this is the thread where we complain about the new york times crossword puzzle

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and also where we name people whose retain a curious celebrity on the crossword page, by dint of having a slightly strange name.

example of the former:

1. "some burger toppings" are not "slaws," at least at any cookout i've been to. i would be shocked if handed a burger outfitted with "slaws."

example of latter:

1. susan dey
2. lori petty

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:08 (fifteen years ago) link

i had slaw on a burger, it is more common on a dog though.

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:11 (fifteen years ago) link

oh tracer.

hstencil (hstencil), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:12 (fifteen years ago) link

complaining on the easiest day of the week? but maybe you're talking about yesterday's one, i hope.

hstencil (hstencil), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:16 (fifteen years ago) link

The only slaws I know of are carrot & cole, and they're not toppings. Is relish considered a slaw? Because it's not.

andy --, Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:29 (fifteen years ago) link

slaws was in last thursday's, the otherwise very cool internet-themed one

lori petty was in yesterday's i think

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:30 (fifteen years ago) link

cole slaw is too a topping. you haven't lived if you haven't had it on a hot dog.

hstencil (hstencil), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:30 (fifteen years ago) link

i coulda just opened your magazine and looked, tracer, but i'm lazy.

hstencil (hstencil), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:31 (fifteen years ago) link

rye (new york ville) is far more famous than it deserves

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:31 (fifteen years ago) link

to be

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:31 (fifteen years ago) link

hey i've got a cousin in rye! be nice!

hstencil (hstencil), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:32 (fifteen years ago) link

is rye slang for rikers?

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:33 (fifteen years ago) link

RYE PLAYLAND

cutty (mcutt), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:35 (fifteen years ago) link

hey blount be nice!

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:35 (fifteen years ago) link

xpost cutty exactly

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:35 (fifteen years ago) link

they never say "home of playland"

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:36 (fifteen years ago) link

Am I right in thinking the American papers don't do cryptic crosswords? In which case, what's the point?

Ferlin Husky (noodle vague), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:40 (fifteen years ago) link

will shortz is a cryptic motherfucker!

cutty (mcutt), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:41 (fifteen years ago) link

they're cryptic.

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:42 (fifteen years ago) link

http://www.lisarein.com/8-20-03-willshortz-sm.jpg

cutty (mcutt), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:42 (fifteen years ago) link

Okay. Soz. I've seen lots of non-cryptic US crossword compilations.

Ferlin Husky (noodle vague), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:43 (fifteen years ago) link

noodle, the ny times x-word is known for being difficult on monday to impossible on sunday.

cutty (mcutt), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:44 (fifteen years ago) link

shortz looks like a badass on that daily show screencap

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:45 (fifteen years ago) link

How does it compare to the UK Times? Cos for all its rep, I don't think that's a particularly tough crossword.

Ferlin Husky (noodle vague), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:48 (fifteen years ago) link

Mom (before leaving on week-long vacation): "Please keep the magazine section of the Times so I can do the crossword."
Me: "Well, I might want to do it. But I'll probably have trouble and wind up leaving most of it for you."
Mom: "Yeah, I bet you will."
Me: "What's that supposed to mean?"

Of course, I never got around to it.

Aaron W (Aaron W), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:54 (fifteen years ago) link

I can never do the Fridays, and only 60% do the Thursdays.

Remy (x Jeremy), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:56 (fifteen years ago) link

But seriously though, so much of it is practice and all those stupid words that people like my mom know because they've done them for decades. My grandfather could blow through the NYT crossword in minutes sometimes. He didn't know any of the pop culture answers but got everything else. The exact opposite of me.

Aaron W (Aaron W), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 00:57 (fifteen years ago) link

saturday is the hardest puzzle, not sunday. sunday is supposedly somewhere close to thursday edging towards friday in average difficulty.

andrew s (andrew s), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 01:02 (fifteen years ago) link

THAT'S what Will Shortz looks like???

tokyo rosemary (rosemary), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 01:03 (fifteen years ago) link

Roy Blount used to do a cryptic corssword in SPY.

tokyo rosemary (rosemary), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 01:04 (fifteen years ago) link

I actually don't find the Mondays very hard, but there's a precipitous increase in difficulty so that by Wednesday I'm already less than 50% likely to finish.

Hurting (Hurting), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 01:07 (fifteen years ago) link

yeah saturday's way harder.

hstencil (hstencil), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 01:10 (fifteen years ago) link

I've finished Saturday like five times in the past year. It's embarrassing, actually.

