Fragrance of roses / MON 1-9-12 / Doughnut shapes mathematically speaking / Fantasy realm of C.S. Lewis / Like Dubai's Burj Khalifa

Monday, January 9, 2012

Constructor: Michael Dewey

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: blank LIKE A bird of some kind

Word of the Day: SCALAWAG (4D: Rapscallion) —
In United States history, scalawag was a derogatory nickname for southern whites who supported Reconstruction following the Civil War. (wikipedia)
• • •

Another very slight theme. 76-word grid, decently filled. All in all, fine. Completely forgettable, but fine.



[42A: Rockers Clapton and Burdon] 
Theme answers:
  • 20A: Soar (FLY LIKE AN EAGLE)
  • 38A: Tell everything to the coppers (SING LIKE A CANARY)
  • 51A: Carefully guard (WATCH LIKE A HAWK)
Weird thing about solving experience for me was getting all the way to the bottom of the grid before I had a single theme answer or any idea of what the theme was. Had the SCA- of SCALAWAG but couldn't do anything with it, so I ended up riding ICICLE down to ISAAC over to ASIAN down to SNOB over to BUTANE (with some small detours along the way, I'm sure). All very quickly. Then got WATCH LIKE A HAWK, but it wasn't until a bit later, with SING LIKE A CANARY, that I picked up the (very) slight theme. Had some confusion along the way. Started with ILLS for WOES. Read [Number after a © symbol] as [Number after a @ symbol] and so YEAR made No sense. Clue on TALL is pretty ridiculous (11D: Like Dubai's Burj Khalifa). Michael Jordan is TALL. Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. TALL is bathetic in the extreme. Calling that building TALL is like calling the Great Wall of China LONG. Understatement. Clue out of proportion to answer. Absurdity.



I like how SLIP and KNOT(TY) are right next to each other. I also like how this puzzle has no J. Yes I do.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

89 comments:

Anonymous 12:04 AM  

Why do you like that it has no J? I don't get it.

Tobias Duncan 12:14 AM  

One of my fastest times ever.I love any puzzle with DARWIN and no sports!
I am curious to see what sanfranman59 comes up with.I cant remember seeing such a soft pitch in quite a while. Nice confidence boost for a guy whose times have been lagging all winter.



"Soft pitch" ...is that correct or should I have said slow pitch? My new years resolution is to be just a bit less of a sports grouch so I am trying to throw in a sports idiom now and again...

foodie 12:17 AM  

Yes, very easy, and the theme not very dense, but I guess it's what I needed... so I liked it.

Or may be there's something about birds that's uplifting :)

Favorite words are SCALAWAG and NEOPHYTE. I also liked the floral NE corner with ATTAR crossing TULIP (BTW, ATTAR now means essence or perfume more broadly).

My hypothesis for the unusual cluing of TALL is that the constructor was in a Middle Eastern mode... Beyond ATTAR, there was OPEC and QATAR, so, why not throw Dubai into the mix?

pk 12:19 AM  

OMG, a write over on a Monday. OOH for TRA at 24A. What is the world coming to? Otherwise okay and easy.

What I really want to know is what everybody thought about the first episode of Season 2 of Downton Abbey. I found a book in Costco on Saturday called Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey subtitled The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle written by the Countess of Carnarvon. Fascinating.

chefwen 12:39 AM  

Had Fly Like an Eagle in my brain throughout the entire solve, loved it. Don't care what anyone thinks, Seal is HOT. Saw him up close and personal at Humphrey's in San Diego, WHEW is all that I can say.

Cute puzzle, loved all the little and big birds.

@Tobias - Jump on the Packer band wagon and really piss JFC off, it'll be fun.

Good, easy start to the week.

Ace s Calawag Michaels 12:44 AM  

This is a perfect Monday puzzle, not slight at all!
Do the math, three long solid theme phrases all in the language and 4Ys + snazzy QATAR/DOZED corner =
Missing J.
SCALAWAG NEOPHYTE...love it!

JoelF 12:45 AM  

@Anonymous 12:04, he likes that it doesn't have a J because he has a bizarre hatred of pangrams, and this one is only missing a J. Apparently, sticking a J in, say, the upper right corner would be a real demerit to the puzzle.

