Decorative tattooe dye / WED 7-6-11 / Hulu offering / Smelting byproduct / Legendary battlers / Colgate competitor once / Johnny with guitar

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Constructor: Peter Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: EAST TO WEST / WEST TO EAST — Palindromic phrases


Word of the Day: Hermann HESSE (29D: "Steppenwolf" author) —

Hermann Hesse (German pronunciation: [ˈhɛɐ̯man ˈhɛsə]) (July 2, 1877 – August 9, 1962) was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. His best-known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game (also known as Magister Ludi), each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. (wikipedia)
• • •

Random 15-letter palindromes do not a theme make.

Grid is largely forgettable.

That's all there is to say about this one, besides the fact that it was pretty easy (you really only have to get half a palindrome, after all, and EAST TO WEST (22A: How the sun proceeds ... and how to read the answers to 17-, 37- and 56-Across) and WEST TO EAST (49A: How the jet stream proceeds ... and how to read the answers to 17-, 37- and 56-Across) were practically gimmes. So then it's just a matter of uncovering the awkward palindromic phrases. And that's it. Wish there were more to say. There is not.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Rub elbows with an expert on some Japanese cars? (KNOW A TOYOTA WONK)
  • 37A: Notice light-colored MacBooks (SPOT PALE LAPTOPS) — do "light-colored MacBooks" exist? I've seen only white and silver.
  • 56A: Comment like a "Seinfeld" character? (REMARK A LA KRAMER)

No significant trouble spots today. Didn't know EZRA (5A: Book that begins "Now in the fist year of Cyrus king of Persia ..."), had TAU for 7D: Gamma follower (!?) (RAY), and didn't understand EST. until just this second ("established") (5D: Abbr. on a city limit sign), so I guess that tiny section in the N was probably slowed me down more than anything else in the grid. I've seen the [Legendary battlers] clue for SEXES before; otherwise, it might've taken me much longer to get it. I think of Hulu as offering actual television shows, or clips therefrom; I think of Youtube as offering VIDEOs (65A: Hulu offering). Here's a Hulu offering for you (Hulu is blocked in certain parts of the world, like, uh, Canada, I think, so if the video doesn't work for you, sorry):


Went to a sushi restaurant earlier this evening and heard one of my companions ask her wife "What's smelt?" It's a fish, apparently. Popular in Japanese cuisine. This has nothing to do with the clue for DROSS (3D: Smelting byproduct), of course. Just wandering through the grid trying to find thinks to REMARK upon ... When I say "TSK" it doesn't involve the tongue any more than most words. I thought Colgate competitor, once (IPANA) would be a university at first, but that's probably just 'cause I live in central NY. Today's Colgate is a toothpaste.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

89 comments:

foodie 12:08 AM  

I liked it, probably because it was easy :). My fastest Wednesday ever! Just ripped through it (well, whatever passes for ripping where I'm concerned).

I thought SOWETO would be the WTD...

HENNA is weird stuff. The brides in the rural areas in the Middle East have it put on their hands in extremely intricate patterns. They can also put it on their hair and turn it red. Saying someone is HENNAed means she's all dolled up...

Tobias Duncan 12:34 AM  

I'm new enough to crosswords to be impressed by palindromes in the grid. Was hoping to have two days in a row of TMBG but realize that Rex probably used up "I palindrome I" long before I got here.
I am hoping that this is going to be last time a cannot put EERO in without crosses.

PurpleGuy 12:47 AM  

I'm in the liked it camp with @foodie. Thought it was a pleasant distraction.
Otherwise i agree with The writeup from @Rex.There really isn't much to say about it. The palindromes seemed rather forced so they would fit.

We had smelts growing up on Long Island. Lightly breaded and sauteed. Delicious. A Greek restaurant here in Phoenix serves them as an appetizer. Yummy.
Thank you for the Diana Krall clip. Love her.

Happy Wednesday all. We made it over the hump!

Shanti -
Bob/PurpleGuy

retired_chemist 12:47 AM  

I liked it too. Sort of. Medium.

Gamma followed is DELTA if the answer is five letters, which it isn't. RAY came to mind immediately.

Thought OLIO was the stew and OLLA was just the pot. Wrong, and the error slowed me down a lot because it conspired with WIND @ 24D to mess up the 37A palindrome royally.

Not a lot else to comment on, as @Rex said.

santafefran 12:54 AM  

@retired_chemist--put me down for WIND before WILL and causing me to sort out where I went wrong for a minute or two. Otherwise, very fast for me as well.

They may be legendary battlers but in this puzzle we AROUSE the SEXES!

Rube 1:05 AM  

Not much to add here. Will try to remember how Ezra starts. Last 2 entries were the middle Ps in SPOTPALELAPTOPS. Boring palindromes.

We had smelts when growing up. THe most disgusting, boney fish I've ever tasted. Would not have them again on a bet.

Good, simple Wednesday puzzle.

SethG 1:28 AM  

Yup, same errors here. And how does "Rub elbows with" mean KNOW? Doesn't elbow rubbing require interaction and not require, well, knowledge?

fikink 1:38 AM  

Like @foodie, ripped through this one, largely due to only having to do half the puzzle then backing in the second half of the palindrome.

My real buzz came from @Rex posting a Paul Butterfield album which I own. Loved him! He died too young in 1987. Pure Chicago Blues!

Peter Collins' puzzles usually are more challenging. But this easy-breezy one fit into my current schedule.

And I, to bed,
to sleep off all this nonsense I've just said.

Red Dog 1:56 AM  

Loved this -- very clever.

You cannot dismiss this just by saying that long palindromes are not worthy of your puzzle. That is idiotic, rude and stupid.

The palindromes were unique, amusing and lively. They showed off the language in a unique way. They are a great addition to the crossword oeuvre.

I have no problem updating, "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama' with "Know a Toyota wonk" or "Remark ala Kramer". It 's all in the service of linguistic jiujitsu.

Nice going, Peter.

CoolPapaD 2:24 AM  

Please put me in the "loved it" camp. Total guess at the intersection of OLLA and LLD, and I guessed correctly, though I knew neither at all! Love new palindromes!

asper carla michaels 2:36 AM  

Also thought new palindromes are always welcome, and nice fifteen letters in length...

Particularly liked REMARKALAKRAMER
which feels really fresh and orignal even if the show has been off the air for ten years!
(Actually, it's still on here every night at least twice.)

Actually felt a neat TV/Movie vibe instead of PC's usual sports one:
Hulu VIDEO, "We're LIVE!" on AIR,
NEWSCAST...
and the personalities:
AVA, ELI, PIA, KEN Burns rubbing elbows.

And I think there is an unwritten law that ROTOR must be in every palindrome puzzle! I liked that subtle touch.

Anonymous 6:48 AM  

If saying "TSK" doesn't involve the tongue any more than most words, you are saying it wrong. It's not literally pronounced "tisk" but is instead a sound made by cliking your tongue off the roof of your mouth.

Just saying...

archaeoprof 7:23 AM  

I enjoyed it, too.

Watched ELI Wallach in "The Magnificent Seven" on the flight back to the States last night.

Armin 8:03 AM  

EST on a city limit sign refers to the year it was ESTablished...

thought the palindromes were fun mostly because they were very culturally relevant... usage of the work WONK is fabulous... and to turner KRAMER into a palindrome is pretty nifty.

Legal trouble clue of LSAT was very cute... as was gamma RAY.

Z 8:15 AM  

Palindromes before puns any day.

Wanted bikini over SASHES, but I guess we had enough of the beach clothing commentary yesterday.

Overall I liked the puzzle fine. Since I had 22A before 17A I originally thought the answers would just be backwards, so that slowed me a little.

dk 8:17 AM  

Yawn.

I once went out with girl of whom it was said: Kissing her is like kissing a saddle. I mean a saddle is functional and all but as a romantic partner...

