Highly collectible illustrator — MONDAY, Jul. 27 2009 — College professor's mantra / 1944 Jean-Paul Sartre play

Monday, July 27, 2009


Constructor: Allan E. Parrish

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Vanity puzzle — theme answers are all phrases that end with homophones of the constructor's last name

Word of the Day: OSAGE orange n.

A dioecious spiny tree (Maclura pomifera) native to Arkansas and Texas and having pulpy, inedible, orangelike multiple fruit.


-----

This took me a half-step longer than most Monday, due mainly to a boatload of old-timey proper nouns, some of which I had to use crosses to get. I think MAXFIELD PARRISH is kind of an odd Monday theme answer. He's famous, but ... well, I'm guessing he'll give some people trouble. My wife wanted MAXWELL PARRISH and ended up for a little bit with MAXWIELL PARRISH written in there (she had never heard of FRITZI, and, again, I doubt she is alone — people who read comics in the 60s and earlier, no problem; others ...). Wife also doesn't think PERISH and PARISH are homophones, but I told her we were going to shove those worms back in the can because that is the last conversation I want to have today. Neither of us knew what an OSAGE orange was, though I had heard of it (from puzzles) and so I pieced it together. We both agreed that CASPAR is a friendly ghost and we have no idea who this alleged wise man is (26D: One of the Wise Men). All of these potential little trouble spots are very close to one another, which raises the likelihood that people will struggle (again, relatively speaking — it's still a Monday puzzle). Brief look at the times on the NYT site suggests this was tougher than avg. I was faster than my fellow blogger, (non-OSAGE) Orange, on this puzzle, and that happens with fewer than 1% of puzzles, so something screwy was going on. Maybe Orange was solving drunk again. It happens.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: College professor's mantra (publish or PERISH)
  • 38A: Highly collectible illustrator (Maxfield PARRISH)
  • 59A: Lafayette or Orleans (Louisiana PARISH)



When ALI is the most modern thing about your puzzle, your puzzle is old. ("How old is it?"). It's so old, it thinks people who ice cakes are called GLAZERs (54A: Finisher of pottery of cakes). So old, it went to college with Adolph OCHS (13D: Adolph who was chief of The New York Times from 1896 to 1935) and saw "NO EXIT" when it first opened (24D: 1944 Jean-Paul Sartre play). So old, it has no idea who these "Matt Lauer" and "Meredith Vieira" whippersnappers are! (33D: Matt Lauer or Meredith Vieira for "Today") Etc.

What are the odds of COHOSTs both having three consecutive vowels in their names? Can't be good.

My favorite part about breaking this puzzle down last night was trying to explain to my wife why the clue on AWAIT was just fine (15A: Stand in a queue for, say). My example, which I began before thinking it through: "I stand in a queue for tacos ... I AWAIT tacos." "I AWAIT tacos" is a phrase I encourage everyone to use. I'm saving it as a possible title in case I ever write my memoirs (which would mainly involve my sitting at a desk, typing, but that's another story). At any rate, "I AWAIT tacos" would be a very, very odd way to answer the question, "hey, what are you standing in line for?" Oh, and "queue?" If you put @#$#ing "queue" in a clue, the answer had better be seriously and exclusively British. Wait, is AWAIT a Briticism? Further, and unrelatedly, why does "TIPPER" have a "?" in its clue (9D: One leaving cash on the table?). A TIPPER does, in fact, leave cash on the table, so ... ???

In conclusion, I loved AGE GAP (40D: Feature of a May-December romance) and GET SET (52A: Gird oneself). I also like the interrelated AWOLS (7D: Mil. truants) and RENEGADE (41D: Deserter). And, of course, it's really hard not to like DAIQUIRIs (5D: Rum and lime juice drink), on every level.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

117 comments:

Anonymous 7:54 AM  

... must give up the Pringles for breakfast... looking a bit "pear-ish"...

JannieB 7:55 AM  

Slowest Monday for me in a long time. Had sounds for noises which held me up for some time - never read the rest of the clues in the section "knowing" it was correct. NOT!

Lots of fusty stuff in here, as noted. Being "over the hill" I had no trouble with the names but can see where they might cause problems. Never heard of Maxfield Parrish but the crosses made it easy to get.

Is it really okay for Parish and Parrish to be in the same grid? I guess it is, but can't say I think too much of it.

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

Congrats on beating Orange's time Rex. Well I was still waking up when I did this puzzle and put in RTS for 34A. Then seeing NOS_IT thought OK I guess that's what Sartre wrote-oh well. Just for the heck of it I googled Sartre and "NOS_IT" and therein was the answer at the very bottom-Nihilism: NO_HIT. I think it's time for more coffee.

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

Well, not at the very bottom-I really do need more coffee.

Crosscan 8:09 AM  

So where is Larry Parrish, one-time star third baseman of the Montreal Expos and current manager of the Toledo Mud Hens?

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

Rex:
Great column, as always!
Note that Casper, with an "e", is the friendly ghost.

Carisa 8:14 AM  

Also a very slow Monday for me. Got bogged down and just couldn't unbog in a timely fashion. Am usually one of the first 10 to complete Monday's puzzle on Sunday evening but just barely cracked the first 30 this week.

fikink 8:36 AM  

Rex, your write-up is so old today that many will not hear Ed. Very funny!
Nice Monday shout-out to yourself, Mr. Parrish.

treedweller 8:38 AM  

In Texas, we usually call the fruits (and sometimes the tree) of OSAGE Orange horse apples. I think the idea is that horses eat them, though I have never actually seen it happen. And, yes, we also sometimes use that term for--what others use that term for. Go figure.

We usually call the tree Bois d'arc (pronounced bow'dark, with a long 'o'; or board'ark, depending on what part of TX you're in). OSAGE Orange is familiar to us because it's listed in the field guides, but I've never heard it called that.

I'm relieved this got a tougher rating--took me almost twice as long as usual for Monday. I thought maybe I was just up later than I realized. Maybe I was, at that--I barely remember anything about the puzzle now. Never noticed the theme--forgot to check.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

Rex-
Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar--the Three Wise Men or Magi.

