Facial recognition aid / TUE 9-21-10 / Goodnight girl of old song / River that drains more than 20% of France / Pioneering anti-AIDS drug

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Constructor: Adam G. Perl

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: STROKES (39A: Pets ... or what the starts of 17-, 25-, 50- and 61-Across are all kinds of) — First words of theme answers are all kinds of swimming STROKES

From Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle

Word of the Day: IDENTIKIT (35D: Facial recognition aid) —
IN BRIEF: n. - A likeness of a person's face constructed from descriptions given to police. (answers.com)
• • •

Pretty vanilla. "First words are types of ..." Right over the plate. Seems more of a USA Today-type theme. Grid is solid (w/ the exception of that "ORY/CTS/SHH" up north, yuck), but theme feels like something that should have, must have been done a million times. Theme answers are all decent, except BREAST OF CHICKEN, which is weak (three words to the others' two, bland and non-specific, awkwardly phrased). What's the difference between BREAST OF CHICKEN and chicken breast? Is the first one offered at a "banquet" because it sounds "fancy?" At any rate, puzzle is competent, but not too interesting—at least not theme-wise.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Entree on many a Chinese menu (BUTTERFLY SHRIMP)
  • 25A: Cramped alternative to a basement (CRAWL SPACE)
  • 50A: Old New Yorkers, e.g. (BACK ISSUES)
  • 61A: Basic hotel banquet entree (BREAST OF CHICKEN)
This one took me slightly longer than the average Tuesday, for three reasons. First, FRODO instead of BILBO at 1A: "The Hobbit" hero. My daughter would mock me. She is having a "Lord of the Rings"-themed birthday party this weekend. Anyway, after some confused moments, BABAR (1D: King of the elephants in a children's book series) forced me to erase FRODO and eventually BILBO (Baggins) came into view. The next slowdown was IDENTIKIT—complete unknown, needed every single cross, and even then wasn't sure I didn't have an error. There appears to be a brand name of facial recognition software called "Identi-Kit," but the word seems to have a general meaning as well. Lastly, in the speed bump category, we have the front ends of BACK ISSUES and BREAST OF CHICKEN, neither of which came easily, the latter for reasons I've already been over, the former because I (I'm guessing by design) misread the "New Yorkers" in the clue as human beings, not magazines. NOKIA (44D: Mobile phone giant) and CRETE (52D: Where Minos reigned) got me back in business. Then I just went back up to the north, where I'd left some squares blank, and that was that. Took me about 5 seconds longer than yesterday's puzzle.



Bullets:
  • 20A: Pioneering anti-AIDS drug (AZT) — weird that this answer feels dated, even though AIDS clearly isn't. Media seems to expend much more time on ... other things these days.
  • 43A: Tabriz residents (IRANIANS) — speaking of plummeting media coverage. Two years ago the fraudulent elections were big news. Now: well, it's Iran, whaddyagonnado? Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go learn more about Christine O'Donnell's stance on masturbation.
  • 68A: River that drains more than 20% of France (LOIRE) — I'm not sure I understand the clue. Drains it of ... Water? The will to live? Is this by geographical area or sheer water volume?
  • 70A: Labor's partner (PARTS) — Went looking for something birth-related here. PAINS, maybe.
  • 3D: "The Loco-Motion" singer, 1962 (LITTLE EVA) — pretty sure I learned this from xwords, via clues for EVA
  • 27D: Feature of many a bodice (LACE) — would've wanted STAY if I hadn't had the "L" in place already.
  • 18D: Fabled fliers (ROCS) — gimme. Seen that clue a gajillion (i.e. probably 6) times.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

95 comments:

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

At first this seemed a bit boring and then upon further review I found 15 Ts and 24 As with one BREAST, one ASSISI and one TASS. Nothing boring about ATON of T&A....

chefbea 9:02 AM  

Knew the theme would be swimming related after getting butterfly and crawl. Kept expecting side to appear.

Loved the clue for old New Yorkers!!

jesser 9:03 AM  

I could not gain any purchase in the NW, where I normally start, so

I solved from the SE up and backwards, and the solve was smooth and

fun (with the exceptions of ERN and ORY). Loved BABY'S Breath in

there, and there was something spooky about OMENS DECAYING across

the middle.

Biggest snag was at 14A, where I confidently entered swIne, then

changed it to AvIAN, before the stupid ISUZU Trooper came into

view. That was pretty vicious clueing for a Tuesday at 2D, IMHO.

Seeing AZT in the puzzle reminds me of many dashed hopes and many

departed friends for whom it was the last straw grasped at.

Godspeed...

