Lovers of luxury / THU 7-1-10 / 15th century pontiff only pope to write autobiography / Dick's partner / One of Western political family

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Constructor: Clive Probert

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: OVER / UNDER — "___ over ___" and "___ under ___" phrases are represented with the first and last words in the phrases literally over or under each other (so that "over" and "under" are implied)


Word of the Day: COPRA (43A: Coconut oil source) —

n.
The dried white flesh of the coconut from which coconut oil is extracted.

[Portuguese, from Malayalam koppara.]




• • •

First thought: "Seen it." Don't know where or when, but this gimmick is familiar to me. Not that I picked up on it right away. First couple minutes were spent just hacking around. Eventually stumbled into the central theme answer(s) — by far the best of the lot, by virtue of being playful/interesting — and then went back and picked up the stupid NW (where I was sure I was doomed) and pretty much tore the puzzle apart from there. Phrases are all very, almost too, familiar, except MIND over BODY, which just feels awkward to my ears.

Theme answers:
  • 1A: With 14-Across, breakfast order? (EGGS over EASY)
  • 16A: With 8-Across, world's oldest subway system? (LONDON underGROUND)
  • 34A: With 42-Across, bogey? (ONE over PAR)
  • 45A: With 42-Across, birdie? (ONE under PAR)
  • 70A: With 67-Across, dreaded words from a cop? (YOU ARE under ARREST)
  • 69A: With 72-Across, motto of a fitness trainer? (MIND over BODY)
High- and lowlights: DIVI-what? I had DIVISION and DIVIDEND in that damned answer and didn't get the real answer (DIVIDE UP) til near the very end (21D: Split). Nerdily proud to nail RATITE (48D: Many an Australian bird) and NAURU (52D: Pacific republic) (in the same small SW section), largely by virtue of my having made both words my "Word of the Day" in recent months. KURT crossing RON = huh? crossing who? for me (57D: Mathematician Gödel + 68A: Actor Moody of "Oliver!"). Thankfully, the "R" was completely inferrable. UPRIVER was my favorite answer in the whole grid (31A: Away from the mouth). SYBARITES is laudable, in its way, but too pretentious for me to fully embrace (4D: Lovers of luxury). And what the hell is with the clue on LEI (15A: Romanian "dollars")? That is Not an improvement on the Hawaiian floral wreath answer. Plural of an already obscure / crosswordesey currency (LEU)? Just write a better (Hawaiian) LEI clue!

Bullets:
  • 49A: Sickening (NOISOME) — good word. This was probably my worst stumble of the day, as I put in NOXIOUS.
  • 19A: Pontiac, for one (OTTAWA) — not a model I'm familiar with ... [sit back, wait for mail]
  • 51D: Dick's partner (SPIRO) — interesting political clues today in this one (tough) and UDALL (toughish) (11D: One of a Western political family).
  • 44A: "___ Eyes" (1969 hit) ("THESE") — "LYIN" also fits; wrong year. [correction: LYING fits. LYIN' ... does not]


[no Eagles to be found, so ... this'll do]
  • 54A: Entry at a hippodrome (TROTTER) — mind briefly confused "hippodrome" and "velodrome"
  • 59A: 15th-century pontiff who was the only pope to write an autobiography (PIUS II) — random popes with Roman numerals are never a welcome sight.
  • 61A: Weapon in "The Terminator" (UZI) — from ISR (60D: Neighbor of Syr.). I thought answer would be more ... futuristic/robotic.
  • 6D: What the Mad Hatter pours on the Dormouse to wake it up (TEA) — well, let's see, they were at the TEA party, so ...
  • 23D: Stalwart supporter (ADHERENT) — so NBA free agency begins in about 40 minutes from the time I'm typing this. Stalwart supporters of Cleveland and its "King" will be holding their collective breaths waiting to see what the second-best player in basketball decides to do . . . Hope he decides quickly so that ESPN can move on to talking about Anything else.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

74 comments:

foodie 12:20 AM  

Agreed- vaguely familiar theme, but fun and, once you tumble to it, makes for a relatively easy puzzle.

