Jun 10, 2021

Thursday June 10, 2021 Michael Paleos


Twilight Zones

Today's puzzle leads us into other dimensions of reality.  Our captain for this journey will be Michael Paleos, an LA Times veteran who last published here on Thursday March 12th 2020.  He has also been published at least twice by the NY Times.  This is what Will Shortz had to say about him for his Sunday puzzle debut on October 27, 2019:

Michael Paleos, of Oyster Bay, N.Y., is chief of staff at a major investment bank. He started solving crosswords at a young age, but only got hooked on them after discovering the archive of puzzles in the New York Times app. "After doing enough of them, I started wondering what it would take to make one, and down the rabbit hole I went." [my emphasis]

In this puzzle Michael leads us to close encounters with holes you don't go down, but go through, and come out the another side!

I'll start by highlighting a key piece of information by showing a blank grid:

You will notice that there are what appear to be four circles.  If your publisher didn't include these, then the deep dive I'm about to take is not going to make a lot of sense.  I'm not sure I'm going to make sense anyway, as this is the most convoluted theme I've had to explain ...

First I made the mistake of assuming that the circles actually were circles, but that's not what they really are.  Next I have to admit that this was the first puzzle that I've blogged that I DNF.  I expected that the circles contained letters that could somehow be joined together to reveal the theme.  And after it was clear to me that I had reached a dead end, I had to resort to reading the clue/answer file bloggers receive that contains all the answers.  Normally I only read this file after solving the puzzle just to verify my solution. 

Okay, so here are the themers, in which some of the letters appear to abruptly end or begin out of nowhere. These are indicated by white letters CIRCLED IN RED  in the text that follows.*  Answers with these circles are connected to other answers on the grid in temporal order, i.e. the order in which they will occur, or have occurred in historical time:

In the not too distant future:

7A 22-Across captain: KIRK.  Obviously a clue to the unfinished answer at 22A ...
22A Classic sci-fi name: STARSHIP  🅔  Where is this taking us?  To 56A via a 38A?
56A -: 🅝TERPRISE  The clue "-" indicates that this answer continues from a previous clue, but there is no indication of which one.
The preceding three clues are all related to the voyages of the STARSHIP 🅔🅝TERPRISE which will begin when she is commissioned in 2245, in the EARTH's near future.  She will first be captained by Robert April, then by Christopher Pike, and finally will be turned over to James Tiberius KIRK.

And "A long long, time ago in a galaxy far, far away​...."

71A. 18-Across captain: SOLO.  Obviously a clue to the unfinished answer at 18A ...
18A Classic sci-fi name: MILLENN🅘  Where is this taking us? To 62A  via a 38A?
62A. -: 🅤M FALCON.   The clue "-" again indicates that this answer continues from a previous clue, but there is no indication of which one.
The preceding three clues are related to the voyages of the MILLENN🅘🅤M FALCON,  captained a long, long time ago by that irascible STAR WARS rogue HANS SOLO and his wookie companion CHEWBACCA

And the reveal, dead center in our puzzle universe, tells us the real meaning for the "circles"

38A. Theoretical shortcuts ... or what the four circles in this puzzle represent: WORM HOLES

Are these WORM HOLES simply direct shortcuts from two parts of the puzzle to two others, or are they more than that, intended as actual shortcuts thru interstellar space and time?  The first possibility is pretty straightforward.  An exploration of the latter possibility would require a deep dive down the rabbit hole of interstellar physics that is beyond the space and time of this review.

* The circled red letters are unavoidably shifted up a bit due to the Unicode font I had to use to generate them.

The final grid might help clear up any confusion you might have, if that's possible!

Now let's get down to EARTH:

1. "The Devil Wears Prada" co-star: STREEP.  I have not seen this movie, but apparently Meryl presents another powerful performance as one of the greatest actresses of our time.  My indelible memory of STREEP was her incredible portrayal of Zofia Zawistowski in the 1982 film Sophie's Choice, based on the novel by William Styron.  Here are two reviews of this 1982 film -  The first was written by the late Roger Ebert, when the film was first released.  The second is from the (SPOILER ALERT) Wikipedia.  If you haven't seen this film and plan to, read Ebert's review first, see the movie, then read the Wiki review.

11. Some notebooks: PCS.

14. Pirouettes: TWIRLS.

15. Be in store: LIE AHEAD.

17. Not in a good way: POORLY.

19. Zeno's followers: STOICS.  Zeno was also known for his formulation of a series of PARADOXES, that is apparently self-contradictory propositions.  I recall being taught about the DICHOTOMY PARADOX in HS Math: "suppose someone wishes to walk to the end of a path. Before she can get there, she must get halfway there. Before she can get halfway there, she must get a quarter of the way there. Before traveling a quarter, she must travel one-eighth; before an eighth, one-sixteenth; and so on", the implication being that she'll never get there. 

Our Math teacher Mr. Fritz refuted it thusly: "Suppose we put all of the girls on one side of the room and all of the boys on the other.  Each side starts by walking a 1/2 of the way to the middle, and then 1/4, then 1/8th, and so on.  They may never get to the middle, but pretty soon they'd be close enough for all practical purposes."

21. Have a little lamb, say: YEAN.  My favorite clue.  I've heard of calving (something ELSIE might do - see 44A below), but I didn't know there was a verb specifically for giving birth to a lamb.

25. Andean grazer: LLAMA.  I wonder if they give birth by LLAMINATION?

28. Gumshoe: TEC.

29. Keep in inventory: STOCK.

31. Vote of dissent: NAY.

32. "The Jungle" author Sinclair: UPTONSinclair was born right here in Baltimore in 1878, the son of an alcoholic father and a teetotaling Episcopalian mother.  At the time he wrote The Jungle (awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in  1943) he was best known for his muck-raking novels and his socialist leanings, but we owe the beginnings of the Food and Drug Administration to him.

35. Popular Halloween costume: SKELETON.

41. Was superficially polite: MADE NICE.

44. Commercial mascot with an honorary Doctor of Bovinity degree: ELSIEELSIE was and still is  the original spokes COW for Borden's line of dairy products.  And she really does have a "degree" in BOVINITY.

