Horse-drawn vehicle often mentioned in Sherlock Holmes stories / MON 7-25-11 / Flowers on proverbial path / Opposite of deletes in typesetting

Monday, July 25, 2011

Constructor: Nina Rulon-Miller

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Garnishes — drink garnishes. That is all.


Word of the Day: DOGCART (20A: Horse-drawn vehicle often mentioned in Sherlock Holmes stories) —

A dogcart is a light horse-drawn vehicle. There are several types:

  • A one-horse carriage, usually two-wheeled and high, with two transverse seats set back to back. It was known as a "bounder" in British slang (not to be confused with the cabriolet of the same name). In India it was called a "tumtum" (possibly an altered form of "tandem").
  • A dogcart having four wheels and seats set back to back was a dos-à-dos. "Dos-à-dos" means back-to-back in French.
  • Another four-wheeled dogcart was called a "game cart".

A young or small groom called a "tiger" sometimes rode, usually standing, on a platform at the rear of a dogcart driven by the person on whom he was in attendance. // Frequent references to dogcarts are made by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his writings about fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, and indeed by many other Victorian writers, as it was a common sight in those days.

• • •

An oddly basic and thin theme. Just drink garnishes. Those garnishes make for fairly interesting fill, I guess, but I generally like a *little* more ambition / imagination in my puzzle themes. Also, CELERY STICK? Bah. I see that it's called "STICK" quite a bit in various places on the internet, so it's clearly acceptable, but I'm going out on a pretty thick limb and saying that "STALK" is more common ([bloody mary "celery stalk"] got me about 50% more hits than the "stick" version of that search). STALK is a more interesting word, and it feels righter, and with "STALK" maybe ugly answers like ISMS (59D: Beliefs) and STETS (69A: Opposite of deletes, in typesetting) could've been avoided. Maybe. Puzzle played slightly harder than usual, largely because of DOGCART and various miscues with the garnishes (STALK ... had the -ICE in SLICE but wrote in JUICE, which is just stupid, but I still did it; wife went with TWIST at first). Unusual NE and SW corners, with a couple of showy 9s running through both. All in all, an adequate puzzle, but without much to enjoy or remember.



Theme answers:
  • 17A: Whiskey sour garnish (ORANGE SLICE)
  • 27A: Gibson garnish (PICKLED ONION)
  • 47A: Martini garnish (PIMENTO OLIVE) — I know this garnish as "OLIVE"
  • 62A: Bloody Mary garnish (CELERY STICK)
DOGCART is an interesting word but a complete and utter outlier in a Monday grid. Made the typical ENURE for INURE mistake (65A: Accustom), which added (very slightly) to my relative slowness. Really nice clues on both SPEEDO (10D: Big name in small swimwear) and PRIMROSES (33D: Flowers on a proverbial path), which is perhaps my favorite answer in the grid. Nope, changed my mind. SPLIT ENDS is my favorite (32D: Hair woe). I know LIDO from the eponymous Deck on "The Love Boat."



Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

75 comments:

santafefran 12:22 AM  

After imbibing all those drinks with their garnishes, your speech might be a bit SLURRED.


Tried NONE then NADA before NARY appeared but still a very fast solve down the PRIMROSE path.



farti-eew

Anonymous 12:41 AM  

LIDO is eponymous? I didn't think so. I imagined it was named for the islands off the coast of Italy, or maybe was just the Italian word for beach. Who is it named after? A quick Internet check didn't help me.

CoffeeLvr 12:49 AM  

I don't like PIMENTO in my OLIVEs. And aren't they called Pimento stuffed olives? Started to enter STalk too, but saw RHa?? wasn't a river I knew.

Otherwise, I liked the puzzle just fine. Welcome to another week!

thursdaysd 12:59 AM  

That went quickly, even though I don't drink any of those things (just wine and beer). I, too, liked PRIMROSE, and was pleased that the only name I didn't know was TROI.

The LIDO I know is an island that's part of Venice - the one where you can drive. According to babelfish the Italian for beach is spiaggia.

chefwen 1:33 AM  

Cute puzzle! One write over, ORANGE twist before SLICE. Salivated when I filled in PICKLED ONION, I love those things. Prefer a garlic stuffed olive over PIMENTO, those little red things are nasty. A Bloody Mary needs a pickled asparagus spear along with the CELERY STICK, hold the olives, they take up too much room. Now I'm thirsty!

andrea celery michaels 1:44 AM  

Non-drinker here, so had to uncover each answer the old fashioned way..."old fashioned", get it?

