Turner's 1986 rock autobiography / MON 12-13-10 / Othello's rival Desdemona's affection / Grapefruit-like fruit / Former Egyptian leader lake

Monday, December 13, 2010

Constructor: Patrick Blindauer

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: TEAR (70A: Shed thing hidden in 16-, 25-, 39-, 49- and 59-Across) — letters string "TEAR" spans both words of two-word phrases in theme answers

Word of the Day: POMELO (66A: Grapefruit-like fruit) —

The pomelo (Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis) is a citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia. It is usually pale green to yellow when ripe, with sweet white (or, more rarely, pink or red) flesh and very thick pudgy rind. It is the largest citrus fruit, 15–25 cm in diameter, and usually weighing 1–2 kg. Other spellings for pomelo include pummelo, and pommelo, and other names include Chinese grapefruit, jabong, lusho fruit, pompelmous (from Tamil pampa limāsu (பம்பரமாசு) = pompous lemon and shaddock. (wikipedia)
• • •

Man oh man I *really* thought I was going to set a land-speed record today (breaking last week's Monday time of 2:30), but no. Nine seconds too slow. By the end, I was going so fast I was actually impressing myself, but it appears that the mysterious phrase WASTE AREA (??!) and the botched first attempt at "PLANET EARTH" ("LIFE ON EARTH" ... boo hoo) was enough to put me off my record pace. Of course one of the down sides of solving that fast is the unlikelihood that you will even notice the theme (which would've helped me with "PLANET EARTH," but just stopping to figure out the theme would've set me back more time than it would've saved me). One thing I learned today: you do not spell NASSER like VASSAR (and sadly that wrong "A" fell right in the (still) baffling WASTE AREA).

Best bits today = SCADS of SCUDS in the west, and the gorgeous DEFINITE ARTICLE right across the center (yes, I know it's only a special kind of nerd who finds DEFINITE ARTICLE gorgeous, but I am that nerd). Had a discussion with wife just this morning about xword playwrights and her difficulty telling them apart. Me: "There are three. 4 letters, 4 letters, and 5 letters. And yes, I get them confused too." The "5 letters" of which I spoke: ALBEE (11D: "The Zoo Story" playwright Edward). Turns out one of my "4 letters" isn't a playwright at all—James Agee wrote some very famous screenplays, and was a film critic and author of various books ... but not stage plays.

Theme answers:
  • 16A: Profits (NET EARNINGS)
  • 25A: Town dump, e.g. (WASTE AREA)
  • 39A: The, grammatically (DEFINITE ARTICLE)
  • 49A: Dodge City lawman (WYATT EARP)
  • 59A: Emmy-winning nature series narrated by David Attenborough ("PLANET EARTH")

  • 63D: Gay singing syllable (TRA) — here are some more gay singing syllables, courtesy of awesome Andy Bell and Erasure

  • 6D: Turner's 1986 rock autobiography ("I, TINA") — she could not have predicted how popular this book's title would become, crosswordwise.

  • 28A: Othello's supposed rival for Desdemona's affection (CASSIO) — yeah, that turns out to be a lie perpetrated by (guess! hint: he's crosswordtastic!)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


foodie 12:10 AM  

Rex, LOL, that cat is amazing looking!!!

And yes, it was easy. But the phrasing of the revealer clue got me,even after I had the full answer. "Shed Thing"? I asked my puzzle husband if there's something you put in a shed called T-E-A-R! "D'oh. Can't think of a better way to say it right now, but it felt like I'd fried a few synapses.

D_Blackwell 12:23 AM  

This one was rocket sled fast; 12 seconds off of last week's record setting time.

WASTE AREA - No cool golf reference for the sports people? :((
(This is a real thing. There are several clue options.)

Got a chuckle out of "Bread choice that's not white or rye". RYE doesn't fit and after you take out WHITE is there another choice? A Monday choice? This could be referencing somebody who has a fetish for FIVES? It would be interesting if it didn't have anything to do with bread bread but meant some other bread and WHITE and RYE were completely unrelated to the answer:)) Ultimate misdirection. No more 'unfair' than other tricks.

