Diamond Head locale — TUESDAY, Aug. 18 2009 — Candy bar with maraschinos / Popular Fanta-like soda / Masthead contents briefly

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Constructor: Tony Orbach

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: fruits acted upon in some way by verbs?
— five theme answers are edible / potable items whose names begin with fruits and end with what I think are words that can be recipe directives (?)

Word of the Day: CHERRY MASH (51A: Candy bar with maraschinos)

Cherry Mash is an American candy bar consisting of a soft, cherry-flavored center containing real maraschino cherries, covered in a mixture of chopped roasted peanuts and chocolate.

The Cherry Mash was formulated in 1918 by Dr. George Washington Chase's son, Ernest. The candy consisted of a quarter-pound mound of chopped roasted peanuts, blended with chocolate coating over a smooth cherry fondant center. The candy bar was originally called Cherry Chase, and then Cherry Chaser, before becoming known as Cherry Mash.

Today, Cherry Mash remains the Chase Candy Company's best-selling product. It is produced in a factory in Saint Joseph, Missouri and can be found throughout the Midwest in most grocery and convenience stores and mass-merchandise outlets. To this day, Cherry Mash continues to be the best-selling cherry candy bar in the United States according to the Chase Candy website (wikipedia)

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I almost always enjoy Tony Orbach's puzzles, but often find myself just not *quite* on his wavelength, for whatever reason. Today was no exception. Love the relative openness of the Tuesday grid, with its big NE and SW corners and superlong Downs (as long as or longer than any theme answer). Just noticed that the grid has been expanded to 16x15 to accommodate a 12-letter central answer. But the theme never cohered as I was solving, and even when I was done, I had trouble figuring out what the organizing principle was. It was only in considering other potential apple answers (FRITTER, STRUDEL ...) that I noticed the verbal similarity of all the second words in the theme answers phrases. I was completely distracted by the fact that 4 were edible and 1 potable, 4 were desserts and 1 ... wasn't. Throw in the fact that I've never in my life heard of or seen CHERRY MASH (despite living in the "midwestern U.S." for eight years), and you've got a theme that's just not to my, er, taste.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Fountain treat (banana split)
  • 27A: Tangy pie filler (lemon cream)
  • 37A: Relative of a certain cobbler (apple crumble) — "certain?" Would that "certain cobbler" be ... an APPLE cobbler? I'm confused. Clearly.
  • 51A: Candy bar with maraschinos (Cherry Mash)
  • 59A: Popular Fanta-like soda (Orange Crush) — "Fanta-like?"

Thought puzzle was going to be set-a-speed-record easy after the Downs in the NW went 1, 2, 3, 4 and that whole NW section was done lickety SPLIT. But I couldn't close the deal on I CAN SO (21A: "Just watch me!"), mainly because the clue sounds like something you'd say after the answer, not an equivalent of the answer. So movement into the NE was slowed down. Regrouped and pushed my way down through the grid, but ended up with a very plausible wrong answer at 50A: A little scared. SHOOK UP has a surprising number of letters in common with SPOOKED it turns out, and fixing that error took some doing. Only other issue was my complete ignorance of CHERRY MASH.

Bullets:

  • 36A: Abbr. on an envelope (ATTN) — ATTN: everyone. You must watch this video. A feast for your RETINA (10D: Eye part) and your ear.

[I have no reason for posting this besides my own amusement]

