Wagner's earth goddess / WED 3-24-10 / 1936 foe of Franklin D / Creator of Roderick Usher / Vocal nasality

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: ST. LOUIS MISSOURI (40A: City with a landmark spelled out by the circled letters, reading left to right) — circled letters spell out, and form the shape of, the GATEWAY ARCH; four other theme answers are clued in relation to ST. LOUIS

Word of the Day: RIMINI (35D: Adriatic Riviera city) —

RIMINI is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, near the coast between the rivers Marecchia (the ancient Ariminus) and Ausa (Aprusa). Coast navigation and fishing are traditional industries and, together with Riccione, it is probably the most famous seaside resort on the Adriatic Riviera. // It is served by the Federico Fellini Airport, airport of Rimini and San Marino. (wikipedia)
• • •

I literally doubled over and groaned at the terrible fill before I ever had a chance to notice the theme, the grid architecture, i.e. the redeeming features of the puzzle. ESSES to ERDA [choke] (20A: Wagner's earth goddess) to ADRATE to [audible groan]. I dive right into the puzzles as soon as they open on my desktop; I don't notice constructor or grid structure or much of anything while I'm solving (unless, of course, the grid is jarringly atypical). I saw there were circles, but didn't spend time thinking why. As I slogged through wave after wave of crosswordese, I began to pick up the theme, and by the time I got to ST. LOUIS MISSOURI, I was able to fill it in without even looking at the clue. Only after I was done did I notice the GATEWAY ARCH, and the fact that the puzzle also has five long theme answers, two of which cross ST. LOUIS MISSOURI. That's an architecturally demanding grid, and explains (in spades) the glut of subpar fill. If you want a good illustration of how badly an ambitious theme can compromise fill, just follow the circles. The fill is worst at the top, where the circles are densest. Then, in the far west and east, the circles are at the heart of NASD (bad) and DCX (badder). The grid definitely makes you say "wow" at the end. But heavy emphasis on "at the end" — only after being pelted with ERDA for several minutes (or however long it took you to solve). Huge irony: EERO is somehow *not* in this puzzle.

Best non-theme word of the day, by far: STYMIE (44A: Thoroughly frustrate).

Theme answers:
  • 3D: Pro team in 40-Across (CARDINALS)
  • 21A: Conveyances at 40-Across (RIVER BOATS)
  • 37D: Brand associated with 40-Across (BUDWEISER) — "associated with" is right. Bought by Belgian company InBev in 2008.
  • 58A: 1904 event at 40-Across (WORLD'S FAIR)
Only a few stumbles today. I invented a mountain range called the Trans-ARALs (had the "A," thought "URAL," wrote "ARAL"), possibly because I'd already seen ERDA and could not bear the idea of any more exotic crosswordese in the grid. Eventually had to accept ALAI. And AYER (9D: Yesterday, in the Yucatan). And ODEA (18A: Ancient concert halls). All in a tiny 4x4 section of the grid. You know what was weirdly hard for me today? INSIST (22D: Refuse to bend). I had four or five letters in place before I had any clue what the answer could be. INSIST and RIMINI were two pillars of "Huh?" Eventually, one pillar became recognizable. Never heard of RIMINI. Isn't that the name of the actress on "King of Queens?" Turns out, no. Her name's Leah REMINI.

  • 14A: Peter Pan lost his (SHADOW) — ah, a solid word with an interesting clue. A breath of fresh air.
  • 5D: Creator of Roderick Usher (POE) — no idea. Then I got it from crosses and remembered "The Fall of the House of USHER." This was the only "Usher" I could think of at first:

  • 16A: Either of two A's rivals (SOX) — you're stretching the term "rival" pretty thin here. Apparently it now simply means "team you happen to play several times during the course of the season." The A's aren't even in the Red or White Sox divisions.
  • 30A: 1936 foe of Franklin D (ALF) — ALF Landon, crushed by FDR in '36. My favorite ALF is ALF Clausen, Emmy-winning composer for "The Simpsons."

