Milne's absent-minded Mr / TUE 2-1-11 / Pre-Russia intl economic coalition / Bangladesh's capital old-style / Prison screw / Motherland affectionately

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Constructor: Ron & Nancy Byron

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: MIXED MEDIA (61A: Artwork using both paint and collage, e.g. ... and a hint to this puzzle's circled letters) — circled consecutive letters inside theme answers are jumbles of the letters M, E, D, I, and A


Word of the Day: TOULON (11D: French port near Marseille) —

Toulon (Provençal Occitan: Tolon in classical norm or Touloun in Mistralian norm ) is a town in southern France and a large military harbour on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence. // Toulon is an important centre for naval construction, fishing, wine making, and the manufacture of aeronautical equipment, armaments, maps, paper, tobacco, printing, shoes, and electronic equipment. // The military port of Toulon is the major naval center on France's Mediterranean coast, home of the French Navy aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle and her battle group. The French Mediterranean Fleet is based in Toulon. (wikipedia)

• • •

Writing this ahead of a massive blizzard that is expected to descend upon this area of the country aaaaaaany second now (actually, it will come on slowly tomorrow and then destroy us some time on Wednesday). Northern midwesterners and northeasterners will have some idea what I'm talking about, if not now, then soon. I like this "Winter Storm Meter," which I lifted from the alloveralbany.com website. "SnOMG!"


As for the puzzle, I don't have much to say. There was something kind of lackluster about the whole thing. Theme answers aren't that interesting, and that non-theme fill is boring at best, strange and dated-feeling at worst. The dull: ELEE over SSTS (!), then ILA, ELEC, AAR, IBE (?), ERMA, ABM, ETA, SRO, SRI, CMI, NOMSG, etc. The strange: GSEVEN (bygone) (43A: Pre-Russia intl economic coalition), TOULON (where?), Mr. PIM (so bygone I couldn't even find a halfway decent summary online) (1D: Milne's absent-minded Mr.), and DACCA (so bygone the puzzle knows it's bygone: "old-style!") (20A: Bangladesh's capital, old-style). Whole thing felt very not-of-this-century, from the opening gambit ("PSHAW!") to OLD SOD (32A: Motherland, affectionately) to the clue for JAILER (unless "screw" is still contemporary non-sexual slang, in which case, my apologies) (21A: Prison "screw"). Despite never having heard of several of these answers, I finished in an absolutely average Tuesday time. All in all, the puzzle is just fine—not at all incompetent or off-putting. Just blah.

["Pretty girls come A DIME A DOZEN..."]

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Big name in orange juice (MINUTE MAID)
  • 25A: Large gem in the Smithsonian (HOPE DIAMOND)
  • 37A: Kindly doctor's asset (BEDSIDE MANNER)
  • 52A: Common (A DIME A DOZEN)
Stay warm. I'm off to ... do something. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

54 comments:

Marcus Aggripa 12:07 AM  

I was pretty sure a pre-Russian economic coalition consisted of Sparta, Greece, perhaps the Peloponnesians, maybe included Rome. Because Russia's been around for quite a long time.

syndy 12:42 AM  

jesus wept! SST in the exact same place two days in a row! Did this puzzle in 6 minutes which is amazing since I type with one finger."No msg" looks suspiciouly familiar as well.I liked AARONS rod,and the shoutout to the goats that got short-shrift sunday.However while waiting for rex to post I went tosee WORDPLAY where the quest commenter is a newbie! took her over an hour and she loved every minute of it so thumbs up

JaxInL.A. 1:26 AM  

I could have sworn that the longshoremen's group was a union, so had ILU and DUDS root beer, which sounds vaguely familiar and kinda like suds which root beer makes, right? Ugh.

I liked seeing my radio pal IRA Glass in the puzzle,and A TUB over TUBA tickled me for some reason.

Have we had the Byrons before? Don't recognize them. Stay warm, all.

Anonymous 1:26 AM  

Not bad, but unremarkable.

chefwen 1:28 AM  

Mentioned to my husband that I was disappointed in tonight's puzzle because I thought it was boring. He, who is doing Monday and Tuesday in syndication was amazed that I could think a puzzle was "boring" said "hell, I'm happy just to finish one of those puzzles, much less have an opinion on it." I keep telling him to read the blog, but the poor dear doesn't have the time. One of us has to keep working and in my opinion, better him than me. I've paid my dues.

