Dolly matchmaker / WED 3-30-11 / Foreman portrayer House / Illness caused eating Cheetos / Newspapers read by royalty

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Constructor: Erik Wennstrom

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: RED-SHIFTED (47A: Lie light from stars moving away from us ... or like the answer to this puzzle's starred clues?) — familiar two-word phrases where first word is a color that is re-colored by the addition of red, i.e. BLUEPRINT becomes BLUE+red PRINT, or PURPLEPRINT

Word of the Day: Atacama (69A: Like the Atacama=SERE) —

The Atacama Desert is one of the few deserts on Earth that does not receive any rain. It is a plateau in South America, covering a 600-mile (1,000 km) strip of land on the Pacific coast of South America, west of the Andes mountains. The Atacama desert is, according to NASA, National Geographic and many other publications, the driest desert in the world, due to the rain shadow on the leeward side of the Chilean Coast Range, as well as a coastal inversion layer created by the cold offshore Humboldt Current. The Atacama occupies 40,600 square miles (105,000 km2) in northern Chile, composed mostly of salt basins (salares), sand, and felsic lava flows towards the Andes. (wikipedia)
• • •

The theme and much of the fill here was simply way, way outside my wheelhouse. Never heard of ... ugh, so much of this stuff. Never seen or heard the phrase RED-SHIFTED before, first of all. Never. And since I didn't know if 30D: ___-Grain cereal bars was NUTRA or NUTRI, and since "SHAFTED" seemed (possibly) related to light, I was kind of screwed there for a bit. The theme phrases just did not feel natural or funny or ... anything. PINK WASHED? (29A: *Like a baby girls' laundry?) I got that and thought "I don't get it." Had PURPLE and wrote in PURPLE PROSE. It really seemed to fit the clue (11D: *Newspapers read by royalty?=>PURPLE PRINT). And then ORANGE FEVER—that just killed me. First, I misread "Cheetos" as "Cheerios" in the clue (25D: *Illness caused by eating Cheetos?), so I was never going to get ORANGE, though Cheerios box is yellow, so ... thought that was related somehow. But that whole section was brutal to me. Didn't see how [Done for] = GONE. If you're done for, you're a goner, but the clue/answer pair here didn't work for me. Never heard of Atacama (or I have and just couldn't place it), and even if I had, it would've taken some time/thought to get SERE. Never heard of Dolly LEVI (apparently the protagonist of "Hello, Dolly"!?!?) (60A: Dolly the matchmaker). Nooooo idea what kind of "Vista" AMER. could be a part of. Apparently Vista is an acronym (lack of capital letters notwithstanding—what the hell!?), standing for "Volunteers in Service to AMERica." Pfft. OK. Painful all around. Theme concept seems interesting, actually, but with the revealer meaning nothing to me, with the theme answers being not really funny or clever, and with so many answers bafflingly clued, I didn't enjoy the puzzle at all. I mean, even DVORAK flummoxed me (23A: Typewriter keyboard format). I know one keyboard. QWERTY. Just not my day, I guess.

Started out pretty easy as I moved diagonally through the grid, but the theme stuff just didn't make any sense to me for the longest time. Also, let me tell you that when you are looking at an answer that reads ---TNT, you are bound to doubt the accuracy of your answers. MUSTN'T, ugh. Clue did nothing for me, yet again (a theme!) (52A: "___ touch!"). I only hope that others liked this more than I did. My distaste is much more a matter of, well, taste than it is a matter of truly poor construction.

  • 22A: Foreman portrayer on "House" (EPPS) — "How am I supposed to know the characters on ... oh, right, that's the one with Omar EPPS. Nevermind." He's the ESAI Morales of the 21st century (which will probably be news to ESAI himself, who is still working, as far as I know).
  • 43A: Often-mocked cars of the past (YUGOS) — another clue that took me way too long to solve. My mocked car list had one model on it: EDSEL.
  • 51A: Opportunities for discussion (FORA) — another toughie. Unusual plural.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


West-coasters should consider coming out and supporting the Crosswords L.A. Tournament on Sunday, May 1, 2011, at Loyola-Marymount University. It's a charity tournament that benefits "Reading to Kids." This year the tournament will feature all original puzzles commissioned specifically for the tournament by some amazing constructors (I know—I've seen/tested the puzzles). You can compete as an individual or as part of a pair, and those who would rather not compete can register as a spectator. But really, you should compete. Don't worry if you don't think of yourself as "competitive." Most people will be there to have fun, solve good puzzles, and socialize. The vibe is very laid-back (it's practically on the beach, after all). For more information, and to register, go here. Better yet, go here, to the "Frequently Asked Questions" page. Very thorough. And spread the word.


Erik 12:11 AM  

Really?? I thought the Cheerios/Cheetos mishap was just me being me. Not that it would have helped had I read it correctly - I completely missed the theme, save for the fact that there were colours in it, until all was said and done.

foodie 12:15 AM  

Remarkably (given Rex's feelings), I loved this puzzle and it unfolded very easily for me. I got REDSHIFTED early on, and waited to see how it would play out. I thought it was very creative and, well, colorful.

I also loved that PICASSO was clued with a color, his Blue Period. That ROSE was in the middle of the puzzle. I wish there had been more color related clues, especially something green related, to cover the rainbow. Still, the most technicolor puzzle I've ever seen!

conomist 12:24 AM  

I'm actually with @foodie on this one. This was one of those few, few times where I found a puzzle easier than Rex appears to have (though this still means his solving time was probably half mine).

I thought the theme was great--and the reveal ("Orange fever? What the--oooooh!") was particularly gratifying.

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

You know, if they had clued PURPLEPRINT by an actual royal blue print, e.g. "Drawings of Westminster Castle" rather than newsprint it might actually make sense.

Tobias Duncan 12:26 AM  

Wow Rex you really are not a science guy!I LOVED THIS PUZZLE!.Not all of it was in my wheelhouse but waaaaaay more than yesterdays puzzle. My time was a good chunk faster today(not that fast at all though because like our fearless leader I am solving on paper these days,yuck)than Tuesday because I just did not know any of the old films.
The colors shifting one click to the red end of spectrum ?Wow Cool Wow wow wow! Nerdy and wonderful.

lit.doc 12:30 AM  

47A RED-SHIFTED came early and easy, and that saved my butt tonight. Worked through most of the puzzle apace with pleasure and then. ground. to. a. halt. in. California.

