Political activist James undercover videos / TUE 4-26-11 / Storied duelist large nose / Golf club similar niblick / Old Curiosity Shop heroine

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: EASY A (69A: No-brainer class, an example of which is named by combining the ends of 20-, 36-, 42- and 55-Across) — those ends form the phrase UNDERWATER BASKET-WEAVING.


Word of the Day: LOFTER (48A: Golf club similar to a niblick) —

n.1.(Golf) An iron club with a sloped face, used in lofting the ball; - called also lofting iron. (freedictionary.com)
• • •

Nifty, original theme, with a grid that is jam-packed with interesting words and a boatload of Scrabbly letters. Js, Xs, Ks, and Zs everywhere you turn, in every last cranny of the grid. Where does the joke class "UNDERWATER BASKET-WEAVING" come from? I've heard it before, of course, but have no idea if it has a single source or is just one of those mythical phrases that enters public domain as if out of nowhere. As for the theme answers, I really liked KNUCKLE UNDER, didn't care so much for SPELL-WEAVING (not so snappy or familiar), and liked the others just fine. Puzzle was toughish for a Tuesday, with the west and the south proving the biggest obstacles. Never heard of a LOFTER (48A: Golf club similar to a niblick) or the expression "EWE lamb," and only recalled HARROW (29D: Tilling tool) and O'KEEFE (30D: Political activist James known for undercover videos) with some prodding from crosses. Not sure how I feel about BRED over BREAD (despite their etymological unrelatedness), but I love "WHO'S NEXT" (28A: 1971 rock album with the hit "Won't Get Fooled Again"), so problems aside, that section's alright with me. The south actually proved much harder, though fewer problem answers were involved. Couldn't remember if CAHN (64A: "Three Coins in the Fountain" lyricist Sammy) was CAAN or CAHN, so had the mysterious W-I- for 57D: Zoom (eventually, WHIZ) and RA-E for 70A: Knock down, and while RAZE is obvious once you hit on it, it didn't leap to mind and even after I'd chosen CAHN, I had to run the alphabet (long way to "Z"). Still, the whole thing was plausibly Tuesdayish, and largely enjoyable.



Theme answers:
  • 20A: Consent reluctantly (KNUCKLE UNDER)
  • 36A: Is active without making progress or falling behind (TREADS WATER)
  • 42A: Main food-supplying region of a country (BREAD BASKET)
  • 55A: Wizardry (SPELL-WEAVING)
Oh, and 17A: "___ pregnant!" ("WE'RE") is for real—Brendan and his wife Liz are expecting their first child, a daughter, in August. So congratulations to them.

Bullets:
  • 41A: Programming language that's also the name of an island (JAVA) — I'm not so hot when it comes to programming languages, but it would've helped if I'd actually read to the end of this clue the first time I saw it. Instead, I saw "programming language," thought "uh uh," and moved on.
  • 67A: Google executive Schmidt (ERIC) — he's back ... and this time, I got him. Lots of contemporary names in this grid.
  • 9D: Dr. Watson player in 2009's "Sherlock Holmes" (JUDE LAW) — here's another contemporary name for you.
  • 26D: On a scale of 1 to 10, what one amp in "This Is Spinal Tap" goes to (ELEVEN) — Rich! I assume everyone knows this classic mockumentary moment, but if not, or if so, here it is.

  • 27D: Storied duelist with a large nose (CYRANO) — got instantly, but still, what a great clue—I just like the phrase "storied duelist." I learned the story of CYRANO from ... "The Brady Bunch."
  • 31D: Title TV character in a brown, skirted, leather outfit (XENA) — a pretty obvious XENA clue. Constant solvers know her well, whether they've seen her show before or (like me) not.
  • 32D: Aster relative (TANSY) — know this flower only from crosswords. PANSY's stupid-looking cousin.
  • 44D: Hill near a loch (BRAE) — Scottish crosswordese 101.
  • 55D: Sch. system with campuses in Albany and 63 other places (SUNY) — I'm headed to one of those places in another hour...
  • 59D: "The Old Curiosity Shop" heroine (NELL) — know NELL better as that Jodie Foster movie where she speaks her own wilderness language or whatever. Also, as Charles II's mistress, NELL Gwyn.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