JoelF 12:46 AM  

*upper left

MikeM 12:50 AM  

Fly Like an Eagle? Steve miller of course. Who is Seal?

Anonymous 12:52 AM  

Very easy. Would've had my first under 5 minute time ever except I put in SSH instead of SHH at 28A and didn't check the cross.

Oh well. I'll take one of these over an old aged stinker Monday anytime.

retired_chemist 12:53 AM  

Easy. Agree with Rex that it is "completely forgettable." But, overall, it was an OK solve. FLEW LIKE AN EAGLE through the non-theme acrosses and only did enough of the downs to get the theme answers, all of which meant there were a lot of downs that I never saw.

Favorite answer: 17A LANA, which is a shout-out to our 3 1/2 month old pug puppy.

Only one writeover: 1A ILLS => WOES. Only needed OPEC in place, not full crosses, to see that ILLS had to be wrong.

Tita 1:22 AM  

Puzzle was fine - I like the birds too...

BUT...
Please find me a mechanic that calls your axles RODs.
When you "throw a rod", you have broken the connecting rod btwn crank and piston.

Will... next time you're on NPR, walk down the hallway and knock on Click & Clack's door and tell them you have a bad rod and see what they say.

Tita 1:24 AM  

And...liked the counterpoint of DARWIN & ADAPT to last week's TELESIS.

syndy 2:06 AM  

I also threw down ILLS and am lost about seal? easiest puzzle in a long time but nothing icky nothing repellant-nice monday.AXLES and SCROD!

Z 6:22 AM  

Had the theme immediately, but oddly refused to look at 51A for several seconds, making the bottom a little slow for me. Did not know Lukas HAAS, but sAAS didn't seem likely.

I did wonder what the heck @RP was talking about, as I never saw the clue at 11D. I agree with @Tita - nice to see TELESIS balanced out today.

Didn't we just have TORIi as the plural of Torus not too long ago?

©©©©©©© 7:16 AM  

©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©
©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©
©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©

dk 7:19 AM  

@Tobias, we could join my sports unawares family and cheer for the Saints. Also, in my WASP infused youth soft lob was the term of art,

Agree word for word with ol'cranky. I enjoyed filing in SINGLIKEACANARY as I was caught singing along with Buddy Guy's "My Time After Awhile" yesterday:

"Go ahead an mistreat me
But every... every dog got his day."

The fact that I was stopped for a crosswalk in front of a church... never mind.

** (2 Stars) This one waddles like a duck.

evil doug 8:09 AM  

Tita,

"Will... next time you're on NPR, walk down the hallway and knock on Click & Clack's door and tell them you have a bad rod and see what they say."

Can they prescribe Viagra?

Evil

SethG 8:12 AM  

"Let the eagle soar" is Ashcroft.

I liked the theme.

Glimmerglass 8:15 AM  

Perfectly easy Monday. Just right. I liked the clue for TALL. Understatement (we English wonks call it litotes) is popular north of Boston. For example, Taylor Swift "has pleasant features."

jackj 8:37 AM  

An excellent Monday debut puzzle from Michael Dewey, who gives us three simple similes from the bird world, while foregoing the obvious one(s), (If it) "looks like a duck", "swims like a duck" and "quacks like a duck", (it's a duck).

If Mr. Dewey wanted to continue these avian similes, he might switch to “as” for the comparator, rather than “like”, and then he has a whole new puzzle waiting in the wings (so to speak), using “crazy as a loon", "proud as a peacock" and "naked as a jaybird”, for example.

Getting back to today’s puzzle, the fill has some special moments, with SCALAWAG, FRUGAL, NEOPHYTE and KLEPTO as standouts and there is another notable entry which makes an extraordinary effort to find a new way to handle Oreo cookies by having them identified as DISCS. Very, very clever, if “a bridge too far”.

Don’t take flight Mr. Dewey; come back soon.

jesser 8:38 AM  

Man, that illS before WOES writeover snagged quite a few of us!

UTEP is just a few miles down the road. It is a vastly inferior school to NMSU, in my opinion. But the architecture is lovely.

To have to write in NEWT was painful. Can we send him to QATAR?

I've never been to SPAIN, but I kinda like the music... :-)

retired_chemist 8:43 AM  

@ Z - TORI is the plural of TORUS. TORII is the Japanese formal gate.