48. Function: USE.

49. It's often eaten with a fork and spoon: PASTA.  Didn't know you needed a spoon.  Given the number and shapes of different pasta varieties I suppose you might need a spoon for some, e.g DITALINI (not sure what you'd do with the fork though):
Ditalini Pasta

52. 292.5 deg., on a compass: WNW.

53. Blueprint info: SPECS.  I used to have to worry about those kind of SPECS.  Now that my license is up for renewal I might have to worry about these:
59. Entreaty: PLEA.

61. Boatload, say: AMOUNT.

66. Scrabble coups: BINGOS.  Never heard this term, which gets you 50 extra points for using all of your letters.

Scrabble is like a "moveable crossword puzzle" that you make up as you go along.  I used to play it a lot with my with my youngest sister before I left for college.  I was always looking for clever words but she played for blood, consistently scoring higher than me.  Here's a good Scrabble resource with lots of words for getting BINGOS, including would you believe it: BOVINITY?

68. Spice that gives yellow curry its color: TURMERIC.  Poor man's saffron.  This looks like a good recipe for what DW and I used to call "Dal and potato stew".  The website says it all: "yummy!".

69. Balinese, e.g.: ASIANS.  The aspect of Balinese culture that I'm most familiar with is their distinctive music: Gamelan, also spelled gamelang or gamelin, is the indigenous orchestra type of the islands of Java and Bali, in Indonesia, consisting largely of several varieties of gongs and various sets of tuned metal instruments that are struck with mallets.

70. Eponymous ice cream maker: EDY.  Add a D and you've got EDDY and a clecho to 14A.

72. One exchanging dollars for quarters?: RENTER.  Clever misdirection.  Hands up if you thought this was for playing the slots.

1. Big racing sponsor: STP.

2. Texas dance: TWO STEP.

3. Cautionary reading?: RIOT ACT.  No comment.

4. "404 Not Found," e.g.: ERROR.  Generated by HTTP when it cannot locate the specified URL you are trying to reach on the Internet.

5. New York Harbor's __ Island: ELLIS.  Used as a gateway to the US for immigrants. Here is their story.

6. Inspires, with "up": PSYCHS.

7. Dutch carrier: KLMKLM Royal Dutch Airlines (in Dutch Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij) N.V., is the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands.

8. Sundial marking: III.  Not XII or VII.

9. Depend: RELY.

10. Superman, on Krypton: KALEL.  The first of the super heroes, an extensive mythology has arisen about Superman: his past, his upbringing, and his raison d'être.  Superman still "fights a never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American Way."
11. Baseball championship emblem: PENNANT.

12. Preserve, in a way: CAN.  A great way to preserve garden vegetables.  We still CAN tomatoes, salsa verde (tomatillos), and pickles.  The Ball Blue Book is the authoritative source on canning :

13. '80s missile prog.: SDI.  Often referred to as "Star Wars", a riff on the movie series and a clecho to 3 of our themers.  A lot of missiles were loosed in the series.

16. Get better: HEAL.

20. Obedience school command: SIT.  Obedience training is really all about training pet OWNERS,  but it didn't SIT too well with us.  DW took both our dogs to obedience training.  Our Black Lab, NEPTUNE, didn't pass.  Our Yellow Lab, JUPITER, was the "most improved" and excelled while attending the class, but forgot it all as soon as he got back home.  They are both romping in DOG HEAVEN now!.

22. R-V man's name?: STU.  Clever clue, with the answer embedded in the alphabet range.

23. Most elegant: POSHEST

24. Marc of fashion: ECKOHere's his story.
26. Red Guard leader: MAO.  Chairman MAO ZEDONG was the founder of the Chinese communist party and a distant relative of our very own Chairman MOEMAO also features as a character in the opera Nixon in China by composer John Adams.  The opera presents the events surrounding Nixon's historic visit to China in 1972.  Here is an outtake from one of the scenes in opera called The Chairman Dances, a foxtrot for orchestra that is performed much more frequently than the opera.  Performance by Cole Conservatory Symphony Orchestra at CSU Long Beach, Johannes Müller-Stosch, Music Director:

27. Objectivist Rand: AYNHere is the Wikipedia's explanation of Objectivism. I agree with some of what Rand espouses, particularly the existence of an objective reality that we can contact directly with our senses and use to guide our behavior.  [BEGIN RANT] But I'm disturbed by the parts that seem to derive from Nietzsche's concept of the Übermensch or "Superman", the heroic figures that Rand places at the centers of her novels.  The milieu of Superman is a mythological world (10D) and my perception of the real world is that, while it has many heroic figures, those figures are ultimately dependent on the vast interwoven network of all humanity to accomplish what they will.  To the extent that they exploit this humanity for their own purposes I think they are not only wrong, but ultimately foolish.  [END OF RANT]

30. Kenan's one-time comedy partner: KEL.  I have not seen Kenan and Kel, an American sitcom created by Kim Bass. A kid's show, it originally aired on the Nickelodeon network for four seasons, from August 17, 1996, to July 15, 2000. Set in Chicago, Illinois, the series follows Kenan Rockmore (Kenan Thompson) and best friend Kel Kimble (Kel Mitchell), who go on a number of misadventures. 

33. Run a tab, say: OWE.

34. Fiction opening?: NON.

36. Big name in denim: LEE.

37. Au pair's subj.: ESL. An Au Pair is defined as a young person (between the ages of 18-30), who goes abroad to live with a native family and learn (or perfect) a language in exchange for childcare.   As distinct from a Nanny who provides child care for a salary.

39. Criticize: RIP.

40. Big name in shoes: MCAN.

41. Lambda followers: MUS.

42. Nile menace: ASPAccording to Plutarch, Cleopatra tested various deadly poisons on condemned people and concluded that the bite of the asp (from aspis—Egyptian cobra, not European asp) was the least terrible way to die; the venom brought sleepiness and heaviness without spasms of pain.  Apparently she was doing contingency planning.  She chose this method to commit suicide to avoid the humiliation of being paraded as a prisoner in a Roman triumph celebrating the military victories of Octavian, who would become Rome's first emperor in 27 BC and be known as Augustus. 