PIX 8:59 AM  

Hard for a Monday.

Never heard of Maxfield Parrish (but his pictures on Google seem very interesting)

"perish" and "parrish" are not homophones (sometimes the wifes are correct)

The Bible does not say there were three Magi...it says the Magi brought three gifts and everyone assumes there was one gift per person...well, supposed a couple chipped in for a single gift; or suppose one of them brought two gifts?...in any case, who knew they had been given actual names??...Complete with yesterday's discussion of "higest worship in Catholicism, I think this blog is turning into some sort of secret religious society...

Hobbyist 9:02 AM  

I could not agree with your wife more strongly. Perish is pronounced differently from parish as the spelling shows. Maybe in upper N.Y. and in parts of the Midwest, where the a's are flat...but, for me no dice.
Perish the thought.

JC66 9:08 AM  

PERISH as in Perry; PARRISH as in parry.

ArtLvr 9:12 AM  

Google "MAXFIELD PARRISH" and you will see several of his most famous works without further research -- and probably realize how familiar his art is, even if you didn't recall his name!

Loved the puzzle, found it one of my fastest for a Monday....

∑;)

foodie 9:20 AM  

This was not a FUNRUN for me. It didn't have the light and airy feeling that one expects for a Monday. It's like you're expecting a light souffle and you get something with lumpy gravy.

I wondered if it was simply misplaced. Would I have liked it better on a Tuesday. The answer is that I would have been a bit less annoyed, but till objected to the intersection of FRITZI and MAXFIELD, with only PDS (???) to give you a hint of that D.

joho 9:23 AM  

Thanks for the FUNRUN, Allan who?

Loved DAIQUIRI, AGEGAP, RENEGADE, HUNAN, GLAZER and FRITZI.

You say PERISH, I say PARRISH, he says PARISH ... they all sound the same to me!

mac 9:23 AM  

Slow Monday for me as well - wanted Maxwell Parrish too, didn't know aunt Fritzi and agree with Sandy on the homophone issue.
Oh well, learned a few new things today.

Ruth 9:28 AM  

I have an ongoing argument with my husband over the homophonicity-or-not of MARRY, MERRY and MARY--I pronounce them all the same, he doesn't. He's from Westchester Co., I'm from Iowa. Not sure why I don't think they're pronounced differently. I would feel silly saying "MAH-REE" for Marry, for instance. Won't go in to how he pokes fun at me for the way I pronounce "Yale."

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Caspar is one of the three Wise Men in the gospels. The others are Melchior and Balthasar.

joho 9:35 AM  

@foodie ... how funny, we used the exact same phrase at the same time to express opposite feelings!

Fred 9:41 AM  

The Nancy comic strip is still carried nationally in newspapers, we get it here in our paper, so it shouldn't be a problem at all for today's folks. MAXFIELD PARRISH came easily and I see his art collections in book stores all the time. So he shouldn't be that much of a problem for current generations either. Nice monday puzzle.

Orange 9:48 AM  

Rex beat me? Oh, snap! I was solving post-nap and had great difficulty with reading comprehension.

Nancy Shack, whom some of you might now because she takes a zillion photos at the ACPT each year, volunteers with a hospital auxiliary group. Their white elephant store received a Parrish picture as a donation, and Nancy recognized it as a Parrish. (Which...no, I would not recognize a Parrish.) Turned out the cast-off picture sold for thousands of dollars.

I would discuss my pronunciation of the P-words, but I believe Rex was saying he does not want to be talking about that all day. Let us oblige him, as he is sad today. He awaits, unrequitedly, tacos.

Denise 10:06 AM  

Thanks for labeling this med-ch (perhaps a new word "medch") -- I sat down last night, ready to spend five fast minutes
. . . and, the minutes dragged on. I liked it, though.

I thought it was MAXWELL, so that stopped me for a while.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Why must queue be British? It's used by almost all native speakers of English who don't happen to be from North America.
Is Aunt ELLER and AUNT (56D) allowed?
UNTAME is ugly.

retired_chemist 10:16 AM  

As usual did not see the theme before solving. Basically straightforward, albeit harder than the average Monday IMO.

Never heard of 14A ACELA – crossing 4D ELLER, which I didn’t remember at all, felt pretty Naticky.

@ treedweller - they are called horse apples in N TX also. We have them on our property - more usually called bois d'arc here. Pronounced bow dark, with bow as in bow and arrow. Osage orange - who knew?

FWIW to my ear Parish/perish/Parrish are homonyms. And I have dealt with a lot of different regional accents.

mccoll 10:18 AM  

I found this a little tough for Monday but I got it with two guesses. I think the crossing at Maxfield/Fritzi offends Natickly. I had to guess at ELLER/ACELA as well. (Thanks, Mr Parrish! Parenthetically, of course.)Does "parent" rhyme with "apparent" or with "pair?" Regionalisms.

foodie 10:18 AM  

Rex, if you're AWAITing Tacos, make sure they are the puffy kind. Worth the wait! See:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/throwdown-with-bobby-flay/puffy-tacos/index.html

@Joho, yes I thought that was funny too :)

@ Orange, I hope when we figure out how to study thought processing speed in living humans, you will become a willing subject. We need to anchor the extremes of performance.

Rex Parker 10:21 AM  

A. "Nancy" may still be syndicated, but it's not universally distributed (not in our local paper, for instance). That comic is no more contemporary than "Gasoline Alley" or "Dick Tracy" (both of which are still running, allegedly).

B. No one under 50 reads the daily comics, except possibly bored children who happen to have the paper in front of them during breakfast (i.e. my daughter). If you do, you are the exception, trust me. The "humor," the values ... it all belongs to a bygone era. Nothing interesting going on there at all. For the most part, it's a @#$#ing graveyard, the comics page. Only The Comics Curmudgeon makes that medium bearable.

