Elements of Style updater / TUE 5-11-10 / Hapless Corleone / 1889 statehood achievers / Frenzied place rock club / Super slangily

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Constructor: Keith Talon

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: MARTINI (37A: Cocktail called "the elixir of quietude" by 4-Down (i.e. E.B. WHITE)) — theme answers are ways one might order one's martini, clued jokingly, via plays on words, as the martini orders of various famous people

Word of the Day: EMAC (42A: Apple originally marketed to schools) —

The eMac, short for education Mac, was a Macintosh desktop computer made by Apple Inc. It was originally aimed at the education market, then available as a cheaper mass market option over Apple's second generation iMac. The eMac design closely resembled first-generation iMacs. It sports a PowerPC G4 processor significantly faster than the older iMac's G3 processor, and a larger 17" flat display. // The eMac was discontinued by Apple on July 5, 2006 and replaced with a cheaper, low-end iMac that, like the eMac, was originally sold exclusively to educational institutions, but later released to the general public in September 2006.

• • •
A snazzy grid and fantastic theme, though far more suited to a Wednesday than a Tuesday in terms of its fill and cluing. The middle of the grid is horrendously ugly. Why in the world do you go with EMAC — something I didn't know existed til this very second — instead of, either, IMAC / MILT, or, say EMMA (then change FOOL to POOL)? Yikes almighty, EMAC!? The answer that CAME back! (that's what I'll say if I ever see it again). But enough about that massive flaw — let's look at the rest. Very bouncy and fresh all around, though the "Q" seems pretty gratuitous: if you have to go to QUOITS for your "Q," is it really worth it (49A: Ringtoss game)? But QUOITS was (I feel) recently in the puzzle, if not the NYT, then some other one, so no trouble there, but lots of trouble all over the place just getting the answers to fall in Tuesday fashion (i.e. easily). I liked the challenge. Take out EMAC, and I'd have Loved this puzzle.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Tiger and Elin Woods's 37-Across order? (ON THE ROCKS) — this feels a little mean
  • 11D: O. Henry's 37-Across order? (WITH A TWIST) — because of his ironing
  • 53A: Paula Abdul's 37-Across order? (STRAIGHT UP) — HA ha. Great. I miss Paula on "Idol." Ellen is far too ... coherent. And Kara ... don't get me started.
  • 29D: Popeye's 37-Across order? (EXTRA OLIVE) — the second theme answer I got, before I knew the theme ... I thought puzzle was going to be something about missing "VIRGIN"s or something ...
  • 4D: "The Elements of Style" updater (E.B. WHITE) — no idea he held forth on MARTINIs. My respect for him continues to grow.

Will makes a nice little self-referential gesture in today's cluing — which you won't notice at all unless you saw last night's episode of "How I Met Your Mother," in which Will had a substantial part. At a posh party, Will confirms for the show's (super-excited and geeked-out) main character and his friends that ULEE (today's 18A: Beekeeper played by Peter Fonda) is indeed in the grid so often, as the character has always told his (uninterested) friends, "because of all the vowels." Will also sings barbershop and has a conversation with Arianna Huffington and Peter Bogdanovich, and at one point runs off in search of a MINI QUICHE. All very cute.

  • 27A: It might start "E FP TOZ LPED" (EYE TEST)— very nice clue
  • 44A: Figure of Greek myth with a statue at Rockefeller Center (ATLAS) — somehow I went with ERATO at first :(
  • 46A: 1889 statehood achievers, with "the" (DAKOTAS) — weird. Got it without too much trouble, but ... they achieved statehood as North and South Dakota, not as the DAKOTAS, so clue feels slightly odd.
  • 65A: The hapless Corleone (FREDO) — Clue made me laugh. Also, I had FRODO.
  • 67A: "Peter Pan" fairy, for short (TINK) — Should have gotten this right away, as I remember the "Think TINK" merch from the last time I was at Disney World. Instead, I wanted her to be T-BELL or some such street-sounding name.
  • 13D: Some turns and boxing punches (LEFTS) — makes complete sense in retrospect, but mid-solve, clue read like gibberish.
  • 22D: Wise old Athenian (SOLON) — was he not always wise, i.e. wise before he was old. I didn't know age was part of his schtick.
  • 26D: City known as Colombia's sports capital (CALI) — and not, as you suspected, its drug capital.
  • 28D: "Car Talk" dubbed it "the worst car of the millennium" (YUGO) — "She'll go 300 hectares on a single tank of kerosene ... put it in 'H'!"
  • 43D: Frenzied place at a rock club (MOSH PIT) — do these still exist. Like PHAT (23A: Super, slangily), this feels dated already.
  • 46D: Cisco Kid's horse (DIABLO) — no idea. Got it off DIA-. "Oh DIABLO Canyon 2, why can't you be more like DIABLO Canyon 1?!"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

