Longhorn's school informally / WED 10-12-11 / Eminem rap with lyric Guarantee I'll be greatest thing you ever had / Fruit related to cherry plums

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Separate answers... — idiomatic expressions whose first words can also be synonyms of "divide" (though "CRACK" and "BUST" are drifting ... maybe the first are supposed to suggest simply MARRING in some way)

Word of the Day: "The IPCRESS File" (39D: "The ___ File," 1965 film) —
The Ipcress File is a 1965 British espionage film directed by Sidney J. Furie and starring Michael Caine, Guy Doleman, and Nigel Green. The screenplay by Bill Canaway and James Doran was based on Len Deighton's 1962 novel, The IPCRESS File. It has won critical acclaim and a BAFTA award for best British film. In 1999 it was included at number 59 on the BFI list of the 100 best British films of the twentieth century. (wikipedia)
• • •
Gary. Gary, Gary, Gary. GLARY?

Despite having déjà vu feelings, I enjoyed this puzzle. I like that the first words of the theme answers are relatable to one another only in ways different from the ones in which they are being used in the grid. Related literally, used idiomatically. Consistent ___ A ___ phrasing, also a plus. Only real problem is the fact that no one says "SPLIT A GUT." It's "BUST A GUT" (which outgoogles the former by a 5-to-1 margin), but you've already got BUST in the grid down there. I thought maybe you SPLIT A RIB (feels more natural to me, as a rib is a discrete entity of which you have many, which makes the indefinite article seem appropriate—I mean, how many GUTs do you have that you can split just one?). But I see that SPLIT A RIB is even rarer than SPLIT A GUT, and SPLIT A GUT appears to have dictionary backing, so it's legit, however irksome. 

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Laugh uproariously (SPLIT A GUT)
  • 25A: Perspire mildly (BREAK A SWEAT)
  • 36A: Pay cashlessly (CUT A CHECK)
  • 50A: Begin to grin (CRACK A SMILE)
  • 62A: Boogie (BUST A MOVE)

This was a strange solve for me. Normally, I refuse to be led around by the nose by cross-reference. No, I will not "See 64-Down," thank you very much. But today I got sucked in—probably because in both cases I was confident that I'd know the answer once I jumped over to the cross-referenced clue. 4D: Boxer with an allegiance to 16-Across had to be ALI (boxer, three letters, ALI), so I jumped right over the 16-Across and wrote in ISLAM. This is why it is advisable to actually read clues (16A: One who's called "the Merciful" and "the Compassionate"=>ALLAH). Anyway, I fixed that error quickly‚ but found it mildly disconcerting to be essentially starting the puzzle in the wrong (I mean Northeast) corner of the grid. That might happen on a tough / late-week puzzle, but usually not on a Wednesday. M-W I work out of the NW pretty reliably. So I'm feeling like the world's a bit off-kilter and then I hit another cross-reference: 22D: Michael who starred in 39-Down. As with ALI, I know the answer immediately (actor, Michael, 5 letters = CAINE), and I figure my CAINE movie knowledge will be pretty good so I jump ship yet *again* and head to the SW corner. This is just not how I roll, but it's working for me today. The jumping not only doesn't slow me down, it seems to speed me up, slingshotting me through the grid in a somewhat exhilarating way. I colonize the rest of the grid from my base camp in the SW and eventually end up finishing it off in the far north with a quick STAB (5A: Knife).

Mistakes were predictable. Blanked on the Elvis song and wanted BABY instead of MAMA. Wanted ENSURE instead of INSURE. Other than that, no hangups except for a brief but ultimately uneventful struggle in the south. Couldn't figure out what a Tulsan was. Don't think of MOUSE as a [Computer option]. PC, MAC ... those are computer options. MOUSEs are peripheral devouses. Not sure how TEXAS is "informal"—it's a state name. UT is informal. "SO BAD" is off the relatively recent Eminem album "Recovery" and is by no stretch of the imagination a hit. It wasn't a single. It didn't chart. How it got to be crossworthy, I have no idea. ROTH, ELIOT, KEATS, and ZELDA give the grid a strongly literary feel, while Ringo STARR ... doesn't (5D: Fab Four name).

