Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: DISAPPEARING INK (57A: -) - Four theme clues read, in order, INK, IN, I, -

I was torn between rating this "Medium" and "Medium-Challenging." I got through it in pretty good time, but as I was doing it, I had many moments where I thought "Wow, that was rough." I think that a year ago, this puzzle might have taken me at least twice as long to do. Knowing words like AVISO (30D: Dispatch boat) and MARL (11D: Clayey sediment) (unknown to me when I started doing puzzles) kept me in the game when zingers like PHAROS (45D: Ptolemy's lighthouse locale) and ANOXIA (6D: It may cause a coma) threatened to do me in. Overall, it was a perfect Wednesday challenge for me - not a breeze, not a slog, not a blank stare-inducing mystery, but a solid, thoughtful, entertaining puzzle, even if it does have the demonic PEEPS (37A: Marshmallow candies in Easter baskets) for a heart.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: INK (Cephalopod spray) - lost so much time with this one because I couldn't figure out how any Wednesday theme answer could begin with CEPH-, which had me rethinking my (obviously correct, and easy) NW corner for a bit. CEPHALOPOD SPRAY is so insane an answer, so unusual, so colossal and odd, that I almost like it. I have to give the constructor credit for getting a 15-letter answer for INK, even if this is the result.
  • 25A: IN (social advantage) - see, the thing that made the theme answers a little tricky was that the clues were so short and ambiguous. I had to get all of SOCIAL and a good chunk of ADVANTAGE before I figured out what this (perfectly apt) phrase is.
  • 43A: I (personal pronoun) - had most of PRONOUN in place before I even saw the clue, so no problem here.

I got hung up in a number of places, not all of them predictable. Had no idea what 23A: River in a 1957 hit film (Kwai) was at first because I read the clue only to the end of its first line (in Across Lite format) - [River in a 1957 hit]. So I briefly tried to think of songs about rivers ... then I got the final "I" and thought "????" Then I got the "W" and reread the clue, and tada, easy. The film: "Bridge on the River KWAI." 48A: Hound's quarry (hare) gave me what in retrospect seems like an impossible amount of trouble - I had -ARE and had to run through the alphabet. I just can't imagine a dog catching a HARE, least of all a bloodhound, which was the dog I was imagining. 7D: Bit of Watergate evidence (tape) was odd to me because all I could think of was "fingerprint" or other types of actual crime scene evidence. The very basic answer of TAPE is almost too embarrassing to look at now. More embarrassing, perhaps, was how long I was (ironically) stuck on DWELL (28D: Belabor, with "on"). My stumble here is ironic on two levels: first because I DWELT so damned long on the clue, and second because we subscribe to DWELL and there are many copies strewn about the house. My brain could not adequately process 61A: Finger, in a way (rat on) at first, for a multitude of reasons, so I needed at least the RA- before I got that one. Wanted 49D: Footnote word (idem) to be IBID, couldn't believe that the answer to 52D: Scavenger at Yellowstone was as easy and cartoony as BEAR (which I wrote in half-jokingly, having featured YOGI BEAR on my site only two days ago), and still, as of right now, don't get 41D: Coral producer (polyp). Let's look it up! From Wikipedia:

A coral "head", commonly perceived to be a single organism, is actually formed of thousands of individual but genetically identical polyps, each polyp only a few millimeters in diameter. Over thousands of generations, the polyps lay down a skeleton that is characteristic of their species. A head of coral grows by asexual reproduction of the individual polyps. Corals also breed sexually by spawning, with corals of the same species releasing gametes simultaneously over a period of one to several nights around a full moon.
Four POLYPS in a single paragraph, so apparently, yes, "coral" and POLYP have more than a little to do with each other. There was only one kind of POLYP I was imagining, and that kind is not found in the ocean.

