MONDAY, Aug. 13, 2007 - Andrew Ries

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Daily / Paper" (5A: With 72-Across, the end of 20-, 37-, 44- or 59-Across)

Got 1A: "Woe is me!" ("Alas!") easy and then moved to the next Across answer, which was 5A, and saw all those numbers and thought "screw that, I'm outta here." Then went on to solve the whole puzzle in under 4 minutes (finally - it's been months since I got under 4). Didn't notice the theme until I began writing this entry. It's pretty cute. Most of the non-theme fill is forgettable or tired, but some of it's nice. I really like both long 9-letter Downs - 11D: Hand protectors for bakers (oven mitts) and 36D: Earned run average, e.g. (statistic). I shouldn't like STATISTIC very much. Not a very fancy word. But something about it is striking me as rather fancy, unlike ALAS and ESTES and EWER and EVEL (ugh) and ARIAS and ALII and some of the others. To its credit, the puzzle does have two X's and a Q, even if it doesn't do much with them. Further, it has some curious words like OCTAL (34D: In base eight) - complemented by the equally mathish 5D: Tenth: Prefix (deci-) - and ... wait a minute: should JESU (10D: Bach's "_____, Joy of Man's Desiring") really be intersecting SEXY (19A: Like a Playmate of the Month)!? The fact that he's intersecting SUN is a nice, punny twist, but SEXY? I don't think Bach meant "Desiring" in that way.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: 1951 Montgomery Clift/Elizabeth Taylor film, with "A" ("Place in the Sun")
  • 37A: Venus (Morning Star)
  • 44A: Place to do business in the Old West (trading post) - I had POST and wrote HITCHING in front of it, which ... I'm not sure how I did that, since it doesn't fit, but I did it, and then was surprised when the far West of the puzzle didn't work out. The only hiccup I had in the whole puzzle.
  • 59A: 1987 Prince song and album ("Sign O' the Times") - a gimme (it's a Great double album), though for a couple seconds I thought I was wrong because I couldn't make it fit (I had "of" instead of the cheeky non-Irish "O'").

Words I like in this puzzle:

  • GORP (14A: Hiker's snack) - this stuff is gross, but the word sounds fabulous
  • ERNIE (15A: Els of the links) - prefer when he's clued in relation to Burt, but this'll do. Hey, speaking of golf, who won the PGA Tournament today...? Aha. This is from the PGA website:

Tiger Woods made the final round of the 89th PGA Championship more interesting than most everyone thought it might be this afternoon, allowing ERNIE Els and Woody Austin to dream of pulling off a major upset down the stretch. But Woods toughened up just when he needed to, protected his lead and put the finishing touches on his fourth PGA Championship and 13th major title.
Good for him.

Back to the puzzle...

  • BONN (29D: East Berlin's counterpart during the cold war) - young 'uns will not find this a gimme, what with the Cold War (capitals, right?) being over for a while now
  • LITHO (8D: Many an art print, for short) is slightly unusual, though awfully pretentious sounding
  • IVOR (38D: Actor/composer Novello) was the one huge question mark in this puzzle. I have no conception of who this is. He was British. He was gay. He was a character in Altman's "Gosford Park"? Well, I've learned something, so I'm done.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

38 comments:

PuzzleGirl 11:50 PM  

Oh I love me some Monday puzzle. I decided to start doing Monday and Tuesday puzzles on the computer just to see if I could get the hang of it and to time myself. Finished this one up and got the "the puzzle is completely filled" message and assumed I had a mistake in there somewhere since I didn't get the "congratulations!" message. Spent a couple minutes checking all my entries and ended up with a miserable 8:08 final time. Well duh, I completely forgot that I can't unlock the puzzle until tomorrow. Live and learn, I guess.

I was actually munching on some GORP just before attempting the puzzle. (Not GORP, technically -- trail mix really, since it had M&Ms and cashews in it too, not just Good Old Raisins and Peanuts).

I got a kick out of MAT, MUTT, and (oven)MITTS.

PuzzleGirl 12:06 AM  

P.S. Did everyone see how I patiently waited for Rex's post before commenting on today's puzzle? That, ladies and gentlemen, is how we do things around here. Just trying to help.

GK 12:18 AM  

Ernie Els gets a workout in crosswords because of that unusual 3-letter last name. It was nice to see the tables turned today: Els in the clue, ERNIE as answer (thus giving neurotic Bert a rest).

Wendy, OSU class of (mumble mumble) 7:50 AM  

Yeah, that SIGN O' THE TIMES made for a real brouhaha down in the nether regions. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong, and it wasn't helped by having DRAFT for ON TAP either. Knowing the French for 'too much' made it obvious I was in a pickle, but what kind?

