Depression at mouth of volcano / SUN 5-2-10 / Malt liquor brand named after Irish nun / 19th-century Swedish writer Esaias / It's digestible sloganeer

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Constructor: Kelsey Blakley

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "FIX-A-TION" — add "TION" to ends of familiar (mostly) phrases, get wacky phrases, clue wackily

Word of the Day: Esaias TEGNÉR (92d. 19th-century Swedish writer Esaias ___) —

Esaias Tegnér (Kyrkerud, Värmland 13 November 1782 (1782-11-13)2 November 1846 (1846-11-03)), was a Swedish writer, professor of Greek language, and bishop. He was during the 19th century regarded as the father of modern poetry in Sweden, mainly through the national romantique epos Frithjof's Saga. He has been called Sweden's first modern man. Much is known about him, and he also wrote openly about himself. (wikipedia)

[Gotta dispute the "much is known about him" claim; also, that's a ridiculous sentence for the first paragraph of anyone's bio. "He was a sentient, ambulatory being who survived by breathing in oxygen ..."]
• • •

Short write-up, both because it's late and because I'm on vacation in L.A. and really don't have the time, energy, or equipment to do a thorough job. I Hate writing up the puzzle without a printed-out copy that I can mark up and refer to. Do Not like toggling back and forth from browser to solving software. Also, honestly, I really disliked this puzzle on several levels, and rather than froth about it, I'd rather just make a few simple remarks and let it go. I'm just too tired. I spent all day at the "Crosswords L.A." charity tournament (a great success, about which more later, say Tuesday), where I was a judge/scorer. Enormous fun, but oddly exhausting.

Adding "TION" — unremarkable. Also, made tons of letters in puzzle easy (instant) to get (once you grasped the theme), and so cluing was (clearly) made tougher-than-normal, but not in a very enjoyable way. I liked some of the theme answers, but really disliked a couple as well. In particular, I disliked CONTRA VIOLATION, both because the clue is torturous (I barely get it), and because what the Hell is a Contra Viola. Had to look it up, and it didn't google well. Yuck. HOME DEMOTION did nothing for me either. Is a HOME DEMO a common theme? I mean, in a world largely free of door-to-door salesmen? Hmmm. And what are "King's men" / "Kingsmen"? Like ... All the King's Men? It's not a strong self-standing phrase. And the resulting answer is kind of moribund. Disappointment all around.

Then there was the fill. The following are answers that, especially taken in total, just killed the enjoyment level for me today:

  • EROSE (17D: Having an irregularly gnawed edge)
  • IDE'S (!?!?!?!) (35A: Malt liquor brand named after Irish nun)
  • SPRS.
  • CALDERA (77A: Depression at the mouth of a volcano)
  • ATOAST (I want this to be one word, i.e. "Lo, behold, the bread is ATOAST!")
  • ARTIS (OK, I like this, but it smacks of desperation, i.e. "I need common letters in a certain weird order!")
  • TSGTS (I grudgingly accept SSGTS, and barely tolerate MSGTS — TSGTS is just beyond the pale for me)
  • RESAT (ugh)
  • TEGNÉR (come on ...)
Theme answers:
  • 23A: Following the rules? (CONTRA VIOLATION)
  • 36A: Variety of arbitrating techniques? (MIXED MEDIATION)
  • 16D: Being forced into a smaller house, say? (HOME DEMOTION)
  • 53A: Title under a photo of rain? (SHOWER CAPTION)
  • 73a. Detergent factory, e.g.? (SOAP OPERATION)
  • 90a. "$100 per dozen plus shipping," e.g.? (SALES QUOTATION)
  • 106A: Enthronement of a metalworker? (SMITH CORONATION) — my favorite, by a mile
  • 60d. Passing reference in the "I Have a Dream" speech? (KING'S MENTION)
  • 26A: 2009 "Survivor" locale (SAMOA) — easy enough even if you don't watch the show. Island ... warm climate ... a cross or two and you can infer it.
  • Ladle cradle (SPOON REST) — Took me a while to get the REST part. Had RACK at some point. I think we even *have* a SPOON REST on our stove top...
  • 7D: Grp. with the old slogan "A deadline every minute" (UPI) — United Press International. News agency.
  • 11D: "It's digestible" sloganeer, once (CRISCO) — OK, this made me laugh out loud. Bravo on the cluing. "No, seriously, it's edible!"
  • 75D: "Grand" backdrop for "Shane" (TETON) — just one?
  • 101D: Alternative to Chuck (CHAS) — Me: "Fringe?" (it's a "TV shows I have no business watching" thing)
Good day. Puzzle Girl tomorrow (I'll still be here in L.A.) — and then I'm back on Tuesday

