Thursday, April 10, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: A DOZEN ROSES (64A: What you can find in the grid after completing this puzzle, looking up, down, left, right, and diagonally, word-search style)

A lovely puzzle that was completely marred for me by an error of the very-hard-to-find kind. Short version. ELEONORA Duse (40D: Stage actress Duse) has her name spelled ELEANORA virtually everywhere I have looked, including The Cover of Time Magazine! Now, I see that it's "really" ELEONORA, so fine, and it's not like I really knew her name anyway, but still ... now REA is clearly not a 53A: Essex competitor (REO), but REA sure looks right at home in the grid, let me tell you. I didn't know what "Essex" was to start with - only when I figured out the ELEONORA problem did I remember "Oh yeah, ESSEX is an old make of car." It's just a part of England to me.

I was all set to praise the RESORT (52D: Vacation destination) / RESORB (1D: Soak up again, as liquid) symmetry ... until I realized that both those words, and many many more, were in the grid because they contained ROSE (albeit in upside-down fashion). The puzzle contains A DOZEN ROSES, to be exact, and THE SECRET GARDEN (38A: Classic 1911 children's novel ... with a hint to this puzzle's theme) spans the grid as the puzzle's other theme-revealing answer. Nice work. Complicated work.

The shape of the grid made this puzzle a bit challenging. You can't move nicely across the grid from NW in to the N and then the NE. In fact, the far north and far south are wickedly isolated from the rest of the puzzle, accessible through only the slimmest of alleys which are themselves half the grid away from each quadrant's farthest point. COTY (4A: Annual fashion award) and ERNO (72A: Designer/architect Goldfinger) (weird answers both) thus feel super-remote, as if they are buried at the back of some dark cave. OK, I'm exaggerating the darkness of the whole thing, but the grid structure is remarkable in the way it isolates certain segments of the puzzle.

Besides the ELEO/ANORA debacle, I had another problem in the far SE, where I had written in LISBON for 50D: Capital of Republica Portuguesa (Lisboa), and thus got the nonsensical NRT for 73A: Oils, say (art). That mistake I was able to find and fix. Crosses! My quest for speed (mid 6's today, which is OK) is killing me lately, in that I am not adequately checking the crosses.

Lots of foreign or foreign-sounding words in today's puzzle complicated matters for me a bit. I was especially thrown by THE SORBONNE (18A: University of Paris, familiarly), in that I was surprised to see the English "THE" in there. I know that sounds weird, but I was looking for a completely French phrase. It was only after I got the "B" from (horrible, dated) LIBBER (9D: Women's _____) that THE SORBONNE became undeniable. I got very flustered by SION (69A: Capital of Valais), which looked and felt wrong, despite not being so. It also throws me every time I see DENIS Leary's name (55D: Comic Leary), in that he spells it so ... Frenchly. Maybe that's just how the Irish spell "DENNIS." Lastly, in the foreign trouble category, there's MANÈGE (47D: Horse-training school), which I'm sure I've seen before but looks completely unfamiliar to me. I know MENAGE (as a word referring to a household or the management thereof - not the MENAGE you were thinking of), but MANEGE? No. Is that where you learn DRESSAGE and other French-sounding horse stuff?


  • 2D: Dance energetically (boogie) - I had BOUNCE, which I like.
  • 1A: Diamond datum (rbi) - knew this instantly, though had to use crosses to confirm it wasn't ERA or some other stat.
  • 8A: Syrian city of 2.5+ million (Aleppo) - one of the oldest cities on the planet, and yet I know of this city only (or primarily) because it's in the title of a Nabokov short story: "That in Aleppo Once ..."
  • 20A: Curved molding (ogee) - my good friend, where have you been? We see APSE from time to time, but it's as if OGEE has been on hiatus (42D: Hiatus - GAP). Note also the return of ENOL (10D: Certain alkene), who is, frankly, not so welcome.
  • 29A: Selects, as a racehorse, maybe (bets on) - simple, but effective. APT, one might say (64D: Quick to pick up).
  • 48A: Washed-out look (pallor) - I got this instantly, which, if you have ever seen me, should not surprise you.
  • 68A: Dumpling stuffed with cheese (pirogi) - these remind me of my Aunt Sue, for reasons I don't quite understand. She is not, as far as I know, Polish. Maybe she made them once when I was at her house and I've never forgotten? Who knows how my brain works?
  • 3D: Antenna holder, maybe (insect) - cleeeeeeever. "Holder," indeed. That's like calling an ARM a [Hand holder] - I hereby copyright that clue.
  • 5D: Phil who sang "I Ain't Marching Anymore" (Ochs) - the puzzle's favorite folkie (along with ARLO).
  • 12D: What you might be doing this puzzle in (pen) - You put in INK at first, didn't you? Come on... and by the way, doing the puzzle in INK is impressive for about five minutes. If you do it in ink routinely, it just means the puzzles you're doing aren't hard enough, or you aren't going fast enough, or you are trying to show up for your co-workers or fellow Starbucks denizens. Whatever the reason, stop it. Unless a PEN is all you have handy. I've been there. [to be honest, I did the puzzle in PEN for more than a decade, mainly because it feels so much better to write on newspaper with a pen than with a pencil, and pen shows up better, and I didn't own pencils, etc.]
  • 19D: Rio de _____, former Spanish territory in Africa (Oro) - no idea. I expect a Montana state motto clue for ORO, so I guess I should be happy to see something new.
  • 21D: Some Caltech grads (EEs) - I think I wrote ENG, then EGS, before remembering the abbreviation for Electrical Engineer.
  • 28D: "The chief nurse of England's statesmen" (Eton) - something about that motto is very, very creepy. "Nurse?"
  • 30D: Creation of the Energy Reorg. Act of 1974 (NRC) - I hereby nominate "Reorg." for the "Worst Abbreviation Ever" award.
  • 36D: Doctor Who and others, briefly (ETs) - because "scarf-wearing, disheveled freaks" wouldn't fit.
  • 39D: "Too great a burden to bear": Martin Luther King Jr. ("hate") - a gimme, even though I don't know that I've ever heard the quotation before.
  • 41D: Forerunner of rocksteady (ska) - Not sure what "rocksteady" is, but SKA is a puzzle regular.
  • 57D: Unevenly notched, as a leaf (erose) - memorize this. It's surprisingly common. Any time you see "notched" or "leaf," think EROSE. So many WOF letters ("Wheel of Fortune," i.e. common, i.e. among the group RLSTNE).
  • 61D: Big shirt maker (Izod) - I did not know that IZOD had gone into the oversized clothing market. In my day, it was polo shirts with an alligator logo, and that's it.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


