ARCHAIC IRISH SCRIPT - SUNDAY, Oct. 12, 2008 - Rich Norris (Reagan adviser Nofziger / Lepidopterous movie monster / Fictional clue sniffer)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Change of Heart" - familiar three-word phrases where the middle word has been anagrammed to create a wacky phrase, which is "?"-clued


This one was slightly hard to get rolling - I was looking for a cardiac theme, or maybe the letters h, e, a, r and t. First theme answer would not come, as I do not associate the phrase "low-budget films" with INDIES. Plenty of "INDIES" these days have sizable budgets, and "low-budget" implies "cheap" or "cheap-looking" to me - I was looking for something like B-MOVIE. Anyway, I stumbled into the theme at the next theme answer, but still didn't know if STAR, or a different word each time, was going to be rearranged in the puzzle's middle. Minutes later I'd know the answer. The theme clues could be quite ornate or complex, and so knowing the theme didn't mean that you could roll through them. Is there such thing as "DUTCH STEW"? Sounds odd / unappetizing. IN COOL PARENTIS makes no sense, though it's a great idea - I just like any occurrence of the word "beatnik." The most creative of the theme answers, to my ear, is ONE THING STAND. It's just so sad.

[note: I understand that the original phrase on IN COOL PARENTIS is in loco parentis - my point is that the other theme answers make sense (however absurdly) at a literal level, whereas this one does not. At all. COOL is not Latin, so you're left with nonsense]

Theme answers:

  • 23A: Low-budget films about hearty European meals? (Dutch STEW Indies)
  • 33A: Where hermit painters retire? (Lone ARTS State)
  • 42A: Biography of Odin? (shaggy GOD story)
  • 69A: Place to go for kitchenware? (General POTS Office)
  • 95A: How beatniks raise kids? (in COOL parentis)
  • 103A: Étagère with a single tiny shelf? (one THING stand)
  • 116A: Where citrus trees grow in small groups? (Three LIME Island)
Two completely new words / phrases for me today. First, OGHAM (103D: Archaic Irish script). Inscriptions in this script can apparently be found on stone monuments around Ireland and Britain. Also called the "tree alphabet," as the letters seem to have the names of various trees. Silly druids. If you like trees, so much, why don't you move to MAPLE GROVE (38D: City NW of Minneapolis) (the other answer in this puzzle I didn't know). Best Segue Ever!