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

[a peek at the glamorous world of crossword tournament judging]


Operapianist 4:36 AM  

As a loyal follower and sleep-impaired reader (due most likely to postprandial coffee at a NYC dinner party), I feel impelled to join the commenters (and blogger extraordinaire) whose collective efforts have helped demystify the crossword world for me over the last several months.

I can usually finish Wed puzzles, and am working my way up through partial non-Google solves on Thurs and Fri... that being said, I somehow finished this one in under 30 minutes--probably due to built-in aforementioned "-tion" fill.

I agree with the assessment--somewhat blah theme, though I certainly enjoyed actually finishing a Sunday puzzle...a pretty rare event non-Google-wise.

TATAS, to me, has only one meaning in the plural--nicely balanced by TETON, though found the plural and subsequent lack thereof odd.

As a classical pianist who's had his fair share of musicology classes, I've rarely heard "contra viola" with the "a" on the end. (A "contraviol" is a *relatively* common stop on most pipe organs.)

Looking forward to joining the always-entertaining banter on here.

--Wilson :-)

HudsonHawk 4:44 AM  

You and Sheila E lead the glamorous life, Rex. Puzzle Girl posted some pics on facebook, so I know you did see some real sunlight, and not just the flourescent kind.

I thought the puzzle was fine, although CONTRA VIOLATION was also my least favorite theme answer. On the other hand, I think CALDERA is a very cool word. Also timely.

Welcome, Wilson! I had the same thought about TATAS.

Brendan 7:17 AM  

Agreed that the ease of filling in lots of -ATIONs induced some tougher than usual cluing. This combo made it feel like everything was going slowly but my final time was roughly a usual Sunday time for me. Strange.

Also, I believe KINGSMEN is referring to the band?

Bob Kerfuffle 7:26 AM  

On balance, I liked this puzzle. I always admire clever word play, and I'm willing to put up with the faults noted by Rex.

Two write-overs: Had OBDURANT before OBDURATE (OK, the system is telling me OBDURANT is not a word - Have to look that up.) which led me to put in 25 D as "HIT AT the heart of before LIE AT the heart of.

Scot 7:34 AM  

Re: Kingsmen: Could this maybe refer to the band responsible for "Louie Louie," which appears in "Animal House" and thus links nicely to 103D (Word repeated in an "Animal House" chant)?

Elaine 7:48 AM  

I have to say I thought this an entertaining puzzle. My favorite was the first theme answer I put in: SMITH CORONA-TION. (I usually work from a first entry, often a fill-in-the-blank.) Lotta memories of my trusty portable!

CONTRA VIOLA seems far-fetched, but I can't form a phrase out of contra-bassoon. (I'm also betting you have to have a really serious pipe organ before Contra Viola is included, she said in a crabby tone. Humph.)

And AIR UP? Who says this? Nobody. (I even wrote it in the margin so I wouldn't forget to complain about it.) ENNEAD was the next to the last thing to go in...right alongside the secret family RECIPE. Seriously, I was trying all of the vowels in turn..recape, nope; recope, nope; recupe, nope; recepe, nope; reci- aaaaaargh! This alone should make Miss Kelsey's day.

osric 8:38 AM  

This puzzle: A hit, a very palpable hit.

Leslie 8:57 AM  

Osric, HA!

Yep, Elaine--AIR UP is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

I had write-overs at OSRIC, because I put in a misspelled "Yoric" at first. I know, I know, Yorick was the jester and not a courtier, right? But it had an RIC, so . . .

