Like celestial bodies exhibiting syzygy - MONDAY, Apr. 6, 2009 - D Foley (Bird seen in hieroglyphics / "Dancing with the Stars" airer)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Phases of the MOON (68A: Its cycle is indicated by the starts of 20-, 32-, 40- and 55-Across) - theme answers begin with WAXING, FULL, WANING, and NEW, respectively

Word of the Day: SYZYGY -

  1. Astronomy.
  • a. Either of two points in the orbit of a celestial body where the body is in opposition to or in conjunction with the sun.
  • b. Either of two points in the orbit of the moon when the moon lies in a straight line with the sun and Earth.
  • c. The configuration of the sun, the moon, and Earth lying in a straight line.
2. The combining of two feet into a single metrical unit in classical prosody.

[Late Latin s[ymacr]zygia, from Greek suzugiā, union, from suzugos, paired : sun-, su-, syn- + zugon, yoke.]

Further: "The phases of full moon and new moon are examples of syzygies, which occur when the Earth, Moon, and Sun lie (approximately) in a straight line." (wikipedia) - which means ALIGNED is a sort of bonus theme answer, which is very cool. If only I could make its symmetrical counterpart, ERUPTED, tie into the theme somehow. Then I'd be truly amazed. I kind of like how the puzzle almost sneaks in the word LUNAR at 33D: Like a bone from the elbow to the wrist (ulnar).

Well this theme is more interesting than what you'll usually get on Monday: four long, reasonably unusual theme answers, a final short theme answer that ties things all together (nice, though in this case, unnecessary), and then the bonus tie-in ALIGNED (5D: Like celestial bodies exhibiting syzygy). Don't know if that last one was planned from the beginning or just a fortuitous and accidental construction opportunity, but no matter. It all works together nicely.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Speaking with lofty language (waxing poetic)
  • 32A: Withholding nothing (full disclosure)
  • 40A: What a fresh ad campaign helps combat (waning interest) - "WANING" phrases are likely unplentiful, and as "WANING" phrases go, this one seems quite solid
  • 55A: Holder of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary (New Hampshire)

Interesting presidential clue there, with OBAMA lurking up at 16A: President sworn in on Lincoln's Bible and the Bushes having taken over the SON clue, 35D: Bush 43, to Bush 41. Back to Lincoln's (or any) Bible for a second: for a puzzle so invested in the pagan lunar calendar, this one sure is Bibled Up. You've got the reference to Lincoln's Bible, and then the MAGUS (19A: Bearer of gold, frankincense or 66-Across) bringing MYRRH (66A: Gift brought to Bethlehem) to baby Jesus, Jonah bringing the (angry) word of God to the people of NINEVEH (41D: Ancient Assyrian capital), LEAH getting switched out for Rachel (15A: Jacob's wife), and then the non-biblical by highly Christian (Catholic) LEO I hanging around doing whatever it is saints do (65A: Sainted fifth-century pope). I like that LEO I is an anagram of ELOI (those people from "The Time Machine" who seem to be in the puzzle at least once a week). IOLE is also a word - a concubine of Herakles who provokes the jealousy of his wife, Deianira, who then kills Herakles with a poisoned shirt (!). In her defense, she thought the shirt would act as a love potion. A dying centaur lied to her. This is why myths are hard to recount - no clear starting and stopping points.

Bullets:

  • 1A: Iditarod vehicle (sled) - my dog is doing fine; thanks to all those who expressed concern. She's on a super-restricted diet (nothing but her dog food) and we basically have to watch her all the time or keep her crated to make sure she doesn't eat, oh, let's see, carpet, shoes, soap, dead voles, deer poop, wood, etc. Apparently adolescent labs are some of the most indiscriminate eaters on the planet. She's lying here looking at me like she knows I'm ratting her out.
  • 18A: "Othello" character who says "Who steals my purse steals trash" (Iago) - what an un-IAGO-like thing to say. I don't remember this line at all. Weird.
  • 58A: "Dancing with the Stars" airer (ABC-TV) - people normally just say "ABC," but this version is technically quite correct. Never seen this show. Working my way through "Rescue Me" and "The Wire" at the moment.
  • 34D: Bird seen in hieroglyphics (ibis) - Egyptian bird in four letters - only one answer (I think)
  • 44D: Notorious B.I.G. releases (raps) - Every time I feature rap videos on this site, I inevitably get self-righteous, indignant emails from a handful of people telling me that I should be ashamed, what about the children, etc. I have been careful to label the profane stuff, but that's apparently not good enough for some people. If the song / artist is in the puzzle, it's fair game, and if I warn you about potentially offensive content, you've been warned, so shhhhhhhhh. Thanks.



Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Happy Birthday, Amy (my sister)

P.P.S. Monday LA Times write-up here

81 comments:

JC66 8:46 AM  

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.

Crosscan 8:46 AM  

I found this so easy my lousy typing couldn't keep up with my brain. I'm sure we've seen the moon phases theme several times before.

How dare you play such an offensive video. My fish are shocked!

PIX 8:50 AM  

@19A: one magus, many magi. Of course magi is much more commonly seen. Quick: how many magi brought the gold, frankincense and MYRRH to the baby jesus? Everyone always assumes the answer is three magi but in reality the bible never states how many there were. Also, whatever happened to the gold?

good monday puzzle.

am i really the first person today? oh the advantages of retirement.

Kurt 8:55 AM  

I agree with General Parker's review. This was a terrific Monday puzzle. The theme answers and related "bonuses" were great.

The thing that impressed me the most, however, was how Mr. Foley was able to come up with a number of different (and somewhat difficult) entries and clues, and still keep the puzzle Monday easy.

MAGUS, MYRRH, NINEVEH, WAXING, WANING, ULNAR..."syzygy" and "exudation" are not words that one usually sees on a Monday. But the context and the crosses made them easily "getable".

Well done Dustin Foley. Thanks.

HudsonHawk 8:57 AM  

I like that ERUPTED and SPEWS gave us a volcano mini-theme, but now notice that we also had the SLEW of EWES SPEWS NEW Hampshire.

Very solid Monday, Mr. Foley.

HudsonHawk 8:58 AM  

...and GREW!

Doug 9:07 AM  

Amy and I share a birthday; I'm sure I have a few more than she does. Ulnar and epoxy were the words of the day for me.

Bill from NJ 9:07 AM  

Monday puzzles are usually such ho-hum affairs that encountering such rich phrases as WAXINGPOETIC and FULLDISCLOSURE and how the fill supports the theme and how easily it all interlocks. . . . well.

And yet it it still accessible to the new solver. A real work of art, Mr Foley, and Lynn Lempel and our own ACME have some competition.

The bar has been raised, Andrea.

joho 9:19 AM  

@Bill from NJ: I'm sure Andrea is up to it! And, yes, Mr. Foley did a great job.

I liked MAGUS and MYRRH and EPOXY and GLUES.

But what I loved about this theme is now I have Van Morrison's "Moondance" in my head ... hopefully for the whole day!

Xavier 9:32 AM  

I was with Crosscan on the easiness today. It was my second fastest time ever.

Did nobody mention the "do unto others" Bible connection?

At 34D I first read "Bird seed in hieroglyphics" and I thought, "How would depict bird seed?"

Xavs

archaeoprof 9:49 AM  

The highest compliment I can pay to this fine puzzle is to say that halfway through I stopped to check the constructor's name, fully expecting to see "Andrea Carla Michaels."

DONALD 9:56 AM  

Syzygy is the shortest English word containing three y's. It is also the second-longest common English word containing neither a, e, i, o, nor u, being tied with rhythm. (The longest common word with this characteristic is rhythms, although it is beaten handily by the archaic word twyndyllyngs.)

XMAN 9:56 AM  

This is an easy and enjoyable puzzle. Even so, I had a moment when it felt like a Wednesday.

Any puzzle with syxygy and myrrh has to be a product of a cultured mind--or cluttered.

Thanks, Mr. Foley.

XMAN 10:01 AM  

Ooops! I can't believe (but I must, I must) I mis-spelled syzygy.

DONALD deserves some kind of prize for his mini-essay.

edith b 10:04 AM  

We could have used a little Biggie Smalls to offset the insidious Pat Boone. You missed your chance, Mr Parker to diffuse the earworm.

