Gaucho's plain / TUE 12-21-10 / Windblown soil / Keatsian Pindaric / Composition of Jack Haley's Oz character

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: 3 steps back — "L" is moved back three spaces in familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, clued wackily

Word of the Day: LOESS (25D: Windblown soil) —

Loess (pronounced /ˈloʊ.əs/, /ˈlʌs/, or /ˈlɛs/) is an aeolian sediment formed by the accumulation of wind-blown silt and lesser and variable amounts of sand and clay that are loosely cemented by calcium carbonate. It is usually homogeneous and highly porous and is traversed by vertical capillaries that permit the sediment to fracture and form vertical bluffs. // The word loess, with connotations of origin by wind-deposited accumulation, is of German origin and means “loose.” It was first applied to Rhine River valley loess about 1821 (wikipedia)

• • •

Very strange theme. Not sure there is any rhyme or reason to the movement of the "L"—some turn of phrase that is being visually illustrated, for instance—but if there is, I can't see it. Just looks like a "move-the-L" puzzle to me, and that seems as good an excuse for a Tuesday theme as any. Can't say I'm that fond of any of the resulting theme answers, except possibly CHRISTMAS CLAROS (37A: Holiday smokes?). PLANE BOARDS is dull (17A: F.A.A. supervisors?), MIND BLOGGING comes out awkward as a verb phrase (24A: Object to online commentary?), BLOTTED WATER is not much less dull than PLANE BOARDS (48A: Cleaned up after a spill?), and ADAM SLANDER ... that's pretty good, I guess (58A: Defamation in the Garden of Eden?). Luckily, there are other answers to spice up this grid, like THE KINKS (!) (5D: "Lola" band) and LACERATE (39D: Cut jaggedly) and CARRY-ON BAG (29D: Allotment of one, usually, for an airline passenger). All of those are lovely, and go a long way to making up for ODIC (26D: Keatsian or Pindaric) and LOESS (25D: Windblown soil) and AMIR (40D: Mideast potentate: Var.) and LLANO (15A: Gaucho's plain) and ISM (19A: Belief suffix) (all less-than-desirable crosswordese), as well as the EREIMANIASET Partial Experience.

I think I would have liked MIND BLOGGING better if it had been clued as MIND-BLOGGING ... maybe something like [Psychokinetic online commentary].

Really wish I had more to say about this one, but I don't. So, rather than blather to fill space—straight to Bullets.

  • 3D: Shepard in space (ALAN) — constructor signature. Nice.
  • 15A: Gaucho's plain (LLANO) — Are there LLAMA on the LLANO? Or are they just in the Andes?
  • 30A: "Waiting for Lefty" playwright (ODETS) — What are we up to now: ALBEE, INGE, ... ODETS. Oh, and IBSEN (12D: "The Wild Duck" playwright Henrik). Weird: I'd consider IBSEN the more famous playwright, and yet the clue provides IBSEN's first name, but doesn't provide ODETS' (Clifford).
  • 64A: Playing pieces in Rummikub (TILES) — No idea what "Rummikub" is. Sounds Finnish. Is it Finnish? ... nope, Israeli. No matter: "playing pieces" was enough to make this easy.
  • 11A: Composition of Jack Haley's Oz character (TIN) — no idea what to make of this at first because I was thinking of "Oz" the TV show ... ERST on HBO (56D: Once, old-style + 16A: "Six Feet Under" network)
Did you see the TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE last night? Me either.

Happy Winter Solstice.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Anonymous 12:24 AM  

Since I’m from Chicago it’s easy to spot the “L,” even when it’s not where it should be. Da Bears tonight leveled the Vikes, as it should be....

Arthur 12:26 AM  

Rex, time to give this blogging thing up. The ultimate tool for evil in discussing crosswords is now in the hands of any idiot, such as myself, with access to the internet.
I can now definitively state that the phrase "panel board" has (well, almost definitively) never appeared in a book published in English in the past 210 years, according the the all knowing Google NGrams

PS found this one a major slog, as none of the wacky phrase were in the least wacky.

This will make
a) Martin redundant, and
b) Collegial dialog here impossible.

Thanks for your efforts to date.

Arthur 12:46 AM  

My apologies, the search should have been this one. "Panel Boards" as a two word phrase constituted less than 0.00000008% of all two word phrases in books published since 1990. I hereby declare that 0.00000008% is (arbitrarily) too low a number to be a valid theme entry.

Anonymous 1:00 AM  

@Arthur: luck you didn't check for panelboard then.