I imagine the sots on this blog will love it!
Yes, a bit list-y, but you would be too after all those drinks...and I loved SLURRED as a sly little extra
(garnish?) to the puzzle, along with its cute clue.

Actually I liked all the S-words:
SPEEDO (!), SPLITENDS, SORELOSER, and the aforementioned SLURRED.

(Shout out to Miss Ellen Ripstein, I have Paul McCartney singing Let it Be in Red Square on the TV in the background)

My big mistake was ShmEAr for SPREAD. How Jew-ish of me!

jj 3:18 AM  

Where is the link to Lido Shuffle (the only Boz Scaggs song anyone can stand)? Not having it may be more disappointing than the puzzle.

shrub5 3:23 AM  

Fun little puzzle. Non-drinker here also but have made these drinks enough to know (and eat) the usual garnishes. Agree with @chefwen re pimento, yuck! I had SLoshED before SLURRED. With RE- for Huckabee's title, figured it must be REp for Republican, but OLIVE fixed it to REV.

My sympathy to all of you suffering in the heat/humidity (another hair woe).

@andrea celery: SPEEDO makes its appearance again -- still chuckling at the mental picture of FULL SPEEDO AHEAD in your puzzle a few weeks back.

Anonymous 4:21 AM  

I have a guess on "Celery Stick" and why it wasn't "Celery Stalk."

It's possible the latter was what the author intended, but instead of the correct spelling, she initially used "Celery stock" the homophone. RHINE/RHONE is an easy switch. This occurs to me because I put RHONE in first. (I know, not in Germany... but wine!) Once I filled in everything else, I saw "CELERY STOCK" and thought, "Oh dear, the author screwed this one up." It was only after I submitted and realized that I had an error -- on a Monday for the first time in my life -- that I figured out what had gone wrong.

Of course, maybe the author didn't make that mistake initially. But I'd like to believe she did so that my error seems less egregious.

Anonymous 4:25 AM  

Another Celery though...

The switch to STALK would be pretty easy. Just change RHINE TO THANE (as in Macbeth), FACET to VALET, and thus ARF to ATV (Four wheeler, possibly).

Boom... now it's CELERY STALK.

Z 7:45 AM  

I had a real hankering for a gimlet last week. It must have been a premonition.

STalK, not STICK. Made my usual mistake of writing down EMoRY first. I imagine the students there all have beautiful nails. Otherwise this was a quick solve.

One nit to pick. Tulips are not from Holland, they are from central Asia. My ancestors' role was to obsess over them to the point of creating a market bubble and collapse comparable in scale and impact to the recent housing bubble and collapse.

MaryBR 7:49 AM  

Can't comment on the relationship between Venice & a cruise ship Lido deck, but will comment on Rex's grammar. Eponymous means giving one's name to something. Somehow I doubt that the Italian island is named after the Love Boat. Rather, the Lido di Venezia is the eponymous beach of cruise deck nomenclature.

M07S 8:02 AM  

GIBSON...[some] "stories involve different Gibsons, such as an apocryphal American diplomat who served in Europe during Prohibition. Although he was a teetotaller, he often had to attend receptions where cocktails were served. To avoid an awkward situation, Gibson would ask the staff to fill his martini glass with cold water and garnish it with a small onion so that he could pick it out among the gin drinks." Wikipedia

This was the story told to me by an old friend while we were sitting on the verandah of a Biloxi hotel watching the Gulf of Mexico, drinking Gibsons, in 1965. Fond memories like this are one of the few perqs of old age. That a Monday puzzle would evoke this memory made it a pleasant solve.

dk 8:12 AM  

@jj, Boz S. did a great cover of Loan Me a Dime... back in the day.

Tried to fit Pearl Onion in for PIMENTOOLIVE. I remember twists of lemon peel. Only drink wine these days. Hard liquor puts me in a state where Acme could take advantage of me (I wish).

