FRIDAY, Jul. 13, 2007 - Manny Nosowsky

Friday, July 13, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Sorry, no full post this morning. Too busy. Here's the grid. I'll give you all a little commentary this afternoon.

Well, maybe I'll at least give you some discussion topics now:

Topic One: TRIPLEX (3D: Certain multiscreen cinema) and MALE SEX (24D: What X + Y signifies) - how far is too far to go for your sexy X-words?

Topic Two: ESSAYER (62A: One who tries) and BEARER (46D: Carrier) - when Odd Jobs intersect in their -ER suffixes, how many tears does Baby Jesus shed?

Topic Three: ENOLA (22A: Town outside Harrisburg) and XENIA (50A: Ohio city whose name means "hospitality" in Greek) - what is the limit on wacky place names of little-to-no fame?


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 9:59 AM  

Would not have gotten "flail" ("grain threshing tool") had I not discovered a crowd of old-timers who do the crossword mornings at the coffee shop where I write my diss. I live in Iowa. Old Iowans know about grain threshing tools.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

Got stuck on "What's the___" where I started with BEEF after solving IF for hypotheticals....but got hung up on Mex. being in N.AMER. and changed to "what's the...TIME" with I.E.'S for hypotheticals. Changed back to IFS when NAFTA came up after I cheated and googled CATO as the founder of stoicism and saw ZENO, giving me ZOOTSUIT and TAPIOCA, but by that time I was still thinking BEEF so I ended up with What's the RIFF. Trouble is ROCILELY made no sense.

(knocking myself on the head)

Luigi 10:49 AM  

Live right next door to Xenia(in Dayton, OH-home of the Wright Bros.) and it took me a while to get that! Claims to fame would be the Xenia tornado
and Helen Hooven Santmyer's NY Times Best selling book about growing up there-"...And Ladies of the Club".She became a best selling author when she was 88. Guess it's never too late!

Linda G 10:58 AM  

I initially read 3-Down as TRIPLE X, rather than TRI-PLEX. And the X + Y clue was my favorite, cleverly disguised as a math function.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

Does anyone actually say, "What's the diff?"

Or, does anyone actually say, "What's the diff?" and not deserve a karate chop to the ear?

John 11:37 AM  

I hate Manny Nosowsky -- he's a very uninteresting puzzler and I usually skip his puzzles. I didn't notice his name this morning, got to the bottom right in record time on the BART going to work but stuck on ethanes and lie idle (what a pathetic answer). Since when was a flop a dog, anyway? Doubly pathetic. I hate Manny Nosowsky (again). JW

frances 11:46 AM  

Still, you've got to give Nosowsky credit for finding a clue for "Enola" that doesn't reference the infamous bomber. And "the jig is up" ranks just behind "jiggers, guys, the cops" as totally retro (and probably imaginary) criminal argot.

mellocat 11:50 AM  

TRIPLEX is fine in my book. Sure, the mega-mega-plexes may be more common nowadays, but I believe I grew up with a fair number of triplexes in my area (Westchester county NY, '70s). There are probably some still around.

MALESEX, on the other hand, got me. Not knowing XENIA combined with the clue misdirecting towards math led me to MALESET, my own made-up mathematical construct. Since I got it wrong I didn't care for that crossing. Maybe if I got it right I would have liked it...but I doubt it.

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Essayer? Isn't that usually Essayist? An Essayer is one who says "es" WTF? Maybe a better clue would have been "Spanish philosopher" .. or something.

I have never thought of Flop and dog in the same sense.. Maybe if you're dog tired you might flop on the couch, but, c'mon... Dogs are feet, breeds, and verbs that you cant seem to shake..

"But Then" for "On the other hand" left me cold too. But then is more sequential... "But then, X happened" The clue kept leading me to alternatives such as "Then again", which, of course, didn't fit.

I like the cross of Tapioca, Zootsuit and Zeno, in fact the whole center of the puzzle was fun..except for Xenia. I'm with Rex on that one.