UP RIVER is my favorite because of the misdirection.

But the cluing at 30D seemed odd: Run for it= ELECTION. I understand Run is being used as a noun, but the phrase is making a run for it... So, it felt off.

"Dried white flesh" in WOD definition sounds not too appetizing :)

Dick & SPIRO-- that was my introduction to This American Life...

Steve J 12:34 AM  

Found this odd. Picked up the theme quickly (with ONE/PAR/ONE), but other parts were difficult (especially the mid-Atlantic, which stayed blank until i gave in and googled to get COPRA, which gave me enough to make headway.

The odd grid shape didn't help.

@foodie: Agreed on the cluing for ELECTION. Thus is at least the second time in recent weeks where a noun has been clues as an imperative verb (QTIP got that treatment, and there may have been another). Seems to me that it's a violation of the rule that clue and answer must be able used interchangeably in a sentence.

PurpleGuy 12:39 AM  

@Rex- can't believe you didn't comment about another opera aria in the puzzle. It was a gimme for me.
"O MIO babbino caro" from "Gianni Schicchi."
Maria Callas has a beautiful recording of it. I believe you even posted it last year. One of my all time favorites.

I thought the puzzle was quite clever and fairly easy for a Thursday. Picked up the theme right away in the NW with EGGS over EASY, the way I like mine(and my men)LOL.

Being a bird enthusiast, RATITE was no problem, and I remembered NAURU from your WOD a while back.

Mo UDALL was a long time political figure here in AZ, so that was a gimme also.

I agree that the central theme answers were the best. I thought it was good construction and very amusing. Hats off to Mr. Probert.

Happy Thursday all !!!
Taking mom out to lunch at our favorite French bistro. Shanti !!

krulas- Scandinavian pastries ?

Bob/PurpleGuy

Denise Ann 12:41 AM  

Ottawa was a Pontiac chief (Native Americans).

Spencer 12:43 AM  

Denise -- almost -- Chief Pontiac was an Ottawa indian.

syndy 2:05 AM  

there's a story here-a couple of noisome dropouts from the london underground made an easy grab with a uzi,soon decried by the csi they were sent upriver for an epoch!

andrea fat-mouth michaels 2:24 AM  

Loved the theme and got it for once right from the word go...1A EGGS
EASY
bec my neighbor Nick and I just discussed doing this EXACT puzzle idea!!!

I liked
ARREST
YOUARE
the best!

I'm guessing this puzzle slightly easier for the 50+ crowd today (as opposed to yesterday).
Remembering RON Moody as Fagin,
Mo UDALL (tho I hesitated over whether it was spelled UDAhL,
Tricky Dick and SPIRO, SNL and even being tested for HDL cholesterol would all hit the sweet spot years-wise.

And yes, I got NAURU and RATITE thanks to this blog.

@Rex
You are lucky at least to have tried DIVI... as I had to undo
Ask by Google and SEPARATE, not one letter of which is correct.

Fat-mouth, surprisingly, was new to me!

chefwen 2:58 AM  

Good puzzle, got a little messed up in the LEI/YAK/SIKH area. Wanted leg of lamb instead of ROAST LAMB and was a little unsure of NOISOME, but it fit. Another great puzzle to add to a super week of puzzledom,

Got it right off the git go with EGGS over EASY.

Favorites were UP RIVER and SNAP AT. I get "snap at" a lot from dear old dad. Bless him.

Greene 6:14 AM  

Fun puzzle which I solved with my daughter late last evening. Love the gimmick and, like Rex, I know I've seen it before. Got the idea with the ONE over PAR, ONE under PAR construction at the center.

Learned a new word COPRA and remembered SYBARITES, which I didn't even know I knew. I guess I think of the word in the SYBARITIC sense. Got RATITE quickly (thanks Rex) and remembered NAURU after a few crosses. I'm pleased that I've done enough puzzles to figure out something useless like PIUS II from just the P and the S.