74 comments:

Gil.I.Pollas 6:44 AM  

I too found this tough for a Tuesday but I found the bouncy words like HARROW, GATO, BRAE, WHIZ to be fun. My favorite word today is CYRANO. Does anybody name their child that anymore? Maybe the big nose syndrome would have something to do with it.
I think one of the phrases uttered in this century that I dislike more than eating kidney's is WE'RE pregnant. No, I am, and you get to watch!
Having said that, congratulations Liz.

Doris 7:43 AM  

Oscar Wilde: "Anyone who can read of the death of Little NELL without laughing must have a heart of stone."

PastelLady 7:55 AM  

I read 'The Old Curiosity Shop' in 9th grade (after we had been lashed through 'David Copperfield') ...Dickens has Little Nell go through every possible horror of Victorian childhood, and then when he gets tired of her, he kills her off. You could smell that one coming from a mile away. Thanks, Doris, for the great quote!

joho 8:06 AM  

Such a superior Tuesday puzzle!

I've never heard of UNDERWATERBASKETWEAVING but find it most amusing as were the theme answers that created the phrase.

Loved seeing NAVAJO with a "J" along with the other three "Js."

Just an F,Q short of a pangram, too.

JILT, WHIZ, DOOZY, JAVA and WOBBLE are fun!

Thank you, Brendan, and congratulations to you and Liz on your upcoming bundle of joy!

OldCarFudd 8:22 AM  

Good puzzle. I recall underwater basket weaving as a course alleged to be offered by the University of Miami, which was thought to be a pretty weak school. This is a half-century ago, so no doubt things have improved, if indeed they were ever that bad to start with.

Congratulations and all good wishes to Brendan and Liz!

Golfballman 8:25 AM  

@BEQ where did you dig lofter up from? I'll bet you money if you walked into any Edwin Watts or Golfsmith store and asked for a lofter they would just stare at you and think you were nuts. Rex just because you can find a definition doesn't mean it was ever in the lexicon of any golfer. More likely somebody just thought it would fit and put it in that dictionary. Unfair clue BEQ.

John V 8:32 AM  

Do not understand ewe lamb? So, East was last to fall.

I had this odd experience while solving that I knew this was a challenging Tuesday, based on the several unusual answers and yet I tore right through it. Very odd sensation. Must the be fog in CT this morning; yes that's it.

dk 8:35 AM  

@BEQ, The hardest working man in puzzledom.

This is the second fine Tuesday puzzle in what may become a row. These fine puzzles are throwing off my calculations. Tuesday is the hated day not the favored day. I HOPE EWE understand I am in UDDER dismay.

LOL moment was looking at BIAS as a series of single letters for about a minute before the little gray cells kicked in.

**** (4 Stars) SPELLbinding

aaron 8:45 AM  

I reluctantly call BS on the theme reveal. To me, "UNDERWATER BASKET WEAVING" is above all a term for a stereotypically useless class, not an easy one. It's generally a derogatory term used by hard-science types (or self-deprecating humanities majors) to make fun of ultra-specific liberal arts classes like "The History of Shamanism in Central Asia." The difficulty (or lack thereof) of the class is a secondary implication; in fact, weaving baskets underwater sounds pretty tough to me.

mmorgan 8:46 AM  

A generous and merciful BEQ puzzle! What a gift! But it was also another one that felt themeless but had an extraneous theme reveal that provided closure but not much of a hint and came too late to matter. Still, a fun solve (and a nice construction), and a better Tuesday than most.

jesser 8:56 AM  

If I were to zoom back 35 years in time and look at a college catalog for an easy A class, and if I were to see "UNDER WATER BASKET WEAVING" as one of my options, I would not choose it. I have no gills, so the whole UNDER WATER part of that screams, "Hard class! Run! Or swim! But get away!"

