Old Navy libation / MON 2-8-10 / Mass market fragrance maker / Prefix with iliac / Outerwear for operagoer

Monday, February 8, 2010

Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: HOT (38A: Word describing the answer to each of the starred clues) — five HOT things, with HOT having a different meaning in each instance.

Word of the Day: PALOMAR Observatory (49A: Mount ___, California observatory site)

Palomar Observatory, at approximately 5,570 ft elevation, is a privately owned observatory located in San Diego County, California, 90 miles (145 km) southeast of Pasadena's Mount Wilson Observatory, in the Palomar Mountain Range. It is owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology. (wikipedia)
• • •


Quick write-up. I've got the Super Bowl on pause downstairs. Colts were up 10-0 last I checked. Manning looks ruthless. Figured I could finish the puzzle and the write-up before the Saints had a chance to come back (I accomplished this, but now it's late in the game, and the Saints actually are up ... and now they're way up ... and now they've won). I came out of this puzzle with a solid Tuesday time. Some missteps, and some generally tougher-than-normal cluing slowed me down. Quick scan of the first times in to the NYT website show below avg. times there as well. Main problem was trying to sneak down into the W from the NW. No way. Didn't really look at the BOILING WATER clue, but tried the clue at 32A: Accepted, as a proposal), and didn't get anything right away, even with the -ED TO in place. Went into the W then to build from scratch (always a bad idea), and just fumbled around. Came out w/ only GROG in place (37A: Old Navy libation) — first thought: "they serve drinks at Old Navy now?"

Went back to the NNE and immediately dropped in COCO where COTY was supposed to go (21D: Mass-market fragrance maker). That really held things up. Wanted FANTA where FRESCA was (26D: Citrus soft drink introduced in the 1960s). Later on I had to deal with my weak musical term knowledge (LEGATO — 30D: Smooth, in music) and my contemptuous disbelief that LGTH was an acceptable answer (24D: Width's opposite: Abbr.). See also the icky ISLED (46D: Stranded in the middle of the ocean, say). Last but not least, DEAR ME just didn't register at all (56A: "But what to do!?"). So, a very clunky solving experience. Felt lucky to come in only 30 seconds off my normal Monday time. Theme is clever. Not that fond of the rest of it.

Theme answers:
  • 9A: *With 68-Across, lingerie model's asset (sexy / body)
  • 16A: *It may end up in a chop shop (stolen car)
  • 27A: *What you drop uncooked spaghetti or a tea bag into (boiling water)
  • 47A: *Bloody Mary seasoner (Tabasco sauce)
  • 63A: *Supplier of electricity to subway trains (third rail)

I forgot to mention LONDRES as part of the slowage today (45D: Capital of England, to Parisians). Now, I should have known this, but I think I got a bit stunned that this was deemed Monday material. Then I went and mysteriously put in STL for 52A: Where the Blues Brothers got their start, familiarly (SNL), which put a "T" where the "N" in LONDRES should have been.

Bullets:
  • 15A: Prefix with iliac (sacro-) – because the base of your spine is sacred.
  • 18A: Outerwear for an operagoer (cloak) — yes, for thin-mustached operagoer in 1930s London, sure. He'll be with the dowager in the stole and lorgnettes.
  • 59D: Cursor movers (mice) — in a sure sign that my brain had given up, it took til well after I had -ICE for me to see this. Having already seen DICE in the grid (20A: Equipment in craps) made my brain just stick on that word like a broken record.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

77 comments:

retired_chemist 12:24 AM  

Medium-challenging from my time, but it felt easier than that.

Fun theme - had SPORTS CAR @ 16A first. Got the center worked out, giving me 38A and the theme, and the rest, including the 16A FIX, was no problem.

Is LGTH really a recognized abbreviation? The full-LENGTH word is only 50% longer. DEAR ME. I think it SUCKs.

Thanks, Ms. Gamache.

mac 12:29 AM  

This was the first puzzle in the Westport tournament, and to all of us it felt harder than a Monday level, which it was supposed to be. I tend to like and do well with Paula Gamache's puzzles, so no real problems, but lgth definitely did slow me down, as did
"isled".

lit.doc 12:59 AM  

@Rex, thanks for that heart-felt Springsteen clip.

