Way to Go on Record

Joe Krozel helps us climb through our Thursday puzzle.


Comments: 89

  1. Aha ! Had to read the blog to get the theme. Fortunately the crosses were straightforward.

  2. What "theme" did you learn from Deb's column that was not in the 1A clue, Brian? Or was the term "word ladder" new to you?

  3. Used theme and word ladder interchangeably.

  4. An easier Thursday but the lack of clues did make the ladder more interesting.

    Well constructed and enjoyable, if rather quick.

    WELL done, Mr. Krozel - I'm glad it didn't have to wait a decade!

  5. Nice, enjoyable puzzle. I didn’t know OWLETs could float. I wonder if they enjoy it.

  6. And WHAT a pretty bird!

    Sliding slightly off topic: Since birds weigh practically nothing, I wan't too surprised to see it could float, but I do wonder how it would take flight again, especially since its feathers are presumably not waterproof like almost all waterbirds' feathers are.

    (Cormorants' feathers *aren't* waterproof, which is why you will see them standing around with their wings outstretched, drying. I wonder what Mother Nature was thinking, since they are aquatic birds that eat fish...??)

    End of detour...

  7. What I'm worried about is how the owlet got INTO the water. Seems a bit cruel to me, and I know the proper use of a choke collar.

  8. Good luck with the house hunting, Deb! We have 2 & 1/2 baths, which is plenty.

  9. Must be house season to be hunting houses.

  10. "We have 2 & 1/2 baths, which is plenty."

    Isn't "plenty" a function of (a) number of residents and (b) desired lifestyle?

  11. Yep.

  12. Yesterday was like a Monday and today I finished faster than an average Wednesday -- I'm thinking not spending 8 hours a day in a classroom wrangling teenagers benefits brain function.

    [No doubt tomorrow will take me twice as long as usual and teach me that 2 data points do not a pattern make.]

  13. I finished today faster than my average for Tuesday for sure. Nearly best time for a Thursday and about 1/3 the average time for Thursday.

  14. Love the puzzle. I have mixed feelings about word ladders. But this one was a little more interesting than usual and had the three word constraint. And the clues that don't give away much - makes it acceptable. But this was on the easy side - probably could've been a Wednesday or even Tuesday if not for some of the long entries.

    The entries were fresh - like ROYAL BLOOD, TABLET PC, AERIAL PHOTO, CHOKE COLLAR, LOVER'S LEAP, SEMI ARID.

    Didn't know MENS REA. I think 27D should have been clued as "Parts of A.S.A.P" since it had two of the four words of the abbreviation.

    Love Aisha Tyler - I only know of her from the show Criminal Minds and she does a very good job in it.

    Moist OWLET - didn't work as embedded in the post, but followed the link. It's very cute! Speaking of which - isn't that what you use to wipe your hand after eating ribs? Moist (t)OWLET(te)?

  15. "Didn't know MENS REA."
    Catch some "Law & Order" reruns.

    "I think 27D should have been clued as "Parts of A.S.A.P" since it had two of the four words of the abbreviation."
    Perfectly fine minor misdirection, IMO.

    "Speaking of which..."
    Why do you think Deb used "moist" rather than "wet" to describe the OWLET?

  16. Barry I'll bet sometimes a cigar might just be a cigar. Although I think moist is in fact more common in this context. Or at least more common than in others.

  17. Also, (posted this already, but failed. My bad. Not the system) it looks like those who learn only from modern visual media might have something going for them. I don't believe that for a second. I would prefer they simply be gone.

    But mens rea is a somewhat technical term. Nevertheless I'm confident there isn't a law school student who graduates without that term under his belt. So to speak. On the other hand I treasure my memory of one rather culturally isolated student who first pronounced the word "wanton" like the Chinese dumpling. Even he I'm sure was able to manage mens tea by graduation day. Cheers!

  18. Just off my Thursday best...the word ladder made for an interesting twist and saved me from the sparse Across entries on my first pass through the clues. Fun puzzle!

  19. "...the word ladder made for an interesting twist..."

    Will we find a Step Quote in the Sunday puzzle?

  20. An interesting idea, though it seemed a bit forced, in that the first and sixth words of the ladder shared the same last two letters. The fourth and fifth words could have been dropped if not for the sake of symmetry in the desired three word phrase.

    As others have said, I seemed to solve this more quickly than most Thursday puzzles, with the lack of clues for the ladder words being the only thing that slowed me down from an even faster solve. (I print out the PDF, which I find easier for me.)

  21. very clever! classic word ladder. liked LOVERS LEAP -- perhaps shown in an AERIAL PHOTO!

  22. Not too challenging but entertaining. I wonder, has anyone ever eaten an Eggo? Doesn’t sound too appetizing...

  23. I keep Eggos in the house. They're an easy breakfast with lots of energy: carbs plus sugar syrup, and take only like two minutes to make.

