SUNDAY, Jan. 6, 2008 - Lynn Lempel

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "The Inside Dope" - synonyms for "DOPE" are buried inside long theme answers

Wow, I had a weird lot of trouble with this puzzle - partly because I was solving it in the midst of much pre-bedtime commotion (not sure what I was thinking) but partly because the clues just seemed vague so much of the time. The whole upper part had holes in it for a long period of time. AGATE (19A: Shooter's target), NACRE (6A: Decorative inlay material), FLAIR (20A: Facility), ATOLL (4D: Midway, e.g.), even PAPAL (1A: Kind of court) just didn't want to come. I didn't catch onto the theme for a Long time. I would have rated this puzzle Medium-Challenging, but I think it was "Challenging" only for Me, personally, to solve Quickly. Overall, it's quite do-able. The theme answers were ... not that interesting, frankly, and some of them are phrases that are simply not very in-the-language. I am impressed how many different words there are for DOPE, but I'm not sure they do all mean DOPE, exactly. Maybe I'm just perturbed because I spent so much of the puzzle hunting for drugs instead of synonyms for "stupid person." Let's see:

Theme answers:

  • 23A: *Feature of some kids' cereals (coc OAF lavor) - I always think of an OAF as big and clumsy, but that's def. 3; Webster's 3rd New Int'l gives "stupid person" as the more common definition
  • 29A: *Regular provider (g ASS tation) - "Regular" gasoline, get it? Ugh. I usually use this word to mean "a jerk," but sure enough, the primary definition is a "simple-minded person."
  • 37A: *Holder of the world record for the longest ovation on the operatic stage (80 minutes) (Placi DODO mingo) - 80 minutes!?! That's insanity. I start getting impatient when movies run not much longer than that. DODO works here, themewise.
  • 60A: *Let the mind believe what it likes (hu MORON eself) - hmmm. Yeah, I hate this phrase, especially as clued. I had MACAO for MACAU (36D: Former Portuguese colony in China), so figuring this out took longer than it should have).
  • 76A: *Bastion of brotherhood (Masoni CLOD ge) - CLOD = one who is gross and stupid: DOLT. We have a sizeable, long-abandoned Masonic TEMPLE in town, just a mile or so from us, and so it was hard to disLODGE "TEMPLE" from my head.
  • 98A: *Elementary school test package (rea DINGBAT tery) - this is the phrase that feels the most forced to me. I mean, it's all for the glory of the best of the theme synonyms, DINGBAT, but still ... I had READING MATTERS for a tiny bit.
  • 109A: *Dress for the return of cool weather (fal LOUT fit) - a LOUT is not necessarily stupid; an "awkward clownish fellow" - though one of the synonyms given is OAF... I always thought a LOUT was more BOOR than OAF.
  • 117A: *Not even close (world SAP art) - a SAP is a PATSY, isn't it? "A person usually liable to be taken in" as by sentimentality or gullibility or by a trick. Spade says over and over that he "won't play the SAP" for Brigid O'Shaughnessy. I guess being a SAP is a bit like being a DOPE. Hmmm ... these are all loosely affiliated words; I guess that's enough. And there are a lot of them. Wait, I forgot the Downs!
  • 3D: *Alaskan cruise sighting (Pacifi CHUMP back) - took me forever, mainly because I was seeing the "CH" as part of the same word. Parsing! Do people really call them "PACIFIC" humpbacks, as opposed to ... some other kind?
  • 46D: *Wasn't clear, as one's future (seeme DUNCE rtain) - this phrase is tepid, though I realized they can't all be gems when you are bound to get in So Many (loose) synonyms. I had my biggest challenge where this theme entry ends: HEINE (123A: Heinrich who wrote "Atta Troll") over ARNEL (127A: Synthetic fabric) crossing non-bird-related ERNE (114D: Island-dotted lake of Northern Ireland) just sucker-punched me. HEINE I recalled from some prior crossword disaster, ERNE I inferred from there, and ARNEL - that was a prayer.
There are a number of valiant attempts to hide stale fill behind vague, clever, or otherwise strange clues:

  • 120A: Dungeons & Dragons figure (ogre)
  • 45A: "The Guns of August" figure (tsar)
  • 12D: Lover boy? (Eros) - it's EROS or AMOR, just as 62D: Mauna _____ is always LOA (as it is here) or KEA
  • 83A: Cracker topper (edam)
  • 65A: Soyuz destination (Mir)
  • 47D: Where Monferrato wine comes from (Asti)