  • 49A: TV show set at William McKinley High School ("GLEE") — we recently stopped watching this show. Too much out there to watch, and "mildly entertaining show that seems to have come off the rails" wasn't enough to keep us hooked. Unfriended!
  • 64A: Fruit related to cherry plums (SLOES) — the crosswordesiest fruit there is. Plunked it down with only the "S"s in place.
  • 68A: Laura of "Rambling Rose" (DERN) — she has a new HBO show called "Enlightened." Thanks for the info, Terry Gross.
  • 1D: Punk rock concert activity (MOSHING) — is MOSHING still a thing? Sometimes MUZAK makes me want to mosh (31D: Elevator background).
  • 55D: Onetime feminist cause (E.R.A.) — I'm going to re-recommend Ken Burns's new documentary "Prohibition," which is tangentially related to this answer in that the suffragist movement has very close ties to the early Prohibition movement. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


PurpleGuy 12:20 AM  

Glad to have you back @Rex. Another wonderful writeup, and I had pretty much the same solving experience.
Knew the Presley song - I guess my age now helps.
My first thought was for "bust a gut." Not familiar with "bust a move" in reference to dancing.
Knew Tulsa was in Oklahoma, and remembered they are called "sooners."

Solved this in a relatively fast time, with no pauses.

Happy Wednesday all. Lets make it over the hump safely.

Shanti -
Robert Joseph Cain/PurpleGuy

Gill I. P. 12:25 AM  

I'm a bit ambivalent about this puzzle. It had a little bit of a lot I don't particularly like and then, it had a few goodies.
For instance, I don't CUT A CHECK; I might issue one though. BUST A MOVE ?? I could only find this definition in the Urban dic. Had no problem with SPLIT A GUT since I've heard the phrase often. Why is Texas Longhorn's (37D) a school? Shouldn't ALP(e) be the Swiss high point? I never went to a TOGAE party. Did I miss something?
I did like TARTARE, SHYSTER and MOUSE and I also liked that I had to work harder than usual to complete the puzzle.

PurpleGuy 12:54 AM  

Wow. I remember a discussion we had quite a while ago about steak tartare. I just recently had it again, as it is a cooling meal, and the temperature has been quite "warm" here in Phoenix.

Brings back a memory of my dad - he would have raw ground beef on rye bread with all the fixings, and call it a "cannibal sandwich." I loved them.
Guess that's where I also developed my taste for sashimi !

Rest in Peace Pops !!

foodie 1:35 AM  

Interesting, and easy, puzzle. I would say that the theme is not quite as specific (or neat) as 'divide" and not as non-specific as "mar". But there's definitely destruction (or deconstruction) involved... I like that STAB is resonant with that, although clearly more violent. Even MOSHING resonates...

I found CUT A CHECK to be the odd man out because everything else had something to do with the body... a body part- GUT, a body action - SMILE, MOVE, SWEAT-

GLARY? Is that a word?

chefwen 1:46 AM  

@PurpleGuy - Our tradition was to have "cannibal sandwiches" on New Years Day with lots of salt, pepper and onions. Delish.

Another easy one for me, only write over was TOGAE over TOGAs and I wasn't too fond of GLARY. Had no problem with the long answers, they all sounded familiar. Oh yeah, had SO sAD at 51D but sUST A MOVE made no sense, so that was another write over.

Another "I liked it" puzzle. Thank you Gary Cee.

Anonymous 2:02 AM  

Hey, I liked it...
I don't get why this is not a Monday/Tuesday, Tuesday only bec of five phrases...and entries like IPCRESS.

Only writeover is I didn't know how to spell MUsAK. So that wrong S gave me SCOTT for Fitzgerald and I wondered where the F the F was.

So Puzzlegirl gets into a national mag and gives up blogging? Are those 2 things related?

andrea corolla michaels 2:03 AM  

oops, that anon 2:02 was me

treedweller 2:48 AM  

I am from the State of Texas. I also went to college at The University of Texas, often called "UT," yes, but also sometimes called simply "Texas." As in, "I went to school at Texas and majored in English."