  • 31A: Beaufort ___, area above Alaska (SEA) — feels weird to call a SEA an "area." Not sure why. Suggests "land" to me.
  • 50A: Org. headquartered on N.Y.C.'s First Avenue (THE U.N.) — there should be a word for answers that feature the odd inclusion of the definite article. I've seen THENHL. THEMOB. I wonder if anyone out there wondered, possibly out loud, "What the hell kind of organization is THEUN?" A: ally of SMERSH (71A: Soviet agcy. in Bond novels).
  • 61A: Coin with the words REPVBBLICA ITALIANA (LIRA) — [Former currency of 35-Down]
  • 66A: Actor Cage, familiarly (NIC) — Still waiting for "Raising Arizona II" to come out.
  • 8D: Does dock work (LADES) — In case you didn't get enough of LADE on Monday...
  • 23D: Monteverdi opera partly set in the underworld ("ORFEO") — and the Italianification of the grid continues unabated. I actually own this opera. It may be the only opera I own.
  • 29D: Spectrum-forming solid (PRISM) — thought it would be something exotic, but ... it's just a trinket like I used to get on vacations to S.F.'s Pier 39.
  • 41D: Two-time N.L. batting champ Lefty (O'DOUL) — had the "OD-" and wanted ODETS. You know why? 'Cause playwright Clifford ODETS wrote a play called "Waiting for Lefty." Weird. "Waiting for Lefty" is just like "Waiting for Godot," except stuff happens.
  • 50D: Vocal nasality (TWANG) — Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new contender of my Least Favorite Word: I give you — "NASALITY!" I think it would make a fine baby name. You could call her "Naisie" for short.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Eric Berlin 7:34 AM  

I don't have a problem with ADRATE as fill. Other than that, though... before the tournament this year, I created a large set of crosswordese flash cards -- things I should have stored in the forefront of my brain after all these years, and yet somehow do not. Half the entries in this puzzle would make excellent additions to the set. (Ralph WAITE! Why can I never rememeber that?!)

Elaine 7:39 AM  

What I really need is a picture of the Trans ALAI Range. Will consult Atlas once downstairs again. Ural? Aral? I tried both. Since I knew AYER for certain, and LADES was recently seen (? hated) I did not have so much of a struggle in the North Coast. However, I did try Great AUK before giving in to the APE. I have no idea why. The solve felt messy for a while, but by the end the puzzle seemed surprisingly simple.

Esther Smith 7:44 AM  

We will dance the Hoochee Koochee,
I will be your tootsie wootsie,
If you will meet in St. Louis, Louis,
Meet me at the fair.

HudsonHawk 7:48 AM  

I saw the circles right away, but "Jefferson National Expansion Memorial" wouldn't fit.

Filled in the theme entries and worked through the rest uneventfully, except I really wanted KAOS for 71A. What the heck, it's better than SMERSH. Missed it by that much!

Oscar 7:53 AM  

In addition to the uber-obvious-at-first-glance theme and the parade of craptastic fill, there is ARC crossing circled ARCH. Boo! EBON/ORC would have been such an easy fix. Too bad nobody seems to be solving these prior to publication.

This was one big CARDINAL Sin.

jesser 8:11 AM  

Rex, you kill me. Nasality!

As I've said many times before (henceforth AISMTB), when I print the puzzles, the circles don't show up. I do not know why. Ergo, I was unable to admire the arch. I was further bamboozled (I'm an ABUSER) by plunking down CARDINALS at 3D and thinking (confidently, I might add) that I was dealing with Phoenix. I am not sure why I thought that. BUDWEISER set me back on track. (I wanted to write that it set me straight, but I can't bring myself to that place.)

Things I loved: SHIRK, SHADOW, DURESS, RIVER BOATS, BUM KNEE, STYMIE. There is a wicked game of pocket billiards called Stymie. I have lost many dollars playing that game.

Thins I Did Not Love: THEUN, SMERSH, ORFEO, OOM, ASLAN, NEAPS, NASD and WORLDS FAIR. Really? How many worlds were represented? Was the Planet Zorg there hawking meteoric snow cones?

I maybe do like SMERSH after all.

Jngisup! (What one says when the villan is captured or when THE UN falls into the grid) -- jesser

SethG 8:15 AM  

Anheuser-Busch also makes O'DOULS.

