1676 Virginia uprising / MON 3-1-10 / Woman presiding at banquet / Cosmetic applied with damp sponge / Poetic chapter for Ezra Pound

Monday, March 1, 2010

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Top o' the mornin' — long (vertical!) theme answers all begin with breakfast foods


Word of the Day: BACON'S REBELLION (3D: 1676 Virginia uprising) —

(1676) a civil revolt in Virginia that sprang from colonial disagreement over response to an Indian uprising. Nathaniel Bacon (1647-76), a member of the Virginia Council, organized forces that violated Gov. Sir William Berkeley's orders and took indiscriminate offensive actions against neighboring Indian tribes, friendly or otherwise. When Berkeley removed Bacon from his council seat, Bacon's forces marched on Jamestown, burned it, and drove Berkeley out of town. The rebellion ended following Bacon's death from dysentery. After the episode, British regulars were stationed permanently in the colony. (US Military Dictionary)
• • •

Here's my one criticism of this puzzle: I don't think most people would have TOAST and PANCAKEs at the same meal. Other than that ... I'm really impressed. Brendan is my friend and frequent correspondent, and he's generally a fantastic constructor, but I don't think of him as a Monday constructor. At all. And yet this one, for all its crazy long (and original) answers and weird grid shenanigans, came in at 3:07, which is actually a little fast for me for a Monday. Further: I haven't been this entertained by a Monday puzzle ... well, since I don't know when. Maybe Patrick Blindauer's "Dollar Bill" puzzle a couple years back. I didn't even know what the theme was while I was solving. I just kept muttering "holy crap" to myself as one eye-popping entry after another kept coming into view. Every one of the theme answers is a total winner:

Theme answers:
  • 3D: 1676 Virginia uprising (BACON'S REBELLION)
  • 5D: Woman presiding at a banquet (TOASTMISTRESS)
  • 19D: Cosmetic applied with a damp sponge (PANCAKE MAKEUP)
  • 11D: Photo-filled reading matter in the living room (COFFEE TABLE BOOK)
And then there's four long Acrosses to boot. One (ultra) minor inconsistency: in their answers, BACON, TOAST, and PANCAKE have nothing to do with edibles, while COFFEE, even as a modifier of TABLE, still remains connected to its consumable form. See, I told you it was (ultra) minor. Honestly, I'm just trying to find issues to make sure I maintain perspective, because I flat-out love this puzzle. Ooh, one other issue: SERIN (8D: Small finch)!?!?! My fairly birdy wife didn't know it. I certainly didn't know it. I just looked at all the crosses and thought, "Must be right." Oh, and another thing: I IN!?!?! That is officially the roughest partial I've ever seen anywhere ever, esp. so close to ONE I. HA ha. This puzzle even has my erstwhile most hated "word" PFUI in it (23A: "Bah, humbug!"). Weird — I just didn't notice any of these small issues while I was solving. I was too blown away by the majesty of the long stuff. Funny how good concept and Great execution can make blemishes fade to near imperceptibility.

By the way, Brendan thinks I'm an idiot for liking this puzzle so much. It's technically from much earlier in his career — he submitted it almost ten years ago ("Pre-9/11!") and Will has hung on to it until now, for some reason. Maybe BEQ's embarrassed by the smattering of weak fill, or the arbitrarily vertical theme answers, or ... I don't know what. But I like what I like. And I liked this. So there.

Bullets:
  • 36A: Fancy (HIGH FALUTIN') — yeah, that's pretty regal. I mean, he throws four of these long Acrosses down, and they don't even have anything to do with the theme. Just ... bonus fanciness.
  • 18A: Unrealized gain on a investment (PAPER PROFIT) — more long goodness.
  • 29A: Detective, in slang (SHAMUS) — great hard-boiled detective word. Spade uses the word to describe himself. Wife asked, "isn't that a whale?" Yes, more than one SHAMU = SHAMUS.
  • 64A: They measure the tonnage of trucks (WEIGH SCALES) — got the WEIGH, but had to get the rest from crosses, as only WEIGH STATION was coming to mind.
  • 37D: Costing nothing, in Cologne (FREI) — Sadly, FREI always makes me think of concentrations camps (and the phrase "Arbeit Macht FREI" commonly seen at their entry gates). On a lighter note, MCCOY (9A: The real ___) always makes me think of this:


  • 49A: Kettledrum (TIMBAL) — not sure how I know this, but very glad I did. This and SERIN (and maybe BACON'S REBELLION) are the words I can see possibly giving people trouble today.
  • 30D: Terse critiques (UGHS) — Yes. I've issued many such critiques. Not today.
  • 15A: Nerve (MOXIE) — One of the great words in the English language. It's upbeat and old-fashioned and a little sparkly, with a patina of practical optimism: "You've got MOXIE, kid!" Love it.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

90 comments:

Steve J 12:10 AM  

Really enjoyed this as well, even with a couple quibbles. It was nice to have to think a bit through a Monday, and as usual with BEQ, there's fill and cluing that's such a nice change from the norm (SHAMUS needs to be in more puzzles, and is exactly 19 bajillion times better than the crosswordese private detective synonym TEC).

One quibble, unless there are regional variations I'm not aware of (Ulrich, can you confirm?), the Germans don't use FREI to designate without cost. It's used in the available sense (e.g. "Is this seat free?") or the adjectival form of "freedom." If something costs nothing, the typical word is "kostenlos" (literally, without cost).

Also looked twice at "weigh scales," as I've only seen "weigh station," but like Rex, I so enjoyed everything else going on in this puzzle that the little bumps were indeed little.

Martin 12:48 AM  

"Kettledrum (TIMBAL) — not sure how I know this"

Maybe because the same clue and entry was used last Saturday, 2/20?

I can't believe I fell into BEQ's trap -- trying to figure out the theme from the four horizontal 11s. I was got good.

Anonymous 1:21 AM  

PFUI!

Clark 1:28 AM  

I liked it!. Nice long words on a Monday.

@Steve J -- Definition #5 of 'frei' : kostenlos. Example given: freier Eintritt [free entry]. (Duden, Deutsches Universal wörterbuch.)

chefwen 1:55 AM  

I balked when I saw BEQ's name on top, we are often on different planes, but I found this puzzle Monday easy and fun with fresh fill. Did not connect with the breakfast theme until reporting in, and now I like it even more. Loved the 10 ITEMS or less as we had quite a discussion about that phrase not too long ago.

Only write over was RABBITS paws over FEET. Oh and I did try to put WEIGH stations until I ran out of room.

chefwen 1:59 AM  

Or maybe RABBITS FEET over RABBITS paws. It's late!

Anonymous 2:00 AM  

wait, this puzzle has been waiting 10 years to be published? you have to be effing kidding me... mine will never see the light of day :(

ArtLvr 2:40 AM  

Yes, this was fun -- and since I was working from bottom up in the NE I thought for a moment that BEQ was adding in an IHOP for Rex at 10D, CHOP!

The one word I wasn't crazy about was SEEPY at 72A, but crossed with 54D TACOS which might be dripping, it was okay.

I'd also note that the French TIMBALE is not only a kettledrum but also a pastry! Very nice, and I'm getting hungry... Thanks, Brendan.

∑;)

Elaine 3:26 AM  

I thought the theme might be 'High Carb Diet,' or something like that.

Tried 'PIPE DREAM' for 18A for a second, as I had P_P ___ in place from the Downs.

Had SCALES (working right to left there in the South) but had to have some help from the crosses to see WEIGH.

Anyone else want SEAMUS instead of SHAMUS? The Anglicized version is bound to be in dictionaries, but still....

Wondering if BEQ will offer a puzzle this cute'n'cuddly on his website today...

soacule--the smallest possible particle of a cleaning product

Anonymous 6:31 AM  

Looks like there could be 8 theme entries to me, since the PAPER gets read with the breakfast (which might include some RABBIT), folks WEIGH themselves in the a.m., and then they get HIGH.

