Where Skype was invented / WED 11-17-10 / Rhein tributary / Born from jets automaker / Holy man in Ogden Nash verse / Home slangily

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Constructor: Robert W. Harris

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Phrase / headless phrase — common two-word phrases have first letters of each word circled; removing circled letters creates different two-word phrase. Both phrases are clued, [clue for phrase w/ circles] --> [clue for circle-less phrase]


Word of the Day: RAREBIT (2D: Cheesy dish) —

Welsh rabbit, or infrequently rarebit, is a dish made with a savoury sauce of melted cheese and various other ingredients and served hot over toast. The names of the dish originate from 18th century Great Britain, after Wales. Welsh rarebit is typically made with Cheddar cheese, in contrast to the Continental European fondue which classically depends on Swiss cheeses. (wikipedia)
• • •

Theme was not immediately apparent to me. Had the SMILES part of 17A first, looked at clues, and decided that it would be one of those theme where phrases are just broken at different places, e.g. the answer could be understood as something SMILES or something'S MILES. But I'd never heard of BROAD'S MILES. Then I figured the circles must mean something... and they do. Leave 'em in, one answer (first clue), take 'em out, another (second clue). Specific letters in the circles are meaningless. That is, doesn't matter that it's a "B," or an "S," or whatever; they're circled only because they're the first letters of words in full phrase. So I guess that's a cute idea. Should've made the puzzle easier than normal, but somehow didn't. Very typical time for me. Nothing in the grid is particularly tough or out-of-the-ordinary, except maybe the clue on ESTONIA (45D: Where Skype was invented)—I had no idea.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Signs of elation --> marathon segments (BROAD SMILES)
  • 25A: Sign of trouble --> commercial writers (BAD OMEN)
  • 37A: Pigtail --> cause for a siren (HAIR BRAID)
  • 52A: Toaster food --> dazzling designs (POP TART)
  • 62A: Fireplace part --> fall color (HEARTH STONE)
Hardest part for me was the NW. At first pass, had no idea about 1A: Home, slangily (CRIB), and even at third and fourth pass had no idea what was going on with 4D: Worrier's handful (BEADS). Even after I got BEADS, I didn't understand and thought it had something to do with BEADS of sweat. But I guess people "worry" beads with their hands ... or something. By people I mean no one I've ever known ever. Maybe someone I read about. I had a couple of hiccups along the way—YSER for AARE (14A: Rhein tributary), SNEERED for SNORTED (40D: Showed contempt for something), STYLUS for STYLET (69A: Surgeon's probe)—but otherwise, sailing was pretty smooth.



Bullets:
  • 34A: "Born from jets" automaker (SAAB) — a slogan that I learned from xwords, and one that (mercifully) has stuck.
  • 49A: Furry sci-fi creature (EWOK) — Super-common, as furry sci-fi creatures go.
  • 54A: Smoothly, on a score (LEGATO) — Needed crosses; words on musical scores are frequently road bumps for me.
  • 60A: Rotund Wolfe (NERO) — I am fairly committed to (finally) reading one of his mysteries this winter. You'd think I'd take more of a shine to a writer named Rex. But no.
  • 66A: Katharine Hepburn's foursome (OSCARS) — Could tell answer was OSCARS before I ever saw the clue; I'd forgotten she won that many.
  • 6D: Holy man in an Ogden Nash verse (LAMA) — the one-L LAMA. The NYT crossword *loves* this poem, for some reason.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

81 comments:

Anonymous 12:06 AM  

Okay all youse Rexville residents, what is the answer -- Sfingi will like this puzzle because of: (a) AXIS, (b) BROAD SMILES or (c) SNORTED?

I mean two days of circles makes me dizzy. Is Will in a rut or will every puzzle from now on have circles?

How close was HAIR BRAID from becoming HAIR BRAIN?

I must confess I like the word BLEW in the center....

Archie 1:06 AM  

When you finish your reading, can you please tell me why that fat old bastard gets all the fame and credit when I do all the work?

chefwen 2:08 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Got the theme with BAD OMEN/AD MEN, big brother is one of the latter. Once I caught on, the circles really did help me.
Last fill was ESTONIA, still don't get OYEZ, anyone?

