Fayetteville campus briefly / TUE 11-22-11 / Ancient Chinese divination book / Opposite of alta / When doubled displaying affection

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Constructor: Victor Fleming

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Pronouns — seven theme answers begin with WE, I, THEY, HE, YOU, SHE, and IT, respectively

Word of the Day: "HE GOT GAME" (50A: 1998 Spike Lee joint) —
He Got Game is a 1998 American sports-drama film written and directed by Spike Lee. It stars Denzel Washington as Jake Shuttlesworth, a prison inmate convicted for killing his wife. The father of the top-ranked basketball prospect in the country, Jesus Shuttlesworth (played by NBA star Ray Allen), Jake is released on parole for a week by the state's governor in order to persuade his son to play for the governor's alma mater in exchange for a heavily-reduced prison sentence. (wikipedia)
• • •
I had no idea what the theme of this puzzle was until well after I was finished. Well, not "well" after ... maybe 15 seconds after. Started out seeming very easy, and then I hit some of the odder, more vaguely clued theme answers, and things toughened up slightly. Strangely, my biggest trouble was in the SE, where I could not for the life of me make sense of the clue 67A: Election Day no. (even just now, I typed "mo."). My brain was like "NOV? TUE? NOV? TUE? etc." I had no idea what "no." could be at issue. I had the "P" but that didn't help. It only made me doubt SOAPY. Also started doubting NOPE for 59A: "Can't help ya!" (not the most exact match, to my ear). So I lost time mainly to fumbling, not to any intrinsic difficulty, though I do think some of the theme answers are going to slow people up. Clue on "I CAN DREAM" is vague (also, is that really the best "I" phrase out there??). And "HE GOT GAME" wasn't exactly a ground-breaking, memorable film. Still, those theme answers are at least interesting, which is more than I can say for most of the rest of the grid.  Not a big fan of ABCTV (who calls it that?) or SOR. (again, really?) or U OF A (Vic's just shoehorning in a reference to his home state here) (42A: Fayetteville campus, briefly). Overall, this is fairly typical Tuesday fare—just fine, nothing to write home about.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Shout upon reaching a destination ("WE MADE IT!") 
  • 34D: "Just my luck" ("IT FIGURES") — at this point, I figured we had an "IT expressions" theme
  • 26A: "Wouldn't that be nice" ("I CAN DREAM")
  • 38A: Intro to many an adage ("THEY SAY...")
  • 50A: 1998 Spike Lee joint ("HE GOT GAME") — sort of surprised to see the clue use "joint" in this context; it's how Lee refers to his own films, but I've never see anyone else ever refer to their films that way (unless they were aping / parodying Lee)
  • 63A: "Well, look who's back!" ("YOU AGAIN!?")
  • 11D: Wicked women (SHE-DEVILS)  

KISSY KISSY would be a great answer. As a half-phrase, it's only so-so. "Hizzoner" would also be a great answer (MAYOR). Of the LEWs you are likely to see in crosswords, all of them have last names ending in "A"—Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Ayres (an actor, I think), and Archer (detective in Ross Macdonald novels). Something oddly amusing (to me) about having ICHING and ITCHES right on top of each other. Was discussing Tatum O'NEAL in "Paper Moon" just the other day in class, in the context of teaching "Taxi Driver" (Academy Award-nominated child actress connection—O'NEAL won).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Gill I. P. 12:16 AM  

Loved this puzzle. It also took me back to when I was "trying" to learn English. My grandmother had this incredible Victorian attitude about the usage of "correct" grammar and she made me memorize the difference between subject and object pronouns.
Me ELECTs Victor Fleming MAYOR of crosswords. This was simply a POMME of a Tuesday.
I mean, HE GOT GAME followed by KISSY!! Not to be outdone by MARTHA, YOU AGAIN.
Our talented blog narrator's could have fun with these words. @joho?
Wonderful cluing, wonderful answers and, well, did I say how much I like this?

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

Dear Mom and Dad,

Never mind.

