Chief Theban deity / TUE 7-5-11 / Lead pumper in old slang / Lanai ladies / Winemaking province of Italy / Former Polish capital

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Constructors: Andrea Carla Michaels & Johanna Fenimore

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: OH SAY ... (14A: Anthem's opener) — "O" is added to familiar (-ish) phrases, creating wacky phrases, clued "?"-style


Word of the Day: WAHINES (10D: Lanai ladies) —

n.
  1. Hawaii. A Polynesian woman.
  2. Sports. A woman surfer.

[Hawaiian, from Proto-Polynesian *fafine.] (answers.com)

• • •

Very slow start due entirely to AMON (20A: Chief Theban deity). He's Theban? Is he different from AMON-RA? And AMUN / AMUN-RA? So confusing. If you're gonna go ancient Greek, go AGON—at least I know what that means, and there's only one way to spell it. Anyway, once I got going, things settled back down closer to normal Tuesday difficulty levels. Still, ended up over 4—slow for me, for a Tuesday. The theme is slight, and doesn't quite work. First, if your SPEEDO is indeed FULL, well, that has little to do with whether you are "chubby" and more to do with other anatomical factors. Second, DIRTY ROTTEN EGG is not a phrase. DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDREL is a phrase. Third, SNOWBALL IN HELLO only barely, super-tangentially, ultra-metaphorically, works with its clue. NO LEGO TO STAND ON works OK, I guess. Overall, this doesn't have the smoothness and thematic exactness that I expect from these constructors. The whole thing just feels slightly wobbly all over.



Theme answers:
  • 17A: Warning about a chubby guy in some skimpy swimwear? (FULL SPEEDO AHEAD)
  • 26A: No-good, awful frozen waffle? (DIRTY ROTTEN EGGO)
  • 45A: Icy winter greeting? (SNOWBALL IN HELLO)
  • 59A: Result of cleaning up some building toys? (NO LEGO TO STAND ON)
Three brand name-Os. One ... not. I misspelled WAHINES the first time through, confusing them with TAHINI sauce. Thought the clue on ASEA was about the hardest ASEA clue I'd ever seen (11D: Researching whales, say). Adjectival when it appears nominative. St. DENYS, IXION (27D: Zeus bound him to an eternally revolving wheel), and RINGO make an odd trio. You are reading a BLOG right now. Yoga is way way way more than "meditation." It *can* be meditaTIVE ... but I don't like the clue At All (40A: Meditation on a mat). I don't think I've ever done WASH on a Monday. Whose "tradition" is that? (10A: Do a traditional Monday chore) Really like the slangy clue on the slangy GAT (39A: Lead pumper, in old slang). BLOOPERS is my favorite word in the grid (9D: Filmed bits that don't make it on the air). The clue is not accurate, however, in the case of "The Carol Burnett Show," which was never better than when the actors flubbed lines and made each other laugh.


See you tomorrow,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

88 comments:

Joshua 12:22 AM  

You know, you may be looking at the guy in the Speedo walking away from you, so it's the size of his butt not of his junk that's in question.

And that's the only way to salvage the only one of the theme answers that's even remotely in the language.

AMUN should have been your WOD, if only to include the picture Wiki has of him with his crown made of two ears of corn.

Geometricus 12:28 AM  

Two mistakes for me: Had GAS for "lead pumper" and confused IBISES with IBEXES, so I left the E in when crosses changed the rest to IBESES. I guess birds don't have horns, do they? Except maybe the Great Hornrd Owl, but those only seem to be horns. Otherwise I had this one in aboiut 13 minutes, a slower than average time for me.

I agree with you Rex, a ROTTEN EGG is not necessarily DIRTY. It's supposed to be, "Last one in is a rotten egg.". I was often the rotten egg as a kid, but I never felt DIRTY about it. I didn't know IXION, so I was especially anxious about leaving DIRTY, but DARTY made even less sense.

CoffeeLvr 12:42 AM  

IXION is all new to me, never would have gotten it without the crosses.

As for AMON, yes, undoubtedly the same as Amun and Amen; there were no vowels in the hieroglyphs.

I have stepped on more than one piece of LEGO, so yes, I get the cleanup clue.

@Joshua, you are probably right, because with enough chubbiness, there is no frontal exposure for the Speedo itself.

@Rex, you have to parse the the third theme answer as SNOWBALLIN' HELLO. As in, my little brother gave me a . . . in the back of the head.

A fun Tuesday, thanks Andrea and Johanna.