That said, great puzzle! And congrats to Brendan and Liz!

Ever since son Daniel just had to upgrade to the new Ipad, I've been noodling around with his old one. I find myself playing Scrabble with Internetters a lot. This was a very Scrabbly puzzle!

And once again, a shout-out to MAJ. Dad. Loves it.

Oryinst! (It crosses Are You Out Ave.) -- jesser

Look Up Guy 9:05 AM  

[Sorry for the length, blogger not accepting my links today]

An issue of The American Philatelist from 1956 refers to an Alaskan village where "Underwater basket weaving is the principal industry of the employables among the 94 Eskimos here. By way of explanation -- the native reeds used in this form of basketry are soaked in water and the weavers create their handiwork with their hands and raw materials completely submerged in water throughout the process of manufacture".[3]

The phrase was used during the Vietnam War era to describe the sort of major that many young men who would otherwise not have entered college undertook to escape the draft.[10] US Senator Allott referred in 1968 to "the situation that we were in after World War II where we had universities setting up courses in underwater basketweaving, and all this sort of thing".[11] Senator Robert Byrd used the phrase in 1969 when questioning the use of funds to offer professional training to Cuban refugees.[12] The University of Portsmouth, UK, has a joke syllabus for underwater basket weaving on the Technology faculty pages,[13] and another joke syllabus proposal was posted by a University of Central Arkansas student magazine.[14]

more on wiki

D_Blackwell 9:10 AM  

Golfballman - LOFTER (or lofting iron) is totally legit, though I'll admit that it is a very old term. Possibly better known by Brits, but certainly legit around the turn of the century in the US.

(No, I wouldn't expect much historical knowledge from either of those sources.)

Sadly, NIBLICK has only appeared in the NYT in clues. (Excepting an acrostic in '04).

Tobias Duncan 9:12 AM  

Yall city slickers aint never heard a no ewe lamb? C'mon now ya got ch'yer ewe lambs and yer ram lambs.
Don't they have 4H in Manhattan?

Pete 9:16 AM  

If Brendan & Liz were sheep and the child were a female, they would send out announcements "It's a ewe lamb".
Livestock breeders care about the sex of an offspring, so refer to the young by their sex, hence ewe lamb vs ram lamb, cock chick vs hen chick, cow calf vs bull calf, etc.

To be a bit more specific 9:24 AM  

A Ewe Lamb is a young female sheep that has not yet given birth, at least per the dictionary.

P>G>

Jim 9:26 AM  

Was JUST recreating the '11' bit on Saturday night to this 23 yo woman I'm dating. I probably didn't do it justice, but the thought she wasn't born for seven more years after this movie's release was depressing, so I moved on. Not before I also told her about the 'Lick My Love Pump' bit later in this scene. Good times.

Also depressing that this half-a-provocateur, A/V club reject James O'Keefe got in the Times crossword. I don't even care about his politics (really). He's just lame. Oh, and goofy-looking.

Great puzzle. Unusual for a Tuesday.

chefbea 9:34 AM  

I agree..more difficult than the usual Tues. Puzzle. Never heard od knuckle under...knuckle down, yes.

Of to Myrtle Beach to check out the outlets!!!

JC66 9:35 AM  

I graduated from college in 1961, and back then BASKET WEAVING was the term used to refer to any course that was a slam dunk *A*

It appears, based on @ Look Up Guy's post that politicians upped the absurdist ante by adding UNDERWATER.

MAZEL TOV BEQ & Liz!!!

foodie 9:37 AM  

Fantastic puzzle! An UDDER DOOZY!

