SATURDAY, Jun. 27 2009 — Influential 1996 video game / Actress co-starring in TV's Burn Notice / Cocktails lacking hard liquor / RICO Act enforcer

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Constructor: Trip Payne

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: LACTEAL (36D: Milky) adj.

  1. Of, relating to, or resembling milk.
  2. Anatomy. Of or relating to any of numerous minute intestinal lymph-carrying vessels that convey chyle from the intestine to lymphatic circulation and thereby to the thoracic duct.
n. Anatomy.

A lacteal vessel.

[From Latin lacteus, from lac, lact-, milk.]

This one was easy around the edges, with a mild squares of death in the middle. The corners went down so fast that I don't remember working on them at all. I had an embarrassing revelation in the NE when I couldn't understand why I'd never heard of a poet called ANGELO [insert initial] ... and then I got the "U" (from SELF-CONSCIOUS -> 31A: Uncomfortable, in a way). Oh, right. Maya ANGELOU (12D: "Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie" poet). Not that obscure after all.



But that's the only hiccup I had in any of the corners. The real issue for me was a roughly square area with 23A: Henchmen at the top and 46A: Yellow squares, perhaps at the bottom. This area was a bear. I had several answers traversing it — BLESS ME FATHER (35A: Start of a confession) and ANCESTOR (24D: Genealogical discovery) came quickly — but my inability to get SELF-CONSCIOUS and, especially, EYE CHART (the key to the whole thing) forced me to push letters around a bit in there. Wanted an "S" on the end of 26D: They have connections (kin), which hurt. Actually wrote in ELEPHANT once at 21D: It begins with an E (in two ways) and then tried desperately to figure out why it made sense (it didn't). Every F-starting gov. abbrev. in the world came to me at 39D: RICO Act enforcer except FBI. And I honestly never knew that TOMB RAIDER was a video game. I knew the movies were based on something ... now I know (43A: Influential 1996 video game). Still, this center-square problem was a problem only by comparison to the rest of the puzzle, which was cake.

EYE CHART!!!! I had E-ECHA-- and went through the alphabet to try to make sense of that second letter. Y, as you might know, is quite near the end of the alphabet.

Opening gambit: DO RAGS - GIA - AMIS. NW was done in about 30 seconds. Couldn't figure out 29D: Some pellets (sleet) and so had to reboot completely in the SW, which was, again, not hard. CHRIST - HIC - CRAT. SW up in flames. BLESS ME FATHER took me to the east coast, where I worked into the NE via the HO CHI Minh Trail (30D: _____ Minh). HOOD - HORSED - EAGER etc. Up here was the small ANGELOU snag, and one of two pop culture WTFs?!!? First, "Pushing Daisies" has been canceled. It ran for 22 episodes. LEE Pace is light years from a household name (27A: "Pushing Daisies" star _____ Pace). The show was critically acclaimed, to some extent, but ... I mean, not enough people watched it to keep it on the air, and even those people probably don't know the actors' names. Sharon GLESS's name I know, but not not not from whatever "Burn Notice" is (10D: Actress co-starring in TV's "Burn Notice"). Putting both those actors in one corner seems like contemporary marginal pop culture overload. And if you're overloading ME, that's saying something. But in the end, I didn't really struggle, so I can't complain too much.

Hammered away at the center, and once that broke, I entered the SE, expecting a fight, but not getting one. All three long Acrosses went over easily. Last letter was the "A" in UVA (47A: Sch. founded by a president) / RAVERS (44D: Movie critics, sometimes).

