0505-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 5 May 13, Sunday

QuickLinks:
Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications

CROSSWORD SETTER: Alan Arbesfeld
THEME: Crunch Time … this is a rebus puzzle with the days of the week crunched up into seven individual squares, all in the right order as we progress through the grid from top to bottom:

23A. Early entrepreneurial efforts LE(MON)ADE STANDS
28A. Florentine attraction STA(TUE) OF DAVID
43A. Food to go? STE(WED) PRUNES
69A. Birthplace of Harry Houdini BUDAPES(T HU)NGARY
93A. Big name in feminism BETTY (FRI)EDAN
110A. Just makes the 7:47, perhaps CATCHE(S A T)RAIN
118A. Does spy work GOE(S UN)DERCOVER
3D. How trout may be prepared: Var. AL(MON)DINE
12D. Good qualities VIR(TUE)S
31D. Withdrew BO(WED) OUT
39D. Nursery gift? GREEN (THU)MB
88D. Isak Dinesen novel setting A(FRI)CA
94D. ___ d’Amérique ETAT(S UN)IS
106D. 50-page book, maybe? U(S AT)LAS

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 37m 33s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Fancy footwear SPATS
Spats are footwear accessories that cover the ankle and instep. Spats were primarily worn by men, and originally had the purpose of protecting shoes and socks from mud or rain. Eventually, spats became a feature in stylish dress. The term “spats” is a contraction of “spatterdashes”.

15. Banned apple spray ALAR
The chemical name for Alar, a plant growth regulator and color enhancer, is daminozide. Alar was primarily used on apples but was withdrawn from the market when it was linked to cancer.

19. American Dance Theater founder AILEY
Alvin Ailey was a dancer who formed his own group in New York in 1958, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The most famous work that Ailey choreographed was called “Revelations”.

20. Planets and notes in the musical scale OCTADS
There are eight planets in our solar system, and eight notes are used in the western musical scale. Both are examples of octads, groups of eight.

26. California’s old Fort ___ ORD
Fort Ord was an army post on Monterey Bay in California named after a General Ord, established in 1917 and closed in 1994. The fort was in a spectacular location with miles of beachfront, and it also had that lovely California weather.

28. Florentine attraction STA(TUE) OF DAVID
When Michelangelo’s famous statue of David was unveiled in 1504, it was at a time when the city-state of the Florentine Republic was threatened by rival states (including Rome). The statue depicts David after he has decided to fight Goliath, and the subject is sporting what is described as a “warning glare”. David was originally placed outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of government in Florence, and that warning glare was directed very deliberately in the direction of its enemy, namely Rome.

30. Small African antelopes ORIBIS
Oribi are small antelope that inhabit the grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa.

35. Feudal laborer ESNE
“Esne” is an uncommon word, a synonym for “serf” as best I can tell, a member of the lowest feudal class.

36. Serpent’s tail? -INE
Serpentine, twisting …

43. Food to go? STE(WED) PRUNES
Stewed prunes are often advised as a remedy for constipation.

49. Court hearing OYER
“Oyer and terminer” is a term that originates in English law and that applies in some US states. Here in the US, oyer and terminer is the name given to some courts of criminal jurisdiction. Even though it has its origins in English law, the words “oyer” and “terminer” come from French (via Anglo-Norman) and mean “to hear” and “to determine”.

52. Obama’s birthplace OAHU
Despite rumors to the contrary, I am pretty sure that Barack Hussein Obama II was indeed born in Hawaii. President Obama was born on August 4, 1961 at Kapi’olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii.

59. Priest, in an Ogden Nash poem ONE-L LAMA
The poet Ogden Nash is well known for his light and humorous verse. Try this one for size:

The one-L lama,
He’s a priest.
The two-L llama,
He’s a beast.
And I would bet
A silk pajama
There isn’t any
Three-L lllama.

63. Spanish precious metal PLATA
“Oro, plata, bronce” is “gold, silver, bronze” in Spanish.

65. Writer Gordimer NADINE
Nadine Gordimer is an author and political activist from South Africa. Gordimer’s writing was recognized in 1991 when she was award the Nobel Prize in Literature. One of the main focuses of her works is the apartheid that was once part of South African culture and law.

68. Johannesburg-born golf champion ELS
Ernie Els is a South African golfer. Els a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. He has a child who suffers from autism and so Els has been very effective in raising money for charities that focus on the condition.

