Arcade hoops game / SUN 5-13-18 / 1940s vice president wallace / shroud of secrecy idiomatically / Southernmost of lesser antilles / Napa Valley vintner Robert / Instrument plucked with mesrab / Model page known as queen of pinups / Command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Constructor: Neville Fogarty and Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Medium (11:51)


THEME: "Love at First Site" — familiar names and phrases clue ("?"-style) as if they were fake dating websites:

Theme answers:
  • 22A: Good name for a deep kissers' dating site? (FRENCH CONNECTION)
  • 51A: Good name for a dating site full of hot dudes? (STUD FINDER)
  • 57A: Good name for a dating site of massage therapists? (RUBBER MATCH)
  • 76A: Good name for an extreme sports dating site? (ACTION ITEMS)
  • 83A: Good name for a non-monogamist dating site? (OPEN FLAMES)
  • 115A: Good name for a dating site for lovers of natural foods? (ORGANIC CHEMISTRY)
  • 15D: Good name for a carpentry dating site? (BOARD MEETING)
  • 60D: Good name for a "High Noon"-themed dating site? (WESTERN UNION)
Word of the Day: action items —
In management, an action item is a documented event, task, activity, or action that needs to take place. Action items are discrete units that can be handled by a single person. (wikipedia)
• • •

I like the theme concept here a lot. As usual, I wish the clues were even more outlandish. Wacky it all the way to 11. For instance, I was very, very disappointed in the clue for RUBBER MATCH. I mean ... a fake "dating site" theme and you've got "rubber" in your hand (?) and you go "massage therapist"? Come on, man. I had the RUBBER part and a few letters in the second word and was like "RUBBER RANCH!? What the hell is that? That sounds ... insane!" Who is SEAN BEAN? Oh, looks like he was in GOT, which explains my not knowing him. There was a time in the mid-2000s when it seemed like the puzzle was asking me to know a lot about "Ally McBeal," and I refused. I somehow continue to refuse to know anything about GOT, possibly because I didn't like the first book and so stopped reading and don't care. I hear the TV show stands up well on its own. Someday, I may find out. Someday. Anyway,  SEAN BEAN! (pronounced "Seen Bon"). Cool. Once again I have seen ridiculously fast times posted on Twitter (well, two, anyway) and so I don't know ... my time was average. I had a bunch of trouble parsing, or even seeing, a bunch of the themers, and the cluing was sufficiently tricky in parts that I never felt like I got good traction. Enjoyed it, but definitely had to work for it.
I just stared at ACTION ITEMS for a bit there. No idea what ... those ... are. I was like "cool, ACTION COMICS ... nope, doesn't fit. OK I'm out of ACTION phrases." Also had ORGANIC CHEMICALS (?) at first. I hadn't really absorbed the whole theme thing very well, apparently. First themer I got was WESTERN UNION and I somehow assumed the answers would all be businesses. But no. I had such terrible trouble right off the bat, in the NW, that I thought something terribly tricky was going on. Turns out I had just one answer wrong (SITCOM for SATIRE at 18A: "The Simpsons" or "Futurama") and that alone destroyed my chances up there. I suspected both ARCS and MEH and should've guessed NBA JAM up there at 1A: Arcade hoops game, but I dunno, the SITCOM thing just got me mired. Totally blanked on JINPING (4D: Chinese leader Xi). More name trouble: no idea who PAIGE Davis or TESSA Thompson is. Figured them out from crosses. Names! Especially current pop culture names! Soooooo exclusionary. Or inclusionary, I guess, if you want those specific things and also really pay attention to cast lists. Other name I didn't know: HENRY (38D: 1940s vice president Wallace). Also TRISH ... is that a Nixon clue? (67A: Patty alternative?). So weird. I don't think I understand how the daughter is an "alternative" to the wife (???) (LOL my wife just explained to me that "Patty" and "TRISH" are both shortened forms of the same name, "Patricia"; I miss my Nixon reading already). I had 102D: Certain computer whiz as TECHY (var.? ) because I had the "Y" and ... that's all I could come up with. [Male computer whiz] might've been a little clearer as a clue for IT GUY. Still, overall, a very decent puzzle. I never hit speeds so fast I felt like I was drunk, but I did, finally, have a feeling I could be someone, be someone.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

122 comments:

Paul Bowden 12:12 AM  

Just started doing crosswords a couple months ago. This Fri/Sat/Sun combo were by far the easiest for me, Friday taking me only < 20 minutes when usually 45-60.

Extremely quick on first run with few blanks/errors along the way (DUKE instead of ELON, ZILCH instead ZIPPO, BIGTEN instead of PACTEN, and FEETSIES instead of TOOTSIES).

Haven’t ever heard of “neat as A PIN”, have heard “neat as A BUTTON”.

Only struggled with the center east. Didn’t know “Naval Officer” (E__), “Patty Alt?” (TRI__), “Nautical Title” (OSN) (had JSON from programming stuck in head), couldn’t deduce RA_R_, ACHS was blank, and kept putting in words that were screwing me up (removed “IV Checker” RNS and put in DRS so I could put MAIDEN for dignified lady). Didn’t know “vittles”, but eventually got BO_RD_____ (and had been tooling with fitting in HOMEEC) which let me remove MAIDEN and finish up.