Sitting on a puzzle for a decade (since constructors don't get paid until publication) is insulting and borderline irresponsible. Is it *so* difficult to assign a date upon acceptance? Yeesh.

dk 7:37 AM  

I am often SEEPY til I have my COFFEE.

My morning fare is oatmeal with chopped apples, dates and a dash of cardamon. In summer I replace the oatmeal with soy yogurt. I guess none of that would fit on BEQ's plate... err grid.

My guess is this is the only G-rated puzzle BEQ has ever done and outside of WEIGHSCALES and the fact that TBARS have gone the way of the Dodo I like it.

Still trying to find a copy of TRON to rent or watch as video on demand. I think it is important for the step twins to see a movie created with help from a Cray super computer.

Waning days of skiing.

**** (4 Stars)

jesser 7:42 AM  

Back from my trip to Hobbs, N.M., where Best Friend and I dug out, uprooted and replanted several pine trees. It would have been easier, but not greener, to CHOP. My muscles ache, but it's a good tired.

I am a big BEQ fan, and I liked the themed downs, and I liked the fresh, long acrosses, but I wanted them to be connected and thematic. That is a lot to ask, I realize, but this is BEQ, and I know he has it in him. Maybe that's why he doesn't like it, because it's an early effort that pales to his present-day standards.

SEEPY fails the (ironically) breakfast test, and WEIGH SCALES is push forced to my eye. I passed several weight stations along my way. Just saying.

I like the mini-music theme with BOZ Scaggs, Yoko ONO, ARLO Guthrie, JANE's Addiction, BOB Marley (OK, it was Dole in the puzzle, but I get to dream) and there in the center the theme to SHAFT.

Now I will tackle Saturday and Sunday, but will likely not go backwards to comment. We'll see.

Happy Monday, friends and neighbors!

Ansyne! -- jesser

Crosscan 7:49 AM  

Often, my opinion about a puzzle is more in sync with Brendan than Rex. Like today.

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

Great Puzzle. I do claim Natick over in the DC area..
(Boz/Nez)

Parshutr 8:09 AM  

This was easy, maybe because it was 10 years awaiting, but I thought it verry interesting that UGHS was used just the other day. And lots of olde xwordese. I can still visualize Mel Ott lifting his leg, Enola Gay lifting off of Tinian, and Ms. Braga, the Brazilian Bombshell and Redford's gf for a while...
Back to my morning mineral water and Balance Bar.

Parshutr 8:13 AM  

Yes, Boz (sketches by) and Nez are Naticks to me as well...since I grew up in Boston, Natick is a familiar name, even more so than Boz and Nez.

lit.doc 8:16 AM  

@Brendan, wow, an amazing piece of work. You remarked a while back on your blog that it’s actually hard to construct an easy puzzle. This is sooo close to easy, and yet I’m looking at pairs of 11s, 13s, and 15s. Wow.

Only key-overs were 8D THING/MCCOY and 49A TYMPAN/TIMBAL, neither of which surprises me much. Only two cavils, and those only because it’s Monday. The Infallible Internet tells me that PFUI is legit, but I’m curious to see how many others have ever seen anything but “phooey”. And while I’m always happy to learn new words, SERIN seems kinda outland for a Monday.

File under Personal Problems: WEIGH SCALE. One of those words I know exists, but I just can’t quite get my head around the redundancy of it.

Ed Asner 8:18 AM  

I HATE MOXIE

Rick Stein 8:19 AM  

This was one of the most entertaining & engaging Monday puzzles I've ever done. Let's hope for more like it!

John 8:44 AM  

I guess I'm in the minority. I really did not care for this puzzle. I REALLY did not like PFUI. I also don't think that SERIN belongs in a Monday puzzle (although it was easily gotten with crosses.) I think a lot of the fill was meh. TBAR, ONO, AAH, etc. I know, I know, it's a Monday, but I just didn't feel it. And, it was VERY slow to come together for me.

tptsteve 8:47 AM  

Fun fill; good way to being the workweek. Weigh scales was the only thing I thought was out of place. Tough to wait 10 years!!

