Govt. book balancer / TUE 3-23-10 / Dweller above Arctic Circle / Spoon-bending Geller / 1960s sitcom with talking palomino

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Constructor: Kurt Krauss

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: ARTOO (73A: ___-Detoo ... or, when read in three parts, a hint to 17-, 31- 47- and 63-Across) — "AR" is changed TO "O" in familiar phrases, resulting in wacky phrases, clued "?"-style


Word of the Day: Veronica HAMEL (69A: "Hill Street Blues" actress Veronica) —

Veronica Hamel (born November 20, 1943, in Philadelphia) is an American actress. // Hamel graduated from Temple University, worked as a secretary for a company which manufactured ironing board covers, then began a career as a fashion model after being discovered by Eileen Ford. Her first film role was playing a model in 1971's Klute. Other early roles came in the disaster films Beyond the Poseidon Adventure and When Time Ran Out. She was the model in the last cigarette commercial televised in the U.S. (for Virginia Slims, aired at 11:59 p.m. on New Year's Day 1971 on The Tonight Show). Hamel had been a model in print ads not just for Slims, but also for Pall Mall Gold cigarettes. [...] Hamel is probably best remembered for playing Joyce Davenport, the hard-driving public defender and love interest of police captain Frank Furillo, in the long-running TV series Hill Street Blues. She was a five-time Emmy nominee for that role. [...] In recent years, Hamel had a recurring role in the NBC television series Third Watch and appeared as Margo Shephard, Jack's mother, in the ABC series Lost. (wikipedia)
• • •

Woke up and did the puzzle first thing this morning, which is not my usual pattern. Normally, I solve it the night before, but I was just too tired last night. Solving in the early morning is definitely not recommended for speed-solvers. I didn't even try. I was thinking clearly, but could not work up the intent focus and slightly manic energy it takes to blow through a grid. I think this puzzle is of normal Tuesday difficulty, but can't say that with much authority. I can say that it seemed a solid enough puzzle, with some interesting features, most notably the split but sequential answer THE MEDIA, arrived at by way of John Gielgud's character in "Arthur" (23A: "I'll alert ___": Hobson, in "Arthur" (with 25-Across)). My one major issue with the theme is that all the theme answers come out sounding like Boston accents *except* TAKES UP OMS. I figured the theme *was* Boston accents, and despite taking a yoga class regularly, could not make heads or tails of TAKES UP OMS for a longish while (on Tuesday, maybe 10-20 seconds of fiddling). Even if you're not hearing Boston in the other three, the vowel sound is clearly, markedly different in OMS — longer and more rounded.

Thought the "when read in three parts" of the clue was a little awkward, even though it is kind of clever.



Theme answers:
  • 17A: Try a North Atlantic fish for the first time? (DISCOVER COD)
  • 31A: Ekco or Farberware? (POT COMPANY)
  • 47A: Registers for a meditation class? (TAKES UP OMS)
  • 63A: Store photographer? (SHOP SHOOTER)


Stumbled a few times during the solving process. Most notably, embarrassingly, and epically, I thought 3D: 1960s sitcom with a talking palomino, given how long it was, was a theme answer (?!), and so my first answer was the "wacky" "MR. EDWARD." Travis TRITT set me back on the right track (14A: Travis who sang "T-R-O-U-B-L-E"). I had to get a few crosses before FLORIN sprang to mind (12D: Old European gold coin). Doesn't feel like a Tuesday word. In fact, it's been in the NYT only once before (acc. to the cruciverb database). On a Friday. I know the word, but I should, given that I spent a lot of time in grad school studying "Old European" things. Lastly, I got stopped cold at the puzzle's very last letter — the crossing of HAMEL and OMB (64D: Govt. book balancer). I thought I was going to be annoyed at having an odd abbr. crossing an actress who works only sporadically. Then I realized I had typoed an "A" where the "O" was supposed to be. As soon as I put in the correct "O," the abbrev. no longer seemed odd: just short for Office of Management and Budget.

