Flower shrub common in South / MON 1-16-12 / Letter before ar / Hamlet's reply to What do you read my lord / Northern constellation

Monday, January 16, 2012

Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: 3x5 — each theme answer = 3 x 5-letter word

Word of the Day: LANTANA (16A: Flowering shrub common in the South) —
n.
Any of various aromatic, chiefly tropical shrubs of the genus Lantana, having dense spikes or heads and small colorful flowers.

[New Latin Lantana, genus name, from Italian dialectal lantana, wayfaring tree, viburnum, perhaps from Vulgar Latin *lentāgō, *lentāgin-, from Latin lentus, light, flexible.]
• • •

[It's pledge week here at the Rex Parker site (thru Sat.) —read my pitch for donations in the opening paragraphs of Sunday's write-up, here ... and thanks for your faithful readership (and the many kind messages I've received so far)]

• • •


Very weird Monday. Started out tough (cross-referenced clue at 1-Across?? LANTANA?????), and then got so easy it was laughable. Did not know "WORDS WORDS WORDS" was a famous quote, but once I hit PICKY PICKY PICKY and saw what was happening, the other theme answers took no effort at all and if I hadn't written in GOADING for GOOSING (68A: Prodding into action) (clue fits GOADING better), I would've set a personal NYT record. Because theme answers are just a 5-letter word twice-repeated, I didn't find it terribly cute or charming, and it's slightly less clean than most of Ms. Michaels's early-week grids (she's set a high standard ... I mean, KUE (35D: Letter before ar)? ESTEES?). I do like that every theme answer is the same grid-spanning length. JASMINE over EMPEROR is very elegant, and TACTILE STOOGES is kind of funny, and it's only a Monday after all, so lighten up, Rex. But the thing is—it's Ms. Michaels herself who taught me that "it's only Monday" is a diminishing and unfair assessment of Monday puzzles. Just because they're all easy doesn't mean that it doesn't matter how artfully constructed they are. And the well-constructed Monday puzzle is a beautiful, if ephemeral, thing. This one was just OK.



 
Theme answers:

  • 17A: Hamlet's reply to "What do you read, my lord?" ("WORDS, WORDS, WORDS")
  • 32A: "You're too hard to please!" ("PICKY PICKY PICKY!")
  • 42A: 1976 Abba hit ("MONEY, MONEY, MONEY")
  • 63A: How the trolley went in a 1944 song ("CLANG CLANG CLANG!")


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. The only DRACO I know is a Malfoy (51D: Northern constellation).

82 comments:

pk 12:10 AM  

Loved it, loved it, loved it! Yes, it was elegant and charming. That's what @rex meant to say, I am positive.

Gill I. P. 12:14 AM  

Coming here often, and reading the comments on constructing a puzzle, I know how difficult Monday's must be. They shouldn't be too easy, too hard or filled with 3 or 4 letter junk. The theme for me should be fun and everything else just plain clever. I think Andrea did just that.
Favorite words: SNEERED, SASSY, SPRY, YAY, YOW, YEE, EGGY and GOOSING.
The puzzle flowed easily; nothing seemed forced, fun words, perfect Monday fare. YAY!!!!

foodie 12:16 AM  

This was plain FUN, FUN, FUN. Lighthearted, a little SASSY. A puzzle with BARED, SPRY, TACTILE STOOGES running AMOK GOOSING ELSA, LOLA and ESTEES, is nothing to be SNEERED at, and that's a FACT.

A sly self reference with JEWS, and a little wink at Evil Doug with PILOT. YAYS!

Comedy in a puzzle requires MASTERY!

pk 12:20 AM  

"Words, words, words
I'm so sick of words
I get words all day through
First from him, now from you
Is that all you blighters can do?"

Where did Greene go?

Tobias Duncan 12:32 AM  

This puzzle was the highlight of my Sunday for sure.
Printing out a double stack for the coffee shop solvers, I will be bragging that I know the constructor even though she did not make it to the Santa Fe Xmas gathering.

