THURSDAY, Jun. 21, 2007 - John Sheehan

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Relative Difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Anagrams - Reverse cryptic-style puzzle, where clue is actually the answer to the problem posed by cleverly-phrased fill

OK, here's what I mean:

20A: PROSE (knotted ropes)

If you do cryptic crosswords at alll, you are familiar with this kind of cluing, where, in this case, "knotted" cues you to rearrange the letters in "ropes." Anyway, there are six of these kinds of clue/answer pairings today. Here are the other five:

28A: TORSO (tangled roots)
37A: SAP (faux pas)
39A: LEAD (bad deal)
45A: GENRES (tossed greens)
55A: BAIRNS (addled brains)

Cute enough. My favorite is FAUX PAS. That's actually the answer that clued me into the theme.

Pretty easy puzzle overall, though there were a few unknowns, and a few, er, questionable clues and bits of fill.

17A: Many a Del. registration (Corp.) - I honestly don't understand this at all. The only "Del." that comes to mind is "Delaware"

32A: 1950's-'60s American rocket (ASP) - again, no idea. I swear to you that the puzzles are skewing older in recent weeks, i.e. toward solvers who would remember @#$# like this from first-hand experience. But if that's the way the wind blows ... so blow it. I'll deal.

36A: University of New Mexico athlete (Lobo) - also, a famous TV sheriff

66A: Well-known maker of two-by-fours (Lego) - Cute. Too cute, in fact. Nobody ever called those Lego pieces "two-by-fours" (I think...), so this clue should have had a "?" appended.

48D: New Mexico town mentioned in the hit "Route 66" (Gallup) - what is it, New Mexico day? I sang much of the song in my head trying to get this answer. Didn't work. Inferred it from crosses.

61D: Dean's companion in Kerouac's "On the Road" (Sal) - ... never read it. No idea.

Enjoyed the trickiness of 5A: America's Cup, e.g. (ewer). Glad to see ARE back to its old, presentable, linking-verb self again (40D: It may come after you) - none of this "100 square meters" crap. I contend that SUABLE (49D: Ripe for a trial lawyer) is a horrible word that should never be allowed to see the light of day ever again. And that is all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Hum. I know various sizes of Legos as things like 2x4s, but this may be because I used to have to reorder individual pieces for a lab that I ran. That's how they denote sizes in the catalogs.

Once again, we seem to have picked on almost exactly the same pairs to blog about. :P I really need to start reading your review _before_ writing mine up.


Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Out of curiosity, what kind of a lab requires reordering individual Lego pieces?

Gallup, NM, is pretty much the first city that comes ot my mind when I think of "Route 66." It seems sort of set apart from the rest of the list.

Jerome 10:54 AM  

Even though I figured out the theme of the puzzle, as you did, with FAUX PAS, I still found it difficult for a Thursday.

BTW, most US corporations are incorporated in Delaware, I think for tax purposes.

jlsnyc 10:54 AM  

"faux pas" -- my first, too. all too appropriately, my "addled brain[s]" had a hard time comin' up with the "quads/iqs" crossing.

but all's well that -- well, you know!



Anonymous 11:02 AM  

17A. Del. is "Delaware". Many corporations are domiciled in Delaware due to favorable corporate governance rules and the most established case law (or something like that--I'm not a lawyer). All I know is that the majority of American corporations are registered in Delaware regardless of where they actually are headquartered.

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

Delaware is the choice of incorporation for most large publicly held companies. For mom and pop corporations, it would frankly be silly to incorporate in Delaware because it would increase costs and not provide any meaningful benefits.

Nevada is sometimes cited as a state with even more favorable corporate governance rules than Delaware, but because Delaware has such a long history of pro-management rulings, Nevada has barely put a dent in Delaware's virtual monopoly.

When you think of corporate governance rules, you should think in terms of rules that are favorable to shareholders, but in fact what is generally meant is favorable to existing management.

Steve M

barrywep 12:21 PM  

ASPs are just old rockets they are really obscure rockets. I applaud the attempt at something better than "Nile biter" though.

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

It's actually one court in Delaware, the Chancery Court, that is responsible for all the favorable, i.e., to the corporation, rulings. California courts are known for the opposite tilt.

Karen 12:24 PM  

For the '-drome' I had VELO (instead of AERO), so for the 'you' follower I went for ALL, until the theme became obvious. Betraying my southern roots.

Alex 12:34 PM  

I thoroughly hate this theme.

I quite simply didn't get it. Couldn't finish the puzzle and even after seeing the theme phrases on another blog I didn't get it. I understood that the last word of the phrase was an anagram of the clue but it just appeared that the half was a random word to make a phrase.

Pointed out it seems obvious but the whole thing is too meta for me.

campesite 12:34 PM  

I liked this puzzle. The fill was pretty interesting and there were no eddies where the crosses were beyond reach, so I gues it flowed well for me.
EWER is in the Pantheon, of course, but has ESSO been nominated? ASP is in the Pantheon too, but Barry's right, this time it's at least clued differently.