Bullets:
  • 19A: Jamaican term of address (MON) — Once upon a time, this used to be an abbrev. for "Monday." This answer's crossing JEMIMA (11D: Aunt known for her pancakes) has me misremembering her as Jamaican. "Have some poncakes, MON."
  • 60A: Houston baseballer (ASTRO) — Opening Day is just a couple weeks away... oh, and "baseballer" always strikes me as an odd word. The way "tenniser" would if it were a word (see also "netman").
  • 2D: Spoon-bending Geller (URI) — There's gotta be another URI out there (and not just the University of Rhode Island). I'm sooo tired of this guy.
  • 22D: Melonlike tropical fruits (PAPAYAS) — needed many crosses. Could think only of CASABAS, but they're not "tropical." Native to "Asia Minor," it turns out.
  • 55D: Leaf opening (STOMA) — yikes. I'm adding this late, as I didn't even see it. I think I glanced at the clue and didn't know it, so moved on. Seems a pretty high-end botanical answer for a Tuesday. Then again, I absolutely cannot be trusted to tell you how common / uncommon any sciencey answer is. Not with any accuracy, anyway.
  • 39D: Dweller above the Arctic Circle (LAPP) — has anyone done a LAPP OF LUXURY puzzle before. You could use Andy CAPP and ... well, I guess you can't really use Joseph PAPP, can you? [Unfair assault on theater founder Joseph?] = probably not passing the breakfast test.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

79 comments:

Parshutr 7:50 AM  

Victoria Hamel? Actually liked the stack of pancakes at the bottom -- Shopshooter Hamel at bay.
Shuah (Bostonian for sure!)
Otherwise, this was meh.

jesser 7:50 AM  

I loved this puzzle.

For one thing, Arthur is the funniest movie I've ever seen. My friend Kevin and I can quote whole scenes back and forth. The scene referenced is classic. Hilarious!

Unlike Rex, I thought this was more of a Maine-accent puzzle. I believe I think this way because one of the local papers carries a vapid Sunday comic in which the punch line is often the word "lobstah." Apparently, the fellow who draws the strip finds the Maine accent a source of great hilarity. He should watch Arthur.

Other things going for this puzzle: REO Speedwagon is a great band; TAPIRS are way cool critters; FLORIN is a nifty new word that I didn't know before today (see also STOMA, although I think I've at least seen that one a couple times); and PABLO was my best friend's name when I was a wee lad.

I really wanted 56A to be GOd instead of GOB, because I don't want "a hunk" to be something gross. Gimme Adonis! C'mon Kurt!

Overall, this puzzle gets a trail rating approval from Jesser's yellow Jeep!

Denes! (The Menace, also a lame comic that clutters the Sunday papers) -- jesser

Bob Kerfuffle 7:51 AM  

I had the same feeling as Rex, that MISTERED was the first of a theme of "Things Usually Abbreviated Spelled Out in Full."

Otherwise, just one write-over, had MEAGER before MEASLY.

Wiley Miller 8:01 AM  

@jesser -

Vapid Sunday comic?

How do you explain - Non Sequitur has been honored with four National Cartoonists Society Awards, including the Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award for 1995, 1996 and 1998, and the Newspaper Panels Award for 2002. It is the only comic strip to win in its first year of syndication and the only title to ever win both the best comic strip and best comic panel categories.

jesser 8:16 AM  

@Wiley Miller: I am entitled to my opinion, am I not? I pine for the days of 'Calvin and Hobbes' and 'The Far Side' and 'Bloom County.' Among contemporary comics, I like 'Zits,' '9 Chickweed Lane', 'Bizarro' and 'Lio.' Non Sequitur doesn't measure up to any of those, in any way, in my book. To me, it's lame-o, awards notwithstanding. That said, I love a big steaming bowl of menudo on a Saturday morning while I do the NYT crossword puzzle, and most people I know can't stand menudo and can't do the crossword. Aren't humans interesting critters? -- jesser

joho 8:28 AM  

@Rex ... I had almost the exact solving experience as you right down to filling in the "M" in HAMEL last. Except I got MISTERED right off the bat. MREDWARD is hilarious!

I loved the theme and especially liked the hint ARTOO. My only quibble is the sound of OMS in TAKESUPOMS. I hear this one as OHHMS while all the other answers I hear as AHHMS. I vaguely remember this Boston accent theme from a while back, regardless I really liked this one ... playful and fun.

