TUESDAY, May 26 2009 - M Nothnagel (Title planet in 2001 Kevin Spacey movie / On/off surrounder / Romans preceder)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Relative difficulty: Easy/Medium

THEME: SWAP / MEET (1A: With 67-Across, an appropriate title for this puzzle?) - four theme answers all begin with words that are synonyms for "SWAP"

Word of the Day: MANSE (42A: Stately home) - n.

  1. A cleric's house and land, especially the residence of a Presbyterian minister.
  2. A large stately residence.
  3. Archaic. The dwellings belonging to a householder.

[Middle English manss, a manor house, from Medieval Latin mānsa, a dwelling, from Latin, feminine past participle of manēre, to dwell, remain.] (answers.com)

Easy for me. Flew through this one with virtually no hesitation, but thought it might be a bit harder for people for whom Emma SAMMS (64A: Emma of "Dynasty") and Thom YORKE (47A: Radiohead singer Thom) were not gimmes, so I ticked the difficulty rating up slightly to Easy/Medium. The one place where I made an error that required subsequent fitful erasure and rewriting was the center, where I plunked MANOR down at 42A: Stately home without even blinking and then wondered how 26D: One who goes on and on (droner) could end with the letter string "NRR." MANOR felt so solid that it took me a few beats even to consider that it might be wrong. But once that was fixed, boom boom, no more problems. Today's theme covers a lot of ground, physically. Four long answers, plus the bonus 4x4. With the exception of SWITCH PLATE, the answers feel a bit dull to me. Also, two of the synonyms are used in ways that are actually synonymous with "SWAP" (BARTER SYSTEM, EXCHANGE RATE), while the other two (TRADE SCHOOL and SWITCH PLATE) are used with completely different, non-"SWAP" meanings - though "SWITCH" does retain that "from-one-to-the-other" quality inherent in "SWAP." Also, I'm not sure what the "MEET" part of SWAP MEET does here ... I guess all these answer are MEETing together in the grid. So I wasn't thrilled by the theme, but the non-theme fill has a lot of sparkle, so all in all I was not disappointed.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Where to learn a vocation (TRADE school)
  • 28A: Basis for a moneyless economy (BARTER system)
  • 44A: Two dollars per pound, say (EXCHANGE rate)
  • 58A: "On/off" surrounder (SWITCH plate) - I really like this answer

The long Downs in the NE and SW are both appealing - DOT MATRIX is an old-fashioned tech answer that gets you the nice terminal "X" (10D: Early printer type) and NANCY DREW is an old-fashioned hero of children's literature (35D: Character who first appeared in "The Secret of the Old Clock") who makes a nice full-name companion for the other children's entertainment figure in the puzzle, BILL NYE (9D: TV's Science Guy). I always like it when names and phrases that usually donate only parts of themselves to the puzzle show up in all their full-name finery. Lots of pop cultural names today, most of them easily gettable, I would imagine. There's some nice juxtaposition in the NE, with Tony DANZA (26A: "Who's the Boss?" co-star) starring on Broadway as Willy LOMAN (has he done that?) (22A: Fictional salesman Willy). And then there's the fabulous double juxtaposition involved in the placement of Thom YORKE. First, he's on the same line with NEW AGE (48A: Yanni's music genre), which is hilarious and deeply ironic, as his music is about as un-NEW AGE, as un-Yanni, as I can imagine (despite the fact that both share a certain penchant for electronic manipulation of sound). Then there's my favorite bit of juxtaposition, which is the placement of YORKE over DID OK (52A: Got a C, say). Thom YORKE's group, Radiohead, put out an album several years ago called "OK COMPUTER," and so, in a way, Thom YORKE DID OK. Well, it amused me, anyway. Unlike K-PAX, which, despite its great, Scrabbly letters, is somehow revolting (34D: Title planet in a 2001 Kevin Spacey movie).

Bullets:

  • 21A: Ornery sort (cuss) - I believe I learned this word from "National Lampoon's Vacation," when Chevy Chase is trying to ham it up with the barkeep at a touristy Old West saloon. Calls barkeep an "ornery CUSS." And it degenerates from there, until eventually he's just calling him nonsense names ...



