FRIDAY, Sep. 26, 2008 - Barry Silk (Dish named for the queen consort of Italy's Umberto I / Film about an aristocrat captured by the Sioux)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

This puzzle was probably easier than I imagine - I did it at night on the heels of about five other puzzles, and I was tired. Nothing about it excited me, even PIZZA MARGHERITA, which is delicious (58A: Dish named for the queen consort of Italy's Umberto I). There were only two answers that I'd never heard of before - HAAG (23A: Den _____, Nederland) and AQI (16D: Smog stat.). The bottom half of the puzzle is Way more interesting than the top half. I'm not sure why, but NOBEL PEACE PRIZE (15A: King's honor) on top of CIA HEADQUARTERS (17A: Where moles may try to dig?) makes me want to fall asleep. STATIONARY ORBIT (34A: An artificial satellite may have one) - ditto. But "A MAN CALLED HORSE" (55A: Film about an aristocrat captured by the Sioux) on top of PIZZA MARGHERITA - magic.

There was a lot of ordinary, common, tired fill here - more than I'd expect on a Friday. ERIE (52D: War of 1812 siege site) and ERE I (22D: "A special laurel _____ go": Whitman) at least have the decency to be playfully anagrammatic, but NEST, ESTER, ESTE (53D: City SW of Padua) ... just pass the "EST" back and forth. EZRA, ABAB, EMIT, ILE ... meh and more meh. I do like the pile-up of HARRY, VARY, and STATIONARY in the middle of the puzzle, as well as the overlapping RARE SNARE WEARS SERT (32A: Muralist José María _____) configuration, but overall there was a vanilla feel to the whole thing. I like vanilla. But I prefer chocolate.

Lots and lots of people in the puzzle. After MARGHERITA, there's Cheryl TIEGS (46D: Model who wrote "The Way to Natural Beauty") making a highly improbable second appearance in the grid in as many days. There's John ASTIN (25D: John of "Freaky Friday"). GANDHI you know (44D: Leader who said "There is no god higher than truth"). Reagan appointee Katherine ORTEGA you forgot about, if you ever knew her (11D: Katherine _____, 1983-89 Treasurer of the United States). Oh, SERT we already met. MENA Suvari (21A: Actress Suvari) needs to get in touch with Mira Sorvino and then explain to me how in the world I'm supposed to keep the two of them straight.

I balked at BAKERS for 24A: Ones at home on the range? BAKERS work in a range, not on it. If you go for the pun, you had better nail it. Forced puns are the worst. Worst! I had PAKERS here for a few seconds because PASTE would work as well as BASTE for 24D: Beat badly. Back to the issue of "?" clues - what is the logic behind the "?" in 50A: Halo tarnisher? (sin)? It's pretty straightforward. Is it that you don't want people to think you actually believe halos exist, or are made of metal that might actually tarnish? Is there a play on words I'm missing? Does the clue reference the "first-person shooter" game "Halo" in ways I just don't understand?

What's left?:

  • Love the ATAVISM (1A: Reversion to an earlier type) / IT'S OPEN (8A: Shout after a knock) pairing at the top of the puzzle
  • 19A: Xbox 360 competitor (Wii) - you can play "Halo" on Xbox.
  • 41A: "Friends" who aren't really being helpful (enablers) - well, parents can certainly be ENABLERS, as can spouses, children, etc. "Friends" in quotation marks is a TV show.
  • 5D: Ithaque, e.g. (ile) - Frenchifying "The Odyssey." Nice.
  • 13D: Book concerned with the end of the Babylonian captivity (Ezra) - good thing this was in four letters; my bible knowledge can get a bit shaky in places.
  • 14D: Kite flying destination? (nest) - that's a Good "?" clue
  • 29D: Vichyssoise garnish (chive) - I used celery and parsley leaves to garnish the soup I made this past weekend.
  • 43D: Flock-related (laical) - worst word in the grid. Why would you add "AL" to a word that already means "flock-related"?
  • 26D: Sluggish tree-dweller (koala) - not clued as a "bear," so that's good. I wonder what "tree dweller" will have to say about this clue...
Later today, I'll post my interview with crossword artist Emily Jo Cureton.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


imsdave1 8:59 AM  

Not sure why, but I thought you were a little harsh today Rex. I was beaten up by this one (a good 40 minutes), but had a lot of respect for it. Always pleased when your rating doesn't conflict with mine (a full challenging here though) I could not for the life of me come up with HAAG, even though I knew is was The Hague from the clue.