Kinda confused here (for several reasons, as will become clear), as I’m looking at a dead-tree NYT puzzle by Holden Baker that I printed off that site yesterday because of a posted caveat that there were visual elements that wouldn’t show up in Across Lite. But it isn’t the puzz that I just finished. I hope for enlightenment on the morrow.

Didn’t have any personal stake in the big game, but kinda hoped for anything that would energize the city of New Orleans. A good time was had by almost all at our friendly local sports bar, and some of us got stupendously effed up. Anyhow, the only downside to the whole thing was that the puzzle took 14:29, so I’ll go with Rex’s medium-challenging, though likely as not for different reasons.

Only stumble was 37A, where I tried to figure out how to fit SALTPETER. I’ve just gotta get straight—so to speak—re “potable” vs. “edible”.

@retired_chemist and @mac, me too re LGTH. Puhleeeeze.

andrea fresca michaels 1:03 AM  

It was cool that there were so many HOT things, otherwise, it would have been brave to put the word SUCK into any puzzle!

I can almost here @sethg's screams from here for LONDRES, LUI et ECOLE all in one puzzle!
Pauvre petit Seth...tu as mon coeur!

Didn't know COTY and PALOMAR did seem hard for a Monday...

26D FRESCA I believe was involved with one of those NOVA-type apocryphal bad naming stories: when they launched the soft drink in Mexico, FRESCA means whore...
Anyway, I think that is the story.

In any case, it means hot and fresh, like a naughty girl, so that goes well with the theme as an extra bonus, as does TAMALE, no?

CoolPapaD 2:09 AM  

@ACME beat me to it - was going to comment on the forgotten hot tamale. And both kinds of BUTTS can be hot. And so can an IRON. Lots of HOT stuff!

Elaine 2:55 AM  

Maybe it was The Superbowl that had everyone distracted. I started with 1A (which I hardly ever do) and filled in without hesitation. But I have occasional glitches where my Used Brain misguides me, so when I came back after the first left-to-right for the top row, I wrote in EURU at 13A. Luckily I noticed SULO made no sense, and checked the Downs. The all-one-way style of solving has drawbacks, in that one can insert such mis-writes.

I have never seen or heard LONDRES (not even when catching the boat-train)...ECOLE is fair, but LUI? Foul!

I ran through this so quickly and smoothly that I would have rated it Easy. I missed some of the fun and funny Downs, until I came here, in fact. AND I realized I had started to write LENTO for 30D [Smooth, in music] and never went back to recheck the full word after realizing it was not a fit. So I had LENATO/GRON...Tsk.

I am not going to be at ACPT, but Newbies: my Note to Self would be this--check over the grid!

@Andrea
You have thrown over dk for that cute lil SethG? Naughty girl, indeed.

SethG 5:46 AM  

Who you callin' petit?

Was angry at TECS while solving--couldn't figure out what [Private eyes, for short] meant, then when I got it I thought "oh, because you hire detectives to look for you that makes them 'private eyes'? Ugh." Uh, yeah. Go me.

This puzzle had large stretches of extreme ease, so I was kinda upset that I only came in at average Monday time. I guess I will blame the French for this, or at least Canada.

des 7:14 AM  

That's two days in a row when I've found the puzzle easier than Rex. Maybe because when I say easy I mean I get through it without many pauses; it's not based on time (which I don't track). Both yesterday and today's puzzles had theme clues that truly helped (although in yesterday's, "coverage" really doesn't have anything to do with pizza and there must have been a typo in the clue for "yard line" since it definitely requires a number).

Crosscan 7:36 AM  

More like a mardi than a lundi. The real fault, as usual, lies with Rex.

Elisa 8:02 AM  

The French theme continues with Coty, as in François Coty, perfume magnate, virulent anti-Semite, and supporter of several fascist and paramilitary leagues in interwar France.

The base of your spine is sacred, Rex. Your kundalini is coiled and sleeping there, hoping to awaken and rise up.

Leslie 8:02 AM  

Geau Saints!! As soon as I took off my team colors and went to bed (8 a.m. class next morning) they started winning. You're welcome.

Didn't like LGTH either, but . . . whatever. I was a little bit proud of myself for pulling LONDRES out of my memories of freshman French class.

chefbea 8:10 AM  

Good easy Monday puzzle. Thought confey would be word of the day. Never heard of it. Maybe cuz I have never sinned????? Didn't like isled either.

