WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17, 2008 - John Farmer (Sherwood Forest minstrel / "Two cents plain" drink / One of the Gandhis)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Every Good Boy Does Fine - first words in successive theme answers provide the words to this mnemonic for remembering the NOTES on a musical staff (65A: Staff members, and what the circled letters in this puzzle represent)

My first thought was, "this is upside down." I hadn't yet noticed, even after finishing the grid, that the theme involved not just the notes, but the mnemonic "EVERY GOOD BOY DOES FINE." EGBDF - I actually thought to myself that those letters stand for "EVERY GOOD BOY DOES FINE." I just didn't notice at first that those very words were in the grid. I know it seems impossible, but it's true. This is a very clever theme, smoothly executed, but the part about the staff being upside down is oddly distracting. I mean, the theme answers are arranged to replicate the structure of the staff (note, space, note, space, etc.), but when the puzzle is right side up, that visual effect is inaccurate. You have to flip it to make the position of the notes make sense. But if you were to make it accurate, then your puzzle would read FINE DOES BOY GOOD EVERY, which is not better. So the staff is upside-down. The main idea is the menmonic, and that is expressed very elegantly.

Theme answers:

  • 19A: On occasion (EVERY so often)
  • 27A: Yesteryear, nostalgically (GOOD old days)
  • 35A: Order of the Arrow members (BOY scouts)
  • 46A: Makes something better in a big way (DOES wonders) - had the most trouble with this one. I was thinking the answer had something to do with paying restitution; don't ask me why.
  • 54A: Ducky (FINE and dandy)

"I always knew the mnemonic as 'EVERY GOOD BOY ...'" Yes, there are a number of them.

The grid is oddly shaped, with much more horizontal black than I'm used to seeing in the puzzle. This creates a middle that is quite different in texture and consistency from the wide open NW and SE corners, as the puzzle goes from expansive to cramped to expansive again (assuming you work it from the top down). The horizontal black creates lots of little banks of 3-letter Downs (FAA, LYN, USE ... GOO OMY ONS ... etc.), most of which were fairly easy to bang out 1, 2, 3. Now that I look at them, those three-letter high pockets in the middle look like some kind of system of underground caves, or maybe an ant farm. Very cool. If you want to go with a food analogy, they're the nooks and crannies in this Thomas's English muffin of a puzzle. Flavor pockets? Whatever. They were fun to explore.

I should note that I didn't test-solve this puzzle. Didn't have time. The original Wednesday puzzle that was sent to me ended up being DOA - a fatal error in a theme answer! Very sad, as the theme was clever. So this puzzle was a late replacement - and I never got around to it until about 10 minutes before the puzzle came out last night.

I had great luck with my opening gambit - wrote in AWASH (1A: Inundated) right away and then nailed all three of those initial long Downs right off the bat, bam, bam, bam. Getting the top across in any section helps considerably with speed, because you are far more likely to able to knock the Downs out in quick succession with their first (as opposed to their second or fourth) letters in place. Soared through the puzzle without incident, until I stalled briefly around the WON in WONDERS, and then again a few squares lower (didn't know RAJIV - 59A: One of the Gandhis). Would have had serious trouble in the SE, but ALAN-A-DALE (62A: Sherwood Forest minstrel) came to me from somewhere ... the Ghost of Crosswords Past, maybe ... and DAWS was in a recent puzzle and somehow the clue at 64A: "Two cents plain" drink just shouted "some kind of WATER (soda water). Plus CONYERS (45D: House Judiciary Committee chairman John), while not terribly well known, is from Michigan, where I spent some time in the 90s, so his name came quickly enough.

This puzzle is to be admired for its Scrabbly undertones - 2 X's, 2 J's, 2 Z's, a passel of Y's. Nothing gaudy, just a nice spicy aftertaste.

