As grasshopper prepares / THU 4-1-10 / Old like some painted cars / Secret thieves slang / When Flower Knighthood 1922 film

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Constructor: Lee Glickstein

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: "Like the clues in all the words in this puzzle" — even in this clue, the words are: REARRANGED (17A), MOVED AROUND (11D), FLIP-FLOPPED (25D), and OUT OF ORDER (53A)


Word of the Day: TWO TONE (47A: Old like some painted cars) —

2 Tone (or Two Tone) is a music genre created in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s by fusing elements of ska, punk rock, rocksteady, reggae and pop. It was called 2 Tone because most of the bands were signed to the record label 2 Tone Records at some point. Other record labels associated with the 2 Tone sound were Stiff Records and Go Feet Records. Within the history of ska music, 2 Tone is classified as its second wave, the product of a time when the New Wave music of the early 1980s stirred nostalgia for vintage music.[1] It is the musical precursor of the third wave ska scene of the 1990s. (wikipedia)


• • •

I guess this is supposed to be the puzzle equivalent of an April Fool's joke. It did not fool me. I got the joke about 20 seconds in, when I realized PUGET had to be the answer at 14A: Washington's Sound ___ and AGA the answer at 3D: Respect of Easter title. At that moment I had the horrid realization that this would continue for 70-some odd clues. What followed was a painful, tedious, soul-sapping exercise in rearranging words / filling in the grid — a far below-average grid for a Thursday, btw. Many of the clues are Tortured in order, I guess, to be clever-sounding. This is the only hypothesis I have for something like [Drive off the top?] —> [Top off the drive?], is that it? And wouldn't that be RE-PAVE? Clue to EAT INTO makes next to no sense, even REARRANGED40D: Part of drain —> [Drain part of]??? Again, you have to waterboard that clue to get it to give you EAT INTO. VIET is not short for anything (58A: Some served veterans there: Abbr.). It's just missing a NAM. Criminy. SADDENED doesn't even begin to describe my feelings about this one (9D: Low on the side) ... The big cherry on top of this sundae was CANTS. That's CANTS, plural. [Cough]. CANTS / POTS was my last letter. Actually ran the alphabet. I guess CANTS are secret thief languages or whatever the words in the clue can be rearranged to say (28D: Secret thieves of slang). And the "Nursery" in the POTS clue involves plants, not children. In the end, this puzzle left me feeling choked with fine sand. By which, apparently, I mean "SILTED" (27A: Fine with choked sand).


I don't really know what else to say. It hardly makes any sense to comment on the clues individually. I'm not about to explain how you are supposed to rearrange Every Clue. So ... hmmm, OK, I'll improvise.

Bullets:
  • 20A: As a grasshopper prepares (MIXES) — I can only guess that a "grasshopper" is a "mixed" drink of some kind. Possibly green. Yes. Here's a recipe for you from wikipedia:

Ingredients: 1/2 oz. Crème de menthe (green) 1/2 oz. Crème de cacao (white) 1/2 oz. Fresh cream

Mixing instructions:

In a shaker filled with ice cubes, combine the crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and fresh cream. Shake well for about 6–8 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


  • 23A: Faith without a person (INFIDEL) — no. An "INFIDEL" is a person without *your* faith.
  • 26A: Years of plenty (DECADES) — [Plenty of years]? That's your clue for "DECADES?" Good lord. At least try ... something.
  • 5D: Having a sound grating (STRIDENT) — botched this by putting in the "-ING" ending, a mistake made worse by the fact that the "N" was right.
  • 36D: Drivers of love (OPEN ROAD) — another one that made little sense to me. [Love of drivers] = OPEN ROAD. Some drivers, I guess. Sometimes. Ugh. Exhaustion complete. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

146 comments:

lit.doc 12:37 AM  

Wish I knew whom to blame for this one, and whom to praise. I just spent almost 47 minutes solving what would have been a perfectly enjoyable midweek themeless puzzle which was, sadly, made much less enjoyable by what seems to be a retrofitted “theme” device intended to do nothing more than arbitrarily make solving a day or two harder on the NYT’s virtual Mohs scale.

Plenty of interesting rekeys, though. 23A ATHEIST before INFIDEL (I apologize if any infidels are offended), 60A A-BOMB to N-BOMB to N-TEST, MICKEY before MINNIE, and PUTT before PAVE—which confronted me briefly at 28D with decidedly non-NYT fill for “Secret slang”.

Tinbeni 12:39 AM  

Yesterday I asked a commenter if the spelling of one word, Tsar or Czar ruined a puzzle.

@Joe, I apoligize.

58A, 'Some served veterans there,' ABBR. ... VIET???
WTF ... it was "NAM" ... PERIOD

The absolute worst clue EVER !!!

Totally "OUT OF ORDER"

Oh yeah, VIET over INDO, not really 'cute'

OK, off the soapbox. I'm in the Stephen Stills, Manassas Album and I MOVEd AROUND?

So I'll FLIP-FLOPPED (ahh, foot wear alliteration) down to the beach CAFE. BTW, it's Dunedin not DINED IN, LOL.

JR 2:35 AM  

Sat down to solve this one after three glasses of wine and beer in hand. Mistake.

Clark 2:45 AM  

CANTS/POTS was also my last letter. Solving in the footsteps of the great one! I thought this was a fun April 1 puzzle. I was messing around with 15 letter phrases yesterday, and I came up with both “the terrible twos” and “Ivan the Terrible.” So on my first pass I put in ‘twos’ for 19A, and when I figured out what was going on, I changed it to IVAN. The lesson, I think, is that any little bit of playing around with crossword constructing is likely to pay off big time in crossword solving.

Elaine 2:48 AM  

WOLF for [Cry __] was my first word into the grid, and one of the last to come out, because I forgot which answers went in before the nickel dropped (as I'm wont to say.)

I'm with some of the folks over at WordPlay who enjoyed being yanked around. I made it hard on myself by testing whether the answers needed to go in backwards, in addition to the REARRANGED cluing. Turns out there IS a limit to how cruel and unusual an April Fool's Thursday puzzle constructor and editor are willing to be.

@lit.doc
I had plenty of the same rewrites. I also had INGEST before DIGEST, PEAT before POTS, EXIT before AXED, TWOS before IVAN (and before 'duh'.)

