Member of fictional Springfield baseball team / TUE 5-3-11 / Rabbi's co-worker / Actor/singer/athlete/activist Paul / Event held on January 26, 1986

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Constructor: Kevan Choset

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: MAN (71A: Word that can follow the start of 18-, 24-, 38-, 53- or 61-Across) — Adding MAN to starts of theme answers gives you the names of DC and Marvel superheroes

Word of the Day: Springfield ISOTOPEs (43D: Member of a fictional Springfield baseball team) —

The Springfield Isotopes are Springfield's only minor league baseball team. // The team is shown as drastically underfunded and struggling in competition. Their home games are played at Duff Stadium as Duff Beer sponsors and co-manages the team. The Isotopes name is most likely in reference to Springfield's nuclear power plant. // Homer Simpson was the Isotopes mascot for a brief period, before taking over from the Capital City Goofball, before being fired. // Players include Flash Baylor, Fishbone Walker, Smash Diggins, Buck Mitchell and Babe Ruth IV. (Simpsons wiki)
• • •

You don't want to know what kind of jet-lagged I'm dealing with. Let's just say my body thinks it's just shy of 3 a.m., I spent all yesterday on a plane, and I have to be in front of a classroom in just over two hours. All things considered, the fact that I managed to get five hours sleep seems like a major accomplishment. The main point of my telling you all this is that I can't get into it today. No time. Also, no brain function beyond the basic animal/survival level.

Still, I'll say something. I didn't like this one. This theme seemed weak and tired. I know I've seen something like it before, and as "word that can follow" themes go, this didn't have much spice. MAN is not a "word" that follows the starts of the theme answers. It's more an ... what would you call it? Suffix? Enclitic? Anyway, not a free-standing word. Superhero names are somewhat arbitrary, as is that SUPER BOWL. Come on. That's a Terrible way to get 2 Xs in your puzzle. Add to all that the doubled NO (NO PAR, NO SIR), the pile-up of governmental initialisms (OSS, OAS, NSA64D: Subj. of the book "The Puzzle Palace"), the random SCENE V (again, weak way to add Scrabbly letters to your puzzle), a preponderance of crosswordese for a 78-word Tuesday (SANAA, ESAU, ERAS, SAS, ARI, ODO, OBI, USH and on and on and on), and it adds up to not much fun. Liked SPIDER CRAB despite having no idea what one is. Did not like the IRON CURTAIN clue, which I thought needed a "?" at the end (61A: Continental divide, once?). Best part of grid = the NW and SE corners, esp. the Downs (actually, only the Downs).

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Event held on January 26, 1986 (SUPER BOWL XX)
  • 24A: Blue-green gem (AQUAMARINE)
  • 38A: Idly debate (BAT AROUND)
  • 53A: Long-legged sea animal seen along the Atlantic Coast (SPIDER CRAB)
  • 61A: Continental divide, once (IRON CURTAIN)
Lots more L.A. crossword tournament action to share with you, including a great set of photos I just got from Paul Clay, but that'll have to wait til tomorrow.

Bullets:
  • 1A: OPEC units: Abbr. (BBL) — Whoa. Really wanted this answer to end in "S".
  • 52A: It's a little longer than a foot (SHOE) — that's kind of cute.
  • 5D: Closing hour for most N.Y.C. bars (FOUR A.M.) — interesting clue for (otherwise) arbitrary time of day.
  • 32D: Rabbi's co-worker (CANTOR) — Also the last name of the (Jewish) Majority Leader in Congress (R-VA)
  • 10D: Community resident not affiliated with its local college (TOWNIE) — something about "its" isn't sitting right with me. "Community" is being used adjectivally, so it's a poor referent for "its." The answer itself, though, is nice, and will always remind me of "Breaking Away":

  • 48D: Actor/singer/athlete/activist Paul (ROBESON) — that's some combination. I know him best as an actor/singer.
  • 47D: Song words followed by "Terre de nos aïeux" ("O CANADA") — I had no idea. "Aïeux" means "ancestors."
  • 55D: "___ Inside" (ad catchphrase) (INTEL) — wasn't til way after I'd finished this puzzle that I understood that INTEL was the company name, not short for "intelligence." I was thinking the "catchphrase" appeared on, I don't know, cereal boxes or something.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
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77 comments:

The Bard 7:24 AM  

Hamlet > Act I, scene V

[Enter GHOST and HAMLET]

HAMLET: Where wilt thou lead me? speak; I'll go no further.

Ghost: Mark me.

HAMLET: I will.

Ghost: My hour is almost come,
When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.