Congratulations to Mac, Ulrich, and IMSDave for their awards at the Westport tournament.

mac 8:23 AM  

@Andrea Fresca: I think our neighbors to the South don't mind it much; I've heard of a Bakery brand there and in Latin America called Bimbo.

Rex Parker 8:29 AM  

@Elisa,

I figured if anyone was going to get excited by SACRUM talk, it would be you.

Thanks for the COTY info.

I have a flannel top that is a button-up shirt but feels more like a coat and for some reason my sister once gave it the name of "Coatee" (equal stress on both syllables, equal parts loving and mocking). It remains the only article of clothing I own that has a given name.

tptsteve 8:41 AM  

Mes amis-
HOT theme for a cold winter morning.
Liked the puzzle, but absolutely agree with RP about ISLED, though ickey might be too kind.

Au revoir.

treedweller 9:27 AM  

I saw I would need an abbr. for length, groaned, and moved on. Got it from crosses. Never even looked back to see what abomination was chosen.

OldCarFudd 9:29 AM  

Easy, fun puzzle, except for LGTH.

@Elisa - No one ever called it my kundalini before!

I just learned that TAMALE is a legitimate word - but only in English! It's the correct translation of the Spanish word tamal. The plural of tamal is tamales, which is probably why it's called a tamale in English; we normally order more than one, and tamals would sound horrible in either language.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

@chefbea I confess I never heard of confey either!

Never did get "HOT" even when it was staring me in the face. I guess a THIRDRAIL is hot. I had DECS for 39D, and figured HOD for 38A was something I never heard of. A nice relaxing monday.

jesser 9:35 AM  

I must still be jazzed by the Saints win, because I blew through this one without even looking much at the downs, thereby missing the awful ISLED and the wtf LONDRES. My only true stopping point was at 53A where my lack of French gave me an owie, so I parsed from 50D and 51D. Presto!

Since I had no gumbo with which to celebrate, I had to settle for a TAMALE and plenty of bourbon (does that qualify as GROG?) Drew Brees was SEXY as hell, and the Saints certainly did not SUCK! This morning I had eggs with TABASCO SAUCE.

I'd write more, but alas, I'm AT WORK and DEAR ME, the time is getting away!

Zotlessi! -- jesser

HansomGuy 9:36 AM  

Tab is infinitely better than FRESCA, as this ad illustrates on so many levels.

Judith 9:40 AM  

This was a hard for a Monday, especially Londres.

As an Indy resident, I thought the beautiful clear blue sky against the fresh white snow was a great omen for our Colts. Oh well.... People at the party I was at took it well, wishing the Saints fan well. Bon Temps! (the NFL hasn't trademarked that phrase yet, I think!)

DB Geezer 9:51 AM  

TECS has appeared so often in the past several weeks that it was a gimme. Living in CA, PALOMAR was also a gimme. LGTH when pronounced sounds as icky as that answer is. I needed the crosses to get it and also ISLED, another lgth answer.

PIX 9:52 AM  

The sacroiliac joint or SI joint is the joint in the bony pelvis between the sacrum and the ilium of the pelvis...{Wiki}

ilium = part of pelvis
ileum = the final section of the small intestine

someone else can explain all the French

slypett 9:57 AM  

How about that onside kick to start the second half! As r_c said last night, it took testicles of titanium to do that.

The puzzle was...there. When I started, I thought I would get some resistance, but, the ohms just weren't to be had. I guess I had fun playing on the THIRDRAIL.

Dave 10:06 AM  

what's the rationale for capitalization the N in the Old Navy Libation clue? i also wondered if Old Navy was now serving drinks. for $1.99.

Elaine 10:32 AM  

@Anon 9:35

Think about electrical stuff-- a person HOTwires a car. Of course, I myself, being a law-abiding citizen, only know about this from books and TV and such...but the person who stole our car in 1966 knew ALL about it.

@Dave
Maybe it's just the capitalization of branches of service--"He's in the Marines," you'd write, with a cap.

It was a nice puzzle and I learned a couple of things: LONDRES, LUI, and Check Your Downs!

inglyza

Stan 10:35 AM  

Smooth as silk -- with a nice, unforced theme.

@andrea -- good catch on "hot tamale"!