Tick, tick, tick. Breakthrough, finally, was inferring ORANGE for 25D (thank you, 47A), and then gambling on a guess at 23A from ??ORAK. [cue sound of falling dominos]

The problems on the left coast turned what started as easy-medium into medium-challenging for me, but I really enjoyed the whole thing. Didn’t fail to notice the central red shift—STYES—which would, in a perfect world, have been sandwiched by both ROSE below and some other themish fill above. Can’t have everything. Nice puzzle.

And yes, of course, 23A started out as QUERTY. Never heard of a Dvorak keyboard, but was glad as hell that I wasn’t dealing with yet another QUERTY-themed puzzle.

Back after Rex posts.

Back. I see that my having read enough popular science to know about red shift made all the difference tonight. I wonder if that one factor won’t be The Great Divide as the blog day progresses.

PurpleGuy 12:37 AM  

Boy am I on the same wavelength as Rex. Didn't realize the cheetos misclue until I read the writeup.
The theme didn't really do much for me either.

My only write over and crankiness came with OAR over row. If you're going to use your scull(oar) aren't you going to row ? Grrr...

Thank you for the cello concerto. That's the DVORAK I know.

Puzzle is a pangram. Big Woo !!!!

Enough crankiness. Time to rest.
Hope the rest of this Hump Day is better. With the temperature here in the 80's, it should be.

Shanti -

oxclogr (ooxteplernon caught in the disposal) ;)

Joe 12:38 AM  

But Tobias, that's not actually how it worked. (Otherwise blue would have shifted to green, and white would have shifted to... brighter white?)

I wish the puzzle had worked that way, consistent with the physics of the revealer clue. Instead, each one was just a pigement color mixed with red.

Clark 1:07 AM  

I know what redshift means, I've heard of the Dvorak keyboard, and my colorblindness is the reverse of the puzzle's theme. I take red out of everything. Purple -> blue, orange -> yellow, pink -> gray. So this felt like a Tuesday to me.

ALars 1:12 AM  

Solved it in under 9 minutes and did not get the theme one iota... Had to check with Rex. I started with "QWERTY" and was flummoxed when Dvorak revealed itself. Overall not awful, but still more Thursday than Wednesday.

CoffeeLvr 1:24 AM  

I agree with Rex, AMER and FORA were really ugly; also SUER. I struggled the most on the East Coast, though, with PRose before PURPLEPRINT, not knowing RICO, forgetting where a corrida is & therefore not knowing what to wear . . .

I did like PICASSO and PYREX. Sort of a mini sci-fi theme to my mind, with JEDI, QUEST, GROK.

I won't speak ill of the dead, but I can hear my spinster aunt now: "MUSTNT touch!" The captcha this morning provides a good answer to her: saywa? No, I would never have talked back.

amer clog mustnt 2:18 AM  

Loved starting out with a Q then a J and ending in an X. Pangram :)

(@PurpleGuy how can that not be exciting? Plus there is PURPLE in the puzzle! Forget PURPLEPRose, I had PURPLEPaper!)

I'm on the non-science divide of never having heard of REDSHIFTED, so didn't get the theme till ORANGEFEVER
(I know someone whose gonna LOVE that phrase!)

DVORAK seems to need one more letter or that checkmark or something! Why is it called that?

That MUSTNT was freaky, but you sorta gotta love it!

(Embed "Songs in the KEYOF Life" Stevie Wonder video here and everyone will cheer up immediately!)

chefwen 2:55 AM  

Started slowly but picked up speed half way through. Got everything done except in the northeast where I had many holes. Handed it to my part time puzzle partner who had just arrived from a 10 hour trip from the Midwest (6 hour time difference.) at 10D I had -N-E-H-A--, the big guy said "and you call yourself a chef? How about ANGEL HAIR?" Well color me RED or whatever comes after that.

@PurpleGuy - Had the same nit with row and OAR.

Evgeny 3:59 AM  

am with @ foodie et al. on this one. Felt supereasy. I see how DVORAK, FORA or SERE may feel more thursday-ish, but my solving problems usually have to do with stuff only Americans can know, not the tricky clues / answers. And this puzzle was great, local-knowledge-wise, with UTICA and AMER being the only two hurdles, both inferrable from crosses.

interesting theme, there seems to be enough color-mixing opportunities for a Sunday.

Smitty 7:27 AM  

I rolled every gutterball Rex did - plus a few more:

ROW for oar
NUTTY for Nutri
STEAL for wrest,
KEEP IN for mustn't etc.

GROK was fresh fill.....too bad it's one of my least favorite expressions.

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

I had VEGAS (mocked cars..). I thought, maybe PACER?

joho 8:16 AM  

I am scientifically challenged and was clueless to REDSHIFTED and clues like "Empty, in math" i.e. NULL. But that didn't matter because all answers were pretty easy to get with the crosses.

Once I finished and figured out that we were adding red to shift colors I was tickled by the originality of the theme.

This was definitely something different that added a bright spot to my day.

Thank you, Erik!

SethG 8:22 AM  

I knew REDSHIFTED, knew that's not what was actually happening, and played the odds correctly to fill out that lower left. I did not find it that difficult, and was a bit distracted throughout.

The most important thing (in comedy)? Timing.

jesser 8:22 AM  

I am not artistically or scientifically inclined, so RED SHIFTED was gobbledygook. That said, I completed the puzzle with no writeovers last night under the influence of a tad too much bourbon, so I can't explain my performance.

I'm kinda surprised Rex didn't give a shout out to GROK at 19A, because I distinctly remember him complimenting one of us (not me) for using that Heinlein verb some time back.

I never owned a YUGO. A Vega? Regrettably, yes. But the Y in DOGGY saved me from that error.

I think SUER is an ugly and unfortunately evocative word that makes me want to DEODORIZE.

Interesting puzzle.

Trancula! (When you cross a tarantula with a vampire, this is what you get) -- jesser

mmorgan 8:34 AM  

I found this to be a really weird one. It all fell fairly easily, although I ended up with SLiP/GRiK for the12D/19A cross. Now that I know it's SLOP/GROK I don't feel any better.

I was *totally* baffled by the theme... all I could guess was that perhaps these colors are all somewhat close to red. But that didn't seem especially plausible, and I couldn't wait to get here to see what it *really* is.

So now I know. Oh.

For me, the fill was better than the main stuff. I try to be charitable -- I can only imagine how damn hard it is to put one of these together. But this was a pretty big meh for me (though I really liked the QWERTY/DVORAK redirect).

