Volleyball champion/model Gabrielle / TUE 3-15-11 / Small biter in Niger / Circus wedding staple / Fox hit since 2002 informally

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Constructor: Jeremy Newton

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "ODE TO JOY" (20A: Work by 16-Across (BEETHOVEN) — circles running across grid represent notes of the first part of "ODE TO JOY," both in terms of the letters the circles contain and the placement of the circles in the grid (according to their position on the staff). Additional theme answers include IN C MAJOR (57A: How the circled letters of 20-Across are played) and PIANO KEYS (62A: Items you might play 20-Across on)

Word of the Day: "Eazy-DUZ-It" (46D: "Eazy-___-It" (double-platinum album by Eazy-E)) —

Eazy-Duz-It is the debut album of rapper Eazy-E, released on September 16, 1988 through both Ruthless and Priority Records. The production by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella was deemed dense and funky by critic Jason Birchmeier.[1] The pieces were written primarily by Eazy-E, MC Ren, Ice Cube, and The D.O.C.. The album's title track features Eazy rapping about himself and things that he does. "Boyz n the Hood" and "No More ?'s" are about life in Compton, California and the gangster lifestyle. (wikipedia)
• • •

This may be the best use to which circles have ever been put in a crossword puzzle. For the fifteen-note sequence alone, I think this puzzle is amazing. The fact that there are also four solid theme answers and a solidly filled grid only adds to the joy. Sadly, I'm trying to write about this joy with increasingly horrible news from Japan coming out of my TV. Also, sadly, I have no time to do a detailed write-up this evening.

Highlights of my solve:
  • Trying to figure out what the hell those circles could possibly be spelling...
  • Cocking my head upon realizing that DUZ was, in fact, correct.
  • Waiting and waiting on the "C" part of IN C MAJOR (SCUZZ!? Ew...) (53D: Dirt, slangily)
  • Realizing I have no idea what MASONITE is (9D: Composite board material)
  • Being torn between wincing at and admiring IN PJS as an answer (10D: Dressed for bed, briefly)
Love the contrast between the high-culture theme and the more lowbrow, colloquial fill, which includes entries like DUZ, MY BAD, A GAME (70A: Best competitive effort, informally), D'OH!, SCUZZ (53D: Dirt, slangily), ITSY, OKD, TELLY, SAYS HI, SIC 'EM BOY! and LAV.

  • 47A: Tendency for one's mind to wander, for short (A.D.D.) — interesting to go the disorder route on this one ...
  • 51A: Midsize bra features (C CUPS) — Didn't C used to be on the large side?
  • 66A: Rice-sized pastas (ORZOS) — a weak plural; one of the only weak spots in the grid, and one so minor that I almost feel bad even mentioning. There are a couple of others I'm not mentioning, just to make up for mentioning this one. I swear that last sentence makes sense.
  • 25D: -trix alternative — always tricksy. ETTE? ETTA? ENNE? ENNA? OK, ETTA is unlikely, but the others are all viable.
  • 56D: He said about an opponent "My main objective is to be professional but to kill him" (TYSON) — Couldn't read the whole quotation in my solving software, and so initially guessed that it was (President?) TYLER.
  • 59D: Circus or wedding staple (RING) — totally different kinds of RINGs, so I'm not a huge fan of this clue.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Pete 12:13 AM  

The last half hour of my life was spent wondering if the Ode to Joy opened with those 15 letters, and if it really did start out in C Major (I knew the symphony was in D Minor).
If so, truly great puzzle. If not, epic fail.
Congrats Jeremy, thanks Rex for (having someone to?) looking it up.

conomist 12:40 AM  

either i'm totally blown by 12:45 am after a long day, and i'm missing a spectacular joke....or the last line of the write-up is a spectacularly funny error.

i'm going with spectacular, whichever way you cut it

also, great puzzle. spectacular, even

Friedrich Schiller 1:10 AM  

An die Freude

Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum.

Deine Zauber binden wieder,
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.


Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!
Brüder—überm Sternenzelt
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.

One cound not say it better.


DJG 1:15 AM  

I don't know anything about reading music, so some of the luster of this one is lost on me. Still, I'm impressed.

My theory on Mike Tyson is that he's an Andy Kaufman-esque comedian and has been playing a joke the world his entire life. (His recent appearance on Ellen supports this theory.)

Best Tyson quote: "Lennox Lewis, I'm coming for you man. My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Al-LAH!"

Anonymous 1:33 AM  

The symphony was written in D Minor.

The clue to 57A says: "How the circled letters of 20-Across are played"

You can hear the theme in any key.

syndy 1:34 AM  

The ode shows up a lot in beginners sheet music usually in C or G but unless you can figger how to do sharps or flats in a xword C is gonna have to be it!Don't usually like circles but what an ode to joy this one was

Clark 1:44 AM  

The Ode to Joy is in D Major. If you play the circled notes you will be playing in C Major. If you don't have perfect pitch you will not hear the difference between the two keys. If you have perfect pitch you will be used to transposing things and recognize what you are playing. Awesome puzzle.

Just tonight, before doing the puzzle, I was singing "Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man . . ." (Don't know where that came from.) And I told semi-puzzle partner how when I was a kid, when I heard a certain passage of the Ode to Joy (the last time the Chorus is singing "Alle Menschen, alle Menschen, alle Menschen . . .') I always thought they were singing Oh the muffin man, the muffin man . . .

lit.doc 1:49 AM  

38D “Order to Rex”: SIT! SOLVE! BARK!

Geez. SW took as long for me to sort out as did the rest of the puzzle. Brain just won’t carbo-load—had ZITTI for way too long. Never heard the term SCUZZ used in that sense. Regionalism, maybe.

Negative utility knowing that Beethoven 9 is in d minor. Glad I know my scales. Anyone out there get caught not knowing either SCUZZ or the C major scale?

Twice the time and half the fun of yesterday’s, though the theme device was really clever.

retired_chemist 1:57 AM  

The only possible improvement here would be to make the line at 29A half-height. :-)

Seriously, this one was a pleasure. Easy but, as Rex said, what a variety of answers ranging from street slang to high culture!

A few writeovers - LAV <= LOO @ 6D, then OMAHA <= OSAGE @ 14A. TINY @ 12D lasted only seconds, just long enough to realize it wasn't informal as required by the clue.

Scary in Japan - Washington Post just reported another explosion in the nuclear reactor, this one even more ominous. My Japanese friends appear to be safe and I hope they remain so. They are mostly in the Tokyo and Osaka areas, and the damage is centered in Sendai in the east.

chefwen 2:25 AM  

A most clever puzzle, required some thought as did yesterdays. We are off to a great start.

@Clark - I don't know who the Muffin Man is but I do know the Muffin Lady. Tell your semi-puzzle partner that I have seriously perfected the recipe that you all like so much when you were here. Time to come back.

Evan 2:30 AM  

I am one of those crossword solvers who does have perfect pitch, which made it no problem to get SCUZZ. I chuckled when I realized that the key the puzzle was going for was C Major, and not the proper D Major of the 4th movement (D minor is the overall key of the symphony). In fact, at no point during the 4th movement of the Ninth Symphony does the famous theme represented in this puzzle progress in C Major.

But that's being really picky. The puzzle was a real pleasure to solve (a joy, as it were), and it would have been a train wreck of a grid if each E in the circled squares were replaced with F Sharp.

andrea ccups michaels 3:05 AM  

Amazing! You can actually SING this puzzle!!!!

And you could REALLY "hear" the grid...
"Whoops!", "Where did I GO wrong?" "MY BAD!", "D'OH!" "EEKs!", "SHO NUFF!" "TRY IT!" "Eazy DUZ it!", "NO DOUBT!"
(Would have loved to see a video for that one! Maybe "Don't Speak", just for the irony)

Plus I've NEVER seen TSETSEFLY all spelled out, at most you usually just get "half" a TSE. ("When doubled...") so very impressive!

Never heard of SCUZZ without the Y so the C was my last letter.

Yesterday THE Y, today YMCA.

Speaking of the Y, there are NINE of them, and few even the last letter of the word (How great is MYOPIA?!!!)
Plus 3 Zs, 2 Js 4 Vs!

And weird (in a fun way) to put in TELLY and then see a clue for "TV's Kojak" THEO, but played by TELLY Savalas, so those could have been cross-referenced but that would have felt too TV Guide...

I love that Jeremy/Will chose "Rex" as the dog name! This puzzle has a nice sense of humor, is musical, "speaks" vocal and no ???! entries.

Is there a relationship with the material and MASONITE luggage? Sounds flimsy.

I misread 59D as "Wedding staple" and wrote in RIce, making IcLAW my INLAW...sort of like a bad Henny Youngman joke.

Anyway, fabulous puzzle.

Octavian 3:09 AM  

Super-awesome puzzle. Has to be one of the best Tuesdays ever.

Such a light and fresh tone on the cluing, it almost felt more like an Onion or (easy) Fireball.

A very welcome diversion on a very scary night.

PastelLady 3:42 AM  

MASONITE--not flimsy at all! Can be coated with gesso (beloved of constructors) for a painting surface. Often found backing furniture items like shelves.

Good luck, Rex, with your return to competition after your stint as a judge. No pressure! Much.

Anonymous 5:50 AM  

For C Major, need to accurately read the clue: the key of the circled letters, not the key of 20A.

Same as yesterday's melts in one mouth. The clue doesn't quote the slogan...

From Didier@Bangna

Oscar 7:36 AM  

Original, but still: too many INs (INCMAJOR, INLAW, INPJS) and ugly black squares. Pretty closed off, too, but that will happen with so many letters fixed in place. A-

I imagine anything that isn't one of the themes that's been done to death gets some extra leeway. At least it's different.

The Bard 7:43 AM  

Othello > Act V, scene II

OTHELLO: Soft you; a word or two before you go.
I have done the state some service, and they know't.
No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well;
Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought
Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum. Set you down this;
And say besides, that in Aleppo once,
Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk
Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
I took by the throat the circumcised dog,
And smote him, thus.

[Stabs himself]

LODOVICO: O bloody period!

GRATIANO: All that's spoke is marr'd.

OTHELLO: I kiss'd thee ere I kill'd thee: no way but this;
Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.

[Falls on the bed, and dies]

joho 7:58 AM  

My thoughts so often echo @andrea ccups michael I hate to repeat but in this case I think a little overkill in similar praise is warranted. I couldn't believe I could read the notes and sing the theme! EEFGGFEDCCDEEDD! Amazing! Plus the four other theme answers!

In the margin I wrote: EGGON, TRYIT, CRAM, SCUZZ, INPJS, EEKS, SAYHI, MYBAD and, wow, all of TSETSEFLY!

One of the most fun Tuesday puzzles ever ... or, for that matter, any day of the week.

Do we still have the Oryx award?

I nominate this musical delight.

Thank you, Jeremy!

efrex 8:10 AM  

Very funky mix of highbrow and lowbrow, and some equally funky fill meant that this one took a bit longer than usual for a Tuesday for me.

I'm a bit less pleased than others about the theme, but it's certainly an impressive use of a circled letter path. Really liked the cryptic-ish double definition clues for DELTS and RING.



Evgeny 8:27 AM  

@ Ms. Michaels, you probably were thinking of Samsonite luggage.

CFXK 8:34 AM  

Loved, loved, loved, loved this.

Usually hate circles. This was an amazing use of circles and FUN!

Among the many enjoyable and/or clever aspects already mentioned, I'll add a favorite: the clay-tyson cross.

mmorgan 9:02 AM  

I adored this. I got to the 5th circled letter and saw exactly what was going on -- and I loved it. It filled my ears and my soul. Best use of circles EVER.

For 1/20 of a second I wondered if it was Beethoven's birthday, then I wondered if it has anything to do with the Ides of March. Then it evoked what was probably the best cinematic use of the Ode to Joy EVER: the end of "Hombre Mirando al Sudeste" (Man Facing Southeast; Argentina, 1986).

Wonderful film, wonderful music, wonderful puzzle.

As for 62A... well, I'd never say "I think I'll go practice the piano keys," but it would be churlish to complain about ANYTHING in this puzzle.

A Was Not 400 9:14 AM  

Would have been nice if the word "transposed" could have fit in the grid, since the theme is transposed from D to C Major.

An interesting thing for those who mentioned perfect pitch: Apparently the tuning of instruments in Beethoven's day was about a half tone lower than today, meaning in Beethoven's time one would have heard the symphony in C-Sharp Major, a half step lower than how our orchestras play it and a half step higher than the puzzle!

In any event, the organ in my church has a switch which adjusts the tuning up or down a half step or whole step. Most MIDI keyboards can retune also, including MIDI pianos. So you can play the melody on a keyboard in C Major with it sounding in D Major depending on your instrument.

jesser 9:24 AM  

I am no musician, but I loved this puzzle. No writeovers, but when I had KEYS in place down at 62A, I thought briefly that the preceding word would be either 'white' or 'black', but OWE and NAM disabused me of the notion.

My house was built in 1961 and there is MASONITE everywhere. You cannot put a nail through the stuff, and it even resists being drilled through. Maddening material.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Lehetos! (in Spanish, the straight people -- not that there's anything wrong with that) -- jesser

Kurt 9:24 AM  

Best Tuesday puzzle in memory. A constructing coup and a solving delight. Remember this one for the annual awards. Thank you Jeremy Newton.

chefbea 9:39 AM  

Fun puzzle and loved singing the notes

@chefwen - surely you know the muffin man...he lives on Drurey Lane.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

I got ADJ, but I don't get it. Can someone explain? Adjustment? Adjustable?

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

@Anon 9:58 Adjective

fikink 10:12 AM  

In art classes when we were to produce a painting every week, we usually gessoed MASONITE, in lieu of stretching canvas, and went from there.

Agree, this puzzle was nice mix of High and Low Mass.
Tuesdays seem to be getting sounder.

To Anonymous at 1:03 am, yesterday's posts:
"send this puzzle to the showers" ?!!! I wonder if this qualifies as hate speak. Feh!

quilter1 10:19 AM  

Holy cow! When I finished and saw the note sequence and sang it -- breathtaking.

So much cleverness packed in. This puzzle is indeed a joy.

quilter1 10:23 AM  

I forgot to say thanks for the Beaker clip. I am a big Muppet fan and have the complete Muppet Show for my viewing pleasure.

jackj 10:23 AM  

A musically challenged solver can forget about whether the notes are "E"s, D's, G's, F's or C's" and simply hum "Ode to Joy" to see that Jeremy Newton's snaking circles go up and down at all the right times to give us Beethoven's beloved theme.

It is noteworthy that even with such an extraordinary theme, a great deal of thought also went into the rest of the puzzle and the winking irreverence of some of the answers, like MYBAD and SCUZZ, was impishly matched in some of the clues, such as "So last year".

Like the music being saluted, this crossword is truly a classic!

SethG 10:30 AM  

This was amazing. Loved the cluing, the theme, even IN PJS.

archaeoprof 10:46 AM  

Glad to join the chorus of praise for this puzzle. And on Tuesday, no less, so often the most disappointing day of the week.

Low culture (Simpsons, Tyson), high culture (Beethoven, Espys), and "in the language" (mybad, delts). Wow.

Two writeovers: loo/LAV, and sweat/DOUBT.

mexgirl 10:56 AM  

Rex is right. A B cup is more average, with C being more on the bigger size, in my opinion.
Other than that, I'm glad to see I'm on the same page as everybody! Nothing beats a puzzle that makes you sing.

OldCarFudd 11:01 AM  

How do I love this? Let me count the ways - - -

Well, no, I won't count 'em because all the praises are in the preceding (and, no DOUBT, subsequent) posts. But what a gem this was! I haven't taken music lessons in 60 years or so, but finding I could sing this puzzle was an incredible bonus.

Two thumbs up for lit.doc's order to Rex!

Two Ponies 11:06 AM  

I wasn't as thrilled as everyone else. It's OK but spectacular?
It seemed that every other clue was "informally", "in brief", "for short", or "slangily".
I must be grouchy or just depressed by the headlines.

JaxInL.A. 11:08 AM  

A puzzle you can sing!!! Wow! And the "notes" move up and down in proportion to the melody. Triple wow!!!

Many minutes after solving this puzzle I was still ringing with pleasure at the elegance of it, starting with INPJS. This is as close to perfect as a puzzle can get. Light, breezy cluing, fun, original answers, not too old, little obscure pop culture, generally only well-known proper names, but enough twists to give some nice aha! moments.  Like @CFXK I was tickled by the CLAY/TYSON cross and like @acme I though it was a sort of inside joke to have THEO Kojak, but British TELLY. Plus, a chance for @The Bard to give us a moment of hubris atoned. Who can complain?

Once again, Rex has chosen pitch-perfect visuals like that Muppet Show rendition of Ode to Joy, the cereal, and that's Jackie Mason(ite) for anyone who didn't get the reference. 

Thanks VERY much, Mr. Newton! And hearty congratulations on this feat of puzzle artistry. Wow. A true classic.

CoolPapaD 11:39 AM  

Amazing! Brought me back to piano lessons in first grade - Ode to Joy was one of the first melodies I learned to play actually reading the music, and yes, I distinctly remember playing this on just the white keys (in C major, just like in the puzzle).

We are off to a spectacular week!

Matt 11:53 AM  

Loved this puzzle, so I'm glad it seems most others agree. The theme is impressive, and the fill feels like it was actually written this century. Don't think anyone has mentioned the nice crossing of CLAY and TYSON. And is it bad that when I saw Beeb, I thought they were referring to Justin Bieber?

@fikink: Not sure what post you're referring to, but "sending someone to the showers" is a sports term for pulling them out of the game".

fikink 12:09 PM  

@Matt, thanks for the clarification. You have renewed my faith that this community is still above board.
Are you claiming the post - @1:03 a.m. yesterday re: Andrea's puzzle?
It was particularly mean-spirited, with or without the reference to the showers, especially on a day Andrea was so vulnerable.
Alas, bullies know no age.

mmorgan 12:30 PM  

@fikink, I fully agree with you, but 1:03's remark does raise an interesting question: Would the response to the puzzle have been different if the constructor had not been Andrea? And I'm not really talking about her or this puzzle; it's a more general question. How much does our knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of a constructor affect our evaluation or interpretation? Certainly our attributions of authorship or credibility affect how we process a text (or a puzzle).

JenCT 12:50 PM  

Really enjoyed this one - as said, nice mix & impressive construction.

Had DUH before DOH, TELLI before TELLY, and just guessed correctly at the Eazy-E title.

It seems that unfortunately, average bra sizes seem to be getting more & more inflated...

fikink 1:02 PM  

@mmorgan, I agree with you re: interpretation and analysis. In fact, my very personal reaction to "the showers" betrayed a personal demon, as @Matt very civilly pointed out.

However, what makes this forum so unique is its life. Michael has birthed a community based on mutual respect, decency and fairness. Neither classroom nor cathedral, it is a friendly association of common interests where kindness should prevail.

imo ;)

Three and out.

lit.doc 1:07 PM  

P.s. to last night's post (yeah, I just dragged my ass out of bed).

Absolutely delighted to see how many classical music buffs are still alive! Beethoven 9 was the first recording I ever bought. Ninth grade(!), the Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horn, James King, and Martti Talvela recording with the Vienna Phil. Classic. On vinyl, of course.

@Ret_Chem, a perspicacious observation indeed re the aspect ratio on 29A!

Stan 1:07 PM  

Cool -- a puzzle I could play, when finished, and even recognize.

mac 1:14 PM  

Easy, breezy and brilliant puzzle! Had much more than an aha-moment when I realized I could sing the circled letters!

Ode to Joy makes me think of spring, hopefully not far away. Myopia, tsetse fly, masonite (plenty of that in my house, doesn't warp) were great.

Minor nit: didn't like the clue for evens at 26A very much.

@mmorgan: I think that, no matter how hard we try, we can't be totally objective when someone we know and like has constructed the puzzle.
Having met quite a few constructors, I also feel it's more fun to do a puzzle when you know the maker.

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

I will confess to a bias in favor of ACME's puzzles because, in part, of her frequent presence on this blog. I would have said the same thing about Joon Pahk and his presence at WordPlay until Saturday's disaster (for me).

andrea ceaseless masonite 2:33 PM  

You were right! I was thinking of Samsonite!

Thanks for the defense, and it was a drag for the blog comments to end on that note, but I didn't take it that personally...of course people can't be totally objective, but you can still read tone and specifics to know if people are being overly effusive or genuinely like something (I hope!)
And people let me know their displeasure with the whole YOUR/ONES thing, but I can (and have!) taken my lumps when warranted...

Anyway, don't want to detract from today's chorus of JOY for Jeremy!!!
(Whom I do not know, never met and have no preconceptions about his puzzles!) Still INPJS and still love it!

John V 2:53 PM  

So, the thing is, the Times puzzle is, IMHO, an "Ode To Joy", per se (some Saturdays excepted, of course.) At breakfast, I told my wife that I would anticipate an "Ides" theme, which would have been a downer, given all that's up in the real world.

So, today is a variation of, "Res Ipsa Loquitur", the thing speaks for itself -- an Ode to Joy.

Thanks, Jeremy.

KarenSampsonHudson 3:14 PM  

Yes, I agree with previous post, a strange mix of slang and high culture--made it a difficult Tuesday puzzle for me!

Tony from Charm City 3:22 PM  

Kind of eerie today. It's my sister's birthday, and her name is JOY. She's not a crossword person, but I'm sure she'll get a kick of having a puzzle themed after her.

CoffeeLvr 3:25 PM  

So much to like, I don't know where to start. Thank you, Jeremy Newton, for a construction feat! Thank you, Mom & Dad for forcing me to take one year of PIANO lessons. Thank you, son, for storing the organ you inherited in my family room, so I could confirm the notes in the grid.

Love NORA Ephron; I get her books on CD from the library and listen in the car. So true, so funny.

Well, I see last week's RINSO is joined by DUZ.

Had a hard time in the SW, as the dog command was first SItnstaY, then SItupBOY, and finally correct.

I wanted TELLY for 7D, but it wouldn't fit, then I got him at 39A! These little link ups are one of the best features of a puzzle for me.

@JaxInLA, thank you for solving the mystery man in Rex's post.

sanfranman59 4:05 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 9:58, 8:55, 1.12, 84%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:19, 4:35, 1.16, 89%, Challenging

Sfingi 5:20 PM  

The theme was deep. Only extra I would have liked to see was a reference to FREUD. Thanx @Schiller. And a lovable circle trick.
Otherwise, rich theme, and easy solve.
Oh, and ODE was a good choice for the length of notes - only the last E was longer than the others.

Had tent before RING. I've been at weddings which were 3-ring circuses.

The plural of ORZO is ORZI. It's Italian, not Spanish.

TELLY - Since I thought this meant Justin Beeber is popular in England, I looked it up. No, the Beeb is the BBC. I don't keep up with British lingo since my family happily left almost 4 centuries ago.

Sparky 5:43 PM  

Solved part in Miami and rest on plane to NYC. Oh Joy, it's great to be back. Became aware circles looked like notes I could pick out. BEETHOVEN filled in and Loo changed to LAV. OsAge to OMAHA. Had onapiano at 57A but the downs said PIANOKEYS over at 62A. Fun to solve. I like the scene in "HELP" when the whole world sings the Ode to save Ringo from the tiger.

Shamik 5:54 PM  

Can't think of a puzzle I've DESPISEd this much in a VERY long time. Thematically it may have shone for others, but the rest of the fill was just horrible.

Alex 7:27 PM  

And it was like for a moment, O my brothers, some great bird had flown into the milkbar and I felt all the malenky little hairs on my plott standing endwise and the shivers crawling up like slow malenky lizards and then down again. Because I knew what she sang. It was a bit from the glorious Ninth, by Ludwig van.

davko 7:50 PM  

A clever and original use of circled letters. If only the featured opus hadn't been transposed, the effect would have been more honest and factual (it's always nice to learn something while solving).

Loved the playful winks with such answer-pairings as EEKS/EELS, TVPG/DOH, and the subtle THEO/TELLY (connecting Sevales' first name with that of his character).

Two Ponies 8:29 PM  

Ooh Alex, thank you so much for that Clockwork Orange moment. Well played!
I'm not sure why I was so grumpy this morning but I have mellowed over the day. I agree that the theme was special but still I must agree with @ Shamik that the fill left much to be desired.
I see from sanfranman that it skewed hard for a Tuesday. Ah poor Tuesday. The hardest day to please.

sanfranman59 10:01 PM  

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

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

Mon 7:04, 6:55, 1.02, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 10:07, 8:55, 1.13, 84%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:40, 3:41, 0.99, 49%, Medium
Tue 5:09, 4:34, 1.13, 86%, Challenging

Julie 10:59 PM  

The only possible improvement would have been if it had appeared on December 17 (B's b'day), though maybe not a Tuesday. A pleasure!

The Immortal Beloved 11:30 PM  

Beethoven was born on December 16th. He was baptized on the 17th.

Aldo shoes review 11:48 PM  

Fun puzzle

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Greatest theme I've ever seen.

cody.riggs 1:50 AM  


cody.riggs 1:57 AM  

I'm a couple weeks behind,

but have to say, this was the best Tuesday ever, at least since those ones by that Michael Sharp guy, with GALOP at 1-across, if I recall correctly.

I have perfect pitch, and nevertheless the transposition to C Major didn't bother me a bit.

I was so amazed to see the graphic analog formed by the circles...before solving the puzzle I assumed it would be a sine wave...look at the perfect proportions of the curves the circles make.

Yes, perhaps the whole line at 29A should be half-height, since it is only a half step from E to F but a whole from F to G...(kidding.)

Bravo on this puzzle, and Andrea's yesterday as well. Great start to the week...I don't normally do Mon. or Tues, but glad this week was an exception.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

Hello from syndication-land. Yeah, that Michael Sharp guy ain't half bad. Really, really didn't want "C" Major only because of "C" cups. I've never heard of "scuzz". This would be my only hang up to what was otherwise a great solve.


Dirigonzo 3:03 PM  

Another prime-time love fest on a par with yesterday's, and who am I to argue? I admit I forgot all about the circles until I came here so needless to say now I am even more impressed with the construction.

I managed to guess wrong on much of the short fill: Loo > LAV, EttE > ENNE, Out > OLD, sze > ADJ (which I didn't understand until it was explained above) and err > SIN. None of this was the puzzle's fault - I just guess wrong a lot. Then Continual became CEASELESS and it was pretty much all over but the smiling.

Detetected a mini dog theme in the downs in the bottom half of the grid with Rex and his vet and his treats all laying about down there.

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