Big name in nail polish / TUE 7-11-17 / Matchmaking site since 1997 / Fruit in som tam salad / Nickname of Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman / Uncle criers

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: POWER COUPLE (36A: Victoria and David Beckham, e.g. ... or what 17-, 26-, 47- and 57-Across each have, in a way) — the "couple"—"AC" and "DC"—both appear in each of the theme answers:

Theme answers:
  • PEACHES AND CREAM (17A: Hunky-dory)
  • SACRED COW (26A: Untouchable one)
  • ACTED COOL (47A: Stayed calm)
  • BACKGROUND CHECK (57A: Pre-employment screening) 
Word of the Day: Porter GOSS (64A: Former C.I.A. director Porter ___) —
Porter Johnston Goss (born November 26, 1938) is an American politician and government official who served as a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989 until 2004, when he became the last Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) and the first Director of the Central Intelligence Agency following the passage of the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which abolished the DCI position. // Goss represented Florida's 14th congressional district from 1989 to 2004. His district, numbed as the 13th District from 1989 to 1993, included Fort Myers, Naples and part of Port Charlotte. He served as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 1997 to 2004, was a co-sponsor of the USA PATRIOT Act and was a co-chair of the Joint 9/11 Intelligence Inquiry. (wikipedia)
• • •

This works. I mean ... it does. It does its thing, and the revealer is cute (and apt) and the theme answers stand alone as pretty colorful entries, so (especially considering Tuesday's spectacularly terrible track record) I'm happy. Good enough! AC is one type of power, DC is another, together they are a couple of powers, or a POWER COUPLE. Shazam. ACTED COOL is a bit makeshift, as answers go, but the others are strong. I guess that, now that I think about it, I have heard PEACHES AND CREAM used in the way the clue suggests (17A: Hunky-dory), but at first, I had PEAC- and couldn't figure out how I was gonna make HYKEEN stretch out to eleven letters. I also quick-read (i.e. badly read) the clue on BACKGROUND CHECK (57A: Pre-employment screening). I had the CHECK, and then I read the [Pre-] part and somehow (perhaps because I just traveled by plane a couple weeks ago) I got TSA Pre-check in my head and everything got screwy. The areas around the front and middle of that answer were the toughest parts of the puzzle for me by far (though still not that tough).

[this song has both PAPAYA and PEACHES AND CREAM (as clued) in it]

I still can't spell AVOCADO. AVA- wins again. I eat them regularly; you'd think I'd have it by now, but no. I was super-duper proud of myself that I remembered the nail polish brand (51A: Big name in nail polish). Had the ES-, wrote in ESTEE and *immediately* thought, "Nope, nope, you know this one ... you've seen it ... you've thought about how crosswordy it looks ... what is it?! EPPIE? No ... ESSIE!!" Yessie! Had far more trouble with both PEAT BOG (38D: Natural fuel source) and EL CHAPO (39D: Nickname of the Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán) in the SW. And then really had trouble with OF OLD (50D: Long past) and CARPI, which is not a thing I can ever remember seeing before (49D: Wrist bones)—and perhaps for good reason. You see, the carpus is actually the whole damn set of bones in the wrist.

"Carpus" is the word for "carpal bones." So ... it doesn't really pluralize. On the "Carpal bones" wikipedia page, if you search "carpi," it comes up a lot, but as a genitive (i.e. "of the carpus"), not a plural. I guess you and I possess CARPI, OK, but ... I'm giving that one some anatomical side-eye, for sure.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


mathgent 12:10 AM  

What Florence Foster Jenkins was to opera, Ms. Burnikel is to crossword construction. A very nice lady who devotes a lot of time to the art but just isn't very good at it.

George Barany 12:20 AM  

Solid and fun puzzle by my Minnesota friend @Zhouqin (C.C.) Burnikel, and a gracious review by @Rex (thanks for the grammar lesson on CARPI). My only misadventure, possibly from not reading the clues carefully enough, but fixed easily enough, was to fill in STENCH ahead of STANCH. Regarding JDATE crossing JPEG, neither of those existed during my single days. Needed the crossing letters to get ESSIE (like @Rex, ESTEE seemed a reasonable first guess).

puzzlehoarder 12:26 AM  

I couldn't work up the interest to comment yesterday. This has more interesting material. I'd forgotten JDATE or at least the J. JPEG was obvious so no problem. The clue list for ENDOR is interesting, until 1997 it was only clued for it's biblical meaning. It must have been in one of the later versions of those movies I don't watch.

chefwen 12:28 AM  

I have a cool little tool for cutting AVOCADOs in half with a pointy thing in the middle of the knife for stabbing the pit, its name is an AVO CARVO, so no spelling problem there. The handle is shaped like a mini AVOCADO, cute little tool. When you sell kitchen gadgets for a couple of years you end up with one or two of everything. Husband kept wondering if I would ever come home with a paycheck.