NOBID in CT would be 'any contract that John Rowland was associated with'. HAPS is somehow bothersome to me. Loved the two 'was shy' clues/answers side by side.

Thanks for the post on the McCain/Obama xword 'issue'. I can't figure out who's more rabid, the left or the right.

Excellent puzzle Mr. Silk.

jannieb 9:19 AM  

I thought this was a good Friday challenge - difficult but ultimately doable without help. Took me forever to get some traction - but when neither "Noble___" nor "National Holiday" worked at 15A I sussed out Nobel Prize and the northern hemisphere quickly fell into place.

Totally agree with the rant on Bakers - they work in an oven, not on a range. Agree that "Haps" is just off. Chives to me is one of those words that should always end with an "s" - like scissors! Also not crazy about "no bid".

treedweller 9:28 AM  

Ha! I didn't even notice the "tree-dweller" when I was solving, but as I was reading Rex's comments it really jumped out at me, and then there was Rex's reference to me right after. In the context of the clue, I would have thought it was two words, no hyphen.

I'm currently in Aggieland for the Texas Tree Conference. Last night was the poker fundraiser to replant trees destroyed by Ike (usually it's for the scholarship fund), where I maybe had a little more Tito's than I should. I only managed about half the puzzle until this morning as a result (probably also explains why I failed to notice my moniker in the KOALA clue). I got the NW last, slowed for a long time by inserting "asil" on the end of clear instead of ANCE.

It's amazing to me still how a complete stumper can quickly fall into place after a break. I liked this one, though I agree with imsdave1 that HAPS was a bit jarring (shouldn't that have gotten a "slangily" or "abbr."?). Thanks, Mr. Silk.

steve l 9:45 AM  

Rex--Don't you think that it's a little dangerous for a BAKER to be working IN the range? And "FRIENDS" with the quotes means "so-called..." or "supposed" FRIENDS. Agree on LAICAL, but knew Katherine ORTEGA instantly because her name was on a lot of currency. Decent Friday puzzle in that it was hard to get a foothold at first, but it moved after I got started.

Joon 9:49 AM  

LAICAL is especially humorous because not only does LAIC mean "flock-related," but the word everyone (who talks about this stuff) actually uses is one syllable shorter still: LAY. having said that, i'll confess that both LAIC and LAICAL are words i've used in a grid. they're darn useful, for whatever reason.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

This puzzle and I did not get along well at all. Kite Destination bugs me...or is there a bird called a kite? Kept trying to come up with golf answer. Nest seems wrong because a destination is a place you intend to reach,right? Maybe I'm just being dense.

Norm 10:04 AM  

Only one word for this puzzle: brutal

Orange 10:13 AM  

Hereinfranklin, there is indeed a bird called a kite.

One thing I like about Sterling (and probably other) puzzle books: Titles in the clues appear in italics instead of the quotes that Across Lite and the NYT applet force. NBC's "Friends" did enable one another's self-absorption, didn't they?

I think we have a general consensus across blogs and the NYT forum: The BAKERS clue stank, as they're not doing anything on the range. It's frightfully hard to bake anything on the stovetop.

Twangster 10:25 AM  

This was one was too hard for me. Had to google a bunch.

At one point I had AMANCALLEDUNCLE, which is pretty sad.

Frances 10:42 AM  

For 26D, I went instantly to SLOTH. This did bad things to the whole mid-west-coast area, and when -OA-- suggested COATI, it didn't get any better. When KOALA finally fell, it opened the question of what BAKERS are doing "on" the range!

When I think of TIL (before, briefly), I think of something in the future; the only way I can parse this as "before" would be in the usage "ten minutes 'til noon".

