THE PANTHEON ***NEW for 2007***

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Welcome to the NYT CrossWorld Pantheon:
A Hall of Fame for Crossword fill

Selection to the Pantheon is determined by a top-secret formula that looks something, but not exactly, like this:


Where "F" = the Frequency with which a word appears, x = the number of letters in the word (in singular form), and "U" = likelihood that anyone in the general public would ever Use said word in a sentence.

Membership is a fluid thing - new words are being inducted all the time, and the status of a word's membership is always subject to review, particularly if for some reason a Pantheon Word stops appearing in the grid with any frequency, or develops a currency with the General Public. Membership is divided into FOUR categories: The Security Council (limited to the FIVE highest-ranking members, all of whom have veto power), the A-List, the B-List, and the C-list.

**REVISED for 2007**

The big news is that ASTA has stepped down as Pantheon President, for personal reasons. He was immediately given the Eugene T. Maleska award for formerly Pantheonic fill (joining ADIT, ABIE, AMAH, and the newly recognized ERI TU. In a surprise development, ARIA objected to ASPS's succession to the presidency, claiming that snakes can't be trusted, that a plural should not be allowed to hold such an important office, and that changing the face of the Pantheon from a lovable dog to murderous snakes would be devastating to the Pantheon's image. With the Security Council thus factionalized, the Presidency was put to a popular vote of current members, and dark horse candidate OLEO came out of nowhere to claim victory - the first time a non-Security Council member has made the leap straight to the Presidency in the Pantheon's history.



1. Oleo (President) 2. Asps 3. Eero 4. Aria 5. Epée

Ewer (Captain), Élan, Etna, SSTS, Apse, STET, Alai


Rea (Captain), Sloe, Aloe, Otoe, Dele, Obi, Tiara. Ogee, Eerie, Omoo, Isms, Eno, Ulna, Alee, Rae (from B)


Igor (Captain), Essen, Estes, Neon, NTWT, Pei, Eel, Tat, Ulan, Uma, Eli, eBay, iMac, Esai, Olla, Alou, Aioli, Set-to, Estee, Enola, Née, Nene, Olio (from A), Riga (from B), Tarn (from B)

Honorary members (The Eugene T. Maleska Award):

Adit, Abie, Amah, Elia (retired), Asta (retired)

Kicked out of Pantheon: Deion (from C) - for excessive celebration in the end zone

Induction to The Pantheon occurs only by the autocratic authority of Rex Parker, who is happy to be advised, but only in a properly deferential manner.


DA 5:14 PM  

I'm guessing the Pantheon will be hearing pretty soon from the lawyers of ENO and CARA.

Rex Parker 5:57 PM  

Lawyers have no effect in CrossWorld. God bless a dictatorship.

However ... I am taking ENO under consideration as of this moment. Ms. CARA seems to have gone missing of late, and I don't hear anyone complaining.


Anonymous 6:32 PM  

I nominate roan, jai, and jai's partner alai for the pantheon.

Anonymous 6:43 PM  

And don't forget oloo and etui.

Rex Parker 8:36 PM  

I shall take ALAI and ETUI into consideration. Never seen OLOO... (except as part of the title of the excellent movie Breakin' II: Electric Boog-OLOO.

Isabella di Pesto 9:17 PM  

How many times does one use etui in conversation?


Oh, stupid me, I've misplaced my etui!

And Omoo. Don't forget Omoo. ntwt, and elhi.

I've noticed that anoa is no longer in fashion. Etui has had a come back, but poor, poor anoa has been tossed on the dust heap of has-been crossword clues.


I've had it with tiara. Really. Enough is enough.

Chris 9:32 PM  

First, I'd like to say that this post was fantastic.

Second, ETUI's rating should be infinity (undefined, rather, but I'd rather call it infinity) based on U alone. No one in the history of man has ever used that word outside of crosswords. I count crossword puzzlers using it in casual conversation (I've done it once or twice...yeah, I'm like that) to count as using it in crosswords.

There's no third, but I'd like to reiterate that this post was fantastic.

Howard B 10:00 PM  

Can't forget ALEE and the whole ALOU family.