It looks like most of the country is in for some major white stuff dumping. I remember the year that we could let our dog out to do his thing from the second story of our condo because the drifts were that high. Good luck all.

Rube 2:14 AM  

Although the theme didn't do much for me, I did enjoy the puzzle, mediocre fill and all.

IMO, AARONS, NOMAR, and TOULON are later-in-the-week answers, even though they are all gettable from crosses, (assuming you figure out GSEVEN). I'd probably throw TERI into that bin, but that's just non-pop-culture me.

So Che's real name is ERNESTO! Sort of dulls the iconic image.

andrea carla michaels nee ernesto 3:12 AM  

Admittedly I'm still more than high from just having finished reading yesterday's comments, but I REALLY liked this puzzle!

I thought it was amazing that you could mix the letters in MEDIA and have four completely unforced phrases PLUS MIXEDMEDIA as a "reveal"!!!

DIMEADOZEN is very lively and I'm flabbergasted there were phrases that contained some variation of M-E-D-I-A in a row! I think this is brilliant!

Plus, Q's, X's, J's thrown around.

@syndy
Yes!!!!! TWO bleedovers from yesterday: SSTS in same place (where you would usually find them, on the bottom...grounded!)
but freaky that NOMSG was there too!

@JaxinLA
TOTALLY with you! I put in ILu (confusing it with IGLWU or whatever that is) and thought DuDS?!!! Now that's a bad name for a product! (Unless, of course it's Milk Duds!)

@Masked and Anonymous,
U will be happy to know that wasn't my only U mistake...I originally wrote in uLTIMA for the car...I literally had to make a U-turn!)

And I liked starting with PSHAW and OLDSOD, bec they were literally a different century/time/place, rather than just weirdly, slightly outdated...

So altho I can't disagree with that pile up of iffy-fill @Rex cited, I have to say I still found this amazing!

(Then again, after yesterday's outpouring of love, I may have to be peeled from the ceiling)

shrub5 3:23 AM  

The S in GSEVEN was my last letter. Looked at G-EVEN for quite some time before the d'oh moment. Liked this puzzle and didn't find it dull in the least. I was baffled by the circled letters as they weren't words; switched the letters around in my head IMADE, MADIE, MAIDE, AMIDE, ADIME, everything but MEDIA.

@JaxinL.A. - I thought the dockworker's org. was ILO so my root beer was DODS at first. Knew of DADS RB so that got fixed, but I like your rationalization of DUDS.

I had the NAP--- of NAPLES but put in NAPOLI. I guess I've been listening to "That's Amore" one too many times.

@acme: You're the tops! I like my oooh with three Os....because that's how I say it.

SethG 5:46 AM  

The fact that the letters in MEDIA spell EMAID, EDIAM, IDEMA, and DIMEA does nothing for me. Just among famous people Andie MacDowell, Golda Meir, Joe Dimaggio, Iron Maiden, Wendie Malick, Jamie Dugan, Eddie Mathews, or anyone named Damien or Friedman works.

A DIME A DOZEN actually works in three different ways--surprised the next d wasn't circled instead, to span that extra word.

fikink 6:47 AM  

Didn't dislike this puzzle as much as others. Perhaps my glee at the anticipated snow storm has "dusted" my consciousness.
Looking forward to a full day of fireside puzzling and soup brewing. My sympathies are extended to all of you who have to be out working in the snow, however.

To the Byrons, thanks for the nice start to the day.

r.alphbunker 7:49 AM  

I liked the puzzle. I solved it top down and wish I had tried harder to guess the theme as I filled in the circled squares. It would have felt really good to have noticed that they all used the same letters that could be rearranged to spell MEDIA and then make the jump to MIXED MEDIA before encountering the revealer. I think you can find joy in almost every NYT puzzle.

mmorgan 8:27 AM  

There are some things you "just know" sometimes, like ERNESTO (26D --it helps to spend time in Argentina), like I "just knew" BEDELIA yesterday (it helps to have a daughter named Amelia!).

