Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jonesin' 3:18 (Amy) 
NYT 3:07 (Amy) 
LAT 3:01 (Amy) 
CS 5:57 (Dave) 
Xword Nation untimed (Janie) 

Robert Cirillo’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 10 29 13, no. 1029

Not the first time I’ve seen this sort of theme—the type where both parts of each theme answer can precede the same word—and it’s not even the first time I’ve seen it where HOUSE is the compound in question (poking around the Cruciverb database with some potential theme answers, there were +HOUSE themes in both the NYT and LAT in 2008 and again in the LAT in 2007; I may well have missed others). Whether the key word is HOUSE or another common word, what these themes have in common is that they fail to engage me.

  • 18a. [Military muscle], FIREPOWER.
  • 20a. [Sign of change at the Vatican], WHITE SMOKE.
  • 32a. [Functional lawn adornment], BIRDBATH.
  • 40a. [Take every last cent of], CLEAN OUT. Unusual verb phrase in a theme of nouns.
  • 54a. ["Go" signal], GREEN LIGHT.
  • 57a. [Using all of a gym, as in basketball], FULL COURT. Sports-fan Steve Manion, give us a better clue for this one.
  • 37a. [Word that can follow both halves of 18-, 20-, 32-, 40-, 54- and 57-Across], HOUSE.

Now, you know what I’m going to say next. I’m going to say, “When you include seven theme entries, you leave less wiggle room for good fill.” And so it comes to pass that we muddle through ASTRA, L-DOPA, OVI-, LIRAS, AGASP, ESTES, ASPERSE, ALB, O IS, TERNS, and plural TEDS.

I will grant you that OPEN BAR, “DREAM ON,” and SET SHOT are fairly lively fill, but the top of the grid was larded with blah fill and it colored the rest of the solving experience.

This is the second time this year I’ve groused about TROOPER being used to mean trouper, which [One who keeps plugging along]. The last time, it was REAL TROOPER and it would have been ridiculously easy to change that second O to a U to avoid irking everyone who cares about usage and spelling. In this puzzle, there’s no REAL appended to the word, so for Pete’s sake, clue it as a state trooper and be done with it! If this happens a third time, Mr. Shortz, I may have to cancel my subscription on principle.

Three stars. Please, o crossword gods, stop people from making so many puzzles with this theme type.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “In the Cards”

Jonesin’ crossword solution, 10 29 13 “In the Cards”

I paid no mind to the circled letters or the title until after I was done solving the puzzle. The theme is playing cards enclosing other letters to make famous people:

  • 17a. [Pop artist who used faceless stick figures], KEITH HARING.
  • 24a. [Jazz great with the album "High Priestess of Soul"], NINA SIMONE. Shouldn’t the word “queen” enclose her name?
  • 33a. ["The Devil's Dictionary" author], AMBROSE BIERCE. 
  • 43a. [15th-century Flemish painter], JAN VAN EYCK.
  • 50a. [He played Locke on "Lost"], TERRY O’QUINN.

Terrific bunch of people—two artists from wildly different schools, an actor, a musical legend, and an author. All creative types, no sports or science folks in the batch. No particular thrill with the sandwiching inside various playing cards, especially with the ACE KING JACK TEN NINE line-up missing a queen.

Let’s move on to the highs and the lows. First, highlights:

  • 36a. [___ and Guilder (warring "The Princess Bride" nations)], FLORIN. Who doesn’t love The Princess Bride? I like that the countries have the names of old currencies.
  • 33d. ["Gimme Shelter" speedway], ALTAMONT.
  • 34d. [Oft-mocked treats], MOON PIES.
  • 36d. [Dish served with a distinct sound], FAJITAS. They sizzle and disgorge stinky onion smoke.
  • 40d. [Become available to the general public, as a new website], GO LIVE. See healthcare.gov. Unless you don’t need the site, in which case you should stay off it so people who need it can manage to get on.

Lowlights:

  • Short stuff: ISR, MOR, -INO, A TOE, AN E, STS, -EST, I THE, NEED A.
  • 10d. [Of small organisms], MICROBIC. This is a real, in-the-dictionary word, but I’ve never run into it, not even in medical editing. Microbial, sure.
  • Plural ROONEYS, [Andy and Mickey].
  • 35d. ["Helicopter" band ___ Party], BLOC. Name is apparently a play on “block party” and thus somewhat guessable, but I’ve never heard of this British indie rock band.

