Sunday, October 7, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Political Positions" - rebus puzzle with DEM. squares on the puzzle's left, IND. in the dead center, and REP. squares on the puzzle's right

I feel as if I've seen variations on this theme before, but no matter; this was an enjoyable little puzzle nonetheless. I find that rebus puzzles are Far easier to do on paper - on the computer, I do not take the time mid-solve to use the function that allows me to put multiple letters in one square. Instead, I just type in the first letter of the multiple letter set (software accepts this as a "correct" answer). Problem: when you're speeding around the grid, it's easy to forget which squares are the rebus ones, and hard to see where one might expect another rebus square to show up. So I hiccuped a lot. Rebuses also tend to up the probability not only that I'll make a typo, but that I won't find it easily. That happened today too. My one hangup was the result of such a typo. Proximity of European river AARE (38D: Rhine tributary) "caused" me to write AARACKAGES at 42A. I knew that was a rebus answer, so I didn't look at it too hard. But this mistake caused a mini-chain reaction, where I couldn't get 42D: Summons: Abbr. (cit. - I had AIT?) or 55A: Character size (agate) or 56D: Baguette, for one (gem) - had the -EM on that last one and still, for the life of me, couldn't figure it out for a while. Seriously consdiered HEM. All this has zero to do with quality of the puzzle, which was fine.

• 24A: Event where there might be burping (tupperwa[RE P]arty)
• 15D: Sunken cooking site (fi[RE P]it)
• 26A: Set boundaries ([DEM]arcated)
• 1D: King topper (dia[DEM])
• 33A: Poker player's gloat ("Rea[D 'EM] and weep!")
• 36D: Some records or cards ([DEM]os)
• 42A: Students' gifts from home (ca[RE P]ackages)
• 39D: Brunch serving (c[REP]e)
• 65A: Response to "Want some?" ("Don't m[IND] if I do")
• 51D: Duke Ellington classic ("Sat[IN D]oll")
• 87A: Prize since 1928 (Aca[DEM]y Award)
• 58D: Working together (in tan[DEM])
• 92A: Help in checking calls (instant [REP]lay)
• 86D: Worker in the TV biz (ad [REP])
• 103A: Junkyard supplies (spa[RE P]arts)
• 104D: Loud noise ([REP]ort) - kept wanting ROAR here ...
• 109A: Candidate's "This isn't over" ("I [DEM]and a recount!")
• 95D: Supporting instrumentalist (si[DEM]an)

There are a handful of answers here that are not terribly common or well known in real life, but that recur in crosswords. I'm pretty sure I learned AGRA (35D: Indian tourist mecca) and L-DOPA (61D: Parkinsonism treatment) and LEN (63A: Cariou of Broadway) all from doing the crossword. Even rap-hating solvers know ICE-T (102D: "Rhyme Pays" rapper) by now - you might also like to know that his heyday was 20 years ago and he is no longer nearly as popular as his crossword frequency would imply. Oh, and he's an actor now, on one of those crappy "Law & Order" spin-offs. SUV? LOL? Who knows? This puzzle was full of names, many of which I didn't know or had forgotten, including:

• 69A: Jazzman Jackson (Milt) - didn't know
• 73A: Energy secretary under Clinton (O'Leary) - didn't know
• 90A: Journalist _____ Rogers St. John (Adela) - forgot
• 43D: Bandleader Kyser (Kay) - forgot
• 64D: "Uncle Vanya" woman (Elena) - didn't know; ELENA was in the puzzle yesterday in her ice-skating incarnation
• 88D: Ekberg of "La Dolce Vita" (Anita) - forgot, then remembered with a cross or two
• 98D: Physicist Ampere (Andre) - didn't know

I balked at BALKY (75A: Obstinate) - should have been clued as [Cousin Larry's cousin on "Perfect Strangers"] and had a little trouble with a bunch of stuff I should have known cold, like INCA (2D: Foe of Pizarro) and FLAT PANEL (84A: Feature of many modern computers) and LOURDES (9D: Pilgrimage site) and PINTO (101A: Mottled mount). LOURDES is the name of my local hospital ... PINTO has become irrevocably a car or a bean to me. I had LEADERS for LOOPERS (21A: Sewing machine parts) after being So Proud of myself for "knowing" LEADERS. There are only a few remaining things I didn't know:

• 23A: Sunflower seeds, botanically (achenes) - ouch!
• 40A: Vacuum tube filler (argon)
• 1A: Surgeon's instrument (dilator) - I know you went with SCALPEL here at first ...

