Malevolent Hindu goddess / TUE 10-18-11 / Swinger who loved Jane / Les Nessman's station 1978-82 sitcom / 1998 animated film based on Brave New World

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Hybrids — Clues are common words followed by a colon and "a cross between ___" — answers are common phrases following a ___ AND ___ pattern where first letters of first word and last letters of last word make up the clue word

Word of the Day: Charles DARNAY (28D: Charles ___, hero of "A Tale of Two Cities") —

Charles Darnay, or Charles St. Evrémonde, is a fictional character in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. // A French aristocrat by birth, Darnay chooses to live in England because he cannot bear to be associated with the cruel injustices of the French social system. Darnay displays great virtue in his rejection of the snobbish and cruel values of his uncle, the Marquis Evrémonde. He exhibits an admirable honesty in his decision to reveal to Dr. Alexandre Manette his true identity as a member of the infamous Evrémonde family. So, too, does he prove his courage in his decision to return to Paris at great personal risk to save the imprisoned Gabelle. When the revolutionaries are trying to find and kill the Marquis, Darnay realizes that his uncle has been murdered, making him the new Marquis. // Darnay is put on trial for treason against the Kingdom of Great Britain, but he is acquitted on a point noticed by Sydney Carton. Carton also falls in love with Darnay's wife Lucie during the trial. At the end of the final book, Darnay is supposed to be executed, but Carton nobly chooses to take Darnay's place. (wikipedia)
• • •
"CROSS" WORDS CONTEST week! All the puzzles this week, from Monday to Saturday, have been created by one person, Patrick Berry. Have your solutions handy, because the Saturday puzzle conceals a meta-challenge involving the solution grids of all six. When you have the answer to the meta-challenge, mail it to: Please do not post your answers here on the blog and please do not mail them to me! Only answers e-mailed to the above address will be considered. Twenty-five correct solvers, chosen at random, whose entries are received by 6:00 p.m. E.T. Sunday, Oct. 23, will receive copies of “Will Shortz Picks His Favorite Puzzles: 101 of the Top Crosswords From The New York Times.” Only one entry per person, please. The answer and winners’ names will appear on Friday, Oct. 28, at

• • •

This one is much less lovable than yesterday's, but still solid. It's hard to evaluate these because some part of me is thinking about the week-long meta puzzle (which will be revealed on Saturday) and wondering what part of the puzzle is involved in the meta. Today, I think it's the letters dropped when the words are crossed to make a new word, e.g. the "UREANDS" part of PURE AND SIMPLE (the non-pimple part). But I could be, and probably am, wrong. Today, I think I saw one theme clue. After that, I just figured out phrases from crosses and didn't even bother to look at the theme clues. Worked just fine. Get one word and you can pretty well work out the ___AND or the AND___ part. Only real problem today was spelling Sammy CAHN's name right (I didn't) (13D: "Come Fly With Me" lyricist), and then getting DARNAY at all. I have no recollection of that name. Needed every cross.  Not much else that's interesting about this solve.

[Come Fly with KANYE — 42A: "Love Lockdown" singer West]

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Starch: a cross between ___? (STARSKY AND HUTCH)
  • 25A: Pimple: a cross between ___? (PURE AND SIMPLE)
  • 44A: Hisses: a cross between ___? (HUGS AND KISSES)
  • 57A: Beetles: a cross between ___? (BEER AND SKITTLES)
Some clever and enjoyable clues today, including 22A: Swinger who loves Jane (TARZAN). Also several pop culture trivia clues that made me smile, including 53D: Les Nessman's station in a 1978-82 sitcom (WKRP), 47A: Word before "Boy," "Love" and "Come Back" in titles to #1 songs (BABY), and 11D: 1998 animated film loosely based on "Brave New World" ("ANTZ"). I never noticed the "Brave New World" connection when I saw the film 12+ years ago. I loved "WKRP" when I was a kid. And I've been listening to a lot of late '70s pop music lately. A lot. Hence the smile for "BABY Come Back"

I forgot about KALI and tried KALA at first (46D: Malevolent Hindu goddess). I watched "Star Wars" this weekend with my daughter, and kept shouting "added!" every time some CGI nonsense popped up on the screen. JABBA was among such nonsense (1A: ___ the Hutt ("Return of the Jedi" villain)). Eventually I shut up and let my daughter just enjoy the movie. I got the "Star Wars" trilogy on Blu-Ray, even though they've been annoyingly tampered with, because she needs access to the classics. She knows that if she wants to see Episodes I-III, she's on her own.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Tobias Duncan 12:13 AM  

Brave New World is one of my all time favorite books.Is this ANTZ movie worth seeing?
ACME almost right smack dab in the middle of the grid... shoutout?

santafefran 12:46 AM  

Hello rexworld. Back from a lovely Italy/sailing vacation but laid low for 2 wks with a virulent cold caught on the ship which combined with jet lag was a nasty cocktail which would not AMSCRAY (loved this in the crossword puzzle).

