Pawnbroker in slang - THURSDAY, May 21 2009 - P Blindauer (Name of Lord Rubble's feudal estate / Rio crosser / Ruhr industrial hub)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: A final twist ... - theme answers are familiar two-word phrases where the last two letters of the second word are transposed, creating a wacky phrase, which is clued, "?"-style

Word of the Day: SYSOP - n.

A system operator.

Truth be told, this probably took me a little longer than the average Thursday, so I considered rating it Medium-Challenging, but a review of the grid shows that there is only one pocket that gave me significant trouble - the rest felt pretty spot-on for a Thursday. I came out blazing by easily taking down the two musical clues in the NW corner - "ABC" (1A: 1970 hit for the Jackson 5) and ABBA (1D: "Money, Money, Money" band), but stalled at 3D: Hot dog coating at a county fair (corn bread). I immediately thought CORN DOG, but I would never have thought to call that coating "BREAD." Anyway, I got BARNEY FIEF shortly thereafter, but thought that meant that there was something to do with puns or homophones around a particular theme. A feudal theme? Who knew? It wasn't until I hit BORDER LIEN that I understood that the issue today would be transposed letters - homophones would simply be coincidental.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Name of Lord Rubble's feudal estate? (Barney Fief) - "Lord Rubble," HA ha.
  • 26A: Air in a sooty shaft? (coal mien) - took me a few beats to figure out the connection between "air" and MIEN.
  • 33A: Sly little dog? (sneak Peke) - I wrote in SNEAKY and then tried to think of a three-letter dog that rhymed with PETE. Don't like "sneak" as an adjective.
  • 46A: Celebration of a Disney dwarf? (Happy fete) - if I had to name all the dwarves, I think Happy would be the last one I remembered.
  • 51A: Bamboozle a "Fargo" director? (snow Coen) - indefinite article is weird here. There's only one "Fargo" director. (sorry - only one *credited* director (Joel) - the reality, it seems, is that Joel co-directed it with his brother Ethan - they also co-wrote the screenplay, which won an Oscar)
  • 65A: Property claim along the Rio Grande? (border lien) - "feels like I'm going to lose my mien ..."

Biggest problems today were in the NE, where there were two answers I didn't know crossing another answer I didn't know. I am certainly not familiar enough with Paris to know that there is a suburb called Choisy-LE ROI (11D: Choisy-_____ (Paris suburb)), and though I've never been in a pawn shop, I've read about them in crime stories before (at least I think I have), and can't recall the term "UNCLE" in anything I've ever read (12D: Pawnbroker, in slang). These answers crossed ARCS (19A: Slurs, in music), which I just didn't get, and in fact couldn't understand until well after I'd solved the puzzle. "ARC" had zero musical definitions, so I was flummoxed. Turns out that a slur is signified (on sheet music) by a diacritical mark in the shape of an ARC. And that is the story of how slurs are ARCS.


  • 15A: Rio crosser (puente) - had PUENTO, which is ridiculous for many reasons, not least of which is my familiarity with the works of Tito PUENTE.

