Small-time tyrants / SUN 5-30-10 / Opponent of Pericles / Cumberland Gap explorer / Supermax resident / Latte topper

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Constructor: Eric Berlin

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: FULL CIRCLE — Theme clues apply both to the theme answer in question and the subsequent theme answer, creating a kind of cluing chain, with the last theme clue applying back to the first theme answer.

Word of the Day: TOCCATA (64D: Improvisatory piece of classical music) —

Toccata (from Italian toccare, "to touch") is a virtuoso piece of music typically for a keyboard or plucked string instrument featuring fast-moving, lightly fingered or otherwise virtuosic passages or sections, with or without imitative or fugal interludes, generally emphasizing the dexterity of the performer's fingers. Less frequently, the name is applied to works for multiple instruments (the opening of Claudio Monteverdi's opera Orfeo being a notable example). (wikipedia)
• • •
I really liked the theme, though the interlinkedness helped me not at all. I just liked (loved) that, with so many clues that start [With X-Across...], I never ever ran into the typical cross-referenced clue at X-Across: [See The Clue That Sent You Here]. Instead, each theme clue just passed the buck down the line, which never required me to look back at other clues to remember what the hell was going on. Because of this, the theme answers were Super easy to get. The puzzle seems to have known this would be the case, and made the rest of the grid more difficult than usual in order to make up for it. Nothing particularly brutal, but a lot of stuff designed to slow you down. I got ANAPESTS fine (51A: Some poetic feet), but everything between there and, let's say, MURALIST, was a fight. Never heard of TIN GODS (53D: Small-time tyrants), and the "small" part of that clue had me really wanting TINY in the answer. I over thought MT ETNA (63A: Sicilian tourist attraction) and tried MT ENNA (ENNA being a city in Sicily that occasionally shows up in the grid). Cluing on OLEG is wholly new to me (71A: ___ Kalugin, former K.G.B. general with the 1994 book "Spymaster"). TOCCATA is a word I've heard of ... it must be on some recording of someone I have somewhere ... but I wasn't sure of it for a while. And then CLEON — I had CREON in my head (76A: Opponent of Pericles). That's somebody, right? CREON? Yes, he is the non-small-time tyrant in Antigone. Throw in NITRATE (83D: Fertilizer ingredient), which I was none too sure about, and that whole section ended up being a battle. There were other hang-ups along the way too, but none where my ignorance was so concentrated.

Theme answers:
  • 22A: With 24-Across, two things that are stuffed (ROAST TURKEY)
  • 24A: With 36-Across, two things on a farm (SCARECROW)
  • 36A: With 38-Across, two things associated with needles (HAYSTACK)
  • 38A: With 55-Across, two things that spin (RECORD PLAYER)
  • 55A: With 82-Across, two things at an amusement park (FERRIS WHEEL)
  • 82A: With 95-Across, two things that are sticky (COTTON CANDY)
  • 95A: With 99-Across, two things with brushes (RUBBER CEMENT)
  • 99A: With 115-Across, two things with ladders (MURALIST)
  • 115A: With 117-Across, two things that are red (FIRE TRUCK)
  • 117A: With 24-Across, two things associated with Thanksgiving (CRANBERRIES)
My wife pointed out to me that all the theme answers are two-word phrases except two: MURALIST and CRANBERRIES. Clearly, this didn't bother me at all. Wife also shared my understandable distaste for ISTS (58A: Believers), my strange affection for OLDISH (26A: Getting up there in years), and my surprise that the word GLADLY (2D: With a smile) had never appeared in a (post-mid-'90s) crossword puzzle. Not in the NYT, and not in any puzzle in the database. Weeeeeird. It's not exactly obscure.

  • 1A: City SE of Delhi (AGRA) — In India, four letters — gimme.
  • 10A: Cumberland Gap explorer (BOONE) — I have no idea where the Cumberland Gap is, HA ha. I still got this easily (it's a passageway through the Appalachians, btw).
  • 18A: Supermax resident (FELON) — I taught for a while in a (mere) maximum security prison in Elmira. The supermax is a couple of miles away from that, in Southport, NY.
  • 44A: Balloonist's baskets (GONDOLAS) — I'd forgotten that's what those are called.
  • 59A: "Hair" song with the lyric "Hello, carbon monoxide" ("AIR") — something unsettling about "Hair" cluing "AIR" — too close. And yet I really like the clue (despite never having seen "Hair").
  • 90A: Second track on "Beatles '65" ("I'M A LOSER") — I think I've seen this title in crosswords (in whole or in part) more than I've actually heard the song.