ArtLvr 9:02 AM  

I enjoyed this one, but at the end I found only eleven of the DOEN ROSES hidden in the grid. It would have been easier in PEN, perhaps...

I still have an old edition of THE SECRET GARDEN and hope Rex's daughter has had it read to her!

I BALK at LIBBER, wanting "rights", but gave in.


Eli Barrieau 9:06 AM  

I have had the same relationship with doing the puzzle in pen. Somewhere along the way in my youth, I heard that pen was the "pure" way to do the crossword. So I did it and left many harder crosswords undone because you can only scratch out a couple mistakes before the grid looks terrible. Now it's pencil or the computer.

Ultimately, it's a puzzle; it's supposed to be fun. Do it in pen, pencil, crayon, fast, slow. Hell, fill in the grid with smiley faces. Who cares?

I loved this puzzle. Unfortunately my knowledge included all the roses so I wasn't able to use the theme to help me complete it and as a result took a long time. I didn't realize that I had REA wrong until I got here.

Eli Barrieau 9:10 AM  

Art: the roses are in the following areas: 2 in WA/OR. 3 in SD. 1 in MD. 1 in OK. 3 in TX/LA. 2 in FL.

For a while, looking at the northwest and southeast, I thought the roses might turn out to be semaphore. That would be something!

Kathy 9:14 AM  

I have a friend who does the magazine (Globe Magazine, etc.)puzzles in pen, and it drives me crazy! She does it because it's easier to see (true), but she also puts in whatever the hell, so it ends up being a mess.

I groaned aloud when I saw David's name, since I always have an awful time with Mr. Kahn's puzzles (not, however, as difficult a time as I have with Mr. Klahn's!), but I whipped through this one in no time. Didn't look for the roses, though--left that to Orange. Thanks Orange! These blogs are making me lazy....



Beautiful grid and construction -but! Yesterday I slogged through the infamous Puzzle #5 from the ACPT and had to keep checking that today's author was the same Kahn. I worked steadily from the NW to the SE corner with barely a hiccup. Had the same problem with Eleonora for awhile. The other "alternative spelling" for me was pirogi, which I usually see as "pierogi". Also wanted "tram" instead of "tbar" until "Balk" cleared things up. That section of California and Texas (Sion/Erno/Sno - only because I forgot the referral to 4D) held me up. Otherwise a pleasure - this meets my easy but fresh and entertaining criteria (I prefer to ignore the "libber" fill).

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

I had big trouble with this, especially in Central California. From "IZOD," I figured out "A DOZEN ROSES," which suggested "Eleanora," though I'd never heard of Ms. Duse and certainly didn't guess that someone would spell her name "ELEONORA." I don't think I knew that an Essex was a car, but once I googled Ms. Duse, I thought "GEO" instead of "R.E.O."

I'd never heard of rocksteady and didn't even associate it with music, so "SKA" didn't come to me until after I googled rocksteady." Then I realized that it was "BALK" not "HALT," and "TBAR" finally materialized. Never having heard of "MANEGE," though (and being a little vague on "PIROGI"), it still took a while before "A-TEAM" would occur. I suppose I was stuck on finding an "S" at the end. Googling "SANEGE" and "horse" doesn't yield anything useful. All in all, lots of Google-cheating required to complete.

But I've never heard of "SION," either, and had to guess the cross with "EROSE." Didn't we have a clue the other day about the use of "-OSE" as a kind of "-ISH"? I agree with Rex: must learn those obscure botanical adjectives.

The rest of it went OK, though I hate to think how long I spent. I'm too slow to time myself.

