Crustacean seven pairs of legs / MON 8-23-10 / Muckraker Jacob / Funnywoman Silverman / 1987 flop Warren Beatty Dustin Hoffman

Monday, August 23, 2010

Constructor: Oliver Hill

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Street signs — theme answers start with words or phrases commonly found on street signs


Word of the Day: ISOPOD (6D: Crustacean with seven pairs of legs) —

Isopods are an order of peracarid crustaceans, including familiar animals such as woodlice and pill bugs. The name Isopoda derives from the Greek iso meaning "same" and pod meaning "foot". The fossil record of isopods dates back to the Carboniferous period (in the US Pennsylvanian epoch), at least 300 million years ago. (wikipedia)
• • •

Set a new speed record on this one, so really I should have rated it "Easy," even for a Monday, but a quick glance over the grid (as well as a quick glance at times at the NYT site) makes me think it was probably an average Monday that I just got extraordinarily lucky on. I have no idea how I did this in 2:40 when there were not one, not two, but three big ??? clues. I'm sure I've seen the word ISOPOD before, but the seven legs clue did nothing for me. I don't associate WANNABEs with star-struckedness at all. I guess all those Madonna WANNABEs in the '80s were "starstruck" with Madonna, but that word now just has a general association of aspiration combined with inauthenticity. "Starstruck" = AGOG to me. So that clue didn't do anything for me. And then there was YIELD CURVE, the clue for which was annoyingly complicated, so I abandoned it in despair. Must have got it entirely from crosses, because I don't even remember an AHA moment. Everything else in the grid went in almost instantly—I was lucky enough to know all the proper nouns well: Duke ORSINO, SARAH Silverman, Jacob RIIS, etc. Wish the fill, in general, were livelier. STOP DROP AND ROLL is the most interesting thing in the grid, and I've seen that 15 before.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: By any means necessary (ONE WAY OR ANOTHER) — really really would have loved the Blondie song here


  • 26A: Work that offers no chance for advancement (DEAD END JOB)
  • 46A: Line showing the relationship between an interest rate and maturity date (YIELD CURVE)
  • 57A: Instruction to someone who's on fire (STOP DROP AND ROLL)


This is a 78-worder despite having two grid-spanning 15s (my unscientific observation is that 15s tend to put the word count, in themed puzzles, down in the 74-76 range), and so there is a Lot of short fill, a lot of it partial and/or abbrev. and/or blah. INOW ASTO ORSO IPSO OHO IMON OLA ZOLA OHO CHOC IFS AER etc. Actually, I like ZOLA. I just wanted to run OLA and ZOLA together for effect.

My mother's first and last names cross in this puzzle. That's right; my mother's name is ULAN ADMAN.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

76 comments:

Tobias 12:14 AM  

Saturday's puzzle was suppose to be my big slump buster so I got a little cocky and tried a "no look" once I had the TS in one down. Was sure it would be TSAR and it took an eternity to figure out the error .Looking over the Sunday puzzle while waiting to see what the great Rex had to say about this fine Monday, I am glad I skipped it as I do most Sundays. I cannot put my finger on why I don't care for them. I guess it must be because I hate all things Sunday. Douglas Adams once called it the tea time of the soul and had an immortal character that "never could get the hang of Sundays". Anyone else give Sunday puzzles a miss??

Tinbeni 12:26 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
des 12:26 AM  

Rex,
Thanks, as always for identifying the theme. I agree that it felt very easy and went very fast - well, until the Southwest where PSIS threw me for a loop. I got it from the crosses, but even after Googling it, I had no idea what CHISPSIS meant. I finally decided that we must be talking about the Greek alphabet (PSI after CHI) but the plural form (PSIS after CHIS) made this very confusing.
Thanks in advance.

foodie 12:33 AM  

Take Rex's experience and put it in slow-mo (by about a factor of 2.5) and that would be mine. I really expected to be much slower because of all the WTF moments-- on a Monday! And yet it all worked itself out.

I really wanted 17A to be By Hook or By Crook.

YIELD CURVE is hard to love.

Malapop City: Had NINOS in lieu of NENES, until the EL NINO showed up-

Tinbeni 12:42 AM  

Was hoping to be seeing everything at favorite place on earth today.
Hedonism II, Negril, Jamaica.
Then I could have used I MON parsed correctly.