Love, Vic

SethG 12:20 AM  

That double IT feels like a real weakness since the one IT is part of the theme. I think instead of WE MADE IT, I'd have gone with Benatar.

Bob Willoughby 12:21 AM  

I initially had "naval" at 33 Across, which made 25 Down a bit of a shock. For a moment, I thought the NY Times had rather dramatically relaxed their standards.

Tobias Duncan 12:35 AM  

My early week times just suck lately.I cant seem to get the hang of daylight savings, too sleepy at the end of the day to be effective.I dont think I can blame the puzzles any longer.
Interesting NPR story this weekend on the guy that beat Joon. Turns out he has a great program for studying for Jeopardy! It ferrets out your weak spots. Would be nice to have one for crosswords(sports is just the weak spot I complain about, I have tons more that I am very willing to work on).

Here is the story

chefwen 12:56 AM  

Like @Gil I.P., I too loved this puzzle, it had a little more bite to it than your early week fare. All of the long answers make me smile, except for HE GOT GAME, didn't know or understand that one.

Only two write overs, 19A REpair before REMEDY and 60D I had bFA, pretty sure that there is no talk show called bARTHA so that was easily fixed.

Truly enjoyed this one.

foodie 1:58 AM  

I can't decide how I feel about the puzzle. I think I was too distracted as I was solving-- I certainly had no clue what the theme was (Andrea, don't shoot me!).

Somewhat off topic-- a response to a query by @Jae from last Saturday. I posted that the Quick & Dirty Index (QDI) put that puzzle at Easy/Medium. So many people did not finish, it seemed hard to believe. @Jae wondered about the size of the sample that I had used. But SanFranMan eventually posted with a similar rating- Easy-Medium for most solvers and Medium for the top 100.

So, @Jae, in answer to your question, the QDI was established over 5 months, and then validated against SanFranMan for several months beyond that. Not a huge number of puzzles on any one day, but the correlation seems remarkably good. Even when it goes against expectations, as it did last Saturday. The thing to remember with both measures is that they evaluate those who succeed and ignore all the DNF's... So, that can skew things towards an easier-seeming outcome on those tough days (for example, the numbers of solvers decreases, which is not directly considered in either measure).

syndy 2:01 AM  

I don't watch many talk shows but even I balked at BARTHA.Thank goodness Rex explained about the JOINT thing-Had NO idea. y writeover was JUDGE for MAYOR. Never noticed the pronouns especially.and I still don't get 9 down-but mostly I kinda liked the puzzle-snappy for a tuesday.

Clark 2:36 AM  

I had ePiSTLE instead of APOSTLE for a while, which made the SW difficult to sort out. The picture of Gracie the cat has been replaced by a picture of Obi the Jedi cat contemplating the dragonfly on the other side of the screen—in honor of the appearance today of Obi-Wan KENOBI.

jae 2:47 AM  

@ foodie -- Thanks for the feedback. It's kind of what I suspected. How accurate can a poll be if, say, 50 PCT of your sample doesn't pick up the phone?

I also liked this one and thought it was a tad tougher than a typical Tues.

@chefwen -- me too for REPAIR.

@Rex -- Thanks for the "joint" explanation. I had no idea.

retired_chemist 2:54 AM  

I'm not complaining, but it felt clunky to me. A slow slog. Perhaps doing it at 1:30 AM (CST) is the reason.

Looking it over afterwards, I did like the theme and a lot of the fill. Thought 50A was WE GOT GAME but eventually caught the error from the 37D cross.

LEW WALLACE (author of Ben-Hur) is an exception to Rex's LEW A* posit. Maybe rare in current puzzles but certainly used in the Maleska era.

Thanks, Mr. Fleming.

I c-ANDREA-M 3:12 AM  

I also couldn't figure it out, I saw pronouns but they didn't seem to be in order...
Some were phrases and then I ran into SHEDEVILS and got thrown off...
So don't worry @foodie, I 'd no more shoot you than I would take @evil Doug 's dating advice!