Elaine 8:57 AM  

Oh, I mean to report last night on SERIN. It is an 'Old World' bird, something like a dingy canary (grayish yellow in one description.) This explains the extreme obscurity, and possibly reveals desperation. The BEQ of today would rework that area, perhaps?

I find it impossible to say PFUI to this puzzle, nonetheless.

Kurt 9:02 AM  

Best Monday puzzle in a long, long time. I agree with @Steve J, it's nice to have to think a bit on a Monday!

Thanks Brendan.

Stan 9:05 AM  

Puzzle: Approved.

Nice music theme @jesser. And let's not forget DUB reggae, Eddie RABBITt, and the MCCOYs ("Hang on Sloopy").

deerfencer 9:17 AM  

Fun, quick and lively puzzle; didn't even realize it was a BEQ until I came here (and never would've guessed).


One beef--SEEPY's tres lame, and probably one reason Q is dismissive of this early decent effort. Solid B IMO.

CoolPapaD 9:28 AM  

Very nice - I was trying to figure out who eats RABBIT for breakfast for a while!

This blog just had a nice discussion last week about Spy vs Spy - whoda thunk?

@Ed Asner - that was damn funny!

And now....

Jerry : What's happening?

Kramer : The coffee table book. It's a go!

Jerry : Oh yeah, I heard all about it.

Kramer : You know what this means? I'm starting the book tour. First stop : Regis and Kathy Lee.

Jerry : You're going on Regis and Kathy Lee?

Kramer : Oh, you better believe it!

Jerry : I'll loan you my puffy shirt.

Kramer : No,no,no.

Jerry : What're you gonna talk about?

Kramer : Well, coffee tables.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Great to have a BEQ on a Monday!Absolutely fun to solve. And I think Rex has a man-crush on BEQ! ;-)

Glitch 9:43 AM  

@Elaine

For Solvers:
SERIN is not *extremely obscure* in xword land --- 4th appearance in relatively recent times, 3 as "Small finch" once as "Old world relative of a canary".

For Constructors:

Interesting tho, if this BEQ was really 10 years old, this would have been the a first use of SERIN. Perhaps out of *desperation* after all?

.../Glitch

addie loggins 9:56 AM  

Perhaps I'm suffering a bit of PTSD from Brooklyn, but my first thought this morning was "oh, GREAT, a BEQ on a Monday ?!? PFUI!"

My ire was short-lived. What a fun puzzle, and a decent time for myself (might help that I've been going through the "easy" archives on BEQs site). Didn't see the theme until I got here (was looking at the acrosses), just zipped through and finished in under 7 minutes.

SERIN, though? That's ONEI haven't heard. I also wondered whether my guess in the FREI/TIMBAL cross was correct. But it was, so the day is off to a great start.
Nice write-up, Rex.

edith b 9:56 AM  

Chief Joseph of the Nez-Perce tribe uttered the most powerful words I ever heard when he gave up his Peoples's conflict with the United States government after a long struggle that ended in the bitter cold near the Canadian border with Idaho: "I will fight no more forever." Heartbreaking words, those. We know too little about the Native-American struggle and that is a shame.

Andrea is right when she says easy puzzle are difficult to construct. For every long entry that was good, there was a short entry that was terrible and that produced a very schizophrenic and clunky puzzle indeed. I noticed this last night while I was doing the puzzle and Rex mentioned it in passing this morning. Bear in mind, this is all my opinion.

And it was Spunk, not MOXIE, that Lou Grant hated about Mary Richards.

Ed Asner 10:04 AM  

@Edith B. I hate spunk, I hate MOXIE, and I hate verve. I simply choose which one to shout about based on what has been presented to me.

Teresa 10:13 AM  

Lots of fun. I did the puzzle inside out and saw long words with double letters in them (coffee, book, rabbit, feet) and got hung up on that for a little. Loved the fill.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:19 AM  

I was ready to argue that the German for Costing nothing was GRATIS, but I have been pre-emptively corrected.

Otherwise, what everyone else said; love BEQ.

One write-over: HIGH FASHION before HIGH FALUTIN.

