Claire's boy on Lost — THURSDAY, Sep. 10 2009 — CNBC host Regan / Bravo follower / Lago composition / Big-screen beekeeper / Geographical finger

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Constructor: Kevan Choset

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: MAJOR SCALE (30D: Theme of this puzzle) — rebus puzzle in which the notes of an ascending MAJOR SCALE ascend across the puzzle, from SW corner to NE corner, each note getting its own square: DO, RE, MI, FA, SOL, LA, TI, and DO. EIGHT NOTES in all (4D: Composition of 30-Down).

Word of the Day: TRISH Regan (15A: CNBC host _____ Regan)Trish Regan is an American broadcast journalist. She anchors CNBC's The Call, (weekdays from 11 am - Noon EST), reports for CNBC's documentary unit and provides regular reports and analysis for NBC's Nightly News[1] and The Today Show. [...] More recently, Regan reported an in-depth hour on the underground marijuana industry which became the most watched special in CNBC's history. (wikipedia)

[Possibly the funniest promo for a news org. I've ever seen. Could she flirt with the camera any harder? Should be titled "Trish REGAN wants to f$@! you"]
-----

I found this Medium, but I have this strange feeling it's not going to play out that away among all solvers. Rebuses often cause solving times to skew way upwards, and this rebus was complex and took a good deal of work to ferret out. Love the rebus and the fact that the note progression actually ascends (just as the notes on a scale do) as you move from L to R across the grid. There's some ugly stuff in the grid, especially in and around the rebus letters: HOR and ALLA and NOU. And then a bunch of tedious stuff like ANOSE and AFAST and ILLAT and RLS. In fact, this puzzle illustrates rather beautifully the principle of "compromise fill." Going for the rebus (a high and worthy bar) pulls the quality of the fill down, and in this case, ALL the bad fill is right on the rebus faultline, so the connection between construction feat and fill decline is quite evident. Overall, though, the risk was worth it, I think.

Anatomy of a solution (rebus edition): Start out blazing fast in NW and remain on fire until OIL PAIN(TI)NG refuses to fit (tho' it's clearly right). OK, so we have a rebus. Ding ding ding (not DONG ... that's later). Now ... what's in the rebus? Everything after OILPA is unknown. Maybe "IN" is rebused, who knows? Moving on ... only NOT moving on because I went down what turned out to be the rebus corridor, and so Nothing was making sense (not surprisingly). Jump to W and embrace good old friend Jane EYRE (39A: Fictional governess). Work that section and then get SPA, which sends you over to 47A: Work for a certain therapist. BACK RUB fits, but you go with the more likely MASSAGE. Then nothing. Then jump to E and get ACURA and AGUA and FJORD, and from the "J" in FJORD (38A: Geographical finger) get MAJOR SCALE. Now ... back to OILPAINTING. So it's the "TI" that's rebused. Great. Where are the others? Finally figure out the DO ("D'oh!") in the far NE, and it's off to the (slowish) races from there, right back down the middle of the grid to finish in the SW.

Rebuses:

  • Ju DO (53D: Olympic sport since 1964) / DO yle (61A: Last name in mystery)
  • Je RE my Irons (53A: Voice of Scar in "The Lion King") / RE el (55D: Rod's partner)
  • MI tt (46A: Ball catcher) / A MI ty (43D: Friendliness)
  • A FA st (40A: On _____ track) / In FA ct (34D: Actually)
  • In SOL e (34A: Shoe part) / Ab SOL ut (24D: Smirnoff competitor)
  • Al LA (24A: "_____ salute!" (Italian drinking toast)) / Il LA t (19D: _____ ease)
  • Oil pain TI ng (18A: "Mona Lisa," e.g.) / An TI (11D: Not pro)
  • Wal DO (10A: "Where's _____?") / DO ng (13D: Half a ring)


Gotta move quickly — Thursdays are tight, as I teach and I have to take daughter to school.

