WEDNESDAY, Sep. 10, 2008 - Lucas Gaviotis Whitestone (Command Kirk never really gave / Actor songwriter Novello / Menaces to hobbits)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "INNER _____" - four theme answers contain circled squares that, when completed, spell out a word that can succeed "INNER" in a common phrase (64A: Private ... or a hint to the words spelled by the circled letters)

Far too easy for a Wednesday, and certainly easier than yesterday's puzzle. I can find only one or two answers that your average solver would be puzzled by, and the cluing is pretty straightforward all over. Plus, many people will get off to a quick start once they fill in the first few letters of 17A: 1966 Beatles #1 hit from crosses and then throw "PAPERBACK WRITER" across the grid very early on. The whole thing went by so fast, and is mostly so straightforward, that I don't have much to say about it. I think the theme-revealing clue is weirdly worded, with nothing about the fact that INNER precedes all the circled words. The clue is 64A: Private ... or a hint to the words spelled by the circled letters. Actually, INNER was no hint at all to those words. They were already completely filled in (or nearly so) when I read this clue for the first time. When I filled in INNER, my first thought was "... yeah, those words are all IN the theme answers ... wtf?" It is nice that the circled words are "INNER" both in their physical location and in their uses in common phrases, but this one clunked more than it purred. For me.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: 1966 Beatles #1 hit ("PapErbACk writEr") -> PEACE
  • 25A: Louisville landmark (CHurchIlL Downs) -> CHILD
  • 42A: Command Kirk never really gave ("BEAm me Up ScoTtY") -> BEAUTY
  • 56A: Standard degrees for scientists? (CentIgRade sCaLE) -> CIRCLE
This puzzle contains my favorite clue revision to date (since I've been test-solving). When I first solved the puzzle, "BEAM ME UP SCOTTY" was clued 42A: Command from Captain Kirk. I certainly didn't question the clue's accuracy, but thankfully somebody did. Otherwise, I'd have had scores of miffed Trekkies descending on my site (many of them not solvers, but merely nerds who heard about the gaffe on one of their internet fora) explaining the way the mistake entered popular consciousness and then giving a detailed list of the commands that Kirk did, in fact, give. Think of the AVATARs we could have seen ... (41A: Icon in an internet forum). But as it stands: Nerdstorm avoided.

What's to talk about?:
  • 14A: Greeted the day (arose) - I arose an hour later than normal today because it was my night to let the puppy out in the middle of the night, and it took me almost exactly an hour to get back to sleep. Puppy has no remorse. She's happily gnawing a bone three feet away from me at the moment.
  • 21A: Object of Indiana Jones's first quest (Ark) - Had a whole big discussion with my daughter the other day about what "Raiders of the Lost Ark" meant. She had just read a comic about Jughead called "Riverdale Jones and the Temple of Food" ....
  • 59A: Hawaiian Punch alternative (Hi-C) - also the sound a drunk might make after too much rum punch.
  • 1D: "Come to _____" ("Papa") - that phrase creeps me out. I had "Come to PASS."
  • 3D: Successor of St. Peter (pope) - not a particular POPE, just any TOM, DICK, AND HARRY POPE.
  • 7D: Atticus Finch portrayer ... or something finches do (P/peck) - cute.
  • 8D: Tattoo, slangily (ink) - I used to watch "Miami Ink," which I claim is less embarrassing than watching "CSI: Miami" or "Miami Vice," but only slightly so. My AVATAR (in my mind) has a cool tattoo.
  • 9D: It may be heard in a herd (cowbell) - this word makes me think of only one thing. COWBELL can also be heard in this song (@ about the 2:35 mark):



  • 23D: Menaces to hobbits (orcs) - ENTS good, ORCS bad, EFTS ... salamander.
  • 37D: Actor and songwriter Novello (Ivor) - early 20th century entertainer from Cardiff, Wales. Here's a more recent Cardiff export (currently near the top of my "What's Holding Back Despair Today?" list):