Jim H 10:24 AM  

I'm with Elaine for SEAMUS. I had the puzzle completely "done" and went to check; my next thought: what's the clue for NTE? I guess an NTE degree is for what, non-termite entomology? Right up there with non-ferrous metallurgy...

Parshutr 10:40 AM  

@Jim...it's NTH degree - the ultimate.

mitchs 10:41 AM  

What great entertainment this morning, what with BEQ and Waylon!

I didn't know until this morning themes are supposed to run across. But looking back....duh.

Two Ponies 10:42 AM  

I am very surprised that this puzzle has been sitting on the shelf for ten years. Some of the clues seem to be custom-made for this blog. Shamus because we always seem to comment on Tec when it occurs. Spy vs. Spy because Rex thought about them recently re: Heckel and Jeckel. Timbal was just in a recent puzzle. I wonder if much editing took place by Will.
Any insight BEQ?
Mondays can be so boring with the exceptions of Andrea and Paula G.
I thought this was an enjoyable Monday. Very fun to solve.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

@edith, those are lovely words, but Chief Joseph never said them. Credit a particularly poetic lawyer named Charles Erskine Scott Wood.

archaeoprof 10:55 AM  

@Rex: IMO, it's totally okay if you really like a puzzle. And you can like constructors, too.

Thanks, too, for the Waylon clip. Country music! Birthday present from non-puzzle wife is 10th row seats for Alan Jackson.

PlantieBea 11:03 AM  

What a nice surprise--to get a BEQ puzzle on a Monday AM. Didn't see the theme until I got here, and figured it was a rare Monday themeless. Enjoyed it--thanks B. Quiqley for this oldie but goodie.

Steve J 11:04 AM  

@Clark: Yeah, I should have checked my Duden. It definitely wasn't common usage in Munich, however (where "kostenlos" or, as @Bob Kerfuffle reminded me, "gratis" the norm). My German tutor even told me that while it was formally correct, it just wasn't used that way. I guess we can chalk it up to another case of technically correct but not common usage (which is totally legit for crosswords, just to clarify; well, within reason).

Again, it wasn't that big a deal compared to the rest of the puzzle. Which is my feeling overall about some of the clunkier bits.

@Two Ponies: Are you intimating that in addition to BEQ's construction skills, he's got some soothsaying abilities as well? :)

hazel 11:07 AM  

I think this puzzle might have been more satisfying if I had solved the downs first. Those partials, the made-up word(s) and the tired ESE were not imperceptible to me. I guess its hard to fault the constructor for the ESE, though, given that it was constructed so long ago - maybe some of those words were considered fresh in 2001.

I don't know how long BEQ had been constructing when he created this one, but this definitely feels like an early effort - sort of like reading Soldiers' Pay or Typee. Some greatness evident, but not pervasive.

Never heard of a TOASTMISTRESS or BACONSREBELLION, which is a bit unusual (for me) in a Monday theme. HIGHFALUTIN is a cool expression.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

That other famous Rex (Rex Stout) had his detective, Nero Wolfe, say "Pfui" a lot -- and it always spelled that way.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

I wish they'd worked in O.J. Simpson

edith b 11:15 AM  

@anonymous 10:46-

Perhaps those beautiful words are only attributed to Chief Joseph but they certainly convey the spirit of the moment.

From "The Man who Shot Liberty Valence": When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

lit.doc 11:21 AM  

@Elaine, re SERIN, I think you're right that "The BEQ of today would rework that area". It would become either a Simpsons clue or something naughty. ;)

@Glitch, re SERIN, context über alles. We’re talking about a Monday puzzle here, and calling SERIN “extremely obscure” for a Monday puzzle is perfectly reasonable.

@dk, LOL re your feeling SEEPY till you’ve had your COFFEE.

Masked and Anonymous 11:28 AM  

Had toast, a pancake or coffee as part of breakfasts before, but never have had bacons.

Also intrigued that this puzzle was shelved for ten years and then published. Gotta be more of a story there. Were they waiting for an OTT/ARLO lull?