43. Prepare, as tempura: DEEP FRYA Japanese dish, consisting of thin slices or strips of vegetables or seafood that are dipped in the batter, then briefly deep-fried in hot oil. Vegetable oil or canola oil are most common; however, tempura was traditionally cooked using sesame oil.  Vegetarian Indian cooking has a similar dish called pakoras, deep fried vegetables or paneer (an Indian cheese) using peanut oil.  I think both of these dishes are best suited for serving at restaurants, as they use a lot of oil.

45. Attempt to hit: SWING AT.  Sums up my career in little league baseball.

46. Permanently: IN STONE.  Not necessarily.  This statue of the Pieta by sculptor Michelangelo, which resides in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome was severely damaged by a mentally ill vandal named Laszlo Toth in 1972.  It has since been restored, but is now behind protective glass:

47. Sheep that sounds like a pronoun: EWE. And they YEAN little sheep!

50. London hot spot?: TEA.  "A spot of tea anyone?"  Alternately, "Would you like a cuppa'?"

51. Hand-to-hand combat maneuver: ARM BAR.  I hope you never need this ...

54. Half-shell serving: CLAM.  À la Clams Casino.

55. Monica of tennis: SELESMONICA SELES is a retired professional tennis player, who represented Yugoslavia and the United States. She was born and raised in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) to an ethnic Hungarian family. She became a naturalized American citizen in 1994 and also received Hungarian citizenship in June 2007. A former world no. 1, she won nine Grand Slam singles titles, eight of them as a teenager while representing Yugoslavia, and the final one while representing the United States.

57. Grace under fire: POISE.  Not the "fire" of war, which takes fearlessness.  Rather the stresses of everyday life.  Has anyone seen this series?

58. Quarrel: RUN IN.

60. Start to bat?: ACRO.

62. Beehive State athlete: UTEThe UTES are the University of Utah Football Team, named for the Ute Indian tribe.  In case anyone is wondering: On Mar 4, 2020, the University of Utah and the Ute Indian Tribe announced a renewal of their agreement, or “memorandum of understanding,” to use the nameUtes” as part of the athletics program for the next five years.

The Ute are the indigenous people of the Ute tribe and culture among the indigenous peoples of the Great Basin. They have lived in the regions of present-day Utah and Colorado in the Southwestern United States for many centuries. The state of Utah is named after the Ute tribe.

Utah's nickname is the Beehive State, due to its original title of “State of Deseret.” Deseret, meaning honeybee in the Book of Mormon. ... Also tying in with Utah's roots, the beehive is a symbol of industry, which is the state motto.  This is the state seal:
63. Word with wrestling or pie: MUD.

64. Artist's medium: OIL.

65. Sgt., for one: NCO.

67. Abbr. on a pre-1991 map: SSR.  If you want to see what the world was like circa 1935, I'd recommend a visit to the 3D Mapparium at the Christian Science Museum in Boston, where you can walk inside a giant glass globe of the world:


A WORM HOLE back to a different time on EARTH.



And kudos to DW for proof reading and for the dog obedience story!


OwenKL said...

FIWrong. STOre < STOCK, AbOUNd < AMOUNT. Three of the perps I plain didn't know, and IN STONE had a low confidence factor for 3 letters, so I just didn't see it.

YEAN, ARMBAR are new words to me.
I'm more familiar with Zeno of Elea (the paradox guy) than Zeno of Citium or Zeno of Tarsus (Stoic guys).
Had to wait for perp before ELSIE or ELMER.
Should have been LamdaS followers. Lamda followers are MU NU, not MUS.
Fashion sub-theme -- Prada, ECKO, MCAN, POSHEST, POISE, LEE.
As a big SciFi fan, I really liked today's gimmick! Too bad it couldn't include Deep Space Nine, which revolved around a wormhole. (Pun fully intended!)

waseeley said...

Sounds like it was my bad Owen. I jumped directly from ZENO to Mr. Fritz and his clever refutation of ZENO'S PARADOX. Didn't realize there were two Zenos!

Anonymous said...

This took me 12:03. I quickly entered "wormholes," but rather unquickly figured-out what was going on. I was perturbed there was no clue for 61 Across, and later realized there wasn't a clue for what should have been 56 Across.

I certainly applaud the creativity. It's much more refreshing than the trite theme of having a word broken-up or jumbled three or four times.

OwenKL said...

STARSHIP ENTERPRISE, exploring worlds.
Bi-stars entwine, and nebulae TWIRLS!
In the chair, Captain KIRK,
(Sometimes an interstellar jerk)
Boldly going where adventure swirls!

MILLENNIUM FALCON, honest trader,
(Contraband, we'll tend to later).
Captain SOLO, at the helm,
No unseen force can overwhelm!
Becomes a hero as a rebel raider!

Galaxies riddled with strange WORMHOLES!
Mysteries hidden, but to bold souls!
Who can tell what LIES AHEAD?
Finding out is our species' bread!
To push outward, all humankind's goals!

{A-, A-, B+.}

OwenKL said...

waseeley: Wikipedia lists 5 philosophers named Zeno, plus 8 other famous Greeks, plus a score or more of modern people named Zeno, and a dozen more of fictional characters named Zeno! I think it must be the Greek equivalent of John.

Yellowrocks said...

Still do not get the theme. Big DNF in the SE. My vote is pending. I am leaning toward MEH because of the apparently convoluted theme.
Pasta OFTEN (not always) eaten with a fork and spoon. That would be spaghetti and linguine, for example.
I knew YEAN.
I was sure the Scrabble answer meant using all the letters, but I never heard of BINGO in Scrabble.
For a long time I was painting with tempera paint until I got hungry and ate tempura, one of my favorite dishes.
Meryl Streep is one of my favorite actresses. I have seen The Devil Wears Prada several times.
I met an old friend at our favorite Italian place for eggplant parm last night, and today a group of us from here are going out to lunch. This move has greatly enlarged my social life.

