Dance partner for Fred / TUE 5-18-10 / TV husband of Phyllis / TV boss of Mary Richards / Hip-hopper's headgear / Little Munster

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: MIXED RESULTS (56A: Unclear outcome ... or what can be found literally in 20-, 29- and 47-Across) — anagrams of "RESULTS" can be found in three theme answers


Word of the Day: OTTIS Anderson (54D: Super Bowl XXV M.V.P. ___ Anderson) —

Ottis Jerome "O.J." Anderson (born January 19, 1957 in West Palm Beach, Florida), is a former American football running back. He was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press (AP) with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1979, and the MVP of Super Bowl XXV in 1991 when playing with the New York Giants. (wikipedia) — I'm guessing the "O.J." nickname has fallen by the wayside ...


• • •

Seems Mr. Collins likes the "mixed" themes. Here's one with "mixed" college team names. Here's a "Mixed Nuts" puzzle. Here's a "New WORLD Order" puzzle, where the word "WORLD" is mixed up. Perhaps there are more out there. I found these quickly. Today, RESULTS are MIXED. OK. This is a theme you come up with after you've done "MIXED NUTS" and think "what other 'MIXED' phrases are there...?" And here we are. I look forward to MIXED MESSAGES, MIXED METAPHORS, MIXED MARRIAGES, MIXED DRINKS, MIXED SIGNALS, MIXED COMPANY, etc. Today, ROBERT'S RULES is the only answer with any interest (the letters in RESULTS being not that interesting). I think of Cattle RUSTLERS and Horse Thieves, but it seems "HORSE RUSTLER" has some cred. STEEL TRUSSES = yawn. ECASH is bad, but ECASH over NTEST is worse. If PLAN B could've squeezed down there, then it would have been a funny joke, all the word/letter combos. The eastern bloc is almost entirely Es, Rs, Ts, and Ss (and includes the "word" ESSES). Whoever named OTTIS Anderson needs a good talking to. What the hell? Enjoyed the "MTM" subtheme (LOU GRANT, LARS), but that was the only real highlight for me today. Oh, and BAR FIGHT. I liked BAR FIGHT (38D: A bouncer might break one up).

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Thief in a western (HORSE RUSTLER)
  • 29A: Some metal frames (STEEL TRUSSES)
  • 47A: Parliamentary procedure guide, familiarly (ROBERT'S RULES)
  • 56A: Unclear outcome ... or what can be found literally in 20-, 29- and 47-Across (MIXED RESULTS)
I enjoyed the clue for STEVE. A lot. Nice to see the crossword punch that "All About STEVE" movie in the face (41A: "All About ___," 2009 Sandra Bullock bomb). Also liked the clue [Bacon runoff], if only because it suggests a breakfast meat election: pancetta vs. Canadian! That would be a fun election to vote in. Assuming the voting involved eating, and you were a meat-eater (and not a meat ESTER26D: Perfumery compound). I had to visualize pesto before getting PINE NUTS, because my mind just went "basil basil basil" (9D: Pesto ingredients). I thought the Little Munster was Ernie instead of EDDIE. I don't know why. Oh, maybe I do. ERNIE was the weird kid on "My Three Sons," which must have been on TV contemporaneously with "The Munsters."

And now a short write-up of my weekend trip to St. Maries, Idaho to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday. I have never seen all my mother's family in one place at one time, and most of the family in attendance I hadn't seen in anywhere from 7 to 22 years — my cousin John was shaking my hand and introducing his family as I was politely nodding, having no real idea whom I was talking to at first ... in my defense, I'd just gotten out of my car at the River Front Suites (on the banks of the Shadowy St. Joe River) after about 14 hours of travel, which began with my getting up at 4 a.m.

[The first thing you see as you drive into the Town Center — a jolly, two-story-tall axe murderer]

My family can have, let's say, complicated relationships with one another, at times, but this trip was pure joy. Most of my immediate family, all in from out of town (sister, mom, cousins, aunt, and all the children that go with), stayed in the Suites, so it was like sleep-away camp — all pizza and beer and whisky and kids blowing bubbles and playing dangerously close to the river and fire pits and stray dogs and what not.

