Moon-landing vehicles for short — MONDAY, Jan. 4 2010 — Highlands denials / Windbag's output / Melville work set in Tahiti

Monday, January 4, 2010


Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "BEAR FRUIT" (37A: Be productive ... or what the answers at 17-, 25-, 53- and 63-Across do) — theme answers all idiomatic phrases with fruits in them

Word of the Day: AB OVO (32D: From the beginning, in Latin)

Ab ovo (Latin: "from the beginning,the origin,the egg") is a reference to one of the twin eggs of Leda and Zeus disguised as a swan from which Helen was born. Had Leda not laid the egg, Helen would not have been born, so Paris could not have eloped with her, so there would have been no Trojan War etc. // The English literary use of the phrase comes from Horace's Ars Poetica, where he describes his ideal epic poet as one who "does not begin the Trojan War from the double egg" (nec gemino bellum Troianum orditur ab ouo), the absolute beginning of events, the earliest possible chronological point, but snatches the listener into the middle of things (in medias res). (wikipedia)

-----

Very slightly tougher than the usual Monday ... no, SCRAP that (5A: Leftover cloth bit). It's just as easy as any Monday, but my time is slightly longer than usual because (I'm guessing) there's just so damned much white space. An astonishingly open grid for a Monday, with a pretty low black square count and banks of seven-letter words in every corner. My only problems were in the middle, where a. I didn't know what a "locust tree" was (25D: Locust tree feature -> THORN), b. I typoed AB OVO as AD OVO, and c. couldn't make heads or tails of the central theme answer, which has a pretty vague clue on it (see also b. ... "DEAR FRUIT? ... that's the weirdest letter opening I ever heard of"). Like the wide open spaces in this grid, but didn't think much of the theme at all. Felt really straightforward and plain. No OOHS or AWS from me. No WAH either. Just ... a shrug.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Reaction of a sore loser (sour grapes)
  • 25A: Head honcho (top banana) — started to write in BRASS at first ...
  • 53A: They protect car buyers (lemon laws) — weird: this answer uses the law to relate to a fruit theme, and somewhere out there today (I won't say where) there's a a LEMON answer that uses the fruit to relate to a law theme. True story.
  • 63A: Select the best and leave the rest (cherry pick)

Hiccups at REPRO (7D: Copy, for short), which I've never liked. Brain fired with "REPO" :( ... Had OHOS for OOHS. Later, considered BEER something before BREW something for 41D: Anheuser-Busch, for one (brewery). Otherwise, piece of cake. Lovely corners. Looking forward to a more interesting theme tomorrow.

Bullets:

  • 10A: Moon-landing vehicles, for short (LEMs) — Lunar Excursion Modules, a common bit of short fill.
  • 43A: Highlands denials (naes) — Scots are always good for an "AE" word or two. Or six.
  • 60A: "The ___ Bunch" of 1970s TV ("Brady") — I'm not sure the "of 1970s TV" is really necessary. "WILD" doesn't fit, thus ... "BRADY." Maybe shorten to just [TV's "The ___ Bunch"].


  • 1D: Windbag's output (gas) — no. A GASBAG puts out gas. A WINDBAG puts out wind. That's why they have the names they have.
  • 22D: Jean-Bertrand Aristide's country (Haiti) — completely blanked on this guy, but HAITI was easy enough to get with just a couple crosses. It appears that his current country is not HAITI but South Africa.

See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

94 comments:

George NYC 12:24 AM  

Holy cow I didn't know hamsters had cheek pouches, whatever those are. The ABOVO story reminded me of Leda and the Swan by...dare I say it: Yeats

George NYC 12:39 AM  

I couldn't resist--


A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower[20]
And Agamemnon dead.

Being so caught up,

So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

lit.doc 12:56 AM  

I echo Rex's "slightly longer than usual" time, but have no idea why. Don't think I stopped keying except to mouse (is that a verb?), but ran a couple of minutes over my usual cold-molasses pace.