I thought AQUEOUS, CALDERA, and OBDURATE were great words to see in a crossword.

JayWalker 8:58 AM  

This puzzle for me? A slog, a very palpable slog.

joho 9:12 AM  

To me, @Rex's write-up is right on.


I did like learning what CALDERA means as that is the name of one of the golf courses I handle.

Enjoy your Sunday, everybody!

Deb Amlen 9:16 AM  

" I spent all day at the "Crosswords L.A." charity tournament... where I was a judge/scorer. Enormous fun, but oddly exhausting."

And for some reason, I feel oddly validated. Glad you had fun anyway :)

Jim H 9:19 AM  

I'm going to have to agree with assessments above of CALDERA, OBDURATE, and especially SMITH CORONATION. And, sadly, of TATAS and TETON.

Plus, I really like SOAP OPERATION.

TSGTS puts me in the mood for a certain Irving novel: The World According to Garp. IIRC, T.S. Garp was so named because the father his mother picked for him was a TSgt. whose only word was "garp".

ArtLvr 9:21 AM  

I mostly liked this one, MIXED feelings here and there. The theme popped out at SHOWER CAPTION because it was so silly, ditto SOAP OPERATION.

Nits included a few noted above like AIR UP, plus the DEI clue at 69A! That's like a blank for "OF THE" in the center of an English phrase ("Luck __ Irish"). Ye gods, not.

I tried Acrid before ACERB but otherwise no STUTTER STEP or STUMPS, and at the end an organ stop called CONTRA VIOLA had to be the root phrase up top.

Favoriite fill included the OBDURATE GNOSTIC... and we were nearly in a STUPOR yesterday with the unexpected heat wave, a virtual CALDERA, but can hardly complain with the horrendous oil SLURRY and flooding to the south.


CoolPapaD 9:34 AM  

I've only been doing these things since just after Wordplay came out on DVD (2006) - that explains why I've NEVER heard of ENNEAD (last used in 2006)- that was my big WTF today, and because I had no idea what the missing word in some Italian title was, I had a little error there!

Didn't love it or hate it, but I didn't smile as much as I normally do. I really liked DING! And ARTIS was a gimmee, though I really don't why I remember his name from my youth - he must have been pretty good!

OK - gonna go play some PIT with my kids (NOT)!

I kid you not - SHATON is my captcha - how I felt after 54D / 69A!

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

kingsmention bothers me as it lacks the A as in a-tion that the others have. what's that about?

dk 9:46 AM  

Sunday has far to many words. It should be a Wed/Thur with a 15/15 grid. Then we would not need desperate fill like AIRUP -- resulting in me eurping up.

This puzzle was ok for a Sunday the fix-a-tion theme was oddly entertaining but (have I said this before) it coulda been shorter.

We seem to be having a run of DC comic fill as in todays LANA. This must be because Rex killed off the Oafs, Leos and McBeals.

Favorite fill: CALDERA

I am happy to see puzzle judges wear white socks... could it be any other way.

Wilson, welcome and how many times have you heard the do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall joke?

Sunny day with only my slight hangover from yesterdays garage sale as a lame excuse to get going.

** (2 Stars) Is IDES digestible-- inquiring minds mind to know

dk over and out.

archaeoprof 9:46 AM  

@Operapianist: welcome! Totally agree about TATAS. That meaning is so much "in the language" that this year, when a sorority here sponsored a breast cancer research fund raiser, their slogan was "Save your tatas."

Asked non-puzzle wife if she knew which month was "universal human rights month" and she replied, "Why hasn't that caught on with Hallmark?"

Upon learning it is DEC, she said, "They should pick another month. That one's already too busy."

Best to all in LA!

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

no A as in A-tion in kingsmention. this bothered me.

fikink 9:55 AM  

TATAS - Boys! Boys!

Welcome Wilson.

Loved the TATAS clue; really disliked ATOAST.

captcha: malis
I bear none.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:07 AM  

@Anonymous, 9:46 and 9:47 (same anonymous?) -

None of the theme answers add "ATION". They all add "TION " to the base phrase.