I did this puzzle quickly with one do over -- late for LIVE at 63a. The experience was... like kissing a saddle.

I was happy to see my old friend ENOLA. At age 12 (I did puzzles with my dad) I knew the answer (ENOLA) to a pop quiz because of puzzles and I am sure they helped me with what we find at 1Aa.

** (2 Stars) Nostalgia aside.

Off to research the use of mobile devices in healthcare. Next Apple product: IDoctor.

Also -- any ideas for how to get axle grease off a straw hat. Was not using my stampede strap in one of our WIND storms and my Resistol was a hit and run victim.

dk

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

"Grid is largely forgettable." Rex is more discerning. That's my feeling about all grids. I give this puzzle an "A" largely because it has PIA.

Brian 8:40 AM  

I was entertained and I appreciate that coming up with three 15-letter palindromes takes a lot of effort.

I do agree that an inherent problem with palindromes in a crossword is you only have to come up with half the answer. I backed in KRAMERALAKRAMER.

And it's something to have included, in a sense, a double reveal: EASTTOWEST and WESTTOEAST. I think if it had just been the palindromes, I would have agreed with Rex that the theme was bland, but these two answers tipped the scale for me.

I liked the cluing for WILL, SEXES, and especially TANS.

It was a fun one.

jesser 8:49 AM  

At 17A, I had KNOW A TOYOTA____.

At 37A, I caught onto the palindromity (hey, why not?) of the thing and -- just like Rex said, filled in WONK as KNOW backwards, which made that otherwise weird corner come together quickly.

Only writeover was LoiN before LEAN at 66A.

I fall in the 'really liked' crowd today. There's something magical to me about a palindrome, and as has been mentioned, these all felt fresh to me. Loved the cluing, particularly 16A, 24D and 64A.

Because the 80s was my Adventuresome Decade, I have several tattoos and a couple of BRANDS, neither of which had anything to do with ranching. ;-)

Hope all's well for everyone in Rexville! Las Cruces is beautiful!

joho 8:53 AM  

I liked it although it seemed too easy for a Wednesday. I think palindromes are fascinating, especially newly created ones.

For a moment I confused A.A.A. with A.A. and thought the answer was very wrongly RyE!

Thanks, Peter!

efrex 9:03 AM  

Put me in the very positive camp: three fun new 15-letter palindromes, two revealers, and only a few pieces of junk fill (the always irritating UEYS, the new-to-me clue for OLLAS, and the crosswordese EERO that I should know by now already) - easy, yes, but highly enjoyable.

John V 9:04 AM  

Add me to the really liked cabal. I find palindromes to be just fun. Only pause was NE, words before potato or tomato cross with sexes. Had to look pause, look out the window (around Larchmont, IIRC) and then I got it. Also had wind for 24D initially, cause a brief delay there.

In all, a very easy Wednesday, as the palindrome theme was way easy to spot.

JayWalker 9:06 AM  

Yup. Nuttin' to say about the puzzle at all. Not "remarkable" in every sense of that word. However, I did want to thank Rex for the Jon Stewart insert. Didn't see it before and absolutely loved it. He slays me. Why is it I don't regularly watch this show?????

thursdaysd 9:14 AM  

That was fun. I'm with @Z in much preferring palindromes to puns. And I'll put up with yet another UEYS in exchange for very few proper nouns I didn't know. I did have troubles with SEXES, I kept wanting it to be Medes...

Henna... I had my hair hennaed for several years, after getting in done in India without realizing it would turn my hair red (actually, orange). But it did that because my hair was grey. On the lustrous black hair of Indian women it just makes chestnut highlights.

Hmmm, captcha is coder - I used to write code, mostly assembler language, but I didn't call myself that.

retired_chemist 9:26 AM  

AVA as well as ROTOR (previously noted) adds to the palindromy.

quilter1 9:31 AM  

I like both puns and palindromes. Hand up for wind before WILL. I'm not familiar with WONK so looked at that a while before being convinced it was right, even though I knew that KNOW was right. Easy and fun.

chefbea 9:34 AM  

I liked the puzzle and agree..easier than most Wednesdays.