Wilbur Charles said...

Fln, Naomi. I find difficulty rating hard to predict as well. I'm guessing, sight unseen, that this xword will elicit groans

Well, the SE kept me so busy that I forgot to revisit Kenan 's partner eEL. I had STOre/STOCK. Marc ? was unknown.

Yes, I finally dumped BETTER as RENTER dawned

An awful lot of ink was spilled in (trying) to solve this. Thus eEL was illegible.

Waseeley, when I solve ahead I do try to limit comments to generalities. My Birnholz ref could have been a hint. eg He does that kind of trick


desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Yay, d-o figured out the theme before the reveal appeared; it merely provided confirmation. Tried LESSEE before RENTER became obvious, also RAP/RIP. Thank you, Wite-Out. Very clever theme, Michael. Very esoteric expo, Waseeley. (Really chuckled at your "llamination" comment.)

PASTA: Here's how to eat spaghetti with a fork and spoon.)

STOICS: Waseeley, actually there are three Zenos. There's our cat Zeno of Roman Forest, also known as One-Eye. BTW, my H.S. math teacher also told that "all practical purposes" story.

KLM: Back in my world-traveler phase KLM was my favorite way to Europe -- direct flight from Houston to Amsterdam.

ASP: Along with the cobra, a favorite of the snake wagerers. It's where the expression "You bet your asp!" originated.

Big Easy said...

YEAN? I had to keep looking at the perps to leave that one. Never heard of it. But I did FIR today. The incomplete MILLENNI and one too many letter STARSHIP_ had me stumped for a while. It didn't help that Marc ECKO was a total unknown to be filled by perps.

But the WORMHOLES were noticed at the start of the 'non-clue' of 55.5A with the NT. No clue provided for 61A, UMFALCON. But the SOLO fill let me finish the puzzle. And it especially didn't help that I never noticed KIRK for 7A because I'd filled the downs. I always try to fill the 3-letter fills first.

BINGOS-never heard of that one either or ARM BAR, but WINGOS & ARM WAR made no sense.
KEL, Kenan and the show? all unknowns.

So with those comments I'll do the Texas TWO-STEP outta here.

inanehiker said...

Very creative theme! I was held up a bit because my paper didn't have a number in the box for 56A circle and then did have a number 61A with the circle as well. Then with the clues, it didn't have the clues listed for those as Waseeley had them 56A- and 61A-, there were no clues at all. But fortunately I just had STARSHIP_ and MILLEN_ and waited to figure out how the full names of ENTERPRISE and FALCON were going to fit in the puzzle some way.

Other hang-ups were having RIB before RIP and WEES about the unknowns of YEAN, ARM BAR, and BINGOS.

Thanks Waseeley and Michael!

ATLGranny said...

Once again, FIW. But only one square at STU and TEC. Didn't catch the trick at 22D and should have thought more about that spot. Have had problems putting in dEC before for gumshoe. I know, it doesn't make sense....

However, I got the theme and all the other problem spots right! YEAN was unknown but perps were solid. Had STOre before STOCK like you, OwenKL. And BINGOS and ARMBAR felt iffy but again perps helped and they kind of made sense. Overall, a fun puzzle, Michael. Thanks! And thanks, waseeley, for your heroic efforts today. Enjoyed your links too.

Hope you all are doing well this week.

jfromvt said...

I’m OK with the theme, even though I didn’t get it since I’ve never heard of Millennium Falcon, and had a DNF with the SE corner. I knew something was up with no number where 56A should be and no clue for 61A.

What do others think of the USA Today crossword in terms of difficulty and construction? I get their e-edition as part of my subscription to the Gannett local paper, so may start doing their crosswords more often. I found yesterday’s to be equivalent to the LA Times in difficulty, but it was a meh puzzle I thought.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I had no idea what was going on until I finished. I couldn’t understand why Starship had an E or what Millenni was. Science fiction in any way, shape, or form is as foreign to me as Outer Mongolia. I admire the creativity and craftsmanship but this was not my cuppa at all. Yean, Arm Bar, Millennium Falcon and Worm Holes were new to me; I had Loop Holes for a long time and I also wondered what university’s mascot was being referred to as UM Falcon. Another sticky wicket was the 30 three letter words.

Thanks, Michael, and thanks, Bill, for explaining a complicated theme so well that even I could understand it. Reading your expos reminds me of how much I don’t know. I do know about Bingos, though, as I’ve been an ardent Scrabble player for years and play WWF, which is like Scrabble but with far less stringent rules. (I have been playing two opponents for 8 years.) BTW, that Scrabble board has Ingests spelled incorrectly.


Anon T, I loved A Man Called Ove. There is a movie, also, but it’s not avail even on US Netflix. I might order it from Amazon.

Air-Condition Update: “The Molex connector for the compressor, the inside of it blew out of the compressor. While doing that, the Molex connector went through the outdoor coil. Need to replace outdoor unit.” The good news is the unit is under warranty; the bad news is $1250.00 labor charges. If no local dealer has a unit in stock, one has to be ordered from the manufacturer in Texas.

Another positive is my medical alert system is back up and running, thanks to my nephew. So, I may be uncomfortably hot for awhile, but I’m prepared for any possible mishaps! 🤗

Have a great day.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

He's b-a-a-a-c-k. Been awhile since I checked in. I plan to at least get back to reading the blog more often, and commenting occasionally.

I liked this one, once I figured out the gimmick. FIR, wagging KALEL x YEAN.

This puzzle today: "R-V man's name?" for STU. King Features (Sheffer) puzzle today: "R-V link" for STU. Must be something in the water. I'll count it as a double CSO to me, even though my name's not STU.

Hope all my Cornerite friends made it through the pandemic, and that everyone who wants the vaccines has received them.

Irish Miss said...

*but it’s not available on US Netflix.*

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Wow! very inventive use of sci fi, Michael. Wow, Bill, thanks for plowing thru this.

Got the theme after much rumination. Not a sci fi fan at all. But some of the lingo has crept into my brain. No way you can do cwds or watch TV without absorbing a lot of stuff.

