Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008 - Harriet Clifton (MRS. DITHERS OF "BLONDIE" / ONE OF THE SAARINENS OF FINLAND)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Bad cell-phone reception

  • 20A: “Huh?” (“YOU’RE BREAKING UP”)
  • 25A: Comment after 20-Across (“CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”)
  • 44A: Comment after 25-Across (“I DIDN’T CATCH THAT”)
  • 50A: Comment after 44-Across (“I’LL TRY REDIALING”)
Hi, it’s me, Andrea Carla Michaels (not to be confused with 38A Andrea Bocelli), I will be delivering the blog, not ARIAS (altho feel free to sing this column out loud ... in the shower, a capella ... which means without a shower cap). Rex is out at the ball game … the Twins [by "Twins" she means "RED SOX." RED SOX 6, ORIOLES 3, thanks for asking - RP], by coincidence, my hometeam growing up, sort of, if I followed sports, but I don’t SO he asked me and PuzzleGirl to fill in and I couldn’t be more excited, having never blogged, only posted responses. But I’m touched he wanted me to give it a whirl. And when I read Rex, I always think he’s reading my mind word for word, joke for joke (’cept the sports stuff), so I’ll see later if he had the same experience with me.

I do by hand, in pen, blah blah blah … and Tuesdays take me about 6 or 7 minutes, as did this, even if I don’t stop at all, I can’t do it any faster. This took me exactly that long, so I guess I would rate it easy. But I’m not about speed, I’m all about the theme, baby.

I start at 1A and do all the Acrosses for a while and then do the Downs if I get stuck. I got stuck at 1A bec I didn’t understand who Beauty was … I thought the horse Black Beauty and then thought it might be some ref to Keats, so I came back after I did the first few.

I’ll start with my mistakes … I put ESAU in for ABEL (10A: “Genesis victim”) thinking it was that whole Jacob/Esau twin thing … maybe having on my mind that Rex is at the Twins [RED SOX] game and my mom is an identical twin (Carol Frances and Frances Carol … I kid you not … but they are from the era where identical twins dressed alike and they wanted to and were best friends and even had a double wedding! Single divorce (my folks), but more on that later. Shout out to Uncle Lenny and Aunt Fran, tho, who just had their 50th anniversary!) For the record, I didn’t know if ESAU killed Jacob or if he just cheated him out of his inheritance or if it’s the other way around, but it’s moot, as the answer was ABEL, which I then proceeded to enter in as ABLE. As in “ABLE WAS I …” from my last puzzle.

Second (and last) mistake was thinking 15A: Mrs. Dithers in “Blondie” was DORA, tho an “SD” start for 6D did not look promising, but I kept in mind it might be SDAK and proceeded…

And for a moment when I saw 43D: Opera, ballet and so on (THE ARTS) and I had already filled everything in on the crosses, I thought I had misspelled THEATRE, which was fun to realize that THE ARTS and THEATRE are almost an anagram.

Then of course I hit 16A: 1950s-’70s Yugoslav leader TITO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Could it be? Third time in, like, two weeks? Would I have a chance to trot out my Venn Diagram yet again????? If I knew how to google/cut and paste, I would indeed put in the cartoon with the circles of Jackson 5 and Yugoslavian dictators, with the overlap being TITO but I don’t know how to do that … PuzzleGirl? [Note from PuzzleGirl: Your wish is my command.]

BTU was in Monday’s puzzle, yet again reinforcing my theory (and I don’t care if there is hard evidence against it), that there is at least one entry that is the same from day to day. And today’s is not only BTU (21D: Abbr. on an appliance sticker) but there is even a second reference at 63A: The “U” in 21-Down (UNIT).

There was a lot of those “With 8-Down…,” “When 12-Down was uttered…,” etc. which I both can’t stand, since I like to do in order more or less … and yet admire that it tenuously holds the puzzle together and someone was paying attention. Cf 8D: See 58-Down (AREA) and 58D: With 8-Down, source of an ethical dilemma (GRAY). With a minor hesitation always if it’s Grey or Gray. I think with an “e” it’s English, like “Old Grey Mare.”

It felt like there was a lot of cross references bec the theme itself referred back to each of the last one. I think the theme is tons of fun … four fifteen-letter acrosses is no easy task. The last, didn’t completely “ring” true … I think there is more of repeating HOW ABOUT NOW? And SHOULD I HANG UP? I’LL TRY CALLING YOU BACK, etc. but it seems 90% legitimate, in the scheme of things, saying I’LL TRY REDIALING.

(I’m not going to get into a whole discussion that we say DIALING when there is no longer a dial, etc. I’ll leave that to the young ’uns and the oldsters to discuss on the blog, in between discussions of the where-to-buy-beets-in-Portland-even-tho-it’s- sunny-in-Connecticut crowd and Rex begging them to take it offline!)

Young Seth has just sent me a clipping that Harriet had her first puzzle published in 2005 at the age of 83! So that makes her at least 86 by now ... so I will NOT be inserting any tasteless “Can You Hear Me Now?” jokes here! All I can say to Harriet, is “Brava!” (Can you read me now, Harriet?) Of course I hope too to be writing crosswords at her age, with at least a $50 increase by the then-93-year-old Will (his bday is next Tuesday for those of you keeping track!) if this blog hasn’t put an end to all things crosswords by 2009.

So it was cool for me that you had an entire phone conversation in one puzzle, it felt innovative and less annoying than a quote … although the downs-only solvers might have it tougher today.

I was happy to get the two baseball clues “right off the bat” (see, I’m trying) what with 3D: Baseball’s Moises (ALOU) and 5D: Bases loaded (THREE ON), I’m guessing they were easy enough for the basebally-challenged as it was written by a gal.

OK, may I go off on a Minnesota tangent here? I grew up across the street from Lake Harriet. And in 1969, when I was in about 6th grade, Kevin Baglien, the class jock, threatened to beat up me and my best friend Donia Prince if we couldn’t name five players on the Twins. TO THIS DAY I can remember Harmon Killebrew, Craig Nettles (he was a rookie on the Twins before he joined the Yankees, discuss), Vida Blue (I think … they were trying to get him to change his name to True), Tony Oliva (and Dawn?)

and … and … uh oh … who was a fifth? Was Rod Carew playing then???!!! [PuzzleGirl: Yes, he was!!!!!] Kevin is going to beat me up (40 years later and I’m still afraid … Kevin, if you are reading this from prison, I don’t really live in San Francisco).