R.I.P. legendary sci-fi/fantasy artist Frank Frazetta and legendary singer/actress (and crossword stalwart) LENA Horne

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Steve J 12:43 AM  

Felt a bit challenging to me for a Tuesday too; I finished with what for me is an easy-Wednesday time. It took me a while to pick up on the theme, and until I filled MARTINI, the theme clues read pretty much like gibberish to me. (Speaking of gibberish, I nominate 10D as the most mush-mouthed, awkward clue of the year.)

The DAKOTAS is actually brilliantly clued, as they did in fact become states at exactly the same moment. There was a fierce rivalry between the two to be officially admitted first, so the president signing the enabling legislation had the two signature pages shuffled and the content obscured, so no one knows which one was actually signed first. And, of course, they were signed within seconds of each other.

Agreed that the Tiger/Elin clue is on the mean side, but I'll give credit for being topical. And otherwise the theme answers were quite good.

Very nice Tuesday puzzle. I always like early-week puzzles that are a little more challenging than normal.

newspaperguy 12:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
newspaperguy 12:55 AM  

A good challenge for a Tuesday with no real sticks. Everything fell into place, just at a bit slower rate than the usual Tuesday fare. Don`t get the Abdul reference, but I don`t watch Idol, or TV, for that matter. Liked the other theme answers.

PurpleGuy 1:58 AM  

Had a real romp with this puzzle. Made me smile, then laugh. Maybe the fact that I had already downed a couple of MARTINIs helped.
I had an EMac for a long time. After I had retired from teaching. No problem there.
Yes QUOITS was in a recent puzzle. Don't get the Paula Abdul reference either, but I like my MARTINIs STRAIGHTUP. The only thing I like straight !!!
ELOPES next to WITHATWIST made me smile and giggle. Yes, I have a weird sense of humor.

Sometimes I do like an EXTRAOLIVE if the person on the stool next to me asks for one! Right now would probably not be a good time for an EYETEST.
I knew the "elements Of Style" reference, but like Rex, did not know he was a MARTINI advocate. Hand up also for more respect.
Mom and I were a couple tables away from Tiger Woods in Scottsdale, when he was here for the Open a few years ago. He was MRBIG and no one was allowed too close. Bumped him on our way out to our respective cars. On purpose ? I'm not tellin'.

Hats off to Keith Talon for a great Tuesday puzzle. Keep your claws(talon) in the crossword construction.
Another great write up Rex.

p.c. abide 2:00 AM  

I order my martini like Gertrude Stein--with a splash of Rose's.

A nice Tuesday that went down smooth. I think Popeye would prefer to HOLD THE OLIVE, but symmetry controls.

I will check the comments later today to see if the Dakota statehood was actually 1890 instead of 1889.

chefwen 2:09 AM  

Only had one write over, KILN over oast but this one seemed to take me twice as long to solve than your usual Tuesday.

I also agree that ON THE ROCKS was mean in spirit, I actually groaned when I filled it in. Favorite one was WITH A TWIST.

syndy 2:46 AM  

never heard of emac either-had midas first for my greek. We finished(or nearly) Diablo 1 and the # Mile Island blew up so we had to make some changes.

jskarf 3:25 AM  

My problem with EMAC was the clue. For "Apple originally marketed to schools" I had TWOC, as in the old Apple IIc model. From Wikipedia:
"The Apple II became one of the most recognizable and successful computers during the 1980s and early 1990s. It was aggressively marketed through volume discounts and manufacturing arrangements to educational institutions which resulted in it being the first computer in widespread use in American secondary schools."

David 6:33 AM  

Was it only me or does 3D seem like a made up word? GROT and EMAC were the stumbling blocks for me although easily overcome through crosses.

Gahan 7:33 AM  

Snellen Eye Chart

HudsonHawk 7:59 AM  

@newspaperguy and PurpleGuy: STRAIGHT UP has nothing to do with Idol. It was Paula Abdul's breakthrough #1 single, released in 1988. A light but very catchy song, the video featured Arsenio Hall (remember when he was relevant?). Hmm, Arsenio seems like a good crossword name...

