TUESDAY, Sep. 16, 2008 - Michael Langwald (The first letter of "circle" (but not the fourth) / Daisy Mae's man / First lady played by Madonna)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Cooked + Food - theme answers are common phrases referring to some kind of cooked food, clued (wackily) in a non-food context

STEAMED CRAB and FRIED TURKEY don't strike me as common phrases, certainly not in the way that GRILLED SHRIMP and ROASTED PEANUT are. Further, three animal fleshes and ... a PEANUT? The clues on these answers are also kind of tortured. Overall, a very blah puzzle for me, though like most puzzles, it has its moments. The clue on VANNA was nice => 15A: Revealing woman on TV? Then there was SOFT C (12D: The first letter of "circle" (but not the fourth)),which brought back memories of when we used to see this kind of self-referential clue more often (2007?). I enjoy olde timey comix, so Li'l ABNER (39A: Daisy Mae's man)

and SAD SACK (25A: Perennial loser)

were both welcome answers. Speaking of comics ... check out this unbelievably fantastic "Archie" shoe I found over at the great comics and illustration blog "The Ephemerist":

My daughter's birthday is coming up in another week, but ... somehow I don't think I can afford these. Nor do I think she is old enough for them. Still, She Would Flip.

Back to the puzzle ... well, at least it has my favorite flavor of dog - 10D: "Chocolate" dog (lab):

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Grouch who's plenty mad? (steamed crab)
  • 27A: Pipsqueak under cross-examination? (grilled shrimp)
  • 48A: Wee lad feted by the Friars? (roasted peanut)
  • 64A: Burned-out goofball? (fried turkey)
And the rest ...
  • 6A: Show hunger, in a way (drool) - if you are a dog, yes.
  • 32A: Bird in "Arabian Nights" (Roc) - alleged to have been able to carry off elephants. Reminds me of my (now) favorite extinct bird ... one that's still waiting to appear in a puzzle: HAAST'S EAGLE. Look out, Moa!
  • 56A: Shows with pavilions (expos) - I went to one in Vancouver in '86. It was kind of a big deal. Fergie and Prince Andrew got married while I was there (they were married in England, not Vancouver, just to be clear). I had a commemorative Swatch watch from said EXPO, and really really wish I hadn't lost it.
  • 67A: "Goodnight" girl of song (Irene) - IRENE is odd for being one of the most common 5-letter answers there is, while also being a name that almost nobody gets named anymore. Hence the crossword fame of IRENE Cara. This song ("Goodnight IRENE") is another good source of IRENE.
  • 4D: Glossy finish (enamel) - had to think about this one a bit. I think of ENAMEL as an entity in itself, not a "finish." Oh well. Just after solving this puzzle last night, I was reading Dante's "Inferno" and came across these lines, which refer to all the great figures of classical literature and history (the "virtuous pagans") that Dante comes across in the first ring of hell (Limbo):
Before me on that green enameled field
such glorious spirits appeared that I still prize
within my soul the sights that were revealed. (IV.118) (tr. Palma)
  • 11D: First lady played by Madonna (Evita Perón) - once again EVITA is clued as a "first lady." Madonna won a Golden Globe for "Best Actress, Musical or Comedy" for her performance in "Evita."
  • 29D: Party warmer-upper (ice-breaker) - very nice long answer. [Party starter] would have worked - "warmer-upper" is a bit cutesy.
  • 35D: As originally placed, after "in" (situ) - this phrase (or part of a phrase) is far far more common in the crossword than it is in, let's say, real life.
  • 49D: Western mountain chain, with "the" (Sierra) - as I told Will, we (Central Californians) called them "the SIERRAs" (plural) or "the SIERRA Nevadas," but I see that "The SIERRA" (singular) is acceptable as well. To someone, somewhere.
  • 52D: March marchers (Irish) - I had trouble with this, mainly because (I realize now) I no longer associate St. Patrick's Day with the IRISH. This answer could have been DRUNKS or some five-letter equivalent, as far as I was concerned. Though I'm sure the day is a source of ethnic pride to some, for most folks it's an excuse to drink green beer.
  • 57D: Federico of the Clinton cabinet (Peña) - like IRENE, another common name for which there are a dearth of viable clues. My favorite PEÑA is Tony.
  • 58D: Baltic feeder (Oder) - these four-letter Euro-rivers should be required to have colorful clues. I count 61 "Baltic feeders" at the Wikipedia list, and the site says the list is "incomplete."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 9:11 AM  



or the clue could be interpreted as *Madonna's first lady role*, which I believe it was.


