And if you’ve never played Battleship? The big reveal is kind of a big bust.
So was the explanation.
That's me. I had to come to the blog to understand two of the themers (2x and 3x). I should have guessed 4x but forgot to try. I did see CRUISER but never thought of it as a kind of ship. But I can't fault the composer. The puzzle's a masterpiece, and would figure to be a joy to anyone with Battleship experience.
"So was the explanation."
Watch it now: Attack of the Copy Editors!
It was a fun solve in terms of figuring out the trick and filling out the grid, which I did in way faster than average Thursday time - but, when all was said and done, there was no way for me to know what the "XX" stood for. Cruiser I knew because my sister always wanted to buy one of them (though I don't think she ever did), and carrier pigeon was obvious. But the only Conan I knew was Conan the Barbarian and I didn't think there was a ship called a Barbarian. There was no way for me to get to understanding Destroyer even though I had the puzzle filled in. That was awkward.
Figuring out the X's stood for number of units for each type of ship helped me figure out a couple of the themes. Notably CARRIER PIGEON and PT CRUISER.
I knew there was Conan the Barbarian and the Destroyer too. It was thanks to that and the SUB SANDWICH that I figured out the gimmick.
Well, I for one, enjoyed it well enough (only after figuring out the gimmick - before that I was cursing the constructor out).
Getting all of those X's lined up wasn't easy.
Very Thursday-like Thursday puzzle. I RULE? Don't be a BOOR. Now if we can get the photo caption corrected? The Port of Los Angeles may have been her destination, but there are two clues that *Iowa* was not *approaching* anything at the time the photo was taken.
Funny caption indeed.
I think Deb’s caption is correct. As the photo clearly shows, the *Iowa* is being towed by a verrry slooow XXX(SANDWICH).
Yup, and in a verrry calm sea.
Anyone know the approx. size of the links in that chain? They must be enormous.
got it without too much trouble. Why the different number of Xs with no apparent relation to the ship type?
In the game, a destroyer is two squares, submarines and cruisers are three squares, a carrier is five squares, and a battleship is four squares. (They're all warships, Deb, but not all battleships.)
It is related to how many hits it takes in battleship to sink that particular ship. A destroyer takes two hits, so it was only two X's in the Conan answer.
Hi Barry: the way we played it when I was at school, usually during a boring class, and with a 10x10 grid just drawn in a note book, subs were 1 square and there were no carriers.
A nice little twisty puzzle. CONAN THE . . . what? The only title I knew was "Barbarian" so that didn't help much. For a while I tried to make the Xs into Roman numerals, but that didn't go anywhere. Getting the BATTLESHIP in the SE was key, and then figuring out the Xs. I played lots of Battleship with my brother when I was a kid, but had mostly forgotten about it.
I wondered if this puzzle had more Xs than any other 15x15. XwordInfo says it ties with a 2007 puzzle by Michael Shteyman for the most Xs.
Initially I tried CONAN REDUX....close, but no cigar.
I have never played Battleship, although I have some vague recollection of seeing the board in the distant past. Nevertheless, I got BATTLESHIP quite quickly, but when it dawned on me that all the circles were Xs, it was a bust.
Hohum Thursday. Got the happy music but didn’t get the theme until I read the blog. Crosses were solid and allowed for solution with no clue what the “x” denoted.
Clever puzzle. I liked the way HERO sort of crossed the (SUB) SANDWICH.
Turns out yesterday's theme was a warm up for one of the categories in tonight's Jeopardy. We were ready.
I noticed that too about HERO, and early on thought it might have something to do with the theme . . . Maybe the XXX's indicated you needed to turn 90 degrees to get the first part of the answer?
What you call such a sandwich depends strongly on where you're from:
Xxxelent puzzle! Hoorah!
Wow, what a great puzzle. Yes, I understand the frustration if you’re not familiar with the game, but knowledge of it amongst Americans must be quite a bit more common than a lot of the sports trivia that often shows up here.
Loved that the Xs replaced the ships - including their correct lengths! - and that all the ships were included, with the reveal at 60A.
Sorry that this didn’t work for everyone but I thought it was perfect.
Except in a good Battleship strategy layout, at least one of the ships should be vertical. . .