Anonymous 1:02 AM  

This comparison shows the difference.

retired_chemist 1:10 AM  

Agree that PLANE BOARDS is problematic. Panelboard appears to be a somewhat technical term that I think only electricians and the like would know, not the same as wallboard or paneling which we all (mostly) are familiar with. That got me off to a grumpy start and I didn't enjoy the theme.

Other fill didn't gruntle me either. IDLE clued as a verb by pink-slip also used as a verb just seems off to me. Personal peeve is the phrase "THIS IS TRUE." In high school someone among my circle of friends used to say that all the time and was laughed at as a megadork. Come to think of it, that might have been me. Probably was.

Had FIRE for 54D, which made the strange-sounding game use TIRES. One can, I suppose, imagine such a game. Not likely, though, if one is a megadork.

But megadorks will probably know SECANT, and others might have problems with it.

I counted 18 3 letter answers, which seems high. Not a lot fresh there or in the other short fill. OOXTEPLERNON surely approved.

Oh well. Wednesday, I expect, will be better.

chefwen 1:21 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 1:23 AM  

Now, are we going to spend an entire day talking about panel boards? They make me think of a finished basement, but to those nitpickers so loved by Nate (aka Anon B) they will take on lives of their own,

Rex, do you realize you are single-handedly turning the word "wacky" into a cliche?

Besides the "L" Chicago has the upper and the lower Wacker Drive. Do you suppose that is where Capone wacked his foes in the 20s?

Are there any demerits because the L was not always in the first word or not always in the second word?

Parson me. I thnk I'm going to be L....

Wacky John

sillygoose 1:29 AM  

Hmm. I also had pan for NIX and was convinced I was going for an adam's apple variation... but no. I was playing my rummikub with tires/fire - I'm not familiar with IDLE for pink-slip, gonna have to look it up.

Off to see if the rain will clear out so I can see the lunar eclipse.

Happy solstice everyone :-)

chefwen 1:36 AM  

This was one of my slowest Tuesdays ever, I don't time myself but it took me a lot longer that usual. I had pan at 61D and had never heard of Rummikub so tidying up that corner took more thought than it should have. I really like a little more difficulty in early week puzzles, but this makes me frightful for the rest of the week.

@Rube - Sorry about the pea soup and the lunar eclipse (like I have control) fingers crossed for more favorable weather while you are on island.

andrea lcara miclhaes 2:24 AM  

Me too for PAN, ADAM SLAPPER, so DNF SE corner :(
(Plus I did my always error ERSe for ERST.)

Was so totally confused by the theme, that first I thought you swap words (instead of to BOARD PLANES, you PLANEBOARDS...then I thought there was a weird internal spoonerism, MIND-BOGGLING becomes MINDBLOGGING,
BOTTLEDWATER is BLOTTEDWATER, thus my mistake with re: ADAMSLAppER, but then how did PANELBOARDS fit that pattern?)

When I saw the XMASCLAROS it became CLARO, you move the L over 3 spaces, but why?

Then I thought MAYBE it's 3 days before Noel, so there is NO L 3 spaces later?!

My mind is bleeding and I LOVE ALAN Arbesfeld, normally.

Hmmm, highlights for me were EASYA perpendicular to PLANB and
Malapopping DNA where OVA is.

Not being a Harry Potter reader, even having SNA-E in place, I tried 5 other ideas for 50D "Hardly Macho" (WUSSY, NANCY, SISSY among the printable ones... after THE KINKS and ASSES, I figured all bets were off/on!)

Lowlights (besides having FIVE wrong/blank letters in the SE) was the ITAR/ITAL crossing.

TOTALLY didn't get this, but points for originality!

SethG 2:54 AM  

Bizarrest theme I can remember. The lovelies you cite are indeed lovely, but don't go far enough for me to make up for the partials and the theme entries. And, unless I misunderstand how the clue works, supervisors => boards seems a stretch.

Someone who religiously follows a Showtime series is ON TOP OF THE L WORD.

Ulrich 3:05 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulrich 3:12 AM  

Just in from watching the lunar eclipse reach the "total" stage--I would have never known about this hadn't it been for the Sunday puzzle--one never knows what doing these things will be good for...

Now and first: Since I'm from the Rhine valley, loess is my mother earth, in a way, and for that reason alone, it deserves more respect than it gets here. In early summer, the farmer just 10 min. from where my brother lives sells white asparagus grown in that very same loess and cut that very same day--delicious. And his strawberries are the best I ever tasted. I hear there's also much loess in China...