P.S. "who don't happen to be N. American" is the point re: queue. You don't use a decidedly non-American word in an American puzzle unless an equally non-American word is the answer. And if you speak English, you do so because the *British* ruled you for some amt of time.

HudsonHawk 10:21 AM  

@anon 10:15, the AUNT in the grid and clues (4D) is really bothersome to me, also. C'mon, Will, you're better than that.

Mmm, tacos!

poc 10:22 AM  

Rex, your wife is right. PARISH and PERISH are not homophones. Also, given that the constructor's name is Parrish, can PARRISH be a homophone of itself?

Furthermore, IMHO one does not AWAIT in a line (or queue), one waits (and no, AWAIT is not a Britishism, or even a Briticism.)

Is HAFT the best word for a sword handle? I'd have said HILT and used HAFT for an axe, but it's not definite.

I found this one substantially harder than the usual Monday, so I agree with your rating.

fikink 10:33 AM  

@poc, no, you don't "await" in a line, but you can queue up to "await" tacos.

Two Ponies 10:45 AM  

I really enjoyed this one. I love a Monday puzzle that makes me think.
Either I'm old enough for this puzzle or I just have a good memory from my childhood.
I adore Maxfield Parrish's work.
I did not realize arsenic was an element.
Having a flat Midwestern non-accent makes all of the examples stated above homophones for me.
Oklahoma is one of the few musicals I like so no Natick for me even though I never heard of Acela.

mccoll 10:53 AM  

Here is a piece of arcane knowledge.Of course, it will be arcane no longer. Osage Orange is considered to be the best wood for traditional bows. The French termed it "bois d'arc" meaning wood for bows. English speakers, typically, altered the pronunciation to something familiar and came up with bow d'arc. Oddly, this translates to "bow bow." It's like "rice paddy."

PlantieBea 10:53 AM  

I've never seen an Osage orange. Hmm--they're inedible, but potentially useful as an insect repellant. Was definitely looking for the edible kind in the citrus family. I also wanted MAXWEELL, or MAXWEEL D--just did not know MAXFIELD.

I liked the As for chemists and GLAZER. I got the whole PERISH and kin theme within the puzzle, but didn't link it to the constructor's name which would have given the puzzle a bit more oomph in my book.

XMAN 11:01 AM  

By the way, Nancy's aunt's full name is Fritzi Ritz. I don't know what Nancy's last name is.

To me, this is the best kind of Monday puzzle, because it throws a little grit into the gears. TMVHM.

Joseph 11:07 AM  

(1) Awfully vain puzzle. I found that obnoxious. Maybe I wasn't caffeinated enough yet.

(2) Theme clues are kinda boring. How's about, "Donald Duck after missing de Gaulle connection (SHTUCKINPARISH)." OK, maybe a little wayward...

(3) RETIRES for "hits the hay"? Simple enough to solve, but shouldn't the answer be in slang? I was thinking "CRASHES."

(4) Please explain "AGE GAP." This was Rex's favorite and others' too. I don't get it. I mean, I got it, but it doesn't strike me as particularly clever (so maybe I don't get it.) I'm imagining either a seven-month romance -- or a romance between one born in May and the other in December....? Neither strikes me as particularly clever, so it must be I, the unclever one. Please, do advise.

(5) That yippy annoyance REN does not deserve two nods in a five-day period. At least the last time, the general theme was "caninery as nails on chalkboard." (None more annoying then WHO LET THE DOGS OUT (Rex "ear worm" was brilliant! I'll use it.); and YELPing Chihuahuas.)

(6) Curious to know if Orange got OSAGE... (albeit apparently after Rex)?

poc 11:08 AM  

@fikink: I might queue up to wait for tacos, but not to await them. OTOH, I would await judgment, or the Last Trump. Awaiting implies something indefinite, either that I don't know if it's really going to happen, or if it does happen then when. It also implies that I'm getting on with my life while awaiting, not just standing in a line. The tacos are presumably going to come at a fairly definite time in the near future and until they do I won't be going anywhere.

PlantieBea 11:11 AM  

@Rex-just ran your comics comment past my 14yo son. Each day, before eating breakfast, he snags the comics section out of our paper. He reads them all, except for Luanne and For Better or Worse. His siblings do the same. I have told them you think they are exceptional :-) One of the reasons we chose to keep delivery of what has become a mostly junk paper is the comics section. Even I, an under 50, still read a few strips most days. I hope they are not dead, as it will become even more difficult to get the lazy bones out of bed. We don't get Nancy, so FRITZI is an unknown here.

Z.J. Mugildny 11:20 AM  

Just a slog of a Monday. I love the self-promotion of the constructor, but the puzzle wasn't very fun.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

There are few images as disturbing as Al and Tipper embraced in an pre-meditated, media-directed embrace. Is anything as sad as feigned affection?

fikink 11:22 AM  

@poc, not to get too metaphysical, but are you saying, then, that when you are standing in line, you cannot "anticipate" the taco you are about to purchase? (Half the fun is the anticipation, after all, especially in Dairy Queen lines, or at Ted Drewes for St. Louis people.)
;)

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

@Joseph - A May/December romance is between someone very young and someone signifiantly older, say 30 and 60. Here a life span is represented by a year, so the December represents the tail end of a lifespan, May represents not half way through. It's a quite common phrase

Noam D. Elkies 11:24 AM  

Yeah, rather on the tricky side for a Monday — not that there's anything wrong with that, especially with only 34 black squares.

Besides the theme, we have the nice pairing of the symmetrically placed 22A:FUNRUN and 52A:GETSET: both 3+3 rhymes, and one might be told the latter before starting the former.

5A:HAFTS is nice too; I was awaiting HAFTA after working through 5D-8D. Apropos the odd job 8D:TIPPER, its clue probably got "?"'d because "leaving money on the table" is usually metaphorical, not literal.

The Wikipage for the name Parrish shows three b*seballers, plus two football players, none of whom I recognize. None has a 15-letter name, unless Larry is short for Lawrence or Laurence (can't find it, though Google does turn up an IED victim named Lawrence Parrish).