FLORIN, JEMIMA, GLIB, MEASLY, STOMA, SPEEDO, PAPAYAS ... all great!

Thanks, Kurt Krauss!

Rex Parker 8:43 AM  

For the record, Wiley Miller is the creator of "Non Sequitur." Don't know if the commenter is really Mr. Miller. On the internets, anyone can be anyone.

Anyway, back to the puzzle.

rp

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

Other possible clues

Ted Kennedy's alternative to Visa

What Ted does when he leaves the gathering

L.H. Oswalt, to Ted Kennedy

Elaine 9:11 AM  

REO Speedwagon isn't a vehicle? By golly, I do learn something new every day! Surprised that tiny Veronica HAMEL was a model, but remember her well from 'Hill Street Blues.' Great show

I tried GAO before OMB--both familiar, but now wondering how they differ in function, etc. And I thought a {[Lion's warning] would likely be GRRR, (you know, before he escalated to a ROAR.)

FLORIN, STOMA, MEASLY, TAPIRS--nice words not constantly seen. Reading _Hans Brinker_ will stoke up your old Netherlands vocabulary; just don't go looking for the Zuider Zee nowadays...

And a 'tut' to Anony 8:57. For misspelling OSWALD, among other things.

The Grouch 9:11 AM  

The clue to 1A is technically incorrect. A vapor is a liquid heated to the gaseous state. A fume is a solid heated to a gaseous state. Despite common usage, they are not the same. Bad clue.

Van55 9:13 AM  

Oh, I get it now. "AR" to "O". D'oh!

I quibble with TAKEUPOMS as well. Otherwise, I liked it.

deerfencer 9:25 AM  

Enjoyed this puzzle quite a bit but got stuck in the very un-Tuesday-like crossing of TAPIRS and FLORIN, two words I've never seen before.

Other trouble spot was HAMEL/OMB; I kept thinking HAVEL (as in the Czech playwright Victor Havel). Even though I knew Veronica Hamel from her work years ago on Hill Street Blues, I simply blanked on the middle letter of her last name.

Overall this was a fun solve kicked off delightfully by DISCOVERCOD, my favorite answer of the day.

P.S. Good to read that Rex is among us mere mortals who are a bit foggy first thing in the morning before the coffee kicks in. MREDWARD cracked me up!

chefbea 9:28 AM  

Didn't understand the theme til now. Thank you @van55. Didn't understand take up oms.

What does OMB stand for?

All in all a pretty easy Tuesday puzzle

mitchs 9:33 AM  

@Chefbea: Office of Management and Budget

"This is a tough room. But I don't have to tell YOU that."

Elaine 9:34 AM  

@Chefbea
I think Rex spelled it out--Office of Management and Budget; I wanted Government Accounting Office--wouldn't they balance the books? Apparently not.

@Grouch
As I was untroubled by more advanced knowledge, FUME went in at once--though it's a rare day that I start at 1A. Thanks--interesting information. New question: if ice sublimates, do we get FUMES from the process? Because I have been in some pretty thick snow/ice-melt fogs, which I would have called 'water vapor.' This is all so complicated! Give me a TAPIR or a FLORIN any time.

SethG 9:37 AM  

I had to go back and reread the theme reveal to untangle SHxxSHOOTER because of OM. I hear the others in a Mayor Quimby accent.

Buttercup and Wesley were from Florin, and she was kidnapped to try to instigate a war with Guilder.

tptsteve 9:38 AM  

Veronica Hamel was a gimme today, as was the Arthur clue (I'm just glad it wasn't, "Would you like me to wash your . . .sir?"), but I didn't pick up the theme until I hit the ARTOO and Shopshooter clues. I needed the downs to fill in the first two,and the last fell quickly as well.

HSB was a favorite Thursday night activity; I never knew VH had a career before it. Nice Wiki trivia, too.

@Elaine- REO Speed Wagon was a car too.

Frances 9:40 AM  

@chefbea--

OMB is Office of Management and Budget. I had GAO (General Accounting Office), until I didn't.