Bullets:

  • 5A: Player on the 1979 N.B.A. championship team, for short (Sonic) — Wanted SIKMA, but he's not "short."
  • 15A: CNBC host _____ Regan (Trish) — along with Theodore OLSON (31A: Bush solicitor general Theodore) and AARON (48D: Claire's boy on "Lost"), one of several "WTF!?" names in this puzzle. Oh, add REESE to that pack as well (62D: Chip _____, whom many consider the greatest cash game poker player of all time). "Whom many consider...?" That is some weak weak weak-ass cluing. That's like cluing Glenn BECK as [TV pundit whom many consider a patriot and a hero]. It's true, but Come On. Give me a stat, a date, a solid fact. Something!
  • 35A: Lago composition (agua) — lakes are made of water, yes.
  • 36A: TV's Houston and Dillon (Matt) — it's a good lawman's name.
  • 58A: Big-screen beekeeper (Ulee) — just added to my list of 21st Century Crosswordese (I have a list tacked to a bulletin board next to my desk).
  • 2D: Raptor's roost (aerie) — 80% vowels! I saw a raptor yesterday. Actually, both of the past two days, coming home from woods. It was a hawk of some kind. First saw him perched on top of phone pole. Later saw him in what must have been post-kill mode — on the ground in an open field. He sort of looked up as we drove by then went back to whatever he was doing / killing.
  • 5D: Pie-in-the-face giver or receiver (Stooge) — took a little work, but finally became obvious.
  • 7D: Memphis locale (Nile) — it's underwater?
  • 10A: First number in a record (wins) — wins and losses are how all kinds of records are expressed.
  • 27D: Herringlike catch (shads) — ouch, the S, the S ... it hurts.
  • 31D: They can be read by the illiterate (omens) — I doubt it. Reading "OMENS" has nothing to do with literacy, so boo to this clue.
  • 47D: They're located behind the ears (manes) — take the "the" out of the clue and it gets a hell of a lot clearer.
  • 54D: Old bridge expert Culbertson (Ely) — Crosswordese from another century.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

78 comments:

Oscar 8:07 AM  

Saw how closed off the grid was and said "rebus." MAJORSCALE is a pretty dull way to explain the theme and EIGHTNOTES just happens to be the same length.

Still, the best puzzle since Monday. The NYSun had a cooler version of this, I think.

HudsonHawk 8:13 AM  

I detected the rebus early with Where's WALDO. Then I started looking for DOs and DON'Ts in the corners and elsewhere. Nope.

When I figured the note theme but hadn't found the symmetry, I wanted 31D to be MIMERS. After that was corrected, things moved pretty well.

Fun puzzle.

Alex 8:16 AM  

The names were mostly meaningless to me but for some reason Ted Olson is someone from the Bush era I remember. Solicitor General to the Supreme Court. His wife was on the plane that hit the pentagon on 9/11.

Helped that he was in the news yesterday because he argued an anti-McGain Feingold case before the Supreme Court (a law which he argued in favor of as Solicitor General).

The only problem was I though he spelled it Olsen.

I suspected a rebus when ABSOLUT didn't fit and confirmed it was a rebus when JEREMY IRONS, an undeniable gimme, didn't fit.

If FJORD hadn't given visibility to MAJOR SCALE, though, I doubt I'd have finished since I'd likely never have figured out the rebus gimmick.

Sara 8:26 AM  

Theodore OLSON's wife, Barbara, a newscaster, was on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. (on my mind today. the weather in NY is cool this morning like it was that day) Now he's working on the lawsuit challenging California Prop. 8.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

Damn, that video was embarassing. Quick quiz: Trish got that job because:

a) She's a highly qualified investigative reporter, or
b) She can vamp for the camera

edith b 8:53 AM  

Easiest time I ever had on a rebus. Ran down the East Coast thru FJORD and uncovered MAJORSCALE right away and shortly thereafter got the WAL(DO) clue and Bingo! only a couple of minutes in and I already had this one pegged.

Dumb luck played a major part in this but I will take that anytime. What's the old saying - I'd rather be lucky than good? Well I was that today. Saw the diagonal and filled in all the notes and that pretty much took the Challenging part out of this one.

Enjoyed it alot.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:03 AM  

Quality puzzle overall. Feel like the solfege theme is a little played out. But the high amount of theme material made it okay. Solid B.

