19th-century farmer (THU 5-6-10) Family of George's fiancee on Seinfeld / Little title figure in Beach Boys hit / When doubled #3 hit 1968 #1 hit 1987

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Constructor: Dan Naddor

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Angry dog — "GR" gets tacked on to the beginnings of familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued wackily ("?"-style)


Word of the Day: GRANGER (37D: 19th-century farmer) —

n.
  1. Chiefly Upper Midwest. A farmer.
  2. Granger Chiefly Northeastern U.S. A member of the Grange.

• • •

Puzzle 4 from this past weekend's Crosswords L.A. Tournament — this one was a signature Dan Naddor add-a-letter (two letters) tour-de-force. A gaudy number of theme answers (7) with a very cool-looking slant-stack of three in the middle. I'm not much for this type of theme, but if you're gonna do it, overdo it, I say. Here, not only do you have scads of theme answers, but you have a nice, wide open grid generally. 72 words, with very open NE and SW corners, and nice longish columns of answers in the NW and SE as well. There are some unfortunate bits of short fill — ICS ALD ASE ITHE REW but all in all, for what it is, I think it works fine. Most common mistakes at the tournament were probably predictable: and O-for-A swap on the one hand (DINO / TORTE) and an A-for-O on the other (ROSARIA / RASSES). With that last one, I'm not sure how people justified RASSES to themselves, but I am sympathetic to the error — I really don't think crossing two obscure NBC sitcom clues at a vowel is very fair (38D: Karen's maid on "Will & Grace" => ROSARIO / 62A: Family of George's fiancée on "Seinfeld" => ROSSES). As for the first error, DINA Merrill is crosswordese (31A: Actress Merrill), and DINO isn't a plausible actress's name, but the TORTE for TARTE error is completely understandable to me (27D: Pâtisserie offering).

Least appealing answer in the grid, to me, was SEA EEL (44D: Sushi offering). Is there any other legit crossword entry that has the appalling letter string "EAEE" in it?

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Barbecue comfortably? (GRILL AT EASE)
  • 20A: "Are your Southern breakfast vittles satisfactory?" ("GRITS OKAY?")
  • 32A: Marvelous golf club? (GRAND IRON)
  • 35A: Purple outfit? (GRAPE SUIT)
  • 37A: Rules regarding tile setting? (GROUT LAWS)
  • 54A: Big black bird? (GREAT CROW)
  • 56A: Passenger gorging on fried chicken and potato chips? (GREASY RIDER) — winner!
Only a few things were truly out of my comfort zone on this one. Would never have gotten ROSSES without crosses (but did know ROSARIO, which helped). Haven't had chemistry since 1986, so needed many crosses to pick up TITRATE (41D: Measure the strength of, in a way). GRANGER is slightly, vaguely familiar as clued, but I definitely needed crosses, and would have clued it via one of the many GRANGERs you see pictured on the blog today (except Wayne Granger, whom I've actually never heard of).

Bullets:
  • 8A: N'awlins sandwiches (PO' BOYS) — Mmm. "N'awlins" is a good way to clue the equally contracted "PO'"
  • 23A: When doubled, a #3 hit of 1968 or a #1 hit of 1987 ("MONY") — #1! Wow, I had no idea that Billy Idol song was so big. "White Wedding" big!


  • 24A: Nonmigratory goose (NENE) — they pretty much just stay there in Hawaii.
  • 44A: "Little" title figure in a Beach Boys hit (ST. NICK) — wanted DEUCE COUPE so bad.

  • 51A: Silents star Nita (NALDI) — Like DINA, crosswordese, but most solvers seem to have picked this up eventually even if it was initially unfamiliar to them.
That's it. More tomorrow. Oh, if you want to read about a scoring controversy at the Crosswords L.A. tournament — one that resulted in my fellow judge Tyler Hinman's having to be physically restrained and sedated — read his write-up of said controversy here.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

90 comments:

Elaine 6:27 AM  

Hand up for puzzlement at ROSARIO/ROSSES as well, though I did change the A quickly. Tried I WIN before I SEE (which seemed weak) and totally agree about SEA EEL. EEWWW.

Not much to comment on, except that Dan Naddor's byline now gives a bit of a tug at the heart-strings.

Now off to read Tyler's account...and then I think I'll go fishin'--yeah, on a Thursday!