** (2 Stars) Fine puzzle, needs a beer and a bump.

Great NYT comment " Michelle Bachman cannot be the devil as the devil does not have SPLITENDS... mee owwww

David L 8:28 AM  

I hate Bloody Marys -- no amount of alcohol can overcome my loathing of tomato juice -- but I don't think anyone would put an entire celery stalk in one. You take a celery stalk and chop it and slice it into narrower, shorter, approximately rectilinear segments. What would be a good name for these pieces? STICKS, maybe.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

I got off on the wrong footing. Orangeslice went in easily, and had p--k for the next theme answer so "colored drink garnishes" seemed like a winner and I went with "pinkumbrella" which fits (obviously NOT a Gibson drinker here). Celerystick/(stalk at first) went with the color idea vaguely also and at a stretch so did pimento (does crayola have a "pimento red" in its repertoire?) So I had a big mess with my pinkumbrella theory and really didn't want to give it up, but... bye-bye colors.

Sam Malone 8:52 AM  

Here's the classic Bloody Mary recipe.

1 1/2 ounces (1 jigger) vodka
1/2 cup tomato juice
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Tabasco to taste
1 celery stick for garnish
1 lemon wedge for garnish

Combine the vodka, the tomato juice, the lemon juice, the Worcestershire sauce, the Tabasco, 1 cup ice cubes, and salt and pepper to taste, shake the mixture well, and strain it into a tall glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish the Bloody Mary with the celery stick and the lemon wedge.

Brian 8:57 AM  

My only problem with this puzzle is that for those of us (and I suspect we are many) who do the crossword in the morning it was cruel to tempt us with cocktail options before breakfast. Read "Whiskey sour garnish," and thought, "mmm." Read "Gibson garnish" and thought, "Oh, it's been a long time." Read "Martini garnish" and thought, "Ah, the last time I had a martini . . ." Read "Bloody Mary garnish" and thought, "Ah-hah! Oh, that's right, I have a work."

Like I said, cruel.

I'm with Rex. I enjoyed SPLITENDS and PRIMROSE and the cluing for SPEEDO.

I typically prefer cleverer themes, but it's pretty clever, after all, to simply discover you can make that many garnishes work in a grid. So props to Rulon-Miller for that!

In honor of her accomplishment, after work I think I may have to have a garnished beverage. After enduring this heat, it seems deserved.

jesser 8:58 AM  

DOGCART rolled in via crosses, and I made the None error at 30D, before the WRITER from EMERY set me on the Path of The PRIMROSES.

I used to tend bar. I did not ever use any of these garnishes except the occasional PIMENTO OLIVE in the occasional martini. It was a pretty blue collar bar.

I'm a bourbon man, but yesterday I went on a mimosa kick while watching the first four episodes of this season's True Blood. That is one great show! Next Sunday: Dexter.

I'm outta town and outta pocket Wednesday through Sunday. I'm sure y'all will hold down the fort just fine!

John V 9:04 AM  

Hand up for the Rhone/Rhine error and agree that celery stalk is the better answer. Also, write-over/erasure @39D title for Mike Huckabee. Knew he was a REP, didn't know about REV. Otherwise, pretty straight forward.

jberg 9:06 AM  

The cheap dictionary on my phone says that eponymous means "having the same name as an eponym," which would make Rex's grammar correct.

Hand up for stalk; also tried pearled onion before ERIC at 18D corrected it. Easy solve, and I didn't mind the DOGCART at all.

efrex 9:06 AM  

I second the "cruel to have us think of all these cocktails before breakfast" complaint. CELERY STICK is just fine by me, but I've never heard of a PIMENTO OLIVE. Pimento-stuffed olive, yes, "pimento olive," no.

Loved all the long fill, though, which really perked the whole thing up, rather like a properly salted rim on a margarita... dangnabit, I'm going to have alcohol on the brain all day now..

Oh, and of course the most important thing about cocktail garnishes: don't eat them!

chefbea 9:07 AM  

Easy puzzle. Knew all the drinks. My parents always drank gibson's and garnished them with small onions..never pickled!!!

Also, I think most people garnish their martinis with a seedles green olive...no pimento.

Should have been a couple of h'ors doevres to go along with the cocktails, like some good cheeses...Oh, we had those last week thanks to Rex

joho 9:14 AM  

I am so happy to learn that a dog doesn't pull a DOGCART!

Yes, the theme was simple but refreshingly easy for a Monday for that reason, so, here's to Nina!

I would have perferred INA Garten over Once INA lifetime but she's probably too obscure for a Monday.

I also wanted STalK but then remembered that carrot and celery sticks are common.

Gotta love SPEEDO!

CFXK 9:17 AM  

Stalk, I believe, more commonly refers to the entire length of a piece of celery. When a stalk is cut into two or more lengths, the resultant pieces are commonly referred to as STICKS. It is less common for an entire stalk to be used to garnish a Bloody Mary.