[Everyone]

It was also a very crosswordy weekend. First of all, we ate dinner the night before the big party at CASA de ORO (two good Sp. xword words right there).

[Grandma likes margaritas ... she passed this trait on to all of us]

[Wait staff made her wear this as they sang "Happy Birthday" and presented her with a bowl of fried ice cream]

Additionally, I made a crossword for my grandmother's birthday. As I've said a million times, my grandma is the first person I ever saw solve a crossword. Turns out I made the puzzle too hard, and most people at the party didn't have much time to do it anyway, what with, you know, all the opportunities for actual face-to-face conversation. Still, it was fun to sit down and show my grandma the construction and how it related to her (my cousin Kate helped me tweak a lot of the clues to make them grandma-specific). I have photos of many members of my family sitting in the BPOE lodge (that's right: BPOE — Crosswordese 201!) trying to solve the thing. This includes photos of my 9-yr-old daughter and 8-yr-old nephew intently and competitively striving to finish it, despite the puzzle's being chock full of things they couldn't possibly know.

[Me in front of the BPOE, with its large, calligraphic letters prominently on display]

[Hungry ELK will bust through wooden walls, no problem. This one burst in with such force, he knocked the accent right off the "E" in "CAFE"]

[I did not know the "Exalted Ruler" could be a woman. Awesome.]

So a good time was had by all (btw — excellent espresso right down the street, in the Town Center, even in that tiny Idaho mountain town; a total life-saver for at least three of us). T-shirts were made with grandma's pic and name.

[Amazingly charismatic nephew, and mom, sporting the official birthday T-shirt]

There was a cake decorated like a quilt. There was a decent bar band. Sporadic dancing. Piles of pretty, ham-based munchies. Cream puffs. Champagne. The whole shebang was Eclectic, just like my grandma (and her lovely, artsy home). Here's a photo of me and her just before I left for my return to NY.

[1984 Crossword Puzzle Dictionary, which I found sitting atop her fridge]

I promise I'll be back before your 100th birthday, grandma. ALOT.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. you can get a .puz (AcrossLite) or an easily printable .pdf version of the grandma birthday puzzle here (chez crosswordfiend.com). You can also print from here:

Grandma 2

66 comments:

Random Rs && Ss 12:10 AM  

I 'liked' ERE connected to ESSES, connecting ERES. Well, not really.

des 12:35 AM  

I expected complaints about DORAG, GOA and DOEST - ugh - I guess you were tired.
Your grandma looks great!
Thanks for sharing

Steve J 12:52 AM  

Maybe the broadcasters kept mispronouncing OTTIS Anderson's name all those years, and instead of being pronounced oh-tis, it was supposed to be OTT-is (like the most crosswordy Giant/Mel of all time). That's the only reason I can think of for spelling it that way. Because I'm sure everyone realizes that spelling your common name non-standardly still leaves you with a common name.

Anyway ... enjoyed the writeup of the Idaho trip much more than the puzzle. Finished a hair quicker than I did Monday's, and I thought Monday was easy. I did like some of the more contemporary bits (although DORAG probably isn't that contemporary anymore), and of course I have to like a mention of STEVE, even if it's connected to an awful movie.

Hated 69A. There's nothing biblical about DOEST, since it's a word very common in any written material from the era of early Modern English (the linguistic era, not the band). And, oddly enough, contemporary Bible translations use contemporary language. This would have been better clued with something like "King James accomplishment". I will give a bit of credit for the three-letter stacks not sucking as badly as I feared. Which is not to say they were great. I just feared something truly awful.

CoolPapaD 1:17 AM  

Liked the puzzle, but enjoyed your recap of the weekend's events more! I LOVE family reunions, even other people's - that is one amazing looking 90-year-old!

First it was Carlton and Rhoda, today we have Phyllis and Lars (didn't even have to think about that one!), as well as Lou and Mary. Betty White on SNL was such a treat last week as well. Can't wait for the Gavin McLeod clue next week!

OK - for some reason I gotta go and buy some batteries....

chefwen 3:15 AM  

What the hell was that CRUD at 1:10 AM?

Loved the story of your trip and can't believe Grandma let you have your hat on for the picture. She sounds like a fun lady.

Only difficulty was my indecision about spelling EPAULETS.