  • 28A: Removed roughly (torn out) - total disaster. Had TORE OFF.
  • 44A: Charles _____, "Brideshead Revisited" protagonist (Ryder) - because the truck rental company would be too easy for Thursday?
  • 48A: "The Mikado" wardrobe item (obi) - which gave me the first letter of BOMBAY (49D: City visited in "Around the World in 80 Days"), which, even with BOM-, I couldn't get, largely because that place is not called "BOMBAY" any more. Debritification!
  • 57A: Picasso/Braque movement (cubism) - took an embarrassingly long time to get this, considering I've seen art by these guys in museums all over the world. In NYC just a few months ago, in fact.
  • 61A: Title heroine described in the first sentence of her novel as "handsome, clever and rich" (Emma) - Austen! You can't go wrong.
  • 70A: Mungojerrie or Skimbleshanks, in a musical (cat) - another long clue for a very (in this case, VERY) basic answer.
  • 73A: P.G.A. Tour Rookie of the Year after Singh (Els) - a three-letter golfer? Yeah, you've got just about one option there. If the golfer is male, that is. Se Ri PAK is a great golfer as well, but a woman (i.e. plays on the L.P.G.A.)
  • 13D: Ruhr industrial hub (Essen) - the crosswordiest town in Germany. See also EMDEN.
  • 23D: Month before Tishri (Elul) - attack of the Hebrew months. Why do I so steadfastly refuse to commit them to memory?
  • 25D: Convex cooker (wok) - we should really use ours more often. We keep it in the basement because it just takes up too damn much room in our already crowded kitchen.
  • 31D: Sysop, for one (techie) - love this, despite having No Idea what "sysop" meant for a good long while.
  • 34D: Place to overnight in an RV (KOA) - read this as [Place to overnight an RV] - that's one big package.
  • 37D: Meadow voles (field mice) - why I love the word "vole" I don't exactly know. Maybe because I enjoy encouraging my dogs to chase the "mice and stoats and voles and weasels" in the woods (I'm pretty sure there are no weasels there, but I like saying "weasels" anyway).
  • 45D: Enormous birds of myth (rocs) - I didn't know there were many. I thought it was like the Phoenix - unique.
  • 52D: White-cap wearer (nurse) - really? Still?
  • 60D: _____ Dubos, Pulitzer winner for "So Human an Animal" (Rene) - no way. No shot. No idea. But at least his name is a familiar enough name.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PuzzleGirl's write-up of today's LAT puzzle is here.


Anonymous 8:22 AM  

If you cook on the convex side of your wok, perhaps it's best that it stays in the basement :)

joho 8:27 AM  

I knew something was up at "Sly little dog?" I wanted PEEKINESE which I actually like better than SNEAKPEKE, but of course it doesn't meet the theme.

I also had TOREOFF and thought "air" meant the kind you breathe for the longest time.

I really liked this puzzle as I like most everything Patrick Blindauer creates. A fun Thursday!

mac 8:43 AM  

Another beautiful Blindauer! I got the sneak peke first, then worked on Happy.... where I put in hour, not realizing the method yet.
I also had the most trouble in the NE, erased the whole box twice, but when I thought of "hen" it was done. Started with "tore off" as well.

Please help, wat is KOA?

Didn't 2 Coen brothers direct "Fargo"? Son and I are going to see a play by the Coens next week, "Office".

Parshutr 8:52 AM  

A "sneak peek" is the original phrase, means a preview. Not 'sneaky pete'.
@mac: Kampgrounds Of America

Rex Parker 8:56 AM  


What you say is obvious and I didn't think it needed explaining. The whole point was that I was initially on the wrong track.


Brendan Emmett Quigley 8:57 AM  

Six theme entries, probably the only examples I can think of that both transpose the 3rd and 4th letters of a four letter word to create a homonym. Quality stuff.

RYDER was a gimme as we just watched the Jeremy Irons version. Two thoughts: Where'd Sebastian go? He was easily the best character in the whole thing and he just goes "poof" mid-story. All so we can follow Julia's melodramatic bullshit? Dumb. Also: I need to see more stuff with Sir John Gielgud. He's so damn talented he hardly looks like he's acting.

Orange 9:07 AM  

Brendan, they're not homonyms—in most (but not all) of the theme entries, the new word and original word aren't pronounced the same.

I didn't know PUENTE but just now realized it must be a cognate with the French pont and Italian ponte.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

I call a homophone foul on HAPPYFETE, as fete and feet are not pronounced the same. That is, unless you're living 15 miles outside Philadelphia. There's an annual horse show there, the June Fete, and the first time I went I got lost, so asked for directions. Everyone in the area pronounced it as the June Feet. Running joke around the house now.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

Oh shit, Orange beat me again. For about the 1000th consecutive time.

Anne 9:16 AM  

This was a good puzzle. For one thing, no errors. I usually make one or two mistakes from carelessness if nothing else, but not today. The theme was clever with fun phrases. The clues were clever, too. I stayed awhile in the NE - had binge and IRAs before I gave them up. I had the most trouble with coal mien but after that it fell into place. I just learned today that sysop is a systems operator. As they say, something new every day.

