1892 Kipling poem / WED 9-8-10 / Mr. * old whodunit game / Dutch-based financial giant / Rock trio known for bearded members

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Constructor: Tracy Gray

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: CATCHING SOME ZZ (40A: Asleep ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme) — 9 'ZZ" squares strewn about the grid ["PuZZle" is in the grid, so maybe this clue could've been reworded?]


Word of the Day: Mr. REE (71A: Mr. ___ (old whodunit game)) —

This game is planned to give you all the thrills and excitement of a true detective mystery. More than that, the game gives you an opportunity to play an exciting part in the creation of the plot, and the thrill of actually playing Detective; an eagerly sought opportunity to solve a baffling crime committed right under your very nose. And, amazing as it may seem, the plot is never the same.

[that's good "bath" room advice]

Each player assumes the part of one of the Characters in AUNT CORA'S red brick house, and by his actions and positions in the house-hold follows thru with his likes and dislikes of the various persons with whom fate has placed him. The player, represented on the board by a hollow token, roams about inside and outside the house, choosing and concealing weapons with which to commit a crime. The strong arm of the law, in the person of Mr. Ree, is ever present patrolling the grounds surrounding the house. (boardgamegeek.com)


• • •

Interesting concept. I got RAZMATAZ (17A: Flashy display) and GIZARD (3D: Giblets component) and thought "... those are right? Man, I really can't spell." Then I got PUZLE (7D: You're doing one) ... aha! From there, it was just a matter of finding those Zs, which I made hard on myself by first forgetting that JACU(ZZ)I was the "water that moves you" sloganeer (learned that from xwords), and then forgetting that Kipling wrote something called "FU(ZZ)Y WU(ZZ)Y" (65A: 1892 Kipling poem). Also, had No Idea that "SWI(ZZ)LE" (70A: Iced rum cocktail that's stirred with a stick) was a drink. I always thought it was just a wacky synonym for "stir." My cocktail tonight was a Wimbley (OK, two Wimbleys). That's the name my restaurant was giving to what others call a "Pimm's Cup": Pimm's #1 and ginger ale and lemon, served with cucumber wedge. First one didn't have the wedge. I sent her on a cucumber hunt for the second.

Rest of the theme answers:
  • 12D: Caffeine-induced state, slangily (BU[ZZ])
  • 28D: Bad hair day problem (FRI[ZZ])
  • 43D: Newport festival music (JA[ZZ])
  • 52A: Rock trio known for its bearded members ([ZZ]TOP)


  • 50D: Yellowstone sighting (GRI[ZZ]LY)
  • 60D: Harriet's mate (O[ZZ]IE)
  • 53D: Zest (PI[ZZ]A[ZZ])
  • 62A: Tested, as on "The $64,000 Question" (QUI[ZZ]ED)
It's a very gamey puzzle, what with WAR (66D: Collect-all-the-cards game) and NIM (46A: Matchsticks game) and this crazy bygone before-my-time board game Mr. REE (took me waaaaay too long to get the "mystery" connection), not to mention PU[ZZ]LE and QUI[ZZ]ED. There's really not much in the way of objectionable fill in the grid today. Still never heard anyone called a STUPE before, but I've seen the word in crosswords multiple times (56D: Dimwit). MELL (59D: "Momma" cartoonist Lazarus) and REE and SERI (25A: Golf's ___ Pak) and ING (32A: Dutch-based financial giant) aren't exactly lovable, but it's a dense, "Z"-infested theme, so I'm willing to give the grid some leeway.

Bullets:
  • 15A: Pot-au-___ (French stew) (FEU) — pot on the fire. Sounds like something that should be spicy. It isn't.
  • 21A: Brand with an iconic cowboy (MARLBORO) — The MARLBORO Man (a couple of them, actually) got cancer and died.

