Large iron hook / MON 9-27-10 / Gem with colored bands / Shows petulant anger / Soapmaker's need

Monday, September 27, 2010

Constructor: Janice M. Putney

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Baseball as metaphor — theme answers follow "verbs-a-noun" pattern, where the "verbs" are all baseball-related


Word of the Day: GAFF (27D: Large iron hook) —

n.
  1. A large iron hook attached to a pole or handle and used to land large fish.
  2. Nautical. A spar attached to the mast and used to extend the upper edge of a fore-and-aft sail.
    1. A sharp metal spur or spike fastened to the leg of a gamecock.
    2. A climbing hook used by telephone and electric line workers.
  3. Slang. A trick or gimmick, especially one used in a swindle or to rig a game.
  4. Slang. Harshness of treatment; abuse.
• • •

Loved it. Solid concept with consistent and solid execution. A 78-worder (so lots of short stuff) that still managed to have pizzazz—both inside and outside the theme answers themselves. Thought I was flying through this at something like record time—and I was, at times, I'm sure—but then two things happened. First, I hit the center, where I simply couldn't make quick sense of 40A: Doesn't stonewall, say. Nothing about that clue suggests "question" to me, so I needed far more crosses than I probably should have to get the answer, FIELDS A QUESTION. Second, at about the 2/3 mark, I heard my wife coming up the stairs, and I got really distracted, thinking "she's going to ask you something or otherwise interrupt you and screw up your superfast time." In fact, she reached the top of the staircase, saw me engrossed in solving, and turned around and went back down the staircase. But I let myself get distracted enough to throw me off. My bad, not hers. In fact, even if she'd interrupted me, it wouldn't have been her bad. She was only coming up to ask me what I wanted to drink, after all. Then she just went ahead and made me a Manhattan. I am married to a woman who a. knows to leave me alone when I'm mid-solve, and b. makes me Manhattans. There are other upsides, but honestly, with those two, I hardly need any more. We're married 7 years today (9/27), and today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I also consider myself a bit drunk (she makes a *strong* Manhattan). Anyway, the short story is, I didn't break any speed records, but still got a reasonably BIG THRILL (37D: Cause of goose bumps, perhaps) out of the whole experience.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Shows petulant anger (PITCHES A FIT)
  • 23A: Gets lucky (CATCHES A BREAK)
  • 40A: Doesn't stonewall, say (FIELDS A QUESTION)
  • 51A: Reacts slightly (BATS AN EYELASH)
  • 63A: Shows affection unexpectedly (STEALS A KISS)


Slowed down by FIELDS A QUESTION, as I said, but also by BIG THRILL, which I could not pick up easily from the front end alone. I also was shockingly stymied by 15A: Hitting of a golf ball (STROKE) — I think it's the awkward cluing that did it. I was looking for something more technical. [Golf shot] might have been easier to uncover, but maybe there's some reason that clue wouldn't be valid. I don't play. I also had to think a bit to remember what the [Large iron hook] was. It's a GAFF. Didn't help that that answer went straight through the beginning of my one trouble theme answer. Also didn't help that my one wrong letter at 24D: Addams who created "The Addams Family" (CHAS) (the "S," which I had as a "Z") also appeared in that same answer. Went with OPAL over ONYX at first (39D: Gem with colored bands), which only shows how cursorily I read clues when I'm speeding – four-letter "Gem" starting with "O," I don't even break stride... other than that, no problems. A smooth, lovely grid. Finished in 3 flat.

Last thing: love the SLAP (71A: Possible response to a grabby boyfriend) directly underneath STEALS A KISS. Nice touch.

Have a lovely autumn day. I know I will.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

60 comments:

Tobias Duncan 12:24 AM  

Happy anniversary! A spouse that brings cocktails all the way up a set of stairs for you is a worthy mate.Let me know if you tire of her.

I too love Manhattans , lately I have been making them with Rye whiskey, it stands up wonderfully to the sweetness of the vermouth.

I loved this puzzle. This is how sports should be used in crosswords. I understand that sports are part of popular culture here in America and served up like this I have no problem enjoying them in my puzzle. But when you have to be an avid fan to have come in contact with the name of some obscure player, I just cringe . It is the only trivia I actively do not want rattling around in my brain and I know I am not the only one( I would wager that most of the women and at least some of the men are not sports fans).
Would it be horrible to petition to Will to try to tone down the sports in the puzzle?

foodie 12:37 AM  

Beautiful puzzle and a lovely write up! I'm glad you got a puzzle you love on your anniversary, Rex. It's all part of the sweet vibe.

