Henry II player Becket / SUN 4-3-11 / Polo locale / Sleigh Ride composer Anderson / 1966 best seller set Hong Kong / Biracial Latin American

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Constructors: Oliver Hill and Eliza Bagg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Triple Bonds" — Three words strung together, (1)(2)(3), where (1)(2) form a familiar phrase, (2)(3) form a familiar phrase, and (1)(3) form a familiar phrase.

Word of the Day: LANGLAUF (5D: Cross-country skiing) —

  1. The sport of cross-country skiing.
  2. A cross-country ski run or race.

[German : lang, long (from Middle High German , from Old High German) + Lauf, race (from Middle High German louf , from Old High German hlouf).]

• • •

A not-very-interesting theme with some (occasionally) very interesting fill. Theme answers were remarkably easy to pick up—the "triple bond" quality mean that you could extrapolate the whole string from just a few letters in one word sometimes. Three words together don't form funny phrases; they form nonsense phrases, which is not that entertaining, really. I liked that the puzzle took what seemed like a lot of risks with non-theme fill. Sometimes that risk resulted in something freakish and alien like LAUNGLAUF (I actually stopped the timer when I finished filling in that word so I could look it up, so preposterous did it look); other times that risk had spicy results, like JAZZY (71D: Stimulating) crossing SZECHWAN (90A: Style of chicken) or MESTIZO AVIATOR (122A: Biracial Latin American + 118A: ___ sunglasses) or ENDEMIC BON JOVI (25A: Indigenous + 21A: "Livin' on a Prayer" band). There must have been some sense among test-solvers that the puzzle was quite easy, because there are more "huh?" clues than usual today. Was clueless about UTICA (though that was ultimately inferrable, 32A: Ancient city NW of Carthage), CATHAY ("ohhhhh, *Marco* Polo...") (25D: Polo locale), whoever this RYAN is (53D: Cornelius who wrote "A Bridge Too Far"), and COPYREAD, a word that does not feel familiar to me at all (91D: Check, as text). Other familiar answers, like CONDOR (54D: Creature worshiped by the Incas) and O'TOOLE (1A: Henry II player in "Becket"), got pretty tough clues. Toughening act worked—puzzle ended up falling in a fairly normal Sunday time.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Chinese restaurant offering / Wonderland affair / Group on the left? (GREEN TEA PARTY)
  • 27A: Baltimore specialty / Effortless task / Move on all fours with the belly up (CRAB CAKE WALK)
  • 43A: Plunging / Play hooky / Vulgar (LOW CUT CLASS)
  • 52A: Northern flier / Mixer maker / Put on the line (AIR CANADA DRY)
  • 67A: Yellowish brown / Bit of "dumb" humor / Many a forwarded e-mail (DIRTY BLONDE JOKE)
  • 87A: Cause of congestion / Detective's challenge / Loony (HEAD COLD CASE)
  • 94A: Winnie-the-Pooh possession / Baked entree / Sweetie (HONEY POT PIE)
  • 106A: Fancy Feast product / Cafeteria outburst / "Mean Girls" event (CAT FOOD FIGHT)
  • 119A: Democratic territory / Cardinal, e.g. / "Over the Rainbow" flier (BLUE STATE BIRD) — probably shouldn't have "territory" in your clue and TERR. in your grid (113D: Colonial land: Abbr.), but I doubt anyone but me noticed.
  • 59A: "Up to ___," 1952 game show (PAAR) — ah, puns. I had no idea about any aspect of PAAR's career beyond "The Tonight Show"

["Were you impressed with Marilyn?" "Architecturally, yes ..."]

  • 124A: 1966 best seller set in Hong Kong ("TAI-PAN") — this clue made me think of my upcoming 20-year college reunion. Why? Well, let's see ... "TAI-PAN" was part of James Clavell's Japan Trilogy, as was "Shogun," which was made into a TV miniseries in 1980 starring Richard Chamberlain, who is an alumnus of my college (c/o 1956). These connections may seem tenuous, but in my head, they are rock solid.
  • 128A: "The Battleship Potemkin" setting (ODESSA) — this is how I discovered COPYEDIT was wrong.
  • 6D: ___ deux âges (middle-aged: Fr.) (ENTRE) — well, thank god for high school French. Not your typical ENTRE clues (which is probably [___ nous]).
  • 9D: Nickname for a seven-time N.B.A. All-Star (T-MAC) — SHAQ? No. It's Tracy McGrady. When I finally figured this out, I was like "Oh, right, he *did* play in the N.B.A. once." He's actually still playing (on the Pistons). For a recent superstar player, he somehow feels not very famous. Weird. This is possibly because he's been plagued by injuries over the past five years and been unable to play for giant chunks of time.
  • 38D: Reciprocal Fibonacci constant (PSI) — Me: "OK, so ... Greek letter. Come on, crosses!"
  • 46D: "Sleigh Ride" composer Anderson (LEROY) — again, no clue.
  • 99D: Speech blocker (GAG LAW) — I don't know what this is (GAG ORDER, I know), but I like it anyway. It's just fun to say. GAGLAW!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


retired_chemist 1:18 AM  

What Rex said.

