City where Erasmus taught — FRIDAY, Jul. 3 2009 — Joy to World penner Hoyt / Muhammad Ali cornerman Dundee / Waves on garments / Cheerios abroad

Friday, July 3, 2009

Constructor: Kevin G. Der

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: LIVIA (49D: Octavian's wife)Livia Drusilla, after 14 AD called Julia Augusta (Classical Latin: LIVIA•DRVSILLA, IVLIA•AVGVSTA) (58 BC-29 AD) was the wife of Augustus and one of the most powerful women in the Roman Empire, being Augustus' faithful advisor. She was also mother to Drusus and Tiberius, grandmother to Germanicus and Claudius, great-grandmother to Caligula and Agrippina the Younger and great-great-grandmother to Nero. She was deified by Claudius who acknowledged her title of Augusta. (wikipedia)

Solved on paper last night and felt oddly sluggish. Looking back on the puzzle now, it doesn't seem that difficult, but I definitely had to wrestle with it in many places last night, especially in trying to get both into and out of the NE. Put down EPIC where EPOS was supposed to be (10D: Apollonius of Rhodes' "Argonautica," e.g.), but those first two letters were enough to help me get OPT OUT (16A: Decline), KOHL'S (9D: Target competitor), and KEITHS in quick succession (9A: Pianist Jarrett and others). But at 18A: Smoke and mirrors I threw down HOOKUM — I think I meant "HOOKEM," as there is an expression "HOOKEM-SNIVEY" (chiefly Eng. dial.) meaning "deceit, trickery." When that didn't bear fruit, I switched to HOODOO, which is roughly synonymous with VOODOO and can mean "hex." Also, HOODOO is an Alison Moyet album that I own. HOOPLA? I was not familiar with the secondary meaning of HOOPLA, "talk intended to mislead or confuse." I think of it as hype or excitement — something for Starship to be knee-deep in in 1986:

["Knee-deep in the HOOPLA" = actual lyric]

After HOOPLA, all the Downs in NE fell easiliy, but I couldn't get the front end of LOST ART (37A: Calligraphy, some say) or the back end of BASEL (29D: City where Erasmus taught). BADEN was the only Euro-"BA" city I could conjure/HOODOO. So there was rebooting. I find rebooting usually necessary but often deadly in late-week puzzles. Always best to build on what you have until you really just can't do it anymore.

Once I finally looked at the easy gimme clues at 4D: Queen who wrote popular novels (Ellery) and 8D: Hogwarts class taught by Severus Snape (Potions), the NW got quite tractable, though I felt Very uneasy about the "O SOLE MIO" / "WEBS" crossing (15A: Basis of Tony Martin's "There's No Tomorrow" / 5D: ABC, Fox, etc., in Variety), as "SOLE" kept whispering that it wanted to be "SOLO," and I couldn't figure out the logic of calling networks "WEBS." Not a big Variety reader. But I stuck with the "E." MOIRE ... needed all the crosses for that (3D: Waves on garments).

Bottom part of the puzzle went much faster, especially the SW — once I established WAXWORK across the top of that quadrant (35A: One might stand in a chamber of horrors), the whole thing toppled in no time. I've only ever seen WAXWORKS in the plural, but if it can be plural, I assume it can be singular (see not ALMS). Only thing I didn't know down there was AXTON (39A: "Joy to the World" penner Hoyt _____), though now that I look at it, the name feels very familiar. Finally, I hit the SE, where OBTUSE (45D: Not sharp) gave me the "E" I needed to see the word EASY in the phrase REAL EASY (63A: Like duck soup), which is apt, as it was all REAL EASY from there. Probably a normal Friday in terms of difficulty, but I struggled slightly more than normal, I think.

Also, this puzzle is a pangram. [correction: No "F" ... !?]