TheDeepEll 12:34 AM  

I, too, thought of Eliza Doolittle when WORDSWORDSWORDS came to me.

jae 12:42 AM  

Very smooth grid Andrea.  It seemed to me that the easy theme was somewhat offset by some non-Mon. answers  e.g. REES, DRACO, ENNA, COE... GOADING at first for me too, GOOSING is better.

chefwen 1:13 AM  

@Rex - A donation will be winging its way to you as soon as I sort out my Paypal snafu. It's my birthday present to myself for the yearlong gift that you give me. Wow, that sounds pretty "suck upie" but I mean it.

Thought the puzzle was great for a Monday, some nice long words to keep it interesting. TACTILE, GOOSING (can't wait to hear what @dk has to say about that one, I'm sure a chortle will follow.) LANTANA, can't get rid of that weed here. I don't believe that we planted it on purpose in CA.

Good start to the week, thanks Andrea.

loren muse smith 1:34 AM  

A few weeks ago I was checking out at my grocery store and the cashier was having trouble getting my oh-so-vital 12 pack of seltzer to scan. I said, “I refuse to say, ‘Well it must be free then!’ because you must hear that all day long.” This teen-aged girl looked at me with world-weary eyes and said, enunciating every syllable, “You Have No Idea.”

I challenge you all to refrain from any "yada yada yada" or "turn turn turn" quips. Game on.
I loved GOOSING, SPRY, LANTANA, TACTILE, OMNIBUS, and DRACO on a Monday.
Thanks, Andrea! It was fun cubed.
Oops. Game off.

Anonymous 2:08 AM  

My post on Wordplay that appeared long before Rex's Blog was open for comment....

Bravo, Bravo, Bravo, Acme! Once again you have shown that you are the MASTERY of Mondays! I loved this puzzle! And what I loved about it as icing on the cake is that you did not include one answer that gave Suejean an unfair advantage!

PS. I will repeat this on Rex's Blog even though nobody there will know who Suejean is.

---

PPS. "...and it's only a Monday after all, so lighten up,..."

I think I said that and it's not true here because there is no reason to criticize this puzzle. I really am getting concerned about Rex's state of whatever (do not want to say it).

JFC (I'm thinking about my conribtution, but if everybody just gives $10, then Rex rocks.

syndy 2:15 AM  

Goosey goosey gander wither sall you wander upstairs and downstairs and in my lady's chamber.with a gnu and an omnibus! sheer MASTERY .all I can say is YAY YEE YOW!

Z 6:41 AM  

Very similar experience to Rex's. Inherent in this theme is that by getting it at PICKY made MONEY and CLANG and those thirty letters very easy. That led to a fill in the blank experience and not needing to even read all the clues. For instance, I never saw the clues for GNU, DRACO, ONTO, GON, COE or GIG. ACME has set a high bar, and this wasn't on par with her best work.

JenCT 7:10 AM  

Agree that the theme answers skewed the puzzle towards very easy, but there were hangups: LOLA crossing KLEE, GOADING before GOOSING, tried CENTRUM before ONEADAY.

In the Northeast, LANTANA is a summer plant attractive to butterflies; not invasive as in other parts of the country.

Love the word TACTILE.

Fun puzzle.

jberg 7:17 AM  

I thought of gOadING first, too, but GOOSIMG is a lot more fun! I enjoyed the puzzle, though I too didn't much like KUE - at least it was clued with the equally odd AR. And the theme did help a lot - I got it with 17A, even though I didn't know the quotation - but I had WORDS WO, and what else could he have said?

Never saw ENNA, but EGGY was nice, as was all the French, since I woke up yesterday morning in Paris. The honeymoon is over (ONLY literally), and we're back home, and this was a nice welcome-home treat.

Did anyone else start with eLDer AT 8d? That was my only holdup.

jberg 7:22 AM  

I forgot to add - I'd always thought Paul KLEE was Dutch, so this puzzle was educational as well as fun.

