Sunday, August 17, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: DEAD HEAD (63A: Jerry Garcia fan ... or what each part of the answers to the starred clues can take) - both words in every two-word theme answer can be preceded by "DEAD" in a common phrase

Holy smoke, this is a great Monday puzzle. Never saw the theme til I was finished, but that's par for the course with Mondays. Took me a few seconds to understand the theme-revealing answer, but once I got it, I was impressed. Simple, elegant, gorgeous, just like the majority of this grid. LASER TAG (21D: Team game with infrared-sensitive targets) and LET ME SEE (24D: "I'll try to think of something ...") make for nice long Downs. MOUNDS (46D: Hershey's bar with coconut) is perhaps my favorite candy bar. I once bought an entire box of Limited Edition Dark Chocolate Almond Joys, right off the shelf of the check-out aisle at target. I was like "They did it - the perfect candy." My whole life, I had wondered, "How come I have to choose between dark chocolate and the almond? O, cruel world!" Sadly, those bars were indeed limited. Never seen 'em anywhere ever again.

Theme answers:

  • 16A: *1981 film starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner ("Body Heat") - hot movie. Super hot. KT is sexy, and the movie is Pure Noir.
  • 25A: *Hoopster's complete miss (air ball)
  • 32A: *Z, alphabetically (last letter)
  • 43A: *Painted highway divider (center line)
  • 49A: *Touchdown site (end zone)


  • 19A: Peter Pan lost his (shadow) - I've ... never seen this / read this, so I did not know this, which means I'm very happy I never even saw this clue
  • 54A: Here-there link (nor) - had AND
  • 61A: Title girl in a 1983 Kool & the Gang hit (Joanna) - flat-out gimme. 1983 is a year that my brain pretty much owns, pop music-wise. Rode bus for 90 min. a day and driver played a top 40 station the whole time.
  • 2D: From a different perspective, in chat room lingo (OTOH) - wow. I'm surprised this made it in. It's pretty ... moderne. I've never seen it used, but it's easy to infer. Please remember to use IMOO whenever possible (it's an honest variation on IMHO - "in my humble opinion" - that I invented)
  • 36D: Bearded flower (iris) - weirdly, I had IRIS at 55A: Eye part (uvea) before I ever saw this clue. What are we calling that phenomenon, Andrea?
  • 22A: Fed. auditing agency (GAO) - General Accounting Office - I think I learned this from crosswords; that, or my subscriptions to Harper's and The Atlantic are beginning to pay off.
  • 41D: "The Wind in the Willows" amphibian (Mr. Toad) - how did I miss this completely? I am only just noticing it now. Always happy to see MR. TOAD (I've enjoyed his Wild Ride, both in the puzzle and in reality)
  • 56A: Funnyman Sandler (Adam) - I think he is genuinely funny - but his movies lately are not. "The Wedding Singer" was the last great thing he did (that I can recall). Wait, I liked that movie where he was weird ... "Punch-Drunk Love." Anyway ... that is all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Daryl 11:40 PM  

Oh, first comment! Great theme, and some really nice fill. LASER TAG was very nice, although I'm dubious about ECOCARS.

Crosscan 12:38 AM  

Former Montreal team appears for the third time this year.

Remembering the EXPOS, Part 3 (see March 10 and April 18 for Parts 1 & 2)

April 13, 1994. I am part of the opening day crowd as new Expo Pete Rose gets his 4,000th hit.

Very nice puzzle. Can't ask for much more on a Monday.

N 1:19 AM  

UVEA (55A) was pretty rough for a Monday. I also agree that ECOCARS was a bit of a stretch.

Omnie 1:34 AM  

Not being American I had no idea what GAO was that slowed me down quite a bit up in the NE. Guessed JOANNA (I wasn't born when the song came out!) and had never heard of UVEA which slowed down the the SW a bit.

The theme was excellent.

However the most important thing about this puzzle is that 14 clues are abbr! Is that a record of some sort? Only one I don't get is SASE, self-addressed stamp envelope? but what does that have to do with a manuscript?

I've heard the term ECOCARS but wanted HYBRIDS.

jae 2:29 AM  

Great Mon. I too had IRIS in the wrong place and AND instead of NOR. Throw in GSA for GAO and it was still a fast Mon. for me. I liked Sandler in 50 First Dates.

@omnie -- If you don't enclose a SASE you don't get your manuscript back.

sillygoose 2:52 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle today. I guessed uvea right off the bat. It is my new favorite eye part, just like etui is my new favorite needle case and tsk is my new favorite sound. (Or maybe tsktsk).

