May 1, 2015

Friday, May 1, 2015, Max Carpenter

Theme: I love U double!

In my current fog I have not located the record for the most use of the letter "U" in the LAT 15x15 puzzles, but the NYT record is 19. This puzzle has 34 "U"s. This I guess is as close to a rebus as Rich will allow, sort of an antonym to rebus with a letter spread into two spaces instead two squeezed into one. Anyway, white rabbit, white rabbit and welcome to the new month. May 1 has so many histories two examples LINK, and LINK.

We appear to have yet another debut puzzle, with his previous published work maybe in a college paper. Anyway, the puzzle was a gridding challenge to not only fit in 34 "U"s but to match up the perps. Max also gives us some lively intermediate fill, ACCUSE,  ALAMOS,  ANORAK, ARAFAT, BIKINI,  BRETON,  ERES TU, EUCLID, MOUNDS, YEASTY, ALGEBRA, CRITERIA, DICAPRIO,  RENOUNCE and  TOLERANT, which are nice contrasts. With theme answers ranging from 3 letters to a grid spanner and 18 of them we have work to do. (18 is a lucky number to some.) I look forward to the comments as without understanding the theme this would be impossible, and I know some do not like fill that is not a real word, yet creativity must be rewarded....

17A. Tennis shot delivered from between one's legs : TUUEENER (8). TWEENER. Not familiar with the term in tennis so the start was slow

20A. Duo : TUUO (4). TWO. Obviously the cluing cannot be too deceptive.

22A. Conference, informally : POUU UUOUU (9). POW WOW. The visual is so cool.

37A. Blogosphere backdrop : UUORLD UUIDE UUEB (15). WORLD WIDE WEB. This also is awesome, finding a 15 letter one.

44A. Quarterback's target: Abbr. : UUR. (3) WR, wide receiver. (Not part of the theme but a clecho) 46A. One targeting the quarterback : CENTER.)

48A. Socially inept : AUUKUUARD (9). AWKWARD. As is the look of the fill.

58A. Slapstick performer : CLOUUN (6). CLOWN.

2D. Sad : LOUU (4). LOW.  Feeling down.  (Not part of the theme but a clecho follows)
3D. Sad : GLUM.  This fill was key to my unlocking the theme.

6D. Really let loose : RAN UUILD (8). RAN WILD. One of my favorites of the theme fill.

7D. All over again : ANEUU (5). ANEW. With this many themers we were bound to get an A word.

10D. Declare : AVOUU (5). AVOW.

25D. High-profile caucus locale : IOUUA (5). IOWA. Election time coming soon along with the robocalls.

33D. Function : UUORK (5). WORK. Needed perps.

36D. Rod with power : UUAND (5). WAND.

38D. Court case : LAUUSUIT (8). LAWSUIT.

45D. Pigtailed redhead in a restaurant logo : UUENDY (6). WENDY. Dave Thomas' little girl.

48D. Leather craftsperson's beltful : AUULS (5). AWLS.

50D. Hospital division : UUARD (5). WARD.

And the reveal, 64A. Letter that hints at how 18 answers in this puzzle should be filled in : DOUBLE U (7).

Well with well over 100 spaces of theme let's see what he managed with the rest.


1. Math course : ALGEBRA. We also have Geometry below.

8. Oslo Accords participant : ARAFAT.Not politics, but HISTORY.

14. Broad-minded : TOLERANT. How appropriate to be next to a clue about Middle East peace talks.

16. Ranks : LEVELS. In the UK, students used to take O levels and then A levels to determine their academic future. I will let NC and our own Steve elaborate.

18. Cold-climate coat : ANORAK. In the US we usually call them parkas.

19. "Sounds good!" : YUM. Look good as well.

21. Almond Joy cousin : MOUNDS. Some days you feel like a nut....

24. Suit at a shoot : BIKINI. Nice word string in the clue, but I wondered if I am the only one who thought of this use of the ATOLL and the inclusion of 8D. Los __, New Mexico : ALAMOS,  the home to the Manhattan project and site of many tests. Coincidence?

27. Nine-digit no. : SSN.

28. Secretly send a dupe email to : BCC.

31. Unique : LONE.

32. Large moth : LUNA. Now this feels like a John Lampkin. He clued them as pale green moths in 2012 NYT.

35. Spicy Indian dish : CURRY. I will curry favor with my wife and mention her delicious versions of this Asian DISH.

40. Oklahoma city : TULSA.

41. Marriott competitor : OMNI. OMNI is luxury hotel, Marriott has many classes of hotel in their chain.

42. One way to get a hand : ANTE.

43. IBM-inspired villain : HAL.

51. Point one's finger at : ACCUSE. A reminder from Monday's puzzle/write up, and a very disturbing silent movie about war. J'ACCUSE.(5:42).

54. Apartment manager, for short : SUPE. Short for Super, short for superintendent.

55. Chronological start? : CEE. The old first letter trick.

59. Ceremoniously ushers : MARSHALS. Parades?

61. Geometry giant : EUCLID. I leave commentary to Fermat and Bill G and others more qualified. I was a math major for three months.

62. Yardsticks : CRITERIA.

63. Like the smell of rising dough : YEASTY. Is that what starts the juices flowing?


1. ABA member : ATTY.

4. Broad shoe size : EEE.

5. Jacques Cartier or Jules Verne, e.g. : BRETON. I found this FACT very obscure, but I was aware of the Celtic influence in France.

9. Formally abandon : RENOUNCE. I really liked this next to AVOW.

11. Fronded bit of flora : FERN.Alliteration abounds.

12. "__-in His Lamp": Bugs Bunny cartoon : A LAD. A Jerome worthy movie pun.

13. Impatient utterances : TSKS.

15. Slacks, briefly : TROUsers. Drop trou has so many connotations....

22. Strolling areas : PIERS.

23. Bolt with great speed : USAIN. A Super STAR.

24. "Arrested Development" surname : BLUTH.

