1/60 fluid dram / TUE 1-4-11 / Simpsons voice man Hank / Black-bordered news item / Comic who quipped Weather forecast for tonight dark

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Constructor: David Hanson

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: PALINDROMIC WORD (37A: What every answer on the perimeter of this puzzle is) — pretty self-explanatory


Word of the Day: Henry James PYE (46A: English poet laureate Henry James ___) —

Henry James Pye (20 February 1745 – 11 August 1813) was an English poet. Pye was Poet Laureate from 1790 until his death. He was the first poet laureate to receive a fixed salary of £27 instead of the historic tierce of Canary wine (though it was still a fairly nominal payment; then as now the Poet Laureate had to look to extra sales generated by the prestige of the office to make significant money from the Laureateship). [that is possibly the weakest, least revealing opening wikipedia paragraph any Poet Laureate ever got ... then again, when your big hit is "Poems on Various Subjects," maybe there's not a lot to say ... oh, wait; it goes on ...] The appointment [to Poet Laureate] was looked on as ridiculous, and [Pye's] birthday odes were a continual source of contempt. The 20th century British historian Lord Blake called Pye "the worst Poet Laureate in English history with the possible exception of Alfred Austin." (wikipedia)
• • •

Felt toughish in places, but then got super-easy in others, and ended up pretty much right over the plate for a Tuesday. Theme seems a little thin ... like something I've seen before (I've definitely seen the "words on the perimeter have something in common" idea before). There's no unity to the theme answers or the ways they are clued. Just palindromes. OK. Still, the fill is smooth and at least a couple words (CAUTERIZE; 32A: Burn, as a wound) ("I'M TELLING!"; 43A: Schoolyard snitch's words) are top-notch, so it seems a perfectly acceptable Tuesday offering.

Had a very open feeling for a 78-worder, due mostly to the east, center, and west sections, all of which have sixes and sevens pressed against each other in largish blocks. It seems I had no idea that "PIP PIP!" meant "Goodbye!," though I should've guessed, since the only time I've seen it in print is in a Lynda Barry cartoon where Britspeak is being parodied and the phrase immediately precedes "Cheerio!," which I do recognize as a valediction. What gave me more trouble than coming up with the answer (actually not that hard) was typing the damn thing. My right hand really does Not want to make the finger motions necessary to put that phrase into play. It was a P and I bloodbath over there until I set about entering the letters very deliberately. Only other hold-up I had was at CACHE POT (39D: Decorative plant holder), a word I know only from crosswords, and then only once. Needed nearly every cross.

PALINDROMIC WORDs:
  • 1A: The old man (DAD)
  • 4A: Like a pool table, ideally (LEVEL)
  • 9A: Flights like Lindy's (SOLOS)
  • 13D: One in the family, informally (SIS)
  • 28D: More visibly ashamed (REDDER)
  • 53D: Barfly's binge (TOOT)
  • 65A: Repeated machine gun sound (TAT)
  • 64A: Guiding principle (TENET)
  • 63A: 1/60 fluid dram (MINIM)
  • 54D: Partner of baseball and apple pie (MOM)
  • 29D: Brit's "Goodbye!" ("PIP, PIP!")
  • 1D: Something good for a Boy Scout? (DEED)
Weird assortment of words, containing an entire family, and the seeds of a short story about an apothecary's embarrassing drinking habit and the plucky British girl who saved his home from foerclosure by winning a series of singing contests. Speaking of singing ...

[25A: Eggnog sprinkling]
Bullets:
  • 24D: Margaret Mead interviewees (SAMOANS) — apparently some of her interviewees may have provided false information, which she swallowed uncritically ... read that somewhere, and now that's all I can think about when I see Mead's name.
  • 26D: Rock climbers' spikes (PITONS) — like CACHE POT, a word I learned from crosswords.
  • 27D: "The Simpsons" voice man Hank (AZARIA) — The voice of crossword stalwarts APU and MOE and many, many others.


  • 32D: Comic who quipped "Weather forecast for tonight: dark" (CARLIN) — not a very CARLINy quote, but I guess you couldn't really go with "Religion is the greatest bullshit story ever told," could you?