Guess we're back on to the ice cream thing with PEACHES AND CREAM, think I'll stick to the RUM RAISIN.

Thought it was easier than Mondays. Caught on with the AC/DC right away and filling those in helped with the rest.

Cute one C.C.

Kell 12:28 AM  

@mathgent Ouch. Even Rex didn't mind this one... what makes you think it's so bad?

Ron Painter 1:12 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry Gilstrap 1:27 AM  

Wow, my print out comes with neither shaded squares nor circles. Help a brother out here, WS! So the theme was lost on me and, as a result, a DISASTER that kinda left a sour taste in my mouth. How much easier had this have been had I had access to the authentic experience. I feel like I'm the butt of some cruel joke. Thank goodness no one else witnessed my floundering.

ROMEO, the kid in Shakespeare, was no ladies' man; he was fortune's fool. Lesson learned from the immortal Bard of Avon.

I taught in an affluent neighborhood in Orange County and when the Santa ANA winds would rage, it would blow the fruit off the AVOCADO trees, and that ill wind would blow somebody good. Five avocados for a dollar was common in the fall months. Beautiful fruit from old quality trees.

HUNG and hanged are distinctive in an interesting way. I, personally, would prefer to be the former over the latter.

Anyone who HOARDS anything; please explain that logic. Looking for an upside here.

CDilly52 1:37 AM  

STANCH is such a good word, certainly one of the points of OPULENCE. Also enjoyed POWER COUPLE clue and answer. Not very crunchy but certainly Tuesday-worthy. ESSIE nail polish; never heard of it. Live and learn.

Hartley70 2:29 AM  

I also said "ouch!" when I read @mathgent's comment, and I don't think it's true. This is a very appropriate Tuesday and the AC/DC POWER COUPLE theme is entertaining. I don't see any dreck in the fill, even though I would classify this as an easy Tuesday solve. I'm remembering that this lady has given us some killer late week struggles. Considering that her bio says she grew up in China, I actually think she deserves a round of applause, or failing that, a place at the table of the LA Times crossword (except she already has that). I have never met her, but I believe she is a celebrity in the world of puzzles.

Hartley70 2:31 AM  

ESSIE really does have the best colors and their polish stays on a longer time than most.

Thomaso808 2:38 AM  

@mathgent you might have to go back to being @mathguy!

jae 2:49 AM  

Easy-medium for me too. I agree with @Rex on the theme answers and the revealer. A cut above the typical Tues., liked it. Nice one C.C.

Robert A. Simon 2:58 AM  

In case you post today, thank you for yesterday. Yeah, I kinda knew what Rex is up to, and I truly wish him Godspeed. Mr. Shortz is certainly capable of better, and I'm afraid that since the Times (and all newspapers) had to start monetizing anything that wasn't nailed down, the crosswords have been dumbed down to broaden their potential (paying) audience.

joebloggs 4:22 AM  

Nope. 1983's Return of the Jedi.

joebloggs 4:24 AM  

Eric Clapton. "After Midnight, it's all gonna be peaches and cream"...

Thomaso808 4:35 AM  

Good puzzle. I think CC tries hard to produce a clean grid. Note her comment on Xwordinfo about trying to eliminate OPE. Much appreciated.

I share Rex's dysfunction on spelling AVOCADO. Maybe today will be my turning point.

@chefwen your Avo-Carvo sounds awesome and I went online to get me one of that but all I could find was a LA Times article from 1986. Ooh, seems like it didn't sell that well. But it does sound awesome!

evil doug 4:59 AM  

"The Douglas VC-54C Skymaster is the first aircraft purpose-built to fly the President of the United States. Carrying the staff transport “VC” designation, the aircraft was officially named The Flying White House. However, the aircraft became better known by its unofficial nickname, SACRED COW, a reference to the high security surrounding the aircraft and its special status....

...The USAAF turned to the Douglas Aircraft Company to build a military transport specifically to accommodate the special needs of President Franklin Roosevelt.

The SACRED COW carried President Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference in February 1945...The trip to Yalta was Roosevelt’s only flight aboard the aircraft before his untimely death in April 1945...

Roosevelt’s successor, Harry S. Truman, used the aircraft extensively during the first 27 months of his administration. On July 26, 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 on board the Sacred Cow. This act established the US Air Force as an independent service, making the SACRED COW the “birthplace” of the US Air Force.

After the SACRED COW left presidential service, the USAF continued using it for other transport duties until the airplane was finally retired in October 1961. In 1983, the SACRED COW was transported to the museum, and staff began the monumental task of restoring the aircraft to its former glory. After ten years and more than 34,000 hours of work, the aircraft was placed on display appearing as it did during President Roosevelt’s trip to Yalta."

If you, or your kids, or your grandkids are interested in all things military aviation, I can't recommend the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton enough. Each era of military aviation is displayed in incredible detail, and the number of historic aircraft is remarkable. You can walk through the SACRED COW and other presidential aircraft, including the solemn 707 derivative of JFK.