The swimming theme was kind of fun, and the reveal at the center of

the pool was a nice touch.

I'm writing this in advance of Rex's site being updated for today.

Maybe I'll be the first commentator! It's the little things in

life, donchaknow?

Happy Tuesday, Cruciverb Family!

jesser 9:05 AM  

Obviously, the cut/paste method of commenting leaves something to be desired in Blogger's realm. On the other hand, it appears I have written a poem, and that's just fine.

John V 9:08 AM  

A tad slower than usual, for me. Same issues as @rex in NW, fill in N was clunky, too. Identikit also needed all the crosses. Only write-over was 2D/20A, had S not Z at the cross.

David L 9:16 AM  

As it happens, IDENTIKIT was a gimme for me -- maybe the term was more widely used in the UK? A quick google search turned up a recent use of the word in the Guardian.

As for the Loire draining 20% of France -- that's a bit of geography jargon, meaning that rain falling on 20% of the surface area of France goes into streams and tributaries that feed into the Loire before ending up in the sea.

My only stumble was putting SWINE flu first, before correcting to AVIAN, then puzzling over IVU_U before seeing the light.

joho 9:19 AM  

I wanted the unknown IDENTIKIT to be Mr. Potato Head.

I didn't like OAR, ORI, ORY.

I did like BACKISSUES even if I was thinking of mine, not the magazine.

mmorgan 9:26 AM  

Agree with Rex -- "vanilla," "competent, but not too interesting," and briefly confused by FRODO. On other minor delay while trying to figure out what BACKISSERS might be. Otherwise, smooth and quick.

ArtLvr 9:33 AM  

I read lots of mystery stories, so IDENTIKIT was no problem. I found this puzzle quite good for a Tuesday, gettable easily even with STASIS and ISUZU. Enjoyed the BMOCS with ROCS, and the islands MALTA plus CRETE.

Yes, Rex -- ORY was especially yukky...

@jesser -- very amusing, your pleasure at the "POOL reveal" in the center. I went back to see if I missed something!

∑;)

Tobias Duncan 9:35 AM  

My dogs woke me up several times last night and got me up early this morning. GGGGrrrrr . I think that is the big reason I absolutely hated this puzzle. A good constructor would have anticipated this...

Bob Kerfuffle 9:42 AM  

One tiny nit: As (I hope) a very non-superstitious person, I thought 32 A, Signs to heed, OMENS, should somehow have been tagged as tongue-in-cheek.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

This is my 5th & final day on this wonderful blog, at least as far as leaving comments. I have been criticized for lengthy posts. ( "Bob, I know you are new here but if you would cut your novels down to short stories, I might have time to read them.") I was a little longer than most, & perhaps longest on one or several days. Was I so overbearing?

I was proud of my comments. I tried to add a fresh voice to this interesting blog. I am surely one of the least talented of all of you, but this allows me to offer an interesting perspective. I tried to offer sidebars that I felt were entertaining commentary. As well, I commented on my challenges for each puzzle.

If I cannot be welcomed for who I am & what my style is, I don't want to be here. I am admittedly too self-conscious, too sensitive, and struggling to deal with all the rejection I've taken in my life. Such a remark to me seems like more of the same.

I do apologize to anybody who enjoyed what I had to say, if you are at all aware.

I recognize my obvious sensitivities, but I would never dismiss anybody with such a comment. If one objects to length, how hard is it to scroll a bit? I fear what such people must be like who display such intolerance and biting commentary on a crossword blog. All of you, please above all else, show respect and tolerance for each other and appreciate some differences. Welcome people. Make people who are polite and earnest feel wanted and comfortable. This should be, above all else, an aspect of your excellent blog.

Continued joy & success solving the "Times" puzzle.

BOB

hazel 9:50 AM  

I must say I liked seeing the hydrology clue - although it did strike me as somewhat odd - sort of like Dr. J's height yesterday. Filling in LOIRE, though, was very pleasant, as it brought to mind last year's canoeing vacation.

Otherwise, the puzzle neither wowed nor irritated me, except for BREASTOFCHICKEN. Please. Something else only Borat might order.

And although CRAWL is in the language, no real swimmer uses that term - its freestyle or, better yet, free. Ask Michael Phelps.

@Anoni-BOB - you sort of sound like Pnin!

Rex Parker 9:53 AM  

@BOB,

The commenter was not insulting you. He was offering helpful advice. He even expressed a desire to read what you write. Don't take it personally.

rp

Van55 9:55 AM  

Agree with RP about the ORY/CTS/SHH stack being ucky. Add ORI, OAR and OILS, and you've got some pretty weak fill. Middling effort, for my taste.

