Attorney general before Reno —THURSDAY, Jun. 18 2009 — Maker of Gauntlet and Area 51 / His planet of exile is Dagobah / Tiramisu topper

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Constructor: Patrick Blindauer

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: A-one, and A-two, and A ... — final "E" in a common phrase is changed to "A," creating a wacky phrase, which is then clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: William Pelham BARR (25A: Attorney general before Reno) — William Pelham Barr (born May 23, 1950 in New York City) is an American attorney who served as the 77th Attorney General of the United States. (under George H.W. Bush, November 26, 1991 – January 20, 1993) [really, 14 months on the job almost 20 years ago and I'm supposed to remember you!?]

Catching the theme early, and catching some luck, made this puzzle easy as PIE (CRUSTS) for me (side note re: 11D: Cobbler bottoms: my wife insists that cobblers do not have any CRUSTS on their bottoms, let alone "PIE CRUSTS" — "that's the whole point of cobblers: they're not PIEs ... OK, maybe that's not the whole point of cobblers, but ..."). I hesitated a little out of the gate with SCANS for READS (1A: Examines a passage), but RANIS was my first guess at 1D: Indian royalty and that led right to I DO and AARON and then we were off and running. I found that the answers just came to me today, with very little effort. Guessed correctly at the mattress clue (21A: Mattress brand = SERTA, could've been SEALY), which got me the entire N, and then rounded that first corner out of the NW by getting the entirety of NAME THAT TUNA off just the "NA..." CATS to COCOA got me the NE, then I went thru the W and middle and finally hit a real snag — with only the SE left to do, the tail end of DELIVERY DATA would Not come to me. I had nothing. DELIVERY DATA seems to me the oddest theme answer of the bunch today because DELIVERY DATE is vague as common phrases go. Was a baby delivered. Was a package delivered. I looked up the phrase and answers.com says it has a specific financial meaning:

1. The final date by which the underlying commodity for a futures contract must be delivered in order for the terms of the contract to be fulfilled.

2. The maturity date of a currency forward contract.

Did you all know that? Until I looked it up, I had decided that DELIVERY DATE must just be related to DUE DATE. So ... I had nothing, as I say. DELIVERY ---A. Had to reboot inside that SE quadrant with ... well, oddly, with EMERGED (48A: Came out), which came to me instantly when I was testing AMOK at 46D: Every which way. Finished the puzzle from there in what turned out to be quite a fast time for me (5:18).



Theme answers:

  • 17A: Hospital employee's role as an opera girl? (nurse's Aida)
  • 26A: What Starkist decided to do for "Charlie?" (Name That Tuna)
  • 43A: A girl, born 8:48 a.m. weighing 6 pounds 13 ounces, e.g.? (delivery data)
  • 58A: Where a Hungarian toy inventor vacations in the Caribbean? (Rubik's Cuba) — well that makes no sense. The other wacky clues at least describe plausible ideas or actions, but this ... ? Clue should have gone with Rubik conquering CUBA or something ... you don't vacation at places that are named after you. For instance, I don't vacation on REX's Island (actually, if you can tell me where that is, I might).
The SW is crammed full of proper nouns: three character names and a real person's name. They were all easily gettable for me, but crossing even two names can be dangerous to solvers. Packing in four in such tight quarters ... well, here, it works. I'm just saying, it can be risky. I did not know PETE, for instance, but the crosses (which include two names) were well known (52D: Black _____, archnemesis of Mickey Mouse). The pop cultureyness of this puzzle was right on my wavelength, otherwise. I've seen "Two Mules for Sister SARA" (13D: Title sister played by Shirley MacLaine, 1970), and I remember "BETH" fondly as the "That's KISS? No Way!" song of my youth (64A: 1976 top 10 hit for Kiss). I teach "Dick Tracy" in both my Comics and my Crime Fiction courses, so GOULD was a gimme (49D: Creator of "Dick Tracy"). LEX LUTHOR (33D: Villain from DC) and YODA (8D: His planet of exile in Dagobah) are icons of my youth (I still read comics featuring the former). I had a Rubik's Cube in 1981, my favorite number is NINE, I would eat OREO and COCOA (22A: Tiramisu topper) PIE CRUSTS all day long if my body would let me, etc. Just a good day for me overall, Not-Bob BARR and G. Gordon LIDDY notwithstanding.

A very question marky puzzle, overall. The four theme clues, plus SIX more non-themers. At one point I found this so frustrating that I looked up to see who the constructor was — PB2! He likes to have his fun. I figured it would all be worth it in the end, and as change-a-letter puzzles go, it was not bad.

And I liked that SIESTAS (5D: Shop-closing occasions) crossed SERTA.

Bullets:

  • 14A: Maker of Gauntlet and Area 51 (Atari) — never played either, but got this quickly.
  • 15A: Cousin of a heckelphone (oboe) — as with PETE, I never even saw the clue, so didn't have a chance to get flummoxed by it.
  • 35A: Boom preceder (sis) — as in "SIS-BOOM-BAH," a phrase I associate w/ fur coat-wearing, goldfish-eating Yalies of the 1920s, for some reason.
  • 63A: Orphan of literature (Eyre) — my first answer here was MORK ... (!?)
  • 41D: Court stars, maybe, in brief (MVPS) — is there really a need for "maybe" here? If the court you are talking about is a basketball court, and the people in question are MVPS, then, by definition, they are "stars."
  • 44D: Returnee's "hello!" ("I'm home!") — Had "I'M BACK," which is what led to the "MORK" error (above).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow me on Twitter @rexparker]


[photo stolen from a follower whose name I didn't write down. Bad Rex.]

61 comments:

dk 8:29 AM  

Easy Thursday and I never got the theme. Fussed over the Charlie clue as in my mind he was always rejected, Also thought of RUBIKarUBA, but that made the roman numeral, well, a little odd.

Besides Dogpatch clues I am beginning a collection of OBI and HALOS clues. I think YODA had an OBI. I know the sensei (sp?) for the Mutant Ninja Turtles did. And, Halo is in some saccharine song of late

Favorite SALON sign: CUT, CURL and DIE. Those Midcoast Mainers sure have a sense of......

PuzzleGirl 8:52 AM  

Great puzzle from PB2. I always say that if I put BETH in a puzzle I'm going to clue it in relation to Kiss. Anyone see Adam Lambert singing "Beth" on the American Idol finale? He actually made it sound like a good song. And then Kiss showed up, which completely blew me away. OMG. My kids are watching the Idol finale right now on the DVR and, yes, they're at the part where Adam is singing "Beth." I'm not making this up.

So, for RUBIK'S CUBA I was thinking it's like "Edith Wharton's New York" or whatever. Works for me. (PuzzleDaughter in the background: "Keep that tongue in your mouth!") I can never remember if MIRA Sorvino is spelled with an I or a Y so have to wait for crosses. First orphans that come to mind for me are Annie and Oliver, neither of which fit. Oh, and Sandy is totally right about the pie crusts, but I'm sure we'll hear about that from some reliable sources soon.

Orange 8:52 AM  

Well, they talk about "Hemingway's Key West," so I'm OK with RUBIK'S CUBA.

Yeah, I think Sandy's right, that cobblers limit their crust content to the layer on top. But [Cobbler's bottoms] sounds like a clue for SHOE SOLES, doesn't it? Perhaps that mislead held sway here.

Anne 8:55 AM  

Otisville? Otisville? That's what Lex Luthor said (as only Gene Hackman could say it) to Otis (Ned Beatty) when Otis suggested that a town be named for him. If I remember correctly, they intended to blow up California and make a killing in real estate with the new coast line. Both of them were hysterical in Superman; I can laugh just thinking about it.

Anyway, puzzle was so so. There were a few clever clues - I liked exercise on a bench and take the wrong way.

Rex's wife is right I think - cobblers do not have pie crusts, at least mine don't.

And it occurs to me that I never much liked Mickey Mouse which may be why I didn't know his nemesis.

smev 9:02 AM  

That cobblers clue really threw me - as others have said cobblers do NOT have pie crust bottoms.

Jim in Chicago 9:02 AM  

Cobblers indeed have a crust, but it is on TOP, the whole point is that there isn't a bottom crust.

Easy Thursday, with a few clever clueing to keep things interesting. I liked ETUDE for "exercise performed on a bench" and OBI for "band from Japan" took me longer than it should have.

Sandy 9:09 AM  

I kept trying to force "fruit" (which shares a surprising number of letters with crust) into the cobbler squares. Then when that didn't work, I thought "peach" might fit, given the intial P. Big groan when I finally got it from crosses.

Cute puppies. Perhaps someone will claim them.

I was just plain surprised that Mickey Mouse even had a nemesis, let alone an arch one.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:14 AM  

NAME THAT TUNA is older than dirt. And RUBIK'S CUBA aside, felt this one was decent. Might have received a few bonus points because I'm totally in the Pat Blindauer for Some Kind of Political Seat camp.

Rex, Rex, Rex. You simply must play Gauntlet. Talk about icons from your childhood! "Elf needs food, badly!"

joho 9:19 AM  

I thought this was too easy for a Thursday but ended up with a mistake ... so, not so easy afterall. I wrote in cAN instead of BAN because cARR seemed a more familiar name to me than BARR. I sort of turned the meanings of the Commandments around in my head as positives ... as it you do these things it's a good thing. I did not know BARR and am happy Rex picked it as the word of the day.

@dk, that is one beauty salon I will never enter!

Ulrich 9:24 AM  

Nurses Aida? What would that be like? Perhaps like this:

Handsome Dr. Radames is betrothed to the society girl Amneris van Luxor, but in love with beautiful, olive-skinned nurse Aida Celeste, whom he meets in the hospital basement for frequent trysts. Being rich, Amneris has never learned how to share and rats on both of them to the hospital administration. The good doctor is given the choice between leaving Aida or losing his job, and big sap that he is, he follows his heart. He and Aida leave in the Doctor's Porsche, and Aida proceeds to show the doctor her gratitude the best way she can. The doctor loses control, and at full speed, the car crashes through the guard rail of a bridge and gets submerged in ice-cold water. Both Radames and Aida die b/c they cannot get out of the confined space they are trapped in.

Not bad for a Thursday...

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Rex, 41D: I think you can be a court star, but not an MVP. (One of the Globetrotters, perhaps?) Thus, the "maybe".

HudsonHawk 9:31 AM  

@Anne, as soon as I wrote in LEX LUTHOR, I could hear Ned Beatty bellowing "Mr. Luth-ORR" and smiled. Hilarious role as Otis.

In addition to the many ? clues that Rex mentioned, the clues for 2D and 11D were in that neighborhood.

John 9:34 AM  

Had TENSE, TERSE for TIPSY.

And Remember"You can Tune a Piano, But You can't Tuna Fish!"

treedweller 9:39 AM  

@dk
In "The Blues Brothers," Carrie Fisher works in a SALON called "Curl Up and Dye."

I finished a minute or so ahead of yesterday. I never did get that SW corner to work with DWELLER in it, alas!

I thought the puzzle was fine, if uninspiring.

Queen Bun-Bun 9:46 AM  

i wish you had a link to Aaron Neville singing anything. He's that good.

retired_chemist 10:01 AM  

Medium. I did not have a fast time (even for me), but it was enjoyable. Had a brain f**t in the center – started with SPR(ing) for 38D instead of APR(il). And left it for far too long. Then couldn’t remember the B in BARR (25A) (FARR? CARR? GARR? PARR?), which left me with _AN_ for 25D and TSPE_ for 37A, plus a nagging question as to whether HOE (28D) was right. Eventually (D’oh!) fixed it all, but my bad. A couple of wrong crosses kept me off of PIE CRUSTS (gettable despite being wrong, as others have said) @ 11D, also for too long. Glad I put SERTA in first @ 21A instead of SEALY, else life in the upper Midwest would have been messy also.

Our old friend LEX LUTHOR (33D) opened up the west nicely. Apparently he knows Mr. Mxyzptlk (see here and yesterday’s blog).

Nice theme. Fun answers. 56A OBI was cute – didn’t even see it because I did Dixie by the downs mostly. Also liked 27D TIPSY.

Two Ponies 10:33 AM  

Easy for a Thursday but all the misdirection made it
Delish.
Mickey had an enemy?
I thought this was lots of fun.
I'll forgive the pie crust. Maybe Mr. Blindauer isn't very good in the kitchen.

Shamik 10:42 AM  

@Two Ponies...that's what editors are for. So that the author's miscue isn't published. So we can forgive Patrick Blindauer's lack of culinary acumen. I'll blame Will...just because I can.

Easy/medium puzzle for me except for a wrong square in the Almost perfect: NICE for NINE...which is not my favorite number. Though, it is a good number. It makes STNS into STCS which could be code for whatever. Gripes me a little because you just as frequently see STAS for stations.

@Ulrich: Do they sing in that car crash at the end before they die?

Shamik 10:44 AM  

OFF TOPIC:

You are a bunch of the best puzzle-solving minds I know. I urgently need some help solving a puzzle. It requires listening to a bunch of audio clips that seem to be from arcade video games. Please e-mail me at shamik1954@yahoo.com if you can help! Thanks!

Charles Bogle 10:46 AM  

DELIVERYDATA just blew me out of the water. I drew complete blank and consequently have a grid with a hole two-thirds of the way down in the middle. Glad to see the rest of you made out better!

PlantieBea 10:49 AM  

Fun puzzle. Like Sandy, I tried to force PEACH into the cobbler spot. I've made plenty of cobblers, and the fruit goes on the bottom with a sweet biscuit dough cobbled on top. No pie crust is involved, top or bottom.

Not knowing GOULD slowed me down until IDLER EMERGED to complete the cross.

I used to play the oboe, but never heard of a heckelphone. Hmm...according to Wiki it's a rare four foot long oboe-like instrument that rests on the floor. It's keyed about an octave lower than the oboe. Very uncommon--only about 150 of them ever produced.

Crosscan 10:50 AM  
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Crosscan 10:51 AM  

The LEX LUTHOR of Mickey Mouse is Maleficent, the mistress of all evil, from Sleeping Beauty, Fantasmic and Ridley Pearson's Kingdom Keepers books.

PETE Ross and Roseanne BARR would have been better clues. It's not Saturday.

Great puzzle.

chefbea 10:53 AM  

East thursday

Sandy is right...cobblers have crusts in top and are usually runnier than pies. You can eat them with a spoon.

We leave bright and early tomorrow morning to come back to the states.

ciao

Z.J. Mugildny 11:00 AM  

Blindauer is probably a victim of his own success with me. Compared to his great puzzles of the past, this one was a let down. The theme answers weren't cool enough to make up for the tiredness of the change-a-letter theme, IMEO.

XMAN 11:15 AM  

At first, all was blank, then spotty entries (and the fear of doom), then the middle filled in with the SW, eventually all fell into place, except I had EERE for EYRE (grrr!). In defense (?) of myself, I admit to knowing nothing of "Jane Eyre," except now, that she's an orphan.

I really enjoyed this puzzle.

fikink 11:22 AM  

I was slowed by spelling today, much to my chagrin. Had COURSE for the longest time, and spelled LUTHOR like Martin.
I guessed that Mickey's arch nemesis was Black BART. (Mr. F names all his electronics Black Bart, for what reason I do not ask.)
And actually first tried sunsets for SIESTAS...must be thinking of fasting.
Ulrich, LOL!
PlantieBea, your cobbler sounds DELISH; let's fax one to Will.

miriam b 11:37 AM  

Cobblers vary by region, but IMO none of them involve an actual PIECRUST, top or bottom. Batter, maybe - something like a popover batter which will rise through the fruit and emerge at the top. Or biscuit dough over the fruit.

When my kids were little, back in the Devonian, I once brought an apple cobbler to the table and was greeted by cries of "What's that stuff?" I coolly replied that it was cat food. This name has stuck, even unto the present day.

I have some nectarines and peaches which I deem to be slightly overripe. This might be a good day for cat food.

Ulrich, you made my day.

jae 11:41 AM  

Easy and OK. I got BARR but thought it was Bob, who was in the press a lot in the 90s for leading the Clinton impeachment drive. I was surprised that it turned out to be William who, like Rex, I have zero memory of.

Oh, and like fikink I tried BART first.

SethG 11:46 AM  

HECKelphone, even I knew where the cobbler crust goes.

ETUDE tricked me but good. Because I was thinking of weight training. UTENSIL tricked me but good. Because I don't know why. Didn't know GOULD or BETH ([insert sheepish grin, sorry PG]) or PETE, but all plenty solvable anyway. Ended at the center P--had to run the alphabet for TAxES/TIxSY.

