Hairdo for Snooki of Jersey Shore / MON 1-31-11 / Old-time evangelist Semple McPherson / Bronze animal in New York's financial district

Monday, January 31, 2011

Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Fictional Food Folk (or, Where the Hell is Uncle Ben?) — commercial "icon"s associated with various food brands

Word of the Day: POUF (52A: Hairdo for Snooki of "Jersey Shore") —

  1. A woman's hairstyle popular in the 18th century, characterized by high rolled puffs.
  2. A part of a garment, such as a dress, that is gathered into a puff.
  3. A rounded ottoman.

[French, from Old French, interjection used for a fall, of imitative origin.] (

• • •

Nifty, simple theme, though I have some mixed feelings about it. I get that they are all food "icons," but the list seems a little ragged and arbitrary. Some have titles, some don't. Some are human, some aren't ... I guess CAP'N CRUNCH is humanoid, as is JOLLY GREEN GIANT, but I'm pretty the giantness takes him out of our species, as does his vegetable composition. And lord only knows what BETTY CROCKER is, since, unlike the rest of the icons, she is iconic for her name alone, not for her picture. I mean, maybe she has a face, but I've never seen it, whereas I can picture all the other icons instantly. And where is Uncle Ben, or Toucan Sam, or Count Chocula, or Tony the Tiger, etc. If we're limiting it to humans, Tony's at least as human as that damned giant. Plus, as we've established, BETTY CROCKER could be a lizard for all any of us knows. No, wait—she appears to have had a physical, human form in days gone by. I can't find a pic of her more recent than 1986, but my cursory research does verify her (fictional) humanity. Still, I'd have kicked BETTY to the curb and replaced her with COUNT CHOCULA — he gets you a title *and* a truly iconic figure with a familiar physical form. . . but I guess the puzzle already has one "Breakfast cereal icon," so ... hmmm ...

Andrea certainly knows how to put together a Monday grid—smooth and easy all around. Well, almost all around. Something about the POUF / EDUC / BEDELIA section felt slightly chunky by contrast. I'm pretty sure it's all POUF's fault. I've heard the word, but have never seen it, in a puzzle or anywhere else. I really thought it was spelled POOF, as in "it POOFs up on top." It's a perfectly real word (I looked it up, as you can see, above), but it's a real outlier, familiarity-wise, today. Not fond of the three-O'd OOOH, but the rest of the fill seems solid. One strange feature—somehow, in that one tiny section in the east, you've got JAI crossing JAI, ANT crossing ANT, and ITS crossing ITS. A JAITS square with an "N" center. Odd. Still, all in all, a reasonably delightful two minutes and forty-five seconds.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Pancake syrup icon (AUNT JEMIMA)
  • 23A: Baking icon (BETTY CROCKER)
  • 35A: Frozen vegetable icon (JOLLY GREEN GIANT)
  • 47A: Spaghetti-in-a-can icon (CHEF BOYARDEE)
  • 57A: Breakfast cereal icon (CAP'N CRUNCH)
  • 12D: Old-time evangelist ___ Semple McPherson (AIMEE) — I know the name, but realize now that I had no idea at all why she was famous. I'm more familiar with AIMEE Mann.

  • 54D: Wile E. Coyote's go-to company (ACME) — I have no problem at all with constructors being a little self-referential in their puzzles...
  • 36D: ___ Linda, Calif. (Nixon's birthplace) (YORBA) — like POUF, this seems non-Mondayish to me. I think I know LOMA LINDA (I went to school near there). YORBA took some crosses. Nixon went to college at Whittier, where there was a fairly sizable earthquake my first semester of college. I was reading Wordsworth's "The Prelude" in bed, preparing for my 8:20 class, when it hit. The memory is still weirdly vivid.
  • 23D: Bronze animal in New York's financial district (BULL) — had the "BU-," saw the first clue word, "Bronze," and instantly wrote in BUST.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Anonymous 12:12 AM  

Rex is such a twit:)....

ACME started this as a Monday on top and switched to a Tuesday on the bottom (IMO). Doesn't Andrea color herself as an early week? Well, this one covered all the bases. My favorite, of course, is AUNT JEMIMA, because I use her pancake mix every Sunday to make waffles with my bacon.

