Birthplace of cuneiform writing / SUN 12-12-10 / Actress de Ravin Roswell Lost / Soul singer James 1990 #1 hit I Don't Have Heart / Lorelei's locale

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Constructor: Karen Young Bonin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "The Wish" — Read "Wish" as "W is H," i.e. "W" is changed to "H" in familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, clued wackily.


Word of the Day: SUMER (51A: Birthplace of cuneiform writing) —

Sumer (from Akkadian Ĺ umeru [...] approximately "land of the civilized lords" or "native land") was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age. // The dynastic period of Sumer spans the Uruk period (5th millennium BC), followed by the proto-historical early dynastic period (early 3rd millennium BC) and the dynastic period of Sumer proper in the mid 4th millennium BC, until the conquest of Sumer by the Akkadians around 2400 BC. Native Sumerian rule re-emerged for about a century in the so-called Sumerian Renaissance of the 21st to 20th century (short chronology). // The cities of Sumer were the first civilization to practice intensive, year-round agriculture, by 5000 BC showing the use of core agricultural techniques including large-scale intensive cultivation of land, mono-cropping, organized irrigation, and the use of a specialized labor force. The surplus of storable food created by this economy allowed the population to settle in one place instead of migrating after crops and grazing land. It also allowed for a much greater population density, and in turn required an extensive labor force and division of labor. Sumer was also the site of early development of writing, progressing from a stage of proto-writing in the mid 4th millennium BC to writing proper by 3000 BC (wikipedia)

• • •
Not much to this one, and thus not much to say about it. Simple change-a-letter, with mixed results. For the most part, I didn't find the wacky answers wacky enough, and some of the clue/answer pairs felt pretty forced (e.g. READY TO HEAR, HINGED VICTORY, HARP SPEED). Also, much of the rest of the fill is short and at least slightly icky in places (lots of places, too many to enumerate). The best part about the grid is the mid-range (6-8-letter) fill, which has many winners. Loved TRACHEA (61A: Windpipe) and TRIAGE (105A: Battlefield activity) and HITMEN (115A: "The Sopranos" roles) and MR. HYDE (38D: Robert Louis Stevenson title character) and, best of all, DECREPIT, which I could not see for the life of me (had -PIT at the end and figured it must be a phrase rather than a single word) (66A: Falling apart). Puzzle deserves some credit for keeping "W"s completely and utterly out of the grid (and not just out of the theme answers themselves). In as simple a change-a-letter as this one, it wouldn't have been cool to have stray "W"s out there (especially since "W" isn't exactly a common letter). So thumbs up for consistency on that front, and for intersecting theme answers, which always impress me. Otherwise, just passable.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Tempo for a stringed instrument? (HARP SPEED)
  • 25A: Nine Muses after dieting? (THIN SISTERS)
  • 34A: Alien attackers' goal? (GLOBAL HARMING) — for those who claim a liberal bias in the NYT puzzle, let me point out that this answer crosses OBAMA...
  • 68A: Rush hour control? (HASTE MANAGEMENT)
  • 99A: Choice of the right door on "Let's Make a Deal"? (HINGED VICTORY)
  • 116A: Like tuned-in listeners? (READY TO HEAR)
  • 118A: Orlando team water boy, e.g.? (MAGIC HAND)
  • 16D: Flock after a rainstorm? (CLEAN SHEEP)
  • 73D: Tortoise's opponent after finishing second? (SILVER HARE)

Bullets:
  • 1A: Lady Bird Johnson's middle name (ALTA) — this is an example of the short icky stuff I was talking about. See also ... a bunch of stuff: 15A: Year the emperor Frederick II died (MCCL), 21A: Last word of Kansas' motto (ASPERA), 22A: Wings on an avis (ALAE), etc.
  • 39A: 22 of the 26 letters of the alphabet, in D.C. (STS.) — as in "streets." Not a great answer, but the clue is pretty good.
  • 46A: Part of a presidential motorcade (ESCORT) — this felt awkward. Which part *isn't* an ESCORT?
  • 79A: Actress de Ravin of "Roswell" and "Lost" (EMILIE) — Nooooo idea. Never watched either show.
  • 82A: ___ Red Seal (classical music label) (RCA) — Hmmm, I guess that's right. I mean, I think I might own one or two discs on this label. I know Red Seal mostly as a short-lived paperback publisher.
  • 93A: Soul singer James with the 1990 #1 hit "I Don't Have the Heart" (INGRAM) — I barely remember this song. I wasn't listening to much radio then, because (as I've explained before), that was during the worst period in pop music history (1987-91). INGRAM's name anagrams to MARGIN, ARMING, and GARMIN.

  • 102A: Lorelei's locale (RHINE) — hmmm, don't know what this is. Turns out, it's a big rock.
  • 122A: Fictitious Plaza resident (ELOISE) — very memorable. A great book for reading to kids.
  • 2D: Capital city whose name means "place of the gods" (LHASA) — from wikipedia: "Lhasa literally means "place of the gods", although ancient Tibetan documents and inscriptions demonstrate that the place was called Rasa, which means "goat's place", until the early 7th century."
  • 5D: Popular German beer, informally (ST. PAULI'S) — is this the same as St. Pauli Girl? I've never seen anyone drink it, so I wouldn't know what it's called "informally."
  • 9D: Manischewitz products (MATZOHS) — somehow this seems weird in the plural.
  • 37D: Cabo da ___, westernmost spot in continental Europe (ROCA) — hey, another rock.
  • 43D: Nautical pole (SPAR) — took me far too long. Couldn't get geographical poles out of my head.
And now your Tweets of the Week, puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse:
  • @ Going to a party in Natick. No, really.
  • @ I am in an abusive relationship with crossword puzzles. Intervention, please. Or just some puzzles solved!
  • @ My eye surgeon was so impressed I was in NY Times Xword puzz. on surgery day, he threw in a free vagazzling.
  • @ Woman opposite me on train doing crossword trying 2 work out how 2 spell dyslexia. She reckons it's spelt with a 'c'.
  • @ The pattern of the thing precedes the thing. I fill in the gaps of the crossword at any spot I happen to choose. – Vladimir Nabokov
  • @ How did I miss this? Thanks to today's NYTimes crossword I now have a word to add to my scrabble playlist, pfui.
  • @ Me and white dude in the back wit me could really care less bout WTF this teacher sayin..homeboy doin a newspaper crossword puzzle
  • @ You know what sucks about immortality? Sunday afternoons. Saved the world from armageddon this morning & done the crosswords. Bored now.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

56 comments:

Anonymous 12:02 AM  

It finally dawned on me what my problem is doing these puzzles. When cuneiform was in vogue, there really wasn’t much to talk about. But after Frederick II died in MCCL things started changing and another couple of centuries the printing press allowed western civilization to keep records. So after a few hundred more years we have all this information and what else are we going to do with it except use it in the NY Times crossword puzzles? Oh, that’s not enough. Let’s use all that information and jumble up a couple of letters and see what else we get. All of which brings us to this puzzle. What do you get when you substitute an H for a W? How about hacky phrases? I wonder how that kind of thing would have affected cuneiform....

John the Sumerian

davko 12:35 AM  

This was such a bromidic breeze, that by 20:25 PST, I was just hanging out, waiting for Rex to open shop. Turning a NYT Sunday puzzle before a New York Sunday -- now that's a personal first.

Got ELOI from crosses, but lament having forgotten who they were, even while having read H.G. Wells' classic "Time Machine" as a kid. Giving myself a refresher while waiting for the post, I now shall not soon forgot them as the superior, though morally bankrupt, of two evolved species of humans (the other being the industrious Morlocks).

I liked the ELOI/ELOISE progression, but little else on this grid. And I didn't exactly find anything thematically "wishful" about switching out the W of some rather banal phrases (excepting, perhaps, "Magic Wand" -- was there ever a common usage of the term before the invention of Photoshop?)

D_Blackwell 12:38 AM  

A dart on the MCCL / CARR cross actually hit the target and got 'er done. LECHER for MASHER for a while.

The theme didn't do anything for me, so I mostly ignored it.

A reach with ST. PAULI'S. I don't like it.

Good clue using 'first lady' to reference MICHELLE OBAMA. I can see some kvetching about the lower case reference. I think most stylebooks prefer this, but that actual usage would shift towards greater respect to the title, even without a specific person mentioned. I lean mostly toward the former, but am not entirely consistent; it's a situational choice.
.....................................................

Watched Indiana Jones tonight. He damn near got killed on account of forgetting that JEHOVAH should start with an I.

SethG 1:13 AM  

GILD is the verb, GILT is the noun or the adjective. Someday, I will remember that.

I had SHAM before I got SHAM, SCAR before I got SCAR, and ALOE before I got ALOE. I don't think the clue for SILVER HARE works.

glimmerglass 8:27 AM  

The Lorelei were the Rhine maidens in Wagner, as well as the big rock. Hated MAGIC HAND and READY TO HEAR, but loved HARP SPEED and CLEAN SHEEP. Didn't know Caleb CARR, so had mARR. Wrong Frederick. Quick and not so interesting puzzle.

mmorgan 8:33 AM  

As so often happens, I finished (almost) without fully understanding the theme. I mean, I knew we were changing W to H, but I didn't get "W is H" from WISH till I got here. (I saw the pattern with HARPSPEED, the second theme answer I got.)

Agree 99% with @Rex, but I did appreciate HINGEDVICTORY.

Only error: didn't know the second letter in Lady Bird's middle name, and I guessed wrong on the A_TA / _HASA cross. (I guessed an S -- don't ask why -- but I should have known Lhasa, especially with a really good Tibetan restaraunt nearby.)

Not only OBAMA, but also MR HYDE crosses GLOBAL HARMING. Hmmm...

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

If only we could have wiped "W" off the grid for about 8 years...

Ulrich 9:13 AM  

St. Pauli used to be a red-light district in Hamburg famous with sailors the world over. I can never see "St. Pauli Girl" w/o remembering this.

Apropos: @glimmerglass: The Rhinemaidens live IN the Rhine; Lorelei sits on top of the rock named after her. But since you hate opera, you are excused.

I'm impressed by the lack of w's--didn't notice and needed the chief to point this out.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

I was going to bypass my comment that the ad you showed for St. Pauli's Girl was the most disgusting thing I've ever seen, but after Ulrich's comment defining exactly what a St. Pauli's Girl is, it needs to be made.

joho 9:29 AM  

I got that W is H but didn't notice the lack of W's in the grid until I came here and, just like @Ulrich, I was impressed by that fact.

There were some nice words here, DECREPIT being my favorite, but it seemed too easy for a Sunday. My only write over was lUxoR to SUMER which was new to me, thanks for the explanation @Rex.

And thank you, Karen, for a really well-thought grid.

sgizeman 9:49 AM  

Overall an easy puzzle. For some reason, DECREPIT was the last word I got...maybe a comment on my own falling apart?

I got a smile from TUE/UTE/TUTU in the top center!

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

Yes, Anon @ 8:39 W is number 43 and H is the middle initial for number 44 and The Wish has been granted....

John who says be careful what you wish for.....

chefbea 9:50 AM  

Very easy Sunday puzzle. Knew I was changing H's to W's but didn't know why til I read Rex's write up.

Elaine2 10:12 AM  

Hi -- basically agreed with Rex on all (except Lorelei -- I always appreciate any clue that has to do with opera, even remotely.)

@Rex: the part of the Presidential motorcade that ISN'T an Escort, is, um, the President...(perhaps also other dignitaries...)

Happy Sunday, all.

quilter1 10:18 AM  

I'm usually not too critical as I could not construct a crossword myself, but I agree with @davko on "bromidic breeze." I'd add bromidic bore. It is as if she had a book of common xword fill and used every one. THIN SISTERS worked best for me.
Cabo da ROCA--I've been there. I believe that is where Henry the Navigator saw a ship depart for the New World. As I recall, Henry didn't actually go anywhere himself.
Finished way before church. Drake vs. Boise State today at 2 and it is so cold I wish they'd hurry up on that "beam me up" deal so I wouldn't have to go out.

ArtLvr 10:36 AM  

I found this a lot more amusing than Rex did, it seems. Loved the clever transformations of Clean Sweep, Winged Victory, Warp Speed, Silverware. Even GLOBAL HARMING was worthy wordplay.

Lots of the fill made me SMILE too, like DECREPIT and the MALLARD in the pond rather than some form of scum or algae. BRNO as the Czech city was delightful, as was the Lorelei in the RHINE. An ESCORT with a motorcade was easy, my first entry!

@Seth, you're right about GILT -- and it's okay to speak of a gilt frame, but I always write "gilded frame" because it's easier on the eye and ear. Very odd that I missed that at first, but I'd tried Edited for Trim at 69D before changing to EDGING...