Lastly, the kid in me liked BAT DAY (49D: Ball club come-on) and Rain-BLO (60A: Rain-_____ (classic bubble gum balls)). Off to work like crazy so I can "enjoy" Games 3 of the ALDS.

My other blog is always looking for new readers. New paperback covers await your perusal / mockery.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Anonymous

You left out the first themed answer 1D (King topper): DIA[DEM].

Eileen, the Crossword Queen (sometimes)

Scott

Who could forget Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge?

Well, anybody under 70, I suppose.

Jim in NYC

Very nice puzzle today. Enjoy the weekend y'all.

Rex Parker

DiaDEM is in there - just not in first position.

rp

Michael

A relief after Saturday's very tough puzzle.

achenes? Did anyone know this immediately? I suppose there'a botanist/crossword solver out there.

mike

How is a bageuette a GEM?
How is AGATE a Charachter size?

karen

okay what's going on... i get the Post & Courier (charleston, sc), and my sunday nyt puzzle this week is "Go With The Flow" by E. Gorski...can't find it on your site! usually I can find it!

Rex Parker

"Go with the Flow" .... hmmm. You are not the first to tell me this today. Let's see if anyone knows what the hell is going on...

rp

Anonymous

I thought that rebus squares were supposed to be symetrically located... is this wrong?

Really threw me for a loop today.

Uncle Rebus

Ten points to Rex for "Law and Order: LOL".

Enjoyed this puzzle. Had a couple toe-stubs before realizing it was a Rebus. Then, things went smoothly for the most part, given the number of "learning" opportunities (GEM, AGATE, Rain-BLO, ACHENES, a new way to see FERAL, and OLEARY). Some trouble with the San Francisco area, but finally took a guess on LILAC which led to MILT and then MOMA and it was resolved.

I'm completely blank on what TUPPERWArepARTY has to do with burping. Could someone give me the slap-on-my-head inducing connection?

Re. ALBUMEN, this riddle never fails:

Q; How do you pronounce "p o k e"?
A: "Poke".
Q: How do you pronounce "f o l k"?
A: "Folk".
Q: How do you pronounce the white of an egg?
A: "Yolk"!

Karen

Darn it, still no pictures for me today. Any suggestions for firefox running on a mac?

Ulrich

Re. Milt Jackson: considered greatest vibraphonist in Jazz AND one of its greatest improvisers, pillar of the Modern Jazz Quartet for many years. It was actually the first answer I wrote down, only worrying about other Jacksons in Jazz because Milt appeared so obvious. Goes to show the obvious: Background DOES matter in how you approach a puzzle.

Rockonchris

I could not let go of MOOD INDIGO for SATIN DOLL for the life of me.

Mike, a diadem is a jewel and a baguette is the shape some diamonds are cut into. Agate is a printing measurement.

Uncle Rebus, Tupperware had lids that you had to "burp" to seal, i.e., lifting the plastic lid up at one end and pushing the air out.

All in all, a tough, fun puzzle.

Norm

mike,

baguette = a type of jewel cutting (maybe just diamonds, not sure)
agate = unit of type size in printing/nespapers

Hobbyist

Baguette is a narrowly cut gem, diadem is a royal headband, agate beats me unless it means type size?
Dull puzzle today compared to that of yesterday.

Rockonchris

Norm and Hobbying, thanks for the correction on diadem.

Beth

Well, this puzzle was much easier than yesterday's. It took me a while to get the rebus; the placement's corresponding to the political spectrum is amusing.

My question is what the heck is a UIE? Is that pronounced like You-EE? Seems like a reach to me.

I had Satin Doll playing in my head for the longest time. Took me a while to remember the name.