  • 58A: Vermeer's "Woman With a _____" ("Lute") — had -TE and briefly considered KITE.
  • 68A: Robert Ludlum hero searching for his identity (Bourne) — never seen any of the recent BOURNE movies, though they look kind of appealing. I associate Ludlum with "Authors My Dad Would Read on Vacation for 15 Minutes Before Falling Asleep." I'm sure LUDLUM's a fine writer, my dad is just a notorious read-sleeper (as am I, given half a chance).
  • 55A: Show deep respect (to) (kowtow) — spelled it COWTOW on first pass.
  • 31D: Archipelago unit: Abbr. (isl.) — What is the difference between "island" and "isle?" (not much — def. of "isle" is "island, esp. a small one").
  • 11D: Rib-eye alternatives (T-bone steaks) — triumph of the day: got this off just the "B." A nice answer.
  • 25D: Scientist who experienced a great fall? (Isaac Newton) — APPLE intersects his name, so put a check in the "brilliant" column. Also, a clue about a great fall, where the answer intersects ICARUS!? (34A: He flew too close to the sun, in myth) Two checks.
  • 26D: Maryland squad (Terps) — the Terrapins of the U. of Maryland.
  • 29D: Diamond Head locale (Oahu) — Under different circumstances, this answer might cause me to have Hawaii dreams, but it's the hottest @#$#ing night of the year and I'm awake at 2:19am writing this blog, so hot places are not on my list of fantasy destinations at the moment. I would tell you the Real (primary) reason I'm up at (now) 2:20, but it's so disgusting that I can't bring myself to write it down. I'll just say it involves Yet Another sick animal (the second in three days, and this is EXCLUDING my dog who was attacked by a pit bull and remains in a cone).
  • 40D: Root beer float with chocolate ice cream (brown cow) — a very desserty puzzle, all in all.
  • 46D: Masthead contents, briefly (eds.) — I just couldn't make sense of "contents" for some reason. I knew that the "masthead" contains the names of EDS., but I'd never thought of EDS. as "contents" (the way news, features, puzzles, etc, are "contents").

I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to get back to sleep, but I'm going to try. See you later.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

82 comments:

Vincent Lima 3:27 AM  

Enjoyed it in spite of all the three-letter words and not ever having heard of cherry mash. I guess I didn't worry too much, on a Tuesday, about the cohesiveness of the theme -- just fruits and yumminess!

chefwen 4:26 AM  

I finished this puzzle in a matter of minutes but I think I gained 15 pounds in the process. Do you know how many calories are in a lemon cream pie? A bunch! Never heard of CHERRYMASH and I grew up in the midwwst. Maybe it's a southern thing.

Only write over was KOWTOW over cowtow. Much easier than Mondays puzzle.

We sure have a bunch of sick puppies lately. Hope they all get better soon.

Anonymous 6:10 AM  

37A is Apple Crumble, not Apple Crisp.

Guy Who Solved When Not Dead Tired and Grossed Out 8:00 AM  

Thought this was going to be rated easy - will be interesting to see what SanFanMan59 has to say later in the day. By the way SanFranMan59, thanks for your continued work - it adds a good perspective to things.

dk 8:03 AM  

Ahh the Cone of Shame. Tell Rex dog it will be over soon and it was not his/her/its fault. (see UP)

Boring story alert

This puzzle reminded me of my part-time job at Carvel when I was 16. One stoned out hippie freak (Hi Brad) used to come in and order pumpkin milkshakes made with licorice ice cream we named it the rotted gourd in Brad's honor.

I also interviewed Brad for the April 1 edition of our school news paper. Every other word contained fu#k in either as a noun, verb, adverb or adjective Thus a quote might read "so what the fu#k, you fu#kers, or are you just fu#king with me, cuz if you are you are fu#ked." Brad went on to get an MBA and at last I heard works for the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation.

Me, I got suspended because the issue also included a cut out permanent lav and locker pass (looked like a get out of jail free card). I was suspended for forging a pass. And, the Brad interview, oh I and think I there was a cartoon lampooning our Principal Mr. Wall who had been renamed Brick. My dad, once he stopped laughing, came to my defense with a phalanx of his attorney pals. I think I paid them in BANANASPLITS.

oh yeah the puzzle...this one just flowed like syrup for me. No ABRUPT changes, no TICS and with a few interesting sub-themes as noted by Rex. Fine Tuesday fare.

p.s. In Maine we would sometimes drink Moxie which is Fanta-Like with Root beer undertones.

gotta go.

HudsonHawk 8:24 AM  

I started in the SE for some reason, so my first theme answer was ORANGE CRUSH (which could have been clued as an R.E.M. song).

Then CHERRY MASH fell into place, and I thought the theme was going to be fruit+___SH words.