JC66 9:33 AM  


When, I started doing the NY Times puzzle, many years ago (Margaret Farrar, editor) I first used a pencil and slowly, over time, worked my way up to the "pro" pen level. As you know, solving in ink is a different process than pencil or the applet. One must almost always check the crosses to confirm an answer before filling in a solution and speed takes a back seat to accuracy. Later in the week, one must try to remember and visualize where possible crossing answers
fall. I find this much more challenging and I'm not proud to admit that for the past year or so, and for reasons I can't explain, I've fallen into the habit of using applet.

treedweller 9:42 AM  

Ouch! I had to correct multiple mistakes before finally logging a solution. I didn't know ALEPPO and came up with Alefdo instead (trying finewood and den instead of PINEWOOD and PEN), which sounded wrong but I just couldn't see the correct answers. I tripped on ELEONORA. Tried Reb and Bilboa instead of LEE and LISBOA (the latter being the capitol of Portugal's Middle Earth, I suppose). I did figure out PALLOR and correct these two before trying to submit, though. I also had to google OCHS ands COTY during my search for mistakes, but turns out I had them right.

And add my Ugh! to LIBBER, which sounds both dated and derogatory.

But I still enjoyed this overall.

dk 9:43 AM  

I had a dozen names for a while then went to roses.

I use pen as well. They are easier to borrow from the Starbucks folks and they enhance my persona of smug... whatever. My wife calls it the lonely guy thing.

My only gripe is PINEWOOD is horrible for floors. Hard wood should be the answer.

On to Friday!

dk 9:43 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doris 9:44 AM  

Know "manège" only as a common ballet class term. It means a series of steps performed in a circle around the studio, toward the end of a class. Doubt if it will ever replace the ubiquitous "plié" and "jeté" that come up all the time. Thus, figured out the horse-training school thing. We also have a "pas de cheval," or "horse step" (sounds awful in English), where one makes a graceful pawing motion, brushing the foot on the floor. I'm sure you all needed to know this to get through your day.

PhillySolver 9:44 AM  

Rex and Orange introduced me to Across Lite and I left PEN and ink behind. So, I got PEN easily, but I, too, misspelled ELEANORA, however I was happy to have come close since I did not know her at all. I fixed the NE to finish the puzzle as I had some how entered incert for INCECT and while chefb may have a recipe, I usually have rice instead of potatoes, not riced potatoes.

I have heard Coretta Scott King speak and she used the HATE line as the theme of the talk. A few years ago I saw The Secret Garden three times on Broadway and once Hillary and Chelsea were there. It was a wonderful play and I still play the sound track.

The COTY Award is known to me and includes many of our crossword friends including Oscar de la Renta, DKNY's Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis, Bill Blass and Halston. I don't recall Dior though. The one lesser known name, but bright star is four time winner, Rudi Gernreich. He brought us the monokini, the Thong and some other forgettable fashions, but he was a leader in the first Gay Rights movement in the US.

I had to have Orange's help to find that twelfth rose and not sure I like it crossing the black square, but I really liked the puzzle and the feat of construction.

Ulrich 9:45 AM  

I, too, really liked the puzzle. Had a problem finding the 12th rose (the one that sneaks through 2 black squares diagonally in 'bama). Although the foreign words were no problem to me, I was in the end complete stumped in Oregon b/c three clues made no sense to me. I put the letters in on pure guesses (REO, SKA, TBAR) just on the principle that they formed words I recognized, with seemingly no connection to the clues--I actually thought I had constructed an alternate grid until I googled a little. I'm not complaining--that's part of the game, at least on Thursdays.

ArtLvr 9:53 AM  

@ Eli B: Thanks for the checklist on the DOZEN ROSES locations -- I did have all of them, at different times, just needed a list to find them again in one counting attempt! That's why PEN might have worked better...

It's a very clever construction! I still haven't figured out how to print it out from the computer though.


PuzzleGirl 9:56 AM  

I first thought, "What the heck does Sue Ann Nivens have to do with this puzzle?" Ha. Fun puzzle with a cool theme. My hat's off to David Kahn.

I had trouble in California and found there were no more ROSES to help me. It was the TBAR/BALK crossing that threw me. A-TEAM finally broke it open. I also had LISBON for a minute and wondered why they went to the trouble of giving us the Spanishification of Portugal. (That's a word, right?) The PIROGI spelling didn't look right to me either. And it reminded me of a former roommate who looked at me like I was crazy as I prepared to boil up a frozen one and cover it in red sauce on it. It's pasta, right? And this is pasta sauce? Apparently there are some rules about this kind of thing.

Every once in a while I'm reminded of "The Secret Garden" and think to myself "I need to get that book and read it to my daughter!" And then I forget. I hope I remember this time. I loved it when I was a kid.

I attended the ACPT this year with my sister who is not quite as, um, obsessed with crossword puzzles as I am. After we checked in, I was all "Do you know who that was checking you in? That was David Kahn!" Her response: blank stare. As the day wore on, her response to similar observations ("Oh my God! That's Andrea Carla Michaels!" "Byron Walden just walked by us! I think he looked at me!") became more of an eye-roll.

I love Denis Leary. His delivery really cracks me up. I heard him do a schtick about NyQuil one time. Hilarious. "It says on the box 'may cause drowsiness.' What it SHOULD say is 'Don't make any f**ing plans.'"

I thought 7D (YES OR NO?) was a direct shout-out to the anonymous poster who referenced "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" earlier this week.

PhillySolver 9:59 AM  

@ artlvr

If you are using Across Lite, you can circle the ROSE entries by highlighting the space containing the sequential ROSE entries and hitting the asterisk key (*).

The icon at the top that says print gives you a choice of printing a blank puzzle or a completed puzzle. Perhaps, you have a printer issue.

