Fred's dancing sister / TUE 3-1-11 / International writers org. appropriate initials / Old TV antenna / LEM maker

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Constructor: C.W. Stewart

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (3:23)

THEME: SPOT OF TEA (35D: 4 p.m. British refreshment ... or what can be found in 18-, 25-, 47- and 58-Across and 3-Down) — two-word phrases in which "TEA" is embedded


Word of the Day: PEN (36D: International writers' org. with appropriate initials) —

International PEN, the worldwide association of writers, was founded in London in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere. // PEN originally stood for "Poets, Essayists and Novelists", but now includes writers of any form of literature, such as journalists and historians. // Other goals included: to emphasise the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture; to fight for freedom of expression; and to act as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned and sometimes killed for their views. // It is the world’s oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. (wikipedia)

• • •

If this had run yesterday and yesterday's had run today, I don't think anyone would have blinked. As it was, yesterday came in as one of the more challenging Mondays ever and this one ... well, we'll see, but it's certainly no tougher than average, and felt a bit easy. Now, for me, we really are talking about matters of seconds when it comes to making difficulty distinctions. Yesterday's high-3s was way outside my normal Monday solving range, whereas today's was well within my normal Tuesday range, though somewhat on the low side, and a good half minute faster than yesterday's. But none of this has anything to do with how good the puzzle was, and it was good. Very good. C.W. Stewart is quickly becoming my favorite early-week puzzle constructor. Her grids are smooth and her themes are simple, clever, and coherent. She probably had a *bunch* of "TEA"-containing phrases on the table, but the ones she chose were all solid phrases, all with "TEA" touching each word of the theme phrase, and all the right length to allow for 4 Acrosses *and* 2 Downs, including the (great) revealer. This is a model early-week puzzle. Study it, aspiring constructors. You've got a stray bit of crosswordese here (AMAH), a slightly unappealing word there (IDEATE), but otherwise everything just hums. A+.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: It measures less than 90° (ACUTE ANGLE)
  • 25A: Say "nay" to (VOTE AGAINST)
  • 47A: One who was detained, maybe (LATE ARRIVAL)
  • 58A: Old TV antenna (RABBIT EARS)
  • 3D: Shrivel to nothing (WASTE AWAY)
I realized that I get held up most (in easy puzzles) by long answers that my clue window can't contain (one of the perils of solving online and forgetting to expand your clue window to max width before starting). This gave me trouble toward the end, when I hit the clue for SPOT OF TEA and especially the clue for PEN (36D: International writers' org. with appropriate initials), which is a Thursday-type clue for PEN, frankly). Only other answers that slowed me down at all were NET SALES (8D: Income statement figure)—just didn't leap out at me for a while—and the PTS / QTS center, mainly because I held off on writing it in, deciding to wait for crosses, not realizing that one of the crosses was the identical clue ... so, not tough, just confusing at high speeds.

Bullets:
  • 17A: LEM maker (NASA) — Lunar Excursion Module. I always forget what the "E" is supposed to stand for ("...Escape?")
  • 28A: Fred's dancing sister (ADELE) — I really want this clue to die since this woman is already way more famous than Fred's dancing sister ever was (to most of America, if not to the bulk of constant crossword solvers):

  • 66A: Garbage hauler (SCOW) — still having the "C" / "K" problem
  • 11D: Most common inert gas in the atmosphere (ARGON) — is XENON inert? It's what I wanted, stupidly.
  • 56A: Keepers of jewels (SAFES) — watched "Wait Until Dark" (1967) yesterday. Preposterous in many ways, but gripping nonetheless. Anyway, there's a safe that plays a minor role in the movie, even though it ends up being a bit of a red herring.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

68 comments:

Greene 7:24 AM  

Agreed. This probably should have been the Monday puzzle, although I still got tripped up by stubbornly wanting NET WORTH instead of NET SALES at 8D. I also had LOADS for 9A which gave me the ridiculous LHAMAN for 9D. All easily sorted out in the end. I really enjoyed the puzzle.

