Currie who wrote Parliamentary Affair — WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9 2009 — Famed Chicago livestock owner / Ancient Greek portico / Buchanan's predecessor

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: NEW WORLD ORDER (38A: Shake-up in the global balance of power ... and a hint to the circled letters) — letters in "WORLD" are reordered inside four theme answers

Word of the Day: EDWINA Currie (2D: Currie who wrote Parliamentary Affair) — Edwina Currie née Cohen (born 13 October 1946) is a former British Member of Parliament. First elected as a Conservative Party MP in 1983, she was a Junior Health Minister for two years, before resigning in 1988 over the controversy over salmonella in eggs. By the time Currie lost her seat in 1997, she had begun a new career as a novelist and broadcaster. [...] As part of the 2009 TV Show Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Currie teamed up with Declan Donnelly and two other celebrities to release a cover version of the Wham hit song, "Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go)". [She also had a four-year affair with former Prime Minister John Major!]



-----

Well, nut-job conspiracy theorists will Love today's puzzle. I've heard the phrase NEW WORLD ORDER from exactly two sources: 1. George H.W. Bush talking about his vision of a world where diverse cultures live peaceably among one another, and 2. Paranoid crackpots who think the U.N. is going to take our guns and women and force us into gulags. The latter loves loves loves to cite the former's speeches as "evidence" of the global conspiracy to undermine American sovereignty. Just go to youtube and search "new world order" — hard to find a vid that *isn't* posted by NWO conspiracy theorists. Here's one (of many):



So now the NWO believers have a puzzle they can add to their pile of "evidence" that they're being watched by Big Brother. It's a sign! A sign! Call Dan Brown.

Puzzle skewed harder-than-usual for me for reasons that don't quite add up, frankly. Idea for this puzzle is cute enough, but SWORD LILY!? Yikes. Not in my vocabulary. That and EDWINA whoever-she-is tore me up in the NW and made this a slightly slower-than-usual Wednesday. SUDS and HASPED weren't helping me out much up there either. Don't like the clue on "SUDS" bec. clue is plural (5D: Some cold ones) but SUDS isn't really plural, or rather it is, but kind of in that way ALMS is plural, in that you would never see a single SUD / ALM. So BEERS are SUDS? I like SUDS for BEER, but not [Cold ones]. HASPED is fine, just odd (1D: Latched, in way). Rest of puzzle wasn't nearly as much of a problem.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Gladiolus (sWORD Lily)
  • 23A: They're usually aimed at heads (bLOW DRyers) — found this clue nice and tough, actually
  • 53A: Need a nap (feeL DROWsy) — Had INLETS for ISLETS (48D: Keys) and wondered what it meant too FEEL DROWNY. Probably not a good feeling.
  • 63A: It's done outside a lab (fieLD WORk) — took a long time to see; not a phrase we have much call for in the Humanities ...

Kind of rough going in the SE as well. Went with STREP for STAPH (49A: Health menace, briefly), which slowed things down a bit there. ANIONS was a gimme and forced STREP out almost as soon as it was in, but with the RenFest diction (LANCE! HARKED!) and the randomish Roman numeral (59D: Year the Vandals sacked Rome, CDLV), that corner didn't GEL (7D: Solidify) as quickly as I would have liked. Sometimes I wonder how things like ANIONS and STOA (32A: Ancient Greek portico) and AXILLA (6D: Armpit) became outright gimmes for me, and yet I still can't spell EWW (29D: "How disgusting!"). I figured the vowel sound needed to be elongated, so I had EEW. That left me with EON for 33A: Captured, which left me thinking "... ??? ... that's not a valid clue for EON."

Bullets:

  • 20A: Spic and Span competitor (Pinesol) — I find the smell kind of nauseating.
  • 8D: Joseph _____, who lent his name to some ice cream (Edy) — clue is oddly loose and casual. "Some ice cream?" "Hey kid, you know that cone you got in your hand — his name's 'Joseph' now. Say hi to Joseph kid ... say it!" Actually, you can't call him an "ice cream maker," as EDY was technically a confectioner — hence (probably) the odd, loose cluing here.
  • 26D: Jet engine's output (roar) — yeah, true enough. Kind of a groaner, but valid.
  • 38D: Roger Maris, for the Yankees (nine) — with respect, there is one number NINE (my favorite number), and his name isn't Roger.



  • 41D: The Pistons, on the scoreboard (DET) — apparently Magic has some stuff to say about Isiah (one of the greatest DETroit Pistons of all time) in his new book (with Larry Bird), which my mom got me for my birthday. Can't wait til semester is over so I can finally read it.
  • 46: Famed Chicago livestock owner (O'Leary) — her cow and the lantern and the barn etc.



Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

93 comments:

Hallaig 8:19 AM  

I liked the variety of the theme answers. I just noticed that each one splits the five letters of WORLD at a different point. Maybe that's what made the answers difficult to parse.

I suppose the root of gladiolus is the same as that of gladiator, if it's also known as SWORD LILY...yes, they both come from 'gladius', meaning sword. Great to pick up some Latin from the crossword.

Greene 8:19 AM  

I will take it as a sign that I'm an official crossword junkie in that words like HASPED and VISED and HARKED no longer bother me. Ditto that I now just write in words like STOA and ARAL without even thinking. There was a time that all these items would make me go EWW.

As anagram puzzles go, this one was fairly entertaining. It went down pretty smoothly too, so no complaints from me today...except ORAL LAW as a phrase is not something I've really come across before. Easy enough with the crosses though.

Thanks Peter Collins. I feel like I'm over the midweek hump and ready to dig into some really challenging lateweek puzzles.

joho 8:29 AM  

@Greene ... you took the words right out of my mouth: ORAL LAW????

Ok, I just looked it up and it's totally valid.