Great dinner when you are in the mood of "what the hell am I going to make tonight?"
Toasted English Muffins halves topped with warmed Canadian bacon, or regular cooked bacon, topped with tomato slice, topped with sliced cooked hard egg , topped with Stouffer's welsh rarebit. No brainer supper, and very tasty with a side of hot bacon salad made with the bacon drippings.

Sorry to stray Rex, but rarebit was in the puzzle.

Had a little slow down when I put in warm up before CARB up at 29D, fixed when mLEW and SEwT just wasn't going to cut it.

retired_chemist 2:17 AM  

Worry Beads have quite a few web sites and are fairly common IMO, at least as an allusion. I haven't seen them used either, but the phrase is quite familiar.

As usual I found theme irrelevant to the solve, since it was basically a very easy Wed. No need for double clues. Started with a good guess @ 1A,CRIB, then used 5D ELS to decide between EL PASO and LAREDO, then just filled in most of the acrosses, ignoring the theme answers. They came from filling in a lot of the downs.

@ Chefwen - OYEZ is what he bailiff cries in court (3 times) when the judge enters. Means "hear ye."

Can't think of an answer/clue pair worth a comment. Pretty much vanilla throughout. Meh.

chefwen 2:41 AM  

@Retired_Chemist - Thank you, learn something new every day.

arcana carla michaels 3:06 AM  

30D TABLE!!!!!! What is a SEC TABLE?

(Kidding)

YEARONE/IRONAGE in parallel spots in the grid looked like a mini theme waiting to happen.

Always thought RAREBIT was just the way the Welsh pronounced RABBIT.

@Rex
When I lived in Greece, all the old men walked with their hands behind their back flipping worry beads...
Seemed like the equivalent of playing with the change in your pockets. Men!

Tuning Spork 6:13 AM  

Please, never again poison my ears with memories of Christopher Cross.

Thank you.

Ruth 6:53 AM  

ESTONIA 2 days in a row? Is it Baltic Awareness Week?
I came at STYLET from the back end and assumed it was the dreaded surgeon's LANCET-that-nobody's-ever-heard-of again, but no. It's another thing that I don't know about. It's a word I've heard used to describe a little stiffening thingy that comes inside a flexible catheter. But probe? Maybe I need to go back to surgery school.

Ruth 6:54 AM  

Oh, and sorry for saying "stiffening thingy." Let the sniggers begin.

glimmerglass 7:17 AM  

Worry beads were popular in the 60s, I think -- sort of a rosary for atheists. No, just smooth shapes on a string to soothe ones mind. After I finished, I wasted a great deal of time trying to make sense out of the circled letters. Turns out they don't make sense. For a moment I thought the clue in 17A should have been "women's marathon," but that might have upset fisherperson. I don't like elements that seem to make sense but don't.

Evgeny 7:29 AM  

@Rex I sincerely envy you, if you have your first Stout/Wolfe experience ahead of you. Among the best "classic" crime fiction imo. btw, since there's something of a continuum, i'd start with the first novel, "Fer-de-Lance".

in this connection, lol @Archie

efrex 8:09 AM  

Has HAS instead of HOS, which made the south part of the puzzle impossible, since I'd never heard of a STYLET.

How is ITE a suffix for ore? (the only "oreite" I see in Google is a frog species).

Not at all thrilled with the short fill (ESO, ETRE, ITE, SRTA, UNIS all belong in the minor ARCANA) but the theme is nice.

Writeovers: had SNEERED for SNORTED, ERS for ORS, and somehow resisted ERA for EST.

efrex 8:12 AM  

Never mind on the "ite" - I get it now (and apparently, shoulda gotten it ages ago... bloomin' crosswordese 101...)

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

@Ruth, snigger? Just because you wrote: "a little stiffening thingy that comes inside a flexible catheter". Never. Not moi....

mitchs 8:15 AM  

I'm thankful that Will didn't travel to Uzbekistan or Djibouti.

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

I'm trying to figure out the relevance to the C. Cross video...
Is it the equivalent of musical "rarebit" (ie. "cheesy")?

Is it because the "legato" quality lulls me into a hellish state, where I just want to "Saab"?... or stick "Stylets" in my eyes?

Is it because Chris is much like "Nero", playing while people are burning their cities down?...

Why Rex, why?

joho 8:34 AM  

I got the theme at BADOMEN and thought it was pretty good, different at least. But in the end I really wanted to make the circled letters mean something. All I could come up with was "Hopefully that BSer with BO doesn't score any PTS with HB at their HS prom." Pretty lame.

@Rex, I changed my avatar to be smiling back at the dog you posted today ... love it!

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

How come my print version didn't have any circles?

SethG 8:45 AM  

Did make the puzzle easier than normal for me, but I was apparently faster than people I'm almost never faster than.

To me, it seemed like a pretty easy themeless with essentially double-clues for the long stuff. Maybe it helps that LEGATO is my go-to music term. Had the clue read Slowly, Choppily, or Quietly, on a score, I would have guessed LEGATO. I entered RAREBIT with no crosses, which I'm pretty sure I learned from the Hardy Boys. Uh, memory is weird. The clue for brew was nice.

Christopher Cross has one Oscar. Dick Tidrow did a ska punk version of Sailing that I always think of first. What's the deal with CC's 34/3 jersey? Also weird.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

The following answers fall under a secondary hidden theme of swine: PIG, LARDER, SNORTED, NERO (Rex STOUT), HAIR BRAID (PIGTAIL), CARB and OYEZ (Pig Latin for OINK)....

THank you, Rex, for that inspiring clip of Cross....

Bob Kerfuffle 9:06 AM  

Nice, clever, puzzle, but I will admit to being a bit disappointed that the gimmick only worked on the acrosses and not the downs. And I wasn't sure why arrows were used to indicated the nature of the solution.

As Anonymous 8:44 notes, the printed version had gray squares rather than circles for the removable letters.

chefbea 9:08 AM  

Easy puzzle. Got the theme with bad omen. I too had warm up before carb up...do they really say that???

Also noticed Estonia two days in a row

jesser 9:08 AM  

One of my favorite movies is "Arthur," so thanks, Rex, for the Cross clip!

Only writeover today was at 20A, where I initially had EctO, but the worry BEADS set me back on the path to puzzle righteousness.

OYEZ was new to me.

I grinned with MexGirl to see EL PASO in the grid. Just down the road for me; home for her.

Caught the theme at POP TART and laughed out loud at it. Took a few seconds to parse that P and T would not be the magic letters in the other strings.

@Ruth is on a roll! Her comments gave me BROAD SMILES!

Dralm! (what you donate to a Druid, I suppose) -- jesser

It's in there somewhere 9:12 AM  

@Anon 8:31a

Read Rex's last sentence just above the Cross video.

P>G>

ArtLvr 9:15 AM  

Thanks to Anon 8:52 for the porcine subplot, and I'd also include STYLET for minature pigs' home...

I didn't especially like the plural KENS' clue, as something is said to be within one's ken or not!

Otherwise easy and cute, but I agree that adding meaningless circles was unnecessary -- even a bit of a let-down, like encountering empty ZOO cages with enticing nametags posted on them?

∑;)

Cramer 9:28 AM  

Hey Archie! Good to see you posting! Wolfe gets all the credit because he's a genius, you know that. But you are, without doubt, the greatest character in all of literature. I'm sure there are those who would disagree, but none of them are probably women who like their men funny, strong, brave, smart alec-y-especially to men wearing badges- and whimsical. ("I went upstairs two flights to tell my room hello..." If Death Ever Slept)
You can read my posts, as Archie Goodwin, @ Salon, where I wrote that Glen Beck needs to have the s**t kicked out of him and I'm just the guy to do it.

mmorgan 9:31 AM  

Also got the theme at BADOMEN and also had some brief trouble in the NW. Theme is okay, but ROADMILES seems forced. I wanted the circled letters to spell something (y'know, like PRIZE TABLE GOLF ROUND or something...).

quilter1 9:33 AM  

Solved from the bottom up, my first entry was the rotund NERO Wolfe, and last was BEADS. Like Andrea saw many men with worry beads in Greece and Turkey and brought back several strings as gifts for male colleagues. I guess women are too busy to worry with beads. I just make jewelry.

Stan 9:34 AM  

Clever theme, without ill effects on the surrounding fill.

Thanks to Rex and @joho for the smiling dogs and to @andrea for SEC TABLE ("Sectable: Capable, as a broad religious movement, of being divided into sects...")