  • 1D: Imelda, the shoe lover (MARCOS) — #rejectedbiographytitles
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS Happy 9th birthday to my nephew, Miles

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

68 comments:

Tobias Duncan 12:11 AM  

I am a guy that deeply hates the rebus concept. I know that when I am a master solver like many here, I will love the added challenge.But for now I have only a black festering ball of hate in my heart for all rebi.
This puzzle however , I loved .Why? Because I solved the whole thing without realizing it was a rebus .Somehow I just thought "oh how cute, the theme is double Z words and they have shorted us one Z. I guess thats the same as a rebus eh?

nanpilla 12:15 AM  

Laughed out loud at the bath room advice!

Thanks for the Iris DeMent. First saw her as an opener for Nanci Griffith many many years ago, and loved her. Hubbie is more of a ZZTOP fan.

IN IDLE just sounds wrong to me - don't know why.

Got the rebus right away from GIZZARD making this a nice easy, Wednesday level rebus. Congrats, Tracy Gray on a nice debut.

Anonymous 12:32 AM  

So, renaming it to a Wembly counteracts the "[some] have likened the earthy mixture [Pimm's #1] to liquid dirt mellowed by iodine" aspect of the drink? Oh, I forgot, you like vegemite. Do they go well together?

chefwen 2:03 AM  

Like @nanpilla - got the clue right away with GIZZARD, and off to the races I was. Don't think I have ever ZZiped through a Wednesday as quickly as I did this one. Only write over was at 25A SERI over SERA. (Bad advise from Mr. Golf husband.

Good puzzzzle Ms. Gray, but a tad too easy for a mid week one.

andrea carla michaelzz 5:15 AM  

18ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ's!
2J's...a Q! a K! so all is forgiven that there are no X or V.
right on write on @rex! Esp good call about using the word "Puzzle" in 40A.

Nice, nice, nice!

could have mini-sub-theme of double-ls:
MELL, BACALL, LAJOLLA.

It's not JUST that there are 9 theme answers, all the words are so super fun: JACUZZI, RAZZMATAZZ, JAZZ, FUZZYWUZZY, GRIZZLY...

HuZZAH Trazzy Grazz!

CaseAce 5:39 AM  

No bout adoubt it, this debut puzle by Tracy Gray. never fizled and I came away realizing that Zzzz's are indeed...a few of my favorite things!

Evgeny 7:24 AM  

What a cool puzzle! wildly guessed the crossing of REE and STUPE, darn you, limited vocabulary!

@Tobias Duncan; rebuses, not rebi.

dk 7:32 AM  

Rex, make the Pimm's Cup with flavored Sam Pellegrino water (lemon), add cucumber, etc. and enjoy. I find most Ginger Ales are too sweet.

Fine puzzle idea and assorted side themes. Got the trick with 7D. Yenta for YENTL was my only do over.

Mr. REE sounds fun.

*** (3 Stars) Thank you Ms. Gray in the parlor with a rope.

joho 7:43 AM  

AmaZZZZZZZZZZZZzing puzzle, Tracy Gray, congratulations on coming up with this crazy concept ... I look forward to seeing your name at the top again.

@Rex said just about everything I experienced while solving. I also appreciated the lesson in Mr. REE and learning that SWIZZLE is an actual drink not the stick.

This was fun all the way from A to Z and as @Andrea said, just missing an X and a V.

Loved it!

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

Never did a Thurzzday puzzzzle so fast, until I came here and realized it's Wenzzday. Shoot. Still, mighty fun.

Liked the seder/yentl cross.

Jim H 8:12 AM  

I actually like "puzzle" in the theme-revealer; its absence would tend to point to PUZZLE appearing in the grid...

As others say, loved the ZZs. What is the scrabble value of QUIZZED? One of the Zs would need to be a blank tile, but still...and don't forget 50 for the bingo!

Oh, and cucumber wedge in your cocktail? Screaming Viking! (Do you want the cucumber bruised? Slightly?)