This puzzle is also chock full o' fill that I learned from crosswords, and that I think you should make a special point of knowing if you don't know it already. I already mentioned ALAN-A-DALE. You don't normally see him in full-name force like this, but his "last" name will show up from time to time. Having common letters sometimes trumps legitimate fame. Believe it or not, I learned AMMETER from crosswords (1D: Electric gauge). Again, a mess of common letters. OK, maybe I'd heard / seen the word somewhere before, but I remember very clearly going "huh?" when I wrote it in a while back. Now it's familiar enough that I can write it in with just the initial letter in place. EZIO Pinza (7D: Opera singer Pinza) is one of a host of E-to-O names that you will come across time and again. EERO Saarinen, ENZO Ferrari, etc. Never knew "eel" was a verb until the puzzle; today we get EELED (9A: Caught congers, e.g.). I like EELED today because it looks like a very, very large version of the Across answer that precedes it (look ... wait for it ... see also TINT and TIN back-to-back). Repeat after me: LYN Nofziger, LYN Nofziger, LYN Nofziger (24D: Former White House adviser Nofziger). Nixon/Reagan adviser. LYN is short for "FrankLYN," so he is a he, not a she. AZO dye (60D: _____ dye) is straight-up crosswordese. Know it, love it, live it. Lastly, the entire bank of OBE / UAR / TYS is known to me only because I do crosswords. Although, to be fair, I would now know about the OBE now because of my having recently watched that PBS documentary on the British monarchy. The Queen is faaaaascinating to me. I think the monarchy should be abolished and all the wealth returned whence it was pilfered, but something about that woman is exceedingly compelling to me. I think I actually have a bit of a crush on her. I blame Helen Mirren.

Wrap-up:

  • 16A: They may have a view of a bridge (xrays) - trickery! I take it a "bridge" is something to do with dental work. I'm not old enough to have terrible teeth yet. Soon.
  • 33A: Hyatt alternative (Omni) - also a bygone Dodge.
  • 34A: "A Thousand Acres" novelist Smiley (Jane) - revision of the Lear story. Or so I hear (never read it, never saw it - gave up on her after reading "Moo").
  • 42A: Competitor of uBid (eBay) - really? Competitor? "uBid" sounds like a very sad ripoff. Never heard of it.
  • 53A: Singer/songwriter Aimee (Mann) - ah, LOVE her, as you know. But there is one big problem with 20D: _____ Tuesday (53-Across's pop band). "Pop" should have been replaced with "former" - she hasn't been part of "TIL Tuesday" in 20 years. Here's something from TIL Tuesday:



And now something from Mann, solo:



  • 15D: _____ Tafari (Haile Selassie) - whoa. Never seen RAS Tafari written out. Two separate names ... wow. Good to know.
  • 44D: "Happy Gilmore" star, 1996 (Sandler) - ah, a delicious, mildly embarrassing gimme (never saw it, but know the title well).
  • 49D: Div. for the Mets and Marlins (NL East) - this one was made considerably easier; clue changed from [N.Y., Wash., and Fla. are in it].
  • 39D: Music store stock (CDs) - I would have changed this to GDP. Just a thought.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

55 comments:

Gypsy 8:59 AM  

I was so happy to see ALAN-A-DALE make an appearance. I don't know the original story of Robin Hood, but I'm very familiar with the Disney version. "Robin Hood and Little John were walking through the forest, oo-de-lolly, oo-de-lolly, golly what a day..."

This puzzle also made me realize that I've been spelling MACADAMIA wrong for about 20 years. Macademia nut, anyone? But I knew RAS TAFARI...I live in Trinidad, and there's a pretty sizable Rastafarian community here.

I didn't notice the EVERY GOOD BOY DESERVES FUDGE...I mean, DOES FINE...until reading this blog. I got 65A and then just went and plugged in EGBDF and didn't think any more about it.

And I really, really hate the word STERS. At least the word SPEEDSTERS. And ROADSTERS.

I wish MANN had been clued as Herbie rather than Aimee.

Kurt 9:19 AM  

Rex

I'm more embarrassed than you. While I solved the puzzle with no major issues, I didn't realize that EGBDF was followed by EVERY, GOOD, etc. until I read it in your review. Whoa! I must have had a rougher night than I remember.

Kurt Krauss

joho 9:22 AM  

I didn't remember the mnemonic until I came here and was then instantly impressed with Mr. Farmer's ability to fit it into the puzzle not just with the notes, which I got, but with the actual words ... well done!