PanamaRed 9:19 AM  

I'm a martini drinker (not sot), and I always oder mine with olives, and they always come with pimento stuffed olives (occasionally they'll ask if I want the blue cheese stuffed variety).

I was also told long ago by a real nitpicker, that the celery stalk is the large bunch you buy in the grocery store, and the individual "sticks" are properly called "ribs" - FWIW.

I try not to be a nitpicker, but I may have just picked two.

hazel 9:22 AM  

@DK - On The Daily Show last week, one Moment of Zen segment included video of Michele Bachman announcing that her favorite food was celery. “I will personally consume the entire stalk of celery,” she said. double meeeeowwww (with a zen twist).

I thought the drink garnish theme was kind of catchy - making this an excellent Monday puzzle in my book. While I was a stalk/stick person too, @DavidL makes an excellent point re: the STICK being the correct term for the garnish.

More of a black olive person myself, though I've gotten turned on to homemade pimiento cheese lately, which is pretty good stuff. Not sure why pimientos make green olives so wretched?

John V 9:31 AM  

@CFXK, re: stalk/stick and not using the entire stalk, I suppose this could depend on the size of the Bloody Mary, no? ;)

Mike Rees 9:36 AM  

Got SEE no evil and HEAR no evil ... Does that mean I have to go to blogs like this to SPEAK some? :)

Fun puzzle. Slow for a Monday, lots of stuff I didn't know.

jackj 9:38 AM  

How about the garnishes which never made it to the big show?

The snake in sake, the pear in brandy, the worm in tequila.

None of those tame thingies like orange slices or celery sticks for real booze-hounds!

quilter1 9:45 AM  

@PanamaRed: agree about a rib versus a stalk of celery.
@Joho: I'm very familiar with "carrot and celery sticks" as a brown bag lunch item.

I liked this puzzle. I thought lots of the answers were fresh, like DOGCART and PRIMROSES. Fast, fun and easy.

Leaving for California on Wednesday to return granddaughter home. We'll make stops in Taos and San Tan Valley, AZ before heading to LA. Mom doing pretty well, and being evaluated for discharge to home (with help) this week. Thanks for all the good wishes.

slypett 9:53 AM  

I've had Bloody Mary's in NYC with a shortened stalk or rib, leaves and all. This was many yers ago. Things may have changed. Started my drinking career with boiler makers. I was fifteen and the old men in the bar thought I was a wonder. Lately, however, it's been the martinus, garnished, preferably, with a queen olive--tastier and less briny than the usual lady olive.

rephr--speaking of getting high

Matthew G. 9:56 AM  

Even though I made the STALK error myself, I concede that STICK makes sense in context for the reasons stated.

Didn't hate the puzzle. Didn't love the puzzle. The theme was the theme. So little to say today.

jesser 10:09 AM  

@jackj: There is no worm in tequila. The worm is the mezcal bottle. I've witnessed actual bar fights over who would 'get' to eat the worm at the bottom of the bottle. That was back in the days when Juarez was safe (and fun!) to visit. I miss those days...

Two Ponies 10:36 AM  

I liked this one just fine.
The fill was good and the long downs were nice.
Maybe it is the texture of the pimento that people don't like.
After sitting in the brine they pretty much taste like the olive.
The best Bloody Mary I ever had also had a raw oyster in it. The name was something clever but I forget. It was yummy.
Oh, my only disappointment was the missing "speak no evil".

mac 10:46 AM  

Enjoyed the garnish theme. I remember gigantic Bloody Maries with a celery rib in them, leaves and all. Husband drinks his martinis dry, up and with a twist.
My favorite olives are the Goya anchovy stuffed ones, served very cold.

Liked all the long words: affiliate, primroses, split ends and mince pie.

syndy 10:51 AM  

TWO hands up for the STOCK/RHONE error and feet up for no amount of vodka killing the taste of the tomato juice!I thought this was a pretty sassy monday!after all it's a THEME not a GIMMICK! (pictured bloody drink clearly shows STALK not STICK)

FireWater 11:08 AM  

Bartender here. Strictly stick-ly in my experience. First went with "stuffed olive," though. Bleu cheese usually fires people up...Cheers!

JC66 11:26 AM  

Put me in the STICK camp.