My only stumbles were NEw before NEE and FIELDtest before FIELDWORK.
Since I started at the bottom the "W" wasn't obvious to me yet.

I thought the WORLD of this puzzle. Well, somebody had to say it.

Thanks, Peter!

tptsteve 8:30 AM  

I liked working this one through,even though it took more effort for me that usual. I particularly liked FIELDWORK.

I had problems in the NW and SE, and also wanted strep for staph, which made harked far less obvious.

I hated the clue for 58A- you do only 2 things at a casino, win or lose. I suppose winning makes you luckier, but I wanted winning for the longest time, which gave me Nile- thinking of Liz Taylor and Cleopatra- instead of KWAI (and Alec Guiness).

Col. Bogey, anyone?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvWLMkxSwIo

Jim H 8:36 AM  

Pet peeve: the clue for CEN should have been "1901-2000, e.g." Didn't we just go through this when the current century started in 2001? Oh, wait...

Brendan Emmett Quigley 8:44 AM  

No Ministry?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87b4a4a2wmY

treedweller 8:45 AM  

Can't remember my last letter, but I'm pretty sure it was in the NW. This one went a little slow for me, as well.

@Greene
I didn't think twice about HARKED and got HASPED down without too much trouble, but choked on VISED a little. But, like Rex, I went eew!, not EWW.


For the first time since I got the NoScript ADD[S]-ON for firefox, I was tempted into enabling scripts on this site to watch a video. Dang, it was just Wham!. Now, if Edwina had been singing, I'd have had to see that. Maybe I can find it on google . . .

I felt drowny a couple of times. I can confirm it is not pleasant.

Phil 8:47 AM  

As a well documented "whiner" about circles in puzzles, it's a pleasure to say well done to Michigan Pete.

Now, if they just formed a circle that I could color in, with consonants in blue and vowels in green representing a globe showing the western hemisphere, I would be sitting here agog, perhaps even (with my arms) akimbo.

foodie 8:54 AM  

Never wore a Lab SMOCK, always wore a Lab COAT... I know it's correct but a great deal less common. Artists wear SMOCKS-- The word means a loose garment, and looseness (of any kind) is not desirable in a lab.

What's "done outside a lab"? All I could think of was the decontamination showers and eye wash stations that are right outside some labs. It seemed pretty esoteric even for the NY Times.

I think this is the kind of puzzle where circling the letters makes excellent sense. And I liked the premise. Thank you Pete!

treedweller 8:55 AM  

My association with NEWWORLDORDER was probably different from most everyone else: INWO. Nerdfest! But funny a lot of the time.

Elaine 9:04 AM  

Hand up for STREP...which wasn't a bad guess, just wrong. I was solving as a 1:30 Clubber, and finally I Googled for NIA and EDWINA. If we must have an EDWINA, why not Lord Louis Mountbatten's wife? Wife of the Last Viceroy? Possible lover of Nehru? Though now I think I might read EDWINA CURRIE's book; a good reading suggestion is always a plus with an x-word.

Ft. Lee was in a recent puzzle, so I tried it again--so many repeats recently....
AND I totally agree with REX about SUDS. I wondered if it would be BUDS, but a B at the end of 1A ...pretty impossible.

Enjoyed the puzzle well enough despite my FAIL (picture me Googling in the absence of help from my lucky earbobs)
...Thanks! See you in the funny papers.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:14 AM  

Good puzzle. I'm heartened that Rex found it Medium-Challenging; I thought I was in a bit of a fog as I filled out most of the short crosswordese first.

Since I was jumping around the grid a lot, I finished the NW last, and knowing the theme at that point made getting SWORDLILY so much easier.

Perfectly symmetrical arrays of circles, bravo! (Now I think of Matt Gaffney doing a puzzle like this without circles to see how many would catch on to five letter anagrams!)

@Jim H - I agree with you 100%; centuries like the Twentieth Century run from year 1 to year 100 (or 00). But for the purposes of the puzzle, any 100 consecutive years can be called a "century."

PIX 9:17 AM  

Fun puzzle; enjoyed it very much.

Zeno (of paradox fame) taught his philospophy at the STOA; they became the Stoics.

Staph = staphylococcus…common bacteria, getting harder and harder to kill…MRSA=Methicillin Resistant STAPH aureus…which means most of the usual antibiotics don’t work…an increasing problem….

Actually I’m just kicking myself for being such an idiot…after all these years, I had no idea Hark meant listen. "Hark the herald angels sing..."...now i get it.

Smitty 9:21 AM  

Uh..Rex? Who's the guy in the astronaut suit? Did I miss something?

mccoll 9:23 AM  

This was fun. I wouldn't rate it above medium. No googles and no errors this Wednesday.
George W Bush certainly quashed any idea of people of diverse cultures living peacefully together! The nut seems to have fallen rather far from the tree.
I had STREP also, for a while, but ANION fixed that. LIONEL was a gimme as were PINESOL and ADIEU, so the NW fell right away. Thank goodness I knew Bart STARR 'cus I've not heard of TOMEI.
I liked OLEARY a lot.
@Rex Edwina Currie couldn't look less like a British Member of Parliament!?

nanpilla 9:26 AM  

@ Bob Kerfuffle : I thought exactly the same thing last night - without the circles,this would make a great meta for a Gaffney contest. I guess we are thinking about out of order letters this week!

@Foodie - I never wore a SMOCK either.

This one felt like a Thursday to me, but like Rex, in looking at it afterwards I couldn't really explain why. Only write overs were IRk for IRE and gOt for WON. NW was the last corner to go.

bookmark 9:29 AM  

@Elaine: I also had Ft. Lee instead of FT DIX.

My last letter was L in LANCE, instead of my stubbornly persistent DANCE for Renaissance faire.

Interesting theme. It seemed fresh to me.