Kim 8:38 AM  

I had a similar reaction to Rex. Even after I finished the puzzle, I wasn't happy with it.
My dh gave me a subscription to the NYT puzzles for our anniversary so that I can work them on the correct day instead of five weeks later! I love reading Rex's blog on the correct day!

ArtO 8:47 AM  

Totally share Rex's feeling about this puzzle. Blew through to top in no time. Was stymied in the west as too many options for what a kid calls a canine (referring to tooth? dog?) Also read Cheetos as Cheerios.

retired_chemist 8:50 AM  

RED SHIFTED was a gimme, as was NULL. UTICA was the only 5 letter city I could think of in upstate NY (OLEAN is too far away) and I lucked out there. Tried QWERTY, thinking it was a fun answer but knew DVORAK and was prepared to switch when crosses required, which was pretty soon.

Thought RED SHIFTED was going to be used in its scientific sense form the clue. Wasn't. Had to come here to see what the constructor meant.

But DNF. :-( I did. not. know. TELL (26A). Had CALL and that made the 27D key ALT, or ASC [sic] when I was sure of the _SC. INBECA (9D) was a WTF. I started doubting the entire region, and eventually asked for a check. I then had to google "TELL poker" to find out what TELL meant. To me, it was a verb and the clue called for a noun. Oh well. Learn something every day.

A fun puzzle anyway.

Captcha thoti - an imaginary Hindu loincloth?

Look Up Guy 9:06 AM  

The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard is a keyboard layout patented in 1936 by Dr. August Dvorak and his brother-in-law, Dr. William Dealey... Dvorak proponents claim the Dvorak layout uses less finger motion, increases typing rate, and reduces errors compared to the standard QWERTY keyboard.

Most major operating systems have the option of toggling to the Dvorak layout. It is also supported at the hardware level by some high-end ergonomic keyboards.

[Much more at wiki]

OldCarFudd 9:21 AM  

Knew redshifted, Atacama, Levi, Yugo, grok. Didn't know Dvorak, Vista, Emmas. I never tumbled to the fact that the theme answers made sense in some color which, when mixed with red, gave the answer. I finished with no errors, but it wasn't much fun and I thought it very hard for a Wednesday.

You can row with an oar or scull with an oar. I think you can oar with a scull, but I'm not sure. Sculling is moving a boat with one oar, hung over the stern and moved from side to side with a twisting motion. It's sort of like what a fish does with its tail fin. It's quite effective in narrow waterways, where the usual two oars stick out too far from the sides of the boat to be useful. The Chinese do a lot of it with a curved scull called a yulow.

nanpilla 9:22 AM  

@retired_chemist - I had caLL before TELL also.

This was something different for us science nerds and I loved it.

Learned something new - Dvorak keyboard. Always a good thing in a puzzle.

I wonder what percent of us read Cheerios for Cheetos? Remember that paragraph thing that went around the internet back in the day where only the first and last letters were correct, but it was still easy to read? This seems to happen to me a lot when I try to read clues quickly - my brain decides what the word should be rather than what it actually is.
@foodie - thoughts?

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

I liked it though it took me a while to fully grok.
I wondered when all that reading about redshifting would come in handy.
There must be an interesting lesson about perception in that.
Happy to see the Yugo, which should have remained in beta.
Was really cruising until the northeast/northcentral.
I was thinking that the * answers were variations on phrases with "red" in them and had got by to that point without sorting it out. So blueprint did not come to mind for a while.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

I'm with all the scientists - it was fun! But of course there's such a fine line between the satisfyingly and the excruciatingly tricky. When I corrected QWERTY to DVORAK I was tickled, and as soon as I got RED SHIFTED I thought the theme was delightful, but they definitely are esoteric knowledge. Then again, isn't that why we do crosswords?

td 9:35 AM  

oar |ôr|
. . .
verb [ trans. ]
row; propel with or as with oars : oaring the sea like madmen | [ intrans. ] oaring through the weeds.
• move (something, esp. the hands) like oars : her slender arms oaring the air.

though I said "row" initially and wrote over it
liked the clue

Tobias Duncan 9:35 AM  

Of course @Joe is correct.I did not catch that last night,it does take a little of the shine off the puzzle this morning but last night I was in heaven.Having grown up pretty much worshiping Carl Sagan, redshift was a word I heard fairly often.

quilter1 9:48 AM  

I solved counterclockwise from the NW and REDSH_FTED revealed itself while I wavered between NUTRI and nutra. I finally settled on the wrong one! Gaah!

Otherwise I enjoyed it and thought it was pretty easy even though I did not know REDSHIFTED. Astronomy not my strong suit.

chefbea 9:48 AM  

Did not like the puzzle. Never heard of red shifted, null or grok. Wanted row for oar. I read cheetos and knew it had to be something orange.Didn't get the theme til I came here.

Of course I knew angel hair and pyrex

solasoletta 9:54 AM  

I liked it too! There were definitely some I didn't get--and I probably wouldn't have gotten red-shifted except that I got the "pink" part of "pink washed" early on, and I figured out "orange fever." But I'm with the earlier poster who had an "oooooh!" moment about the Cheetos. Plus this is the first time I've managed to finish a puzzle after Tuesday, so yay!

And I'm surprised that Dolly Levi doesn't show up more often in the puzzle--those are a four very useful letters. ;)

jackj 9:59 AM  

Not a science nerd and not a fan of this puzzle. No requirement to even understand the theme, since all the answers were easily gettable without understanding the need to mix colors to get the "red shift" concept.

The constructor and Will stretched too much in some of the fill cluing, the most egregious being AMER for "Vista part: Abbr." The answer was gettable from the crosses but as a stand-alone clue it was a bridge too far; an OK Saturday clue, perhaps, but not fair to the earlier week solvers.

GROK and MUSTNT brought a bit of distinction to the puzzle but not enough to overcome its deficiencies.

Lindsay 10:23 AM  

Liked, but didn't love, the puzzle. First answer in was 56A PICASSO for "He had a Blue Period" so I was in a colorful frame of mind from the get-go, and scampered on through. Yellow fever was a popular way to die back in the day, and I'm a history geek, so no problem there.

Old Carr Fudd is correct that sculling can refer to propelling a boat with a fish-tail motion over the transom.

However, in sports sculls/sculling and oars/rowing are different. A sculler holds a scull in one hand, so for example, a single (one person shell) is propelled by one athlete with two sculls, one in each hand, and a double is propelled by two athletes with four sculls. In contrast, an oar is held by one person in both hands, so for example, an eight-oared shell is rowed (not sculled) by eight athletes.