I also completely ignored the ARCH while solving, saw it later. ALAI held me up quite a bit, ALF just a bit, and I thankfully got ERDA before I saw the clue. Still finished relatively quickly. I'm looking forward to the ST PAUL, MINNESOTA (15) puzzle on whatever special day for St Paul this happens to be for St Louis.

I knew RIMINI from Paganello, one of the greatest ultimate tournaments in the world. I knew ARC cosine from arccosine.

Lanier 8:19 AM  

There were a couple difficult crossings for me today where I had to guess: ETUI/WAITE, ORFEO/ALF, ALAI/AYER. Other than that it was fine.

PanamaRed 8:33 AM  

Thought the Clue for 24A was a bit misleading - 1936 foe of Franklin D would suggest a first name and middle initial as the answer. Alfred Landon's middle initial was M, so it was not Al F. I'll get over it.

I somehow misremembered SMERSH as being from "Get Smart," but wiki confirms it as Bond.

Liked the puzzle and the Gateway Arch - breezed through it pretty quickly.

joho 8:34 AM  

RIMINI Crickets! That's what I shouted when my circles spelled WETAGHCRA. It really helps to start in the right spot.

I liked the mini baseball theme which includes ON DECK.

Isn't there a famous fictional character named Naisie Miller?

Van55 8:39 AM  

We all got LADE on Monday, didn't we?

I care not how architecturally superior this puzzle is, the crap fill ruined it for me: SSN, DCX, OOM ad nauseum.

I did like ABUSER atop DURESS.

R. McGeddon 8:45 AM  

Should having POE and POETS parallel to each other be a no-no?

Bob Kerfuffle 9:12 AM  

With apologies to Esther Smith, Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis.

ArtLvr 9:15 AM  

Well, I liked it -- even if most others found it Ugly AS SIN. Original concept, well executed, and unusual fill like IN-LAW as "Holiday visitor maybe", very cute... one might have thought Santa at first!

My only nit, mentioned last week, was the past tense in the clue for NASD. This is not a retired designation, even if the certain operations are merged with the NYSE. Will, please take note!


chefbea 9:26 AM  

Thank you Peter Collins for a puzzle dedicated to my home town - where I watched the Gate way arch being built, went to the budweiser brewery many times and of course went on many river boats. The only thing not mentioned was the famous and delicious Bar-b-q ribs.

All in all a fun puzzle

Tom 9:26 AM  

Never heard of ALAI and though I've heard of LADEN I've never heard of LADES. So I put in WADES for "Does dock work", which seemed entirely plausible to me, however unlikely.

Phil 9:30 AM  

While I am oddly convinced that I would like Michigan Pete, there's something about his puzzles that makes me write nasty notes. My first comment ever here on this blog was one of his puzzles, which I both eviscerated and Rex nominated as the "Best comment ever by an Anonamice". My screed about his "Secret Garden" puzzle was incorporated into Rex's writeup, verbatim. Last night was no different as I finished and looked at the author.
"ALAI? That's the keystone of your puzzle? The one piece that holds it all together, a variant of the spelling of mountain range separating some small portions of Krgyzstan and Tajikistan?
Pete, dude, I hate to say this, but off to Detroit with you.

Rex Parker 9:35 AM  

Hey Phil,

I don't know what you mean about my incorporating your screed verbatim into one of my write-ups. That makes it sound like I stole something from you or otherwise copied you. Not likely.

Phil 9:40 AM  

@Rex - No, I sent you an email the night before asking if I could guest blog. The content was basically: "They're not F!@#$in secret! See, you circled the F#$@#$@in letters..." All proper attribution was made.

Rex Parker 9:43 AM  

Ah, I see.

Carry on.


Charles Bogle 9:48 AM  

looks like I'm in fine company not liking a lot of the fill and other things so won't belabor...did like STYMIE, INSIST, AWE/SHADOW/CAST

But I had an unusual detour on the theme. I jumped to the conclusion we were in San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge, RICEARONI etc


Ulrich 9:56 AM  

NEAP was the word that made me discover the existence of crosswordese as a special vocabulary--words that occur more often in puzzles than in daily speech (i.e. are unknown to me). I haven't seen good old NEAP in a while and was happy to come across him again--we shook hands like old acquaintances...and EERO was definitely missed today.

