Musical syllable singing system / THU 1-27-11 / Screen swinger Ron / Rice with three rings / Tickle Me Elmo manufacturer

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Constructor: Patrick Blindauer

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: J to CH — Change "J" to "CH" in familiar two-word phrases where second word starts with "J-" — wackiness ensues


Word of the Day: SOLFA (24A: Musical syllable singing system) —

In music, solfège (French pronunciation: [sɔl.fɛʒ], also called solfeggio, sol-fa, solfa or tonic sol-fa) is a pedagogical solmization technique for the teaching of sight-singing in which each note of the score is sung to a special syllable, called a solfège syllable (or "sol-fa syllable"). The seven syllables commonly used for this practice in English-speaking countries are: do (or doh in tonic sol-fa), re, mi, fa, sol (so in tonic sol-fa), la, and ti/si, which may be heard in "Do-Re-Mi" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's score for The Sound of Music, as well as the Robert Maxwell song, "Solfeggio". In other languages, si is used (see below) for the seventh scale tone, while its earlier use in English continues in many areas. (wikipedia)
• • •

Mostly enjoyed myself with this one, though I got caught out at JACKO / SOLFA. No idea. Or, rather, *some* idea, because I eventually came up with "O," but only after being fairly certain it was "Y" — "JACK-" having led me to JACKY (O) far more readily than Michael "JACKO" Jackson (5D: Onetime tabloid nickname). SOLFA was a big ??? to me, though I must have seen it somewhere before, as it rings a very faint bell now that I look at it. I think the word "syllable" is in the clue precisely so that I *wouldn't* guess SYLFA, but all it did was reinforce SYLFA. Weird.

Theme is simple, but resulting theme answers (and clues) are funny, so I approve. With only four theme answers (I say "only" only because it's Mr. Blindauer, who can cram 'em in), I'm surprised there was as much lackluster short fill as there was; you know, your EEKs and OERs and MMMs and ENCYCs and YSERs and INITs and ESTOs and INTLs and ORTOs and ESSEs ... none of which is terrible on its own, but which in aggregate felt a little sub-Blindauer. A couple of right jabs for the pop culture haters today in LUPE and KATIE (I read all those damned books and don't remember KATIE, 52D: ___ Bell, witch who was a fellow student of Harry Potter at Hogwarts). I was luckier with LUPE (31A: Hip-hop's ___ Fiasco). I own an album of his and (no joke) I had this song in my head as I was solving the puzzle this morning, even before I hit the LUPE clue (Kanye West, featuring LUPE Fiasco):


Theme answers:
  • 17A: Mean, illegal wrestling hold? (DIRTY CHOKE)
  • 34A: Standard tobacco wad? (ORTHODOX CHEW) — I had "ORDINARY CHAW" at first ... ?
  • 43A: Woo President Arthur? (COURT CHESTER)
  • 63A: Fat fool? (BROAD CHUMP)
Weird to be done in by a pop culture clue (JACKO) when I benefited so much from knowing all this puzzle's pop culture (and sports) answers. Watched ALEX P. Keaton every Thursday growing up, Jerry RICE was the most accomplished wide receiver of my generation (if not of all time) (5A: Rice with three rings), never saw "Dune" but know most other films of David LYNCH pretty well ("Blue Velvet" and "Wild at Heart" were popular when I was in college), am currently making my way through the entire run of "Arrested Development" featuring Michael CERA as young George Michael Bluth (37D: Michael of "Superbad"), and Gordie HOWE was featured prominently in an episode of "The Simpsons" ("Bart the Lover") where Bart cruelly creates a fake secret admirer for his teacher Edna Krabappel and when asked for a picture sends in one of Gordie HOWE (28D: N.H.L. star nicknamed "Mr. Hockey").

Bullets:
  • 15A: One of a literary trio (ATHOS) — of "The Three Musketeers"; I'm currently reading Dumas's "The Count of Monte Cristo" and *loving* it.
  • 51A: Where Panasonic and Sanyo are headquartered (OSAKA) — i.e."Japanese city" ... not too hard to figure out.
  • 60A: Noted earthquake locale (BAY AREA) — well that's true. Also, Jerry RICE played in the BAY AREA.
  • 9D: River that begins in Nord (YSER) — Back-to-back YSER days. Who knows what we'll learn about the YSER tomorrow ...
  • 13D: Screen swinger Ron (ELY) — anyone else want "JEREMY?" Anyone? No? OK.
  • 61D: "Don't you forget about me" ("AHEM") — what an odd, interesting clue for "AHEM." The clue makes me (and every suburban kid my age) think of only one thing:


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. a message from today's constructor, Patrick Blindauer:

"I've also got a crossword contest going at my website, patrickblindauer.com/shop.html,
which has actually being extended until March 1. The winner of the big prize is still being drawn on Feb. 1, but I'm releasing a bonus puzzle at the same time and every correct meta-answer I get before March 1 will get a free copy of one of my puzzle books."