DNK: YEAN, but never saw the clue so it just perped in. I've never heard it called anything but lambing. DNK: KLM, KALEL, SDI, ECKO, KEL, ARM BAR.

Didn't get ACRObat meaning until coming here. Then laughed out loud.

Bob Lee said...

OK, so, as a sci-fi fan I loved today's puzzle and found it very easy (except for YEAN? and ERKO? and the SE corner but finished everything with no errors). I guess I was in tune with the creator.

I thought the circled wormholes were pretty obvious after a little thought--you just warp from one to the other. That's it - I'm not sure why the convoluted explanation. This theme was so much more obvious to me that many of the other puzzles we get!

BTW. Capt. Jonathan Archer was the first captain of the "Enterprise" but it was the NX-01 instead of the NCC-1701 designation.

Now we need a puzzle with Superman's father's name.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Waseeley, I think you did a good job with a very challenging puzzle. Thanks. DNF. DNK KA LEL, ERKO or ARMBAR. I don't think AMOUNT fits well with the nuance of boatload, but YMMV. Got everything else, though, and finally figured out the pesky schtick of the WORMHOLES. Verry clever. More a NYT thing than what we're used to on LAT, IMO.

Comments should be interesting, today.

Wilbur Charles said...

Welcome back, jinx

Bob Lee, would that be Jorel

Hungry Mother said...

FIR, but looked at YEAN in disbelief for quite awhile. My wife and I even discussed it on a 5K walk along Lake Monroe. Is there a good reason to torture us like this?

staili said...

I liked the WORMHOLES idea. I used to play this pinball machine that had a WORMHOLE (and labeled it as such, so I knew what it was here) - if you flipped the ball into a certain hole, it would come out from a different place on the other side of the machine.

This is the first time I can recall that the LA Times crossword had answers that make no sense by themselves. The NY Times does this quite a bit, but I don't recall seeing that here.

I only figured out BINGO because the NY Times has a game called "Spelling Bee" on the same page as the crossword, and if you use all 7 letters at once, it's called a BINGO.

waseeley, really great and interesting write-up! I did not know until now that "bovinity" was an actual word! And I'd never heard of the Mapparium, but now I want to see it if I ever go to Boston!

The Devil Wears Prada is a very entertaining movie. Meryl Streep is great in it. And it is one of a few films where the best scene in the movie is not in the book that is the source material at all. The whole scene (between Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep in the car towards the end) was completely made up by the screenwriter. Shutter Island and Crazy Rich Asians are two other movies whose best scene is not in the book.

Husker Gary said...

-NTERPRISE and the reveal gave me the fabulous gimmick!
-I spent way too much time trying to talk myself out of YEAN. Happy to learn!
-You think you know what will LIE AHEAD when you retire but life can surprise you
-I wonder how many Snickers Wal~Mart has in STOCK for all its stores
-Robert Louis Stevenson ponders, “What can be the USE of this?”
-From here to my golf course is about a 275 degree WNW heading
-The Texas TWO STEP is also a euphemism for a hurried trip to the bathroom
-He says he can teach your cat to SIT
-Nice job, Bill.

Hungry Mother said...

@jfromvt: When on the road in our RV, we would often stop at Cracker Barrel for breakfast. They have RV parking spots in their lot which makes it easy. We would usually buy USA Today on the way in and read it as we ordered and ate. When we got back on the road, my wife would read the crossword to me and we would solve it together. She wouldn’t tell me the number of letters in an answer until I asked. I always felt that the puzzle was mostly easy with a couple of real toughies.

xtulmkr said...

Irish Miss , The movie version of “A Man Called Ova” , like so many movies, does not do justice to the book. I suspect you would be disappointed after viewing it, especially if you paid for it. I do recommend another book by the same author titled “Anxious People”. It had me laughing aloud through several passages.

As for the puzzle, once I got 70A via the perps the solve came easily. Only unknown was 30D but perps took care of it.

Anonymous said...

49A. It's often eaten with a fork and spoon--spaghetti twirled on a spoon with a fork.

Spitzboov said...

Literally, KLM stands for Royal Airlines Company. It merged with Air France some years ago.

waseeley said...

Bob Lee @9:18 AM You thought THAT was convoluted? You should have seen it before the 4th revision after I'd scrapped 3/4's of it. It really hurt though because we get paid by the column inch! :-)

unclefred said...

By some miracle, FIR in 36. My CW, printed out from the SFSS (South Florida SunSentinel) was considerably different from what is here. First, there was no clue provided for 61A: it was just totally missing from the list of clues. Second, what is labeled here as 56A has no number in the cell on my printed CW. Third, my 56D is here labeled 57D, and my 57D is here labeled 58D. Yet somehow I managed to get all the right letters in all the right cells for a FIR, although I was absolutely positive I had a number of errors, since I could suss the theme but not figure out the reveal, leaving so many fills looking wrong. My only W/O was due to writing a correct answer in the wrong place (DOH!) which I saw a minute later but it was already there, and I solve in ink, so a mess where POISE had to over-write SELES. I really don’t know how I managed to solve this CW with all the problems in my printed copy. I would say I solved over my head today. I’m not sure how I feel about this CW, not just because of my screwed-up printed copy, but because the reveal was SO difficult to suss. Really nice write-up, Bill, thanx for all the effort.

CrossEyedDave said...

Lost AND Found?

unclefred said...

Sorry my comment printed twice, I’m not sure why. But I could add that my printed copy was lacking TWO clues: 61A, which I mentioned in my earlier comment, and I also mentioned that the cell where “56” was supposed to be had no number, but I failed to mention there also was no clue. How I solved this CW with two missing clues and the numbering system out-if-whack is a wonder. BTW, is there such a thing as “in whack”? Ive heard “out of whack” often but never heard or read anyone say something is “in whack”. What’s up with that?

waseeley said...

Gary @9:52 AM Your video about training cats to SIT (which I plan to share with my son, who has 4) reminded me of that famous EDS Expo video first shown in 2009, entitled "Herding Cats".