What can I say? I solved the puzzle from the west and was able to fill in the eastern half of the circles once I got the theme, which made it an easy Wednesday for me. Loved the Italian theme, Italy being for me and many other architects our favorite country in the world--Rimini, though, were it not for a great building by Alberti, can be missed--it was known as the Teutonengrill--the place were a certain people liked to get a tan. It all fit somehow...

OldCarFudd 9:56 AM  

A reasonable Wednesday with a well-done theme. ARC cosine is a shout-out to math geeks. Budweiser is a shout out to the poor, misguided souls who haven't yet learned how good beer will taste when they stop drinking Budweiser.

Tinbeni 9:57 AM  

Nice 6 theme puzzle.
Like @SethG I'm counting the O'DOULs as a product of St. Louis.

ALAI was in a recent puzzle I did but its use in a CW is pretty arcane.

As to RIMINI on the Italian Riviera. I'll take Dubrovnik, Croatia over it any day. The sun sets properly into the sea there.

Decided to forego the constructor's circled hint.

I circled my own letters. It came out SCOTCH.

mitchs 10:00 AM  

I liked the fact that getting the theme actually helped the solve, and really enjoyed SMERSH.

Can we please retire NASD?

An ATHEUN is someone who doesn't believe in questionable fill.

I dunno, all in all, I liked it.

matt 10:09 AM  

OK I guess I'll be the first nerd to point out that for 26A, NES actually stands for Nintendo Entertainment System, making the clue a bit redundant.

@Jesser: It's "World's Fair" - possessive. Not many worlds.

treedweller 10:12 AM  

Went through this too quick to complain much. I think it helped that I attended the International Tree Climbing Championships there a couple of years ago, where I heard this story (I think I'm repeating myself here--sorry if you've heard it):

A rep for ST LOUIS was courting the ISA to have them bring the contest to his city. He went with a cart of BUDWEISER to sweeten the deal. That year, the ISA chose another location. Discouraged, he started back to his room with the cart. Passing a separate ISA board meeting, he stepped in to offer the leftovers. The Chair looked around the room and asked, "Anyone want that p**s water?" He got no takers.

addie loggins 10:15 AM  

I had a little Natick problem with ORFEO, ALF, and EBAN. Given the clue of 30A (reference to Franklin D.), I spent too much time trying to think of a middle initial to go with the name Al. In retrospect, I know of Alf Landon, but the clue threw me off. I've never heard of ORFEO, and EBAN stumped me as well, although (again in retrospect) I'm sure I've seen it in puzzles before.

I liked SHIRK, STYMIE, and LADE (which I got quickly, thanks Andrea!), and am always a bit pleased with myself when I get ETUI off the bat. (I remember Will holding on up at the ACPT a couple of years ago, as if to prove such a thing actually exists).

NASD is always a gimmee for me; first thing I think of. I still don't know what it stands for, but it seems very familiar.

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

For whatever reason, this took me longer than my usual Wednesday time; I suspect it had to do with putting cactus instead of BRIAR, messing up the entire middle for me.

I liked O'Doul being next to ONDECK- a mini baseball spot.

The Arch construction, which I also liked but didn't pay attention to until I finished-- was almost as impressive as the Arch itself.

jesser 10:38 AM  

@ matt: Thank you for that most excellent explanation. Has your tongue ever met your cheek? Mine visits all the time. :-)

Two Ponies 10:42 AM  

Well ... Rex and the rest of you are certainly on your games today.
Any puzzle that generates so many funny posts can't be all bad.
If Olan wearing an obi had appeared the tired fill list would nearly be complete.
How can I take a bunch of bad guys seriously who call themselves Smersh??

Steve J 11:00 AM  

A puzzle that reminded me of why I hate 99 out of 100 circle puzzles.

I wonder how most solvers - those who don't read blogs, analyze construction, etc. - feel about puzzles like this, that feature complex architecture but a lot of bad fill. I know I don't find solving these sorts of puzzles very satisfying, nor do most here. I wonder if that's a common feeling. Because I'm starting to wonder what the point is of these sorts of puzzles, other than constructor satisfaction. I agree it's good to try to push the envelope a bit, but the result still needs to be a puzzle that's enjoyable to solve.