PlantieBea 9:38 AM  

No gripes about this circle puzzle. In my first pass, I tried AM NOT for Ain't, and had my BLOOD WORK done outside of the lab. I never thought about the root of gladiolus, @Hallaig, so thanks for pointing that out.

@Greene: So true about the words that spring out of the crossword bank in the brain.

I fear I have relatives who are out there with the NWO conspiracy theory mindset. I get some bizarre stuff by e-mail.

Thanks Peter Collins for puzzle fun and Rex for the writeup.

JannieB 9:40 AM  

My new game (instead of guessing the word of the day) is to see what the debate on the blog is going to be - the minute I saw 12D, I just knew...

Nice puzzle, fun theme, easy to suss out. Easy-medium for me.

Van55 10:02 AM  

Man, I thought we were in for a typical Rex rant today.

This puzzle is just chock full of strained and/or lame and or crosswordese fill.

First you have your random geographical direction (Rome to Bucharest dir) = ENE

Then you have your random Roman numeral (Year the Vandals sacked Rome) = CDLV

Then you have EEW, CEN, ARAL, STOA, DET, RELO, YUL, RDA and NEE

Then you have the ridiculous HASPED and VISED.

I can't figure out how this one was chosen for publication on a Wednesday, no less. The only thing that redeems the triteness is the pretty decent theme.

lit.doc 10:09 AM  

Thank you, Peter Collins. I love coherent theme puzz's, and criterion #1 is that the theme, once ID'd, actually helps solve the rest of the puzz. I've taken to scanning the clues as soon as I see that a puzz is themed for the clue that hints how to decode it, in this case 38A, then starting with the adjacent squares to get the key clue. Really helped today.

Other stuff. Six names, two xordese (AXILLA, STOA), and two WYNS (wordforms you never see, HASPED and VISED), but all with good enough crosses that they were doable.

Best smiles came from 3D and 46D.

retired_chemist 10:14 AM  

Nice puzzle. Slower that it should have been for me, so I was pleased it earned a medium-challenging rating from Rex.

No SMOCK here. Ever. Could not make LAB COAT fit.

@ foodie - FIELD WORK is what geoscientists do. Sometimes. Geochemists may do mostly lab work, but stratigraphers, for example, don't do much in a lab.

@ joho re "Since I started at the bottom the "W" wasn't obvious to me yet." - Dubya is STILL not obvious to me even after all these years.

Grumble re clues for IRE and VISED. Free dictionary, at least, has VISE as a verb, however strange it sounds. Not so for IRE. 'Taint a verb AFAIK.

The O in TOMEI made me wonder @ 10D if CONGER was its own plural. Got ARAL @ 21A and said to myself, "No, That's a MORAY." Per @joho, someone had to say it....

william e emba 10:15 AM  

The idea that the enumerated CENturies begin in year xx01 and end in xy00 is a fairly recent innovation. If I recall correctly, there was no kerfuffle at the time about the beginning of the 20th century: it was universally recognized as the year 1900.

I rate the argument that since there was no year 0, the century count really begins with year xx01,
as extremely silly. If you enjoy it, sure, but leave me out of it. It's beyond boring pedantic just-because-you-can. Why? Because yes, I can do the math. But it's not an obligation.

I put it with the various heavy handed attempts in the 18th century to invent English grammar. No split infinitives? Thank you Cicero. Using "I shall" and "you will" for simple futures, but "I will" and "you shall" for emphasis? Puh-leez.

I do try, in writing, to maintain the "that/which" distinction, because it does serve a point, but I think it's a lost cause.

Om short, the enumerated centuries are a convenience for speakers. Since it's convenient, clear, and widely understand that the 19th century was the span 1800-1899, that ends the debate so far as I'm concerned. That the 1st century is only 1-99 doesn't bother me in the least.

The primary meaning of century is "one hundred year span". The secondary meaning is the specifically identified mostly one hundred year spans. I'm happy with both meanings. I know of no one who insists on the first meaning applied to the 18th century (when England switched to the Gregorian calendar). I know of no one who retroactively converts the Julian calendar centuries to Gregorian centuries.

ArtLvr 10:15 AM  

I saw three-letter Fort and nearly put ORD until my drowsy mind said no, wrong coast: it's DIX. Just as well Lee didn't occur to me... NEE was New until the end.

STARR was a gimme only because I'd been friendly with his sister in Albany for quite a while before it came out that I'd never heard of him... Not such a Small WORLD after all.


∑;)

ArtLvr 10:25 AM  

p.s. 1A made me laugh, as it is used all the time in theater-speak -- as in Falls HELMS the production of "Aida". I ageed with Greene's comments above, and thought for sure he'd mention that one! VISED was not so much fun...

∑;(

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

I liked it a lot, and agree it was almost a Thursday puzzle but very doable ... AXILLA is a great word. So much nicer than 'armpit.'

At first I also had Fort LEE instead of Fort DIX ...even though I was out shooting clays at Fort Dix just a few weeks ago. oh well.

I am always amazed at the amount of googling that seems to be going on amongst seasoned solvers. My rule is, if I am going to use Google at all, I have to have a good idea of the answer and I will use Google to corroborate only. i.e., will only google an answer not a clue. I'm just sayin' ...

Buddy 10:34 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
william e emba 10:36 AM  

Easy Wednesday for me.

I thought it was "what the diff", with "what the DIF" being a misspelling.

In Jewish tradition we distinguish between the Written Law (as recorded in the Torah) and the ORAL LAW (as eventually recorded in the Talmud). Both were given at Mount Sinai.

I first wanted CDLXXVI for the sack of Rome. Oops.

Hmmm. 20 circles? As in G-20? I think you're onto something, Rex, about Collins/Shortz being in on the conspiracy. And HARK! Each circle looks like a miniature globe!