( by the way, @evil, thought of you at my therapist's today...
There was a New Yorker with very funny cartoons, one had a teenage girl at her family thanksgiving dinner saying
"Thanksgiving is politically incorrect, turkey is politically incorrect, yams with marshmallow fluff are politically incorrect --and disgusting.")

Not a malapop but I did try to put in "She's Gotta Have It" for "HE'SGOTGAME". Again I feel like I tried She's Gotta Have It" and it was rejected as obscure, but I think it's more well known.

My problem was having geneRAL for ADMIRAL which screwed things up badly in the NE... I also had Over iT for OLDHAT...for jaded.

UOFA may have been the constructor's sly hometown shout out, but I had --VIC for CIVIC and noticed PLEADS afterward...and "hizzoner"...and for all I know he watches MARTHA.
(Forget acme, my secret shout out was finding my name in IC-ANDREA-M)

Moment of synchronicity, I was watching "Dancing with the Stars" on "ABCTV" (??!!??) while solving.

Anyway, I liked the casualness of the idiomatic phrases.
And I would love to get She's Gotta Have It into a puzzle
(I CAN DREAM, can't I?)

JaxInL.A. 3:23 AM  

With @rc's addition that gives us four LEWs whose names end in 5, 6, 7, and 8 letters. Is this relevant-? Probably not. I liked HIZZONER's puzzle very much. Wasn't gonna post, tho, til I saw that my captcha is:


Just got back from T-day shopping, so had to share that.

Also, many thanks to @Z who has fed my puzzle habit while I got the Magmic account sorted out. A real gentleman.

retired_chemist 3:33 AM  

Another Lew: Lew Hoad. Very well known tennis player in the fifties. Unless you are either Australian or a sports nut past retirement age, however, this one will be a bit obscure.

jberg 7:09 AM  

I saw the theme pretty quickly, but like ACME wanted it to be more -- in some kind of order: I, thee, he, she, it, we, you, they would have been nice. (We've had THEE twice in the last week or so, so why not here?

I had I CANt wait at first, and then geneRAL, but still finished pretty quickly. Not much more to say.

Does he call all his movies Spike Lee Joints? I had just assumed that meant it was a joint production with someone else, but I never thought about it much.

evil doug 7:38 AM  

Acme: If you're thinking of me, I'm glad you're seeking professional help.

Pronouns are among the least compelling words in the language. Even if the phrases were sparklers, it would be hard to get all excited with so many pronouns in play. Concrete, vivid, descriptive, energetic words are what make a puzzle pop.

Didn't know that wicked women (shed evils) were confined to hovels....

non-shed evil

Z 7:53 AM  

"Pronouns are among the least compelling words in the language. Even if the phrases were sparklers, it would be hard to get all excited with so many pronouns in play. Concrete, vivid, descriptive, energetic words are what make a puzzle pop."

'nuff said.

dk 7:59 AM  

Solid Tuesday fare. Time and solving experience was fine until I got to the joints clue. Had no idea. Got it in the crosses and was surprised to see Mr. Happy Pencil (paper is late again).

*** (3 Stars) Thanks you Mr. Fleming

Once while visiting UOFA I spent a wonderful afternoon swimming in Hog Scald Creek.

Martha for me would be better clued as woman in Tom Waits song. Here is the link as I forgot how to do the click on thing:


Well a trip down memory lane. Photographed a Tom Waits performance (opening act was Leon Redbone) and watched a biker guy in the front row break down in tears during Martha. I offered, and he accepted, a code name for a Spike Lee Movie. Turned out Martha was the name of his sister who died at age 5 or so. I had a brother who died when he was two. Suffice to say it was a sobfest at the bar. Tom W. stopped over and laughed saying glad you enjoyed the show.

Foodie, you and I should get to get with Sanfranman I think we may have a dissertation in our x-word data.

And, finally as I have often opined x-words to me are little stories or at the least bring stories to mind. Sometimes it is the theme or just a few bits of fill. Today I think it is a mix of both: pronouns and synapse firing fill.

Off to buy a wood stove.