For the second year in a row, I haven't arranged any gags, booby-traps, or fake phone messages for Hubby Dearest. (?Actually, given all of our Senior Moments these days, EVery day is a 'Fool's Day.') I created some degree of consternation by mentioning the snake in my garden (an attractive 18-incher with snazzy racing stripes) but that was the truth, not foolin' around. Suggestions welcome.

carla michaels andrea 3:02 AM  

i don't get OCS

I'm not a Star Wars person, but this sort of reminded me of Yoda...wouldn't that have been funny to ask all the clues a la Yoda?

lit.doc 3:26 AM  

@cma, apropos your Star Wars observation, my WordPlay post of a few minutes ago:

We like Yoda sound all. Strong dork is the side.

And by the by, 38A "Program for a future general, maybe" = "Officer Candidate School" = OCS.

Sincerely,

dic.lot

chefwen 3:58 AM  

Three words for this one, frustrating but fun. Made many of the same mistakes as some, twos before IVAN, atheist before INFIDEL, and mickey before MINNIE. Last two letters were the O and T in POTS, had PapS in first, that didn't work.

Good April Fools puzzle!

Allan 5:21 AM  

Hmm, I guess I'd have to disagree ... I actually thought this was a pretty good puzzle. It was made tricky by something that you can figure out from first principles, rather than a huge load of freakish proper nouns crossing each other where the only option is to give up in frustration and fire up Google.

SethG 6:40 AM  

Bah.

Michael Hanko 7:07 AM  

I could approximate this solving experience by doing any other puzzle w/o my glasses on. The "theme" did'nt add much challenge, just awkwardness. Most of the clues could be rearranged in only one other way, so it just required an extra step--which felt like a chore--to decipher them. It would've helped if the rearrangements resulted in wordplay, cleverness, fiendish misdirection, anything.

A big meh on an xword day I look fwd to all year.

Curmudgeon to like such a sorry sound.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 7:23 AM  

In other news, I got my tickets for Pavement yesterday.

HudsonHawk 7:26 AM  

As April Fool's stuff goes, this one fell pretty flat. Google being renamed Topeka worked better for me...

David 7:31 AM  

OCS=Officer's Candidate School, program for a future general.

Greene 7:33 AM  

I was totally hoping for a fiendish rebus puzzle today, but no such luck. Still and all, I totally enjoyed this one. I thought the twisty cluing was appropriate for April Fool's Day. Tortured? I guess so, but I still had a fun time. I could do without SILTED and VIET though. Those are just plain ugly.

edith b 7:56 AM  

I was able to figure out the conceit in pretty short order but thought Mr Glickstein went a little too far on the cleverness meter for this elderly person's taste, thank you very much.

I've mentioned before that sometimes on late week puzzles I like to see what I have developed on crosses as little abstract word puzzles and this was that in spades. A little reminiscent of Yoda, as someone mentioned earlier, but I found him to be insufferable.

jesser 7:58 AM  

I shall try to be kind.

This was the stupidest effing puzzle I've ever seen anywhere, including those annoying books at the childrens' dentist office.

The kind part was where I didn't use the actual F word.

I would like to write more. A lot more. But it would mean. So I'll stop.

Wedin! (a garden chore approximately as much fun as this puzzle) -- jesser

joho 8:03 AM  

I also could hear Yoda in my head while solving.

I liked TORNADO in the center as the words in the clues ended up as if being tossed around by one.

I also liked OPINIONS crossing OUTOFORDER, what a judge might say.

There is no excuse for VIET, though.

I was hoping for something different for April Fool's Day ... so I got what I wished for. Hey, it's rated challenging and I finished with no errors!
.

Eric 8:03 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric Berlin 8:04 AM  

I really liked this puzzle. Coming up with an April Fool's twist is anything but easy, but Glickstein found one that seems obvious in retrospect. I caught on to the joke in a matter of moments, but enjoyed the extra sub-puzzle of unscrambling the clues.

That said, if this had been my grid, I would have worked like the devil to avoid partials like 48-D and 59-A. Still, that's a nit, not a gripe.

Charlotte 8:08 AM  

Agree about some of the torture, but thought this one was fun - and EASY!

Jim H 8:33 AM  

I as well Yoda heard. "There is no try, only do."

Help a little this might.

Smitty 8:51 AM  

Not as bad as Rex said, but it raised hell with my dyslexia

Ulrich 9:09 AM  

Here's a joke I heard on Garrison Keylor's (sp?) show--sorry if it's old hat:

A grashopper walks into a bar. The bartender looks him over and says, "we have a drink named after you." Says the grashopper, "Why would anyone call a drink 'Bob'?"

The puzzle--as much as I appreciate outliers within the 365 puzzles we get in a year, I don't really see the charm in this one, i.e. I'm with what appears to be the majority opinion here.

@smitty:-)

nanpilla 9:10 AM  

I really enjoyed the extra workout on April Fools Day. As Amy commented on her blog, Thursday and April Fool's Day just naturally go together in crossword puzzle land.

Hand up for hearing Yoda throughout the solve. And the T in POTS/CANTS was my last letter, too.

Today is also my horse's 21st birthday, so I am off to the barn *with spurs on* and a case of beer to celebrate his coming of age!

tptsteve 9:10 AM  

Stopped I after puzzle finishing only half.
Short too life is for nonsense.

Rex Parker 9:13 AM  

If you subscribe to Fireball Crosswords (which you should), then you got to enjoy an Amazingly entertaining April Fool's Day puzzle courtesy of Trip Payne.

That is all.

rp

dk 9:14 AM  

I am with @ericB. The construction is ingenious.

Tortured by the clueing and that dampened the solving experience. Resulting in me exclaiming to no one: MINNIE! Hah! This is MICKEY MOUSE.

I wish @oldcarfudd was not on his bike so we could wax eloquent on TWOTONE cars. I had a 1958 Chevy Belair that was Aqua over some shade of green. Part of Uncle Ed's estate and in 1967 this baby had 10,000 miles on it. It still smelled new. A far cooler than me girlfriend painted some sea creatures that at first glance looked like flames on the side. Thank heavens the car would almost drive itself.... Hmmm, I think I will turn on the Jethro Tull Stand Up "album" as an alarm for the Step Twins.

Favorite April fool joke (next to Sara Palin) is still the upside down salt shaker.