  • 1A: "In one era and out the other" phenomenon? (time warp) — didn't really see what the clue was trying to do. I think it's trying far too hard to be clever, and ends up a mess. Is it trying to misdirect me with the wordplay in the (made-up?) quotation? Poor.
  • 20A: Subject of therapy (ills) — Double Poor.
  • 22A: First name among U.N. secretaries general (Dag) — I had BAN (Ki-Moon).
  • 23A: One who has a quick point to make? (acer) — first word in the grid. I had just finished watching Serena Williams beat Elena Dementieva. Serena was a big-time ACER in that match.
  • 24A: Where Duff Beer is sold, on TV (Moe's) — Duff is sold all over Springfield, I believe. I own a Duff T-shirt.
  • 34A: Half of a 1980s TV duo (Allie) — looking for Mork or Mindy here.
  • 6D: Half of a 1950s TV duo (Amos) — of "Amos and Andy"
  • 44A: Muhammad Ali cornerman Dundee (Angelo) — didn't know it.
  • 46A: "The Unanswered Question" composer, 1908 (Ives) — early 20c. in four letters? IVES = good bet. I was listening to IVES just yesterday, coincidentally.

["Then, for a long time, nothing happened"]

  • 53A: Its logo is four interlocking rings (Audi) — gimme, unless you don't know it, I guess.
  • 54A: Historical figure on whom a Verdi opera is based (Attila) — did not know. I guessed TOSCA right, though (1D: Opera singer in an opera).
  • 56A: Cheerios, abroad (adieux) — clever. Wonder if plural "X" got anyone. Shouldn't have, as both LUXES (47D: Meter-candles) and Gallimaufries (50D: OLIOS) have been Words of the Day this year.
  • 2D: Half brother of Midian, in the Bible (Isaac) — didn't know it, but "C" from "ACER" made it easy to guess.
  • 11D: First woman to land a triple axel in major competition (Ito) — this is why she will be in your puzzle forever. Why is Blogger underlining "AXEL" in red?
  • 12D: An exorbitant amount (top dollar) — started with TOP DRAWER.
  • 13D: Grassy bottom (hula skirt) — lovely, even if it does suggest someone who has sat on a freshly mown lawn for a while.
  • 24D: Girl with considerable pull? (milkmaid) — how hard is she pulling?
  • 30D: Its flag includes a shield and two spears (Swaziland) — knew this before I read the clue — "W" and "Z" were already in place.
  • 59D: "_____! What fray was here?": Romeo ("O me!") — guess it's slightly better than the Cockney clue that "'OME" usually gets.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. My write-up of today's (lovely) L.A. Times puzzle is here.


Kurt 8:36 AM  

I thought that this was a solid Friday puzzle. Challenging but ultimately solvable.

I spent an inordinate amount of time on 35-Across because I read the clue (over and over again) as 'One night stand in a chamber of horrors'. Oh the places that my mind went. But none of them had anything to do with WAX or WORK. When I finally got it (all through the crosses) I was really perplexed. Was WAXWORK some kind of kinky activity that I somehow had never heard of? Then I came here, and as usual, Rex cleared the whole thing up for me.

Thanks Kevin and Rex. Good weekend everybody. Adieus to all.

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

"In one era..."

I had DYSLEXIA. I was so proud of Acuity.... but it was all hoopla.

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

(that would be "my" acuity...)

Crosscan 8:47 AM  

I am knee-deep in the HOOPLA of this puzzle. Loved everything about it. Not REAL EASY, but great fun.

Smooth sailing until the NE, which was neary blank for a long time, except for ITO and DAG.

BLOC opened up the SE. I get to NETTLE TAX EVADERs at work to collect TOP DOLLAR.

LEGAL AGE can be parsed as LEGA LAGE. Just saying.

JannieB 8:48 AM  

My solve was the opposite of Rex's. The NW and NE fell very quickly. The SW was last. All I had was Tax___ crossing Axton and then nothing.

I loved that 1D was an opera clue - especially after the clamor for just such a theme on Wednesday.

Lots of really fresh fill here - and some even better cluing (grassy bottom, in one era) - all in all a great Friday.

Wishing all a Fabulous 4th!

Sam 9:14 AM  

Ills... plural answer... singular clue. I agree "double poor" or am I missing something?

Hobbyist 9:20 AM  

I thought this very hard but did solve it at last, in one sitting yet. A quibble re "zerog" as the clue has no abbreviation. Maybe the ? is legal?
A very clever smoke and mirrorish puzzle in my book.

joho 9:28 AM  

Rex, your write up is right on as usual.