Lots to like, not much not to. RYAN came out of nowhere and helped a lot because I could not see CONDOR next door for the longest time. Spelled it SZECHUAN which complicated the mid-Atlantic for a while. Scrunchies was not in my vocabulary. Non-puzzle short-haired wife patiently explained what they were, though she has never used any as long as I have known her (nor has had any need to).

Hand up for SHAQ firs @ 9D and also for not thinking T-MAC deserves crossword immortality.

Gotta find out how a crab walks belly up. Hard to believe....

Anyway, a fun puzzle. Thanks, Oliver and Eliza.

retired_chemist 1:27 AM  

Oh. PEOPLE crab walk. Crabs, presumably, people walk. Live and learn.

lit.doc 1:55 AM  

Nearly finished in 45 minutes, then northern California took almost 15 more. UTICA/ULNAE gave me fits. Was reeeally impressed with the triplet theme at first, but some less so as it so easily gave up its answers.

Another sticking place that screwed me up was 76A ASIAN/ARYAN. Then there was 90A SZECHU[sic]AN, about which I wonder whether it shouldn’t have been clued “(var.)”.

Weakest of the Week Awards go to 91D COPY EDIT and 99D GAG RULE.

Otherwise a well-constructed puzzle and a fun solve.

Anonymous 2:03 AM  

I have never, ever seen it spelled "Szechwan" before. When crossed with "yawps" - I mean, seriously.

aleph1=c? 2:49 AM  

Maybe it's supposed to be YAUPS?

Also, I learned about the reciprocal Fibonacci constant in college and never noticed anyone calling it PSI. We just called it P sub F.

jae 3:32 AM  

Mostly easy but I got hung up in NW. I tried to misspell OLIVIER to fit 1a. Having no clue about LANGLAUF didn't make it easy to correct. I liked this one. Amusing theme.

CoolPapaD 4:53 AM  

Agree with the ease that the triple answers afforded in getting this filled quickly. I thought the ALACK, KNIT, LIEF region was the toughest by far.

I also thought that SZECHUAN/YAUPS seemed reasonable, because, like aleph1=c? and anon, I don't ever recall seeing the cuisine with a W. Sticking with my Asian errors, I also had TAIWAN and KIWS - didn't seem so wrong at the time!

Is it just me, or is there a lot of ASS in the puzzles recently?

Bob Kerfuffle 7:17 AM  

My WOTD was also LANGLAUF. Just off the L, I suspected that would be the answer, since I am a sometime skier, often skiing in Austria. But to me, LANGLAUF was a strictly German word, and I thought it must be too obscure to show up in a crossword puzzle. I was wrong as usual - a look in the dictionary shows that it has been used in English since 1927.

LittleDan 7:54 AM  

fun puzzle! love the theme (tried in vain to come up with some of my own) --

not so into langlauf, szechwan seems legit, tho.

also, did some internet poking, check these two constructors in their rock band!!

www.plumegiant.com -- also something tells me they're an item? whippersnappers...

Smitty 7:56 AM  

I was looking for something like IN TANDEM for "as one" so I filled in IN ___
That gave me ____ IN for "Lure"
Crosses gave me SIR IN.....(huh?) Never saw the mistake.

Evgeny 8:09 AM  

saw LANGLAUF emerge from crosses, read the (not very tricky) clue ten times, looking for a hint that the answer's in German, then sat there, stupefied, for some time. Still can't believe this is a legitimate English word.

The the was much fun to me though!

Evgeny 8:10 AM  

the theme, it is...

Songknitter 8:12 AM  

I have a problem with Szechwan - I notice Rex spelled it Szechuan in his blog text, even after completing the grid!

conomist 9:02 AM  

Maybe I'm just a naysayer, but I hated this one. The theme answers were either too easy or forced, and the fill was a whole lot of bleagh.

People have already complained about the SZECHWAN/YAWPS cross. Combine it with PSSTS and you've lost my interest.

Also, ULNAE don't really turn on hinges, no matter how you try to wrap your imagination around that clue.

After yesterday's DNF, I was looking forward to a pleasant Sunday. This was just awkward.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

liked the theme - did cruise once I got it. I've seen Szechwan spelled that way. Also like their music - http://plumegiant.bandcamp.com/ - aren't these "whippersnappers" in school, too? When do they find time?

baja 9:10 AM  

Liked this one. Theme answers easier to get than fill - not usually the case. As a canadian i am embarrassed to say it seems harder to get the canada references which have been in the puzzles a little more often lately e.g. air/canada/dry. I'm so used to thinking american content/spelling

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

Hoagy? it is Hoagie!

Langlauf killed me, I still can't believe it is correct

OldCarFudd 9:32 AM  

Pleasant and amusing, with the theme answers being much easier than he fill. I've seen szechwan spelled that way, so I didn't realize it was a problem until I came here. But Langlauf? I know the word from German lessons, and from cross-country skiing in Austria. But I have never, ever heard it used in English, despite have done a fair bit of XC, otherwise called nordic (as opposed to alpine) skiing in North America. Its English use may have started in 1927, but it had probably stopped by 1932.

retired_chemist 9:58 AM  

If the theme answers were harder, I could get bothered by the alternate spellings (HOAGY, SZECHWAN), the geographic answers mostly only known to locals (LA MESA, KIPS Bay), and the totally unfamiliar argot (LANGLAUF). But, hey, the crosses were straightforward for the most part (OK, UTICA and T-MAC a little less so), and on balance it was an easy-medium Sunday as Rex said. Easier in the theme, a little harder elsewhere.

Besides, I learned that Fibonacci numbers began with an unrealistic model for rabbit population growth and do have modern uses. No such luck (so far) for the reciprocal Fibonacci constant/, which seems to be somethingto be admired but not used.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

What kind of word is Yawps? Gee, I don't think so - dumb, dumb, dumb.

Lindsay 10:11 AM  

Started at the top, and GREEN TEA PARTY tickled my fancy, so I was well-disposed toward the puzzle from the outset. Liked it.

LANGLAUF came to mind quickly (not sure why) but, like @ Bob K and @Evgeny I hesitated to write in.

Still not sure what 108D TISH is all about. The closest my dictionary can come is Tishri.

Lindsay 10:15 AM  


Walt Whitman YAWPS

archaeoprof 10:16 AM  

Missed all last week, moving into our new (LEED certified) house. Nice puzzle to come back to!

TAIPAN/KIPS was a Natick for me. Just happened to guess right.

Non-puzzle biology prof wife says ULNAE really do turn on hinges, as the elbow is a hinge joint. So is the knee...

jaia dev ascension network 10:16 AM  

The Fibonacci constant is Phi, not Psi. So named because it is the first letter of the name of the Greek sculptor Phidias, who used the Phi relationship (1 to 1.618...) in his sculptures. This relationship appears everywhere in our universe--in plants, animals, people, even the genealogy of bees. Should also have appeared in this puzzle!

jackj 10:17 AM  

Was casually solving this puzzle while watching a hockey game but quickly realized that, while the theme answers were solver friendly, much of the fill cluing was downright perplexing.

With the hockey game on mute and full attention on the puzzle, a flow developed and some tricky stuff was beaten back.

Favorite non-theme entries included ULNAE and JAZZY which, of course gave us the SZ word, SZECHW(U)AN whose spelling depended on one's take on YAW(U)PS.

Curious that Will would use the "W" rather than the more familiar "U" when M-W Collegiate 11th Ed. lists the word as "yawp or yaup".

Theme answers were fun, if easy, with DIRTYBLONDEJOKE best of the bunch and, likely, the seed entry.

Good work from Oliver and Eliza!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:19 AM  

@Lindsay - I had thought that 108 D, "Oh, Pooh", TISH , was some variant of "Pish, tush" or however that may be spelled, an expression of dismissiveness, but a quick look on Google brings up this (slightly edited):

Tish - excrement. An anagram of sh*t; tish is found in poetic contexts or in forums where the word "sh*t" is mechanically censored

Who knew?!?

Martin, any better explanation?

davko 10:21 AM  

Wow, I'm still recovering from Friday (yes, I'm one of those late-to-recognize ones who falls into the asterisked column). This one was pure gravy -- and far duller, theme-wise -- after that work of pure legerdemain.

Interesting that we have a creature celebrated by the Incas (CONDOR, 54D) coming only days after creature celebrated by the Mayans (QUETZAL). Don't know how these things are orchestrated, if at all, but a great future clue for JAGUAR might be "creature celebrated by the Aztecs," completing the triumvirate.

Phidias 10:24 AM  

@jaia dev ascension network - The clue asked for the Reciprocal Fibonacci constant.

JenCT 10:29 AM  

Agree that LANGLAUF should have been clued as German.

Actually had NAGLAW for Speech blocker, crossing SANEST - seemed sensible to me???

Thought this was pretty easy until I got stuck in the NW - was also trying to fit OLIVIER in 1A.

Had BUZZY before JAZZY.

Not a huge basketball fan, but UConn's Final Four win last night was pretty exciting...

Lindsay 10:32 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle

Oh dear. Just as well I looked in the dictionary rather than googling, I guess.

poc 11:00 AM  

I'll just add my voice to the objections to SZECHWAN. Really pushing the envelope there I'd say.

HOAGY Carmichael was singer. The sandwich is a hoagie.

Finally, NENES as an answer to "Yucatán youth" is poor, unless "youth" is taken to include very young children.

tptsteve 11:26 AM  

Puzzle was ok, but had one mistake.

My 11 year old daughter just finished a math fair project on Fibonacci numbers in nature, so of course, I plugged in phi, instead of psi, not having had to learn about the reciprocal Fibonacci constant.

@CoolPapaD- seems like ass could be the word of the month.

Glitch 11:33 AM  

I found a bit more in the theme than just a 3 word phrase.

Each answer can be made into 3 phrases following the same pattern:

Green Tea Party =
Green Tea
Green Party
Tea Party

Low Cut Class =
Low Cut
Low Class
Cut Class


PS: Seems like an unusually large number of commenters using personal opinions rather than dictionaries in their complaints ;)

Rex Parker 11:38 AM  


So you discovered ... the theme? As it's described in the write-up?


chefbea 11:38 AM  

Easy theme but lots of weird words and spellings. Wasn't sure how to spell 90across so googled it and Mr Google told me szechuan!!

I too picked langlauf as WOD

Go Huskies!!!!

Mel Ott 12:16 PM  

Re "Group on the left" = GREEN PARTY. I can remember when conservation of the environment was a conservative value.

Go Huskies!!! (Men & Women)

Captcha = otbroo: my favorite refreshment

Glitch 12:22 PM  


You wrote:

Three words together don't form funny phrases; they form nonsense phrases, which is not that entertaining, really...

I just added:

I found a bit more in the theme than just a 3 word phrase...

So in answer to your question:

So you discovered ... the theme? As it's described in the write-up?

No, not really ;)


Rex Parker 12:30 PM  

There's this part of the write-up called "THEME." You might want to look at it.


fuzzle 1:27 PM  

I'm in Glitch's corner on this one. If I read him correctly, he's simply pointing out that your analysis of the theme is wanting. The 3-word phrases are NOT nonsense phrases, but are, in fact, intrinsically humorous. My favorites are "dirty-blonde jokes" and "catfood fight".

The Bard 1:40 PM  

King Richard II > Act III, scene III

DUKE OF YORK: It would beseem the Lord Northumberland
To say 'King Richard:' alack the heavy day
When such a sacred king should hide his head.

Fred 1:43 PM  

Seriously? Here's what Rex wrote:

Three words strung together, (1)(2)(3), where (1)(2) form a familiar phrase, (2)(3) form a familiar phrase, and (1)(3) form a familiar phrase.

Which exactly what you're saying he didn't say.

I thought the theme was sort of clever, but agree it wasn't remarkable, and some of the fill was a little ridiculous. But I've had bad luck in recent weeks with the Sundy puzzle, for whatever reason, so it was nice just to finish for a change.

mac 1:46 PM  

Well, I enjoyed this puzzle, didn't want it to be over, and that doesn't happen very often on a Sunday.

Just noticed I have yaups/szechuan. I don't like the spelling-out of sounds at all, and this may be the worst one.

@JenCT: I had the naglaw/sanest as well! Go Huskies and Huskettes.

That crab walk is surprising, didn't know the belly was involved, thought it was just sideways.

Langlauf was a gimme, but I was surprised by the clue not adding Ger. Those kids know about Hall and Oates?! Must be from crosswords.

Sparky 1:47 PM  

Heavens to Betsey, boys! TISk, TISk. Which is what I had. Two spots with voids and one complete Natick, TrAC/LArESA. Found theme answers fairly easy but not 119A: hung on to freeSTATEBIRD. Tripped on NAILFILE-similar clues in the past did me in. Time to learn.

Lazy Sunday. I'm listening to the mockingbirds outside. Nice.

Hogle--a Philadelphia bagel.

fuzzle 1:52 PM  


Here is ALSO what Rex wrote: "Three words together don't form funny phrases; they form nonsense phrases, which is not that entertaining, really."

Personally, I find the image of a "cat food fight" pretty entertaining, whether it be between cats OR people. Such a phrase is hardly nonsensical.

retired_chemist 1:57 PM  

@ fuzzle - I think some of them are funny as 3 word phrases, cf. the ones you mention, but mostly not. What sense, humorous or not, do "CRAB CAKE WALK" and "AIR CANADA DRY" make?

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

Whether you find the 3-word phrases nonsensical or entertaining is a matter of opinion, but Glitch's original post was pointing out the 1-2, 2-3, 1-3 pattern of 2-word phrases, which Rex had clearly described in the blog.

Rex Parker 2:01 PM  

Thank you, Fred. Funny v. not funny was *never* the issue. The issue was pattern, which is described explicitly in "THEME."



Uncle Walt 2:04 PM  

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.
“Song of Myself” Leaves of Grass

CoffeeLvr 2:27 PM  

Thanks @littledan - I enjoy knowing more about the constructors. Turns out one of their songs on the web site is HONEY()PIE! Perhaps the seed for the theme, but only your constructors know for sure.

Sometimes my first entry is for a clue that catches my eye as I remove the puzzle from the printer. So Cornelius RYAN went right in. Years ago, I dove into the book and never came up for air. Oddly, I have a DVD of the movie I have never watched.

LA MESA was a gimme as my maternal grandparents lived there from (my) age 3 until their deaths in my teens. I was fortunate to be able to visit often. TAIPAN was another gimme, as I recently tried to enter it instead of TAIPei in another puzzle; the post-puzzle study paid off.

Missouri's STATE BIRD is the BLUE BIRD. We (alas) are now considered a purple state.

I had sOdA before COLA, after entering POP above at 64D, so that slowed me up in the south.

I thought LAP and NAP clued via toddlers were cute. I love the phrase "ENTRE duex ages." I had never seen it, but it expresses my situation perfectly. Really liked FIASCO; very hard to see it from a few crosses, nice.

New words (besides Rex's well-chosen WOD) were KIPS Bay, CUI bono, and TMAC. Last word into the grid was ANAGRAM. Triple checked every cross for the WOD, with a night of sleep in between. I am pleased my diligence paid off. Also struggled with finding the G in SAGEST. Wanted other letters there, including one that is offensive in the cross. Took that out, tried SAnEST, but didn't like it. Gave up, went to bed, got GAG LAW, got up and entered it. Then I could sleep.

I thought the theme was fun, and some of the entries were funny. Nothing wrong with an easy theme on a Sunday. I particularly liked HEAD/COLD/CASE, for no particular reason.

R. McGeddon 2:46 PM  

The OED also give both spellings: YAWP and YAUP.

Adam 3:00 PM  

My favorite cookbook "The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking" spells it SZECHWAN and my "Food Lover's Companion has both spellings szechuan being the preferred.

Really liked the puzzle and learned four new words. LIEF, ENBLOC, LANGLAUF, and MESTIZO.

Favorite answer was CAT FOOD FIGHT, I can just see those kitties slinging hash at each other.

Stan 3:03 PM  

I also liked CAT FOOD FIGHT the best (thinking of a feline John Belushi).

The constructors' band website is interesting -- wow, can they harmonize! Check out their cover of the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever."

chefwen 3:03 PM  

Don't know how I suddenly became Adam, above comment was from chefwen.

AV 3:04 PM  

@Rex, @Glitch: I too found something more in the theme that neither of you have mentioned. No, really! :-)

Each theme word "bonds" with two other theme words. The theme entry is exciting if the two meanings in the two associations are different.

For example, in LOW CLASS - CUT CLASS: CLASS has two different meanings. Also in LOW CUT - CUT CLASS: CUT has two meanings! So, nice theme entry where two of the words have two different meanings depending on the "bond".

On the other hand, CATFOODFIGHT: FIGHT and FOOD mean the same, and CAT could mean the same, although the cluing creates a second meaning. Ho hum.

Also, GREENTEAPARTY could have been clued as "Chinese restaurant offering/Group on the right/Group on the left?"

Overall, nice puzzle, enjoyed the new theme!

Shamik 3:05 PM  

@jackj: A dictionary backs up YAUP? I cry fowl (SZECHUAN, of course) on not getting Mr. Happy Pencil on two words that clearly are spelled either way. Spoiled this one for me completely. Bah! And easy-mediuum 18:43 time.


