PANTHEON - NEW for 2007!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 15, 2007

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.

NEW Members in RED


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

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


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


Igor (Captain), Essen, Estes, 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, Eri Tu, Elia (retired), Asta (retired)

Kicked out of Pantheon:

Deion (from C)
- for excessive celebration in the end zone; and Neon (from C), for being far, far too ordinary a word, as well as for being related, in common parlance, to DEION.

Next year, the 2008 Pantheon Selection Committee will be taking up new bids from worthy eligible crossword fill. Look for strong showings from the anagrammic pair of OATER and ERATO, as well as fan favorites ILSA and OMANI.

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.


Orange 3:31 PM  

Congratulations to President Oleo! She's perfect for the job, and will surely serve with oleaginous distinction.

It's a shame that some of the emeritus members of the Pantheon have to work so hard in their retirement. It's as if ELIA and ASTA are stuck working as Wal-Mart greeters to make ends meet.

Rex Parker 9:05 PM  

ASTA can live on royalties, but ELIA is somewhere eating dogfood, it's true. Give him a job! Actually, he should be getting the sweet golden parachute package ... if there were any money in crosswords, which there's not, unless you edit the NYTimes puzzle, or win the tourney (good luck, btw!).


Wendy 10:29 PM  

On this momentous day, French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriés, the inventor of and holder of the patent for oleomargarine, would (were he alive) be proud. Who cares if it's loaded with trans fats? Who cares that I'm scarred for life by having been fed oleo against my will when my spirit cried out for butter? Oleo deserves the presidency! Hail President Oleo!

Howard B 12:27 AM  

ETUI seems to be in semi-retirement as well, possibly living happily in the Pantheon retirement villas swapping stories with ANOA.

It would be a great honor to serve anywhere with 'oleaginous distinction' - thanks for the great phrase!

(Off-topic, I think I should legally change my name to Oleomargarine Emeritus - it's so much less awkward and clunky than my current one).

Rex Parker 8:19 AM  

I can say with near certainty that ETUI has appeared in at least two puzzles since 9/25/06 (this blog's official start date), where ANOA has appeared in none (or maybe one, where I never saw it, which is Unlikely). So ... while ETUI seems like she should be in retirement - the way Milo O'Shea seems like he should be dead - she's not. Still working.

Oleaginous! I think the first Rex Parker t-shirt should just feature a big tub of oleo on the front, and the URL on the back.


Orange 9:42 AM  

You know, the oleo t-shirts might put people in mind of Last Tango in Paris. Whether that's a good thing or a bad one, I can't say.

Does ALIT qualify for the Pantheon? Three appearances in the NYT last year (2/14, 9/11, 10/20), but 15 in the LA Times in 2006 (Rich Norris may be getting payOLA from the ALIT people), plus 5 in CrosSynergy and 4 in the Sun. If you Google ALIT, you'll have to view a lot of hits before you find one that's not a dictionary-type page and not completely unrelated to the past-tense verb meaning.

KB 2:37 PM  

Where in the heck is ESSO?? That old standby gas company? Sometimes it's Canadian and sometimes it's just a bygone gas giant. Is it still in operation? I think Ms. OLEO would love to hook up with the distiguished Mr. ESSO

Rex Parker 4:07 PM  

OLEO + ESSO = slippery good time.

ESSO goes immediately onto the 2008 contenders list. Thank you So Much for reminding me of this frequently-gridded yet seldom-actually-used (the magic combo!) word.


xwd_fiend 4:44 PM  

Can't remember whether it was rejected last time, but how about EPEE?

Rex Parker 4:49 PM  

EPEE is already one of the highest ranking memebers! Check out "Security Council."


Jim 9:10 AM  

How about nler, which is a relatively new puzzle entry, but is never used elsewhere?

Rex Parker 9:57 PM  

Here's the current list of top contenders for induction to the Pantheon next year (2008):


More to follow, surely.


Doogie 12:15 PM  

I discovered your blog a month or so ago searching the net for help with a NYT stumper one day. Since then I've come to your blog for assistance often (but only as a last resort... ;-) -- I'd seen you mention the Pantheon often enough that I decided to find out what you were talking about... Great Idea and good discussion - and I was looking for a place to tell you how much I enjoy your take on the puzzle! I definitely appreciate the archives since we get the puzzle on a delayed basis as often is the case out here in the boonies...
Keep up the good work!

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

Surely, ESAU has its own category somewhere...?

Anonymous 3:49 AM  

Does the Pantheon sit upon the banks of the YSER or the EDER?

Michael 7:28 PM  

What of OAST? That seemed to be a Sunday standby (probably working off the beer brewed in it). I would nominate it for at least the "C" list.

Robert 7:09 PM  

Although eligilibility is a function of the number of letters, I have two three-letter words which may be worthy of consideration: Bambi's aunt ENA shows up almost weekly, as does using RET in the threament of flax. Three, times weekly, divided by almost zero, should be worthy of consideration.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

Don't forget ERNE and TERN

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

Please consider ulna and uta for 2008. Thanks.

Eileen, the (sometimes) Crossword Queen

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

DOH! I read the list 3 times before posting and didn't manage to see ulna on the B List. Nevertheless, allow me to make a case for its possible promotion.

While it is a common enough word, its usage is probably limited to Orthopedists. The only time I heard the word spoken was in 5th grade, when I fractured my ulna after an unfortunate monkey bar incident.

Eileen, the embarrassed Queen

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

How about ODE ?

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

How about ODE ?

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

May I suggest changing the formulaic representation of Pantheon-worthiness to


? That way, f doesn't appear to be a function of x and frequency is represented with a lower-case f, as in physics.

Michele Humes 7:52 AM  

IPOD! C'mon.

Rex Parker 12:23 PM  

Anonymous (come on, get a name!)

Done and done.


Anonymous 1:50 AM  

How bout some love for "Lea."

Sure, if I'm going to refer to a rather picteresque field I might say LEA, but it's just as uncommonly used as calling a thatch of woods in a valley a dell.

Hobbyist 11:31 AM  

I nominate Ibeam, T bar, adze and awl.

Tarlach 10:38 PM  

Surely STLO (St. Lo) deserves to be in there! I also nominate: ERLE (Gardner), ADEN, ORANG, O-RING, ODIE, OPIE, HILO, OAHU, OKRA, REN, ERAT, LEI, ALOU, TARO, ERIN, ESSENE, ELO, ELEE (Robert E. Lee, ULEE.

Tarlach 10:40 PM  

Oops, I see ALOU is already in there.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

I humbly nominate Edy's . . . an ice cream that I've never seen anywhere except in the puzzle.


QBParis 10:16 AM  

I'll raise you two Ents for an ENT....

Pete M 3:54 PM  

I would like to nominate our favorite shrinking sea (ARAL) and Florentine river (ARNO), both clear candidates for the B-list at least.

Pete M 10:26 PM  

And, gosh, what about ETA? ETA could run the whole damn show!

Anonymous 10:54 PM  

Anonymous outta try edy's ice cream, its very good. Why hasn't anyone themed a puzzle with pantheonistical clues.

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

How unfair to the UTE's to include only the OTOE. And what about the fine residents of URI? -- Barb

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