HAMLET: Alas, poor ghost!

Ghost: Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.

HAMLET: Speak; I am bound to hear.

Ghost: So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.

HAMLET: What?

Ghost: I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love--

HAMLET: O God!

Ghost: Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.

HAMLET: Murder!

Ghost: Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange and unnatural.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Hamlet > Act I, scene III

LORD POLONIUS: Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay'd for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!

Glimmerglass 7:31 AM  

You're just tired, Rex. This one was pretty easy, but I had 8 hours sleep.

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

Can someone help me with 27A - IAMB?

Catechist 7:46 AM  

Anonymous: It's a metrical word; two syllables with stress on the second.

I had much the same feeling as Rex on this; it seemed harder than the usual Tuesday. ONED is one of my least favorite crossword answers (along with its cousin TWOD). BBL should have been clued as "OPEC unit" without the plural.

There was just a lot of mediocre crosswordese and stuff I had never heard of (RARA, TABOR, etc.)

SethG 8:25 AM  

Da Bears.

I loved Aquaman, and especially my Aquaman Underoos, but we've seen superhero themes before.

joho 8:26 AM  

My feelings about this puzzle are very close to what Rex wrote, the happiest being that TOWNIE brought back great memories of "Breaking Away." Love that film.

I scribbled NSA, OSS and OAS in the margin then, before writing a longer list, OOXTEPLERNON.

Only writeover was askIN before SEEIN.

John V 8:35 AM  

Average Tuesday, save for South. Took FOREVER to get 61A Continental Divide, IRONCURTAIN; wanted iron range, ironing board (didn't fit). My usual pop culture void did not help, as know nothing of the Simpsons, don't know Lena Olin, Mary Deare, etc.

Had the same question re: iamb, so thanks @Catachist. That is certainly not a Tuesday grade clue/answer. So, overall, I agree medium/challenging.

OldCarFudd 8:39 AM  

I've always found it interesting that the English and French words to "O Canada" don't give the same message. At sports events, when the singer of the national anthem starts in one language and ends in the other, he's changing horses in midstream.

quilter1 8:58 AM  

Today I got to be a know-it-all since most of the old standards came easily and I knew other answers just because. I liked Paul ROBESON clue and ANTONS, PEORIA, O CANADA and especially SASHAY. I'm going to make it a point to SASHAY today. SPIDER CRAB was fresh.

I did not object to the IRON CURTAIN clue/answer as I remember how I felt when the Berlin Wall came down, and the subsequent fall of the Soviet Union, something I did not expect to see in my lifetime.

Off to bake and plant geraniums.

retired_chemist 8:58 AM  

Easy-medium here. Figured SUPER BOWL?? and the useful X's confirmed it. What else will end in two X's besides Redd Foxx? But, à la Rex, there was the same feeling with SCENE V. Points off....

Liked ROBESON, PEORIA, IAMB, and AQUAMARINE. Didn't like the crosswordese her and there.

captcha atessome (dirt) - what the Lakers did last night. Go Mavs!

imsdave 9:00 AM  

Medium for me. Occasional poster (and fine constructor) Joon pointed out on Oranges blog that Dan Naddor did this theme a few years ago for the LAT . That one was great, this one's good.

foodie 9:00 AM  

Greetings from Copenhagen (a clue for SAS!)

"You don't want to know what kind of jet-lagged I'm dealing with"

Rex, I'll see your jet lag and raise it. I'm here for only a couple of days and am trying to function intelligently, jet lag notwithstanding.

Still, I agree with you that it had rough edges, and little pockets that were less than optimal.

But I liked PEORIA, BAT AROUND, MOOT, SASHAY. So, I'd say it's a mixed bag. One of those ambivalent Tuesdays with an existential crisis...

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

Can't Super Bowl XX ever die? Out here in Chicagoland we celebrate that victory every year. It's getting mighty old.

Judith 9:22 AM  

Thanks Rex for the Breaking Away clip. Started at IU in fall of '79 just after the movie came out, so of course I love it.
Everything was SO easy except southeast. Had tapan for the kind of drum and it took FOREVER to fix.

Deers and Sheeps 9:24 AM  

BBL is both singular and plural.

From a recent report on Icelandic oil:

The survey will cover the C1 lead to be drilled in 2012. A best case in place resource of 1.097 billion bbl of oil has been calculated for C1.

P>G>

jackj 9:27 AM  

After filling in the answer ending in "XX", (SUPERBOWLXX) and then filling in the one ending in "AA", (SANAA), I couldn't help but wonder what kind of weird theme Kevin Choset had going.