Rex Parker 10:11 PM  

OMOO - hmm, it's good, but I haven't seen it much. NTWT is already in there.

Chris, your ETUI musings made me laugh out loud (starting at the word "infinity" and then continuing on from there). There are a startling number of images of ETUIs that turn up on a Google Image search. And by "startling number" I mean more than two.

Yeah, ETUI has Security Council potential. I should not have overlooked her. She's under consideration, with high likelihood of ultimate inclusion once I issue the revised Pantheon list (before Xmas).

Never heard of ANOA. Off to look it up.


Rex Parker 10:13 PM  

ALEE is a little too in-the-language. The ALOUs, however ... they're under consideration.

What about LEAN-TO or SET-TO? For some reason ALEE made me think of the former, which then made me think of the latter.


English Rose in TX 10:19 PM  

I just want to second or thirdly chime in for etui. That one was handed down to me by my dear, now departed mother .

Orange 12:28 AM  

Definitely SET-TO, as well as its cousin, IN A PET (generally just the A PET part shows up in a grid). You can spend hundreds of dollars on fancy etuis through eBay.

Jangler 12:25 PM  

ALEE is more in-the-language than ARIA? What parallel universe do you live in?

Rex Parker 12:45 PM  

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the phrase "properly deferential."

Also, perhaps you did not take the time to examine the equation. I'll give you a minute... nobody said ALEE was more in-the-language than ARIA.

I see ARIA way more often than I see ALEE (at least, I think I do). Plus, ARIA is very opera-specific, whereas ALEE, while less in-the-language (it's true), might be used in a number of different contexts. Plus, ARIA is a total diva and not about to step down for anyone. Plus, what I say goes.

ALEE is just a harder sell than a lot of these other words that people are recommending.


Wendy 10:10 AM  

You can also count on seeing ISM or ISMS rather more often than seems necessary.

Rex Parker 12:09 PM  

You are right, Wendy. I had already added that ... word? ... to the short list of candidates after seeing it (yet) again recently.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

I'd like to throw Eno, as in the sometimes ambient rocker, or Brian of pop into the Pantheon. At least at the C-List level...

xwd_fiend 4:18 AM  

Nene and Luau ?

alicew 11:31 PM  

i just found you. I am very happy. Here are some of my candidates:scree (lots of rocks on a Scottish hillside)
Omoo is a novel by Melville and he wrote another one called Typee which I have also seen in puzzles although not lately.

Sandy 10:44 PM  

How about nee? She needs to be included - either the pre-nee-fair-maidens or the post-nee-wizened-matrons as well as Monty Python's "the knights who say nee!" all demand attention.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

When was the last time you heard anyone say they had to "eke" out anything?

Deborah 1:13 AM  

Does Dickens count?

Deborah 1:33 AM  

I'd like to nominate tor, ort and anil. I've never heard any of those words used in conversation in my life, and I really don't think it's simply because I'm nearly deaf.

With all due and proper deference, I do believe you must hail from Mars, Rex, to have included "neon," as it's a pretty commonplace word on this planet. (Oh! Another nominee.... Ares.) And the inclusion of such pop-culture icons as ebay, imac, Uma and eel (think sushi) is, frankly, puzzling. (groan)

I'm less committed to, but can make cases (some admittedly insular) for the ouster of a handful of other Pantheon members: Oleo (it's the only word my grandparents ever used to refer to margarine); Estes (as in Park, which is an hour away from me); aloe (positively ubiquitous on any cosmetics aisle); sloe (as in the gin that caused my first bout of, shall we say lvoving?); and elan (hey, it's just a damned fine word!).

Though I rarely see "adit" in crossword puzzles anymore, I was pleased to see it on the list because it was the very first new word I learned as a direct result of crossword puzzling close to 40 years ago. To this day, that word pops into my head on an oddly regular basis.

All of the above is just nit-picking and musing, of course. I'm new to your blog and I love it. It's vying against "Sprawling Ramshackle Compound" for my daily dose of laughs and chuckles, and man-oh-man, does my misery over devious, too-clever clues love the company you provide. Besides, I stand in awe of anyone who can completely solve the Saturday NYT puzzle on a regular basis. I think I've managed it... oh.... four times.

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