Rambo's drive / WED 1-19-11 / Locale for lashing / Dory's affliction in Finding Nemo / Onetime Sixers great / Like prefall Humpty Dumpty

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Constructor: Kristian House

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: GEE WHIZ! (37A: Beaver Cleaver expletive ... or what you might need to be to answer 18-, 23-, 51- and 60-Across?) — common phrases have (self-standing) letter "G" added to their beginnings, creating wacky phrases, which are clued wackily

Word of the Day: String theory (51A: Guess as to how the thong came to exist?=>G-STRING THEORY)—

String theory is a developing theory in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for the theory of everything (TOE), a manner of describing the known fundamental forces and matter in a mathematically complete system. The theory has yet to make testable experimental predictions, which a theory must do in order to be considered a part of science. (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle could've been Rough (it wasn't) and I'd still have been beaming at the end, if only because of G-STRING THEORY. Best repurposing of scientific/mathematical terminology Ever. The theme today is very simple, but very entertainingly executed. I especially like the longer theme answers, and the creative way the central GEE WHIZ is used to bring it all together. Some of the fill is rough around the edges—the short stuff a bit too short stuffy—but all the 7+-letter answers are good-to-great (except maybe UNROLLS (28A: Puts down, as the red carpet), which is at least not bad). I can put up with a lot of short junk if I get stuff like BLOOD LUST and LOZENGE (4D: Sore throat soother) in return. If your theme is solid and engaging, and your longer fill has zing, you can get away with some unpretty connective tissue (e.g. ONEI, OSE, TSE, ELEE, etc.). All in all, a very nice Wednesday experience.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Part of the house where one might check Google messages? (GMAIL ROOM) — doesn't the "G" *stand* for "Google?"
  • 23A: Cry for help on an F.B.I. cruise? ("G-MAN OVERBOARD!")
  • 51A: Guess as to how the thong came into existence? (G-STRING THEORY)
  • 60A: Where Neil Armstrong might store his gear? (G-SUIT CASE)
This puzzle was not terribly difficult to solve, but the cluing was vague or misleading enough in places to make it sufficiently thorny for a Wednesday. Had a weird lot of trouble up north, where I could think of only WELT for 6A: Locale for a lashing (MAST), which I knew wasn't really a "locale," but tell that to my brain. Getting the "T" on the end didn't help. Then I couldn't get to SEA at all from 8D: Deep blue. Is SEA a color, a kind of blue, or is "Deep blue" an idiomatic phrase referring to the SEA? Either way, I was lost. At SEA. Tied to the MAST. In danger of being thrown OVERBOARD (nice nautical theme up there!). Only other problem spot was in the Rambo region, where I couldn't make sense of 11D: Rambo's drive (BLOODLUST). I thought maybe they meant his ride, like ... the car / tank he drove (?). Also, I had AIRMAIL instead of AIRDROP (10D: Certain plane delivery), which was an obvious mistake given the proximity of GMAIL, but ... once again, my brain didn't care.

  • 47D: Dory's affliction in "Finding Nemo" (AMNESIA) — misread "affliction" as "affection" and thought it was asking for a character name. A character name I couldn't remember (yes, I saw the damn movie).
  • 56A: Like a prefall Humpty Dumpty (OVATE) — I had WHOLE. "Prefall" is funny as a term for Humpty Dumpty. I imagine him eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and then becoming overcome with shame as he realizes ... he is an egg.
  • 68D: Lubricates / 69D: Kangaroo babies (OILS JOEYS) — Ew. Why would you do that?
  • 31A: Alan who was born Alphonso D'Abruzzo (ALDA) — not sure if I knew this or not, but Alan in four letters ... that's either LADD or ALDA. Or FUNT, I guess.