SethG 9:16 AM  

TORE OFF for sure. The first theme answers I got were FIFE, LINE, and MINE, and when those all changed to long-E pronunciations I was totally lost about how to make any of the others work. I knew COEN (Joel is credited, but he actually co-directed with his brother Ethan), but didn't realize SNOW CONES can have a W. And then one with no sound change, and one that changes to a short vowel? Not a big fan of partial consistency, especially when it's asymmetric.

That's a tough clue for CLUE, and those downs were brutal. And I spent a few moments trying to understand SCUBS.

I maybe had a whaddaya call it! I entered RENE Dubos off the R. And I knew my logic was off, but all I could think of was Rene Dubois from Benson. Actually, Benson was Benson Dubois, and Rene something-else-French played the snoot.

KOA are the Kampgrounds of America. I'm not kidding.

Frances 9:25 AM  

CORNBREAD for 3D,"hot dog coating..." was the first thing I entered. Must be all those years of taking my children to the North Carolina State Fair!

retired_chemist 9:28 AM  

@ Seth - Rene Auberjonois. More recently he has been on Boston Legal.

Enjoyable. The twisted word ends made it interesting. Finally caught the theme with the third theme answer (26A). I needed a rescue from a COAL ???N in WV. I had 10D as FEAST and was (obviously!) getting nowhere fast with the crosses. Rethinking 10D’s definition and positing the theme correctly quickly got the M,turned FEAST into CHASM, and the NE fell rapidly. Didn’t know PUENTE (15A) but (like Orange said!) it is phonetically close enough to pont (Fr.) and ponte (It.) to make it a good (and actually correct) stab. And, since Bridge is an English surname, Tito PUENTE’s now seems less arbitrary to me.

FIELD MICE and MEAL crossing CAT – cute even if not exactly breakfasty.

ARCANA as alchemic knowledge – OK, but pfui.

Crosscan 9:33 AM  

Exact same experience as Rex, except for...let's see....hmmmm....nope....


dk 9:41 AM  

Well my loose thread was a bane, my gorge a binge and I wanted to reseal my pump... slow going in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire

I liked it that BARNEYFIEF may have been clued with Barney Rubble or Fife (pal of Opie, aka Mayberry Lad).

The rest of the puzzle was clever and easy for a Thursday. And I suppose this rounds out a week of sex, drugs and rock and roll if you consider ABC and ABBA rock and roll.

Tim 9:42 AM  

So-so puzzle. Not much to write home about. Okay, I guess.

@BEQ: Homonyms? Um, I don't think so . . .

HudsonHawk 9:49 AM  

I kinda like the term UNCLE for 12D, even though I wanted FENCE initially. And I know of Choisy-LE ROI, but I always forget to parse it, which makes it harder to see in my brain. Consequently, the NE and SW were the only spots where I really slowed down a little.

fikink 9:54 AM  

NE did me in. I could not make the AIR-MIEN connection. Even slept on it.
I really enjoyed the drubbing.
dk, I went for "binge" too initially.
Hats off, Patrick Blindauer!

Z.J. Mugildny 9:57 AM  

Solid construction, but not as much fun as the usual Blindauer. The new, phrases don't really do much for me, with the exception of BARNEYFIEF, which is good.

XMAN 10:01 AM  

Am I the only one who had to google to get the NE? Of course, like getting too drunk at a party, I was embarrassed afterward.

Except for the NE, after initial panic, it was an easy enough puzzle, especially for a Thursday.

Rex Parker 10:10 AM  

Is my italicized follow-up to my initial Coen comment not showing up? I amended my initial comment hours ago.

Also, there can be no homophone foul, as homophones are not intrinsic to the theme (which I noted, in my write-up). Reading!


Two Ponies 10:33 AM  

Good workout in the NE due to misdirections with a little French thrown in.
Love the word "toadies".
I even know a few. ;)

Jim Weed 10:45 AM  

this is a challenging puzzle for folks like me who don't speak very good crosswordese (ETE, ETTE, REES, ELUL, ENIAC, YMA). i looked up roger REES from "cheers" on imdb. he was in 17 of the 269 episodes. boo. i usually do much better on thursdays. a crossword puzzle accessible to crossword aficionados, inaccessible to the other 99%. save it for saturday.

sour grapes because i prefer to feel a little more competent when i spend this much time avoiding work.