Pete M 12:08 PM  

I disagree that the puzzle was a DOG, though somehow BEARER screams for a Barry Bonds misdirect. I didn't even think about TRIPLE-X for TRI-PLEX, but that could actually just as easily apply to "certain multiscreen cinema", I suppose. Way to slip in a subtle porn reference. :)

BUT THEN, ENOLA and XENIA aren't exactly stellar, and MALE SEX felt awkward and redundant. I mean, isn't the sex part implied when you say "Male"? What's the DIFF?

All in all, I thought it was a fine puzzle.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

My in-laws live in Enola, PA. Sure, it's not very well known, but it is interesting that a small town is Alone spelled backwards.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

I thought the object of the puzzle is to figure it out, which is not the same as asking old-timers. I believe I have failed to complete the puzzle if I have to look it up or ask someone else.

"To essay" (v) = "to try" as in "to essay a task". An essayist writes an essay (n).

Gary 12:28 PM  

a dog in this case is a bomb or turkey or dud which equals flop.

jae 1:08 PM  

Pretty easy for a Friday. I thought the North was more interesting/better done than the South. Does anyone else think this has been a strange puzzle week? Wednesday was a Mon/Tue difficulty, Thursday was more like Fri/Sat and this one felt like a Wed/Thur. Is Will on vacation?

Attempt is a second level definition for essay. While xenia and enola are a bit obscure they are not crossed by obscurities which makes for an easier puzzle.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

"Jig is up"... that's why the clue said "quaint".

The puzzle is a pangram, by the way.

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

Here I thought I was improving re my puzzle solving skills and now I find that the whole world found this one a cinch. I am desolated and chagrined.
Let's see what tomorrow brings.
What's the diff? It could be a dog as well unless I find my acumen to be on a bit of a roll.

jlsnyc 2:05 PM  

john w. -- manny says very nice things about you! ;-)

and have to agree with jae about the "strangeness" of the puzzle sequence this week. ah, well -- keeps us on our toes, no?


Orange 2:08 PM  

Somebody by the name of "anonymous" (People! Click "Other" and pick a random screen name for yourselves! You'll still be anonymous, but we'll know how many anonymous commenters there are instead of grouping you all into one confused person.), the one at 11:01, asked if anyone ever says "What's the diff?" The answer is yes! (Sort of.) In college, at a bar, an inebriated fellow student hit on me and was rejected with the unnecessary explanation "Uh, because I don't feel like it." He replied hopefully (and futilely), "That makes no diff!" Somehow he did not receive a karate chop to the ear, though he certainly merited one. Using "diff" is always mockable.

Don't complain too much about XENIA, but remember it—trust me, you'll see it again in another crossword sometime. And maybe the town ENOLA, too.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

A most excellent Manny puzzle. How I wish he could clone himself, or at least his puzzles.

BlueStater 2:53 PM  

A most excellent Manny puzzle. How I wish he could clone himself, or at least his puzzles.

BlueStater 2:55 PM  

Sorry to have said it twice. But maybe it merited saying twice.

Wade 2:58 PM  

I don't share the hostility to this puzzle. Felt a tad easy for a Friday but was still challenging and satisfying to me.

To anonymous in PA, if you're alone in Enola, you might find things a big livelier if you back into Tulsa.

Fergus 3:11 PM  

Wasn't Xenia the setting for Sinclair Lewis' 'Babbitt'?

I haven't raced through a Friday puzzle since ... I don't know when.

After reading 'Malcom X' I went to a vintage cloting store and found myself a ZOOTSUIT, just because I liked the name. It doesn't get out much anymore.

I have to assume that Dog was meant as a verb, as in 'dogging it' so there is maybe a tangential association with FLOP there. ??

SWING AT is not going for a ball; that's a FLOP, too. And INGENUE? Well, OK. But I don't think a TEPEE is a Powwow place, unless you want to include the general setting and bring in the totem pole, the campfire and maybe the cabinet where the peacepipes and wampum are stored.