  • 106A: 1922 Physics Nobelist (BOHR) — wife very happy with the crossword muscle she's developing: gimme!
  • 113A: Adjective for a bikini, in a 1960 song (TEENIE) — I think it's a compound adjective, "TEENIE-weenie."
  • 120A: Drug company behind Valium (ROCHE) — not on my radar. Needed crosses.
  • 121A: "Pearls Before Swine," e.g. (COMIC) — by which the puzzle means COMIC strip. Really not on my radar. Needed crosses.
  • 1D: Region in ancient Asia Minor (AEOLIA) — know this term only from Coleridge and the AEOLIAN harp, which is some kind of contraption you put in your window (memory ... foggy ...) so it can be "played" by the wind. Yes, that's right. This is a toughish ancient Greek answer, as is IONIAN, potentially (100D: Sea between Italy and Greece).
  • 18D: Latte topper (FROTH) — wanted FOAM. FROTH sounds sooo much less appetizing.
  • 69D: "Southland" airer (TNT) — never heard of "Southland." Maybe because I don't watch any TNT.
  • 77D: Scientist with multiple Emmys (NYE) — Bill NYE the Science Guy. Never really watched him, but still a gimme.
  • 85D: Biochemical sugar (RIBOSE) — only very vaguely familiar. Looks like a word meaning "funny" — a hybrid of RIBALD and JOCOSE.
Will bring the "Tweets of the Week" feature back next week. Til then, enjoy your long weekend (if you've got one).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Oscar 8:04 AM  

Way too easy for a Sunday, I thought. Very few original clues. Theme seemed pretty dull to me, too - no wordplay, no humor, just there.

Usually I love Mr. Berlin's work, but this one: not so much. Guess they can't all be gems.

Leslie 8:21 AM  

My rewrites: "Aye aye" before AYE, SIR; "fuss" before FLAP; "tinpots" before TIN GODS; "die cuts" before DIECAST.

I thought cluing PISTOL as "vivacious person" was interesting, and I didn't know that anything in classical music, such as a TOCCATA, was improvisatory.

Would someone explain to me how "XXX x X" equals CCC? I thought that would be 30 times 10, so that the answer would be the two-character XL, which wouldn't be allowed in a crossword. Even if the thinking is "10 x 10 is 100, happening three times, so CCC," I think that's kind of cheating.

NCA President 8:32 AM  


i agree...not sure about 117D. totally befuddled.

btw, rex, bach's toccata and fugue in D minor is one of the most famous organ pieces ever. you would recognize it immediately from the opening few notes.

seemed like about one too many greece/asia minor references (1D, 100D, 125A, 76A) and it seems that one shakespeare reference is probably enough. 15D could have been a million other things and didn't need to compete with 68A... just my .02.

otherwise, i liked the concept.

Leslie 8:47 AM  

@NCA President: As long as I've got this cudgel, and the dead horse is right here in front of me, I'll wonder aloud why Mr. Berlin didn't just clue it for the Civilian Conservation Corps?

And now I'll shut up on the topic, I promise.

r.alphbunker 8:49 AM  

I loved the puzzle. I agree with RP that each theme answer could be treated independently of the others and it gave me something to look forward to at the end when I went through the whole sequence. To get a sequence to work like that **and** to fit it into a grid is impressive to me.

30 * 10 = 300 = CCC
30 + 10 = 40 = XL

BTW, Merl Reagle had a great Roman numeral clue in his puzzle today.

joho 8:54 AM  

@Leslie, isn't XXX x X, 30 x 10 which equals 300 or CCC?

I encountered the same trouble spot in the puzzle as @Rex but unfortunately didn't come out flawless. I had Alek instead of OLEG so ended up with TINkiDS, you know, those small-time tyrants.

Unusual for me to end up with mistakes on a Sunday. Regardless, I still enjoyed the puzzle.