JimW'sBoss 10:49 AM  

Jim Weed - Don't be so hard on yourself. Just enjoy the fact that you were 100% successful in avoiding work. Anything above and beyond that is gravy!

Ulrich 11:23 AM  

The best part of the theme, for me, was that I, too, initially thought "homophone" (SNOW COEN was the first theme answer I got) and then had to discover that it was about something else, transposition, as Rex has pointed out, and repeatedly so.

This generalizes a lesson I learned the hard way: If answers you put in don't make sense, check and recheck the entire area b/c you may have made a mistake. Now, I see that the same principle can be applied to themes: If your initial guess doesn't make sense, think again! It's part of the challenge.

Jim in Chicago 11:26 AM  

The NE was a disaster for me. ESSEN fell immediately (is there any other Ruhr town? - not in crossword land!) But, I had no clue on either Choisy--- or the slang term for pawnbroker. I admit that I finally googled the Paris suburb, and then everyting fell into place. Hanging my head in shame.....

Justin 11:39 AM  

Finished the puzzle and thought . . that's it? This is more like a Wednesday puzzle, just soooo plain. Hey, it's Thursday!!!

I like my Thursday puzzles with a clever jalapeno bite. Pump up the volume, guys!

Daryl 11:40 AM  

I much prefer Essen clued as the german for "to eat" rather than the town. Northeast killed my timing for this one...

Eli Barrieau the pretend farmer and mustelid lover 11:45 AM  

I think its highly likely you have long-tailed weasels in your woods. And, of course, stoats are weasels.

toothdoc 11:49 AM  

I must be brain-dead after doing a root canal but I don't see the air-MIEN link? I solved it based on the theme but wasn't sure it was right until checking Rex's blog. Now I just don't know why it is right.

jae 11:51 AM  

Liked this one. Clever theme that took some sussing to figure out. Easy-medium for me with NE being a tad tough. Guilty to RESEAL and OFF, plus NEWBORN and ABYSS. Solid Thurs.

Dough 11:55 AM  

I thought it was a terrific Thursday. The Barney Fief is a funny notion, and certainly should have identified the switching letters as the theme. Homophones were off the table quickly. Quick note to @Rex, "dwarves" is wrong, it is "dwarfs." In the middle of the "Agony" song in Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" musical (a mash-up of fairy tale stories), one handsome prince actually corrects the other handsome prince on the correct plural for "dwarf." One sings, "Dwarves," interrupted by the other saying "Dwarfs," and then continuing "Dwarfs... are very upsetting." FWIW!

mac 11:55 AM  

@BEQ: Sebastian disappears for many years in the Middle East. I remember a very sad installment where Ryder finds him. Hope you locate it, it's worth watching. I agree with you, Sebastian is the most interesting character, and Anthony Andrews is a fantastic actor.

Clark 11:58 AM  

This Thursday puzzle felt like a Tuesday to me, by which I mean to say that doing the puzzle every day and learning to think crossword by reading this great blog (including the comments of all y'all) really pays off.

The NE corner was the only place that slowed me down. There are plenty of Ruhr towns (don't know how many of them might be called 'industrial hubs') but since it looked like -SS-- the answer was pretty clear. But putting IRAS for HENS got me stuck until I figured out MIEN and then CHASM.

I was traveling yesterday and didn't see the comments until late. I look forward to Kierkegaard reappearing in the puzzle. He is one of my favorites.

foodie 12:03 PM  

I too had the same experience as Rex, with the Northeast. It helped a great deal to figure out the transposition idea.

Voles (FIELDMICE) are interesting critters. Male Prairie Voles are monogamous, unlike their cousins the Montane Voles that are polygamous. What is the difference, wonders many a female? The answer: Oxytocin! A brain chemical that was first studied in the context of female maternal behavior, but whose actions turn out to be much broader-- including monogamy and social bonding.

When we get along on this blog and become friends, think oxytocin! (cf. my post about Andrea late last night : )

edith b 12:06 PM  

I noticed on Orange's blog this morning that two different 60s TV shows were cross-pollinated at 17A: The clue referred to Barney Rubble from "The Flintstones" and the answer referred to Barney Fife(FIEF) from the "Andy Griffith Show."

