WEDNESDAY, Apr. 9, 2008 - Daniel Kantor and Jay Kaskel (LANGUAGE OF THE HINDUSTAN EXPRESS)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Whine and Dine" - three complaints a diner might make (actually, one complaint and two annoyed questions), plus WHINE AND DINE - 54A: Title of this puzzle

First, congratulations to my stepmom, who was elected to the Carmel (-by-the-Sea) City Council yesterday. Woo hoo. I'm related to Power! Soon, my family will buy a huge seaside compound and start acting like American Aristocracy! Today Carmel, tomorrow the western seaboard, and then ... let's see, Friday ... uh ... Asia? Mexico? Whatever. We're on our way.

This puzzle was supereasy, except for a patch in the west that caused me to trip and nearly fall on my ass, and then ... have you ever tripped while walking and then looked back accusatorily at the sidewalk? Well, that's how I looked at this piece of puzzle. It's not as if it took me long to sort things out, but I had this weird feeling of indignation that it took me several passes to get ATM FEE (42A: Money for money), which I hated at the time, but now accept. A couple of Downs in that same vicinity also did not come to me instantly - 37D: It has a horn: Abbr. (Afr.) [doesn't AFRica have several "horns? Or is the southernmost point the only real "horn?" - whoops - there's only one Horn of Africa - the Somali Peninsula in the east. I thought HORN was just a general term for a pointy section of land that a ship might go "around" - not sure how this all relates to the (baseball) term "around the horn"] and 38D: Apartment security feature (peephole). Something about PEEPHOLE feels completely counterintuitive. I recognize that it is a perfectly apt answer, but there's something prurient about the word. "I'm PEEPing at you..." I think the concept of a PEEP Show and PEEPing Tom have ruined the word PEEP for me. [And those marshmallow chicks don't help.] It's dirty. If anything, the PEEPer looks into your apartment from the outside. They need to rename those holes. So ... that's it. The rest of the puzzle - cake.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: "I asked for tomato bisque, not gazpacho!" (complaint #1) ("My soup is cold")
  • 28A: "Has our waiter even made eye contact? (complaint #2) ("Are we invisible?")
  • 47A: "What, are they growing the food? (complaint #3) ("Where's our order?") - this one gave me the most trouble, as I had WHERE'S OUR ---ER and DINNER would Not fit.

Though this puzzle was mostly easy, I did have a weird hiccup in the very beginning - not a big problem, but kind of funny (to me, at least). Here is the grid looked after I'd torched the top part of the puzzle:

Then, feeling cocky, and knowing that the theme involved "complaints," I eyeballed 28A and without ever looking at the clue, wrote in ARE WE HAVING FUN!? - that sounded like a sarcastic complaint of sorts. I guess the full question would be ARE WE HAVING FUN YET? - but I was so pleased to nail this intuitively that I didn't question it. Until none of the Downs worked. Then I looked at the clue. Always a good idea.