77 comments:

Anonymous 6:36 AM  

Gordie HOWE

pauer 6:39 AM  

I've also got a crossword contest going at my website:
patrickblindauer.com/shop.html
which has actually being extended until March 1. The winner of the big prize is still being drawn on Feb. 1, but I'm releasing a bonus puzzle at the same time and every correct meta-answer I get before March 1 will get a free copy of one of my puzzle books.

Nickyboy 7:28 AM  

How the hell could Will Shortz allow a clue/answer like 49 Down?! "Leaf Through" is most definitely NOT "peruse". Peruse means to read very carefully with attention to detail. The exact opposite of "leaf through". I am flabbergasted by that slip!

jackj 7:49 AM  

Nickyboy@7:28: From M-W Online Dictionary-

pe·ruse verb \pə-ˈrüz\
pe·rusedpe·rus·ing
Definition of PERUSE

transitive verb
1
a : to examine or consider with attention and in detail : study
b : to look over or through in a casual or cursory manner
2
: read; especially : to read over in an attentive or leisurely manner
— pe·rus·al noun
— pe·rus·er noun

Wade 8:05 AM  

Hey, me and my wife are watching that too! Arrested Development. We have two more to finish the second season. The episodes are only 21 minutes long, so it's easy to persuade yourself it's okay to watch one more, and before you know it it's 21 minutes past your bedtime.

Katie Bell is Townes Van Zandt's daughter's name. I wonder if J.K. Rowling is a TVZ fan. It wouldn't be unlikely, as the Brits (and the Irish and Scandinavians) seem to have a thing for American and especially Texas or Texasish singer-songwriters. Willis Alan Ramsey, Nancy Griffith, Steve Earle, Townes and many lesser known of the ilk have taken up residence in Scotland or Ireland at various times. J.K. Rowling is as awesome with making up names as George Lucas is sucky at it. I can't read this word I'm supposed to type so no idea if this comment will make it through the wirelesses.

The Bard 8:21 AM  

Hamlet > Act III, scene I

HAMLET: To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.

joho 8:34 AM  

Loved the theme clues and answers! They made me smile which is most welcome on any morning of the week. This was anything but HOHUM, like all of @pauer's puzzles.

The only thing I noticed that maybe should not have been in the puzzle is the CH in STARCHES/LYNCH ... but I think that's too nit-picky and irrelevant to the fun of the theme.

Thank you, Patrick!

pauer 8:47 AM  

No, it's the extra J he shoulda changed. ;)

David L 8:50 AM  

Filled in three of the theme answers before seeing what the trick was, but at least that helped with the fourth. Didn't get the happy pencil when I finished, and eventually realized I had SEEMSO/ESSO in the SE. I suppose it's unlikely that Missouri's state motto would refer to a Canadian/UK brand of gas.

Only knew LUPE because of seeing him in some other xword. And the clue for OER doesn't quite work for me, not the way I pronounce it. A solid Weds, all in all.

jesser 9:13 AM  

Yesterday was the day it dawned on me how amazing this blog is, because I was too busy to make it here to post or read. I dunno why it took me so long to grok that this blog is here every damn day, regardless of sickness, schedule or sadness. Every Day. Mat hat is off to you, Rex. Again. Always

Loved the puzzle, although I was held up in the SW by my own handwriting. The terminal O in OCHO looked like a D to me, and I was having a hell of a time figuring out which Japanese city I was delaing with. I also took to long to parse the too-too clever cluing at 59D, but eventually it all fell into place.

Summary Love the blog. Love the blogger. Love the commenters. Love being part of this whole thing -- if only sporadically as my schedule allows.

Wirce! (or for better) -- jesser

retired_chemist 9:17 AM  

@ Rex - JACKY (O) is a non-starter. It was always JACKIE.

Liked the puzzle. Good theme. COURT CHESTER was the first theme answer to emerge, and that clarified both the theme and the DIRTY CH??? I had @ 17A. Nice, fresh fill to boot, and some clever cluing.