  • 63D: Onetime Sixers great (DR. J) — this may be the greatest 3-letter answer in existence. Not that I've thought about it much. But come on—complete name, no vowels, a terminal "J" (!?) ... it's pretty great.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. I co-constructed today's L.A. Times puzzle, along with my sometime stand-in PuzzleGirl. Here's how you can solve it:
  • Get the .puz file via cruciverb.com (see the link in their sidebar)
  • Solve right on the L.A. Times's own applet here.
  • Get a simple .pdf file here
  • OR you could just go out and get your local paper (assuming your local paper isn't the NYT). It might be in there.
I think SethG is doing the write-up over at PuzzleGirl's L.A. Crossword Confidential blog—it'll probably be a puff piece, since he's our friend, so go over there and add a dose of reality to the conversation if you feel like it. I assume the post will be up by around 9am EST.


Anonymous 12:05 AM  

This reminded me of Before and After on Wheel of Fortune, my favorite anti-intellectual training program for doing the NYT puzzle. My favorite before and after is G STRING THEORY.

I once watched a program on the String Theory, which is not the easiest explanation of seemingly conflicting aspects of physics to understand. But that seems to try to explain how all matter is held together, if I recall correctly.

I have also had opportunities to study the properties of G Strings.

It occurs to me that the two theories have this much in common – they both involve invisible matter intended to make everything else visible….

Go Bears

Anonymous 12:06 AM  

Those who like Rex liked the GSTRINGTHEORY answer might enjoy my String Theory video. It's here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMI-OVeV_2k

Linda, VP Puzzles 12:14 AM  

Is that really a man?

Rube 12:31 AM  

Got the top two theme answers and popped Gs into the beginnings of the bottom two, thinking that this was lame. Then, after finishing, decided the theme answers were clever. Actually, G-STRING THEORY was better than clever, it was great... made my day.

Only writeovers were ZACH/ZACk and, as any Scotsman would have it, DRIB/DRam. Oh, had something else for Humpty Dumpty's OVATE, but can't read it now, maybe "as onE" or something like that. Got a chuckle out of @RP's description of H-D in the garden of Eden.

Good puzzle. Just right for a Wednesday.

davko 12:42 AM  

A very pleasant jaunt for a Wednesday, due to some deft cluing for otherwise ho-hum words. Loved "Bleachers sign," which suggested absolutely nothing without a few helping horizontals, then made perfect sense once HIMOM showed itself.

The appearance of VSIX (57D) seemed odd and out of place on a grid loaded up with clever G-words.

My sluggish brain couldn't wrap itself around ONEG (24D) for the longest time, as I kept seeing the word "Oneg," -- conjuring up Oneg Shabbat (the festivities following Friday-night services at a synagogue) and not $1,000. Teasing out the "One G" reminded me of that trick black-and-white drawing of a hag that requires one to stare a long time before the fur-clad beauty reveals herself.

n.t. 12:54 AM  

I saw 'affection' too! The solve took about a minute longer than the fill, as I was dismayed to learn that Jack is not a master of NINE trades. I only ever learned the first part of that expression.

syndy 1:13 AM  

Very easy[lots of fun! g-string theory (much easier to make testable predictions in that one!)Oh and while you are oiling that joey go ahead and clip his toe nails too!

chefwen 1:34 AM  

Thought the puzzle was pretty easy, only write over was CFO over CeO and DRIB over what ever the hell I had in there. Had to Google G STRING THEORY after all was said and done as I am neither mathematical or scientific, the only science I know relates to food. Dear Old Dad still can't figure our how I can be soooo bad at math as he is soooo brilliant. Ah well, ya win some, ya lost some.

chefwen 1:36 AM  

How about lose some, DOH!

r.alphbunker 1:50 AM  

I thought that the revealer was a bit weak. I found the puzzle was easy but I don't feel like I have any particular expertise with the letter G. If the theme of the puzzle had been cheese puns, e.g., fetaccompli,cheddar tear, brie easier,etc the revealer could have been CHEEZ WHIZ and that would be more descriptive of the expertise needed to finish that puzzle.

Why isn't it V string?

Steve J 3:01 AM  

As I was doing this, I thought "What a lame theme: just add a G in front of common phrases." And then I looked at the answers when I was done. While GMAILROOM and GSUITCASE were just ok, GMANOVERBOARD and GSTRINGTHEORY were so brilliant, I couldn't help but admire this.