The Bard 7:37 AM  

Hamlet > Act I, scene II

KING CLAUDIUS: Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine,
And thy best graces spend it at thy will!
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,--

HAMLET: [Aside] A little more than kin, and less than kind.

nanpilla 8:10 AM  

Really liked this puzzle. Favorite theme answer was GROUTLAWS. The O in ROSSES/ROSARIO was my last letter.

Loved TITRATE, KEWPIE, STIGMA and GRANGER.

@purpleguy : thought of you immediately at GRAPE SUIT.

Off to the Horse Park of NJ to work at a horse show, where TYING UP would be a very bad thing.

joho 8:15 AM  

GRGRGRGRGRGRGRreat puzzle! This week has been a lot of fun.

I'm grateful that we still have the opportunity to enjoy Mr. Naddor's huge talent, but like @Elaine, feel a touch of sadness, too.

Ruth 8:17 AM  

I have known Hispanic women named Rosario and always thought (think) it odd that it doesn't end in "A". It's been explained to me but I forget.
Wondering if Rex is Harry Potter literate or if his daughter reminded him about Hermione (Granger).

ArtLvr 8:21 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jesser 8:24 AM  

Great write-up, Rex! I guess I watch more TV than I like to admit, because both ROSARIO and the ROSSES came easily.

My problem area was the NW, where at 3A, I plunked down MaSoNic without thinking twice. I have relatives interred at Masonic Cemetery here in Las Cruces. That mucked up the NW for the longest time, even after I had the theme figured out. My sister makes the world's best green chile cheese GRITS, but I wasn't feeling it.

Billy Idol is the coolest.

Used to live in Baton Rouge and have many fond memories of Louisiana, so PO BOYS came right away, but below it I had THE web for a short while.

After the NW eventually emerged, I got over the GRumpies and enjoyed the theme a great deal, particularly GROUTLAWS and GREASY RIDER. I also used to live in Taos (I was a peripatetic soul for a good many years), where Easy Rider was filmed, albeit long before my tenure there. I went to a couple parties and got to meet Dennis Hopper. Weird dude. Also met Dennis Weaver, who is a very laid back guy. Sorry, Andrea. I know you are the resident hob-nobber. :-)

Thank the spirits for crosses or I would Never in a Million Years have gotten TREF at 55D. That does not look like a word. Neither does GITANO. Same with TITRATE, which looks like something you'd do at a wet t-shirt contest.

Loved the KEWPIE doll. I was afraid of them as a child, but I'm over it.

All in all, a wonderful Thursday, even after the false start and slow slog up in the Oregon region.

I must now prep for the May board meeting of the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley. In my day, we called it the animal shelter. My day was simpler.

Encencin! (the immoral activities of the junior naval officer) -- jesser

ArtLvr 8:25 AM  

Grrrreat puzzle by Dan Naddor! (Did he have an atelier? Would a log set in his fireplace be a GRATE LIER?) Much fun, especially the last theme entry — GREASY RIDER! I hope @nanpilla doesn't have to contend with one of those?

∑;)

hoses - what you need for greasy horse-riders.

p.s. I'd forgotten that Dan passed away. So sad.

8:21 AM

Loose Dirt Laura 8:29 AM  

If you're going to comment at every damned crossword blog, you could at least mix it up. And GRATE LIER is an insult to Dan's creation/talent. It's not even consistent with the theme.

:>(

Dough 8:30 AM  

I also upvote this wonderful puzzle. A question for @Rex: How come when a YouTube is available for the Beach Boys' Little St. Nick (CLICK) you link to a video of the song you "wanted" it to be? I'd rather come here to help fill in the missing pieces of what was actually in the puzzle. There's plenty of room for both! You can always write a puzzle with that stuff and submit it to Will! Just sharing. You do a wonderful job with this daily blog and I'm much appreciative.

CaseAceFos 8:50 AM  

I recall the great Titanic, my light she couldn't see, and along about morning I heard the strings of "Nearer Thy God to Thee"

R.I.P. Dan Naddor

OldCarFudd 8:50 AM  

Easy, fun, clever. For all that, I failed. Even going through the alphabet, I couldn't see how tYingup was equivalent to snarling. Until I came here. D'oh!