JFe 3:09 PM  

Submarine, po' boy, hero, hoagie...

Born and raised in Yonkers, NY... "I'd like a ham and cheese wedge please."

Moved to New Jersey and they don't know what a wedge is!

jberg 3:21 PM  

Whitman YAWPed all right, but was he barking when he did it? I didn't think so, so I left it at YAUP. Also wanted SAFEST, then SANEST advice, and only got SAGEST from the cross.

I guess a doctor might treat a HEAD COLD CASE, and a CRAB CAKE WALK might be the equivalent of a pub crawl - i.e., you go from one restaurant to another, sampling their crab cakes. But I can't get a phrase out of LOW CUT CLASS - well, maybe in barber school.

Seriously delayed by trying to fit SOFTSHELL CRABS into 27D, as that's the Baltimore specialty I think of.

quilter1 3:22 PM  

So I go off to church having finished the puzzle and wondering on what planet are cardinals BLUE. Returned and looked at it again. Oh. I really liked CAT FOOD FIGHT, DIRTY BLONDE JOKE, ALACK, JAZZY and much more.

My mom does the syndicated puzzle and she started last week's bowling theme puzzle before I picked her up and said she didn't think she was going to like it. I gave her a couple of hints.

Cheers for the start of a great week.

aphyt: what a two year old throws

syndy 3:24 PM  

puzzle was a lot of fun to do! Spelling variations of words from different alphabets or onomonopoeia do not bother me ! for some reason my hardest was honey pot pie (must of been hung up on honey jar CAPTHA -TRAGICAT:had a cat once boke three legs at once)

jberg 3:26 PM  

By the way, I remembered the Whitman line, but was attributing it to Alan Ginsberg. I guess a HOWL would be akin to a bark.

imsdave 4:04 PM  

Since Greene didn't chime in today , I thought I might add this:

The Typewriter

Go Huskies!

joho 4:25 PM  

Since both SZECHWAN and SZECHUAN and YAWPS and YAUPs are all accepted spellings nobody is wrong.

Go Bulldogs!

chefbea 4:39 PM  

@IMSDave thanks for Leroy anderson's typewriter. I remember that from way back.

Glitch 4:51 PM  

It seems one can catch more flack from mostly agreeing than from disagreeing.

Also for what one never said nor meant to imply.

.../Glitch (3/3)

imsdave 6:02 PM  

@joho - a small chink in the armor - I always thought you were perfect!

Oh well, at least we're both rooting for dogs. Cut me a little slack and root for UConn tonight in the women's semifinals?

joho 6:09 PM  

@imsdave ... I'm torn as I do have connections in Connecticut ... so, yes, I will root for UConn in the semifinals!

And, go dogs!

Anonymous 6:33 PM  


At the risk of "piling on," I have to say you still don't quite seem to get it. What you described in your first post as "a bit more in the theme" is exactly what Rex explained *is* the theme in his blog (see the paragraph right below the completed grid).

Can't blame Rex for getting a little testy when folks post without reading the blog.

mac 6:35 PM  

I'm not sure I can solve a puzzle anymore without the sound of basketball (and lately baseball) on tv behind me. Go Huskies!

lit.doc 7:50 PM  

@Rex, when I checked in for late posts, I noticed with delight a new puzzle from you. (Hey, only took me two days!) Contratulations! I look forward to the solve.

mmorgan 8:43 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle, but enjoyed all the nits picked here even more!

JaxInL.A. 9:17 PM  

I have a definitional question: @archeoprof didn't know either answer but guessed the crossing letter correctly.  Is that still a Natick? (okay, only word geeks would worry about the definition of a specially-coined word).  I think of a Natick as resulting in a blank, "I have no idea" feeling.  A correct guess is still a right answer, no?

The entire Northern California section was one big re-right for me.    (I love this word, but I can't believe that @Andrea remembered this yesterday.  I looked it up.  @joho suggested it back in 2008, and it hasn't turned up that often since.)  I put in and took out LADLE, TILE, and OF COURSE (twice). 

I agree with @poc re: Yucatan youths.  Youth in English usually means from the age of adolescence to, say, 18, or however you want to define adulthood.  NENES are infants and toddlers.  "Tijuana tots" might have worked.  

I've been late posting The last few days.  Does anyone come back and look? I wonder if @Alan saw my advice on HTML and the iPad yesterday.

Acksual: how my daughter spells it

The Bard's friend 9:22 PM  

Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene II
     What means this shouting? I do fear, the people  
      Choose Caesar for their king.  
                                Ay, do you fear it?  
     Then must I think you would not have it so.  
     I would not, Cassius; yet I love him well.  
     But wherefore do you hold me here so long?  
     What is it that you would impart to me?  
      If it be aught toward the general good,  
     Set honour in one eye and death i' the other,  
     And I will look on both indifferently,
     For let the gods so speed me, as I love
     The name of honour more than I fear death.
      I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,  
     As well as I do know your outward favour.
     Well, honour is the subject of my story.  
     I cannot tell what you and other men  
     Think of this life; but, for my single self,  
      I HAD AS LIEF not be as live to be   
     In awe of such a thing as I myself.
     I was born free as Caesar; so were you:   
     We both have fed as well, and we can both  
     Endure the winter's cold as well as he:  
      For once, upon a raw and gusty day,  
     The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,  
     Caesar said to me "Darest thou, Cassius, now  
     Leap in with me into this angry flood,  
     And swim to yonder point?" Upon the word,
 Accoutred as I was, I plunged in
     And bade him follow; so indeed he did.   
     The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it
     With lusty sinews, throwing it aside  
     And stemming it with hearts of controversy;
      But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
 our hearts fired up by the challenge
     Caesar cried "Help me, Cassius, or I sink!"   
     I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,   
     Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder  
     The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
         Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
         Is now become a god, and Cassius is
         A wretched creature and must bend his body
         If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
         He had a fever when he was in Spain,
         And when the fit was on him I did mark
         How he did shake. 'Tis true, this god did shake;
         His coward lips did from their colour fly,   
     And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world   
     Did lose his lustre: I did hear him groan:   
      Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans   
     Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
     Alas, it cried "Give me some drink, Titinius,"    
     As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me  
     A man of such a feeble temper should   
      So get the start of the majestic world   
     And bear the palm alone.   
     Shout. Flourish.  

Anonymous 9:30 PM  

I think if Whitman wanted to say "barked" he wouldn't have had to make up a word. YAWP is not the same, even if 'bark' appears in the dictionary.

mac 9:43 PM  

@JaxInLA: yes, we do read the late comments. That's how I start my day.

joho 10:14 PM  

@Jaxin L.A. ... wow, I can't believe I came up that in 2008. Boy, does time fly!

I check in here at 10 or so every night when I print out the puzzle, so, yes, I think probably many do read the late comments. If not now, in the morning as @mac does.

aleph1=c? 10:39 PM  

@ retired chemist

Unlike chemistry, most of math is not "used" for anything, especially number-theoretical stuff like the reciprocal Fibonacci constant. That is, until someone comes along and discovers a profoundly important use for it. You never know until then. We didn't have much use for negative numbers until the Renaissance.

lit.doc 10:59 PM  

@JaxInL.A., yes, Mac and joho aren't alone in checking the blog postings throughout the day. I just logged on to do the Monday puzzle and, as always, I checked the late-Sunday postings first.

william e emba 11:55 PM  

Woo, I started off with a pop cultural edge over Rex! I filled in O'TOOLE without blinking. His role in Becket was one of the 8times (the record) he was nominated for Best Actor, which he never won. (Or as he would say, which he has yet to win.)

Speaking as a mathematician, the "reciprocal Fibonacci constant" is a bit of pointless trivia, known to the tiny percentage of mathematicians who've accidently come across it, no more. It certainly does not belong in any crossword puzzle outside The Mathematical Intelligencer.

Since I am not a foodie, I have no idea how the chicken is commonly spelled. I automatically used it as in the standard Brecht title translation The Good Woman of SZECHWAN.

We saw LA MESA a little over three years ago. I even remember Orange's explanation of how she got it (it's Spanish, right?) and that enabled me to get the cross with TMAC, an otherwise meaningless answer to me.

william e emba 11:57 PM  

Woo, I started off with a pop cultural edge over Rex! I filled in O'TOOLE without blinking. His role in Becket was one of the 8times (the record) he was nominated for Best Actor, which he never won. (Or as he would say, which he has yet to win.)

Speaking as a mathematician, the "reciprocal Fibonacci constant" is a bit of pointless trivia, known to the tiny percentage of mathematicians who've accidently come across it, no more. It certainly does not belong in any crossword puzzle outside The Mathematical Intelligencer.

Since I am not a foodie, I have no idea how the chicken is commonly spelled. I automatically used it as in the standard Brecht title translation The Good Woman of SZECHWAN.

We saw LA MESA a little over three years ago. I even remember Orange's explanation of how she got it (it's Spanish, right?) and that enabled me to get the cross with TMAC, an otherwise meaningless answer to me.

fergus 1:08 AM  

The theme struck me as a very typical Shortzian quiz game. Pretty clever and entertaining.