That, plus DECA instead of DECI, made for a messier-than-usual inky completion of a Monday puzzle! I did grasp the theme before reading your post, though. Are the papers all supposed to be New York papers, though? There isn't a New York Star, is there? Or was it just intended to be generic daily paper names? Growing up in Maryland, my family read the now-defunct Washington STAR. When it ceased publication in 1981, it had been publishing for 130 years. That was a sad, sad day for newspaper buffs.

liebestraum 8:08 AM  

In some sort of brain warp I typed in DAISY instead of DAILY and spent at least two minutes trying to figure out how that and PA_ER fit the theme. (No idea what the French word for "too much" was.)

Otherwise, I enjoyed this puzzle.

lieb

jlsnyc 9:23 AM  

wendy -- your question led me to do a little research (having grown up with the baltimore sun), and guess what? there was once a new york star -- so, yes -- it looks like these are all "new york" papers (though not uniquely...).

extree, extree, read all about it

;-)

janie

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Never heard of GORP. what is that?

Alex 10:20 AM  

My thinking on the theme was that they were all newspapers with the name construction of "The Daily X"

The Daily Sun
The Daily Star
The Daily Post
The Daily Times

But looking around I see that while all four actually exist as newspaper names that most aren't for pretty small communities. So I guess it has to be current or one time NYC daily newspapers.

Hobbyist 11:16 AM  

I have a puppy and he is not always cute!! At moment he is asleep and cute but...

karmasartre 11:19 AM  

Pretty easy. It all made sense and I was pleased with my time of under 10 minutes...until I read Senor Parker's time of under 4. And I had had an early doppio machiatto nonfattio to speed things along. Oh, well.

Linda G 11:32 AM  

Lieb...for some reason I had it in my head that 10A (JOTS) went with 72A. Couldn't figure out what in the world DAILY JOTS could mean. Didn't take too long to crawl out of that hole.

GORP is a mix of nuts and dried fruit so it does well on the trail. For at home eating, though, you'd (I'd) want to add chocolate chips or M&Ms.

Wendy 11:32 AM  

Thanks, janie. I love that first sentence: " ... bankrolled by eccentric Chicago millionaire Marshall Field III." I've always wondered how the determination of eccentricity is made in such statements. At the end of the day, aren't we all, in one way or another?

Wendy 11:33 AM  

Didn't puzzlegirl say, in her comment, that GORP means Good Old Raisins and Peanuts?

profphil 11:47 AM  

Puzzle Girl and Wendy,

Actually Gorp, is not an acronym although there are 2 popular ones for it. However,both are etymologically incorrect. I read the Wikipedia article after I finished the puzzle and had "Gorp" but had nevr heard of it or at least never noticed it so I Googled it and found out it is basically trail-mix and not an acronym.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

Puzzlegirl did desccribe gorp, but i didn't know if she meant it. Just never heard that mixture called by that name

didn't mean to be annoying... sorry

PuzzleGirl 11:56 AM  

Well if it says it on Wikipedia then it must be true.

DONALD 12:41 PM  

Gosford Park -- can't believe you'd miss it! It's script is like a live crossword puzzle!

ayoung 1:02 PM  

I like to think, Rex, that I would have finished in four minutes except I was multi-tasking which I can only do with Monday's puzzle. Was watching tennis (on mute) and listening to Mozart's piano concerto #21 (with the Elvira Madigan theme). There were the usual suspects today--Ernie Els, Evel Knievel, Eda LeShan but it would be nicer to have them on Friday or Saturdayl.

Fergus 2:05 PM  

I struggled so much in the first half hour of 'Gosford Park' -- more so than with any word puzzle, except for perhaps the ones at the back of 'The Atlantic' or 'Harper's'. And yet my very insightful and sympathetic companion whispered a few hints about how and who was affiliated with whom. I was stunned how anyone could possibly be so perceptive. Fortunately it was a pretty empty theater, so my continuing questions weren't obtrusive, and my friend didn't mind displaying her virtuosity. Anyway, the point is that it was just another incidence of noticing how much quicker and cleverer other people can be, and rather than feeling any competitive envy I relished a quick-witted talent with awe and appreciation.