DJG 1:15 AM  

I'm mostly with Rex on this one. The first and last theme answers are good (I especially like NOLEGOTOSTANDON), the middle two, not so much. It should have been back to the drawing board on these. It seems like it wouldn't be _too_ difficult to find a better middle pair.

PurpleGuy 1:15 AM  

Sorry Andrea (Acme) but I did not enjoy this puzzle.
Agree with the writeup and all that had been said so far.
"If you can't say something nice, then don't say nothing at all."
OK - I won't.

Shanti -
Bob/PurpleGuy


captcha - mandowd -FULL SPEEEDO AHEAD !!!!

Tobias Duncan 3:17 AM  

Andrea puzzle and Rex links TMBG in the write up? I am a happy guy! Man this felt like a solid Wednesday to me.My timer was not working and I am a bit tipsy from 4th of July parties but still my time felt terrible.Wonderful clue for OPIATE, while I am not a big Marx fan I have always loved that quote.More stuff I dont know than normal for a Tuesday but all totally fair, just little holes in my education.I think I may have heard WAHINES in a beach boys song once.Flat out did not know IXION, DENYS or AMON but they look like thinks a well rounded know it all should know so my heartfelt thanks for exposing me to them.If I had to name a professional sports team I would name them the OWLS or maybe the sissypies.If I were rich there would be hell to pay.

treedweller 4:26 AM  

I got the FULL SPEEDO and immediately could think of nothing but full diapers. Now, that's something I don't want to see at any beach, regardless of how chubby the guy.

some nice bright spots, but not up to par for ACME. There's some icky stuff, like DOAS and IXION, but mainly the problem is the theme answers, as pointed out by Rex.

Glimmerglass 6:58 AM  

Greek? Of course, but Thebes is a city in Egypt, too. The Ptolemies (including Cleopatra) were Greek pharaohs thanks to Alexander the Great. Loved FULL SPEEDO AHEAD

k2p2 7:22 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle.

Liked NOLEGOTOSTANDON - lots of legos in our house.

South of France has loads of chubby guys in speedos and @CoffeeLvr is right about the spillover.

Had FROWN for SCOWL but cleaned it up quickly!

Z 8:06 AM  

I'm mostly with Rex on this one. The phrases as I know them are dirty, rotten scoundrel; not a snowball's chance in hell; and not a leg to stand on. So the theme felt shaky and truncated to me all the way through.

Finished a little slow for a Tuesday for me, mostly because of the theme. I worked the whole puzzle from east to west, which always is slower. LIEV I've learned from crosswords, and this is the first time I've run across IXION. But the crosses worked so that is all good. Since I always want DENYS to be DENiS, the EX were the last two letters in.

"Alms for the poor" always makes me think of Monty Python, so that's a double smile for me. A FULL SPEEDO AHEAD seems like a Monty Python sight gag.

dk 8:08 AM  

What happened? Was poetic license revoked?

I found the theme answers to be quite humorous and I have the same disease this morning as Tobias... plus a little ringing in my ears as that last tube rocket was really loud.

I warned Andrea about Tuesdays. But she and Johanna rose to the challenge. Lots of great fill (e.g., SPORE) a shout out to Monday with WASH, and the clueing for GAT is inspired.

My inner 14 year old thinks chock-full-o-nuts could be an alternate answer for 17A.

In sum a fun Tuesday for me.

*** (3 Stars) Thank-you both.

RavTom 8:40 AM  

There's a traditional (19th century or earlier) saying: Monday: Wash Day, Tuesday: Ironing Day, Wednesday: Sewing Day, etc.

foodie 8:53 AM  

First, big congratulations to our own Joho for her debut as a NYTimes puzzle constructor! Her collaboration with Andrea must have been a blast! Can't wait to hear more about it!

This was fun and funny. Full of imagery. Rex, your take on FULL SPEEDO AHEAD made me laugh. It definitely has potential for a raunchy clue... And I've tripped on many a LEGO in my days-- in fact, I know life has come full circle because LEGO tripping has resumed thanks to the next generation. And it's a week for BAD, DIRTY, ROTTEN and otherwise highly maligned EGGs(O)...

Andrea is a very interesting collaborator, I think. When constructing on her own, you can see her very distinctive style. But when she collaborates, she does not overwhelm. You can definitely "hear the other voice" and that leads to a rich and diverse oeuvre with complexity but a shared thread.

OldCarFudd 9:07 AM  

Maybe I'm too damn old, but I picked up dirty rotten egg(o) right away from ancient schoolyard taunts. And I remembered that, of the week's chores, washing came on Monday. But I didn't think snowball in hell(o) worked, despite CoffeeLvr's improved parsing. And I always thought the saint was Denis, but maybe it's like fleur de lis/lys, where either is OK.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Yoga has many forms, one of which is Raja Yoga, essentially meditation, usually performed while sitting on a mat.