Other notes … not a million of AMYS or whatever that Sondheim clue was from the other day, only one, 36A: Etiquette maven Vanderbilt (AMY). That clue was a little moldy, I would have liked to see my oldest friend from college, the fabulously under-used Amy Aquino who has been on every show ever made. She was the mean Girl Scout leader on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” the tough guidance counselor on “Felicity,” Cher’s hairdresser in “Moonstruck,” and people remember her best as Melanie Griffith’s secretary at the very, very end of “Working Girl,” the ONLY film I’ve ever been able to bear Melanie Griffith in … or as my other oldest pal from college, Chris Carmody, would say “The eerily teenaged voiced Melanie Griffith.” Actually she was good in that “Something Wild” and I’m sure the boys will chime in about her in “Body Double.”

I assume I'm obligated to include this.

Nope! Gotcha! I’m not going to even mention 29D: Minneapolis suburb EDINA!

(P.S. I am eternally and heavily indebted to the wonderful PuzzleGirl who did ALL the heavy-lifting on this: all editing, clip inserting, EVERYTHING technical ... after midnight AND with a sick, fictitious PuzzleDog!)

[from RP - my cat came back in the middle of the night last night; I know, you didn't know he was lost, but he was - escaped from my house when I let the dog out two nights ago. He's old and an indoor cat, so I thought for sure he was a goner, but my phone buzzed at 12:30 am last night here in Baltimore, and the text read simply "Wiley came back" ... so I'm super happy today. Off to Fell's Point, then a water taxi back to the Inner Harbor, then crab cakes at Lexington Market, then the Red Sox/Orioles game. Baltimore is Gorgeous, by the way. NO TRAFFIC (comparatively). How is that possible? We drove straight into the heart of downtown and right to our apartment without encountering even the most minor of slowdowns, and we did it in the middle of what should have been rush hour ... do people even know Baltimore exists, all tucked away down here? You should come here and enjoy it before people discover it and it becomes real famous and overcrowded. You heard it here first ...]


SethG 2:35 AM  

Andrea, sweetie, I was at the Twins game (with JohnJohn and Weeky--John Chandler-Pepelnjak couldn't make it). Rex was at the Red Sox game against, uh, not the Twins or the A's.

I used to have a crush on an identical twin. I have some news for Cinedina. I lurve the word NATCH.

ABLE might have been thee, but ABEL was my brother,

jae 2:37 AM  
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jae 2:39 AM  

Entertaining write-up folks (ladies? -- I don't know whats PC these days). I too really liked this puzzle. Clever theme. All the looking back and forth slowed me down a bit but still a typical Tues. for me. I'd bet the EERO/WELCH crossing was tough for the novice solver. Oh, and I did have THEATER having not completed the crosses. That gave me REEKY for SMOKY (shouldn't there be an "E") which also slowed things down.

Doc John 2:52 AM  

Oops, when I got here I was gonna be the first commenter. Guess I took too long. :(

Great write-up! My sentiments exactly especially concerning the repeated answers, right down to the GRAY a/e controversy. LOVE the Venn Diagram!

That aside, a fun puzzle with an interesting theme.

I thought the Minneapolis suburb might be another Natick (I'll mention it for you, Andrea.) but then I looked at the cross and thought click here to find out what I thought.

I started with the acrosses and wrote in BEAST but wasn't positive and then when I got to WELCH I had to check the downs because the only BW word I knew was bwana. B'WAY works just fine there, though.

Almost a mini-opera theme: ARIAS, TOSCA, THE ARTS

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? Man, I love my iPhone but I really, really miss Verizon. AT&T: Less bars in more places.

male chicken 3:35 AM  

yes, @jae, WELCH and EERO were nasty for me, the only things that stopped me in my tracks. That and the fact that they were surrounded by "basebally" stuff that i never get right. I love TOSCA and am always pleased to see it, no matter how common. Last time i saw it was in prague and i got shouted at by a czech for having a foot on the back of the chair in front. Not the only time i got shouted at in prague...

jae 4:12 AM  

@male chiken -- Keep an eye out for EERO's dad ELIEL who shows up every now and then. Also, make sure you don't confuse EERO with ERNO Rubik of cube fame (which I occasionally have been known to do).

Susan 4:37 AM  

Funny, but when I was doing the puzzle I was convinced it was constructed by someone younger, as this is so many cell phone conversations I overhear (and occasionally participate in). That, and the inclusion of NATCH had me convinced. Now I am enjoying the picture of 86 year-olds around the world responding with "Natch" when asked questions by their grandkids. The conversations I am imagining make me giggle, so thanks for the chuckles Harriet. And thanks for the pinch hitting Andrea and PuzzleGirl!

Daryl 7:04 AM  

Finished this one relatively fast, and then later on in the day was reading Salon, and what do you know, EDINA was mentioned (as the site of the first-ever indoor shopping mall). Love baseball clues(THREE ON was a good one), but then I keep a (Red Sox) blog. A good Tuesday puzzle all in all - would the cellphone theme be considered the dernier CRI?

Barry 8:10 AM  

Morning, folks!

Nice puzzle with a great theme. I'd have to rate it easier than Monday's puzzle (which I thought was super easy to begin with), simply because this one didn't have a single unknown word and none of the clues were particularly tricky.

I did learn something new, however! EERO Saarinen is a long-time denizen of crossword puzzles, but I never knew he was from Finland. Until now, that is!

dk 8:18 AM  

Boy oh boy do you two (pgirl and ACM) go on and on :).

Andrea, like you I just started filing in squares and never stopped. I had theater instead of THEARTS till I got to ROPER, TOSCA and SMOKY. And, I thought of you and girls camp when EDINA (Everyday I Need Attention) showed up.

My lovely wife is not up yet so I cannot ask the ESAU and ABEL question to her. She claims to have gone to Bethal but she never gets the biblical clues, always pleading Old Testament.

Lastly, get an address for Kevin B. and if he is still in town I will... have @sethg ice him.

Ms. Clifton with a wink and a nod I say great puzzle: NATCH

joho 8:36 AM  

Loved this puzzle for many reasons. First and foremost because Andrea from Minnesota was blogging ... the perfect person for when EDINA, where I grew up, shows up. I used to ride my bike to Lakes Harriet and Calhoun. And I hung out with the Twins when I was a kid, too. I wonder if BubbleUp Allison or Billy Martin could be added to your list? Another great reason for Andrea being here today: 9D was my answer for 37D in Saturday's (August 16th) puzzle: I had TANKARD instead of TALLONE ... and then today we have TANKARDS. Do Malapops travel across days and puzzles?

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed today's writeup and thank both Andrea and PuzzleGirl whose fake dog I don't have to worry about now.

Kudos to Harriet Clifton for an easy, entertaining and memorable Tuesday puzzle.

