1863 speech opener / WED 3-14-12 / Relatives of aardwolves / Hit 1942 film with song Love is Song / He wrote Jupiter from on high laughs at lovers perjuries / Lake of cryptozoological interest

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Constructor: Dave Sarpola

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: PI DAY (65A: Mid-March celebration ... or a hint to the starts of 18-, 25-, 44- and 57-Across)— theme answers being with THREE, POINT, ONE, and FOUR, respectively

Word of the Day: OILER (26D: Titan, once) —
The Tennessee Titans are a professional American football team based in Nashville, Tennessee,United States. They are members of the South Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). Previously known as the Houston Oilers, the team began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League. The Oilers won the first two AFL championships, before joining the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a very nice grid. The theme ... not interested. Didn't notice it, don't think of PI DAY as anything that anyone actually "celebrates"—more just an occasion for people to make nerdy observations on Facebook. St. Patrick's Day, *that's* a mid-March celebration. PI DAY is some made-up, inherently imprecise baloney. Further, we've had PI DAY puzzles before. Or puzzle, I guess. At least one. It was a PI rebus. Five years ago. Nothing wrong with doing another one. It's a stupid non-holiday; that's my only objection to this puzzle. As a themeless puzzle (which is how it played, lack of difficulty aside), I like it just fine.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Like some sloths (THREE-TOED)
  • 25A: Bookie's concern (POINT SPREAD)
  • 44A: Most stand-up comedy acts (ONE-MAN SHOWS)
  • 57A: 1863 speech opener (FOUR SCORE...)
This puzzle gave me almost no trouble at all. I ended up well under 4 minutes—fast for me for a Wednesday. The only place I hesitated at all was the damn theme revealer. "Celebration" .... ? Starting with "P" ... briefly thought about variations on "St. Pat's Day" then just went to crosses. Luckily ASHCROFT (52A: Bush cabinet member) was (with just a couple crosses) a gimme and so that SE corner came together reasonably quickly despite my failure to turn up PI DAY on the first go round. The other sticking point—OILER. I thought maybe Titan was the name of some oil tanker that caused some famous spill or something. When I googled [oiler titan] I was confronted with the obvious (obvious to anyone who follows football ... which I *do*). Wow. Just missed the boat on that one. Still, that section was also highly gettable. I don't see any difficulty anywhere except *maybe* in that SE corner.


Bullets:
  • 1A: Hit 1942 film with the song "Love is a Song" ("BAMBI") — tough clue (for me), but with a massive gimme at 1D: "Brandenburg Concertos" composer (BACH), it wasn't hard to turn this title up.
  • 22A: Relatives of aardwolves (HYENAS) — wouldn't mine seeing AARDWOLF in a puzzle.

  • 54D: He wrote "Jupiter from on high laughs at lovers' perjuries" (OVID) — should've been a gimme for me (classical, four letters), but I blanked. Got every other short Down in that section instantly, though, so no problem.
  • 28D: Lake of cryptozoological interest (NESS) — Clue looks fancy, but it's really a gimme. Unless the word "cryptozoological" means nothing to you. Then you're kinda screwed.
  • 37D: Kansas City ___, Negro Leagues team with Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson and Ernie Banks (MONARCHS) — another gimme. Puzzle might've played more like a Wednesday if I hadn't known this (sizable) answer.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

85 comments:

jae 12:21 AM  

Not flashy but solid and clever.  The flashy one was the Pi Day rebus puzzle a few years ago.  Easy-medium for me.

Two tough sports clues but the crosses seem fair.

Bush cabinet mini-theme?  

I liked it.

Anonymous 12:21 AM  

I really have nothing to say about this puzzle, but the captchas are so easy this time I'm compelled to say something.

Anonymous 12:46 AM  

I read "Titan" as "Titian" but the answer still made bad pun sense if you could call someone who paints with oil paint an "oiler."

Anonymous 12:51 AM  

Pi day isn't just stupid, it's irrational. There, the first geek joke of then night.

Tobias Duncan 12:54 AM  

I am so conflicted about this puzzle, I dont know where to start.

I guess I will start with saying that all holidays are stupid and made up.
My favorites are:
Darwin Day
Pi Day
Towel Day

I will never understand the snobbery between Science nerds and English nerds.In high school all the nerds had to band together, in college those bonds seemed to melt away into acrimony. So sad.No more "hey whatcha workin on? That looks pretty neat."


This puzzle was trying to ruin one of my favorite nerd appreciation days with TOO MUCH $^&^%&^_ING $#@%DAM $@!T STINKING SPORTS.WAY TOO MUCH!!!

I almost had an aneurysm before I was somewhat calmed by the reveal.

