Electrical pioneer Thomson / THU 3-25-10 / Nile valley region / Carrier to Tokyo / Jimmy Stewart syllables / ABC daytime staple since 1997

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Constructor: Dan Naddor

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Odd signs ... — three 15-letter theme answers that imagine retail signs w/ unintended secondary meanings

Word of the Day: The WYE Accord (65A: ___ Accord (1998 Mideast peace agreement)) —

Officially called the Wye River Memorandum, the accord outlined a limited and interim land-for-peace settlement between Israel and Palestine. It was signed October 23, 1998, by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (1949-) and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (1929-2004) at a summit held at Wye Mills, on the banks of Maryland's Wye River. The meeting was the follow-up to the 1993 Middle East Summit in Oslo, Norway. There, after months of talks, both sides agreed to an interim framework of Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Wye meeting was the opportunity for both sides to make good on the promises made in Oslo. // The Wye Accord was brokered after a 21-hour bargaining session mediated by U.S. president Bill Clinton (1946-). The points of the agreement included developing a security plan to crackdown on terrorism; the withdrawal of Israeli troops from an additional 13 percent of the West Bank (along with a commitment for future additional withdrawals); a transfer of roughly 14 percent of the West Bank from joint Israeli-Palestinian control to Palestinian control; Palestinian agreement that anti-Israeli clauses in its national charter would be removed; Israel's guarantee that it would provide two corridors of safe passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank; Israeli release of 750 Palestinian prisoners; and the opening of a Palestinian airport in Gaza. (answers.com)
• • •

Very quick write-up today. Big day of midterms ahead. Plus, I woke up to a message from a friend who is in poor health, and I'm not in much of a mood to gambol through the puzzle (in my usual light-hearted, cheery way ...). Today's puzzle is a posthumous offering from the very prolific and much-admired Dan Naddor. It's an unusual Thursday — no crazy gimmick, just some clever plays on words. Lack of a demanding theme allows the grid to open way up, resulting in low word-count puzzle (for a Thursday). This means relatively wide open spaces, and, for me, a slightly slower-than-usual time despite the fact that the puzzle didn't feel particularly tough at all. I just had a hardish time picking up some of the answers, particularly in the NW, where I both started and finished (last letter, "F" in FETE20A: Roast, e.g.). I got LAL and AGA up there, and then AGLEAM, but the LAB FEE (1D: Physical expense) and LAO-TSE (3D: Who wrote "He who does not trust enough will not be trusted") just wouldn't come off their respective LA-s. This meant the BLOW in BLOW-OUT TIRE SALE was not visible, which meant that I had no idea what the theme was for the longest time — I had most of the grid filled in before I got a *single* theme answer, and even when I got my first (LINGERIE HALF-OFF), I didn't know what I was supposed to see in the others. By the end, I wondered why anyone would advertise "ALL SUITS SLOSHED," then realized that Jimmy Stewart was probably not in as much pain as I'd imagined (59D: Jimmy Stewart syllablesAWS).

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Odd sign at a Michelin dealership? (BLOW-OUT TIRE SALE)
  • 36A: Odd sign at Victoria's Secret? (LINGERIE HALF OFF)
  • 56A: Odd sign at Men's Wearhouse? (ALL SUITS SLASHED)
There's a host of little things I didn't care for. Does the [Physical expense] of LAB FEE mean the price you pay when you get a physical (at the doctor's) and they charge you for lab tests? I think of LAB FEE exclusively as a fee students pay for their (science) labs in college, but that surely has everything to do with my spending well over half my life in and around universities. AAU (5D: Jr. Olympics sponsor) is a terrible abbreviation that I never saw before crosswords, and have probably seen only once before today. It's exceedingly unfamiliar. I had RATER for DATER at first, though the latter makes more sense. RSTU (55A: Alphabet string) speaks for itself. I have never seen ANA clued as a Japanese airline (All Nippon Airways) (40A: Carrier to Tokyo), but to be fair, that's the second hit that comes up when you google [Ana], right after American Nurses Association. I could do with never seeing LAR in any way, shape, or form again (35A: Choreographer Lubovitch). Otherwise ... the mid-length fill in the puzzle strikes me as quite solid, as does the longer stuff in the NE and SW corners. The theme is sufficiently cute. All in all, enjoyable.