None of the above:

  • 1A: Movement branded as "anti-art" (Dada) - the official art movement of crossword puzzles everywhere. A nice, fat gimme at 1A. Always a good way to start a Wednesday (or any day). I also Love that this answer intersects another artistic genre: DECO (1D: South Beach style).
  • 49A: A G8 nation (Italy) - never saw this clue, but don't like it, mainly because G8 implies an abbreviation (G8 = The Group of 8).42: Shot with lots of English (masse) - another word I learned from xwords. The other great xword billiards term: CAROM. If I had a top 100 favorite words, CAROM would be on it somewhere.
  • 47A: Panel layer (ply) - could Not figure out what this clue was getting at for a stupidly long time. "Layer" made me think "chicken," as it always does, and it was all downhill from there.
  • 5D: Of a son or daughter (filial) - I use this in my teaching all the time (used it just yesterday in talking about the Christ/God relationship in Paradise Lost, though I use it most often in reference to Aeneas and the concept of FILIAL piety ... but I digress). Good word.
  • 12D: Lionel train layout, often (oval) - love this clue, but ... are you getting a kickback from Lionel? Because this could just as easily been [Model train layout, often]. Just wondering.
  • 23D: Sephia and Sportage (Kias) - I nominate "Sephia" for Dumbest-Named Car In Existence. "Sportage" is a close second.
  • 26D: Nostalgic number (oldie) - brain wanted ETHER. Some of you will understand why.
  • 27D: Symbol of Lebanon (cedar) - great clue.
  • 31D: Infomercial knife (Ginsu) - hilarious ads of my youth. Apparently a good name to remember, since this is not the first time I've seen it in the grid.
  • 59D: Org. that's in the red? (GOP) - another wonderful clue, and the answer that decided the WHEW / PHEW question for me at 65A: "I'm glad THAT's over!" Love that PHEW is the last Across answer in the puzzle.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Orange 8:44 AM  

I say the Toyota Yaris has the two Kias beat hands-down for nutty naming. And the Daewoo Leganza—that's also a clumsy moniker.

Don't people call it G8 far more than they call it the Group of 8? If an abbreviation is the established term (based on some criteria I forget), it doesn't hint at an abbrev. in the answer. Wikipedia, for what it's worth, redirects "Group of Eight" searches to G8.

Rex Parker 8:56 AM  


I hereby accept your worthy nominations for the Dumb Car Name Awards. I also understand your comment re: G8, and yet ... I can see ITA or USA or FRA being clued via "G8" as well, and ... how could anyone complain? Abbrev. clues abbrev. So ... I'm not sure how I feel about this double-standard (or imagined double-standard).

Megan P 9:01 AM  

That's an impressive cephalopod in your first image. . . And I liked the puzzle, too.

Jim in NYC 9:32 AM  

26D: Nostalgic number (oldie) - brain wanted ETHER. Some of you will understand why.

OK, I give up, why ether? (Unless an obsolete general anesthetic is recalled fondly for its recreational uses.)

(Great puzzle today.) ("PuzzlePrint" freeware still is not doing anything. Looking at it apolitically, there are advantages to dealing only with giant software companies.)

mac 9:32 AM  

Had the puzzle done at 6.30 this morning: a first! Nice puzzle with just one problem area for me: forgot about masse and didn't have a childhood here with Ginsu knife informercials.
@Orange: last night I stumbled upon a report on your first tournament participation; lots of fun to read.

PhillySolver 9:47 AM  

Car Talk and several e-mags have done contests on car names. Some of the craziest are names found in Europe and Japan, so you may not have heard of these real names.
The Daihatsu Naked
Honda Life Dunk
Isuzu GIGA 20 Light Dump
Mazda Bongo
Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear
Nissan Fairlady Z
Suzuki Cappucino
Toyota Deliboy
Volkswagen Volugrafo Bimbo

...and then there is the legendary marketing gaffe by GM, the Nova which they tried to sell in Latin America. It was a terrible design, poorly made and the translation of the name for the locals? The "no go". My nominee is the Armada...what image were they trying to conjure up with that name? A defeated fleet of ships?

The puzzle was great fun for me...whew, dodo, anis, ibid, and ginzu all had tp be corrected, but the hardest part was the ink kept disappearing.

Ulrich 9:53 AM  

In general, I found the puzzle ingenious and enjoyed doing it, with one exception: I strongly object to "-" as clue for what is essentially nothing. A hyphen is not nothing, and once I had "disappearing", I lost time thinking how can something that's disappearing be a hyphen? I think, the clue should have been an empty line.