Was reminded by 32D to be on the lookout for ab initio. Same meaning, but legalese context.

Nice, comfortable Monday puzz. Just one cavil and a maybe. 41D Anheuser-Busch has way more than one brewery. And I don't understand why Ms. Gamache put ""s on 13D Chilean.

54D would have been nice to see a Peter Sellers clue, but that's probably out-of-bounds for a Monday. Same with 35D. Imagine a punning Thomas Hardy "Tress" of the d'Urbervilles clue. Geez, I'm such a geek.

lit.doc 1:02 AM  

@George NYC, be sure to read Yeats' "The Second Coming" along side "Leda and the Swan", as both are pieces of his 2,000-year turning of the great wheel mythos.

George NYC 1:05 AM  

@lit
Chilean sea bass doesn't necessarily come from the shores of Chile.

How would you pun TRESS from TESS?

CoolPapaD 2:06 AM  

SLACKS, trousers, and dungarees - words used by my parents when referring to what we would call pants.

Cute, easy Monday, with several references to works of literature I will likely never read. I have, however, seen and essentially memorized each and every episode of The BRADY Bunch - that's gotta count for something! Oh, Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.....

chefwen 2:16 AM  

Easy, nice Monday puzzle. I always like Paula's works. Only write overs were MELINDA over Melissa, I can never remember her name, WHA over waa, and AWS over awe.

A good start to the week after a disappointing weekend. My fault, not the puzzles.

andrea secondbanana michaels 2:26 AM  

i liked that oMOO crossed with holyCOW.

@Rex
I put in ADOVO first, but it wasn't a typo...it was a ignorance.
I blame it on AVOCADO.

icky bleedover/way to start a puzzle: wind/gasbag

Hey! Why isn't CAPO plural not CAPI? Well, when it comes to Mondays, she gets away with murder! I guess Paula is still capa di tutti capellini.

Greene 5:42 AM  

I love Paula Gamache puzzles and this one was no disappoiontment. Most definitely a fun and easy start to another week of puzzling. I always think of @Fikink when I see CHERRY PICK since her blog is called Cherry-picking the Reticulum. Fun place to waste some time.

We had a New Year's party this weekend which featured on of my Broadway Jeopardy games. I usually spend days writing clues for these things and this one was no exception. I was highly amused to learn that my current cluing was considered "too Shortzian" for general taste. Personally, I don't think any puzzle or game can be "too Shortzian" and Will is way out of my league anyway. I just found the comment to be another indication of just how much puzzling has become a part of my day to day life. Here's a couple of examples of my "Shortzian" gaffes:

1. From the category Broadway Rhyme Time: "A coquettish scrim" clues the question "What is a flirtin' curtain?"

2. From the category Broadway Hits (in other words): The Soporific Duenna clues the question "What is The Drowsy Chaperone?"

And so on...my personal favorite came from the category Broadway Before and After where one has to enmesh two titles into something absurd: "Daisy Gamble meets up with four dead doo-wop guys to create a heavenly hit?" I won't share the answer which was greeted with groans and a few boos, but theatre nerds feel free to e-mail me with guesses (just click on the thumbs up avatar).

Sorry for that diversion Rex. And now, back to puzzle chat.

Oh wait...today is Isaac Newton's birthday. Check out the Google logo. It totally fits in with today's puzzle theme.

Vincent L 6:23 AM  

Quibble: AARP is no longer officially an acronym, so the clue should have had a "once" or other indicator.

Crosscan 7:42 AM  

Crosscan's rule: Grapes and bananas always make for good puzzles.

S Allende 8:09 AM  

I thought the ""s around "Chilean" were there to indicate that the fish in question really are named Patagonian Toothfish. No one in America ever bought a Patagonian Toothfish, ever. So, some ACME like person came along, renamed them Chilean Sea Bass, and you have the new Fish du Jour, which are now being fished to extinction.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:18 AM  

Liked the puzzle. ABOVO was a gimme for me. Thank you, S Allende, for your observation. Eat Tilapia instead?