ADELE Astair is virtually forgotten today, but she and brother Fred were about as celebrated a dancing pair as you could be in the 1920s. She was Fred's older sister and actually the more famous of the two when they worked as a pair. She was a real favorite with British royalty of the day. And then she married Lord Cavendish, left show business, and Fred went to Hollywood. One wonders if he would have faded into obscurity without his film legacy to keep him alive.

Does anyone else keep looking at RABBIT EARS and parsing it as RABBI TEARS?

Lastly, I love Rex's characterization of Wait Until Dark as preposterous, but gripping nonetheless. That's it exactly. Saw Lee Remick do the show on Broadway when I was a kid. She was very effective and soooo beautiful. A treasured memory.

joho 8:03 AM  

Definitely felt like the puzzle days were switched but either way a great start to the week on both days.

Thank you, C.W.Stewart! And @Rex for giving us ADELE today.

mmorgan 8:20 AM  

For once the theme reveal clue helped me out! Very rare event.

I went back and forth in my mind between NETWAGES and NETRATES and a few other things before committing... It was that 2nd S in ASSAM (22A) and the first letter of LEND (30A) (Vend? Rend? Pend?) that snarled me up a bit. But I took a breath went with my best guesses and got Mr Happy Pencil on the first stab. Other than than litle glitch, it was smooth and very pleasant. I really liked the diversity of the theme answers and the extent to which TEA was non-obvious in them. All around nifty puzzle.

@Greene, I'm also a big fan of both Adele Astair and Lee Remick.

Good week so far!

lit.doc 8:20 AM  

And then on Actual Tuesday, I come in at 5:26 [sardonic ref. to yesterday’s puzzle, in case you missed it]. Only limiting factor filling this one was my dylsexic typing. I’ll say this for it—if I were newly puzzle-curious and came across this on a Monday, I’d be well on my way to acquiring The Addiction.

Except that [later on] I’d hate for this to have been my first experience with a themed puzzle. Added nothing to the thrill of the chase. OK, so software is available to generate lists of “words that contain…”. Yipee.

efrex 8:20 AM  

Definitely felt appropriate for a Tuesday to me. Theme was solidly constructed (three-letter "hidden words" aren't much, but having all four consistently set within unforced phrases is very nice), and the crosswordese kept to a relative minimum (AMAH/ ICI/ OBI). ASSAM is new to me, so NETSALES took far too long to reveal. Must bone up on the possible clues for RHEA.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

I actually disagree with most of the people here, I thought Monday wasn't too hard, but Tuesday took me forever

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

Rex your comments are right on. Yesterday's puzzle felt like a Wednesday's. This one felt just right for a Tuesday. The theme answers are just fresh and clever and not too many crosswordese.
No significant hiccups at all as I cruised along the clues. Still took me 15 minutes plus. After 30 years of solving the NYT puzzles I have yet to cross the 10 minutes barrier even for a Monday. But having fun nonetheless.

@Greene: I liked your combo RABBIT EARS /RABBI TEARS. Three more clues like that and you have a nice theme.

Tobias Duncan 8:58 AM  

Loved this puzzle, minutes faster than yesterdays.@Rex, Xenon is indeed inert. I am having great difficultly keeping myself from going into full nerd mode and typing a lengthy explanation of the noble gases and why they are so cool even though I know with this crowd, everyone either knows all about them or is an English major and feels about chemistry the way I feel about sports.

Sparky 9:09 AM  

Had NETwAgES which gave me 30A GEN? for a Natick there. Last box to fill in. Erased GEN and rethought down for NETSALES. Aha moment, finished puzzle. Used TEA to fill in the theme answers.

Yesterday and today satisfying. I'm happy as a doddle bug. Waiting to be smashed on Friday and Saturday. Have a good day.

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

The Masters golf tournament is not affiliated with the PGA in any contractual sense ... It is run totally independent from the PGA, USGA and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club.