I also had 2 wrong squares in the center b/c I had never heard of peep and purl (the latter ring a bell from crosswords in the past, but didn't occur to me last night): "tiny" instead of "puny", "pirl" instead of "purl", and "teep" instead of "peep" looked perfectly fine to me.

Aside from these, I didn't find the puzzle more difficult than yesterday's--especially since "Pharos" was a gimme for me (I know my seven wonders of the world from antiquity) and opend up the whole bottom section.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  


My first thought upon seeing INK : Cephalopod's ... Thought I was being geeky though and did not fill it in until I had ceph from the crosses. Thought squid reathe than octopus though. It turns out my childhood obsession with zoology finally paid off today for both Cephalopod's spray and polyp.
Phew, at last something I know wel.

Ironically it was peeps that nearly did me in as I have never celebrated Easter and the candy was therefore unfamiliar to me. Went with it because it reminded me of liitle chickies peeping and thought that would be apt for Easter. What exactly are peeps?

ArtLvr 10:16 AM  

Philly's list of car names is a riot.... I wasn't sure it was a send-up until I got to "bimbo", that's how much I know about car names.

Excellent easy puzzle! I did it at 5 a.m. too, no trouble ar all -- At the end there was a fun guess for the first P of PEEPS, which meant a change of "perl" (which I'd known wasn't quite right) to PURL in order to get PUNY. So I love the two words in that cross, because we don't see those very often! Especially PUNY, where my brain was as I said AHA.

We did have OLDIE yesterday, an odd coincidence, and we had a discussion here a few weeks ago about how FILIAL applies equally to both sexes. It does help to do more than one crossword a day to get more of a feel for what's likely -- and deepen the appreciatiion of far-fetched clues and answers. PHAROS and POLYP were very good, but CEPHALOPOD SPRAY has to take some kind of prize in my book!


Pam 10:26 AM  

Also loved TAPE at 7D perpendicular to ERASE at 64A (from someone who remembers Watergate and the 70's all too well...)

ArtLvr 10:26 AM  

p.s. Special kudos on the theme's sequence of clues as noted by Rex, from INK to IN to I to "blank", for the DISAPPEARING INK! Too bad the last one looked llike a hyphen...


Scott 10:29 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Worked everything south of the squid quite quickly and then struggled for a while w/ the CEPH-. I didn't know MARL or ALPERT so was eventually left w/ CEPHALOPODS--AY, Which I mistakenly parsed as Cephalopod's --AY. After a huge number of letters tried in those gaps i finally stumbled upon the right combo and had one of those great "Ahhh! How did I not see it sooner!" moments.

Excellent theme, in my opinion.

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

I've been visiting Rex's blog for about six weeks, and enjoy all of it--whether the puzzles are "easy" or "challenging," the comments and questions are always a fine accompaniment to coffee after the NYT delivery on a cold doorstep and the first sounds of a 4 year old waking up. Adds to the pleasure of being able to get the NYT on my doorstep at all, which wasn't true here 10 years ago. And the 4-year-old is intrigued by all those boxes and letters (and in my case many blank squares--Mama, how come you aren't writing there? There's room...)

About the hyphen: my NYT had a blank space.

About Peeps: brightly colored sugared marshmallows in the shape of chicks, or the suggestion of a chick: mostly a swoosh of marshmallow tipped off with a little beak, and a dark spot for an eye. Years later there were bunnies. A high school chemistry teacher (c. 1978) used to "reward" us with what he then called "Rhoda-peeps." I have known people who ripen their peeps for months--

Thanks all for your smarts, wits and humor!

Laramie, WYO.

Humorlesstwit 10:40 AM  

In print, 57A was clued as blank, without any hyphen. Must be that any and all of the various applets don't permit empty clues.

If I hadn't insisted that it was Herb ALBERT rather than Herb ALPERT for the longest time, I would have loved this puzzle.