Two thumbs up Peter A. Collins.

John 4:15 AM  

Is ERE and ERES in the same puzzle cricket????

Oldie but Goodie 5:17 AM  

Totally loved the birthday reunion. A 90th birthday is quite an accomplishment. My--Idaho looks beautiful! AND your grandmother does, as well. (How come SHE has so much hair? This is fair?)

Puzzle--meh.

tatindre- sly joke about a handicraft?

The Bard 7:34 AM  

Hamlet > Act I, scene II
HAMLET: O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month--
Let me not think on't--Frailty, thy name is woman!--
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears:--why she, even she--
O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer--married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules: within a month:
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not nor it cannot come to good:
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.

VaBeach puzler 7:37 AM  

Really touched to read about your Grandma turning 90 (she looks great!) and having so many in the family turn out to celebrate. My mom turns 90 next month and we are "celebrating" by moving her, with newly broken hip, to a nursing home... She too is a real word person, or was -- crosswords, Jumbles, Scrabble until about a year ago. Now she can't tell you what year or month it is but, when the "mind testers" ask her to spell WORLD backwards, she does it so fast that they have to stop and think about it. A small triumph.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:44 AM  

Thanks for the reunion write-up, Rex.

For sure we've been here before, as Rex notes, but I thought it was a good, solid Tuesday puzzle. Although it's always necessary to use some "tired" fill, I thought some of it was less common: PEU, CUL, EOS, some already mentioned.

Two write-overs for me today: 10 D, had FAIR before OVER (notorious lack of knowledge of baseball), and 69 A, DOETH before DOEST.

(Silly fact most people might know already: At the time of the King James translation of the Bible, this "doest" and "hath" and so forth were already out-of-date, but the translating committee used it because they felt it sounded more impressive.) (I await correction from the more scholarly members of the community.)

joho 8:03 AM  

I thought the intersection of CUL/RUES was really nice.

Since RUSTLER is a real word I was trying to make TS RULES mean something and turn EL T. RUSS into a name. Anything to make the RESULTS more interesting.

@Rex, absolutely love the reunion pics and story. What a wonderful time for all ... I wish I could have been there and I'm not even related!

I'm off to do "Inez Fest" and OMG it's got circles!

jesser 8:04 AM  

I'll be firing up the Frozen Concoction Maker at Casa Jess this evening. That pic of your grandma with a margarita was priceless, and now I want one! Thanks for the terrific weekend recap, Rex! Any town with a two-story ax murderer and an Elks Lodge has gotta be all right in the eyes of the Almighty!

The puzzle was fun and fast, which is perfect for a Tuesday. Some of the fill was iffy. And I think we identified OOXTEPLERNON's cousin: ACSCULIANERE. Come to think of it, that could be the ax murderer's name.

The best movie (IMO) ever made about HORSE RUSTLERs is 'The Missouri Breaks', starring Jack Nickolson and Marlon Brando. Dark, dark humor.

Yesterday, NM Gov. Bill Richardson proclaimed May 17 to be Dennis Hopper Day in the Land of Enchantment. I hope he was up in Taos to enjoy it.

And that will be all for today. I have to GOA few places before the phone starts ringing!

Cangp! (the plan to terminate employment for George Peppard) -- jesser

SethG 8:09 AM  

If only REERE meant "again before" or something, that pesky V wouldn't be in the way.

Falstaff 8:19 AM  

FALSTAFF:
Rob me the exchequer the first thing thou doest,
and do it with unwashed hands too.

tptsteve 8:26 AM  

Looked like a great reunion. The puzzle, not so much. Not bad, but then again, it's Tuesday.

My only comment is that while working the crosses, when I got to 58A, I checked the downs, only to see BARF written in as part of 38D, ironically, something that a bouncer might step in, not break up.