Just saying: that Stooges record is boss, but really, "Fun House" smokes it.

fikink 9:13 AM  

Okay, feedback please!
I thought if a constructor were to use the same clue two or more times in a puzzle, he/she should elicit different senses of the word. (E.g., clueing "Down" twice, the first to mean goose feathers and the second as opposed to "up.")
Here, the clue for 42A and 44D was "Pain" and in both cases, the answer was some sense of inconvenience. I want to cry, "Foul" - What am I missing?

joho 9:16 AM  

@Edith B ... it was luck for me, too. Got the easy LON immediately which gave me WAL(DO) and AN(TI). I knew it was a rebus and also that it was notes. I thought it was interesting that the rebus was concentrated in squares diagonally. That's how I got AL(LA )... and it also kept me from looking for the rebus in the corners.

Because of my fortuitous start this was easier than usual for a Thursday and a rebus, but I'm happy about that and the puzzle in general.

Thanks, Kevan Choset!

mmorowitz 9:22 AM  

Is the fifth note in the scale really "SOL". I always thought it was "SO", as in The Sound of Music: ("SO, a needle pulling thread")

This hung me up for a while and is certainly the first time I've heard it expressed as SOL.

ArtLvr 9:24 AM  

@ BEQ -- "played out"! Nice pun.

Like Edith B, I got this one fast, scales having dropped from my eyes early on, in the SW corner with Rod and REEL and JEREMY IRONS. The two "pain" clues both needing non-physical answers were funny, not a bother.

My last fill was WISHBONE because it seemed so unlikely at first! A BIT MUCH, but cute. NO U turn was amusing too. Overall, very good wordPLAY!

∑;)

SethG 9:38 AM  

Good or bad, the "...many consider the greatest cash game poker player of all time" quote is straight out of his NYT obituary. So it's nice to see their puzzle at least following their own work in other areas--I hate when that's not the case. His death was reported to the Times by DOYLE "Last name in mystery, first name in poker" Brunson, one of the greatest tournament players ever.

NO U turn is ugly as sin, but it's a Singaporean syndrome and a UK record label.

Until right now I thought that the SCALE was EIGHTH NOTES instead of whole ones, my first guess. I love the word FJORD.

toothdoc 9:38 AM  

Always a nice sense of accomplishment when I can finish a Rebus. I think this puzzle was more enjoyable because of the sub-par puzzles the last couple of days. Hopefully we are on an upswing.

Anne 9:47 AM  

I loved it although it took some time and effort. All of the iffy answers were gettable with crosses, which I liked. I agree that this is the best since Monday.

I've never liked musicals but I've been influenced by comments on this blog and have started watching them. So far, I've seen the King and I, Sound of Music, and I've watched My Fair Lady twice in the last two weeks. Next up is Camelot.

Crosscan 10:10 AM  

I'll start.

DO, a deer, a female deer...

Cool theme and nice execution trumps any subpar fill. Thumbs up.

Susan 10:12 AM  

I was very slow with this one. Partly because I did it last night on line and was tired already when I started.

Alex, please get out of my head. You and I had the same experience with Ted Olsen/Olson. And not just the misspelling, everything you wrote...

Isn't "hassle" an answer we've seen like three times this week?

SusanMontauk 10:12 AM  

Sol is correct, Hammerstein used so in the song for obvious reasons. Europeans, who think of the notes as do, re, mi (etc.) instead of c,d,e, (etc.)complain to me that Americans mispronounce the name of the fifth note and blame the Sound of Music.

I agree with Rex--nice clever puzzle with some awful fill.

Elaine2 10:23 AM  

lovely musical puzzle -- I got major scale right off, realized the rebus when "Jeremy Irons" and "Waldo" didn't fit. Some annoying fill, but it seemed worth it.

@mmorowitz: "sol" is the more "authentic" name for note 5 in the major scale. "So" is pretty widely used in English, but not in other languages.

mac 10:30 AM  

I found the rebus easily as well, with amity/mitt, and filled in the squares up and down. Once you get the rebus, it's actually a little easy for a Thursday.

@ArtLvr: thank you for parsing
NOU turn for me....

