1992 U.S. Olympic hoopsters with "the" - TUESDAY, May 19 2009 - D Gulczynski (Birds collectively / Supersecure airline)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "COCK" ring - a word chain of two-part words or phrases, the second part of which is the first part of the next word or phrase (e.g. PIPE DREAM, DREAM TEAM, TEAM GAME, etc.). This chain goes from COCK to COCK, thus making it a ring.

God bless Damon J Gulczynski for this theme. A COCK ring is about the last thing I expect to see on a Tuesday morning in my NYT puzzle. For novelty (and, uh, balls), if nothing else, you should be commended, sir.

The basic concept here isn't original, but the theme answers are mostly fresh and vibrant (if shortish), and there are six theme answers with the added "ring" feature - starting and ending with same word - and really, on a Tuesday, you don't need more than this to get a solid puzzle together. The one thing I didn't like was the basketballness of successive theme answers (DREAM TEAM, TEAM GAME). If it had carried over into the next clue about the South Carolina GAME COCKs and their basketball team, maybe you would have had something. Otherwise, it would have been better to have all theme answers be clued in ways that keep them in completely different spheres of meaning from one another. But that, admittedly, is a small nit.

Theme answers:

  • 19A: Tom Collins or Rob Roy (COCKtail)
  • 24A: End of an exhaust system (tailpipe)
  • 32A: Unrealistic idea (pipe dream)
  • 45A: 1992 U.S. Olympic hoopsters, with "the" (Dream Team)
  • 51A: Basketball or baseball (team game)
  • 58A: Fighting rooster (gameCOCK)

I felt like I was in a time warp while solving this puzzle, as clue after clue seemed identical to ones I'd just seen in the past few days. I know I had FEST with the "suffix"-style clue (9A: Suffix with beer or fun) and ROOKS with the "corner piece" clue (4D: Corner pieces, in chess). Oddly, this didn't make the puzzle easier. If anything, it made me pause to wonder what the hell was going on. Only real stumbling blocks today came, ironically, on common crossword names that my brain just refuses to remember - AYR (34D: Firth of Clyde town) and OLAN (18A: "The Good Earth" heroine). AYR wants to be TYR and OLAN wants to be somethingwithanAtowardstheend. OLAN was in the toughest section for me, as I honestly didn't know SCARP (honestly, I thought the clue wanted a poker term - 11D: Bluff formed by a fault), and ONCE didn't seem like it merited as dusty a clue as 15A: In the old days. But EN LAI (another common crossword name - 10D: China's Zhou _____) helped me work it out. Also got slowed down a bit on AMIGA (53D: Old computer), which I know of only vaguely. But the crosses proved AMIGA right. Oh, I also screwed up at MAXI - I put in MIDI (5D: Calf-length dress). Still finished in just over 3 and a half minutes. Thus: Easy.

E-MAIL (52D: Messages that may contain emoticons) and E-CARD (56D: Paperless birthday greeting) in the same puzzle? E-yuck. Or, better yet, EGADS! (54D: "Zounds!").

Lowlights: REAVE (64A: Take forcibly, old style) and IMMESH (57A: Tangle in a net: Var.). I think there should be a limit of ONE on "VAR." or "OLD-STYLE" clues in a puzzle.


  • 13A: Move, in Realtor lingo (re-lo) - would make a good rap name
  • 43A: Regatta entry (yacht) - [laughing] ... could someone remind me ... is this a good clue?
  • 70A: Supersecure airline (El Al) - unlike the other airlines, who let people wander onto the planes off the street.
  • 14D: Blogger's audience (readers) - hey, look, you're in the puzzle.
  • 59D: Birds, collectively (aves) - shouldn't this have something in the clue suggesting it's in Latin?

  • 8D: Real babe (hottie) - not sure I've seen it spelled out before. Great entry.
  • 33D: Short-lived (ephemeral) - one of my very favorite words. It's just a great-sounding word. Makes the briefness it describes sound beautiful, not tragic.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PuzzleGirl's write-up of today's LAT is here - broke my all-time speed record on this one, by a big margin. Get LAT puzzle free when you subscribe at basic (free) level to cruciverb.com, or do the puzzle on the LAT's website (for future reference, you can find a link in sidebar of "L.A. Crossword Confidential")


Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Time? Less than it takes to smoke a cigarette. Have seen relo in at least 4 puzzles this past week along with Hess and do the math. On e sunday in back to back puzzles was the word kempt, odd coincedence. Golfballman

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

A Maxi is down to the ankle (maximum length) a midi is calf-length, other than that an OK puzzle.

nanpilla 8:30 AM  

Really liked this puzzle. This READER agrees with the BLOGGER on almost every point. IMMESH did bother me a lot, along with the double ECARD AND EMAIL entries.

