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 (fourteen 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 (fourteen years ago) link

oh tracer.

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

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

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

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

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

to be

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

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

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

is rye slang for rikers?

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

RYE PLAYLAND

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

hey blount be nice!

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

xpost cutty exactly

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

they never say "home of playland"

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

will shortz is a cryptic motherfucker!

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

they're cryptic.

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

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

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

shortz looks like a badass on that daily show screencap

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

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

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

THAT'S what Will Shortz looks like???

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

Roy Blount used to do a cryptic corssword in SPY.

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

yeah saturday's way harder.

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

"Rocker Brian" to thread.

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

desi arnaz

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

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

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

When are you going to enter, jaymc?

moe greene dolphin street (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 4 March 2009 14:46 (ten years ago) link

Oh yeah, today's theme is pretty fun.

moe greene dolphin street (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 4 March 2009 14:46 (ten years ago) link

But today's is crazy hard.

moe greene dolphin street (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 5 March 2009 15:18 (ten years ago) link

ten months pass...

It's been a while for me & the NYT puzzles. Typically, I'll binge on them for a while & then get bored. A year or two will pass & then I will resume the cycle. Tonight, insomnia has led me re-embrace this vice. Or maybe not. I'm going come in swinging w/ an attempt at the Sat. puzzle & go from there..

no hongro dialect (Pillbox), Sunday, 17 January 2010 06:19 (nine years ago) link

OK, one down (w/ two errors). I had to walk away from it & come back, tho. Does anyone else subscribe to the premium service w/ the Across Lite app? I signed up for it several years ago & then ended up switching banks, but somehow my membership was never canceled. glitch in the system = free online nyt xwords 4 LYFE (hopefully).

hukqs not drukqs (Pillbox), Sunday, 17 January 2010 08:35 (nine years ago) link

nine months pass...

i've been binging on a book of nyt puzzles lately -- but it's way too tempting to check the answer key when i get stumped.

I’m not the English Philip Roth, I’m the Jewish Jane Austen (get bent), Tuesday, 19 October 2010 09:34 (nine years ago) link

eight months pass...

not a complaint but a good friend of mine regularly babysat the constructor of friday's puzzle. (he's 15 and going to harvard next year.)

the charo and the pity (donna rouge), Friday, 24 June 2011 05:43 (eight years ago) link

one year passes...

Christ, the lower right corner of today's is driving me batty. I have all but three spaces & am totally stumped & frustrated. Guess it's time to walk away for a moment.

Broney, Pt. 1 (Pillbox), Saturday, 22 September 2012 00:58 (seven years ago) link

Is that Friday's or Saturday's? This morning it was the left and lower left that were giving me trouble for the longest time.

a shark with a rippling six pack (Phil D.), Saturday, 22 September 2012 12:16 (seven years ago) link

Friday's. If I have time tomorrow, though, I'll do Saturday's. Saturday Times puzzles are the best - far prefer them to Sundays tbh.

Broney, Pt. 1 (Pillbox), Sunday, 23 September 2012 10:17 (seven years ago) link

They are rillllly hard

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Monday, 24 September 2012 16:57 (seven years ago) link

imo this past weekend's puzzles were a rare instance of Friday being more challenging than Saturday.

Broney, Pt. 1 (Pillbox), Tuesday, 25 September 2012 02:44 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...

"blown out?" = error

???????!

that, i am not buying

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Monday, 30 December 2013 10:14 (five years ago) link

baseball term, I think?

zanarkand bozo (abanana), Monday, 30 December 2013 14:31 (five years ago) link

nope

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Monday, 30 December 2013 23:16 (five years ago) link

sure it is - the fielder was supposed to make the play but he blew it, and instead of an out it's an error. a "blown out"

Panaïs Pnin (The Yellow Kid), Monday, 30 December 2013 23:32 (five years ago) link

ARRRRRRRGH

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Monday, 30 December 2013 23:38 (five years ago) link

(hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Monday, 30 December 2013 23:39 (five years ago) link

i fuckin

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Monday, 30 December 2013 23:39 (five years ago) link

fuck

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Monday, 30 December 2013 23:39 (five years ago) link

today's suggestion that daytime tv is called a "Soaper" for short was kinda...

three years pass...

"pulling a prank outside a house" = TPING

really dog?

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 12 January 2017 15:46 (two years ago) link

i started doing these again, after abt > 10 years

have they gotten a lot dumber? they seem dumber

j., Saturday, 14 January 2017 02:57 (two years ago) link

That's pretty standard crossword-ese tbh.

I stick to the American Values Club though, they minimize cliches as much as possible. Best crossword going.

change display name (Jordan), Saturday, 14 January 2017 03:02 (two years ago) link

i think they're a little dumber since when i started yes

A big shout out goes to the lamb chops, thos lamb chops (ulysses), Sunday, 15 January 2017 05:35 (two years ago) link

Saturdays are still p brutal

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 15 January 2017 09:41 (two years ago) link

Usually the more common form of that one is TPED.

Still on extended hiatus from solving now for the past few years since I stopped going to tournaments, not sure when I will feel compelled to jump back in. Also, don't mean to humblebrag namedrop derail thread but speaking of The AV puzzle, I ran into Ben Tausig on the street several weekends ago and learned he now lives down the block from me. Come to think of it, a certain drummer who recently won a Grammy and several other awards for Best Original Score lives right across the street from me, so Jordan, feel free to jump on the 7 train next time you are in NYC and I will show you the local sights.

Moog and Stan (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 15 January 2017 19:56 (two years ago) link

One more vote for feels like these are dumber than just a couple of years ago, even.

The beaver is not the bad guy (El Tomboto), Monday, 16 January 2017 01:06 (two years ago) link

Dumber in what way? i'd say there are definitely more artificial, not-in-the-language entries like "TPING" than ever before. But the level of obscurity remains pretty consistent, therefore puzzles are not necessarily easier. Of course obscurity used to mean Latin scientific names and foreign rivers whereas now it means subsidiary characters in sci fi TV shows or some such.

Josefa, Monday, 16 January 2017 02:38 (two years ago) link

Btw I have a namedrop too: I went to elementary school with Patrick Berry. I can attest to the fact that the dude was creating xword puzzles at age 9.

Josefa, Monday, 16 January 2017 02:40 (two years ago) link

I would have impressed if you had named any of the Patrick's but The Crossword Jesus himself, I am doubly so.

Moog and Stan (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 16 January 2017 02:44 (two years ago) link

I only realized it about 25 years after the fact when I finished a NYT puzzle and was like, damn that was a good one, and then looked at the credit… and then I was like, no way, is that the same dude from my school? So I made some inquiries and found out it was.

Josefa, Monday, 16 January 2017 02:51 (two years ago) link

Dumber in the sense that during Sunday afternoons a while back, we might still have some work to do; on some tough Saturday clues, or even the occasional Friday holdout, or an actually difficult Sunday with a gimmick we haven't figured out (our attention spans are horrifically bad)

Now, by early Sunday afternoon, all of the week's crosswords have been completely and utterly defeated, not 8 blanks left from Saturday, nothing.

The beaver is not the bad guy (El Tomboto), Monday, 16 January 2017 03:17 (two years ago) link

yeah that, and they seem to be going way faster, for the end of the week puzzles too. last go round i was generally doing it every day and those would take me forever, and often go unfinished. my impression now is that there are a lot more inane repeat clues that reward regular solvers, even more so than ye old oleos of yore or whatever. and an influx of post-smartphone internet cultural ephemera that has supplanted some more of the facty trivia-style clues/answers i remember being stumped by.

i'm also doing them diffrently, tho, which may matter for the subjective experience. i used to work in pen and be way more cautious about committing so i wouldn't have to cross anything out, but on the nyt web site when computer-solving i just delete stuff left and right when i see i used something that wouldn't work.

j., Monday, 16 January 2017 03:50 (two years ago) link

i mean it is also possible that my amazing brane has just gotten that much better in the intervening decade. actually, let's go with that.

j., Monday, 16 January 2017 03:51 (two years ago) link

RIP ankara btw
I feel like that answer just got straight-up banned at some point a couple of years ago. oleo may have suffered the same fate recently?

The beaver is not the bad guy (El Tomboto), Monday, 16 January 2017 04:19 (two years ago) link

i saw an olio a while back

j., Monday, 16 January 2017 04:26 (two years ago) link

ha, nice James.

change display name (Jordan), Monday, 16 January 2017 20:19 (two years ago) link

will shortz thinks rae sremmurd is one guy!!

j., Tuesday, 17 January 2017 03:20 (two years ago) link

oh

nevermind

I AM DULY CHASTENED

j., Tuesday, 17 January 2017 03:21 (two years ago) link

two months pass...

Nazi what

SFTGFOP (El Tomboto), Sunday, 19 March 2017 11:36 (two 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 (two years ago) link

yes

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

two weeks pass...

"emgrans"?

fuck off

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

one year passes...

is DANK MEMES really what we’rve come to

mookieproof, Saturday, 7 July 2018 05:10 (one year ago) link

Yes

And why is Saturday easy now

El Tomboto, Saturday, 7 July 2018 09:55 (one year ago) link

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

El Tomboto, Saturday, 7 July 2018 09:57 (one year 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 (one month ago) link


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