26. Hillock : KNOLL. My generation will only think about a grassy one in Dallas.

28. Main impact : BRUNT.

29. Minos' kingdom : CRETE.

30. Modern crime head? : CYBER. Cybercrime. Anyone watching this SPIN-OFF which tries to meld their franchise shows with the popularity of nerds?

34. O.T. book : NUM. The beginning of a biblical mini-theme with 57 and 60D.

39. "The Wolf of Wall Street" star : DICAPRIO.

47. 1974 Mocedades hit : ERES TU. I had heard the song but had no idea of the ARTISTS. (3:14)

49. DOD branch : USMC. Semper Fi CSO to Argyle Dennis and all who served.

51. __-deucey : ACEY. The card game? The backgammon variation?

52. Footprint, maybe : CLUE.

53. Partner of Caesar : COCA. Imogene. A wacky woman who had a turn in the Vacation movies.

55. Swedish King __ XVI Gustaf : CARL. The reigning King, and has been for 42 years.

56. "Night" author Wiesel : ELIE. The Holocaust Remembrance Day was recent and we had a band which had two survivors as members perform at the ceremony at our little synagogue.

“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed....Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my G-d and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as G-d Himself. Never.”
 Elie Wiesel, Night 

57. Isaac's hirsute son : ESAU. From Genesis, Old Testament to Christians, simply Torah to Jews.

60. N.T. book : HEBrews. New Testament, i.e. Christian TEXT.

UUell that was quite a UUorkout; UUhat did you all think? I hope Max stops by and I thank you all. Lemonade out.


Dudley said...

Rabbit Rabbit

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

I could see something looked odd, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. Perfectly good words were too short. Hmmm...when I got to Wendy, the light came on. From there it was a speed run to the finish. Great puzzle! Must've been a challenge to create!

What Lemon said - finding a way to stretch the Web to 15 letters was brilliant.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all (never could understand the whole "Rabbit Rabbit" thing, sorry)!

I came very close to giving up on this due to time. I finally realized there was some sort of gimmick going on when I couldn't fit WENDY at 45D, but I had no idea what the gimmick actually was. And then I finally, FINALLY got the theme reveal and was able to go back and make short work of all the trouble spots throughout the entire puzzle.

A one trick pony -- either you get the gimmick and can solve the puzzle or you don't get it and the entire grid is a nightmare. Fun in the end, but extremely frustrating until the penny dropped.

HowardW said...

Clever theme which escaped me for quite a uuhile. Like Dudley, UUENDY unlocked it for me. Once the trick was discovered, the uuhole board opened up.

Especially liked "partner of Caesar" for Imogene COCA, and "suit at a shoot" for BIKINI.

For Barry: More about "rabbit, rabbit". I'd never heard of it, either.

Thanks Lemonade. I also heard the "sometimes you feel like a nut" tagline in my head for MOUNDS. Funny how some things stick, like "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz"...

Big Easy said...


UUOUU- this puzzle uuas going to be easy. UUrong.

I initially wrote TRUE LUCK for TUUEENER but the perps wouldn't fit. I noticed the "U"s immediately but couldn't figure it out until I read the clue for 64A. Then it all fell into place. I had some idea something was up at the cross of WENDY and CLOWN, and AWLS would be the only thing that I knew that leather workers used.

My last fills were caused by the OMNI, LUNA, NUM combo as I originally had DECAPRIO instead of DICAPRIO.
The always hated ERAS TU and HEB seem to fit MARSHALS and that finished it for me.

Unknowns were BLUTH and CARL (OLAV or OLAF).

I'm off for a long bike ride.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Lemonade and friends. I just Loved, Loved, Loved this puzzle. I was a bit flummoxed when it seemed that some of my answers wouldn't fit (i.e., Iowa, Low, Avow), but when I came to UUENDY, I realized something was up.

Wendy/UUendy seemed to be the key for many of us today!

I was also pleasantly surprised when my immediate thought for Suit for a Shoot (BIKINI) turned out to be the correct answer.

Unusually cool for this time of year. It's in the 50s thing in the morning, which feels so pleasant.

White Rabbit! May you all have good luck this month.

QOD: Destiny is a good thing to accept when it’s going your way. When it isn’t, don’t call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery, or simple bad luck. ~ Joseph Heller (May 1, 1923 ~ Dec. 12, 1999)

desper-otto said...

Good morning and happy Beltane!

My head hurts! I must be awfully dense -- it took forever to figure out that a U is just a U, but two Us (UU) make a W. I didn't "snap" until AUUKUUARD.

Thought the CENTER was the SACKER and was pretty sure that WR was going to be wrong as the quarterback's target. I think of a wide receiver as one that's got AM, FM and shortwave.

ESAU and "hirsute" immediately reminded me of Alan Bennett's Take a Pew from Beyond The Fringe. It's a great rendition of a preacher in love with the sound of his own voice. I think he may be working in Fremont now. (The link is almost 6 minutes long, but it's worth it. The best line occurs at the 5 minute mark.)

Avg Joe said...

Artful construction.

That's all I've got. The rest was so tortured it was no fun. Sorry.

Madame Defarge said...

Well, well, well. I almost quit. I was also at a total loss until trying to fit Wendy. I remembered the "letter" in the theme clue. I had ESAU, and then the DOUBLEU fit. After that I had some fun. Thanks, Max.

Thanks for the expo, Lemonade.

Have a sunny Rabbit, Rabbit day.

Barry G. said...

Thanks for the link, Howard! Let's see...

According to the Wikipedia entry, the origin of this custom in unknown but it can be traced back to perhaps the 15th century, maybe even the 13th ... [a]nd it came from England

Nope, still not getting it! I mean, I get that people say it for good luck, but I still don't get why they say it...

To elaborate a bit on my solving experience this morning, I got very frustrated early on when I couldn't figure out any letter that would fit with AVOU_ at 10D or a four letter word for "sad" that started LO__. It didn't occur to me at that time that there was a gimmick to the puzzle, so it was just frustrating. It also didn't help that TWEENER meant nothing to me in the first place.