I liked the pairing of EPHEMERAL AND FOOTPRINTS (especially as clued)
The SCARP OLAN cross gave me pause. I can never remember her name! Other than that, smooth sailing.

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

Tomorrow's theme: Ben-Wa balls

PlantieBea 8:40 AM  

I was reminded of my kids' old book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"...Easy, smooth, a little bland, but I did like EPHEMERAL. Off for my glass of milk.

Greene 8:40 AM  

Another good puzzle today. We're two for two so far this week.

I got fouled up in the SW portion of the puzzle. Of all words, TINGE just would not come. I stared at that space for a good two minutes before I finally figured that out. It didn't help that I couldn't remember IMMESH. I feel sure I have seen that in a puzzle before. Couldn't remember, but made a correct guess. AMIGA was another stubborn entry for me. Should have come easily off the GIGA, but had trouble getting GIGA because I couldn't get TINGE!! Argh!!

Well, it all sorted itself out, but for about 2 minutes that was one ugly corner.

PIPE DREAM (among other things) was a 1955 Rodgers and Hammerstein musicalization of the John Steinbeck novel "Sweet Thursday," a sort of continuation of the "Cannery Row" story that shares many of the same characters. Steinbeck's raffish characters were not a good fit for the well-made R&H musical play and the sanitized results did not find favor with critics or audiences resulting in a sea of red ink and recriminations all around. A brothel in a Rodgers and Hammerstein show? The score is not without its pleasures however, including an excellent song called "The Next Time It Happens."

Chorister 8:48 AM  

I quite doing Xwords for a number of years because they became boring. This is the kind of puzzle that will do that to you. Yes it was easy. Yes it had a clue/answer that were just plain wrong. Yes it had many, many word that were very recently in puzzles by this same publication. Not fun, not interesting, not enlightening. Just a waste of time.

fikink 8:49 AM  

I am shocked! Never thought this theme would "grace" the NYT. (And the FIL is apoplectic!)

@anon 8:39 - LOL!

John 8:55 AM  

I wonder if somebody out there is working on a NIPPLE RING puzzle?

Denise 9:09 AM  

Yes, it's a midi.

Ephemeral is one of my favorite words.

Eeyore 9:26 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eeyore 9:52 AM  

I might have been more offended by this puzzles theme if I hadn't done the 5/13/09 puzzle from The Onion last night. That one even made me blush! Warning, this certainly doesn't pass the breakfast test.

Ulrich 9:52 AM  

Agree on the miscue for MAXI. Also didn't like TEAM GAME--never heard the phrase: All I know is TEAM SPORT. Aside from that, I really enjoyed doing the puzzle b/c the theme was tightly constructed overall, and as I came to the end in the SE, I had such confidence in the constructor that I put in COCK right away w/o crosses to turn the chain into a ring--and was pleased when my guess panned out.

And since I want to close on a positive note, I won't bore you with a list of all the things that bore me.

evil doug 9:55 AM  

I’ve been told that there is some curiosity here about my whereabouts. I still check my puzzle results, and occasionally I’ll read the chat if there are topics of interest in the crossword. But I’ve sort of weaned myself off the blog after the following discussion took place in early April….


[Rex wrote:]

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.


[I responded:]


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.

Older White, but not among the "lots".

[Rex reacted:]


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.



[And Evil Doug posted his last:]

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.


And that was enough for me. I’ve always giggled happily as Rex has succumbed to calling me “asshole” and “douchebag”---fun to get him foaming a little---but his hyperbolic, inaccurate and clearly distorted comments about my views made me realize: For a guy who seems to pride himself on English skills in his occupation as well as his avocation, you can sure see his knees buckle a lot when he runs out of ideas. He typically succumbs by attaching the “ignorant” label---count how many times he relies on the term above---on whomever he disagrees with that day, and then flails away with nonsense and personal shots to throw the discussion off track rather than expose his lack of debating firepower.