Great start for this week, Ms. Michaels....

Ninety-Four cheers for Ernest Borgnine, who at the age of 94 accepted the SAG award tonight for lifetime achievement....

Go Bears (they are still in it, right?)

Gentleman from New Jersey 12:33 AM  

You all know that Jersey Shore folk are not really from New Jersey, right? They're just Staten Islanders, trying to pass. It's kind of sad, when you think of it.

syndy 12:37 AM  

Aimee was famous for disappearing!Unlike Hoffa she came back! Betty is 75 women morphed into one!There once was a song called Tricky Dicky From Yorba Linda (the genuine plastic man)Some interesting fresh fill some ugly crud very elegant layout-not a pangram!!

chefwen 1:09 AM  

@anon "da bears guy" dream on. Go Pack.

A lovely crunchy, chewy, puzzle from our very own ACME.

It's a good thing they didn't have CAP 'N CRUNCH when I was a kid, I don't know how I would have ever gotten off the stuff, it's totally addictive.

I was going to say something about solving the puzzle while sitting on the LANAI, but due to current conditions in the northeast, I deemed that would be rather hurtful. So let's just say that it was cold, windy, and rainy here for most of the day.

Thanks Andrea for a fun Monday puzzle.

Clark 1:17 AM  

This just felt super smooth to me. Smooth smooth smooth -- like soft butter. A beautiful Monday puzzle if you ask me. I didn't know an answer from time to time; no problem, I just oozed around it. I totally forgot that the GREEN GIANT was JOLLY, but I knew YORBA somehow, don't know why. My earthquake experience was not in Yorba, it was in San Francisco. The shaking went on for 50 second. By the time I threw some clothes on and joined everyone in the middle of the street it was over.

Loved the Road Runner reference. Mbeep, beep . . .

davko 1:31 AM  

The names evoke nostalgic memories of kitchen cupboards of yore and TV commercials that used to play ad nauseum for each and every one of these products. Do any of these brands actually still exist? I haven't seen Aunt Jemima's portrait grace a bottle of pancake syrup in decades, but maybe that's more my bias for seeking out the genuine article (extracted from real Vermont maples) than any retirement of that iconic name. Regardless, the puzzle's piqued my curiosity, which I'll be sure to satisfy next time I'm cruising the aisles of my local super market.

foodie 2:12 AM  

I took a break from work to do the Monday puzzle and for some odd reason never looked at the name of the constructor. I thought food! I love it! It all tumbled out and I thought how fantastic! What a Monday should feel like! I put down ACME and thought: Andrea will love that! Ended the whole thing with a smile on my face and still clueless re the constructor! Got a call that distracted me and had to come here to discover it was.... ANDREA/ACME!! No wonder!

POUF comes from French and it's meant to evoke trapped air within an object. It can be your cheeks when you're trying to contain laughter or a duvet, or a ballooning skirt, or something called a Pouf that looks like an Ottoman... . or hair. And do you know what they say on Jerseylicious: The higher your hair, the closer you are to heaven!

Rube 3:07 AM  

@RP, you brought back memories of "What's My Line", the TV, (and radio), quiz show often referenced in Crossworld with clues for panelists Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf. The sponsor of the TV show was Stopette deodorant with the slogan, "Poof, there goes perspiration". I later learned that Stopette and it's sister bath products were the first to be packaged in plastic bottles, replacing the glass bottles prone to breaking when dropped in the shower.

My father claimed to have had an "affair" with Aimee Semple MacPherson but I could never get the details... a gentleman never tells.

An enjoyable Monday puzzle. Didn't know Amelia BEDELIA, but hopefully will next time.

Doris 7:26 AM  

Betty Crocker

christelb_devlin 7:28 AM  

Today for me was a left to right, row by row fill, making up for Saturday's debacle.

fikink 8:12 AM  

@Andrea, this puzzle was a joy to do, especially heading into a rather challenging week. Thanks for the memories.

mac 8:14 AM  

Lovely Monday puzzle! I had the same experience Clark described, and pouf was no problem, like Foodie. Spent months stuffing a Moroccon pouf with paper from my shredder. Wondered for a moment why the clue for 56A said "her", not "she".