But I'm still waiting for the day when a 4-letter fencing sword is a FOIL!

mac 7:55 AM  

Charming Monday puzzle. The theme made it easy, but that was offset by slightly tougher and beautiful words. Tactile, goosing, omnibus, jasmine and lantana, nice fragrant top to the grid. I plant yellow/orange lantana every spring to attract hummingbirds.

Rudy 8:05 AM  

This is Monday..Loved LANTANA (nice Aussie movie of the same) GOOSING (alas not GOADING) @loren_muse. So how about these triple plays. Never forget your realtor's mantra about property..Location, et. Al. But perhaps we will need a massive grid to accommodate.What about Tom Jones WHY WHY WHY Delilah? The grid may be too small and perhaps his pelvic thrusts are too tame by today's standards.But the King of Soul takes the prize with
Please Please Please

The Bard 8:19 AM  

Hamlet > Act II, scene II

LORD POLONIUS:
[Aside] How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter: yet he knew me not at first; he said I was a fishmonger: he is far gone, far gone: and truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for love; very near this. I'll speak to him again.What do you read, my lord?

HAMLET: Words, words, words.

LORD POLONIUS: What is the matter, my lord?

HAMLET: Between who?

LORD POLONIUS: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.

HAMLET:
Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here that old men have grey beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams: all which, sir,though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down, for yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab you could go backward.

LORD POLONIUS: [Aside] Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't. Will you walk out of the air, my lord?

Troilus and Cressida > Act V, scene III

TROILUS: Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart:The effect doth operate another way.

[Tearing the letter]

Go, wind, to wind, there turn and change together.
My love with words and errors still she feeds;
But edifies another with her deeds.

[Exeunt severally]

a-pat 8:21 AM  

Rex says it's "just OK", so clearly he's unhinged. JFC indeed.

dk 8:22 AM  

The combination of the 3 word theme with the inclusion of the 3 STOOGES made this puzzle my cup of tea (Oolong not JASMINE).

Set aside my worship of Andrea for a nano second (nope too long). Her puzzles just flow. Today's has some hard for Monday fill (LANTANA) but it is just a bit of a stretch. For those of you who know Andrea her puzzles are just like her smart, polished with a hint of pixie dust.

Rex, 32a man. Chain of fools clip is brilliant.

Sorry I can not stay with the theme

**** (4 Stars) A double DUET.

Remember money to Rex or:

Do you know how to tell if an elephant is loose in your refrigerator?

The tracks in the butter.

mmorgan 8:23 AM  

Well, I thought it was yummy. Right after the CLANGCLANGCLANG... ZINGZINGZING went my heartstrings. Yay ACME!

The Bard does PayPal 8:24 AM  

To give him annual tribute, do him homage.
The Tempest: I, ii

joho 8:27 AM  

Leave it to Andrea to create yet another perfect Monday ... do you have any idea how difficult it is to make it look this easy?

This seamlessly smooth grid needs no GOOSING due to its freshness and light touch. Again, an Andreaism.

I didn't RUE the KUE, nice way to get it in!

For those who don't see the elegance of this puzzle I say, "PICKYPICKYPICKY!"

dk 8:28 AM  

Illen update: Wait, wait don't tell me, NPR, Sunday.

Medusa 9:10 AM  

I will hate any puzzle that references "money money money" other than this, for all eternity. Sorry Andrea. Yes, I know there are 4 here, but so what?

Captcha gorgindi - A Gorgon who breaks the rules, which is pretty damned difficult, take it from me!

chefbea 9:14 AM  

What a great, great, great puzzle from Andrea. Love lantana, we have it in our garden.

Geometricus 9:30 AM  

Started at the bottom, loved CLANGCLANGCLANG (i'm easily amused) and didn't have to contend with LANTANA until I had every single cross. It's not until I came here that I even knew there were JEWS in the puzzle. As Niles Crane taught us, you won't succeed on Broadway if you don't have any.