I was truly appreciative of those of you who had the courage to publicly voice your disappointment in Rex right on the blog that day---you must have been truly “ignorant” to do so!---or to e-mail your kind thoughts to me. While I think you know I never shy away from legitimate debate, the host’s tiresome inability to engage on a higher plane for any extended period leads me to believe I’ve got a better use for my time.

Warm regards to you all,


XMAN 9:56 AM  

@ Anonymous 8:39--Not to be unoriginal, but I, too, LOL.

Other than that a fast puzzle for me, but with all the aforementioned reservations (although I did miss the MIDI/MAXI foulup).Also, I never noticed the themet till it was pointed out by RP.

Joe 10:12 AM  

Some good clues but some...COME ON!


on a Tuesday?

Also, agree with MIDI/MAXI and
And RAHRAH to that.

HudsonHawk 10:13 AM  

I liked the crossing of EXULT and ADULT, though I also entered MIDI at first. I giggled when I got to YACHT, but Rex's theme had me laughing. Anon 8:39 then managed to top that. Nice start to my Tuesday.

Crosscan 10:14 AM  

Odd little puzzle. REAVE/AVES deserves mention as a tricky crossing, with an un-Tuesday AVES definition.

A FOAM PRINT can also be washed away by the tide. In my world, anyway.

XMAN 10:16 AM  

I'm surprised the no one (till now) has commented on 31a. Paddler's target. Of course, it could go hand-in-hand with the COCKring.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

I didn't quite solve this because I've always thought the expression is OOPSY DAISY, and I put OPSY in as a possible variant. OTE was close enough to OTO, which pops up frequently, that I couldn't find the error.

retired_chemist 10:39 AM  

A nice, easy Tuesday puzzle. Right on target. I had bet with myself that REAVE (64A) would be WOTD, but nooooo…..

Never saw the theme until I came here.

I find it interesting that I recently had an _____-daisy clue with UPSA as the correct answer, I think in a xwd book I took to TN for odd moments. Today it is UPSY @ 26D. Note to self: file it with EYRIE/AERIE under A (for “Ambiguous and live with it.”).

JannieB 10:41 AM  

I liked this puzzle - but agree that some of the fill was a bit high-brow for a Tuesday.

In bridge there are both team games and pairs games - no problem with the term but I can see where some might find the clue a bit off. Maxi is just plain wrong, however.

Two for two so far this week.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

Apart from having "FEST" in the upper right corner for the second day in a row, it was a good puzzle.
Cock ring and all.

TM 10:45 AM  

Larry BIRD was also a member of the Dream Team (and was COCKy, in my opinion).

Z.J. Mugildny 10:46 AM  

Glad to see that the comments about my puzzle are mostly positive (or at least non-negative). I wish I could claim the COCKring sub-theme was on purpose, but it was completely inadvertent. It didn't even cross my mind until reading Rex this morning, but it made my feel proud nonetheless. Pure genius!

A few other things:

The ECARD entry isn't mine. That corner was reworked by WS (which means what I had was less desirable than double-E entries).

I don't know anything about skirts, but according to dictionary.com the MAXI clue is accurate.

"Team game" is definitely a legitimate phrase. "It's a team game" is heard so often in sports broadcasts it's a cliche.

I originally came up with a larger COCKring that included TAILWIND, WINDBAG and BAGPIPE, but it had to be cut down to make it workable.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

A Tom Collins is a highball, not a cocktail.

Two Ponies 10:47 AM  

The theme was just so-so and not worth the price of admission.
The only merit was finding out the name of this gimmick.
A cock ring before breakfast?

Two Ponies 10:51 AM  

@ Evil Doug I was hoping to e-mail you but don't see how on your profile.
I remember that day quite clearly.

Kurt 11:01 AM  

@Evil Doug

Thanks for sharing this with all of us. I assumed that this was the reason that you had dropped out of sight. But I'm glad that you confirmed it. I understand and respect the position that you've taken.

I, too, was outraged by Rex's comment that fateful day. I chose not to weigh in because I didn't want to escalate an already explosive situation. While I don't know either you or Rex outside of this blog, I really like and respect you both -- even when one of you says something outrageous or dumb or just plain wrong. I look past the occasional "I wish he hadn't said that" comments, because the rest of the time you both are just so good.