  • 1A: "The Divine Comedy," for one (epic) - wrote in POEM, despite spending much of the past two weeks explaining the EPIC lineage of "Paradise Lost," which includes "The Divine Comedy." Thankfully, reliable EDAM (1D: Mild yellow cheese) bailed me out up there and I had the rest of NW and N done in under a minute.
  • 16A: High-end Honda (Acura) - wrote it in instantly and then pulled it when I misread my own handwriting and saw (I thought) that 12D: Pal (bro) started "SR..." That "S" was actually a "B" (from TABBY - 9A: Housecat). Eventually ACURA found its way back. I had far less trouble up there than my wife, who had a catastrophic failure. Feasible alternatives at 11D: Pal and 13D: Pie hole (she had BUD and YAW, respectively) left her with BEDOW for 19A: Dizzy Gillespie's jazz (bebop). BEDOW is going to be my new name for jazz. Or mysterious music I can't identify. Or pretentiously arty music. It's got so many uses already. [this makes me happy - first Google search to result in a hit to my site today = [bedow gillespie]!]
  • 18A: Book of Mormon book (Omni) - yes, the Mormons named one of their books after the first Dodge model to come with front-wheel drive.
  • 39A: 14+ (UHF) - from Wikipedia, everything you need to know about this clue/answer:
In the United States, UHF stations (broadcast channels above 13) originally gained a reputation for being locally owned, less polished and professional, not as popular, and having weaker signal propagation than their VHF counterparts (channels 2 through 13). The movie UHF, starring "Weird Al" Yankovic and Michael Richards, parodied the phenomenon.
  • 46A: Something Elizabeth II has? (zed) - the word ZED makes me laugh out loud these days, due entirely to a single joke in "Flight of the Conchords," where band manager Murray repeatedly refers to the rock band "ZZ Top" as "Zed Zed Top." I wish I could find a clip ... but here's a song about Murray instead.
  • 51A: Sevilla seasoning (sal) - Nice seasoning = SEL.
  • 63A: Titan's place (silo) - it's a missile.
  • 64A: A rock band's name often appears on it (drum) - bass drum, to be exact.
  • 66A: Language of the Hindustan Express (Urdu) - is that a train? A talking train? Oh, no, it's a newspaper.
  • 67A: Sci-fi sage (Yoda) - you should have known this instantly. The puzzle's most important little green ... man. Yesterday JABBA, today YODA. I think ALEC (Guinness) was recently in the puzzle too. He was the original Obi-Wan.
  • 69A: Mulching material (peat) - wow, "mulching" is a really horrific word. Sounds like a very taboo ... activity of some kind. It's like MUNCH and BELCH had a baby and they called it MULCH.
  • 2D: My Little _____ (kids' toy line) (Pony) - gimme gimme gimme. I don't think Sahra has any of these, but if she watched commercial television I'm sure she would be all over them. She loves ponies. I'm trying to get her to love chess, too. My dream is to have a very girlie, pony-and-pink-loving daughter who nonetheless can totally kick your son's ass in chess, backgammon, karate, and all things math and science. The anti-me, basically. I was joking with my wife about becoming a "Chess Dad" - "Destroy Him, Honey! Sweep the Leg!" [that's a "Karate Kid" reference - I wish Elisabeth SHUE (5A: Elisabeth of "Cocktail") had been clued via "KK" instead of the Absolute Train Wreck that is "Cockatail." My 14-year-old self thought Elisabeth SHUE was Very cute]
  • 3D: Charge holders (ions) - Is "holders" an odd attempt at a misdirect? I guess it could have been AAAs, as in batteries.
  • 70A: 10 C-notes (one G) - love this almost as much as I hate the "G" cross, E-MAG (59D: Webzine).
  • 5D: Free local paper (Shopper) - the "Springfield SHOPPER" is the newspaper of record on "The Simpsons," so this was easy for me.
  • 8D: 13th-century king of Denmark (Eric IV) - I am fairly certain that OSCAR II, the last king of a united Sweden and Norway, was in almost this Exact grid position in a puzzle earlier this year. Randomly Roman numeraled Scandinavian kings are apparently indigenous to the Great Lakes portion of the puzzle.
  • 28D: Queen of Soul, familiarly (Aretha) - gimme. I could (and sometimes do) listen to her all day long.
  • 55D: The Old Sod (Eire) - I've blogged about this very term before, so why did I think this was a specifically ENGLISH term??
  • 56D: Robert who won a Tony for "Guys and Dolls" (Alda) - gimme, but only from doing so many damn puzzles. Father of ALAN ALDA - the more common puzzle ALDA.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


ArtLvr 8:57 AM  

Rex, I have to query YAP (13-D) as a "pie hole" -- I see the connection, as small mouth, but it's not in my dictionaries!

Otherwise, an okay puz...


PhillySolver 9:06 AM  

ATMFEES and AFR were my last fills. I did think of the geographic term and even the Cape of Good Hope, but the abbreviation proved elusive. CRAWS seem stuck and I see that OMNI and HEMI are crossing again. Jim reports that EDAM has an important milestone today making its 100th appearance in the Times.

Today's NYT has articles on both Wining and Dinning, so the paper itself was part of the theme. Recently, the articles have been more about allotriophagy. I am a meat and potatoes man along the lines of our Beef laden puzzle last week.

Orange 9:09 AM  

Artlvr, rude people (I'm hearing a low-class British accent or one from Queens) might say, "Oh, shut yer pie-hole." It's a mouth, but one with disparaging tones directed at it.