I knew titrate, but much prefer Jesser's definition.

fikink 8:52 AM  

Rex wrote: "I really don't think crossing two obscure NBC sitcom clues at a vowel is very fair."
I agree, unless you are doing a TV Guide puzzle.
Loved all the Grangers, Rex - especially Emma Watson. Very clever.
Off to plant tomatoes.
I give the puzzle a B.

dk 9:02 AM  

Pedal down for Deuce Coupe instead of St. Nick and GREASYRIDER, two thumbs up. In sum what Rex said.

GRAPESUIT was fun as well.

Solo for stag was my hold-up. I thought GREATCROW was too easy and then my old pal ARIAS came to the rescue.

Agree with all of the positive comments on the puzzles this week.

*** (3 Stars) GRITS an OKAY puzzle

Secret word: rednaie - late night flight from Scotland

dk 9:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
dk 9:08 AM  

Whoops forgot this, I was at the PO yesterday and found out you can make-up your own stamps (for 25 bucks). I immediately thought of our little pictures as stamps and foolishly tried to explain why I was chuckling to the post mistress... those strip searches are no fun (just kidding).

You know there are some people who think blogging about crosswords with perfect strangers, nearly everyday is.... extra special.

Parshutr 9:11 AM  

Enjoyable but still very tough for this old duffer.
@Jesser...Dennis Weaver died some time ago, and Hopper seems not long for this world (metastasized prostate cancer, <100 pounds).
Wish I had a GRANDIRON in my bag!

chefbea 9:11 AM  

What a gr-ate yummy puzzle which I solved with my apron on. Bar-b-q, fried chicken, chips, grits (which we have a lot of down here in NC0,grapes,po-boy and a tarte for dessert. What more could you want?? Well maybe a red tuber.

chefbea 9:13 AM  

@dk we had stamps made with a picture of our grandson in uniform in Iraq.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

We got a little extra puzzle in the Herald Tribune (bangkok edition) this morning. The square just to the left of 21 was mistakenly blacked out. I thought, wow! how cool! 20 across: a two-letter answer. But sadly no. It was pretty obvious what was wrong, but Mt Sinai was tough enough without having the distracting black square in the middle.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

what is ff and rews? please.

joho 9:15 AM  

@Rex, thanks for the link to Tyler Hinman's argument for writing MY in the square for the MY SPACE tournament puzzle. I wholeheartedly agree with him!

Smitty 9:15 AM  

I liked the puzzle but LOVED that "literal" version of Billy Idol's White Wedding!!

David L 9:20 AM  

To me, the SW corner, with ROSARIO, ROSSES, and NALDI, was "objectively bad," to borrow a phrase from RP a week or so ago (you remember, the EVA(green)/BEZIQUE cross that irked our leader so...). Today's answers were guessable, at least, but all three were shots in the dark for me. (Note to self: watch more sitcoms; order silent movies from Netflix...)

Fun puzzle, though, apart from that.

joho 9:22 AM  

@anon 9:14 -- fast forward and rewind

tptsteve 9:30 AM  

I started out thinking another rebus, with MemoriAL for 3D, the AL in the last box. But I quickly realized I was wrong, since nothing else fit. I finished, albeit with a few mistakes.

@RP- no Percy GRANGER?

Farmer Jones 9:31 AM  

The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, also simply styled the Grange, is a fraternal organization for American farmers that encourages farm families to band together for their common economic and political well-being.
... In 2005, the Grange had a membership of 300,000, with organizations in 3,600 communities in 37 states. Its headquarters are in a building in Washington, D.C., built by the organization in 1960. Many rural communities in the US still have a "Grange Hall".

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Help! I'm not picking up on how **APESUIT makes a phrase. Got through the puzzle, though, with a couple lucky guesses.

King Kong 9:49 AM  

@Anon 9:38

Gorilla suits or ape suits are full-bodied costumes resembling gorillas or other large primates

Monkey Suits OTOH are Tuxes

Frances 10:04 AM  

For 21D, I had a persistent vision of "snarling" as the act of someone in an APESUIT. Running the alphabet several times didn't help either T_INGUP or MON_, so I found that square to be a Natick. The rest of the puzzle, however, was GReat fun.

Van55 10:09 AM  

Pretty good Naddor entry. I failed, putting down ROSARIE and REESES.