Thank you BEQ. I hope your pregnancy is an EASY A.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:46 AM  

If dyslexia derives from the Greek for reading badly, what is the corresponding word for writing badly? I looked at the clue for 7 D< Rights org, knew full well the answer was ACLU, but later discovered that I had entered UCLA!

lapelpinhead 9:47 AM  

Thanks for your informative and entertaining elaborations of the puzzles. I just wanted to point out that you probably meant to type "BRED over BREAD" rather than "BRED over BREAK". It had me confused for a few moments...

quilter1 9:47 AM  

Re EWE lamb, see also II Samuel 12, in which the prophet Nathan tells King David a parable involving the unjust theft of a beloved ewe lamb by a rich man from a poor one in order to shame David for his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah. I know ewe lamb as a term for a beloved female, pet or person.

I found this puzzle to be very easy. I liked KNUCKLE UNDER. Loved the Wilde quote. It i said that as The Old Curiosity Shop was serialized in the U.S. people would gather at the dock when the next part was due and call to the sailors, "Does Little Nell still live?" Those were the days.

I have a funeral this morning, the mother of my first date. She was a pistol with more husbands than the Wife of Bath.

Kurt 9:51 AM  

Outstanding Tuesday puzzle. Clever theme. Terrific fill. Just fun all over the place. And all of those scrabbly letters.

Great work. Thanks Brendan, And congratulations to you and Liz!

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Great puzzle!

I had BUNNY for 61A until our vice president led me to JESUS... ;)

jackj 10:19 AM  

Another excellent puzzle from the master of cutting edge constructing.

In the enigma department:

HARROW, OKEEFE and TANSY, were superb entries.

HARROW, OKEEFE, and TANSY, were questionable Tuesday entries.

Take your pick.

The only other name for O'Keefe which comes to mind is artist Georgia but, slight problem, she has an added "f" in her name, O'KEEFFE. If you need to use O'Keefe in a puzzle, James it is, I guess.

Great fun, as ever, from BEQ, one of the best.

Two Ponies 10:26 AM  

I usually struggle with BEQ puzzles but this time I glided through and really enjoyed it.
My dad used the theme phrase sometimes refering to some useless task.
My go-to Nell is Dudley Dooright's girlfriend (or was that his horse?)
A bit of doozy trivia, it comes from the Duesenberg automobile.

Mel Ott 10:59 AM  

Nice puzzle. I especially liked the theme. UNDERWATER BASKET WEAVING is just great. A bit more difficult than the usual Tuesday, but that's fine by me.

My only quibble is too many proper names for my taste. I found the cluster of 4-letter names in the middle South particularly annoying.

Matthew G. 11:26 AM  

Loved it. Just what a BEQ early-week puzzle should be. I disagree with Aaron about the theme -- I have generally heard the term UNDERWATER BASKET-WEAVING used to describe a class that is both easy and useless.

Definitely one of the harder recent Tuesdays -- HARROW, OKEEFE, LOFTER, CAHN, INGE, and UGLI were all pretty Wednesday-ish. But a very satisfying solve.

Congrats to BEQ et Ux.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

For Brendan and Liz: "Babies are such a nice way to start people" (Don Herold)

John V 11:32 AM  

Actually, we have Avenue Ewe in Brooklyn.

Sorry. I'll leave now.

CoffeeLvr 11:57 AM  

All right, Rex, I knew you'd come through with a Who selection! No numbers on my little speakers next to the monitor, but I can turn the Volume knob until it stops. Was it really 1971 for "Won't Get Fooled Again"? And we thought it was profound.

About Monday's puzzle: I enjoyed a PBJ this morning. (Andrea is right, needs the ampersandwich.) I found banana jelly at a little store in Kirksville, MO, yesterday afternoon. Almost too sweet for me, but at least there is no sugar in my peanut butter. My little trip went well, except I found out when I got home that the cat had been locked in my closet for 28 hours. She is fine.

Oh, and how did you like the puzzle? Just fine, although not a smooth solve for me. There were a couple of places I had to put in part of an answer and let the crosses reveal the rest: CAHN vs. kAHN and STA vs. STn. Got off to a slower start because I thought 5A's subject for a media ombudsman was "spin," and NAMELY was NArrow. But I needed the _ARROW at 29D, so "moved" it over there.

mac 12:04 PM  

Fantastic puzzle! Not surprised to love so many of the clues and answers. Just so much you don't usually find in crosswords, especially on Tuesdays. AND the write-up was perfect, point for point.