SOLFA per se was an unknown, though guessable from do-re-mi-etc. The LUPE/AUDIS cross was cool - I knew neither but what else could it be? Ditto OSAKA. And ROUSSEAU was a nice misdirection - I always think of the philosopher. Google finds TWO painters ROUSSEAU, neither of which I know.

Wanted GRAIN for the 7D alcohol (same stuff), SMEARED for 20A. YSER came back from yesterday. Did ATHOS ever cross it in the book, with ROK's on its bank?

Thanks, Mr. Blindauer.

jesser 9:26 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jesser 9:28 AM  

Sorry for all the typos. My bad. I blame lack of caffeine. And yes, I had to remove the previous apology because of a typo! -- jesser

retired_chemist 9:33 AM  

@ David L - If you mean that you pronounce OER with 2 syllables, you would be right at home pronouncing OR the same way in some parts of Texas.

mac 9:35 AM  

Good puzzle! Had to do it online again, the driveway has an extra 18 inches of snow at least, and Larry didn't make it up with my paper.

My trouble area was also the North; wasn't there some Lacky who was married to Jessica Simpson and they had some sort of reality show?

Love the clue for "midst" and "tbsp", and like the word peruse.

@The bard: thanks for the Hamlet. Was reading it and noticed: there's the rub. Sounds so contemporary!

Sfingi 9:36 AM  

NYT not delivered up here today. Too much snow in the city.

Unless they finally make it up (doubtful), see youse later.

CaseAce 9:39 AM  

What a Dumas! Infact I feel like a complete Athos!!! (Those who are delicately nurtured may put the rest of my comment on MUTE)
Bravo to Patrick B. as he did RISE to the occasion with this Thors Day Topper! Infact, there AUDI be a law against folks like he who are so deucedly clever!
Odd, don't you think, that both 5A and 70A played in the NFL and left some rather indelible marks, the latter aka "The Fridge!"
Of course, I'm jesting, But who better than Perry to head-up the Defense Dept?
A tip of the sword to Monsieur Blindauer, for his aforesaid unspeakably clever bent!

Matthew G. 9:42 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle a ton, but I had one of my worst Thursday times, ever. I think part of it was retraining myself to solve on paper after months of onscreen solving, and maybe some bad news I got shortly before solvinghad my brain out of gear, but still. I took forever and finished with three wrong squares: the first two letters in AUDIS, as I'm not familiar with SOLFA or LUPE or Audi model names, and the terminal vowel in CERA, whom I've vaguely heard of but could not quite recall.

That brings me to my big question: How is {Piles} a clue for NAPS? I have thought about it and thought about it, and I still don't get it. The fact that nobody else has even mentioned it suggests that I'm missing something embarrassingly obvious, so someone please clue me in so that I can facepalm appropriately.

r.alphbunker 9:49 AM  

Liked the OER/or clue. It was a small puzzle embedded in the larger one. That made me think that pauer could be thought of as a contraction of Patrick Blindauer and that this was a pauerful puzzle. But puzzles aren't powerful. The google query for "powerful puzzle" produced only 4000 hits and most of them were about powerful puzzle tools. One could mine the comments of this blog to find out how crossword puzzles are described. Perhaps someone could write a book entitled "My Dinner with Rex Parker" which featured the best comments. BTW, who owns the comments? Would @acme sue if the book included her Christine Whitman rant?

O'er and out.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

@ Rex - 'anyone else want "JEREMY?" Anyone? No? OK.'

That was my first thought upon reading the clue and I checked your post today specifically looking for your comment on it.

Heaps of Fun 10:07 AM  

@Matthew G

Think in terms of carpet/fabric *texture*

P>G>

PuzzleNut 10:10 AM  

Fine puzzle with several sticky areas for me. A couple of last minute changes seemed obvious once I made them.
Had SOLLA for the longest time. Thought the contraction was eER, but I just couldn't get my arms around BReAD CHUMP. Liked the misdirect for MEOW as apes just wasn't working out.
Interesting issue about PERUSE. I thought it only meant "to skim through casually - I perused the TV listing to see if there was anything worth watching on TV." Find it amazing that it has two, almost opposite, meanings.
My son sent me the Arrested Development series and I resisted wasting my time watching them, as I was never a big Jason Bateman fan. Finally started them a month ago and they blew me away. By far the best show I have ever seen. The kids thought there was something wrong with me when I was literally rolling on the floor laughing. Like @Wade, I would try and just watch one show and inevitably would end up watching a whole DVD (6 or 7 shows).