I taught school in Harlem for many years and I heard pawnbrokers referred to as UNCLE more than once. Whether or not this is specific to the African-American community I don't know but that was the only place I heard UNCLE used in that sense.

There are many dimensions to a Patrick Blindauer puzzle - these have been two of them.

Alex 12:20 PM  

I'm 99.9% sure that Roger Rees was in way more than 17 episodes of Cheers. Most likely the IMDB listing isn't complete, since the show is kind of old.

He's a crossword regular, and I think he's almost always clued in relation to Cheers, much like Esai Morales and NYPD Blue.

PlantieBea 12:20 PM  

@foodie--thanks for the oxytocin tidbets. Who knew? I do enjoy your thoughtful posts.

I had the same trouble with the NE and I'll hang my head with those who googled the Paris suburb. I couldn't see the pump as a shoe and didn't know UNCLE; also had CASE for CLUE.

SYSOP was a good word for the day although it could have been ARCANA.

I loved the puzzle and themed answers. Thanks Patrick.

Noam D. Elkies 12:21 PM  

Even 17A:BARNEYFIEF isn't a homophone, right? Fief rhymes with brief, Fife with life.


Anonymous 12:29 PM  

The UNCLE/pawnbroker pairing rang a bell in my head, and 30 seconds of research shows that the term was common at least as far back as 17th century England.
I got the money from my UNCLE seems like such a convenient euphemism it has to be common.

Pretend Lady of the Manor 12:31 PM  

@Eli Barrieau, thanks for the word "mustelid" - I cannot wait to use it on Mr. F when speaking of the critters in the timber.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

The UNCLE/pawnbroker pairing rang a bell in my head, and 30 seconds of research shows that the term was common at least as far back as 17th century England.
I got the money from my UNCLE seems like such a convenient euphemism it has to be common.

Greene 12:40 PM  

Another fine puzzle. This has been a pretty good week so far; can't wait to see the Friday edition.

Are there any other pop music illiterates out there who had ACDC for 1D? This led me to have DARNEY FIEF briefly for 17A. Fortunately, that got straightened out quickly. Got SNOW COEN as the second theme answer and then all became clear. Good thing too as I would have never figured out the NE corner without knowing how the theme worked. Otherwise, I would probably still have BINGE for 10D and IRAS for 16A.

Lots of Broadway in today's puzzle, what with shoutouts to Guys and Dolls, The Mikado, and Cats. For the record I'll just say that I went to the new revival of Guys and Dolls and it was certainly not the horror the critics made it out to be. Those were some of the meanest reviews I have seen in a long time. Maybe the show has gotten better since it was reviewed? Whatever, there was much to enjoy. Greene says, "Go!"

@BEQ: Check out some of Gielgud's early film work. Everyone knows him for Arthur and The Elephant Man, but these were made quite late in his career. Back in the 1950s he was an excellent Cassius in Julius Caesar and even better as Henry IV in Chimes at Midnight.

retired_chemist 12:41 PM  

@ foodie & PlantieBea - oxytocin is one of the three things I get from my vet to have on hand when a litter of puppies is due. It stimulates uterine contractions as well as producing bonding.

PlantieBea 12:55 PM  

@retired_chemist: I knew oxytocin stimulated milk production, contractions, etc., but didn't realize it promoted bonding in humans and other mammals. I just did a Wiki search and see it has many functions under investigation.

Gotta love the learning from this blog.

retired_chemist 1:25 PM  

@ PlantieBea - AMEN re learning here.

What RP has got going is a highly diverse community (at least in terms of experience and expertise) of smart, interesting people who can and usually do provide insight into practically any topic the puzzle brings up.

Gotta love it!

Lisa in Kingston 1:25 PM  

Cheated with Google on Choisy-.
Dang, and I was doing so well... : (
There's always tomorrow.
Thanks for the puzzle, Mr. Blindauer.

jimweed 1:33 PM  

whether roger REES was in 17 or 70 episodes of cheers, it's still a word that alienates tyros like me. proficiency in crosswordese seems requisite for doing well on this puzzle. i better get it next time or all this QQing is for naught.