I liked this one though I usually don't care for sets of circles letters where each set is jumbled -- but these were cool phrases. For some reason I decided for variety to start at the bottom, which gave me MIXEDMEDIA right off and really simplified the whole thing.

Nice easy smooth Tuesday with some very pleasant clues and cute answers (I actually thought that some of the fill was kinda crisp).

Oops -- also got caught in the 72A/62D cross... had ILO/DODS, like @Shrub5. (At least I didn't have ILU/DUDS like some ;-)

I hope this snow is gone by August...

joho 8:38 AM  

I loved @chefwen's husband's comment,"hell, I'm happy to finish one of those puzzles, much less have an opinion on it."

Me, I like to find the joy in each puzzle ... even mediocre attempts have high points. This puzzle was anything but mediocre in my opinion and especially interesting for a Tuesday which for some reason is oftentimes awkward.

No MIXED feelings here! Thank you, Ron and Nancy Byron!

efrex 8:39 AM  

I thought the theme was fun. Not brilliant, but fun. A common five-letter anagram in four unforced phrases is a good basis for a Tuesday-level theme, and four theme clues plus a reveal is a nice theme density.

The fill, though, just piled on the yuck. I know that there's a limited number of 3-letter words out there, but there seemed to be at least one "spoor" answer in every direction. Two or three fewer bits of crosswordese, and I'd have been reasonably happy with this one, but those, plus the strange (to me, anyway) OLD SOD (not easily gettable from crosses, either) made this a B-/C+ effort (geez, can you tell that I'm directly related to too many teachers?)

retired_chemist 8:41 AM  

Meh.

Typo (XES for XED) and error (ILO for IRA) neighbors took me 90 seconds to find and fix. Each looked right, and I blocked on DAD'S root beer, wondering if DOSS was a root beer I didn't know. Fixed ILA, making the root beer DASS, and then smiled imagining Ram Dass hawking root beer instead of LSD.

The theme emerged from the first one I got (HOPE DIAMOND) and all proceeded smoothly after a slow start. But I didn't see the fill as particularly interesting, AARON'S rod being about the best IMO.

joho 8:42 AM  

@Rex ... I forgot to mention, love your Winter Storm Meter. I think we're nearing Hell Freezes Over here in Ohio!

John V 9:17 AM  

Easy, save for 47D, my candidate for alternate word of the day, Millet. Otherwise, just a fun puzzle.

No such thing as a not-fun NYT puzzle, just some are more fun than others. I'm always happy to greet a new day, on the train, with my coffee, with the puzzle; life is good.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

@sethg: brilliant! maybe that's a theme in the making - people who work in the media with mixed media in their names.

@acme: good to have you back! glad you escaped the snow.

-XWDer

jesser 9:19 AM  

For whatever cosmic reason (snow forecast in southern NM?) the circles printed today, which Just Never Happens, so I was able to see the trick unfold. I disagree strongly with Rex and run to ACME's side of the room on this one. Loved it. About halfway through, I found myself wondering what it must be like to live in a constructor's brain. Do you come up with these themes in the shower?

My writeover was at 12D, where I plopped in hetEro only to have UNBENT manifest itself from the acrosses. No comment. :-)

Same nit as yesterday for 21A, where a 'prison' screw is not a JAILER, because jails and prisons are not synonymous. That said, the nastiest gang in either type of facility is undoubtedly the AZTECaS. Vicious.

Here's hoping everyone has a splendid Tuesday before this storm ruins the rest of the week!

Acclo! (What one's skin is after a good shower during which a puzzle theme appears from the steam, I'm guessin') -- jesser

Mixed not Multi 9:22 AM  

Lots of old friends (aka trite or crosswordese to others) made this my fastest Monday to date --- and yes, I know it's Tuesday.

P>G>

quilter1 9:28 AM  

I kind of enjoyed the old fashioned feel of PSHAW and OLD SOD among others. Don't know how I knew ERNESTO but it fell in without hesitation. I would rate this one as easy.
Unless it is still coming the big snow missed us--only about half an inch on the porch. But my paper didn't come! Rats. So I printed out the puzzle and now I'm ahead of myself. Baking apricot filled oatmeal bars today.
sedworte: a plant that grows with AARONS ROD

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

I don't usually like the "circled letter themes" certainly not when the theme consists of "anagrams" of the word MEDIA that have absolutely no meaning as stand-alone words. But I liked the entries themselves. There are fresh combinations and I can certainly appreciate the talent needed to come up with them.
The puzzle for me was on the easy side. The last area to crack was the NE corner. To sum up: easy and mildly fun.