Bullets:

  • 19A: Author of "Time's Arrow," 1991, a novel written in reverse chronological order (Amis) — TMI. The part where you describe the novel is trivia and does nothing to help solvers get the answer. You know "Time's Arrow" = AMIS or you don't. Not that trivia isn't interesting; it just feels gunky when it's used unnecessarily in a clue.
  • 33A: Quebec's Festival d'___ (Été) — lots of easy short stuff like this in the puzzle. I didn't *know* it, but it's the first and only answer that came to me. Three letters, French, starts with vowel...
  • 45A: Drink whose name suggests its vitamin content (Hi-C) — more easy short stuff.
  • 48A: Receiver of some contributions (Roth IRA) — liked this. Hard to parse if you come at it from the front. From the back, a bit easier.
  • 50A: Year that Acre fell in the First Crusade (MCIV) — knowing the First Crusade started in MXCVI helped narrow things down a little.
  • 58A: Contents of a certain household box (cat litter) — breakfast test! ILL AT EASE! (52A: Uncomfortable).
  • 5D: Hero of "Boyz N the Hood" (Tre) — never saw this clue. I saw the movie. Not sure I would have remembered the kid's name.
  • 25D: Budgetary bigwig, for short (CFO) — off the "F" in SETS ON FIRE (28A: Lights). Still didn't help me get LACKEYS (23A: Henchmen). Kept wanting BACKERS (!?).
  • 50D: Birthplace of poet Paul Verlaine (Metz) — METZ is easy to get. I recommend having the last three letters already in place before you ever look at the clue.
  • 55D: BBC's Sports Personality of the Century (Ali) — yeah, he probably deserves that.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

71 comments:

John 8:34 AM  

The clue for 46 down is just Wrong! There is no such Phrase as a "water bearing pipe"! Load Bearing Wall, Bearer Bond. Greeks Bearing Gifts, Yes! It's a Water pipe! A better clue could be "vocal instruments"

Hobbyist 8:56 AM  

A good time but had a Natick with'dorags' and Gia Scalia. She could have been Mia or Tia as I've never heard of her.
Loved the clues. Lots of religion today w is a bit unusual.

JannieB 9:00 AM  

Easier than a typical Saturday but I still hit a few speed bumps. Was overjoyed when "demo tapes" gave me the NW on the first pass - always a great confidence booster. The NE was also pretty quick to fall.

The rest of the puzzle was a bit slower, I had the center done once I gave us the notion that "set" in the "Lights" clue had nothing to do with a movie set. A quibble with lackeys - to me, henchmen do more dastardly things than lackeys whom I equate with toadies or yes men.

Last word in the grid was spritzers - which, now that I think about it, are made with wine not hard liquor. I first tried "Roy Rogers" but the downs quickly fixed that. Also didn't trust "ill at ease" which was in a puzzle just recently. Oh well.

Lots to love in this puzzle.

Crosscan 9:23 AM  

"I recommend having the last three letters already in place before you ever look at the clue." - I love this advice! In fact, I recommend having all letters in place before looking at any clues; it makes the whole thing go so much faster.

Agree with Rex for the most part; I had TIME RAIDER and thought about VAMPIRE for VESPERS. RATERS for RAVERS had me wondering what year ended in T.

Good puzzle. good week.

fikink 9:44 AM  

@John, Don't bodybuilders call some part of their anatomy PIPES, too?
@Hobbist, I couldn't parse DORAGS, nor remember Scala's first name, either, so my rappers ended up smoking DORALS.
@JannieB, I tracked you on this one. Had the same thought about ILL AT EASE since it was not so long ago it was in a late-week puzzle, and dismissed SPRITZERS initially because they contain alcohol (helps to read closely).
Overall, tho', nice puzzle.

PlantieBea 9:44 AM  

Good puzzle with fun Saturday cluing. Thanks, Trip Payne. I had a tough time in the NE without knowing GLESS--thought maybe it was CROSS. I finally broke down and looked up Burn Notice, but then tried to fit GRIND and GRATE into the GNASH spot. Thought the things played at home could be UMPIRES, then TEE VEEs before STEREOS worked out.

Happiest aha moment at least favorite answer: CAT LITTER!