Not to be. OK puzzle, probably closer to Easy for me. Oh, and thanks for the video, Rex. Amusing and disturbing, all at the same time.

joho 8:40 AM  

Tasty puzzle indeed. Besides all the edible, drinkable theme answers we had TBONESTEAKS, SEASALT, BROWNCOW (not a theme answer??),EDAM, ROE, DEER and SILT (for those who enjoy eating dirt.)

Definitely passed the breakfast test. Yum!

PhillySolver 8:44 AM  

I had my first Cherry Mash at a festival in Oklahoma when I was about six. I loved that candy bar. Moved away and couldn't get them anymore. Finally saw one many years later and bought it looking forward to the happy memories and good taste. Shock! It was so cloying sweet that I almost gagged and couldn't finish it. I wonder what that six year old would have thought about my current favorite treat, foie gras.

I enjoyed the puzzle and find that Mr. Orbach has a sense of humor and style that I enjoy. I think the theme is Fruit Punch...think about it.

retired_chemist 8:48 AM  

OK Tuesday. Five fruit-flavored treats in one puzzle – nice. If you count T-BONE STEAKS and BROWN COW, we have even more goodies. And, oh yes, SEA SALT.

However, I count 26 3-lettter answers. WAY too many IMO, even for a Tuesday.


T-BONE STEAKS, K(C)OWTOW and BROWN COW bring a certain bovine je ne sais quoi to the puzzle. Saw a gratuity container at a restaurant yesterday with the phrase “Cows aren’t the only thing to tip“ on it. Never tipped a cow but I’ve heard of it being done. Never heard of CHERRY MASH either.

treedweller 8:49 AM  

A local school has a message on its marquee sign: "TIC . . . TIC . . . TIC . . .TIC . . . Almost time to return to class."

I'm not sure if that reflects a Freudian slip, an knowing inside joke, or just a shortage of 'K's in the letter bin, but I find it rather amusing.

Puzzle rather amusing, too. I finished in almost exactly the same time as yesterday. Seems like there were a lot of "for short"s, though I can only find two now.

JannieB 8:50 AM  

As @joho said, a very tasty puzzle. I enjoyed every morsel - including the juxtaposition of the bearded iris and goat. There were a lot of 3-letter words but many were fresh and the cluing was creative. Finished in a Monday sort of time, so it definitely skewed "easy" for me. And yes @ChefWen, i think I gained a few pounds in the process.

Karen from the Cape 8:52 AM  

If anyone wants to impersonate a doctor, don't talk about the CCs in the IV, now it has to be MLs. (CC fell on the list of 15 most often misinterpreted abbreviations.)

I got one of my faster times on this puzzle. Also, yea for ROBOcop, one of my favorite movies growing up.

Cynthia G 9:01 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. It didn't rely on any obscure specific facts/proper nouns that I needed to turn to Google for. I much prefer it when the answers are "figure-out-able," rather than "you either know it or you don't." (Are there words to describe these types of clues?)

Jim in Chicago 9:03 AM  

I've lived in the upper midwest my entire life and haven't ever heard of a Cherry Mash either. Must be a southern midwest thing. Actually, it sounds pretty nasty!

I don't think the second part of the clues was specifically meant to be recipe directions (you don't see "split" very often). I think they're just all sweet treats.

DanaJ 9:10 AM  

Overall I liked the flavor of this puzzle, but CHERRYMASH sounds disgusting. Enjoyed the bearded beast (GOAT) and the reference to the dynamic DUO, after yesterday's Batman puzzle.

pednsg 9:19 AM  

I understood the second word of the themed answers to indicate a verb involving some type of violent or destructive act. I liked it, but hate anything artificially orange-flavored (reminds me of baby aspirin), and have never heard of CHERRY MASH - would NOT eat that. EVER!

Victor in Rochester 9:26 AM  

Who knew? Forever, since I was a kid, I've loved to put chocolate ice cream into my root beer floats, much to the amusement and derision of family and friends who believe that vanilla is the only way to go. Now I find that I'm not the only one and it has a name--40D BROWN COW! Redemption! If you haven't tried it, do.