  • 24A: "Remington _____" of 1980s TV ("Steele") - is RNC Chairman Michael too fresh?
  • 1D: Spanish counterparts of mlles. (srtas.) - ugly abbrev. compounded in its ugliness by having an almost-as-ugly abbrev. in the clue. Speaking of ugly abbrevs., see also ATHS. (6D: Sports players: Abbr.).
  • 43A: When some morning news programs begin (six a.m.) - odd, if true, clue. Love quirky little two-part fill in this puzzle: SIX A.M., DID OK, GOT ME (50D: "Dunno").
  • 39D: Like dungeons, typically (dank) - the "typically" part made me laugh out loud. Like most people would have any idea (beyond fiction) what a "typical" dungeon was like. "Yeah, you know how dungeons are these days ..."
  • 55D: Romans preceder (Acts) - I'm including this only because of my affection for "preceder" as a word. Only in crossword clues...

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. And now a plug for the recent creative endeavors of occasional Rex Parker commenter (and stand-in) and overall good guy Wade Williams. He's been busy.

76 comments:

John 8:11 AM  

Ah! the old MANSE/MANOR Debacle! Happens to me all the time.Really enjoyed the puzzle. SOOO much better than yesterdays.

George NYC 8:20 AM  

I liked this puzzle fine, though it left me feeling a bit time-warped. Nancy Drew, UBoat, Trade school, Emma Samms, Willy Loman, Rowing in a regatta, Yoo-hoo, What's in a name, Dot matrix, LAN, Pangs etc. all are answers that seem pulled from the archives.

Crosscan 8:37 AM  

I never noticed before that DOT MATRIX and dominatrix are so similar. Now all of you will see one and think of the other forever more. You're welcome.

Emma SAMMS and Pamela Sue Martin (NANCY DREW) were both in Dynasty.

The current EXCHANGE RATE is $1.00US = $1.12 Canadian.

It's nearly SIX AM here. Barely AWAKE. Time to turn on the morning news program. And coffee. I ramble without my coffee. A DRONER even.

Jim in Chicago 8:44 AM  

Funny how perspectives change things. For "early printer type" I tried every variation I could think of for "Guttenberg, movable type, linotype, ditto machine, etc.) Printing, after all, goes back centuries.

Beth 8:44 AM  

The Samms portion of the puzzle was hard for me because of egest. Is that word really the opposite of digest?

Hungry Mother 8:50 AM  

I had a hesitation on "KPAX"; I skipped that movie.

Glitch 9:08 AM  

Much better "theme" today, my take was "Things you do at a swap meet" (if that helps, @Rex).

My only snag today was the old bifocal / fine print problem in 1D where when kilos for Spanish miles fell down, things got wierd.

.../Glitch

Chorister 9:10 AM  

@Crosscan - I already thought that..I was whizzing along filling in the acrosses glancing every now and then to see if the down answers made sense when I saw it: DOMINATRIX! and I thought WHAAAAT? Finally got the sleep out of my eyes enough to see it for what it was.

Also plunked down MANOR and RACED because the constructor wanted me to.

Puzzle saved from mediocrity by the twin shout outs to me and my daughter which was delightful, if unintended.

Chorister 9:12 AM  

@Beth - I learned egest from Xwords so it must be true.

Parshutr 9:24 AM  

Moi aussi on the "miles/mlles" issue, but even to us AKs, this was an easy Tuesday romp.

ArtLvr 9:27 AM  

Quick and easy for me, but I still don't like ATHS -- I KNOW we've seen it before, but yecch... KPAX ditto, though I got it with crosses.

DANZA doing LOMAN on Broadway? I think the most recent was Brian Dennehy, who won a Tony for the role in 1999. (See the LAT today for more fill to please our friend Greene!)

∑;)

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

@Beth - I think egest is the opposite of ingest. e- or in- added to a latin-derived gest.

bookmark 9:43 AM  

Knew all the answers but "KPAX" and LAN. "Death of a Salesman" remains my favorite American play. Willy Loman becomes a more tragic figure to me as I grow older, as I see him in people I have known.

It was good to be reminded of "The Secret of the Old Clock." The Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys mysteries were written by many authors under the pen names Carolyn Keene/Franklin W. Dixon, respectively. These books have undergone many changes since the 1930s.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:45 AM  

I had a little smile at 44 A, Two dollars per pound, say, with its bit of misdirection; had me momentarily thinking of "asking price" or something like that.

I'll admit to one write-over, 36 A, Put pen to paper, had WRITE before WROTE. That pesky indeterminate time reference of "put".