Re SUMER and SPORE, I was just reading of ancient Egyptian centers newly discovered west of Luxor. One site yielded a huge bread factory with a great variety of ceramic containers, so the Yale archeologists named it Umm Mawagir, "Mother of Bread Molds" in Arabic. Molds here don't relate to spoilage, but to ovenware shapes...

∑;)

The Bard 11:06 AM  

Coriolanus > Act I, scene III

VOLUMNIA: Away, you fool! it more becomes a man
Than gilt his trophy: the breasts of Hecuba,
When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier
Than Hector's forehead when it spit forth blood
At Grecian sword, contemning. Tell Valeria,
We are fit to bid her welcome.

King Lear > Act III, scene II

KING LEAR: Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes,
Unwhipp'd of justice: hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjured, and thou simular man of virtue
That art incestuous: caitiff, to pieces shake,
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practised on man's life: close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinn'd against than sinning.

Mel Ott 11:24 AM  

They're using Ford ESCORTs for presidential motorcades now? Wow, the federal budget is in worse shape than I thought! :-)

Jim 11:37 AM  

Not that much good to say. Maybe file a couple away for future use, but a tiring slog otherwise.

What Rex said re: ugly fill. But what about 'crazy' fill? Had MA__ER for Wolf. OK. MAstER?...No. MAulER?...mmm...maybe, but I didn't like it, so I left it blank, then came here. MASHER?? What the hell is that??

Two quick things: first off, I like that James ingram song...I'm a sucker for sappy love songs from this period, when I was first discovering girls and first discovering the innumerable ways they would break my heart (see also: Look Away by Chicago). I'll always remember his name, though, because, before he became extremely tedious, Chris Berman would refer to the Giants wide receiver, on SportsCenter, as Mark 'don't call me James' Ingram. Good times.

Second, I waited a while before plopping in RCA, and I wasn't sure why, since I'm a big classical fan and have many of their CDs. Then I realized: because it's RCA Victor Red Seal! What's the story? Bad editing? Or am I missing something?

Van55 11:47 AM  

The Presidential Limo is not escort. The rest of the entourage is.

Hated the RRN as usual. Who the F is Frederick II, and how should I know what year he died? Pfui!

Otherwise, this was a breezy, somewhat amusing Sunday solve for me.

I didn't think there was all THAT much trite fill: ALAE, STS, SARI, ELOI, PARA, ABC, GOA...

Aleman 11:52 AM  

Ales (Stout - typically dark, heavy, and richly flavored, is "top-fermented beer made from pale malt, roasted unmalted barley, and often caramel malt.") are brewed with top-fermenting yeast which allows for rapid fermentation at warmer temperatures;

Lagers (Beers) are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast which ferments more slowly and at colder temperatures.

David L 12:15 PM  

I found this mostly easy but stumbled in a few spots -- ALTA and SHAM, then ASP and SPAM and SPAR all took too long for me to see. Maybe because I'm finding the big Sunday themed puzzles increasingly contrived, so it's harder to maintain my focus. Or else too much wine last night and too little sleep in the meantime. Although I have to say that HINGEDVICTORY amused me.

I second Jim's question above: Wolf = MASHER? Huh?

Rex Parker 12:18 PM  

It's not an uncommon word, and is easily look-uppable:

MASHER
n.

1. A kitchen utensil for mashing vegetables or fruit.
2. Slang. A man who attempts to force his attentions on a woman.

mitchs 12:20 PM  

Thanks for the Stevie. The highlight of my Sunday crossword experience. Just did not enjoy. I think I'm getting less and less patient with the 21 x 21s.

On the plus side, there's a cool Klahn puz over at CrosSynergy.

Lobo 12:41 PM  

@Rex It's infinitley difficult, as you also have to look up wolf

WOLF
n.
7 Informal . a man who makes amorous advances to many women.

Martin 1:05 PM  

MATZOHS seems weird because matzoh is pluralized like fish. You eat enough matzoh during Passover to last you a year, if not a lifetime. But Manischewitz makes regular matzoh, egg matzoh, whole-wheat matzoh, unsalted matzoh, "thin tea" matzoh and any number of other unsuccessful attempts at making matzoh edible. These are matzohs.

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

i also did the puns and anagrams but can't find a site to check my answers. anyone? thanx

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

C'mon youse guys...I was a MASHER before I was DECREPIT and I was DECREPIT before I was DEAD. NoW all the girls are SARI....

John the TAO Deceased

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

puns & anagrams answers are here: http://www.xwordinfo.com/Variety?date=12/12/2010

Rube 1:44 PM  

Had palid, Iberia, and lutespeed in the NW. They looked good, so did the rest of the puzzle. Later, realizing that lute had to start with a "W" and it had to be AMPAS, tore the whole thing out. Tried HARPSPEED and the rest fell into place.

St. Pauli Girl dark is one of my favorite beers... when I can find it. It's even randomly available on Kauai.

How many of you young'ns know I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo? (Note that it's I've not I.)

Learned BRNO and Kansas' state motto from xwords long ago. (I.e. the last year or so.) Always want to have an "A" at the end of HARI.

Only know of Manischewitz making undrinkable wine. Didn't know they made inedible MATZOHS too.

Enjoyable middling easy Sunday puzzle, but these guys take too long.

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

@anon at 1:15: thanks a lot for the panda site.

fikink 2:32 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
fikink 2:34 PM  

@Ulrich, Thank you for confirming my impression that the Pauli Girl poster is incredibly misogynist. Ugh!

PuzzleNut 2:45 PM  

Nothing too remarkable today.
Favorite clue - ??
Favorite answer - ??
Favorite comment - @Mel Ott's Ford Escort

Brett Favre 2:47 PM  

Rex could have chosen MASHER as his WotD, it has a pretty interesting etymology:

This was a slang term in the US in the 1870s for an infatuation or crush (a magazine in 1877 defined it as “a deep but fleeting affection of the heart”). A mash could also be a dandy or the object of one’s affection (of either sex) or — as a verb — to make amorous advances to a member of the opposite sex.

The word to “mash,” in the sense of causing love or attracting by a glance or fascinating look, came into ordinary slang from the American stage. Thus an actress was often fined for “mashing” or smiling at men in the audience.

It was introduced by the well-known gypsy family of actors, among whom Romany was habitually spoken. The word “masher” or “mash” means in that tongue to allure, delude, or entice. It was doubtless much aided in its popularity by its quasi-identity with the English word. But there can be no doubt as to the gypsy origin of “mash” as used on the stage.

A mash note (in its first appearances, mash letter) was an extension of the idea: a type of love letter. It is recorded first in 1880 and — as you have discovered — is still doing well. However, it refers mainly to an expression of attraction or desire from a stranger or acquaintance that is unlikely to be welcome.

In other words, it's kind of like sending pictures of your penis to someone's cell phone.

Anonymous 3:20 PM  

How nice that when Brett has a little unexpected time off, he puts it to such good use--elucidating the origins of a word featured in our Sunday crossword!

Look Up Guy 4:35 PM  

@Jim

"It wasn't until 1968 when RCA changed logos, de-emphasizing the Victor name and "His Master's Voice" trademarks, that the label came to be known as "RCA Red Seal Records" [wiki]

Jim 5:19 PM  

LookupGuy:

Thanks. But they still call it RCA Victor Red Seal on some CD covers, or did earlier last decade.

Brett Favre. I enjoyed your explanation, the reading of which makes Rex's 'not uncommon' comment...questionable, to say the least). And the piece de resistance, at the end, sent coffee down my TRACHEA. Bravo.

mac 5:38 PM  

Breezy, easy but not very strong puzzle. And too big, of course. I thought the siren was Lorelei, forgot the rock she sat on.

Maybe Rasa became Lhasa when the Chinese became interested in Tibet;-).

andrea wishywashy michaels 6:01 PM  

Leaving out W from a grid is easy, working with H tho is Hard and I think well done!

Particularly Global Harming is topical and works on a few nice levels...

W IS H is hard to see when it's not in the grid...as FISH was last year, which I remember loving (HAIRYTALE, etc)

Perhaps WISH-full thinking would have been a slightly better title and made it slightly more clear.

And CLEEN SHEEP, SILVER HARE is almost a mini-theme waiting to take over...

NATE 7:13 PM  

To ANON at9:49

I think I understand what ANON at 8:39 said but I have no idea
what your response at 9:49 means.
Please fill me in.

Lili 7:32 PM  

Huge disappointment -- far too easy, quick, and boring. If I don't find myself tearing my hair out at some point, I feel I've wasted my time.

retired_chemist 7:53 PM  

Late to the party.

A fun puzzle albeit on the easy side. Liked that the w => H shift did not occur at a predictable place in each answer. The fill felt relatively fresh.

Amused that I left OHIO (32A) to the crosses despite being born within a mile of the river.