Glitch 11:50 AM  

Learned 2 things today:

-When sitting on my piano stool, I should try playing etudes on a bench rather than a piano

-Eyre is an orphan

Oh well, at least there were no circles.

.../Glitch

mac 12:26 PM  

Nice Thursday puzzle. Doesn't PB2 do mostly late week puzzles? We are used to amazing clues, these were obviously of a different level.

I also thought Rubik went to Aruba, and for 25D I had "sins" instead of "bans".

@SethG: I usually know only a third to a quarter of the people/artists/characters/computer games and gizmos in the puzzles, have to figure them all out with crosses...

PB2 has political aspirations? Does anyone know more?

Karen from the Cape 12:33 PM  

PG, I totally got the BETH answer from Adam Lambert's performance. I don't think I could name any Kiss songs off the top of my head. I know LIDDY's name because it's one that will make me immediately change radio stations.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

love the puppy pic! for a minute i thought maybe you stole it from me, but my toenails are shorter.

35A= SIS? so dumb.

Lisa in Kingston 12:58 PM  

Heckelphone made me burst out laughing (lol, as it were).
At first I thought the puzzle was going to be a fruit rebus. I had piec----- at 11D and thought "pieces of (insert fruit picture here)."

Clark 1:28 PM  

I thought the puzzle was just fine. I haven’t been doing this long enough to be tired of change-a-letter themes. Heading to the West Coast tonight for a get together with family: parents, all sibblings, their others and their kids. Have lots of ripe fruit that needs to get used up or trashed. So, should I make a COBBLER, crisp, crumble, brown betty, grunt, slump, buckle, crumble, pandowdy or sonker?

My bengal’s name is OBI, but that has more to do with YODA than with Japan.

@Ulrich -- Hilarious.

Ulrich 1:52 PM  

@Shamik: I don't think so. Presumably, both had their mouth full--with water, of course.

Stan 2:13 PM  

Like everyone, I enjoyed the misdirective clues (especially for Lex Luthor, where I was searching for a newscaster or politician). Unlike everyone, I just loved Rubik's Cuba -- it cracked me up.

Must remember spelling of Thom McAn for future puzzles.

Austin 2:38 PM  

Ha! I parsed it as RUBIK SCUBA, didn't even think about the island CUBA.

PlantieBea 2:42 PM  

Curiosity about the oboe relative got the better of me. I found this heckelphone piece on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmt7cPHsDOE&feature=related

I love the sound of the instrument.

On a different note, I can't figure out how to embed youtube links. I get an error message saying "Your HTML cannot be accepted..." and identifies a problem with the object width and height. How do I solve this problem?

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

I'm with Lisa in Kingston - off the PIEC_____, I was thinking PIECework, and the other kind of cobbler.

Agree with RP that DELIVERYDATE is much less 'in the language' than dueDATE, although I guess some people still do pools where the winner comes closest to actual sex/time/weight numbers.

RT

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

I thought 59-down broke on of the basic crossword rules...the clue contains part of the answer. Both have Roman Numeral "I" in them. Saint Innocent I became pope in CDI. Am I crazy?

retired_chemist 2:52 PM  

@ PlantieBea - I'd guess from your post that you are trying to embed the visual object like Rex does in the blog. The blog is slightly narrower, and I for one cannot widen mine. If this is indeed the problem, the link is all you can give us.

ileen 3:16 PM  

"I was thinking PIECework, and the other kind of cobbler." So was I, but I had PIECeUSeS. Cobblers have tops, not crusts. Back to my electronic solving today-much faster.

retired_chemist 3:22 PM  
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retired_chemist 3:23 PM  

Surprised that nobody has called a WTF on 34A carbonium IONS. Usually you would need to get to organic chemistry before hearing that term. Or maybe it's just that the crosses were straightforward and made it obvious......

chefwen 4:20 PM  

Had very few problems with this puzzle other than the ridiculous PIECRUST answer, could have been clued lemon meringue (my favorite)or Rhubarb (my second favorite)bottom.

Have a very dear, eldery, friend in Florida named Rani, I've always loved her name. She's been ready for the alternative for about 20 years now.

Had no problem with delivery date, you have your basic ship date, add your UPS time to get your basic delivery date.