Great Monday-ish puzzle.

mac 9:31 AM  

We're o.d.-ing on food just when ChefBea is out of town, she would have had a ball with this puzzle.

Maybe a lot of 3-letter words, but there are 5 theme and lots of other great long answers and combinations of related words. I also thought the clues showed a real sense of humor. I had fun with this one! C/Kowtow was also my only write-over.

@dk: great to have a father with a sense of humor!

SethG 9:37 AM  

Tra la la la la la la. A NEWTON is fruit and cake.

Elaine 9:38 AM  

News Flash from the Mid-South: NO, a Cherry Mash is NOT a Southern thing. And after 9 + 14 years in Ohio, I would not consider it a Midwest thing, either. I have/had never, ever heard of it (and wish I had not seen it-- looks appalling, def not appropriate for breakfast time viewing!)
This puzzle was very easy, IMHO, mainly due to the 3-letter gimmes. Reminded me why I usually skip MTW puzzles...but dammit, I paid $39.95 for the subscription to the NYT Crosswords, and I'm gonna do 'em all!

PurpleGuy 9:43 AM  

@PhillySolver - I agree with "fruit punch" for the theme. Makes a lot of sense. Good work !

A really delightful and tasty puzzle. There are some nice ideas for the potluck supper !

Great video and writeup,Rex. Enjoy your rest, and hope your pets get better soon. For your sanity !

Very enjoyablepuzzle, Tony. Thank You !

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

@Cynthia G: Yes, there are technical terms for the type of clues you described: Good and Bad.

Anne 9:45 AM  

This was an amazing write-up by Rex. He's tending to an animal for some disgusting reason (I don't want to know) and still writing happily about bananas and cherries and streudel and apples, etc. and somehow manages to come up with this astonishing video of Vicki Laurence and the Jackson Five which evoked all sorts of feelings for me. Amazed that Vicki could actually keep up with them. Touched by the innocence of it all and saddened by all the joy because of what the future held in store. Bravo, Rex.

To change the subject, I noticed that both this puzzle and the LA Times had these words today: iris, rue(s), tsar(s) and split. Seems like a lot to me.

Orange 9:52 AM  

The CHERRY MASH could've blown up huge nationwide if they'd kept the name Cherry Chaser.

Ben Hassenger 9:56 AM  

Eh, maybe it's just the fact that I'm a culinary student, but I wailed through this one in record time for a Tuesday, and therefore enjoyed it. So much food, not to mention a t-bone steak AND a Bob Newhart reference? I'm sold.

Rex Parker 9:58 AM  

Cherry Chaser sounds like ... well, I think you know what it sounds like. No way Cherry Mash is going to be confused for something pervy. At least I hope not.

rp

XMAN 10:08 AM  

Everybody else said everything. But...what about PONIESUP? an odd expression meaning 'to pay a debt.' But what is its origin? What do ponies have to do with money? Maybe it means a small amount of money for a small debt?

And Ulrich, what does ACH du lieber mean? (If that's not asking too much.)

Diamond Jim who liked terrapins 10:13 AM  

My usual dinner: “Three dozen oysters (the largest Lynnhavens), a dozen crabs, six or seven lobsters, terrapin soup, [and] a steak,” with a dessert of “a tray full of pastries … and two pounds of bonbons.” Followed by an après-theater supper of “a few game birds and more orange juice.”

Lefinson Axelrod Wheaton & Grazel, Esqs 10:31 AM  

@Mssrs Tony Orbach & Will Shortz & The New York Times, Inc.: On behalf of, as of now seventeen, people in diabetic comas, we hereby notify you of a class action lawsuit on behalf of these and as yet unnamed litigants. Your reckless and irresponsible Crossword puzzle, while of high quality, has needlessly placed the lives of those with insulin related infirmities at risk, specifically by overly stimulating an insulin response before breakfast when they are at their most vulnerable.
Additional specifications will be following by courier.