When aggies are around, we sometimes just call it "The University" to rile them up. Their oh-so-clever counterpart is to call it "t.u." They got so upset when Texas created The Longhorn Network that they jumped from the Big 12 conference and will be in the SEC next year. I think we're supposed to miss them, but they've always been the ones to get all worked up about traditions. Today I saw that Texas may play Tech on Thanksgiving next year.

steve 2:52 AM  

Who keeps ICE in the refrigerator?

jae 3:07 AM  

Yep, easy. Me too for MUSAK but I had enough of the crosses to go right to the Z change.

Ditto on GLARY?

Pretty much solved it like Rex, including the ENSURE to INSURE correction. Nice puzzle, but Andrea is right, more of a Tues.

Eejit 3:43 AM  

Fun puzzle, and I'm glad you picked The Ipcress File as word of the day. I enjoyed that genre when it was around. I can't wait for Tinker Tailor though.

Campesite 3:44 AM  

Weird, was watching Prohibition while reading your post, and I concur, absolutely riveting filmmaking. If you're not watching Boardwalk Empire, I'd recommend it as a sensational fictional complement.

I don't like GLARY in my grid or steak TARTARE on my plate, but somewhat enjoyed the theme answers in this puzzle.

RW Bush 3:54 AM  

Concur with everyone's annoyance with Togae, Glary and ice in the refrgerator. Easy for a Wednesday.

Ruth 7:02 AM  

Many people have ice makers on the front of their refrigerators, hence the "blocks" come "from" the refrigerators. That's how I put that together (knowing that the clues must ALWAYS make sense. . .)

SethG 7:54 AM  

I'm just impressed that you were able to throw down Ipcress from Michael Caine. That was my last answer, entirely from the crosses, and I still didn't believe it.

Split a gut is maybe worse than glary--that's just a terrible row. I like GLEE and GLEEM, though.

Anonymous 7:54 AM  

Glary is a perfectly cromulent word.

jberg 8:10 AM  

Wow, "devouses!" I had to think twouse about that one!

Two writeovers: rib for GUT, and (bizarrely) aLOES for SLOES - even though I know the latter are fruit and the former aren't. I somehow knew IPCRESS, though, or at least that it was more likely than IPCREaS.

"CUT A CHECK" is common usage in corporate business offices - I think it has something to do with their running checks through machines in batches, rather than just sitting down and writing one. Anyway, I hear it all the time.

Lots of nice letters in this one; and I got about halfway through without putting in a C, so I thought maybe Gary was doing a reverse shoutout to himself - but then they came along in bunches.

RocketA 8:17 AM  


In the '70s one would POGO at a Sex Pistols show., not mosh. Moshing came about during the heavy metal era of the '80s and I guess people still do it put there hasn't been real punk rock in decades.

efrex 8:21 AM  

Liked everything except for the SW: IPCRESS and COROLLA are nowhere in my lexicon, and I only know SLOE as a type of gin.

Liked the theme a great deal, though, and the fill gave me a fun memory of Matthew Morrison (a wonderfully versatile stage actor) performing BUSTAMOVE on GLEE.

dk 8:21 AM  

SANDP 500 was my WTF as I wanted Indy.

Saw Joon last night and had a Rip Van Winkle moment. I thought game shows and soap operas were staples of day time TV. Courtesy of my hotel I have network TV and I have noted that most all TV is the aforementioned. I wonder if that is because they are the least expensive to produce... It is oddly comforting to see TV as an art form of the lowest common denominator.

Well this puzzle was not so hot in my book. Outside of the BUSTA one the theme clues took the thrill out of the solve. The rest was Tuesdayish as noted by my flower.

** (2 Stars) Wednesdays should lean more toward raw meat

joho 8:45 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle because the theme is so active. I did, however, actually look up GLARY in my dictionary to confirm that this is indeed a word.

@Rex, I also wanted BUSTAGUT and was glad you mentioned it.

It did seem more Monday/Tuesday as @andrea corolla mentioned.

Nice mini-theme with ALI, ARABIC, ALLAH.

Thanks, Gary Cee, I'll give it a B!

Brian 8:51 AM  

Another good one! Back-to-back pleasures this week for me. Rolled along fine.

GLARY is ridiculous, though. And I am WAY impressed that anyone dropped in IPCRESS. Never heard of it and need every single cross.