Joon 10:42 AM  

found this puzzle much more tractable than yesterday's, although i was still guessing at one crossing in the end (AVI_O/MA_SE... S looked pretty good, but i thought about R and L and N).

theme was ... clever, in a way. but it was strange that the key word of the theme answer (INK) was also a theme clue. not sure what to make of that.

ulrich, the "-" for an unclued entry seems to be a standard convention, at least in across lite. (see the 2/29/08 LAT puzzle, or these two from joe krozel, for examples. on the first one, the notepad has a huge hint that you might not want to look at.) i don't know if the software will actually allow a clue to consist only of whitespace.

PEEPS are bright yellow marshmallowy candies, if i'm thinking of the right kind. i find them rather gross. give me some form of chocolate instead any easter (or any other day--i'm not too particular!).

there are some goofy KIA models out there. and daewoo, too. most of the hyundai names are pretty normal, though. maybe hyundai copyrighted all normal-sounding car names in south korea?

rex, i suspect that the POLYP you are more familiar with is not going to show up in a NYT crossword, for much the same reason that CANCER is just a sign of the zodiac (yes, even if the clue is [Malignancy] and you have _ANC_R).

Leon 10:45 AM  


One of the best.

I also wanted IBID instead of IDEM. ILKS for a fraternal group was fine with me but of course it did not MESH.

Orange 10:51 AM  

Lemme see what Cruciverb has, Rex. One of 73 GER clues references the G8: [G8 member: Abbr.], from the Sun. Just one country clue for ITA, non-G8. No country clues for FRA. With a sample size of one, it looks like an "Abbr." tag is needed on top of the G8 term. (Can't do a search for G8 clues at Cruciverb—need to provide at least four characters!) I wonder if Will and Peter and the other editors have a written list of abbreviation rules.

Artlvr, the Volugrafo Bimbo was real! That link says bimbo means "baby" in Italian, and it's an Italian micro-car from the '40s. Send-up? What send-up? :-)

Orange 10:53 AM  

P.S. In the applet, the clue was left blank. It's Across Lite that can't handle blank clues and forces the use of a hyphen.

Bill D 10:53 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulrich 10:56 AM  

@rex, leon et al: "ibid" is an abbreviation (of "ibidem") and would have to be clued as an abbreviation, whereas "idem" is a whole word.

Bill D 10:58 AM  

Geologists rejoice! ASH, LAVA, MARL, RAVINE, POLYPS, CEPHALOPOD--, and even PRE (History) and Yellowstone in a clue, all in the same puzzle! What a great day for rock-pounders!

Interesting how this puzzle's theme fit in with our discussion a few days ago about PEN, INK, and how we each fill in the puzzle. My INK has not disappeared yet. I still do the puzzle on the Times newsprint, and my clue for 57A was simply blank, which, as has been noted, is more accurate than a hypen. Perhaps the online program will not accept a completely empty clue field, hence the confusing hyphen.

Loved that DADA & DECO crossed, as Rex mentioned; TAPE & ERASE ran down the middle as Pam noted (I think we can throw in the centrally-positioned PEEPS as one of the Watergate mini-themes as well!); and the intersection of SIGH & PHEW.

I think my only original miscue was IBID for IDEM, and I did have a few momentary sticking points, but thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle today. Great week so far!

If you remember the Japanese Ginsu knife ads you might recall this: Isuzu once had a commercial lampooning modern car names. (They generally had great marketing back then - remember the lying salesman Joe Isuzu?) A group of Japanese admen were sitting around a conference table discussing potential names for their new car. The discussion starts out slowly, but soon the execs are yelling out names like "SQUID" and "WOODPECKER" in heavy Japanese accents. Finally the elder chairman rises from his seat and declares "I-MARK" will be the new car's name. The yesmen all agree, even while looking at each other quizically and mumbling "I-Mark?" under their breath. The great commercial couldn't save the car or it's lame moniker, apparently. My own car, a Nissan Versa, is called a Tiida in the rest of the for it!

karmasartre 11:02 AM  

Three words: Gremlin.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Comment regarding 8D "2007 y 2008 por ejemplo"... the answer is ANOS. Please note, however, that in Spanish, ano without the tilde on top of the N means "anus", not "year." I have come across this clue many times in puzzles and it always causes me to chuckle. It would be fine if you could use the tilde but then INANE would be wrong.

Anyway, thanks for creating this site - I do enjoy it.