  • 40D: Nation where Wolof and French are spoken (Senegal) - news to me, but easy to get with a few crosses.
  • 41D: Obtuse's opposite (acute) - mmm, angles.
  • 43D: Become squishy, like chocolate (melt) - "Squishy" is a fundamentally objectionable word. I love chocolate, I love melted chocolate, but I tend to flinch at anything "squishy."
  • 45D: Secret Service eyewear (shades) - I guess this is true ... SHADES seems a bit slangy, somehow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

62 comments:

Moliticon 9:14 AM  

I seldom complete a NYT puzzle due to ADD probably. I finished this one in 25 minutes with no errors. You folks have to be wondering what to do with the rest of your morning!

I solved the puzzle before I got the theme.

ArtLvr 9:14 AM  

Sort of easy, but fun to me, and good fill not too frequently seen.... Foodies will be happy with the chocolate MELT, CREPE, BATCH, STARCH, SHU, SPICE and drinks are included with ALES, BYOB, and ICEUP! Thanks, Lucas..

∑;)

Victor in Rochester 9:23 AM  

Delightful, but Mondayish. I never fly through Wednesday, but did today, thanks to the easy cluing and the four very obvious long across answers. Loved 45D Secret Service Eyewear (SHADES). Just the other day as my wife was making fun of my very large and old Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses, the teen aged girl at the bagel shop said to me, "Wow, cool Aviators!" Who knew? They're in style again.

jannieb 9:25 AM  

Nice debut effort. To my mind, stuff that melts oozes. Squishy has a more spongy connotation to me.

Seems more like a Monday than a Wednesday, but much smoother than Tuesday's entry.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Just yesterday my 15-year old son informed me that Secret Service agents do *not* wear sunglasses. (But do they say "Beam me up, Scotty?)

PuzzleGirl 9:32 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulrich 9:32 AM  

I really wanted to like the puzzle b/c the constructor is a first year student at the same university, adjacent to PITT, where I taught for many years--unfortunately, we no longer live in Pittsburgh and I can't invite Master Whitestone to lunch at the faculty club any more. And then the puzzle gave me better reasons to like it--for its fresh fill more than for the theme, but that was OK, too.

I agree that it was in no way harder than the previous two puzzles we've had. The cluing could have been a tad trickier for a Wednesday.

PuzzleGirl 9:35 AM  

Yes, it was easy, but definitely more enjoyable than either of the last two days' puzzles. Congratulations, Lucas -- nice job!

I have heard the phrase "more cowbell" and thought it was funny even though I had never seen that skit -- too funny! I started crying I was laughing so hard!

I don't think chocolate gets squishy when it melts. There needs to be caramel or nougat or something for a melted chocolate bar to be squishy. (Think Snickers bar left in the car in the summer. Yum!)

SHADES reminds me of Robert DeNiro in "Midnight Run." Ooh, found the clip! The relevant part starts around 0:53. (Language alert for those watching at work or in the vicinity of children.) Later in the movie he calls one of those guys "Agent Foster Grant." Ha!

@Rex, while I certainly agree with you that the insurgence of Star Trek fans would have been ... distracting, I must say that many outsiders probably think we have the "nerdstorm" well in hand.

joho 9:41 AM  

Great write up Rex, especially thankful for MORE COWBELL. One of my all time favorite SNL skits.

I also agree with everything you said today. Definitely too easy for a Wednesday. I have to congratulate Mr. Whitestone anyway, as I would anyone who is able to construct a puzzle.

Your puppy is toooooo cute.

PhillySolver 9:45 AM  

PG,
I agree! Announcing you do the crossword every day and time yourself will get you beat up on the playground for sure. The letters NERD do appear in the grid but not within one word. Still, I would have loved to see it so we could all get in touch with our INNER NERD. Having said that, the Raiders and Star Trek content kinda put us there anyway. This was my fastest solve in a month.