The Taupin 8:43 AM  

It's getting late have you seen my mates
Ma tell me when the boys get here
It's seven o'clock and I want to rock
Want to get a belly full of beer
My old man's drunker than a barrel full of monkeys
And my old lady she don't care
My sister looks cute in her braces and boots
A handful of grease in her hair

Don't give us none of your aggravation
We had it with your discipline
Saturday night's alright for fighting
Get a little action in

Get about as oiled as a diesel train
Gonna set this dance alight
'Cause Saturday night's the night I like
Saturday night's alright, alright, alright

Well they're packed pretty tight in here tonight
I'm looking for a dolly who'll see me right
I may use a little muscle to get what I need
I may sink a little drink and shout out "She's with me!"
A couple of the sound that I really like
Are the sounds of a switchblade and a motorbike
I'm a juvenile product of the working class
Whose best friend floats in the bottom of a glass

The Palin 8:45 AM  

One summer (before Todd and I married) my hair was too long and my messy bangs kept getting in the way out on the water, so Nick cut them with a pocketknife. Later, he carved me an ivory ring in the shape of a seal. I used it for my wedding ring the day I eloped.

Oscar 8:49 AM  

Very funny post about the puzzle. Made me laugh and I do not laugh, as a rule. Need to leave the house so I'll save the grandma saga for later.

Wish that "bar" hadn't been used in the SALAD clue since BARFIGHT was in the grid. It a great clue for SALAD, just save it for the next time that word pops up. Oh, and BARFIGHT looks way too much like BARFFIGHT. Ew.

JenCT 8:51 AM  

Liked PLANB and GLIDE; we have flying squirrels that come to the suet feeders at night.

Liked the puzzle and the write-up.

PuzzleNut 9:16 AM  

Not much to add to the Tuesday comments.
Re Sunday, I thought that you all were joking about andrea and Woody. Looking closer, that really is Woody. I'm way impressed. Based on recent history, Woody was probably looking for someone a tad younger.
@fikink - what a treat to inherit woodworking tools. I've made the furniture for our NM home with the most basic tools (a challenge in itself). I'd love to have a real shop someday, but that might cut into my puzzle time.

chefbea 9:21 AM  

I agree - 90th birthday write-up was much better than the puzzle. Will try to do the b-day puzzle.

Knew STL right off the bat!!!! And of course pine nuts.

Off to the store to buy stuff to help those in Nashville.

ArtLvr 9:54 AM  

Great pictures, Rex -- glad it all went so well!

I rather liked this one, even if the theme wasn't very exciting. It lends itself to a subtheme of bars -- SALAD bar and BAR FIGHT, yes, but also you might toast "A votre SANTE" at an open-bar affair. Then there's the nearly pure bar of IVORY soap and the BARBS for verbal digs at 34D. Also a DATE might be an ingredient you'd eat in munchy healthfood candy bar. You might GLIDE under a bar doing a limbo, or argue before the legal bar in a case of a disputed ASSET. A diet might bar FAT. The EPAULETS may consist of bars sewn on your uniform...

Did someone yell QUIT IT? Okay, more LATER, barring interruptions!

∑;)

captcha: inglymbr or prospective member of the BPOE

Van55 9:58 AM  

Ho hum theme does not justify so much iffy fill.

To me the dead center stack of STA over STL over EOS is just unsightly.

joho 10:06 AM  

@Rex, fun puzzle for Inez. I won't comment on it as I seem to be the first to finish. I can say it's a wonderful ninetieth birthday gift, though!

Christine 10:10 AM  

I had barbrawl for barfight which messed things up for a while...

Great puzzle for your grandmother - fun to do :)

HudsonHawk 10:13 AM  

I rarely say anything negative, but this puzzle seems really lame. Iffy fill, including ACS CUL IAN ERE, as jesser pointed out, and 23 three-letter entries.

On top of that, the RESULTS anagrams are placed randomly in the theme answers, rather than at the beginning or end. And they also leave us with HORER, STEES, and ROBER when the RESULTS are removed.

Mr. Collins has done much better stuff.

Tinbeni 10:14 AM  

AORTAS crossing BLOOD, reminds me it's time to donate a UNIT(S) again.

Also liked STEAMY next to DATE, they are the best kind.

The Family Reunion/Grandma's 90th was the best part.

jesser 10:42 AM  

I was afeared that the Inez puzzle would be filled with stuff that you had to be a member of the family to know. It wasn't. Great puzzle, Rex! And my thanks to Christine and Joho for doing it, which made me print it out and give it a go. What a great tribute!

That said, I gotta say: Circles! From Rex! Hey, they worked!