Loved TITRATE next to SCHOLAR next to KEWPIE.

PIX 10:13 AM  

Once you get the "GR" idea, you can than blindly add GR to the beginning of each theme clue...an advantage like that made it easier than usual for a Thursday.

treedweller 10:17 AM  

I knew ROSARIO (couldn't quite remember ROSSES), but thought it unfair as I was writing it in. What got me was the NW. Started with ToRTE, then couldn't see/didn't know DINA. TN?, MO?Y, M?SI?A? were all mysteries to me (me: "is there a hospital called musical?).

I was surprised to find a theme on Friday, until I realized (just now) it was Thursday. Oh, will this week never end?!

overall, like but not love.

edith b 10:29 AM  

I watched Seinfeld but not Will and Grace so I have a certain sympathy for those who don't watch TV and, therefore, have no frame of reference. On the other hand, during the Maleska years, I had litle knowledge of shellacs, Asian watercraft or nurses or various genuses and species - if those are acceptable constructions - and I'm not sure who had sympathy for me - if anybody - and as members of my generation were fond of saying "I was beat like a fat rat" for my lack of knowledge on those and similar areas of arcane information. Memorization was the order of the day for people of my ilk.

I think it was considered the price one paid for being a fan of crossword puzzles and now that the wheel has turned and it is the Will Shortz era and my arcania is now considered acceptable as answer fodder, it is harder for me to feel bad for others lack of insider knowledge.

Just one woman's opinion.

Two Ponies 10:29 AM  

I thought this was easy for a Thursday but still lots of fun.
Grout laws might not be the zippiest theme entry but still quite clever. The theme was simple to recognize and the gr's helped but there still was some tough fill. Tref was completely out of my universe but Andrea said that if you are Jewish it's a gimme.
It's nice that Dan Naddor's puzzles are still with us even if he, sadly, is not.

Puzzle Nut 10:52 AM  

Love the analysis and comments. I've always aspired to be an expert solver, but can't seem to match the fast solving times.
I've come up with a way to make the easy puzzles more challenging and wonder if anyone else does this. It came about because my wife and I both like solving. What I do is cover the grid with a sheet of paper and solve wiothout knowing how long the answers are. Can do it through Wed or Thurs, but after that I need to see the grid.
Any other techniques to make the puzzles more interesting??

Bob Kerfuffle 11:03 AM  

A fine puzzle, to be sure.

I made it more difficult for myself by failing to see the theme for almost the entire upper half. My "analysis", at first, thought that GRILLATEASE and GRITSOKAY shared some property of reducibility to pure letters at the end: E's and OK, and I was trying to interpret the others on that basis. Finally caught on and finished without too much trouble; i.e., with correct guesses at the noted trouble, and two write overs - had INGROUP before INCROWD at 2 D and WDS (for words) before YRS at 57 D.

@Puzzle Nut, one standard way of making the puzzle more difficult is solving with Down clues only, though perhaps that would be too easy for you.

CoolPapaD 11:06 AM  

Obscure?? Will and Grace and Seinfeld? The burning cabin episode, in which Mr. Ross's affair with John Cheever was exposed, was on a few nights ago. C'mon.
@jesser -best comment of decade

GRAND IRON?? Don't get it!

Great puzzle - great week of 'em. As usual, fun write-up!

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

An andiron is a fireplace tool.

retired_chemist 11:11 AM  

Nice. Easy-medium here too. Hand up for ROSARIA/RASSES - hey, if RAM DASS was a real person, why not DAM RASS? Didn't fix it so ended with an error.

40A was wild HARE, and others, until late. There are a lot of four letter words one might try there.... Also 2A - IN GROUP, 50A HUNG jury. A lot of ways to go wrong and then climb out of your hole, which IMO makes a fun. fair puzzle.

I never saw TITRATE until the end - got it all by crosses.

First Dan Naddor puzzle I recall solving. I see why those familiar with his puzzles will miss them.

Call me.. ishmon. If Bob Marley had written Moby Dick....

imsdave 11:16 AM  

Good stuff - makes me sad thinking how little of this is left in the pipeline from the late, great Mr. Naddor.

Looking back at M-W, I'm thankful the Canton CT tournament was two weeks ago - you folks in L.A. had a pretty tough string of early weekers!