Elaine 8:36 AM  

@Kerfuffle
Don't you mean Mudfish?

Easy Monday...just a matter of putting in the letters one, two, three... Did enjoy the emerging theme. Nothing more to say, but I hope Greene will reveal (later) the pun. Great Gatsby...? I would have been a dead weight at that party!

See you tomorrow.

chefbea 8:37 AM  

Fun puzzle. I usually refer to 29 across as lobster newburg - with out the ala.

Being from St. Louis I of course knew 41 across. Have been to the brewery many times - they have a great tour. The part where the clydesdales live is immaculate - you could eat off the floor (I think I have told you all that before)

the redanman 8:39 AM  

I found it fairly solid and about what a Monday has become.

disliked WAH OOHS AWS all in same puzzle as they are eww words, meh I guess.

God last weeks puzzles were hard to me.

OK by me.

fikink 8:49 AM  

Paula goes funky.
Funky Paula!
ATE UP, TADAS, WAH, HOLY COW, TOP BANANA, LSD, REPRO, NEATO, OOHS, AWS, the BRADY bunch, A SHOT in the dark...
Maleska frowns.

But my favorite for all time: CHERRYPICK
I invite you all to cherrypickingthereticulum.blogspot.com

retired_chemist 8:58 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 9:01 AM  

Solid Monday, not memorable. Liked it, didn't love it. No WAH, no OOHS.

@ Acme - to avoid the problem you mention, later in the week CAPOS could have been clued differently. A CAPO is a clamp you put above a fret on the guitar to change the key. It's Monday though....

Van55 9:11 AM  

Decent Monday fare.


Not a fan of RETD, AWS, OOHS, or REA.

dk 9:18 AM  

Typee, the chopped liver of 18th century lit.

Is it GREY or gray... the eternal question.

Fine Monday. What crosscan said.

**** (4 Stars)

mac 9:19 AM  

Paula's usual smooth puzzle with a little edge. When I got the "lemon laws" I thought: trouble, the fruit is now in front. But of course 63A had the same format!

We're off to a great start: very good write-up and comments!

Now looking for the other lemon puzzle.

treedweller 9:23 AM  

Super easy for me--second sub-5 monday in two weeks, a rarity here.

@r_c
I still think of the guitar device first and it takes me a minute or two to remember the mafia reference for CAPO. Which is a step forward, because I used to stare at it blankly until I had every cross.

ArtLvr 9:44 AM  

@ acme -- I liked your highlighting of OMOO plus HOLY COW, and I'd add the GORY with BRAM on one side and CAPOS on the other! Eww. But a perfect AVOCADO is MANNA to me...

Nice puzzle, and it went so fast I didn't see HAITI until checking it over at the end, whereupon the song "Haiti, chéri" popped into my head... Not sure if that's the national anthem, but if so probably the only one with syncopated rhythm!

@ Greene -- WAH! That was some totally tough New Year's game.

∑;)

Stan 9:44 AM  

Some nifty symmetry, with the theme spelled out at the center instead of the end.

Re: Brady Bunch -- didn't we just see Eve Plumb?

PIX 9:45 AM  

Like Rex, I took a little longer than usual for a Monday but not sure why.

"0v(o): [Latin: ovum egg]a combining form denoting relationship to an egg, or to ova" not to be confused with Ovine from Latin ovinus=of a sheep.

OR to quote REX (Oct 21,2009): "First, despite years of Latin, I always @#$! up the phrase 'Ab OVO.' OVUM is a neuter noun, which means it's pluralized as OVA, which is always what I want to write (instead of the proper ablative OVO). Grr"

joho 9:46 AM  

Lovely Monday, Paul Gamache: thank you. I always look forward to your puzzles.

Question: is an AVOCADO fruit bearing?

@dk ... that's a good question. I think Grey is the British spelling and Gray how it's spelling in the USA.