ArtLvr 9:54 AM  

I agree that it ended up feeling rather easy, but that wasn't my first impression! The BRIOCHE and BLESS ME FATHER led to getting the bottom half, with SERVERS and VESPERS opening up the middle and NE corner, and finally RED PEPPER was my key to the NW.

I didn't even see the EYE CHART until I'd finished, because I was doing the Across answers through the midsections. CAT LITTER and MOSAICS were favorites, the former being far away from the breakfast area at my place!

∑;)

Orange 9:59 AM  

@John: What, pipes don't convey, carry, or otherwise bear water? They do. The clue's playing on Aquarius, the Water-bearer.

twangster 10:01 AM  

I really enjoyed this one. It took a while, and at first I thought I had no chance, but I was eventually able to solve it. The only remarkable thing was that two of my early guesses turned out to be one letter off: RATERS and WHALE.

Rex Parker 10:03 AM  

Pipes do indeed bear water. What in the world is wrong with that clue? (answer: nothing). It is one hundred percent factually correct that some pipes bear water. I get "that clue was WRONG!" mail a lot, and can tell that 99% of the time it's the complainers who are wrong. You may not like a clue/answer pairing, but actual errors are pretty rare. (though they do occur)

@Hobbyist, I am sure you have seen GIA many times before; you probably just never registered it. She's fairly common, in both [actress Scala] and [supermodel Carangi] forms.

rp

HudsonHawk 10:06 AM  

I rocked through most of this one until I got to the NE. Thanks for the three letter words, Trip. The SE fell quickly just on LAP and ALI. EMT and FBI hooked in the rest of the South, though ROTH IRA took me a few seconds to parse, and I had the back end first.

I remember Sharon GLESS from the series Switch, then Cagney and Lacey, but the Saturday cluing had me scratching my head, even with ___SS in place. Have to agree with Rex on LEE Pace.

Lots of ER words, though they were generally not "add an ER" words.

PEPPER
VESPERs
SERVERs
EAGER
FATHER
RAIDER
LITTER
SPRITZERs

and then there's ERE.

Karen 10:11 AM  

Pushing Daisies was a great show with lots of catchy wordplay. I think it was killed by the writer's strike more than lack of interest. LEE Pace also had a good role in the movie Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. I expect to see more of him.

I wanted RADICCHIO in the salad clue, although I rarely eat it in real salads. It took me way too long to get LENTO, I was expecting an exhortation to overactive kids rather than musicians.

Karen 10:17 AM  

Does having POST-ITS and post HOC violate the repetition rule?

Pinky 10:22 AM  

Nice Saturday, once I changed UNCLEAR (milky) to LACTEAL

Before SLEET for "some pellets", I had SPOOR (a word Rex likes as much as chewing aluminum foil)

PuzzleGirl 10:25 AM  

I saw Trip's name on this puzzle and just knew there was no possibility of finishing it. And yet ... Victory is mine! It turned out to be my fastest Saturday this year!

I really enjoy "Burn Notice." Luckily, Sharon GLESS is the only actor's name I know on that show. She's awesome as Michael's co-dependent, chain-smoking mom. And, for anyone who watches it, close your eyes some time and I swear Michael sounds Exactly like Jerry Seinfeld.

I had the most trouble in the NW with REV then PEP then finally AMP at 6D. Like Rex, I really wanted LACKEYS to end in -ERS, which prevented EYE-CHART from, um, appearing for a while.

Awesome puzzle.

chefbea 10:31 AM  

Easier than usual for a Saturdy but I did have to google.

I always put red peppers in my salad. They taste good and add color.

My first thought for 60A was Shirley Temple.. but of course it wouldn't fit

Denise 10:33 AM  

Enjoyed this puzzle, which made me think and rethink, and then AHA. Just what a puzzle experience should be.

Orange 10:41 AM  

@Karen, I couldn't help feeling that POSTITS and TIT violated the repetition rule.

Dough 10:42 AM  

Rex opines, "The part where you describe the novel is trivia and does nothing to help solvers get the answer...Not that trivia isn't interesting; it just feels gunky when it's used unnecessarily in a clue." This is why there are horse races. I like the added triviata. Otherwise I kinda feel left empty; so it's a book I don't know. So what? With the trivia, I can say, "Ah, it sounds like it's kinda interesting." What harm?

I thought the puzzle was too easy for a Saturday, but nicely constructed and cleverly clued.

Leon 11:37 AM  

Thanks Mr. Payne.

Cartoonist Gahan Wilson's EYECHART.

Two Ponies 11:38 AM  

My pen and paper was a mess today. My rappers were wearing parkas (which I think many do).
My lackeys were jackels.
My traffic sign said Go Slo before it got musical.
Gnash was clash.
Never heard of Verlane or the place he was born.
Despite all of the writing over I had some great aha's.
Have a good week everyone. I'm off to Negril, Jamaica for a week.
I used to go there often but it's been 20 years so seeing what has and hasn't changed should be very fun and interesting. I also love the food and fresh fruit which goes so nicely with Red Stripe and Myer's rum.

Stan 11:48 AM  

Loved the chunkiness yet natural feeling to the across stacks in NW and SE. Sooo glad I once read "Name of the Rose," because of answers like VESPERS. Rex should teach a course sometime in "Medieval Studies for Crossword Fans."

For me (a Thursday-Sunday kinda guy), a great puzzle!

foodie 11:54 AM  

I love a puzzle that makes me feel smart. From Trip Payne, on a Saturday, started off clueless, yet completed with no googles, with many fun entries = happiness! Trip Payne, I owe you.

It's also quite a mix of literary, religious, and pop culture references, from VESPERS to TOMBRAIDER. I loved "BLESS ME FATHER" because it was kind of a U-Turn clue, it's so literal that it becomes far fetched. NEAP is its counterpoint, because it has a very obvious but worng answer, and the actual answer is unique, referring to tides. I also like the fact that Spring Tides require Syzygy!

foodie 12:01 PM  

On a side note, last night I was reading Jhumpa Lahiri's book, "Unaccostomed Earth" and there in the middle of the second story is Natick (something like-- and my family moved to Natick)! The way it was thrown in there only once, indicating an increasing, drifting apart through apparent randomness, made me wonder whether Ms. Lahiri reads this blog!

treedweller 12:08 PM  

I Could Not gain any traction on this one. I got some nice insights here and there, but never could quite fill the gaps I had everywhere until I visited google U.

Even knowing "Burn Notice" and GLESS, I had to get most of it from crosses because I kept assuming it was that other woman, whomever she may be (Gabrielle Anwar, says google, and who am I to argue).

Even thinking of DORAGS did not help, because I for some reason was sure it was "Ana" instead of GIA (and count me among those who did not know AMIS="Time's Arrow").

"Pep" for AMP spoiled the rest of that corner for me (I knew the double-P couldn't work there, but how many times have I been wrong about what can't happen in a Saturday puzzle? ans. = Lots). And no matter how many times I looked at it, I could not see IOTAS as correct, since I would have written the clue "I's". I could go on, but suffice it to say I was not clicking.

Still had several fun "aha" moments, and only needed a few googles to finish. Plus, he said TIT! teeheehee.

@HudsonHawk
Don't forget REVISER, which gets a big ugh! from me (though I wish more puzzles had so few such moments).

@ChefBea
I wanted Shirley Temples, too.

eliselzer 12:45 PM  

Don't know if it applies to other Pushing Daisies fans, but I loved the show and Lee Pace was an immediate gimme (as would be the names any of the actors from the show). But then again, I work in the entertainment industry and pay attention to these things.

Anne 12:56 PM  

This was an easy breezy Saturday for me and I finished early, even before going on my errands. I felt as if I had been let out of school early. Remember what a good feeling that was?