I loved the clues at 14A: Entrance and 16A: They may have a view of a bridge because they both threw me off in the most delightful of ways.

A wonderful Wednesday puzzle!

@Doug: I hope you were not on one of those lifts at Whistler!

ArtLvr 9:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
ArtLvr 9:34 AM  

I think we learn the staff lines from bottom up from Middle C, though you usually read from top to bottom, and that's probably why the puzzle feels upside down...

It is also possible to see notes outlined by the small blocks in the middle of the puzzle, the higher one with flag up in DEAFTO, and the lower one with flag going down in NLEAST... and you might add in a whole note in each block at NE and SW. (FINEANDDANDY if you find those a stretch!)

∑;)

aunthattie 9:49 AM  

Fun fun fun--my favorite was entrance, which until I got all but one letter I of course thought was some kind of fancy doorway--I love being tricked like that. And there were several with alternate pronunciations--really liked this one.

mexgirl 9:51 AM  

It is entrAnce, not Entrance...!
Oh boy, I spent hours there trying to find a door (literally) in MESMERIZE.
Fun, fun, fun, clever puzzle.

Thanks Rex for the lessons on "Words you should know from crosswords". I come here every day, not only to be pleasantly entertained (laughed out loud at your crush on the queen), but also to be professionally instructed.

Thanks to all the great comments on this section too!

Alex 9:51 AM  

Being a musical ignoramus not only was I unaware of the mnemonic (and therefore wouldn't possibly have been aware of that aspect of the puzzle without this blog) but I also wouldn't have been able to say that E, G, B, D, F were the notes on a staff. I just had to take the puzzle at its word.

Fortunately that knowledge was pretty much irrelevant to the solving experience for this puzzle. The only rough spot was the JANE/LYN crossing since I'm unfamiliar with either person. Briefly considered JAKE/LYK and JAZE/LYZ. For some reason my brain didn't want to parse LYN as a real name.

JeanSp 10:17 AM  

Rex, A Thousand Acres is very different from Moo. They could have been written from two different people. You might want to try it some time.

And, as a musician, a small nit concerning the discussion of the staff. EGBDF works only for the treble clef. There are other clefs, as well. Most notably the bass clef, but viola music uses a different one and I never could get the hang of it.

Andy 10:29 AM  

Great, great puzzle, and great comments from Rex and everyone else.

Amazing how the quality of the NYT puzzle can go from this, to sometimes just awful. Oh well, that's what keeps it interesting!

Days like this make the daily effort well worth it!

Two Ponies 10:31 AM  

Wonderful Wednesday.
Fun for all the reasons Rex noted. I guessed or figured out a few answers like yuppie flu and soda water. The proper names brought the difficulty level to medium for me, just the way I like my mid-week puzzle served.
Didn't the stacking of Alan-a-Dale look great in the grid beneath Fine and dandy? All of those A's and D's. Great.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

While t would violate the rule of grid symmetry, I really would have like if the black squares resembled a G clef. Seems that's only allowed in diagramless puzzles.

While it certainly would be odd (and no doubt aggravate many people), the top and bottom of the puzzle could have been reversed, resulting in all the "down" clues reading up instead of down. (The puzzle would have to include a warning instruction about that.) Then the EGBDF lines would have appeared as they do on a G Clef staff. Why not?

miguel 10:35 AM  

Here are some long words you can play on your piano. FEEDBAG, ACCEDED, CABBAGE, BAGGAGE, DEFACED, EFFACED, and maybe these are words you can learn...CABBAGED, DEBAGGED, and BAGGAGED. None are harmonious. I think the puzzle is Fine.

treedweller 10:54 AM  

Add me to those who did not see the mnemonic in this--I saw the clue for NOTES, glanced at the circles, filled it in and moved on. I always feel a little guilty when I give these things such short shrift.

But now that I see it, I'm prepared to defend the top-down nature of it. The beauty of a musical score is that those notes repeat over and over. It's true the E-B-G-D-F rule applies to the lines on a treble-clef staff from bottom up, but if you go above that top line, you can pick out another E, then drop down to a high G (not "high G", which probably means some very specific note to certain musicians, but just one higher than the staff), then down to a B, etc. Okay, maybe that's a little weak, but I'm trying here.