Octaviano 9:18 AM  

I'm not usually one to criticize themes but thi one seemed very loose and not fun because of the lack of reality to the phrasing. Seems like an almost good idea that should have been rejected or rethought.

Sorry ACM to be honest -- did not Karo for this one.

jesser 9:19 AM  

Only writeover was aXION before the DIRTY ROTTEN EGGO made the I appear. My eye!

Maybe it's the lingering bourbon in my system, but I liked this one just fine, except for GLOB, which sounds made up (although I know it isn't).

Acme and Joho: EWE had me at HELLO!

Norm 9:26 AM  

Wobbly, perhaps, but funny.

GLR 9:32 AM  

There were several answers that were not in my knowledge base, but none crossing each other, so I was able to finish without much trouble in a typical (for me) Tuesday time. Got the Speedo answer early, and liked it (though, like Rex and others, I also thought of a raunchier clue). But that made the remaining theme answers a bit of a disappointment – I got them all easily enough, but with each one, my reaction was “That just doesn’t sound quite right.”

Thought the “official” version of the Star Spangled Banner started with O say, not Oh say.

When I was a kid, Monday was always "Wash Day." No idea why. Saturday was "Bath Night" - probably so we didn't reek in church on Sunday morning!

efrex 9:38 AM  

On solving 17A, first thought was "That's an Anthony Weiner tweet, not an NYT puzzle answer..." NOLEGOTOSTANDON is pretty great, the rest were pretty weak. Thought the fill was generally pretty strong, though, with only the ALER/XERS crossing making me twitch.

chefbea 9:40 AM  

Great puzzle Andrea and Joho. I did have one Natick..the G in Gogol and Gat.

Thought Squirrels stashed acorns!!!

I immediately put iron for 10 across cuz that's when I do it..but had to change it when nothing else would fit.

Eric 9:40 AM  

Loved the puzzle although agree with @Rex about the loose theme, especially as it linked to dirty rotten which reminds me of my favorite Michael Caine movie (maybe just above Zulu)- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - a great comedy with David Niven and an astounding ending twist.

quilter1 9:41 AM  

Maybe I am easily amused but I liked it and thought it was easy.

Back when washing, ironing, etc. were truly laborious days were set aside to do them. I remember once, back when we ironed shirts, sheets, hankies and so on, looking at the ironing basket for a few minutes, then taking it all out and dumping it in the garbage can. I'd just had it with the damned ironing. Remembering it today, I should be appalled, but I'm not.

Anyway, thanks Andrea and Johanna for a pleasant Tuesday with smiles thrown in.

evil doug 9:50 AM  

While some of us take advantage of the relative anonymity of the site to stir the pot with a caustic remark or two, I know Joho to be just one of those genuinely nice people who won't lower herself to that (my) level. With apologies to Walt Kelly and Pogo Possum: I go Joho.

And thanks to ACME for no "acme". The ability to selflessly collaborate, as mentioned by foodie, is an endearing quality indeed.

Remember: If you need to fill your Speedo, the potato goes in the front, not the back.

Evil

Matthew G. 9:52 AM  

Agree with the general sentiment: the first and fourth theme entries work very well, the second not so much, and the third not at all. I was sure that SNOWBALL IN HELLO had to be wrong because it seemed so unworkable as clued, I'm sorry to say.

On the other hand, I liked a lot of the fill, including WAHINES, PENANCE and IXION.

Was unaware that there was any special relationship between Mondays and doing the WASH. A generational notion, I suspect.

Arundel 9:52 AM  

Loved it, loved it, loved it!
Thanks to Joho and Acme for a great Tuesday puzzle.

The phrases were funny, easily gotten, and clearly in the language if you were willing to look at them with a sense of humor. And that, in my opinion, is what a Tuesday should be. Nary an etui or an erne in the grid, and a dandy clue for the GAT. Maybe not to the taste of the speed solvers among us, but definitely not boring.

Anne 10:02 AM  

Joho and Acme - really good job. Maybe the theme was a bit loose but I don't care. I thought they were funny. The fill was interesting and a bit on the hard side. I liked it.

Judith 10:07 AM  

If you read Little House in Big Woods you would know the wash on Monday thing.

I loved no lego to stand on, but not much else...

North Beach 10:11 AM  

Completely in my wheelhouse! Easy and enjoyable for slow me. Thrilled to be doing an ACME +1 puzzle. I'm an admirer from afar ('tho' geographically close, I suspect) of her cheeky comments here, so it was a delight to breeze through this while waiting for a plane. Rex's rating was the icing on the cake for me.