Rex, the Horn of Africa is the pointy part near the northeast of the continent, where Somalia sits, just south of Saudi Arabia and Yemen across the Gulf of Aden (and yes, I looked at a map for the last part of this).

Orange 9:12 AM  

(And I just looked up Cape Horn—that's the southernmost tip of South America, named after a Dutch city, Hoorn, and not a horn-of-the-continent description.)

ArtLvr 9:15 AM  

p.s. Just bought some large stamps with YODA on them -- very cute! He looks world-weary, I don't know about wise.


jannieb 9:24 AM  

Thought the theme answers were clever - a few new fills that were interesting (atm fees, peephole) but the rest of the puzzle was a snooze. The early week puzzles are really losing their appeal. If they are all going to be easy - at least let them be fresh and entertaining.

Ulrich 9:38 AM  

@jannieb and the rest: I'm now at the end of the first month in which I have done every daily NYT puzzle, and each week, I've encountered the same pattern: The first three appeared equally easy, and then the difficulty increases sharply--pictured as a curve, it would resemble a hockey stick. Is that typical?

BTW Since I'm not going for speed, my criterion for ease is not time, but (as someone else mentioned recently) that I never really have to stop to ponder the next move: There is always something to fill in in some area, and if I have to think for a short while, I'm not really aware of it, except perhaps when two unknown words cross and I have to make an educated guess.

Sandy 9:52 AM  

Sahra doesn't have a My Little Pony because she gave her one to you and its sitting near your desk on that heart-shaped, sparkly stone covered box she made for you.

Bedow! I feel vindicated.

Rex Parker 9:55 AM  

Thanks for dashing my dad cred, honey. You're a good wife.

I'm going to have to take a picture of said PONY (and stone-covered box) and post it. Maybe tomorrow.

In my defense, I don't think I knew that *that* PONY was a "My Little PONY."


Anonymous 9:56 AM  


Joon 10:14 AM  

i also started with POEM at 1A, and i even stuck in PARM at 1D to match. thank goodness my little PONY set me straight, because it was an inauspicious beginning.

nice puzzle overall. i liked ATMFEE and DADDYO, as things that were sort of new to me. the theme was awfully cute. and here's CRAWS again, for those who objected to it last time.

the crossword acting pantheon would have to include ALDA (though usually alan), ESAI, REA, and SHUE, all of whom appeared in today's puzzle. at this point, i'll regard it as neither good nor bad, but merely point out that it really helps to know these folks. (ALDA and SHUE were known to me prior to one month ago when i started crosswording seriously. the others, not so much, but boy have they made up for lost time.)

i liked the clue [Manhandle] for the usually-associated-with-animals verb PAW.

dk 10:34 AM  

I have this image of chess pieces that include Barbies, little ponies, trolls and who knows what else.

I wonder why.

Flew through this one as well with the family discussion focused on DADDYO. We/I initially thought daddio. I was soundly thumped (children can be so cruel) for even thinking YODA as ioda...

I liked ACK and PIEHOLE (as in shut yer).

Bill D 10:54 AM  

ATMFEE and AFR were the last to fall for me, also. Interesting and wide variety of historical names in this one, from CRO-magnon to ERIC IV to Annie OAKLEY to Erwin ROMMEL (I'll wager his first name appears in grids more than his last!) to NEHRU, plus a little island hopping on ILE & ATOLL.

Liked that "Au naturel" was not NUDE, but NUDE made an appearance elsewhere. Was PEEPHOLE added just as a tease, then? Maybe because of the mental images all this conjured up, when I encountered 65A my mind flashed to the home of Cecil, The Seasick Sea Serpent - No Bikini Atoll. And speaking of appearances, Stephen REA was back, chasing EDAM, apparently. And CRAW(S) again - Shortz IS messing with us.

Didn't like TABby and TABle saw crossing; besides, I wanted another "ZED" in that NE corner spot!

jae 10:57 AM  

Quite easy for me too. I made the YAW BUD error and had AFLAME for ABLAZE for a while but still finished in one of my fastest Wed. times (faster then yesterday actually). Enjoyed the puzzle and thought the theme was cute/funny.

Eli Barrieau 10:58 AM  

Rex got served!!!