The only sports-playing Par(r)ish I do remember is the Celtics' Robert Parish (which would make 15 letters with his little-used middle name Lee). Back in the (c)old days before global warming, there was one particularly snowy winter when the Boston Globe ran a series of graphics, one after each major storm, showing the 7'1" center gradually covered by the season's accumulated snowfall.

NDE

Crosscan 11:32 AM  

Larry Alton Parrish

mac 11:34 AM  

Sister Parish, first White House interior designer.

PurpleGuy 11:34 AM  

@Joseph- AGEGAP here refers to one partner being significantly older than the other. The term "cougar" is used to describe an older woman interested in a younger man. That's an AGEGAP !

Liked this puzzle. MAXFIELD PARRISH did a lot of illustrating in early women's magazines.

Great writeup, Rex. Hope you get your tacos soon.

PuzzleGirl 11:46 AM  

Slow time for me today, but I really enjoyed it. I spelled DAIQUIRI several ways before I got it right. Thought we might be treated to a little Styx this morning.

Where 11:46 AM  

@Rex - Tripe Tacos, I presume

mac 11:50 AM  

Martha Steward just promoted some taco carts in downtown NY. Now I'm hungry! Fresh lime juice and cilantro on them....

Anne 11:54 AM  

I've been really tired as of late - due to some strenuous physical activity - and it affects my solving ability. When I did today's puzzle, I told myself I had to cut back if I couldn't even do a Monday without a mistake. So I was very glad to hear that everyone thought this was on the hard side and I agree with Rex's wife on all she said.

I guessed Eller and Maxfield correctly, but ran out of luck with Fritzi. Also I'm always surprised at the words I think I know how to spell but don't, such as daiquiri, which I got with crosses, and glazer.

easylob 11:54 AM  

Didn't know acela or Eller, but nothing else would fit. Caspar helped with osage. Fritzi was not familiar - only think of Sluggo when I see Nancy. Almost doubled my time for a Monday, but enjoyed it - brought back memories of living in Orleans Parish.
In Northern California, they ARE homonyms, as are Mary, merry and marry, and perry and parry.
@ PIX How can you say "I've never heard of ...Parrish", but insist his name is not a homonym of perish?

John 12:03 PM  

I thought the "Wise Men" fill -- CASPAR -- was a reference to Caspar Weinberger. Walter Isaacson's book about the "six wise men" (Harriman, Acheson et. al.) advising Truman post-WWII, told the story of senior Washington insiders with long experience and wisdom. I was guessing that this term had been genericized, and CW's experience as Budget Director, HHS Secy, and Def Secy (longest-serving after Rumsfeld and McNamara, and part-architect and implementer of Reagan's "bankrupt the Soviets" strategy) fit the bill. Oh, well....

On another front, we now have another clue for "Natick:" HOMETOWN OF SERGEANT JAMES CROWLEY

BTW, it's also the hometown (and current residence) of BC QB Doug Flutie.

heh, heh

mac 12:05 PM  

Acela is the (little) faster train that passes through CT, I think to Boston.

Tripe Tacos!!! Would that be Wade?

I wonder how Nanpilla did with her triathlon. Amazing exercise, good for her!

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

As long as there is Doonesbury on the comics page, it will be worth looking at. Trudeau manages to be relevant after all these years. Dilbert is fun too. And how can we do crosswords if we don't keep up with all the comics page pooches? I ask you.

Sorry, I'm not Wade 12:22 PM  

@mac, Sorry, it was supposed to be from Where's Wade When You Need Him, but my pinky is alarmingly fat or maladroit.

poc 12:29 PM  

@fikink: the taco line was your idea. Sure I can anticipate the tacos, but if the line is for taxes rather than tacos then not so much.

Orange 12:34 PM  

@Joseph, OSAGE orange is always a gimme for me. I grew up seeing them in the more wooded areas of Chicago's south suburbs. If you throw them at your sister, they're much weightier than snowballs.

Doc John 12:35 PM  

This one just killed me. Didn't know MAXFIELD PARRISH and even when I ran the alphabet, the X in NO EXIT didn't parse out in my brain so I stuck in a Y to make the name Mayfield.

I also went with Casper and forgot to check the cross and ended up with osege.

Two mistakes on a Monday! What's the rest of the week going to hold? :(

Overall it was an interesting puzzle, though, and I pretty much agree with what Rex had to say in his writeup.

Doug 12:42 PM  

A pretty hard Monday. I got the first two theme answers right away -- I knew Maxfield Parrish because my wife is an art historian. Third one stuck me for awhile and I just plain guessed at CASPAR, REN, and OSAGE. And I wouldn't have gotten the connection between the author and the theme if Rex hadn't mentioned it.

hazel 12:44 PM  

I'm under 50 and not only do I read the comics page every morning - takes about 5 minutes - I look forward to reading the comics page - I guess that makes me really exceptional.

Thankfully, though, our paper has gotten rid of Nancy - although she still shows up on Sundays, and its like a train wreck, I just have to look. Therefore, I knew FRITZI/AUNT - although at first I had SLUGGO/GENT - I thought it just might work since the puzzle already seemed a little surreal.

My paper (The Atlanta Journal Constitution) is really serious about its comics - and last year gave readers a chance to vote out the ones they hated, Nancy (and Mary Worth) got the heave ho. Good to know the Comics Curmudgeon is there for me to check up on Mary from time to time!!

Karen from the Cape 12:46 PM  

I was in a queue for a burrito last week, at the new burrito place. My friend got tacos and said they were good. It's the first Mexican place in our town since Iguana's burned down five years ago, and mmm they were good.

I'm quite happy with the PARISHes we got, I don't recognize any of the sport figures or the designer.

I had AGEISM down at first for AGE GAP.

still_learnin 12:47 PM  

I ain't got no good culture so I ended up with MALFIELD PARRISH crossing NOEL IT :-) (Seemed like a good idea at the time.)