Regarding the rebus controvery, I've yet to have one come up in a tournament (I've only been in 6 so far). When I do them at home, I always just black out the square. I'm guessing that wouldn't work well in competition :)

jae 11:50 AM  

There is also "The little old lady from Pasadena." So-so theme with some pretty good fill and a little on the easy side for a Thurs. dk's three stars works for me. For the classic APESUIT movie rent Morgan from the 60's.

Sad that we are running out of Mr. Naddor's creations.

Dave 11:54 AM  

so i guess a SEA EEL is in fact different than a MOUNTAIN EEL or a DESERT EEL?

Martin 12:08 PM  

@Dave,

Sea eels (anago in the sushi bar) are definitely different than freshwater eels (unagi). They're different families, even.

The default "eel" (Anguilla anguilla) that's important to cuisines from Japan to England does in fact breed in the ocean (specifically the Sargasso Sea) but spends most of its life in fresh water. It is only taken from fresh or brackish water for food.

Conger eels (the sea eel of this puzzle) are purely marine animals.

mac 12:09 PM  

Good puzzle - needed a little staring here and there but finished in good time. Still don't know what ald is, though. Remembered Rosario exactly because I always found it odd the name ended in O. The little familiar friends were very helpful for me in this puzzle; you know who you are, Alp, tai, ere and TNT!

There is a Grange close to our house, an old building organisations like garden clubs can use for meetings and fundraisers.

Those nenes are some smart birds!

@Rex: were you making a point not putting MY after RE yesterday?

This puzzle has made me hungry; lunch time!

Elaine 12:11 PM  

tptSteve
That's Percy GRAINGER, isn't it? I'll have to check.

The Grange was also educational, in that new techniques (like contour plowing) are discussed and encouraged. My grand-dad changed the way he plowed fields thanks to lectures he heard at The Grange. I wonder how many states have a LaGrange in them?

An ANDIRON (usually you have a pair) would be a device that would allow the logs to be raised off the floor of the fireplace (ashes and coals dropping below,) thus keeping the fire from smothering itself and reducing the amount of tending necessary. I am not sure I'd call those a tool.

For the record, Art Lvr is one person who always has additional angles and information, and I look for her comments. Plus she is always cordial and well-mannered.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:13 PM  

@mac - ALD stands for Alderman.

Stan 12:22 PM  

Pretty much ROMPED through this one (except for SW). Favorite answers: SIM City (where they spend simoleons) and Little ST NICK.

The Grangers were funny but I don't get the 'Fahrenheit 451' poster.

@Dave: Watch out for Mountain Oysters.

Doc John 12:27 PM  

My biggest nitpick is that with some of the phrases, adding the GR changes the pronunciation.

Other than that, a fun puzzle.

Curious Architect 12:31 PM  

Wasted several minutes in SW since I "knew" DAHS was just wrong. Here in MN, anyway, we learned that S. Morse's system consisted of DOTS and DASHES. Besides, aren't DAHS the repeated lyric of a classic VW ad campaign?

Masked and Anonymous 12:42 PM  

Man...7 theme answers, 9-letters or longer, squished into one grid, with only 72 words? And a fun solve, to boot!? Would give this puppy an A++, except...

Had a personal nat-tick at the intersection of ROSARIO and ROSSES. Guessed O, so got my imaginary correct-solve bonus. But things got tense. Ergo, have to downgrade this puz to A+. A real Nasty and Nice one, Mr. Naddor.

@44: Thanx for the pass over to Tyler's site. Interesting ado in the LA judges' tent. Pardon my ignorance, did somebody win this tournament? Maybe that info's comin' up tomorrow.

Tinbeni 12:43 PM  

Saw it was Dan and knew the puns were coming.
GReatpuzzle. Which is what I will do with all the food in it.
Hmmmm, After the breakfast OMELETS, that PO'BOYS for lunch AWAITS.

NALDI in the SW was a total unknown but the perps saved my ASS.

archaeoprof 12:55 PM  

Never have tried to construct a puzzle, but it must be an art, not a science. This one had style.

Thanks, Rex, for the Wayne GRANGER card. In 1970 he was a very good relief pitcher for my hometown team, the Cincinnati Reds -- they lost the World Series in 5 games to Brooks Robinson and the O's.

But who is that young lady in the jacket and tie???