And if you notice carefully, the word in the upper left is balanced by something in the lower right, and similarly every word in the upper right is balanced by something in the lower left, and so on, all the way through the puzzle, except for NEW WORLD ORDER, all by itself and totally unbalanced!

Hah!

Ulrich 10:39 AM  

If we have to have circles, they should follow the puzzle's symmetry, and if they do, I'm fine with them.

I, too, had to evolve from a strepper to a stapher. "Sword lily" came natural b/c of the German Schwertlilie--I've seen it applied more to Irises, but thanks to @Hallaig, I realize it's most apt when applied to a gladiolus (what's the official plural?).

@WEE: Count on me if you need a comrade-in-arms in your battles!

Two Ponies 10:42 AM  

Fair Wednesday outing.
I won't complain about the standard crosswordese today because they helped me avoid some potentially sticky places.
Agree with foodie et. al. about smock. If it had been clued as what an artist might wear it would have been a good misdirection as we all rushed to write beret.
Dells for dales did slow me up in the NW for a bit.
That Edwina lady sounds like she's had a very interesting life.
The phrase New World Order creeps me out.

johnpag 10:44 AM  

Thanks for the Ted Williams video. He's my favorite number 9 too.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

Rex,

As a "reformed" conspiracy theorist, I just want to note that the phrase "New World Order" is demonstrably older than George H.W. Bush.

There is a book entitled "None Dare Call It A Conspiracy," published in 1971, that uses the phrase repeatedly and attributes it to Richard Nixon, among many others:

"The Insiders' code word for the world superstate is 'new world order,' a phrase often
used by Richard Nixon. The Council on Foreign Relations states in its Study No.7: 'The
U. S. must strive to: A. BUILD A NEW INTERNATIONAL ORDER.' (Capitals in the
original) Establishment spokesman James Reston (CFR) declared in his internationally
syndicated column for the New York Times of May 21, 1971: 'Nixon would obviously
like to preside over the creation of a new world order, and believes he has an opportunity
to do so in the last 20 months of his first term.'

I will not opine as to the legitimacy of any conspiracy theory, but I will just note that phrase has had much more currency than you give it above.

Thanks,

A Pawn In Their Game

Rex Parker 10:48 AM  

Virtually no one googling "Currie who wrote 'A Parliamentary Affair" is spelling "parliamentary" correctly.

And the idea that circles should always be symmetrical is preposterous. Based on what? Why? You'd kill untold numbers of fantastic, thoughtful puzzles on that requirement. Pointless.

Putting circles in this one was perfectly appropriate, esp. given the day of the week (I *needed* them to make sense of SWORD LILY).

rp

Two Ponies 10:50 AM  

@ w.e. emba, What's going on? Is someone writing under your nom-de-blog? Your first entry rambles at length about "century" but your second entry sounds much more like your usual self.
If you would get a blog account that could be avoided and we could e-mail you off-blog as well.

Elaine 10:53 AM  

@Ulrich
Gladioli

@Anon 10:31
Nah. I have really only been solving daily for a few months, but rate any Googling as a FAIL-- but only for myself. If I have ANY idea of an answer, I don't need to Google, for Pete's sake.
I think you set yourself unnecessary strictures, but that's your prerogative. I suggest that Googling is not inherently inferior, and it can help anyone with his or her general knowledge fund. Some of us Old Codgers have more trivia stored up than the Young Whippersnappers.

Rex Parker 10:57 AM  

And @Pawn is just wrong about "currency." The fact that the phrase pre-dates Bush has zero to do with its "currency" in popular culture. BUSH is associated with that phrase More Than Any Other Figure, esp. among conspiracy theorists. Again, a quick trip down google / youtube lane will confirm this for you. And 1971? That's 31 years *after* HG Wells published a book called "The New World" order, and I doubt he's even the first to use the phrase. Lastly, I never said anything about "currency." I stated where *I'd* heard the term, with no claims that your experience would be the same.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Rex,

Sorry if I struck a nerve there. Love your blog, read it almost every day, and certainly didn't want to cause trouble or come off as attacking you.

In your post you said you had heard the phrase from "exactly two sources," and I just wanted to point out that there were numerous other sources that have used it as well. And I never said that 1971 was the first use of the phrase - indeed, the book catalogs uses throughout history. Your citation to H.G. Wells only confirms this, and suggests you had heard the phrase from more than two sources (or at least you have now).

Anyway, sorry if I ruffled feathers - that was not at all my intention.

Thanks again for a great blog.

A Pawn In Their Game

Glitch 11:06 AM  

@r_c

Took a while to find it, but at wiktionary has the verb form listed:

VerbInfinitive: to ire
Third person singular: ires
Simple past: ired
Past participle: ired
Present participle: iring

to ire (third-person singular simple present ires, present participle iring, simple past and past participle ired)

(transitive) To anger; to fret; to irritate.

@wee

Don't get ired over 12D discussions. There are probably many "newbies" that don't know the history of the discussions, thus are doomed to repeat it ;).

.../Glitch

PS: @Rex - Nice to have you back again :)

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

I like the puzzle so I almost won't carp. Almost. I really hate 'vised' -- I hate it so much I don't even care if vised or vise as verb shows up in dictionaries. Begone!

As for New World Order - I'd completely forgotten that it was associated with Bush the elder -- and I'm old enough to remember his term. Thanks for the reminder, I guess. I do try to avoid conspiracy theorists -- there's so much wrong today that we don't need to invent problems where they don't exist.

Stan 11:17 AM  

Agreeing with the mixed reviews today. Good solid theme balanced by some less than ideal clues/answers, as pointed out in Rex's perceptive write-up and many amusing comments. I did like EXTERIOR paint and doctors doing NO HARM.

@Smitty: Lance Bass is in the astronaut suit -- a bandmate of JC Chasez in 'NSync (or *NSYNC or 'N Sync). They show up in puzzles.

darkman 11:26 AM  

Think. Think. Think. What to say. What to say.