Also a got chuckle from "Gay singing syllable", wondering for a moment if the gays have their own innovation.

And I was all over BREAST for "Suckling site". I'm easily amused.

I thought the theme was pointless, like it could even have been accidental. "Hey, what a coincidence! There's a theme we can use." Don't get me wrong, as slick a Monday as one could ask for - but I wouldn't call it themed. (And that's okay.)

The recent YSP = SECRET AGENT theme was a themeless with a gimmick that I liked because the twist was interesting. I see no twist here. So what?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Patrick Merrill (Wordplay) noted ". . . As required in such themes, those four letters are split between two words in each instance, . . ."

I've never bought into this 'requirement'. If you've got a neat theme, I don't care if the gimmick is hidden in one word, spread across two, or if both occur. There can be an elegance in a contrived absolute consistency, but whining about an 'inconsistency' on this type of gimmick usually seems a bit silly to me.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

LAT doesn't usually win out - Saturday isn't much harder than Monday. It wins big today though. Killer-diller for people that like the Monday crosswords.

Steve J 12:42 AM  

Count me amongst that small group of geeks who would love DEFINITEARTICLE. Then again, I'm a langage geek overall anyway.

That said, I'm drawing a blank: How is TRA gay? Is that something the purple Teletubby is known for singing?

I'm not sure about the playwright count. I can think of two common 5-letter playwrights: ODETS and ALBEE. In fact, xwordinfo has ODETS showing more frequently than ALBEE (52-41).

I would have thought that ONEILL would give us a 6-letter playwright, but checking xwordinfo, he's nowhere near as common as I thought. Only 19 appearances, and more than half of those are in reference to House speakers, sitcom actors, Treasury secretaries or baseball players instead of Eugene.

Oh, and the fact that I'm talking very little about the puzzle itself should give a hint as to my impression. Wasn't impressed, wasn't unimpressed.

Tobias Duncan 12:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 1:07 AM  

The 4 letter playwright would be INGE.

ANUBIS and AMENRA went in befiore OSIRIS eventually won out @ 43A. I suppose I need to learn ancient Egyptian theology to speed up.

Enjoyed DEFINITE ARTICLE. Could not make ROADRUNNER fit @ 30A but desperately wanted to.

Better than meh but not the most fun for a Monday lately.

fikink 1:14 AM  

Just assumed that TRA was a reference to the original meaning of gay, i.e., lighthearted, tra-la-la...reminds me of Annie Hall's "la-dee-dah."
However, reposted your Erasure clip on FB today, @Rex. Thank you.
Reading vertically MINER SCUBA RUE had me giggling. I am sure it was not Patrick's intent, but the puzzle struck me as quite melodic.
Solid Monday, imo.

chefwen 1:18 AM  

I did not know that Plauer was capable of such easy puzzle, usually his puzzles have me in a quandary, but I really liked it after the flogging I received after Friday's and Saturday's puzzles. It was light and refreshing.

Everyone needs to see Planet Earth, it is fantastic.

My neighbor grows POMELO's, they have a tendency to be rather dry, but delicious.

capcha - sorew, what I feel after the Packer embarrassing loss.

wastea(nd)rea carla michaels 2:09 AM  

Throughout the entire puzzle I thought the theme was something about an inner EAR and was wondering what the payoff phrase was going to be...
so by the time I got to the shed, I was all "WHa?"
So the fact that it was TEAR and they were all spread out over two separate words elevates it a ton!

I thought very smooth fill but a tiny bit tough for a Monday...
HESSE, CASSIO, NASSaR...or maybe I just have trouble with double -SS names... (Throw in OSiriS, to boot!)

Also I had never heard of Mello YELLO POMELO...the most interesting words in the grid! My bad.