I went to the archive and tried a Monday (October 28, 2002)… and couldn’t finish lol. The absolute insane amount of proper nouns… There are basically 5x5 crosses were every single one is a proper noun…

Sean Bean (I think it's Shawn [green]Bean) is famous for a few other things (e.g. Lord of the Rings), but he is also famous outside of TV shows/movies for being a major actor who always dies. Here's a video from 7 years ago with him dying 21 different times https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEhtsgu6bJg

pmdm 12:19 AM  

I will be passing by Mr. Sharp's locale on my way to Watkins Glen to sample the 100+ wineries in the Finger Lakes Region (and God knows how many breweries - and a few distilleries). I will enjoy my week much, much more than I did today's puzzle. At first, I thought it was insulting to women, but on reflection I think I just was in a bad mood today. Considering Mr. Sharp liked it and Mr. Chen awarded it a POW, I guess I'm just too grumpy today. I hope you all had more fun than I did solving this puzzle. But I absolutely loved today's acrostic quote.

Happy mothers' day to all you mothers who read this blog.

Jono 12:25 AM  

I really liked the clue for TRISH, glad your wife pointed it out. Enjoyed this one overall.

Cliff Robinson 12:27 AM  

Happy to see MAKEITSO, especially in proximity to RAMMED (although ramming feels like more of a tactic for Kirk rather than Picard).
Or maybe that’s what happened to the FASTCAR.
CHICLE was new to me, and BOOYAH seems a bit random as a Victor's Cry.
ONSIE, NASTIES, BESTIE, TOOTSIES, BETTIE — I kept looking for some kind of I before E theme...

Patrick O'Connor 12:32 AM  

Although I too am GOT-averse, I would have thought that you knew that Sean Bean was Boromir in The Lord of the Rings. He is the meme "One does not simply" (walk into Mordor, etc.), and for a while (pre-GOT) people were joking that he died gruesomely in every film he'd been in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJODirze5EM

Cory Calhoun 12:41 AM  

Did you see the first Lord of the Rings film in 2001? Sean Bean was memorable in the pivotal role of Boromir. He also this guy in this ubiquitous meme:

http://www.google.com/search?q=one+does+not+simply+meme&tbm=isch&oq=one+does+not+simply+meme&gs_l=mobile-heirloom-serp.12...0.0.1.1442.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0....0...1c..34.mobile-heirloom-serp..0.9.1210.nzK5_U7E1Ds

Beth 1:12 AM  

Enjoyed this one a lot and had my speediest Sunday yet (31:28). Still don't know what a BERYL is and I got slowed down by first opting for HAMMER instead of RAMMED, but I thought the theme was fun enough. How is ORGANICCHEMISTRY not already a dating app?

dmw 1:24 AM  

Trish instead of Patricia.

Trombone Tom 2:01 AM  

Pretty much down the line on what @Rex said. It took me a few moments, too, to recall the nicknames for Patricia. And I tried fOOTSIE before TOOTSIE in the onesie. The only other problem was trying to fit rEgISTRY in at the end of 115A.

Very workmanlike puzzle with somewhat tame cluing. I did put a big + by the "Command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard" clue.

BBPDX 2:32 AM  

Easy Sunday puzzle but annoying for reasons I can’t define.

Davis 2:35 AM  

SEAN BEAN was also in Lord of the Rings, and various other films. He seems to play a lot of roles where he gets killed.

Theodore Stamos 2:39 AM  

To Live and Die INLA is a great movie - a little forgotten gem of the '80's.

There's some debate in the business world on combining the Chairman and CEO role (24 down). The Chairman is meant to keep an eye on management, including the CEO. Combining those roles presents some obvious agency issues.

Anyways...good Sunday puzzle!

chefwen 3:53 AM  

How anybody can finish a Sunday puzzle in under 12 minutes is beyond my comprehension. The other question is why would you want to?

We did pretty well until the BOOYAH OBITS section, we had HOOYA and were slow to let that go. Patty alternative was also a woe when I couldn’t let go of a hamburger patty.

Had another fun lunch with our own FRENCH CONNECTION ‘mericans on Kauai.

O.K. Puzzle but not one I’d write home about.

An entire week without a cheat! BOOYAH!

Hungry Mother 5:51 AM  

BOOYAH! PR today.

Anonymous 5:55 AM  

Yawn. Boring.

Lewis 6:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:14 AM  

Good name for a dating site for...

1. Accordionists?
2. Lovers of little dogs?
3. Heavy drinkers?


MY MAIN SQUEEZE
TOYS R US
FIFTH PLACE

Anonymous 6:21 AM  

This was a tremendously fun puzzle. I zipped around the grid with ease, making progress with every pass.

It felt crazy-fast, but curiously wasn't. Time fell squarely between record and average.

JOHN X 6:21 AM  

Not one but TWO classic William Friedkin car chase movies in this puzzle: The FRENCH CONNECTION and TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA.

QuasiMojo 7:13 AM  

MEH. This took me just a bit over 20 minutes. Way too easy for a Sunday. I mean, the theme was cutesy-wootsey and the clues and answers just okay. Nothing made me TEEHEE (and definitely not ROFL) or even OOH and AAH. Mostly ACHS! Way too much pop trivia (most of which I had never heard of. Who en enfers is Picard?) And ACTION ITEMS seemed very weak.

@Lewis, I would add one for a swinging religious dating site. IN GOD WE TRYST.

Happy Mother(s)'s Day to any and all.

Birchbark 7:25 AM  

Interesting to see alternative possibilities side-by-side, as in EVIL GRIN/EYES.

Had SEAN pEnN for a moment and was critical of the clue, since they don't look like they rhyme. What the heck, why would they think I would think that? Then Boromir BEAN to the rescue, riddled with orc arrows, and all's well.

Ted 7:40 AM  

Enjoyable theme, good fill, fun all around.

Crosswords are for nerds.