I wish that somehow 17A could have had a different start letter, but it could not. Dang it.

If Rex or anyone else in Rexville is a fan of 36Ds, we should do a crawl soon. Just saying! ;-)

archaeoprof 10:46 AM  

What Chefbea said.

@Rex: does your Grandma like country music?

Stan 11:13 AM  

In defense of this theme, seven-letter anagrams are not easy to pull off in a Tuesday grid, and at least the letters are contiguous (no circles required).

The Rex puzzle was remarkably smooth and professional for a commemorative event. Try it!

CaseAceFos 11:14 AM  

Quite evidently, Rex, there's a whole lot of love you got going for your grandma. I can appreciate the coverage you shared with us over the last two days of her 90th Birthday. My sacred grandmother was also a person worthy of such adoration.

v. 11:15 AM  

@ rex
Who designed the shirt for your grandmother? Great!
Love it whenever anyone does a take on the rip-off artist Shepard Fairey.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

Love the comment about the two story tall jolly axe murderer. Hapy b'day to your grandma! Love your web site!

Retired_Chemist 11:48 AM  

Reading about the reunion was the real upper. Thanks for sharing, Rex.

An OK puzzle. Agree that some of the fill (esp. the SW, except for DO RAG) was lame, but the theme anagrams were really cool. @Stan is right - seven (consecutive) letter anagrams must be a construction challenge.

It shows my lack of culinary savoir-faire to have filled 9D from PI_EN___ as PIMENTOS. MEXUS was then a WTF, but sorting that out set me straight. DRINK @ 1A and TRUNKS @ 42A didn't last long either.

Don't know where I knew STAX (43D) from but I put it in tentatively. It stayed.

Thank you, Mr. Collins.

Shamik 12:05 PM  

Easy-medium for me at 4:48.

Thanks for the write-up about Grandma's party, Rex. A lot of love in that write-up! Glad it was a fun time.

Ulrich 12:09 PM  

I, too, love the axe murderer and admire the grandma (my own mother just had to enter a nursing home at age 94 after what appears to have been a minor stroke, which is to say, all power to Inez!).

Just found out the quite remarkable conditions for joining the BPOE: You must be 21 or older AND believe in God (although the kind of God you must believe in doesn't seem to be further specified).

fikink 12:11 PM  

This puzzle was okay; I like PINENUTS and EPAULETS, separately or together.

But the esteem in which you hold your grandmother is inspiring, Rex. I am verklempt. ("Talk among yourselves.")

The INEZ puzzle was such a fitting tribute and so very clever in how you managed the theme - I would say more, but a spoiler, I am not.

Planting Anaheim peppers in honor of Inez today. (They have character!) Happy Birthday to a grand lady!

"morolp" - an ethical lapse

canca 12:11 PM  

Oscar, nobody on this board laughs. They "chuckle," probably with twinkling eyes. Oh, and Archaeprof likes country music in case you didn't hear him the first 500 times.

Sparky 12:15 PM  

By the time I waddle to the computer it's all been said. I like an easy puzzle. Took me 14 minutes. It takes me that long just to read it. Liked Ivory nostalgia. Wish someone would think up a new clue for poor old Adele. Lovely family party, Rex. Thanks for showing us. I'll try the Inez puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 12:20 PM  

Grandma looks like a real sweetie. She's really achin' to knock that hat off 44's head, in that last photo, tho. Thanks for the look at your cool family reunion.

The Puz: Anagram stuff is OK, but I ain't stayin' up nights in awe or nothin'. So mild thumbs up. I mean, had fun workin' the thing, so I can still be friends. For some reason the 3-letter words seemed thick as fleas, but 23 ain't no astro-nominally high count, far as I know. Only 12 4-letter words -- seems way low.

8 U's! Primo! Them little so-and-so's are hard to cram into a crossword. Don't care what Scrabble says. Man... countin' word lengths and letters...I gotta get a life!

jau 12:21 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jau 12:22 PM  

Thanks for the wonderful story about your trip home and your grandmother! Evidently 90 is the new 60, to look at her. I look forward to the puzzle in her honor. And thanks to her for your picking up the skill!

andrea oj michaels 12:27 PM  

Phenomenal write up. back to laugh out loud...and fabulous grandma pics and stories!!!!!!!! Love today!!!!