Most peculiar-looking entry: 52d. ["___ Mama Tambien"], Y TU. Legitimate partial.

3.5 stars.


Updated Tuesday morning:

Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Odd Couples” – Dave Sullivan’s review

I had to check my calendar to see if it was February, since with yesterday’s “Repurposed Couples” and today’s “Odd Couples” we seem to be beginning a “couples week” in earnest. Let’s see what tomorrow brings before we confirm this. Back to today, we have four two-word (“couple”) theme phrases where the letters ODD can be found lurking within:

CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword solution – 10/29/13

  • A film I have actually seen, the [2006 DiCaprio film] was BLOOD DIAMOND – the film addresses how proceeds from diamond sales finance military conflicts in West Africa. Makes you pause when you stand in front of a jewelry counter looking at all those sparkling gems.
  • ["Braveheart," for one] clued PERIOD DRAMA – Ah, William Wallace, where are you when we need you? Anyway, I think the phrase “period piece” seems a bit truer to my ear.
  • [Source of some Hurricane Katrina insurance claims] was FLOOD DAMAGE – well, there’s also been Sandy and Irene since then if you want to look up here in the northeast. If they’ve started alternating names of storms with male names, why is it still the female ones are causing all the havoc? Bad luck, I guess.
  • [Many a modern purchase] was IPOD DOWNLOAD – hmm, it’s not the iPod that is being downloaded, it’s generally a tune.

Two phrases seem to work well, two that missed the mark a bit. If this were baseball, I’d be impressed with a .500 average, but we strive for higher averages here. Extra points for including perhaps one of my FAVE actresses of all time, CATE Blanchett, who was just luminous in the recent Blue Jasmine. The clue for TELLER, namely [Note taker?], was also good. Not sure how to take [Self-conscious remark when packing too many pounds] or I’M FAT, if the first step on the road to recovery is self-confession, then I guess this is a good thing, but can we also allow I’M THIN or MY NOSE IS TOO BIG? I prefer positive self images myself, as we’re surrounded by advertisements telling us how we need to improve ourselves.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle, “Skipping Stones”—Janie’s review

Crossword Nation 10/29

Crossword Nation 10/29

I tell ya—sometimes Liz makes theme development and puzzle construction look as easy as a warm, calm summer’s day. Today’s puzzle would be a perfect example. If we were lakeside, we’d be “skipping stones” for real. But since we’re not, we can engage in the activity cruciverbally. The four circled letters of each of the five themers spell out a kind of -stone; and once the circles begin, they appear in every other square, skipping the adjacent one. Believe me when I say the constraint for the constructor is considerable, but in never-let ‘em-see ya-sweat mode, Liz has given us five genuinely lively theme phrases containing five different kinds of -stones. In other words, this is a theme that delivers twice. And deliver it does. From:

  • 14A. JUMBO LOAN [Banking transaction that generates a lot of interest] we get the rhymes-with-LOAN MOONstone, that “transparent or translucent feldspar of pearly or opaline luster used as a gem.” I like the misdirection in the clue, too. Is it referring to a particularly interesting transaction or one that will be a major money-maker for the bank? Rhetorical question at this stage of the game…
  • 19A. STAINED GLASS [Tiffany's window art] delivers SANDstone, “a sedimentary rock usually consisting of quartz united by some cement (as silica or calcium carbonate).” Several examples of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s window art are displayed to great effect in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.
  • floating ghost36A. BOBS FOR APPLES [Participates in a Halloween party game] produces SOAPstone, “a soft stone having a soapy feel and composed essentially of talc, chlorite, and often some magnetite.” And yay! A shout-out to Thursday’s big event. This is probably the “funnest” of the themers. Oh, and there’s more about October 31st in the [Moves like a Halloween ghost]/FLOATS pairing.
  • 53A. WILLIAM PERRY [Former Chicago Bears player known as "The Refrigerator"] yields up the dependable LIMEstone, “a rock that is formed chiefly by accumulation of organic remains (as shells or coral), consists mainly of calcium carbonate, is extensively used in building, and yields lime when burned.” As for the popular and legendary Mr. Perry, he said of himself that “even when I was little I was big.” At age 11 he weighed in at 200 pounds; his Super Bowl ring size (a 25) “is the largest of any professional football player in the history of the event.”
  • 64A. ALMOND TEA [Brewed beverage with a nutty flavor] gives us LODEstone, which is “magnetite possessing polarity,” hence, “something that strongly attracts.” Did someone say “nutty flavor”? Check out these nutty teas. Caramel almond amaretti herbal, anyone? That “strongly attracts,” too!