Ulrich 9:45 AM  

My least favorite puzzles are quote puzzles, and this one looked like one for a moment. But then I realized that it wasn't really--a whacky conversation of the kind I've had myself. I join the "Brava!" chorus.

I had an eerie experience along the way: yesterday I chimed in on the "Andrea/malapop" phenomenon, trying to be the voice of reason that brings the whole debate back to earth--and what happens today? I fill in GRAY at the wrong place, at 62A, until I discovered that I needed it at 58D and had to rethink 62A. Perhaps there is more to the whole thing than meets my eye:-)

joho 9:51 AM  

@ulrich: I've always thought it is a psychic thing. I'm sure I'll be mocked for this ... but it's definitely an out of this world phenonoma as far as I'm concerned.

Leon 10:00 AM  

Terrific puzzle Harriet Clifton.

Real enjoyable write-up ACME and PG.

Another Tito.

Bill from NJ 10:01 AM  

71 years. That's the difference in ages between Harriet Clifton and Caleb Madison. And I wonder if anyone can tell from JUST THE PUZZLES which is which.

I wasn't sure of 1A and did the Far North (except for CORA Dithers) by the downs.

Continued with the downs in the two pillars in the Midlands . CANYOUHEARMENOW was my first theme entry and the puzzle fell in short order after that.

Enjoyed the theme - even the anachronistic REDIALING, an expression I still us - and the names in the fill from WYATT and CORA to WELCH and TITO

Joon 10:14 AM  

just because nobody has mentioned this yet, ABEL is a "victim" in the sense that he was murdered by his brother cain. esau may have been victimized (debatable), but he certainly wasn't murdered. he did barter away his birthright (he was born just before his twin jacob, so he was in line for an inheritance) for a bowl of lentils, which doesn't seem like a great move in retrospect. it's been a thorny issue of interpretation for a while: did jacob take advantage of his brother, or was esau merely foolish? it does seem like he ends up with the short end of the stick... though not as short as ABEL's.

every time i see EERO saarinen in a grid i think, "boy, i'm tired of seeing this guy's name in crosswords." but then i think about the gateway arch, which is just about the most spectacular man-made thing on this continent, or the main terminal at dulles airport, which seems to defy gravity, and then i think, "damn, this guy was the bomb."

marcie 10:25 AM  

Well, my big boo-boo was having REW where REC belonged, making one of the theme answers "I didn't watch that"... which seemed like a viable non sequitur response when the line is breaking up and might lead the other party to try redialing. I never did catch my mistake until reading this blog.

Really enjoyed the whole puzzle!

joho 10:29 AM  

I meant phenonamon.

Tony Orbach 10:33 AM  

Welcome, Andrea! A nice puzzle for the queen of Monday/Tuesday NYT to comment on! Nice job all around.

So here's my guy comment, as predicted/requested: you guys (Andrea and Puzzle Girl, that is -that's how I've always dealt with losing the antiquated "gals": everyone's become a "guy" to me) can have your McDreamy from "Gray's Anatomy", we can have our crazy-voiced, hyper-sexy Melanie Griffith! She's also the daughter of Tippi Hedren, of "The Birds" fame, and there are some interesting stories about her upbringing in Africa in a house filled with big cats - it's a wonder she's not totally loco instead of being mildly ditzy. Anyway, as annoying as she can be I admit that I like to look at her!

Keep up the good work,
Tony O.

karmaSartre 10:34 AM  

Andrea, Is the picture of the twins of your mother and aunt? They look like the identicals seen roaming Nob Hill and downtown San Francisco in the '70s/'80s. Could it be? Herb Caen mentioned them often, and their clothes and demeanor were a delight. I thought their surname was Brown.

kjones 10:37 AM  

NATCH, NATCH would be a shortening of the word "naturally".

Who uses this word? The Online Etymology Dictionary (via dictionary.com) says it was first recorded in 1945. Was it also last recorded, then?

Dave 10:39 AM  

Dearest Rex -

Just one more sad plea from a frustrated reader....

My corporate firewall doesn't like flikr, and I'm certain that many other readers have this same issue. Hence, I can't see your fully solved grids. Today I have the rare joy of seeing the finished grid because PuzzleGirl links hers from a blogger site that is firewall-friendly. Any chance you could change your posting habits to help out your firewall-challenged readers??


Jane Doh 10:41 AM  

Great blogging! This is a parody, right?

Fun, clever puzzle, too. The age comments are interesting, and possibly explain the use of REDIALING, although there's surely no dialing to be done on a cell phone (perhaps this was used out of necessity -- I'm certainly not able to think of a good 15-letter substitute). I know several 80-something solvers (all women), so find it interesting, anecdotally, that at least one such person is constructing.

AAA = Fine bond rating. Hmm. Fine is an odd word to use to describe a bond rating, even though it's synonymous with terms such as top - best - high - highest quality, etc., that are actually used in this context.

Nice nontheme fill, especially the longer answers. NATCH is a great word. Is this Jack WELCH's crossword debut? Good to know he's mainstream enough.

Enjoyable solve!


Shamik 10:43 AM  

@ulrich: I totally agree with you on quote puzzles. And this conversation is something we all do way too much!!!

Loved this puzzle. Went slowly for me. Today I plead a Nyquil hangover.

Good write-up!

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Puzzle dog does not really exist??? And we were all worried when PuzzleHusband stepped in so you could stand vigil at the vet? I feel duped.

ArtLvr 10:56 AM  
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ArtLvr 10:59 AM  

Excellent puzzle, and it was one of my fastest at 8 min. -- I doubt if I can type any faster! The one error I DIDNT CATCH was 39D where I had REW for "rewind" in lieu of REC for "record", like Marcie. This gave a plausible but incorrect I DIDNT WATCH THAT (my usual response to most films, pop shows, sports).

Chuckled at seeing 14A" Jack: Straight from the Gut" WELCH since all things GE are so dominant in the Albany-Schenectady area, after politics... I've been wondering if our recent NY Governor of amazingly short 14-month tenure will ever be sustituting for narc or literary ELIOT clues in the puzzle at some point?

Cheers for the blog team, and kudos too for today's constructor Harriet Clifton!.... However, I recall seeing criticism of the "Brava" construction used mistakenly for "Bravo" when said to a female. It traditionally refers to a great performance, not to the great performer(s), so "Bravo" is the correct word for one person of either sex -- or for a whole plural orchestra, cast, etc.