Turns out it would have been an improvement over another, Tuesdayific, "Word that can follow the start of", theme.

BRUSQUE and the shout out to PEORIA were commendable and I thought the puzzle was great fun as a themeless, "MAN" notwithstanding.

Craig 9:30 AM  

It seems to me that the clue for 15 across (“No longer worth debating”) is based an incorrect definition of the word “moot” -- a word commonly used as a discussion-stopper to suggest that a particular point has been rendered meaningless to a current debate. The way the clue is phrased, it seems to suggest incorrectly that the word “moot” contains a derogation regarding the worth of the topic being dismissed. For example, a discussion regarding the rights of a corporation, may be rendered moot, for the moment, by a recent Supreme Court decision, but that should not suggest that such a point be considered unworthy; the argument may instead have full worth in another context. This seems to be supported by the OED and my American Heritage Dictionary, where its definitions don’t suggest an assumption regarding the general worth of a debate topic. I’ve only seen the derogatory aspect in crossword clues -- I don’t believe it’s there in the common use. Maybe this is a case of a word teetering on the brink of corruption with crossword clues trying to give it a bump. If the word becomes degraded to becoming merely a blunt put-down of another person’s ideas -- first of all who needs more of that? -- but what could be lost is a subtlety of meaning, with no other word ready to jump in and take the place of what was lost. And what might remain is a simplification clumsily at odds with its own historic etymology.

chefbea 9:37 AM  

A bit difficult for a Tuesday but I loved the clue for shoe and of course the word sashay

@Quilter1 what are you baking today?

captcha..wayist=my wayist has gotten bigger after eating all the baked goods

Bob Kerfuffle 9:51 AM  

My feeling as I did this puzzle was one of unevenness - as Rex and others have noted, some points were quite good, some above Tuesday level (as 27 A, e.g.), and a lot of partials and arbitrariness, all in the service of a too-familiar theme.

JC66 9:59 AM  

@Deers and Sheeps

Although BBL is both singular and plural, some may feel that the use of the plural in the clue for 1A is not appropriate for a Tuesday level puzzle.

Elaine2 10:10 AM  

Seems I'm one of the few who found this puzzle fun, and enjoyed the superheroes.

No one else seems to have noticed the lovely pairing of ROBESON in the SE and BALLADS in the NW -- which if not deliberate was a VERY happy accident!

CaseAce 10:11 AM  

This Tuesday offering from Kevan C. was fair to MEDIAN at best, but, nevertheless, I'm so pleased he CHOSET!
I gave a RAP. and ARI Sari, no sirree!

Tobias Duncan 10:39 AM  

I got a bit more sleep than Rex did, but this puzzle still sucked. I ended up with a solid med wed time. I just dont know my short crosswordese I guess.
I used to date a cute little Canadian girl(she got me into crosswords actually)and on the fourth of July she proudly showed me that she knew all the words to my National anthem by singing the entire thing as we sped to the next party in my old convertible.
When she was done she asked me to reciprocate, so I sang as much as I knew to the tune of "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond...

Oh Canada bap ba da
Good times never felt so good
so good
so good
so good
Ive been inclined bap ba da

Two Ponies 10:47 AM  

Blogger's acting funny today.
My comment, before it disappeared into cyberspace, was that I liked this one better than Rex but still agree with most of the critical remarks. But hey, it's Tuesday.
@ quilter1, your comment cracked me up because it sounds like you are baking those geraniums. How do you know when they are done? :)

thursdaysd 10:48 AM  

Usually I don't have too much trouble with Tuesdays, but this was DNF thanks to IAMB/BVD (I think BVD is a UK/USism).

I wish the NYT would decide whether the capital of Yemen is Sana or Sanaa! We just had Sana on Friday. Also never heard of AQUA man, and had to get ISOTOPES from crosses. Liked BRUSQUE and SASHAY.

Did this at midnight, which is my excuse for trouble with DURHAM - I live just down the road, but kept thinking royal dukes.

syndy 10:51 AM  

Wanted to like the puzzle but it kept disappointing me!The clue to 31 across intrigued me then the answer! Then MAN as the payoff? lot to like and a whole lot of crap! @JOHNV are you calling the Mary Deare pop culture? Thank you @craig for standing up for our ancient rights! and what would law school do without the MOOT court?

JaxInL.A. 11:04 AM  

@chefbea, @quilter1 is baking geraniums and then planting them, which seems quixotic, but endearing.