Nerds watch Game of Thrones, Westworld, and Marvel movies.

Nerds know Tessa Thompson and Sean Bean.

Sean Bean wasn't just "in Game of Thrones." He was arguably the main character in the first season. He was also in the Lord of the Rings, Ronin, The Martian, GoldenEye, Equilibrium, and dozens of other films and series. He's well known for dying in most of those roles.

This is not a stretch.

Loren Muse Smith 7:43 AM  

This was a ton of fun. Neat idea, Neville and erik!

@Robert Bowden – When it comes to crosswords and NC four-letter colleges, Duke is always number two.

A couple of goofs:

“both feet” before FOOTSIES
“sitire” before SATIRE (thinking it was the newborn child of sitcom and satire. Dumb)
“pummel” then “ramrod” before RAMMED

“Camping menace” – our dog Ethel, RIP. You head off to do your bidness with the shovel, ahem, and she is right there. Sniffing, encroaching, checking out this wonder. It was really, really awkward.

@Lewis and @quasiMojo – good ones! Here are mine:

OLD BOY NETWORK – good name for a sugar daddy site?
CUFF LINK – Good name for a dating site for S&M enthusiasts?
HOG TIES – Good name for a dating site for bikers?
SAUSAGE LINK – (you do the math…)
THREE-WAY TIES – (see above.)


Happy Mother’s Day, all. May your BESTIES never become NASTIES.

Hartley70 7:56 AM  

I give this theme an "adorable" rating. Like yesterday, it was a very fast solve, but handy since I need to get on with the day's festivities. Nicely done, guys!

Stanley Hudson 8:02 AM  

An enjoyable Sunday puzzle.

Doesn’t ACTION ITEM come from parliamentary procedure (Roberts’ Rules, etc.)?

Rob 8:25 AM  

Lots of fun today. I didn't know RUBBER MATCH, but it was easy enough to get from crosses, and I liked all the other themers.

ACTION ITEM is business jargon for a thing that requires someone to do something. If you're in a meeting discussing an item on the agenda and it's determined that you need to do something about that item, the thing you need to do is now an ACTION ITEM for you.

RJ 8:26 AM  

Sean Bean played Boromir in the LOTR movies long before GOT…along with many other well known and beautiful actors. One of his head shots also hung on the vicar’s wall next to a painting of Jesus in The Vicar of Dibley. Because he’s so pretty.

I love FASTCAR and Tracy Chapman, whom I also think of as the new(?) Joan Armatrading.

The RUBBERMATCH cluing was weird and vaguely reminiscent of the “dirty jokes” from my child hood.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Glimmerglass 8:27 AM  

Great theme. It’s fun to think of others, but NSFW. Fell down on MAKE IT SO. It’s a well-known navel (and therefore starfleet) expression, but I was trying to force some variation of Calypso in there. Never heard of the vintner, but I buy very little wine. Except for that cross, I did very well guessing unfamiliar names, and there were several!

Charles Flaster 8:33 AM  

Liked it more than Rex but a DNF as I never changed AsIN to AKIN.
My writovers : EVIL GRIN for EVIL eyes; ONESIE for uNdies; SEAN BEAN for SEAN pEnN.
Creative clueing for RECESS, BATONS, and BOARD MEETING.
Liked the theme a lot .
Thanks NF and EA

QuasiMojo 8:46 AM  

@LMS, I love your CUFF LINK suggestion. I thought of one more. A dating site for couples who love going to the theatre: SQUEEZE PLAYS.

Z 8:47 AM  

When the Commentariat is coming up with funnier theme answers maybe the cluing could have been turned up a notch. In God We Tryst and Sausage Link are the winners so far.

OTOH - Just because you know someone's complete death oeuvre does not mean others do or care. That is always the issue with PPP*, one person's wheelhouse is another's outhouse. I knew SEAN BEAN and MAKE IT SO, but gave both answers the side EYE. At least SEAN BEAN is current. TNG stopped making movies 20 years ago, so that is pretty obscure esoterica in 2018.

My first themer was FRENCH CONNECTION so I thought all the themers would be movies. The puzzle only got sloggy at the very end, so an above average Sunday. I am familiar with "neat as A PIN," but have no clue as to its provenance. What is it about A PIN that makes one think "neat?" No clue. Hand up for wondering about SEAN pEnN before cleaning that up. I also had capN before BOS'N. Otherwise a clean solve. I've no idea on time, but it seemed quick.







*PPP is Pop culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns.

MickMcMick 8:59 AM  

Loved this one, tons of fun. Flew through. Favorite theme answer, French connection, but all were quite clever. Kudos

kitshef 9:36 AM  

NASTIES ONESIE TOOTSIES BESTIE BETTIE: A record that we can only hope nobody tries to break.

HOME EC clue seems wrong. If referring to the course name – well, that’s obsolete, not obsolescent. If referring to the course itself, it’s just wrong.

I did like the theme. Not belly-busters, but funny enough.

FAST CAR awesome song.

I thought Rex Bell was the IT GUY. (Yes, I've used that one before.)

phil phil 9:38 AM  

Rex often amazes me, in two different directions. I mean i was 47m 3min off my best and he's 11+ and the TRISH went by him, WHOOSH.
I figured speed solvers would grok tricks like that in nano seconds. Show's i haven’t a clue on speed solving thought process.

But I just loved this puzzle and theme. Many made me chuckle and some mad me think of solve them with theme in mind with partials in, like xxxxMATCH. Cool.

Had some letters in the Natural foods one and filled it gReeNacrers????

Wanted STUDFarmER too

puzzlehoarder 9:41 AM  

Happy Mother's Day to all you mother's.