My earthquake experience was in Boise, Idaho. Very odd feeling.

Packing today, and trying to get to London tomorrow morning. Hope we beat the snow....

captcha: cozinest. sweet...

Rex Parker 8:22 AM  

Wikipedia article on POUF sucked so bad that I couldn't use it. Then I read today in the NYT that women account for less than 15% of the authorship of Wikipedia, i.e. the people with the knowledge and skill to write well on certain topics just aren't part of that culture, so both the quantity and quality of information available on wikipedia are very uneven (and gender-skewed).

ArtLvr 8:26 AM  

Merci for an excellent Monday puzzle, Andrea! You even included my CALICO cat, for which she thanks you too.


efrex 8:37 AM  

Geez, Rex: the lady put five theme answers in the grid. Just 'cuz there are more possible ones doesn't mean that the list is "ragged," at least not in my book.

Fun theme (although now I'm getting hungry, dangnabit) and lots of fun stuff in the fill. Memories of Amelia BEDELIA dressing the chicken, drawing the curtains, and dusting the couch; watching Wile E. Coyote open his ACME boxes; throwing SKEE-balls at the arcade; working at my old job about a block away from the bronze BULL... really just a lovely smooth solve. Brava, Ms. Michaels!

One writeover: had STONE instead of SLING initially.

Only nitpicks: felt a touch heavy on the crosswordese, and I really don't need any references to Jersey Shore in my life.

mmorgan 8:45 AM  

Loved *everything* about this -- especially the signature at 54D. This kid's got some talent, keep your eye on her!

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

Finished in under 11 minutes which is a near record time for me. Very fun puzzle and familiar theme. Seemed almost too easy.
Not much difficulty filling the words I did not know (YORBA, AIMEE and ANIME) from intersecting clues.
Perfect puzzle to hook beginners into puzzle solving.
Rex I think you are too harsh on the theme. The 5 commercial icons make perfect sense to me.

JenCT 8:57 AM  

Easy Monday - only pause was at CAPNCRUNCH - couldn't remember how it was parsed, at first.

Love the ACME reference.

God, I hate that Jersey Shore and its cast is famous....for what???? What a sad depiction of part of our culture...

joho 9:08 AM  

I have to say I didn't get @Rex's problem with the theme. I agree with @anonymous 8:49 that the five, count 'em 5, theme answers were fresh and fun and made the puzzle practically crunch and pop with yummy food memories, NOMSG included!

So nice to start the week with a smooth ACME puzzle, thank you, Andrea!

Dough 9:09 AM  

Andrea -- Beautiful Monday puzzle. Loved GI Joe and Amelia Bedelia along with these other commercial icons of youth. Rex is too young to remember Betty Crocker's many variations, as her hair style kept changing. And speaking of Rex -- chill out, bro. You reminded me of Beavis chasing about with his hood on his head: "Is it human?" "Is it human?" "Heh, heh, I need giant human for my bunghole." ;) The theme is solid, the choices excellent. Bravo Andrea.

jackj 9:10 AM  

With her persona of good humor in a kinder/gentler package, one wonders how painful it was for Andrea to put "Bad blood", for ENMITY in the puzzle.

Another early week winner!

Flowerblogger 9:17 AM  

Andreas theme answers all come from products that go back to the fifties or earlier, creating consistency. Cap'n Crunch was introduced much later. It doesn't fit. In British slang a pouf is a term for a gay person. The Wall Street bull came to me immediately because there is also one in San Francisco's financial district. I've seen a commercial filmed there with men wearing bowler hats and Edwardian suits. It was a delight to see a puzzle from Andrea.

Kurt 9:19 AM  

What @joho said! Word for word. This is what a Monday puzzle should look like. Thanks Andrea.

jesser 9:19 AM  

OK, I'll be the one to admit that I only know what a LANAI is because I was a 'Golden Girls' fan.

I thought the theme was just a heck of a lot of fun. Many memories of childhood TV rekindled throughout the grid.