For me, RON Moody has always been the definitive Fagin. He strikes just the right balance in the role which (as written for the musical) skews more toward comedy and less toward "evil Jew" stereotyping. He originated the role in the first London production of Oliver! in 1960, but was replaced by Clive Revill for Broadway. Of course, he did the 1968 movie version and got an Academy Award nomination in the process (losing to Cliff Robertson). I was very fortunate to have caught him live in the 1984 Broadway revival which, quite sadly, lasted but a few weeks. He gave a gleeful, leering, maniacal riot of a performance and pretty much had the audience eating out of his hand whenever he was on. It's a cherished memory and reminds why I prefer live theatre to all other entertainments.

The Bard 7:47 AM  

The Merchant of Venice > Act I, scene III

SHYLOCK: Oh, no, no, no, no: my meaning in saying he is a
good man is to have you understand me that he is
sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition: he
hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the
Indies; I understand moreover, upon the Rialto, he
hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and
other ventures he hath, squandered abroad. But ships
are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats
and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves, I
mean pirates, and then there is the peril of waters,
winds and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding,
sufficient. Three thousand ducats; I think I may
take his bond.

BASSANIO: Be assured you may.

SHYLOCK: I will be assured I may; and, that I may be assured,I will bethink me. May I speak with Antonio?

BASSANIO: If it please you to dine with us.

SHYLOCK: Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into. I
will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you,
walk with you, and so following, but I will not eat
with you, drink with you, nor pray with you. What
news on the Rialto? Who is he comes here?

Review of Central Park Production

Jo 8:00 AM  

Took a bit for me to get the theme, had to move SW to get UNDER ARREST; from there much fell into place, but had to consult my Shakespeare for Duke and DUCAT, and one Dictionary check for OTTAWA. Loved SYBARITES as I consider myself one. Got everything else I didn't know through the crosses.

Leslie 8:13 AM  

It kind of freaks me out when I read Rex's write-up and it's word for word, reaction for reaction, the same experience I had. Right down to briefly confusing a hippodrome and a velodrome. Gaah!

Anyway--liked the theme, but as I say, Rex pre-empted absolutely any observation I might have made.

Today's word: "wenonier." Like crossed ammo belts filled with little Vienna sausages.

archaeoprof 8:25 AM  

Thanks, Rex, for the George Jones link! My first day back after a month away on the dig, and ... country music!

@Andrea Fat-Mouth: I really liked
ARREST
YOUARE
too. And I bet you are right about this puzzle and the 50+ crowd.

JayWalker 8:35 AM  

Not a "fast" time, but a "good" time today. Difficult but not impossible. Good cluing and fun theme too. Frankly, I get tired of the rebus tradition. This made for a nice Thursday.

Zeke 8:38 AM  

My pretentiousness seems to have been confirmed, as I got SYBARITE off the S. Other than that, what everyone else said. Except for the ONE/PAR/ONE central theme entry. I seem incapable of paying attention to cross referenced clues, so kept saying to myself "I already did that one". Took me forever to realize there were two entries there.

VaBeach puzzler 8:42 AM  

Sorry, @andreea, I'm in the 50+ crowd, and yesterday's puzzle was a breeze for me. I may not be an ADHERENT of Seal, Jewel, Hammer, et alia, but they're a lot more familiar to me than KURT or ORSINO!

dk 8:52 AM  

Rex, the Pontiac model you are thinking of is OTTAGAS.

Struggled to think of the initials for the bots in the Terminator franchise only to fall back to the puzzle standard issue: UZI

The puzzles theme was cute but somehow the overall fill did not live up to my Thursday expectations as in the UZI fill noted above.

Still do not get HAW for left.

** (2 Stars) My 2 DUCATS

Boring story alert!

Paddled UPRIVER yesterday. Interesting to experience a river (MississIppi) going from industrial to agricultural to sorta-wild, Next time I may paddle back to the Eocene.