I, too, like the way this puzzle integrated the theme and the fill into what appears to be a seamless weave. We haven't seen anything like this on a Monday in a long time.

Solvable for tyros juicy enough for veterans. Priceless.

retired_chemist 10:23 AM  

Easy. Fun. VERY nice for a Monday. Four letter pope - try LEO I first. Not guaranteed but odds-on I think. OEIL is another LEO I anagram (suggested clue: An eye for the ladies at Les Folies Bèrgere).

Glad Gabby is doing well. What interesting stuff did she eat? Mikey (golden) literally ate my shorts once. There went ONE GEE in a hurry.

PlantieBea 10:35 AM  

I'm adding my praises for this excellent Monday puzzle and accurate write-up. Thanks Mr. Foley for the Monday fun and Mr. Parker for the explanation of SYZYGY.

John 10:36 AM  

EXECELLENT puzzle!! Lots of lively fill, and enjoyable theme.

The brain is your personal jukebox. Who needs an Ipod. Having a song stuck in your head is a small price to pay. Apparantly not everybody has this ability. Mores the pity.

I am a fan of Rescue Me and The Wire also.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

Was there ever a Pope Leo I? I mean wasn't he just Pope Leo? It's not as if he retired, then there was Leo II, so he had to become Leo I to distinguish the two. I mean, he was dead, so he was never Leo I. He was just Pope Leo.

humorlesstwit 10:45 AM  

You forgot the other mini-theme, the dueling Magoos/Magus.

Great puzzle.

Denise 11:02 AM  

Christians and the moon -- Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.

ileen 11:06 AM  

I learned that starting the Monday puzzle at 6:00 Sunday when you're a 7.30 solver is a sure way to deflate your ego. Nothing like being the slowest solver on the list.

Rescue Me starts its fifth season this week, after an 18 month absence. It has been missed. I'm working my way through The Wire too - I'm early in season five at the moment. I'm taking my time because I don't want it to end.

the redanman 11:12 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandy 11:16 AM  

I was kind of hoping for "half" moon to be in there too. Is that me being too demanding of a Monday puzzle that already has 4 great theme answers?

Sahra and I saw the moon through a really large telescope on Thursday night. We also saw Saturn, and could clearly see the rings. It blew her mind and now she is begging to go to summer camp at the observatory.

Greene 11:16 AM  

Excellent puzzle. Oddly, I know the word syzygy from a musical of all places. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was an uproarious show (now closed on Broadway, but happily touring)that told the story of a bunch of misfit kids in a spelling bee. You wouldn't think this would be good source material for a musical, but it was screamingly funny and quite touching at the same time. The first word spelled in the show: syzygy. Composer was Bill Finn (of Natick fame).

The show utilized the gimmick of bringing about 6 audience members up to be "guest spellers" and the poor saps would be used to great comic effect. They would usually be given painfully easy words like "cow" until it was time to eliminate them and then the really impossible words would appear. My duaghter's friend got selected as a guest speller and she could spell everything they threw at her. Finally, the judges ruled her skirt was too short, she was given a detention slip, and sent home. It was great fun and the cast was terrific at handling the audience members.

Rex Parker 11:18 AM  

iLeen,

Being last on the time list is Not a bad thing. I hope you find it inspiring or motivating, not deflating. And glad to hear you're loving "The Wire" - I'm only a few eps into Season 1, so I have weeks of watching to look forward to. So far it's just making me miss "Homicide," but there's no question that it's good. I'm expecting it to get Great.

Frances 11:19 AM  

Brown University would be a lock for an NCAA Crossword tournament. Today's Dustin Foley; Wednesday's debut constructor, Joey Weissbrot; and our frequent Most Valuable Player, Natan Last, are all Brown students.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 11:25 AM  

I don't get the anti-rap music sentiment either Rex.

Hungry Mother 11:31 AM  

Happy about my time today and that you're a fan of "The Wire." I watched the entire set on DVD and loved every second of it.

hazel 11:38 AM  

Fun puzzle. Great fill. Great theme. No complaints.

@Rex - We went through The Wire several months ago and you're right it does go from good to great. Was sorry when it ended. Now we're on to Deadwood and Rebus (BBC Series).

PuzzleGirl 11:38 AM  

I looked up Santo DOMINGO last night and found he's the patron saint of astronomers!

