THURSDAY, Nov. 6, 2008- Jeremy Newton ("Bad Girl" singer / Winged mammoth / Actor known as the King of Cool)

Thursday, November 6, 2008



Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: SUIT (1A: What the 13 circled things in this puzzle constitute) - rebus puzzle where cards running ACE through KING are inserted into individual circled squares throughout the grid

"Brilliant concept, clunky execution." That is what I have scrawled atop my copy of this puzzle. Got the theme fairly early with IN3D and MP3PLAYERS, which allowed me to uncover the theme-revealing SUIT. The clunkiness comes from the inconsistency with which numbers are used. So "3" is a "3," but "9" is the letter string "NINE" in CANINE, even though there's nothing numerical about the word (though "9" *is* used numerically in the cross, 9 TO 5). Lastly theres the fact that I have to read the "8" and "2" as "eighty" and "twenty," respectively, in the answers "86IT" and WOR[KING]247. There's no pattern to the rebus squares that I can see. . . It's an admirable feat, this puzzle, but something about the looseness of the rebus grated. Then there's the non-theme fill, most of which was fine, but some of which, dear god. LAYSOVER (6D: Breaks up flights). "When United LAYS OVER its customers ..." I'm just having trouble hearing the phrase in my head. I know what a LAYOVER is. I think I have heard people say "I got LAID OVER" ... maybe. But phrased with the airline as the subject of the verb ... no. Or is it intransitive, like "he'll be home after he LAYS OVER in Hong Kong?" Ugh. I was looking for an answer that had to do with stairs.

Rebus answers:

  • 3D: Having depth (in3d)
  • 16A: Devices for music lovers (mp3players)
  • 10A: Pound delivery (ca9) - [groan] - "oh look, a litter of canines!" I doubt it.
  • 12D: Like many office jobs (9 to 5)
  • 21A: A.L. or N.L. Division Series format (best of 5)
  • 25A: Like squads in arena football (8man) - [blank]MAN - thanks for the fair shot at the answer! Nobody cares about arena football!
  • 25D: "Scratch that!" ("86 it!")
  • 32A: Something that may hold up a train? (6 shooter)
  • 38A: Never idle (wor [KING] 247)
  • 24D: Spot (par [KING] sp [ACE]) - my favorite theme answer of the lot
  • 39D: Juvenile, in horse racing (2 year old)
  • 35D: Some engines (V4s)
  • 22D: Bargain hunter's lure (sale7t) - by far the hardest of these answers to turn up
  • 48A: Full coverage? (surf [ACE] area)
  • 54D: "Through the Looking Glass" antagonist (Red [QUEEN])
  • 66A: Actor known as the King of Cool (Mc [QUEEN]) - love the king/queen interplay here
  • 68A: Barefaced (pa10t)
  • 57D: No-good (rot10)
  • 62D: Hike ([JACK] up)
  • 60A: "Bad Girl" singer (La Toya [JACK]son) - I prefer a different "Bad Girl"...



There were some real zingers in this puzzle - stuff that I knocked me right off track. I had to convince myself that SAML could be an answer (1D: _____ Adams, signature on the Declaration of Independence). Pathological fear of the letter combo "UE"? Oh well, he makes a decent beer, so it's cool. The answer that stumped me more than any other was 46D: Building with walls for a ceiling (A-frame). Before going ahead and getting crosses, I sat there and tried to break the code. Couldn't get myself out of cube-thought. Entertained AVIARY, briefly (?). I was proud to come up with MOSEL (9D: Wine region where Riesling is made), mostly because I'm Terrible at wine regions that aren't ASTI or NAPA. Also happy to decode 8D: Winged mammoth (airbus) - brain of course went to dinosaurs (via woolly mammoth???), but then figured the "mammoth" didn't have to be alive. Minor quibble on 33D: Says "My bad!" (owns up). . . well, OK, not a quibble. Just an observation that "OWNS UP" doesn't do well as a stand-alone phrase. He fessed up. OK. He owned up ... to? What year was it the last time someone called another human being a "yo-yo" (20A: Yo-yo => ASS)? Probably the same year people last TOGged out??? (34D: Deck (out)). Don't you TOG *up*? Lastly in the complaint department, there were theme squares in all the expected long Across answers but one (UNPOPULAR - 23A: Off the charts?), adding to the messy, unbalanced feel of the whole grid.