I hope that time will allow you to reconsider your position. We miss you around here. And to his credit, this blog has become bigger, broader and deeper than just Rex.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Quick question about monograms (specifically 55a: "Ike's Monogram"): I thought that the monogram form customarily put the last initial in the middle, in a larger typeface, with the first and middle initials on either side; therefore I first entered "DED" rather than "DDE." What is the custom for monogram format these days, anyway?

chefbea 11:21 AM  

I too had midi for a while... mini is short, midi is mid length and maxi is long.

Going to watch the aves in our yard...lots of robins, wrens, doves and saw the first cardinal this morning.

No food today...still full from yesterdays dinner.

Doug 11:26 AM  

To @evil-doug: you wrote, "Gratuitous celebration of rape, violence, homophobia, hedonism, the exploiting of women as the property of men, crime..." Are you talking about rap music or the great operas? I can't tell which. Please clarify.
I enjoyed today's offering. And who can protest starting an ending with "cock"?
Now, it's off to feed the chickens.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 11:36 AM  

Um... WTF EvilDoug?

I always found the "rap isn't music" argument the adult version of "I don't like Brussel Sprouts" argument kids employ. Chances are neither of them have tried the thing they so despise. There's plenty of mysogyny, violence and profanity in a load of other art forms.

ArtLvr 11:41 AM  

I was intrigued by the SCARP clue "Bluff formed by a fault", though I knew what was wanted there -- The bluffs in Michigan are mostly huge sand dunes without rockfaces showing, and it turns out that an escarpment, or steep geologic decline, can be formed either by a fault or by erosion... FWIW.

As to most "rap", I tend to think of it in terms of un-breakfast-worthy linguistic erosion, rather than racist fault. 'Nuff on that?


Anne 11:43 AM  

Why did J. Z. Mugildny say this is his puzzle? Am I missing something?

My puzzle says the constructor is Damon Gulczynski who with this puzzle is well on his way to being the next Brendan Emmett Quigley.

And I liked it - I refuse to become an old prude as I certainly wasn't a young one. Anyway, I thought it was daring and had a mix of old and new clues. I didn't get the theme until I was finished.

And as I have said before, one of my favorite characters is Olan whose husband took her pearls away to give them to another woman. I always remember her.

obertb 11:45 AM  

I didn't see the "ring" theme until after I finished the puzzle and even then the cock ring thing never occurred to me. Not to feel bad, I guess, since it didn't occur to the constructor either. I'm going to venture a guess here--that it didn't occur to WS either and that if it had the puzzle might never have been published. It's OK by me though. The Grey Lady gets a little kinky!

ArtLvr 11:45 AM  

p.s. I remember the Chinese OLAN as being Other than Ulan (Bator)...

Blogger tag slipped away again.


Anne 11:48 AM  

@Evil Doug - I try to steer clear of mix-ups here so I'll just move past it - that whole thing must have happened while I was away. I hope you decide to come back; remember one learns and grows through interaction with others, particularly those with whom one disagrees. In any event, I'm glad to know you're okay.

Mike 11:58 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle quite a bit; I like themes that aren't really wordplay related. Nice change of pace.

Also, big shoutout to Rex for the Shearwater album cover. Rook is one of the best albums of last year, hands down.

Ulrich 12:12 PM  

Disclaimer up-front: This is NOT meant as a contribution to the great rap debate.

To me, there is a huge difference between celebrating "violence, rape, homophobia" etc and describing them, e.g. to show how people deal with them. @Doug: I respect your opinions, so, which great operas did you have in mind?

alice in SF 12:13 PM  

Another easy, fun puzzle. As usual I'm being lured into complacency and then will probably get totally frustrated by Friday and Saturday.

Missed the fact that the theme started with cock and ended with cock.

Always have trouble with the clueing of old computer. I put in Eniac; didn't know about Amiga. I googled both and Wikipedia explains that Eniac was the first general purpose electronic computer and Amiga was the first successful home computer. Will I remember that? Of course not.

Doug 12:20 PM  

I must be really tired because I had trouble with this thing, mainly because I had "SEMI" for "MAXI" which seems plausible.

Interesting Tuesday, with a cockring and a rant. As Happy Gilmore taught me, I'm off to "find a happy place" and chill.

Noam D. Elkies 12:26 PM  

I liked this one -- was wondering what kind of Tuesday theme would call for a grid with no entries longer than 9 letters, but found out soon enough. For a while I thought 9D:FOOTPRINT might figure in the theme too, but I see that it would be asking way too much to fit both a horizontal and a vertical cycle in the same 15x15 grid.

"Cock ring"? Hah. Never thought of it that way. Since it's cyclical it might as well be a tail ring or a game ring -- granted that these other five options aren't really in the language. Still I doubt that it was the intention. Then again, today's NYTimes also included the word "shtupps" (in Kimmelman's review of the Berlin production of The Producers), a word I doubt ever graced the Gray Lady's pages before...


P.S. As a mathematician it took me much too long (and too many crossings) to get 5A :-)

william e emba 12:30 PM  

I think I've been doing crosswords too long. Guitarist LES Paul is in the puzzle, after a long absence of not seeing this standard gimme, and I'm reflexively thinking, "great! my favorite guitarist", nice to see him in the puzzle.

In reality, I have absolutely no idea who Les Paul is, I have no idea if I've heard his music or not, I don't think I could name another guitarist, unless it's that Spanish fellow that I'll remember for sure after the next crossword he's in.

Orange 12:38 PM  

Crosscan, FOAM PRINTS are footprints left by participants in the foam parties they have at some bars. This may well tie into today's theme.

Anne, J. Z. Mugildny +SNACKO is an anagram of Damon J. Gulczynski. CANS OK? NO SACK? The constructor with NO SACK is J.Z. Mugildny?

There's also rap that does NOT glorify sexism or homophobia. Not all of it is commercially successful, but that's true of any art form. There are many voices out there, and it's lazy to rail against an entire genre as if there is any uniformity. "I hate opera because it's so serious" overlooks comic operas. "Country music is for rednecks" overlooks plenty of artists and fans who aren't. I'm no fan of the "bitches and hos" subgroup of rap music, but rap remains an influential art form. (Plus: rhymes and wordplay!)

dk 12:44 PM  

Hi @evildoug and welcome back. We (ok I) missed you. Glad to see you are like me and don't hold a grudge and are able to move passed slight transgressions. And, as is often said I may not agree with what you write but I will defend to my death (well maybe some anon's death) your right to write it.

Like @twoponies & fikink and others the COCK theme along with PIPE caused me to spill my bong water all over my ethereal cereal. I was surprised spanish fly or Long John Holmes did make the grid.

Kinda hopped around on this puzzle. Erred on midi and wanted ball game and AMIGA was a new one. Cleared the Tuesday bar IMHO.

On to hump day.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Cockring? Pul-leeeze.
Evil Doug, I remember the "hanging from a tree" comment and thought it was worthy of an apology from Rex, King of CrossWorld or not.

retired_chemist 1:20 PM  

@ Anne - some research findings:

One Damon J. Gulczynski is in the Applied Math dept. at U. Md. College Park. I doubt there are two.

Z. J. Mugildny on his blog today 'fesses up to writing this puzzle - one now concludes that ZJM is a pseudonym. Either way it was a nice puzzle.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:20 PM  

REAVE was definitely my Word of the Day. Gettable from crosses, but I don't recall ever having seen the word before, and unlike IMMESH, doesn't have an obvious connection to known vocabulary.

Z.J. Mugildny 1:21 PM  

Zack Johnson Mugildny is an anagram for Damon John Gulczynski so I adopted it as my on-line identity one day on a whim, and I've just stuck with it.

retired_chemist 1:26 PM  

@ Z. J./ Damon: cool!

NOW I understand why the PIASTER/TRAIPSE/A PRIEST/ etc. anagram puzzle piqued your interest....

joho 1:35 PM  

@EvilDoug ... I think a lot of people were happy to hear from you today ... maybe you should consider coming back?

I never thought I'd be saying that this puzzle, or any puzzle, was COCK to COCK fun from beginning to end!

If we're going in this direction, hump day may take on a whole new meaning in tomorrow's puzzle, heh, @dk?

George NYC 2:06 PM  

REGATTA is a perfect place for a YACHT.

andrea cockamammy michaels 2:37 PM  

It's been a while since I've agreed with Rex's write up, word for word, mistake for mistake, even having thought the same asides!

Re: El Al...(forgive me if I'm repeating)

but El Al IS more secure...
Back in the 80's I decided to go to Israel on a whim...flying from Rome on Alitalia...

The Airport in Rome posted fake gate numbers for all flights to Israel to dissuade terrorists, but tell you the real ones when you check in...
Except they told me in Italian and I wasn't paying close enough attention. Even Alitalia wouldn't let anyone board within a half hour of the take-off.