DBGeezer 10:10 AM  

Those who insist on A-TION should also gripe about HOME DEMOTION, which is KINGS MENTION symmetrical counterpart.

Even after studying your important comments, I still cannot understand any connection between and CONTRA VIOLATION. Help! Explain!

DBGeezer 10:17 AM  

For some reason the phrase - following the rules - was left out of my previous comment.
What does "following the rules" have to do with CONTRA VIOLATION?

Anonymous 10:18 AM  


Bob Kerfuffle 10:23 AM  

@DBGeezer - To be "CONTRA" is to oppose or to be against. If you are against VIOLATION of the rules, presumably you are in favor of the rules, or are willing to follow the rules. So if you believe in "following the rules" you are CONTRA VIOLATION.

Hey, it's a crossword puzzle. We do things like that!

SethG 10:25 AM  

The band can't be the source for KING'S MENTION because [The] Kingsmen is one word. It's gotta be "king's men".

Toga toga toga, ta ta!

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

bet your exhaustion came partly from those nasty fluorescent lights. Ugh!

thanks for traveling out our way...

- a fan in Pasadena

Van55 10:29 AM  

Following the rules = against (contra) violating them. I agree it's a bit of a stretch.

Still and all, I thought this one was better than average. The theme answers were droll enough and some of the really fine answers have already been pointed out.

lit.doc 10:30 AM  

This was a wonderful adventure. Started out exquisitely smooth and accessible, then gradually got harder and harder as the easy stuff fell. Wonderful construction—kudos to Kelsey Blakley. Caught on to the theme device at 53A, and that materially aided further solving. Impressive theme density, even for a full-figured grid. And unusual, vowel-rich fill like 86D Aqueous. Nice.

Then my skill level started to show. 1A [That is correct!] = STET drove me out of NW early on. 20A “Whom mateys address” was TARS for a long while. 66A SPGS seemed unimpeachable, as I grew up in Denver and have never seen any other abbrev.

So, finally, the grid is filled, but I’m staring at 23A CONTRA [means resisting, not following, eh?] VSOLATION. Seriously. Checked every Down repeatedly. Epic WTF. I do so hope no one else spent a subjective eternity before abandoning the perfectly credible UPS for UPI.

Despite my manifold failings, there were some clunkers here. 16D “Being forced into a smaller house, say?” needed IN-HOME DEMO for the theme-answer root to be sensible, but then the complete answer wouldn’t work. 105A “Mobile homes?” = CRIBS was painfully weak, as was 104D “Corker” = ONER. And 97D “Met again, as a legislature” = RESAT was just flat ugly.

jesser 10:37 AM  

I am in the minority, because I really liked it -- for a time. And the reason I went melancholy on it has nothing to do with puzzle. I'll get to that...

While I'll agree that the TION, theme was a tad forced in places, I thought a lot of the fill was really cool: GNOSTIC, CALDERA, BRAMBLE, SCARUM, OBDURATE, TATAS, CLIFT, CRIBS, TUSSLES, STUTTER, SLURRY. The only fill that I hated was at 66A, where both the clue and the answer seems forced in. Minor complaint.

And the cluing was spot-on for me this morning. I was a grinning little monster.

Then I hit 92D, and the clue plunged me into Funkville. Without going into Too Much Detail, my significant other and I parted ways last week after almost four years of ups and downs. His name is Isaias. He is from Mexico, not Sweden, but Señor Tegner's clue hit me hard. I thought I was finished with the crying. I'm not very bright.

So, at the final analysis, I think Mr. Blakely did a fine job with this puzzle. And I know he had no intention of jabbing me in the solar plexus.

I will go to either New York of L.A. next year. I have got to meet you people.

Futprop! (An ottoman, natch) -- jesser

chefbea 10:44 AM  

Easy Sunday puzzle.

Welcome Wilson. In your honor I will make one of my family's secret recipes that is very digestible!!!

lit.doc 10:53 AM  

Wilson, hi!

The CONTRA-VIOLA thing vexes me more this morning than it last night, especially after reading the several comments.