I had a tough time letting go of radicchio in the NW, but I'm learning not to spend so much time insisting something must be right. I got dorags immediately and thought demo tapes went well with that. And I loved Start of a Confession because I always think about confessing when I come here on Saturday. But no googles today and the clues were clever and varied. I liked it.

mccoll 1:00 PM  

This one was much easier for me than Thursday or Friday, but I still had to google for Angelou. I agree with Foodie, I feel fairly smart. It was a good Trip, Payne. Thanks.

joho 1:07 PM  

I loved this puzzle being puzzle deprived. We were hammered by a violent storm late Thursday night, early Friday morning and lost power at 1:00 a.m. Didn't get power back until just after 4:30 p.m. Friday and didn't get TV until 9:49 a.m. today and computer until around 11. That was some storm. And this was some Saturday puzzle.

Ok, maybe a little on the easy side but not that easy. I had REDPOTATO/HET for the longest time. POSTAGE for POSTITS .. well, stamps can be yellow squares, no?

I solved on the dead tree version for the first time in years as I had to drive to get the paper, unable still this morning to print it out. That in itself was a fun experience.

Thank you Trip Payne!

I just printed out Friday's puzzle and can't wait. The grid looks daunting and Lynn Lempel can be ... so here goes!

archaeoprof 1:25 PM  

I didn't think this one was that easy. Had to work hard, but finally got the SW.

"Bottom of the sea" was my favorite clue today.

All in all, a fine offering by the best puzzle constructor from SC. I hereby nominate Trip Payne to be our next governor.

Doug 1:37 PM  

I used to think it was DEWRAG as in sweat=dew, but of course it's a hairDO RAG.

I thought Trip was so clever with Drink/vitamin = ADE. Too clever for me unfortunately. He needs to get more clever next time.

Looking forward to "Citrus Sunday" tomorrow. I've memorized asa much medical terminology as possible!

Doug 1:37 PM  

Wait, is it tomorrow, or next Sunday?

Orange 1:46 PM  

Next. July 5.

Clark 2:11 PM  

Not knowing GLESS and not seeing NEAP (still learning my tides) I had CLASH instead of GNASH. I spent a good bit of time trying to figure out how LEAP and SPRING could be opposites. (Could it be in the third derivative of the take-off?) EYE CHART came to me right off the bat, saving me much trouble in the middle. And as I sat trying to figure out “contents of a certain household box” (with the assistance at that point of semi-non-puzzle partner) our cat Obi was sitting very upright and glaring at us. CAT LITTER. Thanks Obi. (Actually he was trying to tell us that it was 20 minutes past dinner time.)

I had trouble seeing BRIOCHE even though I just made one the other day. Seems more like pastry than bread to me, 'cause I do it as a base for my cinnamon rolls.

@Hobbyist, Fikink, Two Ponies - My rappers wore DORAL sunglasses. LIA Scalia sounded good to me.

This was a very enjoyable puzzle.

Bob Kerfuffle 2:21 PM  

Definitely on Trip Payne's wavelength today - puzzle was easy and fun.

Count me in the Pushing Daisies fan club. I loved the sheer torrent of words in the narration and dialog and the quirky design of the whole show. Of course, I also liked Arrested Development for its quirkiness.

As others, I had RATERS before RAVERS. Your serious movie critics don't rave very often.

Jet City Gambler 2:27 PM  

GIA was also a biopic starring Angelina Jolie, who (of course) played Lara Croft in the TOMB RAIDER films ...

foodie 2:40 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, I had NIXERS before RATERS and RAVERS. The X belonging to a Roman numeral year...

@Clark, I agree that BRIOCHE was a stretch for bread in French. I guess they went with bread in the clue (as opposed to pastry), to keep us guessing about money answers... In fact I had MONNAIE early on, which went nowhere fast (as monnaie is known to do).

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

I am beginning to like Trip Payne
alot altho it did take 1/2 hr but
at least I didn't goggle.

Somehow Pepper from the P in Pop
Psychology came to me & then
had to get the red but took a
while for the Dorag to show.