Finished in my usual Monday time, thinking "delightful puzzle", and only then noticed the constructor. Showers of sparklers and fireworks went off in my head! Okay, calm down, I says, you are married with six kids, Acme's not that great. Still, just once I'd like to get my butt kicked by her in Scrabble. Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?

Trolley Rider 9:46 AM  

I went through this so fast I got whiplash, but I had fun.



brotork--the force exerted when you give your younger sibling an Indian burn

Pete 9:48 AM  

My 1D was ARAB, because I believed the 2000 estimates for the population distribution for 2010 were correct. I forgot that Israel ceded the West Bank and Gaza, which prevented my answer from being correct.

I can see that the theme might have been irresistable once one or two came to mind, but agree that it made for a too easy solve. The curse of an irresistable theme. Balancing that was WORDSWORDSWORDS, which must have taken a hell of a lot of research. Counter balanancing that was, random line from a Shakespearean play?

I missed seeing KUE, which would have caused me to pull out 10% of my remaining hair, an important, but not really painful experience, as there are fewer than 100 of them left. I'll give KUE some props, as it is one of two letter spellings that don't involve the actual letter, but still, why spell out letters?

If you're cluing proper nouns in the plural and can't think of two examples (ESTEES), don't do it.

jackj 9:51 AM  

What a crop there was to harvest, had Acme just stayed with "The Trolley Song" for her triple plays.

She'd have both CLANG, thump and cling for 15's and ding, zing, bump, buzz, plop and stop for 12's and maybe she could have included a bouncing ball gimmick to play the song Mitch Miller style.

KUE was a mildly suspect entry but it can earn a place in the wordie's Hall-of-Fame by replacing the awkwardly worded QUEUE; but, no, on second thought, it will never fly as constructors would revolt when they face the loss of a key word used in building their pangrams.

A fun and lively puzzle, made a bit too easy by virtue of the trips, but still a fitting offering from the co-queen of Monday puzzling.

quilter1 10:17 AM  

Count me in the liked it very much crowd. Perfect first cup of coffee puzzle with much to like. I also second fondness for LANTANA.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Given the choice, @Rex, we'd like to see you get a GOOSING rather than mere GOADING.

Your tip is on the way.

Pat Paulsen 10:31 AM  

These lawmakers don't like to take graft and big bribes...but how else can they get the money to buy votes...They can't all make great records like Everett Dirksen...And, all the fuss about that Senator who rented a yacht at government expense and threw a series of wild orgies...Picky...picky...picky...What do they expect him to do, spend six years staring at those crummy cherry trees?...

Two Ponies 10:34 AM  

Hand up for liking it.
Some of the fill was suspect but the rest made up for it.
Nice one Andrea. I can't wait for the back story.

@ Rex, I am planning a contribution via snail mail but one question. Do I really write the check to "Rex Parker" as you had that name with your address?

David 10:35 AM  

Like @Mac and others, the numerous gimme letters of the theme were offset by the terrific set of 8 seven-letter answers in the 4 corners. Overall the Across answers were funner and chunkier, and almost every single Down answer (except DRACO) was a gimme.

I also had the GOOSING/GOADING writeover, and now I know COE College to go with Ames, Iowa.

Tita 10:45 AM  

Well, in an unusual reversal, had to come here to see why I should love this...
Firts reaction when I got 17A was - oh no, I am getting cheated out of 2/3s of the themes...

But I must agree that it is easy in an elegant way - barely any pop references, hardly any crosswordese, only one abbv - COE (I don't count NNW or CNN)

I did really like
-YAY, YEE, YOW...
-SPAM in ACAN...
-GOOSED!!
-Turning the clue/answer pairing inside-out with TBAR as clue instead of answer...

Maybe I'm just cranky cause I got a technical DNF, having spelled EMPoROR wrong, and thinking that docs prescribe MoDS (you know, to modify your behavior)!
Oy veh!