  • 14A: Near east honorific (AGA) — also spellable with an "H"
  • 15A: Like boot camp vis-a-vis day camp (HARSHER) — given that those things are completely unrelated, this clue may as well have read [Like torture vis-a-vis a back rub]
  • 61A: ABC daytime staple since 1997 ("THE VIEW") — has it been that long? Yeesh. I once (twice, actually) lost a fingernail when my finger got slammed in a door. . . make your own analogy here.
  • 6D: "The A-Team" muscleman (MR. T) — "The A-Team," like everything from my childhood and adolescence, is being made into a movie now (see also the upcoming "Clash of the Titans")

  • 18D: Symbol of limpness (WET RAG) — "Symbol" seems rather high-falutin' a word.
  • 19D: Car whose name is an acronym (SAAB) — Swedes Are Amazingly Burly
  • 25D: Nile Valley region (NUBIA) — I've heard rappers refer to black people as NUBIANs, but I never really considered NUBIA as a specific place. Until today.

  • 50D: Electrical pioneer Thomson (ELIHU) — O boy, another ELIHU. Had never even seen such a name until I stumbled on it in a puzzle one day, clued via ELIHU Yale (founder of the eponymous University).
Good day,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

APRIL 29, 2010 UPDATE:

P.S. this is my final plug for this weekend's "Crosswords L.A." charity crossword tournament at Loyola-Marymount University (5/1/10). Looks like I'm on the judging/scoring team with constructors Tyler Hinman, Doug Peterson, Todd McClary, and Alex Boisvert. Tyler and Andrea Carla Michaels are doing color commentary for the finals. It's cheap, it's fun, you can solve in teams if you want ... more info here. For those of you who are wondering if you are "good enough" to compete — you are. These tournaments are only stressful for the hyper-competitive. For the rest of us, they're just a chance to geek out about puzzles in a low-key, friendly environment. Hope to see L.A.-area folks there.


jesser 7:48 AM  

@Rex: Please send me a burly Swede, stat! Even when you're in bad sorts, you find ways to make us grin. I'll keep you and your friend in my thoughts...

I really liked this puzzle, despite the fill issues Rex mentioned. I would add that PCS at 63D was a tad weak.

But the theme answers were great, and long, and you can just see Jay Leno holding them up on a Monday night! Loves it!

My only snag in the puzzle was at 34D and 39D. I already had the theme cross, so I chucked in SLope and Fortes confidently. That Did Not Work, and it took me some time to get unMIRED.

I am happy to report that I have never -- not once -- watched The View. There is an egg farm nearby in Mesquite, N.M., if I wish to hear loud, mindless cackling. Or I can read that comic strip I mentioned earlier in the week.

I also do not watch boxing, so it's vaguely disturbing (to me) that I plopped CAMACHO right into the grid, just like that. Maybe he's from around here. That's how I know Oscar de la Hoya's name. Plus, he's adorable (when not battered).

Long day ahead, so I'll stop here. Happy Thursday, everyone!

Tesest! (A malady that attacks a man, and we do not wish to discuss it) -- jesser

mungsh 7:50 AM  

To me, LAB FEE is what you pay a breeder to get one (I have three).

For 22A I kept wanting Edw. WESTON ... and it was EASTMAN. funny how the mind works.

Easy for a Thurs but I am so ON BOARD with the theme. Clever and cute. Fun.

ArtLvr 7:51 AM  

Great AHA moments, after initial puzzlement at the "Odd" start to the theme clues! I first caught on the humor at HALF OFF as I worked down the east coast...

The tributes to Dan, late puzzler emeritus, at Wordplay reflect his wonderful love for the game. How did he do these always in pen? At least we'll see two more down the road.


JannieB 7:53 AM  

Puzzle was fine - one small mistake, no real problems. An enjoyable theme.

I've been thinking that, given the many many times good fill is sacrificed in the name of a theme (half-baked or otherwise), and the many many times some themes have been recycled, that maybe it's time to add another themeless day or two to the week. I'd rather do an easy themeless with zippy fill than slog through a boring Monday/Tuesday just to make a word ladder. FWIW

Parshutr 8:29 AM  

Svenska Aeroplan AktieBolaget [or something close to that] = Swedish Airplane Factory.
I found a lot to love in this one...actually walked past a Victoria's Secret store advertising "Bras Half Off"...only real slowdown was putting in DISPUTES instead of EMANATES

HudsonHawk 8:45 AM  

AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) dropped right into the grid for me. The AAU used to be extremely influential in track and field, when Olympians had to be amateur athletes, but Congress took away much of its power in 1978.