We got the new modem yesterday but there's a problem with it. I had to solve this one by phone which is a royal pain. I've become suprisingly adept at it but the eye strain is still exhausting.

I didn't bother to look at the title before starting but it didn't take long to figure out. I had no idea where ACTION ITEM was coming from but simple word association did the trick.

The only real problem I had was the Captain Picard thing. The name meant nothing to me. I had the ASIN/AKIN write over at that point and it took some time to ferret it out. Before I checked all the crosses on the MASEITSO (is that the name of a ship?)
gobbledeegook I looked over the whole puzzle. A waste of time. The (to) in the AKIN clue finally popped up on the radar and I finished. Someone mentioned that the phrase has an existence of it's own beside from it's use in the movie. Either way it's news to me.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

��

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

I've never heard of him, not seen any of those movies, tv shows, incl GOT, hate comics and not familiar with meme. But I agree with your basic premise that crosswords are for nerds. FEMALE nerds, perhaps, have different cultural lodestars, but that is an argument for a different day.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

Yes, I think d8o, too

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Please explain NSFW

Mohair Sam 9:59 AM  

So Lady Mohair's first name is Patty, everyone except me calls her that. I call her TRISH. For the life of me I couldn't get 67 across - go figure.

Agree with most of what OFL had to say, but I liked the themers more than he. With the notable exception of ACTION ITEM. Yes, I know it's a thing - it just wasn't funny.

Got through it fairly quickly even though we stumbled on some terrific misdirects. Crosses were fair so no complaints. Took two alphabet runs to get the "A" in MAKEITSO - we were looking for the name of a Starship (we've never seen the show). Took a while to realize "MAKE IT SO was a phrase."

Happy Mother's Day to those of you who qualify. Off to Jersey for a day with eldest son and family to ensure that Patty is properly feted on her Day.

Raphe 10:00 AM  

Easy all the way around. But Sean Bean led me astray, thought first of Sean Penn.

CDilly52 10:02 AM  

To those who work on committees especially government boards, ACTION ITEMS are those on apublished agenda requiring a vote of the board.

Roo Monster 10:10 AM  

Hey All !
Good name for an Arch lovers dating site? MEET ME IN ST LOUIS

Had some fun Sites in this one, STUD FINDER, OPEN FLAMES (can think of an alternative for that one), WESTERN UNION. Liked puz as a whole. And naturally, I had my one-letter DNF. SOLo/ToSSA. Couple writeovers, alANalda-SEANBEAN (sure, not rhyming, but ubiquitous crosswordese), lmao-ROFL. Fun answer COCONUT for head. And nice to see myself in puz again, ROO. :-) Also nice to see complete TEEHEE.

I did finish puz fairly fast for a Sunday. BOO YAH! YAY ME! (And that's no SATIRE!)

No three-peat for the PENGUINs this year. But, the Vegas Golden Knights are still going! Go Knights Go!

30 minutes or less alternative saying? CHEESE PRONTO in a FAST CAR. TEEHEE.

SEE YA
RooMonster
DarrinV



Wm. C. 10:15 AM  

@Anon9:53 --

NSFW => Not Suitable For Work

GILL I. 10:15 AM  

Could someone please tell me who SEAN BEAN is?
@Cliff R and @kitshef took away my thunder with the one too many IES. Throw in the NSFW BRB ROFL TEE HEE and RAH RAH and what do you get? A big fat BOOYAH.
I like EVIL GRIN sitting next to EYES.
Got FRENCH CONNECTION - thought movies. Got STUD FINDER thought X-rated movies. Got RUBBER MATCH and said "where the hell is this thing going"? Did I miss Sex In the City?
I wanted a Mothers Day - I got dull. OK idea - that's all.
Happy Mothers Day. If you aren't a Mother remember you had a Mother. Celebrate her!

relicofthe60s 10:39 AM  

It’s bad enough not to know Sean Bean, but how can an educated per not know Henry Wallace? He was FDR’s second vice president (between Garner and Truman), held several Cabinet posts, and ran for president on the Progressive ticket in the famous four-way election in 1948 against Truman, Dewey, and Thurmond. Basically he was Bernie long before Bernie.

Nancy 10:39 AM  

Will I be an outlier today? I thought the theme answer puns were so vague, so arbitrary, so imprecise that I needed a preponderance of crossing letters to get just about all of them. Nor was there one of them I found at all amusing. And many seemed made up: I know what ORGANIC CHEMISTRY and WESTERN UNION are, but what's a STUD FINDER? What's a RUBBER MATCH (I've heard of a RUBBER GAME in Bridge.). I almost threw the puzzle against the wall yesterday; then this morning, seeing I'd made progress in spite of myself and was not all that far from the end, I finished it. But if I hadn't, it wouldn't have been a great loss either. Not enjoyable for me.

Warren Tyler 10:40 AM  

Best Sunday time ever! A full 40 minutes below my average and that included quite a few seconds trying to find a typo. I was surprised to see a medium rating, since I breezed right through. I thought it was a fun puzzle but I prefer my Sunday’s to put up a little more resistance.

Robert A. Simon 10:41 AM  

Okay. Can't resist:

Dating site for horse owners? Hot to Trot.
Dating site for AAA members? Screwdrivers.
Dating site for disappointing lovers? Once Upon a Mattress.

Warren Tyler 10:42 AM  

Best Sunday time ever! A full 40 minutes below my average and that included quite a few seconds trying to find a typo. I was surprised to see a medium rating, since I breezed right through. I thought it was a fun puzzle but I prefer my Sunday’s to put up a little more resistance.