More:

  • 49D: Fill a flat again? (relet) - clever
  • 17D: Airline to Chile (LAN) - I can never remember this airline. Apparently there were multiple explanations for what the letters "LAN" stand for, but the airline says it's "no longer" an abbreviation.
  • 45A: Dashed figs. (SSNs) - good clue; not obvious
  • 56A: U.R.L. ender (org) - always gotta wait for crosses with a clue like this.
  • 64A: Actor Hirsch of "Into the Wild" (Emile) - still haven't seen this. I used to see movies. Not sure what happened.
  • 36D: Big ring stone, slangily (rock) - slangily! Some more Rock (probably not suitable for work):


  • 58D: Airborne irritant (gnat) - another pesky, head-fakey clue. If something flies of its own volition, is it truly "airborne?" I guess so. I just think of allergens and particles of pollution when I see "airborne."
  • 27D: Whoops at sea (ahoys) - again with the tricksiness. Not "whoops" as in "my bad," but "whoops" as in "loud noises," I guess.

It's a warm day here, so no need for my SCRAPER this morning (52A: Tool for a driver or painter). Coffee time.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

79 comments:

twangster 9:46 AM  

Took a while but eventually I got all the circles. Oddly I had the most trouble at the end with the regular fill and had to google to finish the AIRBUS MOSEL area.

jannieb 9:46 AM  

Being a card player, I had the theme very early - just the "3'' and knowing it was a set of 13 couldn't be anything else to me. But it really didn't help much. The lack of consistency in how the numbers were used, as Rex mentioned, gave me very few gimmes. The Engine could be an 8, which it was in my grid for a long time. Last to fall for me was California - knowing nothing about arena football and already having that 8 somewhere else... well, you do the math!

Points for a great theme idea, but the execution didn't live up to the premise.

Wade 10:00 AM  

Rex! Guys! Too harsh! Not enough love for this puzzle! That which you complain of is what put this puzzle in the "Best. Thursday. Ever." category for me. What you call inconsistency I see as brilliant head-fakery and taking the theme into a new meta-level of theme puzzles. I usually object to Thursday or Thursday-ish puzzles on the basis that once you spot the theme or the gimmick, you're just rotely filling in blanks. Here I caught onto the stunt pretty early but not super-early (9 to 5 was where I found it), and that turned out to be just the beginning. It was great fun and quite challenging to hunt for where the cards would fall, to figure out how the cards would be referred to (a trey or deuce would have been cool), and then to try to determine whether they would work as a unit (as in 86) or separately, as words or as numbers. I had to work for every square, and the last thing I filled in was SUIT (where I confidently and, in hindsight, dumbly, put DECK earlier). On top of the (I think) brilliant execution of the theme, I thought the individual clues were pretty brilliant, especially the clue for RELET, where I wanted Re-air, and the clue for SIX-SHOOTER (was thinking bridal train.) Rhapsodies all around from me on this puzzle.

PuzzleGirl 10:05 AM  

"9 to 5" gave me the theme. And thank GOD Dolly Parton came along to get that hideous Laura Branigan song out of my head from yesterday. (Thanks a lot, Crosscan!)

When the JACK and QUEEN fell into place I thought the cards would be in some kind of order so that through me off. Like Wade, though, I liked the uncertain-ness of it all. I just wish 2D had been clued "Like calling a woman a 'virago,' e.g."

PuzzleGirl 10:06 AM  

... or perhaps "threw" me off. (I even previewed! Where's my damn trashcan?!)

gypsy 10:13 AM  

For those of you who haven't seen Into the Wild - don't bother.

Anyway, it's puzzles like this that give me a reason to wake up in the morning...and make me late for work. Clunky or not, I loved the theme.

CA9 bothered me a bit, and I still don't really know what TOGging out would entail, but otherwise I enjoyed this one.

gypsy 10:15 AM  

Oh, and as for "calling a woman a chick" -
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs/laughlines/chick.jpg

joho 10:17 AM  

I had an Ulrich moment thinking since this is obviously a Saturday puzzle why am I at work?

I got the theme at IN3D/MP3PLAYERS but struggled to place all the cards. Like Rex, my favorite was PAR(KING)SP(ACE)-- I was smiling while filling that in.