Today, you're more likely to see AAU teams mentioned in the often sleazy underbelly of college basketball recruiting.

joho 9:01 AM  

I'm happy to hear from @ArtLvr that there are two more Dan Naddor puzzles yet to be published. His themes are so fresh and fun, like today's.

Some nice words here, too: EMERITUS, NAUTILUS, BIPOLAR, NUBIA, WETRAG. Also a nice clue for OREOS, not as good as the one with the 12 flowers, but still good.

OldCarFudd 9:12 AM  

Liked it, especially the goofy theme signs. One error: Cal/Cabfee. California looked OK for a sports team, but what do I know? I imagine the "Bras Half Off" sign stopped some traffic!

mitchs 9:26 AM  

Ditto, Artlvr. Highly recommend a visit to Wordplay today. There's a very poignant remembrance of Mr. Naddor from his wife and comments from his editors. NSFW takes on a new meaning...you may have tears to explain.

Zeke 9:26 AM  

Got slowed down by the fact that (wet) NOODLES are the archetype of limpness, and have never heard of a WETRAG as such. Ever. All rags are limp, wet ones simply weigh more, I don't know that they're particularly limper, just as limp but heavier. I also was confused by the "The Black Stallion" - with the caps it's a novel, it's not as if the horse's name was The Black Stallion. I don't know if that's valid Thurs misdirection or not, but spent way too long looking for some version of TWEENLIT or that would fit. Felt more like a slog that a challenge to me last night, but then again, twasn't a good night.

MsCarrera 9:34 AM  

@mitchs - I am not familiar with Wordplay, so when I went to what I thought was the correct site, I did not see the tribute you mentioned about Dan Naddor. Would you direct me to the correct site please? Thanks.

Friendly Helper 9:47 AM  

@MsCarrera - It's right there on Rex's site under Daily Crossword Blogs, or here

chefbea 10:01 AM  

Loved all the theme answers. Found the puzzle difficult though. Had to google a lot.

PlantieBea 10:05 AM  

I liked this medium-ish Thursday with its funny theme answers. I struggled with the bottom; I've never seen THE VIEW so it and its daytime companion shows are not on my radar screen. For a while, I had TV HOST at 45D so I was trying to create a name for 61 ACROSS.

foodie 10:11 AM  

This puzzle should have been very easy for me, given the combination of middle eastern answers (ARABIAN, NUBIA, WYE) and work related answers EMERITUS and even BIPOLAR Disorder, an illness I study! And I still stumbled all over myself. ASWAN in lieu of NUBIA, NOODLE in lieu of WETRAG, BLUE in lieu of BLEU, etc. But I really liked the theme answers. They were clever and subtle and one could totally imagine them being used in real life.

Here's a white rose in memory of Dan Naddor.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:19 AM  

Sort of a medium for me. As Rex did, I found it a bit slow despite not being particularly difficult. Since I don't strictly time myself, I think a lot before putting anything down. So, no write-overs, although I got all three theme answers by working from East to West.

hazel the friendly tutter 10:21 AM  

This is absolutely the type of puzzle that would have given me fits a year ago, but it was such a fun solve for me last night. Even though I'm not much of a grinner, @Jesser's frequent grinning is sort of infectious - and I may even have grinned when I 1st pieced together ALLSUITSSLASHED.

Dan Naddor's puzzles are so distinctive - and I've done so many of them through LAT - that I was able to ride his wave on this puzzle and I really liked it. Those few little ragtags of ESE were totally inconsequential to my own experience. Repeat. Very fun solve for me.

I also like seeing LAOTSE in puzzles.

Ulrich 10:30 AM  

EMERITUS is as far as I will ever get in being mentioned in a puzzle--well, a sparrow in hand...

I want to really like the puzzle, for all the reasons stated, but can't find myself liking the slashed suits--I see the unintentional humor in blown-out tires and half-off lingerie, but slashed suits? I don't get it--slashed tires, yes, but that would be a repetition--slashed wrists, yes, but they are never sold in unslashed form AFAICS...

Tinbeni 10:45 AM  

ELIHU: The Musical GNU.
Must have read this to my niece many times a zillion years ago. Every time I see this name in crosswords its like a time-trip back to those memories.

Themes fell easily, as did puzzle.
Really like LINGERIE HALF OFF. Its a guy thing.