Probably my favorite comment ever, besides phillysolver's. Of course phillysolver makes me feel dumber and smarter at the same time, so that's a tough hurdle to overcome.

Close third: Sethg's(?) reference to the Eagles and the Big Lebowski.

Sandy 12:11 PM  

Anyone with doubts about Rex's awesome Dad status should navigate over to my blog (Sandy Davenport, aka Mrs Rex Parker, listed at the top of the "friends of the show" links on Rex's side bar) to see how much Sahra was into her first chess lesson, courtesy of Rex. The photos are small, but you can click on them to enlarge.

PuzzleGirl 12:17 PM  

Rex, I have the Exact Same Hope for my daughter -- frilly-girly and wicked smart. So far she knows how the pieces move in chess, but hasn't spent any time on the strategy. We'll get there though!

@jae: I, too, had AFLAME for ABLAZE. Then I did a puzzle from another source later and there was a totally different A*LA*E word with roughly the same cluing. Ouch.

From now on, I will refer to ZZ Top as Zed Zed Top. "Flight of the Conchords" is on my list of things to obsess about as soon as I have time. It looks fabulous.

REMAP seems to be getting a lot of play lately. (Not sure if it's just in the NYT since I'm doing so many other puzzles these days.)

54D (WILT) reminded me of one of my favorite photos of all time. Wilt Chamberlain and Willie Shoemaker.

Song stuck in my head today: "Endicott" (Kid Creole and the Coconuts).

mac 12:43 PM  

Nice and easy puzzle to build our confidence for the latter part of the week. Thankfully got UHF through the crosses, wouldn't have known otherwise. Had to laugh when "craw" showed up again, and several other words which were mentioned lately as often-used fill.

SethG 12:45 PM  

Alas, Matthew made the excellent Big Lebowski reference, I just congratulated him for it.

My "high" point so far was accidentally inflaming a brouhaha when I told Rex not to use 'kosher' to refer to Danny Elfman after someone ripped him for implying white people like Bob Dylan. Matthew wins.

One of the first notes in my journal from New Zealand was that radio ads refer to web addresses as "dub dub dub [dot] whatever [dot] en zed". I like the dub as much as the zed.

Never had one, so I had PEEKHOLE for the longest time...

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

Had Daddys (plural which probably would br daddies) instead of DaddyO. Of course this gave me sneg instead of one G. I tried to fit Gee into that space before but could not and didn't cath that the word needed to be parsed one G and somehow didn't catch that error.

Martin 2:01 PM  

As to the relationship between the baseball term "around the horn" and geographical Horns, baseball actually took the slang term from sailors. Going "around the Horn" was a significant rite of passage, back (pre-Suez canal) when you had to sail down around Cape Horn (in South America, as Orange points out) to get from the Pacific to the Atlantic, or vice-versa.

It was pretty rough sailing, and I guess baseball picked it up to refer to the 543 double play, etc. as a reflection of similar (tho less life-threatening) trickiness.

Doc John 2:12 PM  

I had a tougher time than most today but still managed to finish OK. Interesting that I alluded to a South Park reference just yesterday and here's one in the puzzle today! (And a lesser-known one, at that.)

Eric 2:27 PM  

Hey 19, that's 'Retha Franklin!

Just got into a nice debate here about whether people consider salt a spice (not whether it technically is, but whether it's considered one.)

I too, Anonymous, couldn't figure out what a "sneg" was. Figured it was some new street term I wasn't "hep" too, Daddy-O.

Kim 2:50 PM  

You know you're having a bad day with an easy puzzle when you literally make ALL the same mistakes as everyone else. I agree most of the puzzle was boringly easy except I had to fix errors with:
1.the good old BEDOW jazz genre
2. had PEEKHOLE instead of PEEPHOLE
3. DADDYS instead of DADDYO
4. AFLAME instead of ABLAZE
5. struggled with the ATMFEE and AFR horn

The only error I did not make was Rex's "Are we having fun?" complaint simply because my brain does not make such large leaps.