I like superheroes and I liked the puzzle. I have no jet to explain my lag (good luck with that, Rex and @foodie), but I could barely stay awake last night and finished the puzzle in the morning. Even so, I got the theme after SUPERBOWL and AQUAMARINE.

My daughter has lately developed a passion for the animated series "Young Justice" (about teen hero sidekicks) because she (endearingly) wants to talk to her comic-book reading parents, so comics are a frequent dinner topic. It just popped into my head that those two clues could be comic characters. Confirmed with BATAROUND and didn't even need the reveal.

I liked the words and clues that others liked, and didn't mind the other stuff too much. Maybe the feeling is just a hold-over from the L.A. puzzle tournament. Did I mention what a great time I had?

Hope @acme got home okay. Last we heard here her flight had been cancelled.

Gil.I.Pollas 11:12 AM  

Well, I'm with REX on this one. Not much fun although there were words I liked. AQUAMARINE, MONACO, SASHAY.
Bars in NYC close at FOUR AM? In my hay day we had to stagger out by 1:00.
POR favor. Can someone explain 59A ONED?
@Tobias Duncan:
I sing "Sweet Caroline" at the top of my lungs in the shower and my pups join in howling along....

Catechist 11:18 AM  

ONED = One-D, i.e. "one dimensional". Usually clued as "linear" or "like a line" or something like that. Also watch out for TWOD (Two-D).

Oldactor 11:29 AM  

ONED=One dimension.

dk 11:43 AM  

Tuesday's child has returned.

Greetings from Palo Alto. I have surpressed the urge to kill the loud mouthed pompous twit sharing his wisdom with all in this coffee bar.

Jet lagged as well but from the other direction.

A total blank on Paul Robeson caused a significant delay, otherwise a typical Tuesday.

I am in the this is not so bad camp. Some interesting fill. Abq's b-ball team are Isotopes as well.

*** (3 Stars)

JenCT 11:46 AM  

SE slowed me down; same meh thoughts as others.

Not much to say - going outside on this beautiful day in CT.

Chicks are growing fast!

Bobby Seale 11:54 AM  

@JenCT - How come the black guy's always in the background? Can't a brother get any respect around here?

JenCT 12:08 PM  

@Bobby Seale: too funny! Next time, I promise! (You do realize she's a girl, though?)

efrex 12:31 PM  

Just yucky. A sprightlier theme would have excused all the gross crosswordese fill, and better fill would have excused the weak-ish theme, but the two in tandem just made for a slog. Too many proper names crossing crosswordese (OTERI/RARA, SANAA/SAS, LENA/NSA, DEARE/ONED... )

Computer problems kept me from printing this one out for four hours; wasn't worth the wait. Oh, well...

mmorgan 12:34 PM  

No real disagreement with Rex's critique, but personally I had an enjoyable (and very fast) solve, wherein a number of things I either didn't know or nearly fell for a misdirect came quickly from crosses.

jberg 12:40 PM  

I liked the superheroes, but ok it may be done too often. Aquaman, whoever asked, had a scaly-looking suit and, I think, an undersea kingdom. Can't remember if he could breathe underwater.

I liked having the BVDs to pull over my HEINIE. The former are definitely not a UK thing- if Tom Lehrer is around maybe he can quote his song with the words:

"I'll put on my sombrero
and of course I'll wear a pair o'
Levis over my lead BVDs." And I'm always glad to see a plug for Jim Bamford's book The Puzzle Palace.

First ANAPEST, now IAMB - should be seeing some other foot names soon!

william e emba 1:04 PM  

What? No Too Much Coffee MAN?

Bonus theme answer: Charles Eric Maine was a fairly obscure British science fiction writer back in the 50s and 60s. The success of his Timeslip film led Maine to novelize himself, under the title The ISOTOPE Man. I actually have this book on my shelves somewhere, but I have never read it.

Bonus bonus theme theme answer answer: both James Birrell and Christopher Newman have written a novel entitled The MAÑANA Man.

There is nothing the least bit wrong with the clue having "its" referring back to "community". Community is still a noun--the fact that it is being used as a noun modifier is utterly irrelevant. Compare with: "The poster's frustration turned to joy after Blogger stopped eating his posts."

CoffeeLvr 1:09 PM  

I hadn't even thought of Breaking Away for 30 plus years. When I last watched it, I watched it as an offspring, now I identify with the befuddled parents. Thanks, Rex!

Rex, I agree with every thing you said, and I enjoyed the puzzle anyway. It's all about the solving experience. It was very fulfilling when I keyed in the D in ONE D, not sure of the down entry and there was Mr. Happy Pencil. I actually thought I had unfilled squares up top, but I guess they were just unverified.