(Thank you, M-W, for those definitions, btw.)

peelLazarusAnd the remainder of the puzzle ain’t too shabby neither! Won’t go into great depth, but will note my affection for some of the clue/fill combos, notably: the colloquial ["Give everyone a chance!] “BE FAIR!” duo; ditto ["Take your time"] and “NO RUSH.” Cluing SCREEN as [It helps establish a no-fly zone?] cleverly gets us out of the military and back to that summer day I mentioned a few paragraphs back. Haven’t read ONE OF OURS, but as someone who’s read some Cather, was certain (certainly wrong anyway…) it would be O, PIONEERS!, which shares twinned placement of those first two Os and the final R-S. Cagey! Speaking of twinned items, I’m serious when I say those EMMAS [Peel and Lazarus] give us two exemplary “of their generations” brains-and-beauty combos to contemplate.

Two more points, then I’m gone. Still have trouble with that ELL-shaped [Kitchen layout]. Again, I’m coming from my provincial Manhattan perspective. But I’ve been to large homes. I know what a generously sized kitchen looks like. I just don’t recall encountering one with an ELL layout. An ELL-shaped studio apartment or living-dining configuration, yes. But an ELL-shaped kitchen seems more like the infrequent exception than the rule.

And finally, because I’m currently taking a class in American culinary history and we just read about (Mr.) Gail Borden and the mid-19th century creation of his condensed, canned milk, I was delighted to encounter ELSIE, [Borden's spokes-bovine] since 1937. Here’s a link to the chapter from Andrew F. Smith’s Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine that describes Borden’s contribution. It’s food! It’s history! What’s not to love?!

This is one really well-made puzzle. From the specific, lively language in the cluing (“razzle-dazzle” and “teeny-weeny” jump out at me) to the layered and wide-ranging thematic (and non-thematic!) material, this is what thoughtful construction is about. Thanks for the thoroughly enjoyable solve, Liz—and solvers, what say ye? Would love to know your thoughts!

David Steinberg’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword solution, 10 29 13

I love this theme—it’s a riff on the vowel progression theme, but with the vowel sound changing rather than the letter. The last word of each theme answer is the relevant part:

  • 17a. [Food Network's "Throwdown!" host], BOBBY FLAY. F, L, long A sound.
  • 24a. ['60s song about an insect who "hid / Inside a doggie from Madrid"], SPANISH FLEA. Long E.
  • 41a. [1996 R. Kelly hit], I BELIEVE I CAN FLY. Long I.
  • 51a. [Difference between money coming in and money being spent], NET CASH FLOW. Long O.
  • 66a. [Contagious dog malady], CANINE FLU. Long U. I have never, ever heard of canine flu, though it’s been around for 40 years.

So that’s a nice twist on a familiar theme type, and although NET CASH FLOW is a little boring, it’s better than Enya’s ORINOCO FLOW being elevated to theme-entry status.

Other good bits include CHUMMY, MILEY CYRUS (look at that quaint old clue, [Hannah Montana portrayer]—no twerking, no nudity, no obvious tongue), and … those were the main standouts for me, but the fill was solid and didn’t have me scowling. Actually, YMA would have evoked a scowl if I’d seen it while solving, but I didn’t.

Four stars from me, with fondness for the thematic freshness and variety.

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45 Responses to Tuesday, October 29, 2013

  1. John from Chicago says:

    “Whether the key word is HOUSE or another common word, what these themes have in common is that they fail to engage me.”

    See, Amy, we have more in common than just being from Chicago.

  2. Pete says:

    Amy – Thanks so much for pointing out the TROOPER fiasco, and for specifically doing it on my behalf. It shouldn’t be too much to ask the NYTimes to stand up for correct usage.

  3. Martin says:

    You do know you can’t hold Will responsible for the trooper thing, right? Once we lose a battle to those unwashed masses who speak English so badly, it’s above Will’s pay grade. Most dictionaries treat “trooper” as a synonym of “trouper” while modern usage actually prefers “trooper.”

    It’s the dictionaries you want to punish, not a newspaper that bows to their authority.

    • pannonica says:

      I blame society.