I gotta say, tho, I have a LOT more love for this puzzle than many today.

I'm with @stan and @retired chemist that to pull off anagrams of SEVEN letters in solid phrases with contiguous letters is WILDLY difficult and thought the results were great and not tipped off
(I had no circles on my copy, or couldn't see them I was tired when I solved) so it was a great reveal to me...no idea what HORSERUSTLER and STEELTRUSSES had in common till later...I started with STEELTR..... and thought it would be STEELTRaps+ and thought it was heading towards an animal abuse theme!)

I think the fact that he's had other MIXED puzzles is also positive, like, this is one of his signature styles...and I think that's great, bec it's hard to distinguish your own voice as a constructor, esp since before Will we didn't even get bylines!

Anyway, off to finish up my job as a census taker. Boy, has it been an uphill battle post-9/11 and Bush! The fact that it's been taken every ten years since 1790 should give it some cred!!!!!!!
Tell that to the quivering folks whose doorbell I ring!

So, yay Peter Collins! Welcome back big time Rex! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY Marguerita-drinking grandma!!!!!!!!!

chefbea 1:01 PM  

@Rex loved the Inez puzzle!!!

And I too love country western music

baggie what no kitchen should be without

SethG 1:09 PM  

STAR CLUSTERS or ADULTRESSES and WANDERLUSTS work and are also symmetric, they just don't break RESULTS across the words of a phrase. I'm sure there are more. While the breakage is maybe more elegant, it's not necessarily more interesting.

I'm waiting for the mixed blood or race or Mxyzptlk puzzles.

Tinbeni 1:15 PM  

@Andrea OJ Michaels
The circles are in the Inez tribute puzzle.

Rex, Never realized you were such a Roman Numerals fan, well done!

Steve J 1:23 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: I'm curious about your King James Bible anecdote. I wouldn't say those verb forms were out of date at the time; Shakespeare was contemporary to the crafting of the King James Version, and you'll notice a lot of -st and -th verb endings there as well (particularly since "thou" was still actively in the language at the time, which was the driver of the -st verb ending).

However, determining "contemporary" language in the 16th and 17th centuries is quite a challenge. That was one of the most rapid periods of change in English language history (probably matched only by the move from Old English to Middle English between the Norman invasion and Chaucer). It was rapid enough that 1-2 generations after both Shakespeare and the KJV, a lot of the language was probably starting to sound archaic.

mac 1:52 PM  

What a lovely family event! I'm sure you are going to treasure the memories of this celebration. Enjoyed the Inez puzzle too, and the pictures of Idaho. It is a beautiful state, with the big skies and the crisp mornings.

I thought Peter Collins puzzle was thoughtful and competent, and I too find it impressive to have the letters of "results" not spread over the whole answer. Ha, Dorag came without crosses this time!

Bob Kerfuffle 1:52 PM  

@Steve J - I was just remembering something I had read, source unknown. Without wishing to argue or do much research, I find that the Wikipedia article says in part,
"Style and criticism

A primary concern of the translators was to produce a Bible that would be appropriate, dignified and resonant in public reading. Hence, in a period of rapid linguistic change, they avoided contemporary idioms, tending instead towards forms that were already slightly archaic, like verily and it came to pass."

As I tried to suggest, I don't consider myself an expert on the subject.

Fitz 2:07 PM  

Loved the Inez puzzle, especially the "Hobo Transport" clue. That one gave me a good laugh.

sanfranman59 3:42 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Tue 8:05, 8:51, 0.91, 29%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:20, 4:31, 0.96, 43%, Medium

CrazyCatLady 4:39 PM  

Wonderful write up and pictures of the reunion. Now I will remember every time I see a clue for Don Juan's mother - Rex Parker's grandma.

Pretty much nothing else to say about the puzzle. I enjoyed it and it took me a while to get the theme. Hand up for BAR BRAWL instead of BAR FIGHT.

Sfingi 4:52 PM  

Rex - I got a "security error" trying to load your video.

Fairly easy. There were an awful lot of E-R-S-T in the "middle east" of the puzzle, which caused me some doubts, especially since i had never heard of the STEVE or REEVE movies or the song, ERES tu. Turned out, this was part of the theme, which I hadn't figured out, though it's obvious now.