Martin 1:16 PM  

The other Granger.

Shamik 1:56 PM  

Whew! Came out a medium-challenging for me. Didn't get the theme 'til halfway through the puzzle and solidly belong in the ROSARIA/RASSES camp. Didn't care for the puzzle and usually enjoy Dan Naddor's puzzles. He'll be missed.

Other oops answers that went in and came out before declaring the end:

INGROUP/INCROWD
THEWEB/THENET
ORS/ERS
SURFER/STNICK---a favorite mistake
SOLO/MALE
OPERA/ARIAS
BARBIE/KEWPIE

Thank goodness for OMELETS.

Clark 2:09 PM  

@Puzzle Nut -- Another way to make a puzzle more difficult is to not look at the grid at all. That is, to do it as a diagramless.

One solver's Rosario and Ross is another's Bordagaray and Weyhing.

Thomas 3:03 PM  

You didn't realize Billy Idol was that big because he wasn't. Momy Mony was a hit for tommy James and the Shondellssfirst

Steve J 3:26 PM  

I can't really share everyone's enthusiasm for this one today. I found the theme problematically inconsistent (which I'll explain in a moment) and lackluster overall (GREASYRIDER is the only answer I liked), and I felt like there was too much clunky fill. I'm definitely impressed with the theme density, but that only goes so far when one isn't crazy about the theme.

Top half of the puzzle fell in place for me almost instantly. Bottom half took longer, but I eventually got the SW to come into place (after finally pulling names out of the recesses of my mind with the ROSARIO/ROSSES crossing - which I agree pushes the bounds of fairness; I believe that with everyone having blind spots in their repertoire, it's not fair to put too relatively difficult clues from the topic across each other - it would be like crossing two hard opera clues). Mid-Atlantic and the SE would not come together for me for a long time. I wasn't helped by having GREATIRON in place for a long time.

Which points to my earlier comment about the them being problematically inconsistent: Most of the answers (4 of 7) have a phonetic consistency between the puzzle's answer and the original phrases the answers are referencing (GRILLATEASE, GRITSOKAY, GRAPESUIT, GROUTLAWS). And so I was led to the conclusion that that was how the theme worked, leading to GREATIRON (which would work out to a great 8-iron; phonetic match, and a correct match with the clue). But that's not the case: Three of the theme answers are not phonetically consistent.

Another problem with GRANDIRON, and therefore the theme's execution, is that in all cases but GRANDIRON, the resulting phrase does match the clue in terms of definition (e.g., a GREATCROW would indeed be a big black bird). However, an andiron goes in a fireplace, not a golf course. Perhaps there's some old slang calling golf clubs "andirons," but five minutes of searching has not led me to a reference. So, we have one clue that appears to not fit the pattern of the other theme clues.

Those two inconsistencies frankly ruined this puzzle for me (along with some clunky fill that Rex already mentioned). I loved Dan's stuff, but everyone has an off day, and this was one of his.

Crosscan 3:38 PM  

If the judges had just listened to Tyler, I would have won the LA Tournament! (Well, top 3, likely)

Actually, no one there other than Tyler seems to disagree with the decision. There were no clear instructions prior to the puzzles how to enter rebuses, so punishing those who entered an M seems to me
to be unfair, even though I am on the side of entering the full word in theory.

So, as painful as it is to admit, I agree with Rex.

(For the record, I entered the full "MY".)

Puzzle Nut 3:43 PM  

Bob Kerfuffle - I've tried that before and it can be quite difficult. However, it also seems to lose something intrinsic to the crossword construction.
Clark - That is actually what I do. However, by the time Friday rolls around, I usually have to "cheat" and look at the grid.
Another time waster is to do the airplane magazine puzzle in the regular way on the first leg of the trip and then try and fill in the puzzle on the return leg without looking at the clues. You'd be surprised at how much you can reconstruct once you've gotten a few of the major entries.

sanfranman59 3:51 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 14:23, 19:20, 0.74, 6%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Thu 7:08, 9:15, 0.77, 9%, Easy

Beadola 4:07 PM  

I knew the word for non-kosher, but couldn't automatically enter the answer due to the spelling. Leo Rosten, in the "Joys of Yiddish", has it as "trayf", which will give you the correct pronunciation. I guess one has tons of leeway when transliterating from the Hebrew alphabet.