There were just enough things I didn't know (joanna?, eco car? gao?) to give me that nice little rush upon completion.


acme 3:03 AM  

Loved this, Paula, WOW!!!!!!!!!
Ten Clues as Dead+ and to get compound words with all!
I bow to your brilliance!!!!!
How come it's not a Tuesday...
What with GAO, UVEA and OTOH?!

re: IRIS/UVEA in the wrong place...
Yes, what shall we call this werid phenomenon?
(A couple of days ago, Crosscan suggested an "Andrea" but that's too weird!)
How about Apres vu?
As in "deja vu" = already seen/seen this would be "apres vu" = seen after.
(and a play on the phrase "Apres Vous" = "After You" which you say in French when you hold open a door for someone)
Plus it has a whole "Sliding Doors" feel to it anyway.
Apres vu, anyone???

acme 3:08 AM  

oops, misspelled weird!

Your youth makes me realize that SASE has already become an outmoded concept.
Nowadays, you don't need your manuscript back... you just print out another one!

acme 3:42 AM  

I just can't get enough of this puzzle! In addition to the breathtaking ten theme answers and getting the compounds to be nice phrases in themselves (in particular BODYHEAT and ENDZONE) here are five other things I love about this puzzle:

1. HEAT crosses with WAVE

2. Fun entries like PSHAW, LASERTAG

3. Incredible freshness of OTOH, ONMEDS, ECOCARS

4. Tho it's not a pangram
(no FKQ) it does have 2 Xs, one J, one Z, and FIVE V's!

5. DrNO next to aYES

(The only thing I would have done differently is in the SE corner change ACNE/LANE to ACME/LAME!)

Brava, Paula!

jae 4:04 AM  

And, I have this memory from 50's TV of who ever played Wendy sewing Peter Pan's (Mary Martin's) shadow back on to his feet.

@acme -- how about GOOP and SOS showing up again so soon, coincidence ???

Greene 6:11 AM  

Jae: you're probably thinking of Maureen Bailey as the girl who sewed Peter Pan's (Mary Martin's) shadow back on. At least, probably. She was featured as Wendy in the 1960 TV production of Peter Pan which was actually filmed, preserved, and shown annually during the 1960s. This is the version that most people know today. There was, however, a live broadcast done in 1955 (with the original Broadway Cast) which would have starred Kathleen Nolan as Wendy. I'm pretty sure this was shown annually on TV until supplanted by the 1960 version. You can still get this version on DVD, although it's a kinescope and looks a bit grainy.

Both versions feature a nifty "Shadow Ballet" after Wendy sews Peter's shadow back on. They used really strong footlights to cast a large enough shadow that it could be seen and enjoyed from a distance. Mary does a nice shadow puppet show. It's a simple lighting trick that has lost absolutely none of its charm through the years.

I probably grew up watching the 1960 version on television. I remember being baffled as to why Peter Pan was a woman, but you gradually just learn to accept these things in the theatre. Sondra Lee made for one wacky Indian (Tiger Lily), what with the blonde hair and big blue eyes. Not PC by today's standards, but these were Broadway indians doing Jerome Robbins choreography, so who really cared? Martin's daughter,Heller Halliday, also makes a cameo appearance in both versions as Liza the maid.

Barry 7:30 AM  

Morning, folks!

Great puzzle! Wonderful theme (although I didn't realize what it was until the very end), and certainly as easy as a Monday should be. The only complete unknown for me in the entire puzzle was Rex's gimme, JOANNA, but that came easily via the crosses. And my only false starts came in the SE corner where I initially tried SCOOTERS for ECOCARS, YELLOWLINE for CENTERLINE and FOREST for CASTLE (not all at the same time, of course).

I'm actually surprised that Rex marked this as "easy-medium," even for a Monday. Even the few words that might have caused some consternation (JOANNA, ECOCAR, GAO, etc.) were all crossed by very easy fill.

OK, I take that back a bit after reading Omnie's comment. I guess the clue for 10D was a bit obscure after all, which could make the NE corner a bit challenging if you didn't know GAO. But, still, this one was a complete walk in the park for me. Maybe I was just on the constructor's mental wavelength...

Anonymous 7:47 AM  

I hate Mondays but absolutely loved this puzzle. Thank you Paula Gamache for lifting the gloom I always experience on the first work day of the week. Everything in this puzzle is so fresh, it glistens.The "Y'" "X's" "U's "W's" "V's and "Z" sparkle with newness. The only thing I didn't know was GAO and it was easily answered with downs. I vote this my favorite Monday puzzle this year.

joho 7:48 AM  

Anonymous 7:47 is a delighted Joho.

dk 8:04 AM  

I guess all the GOOP & dead things accounts (by the GAO of course) for the SOS.

I join the chorus: Fine start to the week.

BODYHEAT is a favorite movie as well.

Jim in Chicago 8:30 AM  

The most challenging part of this puzzle for me was that my copy of the paper had the numbers for the "across" clues cut off the left-hand margin!