** (2 Stars) VIET and NTEST - OUTOFORDER

Gubdude 9:20 AM  

I thought this one was actually pretty easy once the theme was revealed. I was hoping for a rebus of some sort but I guess I will wait for next week.

And I'm with the above, VIET?? At least make it Cong ____ or something like that.

Zeke 9:24 AM  

This one kind of reminded me of when Will snuck in a Puns and Anagrams puzzle in Geezer Week way back when. As Rex said, once you get the idea, you've got 70 minor tortures to sort through. I was surprised that this didn't bother me that much, but it bothered me.

If all experiments worked, there wouldn't be anything left to try, no?

Elaine 9:34 AM  

@dk
That color was SeaFoam Green. My mom drove the three of us kids from Ft. Smith to San Antonio in 1955. (my dad had a 3 month TDY and it was summertime--hey, why not go to someplace even hotter?) The '47 Ford started burning oil and by the time we got to San Antone was declared DOA. My dad (normally not a dull-witted man) went out and bought a new car *without checking on my mother's color preferences.* There was a lot of door-slamming, as I recall.

Salt-shaker tricks. He doesn't salt things, but thanks for trying.

Chorister 9:42 AM  

Yuck. Only stayed with it halfway because it's Thursday. (Non BEQ/other alternate puzzle day) Then I remembered Fireball. Could NOT hear Yoda, though I tried. Bleh.

JenCT 9:43 AM  

Enjoyed the challenge, but couldn't finish. Gave up after one hour.

@tptsteve - totally agree!

Kudos to those who thought this was easy.

@Smitty and @jesser - LOL!

My favorite April Fools joke is to put a rubberband on the sink sprayer - I'll never stop laughing at that one.

treedweller 9:48 AM  

There are three types of soil particles: sand, silt, and clay. Silt particles are smaller than sand, but Silt Is Not Sand.

Maybe the clue-scrambling is just to fit the theme answers, and clues like this (and VIET and others already mentioned) are the April Fool's joke. "A few answers in this grid only vaguely coincide with their clues, and you have to figure out which ones. Ha ha!"

mitchs 9:52 AM  

No problem getting the trick from the NW, and from there it a very enjoyable twisting, anything but open, road.

Loved it. I wonder if some of the vitriol is from speed solvers who resent "time wasting" crypticism?

Off to face the Fireball.

Rex Parker 9:57 AM  

I wonder if some of the love for this puzzle is from non-speed solvers who are amused by cheap gimmicks. . .

No, that sounds mean. I probably shouldn't second-guess people's reasons for liking/disliking a puzzle.

rp

Howard B 10:07 AM  

No, I'll play Devil's advocate and say that I liked the concept of this puzzle very much, as well as most of the solve. Agree with the stiltedness of VIET (I'm still searching for the missing abbr. tag), and the struggle with CANTS. That one was brutal.
But it's an original April Fools' theme, and I do appreciate the execution of an original idea. Does it have its warts? Yep. But for the most part, I enjoyed the solve.

I know that I personally go light on the blog criticism, and there are nits to pick, but I honestly did like the challenge this time around. Messed with my head nicely trying to figure out the clues instead of just the answers. I can see the validity of the other points made, too, though. There's often a very fine line between an enjoyable challenge and frustration.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:11 AM  

At 35 A, I had the TOR___O, and spent some time trying to decide if it would be TORNADO or TORPEDO Alley, the latter I believe being an expression from WWII. Went with TORNADO, finished with no write-overs.

Just as well there was no torpedo in the grid!

tptsteve 10:12 AM  

@RP- I'm not a speed solver- I don't time myself, but I don't take hours to do a Thursday or Friday either. But because I try to do the puzzle on a train to work (about a 20 minute ride)and finish during lunch (if I have to), the tedium of reading and rereading every clue simply took too much time, a luxury I just don't have.

to be sure, had I done this last evening, I might well have had a different view.

And there's nothing wrong with second-guessing why people like/dislike a puzzle. It seems that we do it all the time.

mccoll 10:18 AM  

@Mitchs - You hit a nerve.
This was pretty easy. Average for Thursday but below average for April Fool's Day. I don't envy Will Shortz when you think of some of the April 1st puzzles of the past.

PhillySolver 10:21 AM  

Since it is the first of April, I see through Rex's trick and am surprised he liked it so much. I am not a speed solver, but do finish most puzzles in reasonable times, so I will pick up the gauntlet. I like the inherent variety in the NYT presentation and adjusting my brain to the hints given by the day of the week and the constructor. Not every Thursday gimmick works, however, how would we get the mind benders and fun ones without taking some risk? This puzzle twisted things and that does make for variety. By Saturday, you have to deconstruct clues and to me, Lee's puzzle was similar. Some of the revisions took some unusual thought processes and proved a challenge. I do not want to be damned to a Sisyphus-like existence of all reversed clues, but also do not want to see the same thing every day.

I am traveling this week and wonder if the maid in this Residence Inn was the inspiration for this puzzle. My note of requests was so jumbled, it will make a good story over cocktails.

r.alphbunker 10:25 AM  

I'm with @mitchs. In fact, the clues momentarily felt like it was a cryptic puzzle. Maybe that was the April fool joke.

I think I will start a blog for non-speed solvers. It will be accessible only from a dial-up connection.

Crosscan 10:25 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crosscan 10:25 AM  

Well, with Howard B liking it, any silly notion that a "speed solver" won't like this is justifiably DOA.

So we have a puzzle where you have to stop and think on every clue.
When did that become a bad thing?

Great, great puzzle,fitting for the day. This speed solver adds another way up thumbs!

Rex Parker 10:32 AM  

@Crosscan, did you just call yourself a "speed solver?" Without even a hint of irony? ;)

archaeoprof 10:34 AM  

As a non-speed solver, I savor my moments with the puzzle each day. As Linda Ronstadt sang, "No one's gonna take that time away." Speed-solvers seem prone to irritability.

Crosscan 10:36 AM  

Sorry. I guess it takes 3 trophies and a top 58 finish before I can call myself a speed solver.

imsdave 10:43 AM  

Tuesday level puzzle after reviewing the grid, with an almost Friday solve time. Unique concept that in retrospect, I truly enjoyed.

Thank you, Mr. Glickstein

PlantieBea 10:47 AM  

I suppose this kind of puzzle is good for one's brain; but the swirling words gave me the symptoms of motion sickness.