FWIW, I'm from the MidWest too. So, PARISH and PERISH are homophones to me. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

George NYC 12:47 PM  

Wow, a lot of commentary for a Monday!

The Osage orange aka bois d'arc discussion is really interesting for this northeasterner. Until today, I knew Osage only from the recent Broadway play "August: Osage County" by Tracy Letts.

As noted, the Acela is capable of 150 mph, but only reaches that speed on a couple of stretches near Providence, R.I. where the track is actually straight and not crowded with commuter and freight traffic. The Acela got a lot of press during the presidential campaign, as Joe Biden famously rides it home to Delaware most nights. It's one of the few profitable AMTRAK lines, as it provides an alternative to the airplane shuttles from LaGuardia. The Acela is prized less for its speed than for its large, comfy seats and AC power for workaholics. And the Quiet Car. It's worth awaiting for.

PIX 12:58 PM  

@Easylob: Ooops...OK...I change my statement to read: "perish and parish are not homophones" ( and i have heard both pronounced many times.) Point is that there is no way you can convince me that the author of the puzzle (A.E.Parrish) pronounces his name the same as "perish" and that's the same pronunciation as a Louisiana Parish. just doesn't work.

@ REX: You said..."Nothing interesting going on there[the comics] at all"...but i agree with Anonymous that Dilbert and Doonesbury prove this statement to be wrong...they may not be candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature, but they still are make their points, often with a good laugh as an extra bonus.

foodie 1:27 PM  

Since I love thinking about connotations...

When Rex said "AWAITING TACOS", I thought it was very funny because of the very nuance that @poc and @fikink are discussing. Of course AWAIT has this somewhat uncertain connotation that @poc underscores. And under some conditions, it has the anticipatory hopefulness that @fikink points to. And that is exactly what make what Rex wrote funny! A title of an autobiography that starts grand (with shades of Waiting for Godot) and ends with Tacos! It shows you how crosswords make you loosen up your connotational space... And he says at the end: At any rate, "I AWAIT tacos" would be a very, very odd way to answer the question, "hey, what are you standing in line for?"

@Joseph, the May-September expression is by analogy to seasons of our life. There are May-December matches, e.g. of the kind that Anna Nicole Smith was part of.

It's interesting that there are names with somewhat negative connotations for the women in these relationships but not for the men. So, there are "cougars" as noted by @purpleguy, and even "pumas" or "cougar pups" for aspiring cougars, there are "lolitas" for very young women in the converse situations. But what do we call a 60 year old man who goes after a 20 something woman?

Acela is one of the best ways to travel between DC and NYC and beyond. Quiet car is heaven. Amazing what people are willing to reveal during their mobile phone chats on planes and trains!

Gnarbles 1:32 PM  

I entered PRENUP instead of AGEGAP, as I only had the P at that time. Seemed to fit well.

edith b 1:33 PM  

I feel very old today as I remember Aunt Fritzi Ritz from long ago and what I recall the most was how my mother disliked the character - called her a "hussy - in the days when people cared about things like Elvis swiviling his hips and the morality of comic books.

Funny how so many people - including me - had MAXWELLPARRISH and was looking for a middle initial.

My granddaughter Tatiana skims the comics in the morning but, curiously enough, won't tell anyone which ones she reads.

I agree with Rex that old strips may still be published today but not where I look.

joho 1:33 PM  

@PIX ... the pronounciation of PERISH, PARRISH and PARISH differs depending on where you're from. To me they all sound the same, just as they do for others. So the puzzle works for me. I was born in California, moved to Minnesota and then New York City and I don't think I talk funny.

HudsonHawk 1:40 PM  

@foodie, I believe we are called Dirty Old Men.

Since I only get the NYT and the WSJ, I've been off the comics page for about 15 years. When I see them in other papers, I have to agree with Rex, for the most part. I don't feel like I'm missing out on much--at least since Berke Breathed retired Bloom County. ;)

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

This was tough for a Monday. NEVER heard of Maxfield Parrish, definitely would have remembered a name like that. I knew CASPAR, he brought the gold I believe.
Rex, is that a picture of Aunt Fritzi? Wow would never have guessed such a sexy looking aunt from Nancy.
PS My son (age 12) reads the comics everyday and reads out loud the ones he finds hysterical.

retired_chemist 1:48 PM  

#00 Robert Parish is high on my ist of Parishes. One of the 50 top NBA stars of all time. Forget HIM? PERISH the thought....

SugarDaddy 1:53 PM  

@Foodie - Smart?

retired_chemist 1:53 PM  

umm-- that would be list. Also thanks to mccoll for confirming my suspicion that bois d'arc was/is the wood for making bows in France. Like the yew in Britain....

Greene 2:25 PM  

I see that tacos are the new beets of the blog.

I enjoyed this puzzle thoroughly, but was glad to see I wasn't the only one who struggled a bit. Does anybody still short-sheet a bed or TP houses anymore? Those examples of PRANKS also contribute to the old-timey feel of this puzzle. My daughter and her friends tend to lean toward electronic PRANKS for their mischief.

How well I remember the PUBLISH OR PERISH mindset of my old University. So glad to be off that treadmill.

Just back from a wonderful week in NYC where I gobbled up 8 plays (no Aunt ELLER or Sartre in sight) and had the privilege of meeting MAC and IMSDave (and his charming better half, Julie). What an absolute pleasure to finally meet the people behind the avatars and learn how much we have in common beyond our love of crossword puzzles. Thanks to them for taking time out of their busy schedules to meet up for drinks, dinner, puzzle chat, and Dave's father's show, Vanities. Thanks also to Rex for this forum which made it all possible. It's an amazing place.

chefian 2:31 PM  

Been reading the blog for about a year, first time commenting, woe is me. being Canadian, had to guess at acela, bit of a natick in my mind. Foodie, a "chicken hawk" is a term for an older man who has an interest in younger men, only refernce I can think of. Off to a pig roast, so no taco tonight. Cheers

Glitch 2:34 PM  

@poc 10:22
You are correct, HAFT may not be best, but appears acceptable:

"HAFT — the handle of a weapon or tool"
"HILT — the handle of a sword or dagger"
(Answers.com among others)

@foodie

At 70, My "Uncle Ed". (Optomistic also fit).
----
To the bakers out there, Doesn't one GLAZE a bundt cake (with icing) even today?
----
Finally,

Since it was RP that brought up "homophone", (and ignored his wife's input), I'm not sure it's a "puzzle problem" ;-)

OTOH, RP already indicated he didn't want to discuss, so "... let's call the whole thing off".