Anyhow, some really tight, long fill here, and a fun Monday solve. See yah on Monday in another ten, BEQ!

joho 11:36 AM  

It seems to me it would have been appropriate for Will Shortz to ask Brendan if he would have liked seeing this puzzle published ten year past it's conception.

I thought it was a fine Monday but definitely not representative of Brendan's skills today.

retired_chemist 11:46 AM  

@ Edith b - Liberty Valance,eh? Liberty valence sounds like it has to do with a very weak chemical bond... :-)

Kinda liked the puzzle. Fascinating to see early BEQ and compare to today.

Had a crush on Sônia_Braga after seeing "Moon over Parador." Would have liked to see more American film from her than she did....

Enjoyed the puzzle - did not know there was a convention that the theme is to be horizontal, so it didn't trick me. Like others, favorite clue/answer pair was 33D DUB, least favorite 72A SEEPY.

ArtLvr 11:50 AM  

Whatever other author used PFUI, the record probably would go to Rex Stout because it was a charcteristic exclamation of his famous detective, Nero Wolfe. In the first book of his I checked, it's on page 13:

Wolfe: I thought you had an engagement.
Archie: I may skip it. The lunch will be all right, but then a man is going to read poetry.
Wolfe: Whose poetry?
Archie: His.
Wolfe: PFUI.
Archie: Sure. I think Miss Rowan knew he was hungry and merely wanted to feed him, but then he said he would do her and her friends a big favor and she was stuck.

from "Death of a Doxy", 1966.

∑;)

(the Word is FRANK)

Martin 12:02 PM  

Although Elaine disagrees, many dictionaries reject any association between "shamus" and "Seamus." The strongest evidence for the Yiddish etymology (from "shammes," a synagogue sexton) is that the word was pronounced "shah-mes" (like the Yiddish word) until the fifties, when the spelling and a supposed connection to Irish policemen changed the common pronunciation to "shay-mes." The problem with that theory is that, by then, "shamus" was used exclusively for private detective, not police detective.

This article cites the three times Bogart uses the word in The Big Sleep, all pronounced "shah-mes."

Some dictionaries do list "Seamus" as a possible etymon. The OED lists both, with the Yiddish word first. As far as I know, no one has found proof of the "shay-mes" pronunciation being used as early as, or earlier than, The Big Sleep (1946).

Secretary of Interiors 12:09 PM  

Uh-Oh. Big shoot-out between Edith b and retired_chemist!

It's curtains for Liberty Valance!

Charles Bogle 12:37 PM  

what @stevej, @kurt, @mitchs said: tremendously fun puzzle; felt more like a Tues/Wed, which is nice/ very glad to see SHAMUS rather than dreaded TEC; also liked MIEN, UGHS, PFUI, PAWED...thank you BEQ

Doc John 12:48 PM  

I found this puzzle difficult for a Monday. There were a couple of iffy crosses: I/Y in SONIA/SERIN and Z/S in NEZ/BOZ. Fortunately, I guessed/reasoned correctly in both cases. For the I, I kept trying to remember the "Kiss of the Spider Woman" poster and how Sonia was spelled.

HIGHFALUTIN is one of my favorite words and it's even my handle on another site!

Ulrich 1:03 PM  

@SteveJ and Clark: "Eintritt frei" was also the example that came to my mind when I tried to find a phrase in which frei is used in the sense of "costing nothing". But it is NOT used (yet?) in connection with Geschenk (gift)--the Germans seem to insist that gifts cost nothing by definition--no need to be redundant about it.

Loved, of course, the reference to my home town--certain things are indeed freer in Cologne than in other, more stuck-up German cities...

... and I always thought "highfalutin" was slang for "highfaluting"--doh

Shark 1:19 PM  

For a Monday, I would have liked my breakfast going across and not down.

No other quibbles.

Kim Clijsters 1:35 PM  

After reading that gushing review, I'm guessing even my poor sister would have gotten a free pass had she appeared today.

Glitch 1:38 PM  

@lit.doc

I notice you didn't voice the same complaint about TYMBAL. It's been in only once before, on a *Saturday* no less! It received some comments also.