I read the clue for 6D as Breaks up fights ... nevermind the answer being LAYSOVER, which doesn't bother me at all, until I saw the word as "flight" I was stumped here. Anybody else read flight as fight?

I'm in Wade's camp and really liked this puzzle a lot and was delighted to complete it correctly. What a fun Thursday ... thank you Jeremy Newton!

PhillySolver 10:18 AM  

PG, I was throughed off too.

I have been traveling for two days and when I finally got to my PC about 9PM last night I signed on to do Wednesday's puzzle and this one was already there. I wondered why a Wed puzzle was so hard never thinking rebus until, like Wade, 9 to 5 had to be. I do think it was a great puzzle and unbelievable skill in putting it together.

fpbear 10:25 AM  

Loved this puzzle. Maybe Rex awoke with a hair across his yoyo. Lived with a couple of flight attendants, and lays over was common in their parlance.

Steve 10:53 AM  

I too, sort of think this puzzle was a clever idea, but I really think it turned out to be a mess.

22D: I hade SALE-10-T (Sale tent, which intersected with 38A: WORKING4-8-10. (Working for a ten...as in an Olympic quest.)

I'm sure they must exist, but I've never really heard of a V-4 engine, only V6s and V8s.

By playing with pronunciation, even my other wrong answers seems to work!

JoefromMtVernon 10:55 AM  

Hi all:

Like Rex, I didn't like the execution. Most of you have hit the thin spots in the ice (like 86-it and working 24-7). I had one-up, forgetting to change one to ace...the change to jack opened the area up for me.

Are there really V-4's? I thought they came straight, and that 6's, 8's and 10's can come as a V.

Slow puzzle, not one of the best ever (> 20 minutes).

Whenever I see Samuel Adams (and NOT on a beer bottle), I see SAML. Didn't matter, I had John first.

Science word of the day: Surf(ace) area

Joe

grouchonyy 10:57 AM  

(UNPOPULAR - 23A: Off the charts)

n answer I got although the term can also have the direct opposite meaning---that something "off the charts" is insanely popular, so popular to be unmeasurable.

Steve 11:00 AM  

BTW, is there a meaning of SUIT that refers to the entire deck of cards? I thought it only refered to hearts, spades, diamonds or clubs.

Two Ponies 11:16 AM  

Tough but this one finally fell. I also had some head scratching moments with the "2" and "8" but I have to give Mr. Newton some applause for a good rebus. They are my favorites. The fun thing for me was the large number of rebus squares and being able to have so many intersections? Fantastic.
I also wanted Sales Tent but the 10 was already used so that slowed me up a bit.
So much misdirection. This is just the sort of challenge we needed. We're getting pretty good at this game and puzzles like this "Jack up" the ante for all of us.

Wade 11:25 AM  

But, sale(seven)t, you gotta love that. It's not just a sale, see--it's a sales EVENT. That's different. Like sometimes you go to the movies, and sometimes you go to a motion picture EVENT. Events are more important. We're known for our truck sales events down here. They're insanely exciting, judging by the commercials. And November is Truck Month at my local area Dodge dealer. So was October. So will be December.

Crosscan 11:34 AM  

I found this just the right level for a Thursday. Pretty cool.

You are welcome, PuzzleGirl.

jae 11:36 AM  

Really liked this one. Even when I got the theme early on with 9TO5 it was still challenging. The inconsistencies just made it more interesting/fun and the cluing was very clever. I vote with Wade.

PuzzleGirl 11:36 AM  

@grouchonyy: You are correct. Hence the question mark.

@Steve: You are right about SUIT. It doesn't mean the whole deck of cards.

Ulrich 11:39 AM  

German MOSEL and French MOSELLE both derive from Latin "Mosella", the name the Romans gave to that river. They were also the ones that introduced vinoculture to the region. With the vineyards climbing in terraces up the steep slopes of the mountains bordering the river, it's one of the loveliest human-made landscapes I have ever seen--I lived in one of the villages for 4 years. So, of course, I had to love the puzzle--in terms of clunkiness, I'm coming down on wade's side--the puzzle kept me on my toes from start to finish even though I found the theme relatively early.

UNPC was real groaner, though.