I believe that one of the best ways to judge a man is by the woman he marries. I imagine the converse might be true...I don't know why I don't use it as an indicator nearly as much. I noticed this when my mentor lost his first wife to cancer and eventually remarried and both women were truly remarkable- accomplished, intelligent, thoughtful and gracious. That cannot be random! Rex, I know your taste is impeccable, and not just because of the Manhattans...

Favorite clue/answer combo: STEALS A KISS. And apt given the occasion!

PurpleGuy 12:52 AM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex. I hope you and Sandy have a great day.
Ditto what @foodie said. Nice that such an enjoyable puzzle should fall on such a nice day.
No hangups with this one. Great fill and fun to boot.

Happy Monday all.

Bob/PurpleGuy

lit.doc 1:28 AM  

Happy anniversary indeed!

andrea bigthrill michaels 1:32 AM  

yep. you're a lucky man. and it's nice that you are so openly and consistently loving when it comes to your missus.

Loved that this puzzle was written by a woman and that it turned the sports things a bit on its head.

Needed a J...curious if there had been one in the original submission.

The only odd thing for me was some of the things needed the negative reverse. Like I only think in terms of DOESN'T for BATSANEYELASH
or stonewalls as in DOESN"T field a question...even CAN'T catch a break.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say, but that's what I felt.

writeover TbOndS/TNOTES

Oh! One synchronicitious thing, last night was the 30th reunion of those who used to perform at the Other Cafe...which was all the rage in comedy in SF in the 80s...and DANA Carvey was one of the 50 folks who performed (show went on for 6 hours!!!) and the highlight of his bit was explaining how he had developed the character of "Church Lady" at the Other, piece by piece based on the ladies he and his brothers had met growing up.

Chatted with Paula Poundstone over my wild jealousy of her being in the NY TImes puzzle all the time (she said she is always with Paula Prentiss)...and, of course, BIGTHRILL, Robin Williams waited patiently for SIX hours and closed the show which had spilled over into the next day!

chefwen 1:38 AM  

@lit.doc - Where the Hell have you been? Crazy cat lady and I have been missing you.

Happy Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Smart, enjoy many more.

Puzzle was super easy and seemed to fill itself in, only write over was at 63A, had threw a kiss before SHA na na set me straight and let to STEAL A KISS. Good easy Monday!

Rube 1:41 AM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex. I knew that eventually I would find something we had in common, besides xwords. I've been drinking manhattans since you were in diapers. A German born naturalized Canadian introduced me to them in the 60s and I've been drinking them every since, (except if it's hot when I drink either Margaritas or Mai Tais). This is before dinner, of course.

'Twas a very fine puzzle, with the only drawback that there were no new words. I even knew Willem DAFOE and Cheri OTERI! Well, I didn't know Kingsley AMIS, but that's not really an interesting fact/word IMO. I'm fairly confident that during the discussions, someone will come with an interesting observation.

Alright, I have to comment on PITCHESAFIT. "Throws a fit" would be much more correct, a still retain the baseball theme. "To throw a fit" would fit the space, but not the format. I'm sure the Ms Putney anguished over this and "Pitches_" was the best possible option.

All in all, a very fine Monday puzzle.

protege01 3:54 AM  

I guess I'm the only one who didn't like this puzzle. Felt Tuesday hard to me so medium at least for a Monday.

Wasn't too impressed with the theme. The answers are ok but they are clued really hard to me. PITCHES A FIT is a phrase I've never heard and sounds made up.

The CHAS AMIS crossing threw me off as did the clue for GOO. And a lyric from Damn Yankees to start? Ugh.

shrub5 3:58 AM  

Congratulations are again in order -- RP, you are on a roll!

Nice, smooth puzzle. Can only see two words I didn't know but were easily completed through crosses: ACCRA and ILS. Didn't think a recent arrival is necessarily a LATECOMER. Maybe should have had a 'maybe'? I wondered if this was ELENA Kagan's NYT puzzle clue debut. As Justice, it is. Earlier this year she was in a clue as a nominee. (ref. XWord Info)

@andrea: That sounds like some show! Were you one of the performers?

acme 4:15 AM  

@shrub5
nope...thanks for asking tho!
(never quite made it, haven't performed in almost 20 years...was welcomed back warmly, but felt like borderline hanger-on...but it was fun to see everyone and reminisce. Totally different life now) ;)

and now, back to the puzzle!