SethG 9:16 AM  

The overall difficulty was higher yesterday, but the theme was much more blatant. Today's was more oblique, and required a reveal. That's the difference between the Monday and the Tuesday.

Maybe they grow silk there, but I know ASSAM more for their tea. Having that in there, and no other tea references, feels a bit jarring.

chefbea 9:21 AM  

A bit difficult today since I didn't know shaman and had net wages.

But I love capers!! Try to use them in many dishes - but not Baba au Rhum

StanisÅ‚aw 9:22 AM  

At 17A I'm all like "Mama? Papa?, Milkman?"

Look Up Guy 9:26 AM  

NASA didn't make it:

The Lunar Module was built by Grumman Aircraft Engineering and was chiefly designed by the American aerospace engineer, Tom Kelly.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

agree with anonymous. the pga has nothing to do with the Masters. It's an invitational run by the Augusta National Golf Club. weak clue.

quilter1 10:04 AM  

I liked this puzzle very much and rated it easy for me.

Thanks @Greene for the history lesson on Adele. I'd always assumed that Fred's career took off and hers didn't. So nice to know she quit at the height of success.

protege01 10:24 AM  

I also don't agree with Rex that yesterday's puzzle was harder than today's. They both seemed like a medium Monday and Tuesday to me.

Either way I liked both puzzles. Great start to the week.

Two Ponies 10:38 AM  

Mostly a smooth sail today.
I hesitated only at the French/Turkish cross of 47D & 54A.
Did not know Assam but the crosses took care of that.
Nice touch to have the revealer part of the symmetry.
I always do the C or K thing too with skow (a very ugly word).

Mel Ott 10:49 AM  

A nice, clean Tuesday puzzle. Perhaps a bit easy, but a pleasant solve.

I like the fact that there is a minimum of proper names. And I like the identically clued QTS/PTS in the middle of that 3-letter cluster - so much more interesting than the usual 3-letter suspects.

retired_chemist 10:57 AM  

I liked it fairly well - and not just because I was about 2.5 minutes faster than yesterday. Theme was not to die for, but OK. Got ALL the theme answers before seeing 35D and wondered what the connection was. But I would have had to slow down to see the theme - all was just flying.

Only slow patch was the mid-Atlantic. Did not know PEN. IDEATE is ugly enough I try not to think of it, and today I succeeded. CAPERS in tartar sauce? I am a fan of cocktail sauce (and, speaking of horseradish, wasabi on other situations). I never choose tartar sauce. The name always reminds me of dental cleaning....

Did not like LASE as an answer (63A) for that clue. Implies it is a verb that takes a direct object ("Don't LASE me, bro!"), and in many years of working with lasers I never heard that usage.

Not one of my favorites but Mr. Stewart done good (as the Texas Aggies say). Thanks!

retired_chemist 10:59 AM  

@ Mel Ott - where are 33D/39A clued identically? Not in the AL version....

Rufus P Sloth 11:06 AM  

IDEATE&#0174 is my registered trademark. I was sitting in my office one day, kind if taking a snooze way back in '68, when my Warton MBA bastard boss walked by and started giving me grief. I told him I was IDATEing. The fool went off and started using it in every meeting he went to from then on. It caught on, I got promoted the the head of "Forward looking Strategic Planning Group" at the company, and I can 'IDEATE' all day long in my office.
Oddly, I'm never tired at 11PM.

JC66 11:12 AM  

@retired_chemist

Check again. In my AL version both read "Milk amts."

retired_chemist 11:19 AM  

Sorry, my bad. Read the wrong clue.

lit.doc 11:19 AM  

@retired_chemist, just went back and checked. My AL has 33D/39A both reading "Milk amts."

An elegant centerpiece, BTW.

lit.doc 11:20 AM  

Sorry, my bad. Typed too slowly. :)

Kendall 11:58 AM  

@retired_chemist, I had the same thought about LASE. Never heard of the verb "to LASE" before either. Perhaps "Don't ZAP me, bro!" is more what I would think of.

Rest of the puzzle was solid for me. Seeing as how everyone thought this to be easy for a Tuesday I must have just had a bad cup of coffee this morning because it took me a while to pick up on things. I had a cup OF TEA rather than SPOT OF TEA, ownING for HAVING, SkOW for SCOW, and a couple of others. Really liked it though. This is only the second puzzle by C.W. Stewart I consciously remember but I'll keep my eye out in the future for more!

Campesite 12:01 PM  

Had to chuckle when I entered IDEATE, as it was the word that gave me the win in an intense battle of BS bingo at a marathon TV network meeting where I recently worked. Stickiness and Dog & Pony Show set me up for the come-from-behind victory.

retired_chemist 12:24 PM  

@ Kendall - LASE is OK by me (and by a quickie dictionary search on the Mac dashboard) as an intransitive verb. LASE: to emit laser radiation. Just not as a transitive verb.

Rex Parker 12:43 PM  

Please note that (as I make clear multiple times in my write-up). C.W. Stewart is a woman.

Also, this is her 14th NYT puzzle; she's no newcomer.

RP

deerfencer 12:53 PM  

Easy breezy fun.

Moonchild 1:09 PM  

Yes, it feels like yesterday and today could have been switched.
Nice puzzle.
I cut up sour pickles for my tartar sauce but if you want to use capers, that's OK too.
Where is @jesser? Last I remember he was going to Las Vegas. Hmm.
Hope there's no connection.

Rube 1:09 PM  

A good Monday level puzzle. DOn't remember much about it as I did it last night after several rounds of bridge. Had one writeover, LOWEND/LOWEst. Loved seeing IDEATE in a Tuesday puzzle. What a ridiculous word that IBM has put into American culture!

I've got Google translation on -- where you mouse over a word and it gives you the possible translations -- in this case in French. Just discovered that when you have an exclamation point at the end of a paragraph it gives you a translation of the entire paragraph. Well, it worked for just the one paragraph above. Will have to research this more.

PuzzleNut 1:30 PM  

Wow - I had a completely different reaction to this one than Rex. Agree that it was pretty easy, but I figured Rex would rip this apart. Lots and lots of A's (thought that might be the gimmick at first), TEA seems like the easiest three letter word to work into a puzzle, and lots of E's, S's, R's etc. Did like the PTS/QTS cross, but the rest seemed very blah. Maybe I need to skip M-W, like another blogger, as I'm having trouble getting much out of them. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood today.

Clark 2:07 PM  

Wondered about the theme before I got to the reveal. Saw the EAs first and then the TEAs. Helped me get LATE ARRIVAL. Put me in the I-liked-it column.

Sfingi 2:07 PM  

As @Rex said, easy. And a thin theme.

Mini-theme - Milk amts., for those who must dose their tea to stomach it.

I thought Nitrogen was many times more common than Argon - or isn't it considered inert? Of course, it's too long. Break it down @RetChemist.

Didn't know ICI or BEN, but no problem on crosses.

RABBIT EARS is a nice memory for my junk pile of words such as blotter and skate-key.

MANTA ray - not part of the electro-magnetic spectrum.

fergus 2:25 PM  

Duh -- I was wondering, even after the reveal, what we're meant to do by spotting T. Delete it to get LA EAR RIVAL? Notice that there was a few in the theme? Man, I felt dense when finally adding the EA. Not infrequently I have more trouble sussing out the meaning of the theme than I do with filling the puzzle.

william e emba 2:34 PM  

Helium and neon are the only two inert elements. The sole reported ARGON compound is to be unstable above -200°C, so it is inert enough for most purposes, including the NYT.

I find it annoying that SLANG is clued as "some teen talk". Well, yes, but slang is "some talk" for everybody. The difference between teen slang and everybody else's slang is simply teen slang is widespread and novel.

Lurker0 2:44 PM  

@Rube 1:09 PM said...
... Loved seeing IDEATE in a Tuesday puzzle. What a ridiculous word that IBM has put into American culture!

---

IBM indeed! Everyone is dumping on IDEATE, which has been around since the late 17th century! My guess is the most familiar use is in the psych term "suicidal IDEATion" (2.1 million Google hits). Nothing that anyone here ever heard of, of course.

Larry

retired_chemist 2:53 PM  

@ Sfingi - the inert gases, as @Wm E points out, aren't all that inert. Now called the noble gases more commonly, but "inert" sticks.

IN any case, nitrogen isn't one of them. While it makes up about 78% of our atmosphere, argon at 1% or so is by far the most common of the noble/inert gas group. That used to be Group 8 of the periodic table when I was in school, but it received a promotion and is now known as Group 18.

ksquare 2:53 PM  

Please don't disparage ADELE, as it was my mother's name and a good puzzle word wit three vowels and only two consonants. Perhaps a better clue is all that's needed.
I remembered 22A from WWII when a driver stationed in India named his truck My ASSAM Dragon.

Tobias Duncan 3:16 PM  

They called them inert because their valence bands contain the max amount of electrons.

Two Ponies 3:25 PM  

I prefer my Adele clue to be along the lines of Mr. Rochester's ward.

sanfranman59 3:26 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 8:01, 8:56, 0.90, 22%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:25, 4:35, 0.96, 46%, Medium

Today's online solve time metrics are very close to yesterday's.

Joe 3:39 PM  

The only thing I want to comment on is Wait Until Dark. Great 60s movie.
More proof, I think, that Audrey Hepburn always played Audrey Hepburn.
Original B'way cast had Robert Duvall in the Alan Arkin role.
Great set. Shot at Warner Brothers in Burbank. Looked like a perfect New York apartment of the time. Exteriors done on the real St. Luke's Place in NYC, now a VERY expensive place to live. (Cliff Huxtable and his family on The Cosby Show lived there.)
First time you see it, especially when you're young--very scary.
And make sure that your shoes don't squeak.

foodie 3:39 PM  

Liked but did not love it. Did not feel that the theme entries were particularly sparkling. RABBIT EARS was my favorite. But overall it was clean and smooth.

QDI puts it at Easy/Medium-

In general, Rex is remarkably good at calling the difficulty level each day. I kept generally keep track, comparing him to both the QDI and SanFranMan's ratings, and it's very impressive! Once in a while, he'll call something easier than it turns out to be for the masses. Those puzzles have a particular flavor or are by particular constructors. But in general, he's SPOT on!

william e emba 4:05 PM  

They called them inert because their valence bands contain the max amount of electrons.

This is not true.

They were called inert from early on, because there were no identifiable chemical reactions. Moissan, the isolator of fluorine, had attempted a reaction between ARGON and fluorine, and failed.

Shell models of valence were developed two decades later, which simply gave a simplistic explanation of the known inertness, and chemists--other than Linus Pauling--considered it a done deal. Considering how rare xenon is, and extremely dangerous fluorine is, it's not surprising that no one did the successful experiment until the 60s.

Rex 5:04 PM  

The clue for 43D -- MASTERS HOLDER -- yields the wrong answer: PGA. The PGA doesn't hold the Masters golf tournament; the Committee of Augusta National Golf Course does. The PGA has nothing to do with the event. I called Will Shortz out on this ten years ago and he wrote me a kind letter back admitting the error. Then, here it pops up again!

cw stewart 5:07 PM  

I guess I should step into the room and give thanks to all those who made such nice comments. It is 4 pm in Chicago, so I must go have a "spot of tea."

retired_chemist 5:11 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 5:26 PM  

@ Rex - while the official PGA tournament list makes it clear that the Masters is not PGA sponsored, it IS part of that list. I think the clue "Masters org." is arguably OK, while you are of course right that "Masters holder" would not be.

captcha motaman - a Boston bus driver.

mac 6:54 PM  

Good puzzle, real Tuesday for me. Finished in the Assam/Net Sales area, had Aswan and Net Wages...