Two Ponies 11:03 AM  

Nice Tuesday puzzle. I hope we don't offend Ms. Clifton by commenting on her age but if I live as long as she has I hope to still be solving much less constucting.
@Evil Doug Perhaps your satire is underappreciated but I enjoy your posts. Rex does run a tight ship.
Even though I have not actually dialed a phone in ages I'm pretty sure I still say dial. I have an antique reproduction telephone that has a dial with punch buttons and best of all it has an old style bell. I hate the electronic ringers on phones.

Crosscan 11:03 AM  

Baseball talk hmm? Let's see Moises ALOU was a Montreal Expo.

Terry Francona was too, but not his father TITO Francona, who played for many other teams.

TITO's father Toba Francona sold beets in Portland.

Nice Tuesday. Same time as for Monday, but relatively faster vs everyone else. Weird how that happens.


chefbea1 11:04 AM  

fun puzzle and great write up Andrea!!! Loved the foto of your mom and aunt

even though we don't have dial phones any more - there is a redial button on most phones.

Been busy cooking this morning - dont worry it isnt anything red. Crunchy blueberry muffins. They sure look good. Just came out of the oven

miriam b 11:06 AM  

I had Marcie's and artLvr's problem with REW/REC. I also eschew pop stuff and sports and most films.

I found this puzzle easy but somehow very relaxing. I speculated - basing my thoughts on the age brackets of Harriets I have known -that someone named Harriet had to be a "mature" person. So I see I guessed correctly.

About bravo: Visiting the then USSR, I saw a wonderful perforance of Onegin at the Kirov. During the many curtain calls, the audience was moved to standing ovations and there were shouts of "molodTSI" This is equivalent to "bravi". The singular is "molodYETS". which of course means "bravo".

Skip 11:14 AM  

This was a strange mix of really easy (most of the theme clues fell into place after 1 or 2 half-words) and Tuesday diabolical. EERO/AROAR was a wow, and I didn't know CORA, TANKARDS, EDINA, or ECRU. Also quite a few compound answers. Fun puzzle.

ABB 11:25 AM  

Nice puzzle with an all too familiar theme.
I love that venn diagram. If you turn it into a t-shirt I will buy it.

Jim in Chicago 11:30 AM  

Reposting, since my first post seems to have not gone through.

I think there is a great divide in lanuage between land phone users and cell phone users. I use the term "dialing" when I'm talking about my land line, even though its had push buttons for decades.

But I would never say "dial" when talking about my cell phone, and certainly not in the context of the conversation in the puzzle. The common response would be something like "I'll call you right back" or "hang up and I'll try again".

So, to me the problem is less with that terminology than with the context.

mexicangirl 11:40 AM  


As far as Italian goes, the correct usage would be bravo for a male, brava for a female and bravi for more than one person.
In opera and the stage world, bravo has taken the place of all of them, making it now perfectly acceptable to use them on either case and making all those Italian purists that say otherwise look very snobbish, indeed.

I loved this puzzle, by the way.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, but a few things slowed me down and it was harder than yesterday's for me, so I thought it was perfect for a Tuesday. The east central area (or is it referred to as the Carolinas, Wash. DC., or middle east?!?) was the last to fall. I didn't know OMNIA or AMY and for some reason ETNA, NATCH, and TACIT didn't come right away. After getting NATCH, I had an "oh, duh" moment with ETNA and then AMY became obvious.

My first entry was WELCH, which if you know me is strange, because I am not well-versed in or very interested in business-type topics. WELCH was first because I could not remember if Cain killed ABEL or vice-versa. Really liked the Head of France clue- but at first I was looking for prefixes for France. DADA was fun too, but secretly was hoping for mama. I've heard that typically tots learn to say DADA before MAMA as it is easier to say.

Of course I am going to mention EDINA- but only to say that many Edinites would be pleased with its front-and-center location.

Loved the write-up, especially the mention of Lake Harriet and the Twins. Like joho, I rode my bike to Lake Harriet as a child. Have been there many times since to listen to concerts at the bandshell and ride the trolley with my kids. I am tempted to go off on many long and tortuous (for most of you, well... maybe all of you) tangents on MN, but am restraining myself.

Well, off to the ice rink! Yes, we Minnesotans get our taste of freezing temperatures in August too!


Sethg- I'll send you an email.

Twangster 11:47 AM  

I had the same temporary problem as marcie -- for a second I was envisioning there was a premise of some sort, i.e., they were talking about what was on TV last night.

Rex Parker 11:49 AM  


I use Flickr. Everyone else who's posting besides me just uploads photos straight to Blogger. I ... just don't do that. I might look into it as a possibility, but I have Never had an outcry about the visibility of the grids, so I'm not apt to change.

Please, do not start said "outcry" in the comments section. I have a clearly posted email address.


Rex Parker 12:00 PM  

I am hereby publicly admitting to deleting messages today. There's a difference between being a contrarian (where IS bluestater?) and being an insecure, impolite, self-important @#$#$.

If you aren't civil, or are a self-aggrandizing @#!$#, I reserve the right to delete you. I don't owe anyone an explanation. The end. If you (whoever you are) want to make YOURSELF the topic of today's conversation, I suggest you get your own blog.

Consider seeing things from my perspective instead of your own. I have to manage this comments section to make sure it's useful and entertaining to as many of my readers as possible. Try making that job easier and I will love you. Make it harder -> delete.


CK 12:08 PM  

NATCH? Seriously? NATCH??? Unacceptable.

Ashish 12:28 PM  

Andrea strikes as a blogger!

Is this the first crossing over for a constructor? If so, congrats. (I hear some bloggers are soon going to be in print, as constructors - hopefully, they will offer up their blogs to Andrea when that happens).

Great job on the blog and loved the puzzle. Perfect for a Tuesday - lively 15-letter theme entries!


Rex Parker 12:36 PM  

I can confirm that this is the first time a constructor has written THIS blog. I believe Amy has had a constructor or two fill in for her @ her blog before.

jeff in chicago 12:52 PM  

Fun puzzle. I've had that conversation many times, especially with my parents, who seem to have crappy cell phone service. Not only do most cell phones have a redial button, they have a speed dial function as well.

I had OPEN and LUTE for SEEN and LYRE in the SW, which made that corner hard to get for a bit, but it finally became clear.

The debut for WELCH? I don't think so. It seems I've seen him a lot. (pause) Hmmm...I'm surprised. the Cruciverb database shows NO uses of WELCH as the GE chief. He must be showing up in other puzzles. WELCH always makes me think of Raquel. I had the poster of her in the "One Million Years B.C." fur bikini on my wall as a youth. And I will stop sharing those thoughts right now.

Malapops between puzzles/days? Maybe we could call those Malapre-ops.

Re: the guys/gals thing. I often here one woman say to a group of other women something like "what are you GUYS up to?" What's with that gals?