Eli Barrieau 12:09 PM  

Loved the Ernst photo. He's one of those artists that everyone wants to claim as their own. The Dada's, the Surrealists, even some Abstract Impressionists. Like Duchamp or Joseph Cornell. Interesting work.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

PEEPS are those marshmallow chicks, packaged about 6-8 to a box, which you can find in every drugstore and supermarket around Easter. I guess they're for putting into kiddies' Easter baskets.


Bill from NJ 12:44 PM  

@eli barrieau - I was seeing a woman in the 70s who worked at the Smithsonian as a curator of stored exhibits and I was able to see many of Joseph Cornell's box constructions. Truly remarkable.

I found this puzzle to have relatively simple answers with Friday-type cluess. A strange kind of construction.

The three 15-letter theme answers cut the puzzle into thirds which made it a little harder to solve.

All in all, a very pleasureable solving experience

kate 1:17 PM  

I enjoyed the puzzle generally - love CEPHALOPODSPRAY -- but it did bother me that a clue was also part of an answer (INK).

Jim in Chicago 1:22 PM  

I liked this puzzle and if felt about right to me for a Wednesday. I did wind up with one blank square, knowing neither AVISO or MASSE, which lefe me with AVI_O and MA_SE. Actually, I had MA_ZE, having misspelled GINZU as well.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

57 Across is clever, but does it actually work? The progression from 17 A, to 25 A, to 43 A, to 57 A might be described as "disappearing ink," but 57 A standing alone is more like "disappeared ink."

GWillStone 2:41 PM  

This is a site for those of you who are curious about some of the more interesting properties of the mysterious "peeps."

dk 2:50 PM  

I had to spill the beans to my lovely wife about my checkered past when I got DADA, MASSE and CEPHLOPODSPRY right out of the gate (pool table in the art building right next to the science building(s))

Good thing I did not have to explain ANOXIA, PEEPS and Rex's ether.

AVISO only came in the crosses, can you cut them with a GINSU

mac 2:58 PM  

There is a company in Latin America called "Bimbo", selling either icecream or bread, I can't remember. Nova beats all, though!
I didn't like kay o, but we went over that a few weeks ago.
With the nostalgic number I thought of "One is the loneliest number", and that stayed with me all morning.

PuzzleGirl 3:42 PM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. I didn't blast through it, but the theme helped and the theme entries were awesome. I, too, thought of our recent discussion about solving the puzzle in ink vs. pencil.

@ulrich: Thank You! for pointing out that ibid. is an abbreviation. I ALWAYS want the answer to be ibid, and it's ALWAYS idem. I'm hopeful that being reminded ibid. is an abbreviation will help me avoid that in the future.

I'm pretty sure Rex posted a picture of PEEPS not too long ago but I'm too lazy to go look.

Speaking of OLDIES, I was in the grocery store today and saw a woman with a t-shirt that said "Am I getting old or is the supermarket playing great music?" LOL

miriam b 3:47 PM  

Smooth sailing and very enjoyable until, like Rex, I experienced the WHEW/PHEW problem. I tried to figure oit what the acronym GOW stood for, then I said d'oh.

Eric 3:48 PM  

I think (I'm only 39 so don't remember it live) "Tape" here has a double meaning in that a piece of Scotch-brand (tm) tape was found across a door's latch and that's what got the whole Watergate ball rolling.

Mac: I'll trade you "One" for the Tijuana Brass ditty going through my head.

Nebraska Doug 3:48 PM  

After I've done a puzzle I like to predict what the reaction to the puzzle will be on this blog, I am often wrong, but today I was on. A very enjoyable puzzle with a clever theme. Not much crosswordese and about the right level of difficulty for a Wednesday. Kudos to the constructor.

rwellsrwells 3:57 PM  

Had it not been for watching "The Hustler," just last night I would have never gotten Masse. Every pool hall in the movie has a sign that says "No Masse Shots," and the commentary discusses a beautiful shot Fast Eddie makes on his final bout with Minnesota Fats - a veritable masse.

