no idea how “Massé” relates to SPIN SHOT or SPINS HOT, and no idea about GALOP, so considered that the P, the S in TES, the O in ECTO, or the T in DA(B+S) AT might be wrong. Maybe if I had looked more at WISe and the clue I might have realized the “well” was a WISHing Well.

@Anon3:35 - I thought 1984 was the source, but wasn’t certain.

For @April Patriot
Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni.
Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.
Father and I went down to camp
Along with Captain Gooding
And there we saw the men and boys
As thick as hasty pudding.
Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy

(copied from MetroLyrics.com - not just for rap lyrics)

@michiganman - Politeness dictates that one avoid spoilers or at least do as @pmdm did, post a warning that a spoiler is coming. Is being polite really such a big ask?

@Clark late yesterday - No, I understand your point. You are in paradigm lock, though. Yes, “thoroughfare” means what you say it means. It also can be used to mean any street that is not a dead end. If Elm St. goes only one block but gets you from Oak Ave. to Maple Ave. it is a “thoroughfare.” Go ahead, enter the word in your search engine, look at two or ten sources, and you will see it is so.

Nampa Bob 10:39 AM  

Presalt(?)+Essie(?)=DNF

Cali Marie 10:44 AM  

You won’t find this Luddite with an e-reader in bed. Aren’t they deleterious to your eyes when you’re getting ready to sleep? I’ve heard bad things about them. Plus I love the weight of a book on my chest. Kind of like a cat.

Birchbark 10:45 AM  

@Nancy, Panda Express is a cafeteria-style fixture in malls and airports that haven't yet been gentrified into local/craft mode. We have them here in the LANDO Lakes, complete with General TSO's chicken, cream cheese wontons, and all the fixins.

@TeedMN, I too DNF with HEE/LEMeESEE.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

No.
Just no.

abalani500 10:54 AM  

@anon 5:33 I used an ampersand and that worked fine on my iPhone app

TomAz 10:57 AM  

Rex totally lost me with is opening comments. First, the meaning of 1+1=5 in this context is absolutely clear. Second, he thinks he may have heard 2+2=5 as a joke? Does he read books?

The phrase "two plus two equals five" ("2 + 2 = 5") is a slogan used in many different forms of media, most notably in Part One, Chapter Seven of the book 1984 by George Orwell. In the novel, it is used as an example of an obviously false dogma that one may be required to believe, similar to other obviously false slogans promoted by the Party in the novel.

The wikipedia entry goes on to cite the use in other literary contexts as well.

And of course there's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11oAXmVdEyQ


So putting the writeup aside: I thought this was a fine, and fun, puzzle. The theme came to me relatively quickly -- which I attribute to luck not skill. That the themers are symmetrically placed (not the rebuses themselves, but the across entries in which the rebuses appear) helped too.

This is not the first time THE AMAZING RANDI has shown up in the puzzle in some form. I still don't know who this person is. I have never heard of him in any other context.

I do not get the fussing over RIGHT FIT. That answer makes perfect sense to me and was easy to get and didn't seem odd at all.

The hardest entry for me was probably LIAISES.. which is a word I know.. and wanted to put in there after a few crosses.. but I kept forgetting it has that second I, I wanted to spell it LIASES, which means it didn't fit. I hate it when I do dumb stuff like that.

Two thumbs up here!




abalani500 10:59 AM  

@Z A masse is a spin shot in billiards where you curve the cue ball around another to hit the object ball.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

Call me old-fashioned, but "rebuses" are garbage. One letter per square, if you please; that's the whole idea of a crossword puzzle. Shortz and his puzzle creators are getting way too "tricksy." I understand wanting to "shake things up" but this is getting ridiculous. I agree with Rex, needing five letters in the across and only using two in the down is a cheat. That's two days in a row I DNF and cursed the puzzle maker. Also, for the record, I hate April Fool's "jokes."

BarbieBarbie 11:17 AM  

OK, @Mich, I get your point. I hadn’t realized this was a blog for “the NYT puzzles.” I had thought it was “the NYT crossword puzzle.” My bad.

Easy Kenkens today. Thermometer bulb puzzle always ultra easy. PB middle puzzle always completely doable and utterly boring. Soccer ball anagram puzzle too far out of my enjoyment wheelhouse to solve, so can’t comment.