Skip 9:46 AM  

Thought this one almost insulted my intelligence. OK, that's too much. But it was very straightforward. I did like the southwest corner with OLE Miss, HI-C, and ECHO. MAVS was also pretty good.

Joon 9:48 AM  

i liked the theme quite a bit. first of all, it's not quite like any theme i've seen before. secondly, it helped me solve the puzzle! weirdly, i was stuck on _ENTIGRADESCALE (and E__O and _IC), so the theme got me the initial C, which ... was not coming to me from the clue. i haven't used the word "centigrade" in a long time. here in scienceland we usually call it celsius--really, we mostly use kelvins. i was also having trouble parsing the answer, as GRADE seemed like it wanted to be its own word.

yeah, the clues could have been tougher for a wednesday.

the fill didn't have any VAVAVOOM but it was also distinctly low in crap, which is also appreciated. and i have been thinking for a while that the NYT puzzle needs more COWBELL.

archaeoprof 9:50 AM  

I wish the clue for 9D had been "what Christopher Walken wanted more of."

Alex 9:52 AM  

Maybe we can get a different nerdstorm going. Because while the ark may have been the object of his quest in the first Indiana Jones movie it was not Indiana Jones's first quest within the timeline of that fictional universe.

The events of Temple of Doom take place before Raiders of the Lost Ark. Plus, the Young Indiana Jones TV series established many other earlier adventures and there are of course the comic books and pulp novels.

Not that I care but there isn't much to say about this puzzle so I'll throw that out there and see if some Indy nerds take the bait.

chefbea1 10:01 AM  

I agree - too easy for a wednesday. Didnt figure out the circled letters til I was finnished with the puzzle

Loved all the food references. chocolate crepes... yummm

mac 10:02 AM  

We got our Monday on a Wednesday, but this one was very nicely clued and constructed. No real nits to pick, and fresh and pretty fill. I haven't watched Startrek much, but I do know that line, and like it!
Stared at the "hic" for a moment before parsing it to Hi-C. Vlad I had to get from the crosses, but no problem there.

hereinfranklin 10:03 AM  

9D could also have been "Banned at Mississippi State football games" -- a gimme for any SEC fan.

Pete M 10:12 AM  

I'll start my own nerd-quibble. Orcs were certainly menaces in Middle Earth, but no so much to hobbits per se. Hobbits mostly kept to themselves and, as far as I can recall, only five hobbits ever even saw an orc, never mind be threatened by one (Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin).

dk 10:17 AM  

Nerdstorm News:

Today the Large Hadron Collider located on the outskirts of Geneva started up. They hope to replicate the conditions after the Big Bang and generate heat 100,000 time that of the surface of the sun. Perhaps producing black hole and some anti matter. For the potential down side I suggest you watch the old black and white Outer Limits shows.

Note: US Scientists wanted to develop a collider in Texas but it was deemed pork and canceled.

Speaking of today: is it Monday? It sure is a Monday puzzle. This puzzle skipped lightly across the meadow (reference to Rex's drag across the line or whatever). Not being able to spell VEIL (I was single for 15 years so anything related to weddings....) or NAIVE (first marriage issue) added a minute 20 to what could have been an under 5 minute Wednesday.

My son continually tells me I am clueless and his generation is sooooo much smarter than my drug addled era. Dear teen constructors take the gloves off and show us your stuff.

Thats all for me I am trying to find a web site for the herbs covered in the NYTimes the other day: Soma, soma, soma.

Crosscan 10:18 AM  

I am such a wonderful solver I sailed through this like a Monday while the rest of you...did the same. Sigh.

Way up here in Canada we call it Celsius.

Back in episode 28, stardate 7590.3,around the 37 minutes 8 second mark, BEAM ME UP SCOTTY was said by Kirk. Or to be more precise, since he was possessed by a creature from the planet Snob, it came out as BEAM ME UP SCOTT-TAY. I can't believe you guys don't know that. I've seen the episode 459 times this week. What kind of nerds are you?????