So I grabbed The Harvard Dictionary of Music (I know it's not Wikipedia, but hey). It's not there. Neither, surprisingly, is contra-viol.

Only close entry is contra-violin, "a large-sized violin introduced in 1917 by Henry Newbold to play the second-violin parts in chamber music".

mac 10:56 AM  

I think so many beautiful words - caldera, obdurate, aqueous and gnostic to name a few - saved this puzzle. I'm with dk, Sundays are just too long. They are probably made for people who only puzzle on the weekends.

Got the theme fairly easily, then just filled in lots of -tions, and got soap operation with no crosses whatsoever.

I'm so releaved to hear that Crisco is digestible! Never use the stuff myself, it looks scary.

For "a toast" I had "at last" for a bit....

All in all a pretty nice puzzle time.

@jesser: come to Brooklyn, that's three days of partying!

Colleen 11:15 AM  

Agree with @mac and @lit.doc about some of the lovely words - particularly aqueous and caldera. Gnostic is one of those words that (to me) is very cool while still being very ugly, like chrome or scythe.

I lived in Colorado Springs from 1985-1989, and the only abbreviations I ever saw anyone use were Colo. Spgs. or (less commonly) Co. Springs. So I had an issue with that bit of fill. On the other hand, no issues with AIRUP, as I have frequently heard that used, as in "Y'all best air up that tire 'fore ya hit the road - lookin' a bit flat there!" Not saying that "air up" is in any way an elegant construction, just that I've heard it used. Frequently.

Didn't love the puzzle, but it was actually a speedier than usual solve for me on a Sunday.

Sparky 11:18 AM  

A tough slog for me but got most of it. For a long time tried to make cheerios a plural for torus. I thought I was so smart. Guess not. Kingsmen was the name of teams at Brooklyn College in my day. Didn't get it anyway because cams were grinding into cogs. Hope everyone had a good time in LA.

PanamaRed 11:24 AM  

Hand up for UPS before realizing UPI. And for AT LAST before seeing A TOAST.

@Kerfuffle - thanks for the explanation of CONTRA VIOLATION. What a long, strange trip that is.

I never heard the term AIR UP until my wife ask me to air up her tires. So did.

Enjoyed the puzzle - and always enjoy the banter here.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

@bob kerfuffle...oh of course, now i see that showercaption,... demotion. don't have the A's either, altho several phrases do end in A before the tion is added. i guess i was captivated by the title "fix-a-tion." never mind!

Megan 11:33 AM  

I think we must tend to like what's more familiar to us. As a geologist (in Colorado, so I'm with Colleen and her observation regarding Colo Spgs), seeing "caldera" in a crossword really pleased me.

So I've got to echo most of these posts - I thought the "tion" theme was just kind of bland and certainly made the puzzle much easier, but there were a few cool words tucked in there. I've learned a lot from reading this blog and these comments - always enjoyable!

edith b 11:37 AM  

I went to Oberlin College in Ohio in the the early 70s and was invited home with my roommate at Christmas-time 1972 to Louisville KY and went shopping at Kay Jewelers for a pair of earrings for my mother where I ran into 96A: Hoopster ARTIS Gilmore doing some shopping of his own.

This was during the bidding war for players between the newly-formed American Basketball Association and the NBA and Mr Gilmore was drafted by the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA out of Jacksonville College and was one of the first big coups of that bidding war for the ABA. He was truly an amazing sight to behold. He was dressed in a chocolate-colored 70s leisure suit and a black-and-white newspaper print shirt with an oversized collar, overlapping the neck of his coat. He had a pair of 4" stacked-heel shoes made of acrylic with goldfish swimming around in the heels and sported a giant afro with mutton-chop whiskers.

He was over 7' tall in his stocking feet but stood closer to 8 feet with his afro and shoes. Even being from NYC, I had never seen such a sight in my life.

This is the image that I carry away from this puzzle.

George NYC 11:56 AM  

I really wanted HOME DEPOT.
And why wasn't CONTRA VIOLATION clued with something Ollie North did? Maybe that stupid cake he sent over to the Ayatollah?

George NYC 12:00 PM  

Great new Rexism: "it doesn't google well." Splendid!