I did not know SPIDERCRAB, so the (admittedly) lame theme helped me solve that, and confirm IRON when I had the IR only.

Like BRUSQUE, TOWNIE, O CANADA, and HEINIE (!!). Hmmm, the spell checker doesn't recognize heinie (or hmmm.) SASHAY is also fun.

MEDIAN - I kept trying to think of synonym for nice that started with M. Despite teaching (really, business training) the three common measures of central tendency, the statistical meaning of mean did not come to mind. Had to laugh at myself.

Also chuckled at the clue for SHOE.

Tom Lehrer 1:11 PM  

@jberg -

The Wild West Is Where I Want To Be
------Tom Lehrer

Now if I may indulge in a bit of personal history, a few years ago I worked for a while at the Los Alamos scientific laboratory in New Mexico. I had a job there as a spy. No, I guess you know that the staff out there at that time was composed almost exclusively of spies... of one persuasion or another. And, while I was out there, I came to realize how much the Wild West had changed since the good old days of Wyatt Earp and Home on the Range, and here then is a modern cowboy ballad commemorating that delightful metamorphosis called The Wild West Is Where I Wanna Be.

Along the trail you'll find me lopin'
Where the spaces are wide open,
In the land of the old A.E.C. (yea-hah!)
Where the scenery's attractive,
And the air is radioactive,
Oh, the wild west is where I wanna be.

Mid the sagebrush and the cactus,
I'll watch the fellas practice
Droppin' bombs through the clean desert breeze.
I'll have on my sombrero,
And of course I'll wear a pair o'
Levis over my lead B.V.D.'s.

Ah will leave the city's rush,
Leave the fancy and the plush,
Leave the snow and leave the slush
And the crowds.
Ah will seek the desert's hush,
Where the scenery is lush,
How I long to see the mush-
room clouds.

'Mid the yuccas and the thistles
I'll watch the guided missiles,
While the old F.B.I. watches me. (yea-hah!)
Yes, I'll soon make my appearance
(Soon as I can get my clearance),
'Cause the wild west is where I wanna be.

Gil.I.Pollas 1:19 PM  

@Catechist & @Oldoctor
Gracias...Soy estupida!
@jberg: Oh my gosh that was a two-ply kleenex! BVDs to pull over my HEINIE....May I borrow that phrase?

Bobby Seale 1:22 PM  

@JenCT - "Next time, I promise". Heard that a million damned times. I want my F*(&&!n mule, and I want it now.

Andy Schatz 1:34 PM  

Real tough one for me and my wife. Usually we cruise through Monday-Thursday. Theme answers in this one were easy for us too, but lots of things I'd never heard of, like the drum.

Felt pretty dumb though in that I couldn't think of MONACO with M_NA__ staring me in the face: I've spent the last year and a half making a video game entitled "Monaco". And crossed with OCANADA (which is where half the Monaco team is from) was oddly apropos.

John V 1:40 PM  

@sydny: Googled Mary Deare re: pop culture. Hadn't known of its roots as a novel, only vague recollection of film, apparently 1959, which, given my vintage, is pop culture of my youth. In any event, I stand corrected.

KarenSampsonHudson 1:41 PM  

Felt a bit tough for a sluggish Tuesday. I couldn't even infer "LSTS" when looking up D-Day Invasion. Hope you get some rest later, Rex.

Sparky 1:55 PM  

Took me about 40 min, which is longer than usual, so I guess it was hard. Left the S in 1A and never went back; misread 68A as suffix and never fixed that. Two careless mistakes. The reveal gave me IRONMAN because, early on, my mind was looking for dinosaurs or mountain ores.

At one point, thought he was going for lots of Roman Numerals. Still, had a pretty good time. I just enjoy doing the puzzle every day. Everybody, get some sleep.

archaeoprof 1:58 PM  

Tuesday, Tuesday,
Can't trust that day.
Tuesday, Tuesday,
Sometimes it just works out that way.

CFXK 1:59 PM  

Nice connection to Breaking Away. The word "townie" always reminds me of the movie, too....which is rather interesting because I don't think the word is ever used in the film. Dave and his buddies were "cutters" (and damn proud of it!).

This solves the problem of what movie we'll be getting for the weekend, though

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

I still don't get IAMB. Please help.

Gotta love BVD and HEINIE in same puzzle. Too bad 18A wasn't "Event held on January 25, 1987" Go Giants!