Tobias Duncan 10:11 AM  

Great puzzle.
Just started "Heretics of Dune" Herbert is great reading for the winter doldrums.

quilter1 10:12 AM  

@MattG: piles as in carpet pile or nap, such as velvet, chenille, shag and so on.

I'm catching up on puzzle world after being gone a few days. DNF today missing the J in JACKO/JERRY. But everything else was familiar and enjoyable. A good day to resume solving.

Lindsay 10:15 AM  

In my world (Maine) "Clinton defense secretary William" = COHEN, which I filled in without any crosses then stubbornly stuck to despite its obvious incompatibility with any other potential answer in the neighborhood. So now it seems that Clinton had another SoD named ....William Perry? The Refrigerater????? Though the Fridge was involved in defense, I guess. Confusing.

Then, a little trouble with the COURT CHESTER answer as I had xxxRT CHESTER and got distracted by the idea of Port Arthur (Russo-Japanese War) so basically my brain jumped the rails on all fronts.

In the end it all worked out, with the solfa/lupe/audis mess the last to fall.

Matthew G. 10:21 AM  

@Heaps of Fun & quilter1:

Whew. It's not a facepalm. Just meanings for the words that I'd actually never heard, which bothers me much less!

I get it now. My dictionary says "nap" can mean "a hairy or downy surface (as on a fabric)" and that "pile" can mean "a velvety surface produced by an extra set of filling yarns that form raised loops which are cut and sheared."

I guess I haven't done enough interior decorating to have encountered those meanings of "piles" and "naps" before. Entirely new to me!

Thanks for the explanation and for expanding my vocabulary.

Oldactor 10:27 AM  

@MathewG

Naps/Piles...think carpet or fabric like corderoy. That's what finally came to me.

Jay W. 10:43 AM  

Demi crossed with Moor - nice!

Two Ponies 10:48 AM  

Lots to love today!
I got the theme long before I was able to gnaw my way through the fill. Tough side of medium for me.
I was feeling smug to guess raker with no crosses but the intersection of Lupe (NO idea), Audis, and yowee or yowie kept me busy for too long.
Great clever clues Patrick.
So many K's and Y's. Does that make you Scrabble players happy?

JaxInL.A. 10:48 AM  

What is it about the NW lately? Today my "Thick" was denSe, my CHOKE was nasTY, my "pipe joint" was an ell, and I figured that somewhere there was an Emma Moore in entertainment news.  Thus the NW was hopelessly entangled.  

Even after coming here to fix it, I still have something wrong and can't find it. Urgh.  Oh, wait, there it is. SEEMTO not SEEMsO.  Never took Latin.  

Clever theme, got it right away but not fully successfully as noted above. I'm usually a big PB fan but the NW and SE made this a slog for me. All the xwordese that Rex noted didn't help. 

I have lived in Connecticut and Washington, D.C., so I feel for all of you under a blanket of snow.  I'll just gloss over (read gloat about) our warm and pleasant weather in Lotusland. 74 and clear today. 

Cathyat40 10:52 AM  

Hand up for SEEMSO/ESSO as my only boo-boo. I enjoyed the theme. I did get stuck on BREADCHUMP/EER for a while, but I figured that one out :)

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

PAUER to the people!!!!!

fikink 11:08 AM  

BROAD CHUMP was the first theme answer grasped, aided by a childhood memory of my Cribbage tutor, cigar firmly in cheek, pegging out and saying, "You're a CHUMP, Deborah, a real CHUMP."
ORTHODOX JEW came next.
The Sleeping Gypsy is a favorite painting (thank you for that, @pauer) and one of these days I will take time out to teach myself to embed images so I can easily share my love for such beauties. It's at MOMA.
@CaseAce - Dumas, LOL!
@JaxinLA, started out with DENSE, too, and went on to NASTY and ELL.

Just a whole lot to love, as @TP said. Thanks, @pauer, for the cleverest of puzzles, liberally laced with prompts for reminiscing.

matt 11:09 AM  

5D reminds me of an SNL skit with Darrell Hammond as Ted Koppel discussing "Jacko on his Backo". No idea why that has stuck in my head 10+ years later.