@Retired Chemist I too thought olla was the pot, not the stew.

@dk They say vodka will clean anything. Use any brand you want!!!

LookUpGuy 10:01 AM  

I cannot find any translation of OLLA => STEW. (Ref is always the pot)

Also none of the several sources I tried translated STEW => OLLA.

Not a Spanish speaker --- can anyone out there verify STEWS = OLLAS, perhaps colloquially?

JenCT 10:02 AM  

@SethG: agree on "Rub elbows" - I thought it just meant kind of stands next to, as at a party...

Had ECT before EXO.

Liked the clue for OREO - is that a new one? Don't remember seeing that.

Puzzle took me a while.

Cheerio 10:06 AM  

Whole Food had smelts for sale some time back, so I bought some. I found this charming video on how to prepare them (the cooking part starts at 2:10 seconds in): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77Eh70TIQXE&feature=BFa&list=ULNK5FGoMvCe8&index=1.

So I cooked a whole plate of fried smelts, and then...ugh. I could not get through them. I could not even palm them off on some hungry teenagers. I do not recommend them, unless you are starving after a day of ice fishing and there is nothing else to eat.

Mike Rees 10:13 AM  

Aw, Rex ... I really enjoyed this one. Fun, clever, and satisfying to finish. And I don't think it's possible to make a TSK sound without using your tongue ... it was my first answer.

Matthew G. 10:34 AM  

The sound written by TSK is also often described as "clicking one's tongue." That's a perfectly good clue.

I have no strong reaction to today's puzzle. Thought it would have worked better if WEST TO EAST were left out and replaced with another palindrome, and EAST TO WEST clued as {Another way to read [the theme entries]}. Every crossword entry works WEST TO EAST, and getting that makes EAST TO WEST way too easy for a Wednesday.

But I like palindromes. So, this was fun, if light.

Two Ponies 10:50 AM  

Handup for liked it.
The long palindromes were funny and new. I considered wire before will.
@ archaeoprof Welcome back.

Masked and Anonymous 11:06 AM  

@31: Har. Well, good mornin', sunshine! You didn't even stick around to fire off some bullets. Miss them bullets.

Thumbs up, by the way, for TOYOTA WONK. ("Sound heard on a popular car, as its brakes go out")

Must cheer the T-Rex up. Perhaps some "improved clues" that he can sink his teeth into. Bite into these, maestro...

Silver bullets:
21A: "Donald Duck's cockney nephew, and others".
26A: "Send all checks to M&A, made out to this"
41A: "Summer BBQ spots, with a couple bricks out of place"
44A: "Solo a plane in reverse"
10D: "Something Katie Couric just won't do (anymore)"
49D: "Got up with no tail?"

the redanman 11:29 AM  

OK puzz

No problemo with rub elbows, problem with WONK, just awkward - considering. Rub elbows is a quaint perhaps dated expression [loosely] for one "hanging with those above one" socially. MadMen era sort of thing.

Fairly high level of awkwardness and over-cloyingly clever for my tastes, but doable in reasonable time. So I won't be snobbish today.

I'm too grounded in science and grammar, I guess.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

The question I have for Evil Doug is this: Is Rex's critique today TERSE because he fancies himself Hemmingway or because he teaches Hemmingway?

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Funny thing about that Daily Show clip... Willie Geist's Wiki page, as I write this, has the same screen shot that Stewart used in the apology videos. (I wasn't familiar with Geist so I looked him up.) Thought that was kinda funny.

Anyway, today's puzzle I didn't mind the palindrome theme myself, though it is definitely upstaged by that much more interesting puzzle a few Thursdays ago with the "U-turn" theme.

joho 11:40 AM  

Yes, welcome back @archeoprof!