HudsonHawk 8:05 AM  

Also, I'm reminded of an old adage: MARTINIs are like breasts. One's not enough and three is too many.

jesser 8:07 AM  

First, my thanks to Rex for Male Call and ironing. You always find a way, amigo!

Second, my apologies to Dan Quayle. Why? Because I was so smug yesterday, and then the universe sent Mr. Talon to burst my bubble with a (Horrors!) DNF Tuesday.

Never heard of an E-MAC, so i-MAC stuck like a ping-pong ball to peanut butter. Not big on cheesy sandwiches. Must have already MARTINIed the braincell that ever saw QUOI_S. Ugh. Gack. I'M LOST! That open space taunts me now.

Lots to love about the puzzle though. Hand up for an outloud laugh at WITH A TWIST, I bet BEQ loved MOSH PIT. I'm surprised we don't see MSRP more frequently, but with an asterisk and a lot of disclaimers below the puzzle. The clue for EYE TEST was fantastic. And I like the past tense of TIVO in there. Also, MR. BIG always makes me grin.

@PurpleGuy: You fonny!

I saw only half of 'How I Met Your Mother' last night, but I agree Shortz was funny, and his timing was great. Way to go, Will!

Big day today, so I'll sign off in humiliation and defeat. Later tonight I'll console myself with a biggish QUAFF of bourbon.

Gatiol! (When called a 'fag' in the Deep South, I respond, "That's gatiol." Then I sprint away.) -- jesser

fikink 8:15 AM  

@HudsonHawk, three breasts are too many, except for Picasso. Thanks for the Abdul clarification.

Solid puzzle, IMO, and I learned QUOITS. A new Q word is always handy.

What does MSRP stand for, please? Anyone? Bueller?

Your puzzle hooked me, Mr. Talon - thanks!

jesser 8:17 AM  

@Fikink: Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price

joho 8:17 AM  

Who woulda thought a small cavern a GROT?

I didn't get STRAIGHTUP until coming here and, like @chefwen, most appreciated WITHATWIST.

It would have been nice to see words like dry, shaken or stirred mixed into the grid.

Thanks to @Andrea's heads up in her post yesterday I watched Will on "How I Met Your Mother." He did a great job and it was fun to see the Editor of the New York Times getting so much play.

And thanks, also, to Keith Talon for this Tuesday puzzle with it's fresh, boozy theme.

ArtLvr 8:35 AM  

I didn't have a problem with EMAC, as the question of getting computers into the schools via extra-low prices was deemed a boon by most parents and teachers at the time, ulterior motives be damned...

The fill I found unfamiliar and needing more explanation? BOI and MOSHPIT. Both fell with crosses, but looked odd. And there was UNLV too, for the non-sports-minded, but easily caught.

I don't suppose anyone else, working downs first, tried Hum at 9D for winging it musically, rather than JAM? That went nicely with Doo-WOP!

I enjoyed the theme, nicely done regardless of cluing, plus QUAFF and QUOITS, SOLON and ATLAS, YUGO and the DAKOTAS, DIABLO the steed and FREDO the hapless who yearned to be a MR BIG. Thanks to Keith Talon for a BLAST of a Tuesday!


ArtLvr 8:44 AM  

p.s. -- thanks to Rex too, for chuckles at his observations like "O Henry __ because of his ironing"!

dk 9:00 AM  

Misspelled EMAC as Lisa.

QUOITS was a triple letter winner against a former patient in my one and only Scrabble win against her.

Great Tuesday puzzle.

**** (4 Stars) OCEANS of fun.

I am off to New Orleans tomorrow. So for the next week I will solving at Cafe DuMonde. Will be with son the chef and will share any recipes and/or restaurant finds, particularly ones with OKRA.

I will take this puzzle with me for enshrinement into the American Cocktail Museum.

Secret word: hostsmen - organizers of MARTINI BLASTS

LGW 9:03 AM  

I seem to be in the small minority here, but I really disliked this puzzle despite the great martini theme and its clever answers. My problem was not with any of the answers, all of which were easy with the crosses, but rather with the cluing. Was I the only one who found it consistently verbose and clunky, as well as somehow too explicit (doubtless because of the lack of terse wit)? The only good one was "65A. The hapless Corleone", mostly because "hapless" is such a great description of Fredo, and a great word to boot.

dk 9:21 AM  

Pardon me: The Museum of the American Cocktail


secret word 2: budiess - how you say friends after the MARTINI BLAST

Parsing 9:34 AM  

SOLON was [always wise], in *old* Athens.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:38 AM  

Decent Tuesday puzzle, not much to say except to ask, Wouldn't Popeye have wanted his martini with eatra Olive OYL?

I sacrificed (OK, taped) a half hour of "House" last night to watch "How I Met Your Mother". I don't speak Yiddish, but except for Will Shortz's cameos, the rest of the program was, IMHO, dreck. People actually watch this stuff?

chefbea 9:47 AM  

I too found this a difficult Tuesday. Couldn't get Cali, or Boi.

Missed seeing Will last night, was watching dancing with the stars

@DK have a blast in New Orleans. Look forward to the recipes.

I'll take my scotch with a twist - how 'bout you Tinbeni?

Colleen 9:52 AM  

Famous Dorothy Parker quote:
I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table,
after four I'm under my host.

Daryll 10:04 AM  

Didn't have a problem with EMAC, as I found it to be inferable, but BOI? We have to know textspeak now? Sk8r I get, but BOI vs boy? An "i" is easier to text than a "y"?
A sense of dread filled me once I discovered the theme, as I really don't want to hear of Tinbeni's disdain of MARTINIs vs Scotch.

tomwp 10:10 AM  

PUT IT IN H! Classic...

And MOSH PIT is still in heavy use, but PHAT is so dated that it has swung all the way around and Hipsters now use it ironically.

mac 10:17 AM  

Very good Tuesday, lot of bite. Learned mosh pit, and that the Dutch word grot means grot. Very liquid puzzle with all the martini versions, quaff, Evian, keg oand ocians. Then the tip jar on the top!

I'm going to have to google UNLV, alas. Nice anecdote about the Dakotas.

FWIW 10:17 AM  


Sk8er Boi is a song by Avril Lavigne, and was the second single from her debut album.

edith b 10:25 AM  

I loved the theme but found the execution weak with only half the theme answers acceptable.

I liked the long fill and found the short fill OK. All in all, I did like this puzzle due to the originality of the theme.

tomwp 10:26 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle
Come on, you're upset because you sacrificed HOUSE for HIMYM? You want to talk about dreck, how about a show that literally hasn't had a unique episode in five years? It's like the writers of House use a Mad-Lib to make episodes.

Dr. House enters, a bottle of _____ in his hand. He makes a snappy insult to coworker ____, who shakes their head and walks out. He meets a new patient who has untreatable _____ and addresses them crudely. The patient's loved ones don't want to hear what House says, but he doesn't care. He tries two treatments, they both make the patient even worse. ______ approaches House with an idea. "No," says House, "but I just figured it out." He pushes his way past some sort of barrier and administers ______, which shocks everyone. "I'm starting to feel better," the patient says, as their loved ones cry and smile. House limps away.

Tinbeni 10:30 AM  

A drinking puzzle?
This will probably corrupt me.

Yeah, this one was a BLAST.
Surprise! Surprise! I liked the theme.
No Avatar? Then a MARTINI will be just fine.
Or a QUAFF or two, from the KEG.

QUOITS was in the LAT last Wed.
Learned then, remembered today.

@Chefbea: I'll have mine neat.
When hungry, then WITH A TWIST.

tomwp's Tweet 10:37 AM  

Just got done owning some old man bitch in the comments on a crossword blog, I feel good, feel ALIVE

Two Ponies 10:37 AM  

Gotta love a martini puzzle!
@ Collen, Thanks for Dorothy Parker poem. Exactly why I skip the martinis!
I didn't think the Tiger and Elin clue was mean. I laugh every time I think of the delicious irony of being chased and beaten with a golf club. Go Elin!
I know nothing about Abdul or Lavigne but no big problem.
Fun theme answers and tougher-than-a-Tuesday in a good way.
For me, grot was the worst fill.
@Rex, Appreciate the heads-up re: Frazetta. I used to love his stuff.

balto 10:46 AM  

I liked this one -- I got the theme pretty quickly, and that helped in some problem areas. The Woods clue -- unneccesary -- not what I look for in crosswords -- they're brief intellectual escapes for me, I don't want that nasty tabloid stuff intruding.

I agree with the Paula/Ellen coherence thing on Idol -- and Kara -- I stopped watching when she came on. If you mess with the Classic Coke, you're gonna lose people. Although -- I thank them for the change -- freed up some time.

SethG 10:57 AM  

Nice puzzle, but I also thought the cluing was a bit weird.

When I think of CALI, Columbia, it's not for their sports success. "Super" isn't the first synonym I'd have though of for PHAT. I don't understand poetry's constant need to lop off a syllab.

EXTRA OLIVE cries out for an article or a plural. I'd ask for _an_ extra olive, or extra olives. (Or just dirty.) And I think it modifies "martini" a bit differently. One may order a martini on the rocks, a martini straight up, or a martini with a twist, but it'd be weird to order a martini extra olive.

Speaking of, I bought a pop-eyed frog garden statue the other day. I named it Spinach.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

As i filled her ebon grot,i whispered low :i love thee not" So in my face-the ivory gate -she slam'ed shut with looks of hate!Get off me then you drunken sot

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

TALON will out...every time, and young Mr. Keith provided us with proof positive, with this Tuesday topper!
So. let's raise our glasses to this JEWEL he fashioned for us to savor.

mitchs 11:10 AM  

I've always like Art Buchwald's take on the "three martini lunch". When there was a stir during the Carter years about bigwigs expensing them, Buchwald wrote that the 3 martini lunch was a myth. You either had two martinis or countless of same.

CaseAceFos 11:14 AM  

Once again I did it, despite the help I sought yesterday with avoiding posting under the ANON. heading...what a dunderhead!

lit.doc 11:16 AM  

Gotta say I just loved this one. Agree with challenging for a Tuesday—pushed me north of 13 minutes. But all the theme answers were funny (c’mon, how is Tiger not in play?) and well clued.

Only hold up was totally self-inflicted—when I got to 28D I slammed in IAGO without a moment’s hesitation.

Me too re learning QUOITS from that recent cw. And in case it should help with 3D, an excerpt from Keats La Belle Dame Sans Merci, 1819:

She took me to her elfin grot, /
And there she gaz'd and sighed deep, / And there I shut her wild sad eyes-- / So kiss'd to sleep.

CaseAceFos 11:18 AM  

My post appeared at 11:09 as opposed to the ANON. comment just before mine.

Ulrich 11:20 AM  

My changing tolerance for Martinis charts accurately the tragedy of my getting older: Three Martinis for lunch? No problems 20 years ago--had a friend in New York who invited me whenever I was in town to that type of lunch at his club--straight, never with an olive. 10 years later: One or two before dinner. 5 years ago: One before dinner--with more, I did't sleep well or had strange frustration nightmares (like not finding my car in a parking lot when my life depended on it). Now: One Martini on Sat or Sun--I'm not sure this life is worth living (I'm turning 69 tomorrow!)

Liked the puzzle enormously--obviously for nostalgic reasons

Sparky 12:11 PM  

Did not finish. Brain stuck with nose for 1A. Liked puzzle though. Is Keith the really young one? Someone must have helped with the martinis. Art Buchwald had it right. Haven't had a martini since June 2002 but I manage to consume a fair amount of plonk. There's a dance in the old girl yet. Thanks blog. Lots of chuckles today. I don't quite get the Male Call, because it's Milt Caniff? OK, OK.

CaseAceFos 12:12 PM  

Ulrich, old chap, allow me to be the first here on R.P's blog to wish you a Happy 69th Birthday! I would also like to extend my thanks for coming to my aid yesterday with my posting problems.
Lastly, we thankyou,in general, for sharing your Martini-zing with us...it was surely welcomed with a nice TWIST!

obertb 12:21 PM  

I think the Car Talk boys also called the Yugo "a riding lawnmower with doors."

David L 12:33 PM  

I've seen GROT clued before as a poetic word for a cavern, but it's about as unpoetic a word as I can think of. Is there an actual poem out there, of any merit, that rhapsodizes about a GROT? Here's my attempt:

I know, forsooth, of a lovely grot,
I really like it quite a lot.

Moves me to tears, practically...

Ulrich 12:36 PM  

..it is, by far, my dearest spot,
spoken by a former sot.

@CaseAceFos: Thanks! Did I mention how timely TAURUS is at 5D?

Martin 12:40 PM  

"Grot" unpoetic? Where are the Romantic souls?

Daryll 12:40 PM  

@David - I was going to direct you to Lit Doc's post at 11:16AM, but I like yours better.