This disctinction is often lost in NYT clues, and I have been beaten down to the point of sighing and writing in whatever works in the grid with out regard to its rectitude.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:25 AM  

Fun puzzle; loved it.

I, too, had PURPLE PROSE before . . . PRINT, and once that was corrected had "MASTER touch" before MUSTN'T.

The father of a friend in England was a car dealer who sold YUGOS, and I still have a t-shirt with a picture of a Yugo and the slogan "At the head of its class!" Honest.

Of course, the concept of the REDSHIFT is only the most important idea in the History of the Universe (there's humor there, folks, can be read two ways), but Must. Bite. My. Tongue.

mac 10:29 AM  

Not a science nerd here, never heard the term red-shifted,but somehow filled in the whole thing. I must have thought cheerios as well for a while, because I wanted something granular or grain related for 25D. Didn't know the Dvorak system, but O seemed to be the only possibility.

Something British about this puzzle, with valour and mustn't, the Emmas.

Looking over the finished grid, I think the fill in this puzzle is quite nice, not twisted to force a pangram at all.

Agree with Rex, it should be VISTA in 54A.

Two Ponies 10:30 AM  

The reveal did nothing for me.
Does a day go by without a Star Wars clue/answer?
I loved mustn't and dust up.
When I was a paramedic I remember responding to an accident between a Chrystler LeBaron and a Yugo.
The LeBaron was driveable and barely scratched. As for the Yugo
it was fatal to both car and driver.

bswein99 10:43 AM  

I got orangefever but had no idea what it had to do with cheerios. Only now did I realize it said cheetos. Glad I wasn't the only one to misread this clue. The master clue did nothing for me and the related clues seemed lame. Also "oar" as a verb seems a stretch. Ever hear anyone say they're going "oaring" (except for bad boys who drop h's).

JC66 10:52 AM  


Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Terrible puzzle. Oar as a verb? Pinkwashed? Amer? Mustnt? Yuk all around.

Matthew G. 10:57 AM  

This puzzle was right over the plate for me -- as an astronomy and sci-fi buff, REDSHIFTED and the rest of the theme were gimmes, as were GROK and DVORAK. I came close to a personal Wednesday record.

That said, this one required some unusually specialized knowledge, and if someone's never taken an astronomy course or read much sci-fi, I can't possibly fault them for not knowing what redshifting and blueshifting are. When I read the clue for the reveal, my very first thought was: "Well, I know what that's called, but a lot of English majors are going to be scratching their heads today." (I was an English major myself but took astronomy courses on the side to indulge a passion.)

Arundel 11:03 AM  

Arrgh! What Rex said. Apart from a few specific neighborhoods (the whole south, to be specific) this one was a pain. Thinking back on it, the fill is pretty good, but the clues just don't make it.

Fora and amer, oar and capes. If that clue had been "bullfighting wear" I'd buy it, but corrida wear would be "capote" or some such. Pah!

Stan 11:27 AM  

Hmm, there seems to be a C.P. Snow-style "Two Cultures" divide in the comments (science vs. humanities). I'm too hurried to find a quote but you can Wiki it.

My ophthalmologist keeps a book in his waiting room called "Crap Cars" with a Yugo on the cover.

Isn't Vista just plain wrong? Can we use Nato?

My favorite answer was IN BETA -- definitely in the language.

JaxInL.A. 11:30 AM  

Best solving moment today: 13-yr-old daughter asks if she can help, and say I have ORANGE blank and read the Cheetos clue (hot Cheetos are still a major food group for the middle school set). She pops right out with ORANGE FEVER!  I'll make a solver of her yet.

Same kid then reads me a joke from her math homework: Q: what happened when the crossword fan died? A: they buried him 6D and 8A.  

Rex, are you going to the L.A. tournament?

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

In terms of difficulty this was a typical Wednesday puzzle. Solved it without outside help all in a bit over 30 minutes. The only mistakes were putting SOUR instead of DOUR in 8D and DIGS instead of JIGS in 6D. So I got DESI for 6A. Was too lazy to Google Yoda. I know, I know some of you think I am from another planet.
Never heard of GROK. Hated FORA and MUSTN'T. Had no idea why AMER was part of Vista until I read Rex comments.
I figured out early on that this was a color theme but I really never heard any of the theme answers.
So for me this was a "so what?" type of puzzle. Can't disagree with anything that Rex said except perhaps with regards to the difficulty rating.

Howard B 11:37 AM  

This was a pretty challenging puzzle, but I know of red shift (though I couldn't define it precisely), and so I thought this was a clever theme that required work to reveal. Agree that some clues were especially difficult (especially the insanely obscure AMER!), but overall I appreciated the challenge and satisfaction of uncovering the trick.

baja 11:46 AM  

Loved this one! Former science nerd. Been following this blog for about a year. Enjoy reading the comments. Much thanks everyone.

JaxInL.A. 11:47 AM  

Thanks very much to all who offered help in getting access to the CS puzzles in response to my plea yesterday. I solve on an iPad, so if at all possible I hope to find .puz files.  I loved learning about the site, and his very entertaining distillation of Clues of the Month.  He has links to .puz files, though the most recent CS file is 3/25/11, which is just about when Cruciverb stopped working, so maybe the problem is related. 

Will Johnson's Crossword Pointer site has links to the online versions of puzzle, and printable PDFs.  But Flash doesn't work on Apple products as far as I can tell, so the online versions don't display, and I only have a printer at work so I'm still trying to find a reliable source of current CS .puz files. 

Cruciverb CS link still broken. 

@Evgeny, it's great to see you again. Lately it seems that we hear from you and from @Ulrich only seldom.

Masked and Anonymous 11:49 AM  

@mmorgan trumped my lead word: "weird". Being weird myself, I really bonded with this puz. Let me count the ways...

1. Debut puz with debut square=Q. Knew right then that this puz was gonna put up a fun fight.

2. Pangram. Nine-U-gram. And all those other grams.

3. Weird vocab. Made me feel like a Stranger in a Strange Land. The whole thing felt ... red shifted. Yet somehow, I grokked it.

4. Colors! Hard to be original with a colorful theme, but this dude pulled it off. Red shift was a familiar concept for me, so no problemo there. Can see why 31 mighta suffered, tho, if it was over his head.

5. Cheater squares! And they nuzzle the theme answers! Different! Good!

6. 9-letter lively fill answers that hug the down theme phrases! Ballsy. Me likey.