Matthew G. 9:36 AM  

I thought this was easy for a Wednesday. The only thing that slowed me down at all was initially putting ScORnED instead of SNORTED in the SW. That made it harder to see UNUSED and ITE, though I eventually did.

Other than that, there wasn't much to struggle with here. Didn't know LEGATO, but had it from the crosses before I ever saw the clue. Somehow conjured up NERO Wolfe from the recesses of my mind on just the N, despite having read none of those books (must be my mother's mystery-reading influence). And I've seen worry BEADS for sale in just about every kitschy shop in North America, though I might have struggled with that clue if I'd looked at it before I had several of the crosses.

Only one questionable clue today. I suspect if any members of the Roman Republic were with us, they might take exception to the notion that the YEAR ONE was "[t]he start of time."

quilter1 9:41 AM  

Created my profile with photo and just checking to see if it comes up with my post.

Stan 9:48 AM  

I just noticed the Tracy/Hepburn cross. Good one, Mr. Harris!

PlantieBea 9:49 AM  

I wanted the circles to mean something too, but the lack doesn't take away from what's enjoyable here. Cute theme. I have an ESTONIA piano which is not so happy living in the tropics. I also like Stouffer's welsh rarebit. The last time I tried to make one on my own, many years ago, the cheese congealed into a gummy mess. Rex, I hope you enjoy the Nero Wolfe books. The televised versions out on DVD are not bad, either.

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

What is OP ART? Shouldn't it be POP ART?

archaeoprof 10:28 AM  

NW was tough for me too.

Nice to see IRONAGE in the puzzle.

As a kid I ate a POPTART in a PUPTENT.

Lindsay 10:31 AM  

Christopher Cross??????

I'll take MacArthur Park, thank you.

No problems with the puzzle.

Roy Lichtenstein 10:31 AM  

@Anonymous, 10:26 AM - Go to Google images. Ask to be shown Op Art. Then ask to be shown Pop Art. See if you can tell the difference.

Two Ponies 10:32 AM  

I liked this theme. Road miles was the only iffy one.
Some of the clever clues kicked it up a notch.
Even better, though, are the comments today.
Loved stylet as a miniature pig's home!
Chris Cross singing Sailing is a guilty pleasure of mine.

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

I never heard of Mr. Ray,23D, fascinating filmmaker. If you live in NYC, as I do,, you see people with worry beads on the subway all the time, especially the #7 train.

efrex 10:52 AM  

I see no reason for "Sailing" to be a guilty pleasure. It's a great song (although frustratingly just a bit too rangy for my sorta-voice).

dk 10:53 AM  

Well having Brats instead of BEADS about sums it up for me.

** (2 stars) The aforementioned Tracy Hepburn cross almost kicked it up to 3 --- still 2 easy for a Wednesday and I don't like the theme games cause I can't figure them out, SNORTED Tom swiftly.

I had this whole stiffening, roll of quarters or are you just glad to see thing going thanks to @ruth and @andrea -- butt I am (no no I will not go to the dark side... must take medication)

d(slept through art history but still know the difference between op and pop art)k

Mel Ott 11:11 AM  

Not a bad puzzle. Wanted the theme to give us BROAD'S MILES.

An awful lot of tired fill, though: ELS, ALA, LEDS, SRTA, ITE, DEN, EDT, EST, HOS, HST, ARAL. At least we had a fresh, non-Simpsons clue for APU.

And could we retire ASEA for awhile?

chefbea 11:29 AM  

@Quilter1 love your avitar. Glad to see you love cooking!!!

JaxInL.A. 11:32 AM  

@archeoprof, thanks for pointing out the cross that completely tickled me today: POPTART with PUPTENT.  I just loved that.  

Got the theme at POPTART and, unlike Rex, it did actually help me get other answers. Had _AD_MEN first, then popped in the B and O easily.  Likewise _AIR_RAID confirmed HAIRBRAID.  I don't mind that the circled letters' only job is to appear and disappear. Having them spell something, too, would be more magic than we can reasonably require. 

@Stan, thanks for the TRACY/Hepburn idea and the addition to @anon8:52's clever porcine sub-theme.  

@Arcana Carla... I noticed IRONAGE and YEARONE, too. Then I thought we might have a nascent Eastern European thing going with ESTONIA and WALESA. 

I really struggled in the SW partly because of the crunchy fill @Mel Ott points out. Having UPbeat before UPSIDE didn't help.  Still, a fun puzzle overall.

And I really like Christoper Cross. Nice way to start the morning. Thanks, Rex.    

Oh, and @quilter1, very nice quilt.

Howard B 12:12 PM  

Worry beads was my undoing on this one, and is now my "something learned every day" tidbit for today.
Never encountered that term before. And if I did, I seem to have misplaced it somewhere behind my memories of Christopher Cross...

mexgirl 12:33 PM  

Nothing in the grid particularly tough?
Peat, getup, Shasta, kens, adol, oyez.....
I feel like I don't know English at all :^(

mexgirl 12:36 PM  

(I meant AWOL)
and rarebit??

mac 12:50 PM  

The only problem I have with this puzzle is that it was way too easy for a Wednesday. Took it too the hairdressers' but was done before they even touched my head!

I got the theme almost immediately with (b)road (s)miles, then solved the other theme answers right away without crosses. Had "oyer" for a bit, thinking of voir dire I guess. Love the Tracy/Hepburn crossing!

Pete M 1:06 PM  

I'm with Joho. I guess I'm too spoiled by the Gaffneys and Blindauers of the world, but I'm disappointed that the circles letters have no significance.

Van55 1:08 PM  

I'd rate it easy to medium. The theme was pretty transparent from the beginning and actually helped with the solve today.

Interesting to have EDT and EST in the same grid, with only one of the clued as a time setting. I don't get why the former is clued "What a farmer in Del works on." Farmers from lots of states work on Eastern Daylight Time. And I'll wager they work plenty during Standard Time as well.

I count twenty-three proper nouns today.

Shamik 1:31 PM  

Easy-medium today and it felt that way. Much less pain today. Not much to say. Hope Sparky is recovering well.

nanpilla 1:36 PM  

@Van55 - I took it as a play on "the farmer in the dell".

This was my fastest puzzle this week. Just kept putting in letters until it was done, with no real slowdowns. The NW was the last to fall.

@Shamik - glad to hear you are feeling better today!

Two Ponies 1:45 PM  

I changed my avatar to show my own little Ewok in the snow.
He now wears an orange scarf when we venture out.

william e emba 3:07 PM  

I encourage everybody to read the complete NERO Wolfe/Rex Stout mysteries, preferably in order. I found two of the novels were on the somewhat dull side--the rest ranged from great to fantastic to beyond-belief-magnificent. There's a certain formulaic sameness to the mystery solving aspects of his plots that Stout never got past, but it doesn't matter. Everything else about the novel series is spectacular.

I had always had the expectation of reading them in the back of my mind somewhere (that's my style: for example, I've got the complete Ngaio Marsh on my shelves, meant to be read in order some summer) but the catalyst was the NYT Sunday acrostic back in 2001 that had such an incredible NERO Wolfe quotation that I had to read that particular novel immediately, after which I had to read all the novels.

Joe 3:31 PM  

Loved this puzzle. First time in weeks that I enjoyed a puzzle this much.

Good fill, very good cluing.

Once you got one of the themes it was easier to figure out the rest. And that's the way it should be.

sanfranman59 3:46 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 10:33, 11:39, 0.91, 31%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:49, 5:44, 1.01, 60%, Medium

hazel 5:16 PM  

I saw/heard "Born from Jets" for the first 1 through 1000th times watching the Tour de France. Snickered when I saw it for the first time in a crossword.

Thanks @william e emba for the Stout rec - awesome Christmas present(s) idea for my husband!! Can't just take your word, though, going to have to sample one myself - which I can do on my iPad without him knowing!! Technology!!

Headed to see Lyle Lovett tonight, Row 2, if I can get a good picture, it will be my avatar tomorrow (just for a day, though). My pup misses seeing herself in lights.

fergus 5:55 PM  

Shaded squares meant nothing to me while solving, and nothing during a cursory glance after.

(Written before reading anything else.)

fergus 6:06 PM  

Then after reading, nothing more to add.

Rex -- you've too tamed the crew.

[phics -elementary particles]

Ande O 6:35 PM  

@William B Emba - May I suggest the Summer of '42? I read one, and couldn't figure out what the point was of the 140 pages between page 5, when the murder occurred and I knew who did it, and page 145 when the murderer was disclosed. Good writer who wrote at least one not so good murder mystery.