@Purple Guy, I'm up late, its past midnight, and I'm Toasting another year has gone by, with some 'Blue' ...
Here's to you, your 102 yo Mom, and all the "Rastafarian Bone Rollers" here at Rex World.

Enjoyed seeing my Mom, SARAH in the grid.

Fastest NYT ever ... PERIOD.

Steve J 1:03 AM  

I'm another one who flew through this. I can only remember 1 or 2 puzzles I did quicker. Which means I didn't really notice a lot as I was solving. As I realized I was blazing through this, I started focusing on just trying to get it done quickly, to see where I'd end up.

Looking back on it, it all seems quite middle of the road, in keeping with the highway theme. Not much exciting, but also not much of anything that I found bothersome. STOPDROPANDROLL was probably my favorite, and I like WANNABE. The cluing on that one does seem odd, but I have seen the exact same cluing recently.

chefwen 1:23 AM  

Nice, easy Monday puzzle, time to take a deep breath after Fri. and Sat. A moment of pause on 6D ISOPOD, had to wait for crosses on that one.

Really liked YIELD CURVE, two road signs for the price of one.

Who knew that Argentine tots and Hawaiian geese had something in common?

@Tinbeni - Birthday perhaps, if so hope it was a good one.

shrub5 1:29 AM  

I also add NINOS before NENES which made the narrow margin in a baseball game ONIRUN. Fixed that and sped on. Liked MRBIG. Happy that I got ONED (one dimension) easily, thanks to previous CW puzzles and blogs.
Clue 6A is un-PC. It should read "---- pronounce you husband and wife", not man and wife. Think of it switched -- would you ever say "I now pronounce you husband and woman" ??

Anonymous 1:53 AM  

SELA NERO?
SARAH BANK?
TARA PRESTO?
MR BIG RIIS?

What is your mom's name???
I must know.

ana condas michaels 1:54 AM  

@Shrub5
I think they always DID say "Man and wife" and it's only been in the last 30 years you hear "Husband and wife" after feminism made slight headway!

@chefwen
Didn't notice the double sign in YIELD and CURVE...cool!

@foodie
I too malapopped with NINOS but I'll bet 98% of folks did...

And I never realized that Nestle the company without the accent is nestle till now!!!!!!
This puzzle lacked the thingie over the N in EL NINO and the accent over the E in NESTLE. Not to mention the Danish slash thru the O in ORSINO

(Only kidding about ORSINO, but I still contend that ORSINO and RIIS and ISOPOD are too hard for a Monday)

Liked this in general in terms of smoothness of theme, tho I wonder why the last word could not have been SIGNS instead of SNAGS
(Tho Zola gave it it's only Scrabbly moment)

Other nit: ONED is already too hard to parse for a Monday, but is esp not great since you already have ONE WAY in the grid.
PRESTO/SULTAN/IGNORE are so nice tho, maybe it was impossible otherwise.

Of course I love all the foreign boys popping up...JORGE, NENE, ELNINO, OLEG, ORSINO, ZOLA, NERO (and TORERO to boot)!

It's official, ISHTAR has gotten more play in crosswords than at the box office.

SO do we get to guess @rex's mom's name? OK, my guess: TARA BANK...
Oh wait! They don't cross! ;)

PurpleGuy 1:59 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Flew through it. Only hang up was with 46a. Never heard of the phrase, but was gettable with the down crosses.

Rex, great write up, and especially want to thank you for the Blondie clip. The live performance is good, but I still prefer the studio version. Deborah Harry really rocked. "Rapture" was really the first rock rap song.

@Tinbeni - thanks for the shout-out. If it's your birthday, I certainly send you our best wishes.
Mom and I toasted the sunset with our Green.
Should I be saving the blue for the 103 birthday in April? or throw caution to the wind and crack it open now ? !!!!!

Happy Monday Rexites. Let's hope this is the sign of a great week to come in puzzledom.

Thank you Oliver Hill for a fun solving experience.

Shanti - Bob/ PurpleGuy

PurpleGuy 2:03 AM  

Oh come on people, It's right at 14a and 5d :
Sarah Sharpe !!!!