Two Ponies 10:54 AM  

I figured there would be some sort of funny business today.
Hand up for Yoda-speak.
Aside from a few stinkers I have to say I ended up liking it. It certainly was a change of pace.
@ Gubdude, Your clue for Viet would have worked much better.
@ Smitty, As I was doing this I wondered about dyslexia as well.
My last letter was the T of cants. I still don't know what it means.
I wanted silica for silted.
All-in-all this infidel liked it.
I'm going to take @dk's suggestion and put on that Tull album.
I hope I make it through the day without being on the wrong end of any dirty tricks.

MikeM 10:59 AM  

@PlantieBea
I second that! I felt a little dizzy and nauseous 20 minutes in. Not the kind of reaction I want from my crossword puzzle. Tried to somehow fit "tinpan" for TORNADO and a few other blunders... didnt like this one.

Elaine 11:01 AM  

CANT-- slang or patois specific to a group. Think 'Oliver Twist' and instruction of the new pickpocket, or even 'The Flim-flam Man' and the lingo of modern con-men and shoplifters-- boosting, grifter/grift sense, etc.

It's true-- we low-life non-speed-solvers have no taste and really shouldn't be allowed to subscribe to the NYT Premium Puzzles and Games. Slow solvers got no reason to live!

hazel 11:03 AM  

Cool puzzle. It did have a stop and smell the roses feel to it. Sussing the clue then sussing the answer - I liked it.

Did not think of Yoda once (thankfully). I think that actually might have irritated me somehow - or at least been distracting. I also forgot that it was April Fools day and just considered this a rather original Thursday gimmick.

DB Geezer 11:03 AM  

I am totally startled by the many negative comments on this puzzle! I quickly figured out the gimmick, and really enjoyed juggling the word order. That actually made the puzzle easier, and this non-speed solver was able to finish without googling even once.

Probably liked it because juggling with words and puns is a bad habit of mine.

Conversation It's a sure stopper.

fikink 11:06 AM  

Oh, man, Rex: "You have to waterboard that clue..." ? What a VIVID metaphor!

Hated CANTS.

Nice save at 9:57, Rex.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

I guess I kinda feel sorry for people who hate this crossword. If you can't find joy in something like this, you're missing a huge part of what puzzles can offer. Of course, like any puzzle, it's not perfect. Name a work of art that is. But toss out your preconceptions and splash around in the goodness of a puzzle that actually makes you think differently.

-Nikki

dk 11:19 AM  

@crosscan, I made you a few trophies out of Marshmellow Peeps. Can't help with the 58 thing.

@elaine, Seafoam green it was.

@twoponies, remember the best defense is a good offense

Stretched plastic wrap over the toilet, commercial grade from Costco works well, and in the dim morning light it is invisible... not that I would know.

mitchs 11:25 AM  

The clues reminded me a little of the greatest concise critique I've ever heard. Can't remember the author, but he was commenting on the convoluted style of the early Time Magazine writers and editors. "Backwards run the sentences until reels the mind."

Lanier 11:32 AM  

Got the trick early on. Was in such pain after five minutes that I couldn't bring myself to continue. Would've taken me 30+ minutes I think.

George NYC 11:44 AM  

@mitchs

Backwards run sentences until reels the mind.

This is a variant of a line from Wolcott Gibbs’s 1936 New Yorker profile of Henry Luce, complete with a parody of Timespeak:

Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind.

Howard B 11:47 AM  

@Anon 11:13 - There's nothing to "feel sorry for" here. There's plenty to enjoy in this puzzle, and plenty where I can see that people might strongly displike it (for me, see CANTS, for example). If you're going to get tricksy with the clues, make sure your answer/clue pairs are clear to begin with.
This is just going to be, for the most part, one of those polarizing puzzles. No need for condescension, OK :). To each their own.

jae 11:55 AM  

This non-speed solver didn't hate it but... I caught the trick very early and spent the rest of the solve annoyed. I even commented to my bride that this is an annoying puzzle. If I want to put some extra effort into a puzzle I'll do one of BEQs diagramless ones.

chefbea 11:57 AM  

Took forever!!! Don't have time to read all the comments - busy planting flowers and tomatoes.

An ingenious puzzle that took way too long. But happy April fool's day to all. Have an extra grasshopper on me. Some people might prefer scotch but I'm not naming names

chefbea

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

Oh, right. This is a Condescension-Free Blog. Not sure how I forgot that.

Didn't mean to condescend anyway. Seems sad, that's all. To each her own. Happy Fools Day.

-Nikki

mitchs 12:08 PM  

@George NYC - thanks. Your corrected version is even better.

@Howard B - you're a voice of reason.

3 and out.

Van55 12:15 PM  

I did this puzzle waiting interminably at a doctor's offce, so I didn't mind the extra time it took to unscrmble the clues

syndy 12:29 PM  

read the first clue and grumbled 'w.t.f' but was giggling by the end.actually think mild dislexia helped. Speed solving:.aint that like speed reading a novel?

ArtLvr 12:30 PM  

@Elaine, I loved your Cry Wolf answer. Very April 1.

@Joho, ditto your noting the central TORNADO.

@PlantieBea, your motion-sickness description fit better than my original feeling of heavy headache.

@PhillySolver, glad to see you back here! I agree it was a good puzzle, looking at my completed work this a.m., but my mind still reels at recalling the solving experience.

@Rex, you're right -- Fireball looked daunting, but it was more fun, no fooling!

∑;)

treedweller 12:44 PM  

@Howard B. When I solved in the applet, the clue for VIET included "abbr." The problem is, VIET is not an abbr. for anything that I am aware of. It is just part of the name of the country. As @Tinbeni said, Nam is well known as shorthand for VIET Nam, but I've never heard it referred to as simply VIET. Maybe I just need to get out more (did I miss a war somewhere called, say, Vietrania?).

And as long as I'm at it, I question the clue "To know one way." The best REARRANGment of that I can find is "One way to know," which suggests someone who claims something based on ESP actually knows it. I don't buy it.

And one more, which I concede may be caused by my own thick head: how does the clue for NTEST work? If there were no quote marks around "Big" I'd be fine, but this suggests there was a bomb in the movie, which I'm pretty sure there wasn't. Nor would it make sense to transfer the quote marks to any other word when FLIPFLOPping the clue. April fool!