Anonymous 2:19 PM  

Even with the jet lag Rex write up expresses exactly my sentiment on this puzzle. Tired theme that I did not get until I got MAN from the down clues. A lot of crosswordese and a few strange words.
For me Tuesdays are stright-forward affairs. This one required some googling at the end so I would rate this puzzle as difficult.

quilter1 2:24 PM  

Huh, I thought everyone baked their geraniums. Actually I baked apricot filled oatmeal bars and those round pecan cookies rolled in powdered sugar sometimes called Russian tea cakes, sometimes snowballs, but whatever you call 'em they are good.

Got distracted when SIL asked us over to see a house they just flipped, so now I will plant the golden brown and delicious geraniums.

william e emba 2:27 PM  

IAMB is crosswordese 101. Memorize it. Iamb means a two syllable unit of poetic meter of the form unstressed-stressed. The term is usually used in adjectival form. Thus, we say a poem is written in "iambic pentameter" meaning five iambs, so each verse consists of ten syllables, alternately unstressed then stressed.

Pretty much all of Shakespeare is written in iambic pentameter. Read the excerpt above, and you'll hear it.

Thus, we pronounce Vermont as ver-MONT. New Hampshire has three syllables. It's not an iamb. I believe it's pronounced NEW-HAMP-sher, with two stressed syllables followed by an unstressed syllable. That means New Hampshire is in fact an antibacchius. That's a Saturday level answer only.

SuperBowlXX 2:33 PM  

Hi Rex, I'm a blogger at the political website Daily Kos who posts under the username SuperBowlXX. Because I was surprised to see that my username found its way into the puzzle, I decided to commemorate it with a fun, celebratory blog post. You can read it here:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/03/972573/-18-Across:-Guess-which-Kossack-was-mentioned-in-the-NYT-today!

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

@william e emba: Now I got it. Many thanks.

andrea sashay michaels 3:34 PM  

@william e emba

Antibacchius!!! The things I learn from this blog! I love that I can learn IAMB and ANAPEST from the puzzle, and Antibacchius from the blog! It's like graduate school, only less painful...and one word at a time, which is about my learning level these days!

@jaxinLA
Never fear, I got the next plane out and even chimed in late last night (to you!) on yesterday's blog.

Still coming down from Sunday's high and the pleasure it was to see everyone AND to compete.
Patrick Blindauer also had a magnificent puzzle. Ibelieve you can find all the California Open puzzles at: www.AlexBoisvert.com.

(Love smart, handsome ALex...but his first puzzle had a corner with a videogame crossing a piece of Simpson's dialogue which crossed a baseball clue! Not so easy for the over 50 female contingent!)

On my flight back, I opened the airline magazine and there was a TWO PAGE spread of Brendan Emmet Quigley puzzles!!!! TWO pages, Easy and Hard. Beautifully laid out, full pages and two pages of sudoku, so Southwest Airlines is clearly taking the puzzle thing to heart! No more crazy puzzles with two word entries, etc.

To the list of today's superheroes, I would add the NO of NOSIR, bec wasn't NOMAN the name Odyssey gave to himself to escape the Cyclops?
And that brings up the theme density to...7!!! You see! Seven IS the new three!

I have to agree with everything @Rex said, only in a slightly more cheery fashion, as I just got 10 hours of sleep!
Didn't like all that OAS/OSS/SAS/NSA/LSTS/NNE/BBL/BVD/STD action tho there was SO many of those, it almost seemed like that would be a fun anti-puzzle at some point...
and those corners with words like BRUSQUE really are quite fabulous.


One point of departure...As for the SUPERBOWLXX, I love the when-in-doubt squeeze a couple of Xs in there!!!

ISOTOPE was impossible for a non-Simpsons gal, but I liked the freshness of "THe King's SPEECH" at the bottom.

You know, this is one of those puzzles (as per discussion yesterday) that the more you look at it, the more you COULD find things to like about it...
but yesterday's was coming from a feeling of "Love this! What more can I find to love!" and today's is more "Hmmmm, not so punchy, but what can I find to redeem" and it grows on you.

SANAA I'm on the fence about. As a solver, not so crazy about the inconsistency of spelling it two different ways in one week. As a semi-linguist, fine about different ways to transliterate Arabic into English...as a constructor, LOVE the flexibility of being able to put in whatever makes the grid work!!!
Just wait to you see how Michael Blake and I spell a Yiddish word in an upcoming puzzle!

Poor PEORIA, forever being branded unhip and conservative!
As a Minnesotan, I always bridle when I'm in some naming session or whatever and someone makes some comment about whether something will "fly in the Midwest" or whatever.