Anne 9:47 AM  

I think I may be in the minority today but I liked this fine. I liked the theme and the extra swap meet and I thought it tied together. I also liked the level of cluing difficulty as well as the mixture of clues, all good for Tuesday.

My husband tells a joke that goes something like this. A man shows up in heaven and knocks on the door, and St. Peter answers "who is it?". The man replies "it is I" and St. Peter says, "go somewhere else, we've got enough English teachers up here."

Ulrich 10:03 AM  

What's in a name? ACME the namer knows, I don't.

This is what the online dictionary says about "swap meet": An informal gathering for the barter or sale of used articles or handicrafts. I looked it up b/c I had too much confidence in MN to assume that the phrase was not in the language (however, ATHS took that confidence down a few notches).

I also misread mlles for while, but other than that, found little resistance, with all the unknown persons emerging from crosses. I agree, a much better puzzle than yesterday's, overall.

@Anne: LOL

Pretend Lady of the MANSE 10:08 AM  

A marvelous puzzle with three of my favorite elements: Thom YORKE, the IOWA Hawkeyes and Mike Nothnagel.
Had the same schizo reaction to YORKE and YANNI presence, Rex, but never linked OK Computer - Brilliant!
Wish I had a time machine so I could do it all over again.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 10:12 AM  

It's hard to come up with quality themes, but you'd be hard pressed to be down on this one considering the amount dedicated to them and the punch of the fill. Good cluing as well as it felt as much for the modern as it does placate the older generation. Not and easy task. Approved.

PuzzleGirl 10:13 AM  

I was a little surprised to see Nothnagel's name on a Tuesday puzzle. I loved it. Sparkly fill all over the place. I too glanced over at my unfinished DOT MATRIX entry and thought it would end up dominatrix.Pretty sure 53D was a shout-out to me. Go, Hawks!

I'm a huge Nancy Drew fan and, yes, she has changed significantly over the years. She's basically unrecognizable in the current books. I wrote a paper in college about the change called "The New Nancy Drew: But Can She Still Tap-Dance in Morse Code?"

PlantieBea 10:25 AM  

I too thought mlles. was miles. I had to change RACED to ROWED to get WORST. So, 1 across, the title answer, was the last spot I filled in the puzzle.

I liked this better than yesterday's puzzle--although it was easy, it had more heft and symmetry in the theme. For me, it also had the feel of school letting out for the summer with Nancy Drew (my favorite summer books at one time), I KNOW DID OK (on final exams)on PART B (of the AP exam), regattas, ISLES.

Two Ponies 10:30 AM  

An enjoyable Tuesday for all of the reasons already covered.
My only huh? was 2D. If you beat someone in a match don't you best them?
I must be missing something.

XMAN 10:37 AM  

I'm with the "I liked it fine" school of thought, but was stopped by the Chinese name "___ Xing" (4d). Shouldn't it have been clued the way (I think) the street signs have it, X'ING? Or, maybe, X'ing, to keep it a little tricky?

sasesqretd 10:42 AM  

Yes, really easy. I also had "manor" and thought Guttenberg. I loved Nancy Drew growing up, bought a book a week with my allowance and became a life long mystery fan. I believe Tony Danza has been in three Broadway shows -- The Producers, The Iceman Cometh and A View From the Bridge -- and one off-Broadway show -- Wrong Turn at Lungfish.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

BTW, I highly recommend the movie, KPAX. Did anyone hear Prez Obama mention Nancy Drew this morning??

Shamik 10:53 AM  

@PuzzleGirl: Now THAT is a college paper I wouldn't mind reading!

@BEQ: to borrow and abort from Fatal Attraction, "I will NOT be placated, Dan."

Meh puzzle for me in easy time. Got YORKE only through crosses. Agree with Rex on seeing all of NANCYDREW, BILLNYE and NEWAGE...not that I ever want to hear Yanni.

I was hoping to alleviate the questionable breakfast test mental leap that K-PAX brings. But an investigation into why the name was coined for a certain brand name "feminine item" would totally fail the breakfast test for many here.

Donald 10:54 AM  

On a day like today, Rex really is "value-added" to the puzzle. It was easy, made me smile a few times: NANCY DREW and REMINGTON STEELE. But then Rex analyzed how all the parts of the grid work together -- the art of it. Thanks, Rex.