Dave 12:47 PM  

first time i've ever completed a thursday. took 51 minutes. always impressed by how quickly everybody else seems to do them. i don't anticipate being able to finish thursdays with frequency, as i guessed REARRANGED early on and was able to build my solution around that.

been following this blog for over a year. i've learned that if i enjoy a puzzle, it's almost a guarantee that rex won't like it. love using your thoughts as a foil--thanks for sharing your process rex.

Lee Glickstein 1:04 PM  

Great to see the range of loved to hated for this one, what I expected. I had this idea for what Martin Herbach calls a “stupid constructor trick” 3-4 years ago and thought it would be just right for an April 1, and Will’s been holding it for quite a while. Those who suffered brain pain from my creation will be happy to know that this workout precisely strengthened the part of your brain that keeps it fit. You’re welcome!

I got an email this morning from an AARP honcho: “Studies show that activities like crosswords can strengthen the brain and keep it fit. I could actually feel that happening with this puzzle, a real brain challenge, trying to re-sort the words and make sense of the clues, with different little strategies emerging. I will be contacting Mr. Shortz to see if we can reprint this puzzle in our magazine as ‘The Crossword that Staves off Alzheimer’s.’”

Masked and Anonymous 1:05 PM  

Loved it. Big thumbs up. All H breaks loose, when April Fool's intersects Thursdays. It's a license for looniness.

@Rex: Agree that the clue for VIET, no matter how one parses it, pretty bad was.

@Andrea: OCS = Program for a future general, maybe: abbr. (Officer's Candidate School) Loved the Yoda reference, did I.

Doc John 1:11 PM  

Overall, I liked this puzzle. True, some of the clues were real clunkers but at least having to take the extra step of rearranging the words worked a different part of my brain. A puzzle within a puzzle- always a plus.

Rex, like any gourmet or movie critic, you tend to require higher orders of perfection to attain satisfaction.

And speaking of critics, I got to sit next to Leonard Maltin at a seder on Monday. He and his family were just lovely and man, does he know a lot about movies!

"Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."

Art Wholeflaffer 1:16 PM  

As a speed solver, i found this frustrating. Had i done it on paper, while stuck on an airplane, i probably would have liked it a lot.

Except for "VIET".

Tinbeni 1:18 PM  

I did this puzzle last night after a few of my Avatar.

Maybe that helped in the solve since my dyslexic brain was working backwards.

Though sober now, I still think 58A, VIET was a lousy answer.
But maybe that was the point.
Since it is known as NAM, it was FLIP-FLOPPED to VIET?

In the future maybe I'll just wait and solve over coffee.

@Chefbea: Since Rex had the Grasshopper ingredients and mixology here is mine ...

In a snifter glass: Pour in the Scotch

Howard B 1:28 PM  

@Treedweller: You're absolutely correct. I meant that I was surprised that there was no cue for VIET being a partial, not an abbreviation. Sorry for the confusion.

@Lee: Thank you for twisting my brain today. Got all those cobwebs and rust out. Think I found some spare change as well.

With that, I reach my comment limit for today, and depart with just a copy of the Rex Parker home game. I leave the rest of the discussion to the experts. Have fun, all :).

Two Ponies 1:36 PM  

@ Tinbeni, Perhaps you have something about the Viet answer/clue. It would fit the theme.
@ Lee Glickstein, Thanks so much for stopping by. Always a bonus for me when a constructor drops in.
Solving this did seem to require some lesser-used brain cells to step up to the plate. It reminded me of trying to draw or write with my left (or non-dominant for you lefties out there) hand. Thanks!

archaeoprof 1:45 PM  

@Lee Glickstein: thanks for the background on this puzzle. It was just right for April Fools Day.

My inner Yoda says, "In life are things one should when doing the clock not watch."

Chip Hilton 1:47 PM  

Non-speed solver is cumbersome. We need a name for this group, in which I hold membership. May I suggest The Normals?

melissa 1:48 PM  

loved this for sheer novelty.

always want NECCO for NILLA (24D)-- damn my love for those powdery sugar candies!

melissa 1:51 PM  

also has SAVES for MIXES 20A "as a grasshopper prepares," from the story of the ant and the grasshopper.

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

seems like a generational issue here: I think two toned refers to two colors as in two toned shoes or two toned (old) cars

Quasi-Anonymous 2:11 PM  

@Anonymous, 1:55 PM -

Actually, it's more of a perception issue: If you only get as far as Rex's avatar, you may not have perceived that he has a great sense of humor and often posts items that play on the words being referenced.

miriam b 2:12 PM  

Some flaws, e. g., VIET, CANTS. I didn't find this puzzle at all challenging, but I did have the feeling that I was mentally patting my head and rubbing my tummy. The gimmick was immediately apparent thanks to OMAR.

pedneche: a foot rest

Tinbeni 2:17 PM  

@Two Ponies
Occam's Razor
As to the VIET / NAM answer, in an illogical puzzle it is the only logical explanation.

If Lee wasn't playing an April Fools joke then the entry at 58A, VIET is the worse answer of all time.

If Lee was playing an April Fools joke then the Flip-Flop of NAM to VIET goes with the theme.


@Chip Hilton
re: Non-Speed Solvers name.

The Inks ...

Lets face it, "The Normals" doesn't fit because a lot of us are far from that classification.

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

What a lot of snarky comments from so many people. It was a perfectly fine puzzle, a fun April Fool's gimmick. No better or worse than many other crossword puzzle gimmicks that I've seen in my two+ years of puzzle solving.

The only clunker for me was "VIET". I recognized the solution at the first pass through the puzzle, but rejected it as wrong since I have never heard anyone use that shorthand for Viet Nam. However, I often see the never-used UCAL for UCB or Cal (U.C. Berkeley) go by uncommented upon. So I can forgive VIET.

Not trying to sound snarky, but I think that those who's primary fun in crossword solving is speed miss out on a lot. It seems like they want a lot of familiar clues or at least clues done in a formulaic manner. Those of us who work in ink on paper don't mind studying the printed words in the clues and trying to suss out the tricks.

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

@Rex,
Infidel CAN mean one who acknowledges no religious belief. Check OED.

Rube 2:42 PM  

It took me far too long to get the concept here. Had "twos" and "wolf" of course, but also had "animism" for 23A. Took that out with ISAAC. With OMAR the second time around I finally saw the light. You must realize that this is my 1st April Fool's puzzle, and I "fell for it".