X 2:17 AM  

Is no one else bothered by the annoying existence of both ERA and EONS? Maybe it's just that I hate the AGE/ERA/EON fill. Bothers me every time.

one-drea carla michaels 3:06 AM  

DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD:
Young Oliver, I just realized there was ONE WAY, ONE D, AND ONE RUN!!?! Was this intentional?! Otherwise, seems like someone was asleep at the wheel!

Anonymous 5:22 AM  

@Anon 1:53

REA NEWAYO?
OLA ORANO?
ANNA ORANO?
ANNA NOTH?
ASH ADEN?
ASH TAHOE?
ANA AARON?
TARA NORE?
And the twins,
LILA and ZOLA OPANDRO?

The Bard 7:44 AM  

Twelfth Night, ACT I,SCENE I

DUKE ORSINO
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe'er,
But falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical.

joho 8:09 AM  

This puzzle moved right along, no real road blocks.

@foodie & @ one-drea carla ... I agree that many malapopped at NINOS before NENES before ELNINO.

I didn't like CHOC.

Liked seeing ADMAN as I'm totally engrossed in "Mad Men" again.

@Purple Guy ... of course, SARAH SHARP ... that is cool!

dk 8:32 AM  

I'm back!

My favorite street sign is: Slippery When Wet. Of course, I am now officially a dirty elderly gentlemen.

Loved STOPDROPANDROLL in the sixties we changed this to stop, drop and drool (lame drug use reference).

MRBIG was the boss of Boris and Natascha on Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Nice start to the week Mr. Hill

*** (3 Stars)

The Big E 8:42 AM  

@Shrub5 and @Ana Conda Michaels:
Your comments on man and wife vs. husband and wife made me have to go into my email and check what my officiant had put into her first draft of our Wedding Ceremony!
:-)
As I was reading the comments, I honestly could not remember what she had written. Turns out that she put in husband and wife, which is perfect. :-)
Nice, quick, fun puzzle.
Happy Monday, all!
Greg

chefbea 8:56 AM  

Easy Monday!! I too did not realize the two theme words in yield curve - never heard of that term

Of course Sarah Sharp!!!

fikink 9:02 AM  

Having grown up singing, "N E S T L E S, Nestle's makes the very best chawwwwwwcolate..." I cannot now get used to the non-possessive NESTLE.

I malapooped, too.

Easy, breezy puzzle.

What better way to start a Monday morning than with Sam Cooke telling you to get up and wash your face!

Jim 9:17 AM  

Every time I try to move quickly, at least one error. Put ESE instead of SSE so got NENEE. Whoops!

Quick time was torpedoed anyway with ONED, CHOC OHO, UPON and ULAN. ONED had me rethinking PRESTO and even SULTAN. I font think of a line as one dimensional, anyway. I suppose a line is 1D, a square 2D and a cube 3D. But on a Cartesian plane, a line has an X and a Y coordinate. So it's 2D in that sense. CHOC is cheap, and OHO is completely random. Why not HOH, OHA, OOH, OHH, AHA or a million other combos. Not a capital offense, but incongruous with the rest of the puzzle. Seemed like Mr Hill was on a deadline and said: "Ah, f it. Good enough!"

foodie 9:29 AM  

@The Big E: You're getting married? You're a cute 10 year old with a fishy tee on! Congratulations!

@Rex, what is cool about your mom's name is that her first name contains 80% of her second name- a ladder in the making.

@DK, One of my favorite signs: "Nene Crossing".

Favorite sign, ever, is also in Hawaii: "Turn headlights on when driving through clouds". It makes me think of Joni Mitchell's:

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds, at all...

The Big E 9:32 AM  

@foodie - yeah, I was fricking adorable, what can I say! :-p
Where is the sign in Hawaii? That is where Mary and I are going for our honeymoon - in maui! :-)

Van55 9:45 AM  

Andrea has proved that one can create a GREAT Monday puzzle without nearly so much tripe in the fill. RP's list of painfully trite entries today is impressive -- but, alas, not exhaustive.