Interesting concept, Mr. Berlin: thank you!

Leslie 9:00 AM  

Oh, God, you're both right and I'm so embarrassed!! I'm going to slink off now for my remedial arithmetic lessons, okay??

r.alphbunker 9:11 AM  

You can't XL at everything!

The Bard 9:16 AM  

The Winter's Tale > Act I, scene II

POLIXENES: No, madam.

HERMIONE: Nay, but you will?

POLIXENES: I may not, verily.

You put me off with limber vows; but I,
Though you would seek to unsphere the
stars with oaths,
Should yet say 'Sir, no going.' verily.
You shall not go: a lady's 'Verily' 's
As potent as a lord's. Will you go yet?
Force me to keep you as a prisoner,
Not like a guest; so you shall pay your fees
When you depart, and save your thanks. How say you?
My prisoner? or my guest? by your dread 'verily.,'
One of them you shall be.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

The problem with XXX, etc is why we don't use Roman Numerals in math class...

ArtLvr 9:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
ArtLvr 9:46 AM  

I can't top the Bard with VERILY, wow. But GLADLY brought to mind one of Ed McBain's better mystery stories "Gladly, the Cross-eyed Bear"! Taking that malapropism (first line of hymn "Gladly the Cross I'd bear") and turning it into a toy bear with special glasses as the basis for a lawsuit, then interweaving it with a maritime murder case... Wildly inventive!

Yes, the puzzle today was quite clever too, though I had trouble spelling KARAOKE as usual. No problems otherwise, just much fun!


Noam D. Elkies 9:46 AM  

85D:RIBOSE is the source of the R of RNA (plus the D of DNA is a deoxyribose).

In music, 1D:AEOLIA and 100D:IONIA[N] are both eponyms of old "church modes", namely those that became minor and major scales. (The others which you might have seen in a puzzle are Dorian, as in Greensleeves, and Lydian; there's also Phrygian and Locrian, and also a Mixolydian which is common in some folk and popular music, though I cannot find anything about an ancient Greek "Mixolydia".)

Thanks for the puzzle,

dk 9:53 AM  

TINGODS: Thank you Eric. Working on a piece on adult bullies and I was using petty tyrants, 53D much better. Now if you have a cool word for enabler....

I enjoyed this Sunday outing. Maybe as @Oscar posts because it was easy. Or the clueing was familiar to boomers of a certain age.

Tough to find a true vanilla egg creme in Minneapolis but I may take it on as one would taste good about now.

CLEON was one of the first whistle blowers, accused Pericles of pestilence (causing a plague) and fraud, got him removed from office. But Perky came back only to succumb to the plague. Cleon, under the banner of I told ya, elevated sycophancy to an art form, bullied his way to the top and remained an obstacle to peace until he was killed in battle. Death, unfortunately, is often the only cure for an adult bully.

*** (3 Stars)

ps. The fennel pork burgers in the NYT Dining In section from early last week are to die for. Altered the recipe to include half lamb and some (1/4 cup) orange juice -- summer fun.

Oft did I multiply correctly 9:54 AM  

Pistol. O braggart vile and damned furious wight!
The grave doth gape, and doting death is near;
Therefore exhale.

hazel 10:15 AM  

Somehow, this was my fastest Sunday ever. Trying to get a solid toehold in the TOCCATA, TINGODS, OLEG, CLEON, ELLA area was the biggest challenge, made much easier by the fact I was doing it on my computer.

I loved the puzzle, mostly because of the theme answers. Every last one of the them brought back some childhood memory (hayrides, county fairs, Thanksgiving dinner, school projects, 4th of July parades.

Plus LIOTTA always reminds me of the fantastic GoodFellas. And MTETNA reminds me of our trip to Sicily, where we stayed in a monastery (cheap!) and rode the bus over to MTETNA so we could see it seethe. We (me, my husband, and stepdaughter (who was 20ish) missed the last bus up to ETNA and had to grab a ride from a real mafioso - and to this day, my stepdaughter is sworn to secrecy NOT TO EVER TELL HER MOTHER that we accepted this ride. We actually confirmed recently (my stepdaughter is now 30) that the OMERTA is still in effect, and it is. We're not really daredevils, but we did put ourselves in a bit of PERIL that day.