ArtLvr 9:16 AM  

Lots to love, for foodies, even visions of seafood on cracked ice -- and Evita was something of a dish in a way -- in the long down answers.

Yes, the theme clues were a bit punny, which we know Rex doesn't find funny -- but I liked the grilling of the shrimp, and I suppose a peanut fits with a shrimp size-wise.

Other images I liked; SADSACK and DRIP crossing (clear) ASMUD.


Peter 9:18 AM  

Although it would have messed up the theme a bit, I would have liked to have seen the new (and insanely delicious) Southern tradition of DEEPFRIEDTURKEY as an answer.

joho 9:19 AM  

Like Rex, it seems the theme answers didn't hold together that that well. After I got GRILLED CRAB and STEAMED SHRIMP I was expecting the next two answers to be some sort of fish or water creature. I know people deepfry turkey but FRIED TURKEY doesn't seem like a real name for it. Also if you got GRILLED SHRIMP and ROASTED PEANUT before the other answers, it would be logical to look for the remaining answers to be small things.

The theme today left me kind of cold.

Joon 9:19 AM  

tony sr, i hope? cause tony jr can't hit a lick. i believe he's batting something like .140 this year.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

Fried turkey is bogus. I've never seen that on any menu.

ArtLvr 9:34 AM  

p.s. If not looking at the second part of each theme answer too literally, they all hang together as putdowns.

For a photo of Cajun fried turkey, see donaldsweblog.blogspot.com


Rex Parker 9:35 AM  


Did I say "Jr.?" No. I did not. There is one Tony Pena, and one Tony Pena Jr. No one in the world who knows anything about baseball could Possibly have thought I was referring to the "Jr."


ryanfacestheworld 9:37 AM  

I also went to Expo 86. The two things I remember are: 1) my brother and I running around to the pavilions to get stamps on our Expo Passport (an item that is as lost as your Swatch watch) and 2) that life-size sculpture of a freeway that had all the cars and people made out of cement. I remember thinking that was about the coolest thing I'd ever seen.

steve l 9:50 AM  

Just to set the record straight--steamed crab (legs) are frequently found at Chinese buffets, and often, are the single element that distinguishes a great Chinese buffet from an average one. And (deep) fried turkey is considered a delicacy by many, especially down South. There is an appliance made specifically for that purpose--imagine a fry vat on steroids. Easily gettable answers if you have the breadth of knowledge. You may live in a place where there are no Chinese buffets, or far away from the South, where no one fries turkey in a turkey fryer, but please don't say an entry is bogus because YOU'VE never heard of it.
Over all, a pretty good puzzle.

dk 9:52 AM  

Turducken any one,

@anon 9:29 AM, for deep fried head for The New Orleans Bistro in Bethesda Maryland. Rex can tell you how to get Maryland.

I was happy to see ROC and SKEE. I would love to see Whack-a-mole.

Grill that shrimp with a bit of bacon wrapped around it with some pepper. Serve with dirty rice, small salad with grapefruit and pine nuts. Drink beer or a Cote de Rhone.

PhillySolver 9:55 AM  

I agree the SIERRA clue is a stretch, particularly since the term High Sierra is common. I watched the analysis of the implosion of the US economy while solving and it took a little longer than usual.
Michael Langwald has written several puzzles this year and I think they have matched the day of the week well. @ Anon I have eaten FRIED TURKEY and it is better than many roasted ones I have tried. So, not bogus, just something new to some people. Before I started reading here, I know I would have stumbled on SOFTC, so thanks to REX et al.


Crosscan 9:58 AM  

I remember Expo 86 fondly as well.
The lands are now filled with tons of tall condos.

Expo 86 had the
world's biggest hockey stick and puck ,now permanently in front of the arena in Duncan, BC.

The greatest world's fair [in my lifetime, anyway] was Expo '67 in Montreal, for which the beloved former baseball team is named. You knew I was going there, right?

Don't cry for me, Montreal Expos...

The puzzle was a FRIED TURKEY.

Ladel 10:08 AM  


I thought the foodies would have already jumped all over your comment about steamed crab and fried turkey. If you've never seen it done try utubing it and watch someone fry a whole turkey, it's a thing of beauty, tho dangerous and a bit wasteful as you need lots of cooking oil. As for the puzzle, I think it's over done.

Gypsy 10:09 AM  

Overall, loved it!

Didn't like seeing EVITA PERON clued as a Madonna role, but liked seeing her appear.

Hasn't chocolate LAB been used very recently?