Nice Saturday one Mr.Payne!

Rhea

XMAN 2:56 PM  

Oy! So much trouble. Even with googles I nearly threw in the DORAG.

I've got one itty-bitty question, never mind. The clues is "Is in Athens," not "Is in Athens."

chefwen 2:59 PM  

Had to do a couple minor googles, but after that everything fell into place rather quickly. Only mistake was sea bottom, had the ULL and thought, well HULL is the bottom of a boat not the bottom of the sea, so I filled in GULL like the ending of seagull. Wrong, and I never got the T in LACTEAL, so I ended up with one empty square and RO GIRA. Oh well, the rest of it looked good.

Loved CATLITTER clue. Our kitty boy never liked the cat box, regardless of how clean it was and we spent many $$$'s replaceing carpeting, hard wood floors, etc. Now that we live where there are no preditors he does his business outdoors. Bliss!

Philip Sandifer 3:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Philip Sandifer 3:16 PM  

Gotta disagree with you on Time's Arrow - I'd never have gotten that one on the title alone, but the reminder that the novel is told in reverse chronological order gave me enough information to summon that one up from the dregs of my memory.

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

@chefwen

It's too bad the local songbirds can't say the same. But I guess your convenience is more important than survival of threatened populations.

andrea dorag! michaels 3:50 PM  

Fun Trip, no Payne...
EXCEPT
@ Hobbyist, Clark, Fikink,
me too on DORAL!!!
Once again thought easy puzzle only to come and find out I got a square wrong...this is starting to be an everyday occurrence for me :(
(Altho I guess my therapist would say I should look at the 99% that was tricky that I got right) ;)

Martin Amis is the most articulate man alive. "Time's Arrow" tho is wildly flawed and more along the lines of construction sacrificing the fill...in that it IS told backwards, but only sort of in fits and starts but not chapter to chapter. Hard to explain, but like that film, whose name escapes me (Memento?), it's told backwards but doesn't quite hold up logically if you put the pieces in order.

It made the cut in my recent purge of books I'm-never-going-to-read-or-re-read-pre-50th clearance, just bec I like Martin Amis so much...but it's not a great book.
Except the whole conceit that the nazis actually got it exactly right, IF you did everything in reverse...ie take someone FROM an oven, put gold in their teeth, give them glasses and shoes, dress them, put them on a train home, surround them with families and loved ones, etc.

(I hope I'm not mangling this)

@Philip Sandifer
so I'm with you on the trivia stuff, I like to learn or it will jigger a hazy, conflated memory and help me get the right answer...

Whereas when I saw "Burn This" somehow I thought that was the Farrah Fawcett film (Burning Bed?) so that took a bit...and am only learning now it's a TV show.

I tried to put PUSHINGDAISIES (14) in a puzzle and was told too obscure and a downer of a concept.
But it seemed fresh and a colorful phrase to me...along with KICKTHEBUCKET 13 and BOUGHTTHEFARM 13 and something else...DEADASADOORNAIL 14?
Imagine my surprise at the MULTIPLE rejections!

andrea Is michaels 3:53 PM  

ps @Xman
Took me a very very very long time to parse the Letter I from Is/is..one of the times I had wished that my puzzle was not only not on line nor on paper but had been hand-printed!

Shamik 4:21 PM  

Lively and enjoyable puzzle that I thought would be a killer, but came in at an easy-medium time for me for a Saturday, 16:32. Didn't hit a gimme until 45A!

I, too, wanted RADICCHIO in my salad...and always would want it far more than REDPEPPER.

A truly enjoyable puzzle with plenty of fresh fill.

And...ta-da...after finishing my RN refresher course in April and placing 190+ job applications...I received a job offer Thursday evening! And you thought there was a nursing shortage.

edith b 4:28 PM  

My husband enjoys spy shows on TV and I happened to notice that Sharon Gless played the star's mom on "Burn Notice." (I usually read while he watches his "shows" so I had a neon that allowed me to move across the North and then down the East Coast.