The RIVERBOAT full of crosswordese ended up leaving me with three near-Naticks, two of which were crossing the word BRIARS (which my brain wasn't working out based on -RIA-S). Had SAPU at first, and wanted to put in BIMINI, but knew that wasn't European (nor did PRIABS make any sense). AYER is not in my very limited Spanish lexicon, and I've never heard of the Trans-ALAI mountains. Turned a quick solve into an average one for me.

And re-emphasized how little of the fill I liked (including the aforementioned ARC/ARCH crossing - bleh).

mac 11:01 AM  

I agree with Two Ponies: the write-up and the comments were fantastic! I certainly didn't hate the puzzle; for some reason I had to start up in the East and work my way down South, then West to finish at the top. Ran into a personal Natick with O'Doul and NASD.

Plenty of words I liked, of which stymie was number one.

@Phil: you used to be an "anonymouse".

@chefbea: knew you would like this one!

Happiness is a repaired laptop.....

Dough 11:20 AM  

I'm with Rex on missing Eero!! I got the theme early and was waiting for Eliel's son to appear. Pity. And I do agree that it's a problem for the circled letters to describe an arc rather than an arch. Further, four baseball references in a 15x is too much: SOX, CARDINALS, O'DOUL and ON DECK. I think the puzzle was a noble effort that didn't quite work out so well.

Olio 11:21 AM  

wonder if people would complain about a puzzle with too little crosswordese, or none ... or is that even possible?
It IS possible that people will complain, that I know, as there is someone who will complain about almost anything.

archaeoprof 11:29 AM  

TWANG! Country music in the puzzle again today!

chefbea 11:30 AM  

Did you all know that the ice cream cone was "invented" at the 1904 Worlds fair in St. Louis???

Elaine 11:50 AM  

@Two Ponies
Now, Olan, being Chinese, would never wear an obi....

Find a picture of a Trans-Alai peak on WordPlay, thanks to Lou in Ohio, who also posted a map link.

Van55 12:03 PM  

NASD = National Association of Securities Dealers.

At least I think that's what the acronym stands for.

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

What - no credit for me today?

EERO Saarinen

Masked and Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Arches and circles...cool. Some one-uppin' constructor needs to devise a "golden arches" grid now. Maybe the double arches could spell out S-U-P-E-R-S-I-Z-E-M-E and C-H-O-L-E-S-T-E-R-O-L. Put EERO in that one, just to throw everyone off.

Crosswords are such funny little beasts. I actually kinda admired all the "desperate cruciverbalist" fill in this one. Was like watching some bizarre mutant lifeform struggling to survive against all odds, in a hostile blogosphere, ... yada yada. I'd hafta go mild thumbs down overall, but I just could not avert my eyes until all had been solved. An A- for effort, just trying to make it all work out.

JenCT 12:51 PM  

Didn't know Leah Remini was so, uh, in shape. You'll never see her co-star on the cover of a magazine in his swim trunks.

Parshutr 12:55 PM  

This puz had little ALLURE for me, SIRREE.
Which calls to mind the old story about Louis B. Mayer rejecting a period script as being too contemporary because of all the responses that were "Yes, Sire"
Didn't wait for ODOUL, go APE for ERDA, or get STYMIED by ODEA...or get LEId either.
All in all, I'm ready to ESCAPE to THEUN by way of the GATEWAY ARCH.

Parshutr 12:57 PM  

big plus...I now have an association to the lyric "the sad bells of Rimini" as sung by Pete Seeger

mac 1:15 PM  

@Van: thank you! Acronyms are the bane of my CWP existence.

@Olio: you bet, I've been happy with some crosswordese here and there!

@JenCT: Wow, I only now recognize her! That must be a case of photoshop or airbrush!


lit.doc 1:15 PM  

I enjoy theme-dense puzzles with well-executed visual devices, so this was a fun Wednesday solve for me. Started by scanning for and marking theme clues, which paid off big time with relatively few crosses. For example, CARDINALS early on saved me from the ERDA problem Rex mentioned, and, with just a couple of the shorter theme answers and the circle pattern, I got 40A from only the T.