Slightly odd clue, I mean knew it was Hermann HESSE, but he seems to need slightly more of a clue than just "German"...I mean, I'm sure there are many German Hermann's, right, Herr Mann Ulrich?

It's interesting about TEAR, if you pronounce it the torn-way you could say these theme answers were ripped apart in the middle...
so even tho it was a semi-simple offering by PB, there are still other levels lurking!

The theme entry WASTEAREA gives me an excuse to plug the Brazilian documentary WASTELAND, one of the most extraordinary films I've seen in years.

The Bard 7:46 AM  

Othello > Act III, scene III

I will in Cassio's lodging lose this napkin,
And let him find it. Trifles light as air
Are to the jealous confirmations strong
As proofs of holy writ: this may do something.
The Moor already changes with my poison:
Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons.
Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
But with a little act upon the blood.
Burn like the mines of Sulphur. I did say so:
Look, where he comes!

efrex 8:28 AM  

Nice, crisp monday puzzle. Really have no complaints, especially after all the ugly fill from Sunday's puzzle. SCUDS/SCADS were great, DEFINITEARTICLE was great (yay, language nerds!), and some nice fresh words: POMELO - one of my favorite fruits; CASSIO - always good to see an Othello cast member besides Iago mentioned, particularly early in the week; OSIRIS - familiar to me thanks to "Hedwig & the Angry Inch". All this within a proper Monday-difficulty puzzle and consistent theming. Bravo, Mr. Blindauer!

SethG 8:36 AM  

Nine seconds off my slowest, and I can probably blame WASTE AREA as well. And PLEBE for CADET.

The JETS loss was as embarrassing as the Packers one. I root for neither, though I picked both.

joho 8:41 AM  

Patrick has managed to pull off a real Monday level puzzle. But I always have to agree with @wastea(nd)rea when she says something is slightly harder than what a Monday is supposed to be.

I zipped through this myself with WASTEAREA as my only questionable answer. Loved SCUBA and TORRID and seeing all of WYATTEARP and TSETSE.

Thank you, Patrick, for a easy, breezy beginning to the week!

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

Agree with @fikink about being a solid Monday and about the original meaning of gay, as in the following:

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
'Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Don we now our gay apparel,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Troll the ancient Yule tide carol,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Agree with @D_Blackwell about the theme. Would have preferred it if TEAR was missing in the theme answers, but that probably would not be a Monday.

JETS – the team I thought I was watching at Soldier Field yesterday losing to the Pats before I left at halftime to save my frozen arse....

I, John

mmorgan 8:55 AM  

Quick and easy as any Monday tends to (and should) be, but I found it VERY fresh and lively and enjoyed the sheer diversity of references. Grammar, geography, theater, westerns, shampoo, music, literature, baseball, and more (including a breast!) -- a real treat, and one could see the constructor's mind at work... or, perhaps, at play!

ACME must be WASTEAREA(ed) -- I was assuming she'd find this to be the quintessential Monday.

Also had NASSaR, briefly.

Just fun and pleasant -- thanks, Plauer! My last word was the theme-revealing, and not needed, TEAR but it mainly made me appreciate the way you surreptitiously worked that pattern in.

chefbea 8:56 AM  

Easy puzzle. Thought shed thing was going to be tool and we'd have hoes, rakes etc in the theme answers.

mmorowitz 9:19 AM  

I was feeling a bit confident this morning so I did the puzzle using only the down clues. It was still pretty easy.

quilter1 9:27 AM  

And additionally, "Tra la, its May, the lusty month of May, that darling month when everyone throws self-control away." from Camelot.

Easy, breezy, but not boring as yesterday. I like TORRID and enjoyed the pink end of the pencil clue.

Drake won yesterday and the game included a couple of BUZZERBEATERS, however, it was not a barnburner, which would also make a good puzzle entry. Off to quilt.

turkinc: a company in Istanbul

Van55 10:09 AM  

Six theme answers in an easy Monday puzzle. Very little trite fill. DEFINITEARTICLE! Bravo to PAUER!