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chefwen 5:30 AM  

@Thomaso808 - That's around the time we moved to CA and I worked in my little kitchen shop. Too bad they stopped making them, still works like a charm and not a rust spot on it (unusual for these parts)

BarbieBarbie 5:45 AM  

Had to come here to understand the "couple" part of the theme.

I have two wrists. I have CARPI.

Z 6:22 AM  

Dare I suggest CARPopodes? Of course I do.

@Evil Doug - Thanks for the comment. Fascinating stuff.

I long felt as @mathgent does, but didn't have the temerity to write it as so many people expressed deep fondness for Ms. Burnikel. As much as it is amazing that she is constructing puzzles in her second language, it always seemed to me that there was a certain stiltedness about her puzzles. However, keep doing something long enough, collaborate with others, and one's proficiency is bound to grow. Such is the case here. Maybe not the best Tuesday ever, but perfectly cromulent.

Lewis 6:27 AM  

@larry -- The constructor, in her notes, said that she submitted the puzzle without circles (or shaded areas).

I like the PASS up, and the animal mini-theme (DOG, OWL, COW). Props to CC for coming up with a theme that has never been done before, with solid theme answers (and I don't think they are easy to come up with; I've been trying).

But the best part of this puzzle for me is the collection of appealing answers: STANCH, TIMEWAS, INAWORD, OPULANCE, PEATBOG, ELCHAPO, PEACHESANDCREAM, and SACREDCOW. Thank you, CC!

Hungry Mother 6:45 AM  

I knew JPEG, but not JDATE, so I just hoped the "J" was correct. Otherwise, very easy.

Glimmerglass 6:51 AM  

@mathgent. If you can't say something nice, shut the &@$&@ up. Anyone else think ELON MUSK would be a great name for a man's cologne? "For the man who's well 34D."

Anonymous 6:59 AM  

And J.J. Cale, originally.

QuasiMojo 7:11 AM  

All that just so we can titter at AC/DC as a "power couple"? It makes no sense. Is On/Off a couple? Or Yes/No? Either/Or? I know, go ask Søren Kierkegaard. I'm surprised Rex gave this one such a friendly "pass." Themes are taking over the NYT puzzle but very few of them are interesting. This one definitely wasn't. A pastime should not be a waste of time.

Gubdude 7:30 AM  

I enjoyed this one. I thought it was clever. Good reveal, good theme answers overall.

I'm no Star Wars elitist, but I do know that Ewoks are actually from the moon of Endor, not Endor itself. I'm not mad, just pointing it out.

Johnny 7:53 AM  

I am totally getting in on that Illuminati deal. That sounds like exactly what I've been looking for.

Two Ponies 8:09 AM  

I'm with @ mathgent.
@ Glimmerglass, If Rex had bashed this puzzle would you have slung those curse words so freely?
Rex was unusually kind today. Must have a crush on the constructor.
@ evil doug, Thanks for the history lesson. Certainly more interesting than today's grid.

My mnemonic for avocado - AO repeats and are the only vowels.

chefbea 8:19 AM  

Too tough for me...dont know the Beckhams, never heard of Jdate or som tam salad, and what is UAL???
I'll google that salad...might have to make avocado in anything

Birchbark 8:23 AM  

This was an easy flowing solve. Mildly slowed by the revealer clue's use of "each ... in a way." It made me think that each theme answer would have a different sort of "power couple." But the hesitation lasted about as long as it took to type that sentence.

My review just now of Strunk & White and Fowler's "English Usage" didn't offer any guidance on whether "each" implies the separate identity I think it does. But did learn that "each" is the first "E" word in my Webster's (abridged) dictionary, defined as "every one of two or more." So the day starts well.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

@Glimmerglass I think it is ok for people to not like the puzzle even if they don't always express their criticism in a constructive way. I thought this puzzle had crunchy fun entries (but not so much the theme entries). Goss and jdate were totally unknown to me and could have been left out of the puzzle.

Bill Feeney 8:33 AM  

I don't understand people like mathgent and Two Ponies who insult a constructor in public, and then offer no reasons for their hurtful words. I

RAD2626 8:37 AM  

I liked the puzzle, the theme and the absence of much drek in the fill. I also almost always enjoy CC's puzzles and am one who does marvel at it being her second language. Would have been neat to sneak in an AC/DC hit into the grid as an Easter egg. Maybe Back in Black or Highway to Hell. Or maybe not...

Probably just me but EL CHAPO and PTSD are close to failing the breakfast test.

Homerun Derby last night one of the best. Rivaled Ken Griffey Jr,in Baltimore, Josh Hamilton at Yankee Stadium, and McGwire at Fenway. Aaron Judge will soon if not already be crossword worthy. A true Paul Bunyan.