There are a lot of colorful and interesting names in the puzzle today as well:

  • 27A: Rita Hayworth title role of 1946 ("Gilda") - one of the foundation films noirs.
  • 50A: Grauman of Grauman's Chinese Theater (Sid) - another film-related name.
  • 95A: Mexican revolutionary _____ Hidalgo (Miguel) - embarrassingly, I did not know this, though the name sounds vaguely familiar.
  • 85A: 1920s anarchist in a celebrated trial (Sacco) - and Vanzetti. I have a new book about them on my shelf just waiting to be read. Like so many other books.
  • 106A: Portrait photographer Arbus (Diane) - first heard her name in Woody Allen's "Manhattan" (possibly my favorite film of all time); next heard it in an episode of "The Simpsons" - that is all ye need to know about my cultural frame of reference. The A to Z of it, as it were.
  • 107A: Ralph _____, 1974 N.L. batting champ (Garr) - One of the biggest celebrity crushes of my young (and older) life was on Teri GARR, so, much as I love baseball, I, for one, want nothing to do with this Ralph fellow.

And here's some other stuff you might find interesting:

  • 34A: Aniselike herbs (fennels) - don't like the plural, but this is an interesting herb to see in the puzzle. Unusual. Took me a few crosses to get it.
  • 74A: Group west of the Atlantic: Abbr. (OAS) - Organization of American States. Membership = the 35 independent states of the Americas. A supercommon abbr. in crosswords.
  • 81A: Hug and kiss, to a Brit (snog) - an uppity little answer, becoming (it feels to me) increasingly common. Saw it in another NYT, and some other daily puzzle recently, I'm pretty sure. We read Harry Potter (IV) every night with Sahra, so this word is never very far away.
  • 87A: Some cottons (Lisles) - city in France, I think. Proud of how quickly I got it, considering French cities and fabrics are two of my non-strong points.
  • 93A: Kierkegaard's "The Sickness _____ Death" ("Unto") - pretty gaudy and depressing way to get UNTO, but I do prefer it to the more common [Golden Rule preposition].
  • 94A: "My Way" lyricist (Anka) - What didn't this guy do? He rules the crossword, musically speaking. Amazing, for a guy with a "K" in his name.
  • 124A: Moneybags in "The Wind in the Willows" (Toad) - this made me smile. That's all. This is one title on a child's bookshelf...
  • 24D: Title on a child's bookshelf (Fables) - and this is another.
  • 29D: Object of a vain wait (Godot) - it's absurd how long this took me to get. Should've been a gimme.
  • 80A: Uniters with 51-Down (ova) - OK, that's a common enough crossword word...
  • 51D: Uniters with 80-Across (sperm) - whoa! Shouldn't that clue have a whale in it, somewhere?
  • 54D: Songlike (arioso) - one of the most important 6-letter words you can know as a solver. Comes up over and over and over. Not the most common, but about the most common 6-letter word that might not already be in your vocabulary.
  • 75D: Like some electronics (solid state) - odd. Never seen this is in my puzzle. Familiar, original phrase, but I can't say that I can define it. I'm trying to imagine my DVD player in a liquid or gaseous state.
  • 82D: 1945 Colette novel ("Gigi") - again, assiduously avoiding the road more traveled, clue-wise.
  • 101D: Company whose production goes in cycles? (Yamaha) - solid clever clue.

The End

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[drawing by Emily Cureton]

52 comments:

Anonymous 10:07 PM  

Love your blog, discovered it in October. Will write you another time about teaching in prison. BUT how do you write about Sunday on Saturday night with a Saturday heading? Dat's jest mean!

Ulrich 12:15 AM  

On the upside: All theme answers have in common that the "dope" part straddles two words--must've taken the constructor some ingenuity to find these. I also liked the clues for gas station (Regular provider), satire (Swift gift--name hidden because beginning-of-line cap), alms (Poor returns) simply because it took me sooo long to catch on. My biggest problem was in the SE since for the longest time, I couldn't see that "yes" should be "yea"--it yielded only when I finally got alms. I have the feeling that the pros would have seen this right away.

One quibble: "Aniselike herbs" for "fennels" seems to be really stretching it--when we use fennel, it's a vegetable like leek. Yes, they have some feathery stuff at the top that can be used like an herb, but I doubt that that's why they are grown.

jae 2:19 AM  

I also found this pretty challenging, especially NW and SE. So medium-challenging works for me, doable but with a lot of work. I did get the theme quickly and started looking for syns. for idiot which helped a little.