Anent TAKES UP OMS, I've never recited a mantra or said OM out loud, but in my mind's ear, I pronounce it to rhyme with TOM, not TOME or TOMB; for me, all the wacky phrases came across as Boston-accented.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

What? No LAPP dance?

tptsteve 9:55 AM  

@RP The only other URI I know of is the jazz keyboardist Uri Caine.

In reading your comment on that point, it occurred to me there's a lot of crosswordese associated with that name- if there were more than one, they'd be URIS, Leon URIS wrote Exodus, whose hero is ARI (not URI as I usually think), all of whom make puzzle appearances from time to time.

ArtLvr 9:55 AM  

I loved this puzzle! And yes, URI used to be clued as a Swiss canton -- one of the three original. I don't know if it was William Tell's, or even if there was a real Tell.

∑;)

Ulrich 10:02 AM  

This substitution theme worked much, much better for me than the ST PA Trick we had a few days back. But it comes at a price: a plethora of 3-letter abbreviations that even spill over into 4-letter ones, TGIF et al.

As far as I know, the Lapps consider "Lapps" derogatory and want to be called Sami. That would make the offspring of a Sami and a non-Sami a semi-Sami, I guess. And if that person lived in a certain part of California, she would be a Simi semi-Sami. On the other hand, if she lived in N. Finnland, she would be a semi-Sami from Suomi, and if she came from Texas, she would be Renée Zellweger.

...and Uri is a Swiss canton...

Ulrich 10:03 AM  

@artlvr: Sorry--started writing before you had posted!

Cathyat40 10:13 AM  

Rex, I see you mentioned a "typo;" do you solve online using the "play against the clock" feature or using Across lite?

CoolPapaD 10:17 AM  

Hysterical puzzle - great for Tuesday or any day. I just pictured someone way up in the Northeast - I couldn't tell a Maine accent from Boston anyway (remember those Peppridge Fom cookie commercials?).

A STOMA can refer to any biological opening - commonly used to describe some that would not pass a breakfast test for anyone outside the medical field.

Poncakes , Mon was tremendous!

Charles Bogle 10:21 AM  

@chefbea: now that you understand the theme, can you clue me in? Early in day solve for me too after another late night on CT shore praying the rain would stop. Favorite part of puzzle: clue for "Augusta" setting. With the Masters beginning, I must have tried five different ways to squeeze in variances of Georgia, Masters, golf...WOODS?

Don't Sell Me Short 10:31 AM  

@Elaine

I'm actually 5'8".

V. Hamlin

OldCarFudd 10:33 AM  

Good, enjoyable Tuesday puzzle. I agree that OMS isn't pronounced like the others. But, since the theme was specified as AR TO O, it's irrelevant.

REO built cars and trucks until 1936, then only trucks. The SPEEDWAGON was a truck.

JenCT 10:33 AM  

The Boston/Maine accent answers cracked me up! STOMA was a gimme for me. Also had GAO before OMB. Liked this.

Rex's first sentence 10:35 AM  

""AR" is changed TO "O" in familiar phrases, resulting in wacky phrases, clued "?"-style."

Dough 10:35 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
DB Geezer 10:42 AM  

Another clue for URI might be
A cold. Abbrev.
Upper Respiratory Infection

In re TAKES UP OMS, since crosswords are written rather than oral, I am willing to forgive KK.

The proper pronunciation of the Sanskrit word is OHM

Dough 10:47 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Two Ponies 10:50 AM  

I'm with @jesser on thinking it was Maine accents esp. with Maine at 70A. Minor quibble with Oms but it did not spoil the fun.
Once I bought a decal in Maine that said "Maine stickah fah the cah." Couldn't resist after a week of wondering what language I was trying to decifer there. In the rural parts I swear it was something othah than English.