Looking forward to the impassioned discussion of kenken strategy that invariably follows these remarks. Not looking forward to being told I’m too new here to have an opinion about Patrick Berry’s work.

Anyone see the Gucci ad in the Style section? Loved it. I count three other 4/1 Style ads. But maybe they're serious??

Nancy 11:19 AM  

@Colorful anecdote, @Aketi (9:48). And quite clever of you. It reminds me of that old riddle: what one question would you ask to distinguish a member of the always-tell-the-truth tribe from the always-tell-a-lie tribe. The secret is the double negative. I'll have to remember to use your system sometime. Except that I almost never take a cab. (That may change now that the NYC subway system has become a scary underground trap that breaks down more than it runs.)

@Trombone Tom (3:35 a.m.) -- I also solve in pen and put a circle around rebus squares so that I know they're rebuses. Great minds think alike. Also, Tom, I definitely want you as my lawyer. I don't know exactly what it is you're so good at reading "upside down and backwards", but I'm sure it gives you a leg up on all those other lawyers in the room.

Bob Neel 11:27 AM  

Amazed that, for once when I found one easy, Rex rated it Challenging. Usually, virtually always, the other way around.

Re: the title, I think it's perfectly descriptive. 1 [letter] AND (verbal equivalent of "+") 1 [more letter] = 5 [letter words]

Banana Diaquiri 11:31 AM  

@anon/1:47
Anyone else immediately get PFCHANGS in the northeast corner and spend 15 minutes trying to make that work?

anyone else live in the sphincter end of the USofA which doesn't have any chain Chinese restaurants?

clk 11:45 AM  

Loved yesterday and loved today, though I had a DNF on the P in GALOP/SPINSHOT. I couldn’t find anything in a list of ballroom dances that could fit though after looking up masse, I entered the P and got the happy music.

LANDOCALRISSIAN gave me a little trouble because a) he was clued as a hero and all I could remember about him was his betrayal of Han but not his later redemption and b) I thought his last name started with a K.

Not sure who complained about the Yankee Doodle clue, but the Yankee Doodle lyrics were my entree into the trick of this puzzle.

Malsdemare 12:00 PM  

I thought this was clever and fun, even though I screwed up spelling LIAISONS and so no happy music for me. Once I figured out what was going on, I had a grand time finding all the rebuses. LANDOCALRISSIAN was the one most outside my ken; CALRISSIAN slowly surfaced after a few letters, but the LANDO took a while. I thought it was a sneaky way to clue A FISH CALLED WANDA, but revelled in remembering Jamie Lee and John Clease, him doing the langauge thing and Curtis swooning on the bannister. God only knows why BORDELLO needed almost all the crosses, as did AUDEN and STRAITS (where I had STationS.).

Swell time was had by me!

Jofried 12:04 PM  

Very fun! Loved yesterday’s puzzle too, kind of the way that you enjoy a good massage that also hurts while you’re getting it. Just one question...I remember Lando Calrissian but didn’t he turn our heroes over to the Storm Troopers? Wasn’t that when C3PO (or however you spell it) got dismembered? How is he a hero? Or is my memory faulty?

TubaDon 12:11 PM  

Started with AVEMARIA and suspected there was some sort of multiletter trickery going on, but didn't catch on until I plopped in ANASAZI (thanks to a stint in the desert SW) which AMAZINGly gave me RANDI. Only struggle left was how to spell LANDO's name, and finished with the Easter-appropriate CANDY. I thought both April-fooly puzzles this weekend were DANDY.

Jenskis70 12:43 PM  

Two letters worked fine on NYT iPhone app.

Blue Stater 12:45 PM  

Unspeakable.

Nolaist 12:57 PM  

Yes!!!

sixtyni yogini 12:58 PM  

There are two times when i (often) quit puzzles. Too hard or too easy. This one was too hard ....tho finished it —barely.
Thought the 5 referred to the various V’s at first. Haha. Good one but not fun (for me).

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

"Rex" dense much? "1 + 1 = 5" makes perfect sense if you say "one and one make five"

This wasn't very difficult for me, and I solved on the computer.

Aphid Larue 1:15 PM  

1+1=11 makes more sense to me

1 and 1 (across) becomes 11 (down)

Even better if the 11 is vertically stacked


What does salting have to do with plowing?

Wm. C. 1:30 PM  


@Aphid:15 --

If the ground is salted, it will kill any vegetation there, and prevent any new growth. The bare ground will be easier to plow than if it were vegetated.

Marty 1:34 PM  

This puzzle works better with the NYT crossword app (where it’s much easier to fit five letters into a rebus). I, too had to run the alphabet for ereader (mainly because I think of ebooks but not ‘readers’). Fun puzzle and I liked the theme.

Masked and Anonymous 1:37 PM  

@RP: In the paper puz, I wrote in C&Y for CANDY, etc. Sooo … 1 + 1 = 3, for crammin stuff into a single square, was my approach. [I now see it was also used in the xwordinfo.chen puzsolution.]
I thought the puztitle was actually kinda clever, with yer "+" substitutin for "and". Clever theme, but I wouldn't quite elevate it to the "April Fools crap [har!]" caliber of yesterday's prequel. Good SunPuz, tho.

Not bein able to spell BORDELLO correctly, with the two L's, ate precious nanoseconds. Same with wantin WISE instead of WISH for faaar too long, at 106-D. I coulda been a contender ...

Absolutely adored the two [4-stacked] weeject alleys on the central east and west coastlines. 2 x 4 x 3 = primo. staff weeject pick: GAH. Kinda likin the whole idea of a movement toward random gurglin sounds in crosswords. Other awesome candidates, amazingly yet to see any NYTPuz usage: ULP. OWF. AAK. PFZ. YIQ. URG. [Hint: One of these will be debutin soon, in a runty puz near U.]

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Ezersky.

Masked + Anonymo5Us


Easy one [April Fool]:
**gruntz**

Z 1:37 PM  

@aphid larue - putting salt on the road (I think it is actually some mixture that includes salt) before it snows helps to reduce accumulation on the roads, reducing how much plowing the road commission needs to do. I think one of the arguments for the practice is that it keeps the roads safer longer. There is also concern about the impact of the process on the environment, the water supply, and on sewer systems.

@ablani500 - thanks. No way I was ever going to connect a French term to a billiards shot. I was thinking some ballet move so SPIN SeOT looked wrong but not 100% impossible.

Masked and Anonymous 1:45 PM  

p.s.
That "W&A" in the last themer answer was oh-so-close! URG!

M&Also

jane 1:47 PM  

I loved this puzzle although it took me a long time to finish the north east and south east corners of the puzzle. I got the clue by struggling with what I knew must be fuchsia (and it wouldn't fit), then realized it was crossed with "all hands on deck." I didn't quite get the title . I knew it was letter and letter one way...and simply the two letters the other direction. Now, from the comments I realize it isn't merely a plus sign, it's AND. One letter + AND + 1 letter = 5 letters. See it, Rex? It makes perfect literal sense.

I didn't think of A Fish Called Wanda as a "crime comedy" so it took me forever to get that one. And what Chinese Restaurant could possibly have an "X" in it. I laughed out loud when I realized the rut I was caught in. Lando Calrissian took a while...but it was my son't favorite star wars character for a while, and one of the only Star Wars action characters he didn't own. So I searched for a long time one Christmas and finally found it. Oh the ways in which memory works. I love when a puzzle offers so many challenges and "AHA" moments. I needed to sleep on this one to finally solve it. And I didn't use my e-reader. In fact, I don't own one, so ereader was one of the last answers I got as well.

"Casey At the Bat" was a giveaway, Rex. I was a teacher for more than forty years. My fifth graders would each memorize a poem and share it with parents and classmates at a poetry celebration. Poems by Sarah Kaye, Mary Oliver, Edgar Allen Poe, and William Stafford. "Casey at the Bat" was a perennial favorite. My son memorized it when he was ten. He wore his baseball uniform and tucked a wad of black gum in his cheek. I'd bet he still could recite it by heart. We all have knowledge gaps my friend. Who's to say whose gaps are stranger?

Two Ponies 2:01 PM  

This one required a stroll with the dog before returning to sort it all out.
My biggest hang-up was thinking of Andrew before Sandy.
I learned about The Amazing Randi here and have watched a ton of his videos since then.
Barely remember Lando so his last name could have been anything.
I confess that e-reader was not where my mind wandered as a device used in bed. Perhaps bordello in the grid is to blame.
Only .01% trees in Oman? What does than mean? Only like 5 trees in the whole place? Wow. I live in the middle of an ocean of trees so that blows me away.
Pecs I have heard of but bis as in biceps? PuzzleMate lifts weights and he confirmed it is a real thing so OK.
Good workout on a gloomy morning.

emily 2:08 PM  

Yep...ditto for me

Banana Diaquiri 2:10 PM  

@Z:
putting salt on the road

reminded me that I'd heard about some 'organic' alternative. this might be it: beet juice!

https://www.inverse.com/article/39632-beet-juice-melt-snow-ice

Aphid Larue 2:18 PM  

Snow plow. That makes sense. Thankuz

Roo Monster 2:18 PM  

Hey All !
Didn't catch that "+" as AND, so wondered why they were all ANDs that were rebi-ed. Ah moment. (As opposed to an Aha moment.)

Anyway, liked the puz as a whole. Sam sure left himself some wide open spaces to fill, but managed to get them filled cleanly. Far W and E middle sections for example. Not easy to do.

Actually sussed the theme at ALL H-SONDECK, but by having FUCHSIA spelled wrong. Had it as FUsHIA, and thinking the rebus was just one letter, but seeing 42A as CREAM, made me change to HS rebus, then realized all the answers I'd wanted would fit by taking out the three-year letter center. (Full disclosure, didn't know they were all AND.) The ANDs making it an extra layer of theme.

Funny writeover in SE, has quesEra(sa) (that's not even Spanish, no?) for COMOESTA, which got me DAB(SA)T for DA(BS)AT. Ha.

Writeovers for me seem to be the ones a bunch of us had, MsAT- MCAT, NODat-NODTO, HEe-HEM. Plus, DNF at PRESALT. Had PREtiLl, thinking to myself, If you PREtiLl, isn't it tilling? Har. ESteE, since ESSIE is a WOE, as I AM not WOMAN, and don't polish my nails. LIAeSES, and STRAIlS. Oof.

Isn't it OOH OOH, not OHOH?
I live in Nevada, FAR FROM ALABAMA.

GO GET HOAGIE AND COJE, PAPI
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

My first two solves of the theme we’re at “panda” and “Wanda.” I thought the missing letters were NDA, and the theme how an NDA makes the subject “disappear.”
Loved the puzzle nevertheless.

Elizabeth Lancaster 2:49 PM  

Agree!

Lewis 3:06 PM  

Since it is an April Fool's puzzle...

April Fool's reminds me of my Dad, who loved to do practical jokes. One day a jar of barley showed up in the cupboard, and when I asked my dad (I was eight at the time) what it was, he said, without skipping a beat, that it was a new instant coffee that included the cream. I begged and begged him to let me make it for him and my mom (I loved making them instant coffee), and later, just before he went into the bedroom, he said okay. As I stirred and stirred to no effect, truly frustrated, I heard stifled chuckles coming from the bedroom. Okay, maybe he took it a shade too far, but man, that was quick thinking on his part. God bless you, Dad!

semioticus (shelbyl) 3:25 PM  

These days I'm happy with a mediocre Sunday puzzle, but this was way above that level. A very, very solid Sunday. Only a couple of rough spots fill-wise, good clues, and a very nicely executed theme. (By the way, Rex, 1+1=5 is a good wordplay (numberplay?) on 2+2=5. It's a pun of sorts. I don't know why you wouldn't get it. That's how Sunday puzzles are always titled)

ELASTIC BS is a great word. That's how I like my bullshit: elastic.

Seriously, all the theme entries are very cool. That's a rare feat.

GRADE: A-, 4 stars.

puzzlehoarder 3:44 PM  

I did this on my lap top last night and left the rebus squares blank as I had no idea how to it a rebus in using the computer. Even copying it out on paper so I'd have a good reference with all the rebuses filled in I thought my grid was clean. I was only reading the crosses however and the comments have made me aware of 4 incorrect squares. I read @Harryp and saw that HEE was wrong. Then I read @Teedmn and found out ESTEE was wrong. That area was a complete mess with ALOT at 40A bringing in the fourth mistake. 40D was just gibberish I'd been trying to make into AERATE which doesn't even fit. That I can't sell LIAISES is just a given but not checking the downs for obvious errors is really bad. As much time as I sent on this puzzle I should have taken more.

My much needed vacation starts tomorrow. Our oldests' wedding is in two weeks so this is a good time to take a break and reassess.

Brian Zyce 3:45 PM  

Another idiotic and disrespectful waste of readers’ time. Please stop trying to show how clever or different you are by presenting tortured “themes.” This isn’t rocket science. It’s a crossword puzzle. Just give straight clues that call for straight answers.

Lee Skirboll 4:14 PM  

Is this my first comment ever? I think so, only to say this was the worst puzzle ever. The gimmick was fine, but the answers? Gah?? Elastic BAG?? BIs? just to name a few. I don't mind difficult (finished yesterday's), but this was one hollow chocolate bunny ...

RJ 4:36 PM  

I thought this puzzle was going to be an "easy" for me...but in the end it was a DNF because of not knowing GALOP/SPINSHOT. I had extra problems here because I filled in WISE for "well thought" instead of WISH.

I actually switched from paper to laptop once I realized the puzzle was a rebus. I only entered the two letters for each and it was fine.

Very clever @Aketi - L(AND)O was definitely UVEA C(AND)Y!

madsymo 4:36 PM  

90D could be clued ____ owner, creating DUCE for 118A and SLAT for 121A.

Anoa Bob 5:28 PM  

When I was a kid, we would make home-made ice cream in a bucket-like device that had a metal can suspended in the middle to hold the ingredients. Inside the can were paddles that were attached to a handle on top. Turning the handle would spin the paddles and mix up the ingredients.

The bucket was made of wood and there was a space between its inner wall and the outside of the can that we would pack full of ice. We would then pour SALT on top of the ice. Because SALT lowers the freezing point of water, the ice would melt, at least partially, and this liquid-to-metal contact would help the ice cream to harden faster than if we just used the ice alone. (The crank became progressively harder to turn as the ice cream went from a liquid to a near-solid.)

So I think that's why they spread SALT on roads. It either melts the snow so that it runs off, or it softens the snow to make it easier to plow. That's my theory.

My question, though, is how in the world can you PRESALT (40d) a road. Or an ice cream maker, or anything, for that matter. Wouldn't you just SALT it? Or not? I'm reminded of George Carlin's riff on the call to pre-board a plane at the gate. He uses a little SALTier language to EXPRESS a similar point---you either bleeping board the bleeping bleeping plane or you don't. Stop making up stupid bleeping words like pre-board. Ditto for PRESALT.

Banana Diaquiri 5:51 PM  

@Anoa:
My question, though, is how in the world can you PRESALT (40d) a road.

they, whoever they be, make a brine. said brine is some mixture (or not) of water and NaCl, MgCl, beet juice, pickle juice, and Lord knows what else. said brine is sprayed, much like manure on a cornfield. the brine fills in the leeeetle cracks in the pavement, leaving the stuff behind, which ends up lowering the freezing point of the pavement/snow interface.

Seastate7 5:57 PM  

"At the bat" is indeed a perfectly legitimate phrase; many people have indeed been "at the bat". The phrase was in use over a hundred years ago, but has obviously had the "the" dropped from it in more recent times. Indeed, Christy Mathewson (1880-1925), Hall of Fame pitcher, uses it in his autobiography quite a bit.

Mohair Sam 7:31 PM  

Liked it a lot. Different is always fun. dnf'd on the Star Wars character crossing BORDELLO - used one "L" thinking I'd been spelling it wrong all these years. When my mother-in-law solved the Times Sunday puzzles back in the day she bitched about all the Sophocles references. Will Shortz has changed that to "Star Wars" complaints. We've come a long way Baby.

Geez Res, what is your problem? I'll bet more crossword solvers know Casey AT THE BAT than LANDOCALRISSAN.

Hungry Mother 7:34 PM  

Loved the theme and had no problem with themish things. Overall, it was quite a slog. I really struggled with ESSIE and misspelled LIAeSES for way too long. I was also vacillating on PAPI or PoPI. Very happy to be finished successfully.

AW 7:38 PM  

I'm with Anonymous at 11:06AM: sick of the tortured rebus/grid tricks nonsense. How can you get any of the crosses when you can't write "AND" but it's an essential part of the answer word? Ridiculous.

Anoa Bob 8:48 PM  

@Banana, so they just SALT or, in your example, brine the road, right? Nothing PRE- that I can see.

Maybe I didn't 'splain it right. Here's George Carlin's take on PRE-. It's a little over a minute, and it's sprinkled with, erm, shall we say adult language.

Z 9:16 PM  

@Anoa Bob - You PRE-SALT the road before the snow falls. You SALT the road after the snow falls. It’s “PRE” in relation to the snow, not the salting. Hopefully you don’t find this explanation pre-boreding.

Anoa Bob 9:34 PM  

@Z, if you SALT the road after a snow, is it a POST-SALT? Of course not. Whether it's before, during, or after a snow, you still just SALT the bleeping road, right? If George can't convince you, I got no chance.

jberg 9:41 PM  

@Anoa Bob -- the PRE in PRESALT means the salt is spread on the road pre-snowfall, versus the more common practice of plowing the snow and then salting the road. I think you live in Hawaii, so maybe you have not had a chance to witness this!

@nkonwn and @banana daiquiri -- me too for PF Chang's, though I already had crosses to rule it out. By the way, are the two of you the same person? Your comments about this were identical. That's not a problem, I'm just curious.

I got here quite late -- had to get to church early to hear my 8-year old grandson sing in the boys' choir. It was very high church Episcopal -- aside from the singing, the highlight was the guy swinging the censer, who everyone in awhile would swing in in a 360 vertical loop. The people behind him in the procession were careful to keep their distance.

I did love the puzzle, but found it tough. I had to start over again (i.e., had exhausted all the possible crosses and so needed to go to a blank area of the puzzle) at least four times. But it was fun. I never heard of ESSIE. I don't polish my nails but my wife does, and she had never heard of it either. That doesn't make it a bad answer, of course -- fortunately, I know how to spell LIAISES, even though it's not really a word, IMO.

@'mericans -- I used to eat a lot osf those Swanson's pot pies, too. As I recall, you'd have to call them more soggy than flaky.

Anyway, that's enough for me. Except to say that those disgruntled with anything but a 'straightforward' puzzle may want to try Timothy Parker's work.

Melrose 9:44 PM  

GAH? Nope, no such thing.

kitshef 10:07 PM  

I’m one of those who has been moaning about the unimaginative Thursday fare of late. But if Sunday is to be the new tom-trickery day, I’m all in for that. More bang for your buck on a Sunday.

Early on I was wondering how in heck I was going to fit “Night on Bald Mountain” into eight letters. Only once I had a bunch of crosses did I remember the right answer.

Anyone who put LEMeE SEE crossing HEe deserves full credit.

Z 10:08 PM  

@Anoa Bob - While “pre-boarding” is like zeroth boarding, there really is a difference between salting and pre-salting. Sure, “salting before a snow fall to prevent ice formation and ease plowing” is technically accurate, but “pre-salting” kills fewer electrons.

GHarris 11:49 PM  

Started on paper and could not finish even though I got the theme. Returned the following day and began anew on my iPad. Made all the difference and I finished in a reasonable time.

Mjddon 12:10 AM  

The comments about pre and not pre salting remind me of my mother. She was a word perfectionist and introduced me to the NYT puzzle in the 1960’s. She always hated the terms “self storage units” and SASE. She said self storage units would be for storing yourself in the unit, and stamped self addressed envelopes would be envelopes which addressed themselves. I never fail to think of her when seeing either term.

Clark 1:49 AM  

Hi @Z. I got snookered yesterday by the way I was thinking about the word, and I just felt cranky about it. I still thought it was a great puzzle.

off the grid 8:15 AM  

The clue is "I waNNa look" The double consonant suggests "leMMe" as the better answer.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

The Times crossroads are a necessary part of my day, but I found this one to be annoying and unrewarding. As always, I appreciate the post puzzle comments by Rex and the rest of you. But I still say Phooey!

OISK 1:19 PM  

One more phooey. There was no way I was going to get "Landocal..." when Ocal with a misspelled bordelo seemed more likely. A character from "Star Wars" who IIRC doesn't appear at all in the first episode, and is impossible to discern without familiarity, as part of the "theme" answers just spoils this one for me.

Michael McCormick 8:35 PM  

Why does the NYT do this nonsense? Just make up the puzzle without all the cute bullshit.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

As usual our new paper is behind a week with the NYT puzzle for some reason. I agree with all above who prefer a str8 forward puzzle. I kind of figured out part of the "and" nonsense but not enough to finish. Let's stick with one letter per square, no crowding letters in a square or worse.... pictures!!

spacecraft 12:32 PM  

This bad boy took me two full hours! Many of the clues were as obscure as the title (I used ampersands). What in blazes is "PRESALT?" And who is ESSIE? That area gave me huge headaches. Wanted ESteE of course, but it has to be LIAISE, not "liaese." Plus, "pretalt" makes not a whit of sense. So I flat-out guessed at that S, and found a RIGHTFIT(?). DICE may be loaded, all right, but better not be in a casino. That's one example of the off-putting nature of these clues.

