## Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: The First State! (which is also, apparently, THE DIAMOND STATE) - four theme answers begin with DEL-, circled squares in middle of grid form a diamond shape that spells out DIAMOND STATE, and the theme is indicated by a clue in the far south of the puzzle: 70A: Capital suggested by the circled letters and by the starts of 17- and 63-Across and 11- and 29-Down (Dover)

I've notice a common pattern to my solving, especially in early-week puzzles. I start in the NW, like all right-thinking people, but then I tend to move across and down, to the point where I often end up in the ESE or SE before I really know what's happened. Then I end up sidling my way back across the grid, which feels awkward, as I end up coming at Across clues from their back ends. I think if I could drop into that western coastal section of the puzzle earlier - the Oregon / N. California section - I would have a more solid purchase from which to conquer the rest of the puzzle. But I always seem to get to that section last, or near the end. I feel like I'm always finishing in the SW or W.

In this puzzle there were no real obstacles. The theme covers a ton of square feet - 57 total squares, by my count - but it's all relatively easy to put together. My only problem was in the far west, where I finished the puzzle (yet again). I finished and yet couldn't stop staring at ONEG (35A: Universal donor blood type, for short). How in the world (I queried) is ONE G a "universal donor type?" I couldn't remember which "type" was "universal donor," but I was looking for some combination of A and B and possibly O, but when the O got in front of NEG, my brain went all hard-boiled on me and the only phrase I could see was ONE G. As in "How much will it cost for me to hire a torpedo to ice my husband?" "It will cost you ONE G, ma'am."
I looked it up - nothing. Many minutes went by before I realized that I had it parsed wrong. My wife, however, had trouble because 70A did not indicate state capital, and so DOVER made her think only of white cliffs and England.

• 17A: Special Operations group (Delta Force) - had to hack at this to get it to fall. I seemed to recall a movie with this name, something violent and Reagan-era. I was right. "They Don't Negotiate with Terrorists ... They Blow Them Away!" So this is where our foreign policy comes from! Awesome.
• 11D: TV angel portrayer (Della Reese) - I very confidently entered DELTA BURKE at first. Wrong bad TV show.
• 29D: Overdue (delinquent) - the first letter I got was the "Q" - from QTRS (51A: N.F.L. periods)
• 63A: Highly pleasing (delightful) - wow these last two theme answers are Snoozers compared to the first two.

Papa, can you hear me? Can you? If so, Please put a moratorium on YENTL, YENTA, YENTAS (44A: Busybodies) and all YENT-related words. Immediately. Thank you. In their place, you may substitute SHTETL. Or KVETCH.

I didn't know UPSALA (58A: New Jersey college until 1995) - what's the shelf life on marginal colleges? I mean, how much longer will it be legal to clue UPSALA via a defunct college? Anyway, the UPSALA / LUNT (60D: Fontanne's stage partner) area of the puzzle was the only real rough patch for me. I had a weird lot of trouble getting ROTS (71A: Fails to keep). I had RIDS, though I assure you, I didn't like it. I loved the attempt at a fake-out at 54D: Cuban export, where CIGAR would have worked as well as SUGAR (the actual answer). I direct your attention to two answers which seem to be appearing with greater frequency of late (not just in the NYT, necessarily, but in all of puzzledom): GINSU (33D: Supersharp knife) and ERNIE Pyle (47A: War correspondent Pyle). Pyle was killed on an island in the Pacific in 1944 (thus not in the ETO - 6D: Ike's W.W. II arena), so he never got the chance to cover Francis the Talking Mule during the latter's wacky stint in the WACS (8D: 1954 war comedy "Francis Joins the _____").

All you rap-hating suckas have to suck it up today: both NAS (37D: "Illmatic" rapper) and DRE (40A: Dr. _____ formerly of Death Row Records) are both in the grid today - a fine antidote to the pathetic POP STAR that is Britney Spears (46D: Britney Spears, for one).