Remy (x Jeremy), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 01:11 (fifteen years ago) link

"Rocker Brian" to thread.

Curious George Finds the Ether Bottle (Rock Hardy), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 01:31 (fifteen years ago) link

what gets me are when they want you to solve the puzzles rebus style. So, "Heartache" becomes a five letter answer 'cuz you draw a little heart in the first square.

BASTARDS!

Austin S (Austin, Still), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 01:35 (fifteen years ago) link

yeah the internet one was like that, you had to fit "edu" into one square, ditto "net" and "com" and "org", it was like a handwriting challenge just to cram all the letters in!

the new york times crossword is NOT "cryptic" in the way that UK ones are, it's a synonym puzzle, and it's very strictly constructed, essentially each clue could replace its answer in a sentence and still be grammatically correct

one could draw inferences about cultural differences represented by these respective x-word hegemonies and possibly parlay it into a tiresome article for the nyt magazine, or an actually interesting one for the guardian

the nation used to run a cryptic crossword on its back page, i suspect it still does.

we could also talk about what kind of person the nytimes crossword imagines its solvers to be, and complain about that, which would delight me

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 02:13 (fifteen years ago) link

with respect to the second part of my question, a respect i'm not sure it deserves, i think a key consideration for any prospective member of the screen actor's guild should be to reflect on a snappy three- or four-letter last name with at least two vowels in it, which apellation will ensure crossword slebdom for years to come, and keep that name slumbering in some remote and bespectacled national consciousness in order that it might one day reawaken

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 02:17 (fifteen years ago) link

cutty, monday's is no sweat, don't put it about that it's hard, because believe me it's not.

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 02:20 (fifteen years ago) link

Yeah, I can generally kill it in 10 or so. I rarely finish friday's, and haven't seen a saturday in years (I get the NYT puzzle from a student paper that only publishes weekdays.)

Austin Swinburn (Austin, Still), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 02:22 (fifteen years ago) link

Monday very easy. Thursday, Friday a little challenging but fun for experienced solver. Wednesday is sort of a swing vote- sometimes easier, sometimes harder. Saturday difficult, as pointed out up thread. Sunday time-consuming.

Ken L (Ken L), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 02:24 (fifteen years ago) link

I like the diagramless puzzles every few Sundays. Like yesterday. The clues aren't hard at all, it's just figuring out where to put the words.

I've never gotten even half of a Saturday puzzle.

Is it also true that the puzzles increase in difficulty as the month progresses?

mte22 (mte22), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 03:35 (fifteen years ago) link

Shortz isn't cryptic! He's kinda a hybrid between cryptics and normal clues... They are hard and great, I wanna do them again.

Gravel Puzzleworth (Gregory Henry), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 03:44 (fifteen years ago) link

mte22 i'd never thought about that! maybe they do. eight days ago i did the entire sunday one solely on the subway! (L to 8th ave, then A train to washington heights, and all the way back down to clinton/washington, G to lorimer) this sunday though i was agitated and then my magazine got wet and i ended up throwing it, with the rest of the paper, into one of those big construction dumpsters. my jeans are still drying on the stairs.

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 04:28 (fifteen years ago) link

desi arnaz

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 04:28 (fifteen years ago) link

The new Chicago Reader crossword a few weeks ago had as a clue: "Kings of Convenience singer Erlend"!

jaymc (jaymc), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 04:31 (fifteen years ago) link

Tracer, your complaints about the NYTimes puzzle ring suspiciously pre-Shortz.

The Atlantic Monthly (right? not Harper's?) runs cryptics by Ravathon and Cox, who are hands-down the best cruciverbalists in this country.

I've never heard anyone talk about them getting harder as a month progresses, though. What do you do when the end of a month is on a Tuesday? Seems like madness.

I can do Saturdays about 33% of the time but it takes a few hours and usually a breather in between solving attempts. I am bringing some for my x-country train trip tomorrow.

Casuistry (Chris P), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 07:34 (fifteen years ago) link

The new Chicago Reader crossword a few weeks ago had as a clue: "Kings of Convenience singer Erlend"!

Did they want the correct letter Ø in the answer?

OleM (OleM), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 09:12 (fifteen years ago) link

Maybe. The clue that crossed it was "______ Kierkegaard"

Ken L (Ken L), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 11:20 (fifteen years ago) link

The Atlantic Monthly (right? not Harper's?) runs cryptics by Ravathon and Cox, who are hands-down the best cruciverbalists in this country
Right. Rathvon and Cox in the Atlantic, Richard Maltby, Jr in Harpers. Rathvon and Cox are the best-after all, they wrote the book- but these days I like Maltby a little better. He works in musical theater as his day job, like the man who brought the cryptic puzzle to the US, Stephen Sondheim.