Clark 11:53 AM  

Max (black lab), when he was about 1 year old, used to sit next to my head waiting for me to wake up every morning. The first thing I would become aware of, every day, upon opening my eyes, was an enormous wet Max kiss, right on the mouth.

chefbea 11:56 AM  

easy fun monday puzzle.

How was the Boston tournament?? Anyone going to give us a report?

Shamik 11:57 AM  

@Doug: Happy Birthday!

Great Monday puzzle...agree with Rex on it being a medium. In fact, I kept thinking that many of the clues/answers were non-Monday ilk. Lovely Monday puzzle.

Two Ponies 12:02 PM  

Agree on the great Monday puzzle.
@ Rex and BEQ, Rap just doesn't seem like music to me. The songs are too similar, there is no singing, and the lyrics are frequently way too angry. It doesn't help that most of the rap I hear comes from the car next to me at the stop light with the volume so loud that glass is rattling.

fikink 12:10 PM  

This puzzle felt very Andrea to me, too. Nice solid meshing of clue and fill, "twixt gut and bladder interposed."
@joho, you win today - I had Cat Stevens dance through my mind and cannot shake him. ugh!
@retired chemist - or "trompe l'______", a form of illusionistic painting

PlantieBea 12:11 PM  

Thanks to all for the positive recommendation. Our library has all of "The Wire" on DVD and my husband and I are in need of good HBO series binge.

Elaine 12:15 PM  

Hi, all -- a really fun and entertaining Monday (I thought it was easy!)

I agree with Two Ponies about most rap -- I wouldn't necessarily take offense, it's just not very musical.

One more "mini-theme" noticed -- sticky stuff (EPOXY, GLUES, RESIN)

Great start to the puzzle week!

Rex Parker 12:22 PM  

It's one thing not to like rap; that seems quite reasonable. I don't like acid jazz or show tunes or modern pop-country. People have different tastes.

It's another thing, however, to take time out of your day to write me to tell me how irresponsible / godless I am for providing my readers easy access to rap.

Also, there's a lot of implicit racism in the anti-rap sentiment I hear. Lots of older whites wondering why blacks won't behave.

When you say rap isn't musical - it's simply ignorant. What you mean is that it's not tuneful or melodic, and even that isn't always correct. It's this speaking from a position of massive ignorance that I resent. You can take a cross-sampling of any genre and challenge that genre's musicality.

I realize I'm fighting a losing battle with this crowd. I don't expect to change minds. My only long-range hope is an abatement of ignorant condescension.

Pretend Farmer Eli 12:24 PM  

This was actually Puzzle #1 at the Boston tournament yesterday. (I'm the 19th best solver in the Boston area... all right that doesn't sound as cool as I had hoped.)

It was a blast because there were so many non-competitors there. People like my wife and father worked on the puzzles for fun and for free, while we paying competitors were not bothered by the hushed tones. Really the bewst of both worlds. It was as competitive as you wanted, which I know should be the mantra for anything, but Brooklyn gets me amped to the point of distraction. Personal flaw, no doubt.

Joon and folks did a great job with plenty of free OREOs.

Pretend Farmer Eli 12:25 PM  

Rex: As for rap, you owe me money for all the times my monocle has fallen to the floor and shattered in my shock at what has blocked from me seeing at work.

Forget the children, will somebody please think of the monocles!

Rex Parker 12:30 PM  

You should start signing in as Colonel Mustard Eli.

Hoople 12:50 PM  

Hello all,

“Syzygy”, on a Monday. Wow, and George Carlin thought Yogurt was bad with one Y and one G.

Enjoyable Monday. Though I would have loved to see Moon Unit Zappa make the show.

Phonetic Strings in Rows or Columns I noticed.
Column 2 = What Johnnie Cochran had, “Legal Flare”.
Column 9 = Placido’s worst selling album, “Domingo Raps”
Row 48 = A cold day, tunafish on toast with a steaming cup of Cream of Tomato =
“Serene Soup”
(These next two are not for the weak, feel free to skip ahead)
Column 1 = De Medici : “ Leonardo, you have an interesting collection of implements
for raining projectiles upon the heads of my enemies, but
what does this large one do?”
Leonardo: “Spews ewes at ‘m”
Column 12 = Overhead at a playground in Australia
Child 1: Emu are not pretty.
Child 2: “Emu artoo”

Inter (esting, sections)

47A Raw / 44 D Rap, Notorious B.I.G. releases, “Raw Rap”

51D Omega / 50A Omega, “Omega Soup”
(Does Campbell’s alphabet soup bought in Athens contain the Greek alphabet?)