Thought the theme held together plenty well. I didn't have to think for more than a few seconds to fill the rest of them in once I got STEAMED CRAB.

Liked the clue for DIG, since I appreciate any beatnik reference.

SITU/OTO crossing was a problem for me. Guess I haven't done enough crosswords.

Joe 11:30 AM  

See Pete Seeger(an answer last week) and The Weavers for a good version of Goodnight Irene

Z.J. Mugildny 11:37 AM  

As far as Pena's go, I've always been partial to Alejandro Pena. 74 career saves, a near 3.00 ERA, and a world series ring are nothing to sneeze at. Tony's cool too (being a Nintendo RBI Baseball-er). The best Pena still playing would have to be Carlos.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

@joho? I think Rex holds together really well. I agree about Sierra.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Re: ..IRISH could have been clued as "DRUNKS" as far as you were concerned....Hopefully Mr. Parker one is not using ones' blog to perpetuate any obnoxious stereotypes or racial epithets. Is one?

jlsnyc228 11:57 AM  

when yer a shellfish lover and/or from maryland, steamed crabs are very much "in the language."



mexicangirl 11:58 AM  

In strict Spanish, a SIERRA is literally a RANGE,and since we don't call it RANGES, the same goes for the Spanish term. The use of the singular form is quite correct here, I think;
You don't call it, say, the Snakes Range, nor the Snake Ranges.... right?
Anyway, just wanted to point that out.
Oh! and I want a pair of those sandals! (I wonder if they have some with Little Lulu...)

fikink 12:00 PM  

Didn't particularly DIG this puzzle, but I did DIG it, man.

foodie 12:12 PM  

The theme had the potential to be great fun, not only because of the food topic, but because it reminded us how we use food references to describe characters traits. But I agree that it had too many possible pair-wise combinations that wanted to be a more refined theme and detracted from the overall effect-- the seafood subtheme (shrimp and crab), the puny subtheme (shrimp and peanut), the attitude subtheme (crab and turkey) and the three-way one Rex pointed out, the critter subtheme (shrimp, crab and turkey). As I learned from this blog, partial themes like this do not a great puzzle make.

As to fried turkey, here is the dilemma: Delicious, no question. But should one take the one healthy dish we eat on Thanksgiving day and kill that by frying? Or is the philosophy to go for broke, since we're dying anyhow from gorging on the pecan pies?

hollyhmc 12:17 PM  

thank you mexicangirl... i live on the western slope of the SIERRA with my chocolate LAB and it's a pet peeve of mine to hear someone say sierras

Sandy 12:26 PM  

Anon 11:54, Rex said he doesn't think of Irish when he thinks of St Patrick's day. He thinks of drinking, and the many (non-Irish) people doing the drinking. So if anyone is being stereotyped, it's all the non-Irish drinkers out there who like to co-opt holidays for their own purposes.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

It's deep-friend turkey .... not fried turkey.

Karen 12:34 PM  

I've had fried turkey for Thanksgiving. At the host's advice we could also bring other things to throw into the fryer, so I've also had (non-county-fair) fried snickers bars. The turkey came out nice and moist. I haven't seen the individual pieces fried, like with chicken.

I still remember the World's Fair in Knoxville in (checking...) 1982. I wish another one would happen in the US/Canada.

becky from hatch 12:34 PM  

I liked the contrast of "warmer upper" with the cold connotation that goes along with the ice in ICEBREAKER. I enjoyed the contrast of "clear" and the mud in ASMUD as well.

For those who watched "Gilmore Girls," Suki's husband fried a turkey one Thanksgiving, and everything else he could find, and that supposedly took place in Connecticut. Deep fried turkey is catching on!

Rex's comment about the IRISH very clearly states that he no longer associates St. Patrick's Day with the Irish, so clearly he was not equating Irish with Drunks. He was equating the holiday as an excuse for sotfest from all nationalities. There's a very clear difference between saying that and furthering a stereotype.

Christian Louboutin did a shoe very similar to that comic one several years ago. I picked up a pair at the Neiman Marcus outlet and doubled my money on eBay. That comic one is awesome, and I really like the name of that blog, the Ephemerist. I'm going to have to go burn some time reading it!

becky from hatch 12:37 PM  

Oh, and regarding World's Fairs/Expos, "The Devil in the White City" is one of the most well-researched, interesting books I've read in awhile. The incredible feat of constructing and organizing The Columbian Exposition was absolutely mind-boggling to me. It left me wondering when and where the next one would be. OK, off to look up when New Orleans and Seattle World's Fairs occurred.