Van55 4:32 PM  

As for the M vs MY (or some other designation) in the rebus puzzle, since I solved the puzzle on-line via AcrossLite, "M" was the only entry I made in the rebus squares. Had I solved with pen and paper, I would have written "MY in each square.

To judge as "wrong" the puzzle solutions at the contest that used only "M" would have been extremely unfair, in my opinion. So I disagree with Tyler and agree with the majority.

Bob Kerfuffle 4:37 PM  

@Puzzle Nut - Sorry, I don't know if you were at the ACPT this year. But in case you weren't, here's a game we were given, for fun, not points: Having done a puzzle at one point, we were later given the filled-out grid and asked to write out, word-for-word, what the clues had been. I didn't do so well on that one, but there were people in the room who had almost 100% recall!

william e emba 4:51 PM  

Although it was on the easy side, I did not get the theme until GREASY RIDER. Sheesh was I thick.

I originally had GREATIRON, and thought it was OK as a pun on GR-8-IRON. But then I had GREATCROW, and knew something was wrong.

I do not know either TV show whatsoever, had I found nothing challenging about getting the ROSARIO/ROSSES cross. I have heard the name ROSARIO, and the family name ROSS. So I put in O without thinking.

Once I had the theme, I tried to expand GRAPE---- to GRAPEHOOD.

I know of TORTEs, I have never heard of TARTEs. So I'd say I lucked out there, since I would have favored DINA for sure.

archaeoprof 4:54 PM  

@Beadola: good point about TREF and trayf. Transliterating Hebrew vowels is often difficult. Arabic might be even harder.

@Martin: I thought she looked familiar...

retired_chemist 5:01 PM  

@ we emba - the challenge is to forgo one's expectation that Spanish given names for females will end in -a. Not thinking would have helped me, since ROSARIO was what first came to mind. I said to myself that it couldn't be right: it needed an -a.

dls 5:16 PM  

If you tell me the theme and ask me to fill in the blank in GRAPES_IT, that's not a U that I put in there....

jesser 5:43 PM  

@Parshutr: Thanks for the update. Just some more trivia: Weaver was a real environmentalist, and he had a guy named Michael Reynolds, who has been building off-the-grid housing since the 70s, build him a house of aluminum cans and adobe. It was very cool. So was he. R.I.P.

Hopper lived for a long time in the Mabel Dodge Lujan Mansion. In the mid 90s he bought the old Ranchos de Taos Post Office and turned it into a studio and getaway house. The view from the front door is of the Ranchos de Taos Church, which is one of the most widely photographed edifices in the world. I wish him a peaceful transition, and I hope he can be in Taos when he checks out.

The other famous guy I got to pal around with up there was Michael Martin Murphy, who is most famous for his crossover hit, 'Wildfire.'

And I once almost ran over the guy who played the bartender in 'Northern Exposure,' but he did not seem like he wanted to chat about it, so I can't say I actually met him. My old '78 Jeep damn near did.

@ CoolPapaD: Thanks for the high praise! I'm all gloaty now. :-)

tptsteve 5:51 PM  

@Elaine- you are absolutely right. My bad. Even though it's not who I meant, according to infoplease.com, there is a playwright named Percy Granger. (Yeah, it's a rationalization.)

joho 6:04 PM  

@Crosscan ... I unofficially pronounce you the winnah!

andrea incrowd michaels 6:11 PM  

@Two ponies
For the record, I didn't think being Jewish WAS that much more helpful to know TREF, quite the opposite! Bec of the different spellings (as pointed out by @Beadola and @archaeoprof) PLUS it's so old-fashioned, that at best, only those of us with somewhat Yiddish speaking bubbes would even say...I thought that was superhard, but, yes, ESPECIALLY for non-Jews, as the whole set of puzzles for the tournament had at least one uber-Jewish word a puzzle...SHTETL and TREF and MENSCH, etc.
I just meant that for me, it made up for some of the sports questions! BLOOP!!!

@Shamik
Handup for INGROUP and practically all the mistakes you made!