I also liked the deceptive pronunciation of "entrance" for MESMERIZE, which is a FINEANDDANDY word to find in a puzzle in its own right.

Never heard of ALAN, but he was very gettable from the crosses.

In the end, a fun puzzle that made me feel good because I rivaled my best Wed. time ever (not sure what that time is--maybe the next step in this obsession will prove to be a log of solving times to track highs, lows, and progress over time. Knowing me, probably not).

@"Happy Gilmore"
I hesitate to recommend this (or any movie) to people I don't know well, but I have to say: As big, dumb comedies go, this was a pretty good one. If you can tolerate some prolific swearing and highly improbable plot twists, it's worth watching just for the fistfight between SANDLER and Bob Barker. You might even learn a hockey (or golf) term.

dk 11:15 AM  

Just a fine Wednesday puzzle.

I was stuck on MESMERIZE for the same reason as @mexgirl and wanted to fit mezzanene (sp?). RAJIV was a stumper until I got JUT and remembered AZO (again I do early week puzzles so I do not forget that kind of stuff... in the words of Yoda: "working it is not."

We had some drink clues a week or two ago and that brought SODAWATER to mind right away. ALANADALE came out of the little gray cells as a memory of the old Robin Hood tv show and/or segment on Walt Disney.

The puzzle diagram looks like staff lines to me and I find Mr. Farmer's contribution to be FINEANDDANDY.

We think it will get above 0 (aka NADA) today. woo woo

Vega 11:19 AM  

This puzzle was just ducky. And I didn't see the mnemonic until I came here because of figuring out the theme and mindlessly filling in the letters. I loved the long-word stacks, and I loved the long words in them. Finally, add me to the chorus of "oh, entrANCE."

You're right: the staff is upside-down! Argh! Now this will drive me to distraction.

ArtLvr, I see the notes! Thank you for that visual-that's so cool.

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Moody Blues, 1971, with "The Story In Your Eyes." Fantastic album.

-Vega

archaeoprof 11:44 AM  

One more who didn't see the mnemonic until I came here.

When I started doing NYT puzzles, I found them all so hard I didn't even notice they got harder through the week! First time I solved one correctly, I put it on the wall above my desk. A co-worker saw it and said, "Monday puzzle? Big deal."

Broke my heart.

@Rex: loved your analogies to an ant farm and English muffin.

Crosscan 11:50 AM  

Liked the puzzle.

Anybody remember Rocket Robin Hood or was that Canadian? It was "animated" in the sense that if you switch between open mouth shot and closed mouth shot over and over movement is implied.

HudsonHawk 11:55 AM  

Nice puzzle for all the reasons Rex and others have mentioned. Like Gypsy, I learned it as ...Deserves Fudge, but I know most of the others too.

Aimee MANN is, of course, awesome. Thanks for the clips, Rex.

I liked that "congers" is in a clue and CONYERS is in the grid. Also liked the crossing of TIN and TIL. Not sure why given it's pretty basic.

Any other members of the Order of the Arrow here? I have a strong recollection of getting tapped out for OA some 30 years ago. And the "Ordeal" truly was an ordeal. Today it would probably be called "Hazing". I could share what WWW stands for, but then I'd have to...

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

You're right, Rex. Everyone remembers their own mnemonic. Mine was "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor."
- Tom in Pittsburgh

Greene 12:41 PM  

Re: yesterday's post. My apologies to one and all. The limerick was intended as a jest about some blog grousing, but ended up sounding more "crankly" than anything that preceded it. My bad.

Add me to the list of those who enjoyed today's puzzle. I locked onto the theme and mnemonic right away, but got fouled up in the SW because I put in LINES instead of NOTES at 65A. Made perfect sense to me as EGBDF correspond to the lines on the standard G clef (as opposed to the spaces). I know, too literal. Didn't help that the last two letters were correct which made me stick with LINES for far too long.