No one else has a quibble with cluing MAS as "moms"? The answer just seems too close to the clue for my taste.

Otherwise a fine Monday. The few answers I didn't know off the bat were easily obtained from the crosses.

jannieb 9:08 AM  

Definitely more easy than medium for me. Under 5 minutes - never stopped - except for less than nimble-fingered keystroke errors. Nice Monday - hopefully bodes well for the rest of the week.

Rex Parker 9:13 AM  

Am I really going to have to explain the "relative difficulty" concept again?

My time - 3:36, about average. Hence the "medium" part of "easy-medium"


Ladel 9:14 AM  

Ah, the Monday puzzle, this one near perfect of the type, crafted to let you know your brain is really OK and you are fit to resume your work-a-day week. Sort of like going to the Mostly Mozart festival at Lincoln Center, not challenging, just plain ole vanilla comfort stuff.

Barry 9:26 AM  

Am I really going to have to explain the "relative difficulty" concept again?

Oh, no. Heavens, no! Not at all, really. I swear, I fully grok the whole "relative difficulty" concept.

It's just that I honestly thought that this puzzle was exceptionally easy, even for a Monday, and so I was surprised to see that you found it even remotely challenging. As somebody else once said, if there were a day between Sunday and Monday, that's the level of difficulty I would have pegged this puzzle at.

Oh -- and speaking of times, I don't normally time myself, but thought I would this time for a change. I did it in just 5 minutes. I can't say whether that is average, below average or above average for me (since I don't usually time myself), but I can say it really lessened my enjoyment of the puzzle as a whole. I felt extremely rushed and didn't even notice a large number of the actual clues since I didn't stop to read them all if they were already filled in via the crosses. I'm sure some people (many people? most people?) feel a great sense of accomplishment by solving a puzzle in a short amount of time, but I think I'll just go back to not worrying about how long it takes me and go back to just enjoying the ride.

What can I say? I don't do crossword puzzles for the adrenaline rush....

Bill from NJ 9:59 AM  

Ms Gamache has given us a mixed bag today. Lots and lots of abbreviations (my least favorite) with a compound theme (a favorite.)

UVEA has made so many appearances of late, it may have acquired Monday status by default.

I fell in love with Kathleen Turner in BODYHEAT - oh, that voice! - and it remains one of my favorite neo-Noir movies. She has aged like a fine wine

Joon 10:05 AM  

mornin, foolz!

i'm with rex on the easy-medium rating, but based on other people's solving times, this was very, very easy. not sure what to make of that. i got stuck around JOANNA, i tried various things for BLEW, had both YELLOWLINE and DOUBLELINE for CENTERLINE (although what i really wanted was DOUBLEYELLOWLINE), neither PSHAW nor TECH were forthcoming, etc. at the end of all that, it was slightly slower than usual for me for a monday.

i think the contorted OMEGA clue has to do with LASTLETTER being in the grid as a theme entry. still, for a monday, paula/will could have gone with something slightly more straightforward like [Alpha's opposite].

acme, i never thought about it that way either, but yes, SASE is a totally dated concept. sort of like "be kind--rewind."

Ulrich 10:15 AM  

The theme is so alluring that I'm willing to forgive the many abbreviations: a far above average Monday puzzle in my book--I remember past PG puzzles for their elegance, and this fits the pattern.

Since my criterion for "easy" is "I never have to stop for more than a few seconds between writing", this one qualifies as easy--although it wasn't "super-easy" (when I can do the clues in order w/o stopping)--had to jump a little.

Shamik 10:57 AM  

A little longer than an average Monday for me, but I have a cold. I love my excuses.

Thought MAS, but agree with jiminchicago that it was just too close to the clue.

@barry: originally when I started timing my puzzles AGAINST MY OWN OTHER TIMES...i felt rushed...but then relaxed back into my own usual rhythm. It is interesting to compare oneself to oneself.

Off to get

des 11:12 AM  

For me, the hardest part of the puzzle was understanding the theme clue. It is a very cumbersome construction, "what each part of the starred clues can take," and it left me less than satisfied. A BODY "takes" a deadhead? I gathered that "HEAD" is supposed to refer to a lead-in, but in a very ungainly way.
In all other aspects, a great Monday puzzle.

Barry 11:13 AM  


Well, the thing is (for me, at least), I enjoy reading all the clues and exercising the brain cells required to figure out what each one is asking for. In fact, if I'm solving a puzzle and find I'm getting a lot of horizontal clues in a row, I will often stop and tackle some of the verticals in that area just to make sure I don't accidentally solve them without seeing the clues first. And I find I miss that opportunity in many cases when I'm focused on finishing as quickly as I can.