All's well that ends well though (no references needed, @Bard) although I do love the service you provide!!

Lovely puzzle that brought back nothing but happy memories! Skoal!! It is time for a dog walk!!

CoolPapaD 10:55 AM  

Loved this clever theme! As @Hazel pointed out, I love it when a puzzle evokes childhood memories. In this case, as I've commented on in the past, it was the HAIR soundtrack that was burned into my temporal lobe as a child. Still know just about every lyric (and there are some very adult-themed songs with "bad words!"). Enjoyed the puzzle enough to give a pass to LOW TAR and TARRED!

My last letter was a guess, and it turned out correct for a change - the "C" in CLEON / TOCCATTA - not many others even felt possible.

I learned SKOAL from this blog - I think it's amazing that one of the most popular brands of smokeless tobaccos is marketed as "to your health!" Great article in today's NYT about Joe Garagiola's efforts to curb its use! Talk about childhood memories: tried a huge pinch between my cheek and gum before a dance with our summer camp and the girls' camp down the road (~1976 or so), and spent the next few hours 3-D burping in the great outdoors! Ah, wilderness!

PIX 11:02 AM  

Fun puzzle but certainly seemed easier than usual for a Sunday.

Have to remember Creon vs. Antigone but Cleon vs. Pericles.

Doug 11:04 AM  

Fast Sunday. If I recall, there were few ? clues and it was pretty straightforward stuff.

Didn't bother with looking for the associated answer because they weren't gettable until the grid was somewhat filled in, then when it was I didn't need the theme.

17D: (needles) Early on I had "___S_ACK", and filled in SMACK, as in heroin, thinking the Times was indeed pretty racy today. Oh well...

chefbea 11:05 AM  

Finally a fun easy Sunday puzzle. Loved it.

Was at a yard sale yesterday and there was a record player for $5.00. Brought back memories. Then to a craft fair where there were bowls made out of vinyl records. Really neato-peachy keen.

jesser 11:09 AM  

No time for much writing. Best friend is showering prior to our golf excursion.

This is my first time trying Across Lite. It tells me I did this in 33:34. Would have been faster on paper, I'm confident of that.

I thought the theme was fresh and fun. Last fill was CREON. I knew TIN GOD from a Don Henley song, if I remember correctly.

I verified my answers from the blog. I tried to make AL verify it for me, but it wanted a 4-digit code, and I don't know what the hell THAT'S all about. Rex tells me I did just fine, and I don't need no stinking code.

Hope everyone's Memorial Day weekend in wonderful. My Dad was a veteran of WWII and Korea. I will not buy a Korean car, ever, because they shot him (in the leg; he survived it). I should not have bought a Japanese car, because they shot AT him. But I did, because I liked it better than the Lincoln I looked at. Anyway, I salute him, and all the others who serve/d.

Vizedoll! (The doll that never has red eye!) -- jesser

Anonymous 11:17 AM  


The code will appear tomorrow (or late tonight) in the column to the far right on the puzzles page. It lets you unlock and check the puzzle.

Van55 11:21 AM  

ELLA/CLEON was a personal Natick.

Yes, I think the fill was intentionally a bit obscure to make up for an easy, somewhat lifeless (to me) theme.

Better than average on the whole.

chefbea 11:21 AM  

@dk thanks for the pork/fennel burgers. Sound pretty good - love fennel. You have to try the juicy loosie burgers!!!

JayWalker 11:23 AM  

Very few comments for this puzzle for this time of the morning. I think it's because it wasn't a very controversial or difficult exercise. Altho, I must admit to one error - Creon for Cleon. Look - I'm a 71 year old MAN - what the heck do I know about "enchanted" girls in literature??!!?? Ella? Elra? Who cares? Also, at my age, I'm allowed to be crotchety. I finished it in 40 minutes - which for me, is a fast Sunday. Happy Memorial Day everyone.

redhed 11:25 AM  

Good morning to all! Like CoolPapaD and Jesser, my last letter to fall was the "c" in Cleon. The only thing that sounded correct in the cross was "toncatta." No googling today, although I was sufficiently challenged. Enjoyed it enough to skip church (I can still do 5:30 pm).

lit.doc 12:08 PM  

A nice, enjoyable, and relatively easy Sunday outing, which I really needed after my Epic Fail yesterday (didn’t post, as I spent the day curled up in the corner whimpering). The theme was clever and (unlike today’s LAT) was actually useful for zeroing in on each subsequent theme answer as the crosses gave me letters.