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

Refusing to Google, I took a DNF on this one. NE corner was hell for me and I still dont understand COALMIEN. Also had IRAS for nest egg protector. Was caught up in the homonym trap and was ready to nit about BORDERLIEN. Outside of the NE I did fine. But I am always sorrowed when I do not finish.

KarmaSartre 2:18 PM  

SethG -- seems like it should be Kampgrounds of AmeriKa.

BEQ -- It has been nearly 30 years, but I sort of remember Sebastian disappearing in a drug/alcohol fog in Italy or Northern Africa, and missing him and his robin's eggs for the rest of the series.

Charles Bogle 2:26 PM  

Very clever and for me quite challenging. Happy to say I got 95 pc

Can we have a moratorium on "REES"? And "ARAL"?

The SW quad was my demise. I stuck w "CON A COEN" and even had some bizarre crosses to fit it; finally had to come here and get straightened out w SNOWCOEN

Again, my ignorance of Latin held me back. Can anyone recommend an on-line aide? I'm not ready to consider that cheating!

Raj 2:33 PM  

good puzzle, but the clue for 25-Down is wrong: A "wok" has a convex bottom. it isn't a "convex cooker"

i bet this was written by someone who's never cooked with a wok

Jim in Chicago 2:41 PM  

For those still puzzling over COALMIEN, this is my best guess.

The main definition for MIEN is:
The look, bearing, manner, or conduct of a person, as showing character, mood, etc. (OED)

So, this is equating the "air" part of the clue with the sort of airs people put on.

The "sooty shaft" part is obviously talking about a the shaft in "coal mine".

So modifying "sooty shaft" which means "coal mine", by adding the concept of putting on airs, give you COALMIEN.

That's the best I can do.

mac 2:49 PM  

@Parshutr and @SethG: thank you for the explanation. I also think it should be Kampgrounds of Amerika.

@KarmaSartre: I think it was a drug den in a Kashba in Morocco.

Bob Kerfuffle 2:59 PM  

@Raj - When you say "cooker", are you thinking of the Brit/Commonwealth meaning, which Americans call a "stove"? (Asking as one who was tripped up in a way by a Britishism in yesterday's puzzle!)

Ulrich 3:02 PM  

@KarmaSartre: They are plower eggs in the German translation (of the book), and forever, eating plower eggs and sipping champagne under a tree in the summer was the epitome of (unreachable) sophistication for me.

Two Ponies 3:34 PM  

@ Ulrich: Do you mean Plover eggs?
In any case, yuk.
What's next larks tongues in aspic?
( dk, I'll bet you know where I got that.)

Ulrich 3:35 PM  

...oops-I meant plover eggs--the old German v/w confusion--and thx to Two Ponies and a recent e-mailer!

andrea obama michaels 4:20 PM  

well, as a Jew from Mpls I HAVE to chime in about SNOW COEN...
You know who played the dead body (uncredited) at the beginning of "Fargo"?


Before this devolves into a grammar blog, it seems like lots of folks are confused about the difference between homonyms, homophones, and partial reversal anagrams (or whatever this theme is technically)
If you are afraid to learn the difference, would that be borderlien homophonophobia?

Grammar is a bare!

In a twist of irony, I was just about to cry "Uncle" on this puzzle's NE corner and then a light went off!
(had to finish in the dark)

chefbea 4:38 PM  

When I printed out the puzzle from Times digest it was yesterday's Ashish puzzle. Wondered if the mistake was in the dead tree version also. Was busy all day and just got home and did the puzzle.

Now I'll settle down with a corn dog and read all the comments.

DanaJ 5:37 PM  

Great fresh words today. You gotta love SCABS. Also CUBISM, INFIDEL, and SIMILES.

Ben 7:11 PM  

I like my woks concave, the action side, at least. And the rest of it is just back office.

ArtLvr 7:41 PM  

A bit of Latin -- you'll sometimes see "Arco" wanted for "use the bow" in playing a violin, cello, etc., so the "bow shapes" or ARCS are used in musical notation to indicate a Slur or smooth transition from one note to another. That's BO to rhyme with GO -- and also an Obama pup. They can be smiley or frowny mouthed, or slightly askew!