Although, I'm with r.alphbunker that the revealer was about as lame as, well, "Leave it to Beaver." And completely unnecessary, imo. Seems like an effort to fill Will's theme-entry quota more than anything else.

But that's a quibble to what's otherwise really good. Aside from the two outstanding theme entries, lots of good fill all over the place (the polar opposite of yesterday). Loved AIRDROP and BLOODLUST, liked MAGNET and BESTIAL.

Haven't heard Nick van EXEL's name in eons. One thing I've always wondered with this sort of cluing: shouldn't it be "one-time NBA all-star"? Leaving off the "one-time" implies that he is a current all-star. Seeing as how he's been out of the game for five years, that's clearly not the case.

andrea hi mom! michaels 3:03 AM  

See!? now is everyone happy today?
AND it almost felt like a pangram!
(which is why I tried tuxeS before LIMOS)

I had BayH for BUSH...shows which way I lean...tho OyE as a Carbohydrate suffix doesn't work unless maybe it's for Lokshen Kugel.

My SW was a mess...WHOLE to OVULE to Vten...oye!

Loved the whole theme and the babe MAGNET (oh wait, isn't it "chick magnet?")

Interesting that in using 10Gs one of them was silent (GNAT)

Loved having both SGT Pepper and Bob Dylan sort of waft their way thru the puzzle. Took me a while to come up with NASAL tho for Dylan's voice. I saw the N and the first thought was Non-existent.
Too long.

Happy to learn EXEL and plan to steal it as soon as possible. And that Alan ALDA's Italian. Why have I NEVER seen his real name before in any sort of trivia contest???

Congrats to PuzzleGirl's on her debut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can't wait to go over to the LA Times and see what she and Rex have cooked up!

acme 3:18 AM  

wow it's fabulous...and one bleedover!

ArtLvr 6:35 AM  

Gneiss lagniappe that we didn't have to grapple with all silent-G's as in GNAT!

Who gnu that ALDA was Alphonso D'Abruzzo? It's good in a way that ZACH G eschewed Hollywood tradition, but I won't remember his last name, nor expect it in crosswords regularly. All I get is that it looks like a Greek bird genus..

AGREE with the group that the G-STRING THEORY was one of the Giggliest ever...

Greatly gratified to see that Michael and Angela generated the LAT puzzle. Good going, congrats!


ArtLvr 6:50 AM  

p.s. I know that a Greek genus name is nonsense, but never mind. I'm still dazzled by the PBS show called Dinosaur Wars which showed two brilliant 19th century US scientists putting America on the map in proving Darwin's Theory of Evolution, and ruining themselves in their crazed competition!


Smitty 6:55 AM  

G - I miss Candid Camera...

Pretty easy except I couldn't figure out why O-NEG meant a thousand bucks (forehead slap)

Samantha 8:15 AM  

OGREs and giants are not interchangeable!! Particularly not when you're referring to a specific giant, namely the one that Jack climbed up the beanstalk to annoy. *grumble*

(Also really loved GSTRINGTHEORY)

jackj 8:30 AM  

It goes without saying that GSTRINGTHEORY was the highlight but, lively fill, including the rarely seen DRIB, also made this puzzle a winner.

20 Across was an uncalled for put-down.

David L 8:31 AM  

I was pleased with myself for getting LOZENGE from the L and AMNESIA from the AM, despite never having seen the movie in question. I liked a lot of the cluing here but I have to confess that the theme and the reveal left me unmoved. Why don't I find GSTRINGTHEORY hilarious? Dunno, but I don't....

efrex 8:36 AM  

I second the TUXES/LIMOS writeover, as well as spending far too long on AMNESIA (I kept thinking of Dory's hyperactivity and speech mannerisms, and forgot all about that part of her character). I liked "GEE WHIZ" as a theme revealer, and the theme answers as a whole ranged from good (GMAN OVERBOARD) to great (GMAIL ROOM) to perfect laugh-out-loud brilliant (G STRING THEORY). A strong theme negates much weak fill.

dk 9:00 AM  

Dora does not have Amnesia. Fish have a limited memory span. Goldfish, for example, have a novel experience each trip around the bowl. Thus, Dora does not forget she does not retain. GEEWHIZ! Who cares? Well if you saw my high school honors science project you would? Proved flies (aka bait) are smarter than fish in learning simple avoidance tasks.