ArtLvr 10:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
ArtLvr 10:44 AM  

Another plus vote for Tony O's Fruit Punch puzzle: and I'm TICKLED at Rex's Write-up, PhillyS's Title, and the great variety from other commenters... I'd add DEER to our menu if you're into venison. Like many, I'd never heard of BROWN COW until today, nor the CHERRY MASH --

@ DK: the description of your teen job at Carvel reminded me of my ex's nightmare tales of processing "real" Maraschinos one summer in California, removing natural color and flavor from cherries with cyanide or some similar poison, then flushing that from the product to allow for further addition of artificial color and flavorings. Needless to say, one LOSES IT due to the insider knowledge: he never touched anything containing that famous garnish, though he ended up a chemistry prof.

∑;)

Bob Kerfuffle 10:50 AM  

Fun puzzle; loved it!

"Fruit punch" is a good theme suggestion -- my idea was "Carnage in the Kitchen".

edith b 10:50 AM  

When I was growing up, we had a neighbor who was described as a "displaced person", who wore a babushka (sp) and used to mutter "ach de lieber, Gott in himmel". She was one of those people that children avoided.

I enjoyed this puzzle as it was particularly Tuesday-ish as far as I was concerned. Liked all the fruit.

archaeoprof 10:51 AM  

Bravo, Tony Orbach!

@Elaine: I had never heard of CHERRYMASH either, and I've lived all my life in the midwest and south.

@Ulrich: do native German speakers typically say "Ach, du lieber"? I don't think I've heard that expression very much over there.

BTW, tonight I fly to Germany for a week with my godson Benedict and his family.

@Rex: I hope your dog is feeling better soon.

Glitch 11:00 AM  

@Xman

Just a guess:

PONY UP - "Since the 1800s, 'pony up,' or 'poney up,' has been American slang for 'to pay up.' These words may derive from the German 'poniren,' 'to pay,' but 'pony' was British slang for a small amount of money in the early 19th century, probably because a pony is a small horse (not over 14 hands high), and the term to 'pony up' probably derived from this expression. Other uses of 'pony' to indicate smallness include the 'pony' that is a small glass or bottle of alcohol beverage and the 'pony' meaning a trot or crib - a translation used by students." From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

.../Glitch

Jim in Chicago 11:10 AM  

Just discovered on the Cherry Mash website. A recipe for a Cherry Mash Martini:

CHERRY MASH MARTINI

1 ½ oz. Effen Black Cherry Vodka
¾ oz. Disaronno Amaretto
¾ oz. Crème de Cacao
¼ oz. half and half

Shake vigorously in a tin with ice.
Strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with a maraschino cherry and ¼ of a mini mash on a drink pick.

I see a whole new puzzle coming on.

Stan 11:12 AM  

A nice smooth Tuesday -- Tyr would approve.

Thanks, Tony

Denise 11:19 AM  

Only the middle-of-the-night sick animal explains to me that this write up was done by the "real" Rex Parker -- so many complaints!

C'mon people, the only "unknown" in the whole puzzle was "CHERRYMASH" which was easily gettable through the crosses and the relationship to other answers.

I'm gonna find myself some of those Cherry Mashes and enjoy my day!

Really -- COWTOW for KOWTOW???

Take a nap. Rex.

Ulrich 11:21 AM  

@Phillysolver: You beat me to the punch with "fruit punch"...

@XMAN, archaeoprof: Yes, that's the beginning of a common phrase--decidedly non-hip, though: e.g. Ach du lieber Gott "Oh dear god!". And there is a silly ditty:

Ach du lieber Augustin, Augustin, Augustin
Ach du lieber Augustin, Augustin, Augustin
Alles ist hin


(Ach dear Augustin...all is lost).

I continue to be impressed by TO's (and P. Blindauer's) knowledge of more arcane aspects of German.

Kudos TO!

Susan 11:30 AM  

@Rex, if you have the mind of a thirteen year old boy (and I do) EVERYTHING with "cherry" in it can be made to sound a little pervy. Or else you're just not trying hard enough...