Greg Clinton 9:49 AM  

LEM was my grandfather. Short for Lemuel. He was an avid follower of the space program in the 60's. Always glued to the coverage. The LEM landing on the moon always seemed just right to us.

SueRohr 10:11 AM  

Easy fun Monday for me. I always forget it's Monday and start looking for harder answers. One of the ways I amuse myself on Monday is by filling in some of the boxes without looking at the clues, and then guessing what the clues will be.

PlantieBea 10:28 AM  

Easy, breezy Monday morning colorful bowl of fruit. Another fine Paula Gamache puzzle. Manna banana sounds like Hannah Montana. Had to pause at the GRAY/GREY spot. Thanks for the Yeats, George NYC. Greene, your New Year's game sounds fun, but I wouldn't have been able to answer even one of your questions, I suspect.

Two Ponies 10:39 AM  

Very nice Monday puzzle.
After last weeks gory end I needed some fun.
@ George NYC that's some steamy stuff to wake me up!
Dear Fruit, Good one Rex.
My only quibble was the windbag clue. Windbags talk too much and gas, well that comes from somewhere else.
Now, everyone get back to work. The holidays are over and now we face the brain-numbing boredom of Jan. and Feb. BTW I saw Valentine stuff for sale on Christmas Eve.

darkman 10:45 AM  

Dear me! SLACKS is not in the Webster's II (unabridged)! Does that make it NOT a word--or did it become a word after 1700? Note to Self: Get a contemporary dictionary.

Note to Kerfuffle: Bob, Tilapia is being fished out of its habitat, one of the large lakes in Africa.

archaeoprof 10:58 AM  

Those mechanical HAMSTERs that were so popular this Christmas -- does anyone know if they have cheek pouches??

Steve J 11:07 AM  

Easy Monday for me, moderately enjoyable.

Enjoyment rendered slightly less so by two things that don't ring right for me:

57D: CAPOS are not mob bosses. They're like majors or colonels, running aspects of a family but not running a family. Bosses are the bosses.

And I did not like the theme clue. The answers to the theme clues do not bear fruit (I've never seen a lemon law generate a lemon). The *clues* to those bear fruit (well, fruit-inclusive answers).

Maybe I'm being too literal. I blame having to go back to work for the first time in almost two weeks.

Tony from Charm City 11:16 AM  

I have a slight beef with the puzzle. I may come off a bit anal, but...

The theme answers are all types fruits. Fruits don't bear fruits, the tree bears the fruit.

Other than that, the puzzle was fine.

Ulrich 11:19 AM  

@Stan: Just to spell it out for the rest: The symmetry extends to the place of the fruits in the answers: The beginning becomes the end in the symmetrical answers and vice-versa. Bravo, PG!

I've seen many medieval pietas in the churches of Europe, and it's always clear that the mother holds the son--the age difference is obvious. Not so with Michelangelo--if anything, the very pretty woman holding the dead Jesus is younger than he. I always attributed this to artistic licence until I came across the Rilke poem "Pietà", in which the woman is not Mary, the mother of Jesus, but Mary Magdalen. This solves the age problem and allows Rilke to bring to the fore the latent eroticism in the statue ("...your hands are torn,/ but not by me, not by my bites...").

I haven't read "The DaVinci" and wonder if Dan Brown makes anything out of this.

Ulrich 11:20 AM  

---I mean, of course, "The DaVinci Code"...

Jim in Chicago 11:38 AM  

Slacks isn't in the OED either. How odd.

jeff in chicago 11:47 AM  

This took me longer than usual. When I was done, I couldn't figure out why. Pretty straightforward puzzle. Hmmmm. Could have done without OOHS and AWS. On the other hand, EMERALD is my birthstone. A perfectly fine Monday in my book.

Stan 11:54 AM  

Thnx, @Ulrich.

As far as the theme goes, I'd say that among other things 'bear' means 'hold' or 'contain' -- so each of the theme answers contains the name of a fruit, as clued.