Nice Monday puzzle, by the way.

jlsnyc 2:30 PM  

ah, but gorp.away.com sez:

tasty!

cheers --

janie

Pete M 2:36 PM  

What? No picture of a Playmate? ;)

Orange 2:39 PM  

I don't really go hiking, but gorp-like concoctions are good around the house, too. My recipe: unsalted cashews and pecans (and almonds, if the mood strikes), dried Fruit Bits (e.g., wee morsels of apples, apricots, cranberries, and golden raisins), and chocolate chips (though they'll melt on you, unlike M&Ms, if it's hot out). It makes for great on-the-go airplane food with the nuts' protein.

Anonymous 6:01 PM  

I can't believe you all know what GORP is. Maybe it's because english is not my first language (although i did the puzzle under 10 minues w/o Googling: record for me)

Orange 6:17 PM  

Another perspective: A legitimate solver using the screen name felineizzy finished this puzzle online in 2:04, which is close to Tyler Hinman–level speed. Eek!

Anonymous 6:50 PM  

2:04 ???!!!

And I was so proud of my 10 mins

Orange 6:53 PM  

You know what? The person who takes all week to finish a Monday puzzle is still far cleverer than the person who sits around saying, "Oh, I can't do those things."

Anonymous 6:55 PM  

Thanks Orange !!

BT 7:24 PM  

Ewer?

I'm wondering what (if any) rules are there for a word like this on a Monday. Easy enough to get with the crosses, but by itself it doesn't seem to be a Monday term.

Any guidelines or thoughts on this?

Rex Parker 7:31 PM  

Consult the Pantheon (in the sidebar). EWER is a super common xword word, and not *that* strange a word in general (unusual, but ... well, it's not SOIE or DEMIT, is all I'm sayin'...)

rp

Anonymous 7:50 PM  

2:04? Pfui! I finished it in :07 -- without looking at the clues or filling in the blanks, which is so unnecessary!

I can finish Monday's puzzle before anyone can do a complete hiccup, or any bodily sound!

Anonymous 8:28 PM  

I have a hard time typing the word "crossword" in seven seconds....

Fergus 8:28 PM  

I am curious, Orange, how you can tell whether the lightning-fast times are legitimate or not? I am astounded at 2:04 merely for the dexterity involved.

karmasartre 8:43 PM  

fergus,

Good "I am Curious, Yellow" play.

Fergus 9:17 PM  

That familiar film knowledge would probably date us, wouldn't it? That was the epitome of X-rated allure just when I was exiting Freud's 'latent period.'

Anonymous 9:50 PM  

TROP GORP (too much-Fr-hiker's snack! Good thing they didn't intersect. Haven't read the other comments yet, but gorp? Great word as you say, Rex, but hum, I'd as soon avoid that aisle at the grocery...

CF

Orange 10:06 PM  

I'm too young to know "I Am Curious, Yellow" by firsthand knowledge, but the title's always cracked me up. My husband and I invariably toss it out when the word "curious" or "yellow" arises.

Anyway, the "applet cheaters" who solve the puzzle and then enter their solution into the applet (1) are marked by ridiculously unrealistic times (though some are now slowing down their apparent times to avoid getting blacklisted), and (2) generally don't engage in conversation within the crossword community or they'd quickly learn that it's not cool. Felineizzy comments at my blog as Isabel, and posts slower times as the week goes on. The cheaters don't tend to follow the consistent progression in solving times throughout the week. Tyler Hinman used to solve via the applet every day, so his track record is in my head as sort of a metric--about 2:00 for Monday and Tuesday, increasing to 3:30 or more for themeless puzzles. A user who "solves" in 1:15 on Monday or who posts the same time for a Saturday is obviously not legit.

Howard B 8:26 AM  

That's a really amazing time... hadn't seen that. Sorry, Izzy, if I ever mistook you for one of those 30-second typers ;). The speed at which some people can actually type is amazing, puzzle-solving or not. Even on the rare times when an early-week puzzle goes perfectly (no missteps, typos, and minimal jumping around), I can't go beyond about 2:15, since I have to look at the keys when I type more than a couple letters. Those top app solvers are astounding (Wasn't there a legit time around 1:25-1:30 on there at least once?)
Anyway, the speed thing is a fun bonus, there if you want to test yourself in that way. The satisfaction is still essentially in the solving; that moment when the "Aha!" light bulb flickers on in your mind for an answer or a theme.

Isabel 9:12 PM  

Well, to be fair, that day that I did it in 2:04 I was having a really good day.

And a lot of it really is just that I'm a fast typist. A fairer metric might be to compare the time it takes to do a crossword to the time it takes to do it if you already know the answers. Of course, how do you measure the second one? It seems a bit disingenuous to compare times that were posted by different people if they're under, say, five minutes; at that speed a large part of what applet times test is actually typing speed.

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