I kind of liked this puzzle. I had a hard time in the NW because I put POPE for 6D instead of Tsar. Yes, I realize there was just the one pope called Peter and yes, I should have known better with my Catholic education (and resulting pervy mind of thirteen year old boy).

Our semester started yesterday, by the way. Boo!

jeff in chicago 11:37 AM  

Very easy today. Felt like Monday and Tuesday were flipped. And yes, this puzzle made me want some sweets, but I tried to stay healthy by having a nice orange.

During my teen years I worked at a tiny root beer stand in the park by the Football Hall of Fame in Canton. The old-timey root beer - it wasn't carbonated. Delish! A very popular drink was half root beer and half orange soda. It looked awful, and that was reflected in its name: Swamp Water. But it was SO good!

I was hoping that we might see Icarus (Born on Wings of Steel), but I may be a rare Kansas fan here. Maybe someday...

Denise 11:38 AM  

You can order CHERRY MASH from amazon.com -- one is 95 cents, but there is a huge shipping charge (even for "prime" members).

Jim in Chicago 11:41 AM  

@Denise, you can also buy online at the Cherrry Mash website, but you need to buy fairly large quantities.

fikink 11:50 AM  

@Cynthia G, think you are looking for "inferable"
@pednsg, I agree.
I must be watching too much lurid-blue CSI. I, too, thought the theme was about destroying things: MASH, CRUSH, CRUMBLE, CREAM, SPLIT.
This should have been Monday's puzzle. Like PONIES UP and TICKLED for fresh fill.
Very smooth, Mr. Orbach!

HudsonHawk 11:58 AM  

@jeff in chicago, thanks for the Kansas clip of ICARUS. I saw them live about 28 years ago at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis. Unfortunately, Steve Walsh had recently left the band, so it wasn't quite the same. The opening act was a group of young guys from Chicago called Survivor.

As for CHERRY MASH, it's definitely a Midwestern thing. Made in Missouri, and available from Iowa to Texas, Missouri to Colorado (per their website). Not bad, but never one of my favorites.

jimmy d 12:27 PM  

Puzzle was OK....but I had to comment about the Vicki Lawrence / Jackson 5 video...THAT was awesome! Thanks, Rex...very surreal!

Hobbyist 12:34 PM  

Just solving this has led to a yen for things that will lead to an abrupt weight swell.

poc 12:41 PM  

I understand that ELITE is a monospaced typeface, not a type size. Not all Elite faces are the same size.

Stan 1:01 PM  

@poc: You may be right about the font, but with old, manual typewriters the basic choice was between "Pica" (larger) and "Elite" (smaller).

XMAN 1:17 PM  

How about "The Great Tuesday Fruit Massacre?"

fikink 1:31 PM  

@Stan, yes the old crossword puzzles used to clue both PICA and ELITE in terms of typewritten letter sizes all the time.
That was in the days when you couldn't sculpt your personal silhouette in your correspondence by choosing from a myriad of fonts.
Imagine Don Draper's panache in these times!

Joseph 1:52 PM  

Where's Kelsworth?

Deja Clue: 32A "AAAS" (Penlight batteries) (from maybe a week ago?)

Clueche': 11A "TSO" (General on Chinese menu)

Anyone have a Cluevoyant/ESPhill moment this morning?

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

PhillySolver, "fruit punch" is definitely the theme. I couldn't believe Rex didn't at least pick up all on the verbs being violent or destructive in some way. Then again, the only reason I think he's smart is he says he is.

In any case, you win, Rex loses. You are now the 44th greatest crossword puzzle solver in the universe.

fergus 2:17 PM  

Could have been CHERRY MUSH, MESH or MESS. I'm partial to the latter.

jeff in chicago 2:28 PM  

@HudsonHawk: I was (am) a big Kansas fan. I've seen them a half dozen times, all in the Steve Walsh era. Way back in the day you could take cameras into shows, and I have a nice collection of shots of the band. Love me my prog rock.

miriam b 3:03 PM  

Thanks, Tony for a delicious and ingenious puzzle. I also associated the verbs with violent acts toward fruit.