Shamik 12:02 PM  

Easy-medium. A good Monday puzzle...we all can use a zip breezy puzzle after end of week carnage, yes? Quibbling over Monday is like dissecting "The Family Guy." Mom, mom, mom, mummy, mummy, mummy, mama, mama, mama....."

fikink 12:08 PM  

@Stan, yes that was my take on "bear" also. It is "what the answers do," as the clue reads.

Elaine 12:11 PM  

@joho
Yes, an avocado tree has avocados hanging down for you to pick
@ulrich
SAVE yourself--do NOT read anything by Dan Brown-- a horrible writer with stupid plot, characters, description, and word usage. But other than that, I am sure he is a fine human being, I mean.

RE: BEAR FRUIT

The theme answers are bearing--carrying, containing, hauling, delivering--fruit (grapes, banana, lemon, cherry) and I think that is fair enough for a Monday puzzle. Let's try to SCRAP the GREY mood and STEAM ahead into the week, eh?

deerfencer 12:21 PM  

Easy breezy it was--nice description PlantieBea!

And I love that we're force-feeding Rex more Yeats. ;-)

archaeoprof 12:37 PM  

@Ulrich: what Elaine said, plus the fact that those ideas have been historically discredited many times over.

PIETA enacts a scene which never actually happens in the Bible. Jesus is not taken down and buried by any Mary -- either his mother or Magdalene -- but by Joseph of Arimathea. The image of a mother holding her dead son, however, was especially powerful in Europe after the Plague, and the scene was created at that time.

Ulrich 12:42 PM  

@archaeoprof: Thx--I can see that. And it seems to me that in post-plague Italy, Michelangelo treated an old topic with a new slant (pace Rilke).

Clark 12:42 PM  

@Stan, et al - Thanks for sorting out the bearing business. I didn't have the energy either to get worked up about it or to think it through myself.

@Ulrich, meaning no disrespect to @Elaine with whom I mean to disagree here by just a smidgen, The DaVinci Code is one of those page-turners that is fun to read when you want a rest from books that make you think hard.

the redanman 12:48 PM  

@Darkman
@Kerfuffle

A) Isn't most Tilapia farmed and

B) Isn't Escolar what passes for "White Tuna in the sushi bar?

C) Patagonian Toothfish is in trouble

Could be wrong on "B" but 99% sure on "A". "C" is what I've been told, none were Wiki-ed :-)

Parshutr 12:54 PM  

@Ulrich...thanks for the info about Michelangelo's Pieta. Cleared up my confusion over the young Mary, clearly not Jesus' mother.

George NYC 1:17 PM  

If Dan Brown had written The Iliad:

Achilles.
A warrior par excellence.
Hector killed his friend.
That made Achilles angry.
He raised his sword.
But wait...
Something suddenly appeared out of nowhere...
The sword came down.
What the hell?

Squeek 1:31 PM  

Yeah, you can tell it is Monday.
We have digressed from a fine and fruity puzzle to fish and Dan Brown.
What the hell, I'll jump in.
@ George NYC, that is a pretty darned good imitation of Dan Brown's dribble.
Tilapia are causing chaos where people have been dropping them into lakes where they don't belong.

bluebell 1:45 PM  

My dictionary has a definition of gas as (slang) "empty, boasting talk"--so the output of a windbag in this sense could certainly be gas.

An easy puzzle. I enjoyed it. Especially since I too could fill in some answers without reading the clue.

tptsteve 1:55 PM  

A nice Monday puzzle to come back to after being away for 17 days. Great theme with interesting fill. It took me slightly longer than usual, but I expected that since I am still a bit jet lagged.


@coolpapa D- do you wonder when body shirts will make the puzzle?

Bob Kerfuffle 1:55 PM  

@redanman, darkman, squeek (et al.?) -

FWIW, my "Pocket Seafood Selector" from Environmental Defense lists "Tilapia - U.S." among its Best Eco-Choices and "Chilean seabass/toothfish" among its Worst Eco-Choices.

CoolPapaD 2:01 PM  

@Shamick - Mom, mom, mom, mummy, mummy, mummy, mama, mama, mama....." Funny, funny clip!