Two Ponies 11:04 AM  

Ouch! I just could not get on Mr. Silk's wavelength today.
Very tough clues for the fill that kicked my a$$ just when I needed the most help getting started.
Another "?" clue that seemed straightforward was Deconstruct. Why the "?"
My only smile was the crossing of tea party and war dance.
Heroic = stout?
Is it sour grapes or did this puzzle stink?
Maybe I had too many AQI's of smog in my brain (whatever that stands for).

Ulrich 11:15 AM  

I also had paste and sloth for a while, which kept N California solidly frozen. The section only thawed after I erased everything and started from scratch, only to groan loudly, like everyone else, when BAKERS became inevitable. I liked the long answers, though, each of which I got from a few crosses, which is always a pleasure, if it works. Finished after a good night's sleep w/o the need to google, and that's worth something on a Friday.

karmaSartre 11:16 AM  

No expert here, but I use a Wolf Dual Fuel Range. The "dual" in this case means gas cooktop / electric oven. The single fuel ranges all have ovens as well.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

@two ponies: I'm pretty sure that AQI stands for air quality index.

Definitely a challenging puzzle for me today.

Two Ponies 11:37 AM  

@ anon 11:19 Thanks. I originally tried PPM (thinking parts per million).

jeff in chicago 11:54 AM  

If I keep attempting them, I'll eventually be able to do Friday puzzles.

If I keep attempting them, I'll eventually be able to do Friday puzzles.

If I keep attempting them, I'll eventually be able to do Friday puzzles.

If I keep attempting them, I'll eventually be able to do Friday puzzles.

If I keep attempting them, I'll eventually be able to do Friday puzzles.


Anonymous 11:57 AM  

I'm pretty sure the Treasurer of the United States isn't a member of the cabinet. The Treasurer of the United States is the person who signs the currency along with the Secretary of the Treasury, who is a member of the cabinet.

miriam b 12:07 PM  

Never heard of AQI, but these meteorological acronyms generally end in I (for index), so I guessed right and was thus able to see that I didn't want SPARKS, but SPAWNS, on the strength of WII.

MENA who?

All in all a stimulating puzzle with helpful gimmes,among them ATAVISM, SERT, HAAG, GENDER,ABAB,ESTER,GANDHI, PIZZAMARGHERITA.

About HAPS: I thought this sounded archaic. Here's what the Merriam-Webster folks have to say about it:

Pronunciation: \ˈhap\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old Norse happ good luck; akin to Old English gehæp suitable, Old Church Slavic kobĭ lot, fate
Date: 13th century
1 : happening 1
2 : chance , fortune

bofahs 12:14 PM  

Well, “Pass” is great for “No bid” if you play Bridge. Terms are interchangeable.
A kite is a bird. When not soaring, it heads for the nest. ? would be inappropriate.
Haps is not occurrences. It's just not.

Shamik 12:36 PM  

Ok...I just might be having a good week, but this one was only Easy-Medium for me.

As far as I'm concerned, you never put anything IN a range. The range is the cooktop. Ads call these appliances range and oven. A baker might use a range if they're preparing a creme or cooked icing, I guess.

Bad starts:

BISONS for BAKERS (that made sense)

Yup...all those bad starts and still thought it was easy-medium.

Just did not care for HAPS. Sounds too close to what someone with a speech impediment would talk about when making beer.

HudsonHawk 12:37 PM  

I also needed a lot of time to get some traction with this one. Once I did, it fell reasonably quickly until I got to Northern California, primarily because I had BEHEMOTH in for 4D. I was pretty sure the "range?" clue was related to the kitchen, so while it isn't a great clue, it, along with KOALA and AS ONE, got me turned in the right direction.

Not my favorite Silk puzzle, but pretty good nevertheless.

Tom 12:38 PM  

Cheryl Tiegs probably made her "improbable" back-to-back appearances as it was her (61st!!) b-day yesterday...

PuzzleGirl 12:44 PM  

The last two letters I filled in were the A in ELBA and the L in LENA. VAHALENT? Wha...? That's not a word? Argh!

(Big Thanks for the "War" video. Kick-ass song.)

joho 1:01 PM  

Like of lot of you it took me quite a while to get going. But I took a break and when I came back it all clicked. PIZZAMARGEHERITA got my juices flowing (yumm).

BAKERS is just plain wrong, I think everybody agrees.