Eds.: Please delete "or a tea bag" from the clue to 27A. It isn't necessary, and repeats the answer to 27D.

Two Ponies 10:35 AM  

I always welcome a Monday with some spice and this one did.
No use going on more about the couple of rough spots.
Tamale crossing tabasco sauce is making me hungry.
I had the same Huh? about serving drinks at Old Navy.
I don't have confey in my grid. Do you mean confess?

ArtLvr 10:43 AM  

Hot stuff! I zoomed through this one faster than usual, for me.

With paintings, we measure Height times Width, so Length would be more of a synonym for Width than an opposite, as clued. Not a prob, though.

It was amusing looking for other fill echoing the theme. How about HOT topic -- 31D, WOODS? (Tiger)

∑;)

p.s. captcha = raumess

the redanman 10:58 AM  

Pretty easy puzzle, I thought therefore not a puzzle maven's puzzle, I guess. Liked seeing LONDRES, SACRO (used properly); surprised at FRESCA, TABASCO, ADVIL - I thought NYT was "Above that commercial density".

With BUTT,HOT, SEXY and SUCK, I was looking for a "Site blocked" today. Guess there was just enough exercised restraint in the .jpegs today ...

Only 3 comments:
ISLED was just drown it ugly to me
LNGTH seemed sloppy
Would have thought TAMALE clue would have an *, why not?


Base of the spine is SACRAL, not sacred, from SACRUM. Was this humor? It actually was a decent medical cluing rather than the usual slop. Anyone over 45 ought to know "The doctor said that I threw out my sacroiliac."

Judith 11:06 AM  

drown it ugly? great phrase with bad visuals....

I Am...I 11:09 AM  

SACROiliac is a joint, while humors were fluids, or juices.

Susan 11:50 AM  

Even I thought LONDRES was uncalled for on a Monday. (Oui, moi!) Found this one easier than Rex, though, perhaps because I was trying to block out the game while the Saints were losing and it led to better than usual concentration.

Ulrich 11:52 AM  

LGTH slowed me down seriously at Westport--kept on staring at it, thinking "not in your life in a Paula Gamache puzzle!", and I believed till the end that SACRO had to be wrong, too, but couldn't think of any other crosses and handed the thing in.

Here's a pic. of the happy warriors at Westport last Saturday plus assorted other persons who gave them moral support (courtesy of chefbea, who's busy packing for the big move).

Timothy 11:55 AM  

Hey, guys. Where do find these times in which people solved the puzzles? I'm new here. Thanks.

edith b 11:57 AM  

This puzzle put up no resistance whatsoever and I cut through it like a hot knife through butter, to coin a phrase, the rudimentary French notwithstanding.

I CONFESS that I don't see confey in my grid either, Two Ponies. Could somebody point it out to me.
I reserve the right to act like Homer and say DOH if it was too obvious to miss.

Two Ponies 12:05 PM  

@ edith b, chefbea and anon. 9:35 mentioned it. I was trying to politely point out a possible error in their grids :)

deerfencer 12:19 PM  

Found this one easy/breezy like many here. Was ecstatic to see the Saints win in such daring and dramatic fashion. Best Superbowl ever!

Clark 12:21 PM  

@Ulrich -- Thanks for that picture! Now does left to right mean as the faces appear in the picture or does it mean moving around the table clockwise?

imsdave 12:33 PM  

@Clark - Ulrich being an architect gets spacially challenged sometimes. His description was absolutely correct, but for most of us it would be (from L to R) Dave, Ulrich, Charlie, Mac, Karen. Chefbea, and Roger.

Great time at Westport yesterday. All of us came out of the room thinking that this one was a really nice Tuesday.

Only a contructor or Ms. Gamache's credibility could have gotten away with LGTH.

Looking forward to seeing so many of you at the ACPT!

PlantieBea 12:38 PM  

Easier puzzle for me, but knowing COTY, LUI, and LONDRES helped. I didn't like ISLED. Least favorite clue was 27A: hot water, preferably boiling, should be poured over the tea--at least if the tea is black. Dipping a tea bag into the little hot water filled metal pots usually offered at restaurants produces SUCKy tea.