Sciencenerd 8:56 AM  

I have to disagree with Rex about carpi. As a veterinary anatomist it is not uncommon to use the Latin plural of carpus as in "both carpi show signs of degenerative changes radiographically". I get that because it's not in your wheelhouse it seems strange, like when I struggle with musical terms or (to me) esoteric crime fiction references. Carpi is a perfectly acceptable anatomy term and made me smile as a gimme that I was able to plunk down right away. At least it was not clued as "a popular anatomy phrase" :)

Nancy 8:59 AM  

Hey, everyone, stop picking on @mathgent -- surely one of the nicest people on this entire blog. He's been my opposite coast pen pal for a long time now, and has completely *spoiled* me with his unfailing thoughtfulness and kindness. Any one of you would, I'm quite sure, count yourself lucky to have him as a friend. And why, pray tell, is he not entitled to have opinions about constructors whose work he doesn't particularly enjoy just like everyone else here? That's what we all do here: we give our opinions on what we like and what we don't like.

That said, I liked this Burnikel puzzle more than many of her others. There were five answers that were clued in a somewhat tricky and misleading way: TIE SCORE (11D); NIECES (45D); OWL (33D); YACHT (24A); and THE (52A). That's a lot for a Tuesday, so I was relatively happy with the puzzle. And I thought the dual meaning of the term POWER COUPLE was cute. Not a bad Tuesday at all.

SouthsideJohnny 8:59 AM  

Nice puzzle for me, as I can usually finish Mon thru Weds, struggle with Thurs and Sunday, and am lost on Fri and Sat. Two questions - @Rad, what is the breakfast test ? Also, why do many posters here refer to Rex as OFL ?

Wm. C. 9:14 AM  

@chefbea --

UAL => United Air Lines, competitor of Delta Air Lines.

Wm. C. 9:15 AM  

@Southside --

OFL => Our Fearless Leader.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

I liked the puzzle. Mathgent didn't. Why is one opinion superior to the other? Oh wait, it isn't.
Keep on rocking mathgent, don't let the foul mouthed small brains have the last word.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

As sciencenerd points out, CARPI is the LATIN plural of CARPUS, so perfectly accurate. CARPAL is an adjective, i.e., "carpal bone", a wrist bone. A muscle that bends the wrist is a "FLEXOR CARPI", etc. BTW, each CARPAL bone has its own name, which we memorize using a slightly naughty mnemonic.

Sir Hillary 9:24 AM  

Very nice puzzle. How we were denied a video link, or at least a picture, of Angus Young is beyond me.

chefbea 9:27 AM  

@Wm C thanks for splaining it

Whirred Whacks 9:33 AM  

@Nancy 8:59
I like @MathGent. I'm not a fan of publicly bashing constructors (which Michael Sharp does constantly to the amazing BRUCE HAIGHT), but I thought Mathgent's snarky comment was funny.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

Sciencenerd and anonymous 9:20,
Don't bother. Poor Michael thinks because he has a PhD, he's a real doctor. I mean he went to Wikipedia for anatomy. That's only slightly less embarrassing than SUNY Binghampton.

Barbara Hohenberg 9:40 AM  

Me too. I wear braces on each at night. I sleep. They don't.

RooMonster 9:43 AM  

Hey All !
Nice TuesPuz, til I hit SW. Oof. PEAT BOG? EL CHAPO? As @M&A says, Don't make me come down there, CC! :-)

NYT puz site has the shaded squares, so once I had two of the themers, wrote in the AC and DC of the other two, which helped on the ACTED COOL one. Thrown off on the nail polish clue. Had ESteE like probably 99% of men did. :-) Said, Hey, I know that one! "Confirmed" by misspelling of NeICES. Got stuck on ASPECT/PEC with the misspelling. Ran the alphabet twice with _iC as the muscle, finally had to Reveal Square to get the P. Then saw the error.

Had my DNF in that SW corner. Couldn't come up with OPTO, and GOSS unknown to me. Don't watch news, or care who leads the CIA.

So didn't totally DUG this puz. Bit it was good for a Tuesday.

O FOLD - When Oprah finishes the laundry.


Kendall 9:47 AM  

@chefbea - UAL is the stock ticker for United. I suppose that makes it valid though I have never once heard anyone refer to United as "UAL" and I'm on an airplane twice a week every week.

I loved the theme of this puzzle, but thought the non-theme aspects were on the challenging end of Tuesday puzzles. I've never heard anyone say TIMEWAS or TIESCORE so neither of those answers jumped out without a ton of crosses.

I have read the clue for YACHT probably 5 times and I still don't understand it. In fact, the only reason I got it was because YAC-T could only be one thing in my mind. I've never seen or read The Hunger Games so HEROINE didn't come to mind until many crosses in.

Joseph Michael 9:49 AM  

While this puzzle may not have been electrifying, it did light up my Tuesday for a moment. So thanks for that, Zhouquin.