Doug 8:26 AM  

I guess I'm one of the many who filled in REE and STUPE last. My high point was after JAZZ I knew 52A was ZZTOP (what else could fit?) and just wondered what the clue would be. I always thought it was funny that the drummer in the group (the beardless one) was named BEARD.

ArtLvr 8:43 AM  

What @nanpilla said, and I loved it. Lotza siZZle!

∑;)

Glimmerglass 8:45 AM  

Super EZ for a mid-week puzzle. The double z's actually made it easier. Fun puzzle, though. Maybe should have been a Monday.

Orange 8:47 AM  

I like my Pimm's Cup sweet (slice of citrus rather than cucumber). The ones I had in England were sweeter than the ones we made at home with ginger ale or 7-Up. What the hell was that bartender putting in the Pimm's Cup to make it so intoxicatingly sweet and yummy? I must find out.

John V 8:51 AM  

Fun stuff! Rebuses are weird -- in my experience they either leap out at you -- as today -- or are impenetrable. For me, about a Monday grade. Agree that 47D, in idle, felt odd, as did, to me, 56D, stupe.

Initially had dasani for 19A (water that moves you), until I saw the theme.

Fun Wednesday!

jesser 8:58 AM  

What an amusing romp! I badly wanted RAZZledazzle for 17A, but that hope was soon dashed; I gotta say that RAZZMATAZZ was a fine substitute.

Never heard of REE, but I guessed correctly. Not so lucky up north, where A_TA/_EU was unknown, so I guessed S. Booooooo.

ST ELMO's Fire was a mediocre movie, but I still like the theme song. VH1 featured it in a show about one-hit wonders recently, and I find myself humming it frequently.

Like Rex, I never heard of SWIZZLE as a cocktail. I even bartended for two years! But it sure is a delightful word!

Hope all's well in Rexville this day. I'm back at it after a 5-day hiatus from all things work and computers. Yeah, I missed you guys. :-)

Minur! (Get your own damn Nur. This one's taken!) -- jesser

Glitch 9:16 AM  

Generally OK, but was bothered by a couple things, mostly the reveal.

In all the theme answers, ZZ was a simple substitution completing the word.

In the reveal (only) ZZ is to be interpreted as "Zs".

Also agree I can take my car out of gear, and put it in Park or Neutral to make it idle, but don't know how to put it IN IDLE.

.../Glitch

chefbea 9:19 AM  

What a great fun puZZle. Loved it.

Also loved all the food and drink = Pot-au-feu. pastrami on rye, pears. A shame the drink - fuZZy navel wasn't included

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Very nice -- (and super easy, except for some delay at ADJOIN and ING) -- made me hungry for a piZZa with some piZZaZZ...

mitchs 9:30 AM  

Should have known the Feu or aFta I suppose, but didn't. So, personal Natick.

@Nanpilla: at the carwash yesterday I was reminded to put it "in neutral". That's certainly more in language. Maybe it's "in idle" if your steering wheel is on the right.

william e emba 9:39 AM  

I actually remembered Mr REE from a few months back! Interestingly enough, that word got no mention whatsoever by Rex back then. I mean, I can understand it losing out on WOTD to "infra dig", but nothing? Now it seems an odd omission. There was one bizarre mention in the comments. It was so bizarre, in fact, I Googled around to confirm the original clue, just in case my memory was getting FUZZY WUZZY.

As a fellow who last shaved 30 years ago, and let his beard go all ZZ TOP about 20 years ago, these shaving clues always leave me deeply mystified. Like Jesser, I was looking at the A-TA/-EU cross. My French is limited enough that I went for FEU by default. And somehow AFTA did ring a bell.

For what it's worth, FEU is also an English word, for land held in "feu"dal tenure. It was standard in Scotland until abolished in 2000.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:56 AM  

Cute puzz. I caught on to the gimmick almost immediately, and said to myself, this is nice but way too easy. Then I proceeded to make a mess of the grid.

It looks even messier than it is because a every double Z entry looks like a write-over, but my real write-overs were 6D, PEACH for PEARS; 24 D, YENTA for YENTL; 36 D, KARMA (yeah, one letter short) for KISMET; 47 D, IDLING for INIDLE; and 58 A, EMULATOR for IMITATOR.

Still, I think anyone who didn't like the puzzle can pick up that Mr. REE card and "Go to well." :-)

Noam D. Elkies 9:56 AM  

fun pu[zz]le, and a welcome Wednesday rebus (yes, eZ enough to escape the Thursday pigeonhole). For those keeping count of Scrabble averages, does each theme square count for 20?...

(and yes, with a standard Scrabble set 62A:QUIZZED requires at least one of the two blanks — and 17A:RAZZMATAZZ cannot be played at all!)

ZDE (sorry I don't know how to turn the D and E sideways)

Van55 10:08 AM  

I was mildly surprised to find a rebus on a Wednesday, but I enjoyed this one thoroughly. Again, no quibbles from me. Great week so far.

Van55 10:09 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulrich 10:14 AM  

Like several others, I got the rebus right away and was off to the races, taking everything I didn't know in stride--well, left one mistake uncorrected, which I'm too embarrassed to reveal.

The people who hate rebuses remind of the people who currently bitch about the women's tennis game b/c a player can be more easily broken, i.e. they approach it as if it were a match between men. I can only say what I said to countless students in similar situations: Don't blame a horse for not being a cow. The women's game is exciting inter alia precisely because it's more unpredictable--if you don't enjoy this unpredictability, don't watch it and don't complain. Same for rebus puzzles: If you don't enjoy the extra layer of initial bewilderment, don't do them (yes, you may find out half-way through, but that is only fair punishment for you!)

... and thank God we're not getting into the great rebus controversy that was raging when I joined this blog (about the presumed inappropriateness of the term)...

OldCarFudd 10:14 AM  

Fun! Nice debut!

I'd heard of rum swizzles. My father would sometimes say someone was a real stupe, so maybe it was a more common expression back in the day.

I agree with the kvetching about IN IDLE. A transmission is in NEUTRAL when no gear is engaged, so the engine isn't connected to the running gear. An engine that's barely ticking over (as the Brits say) when the transmission is in neutral is IDLING. If you then give it some gas, the engine will rev up (VROOM!). It's no longer idling, but the car goes nowhere since the transmission is still out of gear, or in neutral. My Stanley Steamer doesn't have these concerns; it has no transmission, it's never out of gear, and it doesn't idle.

Matthew G. 10:16 AM  

I liked this one. It was actually easier than Tuesday's, I thought, by a wide margin. The only answers that gave me pause were STUPE (really? people use this as a word?) and SANYOS, the latter because I had SONYS fixed in my head even though it was a letter too short and figured I was missing some sub-brand of Sony. But got them both in the end because nothing else fit the crosses.

This is one where I think it was actually easier to guess the theme and _then_ fill in the reveal. As soon as I had 7-down, I knew that 40-across would be either CATCHINGSOMEZZ or CATCHINGuponZZ. I was actually hoping for the latter, since it would better capture the idea of falling behind on space and catching up by cramming them in.

archaeoprof 10:19 AM  

When asked about the secret to their long success, members of ZZTop usually say, "Same three guys, same three chords."

DaZZling debut, Tracy Gray!

william e emba 10:25 AM  

I'm dubious about calling this a "rebus" puzzle. The meaning of rebus I'm familiar with is using a picture to stand for part of a word. Indeed, as a paper-copy solver, I typically try to draw a little picture, or get out the colored pens, or whatever. The mere doubling up of letters doesn't seem to count.

Then again, as the theme reveal mentions, ZZ (or better ZZZZZ) is used to "spell" Z's, so maybe this is a 100% traditional rebus puzzle afterwards. But to my surprise, the OED agrees with Glitch: the phrase is "catch some Z's".