@Ulrich: The price of the suits have been reduced, aka 'slashed'

@Fikink: Just for you, my BI-POLAR vision found Scotch again hidden in the puzzle.

MsCarrera 10:48 AM  

Thanks, Friendly Helper. I usually come here to verify my answers and to read some of the comments. I do not read much else from Rex's site, so I did not notice the Daily Crossword Blogs.

Glitch 10:57 AM  

Enjoyed this one but for 3 clues:

22A: EASTMAN was not a "Photography pioneer" per se, he was an inventor, manufacturer, (and philanthropist) that brought photography to the masses (roll film & cameras) --- photography was already well established. I chalked this up as misdirection.

63A: PCS as Program *holders*, well, @jesser was too kind.

54D: RSVP is a *request*, tho recently read where it's morphing into a noun as in "... send your RSVP to ...". But its "in the language", along with "PIN number" and "Nintendo Super NES".

Have whatever kind of day you want to...


OldCarFudd 10:59 AM  

Thanks also from me, Friendly Helper. I wasn't familiar with Dan Naddor or his puzzles, so I hadn't looked up what had been written about him. Now I have, and I'm glad I did.

Two Ponies 10:59 AM  

I found this much harder than Rex did. The shape of the grid required you to get the theme answers in order to connect the three smaller puzzles. For me the SE was the last to fall.
The jokes were sorta funny but I agree with @Ulrich that the suit answer isn't that funny and a little off.
I tried Talk TV instead of the generic TV Show so that kept the SE corner a mystery for too long. Estival was new to me as well and I think of a bistro as a few notches above a mere eatery.
@ Zeke, The horse's name was The Black. The book was The Black Stallion. An excellant movie, btw.
@ Rex, Next time you need a break from the blog I nominate @jesser as a guest host.
@ jesser, You are the funniest recent addition to the blog. Glad you showed up.

Ulrich 11:10 AM  

@Tinbeni: I know that. My point was that "slashed" in connection with "suits" is not incongruous in the way "blow-out" is in connection with "tires" or "half-off" in connection with bras (thx Two Ponies!)

foodie 11:20 AM  

@Ulrich, I agree. I took SUITS to also refer to the executives and some secret yen to do away with them. But may be that's all projection on my part. But I agree the association does not come to mind as readily as blowing up tires or half undressing.

hazel the friendly tutter 11:34 AM  

@Ulrich - well, I see your point too - but the clue is related to the word ODD. And it would be odd to see a sign advertising slashed suits in a Men's Wearhouse. At the same time, its very easy for me to imagine the sign!

I guess that means I both agree and disagree with you. For the record, I prefer to be agreeable.

jae 11:52 AM  

I liked this one. Clever and cute. Easy-medium works for me and thanks for the pointers to info on Dan Naddor as I'm not familiar with him.

Zeke 11:56 AM  

Forgot - Hector "Macho" COMACHO front and center in the NY Times puzzle - welcome but oddly jarring.
@Two Poinies: Actually, the horse was always refered to as "the Black", "the" isn't capitilized. Either way, The Black Stallion is the title of a book, the Black was a stallion. The misdirection seemed odd was all I was saying.

treedweller 12:07 PM  

I found this one harder than others. It took me a while to get going, then I finally finished most of it, but the NW was a fail. I tried "use" FEE, which made me wonder what Bryant's alma mater was. Then I put in "sri" instead of AGA and I accidentally typed EMiRITUS, which spoiled LAOTSE (which I don't think I'd have gotten readily, anyway) and AGLEAM, which I tried mightily to make "abeam" despite its not fitting.

But I liked the theme answers and generally enjoyed the puzzle.

Rube 12:28 PM  

I too found this difficult for a Thursday and had to Google a Thursday puzzle for the first time in the last few weeks. In fact, had to Google the first three proper names on the first line. With those as traction the rest of the puzzle went fairly smoothly.

When in High School in the late '50s I had to join the AAU in order to participate in their Summer Track & Field meets. Nevertheless, I couldn't get this from the clue. I think they still have these programs.

Thought all of the theme answers were great. Estival is my WOTD.

BigSteve46 12:35 PM  

Actually AAU basketball is a great program in the Westchester/Rockland area of New York. It all depends on the coach and the organization which sponsors the particular AAU team. Great competition and a chance to play in some off-the-beaten path (at least for me) locations. Nice puzzle- tough in an odd sort of way. It took longer than it should have but in the end everything made sense and was quite fair.