ATLGranny said...

IM @ 8:53 AM Hand up for loving "A Man Called Ove" and as xtulmkr said @ 10:15 AM, "Anxious People" is just as good. Definitely worth reading and I admit I reread each book immediately after finishing it the first time!

NaomiZ said...

*Loved* the puzzle and FIR. Thank you, Michael Paleos! I was delighted to find the ends of the first two theme answers in the un-clued spaces beyond the WORMHOLES. Very clever! Also learned that a EWE doesn't whelp, but YEAN.

Thanks, Bill, for the tour!

Acesaroundagain said...

Didn't like this puzzle at all. Theme made since after the explanation but geez, give me a break. Who cares. I like puzzles with clues.

JJM said...

Could be the first DNF for me in the last few years. SE completely confounded me. I was somewhat, but not entirely, in tune with the "WORMHOLE" theme, but just couldn't put it all together. Then, after reading the theme explanation, I think I'm even more confused. Congrats to those who finished, I applaud you. As we say in Hockey, "I got totally deked out".

Emile O'Touri said...

This is a stunt puzzle, the kind you have to explain and then when you do explain, who cares? It's all about the feat of construction, which only the constructor himself is going be impressed by.
Why bother having a theme if it is so convoluted that it is nearly indiscernible ? Incredibly tedious and name filled.

AnonymousPVX said...

This was a “delightfully different” Thursday puzzle.

Mine had nada for what should have been 56(?) Across and 61 Across. No dash or anything else. Those would have been helpful.

I did have the clues for 56/57 down though.


YEAN was new, as was ECKO.

Irish Miss…$1250 for labor? To replace the outdoor unit? That’s one electrical connection and 2 pipes. What on Earth is their hourly rate?

Take care.

Lucina said...


Well! I see that I'm not the only one who disliked this puzzle. I get it, but why? Sorry, Michael. Some of it was not too bad and I did manage to finish but why so many gimmicks? My daughter and her husband would have loved this if they solved puzzles. I've mentioned before that they have a room dedicated to Star Wars memorabilia including a MILLWNNIUM FALCON suspended from the ceiling. Otherwise I would not know about it.

Thank you, waseeley, for the narrative.

I wish you all a good day!

Yellowrocks said...

Theme? Hello, Thumper.

PedantTheBrit said...

Technically, Superman's birth name was KAL-EL.
Yean? The cynic in me suspects that crossword compilation has become easier since the invention of Google.

OwenKL said...

Bob Lee, if you want to get historical about it, the first commander of the USS Enterprise was (and this amazed me when I looked it up!) Colonel Benedict Arnold, who with his men captured if from the British/Canadian shipyard where it had been built and was awaiting commission!

Jonathan Archer was captain of AN Enterprise, but not the one that was in ST:TOS.

Superman was nee KAL-EL, not KALEL (as so many have been annoyingly writing it). El was Kal's family name. His father was Jor-El, not Jorel.

CED marvelous pics, as always! I once posted a different version of that wormhole one to a FB group on Recursions.

unclefred and others, 56a and 61a were not supposed to have clues! That was what the gimmick was all about!

waseeley said...

One thing I've picked up from several commentators is that Crosswords that rely on tricky graphics or typography are particularly susceptible to munging and omissions by the assorted publishers that syndicate the LA Times. Not to mention creating difficulties for reviewers. Something for the editor to take into account.

GarlicGal said...

Sheesh...not a sci-fi fan, not a Star Trek fan (I've never watched an episode),not a fan of this puzzle. I couldn't even make it through the explanation. Yep, too convoluted for me. I'll leave it at "Thumper".

But on more upbeat note -- Yellowrock @ 6:49am, I am so happy for you and your new living arrangement. Sounds like after all the ruckus with relocating you have settled in nicely. Be social! Make friends when you want! Eat dessert first! You can even stay in your room if you want!

Signing off from windy California.

OwenKL said...

I've been following the USA Today crossword and "SALLY'S TAKE on the USA Today Crossword" since someone here mentioned it. It's only been a couple weeks, but it seems about as much simpler than the LAT, as the LAT is simpler than the NYT. Unlike the LAT & NYT, the puzzles don't seem to get more complex thru the week.

I've just done a little survey, and see that has daily links to NY Times, Universal, LA Times, & Creators. Also WS Journal daily except Sunday, and USA Today daily except Sat. and Sun. But 2 Universals on Sunday.
It also has one or two a week from BEQ(Brendan Emmett Quigley), New Yorker, Jonesin', & Washington Post.
The NYT is behind a paywall, but if you're willing to work the version that's syndicated out to other newspapers (6 weeks behind), you can work it online at . Creators is printout only, not interactive. The rest are mostly Across Lite, some work in your browser.

Chairman Moe said...

Puzzling thoughts:

FLN - oc4beach: Reason I asked is that later this summer I am going to be nearby OC at Chincoteague Island. I have an old HS friend who's retired and living in OC. As a kid his family had a summer place in Bethany Beach, DE

With regard to today's puzzle, I FIR, but struggled in the SE corner as ARM BAR and BINGOS impeded my completion in a timely manner

The circled spaces were a head-scratcher, as the "I" "E" "N" "U" doesn't really spell out anything. I usually leave the "reveal" to solve as my last clue to see if I can "get" the theme ahead of time. It took me a few minutes to realize that the circles were the exit and entrance, if you will, for the WORM HOLES. Clever, but certainly more NYT-like than LAT

Bill, excellent job of explaining. I could see how difficult this one was to suss, let alone explain

As unclefred said, our newspaper (AZ Republic) had no clue listed for 61A (the "U" in UMFALCON), but the circle was so numbered. The circle that contained the "N" in ENTERPRISE had no number, nor a clue associated with it. Not sure if the electronic version in Across Lite did, or did not have clues or numbers for those

Promise you this - [*spoiler alert*] - tomorrow's puzzle won't be nearly as difficult or convoluted

My W/O's included ELAND/LLAMA (have no idea why I chose ELAND first); and SDS/SDI; I, too wanted to change the word "YEAN", but it clearly was the only thing that fit! A learning experience for sure

BINGO as it refers to the use of all 7 tiles in Scrabble was also a learning moment. I once upon a time played WWF vs IM. She is good!