Sparky 9:57 AM  

Was certain of Frodo but BABAR changed that. Then 1A stayed blank till the finish. Missed the 2D/20A cross. CRAWL SPACE came first. Then chipped away here and there. Laughed at 21A as I first thought of an elf. Not a bad Tuesday. I'm happy.

CFXK 9:58 AM  

It felt a bit awkward that two of the four theme answers were menu items. It would have felt cleaner if either all shared something in common (in addition to theme)or none did. But two of four?

SethG 10:02 AM  

I got the reveal first, then BREAST OF CHICKEN, then BACK ISSUES. With STROKES and BREAST and BACK, it took me a few too many seconds to think of swimming.

For some reason, I always get The Loco-Motion confused with Dancing in the Street. I do not confuse New York Dolls with The Strokes.

Evgeny 10:05 AM  

although @David L already summed it up quite well, here the explanation re LOIRE draining France
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drainage_basin

Tobias Duncan 10:05 AM  

Anon Bob . I for one am sorry if we have upset you. I feel I must warn you about the rest of the internet. Long winded posts are such a common complaint that there is an acronym/initialism that was created just for the occasion. If in your travels you see, TLDR tl;dr tl,dr or teal dear or a photo of a teal dear, people are trying to say "too long ,did'nt read.
I am often quite long winded myself and have gotten that complaint all over this fine interweb of ours . I completely ignore it.
I suggest you do the same.

Place the Face 10:05 AM  

[Skip this if you don't care about Identi-KIT]

Identi-KIT (tm) was introduced in the '50 to replace the police artists (and for departments that couldn't afford them)with a standard system of constructing sketches of suspects.

The kit consisted of a number of clear sheets, each with a variant of a facial feature (eyes, hair, nose, etc) that could be stacked to create a "composite" portrait.

Each sheet bore a unique ID, and the final selection's IDs could be transmitted via telex to other agencies where they could be "reconstructed" --- early version of digital transmission, perhaps ;)

This in the days before desktop computers and relable fax machines.

The company survives today, having "computerized" their product.

P>G>

Mel Ott 10:06 AM  

I know I've seen this theme before, but I still enjoyed solving the puzzle. Especially liked the 15's. Granted the BREAST clue and answer could have been a bit racier but I don't want to go there.

I think I usually see the menu item as BUTTERFLY prawns, but shrimp is fine. Yum.

I know it has become more or less common usage but the use of REVerend as a noun still grates on my ears.

Tobias Duncan 10:07 AM  

oops , I meant teal deer , sorry folks.

chefbea 10:14 AM  

@anon Bob. Hope you will return. I'll give you a bunch of Beets!!! Gosh we haven't seen that word in months!!!!

hazel 10:15 AM  

@Anoni-BOB - I should also have mentioned that I LOVE Pnin!! He's one of my favorite anti-heros of all time, right up there with Ignatius P. Reilly!!

PuzzleNut 10:18 AM  

This goes to show how a lack of knowledge is sometimes helpful in crossword solving. I'm not a big LOTR fan and had no idea who BILBO was, so I got it all from crosses. No misdirect for me.
Only write-over was BAted breath.
Nice clue for BACKISSUES.

Ulrich 10:21 AM  

@joho: I'm with you issue-wise.

@David L: Thx for the draining explanation--I always knew vaguely what I meant, now I know exactly--should be of great help in my daily life:-)

@anon. Bob: Look at it this way: It is unreasonable to expect that the many (does anybody have an approx. no?) commenters here agree on everything, especially as many seem to come from the opionated professions (like college professors--an opinion on everything and more than willing to share it--I'm one of them): So, one absolutely cannot take the opinion expressed by one as the consensus of the group. A somewhat thicker skin is helpful, though, for the same reason: You are likely to encounter flak, if not today, then tomorrow.

Having said this, I would add (this was a discussion we had a while ago): The likelihood that your comment is actually read seems to be inverse proportional to its length. Like only a few will get to here in this comment, if they read it at all!

John V 10:29 AM  

@ulrich. Well said. I indeed never made it to the end of your pos :)

Harry Palmer 10:39 AM  

Hey, BOB, today is shaping up to be all about you, buddy. Just what you wanted!

As for O'Donnell's masturbation stance, that's between a gal and her little friend.

fikink 10:45 AM  

Thanks for the Moses this morning, @Rex. ;)

Two Ponies 10:56 AM  

Jesus Chrysler I wanted the old New Yorkers to be cars.
The only Grand Opera I think of is
Ole (Opry).
I think Vanilla is a good description.