JaxInL.A. 11:09 AM  

Please let me repeat and amplify what @jesser said about gratitude for Rex and this space. For some reason when I came here today I only got the header but no entry, and wondered if the new schedule had defeated our fearless leader.  Reloaded and heaved a sigh of relief. Amazing quality and reliability every day. For four years. Wow. 

@MattG, I had the same head scratching over NAPS for piles.  Amazingly enough, the SOLFA/AUDIS area was okay for me, though I didn't know about LUPE either.  

I'm another one who discovered Arrested Development only recently, thanks to one of our college boarders.  Each episode is good for at least one side-splitting guffaw and innumerable good laughs.  I do so wish that it had had more than two and a half seasons.  The chemistry among the cast members is unbelievable, something you appreciate if you look at Will Arnette's more recent work which does not hold up as well. 

Gotta start the day.  Thanks to you all.

Shamik 11:19 AM  

Fun puzzle, but had to wait to do the A-B-C game until Mr. Happy Pencil showed up to tell me that the it was LUPE. Still gave me a an easy-medium for this fun puzzle.

Will have to watch "Arrested Development" now after all the recommendations! First I'm going to finish "Weeds."

Sympathies to the northeast. You have really been hammered time and again with snow. It's gone beyond funny for us who live in ease to report our balmier temperatures...a crime to which I've been guilty of many times. That's a lot of snow back there!

ArtLvr 11:26 AM  

YOWIE! This one nearly did me in. I had a great start across the midsection with COURT CHESTER and ORTHODOX CHEW, both very funny. Then I had the CHOKE and the CHUMP, and used the latter to inch my way through the nether realm.

ROUSSEAU and TUNA MELT made completing the lower half fairly straightforward, KAPOW! The main hitch was lack of homophonicity in OR and O'ER...

In the upper half, I had SOLFA and YASIR, YSER. I thought I could ROK and RHO from there but no. I wasn't seeing RAKER as the one with a yard stick, but guessing ALEX as a name gave me the NE.

I nearly gave up in the NW, taking Mean to mean Petty. Petty CHOKE? Or maybe One way to stand would be At ease? Deliberate could be Talk things over? Erased all but ETTE and DEMI, and finally got the DIRTY JOKE, yes SIRREE. I can't blame it on any STREAKY glasses, just sleepy brain.

If it had been Friday, I might have quit -- but it's still only Thursday and I felt I wasn't so Thick not to get it! MIDST all the misdirection, the MUSE did inspire a last burst of clarity to the finish. Bravo, Pauer!

efrex 11:32 AM  

@JaxinLA: get out of my head! Made the exact same mistakes in the NW (although I kept holding off on NASTYCHOKE, since it didn't really ring). Finally decided that DEMI Moore was who I wanted and worked backwards to clean up that area.

Found the theme only moderately clever, but lots of fun/ misdirection clues (RAKER, MEOW, POET) made up, at least in part, for the heavy crosswordese.

Mel Ott 11:39 AM  

I thought ORTHODOX CHEW was one of the greatest answers of all time. It made the crap in the middle and in a lot of the fill more than worthwhile.

If any are wondering about CHEW vs. CHAW, CHEW has been the usage by ballplayers and others for some time. At least since the early 80's, when my son unfortunately picked up the habit from seniors as a freshman pitcher on the HS varsity. In his mid-forties, still playing baseball (not softball) and (unfortunately) still using CHEW.

Vega 11:45 AM  

I also had dense, nasty, and ell (and ordinary, and omaha (!!), and I was as stubbornly sure about them as I was about DEMI. MIDST took forever and I still don't get TEE. That said, I just Googled it, and there it is.

I am realizing that I should maybe not look at the constructor's name before doing a puzzle because it may just unfairly raise the bar for the poor constructor from whose puzzles I have come to expect nothing short of brilliance. The thought of wooing Chester Arthur is pretty funny, though.

syndy 11:59 AM  

Big hand up for the dense,nasty ell corner! Loved all the misdirections (MEOW)(TBSP)was thinking Man! That Rousseau was a buzy boy!After Miss Moor(sic) fixed the NW final time made this an easy! @44 re-reading Monte Cristo??

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

This is a typical Thursday for me. Had about 70% of the puzzle filled without help. The SE corner was tough to get any traction on with EEK, ESTO, MEOW and KAPOW bunched together (ugh!).
The center also gave me problems.
Had too long ORDINARY CHEW for 34A but corrected this to ORTHODOX CHEW after I got DIRTY CHOKE. Didn't like the center area with YOWIE, HOHUM and LUPE. And why is POET clued as one with stressing work? I don't get it.
I guessed many of the trivia questions from intersecting clues like ROUSSEAU, KATIE, LYNCH, HOWE and ELY. But the others were difficult to get without Google.
The theme provided me with the "aha moment" but I am not sure what BROAD CHUMP stands for.
Nice and enjoyable.