Sfingi 7:24 PM  

I did like the puzzle. It even drew out one of my odder first answers, bigbaNg for YEARONE. How about bog product "body" for PEAT. Just thought that one, didn't write it.

There were some things I didn't know, but got on crosses, the way I like it. That's a learning experience, not an annoyance, or a Googly experience. STYLET, Nala, where Skype was invented.
@Joe - agree with that, too.

STYLET is a cutesy word for something to poke into your flesh with. Seems it comes from stiletto.

I do take issue, as always, with expecting people to know the French for fixed price , but not the German (Festpreis). Nobody speaks either language anymore. Spanish, yes.

Any cooks can came to my house. I have a thousand dollar stove that I use only the top burner on.

@Anon1026 - Optical Art. Makes ya dizzy.

mac 7:53 PM  

I've seen signs for "price fixe" in several locations in CT.... Isn't it illegal?

@hazel: hi, good to see you here again. Hope you have a great time.


equatorb!

All for one 8:57 PM  

@Sfingi

Possibly because even my local German restaurant has a "Prix Fixe" brunch menu?

P>G>

william e emba 9:34 PM  

The point of a Rex Stout mystery isn't so much whodidit, but the personality clashes, especially between NERO Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, along with everybody else. Word snobs, for example, will get an absolute delight out of the opening chapter of Gambit, as a prospective client has come at a very bad time. Wolfe is tearing up and burning, page by page, his newly purchased copy of W3I dictionary. He actually interrogates the client if she ever uses "infer" and "imply" interchangeably! Boy, was he furious!

Like I said, I was hooked by the single quotation (about international bankers being worse than ordinary criminals) that made it into the acrostic (and in over ten years of doing the NYT acrostic every other week, that has been the only time I was so motivated). Stout delivered great lines, scenes, low-key humor, and more throughout. The mysteries are simply an excuse to get Wolfe all agitated.

Amusingly enough, soon after that acrostic and my reading of that particular Stout novel, the NYT puzzle had the classic mistaken clue of the "telex" as a "fax" predecessor. Historically, it was the other way, and I wrote a later to Shortz detailing the two histories. I even included a reference to the Stout novel from the acrostic, which had a key early mention/description of facsimile transmission, decades before faxes became the well-known business necessity. Shortz had the gall to write back defending the error, saying well, maybe the clue meant commercial use, which was just as wrong. Part of the pathetic wrongness was that his own paper, the NYT, actually had its own special fax edition back in the 30s!

mmorgan 9:41 PM  

Hey @mexgirl -- SRTA is there in the SW (shout out to you?), sorta kinda balanced with SIR in the NE. And there's more French (but not more Spanish -- I won't mention EL PASO) with UNIS and ETRE.

And is there a mini-theme with PIG, CARB, LARDER, TUNA, and NERO?

gousini -- more food, some kind of Italian pate?

Oscar 9:54 PM  

Today's puzzle sorta reminded me of this one from 2006:

http://www.xwordinfo.com/Crossword?date=3/2/2006&g=18&d=A

sanfranman59 10:04 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 8:19, 6:57, 1.20, 99%, Challenging
Tue 8:37, 8:57, 0.96, 45%, Medium
Wed 10:41, 11:39, 0.92, 32%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:18, 3:42, 1.16, 95%, Challenging
Tue 4:22, 4:36, 0.95, 41%, Medium
Wed 5:41, 5:44, 0.99, 54%, Medium

Ande O 10:04 PM  

@William E Emba - It probably would have been better had I stated, clearly or otherwise, that I was referring to Ngaio Marsh when suggesting that you wait another 30 or so years to begin that undertaking.

Smokler 10:12 PM  

I had a very hard time with this. My question is, why do the rest of you narrate your solving process to us newbies. Who cares "how" you did it. Tell me something more, something deeper, like what did it all mean? What was this really about? Not how you did acrosses and what not. Give me INSIGHT!

JC66 10:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
william e emba 10:19 PM  

Ande O:

Hahaha! Thanks. I didn't recognize that title Summer of 42 whatsoever. Now I feel better. You're not the only one who has told me that the appeal of Marsh is not so clear!