My nit to pick is at 32D. A JAIL is not synonymous with a prison. Generally speaking, JAILs are for pre-adjudicated individuals, whereas prisons are for those who have been formally sentenced. Different rules, different environments. I know this because my county owns and operates a JAIL, and my nephew spent three years in prison (for a non-violent drug offense; don't get me started). There is a world of difference between the two. It is, I admit, a minor nit.

Loved the puzzle. Love that ACME got her name in the grid at 54D. You GO, girl!

Rested! (Well, coming off the weekend, you'd think I would be, but not so much, which means it was a pretty good weekend!) -- jesser

chefbea 9:21 AM  

Andrea - what a yummy puzzle to remind us of the good old days. We chefs loved it.

Just recently gave my original Betty Crocker cook book to one of my daughters.

Tobias Duncan 9:25 AM  

Printed out a fat stack of Monday puzzles for my coffee shop friends.
I am going to name drop this morning for sure.I was ranting last week about how the Monday Puzzle was the most important of the week: this is exactly what I had in mind.When the worst of the crosswordese is EDUC, I am a happy guy.
I think Andrea should be appointed the early week crossword Czar.

John V 9:35 AM  

One irony of a Monday/Tuesday puzzle is that one misses big chunks, typically for me the down clues, as the across are just straight write-ins. Missed the entire NE and much of the East for that. So, never saw 12D until I got here and read the bullets.

The other thing is -- and I am NOT makeing this up -- that we need to coordinate puzzle difficulty with probable New Haven Railroad weather related delays with puzzle difficulty; i.e. no delays early in week, delays permissible later in week, as the puzzle takes longer. I will see what I can do with the MTA on this. There was WAY too much spare/non-puzzle time on the train this morning.

Puzzle Sister 10:03 AM  

Wonderful puzzle. I know my week is off to a great start when the first thing I see Monday morning is a puzzle by Andrea!

Very smooth for me with just a couple of hiccups (i.e., I thought it was YERBA Linda and I didn't know BEDELIA).

Loved the theme, loved the five theme answers. There are so many such choices (as Rex points out), that this theme could definitely work for a Sunday; fitting five in, on a Monday, with elegent fill throughout, is impressive.

Well done, ACME.

miriam b 10:09 AM  

Neat puzzle. One nitpick: As an ailurophile owned by four cats, I don't agree that a tricolor cat is a CALICO, which is defined as tricolor + white. A tricolor sans white is a tortoiseshell. One of my cats, Iris (Goddess of the Rainbow)has tabby markings in three colors and no white, which makes her a torbie.

Sparky 10:12 AM  

Hooray Andrea. Thanks. And I loved the ACME at 54D. Nostalgic trip through the A&P. I used to think the Jolly Green Giant looked like Jacques D'Amboise. Had a little Natick at POoF/-DuC but still happy.

This puzzle is an answer to the tirade against constructors at Amy's yesterday. Some good points made there but time marches on. We are off to a good week.

Stan 10:18 AM  

Breezy fun, and another good Monday puzzle primer. Definitely merits a thumbs up response.

There was an iconic feel to the fill, too (even G.I. Joe and Snooki). Has anyone noticed that Goliath ties in to JOLLY GREEN GIANT?

Re: POUF. We enjoy the late-night TV ads for Bumpits Volumizing Hair Inserts.

quilter1 10:21 AM  

Thank you, Andrea, for a fun puzzle that went down easily and enjoyably. CALICO cat made me smile as I remembered my sweet little Aijo. She and her litter mate lived to be 14 and died within days of each other.

Also Rex, I don't know about the fad at NY universities, but all of the cheerleaders at last year's Missouri Valley Conference tournament were wearing the (to me) stupid and outdated POUF. They are back to normal this year. Anyway, this spelling and meaning of POUF is familiar to me and holy crap, I wore it in the 60's. Sheesh.

Jim 10:25 AM  

Finished in 4:27, good for 101st at the time last night. Not top 100 material yet, but encouraging. Fastest time by :30 since I started using AL about a month ago.

Only decent-size holdup was aErhart and, of course, POUF took 3 crosses. Is this similar to a bouf(fant)?