@ulrich: From the dark recesses of my memory file emerges this verse:

Ach, du lieber Augustin
Alles ist weg.
Rock ist weg, Stock ist weg,
Auch bin ich in dem Dreck.
Ach, du lieber Augustin
Alles ist weg.

There was also a childhood ditty, sung to the same tune and bearing a similarly doleful message:

Ach, du lieber Augustin,
Slot machine, run by steam,
Put another nickel in,
Nothing comes out.

sanfranman59 3:46 PM  

Tuesday midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Tue 7:56, 8:32, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:22, 4:25, 0.99, 45%, Medium

@Guy Who Solved ... Happy to contribute. I'm glad to hear that someone's getting something out of it.

Clark 3:55 PM  

Back from the mountains. Semi-puzzle partner, who hails from Oklahoma/Arkansas says of course he's heard of Cherry Mash. (I, coming from northern Michigan, have not.) So it's a southern thing, I say. Midwest, he says. You will never convince me that Oklahoma is the Midwest.

foodie 4:05 PM  

Whatever crazy way I solved this puzzle led me to get TBONESTEAKS first, which caused me to think of a much broader food theme (like stuff that's not so healthy for you). This was probably compounded by my negative association with ORANGE CRUSH-- I went to China for the first time in 1986, and back then the only choices for drinks was either warm water (which had to be boiled to avoid bacterial contamination) or a bottled ORANGECRUSH knockoff. It was terribly sweet and totally destroyed the flavors of the wonderful Chinese food we were eating. I have never had a carbonated orange soda since...

Of course, after it was all done, I understood and appreciated the puzzle! I agree that it's terrific, and medium for me.

That Vicki Lawrence video is amazing... but that skirt is truly ugly.

PlantieBea 4:09 PM  

Enjoyed this Tony Orbach, but it was enough to make my teeth hurt with all the sugary treats. I never had or heard of a Cherry Mash growing up in the upper midwest, but it looks like an oversized version of something you'd find in a drug store boxed chocolate assortment. Grilled t-bone sprinkled with sea salt, yum.

hazel 4:18 PM  

@Jeff/Chicago - I'm with you all the way. I thought this was a perfectly awesome Monday puzzle - straightforward yet fiendishly clever, completely loveable theme, and all sorts of extras to boot.

I did this puzzle w/in a few seconds of my average Monday, and yesterday's w/in a few seconds of my average Tuesday. Still wondering what makes it a Tuesday over a Monday?

@SanFranMann - i totally appreciate your efforts also!!

Southern = MOON PIE not CHERRY MASH - never heard of it.

PurpleGuy 4:22 PM  

My first thought for 37a was "apple pan dowdy" before I even looked at the number of spaces.
Now I can't get the song out of my head - Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy" Please tell me someone else thought of this ????? !!!!!

PIX 4:48 PM  

Never heard of Cherry Mssh, never heard of "brown cow" (in this context)...did not like puzzle, but than again, I don't like desert. I do like having Isaac Newton in puzzle but having him stand next to an obscure rapper is rather insulting to one of the smartest men that ever lived ( eg he needed to solve a problem, essentially invented calculus to solve the problem and stuck the whole thing in his drawer for a dedcade or two like an old shopping list).

@Ulrich...I'm with mirian b...isn't there some version of Ach du lieber where "alles is WEG" and and not "Hin"? Or is there absolutely nothing I remember correctly from 4 years of high school German?

Anonymous 5:24 PM  

Thanks to all for the nice and interesting comments - I loved the titles, Philly/XMAN and co.! To address one or two other points: I did indeed grow up in NYC and never had a CHERRY MASH - but somewhere in me, knew it existed out there. As it happens, even when I was 6 I'd have been more likely to grab a piece of salami before a cherry-filled anything, so I have no place in my heart for that confection other than the fact that its name pairs fruit and violence: for that, I love it!

Happy puzzling!
Tony

Ulrich 6:22 PM  

@miriam b and PIX: You remember more than I do--amazing!