49D Enter/55A New Hampshire, “Enter New Hampshire”, suggests I-93 which also
suggest the ABC store.

ABC
Hoople

Clark 12:55 PM  

I am not a fan of rap. But, if you find yourself stuck listening to it, try listening to the rhythm (or the way the rhythm is interacting with the meter). Listen for hemiola --
ONE two three ONE two three (two bars of three) gets overlaid by
ONE two THREE one TWO three (three bars of two).
Hemiola can come in a variety of complex forms, and it shows up in rap like gangbusters. If you focus on this part of rap it can be really subtle and beautiful. I think Bach and Brahms, the masters of hemiola, would have appreciated this part of rap -- after they got over their initial disgust.

Pretend Farmer Eli (now with Monocle!) 1:06 PM  

Rex: And cross Orange?! (It was her suggestion) Not a chance.

3 and out.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:10 PM  

I thought the puzzle was easy. But, I had NINEVAH before correcting to NINEVEH, so what do I know?

evil doug 1:33 PM  

Rex,

You were doing fine until you said:
"Also, there's a lot of implicit racism in the anti-rap sentiment I hear. Lots of older whites wondering why blacks won't behave."

Baloney. And if it's "implicit", perhaps the problem is in your inference.

But if you're going to try to run that weak argument up the flagpole, I'd counter that there's "a lot" (I'll mimic the same overly vague term you've employed) of explicit racism---and gratuitous celebration of rape, violence, homophobia, hedonism, the exploiting of women as the property of men, crime, cop-killing, gangstas---in some rap.

Maybe that's why I tend to avoid at least that element of the genre---rather than the white supremacy that you too casually accuse "lots [there's that term again; be careful, Rex] of older whites" of harboring.

There's "lots" of real racism, in all colors, out there. Suggestions like yours are as counterproductive as they are unfounded, and tend to trivialize the genuine problem.

Evil
Older White, but not among the "lots".

Rex Parker 1:41 PM  

@ed,

Angry denials like yours (which I knew was coming - oddly predictable of you) only confirm my feelings. You get very angry when anyone talks about racism (cf. your ignorant rant about the NAACP awards) because apparently for you, if a black guy isn't hanging from a tree, it doesn't count. Sorry I can't agree.

Yes, it's the black people who are racist. Rich. Please, tell me more.

rp

evil doug 1:45 PM  

Even more predictable is your distortion of my words. Read them again, and if you have the courage to address what I really say, go for it.

I can't even begin to describe the contempt I feel for your "hanging" comment.

Noam D. Elkies 1:46 PM  

Enjoyed this puzzle yesterday -- a nice start for the Boston tournament. (All four puzzles were 15x15's, none harder than Wed/Thu, so it should reward a somewhat different set of solving skills than the usual Stamford/Brooklyn contest, though I ended up in roughly the same percentile.) Nice to see all the extra features that I had to skim [p|f]ast in competition mode. Looking forward to similar insights for the remaining three puzzles, which will appear during the next week and a half.

Thanks to JC66 for the full Othello quote. I knew the line but not the source. Still, Monday puzzle + Othello + four letters + tournament = write in IAGO and go on to the next clue. It does make sense as part of the public persona Iago projects.

As for r*p -- whatever. It seems little better or worse than most other p*p music these days. Yes, some of it glorifies crime and violence, but so do pirate tales and narco-corridos. At its best rap has clever rhythmic rhyming; more typically it seems to be a vehicle for conveying attitude and/or a loud percussion track. But listening to rap for melody, harmony, or counterpoint is like going to the opera or musicals for the plot; it might happen on occasion but it's not the point. For music with hemiolas, I'll take Bach or Brahms (or Josquin, or even Bernstein whose "[I love to be in] America" is practically a locus classicus for hemiola) -- all of which offer so many more musical pleasures than just the occasional 2:3 polyrhythm. Rap I leave to the boom-boom boxers.