Sparky 10:11 AM  

Me too with ILu/DaDS. Thought OLD SOD was Ireland, not any Motherland. Enjoyable, nice Tuesday.

archaeoprof 10:16 AM  

One writeover today: napoli/NAPLES at 45D.

Stay warm and dry, everyone!

Two Ponies 10:28 AM  

Tuesdays are tough to find a good fit for and this was no exception.
Parts of it were great. The theme phrases were very much "in the language." But speaking of language, I counted 19 foreign words and the usual crowd of abbrev.'s and 3-letter grout required to make this work.
@ jesser, I knew someone else would notice that bleed-over re: jail/prison again.
@ Andrea, I'm glad you had such a good day yesterday.
Funny that the painter of The Gleaners has a grain for a name.

retired_chemist 10:32 AM  

@ archaeoprof - hand up for NAPOLI too.

chefbea 11:13 AM  

Fun puzzle. Knew the circled letters were all the same but didn't know what they spelled til I saw mixed media.

Lets give no msg a rest

Sfingi 11:16 AM  

Rex - Thanx for Smokey!

You ask for a grace to be said in the form of a Biblical quote, and the wise kid says "Jesus WEPT. Now let's eat." Or worse, "My brother was a hairy man, and I was a smooth." Amen.

Had golden before AARONS rod (another Biblical ref.

Third Biblical reference - The Gleaners. Deuteronomy specified to leave the left-overs (and corners) for the poor. Gleanings are not, therefore, things purposely chosen, as many think.

I liked the expressions, but wasn't impressed with the MIXED MEDIA, spelled different ways, none of which were real words.

@2Ponies - I've often pondered that.

Except for neither I nor Hubster remembering how to spell DIX, I scarcely noticed the foreign words.

Did not knowing ILA, DADS or NOMAR - funny name.

@Andrea - ILGWU - International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Memories of NYC.

Whadya call those lozenge shaped pupils goats have?

@Marcus - that, too. How soon they forget.

I thought the HOPE DIAMOND - a blue, was bad luck.

@Chefwen - I'm happy to finish and to be in the club that can complain Mon- Wed.

After struggling up an incline in my Focus after buying the NYT, I decided to cancel my PT. The snow is coming down faster than you can wipe it off. Heavy stuff, too. And tomorrow is to be worse. It's a Canadian Clipper that's been tweaked way down South in the middle. Anyway, I'll get enough exercise shoveling with my little orange plastic shovel.

Stan 11:37 AM  

(Grrr -- as is often the case, all my points have already been made, but I'll blather on anyway.)

So, thumbs up on the "unforced" theme phrases and clever reveal. Also found the "old-fashioned" upper left corner a plus rather than a minus.

Didn't care for the horde of one-point Scrabble letters in the lower left. Great comment from @Two Ponies: "the usual crowd of abbrev.'s and 3-letter grout required to make this work." Love the grout metaphor -- like, it's fine in moderation but only to surround the tiles.

Mel Ott 11:47 AM  

Wow! Anagrams that don't mean anything! What a great idea for a puzzle! Huh?

The fist one I got was EMAID and I thought someone had come up with a computer-based cleaning service.

mmorgan 11:54 AM  

@Sfingi -- Nomar was given his father's name (Ramon) backwards. That's important to know.

Nancy B. 11:54 AM  

@jesser, I can't tell you the number of times I've mulled over themes in the shower . . . funny you should mention it!

Greene 12:11 PM  

I'm sort of embarrased to admit what came to my mind when I got OLD SOD. Let's just say that it had nothing to do with anybody's Motherland. Those of pure heart and clean mind may consult the Urban Dictionary.

As you were.

deerfencer 12:32 PM  

Liked the puzzle quite a bit and whipped through it without much effort. Overall thought it had nice flow and a well executed theme.

Yes, some tired, overused fill--how many times have I seen NOMSG lately? A lot--but all in all I enjoyed the solve on this snowy Tuesday in NY. Thank you Ron & Nancy.