My gross and disgusting river rating systems is based on the number of prophylactics and Tampons I see floating by. I am happy to report a zero rating. However, if I had river-based econometric system it would come in at a 4. The number of homeless camps seen. Last trip (6 years ago) it would have been zero.

Off to the St Croix tomorrow as I attempt to reenact Cheever's The Swimmer by going river to river across the state. I hope my family does not move away while I am gone.

Leslie 9:05 AM  

@dk, "Gee" and "haw" are old-timey shouted commands to one's team of horses, mules or oxen. Farmers trained them to turn right for the first and left for the second. Seems like that's where the stereotypical redneck cry of "Yeehaw!!" is supposed to come from.

What a sad observation about the encampments of homeless people along the river.

You call this gravy? 9:15 AM  

This puzzle reminded me of a joke or something about a postal mail-router who was given an envelope addressed to:

HILL
JOHN
MASS

It had perplexed everybody else in this fictional joke world of the joke I'm telling, but this particular mail router was known for his puzzle-sleuthery and right away said, "Deliver this to John Underhill, Andover, Massachusetts." I don't know what happened after that or what the letter said. Probably nothing important, because it's unlikely the letter-sender would have had any real expectation of the letter getting delivered. In fact, anybody who'd send a letter addressed that way is probably troubled in some deep way and really isn't a joking matter. I didn't finish this puzzle because of SIKH where I wanted SHAH. I don't think the SHAH wore a turban, but I'm guilty of kind of throwing all non-Westerners into the same pot when it comes to matters of wardrobe and currency. If you're from the middle-east or somewhere that sounds like it's the middle east, or if you're country is four letters and stars with an O or an I and has a gulf anywhere around, you're a turban-wearing rial-spender in my crossword world until you prove otherwise, at least in my crossword world. There was a whole episode of This American Life about Nahru.

SethG 9:15 AM  

I'm guessing Andrea guessing this puzzle slightly easier for the 50+ crowd today (as opposed to yesterday, which skewed slightly easier for the 50- crowd).

I played Fagin in the third grade. (When I was in the third grade I played Fagin; I did not play a young Fagin.) 1/3 of Fagin. Fagin 2 marched off, Fagin 3 marched on, the play continued. For some songs, all of the Fagins appeared together. I did not know Ron Moody. Or Orsino.

I did pick up on the theme right away. It did not help me tear the rest of the puzzle apart.

jesser 9:16 AM  

Learned SYBARITES today, and only got it from crosses.

The SE was by far the hardest area for me. I finally threw down EDY because it was the only 3-letter ice cream name I could grok, and everything opened up from there. I'm not familiar with gymspeak, so MIND over BODY was not a known phrase. I did a sit up once. It hurt. I stopped.

The theme was, well, cute.

@Rex: I laughed aloud about "Sit back. Wait for mail." And then came Denise.

Only writeover was at 36A, where I entered ElECT, but then 30D came into view and made me go back and revisit the erroneous duplication. I'm glad it did, otherwise I don't think the weird ROAST LAMB would have appeared in my brain. My sister broils the LAMB, when she cooks the stuff.

MIO my. I think that will have to do it for today. Workiness beckons.

Dingtaba! (the dyslexic dingbat) -- jesser

ArtLvr 9:58 AM  

Morning ZOO was a new one for me, Fat-mouth too, and I wanted a Shah because I knew the HAW and didn't see SIKH till coming here. Silly, since my son is engaged to a lovely gal of Sikh descent... I haven't inquired if there is a feminine form such as Sikhess or Sikha, sinceI'd be DECRIED, for sure.

Light dawned at the LONDON underGROUND and I loved the NOISOME SYBARITES! Otherwise, it was a bit annoying to see some of the three- and four-letter words as parts of the theme answers, but others not. Just a nit, never mind. I enjoyed it in the main.

∑;)

p.s. HDL to me is "highly desirable", LDL is less desirable...

p.p.s. Al Roker is right now on NBC featuring my daughter's YA book, "Dark Life"! Woohoo!

chefbea 10:06 AM  

Tough puzzle but at least there was some food...spud and eggs.

Got the theme with Bogey and eagle.

Van55 10:06 AM  

My first reaction was "These cross references are really annoying.". And I was solving on paper!

Ended up enjoying the gimmick and solving with no errors.

I didn't like the random pope or the LEI clue/SIKH cross. The former is mensanized in the extreme as RP's comment demonstrates.

joho 10:26 AM  

I got the theme at YOUARE under ARREST which was my fave. I didn't like MIND over BODY for the same reason @Rex stated.

Maybe a tad too easy for a Thursday but enjoyable just the same.

John V 10:29 AM  

Totally eerie: Merchant of Venice review is right above the puzzle in the print edition. Spooky.

Pretty easy Thursday, save for West, which I found a bit sticky.

Rex Parker 10:37 AM  

What's the over/under on the number of msgs/comments I get today about the Pontiac clue? (must be over 3—the current number).

rp

sporting clay 10:37 AM  

an over and under puzzle! very appealing. I just went skeet shooting with an over-and-under shotgun (Beretta) last night. Maybe that's why this was easy for me, or at least enjoyable. I liked it a lot: SYBARITE? NOISOME? TACIT? Good stuff.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:41 AM  

Fun puzzle.

As did jesser, I LOL at Rex's "... [sit back, wait for mail]." I often wonder why people can't take a second or two to Google answers they don't understand.

I did slow down a bit in the far SW, because without looking at the grid (and answer lengths), but only the clue "dreaded words from a cop?", I got it into my head that it would have some variant on "PULL over ____". (Yeah, yeah, I know: When a cop pulls you over, you are both in vehicles, so he wouldn't use words, but rather lights or siren, etc. . . . )

DBGeezer 10:47 AM  

@artlvr, There is no feminine form for SIKH, as Sikh, like Christian or Hindu is the name of the religious faith.


capcha: He was DEBRAPH man who DEEPLY admired both the SIKH and OTTAWA

foodie 10:48 AM  

Wow, @Artlvr, is Kat Falls your daughter? How cool is that! I remember looking at her book and wishing I knew a kid the right age to enjoy it. What a talented family!

@You call this gravy, LOL. Never wore a turban or spent a rial in my life. But I did wear a belly dancing costume (back in the days) and spent Liras. Before I became intimately familiar with this American Life, I thought Americans came in two flavors-- reckless cowboys and beach-going, bikini wearing SYBARITES.

@Archeoprofessor, welcome back! Did you spend any dinars?

@dk, "I hope my family does not move away while I am gone"- my husband had a patient, a kid who had been sent to Juvenile detention, and his parents did exactly that while he was away. So sad...

Rex Parker 10:50 AM  

"Reckless cowboys and bikini-clad sybarites" — I would read that.

Two Ponies 10:50 AM  

This one annoyed me.
All that back and forth cross-referencing put me off.
That little area of ETs, lei, and yak really made me mad.
A lei is a flower necklace and
a yak is an animal.
Just because it's Thursday it is not necessary to mensanize.
(As @ Van55 pointed out)
I can't believe someone actually fell for Rex's Pontiac joke.

I guess I'm wearing the crabby pants today.

Moonchild 11:15 AM  

I had trouble getting in the groove on this one. When it all was done I wasn't sure it was worth it.
Mind over body? OK, if you say so.
@ the Bard, I was quite surprised to see Mexico in your quote. Really?
Some unusual words in todays grid like noisome. It never seems to me to fit the definition and sounds like a Bronxism of ...something.
I really wanted yap for 18A.
Elysee or Elysse? I always hesitate.
Copra and coconut oil will not help your HDL.
Hippodrome made me think of hippopotomus and river horse which made me wonder about the Potomic River. A redundant name?

Greene 11:18 AM  

Has anybody done Matt Jones' crossword today? The answer to 1A in that delightful themeless would seem to be a wish fulfilled for several posters here. You can link to the puzzle through Cruciverb (see the sidebar).