I dunno. Maybe it's the difference between going on a sightseeing tour and engaging in a road race along the same path. They are both legitimate goals, but they may also be mutually exclusive. Of course, maybe this is all just sour grapes on my part, since I can't fill in a grid I've previously answered as quickly as some people manage to solve it the first time through. Maybe if I could actually solve a puzzle in 2-3 minutes, I'd jump on the speed solving bandwagon as well. I guess we'll never know, though.

Oh -- and I hope you get over your cold soon!

And with that, I see I've hit my three post limit for the day, so I guess I'll see y'all tomorrow!

SethG 11:22 AM  

I do time myself, so I can say that this was, by a fair margin, the fastest I've ever completed a puzzle. So for me, too, it was easy and relatively easy. But this took me under 4 while the last time Rex rated a Monday "Easy-Medium" it took me over 6, so there's obviously a lot of individual variation, and for an early week puzzle probably a lot of luck in the order you hit the clues and the extent to which you never see the ones that would be tricky for you until the word is already in there from the crosses. And is there really much difference between Easy and Easy-Medium?

Er, where was I? The dead letter office always reminds me of Miracle on 34th Street, Joanna always reminds me of Joanna, and Kathleen Turner has always been sexy.


jeff in chicago 11:33 AM  

I agree with everything everybody said about this puzzle. Yes, even the contradictory comments. (I'm practicing to be a statesman.) Well-done theme.

foodie 11:47 AM  

There is joy in Rexville! PG has scored a home run. A thing of beauty.

I've come to realize that I expect different things from the puzzle theme, depending on whether it's early week vs. midweek/Sunday. For the harder puzzles, I like it when I discover the theme early on and it helps me in the solving process. But earlier in the week, the theme is like dessert. You don't really need it so it's good that you uncover it later, and it just tickles the reward circuits in your brain and leaves you with a little hum.

Like Rex, it took me a bit of time to figure out what the clue was saying about the theme. So, for a while, I thought BOTH words, DEAD and HEAD can incoporate themselves in the starred answers. So I had DEAD-CENTER and HEAD-LINE, and DEAD-LAST and LETTER-HEAD, but obviously it was not sustainable with the other answers...

Re the foreshadowing phenomenon (anticipating an answer but in the wrong spot), I think that "apres-vu" is extremely clever. But there is also appeal in calling it an "Andrea". It's consistent with using proper nouns for crossword phenomena (e.g. Natick) and honors the person who first described it, a common tradition, at least in medicine.

jilmac 12:15 PM  

Nice puzzle for a Monday!!

Had to answer Rex's comment about dark chocolate and almonds. If you have a Trader Joes anywhere near you they do a pound plus bar of dark chocolate with roasted almonds that is totally addictive!

miriam b 12:41 PM  

This puzzle is so admirable that I hate to quibble about MAS, which could have been clued as "More, to Juan" or something like that, but more elegantly worded.

I'm glad Peter Pan was able to retrieve his SHADOW. Another Peter, surnamed Schlemiel, was not so lucky. He's the guy who sold his SHADOW to the devil in a story by Adelbert von Chamisso. He also shows up in Tales of Hoffmann.

Help, Ulrich! Is Schlemiel actually a German word, or did the author borrow it, to good effect, from the Yiddish?

fergus 12:50 PM  

Yeah, the explanation after the DEADHEAD Clue was a bit ungainly, but because I read it as "part of each of the answers," I'm more the clumsy one. The HEAD part actually works with quite a few of *ANSWER parts, as well. AIRHEAD, HEADLINE, LETTERHEAD, and decreasingly HEADZONE, HEATHEAD ... .

And yeah, KT truly was the femme fatalle paragon in BODYHEAT. William Hurt played his role so well that it made Kathleen even more seductive and alluring. I liked the chats in the coffee shop, too.

I need to ascertain the similarities and differences between EXTOL and EXALT, since I tend to be too hesitant about filling in the last three letters when either of the suspects comes up.

Karen 12:52 PM  

I got this puzzle in a very fast time also.

Omnie, I think there are a lot of people who are Americans who would have no clue about the GAO either.

Re speed solving, I'm stuck in the rut. I read in Lance Armstrong's autobiography that he couldn't just do a easy bike cruise, not even on his honeymoon, but always had to push himself. I've seen that in myself after competitive jigsaw puzzling, and now also in xwords. Enjoy your ride, Brian.

Ulrich 1:07 PM  

@miriam b: I did a little clicking to get a better answer to your question, but haven't found anything yet. The best guess is, for now, that Chamisso got the name from Yiddish.

I love the story how he got the idea for his tale: He fled with his arictocratic parents revolutionary France and grew up in Germany, where he became so assimilated that later, he turned into one of the best German Romantic poets. But he kept on wandering and was prone to lose things along the way. At one point, friends teased him that he would probably also lose his shadow one day, and from that humble beginning, his story was born.