To continue with this earth-shaking issue: "hin" rhymes with "AugusTIN", "weg" with "Dreck"--take your pick!!

XMAN 6:25 PM  

@Tony, The Anonymous: I'm from the Bronx and I never heard of salami. Just kidding. Thanks for the lovely Tuesday outing.

mac 7:29 PM  

Thank you, Tony Orbach! Some of us were right about the fruit and violence connection.

Betsy the midwife 7:30 PM  

Deer attract the mice who carry the ticks who cause lymes

acme 7:58 PM  

love tony loved puzzle more later!

kelsworth 8:20 PM  

@ Joseph
I'm here- late to the party because

1. I am on the west coast

2. I watched that body language video and it took another 66 views to master the choreography. I practiced the part of the guy in the cherry mash costume.


AAA definite deja clue but was it AAAS or AAA and was it a penlight or something else. hmmm so familiar.
another clueche´ was EDAM dutch cheese. blah. treadfill - fill that is like walking on a treadmill ie pedestrian + dreadful.


@Cynthia G-

inconcluesive = "figure-out-able,"
concluesive = "you either know it or you don't."

Was I the only one who had ORANGESLICE for a moment instead of orange crush?

fergus 8:46 PM  

When I first started doing crosswords the theme seemed like a central point. Then for a stretch, after I was confident of nailing the Friday and Saturday editions, I became indifferent, and perhaps a bit scornful to the theme's predominance in puzzle construction. Even conceding Acme's convincing and persuasive arguments for their centrality, I persisted with a nonchalance toward their inclusion.

But I've been gradually tacking back toward thematic enjoyment, and I would have to say that today's effort underscored my revived appreciation of having a specific theme to the making of excellent puzzle. (No loss of appreciation for the themeless, of course, with its happily random connections.)

The only problem with Mr. Orbach's fine effort is that the construction elegance is overshadowed by the thematic cleverness.

Peter 9:07 PM  

I think the theme is the second words, which are all terms of destruction: Split, cream, crumble, crush, and mash.

mac 9:48 PM  

It's a double theme, how brilliant is that!

sanfranman59 9:48 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 7:32, 7:02, 1.07, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 7:57, 8:32, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:47, 3:43, 1.02, 59%, Medium
Tue 4:12, 4:24, 0.95, 42%, Medium

fergus 10:04 PM  

sanfranman,

Have you done any graphical representations of your data?

Add me to your Tycho Brahe appreciation list. Are you also a Kepler?

mac 10:09 PM  

@sanfranman59: I also want to tell you that I have come to count on reading your statistics. Thank you so much!

foodie 12:06 AM  

@sanfranman59: you have a regular fan club! I still hope to someday see a link where your data can be visualized.

Thank you for keeping it up! I've noticed that there is a great deal less arguing with Rex about his rating since you started doing this. And it was fun to see that Rex in one of his blogs was awaiting your data to contrast it with his impression.

andrea crush michaels 3:29 AM  

@fergus
Yes, that's what I didn't have time to write about earlier, not only five themes, but a double theme that was not like pounding an incorrect jigsaw puzzle piece into place!!!!!!
It was subtle and brilliant and funny and self-effacing, exactly like the constructor in person!

fergus 4:22 AM  

Andrea, I'm up late too, so in the waning hours it's nice to find not only a similar voice, but one I may have spoken for.

Matt 11:36 AM  

Isn't it cool that AIDE and ABET are next to each other?

Whitney 1:23 PM  

@phillysolver Fruit Punch is brilliant!

Loved the crossing of ISAACNEWTON and APPLE and TBONESTEAKS and SEASALT. I'd never heard of CHERRYMASH, either (West Coaster...). I had the HER and the Y and really wanted OHENRYMASH. But that just didn't seem cool. My last fill was the "T" in 23A and though TERPS was in a puzzle I did recently I really wanted DERPS. Derp!

I'll watch the video when my 7 month old niece wakes up from her nap...Judging from the comments, it's fantastic.

Whitney 7:52 PM  

The video didn't disappoint. I loved it and so did my niece. We had to watch ABC (123) next.

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