[Profanity ahead—do not play if you're easily offended]

Just got word that the Crosswords L.A. Tournament this year will feature custom-made puzzles by a bunch of well-known and accomplished constructors, including Tyler Hinman, Andrea Carla Michaels, Patrick Blindauer, Liz Gorski, and Karen Tracey (who has been strangely silent for the past year or so—I miss your work, Karen. Make more puzzles!). The tournament (run by the lovely and astonishingly well-organized Elissa Grossman) will be held Sunday, May 1, 2011 on the campus of Loyola-Marymount University—a beautiful setting, on a hill overlooking the ocean. I will be a scorer again this year (my college reunion is the same weekend, so I get a Southern California twofer!). It's a great time, for a great cause (all proceeds benefit "Reading to Kids"). For more information, visit the tournament website.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

62 comments:

Anonymous 12:16 AM  

Mr. Hanson - By any measure you have yourself a WOW! What a fun Tuesday with a nice theme and PALINDROMIC WORD across the middle, like a missile punctuating the theme. I only wish every debut and every Tuesday were this good. And NERTS to any naysayer....

PS. Maybe I was overcome with NUTMEG - my secret ingredient for my French toast....

Go Bears

Alfred Austin 12:25 AM  

How does one track down the author of Wikipedia entries? Because I'm going to find the bastard who said I was a worse Poet Laureate than that chump Pye and beat the living crap out of him.

fikink 12:28 AM  

Dynamite embeds, @Rex. Hadn't seen either the Nutmeg song or the Carlin routine.
So I topped off this enjoyable Tuesday fare with a romp in Rexland.
Very nice debut, David!

Tobias Duncan 12:54 AM  

I had some quip about palindromes, but after re-watching one of my favorite Carlin bits, it is gone forever.The Carlin was the perfect cap to the hour long Dan Dennett lecture on the evolution of religion I enjoyed this evening.Thanks Rex!

Anonymous 1:06 AM  

Nerts / evers cross was a killer for me. Some other toughies as well for a tuesday I thought. Medium seems right.

chefwen 2:08 AM  

Good, medium Tuesday puzzle. I don't know why but I love the word NERTS, reminds me of Caddyshack, a movie which I can recite almost every line. Should I be proud of that, I don't know. Hate the work CAUTERIZE, makes me wince.

Got the trick half way through and it helped me a lot on the bottom half. I guess because the clue was halfway through. DOH!!!

Anyway, fun, Tuesday puzzle.

Rube 2:39 AM  

@RP, loved the Carlin clip, thx. Will have to send to my sister.

Did have a screw-up on 4D where 29A was PUPAe resulting in LENAOeIN. Normal for me in that I've never heard of "Chocolat" or LENA OLIN... pop culture stuff I guess.

I'd argue about PITONS in that rock climbers haven't used these for at least 30 yrs, but what the hey.

I'd Google CACHEPOT, but I'm too lazy. No writeovers. OLAFI took me by surprise. MINIM is the WOTD. Good puzzle. (I'll be glad to get back home and away from this netbook with its weird 2/3 size keyboard.) Actually, I'll put up with this keyboard just to enjoy the sun, sand, & surf.

I've seen LCHAIM before, but really would like to see it as Lochaim.

Rube 2:45 AM  

Just googled Lochaim and L'CHAIM is by far the best toast. My mistake.

r.alphbunkerreknubhpla.r 6:14 AM  

clue: "amicus"
answer: A PAL IN ROME

Evidently I am still processing the theme of DLW's Sunday puzzle.

My guess is that most editors would recommend replacing "palindromic word" with the shorter "palindrome".

SethG 6:30 AM  

MINIM really stands out, kinda surprised he didn't go with MADAM.

PIP PIP didn't ring a bell until you mentioned the cartoon. "So long, fare thee well, pip-pip, cheerio, we'll be back soon" is how the orphans say goodbye to Fagin in Oliver!. I played 1/2 of Fagin, in 1982.