I had real problems in the Midlands until I pieced together SELFCOSCIOUS and made a good guess at BLESSMEFATHER that allowed me to move into the SE. I saw ROTHIRA and managed to finish.

I had a really hard time with this one and made a lot of guesses in the center - some right, some wrong - that held me up for a long time. I found this one to be Challenging but I am rarely in agreement with Rex's assessment of the puzzle's relative strengths as my skill sets tend to be different from his.

jae 4:31 PM  

A solid medium for me. Slightly harder than yesterday's. My biggest hang up was BLESSUSFATHER which caused me to erase the whole answer when EMT showed up. A fine Sat. Mr. Payne!

mac 4:52 PM  

I had a good time with this very professional and fun puzzle, not surprising since one of the best puzzlers in the land constructed it.

It took some time, and I had a couple of wrong turns:
ppaline for milky,
forebear for ancestor,
pep for amp. I don't think of pellets with sleet, only with hail. We had huge ones last night in NW Connecticut. I lucked out with Hi-C and shale; remembered it from puzzles just a few days ago.

Last night we had dinner with friends from Winston-Salem, and they told us of their neighbor Maya Angelou, and the next morning she appears in the NYT puzzle!

@Archeoprof: I second that motion.

@Two Ponies: LOL! Have a great trip.

What is this Citrus Sunday about?

mac 4:53 PM  

Correction: opaline for milky

Daniel Myers 5:01 PM  

This puzzle was just too easy for a Saturday! Oh well, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may" says Herrick who...

@Anne is far more articulate than Martin Amis with his self-important, gimcrack novels, like London Fields and Time's Arrow. Read or Reread A.S. Byatt's Yorkshire Tetralogy or Graham Swift's Waterland or almost anything by John Banville! Amis simply gives comtemporary Brit. lit. a bad name...as it were, IMO.

chefbea 5:11 PM  

I don't understand citrus Sunday either. We will be in North Carolina for a week so I might miss it.

Congrats Shamik!!!

Daniel Myers 5:21 PM  

Corrigendum: @Andrea NOT @Anne, of course. Sorry, mea culpa.

Raul 5:34 PM  

From Ms. Reynaldo's site, 06/24/09:

Oh! Maybe if I remind myself of this, I can keep the crankies at bay: Next Sunday, July 5, the crossword that Tony Orbach and I constructed will appear in the New York Times. Now I'm nervous. What if the other bloggers find things to complain about? What if they're underwhelmed by the theme? What if outraged blog commenters try to eviscerate Tony and me? How do constructors handle criticism with equanimity?

mac 5:43 PM  

@Raul: thanks so much!

@Orange: I would be nervous too. Have you crushed anyone lately? I'm sure we will all support you to the end.

@Shamik: congratulations on your new job!

XMAN 6:10 PM  

@andrea eyes michaels: I went so far as to translate "is" into Greek! Hoe's that for persistence in ignorance?

chefwen 6:27 PM  

@Anon 3:19 - It's odd that all the birds my cat has presented to me have been alive and uninjured and I quickly show them the escape route. Rats and mice, however, need to fear the great Tuxedoed hunter.

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

@chefwen....well said. If a bird can be caught by a domestic cat, its time was up anyway. Anonomice hide behind anonymity because their logic is most often flawed.

/mee

Rex Parker 6:48 PM  

I have no problem with cats catching birds, but that last comment ("If a bird can be caught by a domestic cat, its time was up anyway") badly underestimates the hunting skill of many cats, and is absolutely false in many different ecosystems. Just ask a Kiwi bird-lover (e.g. my mother-in-law) what she thinks of cats.

rp

PlantieBea 7:33 PM  

Here's a link that addresses cat predation and suggests that humans are far more problematic than cats to wild bird populations:

http://www.awfct.org/catsandbirds.htm

We like cats and have been cat owners. While I don't so much mind deposits from neighborhood felines of little critters--happens occasionally--I prefer that they, family pet or feral cat, do not mark my front porch!