PIX 5:13 PM  

@ Retired Chemist: What, you think that everyone doesn't know that "A carbonium ion is a carbocation of the penta- or tetracoordinated nonclassical type such as an ion of the type R5C+." {Professor Google}. Positively charged carbon atoms. Obvious. Self-Evident. Only possible confusion is that now they are referred to as carbocations.

Glitch 6:10 PM  
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Glitch 6:12 PM  

@r_c & PIX

Actually, I was going to ask what field "Ion Carbonium" was noted for, thinking it was literature or music.

Then I was distracted by a shiny thingie on my way to find a piano bench tuner and the day was shot.

.../Glitch

retired_chemist 6:20 PM  

@ PIX and Glitch -

Right re carbocations, also right re it being arcane as you both implied. Liked your sardonic post, PIX!

ps - actually depicted as trivalent R3C+ for the most part. We need not get into the valence issues here....

ChemProf 7:12 PM  

The hazzards of getting into the carbonium ion/carbenium ion/carbocation quagmire are substantial. :)

For those (few) that care:
R3C+ should be carbenium logically (by analogy with other uses of the suffix), while carbonium should be reserved for the hypervalent (i.e. R5C+) species. The idea is that these are more specific than the generic "carbocation" and that this usage is consistent with other uses of -enium and -onium.

However, due to the beta/VHS phenomenon, "carbocation" is sufficiently entrenched that everyone still just uses that term... :)

I often run across organic chem terms that I'm surprised to see (thinking them overly specialized).

Anonymous 7:21 PM  

Careful chemists: I've got my ion you.

retired_chemist 7:23 PM  

@ ChemProf, Glitch, and PIX - send an e-mail to caldwel2@airmail.net if you want to be part of a group to deal with crossword puzzle chemistry without boring the non-chemists on this blog.

chefwen 7:48 PM  

@Anon 7:21
Veeerry funny, scared the cat with my laughter.

edith b 9:54 PM  

When my daughter was due with my granddaughter she had medical problems that necesitated her OB/GYN giving her a Delivery Date after which she would have required a Casarian and I got the theme from that clue.

I found this one fairly easy for a Thursday as I knew all the names from Mr Barr to Yoda

sanfranman59 10:13 PM  

This week's numbers so far. The number in parentheses is the number of solvers. I'm also including last week's numbers for comparison.

Mon (all) 7:02 (960) last week: 6:55 (856)
Mon (Top 100) 3:44 last week: 3:43

Tues (all) 8:17 (877) last week: 8:09 (878)
Tues (Top 100) 4:19 last week: 4:06

Wed (all) 12:03 (723) last week: 14:33 (626)
Wed (Top 100) 5:35 last week: 7:26

Thu (all) 15:13 (649) last week: 14:08 (613)
Thu (Top 100) 7:01 last week: 6:45

A tougher Thursday this week than last, although there were fewer solvers last week. Some of the variation from day to day in the number of solvers is accounted for by when I check the list. I've been trying to do it as close as I can to 7:00 Pacific before they post the next day's puzzle, but some days my last check is earlier than others.

Stan 10:50 PM  

@r_t: I thought a valence had something to do with curtains...

edith b 12:35 AM  

I meant CAESARIAN, of course.

andrea cocoa michaels 3:12 AM  

Started out with PORE/PASHA instead of READ/RANIS and SEALY instead of SERTA so lots of undoin' from word go...

A little too hard for me boywise (GOULD, ATARI, YODA, LEXLUTHOR) but eventually gettable.

As for the whole cobbler thing,
so stuck on shoemakers, and so ignorant of cooking/baking/eating of any sort, this clue was not as easy as 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679.

That said, I admire that EVERY single one of Patrick's clues are misleads.
Sometimes it exhausts me to have to think on a different level for EVERY single clue, even if it's for OREO, but I think that's why he is so beloved.

(Having created with him in the past, I can attest that he really tries to make every clue original.)

As for running for office, cooking skills, etc. I'm sure Patrick can speak for himself.

Anonymous 6:52 PM  

Well, this was easy because I knew most of it, and some of the more difficult things popped out with the crosses, but I had the same sort of trouble as Rex with Delivery Date/Data. Even though Rubik's Cuba meets the requirements of the theme, it might have been more fun to use Rubik Scuba - that might have been more interesting to clue. I thought the puzzle was quite easy for a Thursday, but still found it to be satisfying since it required that twisted look at each of the clues.

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