Gotto get to the home to feed Mom!

When I saw QB, I didn't think Quarterback, but Queen to Bishop. Not that chess isn't a little violent.

@Steve - Re: OTTIS - There's a kinda rule in English (after all, it's English) that 2 consonants shortens the vowel they follow (taping - long, tapping-short, etc.). Perhaps the family had some reason way back for that pronunciation.

Ulrich 5:07 PM  

@Sfingi: the same rule exists in German (with exceptions involving, e.g., "h"), and the opposite is also true: If a vowel is followed by a single consonant, it's LONG--i.e. "Federer" should not be pronounced as if it were written "Fedderer". But since that's how Americans pronounce the name, I assume the opposite does not hold in English...

Citizen Dain 6:29 PM  

I was off by one letter on today's NYT puzzle (the Perfumery/Tutu cross) and was not happy about it. But I dug into your Inez puzzle, completed it successfully, and it restored my spirits! Thanks Rex! You should create puzzles more often.

chefbea 9:16 PM  

@citizen Dain did I miss something??? What perfumery/tutu.

Stan 9:26 PM  

@Andrea: What you're doing (the Census) is *so important*! The less those quivering folks want to talk to you the more vital it is that they get counted. But remember not to enumerate PETS...

Ulrich 9:34 PM  

@Stan: Are you saying that pets are not dependent on us? I always very conscientiously listed every dependent pet we had in every census I participated in.

Stan 10:02 PM  

@Ulrich: That's a good thing. But try to give them human-sounding names.

deerfencer 10:21 PM  

Thanks for the travelogue and bonus puzzle Rex. Idaho is a gorgeous state and home to one of my fondest memories, namely X-country skiing in Lolo Pass area 35 (yikes!) years ago in deep pristine powder with friends. Some punks in Texas stole my ski poles off the roof of the VW Bug we were traveling in and I did the whole challenging 2-3 hour ski mitout poles. Fond memories.

Puzzle was ok but some dubious fill for sure.

Sfingi 11:11 PM  

@VaBeacher - My mother, likewise was an amazing seamstress, baker, clublady, churchlady, genealogist, etc. Now she thinks she's 22 and remembers every song, poem, hymn, saying, she ever learned. She sings and laughs, even in her sleep. It's all so strange.

@Rex - The Inez puzzle came up, but they wanted me to join something before I could print it. Yeesh.

My cousins once lived in Spirit Lake and Coeur d'Alene on their slow trek across the continent. I had no idea it was so green.

@Ulrich - I think my squirrels are becoming dependent on me. Instead of hunting for seeds, etc. they wait for me to drive away and go after what I left. One of them came to my car door as I came home. They're going to get fat and get caught by the feral cats.
As far as pronunciation, we have the situation that, though the base of the language is Germanic, after 1066, as many words are French or some sort of romance language, which comes with its own rules. Then there's the 11% that is Greek, (introduced by intellectuals) with another set of rules. If you can get the kids to recognize the 3 main sources, they can learn the 3 sets of rules.

And the Bible was translated by a committee.

Up late for elections - school and library bills passed!
I love pinenuts right out of the bag.

Rex Parker 11:24 PM  

@Sfingi, I don't know what you're talking about. Just hit "Print" — visible word, right at top of the puzzle on This Page. Or go to the link I provide to Amy's and get the .pdf. Simple. There's no joining anything. Yeesh.

And you're welcome.

rp

sanfranman59 11:42 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 6:39, 6:55, 0.96, 44%, Medium
Tue 8:17, 8:52, 0.93, 35%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:34, 3:41, 0.97, 48%, Medium
Tue 4:15, 4:31, 0.94, 38%, Easy-Medium

Patricia 9:20 PM  

Aw, i really liked your Grandma's puzzle...! and the pix and write up.

14D i first put "expols" rather than "excons" oh well same difference :-)

happy birthday Inez!

CrazyCatLady 10:03 PM  

I too loved your Grandma's puzzle. Thanks for sharing.

tim 1:51 PM  

Appreciated the reunion story and photo. Thanks for sharing that! Now to solve grandma's puzzle....

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