And as for HOTNESS (like that one), go A-Rod....

Jerome

Karen,

What OS are you running? I'm running 10.4.10 & I get the pix on both Firfox and Safari.

Anonymous

I thought this puzzle was hard, hard, hard

Jerome

Beth,

Hopefully, Arod will make a UEY!!!

jae

A fun puzzle. I knew it was a rebus with TUPPERWAREPARTY and figured out the rebus with REAdemANDWEEP. After that it was pretty smooth sailing. The SanFran area also held me up a bit but I knew there was a DEM there because I had 4 REPs and only 3 DEMs. INTANDEM gave it to me. My only issues were ASPISH which seems forced and UIE (for U-Turn) which I think I've seen spelled differently.

Orange

You know the fine print when newspapers would list the tables of stock prices? Or the fine-print sports results? That's agate type, about 5 1/2 points.

Rex, I think cousin Balki spelled it with an I.

I would watch Law & Order: LOL.

Bill Clinton's energy secretary was an African-American woman, Hazel O'Leary.

Beth, do you ever hang a Uie, Uey, or U-turn?

campesite

Never knew ALBUMEN was a term for egg white.
I was a network TV AD[REP], so it was fun to see that as a rebus.

Anonymous

Hated this puzzle. Hotness? UIE. I'd say uey. Parkinsonism. Please. I had to google that one. Can someone tell me what a rebus is?

Anonymous

ROCKONCHRIS - Count the letters.
MOOD INDIGO just won't fit. (Or, as Roy Blount, Jr. would say, that dog won't hunt).

Harleypeyton

Fun puzzle. Still trying to figure out why Red Sox fans define themselves in terms of the Yankees. Odd, that.

uncle rebus

Interesting after the discussion in yesterday's blog re. ENDASH -- on page 5 of today's NYT's Week in Review section is an article on the "death-knell" of the hyphen. The Shorter OED "eliminated some 16,000 hyphens from the sixth edition".

Rex Parker

Bigger question is why Yankees define themselves in terms of Red Sox. Pathetic and demeaning for a team with so many championships to care about a team that is, allegedly, such a loser. Maybe you haven't seen the "Got Rings?" T-shirts. Or the "Red Sox Suck" T-shirts. But I have.

Smug comments from Yankees fans - That's why I live to see them lose.

rp

Rikki

Karen,

I run Camino on Mac and it works.

This was really a fun one. Got the rebus on diadem and was off and running. No particular stumpers, though uie was the last fill for me. I get it as a u-turn, but the spelling? Didn't know agate per se, but remembered pica (10 pt) and elite (12 pt) from the old typewriters and had elite in there for awhile.

I'm surprised, Rex, that you haven't mastered the ESC/type the letters/hit enter function of the online format. And yes I had scalpel momentarily till Burt, Alec, and Tina came along to bump it out.

And Sox fans do NOT define themselves in terms of the Yankees or any other team. Just love to beat them and see them beaten.

Uncle rebus

ANON 2:18 --

For a lively discussion of the crossword fan's defintion of "rebus", see the blog entry and comments for the Thursday, June 7 (Nancy Solomon) puzzle.

Harleypeyton

Nah, you're missing the point. Snarky tee shirts are just that -- I'm talking about genuine obsession, the kind that tends to distort one's ability to assess (not to mention enjoy) the game. Yes, there are thinwitted Yankee fans who "live to see" Boston fail.

Not sure why you're setting the bar quite so low when it comes to your own behavior. But hey, different strokes.

Mr. october

Mariners' management banned the wearing of YANKEES SUCK t-shirts at Safeco Field about 2004. A first ammendment thing I guess.

Fans no longer throw play money at ARod when he comes to town, but they still give him the MONEY cheer.

wendy

This may be a first for me - I determined the rebus scenario at 42A CARE PACKAGES, but based on the puzzle title I thought it was PAC in honor of who *really* runs the government and politics. That never bore any fruit, though, no matter how hard I tried, and at IN TANDEM I finally saw the error of my ways.

Rex, we'll try to sweep tonight and then you won't have to have these discussions any longer. ;) Oh what a thrill that would be!!!!!