Second: If an L moves, it moves to the left, of course--no self-respecting L would ever move to the right. And it moves three spaces because that way, it generates not-so-wacky new phrases--so, where's the problem?

The emphasis is on "new", as in "not-in-any-book-written-up-to-now". If the boards in a floor are allowed to call themselves "floor boards", and the boards in a wall "wall boards", and the boards in a review "review boards", the boards in a panel may damn well call themselves "panel boards"!!!

Anonymous 3:24 AM  

Nope, didn't like it either. Since the publishers know that few people do crosswords over the holidays, this is probably the week when all the crap puzzles come out but like we say here in Chicago, just wait til next year!

Rube 3:44 AM  

Finished this with more than the usual Tuesday writeovers: MANI/oneI, _BLOGGING/BraGGING, and WATER/WAste. Looked at the finished themes and thought mediocre to crummy. Inconsistent. First word here, second word there. Oh well, two years ago I wouldn't have even noticed. Only thing I learned from the puzz was that there is some band called "The Kinks". Whoopee.

Did the Xword in the United Airlines magazine today. What a waste of time. Oh well, it appears the UAL Xwords are consistent. Their "Hard" Soduku was a challenge, though... when done in ink.

It appears that Kauai will miss the eclipse... it's raining now and there is only ~10 mins left. Chefwen, I expected better hospitality.

tk 5:28 AM  

i just kept saying: plane broads? what the hell are plane broads?

fikink 7:34 AM  

@Ulrich, The LOESS Hills are a formation in western Iowa and, yes, I think Rex gave the word, which has appeared before, short-shrift.

@Andrea, I love watching you think through these constructions, but your gymnastics on this one even lit "a grease fire in my brainpan." [stolen from something]

@retired_chemist, agree re: panel boards. I may have heard an electrician use the term.

Not a favorite Arbesfeld of mine today; I seem to recall more enjoyable puzzles from this constructor.

mmorgan 7:59 AM  

I enjoyed it overall -- I absolutely loved ADAM SLANDER but I just couldn't figure out what PLANE BOARDS (panel boards) was/were supposed to represent. Not surprised they caused a ruckus here.

Rummikub is a terrific game -- I play it a lot -- didn't know it was Israeli.

The gauchos I know (so to speak) are more likely to hang out on the pampas, not the llanos (at least in Argentina).

I love Andrea's NO L 3 explanation. Probably not, but wow!

joho 8:04 AM  

When I finished I stared at the answers for a while then saw that BLOTTED was an anagram of BOTTLED. SLANDER became SANDLER. CLAROS was CAROLS. BLOGGING turned into BOGGLING. And lastly, PLANE = PANEL (the weakest of all). I never saw that the L moved.

It was definitely different and, I guess, not too bad of a Tuesday as Tuesdays go.

efrex 8:08 AM  

I thought Sunday's Giants game would be the last time this week that I sat down stunned saying "What the #@@!# was THAT about?!" Finished this thing, but could not figure out the theme for anything.

IDLE for pink-slip makes no sense, THISISTRUE is not at all interesting, and lots of yucky fill/ crosswordese (the ever-execrable ELHI, AAS, ILE, ISM, ITAR...). This theater-loving math geek got a kick out of SECANT, KERN, IBSEN, and ODETS, but not enough to make this slog fun.

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

If you've never played rummikube, buy it as a gift for your child or mother. Little kid and the elderly love it. And will even play it with each other. It is a mix between gin rummy and maj johng (sp?).

'Cause dictionaries are informative 8:22 AM  

Idle - Verb
14. to cause (a person) to be idle: The strike idled many workers.

So does firing, or pink-slipping.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

This puzzle reminded me of what my son said about the eclipse when I woke him up at 4 am: You got me up for this?!?

donkos 8:28 AM  

I did stay up to watch the lunar eclipse which is why I probably did so badly on today's puzzle. Not my favorite Tuesday, but the eclipse was worth watching - the sky was SO CLEAR that it just made the whole experience feel like a special effect from a science fiction movie!

ArtLvr 9:15 AM  

Big disappointment last night -- the skies clouded so thickly there wasn't even a hint of rosy glow... Minor disappointment, the lack of warm fuzzy feeling in the soutiLon of the puzzle! Ah, what the L?


mitchs 9:19 AM  

I still don't know how to pronounce LOESS.

BTW, where's Jesser?

dk 9:32 AM  

*(1 Star) YUK

Less impressed 9:37 AM  


Waste of a perfectly good star.


Van55 9:37 AM  

Like others, I had issues with PLANEBOARDS. I liked LOESS and CHRISTMASCLAROS.

Wasn't sure about YENS on top of YEARNS.

Why clue IBSEN with one of his lesser known works on a Tuesday?

No stir over ELHI today? I hope not, as that one has been done to death.

"Smallish batteries" for AAS just reeks.

Very much a mixed bag for me today.

Matthew G. 9:43 AM  

I had mixed feelings on this one. Don't like PLANE BOARDS very much, and most of the short fill was yawn-inducing. I liked the remaining theme entries, though.

I also find that some people, including Rex, seem to care more about an "explanation" for a theme's operation than I do. The constructor discovered phrases that could all be made into amusing phrases by moving the same letter the same number of spaces in the same direction in each. Good enough for me. The problem is that there were five theme slots, not four, and the very first one was so very dull, so the execution was only so-so.

OldCarFudd 9:54 AM  

@tk - We used to call them stewardesses. No kidding! I never cottoned on to the 3 spaces gimmick, so I also thought the original phrase was plane broads. And I wondered how the NYT had let it in.

Eclipse was fabulous. Puzzle, less so.

Captcha annitu - a variable annuity

Ulrich 9:57 AM  

@mitchs: "loess" is the English spelling of the German word Löß. I don't know how the English pronounce it (too lazy to look up what the symbols in Rex's WOD mean), but for what it's worth, this is the German pronunciation: The umlaut ö/oe is pronounced exactly like French "eu" (as in feu). The ß is pronounced like a voiceless English "s".

retired_chemist 10:01 AM  

@ mitchs - les or LOW'ess

@'Cause and @ Ulrich - I know, I know. But I still don't like either. On a Tuesday, anyway.

Shamik 10:27 AM  

Glad to come here and see what the theme was besides an L out of place. Exactly 3 places. Ok. Meh. Ended up as a medium puzzle.

However...a video of The Kinks looking so young! Priceless! And I remember when just about every girl had long hair parted in the middle...including me. When the puzzle is meh, but the videos make me's a good day. Thanks, Rex!

David L 10:35 AM  

I think it's very ingenious that the theme answers were made by moving the L back 3 spots in all cases. But this ingenuity was totally lost on me since, as usual, I was only barely paying attention to the themed answers and just said to myself, huh, anagrams again, without pausing to wonder what they were anagrams of.

Many puzzle themes are, I suspect, more interesting and satisfying to the constructor than anyone else. At least to oblivious solvers like me.

DB Geezer 10:41 AM  

Would the clue for 17A have been more acceptable if it had been: Get the rough places off the lumber?

panast - Did any one answer the little god?

Lindsay 10:44 AM  

Odd. I thought the theme was "lame anagrams" until coming here. Though "penal board" DOES makes more sense than "panel board". Maybe related to a parole board? I assume, using Rex's formula for relocating the L, that there's someone out there named Adam Sandler. News to me.

dogbreath 10:48 AM  

Found Andrea's write-up far more entertaining than ARBELSFED's puzzle, which struck me as the work of a man with too much time on his hands.

Oh well, they can't all be winners.

Two Ponies 10:48 AM  

Christmas Claros was good but the rest of the theme answers were boring at best.
360 days of clear skies a year and last night, when I depended on it the most, a complete blanket of thick clouds. Really disappointed because PuzzleMate and I met because of a lunar eclipse. A special day at our house.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

TAO – Amusing how people struggle to make something out of what might be nothing.

Now that I’ve sobered up from my personal lunar eclipse watching Da Bears win something nobody gave them a chance of winning four months ago, here is my unprofessional take on this puzzle.

1. Not bad for a Tuesday

2. If Tuesday’s are generally forgettable, then this one is a standout.

3. Dunno what was in the constructor’s mind, but this is that time of the year and maybe he was looking at Christmas carols one day while smoking a cigar and thought CHRISTMAS CLAROS and then tried finding other two word combinations of switching the L around. Seems to me it’s to his credit he consistently moved the L back the same number of letters each time but it’s not exactly the Da (that’s Da as in Da Bears) Vinci Code.

4. Panel Boards are boards that form a panel or panels that are used as boards in remodeling (such as putting up paneling over your concrete basement wall to turn it into a rec room). I’m sure if someone here was in the hardware/lumber business they could explain, but those people usually do things other than xword puzzles.

5. I guarantee you Giants fans who watched the Giants maul Da Bears a few weeks ago, Bear fans are feeling a lot better this morning than Giants fans felt yesterday morning….


and you will see some pamel boards in the background.

mitchs 11:15 AM  

@Ulrich: thanks you, sir.

r.alphbunker 11:17 AM  

What is the significance of the fact that L was shifted 3 places? Perhaps it is referring to the Biblical estimate of 3 for pi in I Kings 7,23.

"And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it about."


Mel Ott 11:17 AM  

At first I thought the theme was anagrams, then saw that it was about moveable L's. Did not see that the L's were moved 3 spaces to the left until @Rex explained it.

Hand up for Panel Board being an unfamiliar phrase. And I wouldn't know Adam Sandler if he knocked on my front door.

Not long ago we had a conversation about 5-letter playwrights and two of them show up today. (OT question: why is the person who writes plays spelled playWRIGHT, and the activity he engages in is spelled playWRITING? English can be a perverse language.)

mitchs 11:17 AM  

@Retired Chemist: You, too.

william e emba 11:34 AM  

Panel boards are electrical commonplaces. Sort of like motherboards, only general purpose. The complaints about them are just plain ignorant, as using Google correctly shows.

But megadorks will probably know SECANT: hey!

Mel Ott 11:45 AM  

@william e emba: just because a phrase that is familiar to electricians may not be familiar to me does not make me or my comments ignorant. Can we please refrain from these kinds of adjectives when referring to each other?

megadork 11:48 AM  

@ Wm emba -

My point was that such devices might be well known to electricians and home repair mavens but are not IMO Tuesday fare for most of us. Especially as part of an anagram theme.


Joanna 11:50 AM  

EREI MANI ASET is depressing ... but "ERE I MANIA SET" sounds almost Shakespearean! I could see Puck saying that as he plots ... "I'll round the world in forty minutes ere I mania set in the Athenians" or some such. Or perhaps it is something OOXTEPLERNON says? "They will offer me sacrifices of partial words ere I mania set in my worshipers!"

Darryl 11:54 AM  

@William E Emba - Yes, but the problem is, no one actually calls them that. I chose a random image from your link, and here's the home page of the company from whose catalog that image was garnered:

As an Integrated Control Panel Fabricator, we have built customized panels for a variety of markets, including the Petrochemical, Pipeline, Water & Waste Water, Paper Mills, Grain Mills, and Local Manufacturing Facilities. With a complete point-to-point checkout prior to shipment, we ensure that all panels have been wired correctly and tested. With an on-staff CAD person, a complete set of as-built drawings can be offered to each customer.

In addition to control panels, we also offer custom-built MCC buckets. From VFD’s to Smart Motor Starters, we can do it all. Our expertise is, but not limited to Allen Bradley, Cutler Hammer, General Electric (GE), Square D, and Telemecanique.


They make Control Panels. Other companys make Electric Panels. Way, way deep in the lexicon of these industries they may admit that they make Panel Boards, but no one, not even they, call them that. It's just not a common enough phrase to be the punch line in a wacky move the L gimick.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

Today's puzzle is a perfect example of why I read this blog. I didn't have a clue what the theme was and there was the blogger to explain it all to me.

I'm real glad that I didn't have to spend any time trying to figure it out -- the search wouldn't have been worth the payoff.

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

For the last time (hopefully) - from

pan·el·board   /ˈpænlˌbɔrd, -ˌboʊrd/ Show Spelled
[pan-l-bawrd, -bohrd] Show IPA

a compact pressboard for use in constructing sides of cabinets, paneling for walls, and in other nonstructural applications.
Use panelboard in a Sentence
See images of panelboard
Search panelboard on the Web


1930–35; panel + board

Moonchild 12:09 PM  

Happy Solstice!
Kinda crappy puzzle.
I am not a big fan of Adam Sandler but surprised at how many here have not heard of him.
You guys beating panel boards to death are putting me to sleep.
And @ Anon 11:01, are you saying that people in the lumber/hardware business are too stupid to do crosswords? I hope not because that would be a mean, snobby thing to say and we are (generally) too civil around here to resort to elitist name-calling.

Gray Poop On 12:22 PM  

Moonchild, nobody said anything about lumber/hardware people being too stupid to do crosswords. Anon said they did other things, which I took to mean that they have real jobs with real concerns about real stuff, and that such people don't have time to sit around congratulating themselves for being non-elitist. (And congratulating yourself for being non-elitist is about the most elitist thing you can do.)

Moonchild 12:34 PM  

Ah well.
Misunderstood again.
Now back to the exciting world of
Panel Boards!!

ANON B 12:58 PM  


Scooter Libby got 30 months in prison(commuted by G.W.Bush)for
"outing" Valerie Plame.
I wonder what you will get for "outing" me yesterday.

Gray 1:02 PM  

In this case, everyone knew. But thanks for contributing to the discussion.

Van55 1:07 PM  

@ Mel Ott...

Ignorance is simple lack of knowledge. You don't know about panel boards use in electrical usage, therefore you are ignorant of them. That is NOT an insult. Ignorance is correctable and no disgrace.

Stupidity, on the other hand...

Lindsay 1:19 PM  

@Mel Ott --- a wright constructs (fill in the blank). For example, a shipwright constructs ships, a wheelwright contructs wheels, and a playwright constructs plays. That "wright" and "write" are homonyms is immaterial.

My father used to teach Intro to Theater at a local university. I grew up to the background noise of students getting marked down for "playwrite" so you're kind of hitting a nerve. :~)

william e emba 1:42 PM  

I apologize if my comment about "ignorance" was misinterpreted by some posters, and thus taken personally. The "ignorance" I was referring to was not regarding the phrase itself--as we all know we're all ignorant of way too much as we do these crosswords. That ignorance is just a given and is almost never worth remarking on, and if you think I was calling you out on not knowing what a panel board was, I wasn't, but I apologize just the same. (Heck, it turns out that while I was aware of the electrical notion, I had never heard of the woodworking notion!)

The ignorance I was beating up on was the use of Google's ngram as a gauge regarding the phrase "panel board". Perhaps the poster was being facetious and I was snookered (or perhaps I answered in kind). That's all.

Darryl: As for what the images reveal, when I slowly pass my mouse over the images--instead of picking a random one and clicking on it--about half of them reveal a file named XXX-panel-board-XXX.jpg or the associated text includes the phrase "panel board". (This is an unscientific one-minute assessment.)

I also picked two random images that did not say "panel board" but looked like some kind of electrical contraption, got, as you did, a page without "panel board" on it, then went to the home page of the site, searched on their customer site for "panel board", and got several hits. You got suckered. The sites are tagging non-panel-boards with the phrase "panel board" in order to increase Google hits. This practice is quite common--look up "SEO" for the details. I'm certain your conclusion is as irrelevant as the original reliance on ngram was.

I'm willing to concede that the phrase is not very well-known jargon. But the panel boards themselves seem to be something most of us have seen, if not in real life, certainly in the movies or TV shows.

On the other hand, perhaps I shouldn't post the day after missing hours of sleep for the sake of a TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE. Conveniently I was done all Fall 2010 semester related activity as of Monday.

ANON B 1:56 PM  


I accidentally placed the follow-
ing comment in the Monday column.

I finally figured out EREIMANIASET
but I can't understand why you
combined three separate entries
into one "partial experience"

syndy 2:06 PM  

Didn't hate it.didn't entirely understand the theme but liked mindblogging and blotted water.Usually tuesdays are so boring they bloggle my mind. Have to admit I was also offended on behalf of the lumber industry,but if no such insult was intended I apologize.My experience is that the construction industries are larded with Xworders but maybe not so much Xword bloggists

Masked and Anonymous 2:28 PM  

Thumbs up for a puz theme that tries somethin' different. Plus it had a nod to CHRISTMAS right down the center.

This premature L motif could use a reveal answer or a title or somethin'. Hmmm. Early ell service? Move goes to 'ell? El shifto? Blecch. Terrible. I ain't quttin' my day job.

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

Where I come from, calling someone ignorant is a deliberate insult.

jyp0625 3:00 PM  

This puzzle left me underwhelmed. I did not understand the theme even after solving it.

Sfingi 3:28 PM  

HTG for SNAPE and Rummikube TILES; and then I just scratched my head. Never heard of CLAROS, though it must be a legitimate anagram of Carols. Me too on PLANE BOARDS/ Panel Boards.

The theme threw me. To me it wasn't a Tues.

I once saw Adam SANDLER of SNL, scatalogical movie fame, and the Hannukah song, at a pizza place in the greater Boston area. I kept my silence.

It was a slog, I'm ignorant and a megadork.

@Ulrich - did you actually see the eclipse? I fell asleep.

william e emba 3:30 PM  

Anonymous: No kidding. But some of the "someone"s apparently thought I was taking aim at them, when I wasn't.