(There must be an unwritten rule that says you can't complain about a Monday if you couldn't even finish it!!!)

ACME - thanks - I've learned here how tough Mondays are, and this one was clever & classy, but had to come here to get over having finished too fast.

ArtLvr 10:49 AM  

Congrats, Andrea -- lots of fun! ∑;)

Tita 10:59 AM  

Rex - ditto Two Ponies query...

Being morally opposed to Paypal, and not wanting Rex to have to share any of my exorbitant donation with them, it's checkbook all the way...

Ulrich 11:08 AM  

@andrea; Since you're a Beatles fan: Yea, yea, yea!

baja 11:21 AM  

Easy breezy - really liked it. Goading was the better answer but goosing brings more smiles.

FearlessK 11:34 AM  

Yes, immensely easy as the 15s were very "gettable". Also immensely enjoyable, especially for music lovers: CLANGCLANGCLANG, LOLA, MONEYMONEYMONEY, AFLAT, GIG, DUET! Loved the interesting 7s in the corners. Hands up, Rex, for DRACO = Malfoy :) Thanks, Afro Cone Miracle, for a great start to the week!

FearlessK 11:37 AM  

Ditto @TwoPonies and @Tita on the really important question of the day: to whom do we make out our checks? Or do we use the term "tribute" since the money goes to the "King of CrossWorld"?

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Have lived my entire life in the South... NEVER heard of LANTANA

North Beach 11:50 AM  

@Two Ponies, @Tita, @FearlessK: if the man says Rex Parker, he means Rex Parker - he must have a set-up.

@Tita: I'm sure there's a reason for your hatred of PayPal that you've voiced twice now, but it seems to me that they are no different than credit cards or banks to an extent. The "seller" pays a transaction fee for the convenience of the system. Believe me, I'm not a lover of PayPal, my account there got hacked, but they made good and I view them as a necessary EVIL (we know about those here....). Rex must be willing to live with their "bite" if he offers the convenience of the button.

Also COE is not an abbrev., ask Daniel Coe.

As soon as I saw the constructor, I knew this would be a delight and I was rewarded. Smiled the whole way through.

focab - gypsy taxi

jesser 11:54 AM  

Hands up for GOadING before GOOSING, and I had nakED before BARED at 12D, but they both fixed themselves quickly.

I agree with all the love being foisted on this puzzle, because we all love Acme so, but I agree with Rex that once you figured out the theme, filling in the grid-spanners was automatic, which made it maybe too easy. I dunno. Loved JASMINE, but ONEADAY makes me feel old. At least it wasn't Centrum!

Finally, I will admit that I always though Mt. SHASTA was in Oregon, so I learned something today! Thanks, Andrea California Mapmaker!

Happy MLK Day to all. Let us all dream BIG!

JenCT 12:02 PM  

@North Beach: Well-said!

Lurker0 12:15 PM  

@Tita said...

...

Being morally opposed to Paypal, and not wanting Rex to have to share any of my exorbitant donation with them, it's checkbook all the way...

---

I'm not morally opposed to PayPal (my son was an executive there for a few years -- an eternity here in Silicon Valley), but I'm definitely opposed to sharing anything with them. So here is the way to do it:

1. Go to your own PayPal account. (If you don't have one, why not? It's free.)
2. Register your own bank account of choice. (A one-time operation. It's free, but may take a couple of days to complete.)
3. Select "Send Money."
4. Enter "RexParker.mac.com" (caps optional); $10.00 (YMMV).
5. Select "Personal" then "Other".
6. You will see your transaction, without a fee! Make any changes, adding a personal message to Rex if you wish.
7. Select "Send Money" et voilà!

It's clean, legal, and free. And PayPal encourages its use. And you save check, envelope, and stamp.

---

OT -- football:

44D MIRACLE at the 'Stick on Saturday (four touchdowns in four minutes, a roller-coaster of emotions and sounds -- deafening noise to dismal silence and back, twice).