Perhaps TYMBAL wasn't unfair because that was only 9 days ago, and you remembered (learned)?

I bet I'm not the only one that *remembered* serin ;-)

Rhetorical Question: *Challenging Monday* an oxymoron or just an impossibility ?

.../Glitch

JenCT 2:02 PM  

Surprised by the questions about WEIGH SCALES - they're very common in the construction and materials industries. Weigh Stations, on the other hand, are used on highways, mostly to monitor whether or not trucks are overweight, per DOT rules.

lit.doc 2:04 PM  

@Glitch, good point re TYMBAL.

chefbea 2:05 PM  

very busy. No time to read comments. Liked the puzzle. Breakfast...yummmm

the redanman 2:08 PM  

I like BEQ. That said, on a Monday

N
E
BOZ

(I had no real problem with TIMBAL), but PFUI? NEZ crossing BOZ at the Z?, SERIN?, and all the INA, IIN, NNE (Ick, me no likee these tired fillers), OTT, ETA and the dreaded ONO??

I guess I expect more from BQE, maybe gets a pass if this is 10 years old, but even though I always look forward to solving one of his puzzles, this one had a few too many "look the other ways".

What do I know?

Will be interested in SANFRANMAN's statistics today.

Michael Greenebaum 2:10 PM  

I'm surprised others weren't bothered (as I was) by YETIS. Multiple sightings, certainly, but I always assumed that they were sightings of a singular creature.

Clark 2:27 PM  

During my Upper West Side days, breakfast at Tom's Restaurant (the Seinfeld restaurant exterior) would often consist of the "Lumberjack: two pancakes, two eggs, any style, one sausage, two strips of bacon and toast." And, of course, coffee. [I can't believe I found the menu for Tom's on-line (hence the quotes)! What is this world coming to?] So pancakes and toast? No problem.

If you want your theme answers across you can just flip the puzzle on the line y = -x (the diagonal from NW to SE). Funny how it would feel different that way. I wonder if a constructor ever creates a puzzle and then says, "Oh, I think I need to flip it. Those acrosses feel like downs"?

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

OLD WORLD FINCH would have been a better clue but it was easy to get.

Elaine 2:32 PM  

Anyone curious about the running disagreement over 'shammes' and 'shamus' (origins and usage) can check out WordPlay on the NYT site.

@Martin
How do *you* pronounce 'Sean?' I can easily believe "Sha-mus" changed both in spelling and pronunciation from 'Seamus' as time passed; movies helped the spread of particular terms, just as TV does today....

Neither Martin nor I is likely to convince the other, I opine.

Hey, what th'...captcha is 'supcoots'-- casual greeting aimed at old folk?

Harry J Loose 3:10 PM  

I imagine that you won't convince Martin because he is referencing actual sources while you have no idea what you're talking about, while Martin won't convince you because...why?

Mr. and Mrs. Yeti 3:39 PM  

@Michael Greenebaum -

Singular creatures don't last very long. It takes two to tango, if you catch my drift, and many more to sustain a healthy species.

mac 3:50 PM  

I enjoyed this unusual puzzle this morning, over breakfast on a terrace. I had to laugh at - I in -, love the way that looks in the grid.
It really does feel like a very early BEQ, amazing theme- and long answers but still with the crosswordese he now despises.

Favorite: highfalutin! Also, thank you Rex for the info on Bacon.

retired_chemist 4:02 PM  

@ Michael Greenbaum....

What would be the biological route to a single YETI? Parthenogenesis?

JannieB 4:21 PM  

This puzzle definitely passed my breakfast test. (Oh come on - someone had to say it!) So much fun and I agree, if this took ten years to see the light of day, well behind so much of the dreck we've had to endure, one can only wonder. Ott/Arlo lull indeed!