Parshutr 9:46 AM  

So many ORs:
onewayORanother
ORso
ORsino
ignORe
byfORce
nOR
tORero
jORge

OldCarFudd 9:48 AM  

Easiest NYT puzzle I've ever done! It went by so fast I never saw the theme.

Yield curve is very much in the language, if you speak the language of investments and finance. In a normal yield curve, the longer the maturity, the higher the yield. That's because long investments are generally riskier; changing interest rates affect their value more, and there is more time for bad events or bad management to put your investment at risk. Sometimes the yield curve inverts - short-term investments pay more interest than long ones. One cause is a general perception that long-term interest rates will fall very soon. Investors scramble to buy long bonds while yields are still good; that pushes their price up and their yield down. It's considered an unstable situation and usually doesn't last very long.

Broke Guy 9:52 AM  

The YIELDCURVE on my investments is very, very sad.

fikink 9:52 AM  

@OldCarFudd, thanks, OCF. You have sullied my lovely Monday morning by reminding me I flunked the first exam for CFA certification!

Two Ponies 10:27 AM  

One way, one run, and one D is two ones too many.
El nino and nenes?
Eons and era?
Seems sloppy.
Anaconda I like.
Stop, drop, and roll unfortunately reminds me of Richard Pryor.
Easy but questionable.

CaseAce 10:37 AM  

Parshutr,the reason being is that the constructor had all his OR'S in the water, at least in this one instance!
To use OHO in a sentence, "O HO, move it down the street, I'm working this corner!"

The Big E 10:41 AM  

@Two Ponies - I still remember the roast of Richard Pryor where someone (Chris Rock, maybe?) said "Richard Pryor was at one time the hottest man in Hollywood!"

CoffeeLvr 10:58 AM  

Ditto to, Parshutr (OR excess), Two Ponies 10:27. I have nothing original to add, and don't want to HARP on the negatives.
I did enjoy the puzzle while solving it. I must say, it looks really good in purple ink with no write overs. Time to add some NESTLE CHOC to my 2nd cup.

Parshutr 11:23 AM  

but the constructor left out my fave OR comment, which I add to any unequivocal statement made by myself or any other speaker...

OR NOT.

CaseAce 11:25 AM  

CHOC it up, CoffeeLvr, as for Harper's, we luv'em, the more Bazaar, the better!

JenCT 11:26 AM  

@joho: ditto for CHOC and ADMAN.

Very fast puzzle for me, also.

I've had a few DEADENDJOBs in my life...

Zeke 11:33 AM  

I've nothing to add to the commentary on this puzzle, but as a testiment to exactly how bored I am, I have a comment about a puzzle of two weeks ago, which prompted me to pick up one of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. LORDPETERWIMSEY did not wear a monocle (at least in the first novel). He had a monocle in his detective kit, along with lights, a measuring kit, etc, which he used as a magnifying glass. Saying he wore a monocle is like saying Holmes wore a magnifying glass.
Surprisingly, typing this out did not relieve my boredom in the least.

archaeoprof 11:34 AM  

Another member of the 98% here.

Congratulations, Big E.

@Ulrich: my German friends have expression for our WANNABE. They call that kind of person a "Moechtegern."

Lindsay 11:35 AM  

Solved this while waiting for my mechanic to change the oil in my truck. And he was finding things wrong. Ordering out for parts. I really should schedule this stuff on Fridays. Ended up reading Brake & Front End Digest to fill the time.

The Big E 11:40 AM  

@archaeoprof - Thanks very much! :-)

ArtLvr 11:43 AM  

Happier by far with YIELD CURVE than a FRACTAL!

I also liked double-letter word crossings like RRS and RIIS, AARONS and SSE, ZOO on top of ROLL.

@ Andrea has a good point that Signs in the last slot where SNAGS appeared would have been tidier... However, if one were traveling in a big hurry, one could at least extrapolate "reasons for delay" as snags tying the warning signs all together?

∑;)

JC66 11:53 AM  

@fikink

Better than Bill Haley?

Sparky 11:54 AM  

Had NIN-S at 36A but changed it when I arrived at 51A. Nice change from Hawaiian geese. I tried to go through really fast but then I missed reading some of the clues like for ADMAN because they filled in. I'm going back to my pokey self. Let's all have a good week.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:05 PM  

I thought I saw a bit of freshness in this Monday offering, and indeed SHARPENER and five other entries are credited in the Wordplay database with their first appearance in recent NYT puzzles. Makes up for some of the less-fresh fill.

Ulrich 12:12 PM  

I join those who were looking for SIGN(S) somewhere in the grid after discovering the theme, preferable where Andrea envisioned it.

@foodie: If Rex had moments of hesitation in a puzzle that took him less than 3 min to solve, that hesitation could have lasted only a fraction of a second. In my case, to be noticeable at all, it would have to be somewhere in the order of several seconds, which confirms your observation. Clearly, one attribute that distinguishes champion solvers from us mere mortals is that even if they do the same things, they do them much, much faster. It's not the only difference, but a significant one, I believe.

@archaeoprof: Yes, right on!

Cathyat40 12:35 PM  

I didn't understand the meaning of ONED until I came here. That's the only part of this puzzle that caused me any hesitation.


captcha:

nessmste: a mess made of Nestle's choc

ArtLvr 12:36 PM  

p.s. @ Zeke -- Congrats on your making the acquaintance of Wimsey! I just found a Dorothy L Sayers book "Lord Peter" at a book sale this weekend, a great find! It's a collection of all the short stories featuring Sayers' famous gentleman detective, some new to me, plus a comprehensive introduction by James Sandoe, a coda by Carolyn Heilbrun, and a concluding pastiche called "Greedy Night" by E. C. Bentley. Avon Books, 1972; highly recommended...

Shamik 12:37 PM  

Crying foul! By the time I wake up in Alaska to do the puzzles, everyone has said everything relevant. Of course it's Sarah Sharp, dang it. It was just so much more fun to come up with alternatives...which makes Rex's write-up so much more entertaining than the puzzle was. Medium puzzle for me at 4:02. Have never gone faster than 3:09 on a Monday puzzle, so it boggles my mind that people go under two minutes!

SELA WANNABE
SARAH BANK
TARA SULTAN
TARA PRESTO
DOT ORSINO
ANA AARONS

The Big E 12:42 PM  

I'm thrilled to no end when I can eke under 5 minutes! Monday for me is typically 5-7 minutes, so I can't even BEGIN to fathom 4 minutes, much less 3, 2, or UNDER! GAH!
It's like a combination of cruciverbalism skills and speed typing! People who can solve puzzles like nobody's business and type faster than 100 WPM or something!
Y'all must be Secret Government Top-Secret Experiment Subjects!!!
YOWZERS! :-)

Rex Parker 1:08 PM  

@Ulrich

A "fraction of a second" is not an amount of time I would feel. Hesitations / hang-ups can last several seconds, possibly longer (amts of time which, when you're flying, can feel like an eternity). Consider that the fastest folks can solve a monday in the mid 1's (it's true). I have tried typing (already solved) answers directly into grid and can't get much faster than 50 seconds. So, betw. 50 seconds and, say, 3-ish minutes (about avg for me on Monday), there is a lot of room for hesitations of all kinds of lengths.

But yes, my hang-ups generally don't last as long as those of most solvers.

rp

Sfingi 1:12 PM  

Just lost my comment to Error 503(?)

I found it a little tricky. I had 3 writeovers: PAYOLA over PAYOff, GIST over Germ, ONERUN over eNdRUN.

Since I don't know what an eNdRun is and never heard of a ONERUN, and my Spanish is "whatever is like Italian," I had a Nattick where NENES crossed ONERUN. I thought a NENE was a goose, eh?

@Ulrich - help me out here - a friend of mine is working in Deutschland and her Rosetta Stone uses laufen to mean "walk," only. My German is, admittedly WWII, script and all. Whatever happened to spaziergehen? For me, laufen means to run. Rosetta Stone allows no discussion.

@OldCarr- ZZZ. But thanks for the info. I am "risk averse," the only definition I need, and buy only CDs.

@Tobias - Me too, but I do the NYT a week late because that's what appears in my local. It took me 15 Googles. I no longer buy the Sun. NYT because the magazine has gone so shallow.

@Coffee - my puzzle is pink, today.

Anyone listen to SKAnatra? - Love it. Sinatra songs sung SKA style. Best of both worlds.

@Parshutr - cool.

My favorite myriaPODa is the golden Mediterranean centipede. I had a family of them at my sink. They caught various mealybugs and moths, but finally died off.

Re: Richard Pryor should have expected jokes after the foolish crack interval (may he rest in peace). My son was explaining a baker's dozen to someone and said, "Like a crackhead's dozen would be about 8."

fikink 1:25 PM  

@Rex, not getting hung up on anything as we transact this life is the goal of all of us. Om...
;)

@JC66, Wake Up Little Suzy would be fine, too, were my name Suzy. ;)

The egg farmer from Iowa who introduced the salmonella has long been a scumbag. He is right up there with the pig factory people.

Do not let it shade your view of Iowans. Think Meredith Willson.


"huchtu" - the sound of a farmer spitting

Tinbeni 1:30 PM  

@Parshutr
Your comment "OR NOT" really hit home.
Whenver I listen to a speaker, read an 'OP-ED' or book, I always remember "That's one person's opinion ... not necessarily a fact."

@Ana Condas Michaels
I love your 'nom-de-plumes' ... they're a hoot!

@The Big E
I do these on paper, sipping something, listening to the news or ESPN, etc. Today @ 7min was my fastest ever.
After watching Dan Fever solve Rex's puz.in 2.17, I am genuinely impressed with Rex's 2:40 today.

@PurpleGuy
Yeah, 58th today. I toasted with 'Blue' at 12:01 AM, just like Rex.
Personally, I like to think of it as 21,185 days ...
102 yo Mom always deserve the 'Blue' ...

Ulrich 1:34 PM  

@Rex: I'm glad to hear that I guessed wrong about the fraction of a second--makes you a little more human:-)

@sfingi: If you send me an e-mail, I'll have an address to send you an answer.

It's funny--the spell checker checks the spelling of your captcha!

The Big E 1:39 PM  

@sfingi - it's one run, not onerun - I do that to myself so often it's not even funny anymore!

retired_chemist 2:05 PM  

Nice. Fast one for me. Didn't see the theme until I got to the blogs. Didn't matter.

syndy 2:13 PM  

Had the nino-el moment and also stupidly put in Meade for Tahoe.46 across clue got a Whatever.Looking over the downs now am glad I never read most of them.. Now off to look up Isopod (makes no sense) Prans-large shrimp from Nevada

D_Blackwell 2:53 PM  

.....pig factory people......

With a possibly unsustainable population, we require large quantities of food and a never-ending supply. And we demand that it be cheap. A lot of 'healthy' food doesn't have much in the way of actual nutrients in it anymore. Occasional contamination is the least of our problems.

fergus 3:06 PM  

Since the road signs were only the start of the answer, the theme sort of dissipated with ... CURVE. I know others more joyously said "two for the price of one," but I carp. So what five letters can be added to YIELD? And not be a road sign? TO GOD? No, not much there ...

The Big E 3:13 PM  

@fergus:
You could have Yield Ahead.
or...
What about "Pearl Jam release of 1998" with the answer:
Yield Album?
I know it's not really Monday fare, and generally you wouldn't suffix the word album onto the name of the album itself (but you could, right?)...

a 3:27 PM  

Basis, curve, elbow, ingly, point, ratio, to put, value.

sanfranman59 3:33 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)

Mon 6:48, 6:58, 0.98, 46%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:44, 3:43, 1.01, 52%, Medium

My solve time today was greatly inflated because I didn't read the clue for 52D carefully and entered IPoD instead of IPAD. When I confidently hit the 'Send' button at about the 4:15 mark, I let out a groan because my solution wasn't accepted. It took me 3 minutes to find the errant square since several scans of the grid didn't detect that either TARo or IPoD were wrong. Instead, I focused on areas where I wasn't 100% certain of my answers (ORSINO, NENES, JORGE). Such are the dangers of speed-solving an early week puzzle.

fergus 4:02 PM  

I now kinda like _YIELD NOT TO_ Temptation as a Clue. Even if I might YIELD AGAIN.

Jim Quinlan 4:05 PM  

Rex-

What a coincidence! My Dad's name is in the puzzle too! See 24A. Maybe we're related....