Geoffrey Chaucer 8:07 AM  

This Nicholas had risen for a piss,
And thought that it would carry on the jape
To have his arse kissed by this jack-a-nape.
And so he opened window hastily,
And put his arse out thereat, quietly,
Over the buttocks, showing the whole bum;
And thereto said this clerk, this Absalom,
"O speak, sweet bird, I know not where thou art."
This Nicholas just then let fly a fart
As loud as it had been a thunder-clap,
And well-nigh blinded Absalom, poor chap;
But he was ready with his iron hot
And Nicholas right in the arse he got.
Off went the skin a hand's-breadth broad, about,
The coulter burned his bottom so, throughout,
That for the pain he thought that he should die.
And like one mad he started in to cry,
"help ! Water! Water! For God's dear heart!"
This carpenter out of his sleep did start,
Hearing that "Water!" cried as madman would,
And thought, "Alas, now comes down Noel's flood!"
He struggled up without another word
And with his axe he cut in two the cord,
And down went all; he did not stop to trade
In bread or ale till he'd the journey made,

Tita 8:50 AM  

WE MADE IT...er - them... LYE rolls on Sunday!
Laugenbrötchen, aka pretzel rolls, literal translation - little LYE breads. These are sheer heaven, and, along with the Autobahn, what we most have ITCHES for from when we lived in Heidelberg.
Unable to find the real thing here, we researched and now have gotten quite expert.

@Clark...when I gave my 2 cats a new water bowl, with a large dragonfly silhouette painted on the inside, they both tried to eat that dragonfly, and were very suspicious of said bowl for oh, at least 10 minutes...
Your picture is fabulous.

As to the puzzle, it was good, though not a stellar theme, I agree.
Thanks, @Rex, for explaining joint (in that context).

OldCarFudd 8:56 AM  

jberg - Thee would have caused this blog to go ballistic. It's an objective pronoun, like him or her. Thou, on the other hand - - -

joho 8:58 AM  

@Gill I.P. ... you should take a crack at it, you sound very talented yourself.

I didn't get the theme until it was explained to me. But I circled WEMADEIT, ICANDREAM, ITFIGURES and YOUAGAIN and collequial phrases that I liked. At that point I should have noticed that SHEDEVILS was a parallel part of the plan. Hopefully THEYSAY would have followed.

Interesting and different Tuesday, thank you, Victor Fleming!

Tita 9:02 AM  

Not to forget Deborah KERR...
As Anna Leonowens in the (very whitewashed, but lovely as a movie) the King and I or An Affair to Remember...

Shall We Dance - Yul Brynner / Deborah Kerr

Thankfully, by posting this, Shall We Dance has replaced Rex's Barry Manilow as the test pattern of my mind...)

jackj 9:04 AM  

“Oyez, oyez!

All rise!

Court is in session"

By running the full string of pronouns, which head up lively phrases, (HEGOTGAME, ITFIGURES, YOUAGAIN, for example), Judge Vic has delivered a puzzle which is a quasi-themeless beauty, with delightful edginess.

Tricky cluing abounds, with one favorite being BUSH for “Outback” since, in order to convince yourself that it is indeed BUSH, you have to be comfortable in pinning down the U, which calls for a four letter word, clued “Fayetteville campus, briefly” which finally turns out to be UOFA, for a clever touch of Arkansas down-homeness.

Not to worry, this isn’t a Bubba special and we are dealt some healthy bits of sophistication with ICHING and POMME and KENOBI and also what looks like an X-rated film aborning with KISSY, SOAPY, sugar and SPICE YENTA all commingling in the lower right corner.

This solver PLEADS pleasured, Your Honor.

MichaelLewis 9:21 AM  

Thanks Vic Fleming, I enjoyed your puzzle. Like Rex, I didnt notice the theme until the ink had dried. Not a big fan of Martha Stewart but I thought it was totally bogus she was thrown in prison. C'mon, she's Martha Stewart. There are a dozen people I can think of that should be in jail relating to the mortgage crisis alone, and not one went.

archaeoprof 9:22 AM  

Maybe the blah mood of this puzzle comes from theme answers like YOU AGAIN, IT FIGURES, I CAN DREAM.