44D MIRACLE at Lambeau Field yesterday (NY Giants -- which was my team before I moved too the Left Coast -- upset the vaunted Packers: 30A R.I.P.).

44D MIRACLE at the 'Stick this Sunday -- NFC playoff game (but we don't have tickets to the Super Bowl -- see 42A -- sigh!).

Heard on TV after the Packers' loss, presumably from cheese-heads upset at their shellacking by the Giants:

LET'S GO, NINERS!

Amen.

Lurking Larry

Sparky 12:34 PM  

Hamlet a gimme. Plus I liked using the repetition as a tool. Only nit is that 32A not a reference to something. Or am I missing it?

Liked tactile. Thanks, Andrea, for a smooth ride.

PS: Eugene Maleska's book is titled "What's GNU?" Fun to ask for in the library.

PPS: I decided to use PayPal because it got the job done without procrastination.

Clark 12:37 PM  

Loved this. Easy, easy, easy – slip sliding around the grid – nudged by a not-quite-monday-ish word to solve this way instead of that. I loved it; and I agree with what Rex has to say about it. Not every sonata that Beethoven wrote is the Waldstein. Maybe this one was the Tempest (nice to see you today, Bard). That's still a great sonata.

Semi-puzzle partner loved CLANG CLANG CLANG. He's a big fan of Meet me in St. Louis.

Lurker0 12:44 PM  

RexParker -- @ -- mac.com

Oops!

LR

Lewis 12:50 PM  

I agree with those who have said that this puzzle was smooth -- it was, as silk.

I also agree with Jesser that this might have been too easy. The repeating theme words plus -- and someone else said this as well -- the down clues, except for ENNA and KUE were such gimmees, that they more than overcame words like OMNIBUS, LANTANA, REES, SHASTA, and maybe GOOSING. If not my fastest, it was at least one of my fastest times ever (I don't always check my times).

But, as always with Andrea, it had pop and sparkle and was sprinkled with smiles. Andrea is a card, and Rex nailed that, naming the puzzle 3X5.

donkos 1:01 PM  

If you send a check, you also get Rex's autograph for free :)

chefbea 1:16 PM  

@lurkerO I just wasted 44cents on my 2cent envelope?

and @Donkos - I don't get my cancelled checks back but I do have Rex's autograph on several thank you notes from a few years ago...and I do have them framed on my desk

Tita 1:26 PM  

@Lurker (thanks for that tutorial - I have enshrined it) & North Beach...
Sorry - was it twice?

I did not mean to derail this blog, so after writing a nice little explanation of my Pavlovian reaction, I have deleted it, and instead will simply say:

Freedom of payment methods for all!
Send Rex your money, through Paypal, paper check, e-check, Western Union, or even [gasp] cash!
But just send it!

BTW -
@foodie...back on topic, your donation algorithm is perfect:
"I think one formula that can be used for calculating donations is to match the annual cost of coffee or other drinks you imbibe as you read Rex and the comments. That way it's pegged to how much you can afford to spend on guilty pleasures. "

DigitalDan 1:29 PM  

The Trolley Song is one of my most persistent ear worms, going way (way) back. Thanks for re-installing it in my head, Ms. Amok Clanging Master(y). It should be gone by Thursday.

Stan 1:43 PM  

Better than okay, I thought. The easiness of the theme repetition was balanced by the way-cool-for-a-Monday longer words. And even KUE had rock-solid crosses.

retired_chemist 1:51 PM  

Flew through the acrosses sans the theme answers. Got dewn to CLANG CLANG CLANG, the first one I KNEW I knew, and that of course revealed the theme. Made it duck soup to go back, do a few downs to get the first five letters of each theme answer, and finish them off.

Fastest Monday ever, but I missed the fun of thinking through clues. It was too automatic for my taste.

Excellent for genre - kudos for the construction, but just not my type.