Cute puzzle but not quite up to the Wednesday bar.

GMAILROOM, FRAT not so hot.

I did find the Beaver quote appropriate. And, interesting to no one but me, my bus driver in high school was named Eddie Haskill of Mrs. Cleaver you look lovely today fame.

** (2 Stars). Can you tell that Wednesday is the favorite puzzle and Tuesday the red headed step child.?

treedweller 9:07 AM  

If anyone decides to write the story of Humpty and Eve, please pass along a copy.

chefbea 9:31 AM  

Easy puzzle

Now on to the LA Times

mac 9:33 AM  

Loved that Woody Allen video! Nice to have a good laugh at the beginning of the day.

That deep blue is either a brilliant clue or I didn't get it but got it anyway.

To me this was a good Wednesday, with hilareous theme answers. Got into a little bit of trouble when I thought a thousand bucks was one K.

@dk: your research makes me feel much better. Just thought of the lonely fish at the dentist's office. His name is Oscar.

retired_chemist 9:40 AM  

Better than yesterday. A number of bright spots already mentioned. Others I liked: HI MOM, MAGNET. More crosswordese than I like, but the theme was good enough to make up for it.

6A - my lashing was on the BACK. 56A - as for Andrea, it started out WHOLE (as did H-D). Nick Van EXEL an All-Star? Didn't play at quite that level in Dallas IMO, though he played well. His son shot someone recently. Maybe not the best time for this answer.

captcha inerse - let's have a puzzle in Erse.

quilter1 9:45 AM  

What a fun solve after yesterday's disaster. Plus a bonus puzzle I'll get to in a moment. Plus Candid Camera. Smilin' here in frigid Iowa.

deerfencer 9:47 AM  

Liked this one a lot--peppy, contemporary cluing (even though a few reference the 50's, they still felt alive) and a well executed theme with some great long answers. Excellent Wednesday effort IMO.

Finally, GSTRINGTHEORY seems cosmically appropos today given the Silvio Berlusconi call girl scandal on page one of the Times this morning. Probably many thongs in attendance at those naughty villa parties. (Sidenote: SB makes Bill Clinton look like a Puritan piker.)

P.S. Congrats to Rex and Puzzlegirl for their LAT debut, and thanks for the puzzle link--looking forward to it on this wet and dreary January day in NY!

SethG 9:53 AM  

I did write a puff piece, but only because I truly enjoyed your puzzle.

Two good puzzles today.

Nick Van Exel's been in the news a bit because his son Nickey just killed a guy. Rambo killed a lot of guys, on film, but I wouldn't call his a bloodlust. Who eats just one Cheerio?

JaxInL.A. 9:56 AM  

Liked the puzzle very much. If I'm gonna get to the LAT puzz better leave it at that.

As of yesterday PG has a new look to her blog at L.A. Crossword Confidential (link on Rex's page), and her "about me" used to say that she had not had a puzzle published yet. Hope she remembers to change that as of today!

archaeoprof 9:57 AM  

The Beaver, Dr J, Neil Armstrong, and Dory all in one puzzle! What's not to like?

For those who never saw him play, watch highlights of DR J at:

Lindsay 10:08 AM  

@deerfencer --- according to Berlusconi, his parties were all conducted with "the most absolute elegance, decorum, and calm."

That's the sort of fact-saturated statement you on-line solvers miss :~)

Loved the puzzle. I usually start in the lower right corner, and as each theme answer is one letter too long, AND the extra letter is on the left, I solved the entire eastern half of the grid and still no idea of the trick. Just a little sadness that "string theory" didn't fit the thong clue.

