Muhammad's pugilistic daughter - WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25, 2009 - K Browder (Schoolmaster's rod / Brand of clothing or energy drink / Radio no-no)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Things that can be SPIKED (48D: What 21- and 52-Across and 3- and 31-Down might be)

Word of the Day: FERULE (35D: Schoolmaster's rod) - An instrument, such as a cane, stick, or flat piece of wood, used in punishing children. (

I was very lucky today - I got mowed down by FERULE last year in a disastrous SE corner that I remember vividly. OK, so I remember only FERULE, but that's something, or at least it was today. Point is, FERULE came to me easily, and thank god it did, because NO FEAR (34A: Brand of clothing or energy drink)? I suppose I would have guessed that "F" correctly by eliminating the alternatives (NO BEAR!), but I have only the vaguest sense of ever having seen said brand of clothing, and I *know* I didn't know there was any company that made clothing *and* energy drinks. Anyway, I breezed through the NO FEAR / FERULE section, but I can imagine that there are others who did not. I did not breeze through the ARAWAK section, as that is a tribe I have barely heard of (61A: Indian encountered by Columbus). One of the letters in that answer was the last I put in the grid.

I did not know that NEWS STORIES (21A: Pulitzer Prize entries) could be SPIKED. Is this the sense that's intended (Def. 5b

To add excitement or vitality to: spiked the speech with many jokes

Looking over the definitions of "spike," I've decided that my favorite is "Slang. a hypodermic needle." A "spike" can also be "A young mackerel of small size, usually 15 centimeters (6 inches) or less in length," FYI. But back to the theme - I think that, technically, you SPIKE the punch, not the bowl, so PUNCHBOWLS struck me as a little odd (31D: Party servers), though I'm sure the phrasing is accepted, just like ICE TEA is apparently accepted (9D: Summer cooler). I would have written ICED. IRON FENCES (3D: Some ornamental barriers) is a very interesting answer, and VOLLEYBALLS (52A: They may be served at the beach) is the answer one would most expect to see in a puzzle with this theme.

This puzzle provides a good example (to me) of how constant solving will make you a better solver. I'm not sure if I should be embarrassed or proud at the number of words and phrases I have learned from crosswords. I learned "STILLE Nacht" (65A: "_____ Nacht" (German carol)) only a couple days ago, and here it is, served up on a silver platter. Same thing is true of A.M.E. (28A: _____ Zion Church). You know about FERULE. Add to today's list LST (37D: W.W. II transport: Abbr.), ETUI (11D: Place for a thimble), ETO (38D: Arena where 37-Downs were used: Abbr.), and even SISAL (39D: Rope fiber).

There seem a lot of black squares today, including rarely seen "cheater" squares here and there (black squares added for ease of construction that do not affect the number of Across or Down clues). Maybe a little heavy on the abbrevs. today, but that's what happens when you make your grid chock full of 3-and 4-letter words. The abbrevs. become very hard to avoid. The good thing about the non-theme fill today is the quartet of sevens whose tails/heads meet at the center of the puzzle.

  • LECTERN (37A: Stand that a speaker might take)
  • SPINNER (39A: Randomizing device)
  • TIPSTER (7D: One with the inside track at the track?)
  • POLARIS (42D: Star in Ursa Minor)

I think they're all vivid, interesting words. They make me imagine someone giving a speech from a rotating LECTERN (rotating because it sits atop a SPINNER). Then there's the TIPSTER telling you to bet it all on POLARIS in the fifth. Will do.


  • 7A: "More than I need to know," in modern lingo (TMI) - already dated. Please never say it. This also goes for "bling," which was dated 10 years ago (I just heard some "reporter" use this word in relation to the Oscars, which is why I'm commenting on it now).
  • 14A: U.S./Mexico border city (Laredo) - Hmm, I've played "Streets of Laredo" before ... feels like I should do something different. OK, here you go:

  • 19A: Littlest sucker (runt) - oh, a piglet. "Sucker" makes me think "mosquito."
  • 49A: Muhammad's pugilistic daughter (Laila) - also French for "LAI, there!" (64A: My _____, Vietnam). I always want to spell her name LEILA, which is somebody's name, but I don't know whose. Then there's Clapton's LAYLA.