Thanks Paula Gamache for another good puzzle.

corporate shill 12:50 PM  

@Timothy
At the New York Times Web site, there is a digital version of the puzzle in two forms: one may be solved in AcrossLite (or a couple of other programs), the other may be solved online with their own applet. The applet tracks times and displays them on the page linked above. I believe nyt subscribers have free access to this page. Others may pay to subscribe only to the puzzles.

fikink 12:52 PM  

@Clark, Ulrich is that handsome fellow of considered countenance leaning forward and Dave is the jolly figure interposed between you and Ulrich.

Karen from the Cape 1:01 PM  

@Timothy, also if you check the blog at crosswordfiend.com you can see what people post as their times.

I thought this was rather difficult too. I hadn't heard of COTY before. I'm more familiar with PALOMAR myself.

Charles Bogle 1:19 PM  

No confrey here either---thanks Paula and RP (priceless stripper photo) for slipping so much in to get up and going on a slow Monday...I circled all the words like BUTT, etc. But another great opportunity was missed. Flying yesterday from Portland OR to AZ I was reading Chandler's "Farewell, My Lovely." He and all other great crime writers in the "day" commonly called private detectives "dicks"...two weeks ago my nine year old told me a friend had used a swear..of course it was d__k. I tried to provide him the social and literary context from Chandler et al. But I stressed the word no longer carried that meaning and of course he and his friends should be careful not to use that swear. @mac, @ulrich, @imsdave: we hear congrats are in order re Westport! Any chance the rest of us could get a "breaking news" report on the proceedings

Jerry 1:21 PM  

I couldn't believe the comments of so many people, especially Rex, who thought this puzzle was anything but EASY. I breezed through it without hesitation. Must have slept well last night...my brain was operating smoothly!

Timothy 1:27 PM  

Perfect. Thank you, Corporate Shill and Karen.

Texas Momma 1:29 PM  

Who dat?

Ulrich 1:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
slypett 1:46 PM  

Hey, folks! The proper abbreviation of 'length' is 'lgth'. Accept no substitutions, Will Shortz!

While we're on the subject, length is not the opposite of width. If that were the case, what would depth (or heighth--as many Cape Anners call it) be the opposite of? Time?

Ulrich 1:59 PM  

@Clark et al: I meant as the faces appear in the picture, not as people are seated around the table. It seems to me that's how I always see it in books.

I changed the caption--hope it's now clear for everybody!

chefbea 2:09 PM  

MY FAULT!!!!! When I wrote xray - somehow I put an extra y getting confeys. Thanks for explaining confess.

And about boiling water - You do put uncooked spaghetti into it - but not a tea bag. You put the tea bag in your cup and then pour in the boiling water.

@Ulrich Thanks for posting the foto of the gang and also that yummy dessert

Rex Parker 2:15 PM  

I'm in my crossword class right now. Literally, right now. . . I have nothing else to say. Just messing around here.

RP

PlantieBea 2:17 PM  

Congrats to all who competed in the tournament and thanks for posting the photo, Ulrich.

william e emba 2:22 PM  

Yes, hardware people actually use LGTH as an abbreviation. Even more amazing, they use WDTH! And what the heck, here's a trifecta for you: LGTH, WDTH and HGHT!

Then again, the only reason I found this Medium and not Easy is because I first filled in LENG, when I finished changed it to LGTS, and thought for awhile, "SOT"? I suppose there's a drink nicknamed TABASCO SAUCE, and maybe even THIRD RAIL, and this kind of delusional thinking bugged me for a whole minute until I reread the 24D clue: singular Width apostrophe S, not plural. Well, duh. Definitely not Monday type confusion.

People don't know the French 101 word LUI? Sigh. Us old-timers, even with no knowledge of French, remember it as an important part of the notorious NYT Election Day 1996 puzzle. (I highly recommend you do the puzzle without reading the article, especially if you don't know why it's so notorious.)

imsdave 2:41 PM  

Thanks to all for the congrats and interest in the Westport tournament. I have been fortunate enough to participate in it the last two years (both times, lucky enough to enjoy the company of Ulrich, Mac, Karen, and Chefbea). A wonderful experience, similar to to ACPT (with a little less pressure) that I wish you all could share in.

The congrats offered by Chefbea were due do some of us completing all of the puzzles on time and correctly. We're pretty sure Karen would have made the finals but for a one letter mistake (that some of you may join her on either tomorrow, or next Tuesday).