Jet City Gambler 12:42 PM  

"Before me on that green enameled field
such glorious spirits appeared that I still prize
within my soul the sights that were revealed."

Sounds like Dante attended the Monday Night Football game last night ...

jeff in chicago 12:47 PM  

I agree that the theme doesn't quite hold together. That darn peanut mucks things up.

ONAPAR doesn't quite work for me, either. ONPAR seems the more normal phrase. The fill, in general, was rather blah to me. SADSACK is my only standout word.

@sandy - You beat me to the punch. I'm Irish, and many of the Irish people I know pretty much ignore St. Patrick's Day. Not for any stereotype reason. I refer to it (and New Years) as "amateur night." Too many people getting too crazy. I'll stay home, thanks.

We Irish have at least two stereotypes. Drunk, of course. And, at least in South Bend, we're tiny people who like to fight. *sigh*

dk 1:00 PM  

@becky from hatch, agree The Devil in the White City is a great read, and so many fun facts. We can thank the Chicago Exposition for the 40 hour work week and some fundamentals of urban planning.

This Irish and drinking thread is starting to sound like yesterdays guys talk. Perhaps a hike in the SIERRA will clear our heads.

Rex Parker 1:05 PM  

If you don't like "the SIERRAS," then I guess you don't like Roy Rogers, or his horse Trigger, either. Which means I guess you hate America. Congratulations.


chefbea1 1:10 PM  

of course I loved the puzzle. Have eaten all but the fried turkey. This year my son-in-law is going to do the turkey - deep fried. Should be great!!!

Love the shoes Rex. One can never have enough shoes. I might have more shoes than kitchen gadgets.

ronathan 1:17 PM  

Having grown up in the New York area, and having been in both Boston and Chicago during St. Patrick's Day, I can tell you from first-hand experience, Rex, that there are many Irish folks who do still take St. Patty's Day seriously. That being said, you are probably right that generally speaking, St. Patty's Day is just an excuse for the rest of us to be drunk and belligerent (as if we need an excuse).

I think the same goes for Columbus Day in New York; it is actually celebrated with a parade and a day off from school/most businesses in New York state, which makes the Italians happy. But elsewhere in the country, it's not really celebrated that much.

Oh, and fried turkey is definitely catching on in more places than just the south. In fact, so many people are doing it these days, that Thanksgiving is becoming one of the busiest days of the year for firefighters across the country, due to people accidentally setting their houses on fire after attempting to fry a turkey. Make sure you do it outdoors, away from the house, people!!!

Don't have much to add about the puzzle that hasn't already been said. It was pretty meh for me too. Not too impressed by the theme or the fill.

Ronathan :-p

Victor in Rochester 1:19 PM  

In medical "real life" 35D in SITU is used frequently; in some fields daily. On biopsy, for example, a borderline cancer is called a carcinoma in situ, when the cells look cancerous under the microscope, but have not begun the invasive process that makes cancer potentially lethal. An ordinary, every day use.

Joe 1:19 PM  

Savannah, Georgia also has a large St Patrick's day parade and not too many Irish are in attendance

evil doug 1:21 PM  

Otter: Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules or took a few liberties with our female party guests -- we did. But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few sick, perverted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg ... isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do what you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America! Gentlemen!

mac 1:24 PM  

Well, I consider this a clear shout-out to the foodies, and about time!

Crab is great, steamed the way to go, then with a little lime juice, cilantro and mushed avocado. By the way, right now is the best time of the year to eat/buy lobster.

Grilled shrimp, after marinating in, believe it or not, a little ketchup, garlic, hot pepper and olive oil.

Fried turkey is just too dangerous for me, plus it's too cold usually to do the bird cooking outdoors, plus there are a hundred other dishes to prep, cook and heat.

Roasted peanut? Virginian, large, not salted.

Easy puzzle, but I also thought it should have been Sierras, and Mexican girl convinced me otherwise. I never heard the term before, so I stared ad "asmud" a while, what language is that? Heard a guy (male) at the post office speak on his phone in a language that made me think of the man in Taxi.

I've seen the St. Patrick's Day parade a few times in NY, and I'm always struck by the poor kids, legs and arms red or blue with the cold, around 4 in the afternoon in the tail end of it!

I guess I really have nothing to say about the puzzle that hasn't been said before. 'Twas like a stream of consciousness......

ronathan 1:25 PM  

ETA: I have two "sciency" objections to the comments thus far.