If someone could please mention some other error that was not mentioned I will feel better. But the chances for that are probably as great as ORANGE taking longer than (fill in some number of nanoseconds here) to solve a Monday puzzle.

ronathan 3:13 PM  

I had problems with the SW and center W, b/c one first answers I wrote down was DEADBOLT for 38D, instead of PEEPHOLE. Was convinced for a long time that DEADBOLT was correct, too, b/c it still worked with PATIO and ATM FEE as crosses. Had to let it go eventually, but I couldn't come up with anything else that fit until I managed to get the ending -HOLE. For some reason PEEPHOLE just did not enter my mind.

Also had similar problem with the center, since NEHRU jacket just wouldn't come to me. I also did not get the clues for 39A, 34A (still don't know what a Shad ROE is), and 30D (IOU=Marker? That doesn't make sense to me either. Shouldn't an IOU be a note, or a promise?).

Altogether an okay puzzle, except for the areas mentioned above. I also think that the clue for 27D "Excited, with "up"" (KEYED) is a terrible clue. When I think of keyed, I think of intentional damage done to a car, not as a synonym for jazzed, hyped, psyched, etc.

ronathan :-)

miriam b 3:36 PM  

I did this in a hurry so as to finish in time to keep a toothcleaning appointment, and I aced it. In fact, I notice that I perform best under mild to moderate pressure.

CLEVER puzzle, but -- CRAWS = ACK.

Fortunately the dental hygienist didn't ask me to open my YAP. Had she done so, I'd have become KEYED up.

Eric 3:38 PM  

I think Shad Roe is caviar, but I'm too lazy to Google it.

Do you guys know the joke about Row vs. Wade? It goes over like a lead canoe.

ArtLvr 3:44 PM  

@ ronathan: probably older slang -- keyed up, wound up, turned on -- think of an imaginary key bring a wind-up toy to life. I don't think you get a real car "keyed up", just keyed (if scraped on purpose).

"Markers" for IOU notes is probably older too -- you might hear it in The Godfather, Guys and Dolls, and so on.

And "roe" is just fish eggs, except when roe deer!


PhillySolver 4:08 PM  

@ eli

I am sure if you got to know me better you would feel smarter all of the time, but I do enjoy this blog and getting to write about words and Trivia.

On eating...someone wrote me about the medical use of the word allotriophagy which goes beyond my definition of eating exotic foods. I should have added that I am a carnivorous, panivorous, rhizophagous guy who sometimes engages in hyperphagia.

@ kim...I did temporarily enter woreout instead of WORNOUT, so there is one error you may have avoided.

Ulrich 4:22 PM  

@kim: I started 1A with "Epos"--that's how these monsters are called where I come from.

chefbea1 4:26 PM  

Havent read the comments yet but I make pies all the time. Never heard the term yap. Can anyone explain?

chefbea1 4:37 PM  

o.k. now I get yap. and as for shad roe - its the eggs of the shad enclosed in a sac. You can buy them in pairs at any fish store for about one month in the spring. They are great sauted - anyone want a recipe?

jannieb 4:38 PM  
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Bill from NJ 5:05 PM  

I finished the NW in a big hurry which allowed me to get the theme almost at once. The only thing to hold me up at all was SOL at 51A but only for a short time.

I wish there was a smaller difference in the skills necessary to solve the Mon-Thurs puzzles and the Fri-Sat puzzles. The Mon-Thurs puzzles are so simple as to present little or no challenge at all. It is the only time I solve against the clock so as to sharpen my solving techniques when I need them say, in a competitive situation.

These early week puzzles remind of USA Today or small-town daily newspapers.

I am afraid I am losing interest in these puzzles when I have to create artificial constructs to enjoy them at all.

Don't get me wrong but I need somthing that will sharpen rather than dull my puzzling instincts,

Is anyone else having these kinds of problems?

ronathan 5:27 PM  

@bill from NJ

That's sort of the point I was making the other day when I complained about the repetition of answers and/or clues in the recent past. IMHO, it's one thing to make the Mon-Thurs puzzles easy, it's another thing to make them easier by having the same answers show up in puzzles only a few days apart. I have no problem with making a Monday puzzle easy, but can't they at least wait a few weeks before recycling answers?