HAPS sounds archaic and HEROIC? I agree with two ponies. One might make a heroic effort, but a stout effort???

I still liked this puzzle way more than Rex did. A solid Friday for me, no googles and a good time.

Thank you Mr. Silk.

jubjub 1:06 PM  

Thanks for the kite = bird explanation. Another confusion for me: how is a SNARE a game-stopper?

PuzzleGirl 1:09 PM  

@jubjub: Ooh! Ooh! I know that one! The clue is referencing the ANIMAL kind of game, which can be stopped by getting caught in a SNARE. I actually figured out where the clue was going fairly early, but kept trying to put RIFLE in there (even thouth it seemed a little non-breakfasty for the NYT).

chefbea1 1:17 PM  

tough puzzle today. Lots of googling.

Bakers work next to an oven - not in it or on it.

When I make vichyssoise I garnish it with chives - not just one chive!!!

Driving on us95 this morning there was a truck in front of me. It was a BIMBO truck. I had never heard of that bakery til Rex posted the picture the other day.
That is the same company responsible for thomas's, Boboli. Entenmans among others.

jubjub 1:22 PM  

thanks puzzlegirl!

foodie 1:31 PM  

I totally love ATAVISM even though it took me a while to get it. I also realized today that I conflate ATAVISM and AVATAR. But it's not totally crazy. AVATAR is an incarnation of another being. ATAVISM come from Atavus or ancestor and refer to ancestral traits which inexplicably reassert themselves... Well... it makes a psychotic kind of sense.

I needed to look up ASTIN to open up northern Cal. I wanted Pots, Pans, Skillets on the range-- anything but BAKERS. As I put it down, I had images of seared behinds (sorry, my hindbrain is showing today). Elsewhere, I wanted SRPING instead of SPREAD (as in Spring Roll)

The 5 long answers were all terrific, nothing contrived about any of them. I loved learning about the origins of PIZZA MARGHERITA. I also like the clue for SIXTEEN and for DEAN.

So, in spite of the need for one Google, stumbling around and strange associations, I felt this was a fun experience...

william e emba 1:42 PM  

I really liked this puzzle. For some reason, I find the Fridays and Saturdays have switched in difficulty. It did not help that, with great effort, I remembered "AVATISM" for 1A. It did not help that I could only think of Clear-ASIL for 1D. It drove me nuts that I could not remember anything more than the S of SERT for 32A, and that was only because of the SENTA cross not too long ago.

A few scattered answers got me nothing. My break, which took forever, was guessing ORBIT as the end of 34A. After that, I slowly filled things out in a spiral pattern. Fixing AVATISM to ATAVISM was almost the last thing I did!

I believe British bridge players prefer to say "NO BID", while Americans always "Pass".

"Deconstruct" is one of those wonderful words that came really really late to the language, filling in a significant semantic gap that nobody even realized was yawning. But trying to pin down its true meaning is rather slippery, which is, ultimately, the point. I'd go so far as to say that the OED gets it wrong.

The word comes from literary theory, where the Deconstruction fad was really big in the 80s. It ruined a lot of English majors, and then the fad spread to legal studies, history, philosophy of science and other areas that used to make good sense. Rex, if he likes, can explain it--ha ha--but I suspect it won't be pretty.

The basic point was not, as the OED would have it, merely undoing a construction. It was taking the textual pieces and analyzing, exposing, interrogating, threatening, and ultimately bullying their alleged meaning into submission. To just RAZE didn't count. The more you impersonated content-free pseudointellectual psychobabble, the better.

There's a joke where a wife/husband conversation goes "Do you love me?" "yes" "Do you really love me?" "yes yes" "Do you really really really love me?" "yes yes yes yes" "Define love!" "um, uh, er, ..." "waaaah, you don't love me, waaaah waaaah waaaah". Well, deconstruction is sort of like that, but not as funny. At least not intentionally.

Obviously, the OED is interested in defining how the word is actually used, and so, if people are using "deconstruct" to mean tear down, their job is to report that. But that's not the sense in the examples they quote, all of which come from literary theory.

So I'd say, yes, the 49D clue "Deconstruct?" most properly gets the question mark tag.