@rube
I agree that "throw a fit" is more common than PITCH...but you really need PITCH to give this a super clear baseball feel.

joho 7:50 AM  

What a wonderful Monday puzzle!

I loved the active, fresh theme answers. I've heard PITCHESAFIT before so it didn't bother me at all. This was smooth all the way.

Thank you, Janice Putney!

And congratulations Sandy and Rex on your seventh anniversary!

Elisa 7:58 AM  

Happy Anniversary Rex and Sandy!

I solved the whole thing at a very quick time for me, and did not realize until reading the blog that this was a baseball theme. Bring on ASANA.

Deb Amlen 8:09 AM  

Happy anniversary, Rex and Mrs. Rex! I think it's wonderful that she makes you Manhattans and that you appreciate her enough to say so.

Thought it was funny that the bottom half of the grid went from BATS AN EYELASH to STEALS A KISS and then ends with a SLAP.

ArtLvr 8:17 AM  

A TOAST on the anniversary of Rex and his Regina! DOM PĂ©rignon would be most appropriate.

This was a fun Monday, well executed... Working from bottom to top again, my last fill was LIPO /OTERI and the P in PITCHES, so the more common "Throws" wasn't a problem...

BATS AN EYELASH was funny in not using the negative, as Anrea noted, and maybe the same was true for CATCHES A BREAK. I liked BOPS and SLAP, OOZE and SLEEK, all very smooth. Thanks, Ms. Putney!

∑;)

p.s. I hope Andrea will let us know if there is tape of her fab reunion bash, especially the Robin Williams closing!

KooKooKaChoo 8:31 AM  

Also didn't realize theme was baseball. Thought it was "this-es a that." Ah, well.

Loved the bottom corner, too. Would include "BIG THRILL" in the kiss/slap/eyelash sequence.

Loved it.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

Never heard of "pitches a fit" but a quick Google comes up with headlilnes like the following so I guess somebody, somewhere does use the phrase.

The Inside Pitch: Cubs' Zambrano pitches a fit
Chronicle News Services
May 28, 2009, 12:24AM

dk 8:58 AM  

Happy Anniversary Rex and S-Rex.

BATSANEYELASH held me up but otherwise a straightforward solve.

*** (3 Stars) Nice Monday Ms. Putney

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

Today’s puzzle was a shower after yesterday’s mud bath. So in about a week Rex celebrates his daughter’s birthday, his blog’s 4th anniversary and his marriage’s 7th anniversary — a TRIFECTA! And Rex’s wife brings him a stiff Manhattan. Nobody drinks Manhattans anymore or knows how to make them, which makes me think Rex married the bartender where he used to work the puzzles....

chefbea 9:14 AM  

Fun, easy, Monday puzzle.

Happy anniversary Rex and Sandy.

jesser 9:24 AM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex! And happy birthday to the Blog! (I read the blog on weekends but have stopped posting because it makes me want to do the puzzle first thing and, well, I don't like scheduling myself on weekends.)

Loved the puzzle. Had the Opal/ONYX writeover blues. 66a was my only boo-hiss moment.

I don't like pollutants in my bourbon. Only ice and a splash of water. But I'll raise a toast and clink glasses with your Manhattan!

PITCH A FIT is certainly in my vernacular. I blame Jesse Winchester.

Rhumba Man
by Jesse Winchester
as recorded by Jimmy Buffett

Well, I’m the same old guy that I used to be
I haven’t changed at all
I got the same old walk, the same old talk
That will drive you up the wall
The same old face the same old smile
The same old baby blues
I’m still doing the rhumba, baby
I’m still the man for you

Chorus:
I’m still doing the rhumba baby
I can’t seem to quit
If my mama catches us doing the rhumba
Mama would just pitch a fit
I can’t help myself, it’s much bigger than me
If I were you, I would hang on to a rhumba man like me

There’s lots of guys in this crowd tonight
With a lot slicker glasses than me
They got their fins to the left fins to the right
For everyone to see
I might be old fashioned
But that’s ok with me
‘Cause I got a couple of rhumba moves
That You might like to see

Chorus:
I’m still doing the rhumba baby
I can’t seem to quit
If my mama catches us doing the rhumba
Mama would just pitch a fit
I can’t help myself, it’s much bigger than me
If I were you, I would hang on to a rhumba man like me

Now I’m the same old guy that I used to be
I haven’t changed at all
I got the same old walk, the same old talk
That will drive you up the wall
The same old face the same old smile
The same old baby blues
I’m still doing the rhumba, baby
I’m still the man for you

Chorus(x2):
I’m still doing the rhumba baby
I can’t seem to quit
If my mama catches us doing the rhumba
Mama would just pitch a fit
I can’t help myself, it’s much bigger than me
If I were you, I would hang on to a rhumba man like me

mmorgan 9:39 AM  

Happy Anniversary, and Happy Manhattan!