Ulrich 10:30 AM  

It took me longer than some, it seems, to figure out the rebus--the crossing of alLA and ilL At was the turning point for me. I then got the SOL below right away, saw the pattern, and filled in all the other notes on the bias. The puzzle basically solved itself after that. Oh yes, I really, really liked the rebus part and was able to get all those names from crosses, even if I couldn't parse NOU turn--duh! Thx, SethG

Question to the art historians here: Is the Mona Lisa really painted in oil?

twangster 10:30 AM  

I had the same problem with SO vs. SOL. I mistakenly assumed they would all be two-letter abbreviations, like state postal codes. I knew ABSOLUT was right but couldn't figure out how to make it work. Eventually I figured it out by clearing out the middle area and starting over.

XMAN 10:30 AM  

This was a challenge and a grind, DO to DO.

Ulrich 10:31 AM  

@artlvr: forgot to thank you, too.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:34 AM  

Really enjoyed this puzzle, except for the slight twist in the stomach from the Ted Olsen 9/11 connection noted above.

For a far-out Simpson's reference, when I see "Jeremy Irons" I am reminded of the time Lisa went to a school for super-smart kids. They played a game making anagrams of stars' names, but given "Jeremy Irons". all Lisa could come up with was "Jeremy's iron" and a very weak smile.

Doug 10:37 AM  

I met Chip Reese in Vegas way back when I covered the WSOP so that was the first word I filled in. Scale to major to jeremy did it for me, though I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking could it be jermy? Great puzzle for my level. Really enjoyed it.

retired_chemist 10:39 AM  

All in all a tour de force. Agree with Rex's writeup.

I worked this by getting the NW and SE mostly done. As for edith b, FJORD gave me MAJOR SCALE. Then when JE(RE)MY IRONS appeared, both the rebus itself and its nature were clear and the rest was simply fun.

Briefly had OTT for ball catcher - fixed the O once I saw the rebus. Would have been a terrible clue for OTT anyway. Had STOLI for the Smirnoff competitor, and then used the rebus (plus the fact that NOTHING was working around it) to correct.

Had ANNA for EYRE at first - nailed ROSAS.

Thanks, Mr. Choset!

hazel 10:46 AM  

@mmorowitz. FA is also not truly a long long way to run!

SOL is a puzzle staple, maybe not ESE, but a staple. I learned it through crosswords.

Cool puzzle.

spyguy 10:46 AM  

Very good puzzle. The only thing I would have liked to see, perhaps, is that since the notes went up the scale across the puzzle, it would have been cool to have mi and fa/ti and do in adjacent squares to represent that those are half-steps in a major scale. But, then it wouldn't have stretched the whole puzzle.

Tone Deaf 10:52 AM  

A genuine question, not a nit. Why is DO,RE.. a MAJORSCALE? Granted, in The Sound of Music they sang it in C Major, but they just as easily could have sung it in C Minor. They're just EIGHTNOTES.

Jim in Chicago 10:55 AM  

Loved this puzzle.

The complete symmetry of the rebus - even rising from bottom to top the same way a scale does - is a feat of engineering. I also got WalDO fairly early, and then figured out the theme when I found ...SCALE in Florida. Had a bit of a puzzle trying to figure out where to put the rebus answers, but after I got anTI I quickly checked the SW, found DOyle, and then the whole puzzle just fell into place from there.

The very first word I filled in was the answer to the "Bartender's announcement" clue. Having done so without even thinking about it makes me think I'm maybe spending to much time in bars????

poc 11:10 AM  

Having ROANS for BEANS (Pintos are horses ...) and not knowing WISHBONE meant the NW was a goner. The rest was tough but doable once the Rebus fell into place.

mac 11:14 AM  

@Rex: try watching Trish's clip without sound..... Escort anyone?
Once or twice she looks like Mona Lisa.

Susan 11:29 AM  

@ToneDeaf, If I understand music theory (and I don't), a minor scale has the intervals of half and whole steps in different places in the scale from the major scale, so there would be a MI-flat instead of a natural in the minor version of the scale in DO.

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_des_gammes_et_modes#Gammes_usuelles
says the following (and has examples you can listen to):

# Gamme majeure : do - ré - mi - fa - sol - la - si - do écouter+extrait Toccata de Paradisi
# Gamme mineure : do - ré - mi\flat - fa - sol - la - si - do - si\flat - la\flat - sol - fa - mi\flat - ré - do écouter+Badinerie de J.S. Bach

Susan 11:30 AM  

Sorry those links don't work, but you can cut and paste. And maybe someone who really understands music theory can clarify further?