I had write-overs at “AYE AYE, sir” for “AYE, SIR” (which sounds odd to my ear) and “TIN-POT dictator” for “TIN GOD”. Other than that, I benefited from an apparently substantial overlap with Eric Berlin’s collection of Words You Actually Know.

Tinbeni 12:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tinbeni 12:58 PM  

Ahhh, a big Monday that I GLADLY finished.

Don't know where or how the OLDISH bean recalled Improv classical music is TOCCATA.

Time to go put my feet in the SAND, there's no oil MUCK here, watch the girls in their TEENIE weenie bikini's, drink a few, get burnt and apply the ALOE later.

captcha: toker, reminds me of Jamaica

JenCT 1:02 PM  

@Oscar: totally disagree; I enjoyed the puzzle. I think it's nice to have an easier, fun puzzle once in a while - they don't all have to require the "mental ability to bend spoons" as David Sedaris says!

@Leslie: don't feel bad, I didn't get CCC either.

archaeoprof 1:47 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle, even though I didn't get the "full circle" theme until I came here.

Tried "ayeaye" before AYESIR, "tiedinto" before TAPINTO, and "reproach" before REPROVAL.

Once owned a copy of "Beatles 65." I wonder where I put it...

joho 1:53 PM  

@Leslie ... you made my day! I am mathematically challenged. So, for me to be able to actually offer correct advice relating to anything with numbers, Roman or otherwise, was just great.

@Tinbeni ... it's Sunday!

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. I did use the connectiveness of the theme to get some of the answers. For example I thought what could use both brushes and a ladder and I came up with a MURALIST. I did that on several of the theme answers and loved the heck out of it. So much puzzle solving pleasure! Plus it was the first time I solved a Sunday in under 40 minutes. I am starting to get the hang of this!

syndy 3:05 PM  

right, I didnt get it until cranberries showed up ,and i thought "well that goes with the roast turkey!" So I did the rest of the themes -rubber cement being the hardest.sticky-brush?hmm Two things clever and fun -This puzzle and Eric Berlin----flunked the turing again

Susan 3:06 PM  

Niels Bohr was a gimme to me, except that I can't spell, so it ended up being the last corner I filled in! B-O-H-R as in Niels, not B-O-E-R, as in War. [sigh]

Anapests took me an embarrassingly long time.

jae 3:16 PM  

Easy for me also. Only guess was the C in CLEON/TOCCATA. MURALIST was a little tough to get because I don't think of a painter as a "thing." Other than that a breezy fun Sun.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 3:25 PM  

Liked the puzzle. Easy and breezy. Reminded me of this puzzle from Henry Hook. Funny this should run because I was thinking of doing one of these linking themes myself.

Also, it bears repeating that Beck for the first couple years of his career was a genius.

Eric Berlin 3:35 PM  

Try that link again, BEQ, I'm curious to see what puzzle you mean. The current link goes to my puzzle. Glad you liked it!

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

Remove the trailing double-quote from BEQ's URL to get to the puzzle he's referring to.

Eric Berlin 3:46 PM  

Good heavens, yeah, I can see where mine would remind you of this! And I guess I solved this back in 2007, though I have no memory of it. Ah well, so much for thinking I had come up with something utterly original. (Hint: I didn't really think I had.)

chefwen 4:16 PM  

Loved this puzzle, as BEQ said, easy breezy. Top half went down super easy but I slowed down a tad on the bottom. Had a few glitches, 23D was theater before THE ARTS, 29A fest before RIOT and the bikini was yellow before it was TEENIE. Overall, and enjoyable outing. Thank you Mr. Berlin and as always Rex for the excellent write up.

@chefbea - having Juicy Lucy's tonight, extra napkins will be available.

Tinbeni 4:21 PM  

I was referring to the level of difficulty.

Or maybe I was time-tripping to Tralfamadore to check out Montana Wildhack.
I was "one toke over the line ..."