General comment - go to any tournament you can! It's all about the wonderful people you get to meet.

Van55 2:58 PM  

My first thought for the negilgee model's asset was NICE BUTT. Imagine my surprise when BUTT appeared at 2D. Funny!

I really liked this puzzle and found it very easy. I'll even forgive the Roman 800 DCCC clue and answer today.

Homer S 3:09 PM  

Best abbreviations for Length, Width and Height are of course:

L W H

D-OH!

What's the fuss? I must say that abbreviations seem a necessary evil, however for this erudite endeavour

Martin 3:20 PM  

In some contexts, length and width are clearly opposites. You can search a spreadsheet columnwise (lengthwise) or rowwise (widthwise). Calling these "opposite" search orders is quite logical. Of course, in geometry "orthogonal" is the term you'd use -- and that works for two, three or more dimensions.

chefbea,
I'm a pretty fastidious foodie but I can't worked up over the boiling water clue. If one is making fine pot of tea, one doesn't use tea bags. They can't be beat for convenience but no amount of ritual is going to make a difference in the cup. (And this is coming from someone who steeps three kinds of Japanese green tea at three different water temperatures.)

sanfranman59 4:46 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)

Mon 6:49, 6:56, 0.98, 50%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:55, 3:41, 1.06, 74%, Medium-Challenging

Steve J 4:46 PM  

Yeah, the teabag clue doesn't bother me (other than the fact that any "teabag" mention sends my inner 14-year-old into giggles). While I absolutely agree that water should be poured over the tea, I'm not going to quibble with the clue (and not just because I'm a tea snob who believes bags are evil, and that boiling is the appropriate temp for even black tea, let alone green tea). The fact is, most people dip their tea bags into hot water, not the other way around. So the clue matches common usage.

Since I was doing this puzzle during the game, I never went through and read through clues I never saw because I filled in all the crosses. So I missed SUCK, which is fine, and ISLED, which I'm very glad I missed, and I wish I was still blissfully unaware of its existence.

Turned out to be an easy puzzle for me, coming in a couple minutes quicker than my average Monday time. Nice to be on the same wavelength as a puzzle for a change, as I seem to be fighting them more often lately.

Elaine 4:51 PM  

@chefbea
We need a name for the brain glitch where one writes in letters that are IN the answer, but somehow doubles, deletes, or otherwise bollixes them up... (see Comment 6 from this morning.)

Great photo, but I thought including the dessert was slightly sadistic...

@Wm Emba
We don't all take French. LUI is not a word that would normally get picked up (unlike ECOLE, or even JAMAIS)from one's reading...or puzzling. thanks for the link-- will try to see what the deal was...

hergun...favorite toy? Pictish ruler of PreRoman Britain?

Sfingi 5:08 PM  

Was an easy yet clever puzzle, MS Gamache! OK, LGTH and ISLED SUCKed, but I'm sure everyone got them.

Luckily for me, LUI is the same in Italian and "Londra" is Italian for LONDRES.

DCCC reminded me of a boo-boo on the Utica Public Library, carved in for eternity, possibly. MDCCCCIV. Yes, 4 Cs. MCMIV would be correct. Maybe the stone cutter charged by the character. If someone knows something I don't, do tell. Otherwise, I should send it to Leno.

@Elisa - interesting. I understand he was originally Corsican. Something about that combo...

@Andrea - Love it. I once heard Camaro meant something raunchy in some language or patois.

@Redanman - funny about Site Blocked. Maybe teabag was meant as the sexual reference - the reason why the Teabaggers change their name to the Tea Party.

COTY is the largest perfume company in the world. Started the same year as the Utica Public Library! It's fairly cheap - In high school, I used to buy Sand and Sable and my sister liked L'aimant.
A number of modern movie stars have had their name fragrances made by COTY.

The assembly of 100, our SENATE, could be "Cenate" until we get another state. Just found out the Articles of the Confederacy pre-approved Canada as a state. Sicily once asked to be a state.

Was thinking how strange crosswords are as a group. In the land of cw, APES=PARROTS and SALT=TAR. I'm beginning to imagine a tapestry of cw land in the style of Bosch or Bruegel, with favorite words and concepts pictured in the many details.