7. Debut puz with a closing X. Says "I'll be back!" ... "And I'll be takin' names and kickin' butt."

Thumbs so far up, I poked myself in the eye. More, please.

JaxInL.A. 12:04 PM  

Okay, last post, this time about the actual puzzle. I liked it, but the theme eluded me completely, despite knowing RED-SHIFTED from a junior college astronomy class decades ago.  I thought theme might be warm colors? Thanks, Rex, for helping me get the joke.  

Had logo before ICON, agree with @PurpleGuy's complaint about OAR/row.  Strongly agree that 54D clue should have been VISTA in caps. Totally did the Cheerios thing first.

PREs crossing DEODORIsE seemed reasonable to me.  That Z seems optional, right? Would that be wrong in a tournament, or do they allow alternate spellings when both are common?

The Corrida wear clue threw me. Corrida is the Spanish name for a bullfight, so shouldn't the answer be CAPaS? And given the red theme, it would have been great if they had clued that answer something like cloaks for Red Riding Hood.  

I once drove a rented YUGO from Sarasota to Tampa when a clown at the Ringling college broke my heart and left me without a way to the airport.  It got me there, and he was a clown, anyway.

Three and out.

william e emba 12:07 PM  

If you knew more astronomy, you would not only know RED-SHIFTED (100% gimme), you would know the Atacama Desert is home of several of the most important land-based telescopes in the world.

Or maybe 31 should know his 33 better: the Chile mine disaster/rescue last year happened in the Atacama Desert.

The composer is Antonín Dvořák (spelled with an R-haček and an A-acute). The keyboard is due to August DVORAK, no accents. And yes, the two men are related. The correct pronunciation of R-haček is simply beyond most non-native speakers: it's an "r" and "zh" smashed into one sound. (There is also a well-known tech columnist John Dvorak, but being in tech myself, I never read him.)

And yes, I knew of Dolly LEVI to boot without any crosses. In fact, the only thing that was new for me in the puzzle was Vista stands for a program with AMERica in its name.

I, too, read Cheerios in the clue. But I have an excuse, one that in fact is theme-related! Today's NYT (front-page?) has an article saying that the FDA is considering warnings to go with bright food colorings. The article is decorated with three colored cereal food rings. They were actually Fruit Loops, but I was thinking Cheerios as I skimmed the article, possibly because I've eaten Cheerios sometime in the past year, and have not touched Fruit Loops in perhaps 40 years.

So looking at ORANGE-----, I was thinking of the picture in the paper, thought of "rings", realized that did not fit the clue, then applied the hint, got "yellow"-----, which was of course FEVER. In fact, the theme revealer helped me with PINK-noidea and PURPLE-notprose.

syndy 12:22 PM  

Put me in with the loved it crew! Even if I did put QWERTY in happily and confidently!AMER was a poser but gettable from crosses .How about 7 down how cool was that!ARe we speciallizing too much in our universities?shouldn't even the Humanities guys have some clue how the universe works?(And don't get me started with DOLLY LEVI)

BigSteve46 12:24 PM  

Shouldn't "vista" be capitalized if it refers to VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America organization)?
Kind of like the clue the other day something like "birthplace of pizza" having the answer of "Napoli" instead of "Naples" in order to be consistent with the cluing. Just asking ... seems like a Will Shortz error - or,more accurately a shortzcoming.

jberg 12:27 PM  

Got here late, and someone has said almost everything I would have (CP Snow, defining scull, oar as verb, Dvorak keyboard).

We had null set Sunday, and again today. I liked it (English major, working as political scientist, but a science fiction nut in youth), redshifted was a gimme, but it took me some time to grok what it mean.

But I didn't like pinkwashed. Every other clue involved a redward shift along the color wheel, whereas this one involved adding tint to white.

This is the first time I've seen a Word of the Day that was part of a clue, rather than an answer. Is this a change, or did I just miss is before?

Oh yeah, I saw Cheerios too. I don't get it- they are both common brand names. Any psychologists out there who can explain it?

Captcha is 'matiest,' like this blog if it were in Australia.

Masked and Anonymous II 12:29 PM  

8. Theme answers frigging intersect each other! Wow.

9. Clue that can mysteriously morph itself back and forth between "Cheerios" and "Cheetos". Mischievous. Scary. How do they Do that?!?!

10. Picasso clue. Thanx to other commenters, for reminding me. I got all excited about the puz, and temporarily forgot.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Only one of the three theme answers accurately represented a "red shift" per the reveal. Blue to purple is actually a blue shift, the opposite of a red shift. The whole "red shift" was just a red-herring, it's just adding red.

CoffeeLvr 12:35 PM  

@Solosoletta, congratulations on conquering another day of the week. I remember when I beat Wednesday, beat Thursday. Friday and Saturday still beat me up more often than not. Like the old TV show, one day at a time.

@Kim, what a great BD present. It definitely improved my puzzling skills when I went "live" last summer. For one thing, you can ask questions here if necessary.

retired_chemist 12:36 PM  

@ Jax in LA - I too think PRES/DEODORISE is OK. Alternate, chiefly British, spellings are sometimes not indicated. Mr. Happy Pencil needs the Z.

Jeff 12:39 PM  

i couldn't agree more, Rex... and i knew the Dolly Levy reference. all in all the puzzle just seemed like it was forced to make the theme answers work. i would throw in "fora" as highly unusual and "grok," which i had never heard of...

pizzatheorem 12:45 PM  

Was disappointed that the theme answers were not properly red-shifted (had high hopes after seeing ORANGEFEVER) but had an easy time with this and the science answers. A pleasant change from the usual obscure (to me) humanities stuff. Having AGNOLOTTI, MULTI (for NUTRI) and QWERTY slowed me a bit.

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

I filled it pretty easily but was at a loss to get the theme. I thought the colors were replacing "RED" maybe? "Red Fever", was that some Cold War thing? Just didn't get it, so of course I turned to Rex Parker who I knew would explain. Thank You.

Dough 12:53 PM  

I found this puzzle easy and clever. My first impulse was DVORAK, but said to self that people don't know that. I always wanted to try using it, but it seemed like too much work to relearn to type. I can't believe someone actually misspelled QWERTY above. Sheesh.

Dough 12:56 PM  

Oh, and DOLLY LEVI, is from Hello! Dolly, which is a musical based on Thornton Wilder's play called "The Matchmaker."