Very easy,even with all the sports. Came in a good deal faster than yesterday actually.

Rube 1:05 AM  

Groan!

Anoa Bob 2:17 AM  

I thought the puzzle needed one more theme entry starting with APPROXIMATELY in the first slot or SOMETHING in the last slot. Last time I looked, PI wasn't just THREE POINT ONE FOUR; it was 3.141592653589793238462643383279....

Couple of clues seemed a bit ASKEW. "Stroked" (47A) is SWAM? I know some swimming techniques are called "strokes"---"breast" and "back" come to mind---but I've never heard "stroke" used as a verb to refer to swimming. "Hey, how many laps did you stroke today?"

And I hesitated to put in PSYCH UP for 47D because the clue "Get pumped" seems to be intransitive while PSYCH UP is transitive.

chefwen 3:58 AM  

How about a PIE day puzzle for all the foodies in this group?

Must agree that is was an easy solve, but the theme left me cold.

Not up on my flag symbols, LoON before LION was my only write-over. Now I am wondering if they have LOONS in Sri Lanka. Will have to do a little research.

Anonymous 4:21 AM  

Thought 'mid-March holiday' was NCAAs at first. Now that's a true mid-March celebration!

Otherwise, ridiculously easy yet fun Wednesday puzzle.

Rudy 6:44 AM  

I thought this was a fun puzzle! The theme was nicely weaved in with THREETOED, POINTSPREAD... And today is 3.14. Perhaps the constructor was simply rejoicing that today is PIDAY.

For those geeks in us Pi remains solidly irrational. Cray computers seem to have discovered the actual value several billion decimal places but with no end in sight. How curious that the circumference of a circle divided by it's diameter should remain so stubborn.

Z 7:12 AM  

So I'm guessing that Rex won't be celebrating Avogardo's Number Day.

Easy solve. I have to agree with Rex that knowing the Kansas City MONARCHS was a big help, so I also understand @Tobias' swearing. Like anon@4:21am, THREE POINT got me thinking NCAA, so PIDAY was a nice twist for me.

As arbitrary made up celebrations go, PIDAY seems just as irrational as St. Patricks day with less drinking involved.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

This was indeed an easy puzzle, but I enjoyed the cluing.

Also...good lord, Rex. Of course it's a non-holiday. Don't be such a fuddy-duddy!

nanpilla 7:35 AM  

My inner geek loved this.

@Chefwen - A friend of mine is having a Pi day party (at 1:59, of course. She's a former math teacher). Everyone is invited to bring a food that includes the letters PI.

PIna coladas,
PIzza,
all kinds of PIes,
Pistachios,
etc
I figure any excuse for a party and food is fine by me.

Since I'm back up in the cold north for the ACPT, I'm missing the festivities in Key Largo.
I will have some fresh PIneapple to celebrate.

OH, and I had LOON first too!

John V 7:39 AM  

Nice to have a themeless Wednesday.

David 7:53 AM  

Well, I loved it....if for no other reason than my son told me last night that he was celebrating something called PI DAY in his math class on Wednesday and asked me to bring a dozen doughnuts (doughnuts? not pie?) to his classroom. So as soon as I had the THREE, POINT and ONE, knowing the revealer was all of 5 letters, I knew I got it.

I also have a special affection for THREE TOED - during my freshman year of college I had just started gaining proficiency at NYT puzzles, and my then-girlfriend's dad told me (almost every time I saw him) that his all-time favorite NYT crossword clue was the three-toed sloth. That was 29 years ago....so two hands way up for me on today's puzzle, for nostalgia and for now knowing something silly like PI DAY via my 11 year old boy.

Sue McC 8:09 AM  

This was just a whole lot of easy fun. Come on - who doesn't love Pi???

joho 8:28 AM  

PIDAY? I much prefer cherry or key lime to this kind of pi!

I'd be more interested in a puzzle celebrating St. Patrick's Day.

The grid was well done with INKJETS and PSYCHUP my favorites.

Finally, @Rube's comment that today is 3.14 gave this puzzle a purpose for appearing today. Nice touch.

JenCT 8:54 AM  

@nanpilla: how about some PIta bread?

I also thought the puzzle was going to reference March Madness/ the NCAA.

Didn't know SKAT.

Wood 8:59 AM  

Fun theme. Never heard of PI DAY but it's the kind of thing I can appreciate. Found the puzzle easy and didn't really try to figure out the theme until I hit the revealer, which was DEAD LAST because this was a textbook top-to-bottom solve.

jberg 9:01 AM  

Me too forTHREE + POINT suggesting ncaas. Then I saw the ONE & FOUR, and figured there must be a PI DAY. Just didn't want to believe it.