Sandy 12:41 PM  

I found it surprisingly hard to get traction on this puzzle.

Lately I feel like my brain has gotten worse, not better, at puzzles. What the heck is that about?

Elaine 12:47 PM  

Ah, I see I have company. SRI--check. ASWAN--check. And for some reason I thought Kobe played for the CAVs, or maybe CLV or CLE...
ABLOOM worked for me! And I got LAB but couldn't come up with FEE.
WETRAG was certainly not what came to mind when clued as [symbol of limpness]...though I did get that section eventually.

The short story: DNF. I could have googled, but coming down with a cold has slashed my energy level...so I checked in on WordPlay, and there I read the tribute to Dan Naddor. After that, I can't even feel badly about being trounced.

See you guys another day. Cough, hack, sneeze, wheeze, sniffle. Hope you don't catch this from me!

PuzzleGirl 12:51 PM  

Ulrich: I take it you've never been cheated on by a man you live with who owns a lot of suits. Slashing them is definitely the way to go. Not that I've ever done that.

mac 12:52 PM  

I also found this one hard, and finished in the SE.

I had laureate for emeritus first, and to me a wet rag is a bore, someone who spoils the mood.

All the Swedes I know are bony!

Off to read Wordplay.

SethG 1:00 PM  

This took me more than three times as long as yesterday's did. All those problems treedweller mentioned? Yeah, I didn't have any of them. So there were several different areas with trap potential.

For some reason I could have sworn that there was no Oh in "give me A HOME", so I wanted A BREAK. No one ever called Hector anything other than Macho or Hector Macho, so that was an issue. For Panhandle I was thinking Oklahoma, and when I first got NANAS I was angry that they didn't signal the abbreviation of BANANAS. I would have never thought you could write a clue that worked with those two words; I sense a theme...

It's been a while, so maybe it's time I should again mention that I hate the A- prefix. NYT, if you could avoid using it, that'd be great, thanks. Buh-bye.

mac 1:01 PM  

Such a moving letter from Dan Naddor's widow....

lit.doc 1:28 PM  

Done without google in just over 50 minutes, so Rex’s easy-medium seems about right. Just finishing, with or without google, is still cause for celebration in my house. Solving went oddly, though. Had all of NE and SW worked out, but still only scattered fill in the NW/SE diagonal.

Along the way, 7D IN RE before AS TO (as always), 8D CHECK before CHINA (hell, I’ve been married four times and have a gazillion bucks worth of antique Haviland—just give me the money), 34D SLOPE before SLANT, and 18D WET BAG (as in “couldn’t fight his way out of”) before RAG (@Zeke does have a point about rags being pretty limp generally).

Two clue cavils. 54D “Answer” does not signal an abbrev. With R__P, and 57D telling me one of the other letters was an S, I started with RESPonse. Also, as @Zeke mentioned, 31A was clearly a book title, so the clue was ref’ing the book itself. “The Black Stallion stallion and others” would have been better.

@Elaine, so, do tell—what did come to mind as a symbol of limpness?

jesser 1:32 PM  

The Dan Naddor tribute was as hauntingly beautiful as this puzzle was fun to complete. Strange how life intersects art and blogs...

Tomorrow, I will be a pall bearer for my Mom's best friend. Beth Ann died on March 23, 2010 at 4:38 p.m.; Mom died on March 23, 2002 at 4:30 p.m.

Eight years and eight minutes. I'll never look at 88 clues the same again.

"harmony and honesty, like seeds in the ground
sprout up in butter cups, since you've been hangin' around
I woke from a dream and I held you
rich with understanding
and there was no space between us
only love that was lightly landing down

a love rush on clear trust, it keeps me high
sirens sing and traffic screams, and death drifts in these skies
but love seems to keep on shining
even in the storm
when waves of fear come blinding us
only love is gonna keep us warm now
mend the hearts that have torn away."

-- Jimmie Spheeris

I'm keeping this puzzle. I love this blog. Thank you, Rex.


(and thanks @Two Ponies, for the shout out endorsement; I'll try to be funny again by Saturday. I promise)

Two Ponies 2:02 PM  

You are most welcome jesser.
Thank you for sharing the poem.
Sorry about your mom's friend but I hope it yields some opportunities to share some good memories.
This has become a very poignant day.