First, IN SITU is actually used all the time in laboratory settings, and the cluing in the puzzle is accurate for the term. Along with in vitro, in vivo, ex vivo, etc., they are all commonly used in scientific literature (and medical literature, as victor just pointed out), so that wasn't a stretch really.

Second, the clue for 52A INERTIA is somewhat inaccurate. Inertia is not really resistance to change, its the property of an object to retain its velocity until an outside force acts upon it. Its not that the object is resistant to an outside force acting on it, its just that until that happens, the object will remain along the same vector. The cluing is therefore slightly misleading, from a technical standpoint.

Ronathan :-)

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

@joe...Seeger and the Weavers cleaned up Leadbelly's last line. Pete sang "I'll see you in my dreams"; Leadbelly sang "I'll git yo in my dreams!"

Doc John 1:35 PM  

I'd give this puzzle a "Wednesday easy" rating. Worked my way through it with no real hangups, except for putting clam in for CRAB. I had no quarrel with the theme and its answers. I'm also in agreement about SIERRA- it just sounded weird. How about "Gregory of 'Chico and the Man'" instead?

I had deli for 59A [takeout sign?] but fortunately the I was changed easily enough into an E.

Speaking of EXPOS, there's a great documentary about the Chicago Exposition called "Expo: Magic of the White City" narrated by Gene Wilder. Should be available easily enough online.

And speaking of EXPOS, when I was a kid I wasn't much of a sports fan but my best friend was. When I saw the Expos logo for the first time I asked him what ELB stood for. He said, "You idiot, it's an M." (I never saw the M.) Only years later did he apologize and tell me that it was indeed ELB, as well. Can't remember what it stands for, though. My favorite logo like that is the Brewers logo where the M and B look like a baseball glove.

Sandy 1:47 PM  

Mexican Girl didn't convince me. She's referring, as far as I can tell, to a general word for a mountain range. But I read the clue as for a specific range of mountains, which Rex points out is the Sierra Nevadas, commonly called the Sierras. Seems an entirely reasonable clue based on usage.

And for those of you who cook your turkeys in oil, do you say "fried turkey", or do you say "deep fried turkey"? The latter is known to me as an expression and a dish, the other is not.

Rex Parker 1:49 PM  

Hmm, I'm reading this re: the Expos "M":

"There is actually no "L" in the equation :-) The "e" stands for Expos, the "b" for Baseball, and as a whole, it's an "M" for Montreal, and the m-e-b stand for Montreal Expos Baseball. As simple as that. Hope this answers you question"

- and I see that confirmed elsewhere.


Anonymous 2:02 PM  


The Expo logo is a stylized M with corresponding circles at the base. There only letters are e M b contained in it and it stands for "Expos Montréal Baseball" and they're also the initials of the team's original owner, Edgar M. Bronfman." The L some see is the white leg/part of the letter M matched by the blue leg/part. Or not, they are no longer exposed.


Doc John 2:10 PM  

If that's not an L (or even a J as someone else on the net thought), then that ruins the elegance of it for me. IMHO, sometimes people try a little too hard to be cute with lettering and it creates confusion like this (although that is kind of neat about it also being the owner's initials).

Now that the Expos are in Washington, that W makes it look like they're owned by Walgreen's!

Crosscan 2:11 PM  

The Expos original owner was Charles Bronfman, not Edgar. One story is the "e" and "l" actually can be seen as a C for Charles.

Also the M is stylized to represent a depiction of Montreal, with Mont Royal, the major natural geographic peak of Montreal being shown as the higher, middle part of the M.


Anonymous 2:17 PM  

I defer to the Canadian expert crosscan and apologize for reporting what I was told (by a Canadian Indian friend) years ago. I whiffed.


foodie 2:20 PM  

I've been resisting saying anything about food for a while, but given the theme, and Mac's interesting suggestion re shrimp, I have to say this: the most fantastic tasting shrimp ever can be had at Pascal Manale (Creole-Italian restaurant) in New Orleans, where they invented BBQ shrimp. And don't try to add BBQ sauce to it! For recipe see http://www.nolafoodie.com/id34.html

And still on theme for today: Check out this same site for "Turducken"

@Rex: these shoes are really tempting-- I have a daughter in her 20's who could totally pull them off. And they exist in a wicked red! But way too expensive. We need to come up with a knock-off version and take orders for favorite characters. We can even make them for the preteen crowd. Any VC's among your readers?