I think of a TSETSE as a bit more than a pest.

I am mildly surprised that BREAST passed muster as "Suckling site" but I am not the least offended by it as some might be.

I am not a speed solver, and I don't time myself. But I found myself doing this one by solving all the down clues and [mostly] ignoring the across ones to make it more challenging.

PlantieBea 10:26 AM  

Great kitty pic, Rex. We picked a pomelo on Saturday. Pomelos are one parent of the modern grapefruit hybrid (the other is a sweet orange). Doubtless our local citrus growers will shed many TEARS tonight while trying to harvest fruit and keep the trees alive during the anticipated deep freeze.

Even though I'm not a language geek, I liked seeing the DEFINITE ARTICLE in the puzzle. Easy Monday and I liked it, Pauer!

Mel Ott 10:37 AM  

@Rex @Steve: IBSEN.

Sparky 10:42 AM  

Nice start to week. Had PLATo for a bit but correted on across. Pink end clue fresh for old friend. I'm happy. Yesterday my comment disappeared. Thanks for LAT tip at D.Blackwell. Off we go into the wild blue yonder.

Two Ponies 11:17 AM  

Nice solid Monday.
Great cat photo. I was surprised to read the description of the rind as "pudgy".
I liked the rhyming clue German Hermann. Also liked the nostalgic Prell along with Suave and (Alberto) VO5. All that was missing was Breck. Remember those lovely Breck girls in the ads?
Sunny and high 60's here in Sin City. Hard to realize the misery going on elsewhere east of here.
Stay warm everyone!

Ulrich 11:22 AM  

@Andrea: "Hermann the German", via Andy Warhol's diary--one of his gallerists in Germany (not from Essen, but from Cologne, the true xword capital of Germany), who later succumbed to AIDS. My brother Dietrich, he of "no alternate name" fame, bought several Warhol serigraphs from him, back in the days.

@Rex: Kudos also from wife for cat pic!

archaeoprof 11:26 AM  

Nice cat photo, Rex!

We had a cat named SCUD, because we never knew where he would show up next.

NATE 2:01 PM  

To Rex and all the others obsessed
with speed:

Can you really enjoy doing a puzzle when you are writing as fast as you can?
I enjoy the relationship between the answers and the clues, the
construction of the puzzle and
whether I can still remember certain facts (I'm 83).
I know-I'm nitpicking again.

D_Blackwell 2:18 PM  

@NATE - Nothing wrong with nitpicking. Life is in the details.

The early week crosswords are so easy for me that I can't help but blast through. I would probably appreciate the themes much more if the puzzle wasn't finished before I start looking for the theme. I suppose that I do these out of habit; they only take a few minutes, mindless fun (so to speak).

I often wonder why The Smart People bother with crosswords at all. 10 - 15 minutes to knock out a Saturday. Why bother if it's that easy. They should be working on world peace or something.

Pete 2:58 PM  

So, I'm slogging through the last chapter or so of Le Carre's latest, when one of the characters muses on the fact that in Polish there really aren't definite or indefinate articles.
The connection between that and today's puzzle was the most interesting thing about the book.

Sandy 3:02 PM  

We've been over and over this speed vs enjoyment thing and it always comes back to the same thing. There isn't one right way to do/enjoy a puzzle.

Pete 3:03 PM  

Oh, and anyone who cores a POMELO, carves it into a hat and makes his/her cat wear it should be forced to parade up and down Broadway for an hour or so in January, naked but for two coconut shell halves, a cored acorn squash, a banana and whatever string is necessary.

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

@nate: you give me hope as i feel that i am racing to improve my skills before i forget the past and am oblivious to the present pop-culture.

i WisH that monday was harder and thurs. a whole lot easier!

Kendall 3:54 PM  

Absolutely destroyed this puzzle. PLANET EARTH is a favorite of mine, so got that immediately without any second thought. Got NASSER but only because I just read something where that was mentioned last week. Probably would have misspelled that otherwise.