Dough 10:55 AM  

The "AR to O" reminds me of a fabulous cryptic crossword I solved decades ago that I still consider the best solve of my life. A dozen or so clues were given in a letter-substitution code. That code was revealed by the answers to a bunch of italicized clues, clued normally. So if ARTOO had been an answer to an italicized clue (which it wasn't), the encoded clues would be decoded by replacing "AR" with "O." The cleverest entry to provide the encoding method was "SFORZANDO" so that when you saw a "ZO" in an encoded clue, you replaced it with with an "S" (S for Z and O).

mitchs 11:01 AM  

Can someone place origin of one of my favorite phrases: (Maine resident befuddling intrusive tourist needing directions) "Cahn't get theyah from heeah, roads don't connect."

hazel the friendly tutter 11:03 AM  

I'm with all the accent people. Can hear Teddy Kennedy saying every one of them - even the OMs, but that's just me imagining. Pretty sure he'd be happy with recent legislation. Know I am.

Fun puzzle for me.

Two loge tuts.

fikink 11:06 AM  

@Grouch, nice distinction. Thanks.
@Rex, I, too, flinched at OM substitution. Tin ear.
@Ulrich, "Simi semi-Sami"- simply sensational!

GOB is also British slang for mouth, as in: “If I hear that word Joyce again, I will surely froth at the gob!” (Brian Nolan, aka, Flann O'Brien [At Swim-Two-Birds] supposedly uttered this.)

I'm not perfect today, durnit 11:07 AM  

Mispelled HAMEL

the redanman 11:11 AM  

SODA is NOT any self respecting Scotch's partner where I come from ...

I can think of someone else who might complain about this one, too

fikink 11:14 AM  

Correction: That is Brian O'Nolan.

Gray 11:17 AM  

Scotch is the new beet. I nominate couscous for the next one, and intend to bring it up every day until you all join me.

Stan 11:32 AM  

The theme (which was alphabetical and not phonetic) really worked for me with its funny substitutions. I don't even understand the comments about Boston/Maine accents, probably because I talk that way.

In an earlier discussion of regional pronunciation here (or maybe on some other blog), Orange posted a link I found really helpful and fun:

What American Accent Do You Have?

PlantieBea 11:50 AM  

Once long ago my husband worked at a toy store chain. When he was a new employee, he helped to open a new store in the midwest where we lived. A corporate operations director from the NE screamed at DH's incompetence. Why? Because he could not find the BOBBY dolls. As hard as he looked, he could not manage to locate the huge BOBBY doll section. We had a good laugh over this again while solving the AR TO O puzzle last night. Thanks Kurt Krauss.

Scott 11:54 AM  

1. "Lapp" is indeed considered a derogatory term by some, just like "Eskimo". "Sami" or "Saami" is the preferred term for the former, the pleasingly vowel-heavy "Inuit" for the latter.

2. Love the theme, especially the ARTOO bonus. Though I agree with Rex that that TAKESUPOMS doesn't work. And it would have been nice to see Jack Donaghy in the grid somewhere.

3. Why does URI always get clued with an obscure magician and not University of Rhode Island? Or else an Armenian cucumber?

archaeoprof 12:02 PM  

Country music in the puzzle! Travis TRITT! Country music fans like songs that spell out words. Like T-R-O-U-B-L-E. It's intellectually stimulating for us.

chefbea 12:08 PM  

@charles boggle - guess you understand the theme now???

Nothing better than beets with scotch and a splash of water, not soda

joho 12:15 PM  

@archaeoprof ... I thought 14A was a shout out to you!

Now I think I'll go "poc the caw."

Tinbeni 12:33 PM  

SODA?
SODA?
WTF! This is blaspheme!!!

The only 'partner' to my SCOTCH is ... more SCOTCH.

A good puzzle ruined.

MikeM 12:37 PM  

Time flies, cannot believe Veronica Hamel is 66 years old. Had quite the crush on her during the Hill Street Blues days.

Loved the puzzle.

George NYC 12:39 PM  

@mitchs "Bert and I"

Kurt 1:03 PM  

I appreciate all of the nice comments. This was my first published puzzle, so this has been a pretty exciting day. Thanks for being part of it.

mac 1:09 PM  

Except for all those three letter abbreviations I liked the puzzle. Thank you, florin was a gimme. I also wanted to get in Georgia, and must have read the clue to "the" and "media" to hastily, because I was thinking of Calvin and Hobbes, too!