As to the continued existence of these brands, take heart (or despair, depending on your perspective). These brands have 'intrinsic' value, and even if jettisoned by the companies that originally created them, they are bought and sold on secondary markets. The Times 'Consumed' column did a feature on this phenomenon last year, focusing on 'Brim', the old yellow-and-brown-canned coffee company, which will likely end up back on our supermarket shelves and television ad slots soon enough. To paraphrase gen Patton, "Old brands never die, they just get bought by marketing types who bet they can leverage the nostalgia of bygone generations".

That being said, Aunt Jemima is still very alive and well in my local supermarket.

Lindsay 10:25 AM  

Betty Crocker put my mother through college on a "Homemaker of Tomorrow" scholarship, so no Duncan Hines allowed at our house. Speaking of missing kitchen icons. And why was a Homemaker of Tomorrow feeding her kids cakes out of boxes and frosting out of cans anyway?

Still humming Al Stewart's Year of the Cat despite having learned yesterday that there is no year of the cat.

Two Ponies 10:34 AM  

Very nice nostalgia Andrea.
It was pretty as a picture complete with your signature at the lower right corner.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:34 AM  

Rex asks, "Where the Hell is Uncle Ben?", to which my immediate mental reaction was,"He's dead! His death at the hands of a burglar that Spider-Man declined to pursue earlier forever propelled Peter Parker into the role of superhero." ;>)

Brava, Andrea!

David L 10:53 AM  

A well above average Monday. If I felt that I had to find something to complain about I would only pick on OOOH as being a little desperate.

After reading Rex's complaint a couple of times, the only solid idea I obtain is that he likes Count Chocula more than Betty Crocker. Fair enough, but I hardly see how that turns into a substantive critique of the puzzle...

deerfencer 10:55 AM  

Easy breezy, near perfect Monday--thanks Andrea!

Don't buy Rex's criticism today and find his Count Chocula suggestion absurd.

@Flowerblogger: Capn Crunch was introduced in 1963, so IMO still roughly in the generation of the other icons, if a pup.

JaxInL.A. 11:04 AM  

Rex must have put on those cranky pants this morning. I thought 5 theme answers and a minimum of icky fill would make him happy. But c'mon, folks, we probably don't come here to hear him drip sweetness and light, do we?

Congratulations to our own @Andrea Clever Michaels on a perfect Monday puzzle.  The theme is fun, the fill engaging but not too obscure, and the cluing has just enough misdirection to yield a couple of aha moments.  I loved it and echo what others here have said. When I filled in Amelia BEDELIA, I had a very appropriate image of her with a lightbulb going on over her head.

Anyone noticed how AUNT JEMIMA has slimmed down and gotten professional over the years, thereby sending us the message that pancakes don't make you fat and that Auntie was a businesswoman?

cwstewart2 11:11 AM  

Excellent Monday puzzle, Andrea. Had to smile at acme...very clever and adds a personal touch.

archaeoprof 11:15 AM  

The Queen of Mondays is on her throne!

Let's hope that the people of Egypt can find such a wise and beneficent ruler!

One who's thankful for his teachers. 12:01 PM  

Yup, Rex sure has his cranky pants on this morning. Imagine someone spending an hour or so writing about a crossword puzzle and devoting a portion of that time to speculating as to how it could have been just a little better, say musing on how a perfectly good theme could have been tightened up a bit by having a unifying principle behind it. The nerve.

Very nice puzzle Andrea. Thanks.

Citizen Dain 12:17 PM  

I believe Aimee Semple McPherson was also famous for erecting a powerful radio tower and broadcasting her wild evangelical sermons to a large audience in the first half of the 20th century. She was one of the first evangelists to use broadcast media (other than pamplets, like Billy Sunday, and of course speaking tours and tent revivals) to reach a wide audience.

SethG 12:18 PM  

Flower, you know that the puzzle included CAP'N CRUNCH, right, and that that wasn't a Rex suggestion?