Noam D. Maon 11:57 AM  

Not a bad few minutes' entertainment. I'm fine with the theme as long as the palindromes are new to me, and I didn't recognize any of them (though "a Toyota" and "remark/Kramer" are well-known). It would have been cooler if the bonus 5-letter palindroms 16A:SEXES and 34D:ROTOR were symmetrically placed.

NDE

Sparky 12:09 PM  

Found it easy. Figured palindromes by 49A. They were rather amusing. A lot of "old friends": EERO, UEYS (tsk), DROSS, TET, OLLAS, HESSE, PIA, WOK, OREO, ELI (whom I love), and AVA. Well, there's always tomorrow when I'll probably be stumped. @MandA: Liked your clue for 21A. Have a good
day.

Just signed up for Lollapuzzoola.

Rex Parker 12:48 PM  

I don't fancy myself Hemingway. I do, however, fancy myself someone who knows how to spell Hemingway.

PS why is there a "K" in "TSK?"

Lewis 12:48 PM  

@matthewg -- I liked your suggestions; like you I felt "west to east" was superfluous...

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

@Anon @11:32. Your comment could possibly be slightly more amusing if you knew how to spell Hemingway.

foodie 1:07 PM  

@Noam D. Maon-- funny new name! I almost wrote Moan :)

@thursdaysd: what a cool blog you have! I wanted to see a picture of your HENNAed hair, but no luck.

Re TERSE and the Hemingway clue...I've been reading the new(ish) edition of A Moveable Feast (edited by his grandson, and subject to some criticism). That TERSE style, especially where it concerns his own life, is slightly unsettling and oddly engaging at the same time. You feel like he's holding the door ajar but not really letting you in, and it makes you want go in all the way and find out what's really going on.

thursdaysd 1:19 PM  

@foodie: why thank you! I hate having my photo taken, but if you go here - http://kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/Caucasus-and-Middle-East-2009/Telavi - the fifth photo will give you an idea. When I couldn't find anywhere to get it hennaed in SE Asia on my last trip I let it go natural, though.

captcha = vintio - wine of my uncle?

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

C'mon Rex, this was a fun puzzle. They all don't have to be highbrow. My only issue is with UEY - I hate that "abbreviation" in NYT puzzles. Oh, and never heard of LLD or IPANA, but got them on crosses.

The theme answers may not relate to each other, but so what. And they are all 15 letters long! It's too bad the theme clues (22A and 49A weren't palindromes.

Cheers!

MandA's Extra-Shiny Silver Bullet 2:00 PM  

...22A: "Conversion, when Clint went to Westwood"

Jake 2:02 PM  

Ugh. At first I liked this one, as I got a bunch of answers right away, (which is above average for me on a Wednesday), but answers such as eero (14A), lld (35a) and patois (41a, thought it was spelled patwa), made the puzzle a real bear...

Bob Kerfuffle 2:06 PM  

@LookUpGuy - I speak no Spanish, but FWIW, here are two entries in my paper Merriam Webster English dictionary:

olla - a large bulging widemouthed earthenware vessel sometimes with looped handles used (as by Pueblo Indians) for storage, cooking, or as a container for water

olla podrida - [Sp, lit., rotten pot] - a rich highly seasoned stew of meat and vegetables usu. including sausage and chick-peas that is slowly simmered and is a traditional Spanish and Latin-American dish

So I’ll suppose this just another shortening which has taken place over time and crosswordese.

Conchita 2:07 PM  

OLLA es una caldera y tambien es un cocido que esta preparado in una caldera.

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

@Rex @ 12:48 - There is a K in Tsk for teh same reason there is only one m in Hemmingway.

@Anon @ 1:01 - Spelling isn't everything. It's only worth a 10% deduction.

jackj 2:13 PM  

Peter Collins is a constructor who always looks for a new wrinkle with his constructions. Just recently he has given us the EIEIO puzzle, the KITE and tail one, the drawing of a die effort, word ladders, and today's palindrome among the 40 or so he has given us over the years.