69. Birthplace of Harry Houdini BUDAPES(T HU)NGARY
Budapest is the capital city of Hungary. Today’s city was formed with the merging of three cities on the banks of the Danube river in 1873: Buda and Óbuda on the west bank, and Pest on the east bank.

73. “Survivor” construction HUT
The reality show “Survivor” is based on a Swedish television series created in 1997 called “Expedition Robinson”.

76. Jerks SCHMOS
“Schmo” is American slang for a dull or boring person, from the Yiddish word “shmok”.

77. Jobs in technology STEVE
Steve Jobs certainly was a business icon in Silicon Valley. I don’t think it is too surprising to learn that the brilliant Jobs didn’t even finish his college education, dropping out of Reed College in Oregon after only one semester. Steve Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976, but in 1985 he was basically fired from his own company during the computer sales slump of the mid-eighties. Jobs then founded NeXT Computer, a company focused on supplying workstations to the higher education and business markets. Apple purchased NeXT in 1996, and that’s how Jobs found himself back with his original company.

81. “Friends” co-star LEBLANC
The actor Matt LeBlanc is best known for his portrayal of Joey Tribbiani in the sitcom “Friends”. LeBlanc was born in Newton Massachusetts.

84. River to the North Sea YSER
The Yser originates in northern France and flows through Belgium into the North Sea. The Yser is often associated with WWI as it figured in a major battle early in the conflict. In the first three months of the war, the German Army pushed almost completely through Belgium, inflicting heavy losses on the Belgian Army as the defenders were forced to fight a fast-moving rearguard action. The Germans were intent on pushing right through Belgium and across France in a “race to the sea”. But the Belgians, with the help of their Allies, decided to make a final stand at the Yser Canal in an effort to prevent the Germans reaching the French ports of Calais and Dunkirk. The 22-mile long defensive line was chosen at the Yser because the river and canal system could be flooded to create a barrier that might be defended. The plan was successful and the front was “stabilized”. As we now know, millions of lives were lost over the coming years with very little movement of that battle line.

89. Defense grp. that disbanded in 1977 SEATO
The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) was set up in 1954, a defense organization with the mission to block communist influence growing in Southeast Asia. The driving force behind the organization’s creation was President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Dulles. The list of SEATO members included Australia, France, the Philippines, the UK and the US. The organization was never really considered effective and it fell apart in 1977 largely due to a lack of interest by the members.

93. Big name in feminism BETTY (FRI)EDAN
Betty Friedan was a leading activist in the American Women’s Movement. She was the first president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), and organized the Women’s Strike for Equality in 1970. She also authored the book “The Feminine Mystique”, first published in 1963.

103. Arab League headquarters CAIRO
The Arab League was formed in 1945 in Cairo with six founding members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria. As a result of events during the 2011 Arab Spring, the Arab League has suspended Syria’s membership.

105. Designer Gernreich RUDI
Rudi Gernreich was fashion designer, born in Austria. Gernreich fled Austria due to Nazi influence, and ended up in Los Angeles. He is noted for design of the monokini, the first topless swimsuit.

108. Carson’s predecessor PAAR
Jack Paar was most famous as the host of “The Tonight Show”, from 1957 to 1962. When he died in 2004, “Time” magazine wrote that Paar was “the fellow who split talk show history into two eras: Before Paar and Below Paar”. Very complimentary …

109. Blue Ribbons and others PABSTS
Pabst Blue Ribbon is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

114. Toledo tidbit TAPA
“Tapa” is the Spanish for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

116. Subject of the 1998 biography “King of the World” ALI
“King of the World” is a 1998 biography of Muhammad Ali. The book was adapted into a TV movie of the same name in 2000.

122. George W. Bush acquisition of 2008 SON-IN-LAW
Jenna Bush is one of the twin daughters of President George W. Bush. During her father’s 2004 presidential campaign, Jenna met and started dating Henry Hager who was a White House aide for Deputy chief of staff Karl Rove. The couple were married in 2008.

123. Homes up high AERIES
An aerie is the nest of an eagle.

125. G.I. rations MRES
The Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) comes in a lightweight package that’s easy to tote around. The MRE replaced the more cumbersome Meal, Combat, Individual (MCI) in 1981, a meal-in-a-can. In turn, the MCI had replaced the C-ration in 1958, a less sophisticated meal-in-a-can with a more limited choice.