My print out didn't distinguish black squares from shaded ones (hello, @Larry) so the AC DC theme remained buried for most of the solve and resulted in quite a nice aha moment when I finally saw it. In the end, I was glad that theme had not been spoon fed to me and understand why the constructor originally wanted no shaded squares or circles to dumb it down.

Themers were well chosen (especially liked SACRED COW) and there was some nice fill, such as OPULENCE, EL CHAPO, PEAT BOG, AVOCADO, and more.

The image of a bunch of NIECES crying out for their uncles reminds me somehow of "The Larry David Show," an aquired taste that can easily become an addiction.

TIME WAS when I had carpal tunnel syndrome after years of sitting at keyboards, so CARPI came fairly easily. Got rid of the carpal tunnel by switching my computer mouse from my right hand to my left.

Shalom. Mir. Pax. Aloha.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

I liked it. The circles definitely sped the solving. It felt as if some commenters, deprived of the fix of bile that OFL usually supplies, thought themselves obliged to step up to the plate.

@Gub - anger management therapy seems to be paying off.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

I bet you thought this was an amusing takedown when you decided to post it. You're wrong, you're just a mean person. Mathematically and otherwise.

Wm. C. 10:18 AM  

@Kendall --

The "Americas Cup" is a yacht race named after the first yacht to win the race, the New York Yacht Club's "America" in England in 1851. The Club successfully defended the Cup race 24 times, the record for the most consecutive wins in international sports, until it lost to the "Australia II" in 1983.

jberg 10:28 AM  

I'd have liked it better without the shaded squares, which made it too easy. It might have been too hard for a Tuesday without them, though.

@Kendall, the America's Cup is a big international yacht race, named after the yacht America, the first winner.

No idea about nail polish,though, so I had DoCKED/ESSIo -- I guess people don't really use docked that way, but it seemed Ok at the time. (On the other hand, they definitely do say 'everything is PEACHES AND CREAM.')

So sad that the Witch of ENDOR has been pushed out of our consciousness by those cute fuzzy guys.

Ellen S 10:32 AM  

I liked today's puzzle a lot better than Monday's. As I worked today's, I felt like I was in the hands of a solid, competent constructor. When I got to 3D, and could only think of STeNCH or STauNCH, and realized the answer was STANCH, I thought, well, I'm glad someone knows the language better than I do.

I only winced at 10A, a repeat from yesterday, and too many other puzzles. TIME WAS, only EELS went AT IT more often.

old timer 10:38 AM  

I kinda think @mathgent is right. A well constructed puzzle with a very clever POWERCOUPLE revealer, but I was quite disappointed in solving it because it lacked sparkle. I like my early-week puzzles to have several clues and answers that make me smile, even laugh, and the closest, I think, was NIECES. Whereas, since OFL has no sense of humor at all, he praised this one precisely because it was not funny (not punny, either) but was cleanly constructed and made good use of the theme.

My one thought, as I mentally replaced "Estee" with ESSIE, was that probably only 25% of the solvers have ever heard of ESSIE, and 90% of those would be women.

My only writeover: "bananas" before PAPAYAS. I liked PEACHES AND CREAM, and have heard it used in exactly the sense suggested by the clue.

Georgia 10:39 AM  

United Air Lines

GILL I. 10:50 AM  

@Rex...There is an ad on T.V. here in the land of California rolls that goes AVOOOOOCADOS DE MEJICO. He really pronounces that O. If you ever hear it, you won't forget how to spell it.
@Glimmerglass...Shut the &%$# up from you? When was the last time you didn't bash @Rex?
I thought this was one of the best Tuesdays in a long time. My only huh was wondering why C.C. picked Victoria and David Beckham. I was thinking an Amal and George or maybe a Blake and Miranda even the favorite exes Brangelina.
Any bets when EL CHAPO will make his next escape. I kind like that PERILS POWER PROTECTS barrier surrounding him.
A fine Tuesday Ms Burnikel.

ghostoflectricity 11:30 AM  

Just wish the constructor had tied the theme into the legendary Aussie hard rock band of that name; otherwise, only minor objections to "ESSIE" (never heard of it in relation to nail polish), "ACTED COOL" (weak; usually "kept cool," etc.), and "CARPI," to which I share Rex's, well, carping (sorry, couldn't resist).

Mohair Sam 11:39 AM  

Well aren't we the feisty crowd today? @mathgent just clobbering the constructor, followed by @Glimmerglass walloping the Gent, and then a haymaker landed by @Gill I on Glimmer's jaw. Fun stuff.

Us? We love everybody - we're stuck on yesterday's WORLDPEACE. We're fine with PEACHESANDCREAM as clued, have used it ourselves, always thought peachy keen was a spin-off. Hand up for having never heard of JDATE, but guys like me never needed it. Good thing there's no word atpect out there, neither Lady M nor I ever heard of ESSIE. @Rex wants a third "A" in AVOCADO, I'm always demanding just one "A" in OPULENCE.