You guys are laugh-out-loud funny today.

sanfranman59 4:30 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 7:33, 6:55, 1.09, 74%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:26, 3:41, 1.20, 90%, Challenging

It's tough to categorize early week puzzles as challenging, but this one can probably serve as a prototype. IMHO, none of the following belong in a Monday crossword: PFUI, SHAMUS, TIMBAL, SERIN, FREI and probably not NEZ (the only one of these words that my Firefox spell checker recognizes is SHAMUS). That said, I really liked the puzzle and actually finished in just a little longer than my average Monday solve time.

the redanman 4:43 PM  

Q.E.D. for B.E.Q., SANFRANMAN59

fergus 5:05 PM  

A clever, and surprisingly difficult Monday puzzle. I imagine BEQ making a mint from just the PAPER PROFIT if only Economy performed properly.

lit.doc 5:05 PM  

@Mr. and Mrs. Yeti, since you're figments of the imagination, can't just one of you reproduce by mental masturbation?

fergus 5:21 PM  

Following on from my own illusory cash-attracting divertissement scheme, in which I have not gotten so far, BEQ ought to be on the verge of cashing in, as should Rex, for sustained and reliable excellence in their respective fields.

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

Loved the puzzle. Thought it might be themeless, wondered at serin and timbal but finished in normal Monday time.

The comments today are as good as the puzzle. :-)

Luke 7:37 PM  

Wonderful Monday puzzle with a lot of refreshing fill. I think this was because the long downs made it seem new. I really like COFFEETABLEBOOK and it took a while to get the spelling of HIGHFALUTIN.

I did think of Rex when I saw the word PFUI thinking out loud that "he's not going to like THAT one". Nor do I.

fergus 8:07 PM  

Any dismissive exhortation can work in a pinch, Luke. We ought to keep modifying and rephrasing these expletives, so that any letter splat can become a NYT legitimate word.

Sfingi 8:21 PM  

Seepier, seepiest.

He's a HIGHFALUTIN, rootin-tootin, son-of-a-gun fron Arizona, ragtime cowboy, talk about your cowboy, Ragtime Cowboy Joe!

@Steve J - Thanx. Something in the back of my mind told me frei wasn't actually used for no price, but all I could think of was billig (cheap). Recently, the iron sign, "Arbeit macht frei," at Auschwitz (there were others) was stolen, returned, and had to be fixed. Of course, work didn't get you freedom, Freiheit.

@Retired Chemist - Correct me if I'm wrong but parthenogenesis works with girls, only. Aren't all Yeti guys? OR maybe he is a YY kinda guy. and that's Y we get only a few, and childless, with strange characteristics - too tall, too hairy, too ugly - in other words, testosterone overdose!

retired_chemist 8:42 PM  

@ Sfingi - Yes on parthenogenesis AFAIK. But if you know the gender of this mythological creature you are one up on me. Just tryin' to get at how there could possibly be only one observable YETI at a time.

Martin 9:26 PM  

The locals worship the yetiettes. Given the implications of yeti PMS, it's only prudent.

mac 10:05 PM  

@Martin: how can we ever take you serious again? ;-)

fergus 10:26 PM  

Mac -- don't you want rephrase that adverbially?

And Martin, what the fuck, who are you? I like that you know everything, and that you're showing some lenience with those of us who dance around the rest.

mac 10:31 PM  

@Fergus: thank you, of course, seriously. Too relaxed in Naples, Florida......

retired_chemist 11:54 PM  

@ Martin re Yetiettes: outstanding!

Stan 12:08 AM  

Re: Luckenbach, Texas video.

I always knew that my wife knew one of Waylon Jennings' sidemen, back in the day, but suddenly there he was, Lance Wasson, green shirt, left of Waylon in the video. What followed was hours of YouTube, pleasantly spent with Waylon, Willie, and the boys (Kris, Dwight, Johnny Cash, Hank Jr., etc.) Maybe I really should be listening to country.

@archeoprof: Alan Jackson? Brad Paisley?

Stan 12:13 AM  

Ooops, Rance not Lance...

Londonmom 1:15 PM  

i can't believe rex parker is not your real name. Shocked!

Anonymous 8:31 PM  

All in all a great puzzle, gave me a lot more trouble than usual for a monday particularly when I resorted to the OED and found tympan (a drum) but nothing that ended with "l". I might have gone with the sound producing organ of a cicada instead of kettledrum, Will.

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