Regarding GLEE, my kids converted me into a "gleek" and so when I plugged in BUSTAMOVE, I couldn't help but hear Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) singing Young MC's song in a season 2 (?) episode.

I found that funny and disturbing at the same time.

jackj 9:05 AM  

A competent if unexciting puzzle, (maybe better defined as a "kiss your sister" construction).

"I laughed so hard I almost split a gut" is very recognizable New England speak; no quarrel with it from me.

Kept waiting for "Do not fold, spindle or mutilate" to make an appearance but, except for "mutilate", the words are too genteel to fit Gary's theme.

In the category of starting off one's day on the right foot, the puzzle left me with a pleasant smile at the delightful grid mate combo of TELAVIVALAMODE.

John 9:05 AM  

Who keeps blocks of ICE in the refrigerator? I keep mine in the freezer. I find that the blocks turn into puddles otherwise...

Tobias Duncan 9:13 AM  

I was headed for a solid monday time until I hit the southwest.Still ended up with any easy Wed/challenging Tuesday.
Have really been enjoying the Joon saga.
I think someone on this blog(or someone somewhere in my internet world) asked me about a pianist they knew from Taos.At the time I did not put it together but that was the Taos person that will appear on Jeopardy on the 24th.

John V 9:15 AM  

Monday easy here. Only moment I held my breath was 51D, as I know no rap at all, but the crosses -- including SOONER -- fixed the problem.

Oddest clue: 28A for December. Weird. Never new that.

Most annoying clue: 1A. I find use of apostrophe s for the possessive form of a word that ends in s to be bad form.

TOGAE, ASSURE for INSURE, same here, but I do think INSURE is the better usage.

evil doug 9:22 AM  

Now that Joon has firmly placed himself among the elite 1%---I mean, nearly $200k for a few hours work seems to be on a par with overpaid Wall Street bankers, athletes and Kanye West---I want to ally myself with the Occupiers.

We demand a redistribution of wealth, and therefore Joon should share his winnings with us or we'll march to his house, block traffic, smell bad, and shout inane slogans with no suggested solutions.

Cut some checks, Joon,


John V 9:30 AM  

@evil doug: My office is directly across the street from the Occupiers. Merits of their case aside, having the Wall Street subway 4/5 exit gates locked at the North end of the station this morning and that sort of thing arising out of security issues is making it a tad more difficult for us working slobs to get into the building and blog -- which is what life is all about, of course :)

chefbea 9:48 AM  

Liked the puzzle but never heard of bust a move!!! Never heard of moshing either.

Loved Bud holder and of course steak tartare although I don't make or eat it any more.

88CalBear 10:04 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle mostly, but I'm not a fan of ICE or SPLIT A GUT, either. If the latter is used in the Northeast only, that doesn't help most of us. Are we also supposed to know that ______ awesome is WICKED?

I'm no longer a fan of Glee, either. Hot talented 24-year-olds pretending to be 16 had me hooked for a while, but that didn't last long. They reeled me in with Morrison and Lea Michelle doing a hilarious and passionate Endless Love, but I fell hard off the bandwagon when the script quality fell hard.

@chefbea, you're brave for admitting that moshing and Bust a Move were news to you. Not as brave as I am, admitting that I watched Glee, though.

JenCT 10:04 AM  

"Girls are fakin'
goodness sakin'
they want a man who brings home the bacon...". BUSTAMOVE is on my iPod.

@evil - Cut some checks, Joon - too funny!

Liked the puzzle.

Sparky 10:05 AM  

Indy before SANDP. Had shake a leg then only the MOVE part. Erased SMILE as never dreamed MOUSE as an answer. A little void in the middle south missing 51 and 53D too.

The Banana Splits were a big favorite of my husband and me. Thanks @Rex. Over the hump.

quilter1 10:12 AM  

I thought this was pretty easy. IPCRESS no problem. But I rechecked every word in the NE before I could accept GLARY. SPLIT A GUT very familiar but maybe moreso among older solvers.
@evil: funny, but I think we'd all get about five bucks.
Re steak TARTARE I've never tried it but have tried larb. I think it is an acquired taste. I'll take mine grilled.

88CalBear 10:16 AM  

@treedweller, Rex's point about Texas is that it's called that, but not informally, as then clue says.