  24. Love the video! I’ll need my moist OWLET to get CLEAN after I get EGGOS on my PALM!

  25. and Elke

    My TABLE PTC (!) was a tabula RASA until some old friends showed up -e.g. SLY, ABS ,ATE , OWLET et al.

    Managed to connect all the theme words with a pen and got sorta a spiral staircase- which I thought a neat touch.

    ROLL CALL VOTE reminds me of the recent one on the ''skinny'' GOP Health Care Bill. Sen. John McCain of the SEMIARID State of Arizona showed his class, courage and just plain decency in using his thumb to indicate his 'nay' vote.
    My heart and thoughts go out to him. He has earned all our prayers.
    Liked the puzzle, but am CHOKEd up .

    Cute OWLET, did not know they float like little pillows (which they are, I guess ).

  26. "and Elke"??

  27. The National League of Cities website lists Second as the most popular street name in the USA, with 10,866 examples. First is in third place and third is in second place, and this is starting to sound like an Abbot and Costello routine. But ELM street is in a distant 15th place. Second is first because what would be First is often Main or some other designation.

    (Street names are a fascination of mine. You shouldn't get me started.)

  28. I only know of one street named Della.

    (Street names are a fascination of mine. You shouldn't get me started.)

    Let's go down that road.

  29. In Austin, the east-west streets start with second. First was renamed Cesar Chavez St. some time ago.

  30. Much faster than most Thursdays. Enjoyed it and liked the word ladder.

  31. Mixed bag today: seeing who the constructor is I was looking forward to a chewy puzzle and somehow that didn't happen -- it seemed much easier than I expected for a Thursday. A good clean solve, with word ladder assist, at least that.

    But the bonus (for me) was logging into the blog and seeing that little video -- wow! Thanks!!!!

  32. Yeah, today's puzzle was a bit on the easy side: It was a real challenge to make it any tougher because of the many unclued theme entries. For the sake of solvability, I had to ensure that all the Down entries were gettable on their own.
    -Joe

  33. The word ladder can be a couple of words shorter...

  34. The word ladder kept me going forward and it was indeed a bit easier than usual but not so easy to destroy its fun. In fact I really like this challenging and yet approachable level of difficulty. I got stuck on MOTE which I will now look up and DANDD I hate video games for a number of reasons so I don't know what that is and really don't want to know. Good puzzle!!!

    Oh and I spent three years of law school with my best friend doing word ladders in class. We tried to change one dirty word into another in the fewest possible steps and became quite good. If we hadn't passed the bar I'm sue we could have won word ladder tournaments for a living. Dirty word ladder tournaments.

  35. DANDD isn’t a video game; it’s D & D - Dungeons and Dragons.

  36. Thanks. As you see I got it in a sudden and dispiriting moment of clarity. So easy as you probably know but without that crossword flexibility, even with one so obvious (always look out for the AND, OR, etc.), I am a sitting duck. Thanks again.

  37. This is several rungs above most word ladder puzzles simply because the constructor thinks a couple of rungs above others.

    A very different Thursday by a very different constructor. I hope you take that as a compliment Mr. Krozel because I mean it as one!

  38. Thanks Johanna:
    I go the extra mile to find new twists on old ideas because I know there are solvers out there like you who notice the difference!
    -Joe

  39. OMG! D AND D! Why didn't they say so??!!?!? Crosswords can be very humbling even in what you thought was your moment of glory.

  40. Quick comment or I'll miss the coach to Reims and then Rotterdam to get our overnight ferry to Hull.

    It's been a while since we've had a word ladder and I enjoyed having so many words with the three significant ones giving it that extra twist. Good fun, Joe.

  41. Fun puzzle, and not just because it was my fastest Thursday ever, I swear. The word ladder helped a lot, and "Source of multicolored Maos" was my favorite clue due to a sudden visualization of why the apparent answer made sense.

  42. Thanks Marcy. I get a big smile from your mentioning my "multicolored Maos" clue … especially when you add "a sudden visualization of why the apparent answer made sense." That was exactly the response I wanted from that slightly oblique, slightly silly clue!
    -Joe

  43. As several posters have noted, this was easy for Thursday but fun. The fact that the themed entries were not defined was no serious deterrent. Defining them whould have made the puzzle suitable for Tuesday.

  44. Leave it to Joe to push the envelope -- on a word ladder! This one kept me engaged through to the end, and the ladder plus ROLL CALL VOTE helped me fill in letters. I liked that backward LEER abutting OGLE, and as your resident alphadoppeltotter, I must tell you that this puzzle has an unusually high count of double letters (20), including seven double L's.

    The puzzle left me alert and happy, and the ladder was a descent into swell.

  45. "a descent into swell"
    Great phrase.