Rex, I agree with @thankful, how dare you call the theme "Nifty" and your solving experience "reasonably delightful"?. Don't you get yet that so many people don't understand detail and nuance?

lit.doc 12:23 PM  

Great Monday puzzle! The comments, interesting as always, leave me puzzled though. OK, so 54D ACME (clever, clever, clever, BTW!) = Andrea Carla Michaels E_____. Hmmm. Can anyone help me out with that Elusive, Enigmatic Enitial?

lit.doc 12:24 PM  

p.s. Count Chocula sucks.

Vega 12:32 PM  

Epitome of a Monday puzzle. I've determined not to look at the constructor's name until I'm done with a puzzle so as to reduce my bias in judging it, but halfway through today's puzzle I was smiling so broadly that I couldn't help myself and took a peek. No surprise to find ACME's name!

FWIW, I thought Rex was generally positive in his critique, including of the theme. After all, he starts with "Nifty, simple theme..." and ends with "Still, all in all, a reasonably delightful two minutes and forty-five seconds."

I wonder how often Andrea's gotten ACME into her puzzles. Kind of like that guy who puts "Nina" into his drawings.

Greene 12:35 PM  

I'll add my voice to the chorus of praise for this puzzle. I thought it was fun, fun, fun. I also learned the word POUF which was entirely outside my lexicon. Figured by the spelling that it must have a French derivation and I enjoyed reading about the origins of the word.

I cannot see the word SLING in a puzzle without thinking Sazerac. That's either too much Sondheim, too much "Mad Men," or both.

@Bob Kerfuffle:
I had the exact same reaction to Rex's question "Where the hell is Uncle Ben?" Of course he's dead. This, unfortunately, reminded me of the "Death of Uncle Ben" sequence in the new "Spiderman: Turn off the Dark" musical which is still playing an endless series of previews in NY. That sequence was one of the most unintentionally hilarious episodes I've ever witnessed in 40 years of theatre-going. My daughter and I were reduced to helpless giggles and it didn't help that Peter Parker almost immediately launched into a song with one of the most lamentably dreadful first lines I've ever heard. More helpless laughter. I thought we we're going to get thrown out of the theatre. Margaret Cho was sitting directly in front of me and wow did she ever give me the evil eye. Presumably said sequence has been rethought and restaged.

Andy 1:19 PM  

Call me dense, but I don't get all the "oohing and ah-ing" over the answer to 54D. The constructor's initials are ACM, but the answer is ACME. What am I missing?

JenCT 1:21 PM  

@miriam b: Thanks for explaining the correct cat coloring(s). I happen to have a Tortie, who is the friendliest, most lovable cat I've ever owned.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

@Andy - go to Wordplay (Rex provides a link on his blog) and read Deb Amlen's blog. Deb says it as good as anyone can.

Masked and Anonymous 1:43 PM  

Nice MonPuz, Andrea darlin'.

Don't usually comment on a Monday, but gotta give a shout out to the gal who gives nods to U fetishes and pan grammy winners.

Sfingi 1:50 PM  

@Andrea - What a great puzzle - like what one of my shelves look, betwen the tins and the dollies. CAPN CRUNCH is after my time (as is BEDELIA), but the rest are right-on. My favorite is the JOLLY GREEN GIANT because be is a gentle giant, and because he is green. ACME's best product is the anvil, which is used not to hammer on, but to drop on. I bet Rex would hate Etsy.

BETTY CROCKER has been nine people over the years. I remember the 1936 one. Aunt Jemima was 6. Nice article on such things at

@Jim - I just bought a Postum tin at an antique show. The Mormons were the main market at the end. The anti-Starbucks.

Snookie has changed her hairdo.

Wasn't sure if it was YeRBA or YORBA, so waited.

She's Gotta Have it is a Great Movie - not for the wee ones, but for laughs and musings.

Other things from my day - POUF - counterpoint to the flat-top and duck's ass for the guys.

Around these parts, JAIL is not prison. Prison is NYS's digs, JAIL is the county (Oneida) - and lock-up is the city (Utica or Rome).

We actually had an earthquake here centered at Blue Mt. Lake. It was 5AM, and I thought my washing machine was acting up.

Att. Gen. Ashcroft had a particular phobia of calico cats. The gene is on the X chromosome and the cat must get it from both parents.