I also initially had MACAO (seeing MORON fixed that), and, in addition, spelled NACRE wrong, had YES for YEA, and SHIELDS for SHROUDS. The SE corner got me too, I had to play guess the vowel and it took two guesses to get it right. Who knew they would name a lake after a bird and have a synthetic fabric with out an O or a Y in it?

rick 7:17 AM  

Put me on the MACAO list. I think I got that spelling from the Clavell novels.

I though the theme was ambitious and well done. Thought the SE was (as Rex says) TTH.

I'm waiting to see: test banner's reaction/FALLOUT FIT in a future puzzle.

marcie 8:38 AM  

@ulrich... I thought that Anise-like was a good clue since fennel was my first thought. It tastes just like anise (both of which I avoid like the plague... not my cuppa). I have no idea what either one looks like, but flavoring-wise they are a pair.

Add me to the Macao list. Which made the first word of 60A honor instead of humor, which made a mess of that area for a bit.

A nice medium Sunday amble-time, for me. The theme didn't really help much in getting the solutions but it was fun looking for them once the answers became clear.

paul in mn 8:47 AM  

Today's puzzle took me longer than the normal puzzle, so I'd say it seemed on the challenging side. So you have at least some company, Rex.

Got all but the ERNE/HEINE crossing down in the SE. I debated between an S and the N and finally guessed wrong.

I didn't understand AGATE until I was all finished and looked back. That's what I get for not playing marbles as a child.

Pinky 9:19 AM  

Got through most of the puzzle by guessing possible words with the few cross letters I had.

That gave me weird half-guesses like "SAC OF ICE something" for PACIFIC HUMPBACK (alaska sighting); and "something boyscout-ey BADGE" for MASONIC LODGE (bastion of brotherhood)

jls 9:37 AM  

"the sickness unto death" approach to "unto" put me in mind of opening line of "the pit and the pendulum" (eap, 1843):

i was sick -- sick unto death...

kierkegaard and poe *did* live contemporaneously (and soren's book appeared some 6 years after edgar's story), but given its biblical origins, probably no surprise that the phrase appears in the writings of both men.

;-)

janie

Kumar 9:43 AM  

Had the same feelings as Rex doing this. Medium is about right, though not based on the great difficulty I had with it. Can't quite put my finger on it, but all the clues were just a bit off to my way of thinking.

Clever dope synonyms in the long clues from a constructor's viewpoint, I guess. Just plain dopey from a solver's viewpoint.

JenCT 10:08 AM  

Fennel is considered a perennial herb - got it from the aniselike flavor only. Thought this puzzle was clunky & hard.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

You must be terribly young, Rex. In olden days, electronics came with vacuum tubes and mechanics. Today they are all circuit boards. i.e., solid state.

billnut 10:36 AM  

This is where ignorance can be a good thing. I had no preconceptions about MACAU and MACAO!

Diane Arbus was the subject of a recent film biography starring Nicole Kidman. I think the movie was called FUR, but I'm not sure.

I'm going to enter the last year of my fifth decade in February, so I remember when it was a big thing for TVs to have solid-state engineering.

Like Ulrich, I had YES for YEA. I also had, for quite a while, TAR for OAR. (That's what I get for being a Gilbert and Sullivan fan, I guess.) There were a couple of other little one-letter distinctions that kept this puzzle interesting.

I thought that overall this was a pretty good puzzle, actually. Unlike some themes in which one word recurs, you had to look at the variations. And although I respect all your opinions, I just can get worked up over the finer distinctions between SAP and DOPE. I got the idea.

Ulrich 10:42 AM  

It's a dreary day here in CT, and the playoff games haven't started yet. Having nothing better to do, let me comment on another aspect of the puzzle. I don't know how well-known Heine is in this part of the world, but in Germany, he is one of her best known poets. The most famous son of Duesseldorf (although not as famous as the mustard produced there), he died in exile in Paris. Since he was Jewish, his books were, of course, forbidden under the Nazis. But one of his poems provided the lyrics for one the best known German songs ("Die Lorelei"), and the Nazis could not NOT include it in song books--so they claimed "Poet unknown". One of the best known opening lines of a poet by Heine are, in translation,

When I think of Germany at night
I can no longer sleep...