Two Ponies 10:26 AM  

Gotta love those ZZZ's!
Nice debut.
Gizzard was the giveaway.
I am a solid rebus fan so this one tickled me.
Favorite word in the grid - kismet.
Favorite mixed drink - a properly made Pimm's. (Early guess of the drink in the puzzle was Mojito because some places give you a sugar cane stick with it.)

D_Blackwell 10:30 AM  

" . . . but was bothered by a couple things, mostly the reveal.

. . . ZZ was a simple substitution completing the word.

In the reveal (only) ZZ is to be interpreted as "Zs"."

So I'm not the only one. I would have dumped the revealer entry because it diminished the puzzle. It's terrible, and was certainly not needed.

Martin 10:33 AM  

Orange,

Keep your eye out for imported Schweppes or other "lemonade." That's the British mixer for drinks like shandy and Pimm's Cup and no American soda is equivalent.

We have British import stores that stock Schweppes Lemonade, and Chicago must too.

Glimmerglass 10:38 AM  

@ william e emba: Like you, I had always had a different meaning for a "rebus." The Old Farmer's Almanac used have delightful picture clues that translated into a familiar phrase. (A picture of an eye stood for the pronoun I, for example). I never ran across the meaning "several letters in one square" until I saw it here in RP's blog, though of course I'd encountered the phenomenon before.

All good things do not come hard ... 10:41 AM  

I agree with the above comments. Without a doubt, this puzzle should not be rated medium but should be rated easy instead. Even if it had been a Monday puzzle, it would still have deserved an easy rating.

Goes to show you, enjoyment and difficulty are not necessarily correlated.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

i actually use the word "STUPE" but it started with some friends shortening the word "stupid." we occasionally call each other stupe when we do something knot-head like. of course, i thought it was our little joke...and i always thought, (if i thought it was a word), that it would be spelled "STOOP." which, as a nebraska fan, adds more pleasure to calling OU's head coach STOOPS!

but i digress.

could someone tell me when the last there was a rebus puzzle on a wednesday? i thought those were most usually done on thursdays. i caught on quickly to the ZZ thing, but i was surprised it was wednesday. (it IS wednesday, right?)

PuzzleNut 11:17 AM  

Not a lot to add - an enjoyable puzzle all around. Rebuses are usually a problem when doing the puzzle diagramless, and it took a while to catch the double Z's. Misspelled GIZARD and JACUZI and RAZAMATAZ before finally seeing that PUZZLE wouldn't fit. By that time I had the theme answer and all made sense. Also started with Karma, but that was my only write-over. Good fill, but a lot of really easy clues for a Wednesday.

Clark 11:19 AM  

Anyone who doesn't know the word STUPE did not grow up with enough siblings.

I love Iris DeMent.

The game Mr. REE is an old standard in our family. The original set, my mom's, had kind of disintegrated, but semi-puzzle partner found one in good condition on Ebay and restarted the tradition. We got a game going at the last big family gathering: My elderly mom played the part of Aunt Cora (sorry, Mom, but you are officially elderly); my nephew Will did a very convincing Mr. Ree -- pipe and all. Be forewarned: The game does not play itself. The players have to enter imaginatively into their characters to make it fun. Is that a feature of games from the pre-TV era?

Howard B 11:33 AM  

To clarify again:
Here in crosswordland, 'rebus' is just a shorthand term roughly describing a puzzle with a theme having "something other than letters A-Z in a square". It's not a standard definition for the word, just a handy way to categorize crosswords with this general quirk.

The word 'rebus' itself still means a puzzle containing pictures representing letters, sounds, syllables, or words. No redefinition of the word is intended, it's just a specialized context/lingo that works nicely here.