Adam-- You said
Yes, I understand the frustration if you’re not familiar with the game, but knowledge of it amongst Americans must be quite a bit more common than a lot of the sports trivia that often shows up here.
I doubt that. I know lots of people who follow sports, but I don't know anyone who ever said "Let's play Battleship".
I really enjoyed this X-cellent puzzle. [...wait for groans to subside...] At one point in my youth, Electronic Battleship was the most desperately desired item on my Christmas wish list (to no avail). I thought replacing the words destroyer, battleship, cruiser, and carrier, with the number of HITS each one takes to sink was a very nice trick. I can't believe it worked out with all those Xs. Nice job.
You mean “Xmas”? ;)
Outstanding and not too tough, but I couldn’t figure out what kind of ship a BARBARIAN is.
It's one draped in animal skins to disguise it...resembles the XL garbage 'island' floating in one of our bodies of water....
Wow- Never played that game, but if the point is to sink BATTLESHIPS, whether they be DESTROYERs, CARRIERs, SUBMARINEs, or CRUISERs , I say ''Please don't '' . We need to bring them out of mothb*lls and parade them ASEA.
It seems there is a LOOSE CANNON (aka CLOWN ) who says I RULE .(NB-I don't specify which side of the ocean).
It's eerie that yesterday's NEWS was about a certain projectile and today's puzzle is the answer.
Thank you, Deb, for explaining the significance of the number of x's.
We have a friend with a PT CRUISER, in the xwordpuzzle colour of ochre. He is otherwise also an old world type , very polite, hat- doffing kind.
Will not TTYL- am getting slowly ready for bed -so it's seeya tomorrow.
I had fun with this, both with trying to remember all the ships and the number of squares they took up and fitting them into the clue answers. Well done!
There were several spots where I confidently filled in the answer, only to change my mind later on, insert a new answer, and then realize my original answer was correct after all. I enjoy that foolery.
As an aside: Mystery Date! I haven’t thought of it for years but I can still remember the jingle from the commercial. The only guy I remember was Poindexter, who was the least desirable guy, but probably ended up being a dot com millionaire.
I've only ever played Battleship a few times, and the last time was so long ago that there was not yet an electronic version. My problem was that I never knew there was a "Conan" sequel, so no DESTROYER, and after I failed to fit in HOMING before PIGEON, I just couldn't come up with an alternative. I did finally finish, thanks to Mlle Check and the crossings. A truly wonderful puzzle.
I played Battleship a few times when I was a child. I am 70 years old now. I had no idea what the number of Xs meant in terms of the game.
I thought this was a terrible puzzle. Very much for a small group of insiders.
Sister! We 70-something females were not usually included in this game back in the day (at least, not where I went to school)....but I still loved the puzzle. I didn't get the full appreciation, but I like pitting myself against Will & Company. Tomorrow is another day, right?
I never played BATTLESHIP, so I was at a loss (to some eXtent). Enjoyable solve nonetheless.
Given it’s oft-sexual overtones, seeing the letter X makes me feel uncomfortable. I was appalled to see it used gratuitously in a Thursday puzzle.
I’m doubly disappointed, because I FINALLY had a good sleep, and I woke up feeling zealous, like a Colombian bricklayer. I was excited to start my day with this puzzle, but now I’m going to feel squeamish all day.
I hope you took your irony pill this morning, CrossNerd.
'...zealous, like a Colombian bricklayer.'...?
Maybe Me dellinquent in the brain power dept today, but that simile escapes me entirely. Is there a Booker among us who gets it? Does it mean if you Call I get to Cart a generas load of bricks Per Eira Postale?
Thanks for the diversion, but now Bo gotta go.
PS: Back in undergrad McGillian days, had a lovely friend named Sabrina who came from Bogota. She had the most beautiful eyes. So thanks for reviving that Dym memory.
This is a very well-constructed puzzle, incorporating all the needed elements and keeping the theme answers symmetrical, while landing an overall junk-free grid. I played the game ages ago, and still needed some post-solve thought to figure out all the elements. Overall, a winner, IMO.
Yesterday, MOTOWN, today BATTLESHIP. Tomorrow, I LOVE LUCY?