Ken L (Ken L), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 11:24 (fifteen years ago) link

Are they confusing pan (horizontal) with zoom in?

You're going to see a lot of love. Okay? Thank you. (Dan Peterson), Monday, 20 March 2017 18:32 (three years ago) link

yes

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 20 March 2017 19:54 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

"emgrans"?

fuck off

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 6 April 2017 12:16 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

somebody explain to me the reason why "UNACMETTED" happened to me yesterday - I fucking hate reasonable answer collisions

your cognitive privilege (El Tomboto), Thursday, 11 May 2017 03:17 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

is DANK MEMES really what we’rve come to

mookieproof, Saturday, 7 July 2018 05:10 (two years ago) link

Yes

And why is Saturday easy now

El Tomboto, Saturday, 7 July 2018 09:55 (two years ago) link

Oh wait j. and I complained about this a year ago

El Tomboto, Saturday, 7 July 2018 09:57 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

Does anyone do the mini each day on the app?

https://www.nytimes.com/puzzles/leaderboards/invite/fde227aa-82b8-400c-807b-6512a6cba5e6

S-, Thursday, 5 September 2019 20:42 (eleven months ago) link

seven months pass...

‘no soap’

mookieproof, Sunday, 5 April 2020 22:21 (four months ago) link

Clue: They’re usually closed at night
Answer: eyes
😊

calstars, Sunday, 5 April 2020 22:57 (four months ago) link

why won’t Wednesday load on my phone arrrrrrrgh

El Tomboto, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 14:14 (four months ago) link

three weeks pass...

never heard of today's 35A before

mookieproof, Wednesday, 29 April 2020 17:39 (three months ago) link

Britishism, I believe.

Judd Apatowsaurus (Leee), Wednesday, 29 April 2020 17:43 (three months ago) link

three weeks pass...

nobelist wiesel
nobelist wiesel
nobelist wiesel
nobelist wiesel
nobelist wiesel

mookieproof, Thursday, 21 May 2020 03:53 (two months ago) link

yeah that was bad. making up for it with a better clue about him in today’s sunday puzzle.

today’s puzzle very fun and ambitious but - and i know i’m always wrong when i think this, but hear me out - is there an error? the answer for 92 down actually goes with the clue for 93 down. and there is no clue for 92 down. leaving the answer for 93 an orphan with no clue. annoyingly i can’t quite solve that corner. but perhaps this is one further wrinkle in this puzzle that i haven’t figured out?

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 24 May 2020 08:34 (two months ago) link

i mean... i beat it but I still don't understand the connecting clues. shit makes no sense today.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Sunday, 24 May 2020 19:35 (two months ago) link

there was an error in the print edition

It has been brought to our attention there is a numbering error in this weekend's @NYTmag crossword. The row with a repeat "92" should read "93, 94, 95".

This error is not related to the puzzle's mystery hunt and the digital puzzle is unaffected. https://t.co/sHrwdtyDVu

— New York Times Games (@NYTimesGames) May 23, 2020

ruin a band name by changing one litter (voodoo chili), Sunday, 24 May 2020 19:36 (two months ago) link

this puzzle was laaaame

mookieproof, Sunday, 24 May 2020 19:52 (two months ago) link

yeah i'm not sure why any of those people were 'aptly' named??

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 24 May 2020 19:56 (two months ago) link

the butler was gerard, the page was ellen, the porter was cole

but yeah, was very lame

ruin a band name by changing one litter (voodoo chili), Sunday, 24 May 2020 19:57 (two months ago) link

but how is that “apt”?

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 24 May 2020 20:36 (two months ago) link

i thought it was fun regardless. that said i’m starting to really appreciate the wednesday puzzle. no tricks, no puns. just straight up.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 24 May 2020 20:37 (two months ago) link

ok, just revisited that corner. calling the numbering mistake 'minor' is an undersell. it's really quite something. 3 clues with the wrong number. clue 95D is answered in 94D, clue 94D is answered in 93D and clue 93D is answered in 92D. what's more, there are two 92 acrosses in the grid, but only one 92A clue.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 24 May 2020 20:41 (two months ago) link

there’s logic to it, but “apt” is a weird word choice

ruin a band name by changing one litter (voodoo chili), Sunday, 24 May 2020 20:56 (two months ago) link

the digital one didn't have any of the explanation about the butler, porter, etc! I didn't know what the fuck i was looking at until i opened the magazine.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Sunday, 24 May 2020 23:24 (two months ago) link

crossing oleo with olio is an absolute cry for help

mookieproof, Wednesday, 27 May 2020 02:35 (two months ago) link

the digital one didn't have any of the explanation about the butler, porter, etc! I didn't know what the fuck i was looking at until i opened the magazine.