However you feel about these kinds of gimmicks, this was certainly a solid puz(z)le otherwise, whether you used 1 or 2 Zs to do it.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

I'm in the minority again -- this puzzle was a boring slog from my seat. Pretty much everything was a gimme. The toughest part of the puzzle was putting in the double z's properly.

roxanne 11:55 AM  

fuzzy wuzzy according to the kipling poem, which i looked up, is a derogatory term used to describe black tribes people in sudan. I'm wondering if that answer should be allowed.
There also was the old nursery rhyme about fuzzy wuzzy was a bear,fuzzy wuzzy had no hair, fuzzy wuzzy wasn't fuzzy was he?? This is a much more politically correct clue.

austinarborworks 12:06 PM  

Hand up for guessing at the STUPE/REE cross.

And I also dislike INIDLE. If I were going to make up a phrase to represent this condition (as this puzzle seems to do), I'd pick "at" IDLE before IN. But maybe this was just to bump out of Tues. difficulty INto Wed. INcidentally, The Free Dictionary defines INIDLE as "in vain," citing Chaucer--no mention of the state of idleness referenced in this clue. I would say the Chaucer usage would need to be Thursday minimum, and would lean toward using it only on Fri or Sat, but at least it's real.

@Ulrich
It was nice while it lasted, no?

treedweller 12:12 PM  

A little more google reveals this (on Car Talk site):

"stalling in idle

i have a 92 ford escort wagon that runs like a champ except when i have to sit in idle at a light it stalls."

Clearly, this was not posted by a stickler for proper usage, but it does suggest the phrase is "in the language" somewhere.

(and, yes, that was me posting as austinarborworks again)

deerfencer 12:31 PM  

Liked this one a lot, especially RAZZMATAZZ--nice debut Tracy!

Re Iris Dement, I wonder if she and Greg Brown are still married. They had an unusual and curious arrangement where they remained living states apart from each other after they wed. Whatever--they are both very gifted (and underappreciated) singers/songwriters.

Ulrich 12:34 PM  

@Howard B: That was exactly the argument I made two years ago (I was too optimistic in my hope not to see this issue dug up from the grave): Since it is awkward to say a "puzzle with more than one letter in one square" every time one refers to one, the puzzle community decided to use "rebus" for short, which fits some puzzles of the kind (perhaps the earliest ones--that's why the term was selected?), but not all--tough luck! When a carpenter tells me to "roll" a board, I will not castigate her and explain to her that she misapplied the word "roll". As you said, special language communities develop a specialized vocabulary that uses familiar term in special meanings characteristic of the job at hand.

The Germans have a nice saying: " As soon as grass has grown over an issue, an old donkey comes along and eats it off."

Sparky 12:39 PM  

I put in bop for 43D but then 45A just had to be ASP. Ta dah, JAZZ and ZZTOP fell into place. Found it pretty easy today. Buzzed through and filled in the other ZZs. @William e emba. Like you, when I started I was confused by the use of the word rebus in the blog. I much prefer when you can draw a little shape in the box. It is shorthand in the blog and handy so by me Rex can call it Arthur. Have a nice day. Weather gorgeous here in The Big Apple.

Zeke 12:42 PM  

@Ulrich - I assume that in German that phrase is one word, no? One very, very long word.
@roxanne - If you actually read the poem it is probably the least racist thing Kipling ever wrote, not that that's saying much. It reads as a paeon to their bravery and skill as warriors. But yeah, the children's rhyme about the bear might have been nicer.

fikink 1:05 PM  

My "veil-of-tears" mother used to call me a STUPE, which, from one who knows, is pronounced "shtoop," right Ulrich?

D_Blackwell 1:20 PM  

"There also was the old nursery rhyme about fuzzy wuzzy was a bear,fuzzy wuzzy had no hair, fuzzy wuzzy wasn't fuzzy was he?? This is a much more politically correct clue."

Is it?

I'm okay with either reference, but would need to be persuaded that 'Fuzzy Wuzzy' was not borrowed from Kipling. The etymology does not, in my view, indicate less than innocent intent, though I would stipulate that it was likely used such by some people. Is Bert Beros' poem about the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels racist? The PC people will likely, by default, say yes. I would not be inclined to agree.

Howard B 2:00 PM  

Agreed, Ulrich. As there is quite a turnover of people visiting any blog or site, I was just hoping to refresh that explanation for those unfamiliar with the term. (And of course, to save others the time).
I do know the feeling of becoming engaged in a conversation on a specific subject which I'm very unfamiliar with. Makes it much more difficult to listen and participate actively when you don't know some of the lingo.

So not intended for anyone specific, but more as an opportunity to clear potential rebus (rebic?) confusion to newcomers.

Ulrich 2:10 PM  

@Zeke: :-)

@Howard B: I would have kept quiet for the reasons you gave had I not, in my first comment, stated explicitly that the issue had been discussed before--and sure enough, it raised its head again just three(!) comments later!!!!

CoffeeLvr 2:16 PM  

I think I would have liked this puzzle, had I not tried to solve on-line today, without knowing how to enter extra letters in AcrossLite. (I have since found out.) Also, many interruptions to my solving, but my son can call anytime.

Call for Help! Does anyone know how to enlarge the font for the CLUES in AcrossLite? The one that is highlighted at the top is big enough for me to decipher, but the rest of them are a real (visual) struggle. I was able to change the font to one where I can see the difference between "l" and "i".

@Ulrich, like your adage.

@treedweller, no one is questioning that the phrase "in idle" is in the language. It is simply not correctly clued as "out of gear."

Mini theme: the UAW negotiated COST Of Living Allowances for its workers. We salaried employees had a saying: "The UAW has been very, very good to me."

JenCT 2:39 PM  

Ah, back from vacation to a nice, easy puzzle.

STUPE is very, very common in my neck of the woods.

Anyone else think of JOON first for Golfer's ____Pak??? That's the first name that came to my mind!

Good to be back - beautiful weather in CT today.

treedweller 2:41 PM  

@CoffeeLvr
I am. Or I was, anyway. But I agree that the clue makes it worse.

sanfranman59 3:27 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Wed 8:52, 11:41, 0.76, 7%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:14, 5:46, 0.91, 30%, Easy-Medium

william e emba 4:18 PM  

OK, I'll throw in the towel on "rebus" here. I simply cannot remember any multiletter square fillins which weren't a classic rebus of some sort. I recall many years ago a WSJ puzzle where the fillins were TV stations, so you couldn't draw them, but the fillins were standalone just the same.

I recall many years ago a simple rebus on a Wednesday that consisted of lots of phrases with "and" in them, and the "and" was filled in as an ampersand (&). There were no non-trivial usages, like h&le or b&aid.

Clark 5:11 PM  

The "take someone with you" card in Mr. Ree is an advantageous card. It allows you to take any player with you that you choose. Once you arrive at your destination with them, you get to take from them any weapon they might have. If you've been paying attention, you will have a pretty good idea who is carrying which weapon or weapons. The player tokens are cylinders in which weapons can be carried. If the poison is in the bathroom (where Mr. Ree puts it if he finds someone carrying it while they are roaming the grounds), then that bathroom card can be very valuable. Pick up Niece Rhoda from the Garage, take her with you to the bathroom, take from her the revolver and the ax, pick up the poison, you're in good shape.

Noam D. Elkies 5:46 PM  

@fikink: I hope it's not pronounced "shtoop" anywhere; that's a different word, presumably coming from the German "stopfen" = "to stuff" but with a much more specific and unprintable meaning in Yiddish. I think if "Stupe" were a German word it would be pronounced something like "shtoopuh" with a concluding schwa, nicht wahr?

(Wiktionary says 56D:STUPE is also a fine Latin word, from the same verb that gave rise to "stupid" and also "stupor", and offering the glosses "I am stunned/stiffend/benumbed/dazed/speechless/silenced/astounded/confounded/aghast/amazed", "I stop/hesitate", and "I wonder at".)

@NDE: the xwordinfo database apparently ignores rebus squares entirely in racking up the Scrabble score: it says this grid has no Z's at all!