  • 22D: John's ode to Yoko ("Woman") - not one of my favorites, but since I now feel a deep and abiding connection to Lennon, I'll play ... something.

  • 44D: Radio no-no (payola) - thought this was going to be something like "profanity."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


George NYC 8:14 AM  

I thought a solid Wed puzzle.

@Rex:in newspaper days of yore, editors had a spike on their desks (similar to what short-order cooks use for orders). If a story was "killed,"the editor would "spike" it to prevent it from going further, while preserving it in case for some reason it got "unkilled."

Rex Parker 8:19 AM  

Dear Editor George Sir,

Thank you for the "days of yore" part, which makes me not feel So bad for not knowing the phrase.


Shin Kokin Wakashu 8:25 AM  

Don't forget OTOE in your list of long-time crossword words.

Rex Parker 8:27 AM  

[Pulitzer Prize entries] isn't the greatest way to clue NEWS STORIES if the point about NEWS STORIES is that they can be SPIKED. If a NEWS STORY is SPIKED, how can it win (or even be entered to win) a Pulitzer?


Chorister 8:30 AM  

I didn't know about the literal spike, but I knew that a story that had been spiked had been suppressed. I have no idea why I know this, I just do.

Liked the puzzle, but thought it was awfully easy for a Thursday. Then I remembered it is only Wednesday. It's been that kind of week.

Off to fight with Finale (music composition program - I know TMI) because I need it for a lesson this morning. And my little pigtail to hook my Mac into the projector is missing. Done whining. I'm off.

George NYC 8:34 AM  

#Pulitzers are also awarded for fiction, drama and music; maybe crossord blogs will come next...

deerfencer 8:53 AM  

OK puzzle, if a little boring, but some good commentary. The Lennon/Ono clip was fun. I also had never heard of a news story being spiked, so good piece of historical trivia.

I froze up in the NE corner after getting CARR but blanking on the rest. ETUI is a new one to me, and a great Scrabble word.

Thought the clue to ORDAIN ("Make a father of") was cute.

I'd rate the puzzle a B-. Competent, but missing a certain spark here I think.

Jim in Chicago 8:55 AM  

I started off badly thinking that the Michelin we were looking for was the guidebooks, and I put in RATING.

I will be interested in the final option on the meaning of SPIKED in connection with the news story, since it also seems to me that it would be hard for an article that has been killed to win a Pulitzer.

The crossing of NOFEAR and FERULE was my Natick today - I went with the "F" since noFear seemed like the best option.

I once again need to put in a futile plea that Tea is iceD, as in "iced tea", not ICE.

Shin Kokin Wakashu 8:57 AM  

My sticking points were OSS crossed with SISAL, and LAILA (with FERULE). I had actually heard of NO FEAR clothing so I got lucky there.

SNTA annoys me because I can never remember the abbreviation no matter how many times it shows up on puzzles.

Gramatrick 8:58 AM  

How funny is it that I read FERULE as (fe) rule and translated it to iron rule and thought it made sense. At least until I saw iron fences elsewhere.

Oh well, it was a quick and easy wednesday.

JannieB 9:07 AM  

Fine Wednesday puzzle. Quick story about iceD tea:

On a family trip to Nova Scotia back in the early 60's we stopped for lunch at a roadside cafe. My sister ordered iceD tea. After a long long wait and whispered conference back in the kitchen she was served a cup of hot water with a tea bag and an ice cube!

This was definitely an easy one for me - the "K" in Arawak was the last one in the grid.

joho 9:12 AM  

I really liked this puzzle ... seemed just right for a Wednesday.

No Fear clothing was very popular in California when I lived there ... on skate boarders and surfers ... which made the heretofore unknown FERULE easy for me.

I thought the "Littlest sucker" referred to a puppy not a pig.

Was surprised to see A.M.E. again so soon, but happy I knew it.