CrazyCatLady 4:47 PM  

Was speeding along until I got my earthquake (duck and cover) and fire instructions mixed up and threw in DUCK, DROP AND ROLL. Hadn't looked for the theme yet, so I didn't correct it until I got to IPAD and IGNORE. Also, like many, had
NINOS before NENES.

retired_chemist 5:42 PM  

@ SanFranMan59 - TARo would work if the plantation were in Hawaii......

joho 6:20 PM  

Hey, @Tinbeni ... happy birthday!

Ben 6:43 PM  

Crazy fast for me today too, at least by my intermediate standards (well under 4 min.).

I think to get from this point to under 3 minutes is not so much a matter of crossword solving, but of greater efficiency with Across Lite. I was insta-answering these clues but still finished way behind the truly fast solvers.

Any advice, speed demons?

Drew 7:00 PM  

I had no hang ups or hesistations but took 8:44 (on paper). This is typical for me. I've been doing the NYT daily for years.

Any advice or links? I think I am failing to approach the puzzle efficiently (jumping around, searching for the numbers, etc).

Liked the shout out to IPAD, used to solve on the iPhone NYT puzzle app but it was too small to be fun. Looking forward to solving on the iPad when I get one.

Glitch 9:13 PM  

@Drew

Don't worry about it. Eight minutes is about the fastest I can fill in the paper grid too.

I can live with my times being pretty much the same Monday - Thursday.

That's one of the reasons I started the timing in "cups of coffee" thing, "one cupper" sounds better than 8 minutes.

Until you change media, and get proficient at touch typing, you're probably doing just fine.

See Rex's comment on 50 secs for "on computer".

Don't give in to "timing envy" ;-).

.../Glitch

Sfingi 9:32 PM  

@fikink - I have a sister in Fairfield, IA who tramps over to the capitol to fight against the pig farms. I can't believe everyone has to have their own water cleaning machines in their individual houses. Those pigs with the huge poo-pools do indeed stink to high heavens.

I twice had Salmonella from Chinatown in Boston, which honestly wasn't as bad as the kidney stone I just survived this week. What I learned was that you need two cutting boards! One for meat, one for veggies. You usually cook the chicken enough, but the veggies, especially in Chinese cooking, you wish to be crisp. A simple solution. Don't dip the veggies in uncooked chicken blood.

Speed? I'm impressed with 8 minutes. Just seeing the numbers on the CW is an effort. Was that 56 or 58? Let me count back from 60.

fikink 9:57 PM  

@Sfingi, our land is about 10 miles from Fairfield, home of the Maharishi School of Management and the only theatre in the world named for Stephen Sondheim. The area is known as "the washboard" because it is the only part of Iowa that is too hilly to do corporate farming.
Small world this technology makes of us!
@Rex, God bless you for this site!
@sfingi, send me, too, your email.
@shamik, my nephew lives up in Chugiak, just on the border of Denali National Forest...are you near him?
email me

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:50, 6:58, 0.98, 48%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:37, 3:43, 0.98, 43%, Medium

JC66 10:07 PM  

@Tinbeni

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

The Last Word 5:56 PM  

@fikink (in case you are still there) the evil "egg farmer from Iowa" was run out of Maine by the environmental regulators many years ago, before he came to your part of the country and really hit the big time. And I'm not so sure that he hasn't diversified and become a pig "farmer" too - I think I read a news account that linked him to that industry, as well. He testified before a Congressional Committee last week (I'm writing on 9/27) and his unresponsiveness was almost funny. As to the puzzle, I needed all the crosses for a couple of the proper nouns (as usual) and ISOPOD (the only crustacean worth mentioning where I come from is a lobster, but it only has 4 pairs of legs - that's why we call 'em "Sea Spiders". My favorite Tee Shirt slogan: "You wouldn't eat lobsters if you knew what lobsters eat!"

The Last Word 6:07 PM  

I forgot to ask: can anybody tell me why why I have to click on "Post a comment" twice before I am able to post? The first time the comment box opens without a captcha, but when I exit and go back in it magically appears. Am I the only one this happens to? Oh, and what happened to the "trash can" that let you delete a comment after it posts? I used to see them, but now I don't.

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