[The preceding paragraph was written by Dark-Crosscan of the Mirror universe. There may a factual error or two.]

Crosscan, the second most famous Jew born in Montreal after William Shatner.

Two Ponies 10:37 AM  

Okay, I'm confused. Did Kirk say it or not? Crosscan, you seem to know your Star Trek. Were you only joking from the mirror universe?
Just yesterday on a plane I was doing a NYT crossword compilation book and one answer was "yesses". That didn't look right but "yeses" looks odd as well.
@ dk Any luck with the herb search? I'd love to try it while it's still legal.
Paperback Writer will be playing in my head all day and that's OK.

dk 10:49 AM  

@two ponies, I see purple mountains majesty, amber waves of grain and beautiful fore-spacious skies...

before we are busted by Rex I will email you my results....

wow the keys are floating with happy smiling faces -- cap-ten its the anti matter pods the whole thing is gonna... pop goes the weasel. Where are those Firesign Theater cds ahh here they are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPrmD2g3KNc

Phanatic 10:54 AM  

I dug the clue for SENEGAL, as it happened to me a gimme for me. It helped that I sat in the Senegalese cheering section at a game in the African Cup of Nations back in 2002. The extent of my Wolof is: FI NO KOMOM! (I have no idea about spelling.) It means, "Here is for us!" and is chanted in the same rhythm as "We're #1!"

As for the rest, nothing new to add. Blew my Wednesday personal best time out of the water. Probably has something to do with the fact that this should have been published on Monday.

Crosscan 11:01 AM  

@twoponies - Yes, I was joking.

Mordechai Richler and Leonard Cohen may place me fourth.

[really, I made up the whole Dark Crosscan part].

dk 11:19 AM  

Nerdstorm News Entertainment Update:

Thank others for this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j50ZssEojtM

Note: This proves there is a Dark Crosscan.

Orange 11:22 AM  

Weird—I really liked the puzzle, but it took me a Wednesdayish amount of time. Maybe I blew 30 seconds scoping out the circled INNER letters instead of just filling everything in with the regular clues?

Z.J. Mugildny 11:54 AM  

This one was too easy for a Wednesday. Switching it with yesterday's puzzle would have made a lot of sense. Although I can't recall ever seeing a Monday or Tuesday puzzle with a non-standard crossword puzzle feature (e.g., circles in the grid, rebuses, non-letter characters, etc.). I'm sure somebody can tell me, is it a rule that Monday and Tuesday puzzles are always straightforward and gimmick-free?

As for this puzzle itself, I thought the theme was extremely clever, and that it was just a great puzzle overall.

jae 12:01 PM  

Rex covered what I had to say. Did know IVOR or SENEGAL but very fast and very easy.

Joon 12:23 PM  

zjm, mondays and tuesdays often have circles in the grid. here are some recent examples.

as for rebuses or non-letter characters, the most recent example of such a thing on a monday or tuesday seems to be this puzzle which you, of all people, should have remembered.

jeff in chicago 12:28 PM  

OK puzzle today. Did seem too easy for a Wednesday. And I'm not a fan of the word-made-by-random-letters-in-other-words theme, but still, until I get a puzzle published in the NYT (I'm about to mail in my first attempt!), I will refrain from criticism.

The good news of the day is that, with "More cowbell" and the "Large Hadron Rap," this was one of the funniest blog days ever.

"...ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions..."

Karen 12:54 PM  

I had my fastest time yet for a Wednesday, beating my old time by a minute. (My fastest Monday is still lower.)

I missed the Cowbell skit when it aired, as SNL hasn't been on my list of things to watch for a long time (except I do love the Hole in a Box song), but I watched it on the net before getting the Cowbell app for my iPhone. Now I can shake my phone for 'more cowbell'.

jet city gambler 1:27 PM  

For all you Guitar Hero nerds out there: Cowbell Hero
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHCDa337kzI

mexicangirl 1:32 PM  

Thumbs up for "Los Campesinos"!
If I ever form a band in Mexico, I'll call it "Y gwladwr".

Soul Solver 1:42 PM  

What happened to Barry? I miss him.

Green Mantis: Please comment as much as possible. Many months ago you blew me away with your view of politics. Then came the iguana story and the salute to Alice Munro. Love it. We may need you more than ever in the next two months.

We had a nice talk about Rex World at my book club last night. The book under discussion was Anna K. and of course that was in the puzzle yesterday. Always cool when that happens. The other Rex reader there has an even bigger crush on Puzzle Girl than I do.

This is the best "comments" section I've ever read, superior even to the Six Feet Under discussion board I used to be obsessed with. Thanks to all of you.

Rex: Yesterday I had a mental image of you strutting through Saarinen's JFK terminal, heading toward your SST and rocking Jay-Z on your iPod. I always loved doing that.

Finally, for all of you 33 Across people, Go Bears.

SS

joho 2:44 PM  

@soul solver ... this is the first blog I have ever visited so it's interesting to hear "This is the best "comments" section I've ever read. While I have nothing to compare it to, I love coming here to read what everybody has to say. Very informative and entertaining. I've always liked to think that we crossword people are special. Definitely different -- in a good way.

coldrainsnow 2:58 PM  

My week seems all mixed up after this today and Duggan's yesterday. :)

Being a science teacher I had a soft spot for "centigrade scale"... :)

Thanks for the writeups!

green mantis 3:53 PM  

Wow thanks SS.

Concerning blogs: Joho, just take my word for it that the vast majority of blog comment threads are populated by bitter, sniping attacks and general ass-hattery. The thoughtful contributions, the camaraderie, and the respectful tone here are WAY rare.

@acme last night: Sweet fancy Moses it's this Saturday????

Re: the puzzle: tasty, but obviously shoe-horned into Wednesday for reasons other than proper difficulty level. There's something wrong with that sentence, but whatever.

Re: More cowbell: This comes nowhere near the brilliance of Cowbell, but I love me some Walken, so feast your googly eyes on this.

David of CA 4:10 PM  

Any one else remember that this is the 2nd time BEAM ME UP SCOTTY has been a NYT theme answer? I remember it as one in a great puzzle where the theme was "famous lines that were never said". "PLAY IT AGAIN SAM" is the only other I can recall now.
Of course it is possible my brain made up the whole thing, it does that sometimes.

joho 4:29 PM  

@green mantis: thanks for the googly eyes on plants clip. It's a riot. Christopher Walken is one of a kind, never to be duplicated. There's a video of him on You Tube preparing a chicken in his New York City apartment that's hilarious, too ... and he's just being his crazy self.

@Andrea: have you ever met him?

jae 4:46 PM  

Opps -- I meant to say "Didn't know IVOR or SENEGAL...

This is the only blog I pay attention to (I'm retired so I don't have a lot of time) so, it's a bit depressing to hear that most of the rest of blogdom is not particularly nice.

Doc John 6:26 PM  

I agree with everyone's assessment of the puzzle.

All I can add is that the clue for 30D reminds me of this. (And, frankly, I'm surprised that Rex didn't allude to it.)

Curiously, I just used the phrase "INNER CHILD" the other day when I was getting onto the kiddie coaster at Dollywood. The attendant asked me where my child was and I responded that I had my inner child. Hey, it's not pretty but how else does one get to say that he's ridden 632 different rollercoasters? I'm what's called a "credit ho"- I'll ride anything to add another notch to my list! (Strangely enough, though, sometimes those kiddie coasters can pack quite a punch. Check out the High Speed Thrill Coaster at Knoebel's if you don't believe me.)

Anonymous 7:00 PM  

@Pete M:
Love your Sun crossword blog. However, disagree about Hobbits and orcs. The hobbits, other than those you cite, referred to them as Goblins and had numerous encounters.

Tom Bombadil, who is still mad about being left out of the movie.

Joon 7:23 PM  

david of ca: your brain wasn't making it up.

fergus 7:23 PM  

Wasn't Saul Bellow also from Montreal? May the demotion continue, poor Trek-addled Crosscan.

This level of difficulty assessment seems like it's getting a high level of statistical significance -- at least among this crowd. But maybe this is a very peculiarly self-selected crowd, rendering the sample's judgment moot?

CAL always seems so old-fashioned to me. I don't think I've ever used it, save for referring to sports teams. I wonder if the term has become more in vogue among the younger alumni?

I like not seeing any (abbrv.) in the Clue section, and very much liked the look of the grid. That's the hard part, so well done Mr. Whitestone.

Michael 7:24 PM  

Monday-level easy. Why?

Z.J. Mugildny 7:42 PM  

@joon

I do that remember that puzzle now :)

Catherine K 8:06 PM  

Rex, thank you for introducing me to Los Campesinos. Crazy happy fun!

Bill from NJ 8:07 PM  

Been a confusing week, hasn't it?

It is my opinion that Will may think twice before setting up artificial constraints on some other group of constructors. The discussion of "what a teen knows and when he knew it" is, for the most part moot, because of all the word lists and software available to constructors these days.

I was a part of that argument and I don't know what side I am coming down on as the commenters here have been all over all sides of this discussion.

I don't know what sub-group we, as members of this particular crossword community, represent but I can say this: the erudition here is vast.

mac 8:49 PM  

@bill from nj: I'm not sure how I feel about this tween week, but I rate puzzles as they come along, and today's puzzle was a Monday/Tuesday with lots of sophistication and pizzazz, no matter what age of the constructor.

@green mantis: hope you are going to be at the Alameda(?) championship. Email me about Feb in NY! Let's make it happen!

mac 8:50 PM  

P.S. I want you West Coasters to know that many of us check out "yesterday's comments" first thing in the morning, so your contribution definitely gets noticed!

andrea carla michaels 8:59 PM  

Very straightforward cluing, yes, "like a Monday" (did I note a bit of disparagement there?!) ;)

I thought a nice variation and a step up from there just being a phrase that simply ended with PEACE, CHILD, BEAUTY, CIRCLE...

This puzzle has a very tricky construction bec the letters had to be in those long phrases IN ORDER, be colorful, and actually be "in the language" (unlike, say, ANNOYCONSTANTLY, from yesterday) and then to get INNER as the last word!!!!!!

Perhaps to make it more challenging it simply could have "become" a Wed by leaving out the "Private" definition and have people have to figure out what could precede those four words...
or even what they have in common.
For me, that would have been nigh impossible!

After two, I was thinking "oooh PEACE CHILD! What is this going to be about?" and then BEAUTY CIRCLE?!!
I honestly don't know if I could have figured out what these four words had in common, so I say bravo!!!!!!!

I think this is an example where the pulling off of something wildly difficult PLUS a really nice clean construction is almost taken for granted, and unnoticed by many folks esp after the preceding two that were very unky-clunky.

(On the other hand,as a solver, the enjoyment should maybe be totally irrelevant to noticing the construction, right? It would be akin to the show-off film directors and swirling camera shots that have nothing to do with the film...
worst offender of that, "Bonfire of the Vanities", I think)

The only thing I would have tried to get the boy to clear out was having UP 3 times (BEAM ME UP, POPUP and ICEUP)
But I was very "UP" on this puzzle in general.

@joho
Have I become that bad? No, don't know him, tho if I were computer- adept, I'd include the link to Christopher Walken's great scene in "Annie Hall" (perhaps his debut?) where he wants to drive into the lights of oncoming traffic...the look and eyebrows on Woody's face can never be erased!
ohmygod, I found it...even without Puzzle Girl!
Here it is on YouTUbe!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGPcSd7DDLk

joho 9:44 PM  

@andrea: no you haven't become that bad. You have have just been in the right place at the right time to meet many famous people.