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

hmmm... well, as a novice solver, i didn't think the theme was so great. this is perhaps the first monday that i've finished the puzzle and didn't really get the theme. i suppose i rely on the theme more than all of you. also - two long downs (nontheme) that are the same length as two of the theme answers? isn't that something that all y'all usually complain about?

however, i definitely agree that there's good fill in today's puzzle.

andrea carla michaels 1:13 PM  

HEATHEAD! I love it!

The fact that even HEAD worked with so many is all too cool for school.

I am stepping one toke over the line, sweet Jesus (ie fourth post) to report that Mme Gamache, who is as elegant and clever in person as she is in this puzzle, is en route back from France as I write this...

Won't this be a nice welcome home?

She modestly notes "Thanks. Somethings just work out well with no effort."

Zut alors!

John Adams 1:15 PM  

You can never go wrong with a hoops clue ans AIRBALL is a nice nod to the Olympics. Loved hitching posts as ALTARS.

mac 1:18 PM  

Hi from rainy Portland - we have only one day here, but haven't figured out yet what to do. I think we are holidayed out, I for one am happy to go home tomorrow....

Beautiful Monday puzzle! As usual this day of the week I didn't pay much attention to the theme, but when I was done I went back and really appreciated the cleverness. It went very fast, no real hesitations. I like blew, climax, castle, otoh, on meds and let me see, not so much mas. Didn't know GAO and forgot about SASE, but no problem getting them through crosses.

Can't believe Rex already had an Andrea! It's happened to me too, once in a while. And Almond Joy! The combination of dark chocolate with moist, grated coconut, a little too sweet, and the crunchy almond on top! I didn't realize they were discontinued, looked for them recently....

joho 1:51 PM  


How about: Uno ____ Cerveza, Por Favor

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

@ Rex

Once upon a time, GAO stood for General Accounting Office. But since 7/7/2004, GAO has meant "Government Accountability Office". (Why use short words when long ones will do?) Just thought we should know, in case there's a quiz.

miriam b 1:56 PM  

I'll drink to that, joho. Por favor, make it Dos Equis.

andrea carla michaels 2:03 PM  

uh oh, this "andrea" thing is beginning to take on a life of it's own!
Before it goes too much further,
I guess apres vu didn't catch on, and as Rex has wisely pointed out, it's NOT the opposite of a deja vu bec we HAVE seen it, albeit in the wrong place.
sort of a mal deja vu...

so as a nod to that, how about a
MALAPOP: A word that you've popped into the puzzle or that has popped up, albeit it in the wrong place?

(Plus it's a nod to that baseball thingie of pop-ups...not to mention annoying pop-up ads)

MALAPOP, anyone?

(In Minnesota tho a MALAPOP would be a soda that's gone flat!)

evil doug 2:26 PM  

The Times just boosted the newsstand price here by 20%, to $1.50.

The puzzle wasn't good enough to justify the expense.

p.o.'d, OH

Margaret 2:28 PM  

I love MALAPOP. It is both descriptive and suggestive. I had a malapop yesterday when I put in APES for DOES only to find out later that APE was the answer to another clue. Plus the word MALAPOP reminds me of my favorite bookstore, Malaprops in Asheville.

As for Body Heat, it is still a very sexy movie 25 years later. Any time it is on, my husband likes to remind me that he went to see it three times with three different dates and got lucky each time! His own personal Phelpsian record. (And yes, I was one of them.) Did anyone know/remember that the actor playing the tap-dancing co-worker of William Hurt was Ted Danson?!

Brett 2:42 PM  


I'm absolutely elated, this is the first New York Times Crossword that I've finished on my own account (i.e., without the help of the omniscient Google).

Although I've been reading the Times nearly everyday since I began college, 4+ years ago, I've only been attempting the crosswords consistently for about 6-months. I've now lost my virginity, graduated from college (magna cum laude, I might add), and finished what most of you guys can do in your sleep, Monday's crossword.

Either way, I'm indebted to this great site and to the fun (and arguably practical value) of crossword puzzles, something that is now part of my daily life!

joho 3:15 PM  

@evil doug: why not sign up for just the puzzle online?

joho 3:15 PM  

@evil doug: why not sign up for just the puzzle online?

Doc John 3:16 PM  

Congrats, Brett! Onward and upward!

I thought this puzzle was easy. There weren't any clues that caused me any real consternation. If I didn't know one right away I said to myself, "don't worry, you'll get it with the crosses." That said, I don't think I had a great time because I had a lot of erasures (yellow and double for CENTER) and had to go thru the puzzle twice (once across and once down).