Stan 10:15 AM  

Gee whiz, Wally, what a swell puzzle!! Even Rex thought it was neat -- I was afraid he was going to give it the business over dumb stuff like ONE G and ONE I.

Guess I'll go mess around at the LATimes site...

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

I do not agree entirely with Rex calling this wacky etc. I prefer to think of this puzzle more like the Before and After game on Wheel of Fortune. There is a continuous phrase that can be read one way at its beginning and another way at its end with a common word connecting both.


Before: Gmail
After: Mail room
Common word: Mail

Before: G-Man
After: Man overboard
Common word: Man

Before: G-String
After: String Theory
Common word: String

Before: G-Suit
After: Suitcase
Common word: Suit

Sometimes the NYT puzzle is more fun and less intellectual....

JC66 10:24 AM  

@ r.alphbunker

From wikipedia

The origin of the term "G-string" is obscure. Since the 19th century, the term geestring referred to the string which held the loincloth of Native Americans [1] and later referred to the narrow loincloth itself. William Safire in his Ode on a G-String quoted the usage of the word "G-string" for loincloth by Harper's Magazine 15 years after Beadle's and suggested that the magazine confused the word with the musical term G-string (i.e., the string for the G note). Safire also mentions the opinion of linguist Robert Hendrickson that G (or gee) stands for groin, which was a taboo word at these times.[2]
Edgar Rice Burroughs dressed his created novel-character, Tarzan, in a G-string for the first time in his book The Son of Tarzan (1914) in chapter 26.[3] However, Korak, son of Tarzan, used a G-string before his father Tarzan did in the same book (chapter 20).[4]

Two Ponies 10:28 AM  

What a nice palate cleanser after yesterday. Always a pleasure to start my day with a grin.

Tobias Duncan 10:47 AM  

This more than makes up for yesterday.
@Andrea round these parts its not called a babe magnet or a chick magnet...

Oh come on you were all thinking it !

joho 10:53 AM  

Who would have thought a puzzle built around GEEWHIZ would be so much fun? Great job with clever clues and answers.

I also enjoyed the "L.A.Times" today ... again, very well done, fresh and fun.

I thought it really odd that both puzzles have two words that are exactly the same and one has a "Nemo" clue and the other a "Nemo" answer.

Oh, I saw Bob Dylan a couple of years ago and he wasn't only NASAL, he changed the melodies to his songs! The only way to identify the song being sung was to catch a word or phrase. Of course, he has artistic license to do whatever he wants, but it was a let down to me.

Steve J 10:54 AM  

@dk: The idea that goldfish have such a short memory is actually myth. Check the references Wikipedia cites (one of which is Mythbusters, another of which is an actual academic study).

@retired_chemist: Like you, I didn't remember van EXEL being an all-star, but apparently he made it to the game exactly once, in 1998 as a Laker. Hadn't heard about his son. That's sad.

Interesting to see that several people had TUXES in for LIMOS. I did that as well. Also shared Rex's momentary "confusion" over Humpty Dumpty and the Fall: I had a brief image of Humpty Dumpty being a character in Milton's "Paradise Lost" (which, admittedly, would have made it marginally interesting and massively less sanctimonious, even though being sanctimonious is kind of the point of Milton).

PuzzleNut 11:10 AM  

What everyone else is saying!
Too late to add anything new.

william e emba 11:15 AM  

Not so much love over here. Mostly because I remember---and even have somewhere on my shelves--the original G-STRING THEORY from almost 25 years ago. Of course, to get 99% of the humor you had to have been up on your physics.

James Sie 11:36 AM  

Great Candid Camera clip!!

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

And Gucci made a
G suitcase years ago, too.

Did that really ruin your solving experience, or did you just want to show off whatever it is you're showing off?

deerfencer 12:09 PM  


"...according to Berlusconi, his parties were all conducted with "the most absolute elegance, decorum, and calm." "

Translation: diamond-studded pasties,
gold-tasseled G-strings, virgin G-notes for snow removal, Cristal Champagne to wash it all down.