My jig is up -- enough of a petty rant.

Michael 3:54 PM  

I guess being a Fri. puzzle, they couldn't use the clue "___ Gay" for ENOLA. But that wasn't waht screwed me up. I got everything but the TENIA section, and I can't even blame the unknown Ohio city for that one. It was my own two mistakes:

1) I'm so embarrassed that I didn't know REBECCA -- esp. since I thought "Having learned a lesson" was WISED instead of WISER, so I started the clue with a D.

2) Thought a 40s fashion was a PANTSUIT, not a ZOOTSUIT. Pantsuit, zootsuit, leisure suit, what do I know. I'm waiting for the '80s unstructured jackets to make a comeback.

jlsnyc 4:03 PM  

fergus -- that'd be zenith...



David 4:17 PM  

Love Manny's puzzles, although in this case I agree it must have been easy for a Friday since I finished it (though not without a lot of pondering.) FLOP<>DOG was great, for a Friday, nice pairing of obscure usages. And I don't understand an objection to "Be At Rest" for "Lie Idle". Took me forever (wanted Lie down, but it didn't ring quite right) but really lit the light bulb when I got it.

wups gotta run! Back to work!

EASL 4:18 PM  

C2H6 -- that's the only ETHANE I know. Are there others that eluded my chemistry classes?

green mantis 5:04 PM  

I liked this puzzle because it seemed to inhabit that sweet spot between challenging and too-much-for-the-mantis. It fell in a nice domino-y way, and that just feels...right.

I never figured out why an essayist tries, however, and rex's comment about crossing obscure occupational "ers" made me laugh out loud. I am a big proponent of alerting people when their behavior is making the baby Jesus cry.

Comment section seems a little acrimonious today. I hear a sniffle or two from on high.

pootie 5:42 PM  

natural gas is predominately methane (CH4) but contains some ethane and other alkanes.

Karen 6:02 PM  

I would rather have wacky place names than wacky people names. I know Xenia from driving through it from Columbus to Cincinnati, also the tornados.

I think that's the first time I've seen GUAT in the puzzle. I liked how the announcers for the Concacaf soccer cup enunciated the 't' for Guatemala.

Fergus 6:03 PM  

Essayer is the infinitive form of the French verb 'to try' so I reckon that's what got brought into English, even if that sounds a bit like trying too hard.

And thanks to jlsync. Babbitt seemed so real that I couldn't believe he lived in a fictional place.

Orange 6:28 PM  

Green mantis, in this puzzle, ESSAYER means "one who essays, or tries." I'm pretty sure I've seen ESSAYED in crosswords, too.

Fergus, dog and FLOP are nouns here, as Gary said above at 12:28. Was the latest action-movie sequel or failed sitcom pilot a dog? If so, it was a flop?

Baby Jesus is giggling through the tears because blue stater enjoyed a crossword and said so publicly.

Fergus 6:49 PM  

Oops, re DogFLOP, I didn't mean to plough tilled ground, but I must have glanced past that comment. That does finally make sense to me, I note sheepishly.

Linda G 7:19 PM  

Bluestater didn't just say it once...he said it twice! And then, for good measure, said that it should be stated twice.

And I agree with him. I loved it, as I've said elsewhere.

Jim 10:52 PM  

Off the top, without checking any sources, I say:

It's not "X+Y", it's XY.

A "cusp" is a critical point or time, it's not an "eve," the day or evening before something else.

"Slog" and "slave" are both "work hard" but that doesn't make them synonyms.

'night all.

Linda G 11:00 PM  

No one disputes that it's XY. Crossword license--like poetic license--makes this not only an acceptable clue but an exceptional clue.