Your coach Mack Brown, for pleading with pollsters to put them in the Rose Bowl after the Rose Bowl, will spend eternity in a place that's informally called h-e-double hockey sticks.

88CalBear 10:19 AM  

Sorry, "as the clue says," or maybe I should apologize to you guys for bothering you with this correction.

Fredrick Maytag 10:26 AM  

We manufacture a large assortment of refrigerators. Since the early 1940's, these refrigerators included a separate freezer compartment, where ICE may be made. Later we included other compartments, e.g. crispers, but all are part of refrigerators.

Only in the 2000's did we start to make refrigerators without freezer compartments, they are small under-counter appliances designed to keep things which require only cooling readily available.

I sincerely doubt that there is a household in America without a refrigerator capable of making ICE.

Jim 10:30 AM  

Alp is only Alpe when Swiss is Suisse.

Only valid nit is TEXAS, which is absolutely not informal. There's nothing informal about TEXAS except the grammar.

Put in aANDP instead of SANDP. Must've been hungry.

Oh, and Evil Doug, thanks for the fresh angle; who says you guys are one-note Charlies? Oh, that's right, every reasonable person.

The way Joon devoured that female author category was superhuman; I SPLITAGUT by the end. I fancy myself a decent store of knowledge, but people like him ENSURE I will never, ever try out for Jeopardy.

Two Ponies 10:39 AM  

My favorite things today were the Dec. trivia and @Rex's devouses.
Keep it rolling Joon!

archaeoprof 10:46 AM  

Have heard "split your sides" but not SPLITAGUT.

@ChefBea: I learned MOSHING and BUSTAMOVE from my students. They keep me young(er).

BTW, one of Joon's competitors on tonight's episode is a former student of mine.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

How is TEXAS not an informality of "The University of Texas"?

Mel Ott 11:24 AM  

Other than the detestable GLARY I thought this was a really good puzzle. Some good theme answers with nice crunchy verbs. Pretty good fill.

Got BREAK A SWEAT and CRACK A SMILE with no crosses.

One of these days I have to learn the difference, if any, between ENSURE and INSURE.

Well, I kept blocks of ICE in my refrigerator during the 3-day blackout after hurricane Irene, but I don't think that is what the clue is getting at.

hazel 11:27 AM  

Michael Caine - reminds me of The Trip - definitely a laugh out loud movie (I busted my Alan Alda laugh out repeatedly!). Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon do awesome Michael Caine impressions - repeatedly - as they discuss a variety of subjects. It doesn't get old. Fantastic movie.

Puzzle - quirky (somehow) and fun. Agree with @RocketA about the MOSHING business - but that's based on just my experience, not those of other internet denizens, so maybe it happened somewhere else.

JaxInL.A. 11:29 AM  

My last letter was the D in ECHOED because I just could not parse S AND P 500, as in the stock index. I kept seeing SAND P, like PLAN A.

Sometimes you are right without knowing why.

Badir 11:38 AM  

My wife knows the woman Joon beat last night! So she's met two out of three of yesterday's contestants. Go Joon!!

Yeah, I stared at IPCRESS for a long time, thinking, "Which cross is wrong!?".

Richard 11:39 AM  

As a member of the Texas Exes (UT alumni group), crossing TEXAS with SOONER after Saturday's 55-17 beatdown by OU was particularly cruel. This was fairly easy for a Wednesday, except for the SW. That's where I stalled.

syndy 11:42 AM  

One vote for ASSURE,not liking GLARY even if it is in some dictionary.I would not touch Steak TATTARE with a ten foot pole but my only write over was INDY?SPLIT A GUT MADE ME CRACK A SMILE sure I heard it.ALSO knew IPCRESS-no problem-agree with maytag, my lettuce may be in the crisper but it's still in the refrigerator.INSTRA didn't do anything for me either!

Chip Hilton 12:02 PM  

Come on, you're telling me you're not going to miss the UT/Aggie rivalry? I hate what's happening with college conference breakdowns, robbing us of so many great regional matchups. I used to love UConn/BC basketball before the Eagles chose to take on such logical foes as Clemson and NC State.

GLARY, TOGAE...yuck. Otherwise, a really solid midweek puzzle.