Smokler:

You get out of the puzzle whatever you want to. I do them because I have fun doing them!

JC66 10:22 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chef 11:13 PM  

Good puzzle. 7-down threw me off because I thought the answer was idee fixe. I picked up on 2-down because I am a retired chef and like Welsh Rarebit made with soft goats chesse. 43-across lost me as I was thinking "hear ye, hear ye" instead of the "Louisiana" version. Think "Runaway Jury" movie and the courtroom scene. All in all this is fun. Enjoy, wordsmiths!

Chef 11:16 PM  

In Utah the Court Baliff says "All rise, this Court is now in session." Oyez is based on the French version as most of the Mid-West USA had French Court systems in place by the 1730's. Think Des Moine, Iowa, Saint Joseph, Missouri, New Orleans, Loiusiana, etc.

mmorgan 11:59 PM  

@SMOKLER: It's like how you get to Carnegie Hall ("practice, practice, practice"... ;-)

But I understand. Some days the whole thing comes quickly and other days it's nothing but perplexed blank stares.

But with all due respect, many of us who slog through it are indeed interested in each other's square-by-square solving experiences, so we can share and compare our own.

We rarely have any deep epistemological insights. So just "practice, practice, practice" (and right now I am struggling mightily with Thursday...

Boardbtr 11:24 AM  

And then our syndicated dead tree editions had neither circles or gray squares.

Waxy in Montreal 6:41 PM  

@Boardbtr - apparently not all of them. My paper printed the gray squares today.

Dirigonzo 7:55 PM  

Likewise my puzzle had gray squares which I found to be very helpful in solving the theme answers. Good things are worth waiting for, I guess. Wanted bigbaNg for the start of time (44d) (surely I'm not the only one?) so that created a little havoc in the SE until the crosses straightened things out. An enjoyable puzzle made more enjoyable, as always, by the comments here.

Dirigonzo 7:56 PM  

Oh, and I still have a string of worrybeads somewhere in the bottom of my jewelry box.

NotalwaysrightBill 8:22 PM  

Syndicated no-circles-or-shaded-areas-today paper solver.

Like others, I was somewhat disappointed that the theme's secondary answers' dropped letters didn't spell something. Don't really know their worth otherwise.

Puz full of suggestive PRIXlike-sniggerworthy fooey. RAREBIT and POPTART remind me of the Monty Python line about "Leave that Welsh tart alone!" ("But I don't want to!"). I OFTEN think of that though. Inline SPAS BLEW OYEZ and ENDO AXIS TUNA are just beggin' for it. But I chill.

Didn't know that 22D TOLEDO was "El Greco's city." Aware of it more for its fine cultery-making history, similar to Sheffield, England.

The AARE flows into the Rhein. Same-same: the Aar flows into the Rhine.
Here's from a Wikipedia entry about it: the placenames sound absolutely fairy tale (isn't the Grimsel Hospice the Gingerbread House where Hansel and Gretel's Wicked Witch lived?):
"The Aar rises in the great Aar Glaciers of the Bernese Alps, in the canton of Bern and west of the Grimsel Pass. It runs east to the Grimsel Hospice, below the Finsteraarhorn, and then northwest through the Haslital, forming on the way the magnificent Handegg Waterfall, 46 m (151 ft), past Guttannen, and piercing the limestone barrier of the Kirchet by a major canyon, before reaching Meiringen, situated on a plain."

I usually think of ARCANA as archaic esoterica rather than as "Deep secrets." Probably the sixth definition in Funk & Wagnalls: a few other clues felt that (a little reachin' for it) way also.

captcha: derogil: nasty commentary about another fish's breathing apparatus

NotalwaysrightBill 8:44 PM  

O, yeah, YEARONE according to the Big Bang timeline:

(Wiki-):
"Photon epoch:

Between 10 seconds and 380,000 years after the Big Bang

Main article: Photon epoch

After most leptons and anti-leptons are annihilated at the end of the lepton epoch the energy of the universe is dominated by photons. These photons are still interacting frequently with charged protons, electrons and (eventually) nuclei, and continue to do so for the next 300,000 years."

Sounds close enough to "and separating the firmament from the rest of the Big Blob were the evening and the end of the first day" to me. Moses shoulda just said "Photon epoch" and we woulda all nodded. Like we do now.

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