The NYT puzzles frequently have gimmicks, but tend to reserve them for Thursdays and Sundays, so if something's not working on a Thursday it's pretty easy to guess there is a gimmick involved. Here, however, there was no indication that anything was funky, so there was literally no joy to be had until I got to the theme reveal.

I dunno, having eventually figured out the gimmick and therefore being able to complete the puzzle lets me look back upon it with fondness. At the same time, however, I really didn't appreciate it while solving and, as I said earlier, came very close to just giving up and walking away. On the whole, I'm not sure the frustration was worth the eventual sense of satisfaction.

Tinbeni said...

Pinch Pinch

DNF ... never caught on the DOUBLE U theme as a "W" ... but I applaud this puzzle!


Anonymous said...

I related the solving experience to one of those TV shows or movies where you endure the all of the awkward, cringeworthy moments to get to the happy or touching finale. My daughter likes those movies more than I.

HeartRx said...

Rabbit, rabbit!

UUell, uuell, uuhat a fun puzzle. I uuasn't liking it very much until I got to the reveal, then uuent back and filled in all the blanks. Great uurite-up, too, Lemony!

Happy May Day, and enjoy the uueekend, everyone. TGIF!

Anonymous said...

@BarryG: Coincidentally, I think of the "rabbit, rabbit" thingy much like today's puzzle, a gimmick. It may be fun to do around kids in a family, classroom or girl scout troop but seems out of place for blog full of adults discussing crossword puzzles. So I see your point.

Btw, did ya know what Elmer Fudd playfully uttered on the 1st of each month?


Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Sorta had Dudley's experience. (Don't like writing a uuhole lot of misspelt uuords.)
Had my epiphany with AVOUU and getting a whiff of DOUBLE U at 64a. Close to a speed run after that. And 'vacuum' wasn't needed! The AUUL / CLOUUN cross also helped to ratify the UU gimmick.
Hirsute ESAU - Guess this notion transcends language. My mother would usually refer to a rough-hewn, hairy person as a 'ruge Esau'. (The g is pronounced like ch in Bach. The u has long vowel sound and the e is a schwa. Ruge and rough seem to have a common root.)

Thanks Lemon for a great write-up and Max for a 'different' puzzle.

Tschüüß everyone.

HowardW said...

Barry G: I get that people say it for good luck, but I still don't get why they say it...

Hare, hare! I'm not sure that it's any more explainable than rubbing a rabbit's foot, or tossing salt over one's shoulder.

Cathy D. said...

I gave up.

Anonymous said...

Barry uuants to be first every day. He uuas irritated that Dudley uuas first. He acts like a spoiled child. Remember uuhat happened uuhen George Barany uuent first ?

Mikey said...

I LOVED this puzzle. Finished in record Friday time after quickly grokking the theme when I passed by UUENDY and CLOUUN. Very enjoyable and learned a new tradition; thanks, Dudley.

Lemonade714 said...

After blogging just Friday puzzles for a few years now, it is clear that Rich Norris uses Friday as his showcase for 'gimmick' puzzles. I do however object to the implication of the word, as I saw this as a very creative effort. Certainly a rebus is a gimmick; an anagram is a gimmick, words being presented backwards or upside down or in a circle....Would you want every puzzle to be a 4-5-4 start? Should we see only obscure clues on Friday?

As mentioned, for me, UUORLD UUIDE UUEB was worth the price of admission as it shows the inspired mind of the creator.

Lemonade714 said...

Anon at 8:26, anytime you want to be first, do so. There is no prize and I have been first countless times without any flack from BG. I just do not get what the joy is in attacking individuals here?

Anonymous said...

Of all the pieces of shit crosswords I've seen in my 60 years, this is the absolute worst!

Unknown said...

It was the saddest excuse for a puzzle I have ever failed.

Bill said...

My printed-from-online copy doesn't show the theme, so after a while I looked at the theme at the beginning of the blog, and then things started making sense. I still dislike wacky themed puzzles, so this one falls into the genre.

Anonymous said...

Who thinks up these ridiculous puzzles?

I was completely frustrated. I just want to work a nice, relaxing puzzle.

This puzzle ruined my day!

Anonymous said...

This one was insane. I'm lucky I figured it out, finally.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I humbly defer to Thumper.

Lemon, excellent job. (I have been watching CSI: Cyber; some episodes have been more interesting than others.)

Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

I dislike gimmick puzzles in general, but this one takes the cake. It has to be the stupidest piece of excrement I have ever come across. And yes, I figured out the theme and successfully completed the puzzle, but that doesn't make it any less ridiculous.

Lemonade714 said...

One thing I can depend on for Friday comments is the dramatic responses. I think it is all good. If you are going to create for public consumption be prepared. Bill 9:51, no theme is printed in the newspaper except on Sundays. Our themes are from the bloggers.

Lemonade714 said...

Do any of you vitriolic naysayers ever do the NYT?

Just curious, especially if you have done rebus puzzles or metas.

Barry G. said...

One thing I can depend on for Friday comments is the dramatic responses.

Well, that's kinda the point I was trying to make with my earlier comments. If you get the "gimmick" (especially early on), the puzzle can be a delight to solve. If you don't get it, it's a complete and utter frustrating waste of time.

By it's very nature, this sort of puzzle will result in polarized comments.

GrannyAnny said...

**Please note: I am posting this comment before reading the write-up or what anyone else had to say.
With all due respect to Max Carpenter for the amount of time and effort it must have taken to construct this puzzle, it misses the mark as a CROSSWORD puzzle -- a least in my experience of over 60 years of penciling letters into little squares to form meaningful words.
I do crosswords to stretch my memory and/or vocabulary and enjoy learning new relationships between words and phrases. I also seem to be a de-coder, needing a couple of letters to jog my mind toward a correct solution.
Even after correctly solving the reveal at 64A, I had to turn on the red letters and spend another 30 minutes "de-coding".
Sorry for the rant. Normally I'm a very easy-going person.

Husker Gary said...

After a lot of agony, I was feeling LOUU and then got the reveal, then UUAND and then I RAN UUILD! My memory ain’t great but I can’t remember Rich allowing such a gimmick but it was fun (eventually). As usual, Lemon’s summative paragraph was spot on.