A fun theme but I also thought that both DEAD and HEAD would work with the theme answers. As for BODY HEAT, my fave scene is when Bill Hurt is with KT's husband and the husband says that if he ever caught anyone fooling around with KT he'd kill him. Bill's look of trying to maintain was worth the price of the movie!

Now I've got the Toto song, "Rosanna" bouncing around in my head. (I don't know "Joanna" even though Kool ET AL once played at my Jr High because we collected the most Yoo Hoo labels.)

As for "malapop", my only problem with it is that "mal-" implies bad. It's not a bad thing, just incorrect. Even though they don't sound as nice, how about "misapop" or "dysapop" or even "transfill".

Bill from NJ 3:24 PM  


And Richard Crenna played her husband. I go way back with Richard Crenna - he was Walter Denton on Eve Arden's radio show Our Miss Brooks - a student she used to take to school whose voice was changing.

That was the first time I saw him as a heavy and he was scary. His speech to William Hurt about "you gotta know the bottom line" is truly creepy

PhillySolver 3:25 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 3:27 PM  

Peter Paul (no Mary) offers a dark chocolate Almond Joy treat still, but only at Easter and they sell it in an egg shape. Look for it next February.

The ingredient list offers some past and future crossword fill.

evil doug 3:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
memphis 3:44 PM  

i always thought BTU was a joke about keeping yourself warm when your camping in the winter?

memphis 3:45 PM  

i always thought BTU was a joke about keeping yourself warm when your camping in the winter?

dk 4:11 PM  

@evil doug, some ideas:

jack a car coming from Office Depot with a current NYT on the seat (gets you pens, nyt, a new ride and a possible free place to stay for 5-10).

go to Starbucks and borrow a paper from a latte-blissed patron.

get a twenty-five cent a day raise (grossed up).

join the NW airlines club and pick the paper up for free at the airport.

go for a run early in the morning and thoughtfully pickup one of the bluebags found on some stoops.

Hope this helps.

fergus 4:15 PM  


Anyone in Portland for the first time ought to just wander around downtown, by the Willamette (accent on second syllable) waterfront, and Powell's books. I wouldn't be surprised if you've received that casual advice already. Pretty great horticultural possibilities, too, if you care to seek those out. A cool drive would be up the Columbia Gorge, or a little day trip in the other direction out to Astoria.

Margaret 4:17 PM  

@ bill from nj

I remember Richard Crenna from The Real McCoy's. I had a bit of a schoolgirl crush on him!

(OK, I've officially crossed over to crossworld; I just noticed that schoolgirl crush has 15 letters.)

chefbea1 4:18 PM  

A fun easy monday puzzle

@jilmac re:Trader joes chocolate. I agree. Its great.

The Peter Paul company in Naugatuck ct has closed. Don't know if they are located somewhere else or gone forever

@andrea carla michaels I vote for malapop

@evil Doug I subscribe to the Sat and Sunday New York times. I am intitles to get the times digest every day which is in my mailbox everymorning. I print out the puzzle and do it in pen on white paper. If you need more info about this you can e-mail me.

joho 4:19 PM  

@evil doug: I'd have to check but I think it's $39.50 for an entire year. I print the puzzle out every morning. Thus it's pen (uni-ball gel) on Staples multiuse paper (actually a better surface than newsprint for pen IMO) Rather than writing tiny I sweep away errors with my correcting tape ... like it never happened! Oh, you have an option of printing the black squares in gray to save on black ink. I got started because when I moved here a few years back the NYT was not delivered to my town: not enough customers! At first I drove to the nearest market in the dark and cold mornings well in the winter, naturally) until I signed up online: the perfect solution for me.

steve l 4:24 PM  

@joho--Well, actually, it would be "Una cerveza ____."

@evil doug--The $1.50 is the cost of the whole newspaper. You might actually try reading the rest of it.

@brett--You've lost your virginity? Well, I think that puts you ahead of some of the constructors we've been seeing lately.

steve l 4:25 PM  

For those of you who are teachers and don't know this, the Times charges significantly less for a subscription if you tell them you are a teacher.

dk 5:00 PM  

@steve I, thanks my lovely wife is a college prof and I a part time instructor woo woo! can we save twice.

@evil doug, listen to @joho, I also changed my pen color for those times I do puzzles on line (navy blue since you asked), thus endless opportunity for fun... and if I may be so bold: anger management

@brett, you can get a degree for losing your virginity... my son will be all over dat, and you know what I'm talkin about.

steve l 6:14 PM  

@dk--Only if you get two subscriptions!

joho 6:17 PM  

@steve: obviously I don't speak or spell Spanish but I can still order a beer in Mexico, no problemo.

@evil doug: When I fly before I am able to print out a puzzle I buy the NYT, fold up the puzzle and give the rest away.

@dk: nothing to say really except that you're funny.