-ronathan :-)

David 5:29 PM  

To Bill from NJ:
You can just get a book of more challenging puzzles and substitute those on the early days - that's what my mom (also from NJ, and married to a Bill, but as Dad's never shown any interest in CWs I assume you aren't he :) ) started doing when she got bored with the monday/Tuesday NYT fare. Of course, then you lose the fun of checking out Rex's blog to compare his experience with your own - can't have everything.
Personally I'm surprised you find the difficulties so predictable. I find that every day from Wednesday on I may cruise through (very rare on Saturdays!) or may get really stuck on and be unable to finish.

Anonymous 5:43 PM  

i don't get the 10 c-notes clue??

Humorlesstwit 6:04 PM  

Following up on Ulrich's comment of early in the day, and some of the 'too easy' comments later, I've found that my skill level has improved much more noticably in the early weekday puzzles than in the latter puzzles. Some of that surely is having crosswordese at my finger tips, which plays a greater part in early weekday puzzles; some is the nature of what makes a late weekday puzzle difficult: a mixture of more difficult fill, more arcane themes or none at all, and some downright obscure answers.
I can do tons of puzzles, then fill in ERNE / OLIO / OLEO / etc like a monster, solving Mon - Wed quickly, but none of that is going to help me with a Carolinas with NGAIO and UMIAK as we had last Friday. That's where Ulrich's hockey stick comes in, at least in my case.
We've had two weeks of really easy Mon - Wed puzzles in a row, and maybe it would have been nice if the Wednesdays were significantly more difficult that the Mondays, but so what? I still got smacked down the past several Fridays because of the vast expanse of things I don't know.
I play games on Mondays, just to make the puzzle interesting: I only use the across clues. If I can do that, I'm golden. If not, well, so what.

I agree that cluing Elisabeth SHUE with Cocktail was a huge passive aggressive snub. She was in a couple of OK movies, one very good one (Leaving Las Vegas), and they came up with one of the worst movies of all time?

Zach M. 6:10 PM  

C-note = a $100 bill.

10 x $100 = $1000

$1000 = a grand

A grand, in slang = One G.


mac 6:17 PM  

@chef bea:
I love shad roe and actually pick it up at the Grand Central food market and take it to CT. I've developed a trick that prevents the roe from seeping out of the "wings", I poach them first in some salted water for about 5 minutes, then sautee them in butter until slightly browned.
I've tried other ways, like James Beard's smothering in butter, but this way works the best.

Margaret 7:02 PM  

@ puzzlegirl

That is one of my all-time favorite photos. Annie Lebowitz is amazing. Thanks for sharing it!

Teresa 8:15 PM  

I liked this puzzle for the daddy-o and cold soup. (cute) Was sick of Nehru jackets almost immediately after they came out.
I like to see my cat, Yodi's, namesake in the puzzle, his brother's name (obie) gets in much more often.

chefbea1 9:09 PM  

thanks for the tip on preparing shad roe.where in Ct. are you. I'm in Stamford

jae 9:25 PM  

re: easy puzzles -- I usually have a book of weekend NYT puzzles that I do Mon.-Wed. I know I could print them out from the archives but I went for convenience. My current book has puzzles from 1997 which makes the some of pop culture clues more challenging.

John Reid 10:00 PM  

I liked this puzzle a lot but it gave me some grief. My main difficulty was at 25D (ABLAZE) - several of you have already commented on having tried 'aflame' here, which is exactly what I did. That made the -INVISIBLE part of the theme answer very stubborn to pull out! Slowed me down quite a bit. The funny thing is that I'm almost certain that I've had exactly this problem in a puzzle before; I'm going to have to beware of 6-letter words clued as 'On fire' or 'Burning' from now on!

The WHINEANDDINE gave me a chuckle and I thought it was worth the effort. A lot of the other answers were fun too.

I found a few other good challenging puzzles that are worth a mention today. There's a good one at NY Sun by Tony Orbach (which I got a letter wrong on - rats!), and today's Onion puzzle is by Tyler Hinman (at times the Onion puzzles can be a little on the risque side, just to warn you). Hope you enjoy them. They can both be found using the link to Ephraim's Puzzle Pointers on Rex's blog page.

Great zing on the My Little Pony! Had me laughing out loud!

PuzzleGirl 10:05 PM  

My husband and I sometimes (okay, often) email each other from different rooms of the house. I decided today that the only thing that would make it cooler is to somehow send the messages publicly. Rex and Sandy rock.