Ulrich 2:06 PM  

@william e emba: The havoc wrecked by the deconstructionists upon architecture was even more severe and mind-boggling: They turned what was clearly meant to be an interpretive approach into a constructive approach: "Deconstructionist" buildings looked as if they were undergoing a process of physical deconstruction. In a similar vein, we have had "rationalist" architecture, which could be, from a functional viewpoint, pretty irrational, but was based formally on very simple geometric solids. In both cases, a philosophical label was taken as an image--all fluff, no stuff--sound familiar?

chefbea1 2:41 PM  

I just remembered that way back when.. I spoke about Pizza margherita on my radio show. And the chili cook-off on Sunday is being held at the Margarita Grill.

steve l 2:59 PM  

@twoponies re STOUT/HEROIC:

On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet never did I breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold.
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific - and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise -
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

-- John Keats

However, it was Balboa, not stout Cortez, who found the Pacific by cutting across Central America.

Shamik 3:39 PM  

@chefbea: You could cut up one chive per bowl of vichyssoise. Well, you could. Was familiar with Bimbo bakery becuase they make a lot of Mexican pastries sold in the southwest which is where our permanent residence is.

BTW, it was years before I knew the term bimbo was meant as a term for bubble-headed women and not just idiots in general. So I called men bimbos for years. Or is that bimboes? Call Dan Quayle!

archaeoprof 4:04 PM  

Haven't taken a whipping like this in a long time. Almost half of my grid is empty, and much of the other half is wrong. I'm putting my name on the list of folks who thought this one was pretty hard. Sure hope my teaching was better than my solving today...

Wade 4:23 PM  

I had some wrong letters. Two or three. The EPA air quality thing crossing the Xbox thing crossing the "Generates" (where I had "SPARKS" instead of "SPAWNS") crossing some model or actress or whatever--anyway, I still don't have electricity and today is two weeks and I hate you all, assuming you have electricity. If you don't have electricity, I still hate you, because you're probably the person who stole the flashlight I may have forgotten to get out of the shopping cart when I was loading my stuff into the car at Academy.

Two Weeks. Two kids. Houston late summer. No electricity. You want to talk about ATAVISM?

Wife and me watched "Becket" last night on the kids' portable DVD player. We signed up for Netflix just before the hurricane, and in that Netflixian way nobody can really explain, somehow the first three CDs in the queue wound up being "Becket," "Don't Look Back," and "Jailhouse Rock." Anyway, Becket got me researching Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole, which got me to looking into those other drunk British actors of that generation, including Richard Harris, who was in "A Man Called Horse." And that was in the puzzle today. And that's why I went through all that story. That, and I don't really want to leave the air-conditioned wi-fied coffee shop and go home to my hot house, but that's what I'm about to do.

P.S. I hate all of you.

Two Ponies 4:24 PM  

@ steve l Wow, you certainly went to a lot of trouble to prove my point! My minor quibble was merely that...minor. Thanks just the same.

Shamik 4:39 PM  

@Wade: You want to drive over with the family and stay in the motor home with us and the cat in New Orleans in this deluxe RV park on the east side of the city? I didn't think so. (Read: park has to have a locked gate and it's next to the train tracks.) But we DO have electricity...just not reliable Wi-Fi.

foodie 4:47 PM  

@Wade, hatred agrees with you. Not only funny, but it's perfectly argued. I feel I deserve it.

May be y'all should come on up to Ann Arbor. We got room. We got electricity. Nice weather. Critters out in the woods. A garage ready to be converted. A Harley...

joho 5:08 PM  

@wade: you are too funny even in your misery.

I met Richard Harris once at the ad agency I worked at. He was dating, or maybe married, to a very pretty actress/model I can't remember. What I do remember is how incredibly loud he was -- an attention sponge with an Irish accent.

Ramsey 5:17 PM  

Perhaps the baker used a Dutch oven on the range top.

mac 5:29 PM  

I'm glad Rex called it Med/Chal - it was that to me. No googles, but I had AQC/WIC.

I was surprised at heroic for stout, thought it had more to do with corpulent. Anyone know what Cortez looked like.