Glimmerglass 7:36 AM  

Great Tuesday puzzle. I think the ring of palindromes is an accomplishment worthy of note, and the fill is all reasonable -- with maybe the exception of ACESOUT, which feels forced, and maybe NERTS, which I've only heard from Frank Burns. The center discloser is a tautology, but who cares? Nice job.

efrex 7:43 AM  

Loved the theme, and anytime you mix in musical theater references with the Hippy-Dippy Weatherman, you're talking my language.

Definitely a few "harder than Tuesday" spots, though: LENAOLIN, EVERS, and EOS had me saying NERTS (a word which I intend to throw into my regular lexicon ASAP).

All in all, though: I can't LIE TO Mr. Hanson. L'CHAIM, BRO! Well done.

Eric Berlin 8:09 AM  

Karen Tracey is one of the five rotating constructors on the Washington Post Sunday themeless puzzle, edited by Will Shortz. The other three are Mike Shenk, Trip Payne, Patrick Berry, and Frank Longo. Needless to say, these are crosswords well worth adding to your puzzling diet.

Eric Berlin 8:10 AM  

(Go to Will Johnston's Puzzle Pointers page and have yourself a downloadapalooza before the 2010 puzzles disappear.)

Doug 9:08 AM  

Really cool puzzle; got the theme half way through. And the Carlin clip was one I'd forgotten. I miss his genius.

quilter1 9:16 AM  

Fun, easy Tuesday. I think the word CACHEPOT should be used as often as possible in daily conversation just because it is fun to say. Although I won't be using it much until springtime when I haul out my cachepots for planting.

retired_chemist 9:19 AM  

Enjoyed it (as I nearly always do). Added about 3 (!) minutes to my time by having to chase down typos and several errors that were easily fixed - once found. Bah to the OLAV/OLAF ambiguity. Is there a systematic way to tell which one it is?

But the theme was fun. Thanks, Mr. Hanson.

John V 9:22 AM  

Only mystery for me was 4D, Lena Olin, but the crosses were as easy as they get for a Tuesday. Dittto 63A, minim, new to me. Just fun day in puzzle land.

chefbea 9:23 AM  

Easy fun puzzle. Did't know pippip but the theme helped with that.

jackj 9:32 AM  

Decorators love CACHEPOTs; using them, yes, but uttering it, too, "kash po". It is fun to say, impresses clients and is just a downright elegant word.

Congrats to David Hanson on an impressive debut.

mmorgan 9:36 AM  

Nice Tuesday, but getting the theme made many answers VERY easy, and in some ways the theme took over. Also, nice touch with MOM and DAD on the left and SIS and BRO on the right.

My phone number is a palindrome. In Spanish (at least in Argentina), the word is 'capicua'.

Very similar solving experience to @Rex. Slight holdup in SE... never heard of CACHEPOT (briefly wanted CACTIPOT). Also never heard of PITONS but crosses took care of them. And I would have had EVaRS at 5D had it not been for NERTS! Liked MAORI, MARIA, MINIM, IM TELLING, OBIT and SMUDGE. Hand up for ewwww on CAUTERIZE.

@SethG, which half did you play? (I played the whole thing sometime around 1994.)

OldCarFudd 9:42 AM  

@Glimmerglass - Palindromic word a tautology? Why? It's more specific than just palindrome. "Madam, I'm Adam" is a palindrome, but not a palindromic word. The theme answers in this puzzle are single words.

Nice puzzle!

ArtLvr 9:44 AM  

Your debut was fun, David H, well done! And thanks to Rex, too. I especially liked the CARLIN bit.

I got to PALIN___ and chuckled, since I'd just done another puzzle requiring the first and last name of the source of a quote along the lines of "only thing that goes with the flow is a dead fish". I thought we might have a new punny term: "palindummie wotd"? Just kidding...

As to Mead's possible mistakes during research in Samoa, that's always likely to crop up in a next-generation PhD thesis or something. However, I can attest to much envy of her fame on the part of at least one contemporaneous colleague of hers on the Yale faculty, as I heard such obsessed rants first-hand more than once! Sic transit...

∑;(

Anthro-apologist 9:52 AM  

Lyin' Samoans! They're known for that, y'know. That and their crappy Girl Scout cookies. Margaret Mead herself would be a palindrome if her full name were Daem Teragram Margaret Mead. Beyond that, I got nothin.