By the way, for those loving or hating Thursday rebus puzzles -- based on the last two years, it averages out to about a dozen a year. (On Sundays, there were five in 2015 and eight in 2016.)
Vague cluing provided some good bite (i.e. clues for JAMS, COG, SEX, AGENT, BOOR, LIKESO, DUTY, and probably more). But I never had a sinking feeling.
I wasn't thrilled with this while I was solving, but it's growing on me after the fact. Smooth start in the north with a number of gimmes. It didn't take me long to figure out that all the circled letters were going to be X's, but I had no idea what was going on. Then when I finally read the clue for the reveal, I was thinking, "so I have to know some board game to figure this out?" and was not pleased. Gradually worked that out. I've never played BATTLESHIP, but I think the kids did and I've at least seen it and had some idea of how it worked. Caught on with SUB(marine) sandwich and then figured out the others except for CONAN. As a couple of others have mentioned, I knew that 'barbarian' wasn't a ship type, but I tried to think of other ships and DESTROYER never crossed my mind. Should have taken a break and thought about it some more.
I wonder if I'm the only one who looked at 37a after the fact and realized that PTCIX would fit in there (yeah, I'm pretty sure I am). Might be another theme waiting to happen? XXQUESTIONS? DEEPVI? THEMAGNIFICENTVII? I wonder what kind of reveal would work with that.
Back on topic. Really a pretty good puzzle overall. A couple of nice long downs as bonuses and the fill was pretty decent. I think I'll go put another dime in the JUKEBOX, but I'll skip the link for today (probably linked it before).
Yeah, Rich, I am among those who looked at 37a after the fact and did *not* realize that PTCIX would fit in there until you mentioned it (or just plain didn't look at 37a after the fact).
(Roman numerals for Corps, perhaps...)
I did keep looking at that entry that wanted to be PT109, but didn't like translating it into Roman numerals because of the other circled sequences.
I have linked it before, and won't again, but I'm just putting a nickel in my nickelodeon.
Always fun to see something different! I have only vague memories of Battleship, but even still, I love a puzzle that slowly reveals it's secrets with those delicious AHA moments. I thought this was clever and very tight - nice job!
If you’ve never played Battleship, what did you do in study hall?
Very clever puzzle: like a good game of Battleship, it gave up its secrets slowly.
"What did you do in study hall?"
I taught other kids math. Pretty much every day for 4 years of high school.
Who had Study Hall? Six subjects (including Band) instead.
"What did you do in study hall?"
Didn't have any study halls.
(Now, the lunch room...)
Another young dk story: HOHUM. We headed for Maine each summer from NY and aside from my sister throwing up it was 8 hours of BATTLESHIP, license plate poker and radio station static. Began by creating grids on paper with letter representing our fleet. Technological leap was the purchase of predotted paper. Luddites we were, returning to making our own darn dots.
My inner 14 year-old chortled over XXX, EXOTIC and BRA.
Finally, purchased a ROOMBA for my Maine cabin automating the rote task of cleaning up our daily dose of pine needles and sand. No doubt will return to a broom.
Oh! The puzzle. What Lewis wrote.
Thank you Trenton.
I love our robot, ROOMBie, and we often praise how well she has done. She has been quite inventive about getting herself stuck and/or tangled in something, but we just chuckle and go to the rescue.... Love that she plays herself a tune of accomplishment when finished and back 'home.'
How does Charlie Parker feel about ROOMBie? Does he ride?
I've long wanted a ROOMBA, but at that price point it ain't gonna happen. Besides, it would just make me miss my late beloved Maggie, who was a feline reincarnation of a mechanic and would have spent hours trying to figure out how to steer it.
Deadline, one of my friends has a Roomba. And she has cats. And one of the cats was sick one day (from both ends) and the Roomba did a mostly good job of vacuuming it up. When she came home, she had to take the Roomba apart and clean it out and disinfect it. She's a scientist, so she viewed this as an interesting challenge. But maybe you really don't want a Roomba.
Never played the game, but certainly have heard the sinking phrase. Had no idea about the points assigned to different vessels. Thought the CONAN movie was about a barbarian and that the sandwich was a HERO. Nevertheless, in retrospect, I can say that I appreciated the puzzle. Had the subject matter concerned something in my wheelhouse, I probably would have found it very clever.
I was slowed down by having 'tea' measured in cups.
Thought it WITTY to have ANT cross ANTE.
I had some of the" X"es and once I got the revealer with a few letters, I knew all of the circled letters had to be X. Not being very familiar with the game, I had to come to the blog to fully understand the theme and have my Aha moment,. So a fine feat of construction and a fun Thursday.
Admirable, even if still opaque once finished. I do hope "Whist" is never the secret.
I'm sort of midway between the people who really knew Battleship and those who had no clue. I remember playing the game, and by the time I got to the revealer I had already filled all the circled squares with Xes, but though I realized what the trick had to be, the only word I could come up with for all those vessels was BOAT. So, that worked for me for PT but I had to come here to find out about all the others. When I saw that one was SUBMARINE I thought I really should have thought of that.
And all of that reminds me of WWII kid games such as identifying planes - ours (Boeing, B29) and theirs (Messerschmidt, Mitsubishi) - from bubble gum cards. My boy cousins were invaluable help.
I've eaten Po'Boys, subs, hoagies, Beef on Wick, and Philly Cheesesteaks, but never a 'grinder'.....so I missed the clever substitution (because, well, Army Kid, not Navy.). However, we crossed the Atlantic twice on Navy transports in the 1950's.....and I'm afraid we called it a boat.
Beef on wick?
A hero or submarine sandwich was a 'grinder' in New Haven CT
I did enjoy the puzzle immensely. I did play a lot of Battleship when young(er), and groked the theme with 17A filled in, which led to a well below average solve time.
I came here to share my thoughts on the puzzle itself only to find that our esteemed columnist covered every aspect of what I had thought to say.
I played BATTLESHIP perhaps four times, never cared much for destroying things. The puzzle reminded me of the different size pieces but the Xs weren't fully revealed to me until I peeked at Deb's column.
First I had BIG SANDWICH, a few other Xs here and there, but that was it. Long while in getting ANNEXES, loved THUSLY but had to settle for LIKE SO. Liked YAWN and HO HUM so maybe I didn't get a full night's sleep.
I've never played this game, but in HS (grad '65) there was a group of obsessed boys who would set up and play between classes....and by 'set up,' I mean open their notebooks and compete on a paper grid constructed by ruler and pencil. Ridiculous to think anyone would need a board game version......
Oh, the puzzle!
Well, considering how many clues referenced things I didn't know (Chryslers, songs, Risk, Ahnald movies, football teams) I did well, and when the XXs started appearing, I romped through the rest.
I GAWPED, and YAWPED, but I never YAWNED.
Must off to Xword Info to check for a photo!
I really didn’t like this - I figured out pretty early that the circles should be filled with x’s, but I had no idea why until I read the blog, after I finished. I’ve heard of Battleship, but i’ve never played it, or even seen anyone play it. Very unsatisfying.
Living just down the river from Bath Iron Works, Conan the DESTROYER was a gimme for us.
Also FWIW, a ship is not a "boat."
Really liked this puzzle... Thanks.
Also FWIW, a ship is not a "boat."
Except for submarines.
Are you talking about Electric Boat? Another subsidiary of General Dynamics, just like BIW.
Regarding 37A, we do have "PT boat" if memory serves, so "boat" could be another "clue," no?
Took me awhile to figure out the BATTLESHIP theme, but when I did the submarine became obvious. A brilliant concept IMO.
A cute theme. Once I had a few words I was sure of (not easy in this puzzle!), it became clear that the circles were all X's, but it took the revealer to tell why.
I remember playing the game with a size-one PT boat (and no submarine). How might that fit in? If we shorten the name to PT, Barnum leaps to mind. But X BARNUM is 7 letters and won't fit today's grid. We can also build on PT Cruiser, already in the puzzle, to get X XXX and take the theme to a whole new level. A bit thick, but fun to think about.
Well, when I got to the end of the visible comments and clicked on the link to see all of them, a bunch popped up *before* the ones I had just read. But I'm not going to go back and start over to see what I'd missed!
That was today's second (and by far the more irritating) frustration of the day.
I was totally lost. I got that the circled squares were supposed to be Xs in the As, but nothing more until I got to the revearler. Which just made it worse. After reading Deb and Jeff and all y'all, I figured out why.
I had thought I'd never played BATTLESHIP until I was an adult, on computer, and hadn't done it often enough to figure out why the X series were different lengths. What I finally figured out was that I was thinking of the computer game Minesweeper. When it first came out and a friend and I played, she commented that it was like BATTLESHIP. Other than that, I have no knowledge of today's game.
So I was confused by 17 and 25A, and wanted PT109 for 50A (althought I didn't really think Mercury made ships). At 50, SUB was a gimme, with objections: It's called a SUB, or a SUBmarine SANDWICH, but I've never heard SUB STANDWICH.
Also never heard of JUKEBOX HERO (or Foreigner). Or LENA Headey.
Don't really think of BRIE as a "spread." If it's good, it's really runny, but it's still just a cheese.
And so, utter defeat, and not even a belated Aha! moment.
Interesting (if not surprising) "breaking news" flashes coming across the top of my screen.
Yes, re: brie though some bake it in puff pastry, making it even runnier and more of a spread.
Sorry DeadlineML, but there is no such thing as 'just a cheese'.
I spent some of my early and most formative years in France, a country that has perhaps 450 types of cheese with maybe arind 1000 varieties, so I can say with some experience "Quell fromage!""
Once we learned "Quel dommage" in 1st year French, it quickly turned to cheese. Wish I could post one of my favorite travel pictures, of the cheese cart in a Dijon restaurant.
Well, if no one else is going to say it: it's unlikely that CARRIER PIGEONS were used for 'airmail' messages. HOMING PIGEONS, yes; but the Carrier Pigeons were, sadly, extinct by the early 1900's. The last one died at the Cincinnati Zoo; her name was Martha, and you can look it up.
Still loved your clue, Trenton. (Nice photo on Xword, BTW.) Three puzzles in 2017? Including your debut! wow.
You sure you don't mean passenger pigeons? Best I can see, those are the extinct ones, and carrier pigeons are homing pigeons.
What Steve said.
I spent my childhood listening to my mother bemoaning the demise of the passenger pigeon, whence my interest in wildlife preservation.
MOL, you raise an interesting question: how did the name "carrier pigeon" come about?
We were a game playing family (and still are) but I've never played Battleship. I'm glad so many have, because it was obviously brilliant construction, and would have been a lot of fun for all those who knew the game.
My hardest week ever continues.
The circles made it considerably easier. Once you figured out the BATTLESHIP revealer, it was just a matter of matching up the length of the ship to a common phrase containing its name. Still had to cheat and look up Schwarzegger's movie which was __ THE DESTROYER and Foreigner song titles containing the letter X. But the fill with all those X's locked in was most impressive.
I played plenty of BATTLESHIP in my younger days, both the board game and on paper, so no sinking feeling for me; I quite enjoyed today's puzzle. Nice cranial calisthenics working out what all the Xs stood for. JUKEBOXHERO was a big gimme for me.
Whatever you do, don't waste your time on the big-screen adaptation of BATTLESHIP for a couple years ago. As movies based on toys and games go, it's basically a bad rip-off of the Transformers movies (and none of those are any good to begin with). As for me, I'm still waiting for "Scrabble: The Motion Picture."
Southern rockers the Georgia Satellites hit big in 1986 with their debut single "Keep Your Hands to Yourself." The follow-up, "BATTLESHIP Chains," was not nearly as successful, but rocks with vigor:
"50-foot long and a two-ton anchor"
Have that on CD, Jimbo. Seems like their original hit might also be appropriate, given current events:
I always loved the line about 'free milk and a cow.'
I never in my life played BATTLESHIP, so I have no idea what its rules are and what the arbitrary number of Xes in the grid represent. Once I got the ship names, I just YAWNED. Why CARRIER was 5 Xes long and DESTROYER only 2 totally escaped me. Apparently the puzzle was intended solely for people who are intimately familiar with game rules and vividly remember them = a very limited audience. Too bad, because theme aside, it was a well executed and relatively easy and smooth-solving puzzle.
What I enjoyed more was yesterday's MOTOWN puzzle, although seemingly overrun by Japanese culinary and musical instrument terms -- and the ubiquitous Kurosawa-san thrown in for good measure -- much to Martin's delight I'm sure.
I also enjoyed Tuesday's UniversityTURNs, and Sunday's "Inside Out" wordplay trickery. Very clever.
Alas, with no "Aha!" moment for me, today's puzzle was the antithesis of a 62D.
Give a listen to this brief excerpt from "Oiseaux exotiques" (EXOTIC Birds) by Olivier Messiaen, with Mitsuko Uchida at the piano. You may enjoy it.
Laszlo! So good to see you here, you and your music. Please stick around!
Always great to hear from you, Laszlo.
Laszlo- stick around. More than the occasional periscope surveillance :))
Finally -- and for the first time, I can claim that this one was not in my wheelhouse.
Got a quibble about 30A: The objects in question are measured with letter, not numerical designators. What, e.g., would you say to a three-cup descriptor?
Bonus video: The Simpsons play "Mystery Date" during their seaside vacation:
Brilliant theme. a lot of the answers had to be subbed out (ha) for me. MSN Explorer isn't a thing but I'll let it slide this time. ;)
Trying a fourth time to get this typed before the machine takes over and submits it incomplete.
I really enjoyed today's puzzle for two reasons. Firstly, I played and loved Battleship as a child so I got the theme quickly and enjoyed the fills. The second reason it that today is the last day of November and it is the first time that I have finished ever puzzle in a month on that day!! Thirty gold stars for me!
I have to admit that I was not always fully autonomous on Saturdays but life is a journey of learning and improvement, right?
I think this is my first post, mostly I just read, but I just had to share my little victory with the only other people who could possible understand my little moment of joy.
Proofreading - hard to do on one's own work. *is that today ... *every puzzle in a month ...
Don't be a stranger.
Welcome to a fellow Battleship gamer!
This was my fastest thursday in recent memory...being a child of the 80s, the Battleship theme and Conan the Destroyer were very easy to get early, and it was just a matter of rounding out the non-themed stuff. Having so many crosses with known Xs in them helps a lot!
Who cares if you never played BATTLESHIP? In my opinion, this puzzle was a HIT.
Loved it!! It took me longer than I'd like to admit to suss out the theme, but the puzzle came together really quickly after that. I ended up with a slightly shorter-than-usual solve time...would have been better but it took me a full 5 minutes to figure out that I had ELBA instead of ALBA...arggghhhhh!! Thanks for a great puzzle, Mr. Charlson :)
Cute theme, I enjoyed solving. My 4 yr old grandson & I tried to play the game recently. After getting a couple of hits, I made more appropriate nearby guesses but got no more hits. I asked him about that and he said "The ship moved!" I suppose you'd have to call it strategy.
Unlike many commentators here, I do play Battleship with my kids, so I have a big problem with this puzzle. In the version of the game we have, two of the answers would be "Conan the Patrol Boat" and "PT Destroyer". There is no ship called a cruiser. I'm guessing the names of ships may have changed over their years?
We had discussed here earlier variations in the ships and sizes of ships used in various iterations of the game. And, of course, the name of the game is a bit dated, since there are no longer any active battleships.
Clever. Easier than most Thursdays, though.
I figured out the trick on my first pass, but couldn't remember the name of classic battleship vessels---other than cruiser and battleship! So it look some time, but it was a good run.
New to crosswords. Enjoyed this one very much, and chuckled when i "got it". Loved the design.
I know there are people who've been here longer - but I've been visiting nearly daily for close to three years here, and the comments system has NEVER been more messed up. EVER.
I'm getting so frustrated that I am close to giving up clicking on "read more" or "show all" or any other buttons. Rex's system (where nothing syncs to anything) is starting to look good to me.
It [the comment system, in case this reply gets separated from its parent] does seem to be getting worse day by day.
Fun! Would have caught on sooner, but I had Conan the Barbarian stuck in my head, instead of the sequel. Also a little tricky to have to see three submarines instead of another cruiser, but so what -- somewhere or other they (the sandwiches) are doubtless called "Cruisers." Must have been a fair amount of work to construct. Bravo!
At first I didn't like it much, but then I loved it. Clever and fun. BASTES snagged me at the end, as my head insisted BASTER (crossing RXR, which I translated to R(and)R). Anyway. Thanks for this fun.