Most of all, today, I want to wish everybody attending the ACPT the best of luck!!!!

joho 9:14 AM  

@rex: I forgot to thank you for the fabulous John, Yoko, Cavett clip ... LOVED it!

janie 9:20 AM  

my two sticking points, too, were "spiKed" and "noFear"......grrrrr. ;-)

>I think that, technically, you SPIKE the punch, not the bowl, so PUNCHBOWLS struck me as a little odd

unless you're at a party where there's more than one kind of punch; or where there's more than one bar table set up. works fer me, anyway!


sillygoose 9:22 AM  

Maybe this was an easy puzzle or maybe I was just ready with FERULE and A.M.E. this time. :-)

Since I didn't get stuck at (the unknown) ARAWAK I doubt I'll remember it next time, but I am heartened that my past trouble spots are coming in handy.

bookmark 9:24 AM  

A.M.E. stands for African Methodist Episcopal Church.

I also loved the Lennon, Ono, and Cavett clip.

spyguy 9:29 AM  

Decent puzzle, I liked the "No Fear" clue.

I just watched the "Layla" clip, and a couple of thoughts about that: First, I am guessing it came from the very late 70's, very early 80's. Jimmy Page looks lost through the first part, but I think he is the one laying down the very good solo at about 3:30. Second, I saw Clapton live in about 92-93 (whenever the Unplugged stuff was big), and that guy that hits the gong is a NUT. I believe he has been with Clapton forever, and is great. Third, that is an awesome lineup: Stones, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood. Fourth, is there a drummer that shows less emotion than Charlie Watts? Thanks for the clip.

retired_chemist 9:32 AM  

TMI is too much information? Never heard the acronym.

39A Randomizing device is SPINNER? Again strange to me. I hope someone explains.

Put in "I is" for alibi @ 62D, even though I KNEW I was to fill in the initial. Didn't know I was dyslexic. ARIWAK seemed fine. Gotta check every square.

Nice Wed. puzzle.

Glitch 9:38 AM  

re: "spiked", I'll give it a shot.

IMO, 48D refers to the answers, not the clues that got you to them.

So, when 21A gets you NEWSSTORIES, forget the clue.

Then you just have NEWSSTORIES (not Pulitzer's), which might, indeed, be SPIKED, as 48D says.

That works for the others, including PUNCHBOWL --- especially if you're referring to possible adornments around the rim of the bowl ;).


ArtLvr 9:40 AM  

"Stille Nacht" is the very familiar Christmas carol "Silent Night" in English translation...

And I'm okay with PUNCHBOWLS being spiked, i.e. having something alcoholic added to the contents -- as well as some NEWSSTORIES being figuratively spiked, but not including those with Pulitzer Prize potential. The clue for IRON FENCES specified "Some ornamental barriers" but it wasn't necessary to specify "some" every time -- e.g. you wouldn't try to spike all volley ball shots, etc.... I agree with Glitch!

On the other hand, I didn't care for the clue "Littlest sucker" as shorthand for smallest of a litter of suckling piglets or puppies or whatever...


PhillySolver 9:40 AM  

I will raise my hand to the last letter entered being the K in SPIKED/ARAWAK. That made the payoff work perfectly. I did not know the term spiked news story, but Google brought back a vague recollection of the term. Now, how does a repressed story get a prize? I also wasn't so sure that BOP was Jazz. In the 50's it was a dance craze.
I think my new version of FireFox has eliminated everyone's avatars. What's up with that?

Xavier 9:41 AM  

A fine puzzle. Like other regular readers of this blog, I benefited by learning from the (almost) universally shared problems of the past, namely FERULE and AME. The NE was the section that gave me the most trouble.

I don't understand PAYOLA. Anybody care to enlighten me?

@retired_chemist, a good example of a randomizing SPINNER is the wheel in Wheel of Fortune.


Newbie 9:54 AM  

I had to laugh at the different ways "little sucker" was interpreted. I had the R and the T, and initially put in ROOT.

Enjoyed the puzzle and the write-up, and loved hearing Layla this morning. Thanks.

I'm stilling feeling insecure about my limited puzzle-ing abilities, so will not be at the tournament, but good luck to everyone who is going!