Two Ponies 11:48 AM  

Cool construction feat. The symmetry helped me a lot.
There was some lame fill and odd clues but my overall experience was positive.
Isn't this the third time this week that the musical Major has been in the puzzle in whole or abbrev?
@ fikink, I don't know if the pain clues are a foul but they got my attention too.
Living in Vegas made Chip Reese a gimme. I always thought it was cool for a poker player to be named Chip.
I think I caught the swine flu while traveling recently. I am still running a fever. Surprised I was able to think clearly and nail this one.

Babslesley 11:58 AM  

I love this kind of puzzle. The "aha" moment when you figure out it's a rebus.

dk 12:09 PM  

@Two Ponies get well.

All the Simpson's references in these puzzles, sigh... I can only spell DO: doh.

The governess as Maria, now that would have been Edelweiss.

Half the fun for me is figuring out the rebus so I never mind when Thursdays go the rebus route.

Got WALDO and MAJORSCALE right away making the rest of the fill (good, bad or ugly) easy peasey.

Most nests are eggless these days.

I like it that ENDS is the last fill

Greene 12:23 PM  

I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, although it's not the first time I've seen this particular execution (care to weigh in on this IMSDave?).

I'm sure everybody has seen the Antwerp Train Station "Do Re Mi" video by now. But if you haven't, by all means take a look. It's delightful and a real tribute to just how universal The Sound of Music has become. If they ever do this at Grand Central Station in NYC, I'm totally there.

@Anne: By all means check out Singin' in the Rain. Probably the greatest film musical ever made, and by far one of the funniest.

@EdithB: I'd rather be lucky AND good.

chefwen 12:24 PM  

While sitting on my MIL's porch solving the puzzle a bunch of blackbirds started to make quite a din, further investigation yielded a huge eagle (RAPTOR?) on the beach with a large fish in her beak, the blackbirds were not going to let up until she gave it to them. Peace followed soon thereafter.

Thought the puzzle was great and finished unassisted. ELY was the last fill, for some reason I first thought his name was Syd??? Don't know what made me think of that.

jae 12:28 PM  

Clever and fun. Easy for me as I got the rebus early at the PAINTING/ANTI cross. I already had EIGHTNOTES so the rest went very quickly. I agree this was much better than the last couple of days.

chefbea 12:45 PM  

Took a while but finally figured it out with jeremy irons. Wanted stoli in the beginning.

And once again we have Reese as in my peanut butter brownies

Z.J. Mugildny 12:56 PM  

This is definitely a paper-enhanced puzzle. I thought it was so-so while solving it on my computer, but looking at the solved solution, with the notes actually filled in, I have a better appreciation for it. I wish I would have printed this one out, but how could I have known? I thought I was saving the environment. Good work overall.

a-pat 12:59 PM  

If we're gonna name all the food brands, don't forget SONIC hamburgers and WISH BONE salad dressing and CHARLIE tuna.

BLISS crossed with WISHBONE: http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/chi-talk-lingerie-football-folosep07,0,1964198.story

Larry 1:02 PM  

Not a bad puzzle, but I wished for SOLFEGGIO in the grid for an elegant aha. EIGHT NOTES is too literal, textbook-ish to this singer's ear

PlantieBea 1:04 PM  

I really liked this puzzle, but I had a difficult time trying to explain the rebus idea to fellow family puzzlers, especially since this rebus has changing letters. One puzzle is already in the garbage, incomplete...

Great to see Jeremy Irons, NUISANCE, A BIT MUCH, FJORD, and ULEE.

Well done Kevan Choset!

Mark 1:09 PM  

To expand a bit more on @Susan's reply to @Tone Deaf's question:

There are three common types of "minor" scales in Western music: natural, harmonic and melodic. They differ in the treatment of the sixth and seventh degrees, but the one common factor is that the interval between the second and third is always a half-step (as opposed to a whole step in a major scale).

In the English version of solfeggio, the third degree of a major scale is "mi"; in minor, it's "me". Thus "DO RE MI..." always indicates a major scale. A minor scale would begin DO RE ME.