Van55 10:26 AM  

Loved the way the whole damned family can be found strategically dropped into the corners.

Enjoyed the theme a lot.

Very, very good puzzle.

Two Ponies 10:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Two Ponies 10:42 AM  

Nice debut. Well done.
My only note in the margin was "cens". Did not care for that.
Nice international crowd with the Maoris, Samoans, and Tutsis.
Pitons are frowned upon these days. The only ones you are likely to see are old ones left behind in the rock. Modern anchors are removable.

tptsteve 10:48 AM  

Nice puzzle.
The rest of the George Carlin quote (32D) is even better: "with widely scattered light towards morning."

Citizen Dain 10:50 AM  

I love George Carlin so much. His early career consisted of a lot more "bits", like the one referenced in the puzzle. That was him doing the character "Al Sleet", a k a "The Hippy Dippy Weatherman" with "all the hippy dippy weather, mannnN!" His later career mostly consisted of these longer observational rants. This "religion is bullshit" rant is probably my all-time favorite. Thanks Rex.

Ulrich 10:53 AM  

Yes, getting the theme in the upper half helped tremendously in the lower one. Ended up staring and staring at LCHAIM to figure out where the mistake was (no happy pencil pops up on real paper!).

What happend to WS's fatwa against only-accessible-through-one-square corner pockets? Just kidding--I really liked the puzzle, and being palindromic was good enough for me as glue to tie the border words together. The underlying dysfunctional family was icing on the cake.

@OldCarFudd: Yes--that's what I told myself, too.

retired_chemist 10:59 AM  

A quibble - I am unable to find CENS. (47A) as an abbreviation for centuries. Anybody able to find a reference?

A legit but incredibly obscure/unfair clue for CENS would be as the acronyms for one of the terms CENS brings up when googles. But that is all I can see.

balto 11:08 AM  

I liked it a lot -- got the big theme answer before many of the perimeter ones, so that helped a lot.

I'm thinking that Carlin quote is from a bit earlier in his career when he played that sort of crazy surreal guy -- like a Steven Wright precursor. Could be wrong for sure though.

Sfingi 11:29 AM  

Glad I got to see CARLIN in person here in Utica. Have many old records.

@Rex - is this guy a Forest Ranger?

Clever puzzle. got PIPPIP, PYE and CENS on crosses.

As @2Ponies said - Minitheme of native tribes: SAMOANS, TUTSI, MAORI.

I had a heck of a time in the "Dakotas." I couldn't get LENA OLIN's first name, and held onto mERda as my "Dang it."

@Ulrich - that's L'CHAIM, to life, It's Hebrew, not Yiddish. You just gotta be there - such as a wedding, Bar/Bas Mitzvah or bris.

MOM, SIS, DAD - poor BRO, just doesn't totally get with the program.

Sparky 11:39 AM  

Found it pretty clear sailing. Liked NUTMEG and CACHEPOT. Had rAT before TAT, KIWIS before MAORI, tata (which doesn't fit) before PIPPIP. When I got 37A I was able to go around the edge and clean up anything wrong or missing.

It takes ten centuries to divide millennia so that clue is lame or off putting to me.

LA tournament sounds great, Rex. Won't be there but will try to make Brooklyn in March.

Thanks D. Hanson for a clean and pleasant Tuesday.

CaseAce 12:36 PM  

All Hail, Dave the Rave...A very Hanson fellow, indeed!
In our view, a very nifty debut!
A Palinesque picture on the Perimeter of the WP pages without Parallel!

fikink 12:36 PM  

@Glimmerglass, I think I would call it more a redundancy than a tautology. @Clark?

@Eric Berlin, thank you for the link and info on the Washington Post puzzles. I am thinking I am going to have more time to devote to puzzles in 2011.

@quilter, so do you think we will see some play on ANTE and poker and CACHEPOT one of these days? Definitely something with a question mark in the clue.

@ArtLvr, that sounds like something Sarah would say. Her glibness knows no bounds. Ugh.


@Anthro-apologist, LOL!

This puzzle was a romp "from Natchez to Mobile."