Sparky 1:13 PM  

I had the IN in 11D so was trying to fit a king or a prince there. That ended when I filled in PINK. Don't get me started on pink everything for girls in toy and clothing stores. Princesses, too. But I digress.

Filled in by fits and starts. JEDI first entry, EMMAS, row; hopped here and there. NUTRa for a long time. Finally had it all but still didn't see the play on words till Rex illustrated it. Just looked like change red to something to me. Not a fun solve.

@Glimmerglass - Hope you are feeling better. Follow everybody's advice re physical therapy.

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

Never heard of "grok." The wikipedia discussion of it seems to place it as 60s slang. Is there any argument for its still having currency? I guess it's not as dated as "hep."

Kendall 1:52 PM  

I like some of this puzzle but definitely agree with Rex's assessment of it being Medium-Challenging. Maybe even more to the Challenging side.

NULL hardly means empty in all of mathematics. A NULL set is the set of nothing, which is famous in set theory. As for other parts, NULL means uninitialized or undefined, which I don't see as the same as empty. I guess that's a minor qualm but it still rather bothered me.

I got distracted doing this puzzle when seeing PALL reveal itself after burying my grandmother yesterday afternoon. Made me think of the six PALL bearers and I had to set it down for a while.

CoffeeLvr 1:56 PM  

Not that it is likely to come up again, but the way to remember the cereal bar NUTRIgrain, is that Nutri is short for nutrition. Although they are probably healthier than candy bars, read the label and judge the truth of the implication for yourself. I got confused with the dog food brand Nutro. A variety of other companies do use Nutra, per Dr. Google.

3 and out

Doc John 2:03 PM  

If you have seen any of the Planet Earth series, they have a whole segment on the ATACAMA and if you have seen practically any science show about space you will have heard RED SHIFTED. Just sayin'.

Sybil: "Can't tell. MUSTN'T tell."

william e emba 2:07 PM  

Rex has sometimes used something interesting in the cluing as WOTD.

GROK is still standard geek slang for really really understanding something. It was an important word made up by Heinlein for his Stranger in a Strange Land, and it was just so perfect it caught on. Perhaps the most visible use on the Internet was GROKster which blew up spectacularly, and then GROKlaw which plods along just fine.

fikink 2:33 PM  

The puzzles that require a nod to my school days way back when are particularly reassuring to me as it is comforting to know I have not forgotten EVERYTHING I learned. So with a nod to my Astronomy 101 class in college and my junior high math classes, I enjoyed my scavenger hunt.

And any puzzle with PICASSO's Blue Period (who also had a ROSE Period) and ANGEL HAIR pasta is delightful.

Thanks, Erik. A sound puzzle, imo.

Anonymous 2:34 PM  

Re "Vista" in 54A:

When in doubt, try Wikipedia.

Some style manuals also base the letters' case on their number. The New York Times, for example, keeps NATO in all capitals (while several guides in the British press may render it Nato), but uses lower case in Unicef (from "United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund") because it is more than four letters, and to style it in caps might look ungainly (flirting with the appearance of "shouting capitals").

As this is in fact the New York Times, the five-plus rule rules.


stix2metunesmiffin 3:06 PM  

Solasoletta, BRAVA!!! Thought it WAS Cheerios till I read this. Pretty challenging, and I learned something Sciencey, so I'm happy.

Matthew G. 3:29 PM  

The word GROK is pretty much the only memorable thing from Stranger in a Strange Land. A sci-fi fan I am, but Heinlein is one of the most overrated authors in the genre. If you've read one of his books, you've read them all.

I'm told by sci-fi fans of a slightly older vintage than myself that there were, for a few years, popular bumper stickers that read "I Grok Spock." Only the biggest genre geeks had any idea what they meant.

Yep, this puzzle was definitely for those of us in the pocket-protector set.

quilter1 3:35 PM  

Welcome, Kim. My subscription was a birthday gift also. My husband got tired of my talking to my laptop and whining that I couldn't join the discussion. You will enjoy it no end.

PuzzleNut 4:05 PM  

Looks like diametric camps on this one. I'm in the science camp an found it pretty easy (save the AMER/LEVI/FORA mess). Never got the "real" theme, only thought that each of the three theme answers included colors close to red. Much more impressive now that I read Rex's explanation (and my hats WAY off to anyone that figured it out). And as others have pointed out, REDSHIFTED is not technically what was done to the colors, but that didn't affect my solving experience.
Am enjoying the DVORAK as I write this. I nice treat.

sanfranman59 4:09 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 11:47, 11:45, 1.00, 57%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:33, 5:47, 0.96, 41%, Medium

Rube 4:25 PM  

Was a little suprised that Anon 12:34 was the only one here to point out that the yellow to orange was the only correct red shift. The blue to purple is a blue shift and the white to pink is no color shift.

For the geek crowd...

There once was a man from Racine
With an incredible racing machine
When he came to a light
With a cop not in sight
He'd blue shift the red light to green

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

wow, rare treat to feel a puzzle more than a bit easier than fearless leader. I put it at Easy-Medium, stumbling a for a moment in W/SW. Enjoyable solve in spite of featuring several joy-kills for me; a highly compartmentalized grid and lots of short fill..

Doug 4:35 PM  

I finally finished this puzzle and had all of the same mishaps that Rex did and more. I had ROW instead of OAR and ALT instead of ESC because the poker clue led me to CALL instead of TELL. When you're bluffing you don't want a call; a tell can mean that you're broadcasting a good hand and not just when you're bluffing. The SW took forever and the theme was really shakey.

Matthew G. 4:44 PM  

That's actually a really good point, Doug. A TELL is a problem for someone who _isn't_ bluffing. I, too, had CALL originally, and still like it better. TELL didn't quite feel like an accurate answer for that clue, and you've put your finger on why.

Three and out.

Evgeny 4:50 PM  

@ JaxInL.A.: thank you very much for the nice words. i'd love to show up here more often but it's a busy time for us tax advisors/auditors so i'm pretty much happy whenever i get to the puzzle itself, not to speak of this blog...

LOL @ Rube! i heard a story about a Brit who, when stopped after running a red light, told the police he was going so fast, there was a blue shift. they took away his license - for speeding.

Chip Hilton 5:16 PM  

What you said. Precisely.

retired_chemist 5:37 PM  

@ Larry the Lurker re style manuals:

There is a story, which I believe to be true, about the now defunct New York Herald.

Their style manual required Herald to be italicized whenever it appeared in the newspaper. This was modified after the following appeared:

The Christmas concert began with "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing."