Z.J. Mugildny 11:49 AM  

I'm with wade. This puzzle was absolutely terrific. I don't care at all that the theme has some slight inconsistencies, because it seemed like every other answer provided an "a-ha moment". It was extremely fun for me to solve.

I'm with gypsy as well. Don't bother watching "Into the Wild". It's pretty boring. The book, on the hand, I very much enjoyed. I like Krauker's "Under the Banner of Heaven" also, but think "Into the Wild" is better.

Z.J. Mugildny 11:54 AM  

"Krakauer" is what I meant to say in my last post. My blog-comment proofreader is on vacation this week. He's on a LAN flight to Chile as we speaker.

garycee 11:56 AM  

steve mcqueen gave it away for me...thanks steve
NOTE: in "The Great Escape", mcqueen had the nickname of the "cooler king" cause he was in the "cooler" all the time

garycee 11:59 AM  

you're right gypsy, the book was much better than the movie

garycee 12:00 PM  

they're ranks not suit a suit is hearts, spades, etc

Kalaala 12:09 PM  

@ Steve et al:
I think that the reason 'suit' is appropriate and not deck is that there is only one of each number, so the A-2-3... represents one of the four suits. Does that make sense? I kept looking to fit 'deck' in there at first until I thought about how this was really only 1/4 of the deck.

Cheryl 12:28 PM  

I'm with the Wade et al camp of enjoying this puzzle considerably despite the inconsistencies. (Ca-9 almost killed it for me, granted, but there was enough good stuff to balance it out.)

@joho - I also read 6D as 'breaks up fights', and even though I went back to the clue a few times, I kept 'seeing' that. Funny how my perception fell victim to my own assumption.

I didn't realize that the pre-world series series was only 5 games so I had BESTOF7 at 21D, and thought maybe 9TO7 was an acknowledgement of how much overtime people put in. Then I twigged to the wonderful Sales Event and fixed it. Whoops, and Whoops!

Engaging, satisfying puzzle.

Karen 12:40 PM  

I had some applet angst with this puzzle...everything filled out 'right' but not acceptable to the computer due to format (numeric vs alphabetic). But hey look, I beat Orange's time for once!

Joho, I read 'fights' instead of 'flights' as well. And I also kept seeing SALES TENT like Steve.

I didn't get the rebus until SIX SHOOTER; and I finally saw the entire theme with the RED QUEEN.

For me not a great puzzle, and challenging for a Thursday.

Greene 12:45 PM  

I really had a difficult time with this. How long will I have to work puzzles until I remember that if nothing is working...look for the rebus? Finally got 9TO5 after much flailing. [You can put numbers in these things? Really? I can just hear the curses from Puzzle Husband.] Took me even longer to realize the rebus extended to the face cards. Not sure why this didn't occur to me sooner. Seems plain enough now.

It wasn't a total loss. I was able to get UNPC pretty quickly (love that in the grid). I even know what OLIO is now.

All told, a pretty cool quzzle which kept me pretty off-task at work today. This blog keeps me pretty off-task a lot these days too...hopelessly addicting.

william e emba 12:58 PM  

In the 18th and 19th century, certain names were pretty much always elided when written. That's the point of the 1D clue. His name is Samuel Adams, but his signature is SAML Adams.

jae 1:01 PM  

Oh, and me too on fight for flight.

Steve 1:04 PM  

@Kalaala - Nice! Your observation about 13 cards making up a suit makes sense. I didn't think about that. Plus, maybe we can conclude that the suit in this puzzle is hearts, what with the red queen answer.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

@fpbear LOL about the yoyo. Maybe it was a GNAT up there? (sorry to joke at your expense, Rex, but i was crackin up when i read that post)

I'm with Wade etal., on enjoying this puzzle immensely. The obviously random scattering of circles meant to me that even though i got the theme very early, and had SUIT; after 9TO5, I could tell the challenge would be to figure out which number went where, because there would be no pattern to the placement of the 'cards'.

Plenty of difficulties along the way:

ESSEN for MOSEL
AVAST for AHOYS
ONE for ACE (Duh!)
ETH for ETA
V8S for V4S - for a long time.

Thought SALE(S EVEN)T was inspired.

RT

Doug 1:14 PM  

My compliments to the chef--This was a "filling" breakfast!