Stan 12:13 PM  

Liked the theme, especially the middle two. Appreciated the clever clues for familiar fill like TBSP, OER, and MEOW.

There is a Ho Hum Hill just down the road from us (in Maine -- Hi @Lindsay! We also wanted COHEN).

andrea carla mijaels 12:29 PM  

Loved the theme...ORTHODOXCHEW will stand the test of time!

Snow did in the NE today, but it was the NW that snowed me...I was too DENSE to work my way out of the
DENSE/NASTY/ELL corner, so DNF for me...KAPOW!

Loved being so wrong and struggling to go from APES to MEOW.

As I noted at Orange's site, did not like the TBSP/OER/NBAER/RTE/MSNBC/ENCYC pileup, but maybe the construction called for that, I don't know.

I looked at O-A-A, thought, hmmm, why are there so many big companies in OMAHA? And went on my merry way.

If all goes well, I'll be flying over Omaha today en route to NY, fingers (and legs and eyes) crossed...

shrub5 12:50 PM  

After finishing this puzzle, I thought wow this is one of the easier Thursdays in a while. Plenty I didn't know but all gettable from crosses. The Q5 and Q7 from 26D rang a faint bell as being something I got stumped on in the past. I had --DIS and miraculously AUDIS finally burst out of the mire.

Interesting about PERUSE -- only knew the casual leaf through meaning. NBAER was a gimme with Mr. Blindauer giving equal attention to the top-o'-the-heap Celts and, sadly, the struggling Cavs.

Echoing @jesser and @JaxinLA for their comments on the *amazing* quality and reliability of this blog. Me, I'd probably be zzzzzleeping instead of reading "The Count of Monte Cristo" if I had Rex's schedule and responsibilities.

Now I must decide whether I have (or can spend) enough time before Feb 1st to get and solve the puzzles of Patrick's contest????

quilter1 1:04 PM  

@Anonymous 12:07: A poet's work is stressful in that a poet creates a pattern of stressed words or syllables to render the poem rhythmic if that is the kind of poem being written. :)

Clark 1:26 PM  

I got all tangled up in the middle. The Audi A's I knew about, not the Qs. And the stress thing -- I was trying 'foot', but couldn't see that little "jump to the left" or "step to the right" to get POET. Dang! Being utterly clueless about LUPE did me in.

Nice theme idea though. I looked at the first and third theme answers, repeated them again and again, until i finally got it. Oh, and my Missouri was running on ESSO too.

Back to work.

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

Mini Theme: Ways to say Yes Sir: Yes SIRREE, YASIR, YSER and YOWIE?

Mini Theme 2: San Francisco: JERRY Rice (49er), FLOWERS (for Flower Children?), BAY AREA, NAPS (Napa Valley wines?), PERRY (Prof. at Stanford)....

Appropriate captcha: barph

Matthew G. 1:39 PM  

@Anonymous 12:07 pm: "Broad jump" is an alternative name for the track and field event more commonly known as the "long jump."

A couple other random notes:

* "Panasonic" always gives me fits because it's just about the only Japanese company that hasn't retained a Japanese name (Wikipedia states that, despite using the "Panasonic" brand since 1955, the company didn't actually change its name from "Matsushita Electric" to "Panasonic" until 2008). So my brain always wants to make it an American company. If "Sanyo" hadn't also been in the clue, I surely would have made Andrea's mistake and gone with OMAHA instead of OSAKA.

* The variant spelling of YASIR (I generally see and use "Yasser") slowed me down a bit.

* JACKO was probably easiest to get for those of us who've lived in New York City long enough to walk past the Daily News and Post racks for years. The Post in particular was fond of calling Michael Jackson "JACKO," as I recall.

chefbea 1:57 PM  

Too tough for me. Chest couldn't get it.!!

Shortening used in recipes was great!!

Coke is used for this...My chili has coke in in- regular, not diet

MikeM 2:04 PM  

Geez... I ended w/ OMAHA. Matie Bell didnt sound half bad (although i read all 7 books too) and didnt really pick up the typo on the artists name. Embarrassing. I refuse to google and occassionally take it on the chin.

fergus 2:17 PM  

Yes, Patrick, I was wondering what that J in the 5 square was doing with no apparent relevance to the theme. And since there was no 'reveal' that deflated the puzzle just a tad.