Had trouble with 60A as I kept thinking of that '60s movie "Blowup". Wanted to put Ngtve for negative or something. Reparsing for the 3rd time got me NTEST and that corner was toast.

Still, couldn't get the center because of CANTS and PROLE, both of which were new to me. Still cannot, among others, parse "With spurs on" to get EGGS. "Spurs on with?" "Spurs with on?" How 'bout "Spurs on", I was kidding "with" you.

My '87 Ford Ranger is TWOTONE. Probably the last of it's breed. Love that pick-up. Drive it all the time, but not very far.

miriam b 2:53 PM  

@Rube: Spurs with (the word) on = EGGS on. We can't simply EGG a person (unless it's Halloween, I suppose); we EGG on.

joho 2:57 PM  

@Chip Hilton, I have to agree with @Tinbeni ... while I'm not a speed solver I am anything but normal.

I'm out of time to really think about it now, but something meaning slow would work. The Snails.

Repulsive but true.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:26 PM  

In the past, I have used "savor" as the opposite of "speed" when it comes to puzzle solving; no denigration of either approach intended.

Z.J. Mugildny 3:29 PM  

I'm with Rex et al. who caught on to the theme quickly and was immediately dismayed by the thought that the every clue in the puzzle would have to be mentally unscrambled.

The scrambled clues probably seemed like a great idea in the constructors head, but it just doesn't work. Admirable attempt by Mr. Glickstein, but this one just falls flat.

Elaine 3:29 PM  

@Chip Hilton, Tinbeni
That's right! We're not 'normal,' we're ALL Above Average! wink!
AND I buy Tinbeni's explanation of VIET/NAM switcheroo as fitting with the trick. Maybe Lurking Lee Glickstein will say if this the intent was?

@Melissa
The ants SAVED; the grasshopper played and sang, "Oh, the world owes me a living, tra la la, la la la la." And then he froze to death. As a gardener, I like that part best. (I wanted Necco's, too. Yum.)

I forget who objected to the ESP clue {way of knowing] but as one who has had numerous episodes of precognition (which, by the way, are not always pleasant, and NO, I cannot give you the lottery numbers)... I believe the clue fit the situation very aptly.

aphitos--yet another garden pest

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

If VIET was part of the theme, wouldn't OMAR be clued with Streisand?

sanfranman59 3:36 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 24:32, 19:34, 1.25, 93%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 13:37, 9:26, 1.44, 98%, Challenging

Predictably, this puzzle is falling firmly in the Challenging category for both groups of solvers. Personally, I hope to never see another puzzle like this again. Puzzle clues are tricky enough without having to figure out in what order the words are supposed to be. Then there were the out and out awful clue/answer combinations that Rex mentions in his write up (VIET?!?!?). Boo! Hiss!

babslesley 3:37 PM  

Again don't it do, Mr/Ms Glickstein.

hazel 3:48 PM  

I kind of like the Sharks for the non-speeds and the Jets for the speed-solvers.

It kind of sums up the whole Us vs. Them thing in a musical nutshell! which kind of brings everyone together in a way....

Glitch 3:59 PM  

I kinda go with Competitive vrs Non-Competitive ---

Like the 4th of July hot dog eating contests vrs the family BBQ.

..../Glitch

PS: VIET cannot tbe justified, IMHO.

Anonymous 3:59 PM  

If you look at the etymology of 'infidel' in the OED, the given clue is quite correct (well, if one unscrambles it).

Blackhawk 4:29 PM  

FANTASTIC puzzle. Loved it, absolutely. All of you speed-solvers who didn't enjoy it have forgotten about the "puzzle" part of this game we love. It's cool to figure out how something like this works. Crack the code. Unscramble the language.

It reminded me of mechanical puzzles my uncle used to create for us kids. He was an audio engineer in the studios in LA and loved to tinker with devices and teach how things worked. So he take something completely apart -- a speaker, a stereo amp, a blender engine, stuff like that -- and spread it all over a workbench. And my job was to figure out how to put it back together. This is a lot of fun if you're a kid but it also teaches you to be inventive and use your deductive reasoning.

So anyway -- thanks Mr Glickstein for a really fun "deconstructionist" puzzle, April 1 or not. Well done.

CoolPapaD 5:04 PM  

OGM - I loved this! At first I was like "TWF?" but then realized the gimmick. Had difficulty with CANTS, and think POTS is a stretch, but still, most enjoyable!

Here's a quote 5:09 PM  

Here's a quote from no less than Tyler Hinman:

"I still prefer to savor puzzles when I solve on paper, and I don't see that changing."

SethG 5:21 PM  

So there have been over a hundred comments so far, and between the blog entry and all of those there's exactly one comment that even comes close to saying that the extra time it would have taken to solve it might have been what detracted from the solver's enjoyment.

I track my time, and generally try to finish more quickly rather than less. I do not care if I'm faster or slower than you are. I do not know if that makes me a "speed-solver". But I do know that the reasons I dislike this puzzle have nothing to do with the figuring out part and everything to do with the unscrambled clues themselves.

I figured out the gimmick at 1A, confirmed it with 1D. I enjoyed it, though virtually none of the clues were at all difficult to unscramble correctly and tons of them were simply two words to reverse.

What I did not enjoy was that the unscrambling resulted in VIET. That [On the low side] seems to require an adjective, and no dictionary I checked lists SADDENED as anything but a verb. That I think [Drain part of] is a beyond lousy clue for EAT INTO. That [Love of drivers] for OPEN ROAD, or [Fencing tool] for RAPIER, is almost as bad.

If you liked it more than me, good for you. Unless you want to continue feeling sorry for me or making up more of what you think my reasons might be, then I just don't care.

why don't you mix yourself a grasshopper 5:29 PM  

Wow, Seth G - pretty sure no one really feels sorry for you.

Scarlett 5:42 PM  

@SethG

SADDENED-- He was happy to be home. He was saddened by the loss of his friend. Predicate adjectives?

EAT INTO-- This could eat into the fun of bungee-jumping, he said as the cord parted.

Tomorrow is another day.

Moonchild 5:46 PM  

@ SethG, I took "drain part of" to mean something like a bank account which you can "eat into" if you drain it. If you like road trips the clue/answer are a good match. Even if you don't like to drive don't you like it better when there is no one in front of you?
I loved this wacky puzzle!