This puzzle went down easily for me, after I gave up callaLILY. I enjoyed it but could have lived without VISED and HASPED.

Had some schtick made up for ORALLAW but was trumped by the Talmud--as who isn't?

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

It's fascinating how different my reaction to these puzzles can be from those of Rex. More often than not, what I find easy - like today's puzzle - he finds challenging - and vice versa. Although I complete the puzzle almost everyday ( I get stumped on a clue or two on maybe one Friday or Saturday puzzle a month) Rex is obviously far superior to me at puzzle solving - he even creates the damn things -and yet he can have difficulties where I don't. I think age is the most important factor, re. the pop culture items in the puzzles (there seem to be more and more over the past few years - or maybe its creeping fogieness - I am pushing 64 - and its pushing back!) Oddly enough we are both have strong upstate NY roots: I am a Cornell and Syracuse Univ. veteran, have a daughter at RPI who I visit at the slightest provocation, and lived a number of years in places like Corning and Buffalo. Anyway, to quote Sly of the Family Stone, seen recently on an Ed Sullivan show rerun: different strokes ...

Big Steve ( now from Pelham, New York)

P.S.: What I hate the most in puzzle clues: references to Harry Potter and Tolkien! What topics drive the rest of you nuts?

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

New World Order was also a stable of heel wrestlers in WCW in the late 1990s and was headed by Hulk Hogan.

retired_chemist 11:33 AM  

2 Glitch re IRE (v) - I believed it could be found. Glad your efforts made an honest man of the constructor. :-) But we will, I think, agree that it is quite an odd usage.

On that thread, I agree with others on the oddity of HASPED as well. Even HELMS feels odd (but isn't). I am starting to feel that the constructor/editor wanted verbish [sic] clues for what most would consider nouns to add some difficulty. I will be interested to see what SanFranMan59 says when he checks in.

Noam D. Elkies 11:48 AM  

Nice puzzle for the most part, especially after yesterday's Peeple-fest.

Wikipedia writes:

The phrase Novus ordo seclorum (Latin for "New Order of the Ages") appears on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, first designed in 1782 and printed on the back of the American dollar bill since 1935. The phrase also appears on the coat of arms of the Yale School of Management, Yale University's business school. The phrase is often mistranslated as "New World Order," for which the Latin would be Novus Ordo Mundi.

The phrase is taken from the fourth Eclogue of Virgil [...]


The Wikipage for New_world_order_(politics) says that "The first Western usages of the term surrounded Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points and call for a League of Nations following the devastation of World War I", though it confirms that "The most widely discussed application of the phrase of recent times came at the end of the Cold War. Presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush used the term [...]"

The disambiguation page for "New World Order" also links to a system of teachings in the Bahá'í Faith, including "the eventual establishment of a world commonwealth based on principles of equity and justice, a commonwealth as vital spiritually as it would be materially".

For the rest of the puzzle:

Gladiolus = 17A:S{WORDL}ILY makes sense, as in "gladiator".

1900-1999 is a perfectly good 12D:CENtury. So is 1729-1828. (If I'm out of town starting today through Tuseday, I'll be away for a week.) 1900-1999 is not quite the 20th century but that doesn't matter here.

53A:FIE{LDWOR}K, unlike the other circle-bearing theme entries, is one word, but still clearly of a kind with the other three.

@Glitch: if IRING ever shows up in the grid again I'm blaming you. (xwordinfo remembers just one precedent, a Friday seven years ago.)

@Rex: the only thing more pathetic than cluing 38D:NINE as a b*seball uniform number is arguing passionately over which b*seball player who happens to weat that number should have been used ;-)

NDE

Smitty 12:04 PM  

@Stan - thanks for answering my lame question.
(guess I missed my last edition of Tiger Beat)

Stan 12:41 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stan 12:42 PM  

Smitty: Glad to be of service with the Tiger Beat info -- I also know the Spice Girls... :-)

12:41 PM

chefbea 12:43 PM  

Found this puzzle fairly easy . Had Buds for suds at first and new for nee. The L in lance was my last letter also.

I make omelettes all the time and have never owned an omelette pan

C 1:18 PM  

@RP-my hand's up for spelling "parliamentary" correct in searching for Currie on google. Didn't like having to resort to google on Wed but relieved to see I had ALOT OF COMPANY...Liked: O'LEARY, clue for NINE, BRIAR, ditto BLOWDRYERS...didn't care for theme, but was glad to work extra hard and get to finish line...much better IMO than yesterday's

Am flummoxed by HASPED, SWORDLILY (whole NW a bear), ANIONS..am sooo tired of IRE...wish it could be retIREd

Charles Bogle 1:19 PM  

for what it's worth, the "C" comment above is my nom de plume

SethG 1:28 PM  

"A careful examination of what is happening behind the scenes reveals that all of these interests are working in concert with the masters of the Kremlin in order to create what some refer to as a ‘New World Order.’ Private organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Trilateral Commission, the Dartmouth Conference, the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, the Atlantic Institute, and the Bilderberg Group serve to disseminate and to coordinate the plans for this so-called new world order in powerful business, financial, academic, and official circles."-Jesse HELMS

New Order sang Blue Monday. Kurt Vonnegut wrote Goodbye, Blue Monday. Goodbye, Blue Monday's subtitle was Breakfast of Champions. Wheaties is The Breakfast of Champions®. The new formulation, Wheaties FUEL, is called "The New Breakfast of Champions®". One of their champions is Hunter Kemper, a triathlete. I've seen Hunter Kemper run. Running Bear was a young Indian brave. Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World.

And World B Free was a basketball player.