Congratulations, Brendan and Liz!

For 43D, I thought of dumpster diving, which did not fit, but then the word returned in the clue for 10D.

At first I felt so sorry for those poor eskimos in the freezing water weaving their baskets, then realized they were probably in their cozy igloo with a tub of warm water to keep the material supple....

Sparky 12:05 PM  

Boring story: when I was a kid took a course in basket weaving given by the Parks Department. We sat in the wading pool with the reeds under water and worked on the baskets.


I always like a BEQ puzzle, particulary when I can finish it. This took 20 min. so would not have had enough time at BCPT. Had khaN but LARA fixed it; Bunny too like @Anon 10:16; SUNY, hi @Rex. Liked YES AND NO, ELEVEN, all the Js.

All the best Brendan and Liz.

P.S. Mad About the Boy stuck in my brain. Aargh.

syndy 12:21 PM  

Who's next looked really funny with a "P" at the end of it but I kinda liked it!Incipient fatherhood must be mellowing BEQ -this being by far the easiest one I've seen him do!'We're Pregnant" is cute but now expect sympathetic labor pains at least!

Joon 12:34 PM  

syndy, there were a few puzzles handed in at the boston tournament with WHOSNEXP... and more than one with WBOSNEZP. i kid you not.

hazel 12:44 PM  

@syndy - if you're remembering the album cover, that's pretty funny/appropriate!!

fantastic puzzle in so many ways. the clues totally popped, the theme was great, and the fill was zingy.

santafefran 1:43 PM  

Echoing the general sentiment here--loved this puzzle! Drew a breath when I saw that it was a BEQ since I am not always on his wave length but my only WOBBBLE here was NAILIT for NAMELY.

KNUCKLE UNDER was a DOOZY.

Thanks and best wishes BEQ and Liz.

hohoni--the lost tribe

Clark 1:47 PM  

Thank you @Look Up Guy. There's an interesting story behind just about everything.

KarenSampsonHudson 1:53 PM  

I had to run the alphabet to get "raze" , as you did, Rex.

Rube 1:59 PM  

Yes, a great Wednesday puzzle. Have heard of TANSYs, but didn't know what they were. The Wiki article is quite extensive, noting that among other qualities, they are associated with weddings and used as a fly & insect repellent.

Didn't know "WHOS NEXT" of course, but did know XENA as my kisd used to watch the TV show, so was able to piece it together.

DOn't think I've ever heard of "under water basket weaving", but that sort of course is way off the radar in Engineering School.

nanpilla 2:00 PM  

Great Tuesday puzzle.

Did have to go from dAiSY to pANSY to TANSY.

My Dad always referred to a good football pass as "right into the breadbasket!"

Happy news, BEQ and Liz!

joho 2:02 PM  

@Joon -- WBOSNEZP is hilarious!

Gil.I.Pollas 2:09 PM  

@B Kerfuffle: UCLA...Hah!
My mom took me to a doctor because I mispronounced and misspelled words all the time. He said it was because I was always speaking Spanish in an English speaking environment and then he said very loudly that I suffered from malapropism.
I thought he said malapopism and I thought for sure I was going to hell.

CoffeeLvr 2:11 PM  

@Sparky, not boring at all. Right to the point! Confirms the wide diversity of experience on this blog!

openid 2:20 PM  

The political junky in me absolutely loved OKEEFE crossed with OAK (clued as "Acorn source"). Style points to BEQ.

baba o. 2:37 PM  

I'm another who didn't find this one too hard for whatever reason (lofter and raze the only clues that really gave me some trouble). Nicely done puzzle overall. Fun to have that memorable scene from Spinal Tap recalled over coffee this AM...It was the volume we used to listen to Who's Next back in the day!

jberg 3:38 PM  

@Sparky, glad to hear someone actually did underwater basket weaving. At UW, we did say "basket weaving" to mean an easy class (we said "gut"); but of course it is actually hard. Underwater weaving is used for Panama hats - it's to soften up the reeds. Only your hands are underwater, you don't have to dive!