-So many “had to be” words had to wait for the gimmick but I knew it would reveal itself eventually
-A FB player is a TWEENER if he is too light for a tackle and too big for a linebacker
-PUUWUUOUU blew me away
-Only Jimmy Carter and W won the IOWA caucus and became president. You just have to be in it!
-ARAFAT was a freedom fighter or a terrorist depending on…
-There are 100 LEVELS on this game. I’ve gotten to LEVEL 10.
-The older I get, the more TOLERANT I get
-What else would you call a poker magazine?
-There are places where you must RENOUNCE everything you believe in or die
-A Bigfoot footprint CLUE!

chin said...

Got the puzzle but now I have a headache!

When I lived in England, we learned it as "white rabbit" but I can live with either.

JJM said...

It took me about a 1/2 hour before I got the theme…. if that's uuhat you uuant to call it. I'm sure this kid uuorked his ass off in order to come up uuith a really clever puzzle, but I didn't think it uuas much fun to solve. Even some of the clues, I thought uuere, bad, i.e., strolling areas=PIERS (huh), Cartier or Verne=BRETON (uuho would know that ?) partner of Caesar=COCA. I mean I've seen her on TV uuhen I uuas a kid, but I think there could have been a better clue possible.

Just my 2 cents. Extremely clever, but someuuhat innocuous.

Chairman Moe said...

"Puzzling Thoughts":

I'm not going to "pile on" and complain about today's puzzle - my only comment is that despite liking it or not, finding a way to slot 34 U's into a crossword is pretty amazing

I won't even start with how many ink blots today, or where, but once I got DOUBLE U it made sense. I knew WENDY had to be the "definitive" answer for 45d but until 64a revealed the theme, I just scratched my head

Didn't like CENTER as answer for 46a; I was thinking that a defensive player "targets" the QB

Wondering if USAIN Bolt ever flew on USAIR?

I promised no limerick until May 1. Here goes:

Having dreamt of Arabian vamp,
Rabbit Bugs, that old rascally scamp,
Thought that he'd meet a genie
In a sexy BIKINI;
All he got was a-LAD-in a lamp!

Max Carpenter said...

Thanks for all of the comments, especially the mean ones. Never thought a puzzle of mine would be called 'excrement', but I can't really ask for a better start to my day!

Another detail I spent a while trying to make happen with the grid is the number of UUs used. Not that it'll help with the solving experience...

GrannyAnny said...

re: Lemonade@10:17

While my rant didn't seem "vitriolic" to me -- in response to your question about doing the New York Times puzzles--

No, I do not. I did them online for about a year and gave them up because of the gimmicks -- mainly the more-than-one-letter per square which I found exceedingly frustrating, and that's one of the reasons I've stuck with the LAT puzzles since finding them several years ago -- challenging, but only one letter per square.

From reading the blog for several years now, I know that different styles of puzzles appeal to different people, and keep my negative opinions to myself, but this time I thought: If those of us who really dislike certain puzzles don't say something once in a while, how are the editors to know what users are happy (or unhappy) with?

Barry G. said...

Thanks for stopping by, Max Carpenter!

Love it or hate it, at least people are talking about it, right?

Anonymous said...

I have no idea why anyone likes this type of puzzle.

I do NOT.

Bill G. said...

Good morning! I had trouble getting started with this puzzle but when my V-8 kicked in, I really enjoyed it and appreciated the cleverness.

It reminded me of an 'in service' we had back early in my teaching career. Two 'experts' came by to expand our thinking. They played a little game while one of them was holding a little green toy frog. They would ask some questions and then sometimes the frog would jump, other times it wouldn't jump. We were supposed to figure out the gimmick. Being a puzzle person, I finally caught on that the frog would jump only after they said a certain word. My friend didn't figure out the gimmick and he hated their whole presentation afterwards.

I'm guessing that's what is happening here re. this crossword. Most of the people who figured out the gimmick enjoyed the cleverness; most who didn't figure it out hated it.

I figured it out about halfway along. I didn't turn on red letters and was getting frustrated with certain answers that seemed right but didn't quite fit. Then, like others, I hit WENDY and the light bulb went on. I really enjoyed POUUUUOUU and UUORLDUUIDUUEB. Inspired madness! I liked this much better than the occasional NYT rebus puzzle. Thanks Max, Rich and Lemon.

Yellowrocks said...

Loved the gimmick. CLOUUN and UUENDY gave the theme away. I expect this kind of thing on a Friday. Even with grokking the gimmick, there still were a few tough clues. I never heard of USAIN Bolt. Fun puzzle. Fun write up.Take heart, Mr. Carpenter, some of us loved it. Lemonade's work is always a joy. This was easier for me then yesterday's puzzle.
I have been flat on my back with sciatica cradling ice packs from Tuesday afternoon until this AM. I was in too much pain to drive myself to the doctor until today. I am now on the mend though walking is still tough. I hope I improve enough to see my grandson's play tomorrow.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Most polarity I can remember seeing here.

Surprised myself by completing this.

Congrats to Max for hitting a Friday publication.

Some of the non-theme fill is very nice.

I've expressed my views on over the top gimmicks before, so without in any way gainsaying the cleverness, originality, and brilliant execution of this puzzle, I'll just politely cite Thumper Thumper.

Tigers laid a big egg in KC last night, and could do nothing against Danny Duffy. He had a 9-12 record last year with 2.53 ERA. No pitcher has that kind of bad luck in over 40 years. Couldn't get any run support. Royals have certainly beefed up their offense this year. Mike Moustakas started in 2011, and his batting average went down every year. Suddenly he hit his stride in the playoffs last year, and is continuing into this season. His current .356 average is 100 points over his 2011 carer high. Can he keep that up all year?

Cool regards!
JzB Baffled by the Royals

Sallie said...

Interesting that no one commented on the name for W. It might have been a clue for some of us, but I gave up after a few unknown words.


Band Queen said...

I loved it. Yesterday's puzzle was not a good one for me and I was looking for redemption. When I got to Wendy, I figured it out. It was a blast! I look forward to more by Max Carpenter.