If not for the SHE DEVILS, this puzzle might not be any fun at all!

Orange 9:29 AM  

Rex, how could you forget about Lew Rawls?

(Alex Boisvert tweeted the other day about a truly terrible crossword that clued LEW as singer Rawls. As if!)

John V 9:41 AM  

So, there I was, minding my own business, trying to ignore the conductor announcing the availability of MetroNorth's, "Gobble Gobble Schedules" (I am not making this up), when it occured to me: Hey! We had a Saturday puzzle that HADa theme. Maybe we have a Tuesday puzzle WITHOUT a theme! Yeah! That's it. I come here and read what about what, honestly, seems like a spurious theme and I think: Gobble Gobble.

Okay, enough cranky pants. We've had BOYTOY and SHEDEVILs this week. Will Friday bring us a gigolo?

Da West Side was hard, as HEGOTGAME was way out of my game.

So, I thought this was Medium Challenging for a Tuesday. Got it, but slow.

@r.alpbunker and all re: Xword program. Installed and ran as easy as you please on Windows 7, with one note: Windows 7 and, I think XP, will stop you from executing code downloaded from another computer unless you say it's okay. In order to edit _run.bat, I needed to right click on it, bring up the properties sheet and unblock the code; otherwise, could not open it in Notepad. Ran fine with jre8. Mac OS X should work fine. The only permissions issue is the chmod command in the installation instructions. I assume that OS X works like Linux in that you can change permissions on files you own. Progy looked like fun! Will play with it a bit over the holidays. Free installation support to fellow bloggers for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, Broadway and Thames. No, we will NOT go to Zuccotti Park.

hazel 10:01 AM  

@Rex - I'm trying to imagine a crossword puzle that I WOULD write home about, and it makes me chortle (thks, @dk for searing that word into my brain in recent days). @Vic - very funny!

for me, the puzzle was not a wowzer, but it filled the bill for my daily xword jones. I was able to do it while slightly impaired, after a dinner party (CUI). Tuesdaytime and the puzzlin' was easy.

everytime I see Tatum Oneal, I think of her nickname from back in the day Tantrum ONeal - and that also makes me chortle.

@Everyone following Martin's brining recipe - tonight's the night!!

Shamik 10:05 AM  

Put me in the EPISTLE for APOSTLE before I corrected it. Ended up with a medium-challenging puzzle for me for a Tuesday.

Furthermore, still didn't get the theme until I read Rex's write-up twice!

Heigh-ho! Heigh-ho! So nice to do a puzzle before work. That must mean it's a Monday or a Tuesday!

blectino: Italian word for little yucky thing

Two Ponies 10:31 AM  

I liked this slangy Tuesday.
Tuesdays are hard to find a good fit but I think we got one today.
@ dk, Thanks for the story. I've seen Leon Redbone but no opening act.

MountainManZach 10:35 AM  

Anyone else get crushed by geneRAL/ADMIRAL screw-up?

r.alphbunker 10:46 AM  

"The Secret Life of Pronouns" by James Pennebaker was reviewed recently in the NYT Book Review. YOU can look IT up. Could that have given VF the idea?

The theme felt peaceful to me; it made me smile when I saw it.

retired_chemist 11:00 AM  

@ orange - Maybe you were making a joke? If so, sorry for the following: Rawls was not listed because he went by LOU, not LEW, RAWLS. I will have done my daily service if I have cleared up a misconception for anyone else.

John V 11:49 AM  

@r.alphbunker re: Xword
Just determined that my instance of XP does not present the Blocking Issue referred to earlier. Not sure if this is universally true for XP. May just be an Windows 7 issue.

Sparky 11:52 AM  

Saw the across pronouns but missed the downs. So that makes seven. Not exactly a knee slapper but pleasant. Love MSRP; can OSFM be far behind?

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Lewis 12:32 PM  

Like Andrea, geneRAL for ADMIRAL and OveriT for OLD HAT.