@nanpilla, I too started with the obvious DAISY, then a few crosses made me switch to PANSY, all the time grumbling that pansies are not very closely related to asters at all-- until I finally saw TANSY, so everything was OK.

I've heard "ewe lamb" used colloquially, at least in British fiction, to refer to someone who is just too sweet to believe.

sanfranman59 4:03 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 9:21, 8:56, 1.05, 66%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:02, 4:35, 1.10, 78%, Medium-Challenging

CrazyCatLady 4:27 PM  

Wonderful puzzle today! I loved JOINT, UDDER and DOOZY up there in the NE. Is a LOFTER the same thing as a sand wedge?

My main problem was that I didn't fully understand the theme until I came here. I've never heard of UNDER WATER BASKET WEAVING so that's my WOTD. When I was in school the EASY A or "gut" was "The Philosophy of Hericlitus." It wasn't that the material was easy, it was because if you attended all the classes and took the open-book final, you were guaranteed an A. The prof brought his dog and the students could bring theirs too.

Congrats to the Quigley family on "their" pregnancy!

StudioCitySteve 4:35 PM  

I never attended college in the US, but I've heard of the phrase - loved this crossword and the theme.

Matt Leinart (Ex-Cardinals and Texans quarterback) took a single class at USC his senior year - Ballroom Dancing.

I've heard Geology referred to as "Rocks for Jocks" because even "student athletes" can get an A.

Lindsay 4:36 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle --- I got slowed down last week (forget which day) because my Mormons had gone into the grid as LSD. And I've already mentioned that I handed in a puzzle at the ACPT that answered Old Russian Rulers with STARS.

Looking on the bright side, that leaves room for improvement next year :~)

chefwen 5:03 PM  

I'm beginning to like Brendan's puzzles more and more, maybe I am finally getting into his head. Loved this one and the only write over, like many before me was changing pansy into TANSY.

Well done and congrats on the wee one.

Stan 5:04 PM  

Solid, funny puzzle. Solving it at BCPT (where you want the theme to be something like RED, WHITE, and BLUE) was not a problem despite the uniqueness of so many answers.

Good one, Brendan! We're sorry we missed the gig (you guys have to get together again).

Stan&Arundel -- 15th Greatest Pair Solvers in the Greater Boston area.

JenCT 5:18 PM  

Actually thought of JELLY(beans) before JESUS at first...tsk, tsk.

The usual writeover of KAHN into CAHN (can never remember which one it is), and DAISY to TANSY.

Avatar is a picture of Peeps and Cheeps.

Congrats to the Quigleys!

Sfingi 5:21 PM  

Cow:sheep::heifer:ewe lamb

I actually took cloth weaving in college, Skidmore '66. I'd wanted to take it forever. I had to take design first, and another 3 credit class - enameling- for a total of 12 credits. We had a weaving major in the class, who, after graduation made coats from a combination of her sheep's fleece from her herd in Buck's County, PA, and your dog's fur.

HTG Schmidt and Boyle, which is a sign of not keeping up with things.
Haven't seen a single thing she did. Apparently Google dumped Schmidt in Jan.

That and "niblick" were my new words for today.

Isn't your stomach referred to as your BREADBASKET in a children's song?

chefbea 5:40 PM  

@coffeelvr - what were you doing in Kirksville, Mo. Hopefully staying away from tornadoes!!!

peter 6:06 PM  

More likely somebody just thought it would fit and put it in that dictionary. It's about a aspersing appellation acclimated by hard-science types to make fun of ultra-specific liberal arts classes like "The History of Shamanism in Central Asia.

toshiba direct coupon code

Anonymous 6:10 PM  

Liked the puzzle a lot, especially for a Tuesday, but agree with aaron and disagree with Matthew G: the phrase "basket weaving" and its derivatives (like underwater basket weaving) refers to the stereotypically useless class, not the stereotypically easy class. When someone advises you not to take "basket weaving" classes, they're telling you to take useful classes, not the hardest ones you can find.

big Steve SF 7:18 PM  

My father ("El Rey" as he calls himself) would always make jokes when we were kids. He was an engineer from RPI, and MIT.

Scene: Int. Kitchen.
Father comes home from work.

7th grade Me : Dad. Look, I got an A!
Dad: Great. What's it in ... UNDERWATER BASKETWEAVING.

I called him today to tell to check the puzzle.
I agree, underwater basket weaving refers more to useless, than easy.

Other famous classes, Astronomy Looking at Stars.
I once took Home Vegetable Gardening. The teacher wrote the textbook. For extra credit, I cooked a spaghetti squash and wrote a few paragraphs about it. There's also a funny story I'll tell another time.

I also took a PE class in bowling. I got an "A" because I was the only one who could keep score. Still in a bowling league.

In college, I had a really tough semester with the toughest classes:
accounting, finance, stats, etc. I thought I need an easy class. I had a couple friends on the baseball team. They told me to sign up for PE 106-B "Theory of Baseball and Softball Coaching". There were only 4-5 non-scholarship athletes in the class. I did my term paper on "Care and Maintenance of the Infield". I got A's in all my other classes, I got a "B" in baseball. ugghhh!!!

I think they didn't want to give everyone "A"s or the class would look bad. And they used up all their A's on the athletes. At least one of whom went on to pitch in the majors, Jeff Innis

Rex-trivia:
Clearly one of the most underrated pitchers of the 80's. His side-arm delivery paralyzed the best of hitters. The submarine motion of his pale right arm produced such a graceful yet intimidating result. He was the MAN! "The Pride of the Prairie"

in 1991, Jeff became the first pitcher in baseball history to appear in at least 60 games without a win or a save. Of course, Jeff wound up being the winning pitcher on Opening Day, 1992
One more bit of trivia--in March 1994, as a member of the Twins, Jeff gave up the first spring training hit to White Sox OF Michael Jordan.

Anonymous 8:24 PM  

Basket weaving is an EASY A and underwater basket weaving is useless, but, hey, the guy's gonna be a father for the first time so what's the diff?

Anonymous 8:25 PM  

Basket weaving is an EASY A and underwater basket weaving is useless, but, hey, the guy's gonna be a father for the first time so what's the diff?

michael 8:41 PM  

I am sure that I would have had difficulty with both standard basket weaving and underwater basket weaving. Seems to me that basket weaving might be more useful than, say, topology, for most people.

Sfingi 9:32 PM  

My son had completed his course work after 3 1/2 yrs at Rex's school, but had a full 4-yr. scholarship. So he took a class called "London." Hey. I didn't have to pay.

CoffeeLvr 9:54 PM  

@ChefBea, my son lives in Kirksville. He is working as a nurse's aide, while taking prerequisites at Truman State for his next degree (BSN). He had to work Easter Sunday, so I went to see him. We had rain, no wind.

I also got some lamb at the local market, and will slowcook stew tomorrow morning.

Pete 11:16 PM  

Apropos of nothing about today's puzzle, I'm reading this crappy mystery story when I come across the following:

".. that poem by John Donne they'd had to read in school, was true. One person's death affected them all, ..."

So, not only has Donne's Meditation XVII been mis-cast ,the phrase 'they had had to' makes sense in a parallel universe.

andrea carla michaels 3:25 AM  

SO late to the party (baby shower?!) just wanted to say loved it loved it loved it!
And if I ever get pregnant, I'll have @Rex announce it here!

The theme was a riot, totally snuck up on me...and loved every entry and all the crazy letters.