Orange 11:42 PM  

Jim, once you get to the second half of the week, direct synonyms tend to fall by the wayside because they're too easy. If there's at least one example sentence in which the clue and answer could be interchanged, it's fair game. For example, in astrology, when the sun is about to move into the next sign, that's the cusp, essentially the eve of a new zodiac sign.

green mantis 12:50 AM  

Yeah, I gotta chime in with my vote for "cusp" being the edge of something, in which event "eve" makes sense. And orange, I'm getting that to essay is to try, but that fact just doesn't reside in my wee insect brain. Ya learn something new everyday. I'm going to go essay to win some money at poker now.

Fergus 2:40 AM  

linda g -- your TRIPLE X interpretation was very funny when I looked over the posted comments

FLAILER 10:06 AM  

I'm the one who posted about getting "flailer" from solving with the oldtimers. wow, anonymous at 12:28, that was mean. Doing puzzles with other people can be FUN. We were working on it as a group, I didn't just hit them up for answers. Wow, what a cranky, bitchy post to chastise a stranger.

Rex Parker 10:37 AM  

Flailer (a good name),

Relax. You have to learn to ignore those inexplicably nasty guys. They are few and far between and they are generally too obtuse and insensitive for a proper reprimand to have any effect. Sadly, a small segment of the puzzling population is composed of cranky a$$holes who can't abide the different ways of other people. Your critic is probably just sad that he/she doesn't have friendly old-timers to discuss the puzzle with. Only a die-hard ignoramus would persist in not knowing something rather than seek the answer out. The whole reason this blog exists is to create CONVERSATION about the puzzle (a sort of virtual diner-with-friendly-old-people).

So, in conclusion, just let it go. And don't let it keep you from future commenting.


joest 10:49 AM  

Does anyone comment to this blog from the group of puzzlers who solve six weeks after the fact?

Time Traveller 11:36 AM  

Occasionally someone from the time warp has something to say. Frustrating to miss out on the conversation, but why not start a new conversation with the whole rest of the world that does the syndicated puzz?
It would be user-friendly if Rex would A) have a pointer to the syndicated puzz, like Linda G does, and B) echo the date posted as well as the time.

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

6WL :::::

Very easy for Friday. Stumbled on XENIA "X" and the X + Y clue.

Re. 8a, "Quaint cry from a caught crook, with 'the'" (JIGISUP), my radio days say that the catcher (cop) says that, not the crook.

Maybe I'll do Saturday in the park.....

cornbread hell 7:55 PM  

joest- not so much. like time traveler says, it's kinda frustrating.
i like the idea of starting a new conversation if you're interested. but to do it here seems kinda lame. meet me at my place? or yours?

(re: this puzzle: easy, but elegant.)

WWPierre 7:59 PM  

When I had looked over this puzzle, and before I filled anything in, I wrote, "This is gonna be fun!" in the white space above the puzzle. TEXTILES was my first entry, then I crossed it with OMNIMAX. Of course, this made Washington/Oregon untenable, so I moved to the center, with the TEXTILE crosses, and breezed through it, and the other three corners. My momentum carried me through the N/W, and I finished halfway through my second cup.

Bluestater, Wade, Green Mantis, Linda et all are right, this was a good puzzle, if a trifle easy for a Friday.

Anonymous, above, anticipated my only quibble. We must have listened to the same radio programs at the beginning of the Cold War.

Joest, I once mused about wasting time writing something no-one would ever read, and Rex assured me that he, at least, always comes back to check. We time travelers should get together and fill the bottom of Rex's blog with such witty comments that the real-time regulars would make a point of returning.

joest 12:44 PM  

I agree with the above comments but will confess I don't know who lindag is or where her website is. For what it's worth, I liked yesterday's puzzle and am old enough to remember Xenia, Ohio b/c of its terrible tornado. It hit Ohio while I was attending college there. If only as many clues popped out for the Saturday puzzle!

Time Traveller 1:52 PM  

Linda G = Madness ... Crossword and Otherwise -- pointer under CROSSWORD BLOGS on the sidebar.

If you have way too much time on your hands you should sample all four of Rex's recommendations. Be careful, though--they are habit forming.

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