TimJim 12:22 PM  

Liked the puzzle, loved the Candid Camera clip. Here's Brian Regan on string theory ...

r.alphbunker 12:53 PM  

Interesting. However, the wikipedia illustration looks more like a V than a G to me.

Howard B 1:02 PM  

Nice. When I went through an experimental (but fruitless) constructing phase a couple of years ago, I had placed GSTRINGTHEORY in a grid with a completely different (and inferior) theme. That theme, along with my construction attempts, never quite panned out, but it was fun to see it used successfully :).

Kendall 1:30 PM  

I really liked this a lot and laughed out loud at G-STRING THEORY.

I had the absolute hardest time with the SW corner for some reason. I messed up the Humpty Dumpty clue with WHOLE which basically meant I couldn't see anything else there for a while. Had to erase it and try over. The theme actually helped me solve the puzzle which was nice because otherwise I made just have been stuck there forever (or until tomorrow).

My favorite section was by far the NE corner with AIRDROP and BLOODLUST right next to each other. I just thought that was absolutely great. Cute little nautical theme like Rex mentioned too.

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

@Rex – re LAT puzzle –

What I liked –

Learning the name of puzzle girl;
Some 3 letter words (10A, 25A, 45A, 48A)
Some other fill (42D, 23A, 43A – especially appropriate for you, 60A, 62A)

What I question –

48A is not anything I have ever heard even watching and playing as much as I do
33D seems unreal and not saved by a ?

Overall – B (would be an A if I had more fun doing it)

PS – Don’t do the LAT puzzle so this was a new experience. Hated the software….

Go Bears

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

i sailed through this puzzle, sailed through it. i know this is a regular occurrence for thou of the book learnin', but i am just a mere mortal. i'm framing this bad boy. i am grinning from ear to ear.

love your blog!

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

Kind of easy for a Wednesday. Ugly clue and answer for FRAT since FRAT is short for Fraternity. There may be a kegger at the FRAT house or at the FRAT party. I always hate the word FRAT, partly because I was in a fraternity in college. As somone once told me "You woulnd't call your country a <4-letter word>.

Bogus 2:36 PM  

@Anon 1:49 / Go Bears - You do realize that at least half the answers you cited by location don't exist in the puzzle don't you?

Anonymous 2:59 PM  

@Bogus - shows you how much I did not like the software....

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

@ Bogus - I re-checked and stand by my cites. Not sure why you disagree? I was addressing the LA Times puzzle Rex and puzzle girl authored, not the NY Times puzzle....

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

@ Rex - PS - Congrats to you and PG on being your 1st in the LAT. You are almost getting prolific of late and I did like this one more than your last in the NYT (fwiw)....


Bogus 3:15 PM  

@Anon / Go Bears - Totally my bad. On the LA Crossword Confidential site, they list what I thought was all the clue/answer pairs at the bottom. Turns out, they only list those which weren't discussed in detail in the writeup.

I, apparently, am truly Bogus

J 3:34 PM  

Had UNFURLS for UNROLLS so I didn't know what BLOODRUST was.

Besides, wasn't Rambo's "drive" initially injustice? (Except in the last movie. Can still see the exploding bodies.)

If anyone tried to spell 4 Down "L-O-Z-E-N-G-E-R" please leave here and never come back.


Again, can't stand OVATE. I have strong bloodrust against it.

Squeek 3:34 PM  

We got a couple of winners today.
I never do the LAT puzzle but today I did. Things just keep getting more interesting around here.
Bloodlust was a cool answer.
It made me think of Caribou Barbie using Blood Libel. I had never heard of that before and was wondering if that pissed anyone off in this crowd.
Having no secular sensitivities myself (I belong to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) things like that are off my radar screen.

joho 3:48 PM  

I forgot to congratulate PuzzleGirl on your crossword debut: how exciting! Loved the puzzle, too!