Other matters:

• 14A: Baseball's Matty or Felipe (Alou) - it was funny to me when recently some solvers claimed never to have heard of these guy. Time was that you couldn't go a week without running into an ALOU. I have a strange affection for this baseball family now.
• 16A: Danish-based toy company (Lego) - never think of them as Danish. LEGOs are such a staple of the toy landscape in this country that I never considered that they might not have originated here.
• 21A: Food giant that owns Ball Park Franks and Hillshire Farm (Sara Lee) - weird; SARA LEE was clued via the companies it owned a year or so ago, and I think a retraction had to be issued because there was an error ... perhaps involving Playtex ... mind is fuzzy. Nobody Doesn't Like SARA LEE.
• 50A: Nun, in Nanterre (Soeur) - French for "sister," in case you were wondering. Few French words freak me out more than SOEUR. That vowel combination ...
• 53A: "The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" author (Aesop) - see ... this makes it sound like he wrote a short story with this title. He wrote fables. I'm always taken aback to see individual fables presented with formal titles like this. Not sure how they were presented when originally published (whenever that was).
• 55A: Takes to the police station (hauls in) - RUNS IN is the phrase I know best.
• 67A: Brooke's longtime rival on "All My Children" (Erica) - the puzzle rarely goes to soaps. ERICA is perhaps the best known soap character in recent American history (since Luke and Laura of 1980 "General Hospital" fame), as Susan Lucci became famous for her streak of not winning an Emmy for playing her (a streak eventually, mercifully, broken).
• 2D: Intestinal parts (ilea) - gross. I always want ILIA (insofar as I "want" anything to do with intestines).
• 13D: Jazzman Allison (Mose) - today's musical interlude.
• 24D: "Alas, poor Yorick!," e.g. (lament) - wow, this threw me. I know the speech well, but it took me a while to place it in the LAMENT category.
• 45D: 1773 jetsam in Boston Harbor (tea) - "jetsam" is a fabulous word.
• 61D: Publican's stock (ales) - goes nicely with TEA, in that "Publican" makes me think of Sam Adams makes me think of Boston makes me think of the first place Red Sox ... whoa, lost the thread.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Doc John

Am I really the first commenter?

How many seven-letter words can YOU think of to describe Britney Spears? "POP STAR" is rapidly becoming not one of them. More like "nut case" if you ask me! (And please, no tearful Britney defenses- this is all in fun.)

And speaking of the SE corner, that one gave me the most trouble. Fortunately, LUNT put it into place for me and I was all set from there. Interestingly enough, I learned about the Lunts from reading "Catcher in the Rye" as a teen (is there any other time to read it?).

Kind of a strange puzzle overall but it was fun and the theme was easy enough to divine. It did seem like a lot of work just for DOVER, though.

Fave fill: IT'LL DO, because it reminds me of the last line from the movie "Babe": "That'll do pig, that'll do." (or something like that)

Ulrich

I agree; An odd puzzle, but not unpleasant (love them double negatives!) and easy enough to do--I didn't really get stuck anywhere (except also for a short time over cigar exports).

So I had time to wonder: Why "diamond state"? And why do we deal with it today?

Anonymous

pop tart

jls

am wondering about the cross-section of population that both reads/posts to this blog and has seen son of rambow, which nyt critic manohla dargis calls "a likable sticky valentine to childhood" (and i'd agree). i raise the issue because of a shout out in the movie to one of rex's pet peeves. it's a sight gag -- one that occurs towards the very end of the movie -- and a sight gag only to the aforementioned demographic... ;-)

impressive construction in today's puzzle and one enjoyable solve, too. or make that "delightful."

cheers --

janie

Anonymous

On 53 Across ("The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" author) - I can't say I remember the story, but whenever I see the phrase, I always think of deponent verbs. I remember when we first stumbled upon these verbs - active in form, passive in meaning - my Latin teacher offered the brief explanation that they're wolves in sheep's clothing, and left the grammar lesson at that for the day. Always brings a smile to my face to think back to this; I hope it will for some of you as well.

Ulrich

@anonymous at 9:23: If they are active in form and passive in meaning, shouldn't they be called "sheep in wolves' clothing"? :-)

John in CT

Rex,
There are days that my view of a puzzle differs greatly from yours. Today was not one of them. I experienced woes very similar to yours. ROTS did not make sense for what seemed like an eternity. Also, as a thirty-something puzzle solver, while I am familiar with Francis the mule, I am not familiar with the adventures of his life. WACS... ugghh...

Anonymous

Thank you, Ulrich. My mistype. Deponent verbs are indeed passive in form and active in meaning. My apologies.

SethG

I had trouble to with the UPSALA/LUNT/ARNE/ROTS area. And when I had an error (I think LUTT/ARTE?), it took me a while to fix because I spent some time double, triple, quadruple checking the crosses on SAEIOUR.