Sparkydog77 6:15 PM  

Yes, the Cheerios Syndrome struck me as well. I am really taken by how many people must have been misled and bamboozled by such an interesting visual miscue. I had the "O" part filled in with "fever" at the bottom and was trying to come up with things like "Oaterfever" and the like. Oddly, I had Cheerios for breakfast so maybe it was a "personalized universe" kind of thing: You think it, you see it, it starts turning up everywhere around you for the next 24 hours....LOL.

Sfingi 6:33 PM  

@Rex - thanx for explaining the theme. And I know what RED SHIFTED is! For a while I had PUlP fictIon for PURPLE PRINT, having not idea what direction this was taking.

EPPS is a fine Dutch name.

HTG 5x - on Wednesday! IAGO (not in original Aladdin), YUGO (25 years isn't in the past, too me), LEVI, TOMAS, SERE. To think I've gone all these years and never heard of the driest desert in the world.

It's a brilliant puzzle, actually. I just pushed the door that says "pull." And you say this is a debut?

The only thing not ready for the breakfast club is that when I think of a baby having a PINK WASH, I think of blood. A mommy thing, I guess.

JenCT 6:43 PM  

Different solving experience than most: never heard of REDSHIFTED & didn't get the theme at all.

Put in DVORAK, NUTRI no problem; read the clue correctly as Cheetos but started with ORANGETEETH (?). Not familiar with GROK.

Had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn't later in the week...

mac 6:45 PM  

@sfingi: I never heard the name Epps in Holland, but you seem to be right: 13th century, someone from Epse, or short for Absolam. It would be van Epps.

foodie 8:12 PM  

Fun to read the comments today. @Stan is right on, it seemed to be along "Two Cultures" lines. My hope is that someday, these cultures will blend. May be the NY Times Puzzle and this blog are steps in that direction!

@Joe and @Tobias Duncan, I took the switch in meaning of redshift as part of the playfulness of the puzzle-- it's a re-framing of the term redshifted. Otherwise, the puzzle would have been truly hard for most non-scientists (Two Cultures, again). The way Rex expressed the theme was perfect: What happens if you add a little red color. And as indicated by the comments today, several people stated that they did not know what the technical meaning of REDSHIFT is and yet totally got that Yellow and Red beget orange and found that funny. And the Blue to Purple, or White to Pink made equally good color sense (even though they don't make spectral sense as noted by @Joe).

@Nanpilla, yeah, the number of people who replaced Cheetos with Cheerios is impressive. Goes to show that we read via pattern recognition and highly familiar patterns trump others. I certainly have that experience from learning new languages-- when you start recognizing patterns rather than sounding out each syllable, you know you're in...

I guess the Cheetos people should have consulted Andrea!

michael 9:02 PM  

Liked it, thought it was easy, got redshifted, grok, dvorak right away. There are advantages to straddling the two cultures (double major in mathematics and anthropology long ago).

Alpine Joy 9:08 PM  

Dear Rex,

Despite this puzzle being not in your wheelhouse, as you perhaps pretend, yet you GROKKED the deep theme (and notice how Grokked is accepted by spell-check) of the puzzle, while I just thought it was about phrases with reddish hues in them.

I get it: whitewashed + red = PINKWASHED. Mmm! Interesting!

But that's why you're the 31st greatest puzzle solver in the universe, and I'm the 1,314,159th.

How interesting to learn about the "Devore-Jacque" keyboard. I notice that Dvorak with a capital "D" also passes the spell-check, but dvorak does not. Why? Because every capitalized word passes spell-check, or because it's really been told that Dvorak is a properly spelled name?

Thanks for the Dvořák music.

Thanks, Rex!

Bill from NJ 9:40 PM  

The eminent film critic Kenneth Turan used to speak often of being corrected by his mother with the expression "don't touch mustn't" which he loathed.

It always drew a smile from me.

Stan 9:52 PM  

For those without the dead-tree edition, the page one headline reads: "Colorless Jell-O and Cheetos? FDA Is Taking a Closer Look."

@Larry -- Okay I take back "just plain wrong" about Vista/VISTA. The style sheet makes some sense of the ambiguity. Thanks for doing the research.

@foodie: Good synthetic comment. Snow (mainly a scientist but also a writer) would be proud.

Anonymous 10:03 PM  

Thought the puzzle was pretty easy, overall. Got the theme pretty early on, and it helped with filling some of the themed answers. It occurred to me after that the themed answers weren't really red-shifted in the scientific sense, but I guess I'm okay with that.

Got AMER from crosses without too much trouble, but I agree with those who think the clue should have referred to VISTA (it's show that way consistently on the web site).

@Lurker0 - I'm not sure the NYT style guide applies to the crossword. Otherwise, I think the clue for 2D would have referred to MS. Thurman.

sanfranman59 10:09 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 6:58, 6:55, 1.01, 58%, Medium
Tue 9:36, 8:56, 1.08, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 11:47, 11:45, 1.00, 57%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:41, 1.00, 53%, Medium
Tue 5:13, 4:35, 1.14, 88%, Challenging
Wed 5:17, 5:47, 0.91, 31%, Easy-Medium

Ulrich 10:17 PM  

I'm just recovering from a bad something and just plugged my computer back into the IT--couldn't have been a better moment b/c I find myself immediately agreeing with my idol @foodie 100%!!! (hi, Evgeny!)

foodie 10:28 PM  

@Ulrich, Awww, I'm redshifting!

fikink 10:44 PM  

@foodie, I join you in hoping that our diverse experiences, with civility, can lead to a blend of the best among us. As a Jungian friend said to me recently, "it's easier to dialogue with my inner murderer than with those who are its spitting image in the outer world." May we all practice patience with each other and ourselves.

Sfingi 10:54 PM  

@Mac - if you're awake. NYS Dutch names came over in the 17th century, and their sources back home often changed when they didn't. Or some changed in a different direction. One of mine, Lansing, who stormed out of the Constitutional Convention, lost its final h (Lansingh). There were a lot of Ten Eycks and other ones starting with Ten, which I believe is gone, now. Place names: Jonkheer became Yonkers and many more, There was racial mixing from NYC to Albany. I particularly remember the photographer James Van der Zee.

mac 11:08 PM  

Thanks, Sfingi, for more information. Ten before a last name is still in existence, it basically means: at the, in the vicinity of the.

Jonkheer is a low aristocratic title, the Jonkheer or Jonker is like an Earl in England. That particular Jonkeer was so important in developing that area, including de zaagmolen (sawmill).