Had 7A URAL at first. Figured it out, though it left me wondering just how jai the ALAI are. Also had a rekey at 14A, where I initially had CHERRY. Must have studied a transgressive rereading of the story in grad school. Luckiest moment of the day was 11D “Narnia lion”. I’d already done the LAT puzzle, so I knew to put NALA instead of ELSA.

DeeJay 1:20 PM  

For those of us not competing for some accolade, I find it rewarding to solve the theme first. That gives me lots of filland lessens the likelihood of being tripped up by awkward clues.

Clark 1:28 PM  

I knew RIMINI from the Liszt Dante Sonata (Après une Lecture de Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata). That piece is in part a musical depiction of Francesca of RIMINI's words in the 5th Canto of Dante's Inferno: "There is no greater pain than to recall the happy times in misery . . ." (Nessun maggior dolore che ricordarsi del tempo felice nella miseria . . .).

alice in SF 1:36 PM  

I never like the crosswords which require me to connect circles. After finishing the puzzle, it didn't help that I misread the clue about spelling out the landmark. I started at the right bottom and went left ending up with gobbledegook . I knew that the arch would be there somewhere but decided not to care. I had the holiday visitor as angel (santa obviously wouldn't fit) which threw me off the Adriatic Riviera city which I felt had to be Rimini (in my mind from Francesca da Rimini, Tschaikovsky's symphonie fantastic). Didn't totally finish the puzzle in actuality as I didn't know about an arc cosine so culdn't finish the 7th century year.

Glitch 1:42 PM  

@Steve J

Maybe *puzzle solvers* are analogous to those who enjoy SPAM (the meat product).

SPAM, like crosswords, comes in many forms (Spam Classic, Spam Hot & Spicy, Spam Less Sodium, Spam Lite, Spam Oven Roasted Turkey, Hickory Smoked, and Spam Spread). It has been relished by millions for over 70 years, most of whom probably never read the list of ingredients or know how its made.

I doubt anyone likes all the variations equally.

OTOH, I suspect some gourmets may have their entire day ruined if even offered a *spam-wich*.



fikink 1:49 PM  

@Rex, me too on the Beaufort SEA being described as an "area"; thought that was just because my world is measurements of plats, acres, and square-ft. areas for carpeting.

Seems Maleska-era puzzles didn't allow definite articles in the puzzle, except for proper titles. Am I dreaming? @Edith?

@jesser - bamboozled-LOL! If I'm out your way, we will knock a few back. Bam!

@Ulrich, The Teutonic Grill?!!! As well you should take umbrage!

@OldCarFudd, the same people who bought Budweiser make the tasty Negra Modelo . Go figure.

@Tinbeni, you are incorrigible!

Always thought, "No, SIRREE," was spelled "Siree." Still doesn't look right to me.

@Parshtur, I think Judy Collins did that song, too. Anyway, I think it is about the town of Rhymney, in Wales.

lit.doc 2:06 PM  

@Glitch, re @Steve J's very interesting question re what sorts of puzzles Mere Mortal Solvers enjoy: a Big Annual Event in Austin is the Spam-O-Rama. You can scarcely imagine--nor scarcely want to imagine--the possibilities enabled by the existence of said product. So yeah, solving is like a box o' Spamlets.

Travis 2:49 PM  

Is 'Nintento's Super _____' cluing Nintendo Entertainment System really kosher?

Jesse 3:02 PM  

I agree with Steve J on the circle puzzles. It always seems that the constructor has to compromise on fill in order to get the theme to fit in the grid.

I knew the circled letters would refer to the arch, but didn't bother to check. I understand that folks who construct xwords may admire the ingenuity of a puzzle like this, but as a mere solver, I've got to say it was ... less than challenging.

Ruth 3:29 PM  

On the Beaufort SEA clue, I think the clue-writer just got tired of thinking of a substitute word for the Blank that wasn't "body of water"--maybe seemed too easy for a Wednesday. Not that it would have been a serious blot on this puzzle.
Had the best meal of my life, seriously, in Senigallia, south of Rimini on the coast. Uliassi is the restaurant. Check it out if you're anywhere near.

Stan 3:47 PM  

I did not have a crush on this puzzle, though the theme and construction were fine. What Rex said about the crosswordese (which led me to a blank square at ALAI/AYER). Liked PRISM, TWANG, SHIRK, BRIARS and SMERSH.