BTW, @Rex's Google stat for *Bloody Mary celery STalK vs Bloody Mary celery STICK* is correct (674,000 vs 246,000). However, if Bloody Mary is dropped the results are dramatically different: Celery STalK - 2,260,000, Celery STICK - 10,100,000.

When I have a Bloody Mary (rarely), I don't eat the celery but when I have a martini (frequently) I do eat the olives.

spatenau 11:41 AM  

I think use of the whole stalk as opposed to a stick in a Bloody Mary is a relatively recent trend. In my parents' day, it was always a stick. And it seems that when people talk about celery as a crudite, it's always "sticks," not "stalks." You take the carrots and the celery stalks and cut them into sticks.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

No shout-out to Leonard Bernstein?

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

Before you correct someones grammar, you should be aware of what grammar is:

"In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language." (Wiki).

If Rex used eponymous incorrectly, which he didn't but if he had, he used an incorrect definition of the word, he didn't form a grammatically incorrect sentence.

julia child 12:16 PM  

A bunch or stalk of celery consists of a dozen or so individual ribs, with the tender innermost ribs called the celery heart. 

Bon appetit!

JaxInL.A. 12:19 PM  

Theme was cute, but as a teetotaler (where does that word some from?) it gave me no cravings, warm memories, or urges. It was fine.

The down entries, though, really floated my boat.  Not just the ones already mentioned, but MINCE PIE, and the ones that appear to form some sort of underworld theme: HOODLUM, AFFILIATES, ALIASES, I MEANT IT and SORE LOSER.

@efrex, thanks for the garnish warning. Poor bees.

Too bad that it's too early in the week to clue OPUS as a penguin.

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

OK, everyone, I am new to crossword puzzles. I've been doing the NY Times puzles for several weeks now. I have what is a super stupid question, I know, but is it fair to use google to find answers? Does RP pull all of the answers out of his head alone?

On another note, while I have been challenged by many puzzles, this one was a breeze for me .. especially funny because I don't drink (although my parents were regular Gibson drinkers and I had to run the gamut of bars in Paris one visit to find someone who could make their favorite drink with ONIONS! I asked my Dad about that saying, "When in Paris, do as the Parisians do" ... but he wasn't buying it.)

So, could you please advise me about "cheating" with Google. I got this one today without any help, but I usually have to resort to online help. What about the rest of you?

WESISLAND 1:19 PM  

Great addition to a Bloody Mary is a heavy dose of horse radish. First experienced one after skiing in Vermont....really tasty.

Also like gin martinis but prefer an anchovy stuffed olive.

CoffeeLvr 1:24 PM  

From Answers.com: What most people call a "bunch of celery," the USDA calls a "stalk;" and what most people call a "stalk of celery," they call a "branch." One other term needs describing: "node," which is the point at which the first leaves or leafstems appear on a branch of celery.

I like the use of the word "rib", though, as others here have mentioned. Put a whole inner branch or rib with the leaves in my (mild) V-8 Bloody Mary. Put a Lemon Twist in my Manhattan, please. Actually, I pretty much stick to beer and wine these days.

@Anon at 1:14, you are pretty new, since we cover this every month or so. Happy to help. The consensus is unless it is competition, it is your puzzle, you set your own rules. Googling and learning something is preferable to just letting the software reveal the wrong or missing answer; you are more likely to remember it that way. Others can chime in with dissenting opinions, that is the joy of Rexville.

TimJim 1:38 PM  

@Anon at 1:14: My own preference is not to Google. I keep trying until I get it. Googling is basically giving up, as far as I'm concerned. But each to his own!
@JJ - Try listening to some early Boz Scaggs - wonderful albums before he went disco.

efrex 1:59 PM  

Anon: There's no wrong way to do a crossword puzzle. My father is firmly in the pro-Google camp ("the constructors use it to make the puzzle; why shouldn't I use it to solve it?"), while I tend to use the "put-it-aside-and-try-again-an-hour-later" method.

As long as you're having fun and not hurting anybody, there aren't any rules (works for a few other things besides crosswords, but that's another story)

babslesley 2:10 PM  

I've always seen it as "pimiento" (the Spanish word), while being pronounced "pimento."

retired_chemist 2:14 PM  

I now know more about celery terminology than I ever dreamed I would. Until I forget it all...