Tinbeni 11:28 AM  

Yesterday the NYT & LAT both had STACKS.
Today, heading into the July 4th weekend, they both have ON TAP (and ALA).
I'll drink to that.

Nice ref. to Guess Who.

syndy 11:34 AM  

@Kerfuffle when the siren and lights don't do the job they DO get on the bullhorn and holler
PULL OVER then you know they're serious!

archaeoprof 11:39 AM  

@Foodie: lots of them, in Amman, Aqaba, Wadi Rum, Petra, and Wadi Mujib. Our dig was near a Jordanian military base, and one day the commander treated us to a mansaf dinner. All in all, a great trip.

Chief Pontiac 11:47 AM  

@Moonchild --

Wikipedia says:

"Potomac" is a European spelling of an Algonquian name for a tribe subject to the Powhatan confederacy, that inhabited the upper reaches of the Northern Neck in the vicinity of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Some accounts say the name means "place where people trade" or "the place to which tribute is brought". The natives called the river above the falls Cohongarooton, translated as "river of geese", and that area was renowned in early years for an abundance of both geese and swans. The spelling of the name has been simplified over the years from "Patawomeke" (as on Captain John Smith's map) to "Patowmack" in the 18th century and now "Potomac". Some scholars have also suggested it is rooted in the ancient Greek for river, "potamos", blended with the Powhatan name "Patawomeke". The river's name was officially decided upon as Potomac by the Board on Geographic Names in 1931.

Smitty 11:49 AM  

Not easy for me -esp in SW> I finished but I didn't get the theme until I came here - need more coffee
Congrats on RATITE Rex, that would have been my WOTD.

Martin 11:50 AM  

From Time Magazine's 1963 review of John Wayne in "Donovan's Reef":

"He ... offers her a lei, but she holds out for a wedding ring."

It impressed this adolescent reader then and I think it could be worked into a great clue today.

The review also said "Watching John Ford make this moving is like watching Escoffier make mud pies."

Never did see "Donovan's Reef."

Martin 11:54 AM  

Er..."movie."

pezibc 12:21 PM  

I had a terrible time getting ELECTION, but once I had it it was completely fair. "Ran for ELECTION" is certainly in the language.

It was the clues on LEI / YAK that cost me a -2. With an easier clue for either, I would have been alright.

Shamik 12:47 PM  

Very easy puzzle. Loved seeing Rex's comment on [sit back...wait for mail]. But having just completed the Wrath of Klahn puzzle book, Pontiac/OTTAWA is now a huge gimme. Look for it in a wrathful puzzle soon.

I love having a job that there are days I can do the puzzle at work. Shhhh....don't tell my boss.

Waxy in Montreal 1:07 PM  

That OTTAWA & LONDON both appear in today's grid is most appropriate as Canada's shared Queen (Elizabeth) who normally resides in London is currently in Ottawa presiding (majestically, of course) over our July 1st CANADA DAY celebrations.

Happy Canada Day, one and all!

Clark 1:15 PM  

@pezibc -- Your explanation would make the clue "ran for ____" work. But that was not the clue. I think it needed a question mark -- not even sure if that saves it. On the other hand, it falls within the zone of plausible error, making it totally gettable.

Martin 1:38 PM  

@Clark,

"Run for election" is also in the language, making this a well-formed "it clue." We may not like them, but clues using "it" as a signal are a standard form.

AHD,4th 1:52 PM  

Election also means "The fact of being elected", which is presumeably what one ran for.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

could someone please explain why answer to55A is PAS

shrub5 2:17 PM  

Had fun with this puzzle. Got the theme right away at ONE/PAR/ONE and the rest of them were a snap except for MIND over BODY (never visited a fitness trainer.)

Liked DROPOUTS for 'classless group?' - took a while for that word to emerge as I put USA for the first World Cup winner based on having U--. In retrospect, this was so completely stupid as the USA has NEVER won the World Cup. Didn't know RATITE so SATITE sounded as good as anything. Finally came around to URUguay.