Embarrassingly had CONAGRA in for SARALEE for a long time... I've consulted for both companies, and I used to know all of their brands. Sara Lee owned Playtex Apparel but not the Feminine Care lines. Playtex owned the rest of Playtex and other stuff like Woolite Carpet, though Woolite Fabric was Reckitt. Sara Lee is a food giant, but they also make shoe polish and toilet bowl cleaners. Big companies are weird.

Hey, wasn't Martin Balsam in Delta Force?

ArtLvr

Having learned DRE and NAS here as 3-letter words to try when the clues were Greek to me, here they both were! Thus I was completing the middle DIAMOND shape before I knew it, with a quick correction of "overeat" to OVERATE in order to get the STATE.

The rest of the names came through the crosses, if not familiar. However, being about to attend a college reunion, I'm reminded by UPSALA of sad friends who no longer have their college to revisit; the majority that were closed were for women only... as was mine. As far as they're concerned it was the funding that was marginal, not the academic experience!

∑;(

I started out strong, felt like I was in the zone. I got "Delta force" with only the D and L, "lament" with only the L, and "immune" with only the first m. lots of little ones fell into place, and I thought I might be on my way to a personal best.

Then... I got hung up badly in the NE, writing "also" instead of "plus" and not knowing either Ague or Mose.

But at least I got a taste of the zone. All in all a good puzzle.

@ulrich apparently Thomas Jefferson once described Delaware as the "jewel" of the colonies, or something, and "diamond state" stuck from there.

Scott

Didn't know UPSALA/LUNT/ARNE or what a publican does, so that corner went unfinished. First time on a Tuesday in a while; alas!

PhillySolver

@ doc john...you are up very early, but I guess you had your rounds to do. As I netered LUNTS, my mind took me to the same book. I can still quote passages from it.

@ sethg SAEIOUR is actually SAEIOUANDSOMETIMESYR) very funny.

My college is still there but has changed names several times to protect the innocent.

Delaware is a tax haven for corporations something akin to The Cayman Islands. The Diamond monicker(sic) comes from T. Jefferson and I assume ICE is another theme answer and in a stretch the STAR in popstar and CUT in cutarug are tangently realted.

Wendy Laubach

I got by the rap clues by the simple expedient of not noticing them, and I now know the "ALOU" family -- strictly from this blog.

The "L" crossing in "IPSALA" and "LUNT" was a pure guess. I can deal with pawpaws and curlews, both common here in the boondocks, but defunct NJ colleges are beyond me.

Bill from NJ

Had to change OVEREAT and RIDS to finish and enjoyed the shout-out to the state where my mother still lives and where I spent many years.

Flirted with POPTART for the Britney Spears clue but figured, hey, this is the New York Times!

Bill D

Sliced through this one like a GINSU through SALAMI; like the WACS of DELTA FORCE might ICE SARA LEE; like LUNT could CUT A RUG; like the A-TEAM HAULS IN MAFIA CADS in a DELIGHTFUL MGM MOVIE. I agree that it was a loooong way to go for DOVER.

A couple of ampersnacks slipped in today - A-TEAM and the interesting O-NEG, which also has the twist of being an abbreviation. DELINQUENT was nice, but the across Q was wasted on the lame QTRS. Thought the plethora of 3-letter fill was slightly above average today. The continued proliferation of YENTAS and Yentls is giving me a pain in the ILEA.

Like UPSALA, maybe the shelf life on Britney Spears, POP STAR, has passed. Clue as "Britney, once".

jannieb

Lots for me to like about this puzzle. I'm originally from Delaware, dad's family is from Dover. Nice construction and well executed theme. Were I keeping score, I was probably near record pace for a Tuesday. Found no clugy fill nor too mcuh xwordese. Didn't hit many of the stumbling blocks you all did because I simply didn't see them. My first thought was pop tart - the "star" status being much too generous.

Anonymous

I loved the near rhyming of salami and Sara Lee as well as the stacking of A Team and Delta Force. Rather military feeling throughout besides the two answers above we have ETO, Otto, WACS, Ens, and Ernie. Would have been Delightful except for the SE corner. Two Ponies

Anonymous in Texas

I had DELIA instead of DELLA for REESE and ROSA for RASA which made SARALEE impossible for me.

Otherwise, did okay. No PRs on time, but not bad either. I, too, now use ALOU for any 4 letter baseball players.

Heros Making - SALAMI - cracked me up as I wasn't thinking sandwich.

jae

I thought this was a pretty clever well executed theme for Tues. PLUS I learned something. Didn't know Delaware's nick name. Philly, Addie thanks for the Jefferson context.