90 squares use the letters R O S or E. That is amazing to me.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

The top third of the puzzle fell pretty quickly for me today, then I sreeched to a halt. I thought I was being clever when I entered LOBWEDGE in 60A rather than NINEIRON with no crosses and then refused to believe I was wrong. Is a nine iron really a short range club if most golfers hit it over 100 yards?

What really hurt was the amount of answers I had never heard of: ELEONORA (of course), REO for Essex, SION, SKA for Rocksteady, SION, ERNO.

I'm not feeling very smart today.

Joe in NE

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

The top third of the puzzle fell pretty quickly for me today, then I sreeched to a halt. I thought I was being clever when I entered LOBWEDGE in 60A rather than NINEIRON with no crosses and then refused to believe I was wrong. Is a nine iron really a short range club if most golfers hit it over 100 yards?

What really hurt was the amount of answers I had never heard of: ELEONORA (of course), REO for Essex, SION, SKA for Rocksteady, SION, ERNO.

I'm not feeling very smart today.

Joe in NE

Ulrich 10:03 AM  

Re. manege. I didn't know it was a riding school in French, but In German, it's the name for the performance area in the middle of an old-fashioned circus that is enclosed by a low barrier and within which horses, elephants and clowns do their thing--as depicted in the great carol Reed film Trapeze. So, I guessed the word with just the G from pirogi.

Wade 10:17 AM  

Me too on the ELEANORA and MANEGE head-scratching. The last part to fall for me was the very center, specifically the clue "everyday speech." I first put IDIOM and got no takers, then ARGOT and still no takers. Found the answer to be . . . PROSE? Huh? "Everyday" as opposed to what other kind of non-prose speech?

ArtLvr 10:25 AM  

@ philly: Many thanks for the info on how to highlight the squares wanted... I've learned so many neat functions from contributors to the comments on Rex's blog!

Now maybe someone will tell me why I can't get any of the NY Times icons at the top to operate, though I can easily check my other puzzle results in Across-Lite?


Beth in CT 10:28 AM  

I do the puzzles in pen - erasable pen! Doesn't anyone else???

humorlesstwit 10:40 AM  

I've had horses in all sorts of stables, mostly dressage, for over 20 years, and have never heard of MANEGE. I'v had French trainers sounding as pompous as humanly, or Frenchly, as possible, and have never heard one of them refer to his stable as a MANAGE.

I suspect that unless you lived in 18th Century France, you never would have either.

I didn't fall into the LISBON trap because for once I noticed that it was clued using the Portugese spelling of Rebublica Portuguesa, so I know it would have a Portugese spelling.

@MAC: I'm not doing pennance, I've embraced my name. It fits more than I care to admit. OK, so I'm doing pennance.

ArtLvr 10:48 AM  

@ philly -- you're right, I got it to work! ("If you are using Across Lite, you can circle the ROSE entries by highlighting the space containing the sequential ROSE entries and hitting the asterisk key (*).") Thanks again...

Also figured out that I can undo the circle by using the asterisk again -- very happy at my progress!


PhillySolver 10:56 AM  

@ humorlesstwit

First, I do laugh at your nom de blog and the story behind it. Flog away.

Second, I worked some time near Paris and a friend's daughter went to a Marie sponsored manege on Saturday. On occasion they rode in the Bois de Boulogne and the popularity of Longchamp amazed me. The original National Manege was located in Paris at the Tuileries, but I don't know if one still exists.

@ artlvr The NYT puzzle requires the key found where you get the puzzle. Use the solution Icon and enter the code. Voila!

miriam b 10:59 AM  

I thought this was a rather easy and even pedestrian puzzle until the theme emerged; then I was overwhelmed with admiration. I was determined to find a connection between THE SORBONNE and roses. I Googled, and sure enough, there's a center at the Sorbonne with the acronym ROSES (Réformes et ouverture des systèmes économiques post-socialistes). I'm willing to bet that this fact is known to Mr. Kahn.

That 12th rose was hard to find.

Joon 11:08 AM  

liked this puzzle a lot, although the disconnectedness of the grid that rex mentioned seems like a flaw to me rather than a feature. i stormed through the NW, got to colorado and found there was nowhere to go. so i re-started with THESORBONNE and got (almost) all of the N and NE and E, finally enabling me to figure out THESECRETGARDEN. but the W and S were very slow to come. i did eventually puzzle out the W but i had two bad squares in the S.

i've never heard of a SNO/CAT. can anybody help me out there? did they really have to be clued as a tandem? that kind of irks me, especially as SNO is crossing two other obscurities (SION and ERNO). the only benefit i can see is it (very slightly) ameliorates the disconnectedness of the grid by joining rex's two dark caves, but that doesn't help if you have no earthly idea what the answer is.

it amused me greatly that yesterday's BEBOP has now been joined by his good friend rocksteady (41D). tomorrow, SHREDDER, and maybe on saturday we'll finally get KRANG. cowabunga, dudes!

treedweller, you don't have to go all the way to middle earth. there is a bilbao (not quite bilboa, but close) in northern spain. but i really liked the LISBOA clue (and entry).

like i said, cool puzzle overall, and it's even nicer that they gave us a word search to do afterwards.

Ulrich 11:16 AM  

@ miriam b: love that tidbit--if it weren't for this blog! Tried to find something "post-socialiste" in the grid, but no luck sofar.

miriam b 11:32 AM  

PIROGI or a variant spellimg has appeared before in a puzzle. This is the plural of pirog. Yes, these are Polish dumplings stuffed with cheese (or in fact other delectable fillings; but, transliterated from Cyrillic, they are also large Russian pies stuffed with meat; cabbage; rice and mushrooms; or whatever comes to hand (usually not cheese; that's Georgian khachapuri, yum).

I digress, as usual. Bottom line: IMHO, we would have been better off with "Large Russian savory pies". Admittedly, non-Slavic non-foodies might find this clue tough. A small individual pirog, BTW, is a pirozhok; the plural is pirozkhi. These are baked, like the pirog, or sometimes fried.

I vote for sticking to the original Polish spelling, "pierogi" if only for the sake of avoiding confusion.

Etymological note: The root "pir" is not related to "pie"; it's from an old Slavonic word meaning "feast". I guess this is why the names of these foods usually show up in the plural. You can't eat just one.

Eli Barrieau 11:35 AM  

Joon: A SNO-CAT is basically a bulldozer without the shovel or plow, used to travel over the snow. You can hire one to bring you to the top of Mt. Washington in NH for an obscene amount of money.

As to their being clued in tandem, I prefer it to ___ Cone and Lion or ocelot, e.g. But I guess if you're in warmer climes, it would be annoying.

GlennCY 11:40 AM  

to the pen question - I've always done them in pen because its easier to see, and if you do it on the newsprint and try to erase, it usually makes a mess of the puzzle. I find a letter corrected in pen easier to see than the hole left by the eraser.

jae 11:41 AM  

I beat myself up last night over the ELEANORA error (even had a dream about it). Its reassuring to know I wasn't alone (yes! if it weren't for this blog!). Overall I thought this was pretty easy (except for...), enjoyable, and clever. Had fun finding the ROSES.

BTW I prefer my ERNOs to be Rubiks.

I've done these things in PEN but pencil is faster/freer.

miriam b 11:45 AM  

@Eli Barrieau: Mt. Washington on a SNO-CAT? What a literally chilling thought. Years back we drove to the summit in a Dodge van. Our German Shepherd, who was with us, was so frightened that she flattened herself on the floor and didn't get up again until we had safely descended. Fortunately, she was too scared to howl, which could have been seriously unnerving.

I know this is irrelevant comment #2 for the day. I'm supposed to be painting the wall in my second-floor hall, so I guess this message is a form of avoidance. This is ever so much more fun.

Emmargaret 11:50 AM  

Did anyone else get sidetracked by thinking the theme clue was HIDDEN ROSES? It gave me Hip for Apt, made Mr. Scorsese an ITA rather than a DIR so it all seemed to be working... until it didn't. But it wasn't until I broke down and googled Ms. Duse (to use a women's lib title) that could begin unravel myself. Then it didn't help that I had SKI cat for SNO cat in Texas (of all places!). Glad I was doing this one in AcrossLite rather than pen. Oh, well. Still a fun, springtime puzzle.

Agree with the others on the obscurity of Manege. I'm a horsy-type who studied at the/la Sorbonne and I've never heard the term!

JJJ 12:00 PM  

I'm with DK on pinewood being a terrible choice for a floor. A subfloor, sure, but not a floor. Too soft. I would have much preferred [cub scout derby] as a clue.

The dozen roses was very impressive, although it was a little unfortunate that some of them were fused. Twelve distinct roses make a prettier bouquet.

dk 12:03 PM  

Mt. Washington may be a great puzzle resources. In addition to the sno-cat (that may also be found at Athabasca Glacier) there is the Cog Railway, my all-time favorite hoar frost, a ski run not for the faint of heart Tuckerman's Ravine and the highest wind speeds recorded in the US (not totally sure on that).

And, Story Land (

Miriam b. I am supposed to be painting my basement floor. Perhaps I will continue my avoidance behavior at Starbucks with pen in hand.

Doris 12:24 PM  

Re manège: Just can't leave well enough alone. I found this so charming, I had to share it.

And the level of spoken French is just about my speed.

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Ironically, using pen turned out to be a big help. I was not sure how to spell Ms. Duse's first name, so I filled in ELE-NORA (not wanting to succumb to Google or to make a messy puzzle). Then when I needed an old car... voila!


Karen 12:41 PM  

I've got pine floors in my post-and-beam house. They work fine.

I couldn't figure out the Essex competitor either. Thanks for the research, Rex.

So where's the geek love for Doctor Who? My favorite actor for the role in the past was Peter Davidson. Of the new Who, I love Christopher Eccleston. New Doctor Who on SciFi channel next week; Sarah Jane's adventures show up there tomorrow.

Orange 12:46 PM  

Sorry, bud, you can't lay claim to "Hand holder"/ARM. In the Cruciverb database, [Hand holder], [Hand-holder], and [Hand holder?] have been used 13 times. (A dozen or so great minds think alike.)

Rex, "reorg" is super-common corporatese shorthand. I give it 10 years to be a stand-alone entry in the dictionary. I prefer "reorg" to "relo," unless it's J-Lo who's moving.

Beth in CT, I haven't given up on the Erasermate pens, but have largely switched over to the Pentel Twist-Erase 0.9 mm mechanical pencil. It's got a better heft to it and a rubber grip, and my pinkie doesn't get ink-smeared. It's the same pencil Al Sanders uses (celebrity endorsement!).

Debbie 12:51 PM  

Re: pencil vs. pen, let's not forget that when you try to erase pencil in a newspaper, it smears the black square ink everywhere and ruins the eraser. What a mess! That was my primary reason for switching to pen. (Somehow, the inky mess that ensued didn't seem quite so egregious...)

Pete M 12:55 PM  

I used to use pen because I can't stand the way pencil smudges on newspaper. Now that I print the puzzles out on decent paper, pencil is fine for me.

I figured out the ELEONORA based on the cross, but the COTY/OCHS cross was purely of the "guess a vowel" variety (and I was torn between O and A as the most likely).

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Pens are so much nicer to write with than pencils, so I use one for the crosswords. White-out takes care of the mistakes! You can now buy white-out pens rather than the little bottles. Of course, it adds time, but by the end of the week, my times are nothing to brag about, regardless.
I liked this puzzle a lot, in spite of making pretty much all the mistakes discussed above! A clever theme and clever construction.

Anonymous 1:17 PM  


Once again you saved me from ignominy. I thought I had a perfect puzzle and then reading the blogs realized that Eleanora was incorrect. However, as the King made the same "error", I count it as correct and am pefect once again. Long live the King!


Wade 1:20 PM  

I had SKI cat, too, and didn't pick up on it being a mistake until seeing the comments, not knowing TIOK from TION or ARNO from ARNI. And here I had up and given myself credit for the puzzle. Huh. Wonder how many others I've flunked without knowing it. And I hope the boss doesn't actually look into some of the stuff I put on my resume. I mean, she said she was 18, she looked 18 . . . .

archaeoprof 1:20 PM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle: it got me through this month's faculty meeting.

BTW, my fiancee and I are putting an antiqued pine floor in the great room of our new home.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

On the ink thing, I use a pen when I solve in newspapers because I don't think erasures of pencil on newsprint really keep things that clean-looking, plus there is a tendency to rip the page. If I am in doubt, I leave a blank. If I am somewhat confident, I ink the questionable letters lightly and leave room to overwrite if I find a mistake later. Occasionally I really blow it and make a huge mess, but usually it is not that obvious that I have corrected.

If I ever go to a competition, I assume I will be writing on office paper, and mistakes would be costly, so I will probably use a pencil. As it is, I don't care very much if it looks ugly. Or if others think I look smug.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

I remember the NY Southern Tier Sunday summer church picnics. One weekend Polish, the next Czech, all with their pirogis or pierogis or ... If they still happen, Rex, worth a visit.


imsdave 1:36 PM  

A tad easy for a Thursday. RESORB always bothers me as I never see it anywhere other than crosswords. SION I'd never heard of. Never realized that THE SORBONNE was a familiarity. Liked the theme. Short range club was a good clue for me today as my golf league's starting (and it's 71 out!). Usually when we start the second week of April, it's 40 and raining.

dk 1:43 PM  


Daleks make the best villains. I had a life size cardboard one for years. I have not seen any of the newer "who" series. Hope there as good as the old ones.

Sonic 1:50 PM  

Rocksteady! Yes! How we love 80s popculture. This was a huge hit in 1984. Maybe not iconic, but definitely hilarious. Check it out:

Hey you! by the Rocksteady Crew

Martin 1:56 PM  


It's Peter Davison. And yes, dk, the latest series are incredibly good. The production values are so much better but the stories and characters are mostly top-notch as well. Nothing R-rated of course, but they even admit companions have sex lives on earth and romantic attraction to the Doctor. Rose was a universe-class companion. And this is coming from an old-school geek with a house full of Whoovian artifacts, including the cardboard dalek. And plastic daleks and dalek chessmen and dalek salt and pepper and dalek cigarette lighter and a hundred other daleks.

Doc John 2:42 PM  

I was just glad to finish the puzzle today! Especially in the Northern Calif area- those clues just seemed more obtuse to me than the others (TBAR, BALK, A TEAM). TBAR finally did it for me and allowed me to deduce the others (except REO- I just figured it was yet another way to clue REA).

As for MANEGE, the only reason I knew that one was because there's a rollercoaster at La Ronde in Montreal called "Le Super Manege". It's a corkscrew coaster and I still have no idea why it is named what it is. Is riding a rollercoaster like going to horse-training school? Does manege mean something else in French?

Fave clue: PINEWOOD. That's the name of the summer camp I attended as a youth. Fond memories of the North Carolina summer.

Eric 2:42 PM  

I too had Tram, having just taken this one in New Mexico on Sunday. Lovely!

I have never seen a T-Bar that takes you to the top. At best, it takes you about 20% of the way to our small midwestern ski hills.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

ORE, ORR, YESOR minitheme

Count me in on the Eleanora, nrt team.

miriam b 2:56 PM  

@Doc John: Yes, manège means an amusement park ride, a merry-go-round, a stratagem or scheme, and of course a riding stable. I wonder which chicken or egg came first?

I ought to email my French cousin about this. She's a novelist and has the family word nerd gene. Maybe she can explain.

puzzlemensch 3:09 PM  

I started out with 12D as BED, where I love to do the puzzle! The only puzzle I do in INK or PEN is in New York Magazine. Rex is's too easy.

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

I was going to post a little whine about 13D being ORE and the next clue, 19D being ORO. I thought that was lame till someone noted about 45 minutes that it may have been intentional. RESORB, and RESORT, and THESORBONNE, clearly added for their backwards ROSE value, may well have led to a thematic list of other pseudo-homonyms: ORE, ORR, ORB, ORO, YESOR. But I'm guessing Mr. Kahn just went looking to get a lot of Os and Rs into play.

chefbea1 3:40 PM  

thought this was very easy for a thursday puzzle and I always do my puzzle in pen (not ink)
Must say I have never made a perogi but Have had them and they are yummy.

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

I had problems with the North. I knew OCHS right away, but thought the snowmachine was a SKI-DOO not a SNO-CAT, so I was pretty well screwed from there.

And sorry, but as a new visitor, what is NRT?

PuzzleGirl 3:58 PM  

I thought about TRAM, but saw it in the clue for 13D and figured it wouldn't also be an answer.

@imsdave: Here in Iowa it's 40 and raining.

@sonic: I don't remember the Rock Steady Crew. Instead, the reference to rocksteady took me to The Whispers.

@Orange: Thanks for the pencil info. I've been feeling like I need a little more, oh I don't know, just MORE from my solving pencils. I'll give the Pentel a try. My sister and I had a funny conversation about pencils with a guy we had just met at the ACPT. We were joking around about fretting over what kind of pencils to bring and we were all laughing about how totally dorky that was. When the laughter died down, the guy was like, "Sooo... What kind of pencils did you end up bringing?" and brought out his stash so we could compare.

chefbea1 3:58 PM  

@miriam b - Years ago when I went to camp in Maine our group took a trip to Mt. Washington. When we got there we hiked to the top!! We camped out along the way. What fun

chefbea1 4:07 PM  

@anonymous 3:40 the answer is art because 50D is Lisboa

Eli Barrieau 4:19 PM  

Another endorsement for pinewood floors. I have 9 1/2" southern yellow pine and wouldn't want anything else. True it's soft if you were to drop a sledge on it (the euphemism is "character"), but it's not like you sink through it.

ArtLvr 4:19 PM  

@ philly -- " The NYT puzzle requires the key found where you get the puzzle. Use the solution Icon and enter the code. Voila!" -- I'm getting the NYT puzzle from the list in Cruciverb, and am feeling more than dense, but don't see a key or code! Can you describe the location in more detail?


PuzzleGirl 4:29 PM  

@artlvr: Go to the Premium Crosswords page on the New York Times website (here). On the right-hand side of the page you'll see the puzzle archive list. The four-digit number in the Answer Key column is the number you need to "unlock" the solution in AcrossLite. The key for a puzzle is not available until the following day. Hope this helps.

ds 4:40 PM  

for those of us who are really slow, exactly where is the last ROSE (i.e., I can only find two ROSEs in the TX/LA region)?

PuzzleGirl 4:43 PM  

@ds (and others who are really slow) ;-): It starts with the R in ERNO and goes up diagonally to the right. You can also check Orange's blog -- she has the grid up with the ROSEs marked.

mac 5:51 PM  

My laptop chose to hibernate most of the day, and I could not wake it up..... Finally it came back to normal around 5 p.m.

It must have been some job cramming all these roses in a puzzle - although that may be why it was easy for a Thursday.

I lucked out with "manege", it means exactly the same in Dutch. I am joining the pierogi crowd and the Pentel 0.9 one, also wanted to put the French article before the Sorbonne, and I had temporary problems in the T-bar/balk/reo area, but never needed to google or pick up any reference books. Even I knew 1A right away!

@martin: it's like I was reading a different language with all this dalek business. What is it?

The weather is balmy in CT, 74 degrees and sunny!

ds 6:01 PM  

thanks puzzlegirl!
very sneaky - crossing territories not only through Alabama but into the panhandle of Florida.

Anonymous 6:19 PM  

Wasn't Ochs also a newspaper guy?

andrea carla michaels 6:26 PM  

It's funny, at first I only found ten roses, (I missed the one in the clue ADOZENROSES...d'oh!) AND one in YESOR (until the reader's comment about SD region)
I had circled the word PINE (as in a PINE ROSE) I thought somehow it was kinds of roses (until I couldn't find another!) and once I understood, I circled the first eleven R-O-S-E s but then thought it was a trick question that the twelfth rose would STILL be one else?
(I even make wordsearches when I'm not making crosswords!)
I found this constructin brilliant, needless to say...
It took me ten minutes to do the puzzle but almost as long to find the roses! What does that say?!

I also misspelled BOOGEY...and convinced myself that the never heard of/seen before SION was somehow ZION...but that may be the Minnesota Jew(ess) in me...

@puzzlegirl, it can't be Spanishification, least of all because it's in Portuguese!
(And next year at the ACPT I hope I'll be able to pass you and gasp "ohmygod, there's puzzlegirl!")

Anonymous 6:29 PM  

@chefbea1 - I'm anonymous 3:40. Thanks for the explanation on NRT. I got Lisboa right of the bat, and had ART as the cross, so I missed the reference. I though maybe NRT was an acronym for some value judgement on the answer. e.g. "Not Really Thursday" or something like that. We're good.

Orange 6:49 PM  

Yo, Andrea—I looked fruitlessly for a PETE Rose. He wasn't there!

Anon 6:19, there's protest singer Phil OCHS, and then there's the Ochs/Sulzberger family who publish the NYT. (Old Adolph Ochs, his son-in-law Arthur Sulzberger, his grandson Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, and his great-grandson Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., who's there now.)