Was this a good puzzle? NATCH! Well done Harriet, Andrea and PuzzleGirl.

jeff in chicago 12:54 PM  

Ugh...."I often HEAR...."

I hate making dumb typos!

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

NATCH: kjones wants to know “who uses this word?” and ck finds it “unacceptable.” Some others like it or even lurve it. As for who uses it—well, for instance, the characters Jay and Silent Bob in “Clerks” (1994). Stan Lee used in Marvel Comics at least through the 1970s. Raymond Chandler uses it in “The Long Goodbye” (1953). (Dunno if they used it in the movie, 20 years later.) Someone in 2005 said, “I see it constantly on gawker and other gossipy, vapid blogs.”

I have a movie called “Night Moves” in which an 18-year-old Melanie Griffith is briefly topless while talking to Gene Hackman. Woo woo.

Fourth Grade Boy

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

When I read Natch I thought of the old Dead End Kids movies. They said it all of the time.

dk 1:40 PM  

@jeff in chicago, 1 million bc poster....

@anon at 1:12 PM, Night Moves you say, briefly topless you say...

my little cloven hoofs are a clackin.

rafaelthatmf 1:48 PM  

Did eveil doug get deleted? Solid! Keep rocking the boat!

'Sup two ponies?

HudsonHawk 1:58 PM  

Not a big Melanie Griffith fan, but she was very good (and briefly topless) in the outstanding movie Nobody's Fool. One of so many great performances by Paul Newman, with an excellent ensemble cast.

Nice puzzle by Harriet Clifton, now my second favorite Harriet (just behind the adorable Harriet Wheeler, lead singer of The Sundays).

Two Ponies 2:01 PM  

I think Evil Doug got hit by the RP Death ray and has been disintegrated into cyber-space. @ rafaelthatmf you can risk rocking the boat if you want to but I wouldn't recommend it. Despite the chuckle I get from the occasional troublemaker I actually love the intelligent discussions here and the good manners displayed. Most mainstream blogs quickly deteriorate into rants that are rife with spelling errors and downright nasty comments. So to Rex, thanks and too bad it had to come to this but honestly I'm surprised it took this long.

Z.J. Mugildny 2:05 PM  

I liked this puzzle overall, though the NW was a little thorny for a Tuesday with WELCH (never heard of him) crossing three other names. I actually just guessed the 'C' (I'm not very familiar with "The Lion King"), although really, what else could it have been.

Also, like a few others, I thought the last theme comment was on the weaker side. I think something like JUSTCALLMELATER or ILLCALLYOULATER would've been better.

fikink 2:12 PM  

Very nice writeup, Andrea! I enjoyed the mental glyphs that recalled faces and places for me: And I can clearly see your actress friend in the role of Melanie's secretary! Something about her well-played obeisance.
@dk believe she was nude from the waist up in Nobody's Fool, too. Check it out!
@daryl And here I always thought Randhurst in Mt. Prospect, Ill., was the nation's oldest indoor mall! More misinformation from the developers trying to fund it, I assume. ha!

andrea carla michaels 3:03 PM  

Am I allowed to post when I've blogged?
Just wanted to say THANK GOD about Wiley's safe return (unless he turns out to be a fictitious PuzzleCat!)
Love that his name has sort of an ACME feel to it... or is that WILE E?

Also thanks for playing hall monitor!

Loved learning that EERO did the arch, now he's not just a crossword fill-in for me!

I googled and Kevin B. is not in prison as I had suspected, but close, he's a salesperson for a corrugated cardboard company in St. Paul... How "Office" is that?!

@karmasatre/artlvr, et al

Oh alright, that is NOT a pic of my mom(s)...those ladies of Harriet's era are Vivian and Marian Brown, who are indeed still alive and well and live down the Hill from me.

It was the brilliant and disconcertingly modest PuzzleGirl that dug that up when my sis came home too late to scan a pic of the real mom(s) for her luddite sib!

(and Seth created the Venn Diagram)

Thank you again to Rex for letting me "pinch hit"! See, I can talk ball with you boys!
Enjoy the game! NATCH!

fergus 3:08 PM  

My only trouble lay in the, uh, Minnesota region. Very reluctant to Moor my boat in a COVE. No problem with anchoring it there but Mooring requires something to affix to. Sure, there could be a dock or a pier in the COVE but either of those is what your boat would need to be securely fastened to. Hey, I don't get to make the rules, but this pairing seemed too loose, even if Moor can also be used as an intransitive verb.

Also, geometrically, I was thinking that a Circle section has to describe some area, defined by the radii and the ARC, but that proper term would be Sector, so no real objection there.

Vision problems continue with 6D Bum with an iron. That's an entertaining image.

Re: Twins. I know a pair of identical 13 year-old redhead girls who have crashed the stereotype so thoroughly. By fourth grade they were going to different schools, and by sixth, their only common thread was a tee-shirt that said "My sister is my evil twin."

chefbea1 3:15 PM  

I think I mentioned a while back that I saw the arch being built from my father's office on the Mississippi. It really is quite a piece of architecture - and when you go to the top of it you can feel it swaying.

ArtLvr 3:16 PM  

@ miriamb and mexican girl -- Appreciated your thoughts on using "bravo" vs other forms in THE ARTS... I was just referring to performance arts in the English-speaking world in noting that "Bravo!" seems to be preferred, but it's interesting that the Italians tend to use it the same way to salute a person of either gender and for the plurals too. Many thanks!


Anonymous 3:36 PM  

Not meaning to controvert, but this, from an online site, seems to validate the clue usage, which is probably meant as shorthand:

"There are ten sailboats available to Sailing Club members. ... All of these boats are moored in the cove next to the CA swimming pool. There are often other boats moored in that cove as well."

Joon 3:46 PM  

fergus, there is a technical distinction between a circle (which is only the set of points exactly r away from the center) and a disk (which consists of a circle plus its interior). as such, the clue in the puzzle is exactly right for ARC, which is a one-dimensional object (like a circle). the corresponding two-dimensional part of a disk would be called, um ... i dunno, sector seems okay enough. pie piece, maybe--or is that too trivial pursuit? wedge suggests itself, but i think wedge technically refers to a 3-d object.

Ulrich 3:56 PM  

Here are some other Saarinen (fils) buildings people may have seen w/o knowing the architect: The former TWA building at JFK (AKA the flying bra--currently vacant, but since it's such a beaut, people are trying to find a use for and rehab it); the dorms (can't remember the name) behind the former Yale Coop in New Haven; women's dorm at Penn (again, can't remember the name--it may be coed now anyway) in Philadelphia.