I, too liked the two shy's together, but absolutely expected one of the two to have a different meaning. Thought Sixteen was nicely clued. Shamik is right, the baker must have been making his chocolate icing. At Ithaque, after getting "-le", I was thinking of one of those potentdrinks the Central American Indians used to consume....

Good luck with the cook-off, Chef Bea!

Bill from NJ 5:34 PM  

I had a major gimme in AMANCALLEDHORSE which opened up the entire South and I worked northward and got 34A by way of crosses.

I thought the answer RAZE didn't justify the ? because the definition was straightforward but I guess the ? was to misdirect us toward the literary theory.

I originally interpreted the quotes around Friends to mean the TV show but actually it pointed me in a different direction: Supposedly.

I went through the PASTE/WASTE/BASTE "fiasco" that several others did to get BAKERS. I am not as strict as others on cluing. I associated RANGE to imply the whole gamut of cooking.

Once I figured out ANCE as an answer, I was able to work back towards the Midlands to a solution

I found this puzzle to be challengieng.

Dear friends, this is going to be my final post for a while.
My motor skills have deteriorated to such an extent that it has taken me better than half an hour to produce this post

I can still solve the puzzles but it is a one finger enterprise and it takes forever. My doctor says that perhaps it is all part of a relapse but I am not optimistic.

I will still "lurk" and I can still take an interest but I am not going to be able to participate but at least I'll be able to follow the give and take.

Andrea and mac, a special farewell.

dk 5:44 PM  

@wade, you just hustle your little bustle up the Mississippi to Mpls. You and yours are welcome anytime.

I had to stop and start today, although I forgot to turn off the clock so my time 99.59. Woo woo a personal worst.

I want to thank all of you for the lovely gifts that appeared overnight after my post(s) yesterday. It seems I have a bale of canni... whoops never mind, there seems to be a small fire.

This puzzle was hard as heck Mr. B. Silk. PEERAT for an attempt to make out, WARDANCE and SIXTEEN for what any normal person would have said hexagon.

And the French version of the Odyssey that Rex found nice is just odd-I-see (in joke for those who have read it).

Well the only good news today is: One post for me!
The smoke is billowing now, time to put on Dancing in the Street.

One last thing has Obama ever been in a NYT puzzle?

dk 5:48 PM  

@acme, a reply from yesterday... no way yur gettin near my bottom!

dk 5:50 PM  

Tiegs, the new Joad? Done for sure now.

miriam b 6:09 PM  

@mac: I think STOUT in this context means STOUT-hearted.

evil doug 6:26 PM  

God bless you, Bill.


KarmaSartre 6:32 PM  

@bill from nj -- I will miss reading your comments and I hope to see them again soon. Great luck to you.

joho 6:48 PM  

@bill from nj -- I don't really know what's going on with you but I am I shocked by your news. I always look forward to your comments and I will miss them ... and you. I wish you the very best.

fergus 7:00 PM  

The only messy spot in the bottom was SITTING for Ready for the bad news. The top wasn't a mess at all; it just lay blank for quite a while. VEHEMENT broke up the gathering logjam finally.

I was wondering whether any of the scientists would have an issue with STATIONARY ORBIT? Seems too casual to me without the GEO, though I have no problem with the meaning implied.

Bill, maybe you could dictate your observations?

Rex Parker 7:10 PM  


You've been a wonderful, welcome presence here for some time, and we'll miss you quite a bit.

All best wishes,

PhillySolver 7:31 PM  

Bill from NJ,

You are indeed one of the informative and insightful posters here and I will think of you as you lurk.

Wade, my daughter just wrote to me ten minutes ago with the news the electricity is on in the South Post Oak area. Best of luck.

Ulrich 7:32 PM  

@bill: I'm also very much taken aback. Best wishes, and I, too, hope to see you again here, better sooner than later.

chefbea1 8:10 PM  

@bill fromnj we will miss you. Can I make you some chicken soup?

@wade come up her to ct. and have some chili. We have electricity!!! Hope you do too by now

Michael 8:37 PM  

I usually can get Fridays on my own and I did do this without googling. But I had to look up the Freaky Friday actor (Astin) in a film book. After that, I managed to finish it but not exactly in record time. A challenging, enjoyable puzzle anyhow.