No one mentioned this, I think, but I started with "Heart" at 55A, verse.

@Greene: rabbi tears!

I also had a pot of tea for a moment, and had a lot of fun at ideation sessions in advertising/marketing!

Like the identical clues for qts. and pts. Perfect, a spot of tea needs a bit of milk, poured into the cup before the tea! Something to do with the milk fat globules.

@PuzzleNut: I skip M-W doesn't.

mac 6:57 PM  

@Rex: Loooooved the Adele clip. What a voice! Brittain's new Dusty Springfield?

Two Ponies 7:09 PM  

@ cw stewart, Thanks for stopping by and thanks for a nice puzzle.

David L 7:34 PM  

Hmm, yesterday's was a pretty average Monday for me and today's was a harder than usual Tuesday. But maybe that's because I was up at 5:30, spent 9 hours at a conference trying to pay attention, and only got to do the puzzle now that I'm home and tired. That's my excuse anyway. Took a long time to see NETSALES...

Sfingi 9:06 PM  

Lots to learn since I had science in HS 1958-62. (Yes, there were people then). I remember being so fascinated with viruses (alive - or not?). They've added a few kingdoms, discovered fault lines, found that DDT isn't so great, invented lasers, microprocessors, MRI, fiber-optics, and there's the whole DNA thing. I didn't take physics because I wasn't brave enough to be the only girl in the class. The Dark Ages. I've been catching up ever since.

@Puzzlenut - did you try the LA today?

@Greene - love RABBI TEARS!

Anonymous 9:23 PM  

@ sfingi, I also remember panty hose, disposable diapers, Bic pens, TV dinners, tampons, and letting girls wear slacks to school.

Boston dan 1:32 AM  

As a newcomer to the US from the UK I am slowly getting to learn some of the nuances of the NYT puzzles - with much thanks to Rex and his excellent blog. I didn' t finish as got stuck on bottom right corner (sass). Getting there though !

sanfranman59 1:34 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 8:26, 6:55, 1.22, 99%, Challenging
Tue 8:05, 8:56, 0.91, 27%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:20, 3:41, 1.17, 98%, Challenging
Tue 4:20, 4:35, 0.95, 38%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Masters? NOT PGA. wrong, wrong, wrong.

So wrong, but when one does X-words by rote, easy as pie.

At least the Tibia Fibula clue the other day was correct, unlike Tarsal for FOOT. Arrrrrgh to X-word ROTE, he wrote for the PEN.

Red state DEMOCRAT 1:08 PM  

ADELE 'Rolling In The Deep' (Studio Footage)

ADELE

This was the song that got her noticed in America. From her debut CD 19.

Adele - Chasing Pavements (Live on Letterman)

Adele 2

Dirigonzo 3:06 PM  

This syndicated solver still uses RABBITEARS to get the over-the-air signal from my local TV stations, so they may be "old" but they are not obsolete. In fact the switch to digital signals a while back increased my viewing options to the point where dropping cable is now an option.

Puzzle went smoothly once ISAAC resolved the c/k dilemma for the garbage hauler.

NotalwaysrightBill 5:00 PM  

Syndi-late paper solver.

Thanks @Rex for the Adele vid. Hope to hear more from her, she seems very much in the Susan Tedeschi/Bonnie Raitt mold: right up my alley.

I don't mind the easiness of this Monday-cum-Tuesday puz. And I'm sure not going to take issue with @Rex's exhortation to new constructors about emulating the form. Reckon he knows what he's talking about there. But, despite the tasty CAPER morsel, this was about as boring a NYT puzzle as I can remember. And I say "fight the entropy."