One more hand up for momentarily confusing hippodrome with velodrome. Then there's palindrome...racecar.

amispht 2:29 PM  

@Anon 2:17 - it isn't. 55A is PAT

Clark 2:42 PM  

Thanks, @Martin. I remember now that you have a category for this kind of clue. I will pay attention to it going forward.

Stan 3:15 PM  

Interesting -- kind of like two puzzles in one, themed and themeless.

I considered:

THE INFLUENCE
YOU ARE

but it wouldn't fit.

Anonymous 3:36 PM  

?? HAW for "left"? ?? What am I missing (I got it, of course, from the cross)

sanfranman59 3:41 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)

Thu 17:15, 19:14, 0.90, 40%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 9:21, 9:13, 1.01, 62%, Medium-Challenging

But for that little 3x3 Dakotas section of the puzzle, I'd have completed this one in a much better than average Thursday time (for me). I was certain that 15A: Romanian "dollars" was LEu and had no idea that it could be pluralized as LEI. I never seem to want to accept that YAK is anything other than an animal and am also sometimes tripped up by the "left turn" connotation of HAW (which is odd, because I never seem to stumble on its counterpart, gee). Disentangling that morass added at least a couple of minutes to my time as I eventually resorted to submitting somewhat random letters in that section. A rather frustrating end to an otherwise fun solve.

I was also confused by MIND over BODY. I have been a gym rat at times in my life and have visited fitness trainers from time to time, but am pretty sure that I've never heard that phrase used in that context. MIND over matter, perhaps. MIND over BODY? Uh ... no. But Googling "mind over body" with "fitness" does return almost 11,000 hits, so I guess it passes muster.

Anonymous 3:43 PM  

What you're missing is the part where Leslie answered your question at 9:05 this morning.

PuzzleNut 4:17 PM  

Not a big fan of the cross-references. Even with paper and pen they are quite annoying. That said, YOUARE ARREST tipped the scales and I admit I enjoyed the puzzle all in all.
The only really troubling area was the Dakotas as I knew LEu and LEv, but never heard of LEI (other than at a luau). Add to that YAp vs YAK (isn't that an animal) and I was scrathing my turban for awhile.
SYBARITES was a new word for me. Another brain cell filled.
captcha - flemplay, picking your nose

Zeke 4:24 PM  

@PuzzleNut - wrong orifice, but still the best captcha comment ever.

JaneW 4:37 PM  

My solving experience today was typical, except that for 38D I had the initial E and the final T and figured people went to Florida to see an EgreT (rather than EPCOT). Didn't give it up until crosses forced it. I think it was due to thinking about all the wildlife that is being harmed or killed by the oil "spill" in the Gulf.

mac 6:16 PM  

I got the theme almost right away with the eggs, and enjoyed discovering the other over and under answers. Amazing to see two "ones" in a puzzle!

Never heard of fat-mouth or Morning Zoo, but ratite was crosswordese! Who would have thought. I expected something a little more interesties, such as "groupie" for the adherent, but all in all it was pretty easy and a lot of fun!

dk 6:42 PM  

Debby Downer section

@foodie, tell Dr. Mr. Foodie me too! After six months of it's not about you (and getting nowhere with that), the mom (using the term very loosely) decides she wants the kid back cause their back on AFDC and can use the money.

@leslie, It is a shame when a river bank is the safest place you can be. I felt I was in a John Steinbeck novel.

Patty Bright Eyes section

Way to go @artlvr. Your daughter's work is wonderful (YA readers in da house and hood) but her name, Kat Falls, is superb. If she would adopt me I would change my name to Nine Lives, Ph.D. (of course)

@zeke, if my job had an office I would live for the day when I could say: "nope, not me, next orifice down."