My best moment was when I finally got HULASKIRT ... which enabled me to crack the NE corner. "Grassy bottom" is a great clue as is "Things to get a grip on?" My problem was I wrote in binds for BILKS confusing hornswoggles with hog ties! The "K" in skirt straightened me out there.

EMULSION is not the first thing that comes to mind for Hollandaise even though it is one.

O ME! I left "S" in LUXES. Wish I had gone over that again. LUsES did not look right.

Great Friday, Devin G. Der: thanks!

Denise 9:32 AM  

This puzzle contained the highest percentage of "things I don't know" of any recent puzzle. Wow -- I googled about seven things & took 50 minutes.

I liked the way it ended up, though, and learned a few things.

joho 9:56 AM  

Geez ... yesterday Mr. Gorski and today Devin G. Der. Sorry, Kevin!

edith b 10:36 AM  

What a smorgasbord of delights this one was! Who knew that my knowledge of boxing and the Civil War would come in handy at the same time!
I feel like ACME with all these exclamation marks but this one takes me back to when I first started doing puzzles as a young teen - one of the most info-driven puzzles that I can remember. Ballet, classical, country, jazz and Motown, old and new TV, French and Italian words, American slang and the obligatory Simpson's clue.

I had problems in the NE and in the Mid-Atlantic region but eventually parsed HULASKIRT and figured out the true meaning of "grip.". I constructed the NW strictly from the downs even though Tony Martin is a part of my husband's Big Band LP collection.

Even though I didn't have to use my newly-acquired wordplay skills very much, I enjoyed this puzzle no end.

Glitch 10:47 AM  


A (one) session can deal with many ills, believe me.


Zero-G (hyphenated) is an acceptable term, (though not by all), "meaning" zero gravity.

On the other hand, technically, traveling around the world, in orbit, one would experience weightlessness, not zero-g.

Also, as the week progresses, expect fewer "helpful hints", (see yesterday's 62A Id Est).


jeff in chicago 11:06 AM  

Wow. For a Friday there was so much that I knew right off. KEITHS, DAG, AXTON, MEADE, IVES, AUDI, TOSCA, LAM, LITE, ATILLA, MOES, ANGELO, MOIRE, ELLERY, KOHLS, AULD, ETA, WAR. Oddly, some of the rest perplexed me. So I can still not call this puzzle REALEASY (my favorite clue, of course).

Well done, Kevin.

jae 11:09 AM  

Great Fri.! Tough but doable. My biggest problem was letting go of EGGSAUCE in SE. Once I did that and put in REALEASY AQUA was more obvious and SE fell (finally remembering ANGELO also helped). I also tried GRANT, SEARS, and NETS (for WEBS), all of which made this a pretty slow solve. Would have liked to have seen TIMEWARP clued via Rocky Horror. Excellent puzzle Mr. Der!

treedweller 11:26 AM  

Another Tree dweller! Thanks for the shout-out! But I couldn't figure out why ARBORIST would not fit.

This was a googlefest for me. I got about half filled (mostly NE and SW) but had to look up a bunch of stuff (can't even refer to Rex's pic of the solve, since today's post has disappeared?!). But, peeking at Orange's paper, I see at least five answers I had to look up. And I still ended up with LUsES. And I thought the composer must have been Burl IVES (but at least I got the right letters there).

Rough day for me, but good puzzle.

treedweller 11:29 AM  

Oh, yeah, REALEASY. I hated that one. I guess REALly just wouldn't fit, but is that real an excuse to use an adjective where an adverb belongs?

treedweller 11:31 AM  

Just got today's post to load on both machines. Dunno what the problem was.

Rex Parker 11:38 AM  

No problem w/ the colloquial (albeit grammatically "incorrect") REAL EASY as the clue used a colloquialism, "duck soup."


XMAN 11:46 AM  

@treedweller: REALEASY is the colloquial form.

Arghh! Had to google the SE (and got JULIA for LIVIA--serves me right), but did finish--with that one erreur horrible: ADIEUS for ADIEUX. (I'm whacking myself with my French textbook as I write.)