No real hang ups with this one. RUNSIN didn't fit and I briefly misspelled MODUS (MOTUS). LUNT I knew before crosswords and ARNE comes up frequently so I've made a point to memorize it (adding more to the pile of ****). ONEG was a gimme as I give blood often and am O-. I think, as a kid, I actually saw the Francis movie.

PuzzleGirl

Didn't have too much trouble with this one, although I think I might have been faster on paper -- had some typing issues. I was doing the downs first up top, so guessed ARMY and NAVY before WACS materialized.

I knew LUNT because last year I got my mom tickets to see "A Trip to Bountiful" at the Lunt-Fontanne theater and I am apparently now on their mailing list. (Note to self: Mother's Day is approaching!)

@addieloggins: You're not in the zone any more! You're down here with the rest of us! (See, Sports Night, "Shoe Money Tonight.")

Anonymous

Like UPSALA, [as Rex noted] maybe the shelf life on Britney Spears, POP STAR, has passed. Clue as "Britney, once".

Amen, Bill D., you, uh, rad homie. (Gotta learn to talk like the def icers 'n stuff if we want to do the puzzle any more.)

Doc John

@ philly- I'm visiting the east coast at present, so I'm enjoying a three hour advantage that I don't usually have. And just out of curiosity, how long did it take you to stop calling everyone "phonies" after reading the aforementioned book? As I recall, it was at least six months for me! ;)

Oh yeah, I also forgot to mention that when O NEG came around I also parsed it incorrectly but what initially came to my rollercoaster-loving mind was "one g", as in "I'm pulling one g just standing here on earth." (As opposed to Rex's allusion to one grand.) Really though, I prefer my Gs to be NEG (aka airtime)!

Jane Doh

Nice. Different. Lovely construction. Very enjoyable!

Joon

scott: a publican operates a public house aka pub. that's one way to remember it.

that corner was kind of tricky in general. thomas ARNE is just plain crosswordese. for your amusement, # of appearances in the NYT puzzle in the shortz era:

ARNE: 54
BACH: 20
MOZART: 4
BRAHMS: 2
BEETHOVEN: 2

this is like the time rex compared FRED astaire (20 mentions as ASTAIRE, 0 as FRED) to ADELE (31) and said something like, "if you lived only in crosswordland, you'd think adele was more important."

PhillySolver

@ doc john...Welcome to the right coast. When we end up in the same city, I will tell you about my relationship with CITR, but it was just about my entire Sophomore year in HS.

@ anon One of the all time most watched videos on YouTube is 'how to be a gangster.'

dk

Rex's last line has me longing for a certain publick house in Boston: Union Oyster House. When I lived in Bean Town (by South Station). We would go to see Yaz (and the other BoSox) and then retire to Union Oyster.

Another nostogia trip for me as we would often use Francis the Talking Mule as a reason not to go to chruch. The Francis movies were often shown on Sunday at 11AM.

I just wrote in yentls as I was in a snit over seeing that word, thus getting OUTEAT took a few precious seconds off my time.

I agree with @anon that poptart is a better ans. then POPSTAR.

Agree with SethG that corporate ownership and history is often stranger than fiction. CheseBrough-Ponds began from by-products of oil refining and today...

Zach M.

You know, Matty and Felipe Alou get a whole lot of love in the puzzle, but what about Moises? Isn't he a viable Alou?

Anonymous

If you clued Alou with Moises even sports ignoramuses like myself could get it.

Anonymous

I have to add that I alaways remember Lunt/Fontanne from Peter Pan with Mary Martin on TV. Also, I think that Ernie Pyle did work the ETO, he moved to the Pacific Theater when that part of the war was winding down,...

Noam D. Elkies

Yes, a lovely Tuesday theme. Am I missing two squares of it? RP reports 59, but I count only 57: four 10-letter theme answers, the 12-letter DIAMOND STATE in the center, and the 5-letter 70A:DOVER.

@ joon 11:37 -- what, no HAYDN? There's also LASSO, TALLIS, WEBER, BERG, plus "minimalists" ADAMS and REICH, but each of these can be clued in other ways. Arnold BAX might show up some Friday or Saturday. In the other direction (long names), we've recently seen the 10-letter MONTEVERDI, and also ALESSANDRO Scarlatti.