At the risk of a Joon Jinx, it seems he's really hit a rhythm now, winning with relative ease after those close calls of the first week. Roll on, big train.

Masked and Anonymous 12:13 PM  

Not feelin' the love for good old GLARY. This constructor woulda been a natural to come up with the MonPuz theme. [Think "Cee"]

Liked this puz a lot. Funky theme and funky-lookin' grid. And GLARY is in all three of my dictionaries, plus I can use it in a sentence. QED. Thumbs up.

Michael CAINE -- Luved him in "Batman Begins".

joon (the dood) pahk is chewin' up the answer boards over at "Joonpardy". Alex T. says "Even Ken Jennings lost a match eventually". I'm thinkin' it'll take another cruciverbalist to nudge The Dood off the gravy train. Pack yer bags, Rex-o-saurus. (Just don't bet it all on math.)

@Evil Doug: Har. On the other hand, some of them Tea-Partiers smell kinda ripe, too, I noticed.

treedweller 12:31 PM  

@88CalBear As anon 11:10 implied, the formal way to say it would be "I attended the University of Texas." Usually, I go informal and say "I went to Texas."

@Chip Hilton Personally, I get less interested in pro sports every year, though I admit I will at least check in with the aggie game when it is on TV, and I take a special pleasure in seeing the aggies lose (anything, ever). Speaking for the University (for which they would probably sue me if they got wind), I admit many TX football fans will miss the game. But the aggies made their choice and, as I said, they're the ones with the tradition fixation. Their fight song specifically mentions Texas (t.u.) and no other team. Granted, ours mentions [e]aTm[e], too, but few UT students could actually tell you any of the words to our song except for "Give 'em hell, give 'em hell, make 'em eat sh*t!"

When UT students go to the annual Hex Rally, one gets the impression it is an excuse to get together for drinking later. I haven't spent much time at aggie pep rallies, but the sense I get is that they are actually about firing up the school for the game.

But, for sure, I won't care much at all about an annual TX/Tech Thanksgiving game. It's too bad they had to get all petulant about that network.

KarenSampsonHudson 12:39 PM  

"Prohibition" is worth watching---I'll plug it, Rex! Agree, "Glee" not so much.

chefbea 12:47 PM  

@Mel Ott Ensure is what a lot of old timers drink to make sure they get all their vitamins etc

Z 12:55 PM  

Thanks SethG and Jberg - I thought the aLOE mistake was just me.

Otherwise, ditto on just about everything said.

captcha - oucharch - the king cutting the checks.

the redanman 12:59 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
the redanman 1:00 PM  

CUT A CHECK is a fine expression, but who writes checks anymore???

mac 1:06 PM  

You've said it all, except for glary this was a pretty good puzzle. Loved Plan A, and needed lots of crosses for Ipcress.

Go Joon!

600 1:47 PM  

@Brian--no need to be impressed by those of us who dropped in IPCRESS. In most cases, it's just because we were around when it was. But I'm betting we're the ones who needed crosses for MOSHING and SO BAD. Unless we were teachers, like @archaeoprof. He makes a good point. Students (especially middle schoolers) will keep you young-er.

Liked this puzzle. It would have been a record time for me if I hadn't misread "Tulsan" as "Tuscan." D'oh.

Chip Hilton 2:13 PM  

I'd SOONER be in Tuscany than Tulsa.

Lewis 3:26 PM  

Nobody has mentioned ORTS, I don't think. It is never used in real conversation. It's one of the first crosswordese words I learned, along with EWER. It looks ugly, sounds ugly. Will, do you think you can disallow this word?

Tobias, like you I got a little stuck in the SW, and I even had IPCRESS. But the rest seemed easier than a typical Wednesday.

600 3:28 PM  

@Chip Hilton--Me too! Wish I'd thought of that!

sanfranman59 3:55 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Wed 9:13, 11:50, 0.78, 7%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:23, 5:51, 0.92, 32%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

@radamsn & all I cut checks for every bill ...call me old fashioned or whatever but last year when I had to go to court &produce proof of payment ( landlord issues) all I had to do was walk 3 feet to my desk & pull out the last 4 years of monthly payments on yellow checks with indelible black ink.( A lot easier & cheaper than calling Chase & paying them for "copies" & waiting for them to send/ fax out) I know a lot of you out there will raise an eyebrow @that "style" but I see it's finer points. Hey, I even like my books to be real paper so I can go & reread that great paragraph 3 pages back, I wouldn't be caught dead with a kindle! well at least i' m honest about it, as my " tag" implies, I am a technology dinosaur. Am I all alone out ???