Rube 1:19 AM  

Enjoyed this puzzle. I'm in the JenCT & Mac camp re naglaw & sanest. Since I do the puzzle out of the NYT magazine, I can declare victory with or without Mr Happy Pencil.

E.g. & FYI, googling Szechwan gives 1,010,000 hits, Szechuan gives 3,620,000 hits, and Sichuan gives 25,800,000 hits. I claim victory with Szechuan although my 2 week old map of SW China uses Sichuan, probably the "party line" preferred spelling in Mandarin.

jae 3:39 AM  

@jaxinla - I'm in San Diego and am also up late which is why I was able to point Andrea in the right direction about the gensis of reright (I too like the term). For the record I guessed right on the original Natick, but it was Natick given Rex's definition (I think he explains it in his FAQ). My sense is that hard core puzzlers don't leave blanks, they guess. Henry Hook, who does the BG Sunday every other week, usually has at least one Natick cross per puzzle.

Matthew G. 1:50 PM  

Liked the theme more than Rex, and decided not to speed-solve on this one because I figured I'd have more fun trying to guess these theme answers without crosses -- and I was right.

I work on the edge of New York's Chinatown and I have never, ever seen it spelled SZECHWAN before. It's SZECHUAN. If you're going to use a non-standard spelling, cross it with something more rigidly spelled and less-onomatopoeic than YAWPS. That's my only gripe about this otherwise quite fun puzzle.

Anonymous 12:44 AM  

Can't understand all the fuss over "langlauf". Familiar word on the ski slopes everywhere.

Perry 3:38 PM  

I thought the answer to the cross-country skiing clue was "offpiste." It fits and off piste is another and probably more common term for xc skiing. Alas, it screwed me up for a long time.

Dirigonzo 1:19 PM  

April 10 here in syndicationland and Spring has finally arrived in my back yard. It was warm enough to sit on the deck in a state of undress that would be indecent in a less private locale, solving a puzzle with a funny-punny theme - could it get any better than that?

Finished with "YAuPS" as did so many others, but I'm clinging to the theory that it's not really wrong because either spelling is correct - take that WS! Alas and ALACK I have no such solace for KIwS which is most certainly wrong. I also discovered after coming here that I had finished with bOzOS where YOYOS belongs so that trashed that whole section.

Still had fun and soaked up lots of vitamin D, so no complaints (well, except for LANGLAUF, which I got from the crosses but still didn't believe was right until it was explained here.)

Copy Editor 4:21 AM  

I loved the theme. I liked Dirty Blonde Jokes a lot, but Green Tea Party was the first one I got and helped me do the others. I've never been skiing in my life, although I live in Oregon, so I didn't know LANGLAUF. I figured out ENBLOC, but it took most of the puzzle. Had no idea about LIEF.

I went with "Yawp" because of Whitman, even though I didn't think "bark" was a good clue. Also didn't like "Tish."

Patricia 10:13 AM  

Only one tiny quibble with the Triple Bonds crossword -- Clue #102 Across: "Hero" to which the answer is "hoagy." I have never seen this word spelled with a y on the end. In Philly (shout out to the Phils) it is spelled "hoagie."

And if you perchance were to ask for a "hero" in Philadelphia, you'd probably get a Rocky replica statue or a Flyers jersey.

cody.riggs 11:20 AM  

I agree that the clue difficulty must have been ratcheted up due to the easy theme. I did like the theme better than Rex, apparently.

One laugh-out-loud moment. I had SUREST at 97a which I changed to SAFEST due to "ALIBI" at 98d. All well and good...SAFEST advice seemed perfectly cromulent.

This resulted in FAG LAW at 99d. I honestly thought it must be a real thing! (I texted my partner: 'it must be something from England around the time of the Riot Act...') Then 'oooh, the NYT is gonna get more mail about this than JEWFRO.' GAG didn't occur to me until after completeing the whole puzzle! D'oh!

Anonymous 7:49 PM  

No nene's in Yucatan. Unless it's a Hawaiian goose.

Swagomatic 1:24 PM  

I'm a little late to the party, as we get the puzzles 2 weeks late, but NENE, as far as I know, is more a Brazilian term; witness Nene, the Brazilian who plays b-ball for the Nuggets. Also, nene means baby, not youth. Otherwise, a fun puzzle despite the questionable fill.

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

I think that the spelling of SZCHUAN is the correct answer since YAUP is an acceptable alternate spelling of YAWP.

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