Clark 2:14 PM  

I thought the difference between boot camp and day camp was going to involve sleeping over. Wouldn’t fit.

@PuzzleGirl -- Seems like you have been away. Seeing a comment from you brought a big smile to my face!

Now I have read the note from Dan's wife, and Jesser's last comment -- How strange it is to have found this lovely, odd community of people on line. Even now if someone told me about it I wouldn't believe them. A dear friend and mentor gave me and my partner a note with this quote written out a few days before he died: "Keep warm," he said. "Ride close together. Remember laughter. You'll need it even in the blessed isles of Ever After." (James Thurber, The 13 Clocks.)

dk 2:24 PM  

LAOTzE is how I know 3D.

Rae is my go to female comic, as an antique.

@puzzlegirl as a suit slasher!!!!!

Slow going on this one rewarded by the theme fill.

** (2 Stars)

chefwen 3:00 PM  

Wow, O.K., this was going to be a light hearted comment about the puzzle and @Jesser as a guest host but now I am dangerously close to tears and I haven't read the article about Dan Naddor yet.

@Elaine - Hope you feel better soon.

Husband and I doubled teamed this one last night and still just inched out way through it. There were so many write overs that the finished product looked very much like something my cat dragged in and forgot to drag back out again. Not very pretty but complete.

Stan 3:01 PM  

Yes, very moving remembrances over at Wordplay.


JuicePit 3:18 PM  


Just wanted to let you know that about 6 of us that trade commodities in NY for a living have latched on to you guys. We do our best to collectively do all the puzzles up through Friday. Most of us are new at it though (I know I am).

Many thanks to you, Rex.

andrea agleam michaels 3:18 PM  

Puzzlegirl beat me to it, I was going to suggest you look in Tiger's or Jesse James' closet...

I loved this theme...
NW corner was super tough for me, not crazy about LAL/AGLEAM and would not have gotten LAOTSE had he not just appeared and been discussed last week.

I will attempt to use AGLEAM once a day or until it in any way becomes a word to me!

Having solved very few Dan Naddor puzzles, every answer felt like a slight shift to the right or left of the way I normally think, so it woke me up a bit...in a good way. Felt fresh.

You REALLY made me AGLEAM re: Jimmy Stewart and fingernail comments!!!!

I second your amusingness... :)
I put in Hector CAMARRO.
(I"m sure there is a Jesus Chrysler-type joke in there somewhere, but I don't want to spoil the mood)

Remembering the MACHO rhyme straightened that out...

Here is what I learned today: NAUTILUS (Thought only gym equipment and sea-stuff)
and the name for the Clinton deal.
Embarrassed that I've never heard of the WYE Accord by that name.

I'll bet in some circles it's referred to as the WYE NOT Accord, as "Lama lo?" (why not?) is the most oft heard expression in my experience with Hebrew/certain Israelis.

Rex Parker 3:27 PM  


Thanks. I always love hearing about who's reading me where.


Ulrich 3:30 PM  

@puzzlegirl and the agleam one: I stand corrected, absolutely...and sigh when I think of the things I missed in life...

sanfranman59 3:30 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)

Thu 18:25, 19:26, 0.95, 39%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 9:03, 9:20, 0.97, 46%, Medium

SueRohr 3:34 PM  

I slogged through this in about 50 minutes with tons of writeovers, so would call it medium/hard. had all the mistakes mentioned plus Flat Out Sale" instead of Blow-Out for too long!

JenCT 3:49 PM  

@lit.doc - now, now (about limpness)

@PuzzleGirl - I thought the same thing about the suits - LOL

@SethG - I'm not sure, but I took the answer NANAS not to mean bananas, but to mean grandparents

@jesser - my condolences

Ruth 3:51 PM  

@Glitch, I don't see any problem with describing George Eastman as a photography pioneer. It doesn't say he "invented" photography. He was the guy who first made it possible for any average Joe to take pictures for himself, and as such he certainly transformed photography. (I'm only a transplant to Rochester, NY but I was surprised to feel myself rise up in indignation at the suggestion he wasn't a pioneer! Guess they're getting to me here, dammit)

andrea still agleam michaels 4:06 PM  

Not that I would ever dare to speak for SethG (except in French) but I think he was saying he first thought it was bananas and then realized it was grandparents, so thinks it's a fun possible theme idea that you clue something that could mean both (as in "spoilers")
(Or maybe he just has a grandma who's nuts!)

the good news is you won't even need suits in San Francisco! ;)

Steve J 4:26 PM  

@Glitch: I'd say EASTMAN's a pioneer, for exactly the reasons you described. Bringing photography to the masses was a huge development. Eastman is to cameras what Ford was to cars, or Wozniak and Jobs were to computers, etc.