Harleypeyton

Well, I'm going to root against that sweep, needless to say. But I like the Cleveland squad, and Carmona is filthy. My hope is that we get back to the Jake and deal with C.C. Even more? I'm hoping Wedge is forced to use Borowski -- have you ever seen a team that was afraid to use its closer in an extra inning game at home?

Whatever the case, here's to both teams and to baseball. Oh. And to the hellmouth beneath Cleveland, the only rational explanation for the Bugs the ended the Joe Torre era.

Sue

Anon 2:18

Parkinson's is an all too common disease -- I wish it were more obscure. And L-Dopa is the most common treatment.

Ulrich

Since I'm doing only the Sunday puzzle, I missed the "great rebus debate" in June and did not understand why this thing was called "rebus." Now I do and am the wiser for it. I must also say that I'm coming down firmly on the side of the crossword community on this. One cannot invent a new word everytime a new meaning needs a term, nor can one conduct one's daily life throwing around expressions like "a crossword puzzle in which individual cells represent more than one letter or whole words" whenever the concept has to be referred to--meetings would last even longer. So, the community to which this concept matters selects a known word to name the concept and, like I did, newcomers will have to learn the new meaning of the word (You see this particularly in professions or trades using specialized tools and procedures)

There is a very good reason why entries in a dictionary often have meanings 1, 2, 3 ... (Sorry guys for interrupting the great baseball klatsch)

Anonymous

Not a rebus puzzle, not rebus entries. Not, not, not!

ScriberPat

Norrin2 [dot] blogspot [dot] com has a word for the "rebus" crossword: a "cramalot"

Usually I cannot get all the fill even after reading through Rex and all the Comments; then I squint and try to read Rex's grid but inevitably end up at the easier-to-read grid on donaldsweblog [dot] blogspot [dot] com

Today donaldsweblog has the wrong photo for 35D: Agra -- the photo shown is of the Taj Mahal which is 2.5 km away from the Red Fort of Agra.

Beth

Orange - I've made those turns, just never thought that they would be spelled as in this puzzle.

And I think we should agree that Yankee and Red Sox fans are equally obnoxious. The rest of the country hates us because we think baseball revolves around the rivalry (doesn't it?) and the fans have an intensely venomous hatred of the other team. Any accusation that one fan base is more obnoxious than the other is merely pot accusing kettle of being black. Be honest. There are of course fans of each team who rise above the pettiness, but you can't compare the tasteful fans of one team to the obnoxious ones of another.

And Go Yankees!

Michael

I think that I've seen "uey" in other NYT puzzles, but I might be wrong.

As a Phillie fan from age 6 (though living 1000 miles away from Philadelphia now), I think the obnoxiousness of their/our fans can easily match those of Yankee and Red Sox fans.

Jerome

Hating the New York Yankees has been a national pastime forever and the basis for the hit 1958 Broadway Musical, Damn Yankees, starring Gwen Verdon. Boston fans have a particular obsession because of the "Curse of the Bambino;" having won the World Series 5 times before but never since (until last year) trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees on Jan. 6, 1920, by Red Sox owner and theatrical producer Harry Frazee to finance another Broadway musical, No, No, Nanatte.

Jerome

Time flies. I meant 2004.

Aaron

scriberpat, I'm pretty sure you can click on Rex's grid and it will give you a larger version.

I also felt like I had seen something similar to this before. It was well-done here, though. I was totally ready for IND in the middle, and I thought I was so clever for it. Maybe not.

Anonymous

Blah, blah blah---Red Sox win, Yankees about to loose. And the Cubsters fall on their swords again! As a former Cub fan, there comes a time that one should not let the heart be broken.
Loved this puzzle, love this site. And there is life beyond the Hudson.

Harleypeyton

Well said, Beth. Tho' we should probably refer to the hatreds as 'aspish.' If only for today.

Orange

Here's how often these words have shown up in the NYT crossword since 1997 (not counting today):

UIE: 2
UIES: 2
UEY: 7
UEYS: 2
UTURN: 18
UTURNS: 6

(Data from the Cruciverb.com database.)