Fun and very zippy puzzle. Held off on putting down OPAL for 39D (didn't feel right), briefly had STOP for SLAP at 71A, and wouldn't have gotten GAFF without crosses. Didn't love the clues for EGGY and USA but really enjoyed the puzzle.

hazel 9:39 AM  

I loved this puzzle to pieces. First, I love the baseball theme, and then I just loved the rest of it, and finally I was thrilled to see that it was written by a female!! Go girl!!

And @Rex & Deb Amlen - good catch on the batting, stealing, and slapping!

PITCHESAFIT is a VERY common expression in the South - much more so than throws a fit - at least in my neck of the woods. I think its more commonly heard in the past tense, though - we love to hear recounts of other people's business down here!!

Van55 9:41 AM  

I get it. It's a Monday puzzle, so one has to forgive some crappy fill. But SSE, ETS, SST, NSEC, ASAP?

I agree that the baseball/romance(?) combined theme is damned good.

Happy anniversary, RP and spouse!

Van55 9:41 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mac 9:56 AM  

A very good Monday! Smooth puzzle and then reading Rex's lovely testimony in his write-up. Congratulations to both of you!

I would include the Dom Perignon in the big thrill, bats..., steals..., and forget the slap. Hey look, Ella! It's a set.

smk4 10:15 AM  

Seemed to be a very generic/bland puzzle to me, and as I was filling it in, I was already anticipating Rex lambasting it - but I guess a happy day can overpower a bad puzzle, which is probably a good thing.

But I had an extreme case of Deja Vu in the SE corner, which quickly grew to where I thought I've even solved the theme answers before - even though I never caught the theme until I read it here.

Sparky 10:38 AM  

Happy Anniversary Rex and Sandy. It really has been a big week for you. Made it through this steadily. LIPO was my last fill. Caught the basseball references after all finished and looking it over. Good start for the week coming up.

Ulrich 10:41 AM  

Rex and Regina: Happy anniversary!

Two Ponies 10:41 AM  

I never made it to the party Saturday so I missed the blogoversary. So to the birthday of the blog and romantic holiday at our host's house I will raise a glass this evening. Maybe even a Manhattan (love those cherries!)
As usual, @ foodie expressed the sentiments Sat. and today far better than I could so suffice it to say I agree.
Nice smooth puzzles like today make me think of people who might be new to this game that we all seem to live and breathe by. I hope it encourages new solvers.
And the Bruins were the only actual sports trivia. Yea!
Pitch a fit is smack dab in my vernacular. Thanks @ jesser for finding the lyrics to that song and saving me the trouble. It swam through my head as soon as I filled it in.

OldCarFudd 10:49 AM  

I'll just put ditto marks around all of Tobias Duncan's post. Except for the manhattans, which I don't like. Give me single malt scotch, preferably Lagavulin or Macallan, straight up. But kudos to Mrs. Rex for bringing Rex what he likes.

archaeoprof 10:53 AM  

Here in the South PITCHES A FIT is a very common expression.

Happy anniversary, Rex!

Tinbeni 11:07 AM  

Being an avid baseball fan, I loved the theme.

FUN smooth Monday.

Rex, Happy Anniversary
You and Sandy get another Neat "Sunset toast."

Jesser, I consider "Ice and a splash of water" to be pollutants in my Scotch.

Now, my Mom's favorite joke.
What's got 500 legs and a cherry?
250 stripper's and a Manhattan.

Evgeny 11:16 AM  

Happy aniversary, Mr. Parker.

bats, pitching, innings, diamond, perfect game, home run, all teams' names and, thanks to John Irving, foul ball are the terms the poor European non native speaker is able to muster up when he hears "baseball". All the rich idiomatic vocabulary is absolutely out of my ballpark - as was finishing this puzzle.

deerfencer 11:16 AM  

Puzzle was more than decent for a Monday. Nice work Janice Putney!