David 8:46 AM  

UTEP has been in a ton of puzzles lately, has it not?
Very easy overall, and I broke 3 1/2 minutes for the first time. Theme is very mellow, but I really liked the 8 letter answers as well as most of the 6 letters (KLEPTO, NARNIA, ICICLE).
I also now have Lukas HAAS ingrained forever, he's also been showing up a fair bit lately.

loren muse smith 8:46 AM  

I thought "ills" but didn't write it down. Then I saw WOLF.

@Tobias Duncan. You're already emerging as a heavy hitter among solvers.

@Evil Doug. Shamey, shamey.

retired_chemist 9:08 AM  

UTEP is not just a recent addition to the crosswordese lexicon. I have been doing some Maleska era puzzles from compilations lately. I think it was not rare even then.

I'd like to check that last statement but a hard disc crash eradicated all my bookmarks. Can someone give me the url for the site to look up past NYT clues/answers?

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

I enjoyed the cat in the west ready to pounce on those Birds!

efrex 9:18 AM  

Maybe it's the residual high from yesterday's football games, but I loved this one. C'mon... SCALAWAG?!
How can you criticize a puzzle with SCALAWAG in it?

Nice clean theme, and other than a bit too much gunk in the bottom of the grid, nice fill - NARNIA, NEOPHYTE, KNOTTY, DARWIN - fun words all around.

ACES, Mr. Dewey!

quilter1 9:34 AM  

Here, here, yes, easy, but good fill we don't see every day, and especially on Monday. I liked it.

chefbea 9:36 AM  

I agree...easy puzzle. Loved all the birds. No seeds for them to eat..just a doughnut.

Tita 9:45 AM  

@evil... I was going to make such an observation, but then decided to leave you the opening...
You're welcome...

loren muse smith 10:24 AM  

Because of the WOLF clue and because I love spoonerisms, I can't get this version of The Three Little Pigs out of my head!




http://youtu.be/o0Os2IGDXM8

Two Ponies 10:31 AM  

Agree on this being a perfect Monday puzzle. Such lively fill.
Gotta love a klepto scalawag!

@ pk, The book sounds interesting. I wonder if the countess is related or married to Lord Carnarvan the Egyptian excavator.

John V 10:32 AM  

Easy, fun, 6:00 on the LGA tarmac. Liked the theme, a good Monday. This from my phone in Charlotte. Blowing from phone = pain.

mac 10:35 AM  

Very good Monday, and as mentioned before, like that cat among the birds. Maybe he is going for the fish.

Almost got caught by the haas (hare in Dutch), flecks for specks and the ills.

I'm tired of UTEP and the weird playground lingo. More scalawag and neophyte.

foodie 10:41 AM  

It's a debut puzzle! That's makes it remarkable in its smoothness. I think it usually takes people quite a bit of experience in construction to manage such a seamless feel. Additional Kudos!

Getting a "This is a perfect Monday puzzle" from Andrea must feel really good! The Queen of Mondays is a thoughtful and analytical critic, but she also has the generosity to admire with no reservations a piece of work in her own domain. At least in my field, that kind of generosity can be rare, so it's great to witness.

And I loved @jackj's analysis and thoughts about further avian variations.

the redanman 10:41 AM  

unremarkable

OK, RAN TO is kinda ugly


v. good Monday but not efien good

Congrats to Louis Oosthuizen, 2010 Open Championship (British Open to Yanks) winner, Champion of Euro (golf) Tour event in Africa yesterday, I still await his CWpuzzle debut.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Ah, there’s more to the comments today than the puzzle (a marvelous debut):

Anon @ 12:04 not knowing that Rex hates pangrams and a J would have made this one…

Acme again showing why she, not Rex, should be doing the commentary on Monday puzzles…

Evil Doug returning from his malaise with a surgical shot…

Chefwen thinking that the Packers winning the Super Bowl will upset my psyche, not realizing dead (which I will likely be in 2040) people can’t get pissed…

Okay, all you New Yorkers out there whose lives will be endangered by Canada Geese when you fly to Green Bay this weekend, let’s shout as loud as you can in unison: GO GIANTS!!!!

JFC

PS. I always like seeing a J in a puzzle….

the redanman 10:43 AM  

phopa "captcha" - a misstep.