As I explained and which you seem to be deliberately ignoring for the sake of being huffy, I was deliberately being insulting in regards to the reliance on Google's "ngram" instead of "images". Period. For this, I do not apologize, but as I noted, this may be a non-issue: on reread, it does seem like it may have been goofy on purpose.

That my English was readable as referring to ignorance of the term itself was not something I noticed until the complaints showed up. Maybe you have a team of editors who read your posts for botches before they go out, but I do not, and no, I'm not about to hire anyone. I'll continue to settle for apologizing after the fact, and if that's not good enough for you to get off your "deliberate" hobbyhorse from the chicken safety of your anonymous corner, I absolutely do not care.

Three and out.

Anonymous 3:43 PM  

@Moonchild – No, I am saying this crowd has never worked with their hands. Amused that you did not get the insult. I was complimenting people in the hardware/lumber business. They actually do something and likely don’t have time for this nonsense.

@Anon B – I did not out you. You wanted to be outed by leaving so many clues. Also, Libby did not get convicted for outing Plame. He was convicted for giving false testimony to a grand jury. Amitrage outed Plame and Fitzgerald could have wound up his investigation almost before he started it. Try going cold turkey.

Doug 4:12 PM  

I thought this puzzle kind of sucked. Took me all day to get the obscure little stuff. The theme was a yawn, too.

ANON B 4:39 PM  

To ANONYMOUS at 3:43

Come off your high horse. I was just teasing and you're smart enough to figure that out.
As far as Armitage(not Amitrage)
outing Plame, he admitted telling
Robert Novak about her in a casual
conversation. It was Novak who outed her. Neither,to my knowledge,
was ever prosecuted.

sanfranman59 4:40 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Tue 9:55, 8:55, 1.11, 82%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:56, 4:35, 1.08, 75%, Medium-Challenging

Arthur 4:41 PM  

Sorry, I thougth the sentence "The ultimate tool for evil in discussing crosswords is now in the hands of any idiot, such as myself, with access to the internet." was sardonic enough on its face. I apologize for the missing .. tags.

Though, I appear to have been proved correct.

Anonymous 5:26 PM  

@Anon - I was the only one expressing any concern over your disappearance and you now accuse me of being on my high horse (my father's favorite cliche when arguing with my mother).

Remember: L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace.

SethG 5:47 PM  

Good lord. John, Nate, get a room.

Two Ponies 5:50 PM  

Thanks @ SethG
My feelings exactly.

fikink 5:52 PM  


Anonymous 5:53 PM  

@SethG - you could join us for a Ménage à trois....

Skua 6:34 PM  

Happy Birthday Crosswords !

Ulrich 6:37 PM  

@anonymous at 3:43: Wanna see someone from this crowd working with his hands? Big time!

@fikink: Want to chime in?

@sfingi: Yes, for a while!

Anonymous 7:07 PM  

@Ulrich, ya vol!

captcha evil se (which in my case is like per se)....

Sparky 7:30 PM  

@SethG. You nailed it. Sheesh!

Anonymous 7:31 PM  

Thanks for the Lola video. I remembered the Kinks, but not Lola.
I wonder if there is any connection to all the rolled L's in the Kinks' song, and the rolled L's in the theme answers.
---60's child

Anonymous 7:56 PM  

This blog is getting weirder and weirder every day.

I'm off. No more puzzles for me until the new year but happy holidays everyone!

Anonymous 8:24 PM  

OK @Anon I guess we've both been outed....

mac 8:41 PM  

I guess we were a little bored by this puzzle. The Sandler/slander twist was the most fun to me. Otherwise, nice to hear "Lola" again.

Had DNA for ova for a sec as well. No problem with "this is true", I hear people use it a lot. I pronounce loess like lust without t. Rummikub was very popular in Germany and Holland for a while, I've never played it and thought it needed dice like Yahtzee. Dices were not acceptable, though.

Those anonymice are tiresome.

mac 8:42 PM  

Haha, next captcha is Prada.

Sfingi 8:59 PM  

There are some people who can't help but behave a certain way. If a second person drops them a crumb, they must bite. So the little plotting creep Karl Rove figured out Scooter was by nature a sneaky gossip, and Rove dropped the info around him. He bit, and the inevitable happened.

I used to hand out black cards for Happy Solstice.

Captcha -nonesy - onesy twosy.

PlantieBea 9:57 PM  

No fun filling in the wacky answers. And I had to come here to see the logic behind the anagram. I like the idea of moving the letter a specific number of spaces to get a new answer...just didn't think these new phrases, with the possible exception of MIND BLOGGING, hung together wackily enough. Meh.

Another megadork with a hand up for SECANT.

Cara 10:01 PM  

Ere I saw Elba, the man I love; I hate to break a set, but why EREIMANIASET and the "partial experience?" I had a hard enough time being mislead by all the extra l's (llano and allah) and all the doubling in general ("gg" in blogging, the double "s"es in loess and asses, the double t's... I'd hoped something more interesting was happening. So back to my question: what's up with EREIMANIASET ? Thanks !

Cara 10:03 PM  

Oh, rats. *misled. Can't type, either

fikink 10:09 PM  

@Ulrich, wish I had a picture of me changing that tractor tire this summer.

Anonymous 10:13 PM  

ERE I, MAN I, and A SET are called partials. There is no way to clue them other than as part of a longer phrase. They were in this puzzle.

mmorgan 10:38 PM  

I've spent two sabbaticals in Argentina. In 1996, we were there when our kids were 7 and 13. We spent many nights playing Rummikub.

Those kids are now both many miles away (and much older) -- they're 22 and 28, in New Orleans and Boulder, and we're in Massachusetts -- but on those very, very rare occasions we're all together, we're very likely to play Rummikub.

Try it, you'll like it.

sanfranman59 12:06 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 7:30, 6:55, 1.08, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 10:07, 8:56, 1.13, 85%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:04, 3:42, 1.10, 88%, Challenging
Tue 4:49, 4:35, 1.05, 70%, Medium-Challenging


Would "One of each type of something" as a clue for "A SET"
render it not a partial?

Stephen 9:03 PM  

It appears no one here liked the theme, but more importantly, not a one of us got any solving horsepower out of it. A lot of us could not grok the theme even after we had finished the puzzle, so it is clearly not giving us a lift anywhere. (I for one thought it was a case of letter substitution, as in MIND BLOWWING... ecch). Hence my summary sentiment: this is a clear case of editor error; the theme is far too hard to be useful on a Tuesday.
My hat goes off to Rex for figuring it out, though.

Stephen 9:09 PM  

My honeybun and I married 32 years ago on Dec 21.
Solstice is a word derived from 'sun' and 'stasis'.
The eclipsed moon was a gorgeous coppery gold color, due partially to the recent eruptions of volcanos (one in Iceland).

Any day where your counter flips into needing 6 bits, the sun stands still, and the moon turns to gold seems like an auspicious occasion. Yes?

NotalwaysrightBill 2:28 PM  

Syndi-late paper solver.

A basic geology class should be mandatory for those who aren't born knowing what LOESS is. Learn lots of funky words there.

Had to get a few from crosses, agree that ODIC sorta sucks.

Biggest rewrite (or is it reWRIGHT?) was where WIMPY and BLOTTEDWATER cross (50D Hardly macho; and 48A Cleaned up after a spill?). Initially thought that "after" was the operative term, which gave me BLOTTEDlATER and lIMPY (which, whatever else it is, isn't very macho either). Anything can get spilled, not just WATER, some SNAPE concoction perhaps. Reasonable error. A backed-off perusal after I thought I'd finished the thing revealed the theme, though, so I fixed it.

This place is a gas what with all the "What am I doing here with all you losers?" cattiness going on and not wanting (except pseudo-secretly) to be "outed" and the rest of the hilarity. As far as working with yer hands, isn't that what yesterday's CAT'S CRADLE is for?

Poor @acme. Overtaxed her brain coming up with No L 3 and made it bleed. I think she needs some MINDBLOTTER (no, not THAT kind) to make everything CHRYSTALCLARO again. Maybe some Rummikub would work. Never played it, but it says it has tiles. Like SCRABBLE. And we know who likes SCRABBLE . . . . Myself, I pretty much quit after I made QUIXOTIC one day, using both the triple-word squares across the bottom. WITH the triple letter score for the X. Don't know that I could ever beat it for a single play.

No wild llamas on the LLANO any more. Just a lot of bully-boy beef.

Dirigonzo 4:43 PM  

I work in a hardware store (OK - part-time) and I liked this puzzle and this blog just fine.

Anonymous 4:18 PM  

@fikink, @Ulrich
"The LOESS Hills are a formation in western Iowa..."

And don't forget about the large Palouse loess region in eastern Washington.
(former Iowa boy now living in the Palouse)

fikink 5:01 PM  

@Terry, Sure enough, there is a book on the Palouse loess region which starts out: "The Palouse looks like a Grant Wood painting from the highway."
Wonder where Grant Wood was from. ;)

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