I liked that even when I sniffed out the rebus, the circled answers still had some elusiveness to them. Had Donna Summer for Bad Girl and this screwed me up on the rebus for a long time until LATOYA appeared. Donna sang "Bad girlS" fyi.

I like seeing DOS answers: Anyone else remember loading a 5.25" MS-DOS floppy in a PC/XT to boot it up? Ah, the good old days....

archaeoprof 1:28 PM  

I liked this one too, even though UNPC got the better of me.

Clever clues: "winged mammoth," "yoyo," "off the charts," "airborne irritant," "fill a flat again."

Thanks, Jeremy, for helping me get through this month's faculty meeting.

Chip Hilton 2:14 PM  

In this Election Week, allow me to add to the Wade landslide. I loved this puzzle...one of those that makes me marvel at the ingenuity of the puzzlemaker. I will agree to being perplexed by
CA9, but thought the crossing of
PAR(K)SP(A) and WOR(K)247 was brilliant.

I had to take a break in the middle of solving and couldn't wait to get back to it. I'd say that's a sign of a great puzzle.

Scott 2:31 PM  

Clever moment of the day (which turned out to be horribly wrong): TEEPEE for 46D. "Building w/ walls for a ceiling"

I hemmed and hawed about whether i liked the inconsistency of the number usage. I eventually decided i liked it when a number is used as its letters (i.e. saleSEVENt) and not when it is used as a tens digit (i.e. the 8 in 86it). Overall, more fun than your average Thursday.

chefbea1 2:33 PM  

I too saw fight for flight. Got 9 to 5 right away but had trouble with the rest .

What is unpc? I don't get it.

Shamik 2:35 PM  

Whew! I found this to be my most challenging correctly-solved Thursday yet. Whew! Like others mentioned, even once i figured out the rebus, some things just didn't fit.

Mis-starts:
8MEN,7MAN for 8MAN
JOHN for SAML
OKLA for COLO
SALE10T for SALE7T
V8S for V4S
FESSUP for OWNSUP
AVAST for AHOYS (was thinking sea sickness, but couldn't find a good word that fit with the crosses)

Didn't care for UNPC

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

@chefbea1

Think UN-Politically Correct. Probably more common as Non-PC.

RT

steve l 2:49 PM  

@william e emba--Shouldn't that be wm e emba?

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

One other mis-start with the wrong number that took me a loooong time to correct that shamik comment reminded me about.

Had 2WAY for 8MAN, because some of the players play offense and defense in Arena Football. 8MAN is obviously a better answer for the 'squad' of the clue, but I had V8S, so i was limited in the numbers not placed already.

@scott 2:31pm

Thought of TEEPEE also, and also the recent LEANTO, but EMILE was a gimme.

RT

evil doug 2:54 PM  

Wade said it.

What was the last time His Majesty found a puzzle both sufficiently challenging and entertaining?

This puzzle fills that bill. It was particularly fun to do without initially addressing the "13" theme. I found some spots where numbers had to be the key, but to also have letters involved? That's when I started paying attention to the gag. Once I got the gouge I actually wrote a list of the 13 letters/numbers and crossed them off as I plugged them in.

About 90 minutes, including a nap in the middle. Can't think of a song that long.

Political correctness is a waste of time. Do things because they're ethical, or effective, or polite, or thoughtful, or gracious, or simply correct---not politically correct.

Evil

rafaelthatmf 3:08 PM  

Back on the fence for me. In general I like the rebus until it ruins the mystery which the out of order thing preserved to the very end. But maybe some balance or elegance – the scattering around just doesn’t sit right with the OCD. I hadn’t fretted about vacillating between using the letters (i.e. CANINE) and the numbers (i.e. 9to5) but now I think it bothers me. Damn!
A little help on SALE7T. Will not compute. All clicks and pops on this end.

fergus 3:12 PM  

I was on to this one pretty quickly, with the first tip-off in the baseball playoffs. Thought it was really a cool puzzle until it sorta clanked at my finishing spot, at V4S and 24/7. That was the only zone that didn't seem smooth and well-executed in my solution. The honors (10-ACE) seemed particularly nicely framed. Other than the AIRBUS Clue, everything else worked for me.

I was just thinking this morning how tough it can be to continually come up with interesting new themes or gimmicks, and am pretty amazed that the parade keeps passing by. You might think the stream must be finite, but I would argue for it being never-ending.

fergus 3:13 PM  

Raphael -- spell out SEVEN

Anonymous 3:20 PM  

@ greene 12:45

EIGHTEEN MONTHS

That's about how long I've been really trying to work the NYT on a daily basis and today was the first rebus puzzle that I got.

Almost finished it, too. Only missed (GL)EAM (RA)TIO ET(E)
(AI)RBUS (MO)SEL

Pretty proud of myself.

Anonymous in Texas

andrea carla michaels 3:21 PM  

@wade

As usual, a bit late from the West Coast, but you have my electoral votes in your column too...tho still waiting for Fergus and Green Mantis to weigh in, but with the polls closing in California, I think that pushes you over-the-top!!!

I get what Rex is saying, clunky clunky, (he was just calling a spade a spade?) but I thought its brilliance and freshness was quite fantastic.

I also applaud Will's taking the puzzle deeper and deeper into Games territory in some ways...
and I think a lot of that has to do directly with THIS blog!

The depth of the discussions, the eyes on the puzzles, the devotion of the solvers...
That, plus the new software, is pushing the puzzle into new territory - it seems almost on a daily level.
I'm almost embarrassed to submit my old fashioned straight-ahead Mondays!

As a solver I was challenged, as a constructor I was envious, as a reader I was looking forward to this blog, as a daughter...
well, I still have issues!

@steve
I did not get CA9 till coming here
(just kept reading it as C-A-9 and thought for a moment it was either a monetary thing, a gun...what??)

The fact that I didn't get SALE7T either means that part eluded me altogether. But I blame me, not the puzzle, nor its execution.

I had spelled out TEN bec the first ones I got were the KING QUEEN ACE, so I was able to parse PA(TEN)T with no problem but for some reason I only put in number for 2-9.

And here I thought it would be nominated for an Oryx!

Edith B 3:24 PM  

I had all of the NW except for the 3 and was stumped. I couldn't see what SUIT had to do with the theme.

It wasn't until 6SHOOTER and the King of cool that I finally figured out the theme. Then it took a while to figure out how the numbers were going to be used CA9 86IT SALE7T were confusing but I eventually figured the whole thing out.

Pretty cool theme but the inconsistencies gave me a lot of trouble. I agree with Rex about the number strings in some cases. numbers in others.

rafaelthatmf 3:26 PM  

Doh!

FTLT 3:32 PM  

Add me to the challenging / excellent puzzle crowd.
I’m a dead tree / ink solver (no statement of policy here, just germane to my point). I can’t remember the last time I had a puzzle as messy, written over as this one. Usually if I have this level of difficulty I just quit, this one had both the difficulty level and the interest level to match.
Here, much of my difficulty was based on my unwillingness to give up on incorrect answers, my bĂȘte noir of solving. I keep wishing I would pay heed to Satchel Paige, who said “It ain’t what you don't know that kills you. It's what you know that ain’t so”. I misread/misguess, then stick with it.

markus 3:37 PM  

I hate it when two puzzle crazes are wed and form some creepy new puzzle... today crossword/sudoku. crossdoku or rebusswordku (that makes 3 puzzles in 1). Easy enough, but... blech!

Vega 3:44 PM  

Had the hardest time and then just didn't finish, gosh darn it. Was inordinately proud of myself for finally figuring out SALE7T, which is an awesome answer. I think I was frustrated because the 13-card-run was the *only* thing holding the theme together. If there could have been just one more, oh, I don't know, overarching...*something* to...give that final moment of satisfaction...

I'm amused at how many of us (including me) mistook "flights" for "fights." Must mean something.

miriam b 3:47 PM  

When I looked over the clues for this puzzle, I thought I'd become non compos in 24 short hours. Once I caught on to the nature of the rebus (via CA9) everything fell into place. It was fun, but I agree, not perfect.

fergus 3:49 PM  

On the local police cars they point out "K-9 Unit" if they have a deputy dog along for the ride. Maybe that's due to some local legal disclosure requirement, but I thought the practice was more widespread? Also, it seems like a long time since I've seen a cop shop on TV.

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

To all those complaining about the lack of symmetry or order of the circles - Did it occur to you that these cards have been shuffled!

As an old guy, I don't think too easily of an MP3 Player, so the far NW was the last area I filled in; of course, SAML and UNPC didn't help much, either.