Moly Shu 10:44 AM  

@Gill I, I think SEANBEAN was also in..... ok, enough, we got it. Sheesh.
1a had to be pop-a-shot in some rebus form because that is clearly the only real hoops arcade game. And that led to 1d being porn. Yep, stymied right off the bat. Figured it all out later with the help of some Chinese dude.

Barry Frain 10:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nyc_lo 11:03 AM  

I’m kind of surprised not to see Sean Bean used more as standard crossword-ese, like Esai Morales or Isao Aoki, given his preponderance of vowels. I’m sure Rex will start to notice him in everything now, and soon become a fan.

TubaDon 11:04 AM  

Managed to solve consecutively somehow even though I had to guess at some unkowns like Mr. BEAN and FASTCAR. Stalled near the end in the NW since I couldn't make heads or tails of NSFW (Googled it later to find out it means Not Safe For Work) but WRAPS seemed only cross that made sense at 26A so I went with it.
Seemed to be a lot of IE endings and disappointingly no Mother's Day theme. BOOYAH sounds like something a US marine might say on Halloween

Carola 11:04 AM  

Engaging puzzle. I enjoyed trying to anticipate where the various enthusasiasts would seek their TOOTSIES. Favorites were STUD FINDER and OPEN FLAMES. The presence of ONSIE, SON, and TOYS at the close points to some successful mating.

Alan_S. 11:06 AM  

I totally agree. If I can't spend at least 45 min to an hour with my Saturday morning NYT magazine puzzle, I feel cheated. Speed solving seems antithetical to the reasons I do the crossword in the first place. Guess I won't be entering any tournaments.

ArtO 11:11 AM  

Thanks to @Wm.C for the NSFW explanation. While ARCS and MEH went in quickly, the balance of the NW had to be worked at going clockwise around the entire grid. Thought SEANBEAN would be pronounced Shawn Bean.

While I don't specifically time myself.. just generally, I find that anything under an hour on Sunday is a good solve, anything around 45 minutes "fast" so this came in "almost fast" and, in toto, a fun solve with eight themes.

In my mind the important thing is to enjoy the solve whether you do it in record setting time or struggle. Finishing is the reward. In fact, almost finishing is rewarding for me on Friday and Saturday.

Happy Mothers Day to those who qualify!

Alan_S. 11:12 AM  

Go LMS, I never got to see this slightly naughty side of you!

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Finished today in 45 minutes (online). Slightly above my Sunday average of 42 but well above my best of 14. About an hour after I finished, I took my print version and filled it in with a pen; that took 9 minutes and 30 seconds.

Yesterday, I finished in 22.39 (online). Below my Saturday average of 37 and well above my best of 16. About an hour after I finished, I took the print version and filled it in with a pen; that took 5 minutes and 15 seconds.

Finding it hard to understand some of the finish times others are reporting, many of which seem quicker than I can fill in the grid having just completed the online version.

PJC

Maruchka 11:14 AM  

@Beth - Minutiae of the Day (since we're already, perhaps overly, in Middle Earth this morning):

A BERYL shows up in Vol. 1. as a small green gem found by Aragon. It's proof elves have determined that the Bridge is safe to cross over.

Banana Diaquiri 11:19 AM  

why oh why doesn't SEAN BEAN play Mr. Bean???? it's only fair.

JC66 11:23 AM  

Some State dating sites:

Missouri: Show Me

Georgia: Eat A Peach

Oklahoma: Better Sooner Than Later

Oregon: NSFW

TJS 11:39 AM  

@Nancy, Final game of a series in sports= rubber game or match. When hanging something on a wall like a kitchen cabinet, you use a stud finder to find the 2 by 4s behind the wall surface so you get a strong bond to the wall. It sends a sensor through the wall surface to locate the stud behind. I could probably phrase this better but I hope ypu get the idea.

Conrad 11:43 AM  

@LMS — Condolences on the passing of your dog Ethel. Loved your “sitire” portmanteau. “Satcom” would also work but I think that’s already in use for something about satellite communication.

Maruchka 11:53 AM  

Oops. That's Aragorn..

pcardout 11:56 AM  

A stud finder is a sensor you move along plaster walls to find the wooden beam, or STUD underneath so you can (for example) hang a heavy picture. Sorry you didnt know it. I thought it and OPENFLAME were the cutest two answers.

Any time theres a Star Trek reference l, it's a good day for me.

Alan_S. 11:59 AM  

Never realized how many people enjoy scuba diving. Reading some of the profiles on this blog it is apparently very popular.

Naughty dating site for scuba enthusiasts:
Deep C Diving

pcardout 12:00 PM  

Stud Finders are little sensor things you run along a plaster or sheetrock wall that tell you where the beams (studs) are. Very cute answer I thought. Liked OPENFLAME aas well. Any day with a Star Trek reference is a good day. (Note my userID!)

old timer 12:00 PM  

Easyish Sunday, and one where the theme answers really helped with the solve. And they were clever I thought. A STUD FINDER, btw, is a magnetic gizmo you run along the wall to find the nails and therefore the studs hidden under the paint and plaster. Very useful. A RUBBER MATCH is indeed borrowed from the game of Bridge, where you need to win two out of three games to win the rubber, so the last is the rubber game. If you are playing tennis, rubber is not an actual name but has been adapted to refer to the final set of a match.

I liked FRENCH CONNECTION because it reminded me of my teenage years, when French kissing was often about as far as you got with a girl. The obvious source of the term became clear only when I was older and less virginal.

MAKE IT SO was what captains said to their underlings when they agreed with a suggestion. Probably was common in the Napoleonic era, of the wonderful Aubrey-Maturin series, but I suppose it was a common phrase in any navy.

newspaperguy 12:06 PM  

@ chefwen said...
"How anybody can finish a Sunday puzzle in under 12 minutes is beyond my comprehension. The other question is why would you want to?"

Would you slow down your solving time to keep someone else from feeling offended? Thought not.

Hungry Mother 12:08 PM  

We ITGUYs are usually fans of LOTR, GOT, and Star Trek. ITGUY, in the guise of a computing consultant, was my 25 year alter ego to my 30 year professor of mathematics and computer science. I knew about ACTIONITEMS in both halves of my career and also in my 10 years on a school board.

Masked and Anonymous 12:18 PM  

M&A is so far removed from the whole Gang of Thrones thing, he had trouble even figurin out what "GOT" meant in the blog write-up.

Sooo … then …
{Good name for over-the-top Sean Bean fans' dating site??} = GOTTOGETMESOME?

Good SunPuz theme. Need lotsa humor, on these epic-sized puppies.

Are these desperate? …
* ONREPEAT. Is this a techy term or GOT term that M&A just don't know?
* EVILGRIN. Better than EVILPAINT or GREENGRIN, I'd grant.
* SUNRAY. Wow. OK. It's in the dictionary, all as one word. Learned somethin new today, besides GOT. Thank heavens.

staff weeject pick: BRB. Stands for "Big Restroom Break". Ethel not invited.

Thanx for gangin up on us, NF & EA. Some of the theme seemed a bit dated. har

Masked & Anonymo6Us


almost impossible to GOT:
**gruntz**

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

Easy Sunday, but could someone explain 53 Down - Feet?

.

Masked and Anonymous 12:50 PM  

@Anon 12:37 PM-
As in: 6' 2" = 6 feet, 2 inches.

M&A Help Desk

Z 12:55 PM  

@Anon12:37 - I am 6'4". Does that help?

Joe in Newfoundland 1:00 PM  

the sign for feet is '. and the sign for inches is " These are also used respectively for minutes and seconds.
NSFW - not SAFE for work.
Isn't BOOYAH a Marine term? Or is it generally used?
Nice puzzle.

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

32:58 Fastest Sunday time ever.

Don’t know why, everything just seemed totally obvious. Guess sometimes you click with the constructor.

jberg 1:11 PM  

I too am an ivory tower academic (ret.), but even I have been to meetings where there were ACTION ITEMs. Never seen Game of Thrones, though.

28A was a little eerie, after the news about the terrorist stabbings in Place d'Opera; probably the puzzle had been printed by the time that happened.

dNF for me as I couldn't remember the Chinese leader's name and put in X instead of J. Didn't make sense for the arcade game, but then those are not required to make sense.

Off to hear the step-grandson play in a Mother's Day concert, so no time to say more. Except, @Nancy, thankis for that STUD FINDER question, it ended the ON REPEAT SEAN BEAN explanations.

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

OMG sorry for my stupid post about feet. Should have seen that. Thanks all

Nancy 1:32 PM  

Thanks for the explanations, @TJS; @pcardout; and (off-blog) @mathgent. Guess everyone knew the theme answers better than I did. Maybe it's because I get experts to hang my paintings. I have close friends, a married couple, who are both ardent museum-goers and art collectors. I let them do the placement of the paintings. Then I have a handyman. He does the hammering of the nails. So I've never needed to use a STUD FINDER.

As far as RUBBER MATCH for the 3rd set in tennis, @old timer -- I'm a lifelong tennis player and I've never heard it. What I hear is: "Wanna play one more set?" Or "Do we have time for a third set?" Or "Let's play another. This one will decide it." Maybe RUBBER MATCH is used a lot elsewhere, but not in Central Park. Even my good friend Carol, who as well as being a quite skillful tennis player is also a tournament level Bridge player has never, to the best of my knowledge, said RUBBER MATCH in a tennis context. And she would certainly know the term from Bridge. But it could be a regional thing.

Roo Monster 1:33 PM  

@Joe 1:00
I think the Marines say HOO YAH!
BOO YAH is more "look at what I did!" or a similar type thing.

@M&A, your dated sentence. Nice...
Ooh, BRB. :-)

RooMonster

marian modrak 1:35 PM  

never heard of NSFW

floatingboy 1:35 PM  

Another one I got the same time as RP! Two days in a row! He must be off and I must be on.

Teedmn 1:37 PM  

This is a really fun theme. I liked ORGANIC CHEMISTRY and FRENCH CONNECTION a lot. STUD FINDER seemed like it needed a wackier clue (dating site for mares?) but overall, this was easy and had good fill.

A few things held me up - Lincoln's home of 45D was ILL far too long. Betray instead of FLIP ON at 79A. fOOTSIES before TOOTSIES at 109A. Cap'n instead of Bo's'n. And I slapped in "fire ant" as 41A's Southern colony instead of PENGUIN and had to fight my way out of that.

Technical DNF because at some point I had a typo where ENS turned into EmS but no real holdups. Thanks, NF and EA. Great theme finds and a lot of fun clues.

sixtyni yogini 2:08 PM  

Fast (for me] and fun.
Btw I took rubber to be as one who rubs, not as Rex said.
Love Lewis Rothlein’s clever additional clues/answers posted above.
Cheers!

Lewis 2:49 PM  

I thought this Will Shortz post on a facebook crossword site would be of interest to some here:


"Dear friends,

Periodically I get asked, "Why aren't more female constructors published in the New York Times?" And I always think, "Well, we don't get a lot of submissions from women." But until now I've never counted.