I had a hard time with this. Theme answers didn't come to me (but I really like them - including slashed suits; there's something really good about answers that seem obvious once you know them, but were challenging to get), and so that left the puzzle difficult to solve, since there was so little connection of the quadrants to the body of the puzzle. I had the SW, SE and NE mostly done, and then just had little threads running through the rest of the puzzle.

I didn't finish, but I enjoyed it. Very unusual for those things to go together. It's a credit to Dan's construction.

(And I, too, am getting teary-eyed reading the tribute over at Wordplay. The layout of the chairs at his memorial was such a brilliant idea. I'm looking forward to his last two NYT puzzles.)

Glitch 4:44 PM  

@Ruth & @Steve J
I didn't quite say he wasn't a pioneer, "per se" was in there.

IMHO, Louis Daguerre, Mathew Brady, and such were the "pioneers", the ones who first developed the art, Eastman (like Ford and automobiles), made the art accessable, or as some might say, *pioneered* the mass marketing of their product.


Van55 4:52 PM  

I have become a big fan of Dan Naddor's work. They never fail to amuse. This one was on the difficult side of medium for me. Very much enjoyed the theme answers.

I would carp at the alphabetic sequence RSTU, but I am finally beginning to realize that even the best of constructors have to resort to some crap fill once in a while.

Nice to read that there are two Naddor works in the NYT queue along with maybe 13 or 14 left in the LAT queue.

chefbea 5:20 PM  

Wow...Just read the tribute to Dan Nador by his wife. I am still teary

Glitch 5:43 PM  




CoolPapaD 5:44 PM  

My father-in-law ("Grandpa") passed away this morning, after a long illness, and it was not unexpected. It's been a day filled with sadness, and smiles, as we've sat around, recounting many fun memories. I came here for what I thought was going to be a quick peek, and have had a day's worth of smiles and tears reading the comments and the beautiful tribute to Dan from his beloved wife.

Grandpa and Dan - rest in peace.

bluebell 5:59 PM  

I confess I didn't finish this one. But I'm glad I came here to read the blog anyway. I'll go from here to the Dan Nador tribute. Community is good.

joho 6:15 PM  

I, like others, was moved to tears by Tracie Naddor's wonderful tribute to her remarkable husband. Such a beautiful family ... I'm happy to hear that the "puzzle people" really helped getting them through all the sadness. Until today I didn't really put a name to it, but we really are the "puzzle people." And while we're all very different we also "get" each other through this crazy obsession of ours. Very cool.

jesser 6:43 PM  

@Cool Papa D: Deepest condolences.

Stan 7:03 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stan 7:17 PM  

Funny how when I want to be profound and sincere, I can't think of a damn thing to say...

But sympathy and support to @jesser, @CoolPapaD and of course the Naddors.

7:03 PM

Two Ponies 7:43 PM  

What an amazing community this is.

@ CoolPapaD, All the best to you and yours. So sorry.

Moonchild 7:55 PM  

Oh my, I came late to the party and was totally prepared to natter on about a fun puzzle but was blind-sided by a dose of reality.
That's not a bad thing as it is always good to keep one foot firmly rooted there but I was not prepared to confront mortality.
Dan Naddor's tribute by his wife was so touching and beautiful.
Then jesser and CoolPapaD have their own tragedies.
I take it all as a moment to savor what I have and what I have to lose.
I am a lucky girl indeed but my own day of reckoning might be right around the corner.
As Jim Morrison sang "The future's uncertain and the end is always near."

JenCT 8:00 PM  

@andrea still agleam michaels - oh, duh! Thought I was being helpful. :-)

@jesser, LOL "..loud, mindless cackling..."

Condolences to everyone who needs them today.

PlantieBea 8:06 PM  

Finally back to read the comments and the wonderful tribute over at Wordplay.

What Stan and many others said...sympathies and thoughts of support to the Naddors, Jesser, and CoolPapaD.

joho 8:33 PM  

@Stan ... your "Mad Men" comment is hilarious ... but as you mentioned it's hard to laugh today on this blog with all the sadness. I too, extend my heartfelt condolences to @CoolPapaD and @Jesser.