Your crosswordese parade (in case you needed brushing up):
  • OSAGE (96D: Missouri feeder) - it's everywhere lately, as a river, tribe, county, etc.
  • SADE (1D: Nigerian-born singer with five Top 40 hits) - Nigeria's gift to crosswords (along with, to a much lesser extent, LAGOS).
  • AERIE (78D: Raptor's roost) - where the ERNs dwell.
  • ASTA (31D: Fictional clue sniffer) - this one took me a few beats because I don't usually think of ASTA in his detecting capacity.
  • ELI (9D: Skull and Bones meeting attendee) - "Skull and Bones" sounds ominous. "Attendee," not so much.
  • ELAND (105D: Kenyan grazer) - it's been a while since I've seen this guy, but he is one of those antelope you need to know (see also ORIBI and ORYX).
  • KFC (4D: "Original or crispy" offerer) - first of all, isn't it "Extra Crispy" that is offered by the offerer in question? Second, while the general economy spirals downward, and while my local economy sinks comfortably into decay, I would like to point out that local KFCs are getting face lifts that make them look like mini-palaces. We couldn't support a "Hooters," so I guess we gotta doll up the KFCs to make sure they don't go under too.
  • TROI (88A: Picard's counselor on "Star Trek: T.N.G.") - I have a certain fondness for these words and names that get caught in the xword net, never to escape. Thousands of people who have never seen one episode of "Star Trek: T.N.G." know enough to enter TROI reflexively whenever they see the word "Counselor" mentioned in a fictional context.
The Rest:
  • 22A: Georges who wrote: "Life: A User's Manual" (Perec) - OK, so there were three answers I'd never heard of.
  • 29A: Organ repair sites, briefly (ORs) - what an odd way to think of the O.R. Here is the best use of "O.R." in movie dialogue. Ever. (video starts out wonky, but resolves)
  • 32A: Hip-hop's _____ Kim (Lil') - She's featured on this video. Tender sensibilities will not want to click this.
  • 36A: "Impossible" response to the question "Are you sleeping?" ("I am") - the quotation marks around "impossible" are weird. Is someone being quoted? Are you suggesting that people just say it's "impossible," but it's really not?
  • 55A: Bones that support tibiae (tali) - a good anatomical xword word.
  • 62A: Eva's half-sister? (Zsa) - your clue better be cute if you're going to try to convince me that ZSA is a stand-alone answer.
  • 10D: Rapper with a professional title (Dr. Dre) - HA ha. He's ... not a medical doctor. Or a Ph.D., as far as I know.
  • 76A: Hardware fastener (T-nut) - more common xwordiness. All kind of alphabet answer in xword land - beams, bombs, and stars get lettered up a lot.
  • 121A: Richards : Moore :: Grant : _____ (Asner) - god I love "MTM," but mainly for Betty White, who is my biggest sitcom / "Match Game" love of all time.
  • 2D: Grade elevator (plus) - I assign these every semester and still hesitated at this clue.
  • 15D: Place to find a long-term companion, maybe (pet store) - no no no. The pound, or maybe a reputable breeder. Pet stores ... ugh, I should stop here.
  • 33D: California city where A & W root beer was born (Lodi) - O man, I love it when obscure little towns from the Central Valley (where I grew up) show up in the crossword. Oh, and I love root beer, so this clue's a twofer.
  • 40D: Lepidopterous movie monster (Mothra) - mmmm, special effects:
  • 35D: Chicago journalist Mike (Royko) - that's a great name for the grid - you got your rarely seen "YKO" combo. Nice.
  • 47D: 13-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop (Ozzie Smith) - another amazing entry to the grid. One "Z" was enough to tip me off on the answer here.
  • 56D: Something very tough (a bear) - this phrase, with the indefinite article, is superhard to clue well. Insofar as you can swap out these phrases, I suppose this works.
  • 60D: Ceylon's capital? (soft C) - A letteral clue - I like these. They keep you on your toes.
  • 71D: Banker's worry (panic) - timely!
  • 93D: Subject of a 2004 F.D.A. dietary supplement ban (ephedra) - whoa, haven't seen this answer before. Nice.
  • 120D: Reagan adviser Nofziger (Lyn) - Knew this! Wrote in LEN! Hurray. Hey, what's TEPEA? (124A: Hardly laid-back - TYPE-A).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS I have added Matt Gaffney's "Weekly Crossword Contest" to my sidebar, under "Crossword Links." I think many of you might enjoy it.

61 comments:

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

I'm kinda confused about the title of this puzzle- "Change of Heart." Wouldn't "Change of Earth" be more appropriate?

Spencer 9:24 AM  

Anon -- the "heart" (middle word) of the phrase is changed by rearranging the letters.

Rex -- Although, I, too, put in "YES" for 36A, the real answer (as shown in your grid) is I AM.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Cheryl Tiegs again, sigh..

91.Numbers, at times= DENTISTS

??? Do not get.

HudsonHawk 9:37 AM  

No hiccups, but I didn't love this puzzle. Cheryl TIEGS is making quite the comeback, and of course, she appeared right next to the ever popular OSAGE.

It seems to me that ROYKO should be clued as the "late" Chicago journalist.

I did enjoy seeing OZZIE SMITH making the puZZle. Total gimme, as Whitey Herzog's straight-up trade of Garry Templeton for Ozzie was the steal of the early '80s in baseball.

I did like anon's idea of "Change of Earth", but I think that would have gone right over my head for awhile.

Number, as in one that numbs.

ArtLvr 9:39 AM  

@ anon -- NUMBERS as those who NUMB the nerves, groan!