Stan 10:57 AM  

Very pleasant, even where I needed to figure out SAMMS and EGEST and started with DARK instead of DANK. (Those tricky dungeons!)

Strange experience hearing Obama's shout-out to Nancy Drew while reading the blog...

JannieB 11:00 AM  

So much better than yesterday - a first class Tuesday puzzle.

retired_chemist 11:13 AM  

OK puzzle. About on target for Tuesday: easy side of easy-medium. But the earth didn’t move for me.

Didn’t think about the theme until I filled in 1A and 67A, all from crosses. NO help in solving as a result, but in retrospect the theme is nice.

Started with Judith LIGHT @ 26A because I always confuse Tony DANZA (the correct answer) with Scott Baio and Baio didn’t fit. Easily fixed. Other than starting with MANOR (like many) @42A (soon changed to MANSE), the acrosses I started with were pretty much right. I guessed WOTD as EGEST (51D). Not breakfasty enough, I suppose…..

The NYT blog predicted the MANOR/MANSE contretemps.

treedweller 11:18 AM  

I'm with @Two Ponies on WORST--I still don't quite get it. My best guess for how to make sense of it seems like it should be clued "Beaten in a match". I also had "aware" for AWAKE, so I stared at A-R for a long time. Never did get it right till Orange posted the ans.

As I searched for my mistake, I toyed with "eject" for EGEST. SAMMS? GOTME! But since I knew there was no "noj", nor any "egect", I at least narrowed my mistake to the NW. I'm glad for that, at least, since Sammc would have really blown my mind.

jae 11:19 AM  

I liked this one also. A solid Tues. Made the RACED and WRITE slips but other than that smooth and easy, although I did need the crosses for the Radiohead guy.

jae 11:26 AM  

Oh, and add me to those somewhat puzzled by WORST.

hazel 11:34 AM  

Well - I guess I'm in the minority (again). At least I'm in good company with @Retired Chemist.

Admittedly, any puzzle with ASTA in it already has one strike - but the fill seemed more tired than sparkly (RDA, ASTA!!!, ORE, AREA, AWE). I guess it was livened(?) up with some 80s tv (DANZA SAMMS and STEELE), but still a so-so tuesday for me.

I did kind of like the idea of swap and meet bracketing the puzzle, but the theme entries were just whatevers for me. Like running an errand, going into a Hardware Store for a wrench.

I liked NANCY DREW and also CUSS for ornery sort. I have always thought of it as a 2nd person word (e.g., you old cuss) never just a person, a cuss.

I'm sure it was very hard to construct, though, so thumbs up for that!

Mike 11:38 AM  

Liked it a lot. The theme, while having answers that were a tiny bit dull, was totally solid; as BEQ said, it's so hard to come up with quality themes, and this one works really well.

I agree with everyone being confused by WORST; the clue does indeed point towards the exact opposite word, BEST. I love DIDOK though; that just seems like a perfect in the language answer, and it's clued really well. Also, being 25 years old, YORKE was a total gimme; SAMMS, not so much.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:43 AM  

According to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, the use of the word "worst" to mean "to get the better of : defeat" only dates to 1636. Should we allow these neologisms in our crosswords?

Two Ponies 11:58 AM  

@ Bob Kerfuffle, Thanks (I think). Neologisms indeed!

jeff in chicago 12:00 PM  

I'm not fond of the WORST clue, but perhaps in this sense it works: If you are "beat in a match" you are the WORST.

I have nothing else to add to this right-down-the-middle-in-every-way puzzle.

mac 12:07 PM  

A quality Tuesday puzzle! More sparkle than we usually have. I got manse, but have to admit I've only ever seen it used in connection with clerics.

I seem to remember that we had a worst / best discussion here before, probably last year. Are we going to bring up U-Boat vs. U-Boot again, too?

My Natick, until my son walked into the room, was the A in K-Pax and LAN. Also, had Bill's last name as Ney for a bit.

All in all, a good puzzle experience for me.

What If It Works? 12:32 PM  

Definitely agree, the theme is not "synonyms with swap," but rather, what occurs at a swap meet.

Rex Parker 12:37 PM  

This idea that the theme is "what happens at a swap meet" is intriguing to me. If this is true, how are "TRADE," "EXCHANGE," and "SWITCH" different from one another? "SWITCH" actually doesn't feel like a natural word in this context at all.