Cheery bye!

treedweller 12:57 PM  

I failed to catch the tipoff for the abbr. in CENS, so I kept trying LeHAIM/eoNS, which made for much confusion around the Chicago family name, which I thought I knew. Finally googled LCHAIM. Did I mention how decidedly I am not Jewish?

A rare Tuesday fail--ouch!

archaeoprof 1:02 PM  

Tuesdays so often disappoint. Not today!

I've noticed that when a comedian turns to mocking religion, it's usually a sign that his/her career is on the way down.

william e emba 1:16 PM  

The OED uses CEN (singular) as an abbreviation for Century in quoted title abbreviations. For example, "ride officer": D. Marshall Eng. People Eighteenth Cen. vii. 272...

I admit to being an outsider, but in looking over the Freeman controversy, I've come to the conclusion that Mead was essentially correct and Freeman was an idiot. It's a sometimes popular game in academia to go after the Big Names in outrageous ways, and even when tenuous or refuted, the memory of the attack becomes the New Received Wisdom out there.

mac 1:24 PM  

Nice puzzle, learned minim and pitons No real hold-ups anywhere, the theme and the crosses were very helpful.

I guess the family spread over the construction is David Hanson's "Hi Mom".

No problem with cachepot, but I always thought they were for houseplants, planters for outdoor flowers.

ArtLvr 1:50 PM  

@ wm e emba -- Thanks for your input on the attempted Mead put-down. That was my take too, nasty little tempest in a teensy coconut shell.

@ Eric B -- My thanks also for the WP link!

@ fikink -- re floating fish, I wish we could find a way to anagram dud maverick into dead mackerel!

∑;)

huffiato -- musical indication for major snit?

william e emba 1:58 PM  

It's occurred to me that I can't recall having heard a single L'CHAIM said as a Bar mitzvah toast, and I almost feel like jumping in and say the clue is all wrong. There are speeches, yes, but simply no toasts to say L'CHAIM over. This might merely reflect Orthodox/Yeshivish practice: it's a smallish quiet little celebration. But I don't get around very much, so maybe it's done elsewhere.

sanfranman59 3:19 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 8:27, 8:54, 0.95, 44%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:26, 4:34, 0.97, 46%, Medium

retired_chemist 4:25 PM  

Not that it would detract from the puzzle anyway, but PALINDROMIC WORD is IMO neither tautological nor redundant. Some palindromes are single words; some are phrases (ABLE WAS I ERE I SAW ELBA, e.g.). 37A delimits the answers to words.

The perimeter answers are indeed single words. Except for PIP PIP, which does not fit 37A at all, since it is TWO words (at least where I looked). Seems to be the early 20th c. (proper abbreviation for century) British version of BEEP BEEP. IMO this is a minor flaw.

Anonymous 5:40 PM  

Archaeoprof, it's perfectly acceptable to make fun of religion unless it's the religion of an oppressed, indigenous people, in which event hushed reverence and "tolerance" is required.

Learn by example 6:42 PM  

@retired_chemist (4:25p)

RE: Redundant

Please see @OldCarFudd (9:42a)

anonamostly

andna calac minim 7:09 PM  

I echo the first WOW!!!
Love that it's a beautifully framed puzzle...
@mmorgan, Van55
Thanks for pointing that out!
That whole MOM, DAD, SIS, BRO (maybe David's brother's name is BOB?) makes it a family portrait.
Love that DAVID's name himself is practically a palindrome.

@Sethg
I would've gone with MADAM too...you'd only have lost WIFI, but that could have been SOFA.
As I didn't know MINIM, I guess it didn't kill me to learn something.

Don't understand fully the comment on being thin on the theme, as there were 48 palindrome squares + 15 more for PALINDROMICWORD that were part of other palindromes on the side...that's 65 + if you count overlaps.
PALINDROMICWORD may first appear redundant, but it totally isn't given the concept.

Friend Carl refers to Fox News/Sarah-chat as a "Palindrone".
(take that, Spellcheck!)