Blue Stater 1:34 PM  

Like Alex, I found this a bit meta (nice turn of phrase), although I was able to do it. I agree with Rex on SUABLE; terrible word even if it exists (I haven't checked). Coupla other nits: what's with 60A "Eat well" as a clue for SUP? "Sup" means just "to eat"; no connotation of eating well, as far as I know. Pointless curveball. And I think the only English phrase with "Ours [is] not to..." (52A) is from Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade," and it reads (as I remember) "Ours not to reason why; ours but to do and [or maybe "or"] die...." Or maybe it was "theirs not to reason why." Oh well. This tidbit for all you fans of the Crimean War out there.

I'm plenty old enough to remember all the old American rockets, and I don't remember ASP (32A). On this point, while Rex thinks the puzzles are skewing older, I, particularly in light of the AEON FLUX/INXS fiasco of a couple of days ago, think they're skewing younger.

profphil 1:36 PM  

I believe Asp as a rocket type is beyond most anybody's ken -- even old folks. It make no difference if you're 20 or 70 one is not likely to know this bit of esoterica.

Howard B 1:54 PM  

What? SUABLE is completely duable... On second thought, maybe nuat.

Anne 2:34 PM  

I'm skewed "older" (47) but I never heard the song "Route 66"! From which generation/genre does it come? Also, I got the theme with ADDLED BRAINS because, as I often do, I started in the Florida area of the puzzle. Enjoyed FAUX PAS but didn't like BAD DEAL (Doesn't quite fit in my estimation)

Rex Parker 3:00 PM  

Do you not even know the Depeche Mode cover of that song!?

Here are lyrics.

I realized just now that the reason I didn't know GALLUP was that I mondegreened the hell out of that part of the song (that is, I misheard it). In my mind it has always been something like "Goin' up tooooo Mexico" (absurd, since Route 66 doesn't go there, but that's what I heard).

As for BAD DEAL - I had RAW DEAL at first, which, along with BIG DEAL, is a far more legitimate phrase than BAD DEAL.

Orange 3:38 PM  

I keep thinking SUABLE should be pronounced "swa-blay." Rico Suave," anyone?

I thought BAD DEAL was clunky, and then I Googled it. Over a million uses! But it feels less like a stand-alone phrase than just a description of a deal that isn't so good.

Michael 5:41 PM  

Got CORP easily because I am a lawyer. I leave the rocket science clues (ASP) to the rocket scientists. Anonymous did a fine job of explaining it.

As to skew, I would bet (certainly based on the posts here) that WS wants to skew in both directions. I mean, I never saw "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" but I got it anyway, yesterday. I always like it when I learn something new from the day's puzzle, and I always hate when the compiler tortures the language with kludges like SUABLE.

frances 6:08 PM  


Your comment certainly skews a lot younger than I am. "Kludge" indeed! Wikipedia defines the word in terms of fixing a computer problem, and goes on to use additional clearly-made-up terms like cruft, bodge and Macgyverism. What ever happened to words with clearly traceable derivations?!

kratsman 6:29 PM  

I think it musta been ALLCAPS Thursday and I wasn't notified. 3 of the 4 puzzles I do daily featured something ALLCAPS-related. Velly interesting.

Anonymous 7:52 PM  

Thanks to a teaser in the Rex Parker blog of a few days ago, I seem t be doomed to always think "Spherical Ham" at any mention of anagrams.

Am I the only one so afflicted?


Rex Parker 7:55 PM  

Yes, Jo, I'm pretty certain you are the only one so afflicted.


Orange 10:10 PM  

Jo, maybe this will help. And maybe it won't.

Or this, from the world-renowned chef/innovator Ferran Adria.

Or maybe this spherical ham.

Jo 1:09 AM  


Thanks for your good effort. Wrong direction though. Think anagram of "spherical ham"; think Rex Parker. Now find a cure. ;>}


s2007 10:16 AM  

Our brains work so differently, Rex. I thought Tuesday and Wednesday were simple puzzles and you thought they were on the difficult side. Thursday's threw me for a loop and I couldn't finish it.

stucknkc 1:06 PM  

I'll never think of being in the THROEs of ecstasy in the same way again.

Not being a Renaissance Fair aficionado, I was sure I was out of luck on "It's lowered before a joust". VISOR came with a sigh of relief.

RonB 2:35 PM  

Route 66 was a big hit for Nat "King" Cole back in the 40s or 50s somewhere. Many other versions out there as well. It's a classic.

stucknkc 2:52 PM  

Did anybody try CLOGGEDPORES? This guy I know did.

Anonymous 3:24 PM  

6WL :::::::

I enjoyed the theme, but found this puzzle too easy for a Thursday. I missed the usual bite. I made a stupid mistake untangling TORSO to SORTS, which blew the Delaware area of the puzzle for a while. The EWER cluing was clever.

I wonder what ASP stood for...Assured to Strike Politboro? Annihilate Soviet Proletariat?

Anonymous 3:29 AM  

I hated this puzzle just a little.

I had "LANCE" instead of "VISOR" which resisted New England for a long time. Likewise, the Northwest was bound up by "TWISTEDROPES".

I still don't get ASP. The rocket from the 50s & 60s was the Atlas. (Some obscure Atlas Acronym? Atlas Space Projectile?)

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