@chefbea is right, BAR-B-Q would have been an excellent addition. Also, our favorite 1948 Nobel-winner TS ELIOT.

sanfranman59 3:50 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)

Wed 11:43, 11:50, 0.99, 52%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:46, 5:48, 1.00, 53%, Medium

fergus 5:29 PM  

Where's the math dispute today?

Good to see a picture of Bob Gibson in the write-up. He was one impressive dude on the mound, and even more so as his momentum carried him off.

James Bond 6:18 PM  

SMERSH is not a joke! They're out to get me.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

SMERSH is a Soviet counterintelligence agency featured in Ian Fleming's early James Bond novels as agent 007's nemesis. СМЕРШ (SMERSH) is an acronym from two Russian words: "SMERt' SHpionam" (СМЕРть Шпионам, Směrt Špionam) meaning "Death to Spies". Though Fleming's version of SMERSH supposedly was modeled upon the real SMERSH organization, the novels portray SMERSH as a massive Soviet counterintelligence organisation which aims its operatives abroad in subversion of the West, with the additional goal of killing Western spies, particularly James Bond of SIS. SMERSH's headquarters are in Leningrad, Soviet Union.

Sfingi 10:42 PM  

@Seth - Thanx for informing about Paganello! Love their logo. Rimini is known to me by their sacred art.
I also thought of O'Doul's beer, but had "learned" of the baseballer from cws.

Stangely, no sports problems. My problem was Spanish, in the North middle: AYER, ISABEL for which I had to Google, as well as for NES and ALAI.

@Chefbea - Flavored ice from the slopes of Etna, ala Slush Puppies, were put together BCE. Then came the Arabs and added cane sugar. Not true ice cream since Mediterraneans never too big on milk, being the most lactose-intolerant. Hubster has to take those pills to eat ice cream.

@Mac - indeed, a repaired laptop. After I poured coffee on hubster's I had to get a replacement. Can't seem to captcha my Google Blogger turtle icon and password. Sonster Dante, support programmer in Lexington MA for Blade Logic (?) at BMC will work his magic on the old one.

Stan 10:43 PM  

Thank you, Mr. Bond. To continue in this vein:

Maxwell Smart and 99 fought against KAOS.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. battled THRUSH.

Another Bond opponent was SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). It was led by ERNST Stavro Blofeld.

My favorite, from a Harvard Lampoon parody, was T.O.O.T.H (The Organization Organized To Hate).

andrea better-lade-than-never 5:29 AM  

Same Natick at ALAI/AYER...
(Kept thinking HIER in French, which sounds the same I'm guessing has the same root as AYER, as they look different but sound the same, tho I don't remember what yesterday is in Latin. It's weird bec in Spanish you always hear manana, manana...but not ayer.
Have the Beatles ever translated into Spanish?
The only Spanish i know is from reading ads on the NY Subway when I'm bored...but I'll give it a try.
"Ayer Ayer, todos las mias problemas sembre muy far away...Hora mira mira they are aca to stay, Oh yo lo credo in ayer ayer.

(Ok, it's now officially yesterday here in California)

Anyway, thought the arch was cool construction, all puns intended...

Lots o' baseball/sports as always in Mr Collins' puzzles. They always feel so hyper-masculine to me.

A few bleedovers: NASD, ASLAN from last week discussions...
and, as previously noted LADE (which I still wish I had made LEDA) coming back to haunt me...

I'm loving the name list! SMERSH: naming gone bad
SPECTRE: acronym gone good
TOOTH: Fabulous!

Wonderful memories of Rimini, that have nothing to do with the town per se, more with my -ex, Arcangelo.

Rimini/Bimini! It's the only tacky town I've ever seen in Italy. It's amazing that a country that boasts Venice, Florence, Umbria, Assisi, Vernazza, Siena (I could go on and on!) has Rimini. Rimini is the Jersey Shore of Italy. I wonder if that's where The Situation's grandparents hail from?

J. Caesar 6:57 AM  

@ Andrea b-l-t-n:

heri - hodie - cras = Yesterday - today - tomorrow

cognates: heritage - ? - procrastinate

SethG 8:19 AM  

Of course the Beatles have been translated into Spanish. Latin American Idol!

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