@anthro-apologist
will be smiling the rest of the day. Thanks!!

acme 7:16 PM  

ps
re: LA Tournament...one VIN (Very Important Name) name left off:
my contribution this year is actually just a little warm-up puzzle, but it's a CO-CREATION with our very own @JOHO!!!!!!
We met thru this blog!

davko 7:36 PM  

PITONS: a word that will certainly continue to be learned from crosswords only. The devices, which were once permanently driven into rock, typically on first ascents, are today scoffed at by purists and regarded as scourges on the environment. Cool climbers leave nothing behind.

Sfingi 8:34 PM  

@Emba - around here, people L'Chaim all over the place, maybe because their Hebrew is thin. They also wear Chais all the time. I suppose the betrothal is the classic time for the toast, but who does that anymore?
Someone said there are more curses than blessings in Hebrew (as opposed to Yiddish?)
So, what do I know?
Hubster and I were recently debating if you could put a curse on someone with a rosary, since Evil Eye stuff is rejected by the church. Does that stop anyone?

fikink 9:26 PM  

@andna calac minim, (andrea is that you?) I take your point on PALINDROMIC WORD not being redundant. Yes, I see now that they, the palindrome and the word, are discreet elements in the context of the theme.
Excellent! Makes this even better.

@davko, did they leave the PITONS behind because of the weight? FIL and I were thinking tonight that the modern anchors of which @Two Ponies speaks are removable and carried away because they might be lighter.

Two Ponies 9:49 PM  

@ fikink, Once those pitons were securely in place they were not easily removed. A good thing! Old routes still have nearly ancient pitons in place. Not everyone trusts them. The new devices are indeed lighter but everything was heavier back then. Technology and environmental awareness have changed them sport.

Two Ponies 9:51 PM  

"the" sport.

fikink 9:55 PM  

@Two Ponies, And a good thing. I have long felt bad that we trashed the moon by leaving our crap behind.

Anonymous 10:02 PM  

@fikink , anyone who still thinks we went to the moon with only a computer on board as powerful as the old Commodore 64 toy really needs to revisit what the Cold War was all about. Besides, what does polluting the moon have to do with this gem of a puzzle?

fikink 10:51 PM  

@anon 10:02, probably nothing at all. Just friends musing. Sorry. Does everything really have to be an issue? Time to chill.

dk 11:02 PM  

Greeting sun worshippers! Back from NM and nestling into puzzleland.

PIPPIP cost this one a star. The rest.. my kind of Tuesday.

*** (3 Stars)

d(joe pesci)k

ps dpt.

All a TITTER (Ha Acme!) over the bad wolf and gramma!

Did I mention my fondness for Mr. Carlin?

JOHO and Acme as a twin bill... worth the ticket to LA.

fikink 11:57 PM  

Also used the wrong discreet above - it should be discrete. @Anon 10:02, wanna make something of it?

sanfranman59 12:23 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 6:04, 6:55, 0.88, 8%, Easy
Tue 8:36, 8:54, 0.97, 47%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:18, 3:41, 0.89, 8%, Easy
Tue 4:20, 4:34, 0.95, 40%, Easy-Medium

Gil.I.Pollas 11:43 AM  

Chiming in on Feb. 08.
I thought the 01/04 puzzle was delightful!
New to puzzle world daughter had fun with this. Her only hang up was spelling LCHAIM.
I loved and miss G. Carlin. Husband and I spent hours listening to and laughing at his stand-up. Thanks Rex for the clip.
By the way, no Brit worth his salt would ever say PIP PIP now. I believe that was coined by P.G. Wodehouse. Today, you say cheers.
@Anthhro-apologist - You're good!

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

Hallo, hallo -
It's TTFN, Cheerio, Cheers, Bye-bye, Farewell, anything but bloody Pip-pip!!

Geordy Mick

NotalwaysrightBill 7:25 PM  

Pretty cute, the PALINDROMEWORD thing. Think they've got a mess of other names too but damned if I can remember a single one.

Carlin vid. Funny funny guy. I especially liked the part a coupla years ago where God or cancer or something struck 'im DEDder'n a doornail. What a punchline! Hey, I didn't just say somethin' tasteless and offensive, did I?

Well, it's twenty below here in Minnesnowta, so I chill.

Or is it the other way around????

revetahw: retevo: ahctpac

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