Thanks for the NW ALABAMA gimme; for once I got out of there OK. But oh, brother! I feel like I've done a whole days' work now. DOD is EVA Green: she'll never have a RIGHTFIT in a BCUP! Triumph factor exponential, but lots of rough fill (well, no wonder, theme involvement is very high) take this down to a birdie.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

Awful and a cheap shot and - wait for it- insipid, I hated this puzzle- kept thinking numbers in the answers. Where is logic in this mess. the answers were lazy - go get? lemme see? live with? and the clues were just as bad, The only redeeming feature of this puzzle was star wars reference, Even tho the author wanted us to go to light speed in trying to figure out the answers. , the only other clue/ans that I liked was ave maria from one of my fav movies of all time- fantasia. never herd of spin shot, but then I don't play pool. I was stumped by this poor excuse of a theme. had to go to blog here to fill in a good qtr of this puzzle. gah! gah? what the heck is that. have a nice day

rainforest 1:42 PM  

FAR FROM EASY for me - I wasn't able to TORCH it, and until I hit ALL HANDS ON DECK, I was close to packing it in. But, aha!, xandy came to the rescue.

After I picked up on the theme, the only themer that gave me trouble was PANDA EXPRESS because I don't know what that is.

There was a lot of fun in this puzzle, a variety of subjects in the themers, and clever trick to deal with.
Liked it a lot.

Burma Shave 2:29 PM  

ELASTICB.S.

IAMWOMAN, APERSON in BORDELLO,
LIVEWITH PUNITVE MADAME,
ACCEDE YANKEEDOODLEDY ADO,
NOTASEASY, FARFROM ALABAM'.

SEPIA EROICA "ESSIE" ANASAZI

this stream of unconsciousness a NODTO a KIDINA(MA)CY(S)STORE

AnonymousPVX 2:31 PM  

Sorry...but when the explanation doesn’t make much sense neither does completing a horrible nasty mish mash of a puzzle. Just said no!

rondo 3:02 PM  

LEMMESEE. Here's a STAT: this is FARFROM my first CHOICE in puzzling. The dreaded rebus, and made worse with its own game going on. And can we sandwich in any more foreign words in the bottom quarter of the puz? And even more just above those, and still in the bottom half. Almost INSIPID to have that many so concentrated. And I guess it would be unPC to use the "real" clue for BIS; nobody calls biceps BIS, and I've been in and out of gyms for decades.

OLE'S here, but not his pals.

YEAH baby EVA Green's a TEN for sure. In Casino Royale, SHE's NOTASEASY as past Bond girls.


Dire STRAITS for non-rebus fans. Hope the rest of you had a NICEDAY.

Diana,LIW 4:07 PM  

I hate to say it, but I actually hated this puzzle. I hate to hate puzzles. They can flummox me, please me, test me, make me work, or any number of things. But this ^&()( fest was, IMHO, not bringing any joy to my day. Which was already long, as I've spent much of yesterday and today helping Mr. W (who is hard of hearing) understand a tech (on the phone, from another country) helping with the latest nightmare from Windows 10.

In fact, I think I'll call this the Windows 10 of puzzledom - for me. Could there be a worse condemnation?

Oh, I got most of it. And I got that it was a rebus. Even tho not a rebi fan, I'm trying to do them as they come up. I persevere.

But then they threw in all the other tricks (see @Rondo's post), along with the kitchen sink and the toilet bowl contents. Even Lambo left my lap as I worked on it as if to say, "pee eew!" And no, I did not fart.

So a small portion of joy in Mudville today (it raineth, too).

As ever,

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and for the computer techie to call back after an hour and 3/4 wait...

Eric 7:17 PM  

I was *trying* to come up with PF Changs but could not. Sounds like my incompetence saved me a lot of grief.

Diana,LIW 10:22 PM  

Oh - I see this thing had a title - not in Syndieland. I'll relook to see if it would have helped - doubtful me.

Lady Di

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