I've always enjoyed Zhouqin Burnikel's work, don't know what's bugging @mathgent today. @Z - Do you honestly think Zhouqin is THAT bad? C'mon.

@Doug - Good stuff.

jb129 11:45 AM  

I found this easier than ZB's usual puzzles, so I'm happy

Graham 12:04 PM  

And, even better, the Ewok adventure movies of 1984 and 1985!

Masked and Anonymous 12:11 PM  

AC-DC, CC. Solid theme idea. Them DC's lend themselves well, to spannin multiple themer words.

@RP: On the other hand/wrist, CARPI has the Patrick Berry NYTPuz Usage Immunity. Glad U found a puz to like, tho.

Only 74 words on a TuesPuz. CC really went for it. Also, another early weekdaypuz with the long corner stacks.

staff weeject pick: OPE, which nicely compliments OPULENCE, somehow. Honrable mention to AGA and UAL. Not much eau de speration worthy of special treatise, otherwise.

Fairly easy solvequest at our house. Didn't know ESSIE. Knew all elsie, includin GOSS and CARPI. Mighta been a little vague-ish, tho, on nailin down STANCH. Kinda extra-liked INAWORD right next to TIMEWAS.

Thanks, Ms. CC. U R a fave.

Masked & Anonymo4Us
"Big Name in Runts"


Hartley70 12:14 PM  

@Nancy and @mathgent, I am in complete agreement that @mathgent is the loveliest of fellows. I have been the grateful recipient of his thoughtfulness.

Trombone Tom 12:56 PM  

I am among those who do like C.C.'s puzzle creations and today was no exception.

I am surprised at the snarky comment from @mathgent. It is possible to dislike a puzzle without being so demeaning. It is certainly no example of "kindness and thoughtfulness."

Noam D. Elkies 1:10 PM  

Eventually got all the theme clues and most of the rest from just the Down clues and the shading, so about the right level for Tuesday by that measure (though I suppose the 5A/5D crossing JDATE/JPEG might have mystified some solvers; these days JPG seems much more common (preserving the old "three-letter extension" rule for .jpg), though JPEG turns out to be the original acronym.

Elsewhere, we have both the 36A:POWER_COUPLE of a 56A:PEC and 10A:A_TIT. No, wait . . .


Teedmn 1:25 PM  

I don't know why but I was uneasy assuming JPEG was the picture file format today but I should have been worried instead about the other end of 5A. I plopped in aNDOR at 9D and never looked back. I even looked at JDATa, and then looked away as if everything was PEACHES AND CREAM. Gah, what an OAF I am.

I started putting in CARsI at 49D but PLACE got that fixed. In middle school science class, my teacher's way of remembering CARPal for the wrist vs. tarsals for the ankle was to think of the hands "pulling" something, and for the feet walking on tar. Something like that. And the ulna lined up with the pinkie finger, the pinkie being like a "little Swiss girl named Ulna" opposed to the big Radius lined up with the thumb. Do teachers still use that kind of memory tool? I do still remember it but nearly forgot on CARPI.

My Dad has become somewhat of a food HOARDer. He buys far more of his favorite cereal, milk and orange juice than he needs. I tell him, "Dad, they'll have more of it in stock, you don't have to buy them out". Now my brother takes him grocery shopping which works much better for all of us.

Nice job CC, a fine Tuesday puzzle and theme.

JC66 1:26 PM  

Maybe, because @mathgent is usually so nice, some of us found his comment so jarring.

Joe Bleaux 1:46 PM  

Ditto Trombone Tom on CC. I like her puzzles, too, and couldn't ask for a better Tuesday offering than today's. (FWIW, her NYT puzzles seem to be a cut above those of hers that I've seen in the LA Times -- maybe it's just me.). As always, great commentary today. @Anon (6:59), thanks for mentioning J.J. Cale. Songwriters often don't get the recognition they deserve. @Two Ponies, great mnemonic! I'll never misspell avocado again. @Joseph Michael, so true about Larry David, to whom "Seinfeld," (the series, not Jerry specifically) owes all. As for other remarks today, from what I've seen posted by @mathgent, he's not at all mean-spirited. And re TIME WAS, I've heard lots of old guys say it, as a short version of "There was a time when ... "

tazio35 2:08 PM  

Good Tuesday. Thanks to the constructor! CARPI was just fine, as pointed out above, a gimme for us medical folks.

Nancy 2:29 PM  

@Joseph Michael (9:49) -- Yes, shading the AC/DC squares did make the puzzle a lot easier -- never a good thing in my book. But here's the problem: If those squares had been unshaded, I, for one, never would have noticed the AC/DC fill at all. Not in a million years. The revealer is much too subtle and I wouldn't have been looking for anything remotely like that. Plus the fact that I'm not visual in the best of circumstances and have failed to notice patterns in the grid that are far more salient than this one.