PuzzleGirl 4:07 PM  

Oh yeah, one more thing. Not to self: Herb Alpert and Marv Albert and TOTALLY not the same person.

ronathan 4:14 PM  

I agree, I liked this puzzle, liked the theme, and agree with the rating. Sailed through most of it, except for the few mistakes which had me fumbling around and basically made it take longer than it should have. The rest of it I found pretty challenging, but not impossibly so (AVISO???).

Like Rex, I too made the mistake of putting IBID instead of IDEM for 49D. I have heard of the term IBID, but not IDEM, which brings me to my question of the day: what is the difference between the two, since after looking it up in the online dictionary it seems like they mean the same thing. Is the difference mainly in when or where you would use them?

Other mistakes/gaffes:
PULL instead of PURL for 41A
CANYON instead of RAVINE for 46D
SINGS instead of RAT ON for 61A
BONO instead of RATA for 53D
SLO MO instead of ERASE for 64A

and finally, wasn't the Lighthouse at Alexandria? I didn't think of PHAROS as an answer b/c I thought that PHAROS was actually the Greek word for a lighthouse itself, and not the name of the location where "the Lighthouse" actually was.

-ronathan :-)

ronathan 4:17 PM  

Oh, also originally had ATAXIA instead of ANOXIA for 6D. Guess I mixed up my medical terms.

-ronathan :-)

Joon 4:23 PM  


according to wikipedia, pharos is both the name of the lighthouse itself (in greek) and the name of the island on which it stood. the island was just off the coast of alexandria, and apparently now the island is a peninsula (though the lighthouse, sadly, is no longer standing).

jae 4:53 PM  

Great puzzle! I just explained the theme to my granddaughter and she agreed it was very cool. Add me to the DODO, WHEW, IBID contingent. I misspent enough of my youth in pool halls for MASSE to be a gimmie and I've seen AVISO clued exactly the same way in a number of puzzles.

GrnMtnBoy 5:03 PM  


Spot on criticism as always (often done??--OK--often done). But the image in the first paragraph. Really?

jae 5:16 PM  

I meant to add that this was definitely more challenging for me than some recent Wednesdays so Rex leaning towards med-chall seems appropriate.

Karen 5:34 PM  

Great puzzle. I really liked all of the k's and v's, also the PHAROS and GINSU. I know my polyps, too.

One of those 'How it's made' shows did the Peeps factory. Apparently, they used to be made all from hand. The actual machine used to form the peeps I guess is still a trade secret, they had it all draped over, with the peeps rolling out from under to get their colored sugar coating and wax eyes.

imsdave 5:44 PM  

Good puzzle, though I would rate it an easy for a Wednesday. Shocked when I got CEPHALOPODSPRAY from CEPH. KAYO and POLYP have been making the rounds fairly frequently lately in various puzzles. Loved the theme. To puzzlegirl, your oldie comment reminded me of an old joke:

What did Kenny G say when he got on the elevator?

This music rocks.

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

The image you used in the first paragraph is an example of ukiyo-e erotic art. This one is called "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" by Hokusai.

The genre is called "Shunga"--Wikipedia has an article AND same picture. Sally

chefbea1 6:27 PM  

a very easy puzzle. didnt have to google at all

Rex Parker 6:29 PM  

OMG, I know that No One is going to believe me, but I did not notice the "erotic" part of the Hokusai print until just now. I literally Did Not See the Woman. Just the CEPHALOPOD. Wow. Wow. I may have to take that down.


Kathy 6:39 PM  

Not to beat this hyphen vs. blank space thing to death, but you started it, Ulrich! I do systems stuff for a living (posing as a marketing person), and I am always determined to beat software into submission--there's always a way to do something.

Wonder why you can't just use spaces instead of a hyphen. I'm sure the software doesn't allow for null clues, but if you put spaces, nothing would show up. Ulrich would be happy and Laramie woman posing as anonymous would be happy.


chefbea1 6:46 PM  

loved peep and purl. My husband's favorite easter candy is peeps and when Im\'m not doing puzzles or cooking i'm purling or knitting

JC66 6:53 PM  

Leave the picture...increase donations!!!

Ulrich 7:07 PM  

ibid. vs. idem:

(a) They do not mean the same in references as I understand it. "Ibidem" refers to a source, one that has just been mentioned, whereas "idem" refers to a thing that has been mentioned and may or not be in a source.