To me, the only FUN answer in the puzzle is SPOTOFTEA itself: a phrase that has a certain light cheeriness to it. Most everything else (outside of the Turkish/French cross as noted; and I agree with PEN's being the WOTD; and I guess you can throw AVAST in as pretty cool too) is as bland as bland can be. Guessing it's the trick alright, but, personally, I'll put up with SCADS of garbage fill to be truly delighted and amused by a few really good answers. Absent here. If there are good reasons for form over matter, I'd love to hear them.

But even when the answers are pretty ho-hum, the clues don't have be. What's wrong with making them--not as much more challenging, but rather more--FUN? [42A Greyhound, e.g.] could be "Hop on a ___, Gus", for example.

Two more soapbox issues and I'll shut the fuck up.

People have been turning nouns into verbs since they started making up words for shit. And I'm all for it. If "to be is to do," why shouldn't "house" eventually find itself on the "to house" side of parsing? When the girl says, "Cigarette me, big boy," roll with it, don't give her your questionable grammar anal something or other.

But speaking of questionable anal grammar something or other--AND fighting the entropy--I have a thing about propping up, wherever possible, disappearing strong verb forms. So, for [13D Remove impurities from], I would have made the answer mean the past tense of "to smell," as in "He who ___ it, dealt it." Personal issue, I suppose: disregard if you think it's silly.

Anonymous 7:01 PM  

Again a great puzzle. Was able to fit anTEAter at 8 down, with PLEA, KOLN, aTEAm TEND and QTR acrosses, PKA ELUTE downs. No idea why it could be of interest to anyone, except it seems that, when the puzzle is finished, a few more minutes could usually improve it yet...

Normand Houle

Dirigonzo 7:04 PM  

@NarB - First welcome back - syndicationland is just not the same without you (really - I mean it.) And I'm totally with you on smelt, although I don't think I ever heard it in any context other than the one you quoted so maybe that would be more of a Thursday/Friday clue?

But I have a question: what does "fight the entropy" mean? Again, I'm being serious (not something I'm used to or even very good at) - I looked it up, I googled it and still not a clue. I learn something new at this blog everyday, and I'm hoping you can help me with today's lesson.

Captcha is didado - I think I'll let you work with that one. (Still chuckling over fingered = diddled comment.)

NotalwaysrightBill 11:14 PM  

Dear @Diri:

You're killing me over here with your kindness; and thanks for the welcome back.

Entropy has something to do with the second law of thermodynamics, chaos theory, degree of disorder, energy dispersal, blah blah blah. Be damned if I really get it at all, but here's a Wiki-copy-quote for what it's worth: "Energy spontaneously disperses from being localized to becoming spread out if it is not hindered from doing so."

I guess what I'm talking about is "fight uniform lukewarmness," which is how this puzzle felt to me. Strong verbs, in contradistinction to weak verbs, seem somehow more energetic to me; and I dislike the thought of all of our verbs running around in a uniform low energy state, with their little -ed Mao suits on and all of them doing identical calisthenics in sync together. Bugs the shit out of me, so I try to avoid a weak verb form if a strong verb form is still viable. For many verbs the two forms are in definite current usage competition, "smelt" and "smelled" amongst. "Dealt" isn't on the endangered species list yet, but quite a few strong verb forms are. Could be that some day the only strong verbs ya see will all be in a strong verb zoo, and where will we be then? I'm going right now to bed, just so I can lose sleep over it.

Anonymous 5:56 PM  

@ Dirigonzo

Dropping cable is NOT an option for me since the over the air convertor box only picks up 2 stations. I like watching my CBS station and it doesn't work w/o cable.

Dirigonzo 6:18 PM  

@anony 5:56PM - Have you considered investing in a good antenna? I'm able to get by with RABBIT EARS but I live in an area that has a pretty strong signal from several local stations. There is a website (sorry, I don't have the address) that will tell you what kind of antenna will work best for you depending on your location and topography. If all you watch is CBS even an expensive antennal would pay for itself quickly with the savings in cable bills.

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