Gary Steinmehl said...

From Cruciverb, LA Times Specifications:

"No rebus themes.

However, we have allowed other kinds of deceptive themes, such as answers that turn a corner. Themes highlighted via circled letters are used in moderation. If you have an unorthodox theme in mind that isn’t a rebus, please query."

"Things to Avoid

Two-letter words; overuse of three-letter words; clumsy, made-up or strained phrases; uncommon abbreviations; obscurities; tasteless or graphically medical entries, including most diseases; blatant drug references; crossword clichés (crosswordese), including but not limited to ONER, ESNE, ANOA, AROA, etc. Avoid variant spellings in all but the most dire constructing emergencies. Keep abbreviations reasonable—no more than 10% of the word count. Keep foreign words to a minimum as well, and use only those the meaning of which is either well known or obvious. "

Editor's email:

So, no rebus themes and avoid variant spellings in all but the most dire emergencies? Well, Rich must've had a dire emergency this Friday that allowed him to break his own rules. Meanwhile the USAToday had a fine puzzle this morning.

tawnya said...

hello all -

ohmigoodness, that was a tough one! so creative and thoughtful but it just about kicked my butt. i won, eventually! i'm completely in awe of the ability to come up with some of these themes. "pouuuuouu" has to be a record for "most vowels in a row and still being able to make sense with the theme" or something!

fantastic job Max Carpenter! congrats on your first LAT puzzle, i look forward to the next!

of course, thank you Lemon for educational write up.

have a good weekend everyone :)


Anonymous said...

Argh! I found this puzzle annoying and infuriating. It completely stumped me - I never "got" it until I finally gave up and checked in with this blog. UU in adjacent squares do NOT equal a W in my world. I just hated this and it was a crappy way to ruin my morning.

Irish Miss said...

Bill G @ 11:53 - I did get the theme and I did finish w/o any help. I didn't enjoy the solve which is why I deferred to Thumper. I agree with GrannyAnny, especially regarding NYT's puzzles. I will readily admit that I am a purist who wants a crossword with one letter per square and words that are words. I will also readily admit that variety is the spice of life and that one man's treasure is another man's trash. Vive le difference! To each his own, eh? 😉

YR, feel better soon.

Jayce said...

Man oh man, I couldn't spell anything right! I kept putting in UW or WU in the places where it should have been UU. This puzzle stumped me. I finally resorted to turning on red letter help and all my W's were red. Then I finally got it. I admire the skillful construction. Well played, Mr. Carpenter!

Jayce said...

Oh, and as for CSI: Cyber, we watched it once only. It was so bad we vowed never to watch it again. Even the previews/trailers make us cringe.

Nellie said...

Thanks BillG for that insult. I bounced around the grid until I realized the theme with UUR crossing UUENDY. I groaned. I then filled in the rest of the puzzle so quickly that it left me unfulfilled. As I reviewed the completed grid as I am wont, I was uuhelmed.

UUR may be the worst fill in the history of the LAT puzzle. A rebus of a 2 letter word?!?!?

Don't tell me I didn't enjoy it because I was too dense to understand it you pompous jerk. Go shake down the local pizza joint for some extra cheese.

Nellie said...

p.s. re: UUR

I misspoke. I should have said a rebus of a 2 letter abbreviation. A vile violation of epic proportions and a total waste of my time.

thehondohurricane said...

After twentv five minutes and three or four correct fills, I said screw it.

K-Dub said...

A great puzzle today and a nice expo by Lemony. I was stumped until Wendy and Iowa showed me the way. Just a couple write-overs and a couple simple misspellings.

This is the most controversial puzzle since I started lurking on the blog a feuu years ago. I guess there are some who prefer a strict method of solving and some who prefer a variety methods. I'm intrigued when I learn a new method, not aggravated.

A twofer of CSOs to me on a most conspicuous day! I am a doubleu (did Max see my blog handle?) and my old buddy the King of Sweden (although the spellings of our first names differ slightly).

I learned "Rabbit, rabbit" around the campfire when you wanted the smoke to shift away from you. Never knew another definition.

I always thought an anorak was a quarter-zip pullover not a parka?

Lemonade714 said...

IMO the odds are no better than 50-50 that the comment was from the constructor.

Gary S., interesting take that the fill was variant spelling which of course is true in a literal sense. I just saw it as funny. Do you think there are rebus puzzles in our future?

Lemonade714 said...

Nellie, isn't it really a vile anti-rebus where one letter is split into two squares rather than two letters stuffed into one?

Will the real max carpenter please speak up!!!

SwampCat said...

Thumper thumper. Clever construction but no fun al all .

Anonymous said...

Lemonaide&!$, I'm not sure what your definition of a rebus is but my research has it as " a riddle or puzzle made up of letters, pictures, or symbols whose names sound like the parts or syllables of a word or phrase"

That being said using a double u or "uu" in place of a "w" qualifies as a rebus. I don't think it matters if the the two utes share a square or not.

Are you trying to rile us up?

Max Carpenter said...

It was the real 'me' before. I just prefer not to link blogger/Google accounts. What I was trying to hint at before was that the instances of UUs are 23...which has some significance given the theme.

As for the negative comments, I don't mean to be flippant, but I really get a kick out of how many mornings I've ruined with my first widely circulated puzzle. It's one of my personal favorites I've done. Thanks so much for the write-up Lemonade. :)

Rainman said...

Fortunately, I started on the louuer right and got the DOUBLEU. Everything fell into place and I had a great time working backuuards and upuuards.

Fun puzzle, thanks Max and thanks Lemon... very good writeup.

My only negative is that I'm sure I've seen a similarly-themed puzzle as a rebus years ago. But we have to get our inspiration from somewhere and everything has already been done once, it seems. I liked this one.

What is a NATICK? I've been meaning to ask, since it doesn't google well at all.

Gracias y Feliz Mayo, amigos!

K-Dub said...

R-man, It took me a while to suss out NATICK, too. It's the square common to an unknown word and an unknown perp. My favorite expression (I think it was D-O's) is "I found myself in downtown natick city...".