Almost penned in ROSSETTI for ROUSSEAU, then flashed on the proper picture. Now wondering if you started out cluing the naive painter, or the naive philosopher?

deerfencer 2:36 PM  

Great puzzle with some very entertaining theme answers. Thanks, PB, for a fun Thursday.

@rex: RON JEREMY didn't cross my mind but should have given his considerable renown as a big swinger of, er, film.

jae 2:47 PM  

Fun puzzle which seemed about right for a Thurs. NW was a little tricky but the rest went pretty smoothly.

@JaxinLA -- I thought Will Arnette was pretty good on 30 Rock.

@Shamik -- We're working our way through Weeds also and enjoying it a lot. Any tips for getting "Little Boxes" out of your head?

fikink 2:51 PM  

@fergus, "naive philosopher" LOL!

I don't think MUSE carries quite the constriction that deliberate has. I think a better clue might be "reflect" or "to be pensive"
Just a... thought.

Rube 2:57 PM  

Too much for me today. Had to Google for ROUSSEAU, PERRY, & CERA. Then realized after coming here that still had AoDIS/LoPE. Sigh.

THx for the explanation of piles/NAPS; should have known better.

JACKO was Michael Jackson? Really? Only thought of JackieO and was going to complain.

When I hear David LYNCH, I think of Twin Peaks, a great series.

As a youth knew of PERUSE as "skim". Then in grad school was apprised it meant "in depth". Now in my dotage I find out it's both. I think "1984" happened without my even knowing it.

Enjoyable puzzle with great theme answers, even though I DNF.

Kendall 3:07 PM  

Made the same mistake as Rex at ORDINARY CHEW, but this was because I had not yet figured out exactly what the theme was. I somehow managed to pick up on the "CH" piece of it but replacing that with a 'J' didn't seem to occur to me.

I'm surprised no one other than myself here disliked the cross of YOWIE/HOHUM. I just thought that was kind of ugly looking.

I had an absolutely terrible time with the South Central portion of this puzzle. Coke and STEEL do what together? Guessed LEARY in place of PERRY. Totally my fault there since I was alive for this and have no excuse not to know it. TBSP just didn't come to mind for about 20 minutes.

Despite my complaints, I liked this puzzle and laughed out loud at two of the theme answers.

O'ER and out.
-KGM

DCPuzzler 3:13 PM  

The puzzle felt too chopped up to me today. Too many short fills plus a lot of awkward answers (tbsp, nbaer). The theme clues gave me a chuckly though, so that made up for some of the frustrations.

sanfranman59 3:29 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)

Thu 17:43, 18:59, 0.93, 42%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 8:36, 9:08, 0.94, 48%, Medium

max 3:33 PM  

my 2 favorite clues of the puzzle (surprised rex didnt mention them)-
copy cats (meow)
shortening used in recipes (tbsp)
great misleading there. well done

i skip M-W 3:41 PM  

Yes, thanks to Rex for doing this every single day. Last night when I finished in a very good time for me, wanted to see the blog, only to discover, when PERUSING Tuesday's post that Rex has to teach at 8AM. I once had to teach at 9AM, YOWIE! So, thanks Rex, for getting this done this morning, and hope your students don't mind.
Realized there were two Clinton Def. Secs. named William, but couldn't recall either until tbsp filled itself in. @Fergus, according to wall text at recent post-impressionist show at the DeYoung in SF, the painter Rousseau went to great lengths to appear naive, but wasn't.
Captcha = catic, am very allergic, but anyway, MEOW

christelb_devlin 3:43 PM  

I sped through, then completely cratered in the NW corner and DNF. I no way in heck could come up with MUSE for deliberate. When I found out that MUSE was the answer I became quite the Miss Crankypants.

chefwen 4:29 PM  

My husband and I double teamed this one last night, we did finally finish it but not without a pretty mighty struggle. I did have to Google 37D CERA which brought the ORTHODOX CHEW into the light, thus giving me the theme.

Loved this puzzle, thank you Pauer!

fergus 5:36 PM  

M-W Skipper,

Maybe 'le douanier's' sophistication has been upgraded since my Art History courses? It had been my impression that he was mocked by Picasso and other sorts of contemporaries -- not so much for his painting but his artistic justification. Or maybe he was ahead of his time in carrying off a simpleton's pose with respect to pretenses?