Tinbeni 2:02 PM  

HOLYCOW ...SOURGRAPES over the line
CRONY RUSH RIB ... thought I heard Limbaugh in the background.

Personally I prefer the freshwater GAME fish over the SEA BASS.

For a Monday NYT I would have rated the puzzle ... NEATO!

mac 2:33 PM  

I love "Chilean" seabass but I know about the threat so eat it very rarely. Tilapia is an odd fish, bland when fresh, foultasting when only slightly off. I think I read it isn't very healthy because the omega 3 fatty acid content is very low, omega 6 too high.

The only fish I'm eating tonight is some anchovies in the savoy cabbage and orrechiete dish.

andrea at large michaels 2:37 PM  

@dk
I learned this from the blog:
grEy=England grAy=America

(now if I could remember which contact lens to put in which eye, I'd be all set...
my optometrist (opthamologist? uh oh, need yet another mnemonic here...I mean I know the first is not a doctor, necessarily, but can be?) didn't want to give clear contacts bec too easily lost in the sink. So he gave me one gReen one and one bLue one to remember R and L...except he got it backwards, so I have to figure it out every morning...when I'm blind and tired)

@Steve J
you know a little TOO much about the mafia...you're scaring me!
My old roommate, an English guy who had admitted to being a violent skinhead in his younger days and had become someone in "the restaurant business in NY" had no books in his room except about John Gotti. I mean, NONE. Not one repro of Yeats, nada...

The the first week he lived with me, I casually asked him what his interest in the mafia was...if he had to deal with them in his NY days, etc.
He just glared at me and asked "Who wants to know?"
(it felt very "I'd tell you but I'd have to kill you")

He later wanted to extend his 3 month sublet to a year...and, um, who was I to say no?

Tinbeni 2:51 PM  

@mac
Around here in Tampa Bay the fish to HAVE is Grouper.
Sooooo, they tested the fish offered at various fish marts & beach eatery's and found out that 70% of the items indicated as Grouper were actually Tilapia.
Luckily my fave "The Hurricane" catches their own Grouper, I won't eat at the others (for the reason you stated).

My fresh water BASS I catch in Lake Tarpon (about 1 mile away) is the best and freshest.

PIX 2:52 PM  

@Ulrich...I have never met you and do not know you...but...I do feel like I know you enough from this blog to say this with confidence: do not read the DaVinci Code...pure nonsense pretending to be serious...your head will explode after about four pages...

Elaine 2:56 PM  

@Clark
No, no! I just love a good junk novel--_Gone with the Wind!_ (way, way more interesting than the movie) and _Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil_ and so on. But, as archeoprof pointed out, Dan Brown's historic and Biblical background information was so long-disproven and ridiculous that one couldn't even enjoy the story line and ignore the schlock composition. It's like eating cheap candy, or cookies made with imitation flavoring, or, or tilapia that's gone slightly off in a Chilean sea bass aspic!

darkman 3:10 PM  

the redanman: You may well be right about the farming of tilapia. I was under the (false) impression that their source was single lake in Africa, until I looked the fish up in Wiki.

Tinbeni 3:13 PM  

@Ulrich
Read the book, your head won't explode. Just remember it is located in the Fiction Section.

As to the historical & Biblical info presented: Well the Bible is 100% true in every aspect (sarcasm implied) all history ever reported is 100% unbiased.

A book that has sold 80 million copies world-wide is implicitly crap.

You have a brain, use it.

Clark 3:19 PM  

@Elaine -- I think I was able to enjoy the story because I know enough about the history of the Catholic church, the grail, Opus Dei etc. that it never occurred to me to worry about the story being NOT "long-disproven and ridiculous".

mac 3:26 PM  

@Elaine: the dreaded aspic....

Glitch 3:50 PM  

@Elaine
"...long-disproven and ridiculous.."?

Perhaps you should extend your warning to others who may inadvertantly be enjoying 1950s SiFi, The Simpsons, or Talk Radio ;)

.../Glitch

Sfingi 3:53 PM  

My take on bear fruit:
Bear & Strawberry Tree, Madrid

Went faster than usual for me, probably because it was all oldsters's stuff, no new pop. cult., eh Rex? You know shy we're SPRY - we grew up on SPRY cookin'!
SPRY

Note, but don't shudder: hubster has 80+ books on the mob. Someday he'll write his.
I did want "a novo" for ABOVO.
Scotch 'n SODA - Mud in your eyes!

Sfingi 3:59 PM  

Try again

SPRY

Sfingi 4:01 PM  

Ok, It was as at www.ghosttraveller.com/spry.htm

Rube 4:04 PM  

This Dan Brown thing is IMHO like the knowledge base issue where one person's gimme is another's Wiki... "different strokes".

I'd also like to add that pop stuff like "DaVinci", Family Guy", and the latest randy movie are fodder for xword constructors who in turn provide us with trifles on which to waste our time.

chefbea 4:06 PM  

@sfingi Gosh. I had forgotten about spry!!!! Guess that's why I'm so spry. grew up on it - also crisco!!!

k1p2 4:21 PM  

I'm not of fan of "sounds" clues and this puzzle had lots.

The American Heritage Dictionary does have slacks (5th entry in the 1st definition of slack) And the Scholastic Children's Dictionary has it as its own entry for slacks (nothing but the best in our household). I've been waiting for the hubby to purchase the OED but this year's reference purchase was for Barrington's Atlas of the Greek and Roman World to aid him while he reads Plutarch

k1p2 4:21 PM  

I'm not of fan of "sounds" clues and this puzzle had lots.

The American Heritage Dictionary does have slacks (5th entry in the 1st definition of slack) And the Scholastic Children's Dictionary has it as its own entry for slacks (nothing but the best in our household). I've been waiting for the hubby to purchase the OED but this year's reference purchase was for Barrington's Atlas of the Greek and Roman World to aid him while he reads Plutarch

andrea just pass(in')by michaels 4:29 PM  

With scotch and soda in hand, maybe @Ulrich could read one page of "The Davinci Code" and then wash it down with one poem by Yeats.

@georgeNYC
you've given me tremendous pleasure today...
(@dk pls, no crying in your Kix)

Elaine 4:36 PM  

@Glitch
I would gladly do so, but I have never seen "The Simpsons" (every time there is a clue, I go "D'OH!" because I learned it in the xwords) or (if it's a show) "Talk Radio." I have read a lot of Isaac Asimov (of the 50's and 60's) but he bases his stories in credible science, so I am guessing I haven't read the requisite fifties SciFi. But I will add those to the Avoid At All Costs list. Thanks! wink

Crosscan 4:38 PM  

Was there a puzzle today?

joho 4:48 PM  

I really liked the The Davinci Code ... it is what it is -- entertainment. It wasn't meant to be gospel, for God's sake. Amen.

Tinbeni 5:03 PM  

@Joho
I agree. What some others miss is that it got them THINKING about the subject matter again. Whichever way you believe, sometimes it is good to challenge an idea.
And religion is "an idea."

@Ulrich
If you do drink Scotch, please do not ruin it with Soda.

Ulrich 5:22 PM  

I'm now close to tears that need to drip into something, maybe Scotch, but then single-malt, no soda: I'm not interested in the $%^& DaVinci Code or its author--I'm interested in who's the pretty woman in the statue that started it all who's holding a gorgeous male body in her lap. I was intrigued by Rilke's take on Michelangelo, and since I read somewhere that Brown revives the old rumor about Jesus and that woman, I wondered if Brown had summoned Michelangelo as a witness (but that may require more erudition on his part than he appears to possess).

But I'm glad you all had fun! Back to my pre-dinner drink...

Meg 5:22 PM  

I liked this Monday puzzle and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because it has lovely words like EMERALD and HAMSTER.