Newbie 9:54 AM  

I had to laugh at the different ways "little sucker" was interpreted. I had the R and the T, and initially put in ROOT.

Enjoyed the puzzle and the write-up, and loved hearing Layla this morning. Thanks.

I'm stilling feeling insecure about my limited puzzle-ing abilities, so will not be at the tournament, but good luck to everyone who is going!

Newbie 9:56 AM  

Ouch - sorry for the repetition. How do you delete?

ArtLvr 10:01 AM  

p.s. More on SPINNER or teetotum: a game piece, (besides the spinning arrow on a flat game board or wheel):

A form of top having usually 4, 6, 8, or 12 sides marked with distinctive symbols. A teetotum is used for playing games, mostly of the gambling variety, and serves in place of dice. The hexagonal (six-sided) teetotum was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. A common gambling game with a teetotum played since medieval times is put and take, in which the various sides have symbols instructing the players to either put money in the pot or take from the pot.

A four-sided form of teetotum is the dreidel, which is marked with the Hebrew letters nun, gimel, hey, and shin and is used by Jewish children to play a game during Hanukkah.

fikink 10:03 AM  

@newbie, ROOT for little sucker - I like it!
Nice to see old, established ETUI again and have AME reinforced.
The interview clip was wonderful just to see Dick Cavette's hair (I imagine he feels the same way). Were we all really ever that young?

mac 10:08 AM  

K was my last letter, too.
Fine Wednesday puzzle.

@Xavier: I also would like to be enlightened about this payola/radio nono, and thank you for the explanation re Spinner.

Without this blog I never would have know AME. Last year Will Shortz showed us an ETUI. I liked the clues for "ordain" and "lectern" especially. Thank you George, for the "spiked" re news articles information.

@rex: who is the guy with the TIC?

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

@Xavier - PAYOLA is the practice of a record producer bribing a radio DJ to play their songs, hence enhancing sales. This used to be widespread practice.

Frances 10:10 AM  

For "schoolmaster's rod" I confidently entered SWITCH and put a different spin on "spoils," in 27D, by putting in DUMPS. These made it impossible to imagine any kind of stand a speaker might take, so once again my eraser got a good workout.

mac 10:11 AM  

@Newbie: click the little bin at the bottom of one of your comments and it will disappear.

Crosscan 10:12 AM  

From your weekly wrapup of April 28 - May 4 ,2008: Crosscan...summed up my feelings about FERULE quite succinctly: "FERULE goes into my NABES file."

Whatever happened to the weekly wrapup, anyway?

NO FEAR, I pulled FERULE right out of my NABES file and finished this one in under 5 minutes. AME has become an instant gimme after its recent appearance.

Enough practice. By this time tomorrow, I will be on my way to Brooklyn. Watched Wordplay last night for inspiration. Practicing my Orange curtsy just in case. Let's rock!


Oh, Jim in Chicago, may your objection to ice tea (without the D)not be futile! One of my biggest pet peeves as an editor--I could hardly bring myself to write it in. And in the NYT! Rex, you would have been right to say iced. Oh, well. Payola was the practice of paying off disk jockeys to give extra air play to certain records to increase the illusion of their popularity.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Thanks to everyone for your feedback, both positive and negative. This is my first but hopefully not my last. so your comments will be useful as I try to improve.

Thanks especially to George NYC for helping me out right out of the box on "spiked news stories". Trust me Rex, I realize it's somewhat obscure, especially for a theme answer.

Kelly Browder

Nan 10:26 AM  

I enjoy trying to pick which word would be the word of the day, ferule was definitely going to be the one!

jeff in chicago 10:35 AM  

I liked this puzzle. Seemed a bit east for Wednesday, but maybe it was just in my wheelhouse.

I'll take Words that end in "O" Alek. PLATO(s), LAREDO, ETO, AMINO.