Doug 11:16 AM  

Got flummoxed along with Rex with the BACKISSUES clue. I thought, too, it referred to humans because the title of the magazine is, strictly speaking, "The New Yorker," not "New Yorker." Cluing it correctly would have made it awkward, not to mention it easy. I couldn't get IDENTIKIT until I had every letter and guessed at RESIN to finish. Whew. Hard for a Tuesday, for me anyway.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

Actually, I would have labeled this easy. My only objection was the BMOC answer for college VIP. A Dean is a VIP, but big man on campus? I don't like it.

Jim 11:40 AM  

Hated yesterday's. Loved today's. Couldn't figure out what a BUTTERSTROKE was. Doy!

Liked the inclusion of MALTA and CRETE. Stirs my Mediterranean blood.

Further fantastic fives: BILBO, LOIRE, BABAR, ISUZU, NOKIA (all proper) and ANIMA permeate the grid.

Wanted eyE for DIE, so IDENTIKIT was slow in coming. Add confusion on the New Yorkers clue and the bottom half was quite a bit more difficult than the top.

Yeah, AZT 's inclusion is weird. Seems like we've reached some STASIS that keeps it out of public discourse. Iran's election and subsequent failed revolution was much closer to one year ago than two. Wonder if that itself is indicative of how new 'news' supplants old in such a way to make it seem more distant.

CaseAce 11:48 AM  

Really got into the Swim of things with this Perl by Adam!
Would have preferred saying "I got my Rocs off", but then, I'm a gentleman?

Clark 11:50 AM  

The drive from my grandparents' house in Hibbing Minnesota to their cabin on Lake Leander goes over a gentle hill that marks the divide between rivers that flow to Hudson Bay and those that flow to the Great Lake system. That little hill, with its typical barbed wire fence (very Fargo), was my favorite spot on that very popular drive to the lake. If you pour a bucket of water on that hill, my Grandpa used to say, . . .

Moonchild 11:50 AM  

Being a LOTR wonk I did not hesitate on Bilbo.
Some of the short fill left much to be desired.
I didn't find much satisfaction with the theme. Maybe that O'Donnell chick has some advice.
Oh wait, she's anti-satisfaction.

There seems to be an elephant in the room today.
In a public forum such as this, sometimes a little Teflon is all that is required to avoid needless drama.

Tinbeni 11:53 AM  

FUN easy Tuesday.

Caught on to theme early.

BREAST OF CHICKEN seems OK to me since I'm unaware of the Chicken STROKE.

OMEN(S) and SAP(S) both in the NYT & LAT. I think it's funny how often both grids have 2 alike answers.

Tinbeni 11:58 AM  

@Moonchild

Actually, instead of teflon, I believe Avatar works best.

Especially when toasting a sunset.


captcha: feckin (not going to go there).

jesser 12:21 PM  

@ Clark: Out here in the still-semi-Wild West, where many Jeeps actually get off-road use, we are fortunate to be in proximity to The Continental Divide, where your bucket of water drains into both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

I can be there in 90 minutes, give or take.

Perhaps owing to less sophistication than y'all Easterners, it is part of our Rite of Passage to empty one's bladder onto the ridge and to then contemplate (usually over whiskey) the marvelous way in which we have fertilized America and added a few drops to Oceania. Just sayin'.

Three and out!

shrub5 12:26 PM  

Hey, we got our friend Eero in a clue instead of an answer!!

Looked at 39A's clue right off the bat and thought I was in for some pet animals. Then after I started and got what I presumed was the first theme answer (BUTTERFLY SHRIMP), I thought "who has pet butterflies?" ... just a little slow this AM.

Although not as bad as Roman numerals, a clue asking for the order of books of the Bible (and abbrevs.) irks me. Other than Exodus or Mark, Luke and John, I'm not going to know who follows what. Had a relatively non-religious upbringing and never studied the Bible as literature, so I always come up short in this area.

@David L: My thanks also for the river draining explanation. And @Place the face P>G>: ditto for the IDENTIKIT info.

Squeek 12:29 PM  

Ho-hum compared to yesterday.
I'm more freestyle when it comes to swimming.
Had a malapop at 7D when I tried Crete there first.
Ossa/Etna, always have to wait for the other shoe to drop.

@ BOB, Looks like you got your way and stole the show today. All I gotta say is that if that is all it takes to make you leave in a huff then maybe blogging just ain't your thing. These folks are as nice and civil as you will find in the blogosphere.
If you can't stand the heat ...
adios, amigo.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

I'm slow at these things but I assume Rex's gratuitous comment on masturbation has to do with the theme STROKES. Personally, I am embarrassed and offended by this. It would be better to talk about Ms. O’Donnell’s opponent’s obsession with Marxism. The following clues are appropriate for this discussion: 17A - EntrĂ©e on many a Chinese menu; 70A – Labor’s partner; 4D – Dracula’s altered form; 40D – News agency that was the first to report on Sputnik….

mac 12:37 PM  

Competent Tuesday puzzle with a little oldish feel.

Set at always confuses me, it sounds like you make a dog or a hitman attack. Breast of chicked sounds a little awkward, but it works for the theme.

Had to get BMOCS from crosses, wanted Dean as well, of course.

Tobias Duncan 12:49 PM  

Anon @ 12:36... Bob???

Hey Rex,is the word butthurt allowed here?

Rube 12:58 PM  

When I think of The Loco-Motion, I think of The Chiffons. Googled and listened to both versions just now and don't remember hearing LITTLEEVAs rendition. Upon further investigation, it's obvious I don't know what I'm talking about. But that's what I remember!

No new words, but since I had forgotten OSSA, I'll make that my WOTD.

@Bob, LOL.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

@Tobias – What do you get when you combine today’s answers tASS with bacKISSues and ERase?

Not Bob....

foodie 1:02 PM  

I can still close my eyes and see the map of France with all the rivers and their "affluents" (French tributaries). The French nuns, who were Franciscaines BTW, drilled that into us and LOIRE was a gimme.

BMOCS took embarrassingly long to figure out. I could not imagine what fancy college position I was missing. We have people with all kinds of abbreviated fancy titles, eg. EVPMA (Executive Vice President for Medical Affair) or VPR (Vice President for Research), but none that I could scare up starting with B.




Rex, I think you're exactly right-- they say BREAST OF CHICKEN on menus to make it sound fancier than Chicken Breasts, which sound more anatomical-- you buy chicken breasts at the market, but you dine on Breast of Chicken, singular :). It's interesting that types of food, especially meat, are typically singular: Beef, SHRIMP, CHICKEN or BREAST OF CHICKEN- It's the categorical ideal of the food.

Jim 1:07 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim 1:11 PM  

Hey anonymouse:

It just cannot be refuted coherently that the current incarnation of your party bathes in and secretes anything but rabid anti-intellectualism. To wit: how much play does the only coherent (if wrong-headed) conservative plan for fixing the budget (i.e., Paul Ryan of Wisconsin's) get on Fox? It's closer to absolute zero than Lord Kelvin ever got.

A friend was interviewed on Fox Business last night, so I subjected myself to much more than I would ever have otherwise voluntarily done. The crazily-fonted "TAXED TO DEATH" logo permanently emblazoned throughout their "news" coverage tells you all you need to know.

Just keep your red-baiting, hackneyed, utterly stupid socialist-name-calling comments to yourself and your drinking buddies. And to those who will complain about us opening up Pandora's box here, T.S.

Anonymous is right, Rex started it.

Tobias Duncan 1:12 PM  

Anon you overshot clever by ER.Had you stuck with ASSKISS or KISSASS it would have been so much funnier !
The ER just seems so tacked on...

andrea reacts michaels 1:30 PM  

Started off with BILBO/BABAR and got excited that every word would have two B's...imagine my disappointment!
It's all about expectations, baby!

So I awaited with BAted breath (one of my writeovers) for the theme and also felt it a bit non-NY Times'ish and made me appreciate yesterday's even more!

(Still liking the idea of a sequel with MARTINSSHORT, SHELLYSLONG! There just needs to be slight consistency)

BAted made the first letters of BREASTOFCHICKEN become tREA...
so I thought it was going to be TREADING WATER and was all set to harrumph that THAT'S not a STROKE!

Sometimes I don't like to see what the unifying theme is till the end but that would be impossible.

@Rex
still smiling over "drains them of what?... a will to live?! HA! :)

@Joho
Love your comment today...

@Jesser, I'm with you. The AZT answer (which I think I've either had to take out of puzzles or was told to, I can't remember which) made me really really sad, even tho it's a positive thing and just a three letter answer and a Z to boot!
I know Will always says there is not such thing as a breakfast test and we shouldn't be overly sensitive to words, etc etc etc but it literally plunged me into despair last night as I thought of all my friends no longer here. And it was interesting, I really really really didn't want it in my crossword...yet I totally get why constructors can't be sensitive to everyone's sensitive issues...and this wasn't even the word AIDS.
Caught me by surprise tho and bummed me out. Made me wanted to CRAWL into a very small SPACE and cry
(I hear ya @joho on BACKISSUES!)

I wasn't even going to write in today, but then @Rex made me laugh with the LOIRE comment and it put it all back into perspective.

archaeoprof 1:35 PM  

@ChefBea: right you are! We need more beets in crossworld. And more country music too.

I bet Christine O'Donnell liked that old country song, "I've Got Friends in Low Places."

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

@Tobias – I see your point and it might be a better fit with your word. My only defense is that K-I-S-S were the first 4 letters I got for Old New Yorkers and immediately thought of ASSKISSERS because old New Yorkers were sympathetic to King George V and Washington had to flee to Brooklyn with his ragtag army because of all the spies for the Crown in Manhattan….

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

Why does country music need to appear in the puzzle if you're gonna bring it up every day either way?

CoffeeLvr 1:41 PM  

@Place the Face P>G>:, thanks for the description of the original IdentiKit.

Loved seeing TWA. Remember when we first flew through there, I must have been 13 - on the way to France. My Dad worked for TWA for 41 years, and was ambivalent about the terminal. On one hand, lots of positive publicity for TWA, on the other, perhaps a waste of money.

seInE before LOIRE, TAaS before TASS (frequent error, learned it wrong in the first place), and IRAqIANS before the correct answer. My immediate association was Sham of Tabriz, Rumi's close friend. And Rumi was born in Afghanistan, which is closer to Iraq . . .

BMOC is, in my mind, a '50s expression, and refers to a popular jock/romeo/student on a college campus, not to any university position. Someone on Wiki basically agrees with me: "'Big Man on Campus', an American colloquialism for a popular high school or college boy involved in some high-profile activity, such as varsity sports or school government." This is not the only meaning in use now.

Enuff!

KooKooKaChoo 1:46 PM  

My dear 11yo son thought it hilarious to torture me w/ his knowing Bilbo, me ignorant. But when I got "nip" and he couldn't, he (boy of much soccer playing) said, "We never nipped another team. That's just lame. Yeah, we nipped them! Boy are we tough. The Nippers. Got 'em by a tad!"

I argued for more genteel activities. Bridge? Tiddlywinks? Son: "I watched that xword documentary with you Mom. Even THOSE guys didn't nip. They were dorks, but they were fierce."

Liked the puzzle. Quick and easy. Thought backissues was inspired.

Rex Parker 1:48 PM  

Comments not about the puzzle in some substantive way are going byebye. Thx.

rp

joel 1:52 PM  

Personally I have never seen "butterfly shrimp" on a Chinese menu. Butterflying is something you do to shrimp, i.e.slitting them down the back. Sweet and sour shrimp, shrimp with lobster sauce, many variants, but never "butterfly shrimp". What would that be? What cooking method, what sauce?

your average blank 2:11 PM  

locomotion by little eva and written by carole king eva was carole's babysitter love that old song trivia

DBGeezer 2:16 PM  

My first entries were BILBO DEAN and SWINE for 1, 6, and 14. Since Bilbo and SWINE didn't work together, as a LOTR fan I switched BILBO to ASLAN.
That held me up for a good while until the crosses straightened me out.
Hand up for thinking of animals first for 39a.

syndy 2:33 PM  

Agree with joel my first thought was adam goes to the wrong restaurants.I had aton of rightovers on this (mostly mentioned) but thought backissues redeemed the thing.Bob! suck it up

mitchs 2:37 PM  

Interesting, if short, sketch on Wordplay in which the moderator pays a visit to Will at home. He has stacks of approved puzzles in piles according to the day of publication. The Friday/Saturday piles are the highest, and the shortest stack by far is Monday's. Reminds me of BEQ's comment that creating a good easy puzzle is hard work.

Long-winded intro to a short comment. I thought the Bilbo/Babar cross and Old New Yorkers clue helped make this an enjoyable Tuesday.

WesIsland 2:52 PM  

Help! What is the meaning of Labor's partner being "parts?"

Invoice 3:08 PM  

Weslsland
"Parts and Labor" ... it's the way they list it on the invoice.

acme 3:12 PM  

@mitchs
I can totally attest to that...
re themes, as been said before 4 is the new 3...and I have had to rewrite many a Monday puzzle that I intended as a Tuesday bec there would be a word like ODIC. It's super hard, but a fun challenge. Now that folks know Will needs Mondays, I super encourage people to give it a try!

sanfranman59 3:20 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)

Tue 9:46, 8:54, 1.10, 79%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:07, 4:35, 1.12, 83%, Challenging

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

Was wondering why the Dolls video...then realized they are "Old New Yorkers"...Love it, though it makes me feel old, too.