P.S. Surprisingly, my wife and 21-year-old daughter are not having that easy a time with the puzzle, but the former has a wicked head cold and the latter is a relative newbie to the Times Xword.

Sfingi 12:46 PM  

@MMorgan - Thanx - it all helps.

@MelOtt - I'm waiting for the chance to send my dry cleaning to India and get it back the next day.

Look Up Guy 1:23 PM  

@Sfingi

Definitions of Gleanings on the Web:

•Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh is a compilation of selected tablets and extracts from tablets by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Shoghi Effendi, head of the Bahá'í Faith from 1921 to 1957, made the selection and performed the translation, which was first published 1935.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleanings

•Gleanings is a 1965 album by jazz musician John Coltrane.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleanings_(album)

•Robert Edward Cox (1917-December 16, 1989) was an American optical engineer and a popularizer of amateur telescope making. He conducted the popular "Gleanings for ATMs" (Amateur Telescope Makers) column in Sky and Telescope magazine for 21 years.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleanings_for_ATMs

[Continuing a tradition of FWIW search results, without further interpretation]

AnDrEa MIchaels 1:39 PM  

@seth
wow!!!!!!!!! that is an amazing list...you absolutely SHOULD make a puzzle out of it!

Plus good call on the way ADIMEADOZEN worked in THREE different ways and should have spanned the second D...you are scary brilliant even in your succinct grumpiness!

@ret-chem
Hand up also for NAPOLI...even thinking, "How odd they didn't tip off that it was the Italian spelling in the clue"!
But then when I realized it was MY mistake, I was too embarrassed at my own pretentiousness of having filled in NAPOLI automatically to mention it!!!

Yes, thrilled to have escaped the snow, but didn't on the way there! My plane had been canceled going and four hour delay/midnight arrival the next day...but still made it thru waist-high snowdrifts to see my beloved puzzle boys (Patrick, Tony O, Francis and Peter G) for lunch.

@mmorgan
My, you are the fount!
Let's hope NOMAR has no sister nor a mom named NAOMI!

Vega 2:08 PM  

The theme answers were unforced, true, and that's a good thing, but I was (perhaps inordinately) irritated by "second letter after epsilon" and UNBENT. Can't explain it but it prejudiced me against the puzzle.

fergus 2:34 PM  

Pulled out my Xeroxed puzzle while sitting outside on a bench only to find I had go the orientation wrong somehow, missing a third of the grid and lots of Across Clues. No a big challenge to fill in, but a workout nonetheless, from drawing in lines and dark squares, and driving quite a few Nissans for choosing an ALTIMA.

Recommended procedure for jaded Tuesday solvers: Stick the puzzle on the glass any which way, punch random copier setting buttons, see what gets spit out from the machine, and proceed from there.

Clark 2:48 PM  

I did not notice meh-ness as I did this puzzle. Solidly OK it was I'd say. I am closely related to @chefwen's husband, I think, being happy when I finish one.

Mostly, I am eagerly awaiting the snow that is supposed to start here in Chicago at any minute. I love a good snow storm. Heh @fikink, High five! (Having grown up in Michigan's UP, I know whereof I speak.) The question is, will I get back from yoga class before the roads become impassible.

sanfranman59 3:23 PM  

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

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

Tue 8:02, 8:57, 0.90, 22%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:29, 4:36, 0.98, 48%, Medium

JenCT 3:26 PM  

OLDSOD - JAILER - TOULON - ELEC - ELEE - SSTS. Meh.

It's sleeting in CT right now - if it stays above freezing, the storm may not be as bad as predicted.

Another snow day here (school's closed.)

Matthew G. 5:33 PM  

Finished in average Tuesday time, with one error: ILo/DoDS. Root beer is my favorite soft drink and I can probably name half a dozen brands of it — A&W, Barq's, IBC, Mug, and Stewart's come to mind offhand — but DADS is not one of them. Looks like it's a Chicago thing. Okay. Seems a bit obscure for a Tuesday clue.

Anyway, I otherwise liked the puzzle. Some of the short fill was weak, but none of it that bad. Got the reveal after the first two theme clues, so that helped my overall time.