Jim 2:21 PM  

Not to beat a dead horse, but GOOSING is slang, and deserved a maybe anyway. Let alone that there is a perfectly proper word that could substitute in there instead. Is CaE a school in Iowa? Probably not, but who knows? Is ELdA some movie (or book, I have no idea) lioness. Actually, yes, I believed it was.

The point is this mistake cost me 4 minutes -- 4 minutes!! It doubled my time, cuz I was sure I was right. On Mondays, when your first instinct works, you should be right.

That's why they're Mondays. And that's why GOOSING is a bad answer.

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

This puzzle was not "easy" for a Monday. Omnibus, Tactile, Goosing, Shasta (I live in NorCal, so I knew, but just saying), The theme answers were very easy, but come on, the puzzle itself was medium-challenging.

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

I agree, okay for a Monday
I also had GOADING until the light came on and I realized it should be GOOSING
I like your Missing Persons reference. Brings me back to 1982.

Inquiring Mind 3:07 PM  

While I loved the ego boost of a fast time, I feel a little guilty about this one. Is there such a thing as too easy if the crossworld?

quilter1 3:58 PM  

@David, Iowa State University is in Ames, and COE College is in Cedar Rapids. They may be compared to "David" and Goliath sizewise. COE pops up now and then as you get two vowels and a C to play with.

archaeoprof 4:00 PM  

Today in our crossword class we used this puzzle for a simulated ACPT. Two students tied for first with a total of 1935 points.

Next tournament's first prize will be Rex's autograph from the back of my check!!

David 4:40 PM  

I've seen Ames clued in a number of puzzles too, even as an 8-letter AMESIOWA (5 vowels!)

FearlessK 4:47 PM  

@North Beach -- good point.
@Donkos -- really good point!
Definitely sending a check.

foodie 4:51 PM  

I actually think that this puzzle will come in nearer a Medium. As some have noted, while tumbling to the theme helps speed those 4 answers, there rest of the puzzle had novel/unexpected answers, so the difficulty level was just about right. We shall see.

@Tita, glad you like my little formula :)

Matthew G. 5:14 PM  

I agree with those who say that difficulty elsewhere counterbalances the Easiest Theme Ever. I fell into the GOADING/GOOSING trap, and it took me forever to figure out why my puzzle wouldn't submit. I guess {Squeezing the posterior of} doesn't pass Will's breakfast test, but I didn't really get the clue. That's Monday tough.

Also Monday tough were LANTANA (I lived in the South for 15 years and never heard of it) and the short fill in the SE (COE/ELSA/ENNA).

Wood 5:24 PM  

Record Monday for me (since I started keeping records, which was two weeks ago). Might have been even faster if I hadn't put in GIMMEGIMMEGIMME for the Abba hit at first... not sure where I got that.

Recently watched the short video on ACM's puzzling life that's posted over on Cruciverb.com. Lovely. Andrea, you look very much like one of my cousins. And this puzzle was a wonderful Monday treat.

Theoda3rd 5:58 PM  

I have never posted here before . Have been reading Rex's blog for a few years. I make a donation with PayPal every year. It is a small price to pay for the fun and knowledge he shares. So pony up kids. Especially all you who refuse to pay for the NYTimes, pilfer them from your coworkers and brag about it on this blog

loren muse smith 6:07 PM  

@retired_chemist - how did you get italics for yor "sans?"

DigitalDan 7:57 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
DigitalDan 7:59 PM  

l. smith:

You can use some HTML tags, such as <b>, <i>, <a>

Words 8:37 PM  

Words, Words

At 1:50

Tita 10:14 PM  

@loren...
As an example, to get this effect you must surround it with BOTH open and close tags.... like this: <i>this effect</i>

sanfranman59 12:11 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 6:24, 6:50, 0.94, 25%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:34, 3:40, 0.97, 42%, Medium

I had the unexpected pleasure of spending much of the afternoon with today's constructor when she popped into my neighborhood Starbucks. I'm surprised to see that she hasn't yet graced the Rexville message board with a post, but rest assured that she'll pop in sooner or later. Ordinarily, I would take issue with YAYS in my puzzle, but when it's accompanied by a YEE and a YOW, it almost seems necessary. Those of you grousing about GOOSING will be interested to know that that wasn't ACME's choice. But I'll let her expand upon that should she so choose.

andrea clangclangclang michaels 12:59 AM  

thank you thank you thank you...

re: KUE
Common word in Scrabble, I originally defined it as "Ten pointer in Scrabble"...and quite frankly, with four 15 across theme answers, there was literally no choice for any other word there.
K-E.
Surprised it got any attention, it was the glue between two (I hoped) fun fun fun answers!