Rockonchris 10:47 AM  

I couldn't seem to get any traction anywhere today. Wanted BLACK for SQUAB (birds baked in a pie); YES for YEA; INNS for DENS; WICKS for FUSES (do firecrackers have fuses?).

Could not get LEADUP to save my life. The theme escaped me until I read Rex.

I agree with Kumar about the odd cluing, especially facility/FLAIR and feeling/AURA.

No "aha" moments. Many sighs and groans.

Chris

BlueStater 11:35 AM  

Count me in the "challenging" -- bordering "nasty" -- opinion segment, mostly because this puzzle was so relentlessly punny and, as the Germans say (as long as we're on that subject), kurvenreich. I pray for more tough, straight puzzles that test knowledge and not one's ability to get in synch (sync?) with the constructor's mindset, but that prayer is doubtless vain. At least I was spared the ignominy of being stumped two Sundays in a row, but it was a long, hard (50 minutes) slog, bludgeoning it out letter by letter.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

I had the AB in FABLES, really wanted it to be BABAR, except there was one too many letters.
Curiously, it seems there are some people abroad who
(mis?) spell it BABAAR...

Kathy 11:49 AM  

Couldn't finish and didn't get the theme until getting here. But once I read what the theme was, I forced myself back to find the synonyms. I agree with ulrich, though, that the theme implemented the way it was really was very clever. So I am defeated, but by a capable foe!

Kathy

Ted 11:50 AM  

No, your DVD player would not be gaseous or liquid, but plasma, as those of us who remember vacuum tubes could tell you. I can't even guess how big of a building a vacuum tube DVD player would need.

Greg 12:00 PM  

Just the one square flummoxed me - arnel and erne - I guessed O as like someone said earlier, seeing an O or a Y in synthetics is just so common - googled it when I got home from the coffee shop only to discover that (oops!) I was wrong and it was an E. Other than that I had no particular problem with the theme today, nor any of the other answers, but was overall left with a feeling of *blech* about the puzzle.
I did want to see "Green Clover" instead of "Cocoa Flavor" at first, but I think that was because of my recent Lucky Charms binge with my girlfriend!
Oh well - I'll have a go at the Acrostic later while I watch the Giants and hope they lose to the Bucs - I'm a Redskins fan so I am now apathetic about the rest of the playoffs - just want to see my Rivals humiliated!
Happy Puzzling All!
Greg

ArtLvr 12:11 PM  

Bravo, Emily, for your drawing -- best chuckle of the day! No real "aha" in the puzzle, but I liked the chain of fireworks words: squab, fuses, and edam on a cracker. Dud would have been nice in there somewhere to sum up my let-down. Enjoyed the comments more than the puzzle: pleased to read more about Heine, Poe et al!

Michael 12:52 PM  

This took me longer than most Sundays and I missed the cross of erne and arnel (I had an o instead of an e). And, like others, I had macao instead of macau which led to "humor oneself" being the last theme clue I got.

ArtLvr 1:29 PM  

Help! Having mentioned "squab" in relation to fireworks, where did I get that? I think it refers to small skyrocket, but it's not in my dictionaries. Best I could find was: ORIGINAL PRINTED PATENT APPLICATION NUMBER 19,756 FOR A MEANS FOR ENABLING A BLASTING CHARGE TO BE FIRED BY A SQUAB AND DETONATOR. (1909), James Cartwright, inventor, UK... This was in a used books list. Can anyone elucidate?

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

I spent an awful long time looking for drug names, until I got Placido Domingo and Reading Battery at the same time.

Mo 2:06 PM  

Ditto to much of what's been said, also guess ARNOL down in the SE, otherwise, all was correct. Never heard of NACRE or TOQUE, but enjoyed reaching back into memory to get Ralph GARR as the '74 NL batting champ. Nice. Did not like the clue for FLATNOTE ("It's sour")--I'm a musician, and I've never heard the word "sour" used to refer to a flat note. Interesting, though, that FLATNOTE crossed with PLACIDO DOMINGO!

karmasartre 2:25 PM  

I was cool with MACAU but sucked drastically in the SE where ERNE and HEINE and ARNEL co-exist in a vowel stew. I made the SHielDS for SHROUDS goof. I never hear the whales referred to as PACIFIC either.

I thought the theme was pretty creative, if a bit strtetched in a couple spots. All-in-all, an enjoyable Sunday puzzle -- closer to a Friday difficulty than a Thursday for me.

@Ulrich -- Interesting post on H. Heinrich, thank you. I enjoyed reading some Heinrich Boll (short stories) about ten years ago: what an imagination!

Leon 2:39 PM  

Anonymous at 1:45:

Placido Domingo was my first theme to fall and I circled acid.

Macao spelling for me was from fireworks (look at a label), was it the quick or slow fuse?

PhillySolver 2:42 PM  

Maybe I am a drugged out dope...was originally looking for words like cocaine and reefer.

Add me to the list of those thinking this was pedestrian, but I do admire the themed fills and most of their clues. Had to recover from filling hormone to start HUMORONESELF thinking maybe it was a drug/dope clue.

I see the Registration Link for the ACPT has been reworded to tell us in is not too late and it will be available soon. Thanks to Orange, I am going to go and have my hotel room arranged. I am also encouraging a friend who should do well.

PhillySolver 2:53 PM  

Oh, thanks to artlvr for reporting Emily's drawing was funny. I saw it and didn't get it the first time. The Hard Cap Saves the day for the no hands bike rider! So, my ahha moment for the day came from the webart.

Dan 3:08 PM  

I fall on the "challenging" side as well - took twice as long as a usual Sunday, never got into a groove, and didn't even bother looking for the theme...

Thought my baseball knowledge was pretty solid - at least as far as crosswords go - until Ralph GARR showed up. Never heard of him!

emilyjo.c @ gmail dot com 5:03 PM  

For those who like the daily crossword drawings please feel free to peruse the new blog of them at www.emilyjocureton.com/follies. i would appreciate any and all comments you might write there- including links, tangential suggestions and flattery.

happy sunday to you and yours.

Ulrich 5:19 PM  

To all those who were looking for reefers or found acid in Placido Domingo (LOL): I realize how old I have gotten since this was no longer the first intuition I had :-) But seriously, guys: Can you really picture the NYT bringing a puzzle themed around THAT kind of dope? This is, after all, a paper that cannot even bring itself to quote the most frequently used word in the dialogue of "Deadwood" in QUOTATION MARKS! Ah, how I loved that series...

rick 6:26 PM  

artlvr,

Maybe your thinking squib

ArtLvr 6:38 PM  

Thanks, Rick -- but the "squib" doesn't seem to be quite the image I had; "squab" is more likely a Brit usage of yesteryear? I appreciate your thought, though. Maybe it will show up again one day...

mac 6:42 PM  

This was an odd puzzle - lots of humdrum fill but pretty good theme clues, and so many of them! Had some trouble in Alaska and in Georgia (the cluing to "alms" is not clear to me and it took me too long figuring out leadup and papal). Thank you Ulrich in CT (so am I) for the beautiful line by Heine. Lived in Hamburg for three years and enjoyed delving into German literature (had a lot of German in school in Holland).

paul in mn 9:39 PM  

Dan, I share your enthusiasm about baseball and ignorance about Ralph Garr. I just looked him up and he had a solid, if somewhat short, career, mostly as an outfielder for the Braves and White Sox. But since he was batting champ the year I was born, I guess I have some reason not to remember.

Karen 10:03 PM  

Normally I would agree with Ulrich about not expecting drug paraphernalia in the NYT puzzle, but that was before the SPERM showed up. Now I'm expecting to see some changes in the future. It certainly opens up some fertile ground.

Ulrich 10:08 PM  

Karen: You give me hope!

green mantis 10:30 PM  

I had a similar feeling about the clues today as some of the rest of the crowd: slightly farther to the left than usual, sorta vague. Stared a while before things started to click, and then when I was done, saw that nothing was really all that tough. I'm going to go tell Emily that I love her work. I think we should all bombard her site.

PhillySolver 10:59 PM  

Okay, it is really late, but the Placido story was so interesting that when I got in from dinner tonight, I tried to confirm the 80 minute ovation. Here is a link that throws cold water on the idea that an audience would applaud for over an hour.

http://www.mervinblock.com/60minutesapplause.html

PuzzleGirl 11:21 PM  

I started this one late last night and had a heck of a time. I guessed PLACIDO DOMINGO with just the first D, the first O and the G, so I was pretty proud of myself. Got the theme, but then couldn't get even one more theme answer. Put it aside, had a good night's sleep, and voila! This morning it all fell together beautifully. Well, except for the ERNE/ARNEL crossing. And the GILDA/FLUB/FABLES/ATOLL section. I had FOUL for FLUB and could make no sense of it.

@mo: When I'm listening to someone sing or play and they hit the note flat, I make a face like I've tasted something sour. That's about as close as I can get on that one.