No one undertakes more difficult constructions than Peter but, for me, somehow, despite his ingenuity, the puzzles always seem to just miss being 5 star beauties.

I have come to think of Peter as the Sisyphus of Cruciverbalism and hope he'll keep going until that seven letter "big rock" is sitting on top of his constructing hill.

I almost always "like" his work and look forward to being able to "love" it.

MandA's Last Silver Bullet 2:13 PM  

...49A: "Wild Wild secret agent's assignment at the bridge table"

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

rex:good question.perhaps theres a k in tsk for the same reason that when we click our tongue we spell it click.

always thought rubbing elbows meant hobnobbing with. maybe its like knuckle bumping.

PETER 2:22 PM  

@ jackj Thanks -- I think. I'll keep pushing the rock. But it's hot our here in the sun, and the rock is heavy. Would it kill you to run me out a beer every once in a while?

Peter "Sisyphus" Collins

foodie 3:11 PM  

@Peter Sisyphus, tough crowd here-- hence the frequent reference to alcohol to relieve the agony.

I think we live in the same state, may be the same town, aptly nicknamed AA, right? Happy to bring you a beer and some munchies, but I'll leave the rock pushing to you. As for me, I'm not picky. I've loved many of your puzzles! And not just because we might be neighbors.

quilter1 3:19 PM  

Ipana's mascot was Bucky Beaver.

That olla sounds delish.

mac 3:37 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, like palindromes and thought a lot of the clues were fun.

Of course the gamma ray got me, I went looking for a way to put in the next letter. Went from wind to wire to will.

@Foodie: did you read A.E. Hotchner's column in the NYT a few days ago? Sad and scary, about Hemingway's last years.

sanfranman59 3:51 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)

Wed 10:16, 11:52, 0.87, 22%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:27, 5:51, 0.93, 35%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

I'll have to solve online to see what that time is like (I solved on paper in about 10 minutes).

I know the critics will scream, "You already solved, so your time will be a LOT faster!"

I'll try to follow what I did on paper.

chefwen 4:26 PM  

Had a minor panic attack when I got to Dear Old Dad's place and found that he had gotten a new computer and my link to the puzzle was gone. Must remember to thank my easy going husband for setting me straight and getting me my puzzle before I had a meltdown.

Always enjoy a Peter Collins puzzle and this one hit the mark, as usual.

Thanks for stopping by Peter, I would be more than happy to buy you a brewski anytime!

SPATENI - sounds disgusting, pass!

jberg 4:28 PM  

Do people really say smelts? Out where I grew up, along the shores of Lake Michigan, the plural of smelt was smelt. And I don't think we cleaned them, either, but maybe it's different in the winter. At that time they would run up the streams in huge numbers to spawn, while the locals turned up in huge numbers to scoop them up with anything handy - my father once got his picture in papers all over the country because he stepped in over the top of his hip boots and was snapped pouring about 30 smelt out of the boot. Many fish don't eat when they're spawning, so maybe there was less need to clean them. Anyway, we would take them home, flour and deep fry them, and eat them whole, immediately - usually about midnight. Under those conditions, they were delicious.

I solved this one from the top down, so first I was stumped by 17A, then got 22A and went back to work out 17A backwards. Only after I had finished writing it all in did I notice the palindrome - so then of course I looked at 49A, and realized that all three were, after which the puzzle got much easier, and maybe a little less interesting - still, quite an achievement!

I have a 1A, and I have to tell you they are not all excellent!
@anonymous 1:52PM, LlD is Latin for "Doctor of Laws" - an honorary degree dating to the time when the regular law degree was LlB. It's more confusing now, with the JD.

long suffering mets fan 4:33 PM  

put me in the "eh" camp

Unchallenging, forgettable Weds

saw the palindrome theme early and after that, not much of interest in this puzzle

mac 4:51 PM  

Aren't smelts the same as whitebait? Just realized I haven't seen them on the menu in London restaurants for a long time.

jackj 5:11 PM  

Peter- Thanks for coming by. How about a cold ASAHI? (It seems to be the most xword friendly).