∑;)

ArtLvr 10:01 AM  

re SCOTFREE -- As one born a Campbell, I want to point out that the phrase doesn't imply that Scots people are getting away with anything (cf Ulrich's notes on "Teutons"). A "scot" was money owed, so anybody whose debt or penalty was waived could get off scot-free!

Etymology: Middle English, from Old Norse skot; shot, contribution —more at SHOT
Date: 14th century
: money assessed or paid

∑;)

OK, I get "Change of Earth" idea. Whew. And my last fill was that pesky TYPEA in the SE.

Rex Parker 10:34 AM  

Not that anyone ever listens, but corrections can / should be sent to me by email: rexparker@mac.com.

Thanks you,
RP

Rex Parker 10:35 AM  

That's "Thanks Yous"

rp

chefbea1 10:46 AM  

Took me forever to understand the theme and even then took a while to finnish with lots of googling.

We'll have to wait for Mac to tell us about Dutch stew.

Loved 69 across - I use pots and my husband works for the post office.

Everyone: note the recipes in the magazine that has the largest circulation!!

Also the recipe in the new york times magazine Yummm

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

No comment on both Lil Kim and Dr Dre in the same puzzle?

Joon 11:27 AM  

rex, we've had discussions of georges PEREC several times around here... haven't we? maybe it was over at orange's or jim's.

aha, google backs me up on this. a month ago, in alex boisvert's TALKLIKEAPIRATE puzzle, a clue was [What the 1939 50,000-word novel "Gadsby" completely lacks]. (answer: AN E.) this led naturally into a discussion of PEREC and his "la disparation," which contains no E either. (this is, if anything, even harder in french than in english. its similarly E-less translation into english is called "a void," since "the disappearance" triply fails to work.)

the book clued today, "life: a user's manual," is likewise built around artificial constraints: it describes the residents of a paris building whose apartments are arranged in a 10x10 grid. the narrative then proceeds to follow one room after another according to a knight's tour. it sounds ridiculously cool. a friend of mine tried to read it this summer. not sure how far he got.

treedweller 11:48 AM  

Another miss for me. PEREC and CAB/BDAY/CAPO got me. I still can't think of CAPO as anything but a guitar accessory. Is this because I never watch The Sopranos, the Godfather, or any of those glorify-the-mob media? I dunno, but if some constructor has a sick need to make me, personally, fail to complete a puzzle, just stick CAPO in there. I also never heard of OGHAM, but I think I may have finally figured out MEDEA for that last letter. Most of my delay in that corner came from reflexively entering okapi instead of ELAND.

I also struggled with GAME/MOW and DUTCHSTEWINDIES because I couldn't let go of "lop." "Step" was clearly wrong, but I was not getting why. It didn't help that I was almost done with the whole puzzle (well, notwithstanding the gaps and mistakes) before finally grokking the theme (despite having a couple of the theme entries).

Once again, my big problem was trying to solve late at night. I felt pretty peppy when I started, but now it all seems so hazy, I must have been slightly adoze. I finally accepted ONETHINGSTAND, but I didn't figure out the source phrase until just now. Plus, I have many single shelves with multiple things on them.

So I didn't really enjoy this much. I still don't like the theme. But it's probably safe to say my displeasure is mostly sour grapes.

Ulrich 11:49 AM  

I did not enjoy this puzzle much. I got the theme early, but couldn't warm to the theme answers, especially not the dreaded 95A. In addition, I found this one harder than yesterday's puzzle and needed a super-human act of will to complete this w/o googling, which I managed to do, but never filled in square 114--going through the alphabet, I missed "b". All in all, it was a not very pleasant slog for me.

BTW "ach" clued as "German beef" is really pushing it (here we go again). Yes, the exclamation "ach" can be used as a noun, and there is a tiny intersection of meaning, where complaint merges with annoyance. But would speakers of English really know this? My guess is, they get it through crosses, as I did.

Noam D. Elkies 11:58 AM  

The neat thing about 23A:DUTCHSTEWINDIES is that it also changes the meaning of the last word. 95A:INCOOLPARENTIS is cute in a loco kind of way. The other theme entries felt ho-hum, perhaps because the anagrams were so standard.

I liked the clues for 36A:IAM, 62A:ZSA, 112A:CAB (grudgingly), 73D:BEEP (especially), and 79D:TRYST. Wanted "pot roast" for 58A:RIBROAST (why is that specifically a family dish?), "papa" for the much better 112D:CAPO (also a guitar accessory), and "Circe" or "siren" for 125A:MEDEA. As with 9D:ELI, the clue for 16D:AROMA seemed ominous at first... 25D:NONET could also be clued acrobatically; I think I've seen more nonets in crosswords than heard them in concert. (Did Luigi Nono ever write a nonet? Would I want to hear it if he did?)

Dunno why the clue for 50A:IMPLY needs a "?", nor why the clue for 85A:EMER has "Abbr." (since the presence of an abbreviation in the clue E.R. is usually enough). Do people really refer to Iwo Jima as 119D:IWO?

33D:LODI, 34D:ORSER -- two unfamiliar names too close for solving comfort. 37D:AHMAD, 107D:TIEGS, and the more respectable 123:OWEN Wister, also unknown but sufficiently isolated (and the clue for 37D at least suggests an Arabic name).

A three-day weekend by any other name would be as swell,
--NDE

JoefromMtVernon 12:36 PM  

Sorry, this was not an enjoyable puzzle. It took me a while... I thought (like Rex) the theme was to switch the letters of heart around, but my thick little brain stuck with it until shaggy god story. Odin shaggy? I guess I should read the book.
Was about to put in yes too, but caught is it i, so that trap was sidestepped.

Had trouble in 6-7-8 D region, because all I considered were East Indies, not West.

And (sigh) again tiegs. Did she marry a crossword constructor? Then, of course, it crosses with the annoying fill of e-something (today e-mag, tomorrow e-zine, next day e-tiegs). Please e-nough!

Sorry to be so grumpy..at least my second favorite monster (after Godzilla) made it today.

Joe

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

I believe the the capitol of Ceylon was Columbo..that would be a hard C. Too bad there couldn't haer been some play between the two capita/ols

bill from fl 12:43 PM  

I loved the theme answers, especially IN COOL PARENTIS. And the grouping of EZIO, ZSA, and OZZIE was really clever. The rest of the puzzle put an unusually high premium on the solver's familiarity with forms of misdirection in cluing, like SOFTC for Capital of Ceylon and DENTISTS for Numbers. Like others, I thought the SE was toughest.

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

Would someone please explain One Thing Stand?

Paul 1:11 PM  

Anyone else notice that "oarsmen" was an answer today in both the Sunday crossword and the double crostic?

Doug 1:18 PM  

@anon, THING is an anagram of NIGHT so it fits the goofy theme. An etagere is an old style shelving unit, so a small etagere holds just one thing.

Did not get into the theme at all, not my cup of tea at all and the discovery was ho-hum. Some clever, clever clues which are always nice. Really liked the links back to the 70s shows--Match Game!

joho 1:28 PM  

@anon 1:10, ONE NIGHT STAND.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Thank you for explaining One Thing Stand. Now, of course, it seems obvious!

Ghazala Khan 1:35 PM  

You may also like to try out this new puzzle Suduro which is a fun, elegant new variation on Sudoku, combining the challenges of Sudoku and Kakuro puzzles. I loved it and recommend it thoroughly. You may find that site on http://www.suduro.com/

Thanks and regards

joho 1:41 PM  

@doug: much better explanation than I gave

@ulrich: ACH seems a stretch to me, too. Thank you for your ausgezeichnet story. When I took German way back when, this was always my favorite word.

rex: I was also trying to rearrange HEART, getting no pulse. When I did figure it out, I sort of liked this theme ... not one of my faves.

Another great-named antelope is a SASSABY. I once did the advertising for Sassaby, Inc. Anybody here ever carry a Sassaby or perhaps a Caboodles?

Loved the Betty White clip! "If only you weren't so old, American and common" is priceless.

Not so much the L'il Kim clip.

I agree this was medium, hard to get going, not impossible to solve without help, but also not the most fun experience.

Fitzy 1:43 PM  

I noticed that Rex capitalized the "C" in "Counselor"...shouldn't it have been capitalized in the clue as well since this is her rank/title? Don't they often refer to her as "Counselor Troi"?

joho 1:54 PM  

@andrea carla michael: When we came up with Sassaby for a company name it was spurred on by the fact that Reebok is an antelope. Every name we thought of had already been used for what our product actually did. Coming up with a new name that represents what your product is ... that hasn't been done before ... is really hard. I admire what you do. And isn't it fun when you nail it!

Jet City Gambler 2:23 PM  

Recti? Damn near killed I.

miriam b 2:48 PM  

I'm irked because I had to print out both the puzzle and the acrostic today. I don't like AcrossLite. I like to work on puzzles in my little butler's pantry/lair, far from the madding crowd, and armed with some kind of tea (Gunpowder today).

The reason for my curmudgeonly mood (Yes, women can be curmudgeons if sufficiently provoked, IMO.): My NYT carrier failed to deliver the paper yesterday, and today he brought only the sections which normally come on Sunday - so no Book Review, Arts and Leisure, Magazine, or other usual Saturday delivery sections. He did, however, include a self-addressed envelope with the word Gratuity stamped in red on the flap. What chutzpah, cojones, effrontery - pick your favorite. I called the toll-free NUMBER to say ACH, and was not numbed, but was offered an apology and given credit.

Now I've gotta check the recipes. I'd rather do this while sitting at the kitchen table instead of at the computer in my awful anti-ergonomic chair.

End of rant, beginning of miscellany.

A former coworker who was born in Taiwan once asked me to explain why intense, driven people seemed to be associated in the American mind with Taipei. I'm more of a Type B, so I was able to handle this question in a laid-back manner.

My strong vegetarian leanings almost scuttled my ultimate success in solving this puzzle. Pace all you carnivores, the words RIBROAST, when I finally figured that out, literally raised my gorge.

Enough already. I'm off to get those recipes.

Noam D. Elkies 3:07 PM  

Forgot to mention: shouldn't 105D:ELAND be the natural home of e-mags, e-tail, e-tcetera?

NDE

fikink 3:15 PM  

Started with SURGE for 1A and thought the NYT was overcompensating. Then ran into SPARSER which I am convinced was in Rex's subconscious when he blogged yesterday. Agree with you, Rex, about COOL.
@ulrich, I grew up hearing "Ach!" from my grandmother when she thought I was talking rubbish, so the idea that the expression is a "beef" did not ring true to me, either.
Not an enjoyable puzzle for me today, but I find I am struggling through them in order to reward myself with Rex's take and all of your comments.
@NDE: Nice!
Viva la!

joho 3:30 PM  

@andrea carla michaels: talking about naming correctly, sorry about the dropped "s."

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

I always feel guilty about grousing when I have difficulties with a puzzle because maybe I'm just not sharp enough today... should have had more caffeine to assist...

But in addition to the 'ach' problems noted, I really must object to 'a bear'. If we're going to throw an indefinite article in front of the substance of an answer without warning, can't it be clued better? Like a partial, or something? I mean, how many other words in the grid could we then throw an a, an, the, etc in front of?

Anonymous 4:40 PM  

soft C for Ceylon's Capital? Why????

Bill from NJ 4:48 PM  

@anon4:40-

Because Ceylon starts with a capital C and that C is pronounced soft

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

Thnaks!!

Ladel 4:59 PM  

@All

anybody know how to get out of or stop one of Rex' videos without leaving the site? When I stop one I'm always redirected back to the last page I was viewing. Many thanks.

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

To anonymous at 9:34

Teeth are identified by numbers(1-32)..

shel from montclair

chefbea1 5:32 PM  

@anonymice..its been explained earlier. Its number (don't pronounce the b). A dentist numbs you before he drills.

joho 6:05 PM  

@bill from nj: so nice to hear from you. Best wishes.

Tom in Iowa 6:19 PM  

I too wanted DUTCH east INDIES.

Growing up in the bay area, we used to sing "Oh lord, stuck in LODI - again" when we drove through going to the sierras (a song from that El Cerrito High rock band). We never stopped for the root beer. Winemaking is a big business there nowadays.

My wife knew OGHAM. That was helpful.

mac 6:24 PM  

There is no such thing as a Dutch stew. There is Irish Stew, but NO Dutch one. We cook things separately, not a lot of ingredients in one pot. We may mash the potatoes into the vegetable afterward.

Since I'm talking food, and just looked at the recipe for MAC and cheese pancakes, it is very often a good idea to beat some eggs and stir them into heating leftovers. It's great with lots of Chinese dishes, but also vegetables.

I grumbled around this puzzle until I finally figured the trick in "one thing stand" which to me is also the best one, with in cool parentis in second place.

Was surprised when Ach showed up, I find it farfetched. I had some problems in that quarter anyway, since I didn't know Mothra and "a bear" is odd. Put me with the people who never watch(ed) Startrek but I can still come up with some of the names in Xwords.

I liked some of the words, though. Ephedra, gateleg, barsoap and
earful seem fresh to me.

@treedweller: what in the world is "grokking"? Are we all creating words now, a la Rex's sparsing?

steve l 6:40 PM  

@mac--Grokking comes from Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. It is a work of science fiction, so new words must, of course, be used for ordinary things. Although the book made a subtle distinction (I think; I read it easily 35 years ago), "grokking" basically means to get, to understand, to figure out.

steve l 6:42 PM  

From Wikipedia:

From the novel:
“ Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthly assumptions) as color means to a blind man. ”

Michael 6:54 PM  

I worked my way through this one slowly, hindered by not knowing what an etager was. I think one thing that made this puzzle a bit hard for a Sunday is that the anagrams in the heart of theme answers are of different lengths.

I ended up with one mistake. I didn't remember Mothra and guessed that a German beef might be an ace (from war movies), but that really didn't seem right to me (and wasn't).

Good to hear from Bill from NJ again!

Michael 7:06 PM  

@ Paul 1:11 Please don't say anything about the double-crostic in the future. I finished this puzzle, came to the blog, and was unhappy to see a spoiler for a puzzle I would do later.

thanks!

miriam b 7:35 PM  

@michael 7:06 PM: This is not a spoiler! I know you'll love that acrostic. I consider it one of the best I've ever solved - for many reasons. Enjoy - and please let me know whether you agree with my assessment.

treedweller 7:58 PM  

@Steve I
When you put it that way, maybe I should have chosen a different word. I finally figured out the theme, but I don't think I ever became one with it.

Anonymous 8:32 PM  

I had trouble with Numbers, too, but I guess it's about the word "numb", as in anesthesia.

Noam D. Elkies 8:51 PM  

Re:peated words -- likewise, last week B.Walden's main crossword and R.Silvestri's cryptic shared an answer, 38D and 4D respectively (albeit with 38D being plural and clued for a different meaning). I hope this note is, er, cryptic enough not to spoil either puzzle for anybody who hasn't solved it yet and intends to...

NDE

Anonymous 8:58 PM  

@ladel

Try hitting the refresh button.

This should put you back to the same spot onthe page, but without the video running.

(At least in IE).

.../Glitch

Michael 9:16 PM  

@miriam b 7:35 Thanks for encouraging me to do the crostic. It was an enjoyable, clever puzzle (which I did while watching my team -- the Phillies -- get mashed by the Dodgers in the first couple of innings).

fergus 9:21 PM  

Never really got into this one, even though I got the anagram thing before too long. I liked having PRE-OWNED without nay adornment in the CLUE.