(Btw, the one Susan posted is the European version of melodic minor, with "si" instead of "ti", and the raised sixth and seventh on the ascending side only.)

/music theory lecture


Having used solfege regularly for about 35 years now, obviously I really liked this theme! The entire puzzle came pretty... uh, natural to me.

Solving on paper might have been a rare advantage this time, too. Once I had the TI/DO combo in the NE corner, it was quick and easy to fill in the other six squares, and work from those.

pednsg 1:23 PM  

Loved this one! I also did not know the note is SOL. @TwoPonies- I hope you feel better.

foodie 1:46 PM  

I really liked it. My tendency to work around problems led me to first complete the entire half beneath the rebus-bejeweled diagonal, with not trouble. And since that had no tricky fill, it worked against my thinking about a rebus, for a while. Eventually JEREMY IRONS tipped me off.

My other problem is that the scale in my mind is Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si (NOT Ti) Do. That's because I learned it when I took piano in a French school. See Susan's link, that also shows a "Si".

I also agree with @J.Z.M that this puzzle looked a lot better on paper.

foodie 1:49 PM  

@Seth G, cool new avatar! looked at first glance like I was getting competition for my berry ;)

Ulrich 2:01 PM  

@Susan, foodie: Si, si, moi aussi!!!

andrea majorette michaels 2:03 PM  

D'OH a deer, a Simpsons deer...

I struggled with and eventually loved this puzzle and loved Rex's write up today...in particular the glaring hawk!

Had almost nothing to say, till I came here and it's triggered now so many thoughts I'll try and spill them out one by one (feel free to skip down to next!)

@Crosscan
Re! A drop of golden sun!

@Anne
Camelot is my favorite of all time, but the movie is weirdly dated...and of course listen to Greene!

@Doug
Rather than try and cram JERMY in there (that'd be kind of funny if Two Ponies wasn't so sick...) I spent way too long trying to figure out if there could possibly be another actor/actress with last name IRONS. D'oh!
(@Bob K
THAT is a funny Simpsons moment!!!
I LOVE that kind of joke to pieces)

@Two Ponies
Yes! Get better. And you are right it's the THIRD time in a row AMAJ/AMAJ/MAJOR in the puzzle...
that is a MAJOR bleedover!
(Maybe tomorrow with have Catch 22 character MAJOR MAJOR in it! Or was he MAJORMAJORMAJOR?)

@Jim in Chicago
I spend zero time in bars and knew LASTCALL, which I liked ringing out. If the first thing you had tried to squeeze in was "BUDDYYOUVEHADENOUGH" THEN you've spent too much time in bars!

@dk
If it had been Maria, it wouldn't have been fictional, right? And why do I have a sneaking suspicion you've had some sort of thing with a governess or babysitter or two in your past? :)

@Susan in Montauk
I LOVE the idea of blaming the "Sound of Music" for things!!!!
I blame it for thinking Nazis could be cute 17 yr old boys; I blame it for thinking nuns know about car mechanics; I blame it for thinking people could sing "Edelweiss" within one inch of every other's lips and not crack up...the list goes on!

@ZJ
I did it on paper and, as a pen on paper gal who forgets there are rebuses, it was a mess...along the crack Rex mentioned...

@chefwen
I don't know about Syd, but I was convinced it was CLU then STU! Since they had the obscure ROSELLE yesterday, they could have gone with ELY, Minnesota, where they used to do those commercials for STP to show it was the coldest place in the US
@SethG
Am I misremembering/conflating/planting a false memory?

@BEQ, Mark
Thank you for the lesson. I knew SOL from Scrabble, but I've never heard the word SOLFEGE... IS that why it's called SOL + FA?

Which brings me back to D'Oh oh oh oh

John in CT 2:03 PM  

I really liked this puzzle. I didn't struggle with any of it for very long. The rebus nature was clear to me early on and I like that it helped me to solve many clues once figured out.

Michael 3:00 PM  

For those posting about MAJORSCALE and do,re,mi...

The rebus answers are actually 'solfege' or in Italian (and a good crossword answer) solfeggio. In America, we are taught solfeggio with a moving do, meaning that do is simply the root of the scale.