@Rube - I have a crazy aunt who claims to have had an affair with Pres. Bush I in Palm Beach. I wouldn't bet on it, but it could have been fun.

lit.doc 2:50 PM  

@Andy, it’s ACM née Eisenberg.

Masked and Anonymous II 3:00 PM  

Har. Just noticed this puz has trip J's in it. Almost as good as a pangram. ThJmbs Jp!

Liked that the theme was actually good to suss out in advance. Are you listenin', speed solvers? Really helped, as the puz started puttin' up a fight here and there. 'Course, you did have to be able to spell Jemima and Boyardee. And Capn. And Bedelia.

Hi-Yo, DeJaJemimaJail, away . . .

sanfranman59 3:17 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 5:42, 6:54, 0.83, 1%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:09, 3:41, 0.86, 4%, Easy

Glitch 3:20 PM  

Not just for breakfast ...

John Thomas Draper (born 1943), also known as Captain Crunch, Crunch or Crunchman (after Cap'n Crunch, the mascot of a breakfast cereal), is a computer programmer and former phone phreak. He is a legendary figure within the computer programming world.

[He learned] that a toy whistle that was, at the time, packaged in boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal could emit a tone at precisely 2600 hertz—the same frequency that was used by AT&T long lines to indicate that a trunk line was ready and available to route a new call.

This would effectively disconnect one end of the trunk, allowing the still connected side to enter an operator mode [thus allowing the call to continue without charges].

Though they ... no longer serve practical use, the Cap’n Crunch whistles did become valued collector’s items. Some hackers sometimes go by the handle “Captain Crunch” even today; 2600: The Hacker Quarterly is named after this whistle frequency.

Now you know the rest of the story ...


mmorgan 3:36 PM  

Hear all that? A little bell rings every time Andrea smiles at something she reads here.

fikink 3:39 PM  

@Paul Harvey.../Glitch, that is some cool information. Thanks!
@ACME, congrats on your wings.

Matthew G. 4:07 PM  

My fastest NYT puzzle ever, period. Thanks for the Monday breather, Andrea!

Douglas MacArthur 4:12 PM  

@Jim at 10:25 AM:

That was me, not that upstart Patton!


Joe 4:16 PM  

All I want to say is the Wile E. Coyote clue was the best crossword clue I've seen in many weeks.
That is all.
Back to work.

Moonchild 4:19 PM  

Andrea mentioned last week that she would be on an airplane this morning heading East. I hope she gets to observe some fellows fliers as they solve her puzzle.

william e emba 4:37 PM  

What the E stands for in ACME.

A link was given for what Betty Crocker looks like. I believe they only use that image on the cookbooks, never on the packaging. As for why they generally avoided her image? I could believe it was because they hired the wrong artist.

Haddon Sundblom is probably tied with Gutzon Borglum for most completely unknown artist with extremely famous artwork. (Also tied for artist with most ridiculous First And Last Names.) Sundblom did AUNT JEMIMA and the Quaker Oats Man, but most famously all those Coca-Cola Santa Claus ads. (He is also credited with inventing the pin-up.)

Trivia question: what famous cartoonist did CAP'N CRUNCH?

Sfingi 4:57 PM  

@Glitch - I remember some of that. Thanx for the total info.

A Dr. Arthur Lintgen, same age as Draper, can see in a few seconds what a classic vinyl recording is by "reading" the grooves. Verified by the Amazing Randi.

Andrea - thanx for using minimal and/or easy sports, too. And you are gorgeous!

mac 5:47 PM  

I think Andrea is flying back to San Francisco today. Good thinking, there's more snow coming tomorrow.

Jim 8:17 PM  

Douglas MacArthur:

Wow. Sorry, sir. Where did I get that from? The movie? I think this is George C Scott's fault. Damn Hollywood...rotting my brain.

fergus 9:08 PM  

Why am I now thinking of Suzy Homemaker and the E-Z Bake Oven?

Didn't see the byline till after zipping through the puzzle with pizzazz.


dk 10:17 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
dk 10:18 PM  


What a great puzzle.