I was expecting complaints that SKAT was obscure. I played a lot of sheepshead in my youth, which is supposedly dumbed-down skat, so I knew it. But I didn't think most people knew it.

On the other hand I also saw BAMBI in my youth, so I had a hard time believing it was made way back in 1942. I liked this one.

efrex 9:06 AM  

Sweet Wednesday puzzle, with a nice nerdy theme and solid fill. Knew OILER right away but not MONARCHS; and everything I didn't know was very gettable from crosses.

Oh, and if there's a "Pi Day" spoof of Rebecca Black's "Friday" out there, I. Don't. Want. To. Know. About. It.

Nicely done, Mr. Sarpola!

OldCarFudd 9:08 AM  

As a math major and retired actuary, hence a certified nerd, I loved it!

Hair Pi 9:28 AM  

Rex says: "Didn't notice it, don't think of PI DAY as anything that anyone actually "celebrates"—more just an occasion for people to make nerdy observations on Facebook."

Pure gold

jackj 9:36 AM  

A strong debut by Dave Sarpola! And, finally, a math-centric puzzle that can be solved without anguish by non-math folks, (aka ‘wordies”).

Having left the reveal clue for last, when the answer showed P_ DAY my first thought was St. Patrick’s Day and I briefly wondered if the puzzle was looking for some weird rebus until a quick review of other mid-month days sparked a vague memory of prior PIDAY puzzles, (and, a post puzzle lookup confirms one in the Times by old friend Peter Collins and, more recently, one in the WSJ by Joon Pahk).

The theme entries were mostly excellent, especially ONEMANSHOWS and POINTSPREAD and the grid was cleverly laid out to make one think that 20 across, HUNGJURY was also a theme entry, making it nigh impossible to guess what THREEHUNGPOINT et seq might be leading to (or, even worse, THREETOEDHUNGJURYPOINTSPREAD et seq).

The treat didn’t end at the theme as there was some excellent non-theme fill, led by BAMBI, PSYCHUP and CAIRO, (clued in a most contemporary way as “Tahrir Square’s locale”).

Congrats and thanks to Dave Sarpola; may he become a regular.

evil doug 9:47 AM  

Always remember: 'Skat' is not 'scat'. From Wikipedia:

"Scat or SCAT may refer to:

School and College Ability Test;

Thirty-one (game), a card game;

Feces, a waste product produced in the digestive tract;

Coprophilia, a sexual fetish involving feces;

SCAT (airline), an airline based in Kazakhstan."

While there is no evidence that the airline is related to the waste product, there is no way I'm getting on their airplanes....

Evil

chefbea 9:48 AM  

My day started out horribly when my printer ran out of ink. So had to go to Walgreens and spend $2.50 +tax for the paper.

Had a hard time figuring out the theme til I wrote down three,point,one,four...then it dawned on me.

Getting ready for St. Patty's day dinner. Needed a green dessert...so making a kiwi lime pie. @Sandy you should make one too but you will be having fun in Brooklyn.

Ulrich 9:49 AM  

@anon at 12:51: You nailed it!

Lindsay 9:55 AM  

I certainly don't think PI DAY puzzles have worn out their welcome like Talk Like a Pirate Day puzzles have. Now that I re-read my comment, I see that "pirate day" contains "pi day." There must be a Dumb Holidays theme in there somewhere.

Wanted to fill in 37D MONARCHS for my first answer, but counted the squares and concluded it wouldn't fit(!?). Not the way to feel smart heading into this weekend's solving extravaganza.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

Pi day isn't irrational, it's transcendental! Hey, second geek joke of the day (->)

Ulrich 10:00 AM  

SKAT is the most popular card game in Germany. Walk into a bar and see three guys playing cards, you may bet your house they are playing Skat. It's actually too demanding for me--think bridge for three: After the initial bidding, two players team up against the one who won the bidding. After two tricks, a really good player has a good idea of how the remaining cards are distributed, and that was always beyond me.

@David: Your son will probably never forget the pi-approximation that is perfectly sufficient for everyday applications. So, if a"stupid" holiday accomplishes nothing else, fine by me. But note: It works only in the States and other countries, if there are any, that write dates with the month coming first.

JaxInL.A. 10:03 AM  

No love for HUNG JURY? Two Us and a J, common phrase that has only appeared once before in a NYT puzzle (according to XWordInfo.com). It was my favorite entry in a lovely puzzle that made me laugh out loud.

Congratulations, Mr. Sarpola, on a very successful NYT debut!

This site says that Pi Day was invented in 1988 by the inspiring educators at the original hands-on museum, the San Francisco Exploratorium.