@Rex, while it wasn't your debut puzzle, was it your first "LA Times?"

sanfranman59 4:03 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)

Wed 10:36, 11:44, 0.90, 30%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:23, 5:46, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium

I'm not surprised to see that today's solve times are faster than yesterday's.

fikink 4:11 PM  

So much to love in this one! Beside BLOODLUST, AIR DROP and RAIN GUAGE caught my fancy. Agree with the questionable SEA. GMAN OVERBOARD was delightful, but, yes, I agree, does not RIVAL G-STRING THEORY.
And ONE G was a nice bonus. Kept seeing ONEG (as IN Eugene).
Also wanted TUXES for the X, @ahmm.
@Samantha, I agree and thought my remembrance of Jack and the Beanstalk was faulty. Required me to watch Into The Woods again and confirm the giant.
@dk, how do you know that goldfish have a novel experience each trip around the bowl? I hope this is true for it calms my misplaced sympathy for the goldfish that is jammed into a half glass of water in pet shops. Perhaps they experience something new each time they manage to turn around.
@Stan, LOL! Thanks.
@SteveJ "even though being sanctimonious is kind of the point of Milton," LOL! Thanks.
@deerfencer, so "snow removal" is the term of art?
@Anon 2:03 - Indeed! Frame that bad boy; we all started out there. Soon Saturdays will seem a waltz.
@Squeek, "Blood libel"? Don't get me started. There is an e-card circulating that apologizes, in advance, for anything that might cross her lips that day.
Off to the LA Times.
Sweet puzzle, Ms. House!

Sfingi 5:28 PM  

I think SEA should have been clued as a green, then there'd be a mini-theme.
Then there's the "wine-dark sea" of Homer.
You and this both had OLIVE as colors. This was clued as green, yours as drab.

Also, this puzzle's Humpty was OVATE; USA's, today also was OVOID.
I also had whole before OV-.

Since I had CEO instead of CFO and don't know sports, I didn't get FRAT or ARI. Never heard of Van EXEL (sports, again)

Didn't like DRIB. DRIBs, maybe, from DRIBs and drabs.

Definitely a giant, not an OGRE.
In the Aarne-Thompson classification, it is type 328. Jack, of course, is a lucky fool type.

Also had TUXES before LIMOS. No limos in my day. My prom was 1961, I had to come home at 11, and my date turned out to be gay (as did my Sr. ball date). So much for gaydar.

@Artlover - Italians always know that stuff. His father was Alfonso Giuseppe Roberto d'Abruzzo, and he was a heart-throb.

Robert Alda

RushS 5:46 PM  

Googled punkie and learned it could be another word with four letters, hidden by the gstring...sometimes you learn something you really didn't want to know doing xwds...However, I did learn I like Dylan (even when he changes his songs) and the Beatles a lot more than Sean Paul

quilter1 6:37 PM  

I very much liked the LAT puzzle. Thanks, RP and PG.
Is there not a phrase "caught between the devil and the deep blue sea?" I'll look it up. Night, night everyone.

quilter1 6:41 PM  

Yes! And it is also a song title.

fikink 7:45 PM  

Wow! Just realized the constructor is Kristian, not Kristen. My apologies, Mr. House - still a sweet puzzle. (Glad I addressed you in the formal sense, anyway.)

andrea hi daddy! michaels 7:53 PM  

That Woody Allen clip is fabulous!!!!
how do you even know it exists, much less find it, much less perfectly use it????
That poor secretary looks like a creature from an unkind Kliban cartoon named Sylvia.

Funny about your prom escorts...my Junior one got me to try pot and he's ended up a homeless heroin addict (tho still cute) and my senior date (in rented tux, no limo)took my, um, virginity...99.9% sure he was/is not gay!
(tho every best friend in college was!)
Do't worry about your gaydar. My friend Denise and I can be sitting having coffee next to three total fabulous transvestites and all she notices are their shoes!

Alpine Joy 8:55 PM  

Dear Rex,

First, I want to thank you for your tremendous leadership of the Jets. Here is the New York Post headline from January 18 (2011): "REX FUELS GANG'S LONG DRIVE FOR SUPER BOWL". Kudos for your great leadership & multitasking!

With all due respect, I aver you are incorrect about the Word of the Day.

The correct Word of the Day is obviously "STET" (48d. Leave in). Who knew!