126. That, in Tijuana ESA
Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California, and lies just across the US-Mexico border from San Diego. Tijuana is also the most westerly of all Mexican cities. A lot of Tijuana’s growth took place in the twenties as tourists flocked south of the border during the days of prohibition in the US. One of the many casinos and hotels that flourished at that time was Hotel Caesar’s in the Avenida Revolución area. Hotel Caesar’s claims to be the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Caesar Salad.

128. Hunt for water, say DOWSE
Dowsing is the practice of divining for not just water, but also buried metals and gemstones for example. Often a dowser will use a Y-shaped or L-shaped rod as a tool, which can also be called a dowser.

Down
2. French pantomime character PIERROT
A pierrot is character appearing often in pantomimes, particularly of the French variety. A pierrot is a man dressed in white, in a loose blouse with large buttons down the center. He also wears heavy white makeup, and behaves somewhat like a buffoon.

3. How trout may be prepared: Var. AL(MON)DINE
A dish prepared in the “amandine” style is usually cooked in butter and seasonings, and then sprinkled with toasted almonds. Note the correct spelling “amandine”. You might notice the misspelling “almondine” on a menu, but don’t say anything. Just sit there with a smug look on your face …

5. Barrett of Pink Floyd SYD
Syd Barrett was the lead singer and a founding member of the English rock band Pink Floyd. Barrett was only active as a musician for just over ten years. He retired from the music scene in 1975 and spent the next 30 years living off Pink Floyd royalties until he passed away in 2006.

13. Situation after a leadoff single ONE ON
In baseball, after a leadoff single there is one man on base.

16. Neighbor of a Belarussian LATVIAN
Latvia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics. People from Latvia are called Letts (and sometimes “Latvians”).

The Republic of Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, located east of Poland and north of Ukraine. Belarus didn’t exist as an entity until the Russian Revolution when it was created as one of the Soviet Socialist Republics (SSR) that made up the USSR. The Republic of Belarus was formed soon after the USSR dissolved in 1990, but unlike many of the former Soviet Republics, Belarus has largely retained the old Soviet policies. Alexander Lukashenko is the country’s president and he believes in state ownership of the economy. Belarus and Russia have formal agreements in place that pledge cooperation.

18. Alberta’s third-largest city, named after an animal RED DEER
Red Deer is the third-most populous city in the province of Alberta, after Calgary and Edmonton. One might argue that the city should be called Wapiti or Elk, as the name is a European translation of the Cree name for the river on which the city stands: Waskasoo Seepee (Wapiti/Elk River). The first British traders thought that the North American Elk or wapiti was a type of European red deer, but in fact they are different species.

22. Amérique du ___ SUD
“South America” is “Amérique du Sud” in French.

24. Soccer header? ESS
The “header” letter to the word “soccer” is an S (ess).

29. Noted taleteller AESOP
Aesop is remembered today for his famous fables. Aesop lived in Ancient Greece, probably around the sixth century BC. Supposedly he was born a slave, somehow became a free man, but then met with a sorry end. Aesop was sent to the city of Delphi on a diplomatic mission but instead insulted the Delphians. He was tried on a trumped-up charge of stealing from a temple, sentenced to death and was thrown off a cliff.

32. Old Cosby show I SPY
The very successful TV show “I Spy” ran from 1965-68. Robert Culp played secret agent Kelly Robinson, opposite Bill Cosby who played Alexander Scott. I saw Bill Cosby perform live in San Jose not too long ago, and what a great evening it was! Sadly, Robert Culp passed away in 2010, pronounced dead after a fall just outside his home. He was 79 years old.

44. Vintage wheels REO
The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom E. Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan.

46. Native Nebraskan OTO
The Otoe (also Oto) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestwards ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

47. Crush competitor FANTA
The soft drink “Fanta” has quite an interesting history. As WWII approached, the Coca-Cola plant in Germany had trouble obtaining the ingredients it needed to continue production of the cola beverage, so the plant manager decided to create a new drink from what was available. The new beverage was built around whey (left over from cheese production) and pomace (left over after juice has been extracted from fruit). The inventor asked his colleagues to use their imagination (“Fantasie” in German) and come up with a name for the drink, so they piped up “Fanta!”

50. Deli offerings KNISHES
A knish is a snack food from Germany and Eastern Europe made popular in the US by Jewish immigrants. A knish has a filling often made of mashed potato and ground meat, covered by a dough that is baked or fried.