Utica had a player with the Saints team named Will Smith. How'd he do? In simple words, please.

chefwen 5:12 PM  

Palomar was a gimme as we could see it from our first house in So. Cal., but I did not know that it was privately owned, interesting.

Thought the puzzle was super easy and was surprised by its rating.

Only eyebrow raising was at ISLED, my spell check doesn't even like that one.

Great game yesterday, made even more enjoyable because one of our guests was originally from New Orleans. It was almost more fun to watch him rather that the game.

chefbea 5:17 PM  

@Elaine I think we can call that phenomena Stupidity!!!!!

Elaine 5:44 PM  

No, let's NOT call it stupidity!

I think with some of these errors we have some kind of mental over-ride function-- "must fill in blanks" and we spell the word out forgetting to "include" letters that are already there, or something similar. (There are
a variety of ways this kind of glitch happens; I wonder if there are people to whom it does NOT happen!)

I was thinking of a fun, forgiving little word, something like Natick, that wasn't quite so... pejorative!

Was that YOUR dessert in the picture??

4 and out,

e

Clark 5:44 PM  

@sfingi -- Thought you might be interested.

from a website on Roman Numerals (www.web40571.clarahost.co.uk/roman/howtheywork):

"The strict rules about Roman numerals have been used only relatively recently. In earlier periods, although the subtractive principle [representing 4 as IV instead of IIII] was used, it was an alternative rather than compulsory and other forms such as VIIII for 9 and CCCCC for 500 were used. At any date exceptions can be found, as these four examples from different periods and all in Rome itself, show.

The Colosseum - constructed between 70 and 80 AD and known as the Flavian Amphitheatre - seated 55,000 people. The audience entered through 80 arches which were numbered 1 to 76 - the four principal entrances were unnumbered. Each spectator had a ticket bearing one of these numbers and entered through the corresponding arch. It is said they could all enter within ten minutes.
Only 33 doorways remain and they are numbered 23 to 54 with one unnumbered entrance. The numbers do not use the contraction IV or IX. Thus arch 29 is XXVIIII and arch 54 is LIIII. However, the contraction for 40 - XL - is used and so door 44 is XLIIII . . ."

Who knew? I sure didn't. (But I suspected.)

Rex Parker 5:46 PM  

The phrase is "3 and out." For a reason.

william e emba 6:17 PM  

Rex: The phrase is "3 and out." For a reason.

You know, now that you mention it, I'm officially bummed out on Sunday's puzzle. This phrase should have been there!

today's toady 6:32 PM  

i agree with Rex!

Glitch 7:05 PM  

@Elaine

Your "glitch", as far as I'm concerned, will be known as an "Elaine".

.../Glitch

p.s. and I find comments on the captcha as interesting as answers from a "Magic 8 Ball".

fikink 8:22 PM  

@glitch, Reply hazy, try again.

Puzzler 8:57 PM  

Do you subscribe online? Is that how you were able to type in your responses?

Sfingi 9:06 PM  

@Clark - Thanx. Well if the Romans did it, I guess it's ok. Since I'm >50% Germanic and virtually all Anglo-Saxon, it grates. My maternal grandfather said it was ok, but he'd quote the relatives in the Catskills as if they weren't total rubes.

@Elaine - Call it one of those crazy captcha words. The one that's presenting itself right now is "gonsinka." Looks like a word.

fergus 9:30 PM  

AFRICA tends to be kinda HOT, too, as one could probably say about ARETHA.

For me, this was one of those cool puzzles with all sorts of Answers feeling related in a way. Remember how that artist used to tease out an image of selected combined Answers? Well, I had many of them. For example, TABASCO SAUCE YIELDS SUCK DELICACY = Oysters!

Andrea DCCCCarla Michaels 2:03 AM  

@ulrich
Love the picture!!!!!!!!! It makes it all come so alive!
If I ever had my own blog (yes, I know, Rex, I've squatted here long enough), I would make everyone use their real name and post a picture!!!
Then it really would feel like a salon and I'd stop thinking @retired_chemist was a dog!
(I"m still in shock from meeting @crosscan and finding out he had a real name and was not orange!)

@Van55
THAT, my dear, is a malapop!

@glitch
hilarious!

two really long ones and out!

Crosscan 9:53 AM  

@andrea Are you sure? Have you ever seen @orange and me together?

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