Anonymous 1:32 PM  

Thought it relatively easy puzzle - no hiccups. First answer was Edwina as I couldn't believe the Parliamentary clue - who else could it be? Loved it. For some reason put staph in first and it was the right answer - strep did not occur to me. Very enjoyable puzzle for a Wednesday

Martin 1:46 PM  

Ulrich,

Botanically, the gladiolus is an iris -- at least it's in the iris family. It's Latin for Schwertblume, is in the Schwertliliengewächse, but isn't a Schwertlilie. Logically it's a Schwertschwertlilie.

Sundance 2:22 PM  

I'm quite impressed with the theme of mixing up W-O-R-L-D to find the various combinations. Clever

But I'm cranky about weird fill: HASPED, VISED, HARKED, STOA, ARAL, ORAL LAW.

Overall, I wish that the NY TIMES puzzles would have less clever themes but use words and phrases *that make sense*. I would rather a puzzle made of real words (even hard ones) rather than these silly concoctions.

John

Clark 2:41 PM  

@Elaine -- If we are calling all Edwinas, we should include the character played by Jennifer Saunders on Absolutely Fabulous: Edwina Margaret Rose Monsoon, who changed her name to Edina and is nearly always called Eddy, except by her mother and ex-husband Justin, who call her Edwina.

Respectfully disagreeing with @Van55, let me speak up for ENE and CDLV. I liked ‘em both today. It’s not as if we just get ‘random [three letter] direction’ as the clue, which would then have 8 possible answers. Rome to Belgrade. How’s my map recall today? Not so bad. When did the vandals sack Rome? Limited character set. Vague sense of history. Probably starts with C (ie earlier than M) and ends with V (rather than X or I for 'gripped on a bench'). I think this is OK fill. Now if Mr. Krozel could just make us a puzzle with all directions, or all Roman Numerals! (Even he couldn’t do both in one puzzle.)

@william e emba, @Ulrich -- I am a firm believer in the that/which distinction and will go on using it whether or not anyone else notices.

Ulrich 2:50 PM  

@Martin: Thx. I see you thoroughly understand the possibilities offered in German for forming new words by stringing together existing ones.

BTW a reviewer for the NYTimes Book Review a week ago did exactly that, by forming the new term "Doppelgedanke"--to my great delight!

andrea L-WORD michaels 3:07 PM  

Having slight ADD today, so forgive if I repeat...

Anyway, I loved this puzzle!!!!
And from the first phrase when I saw the circles I thought "Neat! I hope the payoff phrase will be CRAZYMIXEDUPWORLD or something like that!
(It came a little soon in the middle for me...)
and did anyone else immediately look for or think about the show "The L-WORD"???!!!!!

I think Pete's puzzles are in general the bees knees...
so even tho there was a momentary EWW (like Rex I initially had EEW) on some of the fill, I have to say I overall loved this!

It would have been funny if the Belgrade Rome direction had been purposely wrong, just to highlight a new world order!

william e emba 3:07 PM  

Two Ponies: That was me both times. I really really can't stand arguments that start with the premise that language is a logical, deductive system.

It drives me nuts.

Ulrich: Count on me if you need a comrade-in-arms in your battles!

You better hurry. They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa! ... where life is beautiful all the time ...

Methuselah 3:14 PM  

@WEE - you goaded me into it - You recall 1900? You're ageless too?

andrea s-mock michaels 3:32 PM  

PS Scrabble vs crossword note:
reaffirming what @Rex mentioned re: SUDS
Neither SUD nor ALM are good in Scrabble.

ALMA, ALME and ALMS are fine...and altho SUD is non-existent, bizarrely SUDD is good (with the equally EWW-inducing definition: "A floating mass of vegetation")

DIF just became good in Scrabble, as did DEF but they both "look" bad to me, despite DEF MOS.

Vive la DIF, I guess...

@two Ponies
Totally with you...Edwina Currie NEE Cohen sounds like she's super interesting! And a Libra to boot!

foodie 3:35 PM  

@Ulrich, is that double think?

@RC, I bet @archaeoprof conducts FIELDWORK as well. I know the term, but for a while, I was stuck by being too literal about the clue-- visualizing the contraptions that sit right outside my lab door...

@SethG, LOL... what an amazing chain! You must be a psychoanalyst's dream (well in terms of word associations, anyhow :).

I never thought of it until today, but what's ominous about NEW WORLD ORDER is that very word-- ORDER. And the clue in the puzzle is not only clever, but very apt: "Shake-up in the global balance of power"... So much emphasis on controlling others! No sign of any sense of cooperation. And the results: A Scramble!

Geezer 3:42 PM  

In the pre-antibiotic days, strep was indeed a major health menace, with serious kidney and heart complications.
But today, STREPtococcal infection, are readily and easily controlled. STAPHlycoccal infections can be deadly, as the little bugs readily adapt to antibiotics and resist them.
One problem is that people often insist that their doctor give them antibiotics for viral infections for which antibiotics have no value. Accordingly the very common staph bacteria that are not causing disease get resistant to the antibiotic which was unnecessary in the first place.

chefwen 3:54 PM  

Second wave of snowbirds off to the links for a round of golf, so I have a few hours to catch up on the blog AND catch my breath.

So far I am enjoying a Google free week and have really liked the first three puzzles.

First fill today was 14A, I plopped in ADIOS and thought "WOW, you really are tired, let's at least get you in the correct country." After that ridiculous goof, the rest fell rather easily, I was surprised at Rex's rating.

sanfranman59 4:01 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)

Wed 12:15, 11:50, 1.04, 62%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:18, 5:50, 1.08, 76%, Medium-Challenging

Bob Kerfuffle 4:43 PM  

Ulrich, are you available to hand down a ruling?

Would a SUD ALM be warmer than a NORD ALM? Or would the grammar be off?

Ulrich 4:57 PM  

@foodie: The reviewer formed the term in analogy to Doppelgänger to refer to the situation where an author seems to duplicate exactly a reader's thought.