My sister and BIL just spent a week in Lappland and loved it. I'll be seeing their pictures soon, it's supposed to be
beautiful there

@Grey: my vote is for quinoa.

foodie 1:12 PM  

Rex, I thought I was so clever because I thought of another human URI. It turns out mine has an additional letter: Yuri Gagarin- first human in outer space...

Where's Aunt Jemima from? I have an aunt called Omyma (Rhymes with Jemima). Not too many words rhyme with them.

archaeoprof 1:32 PM  

Congratulations, Kurt!

Clark 1:37 PM  

@Stan -- I just did the American Accent thing. It identified me perfectly. I had to really listen hard to figure out how I was actually saying things, in order to answer the questions accurately. (By the way, welcome to your handsome new cat. Obi and Gracie would second that I'm sure but they're off sleeping somewhere.)

@Kurt -- Congratulations on your first puzzle! I liked it a lot. The visual change of letters was consisitent, and that worked for me.

Steve J 1:48 PM  

Even with not getting the theme (I kept trying to split R2D2 into three parts, and never saw AR-to-O until reading Rex's explanation), this was one of those days where I was on the right wavelength. Breezed through this in faster-than-average-Monday time.

I also thought of the Boston accent angle. Even without knowing if that was the theme, stuff was easily gettable for me from enough crosses. Ditto two answers I had no idea of: STOMA (although the word does sound familiar, I couldn't have told you what it meant) and HAMEL (never watched "Hill Street Blues"; I typically hate cop shows).

I had only known Aunt JEMIMA for her syrup; apparently she makes pancake flour, too. I guess I've learned my new thing for the day.

@Tinbeni: There's one acceptable mixer with Scotch. The Scots themselves will add a splash of spring water to single malts. I've taken to doing the same with malts. Soda is, of course, a common mixer, so I didn't have problems with the clue, even though I'd never allow soda anywhere near my Scotch.

hazel the friendly tutter 1:55 PM  

@Kurt - congratulations to you!! a Tuesday that doesn't cause a firestorm here is an accomplishment indeed!!

Look forward to your next one!!

joho 2:03 PM  

@Kurt ... what a nice surprise to find out the contructor is you! Great job!!!

bluebell 2:40 PM  

I'm a born and bred west coast person, and therefore do not have east coast language sounds in my ear. But I am a visual speller, and can get approximate sounds, so this puzzle went down nicely. Even the Manning brother was easy, since I learned it here.

Got slightly hung up on the Wisc neighbor, since I wanted Michigan, until I realized that Minnesota was much better.

dk 2:57 PM  

Work the curse of the puzzle class. A few comments.

Spent summers and five years living in Maine (The other LA is Lewiston-Auburn) and I still don't get the theme.

I had no idea Ms. HAMEL was so... buxom.

Happy to see both the long faced MISTERED, long nosed TAPIRS and long truck SEMI made it to the grid.

** (2 Stars) Just an average Tuesday but an excellent first offering. Thank you KK

d (oh Willllbbbber) k

Stan 3:13 PM  

@Kurt: Congrats!! Thanks for not telling anyone and thus avoiding the vexing 'objectivity' question.

@archeoprof: Like D-I-V-O-R-C-E?

@Clark: Thanks from Willow, who will soon be emailing Obi and Gracie in that secret midnight cabal they all have, leaving no traces in the morning.

chefwen 3:28 PM  

Congratulations Kurt, this was a great first puzzle. Just right for a Tuesday. Only write over was MINN over mich, that's where the MIL lives.
PAPAYAS a gimme, got some growing in the front yard, yummy with a squeeze of lime.

George NYC 3:34 PM  

Nice job, Kurt.

I particularly liked the Mister Ed, Bert and I and "Arthur" clues. Nice.

sanfranman59 3:57 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)

Tue 8:11, 8:53, 0.92, 33%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:29, 4:31, 0.99, 53%, Medium

Tinbeni 4:42 PM  

Kurt
As a first time constructor I think you did a great job. It was fun puzzle to solve.

Sorry I went off the DEEPEND earlier but I am a genuine Scotch aficionado.
NEAT, in a snifter is the only way to go.
The only "partner" my Scotch ever needs is a West Coast of Florida sunset.