Jerome said...

A rebus style crossword has some squares with two or more letters. That's the tradition in puzzle construction. Today's puzzle is not a rebus, and no editor would consider it as such. So please, let's not lend ourselves to falsehoods about how the people who actually create and publish crosswords define them.

I thought Max did a beautiful job.

Lucina said...

Hello, friends!


My favorite part was the link to ERES TU.

Thank you, Lemonade and the maniacally bent Max Carpenter.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

"W-U-O-L-D, is that right daddy?"

"No sweetie. W-O-U-L-D"

"How do you remember?"

"Well, a U never comes after a W, otherwise we'd have a Tripple-U"

//near-real conversation w/ my eldest. She dyslexic too.

ALGEBRA/ATTY/EEE/TOLERENT/GLUM, ARAFAT (almost Carter, but looked down)/ALAMOS/FERN/TSKS(?). BLUTH/HAL/BIKINI(?). SSN, BCC CURRY(?), CYBER, YEASTY - that was all from 1st 3 passes.

Finally I focused on 37a (hey, I'm a CYBER-guy). "Think -T, think, Interwebs, Internet, World Wide Web? Gotta be. It's the freakin' WWW" (said out-loud in my head). Duck! - V-8.

Puzzle was fun after that.

For the record - DNF, I looked up 29d.

Thanks Max & Lem (and HG for the links!)

Cheers, -T

Lemonade714 said...

Rainman the complete answer is blogger rex parker (Michael Sharp) coined the phrase from the city in Massachusetts.
His words:

The NATICK Principle. And here it is: If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names..

Max C., thanks for stopping by, 23 is the number of pairs of chromosomes, but I would venture not many (certainly not I) counted the instances of UU.

Are you one and the same from Reed College? Who are you? It was fun to write up your puzzle, and I always enjoy a good verbal fracas.

Lemonade714 said...


Double U = Double YOU
equals 23 pairs of chromosomes make up a human

Counter Guy said...

W is the 23rd letter of the alphabet.

Lemonade714 said...

Anon at 2:05, the rebus definition you use is from the old days before Bernice Gordon (may she rest in peace)broke the one letter per square rule in crossword construction. That was like the old game Concentration, or the feature in the Sunday magazine section.

Jerome gives the CW Puzzle definition that I am referencing as being the opposite of Max's

Lemonade714 said...

Thanks counter guy, when you try to make things too subtle y
you miss the forest for the tress.

Well done.


K-Dub said...

Lemony - I think Max was referring to W being the 23rd letter of the alphabet. Not quite as provocative as chromosomes.:-)

K-Dub said...

Oops! Too late!

C6D6 Peg said...

Not sure if I loved or hated this puzzle. All I can say is it had to be a real bear to construct. Congratulations to Max on his debut. It will be hard to top!
Favorite was POUUUUOUU (Powwow).

Thanks to all for the comments. Late today, as the router had problems earlier.

Lemonade - nice write-up, especially with the detail on the U's.....

Barry G. said...

I just have to say...

I grew up in Natick, Massachusetts, and it's actually a town (with a town council and all) and not a city. I have to laugh that my hometown is now used as a curse word in the world of crosswords!

JD said...

Rabbit! Rabbit to you all,

Unfortunately I did not have the drive to keep going when I FINALLY got to POUUUUOUU. It took me forever to complete that NW corner, and with LOUU crossing TUUEENER I did get the trick.

Too bad the anons can't be more tolerant because this was a crazy clever CW. There were a lot of unknowns and I hate when I have to Google to continue, so I didn't, but thanks for the challenge.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that the regulars, or blue people, are not tolerant of the non-regular poster's opinions because they deem them intolerant of this puzzle.

Avg Joe said...

Well if this effort served no other purpose, it did get people to take a stand. In that, it might have been commendable.

Anon @ 3:26, that's an interesting observation. It reminded me of the intolerance theme this week in the comic strip Non Sequitur. I'm linking the Monday strip, It runs all week, you can go forward one day at a time by clicking on the right arrow above the panels.

And just for the record. I don't have quite as strong an opinion as Nellie @ 1:28, but I did figure out the gimmick and did solve the puzzle correctly. I just didn't like it. And similar to what Anon @7:48 said, it was like watching a cringe-worthy movie. was more like last weekend when we watched "The Homesman" We watched til the end in the hope it might have some worthwhile and redeeming finale. It didn't.

Lynn said...

Didn't get it, but Friday puzzles are usually tough for me. Find I'm getting better at the xword by reading this column regularly. Thanks.

Bill G. said...

I'm sorry if I gave offense. It was unintended for sure. I like almost all of the LAT puzzles but often dislike the extra-gimmicky NYT puzzles.

Responding to Avg Joe's comment about movies, we stayed to the end of Pulp Fiction but never found any redeeming virtue. We hated the story and the characters. It was other people's best movie list. Go figure...

I enjoyed this puzzle and admired its cleverness but no offense intended to those who didn't like it for whatever reason. I don't know that I have an excess of goodwill around here and I certainly don't want to squander any of it.

Rainman said...

Bill G,

Me, I enjoyed Pulp Fiction, surprisingly.

Liked the characters, plot (backwards from the middle?), but I had to keep reminding myself it was just a spoof.

And I probably would not watch it again... too much gore.

Rainman said...


Thanks for the Natick info.... now THAT's a courteous and considerate principle for constructors. I like it.

Barry G,
Now I'm wondering how Natick MA got its name.

Avg Joe said...

On movies: I saw Pulp Fiction once. I disliked it intensely. BOTOH, I saw Last Tango in Paris when it was released and also disliked it. I saw it 20 odd years later and enjoyed it a lot. Not sure why, but it has to be more complicated than maturity.

tiptoethru said...

I'm going to STOMP in with this comment. I had too much trouble figuring out why anyone would make all these uuuus show up and lost any enthusiasm to solve this--- even when I got the reveal. I tend to agree that the words in a puzzle should mean something and my old mind is set in trying to spell things correctly. I did finish, but it was NO fun.