.../Glitch

JannieB 2:46 PM  

@Glitch - yes, bundt cakes are often glazed, using a flavored sugary concoction, thinner than a true icing.

@Greene - houses in my neighborhood (NE Tennessee) still get TP'd. I woke to see this one morning and flashed back to my own misspent youth-it's happened several times since. Everything old is new again.

sanfranman59 3:28 PM  

This one definitely didn't feel like a Monday to me. I probably would have finished it in a little above my average Monday time had it not been for the MAXFIELD PARRISH/FRITZI crossing (it didn't help that I had a typo in 36D: They have precincts: Abbr.). I don't recall ever hearing of PARRISH, but artists are not my strong suit. FRITZI seems to me to be a distinctly un-Monday clue and answer given that she's not appeared on the comics page since the late 80s and, even before then, only rarely. Bit of trivia ... according to Wikipedia, Nancy first appeared in the strip FRITZI Ritz in 1933. The ACELA/ELLER crossing didn't impede my progress as I've seen ACELA many times in crosswords and once lived in both New England and Washington. I was raised on Rodgers and Hammerstein (and Lerner and Loewe) and have also encountered ELLER before in crosswords.

So far, today's solve times are more in line with a Tuesday puzzle ... and a somewhat challenging one at that. Top 100 median = 4:43 (previous 7 weeks Monday avg = 3:35, Tuesday avg = 4:21). All solvers median = 8:37 (previous 7 weeks Monday avg = 6:45, Tuesday avg = 8:28).

On a completely different topic, since I like to keep track of my times, I solve most puzzles using the web interface. Every now and then, the solve time that shows up for me in the "Top Ten Puzzlers" list differs from the "Elapsed time" on the puzzle. Today, my "Elapsed time" was 8:52, but I'm in the list with 7:53. I'd guess that this happens about once every 2 or 3 weeks. Sometimes the "Elapsed time" is lower and sometimes (like today) it's higher. Has anyone else noticed this? Just wondering.

chefwen 3:30 PM  

They were all AWAITing chefwen's mango cheesecake that she will be GLAZING with a lilikoi topping.

I am over 50 but have been devouring funnies my whole life. We don't get much of a selection in our poor excuse of a newspaper, so I read all my favorites on line. Other than reading Rex's rating of the day, it's the first thing I do in the morning. I know "get a life".

andrea glib michaels 3:42 PM  

When I was looking to dump the name Eisenberg, I actually CHOSE MAXFIELD after Maxfield Parrish, so badly did I want an X in my name...

In the end I decided too WASP-y and didn't want people to think I was changing my name bec it was Jewish...I just didn't like it.

(In the end I took Michaels, as my dad was having a heart attack I was giving up his name...he took it rather, um, personally...so I said "Daddy, I'll keep your name, but your first one")

Maxfield Parrish is a very 60s poster guy...if only DK were sequestered on the Apostle Islands, I'm sure he'd say something funny about this. Maybe he'll get voted off early and ring in...

I honestly can't decide if I like the ballsiness of using ones own name AS the theme (tho I sneak in ACME whenever I can and sometimes WIll changes it to ACNE I think just to remind me who's boss!)
and I've done a reverse route of Joho, but they are three distinct sounds to me and the fact that they would be for half the readership makes this an iffy theme at best, yet I love the idea of the constructor finally getting his/her due, three times yet, considering half the syndicated papers (from which we receive ZERO reprint rights/payment) add the further indignity of removing the constructor's name!!!!!

I think the Aunt thing was careless, considering how many folks these puzzles pass through...but I have to admit, I didn't even know about that "rule" of editing till the blogs!

ECLAT over SHINE was nice.

I spent a little time reworking the upper NE corner, changing out CRO/CHIN to JAY/JOIN to see if I could make this a pangram (altho it would still be missing a V).

Not a good sign when I spend more time trying to rework a puzzle than creating one!
THis started out so promising "PUBLISHORPERISH" I thought they'd all be "P___ or P____" phrases which seemed fun.

@Hudson Hawk
(This is for you and Mac and the few who like my stories)
Don't get me started on this whole cougar business :(
Will say it again...I HATE that something I've been doing most of my life suddenly has this mean name, instead of a chorus of "You go girl!" attached!!!

But I'm a total hypocrite, bec
my last year of college, BF Skinner used to chase me around his desk trying to get a kiss, which I thought only happened in New Yorker cartoons. When I complained (he was a decidedly unsexy 70+ yr old, and I was 19) he said "Why do they call me a "Dirty Old Man" when it's feelings I've always had? It's unfair!"
so I told him it must have been bec he was a "Dirty Young Man" which stopped him for about 6 minutes.

Basically I found Rex's write-up about 67X more fun than the actual puzzle... I AWAIT tamales.
(I mean t'morrow)

aunt andrea (to Gabby and Tom) 3:45 PM  

PS
Mostly I only read the NY TImes, but the probably-soon-to-be-defunct SF Chronicle prints the LA Times puzzle on the comics page, so I take a peek occasionally.
Tho with my Adult ADD (ADDUlt?) I usually can't get thru a whole panel! Esp the ones with small print and too many words!
But I will cop to still taping a "Cathy" to my fridge or showing a "Garfield" to my cat Koko!

JC66 4:26 PM  

@BEQ

Just did your Themeless Monday puzzle and enjoyed it a lot, as usual. Wanted to point out that your clue for 2D makes it obvious that you constructed it on 7/17. Today the icon says 7/27.

chefbea 4:29 PM  

Wasn't too difficult for me. Knew Fritzi Ritz, Acela, glazer.