Joe the Plumber 4:43 PM  

I get it, finally. And the Chosen One (by the Nobel Committee) had it right all along about sharing (and redistribution).

When you (Texas) get greedy and don't share (Longhorn Network) you end up biting the hand the feeds (putting an end to Big 12 conference, almost).

The front page article in today's Times about the predicament that NBA faces (Big market teams vs. small market teams) and how it longs to be like the NFL (equal sharing of revenue, giving an opportunity for every team to be a Super Bowl contender) should reinforce the battle cry of 99-ers: REDISTRIBUTE.

That is a lots of dots to connect. But I still think the "center holds."

P.S: Did anyone notice the dig that Romney directed at PBS during yesterday's debate, when Charlie Rose skipped Romney and went to Santorum (R before S). That is what came to mind when I see all the UT references . . . only in Texas do they put U before T. You know who I have in mind when referencing Texas. Not Perry, the governor before him. Perry went to A&M, so he says.

captcha: slysi (si, si. Sly indeed)

T. Wylie 5:48 PM  

Sorry, a proper Britsh mudroom has no MAT. The floor is tile or stone so it can be hosed down. I know only one American house sufficiently grand to have a mudroom. The floor is concrete.

Stan 6:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
quilter1 6:40 PM  

@Joe the Plumber: this blog is about the NYT crossword, not politics. We come here to get away from all that for awhile.

Stan 7:11 PM  

Loved all the popular music stuff in this, from Elvis to Eminem, with Muzak, "Hee-Haw," and "Glee" along the way.

I'm sympathetic with the comments on MOSHING, but the clue is just fine. Punk rock did not end in 1977.

"Check your handbook
It's no trick
Take the chapstick
Put it on your lips
Crack a smile
Adjust my tie
Know your boyfriend, unlike other guys"

Vampire Weekend: "Oxford Comma" [Warning: F-word]

chefwen 7:12 PM  

@Fredrick Maytag - With all due respect sir, I own a refrigerator that does not make ice. I can't be the only one.

chefbea 8:01 PM  

@chefwen I'll send you my old ice trays!!!

acme 8:36 PM  

maybe GLARY is Gary's ACME

arabic carla michaels 8:41 PM  

oh, damn, just realized I had GLEaM/DaC! Sort of a GLARY mistake.
Now I can't even find the puzzle to see what the clue was but I know I thought DAC was some abbrev I didn't know!

Sfingi 8:50 PM  

Very cute puzzle.

As long as we don't cut the cheese. I occasionally CUTACHECK.
@Anon426 - I had to get copies of some as you did and it was @3 "a pop," an expression I learned here.

@Anon428 - Kindles are for kindling. On the other hand, I'm drowning in books and am gradually giving many away. On the third hand (paw?), just found out I own an original Webster's "compendious" dictionary, 1806, leather, worth about 3G, which I wouldn't have if it were on Kindle and if my entire family weren't suckers for books. We even like mustiness and foxing.

@Lewis - I was thinking exactly the same thing. I've never known a cat or dog who uses the word ORT.

GLARY is a word. As are glarier and glariest.
IPCRESS is oldster. Hey, we used to have an ice-box. The Ice-man actually cameth and moveth the block with a huge caliper. According to my mom, he almost hit me in the head, once.

I actually like GLEE. Must be in the minority.

miriam b 10:23 PM  

@sfingi: Yes, we had an iceman too. His name was Rocky. One day he arrived to find me in bed with obvious symptoms of the mumps. My parents were about to call the doctor, but Rocky, who had a passel of kids, said that rather than waste money on the fee, they should just get some Iodex and smear it on my jaw. The doctor was consulted anyway, and he gave the same advice.

Just bought a copy of previously unpublished short stories by Vonnegut. If you aren't into Daedalus Books, you're missing some finds and some great bargains.

The puzzle? Fun, despite a theme rife with mayhem. And pop references.