Norm 5:55 PM  

Two thumbs down ...

Everything else has been said. Didn't get to the puzzle until late today. Glad about that, since it didn't p*** me off for the entire day.

raidodaze 6:07 PM  

By the time I got to DRAIN PART OF I was stuck on PTRAPS and such things. Nowhere near anything like SIPHONOFF which more accurate than "EATINTO your nest egg", but similar enough that it works.

The main problem I had with the puzzle was putting OUTOFORDER in the wrong place at the start!

Anonymous 6:15 PM  

He was (on the low side) by the loss of his friend?

joho 6:22 PM  

@hazel ... I like your concept of the Sharks & Jets except for the Shark part. Do you have any idea how fast a shark can swim? The one coming at my kayak in the Sea of Cortez was fast as lightning.

Also the term "shark" isn't nice and while I'm not a speed solver, I am nice.

I like the idea of coming up with a name for us non-speed solvers, though. Andrea?

mac 6:42 PM  

I figured out the gimmick almost immediately and thought the job would be daunting. After a bit, it just added another, pretty interesting step. The end result is a lot easier, though, than we expect on a Thursday.

I had a problem with all the clues SethG mentions, just not good enough, couldn't that be fixed?

I think my only write-over was in the pots/prole/cants area; I started out with pins for the nursery.

Those peeps! I noticed in the supermarket that the yellow ones were sold out, there were only pink and lavender chicks and surprised-looking bunnies.

@dk: I think (not sure) that CrossCan has only 2 trophies and came in 59th!

Steve J 6:51 PM  

I am not a speed solver. I note my times, and I enjoy seeing myself get faster, but I enjoy simply solving puzzles.

So, if one person's experience is indicator, I would say speed solving has nothing to do with whether one enjoyed this puzzle or not. Because I, for one, did not enjoy this.

No need to go into detail, as most things have been covered. With any gimmick or construct, my criterion I judge by is if the result pays off. For me, it didn't. Too many WTF clue/answer combos, too many two-word clues that were easy to parse (if you're going to do something like this, go ahead and do it all-in instead of half-assing it with two-word clues that take no effort to parse). Plus, of course, VIET.

For me, it was a slog. So much so it wasn't worth it to me to keep spending time to finish. For those of you who liked it, I'm glad you got way more enjoyment out of it than I did.

jesser 6:52 PM  

Naming the speed solvers and non-speed solvers is all very well and good, but I don't know which camp I'd fall into.

I don't time myself and I don't not time myself. I just do the puzzle.

Maybe the speed solvers can be Lamborghinis (or certain Toyotas), the non-speed-solvers can be Bumper Cars, and the rest of us -- the Just Get There However You Must folks -- can be Jeeps.

Yes, that works for me just fine.

Ungsy (that feeling you get just before you hit the POST COMMENT button and you realize you probably didn't spell Lamborghini correctly) -- jesser

Crosscan 6:54 PM  

@mac: You are correct.

Two Ponies 6:55 PM  

@ joho and hazel, I also like the idea of nicknames. Sharks don't make it for me either but Jets is good.
How about Jets and Gliders?

eli, the gone 7:30 PM  

I think Seth G was referring to the backlash that said (paraphrasing) I feel sorry for you if you didn't have fun. Seth G is right to be defensive, but really that's what the site has become in my opinion.

The joy seems to have been gone for a while now and replaced with an us vs. them snarkiness on both sides. What would you expect when the blog's author gets to slap everyone with the insult that we like cheap gimmicks (what makes one gimmick cheap and unworthy and another brilliant? Rex's say so.) But then he takes it back, so it's all right. Why not just delete the comment or never post it if he thought better about it? Then he wouldn't still get in his zinger.

I want to belabor the point that I am referring to what I perceive the tone of the blog and comments has come to, not to any particular person. I've met some of you in the past and found everyone charming and kind. I have no doubt that is still true.

Stan 7:34 PM  

Jeez took me this hours, Louise.

Rex Parker 8:20 PM  

@eli, that "zinger" you cite: I was parodying an earlier comment (down to the very way the comment was phrased), i.e. I was obviously kidding. The whole *point* was that no one (myself included) would ever say such a thing. If you genuinely felt insulted, I apologize. If I really made a habit of insulting my readers on a regular basis, I can't imagine I'd have many. Unless they are all masochistic. Or enjoy watching me the way one might enjoy watching a circus geek. A possibility, I guess.

rp

your average blank 8:33 PM  

I'll be dammed said the creek after the fat lady sat down in a narrow spot. As a non speed solver I enjoyed this puzzle. Took my time, left and came back later; I think there are two types of solvers, but I detect some arrogance on the part of the fast ones, but thats ok...I'll never be arrogant.

===Dan 8:45 PM  

I enjoyed it. Part of the challenge was getting past the scrambled version of the clues. Once the clues were unscrambled, some of the clues were rather straightforward, and some might not have fit as perfectly as if they were written straight. But "years of plenty," for instance, had to have been chosen for the sound of it in the scrambled version, and should not be judged the way you would on all other nights.

This was a different kind of puzzle from the typical NYT offering, and even different from the typical Thursday. I think an attempt to so something different is to be respected, even admired, and should not be taken as a personal affront.

I seem to remember VIET being a term commonly used in the tabloid headlines in the early 1960s.

joho 8:51 PM  

@Two Ponies ... I love your idea of pairing Jets with Gliders.

That's what I like to do ... glide in to a perfect landing, easy and breezy.

There were 120 comments at 8:38 ... to me that's that sign of a very interesting puzzle.

Stan 8:55 PM  

Re: "Mirror in the Bathroom": What a great clip!

fergus 8:55 PM  

For a little while I thought that maybe we would have to fill in the entries OUT OF ORDER, too, or maybe backward ... ? That would be Harper's-like daunting. A couple of Clunkers, sure, but those were more than obliterated by some misdirection to go with the jumbled words.

Most radical gimmick in quite a while. I found this very compelling, and was a bit surprised that it attracted as much aspersion as it did.

It's all fine with me, Lee.

michael 9:02 PM  

I was too clever and wrote in about five answers backwards before figuring out that wasn't the gimmick. After that, it all felt a bit clunky, but I sure don't share the dislike that a lot of people here have, I just thought that I wasn't thinking too well, though I did eventually get the whole thing.