Margaret 4:04 PM  

Very clever puzzle. And I love that a theme based on familiarity with a "new-fangled" item like a cell phone was constructed by an 86 year old. Actually, I find the story of the age of the constructor to be very encouraging -- kind of like the Dara Torres story.

Random other comments: I once sat next to Patrick Dempsey on a plane. It must have been in 1997 b/c it was just before he appeared in a TV version of 20K leagues under the Sea. (I just checked IMDB on that and found out that he also played the Tim Robbins part in a TV remake of "The Player." Why in the world would anyone remake that movie?? Go remake something that was poorly done the first time.)

I have very vivid memories of leaving on my first trip to Europe from the Saarinen-designed TWA terminal at JFK. Also, the interesting town of Columbus, Indiana has buildings by 2 Saarinens: Eero and Eliel. (It also has buildings by I.M. Pei and Richard Meier. Not bad for a town of 40,000!)

@Doc John I couldn't agree with you more about iPhone vs. Verizon.

Larry I in L.A. 4:12 PM  

As a huge baseball fan myself, in the interest of accuracy I must point out that Vida Blue did not pitch for the Twins in 1969 or any other season (although he did make his major league debut with Oakland that year at the tender age of 19), and that Nettles' first name was actually the rather unusual "Graig." Kudos for recalling Nettles, however, along with probably the three best Twins of that era. In the future, may I recommend Jim Kaat as your fifth should you ever run across Kevin again? Kaat pitched in the bigs for 25 years and won more games in a Minnesota uniform than any other pitcher.

Jim in Chicago 4:24 PM  

Our friend EERO also designed two buildings at the University of Chicago. The Law School has recently undergone a major renovation - largely sympathetic to the original design. He also designed a dormatory which was so badly "value-engineered" during the construction phase that he had his name disassociated from the project. The dorm has subsequently and mercifully been torn down.

dk 4:38 PM  

Twins, but not the baseball team that jocks like Andrea are always talking about.

I have step twins age 12 (in addition to a step dog and cat). I was never a twins study person while in grad school so my observations are anecdotal.

While the boys strive to create a separate identity they remain identical behaviorally and share very similar thought processes (striking a blow for non-Mendelian genetics and lending partial support to the maloprop(sp?) thread of yesterday). On the malo thing they often complete the others thoughts, except they are a few steps ahead. Like filling in a wrong answer that is right later. My opinion is they are constructing a story as they listen and anticipate the end. Much as we may unconsciously read ahead on the clues, thus filling in a response early.

Orange 5:00 PM  

Rex is right—I've had John Farmer and Dave Sullivan guest-blog for me.

Hey, LEMMECALLYABACK is also 15 letters long.

PhillySolver 5:00 PM  

I live just across the river from UP campus and offer this picture of The Eero Dorm


joho 5:11 PM  

@dk: your theory makes total sense to me. The idea that the twins are constructing a story as they listen so they know the end before it happens is similar to how we solvers could be unconsciously reading ahead on the clues and filling in responses early. I think twins do have a psychic connection however. And I have been called psychic ...but there's no way I can have that kind of connection to an inanimate object i.e. crossword puzzle.

Ellen 5:32 PM  

Andrea, you should definitely blog, either about crosswords or just life.

I have never had a cell phone (yet), but that wasn't a handicap in solving this puzzle.

Baltimore will be the site of the 2009 National Puzzlers' League convention.

ronathan 5:42 PM  

@ fourth grade boy

I believe, though I'm not 100% sure, that "Clueless" could be added to your list of relatively recent movies that have used the word "NATCH".

Of course, "Clueless" came out in 1995, so I guess it's not so "recent" anymore.

Christ, I'm getting old.

Anyway, I wanted to mention to Rex that the reason you have probably not seen to much traffic in Baltimore during the day (or during rush hour) is that a lot of people who live in Baltimore (or the surrounding suburbs) work in or around D.C. (which is only 30 minutes south of Baltimore on I-95). If you wait until rush hour, you will see a huge buildup of traffic leaving the Capital Beltway and heading north from D.C. back to Baltimore. It happens EVERY day.

If you are in town, though, and would like a fun place to have dinner, I can make several suggestions in my neck of the woods (Silver Spring, MD, which is very close to the District and to Bethesda- some yummy restaurants around here!). Let me know if you're interested!

Ronathan :-)

Crosscan 5:44 PM  

What if the Olympic events were combined with the ACPT, and you had to complete a puzzle in every event.

The sprinters could do a Monday puzzler, the marathoners a Saturday.

The divers could have one on the bottom of the pool.

"Michael Phelps is first to the wall, but he has 6 down wrong. Here come Tyler Hinman to claim the gold."

It would have no noticeable impact on soccer, baseball or sailing.

Crosscan, staying up much too late watching the televised live-in-Canada events.

Wade 6:06 PM  

I didn't do the puzzle today (or for the past couple of weeks) because I've been too busy, but the write-up is fab, ACM. The Brown twins are wonderful ladies, I'm sure, but man, that picture freaking me out most righteously. Were they in "The Shining"? It's been a long time since I've seen that movie, but I think there were some freaky twins in it.

Baltimore appeals to me. I've been there only once, briefly, but it has such an impressive literary pedigree (Poe, Anne Tyler, Barry Levinson, "The Wire," "Homicide") and doesn't really fit within any particular region--not Southern, not Eastern, not Atlantic, but a little of all--so it strikes me as the kind of place worth looking into. Also, when I lived in St. Louis, I couldn't really get over the fact that the city was not in a county. There is a St. Louis county, but St. Louis the city is next to it, not in it. Later I learned that Baltimore's the same way. So's Carson City, Nevada. Those where the only three cities I could track down back when I was obsessed with that whole city-not-in-a-county situation (I'm not counting D.C. or any of the cities in states that don't have counties.)

steve l 6:31 PM  

@wade--Alexandria, Virginia Beach and at least a half-dozen others in Virginia are "independent cities." Virginia Beach was once part of a county, but it subsumed the rest of the county into its city government. As a result, the outer parts of Virginia Beach are quite rural, and if memory serves, even have a few bona fide farms.
I believe that parts of Atlanta are in different counties. And of course, New York City consists of five separate counties, usually called boroughs. These are counties in name only, since there is no separate county services available, even though each one has an executive called the borough president. Manhattan, otherwise known as New York County, is twelve blocks wide at its widest point, and as such, is probably the narrowest county in the US.