Perish, Parrish, Parish all sound alike to me, as do Mary, merry, and mary.

@Greene - how bout standing in a que for beet tacos?

Yummm Fred Drewes ice cream

And finally - the best comic strip in our paper is
Rhymes with Orange!!! Go to the website and see some of the strips. They are priceless

mac 4:36 PM  

@ACME: But Skinner was opposed to corporal punishment! Great stories.

@HudsonHawk: you are too young for that sobriquet.

In some cakes the glaze is supposed to really seep in and flavor it, sometimes with rum (Rum Baba) or Grand Marnier. I've made one once with a lemony sugar syrup. These cakes stay fresh a long time.

I'm afraid I pronounce all those words differently.

Two Ponies 4:55 PM  

@ andrea, Completely agree that the cougar thing is mean. Since I am one it bristles my fur (to continue the metaphor) when I hear it. Besides, Puzzlemate (nine years my junior) has never complained even after seven years together. He keeps me young and he benefits from my life experience.
Chased by B.F. Skinner? What a hoot.

poc 4:57 PM  

@chefbea: when my wife was starting her Masters at Edinburgh University, she had to take a test of English comprehension (she is Venezuelan, though her mother was Irish American). I remember her commenting that one example was particularly tough: fairy vs. ferry. Compared to that, perish/parish or Mary/merry are easy :-)

fergus 5:03 PM  

NO EXIT never seemed quite right as a translation of Huis Clos, though apt enough for the play, of course. The image is a door walled-in, but that doesn't come through in English very well. Maybe the more authoritative Susan or Foodie, could chime in on the topic?

Amusing childhood memory is of collecting a bag of OSAGE Oranges from the tree up the street and then going to the rickety old bridge above the tracks and dropping our cargo on top of passing trains. We were only six or seven at the time, but knew enough not to hit the windshield of the engine.

joho 5:33 PM  

@Andrea and @Two Ponies ... I couldn't agree with you more. We should be cheering "Go Cougars!."
I have engaged in cougarish activites myself -- a lot of fun! And both my past and current husband are younger than I. So, I say Cougar On! (Or is that a currency?)

Stan 5:38 PM  

@andrea --

Lots and lots and lots of people like your stories (tho Hudson Hawk and Mac do seem like particularly nice folks).

In fact, on days when you don't post, the end-of-blog let-down is really palpable (as if Rex had said at the beginning, "Well, here's the answers, see you tomorrow.")

But what's wrong with Eisenberg?

PS -- Marion (my wife) HATES the current word Cougar -- she drives one. And her friend Cath, whose husband is younger than she is, hates it more. As you've explained, anything men do is "heh, heh, pretty cool" and when women do it, cause for snarky put-downs. Plus ca change.

Karen from the Cape 5:49 PM  

@andrea--You go, girl!

Charles Bogle 5:52 PM  

Lost my first comment after 98 pc written

So I'll cut to my chase-extra challenging in lower half.

Too-typical fill even for Monday-IDI, ELS, EMIR, ONO
etc

Is DREAR a term of poetry, Prof RP?

My source says this CASPAR is CASPER or
GASPER. So much for info please

Liked RENEGADE, SATE, ARSENIC

MAX and OSAGE were and remain ciphers to me

No prob w NANCY-but the great SLUGGO should have been here!

Conductor Chuck 6:11 PM  

ACELA is a combination of acceleration and excellence

fergus 6:16 PM  

First thought of Money or Estate when reading the May-December Clue. DOLLAR? Among my crowd it's supposedly uncool for much of an age difference in couples, yet the male being significantly older is so consistent that it makes me realize that ideals do not conform to our mores. A conservative bunch despite lockstep liberal leanings. I wonder if others in supposedly ultra liberal environs witness the same?


(On the Queue for Clue, however awkward, the preposition completely substantiates AWAIT.)

treedweller 6:18 PM  

I suppose it must be true that we sub-50 comics readers are a minority, but, then, aren't all newspaper readers, and, for that matter, fanatical crossword junkies?

I have been reading the funnies every day in my newspaper since I was about 6. I still have a few years to go before 50. I admit most of them are quite bad, and I can't really explain why I like it (the Curmudgeon does help). I am lucky in that my local daily prints few soaps and zombies and actually has a few good ones (unlike the Fort Worth Startlegram, my former home paper). But I periodically write them to suggest they drop lame crap like Hagar, Wizard of Id, BC, Cathy and Garfield (sorry, Andrea) and replace them with Cow and Boy, Lio, Overboard, and Retail (the "Cow and Boy" link seems to be nonfunctional at the moment, but it should work later). If I ever succeed in getting these picked up, I have a few others to suggest that I read online.

My favorite bumper sticker that I've seen in a long time said "Garfield isn't funny."

@mccoll I used to work with a guy who saved a piece of Maclura pomifera from a job site to make a bow. I kinda doubt he ever followed through, but maybe.

@R_C You killed my theory--my family, from NE TX, says "board ark", while local (Austin) arborists seem to go with "Bow dark", so I was theorizing that it was a north-south thing. Maybe it's an East TX/LA thing. Maybe my family is just nuts. Well, I'm pretty sure they are nuts, but maybe that's why they pronounce it that way. I'll let it go now. If Rex didn't want to discuss homophones of Parrish, he probably doesn't care to hear about this, either.

treedweller 6:27 PM  

For the record, the best comics I didn't mention (because they are already in the local) are Get Fuzzy and F Minus. Not counting a few good ones that came up earlier.

Glitch 6:45 PM  

My first thought for Orange was AGENT, but like WATERboard for OUIJIboard the other day, dismissed it as "nah, couldn't be".

Quickly came up with OSAGE, which I consider a "common answer" when NAVAL doesn't work with an orange clue.

Given the discussion, it might not be that common.

Can someone with access to the database (I don't) let me know how often OSAGE orange has appeared in the NYT puzzle?