Z 10:33 PM  

@arabic carla michaels - "It always starts on the same day of the week as Sept.It always starts on the same day of the week as Sept." One of the longer clues for DEC that I recall.

chefwen 11:09 PM  

It's O.K. @chefbea, save the postage.
My refrigerator is an entirely separate unit from my freezer, which does make ice. They're related but not joined.

cackler1977 12:01 AM  

@Gill I.P.

ALPE would be the correct response had the clue read "high point of a suisse vacation?" or in some other way indicated that one of the 4 official languages of Confoederatio Helvitica (The Swiss Confederation -- official name [in Latin]), namely French was desired. The 4 official languages of Switzerland are, in order of native speakers: German, French, Italian, and Romansh (not to be confused with Romand or Rumanian, it is, however, a Romance language). Alp/s is English, die Alp / Die Alpen in German, l'alpe / les alpes (fem.) in French, l'alpe / le alpi (fem.) in Italian, don't know in Romansh; the etymology of all most likely from Latin "albus" white.

So, since the clue is fully in English, the English response ALP is correct.

Sure that's more than any one wanted to know about any of that, but there you go.


captcha "shicali" -- stylish boxer, misspelled

hugh 12:37 AM  

The clue was in French.

sanfranman59 12:47 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 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 6:17, 6:51, 0.92, 19%, Easy
Tue 8:03, 8:53, 0.91, 23%, Easy-Medium
Wed 9:19, 11:50, 0.79, 8%, Easy (10th lowest median solve time of 119 Wednesdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:25, 3:40, 0.93, 23%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:15, 4:35, 0.93, 30%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:14, 5:51, 0.89, 27%, Easy-Medium

ChrisB 11:07 AM  

Same impression as others, though I almost had "Ipcross" until I checked the cross and figured 'oliot' probably wasn't right.

Dirigonzo 3:05 PM  

From the land of delayed reactions, I agree with the "easy for a Wednesday" crowd. All of the theme phrases were familiar (can't believe @Rex used relative # of Google hits as a criterion, though, as he's preached against it in the past). Only mis-steps were ringo before STARR and relapse before FLAREUP, both easily "rex-ified" by the crosses.

So 5 years ago Rex Parker walks into a blog and says:
- "Solving time: 8:18 (on the applet)"
- "I torched this puzzle, especially considering that I did it on the applet, which usually @#$#s up my time because my fingers are fast but not sufficiently precise. I was within shouting distance of a 2-x-Orange time (Orange = champion solver, posts here sometimes), when normally I'm happy just to break 3-x-Orange."
- "In each case I had one or zero letters and I entered what came to mind first, only to have it be right. Go with your gut! Until you're wrong, then go fish!"
- "Sheep and their sounds are quite common puzzle fare, probably for the luscious double-A their bleating gives a constructor. EWE is another very common answer. I like this otherwise forgettable answer today because it seems theme-appropriate: "And on that farm there was a sheep ..." wait ... that's Old MacDonald. What the hell is the difference? "There was a farmer had a dog and BINGO was his name-O."
Was the farmer Old MacDonald? Seriously, I can't tell these songs apart right now."
- "49A: Pageant prize (tiara)
Now that's what I'm talking about. That's a good clue for TIARA. None of this papal nonsense (see yesterday's puzzle). Give me good old-fashioned American shallowness and superficiality as a frame of reference any day of the week."
- "Nearly everyone who hits this blog through a web search does so using Google. Google is a verb. It is like Xerox. People are going to stop distinguishing between the company and the act with which it is associated. You can Google something. You cannot Ask something. Or rather, you can ask something, namely, a question, which is why ASK sucks as a brand name. "I Googled 'Rex Parker'" makes sense. "I Asked 'Rex Parker" leaves one wondering "... asked him what?" So Ask.com is doomed, doomed, doomed, as are all other search engines whose names cannot be used effectively as (previously non-existent) verbs. That's my bit of business wisdom for the day (er, year)."
- Something very important must have been happening on this date in 2006 because there were 0 comments.

Anonymous 9:30 PM  

Perhaps what happened in 2006 is what happened today in my issue of the Las Vegas SUN: they reran Tuesdays' puzzle!

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