@Bob Kerkuffle: Nice try: You have to make ONE word, though! (And it would be Südalm--never mind)

Clark 4:58 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle -- I think you would have to say 'südliche Alm' and 'nördliche Alm.' And the southerly one should indeed be the warmer of the two (unless you're down under). But let's see what Ulrich has to say. Sometimes the easiest expressions are the hardest.

mac 5:10 PM  

I found this fairly easy, had more trouble with my mechanical pencil than with the clues and answers. It helped to have found the theme quickly, especially for the last answer. Hope the theme is just about putting the letters in "world" in a different order....

I too had strep before staph, and puzzled over the output of a jet engine, foam? Nice titbit about stoa and stoics.

For Edy's I had alway's envisioned a round little old lady, and here I find out it is a man made Joseph....

Didn't like viced, ire and hasped too much, but then again I loved harked and helms!

Two Ponies 5:25 PM  

@ w.e.e., I'm relieved that no one was hacking your name.
@ Whoever was talking about Edina/Edwina from AbFab. Thanks for that tidbit. Edina came to my mind up in that corner. I love Eddy and Patsy!

andrea suds michaels 5:46 PM  

@ulrich, BobK
Would that be like Sudalm Hussein?

archaeoprof 5:48 PM  

@Foodie and R_C: FIELDWORK was my favorite answer today! The sight of it made my archaeo-heart go pitter-pat.

Recently my sister gave me a hat that says, "Plays in the dirt."

Elaine 5:55 PM  

@Anon 11:27
I hate clues that lead to words like IRED, VISED, HASPED...words that no one would actually say (except to be annoying.) One has to watch out; constructors hang out at this site and deliberately insert the latest kerfuffle word in their upcoming puzzles.

@Clark
I have heard of but never seen AbFab. Will add it to my list of Must Sees (in case I am ever awake after 8 p.m.) Thanks.

@Sundance
I can agree about SOME of those words, but I think HARKED is an interesting and even useful word (creative nonfiction needs evocative vocab, after all!) and ARAL and STOA are General Knowledge words (those that a person might reasonably be expected to know.) The latter could be related to educational level, I suppose, but not necessarily. (Having said that, from time to time the Young Tyros get stumped by clues that might not challenge them had they more life experience/years of study/etc.
Why do you think STOA is so bad? (she asked, fiddling with her earbob, her free arm akimbo.)

Sfingi 6:27 PM  

Had a hard time straightening up this mixed up WORLD. Finally Googled 2 words EDWINA and the year of the Vandals.

Started with "hairdryer" rather than BLOWDRYER. Always hated "blowdry" as one word, as it can be misread as a strange non-word, rhyming with OW-dry.

Started with "dance" rather than LANCE. Estrogen vs. testosterone.

Had "insets" instead of ISLETS for a different kind of key (map, not geographical). This meant I had "suckier" instead of LUCKIER. Being as ignorant of gambling (except mathematically) as sports, I thought it was a technical term meaning the gambler was getting sucked in, ala The Hustler. In my opinion, gambler=fool, anyway. Even if you win, and even if it's not a game of pure chance, the House gets 15% and Uncle Sam and cousins get even more!

Is EWW a word?

Did not know 3 of the 4 sports words, though they fell in. I decided to find a reference Bookmark with all the Scoreboard Team Name Abbreviations, and could not! Someone direct me to such a site, please.

The Bells of St. MARY put me in mind of the song:
" 'You owe me 3 farthings,'
Said the bells of St. Martin's.
'When will you pay me,'
Said the bells of Old Baily.
'When I grow rich,'
Said the bells of Shoreditch."

Actually much longer, as long as you want.

@Foodie - is that a dimple in your chin?

@Ulrich - I call it the box-car system of word formation.

@Jim - The Italians were in a quandary over what to call this century. For art and lit, they had been calling the 19th, novacento. the 18th ottocento, and on back, ignoring the "teens" part of it. Unlike us, they didn't go Y2K crazy over it, but apparently ignored it - and it went away.

Here's a good new cw word. In today's Utica OD, front page, Upstaters have been arrested for deer JACKING - taking deer at night with the use of a spotlight.

@Anonymous 11:27 - You sound interesting - grab a name and have a seat. Some of your territory has been covered, z.b.(as long as we're going all deutscher today), your special hates. But we all have 'em. Everyone knows I hate sports and questionable abbrevs (didn't like DIF).

@McColl - Marissa TOMEI is a beautiful Sicilian-American actress who won an Oscar for My Cousin Vinny. I've notice how many Oscar winners are forgotten almost immediately.

@Emba - if you draw a diagonal from NE to SW, you will see that the first WORDL is one letter off of the last LDWOR in terms of being symmetric. Is that what you meant?

des 6:57 PM  

I'm always surprised on the few occasions when I find a puzzle easier to do than Rex; this was one of those times. I did it in ink on the plane to Chicago with minimal difficulties - maybe because I got the FIELDWORK quickly which helped to reveal the theme.

Clark 7:02 PM  

@Elaine -- If you ever get a chance to watch Ab Fab (reruns or DVD) it may take you a few episodes to find your way into it. It is the kind of over the top humor that the Brits are (counterintuitively to me at least) so good at. I saw some outtakes once in which I saw Patsy and Saffy (Eddy's daughter) laughing it up together. That helped me find the humor in the many scenes in which Patsy is incredibly mean to Saffy.

Squeek 7:24 PM  

Hey everybody, Rex just posted a new puzzle he built. Check it out.

SueRohr 8:24 PM  

I agree with anonymous. I am sure that Rex and many people on this website are much better solvers than me, and yet there are quite a few puzzles, especially in the early part of the week, that I find very easy and Rex and others call medium-challenging. Today is a case in point. Interestingly, I am also 64 years old, so it may be an age thing. As to another point that was raised, of course everyone has their own standards, but if I have to google at all I consider it a bit of a failure - sort of like cheating. I won't even ask my husband or daughter for help. But that's me.