While I'm at it: last Saturday I went to sleep before answering you about the S-themed Saturday puzzle. I'm not sure, but SUPERMAN may have been involved, and the answer for the clue "S" may have been SYMBOLFORSULFUR while "'s" should be something like POSSESSIVE or CONTRACTION

I see that I 8D:WACS prolics again... Dover & out,
--NDE

ds

As usual, I didn't fully appreciate the theme until Rex called it out (I noticed all the DELs but didn't connect them to the theme!).

In the SE, since I didn't know 68A "Rule, Britannia" composer, I toyed with the Britney answer being POPSTER before settling on POPSTAR. I still think POPSTER would have been more fun.

SethG

@dk: ...and today spaghetti sauce, cologne, popsicles, tea, detergents,...

An oldie but a goodie from The Onion is here, and I do know how to spell 'too'.

chefbea1

Been too busy using my ginsu knife to slice just a skosh of edam,salami, sushi, hot dogs and anything else made by Sara Lee

chefbea1

I'm surprised that no one mentioned that 41A tiny amount is used two days in a row. Tad today and we all know what yesterday's was

@anyone

completed in the usual time for a Tue puzzle but had trouble reading the diamond in the correct order. Is there a rule for this or do you just keep trying until it makes sense, which for me was never? Reminds me of my school days Prof. Rex, right answer for the wrong reason! Going to see The Curtains tonite, that should clear my mind.

@rex: my mother used to know the actual Sara Lee (for whom the company was named) and it always struck me that, given the company's motto, the pressure on her to be likable -- to everyone!! --must be unbearable.

@puzzlegirl: It's really pretty startling how little time it takes to go from being in the zone to being not in the zone.

Anonymous

Philly, mos rad, def man. I am all about dem apples. De 'Tube is de Lube!!!

Anonymous

Ask and ye shall receive - n.b. the use of "kvetch" as a clue, not an answer, in today's LA Times puzzle (http://games.latimes.com/index_crossword.html?uc_feature_code=tmcal). It's used as a noun, not a verb in this case, so the answer isn't immediately obvious.

Joon

@noam,

of course there are other composers, both in the music world and in the grid... i was just demonstrating the absurdity of ARNE's disparate relative ranking in those two spheres by comparing him to three of the acknowledged greatest ever classical composers.

getting back to the other thread, SYMBOLFORSULFUR appears to be a hit:

jan 1, 2004 by richard silvestri. but it was a thursday, not a saturday. superman appears to have been uninvolved.

mac

Not a very difficult Tuesday, but I also swung around the grid a tad, sorry, bit. Some words just came out of who knows where: delta force, Della Reese (never watched that show) and Lunt (must have walked by the theater). I don't know which sports they play, but I'm always at the ready with an Ott, Orr or Alou!
@ArtLvr: there now is a Virtual Home for Upsala alumni....

miriam b

Ilia are pelvic bones, as in sacroiliac.

I solved this puzzle this morning, then went to the dentist, then to the home of a friend armed with my video of A Chef in Love, ate lunch with said friend while watching said wonderful movie, then came home. Thanks, Rex, for unraveling the diamond reference. It was easier coming here for the explanation than staring at the puzzle until the pattern became clear.

andrea carla michaels

Got diamond state, etc. but didn't notice on top of everything else, it was in the shape of a diamond!
Bravo!
I read ONEG as in ONEG Shabbat that little snack or whatever it is you sometimes get after Friday night services and thought WOW that's pretty Jewish, what with all these YENTA/YENTL refs!

As for DELTABURKE, Rex, please tell me you never actually watched the "wrong bad TV show"...
I know you aren't really the demographic for "Designing Women"
(you're too young, not female, Southern, nor gay) but as a former writer on the show, I have to defend it (briefly)...
DW was practically the only show on TV written by, for, about women, how they really talked, etc.
(a good ten years before "Sex and the City" which was written more by gay men) and was super-smart and political in its day
(Linda Bloodworth-Thomason wrote every episode the first five years and rarely gets the credit she deserves as incredibly prolific, brilliant writer)

And I think of it as HAULS OFF to prison rather than in...no?

Karen

SOEUR isn't much harder to spell than Coeur (f Alene fame). Okay, so I misspelled both words twice while typing this. Stupid French spellings.

For some reason, I wanted the Cuban export to be a segar. Especially on the Cinco de Mayo.

andrea carla michaels

@karen
Cinco de Mayo was yesterday, actually...tho sometimes a segar is just a segar

Ellen

Upsala College was famous in the late '60s for its "freeform" radio station, WFMU. DJ Vin Scelsa went on to be a major figure in New York radio. After the college folded, the radio station survived and still exists today.

mac

@Andrea Carla Michaels, I loooooved DW. You are right, I just recognized women talking like my friends, smart and straightforward. Good for you to be on the writing team!