As per the bit about WASTE AREA, I got the answer when I had WAS------ but I've never heard those words used together. In my home town, we had two LANDFILLS, but thankfully this was clued as singular and I wasn't tricked into writing that instead.

WYATTEARP was simple enough for me, and I didn't struggle with the answer but I just think it looks ugly in a grid. Nothing against the author for putting it there but it just isn't that appealing to me.

Last thing I'll comment about is that before today I didn't know the origin of "For Pete's sake." Looked it up because I was curious and was not surprised to find out it involved St. Peter, but was somewhat surprised it dated back to the Medieval Ages. Neat.

sanfranman59 4:11 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:02, 6:55, 0.87, 8%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:25, 3:41, 0.93, 21%, Easy-Medium

Matthew G. 5:05 PM  

I don't log my solving times (because I worry it would make solving feel less like a hobby any more like a daily task), but this was either my fastest NYT solve ever or very close to it. Despite that, it was fun. Never heard of POMELO, but had already filled it in from the Down clues before reading its own clue. I actually really like themes-that-are-barely-themes like this, because I'd rather the constructor strain to call something a theme than strain to create bad fill to fit a strict theme.

I met Edward ALBEE once, when I had this notion that I was going to major in playwriting in college and I visited the college he was then teaching at. He talked to me for about 15 minutes about things that had nothing to do with theater, and then announced that he was going sunbathing. I became a lawyer.

This is my first post in more than a week, as I was on vacation in Morocco last week. I still loaded the puzzle onto my iPhone each day on the hotel WiFi and did the solves, but took a break from reading this blog. Looking back over the posts, my only real surprise was that everyone thought last Wednesday was very hard -- I actually had one of my better Wed times, but then, I'm from the generation that would know COOLIO.

Conversely, I was utterly _destroyed_ by Friday's JOHNNY ONE-NOTE puzzle --- I had my highest rate of "just plain don't know that word" moments I've ever had with a NYT puzzle, and that extended to the theme itself --- and like Rex said, it was a disaster. Happily, Will Shortz balanced the scales with a Saturday offering that was right over the plate for me -- ALEA JACTA EST? Music to my Roman history loving ears. My best Saturday time ever, by a very large margin. A nice end to the vacation.

michael 6:10 PM  

When the speed limit is 70 or 75 (and I've even seen 80 some places in the past), I'm not sure that 80 can be called "speeding." Perhaps technically, but it's the ordinary speed in the outside lane and unlikely to get a speeding ticket in most places.

Of course, if the speed limit is 25, 80 is definitely speeding.

retired_chemist 6:23 PM  

Only 34 comments by dinnertime today, and many were not really about the puzzle. I'd say this puzzle did not particularly pique the netizens in this blog.

foodie 6:38 PM  

In case you're missing foreign languages since Saturday's excursion:

re NASSER: in Arabic, the ER at the end has the same meaning as the ER at the end of English words, someone who makes something happen. So NASR is victory- NASSER is the one who makes victory happen- leads you into it. A good name for a president I suppose. At least a lot better than SADDAM which means something like obstreperous or confrontational. Who names their kid that? And why would such kid feel compelled to live up to that name?

If you're naming your child and think s/he will be a world leader, please call Andrea first.

Rex Parker 7:07 PM  

Not sure the dearth of comments is the puzzle's fault. Today begins a slow, steady drop in blog traffic that will last through New Year. Then traffic will spike up again, if the past few years are any indication.

Anonymous 7:12 PM  


Originally I was going to post the comment below but posted the one at 8:45 a.m. instead. I did not post the following because (a) I read Rex's comment first and (b) it was no more interesting than the puzzle:

I did not read Rex before posting this but I am sure it is more interesting than today’s puzzle. Not because it is lacking something for a Monday but because it is a quintessential Monday. It might have been more interesting if there were no TEARs in the theme answers, but then that might not be a Monday.