Anonymous 7:49 PM  

There are many reasons people choose to remain anonymous. It's easy to say cat predation is an example of survival of the fittest, but domestic cats represent a huge, unchecked population of predators, unlike native species that may also kill small animals. If you would like to pursue the idea that free-roaming cats may have an impact on songbirds, try looking
here

here

and here.

If you would like to continue to bash anonymice, that's your business.

joho 8:00 PM  

@Two ponies ... I hope you have a glorious time in Jamaica!

@Shamik ... congratulations!

To all else, never underestimate the joy of having electricity at your fingertips unless it's lightning!

Glitch 9:24 PM  

Interesting the way this blog "turns" as the day ends.

Today it is cats and anonomices, two topics of which I'm fond (a third is blog courtesy, which I almost regret bringing up the other day).

-Anonomices aren't any different from those of us who don't post under our real name and/or don't have contact info in a profile.

There are many reasons, (I was one for a long time), but cut them some slack. Some day they will want to snipe less and be recognized more, then they'll pick a name.

As Rex Parker (and you won't find him in the phonebook either), has said --- [almost] All are welcome.

As to cats, we've been involved in feline "rescue" work for several years, socializing & placing over 50, plus spay/neuter/release those that are too feral (on our own nickle).

We have 6 "on staff" that were too ill to adopt out, and wouldn't trade them for all the unshreded furniture in the world.

IMO (not humble) if your cat annoys you, you don't deserve to let it own you.

.../Glitch

foodie 9:28 PM  

@Shamik, I hope Rex will forgive me for breaking the 3 post limit today, in order to say Congratulations!!!

I remember your saying something in the past about your job search, and I've wondered on and off whether you had found a position, especially given this crazy economy. It's terrific that your perseverance paid off!

mac 9:41 PM  

@Glitch: that's a lovely comment. The difference is that you, even though you don't give us your actual name, are accessable, you give your email address. The anonymice that are the harshest in their opinions don't do that. Even when I agree with them, I can't admire them because of that. I think they seem cowardly.

treedweller 10:00 PM  

How many anonymice does it take to spoil a discussion?

Nobody knows.

PhillySolver 10:09 PM  

Guess the cats out of the bag tonight. I am so wishy-washy I see both sides of the cat/bird debate. I understand many reasons for being anonymous, but I also see a significant downside as evidenced reading this blog for two years.
I think the puzzle was a treat and continues in the several month tradition of being slightly easier to solve than Friday's for me. I wait our SF analyst to post the results and a word of thanks for them too, btw.

Glitch 11:25 PM  

I found today's puzzle a "good one", but nothing to comment on that wasn't already covered, so didn't post (avoiding me too's) until the sidebars came up.

Ambivalence on cats is understandable, I have similar feeling on dogs (and children for that matter) --- other than "bait the bear", to each his own ;-)

Anonymice (gotta get that in my spell checker) are bit different.

@mac
I don't agree they "seem cowardly", but just not quite ready to commit to a definite alter ego.

As to:

@treedweller's (I assume) rehetorical question, I think most discussions turn "ugly" with comments by those known by the regulars.

@Phillysolver
Total Agreement, on ALL points!

.../Glitch

Shamik 12:22 AM  

Thanks for the good wishes on my job. It has been a long time coming and will relieve much stress. Now...will i be eligible for vacation when next year's puzzle tournament occurs?

Last summer when we had the motor home parked on a ranch in Colorado, I was most happy that our very spoiled, declawed (yes, i know that's controversial), most diva-esque feline found her inner hunter and left us some trophy mice. Better dead mice in the motor home than live mice in the motor home.

dls 4:10 PM  

@Philip Sandifer (3:16 pm): ditto

rebecca 10:43 AM  

Uggg! I struggled with the NE and SW portions of this puzzle! Thanks for posting the answers.

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