Tita 5:41 PM  

I'm late in all my puzzles this week...

Love it when I find the puzzles easier than the Rexster... (rare)

Red shift was a gimme...hey - everyone knows the Doppler Shift - but you think of it for fire engines (sound), not so much for light.

I loved this one - thought it clever - agree with @foodie on her observations.

@PurpleGuy - nice one - "And Boy am I on the same WAVELENGTH as Rex..." re: a puzzle themed about the shifted wavelenght of light...!

Anonymous 9:54 PM  

As others have already mentioned, I loved this puzzle. So good for the science nerds! Rex, you gotta brush up on your astronomy.

cody.riggs 11:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
cody.riggs 11:24 AM  

I am not surprised but disappointed that "red shifted" is such an unknown concept here...there's nothing "nerdy" about the science. Edwin Hubble's discovery of the red-shifing of galaxies was perhaps the most important astronomical discovery of the 20th Century. It pretty much confirmed the big bang theory. It should be a requirement of any well-educated person to know this concept.

Besides, red-shifting is nothing more than the visual analog of the aural doppler effect, the change of pitch due to relative motion. Not exactly obscure.

Science education must really be lacking in this country! (I, like Rex, am a GEN Xer, so don't accuse me of old fogeydom.)

Now that I got that off my chest, I have to say I LOVED this puzzle. I also read "Cheerios" for "Cheetos" but knew that 'orange' made no sense then, and read more carefully. I detest Cheetos.

loved Loved LOVED this puzzle. I think most dislike was caused by ignorance of the theme concept, not the puzzle's fault. More, please!

Portland, Ore.

cody.riggs 11:40 AM  

Also wanted to say, I too thought it *would* have been cool if the colors had truly red-shifted down the spectrum, but that would have caused problems with white. This was good too.

Since REDSHIFTED was one of the first answers I plopped down, for a short time I thought the letters of the other theme answers would be "redshifted," i.e. moved one letter towards "A" in the alphabet. That would render WHITEWASHED as "VGHSDV RGDC" ...ooops I had to put a space where the A was, unless we wrap around the alphabet to Z for that one...hmmm. Problems with that theme idea, I see. Didn't someone do a puzzle like that some years ago?

Loved the limerick about the man from Racine btw...though it reminded me of a Much dirtier one involving that city name (I won't repeat it here!) which reminds me of another limerick...

The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical
But the good ones I've seen
So seldom are clean
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.

Alpine Joy 11:59 AM  

@cody.riggs, as Oscar Wilde might say, "The problem with knowledge is that one has to know so much!"

Yes, I know all about red-shifting, and I find it quite discriminatory and exceedingly dull. I mean, all the galaxies are speeding away from us, aren't they! How will we ever reach another one now?

Can't one little Spiral cluster be coming toward us? Always red, red, red! Never any blue--how dull! We live in a multicolored world, can't our Universe be multi-shifting too? :)

Nice limerick!

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

Pretty easy for me, 'tho I also totally misread Cheetos as Cheerios and never really clicked on the color-blending theme.

Seems that prez/deodorize could just as legitimately be pres/deodorise...

Waxy in Montreal 3:44 PM  

From syn-city: with an education primarily in the physical sciences followed by a career in the humanities, colour me happy with this puzzle which I grokked like a tenor sax. And a proposed nomination to add to the pantheon of oft-mocked cars of the past such as the EDSEL, VEGA and YUGO: the LADA, which having been built in the USSR, was perhaps the original red-shifter.

Dirigonzo 5:24 PM  

My first car after I got out of the Army was a brand-new 1974 Vega; it was the last domestic auto I bought for many, many years. A few years ago I bought a used 2003 Pontiac Aztek; not much appears to have changed at GM, quality-wise.

Did nobody else notice the little red SSR lurking at 44d?

NotalwaysrightBill 6:09 PM  

Syndi-late paper solver.

Now I AM curious. I read neither Cheerios NOR Cheetos, but rather "food." And when the answer (ORANGEFEVER) appeared, my first thought was "Oh, like that's going to stop me."

Enjoyed the odd-ducks (GROK and FORA) and the puzzle in general.

Would amend NYT style manual so that the rule would apply as written except when the acronym is already a word in common usage and has other meaning(s). Then capitalize all the letters to distinguish the acronym from its common language correlative(s). At least for five letters. A few more barrels of ink a year shouldn't matter that much.

Stevie Wonder's "Song in the Key of Life" album is definitely on my top ten all-time favorites list. Listening to it was the first time I actually heard and identified rhythm transition into tone. Don't know if he's been up to anything lately, but isn't he due for another lifetime achievement award somewhere?

UTICA, NY is best known to me, a pocketknife collector, as the home of Utica Cutlery Company and its Kutmaster side of the house. But apparently the some-60,000-person city owns up to being the site of a few inventions as well:

From Wikipedia: Local inventions:

The "Union Suit"- a type of red-colored long underwear jumpsuit with a buttoned flap on the backside was invented in Utica.

The first color newspaper, "The Utica Saturday Globe" was published in Utica.

The Utica Crib, a device for restraining persons, was named for the New York State Lunatic Asylum at Utica where it was heavily used in the 19th century to confine patients who refused to stay in their beds.

The rollback style tow truck was invented in Utica in the 1960s.

Once, as a cab driver, a fare from the airport was a priest who told me that he had just arrived from Chile where he ran an Episcopalian mission in the Atacama. In town for some ecumenical council or other, he had brought along a man in his parish who was in his thirties who had only that trip ever seen rain except in movies. Also-firsts: hearing thunder and witnessing lightning. That's some no-joke dry desert that Atacama!


lodsf 2:31 AM  

[syndi+] Count me in the 'loved the puzzle group'; it reminded me of the lunar eclipse one awhile back (loved that one too). Yes, knew red shifted (glad to see @cody.riggs gave Hubble his due). Loved TELL (poker bluffer undoing), learned about DVORAK keyboard, did not like AMER (54A) or FORA (51A) or OAR as a verb (28A).

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

Posting a comment three years late because my local paper printed this on Sunday, and I did it today. (We get two papers, and thus two crosswords, a week, and are constantly falling even further behind.)

I had not much problem with it, but after I misinterpreted ORANGE FEVER as a play on scarlet fever I had no chance of understanding the theme. I tried to find equivalent phrases for the other answers -- vermillion print? crimson washed? -- but nothing worked.

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