CoffeeLvr 3:53 PM  

@Anon BOB, please reconsider your decision not to post here. Again, I encourage you to open a Blogger Identity, or at least use the radio button for Name/URL to enter with a consistent identity. On days when I am rushed, I don't read the anonymous posts.

Second, look at what others here choose to post. I am too long for a relatively newcomer, sometimes I preview my comments and cut.

Third, check out the Blogger identities of some of the regular posters. Just click on the blue name or the Avatar. Get to know them. I was going to say "us," but I find that a bit presumptuous.

There is room here for all, including the sensitive and the snarky.

Warren Howie Hughes 3:55 PM  

CoffeeLvr, being that your pops worked for TWA all those years, perhaps you heard him say more than a few times that TWA stood for "Tight Wad Airlines?

David in CA 4:17 PM  

Sure seemed like a lot of marginal stuff today. Are acronyms now just normal nouns that can be pluralized at will by sticking an "s" on them? BMOCS? Last I noted the plural of man was men, giving BMOC. Now if the clue had been "Colleges VIP" then BMOCS (Big Man On Campusses" might have been OK. Ditto for "RNAS". Bah!

Do we have to be smashed over the head with the clue for the reveal every day there is one? Why not have 39A be just "Pets" and leave a little "puzzling" for the solver to do?

Nip for defeat??? In a quick check of an online dictionary nip has about five gajilllion definitions, any of which could have made a decent clue, and none of which have anything to do with a defeat - unless you defeat the the plant "just a tad" when you nip it in the bud?

Well, at least maybe we've emerged from the proper-name hell that was Brown week and yesterday. Despite the complaints I enjoyed today and managed to finish at least.

Anonymous 4:18 PM  

Have a problem w/ pets for strokes. Pets require a full hand but strokes only use fingers....

Anonymous 4:39 PM  

Maybe y'all're using the wrong sources? NIP. PET. RNAS. BMOCS.

Stan 4:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stan 4:49 PM  

I thought it was a solid puzzle. Identi-Kit was way out of Tuesday difficulty range, but solvable through crosses.

Great Dolls clip! Thanks, BBC2.

Sundance 5:26 PM  

Didn't occur to me that "Pets" was a verb!

Anonymous 5:28 PM  

Had DUMBO for BABAR and DILDO for BILBO before rex had Christine mastubating and Tobias was a Marxist....

dk 5:49 PM  

Missed/don't get the whole masturbation/Christine thing.

Find the puzzle to be fine Tuesday fare and my only problem was I got here early and the blog was late.

** (2 Stars)

Photographed The Dolls back in the day and saw them perform on Machinery Hill at the Minnesota State Fair three days after moving from Manhattan to St. Paul.

Ulrich 6:16 PM  

@WarrenEtc: Your remark reminds me that the Saarinen terminal was known to pilots as the "Flying brassiere"...

Two Ponies 8:26 PM  

@ dk, You should put together a book complete with photos. I'd buy it.
@ Ulrich, I'm not sure I have seen the building you are talking about but Denver's new airport looks like a whole bunch of bras ... or a circus.

fergus 8:37 PM  

I wanted the swimming strokes in the correct order of an individual medley: butter, back, breast and freestyle (crawl). Btw, did the puzzle with a pair of 4th graders today. Helpful and curious partipants.

Sfingi 9:08 PM  

Before I got the theme, I wanted BACKISSUES (Old New Yorkers) to be something with kniCKerbocker in it. Even after I got it, theme and clue, I just couldn't read it. KISSUE? as in "Kiss you, I don't even know you!" Finally saw the 2 words.

@David - Had swIne before AvIAN, and then ASIAN. IDENTIKIT was easy for me as it's covered in pop-science magazines (Scientific American, Discovery) and on pop-science tv shows.

Wanted labor PAinS - no I didn't, when I had 'em.

Did not know OSSA.

The rest of the CW seemed deja vu-ish. Don't know why.

@David - agree that pluralizing can be cheap.
Too many Davids. I once told my son he could have no more friends named Kevin, and my sister could have no more friends named Debby.

@Kookookachoo - He's picking up the word! I loved hearing my inmates say that they had a "beef" with someone decades after my dad used the expression in Old New York.

@Rube - I preferred the Chiffons, also.

@AnonBob - if you want to be loved for who you are - then who the hell are you?

edith b 9:11 PM  

I completely missed the meaning of the word PETS and finished the puzzle first before figuring out what the theme was.

As a reader of mystery novels, I recognized IDENTIKIT right away so no real problems except as indicated above.