Also to Joseph M: After I got my laptop, my brother (who co-wrote an entire textbook on his computer) told me that my laptop touch pad was inefficient and that I should buy a mouse, which I could attach to the computer. I told him I loved my touch pad. I told him that I didn't have to grip anything in an unnatural and awkward way; that I could click with either hand, depending on which was more convenient. When I was "learning" computer skills at a free senior program, before I had my own computer, I used a mouse -- and I hated it. I was sure it would cause carpal tunnel syndrome, as had happened to my longtime friend and tennis partner, Dick, after his office [in his words] "took away my secretary and gave me a computer instead." The protracted ailment ended up ending Dick's tennis career early (he was 62), whereas playing tennis had never caused such an injury. When I bought my computer in 12/08, I was overjoyed to see I would not be using a mouse. So, Joseph M., have you thought of using a touchpad, rather than a mouse in your left hand? After all, you won't want to now develop carpal in your left wrist, do you? Just a thought.

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

As noted on Jeff Chen's XWordInfo, today's puzzle is Ms. Burnikel's 44th New York Times appearance, over a five year period. Just imagine how many more she could have published if she was good at her art. But at least she's a lovely lady, so they say.

RAD2626 2:59 PM  

@SouthsideJohnny. Since many solvers do the puzzle over breakfast, the conventional wisdom is not to include words or phrases that would offend or be disturbing: overt sexual or scatalogical references, e.g., or others that would be considered truly repulsive, as, for example, a direct reference to Hitler or Jeffrey Dahmer.

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

Mr. Musk has saved the word ELON. It used to be a tired old crosswordese for a North Carolina university. Now it's been transformed into a snappy new reference for a trending entrepreneur. Way to go ELON!

GILL I. 4:07 PM  

@Mohair...HeeHee. I had to look up haymaker.
Well, you're darn tootin. Right smack in the middle!

Cassieopia 4:28 PM  

@evil doug 4:59 - been there, done that, and you are right. I was agape the entire time. The WWII aircraft were riveting. Fantastic.

I'm a fan of Zhouquin Burnikel's work, always have been, and approach her puzzles with delicious anticipation. Today was no exception, and while there was some flat fill (which I dismissed as "Typically Tuesday"), in general I was entertained and had to do a bit of thinking (y'all call it "crunch", I believe) for some of the clues.

STANCH was the best although why does "staunch" spelling come to mind first? DNF because of Mr. Porter GaSS and ELCHAPa and that is my one complaint - no way I could have gotten that correctly, not knowing of the people. Never been a fan of crossing names.

Onward to Wednesday. It's so irritating that the puzzle comes out at 10 pm when I go to sleep at 9. This crossword habit thing is the biggest contributing cause to lack of adequate sleep.

BarbieBarbie 5:12 PM  

@Cass, me too on the sleep. Yet another reason to move to Hawaii.
@Evil, sounds fantastic. We were completely bowled-over by the Udvar-Hazy. Better?
@Kendall, if you truly travel a lot AND make your own arrangements OR track flights for fun or convenience, you'll see that United uses UAL as their handle. They also own the domain, so a lot of people must look them up like that. I think it's fair.
@mathman, "nice lady?!?" As a left-hander, I have to applaud that compliment. I hope you're not affected by the smoke and evacuation activity, looking for a brief respite and finding your least-favorite constructor waiting for you. That would make anyone snappish. But as a singer I can tell you CC is way, way better than FFJ. Many of us like her work a lot. You are wecome to your own gout, of course.

Hot here, if it isn't me. Think I'll go in search of some popular ice cream...

evil doug 6:14 PM  

BB: I've not been to that A&S annex,and I know there's some good stuff there. But I believe on sheer mass of exhibits Dayton has it beat.

When I hosted my USAF pilot training class reunion in Cincinnati we drove up there for a whole day, and one guy decided he needed a second day to do it justice. Check out the Web site and see what you think....

kitshef 6:30 PM  

First puzzle back from hiking in Switzerland. Was hoping for a gem but found this oddly unsatisfying. Definitely would have played better (but not on a Tuesday) without the circles.

GOSS/EL CHAPO looks like a Natick in waiting. Former unknown to me and latter not exactly a household name.

Aketi 8:01 PM  

@Evil Doug, thx for the history lesson on the SACRED COW and its role in the origin of the USAF

@Gill I, I chuckled over @Mohair Sam's description of your "haymaker". It was a perfect application.

@Mohair Sam, I didn't associate PEACHES AND CREAM with WORLD PEACE, I associated it with an ice cream flavor. I guess the taste worm of R** R***** is having long term effects on my gray matter.