For the record, my one letter mistake was not ROSSES, etc but GROUTLAyS...as I couldn't think what FF meant!!! And didn't understand the clue so I thought a tiler laid out grout! :(
And REY "maybe" was the opposite of the mysterious (till I hit my head later) "FF"
Still don't know what my mistake in puzzle two must have been, as I am listed as having had one letter off.
Maybe Tyler made a mistake in the scoring and I can wrestle him to the ground over it! ;)

On the plane down, Tyler made some ref about wanting to control his anger more and needing to be restrained from time to time, so I can't wait to read about the brouhaha...but I do love his passion!

CrazyCatLady 6:30 PM  

@Van55 With Across Lite, if you hit the escape button when you're at the square where you want to put the two letters, it will allow you. Hit return and you go back to the normal grid. It was one of those Mr. Happy Pencil daily tips.

Anonymous 6:34 PM  

I'm with C. Architect. How does Morse bits = DAHS? Anyone decode? Thanks in advance.

Crosscan 6:40 PM  

@joho - Thanks. I've now decided it was all a conspiracy by Rex to keep me from winning.

Martin 6:53 PM  

Morse code is "spoken" with "dit" and "dah" for dot and dash. It mimics the sound of the actual transmission, and is easier to articulate. Try saying "dot-dot-dot-dash-dash-dash-dot-dot-dot," then "dit-dit-dit-dah-dah-dah-dit-dit-dit."

It's most commonly used when learning Morse code.

Anonymous 7:22 PM  

@Martin - Thanks for dat!

andrea ff michaels 7:22 PM  

@jesser
I happily cede hobnobbing duties to you...i've been trying to escape name dropper label for 2+ years now...
esp since you almost ran over bartender from "Northern Exposure"!!! You're bigger than a name dropper (practically rhymes with Dennis Hopper), you're (almost) a person dropper! ;)

dBGeezer 7:54 PM  

Claudius was the brother of (Hamlet's father) the king whom Claudius murdered. Hence Hamlet was his NEPHEW.
True, once Claudius married Hamlet's mother H. became C.'s stepson.

joho 8:17 PM  

@Anon 7:22 ... too funny!

@andrea ff michaels ... LOL. I'm leaving now with a big smile on my face ... see you all tomorrow.

Anonymous 8:32 PM  

@joho thanks! wasn't in my mind set.

as for this thurs puzzle.... as tony the tiger said, "grrreat!"

Anonymous 8:38 PM  

So dBGeezer, your complaint is that the clue is...accurate?

sanfranman59 10:06 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:57, 6:55, 1.01, 58%, Medium
Tue 8:45, 8:51, 0.99, 51%, Medium
Wed 13:13, 11:52, 1.11, 80%, Challenging
Thu 14:23, 19:20, 0.74, 6%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:51, 3:40, 1.05, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:15, 4:31, 0.94, 39%, Easy-Medium
Wed 6:35, 5:50, 1.13, 81%, Challenging
Thu 6:45, 9:15, 0.73, 5%, Easy

lit.doc 11:14 PM  

Way late to the conversation today. Working for a living does so interfere. Anyhow, yes, astonishingly easy for a Thursday, but also fun. Nothing new to add except for the 1D SYMBOL (I teach the novel most years) that forced me out of NW early on.

Full disclosure: hand up for giving in to the "it's Spanish, so the ending's gotta be ROSARIA" error. RASSES as a sitcom proper name? Hell, why not.

@Van55 and @CCL, the Insert key also enables the rebus thingy in Across Lite. Is there an Insert key on Macs?

Stan 12:19 AM  

I once spoke and shook hands with Dennis Hopper, on a stage. I was accepting some kind of award for an independent film on behalf of my friend (the filmmaker) who couldn't be there. This has no anecdotal interest -- except that I'm willing to name-drop, along with Jesser and Andrea.

a guy 12:32 AM  

But what do you drink and how often? What was your captcha?

retired_chemist 2:16 AM  

My first wife once was helped to her car with her groceries by Willard Scott. Only chance to namedrop, except for my having known professionally a number of the Nobel laureates in chemistry.

william e emba 12:41 PM  

Whoops: I was not lucky. I had DINO crossed with TORTE, not the correct DINA crossed with TARTE.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

what what what does FF and REW mean? I got the answers only because of the cross words

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

i got it i got it i got it... just reading my own post on here FAST FOWARD and REWIND OOOHHHHHHHHHH MYYYYYYYYYYYYY hahahahahahahahahahahahaah

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