That said, it seems wildly hip to have bars close at 4AM...here in SF it's 2AM, which I think is late enough! NOTHING good happens at 3 AM.

So I say one thumbs up and one thumb in my eye!

andrea carlaa michaels 3:49 PM  

oops, I misspelled Brendan EmmetT Quigley's name!!!!!! But, you know, in the transliteration from Arabic, you can spell Emmett with one T or 2!

Sorry, BEQ!

sanfranman59 4:17 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 9:59, 8:56, 1.12, 83%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:02, 4:35, 1.10, 79%, Medium-Challenging

I was on my way to a better than average Tuesday time until I hit the Submit button and my solution wasn't accepted. I assumed that my error had to do with IAMB, since I didn't understand that answer until reading the blog this morning (actually, I'm still not sure I understand it ... the way I pronounce New Hampshire, the second syllable (Hamp) is stressed more than the first (New) and third (-shire), so it could be part of an iambic phrase, but I'm probably just resentful). After noodling over that section for about 2 minutes, I browsed the rest of the puzzle and found that I had misspelled ROBiSON, having not even seen the clue for ERNE (such are the perils of speed-solving). So what should have been a Medium Tuesday turned out to be Challenging thanks to a single spelling error and not trusting that IAMB was correct.

retired_chemist 5:44 PM  

@ sanfranman59 -

New Hampshire maple syrup is the best!

(iambic pentameter brought into present context, in case you STILL are not sure)

GLR 5:45 PM  

@CFXK,

I believe you’re right about the term “townies” in Breaking Away. But then, I started school at IU the year after the movie came out, and in four years, I don’t think I ever heard anyone use the term “cutter” unless they were talking about the movie!

@william e emba,

Re: antibacchius, I think I’d pronounce it new HAMP sher. Is there a name for three syllables with only the middle one accented?

william e emba 6:39 PM  

An unaccented-accented-unaccented syllable is called an amphibrach. You are probably most familiar with amphibrachs from limericks, since three lines of a limerick are normally written in amphibrachic trimeter: "There ONCE was a MAN from NanTUCKet."

The following seems to be the most complete list of all named metrical feet.

As for NEW-HAMP-sher vs new-HAMP-sher, the dictionaries I looked things up in didn't mention the "new". Perhaps it's just that the unaccented "new" sounds too new-YAWK-ish for my taste. Let's see: "There ONCE was a MAN from new-HAMP-sher." Hmmm. No, it just doesn't sound right to me.

Bill 6:58 PM  

The very first line of Hamlet in the first comment up there at the top should begin: "Whither" (not where) and it seems to be in hexameter. Or am I crazy?

Anonymous 7:01 PM  

MONACO is not a gambling mecca. It has one casino, albeit a famous one.

"Refrigerator" SteveSF 7:14 PM  

Didn't like OAS/ODO, etc. and SE and general.

Kept wanting something like MALONE'S (for Cheers bar) -- didn't he buy it one point or change the name.

Funny: Jesse Jackson hosted Saturday Night Live on October 20th, 1984. One of the skits
was of a gameshow called “The Question is Moot. ...

Also for procrastinator's motto: kept thinking "Maybe Later", "not now", the language threw us for a loop (or loop-e-loop)

trivia:
The Wreck of the Mary Deare (film)

The novel was optioned by MGM with the intention of having Alfred Hitchcock direct and Cooper star. Hitchcock had long wanted to work with Cooper, but after developing the script with Ernest Lehman for several weeks, they concluded that it couldn't be done without turning the movie into "a boring courtroom drama." They abandoned the idea and started a new story which eventually became North by Northwest.

The task of adapting the novel then passed to Eric Ambler. Another noted British director, Michael Anderson of The Dam Busters fame, took over for Hitchcock. The cast included Cooper as Patch, and Charlton Heston as Sands, with Richard Harris and Michael Redgrave in supporting roles.

Critics generally agree that the finished film matches Hitchcock and Lehman's prediction.
Interestingly, Anderson recycled a shot of the Mary Deare's engines turning over from this film into his 1976 film Logan's Run, where Logan and Jessica find themselves at an elevator and he needed a shot of some giant pistons moving.

captcha=dinseur, baby dino.

PNrmn 7:15 PM  

But Mecca has only one Grand Mosque ...

Anonymous 7:21 PM  

Come on, but what about Heinie?!?!?!?

PNrmn 7:52 PM  

Moot

GLR 8:15 PM  

@william e emba,

new-YAWK-ish? Never been accused of (credited with?) that - life-long Midwesterner here (flat a's and all). :-)

But thanks for the additional education on poetic meter.