I had THREE MILE COLONY, which led to all sorts of mischief, including DEN LIONS for the Numbers, at times. Nonsense, I know, but fitting nonsense.

Geometricus 9:37 PM  

Boy, am I embarassed at how long it took me to get 38D -- because I live NW of Minneapolis. I drive through MAPLE GROVE just about 3 times a month if not weekly. I guess this is a manifestation of the "Too Close to Home" syndrome, when you can't get the clue that is in your area of expertise. For example, I am a math teacher, and a clue like "Geometry thing" drives me crazy. I simply know too many words that would not occur to the average "cluer" and hence cannot see the clue from an outsider's perspective, hence I usually have to wait to get some crosses before I can even guess.

Incidentally, I came here looking to make sense of DENTISTS as "numbers". Thanks for the forum, Rex.

foodie 10:56 PM  

Trying to figure out the rules of abbreviations is like... trying to nail Jello to the wall...

I saw "City NW of Minneapolis", and thought the answer must be abbreviated, and given how long it was, figured it had to start with ST or MT (which works with the answer to the cross "Are You Sleeping" being either YES or I AM). Anyhow went with MT PLEASANT, which worked with a bunch of answers, but of course messed up plenty more... There is a Mt Pleasant in my state of MI, but apparently not NW of Minneapolis... Oh well.

Even SPARSER, a cousin of le mot d'hier, was problematic. I had SMARTER (less dense), and densely did not let go for a while since MEREC still sounds better to me than PEREC.

And so on...

I did get the theme in a Eureka moment, but found the whole process rather tortured.

Ladel 11:00 PM  

@anon
8:58

worked like a charm even with Vista, many thanks for checking in.

Anonymous 11:03 PM  

Wow this one was tough in places, and even after I understood the gist of the theme I still didn't see what it had to do with "change of heart".

SE last to fall as I wouldn't let go of V-DAY.

I also had trouble with a bear, mothra, perec, and all kinds of other little small areas all over the grid.
Getting envs. unlocked a major mind jam and helped me finish.

I don't like it when figuring out the theme doesn't help you get the other theme answers. That made this Sunday puzzle a shade too hard for my liking, but OTOH the Acrostic was super easy.

So, who is going to start the ACROSTIC BLOG?
Rex? Rex? Do you do them?
:-)

Orange 11:56 PM  

I knew a guy in college who was from Maple Grove. He had one of those Danish last names that ends with -sen (the Norwegians and Swedes don't swing that way), and was the first person to explain that Scandinavian surname spelling difference. He was baby-faced and blond and dimpled, and if I were Wade, I'd have a much better story. I can't believe Seth and Andrea haven't chimed in to talk smack about Maple Grove.

william e emba 10:30 AM  

Not only was I thrown by thinking of DUTCH East INDIES, its heart happens to anagram to fit the clue! First I tried Eats, and after I gave up on that, I tried Sate.

I was happy to have known what an etagere was. I'm pretty certain it's because I picked the word up from crosswords so many years ago, and of my several unabridged dictionaries, the Random-House has a picture of one, so every time I flip past it, it gets reinforced.

Mike the Wino 12:10 PM  

This was tough for me to get into. Didn't finish until midway through the Seahacks/Packers game.

I like my buddy's explanation for Dentists as Numbers: "Four out of five dentists prefer (gum) for their patients...", but the numbing thing makes more sense!

John in Colorado 12:19 PM  

My first guess for city NW of Mpls was Saint Cloud, since it really is a city. Crosses quickly eliminated that, and eventually pointed to Maple Grove, which is more a suburb than a city. Maple Grove has been devastated by the housing crisis; developments geared to Mpls commuters have stopped in their tracks. Enjoyed having a locality reference that wasn't from either coast, though.

Tom in Philly 1:33 PM  

Liked the theme concept, hated the execution.

I seem to be the only one who has a problem with "conductor ---Pekka Salonen" crossing with a Nigerian born singer.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP