Company behind game Battlezone / TUE 12-28-10 / Mentalist Geller / Four-lap runners / Distance runner's skirt / Military sandwich

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Constructor: Robert A. Doll

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Unprefixed — familiar words have their prefixes moved to the end, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: CANAPE (29D: Cocktail hour nibble) —

A cracker or a small, thin piece of bread or toast spread with cheese, meat, or relish and served as an appetizer.

[French, from canapé, couch, from Medieval Latin canāpēum, mosquito net. See canopy.] (

• • •

Supremely easy. The theme was utterly nonsensical to me until many seconds after I had finished. I was trying to figure out what the starts or ends of the theme answers had to do with one another, and then noticed that MARINESUB was just SUBMARINE flipped. Then noticed that the others were similarly flipped. Ta ... da? Theme is very thin (compare yesterday's six theme answers), and MINI doesn't stand alone very well, and two of these started out as nouns and two as adjectives ... and this theme seems like it could be spun out ad infinitum; or, rather, that virtually any word with these suffixes might have sufficed. Why not a LARGE EXTRA or GOLF MINI or etc.? The basic idea is kind of cute, but somehow the execution feels slightly SUB par.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Distance runner's skirt? (MARATHON MINI)
  • 34A: Military sandwich? (MARINE SUB)
  • 45A: Outstanding crowd scene actor? (FINE EXTRA)
  • 55A: Valuable truck? (PRECIOUS SEMI)
Did this one in under three, but there were a few slight sticking points. Tried SLUR for SLAM (1D: Verbal assault). Blanked on CANAPE at first, though it's a perfectly familiar word—I get very impatient with my brain on Mon. and Tues. sometimes. Luckily nearby ARCHIE made that section a cinch — daughter has a Massive ARCHIE Comics collection that she's amassed over the past few years, so I know more about the Riverdale gang than I could ever have imagined (30D: Jughead's buddy). Went with TINTS over TONES in the NE (16A: Color variations), which probably created the most trouble given the 3/5 rightness of the wrong answer. But "trouble" is a relative concept, and today, there really wasn't much of any. Only real question was: EBAN or EBEN (it's the former) (32D: Abba of Israel).

Not much to Bullet today, so I'll just sign off. My flight isn't until Wednesday evening, so I'll be here again tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. this will hurt your soul if you have one...


Anonymous 8:19 AM  

It's 7:18 a.m. Chicago time and I'm the first comment? That says it all....

David L 8:34 AM  

Definitely easy -- and I was mystified by the theme until I came here. Thought there must be some connection between the bits added on -- MINI, SUB, EXTRA, SEMI -- but couldn't find one. Because there isn't one.

And I'd never heard of a mini marathon. Like a regular marathon only much, much shorter? I could do that. Google seems to indicate it's another name for half marathon. I couldn't do that.

imsdave 8:34 AM  

Too easy, even for a Tuesday. Got the theme immediately, so at least I had the satisfaction of solving the rest of the theme answers with 0 to 3 crosses in place. While the fill is clean (MCXL excluded), I wish it had been a lot more scrabbly.

From the late in the day posts yesterday:

@Two Ponies - I've been reading the blog every day, but have been a little overwhelmed with both work and the holidays the last few weeks - New Years resolution will be to show my face here more frequently.

@Stan - Glad you enjoyed my blog puzzle - thanks.

And thanks to all of you who sent me such nice emails about it - they're appreciated.

Glitch 8:52 AM  

It's pretty much all been said already, so, from yesterday:


If I interpret your comments correctly, you have a home delivery "subscription", and if so, on line access (including the puzzle) is included at no extra charge.


jyp0625 8:52 AM  

Very easy puzzle for a Tuesday but the fill is clean. The theme is contrived but many other puzzles suffer from the same problem. It was still fun to solve it at a relaxed pace of just over 15 minutes.

I realize there are some real pros on this blog but am I the only one who needs 15 minutes to solve this puzzle?

joho 9:01 AM  

@imsdave ... I would have sent you a note had I been in your puzzle! Just kidding, it was a lot of fun seeing some of Rex' crowd show up especially OOXTEPLERNON.