Wade 2:22 PM  

Anybody ever noticed the eerie coincidences about Pete Seeger and Bob Seger? Like Pete Seeger had a hit with "Good NIGHT, Irene" and Bob Seger had a hit with "NIGHT Moves." And Pete Seeger was killed in a movie theater by a guy who ran to a warehouse, and Bob Seger got run over in a warehouse by a guy in a Chevy truck on his way to a movie theater. And they both had keyboard players named Johnson. And Pete Seeger is for alternative energy but Bob Seger is against the wind.

Joe 2:26 PM  

I think Pete Seeger will be surprised to hear this.

Joon 2:29 PM  

i never saw anything in the expos logo other than a big curly M.

favorite PENA = wily mo. everything about him is just great, starting with his name.

ronathan, the clue for INERTIA is fine. many words have a colloquial meaning which is not identical to their technical definition. look at the dictionary entry. you are talking about definition 1; the clue was using definition 2. it's legit.

fikink 2:37 PM  

Wade, you knock my socks off!

ronathan 2:48 PM  


If inertia is indeed used in that way, then its certainly not a colloquialism that I have ever heard. But since, as I pointed out earlier, in situ is probably not seen outside of scientific or medical circles (despite the fact that it was used correctly in the puzzle) I guess I have to concede your point. :-)

Ronathan :-)

fikink 2:54 PM  

@ronathan, "in situ" is widely used in art, architecture, restoration and archaeology also. very common.

chefbea1 3:01 PM  

@foodie thanks for the shrimp recipe. Sounds great. I know about turducken though have never made it. Maybe one of these days

mexicangirl 3:17 PM  

Well, I hate to be too much of a contrarian, but I stand with what I said. The clue talks about a mountain chain, not chains. Plus, the Sierra Nevada is, I believe, just one range, so it should be just a SIERRA. I know it sounds too picky, wanting singulars and plurals, as well as masculines and feminines be respected when it comes to language, but I have a bit of a cultural bias there.
Will definitely try fried turkey, though!

Crosscan 3:18 PM  

I'm not sure the "true" story on the Expos logo was ever really told.

Remember that it had to be interpreted in both English and French. CB could mean Club de baseball.

And since you didn't ask, the Montreal Canadiens logo has a CH for Club de Hockey Canadien.

And Youppi, the Expos mascot became the Canadiens mascot when the Expos moved to Washington, becoming the first mascot to change sports. I await Youppi's first appearance in the Crossword.

Ulrich 3:41 PM  

All you foodies out there: How would you like these dinner companions: A well-again actor and a laid-off German followed by a friendly floozy?

andrea carla michaels 3:50 PM  

waaah, I just spent an hour reading/writing comments and it's been lost to cyberspace.

gist was...
Perhaps Will could clue Sierra with a Sierra Club-type clue and avoid ambiguity, since no one doesn't say the S.

And why no discussion of the "enya/tilde/~" of Pena screwing up IRENE? ;)

My favorite Pena is Elizabeth, who was both terrific in "La Bamba" and played second base for the Minnesota Twins, I believe, in the early 70's.

@ Rex
Wouldn't it be nice to have Irene clued as meaning "Peace" in Greek?
I think that would be lovely.

@ anon 11:54 am

It's so annoying when someone EXACTLY misreads Rex, posts anonymously, only to stir up folks some of whom then actually reinforce the exact stereotypes your misinterpretation prompted!

May green beer be spilled (or thrown up) on you this March.

@becky from hatch

I too loved the contrast of icebreaker/warmer upper that went unnoticed when I was doing the puzzle. thank you for pointing that out!

(Oops, I see Rex DID point it out and deemed it "cutesy". Hmmm.
I still dug it!)

Speaking of digging, I had STEAMED CLAM which slowed me down.


This theme with its not-so-perfect balance sort of landed with a thud.
Not to sound like a whiny constructor again, but, in defense of Michael Langwald (whose age remains a complete mystery to me!) it IS hard to find four, that match in number of letters, where the first parts balance, are colorful AND the second parts must all be foods that refer to people in other contexts. That's a LOT to juggle.

e.g. You could have ROASTED EGGPLANT if that were the right number of letters, but then eggplant isn't a person, etc.

However, I agree, that peanut thing sort of stuck in my craw
(quick, someone call a doctor!)

For example, last year I had my favorite Monday published that was originally

Will pointed out I had three birds, one possum...and that SITTING DUCK didn't have the same feel as the others grammatically and otherwise (which was dead on)

Luckily I found CRYING WOLF.
Now it was balanced, two birds, two mammals...
so this one, sort of was like that, with PEANUT not quite fitting in as elegantly...