So this afternoon I counted. I looked through 260 recent submissions ... and counted 33 by female constructors. That's a little under 13%.

This figure is in line with the percentage of female constructors we publish. Last year, according to the stats at XwordInfo, 13% of the crosswords published in the Times were by women. So far this year the figure is slightly better -- 15%.

Why this number is still so low, I don't know.

In positive news, the number of new female constructors is significantly higher. In 2016, 31% of the 26 contributors who made their Times debut were female. In 2017, 19% were female. So far this year 27% have been female. XwordInfo lists all the names.

Our goal is to be inclusive. We want the Times crossword to reflect the lives, culture, and vocabulary of the people who do it, and having more female-made puzzles would provide better balance.

Still for us to publish more women constructors, we need to receive more puzzles by women. That's the bottom line.

Our policy is open submissions. If you're a woman who'd like to get into crossword constructing, we'd welcome your contributions, and we'll be happy to work with you to get you published.

--Will Shortz"

JC66 3:25 PM  

@Lewis

Thanks for posting @Will's comments on female constructors.

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

Could someone explain ASNAP?

JC66 4:05 PM  

@Anon 3:57

It's easy to do, it's A SNAP.

thefogman 4:16 PM  

BOOYAH! I finished this one PRONTO. It was a DREAM to solve. Bravo Neville Fogarty and Erik Agard!

Anonymous 4:25 PM  

First Game of Thrones book was great. What the hell kind of English teacher is Rex? Every book can't be Things Fall Apart. Just lost a lot of credibility.

sanfranman59 4:26 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:15 4:30 0.95 31.6% Easy-Medium
Tue 4:52 5:37 0.87 21.3% Easy-Medium
Wed 10:26 6:07 1.71 98.7% Very Challenging
Thu 7:45 9:51 0.79 20.8% Easy-Medium
Fri 13:05 13:01 1.01 53.2% Medium
Sat 12:35 16:06 0.78 28.8% Easy-Medium
Sun 15:18 21:18 0.72 12.9% Easy

The only answers that were were mysteries to me were PAIGE Davis (112A) & TESSA Thompson (17D). Reviewing the puzzle post-solve, there's not much that strikes me. ON REPEAT (27A), FLIP ON (79A) and IT GUY (102D) are kinda awkward. I don't think of BOO YAH (36A) as a "Victor's shout". I pretty much only know it as a sports highlights expression. FAST CAR (71A) and John CALE (120A) are always welcome in my crossword and I would have preferred "Singer-Songwriter Tom" as the clue for 12D. My most frustrating moment was when I couldn't come up with HENRY Wallace's name (38D). The theme was okay. Nothing here gave me much of a rise. MEH.

Chuck from Facilities Management 5:48 PM  

Isn’t TOOTSIES Rhode Island slang for ta-tas?

But it IS rocket science 5:50 PM  

What happened to @Stanley Hudson? Did he go the way of @Evil Doug? God I loved that man!

Jack the Lad 5:52 PM  

Bravo Neville Chamberlain and Eric Blair!

Unknown 7:18 PM  

Not Safe For Work... Usually seen to warn that a link someone sent shouldn't be openned at work or you risk HRs wrath.

pat sanchez 8:16 PM  

I gave up after 1 hour missing a few clues.Didn't know NBA jam, NSFW, wraps, Paige, make it so. Had waters for batons for a while. Liked it mostly but didn't know but got action items or rubber match. I wanted it to be rubber maids or is that too sexist? Kept reading a snap as as nap. Duh. Stud finder was obvious but that joke is so old to me. Also got but never heard of Tessa Thompson. My favorite was open flames. Anyway, love you Rex!

Anonymous 8:30 PM  

Sorry guys this one was WAY too easy....finished in under an hour with NO corrections (a first for me)

Anonymous 8:37 PM  

Sean Bean was the villain in the James Bond film Goldeneye (one of his famous roles where he dies). He was supposedly also considered for the actual role of Bond at one time. Has quite a following as Richard Sharpe in the TV movie films of Bernard Cornwell’s Peninsular War novels. (Where he doesn’t die.)

Z 9:30 PM  

@Anon1:17 - No need to apologize. I will guarantee you that you weren’t alone.

@Anon4:25 - Isn’t the whole point of GoT that “Things Fall Apart.”Anyway, G.R.R.M. needs a good editor. Overwrought, overstuffed, excessive in irrelevancies, not to mention boring and tedious. Tell you what, go find a copy of Dhalgren then get back to us.

@Lewis - Interesting, but also frustrating.

Mark 9:58 PM  

It’s unfair to judge the GOT tv show from the books. I tried both and gave up on the books. The TV show is much better.

CashPo’ 10:21 PM  

Booyah is what Jim Cramer always shouts on his show Smart Money.

Sara Dacus 11:21 PM  

THRONES, Y'ALL! You should totally go for it.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

@Z
One of the mysteries of life is that the bookstore has two shelves of G.R.R.Martin and not one copy of anything by Samuel R. Delany. You just made my day naming Dhalgren.

Elizabeth Lancaster 12:05 PM  

👍👍

Vinny G 7:55 AM  

Surprisingly enough, I was able to get the SEAN BEAN clue with no crosses. I remembered a crossword from about 20 years ago... the theme was SITE RHYME. All the themed answers appeared to rhyme but did not. The clue back then was “he played 006 in Goldeneye”.
Another answer I recall from that puzzle was POWER MOWER. It’s amazing what random crosswords the brain chooses to remember.

First time poster, long time fan of the blog.