I read in a biography that EZIO Pinza couldn't read a note of music and sang something like 18 different operas entirely from memory. I know you have to perform them from memory, of course, but I can't imagine learning all that music entirely by rote. There is something ironic about Pinza's presence in a puzzle whose theme celebrates musical notation.

FINE AND DANDY is a forgotten Jazz Age musical from 1930 by Kay Swift (one of the first women to write for the Broadway stage). Swift was a very fine composer but is often only mentioned as the woman-George-Gershwin-should-have married in just about every Gershwin biography ever written. The title song from FINE AND DANDY is one of the peppiest and catchiest songs from the first half of the 20th century. I'll wager everybody here actually knows the tune (even without knowing the lyric) since it has served as a trusty standby for magicians for decades.

chefbea 12:52 PM  

An easy fun Wednesday puzzle. After I was almost finnished I saw the circled letters were egbdf and then got 65A notes.

Cold here today. Still some snow on the ground. Time for some Celestial seasionings to warm me up.

dk 12:56 PM  

@hudsonhawk, made it to Life Scout and discovered fast times and fast women (high school girlfriend had a VETTE) so the order of the arrow got lost in the quivering.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

I realize the notes on a staff read one way, and the notes in the crossword the other. For that reason, I tried to scale it back so the grid looked less like a staff (as I mentioned to Jim Horne).

If, however, the grid still looks upside down to you, remember what MOMA did with Matisse's "Le Bateau." You can then consider this my homage to the great David Kahn.

- john farmer

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Too quick on the button:

Thank you for the many comments!

Happy holidays to you all.

- john (again)

Bob Kerfuffle 1:18 PM  

Brilliant puzzle. Since I was brought up on "Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit" I failed to notice that the whole words of Rex's mnemonic were used.

@Anonymous 10:32 - The grid doesn't always have to be regular. There was, for example, the "LIES" puzzle of about six months ago (someone else might have the exact date).

@Hudson Hawk and dk - I never got above First Class, but I was a Vigil Member of the OA, one who knows all the secrets. One of the secrets is that there are no secrets - according to the book, all ceremonies are open to parents and other interested parties, and nothing that is done these days could really be considered hazing.

HudsonHawk 1:24 PM  

@dk, also Life Scout and was similarly sidetracked at that point (much to my mother's chagrin). Good times.

@BobK, I figured as much.

Chip Hilton 1:24 PM  

Lovely puzzle with some great clues. I love being thrown by alternate pronunciations.

Like others, I got NOTES from the circled letters and totally failed to see the mnemonic until Rex clued me in. Strength in numbers soothes the wounds.

Well done, Mr. Farmer!

Nebraska Doug 2:01 PM  

Add me to the list of people who got stuck on "entrAnce, not Entrance...!" The first Wednesday puzzle I gave up on and did not finish in a long time. Otherwise fairly easy, except the SW where I had to make a couple of educated guesses that worked our right. RAJIV is a new one to me.

foodie 2:06 PM  

Great puzzle, which I would not have fully appreciated if it weren't for this blog, because I too missed the fact that the mnemonic was actually spelled out. May be the clue for 65A could have given us a bit more of a hint?

I think one thing that was interesting about this pattern is that there were stacks of intermediate length words (9-mers, to use DNA terminology), along with several 11-mers and 12-mers. Is this not rare? My impression is that in most puzzles, you get 4-5mers and then a few long answers... I'm sure there are stats to this effect, but it made for a unique solving experience.

I did not get to yesterday's puzzle till the middle of the night last night. Made me smile to see BAGEL, because my 17mo old granddaughter who lives in NYC goes around asking for bagel-bagel and pickle-pickle-- only from the best delis of course... A foodie in the making!

jeff in chicago 2:20 PM  

Quite enjoyable. Well done, John. I'm not one to notice grids much, but this one jumped out. Those big blocks of letters in the NW and SE were intimidating at first, but things fell easily for me. The A in the middle of ALANADALE was my last letter. Considered O'DALE, but it felt too Irish. DAWS also just felt better than DOWS.

I learned "...Deserves Favor" whil taking piano lessons. And that Moody Blues album is a favorite of mine as well, Vega.

Deserves fruit? And fudge? I think those are better. Get your kid to practice with promises of treats. I like it! HA!

Oh...and I made it to Webelos before leaving the scouts. Never an official Boy Scout. Those Cub Scout days were fun, though...

andrea carla michaels 2:41 PM  

@john
Great puzzle. When I first finished I thought, EGBDF, that's it? You got away with just five circled letters + NOTES for a whole theme????!!!! A
nd then noticed the first words and was super impressed.
(And it was the mnemonic I learned and only one I thought existed till I saw the Stoppard play)

I've always wanted to write a book on mnemonics for 5th graders called "How to Remember Shit"
(am I allowed to write that?)
but it's odd that every good boy has his own...

Saw Quincy Jones in conversation last night "from Bebop to Hiphop" who was super super inspiring. And one thing he kept saying
(to young musicians) was learn EVERY style of music, know what came before you...study it all;

"There are only twelve notes and there ain't gonna be a thirteenth any time soon!"

Catherine K 2:55 PM  

For awhile I thought there was something theme-y about the fact that the long answers had two-in-a-row letters: EVERYSOOFTEN has two Os; GOODOLDDAYS has two os and two ds; FINEANDDANDY has two ds. And having never heard of ALANADALE, once I got it from crosses I thought it looked like an almost palindrome!

I was stumped in the SW corner. Never heard of Rajiv. Couldn't get JUT, even though I went through the different pronunciations of "Project", and the various meanings. I couldn't think of anything else that could project other that someone's voice.

Also, what is AZO dye? Never heard of it.

I laughed out loud when I read 9A "Caught congers". I said aloud, all alone in my room, "Those are eels!" Something I knew Only because of doing the NYT puzzles!

Awesome puzzle.

steve l 3:02 PM  

@CatherineK--There's a town about 10 miles from home called Congers. (Rockland County, NY) Who knew? Eels?

rafaelthatmf 3:08 PM  

This puzzle has the extra twist in the clues/answers that provides transcendence. Not just the notes but the mnemonic as well! I thought it perfect ‘til RP et al have informed that it is somehow upside-down (nada musically) and maybe not universally accurate – I still like the crap out of this puzzle. Good curveballs and some unknowns (had Alan O Dale ‘til I got here) and the standard fill somehow brought some zing – I likey.
I had no time for the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts called it earning Merit Badges; we called it hanging out. We went camping to get away from our parents and smoke stolen cigarettes; they went camping to hang out with adults and do good deeds. They always seemed just too – well – Boy Scouty. My uncle made Eagle Scout and that really sealed the deal for me. What a putz.

mac 3:18 PM  

A wonderful Wednesday! I loved quite a few clues and answers but I also inserted an E in the nut, and for a while had "Sharp" for Natty. HAha. Just had x-rays at the dentist's this morning, but no bridge, thank goodness.

What's azo dye? Or is it AZO dye? Found another big hole in my general knowledge, I had never heard of the mnemonic.... Got the notes, and, like Andrea C., thought "that's it?". I think Greene has a great point, I don't think Ezio would be almost in the middle, in the top of the puzzle, if his not being able to read notes was not part of the theme. Mr. Farmer?

@Rex: Give Jane Smiley another chance; "A Thousand Acres" was a lot better than "Moo".

andrea carla michaels 3:26 PM  

@mac
we are the same peson today.
I too had SHARP for SMART, surprised how much overlap there...
Fell into the ENZO/EZIO trap a while back...
but I knew AZO bec super common tiles to use in Scrabble (also ZOA)

:)
(Smiley)
Moo.

Glitch 3:42 PM  

@mac & @Catherine K

An AZO dye is an orange / red coloring agent, not to be confused with ANIL dyes which are in the blue group.

Both can frequently be found in art studios and NYT xword puzzles :-)

Anonymous 4:03 PM  

When buying the papers & coffee this morning, the deli's radio was playing someone covering a Roy Orbison tune. My thinking was why? It's a classic, he's great, and you're not. You better be damned good to try to cover a classic.