Keep 'em coming; my comment was meant as encouragement and, obviously, reading the comments, the vast majority of solvers feel you're already there.

RMS 5:16 PM  

@jberg--I remember those smelt just as you describe them. Thanks for the memories.

Fast time for me on the puzzle, so I like it!

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

Good grief...I stopped liking this puzzle at clue to 22A. The sun doesn't move e-to-w. The sun doesn't move at all, dammmit. The EARTH moves.

joho 5:33 PM  

Hey, @Peter, if you can manage to roll that rock to Ohio I'll be waiting with a cold one!

Stan 5:51 PM  

Well, I thought Peter pushed the rock to the top on this one. The palindromes had pop and the fill was LEAN, LIVEly and TERSE, with moments of international flair including PEKOE, HENNA, SOWETO, and PATOIS.

Good job in a tough slot (following Andrea and @joho is not easy).

XWDer 6:19 PM  

@Peter: Stop listening to the constant nitpicky cavilers. (I am sure one of the spellings in the last sentence is wrong). - this was a fine effort, and a fun solve. If folks didn't see that "EAST TO WEST, WEST TO EAST" was also a word palindrome, so be it.

Sfingi 6:22 PM  

Rex - totally agree on palindrome being solved when only half-solved.
Despite that, having no idea of LIE in golf, I had
REMARK As A KRAMER.

SEXES and ETTE are also palindromes (And as RetChemist said, AVA and ROTOR) and ENOLA is palindromic (?) with ALONE.
Hope sometime GAY will be clued with Toujours, ala Don Marquis.

It was different, so I don't think it SMELT.

Herman HESSE is a TERSE writer, reminiscent of Hemingway.

@JBerg - agree, the plural of all fish - and all animals which travel in groups (deer, sheep) - is the singular.

@Anon152 - IPANA is oldster stuff. It used to be "everywhere, like horseshit" (used to be everywhere).

@Quilter1 - recently, WONKs were found in politics.

Anonymous 6:24 PM  

Anon @ 5:22 - Are you sure?

a-pat 6:46 PM  

WEST TO EAST and EAST TO WEST are anagrams! Wow, this puzzle has everything!

Mark Hions 6:58 PM  

On vacation in NYC this week, so for the first time in my life I'm not in syndication land.

Surely 5D (EST) is more commonly used to indicate an estimated population, as in Population: 55,000 (est)

Nice to be here with the rest of you for a change, but only until Friday

joho 7:36 PM  

@Sfingi ... you crack me up.

smoss11 7:53 PM  

While the palindromes made it easy, I really admire how clever this puzzle was. Liked the "meat request" double clue.

andrea ixion michaels 7:59 PM  

@Stan
You always say such nice things, thank you! I don't think Peter so much followed us in this case, as we preceded him! ;)
And yes, I rang in late late late last night in the end.

I can't believe I saw ROTOR, but missed AVA, SEXES and ETTE...
SASHES now even sort of looks like one!

@Peter
You be Sisyphus and I'll be Ixion!

retired_chemist 8:16 PM  

@ anons - "The earth moved" is a famous quote from For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hemingway (one m) again.....

Anonymous 9:55 PM  

retired chemist - Even though I cannot spell Hemmingway, I read all his novels and saw at least three movies based on them. The Green Hills of Africa was boring. The Old Man and The Sea was interesting if you liked fishing. As far as the earth moving, I recall (from reading it 50 years ago), and I did not google this, is what Maria was asked by Pilar - Did the earth move? But that had nothing to do with the sun moving from east to west.

Martin 10:23 PM  

There are many kinds of smelts. You might buy a pound of surf smelt. But the pond smelt, the surf smelt and the Japanese smelt are smelts.

The Japanese are very fond of a smelt, shishamo, caught when the females are so stuffed with roe that they're essentially egg sacs with skin. They're grilled and served as an appetizer with sake. Most Japanese restaurants have them, so give shishamo a try.