Burma Shave 10:26 AM  

ADULTS MAKEITSO NSFW

TESSA DREAMs to be a SORT of STUDFINDER,
her ACTIONITEM’S ONREPEAT to remind her
the ITGUY PHENOM’S a catch
to MAKE an IMMENSE RUBBERMATCH
up and PACTEN ORSO PRONTO behind her.

--- TRINIDAD “TRISH” MONDAVI, CEO

Ryan Hauck 11:52 AM  

Easiest and most boring NYT Sunday crossword in a while. In my opinion any crossword that uses EON and ERA in the same puzzle is a poorly constructed game.

rondo 12:02 PM  

MEH is about right. And the grid is neat as APIN. And OFL has no idea what ACTIONITEMS are? Ever been to a committee or BOARDMEETING?

ZIPPO was the least known, happiest, blondest, fairest and thinnest of all the Marx Brothers. In all ways he was the lighter. Har.

Years AGO, as seniors in H.S. the last week before school was out we were made to take “mini-courses”. All the girls had to take shop and the guys had to take HOME-EC. The girls learned how to change a tire while the boys baked a cake from a box mix. Supposedly to prepare us to be better ADULTS. Haven’t baked a cake since.

There’s a shopping center on St. Paul’s east side called SUNRAY Center. And there used to be one in suburban Mpls called APACHE Plaza which was torn down about 15 ORSO years AGO.

Like CHEESEcake for ADULTS or don’t, BETTIE Page pioneered it years AGO. Yeah baby.

I wish the NYT would MAKEITSO Sundays were a bit more enjoyable. SEEYA.

spacecraft 1:51 PM  

Took a while in spots. Along about the 13th and 14th lines across (headed by 78 and 82) I had some nonsense caused by near-fatal mistake RAMroD instead of RAMMED. There it is again: that verb that's the same in past tense as present. Hit, put, etc. Grrr! And in this particular case, the two wrong letters just happened to fall in two themers. OPONPLACES??? Finally noticed it could be past tense and fixed it...but ACTIONITEMS? Is that a thing? All the others are real on their own: STUDFINDER, RUBBERMATCH, etc. Not ACTIONITEMS. Bah humbug!

So too is SUNRAY. It's a ray of light or a sunbeam. NOT SUNRAY. No one ever says that. Bah x2!

Hand up for ZIlch before ZIPPO. Also AsIN before AKIN. Was confused by the clue for 85-down. Picard's "command" is, of course, the Enterprise, which doesn't fit. What is "MASEITSO?" Then at last realized it's ONE OF his "commands," or, much more properly "orders." That word "command" really threw me. A captain's command is his vessel. What he gives verbally are orders. Please.

Anyway, got through it. Some sluggishness, some WOEs (I'm supposed to know John CALE?), also some good fill, a mixed bag. DOD is PAIGE; I'd wrestle with her any time. Very honorable mention to BETTIE Page, a pioneer in her time. Par.

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

What the heck is NSFW?

rainforest 2:26 PM  

Got FRENCH CONNECTION off the bat and was looking for more movie titles among the themers. WESTERN UNION set me straight, and I saw that I had to focus on the dating site idea, and not the genre of the answers.

Once I realized that, I went pretty quickly through this. Entertaining and pretty easy, as Sundays go.

rondo 2:26 PM  

@anon 1:57 - Not Safe For Work

rainforest 2:37 PM  

@Anonymous Not Safe For Work, ie, don't look at the site while on the job.

AnonymousPVX 3:18 PM  

Got through it with no issues, although the NW was tough.

Diana,LIW 7:38 PM  

What day is it? What time is it? I worked on this on and off in between multi-interruptions, all kindsa Sunday stuff, and achey, achey everything (went to the gym yesterday - longer than planned).

Guess on the very last letter and was right, so finally, a clean finish. (Yeah - L of CALE.)

Taking achey body to bed. Cat has offered to keep me warm - gladly accepting.

Lady Di - What a Royal Weekend

leftcoastTAM 8:36 PM  

Well-executed, smooth, and entertaining theme (for a Sunday afternoon slog).

With all the choices, ended up singling out, coincidently(?), two themers--STUDFINDER and RUBBERMATCH-- and one filler--BETTIE Page--as favorites.

Again, last to go was the NW.

spacecraft 8:56 PM  

I always thought it was not suitable for work.

Anonymous 1:54 AM  

Liked this puzzle.

To Rex and others who were disappointed in rubber match: A masseuse (aka "rubber") dating someone who also is a professional "rubber" would seem to be a very good match.
And one might need a rubber in case the date led to romance ! And rubber match is everyday usage is a very familiar term. I've heard it used in print, TV, radio, conversations etc. So I would disagree and would say it is a very good answer/clue.

And finally finished a Sunday puzzle for a change, but a long way south of 12 minutes.
But congrats to those who finished in such a fast time. Makes my head spin.

Phillip Blackerby 4:31 AM  

The game of bridge has two different scoring systems. In "rubber" bridge, a score of 100 or more points constitutes a "game," no matter how many hands are played to accumulate those 100 points. The first team to score a "game" twice wins the "rubber match," or simply, the "rubber." "Duplicate" is the other scoring method, used for tournaments.

Phillip Blackerby 4:41 AM  

Watch Jim Cramer on CNBC. You'll quickly and regrettably understand the definition of "Booyah."

SharonAK 12:44 PM  

Guess I better understand the idea of "not in my wheelhouse" I enjoyed the first couple of themers once I got them but most were totally obscure to me (still dont know what a rubber match is) and eventually I kind of got bored and just came here for the answers

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