Brian 10:16 AM  

The theme answers were awkward, no question about it. FULLSPEEDOAHEAD is inspired and NOLEGOTOSTAND comes close except I know the phrase as "hasn't" a leg to stand on, which makes the answer seem forced. SNOWBALLINHELLO fails and DIRTROTTENEGGO didn't work for me for a couple reasons: 1) It seems a mash up of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrel" and "Rotten Egg" I've never heard anyone called a "dirty rotten egg." 2) I don't like that "EGGO" echoes "LEGO" -- unless that was going to be the theme.

All that said, I don't mean to be overly critical. I liked much of the fill and was amused to find HOLY and PENANCE nearly neighbors.

LookUpGuy 10:29 AM  

Here's one version:

Long ago ..., the rhythm of the average American housewife's life was fairly standard no matter where you went. Each day had its own task, and so the work got done in a logical, orderly fashion as the week progressed. It went like this:

Monday: Wash Day
Tuesday: Ironing Day
Wednesday: Sewing Day
Thursday: Market Day
Friday: Cleaning Day
Saturday: Baking Day
Sunday: Day of Rest

[thenewhomemaker.com]

jackj 10:36 AM  

Andrea and Johanna tackle the dreaded Tuesday slot and mostly succeed. The SPEEDO clue was best of show but, whatever image came to mind, it was guaranteed not to be a pretty sight!

The squirrels in San Francisco may enjoy feasting on WALNUTS but those in New England are poor country cousins surviving on acorns and chestnuts.

Is IXION code for ACME?

hazel 11:14 AM  

i echo @ evil d's sentiments. congrats on the debut, @joho!!

Greg 11:20 AM  

The Thebes referenced is the Egyptian city, not Ancient Greek. Big delay as I dropped in ARES. But RA, AMUN-RA, and AMUN are interchangable, I believe.

mac 11:33 AM  

I thought this a fun Tuesday puzzle. Congratulations, Joho, on your debut! It must have been such fun working with Andrea!

I thought the quote said opium, not opiate. At 17A, "full" showed up first, and I thought "full Monty" was going to be involved.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

in early grade school we sang "this is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes, wash our clothes, this is the way we wash our clothes early monday morning!" monday in my building's laundry is the busiest day. puzzle was fun.

thursdaysd 11:37 AM  

Slower than usual Tuesday for me. Definitely wanted Ares and DENiS and very surprised to find squirrels eating WALNUTS. Could have done without the SPEEDO images right before lunch...

Growing up in England Monday was always wash day, and I noticed in Venice a couple of years back that washing was hanging out to dry on Monday.

Martin 11:48 AM  

"Dirty rotten egg" is a well-known phrase from recess in some circles. If it wasn't used in your playground, I guess it didn't exist.

(Yes, "dirty rotten scoundrel" is more widely used by grownups. It has nothing to do with dirty rotten egg.)

bswein99 12:14 PM  

Did anyone else immediately write "outtakes" instead of bloopers? Seems to me a much better answer to the clue, and it fits. But eventually the crosses made me realize my mistake.

Dirty rotten eggs is not a legit phrase.

fikink 12:16 PM  

What @evil said and, by extension, @Hazel.
Congrats, Joho!

LookUpGuy 12:19 PM  

Since it's come up a couple of times:

Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu (also spelled Amon, Amoun, Amen, and rarely Imen or Yamun, Greek Ἄμμων Ammon, and Ἅμμων Hammon) was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt. [wiki]

foodie 12:26 PM  

@Mac, anything to do with OPIATEs is near and dear to my heart, professionally speaking, that is.

Karl Marx's German phrase did say Opium, but it's often translated into OPIATE of the masses or OPIATE of the people. When Endorphins were first discovered in the brain, one of my colleagues dubbed them the real OPIATEs of the masses. We each roll our own...

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

I'm not sure if there's a point to arguing the legitimacy of "dirty rotten egg," but I'm in Brian's boat; I never heard that expression. "Rotten egg," sure. Googling the exact phrase in quotes produces about 26,300 hits. (Compare: 342,000 hits for "last one in is a rotten egg"; 91 hits for "last one in is a dirty rotten egg.")

CoffeeLvr 12:44 PM  

If you ever had a WALNUT tree in your yard, as I have, you would know the squirrels find them a treat. I suspect those yard rodents will eat anything, except the sweet gum seed cases. I naturally thought of WALNUTS right away, but I had the W in place from frOWn.