@emily: THANK YOU for the new blog. On my way there now....

profphil 11:52 PM  

I too found this one more difficult for a Sunday, yet after all was done wondered why it took me so long and chalked it up to having a headache. Had the same problems as Rex and others. Made one error "ariose/Sacce" instead of arioso/Sacco. Sacce didn't look right and I have heard of Sacco but was almost positive ariose was correct and just left it at that. Oh well.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

ulrich - re Heine, hope you're familiar with his long poem "Disputation" involving a debate between monks and rabbis before the Spanish court, in which the loser must convert to the winner's faith. I've never seen it in translation, but it's a real hoot and a
perfect comment on the idiocy of any religion disrespecting another.

dv

Dr J 4:35 PM  

Perhaps just me, but I found this puzzle quite easy and even admirable (and surely much better than any of the ones in recent weeks). Found none of the cluing particularly groanworthy, appreciated the theme, and generally I enjoyed it.

Forgive the crudity of this, but was anyone else out there tempted to fill in _AM___ ("company whose production goes in cycles?") with TAMPAX? Just seemed so tempting...

nancy 11:14 AM  

anyone else doing the puzzle in syndication? i wonder if posting a comment a week (or six weeks) after the fact is worthwhile?

enjoy blog. interesting commentary; useful for a novice like me.

N

Rex Parker 11:52 AM  

Syndicated puzzle gets At Least as much readership as the same-day puzzle, so yes, comment away.

rp

TimeTraveller 1:23 PM  

It is a mystery (to me) why more of us don't comment. Perhaps its because we don't have the same sense of community that is evident in the earlier entries--a feeling that we can't participate in the discussion and nobody will read what we write.

Doesn't make sense to me. A second round of discussion by the whole rest of the world could be just as invigorating as what we find it worthwhile to read now.

And anyway--Rex reads ALL contributions.

nancy 2:48 PM  

i haven't commented before because I feel somewhat insecure and intimidated because i don't think my puzzle solving skill level is that high. The more comments I read, the more I realize that I think along the same lines of many of the people who do comment here....so maybe I am better than I think(?) I'm not fast, that's for certain; I don't even bother to time myself. The challenge for me is to complete the puzzle and learn at least one new thing (usually much more than that)...The more I learn, the more i realize how much i don't know.

Thought puzzle was challenging today, but I was able to complete most of it on my own. Took some time getting started, but once I got Placido Domingo and hastens, I was off and running. I have seen nacre and lisle in past puzzles ,just couldn't make the connections today. I guess it would help if I could retain the things I learned in past puzzles.

Would have been clever to have 'inside dope' refer to drugs...I would have gotten a huge kick out of that.

N

Anonymous 4:16 PM  

Nancy-Keep at it. The more you do the better you get. One thing that amazes me is the words you learn that one would never use in real life! Thanks to having been around twice as long as many of you, I find words that are new to Rex are an easy part of my vocabulary. It happens. On the other hand, I have never paid more than passing attention to any sport but tennis-so all those "best player of 19??" are teeth pullers for me. We all have weak spots-they grow less as you perservere. Keep puzzling! And keep checking this site. I love how there is always someone out there that can explain what I couldn't understand. E.G.-completed this puzzle without ever catching the theme. Then I looked here and all was explained.

CALady

Pat 7:00 PM  

I find it entertaining to read about the things that tripped others up, and more often than not find that others have made the same mistakes, or gotten trapped in the same places that I have. I also usually find that in the week(s) since the puzzle was originally published, most things that I would post about have been posted by others - some times I post anyway though. That gives me all the sense of community that I need :-)

Anonymous 9:46 PM  

As a syndicated solver, I don't know if I'm commenting too late but wanted to chime in regarding Rex's question on the humpback. This Alaskan was ready for a gimme but has never, ever heard of a PACIFC humpback! Pacific salmon, yes but the humpback???

Great to see a few comments from the syndicated crowd.

Mike

AKsolver 12:00 AM  

A pod of Beluga whales located in Cook Inlet is genetically unique; it is an issue related to declaring them endangered. So I suspect that the groups of Humpback whales in the Pacific also are genetically unique and are thus distinguished in some way from other oceans' Humpbacks. The term Pacific Humpback does seem fairly common-- if you Google it quite a few uses turn up.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

Can't believe I am the only "dope" who didn't get thrown by CocoaFLAVOR - I wanted to use CocoaFLAKES!

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