Anonymous 8:39 PM  

Nate - I googled Nate and it came up No Idea. Here is what I (aka Anon at 9:49) wrote on Wordplay:

Is there a sub or subconscious theme at play? Is it coincidental that “W” is the middle initial for George Bush, the 43rd Presdient, and that “H” is the middle initial for Barack Obama, the 44th President, so “W” is replaced by “H?” Is that The W is H?

NATE 9:41 PM  

ANON at 8:39

Thanks, I've got it now.
You guys are too deep for simple-minded me.

Anonymous 9:51 PM  

Nate - That's too complimentary. Here is one response I received on Wordplay:

You are working WAY too hard at this puzzle business. (It's Matt Gaffney who has the meta-puzzles.) Take two acetaminaphen tablets and call me in the morning!

Anon at 8:39

NATE 10:14 PM  

How many ANONYMOUSes are there?

It would help if everyone took an individualized name.

PS: I now realize I didn't under-
stand what ANON at 8:39 meant. He
talked about wiping W off the grid
for 8 years which I interpreted to mean the puzzle grid.

mac 10:20 PM  

@NATE: it's anonymice.;-)

Citizen Dain 11:03 PM  

HINGED VICTORY was brilliant. I laughed out loud. My favorite clue/answer of the week.

Buffalo 11:45 PM  

Matzoh (plural matzohs) is an acceptable spelling for the food, but NOT for the "Manishewitz product" (9-D). Manishewitz calls its unleavened bread "matzo" (plural matzos).

mmorgan 12:01 AM  

Everyone's done with this one... but I just wanted to note that my 90-year-old mother thought it was easy!

fikink 12:07 AM  

@Citizen Dain, HINGED VICTORY was my favorite too.

@mmorgan, FIL is 90 and didn't have too much trouble with this either. Maybe we should introduce the two of them. ;)

Stan 1:01 AM  

I found this a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle -- not as tricky as some, but tricky can be tiring. And tricky enough (the title and the 'first lady' clue both got me).

Also liked:

Finding out that both JEKYLL and MR HYDE have six letters with the fourth letter being Y.

Looking up the entire cast of Roswell on IMDB.

Watching the theatrical trailer to I Was A MALE War Bride.

Thanks, Karen!

Dirigonzo 1:36 PM  

The answer at 75a made me nostalgic as the town in which I was born and raised used to bill itself as "The BROILER Capital of the World" (really!) It was a dubious honor though, as the poultry processing plants that were the basis of the claim discharged their effluent directly into the bay which kind of limited the appeal of the waterfront for recreational use, as you might imagine. Still raising, transporting and processing chickens provided a livlihood for a lot of people in the area, and there was an annual BROILER Day celebration complete with a parade and all the chicken you could eat.

As to the rest of the puzzle, discovering the w is h gimmick helped me a lot but when I finished I stared at AMALE at 107d for a long time, convinced it was wrong, only it wasn't. So finished with no errors (but lots of write-overs) and that's always fun.

NotalwaysrightBill 3:41 PM  

Syndicated paper solver, solved yesterday, commenting today.

Still undecided how much to make of crosses and co-occurence--are these really all that contrived or are they more like Rorschach test coincidentals that anyone can read any amount of "meaning" into?

That said, I think my semiotics teacher would have loved HINGEDVICTORY: I believe he would have found that "The turnstile effect of myth--now you see it, now you don't" now has a perfectly apt word to describe much of today's attitudinal landscape. For those who can distinguish a successful campaign to implement a policy goal ("regime change") from a war, W's "Mission Accomplished" made good sense. For those bent on effacing reason from public discourse, it was just another easily swung bit of laughingstock. We still have troops stationed in Germany and Japan: how ridiculous do VE Day and VJ Day appear in that light?

Lorelei was the maiden after whom the rock was named and who now, along with the other Rhinenymphs, sings sirenic songs to lure sailors to their deaths. Not sure why, but rock, maiden and nymphs were good material for Nitzchean, Wagnerian and Hitlerian playing-at-God, HINGEDVICTORY at work.

Pretty easy Sunday, didn't help my HASTEMANAGEMENT any.

Alejandro 10:08 PM  

A note about HINGED VICTORY -- it's cute, but really, the doors on "Let's Make a Deal" are not hinged, they're sliding doors. Maybe "Successful choice when playing 'Mystery Date'?" would have been a more accurate clue.

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