Good ones recently. "efien" was the one in the last post, don't want to be accused of cussin'

joho 10:54 AM  

I'm on vacation in Key West so at the moment I like everything including this puzzle which is smooth, smooth, smooth.

Congratulations Michael Dewey, you pulled off this puzzle like an old pro.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

@pk, I watched Downton Abbey last night. Are we the only ones? After reading many reviews, I thought I would be disappointed. But I wasn't. What did YOU think of it?
I was surprised that Bates left with his evil wife, and that insight was given as to why Thomas was such a nasty guy...

chefbea 11:07 AM  

@John V welcome to North Carolina!!! Enjoy your collards and grits. Let me know if you need the puzzle e-mailed to you.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:11 AM  

@retired_chemist - Are you looking for the Clue and Answer Finder at the Xword Info site? (Last entry on Rex's listing of crossword sites.)

Rudy 11:11 AM  

@Tita & @evil doug
Tita,

"Will... next time you're on NPR, walk down the hallway and knock on Click & Clack's door and tell them you have a bad rod and see what they say."

Knowing those crafty brothers they would strongly recommend ball & pinion surgery

Stan 11:44 AM  

Nice, solid Monday. I was surprised at some of the words he got away with while keeping the difficulty-level down. It's all in the crosses I guess.

Liked the ICICLE clue, but on an election eve (of sorts) NEWT should have been clued: 'Grown-up eft'.

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Impressive Q not followed by U in either direction at 58A and 58D. Good job!

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

You have to understand Rex. When he says something irrational like "I hate pangrams" we're not supposed to take him seriously. It's just his sense of humor. Every post he says something completely ridiculous just to get newbies to comment. He's not that stupid.

archaeoprof 12:12 PM  

Splendid debut puzzle. Fresh, breezy, and fun.

ACME is right: _perfect_ Monday. A stimulating appetizer for the coming week.

Thank you, Michael Dewey!

quilter1 12:23 PM  

We watched Downton Abbey and thought it was good. It shows how war can bring great change and opportunity. The upper class women were as trapped as their downstairs counterparts, but all of them got the chance to change and expand their horizons. We have to remember that the war eliminated practically a whole generation of men and many of those women had to live independent lives. I think the Bates story will turn out all right.

Hmmm, connect to the puzzle. I am no NEOPHYTE when it comes to literary analysis but I can be quite the SCALAWAG when doing satire. There.

Gareth Bain 12:58 PM  

But I think we can all agree that deliberately resorting to unnecessary substandard fill just to get in that "J" is annoying, right?

MountainManZach 1:11 PM  

@ JoelF, @Anonymous 11:56, The way I understand it is it's not an irrational hatred of the pangram or a tongue-in-cheek comment, it's the fact that you can make a puzzle suffer by forcing a pangram on it. He applauds because it's probably very tempting to get that close and try to squeeze that in, and by avoiding it, the puzzle doesn't suffer. Put a J in the ULH corner, you have a lot of retooling to do, much of which would end up with stupid acronyms for crap nobody knows.

Lewis 1:11 PM  

@chefbea -- I don't know if I'm far from you, but I live in Asheville.

A fresh and non-clunky debut -- bravo!

MountainManZach 1:12 PM  

I see @Gareth Bain just made the same point, my bad!

treedweller 1:14 PM  

@Tobias you probably don't really care, but:

Softball comes in two varieties: Slow Pitch and Fast Pitch (not counting T-Ball). Sometimes people say asking an easy question is lobbing in a softball. But soft pitch isn't anything, unless maybe in the advertising world.

treedweller 1:16 PM  

. . . or maybe in roofing or music.

Two Ponies 1:45 PM  

@ anon 10:57 and everyone else
PLEASE
no Downton Abbey spoilers. I haven't watched it yet for Pete's sake.

chefbea 2:10 PM  

@Lewis..I'm in Wilmington. Way across the state. You have snow...we are on the water!!!

Gill I. P. 2:10 PM  

14, 15, 14 theme entry letters.
SCALAWAG, NEOPHYTE, NARNIA, FRUGAL, KNOTTY. So many clever Monday words. To me, this puzzle is right up there with ACME's crackerjack, fresh Monday's.
I will add Mr. Dewey to the authors I will watch for.

evil doug 2:12 PM  

Tita: Thanks for teeing me up.