I see the constructors did give themselves a shout out in a way: TEAMWORK.

Seriously Guy 12:52 PM  

@Martin - Seriously? You're citing a blog expounding on the virtues of Rock/Paper/Scissors, EENY/MEENY/MINY/MOE and Inka Dinka Do as your source? Seriously?

Oh Yeah!? 1:02 PM  

@Seriously Guy

At least @Martin cites a real source as opposed to the meaningless *hit counts* of @anon 12:28 (who probably didn't bother to check the site or would have tried the correct query).

P>G>

santafefran 1:05 PM  

evil doug shows his soft underbelly--bravo! And Brava to Andrea and Johanna!!

Since I don't really care about thematic consistency, I enjoyed the puzzle no end. Loved FULL SPEEDO AHEAD and all the lol images it has inspired.

@quilter--I'm still averse to ironing.

Thanks for all the chuckles.

jberg 1:17 PM  

@CoffeeLvr (and the constructors) are right, squirrels love walnuts - if you try to plant one, you will have to protect it somehow or the squirrels will dig it up before it can sprout.

So Temple's athletic teams are the Owls? Learning that makes the puzzle worthwhile, and makes me willing to forgive the claim that spores are seeds (43A), or the appearance of GNARL twice this week.

Unlike almost everyone else, I loved SNOWBALL IN HELLO - as in "look who's at the door - that obnoxious guy from down the street. Let's throw him a SNOWBALL IN HELLO." Witty, I thought, although Rex is right that it's very metaphorical. I also liked the way that -O word moved around in the theme answers, not all at the back or the front. By the time I got to 59D I knew there has to be a LEGO in it, but it took some time to figure out where, exactly.

Like many, I forgot about the Egyptian Thebes, but the crosses fixed it. As for St. Denys, I think the church is Denis - wasn't he the guy who got his head cut off, picked it up, and started walking, delineating the border of Paris by where he stopped?

Let's hear it for TEAMWORK!

WESISLAND 1:18 PM  

Live in Hawaii, so "wahine" was easy and helped make the whole puzzle tumble fairly quickly.

After perhaps eight years or so of using Across Lite I just noticed that the timer also shows a SCORE. What is that about?

Mahalo.

Masked and Anonymous 1:28 PM  

Squirrels will eat darn near anything, if hungry enough. Even dirty rotten eggs.

@31 had no "bullets" today. But I got a couple:

- 27D: IXION - Along with DENYS, it anchored the DIRTY/SNOW region. Love stuff like this on a TuesPuz; makes you doubt whether you're even in the same universe with the intended solution. It's like gettin' a "huh?" question for $100 on the Millionaire show.

- 50A: BAHN - Wanted BEEN. Then read the clue. Ach du lieber, ACME.

- 51A: KRAKOW - Cool fill word. Boatload of scrabble points. Plus, I have a nephew that lives there.

- 32D: OSTEO - Had OSsEO. Also then had GO?OL crossed with ?As. Then tumbled for leaded GAs, seeing that "pumper" word in its clue. Wish bone docs could agree on their prefixi. Confusing for M&A.

- 54D: HOLY - How about a "HOLY ___!"-themed puz next, you two? Batman and Robin musta had a batmobile-full of those quotes.

Congrats to @joho on the debut. Congrats to Andrea for doing all these interesting NYT collaborations.

Stan 1:55 PM  

Scrabbly vocabulary, fresh clues, and a couple of very funny theme answers made this a lot of fun.

I liked seeing ROPE clued correctly with 'seemingly'. At NYU (film school) we would pore over the 'natural wipes' and other tricks Hitchcock uses to separate the shots.

Kudos, @joho -- you've made the big time!

Martin 1:55 PM  

The Across Lite score is essentially a random number.

This is the explanation from the old (AL v1) timer help file. AL v2 is missing this file.

Note: There are no standards for how crosswords are scored. This module uses a method that caters to both speed solvers as well as those who are interested in correctness only. As such, the absolute numbers really do not say anything definite about the ability to solve the puzzle except that higher the number, more correct and/or faster is the puzzle solving. The numbers can be used to compare scores amongst similar puzzles and between those solvers that work on the puzzle under similar conditions. The design of the module does not attempt to prevent "cheating". Whether you use the module fairly or unfairly is entirely up to you!

The basic scoring algorithms is as follows:

1. Each correct entry gets a fixed number of points. We also allot a fixed time for each white cell.

2. If the puzzle is completed (or scored with partial entries) within the allotted time for the completed cells (number of white cells filled in X time allocated per cell), a bonus is added to the points based on the time remaining within the allotted time. It is scaled so that if you were to (hypothetically speaking) instantaneously enter all letters correctly, the bonus would double the score for correctness alone.