Bill from NJ 10:48 PM  


Same as me - you set up artificial constructs to get through simple puzzles.

Look, I don't mean to imply that ever single puzzle Mon-Thurs are so simple as to not be enjoyable; it's the preponderance of these puzzles that cause me such displeasure.

You know the real irony here?

I get more from Rex's blog than I do from the puzzles themselves!

mac 10:51 PM  

@humorlesstwit: please get yourself a new id, I feel so sorry for you every time I see this name.... You've paid your penance.

Anonymous 11:05 PM  

My morning routine is to do the CRAWSword puzzle with a TABBY cat on my LAP!

Kim 2:50, to make you feel better, here's a mistake you probably didn't make: I had "wrapper" instead of SHOPPER, which I've never heard of. I figgered a free/local paper would only be good for wrapping up fish or some other such grocery item.

I'm another who fell into the "deadbolt" trap and agree that PEEPHOLE sounds creepy. Rex, maybe you could start calling it a PIEHOLE?

Rock Rabbit

ps according to my fading memory (I lived in Rhode Island for a while) the shad should be running right about now... and so the shadbush should be blooming too -- a glorious springtime phenomenon

Mark Trevor Smith 11:17 PM  

I enjoyed the nice little touch: Elizabeth (II) with a zed was right next to Elisabeth (Shue) without a zed! So, right after I was thinking about someone I know who also spells Elisabeth, along comes the queen spelled the right way!

Strange that Flight of the Conchords first entered my consciousness earlier today from a completely different source. "The Humans Are Dead" and "Hiphipopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros" are a laugh riot.

mac 11:17 PM  

Anon11.05, That's so funny. We have so many shad bushes, and I never thought of the connection. I like them better already, and the deer just adore them, stand on their hind legs to nibble on them.

Kalaala 11:22 PM  

Re: Shad Roe: If you ever go to Charleston, South Carolina, at the right time of year, try the shad roe at one of those restaurants like Magnolia or Slightly North of Broad. Oh my, is it delicious! Sounds gross, it's cooked with bacon and banana and I didn't want to taste it, but I did and it was stellar. That was 1995 and I still remember it.

mac 11:27 PM  

I'm breaking the 3 comments rule, but who cares at this time of the evening. Isn't it great to remember wonderful meals from your travels? One trip through France, Switzerland and Germany I kept a journal, and when I picked it up years later I realized it was all about food.......

fergus 12:43 AM  

bill in nj,

You can turn a easy puzzle into a good challenge by turning it into a diagramless puzzle. Get a sheet of graph paper, check that the grid is 15x15, and go! Today would have had just about the right amount of gimmes to try sussing out the diagram to a reasonable degree of challenge.

Ellen 2:25 AM  

I've said it before, but I never think puzzles are "too easy." As long as they're GOOD, I'm happy.

WWPierre 1:47 PM  

My wife does the Monday and Tuesday puzzles, and helps me with the later-in-the week ones if I need it.

I thought I learned something new today: That "sneg" was slang for $1000. (insert rolling eyes smiley here)

Another way to make a fairly easy puzzle more challenging is to restrict yourself to answers which already have at least one letter filled in.

embien 2:27 PM  

Shad ROE was a favorite of one of the best fictional detectives ever, Nero Wolfe (by Rex Stout), a true gourmand if ever there was one.

There's a wonderful book Nero Wolfe Cookbook, now sadly out of print (and hence expensive, though libraries may have it).

One of the shad roe recipes is on page 76 Shad Roe in Casserole (without onion)

Wolfe likes his Shad Roe covered in anchovy butter.

syndakate 3:38 PM  

Since I wait tables for a living, I was prepared to completely loathe this puzzle. The normally relaxing part of my day was turning into a nightmare shift at work. (Where's your order? It's cooking! You think I'm holding it hostage!?) However, the Whine and Dine title redeemed this one for me. People really should attempt to be more polite and respectful to their servers. They work a difficult and thankless job for relatively low pay. And they will be alone with your food.

SheilaG 12:38 AM  

Six weeks later- Just had to mention, Whenever I hear the word Gazpacho I think of Rimmer in Red Dwarf. I was surprised no one here commented on it, one of my favorite series of all time!

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