So yes, "A Thousand Acres" was much better than "Moo". But why? Lear is a classic, Shakespear was great, and you're not.

mac 4:18 PM  

@Anonymouse 4.03: it's funny you wrote that; Amazon recommends you read "King Lear" if you like "A Thousand Acres"......

jae 4:50 PM  

I also didn't see the mnemonic until reading the opening lines of Orange's blog last night. Very clever and fun puzzle. SE made it part medium for me as I didn't know MANN (any tie to Manfred MANN?), and was iffy on the EMANATE (i?) and CONYERS spellings.

fergus 5:45 PM  

dk, mine had a Camaro, but I had no virtue to lose at that stage anyway.

This felt like a Monday to me, but that just means I happened to be on the same wavelength (scale?) as Mr. Farmer. There's no guarantee that a certain constructor will open it up for you, but I do find a significant correlation with some and their puzzles' solving difficulty.

Anonymous 5:50 PM  

Absolutly loved Horse Heaven and got excited when Moo came out, only to be disappointed. Now I will try A Thousand Acres. Thanks for the recommendation.

Chefwen

SCOTUS Addict 6:34 PM  

All day yesterday I had "We're off on the road to Morocco! Where is it? It's just south of Spain!" playing in my head. I hate that song. I felt as though I were being tortured by interrogators at Guantanamo.

Today Hedy LaMarr popped up in the puzzle.

Dismissed as coincidence.

Orange 6:42 PM  

You know what? "Every good boy d___ f___" mnemonics marginalize girls. May I suggest a music-friendly replacement? Every girl bring da funk.

Crosscan 6:48 PM  

Each gender brings diverse fun

SCOTUS Addict 6:51 PM  

For Crossers:

Each Grid Brings Daily Frustrations

Jeremy J 6:58 PM  

felt like a Monday to me too. there was a choppiness to the puzzle and I counted 34 3-letter wds. // seems high for a daily puzzle. I learned that at the ACPT last year, from a constructor who said he keeps 3-letter wds to a minimum

Anonymous 7:49 PM  

Nice Weds. puzzle. Just right.
NW corner gave a little trouble.

Challenge to constructors, incl. ACMe.
How about All Cows Eat Grass. The bass notes.

Also, the mixed nuts made me think of the scientific explanation for why the large nut always floats to the top of the can. Also, what about the Brazilian (nut that is). That's a big isnt' it. I see it's called a "Brazil nut" without the modifier.
Google sez: "brazilian wax" = 829K, "Brazil nut" =925K

And I kept wanting to put in Alan Hale's name. A moment of silence. And I ate at his West Hollywood restaurant, The Lobster Barrel. Yummy, little buddy.

PlantieBea 8:27 PM  

Good puzzle. I got the note theme as soon as I filled in E, G, B...and was going to complain at how random it was that the notes were scattered through the puzzle, until I looked at the first words to see the familiar EVERY GOOD BOY...Very clever, but I wish the puzzle had included the spaces notes FACE too in the down answers.

I love the Jane Smiley novel "A Thousand Acres"; not a happy book, though. A tragedy--like Lear which is a quick read. I have an OA Boy Scout, but got hung up on MAO jacket and the ENTRANCE clue.

Michael Chibnik 8:48 PM  

I only really appreciated this puzzle after coming to the blog and seeing that every good boy does fine was in the puzzle. I had thought just having egbdf was an odd theme, but now I'm impressed.

I'd recommend A Thousand Acres, but then I also like the very different Moo (perhaps because I teach at a state university in Iowa; Moo was based on the other major state university in Iowa).

plumpy 4:37 AM  

Saying 'Til Tuesday is her former band would be kinda silly. She was on every album. The band ended, she didn't leave it. Would you clue the Beatles as "McCartney's former band"?

Waxy in Montreal 11:20 AM  
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Waxy in Montreal 1:47 PM  

From syndicateland:

Never having heard of Aimee Mann or John Conyers and having forgotten Rajiv Gandhi, had to resort to Wednesday googling for the first time in months to complete this grid.

Kudos to John Farmer for his enTrance and proJect misdirections. Jut mesmerized me for way too long.

Greg 5:17 PM  

> Never seen RAS Tafari written out. Two separate names ...

"Ras" is a title. Haile Selassie became "Negus" in 1928.

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