XMAN 11:48 AM  

@Kurt: There is an activity in S&M that you might call WAXWORK. I'll let your imagination dwell on that.

ArtLvr 11:55 AM  

Excellent puzzle, no googles needed (just lots of time)... The Tree-dwellers as DRYADS we'd seen recently, so I started there in the SW, then worked easterly.

I wasn't sure AQUA was accurate as a shade close to beryl -- the latter often green, but perhaps it's a mineral which comes in other shades as does tourmaline? Never mind, the COQ AU VIN was cute across from ADIEUX, and near BLOC Québecois with never a mention of French for any of those.

Up the east coast, with LOST ART nearly across from WAXWORK, and the Grass bottom really tickled me! (Heh.) I had EPOS, took it out for a moment to try Pass up for OPT OUT, but put it back as I got the NE completed with HOOPLA.

Finally came to the NW and found it easy, with O SOLE MIO, ELLERY Queen, SAILBOAT not far from YAWING, plus wavy MOIRE and recently seen Snade POTIONS. The TIMEWARP pun (In one era...) was a total hoot. Kudos to Kevin!


foodie 12:07 PM  

I'm just hoping that all the people who found this highly challenging have not posted yet...

ArtLvr 12:17 PM  

p.s. I also loved the clues "Girl with considerable pull?" and"Things to get a grip on?" -- I thought another sort of Clutch? would go well where CARESS ended up!

@ foodie -- medium challenging, for sure!


ArtLvr 12:35 PM  

p.p.s. -- I was right about shades of color: if you google "beryl mineral" you'll see illustrated almost all colors imaginable. List includes: aquamarine, golden beryl, emerald, goshenite, morganite, red beryl, bixbite, and more....


PhillySolver 12:39 PM  
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PhillySolver 12:40 PM  

foodie, I found it challenging as it took over thirty minutes, but after a number of tricky clues fell, I started working on the most outlandish approach I could imagine and it helped. I will now add a new entry to my famous goodbye phrases like Farewell my Concubine with Adieux Coq au vin!

Clark 12:45 PM  

I couldn't crack the NW or the SE though I tried mightily. Rampant googling followed.

@Rex, I also wanted SOLO instead of SOLE so, post puzzle, I looked into it. I always thought the song was something like 'Oh Lonely Me.' Not.

It's Neapolitan, not Italian. And it means [The] my sun. The first word is 'o with a leading apostrophe (where have I seen that before?). The Italian il (masculine, singular, nominative) was lo in old Neapolitan and that became 'o. Sole means sun, and mio is the masculine, singular, first person, possessive adjective/pronoun. Who knew?

PuzzleGirl 12:51 PM  

Challenging here, too. I only needed one Google to finally get the SE corner to crack, but I went at it in a number of sittings. Oh, and I ended up with LUMES and didn't even notice that made the cross ADIEUM. I laughed when I saw "Tree dweller"!

Missteps for me include NETS for WEBS, WAX FORM for WAXWORK, EGG SAUCE for EMULSION.

@Rex: Pretty sure we just talked about Hoyt AXTON either here or at the LAT blog. Hold on ... Yep, it was your write-up of the 6/29 LAT. You even included a video of Axton with Linda Rondstadt!

jae 12:56 PM  

An illustration of how these things can mess with your mind is my journey through NE. I was pretty sure KEITH was right and confidently put in KMART which was wiped out by MOES which lead to SEARS which eliminated KEITH. It wasn't until I got TOPDOLLAR and HULASKIRT that I did a reright on KEITH. In my defense KOHLS is not big on the West Coast.

Alice in SF 1:08 PM  

Hi Foodie--I found it very challenging. My husband kept urging me to give it up as he didn't want to keep hearing my loud Friday complaints--he did help me with 44A.

By the way, it's Midori Ito for 11D, a Japanese skater.

Noam D. Elkies 1:22 PM  

Never noticed before that Livia and Julia=Ivlia were Roman anagrams!

--Land'em jokes

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

Great puzzle. I found it medium since I did not have to google to finish, but it did take a while.

A shout out to Hoyt Axton! One of my faves.