NDE

DirtPile 2:02 PM  

MYRRH is RESIN. Good on your Mr. Foley!

fikink 2:08 PM  

Spalding Gray did a kind of hemiola riff in "Swimming to Cambodia." I wonder if it was intentional.

joho 2:09 PM  

@rex: your hanging comment was uncalled for.

ileen 2:12 PM  

Thanks for the encouragement, Rex. I will try and be optimistic and be happy for finishing with no errors first time through. My current time goals are to break the 5 minute barrier Mondays & 10 minute barrier Tuesdays.

Stan 2:34 PM  

What everyone else said about a fun, resonant puzzle.

@PlantieBea, you have a great library!! But that reminds me I can probably get the last two seasons through Inter-Library Loan and pick up where I left off.

Nice, balanced statement on rap music, Rex. Fight the good fight.

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

@Anonymous at 10:44am said...
Was there ever a Pope Leo I? I mean wasn't he just Pope Leo?

Retronym alert!

A retronym is the modification of the original name of an object or concept to differentiate it from a more recent version of the object, which acquired a modifier or adjective through later developments of the object or concept itself.Wikipedia

-----> Joe in NYC

mexgirl 2:51 PM  

Easy now....
All music appreciation is based on subjectivity. Let's not bring other issues where they don't belong. All hearing is blind to color and that's how it should remain. All we are to do is listen, and by doing so, learn about that artist (if we care to).

In the words of Charlie Parker:
"Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn."

And like good ol' John Lennon said:
"all we are saying, is give peace a chance"

Cheers!

PlantieBea 2:57 PM  

@Stan--We have a countywide library system with many branches that share collections. The best thing is that we can access the system online, place an order, and have the items delivered to our doorstep by courier service. They have shown this popular service to be cost effective (vs opening another branch).

Speaking of books and closer to another of today's topic --I have a recommendation on my list from a friend who has a gifted and blooming child musician. He (the father) is trying to broaden his musical horizons and suggested "The Rest is Noise : Listening To The Twentieth Century" by Alex Ross. It's supposed to be excellent, relating the structure and history of musical composition to what we hear today.

Charly 3:32 PM  

I wasn't sure how I was going to stretch "IOWA" all the way across the grid; apparently, that was a caucus on Jan. 3, not a primary.

Very enjoyable puzzle. My hat's off to Foley!

Two Ponies 5:06 PM  

Wow, I simply say I don't like repetitive glass-rattling and now I'm "massively ignorant"?
Geez

SethG 5:35 PM  

Ponies, you also said it doesn't seem like music to you. As most of the rap you hear comes from the car next to you at the stop light, I'd say yes, about rap music you're ignorant.

As I read it, Rex didn't object to ignorance about rap music, he objected to sweeping generalizations about rap music without an informed basis. You can certainly say you don't like what you hear, and he explicitly stated that he has no problem with that.

And Evil, unless you've seen the messages he's received, how can you object to his characterization of them?

I don't know why I'm bothering, I'm sure I'll regret this, and in summary, Syzygy.

dk 5:43 PM  

err, well. ahh... I like acid jazz. I would make some lame comment about those who don't like Acid Jazz but some blog threads are better dropped like LSD at a be-in.... if you catch my drift

For all of you who dared to suggest this or any puzzle would come close to an Acme creation: I know where you live and how to MOON.

Dustin, great work a high point for Monday although not the acme.

Sara 5:47 PM  

Whew. Thank you, Rex. This middle aged white woman doesn't particularly like most rap, but I know racism when I smell it.

On a lighter note, our golden retriever has eaten everything you mentioned and more. Once, when he was about 6 mos old I found a turd on the lawn comprised almost entirely of my 7 year old daughter's underpants.

Dean 5:58 PM  

The WOTD (Syzygy) reminds me of the time my astronomy professor set the department password to that, thinking that no one but us astronmers would know it, let alone spell it, but he mis-spelled it, requiring the use of the systems guy to reset it... Blast from the 70s... Fun Puzzle today!
-Dean

edith b 6:30 PM  

Our granddaughter likes rap music and it bothers my husband no end. I, on the other hand, took the time to listen to what she was listening to and found I actually liked a lot (to use EvilDoug's phrase) of it.