SethG 8:57 PM  

SueRohr (and presumably one of the anonymi), keep in mind that Rex and others are rating the puzzles relative to others that appear on the same day of the week. A Challenging Monday puzzle, for example, is still far, far easier than an Easy Friday puzzle. So he's not saying that he found it challenging to complete this, just that he found it relatively more challenging than the average Wednesday puzzle.

So far, sanfranman59's data bear this out--the average median solving time among, for example, the top 100 solvers on the NYT site is 5:50. The median among the top 100 as of 4pm today was 6:18, a time that puts today in the 76th percentile among all the Wednesday's he's tracked. It's likely that Rex, a Very Good solver, finished it at least that quickly. I did not.

Elaine 9:08 PM  

@Clark\
If only you had an e-mail I wouldnt' violate 3 and out!!
Thanks for the encouragement. I adore Brit series (oh dear...serieses?) and kind of got away from them with the (cough) encroachment of old age and early bedtimes....)
SLEEPERS was our fave a couple of yrs back--Masterpiece Theatre-- and the IRISH PM awaits. I have noticed that it takes about 2 years for me to read one year's-worth of SMITHSONIAN, and almost as long to see episodes of a series. This is pitiful. BE prepared!!!!

sanfranman59 10:25 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 7:00, 6:57, 1.01, 55%, Medium
Tue 8:13, 8:37, 0.95, 40%, Easy-Medium
Wed 12:21, 11:50, 1.04, 66%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:41, 1.00, 55%, Medium
Tue 4:07, 4:25, 0.93, 36%, Easy-Medium
Wed 6:08, 5:50, 1.05, 72%, Medium-Challenging

retired_chemist 10:35 PM  

Can't believe that Jeopardy today wanted Frank GEHRY, clued by the Bilbao museum. and I didn't get it!

Stephen 10:37 PM  

"Best smiles came from 3D and 46D." yes.

The 12D debate is mere religion. There never was an "official definition" of a century and there is still no need to make one. Everyone can have it their own way.

Christmas Games 3:28 AM  

That I find very easy and Rex and others call medium-challenging. Today is a case in point. Interestingly, I am also 64 years old, so it may be an age thing. As to another point that was raised, of course everyone has their own standards, but if I have to google at all.

william e emba 2:13 PM  

Elaine: I was funning with somebody from yesterday, who thought there was a pattern with all the first names. The pattern was standard crossword symmetry.

Crosscan 3:08 PM  

Catch up, puzzle 2: Number NINE is of course better clued as a hockey number: Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Rocket Richard. A truly educated blogger would have mentioned that, unlike the Monday lover we have here.

Singer 11:54 AM  

Had hairDRYER for 23A, sELl for RELO and InLET for ISLET as writeovers. Other than that, went smoothly. Even got EDWINA off of __W_NA.

Have to weigh in on 12D - it is a pet peeve, which has only been exacerbated by the "end" of The Decade as 2009. 2009 is the end of a decade, The Decade ends in 2010. 1900-1999 is a century, but The Twentieth Century ended in 2000, The Twenty-First Century started in 2001. Arguments like not caring that the first century being 1-99 is okay, even though it only had 99 years or statements that it is a matter of religion or it doesn't matter, so who cares just irritate me. It is a matter of math and counting, and 99 years does not a century make. It just irritates me that so many people would rather proudly wrong than just take two minutes to understand how we count years. Foo!

Rex Parker 12:30 PM  

A CENtury is a period of 100 years. Thus, the clue is accurate, as someone (more learned than I) already said, above. Peeves should not enter into it. No one said the unit in question was any particular CENtury.

rp

citizenarchitect 12:53 PM  

no SUD on its own, but compound word SOAP SUD BUBBLE is common enough outside of dictionaries. In Finnish, both SUDS and ALMS would fall into the partitive case which includes things you may want less of but you can never have fewer.

Singer 2:49 PM  

rp, I agree - see my comment - that the clue was accurate. The issue was with others going on about the definition of The Century, as opposed to a century. The clue could have selected any random century, such is 1911 - 2010, e.g. The choice of 1900 - 1999 opened the possibility of comment, which was taken by Jim H. I still wouldn't have said anything if it hadn't been for the comments by Mr. Emba, which it seems to me indicated a stubborn pride in being wrong, even given his obvious understanding of the issue. It irks me when main stream media and people who should know better perpetuate a common misunderstanding just because it is easier than actually explaining how we count years, and Mr. Emba was an example of that kind of lazy thinking. Nevertheless, I willingly and happily acknowledge that the clue was accurate, and did so in my previous comment.

There is no sense in beating this to death - I suspect that was already done in the January 2000, and maybe January 2001, but I didn't know about this blog at that time. Anyway, participating in syndication time makes the discussion somewhat moot since I am already an anachronism. :-)

Paul in SW 3:12 PM  

Ooh, more than usual hackles raised in comments today. Had fun with this one. Fun, like difficulty, proportionate to my ability to complete the darn thing. Lob and Blowdryers was my smile moment. And, of course, no way I could recall predecessor of Buchanan. My brother does fieldwork when he's not in the office, but I got the idea quickly. Hooray for Starr being here.

Waxy in Montreal 5:56 PM  

@CROSSCAN - exactly what I was about to say. In addition, Wayne Gretzky wore his famous 99 in homage to the famous nines preceding him in the NHL.

Also, my mother who was raised in the Midlands of England often used the verb "to hark" in everyday speech. For example, when my brothers and I misbehaved she'd yell "HARKEN UNTO ME, YOU LOT" which invariably grabbed our attention.

Crosscan 10:35 PM  

@Waxy - good point about Gretzky.

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