    • Pablo says:

      No, it’s dictionaries you want to understand, and learn how to use.

      In your citation, and your claim of equivalence, yes, trouper is an entry under TROOPER. It’s there because if someone hears “He’s a real trouper” in conversation and needs to find the context, she might well look up TROOPER in the dictionary. Your citation lists trouper as what they may be looking for, not as a definition but as a link to the word trouper. Some dictionaries (Random House) politely state: Can be confused: trooper, trouper.

      If your dictionary really was asserting that TROOPER and trouper were in any way equivalent then they would be synonyms, which Merriam Webster does not do.

      • Sarah says:

        The important thing is this: TROOPER is in the language as “One who keeps plugging along”. It’s not the first misspelling to be like that, and it won’t be the last.

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          And “alot” is in the language as a misspelling (misspacing?) of “a lot.” People use it often! And yet no usage expert will tell you to go ahead and use that, especially if you don’t want to look dumb. I think TROOPER with a “trouper” definition looks dumb.

      • Martin says:

        @Pedro,

        Interesting interpretation of the “see trouper” kind of listing in a dictionary — “you really want this other word, not this one.” Actually, dictionaries don’t do that. But you are correct that when a word takes on a new meaning some dictionaries are quicker than others to document it.

        It’s intersting that this sense of “trooper” is captured as “confusion,” “same as” and “usually” by three authorities. English is a language that we can watch evolve in real time, as Sarah implies.

        • Pablo says:

          Martin – “Actually, dictionaries don’t do that.”? With what authority do you say that? Dictionaries have had “see also… ” for forever. That gets replaced with a hyperlink on the web.

          If what you are saying is true, then trouper would have a link back to trooper, which MW does not. Trouper and trooper would be listed as synonyms, which MW does not do.

          Again if someone heard “She’s a real trouper” in conversation and wished to look it up, what would she look up, trooper or trouper? Trooper. Having done so, and finding nothing but calvary references under trooper, she would click the link to trouper, and find the definition she desired. And learn the correct spelling of the word.

          MW, in this case, is specifically relegating the definition “someone who works very hard, is very reliable, and does not complain when there are problems” to trouper, not trooper.

          • Martin says:

            @Pablo,

            A listing like “3: trouper 2″ is merely a space-saving shorthand. It is exactly equivalent to “3: a person who deals with and persists through difficulty or hardship without complaint.”

            There would be a reference from newer usage to older one, but not the other direction. There is no reason to create such “infinite loops” and dictionaries don’t.

            It carries no other meaning and does not imply that the use of “trouper” is somehow preferred. This “trooper” entry very clearly justifies the clue and indicates that “the battle is lost.”

            Other authorities are not as permissive. But others have gone over to the other side.

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            Martin, Wiktionary is “an authority”??

          • Martin says:

            Yes, Amy, wiktionary is an authority until you disagree with it. Unlike m-w, you can start a discussion on wiktionary and have it out with editors who care about the word’s usage as much as you do. That makes it a unique kind of authority.

        • Pablo says:

          Martin No, it is not exactly equivalent to “3: a person who deals with and persists through difficulty or hardship without complaint.” it is a link to a different word, with a modified reference at that. Exact and equivalent have precise meanings.

          If MW had wanted that to be listed explicitely they would have done so. They wouldn’t have linked to another word, and certainly wouldn’t have implied, as your reading does, that a trooper is an actor.

          You want to see an example of how an ‘expanded’ (read bs) definition has made it fully into the dictionary I invite you to reference alibi. That’s how MW handles common misunderstandings which make it fully into the common usage.

          • Martin says:

            @Pedro,

            We clearly won’t be agreeing on this. I’d just like to go on record that nothing I said implies a trooper is an actor. That would have been the case if the trooper entry included “3: trouper” as opposed to “3: trouper 2.” That means that the third sense of the word “trooper” that these editors are listing is the same as defined as sense 2 in the “trouper” entry.

            From page 23a of the MW11C:
            “A cross-reference [recognized by the lightface capitals in which it is printed] immediately following a boldface colon is a synonymous cross-reference. It may stand alone as the only definitional matter for an entry or for a sense or subsense of an entry.”

            Your argument is that this entry means “you shouldn’t use the word ‘garbanzo;’ use ‘chickpea’ instead.” That’s not what a synonymous cross-reference (their term) means.