VirginiaSycamore said...

Thanks to Max for a totally new crossword gimmick. I also knew something was screwy and had to do the theme DOUBLE U to get it.

I was not as upset as some because I haven't been a student of puzzles long. Also I generally use red letters so I don't have to Google all day.

Yellow Rocks: I had what I thought was sciatica and it ended up being a hip issue. Solved by getting both replaced.

I will begin doing Rabbit, Rabbit. Alas, too late for this month.

Google Guy said...


You can stop wondering. Just search the UUORLD UUIDE UUEB. The Wikipedia article discusses the origin of the name and also mentions its meaning in the world of crossword puzzles.

CrossEyedDave said...

I have to claim an "incomplete."
(not DNF or FIW)

You see, after several years of LATimes puzzles, I have come to look forward to Fridays having some kind of gimmick. A sort of rest from the the tough Thursday, before the impossible Saturday puzzle. An extra tidbit of a clue that "something" needs extra attention on a Friday.

I started this puzzle with my morning coffee, & it wasn't long before I was Googling names because I just could not break into it. I knew Wendy had something to do with it because how could Wendy have 6 letters?

Well, I took a break. (always helps) & went online to look at yesterdays late nite comments. (Glad to help Avg. Joe!) But, dang it all, I wasn't fast enough & in the corner of my eye I saw the reveal before I clicked "older posts."

Yes, that helped fill a lot of blanks. (Except 15D Trou? Wtf is Trou? Must be French for pants...)

But in the end, I still would have to claim a DNF, because the simplest things trip me up. Like 1D ABA Member. I thought it was a Basketball reference & put ALer.. (Totally screwed up my NW corner...)

Max, I am sorry I screwed up doing your amazing puzzle, & look forward to your next endeavour with relish! However pls do not base it on my comments...

Anonymous T said...

Google Guy - Oh. I was going to tell Rainman it was 'cuz it x-ed ANORAK in the winter.

One more call pool to go then sleep - 9 hours in 3 days is a lotta UUORK.

Cheers, -T

Yellowrocks said...

VS, thanks for your concern. I had a one knee replacement on Jan. 26 and now walk on it evenly without a limp.The other knee has a decided limp which is causing the sciatic nerve to act up.I will have that knee replaced very soon. I hope your new hips are fine. The prednisone I started takings this AM seems to relieve the pain.I think I will make Kenny's play.

Rainman said...

Thanks. You made me work harder than I wanted to.

So... Natick was the name of one tribe of multiples known as the Praying Indians?

The XW definition of Natick was the easiest I've seen so far.

Thank you.

Thanks to all, TMI today. I'm clocking out.

Good Times said...

You can say that again!

PK said...

Hi Y'all! The aggravation of this puzzle was doubled because I had left a window open after my yardman mowed and was having a major hay fever attack. So I was wiping sneezes off the monitor and trying to get my eyes to focus. Then I get POUUUUOUU? I would have cried, but I was already tearing. I did get the theme at that point and went around putting in UU. Filling this would not have been possible for me without red-letter redirection. Too many other unknowns.

Suit for a shoot: first try was "zoot". I was thinking Chicago mob massacre. BIKINI finally dawned.

O.T. is only over-time in my mind, so N.T. didn't snap any synapses either. HEB? UUazat?

So sad that a smart guy like Max Carpentar uuould SAY he found pleasure in ruining the simple pleasure others find in their morning crossword. The older I get the less TOLERANCE I have for people full of malice.

PK said...

Lemony, you mention your wife making curry. You must have tied the knot while my computer was down. Congratulations!

My best friend was driving back from a funeral in LOS ALAMOS last week. She mentioned she was concerned about snow overnight in the mountains she would be driving later that day. I haven't had an email since. I'm beginning to worry.

My niece lives in the mountains of northern India just over the "hill" from Nepal. They felt tremors but had no damage, thank goodness. Small uuorld.

John A. said...

loved this puzzle...only nit was no stars to denote which 18 clues would have the funny business incorporated...once the riddle of the theme was solved, it was too easy to get fooled momentarily by the legitimate U's

Anonymous said...

Google Guy,

Soooo glad you answered rainboy !

He asked Canadian Eh a question that he could have easily looked up. Then kept asking her again over and over and over. Like a broken record. As if anyone other than him cared.

Lemonade714 said...

I do not see anyone telling anons or blues to not post disparaging comments, so where does this come from:

Anonymous said...
It's funny that the regulars, or blue people, are not tolerant of the non-regular poster's opinions because they deem them intolerant of this puzzle.

Every opinion is legitimate and welcome

Orange Ade said...

I'm pretty sure it took a lot of guts, ideas, creativity and elbow grease to make this puxxle. And I'm sorry Lemonade has this day to blog so that he always gets only the wicked ones. And I enjoyed his blog, never the less.

(NTS, I hated the d--- puxxle.)

Next week, we can have a YY for the W as in 'Dubya says.' The following week we may have substitutions in the Cyrillic alphabet - just to keep things interesting... then Dvorak substitutions and so on.

The only redeeming thing about this, is, I did not have to pay to solve this.

How about chemical formulae like HOH or OHH or HHO for water and CCHHHHHOH for liquor ? Think it'll stump most of the people on the blog ? Good.

Lemonade714 said...

PK the avatar is my wife and granddaughter on my weeding day

Rainman said...

Was that a "Personal attack," as defined?, I ask all.

Maybe all the Anons who share ONE name should be limited to five total posts per day, just like everyone else.

The Anony-mice (vermin) cowards (not all of them, but who can tell?) deserve no response and add absolutely no credible value to the intended purpose of C.C.'s site. And they feel they can break the rules anytime and do anything to get a response.

Rainman said...

Thanks for removing the attack; you can remove my response, too. Sorry.

Anonymous T said...

Orange - Hey, there's my BOHEMIAN Dvorak keyboard I wanted Wed!

Car pool done. Time for 6-letter snooze; zzzzzz. C, -T

Guy said...