My only hiccup today was SLAp before SLAM.

This was super easy which reversed perhaps becomes a lasivious building manager.

jesser 9:02 AM  

Barely felt like I had to think about this one. Read clue. Write answer. Right answer! Every time!

Will should have kept this one in the Monday pile, methinks.

I like the corner stacks:




and my favorite:


That's good stuff, Maynard!

Odicape! (What Batman says as he rushing toward the Batmobile and realizes something is amiss) -- jesser

fikink 9:13 AM  

Puzzle pretty much of a 'meh" for me, but the write-up sent me to discover "wiggers," in the urban dictionary. Yes, @Rex, there is a soul wound there.

I sure liked SCRAMS, though, in connection with ARCHIE and the comic book feel to this one: FLATTEN, SMEARS, OOMPH, LEVEL, SCARED, SMILE, SNARE, and a snow FORT.

chefbea 9:13 AM  

easy puzzle. Nothing more to add.

@IMS Dave - printed out your puzzle last night. Didn"tknow about it while up in Ct. Will try to do it today

Tinbeni 9:15 AM  

Hey PurpleGuy, I see there is a "shout-out" to you, CAIN.

Easy, FUN, and (Yes, Rex, there is a Santa) my final
NYT Crossword (unless I get the paper).

Yeah, I screwed up again, going back to "the grind" that I love SOOOO much ... The Corporate World.

Heading to Zagreb, Croatia, tomorrow for a "face-to-face" interview.
Which will get me out of 2010 6 hours earlier.
Then it is decision time.
Moscow, Muscat or Zagreb.

Ahhhh, that perfect word ... CHOICE.

As such, tonight, at 5:43pm, will be my last U.S.of A. "toast" from Honeymoon Island.

Cheer's to all.
(Especially, the 102yo Mom)!

Neville 9:17 AM  

I didn't find this as boring as some others seem to. Figured the theme out from MARINE SUB during the solve. Nothing out of the ordinary, but not bad for a Tuesday IMO. Easy solving week for me so far, including Sun 26. Are we in for a Hellish end of the week/year?

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Little surprised Rex did not show more displeasure with the theme.

Submarine is one word noun.
Mini marathon is an oxymoron.
Extra fine is descriptive of something like a nib,
Semiprecious is descriptive of a rock.

The only thing these have in common is a reversal of the ordinary, which is not much of a theme, wacky or not (BTW, Rex, have I mentioned you are single-handedly making wacky a cliché?).

Frankly, I’m surprised the NYT published this, even as an early week puzzle....

Alpine Joy 9:19 AM  

Too easy, too.

However, for a little while I thought 20A: Distance runner's skirt was (MARATHON MISS), which I thought would be pretty edgy and a good play off of MARATHON MAN, but I guess embedded negative connotations in language "are not up to the broadcast standards" of good taste in a family newspaper.

Still, language, and the prejudices embedded in it, is an interesting topic, and please don't give me any "left-handed compliments"!

Thanks Rex!

Matthew G. 9:37 AM  

I had all sorts of thoughts of what the theme might be after I got MARATHON MINI --- like Alpine Joy, I thought it might be a play off MARATHON MAN in some fashion (Are we mice or are we men? The word "man" is replaced by something small?). When I realized the theme was just reversals, I was less than whelmed, especially given the light theme density. I found PRECIOUS SEMI mildly cute, though.

Not much else to say.

semi-precious 9:48 AM  

I liked it! MARATHON MINI et al. made me smile. Why is everyone so critical here? Someone put effort into constructing this, and I bet half (or more) of the critics couldn't create a decent puzzle themselves to save their lives.

BTW David L, a mini marathon is not at all uncommon. it is often a 5k distance.

Tobias Duncan 10:11 AM  

The bar I frequent does not serve canapes :|

efrex 10:18 AM  

Yeesh, people must have spent too much time shoveling snow yesterday... I got a big kick out of the theme, and only got annoyed by some of the over-tired short fill (ISE, ESE, random roman numeral, NTH). Wouldn't call it an amazing puzzle, but a solid B/B+ effort (points deducted for some of the aforementioned fill). Just 'cause it's easy doesn't mean it's bad...

retired_chemist 10:28 AM  

An easy Tuesday. I had hoped for a Mondayish time and missed by a minute or so. Raced through the Across short fill, went back to do the Downs in the N to try to get the first theme answer, got it, didn’t see the theme. Needed to do the second that way too to figure out the theme, but then I blew through the others and finished in decent Tuesday time.

Favorite wrong answer: CRAVEN @ 28A. That fit ARCHIE and FLATTEN, but made 31D (Stir up) VILE, a WTF, and 21D (Where the Styx flows) HANES. Underworld underwear – I love it.

gleccess - vot you need ven you get older, dollink.

Sparky 10:33 AM  

Yep, easy. Misread 64A as Hunter's asset. Didn't make any difference though. @jyp0625--me, too. It takes me that long to read it, no less solve it. 14 min. is about my Monday time. @Timbini--Good Luck. Will miss your comments and your toasts. Here's to you.

mmorgan 10:52 AM  

Fine, no big deal one way or the other. Despite the unfortunate roman numeral, the fill seemed pleasant for a Tuesday. I also like the ATARI MOVIE STAGS stack!

I first had ETAL for 3D (Partner of anon), thinking it was a bibliographic clue due to too-quick reading, and that held me up a bit in the NW. The theme revealed itself with FINE EXTRA. I agree that some theme answers worked better than others. For whatever reason, the whole East and especially SE got filled in first -- not my normal route.

dilite - what it feels like to be home after making the drive from DC to Western Mass yesterday -- what a mess in NY and NJ, and what incredible wind!

fikink 11:01 AM  

@retired_chemist, I learned the word "craven" recently when searching for an apt description of someone's "vile" behavior. "Craven" appears to have an element of depravity that is missing from "chicken>" A great word - and, thus far, my favorite wrong answer today, too.

@Tinbeni, I've enjoyed your posts and toasts, too. Your tales of many wives, many scotches, and many sunsets. Any chance, once you get settled, you will be coming back to us, doing your puzzles online?

Adam Rosenfield 11:05 AM  

I really liked that the clue "Jughead's buddy" crossed with MARINE (reminded me of that scene from Avatar). I spent way too long trying to think of what you'd a call a friend of a marine before getting Archie (the midwest was the toughest area for me and where I finished up).

Two Ponies 11:28 AM  

I liked this one just fine.
The wording of some of the clues had a different feel to them. I don't remember seeing Mr. Doll's name before.
Anyway, we had two comics characters (Archie and Snoopy) then the seasonal snow fort and melting Frosty. Good enough for me.
@ Tinbeni, Good luck. Let us know where you choose.
@ imsdave, Welcome back. I'll have to check out your puzzle now. Thx.

DB Geezer 11:54 AM  

Could one of you explain 48A SUSSEX ISE? SUSSEX ITE I'll buy. Google only give 221 finds for SUSSEXISE, and most of them are in a foreign language. And many thousand for SUSSEXITE.

efrex 12:01 PM  

DB Geezer:

The idea is that American english words that end in "ize" end in "ise" in British spelling (e.g., memorize vs. memorise).

ISE has appeared 45 times previously in the puzzle, but only clued that way twice before today, once on a Monday, and once on a Sunday (as per It does seem a bit out of place in a Tuesday puzzle.

efrex 12:02 PM  

err, that's once on a THURSDAY and once a Sunday...

John V 12:04 PM  

Got the theme almost immediately. Did feel like an easy Monday. Only regret is that the storm didn't come later in the week, so that I would have had more of a puzzle for my 3 hour slog on Metro North this morning. Ugh.

imsdave 12:04 PM  

@DB - Americans use the suffix IZE, whereas Brits use ISE. (Think realize v. realise).

Forgot to mention earlier, that the LATimes puzzle today is gem.