I would bet that some NEWSTORIES with Pulitzer potential actually are SPIKED these days. Because those stories usually are "think pieces" - long stories about complicated issues. And that's not what most newspapers do these days. Since the advent of the 24-hour TV news channel, newspapers no longer "break" stories. Newspapers just don't get the first shot at anything anymore. So to sell their product, they rely on the sensational, the lurid, the crazy. Thus they traffic in celebrities, octo-moms and missing white women. Winning Pulitzers isn't on any editor's mind any more. They just want to sell some papers and, hopefully, still have a job in 2020, when, I predict, few newspapers will still exist. The NYT (and the puzzle!) will be everyone's hometown paper in a few years. (Oops. Sorry! Rant off.)

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Ok, she (he?) is gone now, let's be honest!
Seriously, quite a pleasant puzzle, if a bit easy for Wednesday.
I eagerly await John/Yoko/All the Beatles receding back to obscurity. I could never understand their success, or the fascination with them.
I've seen thousands of NOFEAR decals on cars/trucks and have never known that they were associated with any products at all. Suspected it was all just a fad.
FERULE came to me from last year's discussion. Rex attributes better solving to doing lots of puzzles. For me, it's been about paying greater attention to the puzzles I do, thanks primarily to this site, with FERULE as a prime example. So, thanks.

Anne 10:42 AM  

Ditto for knowing all sorts of phrases and words from crosswords that I did not know before I became a solver. I came up with ferule and arawak with fill. No fear looked right.

I love TMI. My husband and I both use it all the time to avoid hearing something we don't want to hear. It works great and with very little discussion.

I know this is different but the number of newspaper articles sometimes spike when a hot subject is going cold.

I have read all of Grafton's books - A through T. The thing that amazes me about that series is that she came up with that marketing scheme so many years ago and made a life's work - and a fortune - out of it.

Good luck to all tournament goers! Do good!

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Happy enough that AME showed up again, --and I had a very clear memory that *ERULE was indeed in the NABES file, but not in any way it would come out again. GERULE/NOGEAR? Sure.

About Laila/Laylas: There is another L. Ali, this one spelled Laylah, an artist, originally from Buffalo NY (my home town).

jubjub 10:56 AM  

I remembered NOFEAR from my junior high days, but almost missed FERULE because I initially had LECTuRN. I cannot spell.

I appreciate most of the factoids I learn from doing crosswords, but I don't think I'll ever need to use my knowledge of what an ETUI is in real life :).

I guessed the A right, but I feel that the LAILA/SISAL crossing was unfair -- vowel, proper noun crossing obscure (to me) word.

At first I was annoyed at SPIKED for Pulitzer prize entries, but actually what the puzzle is saying is Pulitzer Prize entries are NEWSSTORIES, and NEWSSTORIES may be SPIKED. If we don't apply any transitivity, everything's cool :).

In case anyone else thought LST and ETO were just random abbrs, I just looked up that:
LST = Landing Ship, Tank
ETO = European Theater of Operations

Anne 10:57 AM  

Re - KP = kitchen police. I checked with my husband and he assured me that it is police. He said it's kind of a joke, playing off military police.

archaeoprof 11:00 AM  

Many of my friends in Germany (including Benedict's parents) don't really like "STILLE Nacht." They regard it as overly sentimental. Ulrich, what do you think?

PIX 11:01 AM  

@32D : As per Wikipeidia, there are many alternate spellings for the person referred to: Lao Tse, Lao-Tzu,Laotze, Lao Zi, Laocius, Laozi etc. This may-or may not-be the person who wrote the Daodejing(Tao Te Ching) an important text in Daoism (Taoism) and definitely worth checking out (eg. "reject the extreme, the excessive and the extravagant").

evil doug 11:09 AM  


Quite so on the No Fear stuff. In the 80s and early 90s always available at surf shops in Pacific Beach and other San Diego towns along 101, and at one time in a dedicated store at the big mall in La Jolla. But I haven't seen them---or my other fave, Bad Boy---in years.

My son has stolen most of my NF t-shirts, but they were always fun and edgy---"No Whining", "No Crybabies"---kind of like Nike's "Just Do It" on steroids. I still have one with a race-car's shoulder harness across it, that says "Sit down, strap in, shut up."


Shamik 11:22 AM  

The view of Yoko's butt cheeks in the hot pants did NOT pass my breakfast test.

Easy-medium puzzle. Good write-up.

joho 11:34 AM  

@Shamik ... but the braless breasts did?

@evil doug ... I'll bet you wish you had those cool shirts today!
Hey, I was wondering, if there's something special I should know about the Air Force Museum in Dayton, please email me. I'm thinking of taking our boys there.

Karen 11:50 AM  

I put in the noun SPIKES instead of the adjective SPIKED and it took me as long as I spent on the puzzle to find the mistake. I need to remember to confirm the cross clues, especially the last letter.

I remember the game of Life had a big solid spinner, kind of like the Wheel of Fortune game, that was fun to spin. Flicking the little arrow on cheap spinners wasn't as much fun.

My favorite Christmas album, John Denver and the Muppets, includes a German verse of Stille Nacht as well as a couple English verses. I still miss Jim Henson.

retired_chemist 11:54 AM  

TYVM to those who wrote re SPINNER. I see the point - sort of. The spinner selects something at random. And my dictionary even says so as a second definition.

But randomizing to me follows the FIRST definition: make random in order or arrangement. Thus the Wheel of Fortune, or the roulette wheel, does not rearrange the array of numbers, it just selects one at random (in an honest game). Never thought of it that way. Hence my confusion.

I think I'll go have an ICED TEA now.....

chefbea 12:58 PM  

Good Wednesday puzzle. Had the same nofear-ferule Natik.

When I lived in St. Louis. We were friends of Joseph Pulitzer. He was either the son or grandson of THE Joseph Pulitzer. What an art collection!!

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

Didnt think I'd finish this one. I kind of blanked with a full two-thirds to go, but then things started dropping. I thought it was a very enjoyable puzzle all in all, and that's what it's all about.

I thought ORDAIN for "Make a father of" was brilliant and comes right on the heels of Archbishop Dolan coming to NY - AND it is Ashe Wednesday to boot.

PlantieBea 1:20 PM  

Thinking that maybe it was some faddy exercise gear that went with the drink, I considered NO REAR. Was saved by the F in ferule which sounded right.

edith b 1:24 PM  

Add me to the list of people whose last letter was the K in the ARAWAK/SPIKED cross. I liked the way the AHA moment didn't turn up till the bitter end making this a crafty puzzle indeed.

I recognized SPIKED from "The Front Page", arguably the best newspaper movie of all.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:25 PM  

I was proud to "know" that those Columbian Indians were ARAWAC, so I was really puzzled by the theme - How could an iron fence be SPICED? But even though News Stories and Punch Bowls can be spiced (or "spiced up"?), the Volleyballs guided me to the correct SPIKED and ARAWAK, so I only count one write-over and a correct answer.

Two Ponies 2:20 PM  

Welcome to the blog Kelly. I love it when a constructor pops in. Solid Wed. puzzle that taught me a new meaning for spiked. I chuckled at AME and ferule because I was happy to remember those from previous puzzles.

Wade 2:33 PM  

As of about seven or eight years ago I began assuming that by the time I first heard any new slang (e.g., TMI) it was probably already bygone. I don't know what the kids watch or listen to these days. I think it's Twitter. I don't know what Twitter is, but I bet that's where the kids are.

Has vets always been a word that means what it means now? I didn't start hearing it until the last few years.

Dick Cavett is the shiniest human being I've ever seen.

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

@Wade - Me too regarding slang. I now have to watch SNL with my PC open to just to get the jokes. I sound like my Grandpa - Honey, what's a reach-around?

Chip Hilton 2:45 PM  

@newbie and @fikink
The ROOT for RUNT substitution ruined my NE corner, but good. It made perfect sense to this backyard gardener. Coupled with total ignorance on ETUI and I was flummoxed.

Nice solid puzzle until I got to that roadblock.

chefwen 2:54 PM  

Looked at 1D first and really wanted to be BANANA, but after looking at a couple of acrosses knew that was not to be the case.

Never heard of FERULE but living on the west coast for so long it seemed every third young surfer you would see was wearing NO FEAR gear.

Thanks to all who cleared up the NEWSSTORIES question, that messed with my head last night, but I knew that by morning the Rexite Family would set me straight.

Good luck to all attending the tournament this weekend.

fikink 3:25 PM  

@Chip, you must have your head in Spring, too! (I even purchased some peat pots already.) And when I think of SPIKEs, I think of feeding plants.
@Evil, great T-shirt! Was it meant to be a shout-out to Timothy Leary?
@Wade, I believe Dick Cavett used to have print ads in Seventeen magazine for Cornsilk.

retired_chemist 4:01 PM  

@ Chip H -

etui will be in about every fifth puzzle - or so it seems sometimes. Next time, you'll know.

mac 4:09 PM  

@Chip Hilton: Etui is considered crosswordese to such an extent that Will Shortz held up a pretty silk one before the competition last year. Lo and behold, the word came up in one of the puzzles. It's basically a cotton flannel holder for needles (to keep them from rusting before they were made from stainless steel) with an attractive outside. Of course there would be a holder for a thimble in it.

Xavier 4:28 PM  

The funny thing for me about ETUI is that is crosswordese that I have known for almost as long as I can remember, but I somehow never bothered to look it up. I always just pictured a simple pin cushion. Even though that is clearly not appropriate for a thimble, the etui-sewing connection is so strong that I still wasn't fazed by it. As Anon10:40 said, my solving has improved dramatically since I have started paying more attention to the answers I didn't know. Rex, I have your wonderful rants about the ???? parts of a puzzle to thank for my change in attitude.


Crosscan 4:36 PM  

A couple of weeks ago an email came around the office from someone who had lost a small needle case of great sentimental value. I was very tempted to respond - you lost your ETUI?

treedweller 4:41 PM  

I finally have access to my own computer again, so I'm catching up. It's nice to visit family, but when said relatives are very set in their (80's plus) ways, it can be a challenge to keep in touch with the modern world. It's good to finally be on vacation.

I liked this puzzle okay, I suppose. After last weekend, I'm just relieved to breeze through one and not have to worry if I should be trying to compete.

@Shin Kokin Wahashu
That was a fine illustration of how you never remember the abbrev. SRTA

@SPIKED news stories
plenty of logical explanations here, but my rationalization was that the reporter would view them as potential Pulitzers, while the editors might choose to SPIKE them.

Being from Texas, where summer lasts 9 months a year, iced tea is almost as common as water (some places, more). Much as I hate to admit it, I hear ICETEA at least as often as "iced." I still think it's wrong.

@anonymous anonymous
you can only delete a post if you register with Blogger and post through that account. When you post anonymously, we are all stuck with whatever makes it to the web. I'm not saying that to push for your entry into the cult, but that's how it works.

Linda Ball 4:52 PM  

I was puzzled by 'spiked' news stories but hubby says he remembers the spike and that when word processors were being introduced in the newsroom he remembers an editor saying ' can push this key and spike the story!' He says that was also when an ad guy could get in the newsroom without going through nine gates of security.

treedweller 4:56 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
treedweller 4:57 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
treedweller 4:57 PM  

I finally have access to my own computer again, so I'm catching up. It's nice to visit family, but when said relatives are very set in their (80's plus) ways, it can be a challenge to keep in touch with the modern world. It's good to finally be on vacation.

I liked this puzzle okay, I suppose. After last weekend, I'm just relieved to breeze through one and not have to worry if I should be trying to compete.

@Shin Kokin Wahashu
That was a fine illustration of how you never remember the abbrev. SRTA

@SPIKED news stories
plenty of logical explanations here, but my rationalization was that the reporter would view them as potential Pulitzers, while the editors might choose to SPIKE them.

Being from Texas, where summer lasts 9 months a year, iced tea is almost as common as water (some places, more). Much as I hate to admit it, I hear ICETEA at least as often as "iced." I still think it's wrong.

@anonymous anonymous
you can only delete a post if you register with Blogger and post through that account. When you post anonymously, we are all stuck with whatever makes it to the web. I'm not saying that to push for your entry into the cult, but that's how it works.