          • Pablo says:

            Martin – When is there a synonymous cross reference in the dictionary where the target of the cross reference is not the definitive definition? Ever? It’s always just a space saver, never a reference giving greater context, clarity? Always?

            Having long since passed the dangerous threshold of redundacy I shall preceed recklessly ahead. Your citation in MW made people look up trouper to find the usage specified. It didn’t specify it under TROOPER, it referred the reader to trouper, by distinct editorial choice. That was the simple point Amy was making, the editorial choice she wished Will had made.

            Other than everything in the NYTimes puzzle is 100% correct 100% of the time in 100% of alternate universes, I don’t understand how your position is defensible.

          • Martin says:

            I truly have no idea what my “position” is that you find so unreasonable. Just as there’s no preference on the part of the m-w editors whether you say “garbanzo” or “chickpea,” they’re not saying that “trooper” here is any way inferior to “trouper.” There is an implication that “trouper” came first, which nobody is denying.

            I use the spelling “trouper.” Amy uses “trouper.” For all I know Will Shortz uses “trouper.” But this dictionary says that people use “trooper” too and therefore WS is free to use this clue without apology. That’s my position.

            The dictionary recognizes a language trend that Amy really dislikes but doesn’t bother me. It’s as simple as that.

        • Pablo says:

          Martin – Your position:

          Amy makes a cogent statement about how she wished Will had made a different editorial choice in the cluing for TROOPER. You tell her she’s wrong.

          I point out that some dictionaries don’t have the usage in question under TROOPERS, but point out that you may have confused TROOPERS with troupers. You say the dictionary isn’t up to date.

          I propose a scenario by which someone would look up TROOPERS to find the usage, only to be re-directed to troupers to find said usage. You tell me that I don’t know how dictionaries work.

          You persistently assert, with no know authority, that the fact that you cannot find the usage in question any where, in your citation except under troupers has is of no significance. You state that MW doesn’t have the usage under TROOPER to save space, that it cannot possibly be to point out that the preferred usage is trouper, that reading the definition of trouper in its whole could be of use to someone in understanding the usage. Even though other dictionaries do exactly that.

          So, everyone else is wrong.

      • Papa John says:

        In my book, calling a trouper a trooper is a slap in the face.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Here’s the thing, Martin: In both of these cases, the editorial choice was to use the spelling/definition combo that is calculated to piss off anyone who is remotely particular about language, and it would have been incredibly easy for the puzzle not to do that. It mystifies me that “well, the dictionaries reflect the onslaught of people who just don’t know any better” could be used as a rationale for TROOPER being clued as “trouper.” I am not remotely a hardcore prescriptivist, mind you, and it bears noting that some dictionaries don’t conflate the two words. The New Oxford American Dictionary, for example. And my hardcover Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition.

      So don’t give me this nonsense about the “battle” having been lost already.

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        And recall that in both of these puzzles, it was a deliberate choice to go the TROOPER = trouper route. It could have been avoided both times, in order to improve the appearance of knowing the language.

        Furthermore, in Bryan Garner’s esteemed Modern American Usage, he says “trooper” with a traditional “trouper” sense is in stage 2 of language change, meaning “not standard usage.” Meaning a letter grade of D. Meaning any careful writer who doesn’t want to look ignorant will eschew it. (Stage 5 is where full acceptability lies.)

      • Martin says:

        The link I posted to m-w.com is essentially the entry from the Collegiate, 11th edition. Are you sure “trooper” doesn’t include “3: trouper 2″ in yours? Mine does.

        Sometimes I think Will likes pissing people off. But I’d call myself particular about language and it didn’t bother me, so I can’t be sure in this case.

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          Didn’t Sarah Palin also have a Troopergate in Alaska?

          Only Crossword Fiend brings you Troupergate.

  4. HH says:

    Way off-topic, but as long as I’m thinking about it, here’s my rule for Halloween — don’t buy anything whose advertisement uses the word “spooktacular”.

  5. sbmanion says:

    I was reading an article in the NYT about the new cell phones. One of the winners is a Samsung phone called a “phablet.” Is this an official word yet and has it appeared in a crossword puzzle?

    I liked today’s puzzle, I enjoy puzzles that consist of compound words revolving around a word or phrase that goes with all of them.

    Steve

    • Martin says:

      PHABLET was 1-Across in the BEQ themeless of January 21 of this year. The clue for STYLUS in his May 16 puzzle was “Phablet gizmo.”