@retired chemist -- Lew Hoad is VERY obscure to me! That is, never heard of him.

For me a little crunchy for a Tuesday, and I liked it a lot!

retired_chemist 12:33 PM  

@ Sparky - what is OSFM?

Arby 12:38 PM  

Irate comedian Lewis Black is often referred to by his nickname, Lew.

r.alphbunker 12:41 PM  

Re xword data
The Englishman who Solves American Puzzles coined the word crucimetrics on his blog. It is a new field, there are only 732 hits on Google for it and some appear to be misspellings of cruisematic.

How about having the inaugural conference on crucimetrics at the next ACPT. Tentative speakers are:

Foodie "A proposal for a Quicker and Dirtier Index"

SanFranMan "Experiments using the top 110 solvers"

R.alphbunker "From keystrokes to visualization, are computers powerful enough to do it?"

John V "Extensions to the SQL language to support crossword databases"

Rex Parker "The Next 100,000 blog entries"

Evil Doug "Evidence that Crucimetrics is the work of the devil"

If anyone else wants to submit a paper let us know.

JasK 1:06 PM  

Woo Pig, Sooie, Mr. Fleming.

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

snip and sniping

John V 1:16 PM  

Re: crucimetrics, can we get Gail Collins to make a presentation on solving a puzzle? Now THAT would be worth seeing. Gail Collins=our new Dave Barry.

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

Subject pronouns. There are 7. There's only one configuration that I could come up with to involve all 7 in first position in recognized short phrases that would fit symmetrically into a 15x15 grid. “She Devil” was a Theda Bara film. That phrase seems to have become a hyphenated word over time. The one glitch in the theme, to me. Will was not that concerned about it. The key to him, and me as well, was that this theme had never been done before. Thanks for the kind reception.

Martin, I loved the audit story. Reminds me of a quote from an old (1975) case from the Court of Claims: "The special agent is the unobtrusive fellow casually introduced to you midway in the audit of your income tax return as the one who is now taking over. If you grasp the significance of his title, you gather your wits together and rush out to hire the ablest criminal lawyer you can obtain, at any cost. You know the prison doors are yawning for your reception.”

r.alphbunker 3:38 PM  

@John V
Thanks for the feedback. I would love to continue a discussion of this offline. If you are so inclined my email address is on the web page.

sanfranman59 4:10 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 9:42, 8:52, 1.09, 77%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:15, 4:34, 1.15, 89%, Challenging

@foodie (& @jae) ... on Saturday, the number of successful online solvers was just slightly above average (324 vs 316). So it was a Medium from that perspective. I'm still dismayed that I had a DNF on an Easy-Medium/Medium Saturday. This hobby sure has a way of humbling me.

@dk ... we might very well have a thesis here, although I think the measures leave quite a bit to be desired and the sample is undoubtedly biased in many ways.

@r.alphbunker ... lol ... I can hear the snoring already!

Z 4:18 PM  

@r.bunker - I propose that ACME speak on Initialisms and Acronyms: A Discourse on the Transcendence of Pangams

jae 4:55 PM  

@Sanfranman -- So, the expected number of solvers answered the phone on Sat. Rats, I share your dismay!

mac 5:04 PM  

Good Tuesday puzzle, with SEVEN thee answers. Have to admit I needed Rex's pointing out the theme and explaining "joint" to mein that context.

The puzzle did have a certain feel to it, slangy and with some expressions I didn't know, didn't remember or will never remember (looking at you MSRP!). Cute to have both twin and clone in the puzzle.

No brining here, but the bird will be draped in a wine and butter soaked cheesecloth.

foodie 5:08 PM  

@r.alphbunker I love that geeky conference idea:) But I imagine few would...And my title is perfect! Something to strive for.

We definitely need dk... he has a lot of data/thoughts on how Rex's reaction might affect the nature of the comments. And Andrea would make it pop. Wake everybody up.