By the way, my husband is African-American (he prefers the word "black") and I am "white" although I prefer Caucasian.

Topsy turvy world, isn't it?

andrea carla michaels 6:41 PM  

@dk (archaeoprof, joho, Bill)
Thank you for continuing to WAXPOETIC about me, but having been alerted to today's comments, I'm a bit embarrassed.
It ain't a competition...

People can love DUSTIN Foley (fingers crossed full names make it back one day) and it's no reflection positively or negatively on me :)

I think folks were saying they were happy last week and happy this week. We have totally different styles (I think).

@Hoople, Dean
SYZYGY (which I can't even spell while looking DIRECTLY at it
...I hope I don't go blind!)
would never make it INTO the grid early week...for the record it was in the clues!

@Donald
THREE y's! No wonder you never see it in Scrabble!
There's a joke in there somewhere:
Why did the magi claim there was syzygy when Jesus was born? Bec there were three-y's, men...

(Hmmm, needs some work... ) ;)

@greene
Saw "Putnam County" super enjoyed it, tho it seemed more like a highschool production than Bdway.
Love your stories, tho.

@PIX
MYRHH is one of those great hangman words! I think Madoff's greatgreatgreatgreatgreatgreatgreat grandpa made-off with the gold, saying he was gonna invest it

jae 7:34 PM  

Fun Mon.!

IMOO Rescue Me is the best thing to hit regular cable TV (as opposed to premium cable, e.g HBO) in years.

@andrea -- I think my first encounter with SYZYGY was as an answer in a Tues. puzzle not all that long ago. I could be wrong?

Anonymous 7:44 PM  

Two ponies - I agree completely with you about the rap thang. I am a 49 year old white guy and it has NOTHING to do with race. I have loads of black friends and I can listen to Chuck Berry, Miles davis, Chuck Berry, Thelonious Monk, Clarence Clemons, Jimi Hendrix all day. And I agree, that "hanging" comment is way overboard. This is a crossword blog for crying out loud

musingsatapicnic 8:12 PM  

I can't tell you how happy I was to find your blog. I'm weary of being defeated by the Times. This weekend, my boyfriend and I competed (if you can call it that) at the Boston Crossword Puzzle Tournament. This puzzle was the first one we had to solve. The other three will run Tuesday through Thursday, so we got a head start, I suppose; still, those empty white squares in the bottom right corner weigh heavy on my mind. Please hurry.

fergus 8:27 PM  

Let's see, I was going to comment on how opera insidiously encourages sociopathic tendencies, but I just couldn't get into the ludicrousness of it all.

***

Anyhow this was a fun puzzle -- too bad I opted for speed, rather than casual contemplation today. Having plodded through the SF Chronicle puzzle this morning (free online!), stumbling with cursor (curser, more aptly) and letters falling in the wrong place problems, I guess I wanted to show myself that I could do a puzzle really fast. So, blazing through the phases of the moon as speedily as I can, with terrible handwriting, and still not cracking five minutes.

Yielding renewed appreciation for those that shave minutes or seconds off their record times. And I bet it's like a golf score. Easy to beat a hundred; not too tough to crack ninety; a lot of work to break eighty; and no, I can hardly even imagine a seventy, though I flirted with it once ....

Glitch 9:06 PM  

@ed & @RP

Reminder, as RP wrote, referring to one of my mis-exchanges, on 4/3,

"Commenters snarking at other commenters is always the stupidest form of commentary."

Play nice.

Peace & Love

.../Glitch

foodie 9:12 PM  

I came to the blog after a long day of travel, excited to hear what the discussion has turned up today--- may be astrophysics, may be the Bible, may be presidents? But it was about rap. And the way it went down made me sad. If we, on this blog, cannot talk about an issue that has racial overtones without becoming so polarized, who can? Who will? To make me feel better, I started imagining that OBAMA was a commenter on the blog and what he might have written—he with the grandparents that sometimes uttered racial remarks about blacks and with the pastor who became increasingly angry at whites. He loved them both, he understood them both but he condoned neither (if you haven’t done it lately, you might wish to listen again to his speech on race). I am guessing that he would understand rap but not necessarily embrace all of it. He would appreciate the beauty of the beat, the value of the music as a vehicle of expression, as a voice of a community that has been hurt, frustrated and violated. But he would also not love how women are depicted in some of those pieces, nor would he want his beloved daughters to accept some of the images as describing who they are.

I generally consider myself very lucky, but I understand what it feels like to be the object of prejudice. Being an Arab American, more specifically a Syrian American, is not always a walk in the park. Especially after 9/11 and the Axis of Evil, I have had, at times, to actually screw up my courage to give a factual answer when people ask a simple question: where are you from? As a joke, my daughter told me I should tell people I was from Uzbekistan… no one would know the difference. It was tempting. But here’s the thing: What I want most of all is that people become more nuanced in their thinking about other ethnic and racial groups. We are not all terrorists, but a few of us are. We are not all religious fanatics, but some of us are. We are not all smart and good people, but most of us are. In turn, the promise I made to myself is to not judge, not guess at people’s intent, not to assume prejudice unless it pops me in the face, and to trust that people want to know more, can learn more, and that most humans prefer not to hate.

Crosscan 9:21 PM  

@foodie - amen.

joho 9:34 PM  

@foodie: beautifully stated.

steve l 9:37 PM  

@Glitch--Funny. When I read that 4/3 comment, I thought he was talking about something I said. I had answered Miriam B, who made four comments in a post, that I had said the exact same four things that morning. It seemed to me Rex was criticizing me because I reproached her for not looking at the previous comments first. What I was thinking was, "Great minds think alike; how true those comments."

And BTW, (re Rex's "pagan lunar calendar" rant) I noticed that early today someone mentioned that the CHRISTIAN holiday of Easter is based on the moon's phases. I might add that ALL of the Jewish calendar is based on the "pagan lunar calendar" as well; adjusted for the seasons by the addition of an extra month whenever needed. The Muslims follow a lunar calendar as well. So the three Abrahamic religions all follow the "pagan lunar calendar." How ignorant of them!

On the issue of the dislike of rap being racism, I'll say that that was one of the oddest and most off-topic nonsensical rant I've ever seen on this blog. OK, so I like hockey and Boy Scout Jamborees. Does that make me a white supremacist?

Anonymous 10:14 PM  

This is a test.

Glitch 10:24 PM  

@Steve I said

I'm pretty sure it was me, it followed my post which made a sarcastic recommenation to, perhaps, ease the pain of a previous commenter. I deleted that post (my bad).

Suggesting commenters read previous posts is not all that bad as it is a running "problem", especially on the 80+ post days, and some even start with "I haven't read the provious posts, but can someone ..."

But remenber, Rex owns the Bats and Balls, and if he wants to take them away, game's over.

.../Glitch

EB 10:38 PM  

Good lord, do you people read?

Everyone seems to be mad at Rex for saying that people who don't like rap are racist. He...never said that. He said that there's a lot of implicit racism among the messages he gets (none of which any of us have seen) telling him he should be ashamed for posting any rap, that he's irresponsible / godless for providing his readers easy access to it.

Can people really not see the difference? steve l, can you seriously equate that to calling someone a white supremacist because you like hockey?

@Anonymous 10:14, subject to an assumption about what you were testing, it worked.
EB

fergus 11:31 PM  

And one of the most difficult things to say is that we Americans, who live here in the western hemisphere, are no better or no worse than all these other strange humanfolk, who speak strange languages, have vastly different social structures -- and yet we still persist in cultish in-groups, or derogatory castigation, which is the bane of our evolution.

(My 13 year-old sorta proffered this idea yesterday.)

Anonymous 11:54 PM  

Lurker here,
Some people don't like rap and Rex calls them racists.
Some posters share eloquent thoughts.
If Rex had not stirred the pot this would have been a very nice Monday.
Wearing your academic pseudo-liberalism like a badge does not become you nor does it make your opinion more valuable than anyone else's.
Pat Boone might be an amusing white stereotype but the media has made it embarrassing to be white because they are so "uncool". Speaking in rhyme about crime is so much more cool than singing about love or hope.

Anonymous 12:12 AM  

Let The Eagle Soar

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