It was Della and a dealer and a dog named Jake,
And a cat named Kalamazoo,
Left the city in a pick-up truck.
Gonna make some dreams come true.
Yeah, they rolled out west where the wild sun sets,
And the coyote bays at the moon.
Della and a dealer and a dog named Jake,
And a cat named Kalamazoo.

If that cat could talk, what tales he'd tell,
About Della and the Dealer and the dog as well.
But the cat was cool,
And he never said a mumblin' word.
~ Hoyt Axton


Bob Kerfuffle 2:07 PM  

Wonderful puzzle! Took awhile, but finished with a feeling of accomplishment.

I did have ADIEUS before ADIEUX (remember amoebae/amoebas?) And had COQUETTE before COQ AU VIN (go ahead, laugh.)

Happy Fourth to all!

archaeoprof 2:12 PM  

One more vote for a rating of "challenging." Fair, and fun, but challenging.

Shamik 2:16 PM  

Also challenging here with a final error of ADIEUS for ADIEUX. LUSES made as much sense as LUMES. And over 33 minutes, too. Appalling because having gone through every across and every down clue, I only had ELLERY, MOES, YAWING, LAM and LITE after 15 minutes. Wonder what that says about my life? Then it was teeth pulling time.

Years ago, we had the local NPR station on and the announcer mentioned it was Charles Ives. Being young and wondering why anyone should care, I mentioned to the then husband, "Oooh...we have to put that on the calendar to remember for next year." So I did. The following year we got a cake from the bakery saying, "Happy Birthday Charles Ives." Good reason to have cake! And we did so for many years.

HudsonHawk 2:18 PM  

Fantastic puzzle. My first entry was ANGELO Dundee (I can still hear Howard Cosell's staccato pronunciation). I really wanted to write in ELLERY Queen, but I kept thinking he was the character, not the author. And just on the terminal P, I wanted MALAPROP for 1A.

Rex, I refuse to play the Starship video. Five years ago, Blender magazine named We Built This City as the worst song ever. Give me Hoyt AXTON anytime, though. In addition to his solo work, he also wrote Never Been To Spain, one of my favorite Three Dog Night covers.

andrea acer michaels 2:37 PM  

I agree with the lovely range (OLIO?) of EVERYTHING! Kind of puzzle that makes you feel smart for doing puzzles.

Here is one where the quasi-panagram-ness really helped me (as for the missing F, it IS a in "Where the F...?!") It's not that unusual to have all letters but F...

Often I'm making a puzzle and realize I ALMOST have a pangram and think, damn, what words can I change so there's an F???

So, every time I was stuck (SWAZILAND, WAXWORK, JOSE, COQAUVIN) I envisioned a Scrabbly letter, et voila!
(However, like ReX, that originally had me stuck with HOOKUM which I also changed to HOODOO)

Anyway, as usual, I had one letter wrong Ollie!!!
I even thought, what a terrible clue for Kukla, Fran and Ollie! Wrong decade AND really a trio not a duo...but then I thought maybe they were counting Fran as a human and not part of the puppet duo...oy. And this morning I woke up thinking maybe I misread the clue and it was 1930 not 1980...
Instead of just realizing
I ...was...wrong!!!!!!!
(IT left me with BOSEL! Suspect at the time... I thought maybe it should be MOSEL and that MILK was another way to hornswoggle someone, like milk 'em dry...but there was already MILKMAID).

(Anyway, you're right, for anyone who just read that, I'm sorry...bec it is "Who cares?"! Unless someone else can relate to the train-of-thought denial/rationalizations!)

yes, opera, TOSCA and ATTILA! Did seem like it was on it's way...

In Scrabble, ADIEU only takes an X not S, like JEU (JEUX not JEUS) so it's a good way to catch someone who might not know the rules of French...

Latin! :)

First time thru, except for getting KEITHS immediately, I thought I was going to have to Google (Hoyt, boxer, flags, Harry Potter, etc) and was thrilled when piece by piece everything came together.

REALEASY, not. REAL NICE, yes!!! Actually, really really nice, Kevin!

Or, as you would say, in a deadpan, modest, lowkey way, "Interesting".