UltraViolet 7:35 PM  

I'm * from * Ottawa and I did not get the Pontiac clue. I thought, surely "Ottawa" could have been clued more cleverly ie. in a way that I would have got.....But I did appreciate the Happy Canada Day wishes! (didn't know about the Queen being there, I now live in the US).

foodie 8:29 PM  

Rex, you're a genius. Someday, I'm going to use your version as a book title. I keep thinking that maybe, when I'm not working over 60 hours a week, I'll write a collection of vignettes about life from my multiple vantage points. Now I have a title! The rest is easy.

@dk, I told Dr.Mr. Foodie that you had the same experience. He said: "Did you tell him that this 12 year old kid had been wandering for a year all over northern California going from one drug camp to another and they used him to test the effectiveness of their concoctions?" I'll let you guys figure out who has the more depressing story... But I did mention about your river adventures and the homeless people. Downers, for sure.

@Archeoprof, a proper mansaf? Not too sure about that dish, myself. Next time you're in Jordan, see if you can hit someone up for a chicken dish called Musakhan. That stuff is amazing.

BACK TO THE PUZZLE!

@SanFranMan, I too wanted Mind over Matter, not MIND/BODY.

My son ends his e-mails with a quote from Yoda: "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."

JenCT 9:54 PM  

Found this one on the difficult side; was stuck in the midwest for the longest time.

How about having a word repeated today? (ONE) Haven't seen that before. Liked the theme.

sanfranman59 10:01 PM  

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

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

Mon 7:11, 6:55, 1.04, 70%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 9:32, 8:49, 1.08, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 8:49, 11:44, 0.75, 6%, Easy
Thu 17:44, 19:15, 0.92, 42%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:50, 3:41, 1.04, 74%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:09, 4:31, 1.14, 91%, Challenging
Wed 4:28, 5:46, 0.78, 8%, Easy
Thu 8:21, 9:12, 0.91, 42%, Medium

Sfingi 11:00 PM  

Yeesh - my comment disappeared??

It's too long and to late to do over.
Bottom line - the puzzle was awe-inspiring.

acme 3:12 AM  

By the way, I put in FLESH before DUCAT!!!! I can't decide if that is gross or (at one time) well-read. :)

CaseAceFos 8:36 AM  

I say, Rex, old top, I'm pleased as punch to know you're a Kobe Fan, as I, too, regard him as second to none in the Hardwood world, not only now, but ever!

Rex Parker 8:41 AM  

I'm not saying I'm a fan. I'm just saying he's the best. The best today. Not the best ever.

CaseAceFos 7:06 PM  

Rex, I've been a witness from the very beginning of Pro BB when the league was called the B.A.A. (Basketball Assoc. of Amer) and I played a mean game of hoops back in the day myself, having been raised in East Harlem and played against the best both there and in the Army.
If you're hinting that M.J. was the best ever, in MHO, Kobe is every bit as great and barring a career ending injury, he will exceed every scoring record any N.B.A'er ever posted, as he came directly out of H.S. and therefore that is not beyond the realm of possibility! Defensively equal and with the same determination of the Devil that marked Air Jordan's game...Kobe is assuredly second to no one who ever laced up a pair of sneakers! Have a glorious 4th Rex,and thanks for the reply, guy.

Jenny 10:54 PM  

I thought 1D to be an odd clue: "Result of a certain med. test." An EEG *is* a test in itself, as far as I know.

Lenny 12:12 PM  

Mega-props to my namesake (minus the 2 dots) KURT Godel!! OK, so I'm not named after him, but we do share the same last name (in letters only if not pronunciation)...

Big Daddy 5:48 PM  

Rex is absolutely correct. The "LEU", "LEI" vagueness is just LAME!! Also the cross on "fatmouth" can be attributed only to bad cluing. The rest was tiresome just because of all the 3 letter answers.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

@"Hippodrome," it's kind of hard to see confusing it with velodrome, but I did start off with CHARIOT since a TROTTER is only found at a "horse/race track."

@Martin, in complete agreement with both your comments. "It" may be a convention, but what a wretched one.

captcha: self-referential "taingeld"

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