3. If the solve time takes greater than the allotted time, time is ignored and the points are based on correctness alone. No speed solving bonus points are added.

4. Revealing an answer penalizes in two ways. There are no points added for its correctness and the time allotted for that puzzle decreases by the time allotted for each revealed cell. So, for example, if you were to simply reveal the entire solution, the score would be zero.

5. Checking an answer reduces the score by 1/2 of the points allocated for a correct cell for each cell checked.

6. Erasing or over-writing letters has no additional effect.

Copyright © 1997 Literate Software Systems

Two Ponies 1:56 PM  

Fresh back from a vacation that featured quite a few Speedos.
I thought the theme answers were funny and the fill was very good and rather high-end for a Tuesday.
I agree that it must have been fun collaborating with Andrea. I was amused to see teamwork in the grid.
Way to go joho on the debut!

Lewis 2:09 PM  

So the fastest finisher got this puzzle in 2 minutes and 38 seconds, I believe. I did an experiment. After solving the puzzle, I did it again, knowing all the answers, as fast as I could, and still finished in 3 minutes and 5 seconds. I don't know how these whizzes do it!

KarenSampsonHudson 2:10 PM  

I found this an easy go, loved the "krakow" entry. There seems to be more of the letter K in this puzzle than in any I've seen; I appreciate that as it begins my name and is not a common letter :-).

KarenSampsonHudson 2:11 PM  

I should have said, "a common letter in English." It's much more common in Danish, I think!

chefwen 2:12 PM  

Sounds like we are pretty well split on this one. You can put me in the liked it column. Congrats on your debut joho and thanks Andrea.

Full speedo ahead made me kinda cringe, seen enough of those to last a lifetime.

@quilter - If I can't wash it and wear it I don't buy it. Spent much of my youth in the basement ironing the families hankies, underwear, etc. UGH!

@evil doug - Potato in the front not in the back. Still laughing.

Only write over was DENYS over denis. A good puzzle but over too quickly.

Doc John 2:47 PM  

Not much to add to the comments on the puzzle but I will chime in about ROPE. It did hold the record for longest take at the time of its release- 10 minutes. That's all the film the camera would hold.

As far as I know it, at present time the longest take is a film called Russian Ark, which takes place in and showcases the art and beauty of The Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The film is about 90 minutes long and very well done.

claude 3:05 PM  

P>G>, what are you talking about? What site? If the site is "Google", the 12:28 counts are what Google reports. How is Google not a source while weefolkart.com is?

P>G> 3:44 PM  

@claude

Yes, Google is a site, Google *counts* is not. As discussed numerous times, counts are meaningless except as a popularity contest --- and even so, it only reports the occurrences, not the context.

Even one return, in context, of "dirty rotten egg" confirms the answer as valid (but not necessarily *good*).

@Martin's site did that.

In a way, @Anon's post also validates, but I don't believe that was the intention.


P>G>

sanfranman59 4:16 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Tue 8:45, 8:55, 0.98, 52%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:08, 4:35, 1.12, 83%, Challenging

Sparky 4:20 PM  

Had fun with this. Remember "Last one in is a rotten egg," no dirty. I'm not that choicey about the themes. Ever. Spelled WAHINiS wrong at first and Asst before AIDE. Didn't even see AMON. @evil: afraid you were going soft but you redeemed yourself with the potato. Congrats Joho on your debut with Andrea. No SCOWL on this face. Have a good remainder of the day.

mac 4:29 PM  

I've made Monday my wash day. Maybe because my mother did the laundry that day, maybe because I decided not to spread it all over the week. I spent a lot of time washing, folding and ironing yesterday!

Speedos? Big deal. We spent a couple of hours at the beach in Holland, and I would say a quarter of the women weren't wearing bikini tops, and further down the beach, people were completely naked.

claude 5:12 PM  

You said "(who probably didn't bother to check the site or would have tried the correct query".

What were you talking about?

joho 6:28 PM  

@Rex, as joho I have to say I don't agree with your take today (Big surprise?!!) But I do thank you for this glorious blog where I have learned so much over the past three years not only from your comments but from the whole community. All invaluable.

Plus this is where I "met" Andrea who is incredible to work and laugh with. As I said over at "Wordplay" she is as smart as she is funny.

As Johanna I want to thank everyone for the kind comments. This was supposed to be fun and if we succeeded in bringing a smile to your face, I'm happy. Oh wait, I'm happy anyway!

retired_chemist 7:16 PM  

@ joho - congratulations on your debut!