The drag is, the theme today IS more or less pulled off, but once again ENJOYMENT trumps all constructive feats.
(An interesting lesson to be reminded of again and again)
esp for those of us totally into theme theme theme.)

Also this weekend at the mini-tournament, I was saddened that the speed thing caused some folks not to even realize there WAS a theme in the first two puzzles (this one and the STAG PARTY).

fnorg 3:51 PM  

@Ronathan, We all know that crossword puzzle addicts don't read much, so I can understand why you've never heard "inertia" used in the second sense joon pointed to. But it's used that way often in literature, e.g., by Edith Wharton in "Ethan Frome," by Thomas Hardy in "Far from the Madding Crowd," by Walt Whitman ("Leaves of Grass"), and by Victor Hugo, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jack London, and others.
Citations available on request.

@Mexican Girl, I like the way you stick to your guns! (And I agree with you.)

foodie 3:59 PM  

@ulrich: I'm blowing my last post of the day to say: I'll bite... can you please elaborate?

Ulrich 4:09 PM  

@I'm blowing mine, too: I was suggesting a cured ham and canned kraut followed by a warm tart.

foodie 4:12 PM  


Doc John 4:41 PM  

I'm blowing mine, too, to give Andrea a Heimlich!

mac 5:09 PM  

@foodie: that's a pound of shrimp and a half a pound of butter?????
Sounds like Super Bowl Food.

Hi Wade, when did the power come on, and is your house ok?

@andrea carla: How about roasted rabbit or poached shark? I'm sure you could make some great clues with those.

joho 5:12 PM  

@andrea carla michaels: thank you for your comments on the uneven theme today. Especially liked how your CRYING WOLF fixed your particular problem. It makes me realize how incredibly difficult it is to create A puzzle not to mention an amazing puzzle. The truth is, I hate throwing out any negative comments knowing this, but I guess that's sort of why we come here ... to express our reactions whether good or bad.

Bill from NJ 5:18 PM  

The theme wasn't very tight, mixing PEANUT in with foods and FRIEDTURKEY, as others have pointed out, really should have been deep-fried but the North seemed fresh with VALET/DROOL/VANNA opening up the puzzle.

I also liked the sub-theme involving comics. I haven't seen a reference to SADSACK in a long time. My father was an NCO in the Air Force and he enjoyed this strip because it portrayed the day-to-day life on a military base accurately.

dk 5:19 PM  

@doc john, that is a hiny lick maneuver, sheesh... where did you go to school.

@ulrich, warm tarts - you dog you.

@chefbea1, send away for the Turducken and then just cook it, Not as great as my mullet haired friends claim... but it is good.

Get the deep fried turkey elsewhere unless you have a need for a substantial amount of oil.

Shrimp is also great marinated in Anne's Orange + some other stuff salad dressing.

A lot going on today in the world of news and information, I am going to hire Chicken Little as my spokesperson.

acme 5:27 PM  

Thanks for the Heimlich! I would have settled for an Ulrich :)

I know! Thank god/Rex for this blog, it's changed my life! I had NO idea I had so many thoughts connected to the puzzle every day...
Actually, I hope folks can be negative when so moved without being piled on!

JUST to be clear, in NO way was I trying to criticize your critiquing...I was just trying to think from my dual solver/constructor perch why it wasn't fun and what about it made it not work completely...

In all honesty, I still think as a solver first and then my knee jerk reaction as a sometime constructor is always "Waaaah, if I had submitted this it would have been rejected!" and then I calm down and try and think it thru.

Let's see what I blow MY third comment on!

Rex Parker 7:38 PM  

The objection to "SIERRAS" is phenomenally ridiculous. One simple analogy will prove that so - thankfully, I have more than one:

Himalaya Range = HIMALAYAS
Carpathian Range = CARPATHIANS
Teton Range = TETONS

In all cases, you're dealing with "just one range." And yet, shockingly, in common parlance - Plurals!

not to mention the ADIRONDACKS, the OZARKS, the ROCKIES, and on and on and on. And On.


chefbea1 7:58 PM  

@ulrich sounds good...LOL

steve l 8:13 PM  

@andrea--I think you might have set a record for longest post ever on this blog. And that was just the gist of it! I LOVED READING EVERY WORD!!

@wade--your comments about the
Se(e)gers just about cracked me up.

FRIED TURKEY (minues the DEEP) didn't bother me at all, but I agree that three animals and one legume (I was going to say "nut," but someone was bound to remind me that peanuts aren't nuts) is somewhat off.

steve l 8:17 PM  

@rex re Sierra(s): the objection is that Sierra means Range, Nevada is the modifier. Not so with Himalayas, Rockies, etc. (Same with Sierra Madre...oh no, not "the Madres!) Still, as William Safire says, ask Norma Loquendi.