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

Thought Rex would have to come up with a new descriptor for this one--"Super Easy"--and figured the idea was to not to tax anyone too much on a holiday weekend. I'm hardly one of the champion solvers, and finished this in record time with no teeth gnashing. I expect/need/desire a little teeth gnashing on Sunday!

Matt 4:56 PM  

Rex, you've got to get better tools. :) GLADLY has been used five times since 2000. Two obscurities in 2000, CrossSynergy in 2004, Newsday in 2007 and USA Today in 2008. The database I use (and wrote) is available for free at (although the USA Today and Newsday clues aren't included in the public version, at their request).

foodie 5:52 PM  

I tumbled to the theme early on and found it very helpful. I would toggle back and forth to get the 2 clues associated with each theme answer and would get it with relatively few crosses. Fun!

@Eric Berlin, I have had this experience countless times-- thinking that I had come up with something truly original only to find out that it echoed something that had been done before, and leaving me wondering whether or not I had done it fully independently. But this theme is sooo much rarer than the add-a-letter or switch a letter approach. It's a breath of fresh air! Thank you!

DBGeezer 6:01 PM  

@ Shark said...on Thursday:
@andrea carla michaels: Hindi mixture of spices? HINDI mixture of spices? HINDI?? :-)

Yes, Hindi is the adjective to apply to things Indian. ..e.g., That is Hindi music... Hindu, is the name of the principal religion practiced in India. e.g., The Hindu people worship at Hindu temples, and eat Hindi food for dinner..

@andrea carla, you referred (also on Thursday) to an OT reference to the Masada people committing suicide. I am unable to discover that reference. Could you please help?


retired_chemist 6:22 PM  

Nice and smooth. What Rex said, except I would call it easy. Normalizing my time to a 15X15 by assuming that the time per square is a constant, I got an easy-medium Wed. time, not a Thursday time as Sundays are supposed to be on a par with.

ELLA/CLEON was kinda Naticky, but I guessed well. Actually only an L sounded right....

Some fun fill, not much boring stuff. Couldn't ask for more...

Thank you, Mr. Berlin.

Rex Parker 6:59 PM  

I only called it "Medium" bec. I was being conservative (it was fast for me, too). It's just that yesterday was one of those (pretty rare) days when things are Way easier for me than for most others (I was faster than Al Sanders of "Wordplay" fame, which will literally Never happen again) — so my "Difficulty rating" was off. Said miscalculation made people write me angry, critical letters. Luckily, my readers are mostly decent folks so even the peeved missives were kind and respectful. Anyway, I'd rather be wrong going my gut (and recorded times) then wrong bec. I was playing it safe, so it's back to playing it as it lays (or lies, if you're persnickety like that) tomorrow.

Thanks guys/gals,

Martin 7:44 PM  


Masada suicide.

Sorry, I can't resist that.

Martin 7:46 PM  


Sorry. Missed the bit about it being an OT reference. That isn't true.

Never mind. Wiseass out.

Martin 7:54 PM  

But on the other hand: masala is a Hindi word (you didn't mention it's also a language), so I don't think Andrea's pun, while not her finest work, warrants four question marks in one line. So it's wiseass-to-wiseass and I feel better.

Everyone, have a great Memorial Day.

dk 9:17 PM  

@chef bea and wren, We have a Juicy Lucy war going on here in the Twin Cities. We have two bars, The 5&8 and Matt's and both claim to be the Juicy source.

No luck on the egg cream today, no one wants to do the raw egg part. And the seltzer part -- fuhgetaboutit. Sigh, like my espresso I guess I'll have to make it at home.

Rex, you have explained your rating system so many times that even I (a bear of little brain) get it.

@Tinbeni, good try to cover the FACT that you are disoriented to time... only person and place to go. Scotch and Cheerios for breakfast is never (well hardly ever) a good idea.

See you all tomorrow

chefwen 10:59 PM  

@dk - On the show "Food Wars" Matt's won the contest.

ternest - tallest one in the herd.

retired_chemist 12:34 AM  

@ Rex - please don't count me as critical, and most certainly not in any sense angry, about your rating. I'm only speaking for my own solve, and I know you try to picture how it worked for crossworld in general.

retired_chemist 1:04 AM  

Here is J. S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor for your listening enjoyment.

andrea carla masada 4:12 AM  

Just popped in to get my tweets :(
I'm not exactly sure what you are talking about...but I think Martin has 'splained what I was trying to do and Sanskrit prob would have been better but I couldn't make it work...