I have zero interest in solving puzzles as fast as I can, though I do find it interesting that (controlling for the day of the week) I do some faster than others. I guess that makes me a non-speed-solver.

David 9:25 PM  

I enjoyed it maybe because 1) I did complete it after about three leaps into it, 2) the clues have sort of a warped tangential relationship to the answers - but they did fit eventually, 3) waterboarding words in my mind has a perverse pleasure (?). :)

And the comments here add to the perverse pleasure, especially those of our master blogger.

fikink 9:56 PM  

@Stan 7:34, Creepers are clever, you jeepers!

joho 10:12 PM  

No, @michael 9:02 ... that makes you a Glider.

The more I think about, this is a great term for non-speed solvers.
We take a longer time getting there but savor and enjoy the ride.

sanfranman59 10:33 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 7:38, 6:54, 1.11, 77%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 9:11, 8:53, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 11:33, 11:50, 0.98, 49%, Medium
Thu 24:49, 19:35, 1.27, 95%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:02, 3:40, 1.10, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:47, 4:32, 1.06, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:37, 5:47, 0.97, 47%, Medium
Thu 12:33, 9:24, 1.33, 95%, Challenging

Anonymous 10:33 PM  

"...I think there are two types of solvers, but I detect some arrogance on the part of the fast ones..."

I've seen a lot of Slows put down the Fasts for being Fast, but I'm pretty sure I haven't seen Fasts put down Slows for being Slow...

Stan 10:36 PM  

@fikink :-D

And out 3.

lit.doc 11:08 PM  

@Glitch, your nomination of the straightforward and non-judgmental distinction between competitive vs. non-competitive solvers gets my vote.

But the sufficiency of the distinction hangs on a question I can't answer, so I have to ask of the speed solvers in this discussion, sincerely and intending no offense: is speed solving as such pleasurable, divorced from any expectation of enhanced tournament performance?

Ken Kesey 11:34 PM  

The number of comments today must be a record. I take that as a sign of a good puzzle.
It tickled my brain and it felt good.
If this sort of puzzle derailed the Jets I must admit that it gives me a pleasure, however perverse, to know that it derailed the speed-solvers if only for a day devoted to the Merry Pranksters among us.

hazel 1:24 AM  

@Two Ponies - Gliders is a good save! I kind of like Jets and Gliders.

Jets and Sharks were, of course, the West Side Story gangs (I had to look up their names), and were meant to be a bit of a joke - given that the turf is in fact a puzzle, or pastime. It struck me as funny, but I had been doing my taxes all day, so I might have been a little edgy/giddy.

Ironically(?), neither name is a good fit for the way I approach crosswords - wish I could say I glided, maybe I do on Mondays and Tuesdays, but after that, I'm a bit more like a cropduster, often having to loop over the grid several times to finish it up.....

Jim 1:42 AM  

Liking this, sure I am, Yoda is.
Me, not so much.

Southern ma'am 3:23 AM  

Interestingly enough, it is now Good Friday
which is an appropriate day for such a sucky
puzzle. Bad, evil, awful; why did I even
pick up my pen?

Frank 2:09 PM  

I actually enjoyed it...had little to do and it was amusing during TV spots. My only question was 'CANTS'.

Trombone Tom 5:20 PM  

Got around to this Friday pm and enjoyed it very much. Maybe it's a sign of how varied we are in the way our minds work that some "slogged" and others enjoyed the cluing.

Thanks for an interesting puzzle.

deerfencer 12:34 PM  

Disliked it vehemently at first. Even turned to my wife and said "Something tells me Rex Parker's gonna hate this puzzle."

Once we got the gimmick, we punted the clues back and forth and it actually became fun.

EZPickins 12:16 PM  

I must apologize for the lateness of this post, but we in Seattle get the puzzle 5 weeks later than the rest of you.

When I started this puzzle, all of the clues seemed wierd, until 17A REARRANGED, which was an easy answerr, and explained. Then it only took about 30 minutes to complete.

Got stuck on PROLE and CANTS, which are rather arcane to be next to each other, and it was difficult to figure out which kind of nursery he was talking about.

Altogether very enjoyable for a Thursday morning.

No trouble for an old-timer and army vet to get OCS, VIET, INDO, PUGET, OMAR, etc. MINNIE was easy because I was coming from the East and already had NIE on the end.

wilsoncpu 12:46 PM  

Land from Syndication:
One more for POTS/CANTS providing the last letter, hating VIET, and for both the loving AND hating camps... It was fun as an intellectual challenge, but not so much as a crossword puzzle, if that makes any sense. It may not.
- Mark
(vultuds = deposits made by carrion-eaters?)

Al 12:54 PM  

Personally, I like Ambrose Bierce's definition in his Devil's Dictionary:

"Infidel (n): In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does."

Anonymous 3:55 PM  

I liked that having to suss the clues made me have to spend longer on the puzzle. I'm laid up with a pinched sciatic nerve, so enjoyed killing a lot of time!

Only thing I don't get -- What does Checks for Letters have to do with Rents?

The Merry Mailman 4:28 PM  

@Anonymous, 3:55 PM -

To let is to rent (my Webster's says Chiefly British). So the check you send to your "letter" is your rent.

Csnipes 6:03 PM  

First time commenting, been reading for a few months now, but I do have to say... Puzzle this was my ever favorite!! Maybe I am still a novice but like Rex I realized there was something cluing in the fishy before I placed anything in the grid. Also I am in anchorage so my puzzles are 5 weeks behind the original publish date. Not sure why but it does give me the chance to read plenty of comments on the puzzles. Thanks to Rex for helping me improve as a solver. Question... Any idea as to the average age of the readers/comment leavers? I think I must be a lot younger than most, being only 28, but I have always loved crosswords and I am now thankful to see that I am becoming as skilled as the older readers.

The Merry Mailman 6:53 PM  

@Csnipes - I don't know the average age of the Rexites, but many of the regulars have profiles on Blogger (the ones with avatars, or the ones whose names show up in blue rather than black). Some/many? of those profiles give the person's age, so click on a few avatars and see what you get! (And if you do all of them, run the average and let us know!)

(I don't usually note the captcha word, but this one is "hydad". Could that be significant?)

Tall John 7:51 PM  

I just liked a puzzle that was moderately challenging without descending into clues like "Third runner up for 1958 Best Sound Direction Oscar."

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