Doc John 3:19 PM  

Not much more to add about the puzzle that hasn't been said but I did want to mention that Ted Olson is one half of an unlikely partnership that is taking the fight for marriage equality to the Supreme Court. The other half of the equation is David Boies. The two men were adversaries in the Bush v Gore conflict but have this time teamed up to champion the cause for equality. You go, guys!

sanfranman59 3:52 PM  

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)

Thu 18:45, 18:41, 1.00, 58%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 9:44, 9:11, 1.06, 74%, Medium-Challenging

nanpilla 4:11 PM  

@sanfranman59 : add my name to those who appreciate the data every day!

@poc: A roan is a color of a horse, but not a pinto. In the roan, the white hairs are evenly dispersed throughout the coat, as opposed to large white areas like a pinto or paint.

Liked this puzzle, although, I too didn't know there was an l in sol.
I always do the puzzle on paper, and even drew circles around the rebus answers when I was done - it was quite nice. I was glad that the circles weren't there to begin with.

Joe 4:13 PM  

RE: Trish Regan

She's cute but her head is as round as a basketball.

Karen from the Cape 4:16 PM  

I felt like I got the rebus late (down at JEREMY IRONS) and then wondered why some sections were having lots of rebus and some having none, until I finally saw the pattern back up at WALDO. I thought the presentation was very well done, and memorable.

Bill from NJ 5:14 PM  

I guess it doesn't surprise me about the sheer number of people who know who Chip Reese was. The World Series of Poker is one of my guilty pleasures that my wife DOES NOT appreciate. I was never a gambler but I sure do like me some Main Event of the WSOP. It reminds me of NASCAR a little in the way folks seems to identify with the individual players.

I like Mike "The Mouth" Matasow myself but Stu Unger makes an appearance in the puzzle from time to time.

Glitch 5:34 PM  

Put me in the "Happy Camper" division.

Knew it was a rebus early on, too many sure things not working, even had 19D = Ill @ for a while, but MAJORSCALE and juDO broke it for me.

Looked for symmetry, SE nope, NE yup, filled in the diagonal, the rest fell.

NW after several erasures (pasa --- yeah, I know), was last to fall.

Don't know why, but never considered anything but SOL.

"Gimmick Puzzle", yes, good puzzle, yes, no circles, yahoo.

.../Glitch

Joseph 5:51 PM  

Since I had the NW and SE completely filled in first, the rebus took me by surprise.

I, too, cursed The Sound of Music for screwing up the middle of my puzzle. Why couldn't Hammerstein have instead written the lyric, "Sol, the bottom of your shoe"? Okay, not as nice of an image as a needle pulling thread...

Crosscan 6:05 PM  

If spelling bees and poker are televised, why not crossword tournaments?

retired_chemist 6:17 PM  

@ crosscan -


IMO $$$$$$ is your answer.

Noam D. Elkies 6:29 PM  

Thanks, Kevan & Will! A Thursday theme like that is more than worth a few 42A:NUISANCE fills.

One & ut,
— NDE

PIX 7:05 PM  

Fun puzzle...well constructed...enjoyed it from beginning to end...

T in SD 8:51 PM  

Reading this for a couple years. Love it but have never commented. Curiousity has the better of me. Do you consider Glenn Beck a hero and a patriot?

sanfranman59 9:46 PM  

Good grief ... is there no place of refuge from the message machine?

sanfranman59 10:02 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 6:54, 6:55, 1.00, 55%, Medium
Tue 7:31, 8:25, 0.89, 20%, Easy-Medium
Wed 11:38, 12:15, 0.95, 38%, Easy-Medium
Thu 18:43, 18:41, 1.00, 58%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:51, 3:41, 1.05, 70%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:12, 4:22, 0.96, 45%, Medium
Wed 5:43, 5:59, 0.95, 41%, Medium
Thu 9:30, 9:10, 1.04, 64%, Medium-Challenging

Stan 10:21 PM  

@T in SD: Thanks for posting!! Don't know the answer to your question, but I think I was sensing irony in the remark you asked about.

Puzzle I experienced as tough but fair and original. (Maybe the theme's been done but the diagonal scale was pretty remarkable.)