(b) the more important point for cluing that I tried to make, however, is that one is an abbreviation, and the other is not--that way, as puzzlegirl has said, you always know which one to choose.

PuzzleGirl 7:30 PM  

Oh my God, Rex, you're killing me. I didn't notice the details of that picture until someone mentioned it here in comments and then I went back to take a closer look. I thought "Well, THAT'S a little risque for Rex, but I'm sure he knows what he's doing!" LOL

Ulrich 7:53 PM  

Correction: When it comes to references, "idem" means traditionally the same author, not the same thing.

dk 8:04 PM  

I do see a naked (albeit headless) woman in the dada picture.

Is this really one of those... you know: smutty sites.

Joon 8:23 PM  


across lite is too clever for that--it ignores spaces (and tabs) at the start of a clue. so if there's nothing but spaces, it complains that there's an error in the file (missing clue).

Anonymous 8:37 PM  

The Nova/Mexico thing is an urban legend...

Kathy 8:48 PM  

oooh, thanks joon. I hate it when software gets all clever on me. can you put something in and set the font to white or something?

If the NYT puzzle is available in Across Lite, why don't they add that functionality? Do they think Will Shortz is going to miss a blank clue when editing a puzzle?!


mac 9:57 PM  

Rex, this may be completely off the wall, and I never watch the Simpsons but know Bart(?) Simpson's father's features, and I thought you picked this particular octopus picture because it looked like him!

Anonymous 9:57 PM  

I just loved this puzzle, especially the theme & my fave answer, cephalopod spray. I knew that's what it had to be, but I just couldn't believe it, so kept doing the downs.

Eric @ 3:48: Yes, the W'gate burglars taped open the door, and then Rosemary Woods erased 18 minutes of tape. Great clue, especially for those of us of a certain age. I really was in the zone on this puzzle.

Almost went down on the masse/aviso cross. Pulled aviso out of the far recesses of my crossword brain.

Barb in Chicago

mac 10:00 PM  

Rex, I just took a real look at this picture, and .... Oh my God!
It's a piece of art.

Anonymous 10:22 PM  

No,no, Rex--don't take it down. It's a fantastic picture. It is considered to be "art" after all. What I'd like to know is how you found it in the first place (same for all the other images). Cheers, Sally

Ellen 10:22 PM  

The print version has a blank clue for the last theme entry. Across Lite requires a clue for every entry space in the puzzle; otherwise it will not load. On the Mac at the NYT I was not able to use a space or the ASCII character for blank or space (the puzzle would not load and gave an error message), and was forced to put in the hyphen as a placeholder. This version was loaded on the server.

However, back home on my Windows PC, I got alt-255 (blank) to work. I resubmitted the puzzle by e-mail, but it was not loaded. I did not know this until seeing the discussion on the forum. I have reminded NYT Digital, and they are supposed to replace the file. The Java applet does use the corrected version.

We do the best we can, given the limitations of the software.

PhillySolver 10:40 PM  

Thanks Ellen...I wondered why an ASCII character wouldn't work there...the program sees Alt 255 even if we can't. In the earlies days of computing, files were hidden in Alt 255 directories and subdirectories. I did not mind the dash however because all of the letters of INK had disappeared.

mac 11:16 PM  

Rex, you are going to have to deal with these questions. Where did you get the shot? The woman does have a head, and a hairdo, by the way. I don't know what this person was looking at.....

Kim 11:23 PM  

I seriously think CEPHALOPOD SPRAY is one of my favorite theme answers ever - and I missed the controversial picture as I did this late and Rex must have taken it down. I will not quiblle over the hyphen as I think the INK to IN to I to (hypehen) was still brilliant and fun to solve.

I loved all the geology clues but was stumped by AVISO and MASSE.

And yes I had the mysterious GOW org. in the red. Duh - now I see it!

SethG 11:31 PM  

Speaking of Herbs, and Homer Simpson, and car names:

Back in the early days of the Simpsons Homer discovered that he had a half-brother he'd never known about. He tracked him down and discovered it was Herbert Powell, the head of Powell Motors. (Who says, says Forbes magazine, "People don't want cars named after hungry old Greek broads![...]They want names like 'Mustang' and 'Cheetah'--vicious animal names.")