I skip M-W 6:17 PM  

@fergus yes, it would seem Rousseau was a fake simpleton ahead of his time, though it must be said that art historians appear to love to undercut received views, whatever they are; gives them something to do, I guess.

dk 7:31 PM  

Curses, foiled again!

1. nastyCHOKE

2. aroni as I over thought the rice as the San Francisco treat and the rings as the trolley bell tones

*** (3 Stars) And after today if ya think I'm entering some contest just to be humiliated again forgetaboutit P(darklord)B.

d(call me BROADCHUMP)k

R. McGeddon 7:38 PM  

Just in passing, happy to have the opportunity to say that The Count of Monte Cristo is the most exciting book I've ever read in my life.

Lindsay 7:58 PM  

@Kendall --- COKE (n) The solid residue of impure carbon obtained from coal and other carbonaceous materials by destructive distillation, used as a fuel and in making steel. (American Heritage)

Moonchild 8:33 PM  

@ dk,
I want whatever you're having!

PurpleGuy 8:42 PM  

I had a ball with this puzzle. Tons of fun .
Agree with our Leader, having read all the Potter books, both in class and for myself, I did not know Katie. Got her from crosses.
I am a singer, but am not familiar with SOLFA. Oh well.

Had finished this puzzle last night, but was not able to post until now.
Thank you for the writeup, Rex.
Thank you Patrick for a fun experience solving this puzzle.

Shanti -

Bob/PurpleGuy

sanfranman59 10:07 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 6:03, 6:55, 0.87, 7%, Easy
Tue 11:40, 8:58, 1.30, 99%, Challenging
Wed 11:45, 11:44, 1.00, 57%, Medium
Thu 17:57, 18:59, 0.95, 45%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:15, 3:41, 0.88, 4%, Easy
Tue 5:35, 4:36, 1.22, 96%, Challenging
Wed 5:57, 5:46, 1.03, 65%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 8:13, 9:08, 0.90, 36%, Easy-Medium

fergus 11:24 PM  

Innocence in art is hard to fake.

-- stizinjo

Samantha 8:43 AM  

Isn't Katie Bell the one that gets hit with cursed necklace in Book 6? I don't remember the last few so well ... still need to re-read 7. I think maybe she was also a Quidditch player? Definitely Gryffindor, anyway.

Speaking of magic, I had the -ER and took one look at "Woo President Arthur?" and realized what the theme was. I must be getting better at this here crossword puzzle thing ... :)

Anonymous 9:12 PM  

You know, the theme answers in this puzzle are similar to the way some people mock the way the PA Dutch speak.

Palmdalian 11:33 AM  

Notes from syndication-land. Got to thinking, it would seem that watching all of "The Simpsons" would be great training for crossword puzzlers! But I've only seen a few of them. Loved SOLFA, I do a form of old timey solfege singing so that was a term familiar to me.

@CaseAce - my maiden name is Dumas, but I didn't cotton on to the "alternate" pronunciation until college (!), when I was woken by a phone call at 3:00 in the morning asking for "Mrs Dumb A--." Boy was I naive.

Lol @andrea carla mijaels. :D

NotalwaysrightBill 3:32 PM  

Syndi-late solver. Feel like the guy at the end of the parade who cleans up after the horses and elephants. Wasn't there a Rocky and Bullwinkle Show character like that: rolled in with his little cart to sweep up the ending credits on Fractured Fairy Tales or something?

Nice puz, even if a little easy for a Thursday. Fair amount I didn't know, but got it anyway from the crosses. Except for the noted SEEMsO/ESsO.

@Rex: Was doing just fine before you had to bring up the image of Ron Jeremy swingin' away thank you very much. Fortunately I'm able to counter this with a steaming fantasy of one of my personal all-time favorite ORTHODOXCHEWs, a TUNA Melt, which I will definitely have for lunch now thanks to this puzzle.

Coke, coke, coke, so many cokes! The kind they use for steel, which is iron plus between .15% and 2% carbon, is manufactured by purging the remaining impurities from high grade coal.

captcha:
"micher":
crickets
more crickets
I got nuthin'
HOHUM

Dirigonzo 6:58 PM  

@NarB has swept the comment field clean so I have nothing new to say about the puzzle, so I'll just say it was nice to see a couple of fellow "Mainahs" (Hi, @Lindsay and @Stan) among the prime-time commenters today.

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