NATE 7:26 PM  


Can you translate that into English?

Martin 7:36 PM  

This is pomelo season at the Asian supermarkets. Every time a Chinese lady puts one in her cart now I will wonder if she's secretly going to dress her pet up as Cleocatra.

Damn you.

NATE 7:39 PM  


I don't understand your comment

about Cassio being the supposed

rival of Othello. I don't know

Shakespeare so I GOOGLED it.

My understanding is that Iago

spread rumors about it. If some

of the populace believed it that

would seem to correspond to

"supposed". Of course it was a lie.

There I go, nitpicking again.

Anonymous 7:46 PM  

NATE, I don't understand the nit you're picking. You...did research so now you understand what Rex was saying? That IS picky.

My nitpick would be: Double-spacing?





Anonymous 7:56 PM  


I am pleased that you read my comments and have no problemn when you ask me to explain them. Sadly, I am forever being too cryptic, I suppose, such as my comment yesterday about replacing W (number 43) with H (number 44). I am not sure which part of the 7:12 posting needs or is worth explaining, but I will try.

I believe the first paragraph is clear enough: I was going to post something and changed my mind because what I was going to post originally was no longer true, so I posted something else.

As for the second paragraph (what I was going to post originally), I was only trying to say that the puzzle was not interesting. In fact, I did not think about the theme until TEAR showed up and when it did, I undestood what shed a tear meant and found the 4 letters in each theme answer, but as another person who commented inferred, so what? But it is the kind of thing that is found in a Monday puzzle and otherwise the puzzle was a very solid Monday kind of puzzle. I think if theme answers had been constucted so TEAR was missing, then "shedding a tear" would have been more interesting and relative as a theme clue. For example, PLANET EARTH would be PLANETH (because the TEAR was "shed"). But that would have made the puzzle more difficult, probably more like a Thursday puzzle in degree of difficulty.

mac 7:59 PM  

Very light and breezy Monday. Looking back, the clues are the most fun. I have to agree with both of Foodie's comments!

Mellow Yellow always makes me think of our son, 2 years old, calling it Mejjow Yejjow and practising his ls in his carseat....

The waste area and "all in" were new phrases for me.

@Two Ponies: I think Ulrich would tell you German Hermann is not rhyming!

Moonchild 8:00 PM  

Thanks for the history of blog traffic Rex. I was wondering where everyone was.
I liked the theme mostly because of the Aha moment when I realized that I was looking for a tear and not a tool! That was fun.
I think the pomelo looks like football helmet on that cat.

Comments today remind me of a sweater unraveling.

acme 8:06 PM  

Well, maybe some things are better left at 33...
but I feel a need to respond to @anon 7:56...
Shedding the TEAR literally by leaving it out is an excellent idea for a puzzle, but you cannot have an entry like PLANETH as that's not a word. SO it wouldn't be more like a Thursday, it would be more like a no day.
You could make TEAR a rebus, but that wouldn't be shedding it.
And usually if you leave out letters, depending on how many, that makes the entry too short, in general.
But I think having six solid entries on a Monday and a nice TEAR in the middle deserves a heckuvalot more than a so what?
Tho people might have liked it more if it was the TEAR as in rip than in crying...who knows, I'm sure Patrick is not shedding one over it!

Thank you for the continued vote of confidence and work referral! I can use it! ;)

Anonymous 8:22 PM  


Thx for the compliment but I recall seeing puzzles with letters omitted and the answers made no sense without them or unless they were added. I gave the puzzle a solid and a quintessential Monday but, while it might have stirred you, it did little for me.

PS. I liked your last puzzle and almost always enjoy reading your comments here, but if you never went to Lamont Library in four years at Harvard, then I am reminded of what Joe E. Brown at the ending of Some Like It Hot....

pauer 8:37 PM  

Thanks for all of the nice comments about my latest word baby (and even for the not-so-nice ones). Most of the Monday puzzles I make are for the CrosSynergy syndicate, but this one had an embedded tetragram (instead of the usual trigram) and a lower word count than usual, so I thought I'd try it on Will first. Happily, he liked it and accepted it back on 3/28/09. It's no get-rich-quick scheme, this constructing biz.

For some trickier, Thursday-like stuff, check out the 5 free puzzles on my website at http://patrickblindauer.com/play.html (new one every month). Oh, and my current Puzzlefest (a crossword contest with prizes and a final answer) is still going if you haven't signed up yet.

acme 9:16 PM  

DEFINITELY SIGN UP FOR Patrick's puzzlefest!!! It's only $9.99 and makes a great gift!

@anon 8:22pm
I lived next door to Hilles. :)

Sfingi 9:32 PM  

@DBlackwell - now, what is YSP? (Yves St. Plaurent?) Guess I need a newer chat-room dictionary.
And, maybe the speedsters are working on world peace.

Anyway, ADO and EARP were on LATimes.

Happy Anniversary to me - 41yrs.

@Foodie - there are NASSaRs of the Arabic persuasion in Utica.

@Anon317 - Try the much-aligned USA Today for an all-Wed. week.

@Matthew - I'm a Sr. citizen and know who Coolio is. What I have to get used to is "owie" (yuck) of the same Wed. puzzle.

@2Ponies - I remember the comb would flow through the Breck hair by itself.

@Vans - just call it a death-pest, and say that fast 6 times.

Everyone else has said everything else about the actual puzzle.

Anonymous 9:47 PM  


LOL. So I get the hillBILLies and that you know I am allegedly one (aka troll) but I don't know what the ":)" means tho I see it all the time (I suspect it's the sign-off sign or tao).... How about a puzzle with the ASH tree as a rebus and you can imagine the theme answers....

Anonymous 9:48 PM  


LOL. So I get the hillBILLies and that you know I am allegedly one (aka troll) but I don't know what the ":)" means tho I see it all the time (I suspect it's the sign-off sign or tao).... How about a puzzle with the ASH tree as a rebus and you can imagine the theme answers....

Anonymous 9:58 PM  


Only do the NYT because I love Will Shortz's clues; otherwise I don't do puzzles. He will likely outlive me so I don't need others (and in the past I have done others and get bored stiff), but thx for the suggestion....

Anonymous 9:59 PM  


Only do the NYT because I love Will Shortz's clues; otherwise I don't do puzzles. He will likely outlive me so I don't need others (and in the past I have done others and get bored stiff), but thx for the suggestion....

sanfranman59 10:10 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 6:04, 6:55, 0.88, 8%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:19, 3:41, 0.90, 10%, Easy

These are virtually identical metrics to last week's Easy Monday puzzle.

mac 10:12 PM  

What's all this double posting? :-), or :), just means a joke or a wink. An apology, more often.

@Rex: it does feel as if there are fewer hours in the day lately... I'm sure the faithful will keep checking in. I couldn't do without, althoug these days often much later.

I skip M-W 10:51 PM  

Didn't try puzzle, but just before looking at this addictive blog was shopping at Berkeley Bowl, and was considering buying a pomelo. Decided against. (Berkeley Bowl's original site was previously a bowling alley, and pomelos looked usable in one.)

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Fun puzzle LOVED the cat picture

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

From Syndication Land:

Hi Rex. In deciding how much to donate to your great blog, I am wondering how much it costs you per year.
I have no idea what a blog costs and I'm sure other readers would be interested too.

Dirigonzo 3:54 PM  

SCUBA (36d)is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Brerathing Apparatus - I have never seen it used as a verb (an adjective, maybe, as in, "Let's go SCUBA-diving.") I just thought those of you who loved DEFINITEARTICLE (as do I)would care about such things.

Yesterday's (1/15) Jets/Pats matchup had a decidedly different outcome than the one the day before this puzzle originally appeared. The top seeds in both divisions are now gone - I guess that's why they insist on playing all of the games.

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