Orange 12:17 PM  

George in NYC, "it doesn't google well" Googles pretty well—437,000 hits. It's not Rexism. It's out there in the language already.

TATAS could be salvaged with this clue: ["Bodacious ___!" (classic David Keith line in An Officer and a Gentleman)].

George NYC 12:30 PM  

@ Orange'
When I read "doesn't google well" in this context, I thought of the expression "he/she cleans up well," meaning someone you normally see as a bit scruffy can put on a suit and comb their hair and look pretty good. So I wasn't thinking of number of hits, but the unsatisfactory nature of the results. In this case, the first hit is from the "Encyclopedia of Organ Stops." That's what I call a bad google!

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Hands up for obdurant/hit-all the kings horses and all the kings men could not shove humpty back up there again.. 33rd yeah me

CoolPapaD 12:48 PM  

@edith b - Wonderful story! Great visual!

Rex Parker 12:59 PM  

While I don't care whether a phrase is labeled a "Rexism" or not, you should read the results of your google search a little more closely, @orange. There aren't *really* that many hits for ["it doesn't google well"]. Not even four pages worth. A few more pages if you take the "it" off, but still ...


T-Bone 1:08 PM  

I have to agree with many of the quibbles expressed above. I mean . . . one Teton!

But then I've been AIRING UP my tires for many decades.

A very doable puzzle with a clever, if a bit stretched, theme.''==

CHACURE= what you get at a chacuterie?

Shamik 1:23 PM  

Greetings from Skagway, Alaska! I don't think I've had this many weeks of doing so few puzzles in a couple of years. Need a regular schedule again with a chunk of morning time.

When will I learn to proofread my crosses? Thought this was an easy puzzle that took me only 15:28 until ENNIAD wasn't correct. Bah.

Like others, really appreciate CALDERA, GNOSTIC, STUPOR and SCARUM. Liked FLIPSIDE as opposed to the usual ASIDE, BSIDE, SIDEA and SIDEB.

Welcome to Wilson! Wish I was at Chef Bea's having something scrumptious. Wish I'd thought to bring powdered milk because milk is $3.16 a half gallon here. : (

Guess i should go fishing for some scredhod...the captcha of the day.

Stan 1:24 PM  

I'm with the 'lovely words' crowd, though I concede that some of the short fill was unlovely (as pointed out). And I've seen Sunday theme answers that were far more of a stretch.

Overall a fun solve -- thanks, Kelsey!

Rex Parker 1:29 PM  

I tend to think of "lovely words" as those things that one puts in the puzzle because one likes them, finds them pretty, etc., not things that one puts in because the construction program says it's the best / only option. I assure you that CALDERA falls under the latter category. AQUEOUS is much better, in that a. it's not a "back-of-the-dictionary" word, and b. it has a "Q."


Shamik 1:30 PM  

FYI and off topic, am blogging about our summer here in Skagway on Blogger.

Stan 1:32 PM  

PS- For a long time my courtier was ORRIC, who did most of the vacuuming around Elsinore...

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

no wonder the NW section made no sense to me. was convinced that 1A was STET, and never recovered. -- nunyo.

PIX 2:09 PM  

So I go to the beach and spend all morning doing the puzzle (Most of you are way better at this than I am) and come home to see what Rex had to say about the puzzle...and he tells me it's going to be a short write-up because he's tired and I get mad and say I want a full write-up and he has no right to make it short because after all...after all...after all...then I realize he doesn't owe me a damn thing and he has taught me so much and spent so much time on this blog which I do truly appreciate and I've never done a damn thing for him. So as a student who has learned so much from the master teacher I just wanted to say Thank You, Rex. I owe you.

jae 2:15 PM  

I'm with Rex on this one. Although there was some interesting fill, the theme was kinda meh. Also, this was on the easy side for me, no real hangups except for the area around CONTRAVIOLATION which I needed all most all the crosses to get.

Martin 2:23 PM  

"No on CALDERA" is the poster child for subjectivity in puzzle deconstruction. It might have been my favorite entry. It's poetic, evocative (think giant witches' cauldron) and googles extremely well. (Try news of Iceland caldera.)

You can keep UCAL. Berkeley is "Cal" or maybe "UCB." But it's self-defeating to boycott fill.

Once upon a time I could have done a mocking riff on SUNY vis-a-vis UC, but sadly those days are gone forever.

edith b 2:33 PM  

"Lovely words?!" There is really no such thing, only people who are able to manipulate the language to such an extent that words become beautiful. It is why I come here in the first place to, every day, read how folks, can do such a thing.

mac 2:45 PM  

@Shamik: nice blog. Is Skagway the first stop the cruise ships make in Alaska?


SavvyGal 2:49 PM  

HATED: Sales Quotation A sales quote and a sales quotation are the SAME THING and most decidedly NOT in the spirit of the theme!

LOVED: Shower Caption and Smith Coronation!

Since Crisco makes the best pie crust ever, it is good to know "It's Digestible" and I increased my vocabulary with caldera and ennead...

Shamik 2:58 PM  

@SavvyGal: Though a risk to your heart, I contend lard makes a far better pie crust than Crisco.

@Mac: Thank you! Skagway's one of the last stops for the cruise ships on the inland passage. Mike started orientation yesterday and I start in a week or so.

lit.doc 3:05 PM  

@SavvyGal, a SALES QUOTA, on the other hand, is quite a different thing.

archaeoprof 3:07 PM  

@PIX: amen to that. I can't remember what it was like before this blog.

pezibc 3:43 PM  

Consistently brutal crowd here.

I knew contra viola, immediately related to 'contraindication' from medicines, and had it quickly.

Loved CALDERA. I only like AQEOUS for the technical merit; the Q surrounded by all those vowels. It's not a word that I've ever actually used.

I'm surprised that people aren't apoplectic over AIRUP, but if that's what it takes to fill the grid then so be it. It was given the easiest clue possible, as was only right. (It has never appeared before.)

Nice clue on 101D CHAS

Anonymous 4:04 PM  

The whole UCAL horror was played out in Wordplay and in this blog more than a year ago. I blame the editor, not the constructor, for putting us through this again. C'mon, Will!


Larry, the lurking CAL [UC, UCB, UC Berkeley, University of California at Berkeley] Golden Bear

Jenny 4:56 PM  

I agree Tetons and TATAS would be cute, but there *is* only one Grand TETON. It adjoins Middle Teton and South Teton, and is located not far from the country's most famous CALDERA - which, I also agree with others, is anything but auto-fill.

But I left ENNIAD in the middle of my puzzle (stupid!), so what do I know.

Beadola 5:21 PM  

I love this blog. Whenever something bothers me about the puzzle, it is addressed. Thanks everybody who mentioned the problems with UCAL. Go Bears!

Jes Wondrin 6:12 PM  

Why is it ok to say you liked CALDERA when it isn't ok to say you thought it sucked?

Martin 6:39 PM  


You talkin to me?

If so, you should check out the meaning of "subjectivity."

The only thing that's not ok for me is calling something "incorrect" when it's not. I'm cool with everything else, including declarations of suckitude at any level -- clue, entry, theme, puzzle, clown face in the grid creeping you out -- anything. I'll point out that opinions are not necessarily truths, but never, ever call an opinion wrong.

Something dumb like "that can't be right because I've never heard of it" is not an opinion. "CALDERA is better than AQUEOUS" is an opinion.

william e emba 7:41 PM  

I find it slightly disturbing that I have never ever heard of Parker Brothers PIT game. I apparently did not waste enough time as a kid. Bah. Googling it reveals nothing recognizable.

No ugly words? What about "sgiomlaireachd"? It's Scots Gaelic for the habit of dropping in at mealtimes. Well, maybe the word itself isn't ugly in some eyes, but you will be after you pronounce it correctly and get spittle all over your face.

Tinbeni 8:09 PM  

Well the puzzle has space for a Malt liquor brand named after an Irish Nun, 35A, IDE's, yet didn't have my long desired NECTAR Scotch in a clue or answer? WTF!
This is just not fair.
How long to I have to be on my soapbox?
At least it did have STUPOR and A TOAST.

JenCT 8:14 PM  

@Megan: my husband (the geologist) gave me CALDERA; he couldn't believe I didn't know the word.

I really liked this puzzle, probably because I actually finished it! And with only one mistake! Woo-hoo! It's rare that I finish a Sunday.

I enjoy reading others' opinions and comments very much.

dk 8:37 PM  

Onondaga Community College's first campus was in the old Smith Corona Building in Syracuse. Jamie Charles' (best high school girl friend ever) dad was the dean. The building was the Smith Corona M**** building and I can't find what the M stood for. I think it was Marchon or something like that.

nurturing 8:41 PM  

lit.doc thought "cribs" for "mobile homes" was weak. That was one of my favorites! Perhaps s/he was only thinking of the fact that a crib may be on wheels.

I immediately thought of the mobile that hangs over every crib I've ever seen and deemed the clue clever as a result.

Martin 9:18 PM  


The M in SCM is "Marchant." They made expensive calculators, which Smith Corona thought was a good diversification play. They bought the company just before the introduction of the $7.99 electronic calculator. Not a good move.

Falconer 9:34 PM  

Despite some truly bizarre answers like "Ennead", that Swedish writer guy and a "classic" Parker Brothers game which I had never heard of, I thought this was a fun, mildly challenging puzzle with some unusual cluing.

Here's something strange about the game Pit: It was developed by the pop psychic Edgar Cayce and was supposed to simulate the open outcry system of commodity trading. ... If you like board games and have preteen kids, two of our family favorites are SEQUENCE and BLOKUS; check 'em out.

mac 9:54 PM  

@nurturing: brilliant deduction of the mobile clue!

Señora 10:36 PM  

Can someone please explain to me "edge" for "ad in, e.g."?

Clark 10:48 PM  

Señora --
I think it's a tennis thing. I googled >"ad in" tennis< and I got some stuff that looks like EDGE to me.

George NYC 10:55 PM  

It means Advantage In, meaning in favor of the server, as opposed to Advantage Out, in favor of the receiver. A tennis game must be won by 2 points. After deuce (even) you are either Ad In or Ad Out which determines who has the "edge."

Stan 10:57 PM  

Yes, it's tennis. When a server is AD IN, or has the advantage, winning the next point means winning the game.

Rex -- I saw "The Little Sister" in your Tweet pic and realized you're in Santa Monica, Chandler's Bay City! Cool. We were there in January and had breakfast at Swingers.

lit.doc 12:53 AM  

@nurturing, brilliant. Thank you for making that one make sense to me. Hope you understand that I was reacting to the pop-culture meaning of "crib".

Is this virtual community a wonderful thing or what?

operapianist 1:35 AM  

Thanks for all the welcoming gestures-- glad to be onboard!

@ChefBea-- I hope I'm invited to dinner, being that I'm from the Paula-Deen section of the country that practically embraces Crisco as a food group :-)

Valarikj 3:59 AM  

I believe caldera was a Jeopardy question last week.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

I am 50 years old, and have been playing Pit with my family since I was in middle school. In fact, we played it just last night! I'm surprised that a Google search doesn't turn up much.

Sue O 2:44 AM  

I'm a few weeks behind as usual, but I finished three Sunday crosswords in the last couple of days. I have to object at all you yahoos complaining about the tatas. I grew up in England and both "Cheerio" and "Ta-ta" are common ways of saying goodbye. I really hate how so many phrases and words have naughty connotations these days. Thanks for the entertainment, as always. And Rex, the fact that you can solve these puzzles in 17 minutes often astounds me at random times during the day. Who are you, Clark Kent, reading faster than a speeding bullet?

Black Kettle/Black Pot 7:27 AM  

@Sue O - Let's not forget it works both ways. A sometime traveler in Britain, I was quite puzzled at the reaction I got when I said something about carrying my camera in a fanny pack.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Definitely, nobody in CO uses Colo. Sprs. It's always Colo Spgs, the way it appears on freeway signs.
Sprs. doesn't even look like it means Springs, for that matter.

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