  46. Unpleasantly easy—mostly just filled it in. Took less than half the usual time for a Thursday.

  47. Deb, Empty nester that you are, or are becoming, means 2 bathrooms will do just fine. Although, lived in one house with a loo for every business day. Decorated each one. The theme encompassing religious icons from around the world survives to this day. Realtor assessing my current home suggested that I REDO the first floor necessary room as it might be offensive to some. My reply: "Do you not think, at times, what happens in here is a religious experience." She tried her professional best but the OMG look was unmistakable. Then she saw the Day of the Dead suit hanging in the front parlor....

    No high jinks today thank heavens (scatological reference to the above). Happy Pencil changed RASA to RoSA but I am on to that imp.

    Played DAND on a DEC10 in grad school (circa 1979). The original game was a green screen with dots marking hallways and had multiple levels. Classmate and I created maps of each level. At level 16 or so the "walls" began to disappear leaving a seemingly vast plain to wander about, occasionally finding your character (again a dot) being teleported into solid rock.

    Sigh, rambling. 3 week vacation starts in 4 hours. Seems I am a bit giddy.

    Thanks Joe for another rebus free Thursday.

  48. I have not been moved to comment this week. I doubt Mr. S would agree with that statement.

  49. I have a nit to pick with 47D. Certs is a candy mint.

  50. No! Certs is a....

  51. Andrew, knit picking was yesterday.

  52. Compromise, it's a brandy mint!

  53. "...the other debut, CHOKE COLLAR, felt a bit grisly to me."

    Are you way out there on animal rights, Deb, or did you grab the wrong word in the rush? PETA says it's "cruel" to use a CHOKE COLLAR on a dog, but even they don't consider it "grisly."

  54. A trainer I used to work with always said that there's a right way and a wrong way to do anything. The danger inherent with CHOKE COLLARs is that they are easily obtained and tend to be used by un-knowing dog owners that do not used them properly.

  55. What exactly is a choke collar?

  56. Thanks, BA and SF!

  57. I enjoyed this one; got my best Thursday time but the word ladder made this easier than the usual Thursday fare. Fun!

  58. Started slowly but finally got to OAT, ARLOS, and CENTO. The rest came bit by bit, fast here, slow there, but ended up half my average Thursday time. I'm not usually fond of word ladders but enjoyed working my way through this one.

  59. No paper in the drive again. Last time, in May, it was blamed on a power failure in the pressroom. Who knows what happened to the delivery today? I prefer solving on paper but I will sail any port in a storm. Cyberly speaking, the easy access of the check/reveal buttons is a temptation and a distraction...I had all the rungs of the ladder in place but the upper EASTern corner (my acrophobia acting up perhaps) needed a reveal or two. About EAST; the clue might lose its' pertinence if CA splits into a triumvirate of states, No Cal, Cal and EAST Cal... I am always intrigued by Joe K's work. Today was no exception.Thanks Joe, I'll have another...On a sad note, this guitarist from across the pond passed recently; R I P Danny Kirwan.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/10/obituaries/danny-kirwan-dead-fleetwoo...

    Teenaged Kirwan had input with bandmate Peter Green on this instrumental. The Avian/AERIAL PHOTOgraphy is a sight to behold from Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross," especially the tight shots.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXeKi6ZkbOw

    Feeling Brave And Free On Flag Day,

    Bru

  60. Side note re 40D: "If only . . ."

  61. Did not get ‘owlet’ immediately (to me, that is a forest animal, not one of the barn), and thus was sidetracked by infant animal esoterica for far too long.
    The ‘squee’ factor of my distraction more than makes up for the added time to completion, though.

  62. Which begs the existential question, if a barn owl nests in the forest, what is it?

  63. Well, there IS a barn owl (an especially lovely bird) so once you have OW it's rather a give-away, methinks.

  64. Another soft lob....probably the FrSatSun line-up will be killers. How they do love to set us up!

    I think there was a lot faster route through that word ladder, but whatever. Enjoyed the puzzle....

  65. I don't think I have ever seen a bad owl photo. Those eyes...

    Word ladders and stepquotes are among my least favorite puzzles. This one also included TVVCR, TABLETPC, HADST, IVANI ( clued as First in...) and ARLOS. The long entries are impressive, and it must have been tough to construct.

    Looking forward to more challenge on the weekend.

  66. I am having a difficult time finding the Thursday Crossword live solve on the NYT FB page. Any suggestions? It's now 1:17 pm EDT.

  67. Much faster than most Thursdays. Enjoyed it and liked the word ladder.

  68. Mixed bag today: seeing who the constructor is I was looking forward to a chewy puzzle and somehow that didn't happen -- it seemed much easier than I expected for a Thursday. A good clean solve, with word ladder assist, at least that.

    But the bonus (for me) was logging into the blog and seeing that little video -- wow! Thanks!!!!

  69. Yeah, today's puzzle was a bit on the easy side: It was a real challenge to make it any tougher because of the many unclued theme entries. For the sake of solvability, I had to ensure that all the Down entries were gettable on their own.
    -Joe

  70. The word ladder can be a couple of words shorter...

  71. The word ladder kept me going forward and it was indeed a bit easier than usual but not so easy to destroy its fun. In fact I really like this challenging and yet approachable level of difficulty. I got stuck on MOTE which I will now look up and DANDD I hate video games for a number of reasons so I don't know what that is and really don't want to know. Good puzzle!!!

    Oh and I spent three years of law school with my best friend doing word ladders in class. We tried to change one dirty word into another in the fewest possible steps and became quite good. If we hadn't passed the bar I'm sue we could have won word ladder tournaments for a living. Dirty word ladder tournaments.

  72. DANDD isn’t a video game; it’s D & D - Dungeons and Dragons.

  73. Thanks. As you see I got it in a sudden and dispiriting moment of clarity. So easy as you probably know but without that crossword flexibility, even with one so obvious (always look out for the AND, OR, etc.), I am a sitting duck. Thanks again.

  74. This is several rungs above most word ladder puzzles simply because the constructor thinks a couple of rungs above others.

    A very different Thursday by a very different constructor. I hope you take that as a compliment Mr. Krozel because I mean it as one!

  75. Thanks Johanna:
    I go the extra mile to find new twists on old ideas because I know there are solvers out there like you who notice the difference!
    -Joe

  76. This should have been way easy. But sometimes it takes forever to find the one letter that is out of place, as in LIP instead of LID. Is the LID really a part of the pot, anyway? And for all I know, PANDD is probably a great game. Grrrr. Finally came to my senses.

  77. Agreed. That was exactly my sticking point too. When I got it I still didn't understand DANDD. Until early in the morning.

  78. Another fun puzzle by one of my favorite constructors. I'll take a word ladder over a rebus any day of the week.

  79. Thanks Mike!
    Today's non-rebus theme was thoughtfully devised for all the non-rebus-inclined solvers out there like you!

    I'll find new ways to tweak an old concept like a word ladder before I even think about making a rebus!
    -Joe

  80. I'd never heard of a "word ladder" so was worried I would cave on this one, especially since the clues were no help. After getting ROLL and POLL, i figured it out, and it became my fastest Thursday solve ever. It helped that I got ROLL, CALL, and VOTE right off the bat. It was fun trying to guess the remaining words.

    The long, horizontal entries don't seem to have any relation to each other, which I found surprising. I guess I expected a theme there.

    Agree with RN that the entry for 40D no longer applies (unfortunately) ...

    BTW, "owlet" seems to be becoming a bit of crosswordese!

    Again, fun, but I still would've preferred a rebus puzzle or some trickery like last Thursday's ("Bubble up").

  81. "OWLET" - a singular diminutive of yesterday's 4D (Reactions to buffets?)

  82. I believe that "take the cake" has its origins in the cakewalk. To "take the cake," a couple would need to engage in extravagant high-stepping while dressed extraordinarily well. So, while the phrase can refer to outrageous badness, it also can refer to extravagant goodness. Anything extreme might "take the cake."

  83. I loved this puzzle! And to Joe Krozel, it's probably a good thing to lose track of the details in the news these days...what better exercise for mental health than to make word ladders out of it all...

  84. Me too. Plain ole’ Fun. Sometimes a puzzle speaks to you and sometimes not. This one sang out to me.

  85. Didn’t get a chance to start the puzzle until this evening. Good thing it was solver-friendly. Got it done in very good time for a Thursday.

    Knew MENSREA from episodes of Law and Order. Love me some Sam Waterston and Jerry Orbach. Knew D(ungeons)AND D(ragons) because of a college boyfriend in the mid-70s. He failed out, largely because of DANDD.

    My husband and I are dog lovers. Two dachshunds and a yellow shepherd mix rescue currently share our home. We both abhor CHOKECOLLARS. As a puzzle piece it’s fine. As a reality, not fine.

  86. I knew MENSREA from watching”Legally Blond”... it’s kind of embarrassing to admit that...

  87. Too late for anything useful, but I wanted to limn a few lines for posterity.

    Rough yesterday and Firefox' updating ate my solve, so this is from (failing) memory.

    My breakthrough came when I had #1 and #6 filled in; the realization that there had to be four steps between 1 and 6 showed me how the ladder would rung. Would consider that a Duh moment rather than an Aha, but I take whatI can get.

    When it was all said and done, was enormously taken with the zig-zag pattern of the ladder's rungs. Reminded me of the switchback climb in Zion (Utah), where you take the Wigglies to reach Angel's Landing.

    A memory worth having, so thanks for that bonus, Joe Kro. I have never seen a puzzle of yours that wasn't a joy to solve.