Pi 7:47 PM  

As a companion piece to the 100-dollar New York Times Crossword Cookie Jar, the newspaper as introduced . . . . . The New York Times Convex Crossword Wok. Using a patent-pending teepee-shaped design, the Crossword Wok is a must-have for the serious cook who loves to watch food fall onto the surface of the stove, in uncooked piles. It's a perfect gift for raw food aficionados who swear that UN-STIRFRY is a word.

chefbea 8:02 PM  

@pi are you joining us foodies???

retired_chemist 8:10 PM  

Treedweller would say that the convex wok is an Aggie invention.

Lisa in Kingston 8:35 PM  

Convex-concave, midi-maxi! Just another day at the New York Times.
I'm wondering if my contact lenses are
-vex or -cave. -cave, I think.

imsdave 8:37 PM  

Roger Rees is an amazing actor and it pains me to see him always clued through "Cheers". Anyone here see "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby"? How about former artistic director at the Williamstown Theatre Festival?

Oh well. Loved the puzzle BTW.

mac 9:01 PM  

@imsdave: you are right, so many actors are only known for their tv-series rather than their work in the theater.

@Pi: I think a teepee-shaped wok is called a tagine.
And how about re-stirfry?

Susan 9:41 PM  

A tagine is an earthenware dish with a tepee shaped top. You use it in the oven, not on the cooktop. It's not a wok at all. It's typical in Moroccan cooking, but you can use a Dutch oven to the same effect if you don't have one.

mac 9:55 PM  

@Susan: the tagines I've been looking at in the cooking magazines and the catalogues tell you to cook on top of the stove, then put the dome on. I know, I would worry about sauteeeing in a ceramic pot too, but that's what I read!

Ulrich 10:01 PM  

@mac: I'm with you. I bought the gorgeous tangine from LeCreuset (sp?) and followed their recipe--it's put on the stove, not in the oven. And BTW the chicken falling off the bone, spiced with Moroccan spices, is out of this world. I have no idea how the Morrocans used their tangines originally. My guess is they put it into dying embers, a stove in whatever form not being exactly common in the Sahara:-)

PhillySolver 10:10 PM  

O boy, a cooking discussion following a fun puzzle..My Le Crueset Tangine booklet says..."The cast iron base can be used on its own on the hob, in the oven or under the grill. This may be useful for cooking dishes other than tagines. On the hob, it can be used for pre-browning meats and vegetables before the slow-cooking process begins. In the oven, it makes a useful baking and roasting dish." Maybe dk can weigh in.

Lisa in Kingston 10:33 PM  

pshaw, not yet invested in a tagine. Le Crueset Dutch oven works every time. And, it's outstanding for crusty artisan bread.
I am so sure we need to form a cooking blog so as not to piss off our host!

mac 10:45 PM  

Why, Philly, I'm so impressed! Not many people are ahead of me in kitchen gadgets and I have to admit that I don't own a tagine yet! Even the ceramic ones apparently are used on top of a stove.

foodie 11:13 PM  

@mac and Philly, Yes, I too have cooked in clay tagines and they can be used on direct heat as well as in ovens. I think that original Moroccan tagines were not meant to withstand great heat and were used for simmering for long periods. Tunisian tagine were used closer to coal. Modern ones I think are modified to go either way..

Earthenware is amazing stuff. A jug left unglazed, can become a water cooler. The hotter the weather, the better it seems to work...

Jane Doh 11:22 PM  

WOK = Convex cooker. Where is the outrage?


PB2 11:53 PM  

I am outraged. Or outrageous, I forget which.

Thanks for the nice comments about my latest word baby.


Lisa in Kingston 12:16 AM  

PB2, you are most assuredly outrageous. Please pardon me for being so familiar!

Lisa in Kingston 12:19 AM  

Everybody's so busy doing the Friday puzzle....
way more than three.

fikink 12:51 AM  

Isn't a wok convex or concave depending on which side you consider?

retired_chemist 1:24 AM  

@ fikink - absolutely!

Pi 11:00 AM  

@Chefbea: Hello! I've long admired Rex's work, usually from the shelter of lurkdom. I have a delicate constitution, crumb crust and all . .

@Mac: Ah, the tagine! You've evoked spicy-delicious-romantic-dreamy memories of Fez . . . .

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