NDE

Vega 6:13 PM  

#rejectedbiographytitles. HA!

I know I should add something insightful about the puz(z)le, but honestly I can't stop laughing long enough.

Sfingi 7:17 PM  

After missing the "other" puzzle's theme, I got this one right off. Go figure. Very cute puzzle.

I did have to Google twice:
For JACUZZI, since I kept thinking drinking water. I think that brand should have the slogan, "water that gives you everybody's germs."
Water could move you in another way. Some Saratogy water with sulfur tends to.
And I Googled for SERI pak. Thought it was a golfing product, rather than a human. Either way. forget it, it's sports. But I'll try not to literally forget it.

Imelda always reminds me she was a cousin of a boss I had way back. She put him in prison and took his property. He became a Pepsi exec., I'm glad to say.

I guess the Italian stuff doesn't fit? Pizza, etc., because of the pronunciation (tz)? Anyone remember a Hagar cartoon where Lucky Eddie sees a sign with 2 Zs and assumes it's Pizza?

Lots of other double letters, too.
MELL, REE, EERIE, TEE, JOLLA, BACALL, TERRA, APP.
@Andrea covered the Ls.

@Emba - you always come up with the intellectual stuff I somehow missed in my 65 yrs. Far out.

@OldCarFudd - is "idle," then, always a verb? Do you really have a Stanley Steamer?

I liked YENTL cross SEDERS. Loved the movie.

Never heard of MR. REE, but certainly of WAR. Minitheme?

Never heard of MELL Lazarus. Any relation to Emma?

I had a lot of fun putting the two Zs into each square.

@Anon1047 - As Louie Prima sang, "Baciagaloop made love on the STooP, Cuz that's the only way that he could be alone."
This is true shtooping.

@Deerfencer - Hubster and I sleep rooms, even floors, away from each other because of his Zs.

sanfranman59 10:00 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 6:48, 6:58, 0.98, 44%, Medium
Tue 9:49, 8:53, 1.11, 80%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 8:55, 11:42, 0.76, 6%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:34, 3:43, 0.96, 33%, Easy-Medium
Tue 5:11, 4:35, 1.13, 88%, Challenging
Wed 5:10, 5:46, 0.90, 24%, Easy-Medium

OldCarFudd 10:14 PM  

@Sfingi - I think it's generally a verb in the car world. It isn't a transmission position. But you can say: "I need to reset the idle", meaning the idling speed or (lack of) idling smoothness. And yes, I have a 1911 Stanley. It never idles. When I stop at a light, the engine stops. When the light turns green, I open the steam throttle, and away we go.

fergus 11:28 PM  

Yes this was a breezy puzzle.

Making sure that anyone sitting on the fence about participating in the Tournament at Alameda this Saturday should be persuaded to come.

Also, I'm taking off from Santa Cruz around 8:30, if anyone out there wants to coordinate with transportation.

Sfingi 11:45 PM  

@OldCarFudd - It's late but - wow - I'm duly impressed! So, it's kind of like VP Cheney's circulatory system (confess he's a distant cuz of mine and of Obama's) Just purrs along.

Time for it's centennial celebration next year!

Stan 12:19 AM  

Coming in late when all the ZZ jokes have been made, but we just *loved* this puZZle. Very snappy word-wise and solidly constructed. Congrats, Tracy!

Fine Iris DeMent clip. Moving soon, I just alphabetized all our combined CDs, and Iris is sadly lacking from the D section. Zed Zed Top, however, is covered.

Dirigonzo 7:31 PM  

OK, it's been 5 weeks since this PUZZLE was originally published and still no one here has summed it up thus, so I will: "I loved it - it has PIZZAZZ (53D)!"

Anonymous 12:48 AM  

Working the puzzle in my old fashioned way - in the paper in syndication....Question. What does one do when the last 3 down clues are not given? Our paper ends the clues at 62 down.

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