I couldn't do Fri...Sat I got as far as MOE------- and gave up...I don't do Sundays, in general, so I'm in slight withdrawal.

ATTN SAN FRANCISCO folks!!!!!!!!!!

I'm s'posed to announce that the 2010 ACPT Champion Dan Feyer will be in SF next weekend and his folks are throwing a fancy-schmancy bagel lox thing for all puzzle folks to celebrate local boy making good.
SO if you's like to put some faces to names and can attend next Saturday (Noon June 5th) give me a holler:
and I'll tell you the details.
(To my special blogger pals, I have a spare room with your name on it if you want to fly in!)

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

Found this a very easy puzzle, except the SW corner which needed an overnight pause before I could think of rubber cement and union. It was coasting downhill from there.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

Found this a very easy puzzle, except the SW corner which needed an overnight pause before I could think of rubber cement and union. It was coasting downhill from there.

Doug 11:15 AM  

Hey, just figuring out how to select my correct Blogger acct.

Citizen Dain 3:22 PM  

What a crossword week this has been for me! I am a new solver who has just really started in earnest the last few weeks and am still very novice. I am picking up as much crosswordese as fast as I can but the last couple of weeks have still been kind of frustrating and disappointing.

But I finished Monday's, was damn close on Tuesday (four squares off I think), finished my very first Wednesday puzzle of my life (!), did a good job on Thursday's... Friday and Saturday I didn't get anywhere...

But today's Sunday puzzle was the closest I have ever gotten in my life! According to Across Lite, I filled in 95% of the grid accurately! I only missed fifteen boxes in the entire puzzle!

I know its not much for people who are used to completely solving the puzzle 7 days a week and are irritated if it takes them more than 15 minutes, but for me to hunch over my table for hours on Sunday afternoon and grind out 95% of the Sunday puzzle felt like an enormous triumph and I am totally encouraged to keep trying each day.

The only two things that messed me up were on the east side. I insisted on putting TEENsy rather than TEENIE, and my stubbornness there derailed 100, 101, and 102-d and killed the SE corner. The only other part on the whole grid that messed me up was ANAPESTS, which I have never heard of and still have absolutely no idea what they are.

So thank you, Rex -- I have read the blog every day for about a month and my growth as an xword solver is exponential. A month ago I looked at the Sunday puzzle, struggled to come up with a few names or trivia-type answers that I knew, and gave up with about 4 of 5 answers penciled in. Yesterday I was 95% complete. So thank you so much for your insights!


P.S. Thanks for rating its difficulty a "Medium". It would have taken some of the glory away if I came on and it was ranked "ridiculously easy" or something. "Medium" makes it feel like more of an accomplishment.

Rex Parker 3:25 PM  

Dain, you are exceedingly welcome.

And thanks for perhaps the first nice comment anyone's ever made about my difficulty rating system :)

Keep on keepin' on,

Jenny 7:14 PM  

The fact that I was able to complete the entire puzzle in one sitting means it's probably on the easy side for a Sunday (I'm really at a Thursday/Sunday level, dabbling now in Fridays but *never* printing out the Saturdays (I've an online subscription)). But puzzles are complex things, and the perceived level of difficulty will vary based on a person's areas of knowledge, life experience, memory for odd facts, and, I think, mood and disposition while doing a puzzle! Thanks, RP :-)

While I'm at it, I might as well throw this out there for comments: what crossword puzzle tourny would you recommend for a first-timer (of my above-described level)? I would be going for the experience and for fun, not to compete seriously. I love puzzles and appreciate them as Great Art which is also participatory (and the creators are artists, for sure)!

Bob 10:02 PM  

ISTS for 58A Believers is pretty bad, but even worse is IRED for 33A Seeing red. A fun puzzle, nonetheless, with a great theme. I was able to guess some of the themed answers without any crosses which hardly ever happens.

Bob 10:12 PM  

I meant to say "I'm irate."

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