The comment you made that the enjoyment of solving a puzzle is irrelevant to the construction of the puzzle is right on.

While you and Rex and others notice those things, I know that I love solving the puzzles "clunky" or not. Each one has something to offer ... obviously some more than others. Whether teen or veteran generated, I find the NYT puzzles to be worthy.

mac 9:59 PM  

@andrea and joho: I think that, after doing the nyt xword puzzle for some years, you just know when it works, runs easily, feels good, and it has very little to do with the wide range of clues/answers or the age of the constructor. Today's puzzle was just of a quality that the Monday and Tuesday puzzle didn't reach. I try to analyze the puzzles, look at the symmetry, consistency etc., but at the end of the day it's the WORDS that are most important.

Howard B 10:11 PM  

Re: 43D -
For what it's worth, "squishy" is one of my all-time favorite words. Just say it out loud a few times.
Replace it when you sing along to the radio and forget the lyrics.
Use it as a catch-all adjective, adverbalize it (squishily), etc.

physsciteacher 10:28 PM  

My INNER CHILD is thrilled. My best Wednesday ever (under 8 minutes). Yes it was more of a Monday but had a smile on my face the whole time I was solving it. Very smooth and enjoyable - it flowed.

My only quibble as a science teacher is that "standard degress for scientists" is the CELSIUS SCALE. The CENTIGRADE scale has been pretty much out of favor due to the fact that it cannnot measure the freezing point of water with the same accuracy as CELSIUS (which is based on the KELVIN scale (minus 273.15).

Badir 10:48 PM  

It's pretty funny--apparently I'm suddenly getting really good at Wednesday puzzles. This is the third week in a row that I've set a Wednesday record. Okay, I'm getting better at crosswords, but not that much better on the other days. Like today, I was faster than yesterday. Viva la Wednesday!

Omnie 12:11 AM  

Nothing to add that hasn't all ready been said. Very easy Wednesday. I barely broke a sweat on any of the clues.

Anonymous 1:45 AM  

Scientists do not use Celsius or Centigrade. We use Kelvin.

william e emba 10:13 AM  

Yes, the CENTRIGRADE SCALE is obsolete among scientists, and the Kelvin scale is now the standard. However, the Celsius scale is definitely used and has official scientific sanction.

One bit of trivia is that "degrees Kelvin" is also obsolete. Official SI temperature is the (big-K) Kelvin scale, with temperatures measured in (little-k) kelvins, symbol K.

(Any constructors reading this, that means that the clue "Scientific degree?" for Kelvin is obsolete.)

More interesting is that "Easy catch for an infielder" is, if not actually incorrect, is highly misleading. A lot of POPUPs are in fact easy, but many of them are extremely difficult. The horizontal component of motion is small enough that unusual spin effects can occur and totally fool an infielder making what he thinks is a routine catch.

The August 2008 issue of American Journal of Physics contains an article, "Paradoxical pop-ups: Why are they difficult to catch?" that explains this in detail. From the article:

“Pop-ups look easy to anyone who hasn't tried to catch one—like a routine fly ball that you don't have to run for,” Clete Boyer said, “but they are difficult to judge and can really make you look like an idiot.” Boyer, a veteran of 16 years in the major leagues, was considered one of the best defensive infielders in baseball.

The article goes into great detail about just why popups can be so difficult. The authors also confirmed their model with several experienced infielders.

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

Definitely a Monday puzzle -- finished it without cheating...

embien 6:31 PM  

5wkslater (syndicationland):

I've seen the "cowbell" clip before, but the Large Hadron Rap clip link reminds me once again what a pleasure it is to read this blog everyday.

Anonymous 8:53 PM  

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
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