That pluralization rule is the same with most fish, e.g., with trout: you might eat two rainbow trout, but a rainbow and a brown are two trouts. It even extends to "fish." You eat fish but discuss the different fishes in your aquarium.

fikink 11:00 PM  

@Peter Collins, thanks for stopping by. FIL (father-in-law) has a book of your Wednesdays he is working through at the moment. Thinks you "kick ass" - honestly, he said that thinking he was being hip (He's 90.) But more, just recently he ran across a clue that had something to do with The Return of the Jedi and quipped, "I don't remember when they were here the first time." I should be so old!

sanfranman59 1:31 AM  

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

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

Mon 5:52, 6:52, 0.86, 5%, Easy (5th lowest median solve time of 106 Mondays)
Tue 8:54, 8:55, 1.00, 56%, Medium
Wed 10:31, 11:52, 0.89, 27%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:19, 3:40, 0.91, 12%, Easy
Tue 4:53, 4:35, 1.07, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:21, 5:51, 0.91, 32%, Easy-Medium

The Cunctator 9:32 AM  

Rex really fails to credit this puzzle. You have the three theme palindromes, EAST TO WEST and WEST TO EAST, four bonus palindromes (ROTOR, SEXES, AVA, ETTE), and the clue pairs ("Meat request", "Show on TV").

Well done.

Anonymous 8:19 PM  

some of us aren't so handy with crosswords - i found yesterday's puzzle (i.e. wednesday's) fun and a good level for me. i liked the palindromes a lot.

now, if you asked my to solve a genetics problem, that would be a cinch....

Pippin 12:36 PM  

Any Wednesday I don't have to Google something is a good one. I had "asa" instead of ALA (KRAMER) and wind before WILL but soon sorted those out and really had no trouble with this one.

My high school Spanish dictionary has both a "round earthen pot" and "an oglio, a dish made of boiled meat and vegetables" as meanings for OLLA.

Put me in the Positive Camp, Peter!

penult 1:18 PM  

New poster. And, fittingly, a new PhDer as of last month. I loved today's puzzle because I love palindromes. It felt like more of a Monday or Tuesday puzzler, though, due to the "filling in backwards." I'm on vacation and really needed a puzzle that was enjoyable but falls into place easily. Thanks, Peter (and Rex).

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

@Anonymous 5:22 PM
The sun doesn't move at all
Well, yes it does. But your point is well taken and I had the same thought.

Incidentally, I solved this puzzle facing east, so I was actually reading the theme answers north to south and south to north.

Dirigonzo 4:48 PM  

It took some really creative thinking but I managed to turn this into a really hard puzzle, at least for a while. Here's the thing: SPOTPAsteliPads fits nicely into 37a, and kind of meets the clue if you use a lot of license, and I had just enough crosses to make it work perfectly! But then along comes ESATTOWEST so I figure I have to turn the whole thing around to follow the instruction, by which time it was getting a little hard to read the center of my grid due to all the write-overs. But I limped onward until I found WESTTOEAST and thought, "Well it can't be both ways!" until I finally figured out that yes, it can and REMARKALAKRAMER showed me the way, pink iPads became pale laptops and the rest, as they say, is history. Serves me right, though, for trying to think creatively instead of just letting the crosses do all the hard work.

@penult - Congratulations on your new PhD!

Anonymous 9:22 PM  

I guess ATOYOTA must be a RACECAR. Yeah, disappointingly easy what with the directional gimmes--which led to an immediate theme gimme. The term "WONK" as an "expert" is new to me, but it had no choice but to be there.
Most think of the A-bomb plane when they see ENOLA; but it is a small Pennsylvania town on the Susquehanna with a major railroad freightyard. Trains made up there go all over the eastern seaboard.
Liked SOWETO, but I agree that poor old EERO and his competitor I.M. PEI both be given a well-deserved vacation. Geez those guys work hard in puzzle grids!

captcha=formetra: "The sun god favors New York's opera house."

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