56. What makes you you? DNA
RNA and DNA are very similar molecules. One big difference is that RNA is a single strand structure, whereas DNA is famously a double-helix. Another difference is that RNA contains ribose as a structural unit, and DNA contains deoxyribose i.e. ribose with one less oxygen atom. And that ribose/deoxyribose difference is reflected in the full name of the two molecules: ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

60. Word before and after “to,” in a religious phrase ASHES
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” is a phrase used in the Anglican tradition during a burial service.

66. Hydroxyl compound ENOL
An enol is an alkene with a hydroxyl group, sort of part-alkene and part-alcohol. The term “enol” therefore, is a portmanteau of “alkene” and “alcohol”.

70. 20th-century novelist whose first name is an anagram of 66-Down URIS
Leon Uris is an American writer. Uris’s most famous books are “Exodus” and “Trinity”, two excellent stories, in my humble opinion …

72. Fed. property overseer GSA
The US Government’s General Services Administration (GSA), as the name suggests, provides general services to other federal agencies. So for example, the GSA manages office space for the other agencies, and transportation.

78. Universal recipient designation TYPE AB
In general, a person with type O-negative blood is a universal donor, meaning that his or her blood can be used for a transfusion into persons with any other blood type: A, B, AB or O, negative or positive (although there are other considerations). Also in general, a person with type AB-positive blood is a universal recipient, meaning that he or she can receive a transfusion of blood of any type: A, B, AB or O, negative or positive.

80. ___ Canals SOO
In the summer of 2010 I spent a very interesting afternoon watching ships make their way through the Soo Locks and Soo Canal between Lake Superior and the lower Great lakes. The name “Soo” comes from the US and Canadian cities on either side of the locks, both called Sault Ste. Marie.

82. “Great” kid-lit detective NATE
The ‘Nate the Great” series of children’s novels was written (mainly) by Marjorie Sharmat. Nate is like a young Sherlock Holmes, with a dog for a sidekick called Sludge. Some of the books have been adapted for television.

86. Nile Valley region NUBIA
Nubia a region shared by Egypt and Sudan that lies along the Nile river. The name
“Nubia” comes from the Noba people who settled in the area in the 4th century.

88. Isak Dinesen novel setting A(FRI)CA
Isak Dinesen was the pen name of the Danish author Baroness Karen Blixen. Blixen’s most famous title by far is “Out of Africa”, her account of the time she spent living in Kenya.

90. World’s leading exporter of bananas ECUADOR
“Ecuador” is the Spanish word for “equator”, which gives the country its name.

91. Nail polish remover component ACETONE
Acetone is the active ingredient in nail polish remover and in paint thinner.

93. Eagles’ org. BSA
As every little boy (of my era) knows, the Scouting movement was founded by Lord Baden Powell, in 1907. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) soon followed, in 1910.

94. ___ d’Amérique ETAT(S UN)IS
“Les États-Unis d’Amérique” is what French speakers call the United States of America.

102. Sleep problem, to Brits APNOEA
Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

111. Sportscaster Collinsworth CRIS
Cris Collinsworth is a sportscaster for several broadcasting organizations. Collinsworth played as a wide receiver in the NFL for eight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.

112. Chinese dynasty during the time of Christ HAN
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China and lasted from 206 BC to 220 AD. It came after the Qin Dynasty, and before the Three Kingdoms.

113. Certain supermarkets IGAS
IGA stands for Independent Grocers Alliance, a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago.

115. Durango dinero PESO
Durango is one of the 31 states of Mexico. Durango is landlocked, and is located in the northwest of the country.