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

Just checked in...didn't study all 79 responses but carpi is the plural of carpus...fourth declension Latin noun.. from the Greek καρπός (karpós, “wrist”).

singular plural
nom carpus carpi
gen carpus carpuum
dat carpui carpibis
acc carpum carpus
abl carpu carpibis

Michael 10:22 PM  

Judging from his comment, I really find it hard to believe that mathgent is kind and thoughtful. His comment epitomizes lack of kindness and thoughtfulness. (In any case, I - and apparently a lot of other people - don't agree with him). Of course he is completely free to not like the work of a constructor, but what exactly is the point of expressing this in such a mean way? Rex is often harsh, but I don't remember him ever saying as a general rule that he didn't like the work of a constructor. His critiques (which I often disagree with) are framed in term of particular puzzles. And Rex explains why he doesn't like puzzles rather than simply making a gratuitous insult of the constructor.

Aspect Carpi Michaels 3:43 AM  

You come on like a dream, peaches and cream
Lips like strawberry wine
You're CC, you're beautiful and you're fine
You're all ribbons and curls, ooh, what a girl
Eyes that sparkle and shine
You're CC, you're beautiful and you're fine

Had the pleasure of CC's company in Minneapolis last month, showing her around my beloved Lake Harriet. FOrgot to take a selfie, so perhaps it didn't happen!

Blown away that she found those phrases and that they had 15 letters!!!
I never would have gotten them without the circles

Everyone I know who has met on JDATE only one of them was Jewish...which works nicely with my theory that there should be only one Jew per relationship.

Felt word for word what Rex experienced, right down to ESteE, stretching out PEACHYkeen and not knowing how to spell AVOCADO

(@2 ponies 8:09am, trade you that AO AO mnemonic for the ISAO AOKI, same deal, AO AO)

"anatomical sideeye" hee hee, now that's the kinda writing I love!

BTW, How possibly can people think that the cruel comments don't cut straight to our little constructor hearts???!!! Esp if they are the first one on the blog that day and set the tone for the discourse???!
People ALWAYS say some of the snarkiest folks here are so different off blog... (or even conversely that the nice ones are phonies!)
C'mon, you are what you write!

Methuselah 9:13 AM  

I'd just like to point out that MPEG / MDATE would work as well.

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thefogman 10:40 AM  

Putting aside all the carping about carpus and CARPI, I found this one to be enjoyable enough but could and should have traded places with yesterday's significantly more-challenging puzzle. I breezed through this one with my only write over being uTe before ATV. Common sense would dictate some real power couples making an appearance (such as Frank and Claire Underwood). But no, they did not. SAD! But I digress. And to that I'm sure F.U. would say: The only problem with common sense is that it’s so common.

Burma Shave 11:28 AM  


THE farmer ACTEDCOOL now, as he PROTECTS his dream -


rondo 12:20 PM  

CC is becoming somewhat prolific as she has also had some decent puzzles over at WSJ. Thought at first we'd be rocking to the BAND AC-DC, ended up tamer with a POWERCOUPLE.

Speaking of BANDs, I heard Steely Dan's music recently referred to as YACHT rock. New one on me.

Some years ago I was on THE return leg of a business trip with a vanload of colleagues when we came to a stop light next to a sweet-corn stand advertising on very large signs that white and yellow type of corn known as PEACHESANDCREAM. Two youngish and attractive blonde gals in tank tops and Daisy Dukes were working said stand. I said aloud, "I wonder which one is PEACHES." The entire van burst out in laughter, even the womenfolk.

Yeah baby to Jennifer Lawrence as clued by HEROINE Katniss.

Agree with OFL about a decent Tues-puz.

spacecraft 12:33 PM  

Naticks at 5- and 51-across mar this one. No fair going tech in both directions! I have absolutely no clue about any "picture file format," so _PEG left me 26 possibilities. Going across, EDATE certainly seemed reasonable, so I went with that. [Price-is-right trombones]

Later, I went with E again because of ESC...I guess. Why the clue was so specific is beyond me. So, .500 may be a batting average that's all PEACHESANDCREAM, but in crossword solving, it's the same as striking out.

A likeable puzzle, were it not for those, though I have to mention, I don't like screamers like ACDC. DOD is in a clue this time: Victoria Beckham. A technical--and I DO mean technical--DNF.

leftcoastTAM 2:51 PM  

eDATE instead of JDATE. One square Natick. Not happy with the dnf, but was nicely challenged by some of the fill.

AC-DC gray squares were helpful. I've thought of Victoria and David more as celebrities than a POWERCOUPLE, but I guess some powers are in the eye of the beholder.

Can't really get with Rex's beef about CARPI, but I agreed it's a very good Tuesday puzzle.

rain forest 5:31 PM  

@Burma Shave - thought for sure you'd use 34D today ("See what I brung? I'm very well HUNG.") You'd do much better, of course.

As with all CC's puzzles, the care and craftmanship in this one is obvious. Maybe sparkle is lacking, but who expects that on a Tuesday anyway?

Straightforward theme with a nice revealer. JDATE was unknown, but I was sure of JPEG.

Enjoyed it.

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