JaxInL.A. 12:05 PM  

@jyp0625: Just ignore those folks who talk about their solving times, including Rex. Speed solving is a specific activity (and skill) that I have not cared to investigate or develop. Maybe someday. I usually do the puzzle while starting to get the family going in the morning, or falling asleep in the evening.  Even when I do it straight through without major distractions, I don't think I understand how to read the puzzle clues and actually type answers in under three minutes, let alone mull over a pun.  I think their brains are just wired differently. I'm happy to finish a Monday in under 8 or 9 minutes (when I remember to look), and I usually go over 10.  Fridays and Saturdays might come in around an hour if I get my tea and enjoy some toast while I solve.  As Rex would tell you, times are only one of many ways to gauge your solving experience and are relevant to you only if you care. Plenty here don't worry about it.


PurpleGuy 12:18 PM  

ATinbeni - yes I noticed the shout out. Thanks for mentioning it. Good luck on your interview, and in making a choice. Will miss your toasts. Sure hope you are able yo drop by once in a while. 102yo mom and I will toast you tonight with the special scotch.

The puzzle ? Oh yeah. Very easy. Liked the theme.
I concur with what has been said.

Good write up Rex. Made the same mistake with slur/SLAM.

Have a great day all.
Shanti -

Bob CAIN/ Purple Guy.

jyp0625 12:20 PM  

@Sparky and @JaxInL.A. Thanks for your comments. Now I know there are other people on the blog who can enjoy the puzzles without breaking time records.

For me trying to measure time while I am solving a puzzle adds a level of stress that I do not need.

treedweller 12:26 PM  

Not to RILE our host, but I'm not SCARED to take the minority position; I really liked this one, and if that's a problem for you, you can go to HADES. I grant you, it's reasonable to SLAM the rather thin theme, but I liked a lot of the fill--it had OOMPH! Was it perfect? NOSIR. But FLATTEN, SEESAW, SMEARS, and CANAPE (in my head, first instinct is to rhyme this with "tape") made me SMILE.

Looking back, I see a lot of other stuff I might have been RILEd about another time, and a lot of words that popped for me while solving really aren't that unusual. Dunno if it reflects surprising clues, or just my mood, but I liked it better than it seems I should have. In part, I think my recent habit of solving the daily syndicated puzzle in my local paper (which is simply awful) makes the "real" puzzle look that much better. I guess it's like comics--sometimes I laugh at a strip, then later I show it to someone else and think, "Now why was that funny?"

treedweller 12:30 PM  

p.s. @imsdave Your blog that links to your Blogger account is clearly not the one with the puzzle I have been hearing about here. Where is the new blog?

Sfingi 12:33 PM  

Didn't get the theme until I came here. Thought it might be a reference to things other than total.

RPI isn't the only school in Troy.
There's also Russell Sage and Emma Willard. But I guess it's the only Troy school in crosswords.

I still don't get what a SussexISE is. I can understand Sussexy or s-s-sexy.

I don't think I'd want to say NO SIR in boot camp. YESIR is always the right answer.

@JaxinLA - I also do the puzzle between doing everything else. I often have a hard time seeing the numbers, but that's an age thing.

Puzzle was easy, anyway. The LA was OK, with a kinda silly Sinatra theme.

@Glitch - I do not have a home delivery subscription. I buy the Times M-W and then only if I fall over it Thu-Sun. It probably wouldn't be delivered regularly way up here, and probably only for an extra fee. The LA comes in our local paper which arrives at 6:30 AM, before the lazy squirrels.
So glad I got the paper today. Missed it yesterday with NYC's storm.
By the way, it's Sfingi, which literally means Sphinxes, but is a name applied to a type of dolce or goodie eaten on St. Joseph's Day, my son's birthday. We have it on one of our license plates, too. The other is OCDOCD.

@Tinbeni - you're moving on? Try to keep the comments coming!

Van55 12:34 PM  

RRN + random compass direction + lame ass theme = not so good for my taste.

mitchs 12:44 PM  

Treedweller: check Rex's Xmas blog - there's a link at the bottom to the puz.

imsdave 12:56 PM  

@treedweller - I've just posted the link to the puzzle on my (lame) blog - many have asked for a place to comment on it and I think this will accomodate that.


imsdave 1:05 PM  

Oops - heres the link Dave's lame blog

retired_chemist 1:08 PM  

@ Sfingi - don't add the suffix to Sussex. The clue means a suffix used in Sussex, i.e. a British spelling. Realise (Br.) vs. realize (Am.) is an example.

Sfingi 1:23 PM  

@Ret.Chem. - what with DE, NJ, etc. having all sorts of Sussexes, it never occurred to me that it was in England.

@I'msDave - you aren't a dinosaur programmer - you're a Legacy programmer.

Oh, had cINE EXTRA before FINE EXTRA.

There was a writer (Atkinson) on Book TV talking about a long lasting anti-Brit feeling among some NE Americans, yes, going back 200 years that luckily didn't poison Ike during WWII. I admit to having this problem, as odd as it seems. I must be more tribal than I like to admit.

Glitch 1:30 PM  


Sorry for both the misspelling and the misinterpretation of your remarks.

I'll be working on both ;)

.../Glitch (an RPI alumnus)

retired_chemist 2:01 PM  

@ fikink - see craven coward in the lyrics of High Noon. May have the connotation you put on craven, but I think not likely. You may very well be right in general, if the use of the word in the song is just for meter.

chefwen 2:17 PM  

Got the theme right off the git-go making the rest of the solve easier than easy. Only hiccup was spelling SeRAN before SAFE whacked me upside the head.

@Tinbeni - we will miss you and your comments, please keep us updated.

foplikee - Jesser help!!

william e emba 2:21 PM  

Although -ISE is British and -IZE is American, the OED, curiously, favours the American usage (since the etymological source has a zeta).

treedweller 2:28 PM  

thanks for the help on the imsdave puzzle. It was a tough one, but fun.

Stan 2:45 PM  

I think the OOMPH in this one came from clues like "Render pancake-shaped," "Tool with a bubble," "Disappear à la Frosty," and "Company behind the game Battlezone."

There were free arcade games in the Red Lobster bar/waiting area nextdoor to my job in the early 1980s. Battlezone had primitive wireframe graphics (just a few green lines) but really made you feel you were inside a tank and moving through 3-D space. I wonder if it was the original "first-person" video game.

CoffeeLvr 2:46 PM  

Hi, I'm back. Will update tomorrow earlier in the day. I'm going to be getting my daily X-word fix again. All is right with the world.

fikink 2:48 PM  

@retired_chemist, thanks for that link. My dictionary defines craven as "contemptibly lacking in courage" and gives the example: "a craven abdication of his moral duties."
Given the Old West context of High Noon, I believe the personal attributes of courage and cowardice were as solemnly thought of as were virtues and vices, respectively. Also, the lyrics read:

For I must face a man who hates me,
Or lie a coward, a craven coward;
Or lie a coward in my grave.

Surely "craven" adds a special gravity to this coward.
Now, I think, the question is does the more modern term "chicken" carry the same weight. Or perhaps "chicken" is more grave (pun intended) to males than I am aware of as a female.

I suggest if we think of rectitude in times later than the setting of High Noon, we might consider the man who broke the "women and children first" instruction when the Titanic was going down and slipped into a lifeboat. Would we call him a coward or a chicken or both?

mac 3:30 PM  

Easy Tuesday, but a nice solve. I too had "slur", and got the theme with marine sub.

I have no problem with Roman numerals, sort of fun to figure them out, and often helpful as crosses.

Huggies wearer was timely: I'm searching for "huggies", earrings, in two tones of gold for a friend.

@Tinbeni: we will miss you. Sure you can have your toast in Muscat?

ANON B 3:37 PM  

What is a lame blog?

mmorgan 3:55 PM  

@imsdave -- wonderful puzzle, thanks!

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

Since when is the criteria for criticizing a puzzle the ability to construct a puzzle? That's like saying I can't criticize Obama because I could never be elected President or I can't criticize Terrorists if I've never been a Terrorist (well, that might be a little extreme).... I prefer to think of a bad puzzle like porno -- I know it when I see it, even if I can;t define it.... And this puzzle reminds me of what Simon Cowel would say on American Idol -- if I am honest, this is a mess....

Joe 4:24 PM  

That "Sugar, Sugar" clip...

They should play that to suspected terrorists.
They'd talk in about ten seconds.
Dante's eighth circle of hell is that clip played on a loop.
That clip is enough to give a civilian PTSD.
Patton saw that clip and slapped everyone in sight.
That clip is the anti-Killer Joke from Monty Python--parts of it are enough to hospitalize you.

Jackie 4:46 PM  

The puzzle was fine; I was just stopping by to comment on the "Sugar Sugar" clip. Words fail me, though. Plus, Joe just beat me to it. That might be the worst thing I've ever seen. Is it too early for cocktail hour?

Sfingi 4:47 PM  

@Joe - wow! You are needed at the poetry bash.

@Glitch - My maternal grandfather was an RPI grad, '09 (1909). He received the Albert Fox Demers Medal in 1953. My grandmother went to Emma Willard, and I was a year at Russell Sage.

ANON B 4:50 PM  

Retired chemist at 11:28

I finally figured out how to
pronounce the "cc" in "gleccess"
but what does it have to do with

chefbea 6:20 PM's 5:00 some where

And cheers to Tenbeni with my scotch!!!

Vega 7:10 PM  

Yep, easy. My wife's comments on the theme: "Minimarathon: no; submarine: good; extrafine: no; semiprecious: OK." Pretty much sums up my feelings about this puzzle. Oh, and some of the cluing, e.g., "render pancake-shaped" -- I can't figure out if it's awkward or interesting.

ANON B 7:59 PM  


Yesterday you said that Hindus don't follow the Dharma and
Buddhists do.
My reading of Wikipedia says that
they both do. Maybe that's why nobody caught the "error".

ANON B 8:03 PM  

If Will Rogers were alive he would say "I only know what I read in Wikipedia"

Tinbeni 8:10 PM  

re: My toast's in Muscat ... when I was there, Russell, my Dallas friend and former ex-pat in Zagreb ... well we had "a few" toast's ... in the "American Zone" as it were.

Yeah, that was at the TOP on my list of "things-to-check-out."

(Ulrich pointed that out to me a few weeks back).

P.S. If this works out to my preference ... I'll just continue to do my "Corp.Tax Return" reviews from Dunedin ... but New Years in Zagreb will be a hoot ...

Probably a bit "cooler" than here in Tampa Bay.

*** FLASH ***
Tonight's Sunset was AWESOME, Cheer's !!!

carla andrea michaels 8:32 PM  

Hmmm, I didn't get the theme at first and then felt it was fresh when I did, and the kind that spurs you on to do a similar one, but maybe something-er, since there were so many non-enjoyers today, which surprised me a bit.

I too had lots of little writeovers: TiNtS, Ite for the belief clue, and had never heard "Ever and anon", nor 3-in-One so those gave me pause.

Liked two crossword-y Israelis huddled next to each other in the middle (URI and EBAN.

Even tho I also didn't know what a fulcrum was (wow, I'm admitting a lot of ignorance today) I felt SEESAW was a hint to the theme,
that the places were sort of swapped up and down, or back and forth or something.

In any case, I think there is something fun about this theme and to see what it triggers in the future.

(That, by the way, @jesser and whoever else thought it should be a Monday, is why it wouldn't can't do that sort of "wackiness" of not having real phrases in a Monday...They are two separate things, just bec it's easy to solve does not make it a Monday puzzle per se, know what I mean?)

Anyway, I like the same words @Stan liked, in particular OOMPH and a SPOON being defined in a fun, active way...

ArtLvr 8:40 PM  

@ imsdave, many thanks for the lovely lamé puzzle, which with accent is of golden cloth woven with many Rexites there, including me! Super fun.

@ Tinbeni, bon voyage and happy landings, and please let us know where you are if not too hush-hush?


p.s. I didn't have anything to add about today's NYT except that a Craven coward is one I picture both cowering and cringing, creepy as Uriah Heep!

andrea canape michaels 9:01 PM  

May I add a PS? As a namer, I don't like when they spell out one number and not the other (as in 3-in-One) just like I don't like B-TWELVE in a's off-putting, but I'm not 100% sure why.

mmorgan 9:27 PM  

Wow, it feels like I did this puzzle many many hours ago -- but it wasn't until I read @Andrea's note about the fulcrum/seesaw that I really got it. She's so good! (But you all knew that.)

Two Ponies 9:40 PM  

@ andrea,
I'm glad to hear that you liked this one too. Not only is the dish running away with the spoon fun but also the vision of the trucker lovingly polishing his big rig.
Your insight from the constructor's point of view is always a welcome view to the other side of this game.
You sound more serious than usual today.

ANON B 10:52 PM  

@andrea at 9:01
If you ever get a chance to look at a can of 3-IN-ONE motor oil
you will see it looks just like

Anonymous 11:46 PM  

That's 5 Anon B. Nate, it's time for you to find another hobby....

Anonymous 11:52 PM  

Acme, the reason you did not get the theme at first is because it is so nebulous, so that is to your credit. That you finally think the theme is something worth pursuing is, well, akin to seeking the Holy Grail....

Dr Faustus 12:01 AM  

Thanks for the Jughead / Sugar Sugar clip. Really liked it.

Cary in Boulder 1:23 PM  

(I've been meaning to do this for a while, as I have been a lurker on this blog since I started doing the NYT puzzle a couple months ago in a feeble attempt to restore my failing mental agility.)

As a syndicated, rookie, dead-tree puzzler, I truly do enjoy this blog in all its word-loving, Roman numeral-hating, inspired bitchiness. Even though I usually end up beating my head against the late week puzzles, I love coming here for the outrageous commentary, puns and pronouncements. But it bugs me sometimes to have no voice in a five week old conversation. So here's a shout out to ya!

BTW, very strange that nearly all of you are buried under snow while it's dry as a bone here at the foot of the Rockies.

Captcha: prounfri= professional Sat-Thurs solver?

Cary in Boulder 11:48 AM  

Greetings from February. (Wrote the above on 12/28)

Don't know which is more soulless -- "Sugar Sugar" or the New Order clip, which reminds why I've hated most new music since the '80s. I have virtually no musical talent, except for appreciation, but I honestly believe that with maybe an hour's worth of lessons on a Casio I could have come up with a better performance than that. How did New Order ever sell more than 10 CDs?

The puzzle was a snap, btw.

Cary (blues, roots and soul guy)

NotalwaysrightBill 4:07 PM  

Syndi-late paper puzzler.

Congrats @Cary for stepping into (or is it out of?) the time warp.

Easier then usual even for a Tuepuz. Theme idea, however nonsensical, was a FINEEXTRA.

My take on CRAVEN is that it's a certain kind of "cowardly," of which there are a few varieties. Sometimes its use is gender-specific, applying only to males, as in the OED example that a CRAVEN cock is one who is "not game;" but in its sense of being "weakhearted," and especially "ABJECTLY PUSILLANIMOUS," it can be used in reference to someone regardless of their sex.

I think that my own latest use of CRAVEN falls within the connotation parameters:

"Of my fellow Americans and myself: we're not yet so CRAVEN as to be unable or unwilling to tie our own shoelaces without the aid of a permanent servant class." [Written as a response to the idea that illegal immigrants are effectively "indispensable" because Americans have become unwilling to perform necessary chores they consider onerous.]

1. Early companion product to EXLAX that never really caught on for some reason
2. At the crib, you be chillin & laxin

Nullifidian 7:47 PM  

Writing from syndication-land:

I too felt the theme was rather thin, though I clued into it midway through the puzzle. I also blanked on CANAPE, and first thought the -E indicated WEENIE, though I didn't write that down. I guess I just don't go to high-class cocktail parties.

"Curse you, RED Baron!" made me smile and think of the Royal Guardsmen song "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron".

Frankly, there's not much more I can say. It was an okay experience, but nothing really stuck out as memorable about the puzzle. The most enjoyable thing about it was the background noise—I did the puzzle while listening to Ian McKellen reading the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey.

jack mckee 1:55 PM  

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