Lincoln Hawk 8:20 PM  

I thought for sure I'd see you post a video of Da Super Bowl Shuffle.

Sfingi 9:40 PM  

Yikes! HTG on a Tues for OCANADA (Fr.) and SUPERBOWLXX (sports).
Wanted ChallengerI for SUPERBOWL XX and OCANADA was Land of our Wha?
Google also came up with something in Swedish about Togo.

But, I love how the bilingual hockey announcers have 2 personalities for the 2 languages.

Wanted CAtHAY for SASHAY until I read the clue. A limerick is boiling up here.

I read that fast solvers have extra thick myelin in their brains, and it's genetic.

Extra theme answer: BAR MAN.

On New Hampshire - locally, we have a town named Westmoreland. We stress the first syllable. And don't pronounce the T. To be ornery. So you want to go with the locals. New HAMshuh

@Deers and Sheeps - nice info.
@Craig - wow!
@Steve - wish they had made the film.

All in all, pretty good puzzle.

Captcha is chilin with one l.

(Signed) LoudMouthedPompousTwitXX

william e emba 11:08 PM  

According to my 1984 Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, practically every single "New XXX" place name is pronounced with a primary accent on the "New", and often somewhere a primary accent again appears in the XXX part of the name, but sometimes not. The one exception seems to be "New Rochelle", which it says is pronounced something like "norah SHELL". (Home, by the way, of Iona College, for those keeping track of Crossword Colleges.)

On the other hand, Wikipedia thinks New Hampshire is pronounced your way, with "New" unaccented. Looking around, it offers your way for New Jersey, and it offers both ways for New Orleans, plus others. (It offers no pronunciation for New York or New Rochelle.)

I also doublechecked my Romanov's bilingual English/Russian pocket dictionary--it includes a brief gazetteer, complete with pronunciation information and Cyrillic transliterations. It lists "New" as unaccented for the places they list including "New Hampshire", with the exception of "New York", which it consider to be two equally stressed syllables, ie, a spondee.

So amphibrach is the new antibacchius, and four is the new three and out.

Kyle Meisner 5:57 AM  

Rex,
Been visiting your blog for sometime, but this is my first post. Concur almost wholeheartedly with your assessment of this puzzle and your comments. My one caveat would be a request for clarification on your 48D comment about Paul Robeson. Were you saying that the athlete/activist titles were not as legit? If so, I would beg to differ. He first hit the national scene as a 4 sport varsity athlete at Rutgers (15 letters in football, baseball, basketball, and track). He also put himself through law school playing professional football and basketball, as well as acting. Not to mention his induction into the college football hall of fame, which was delayed for 50 years, primarily because of his controversial positions as an activist. Just curious as to the meaning of your comment. Love your assessment today and you blog in general.
Monty

Rex Parker 7:55 AM  

Thanks, Kyle. Always good to hear new voices. Also, always good to hear effusive praise of me. Keep it coming. :)

RE: Robeson, I meant to imply nothing about the legitimacy or lack thereof of "athlete" and "activist."

rp

Anonymous 1:05 PM  

@quilter1-I have never had baked geraniums. Are they good?

Dirigonzo 5:03 PM  

From syndicationland: @RP - Jet lag, lack of sleep and need to be at work in 2 hours are a poor excuse for failing to post a link to AC/DC Highway to Hell (58d)when the opportunity presents itself; in fact that's just neglect, pure and simple. Please don't let it happen again.

Puzzle was not so bad - there was a discussion of SPIDERCRABS here recently; it was on a Sunday puzzle that syndicated solvers saw a couple of days ago, but prime-time solvers had not seen when they did this puzzle so they can be forgiven for not knowing the term when it came up 5 weeks ago. Such are the mysteries of the syndication time-space continuum.

Waxy in Montreal 8:17 PM  

Completely different sets of words to O Canada in French and English has probably contributed in an important way to this improbable realm staying peaceful and united since the mid-19th century.

Dirigonzo 9:39 PM  

@Waxy - nice to see you back!

Your comment inspired me to do a little research (OK - google) on the history of O Canada. It seems (according to Wiki) the English-language version has been the subject of considerable debate and revision, while the French remains unchanged. There's even an Inuktitut version! Who knew a national anthem could be so interesting (and so controversial)? Thanks for inspiring me to learn a little more about our "northern neighbors".

Waxy in Montreal 10:41 PM  

@Dirigonzo - thanks for your interest - actually haven't been away but (uncharacteristically) have had nothing much to say of late!

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