Ellen 2:44 PM  

This was on the challenging side (just under 8). Even after I finished, I thought ADIEUX was the French name for Cheerios cereal. Duh!

mac 2:47 PM  

@Foodie: very challenging to me!

This one took a long time, and in the end I got stuck in the SE; when I came here I found I had erased several right answers. I loved every agonizing minute of this beautiful puzzle, though.

Who is Tony Martin? Related to Dean? Didn't Elvis sing that song?

I also had a hard time getting the food clues; wanted the Hollandaise one with eggs, and with fricassee I think of white, creamy springlike dishes, with veal or lamb and vegetables. Talking about food, I'm marinating, parboiling and roasting, getting ready for the 4th!

PlantieBea 2:49 PM  

I found the whole east side of the puzzle difficult. False starts included K-MART, OZIE, EGG something, SAGE. Had to look up LIVIA to work the bottom and JOSE for the top. I liked HULA SKIRT, STAGE SETS, COQ AU VIN, WAX WORK, LOST ART and recognized LUXES, Gallimaufries from other puzzles.

foodie 3:04 PM  

ok... feeling better! thank you guys! Especially Ellen and the cereal (although 8 minutes for challenging, I'll pretend I didn't see that!), and Bob Kerfuffle and the Coquettes stewing in their own juices! Paints a picture : )

I did get ADIEUX right. I knew all this French grammar was going to be good for something! For a while, I read nothing but mystery and ELLERY was a gimme. And then I made most of the mistakes that were mentioned, KMART for KOHL, MILKS for BILKS, OLLIE for ALLIE... What a mess!

I really do admire the construction feat of the Northeast and the Southwest-- the 3 long answers that blend beautifully together.

@andrea, I did remember your strategy of thinking along scrabbly lines, and it helped in a number of spots. Thanks!

still_learnin 3:10 PM  

No mas! No mas!

For me, this puzzle was very challenging and I ended up having to OPT OUT after 90+ minutes.

ELLERY, POTIONS, KEITHS and JOSE were gimmes. The midwest fell reasonably quickly. The NE fell next, once I came up with STAGESETS -- I clung to MOVIESETS way too long. Also, I've always seen DAG as DAAG.

A mistaken MALAPROP hung me up in the NW, but eventually MOIRE allowed me to unravel my mistakes.

After that... nothing. Even with TAXEVADER, WOOS and IVES I couldn't break open the SW. As for the SE, I only had ENTICER, OBTUSE and BLOC.

My only consolation is knowing that tomorrow's puzzle will be REAL EASY compared to today.

chefwen 3:15 PM  

Wanted to quit half way through but husband kept urging me on. Finally finished with his help on MEADE and ANGELO. He also got HULASKIRTS and was extremely proud of himself for his contributions.

CliffinNY 3:31 PM  

63 across misled me because it is gramatically incorrect - - about which, apparently, nobody gives a damn. "real" ain't no adverb! A bronze dufus to Mr. Der; and a golden shoe pebble o Mr. Shortz for accepting it.

john farmer 3:53 PM  

Actually, real is an adverb.


adv. Informal.
Very: I'm real sorry about that.

sanfranman59 4:20 PM  

Put me in the challenging camp. As per usual at this stage in my crossword-solving career, I needed to look to Wikipedia a couple of times (Midian to get ISAAC & Octavian to get LIVIA), to complete a late-week NYT puzzle. I'm always gratified when I come out here to learn that others went down the same stray paths as I (KMART for KOHLS, EGGSAUCE for EMULSION, ADIEUS/LUSES). I'm reminded several times each week that if I am to ever reach my full solving potential, I must better absorb Simpsons and Harry Potter trivia. I don't really have an aversion to either, but The Simpsons has never made it to my must-see-TV list. I've read none of the HP books and seen only one of the movies (in spite of being a fan of the fantasy/science fiction genre ... Tolkein, Frank Herbert, Asimov and such).

The early solve time results suggest that this will be the most challenging Friday I've tracked thus far. The current median solve time for the top 100 is 19:27 vs. an average of 11:22 the previous 3 weeks (albeit with a good deal of variability ... 7:52, 14:34 & 11:39).

edith b 4:45 PM  


I am not a fan of the Simpsons - not that there is anything wrong with that - but the process of osmosis is useful here.