Herb decides that Homer's the perfect guy to describe their next car, which they call "The Homer". It fails, and Herb loses everything.

And in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Toontown is saved when they find Marvin Acme's will, which he'd written (that joker!) in DISAPPEARING (re-appearing) INK.

Anonymous 11:47 PM  

Decode a dash.
Aged cephalopods pray.
Nix war lad.
Peeps eat en masse.
Scamper son.
Person alpha bravo
Person alpha rose.
Raving in ink
I'd disappear in gin.

Badir 11:57 PM  

I thought this was an easy puzzle! It was my fastest Wednesday all year--I didn't have much trouble with the rough words because of good crossings, and I never really got held up.

I really liked the theme. And the picture. :)

treedweller 12:27 AM  

There's a cephalopod in that picture?

Orange 12:52 AM  

Mac—The headless woman is in the bottom corner of the fourth picture, next to the paragraph about DADA. The woman with the cephalopod has not lost her head.

Rikki 2:18 AM  

Another great puzzle. Good week so far. Perfectly challenging for a Wednesday. Wednesdays have been a bit easy lately, but this one took some thought in places. Very artistic write-up, Mr. Parker. Loved the hound.

My mother loved peeps. She always had them in the house for Easter. Those and the orange peanuts that sort of melt in your mouth. Mmmm...

Anonymous 2:18 AM  

Rex, I didn't know you were into hentai.

andrea carla michaels 3:02 AM  

Also note to Scrabblers (is that allowed?) IDEM is good, IBID is not bec it's an abbrev.
My understanding is IBID is the Latin word for SAME and IDEM is slightly different, tho suddenly I can't remember how, I had always wondered if the IDEM from ibIDEM was the same root with IB as a weird prefix.
As a namer by profession, (see note about constructors not being able to make a living!)I won't go into myriad car naming stories, but I will say PHAROS appears on almost every first time namer's list...
right after all the Greek gods when someone is trying to name a new company!
As for NOVA, when I was renaming the People's Express airline (the now-defunct, thru no fault of my own, i hope, VANGUARD) one of the 100 names I had submitted was MIDAIR (as it was based in Kansas and doing short stops, Dole actually used it for his entire political campaign)...
During the presentation, the client asked, "Oh, do you mean as in MIDAIR crash?"
Sometimes it pays to have a writing partner!

Shaz 12:53 PM  

I didn't know MASSE, so I had to look it up. If one can believe Wikipedia's glossary of cue sport terms, the word english should not have been capitalized in this context.

sfcarole 2:23 PM  

Also had MA_ZE at the very end. Finally asked my husband, who immediately came up with MASSE. Reminds me of the following quote: "A good game of pool is the sign of a gentleman; a great game of pool the sign of a misspent youth". I suspect that are some pretty great pool players among you guys.

If I remember from my former life as a lawyer, IDEM (abbrev. Id.) means same book and author, but different page. So you'd write "Id. at ____" in a brief. IBID(EM) was used for a cite located on the same page as the previously referenced cite. So "IBID", or "Ib." tells you to just go to that page for the cite.

I thought a sec about "Hound's quarry" and then remembered "you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine"!

Never finished (well almost) a Wednesday puzzle before until I started reading Rex's site!

cAlady 2:01 PM  

Love that the puzzle gets me to look up new words-today it was "masse" and "haitai". Keep "OneLook" on hand at all times, and love it. Bimbo is a Mexican bread brand-used to buy it all the time when down there. We always thought it superior to similar Am. products-but maybe that's what a new locale will do for you. But Mexican bakery goods! They are superior, wish we could get them here!

Anonymous 3:45 PM  


Woo woo. Nothing more to add.

- - Robert

Anonymous 3:59 AM  

"Belabor, with on" (28D) is MUCH harder when you're a Commonwealther who doesn't recognize "belabor" as a word.For a long time I thought it was a proper noun pronounced bell-abor. Maybe a forgotten beast from ancient Greece? The missing "u" in belabour took a long time to appear.


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