Just curious.

.../Glitch

Bill from NJ 6:50 PM  

@foodie-

But what do we call a 60 year old man who goes after a 20 something woman?

Unfortunetely, some form of "lucky" is used that just underscores the cultural difference given to men and women in this cultural. And the difference is always unfavorable towards the woman.

Ulrich 6:55 PM  

Since I love cats of any size, I always thought "cougar" was meant to be a compliment and, by implication, a form of encouragement--goes to show how little I know...

@Andrea: Are you sure Skinner wasn't simply engaged in some stimulus/response experiment?

XMAN 7:06 PM  

Yo, Andrea Women's Glib Michaels, ain't BFS the most goyishe goy you've ever encountered? I was involved in a bit of Skinnerism in the '70s and was sort of a one-man-band of destruction (well, skepticism, anyway).

Oops! Off-topic. Sorry.

hazel 7:06 PM  

@Glitch - well this was sort of interesting - 53 times since 1994 - mostly related to the Missouri River or Indian tribe - only a few oranges. I'll send you a link to the database that I think you'll be able to access. If I can access it, I'm sure you can too. I had BLOOD orange at first, then I thought NAVEL, then I just got rid of everything til the crosses filled in the blanks.

Glitch 8:16 PM  

@hazel --- thanx, & will check email

.../Glitch

Gilmortal 8:31 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gilmortal 8:34 PM  

I'm from Seattle, a place where there are "no accents" (or so it is said), and "perish", "parish" and "Parrish" all seem to be homophones. Checked with others in the office here. Trying to figure out what the differences COULD be. Is it perish=pAIRish and Parrish=pAHRish? Anyhow, no diff in this neck of the woods.

Agree with the majority, a few answers unnecessarily regional/obscure for a Monday.

Texas Momma 9:35 PM  

36D THEY HAVE PRECINTS What is PDS?

BTW - My now 19 year old son has been reading comics since he could read - and examining the drawings in detail.

I wish I had recorded some of the questions he's asked and converstaions started because he read it in the funny papers. Would have made a good book.

mac 9:36 PM  

@Ulrich: I agree, I love all felines. Let's just consider "cougar" a compliment: beautiful, sleek and slim, shiny skin, glowing eyes, healthy white teeth, supple moves and purring....!

PurpleGuy 10:14 PM  

@TexasMomma - PDS=Police DepartmentS

fergus 10:45 PM  

I wrote a strong opinion piece to contend with the top NYT editorial today, and it looks like my rant registered third place ... among those that seemed to be disaffected.

Blog compilations ought never to be competitive, yet they should compete in some form nonetheless.




A voice from a parliament of owls.

retired_chemist 11:17 PM  

@ treedweller - I would guess you are right - board ark sounds to me like E TX/AR/LA pronunciation. We used to kid a friend of mine from deep E TX about his environmentally induced speech impediment.

Ulrich 11:25 PM  

@mac: That's what I meant...

HudsonHawk 11:42 PM  

@mac, thanks, maybe I just aspire to be a Dirty Old Man. I'm 44, and today was Ms. Hawk's 39th birthday.

@ACME, enjoyed the BF Skinner story. You go, girl! Next time I'm in SF, you have to meet my sister and B-I-L. Kindred spirits, and I'm sort of frightened as I think about how well you'd get along.

fvigeland 12:51 AM  

@Ruth: I'm from Westchester Co. and I do say them all the same, can't quite hear how you would say it differently without exaggerating it so much to the point of cringing.

@Rex: I'm 16 and read the comics daily! The NY Daily News carries three pages' worth… most are pretty good, and it's worth it if only for "Pearls Before Swine" and "Dilbert." Still, had never heard of FRITZI. And @hazel, Mary Worth (the character) is popping up in "Pearls" right now, and it's hilarious how much fun they're making of her.

To keep this somewhat related to the actual puzzle, the Aunt in the 4D clue and also in the grid bothered me.

andrea 2:11 AM  

@Stan
DOn't encourage me!

@Hudson Hawk
Happy bday to your chick(en)hawk
and would love to meet your sisterhawk. Come visit!

@Xman
Let's take this discussion about DrBF offline! I have a lot to say about that and would love to hear your stories!

@mac/ulrich
thanks, will try to embrace...
unless Courtney Cox with her "Cougar Town" makes it worse!

@Two Ponies, Joho, Susan
thanks! yes, we go girls!

@treedweller
re: Garfield. No offense taken. I don't think it's a scream, but my cats actually giggle when they read it! what can I do?

@Fvigeland
I wonder if it's thru Mary Worth that I learned to end all my sentences with a "!"?!
Or was it the "other" Rex...Morgan?!

andreacarla 2:21 AM  

@ Glitch
According to cruciverb, out of the 38 times OSAGE has been in the NYT, only 5 times related to Orange, but on almost every day
(once Tues, Fri, Sat, twice on Wed)
New to me!

Joseph 2:39 AM  

@Purpleguy & Foodie, Thanks for the info re: "May/Dec. romance". I had no idea that was an established phrase. Your descriptions (year as life metaphor) reminded me of the riddle of the sphinx.

The comments here have been more entertaining than the puzzle. The cultural differences in our united states is astounding. A "board ark" to one, horse apple to another, a Bois d'arc to a third, and all in describing a fruit I have never heard of, never seen, never launched off bridges at unsuspecting ACELA passengers.

Joseph 2:44 AM  

BTW, no love on SHTUCKINPARISH? Tough crowd.

hazel 7:07 AM  

@fvigeland - I am ON the Pearls take-off on Mary Worth! Like most comics, that one can be hit or miss for me, but I totally agree that that "story line" has been really funny.

TimeTraveller 1:01 PM  

@Gilmortal Here in Vancouver BC I say pEARish and pAIRish, I guess thinking that e might sound different from a.

But Parrish is a name, and people play all kinds of silly games with what they call themselves. In England lots of names are pronounced very strangely. Cholmondeley, for instance, becomes Chumly.

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