John Verel 8:44 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle, bit more difficult for me, same problem with NW as Rex.

fikink 9:39 PM  

@foodie: "projection" - ah...ya. Interesting. Let's talk.

@Tinbeni, I am not a schizophrenic and neither am I.

@mac, I agree with you. A WET RAG is related to a wet blanket in my mind. A real bummer, a joy-killer.

@lit doc, 4 times? Really?

@jesser, thanks for the poem. Some lovely sentiments. Fear is the great tormentor of souls.
and, @clark, yours is also solace.

@Stan, "Mad Men" - good one!

@Andrea, Hell! Look in Mr. Fikink's closet!

CoolPapaD, My thoughts are with you as I care for my beloved FIL, knowing what lies ahead.

I liked the puzzle.

captcha: idabl - panties I bought at Victoria's Secret

foodie 10:10 PM  

@CoolPapaD and @Jesser, I too add my condolences. I've learned that even when one is supposedly prepared, the death of a loved one knocks the breath out of you. So, my heart goes out to you and to the Nador family.

CoolPapaD, I'm glad that you are thinking about the fun memories. They help a lot.

Here's a poem called "Afterglow" (author unknown). It's not highbrow literature, but I like it:

I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one

I'd like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done

I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways

Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days

I'd like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun

Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.

lit.doc 10:16 PM  

@fikink, yes, really. Domesticity junky, but poor judge of compatibility.

Tinbeni 10:25 PM  

Sometimes in my moments of ENNUI I flit to and fro like the little MUBBER GRUBBER.
It passes the time.

Four! You're a gamer ...
After two I learned that I liked the fact only I could sign on my accounts.

@CoolPapaD & Jesser
After the tears, remember the smiles.

fikink 11:27 PM  

@lit.doc, Compatibility is often reduced to wide berths offered in the interest of a little peace. In the inimitable words of Yeats, "The center cannot hold."

@Tinbeni, "Mubber Grubber" !!! You are a doll. Thanks for going there.

Still liked today's puzzle, especially 2 all the way down: AGLEAM IN PUBLIC.

sanfranman59 12:57 AM  

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, 36%, Easy-Medium
Wed 11:47, 11:50, 1.00, 53%, Medium
Thu 19:01, 19:27, 0.98, 50%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:16, 3:40, 0.89, 21%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:29, 4:31, 0.99, 53%, Medium
Wed 5:46, 5:48, 1.00, 54%, Medium
Thu 8:40, 9:20, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium

mik 2:27 PM  

Fridays 3/26/10 crossword has Beame as NYC first jewish mayor. Untrue, La Guardia was the first Jewish mayor.

Al 5:50 PM  

A woman brings her parrot to the vet. The parrot is stiff and lifeless. "I'm sorry ma'am, but this parrot is dead"

"How can you tell so quickly?" replies the woman, "Isn't there a way to be absolutely certain?"

So, the vet whistles and a beautiful black Labrador Retriever walks in the examining room. The dog sniffs around the parrot for a few moments, then looks at the vet and, with sad eyes and shakes his head.

"A dog shakes its head and I'm supposed to believe that?!" cries the woman. "You're going to have to do more to prove that my poor parrot is dead!"

So the vet leaves momentarily, comes back with a cat and puts it on the table beside the parrot. The cat looks closely at the parrot, walks around it, prods it a bit, then shakes his head and jumps off the table.

Finally, the woman seems convinced. As she turns for the door, the vet announces that she owes him $500.

"$500?!," the woman asks. "How in the world could it be that much just to tell me my parrot is dead?"

"Well, it would have been a lot cheaper, but with that lab fee and cat scan..."

The original joke said, "lab report" but I just couldn't resist.

Anonymous 8:55 PM  

Fiat (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) is another car whose name is an acronym.

sificligh 10:39 PM  

This puzzle almost completely did me in! I too had difficulty in the NW corner, and that plus instantly and automatically writing in NOODLE for "symbol of limpness" screwed me up for a long time, keeping me from getting the first two theme answers, and generally impeding my progress down the NW-SE diagonal. I finally decided that NOTHING like "roast" could possibly end in an O, and that clued me into the error, although it took considerable effort to come up with WET RAG.

Just a good example of how leaping to "obvious" answers without checking any of the crosses can be really fatal. I did like the theme, though.

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