Two Ponies 5:37 PM  

@ Vic, Thanks for a very nice Tuesday and for stopping by. It's an honor to have "hizzoner" come by to chat.
@ mac, I'm a briner from way back but that cheesecloth sounds yummy!

mac 6:18 PM  
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mac 6:18 PM  
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BigSteveSF 7:01 PM  

For 17A: Shout upon reaching a destination ("WE MADE IT!")
I had: "WE'RE HERE" at first. So did my sister when I spoke with her.

Let me tell you why, you'll enjoy the story.

When we were kids, if my Dad was out of town, my mother would take to Salerno's Pizza in Berwyn, IL. (try to go sometime). Three kids 8-12.

We hadn't been there in a while and were very hungry. My mother got caught up doing something and delayed our dinner. We three kids piled into Chevy Suburban and our mother sped over. It was a winter night, getting dark early.

"Are we there yet" he asked every other block.
"How much longer" after each turn.

Finally, my mother rounded the last corner a block away.
We could see the sign.
"WE'RE HERE" she said.

My brother took it very literally. He thought, WE -- ARE -- HERE.
He had his hand on the door lever -- this was way before child-proof locks.
As we rounded the corner, his door flew opened, and he fell out into the intersection.

Oh my God (before OMG). All the cars stopped, their lights shining on Dan.
He got up, brushed himself off, and climbed back in the car. He got the first piece of pizza.

To this day, in our family no one says "We're here" until the car is stopped.

Also 62D side jobs for actors, I was wanting WAIT (even put in GIG before change)

captcha = witesses, smart funny stories by non-witnesses.

Two Ponies 8:22 PM  

@ BigSteve, Great story!
3 and out

Tita 9:40 PM  

@Vic - thanks for stopping by... I really appreciate hearing from the authors.

@BigSteve - funny/scary!

@r.alph - definitely sounds like the dream team...

sanfranman59 10:10 PM  

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 7:35, 6:51, 1.11, 90%, Challenging
Tue 9:51, 8:52, 1.11, 81%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:15, 3:40, 1.16, 94%, Challenging (8th highest median solve time of 126 Mondays)
Tue 5:07, 4:34, 1.12, 83%, Challenging

geordiegirl 10:20 PM  

Managed to dredge up "colonel" for 10D, vaguely remembering that there were lieutenant-colonels as well as full colonels. So that made a mess of the NE for a while.

Dirigonzo 3:02 PM  

From the Land of the Late - I've been known to miss even a PRONOUNced theme until I arrived here and had it explained to me so the significance of 7 PRONOUNs just lying there unobtrusively didn't exactly jump out at me. I still thought it was a good time and enjoyed all the comments, as always.

Speaking of comments, there was a news item in my daily paper today that should serve as a cautionary tale for those commenters who like to share recipes. The headline reads, "Newspaper fined for recipe that exploded, burned cooks". A court in Chile court determined that the newspaper failed to fully test the recipe before publication, and that if readers followed the recipe exactly the churros (dough fried in hot oil) had a good chance of exploding once the oil reached the suggested temperature. Rex may want to look into a new liability insurance policy.

Anonymous 7:22 PM  

61D AUS is Australia, AUT is Austria in all the references I've seen

Anonymous 5:38 AM  

Spacecraft here. I thought this one was an annoyingly slow solve, given its Tuesady appearance. Weird cluing, crappy fill and a theme that was so hidden I called it themeless till I read the Rexblog just now.
Let's start with UOFA. This, and others of its ilk, are terrible. If you're going to reduce "University" and "Alabama" to single initials, why in the world would you spell out "OF?" Only one reason: the puzzlemaker needs UOFA to fit in there and can't think of any legitimate way to clue those four letters. Back to the drawing board on that one, bub. ABCTV rates an honorable mention in the category, as the first three initials would suffice normally.
Then there's RESAVES. Of all the abuses the English language has suffered at the hands of crossword constructors regarding the misuse of RE-, this has to be one of the worst. Ever hear anyone utter the word RESAVES? Didn't think so.
But the final insult waas making me look at the name at 60a--and so soon after eating. Not even BOWIE and KENOBI can make up for that.

scencer: spaceship device that can detect the faintest odors.

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