When my granddaughter is here, she watches them and I have absorbed enough Simpsons trivia to cover my bases. I went to HP movies with her when she was younger to take care of that business.

I'm sure there are "football widows" who have absorbed info that way also. My husband's firm had season tickets to the Yankees and I often accompanied him to the games and even came to enjoy the sport.

My point here is exposure can lead to retention if one does not "pass judgement" on the relative worth of the information presented.

Who can say that a Civil War buff is superior to a baseball fan anyway.

I am a woman in my 60s who has come to appreciate Rap music in my "old age", as my granddaughter puts it.

Anonymous 5:39 PM  

Kevin J Der is a rising star, but the patriotic thing to do this month is to announce your infidelities and/or resign. On this Fourth, we are talking the 'red light' states vs. the 'blue light' states. We had an election in which one man wanted to change things and ran for office and won. Turns out the opponent wants to change things too, so she quit. Just proves there is more than one way to change a light bulb. The only Rex Parker crossword I have done is now out of date. ADIEUX Republicans.


fergus 6:00 PM  

That NW section required several visits, so the TIME WARP yielded some wry amusement. MALAPROP was also my provisional answer.

The regional KMART vs KOHLS messed me up, and I was so wanting some abbreviation of Quickiemart ... since I was thinking cans rather than draft.

It was real beauty today. Each odd little nook and cranny was tickled and scratched.

fergus 6:06 PM  

"That thou, light-winged DRYAD of the trees,

In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,

Singest of summer in full-throated ease."

fergus 6:13 PM  

The ADIEUX kick back to the Nightingale, too, though in the last stanza they're called out individually.

When I was fooling around one afternoon, I had half a puzzle devoted to Keats, but the rest lay blank.

joho 7:19 PM  

@jae ... I, too, had Kmart, like others, and never even heard of KOHLS until I moved to the midwest.

This has been a great puzzle week and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow ... rebus??? Maybe a puzzle shaped like a flag?

Sara 8:27 PM  

Thank you fergus! I'd love to see that puzzle. I think I could help you finish it!

Glitch 8:40 PM  

@joho & @jae

Actually, Kohls has a larger presence on west coast (142 stores) than Kmart (115).

In the midwest, Kmart has the advantage.


Both chains have over 1000 stores nationally, with the same general distribution, so "fair game" IMHO.

We have a couple of each around here (midway between Rex and NYC), but alas, Natick has neither.


retired_chemist 8:40 PM  

I thought this one was easy-medium, and a lot of fun. Filled O SOLE MIO easily by humming the tune to myself, MOE'S because I spend time here, HOOPLA by sheer luck, MEADE and ANGELO because I knew them, NETTLE by sheer luck, and DRYADS because they visited us here a few days ago. SWAZILAND - how many 9 letter African nations are there ending in _____LAND?

Just my kind of cluing - where you say "wow, that was cute" about ten times. Others have pointed out almost all I would have commented upon....

It all fit together nicely, with just the right amount of work to keep it interesting.

Thank you, Mr. Der.

fergus 8:42 PM  

And since Erasmus was mentioned, I could put in a plug for "In Praise of Folly" to help the Amazon listings.

Sara -- to toll me back to my sole self, there was too much belle dame sedge withering on the lake, and jokes about motion pictures of Grecian Urns that grew tired, so I never got around to finishing it.

mac 9:10 PM  

@Fergus: I'm sort of pleased with myself: I remembered the Latin title (Laus Stultitiae) and that it was actually written by Erasmus while staying with Thomas More in England. For his time, he travelled around quite a bit.

joho 9:20 PM  

@Glitch ... I just searched and, guess what? There's not one Kohl's in San Diego. No wonder @Jae and I and so clueless.

3 and out.

fergus 9:44 PM  

Adieu, decieving elf

Thy plaintive anthem fades.

Sara -- don't you think that this poem could have been better with a rewrite at the very end?