120. Ungentlemanly sort CAD
Our word “cad”, meaning “a person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

121. Spanish precious metal ORO
“Oro, plata, bronce” is “gold, silver, bronze” in Spanish.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Fancy footwear SPATS
6. Turning point at the station? GAS CAP
12. Remote control abbr. VOL
15. Banned apple spray ALAR
19. American Dance Theater founder AILEY
20. Planets and notes in the musical scale OCTADS
21. Agitated IN A STATE
23. Early entrepreneurial efforts LE(MON)ADE STANDS
25. Argued against REBUTTED
26. California’s old Fort ___ ORD
27. Turn (off) SHUT
28. Florentine attraction STA(TUE) OF DAVID
30. Small African antelopes ORIBIS
33. When repeated, an engine sound PUTT
35. Feudal laborer ESNE
36. Serpent’s tail? -INE
37. Running with scissors and others NO-NOS
38. Show-offs HOT DOGS
40. Kind of tax ESTATE
43. Food to go? STE(WED) PRUNES
45. Santa’s landing spot ROOF
48. Not so important MINOR
49. Court hearing OYER
50. Persevered KEPT AT IT
52. Obama’s birthplace OAHU
55. Traditional OLD-LINE
59. Priest, in an Ogden Nash poem ONE-L LAMA
63. Spanish precious metal PLATA
65. Writer Gordimer NADINE
67. Syrup source TREE SAP
68. Johannesburg-born golf champion ELS
69. Birthplace of Harry Houdini BUDAPES(T HU)NGARY
73. “Survivor” construction HUT
74. On the fence NOT SURE
76. Jerks SCHMOS
77. Jobs in technology STEVE
79. Doubters SKEPTICS
81. “Friends” co-star LEBLANC
84. River to the North Sea YSER
85. Whenever AS SOON AS
87. Not give ___ A RAP
89. Defense grp. that disbanded in 1977 SEATO
92. Something said before grace? YOUR
93. Big name in feminism BETTY (FRI)EDAN
99. Sign of stress ACCENT
101. Ogre, to a kid BEASTIE
103. Arab League headquarters CAIRO
104. German : Strasse :: French : ___ RUE
105. Designer Gernreich RUDI
108. Carson’s predecessor PAAR
109. Blue Ribbons and others PABSTS
110. Just makes the 7:47, perhaps CATCHE(S A T)RAIN
114. Toledo tidbit TAPA
116. Subject of the 1998 biography “King of the World” ALI
117. Cute ADORABLE
118. Does spy work GOE(S UN)DERCOVER
122. George W. Bush acquisition of 2008 SON-IN-LAW
123. Homes up high AERIES
124. Developed AROSE
125. G.I. rations MRES
126. That, in Tijuana ESA
127. Makes an assertion SAYS SO
128. Hunt for water, say DOWSE

Down
1. Old gunfight locales SALOONS
2. French pantomime character PIERROT
3. How trout may be prepared: Var. AL(MON)DINE
4. After-dinner order TEA
5. Barrett of Pink Floyd SYD
6. “Oh my!” GOSH!
7. Start to give trouble to ACT UP ON
8. It needs a signature STATUTE
9. Fire CAN
10. Augments ADDS TO
11. “Hey!” PSST!
12. Good qualities VIR(TUE)S
13. Situation after a leadoff single ONE ON
14. Charge for bloodwork, say LAB FEE
15. Boy or girl lead-in ATTA
16. Neighbor of a Belarussian LATVIAN
17. Corroded ATE INTO
18. Alberta’s third-largest city, named after an animal RED DEER
22. Amérique du ___ SUD
24. Soccer header? ESS
29. Noted taleteller AESOP
31. Withdrew BO(WED) OUT
32. Old Cosby show I SPY
34. Some successful plays, for short TDS
38. Pitch HURL
39. Nursery gift? GREEN (THU)MB
41. Grinning symbols SMILEYS
42. Championship TITLE
44. Vintage wheels REO
46. Native Nebraskan OTO
47. Crush competitor FANTA
50. Deli offerings KNISHES
51. Okla. or Oreg., once TERR
52. Certain tournaments OPENS
53. Perfectly fine ALL OK
54. Precipitousness HASTE
56. What makes you you? DNA
57. Pool activity LAPS
58. “Well, well!” I DECLARE!
60. Word before and after “to,” in a religious phrase ASHES
61. Purple shade MAUVE
62. More suitable APTER
64. Touches ABUTS ON
66. Hydroxyl compound ENOL
70. 20th-century novelist whose first name is an anagram of 66-Down URIS
71. Part of a trap DECOY
72. Fed. property overseer GSA
75. Flurry SPATE
78. Universal recipient designation TYPE AB
80. ___ Canals SOO
82. “Great” kid-lit detective NATE
83. You might have a good one after a breakup CRY
86. Nile Valley region NUBIA
88. Isak Dinesen novel setting A(FRI)CA
89. Cutting comments SARCASM
90. World’s leading exporter of bananas ECUADOR
91. Nail polish remover component ACETONE
93. Eagles’ org. BSA
94. ___ d’Amérique ETAT(S UN)IS
95. Harangues TIRADES
96. Renounce DISAVOW
97. Naïve ARTLESS
98. “Fuhgeddaboudit!” NO SIREE!
100. High pitch TREBLE
102. Sleep problem, to Brits APNOEA
106. 50-page book, maybe? U(S AT)LAS
107. ___ blank (had no idea) DREW A
109. What’s expected PAR
111. Sportscaster Collinsworth CRIS
112. Chinese dynasty during the time of Christ HAN
113. Certain supermarkets IGAS
115. Durango dinero PESO
119. Suffix with trick -ERY
120. Ungentlemanly sort CAD
121. Spanish precious metal ORO

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Posted by Bill Butler
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11 thoughts on “0505-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 5 May 13, Sunday”

  1. This was the dumbest puzzle ever! I just started doing crosswords and you throw in 3 letters for one square! What the heck?! I felt really stupid, but now that I have conducted research regarding this particular puzzle, it seems that I am not alone in my frustration.