Michael 8:27 PM  

For a short time, I had "deli" as the answer for "take-out-sign." Besides being wrong, I'm not sure if I've ever seen a sign that says "deli."

Anonymous 8:27 PM  

turkey + duck + chicken= terducken...we all know that.

turkey + pheaseant + duck + chicken...I'll let you figure that out.

mac 8:41 PM  

It's simple. We should call this range the Madres.

I don't want to even think about this layered bird. I only like my duck really well-cooked, like confit, am not that fond of turkey, love chicken on its own, and pheasant is usually pretty dry.

Joon really got me worried a few days ago. I am now doing whatever puzzle I can find on the internet, Ephraim is very helpful. Five a day keeps the doctor away.

Jesse 8:44 PM  

Rex, your objection in the blog was to the clue and answer. Which are correct, despite what "you" called them in central California. Other central Californians have a different take.

The bank in the San Joaquin Valley calls itself “The Bank of the Sierra.”

The Sierra Web says, “Come on up and enjoy the wonderful summer activities that the Eastern Sierra has to offer!”

A rustic retreat calls itself “Far Horizons in the Sierra.”

There’s a group called “Save the Sierra."

“The YMCA of the Sierra” is in Sparks, Nevada?

Murphy, California, calls itself “Queen of the Sierra.”

Well, I’d like to say more, but I’m off to read Timothy P. Duane’s book, “Shaping the Sierra.”

joho 9:10 PM  

You say Sierra, I say Sierras ... let's call the whole thing off.

Enough already!

Rex Parker 9:28 PM  


I actually acknowledge the validity of "Sierra," singular. If you read the write-up (again?) you'll see that. My objection is to the notion (expressed my many in the Comments) that "the Sierras" or "the Sierra Nevadas" is incorrect or invalid (a "pet peeve?" Really?). It's nonsense, no matter what "Sierra" means in Spanish. We (speakers of English) import words from other languages All The Time (it's how we got most of our words) and then subject them to our ways of pluralizing, or whatever else it is we want to do with them. You can be angry about it all you want, but I'm pretty sure English isn't the only language that does it. "The Sierras" is very common in all kinds of titles, names, etc. - I could make a big stupid list of examples from a cursory web search in order to sound impressive and authoritative, but ... that move has been taken.

And there's Turkey, and there's Deep-Friend Turkey, but Fried Turkey ... no.


dk 10:44 PM  

@rex, deep friend turkey --- really. Sounds more like an older SNL skit like say:

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.

And this is deep friend turkey saying good night and (insert religious figure of your choice) bless.

Noam D. Elkies 11:01 PM  

@Anonymous 8:27 --

Add some 27A:STEAMEDSHRIMP and you've got Surf & Turphu**en.

But you don't have to go as far as pheasant plucking: do we really want to eat something whose name starts with "turd"?...


Joon 11:21 PM  

i notice that, as always, noam is quick to jump into any discussion where he can invoke obscenity after obscenity. these troublemakers! soon he and phillysolver will be decapitating small children for satanic rituals, no doubt.

mac, don't be alarmed on my account. dan feyer scared the bejeezus out of me a few months ago when he blithely let slip that he'd been doing 20 puzzles a day. (that goes a long way towards explaining his increasingly hinmanesque online solving times.) i think of myself as being rather obsessed, but many people do five a day. orange not only solves but blogs five a day (or so), and i'm sure i'm not the only one doing every puzzle she blogs.

mac 11:28 PM  

Thank you, Joon, I will sleep better tonight....

VisionDoc 10:36 PM  

Actually, in situ is much more common than you think. LASIK stands for (in the very weird way that elective medical procedures often elicit) Laser Assisted In situ Keratomeuliesis. So every time you see an eye surgeon's advertisement for LASIK, you are seeing the Latin phrase "in situ."

Dan 10:54 PM  

Gee, Joon, way to give away my secret training method. :) I did average about 20 a day from January to June, but it's more like 10 these days since I'm busier. And many of those are during my hour on the subway each day...

Mike D 2:16 PM  

I'd like to point out that "a five letter word for Blow Hard" (38D) is the clue Toby was trying to come up with on the West Wing.
Needless to say, I was more than a little excited to see it make a comeback in today's puzzle.

Charly 5:55 PM  

I had "VIDS" for 6D, which messed me up. Guess I'm still living in the early '00s. ;)

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