Pacific atoll in 1943 fighting / SUN 5-23-10 / Wine city north of Lisbon / Job legislation estab 1973 / Husband of Pompeia

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Constructor: Yaakov Bendavid

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "FLIP-FLOPS" — Familiar phrases wherein a compound word has its component parts inverted, creating wacky phrases, clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: TARAWA (57A: Pacific atoll in 1943 fighting) —

Tarawa is an atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, previously the capital of the former British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. It is the location of the capital of the Republic of Kiribati, South Tarawa. The island is best known by outsiders as the site of the Battle of Tarawa during World War II. (wikipedia)
• • •
Loved the theme, though the fact that the word inversion came at the fronts of theme answers 3 and 4 and the backs of the rest threw me, and detracted a bit from the puzzle's structural elegance. I think the grid plays a little fast and loose with exotica today. I say this only *in part* because I was done in by TARAWA — before I *knew* I'd been done in, I thought to myself, "That MT. APO (34D: Philippines' highest peak: Abbr.)/ OPORTO (56A: Wine city north of Lisbon) crossing is gonna kick someone in the groin today ..." I don't think of either of those places as very well known (in the U.S.) outside of crosswords. Longtime readers of this blog will know MT. APO as "The Answer Rex Screwed Up at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament a Couple Years Back" — I wrote in MOAPO. Long story. Anyhoo, I'm not sure how inferrable that "P" is here. Maybe very. Still, it struck me as potentially unfair. I had no way of knowing that TORAWA was wrong until I decided to make it the Word of the Day and Google said "Do you mean tarawa?" Yes, dammit, apparently I do. But HEMO is so so so so right, and way better than stupid HEMA as an answer to 38D: Blood: Prefix. Yuck. I also wasn't that thrilled with the SERO / RHEOSTAT / HEMA / STET mash-up. Aesthetically displeasing.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Where ETs do knitting and art? (ALIEN CRAFT SPACE)
  • 34A: Thug living next to humorist Will? (MR. ROGERS HOOD NEIGHBOR) — big thumbs up for that one
  • 46A: "Get that first down ... and don't fumble"? (HANDOFF REMARK)
  • 67A: Watching over Warsaw's national emblem? (POLE FLAG SITTING)
  • 88A: Waiting in line for hooch? (AT A STILL STAND)
  • 97A: Competition among shrinks? (PSYCHOLOGICAL FARE WAR)
  • 119A: Visitors' fair warning? (WE SHALL COME OVER)
My main struggle points were the above-mentioned OPORTO and TARAWA areas near the puzzle center, and then the CETA area down south (101D: Job legislation estab. in 1973). Yeesh, that is one ugly (and, to me, completely unheard of) acronym. Dullards like me will be happy (or not) to find out that CETA stands for "Comprehensive Employment and Training Act," which is "a United States federal law enacted in 1973 to train workers and provide them with jobs in the public service" (wikipedia). Happily, the area immediately adjacent to CETA is lovely, with GOOSES (99D: Spurs) and IT'S HOT (100D: "Boy, am I shvitzing!") descending into WIZ ZEST (119D: Guru + 126A: Relish). Love it.

  • 1A: Frozen dessert in France (GLACE) — Wasn't sure, but GLACE came tentatively to mind, and the crosses all confirmed it, bang bang bang.
  • 75A: Biennial golf competition (RYDER CUP) — that's a nice longer answer. Team competition, Europe vs. U.S.
  • 124A: Start of the French Lord's Prayer (NOTRE) — "NOTRE père qui es aux cieux" ... used to be "qui êtes aux cieux," but I guess folks have gotten chummier with God since then.
  • 4D: Husband of Pompeia (CAESAR) — by which I assume they mean *Julius* CAESAR. There are many, many CAESARs.
  • 10D: Plato's "tenth Muse" (SAPPHO) — poet of Lesbos.
  • 16D: "___ No Woman," 1973 hit for the Four Tops ("AIN'T") — Ooh, is this "AIN'T No Woman like the one I got!?" I know that song — but I needed most of the crosses to get this answer.

  • 40D: Colleague of Lane and Kent (OLSEN) — always the OLSEN/OLSON issue, but SORBET made that choice clear.
  • 47D: Clothier, in Cambridge (DRAPER) — My favorite is Don DRAPER. God I love that man. Almost as much as I love Ron Swanson.

  • 68D: Pumice source (LAVA) — I had MICA.
  • 78D: Sci-fi escape vehicles (PODS) — Mr. Burns had one of these built in case of nuclear meltdown. He had to use it once, but I think it just shot him into the power plant parking lot.
  • 83D: Small-runway aircraft, briefly (STOL) — "Short Takeoff and Landing" — learned this one the hard way (in a crossword).
  • 98D: Dr. Seuss title animal (HORTON) — He's a title elephant. Come on, just say "elephant."
  • 109D: Kiev-born Israeli P.M. (MEIR) — Kiev, eh? I did not know that. I had fantastic Chicken Kiev at the Russian Tea Room once when I was 13. Have I mentioned that experience? Changed my life. "How ... how did the butter get in there...?" Then, on the way out of the restaurant, my mom said "there's the potted plant your father threw up in once." Then there was this crazy guy in the street out front, slamming the handle of a small axe into his palm while yelling at passers-by. No one paid him any mind. 1983!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


syndy 12:11 AM  

quite a few caesars and quite a few pompeias as well:! this one was the one who was not above suspicion! okay i am a sucker for wacky phrases--we shall come over! is my new battle cry! spent too much time trying to shove alcohol into 88 across-back off-work the downs-it'll come

Noam D. Elkies 12:19 AM  

Yes, a mostly fun experience; I too would have preferred a uniform placement of the flip-flops in their theme answers, got caught by the unfortunate HEM?/T?RAWA cross (despite "hemagglutinin" and 7 xwordinfo precedents for 38D:HEMA all with the exact same clue), and didn't care for 101D:CETA (I did recognize not just 34D:MTAPO from Crossworld but also 56A:OPORTO from the Real World™). Also liked the clues for 93A:BIC and 63D:AFRO. Not going to start arguing about the clue for 113D:ECON...

A big missed opportunity: 30A:ANOD should really have been AÑOS, at last running across its long-lost friend 5D:ELNIÑO. Just change 31D:DEAF to SELF, then 43A:ARTE to LUTE and 36D:RRR to RUR, and voilà!


P.S. Re:x's comment on 124A — I thought it was êtes that's the "chummier" 2nd person form, and es the formal/polite 3rd person. (Likewise in English for Thou vs. the once-formal "you".) Can anybody explain the relevant theology?

CoolPapaD 12:51 AM  

So nice to be back here! Loved this one. WE SHALL COME OVER was wonderful!

Hand up for HEMO. I also can NEVER remember IRABU (I had ORABU), though he's been in a few puzzles in the past year or so.

I really wanted Norman FELL for 90D, even though I knew it had to be LEAR. I loved Mr. Roper - maybe we can start a Facebook campaign to get Normal Fell in a puzzle.

I learned about Saint-Saens from my kids' Classical Baby video, and was reading about him Friday night, after hearing the amazing "Aquarium" on the way home from work - weird coincidence?! And I learned about SEURAT from my wife's coffee mug that she bought at the Art Institute of Chicago - it features Un Dimanche Après-Midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte. I don't get out much.

chefwen 2:37 AM  

Loved, loved, loved the puzzle, even though it took me forever to finish. Cheese n'rice can those squares get any teenier? Last Sunday was a hassle working two pieces of paper but at least it was readable.

Favorite fill was psychological fare war and that one was the most difficult for me to get, I guess that was why it was the most satisfying. Ooh, liked at a still stand also. Cute!

JenCT 5:37 AM  

HAD to print this on two pages so I could read it! Had OSHA instead of CETA, VIXEN instead of SIREN.

Don't get MRROGERSHOODNEIGHBOR - don't get the connection to humorist Will - someone explain?

Also, how does STOL stand for Short Takeoff AND Landing?

Top was easy, but the bottom killed me.

YBD 7:25 AM  

Yaakov here, the puzzle's constructor. Thanks for your feedback, and as usual, thanks to Rex for this great site.

One clarification - it wasn't so much reversing two words in a phrase, but rather reversing the two halves of a compound word. The original title was "COMPOUND FRACTURES" but coincidentally a puzzle with that title ran in November.

The seed answer - which gave me the idea and in the end didn't get in - was FAST BREAK AT TIFFANYS (Jeweler-sponsored B-ball tourney?). I went through over 2200 compound words looking for those that made sense with the halves reversed and also appeared in a familiar phase. And then I tried to take the most amusing.

Glad you enjoyed it.

ArtLvr 8:08 AM  

It seemed as if T-REX in the SE became our Yeti of the past week, appearing in several puzzles? He went nicely with the FOSSIL in the NW opposite corner anyway, with bone references FEMURS and ULNAR strewn here and there. I did hesitate over the HEMA/hemo question, but got all the needed A vowels in TARAWA from some lurking memory, after correcting the River Quai to KWAI... D'uh.

I also thought immediately of LAVA as the pumice source without really knowing why. However, the letter I had to check with google was the I starting that cross at Hideki IRABU, for which I TOOK NOTE and may remember next time. My problem was that NEL is equally correct for 62D "in the" in Italy, but NEI was wanted here. ("Nel blu, dipinto di blu", etc.)

Laughed at the date of the Battle of Hastings being dragged in again for the Roman numeral... Unlike many other Sundays, this was lots of fun and felt very much worth the time. Many thanks, Yaakov... It was really clever theme -- so glad you explained the compound fractures!


LGW 8:17 AM  

I thought this was a really solid grid, despite the slight excess of what Rex called "exotica" (which for me includes college sports teams). Theme answers were fun, especially AT A STILL STAND and my favorite answer of the day, MR ROGERS' HOOD NEIGHBOR! @JenCT: the comedian is Will Rogers, a "hood" is a gangster, and the whole thing puns on the TV show "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood".

A new word for me to day: OAKTAG is art cardboard?? I'm assuming this is one of those proper names that has become a general term, like Kleenex?

Two other quibbles. First, 67A "...Warsaw's national emblem", while perfectly comprehensible, seems inappropriate since Warsaw, being a city, has no national emblem. Secondly, while I hesitate to declare it "wrong", 11D sticks in my craw. What's an example of a sentence in which STALED used this way would sound good? "I used to like golf, but it staled"? "Is that bread fresh?--No, I think it staled a few days ago?" Yuck.

Finally, @Noam Elkies re: 124A: "[vous] êtes" is the formal/respectful 2nd person singular that uses the form of the 2nd person plural; "[tu] es" is the normal/familiar 2nd person singular. As to the theology behind this apparent switch, I can't help you, though I would guess that there probably hasn't been an official declaration that God may now be "tutoyé"! It looks, however, as though the Vulgate Latin has "Pater noster, qui ES in caelis", i.e. it uses a simple 2nd person singular (corresponding to French "tu"). But a quick search confirms that Latin actually doesn't have a formal "you", although it seems that in the 4th century A.D., "vos" (2nd pers. pl.) came to be used for emperors and popes. Check out the interesting Wikipedia article on the "T-V Distinction".

Clark 8:39 AM  

You was the formal form in English; thou was the informal. The informal (thou, du) was used for addressing God in many languages (English, German, Spanish, Farsi, Serbo-Croation, Urdu). One theory about this is that the thou form expresses solidarity, cooperation, being close to. Some languages apparently use the formal form for addressing God: Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Frisian. The French story looks mixed. The informal is now used (tu es) but the formal appears to have been used until Vatican II. (The only usages I know directly are English and German. The rest comes from skipping around the internets a bit.)

ArtLvr 8:51 AM  

p.s. re Compound Fracture: many years ago I had a "comminuted" fracture of the right ulna, and I learned the term to recite for medical histories but never looked it up until today! Just as well, as it means "pulverized"... Not to worry, some delicate surgery called a Darrach procedure removed the odd bits and restored to me a fully functioning right hand with only an odd tingle, but I perversely would like to see the word "comminuted" in a crossword some day!


oldactor 9:08 AM

Speaking of Tarawa.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  


Short Take Off and Landing

ArtLvr 9:27 AM  

@ LGW ("while I hesitate to declare it "wrong", 11D sticks in my craw. What's an example of a sentence in which STALED used this way would sound good?")

Well, THE BARD isn't here yet, but he'd refer you to numerous uses of STALED by Shakespeare. Here are three:

"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety... from "Anthony and Cleopatra." The line is Anthony's, as he says it of Cleopatra.

"Eternal reader, you have here a new play, never staled with the stage, never clapper-clawed with the palms of the vulgar..." from the intro to "Troilus and Cressida"

And in "Julius Caesar", Antony is as dismissive of Lepidus as of a mere tool or a mule:

    Octavius, I have seen more days than you:
    And though we lay these honours on this man,
    To ease ourselves of divers slanderous loads,
    He shall but bear them as the ass bears gold,
    To groan and sweat under the business,
    Either led or driven, as we point the way;
    And having brought our treasure where we will,
    Then take we down his load, and turn him off,
    Like to the empty ass, to shake his ears,
    And graze in commons.


    You may do your will;
    But he's a tried and valiant soldier.


    So is my horse, Octavius; and for that
    I do appoint him store of provender:
    It is a creature that I teach to fight,
    To wind, to stop, to run directly on,
    His corporal motion govern'd by my spirit.
    And, in some taste, is Lepidus but so;
    He must be taught and train'd and bid go forth;
    A barren-spirited fellow; one that feeds
    On abjects, orts and imitations,
    Which, out of use and staled by other men,
    Begin his fashion: do not talk of him,
    But as a property.


mac 9:38 AM  

I'm still laughing about that "We shall come over"! Husband the hermit would consider that a threat!

Very good Sunday puzzle. Was a little confused with the 88A answer: standstill is "stilstand" in Dutch. Old fogey is a fossil? A little harsh. Oak tag was new also, although I've spent a lot of time in art supply stores. Oporto is THE wine (port) city in Portugal, that was a gimme, but I also misguessed at Tarawa.

JayWalker 9:46 AM  

Bravo to YBD for weighing in!! How wonderful to know that the constructors read this blog! As for the puzzle, I loved it. One benefit of being older than dirt is actually knowing Tarawa from having been alive when it was being fought over. But "Oporto" got me good, but not in the way I thought. I did guess the "p" in Mt. Apo, but got zinged on "49D, "foil." For some reason I thought "fail" and stuck with it - and why not - since I didn't know Oporto anyway! And once again Irabu Hideki cleaned my clock. I WILL Google answers on Fri. and Sat. but because Sunday puzzles tend to be so much easier (in general) I just refuse. Ergo - I got zonked, not just 3, but 4 times!! Didn't know "nei"; misspelled "arugula" (thought it was "arugAla"; and just could NOT see "abut." Arrgh. But all in all a great Sunday morning workout!

I'm the wife in the play as he had already dumped Pompeia 9:52 AM  

CAESAR: The cause is in my will: I will not come;
That is enough to satisfy the senate.
But for your private satisfaction,
Because I love you, I will let you know:
Calpurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:
She dreamt to-night she saw my statua,
Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts,
Did run pure blood: and many lusty Romans
Came smiling, and did bathe their hands in it:
And these does she apply for warnings, and portents,
And evils imminent; and on her knee
Hath begg'd that I will stay at home to-day.

chaos1 9:54 AM  

Fantastic puzzle. Absolutely loved the theme. My favorite was WESHALLCOMEOVER, but ATASTILLSTAND was a close second.

Can't believe 74A cost me a correct completion. I'm a major baseball fan, but I couldn't remember IRABU. That's probably because I hate the Yankees. I wanted NEL for 62D but knew it had to end in a vowel. I guessed U. Bad guess.

@JenCT; Jen I don't understand your question about STOL.As anonymous said, it's a basic acronym. I've also seen VTOL used in puzzles. It stands for Vertical Takeoff And Landing. I'm sure both acronym's have military origins.

Noam D. Elkies 10:26 AM  

@LGW: thanks for setting me straight on this: so "[vous] êtes" and "[tu] es" are both 2nd person but it's plural vs. singular. I was led astray by the analogy with Spanish, where the formal "you" is "usted", conjugated as 3rd person singular because it's short for "vuestra merced" = "Your grace". Thus also the choice of abbreviations for "usted", either Ud. or Vd. — the latter unexplained in my text for 9th grade (beginning) Spanish, and since I had just arrived in the USA earlier that year I knew no better than to raise my hand and ask what VD means...


chefbea 10:50 AM  

Tough puzzle but fun. Just planted arugula - from seed and within 2 days...little green leaves. Cant wait til it really grows.

Am sure @tinbeni will like 88across.

wahoo for Kenny Chesney!!!

And finally... everyone see today's Parade Magazine???

David L 11:29 AM  

Did Not Like. As Rex P says, too many exotic words in difficult crosses. Guessed right on NEI/IRABU (some dim, ancient memory of an Italian phrase book), guessed wrong on HEMO/TORAWA. I knew OPORTO because (I think) it's the origin of 'port' for the very nice after-dinner drinkie-poo.

OAKTAG remains mysterious to me. And I resisted until the bitter end putting in WIZ for 'guru' -- because they're not the same. A guru is an inspiring teacher; a wiz is someone who's really good at something. For example, Albert Einstein was a wiz at physics, but not much of a guru, as he had few students and worked mostly alone.

jesser 11:34 AM  

Much fun! No time!

Crogynon! (Leave your Crayola box in the sun and this is what you get, by God.) -- jesser

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

@LGW amen, some words such as stale should not be allowed to add a d to it. Nice cute puzzle. Also didn't like the hema sero rrr series. Golfballman

Ulrich 11:37 AM  

I also enjoyed the puzzle very much, even if I've never heard of the phrase "flag pole sitting"

@NDE: I'm totally with you re. the missed opportunity! I have been waiting for something like this forever--a diacritically-marked letter in a crossing square that works for both words. Respect for for seeing this!

As to the address of God in German, I can only confirm what has been said:

Vater unser, der du bist im Himmel...

The funny thing about the German version is that it maintains the word order from the Latin (Pater noster), which is ungrammatical in German.

Falconer 11:51 AM  

Awesome puzzle. Flexibility of the English language never fails to amaze. Loved "alien craft space," and "psychological fare war". Interesting that "offhand" was the only example where the flip of the compound word is also a single word. The rest become two words.

Showing how different our life experiences are, for me "Tarawa," "Oporto," "Irabu" and "CETA" were among the first words I put in the grid. Last was "Graf" as I had started with "Ashe" as US Open champ.

CETA may seem obscure now but in the late '70s it was the subject of much national controversy. It was originally developed as a federal block-grant program to help train the hard-core unemployed amid the economic stagnation of the early '70s, but soon grew into a massive public service boondoggle that was abused by city & state politicians for patronage jobs etc, and it was later scrapped.

Smitty 11:52 AM  

I think Oaktag was sort of like that stuff they make manilla folders out of....wasn't it?
It came in boring colors like blue and tan....if it's the stuff I remember.
You made posters out of it and glued sprinkle on...

jesser 12:02 PM  

At a suggestion here, I dug through my newspaper piles to find Parade magazine, which features a picture of Homer Simpson for a story about barbecuing. I also ran across USA Weekend magazine, which features a picture of Ashton Kutcher for a story about barbecuing. Homer loses that contest! -- jesser

matt 12:02 PM  

I really liked the theme answers (hard to get even when you had a good chunk them), but was caught in Rex's two aforementioned evil crosses. I kind of also take exception to NINE as "A round of golf, informally". Wouldn't a full round traditionally be 18? Maybe this should say SOME rounds of golf? I don't know why this bothers me so much.

Rexblog 5/28/08 12:27 PM  

Oaktag discussion

Stan 12:28 PM  

Lost the game of vowel roulette at IRABU and TARAWA, but enjoyed the word flips.

Thanks to Yaakov for the back-story and the bonus theme answer!

oops 12:29 PM  

make that 5/21/08

PIX 12:37 PM  

It's really the Nobel MEMORIAL Prize in Economic was added in 1969, long after Nobel had set up his other prizes.

Totally agree with Matt...if someone says they played a round of golf, they usually mean 18 holes, not 9.

Isn't two clues (55A, 64A) that begin with "Home of the NCAA..." one too many?

fikink 1:16 PM  

Right there with you, Rex, in wanting HEMO.
NEI/IRABU cross did me in, too.

"chummier with God" - NICE ONE!

@CoolPapaD - Used to go down to the loop on weekends and stand in front of La Grande Jatte as a kid, when it did NOT have plexiglass on it.

@YBD, I did indeed enjoy it. Very clever!
I, too, was really impressed with OAKTAG.
and thanks for the citation, Rex. I will read said discussion.


The terms "Front Nine" and "Back Nine" are well-known to all golfers. The key to 127a across was the qualifier: informal. I'm sure some ceremonial hackers will scoff.

60d used the same clue on 01/10/2007.

oops 1:28 PM  


edith b 1:30 PM  

I guess we have forgotten the War in the Pacific in WWII as I had an uncle who fought on the TARAWA atoll in 1943. Our family had a map of Tarawa on our wall. The victory there in 1943 was a big deal in our family as it was a big part of the US's recovery from Pearl Harbor and the beginning of our eventual Victory over Japan.

Has it really been 70 years since World War II? Guadalcanal Iwo Jima Okinawa Those names were such a big deal in our history.

This puzzle had some insiqht into our family and I enjoyed it on that basis.

Van55 1:41 PM  

I just refused to guess Tarawa vs Torawa and logged in here for the answer. Never heard of oaktag or oak tag.

Generally enjoyed the puzzle.

spinsker 1:47 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. I was proud to finish with only a few of the cross letters previously mentioned wrong, but had to laugh at myself, because I first had 19A as River, which I thought might work for "Nearby school, maybe!" (school of fish)....

jae 1:53 PM  

Delightful breezy Sun. (What I was looking for last week). I knew MTAPO from Rex's mistake a couple of years back and TARAWA from WWII history. Minor stumbles were MEAT at first for MILK and NCOS for PVTS. Very clever YBD.

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

For more about Tarawa, there is an amusing book, "Sex Lives of Cannibals" by Troost. He lived on Tarawa for two years with his partner who is there working for a non-profit. The book is about life in this "paradise".

hazel 2:11 PM  

Pumice from MICA! Good one! Talk about defying the laws of (geo)physics!

Fun puzzle tho I did lose patience, and ultimately DNF. Can't believe I missed OPORTO - as I've actually been there - last stop on a cycling trip through the awesomely beautiful Douro region. Wine wine everywhere - thankfully lots of drops to drink!!

Go MD Anderson!! Go Braves!!
LiveStrong everyone!

PuzzleNut 2:43 PM  

OAKTAG was a new one for me, but I couldn't argue with the crosses. Guessed wrong on the "I" in NEI/IRABU. My only brain cell with any data remembered NEOpolitan ice cream and sent me astray.
Missed A NOD going instead with AN OK, which in hindsight was a dumb mistake. KEAF just sounded like a really cool word that I "should" know. A quick check shows no such word.
I've had my share of Port, so OPORTO actually helped me change MTIDA to MTAPO.
Guessed right on HEMA TAWARA. The A just looked better for a Pacific island.
Thought the flip-flops were generally good, but agree with Rex that some elegance was lost with the order of answers 3 and 4. Overall, that's a small nit for a well made Sunday puzzle.
Now, on to the acrostic.

JenCT 2:49 PM  

OAKTAG was common in our school.

I see, the O in STOL is for Off; I was thinking it should be A for And. Duh!

Will Rogers is a humorist?

archaeoprof 3:11 PM  

Late to the party today -- graduation ceremony at the college.

Ok, so the theme answers weren't totally consistent, but they were all very clever.

Sunday should make us smile, and this one did.

Plus, there was 26A...

Tov meod, YBD!

Noam D. Elkies 3:13 PM  

Pix writes:

It's really the Nobel MEMORIAL Prize in Economic was added in 1969, long after Nobel had set up his other prizes.

Yes, that's what I was getting at.

Isn't two clues (55A, 64A) that begin with "Home of the NCAA..." one too many?

I'd say it's two too many ;-)

[Even though I happened to recognize the Spartans — I gave a lecture series at East Lansing a few years ago, and the hotel served a "Spartan breakfast", which has rather different connotations from what I'm sure was intended.]


HudsonHawk 3:34 PM  

Hand up for HEMO, but loved the puzzle anyway.

Probably the highlight of my trip to Lisbon was the Port Institute, which celebrates the fortified wines of OPORTO.

The prices were more than I had been used to seeing in Portugal, but I nevertheless ordered three glasses in order to educate my friend about different types of Port: One LBV (Late Bottle Vintage), one Tawny and one Colheita. Well, when they came, the glasses were full-sized rather than cordials. My friend was on meds that she couldn't mix with (much) alcohol, so I did most of the consuming. Made for an interesting stumble back to the hotel...

fikink 3:37 PM  

@NDE, Yipes! Never thought of the possibilities with Spartans as a team name. East Lansing has to be the epicenter of the very bad pun!

Steve J 3:54 PM  

Grr (which, to me, is what a growl sound is; not RRR): typed a reply, and somehow lost it.

Never got into this one. I appreciate it more after solving than I did while solving, probably because I just couldn't pick up on the theme. It probably didn't help me that the first theme answer I "got" was PSYCHOLOGICALFAREYAR, since I had YAHOOS instead of WAHOOS. And so I couldn't figure out what was supposed to flip and what was supposed to flop. I think the fact that some were at the beginning and some were at the end, as Rex mentioned, made it more difficult for me to grasp this. Or I just simply had one of those days where my brain wasn't on the right wavelength.

That said, I really like ATASTILLSTAND and WESHALLCOMEOVER. Really good stuff.

I had quite a few other missteps on this one. Like seemingly most, I went for HEMO, so had no idea TORAWA was misspelled. There was the aforementioned YAHOO/WAHOO mixup, and I had SGTS for a bit instead of PVTS. And, also echoing Rex, a lot of the short fill just seemed a bit esoteric.

@Noam D Elkies - Re the French second-person pronouns: It's not an issue of singular vs. plural, as "vous" can be both. It's just that "vous" is formal and "tu" is informal. If you know German, think of "vous" operating exactly like "Sie".

@JenCT: Indeed, Will Rogers is a humorist. That's probably what he's best known as. Are you perhaps thinking of someone else?

lit.doc 4:17 PM  

Really, really enjoyed this puzzle, though, like @chefwen and others, it took me forever. Finished with two googles and two errors. Was bothered a bit by the device reversal in 46 and 67A, not because of inelegance but because it had me chasing my tale so long.

@chefwen or any of the several People Who Know Cooking out there: I thought that GLACE, despite its etymology, referred to a glazed, sugary coating, not to something actually frozen. Insight?

My very limited baseball-learned-from-crosswords vocab has equipped me with Hideki Matsui, but I had to google for IRABU. Duly filed. My other sticking point, and the last square filled, was that O_ORTO/MT. A_O cross. Did an alpha run and P made the best Spanish-sound sense to me—plugged it and checked google. Got lucky.

Ended up with ARTY and TORAWA. “Blood: prefix” = HYMO? Hell, why not. The fact that I saw every episode of Laugh-In and the fact that HEMA/O should have been a bloody gimme aside.

Anonymous 4:19 PM  

Finished 4 hours of yard work and came in to do the puzzle. What a blast.

It took me a while to figure out what was going on, but when 34A fell, and the rest seemed much easier. It seemed a slightly more difficult for me than the usual Sunday. Hand is up for HEMO/TORAWA.

Oaktag is what I used to make posters with in elementary and jr high school. Now, my kids don't use oaktag, but the larger tri-fold boards.

@CoolPapaD- you should get out more.

Steve J 4:25 PM  
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Steve J 4:29 PM  

@lit.doc: "Glacé" means "frozen" in French; it's the past participle of the verb "glacer". So, while in English contexts it does generally mean what you stated, literally speaking any frozen desert in France would be glacé.

Although, the clue actually did throw me off for a bit. I had ice cream on my brain, and the French word for ice cream is "glacée", and obviously there's no room for a second E.

Of course, I just realized that this now throws NDE's suggested opportunity to correctly include "ñ" in the grid off track, since Él Niño wouldn't make much sense.

Mrs. Willis 4:56 PM  

What a great site - but I'm sorry I found you. I started Googling answers (which I never do) with this puzzle. I had no idea with Tarawa and kept playing with psychiatrist instead of psychological. Your site came up thanks for the answers.It will be all I can do not to check your site when I'm stuck.

This puzzle is my reward for grading essays over the weekend. It's always fun and a treat.

joho 5:15 PM  

Rats, my dog has never learned to roll his RRR's!

Failed at HEMo/ToRAWA but really enjoyed this Sunday puzzle. It took me forever to get the theme but that's part of the fun. And better yet, the theme was truly clever. And fresh ... not STALED!

Thank you, YBD! Much appreciated that you stopped in.

NCA President 5:17 PM  

i got stuck on what others have already mentioned:


yeah, i know...Lrabu? i figured it was some exotic phonetic translation thingy, because i was sure it was "nel" as in "nel cor piu mi sento," an italian art song i used to accompany singers with in college.

otherwise, the puzzle was a good one. i am not picky...i like the NYT better than any puzzles on the planet. i don't like when a letter comes to just a toss up, though. so i was very surprised to see that torawa was wrong (it could just as easily be right), and with all the whacky spellings of the names of japanese baseball players, Lrabu could be "right" too, i suppose.

NCA President 5:18 PM  

correction: nel cor piu non mi sento...

mac 6:17 PM  

@SteveJ: Ice or ice cream in French are glace, no accents. Glace(e) means glazed, as in marrons glaces, and in many dried fruits.

Karen from the Cape 6:17 PM  

Just to give HEMA some love...the specialist is called a hematologist. Hematomas and contusions is medicalese for bruises and scrapes. The hematocrit checks for anemia. I've dealt with hematochezia, but hope never to see hematidrosis. It's Greek to me why some are hemo and some hema.

My downfall was the IRABU/ARUGULA crossing. I still remember Rex's MT APO rant whenever the clue comes up.

chefbea 6:21 PM  

@archaeoprof and anyone else don't miss the Brooks and Dunn farewell tonight at 8:00 eastern time. I think it's CBS

Merl 9:36 PM  

merl here,

yaakov, i did a puzzle with virtually this same theme in 2005 -- and i was inspired by the same phrase that inspired you! i had FAST BREAK AT TIFFANY'S right across the center, in addition to WE SHALL COME OVER at the bottom (although i think i clued the latter as "in-laws' announcement?" or some such). how come FAST BREAK didn't make it into your final version?

fikink 10:58 PM  

@Karen from the Cape - So NICE [ONE] to hear from you again. Do not be a stranger!!

Noam D. Elkies 12:12 AM  

@Karen ∈ Cape: Looks like what love you have for this prefix is for "hemato-", not "hema-". Admittedly my example of "hemagglutinin" isn't much better because it's really "hem-", with the "a" coming from the base word. But gives the example "hemacytometer", so I guess it's legit, if not lovable.

@Steve J: Oops, I didn't notice the obligatory accent in 1A:GLACÉ. Still fixable, though: make it GRACE, changing 2D:LILO to RELO and 3D:AVIS to ANIS (sorry) to give RENAL in place of 19A:RIVAL.

@Ulrich: Dañke ;-)


Anonymous 12:16 AM  

Re 36D: As has been pointed out several times, dogs don't growl RRR, the growl GRR. RRR could better be clued to the old faithful Readin', wRitin' and 'Rithmetic, no???

YBD 1:17 AM  

@Merl: FAST BREAK was the center entry for my first 12 grid attempts. Getting TIFFANYS's double Fs to behave was the problem for several consecutive attempts. It was my only 19-length entry so I couldn't change its location. Fortunately I had some spare entries to swap in and my 20th grid clicked.

nurturing 1:42 AM  

One more OAKTAG memory! I was so happy to see this word. It took me right back to elementary school and how we used to get a fresh sheet of white oaktag to start a new project.

I loved oaktag - so smooth and heavyweight for paper, wonderful to color and glue things to.

When I moved to Canada and became a mother, my kids' schools didn't use that term - here it's called Bristol board - so to see "oaktag" in Sunday's puzzle was truly a pleasure .

Bob Kerfuffle 4:28 PM  

Just did the puzzle in the International Herald-Tribune in Mallorca, few days late, posting from a strange computer. Must report: Fail.

Sorry, haven't had time to read comments.

Could not get PSYCHOLICALFAREWAR because A. Don't think the clue conveys the meaning and B. My standard failing at WAHOOS, had YAHOOS, the same type of mistake that cost me 120 points at the ACPT. (I.e., confusing Wowie and Zowie.)

Stan 6:15 PM  

@Bob K: Great post! Keep reporting in if you can. (I guess I live vicariously through other people's travel adventures.)

Donato 10:08 AM  

Clue for 18 down should have had two spaces preceding "sow."

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

For anyone who is still reading... Somehow my history classes always ran out of time at the start of WWII, so I didn't know Tarawa immediately. However, living in San Diego, I do know the U.S.S. Tarawa, named for the battle.

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