That's it for me today, have a lovely evening.

foodie 6:38 PM  
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Anonymous 6:46 PM  

Late to the party today, but I didn't notice anyone else catch this one... I love love love that DRNO sits adjacent to AYES. Just one of the many nice little touches, along with what everyone else has mentioned.

Also Rex, if you were teasing a response on this:

"...Please remember to use IMOO whenever possible (it's an honest variation on IMHO - "in my humble opinion" - that I invented)"

... I'll bite on "that I invented":

Anonymous 6:46 PM  

Late to the party today, but I didn't notice anyone else catch this one... I love love love that DRNO sits adjacent to AYES. Just one of the many nice little touches, along with what everyone else has mentioned.

Also Rex, if you were teasing a response on this:

"...Please remember to use IMOO whenever possible (it's an honest variation on IMHO - "in my humble opinion" - that I invented)"

... I'll bite on "that I invented":

Anonymous 6:48 PM  

...Sorry for the duplicate.

foodie 7:01 PM  

@ Brett, congratulations on finishing a NYTimes puzzle, it's great moment! I started with Sundays, not knowing that there were puzzles on weekdays, so it was quite a process to complete one perfectly. I posted the filled one on my office door and someone in my lab made a pdf and used it in a talk as some sort of metaphor for solving knotty problems in science...It was a little weird but I was secretly pleased.
And congratulations on your other accomplishments, I guess...

@ Andrea, I only saw 2 posts from you today, so I'm not sure why you said you stepped over the 3-post line? Unless my laptop is eating comments. Anyhow, since you identified the phenomenon, and you're an expert namer, and it's very catchy, then I too vote for MALAPOP. It's very close to Malaprop, as in Mrs. Malaprop. But that's... a propos.

Doc John 7:08 PM  

With huge apologies to Rex but I'm desperate:

I know that this is way off-topic but I can't find any information anywhere else so thought I'd run it by you all. If anyone would have information on a word, it would be this group!

During the Olympics coverage of the rowing events (and maybe wrestling?) the commentators refer to something that sounds like "reperchage". I know that's not the way to spell it but I can't find it anywhere. Is there anyone here who can enlighten me? I know it's some sort of consolation contest but that's about it. Used in sentences like "the team didn't place in the heat so they'll go to the 'reperchage'."

Thanks in advance. Please reply to my email so as not to clutter up the comments section with this.

Crosscan 7:11 PM  


mac 7:21 PM  
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Doc John 7:25 PM  

Thanks, crosscan. I was pulling (what's left of) my hair out over this!

mac 7:31 PM  

@Andrea: I still prefer "Andrea". I agree with Doc John, mal is bad.
How about "prepop"?

@fergus: Funny you should mention Powell's, practically related to an Andrea: this morning, after a late breakfast, we wandered around the downtown area, spotted Powell's and spent at least an hour and a half. Even bought a bookbag to carry the umbrellas and The Kenyon Review 2008.

Re: the price of the NYT: In NY I pay 1.50, in Anchorage, Seattle and Portland it is still 1.25!

paula gamache 7:47 PM  

@ evil doug: I had to pay 2.50 euros (do the math) for the International Herald Tribune in Charles de Gaulle airport this morning to get the puzzle. Totally not worth it. I did, however, find the copier machine in the Continental Airlines lounge and made six copies for the peeps I was traveling with.

Hi Andrea. Your enthusiasm makes me blush! It really was as I said.


Wobbith 8:17 PM  

Well it's all been said. Nevertheless I feel compelled to chime in - this puzzle was just a gem. Thanks Paula and kudos!

Ulrich 8:18 PM  

Everybody will hate me for this, but here goes. I applied Occam's razor to the assumptions that have been put forth to explain the phenomenon that we're trying to name. And here's what I came up with: We do not need ESP or a particular magical empathy between the constructor and solver--simple statistics and probability may suffice. Any solver makes mistakes by putting the wrong answer into some slot. At the same time, the probability that this answer will be correct in another puzzle is greater than zero, and this is even more so when the answer in question contains letters that are common or if the solver is an experienced hand who has a feel for xword-worthy answers--for sure, they will come in handy in another puzzle. Now, the probability that this "other" puzzle is actually the one we are trying to solve at the present time is also greater than zero. So, the phenomenon is bound to happen, statistically speaking--no magic involved.

When it happens, it impresses us disproportunately b/c it's so rare. It reminds me of the profiler who was employed in a case in New York, where he made one bad prediction after another, sending the detectives on all kinds of wild goose chases for two (?) years until he predicted at some point that the villain would be caught in a two-breasted suit, and bingo! he was considered a genius. People totally forgot the 99% of wrong predictions he had made in the past.

Don't get me wrong--name the phenomenon however you want--I'll go along with it, especially if the choice is "Andrea". But be modest in the claims made in connection with it.

andrea carla michaels 9:01 PM  

I know from statistics, and your explanation is very cogent, a schlemiel you are not, but it still FEELS magical, yes?!

(and it usually happens for me on much later in the week puzzles with words that are less than random, like DAKOTA this week...
I'm not talking about putting in GLOP for GLUE or some such...)

Anyway, I'm glad malapop is sorta catching on :) I'd like to save the term "Andrea" for something a little bigger one day (like another Seth surrogate parenting or a blogger morphing into a dog) and I hope, maybe, even more positive!
(For those pointing out that malapop sounds like malaprop, um, yes, that was the intention!)

ok, I'm REALY not going to post again...I should do an "ulrich" and start my own blog.

andrea carla michaels 9:01 PM  

I know from statistics, and your explanation is very cogent, a schlemiel you are not, but it still FEELS magical, yes?!

(and it usually happens for me on much later in the week puzzles with words that are less than random, like DAKOTA this week...
I'm not talking about putting in GLOP for GLUE or some such...)

Anyway, I'm glad malapop is sorta catching on :) I'd like to save the term "Andrea" for something a little bigger one day (like another Seth surrogate parenting or a blogger morphing into a dog) and I hope, maybe, even more positive!
(For those pointing out that malapop sounds like malaprop, um, yes, that was the intention!)

ok, I'm REALY not going to post again...I should do an "ulrich" and start my own blog.

Crosscan 9:44 PM  

I give. I like malapop, too.

Could it not happen occasionally because the constructor/editor has deliberately added two clues that imply the same answer? It could be subconsciously, after all they will know the other answer when preparing/editing the clue.

foodie 9:55 PM  

@Ulrich, a few nights ago, when Andrea first pointed the malapop phenomenon, I had a theory that was part what you said, but it hinted at another element, which I continue to believe is relevant. I used to study psycholinguistics, and there are patterns of word associations that are closely shared by people within a culture. So, if you are a constructor, you are thinking of words to fill a corner, you have some of these associations which are triggered by the rest of the fill. But these same associations influence the solver. They also influence the cluing whether it's by the constructor or by the editor. For example, you have APE and it's clued as impersonate, and you have DOES, which can be clued a million ways, but it's also clued as impersonate. It's not that hard to imagine that the first response to impersonate as a clue is APE, but if you put it where DOES belongs, you have a Malapop. So, my argument is that beyond randomness, other elements conspire to make these events more likely. The knowledge of crosswordese as you point out, but also the shared cognitive landscape in the partnership between constructor/cluer and solver. It's this shared way of thinking that feels like magic.

Am I adding an unnecessary assumption and violating Occam's razor? It's testable, whether one needs something other than chance to explain this phenomenon (i.e. whether these occur higher than chance).

Anyhow, we have an observation, with a name, and some theories for its causes-- the start of malapopism as a new field of study!

Crosscan 10:03 PM  

Yeah, foodie, that's what I meant to say, but my psycholinguistics is rusty.

Rusty, reminds me of Rusty Staub, the first Expos star. The circle is complete.

3+ and out.

Orange 10:20 PM  

Have been away all day. Rex, you know what's in my fridge? The last half of a giant (12 to 16 oz.) Trader Joe's candy bar, dark chocolate wiith almonds. It's in the fridge to prevent summertime melting, but then we forget it's there. And now it lies fallow while we work on the Godiva chocolates and biscuits my husband gave me for my birthday on Friday.

Paula Gamache's last couple early-week NYT puzzles have kicked ass. Will, if you can persuade Paula to make a lot more Monday puzzles, we'll all be happy campers.

Ulrich 10:21 PM  

@foodie: The interesting issue is, as you say, if the phenomenon goes beyond chance. I started to think along these lines b/c someone mentioned that it happened to her/him once before--which, in turn, reminded me of the husband of the woman who cuts my hair (what's left of it) who announced a year ago that after playing golf for over 30 years, he finally hit a hole-in-one. So, I thought, maybe it's all chance.

It's testable, in principle, but boy, I shudder when I think of the variables involved!

~Mikey~ 1:57 AM  

As a complete crossword puzzle n00b, I've been attempting the Monday puzzles on and off for the past year or so, and I've been checking your site to see how I've done (too poor to buy Tuesday's paper) and to learn up on some of the clues I missed. This Monday's was the first time I ever solved one with no mistakes, so I just figured I'd share in the joy :-)

TimeTraveller 12:02 PM  

Cadbury has a dark chocolate with almonds bar widely available in Vancouver. What, you only get Hershey down there? Pity.

Farm Trigo Crush 10:48 AM  

Thanks for discussing an important topic. It helps us a lot of work

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