Glitch 9:57 PM  


Obviously San Diego is lot like Natick ;-)

BTW: My post was intended to further the educational aspect of this blog (it's a relatively slow day), not a "you shudda known".

My alternative was to enlighten on 5D (WEBS not NETS),but I'll save that.

Happy Shopping,


Doc John 10:26 PM  

Hi all, I'm back from ACE Coaster Con- a week of roller coaster riding in hot and humid Missouri (and another week of getting caught up). I haven't disappeared, life has just gotten in the way a little more than usual!

I agree with all that's been said (and made the same mistakes). Ended up with the S instead of X in LUXES. Also considered N or M in that space.

Whenever I see "real" used as an adverb I think of Charles Emerson Winchester's making fun of Radar's same usage.

@ joho- there are Kohl's locations in Eastlake and North County. Another one is coming to the College Grove area, close to where I live. Interesting about the center that it's going into: there's already a Tar-jay and Wallyworld there already!

Anne 10:33 PM  

I got a really late start but I finished with the help of my dictionary. I saw Angelo Dundee on TV the other night - with some other boxing experts - discusssing how badly the fight scenes were done in Rocky. I had no idea. But I started with Angelo and Ellery and spread out from there. While working the puzzle, I've been listening to the aftermath of Sarah Palin resigning as Governor of Alaska. Good grief - what will she do next.

Happy Fourth to all!

fergus 10:39 PM  

@mac, you compatriot pointed out many inconsistencies of pious fervor that the world could need. Too many centuries hence.

HudsonHawk 11:06 PM  

@r_c, there was nothing in the clue that said it was an African country. My Sporcle geography quiz addiction served me well on that one, nevertheless.

From a retail analyst's perspective, Target has only two true rivals in the discount store category, Wal*Mart and KMart. KOHL'S, which is based in the Milwaukee metro area (Target is based in Minneapolis), is really a closer competitor to J.C. Penney and Sears.

DocJohn, did you hit both Worlds of Fun and Six Flags Over MidAmerica? The Screaming Eagle was one of my favorite wood coasters for a long time...

sanfranman59 11:57 PM  

This week's numbers ... the number in parentheses is the number of solvers.

Mon (all) 7:07 (857) prev 3 week avg: 6:44 (907)
Mon (Top 100) 4:01 prev 3 week avg: 3:37

Tue (all) 8:40 (776) prev 3 week avg: 8:30 (878)
Tue (Top 100) 4:26 prev 3 week avg: 4:20

Wed (all) 11:56 (685) prev 3 week avg: 14:38 (641)
Wed (Top 100) 6:14 prev 3 week avg: 6:58

Thu (all) 21:34 (401) prev 3 week avg: 14:52 (640)
Thu (Top 100) 11:17 prev 3 week avg: 6:56

Fri (all) 33:18 (306) prev 4 week avg: 26:10 (456)
Fri (Top 100) 18:18 prev 3 week avg: 17:11

A challenging week in the NYT crossword world with every day except Wednesday showing higher solve times than the previous 3 or 4 weeks.

@HudsonHawk ... thanks for pointing out that Target is really a different type of store than KOHL'S. I meant to do so in my earlier post but forgot. KMart is a more reasonable answer for that clue.

Doc John 12:19 AM  

@HudsonHawk- yes, I was at both of those parks as well as the beautiful Silver Dollar City in Branson. All three have some great coasters in them. Screamin' Eagle was still running well but Six Flags has 2 newer woodies, The Boss and Evel Knievel. Evel was really wild with a lot of airtime. That said, my favorite coaster of the trip was Prowler at Worlds of Fun, another twister-type woodie that was action packed from beginning to end!

I also have to agree that even though I've never been in a Kohl's, I was under the impression that they were more clothing, etc. oriented as opposed to the generalities of Target and K-Mart.

WilsonCPU 12:28 PM  

Late post from SyndicationLand:
- We have a Kohl's, plus Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, etc., and Kohl's truly is more clothing, etc. and higher end (as Doc John observed) than these others, especially K-Mart.
- I too struggled mightily, finally finishing at 36 minutes with no errors and few hairs un-pulled-out. The West was easy, the East was wousy, er, lousy.
// Mark

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