Bob Kerfuffle

chefbea1 3:56 PM  

@vega I think it means we need glasses!!

Crosscan 3:58 PM  

This one keeps growing on me. Thursday is supposed to be break the rules and have fun day.

Wade rules.

Alan 4:15 PM  

This puzzle was incredibly flawed.How did Shortz let it go by? Who ever heard of the card suit twenty or eighty. Finished this puzzle but under protest.

thebubbreport 4:24 PM  

@gypsy, I loved Into the Wild, movie and book. In the movie version, I appreciated that they cut out all that Krakauer crap where he makes it all about himself and brags about climbing some remote mountain alone on some island where he had a fisherman drop him off and no one knows he's there. Minus that part, the book was good. The movie really touched me as well. I'm still amazed the parents allowed the movie to be made, though I guess they had more control by giving it to Sean Penn since it was about to be made without any of their input.

I'm confused, where were the 1 and the 3? In the 13 part of the clue? Am I cross-eyed? Is it kosher that they were left out? You guys are always so good at educating me about these things.

@William e. - Thanks for the clarification about the Declaration of Independence. I was getting huffy that it should have had an abbreviation in the clue until I read your comment. Thinking it was JOHN and then considering JONQ made me question my MP3PLAYER answer and got me off to a slow start.

Knowing full well that Steve McQueen was the King of Cool still didn't help me get the QUEEN part. I didn't realize I was dealing with playing cards until I filled in SUIT.

I loved this puzzle, in spite of the inconsistencies. It makes getting the theme SO much more satisfying. My all time favorite was the St. Patty's Day one awhile back with the GREEN squares, like ALANGREENSPAN. I'm such a dork that I dug up a green pen and colored in the squares!

chefbea1 4:34 PM  

@bubbreport there is no 1 just an ace. and the 3 was in your mp3player

Byndah Klipz 4:53 PM  

Man, I wanted 22d to be SALE10T really badly...

Nebraska Doug 5:21 PM  

Took a long time, but I finally got it. One of the hardest Thursday puzzles that I can remember. In the end I enjoyed it, a good challenge.

Orange 6:06 PM  

Andrea, you are showing your age. Will's taking the puzzle into Games territory? Have you seen Games lately? That territory is currently owned by the NYT, the Sun, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Games is no longer home to innovation.

Anonymous 6:52 PM  

@Doug

You whippersnapper you, with those newfangled floppy thingies and that DOS stuff --- us old timers had to coax the OS off punch tape.

THOSE were the days!

As to the puzzle, took 'til the RED[Q] to catch on, and much too long for 247 (even after going thru V8, V6 --- and actually owned a car with a V4)

.../Glitch

edelseu 7:56 PM  

Had no trouble with SALE7T, since I always use the first letter spelled out, with the applet. But I had terrible trouble because last night the applet left out one circle; that info was posted on the Times' site, and I guess it got fixed today. The JACK was not circled, and I just assumed it was some LATOYA I didn't know. Only after I counted everything up, and found a circle missing, did I get it.
I also had trouble with using TWOFOUR as "twenty four", and "EIGHTSIX" as "eighty six", those would be fine if I were entering numbers instead of the first letter.
Overall, I enjoyed the puzzle a lot, despite the anomalies.

Michael 8:28 PM  

I'm with the majority here. I thought this was a wonderful, clever puzzle and don't care at all about what seem to me to be minor inconsistencies. At the outset, I couldn't get anything at all and thought that Will had switched Saturday with Thursday (except that this was too gimmicky for most Saturdays). But then I figured out the theme and made slow, but steady (Fridaylike) progress. I think unpc is a great answer.

Crosscan 8:33 PM  

The word "thrival" was used at a seminar I attended today. Survive - survival. Thrive - thrival.

Whirly Girl by Oxo was on the 80s station as I drove home.

And how was your day?

andrea carla michaels 8:42 PM  

@Orange
Yes, I always thought the NY Sun was already there (I'm not familiar with the Chronicle of Higher Education's puzzle...I'm just a one-a-day solver, tho of course I'll do my pal Patrick B's Sun puzzle today!)

It's just that Patrick's dollar puzzle was thought to be pushing that envelope for the NYT non-Sunday, what with the different shape and all, and I always think of the NYT as still being rather straightforward...
(and non-hip) so it seems this year Will is stretching a lot more, that's all I meant.