Andrew 6:59 PM  

I always, always do my crosswords in pen; pencil + newspaper = disappointment. Even on Fridays and Saturdays, though sometimes boxes end up as nigh-unreadable scribbles.

I like Zebra pens, especially. They have a nice fine point and dependability.

PuzzleGirl 7:08 PM  

As soon as I clicked "publish post" I realized that Portuguese is not the same thing at all as Spanish. I was hoping nobody would notice. (In this crowd? Yeah, right.) Damn you, Andrea Carla Michaels! :-)

ArtLvr 7:16 PM  

@ puzzlegirl -- Many thanks, but is there no way to get the correct solution for NYT the same day except on blogs? Makes me doubly grateful to Rex and others for "being there", but I'm also glad the other crosswords online offer instant elucidation, especially if stymied around 4 a.m.... The NY Sun was quite a stinker today, for example!


Michael 7:55 PM  

I made the same eleanora/eleonara mistake as Rex and others. I always do puzzles in pen -- no big deal, no problems. But then again I'm upstairs during a tornado warning. Living dangerously...Spring in Iowa...

andrea carla michaels 7:56 PM  

how could I not notice a post with my NAME in it?! ANd an Englishification of it at that!

PuzzleGirl 7:58 PM  

Hey, Michael. If it were just me, I'd probably be upstairs too, but my kids freak out when they hear the tornado siren so we're in the basement. I'm waaay past my quota of posts today so I'll sign off now (and try to exercise a little more restraint tomorrow).

John 8:01 PM  

I like the click Bic pens the best, can't do crosswords any other way

foodie 10:58 PM  

When I first started doing the NYTimes puzzle, I asked a friend if he did it in pen or pencil. He looked at me with what looked like barely restrained pity and said: "you mean you need to write it down? I can do it all in my head!" He was of course pulling my leg... But I always figured this was the ultimate goal, and when we heard from Tyler Hinman the other day, it sounded like he was close to doing it that way!

Aleppo is a great city. I just returned from there in late March and it has layers and layers of civilization, from a medieval fortress, to Roman ruins to a mix of jewish, christian and moslem neighborhoods, and it goes on. And on every flat roof: a whole bouquet of rusted satellite dish antennas...

As to manege: the main french expression I know is "un petit manege" which sort of means a cheap little subterfuge, trick or manipulation. I did vaguely remembered it relating to horses, but only after the fact, when the word imposed itself.

Fun puzzle with so many dimensions!

Dan 1:01 AM  

ArtLvr, no, there's no other way to get the NYT solution. But you can use the NYT applet to see if you've got it right - hit "play against the clock" on the main page and then "check my solution", and type it in. Or if you can't wait for Rex to post the grid, Harris Ruben posts the solution soon after the puzzle goes live.

PhillySolver - I only mention this because I know you'll enjoy learning something. :) The "Secret Garden" Broadway CD that you enjoy (as do I) is not a soundtrack. Films have soundtracks, but musical theater CDs are called cast recordings. (Record stores don't make this distinction and lump them all together...)

I've never done a puzzle in pen - partly because of insecurity, partly because I only use pencils in my line of work and don't have a lot of pens around...

Joan 8:36 PM  

I love your blog but what drives me nuts on an almost daily basis, at least whenever I visit the blog it that it takes me so much time to find the daily puzzle section on the right half way? three quarters of the way? down the blog...really annoying.
Or maybe I'm missing a spot to click to get there faster...???

Rex Parker 9:25 PM  


I do not understand your complaint. What is the "daily puzzle section" and why would it take you any time at all to find it?

There's no reason you should spend any significant amount of time searching for what you need.


Joan 9:40 PM  

Rex, In answer to your email:
In order to find the nyt puzzle of the day I have to scroll down the long blog and it takes me awhile to find the spot where your blog archive (as I've copied below) appears with the daily puzzle solutions. sometimes I pass it and have to keep searching...would it be possible to put this on top of the blog rather than hidden in the middle?
thanks for answering so quickly. Joan

Blog Archive
▼ 2008 (111) ▼ April (11)
- Show quoted text -

Rex Parker 9:45 PM  

But if you click on the "Syndicated Puzzle" link (top of the blog sidebar, under heading "Six Weeks Behind?"), you go straight to the six-weeks-ago puzzle (the one published in syndication, which seems to be the one you're looking for).

That's the best I can do.


Joan 9:59 AM  

I'm looking for today or yesterdays (most recent) do I quickly find that without the long scroll? Not looking for "Six Weeks Behind?")Sorry to be a pain..

Rex Parker 10:08 AM  

The "scroll" should take all of two seconds. Are you using some kind of hand-cranked computer? :)

On my main page ( you will find the last ten days worth of entries. Every other day is very clearly and accessibly marked in the Blog Archive.


Anonymous 11:03 AM  

where are you folks living, under a rock? I do my puzzles in ink and if I error I use a Bic wite-out tape. They are instant and dry, handier than all get out and neat. IZOD is a large company and yes they do make larger sizes but the clue was referring to the size of the company.

Jim 1:43 PM  

Am I the only one who noted the "rose" dead square in the center, starting in the SW and moving clockwise?

yancy 8:05 PM  

No, Jim-I thought that might be number twelve, till Ulrich set me straight on the separated spelling rose in TX/LA.

Bob 3:59 AM  

I learned "manege" at the "Free Rice" site, where it's a frequent word to be defined.

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