Decent puzzle, but I did not find it exciting. Easy-medium. Do not know my garnishes, except for the martini. Knew OLIVE, then had to wait for a few crosses to see the PIMENTO part. Don't think the term "PIMENTO OLIVE" is the usual phrase, but it is certainly inferrable.

andrea pickled michaels 2:16 PM  

@efrex daddy,
Constructors use Google to make the puzzle???!!! ;)

@dk
something tells me you wouldn't have to be drunk. ;) ;)

@shrub5
Thanks! Still chuckling too...
(along with Joho, whose original thought of adding o to speed was the genesis of her debut puzzle!)

Cheers!

John V 2:45 PM  

@Anon at 1:14, when I was new to the puzzle, some 300 years ago -- when Googling might have been a look you gave a young woman -- my practice was to fill in what I could, then clip out and save the puzzle to compare to the solution printed the next day. If I made a mistake or had blanks, I made CERTAIN to write in the correct answers, rather than just read them. For me, this ensured that I'd learn and remember. Highly recommended, if you are a paper solver.

My current rule is that Googling constitutes running up the "Did Not Finish" flag. I count correct finishes as unaided. As noted, there are many approaches and I by no means suggest that mine is right for anyone other than me.

long suffering mets fan 3:11 PM  

@Anon 1:14 -- its your puzzle, your rules. For me, the puzzle high comes from no outside help. As a relatively new NYT puzzle solver of about a year myself, I marvel at people like Rex who not only rarely make a mistake (he will let you know), but the speed aspect is amazing -- if speed is your thing, which it is not mine
These speed solvers are incredible.

I think this past Saturday was the 3rd for me that I had a perfect puzzle on a Saturday, but it took about 2 hours of picking it up and putting it down for awhile to get there. Personally, a great sense of accomplishment. I google after the puzzle and try to remember for next time, unless my questions have been answered here, which they often are hope this helps

David 3:24 PM  

@anon 1:14,agree with the long suffering mets fan (I am a longer suffering Cubs fan, btw). When I started doing the NYT puzzles in HS and college, I would consult dictionaries and encyclopedias only after I had exhausted all my limited brain cells, then I would tally the # of aids and write it at the top of the puzzle. My goal was to reduce the # of aids each day (I usually completed the Monday right from the start) Little by little I conquered Tues., Wed. and Thurs. with occasional hiccups, reaching a point where I would not ever look for help on those days (at that point, if I couldn't get it on my own, it was a DNF). My first unaided Saturday completion was a highlight in my life, as was my first Sunday.

If I had google back in college I would certainly have used it as a means of improving, though I would then not have the very fond memories of poring through reference books at all hours of the night on weekends trying to finish those nasty late-week puzzles, often in a very altered state.

long suffering mets fan 3:34 PM  

@David aka long suffering cubs fan --
my condolences my friend, at least I have seen a championship in my lifetime, albeit 25 years ago alas, this year yet again neither Mets nor Cubs they might as well just skip the rigamoroll and just give the dreaded Phil-thies the Championship now with that starting pitching

Stan 3:37 PM  

I like themes simple enough not to require an explicit reveal (it is Monday, after all). And the SLURRED speech after the four drinks was a nice bonus.

For some reason I really liked AFFILIATE--one of those words you rarely say, but recognize immediately.

Thnx, Rex, for the Finn brothers.

retired_chemist 3:41 PM  

I too consider a Googling as a DNF. But I do have one or two Googles etc. that I sometimes allow myself - (1) checking a clue I do not understand, cf. a dictionary definition of a clue word, and (2) verifying an answer I believe is right once I have put it in. If I am wrong i count it as a DNF, and if I am right I move on.

sanfranman59 3:42 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)

Mon 6:36, 6:51, 0.96, 35%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:44, 3:40, 1.02, 61%, Medium-Challenging

Shamik 3:48 PM  

Easy-medium here and loved all the comments about garnishes. Lazy Monday morning. :-)

I say STALK because I like to see the leaves on the celery in my bloody mary. Sticks are cut up to fit in your lunch baggie.

shrub5 4:09 PM  

@anon 1:14 --
I find that if my computer is conveniently nearby when I hit a snag in the puzzle, I am easily tempted to google. If I'm purposely not near a computer and exercise some patience, I find I can eventually complete the majority of puzzles. However it does depend on how much time one has to devote to solving. I don't see googling as 'cheating' but like @CoffeeLvr says, at least you are learning something so maybe next time you'll know it. It is still a satisfying experience for me if I google one clue that allows me to break open an area and finish the rest on my own. I agree with others who suggest that you put it down for awhile. When you come back to it, something clicks and you can often get answers that had stumped you previously...it's weird.