Not that anyone asked. But I like to make use of my \$25/year donation/Cruciverb membership.

jae

scriberpat, I think the Taj is considered to be in AGRA? Wiki has it there.

Ulrich

Yes Jae. The fact that the Lincoln Memorial is 1.5 miles (or whatever) from the White House does not mean that they are in different cities. Every guide I ever saw listed Agra as the location of the Taj Mahal. When I went there 2 years ago, the local guide referred to the neighborhood from where you enter the Taj as a suburb of Agra.

Rex Parker

Well, Yanks did *not* lose - which does not surprise me in the least. I like to compare them to Glenn Close's character in "Fatal Attraction." They are only dead when the heart has officially stopped beating. Until then, no matter what they look like, they are dangerous. Game started out great, as ex-Red Sock Trot Nixon homered off ex-Red Sock Roger Clemens early on, but then ex-Red Sock Judas Damon ended up having a stellar game and the Yanks ended up winning. So congrats, Yankee fans. And good luck.

Sox won, so ... that was good. Their pitching was insane: they gave up only 4 runs in the whole series. I want to play the Indians, but I have this sick feeling that Destiny has other plans. Then again, do I really want to face Sabbathia and Carmona? Maybe not.

Back to puzzles: "Cramalot" is a terrible substitute for the easily understood "rebus." Thanks to the sensible person (Ulrich) for explaining why "rebus" works just fine.

And yes, people, just click on the grid, and ... magic! You can read it.

rp

ds

Rex,
as long as you and maybe someothers are still up, can you please explain the STDS answer for 108D (FCC concerns)?
thanks

jae

ds, the Federal Communications Commission is concerned with Standards (STDS) and Practice. I beleive this is what got Howard Stern into trouble.

liz

ds--I think it's an abbr for "standards." Although I imagine the FCC would be concerned with explicit depictions of sexually transmitted infections, as they're now called, as well.

RAlbert

Thought this was an easy puzzle
& got it very fast.
However, 'How Many Times'
is presenting a problem...at
least it is not the usual
acrostic.

akakii

Rex, re your comments on solving rebus puzzles using software. If you enter an asterisk [SHIFT-8] in a square in Across Lite, it places a circle in it. That makes it easy to see which ones are your rebus squares and you don't have to take the time to hunt on the menu for the multiple letter selection.

Anonymous

Rex,
I think that 103 Across should have been SPAREPARTS and 104 Down would be REPORT

Anonymous

Tupperware are (were)plastic containers, you bought sometimes at Tupperware Parties (like Avon Parties)in home by a friend or neighbor who sold the stuff. Tupperware burped (made a burping sound) when secured with a top.

Anonymous

todays puzzle in nyt "Go With the Flow" does not make sense and I can't find it on your site.

Anonymous

Baguette is a type of French bread, not a gemstone.
Agate is a type of chalcedony, not a type size.
Sometimes Crossword puzzles are wrong. Sometimes to teh extent where they change language.
Although to this day I laugh over "Slegdehammer" which appeared as teh correct answer in a NYT puzzle decades ago.

-French Printer

Rex Parker

BAGUETTE and AGATE are just fine. If words didn't have multiple meanings, I'm not sure crosswords would be worth doing.

rp

Dylan

My paper had the Oct. 14 puzzle on Oct. 14 and the Oct 7 puzzle today (on Oct. 21). They also had 8D (Apt) and 21A as Poopers instead of the answers you had (ALT) and (LOOPERS). I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how a Pooper was a sewing machine part.
All in all, though, a very enjoyable puzzle.

rudiger

Dylan - Here's another county heard from (San Diego, speaking of HOTNESS) re: POOPER rather than LOOPER. The SD anti-Union-Tribune ran this puzzle on 10-21 with that same error in the solution; I thought it was either a smart ALEC at work or an incompetent ASS (knowing the editorial quality of the aUT, the latter wouldn't surprise me).

Other that, this was rather easy, especially after the theme was discerned. Questionable stuff is what slowed me ATAD: Snaps? UIE? ENOTE?

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