And yes, I loved the shout-out from the President to NANCY DREW this morning. Great coincidence.

Thx,
rp

George NYC 12:58 PM  

I was reading the blog while watching Obama nominate my upstairs neighbor to the Supreme Court AND mention Nancy Drew. Seriously.

Two Ponies 1:10 PM  

@ jeff in chicago, That's sort of what I was thinking. I guess in a two-person contest you are either the best or the worst.
Big day for the news today. Supreme Court (that's cool George NYC), Prop. 8 in CA (good luck doc john), and President Obama here in Las Vegas (where everyone wants to hear him recant his remark about trips to Vegas).

Clark 1:15 PM  

David Letterman used to do this segment occasionally which involved the question "Is it something? Or is it nothing?" SWAP MEET seemed like nothing to me, but my partner told me it was something (as some of you have now confirmed).

SAMMS EGEST got me. Not much I can do about my lack of knowledge of 1980s TV. But when am I going to learn to spot those inferable words? IN-GEST > EX- or E-GEST. Doh!

fikink 1:23 PM  

Rex, thanks for the update on Wade - I was just asking about him. He is one talented guy!

p.s. Sorry, Doc John. Keep the faith.

foodie 1:31 PM  

Rex et al, one of my favorite evenings was a "swap meet potluck" at the home of a colleague. There was some occasion being celebrated, but instead of buying presents, we had to a) bring a dish to share-- the potluck part and b) bring an item we already owned to swap. Something we liked but were willing to part with. The items were wrapped like presents, but not labeled. We had a little ceremony after dinner where we unwrapped them, and tried to guess who brought each one. Then we selected an item to take home, as long as it wasn't one that we brought. I still have the cache-pot that I got from that evening, and I love it because it's quite different from anything I'd buy for myself (I like modern and simple and this one is rather flowery and very pretty). Oh, the potluck? Five out of the 6 couples brought soup!

XMAN 1:41 PM  

Very proper, if somewaht outmoded--

Worst (v.t.) Among other things, all synonymous, to defeat.

retired_chemist 1:50 PM  

@ fikink or RP - I too would like to keep up on Wade. Is he "Nutcracker Buck" or an eponym?

tekchic 2:44 PM  

I too had RACED instead of ROWED. Had to look that one up -- I'd never heard of rowing for a regatta! And WORST? "BEST" perhaps, but WORST and ROWED threw me off for the NW quadrant.

Don't know where I got KPAX from, but it was an instant (lucky for me). Liked this theme.

I did have Judith LIGHT before Tony DANZA, thinking that DANZA was the star, not the co-star. Oops :)

TheCaseOfTheMissingWade 2:47 PM  

Long time lurker, first time poster. Glad to finally be dragged out of oblivion, it's been a while for me. To think that it was the President of The United States on the same day as the NYTimes puzzle makes it only more gratifying.

I can't belive you all haven't already deduced that Wade was indeed the Nutcracker. His voice back in Jan and Feb was unmistakable.

Nancy Drew

chefbea 3:06 PM  

Welcome Nancy Drew!!

I too was in the miles/milles camp

Natick moment was the A in KPAX/Lan

@foodie - what a great idea for a party.

Loved the theme since I love to go to Tag sales. As they say.."one man's junk is another man's treasure"

Tom Mc 3:32 PM  

@George NYC and others not liking ROWED in a regatta: as it happens, all three of my kids row, and we just attended a regatta where my younger daughter ROWED this past weekend. Thus rowing regattas are quite alive and well and up-to-date.

Doc John 3:33 PM  

Had a pretty nice time with the puzzle right until I got to the southeasternmost square. I did not know EGEST (geez, it's a medical term and everything- I claim mental duress, see below) so I put in egess thinking the grid was about "swap mees" with a strange sort of spelling or something. Other than that it was a pretty fun Tuesday grid (add me to the wtf WORST group, though).

Of course my Tuesday was ruined by the Prop 8 ruling, even though I suspected it all along. At least I'm still married! (And the sky hasn't fallen.) Thanks to Two Ponies, Deb and others for their wishes.

retired_chemist 4:04 PM  

@ Nancy Drew -

"I can't belive you all haven't already deduced that Wade was indeed the Nutcracker."