Congrats on your anniversary, Mr. Parker. My wife and I just celebrated #31 with dinner out at a favorite local trattoria, and that evening I posted a few lines on my FB wall from a Wendell Berry poem I used at my wedding, "The Country of Marriage":

"Even an hour of love is a moral predicament, a blessing a man may be hard up to be worthy of."

Here's hoping you and Sandy have many many more hours, days, and years together.

Evgeny 11:17 AM  

anniversary, that is.

Mel Ott 11:20 AM  

I liked the clever baseball theme. BATted AN EYELASH at a couple of the theme answers for reasons already stated by others. Not enough to PITCH A FIT over.

Perhaps GAFFs were made of iron at one time but these days they are pretty much made of stainless steel. Iron does not hold up well in a salt environment.

fikink 11:48 AM  

What a pleasant way to enter the week. Happy Anniversary, R & S. You two are an inspiration! (especially this morning when I found a gap in my agape)

@foodie, thanks for the indirect vote of confidence ;)

The puzzle was a lovely, rational re-entry into the world after a weekend of madness. I am more accustomed to BATting AN EYE, rather than an eyelash (we do things big out here), but I do PITCH my FITs.

Good stuff, Ms. Putney.

patinly 12:08 PM  

What Tobias Duncan said. Well maybe not "loved", but still way better than using b*seball as the source of an interminable stream of obscure names. And yes, congrats to Rex on the triple anniversary!

NDE

Bob Kerfuffle 1:30 PM  

Good puzzle, even if I thought it was easier than the typical Monday, but thereon hangs this tale:

Taking the advice of "Meredith Viera" last week, I was watching "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" last week and today. Last Friday, Jean Smart (our link to Xwords) was off to a good start, and ordinarily she would have finished today. But as today's show began, it was announced that she had completed playing off-air and won about $68,000 for the Alzheimer's Association. How strange! But because of some quirks in my schedule, I did today's super-easy puzzle as I watched Millionaire. The actor Peter Gallagher was the contestant, and every question presented to him was as easy as the crossword clues -- no way he could miss. So I thought, "They are doing this to ensure a significant donation to Alzheimer's." But then they sequed into the big money questions, $100,000 and above, and they were Saturday-puzzle-hard, and neither he nor I knew the answers. They said they donated a total of about $291,000.

DB Geezer 1:40 PM  

Nice puzzle! All the very best Mr and Mrs Rex. That she makes you Manhattans, and that you express your appreciation in punlic and private bodes well for the next 9, 18, 27, 36, 45 years or more!

Stan 2:14 PM  

Cool puzzle. The Damn Yankees bonus at 1A would have been more enjoyable if I weren't a Red Sox fan, but that's baseball.

Bon anniversaire to the Parkers of Confluence.

Tony from Charm City 2:29 PM  

I really enjoyed this as everyone else did. The only gripe I was "It's football season, now, not baseball" but that was a minor complaint due to the construction of the puzzle.

As for Manhattans, I've never had one, but I semi-remember this dialog from a "Cheers" episode:

Lilith: I feel like a failure - a failure as a mother, ergo as a woman and a person. Do you make a drink for failures here at Cheers?

Sam: Ah, hold on a sec. Phil, what are you drinking?

Phil: A Manhattan.

Sam Malone: [to Lilith] Manhattan.

No offense to any fans of Manhattans!

Sfingi 2:49 PM  

Never heard of this GAFF. Also, am not familiar with PITCHESAFIT. It must be youngster or West Coast or sports. Had to Google for ACCRA to get that, too.
Never called Texas TEX. People from there, yes. Or, Reb.

Googled also for ELENA and BRUIN.
BRUIN (sports) crosses ILS (Sp.) was a Nattick for me. I tried to Google the Spanish but got only ellas, ellos, los; When the Google doesn't get anything, I don't count it.

@Rex - I Googled GAFF after I got it. Many definitions, including my favorite, cache-sexe, which you must have missed (on purpose).
Also, I can't imagine finishing a puzzle w/o interruptions! But, I've only been married 40 years.

I had HarRY before HENRY. Kept remembering the Elizabethan song,
"The Hunt is Up
And it is well-nigh day
And Harry our king has gone hunting
To bring the stag to bay."

And ETS - the Evil Testing Serpent.

Mini-theme - SNL - OTERI, DANA.

Captcha - shmash - Yiddish for smash.

Martin 3:17 PM  

The Manhattan is definitely in again. A couple of years ago we took our kid to a steak place to celebrate his 21st birthday and he floored me by ordering a Manhattan.