@ Andrea - congratulations too!

The puzzle- medium-challenging here. Agree there is a little raggedness to the theme. some of the other fill is a bit tougher than I expected for a Tuesday:BAHN, IXION, DENYS (unusual spelling).

You got one by the grey lady with "chubby" - see Urban Dictionary, definition 1.

But a fun solve. Thanks both.

foodie 7:33 PM  

@Joho, great to hear from you! I hope you and/or Andrea are willing to tell us a bit more about how this started, the inspiration for the theme, the trials and tribulations of constructing for the first time, etc.

I'm so glad you're happy! Only a few of the Rexites have converted-- from commenters to NYTimes constructors, that is. It's wonderful to see, and it must be a thrill to have accomplished it!

I'll raise my Prosecco to you and Andrea tonight!

nanpilla 7:52 PM  

Thanks, @Joho for commenting today. More, please! You know how we all love to hear how these puzzles come into being.

Was RINGO originally one of your ideas for a theme answer? (Something like THIS DIAMOND RINGO, but alas, 16 letters...)

Hope to hear from ACME today, too.

Congratulations to you both!

Vega 8:00 PM  

"Religion, to the masses, per Marx." Between the commas and the "per," it makes me laugh every time I read it.

And how great is it that places like this exist where I can talk about going back and re-reading clues that make me laugh and know that I'm in good company.

I agree: I was looking for the signature, and found it at TEAMWORK. Very cool.

Vega 8:06 PM  

Oh, and yes, I too would love to hear some of the back-story!

santafefran 8:44 PM  

Rex,

I just want to say how much I appreciate your candor even when you are commenting on a puzzle constructed by friends. I don't think it can be easy when you have critical comments to make in such a situation--at least it wouldn't be for me if I were in your shoes.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:09 PM  

(So late in the day . . . everything has been said . . . but I will post anyway . . . )

Did this one at the beach today, talk about FULL SPEEDOS - (well, actually, like mac, I was near a beach where some wore no Speedos at all . . .) And I had a couple of vodka Collinseses after the beach . . .

And I'll admit, when I filled in WALNUTS, I thought those were some high-living squirrels! And I really thought it was DENIS, not DENYS, until I could see it was a YOGA mat.

But unlike Rex, I have no claim to objectivity, so really all I can say is XOXOXO to ACME (literally) and to joho (figuratively, futuristically?)

chefbea 9:25 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle what brand of vodka did you have???

retired_chemist 9:49 PM  

@ chefbea - that's effen funny!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:15 PM  

@chefbea - I was drinking, not pouring! (Sobered up a bit now - sentiment would be the same but maybe not expressed the same way.)

Sfingi 10:18 PM  

@PurpleGuy - love that mandowed. Can't wait to use it.

I liked the theme, except that SPEEDO, LEGO, and EGGO are products, and HELLO isn't.

Never heard of IXION or LIEV Schreiber, or the Wall Street Journal called WSJ, but if I get my new words/names by crosses, all is well.

My squirrels are spoiled; peanuts daily and the occasional piecrust.
I sing to them, "Peanuts, ohohohohohoh, you're my squirrel, love ya and I'll never let you goho," and they know the nuts are there.

@Quilter - my mom loved ironing. She even had a Mangle taking up half the kitchen.

Anonymous 10:20 PM  

@Sfingi - Well, at least one nut :)

Sfingi 10:40 PM  

@Anon1020 - Don't be squirelly - come out of hiding!

um, acme 11:39 PM  

hi hi...finally chiming in!
Busy day, not licking my wounds as some suspected!

I agree that AGON/CHUG might have bettered AMON/CHUM... and at some point in our 359 emails back and forth, it was brought up that 3 of the 4 were brand names, so we searched for a fourth that was fifteen so we could have four fifteens, which as you know is tough to do early week. Somewhere along the line we fell in love with SNOWBALLINHELLO (hey there is a They Might be Giants song, so good enough for us!) and I think just plain forgot!

Yes, tons of fun constructing...
I think the germ of the idea was Joho's UNSAFE AT ANY SPEEDO which was 17 letters.
I thought that was hysterical and puzzle-worthy...culled it back to FULLSPEEDOAHEAD (15)
to make it a daily-size not a Sunday.

We then generated hundreds of + O words.
For the record, our original clue was "European beach warning?"
nothing to do with chubby, chubbies or whatever!!! Perhaps too risque...
(Had to explain at Amy's blog that the chubby clue is not one we wrote, nor were we making a fat person joke, god forbid, when the discussion got derailed over there...)