  2. I agree with Anon. Usually the only time I'm not able to fully complete a puzzle is when I can't figure out the theme, as in this case. I enjoy good word play as much as any word lover, but sometimes the setters get carried away and the puzzles become needlessly complicated. I guess I'm a "crossword purist." This one was tough to figure out, though I managed to get most of it. What did I learn? I was confused that the missing letters were not the same each time; I should've written them down, and maybe then I would've noticed that they were days of the week.

    The mere fact that you were able to attempt a NYT Sunday puzzle is proof you're probably no dummy, Anon. Most people I know have trouble getting anywhere with any crossword (Uh-oh, what does it say about the people I work and hang around with?). My mentor, alter ego and hero Bill has been doing these every day for decades. I gave up trying to emulate him, but I haven't given up hope that someday, with his help, I'll be an elite puzzle solver. Solve on, Anon!! Hi, Bill : )

  3. Hi there, Greg.

    A rebus puzzle strikes again!

    I found this puzzle particularly tricky for a few reasons.

    1. It is a rebus! I made very slow progress to start, which usually is a big hint to me that we could be dealing with multiple letters in one square. Usually I make quick progress then, once I've found the rebus word. But not in this case.

    2. The rebus "word" keeps changing, adding an extra layer of complexity.

    3. Usually the puzzle's title gives a pretty good clue as to what's going on. "Crunch Time" didn't help me at all. I needed to come up with 3-4 of the rebus squares before finally seeing what was going on. I really did need to understand the daily progression "trick" to solve the last 20% of the puzzle.

    Quite a workout …

  4. That you "made very slow progress to start" and that it's a "big hint" for you that it's a rebus is something I'll always keep in mind from now on. Thanks for the tip!Sounds like my crossword solving reasoning was similar to yours, which is encouraging, but you still got through it in 38 minutes! Let's just say I stared at it for hours before finally giving in :“( Perhaps you could add a crossword solving "Tip of the Day" somewhere in your blog for us mere mortals. I'm making steady progress, just too lazy to do them every day, I guess … Thanks, Bill!

  5. I wouldn't consider myself qualified to give tips here, but thanks for the idea, Greg 🙂 I really am a very lightweight solver compared to the experts out there. I do recommend a book, though. How to Conquer the New York Times Crossword Puzzle by Amy Reynaldo may be about the NY Times puzzle, but everything applies equally well to solving the LA Times crossword. It's a quick read, and well worth it.

  6. This is similar to quilters who get really excited over their exquisitely designed quilts. Most people don't give a rat's axx how complex it is; our eyes glaze over after more than a few minutes hearing a quilter wax sentimental over some dumb quilt. Same goes here for me. I am not even remotely interested in doing this type of puzzle ever again!

  7. I've come back to the daily NYT puzzles the last 3 years or so after not solving them for many years. Now I look forward to the challenge each day, more so as they get tougher later in the week. When I first started back, I hated the rebus puzzles just like many of those that commented above. I encourage them to keep at it – the mental challenges are what keep us interested and are why most of us hang in there week after week. I admire the cleverness of many constructors (and the editor!). There was an eclipse based theme a few months ago where the words "sun" and "moon" were overlayed in single black squares – that one had me pulling out what little hair was left. I'm not up to WEB's level yet but sometimes can come close to his times. If any of you want to feel really inadequate, watch the documentary "Wordplay" about the annual NYT sponsored crossword competition.

  8. Hi there, Ben.

    As I have oft said here, the rebus puzzle is the one type of crossword that is bound to raise the hackles in the solving community. It seems that there are lovers and there are haters. I tend to fall in between, but do enjoy a particularly clever rebus offering.

    Thanks for mentioning "Wordplay". It really is a surprisingly good documentary, especially for New York Times crossword fans. There's even a little drama and suspense at the end 🙂

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