Bill D

Yes, WFMU. I remember Vin Scelsa, one of my favorite WNEW-FM DJs, playing a new Springsteen song a dozen times in a row back in the '70s...good times!

Noam D. Elkies

@ joon: Thanks for finding the S puzzle. I think there may have been an S-themed Saturday one as well, but maybe I'm confusing it with a recent Sunday diagramless that had an S-shaped grid and might have had something to do with Superman.

Anonymous

I had problems with ONE G also, but my wife (a pathologist) explained the system.

//DK

JimHorne

Joon short changes his composers above. For example, a check of *beethoven* reveals not just "Beethoven" but "Beethoven's Third", "Beethoven's Fifth", "Beethoven's Sixth", "Beethoven's Ninth", "Beethoven Sonata", and one reference to "Snoopy Beethoven". That pushes him well ahead of Mozart but there is one reference to "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart" which is conveniently 21 letters, and a Sunday puzzle in Jan, 2006 where that full name gets spelled out in circles.

Anonymous

long time reader, first time poster - - two of my favorite hobbies are doing crossword puzzles and listening to/writing my own raps, so the appearance of Nas' classic debut "Illmatic" in a clue was quite a nice moment for me this morning on the F train from queens to manhattan (come to think of it, I was likely on this clue circa the "queensbridge" stop on the F, located seconds from Nas' home housing projects of the same name.) Next up . . maybe a grid spanning horizontal "snoopdoggydoggs"

Fergus

Let's not forget the least accomplished of the major league ALOUs, Jesus. I'm not leveling the charge of blasphemy ... yet.

I wonder if May 6th is of any significance in the history of Delaware?

PhillySolver

@ fergus
This could be considered funny in an upppity kind of way, but the state of Delaware has a 'This Day in History' site and here it is for May 6th.
THIS DAY IN DELAWARE HISTORY
On This Date in Delaware, May 06 .
1638 Dutch Governor William Kieft at New Amsterdam (Manhattan) protested the Swedes settlement at Wilmington on the Delaware River.

Certainly a day I would set aside for a NYT puzzle....Whoopee.

dk

bloggers bill d and Ellen,

Your post have me longing for Chic Peas and the NY Dolls and a once and forever Mickey Ruskin.

Sigh, and then @anonymous references Nas, F Train.

I suggest listening to WERU from Blue Hill, Maine they cover all the bases

mac

Phillysolver, thank you for another little historical gem.

Fergus

A gem of obscurity.

With respect to the puzzle shape, I want my diamond to be a more oblique rhombus, and not simply a tilted square. That could happen in Xword space, but it would take a lot more real estate.

parshutr

@andrea carla michaels...I agree with your comments on DW. I'm old enough, but male, northern, straight...I watched it for entertainment, not enlightenment...as I do any TV show.

J-Dub

Favorite part: the crossing misspellings of UPPSALA and LUND, Sweden's two top universities. Great if on purpose, totally bizarre if a coincidence.

john g

My dad went to Upsala (not for long), but I always thought it was in NY, and not NJ.

Anonymous

im think my mom love me till i saw she told to my uncle this"she isnt good girl."

Anonymous

6wl....

REX Stout's Nero Wolfe (57D)? A shout out to our own Rex??

- - Robert

Sallyjane

Rex,

6 weeks later, here. I thought this puzzle was relatively easy until I got to that last little corner in the way SE. Had no clue on UPSALA and no idea about LUNT. Googled Upsala and then the T in ROTS was the last letter I filled in. It took forever for that one to dawn on me!

As far as your always starting your puzzle in the NW and then circling around so that you often end up back there, try doing the puzzle the way I do. I've been solving for nearly 50 years and simply can't remember when or why I started this way, but it works well for me. First I do 1 Across, then all the Downs attached to it. Then I do the next Acrosses and all the Downs attached to them, across the top line of the puzzle. Then I do all the Acrosses and then all the Downs. I rarely break from this pattern unless something unusual or obvious jumps out at me. This gives me a good look at the entire puzzle from both directions and then I go back and work whatever is still open. I have no idea what, if anything, this does to my solving time, as I don't really care about that. The solving itself is more important. Anyway, just a suggestion for you to try.