Also it was ALL ABOUT ME! Not only is my last name in the grid, but Trish Regan is (as I learned) "a small-town girl from Hampton, NH"(!) where I'm a part-time librarian. BTW, Trish seems to me like less of a flirt than an extreme overachiever (which she's not shy about pointing out).

Also, BEQ, whether or not it's their best record, that Stooges album cover .jpg was great!

foodie 10:27 PM  

re Trish Regan: I hope she remembers that some day her kids will grow up and might watch this tape. May be she can ask herself: is this how I'd want my daughter to make an impact on the world? By making eyes?

@T in SD, welcome to the ranks of the commenters...

I always entertain the hypothesis that Rex says things tongue in cheek : )

@Bill from NJ, I'm amazed at the breadth of your interests.

@sanfranman59, your notion from the other day that there is a floor effect for the top 100 seems to be getting further support. I think particularly so when there is a rebus and it takes time to manage it on line.

Crosscan 10:55 PM  

@sanfranman59 - Adding my thanks for your data reports. I keep planning to compare to my personal spreadsheet of times in some logical way but haven't got around to it yet.

bluebell 10:56 PM  

I've been having difficulty getting Google to accept my password. I think my husband helped me, and if this is accepted, I am in.

Today's puzzle was fun. Would anyone be willing to tell me how the construction is done--do you start with the do re mi etc squares and build the rest around them?

Left coast solver

XMAN 12:03 AM  

@TinSD: Glen Beck is not even a court jester. That is because he is a vile impersonation of Rush Limbaugh, who is a vile impersonation of Father Coughlin. Any resemblance between Glen Beck and heroism and patriotism is the creation of a mind devastated by too much football-watching (which is any amount more than mine, which is not minor). A thin line separates the sane and the deranged.

PuzzleGirl 6:49 PM  

I recall a puzzle with a similar theme in the not-too-distant past that rendered SOL as SO and I was truly confused. Had never seen it as SO.

My last name used to be OLSON and at one time when Ted was still the SG, I decided to find out once and for all how he spelled his last name since I saw it both with an E and with an O. Did a bit of poking around the internets and found reliable sources had it both ways. So now I can never remember if it's "my way" or "the other way." I always know it's one of those two though!!

Anonymous 1:02 PM  

There are already 74 comments, and maybe someone has said this, but here goes:

Sorry folks, it's DO RE MI FA SO LA TI DO. That's "SO" not "SOL". Many millions of other people and I learned it that way in countless elementary school classes. Also, just listen to the "Sound of Music" and the classic song there. "So, a needle pulling thread....", i.e. homonym with "sew".

I don't care what books or web pages you quote, it's SO not SOL (three letters?? you've got to be kidding me.)

I got the puzzle right because it had to be sol to fit. But the word is SO, now and forever. Just ask all my music teachers.

- henry, Sleepy Hollow NY

Singer 12:02 PM  

I got the NW in a flash, thought this was going to be an incredibly easy Thursday - then got stuck on every other word in the diagonal.

Was it "Where's Nemo" for some bizarre reason, "oil portrait?", nope doesn't fit either. Dang.

SE was also quick and easy. Recognized that a rebus was at play and figured it out with JE*RE*MY IRONS, although I toyed with looking for C*M, D*M, E*M, etc in before Mr. Irons ironed it out. Immediately filled in the rebusses in the diagonal, although I put in SO tentatively just in case Mr. Choset had it (Sound of Music) wrong, but was hoping for SOL and was very pleased to find it.

I agree with @spyguy that it would have been even more satisfying if the scale had illustrated the half steps between MI and FA and between TI and DO.

Definitely worth the little bit of lame fill. I don't agree that NO U turn is lame, and I also like ALLA Salute. I do think that STS sweepers is pretty lame and could have done without so many WTF names, though they were all gettable with crosses.

Singer 2:19 PM  

DO
TI

LA

SOL

FA
MI

RE

DO

Elizabeth 6:30 PM  

I detected the rebus early with Where's WALDO too..but this was still very challenging for me.I got lucky,but might hold off on any more challenging ones.

I actually had my dad help..auugh.

Great puzzle,and cool blog.

Not as good as you guys,but ya have to start somewhere.

Liza..:)

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