I use the app, it gives you the extra info if you tap the “i” icon up by the cheat buttons

El Tomboto, Wednesday, 27 May 2020 02:42 (two months ago) link

Ah, did not know that. Thanks.

I had the same thought re:olio/oleo

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 02:49 (two months ago) link

The constructor wrote:

My original version was more difficult: ELLEN, MINNIE, TIKI, etc. were clued normally — with no indication that they figured into the story. The solver needed to discover the names hidden in the rooms, unlocking the rest of the mystery. (I kept other first names out of the grid — a surprisingly challenging restriction!) But after extensive testing, Will and his team decided to indicate the suspects more overtly.

That would have made the meta much more interesting.

fatuous salad (symsymsym), Thursday, 28 May 2020 17:04 (two months ago) link

At some point it would be nice to frey a really challenging Sunday puzzle. Sunday Extreme.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 28 May 2020 17:14 (two months ago) link

a challenge today

mookieproof, Saturday, 6 June 2020 22:23 (two months ago) link

Yes. I did the lower half. Taking a little break.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 6 June 2020 22:38 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

HATE IT

mookieproof, Thursday, 30 July 2020 03:34 (one week ago) link

Easy breezy for me, got into a groove somehow where all the down answers leapt out

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Thursday, 30 July 2020 04:41 (one week ago) link

Yeah I think the down clues were closer to Tuesday difficulty to adjust for the gimmick, but it led to beating my Thursday average by like a half hour

unashamed and trash (Unctious), Thursday, 30 July 2020 11:28 (one week ago) link

yeah it was super-easy. still hate it

mookieproof, Thursday, 30 July 2020 14:40 (one week ago) link

Only 3/4 the number of clues as usual - I feel ripped off

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 30 July 2020 16:00 (one week ago) link

I enjoyed it. I also did it at an insomniac 12:27am moment, so that might've had something to do with it. I like puzzles that make me slow down and, you know, puzzle a little more.

america's favorite (remy bean), Thursday, 30 July 2020 16:41 (one week ago) link

except the gimmick means you race through it faster, surely

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 30 July 2020 16:43 (one week ago) link

I actually misunderstood the gimmick! Because of some early errant answer, I thought that the two-word answers were supposed to be broken apart in novel ways that formed other words. For example, I thought the two word answer SKI SLOPE was meant to be input as SKIS LOPE. When I figured out out the real (less interesting answer, I had a good little aha moment.

In other words I did the crossword wrong and felt smart when I got it right, even though my version was clearly more fun.

rb (soda), Thursday, 30 July 2020 16:54 (one week ago) link

I liked saturday

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 1 August 2020 05:13 (one week ago) link

Same, it was a tough but fair challenge with nice fill.

Garry Shambling (Leee), Saturday, 1 August 2020 17:28 (one week ago) link

i don't wanna spoil it but the first and last across clues struck me as big "FUCK IT I BEEN THINKING ABOUT THIS FOR TWENTY YEARS AND AHMA FINALLY MAKE IT HAPPEN" energy

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 1 August 2020 22:57 (one week ago) link

Yeah, that was super elegant!

Garry Shambling (Leee), Saturday, 1 August 2020 23:23 (one week ago) link

1A was extremely handy for me

mookieproof, Sunday, 2 August 2020 02:13 (six days ago) link

I had to look up a few letters in 1A. Absolutely no way of getting that. Client was good today.

rb (soda), Sunday, 2 August 2020 02:35 (six days ago) link

on the other hand, sunday is a dud: too many proper names, crosswordese and bad cluing

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Sunday, 2 August 2020 18:56 (six days ago) link

The WaPo sundays are free and I think they are consistently more interesting than the Times' sundays

Wayne Grotski (symsymsym), Sunday, 2 August 2020 19:02 (six days ago) link

bottom left corner troubled me today.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 2 August 2020 19:23 (six days ago) link

I'm all for difficult solves, but I do not like today's, especially the cluing.

Garry Shambling (Leee), Friday, 7 August 2020 21:21 (yesterday) link


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