And I think the blogs are responsible for that in some ways.
I KNOW it's changed how constructor's think...

@bubbereport

Totally agree with you on "Into the Wild"...thought Sean Penn did a WONDERFUL job excising the bullshit and capturing the spirit of a very difficult and internal book...one of the few movies to be able to do that, I thought.

Emile was the first answer I put in.

I think I mentioned that a couple of months ago, I was flying back to SF from LA and I was early by almost an hour, waiting for the plane, and suddenly realized that the only other guy there whom I was sitting next to was Sean Penn! I had JUST finished the book (prompted by seeing his magical film), so we had a nice discussion about the film.

(At first I was startled to see him and asked him why he was taking Southwest and he just grinned and said "I'm travelling").

Wasn't invited to and couldn't crash the big gala festivities here last week for the opening of his Harvey Milk film but I hear it's incredible. :)

Rex Parker 8:45 PM  

To find a puzzle I liked that I also rated "Challenging," it's true, you have to go back aways.

To Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008.

Maybe Wade can share his secret of being able to disagree strongly with someone without talking out his ass.

rp

Anonymous 8:52 PM  

I got it all except the top left. I got 9 to 5 first, thought all the circles would be numbers but couldn't figure out why. When I finally realized the theme, I had card in on 1 across which was my downfall. Include me in the group that is pissed the numbers should all read as words and not letters. In (3) D messed me up for 45 minutes. I was trying to fit in TH REE into two words all day. Loved the theme but the clues sucked. Oh well.

Anonymous 8:53 PM  

Ahh, one square wrong... A in OSSA. Once I figured out the that #s filled some circles (BESTOF5 first) it wasn't a far leap to SUIT.

I totally agree that this was a good concept poorly executed. Fun working on it though.

Anonymous 8:54 PM  

Oh and I didn't realize in my frustration that 9 to 5 wasn't spelled out, I guess my bad, I like puzzles like this to be consistent.

Doc John 10:05 PM  

I had a kind of malapop when I (hesitatingly) put in 925 after WOR(KING). So 9 TO 5 showed up later.

I also think that "Into the Wild" was an amazing film. Hirsch gave a great performance and Hal Holbrook got nominated for an Oscar for his (mainly for the last scene he was in which I won't elaborate on so as not to ruin it for Rex). The book was awesome, too, as was "Under the Banner of Heaven".

Emile Hirsch is a fine up-and-coming young actor. Anyone who saw "Lords of Dogtown" can attest to that.

evil doug 4:29 AM  

Oh, yeah. Last Saturday. Where douchebags of the world had to worry about getting their asses kicked by karate champ spelling bee winners. I was busy pointing out what a punk you are that day, so I must have missed it.

Evil

Orange 8:59 AM  

Doug, if you allude to Rex's child again, you're gonna get your ass kicked by a whole lot of people. Really. Lay off that topic, will ya, please? There are a lot of mama bears here who don't take kindly to that.

I know, I shouldn't feed the guy-who's-not-a-troll-but-sure-does-like-to-provoke. It's the mama bear in me getting her hackles up.

Clare 10:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
evil doug 11:03 AM  

Orange,

His words, not mine. Why are you so concerned with my regurgitation of what he said, but mute when it comes to dealing with his introduction of douchebag and ass-talking?

Mama Bear needs a little consistency and objectivity if she wants to be persuasive with me.

I didn't then, and don't now, disparage his daughter in any way. At least read my words---not his overreaction to my words---and then his if you choose to take a shot at not-a-troll.

Doug
Smarts, OH

embien 5:15 PM  

5wkslater:
I guess Wade already carried the day, but I'm still in his camp, though I'm in syndication exile. I loved this puzzle.

When I saw 65a: Grp. for court pros I just knew the answer was going to include (TEN)(ACE). Said aloud it is "tennis", right? Unfortunately, there were no circles in that fill so my hopes were dashed. USTA will have to do.

And, of course I wanted ACME to be the 56d: Greek summit, though I admit I wasn't previously aware of her Greek heritage.

As for UNPC, there's a nice country song by Gretchen Wilson and Merle Haggard, which is close:
Politically Uncorrect. We likes our country music even out here in syndicationland.

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