Actually I think it's because there aren't any stupid or awkward words. It's just a simple, elegant puzzle. Does Paula do Saturdays? I hope so!

treedweller 5:28 PM  

wiki says an AVOCADO is a berry, a type of simple fruit. I should probably know things like this without going to google, but I work on shade trees a lot more than fruit trees, and distinctions like this aren't very relevant to care of the tree, anyway. I'm not aware of any AVOCADO trees in Austin (other than houseplants grown from the seeds), and doubt they'd survive here long.

@Sfingi
thanks for the SPRY link--it solved a mystery of mine. I have a recipe card from my grandmother's box that calls for 1/2 c. spry. Context told me it was butter, margarine, or something like that, but I'd never heard of the product and she doesn't remember it, either. We were a crisco family when I was a kid. Now I stick to butter.

retired_chemist 6:49 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 6:51 PM  

@ GeorgeNYC re hamsters -

My kids, when growing up, had hamsters for a few years.

Oh yes, they have cheek pouches. (Hamsters, not my kids.) Essentially the pouches are pockets of loose skin on the cheeks which allow the hamster to carry a remarkable amount of (almost always) food to secrete it somewhere.

Also, males have the most remarkable genitalia - to scale, each of your testicles would be roughly the size of a large cantaloupe.

6:49 PM

George NYC 7:02 PM  

@R-C
Leave my testicles out of this!

foodie 7:56 PM  

Alright, I read all 84 comments, and they ranged far and wide, from fish to shortening to the DaVinci Code. I cracked up at Crosscan's question: was there a puzzle today? But @RC & George in NYC, you guys truly made it all worthwhile.

Still laughing...

foodie 9:43 PM  

PS. Not that I did not enjoy many of the comments, immensely... but the last two were even more unexpected : )

I've learned to enjoy other Sea Bass (e.g. Black Sea Bass) as replacement for the delicious Chilean Sea Bass (not really a Bass as previously noted). In large because of the overfishing but also because I learned that they live to be 50 years old! That factoid seemed to make it really wrong...

sanfranman59 10:04 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 6:37, 6:55, 0.96, 42%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:22, 3:40, 0.92, 28%, Easy-Medium

Sfingi 11:10 PM  

@RetChemist -Thanx, I'd forgotten about the hamster testicles.

@Treedweller - I'm so glad someone got to see the Spry link. I don't know what I did wrong.

@Elaine - Asimov wrote a short story supposedly in the future, his anyway, in which there were buildings full of vacuum tubes. The transistor hadn't been invented when he wrote it. I love those details since It could have gone that way.

treedweller 11:24 PM  

@Sfingi
I copied and pasted the link, then clipped off a bunch of extraneous stuff. So I don't know how you got extraneous stuff in there, but that's what happened.

Capo di Tutti Capi 7:18 AM  

In honor of this puzzle I'm changing my title to Capo di Tutti Frutti.

Anonymous 2:59 PM  

do all comments that rex doesn't like get "removed by the author"?

Rex Parker 5:37 PM  

"Author" as in "Author of the comment."

Nullifidian 10:58 PM  

In from syndication-land:

I enjoyed this puzzle. The theme isn't dazzlingly brilliant, but I thought it was fun enough for a Monday, and I liked the fill. That kind of easy fill is exactly what I expect to see when Paula Gamache does a puzzle. There wasn't a single clumsy solution, and my only objection is that CRONY was clued as a "bosom buddy". I think that crony carries a connotation of corruption that bosom buddy doesn't, and in a corrupt, cronyist system it is possible to detest the person one is doing a favor for.

I had no write-overs, but did slow down a bit over the NE of the puzzle, until I finished the central theme answer and then realized that 25A was TOP BANANA.

MikeinSTL 8:56 AM  

Nice Monday fare... my only issue is BREWERY, which usually refers to the building, not the brewer or brewing company, even though this use is technically correct. The bigger issue, though, is that Anheuser-Busch is now AB-InBev, but that probably would have thrown people...

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