Warren Howie Hughes 9:20 PM  

Ulrich, I would really appreciate WHH to WarrenEtc. Thankyou, very much

CoffeeLvr 9:27 PM  

@WHH, don't recall Tight Wad Air, do recall Teeny Weeny Airlines, but not from Dad. He would not have deprecated his employer in front of the children.

Nighthawk 9:31 PM  

@KooKooKaChoo Loved soccer son's take on NIP.

@your average blank Really? She was Carole King's baby sitter?? Very cool piece of pop trivia. Thanks.

Got hung up in the Great Lakes by 10D: SsH, making 15A: a curious EARns with 9D: being CnS (coins?).
60A: also caused a stumble with Inc, making 55 and 56 obscure for a while.

Daughter was a swimmer. I agree, at meets, it's back, breast, fly, free - but CRAWL certainly works.
Wish TOUCH could have been including to add gloss to the theme. Here's Michael Phelps' famous one from the 2008 Olympics.
Phelps v. Cavic -Butterfly

Rube 10:31 PM  

@CoffeLvr: Did your Dad mention that in Europe, Italy in my experience, TWA was pronounced TeeWah?

Robin 1:43 AM  

Is anybody else worried about Ret_Chem's dog and/or why we haven't heard from him in the past few days?

Loved Bilbo/Babar crossing. Still confused about Taas/Tass? Didn't recognize 47A with either spelling.

captcha "inosie" - guess that fits

sanfranman59 1:48 AM  

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 8:15, 6:58, 1.18, 97%, Challenging
Tue 9:55, 8:54, 1.11, 85%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:19, 3:43, 1.16, 97%, Challenging
Tue 5:03, 4:35, 1.10, 80%, Challenging

Will seems to making up for last week's relatively easy puzzles.

Anonymous 4:44 PM  

C'mon, guys. This was a typical Wed. But what is really great is when Rex talks dirty. Anybody with a BA from a first rate liberal arts college or who is married to a Greek knows perihelion has Greek roots. 3 and out....

lace front 8:31 AM  

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Anonymous 10:33 AM  

I know my comment from syndication land is late but I thought it would have been even better to see the strokes in order of the medley (for individual medley: butter, back, breast, free (crawl), at least when I swam). Was thinking of a different Met, so that threw me in SE corner. Liked back issues and BMOC, which I've always wanted whenever I see that clue.

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

@Jesser - you may have thought you were whizzing into the Pacific and Atlantic from your perch on the Continental Divide but it was actually the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico.

NotalwaysrightBill 3:11 PM  

Syndicated puzzler. Fairly enjoyable TuePuz, with a few nits and a couple of own-fault writeovers, like initially wanting PERSIANS for IRANIANS due to the fame of Shamus-i-Tabrizi. Don't much like SETAT for attack. Agree with @Joel about seeing ButterFLIED Shrimp more often than ButterFLY Shrimp on Chinese menus. The use of BREASTOFCHICKEN, instead of Chicken Breast shows the Germanic-analytic /Latinate-synthetic tussle still at play in the English language, with the centuries-old struggle occuring in one of the traditional arenas too: eating (or raaaather dining) brings out the OOLALA instead of the matter-of-fact.

@Shrub5: Quityerbitchin about Biblical clues. We all have our individual areas of strength and weakness. Rex just admitted to being somewhat geography-terms challenged, and I found myself pretty well at sea amidst all the talk about the New York Dolls and the Chiffons et al (although I was better versed in the Little Eva/Carol King arena). My favorite puzzles play to my strengths just enough to allow me to discover something new to me (I'll look up whatever IPO means after I'm done here). Sometimes I go kicking and screaming, but it's still a matter of attitude, after all.

It's voting season, so I guess we can't help seeing a nominal amount of political talk here, like @Jim's anti-FOX screed (don't get me goin' about NPR, the two-bit whore-hearted pendejo-lipped dumpster-divin' cur . . . .). And I suppose sadists will naturally react to someone who keeps praying for someone to come tie him up and force him to become an Aqua Bhuddhist. So I think the professor's advice on acquiring Teflon skin online is well taken.

Dirigonzo 4:25 PM  

My small-town daily got everything about the puzzle right except the creator, which it listed as Bernice Gordon, so I thought maybe Wil was going to give us a BG week. But no, it was just a mistake.

ACME, I'm sorry this puzzle left you bummed out, but I hope you never get to the point of not writing in - I look forward to your comments more than any others. (I was growing kind of fond of Bob's anonymous posts, also, as I too have a natural inclination to go on way too long after my point has been made.) (See what I mean?)

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