Jim in Chicago 5:12 PM  


Jim in Chicago 5:14 PM  

Ooops - hit the send button too soon.

The thing about icetea vs. icedtea is that they're pronounced almost the same - the d and t just sort of merge together. I'm sure that's how it entered into the written vocabulary without the d.

George NYC 5:16 PM  

The editing software I use at work has a SPIKE key which "deletes" the story but doesn't eradicate it. When you choose to search for a story, one option is to "include SPIKE queue in searches." That's the modern way of looking through the sheets of copy that used to end up on the spike.

Clark 5:20 PM  

retired_chemist -- but a spinner does make random in order or arrangement, it takes an array of numbers that has some particular order and it produces a string of numbers, one after the other, as one uses it, that is random in order. So it takes a spatial ordering and rearranges it into a random temporal ordering.

jae 5:39 PM  

Easy except for the SE corner which I made harder by reading boney for bonny and wondering why SKELETON or SCROD wouldn't fit. Also iffy on the LAILA spelling but it had to be IBEAM. FERULE, AME, and ETUI were gimmes for reasons discussed. This was fine for a Wed.

Anonymous 6:38 PM  

Ice tea? What?!

Ulrich 7:30 PM  

@archaeoprof: Late to the party--too much stuff to do before Brooklyn. Since you asked: Yes, the song was considered pure Kitsch in my family, but we sang it anyway.

Here's a tidbit I found as I was googling for its history: "The song was sung simultaneously in English and German by troops during the Christmas truce of 1914, as it was one of the few carols that soldiers on both sides of the front line knew."

As far as I know, they also played soccer against each other as it was one the games both sides could play, and the participants, at least on the German side (I don't know anything about the British side), had to be moved back from the front after the truce b/c the soldiers were no longer able to shoot at the guys with whom they had sung and played soccer before.

retired_chemist 9:24 PM  

@ Clark - well thought. Clever, IMO. You are either a mathematician, a lawyer, or both.

the redanman 1:15 AM  

I thought this a fun puzzle with a small hang-up for me in each corner, maybe NE the most somehow as that is where I finished but nothing major. Wednesday is still the limit for me for calling them doable and easy puzzles. Did this one in AcrossLite since I am out of town and the Vegas hotels won't bring you a paper. I really love physically writing out puzzles; it went quickly, but it felt like the hangs-up took longer.

Kindly excuse rant below:
ICETEA absolutely infuriates me. As a CT boy who lived in the south for a while, I guess that's where the peeve comes from along with all the infuriating gerund slurs and annoying (yes, politically incorrect) annoying) accents. :-)

It is iced (adjective, dammmmmmit!!!!!) tea, otherwise you would have a straw in a block of frozen tea. ICETEA is just sloppy and no amount of just accepting it is OK such as "they sound the same". I'm surprised to see comments re: ICETEA with all the clue/word bitching done on here. Ice is not no adjective, nohow.

But then again, it is an admitted bete noir of mine, thence the overreaction.

Southern Ma'am 2:52 AM  

@jim-Chicago, don't have a hissy, it IS iced tea; our tea is iced and our diamonds are "ice". This happens a lot in the cold country puzzles (north of Virginia). I do love New York and go get 'em, Rex darlin'!

liquid el lay 3:11 AM  
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liquid el lay 3:20 AM  
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Stan 10:47 AM  

Good puzzle, Kelly, for a less-expert solver like me... never saw the theme coming until the 48D clue and final K, where it all snapped together.

I like the way newspaper/editorial jargon appears often in NYT puzzles (OBIT, ONSPEC, EMDASH, STET, MSS) -- seems appropriate to New York City.


Charly 5:59 AM  

I assumed "littlest sucker" was just in a figurative sense . . . a little guy, twerp, a runt.

The pop culture in crosswords seems to come from the same era as that in Jeopardy! not old enough to be retro-cool and for me to know it, and not current. Vikki Carr? My Lai, Vietnam? 1970 war film? Sigh. You're either going to have to go back to the Roman Holiday-, Glenn Miller-era, or stick with things from the past couple of years, if you don't want me to turn to Google, Shortz & co.

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