Today's PASSE word: MCAN. Big name in shoes? Since when? I mean, yes, those of us who are on Medicare/SS remember, but when is the last time you actually bought shoes from THOM MCAN?

See y'all tomorrow

MissScarlet said...

Turns out that "yean" is archaic. Not sure how kosher that is. Certainly not widely known and a bit tricky if you are not a superman fan.

Have to pick a nit with "co-star". I don't think Streep had a co-star in The Devil Wears Prada. Great cast in that movie, but she is the star. Period. Especially since Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt were still up-and-coming.

Really liked the puzzle and figured out the wormhole gimmick, but couldn't see the concept of the circled letters until I read the explanation here.

I play the USA Today puzzle daily and love Sally's blog. It is typically one of the easiest of the daily puzzle group (NYT, LAT, Universal, Vox).

Webersky said...

Whew, made it. Lots of ruminations involved with some clues and the theme got a big aha moment for me. As for YEAN - I read here about the new crossword style of not using words that seem to exist only as crossword words like ETUI. I got YEAN entirely from crossers and had to look it up afterwards to trust my solution. Seems that we are losing some non-normal words just to replace with new examples of the same thing. But I’ve no heartburn with it since YEAN is in my tool kit and I’m sure I’ll need again it soon with its useful letters available to constructors.
Yes! Keep Thursdays challenging.
Almost forgot - I got a kick out of the pairing of MAO and AYN in the ‘extreme’ NE corner. Working too hard finding sub-themes where they don’t actually exist

Anonymous said...

FIR, but must say this puzzle really, really sucked...big time.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Bravo, Waseeley!

I think you earned a lot of credit throughout the Corner today for your straightforward analysis of an extraordinarily complex XWD--as well as for your personal comments.
I particularly appreciated your "Rant" on AYN Rand. Although some might think it "political," it is very much a legitimate view of the complexity of human nature.
Thank you.
Only one diagonal, far side.
Given that this is a very strange PZL today, it is fitting that the anagram offers an unusual word (or two). Depending on how I interpret (or twist) it, this is only a short (10 letters of 15) one, or nearly a full Jackpot (15 of 15).
The easy answer is the single word...

a word I have seen only once--in Hamlet's speech to Yorick's skull in the famous graveyard scene.
Shakespeare has Hamlet use it in both a literal and figurative sense--with Yorick's fleshy cheeks ("chaps" or "chops") fallen away, and the dead clown's spirits "down in the dumps," as it were.
While cleverly used by WS, the word is rarely seen nowadays, so is relatively non-functional.
As for the Jackpot? Well, I have to cheat a little. I can express my opinion of this now-useless word by saying...
"'CHAPFALLEN' SUKS"! [<- phonetic version]
by using one of Mr. Paleos' leftover WORM HOLES, I can borrow an extra "C" from 41A and spell it properly as...

Lucina said...

Only after studying the completed puzzle do I see the connection between 18A and 61A as well as between 18A and the unnumbered NTERPRISE. To quote the long absent Steve, "we should be told."

Also, I meant to comment on The Devil Wears Prada as Miss Scarlett did, that Meryl STREEP was the star, not the co-star. In every movie she transforms herself but in that one I believe she completely took on the devilish personality of her role. She is, I believe, the premier actor of our times.

I want to thank you once again for the helpful comments relating to our trip which we shall undertake later this summer. I have been studying the map and it appears to be rather straightforward as far as highways are concerned. We hope to drive leisurely as we will not be under any pressure for time.

CanadianEh! said...

Trekky Thursday. Thanks for the fun, Michael and waseeley.
I am ambivalent about this CW. I needed a couple of Google helps(KAL EL, KEL, ECKO).
I saw the STARSHIPE NTERPRISE and MILLENNI UMFALCON (yes OwenKL@1:02pm, “ 56a and 61a were not supposed to have clues! That was what the gimmick was all about!” - many here are still not getting it).
Son is a Star Wars fan and I have some knowledge, but didn’t know the WORMHOLES. From the clue and the perps I had, I wanted WOrk Arounds but it would not fit; I went with WORk HackS for a long time until I cheated and Googled some perps (see above).
Again we are seeing a shift to appeal to a slightly younger generation. The crowd here either loves it or hates it.
Picard will surely chime in today. He has been missing lately.

I heard you all groan when you filled in TEA for the London hot spot.
I thought of Written IN STONE for permanently.
BINGO at the Scrabble game?😮
I Googled YEAN because I did not believe it. Archaic but a real word. Let’s see if we can remember it.
I smiled at the clue for STU. Does that go with MUS just below it?😁

Welcome back to Jinx. Good to see Garlic Gal also.
YR- glad you are enjoying new social contacts.

Wishing you all a great day.

Terry said...

Good ones.

Edward Duarte said...

Very fun, easy-peasy.
I have degrees in biology., engineering, and physics, so I found this puzzle to be very amusing!

Jayce said...

It took me far too long to figure this one out, but figure it out I finally did. Eenteresting. YEAN gave me the same head-scratching doubt that it did to some of you. I also did not know ECKO at all. I couldn't finish the SE corner without doing a "Reveal word" so DNF.

Good wishes to you all.

Jayce said...

Lucina, you are very welcome. I'm glad you found the information useful.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Wow! That was fun for this SciFi fan. Thanks Michael for an interstellar puzzle.

Theme: A WORMHOLE allows one to move in space from point A to point B instantaneously (no time component). The spaceships in the puzzle are "jumping" though the wormholes to another point in puzzle-space. //or, what Bob Lee said :-)

WORMHOLE filled early but the full meaning of the theme didn't hit until FALCON jumped to mind at: UMF-L-ON... Ah, starts up there and fills here. Immediately, E NTERPRISE went in. I spent the next forever! trying to suss-out the SE. Finally got it (B in BINGO was last square ink'd) but, alas, I FIW at SELaS | TURMaRIC.