I think it is only I who was unsure. You all is, as we have discussed here, strictly a plural.

retired_chemist (not retired_chemists) ☺

Glitch 4:07 PM  

I took my cow to the swap meet to TRADE for beans.

After a bit of BARTERing, I agreed to take 3 magic beans in EXCHANGE for the cow, but my spouse made me take them back and SWITCH them for the regular kind.

I left dejected, realizing I had been beat in a match of negotiating skills and came out WORST.

.../Glitch

Wade 4:19 PM  

Thanks to Rex for plugging Buck's site--it's nice to be missed and nice to hear from some of you (I mean, (i) it's nice that some of you have contacted me, not (ii) it has been nice to hear from only some of you that have contacted me. Never mind.) I'm without puzzle access for the first time in 13 years--it's a long story, but I got mad at the Times and cancelled my subscription. I wish I hadn't, mainly because it made my wife mad. But I can't bring myself to re-subscribe, because I met get that same guy who answered when I cancelled. So instead I get up early and ride my bike to Starbucks and try to snag the paper there. Sometimes I'm late, and sometimes I don't go. This past weekend is the first Friday-Saturday puzzle I've missed in 13 years.

Nancy Drew, only one person on this board has heard my voice, so I'm pretty sure I know who you are.

George NYC 4:42 PM  

@ Wade
Funny, about a month ago I also got mad at the Times and cancelled. That lasted all of two weeks however...

Lisa in Kingston 4:45 PM  

Wade, welcome back! You can always subscribe to the puzzle online, it's about 10 cents a puzzle.
Oh, today's puzzle: I too thought wow, Mike Nothnagel on a Tuesday...hmm. Snazzy puzzle. I appreciate Mike constructing an easy puzzle since there are so many folks who would ordinarily not even attempt his Friday-Saturday offerings.

edith b 5:07 PM  

I read only "The Secret of Shadow Ranch" with Nancy Drew but I had the full set of Hardy Boys thru no.40 "The Secret of the Desert Giant" and, even as a little girl, I was as much a Book collector as a reader. All of my Hardy Boys books were matte finish with dust jacket. I lost interest when the boooks started coming out with illustrated front covers. I wish I knew where those books ended up.

I like Nothnagel's late week themelesses, early week themed, not so much. I liked the long downs on this puzzle. I guess it is true talent will out, even in its simplest form.

Ulrich 5:10 PM  

@wade: Thx--now I don't feel so stupid for not belonging to all who have heard your voice before, and now that I've heard it, I must say, it's a beautiful voice.

Here's a thought: You could comment on this blog w/o subscribing to the NYT...

NancyDrew 5:15 PM  

@Wade - Thanks, but maybe it's only one who identified completely, not heard.

Nancy

Nothnagel 5:30 PM  

Hey folks.

As usual, I appreciate hearing everyone's take on the puzzle (both good and not-so-good). As I mentioned at Amy's blog, this grid began its life as a diagramless (only because I wanted to use the 17-letter SUBSTITUTE TEACHER as the central entry).

When that grid was rejected, I pared it down to a 15x, shuffled the theme entries around, plugged in the SWAP / MEET pair at 1- and 67-Across, and went from there.

See y'all next time...
MN

Charles Bogle 5:52 PM  

am thoroughly embarrassed

like several others, read 1D as Spanish for "miles"

Also, stuck w RACED for regatta compete

Together those two faux pas took me to some hitherto unknown places

am certain that if these old eyes had made out "mlles" instead I could have done whole puzzle w just a few googles for things like Radiohead

as it was, couldn't complete NW and needed to come here AND THEN for more than one answer Ugh Need new glasses

What's w picking on Nick and Nora's pooch ASTA all the time? Some kind of puzzle inside joke?

Have to be 21 to drink NOG w Xmas cookies

Sorry, poor eyesight n//w/s, this Tuesday puzzle left me disappointed; a number of the clues were, in my opinion, just dumb. But, then, I was kind of, too

mac 6:32 PM  

Hi Wade,
Nice to see you're back. I enjoyed reading your blog, especially the beautifully written piece on your father-in-law.
Hope you stick around.

retired_chemist 6:37 PM  

@ Charles Bogle - ASTA is a nice combination of frequently used letters. I am sure constructors would LOVE another clue for that combo if you have one.