    • Jeff Chen says:

      Agreed, Steve. I can see how some might be tired of “both words can follow” themes but not me. Different strokes.

  6. Papa John says:

    Regarding the trooper verses trouper issue, I’m confused. Are we to treat the use of trooper for trouper as a misspelling or are we to include an additional definition for trooper?

    Steve M:

    Amy asked for your help in her write-up: “57a. [Using all of a gym, as in basketball], FULL COURT. Sports-fan Steve Manion, give us a better clue for this one.” I’d like to hear what you have to say. Does the meaning of “full court” really extend beyond the basketball court?

    • Martin says:

      Papa John,

      Amy and some books say it’s a misspelling. Other books say it’s an additional defintion.

      “Full-court press” is an idiom meaning “all-out offensive,” derived from basketball.

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        Yes, but that ain’t the whole gym. It’s only the portion of the gym within the confines of the basketball court. The bleachers are not in play, are they? The sidelines?

      • Papa John says:

        Martin: I don’t follow where you get from “full court” to “full court press”. As ignorant as I am about sports, I know what a full court press is and it has nothing to do with the whole gym. It’s merely the name of a defensive strategy. I think “full court”, as used in the puzzle, has to do with using both ends of a basketball court, as opposed to using only one basket; hence the question about referencing “all of the gym”.

        • Martin says:

          Sorry if I misunderstood your question. Yes, in the context of the clue “gym” is used because “court” can’t be. It’s true that the out-of-bound parts of the gym are not used. Whether that makes the clue bad or wrong or “just a clue, not a definition” is up to the solver.

    • sbmanion says:

      I have literally just gotten out of a hospital bed to help you out. I had what I thought was a severe case of heartburn and I ended up having my gallbladder removed and two ERCPs in which they put a scope in to fish out stray gallstones. First time I have ever been in a hospital.

      I have had access to my computer, but it would not let me log onto Amy’s site until just now.

      Anyway, in the context of sports, full court means the entire court, not the entire gym, but frankly basketball players would not even think to include the bleachers, etc., so the clue works, but is not great. My first thought would be something like “basketball pick-up games, occasionally.” Most basketball pick-up games are half-court games, but sometimes there aren’t many players, so the players get to play full court.

      Full court press means that you guard your opponents with pressure over the entire court.

      If you are looking for a synonym for “gym,” I would consider “floor,” which is probably slightly superior to gym.

      Steve

  7. icdogg says:

    Well, I guess this was a gap in my knowledge. I had no idea it was supposed to be “trouper”. And apparently most people are using “trooper” for this purpose whether or not it is wrong to do so:

    http://www.googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=%22real+trouper%22&word2=%22real+trooper%22

    • Bencoe says:

      Personally, I like “TROOPER” better. It connotes the military and police, while “trouper” connotes some traveling actor. Which one is tougher?

  8. Gareth says:

    This veterinarian has never heard of canine flu either… I’m pretty confident it isn’t found in South Africa or we’d have been told about it in 7 years of vet school! However, most vets put mild transient coughing / respiratory ailments down to parainfluenza/adenovirus with or without secondary Bordetella: it’s entirely possible that it occurs here but that nobody’s really fussed about it?

  9. Zulema says:

    “Cruz and Kennedy” TEDS? Fooey, some combination!

  10. Thanks for the nice write-up, Amy! A couple of interesting things about this puzzle: First, the last theme entry in the original puzzle I submitted was YUPPIE FLU, but there were concerns about it being offensive, so it got changed to CANINE FLU. Second, coincidentally, there was a question about chronic fatigue syndrome (yuppie flu) on my AP Statistics test today!

  11. Lois says:

    I am grateful to Amy (and to Pablo and others) for standing up for the spelling “trouper” for the definition used today. Although the NYT puzzle often allows variants, it would have been easy, as Amy points out, just to change the definition. I agree that it looks as though Will was trying to irritate some of us. However, I have sometimes thought that perhaps he is just not such a good speller, although he is a genius. Another way the puzzle annoyed, although this time in a less grating manner, was the clue for 24d, “Said, as ‘adieu’ : BID.” OK, “bid” can be past tense, but why not use a clue in the present tense? These two clues seemed to be designed to darken my afternoon. I hope Mr. Cirillo had something to do with them, because if it was Will, I thought it was really unfair to the constructor.

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