Those that ruin the Scotch with SODA are wusses.

JMHO

Sfingi 5:40 PM  

@Kartofel - also wanted meager, hoping it wasn't meagre for MEASLY.

Took me a while to get the theme. By then, I was almost done.

What? Alcoholics tow things? Like drunks' cars? Oh, that's AA not AAA.

@Tinbeni - Just don't go off the DEPENDs if you knock yourself out with too much Scotch. I guess that's me. I've fainted from novocaine.

Take it easy, It;s just a song:
"People don't believe me.
They think that I'm just braggin.'
But I can feel the way I do and still be on the wagon."

@Rex - and if you were to see URI Geller's act you'd want knock him off the stage as the Amazing Randi likes to. (Randi's Canadian, too.)

uptown 5:44 PM  

Another URI is "universal resource identifier". URLs are a subset of URIs. The trouble is, how do you come up with a clue that won't have everyone immediately writing in URL?

Glitch 5:50 PM  

For the more tolerant,

Scotch and Soda

..../Glitch

Tinbeni 6:24 PM  

@Glitch
I'm tolerant but as the saying goes ...
"A man has to believe in something,
I believe I'll have another Scotch!"

BTW, The Kingston Trio embed was great.

Pete Bog 6:51 PM  

I like the way @Tinbeni and the single-malt crowd have stood up for not adulterating good Scotch with soda.

On the other hand, @Glitch provides a useful corrective. In popular culture, it's a classic pairing (and a great song).

Two Ponies 7:34 PM  

I'm right there with the single malt crowd. I still wrote soda without hesitation. It's certainly part of our language whether you like them together or not. In a pinch (pun intended) I suppose I'd rather have a scotch and soda than no scotch at all!

Charles Bogle 7:55 PM  

hey I got it now! I got the theme...just like we always skip over intro directions, I skipped Rex's initial sentence

btw you have to see the wonderful poem about crosswords over at nyt wordplay blog...

JenCT 9:29 PM  

@Stan - yup, the Accent quiz pegged me as a New Yorker.

Congrats Kurt, enjoyed the puzzle.

Sfingi 9:58 PM  

Scotch is definitely coupled with soda in culture.

There's an Italian song - (You act like an American) - where they say "but you drink Whisky and soda" "but I'm born in Italy."

"Tu vuo' fa L'americana, mericano, mericano...ma si bive 'Whiskey and soda' ..."ma si nato in Italy"

sanfranman59 11:40 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 6:06, 6:53, 0.89, 23%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:19, 8:53, 0.94, 37%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:16, 3:40, 0.89, 21%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:29, 4:31, 0.99, 53%, Medium

andrea minn michaels 2:37 AM  

Congrats, Kurt!!!!
(I think this is the part where I'm supposed to say I have a crush on you, regardless of how I felt about the puzzle!) ;)

MINN brought back sweet memories of growing up in MINN, before the PO insisted on the 2 letter MN. (Which I'm still slightly, tho appropriately, PO'ed about.)

It's odd, if I see WISC in a puzzle it feels wrong, but if I see MINN, I get all happy.

@SteveJ
I spent at least ten minutes trying to break ARTOODEETWO into three syllables even tho I got the theme, I couldn't parse what the clue was saying about it.
I also didn't get DISCOVERCOD until way after I finished.

JFK is sort of a bleedover from yesterday, tho reverse...at least it wasn't defined as DDE follower!

@anon 9:48
Love "Lapp dance"!
(Come out, come out... whoever you are!)

M in OMB was also my last letter, as I don't know OMB, tho I remembered the woman, I debated whether her name was Veronica Havel. (Maybe in the Czech version of Hill St. Blues?)

sificligh 5:15 PM  

I too was going with the Boston / Rhode Island accent theme, and when I got down to the "Artoo" clue, I couldn't figure out what the hell it had to do with New England, even with the "when read in three parts" hint. Now, finally, I got it. Grr.

RexMD 2:28 PM  

Very clever! Am I being too literal in thinking the theme should work throughout the answer?

Would LOVE to have seen "GOB" clued as "Arrested Development's illusionist". Any fans out there?

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