So by the time I realized the gate snafu, it was but 15 minutes before departure and they wouldn't let me on (Strangely, my luggage was already checked on board, which would NEVER happen nowadays)

I began to cry, so they put me on an El Al flight which in those days, no one took but Israelis...

Two minutes before we landed, the entire flight burst into song
(Ha Tikvah, the national anthem) and everyone started to cry...
it was the most moving flight of my life.

Speaking of unresolvable world crises,
it's interesting that Evil Doug is back!

I had dinner with Foodie last night, she is here in SF giving a lecture as I write this...
Obviously we discussed the blog at length.

(She is everything you would imagine from her writing: warm, wise, wicked smart, elegant, thoughtful, generous, deep deep deep, truly fascinating, all with a slight Syrian accent!)

It's amazing on the positive side what Rex's blog has managed to do in terms of bringing folks together.
Everyone I've met thru the blog is only a shade of who they are in real life...In person, to a person, from Karmasartre to DK, Orange to Rex, Seth to PuzzleGirl and sis, is that much more vibrant, wittier, spirited and real real real.

I'm sure most of the misunderstandings on this blog from the whole Evil Doug incident(s) to run ins I have had with Rex are in large part due to the same problems all of these virtual worlds have...
You can't look into the eyes of someone while they are talking or hear the humor or read the body language, or have an easy flow of back and forth to straighten out misunderstandings right then and there...

Not to mention the confusion with folks having different names and identities (I find it near-impossibel to be able to call Rex "Michael" or Foodie "Huda"

(note today's mix up with the constructor's name)
so it's a whole different world with odd rules that are totally prone for misinterpretation.

But in general, I still continue to find it phenomenal what he has created from scratch. And how it's enriched my life in countless ways...
but not fully till it's been merged with off-line actual meetings (I started to list but had to stop at about 20 folks!)

I'm not saying if Rex and Evil Doug met in real life they would hug it out and become bosom buddies, but it's remarkable how once it's in flesh and blood it's a whole 'nother "team game".

(I'm with you Ulrich, I've only heard Team Sport)

Ya gotta give Rex credit for not deleting evil Doug even today and providing this blog space to begin with....

On the other hand, I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of his wrath when you unwittingly cross a line, and it's devastating.
But everyone has their buttons when pushed make them see red. It's interesting bec you don't know also in real life what those landmines might be.
(But you have a better chance of working it out. Granted, blinded and with one leg)

And re: misogyny, I'm not sure it isn't time to update the image of the NY Times being referred to as an old grey lady along with all the sexist, ageist, colorist things THAT implies!

Clark 2:38 PM  

REGATTA is what an America's Cup race is called.

Charles Bogle 2:54 PM  

Experts, please help: what does "Var." mean in a puzzle?

I put down "immesh" put was, well, puzzled

Other than that, a very enjoyable, and "do-able" for me w challenge, refreshing puzzle.

My wife and I are visiting our son in the hospital. Perfect group puzzle. My son got the "Les Paul" and "Hottie" shout-outs and others of that ilk
Like "hang ten"

At close, my wife needed to eyeball the NE corner to finish it up

Something for everyone, thank you!

As I haven't yet made my bones here, I shan't jump in on the rap comment

Two Ponies 2:57 PM  

I was slightly worried that I was poking a bear with a stick yesterday when I asked about Evil Doug but now I'm glad I did.

Nice commentary Andrea.

@ Damon, thanks for revealing yourself. And to think you've been here all along! I don't recall you ever mentioning that you were a contructor.

@ dk You slay me. Watch where you spill that bong water, the smell will never come out of the carpet.

Anonymous 2:59 PM  

@Charles Bogle - "Var" denotes variant. In this case I believe ENMESH is the preferred term, and IMMESH and INMESH are acceptable variants. The spell checker in Firefox confirms my belief, as it is insisting that immesh and inmesh are misspelled.

longtime lurker - first(and last) time poster 3:03 PM  

Re: the Evil Doug/Rex Contretemps

I am reminded of what was overheard outside the courtroom after a particularly divisive divorce decree:

"She was a b***h, he was a b*****d."
"Good riddance to both of them."

I hope you all realize this only loosely represents what I feel but I think it makes a point.

Noam D. Elkies 3:05 PM  

Forgot to mention: 64A:REAVE is indeed hard for Tuesday (especially near the obscure variant 57A:IMMESH), but could be inferred from the related and familiar "bereaved" (a.k.a. "bereft").

Now that we know who ZJM is (which may also explain 5A), perhaps Rex can remove the stray I from "Gulczynski" (it's correct in the text -- possibly up to a diacritic on the n -- but not in the heading).

@andrea cockamamie -- yes, I suppose "Gray Lady" is sexist and ageist, but colorist, no, since "Gray" refers to hair color (whence the ageism), not skin color. But of course you knew this already and were pulling our, er, leg. Thanks too for the El Al story, rerun though it be.


HudsonHawk 3:09 PM  

Thanks for posting, Andrea. I was tempted to chime in previously, but you nailed it. I'm so glad I decided to participate in the ACPT this year, as getting to meet many of the people from this blog far exceeded my expectations (which were pretty high).

chefbea 3:35 PM  

@Andrea what a great post!!! You said it all. And I thought you were just a sous-chef!!!

jeff in chicago 3:42 PM  

Perfectly fine Tuesday. All the good stuff has been said.

Thanks, Rex, for the "Rob Roy" pic. Great movie. And some of the best sword fighting ever captured on film. Highly recommended.

joho 4:11 PM  

I have to chime in regarding @Andrea's post: right on! Makes me want to meet so many of you.

ArtLvr 5:33 PM  

@wm b emba -- Les Paul and Mary Ford were the first, or among the first, to record multiple tracks of themselves singing various parts and playing fast virtuoso guitars, also using echo chambers, then combining these into one track that sounds like a large group. "Dear One, the World is Waiting for the Sunshine..." comes to mind.


Raul 5:46 PM  

@Evil posted the same thing last night. Here is Mr. Parker's reply:

"Dude, you are in love with me. You can't stay away. Thanks for posting. I just won a bet."


6:26 AM

ArtLvr 6:06 PM  

p.s. I think the correct title of the hit I mentioned above was "How High the Moon". Others were "Tiger Rag" (Ho-o-old that Tiger!) and "Mulberry Hill." They're in the Grammy Hall of Fame.


Leon 6:12 PM  

Thanks Mr. Gulczynski.

RP, the Cock Ring riff was hilarious.


Derived from Opium Pipe.

Binghamton University's Student newspaper is named PIPE DREAM.The Iceman Cometh is all about PIPE DREAMS.

mac 6:32 PM  

@Andrea: I'll pay you a great compliment. Foodie rubbed off on you. And yes, it is so great to meet this blog friends in person, get to know them a little, understand them.

I had fun doing this puzzle, though it was easy. By Pipedream I figured I had written down a few same words, so I figured out the stair thing, and enjoyed it! I think this may only be the second one of that kind I have done. You have all mentioned the beautiful words, and the midi/maxi mistake. My favorite was "reave", never ever saw that one before!

@chefbea: Glad your dinner turned out ok last night. I know you're not hungry, but you could be having a cocktail, followed by some cock-a-leekie, afther which roast game or snip with tatars. How about a dream pie?

Justin 6:55 PM  

@Andrea: you are right. To call the NYT the "Old Grey Lady" is plain wrong. The management (or mis-management) of the NYT is male. Since we're puzzle folk and interested in accurate descriptives, the NYT should be called the "Old Grey Man."

The May issue of Vanity Fair spills the beans on A. Sulzberger and the mess he's made of the NYT

Anonymous 7:34 PM  

Wow Rex, Re: your response to Evil Doug last night
You have a mean streak. Did then, do now.

PIX 7:34 PM  

@Greene: it's late, but if you are still there: "Sweet Thursday" was also the name of really great, but really really short-lived rock band whose big hit (i.e. WNEW in NYCity would play it) was a very great, but very long song called "Gilbert Street". Check out the album... Nothing to do with Steinbeck but,,,

XMAN 7:38 PM  

With regard to all you jockos who have been criticizing RP anent evil doug, it would perhaps have been more considerate to have done so by email.

It's quite unjust to pillory a person in public, even if the original cause of the contretemps was public in nature.

That's my last word on the matter.

retired_chemist 8:01 PM  

Amen, XMAN.

I am myself offended by criticism, public or private, from a wholly anonymous source. Such complaints were, properly, universally ignored when I was a University administrator.

George NYC 8:20 PM  

Agree. Anonymous flames are uncool.