Every puzzle I do I think of how you are able to knit together a theme with compelling clues. Each of your creations "read" like a short story.

My LOL moment was your shout out to you. I also liked the mix of Minnesota and California (San Francisco any way).

Your GIJOES fill gave me an idea for the Barbies swan song... more on this off line.

Sorry for the late post... freezing my behind to save others' today.


d(Tucan Sam)k

Anonymous 10:35 PM  

@ Greene - Margaret cho should ne thanking her lucky stars that she even is in showbiz. Most unfunny comedienne ever

sanfranman59 11:08 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 5:46, 6:54, 0.84, 1%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:07, 3:41, 0.85, 1%, Easy

ACME swept the double-header. These tied the fastest median solve times for both groups of solvers of the 84 Mondays in my database.

Geometricus 11:46 PM  

The cartoonist who did Cap'n Crunch: Jay Ward of Rocky & Bulwinkle fame? If I'm not mistaken he also did Quisp & Quake, two other Quaker Oats sugary-cereal products.

Bullwinlke lived where? Why, Frostbite Falls, MN of course. Growing up in MN they always told us kids that the jolly Green Giant lived in LeSeuer county SW of the Twin Cities. And Betty Crocker worked at General Mills, whose headquarters I still pass every week on my way to the Ridgedale Library. So many MN connections I should have remembered my favorite commenter Andrea was appearing
today. Thanks for the big smiles.

andrea carla michaels nee eisenberg 2:32 AM  

I could burst I'm so happy. Thank you all!
The puzzle was more list-y than puzzle-y but I was hoping to evoke memories and have it be more than a speed writing exercise, so so happy when Will took it.

This is my one of my fave puzzles ever for so many reasons, so to have it appreciated this way, makes me want to cry.
and yes, OOOH was desperate! ;)

(I was totally tongue-tied trying to explain to my NY English not her native tongue hostess what "Color me impressed" meant, as it wasn't my original clue...but I like it! Mine was a lamer: "Related to aaah"!)

And yes, @Rex answered his own question about why COUNTCHOCULA wouldn't have worked (ie right amount of letters but didn't want two cereal icons...)

As for UNCLEBEN, believe me, if there had been another 8 letter icon, he wouldabeen in there (but then I'd have needed a cousin and niece and nephew too!)

so many bells are ringing in my head that I'll probably be up all night! :)

Seriously, thank you everyone.

NotalwaysrightBill 9:35 AM  

Syndi-late but not sorry!

Never knew that one could create, starting with a DEITY HEH APPLE north/south axis (that doesn't fall far from the tree), a cabalistic cruciverb JOLLYGREENGOLIATH Golem! Whether I LAUD the NINER SLAM INNS or settle for HOLES CHEWS ORGS, this thing absolutely erupts from seething subsurficial libido. Lava lava lava lava lava lava lava lava . . . . Didn't realize before what a force of nature SHES ACME really is. One imagines, after solving this puzzle, the new moral from the old David-slays-the-Philistine story being, "When your ass is in a SLING, take it off, discover some stones and hit the sonofabitchin' politician right between the eyes." Who's CHEFBOY ARDEE? Anyway, thanks, ACME, for not leaving THIS child behind, 'cause I sure got an EDUCation today!

Gil.I.Pollas 1:31 PM  

Oh my gosh, I made a comment on the "real" time puzzle of Mar, 07 and mentioned how I missed ACM.
I just opened our newspaper and here (syndication -Jan 31)is my favorite Monday constructor.
Our "just started doing NYT crosswords" daughter loved this one. It took her a while but she, as I, had fun filling in the blanks.
I too, second @fikink, and say thanks for the memories.
Love AUNT JEMIMA pancakes!

Dirigonzo 3:55 PM  

Loved this as did almost everybody else. One nice touch that no one else has mentioned was the cluing for 1D, "Grand _______ (baseball or bridge feat" - a nice tip of the hat to solvers who complain about too many sports references. (Come to think of it, ACME is one of them, so maybe she had "bridge" and Wil added "baseball").

Am I the only one who wondered how to abbreviate "batteries" for the A.A. and A.A.A. clue?

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP