Old Connecticut whaling town / WED 5-5-10 / 1930s-50s bandleader / Ancient city lent its name to fig / London Magazine essayist

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Constructor: Dan Schoenholz

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: MY OH MY — rebus puzzle with eight "MY" squares


Word of the Day: MYRON (32A: Ancient Greek sculptor of athletes) —

Myron of (Greek Μύρων) working circa 480-440 BC, was an Athenian sculptor from the mid-fifth century BC. He was born in Eleutherae on the borders of Boeotia and Attica. According to Pliny's Natural History, Ageladas of Argos was his teacher. [...] He worked almost exclusively in bronze: and though he made some statues of gods and heroes, his fame rested principally upon his representations of athletes, in which he made a revolution, according to commentators in Antiquity, by introducing greater boldness of pose and a more perfect rhythm, subordinating the parts to the whole. Pliny's remark that Myron's works were numerosior than those of Polycleitus and "more diligent" seem to suggest that they were considered more harmonious in proportions (numeri) and at the same time more convincing in their realism: diligentia connoted "attentive care to fine points", a quality that, in moderation, was characteristic of the best works of art, according to critics in Antiquity. // His most famous works according to Pliny's Natural History (34.57-59) were a heifer, a dog (canem, Cerberus?), a Perseus, a satyr— Marsyas— admiring the flute and Minerva (Athena), a Hercules, which was taken to the shrine dedicated by Pompey the Great at the Circus Maximus, Discobolus (the discus thrower), and an Apollo for Ephesus, "which Antony the triumvir took from the Ephesians, but the deified Augustus restored it again after being warned in a dream". The Early Imperial Roman writers consistently rated Myron among the greatest of Greek sculptors, a sign that his contemporaneous reputation had remained high. (wikipedia)

• • •

Did not get the chance to do this puzzle before having to judge it at the Crosswords L.A. tournament this past weekend, so I don't know exactly how difficult it would have been for me, but given that I was slightly-to-not-at-all familiar with SIX (6) of the "MY" answers, I'm going to say I would have found it challenging. In fact, there was a brief period where I *could* have solved it before the process of judging began, but when I found myself with [1930s-'50s bandleader] crossing [Old Connecticut whaling town] right off the bat, I just quit. No patience, other things to do. I wouldn't have known that cross in a NON-rebus puzzle (though I assume I would have figured it out eventually).

Not surprisingly, the places where people messed up the most on this one involved the rebus squares — mainly not having them where they should, although occasionally having them where they shouldn't (!?). Oddly, the biggest wreck site was at MY OH MY (36A: "Golly!"), as many solvers forgot one or both of the "MY"s. Got a few [MY] O MYs, and some other variations I can't recall. The (unknown by me) [1966 Mary Martin musical] ("I DO I DO") also threw people — as if that corner wasn't bad enough, with the bandleader and the whaling town. Much misspelling of SABIN, mainly in the "I" square (1D: Oral vaccine developer). I seem to recall some disastrous variations on OMEN II as well (62A: Subtitle of 1978's "Damien"). Despite some nice moments, the puzzle feels very rough to me — no sense of purpose (just a bunch of "MY"s), a lot of ugly abbrevs., two cross-referenced rebus-involved answers of only marginal fame (SAM[MY] / KAYE, TOM[MY] MOE) (50D: With 6-Down, 1994 Olympic gold medalist in downhill skiing). A clue for USES I still don't understand (46A: Makes a cat's paw of) — that "U" would have been a total guess, as I didn't know RAU (38D: Former German president Johannes). I do not think I would have enjoyed solving this, OLD SMOKEY THEATRICS notwithstanding (34D: Snowy peak of song / 11D: Courtroom antics, e.g.).

Remaining theme answers:
  • 17A: Japan, to the U.S., once (BITTER ENE[MY]) — do not like. The "BITTER" seems unnecessary / tacked on / cliché. What other kind of ENEMY is there?
  • 9D: One with yellow ribbons, maybe (AR[MY] MOM)
  • 5D: Science of farmers (AGRONO[MY])
  • 29A: ___ Martin (cognac brand) (RE[MY])
  • 31D: Actor Mike ([MY]ERS)
  • 32D: That you should feed a cold and starve a fever, and others ([MY]THS)
  • 28D: Ancient city that lent its name to a fig (S[MY]RNA)
  • 48A: "Baby Baby" singer, 1991 (A[MY] GRANT) — this one is waaaay more familiar to me than it should be. She had her period of biggest pop fame *just* as I was graduating college.


  • 64A: 1976 Eric Carmen hit ("ALL BY [MY]SELF") — this answer caused at least one of the judges ... possibly me, definitely Tyler ... to break into song at various points during the judging.


  • 49D: Popular social networking site, and this puzzle's theme ([MY]SPACE)

Bullets:
  • 25A: Views that reality is a unitary whole (MONISMS) — a word only its mother could love. Pluralized. I wish EDOMONISMS or AGRONONISMS were words. I'm imagining they are, just to liven up that section.
  • 42A: Brickyard 400 entrant (RACER) — true enough, though very general for such a specific clue. The Brickyard 400 is a NASCAR event held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • 51A: Sushi-rolling accessories (MATS) — I like this clue! Fresh-feeling.
  • 58A: Carbon 14 and uranium 235 (ISOTOPES) — also — and I feel you will need to know this some day — the name of Springfield's minor league baseball team on "The Simpsons" ("Springfield Isotopes" was among ESPN's most popular names for fantasy baseball teams).
  • 63A: Shark on some menus (MAKO) — best wrong answer at the tournament: SOUP.
  • 67A: Homeric sorceress (CIRCE) — made piggies out of O's men.
  • 18D: Esau's descendants' land (EDOM) — very handy word to have in your arsenal. I never knew it before constant solving took over my life.
  • 33D: Explorer John and actress Charlotte (RAES) — they liked to hang out together on the set of "Facts of Life." Remember the episode where John RAE had to explain to Tootie how the Franklin Expedition was forced to resort to cannibalism in order to survive? Must-see TV.
  • 57D: Thomas Hardy's "___ Little Ironies" ("LIFE'S") — I am a Hardy fan. Never heard of this.
  • 60D: London Magazine essayist (ELIA) — I am not an ELIA fan, but he's Crosswordese 101 — pen name of Charles Lamb — so no trouble.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

87 comments:

PanamaRed 7:46 AM  

I had a lot of fun with this one. Picked up the theme with BITTER ENEMY, and went on from there. Never heard of MYRON - got it from the crosses.

Had ELEMENTS before crosses eliminated that and ISOTOPES appeared.

Altogether a likeable puzzle - and I don't always finish Wednesdays. I have come to enjoy a rebus puzzle.

Anonymous 7:53 AM  

Toughest Wednesday puzzle in quite a while.

Elaine 8:00 AM  

I did this one ALL BY (MY)SELF, once 64A tipped me off. I had felt sure of REMY Martin, but since I wasn't looking for a rebus on a Wednesday, I just plugged in RE and moved on, mystified. The AcrossLite timer says this took me 18 minutes, a good bit of it spent trying to unravel the GUEST who is 'toasted' and the AT(MY)MOT / MONISTS crossing.

A lot of name-dropping going on here. TOMMY MOE? Am I really supposed to know a 1994 Olympic skiier? And ANNA [Wintour of fashion]? Scowl. Are a lot of us in CrossWorld going, '(MY) OH (MY?)'

Mr. Schoenholz's debut puzzle certainly had a lot of variety, making me curious about his age. Does he 'swing and sway with SAM(MY) KAYE? (she asked, with a doubtful look.)

dk 8:07 AM  

ISOTOPES, as @Jesser will attest, is the name of Albuquerque's minor league team. The t-shirt is the height of geek-dom.

Eros for Ares and staring at 29A and RE for far to long even after I had the theme -- gotta drink more.

MYOHMY was my favorite and BCE the groaner of the day.

A JOVIAL Wednesday puzzle.

**** (4 Stars) Damien had such a sweet smile.

ArtLvr 8:19 AM  

REMY confirmed the rebus theme I'd suspected. Thrilled to see friends 1A/69A: see website, photo at http://www.sammykayeorchestra.com/

Swing and Sway with SAMMY KAYE! Still touring, one of most enduring of the “ghost bands” of the Big Band era. It’s led by Roger Thorpe since Kaye passed away, with “boy singer” Ray Lamere (”It Isn’t Fair”) and “girl singer” Karina Calabro — who was also the featured opera singer in the popular film “Pretty Woman” starring Julia Roberts… The original SKO did a film too called “Iceland” back in 1942, about the US Marines in Iceland during WW2. That film stars figure skater Sonja Henie!

Happy memories — many thanks to Dan Schoenholz.

p.s. quoting Red Dog from Crosswordfiend blog:
Sammy Kaye actually fits well in that corner w/ Japan, the bitter enemy of the United States. The reason is that his NBC Radio show was interrupted by the attack on Oahu on Dec 7, 1941. And he wrote the words to a famous song at the time, “Remember Pearl Harbor.”

The refrain: “Let’s remember Pearl Harbor / As we go to meet the foe /
Let’s remember Pearl Harbor / As we did the Alamo.” http://bit.ly/bfgo9u

∑;)

edith b 8:23 AM  

I remember when Eric Carmen released All By Myself in 1975. I knew it was based on a Rachmaninoff piano piece and there was a struggle over whether or not it was in the public domain: Carmen and his record company believed it was; the Rachmaninoff estate believed otherwise and an agreement was reached after the fact. During this same time, I seem to remember a Gilbert O'Sullivan song that was based on a classical piece which brings all this to mind.

I saw the rebus at RE(MY)/(MY)ERS and had no further problems from that point forward as I was "hip to the jive", so to speak. I knew SAMMY KAYE but not TOMMY MOE or MYRON but the crosses were simple enough to figure out so the difficulty factor was low. A lot of proper names but I like puzzles full of names.

nanpilla 8:31 AM  

the U in USES was my last letter. Never heard of the phrase "made a cat's paw of". I use cat's paws in demolition for ripping out nails.

@Elaine: Anna Wintour was the subject of the documentary The September Issue. I haven't seen it yet. Has anyone seen it?

I don't think of "feed a cold and starve a fever" as a myth. More like an old wives tale or folk remedy.

Fun to have a rebus on a Wednesday. It took me a normal Wednesday time, even though the rebus squares were not symmetrical. I like it better that way - keeps you on your toes.

joho 8:37 AM  

I loved this puzzle! I'm a big rebus buff so that helped. Like others I got it at REMY/MYERS and took off from there.

Thanks, Dan. If this is your debut puzzle: congratulations! I look forward to more!

JenCT 8:44 AM  

Hand up for getting the theme at REMY/MYERS. MONISMS??? was my WTF.

Had MORTALENEMY at first.

Definitely Challenging.

Dough 8:55 AM  

@Rex: In the diagram capture you omitted the "MY" from the reMY / MYers crossing. No matter. I saw "I Do I Do" years ago with Carol Burnett and Rock Hudson. A sweet little musical (written by the folks who did "The Fantasticks"), which gave us "My Cup Runneth Over."

Nice, well made, enjoyable maiden puzzle! Thanks!

foodie 8:56 AM  

Another one for RE(MY)/(MY)ERS as the tip off. Took one second to stop and think: "It's a rebus on Wednesday!" and then off to the races. Enjoyed it... an odd mix of old fashioned with big band and modern with (MY)space and sushi MATS.

And Rex, very funny, as usual.

Ben 9:04 AM  

'Topes lose! 'Topes lose!

Most people who are not Elia fans (i) have never heard of him or (ii) have heard of him but never read him. Rex, I'm guessing, (iii) has read him but not enjoyed it.

Quite tough for a Wednesday.

Tom 9:08 AM  

I thought it was going to be pronouns with "made a cat's paw" and "hisses." Finally figured it out but man, that NW corner brought me down. . .

Parshutr 9:17 AM  

Started in the NW, got MYSTIC and SAMMY right away, said to self "Self, did I skip from Tuesday to Thursday?" and completed this quickly and easily.
Almost put in trash for tripe, but theatrics saved me.

chefbea 9:19 AM  

Knew Remy right off the bat so knew we had a rebus wednesday going on. I too remember Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye.

Thanks Dan for a fun puzzle

Coram= a make of watch

Bob Kerfuffle 9:33 AM  

Fun puzzle. You couldn't ask for a clearer reveal than 49 D!

PIX 9:34 AM  

Did not know explorer John Raes or ex-German President Rau. Did not know and still do not care about Tommy Moe. Hoping someone will explain "uses"="makes a cat's paw of." Not my favorite puzzle.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

in contrast to most, remy/myers was my last solve. at first this seemed too difficult for this wednesday kinda girl. slowly it dawned and was confirmed at my space. really satisfying puzzle to complete. so thrilling to see that rex found it a challenging wednesday.

David L 9:42 AM  

This fell somewhere between cute and annoying for me. Too many obscure proper names -- and I have to lodge a formal objection to MONISMS. First, because I don't think you can have a plural to a school of thought -- you can't speak of stoicisms or marxisms or utilitarianisms, etc. Second, and more specifically, if MONISM is the view "that reality is a unitary whole" then by definition it's a singular philosophy about the universe.

Well, that's enough big thinking for the day.

pidsi: yeah, this puzzle was kinda pidsi, I thought

Garfield 9:55 AM  

@PIX -

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cat's paw is a phrase derived from La Fontaine's fable, "The Monkey and the Cat", referring to one used unwittingly by another to accomplish his own purposes.

Van55 10:02 AM  

I too was surprised to find a rebus puzzle on a Wednesday. I finished with no errors, but with mild irritation at the plethora of obscure proper nouns. Didn't think MONISM[S] is kosher, either.

I felt gratified to have met the challenge but not elated by the solving experience.

lit.doc 10:04 AM  

Wow. Wednesday? Much to learn have I.

80 minutes in, having googled as best I could, I’m still looking at 32A [MY]_O_ above 43A H_D_E. Late, go to bed, await the morning enlightenment. Wow. A rebus on Wednesday.

Ok, NOG. Shoulda seen NOG. Still woulda been a DNF. Partial credit for getting all the rebuses. Rebusi? Rebusim? How ‘bout rebusisms?

@Rex, loved your explanation of 33A.

Sparky 10:06 AM  

I enjoyed this one. Thought of Sammy Kaye or Kay Kayser but neither fit. Did acrosses then downs and filled in from there. Had Sabin, saw the Bitter and "got it." Enemy, Sammy. After that searched out where can I tuck in an MY? Worked at the west, then east. Last spot north east. Cat's paw involves a story about a monkey conning a cat into snatching chestnuts (or something)out of a fire. Thus, the cat is used. The joy of a cluttered mind.

hazel 10:21 AM  

@DK - ****, really? Is that unprecedented?

I thought the puzzle was pretty good - not great. Admittedly, I groan a little when I see a rebus is afoot, i don't know why. In most cases, for me, it just seems an unnecessary flourish. That's how I felt about this one. I did like MYOHMY though.

I also didn’t like the clue for BITTERENEMY - not because of the word - just seems mean spirited to bring Japan into the game this way - I think of BITTERENEMY as something a tween or high schooler would have - it seems relatively petty, certainly more personal than national.

My husband has a colleague in his department who’s son has been nicknamed Damien - for obvious reasons.

The I Who Am 10:24 AM  

@David L et al -- Certainly there are plural MONISMS:

Philosophical monism

Monism in philosophy can be defined according to three kinds:

1. Idealism, phenomenalism, or mentalistic monism which holds that only mind is real.
2. Neutral monism, which holds that both the mental and the physical can be reduced to some sort of third substance, or energy.
3. Physicalism or materialism, which holds that only the physical is real, and that the mental or spiritual can be reduced to the physical.

tptsteve 10:33 AM  

Nice and challenging. I picked up the rebus at REMY, which let me swing and sway with Sammy Kaye. My biggest obstacle was me- I left out the second O in Agronomy,(which made me wonder if having the M-Y in two boxes violated some rule), and the completely nonsensical YOHO for 36A. D'oh.

I heard Rachmaninoff's Second Piano concerto this year, and when the second movement began, my wife and I looked at each other and smiled, simultaneously recognizing that All by Myself was a "borrowed" tune.

Clark 10:34 AM  

I need to learn to have the rebus-ometer turned on at all times, not just on Thursdays. Went to put REMY in for cognac, saw that it was only three letters and just stopped typing without pausing to put the MY in the potential-rebus-retrievable-discard-pile. And then I looked at 'Actor Mike', thought what is his name -- you know, Sprockets, James Bond spoof guy -- nothin. There is no way a 5-letter name enters my mind when I am looking for 4 letters. (Unless the rebus-ometer is on.) MYSPACE finally clued me in.

MONISMS is just fine. "She wrote a dissertation comparing the Monisms of Parmenides, Spinoza and Bradley."

Two Ponies 10:35 AM  

Like most of you here the post-solve casual concensus in L.A. was that Remy was the key to the rebus.
By the time I got to this puzzle I was grooving and zipped through it.
Rebus puzzles are my favorite.
This one was a nice surprise.

deerfencer 10:51 AM  

Liked this one quite a bit as most of it seemed to flow fairly effortlessly. Was lucky enough to pick up the rebus within a few minutes at MYSTIC/SAMMY cross and actually knew TOMMY MOE. Somehow intuited AMYGRANT even though I don't know her work. One sticking point for me came in the SE corner with the Eric Carmen hit, another singer I haven't a clue about. Boy, there was some bad pop music back then.

CoolPapaD 11:01 AM  

I loved this! Started writing ALL BY MYSELF, was a letter long, and then figured out the odd Wed rebus.

Eric Carmen went to MY high school (probably a decade before me), so that made it a gimmee.

Stan 11:02 AM  

Definitely a late Wednesday afternoon puzzle, despite cute theme.

For a while had 53A GENIAL but that made 45D ENGOYED ("Turned Christian"?)

Why can't they dance like we did
What's wrong with Sammy Kaye?
What's the matter with kids today!
("Kids," Bye Bye Birdie)

Lanier 11:11 AM  

SW: KAYE, OLEN, SALA... ouch.

JC66 11:19 AM  

@ PIX

CATS PAW

David L 11:36 AM  

I will reluctantly concede that MONISMS is, grumble, moan, legit. Still don't like it, though. Gripe, mumble.

Now I have to think of something else to complain about. I'll let you know.

retired_chemist 11:38 AM  

As usual MY time is worst when there is a rebus. A nice one though. NEATO.

Got the rebus from A[MY] GRANT/[MY]SPACE. Left RE_/_ERS until the end, despite saying to myself that I wished there were one more space in RE_ since REMY was so obvious. D'oh.

Had JOCOSE first @ 53A, got 55/57/57D, made 53A SOCIAL which axed ENJOYED, and finally settled into the correct fill in the SE.

As an aside, are JOCOSE and JOVIAL actually interchangeable? I am thinking JOVIAL describes a person while JOCOSE describes something (not someone) humorous. Dictionary.com seems to agree, even though it calls them synonyms.

NO MSG made me smile, mainly because I fell for it and started doubting my fill when all those consonants appeared.

NEOCON as an ex-lib seems somehow forced. I don't think of NEOCONs as apostate liberals, but as conservatives who have evolved from the Buckley/Goldwater mold into the Cheney/Limbaugh style.

Thank you, Mr. Schoenholtz.

Tinbeni 11:48 AM  

Would like to say rebus puzzles for me are NEATO!
MY, MY, MY ... No!
I knew I was a GONER!
DNF but I'M OK with that.

@The I Who Am
You forgot 'MY' favorite
Philosophical monism:

Scotchism, what happens to me when it is a rebus puzzle.

PIX 11:49 AM  

@Garfeild & JC66...I never heard of La Fontaine's fable or the phrase "makes a cat paw of" used in this way...now I know...Thanks

HudsonHawk 11:50 AM  

Cool rebus puzzle. AMY GRANT wrote Baby, Baby about her newborn son, but her label transformed the video into a romantic ditty.

In the summer of '85, I worked as the accountant for an outdoor amphitheater outside of Kansas City. Amy Grant headlined a show, back before she had crossed over from Christian to mainstream pop.

We sold less than $500 in beer, and some patrons expressed displeasure that we were even serving. A week later, Hank Williams Jr. played to a similar sized audience (6,000 or so), and we sold nearly $40,000 in beer. Drunkest crowd you've ever seen (and pretty entertaining, really)...

des 11:59 AM  

@Rex,
As you know, there are many kinds of "enemies" - not only BITTER, but also ARCH, DEADLY, DEFEATED, and WORST, to name a few.

For me this puzzle was easy, because I got the Rebus early (at 5D AGRONOMY) - even though it was Wednesday.

mitchs 12:00 PM  

My only reference for Sammy Kaye is from the Mills Bros. version of "Opus One". Weird, because as I remember the lyric, that song HAD to swing and sway, so it was NOT for Sammy Kaye. Maybe it was "it's hot" for Sammy Kaye? Off to google lyrics.

mitchs 12:11 PM  

Aha. It's "got to swing NOT sway", so it's not for Sammy Kaye.

mac 12:30 PM  

Got it at Remy as well, then got so excited that I wanted to cram another my in at 6D: isn't there a sports figure called Myot?

No googles, but this was definitely challenging, or, as @Stan says, late Wednesday afternoon!

Good work, Mr. Schoenholz, and very nice write-up and comments.

Clark 12:48 PM  

@Stan -- Thanks for the lyrics. I know that song and I even know enough of the words to sing it when I am in the mood, but the line about Sammy Kaye always just whizzed by me. Not anymore.

[silychm -- what the word 'syllogism' in song lyrics gets turned into into when you're not paying attention]

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

"Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye!" reminded me of Bob and Ray's parody, "Swing and sweat with Farley Barnett!"

Shamik 1:11 PM  

Hand up for REMY/MYERS on the gotcha for the rebus. Found this puzzle to be very enjoyable and medium-challenging at 8:01. While some of the names came hard...also hand up for the U in RAU/USES was my last letter.

Only in and out was GENIAL for JOVIAL but the visual image for having eaten something up being ENGOYED was not a good one, so to speak.

Captcha is amscr as in amscray, which is what I'm about to do.

Doc John 1:20 PM  

ISOTOPES also made me think of that eponymous baseball team. Too much TV for me, I think.

MikeM 1:32 PM  

Great puzzle. Was certain we'd run into "My Sharona" but it was not meant to be.

Wanted Sammy Kahn for awhile, but it didn't drop.

CaseAceFos 1:33 PM  

Elaine, we know for a fact, going by your potto commentary from earlier in the week that you've certainly been known to "Swing and Sway" with the mon-kaye's! hehehehe

Martin 1:49 PM  

@ret_chem,

The current neocons, of the ilk of Podhoretz, Wolfowitz and, especially, Irving Kristol, all began as leftists with a socialist bent. Kristol, the father of the current branch of neoconservatism, defined a neocon as a "liberal mugged by reality."

If you want to explore Kristol's thoughts further, this article is useful.

Of course, as the movement grew the notion of "ex-New York, Jewish, intellectual socialist" became less useful.

The clue, with its qualifier, "maybe," seems unimpeachable.

CaseAceFos 1:53 PM  

Well, Rex, you claim you're a Hardy fan, yet don't recall at all 57D? I find this rather ironic, since there are few among us who figured you "Far from the Madding Crowd!"

tptsteve 1:53 PM  

@Anon 12:55. Best line of the day

Dan 1:56 PM  

Rex, I don't know how you can say there's "no sense of purpose (just a bunch of "MY"s)". Was the MYSPACE theme reveal not enough (even if it's several years out of date)? I thought it was a cute idea, even if I didn't like the fill that much.

Ulrich 1:58 PM  

A rebus on a Wednesday? What has the world come to:-)

Respect for this crowd for not really complaining about Johannes Rau, who was governor of my home state of North-Rhine-Westphalia before becoming President of the Federal Republic. I believe a lot can be said for a system in which the head of state (the President in Germany, the King or Queen in other countries) is distinct from the head of government (the Chancellor in Germany): The head of state is the moral leader and is able to do this only if his/her morals are beyond reproach; the head of government has to deal with the scoundrels of the world--being a bit of a scoundrel him/herself helps in that respect. A single person seems over-taxed if forced to play both roles!

jesser 1:58 PM  

Late to the party today because of jury duty. I did this one and several others from a Shortz compilation book. During one of the latter I ran across the infamous BEQ puzzle with the word "FOOZLED" in it. I sent a mental hug to my man Brendan.

I caught the rebus where MY SPACE meets AMY GRANT and went to town. The guy sitting next to me as we waited for the judge to come in said, "Isn't it cheating to cram two letters into one square?" I said yes it is, but that's the only way I can finish these stupid things. He seemed quite content with that answer and went back to industrious fingernail maintenance.

I will, as predicted, attest that the ISOTOPEs are Albuquerque's minor-league team. If memory serves, they are (or at least once were) a farm team for the Dodgers.

I inferred RAU/USES by wondering what the hell else could precede _ses *and* succeed RA_. The U was all I could come up with. My WTF moment of the puzzle was BCE. What the hell is that E doing there, I wanted to ask my neighbor, but he was vigorously working a hangnail. I decided to come to Rexville with my query. Anyone?

And CIRCE? I am not well-read on my Homeric sorceresses. I'm OK with that.

The prettiest song on the record featuring Eric Carmen's ALL BY MYSELF is titled 'Sunrise.' Makes me weepy. He also did a kick-ass version of 'On Broadway' on that particular licorice pizza.

Maybe 20 minutes after I finished this puzzle and was working my way through the BEQ one (that was a HARD puzzle), the judge came in and said the defendant had agreed to a plea deal and we were dismissed. I was JOVIAL. And I remain so, despite the lingering hangover from when Tinbeni and I got all snockered last night making up and becoming blood brothers.

Oreness! (the feeling in my backside from sitting in that courtroom on a bench apparently designed by CIRCE for people she Did Not Like.) -- jesser

Jesus H. Chevrolet 2:08 PM  

@jesser - The old designation "BC" stood for "Before Christ." The new politically correct designation BCE" stands for "Before the Common Era."

jesser 2:12 PM  

@ Jesus: Well, bang my bongoes and call me Desi! I certainly never got that memo. Gracias!

retired_chemist 2:15 PM  

@ Martin - Thanks for the NEOCON info. I did not know that (obviously). And, while I am at it, thanks for ALL the info you provide us regularly.

balear - one from Majorca/Minorca/Ibiza?

edmcan 2:35 PM  

Gee, I thought this was fun and easy. Got the rebus right away, for a change. Go figure!

retired_chemist 2:36 PM  

Now that I have, per Martin's advice, read Kristol's article, I heartily encourage you to read it as well. Inter alii, it provides thoughtful background on the current American political scene.

Anonymous 2:56 PM  

Personally I enjoyed the puzzle, though I was surprised to find a rebus on Wed.
I think that the pre-A.D. clue is inaccurate, as the designation BCE should be paired with CE (which stands for Common Era). A.D. as Rex could tell us stands for Anno Domini.
-Aaron

dk 3:01 PM  

@hazel - 4 real, The rebus (generally loathe them) was great and MYOHMY in the middle -- purrrfection.

Steve J 3:20 PM  

@Martin: While you're correct on points regarding NEOCON, I would not say the simple inclusion of a "maybe" is enough to absolve a clue into "unimpeachable" territory.

For example, I could clue something as "Venezuelan, maybe." Is there really enough information there for you to figure out that I'm cluing BASEBALLPLAYER? Yeah, you'd get it from the crosses eventually, and it is technically correct (there are quite a few Major Leaguers from Venezuela), but how relevant is that cluing, really?

It does work for NEOCON, given the origins of the movement (although most contemporary references don't deal with people who moved from liberal to conservative). But "maybe" is not a panacea, which I'm reading your "unimpeachable" comment as inferring.

As far as the puzzle, I found it both fun and a bit clunky in spots. Fun to have a rebus on Wednesday (and one that I was pretty quick to pick up on - REMY did it for me as well, although it took MYSPACE to figure out where the rebus went, since I hadn't checked REMY's crosses yet). But some of the cluing and fill just didn't sing for me. Nothing terrible, just not as breezy and smooth as I'd like.

Although it must have gone pretty smoothly, since I wrapped this one up well under my average Wednesday time.

SethG 3:22 PM  

Yeah, what Aaron said. BC is pre-AD, BCE is pre-CE. It's like saying that Roma is the capital of Italy. Roma is the capital of Italia, but Rome is the capital of Italy. (I would have used Wien 'cause I saw an Austrian movie last night, but I didn't want anyone to yell at me about the spelling of Oesterreich.)

Me too is maybe Artoo's cousin, Mystic is a pizza, and Myron is a Cope. I'm gonna maybe name my cat Myron; I once cat-sat for a Circe. Mostly, I just dislike the puzzle for leaving me with Eric Carmen in my head.

sanfranman59 3:50 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)

Wed 13:10, 11:52, 1.11, 79%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:44, 5:50, 1.16, 84%, Challenging

This one will probably wind up in the Challenging category for both groups of solvers come day's end.

chefwen 4:53 PM  

Dear Old Dad gets a (big) bottle of REMY Martin from me every fathers day, his drink of choice after dinner, so that was my starting point also. Love, love, love rebus puzzles and this one was fun, only write over was a triple one from joyous to joyful to JOVIAL. As many others the last to go in was the U in RAU.

Super puzzle, thank you Dan S.

Martin 4:56 PM  

@Steve J,

I'm not sure what you think I meant (and I'll have to admit vice versa), but I was only speaking of this clue. It would have been fair (IMO) without the "maybe;" with it there seems to be little to argue about (in that it acknowledges that the definition of "neocon" is flexible).

I don't believe that "maybe" is magic pixie dust for clues.

On the BCE clue, I agree that it's a bit of a mixed metaphor, but you obviously can't use "C.E." in a clue for BCE. "A.D." doesn't share any etymons with "B.C.E.," which is why the clue works. With "A.D." and "C.E" being functional synonyms (ignoring religious and political implications), it seems a reasonable compromise.

Steve J 5:21 PM  

@Martin: Glad you don't believe in pixie dust. :) I think I did misread you a bit initially. I read your comment on the use of "maybe" as a more universal comment than it appears you intended. Agreed that for this clue, it works, given the history of the movement.

fergus 5:25 PM  

another ReMY assurance.

Not a very satisfying puzzle, yet the use of sMYrna ws pretty cool.

Jovial, jocund, jocose



(clozesse -- when the wrong girlfriend says goodbye)

tptsteve 5:28 PM  

Put this in the FWIW, big band category.

@Anon 12:55 noted a Bob and Ray parody whose title mocked Sammy Kaye, ("Swing and sweat with Farley Barnett.")Great title.

Well, my dad's a Bob and Ray fan, so I thought I'd try to find the lyrics or the album. I couldn't find any reference to either.

But, I did find that bandleader Charlie Barnet did a piece, written by Billy May, titled "The Wrong Side" (the flip side of the album, for those who remember discs, was "The Right Side"), with the subtitle, "Swing and Sweat with Charlie Barnet."

Even if it's not Bob and Ray, it's still a great title.

your average blank 5:50 PM  

geez, started this puzzle early am and went out to play golf; when I got home my wife had finished it.
I really liked this puzzle; at least I got to read Rex's comments and the rest of the blog by myself.
my oh my was cool.

archaeoprof 6:25 PM  

Sanfranman's numbers fit with my experience too. Would have been a regular Thurs, but pretty hard for a Wed.

BC/E whatever. Ancient historians conclude that Jesus was probably born about 5 or 6 BC/E anyway.

Maybe that's why they never worried too much about Y2K. They knew it really happened in 1994/5, and it was no problem.

william e emba 6:29 PM  

Fascinating! A little over a year ago, MONISM was Rex's WOTD, even though MONISMS in the plural was actually the word in the grid, and there was a similar, less profound, discussion of how the word could ever be plural outside of a crossword puzzle.

It is probably just a coincidence, but ENEMY MINE (echoing off of BITTER ENEMY) was also in that earlier puzzle.

I did not realize it was a rebus until I got to (MY)SPACE. This is the second Wednesday rebus I can remember in ten years, and it is certainly much better.

joho 6:38 PM  

I'm reading a lot of love for rebuses here, I hope somebody is listening!

fergus 6:40 PM  

Leibnitz and all that; the scary theory is that there is no subjective point of view.

william e emba 7:28 PM  

Not meant as a spelling flame, but a word-to-the-wise, obviously, since spelling counts if it shows up in a puzzle!

The German philosopher/mathematician was Leibniz. No "tz" at the end, although it is pronounced that way.

Stan 7:48 PM  

A lot of folks seem to be arguing about what 'neocon' means in current, specific usage (with names attached). But in the abstract it just means something ambivalent like "Someone new to conservatism" or "Someone devoted to a new form of conservatism." Either one could be an ex-liberal, or not. The clue leads you to the answer in either case.

fergus 8:03 PM  

Too bad that I followed empirical rules.

Give us the right way to say that guy that produced so many aphorisms, and died in 1900, supposedly half crazy.

WBE -? German philosophers? I can do the French. FF

michael 8:37 PM  

A Thursday-type puzzle of Thursday difficulty.

What day is it?

Ulrich 9:04 PM  

@fergus and WEE: Here's a tidbit for both of you to enjoy: Leibniz's mother was Catharina Schmuck. (BTW it's less funny in German than you think: Schmuck means "jewelry" in German!)

andrea enjoyed michaels 9:05 PM  

way late to the party...damn!
This was sfar and away my fave puzzle at the tournament...
it was hard, which is cool so it wasn't such a blind speed race, you really had to think 9or at least I did)
and I LOVE the simplicity of MY Space, I think that's super sweet and clever and nice and easy to have but two letters and that he got ten of them in!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i was stumped at 1A thinking there could be a SAMY, leaving out an M, but then BITTER ENEM left out a Y so I was confused, till I saw YSTIC, CT...and then remembered the movie MYSTIC Pizza which takes place there so big AHA!

BITTERENEMY about Japan felt unPC to me someehow...but I met Dan when he came to Byron's an dmy seminar in Morgan Hill 2 years ago and is closer to that era as Elaine surmised...and then felt inspired to write this puzzle, so i couldn't be more thrilled and proud...
Did the puzzle, loved it, then noticed the name and then wondered if that was the guy who had said he was having a puzzle in the NYT that we had inspired, so, again, I'm pleased as punch.

I think it was a Wed bec Will had tried to have all puzzles be by West Coast constructors and already had a nifty Thursday which you'll see tomorrow, so this got pushed into Wed, perhaps...

MY Space!!! it's just such a great idea! Definitely one of those damniwishihadthoughtofthat but was delighted to be on the solving end of it...

For the record, knew Eric Carmen, did not know Amy Grant...and Sammy Kaye rings but a dim bell, so definitely dan managed to cross generations nicely!
Did i say I loved this?
bravo, Dan!!!

fergus 9:56 PM  

As you say, Andrea, a BITTER ENEMy is touchy, given the codependency.

Why bring this up? Alomogodo, Nagasakei .. .?

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 6:57, 6:55, 1.01, 58%, Medium
Tue 8:45, 8:51, 0.99, 51%, Medium
Wed 13:13, 11:52, 1.11, 80%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

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

T-Bone 10:23 PM  

@Nanpilla have to agree that it is more folk and less myth.

I breezed through this one and liked the theme. Didn't know RAU but got it via likely crosses.

As to BITTER ENEMY one has to recall the mood of 1941.

Three cheers for a "maiden" effort.

sessei= 6th generation Japanese?

fergus 10:29 PM  

On a brighter, or more JOVIAL note:

Isotopss are claimied everywhere. I'm still stoked that the nucleus had enough protons to be called an element at Berkeley.

There are new, evanescent, others.

Sfingi 10:56 PM  

My internet and phone were out for a while in my neighborhood.

@Artlover - seems to be on my wavelength, today.

Anyway, in the beginning, I had only got 5 clues: METOO, ATEE, BCE, TREE and LIFES, and couldn't figure out why nothing fit. The first one I was sure of was REMY Martin, as I tried to Google for anything else Martin. Then I got MYSTIC, which is more well known in the NE - and got my MYOHMY moment. It wasn't too bad after that, though I had wasted at least an hour staring at nothing.

Further, I had Googled for Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Butler. There are two Dr. Robert Butler Pulitzermen, father and son, but with different middle names, each 4 letters. I thought there may be more tricks. Coulda had both middle names in the puzzle - also, both SMyRNA and CALIMyRNA figs coulda been.

Did not know MyRON, but guessed it. Did not know the Mormon books, or TOMMy Moe (sports), or Herr RAU. Other than that, a breeze after the initial coma.
MONISM is 101 for a Philo major from a family of Philo majors (Hubster, son, sister).
CIRCE, who sleeps dope into your REMy, has an Island, Aiaia, which would make good CW fodder.

@Michaels - Yes, we hated Japan, called them Japs in print. People had died, been in camps. After the war, for a while they made terrible stuff - toys and radios that fell apart. Made in Japan meant it was crap. But people brought home Japanese wives with interesting ways ("very clean") and beautiful arts. And the products got better.

@Emba - yes Z is pronounce TZ auf Deutsch. Leibniz says "Egad - I'm a windowless monad in this best of all possible worlds."

@Chefwen - Old Dad should get you some Old Grandad, too.

Not bad, Dan of the beautiful wood, (literally - not being a dirty ol lady).

CrazyCatLady 11:40 PM  
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italianalp 1:47 PM  
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