I suggested he try a Perfect Manhattan (the sweet vermouth is replaced with 1/2 sweet and 1/2 dry). Not a bad drink with a decent rye. Nowadays I usually mix a Sazerac with the Rittenhouse, but I might have a Perfect Manhattan tonight to toast the anniversary.

sanfranman59 3:36 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 7:20, 6:58, 1.05, 76%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:05, 3:43, 1.10, 88%, Challenging

nanpilla 4:48 PM  

@sfingi - Marseille is in France.

Rex Parker 4:49 PM  

Gonna mix things up and go with a Sidecar tonight.

Headed out to drinks before dinner—thanks for all the kind words.

rp

Ulrich 5:11 PM  

I've wasted time today boning up on Manhattans, being a Martini guy myself--here's the best I've found. BTW Learned to make Sidecars to please FIL.

Nighthawk 5:42 PM  

Liked the theme and, to extend the previously mentioned additions, the progression of PITCHES A FIT, CATCHES A BREAK, FIELDS A QUESTION, BATS AN EYELASH, STEALS A KISS, and then SLAP, BIG THRILL, ASAP.

Congrats on the 7th, RP! Loved the Lucinda clip! May you both, indeed, have everything.

Liked the PITCH/throw discussion. But as several have said, in my part of the country, where tump is in frequent usage, PITCH wins.

(prefable: the choice a Mississippian makes)

@Jesser - thanks for the Jesse Winchester reminder. But now I have the tune stuck in my head. I may need to go spin the vinyl to get it out.

foodie 7:10 PM  

A propos of nothing, except may be that we are recalling Saturday because of the anniversary duet... I was giving a talk today about genetics of mood disorders and started by quoting the clue for GENE from the Saturday puzzle:"There might be one for depression". I gave them the lecture that I spared you all:)
At the reception afterwards, all kinds people wanted to talk about puzzling and how I felt about it. I told them about Rexville and how good it was for my mood. But I forgot to add that it was a great place to learn about cocktails! Rex are you working on creating a Rexrolling drink for the Rexville bar?

fikink 7:13 PM  

I'll pop for the first round, y'all.

Sfingi 8:50 PM  

@Nanpilla - Excuse me? Did I say anything about Marseilles or France? Or is this some other sort of saying I'm not familiar with.

@All Southerners - Thanx; now I know that PITCHESAFIT is regional.

@Foodie - what does it say about a woman and her 4 exes if the first 2 were pretty good and the 2nd two were actual criminals? I haven't figured it out. This is a woman who told me to "move on," re: Hubster.

Don't know anything about Manhattans, though I worked there awhile. I just Googled Sazerac and Rittenhouse.

nanpilla 10:32 PM  

@sfingi - Sorry, I thought you said you googled to get ILS, thinking it was Spanish. Since the clue included Marseille, the fill would be in French.

Sfingi 10:41 PM  

@Nanpilla - O G - I'm getting paranoid. I'm sorry.

edith b 12:08 AM  

The thing I like best about crossword puzzles is discovering the way diferent groups of folks express themselves, both in the way things are pronounced and in the formation of phrases. I had a roommate from the South and she used "Pitched a fit" all the time.

I realy like how puzzles tend to break down along regional lines and the language is enriched because of it.

fikink 12:14 AM  

Damn straight, @Eedeebee!

ArtLvr 1:04 AM  

@foodie -- research note in biospace.com 9-20 re "Homer Simpson gene" found in mice which, when disabled or deleted, leads to enhanced memory!!!

"This gene is mainly turned on in the CA2 region of the hippocampus, where neurons are more resistant to injury by stroke and seizures. Certain types of CA2 neurons are also known to be lost in schizophrenia, and loss of another gene turned on in the CA2 area leads to altered social behaviors."

Probably room in there for a genetic tendency toward depression? Love that nickname anyway...

∑;(

sanfranman59 1:34 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 7:23, 6:58, 1.06, 76%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:59, 3:43, 1.07, 83%, Challenging

It was a banner day for me as I cracked the top 100 for only the second Monday in the 70 weeks I've been tracking my solve times. Bully for me!

Jack Paar 1:29 PM  

Although not referenced, why couldn't NOPAR be the theme reveal? In each instance the "PAR" letterstring was taken out of the word and substituted be PAIR, PARE, PEAR and PERE. Therefore there is "NOPAR".

hazel 1:54 PM  

Ole, Sanfranmann!

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