Loren: Me? 'Shamey, shamey'? (And what's the lexicographic background of that clearly technical term?)

JFC: Hallelujah! The malaise is cured! I chalk it up to Viagra---Two mints! Two mints! Two mints in one!

Evil

evil doug 2:29 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JaxInL.A. 2:31 PM  

I thought this puzzle quite delightful, and @jackj's theme suggestions inspiring. Two of his list are 15 letters, if I counted right, and the other is a 12. So add a clever 12-letter reveal and you have the beginning of a puzzle. It may have been done before, but we have recently seen that uniqueness is not an absolute requirement for publication if the puzzle is strong.

I really enjoyed Downton. In deference to those who may have it recorded, I will only say that they seem to have made all the prickly characters a little nicer this season. I want to loathe Thomas, but they are trying to make him sympathetic. And I don't understand where they can be going with Edith. Hope I didn't say too much.

School's back in session today, so happy new semester to all in education.

evil doug 2:35 PM  

Speaking of UTEP, this is from last night's Family Guy:

****************************

Doctor: Mr. Pewterschmidt,
we pumped your
daughter’s stomach
and we found vodka, Rophenol,
a fair amount of DNA
that is not her own
and a class ring.

Pewterschmidt: Harvard?

Doctor: I think it was
SUNY something.

Pewterschmidt: Oh, I don’t want
to hear any more!

********************************

Oops, my bad; I got UTEP and SUNY confused....

Evil

retired_chemist 2:40 PM  

@ Bob K - that is exactly what I wanted. Thanks!

And one learns indeed that UTEP has been an answer some 25 times since 1994. The penultimate time was 12/28/2011, which does leave one with a feeling of déjà vu.

Gill I. P. 3:00 PM  

@evil doug: Do you have an off button? And must you turn every crossword into a cheap, yuck, yuck sexual connotation? It gets pretty old....

Masked and Anonymous 3:03 PM  

"Jaws", 31's NW-corridor horror story:

JAWS
ERIC
FALA
FLYLIKE...

Har.
Great debut anyway, Dewey dude. thUmbsUp.

archaeoprof 3:14 PM  

@Lewis, @ChefBea, @JohnV: and I'm in Spartanburg, just across the line from Asheville and Charlotee. Maybe we should convene an ACPT-Southeast Region...

JenCT 3:16 PM  

Nice, easy Monday.

Favorite answer was KLEPTO.

Liked all the theme answers today.

Broncos had the fastest overtime win ever yesterday - 11 seconds!

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

Evil Doug - Clearly a waste of cheap vodka...and not even a trace of Certs? Is there no end to the daughter's poor taste?

Anon @ 11:56 - One of the reasons I read Evil Doug everyday is because he let's me know when Rex is serious and wrong as well as when Rex is just being ridiculous. I always assume Rex is serious, even when he posts a picture of the wrong person with the same name that appears in the puzzle, says he's never seen Silence of the Lambs and complains about the NYT revealing the answers to the puzzle on the same day hurting his Blog....

JFC

sanfranman59 4:21 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)

Mon 5:57, 6:50, 0.87, 5%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:26, 3:40, 0.94, 25%, Easy-Medium

Acme 5:23 PM  

@two ponies
I'm with you on the spoilers...there must be a Dowton abbey blog somewhere that folks can comment on leaving this one to comments on the puzzle...

And on that note @jfc:
Thanks for the support and compliments, but this is rex's blog so he 6is more than entitled to his comments on Monday puzzles...
i still feel lucky to have a place to chime in with my increasingly difference of opinion! ( how i long for the days when @rex used to be word for word insync, in my mind...one or both of us have changed...
For example, I'm still smarting over my PRETTY UGLY puzzle comments when for me that was the best puzzle i had made in years!)

I didn't want to directly respond to the shoutouts, but since you've been making them regularly, i feel i must say
if i wanted to blog Mondays, i would start my own blog, but i love this one, so i have to respect @rex rants about things i cherish and feel satisfied there is an outlet for what i would like to say without any of the work!

You may have no idea how in general positively this blog has affected my life and creativity and mental health! Just from the sweet comments of the other bloggers.