Finally feeling human again and enjoying the P Berry puzzles so far this week.

HUGS AND KISSES to ACME and the 2 SUBARUS we own.

Great to be back reading the blog!

syndy 12:48 AM  

unarm seems a little odd.agree with Rex not as good as monday but serviceable.a mini theme GAYe-FAYE-RAY-AMSCRAY!

foodie 1:08 AM  

I really enjoyed this one as well! Although I don't love the BEETLES one. To my ear, the sound and rhythm of Pimple: PURE AND SIMPLE or Hisses: HUGS & KISSES works. The Beetles one, not so much.

Oh, for a while, I had Hisses: HITS & MISSES in lieu of HUGS & KISSES. Mine works almost better...

JABBA! Star Wars! I asked yesterday about the sequence of watching if you're introducing a kid to the series, and got some great feedback and passed it on to my children (in anticipation of their sharing the movies with their kids, a la Rex). My daughter' significant other sent me this link and note:

"Anyway, the prequels are a more complicated story, executed in an inferior way, filled with unconvincing characters behaving in irrational ways."

I guess Rex must agree...

acm-ay 2:43 AM  

I LOVED this and am now starting to wish I was him!

SO excited from the first theme answer that I started to writein Pits AND dIMPLE
= PIMPLE thinking it had to work on a second level, like they were things found on your face!!!
(Bec in Swedish, dimples are called "laughing pits", eg)

I agree with everything @foodie said about her HITS AND MISSES works as well if not better for HUGS AND KISSES, but slightly better, bec HISSES resonates with the MISSES part...

and the BEER AND SKITTLES (so British!) could sort of work on another level as the BeAtles are British!

Anyway, these are great and much fun and I'll bet people will be trying to come up with their own all day, which is the hallmark of a wonderful puzzle...
you can not only appreciate it while it's happening and laud the constructor and your own prowess at solving, but it triggers your imagination to keep playing along!
(I'm starting to sound like @foodie, right?)

I loved the nonchalance of AMSCRAY and how it rhymed with DARNAY which I too had zero idea (another huge gap in my education, I know only the first line of that book, not the plot not nothing! I almost wanted to put in Charles DARwin!)

I'd add KANYE and DARNAY to your mini theme of FAYE, GAYE, RAY and AMSCRAY.

And I loved the lazy and wondering clue for EYES...(and next to FAYE Dunaway whom I think might have been the star of "The EYES of Laura Mars", no?)

Plus FAYE crossing with KANYE and how the two -YE are pronounced differently. YAY!
(Tho also crossing with KIRSTIE will raise a scream or two, no doubt. To bad she's not KIRSTay)

Small malapop at BRR. Saw "cold snap" and thought it was a 14 yr old boy joke about snapping a BRA...which then turned up a few clues later!

@SantaFe Fran
Wow, I get HUGSANDKISSES along with your cars??!! I'll take it!
And you didn't even know it's my birthday!!! ;)

Rube 4:43 AM  

Happy birthday ACME.

Don't really like pop culture crosses in my Tuesday puzzles, but there was really no question about the K in KANYE crossing KIRSTIE.

The theme answers filled themselves in so easily that this puzzle went down even faster than yesterday's!

Was'nt KALI the Hindu goddess invoked in an Indiana Jones movie? Something about the bad guy tearing out hearts with his hand.

Z 6:38 AM  

I have to agree that the puzzle doesn't have quite the pop of yesterday's puzzle, but still a great construction. A little bit of crosswordese around the edges, but I barely noticed as I went through.

Lots of guys in the puzzle, JABBA, Marvin GAYE, TARZAN, STARSKY AND HUTCH, GLEN, Sammy CAHN, KANYE, DARNAY, RAY, MACS, and TARS. Not quite as many women with ANNA, CHER, FAYE, and (of course) ACME.

@Tobias - I remember that I went to see Antz. I remember that Woody Allen was a voice. I remember that there was another animated bug movie out about the same time. I don't remember much more. It certainly didn't stick in my mind as "great." I also remember it as more in the Aladdin vein as opposed to the Brave New World vein. You know, common man gets the princess/heiress. I can't recommend taking time out to see it. But I also went to see it with a 7 and 5 year-old. Perhaps the film didn't have my full attention.

jberg 7:48 AM  

The theme kept leading me astray: I, too, wanted "hits and misses" as well as "beer and pretzels" and even "plain and simple" (I wrote that all in until the D wouldn't fit!) So that was fun and a bit challenging - but I guess I agree not as aparkly as yesterday. Maybe when you have to make 6 puzzles in a row you risk being UNARMed by ENNUI.

Acme, you have to learn another line (maybe the last?) of the novel as well - by the standard of "1066 and All That" those are the only memorable parts. "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done."

joho 7:52 AM  

I did this late last night and smiled when I saw ACME smack in the middle, wondering if Patrick Berry knew that it is Andrea's birthday today -- probably not, but how appropriate: happy birthday, Andrea!!!

Another great puzzle added to this week's Berry lineup. I especially liked AMSCRAY and SUBARUS.

This whole idea of featuring Patrick Berry for a week with a mystery to solve on Saturday is absolutely brilliant!

evil doug 7:54 AM  

Baby Come Back? Baby GOT Back. Discuss. Again.

I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave.

How many, Acme? Even I can forgive your shout-out today. But only today.


Boz 8:04 AM  

It was the best of clues, it was the worst of clues, it was the grid of wisdom, it was the answer of foolishness, it was the epoch of Cheater Squares , it was the epoch of Crosswordese, it was the season of solving, it was the season of DNF, it was the spring of Google, it was the winter of Ooxteplernon , we had rebuses before us, we had pangrams before us, we were all going direct to Rex Parker‘s Site, we were all going direct the other way, The Crossword Fiend - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

quilter1 8:21 AM  

@Boz: love your comment.
Liked the puzzle. My favorite answer was AMSCRAY. I rated it easy.

efrex 8:31 AM  

@Boz: I envy anyone whose mind works that well this early in the morning.

Fun piece of work from PB, as always. Like ACME, almost put in BRA instead of BRR (although I didn't even read the clue at first), and then got a chuckle when it showed up later on.

12 comments in, and nobody's made a Tom Lehrer reference off of the BEERANDSKITTLES entry? Sheesh; I'm getting older by the second, aren't I?

jackj 8:39 AM  

Decent Tuesday puzzles have been as rare as hen’s teeth, so how does Patrick deal with that? Forget about a casual hen's tooth or two, he gives us a smiling, cackling Rhode Island Red with a full set of glistening ceramic choppers for our solving pleasure.

Tuesday’s will never be the same.

After the first two excellent theme entries, I smugly thought, “two can play this game” and, in a blank piece of the grid, inserted BEERANDSKITTLES for the “Beetle” entry and HITSANDMISSES for the “Hisses” answer. Well, it seems two can’t always play at Patrick’s game since it became immediately clear that HITSANDMISSES was meant to be HUGSANDKISSES, (and thoroughly abashed was I).

My favorite non-theme fill was a toss-up between TARZAN, clued as “Swinger who loves Jane” and “Walked with one foot asleep, say” for LIMPED and if you thought I was going to succumb to a dash of Pig Latin, well just AMSCRAY, my friend.

Based on the first two day’s puzzles, this week promises to be at least as memorable and fun as the week we enjoyed with the constructors from Brown.

dk 9:06 AM  

A puzzle with ACME in the center -- swoooooooooon

Another fine puzzle. Agree with those who appreciate this one. Also agree with jackj this promises to to be a fun ride this week.

Well-- when I read the Jane clue my mind went to the Lou Reed/Velvet Underground song Sweet Jane and thought wah hoo a drug reference. Thwarted by an apeman.

We had a blue IMPALA convertible (1963 I think) in the young dk household, saw one this weekend at a car show for 17k. Why is it that as I get older I am worth less and cars that gulp gas, burn oil and rust out are worth more? Sigh -- The best of times the worst of times.

*** (3 Stars) I am off to tape off the outline of my office on the floor. Remember to knock. See Les Nessman for more details.

chefbea 9:12 AM  

Great easy puzzle!!

Welcome back @Santafefran.

Happy birthday to 32Across

John V 9:12 AM  

Never saw AMSCRAY, as I didn't need 5D; NE, like the rest of the puzzle, was hyper-easy. Rating 10 miles, Stamford to Harrison, less one mile for ticket collection.

Kept thinking of Redd Foxx in Sanford and Son: Champipple: combination of Champagne and Ripple. (Pass the breakfast test? Only for special days.)

JaxInL.A. 9:33 AM  

Happy Birthday, Andrea! I bet PB did know, and even if he didn't clearly the fates are with him (and you) in signaling a big birthday greeting.

I loved yesterday's puzzle and found today's delightful. Got a big smile out of BEER AND SKITTLES, previously unknown to me. Then I come here and get @Boz re-imagining A Tale of Two Cities PLUS @efrex reminding us of Tom Lehrer's lilting ode to pest control (pigeons are truly just rats with wings).

I hope this means it's going to be a good day. My tiny education organization has what mat be a contentious Board meeting ahead. Wish me luck.

hazel 10:00 AM  

I'm not sure which part I like the most - doing the puzzle, marvelling over it afterwards, or searching it for signs of an extra pattern.

Had a bit of a 70s vibe for me w/ STARSKY AND HUTCH, WKRP, CHER (for me, anyway- I know she's sort of decadeless), my friends with their God-awful home PERMS. Plus I might have said AMSCRAY once or twice back then. All I needed was someone from the Big Red Machine in the grid and maybe Hall or Oates to complete the decade.

Cool puzzle.

@Boz - thank you.

archaeoprof 10:11 AM  

Hand up for "hitsandmisses".

Clue for 17A reminded me of my Dad, who liked to refer to STARSKYANDHUTCH as "Husky and Starch."

@Hazel: "Rose" might have fit in somewhere, don't you think?

600 10:15 AM  

@Tobias--I liked ANTZ, but then I like almost everything Woody Allen. I didn't notice any similarity to Brave New World, though.

I loved this puzzle (I found it easy, and my time was nearly a record for Tuesday), but I think @acme has already said everything I'd like to say. Except Happy Birthday to You!

@Boz--Way to go!

@Rube--I don't remember if Kali was in an Indiana Jones movie, but she is certainly the goddess worshipped in "Help!" That resonates with the Beetle clue for me even if it's not spelled the right way for said resonance!

I've been doing puzzles a couple of years now, commenting here for a few months, but I'm still enough of a rookie that particular constructors don't really mean much--unless it's acme or Michael Sharp of course. I think, though, based on these two puzzles, that Patrick Berry goes on that list. I am LOVING these puzzles!

Two Ponies 10:28 AM  

This week I am feeling like I'm on the ascending part of a big roller coaster. Loving the anticipation of the giant thrill at the end.
Amscray was great.
@ Boz, Wonderful!

jesser 10:44 AM  

Happy birthday, Andrea!
Welcome back, Santa Fe Fran!

My work hours have changed, and I don't know how I feel about that, but I'll be later to the party going forward than I have been in the past.

This one was crunchier than yesterday, but not in a bad way. My writeover was -- like Rex's -- trying to teach my brain how to spell CAHN. This was complicated by the ever-so-wrong mayA at 12D before I saw the light. I also had PEel before PERM at 25D.

BEER AND SKITTLES sounds hideous. I like BEER, and I like SKITTLES, but not together. Clearly, the Brits define SKITTLES as something other than the candies on this side of the pond.

And now, I must AMSCRAY. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Mel Ott 10:54 AM  

One of the more entertaining Tuesday puzzles. This is shaping up as a great puzzle week.

Bram 10:57 AM  

Don't want to get too technical, but didn't Esau sell his birthright? Biologically he's still the eldest but still interesting...

hazel 11:09 AM  

@archeo - i'm kind of partial to Bench (I like catchers) but Rose would have definitely fit the bill and been easier to accommodate to boot. I like your new pic by the way!

chefbea 11:19 AM  

Has meta challenge been described??? I have never heard that term and want to be ready for it at the end of this exciting week. Please explain

Martin 11:26 AM  

If I'm reading "which will be revealed on Friday" correctly, Rex means to cover the meta in his blog post of the Saturday puzzle.

If that's correct, I would encourage solvers to work the meta before reading the post. It's eminently solvable but might take a little more time than you'd normally wait before coming here. Solving it is very satisfying.

Of course, the "Friday" comment could have been a typo. In any case, you need to solve through the Saturday puzzle. Also, the Friday puzzle has some non-standard numbering that can't be formatted for on-line solving, so it's pencil or pen only. Might has well get the bitching done now. (I solve about two puzzles a year on paper, so I'm with you.)

Deb Amlen 11:26 AM  

Howdy all,

Hope I didn't misunderstand, but one correction, Rex: The meta will actually be revealed in the Saturday puzzle, which does, of course, come out on Friday.

The Friday puzzle (which does, of course come out on Thursday) will be PDF-only and will have no Across Lite file, due to the format of the puzzle.

Good luck everyone!

chefbea 11:40 AM  

And I ask again...what is a meta?????

tptsteve 11:41 AM  

Enjoyed this one a lot. Loved the reference to Les Nessman and WKRP.
Anyone remember the helicopter turkey drop? One of the funniest tv episodes I remember from my childhood.

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

Husky and Starch was my favorite show back in 5th grade!

Masked and Anonymous 11:43 AM  

I never meta PB-puz I didn't like. QED.

@31: My conspiracy contest theory: keep track of the U-count each day. It will be *crucial* to know, for the SatPuz solve. 7 of the little darlin's, today. ThUmbsUp.

Speakin' of little darlin's, have the happiest of birthdays, Andrea Darlin'.

Martin 11:46 AM  

In modern usage, "meta-" usually indicates an extra level of depth. Database people talk about the metadata that describe the organization of data.

A metapuzzle is simply a puzzle that requires solving other puzzles before it can be attempted. In solving the week's crosswords you will be given the clues that define the metapuzzle

John V 11:56 AM  

@Martin, as a database person, I use "meta" to mean information about information. For instance, Microsoft SQL Server databases have object called information schemas tables, which tell you what tables exist in a database, what columns they have, what data types comprise these columns and so forth. @chefbea, hope this helps, too.

Larry 12:02 PM  

@ChefBea - Amy blogs Matt Gaffney's puzzles, which all seem to have a meta theme to them over at her blog

She provides a link to Matt's web site providing approaches to solving the meta aspect of the puzzles, but I didn't find said intro to solving meta puzzles.

Martin 12:06 PM  

John V,

I think that's what I said (about metadata). Your schemata are my "metadata that describe the organization of data."

While we're on the subject, in the less structured world of "content management," information about information is also less structured. When you click on a tag like "Tuesday" below a blog post (to find other Tuesday puzzles), you're referencing the content management system's "metadata," even though this is stored very differently than the underlying database's schema, another kind of metadata.

In the world of a content management system, the underlying database's schema is meta-metadata.

The whole point is that "meta-" is a useful construct when visualizing levels of abstraction.

Lewis 1:03 PM  

Having HAGGS for breakfast as it's raining CAGS outside...

mitchs 1:30 PM  

I think "meta" was recently clued (somewhere) as "layers of self reference".

North Beach 1:30 PM  


@efrex (is that a commentary??) Thanks so much for directing me to the Tom Lehrer trove. When I was a kid we played the bejesus out of the record "An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer". How much of that sentence dates me?

600 1:33 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
miriam b 1:36 PM  

Lovely puzzle. I'm awaiting the démouement on Saturday.

Happy birthday, Andrea and Connie*!

* A shoutout ro my fifth child and #4 daughter, a worthy type who teaches young kids w/autism in Moorpark, CA,

captcha, caste: a group of nice people born on October 18

miriam b 1:39 PM  

I meant "déNouement".

600 1:45 PM  

Now I'm worried. I'm an online solver; as a resident of VERY rural Georgia, I don't have access to the NYTimes as an actual newspaper at all. Do the messages here (from Martin and Deb Amlen) mean I'll be unable to do Thursday's puzzle at all and thus unable to even take a stab at the meta? (whatever exactly that means; it's sounding like "mega" to me.) The worst thing to me is the idea I won't be able to access the Thursday puzzle. I love Thursdays!

And by the way, who are Martin and Deb Amlen and why do they have all this advance knowledge about the upcoming puzzles?

@foodie--LOVE that review of the prequels! Thanks for sharing.

Martin 1:55 PM  

Sorry for a fourth post, but it looks like I confused some folks. There will be an online .pdf file that you can print out to solve. Unless you don't have a printer, you won't be at a disadvantage.

BTW, Deb is the blogger/host at the Times Wordplay blog (Rex has a link). I'm a test-solver so I get the puzzles a week early.

Z 1:59 PM  

@600 - you can always choose to download the .pdf file (adobe reader version) and print out the puzzle. Instead of clicking on the "play" button, click on the words "Download puzzle as a PDF" to the left and a little below the "play" button.

JaxInL.A. 2:01 PM  

@600, Deb Amlen is on staff at the Times and writes the official Wordplay blog at the NYT site.  if I'm not mistaken, @Martin gets to test-solve puzzles in advance.  

Most sites (and your subscription to the puzzles) should allow you the choice of printing the puzzle as a PDF file.  Not sure exactly how that will work for me, though, either, as my Magmic subscription does not allow printing, and it's been so long since I signed up that I have no idea how to get my username and password to enter into some other site.  Magmic were unresponsive when I faced this same situation because of the  mis-fire with the Steve Jobs tribute puzzle recently. (I still have not solved that one.)

Advice, anyone?  Apologies to @Martin for not knowing you better.

JaxInL.A. 2:04 PM  

@Z, what platform and program are you describing?

Anyone with advice, please be sure to specify whether you are talking about Apple or PC products, and what program you use to get to your puzzles (e.g. Crosswords, Crux, etc.)


Lindsay 2:05 PM  

Liked the Berry puzzle fine, but don't even consider solving the Garden Hilton Inn themed xword in the ad on page A11. Don't don't don't.

Here's a sample.

1 down: To be determined: abbr.

Answer: TBD

Oh. Sorry. Guess that was a spoiler.

@JaxInL.A. --- I feel your pain. Spent last night in a knock-down-drag-out about whether the main drag in town needs its first stoplight. Then the subject was tabled, which means we get to reprise the performance next month.

Clark 2:06 PM  

The use of 'meta' that we are talking about today has peculiar roots in Aristotle. The order and titles and pagination of Aristotle's works comes to us from a first century editor who assembled the extant manuscripts. There is a book about entities (nature, things that are) called the 'Physics'. The book that came after the Physics was given the name 'Metaphysics'. Debate goes on to this day about how to understand this. Does it just mean the book after the physics (in the canonic compilation)? Or the book that should be studied after the physics? Or does it mean the book about stuff that is a level up (or down depending on which metaphor you are using for levels of abstraction). The physics is about things that are, the metaphysics is about being as such. It is that third understanding that stands behind the use of 'meta' in 'meta-puzzle'.

Meta happy birthday wishes to you Andrea. I don't know what that means, actually, but it involves smiles and hugs and exclamation points.

CoffeeLvr 2:06 PM  

Very happy to see Les Nessman & the WKRP crew.

Yesterday, there were a number of comments about the meta-puzzle that referred to being on Will Shortz's wavelength - of course, Will will have to approve, but since Patrick Berry made the six underlying puzzles, I expect it is his mind we will have to read. I plan to enter, if I can figure it out.

Skittles is a pub game in some parts of the British Isles; it is a form of bowling, and skittles is the term for the pins.

@boz, you said it! Thanks.

@ACME, Happy Birthday!

John V 2:21 PM  

I never meta Patrick Berry puzzle I didn't like is maybe the canonical meaning for today (whatever "canonical" means :)

Sorry. That was just hanging out there and some shameless person had to swing at it, so may as be yours truly.

jackj 2:24 PM  

Boz- Good show!

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

I'm almost certain the real Mel Ott is dead. Who is this imposter?

Sparky 3:38 PM  

Easy today. This will be a fun week even when it reaches the level that stumps me. Liked TARZAN. Don't quite get ASK for pump.

Fortuitous shout out. Happy Birthday ACME. Shout out to @MAC, too. Glad you are feeling better @Santafefran.

sanfranman59 3:39 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)

Tue 7:38, 8:53, 0.86, 12%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:09, 4:34, 0.91, 20%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 3:52 PM  

@Sparky - you can pump someone for information or you can simply ask them.

quilter1 4:04 PM  

@Bram: Esau was indeed the eldest, and Jacob (his name means supplanter) did steal his birthright. The birthright wasn't an inheritance--he still got that--it was his father Isaac's blessing. It could only be given once, could not be retracted. Jacob tricked his father into blessing him thinking he was Esau. Esau wanted to kill Jacob, so Jacob ran away. He later returned and was forgiven by his brother.

Happy birthday Andrea and all others with a special day. I wish I could share with you what I baked today--pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting and apricot bars.

chefwen 4:21 PM  

Good, enjoyable puzzle but the comments are even better. @Clark's comment left me a little dizzy however.

Nothing left for me to say except Happy Birthday Andrea, Queen of Monday!!!!!

600 4:24 PM  
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600 4:25 PM  

@Martin, Z, and JaxinLA--Thank you. Now I feel much better. I was getting plenty panicked there for a while. (Imagine that. Panicked over MAYBE missing a crossword. Perhaps I should get a life!)

I'll second JaxinLA's apology to Martin (and Deb Amlen) for not knowing who you are . . . but, like I said earlier, I'm still kind of a rookie in this crossword/blog world.

@quilter 1--I can almost taste those pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. Wish "almost" was "actually."

Z 4:45 PM  

I use a Firefox Browser running on either an iMac or MacBook running Snow Leopard, or a Dell running Windows XP.

I guess I didn't realize that using them there old fashioned desktop computers to surf to the NYT website needed 'splaining for all youse young'uns with your fancy dancy iPads an' smartphones.

Z the Luddite

Cannon Ball 5:07 PM  

Just so we got this straight...

1. The SatPuz will be a meta-puz, cannon-bally akin to Aristotle's "Metaphysics". No pressure there, huh, PB? That's when 31 will tell everything he knows.
2. The FriPuz will be a geta-puz. You either geta paper or pdf-computer-printout, or you geta rest up for the SatPuz. But @31 will lend you a FriPuz solution, so you'll still be in the contest for Saturday.
3. The ThursPuz will be a beta-puz. It will be beta than Friday's, 'cause you can work it online, if you've a mind to.
4. The WedPuz will be a feta-puz. Its theme will be cheese-related. I know this, 'cause I just talked to Michelle Bachman via ESP.


mac 5:30 PM  

Easy puzzle today, did it on the train from Haarlem to Castricum. I'm saving all these IHTs for the meta! How fun. I'll have to print the Saturday one, it doesn't show up in that paper.

Happy birthday, Andrea!

@sparky: MAC seems to show up a lot in puzzles. I always consider it a little shout-out, of course.

Ajax beat Zagreb 2 - 0.

Stan 5:57 PM  

Yesterday's PB was smooth. Today's a little crunchier, but still palatable fun.

Happy birthday to the many-named Andrea!!

Clark's gloss on 'meta' and its ambiguities was excellent. I saw that Will's, Martin's and John V's senses of the term were all correct.

Lots of amusing stuff on Urban Dictionary vis-a-vis 'meta' in contemporary slang: e.g., meta-fog (an overly self-referential writing style) and meta-date:

"Two people who could be dating, or used to date, agree to date other people on a particular evening at a particular place, meeting afterwards and/or before to discuss the date."

Anonymous 8:04 PM  

The divine aspect of the universe we call Mata Kali is fierce, maybe fearsome, definitely awe-inspiring, but NOT malevolent. Her ferocity is aimed at the worst parts of our selves, our egos, and she inspires us to be courageous and overcome our human frailties.

jae 8:26 PM  

Thanks for the "meta" discussion, which I now believe I get, if only on a meta-cognitive level (which is me thinking about me thinking about the meaning of meta). Now if I could just figure out what Ron Artest means by it? Although, spelling it with two Ts could mean something entirely different.

Liked the puzzle and eagerly await ...

Sparky 8:36 PM  

Okay Cannonball, gotcha. That clears it all up.

Thanks @Anon 3:52. They don't mean the same thing at all, which is what I thought.

Sfingi 10:51 PM  

Agree with Rex, theme lame, puzzle still good.

Happy Birthday Andrea. Love your handles, and know you have no love-handles, cuz I saw your still-slim pictures. Always look forward to your clever and thorough remarks.

Can't believe I got KANYE.

@Tobias - Saw ANTZ. It wasn't remarkable, and never guessed it had anything to do with BNW. At the time, some teachers were against it because it was immoral. I never can figure that out. The same kinds who are against Glee, now. There were lots of armies of ants marching around. Armies bore me, I guess because of my testosterone shortage.

I remember when Tommy Smothers was asked what his favorite Bible passage was. He stated (unlike Paris Hilton, who could think of nothing) "My brother was a hairy man, and I am a smooth."

JaxInL.A. 11:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JaxInL.A. 12:59 AM  

PB really brings out the best in this crowd. I ended up reading half of the comments to my family, as I kept laughing and they would say, "what?"

sanfranman59 1:53 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 6:47, 6:51, 0.98, 45%, Medium
Tue 7:47, 8:53, 0.88, 16%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:33, 3:40, 0.97, 40%, Medium
Tue 4:09, 4:34, 0.91, 20%, Easy-Medium

GenJoneser 10:25 AM  

"All day long wearing a mask of false bravado" one of my favorite lines from a song. As a kid I thought that couldn't be what they sang. Which reminds me of those sites where you can post the mistaken lyrics you thought you heard from songs. I posted from "Build Me Up Buttercup." Thought they said "I need you. I need you more than anyone darling. You know that I HAIL FROM THE STARS." instead of "HAVE FROM THE START" Big SciFi fan I guess! Thanks for today's song stuck in my head!

Anonymous 11:02 PM  

I'm from the Caribbean and am still severely traumatised from having to study THAT BOOK for "A" Levels over twenty five years ago. I remembered DARNAY. Help!

Craig 6:06 PM  

I can't believe no one has posted this:

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

@efrex 8:31 AM
I was just about to mention Tom Lehrer but I see you beat me to it by five weeks (just a smidgen).

Waxy in Montreal 12:38 PM  

Recently watched the 1935 A Tale of Two Cities film on TCM and in the main it stands up well even after 76 years. Stars Ronald Colman as Sydney Carton, Donald Woods as Chales Darnay and Basil Rathbone (later to become typecast as Sherlock Holmes) as the Marquis. But the most memorable role clearly belongs to Blanche Yurka (great crossword name) as the chilling Madame De Farge who famously clicked her knitting needles as the guillotine descended onto the necks of the aristocrats who were unable to amscray. Pure and simple scary!

Pippin 12:44 PM  

Another "Berry" enjoyable puzzle! I actually found this one even easier than yesterday's and every bit as much fun. I found the theme easy - for once my age was an advantage! My father used to say "Life isn't all beer and skittles, you know" so that one came easily too.

Am really loving the comments - really started my day off with many laughs - @Boz, @Cannon Ball - great posts!

Loved WKRP way back when, and, like @tptSteve, I remember the hilarious "turkey drop" episode.

Hope the "Berry Roll" continues....

Deb 5:56 PM  

@Z - The other bug movie that came out shortly after ANTZ was "A Bug's Life." There's an interesting story in Walter Isaacson's biography "Steve Jobs" about the tussle between Jeffrey Katzenberg and Jobs over who had the idea of a CGI insect film first. Steve Jobs always felt that Katzenberg stole the idea when he was still at Pixar and took it with him to Dreamworks SKG. He shouldn't have worried: Pixar's "A Bug's Life" grossed twice as much as Dreamworks' "ANTZ."

For anyone who hasn't yet read it, DO! It's a fascinating biography.

Dirigonzo 8:38 PM  

Well it appears @ACME ("A rose by any other name...") and I share a birthday, separated only by the 5 weeks it takes mine to get to syndication.

I loved this puzzle (again) - can hardly wait to see what the rest of the week brings.

Rex (who also has a birthday right around now, as I recall) had this to say on my birthday in 2006:
- "Solving time: not paying attention"
- "Today's puzzle is by Edward Alch, a name I've not seen before. Sounds like a bad pseudonym. What are you hiding, Mr. Alch?! ... if that is your real name..."
- "5A: Austrian's "Alas!" (Ach!)
51A: "____ bin ein Berliner" (Ich)

Is Mr. Alch tipping his hand here? Does he come from the land of Chocolate? Is he a Friend of Uter? Hmmm ... I'm just sayin' that this is a lot of phlegm-clearing guttural for one puzzle. One American puzzle, that is. If it were during WWII, or Germany were at all a military threat to anyone outside of Belgium, I'd be ... suspicious. I'm watching you, Herr Alch."
- "Again with the rats and the sewer! And as one faithful reader has pointed out, recent and future movies are not going to help sever this association. Flushed Away was all about rats in the sewer system, and I suspect that next year's Ratatouille will continue the caricature, only doubling the insult by having the rats live not only in sewers, but in France. (Not sure where my Euro-hostility is coming from today ... maybe not enough coffee in my system, though I am full of very American Pancakes, courtesy of IHOP)"
- "I find the phrasing here very disturbing. I understand that dogs are normally said to have "masters," but Annie is a girl and so the word was changed to its feminine counterpart, "mistress." And yet ... "mistress" has romantic and even sexual overtones that make this clue read wrong. While I'm sure that there is a Tijuana Bible somewhere that depicts Annie as Sandy's "mistress," I'd prefer to think of her as his "owner" or "companion.""
- There were 12 comments, 4 of which were from Rex himself, including this: " I'm surprised there has been no comment on the Tijuana Bible link, the finding of which I consider a total coup -> I imagined that something might exist, and then found that it did. It was like someone was reading my mind ... many years before I was born. Oh, it's totally pornographic, so if you're morally opposed to such things, then, uh, don't click on the link, I guess."

Anonymous 5:12 AM  

Spacecraft here. Imagine saying"...doesn't quite have the pop of yesterday's..." about a Patrick Berry grid! Who'd'a'thunk?
Maybe the metatheme is couched in Cockney: Starsky & Hutch=Dutch;
Pure & simple=dimple; hugs & kisses
=misses; beer & skittles=vittles.
Anyway, any puzzle that offers me Jabba at 1a is thumbs up.
@Boz: 'Tis a far, far better blog you post than I have ever posted before.

imers: British track officials who were busy at 4:00, and so missed t.

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