Secondly, who knew ovate (58a)? That's a weird word, 'n' I consider myself faintly (or fairly) literate.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the Woody Allen Candid Camera scene--there was a time when excellence in entertainment was really valued. I think it's worth a second contribution from me.

What are the "G-String Murders"? Damn, there's a lot of interesting stuff out there on the 'net, if you can avoid the crap.

I'm putting in a shout-out to Vi Hart, of vihart.com, who was featured in last Tuesday's Science Times.

Thanks Rex!

sanfranman59 10:39 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 7:28, 6:56, 1.08, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 11:30, 8:56, 1.29, 99%, Challenging
Wed 10:40, 11:44, 0.91, 31%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:57, 3:42, 1.07, 83%, Challenging
Tue 5:29, 4:35, 1.20, 94%, Challenging
Wed 5:13, 5:46, 0.90, 30%, Easy-Medium

Alpine Joy 8:15 AM  

Dear Rex,

I think it's obvious from your video that (31A: Alan who was born Alphonso D'Abruzzo) should be either Alan FUNT or Woody ALAN.

Thanks again Rex!

NotalwaysrightBill 4:14 PM  

Syndi-lated paper&pen puzzler.

GEEWHIZ, Mrs. BUSH, I mean Cleavage (ya just know June had to be wearin' a GSTRING under that dress she always wore), the theme made me feel absolutely BESTIAL, almost like an elephant in MAST, though not in a BLOODLUST way. Medium fun.

Hated the usual proportion of sucky clueing (for FRAT, BLOODLUST, SEA, MAGNET, etc.) one CHEERIO at a time.

Haven't run into any reference citing a PUPA stage for them , but just now Google-learned about the existence of AGLET-babies. Wonder if they're smarter than Punkies.

Does anybody else think that the Humpty Dumpty/Eve-in-Eden thing is what Lady Gaga was trying to reenact at the Grammies, or chessmi?

NotalwaysrightBill 4:31 PM  

Many began to OVATE Lady Gaga upon her grand Humpty Dumpty entrance, and sporadic-not-always-standing ovation for her schtick erupted throughout the evening.

Cary in Boulder 8:42 PM  

Since NotalwaysrightBill has already chimed in, this is for any other syndicated straggler's possible edification. While "Deep Blue Sea" was a cheezy 1999 scifi movie, I remember it as a Pete Seeger song: "Deep blue sea, baby, deep blue sea. It was Willie who got drownded in the deep blue sea."

On a more disgusting note, when I was little my family used "punkie" (pronounced more like poonkie) to describe what you did in your diaper.

Dirigonzo 8:47 PM  

In my experience (not that I have much experience with red carpets) no one UNROLLS the red carpet - they always "roll out" the red carpet. I just needed to say that.

NotalwaysrightBill 10:19 PM  

"Between the devil and the deep blue sea," is venerable enough, but never heard of the SEA being called "the deep blue." It'd be like the sky being called "the wild blue" based on the saying "the wild blue yonder": that ain't IT. I also agree with @Dirigonzo about "roll out" and UNROLL not being entirely interchangeable.

Found OVATE listed in my make-ten-volumes-two-and-throw-in-a-magnifying-glass edition of the OED, as a transitive verb, as in TO OVATE, not even "archaic" or "obsolete." I assume it would be in the online edition as well, but it costs an individual $295/yr to subscribe; looks like it might be somewhat less for an "institution." It'd sure be a nice addition to Rex's site here, and certainly a better option than having to resort to Wikipedia as any kind of authoritative source (although it's getting better). A special once-a-year online OED subscription drive?


lodsf 1:36 AM  

(1/19 in Feb’11). Loved the puzzle; agree with accolades already given (and re-given). Loved … loved … loved the [Woody] Alan clip !! (with punctuation). Vintage Woody Allen; IMO opinion so much better than his later years (now & the past 10, I guess). Thanks for posting that, Rex (where do you find these things?) Thanks too for the LAT puzzle PDF file (for tomorrow; too late tonight).

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