Clark 12:47 PM  

Nice easy ride through this puzzle until, MIL_/QUOI_S what? Semi-puzzle partner saved the day, spotting the hidden cheese sandwich, proving his usefulness yet again.

foodie 12:56 PM  

Happy Birthday, @Ulrich! May you always feel like you've had a few, even when you have not.

I was thinking of Ulrich as I was solving, but not because of his drinking problem. I was wondering if he'd agree with me that this great puzzle would have been even better if the grid subtly evoked a Martini glass.

And like Rex, I though the Martini in the middle deserved much better surrounds. FOOL and BLAST on top, sure! EMAC below (and believe me I adore all kinds of Apple stuff) not so much. And the FTC, RAS, BOI crosses-- no, no, no... We needed some Zip, some Fizz, a Stir, a Shake right there... The rest was just lovely.

I'm going to venture a guess and say it will turn out closer to Medium when we see the stats. If not, I'll drink my words.

@dk, I'm really jealous! Enjoy!

Moonchild 12:57 PM  

I really enjoyed this visit to the bar. I like mine with three olives. Then I almost feel like I had a salad.
@ lit.doc. I figured someone would dig up a grot poem although I expected the Bard to appear.
@ Anon 10:57 I did enjoy your bawdy poem too.

Shamik 1:10 PM  

Medium-challenging puzzle for me at 6 minutes even. But a delightful romp!

CaseAceFos 1:37 PM  

Ulrich, I must say,and do forgive me, old former sot, however, your sign at 5D... is total Bull!

bluebell 1:38 PM  

I'm chagrined. Couldn't complete a Tuesday puzzle. My lack of knowledge of some popular cultures comes home to roost (Fredo comes to mind).

@Steve J I really liked the clue for 10d -- took me a minute but I chuckled when I got it.

I live in Silicon Valley and have never ever heard of an emac. Sigh.

archaeoprof 1:40 PM  

Alas, another puzzle with no references to country music...

@Ulrich: in honor of your birthday, I will drink both today and tomorrow.

@tomwp: love your mashup of House! That show has gone beyond stupid into irresistible.

zoltania 1:55 PM  

@obertb: One of the characters in the Dan Aykroyd remake of "Dragnet" referred to the Yugo as "the cutting edge of Serbo-Croatian technology." The best part was that the sound effect used for the Yugo engine was the sound of a sewing machine.

CrazyCatLady 2:10 PM  

Very enjoyable puzzle. Hardest part was the NW with ECCO, GROT and EB WHITE. Took me a while to get through it, but finished and got the MARTINI MOTIF pretty quickly for an only occasional QUAFFer. I don't really get the Paula Abdul clue for STRAIGHT UP. Is that a reference to what she had in her Coke cup? I miss her too. Although I like Ellen, she's just not very interesting on idol. Kara has annoyed me from day 1. "How I Met Your Mother" was very funny. I've never seen it before, but pretty much like anything with Neil Patrick Harris. My son had a NPH sighting in Laguna Beach a few weeks ago. Wanted Prometheus for 44A. Forgot about ATLAS.

Zeke 2:28 PM  

Did not know until just now that the Cisco Kid was based on an O. Henry story. Mr. O Henry did much ironing in coming up with this one. The Wiki Synopsis

lit.doc 2:41 PM  

@Daryll, I concur in your preference for @David's poetic offering over the Keats I dug up.

Gray 2:58 PM  

CrazyCatLady, you should read other people's comments before commenting. zoltania, you should comment here more often.

fikink 3:08 PM  

@archaeoprof, Is "House" becoming camp?

@zoltania, the sewing machine sound - hilarious!

"proclev" - a texter's shorthand for proclivity

CaseAceFos 3:21 PM  

Kudos to Keith... for this heady entry that left us slightly Tipsy, to put it mildly. Let us raise our collective glasses, (Martini's, of course)to Toast this young constructor steeped with considerable TALON!

CaseAceFos 4:02 PM  

This just in! I just noticed over at that other Blog devoted to Xword's on line, that Keith Talon was born in the great state of Maine, but currently resides just outside of Boston.
If he continues to serve-up intoxicating constructions such as this Tuesday Topper, he'll turn us all into a bunch of Tipplers...and will forever be our "Maine" man to hoist a few with! LOL

chefwen 4:04 PM  

@Ulrich - A very happy Birthday to you. I will salute you with a glass of wine. My Martini days are also a distant, but fond memory.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

Is it my imagination, or is TOMWP a mean-spirited bitch, I mean, jerk?

sanfranman59 4:13 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 9:47, 8:52, 1.10, 77%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:05, 4:32, 1.12, 81%, Challenging

Sorry Foodie, but by the online solve times, this one ranks as one of the more challenging Tuesdays in my database. As of now, it has the 10th highest median solve time for the All Solvers group of the 47 Tuesday puzzles in my spreadsheet and the 7th highest for the Top 100.

chefbea 4:41 PM  

@ulrich Happy birthday. Have a great day. I will toast you with a scotch and and present you with a bunch of beets

Ava Leigh 4:43 PM  

Mad about the boi...

Rex Parker 4:43 PM  


*That*'ll teach you to doubt my expert difficulty assessment skills :)

P.S. every time I see your name or think of you I crave Zingerman's.


Nebraska Doug 5:09 PM  

Tiger and Elin Woods's 37-Across order? Mean? Maybe. Funny? Definitely! Really liked this puzzle. Maybe being a big martini fan helped. Gin only please. Shaken. Beefeater or Plymouth.

deerfencer 5:15 PM  

Loved this one and even solved it in bed this morning with a mild hangover (not martooni-induced however; too much rose).

Liked the Woods clue and don't quite see the problem here--aren't good crosswords supposed to be playful?

Next time I'm looking for a nonsense insult I'll have to try to remember the phrase "(you) PHAT GROT." Some fugly words today but in the end a blast. Thank you KT!

Daryll 5:16 PM  

@Ava Leigh - Thanks for the clarification. Somehow having it be a real thing, albeit nothing I have any chance in hell being aware of, is better than having it be tweetspeek.

Anonymous 5:26 PM  

@RP- Ah Zingerman's. The mere mention of the name makes me salivate. I started eating there shortly after it opened, and it has, by far, the greatest pastrami ever.

On another note, I loved this puzzle, even though I don't like martinis, and thought it mildly difficult, but not that much different than the usual Tuesday.
My 0.02

archaeoprof 6:01 PM  

@fikink: is House becoming camp? Good question! I think so, but the show still seems to take itself pretty seriously. He's no William Shatner ... yet.

Is it wrong for a professor to drink a MARTINI while grading exams?

chefbea 6:12 PM  

Think I'll have to order the Zingerman's raisin bread... the best ever.@Rex thanks for reminding me

Rex Parker 6:17 PM  

Dear Zingerman's,

Please note all the free publicity and send me a basketfull of food and foodstuffs, STAT.

Yours, RP.

P.S. lacking the ingredients for MARTINIs, I am currently working on a glass of scotch. Singleton 12. A double. It is ... working.

foodie 6:31 PM  

Rex, you made me happy to be wrong! Even though I doubted your rating! Gulp! Come on down. Zingerman awaits! I went there on mother's day to pick up my present from my kids-- it revolved around figs (Not the abbreviation for data--The kind that grows on trees) Excellent chocolate covered fig paste, some fig jelly, along with some excellent gruyere :). Kids got my number.

I agree, I need to make sure someone at Zingerman sees all this!

@Sanfranman, that's why you're so important. Nothing like evidence over opinions. Although I must admit that Rex is uncannily correct. How can that be when he's in a different league?

I'll think about it as I drink my words. I'm a Prosecco kind of person, though. Cheers!

PS. David Mendosa, thank you for yesterday's link to the snow Eskimo words. That was hilarious. My favorite is fried snow. I'll add some to that Prosecco.

Tinbeni 6:39 PM  

What a coincidence ...

“Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say I'm thirsty, not dirty.” Joe E. Lewis

Ahhh, but I do miss the days with my long lost Mother when we would enjoy MARTINI's over dinner and laugh until we cried.

Billy 7:02 PM  

Of all things the OCEANS/CALI combo prevented me from finishing this on my own. It was fun to learn about quoits though. Will come in handy during BBQ season.

Sfingi 7:07 PM  

@Rex - Terrific writeup. Great music choices.
Thanx also TomWP and all Poets in the forum today.

The Cisco Kid was a Friend of Mine, when I was a kid. I had the outfit - white Western piping on black, gun, rocking horse, etc.

Poor Fredo, gave himself away when he said, "Johnny Ola told me about this place," when he was supposed to have been just introduced to him. Gotta watch your every word if you want to hang out with the mob.

The NOREASTER is both the Gorton's Fisherman's yellow raincoat and the storm system. Once in a while the storm comes as far inland as Upstate NY, but usually we get the Lake Effect and other systemsfrom the West. At least once, in the winter, we got both together resulting in very deep snow.

Do EXTRAOLIVEs produced EXTRA Virgin OLIVE oil?

Didn't know much of the stuff I filled in: BOI, ECCO, EMAC, MSRP, UDON, UNLV.
Made the IMAC-MILT error.
Had tOOL before FOOL.
So, what does MSRP mean>

@JSKarf - agree. Apple IIs were all over the schools.

@ and for CrazyCat -Sometimes it's a lotta comments to read! 77!

@Hudson Hawke - thanx for the explanation. Arsenio has appeared in CWs - and on Leno (or as Hubster calls him, Jason). We oldsters still have the Tonight Show.

@Artlover - my son used to do MOSHPITs - 15 years ago. That was OK for him, but a couple of tiny girls got suffocated or trampeled somewhere in the US. What they did was pass a person over the crowd.

Someone mentioned Prometheus, which is the gold statue by the skating rink and much more popular than the ATLAS (sans shrugging).

Crazy captcha - dingstat - is that stats for dingbats?

CrazyCatLady 7:46 PM  

@Sfingi Thanks. I HAD read all the comments (around 60 at that point - a disadvantage to being on the W coast). I didn't see any clarification to my Paula Abdul question which, I guess, is what that comment was referring to. Oh well - decided to make myself a vodka MARTINI with A TWIST OF Meyer lemon from my back yard. Prometheus is the statue I remember from Rockafeller Center. Got ATLAS easily enough though.

chefwen 8:11 PM  

I requested a catalog from Zingerman's the last time we talked about them, never did get it. I'll have to try again, sure sounds good.

fifiess - when I was born

Ulrich 8:39 PM  

Thanks for all the good wishes! Glad to provide an excuse for so many to fill and then empty their glasses. Rest assured: There may be no martinis for me at mid-week, but my glass will not be empty either. As the great Wilhelm Busch rhymed:

Rotwein ist für alte Knaben
eine von den besten Gaben.

(Red wine is for old boys
one of the best gifts.)

Tinbeni 8:48 PM  

Hmmmm, re-read the comments to find a Paula Abdul clue clarification (HudsonHawk 7:59am) ... or make a Vodka MARTINI, WITH A TWIST of Myer Lemon from the backyard?

What to do? What to do?

Damn, I hate difficult choices ...

The Avatar toasts you!
69 is a great age.

CrazyCatLady 9:12 PM  

@Tinbeni D'oh!! Merci! - That's how I say thanks after a vodka MARTINI. I never saw it. So many comments so little time. 1988 was in the middle of my infant and toddler rearing years. Only listened to Raffi and watched Sesame Street back then. Just got to know Paula recently from Idol.
@Hudson Hawk - apologies.
@Ulrich Happy b'day.

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

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

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

Mon 7:30, 6:55, 1.08, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 9:55, 8:52, 1.12, 81%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:10, 3:41, 1.13, 82%, Challenging
Tue 5:03, 4:32, 1.12, 80%, Challenging

Stan 10:14 PM  

Theme was very well-executed. Fill... competent but not stellar.

We did this on the NY Thruway in 72.2 miles, but trying to stretch it out as long as possible with alternate clues/answers like ___ 'easter (HAPPY) and Sun and his family (RAS).

Sk8er Boi is a pretty good video, if you want to look it up.

Happy birthday, Ulrich!

Anonymous 11:41 PM  

Hate to be an obnoxous pain in the rear, but the name of the country is ColOmbia, not Columbia. Sorry, was born there, grew up here...it's a pet peeve of mine.

Rex Parker 11:47 PM  

I believe what you mean to say is: "You have a typo. The country is spelled 'COLOMBIA'." So simple.


syndy 3:11 PM  
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syndy 3:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca 8:35 AM  

I actually laughed OUT loud to 'ontherocks'.
A link to a critique of Strunk and Whites the Elements of Style

I follow the languagelog blog too. Admittedly way over my head at times but fascinating.
39 D RAS ?

Prof. Snape 8:38 AM  

@Rebecca - RAS = Resident Assistants, older students who possibly keep things under control in undergraduate dorms.

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