And yes, IXION too hard (but again, constraints of four fifteens and IXION, in a ddition to his X, seemed like an interesting character, tied to a wheel, and all.)

NE corner was the only one changed...WASH was originally WUSS.
NYT "cleaned" it up to (on a Monday, I guess! I never heard of Monday = wash day and had my feminist hackles all up, but I think that corner was better...
and I'm so glad someone provided that poem...but that's why the WASH clue and the ASEA clue were not our style; but 98% is intact.

Thought @Rex would appreciate all the K's and putting BLOG in there, and yes, OHSAY was a nod to the theme(as was RINGO) and yes it's hard to criticize or be criticized by friends, but we can take it!
He didn't like certain things...I GUESS he's entitled! But we thought there would be lots more he would love. We were wrong!

@evildoug
Re: You always bring this up, so may I finally say, one man's insistence that a signature word is narcissism and self-promotion is another woman's small wink and a smile and a reminder of all the years constructors went uncredited (and still do in half the syndicated papers...)
but yes, no ACME this time around, bec JOHO and I were indeed co-conspirators; so thrilled that others looked for it and found TEAMWORK!
:)

SethG 12:50 AM  

Lots of options with PACIFICO or OREO, but the best other option I can think of is probably CARIB BEANO QUEEN.

WESISLAND 12:35 PM  

@martin...thank you for the explanation on scoring...interesting.

Elisa 9:01 AM  

I am behind on the puzzle this week, and so I just did Tuesday today. I love you Rex. I'm so happy to be doing yoga with you again.

There is no specific need for a mat to do raja yoga. Mats are a modern invention for asana (physical) practice. So I'm with Rex here.

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

Could've done without DIRTY ROTTEN EGGO, perhaps in favor of KIDNAPPING RINGO (which happened three times in Help!).

Pippin 2:51 PM  

Well, I guess there are advantages to NOT being a seasoned solver who is therefore able to dissect the themes and construction to the nth degree. I do these puzzles because I enjoy them and I really enjoyed this one. I thought the themes were good - loved the SPEEDO one! - and the fill was interesting.

I thought it was fairly easy for a Tuesday and made me smile as I did it.

@Rex - thanks to you I spent almost two hours watching clips from the Carol Burnett show - it was always one of my favourites and the ones with Harvey and Tim were hysterical. Tim was always able to crack everyone up on set, especially Harvey, and those were some of the funniest moments.

@sfingi - I would love to find the misguided neighbour who feeds peanuts to squirrels here - they all come to dig up MY garden to bury them and it is a constant battle to protect my plants!

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

OH SAY, the first cross I looked at made me SCOWL. Fleur de LYS?? Never in all my life have I ever seen it spelled that way. It's "fleur de lis." You may introduce hyphens if you wish--but NOT a "Y." Next thing that gave me fits was 9d, which naturally wanted OUTTAKES. For the longest time, I couldn't figure out what "Capitol ____" would take that ended in U. This was further complicated by my putting in SUV instead of ATV. Eventually I abandoned the area and began working the middle and up from there. 22a OPIATE was a gimme, which led to the proper rework.
Liked GOGOL, GHETTO and KRAKOW; didn't like ALER (didn't we just have that?) and the overworked XERS. But, Andrea YOGA Michaels and friend, nice TEAMWORK!

Waxy in Montreal 4:25 PM  

@Anon 3:41pm: Actually here in Quebec, a predominately French-speaking province, it's almost always spelled LYS! On the other hand, to spell St-DENIS with a Y would be a real rarity ici.

Deb @ RoomscapesDecor.com 7:04 PM  

As is often the case, reading the comments about this one was as much fun as doing the puzzle, and - sorry, ACME - the best of today's (for me) are the comments about wash day. Like @quilter, @chefwen and @sfingi, I have memories of WASH day, when my mother would use a mangle to wring the sheets and pillowcases, then fold them and put them in humongous Tupperware boxes and freeze them... to be brought out the next day to be ironed (usually by me). This was in the early sixties and sounds laborious now, but nothing compared to the days of boiling your laundry and scrubbing it over a washboard!

Also @ACME, your point is well taken about your work being uncredited (and underpaid). The Denver Post doesn't print the names of the constructor(s). They also don't print a title on the dailies, which seems equally unsporting.

Waxy in Montreal 8:14 PM  

@Deb: When the Montreal Gazette stopped publishing the name(s)of the NYT puzzle constructors some months ago, I complained to them by phone and - lo and behold - they relented and started printing their names again. So, maybe a call to the Post by you might just set things right.

In terms of the title, though, I believe only the Sunday puzzle actually has one.

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