Other than DADS, my only trouble point was at OLD SOD, where i initially tried RUSSIA and then tried to find nicknames for Russia, since that's where my mind goes very specifically when I see "Motherland." Realizing we were looking for the generic here took me as long as NOMAR Garciaparra used to take to adjust his batting gloves.

Nancy Byron 5:39 PM  

@AnDrEa Michaels . . . . "Let's hope NOMAR has no sister nor a Mom named NAOMI" . . . . . by far the biggest laugh of my day - probably my week! Thank you for that. : )

Look Up Guy 5:56 PM  

@Matthew G.

DAD"S ROOT BEER

Available in 32 states and Canada, plus in these fine stores across the USA:

99 Cent Stores
Albertson's
Alco Stores
Big Lots
Buehler’s Buy-Low
Cracker Barrel Stores
Dollar Tree
Family Dollar
Family Express
Food City
Holiday Foods
Hy'Vee
Jay-C Stores
Jewel-Osco
K-MART
Kroger (Ohio Only)
KwikTrip
Marsh Stores
Menards
Mid-Mountain Foods
Pamida Hometown Values
Roundy's
Snyders Drug Stores
Schnucks
Wesselman’s
World Market (Glass Package)

Anonymous 7:29 PM  

@Look Up Guy - Don't need to look it up. At one time Dads (Old Fashioned) Root Beer was one of the most popular brands, but Matthew G is young (30s) and apparently suffers from that infirmity....

fikink 9:16 PM  

@Clark, so far it hasn't disappointed - whitecaps on the heated birdbath, FIL cannot see my house from his (a football field away) and French onion soup, wine and bread and cheese for dinner.
PSHAW, he is my BEARD as he REMAPS my life. My head is bloodied but UNBENT.

Sfingi 9:27 PM  

@Vega - a cheap trick of some puzzle makers is to put UN or RE in front and ER in back. I try not to get BENT out of shape.

Where's @John? Not home? Or doesn't he bother with the beginning of the week, anymore? Wanted his botanist comment on AARON's rod.

Geometricus 9:49 PM  

Naomi, I moan!
A Toyota's a Toyota.
A dog, a panic--in a pagoda!
--Weird Al, the song "Bob"
From the album "Poodle Hat"
(all lyrics of "Bob" are palindromes)

sanfranman59 12:10 AM  

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

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

Mon 5:46, 6:54, 0.84, 1%, Easy
Tue 8:00, 8:57, 0.89, 21%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:07, 3:41, 0.85, 1%, Easy
Tue 4:14, 4:35, 0.92, 28%, Easy-Medium

Dirigonzo 2:43 PM  

It's comforting to learn that even an accomplished puzzler/constructor like @ACME can think she has detetected a mistake in the puzzle, only to learn that the mistake was hers. This happens to me all the time - I am certain that I have discovered a fault in the cluing or an error in the answer, and of course I am always the one who is wrong. I regard these as learning moments which not only increase my knowledge base but also teach me humility (a lesson which I need to relearn from time to time.) Now I feel like I'm in very good company!

Waxy in Montreal 3:12 PM  

5 weeks later - born on the other side of the pond in England, for some reason the Motherland has always been the AULD (rather than OLD) SOD. Oh, well, as they say over in ol' Blighty - sod it!

SharonAK 4:17 PM  

@Waxy
Yes, "auld" is what I "heard" mentally. It obviously wouldn't fit, so put "old"

NotalwaysrightBill 6:21 PM  

Wow! A regular syndi-late party!

I wish I could get as all worked up about blah fill as some, but it seems to me that even the most genius-rated puzzles end up with their share of SSTS, AARs, NTHs, SRIs etc. Just comes with the territory IMO.

Chafing a little at the write-up though. By my over-the-years-many-different BEARDS: who you calling dated?!?!? I'm sure Mr. PIM prefers the term "classic." Makes for a better BEDSIDEMANNER. The past is part of the matrix of NOW; perhaps if we lived in a land that had more AZTECS' pyramids or castles or something around to remind us, we wouldn't as readily indulge ourselves in this whippersnapperish effort to be Hipper than God all the time. Have a DADS. SMILES.

captcha:
"logip":
the underlying dishonesty of those who purport to adhere to reason in their intelligence-insulting resorts to cheap-shot rationalizations of fudamentally unsustainable positions

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