Bill from NJ -- I'll miss your comments and wish you well.

ArtLvr 8:59 PM  

@ bill from nj -- I'm sorry to hear of your increased muscular weakness, and hope you know we'll be thinking of you as you lurk!

I'm lurking myself today, with raging fever... After starting off with ATAVISM and adding "vigorous" at 4D eather than VEHEMENT, I realized I couldn't really see anything or think -- so I slept all day.

Maybe tomorrow will be better!


fergus 9:25 PM  

Thanks to whoever clarified NO BID as chiefly British and PASS as strictly American. I've been teaching bridge lately and kids really seem to like the economical code of the bidding. They may not know it, but they also like the social communication involved when you get together and shuffle the cards.

fergus 10:31 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 10:53 PM  

@bill from nj - solve with a partner who can write for you and to whom you can impart puzzle wisdom, and then have that partner type out your posts. We will worry too much if we hear nothing from you at all.

My puzzle partner and I put in WII/AQI (me) and EMIT and TIEGS (him). Together we got HAAG and MENA and... on to tomorrow!

But seriously, solving with a partner is a lot of fun and can lead to Orangesque solving times. (Not really, who are we kidding, but two are faster than one.)
I hope to see your comments soon.


PuzzleGirl 11:05 PM  

I want to add my voice to the chorus of support for Bill from NJ. Bill, I hope you can figure out a way to drop in once in a while and I wish you nothing but the best on the difficult road you're on.

I also wanted to tell everyone that I'm quite sure Wade doesn't really hate us all. I mean, he certainly doesn't hate me. Or Rex. Or Fikink. And, electricity or not, how could anyone hate Andrea?

fergus 11:12 PM  

As someone lucky enough to have all sweet and nice physical functions operating so well, my heart goes out with extra sympathy to Bill from New Jersey. It's MS, I think he said before, that constrains his ability to write.

miriam b 11:59 PM  

I've always enjoyed your observations, Bill. Please know that I'm thinking of you - and please find a means of dropping in occasionally just to touch base.

foodie 12:09 AM  

@ Bill from NJ,

I am very sorry about the deterioration in your health. And I understand that beyond a problem with typing you might have problems with speech, so dictation may be difficult. But I have two things I wanted to say:

1- I hope you can somehow find it in yourself to be more optimistic. If your physician says it might be a transient relapse, and given the nature of MS, why not give that idea a try? I realize this is asking a lot. But I strongly believe that hope actually affects the brain chemically (for example, we can see the impact of the placebo effect with brain imaging). By contrast, stress (which is surely higher if you are more pessimistic) can accelerate the illness, especially an immune-based brain illness. So, along with your physician, I am voting that this is transient. Vote with me.

2-I have a very recent scientific review article on new medications that are currently available or coming down the pike for MS. It's called " Identification and development of new
therapeutics for multiple sclerosis". It might be helpful to you to see what's out there, and also for asking questions of your physician. I am happy to send it to you, and to answer questions. We can puzzle it out together. You or someone in your family can contact me via my e-mail and we can take it from there.

Like all our friends here, I will certainly miss your comments...for now.

green mantis 12:10 AM  

We'll miss you Bill.

Cyndee 12:13 AM  

Ones at home on the range? I SO wanted that to be 'hikers'. Forget the stove thing.

Crosscan 1:05 AM  

All the best, Bill. I enjoyed your comments and hope we'll see more one day.

Doc John 8:54 AM  

My best wishes to you, Bill, and hope your condition takes a turn for the better very soon.

HAPS- When in was in college in Southern CA in the early 80s, we would say, "What's the haps?" all the time. In fact, when I saw that they were looking for a four letter word for occurrences I wondered if they were looking for HAPS but ruled it out as being too obscure.

MENA Suvari- the vixen in the movie "American Beauty".

mac 9:22 AM  

@Bill: every time I come to this blog I will expect you are there, "lurking", and enjoying a daily dose of Rex and all your puzzle friends. I've always appreciated your insights and fun turns of phrase.
Get well and until soon.

Janie 12:55 PM  

bill -- am late to the blog, but please know my thoughts are with you as well. you're a great model of good spirit and tenacity to us all!

all best to you --


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