Re eyesight - been there done that. Geezers unite! If you use the Across Lite from NYT ($39.95/yr, or FREE if you get a daughter (Thanks,Robin! You KNOW how much pleasure it has given me) to give it to you each year as a Christmas (or Hanukkah) present), the clues are in large type unless they are long. In that case, you can still expand them by dragging various things on the window.

caldwel2@airmail.net is there if you need help on the details.

Lisa in Kingston 6:43 PM  

Charles Bogle, check Rex's Important Posts (sidebar to the right) for the scoop on Asta.
Someday, say the 22nd century, if crosswords are still around, ASTA might mean something else. Like, Automatic Shield Tensioner Array...

Lisa in Kingston 6:46 PM  

Sorry, meant to say check "The Pantheon 2007" in Rex's Important Posts.

dk 6:49 PM  

Fine Tuesday for me. We had both the old and new Nancy Drew, Tom Swift and Tom Swift Jr. and some other serial character books that eludes at our summer MANSE. So NANCYDREW as fill made the morning.

Rex and I had the same reaction to DANK.

@Anne leave the bad joke posting to the professionals :). Cannot wait to use yours on my english prof spouse.

Wade.... our hero

On to Wednesday.

Greene 8:17 PM  

Wow, I'm late today. Not much to add except to say that I really liked this puzzle. Thought the theme was pretty darn tight and the fill plenty good.

@Wade: I cannot believe you didn't do the weekend puzzles. After 13 years, you must be in puzzle withdrawal.

As has been pointed out, Tony Danza never appeared in Death of a Salesman, but was featured as Rocky the bartender in the 1999 Broadway production of The Iceman Cometh starring Kevin Spacey. That was a memorable season for drama on Broadway as top-notch productions of Salesman featuring Brian Dennehy and Iceman starring Kevin Spacey opened within 2 months of each other. It was a real clash of the theatrical titans and while both productions and their respective stars were critically lauded, ultimately Death of a Salesman and Dennehy got the Tony nod and the longer run.

Frankly, I don't know how one picks between the two actors as both were magnificent: Spacey so desperately kinetic and Dennehy so noble in his pathos. I personally think the Miller play is the greater of the two, and certainly more accessible and relevant to modern audiences, which probably tipped the awards in its favor.

Ironically Salesman played its entire run at the Eugene Oneil Theatre. I would like to think there's some deep cosmic significance to that, but it was probably just a random coincidence stemming from what theatre happened to be available at what time.

retired_chemist 8:22 PM  

@ Lisa in Kingston - can you be more specific in your reference to ASTA? Not in the title list in that sidebar....

PIX 8:56 PM  

She said, "Welcome to the land of the living dead." You could tell she was so broken-hearted.
She said, "Even the swap meets around here are getting pretty corrupt. BOB DYLAN, BROWNSVILLE GIRL..

fun puzzle

michael 9:00 PM  

Hard for a Tuesday, which is good, I think. Means just a bit challenging...

I really was slow in getting did ok for getting a C. In these days of grade inflation (really perhaps the last 20+ years), a C isn't ok in most high school and college classes. It's a bad grade.

Did ok is more like B minus or even B.

foodie 9:18 PM  

@wade, wonderful to hear from some of your personalities! But I've missed the "Sage Stuffed with Trout" or was it the "Trout Stuffed with Sage"?

And you appeared on/for Tuesday! How terrific! We worry about Tuesday, don't you know, he can use all the support he can get...

The Nutcracker Buck Edict:

"And though the heathen may rage, ye shall not rage. And though the mockers may mock, ye shall take no offense. And though the haters may hate, ye shall love. Thus speaketh the nutcracker.”

Words to live by! No wonder you had to disappear a while!

Lisa in Kingston 10:31 PM  

Retired_Chemist, sorry, I meant to say look to "The Pantheon 2007."

Denise 10:58 PM  

So, I thought I said this earlier, but I did something wrong in the posting process. I wanted to thank Rex for making an easy puzzle with a few smiles (Nancy Drew & Remington Steele for me) into a much more interesting experience throught the blog comments.

Thanks, Rex.

retired_chemist 11:03 PM  

@ Lisa - thx - got it. funny!

Noam D. Elkies 11:37 PM  

Alas I didn't get the paper today, so didn't solve the puzzle. I do note an amusing feature of the heading's "Title planet [...] movie / On/off surrounder / Romans preceder": What's an "off surrounder"? :-)

[yes, the spacing around the other slashes should make it clear]

NDE

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