Moment of synchronicity...last night on "Wheel of Fortune" the final puzzle was:

_ O _ _ L _

L E _ S

and I shouted out WOBBLY LEGS! and felt so superior to everyone in hearing distance (my remaining cat, BlackJack)
It's only now I realize I probably got it bec of WOBBLE in BEQ's puzzle!

The ELEVEN clue was particularly inspired, tho, to @john who is dating the 23 yr old, I would advise keeping Monty Python, Star Wars and Spinal Tap quoting to a minimum if you want to actually sleep with a woman!

JaxInL.A. 3:58 AM  

So I wrote this comment early in the day, somewhere after @CoffeeLvr let her cat out of the closet, and then forgot to post it.  Writing up a comment outside of Blogger is the other way I try to avoid the problem poor @PurpleGuy keeps having, but it has it's drawbacks when you forget to cut and paste.
  
I was surprised to see a Joon Pahk Monday (loved it) and now we get a BEQ Tuesday. Woohooo! I'm really looking forward to the rest of the week, though I bet I get my hat handed to me on Friday and Saturday. Wait, it's only five puzzles? But I rarely do well on Saturday. Ah, well. 

I LOVED @acme's suggestion yesterday that the BCPT should be called "Bossword." Or maybe it should be Bosword. Has our resident namer (who actually gets paid for thinking up this stuff) got any ideas for clever titles for this weekend's "Crosswords L.A. Tournament."  What a gift you have, Andrea!

Great fun with today's puzzle. Loved the SUNY shout-out to Rex. With Easter right there in the rear view, I detected a not-at-all-subtle theme: not only the obvious JESUS, but a lamb, BREAD BASKET, TREADS WATER (!?), and even HOPE. You see this stuff when you marry a Catholic. I'll just be glad to eat bread again tomorrow, post-Passover. (ok, I wrote this in the morning, in anticipation, but now it's night and the chocolate cake was delicious.)

Right on to Wednesday!

Captcha = zorstobu, which i swear the spell check insists is really "spraying."

JaxInL.A. 4:21 AM  

@openid: great catch, which takes a tiny bit out of how much I despise both O'Keefe's his goal and methods.

@BobK and @Lindsay, hilarious letter twists.

@JenCT, the two surviving chicks are adorable. Since you gave them names I imagine that they are not destined for the dinner table?

Forgot to say how much fun it is to be reminded of Sammy amazing and iconic lyrics. His first wife was Gloria Delson. I know a terrific lady of about the right age with that name dealing art in Los Angeles. Could it be her? I never knew!

Bob Kerfuffle 6:53 AM  

@Pete - You say, "So, not only has Donne's Meditation XVII been mis-cast, the phrase 'they had had to' makes sense in a parallel universe."

Had had to makes sense in this universe, too. Don't you remember, "Jane where Mary had had had had had had had had had had had the teacher's approval."?

Or with the appropriate punctuation, "Jane, where Mary had had 'had,' had had 'had had.' 'Had had' had had the teacher's approval."

JenCT 9:02 AM  

@JaxInL.A.: Nah, only their eggs end up on the dinner table - and the chickens are fun to have around!

Dirigonzo 3:40 PM  

Congratulations from syndicationland to BEQ on this puzzle, and to him and Mrs. BEQ on their pregnancy. ("We're pregnant" pre-birth and "WERE (sans apostrophe, as in puzzle) pregnant" post-birth, do you think?)

Does anybody really worry about BIAS in the media anymore - really, when we have networks built around it? Exhibit A: 30d.

Small nit: "Opposite of SSW" seems too easy a clue for Tuesday.

Cary in Boulder 3:41 PM  

captcha: facier=What the new web site MyFace is to Facebook

@Look Up Guy ... Was that the April 1, 1956 edition of American Philatelist? I'm trying to picture a group of eskimos sitting around in 33-degree water weaving baskets.

Puzzle went down easy with a good aftertaste. That RAZE/WHIZ was my last fill and it took 25 other letters to find it. Nice to see my hometown get another shout out.

Anonymous 12:14 AM  

Rats, I got a "C" in underwater basketweaving

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