(Sorry some felt cheated out of theme, I mean there were 60 "theme squares"...they weren't just random words, they were all phrases, song titles, whatever.
My hope is that folks would feel like singing afterward, or try and come up with their own triples!)

Those who felt that it was not up to my standards, wow...i don't know what to say to that!?!! I can't make a better puzzle than this!

Ironically, what gave folks the most trouble, the SW corner, was the only thing changed...I had TANTO instead of TANGO; where GOOSING is I had TRUSTME...over OPPOSED.
So, TANGO is much better, GOOSING more fun (tho tricky clue) but COE, GON and ENNA are not me! What can you do? Some things improved while others suffered a tad.

Yes, LANTANA, DRACO not necessarily Monday fare, but I wrote it as a Tuesday, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

@Clark @JackJ
CLANG CLANG CLANG was the impetus...between living in San Francisco right on the cable car line and heading to Patrick Blindauer's wedding last summer in St. Louis, it was going through my head for weeks.
Wouldn't that have been fun to do the whole song??!!! Imagine the outcry!

And I thought the STOOGES would elicit at least one NYUK NYUK NYUK!

Anyway, thanks everybody for the sweet sweet sweet comments! Nighty night night.

Sarah @ Baby Bilingual 5:29 AM  

I chuckled over COw college before wondering what vitamin brand began with ON wAD!

Tita 10:27 AM  

Thanks ACME for giving us a glimpse into the constructor's world...fascinating!!!

I'll speak for myself in terms of "feeling cheated"... I want the chance to wrestle with every single white square, and even a theme like TePee disappoints me a tiny bit because I'm getting something for nothing. (Bizarre, eh?)

Having said that, there are far more times that I am grateful for such hints to latch onto, as I am beaten by the puzzle more often than I beat it...!

the redanman 10:50 AM  

Too busy to post yesterday, but I had real admiration for this construction.

nomel - the NEW Hollywood!

Spacecraft 12:57 PM  

Here's what I expected to find: ("Put another nickel in, in the nickelodeon, all I ever want to hear is")
MUSICMUSICMUSIC
I mean, one tune from my childhood, why not two?
Sorry, but the reason I think KUE is so bad is that those three letters don't even evoke the pronunciation of "Q." If you want to go that way, why not "cue," which is an easily recognizable word that is pronounced exactly so. KUE to me is more like a Japanese proper name, pronounced "koo-ay." If THEY say "Q" it's spelled KYU, as in the amateur ranks of many sports and games; cf. DAN for the pros. So KYU would be another way to represent the letter Q--but NOT KUE. Eww!
But again I harp on defects and withhold praise. Sevens in the corners plus all those fifteens: I couldn't do it. Hand up (you know where!) for GOADING--but you can't deny that GOOSING will prompt swift action! Andrea, you prove once again how interesting it would be to meet you.

rain forest 2:30 PM  

As a Monday puzzle, this one sang, for reasons already given. I do agree that once you get one theme answer, 60 squares required little or no thought, which meant that many crosses were filled in without having to look at the clues. I religiously checked each one after, and stared suspiciously at KUE, but it had to be correct. Yes, very easy, but also yes, fun.

Dirigonzo 3:38 PM  

My favorite answer was GOOSING - it's a fun word, maybe a little irreverent and it fits the clue exactly. So imagine my disappointment when I came here and learned that it was not ACM's word!

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