Fun expo waseeley. Thanks for kicking-off the after-party in style.

WOs: TWIstS, NAe -> NAY, ASP in MUs' squares, Pact(?) -> PLEA, RaP->RIP; KEy -> KEL
Fav: RENTER was cute (clue made me first think of Change Bank [SNL - 1:52]*)

{A, A, A}

IM - that's a lot for labor! Hopefully, a local dealer has your unit in STOCK.

Welcome back Jinx! You too Garlic Gal.

Unclefred - I don't think it was a printing problem; that's how my paper was too. //and what OKL & C, Eh! said.
The digital version had to use the nomenclature waseeley presented (eg 61. - ) because of the way the puzzle's format is represented / rendered electronically.

Tonight is the first time in a year I get to hang w/ my hacker-buddies. I'm looking forward to it!

Y'all have a wonderful evening.

Cheers, -T
Change Bank 2 :-)

Wilbur Charles said...

-T, thanks for SNL Links. I'll be sure to wait up with baited breath for SNL. Saturday nights, I presume. Oh, that's laundry night. Tsk, Tsk.

Owen, 67 years ago I recall reading about Krypton and the ELS. If the comic book had that pesky "-" ... in fact it's all coming back to me now...

Re. The xword. I'm with the plus side. An artfully done piece.


Michael said...

While chasing down the etymology of the otherwise unknown 'YEAN,' I ran across another antique:

YüMP, from the middle Saxon 'JüMCEN', when your horse steps in a hole as you're being chased by Norse raiders, prob. derived from the Middle Hittite 'YUMCK', when your horse gets a stone in his shoe, from PIE *JUCK, big pain in the SE.

Anon-hp said...

Count me as delighted with this breath of fresh air of puzzle making wizardry. Very clever. My little gray cells got quite a kick out of the space journey mapped out for them today.

Bonus obscure word of the day: yean. Also Suq in the scrabble image posted in today's commentary. I would've challenged "injest" there, but maybe it's some variant in the King's English.

Thank you for a very entertaining solve that put a big smile on my face today, Michael Paleos. Looking forward to your next masterpiece.

TXMs said...

FIW, but I finally got the theme. YEAN-can't be-so I LIU; it was correct. Clue "man-to-man combat" (didn't notice technique), so I jotted in ARMwAR - bzzt. Wingo did look silly, but I'm not familiar with Scrabble (my only wrong cell). Or Star Wars, except what I've learned working CWs. FALCON filled in with perps. Which brings me to...

Lucina @ 12:21 - What is it with Star Wars fans? My niece's ex-husband (47yo) always has a dedicated Star Wars room. Luckily, his new wife is Star Wars-tolerant.

IM - $1,250? Yikes. Past experiences have taught me to get second opinions; at least the second HVAC guy could explain the high labor cost. I understand that you might be locked in with this company since the unit's under warranty, but the second opinion might give you piece of mind as to the high price quoted.

YR - Glad you're enjoying your new digs and the social life it has brought. Sounds like down-sizing was a great decision.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn’t be annoyed with gimmick themes if there was a preemptive warning. Had there been one, I could have skipped the aggravation. I’m just not a fan of really convoluted themes. If others enjoy it, I’m happy for them.

Vidwan827 said...

I remember another CW at this Crosssword Corner blog - either a Friday or a Saturday - about 6 or more years ago - which had a 'gimmick' like today's puzzle.

The theme was on hebrew words, and they were splayed around at the four corners, in a pinwheel fashion, and the horizontle words were spelled from right to left ( backwards - ).... as, indeed, hebrew is written, and the verticle 'downs', were spelled 'upwards', from the bottom up.

The main blog was written, either by Lemonade or Argyle, and most cornerites were very unhappy with the results of the puzzle.
Just saying - a note down memory lane.

Jayce said...

Your exposition is outstanding, waseeley!

Malodorous Manatee said...

It took a while but I was able to "grok" the worm holes after a bit of head scratching. Still,I am very glad that Waseeley got to explain this one! Thanks. Bill.

Irish Miss said...

Based on my research, the cost for a typical installation is $1100.00+ on the low end and $1400.00 on the high end, so $1250.00 is right in line. When you consider travel time, labor (probably two men), delivery and takeaway of the old unit, I don’t think the price is excessive. I have been doing business with this company for 17 years and have been happy with their service, reliability, and professionalism. They have been in business for 50 years and have an excellent reputation. I’m looking forward to being cool and comfortable again, hopefully, soon.

unclefred said...

OwenKL@1:02pm Oh!! Now I get it (finally) and now that I FINALLY understand that, I reassess this CW as very good!! Very original!! Although there were many other errors in the version that I printed out: the numbers don’t match what is shown here on the blog. Although the clues do match the numbers. Confused yet? Seriously, thanx, Owen, for getting me to finally understand, and appreciate, this CW.

Lucina said...

If anyone watched Jeopardy tonight, did you catch the clue about the origin of the word GROK?

I don't understand it either but in the case of my daughter and her husband, since they are both avid fans, it makes for a harmonious marriage.

Garlic Gal:
It's good to see you! I don't know if I will have a chance to visit with you while I'm visiting this summer since we will be going on that lengthy road trip. Perhaps. I'll be there July 27 to August 9 so I might be able to squeeze in a visit. I would like to see you all.

Anonymous T said...

TXMs: Yeah!, what is it about Star Wars fans? That's pure fantasy.

Now Star Trek, on the other hand... :-)
//DW limited me to 4 Star Trek ornaments on the tree until we got "rich" and had a real tree and everything got fancy. My Trek ornaments have been in the decorations box ever since :-(

Lucina - Are you going to be in San Francisco during your trip? We arrive on the 29th.

Cheers, -T

Lucina said...

Besides arrival and departure at the airport, I'm not sure. It depends on when we leave for the road trip. I'll e-mail you my phone number and we can text. It would be fun to have lunch or drinks with you and your family.

Lucina said...

Ooh! Maybe a reunion with the "California Coven", i.e, Garlic Gal, JD, Leah!