I don't think Lemonade714 understands the meaning of "avatar".

Ol' Man Keith said...

Fantastic pzl today.
From the start, we all sensed something wrong-- and most, I expect found the craziness when, like Dudley, they came to UUENDY. That was my wake-up call too. Earlier I wanted to do AVOUU, but figured I was on the track of the wrong word. But there can be no other answer to 45D than [W]ENDY.
Once the breakthrough came, the going got easier, but it was still bizarre. My favorite (and apparently others' too) was POUUUUOUU.

Annoyingmous said...

Its very fun to read today's comments. It shows how different we are. Several how commented on how they enjoyed POUUUUOUU and UUORLDUUIDEUUEB. I think they are a joke. Just miserable. Worst ever! Yes its a cute gimmick but after one or two reveals I grew tired of its novelty. By the end I hated it.

I agree with PK that many "set in their ways" solvers with no access to this puzzles explanation had their morning routine ruined by a constructor who revels in bringing angst and disappointment rather than providing joy and accomplishment to their limited lives. Too bad.

Rainman - get over it.

Lucina said...

I'm so sorry to hear you have sciatica. I went through that and it was relieved with therapy and massage. Good luck to you! It's dreadful pain.

I have to say I admire any constructor who can fill a puzzle grid. Today, however, it took me waaaay tooo loooooong to find the gimmick and so that detracted from any enjoyment. That is my weakness and certainly no blame on Mr. Carpenter though he seemed to revel in it.

PK said...

Lemony, both wife & Charlotte are lovely. Lucky you!

YR: years ago when I had sciatica, the only relief I got was having someone pull my leg with a jerk. And no, I'm not trying to pull yours. It's true.

Anonymous said...

Wow. !)% comments and no tuneagement?!?

R.I.P. Ben E. King

But for the more daring and more apropos?

SwampCat said...

Wow! At least we have lots of comments.

PK, you were much more tolerant in your bashing of Max C than I would have been.

Max C, if indeed that is who you are in the postings, if you really want to bring pain and misery to our mornings, we don't need to see any more of you.

I assume this is all a big joke!

As for the proliferation of anons today, I assume our Blue people don't want to pan the puzzle under their own names so they dump on it as "anon".

PK, you were much more

SwampCat said...

Oops.....don't know what happened to the end of my last post!

Barry G. said...

Now I'm wondering how Natick MA got its name.

Well, growing up I was always taught that it was a Massachusett Indian word meaning "Place of Hills", but that Wikipedia article says it probably means "place of (our) searching". Go figure. And yes, it's doubly hilarious that the crossword meaning is now in the Wikipedia article!

Part-time Gardner said...

Lemonade: You and your wife certainly dress up do to weeding!!!

Max Carpenter said...

I really didn't mean to be flippant. That is to say, if you took my previous two comments to be me reveling in the potential pain and lost time I have cause to many, I sincerely wish to apologize. I am young and my shell is hardened to online feedback, so the 'revelry' was in jest. The sentiment was coming from my point of view as a constructor: this is definitely one of the wackier puzzles I have made—I would even venture to say that it is more of a 'constructor's puzzle'*—and so I saw the quantity and severity of some of the feedback as being a good indicator of its corniness.

I also understand the sentiment that 'I should be fired' or 'should listen to the negative feedback as an important dissatisfied demographic', but quickly citing the tenuity of the (average) constructor/publication relationship, I think I am justified in not listening to these comments.

* In that the joy of the puzzle isn't necessarily in the '"Aha" moment', but in the appreciation of fitting in 23 UUs. (Although I hope that some of the humor with certain longer answers was communicated.)

SwampCat said...

One more thought.

I am suspicious of any puzzle that makes us nasty to each other.

Lemonade, thanks for trying to keep us civilized.

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe, or Max, or whatever your name is. I don't know why you made up 'should be fired' and 'should listen to the negative feedback as an important dissatisfied demographic' as quotes you read here. It just makes me think you are not the realMax.

Big Easy said...

Well after reading all the comments posted, I can't tell whether we have a bunch of crybabies or are these people serious.

The puzzle was different and Max certainly had to spend a lot of time creating it. He could make more money working for MacDonalds than in creating puzzle, but this is supposed to be fun.

Get over it babies.

Oh, Y.R.- prednisone for knee replacement? Strange Rx.

Anonymous said...

Big Easy, I'll take a number 2, medium size, with a Coke.

Steve Lewis said...

Awesome puzzle, awesome. A work of art. I enjoyed every minute I spent on solving it.

Anonymous said...

Big Easy. "Get over it babies." ? Hey the puzzle sucked imo. Who the hell are you? There were not many u's in this puzzle. They were w's over two squares.

Anonymous T said...

New Blue - Big Easy has been around CC's UUUUUU blogosphere for a while. You, not so much (G+ accounts are a dime a dozen). Sorry you didn't have fun, but w/rt the puzzle, it was a stumper for a spell, but that's the point - IT'S A PUZZLE! For what it's worth - yesterday kicked by butt.

This is for MA/folks who can take crass humour only - My brother sent me this Wolf of Wall Street video today that my nepheUU made. Nephew graduates HS and goes to Basic Training (Army) in June.

Cheers, -T

BarbieMom said...

uuolf of uuall street. I had fun with this. I did not get to the puzzle until this morning. When things do not make sense I figure there is a theme so I read the clues. Sure enough, there it was.

Anonymous said...

I hate this type of puzzle!!

Anonymous said...

Well thanks for welcoming me. I've read posts for a long time and just because Big Easy has been here a long time and me, "not so much," I don't see the reason for calling people babies. If you are an indication of the discourse to someone who disagrees with half-letter "puzzles" then goodbye and be happy in your bubble with Big Easy.

Ol' Man Keith said...

I suspect that Anonymous in his/her several bilious postings on May Day to be motivated by a disgruntlement that has little to do with the day's pzl. The persistently sullen postings dimmed my day a little, so to that extent, he/she may take a mite of satisfaction.

Rainman said...

Good point. It's good I have other fish to fry.

Thanks! (Now to look up bilious…)