Dean 8:31 PM  

As an entry level solver, I'd call a "Natick" at the AMAN/OMOO cross. Not that I avoid reading books, but both were unknown to me. Wifey says "everyone" knows OMOO, and I had the 3 Os, but WTF?

PIX 8:52 PM  

@DEAN...for better or worse OMOO is considered a gimme in this world...{personally, i doubt anyone has ever actually read the book, but a 4 letter word with 3 O's is too convenient for the people who make up the puzzleto pass up}...you will see it over and over and over again, i promise.

Noam D. Elkies 9:07 PM  

@Ulrich: "Evil Doug" can speak for himself, but for misogyny and racism in opera the first example I thought of was (alas) Mozart's Magic Flute...


Greene 9:27 PM  

@NDE: Funny, my first thought was Magic Flute also, only don't blame Mozart.

@PIX: Oh yeah, I've been following the blog all day. How could I not? You intrigue me. I'll check out "Sweet Thursday." Probably not my style, but I'll listen to just about anything once. :)

@Andrea: Amen Sister! The First Lady of the blog is back!

@Mac: I think a little bit of Foodie rubs off on all of us each time she shares another gracious and intelligent post, and we're all the better for it. I know I am.

@Evil Doug: I often didn't like what you had to say and sometimes I didn't understand where you were coming from, but I will say this: The blog was a livelier and eviler place for your presence and we are impoverished by your absence. I do hope you will consider weighing in from time to time.

Lisa in Kingston 9:47 PM  

Like George in NYC, I agree that flamers are uncool, but I will go further to say they are cowardly (not a new concept, I know).

Regarding Evil Doug, I miss his additions to the commentary because it's often a counterpoint to that of Rex. I'm a new commenter, but have been lurking for years at five weeks back, so I've read the history of Evil Doug and Rex and all the rants and raves that have clamored every few days or weeks.
I, for one, would like to invite "evil" Doug back to the blog, and ask him to consider a new login name. Maybe a rap name... ; )

Lisa in Kingston 9:55 PM  

Oh BTW, I liked this puzzle. Fast solve, and a funny payoff when Rex added the "ring."

fergus 10:04 PM  

All the while I thought it was merely a circular word progression, but I do see SLYLY sitting square in the middle, the constructor's disavowal of intent, notwithstanding.

Ulrich 10:43 PM  

@NDE: Yes, you are absolutely right about the Magic Flute. I consider the libretto so obnoxious that it seriously impedes my enjoyment of the music--the racism and misogyny are always toned down in translations.

Hildesheimer, in his book on Mozart, which I respect very much, pursues this seeming parodox, as neither Schikaneder (the impresario who commissioned the opera and sang the original Papageno) nor Mozart, who wrote some of his most gorgeous music for female singers, give any indication of misogyny. His (tentative) answer: The plot of the Magic Flute was changed when already major portions of act 1 were written (in which we have many indications that the Queen of the Night was supposed to be the good person and Sarastro the bad guy) in order to distinguish this opera from one already published--the inconsistencies of the plot that result from this about face in mid-stream are painfully obvious. Hildesheimer thinks that the guy who was given the task to rewrite the rest of the libretto (I forget his name) is responsible for its very serious flaws.

edith b 11:10 PM  

At Jim Hornes "wordplay", the constructor allowed as how he had no idea he had construted a word ring and I only noticed it after the fact myself.

And insofar as ED vs REX is concerned, I think long time lurker used distasteful language to express what was essentially the idea "A pox on both your houses." I remember the back and forth that went on between the two of them for such a long time and it caused me to cringe.

I am neither happy nor sad to see ED no longer posting here but I do not miss the jousting between the two men one bit and I think the blog is better off for its absence as the repartee reflected badly on both of them.

This is my opinion only.

IKnowYou'reThere 11:35 PM  

Re the Evil Dog / Rex issue, all I can say is that the world is an unfriendly place, otherwise Wade would have come out of hiding from here

evil doug 5:13 AM  

Useful thoughts. I'll muse.

Two Ponies: I've updated my personal info for you. Perhaps opening a less public channel will ease the pressure point on the blog.



Pitz 4:30 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pitz 5:00 PM  

I agree that having FEST in the exact same location as yesterday was less than stellar. I was sure it couldn't be right, but it was. Go figure.

I also couldn't quite believe that two COCK entries, even as parts of larger words, would be breakfast table material.

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