David 4:17 PM  

yes - crossword puzzles are definitely not a matter of "you either know it or you don't". I have stared at puzzles with about 10 or 20% of the grid completed. I will put it down and then come back hours later and often polish the thing off in minutes. One visual clue looked at differently, one AHA memory moment can lead to an avalanche of answers and momentum.

slypett 5:05 PM  

Shit happens. Sometimes you Google; sometimes you wing it. Sometimes it's a DNF; sometimes it's 'I needed some help." Be flexible. Have a good time!

syndy 7:09 PM  

besides how did we all come to find our ways here?

JenCT 7:51 PM  

@Sam Malone: Where's the horseradish???

Former bartender here also, so the garnishes came easily, although I tried Maraschino Cherry before ORANGESLICE.

Liked the puzzle, but definitely crunchy for a Monday.

Sfingi 8:20 PM  

Prefer pitted olive with pearl onion, maraschino cherry, and celery as edible stirrer.

As an OCDOCD, I have several rules for Googling. First, must try to finish puzzle with final lap. Then, it's not a DNF if I filled the word in first. Finally, it's not a DNF if it's in the categories of sports or French.

Had Alpo before IAMS. Otherwise, Monday easy.

SPEEDO: body wearing it :: dope: brain using it.

mac 10:23 PM  

@Sfingi: huh? I will never understand the fascination Americans have with Speedo.

sanfranman59 1:32 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 6:44, 6:51, 0.98, 48%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:40, 3:40, 1.00, 51%, Medium

rain forest 12:42 PM  

Up here in Canada, we serve Bloody Caesars, made with clamato juice and spiced with liberal amounts of Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, lime juice, and celery salt spun on the glass rim. A celery "stick" (or a blanched green bean) completes a beverage which is far superior to a Bloody Mary.
Puzzle was typically Monday easy, and interesting enough.

Pippin 3:45 PM  

@rain forest: Oh yes! As a fellow Canadian I can attest to the superiority of a Caesar (never heard the "Bloody" before it, only the "Virgin Caesar" - one without alcohol).

@Anon 1:14 - I agree with retired chemist about the two usages of Google which I do NOT consider cheating. But the most satisfying solve comes when I manage to complete the puzzle with no help.

Dirigonzo 6:14 PM  

From syndiland, I have a question - is MINCEPIE popular these days? Really? Where? My grandmother used to make minced meat pie, which I guess is the same thing, but I haven't heard much about it for years. Would "Traditional Christmas dessert" have been a better clue? (OK, that's more than one question, but still...)

Waxy in Montreal 9:24 PM  

@Rain Forest and @Pippin - just finished a Bloody Caesar (albeit without a celery stick) with a steak fresh off the BBQ. Life is good. Have never understood why anyone would stick with a flaccid Bloody Mary when a full-bodied Caesar is available as an alternative. Maybe just a Canadian thing, eh?

Anonymous 9:53 PM  

Lone error: Rhone. I was thinking celery stalk, but trust my spelling so little that I waited for crosses to see whether it was STALK or STOCK. I was pretty sure STALK would reveal itself but FACET gave me the C so I went with STOCK, even though I knew it didn't look right.

Had "stuffed OLIVES" until HOODLUM forced PIMENTO. I'll accept it: when you buy a jar of "martini olives" they're stuffed with pimento. I prefer to use the sun-dried tomato stuffed olives from the olive bar at Whole Foods, but those have been harder to come by of late. Also enjoy a good anchovy stuffed olive, but the bad ones outnumber the good ones so it's been a while since I've gambled on a jar of those.

And as someone who grew up on MINCE meat PIE at Thanksgiving..."Where's the beef???"


captcha=pikelsh (burger garnish, 45d style)

Anonymous 10:05 PM  

My favorite Enz song, Rex. Wow, that brings back some memories.

Nullifidian 1:40 AM  

I have to admit that the theme was a little pale, especially if one already knew the garnishes and could fill them in instantly. Still, I liked the long verticals: SORE LOSER, AFFILIATE, PRIMROSES, and SPLIT ENDS. That was some lovely fill. Even the answers with space breaks were, either by chance or design, symmetrical: 4 + 5 vs. 5 + 4.

I'm even prepared to defend CELERY STICK over stalk. To me, a celery stalk implies the whole thing, ripped straight off the vegetable, but a celery stick, like a carrot stick, is a cut-down version of the whole.

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