Wade 6:47 PM  

steve l, I remember Virginia having that situation (Alaska did too, and Louisiana has parishes instead of counties). I can't remember how I refined my criteria to exclude Virginia, but somehow I did at the time. My system was designed to include only St. Louis and Baltimore, but somehow I couldn't keep Carson City out of the equation. The way I went about it (this was back in the pre-internets days) was going through the World Almanac and looking at lists of cities and counties. It was very time-consuming and probably insane, like a lot of stuff I did in my early twenties (like trying to memorize all of The Great Gatsby, thinking I'd impress somebody someday by being able to recite it), but it was very important to me at the time.

A city being in multiple counties wasn't part of my system, either. Amarillo is in two counties, and in fact the courthouse straddles them.

fergus 6:50 PM  

Hey Joon, Andrea, et al.,

I'm supposing that the noble crossword editor has established that pretty much any loose definition is a go when it comes to Cluing. And that any understandable affiliation is "fair" even if it may contradict a more precise and expert view. Still thinking sort of mathematically, suppose the Clue were Line segment, with the answer being POINT. That would probably pass muster, and yet I would imagine that some mathematicians would at least have a quibble with the pairing.

Then there are the Art History Clues (ARP and the Blau Reitter, as a recent example) that seem to invert this apparent rule, by finding a technical exception to popular, general knowledge.

I know how impossible it must be to offer a sense of consistency across all fields of knowledge and all audiences, at least while having any sense of fun with the whole process. Still, when a nice, crisp and exact word or category gets smudged by too many acceptable definitions, some fastidious part of my psyche feels sullied for having participated in the dilution. So, my leading question is whether you and other constructors encounter such issues upon submission of a puzzle?

jannieb 7:32 PM  

Late to the party today - What a trifecta - Harriet, Andrea and PG - a great puzzle and a great write-up team.

Thanks to Netflix I finally got around to seeing Word Play - really interesting. Was most fascinated watching how Merl Reagle constructed his puzzle. Always wondered how that process works, although I'm sure it is as individual as the constructors themselves. Also enjoyed putting faces and names together.

@Wade - welcome back. Thanks for mentioning Michelle's books. I've been enjoying them.

fikink 7:35 PM  

Apropos your question, Fergus, I too would like to know how Arp was clued as a Blaue Reiter. (I, in fact, questioned Ulrich in an email this morning re: same.)
And I have received many emails since Sunday re: the puzzle. What criteria is used. If "loose association" can apply to artists or "showing" with them makes you one of them, we could lump a whole heap of artists and poets and writers together.How did this clue pass muster?

Bill from NJ 7:59 PM  

@larry in l.a. -

In 1959, I was a member of the Knot Hole Gang at Griffith Stadium in Washington DC which were young kids who got discounted tickets to baseball games on Saturdays as well as a free hot dog and soda. That summer Jim Kaat broke in with the Senators.

The following year the Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins. As a 12 year old boy that period marked the end of innocence for me.

I lived in suburban Maryland then and the Senators had a contract with the apartment complex across the street to house the rookies they brought up from the minor leagues. I got my first autograph from Jim Kaat who would spend time with the neighborhood kids talking baseball.

That summer of 1959 could truly be described as bittersweet.


Congrats to you for the very fine write-up of today's puzzle. As Queen of the Early-Week Puzzles, you did a bang up job.

With a little help from your friends.

Z.J. Mugildny 8:14 PM  

It's nearly impossible for me to read math quibbles without getting involved, so here it is:

I agree with joon that the clue for ARC is exactly correct.

Speaking to fergus's question, the only subjects I really know much about are math and sports, and speaking about the former I have yet to come across a math clue in a NY Times puzzle that I have had any issue with. (Although, some I've had to think through carefully such as the recent clue for EXPONENTIALRATE, as some readers of this blog might recall.)

Whenever a solver has griped about a math clue I've found that they have either misunderstood it or they are wrong. (Then sometimes they get corrected by other readers who are also wrong, and it turns into a comedy of math errors, until somebody sets the record straight. This happened fairly recently with when the answer was a trig function, TANGENT, maybe.)

chefbea1 8:35 PM  

@janieb i'm glad you reminded me to go to blockbuster and get word play - have never seen it.

WhenI lived in St. louis, it was st. louis county, never in the city of st. louis although the arch is in the city.

Ulrich 8:51 PM  

@z.j. mulgidny: I also agree with you. Furthermore, the analogy between arc/circle and line segment/point appears far-fetched to me b/c the first pair refers to objects of the same dimension (1), while the second pair refers to objects of different dimensions (1/0). Yet, technically speaking, even the second clue would be correct b/c all objects in Euclidean space (the only geometric space I'm familiar with) are points or sets of points (the traditional notion of a "locus" has been superceded by modern set theory). But that's an aside. What interests me more is your claim that math clues tend to be correct, and that really differs from clues concerning fields that I am more familiar with, like arts and architecture. Even technically speaking, the fact that Arp at one point exhibited in a Blaue Reiter exhibit does not make him a "Blaue Reiter artist" (that was the clue). What counts here is not a biographical incident, but what the community of art experts are agreed upon, and that is that he is not a Blaue Reiter artist.

If your conjecture is correct, I must assume that math clues get closer scrutiny than clues in other fields, and that would be understandable, given the aura surrounding math and mathematicians.

Orange 9:21 PM  

When you put the Wordplay DVD into the player, be sure to watch the menu screen for a while. The video loop includes my Fabulous Curtsy.

Wade, I'll bet you could delight Joon by reciting Gatsby.

fergus 9:27 PM  

Though it is always better to be completely technically sound, my line of inquiry was whether there is any discernible editorial policy for when a colloquial understanding comes in conflict with the refined analysis of a expert in the field. As we're kind of concluding, there's a broad spectrum of acceptability, from not technically incorrect to generally representative of the most common defintition, all the way to the most scrupulously exacting.

I had no problem with ARC, but I did have a problem with ARP.

Doc John 9:37 PM  

I learned who EERO was when I was taking my SAT. There was a picture of a curvy chair and there were 4 names and you had to tell who designed the chair. I picked EERO because the name seemed to go with the chair. Never did find out if I was right though. (I do know it wasn't an EAMES chair, at least.) This does seem to be the chair that I recall.

Poor EERO died before the arch was completed. :(

Does anyone else think that CRI isn't exactly Tuesday fare? Is it because of the easily ascertained crosses that it was allowed in?

miriam b 9:47 PM  

Arne Jakobsen, maybe?

chefbea1 9:55 PM  

@doc john my daughter has those chairs!! i will find out who the designer was/is

Wade 10:01 PM  

Orange, I didn't say I succeeded in my memorization effort. (I did memorize lots of other stuff in those years, though. I was pretty nutty. I got obsessed with memorizing stuff.)

foodie 10:03 PM  

Rex, you sound so happy about the return of your cat, I could feel it all the way here. It's awesome. It also reminded me of one of my favorite Damascus proverbs: "If God wants to make a rich man happy, He gives him more wealth and power; if He wants to make a poor man happy, he makes him lose his donkey and find it again". Since some of us in our family tend to be on the flaky side, including yours truly, we lose stuff, and miraculously get it back, and we're sooo happy.

I composed a comment earlier today, with kudos to the gifted triumvirate-- constructor, blogger and technical expert, but it evaporated prior to posting. So, thank you all for making this day better! Re the discussion of Ms. Clifton's age, Jessica Tandy received the Oscar at 81 (I believe she's the oldest Oscar winner). She said in her speech: "This is very encouraging!"... I've always loved that. I want to have that spirit when I'm 81.

acme 10:19 PM  

@Larry in LA
Graig not Craig! I knew that at some point and I will add Kaat, esp since he was so nice to bill from nj!!!
I even had a cute Rod Carew story that I'll get to another time!

In retrospect, I should have commented that the first corner was quite hard with WELCH being crossed by three other names (I didn't know the Lion King ref, for example).

I think I was just so relieved that it was defined by GE exec so we could avoid the whole "WELCH on a bet" vs "WELSH on a bet" politically incorrect discussion to go along with the whole GYP thing!

So, thanks to all for the nice comments...obviously I have a whole new, deeper respect for Rex and the gang (if that's possible!)... so much involved!
If I had a blog, I'd never leave the house and forget to even have a life to then blog about, much less have time for virtually anything else, like, say, MAKING crosswords!

Altho on my blog I could just write: see Rex Parker...
and then be done!
a domani

Doc John 10:27 PM  

I guess I was unclear in my comment. The link was to a chair designed by EERO. I should have added something to that effect. My bad.

We lost our cat for a while, too. She was in the garage when the door opened and got spooked and took off. We couldn't find her and thought she was probably going to be some coyote's dinner. The next day we were standing inside the front door arguing about whether an umbrella stand that was given to us would impede the opening of the door. So we opened the door to test it out and in waltzes Tobi. We made much fuss and she was all, "Where's my dinner?" After that she slept for about three days straight. She hasn't come near an open door since!

steve l 10:45 PM  

@doc john--How did a question about a chair's designer get on an SAT?

fikink 12:17 AM  

I mean "What criteria ARE used?"
It has been a long day!

tintin 12:33 AM  

I happened to pass through JFK airport the other day on my way back from Florida. Jet Blue airlines is rehabbing the old TWA terminal and will be connecting it to their brand new terminal. The new one opens this fall and the refurbished TWA in (spring or summer?) 2009. I can't wait to see how the two relate!


mac 12:58 AM  

Home again..... I arrived ravenous and started cooking right away.

I did the puzzle early this morning in Portland, in our hotel room before leaving for the airport, and I found it a great Tuesday, with no mentionable tough spots. Finding out later that the constructor was a lady of a certain age, I like it even more. The theme answers certainly don't show her age.

@Wade: so inteesting you get your information about Baltimore from literature. Just yesterday I made the same point to a Portland, Ore friend who lived there for two years in the 80's.

@jeff in chicago: Ew, just imagining Jack Welch, who is a local here, in a fur bikini makes me cringe....

@rp: thank you for deleting the ugliness we find in so many blog sites, never to return there! I also include bad, bad grammar and language, in addition to foul mouths. Anonymice! So happy you found your cat back, it is quite amazing how they improve your quality of life.

Anonymous 2:48 AM  

Kathy D.

A few things on names:
For those of you who are mystery fans, Laura Lippman, of Baltimore, is very well-known.

Love Amy Aquino; wish she were in more tv programs now.

Eric Saarinen, of that family, was at the college I attended in the 1960s. He was somewhat of a celeb.

Liked the puzzle. Did it pretty quickly, no googling involved.

Joon 10:10 AM  

holy cow, there's been a lot of comments here since last night, including several specifically addressed to me.

wade: "when i was a young man my father gave me some advice that i've been turning over and over in my mind ever since." except i couldn't go any further than that, and even that first line is a clunky paraphrase. i wish i had 1% of scott f's prose ability. i used to memorize stuff, too, but nothing ambitious like the exact text of anything in prose. some poems, i guess, but mostly just a whole lot of unconnected facts, like the year of peter abelard's birth or the name of somerset maugham's first published novel... and years later, i used that fact to drop LIZA of lambeth into a crossword puzzle. (i'm still waiting for an occasion to use the abelard birth year. it could be a long wait.)

fergus: it's a mixed bag. the math clues actually do tend to be spot-on, maybe because so many of the constructors that submit them are mathematicians. (i think the recent "debate" damon is referring to had to do with ARCSINE and the distinction between range and domain.) the science clues are often not spot-on. i remember NRADIATION in a recent themeless, and i still have no idea what that was supposed to refer to. clues for particle names are often impressively vague, like [Unstable subatomic particle]. that one is especially unfortunate because many of the particles clued with such clues are not actually constituents of any atom, and hence can hardly be called "subatomic." the same kind of annoying vagueness applies to clues like [Chemical suffix]. couldn't they throw us a bone by telling us what the suffix denotes? there are only, oh, dozens of chemical suffixes.

as for whether i've notice editors change technically exact clues to looser clues, well, i don't really have enough experience to know. the only technical clue in the one puzzle i've had edited and published was my clue for ARCS (it's ubiquitous), [Chords fit inside them]. that got changed to something easier, but not looser. i've got some accepted puzzles coming up, some of which include scientific terms. we'll see what happens to my clues, and maybe i can give you a better answer then.

by the way, incorrect clues bug me, but clues which are correct but not in the technical sense don't bug me at all. for example, in physics there's a technical distinction between velocity (a vector) and speed (a scalar, the magnitude of velocity), but in colloquial english (or baseball lingo), there isn't. so i don't mind if they're used interchangeably, unless the clue goes out of its way to say something like [..., in physics].

wilsoncpu 11:43 AM  

Baltimore?!? And here I thought Rex was a N'yawker, not a Baltimoron like me... Okay, I now live 30 minutes west of downtown, but close enough. Just wanted to commiserate on the angst produced by Perambulating Pets, and agree that REW came to mind long before REC. Sigh.

Calady 1:34 PM  

What's wrong with dial phones-mine still work, so why repace them? Seems un-ecological. I must admit I did have to get one of those push-button things because it's the only way i can break through that @#$# phone tree (or whatever it's called) at my doctor's office! And yes, we do have plumbing complete with hot water!

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