Plus he let's me, or used to let me, subblog from time to time, before you joined...and i super enjoyed that,
( he even offered to let me blog one of my own puzzles...and trusted me to blog about one of his)
but you may have no idea what sort of time and dedication this special blog takes...and i even had @puzzlegirl AND@sethg on total techinal back up!

So let me just say that technically i thoughtthis puzzle was a perfect Monday...real phrases, consistent on many levels, interesting grid fill,both in terms of fun words like NEOPHYTE and SCALAWAG and KLEPTO as well as having crunchy letters and an almost pangram.
Who's to say @gareth that a J in the upper right may not have resulted in an even more enjoyable puzzle!

There was a J in that this puzzle brought me Joy. ;)

mac 5:45 PM  

Brava,@andrea!

chefbea 5:55 PM  

@lewis @john v @archaeoprof...would be great to get together. Maybe Raleigh?

Sparky 6:35 PM  

Nice, easy Monday for me. Writeovers at HAsS, date/YEAR. It occurred to me the canary made a canape for the eagle and the hawk.

Watching Downton, enjoying it immensely. The ballet was great, too, and, fortunately, I had ordered a matinee ticket back in Dec.

Anonymous 6:41 PM  

Acme,

I did not mean to embarrass you, but was only trying to make the point to Rex to do something that could improve IMHO what is already a very popular Blog.

Like Sgt. Schultz, I know nothing about puzzles but I always get Mondays and Tuesdays quickly (the rest of the week, that’s another story), so I know these are easy and intended to be. I wonder if they should be analyzed the same way the puzzles are later in the week. It might be good to get a different viewpoint on these once in a while.

Let’s take Rex's extended discussion of TALL:

“Clue on TALL is pretty ridiculous (11D: Like Dubai's Burj Khalifa). Michael Jordan is TALL. Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. TALL is bathetic in the extreme. Calling that building TALL is like calling the Great Wall of China LONG. Understatement. Clue out of proportion to answer. Absurdity.”

Rex, of course, is right, but he is often absurd either to make a point or be funny. So why be so critical of someone else’s absurdity? In fact, it is so absurd that I think it was intended to be that way to be funny, so I actually laughed at it whereas Rex apparently grimaced.

What was eerie in all that you said was the one line that is so similar to what Will Shortz recently wrote. Frankly, I do not know how one person could do this every day of the week with all that must be done. In that respect alone Rex is amazing.

I'll probably get pelted for this but I can always call on Evil Doug to protect me....

JFC

Pete 7:13 PM  

@JFC - Do you wander around on New Year's day, going from Open House to Open House, telling the host that while their guests are superior to the party down the street, their house isn't as nice and their dip sucks? No? Why do that here?

skua76 8:08 PM  

Wow...a great debut. I wouldn't come here if I didn't appreciate Rex's opinion and Acme's thoughts. Definitely not for the birds...although I almost wrote in FLY LIKE AN angel before I figured things out.

Seal...that was a different take, thanks for posting.

Anonymous 8:31 PM  

Acme,
I do not mean to embarrass you either, but you wrote 1 paragraph telling the Downton commenters to leave "this one to comments on the puzzle..."
Then you wrote 4 paragraphs about yourself.
You wrote 1 paragraph about the puzzle.
Rex is the one who first mentioned the unmentionable tv show on this blog. So if a few of us commented, so what!!?? Since when do people on this blog stick to just talking about the puzzle??

JenCT 9:30 PM  

@Anon. 8:31: people talk about all kinds of things on this blog, but it's generally understood that spoiling the endings of shows/movies isn't done, out of courtesy to those who haven't seen them yet.

sanfranman59 10:01 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 6:01, 6:50, 0.88, 7%, Easy (9th fastest median solve time of 133 Monday puzzles)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:18, 3:40, 0.90, 9%, Easy

Anonymous 10:07 PM  

Pete@ 7:13 - I don't go out on New Year's, don't even take advantage of the free open house at my club, but fail to understand what that has anything to do with what I said.

Skua 76 - Even when Rex has turned his Blog over to others he has still expressed his opinion.

PS. In case you haven't noticed there are plenty of people here who disagree with our host. I'm trying to keep him going longer, not burn him out.

Anonymous 11:33 PM  

Sorry JenCT, but no one on this blog has spoiled the ending of any show/movie...from what I read, I saw 5 people make general comments about enjoying a show that started its second season last night. None of them gave away any ending--NO SPOILERS HERE!!

pk 11:56 PM  

I only mentioned Downton b/c Rex mentioned it recently, and since so many of us seem to think alike about many things, diverse a group as we are, I wanted to see what you thought.

@Two Ponies: Yes, that's the guy. The real Earl discovered King Tut's tomb. Seems he had pulmonary problems and spent his winters in Egypt for many years as the English winters were too cold and wet for his health.

Having said that, I won't listen to anything approaching criticism of this blog's angel of light, ACME.

Did not realize until I came here that this was a debut puzzle. Congratulations, Mr. Dewey. I can only hope you are more than 15 years old.

Tita 12:19 AM  

@Anon at 11:33...

Anon at 10:57am did in fact give away something pretty key.

JenCT - you said it succinctly.

Fellow Downton fans...We come here when we're done with the puzzle - not when we're done watching the snooty Brit soap, so please don't spill the beans!

pk 12:43 AM  

Humble flumdy dumph!

Acme 3:43 AM  

@pk
Thanks!!!
I really just rang back in to comment on Tuesday's puzzle but as it's not been posted yet, I'll comment one last time.

I should know better than to comment to an anonymous, esp a mean one, but i just wanted to say, i was only trying to back up @two ponies who seemed upset by @anon 10:27am clearly spoiling comment.

Obviously i don't care about off topic things, i know i can be the worst offender of that in some eyes (iim sorry, @anon 8:31pm but evil doug's self-appointment of calling me on my perceived hypocrises and narcissism has that angle cornered!)
But for the record, my first comment today was not at all about myself and only about the puzzle...
And my second was a direct response to someone, who has asked on my behalf for a role i do not want...while trying to explain why i was happy in the role I'm already playing...

Plus i know how hurtful it can be, esp for a first time creator, to have criticism heaped, which may not even be warranted...or to have your day in the sun be totally derailed by a way off topic discussion,
(even tho i know it was @Rex who brought up his love for Downton Abbey to begin with...)

Anyway, i wasnt censoring, I was talking about spoilers, not going off on tangents.
And yes, you have embarrassed me...in an anonymous sort of way...despite your "denied" intention, you succeeded! (But don't worry @pk, i won't melt!)

Dirigonzo 2:56 PM  

Strange that such a lovely puzzle stirred up so much unhappiness among the commenters 5 weeks ago (dare I say they were a bit "peckish"?) Rex used to step in occasionally when the comments went far afield or got personal but lately, not so much. ACME must have felt like that poor canary, caught smack in the middle between the eagle and the hawk.

This puzzle got my solving week off to a much better start than last week when I DNF on Monday and Tuesday!

Mighty Nisden 3:37 PM  

@Dirigonzo - It IS interesting how topics are brought up and others glom onto it. I wonder if it is the ease of the puzzle and one that is not very flawed. Without any really bad things to note, people digress. I would take that as a compliment Mr Dewey!

Enjoyed the puzzle today but let zoned stay instead of changing it to DOZED. Bad me for not going back and looking closely at that corner. Solving by paper has that effect sometimes.

rain forest 4:32 PM  

Typical. A very nice Monday puzzle, but we must find something critical to say: (very) slight theme, forgettable, absurd rant on "tall". I enjoyed the puzzle, and wish there had been a J. That is all

Spacecraft 6:00 PM  

I'm with MikeM: of COURSE Steve Miller! Seal?? Seal who?
This is a nice one; if really a debut (how would we know that?) an impressive one. Cool indeed to see Mr. DARWIN in the puzzle, instead of amongst the clues. Pretty clean fill; I liked that not only is the CAT among the birds--but he seems to be saying "SHH!" so we don't frighten them away.
The SW got a bit quirky; when I saw the Q-cross--both ways sans U--I thought he was going for the panny. Then, close by, ATOZ. I wish someone, if they must use that entry, would give a shout-out to the librarian of STTOS's "All Our Yesterdays," and to Ian Wolfe, the marvelous actor who played him.
Oh, the NW? Yes, ILLS occurred first to me, too--but that lasted about two seconds, because there's no I in WOLF. A lot of the clues were Mondayishly slo-pitch softball, but I did love "Thief, in brief."
New or not, Mr. Dewey, good job.

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