@nanpilla, I'm bringing Pinch scotch, Pink Ladies and Mr. Pibb to the Pi Day party, if I can just find it.

@David, donuts for the class because they are circles.

@efrex, the site above has a spoof song on Don McLean's American Pie, but thankfully no Rebecca Black.

I so wish I was going to ACPT. Looking forward to hearing all of your experiences here.

Pete 10:09 AM  

@Rex - Why, why would you do this to me? I'm incredibly bored, incredibly sad, so much so that I figured I'd click on the music videos you posted. I'd hoped the first one, "Let the Eagles Soar, Music and Lyrics by Jo.." might be inspirational. The snapshot showed little kids obviously in the clutches of Ugandan thugs, the title evoked hope that they would rise up and free themselves. I needed that, so I clicked on the play button. What did I see - that pasty faced John Ashcroft, the man who sicked the FBI on public libraries.
You did this to me for what reason?

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Started in SW. Got FOUR SCORE. Move to SE and found that FOUR was the end of the theme. The puzzle was published the night the NCAA men's basketball tourney started, so naturally the theme was leading to the FINAL FOUR. NOT! (Never mind we don't get to the final four until the late March.)

Never thought about it, but mid March is just rife with "holidays" ... 12=Girl Scouts 14=Pi 15=Ides 16=Freedom of Information/James Madison's b'day 17=St Pat's

Agree with Anoa Bob completely. THREE POINT ONE FOUR does need further description to be correct.

In the spirit of the day:

Q:What do you get when you take a native Alaskan and divide its circumference by its diameter?

A: Eskimo pi.

~~~DD

Mr. Benson 10:12 AM  

I saw "Mid-March celebration," 5 letters starting with P, and immediately thought of PURIM. (Purim is in the Hebrew month of Adar, which I think is usually in March. Or at least has been the last couple of years.) Although the real answer fell into place due to a relatively easy SE corner.

archaeoprof 10:19 AM  

Smooth solve, and I didn't get the theme until 68A. Well played, Mr Sarapola!

@Anonymous 10:11am: would you please add my birthday to the list of minor holidays in March?

quilter1 10:19 AM  

Good puzzle, although PIDAY was not in my knowledge base and I was looking for St. Pat. But everything unfolded nicely. Hand up for wanting Pie Day. I'll make lemon meringue.

lawprof 10:22 AM  

My earliest memory is being taken by my parents, at age 3, to see Bambi, so I wrote it in right off the bat -- just for fun -- thinking "no way." But lo....

I, too, assumed that the theme had something to do with the NCAA March Madness tournament, given some of the fill: POINTSPREAD, TREY. The final across clue, Mid-March Celebration, reinforced that inference. PI DAY was a nice surprise.

A third Bush Cabinet member would have made for a second theme -- and a messy, perhaps schizoid, puzzle. Best to stop at two.

Two Ponies 10:24 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Running it on 3/14 made it all the better.
Thank you @jackj for confirming the debut. I didn't know the constructor and suspected a debut.
I liked the clever clues esp. stroked. Nice job Dave S.
Pi Day made me think of Andie McDowell (sp?) singing the pie song in the movie Micheal.

santafefran 10:31 AM  

What fun! This puzzle was CUTE as a button and brought back fond memories. The college I went to did not have sororities but did have a few snooty "social clubs". In response, a few of us formed our own club: Eta Gobba Pi whose symbol was a triangle in a circle, hence a slice of pie on a plate. My music major roomie even wrote a song. The best part was that our meetings consisted of eating a gob of pie!
Thanks Mr. Sarpola.

Puzzle Sister 10:35 AM  

FWIW, my office celebrates Pi day every year, with a minimum of 3 different kinds of pie. This year, for some reason, it has been combined with Hawaiian shirt day. :( Now THAT is irrational.

Enjoyed the puzzle. The theme took me awhile, because after Three and Point, I assumed the reveal would be something about March madness, and spent too much time trying to think of a basketball related word with P I _ A _

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

I for one liked PIDAY
Clues and answers were not a bore,
Had no OREO, ESSO, or ONO fillers
Thanx Dave Sarpola- for your 3.14

ARLENE 10:54 AM  

I remember the Pi Day puzzle from several years ago. It was my favorite puzzle and so memorable. It appeared on a Wednesday, but I recall it being much harder than a Wednesday puzzle, but they had no choice but to run it on 3/14.

So once I saw THREE POINT ONE FOUR, it was like a little reunion. But this puzzle wasn't nearly as charming or challenging as the one from several years ago.

But I was a math major, and also a writer (published two books - see www.arleneromoff.com ) - so my interests in words and numbers coincide in puzzles like this.

chefbea 10:59 AM  

@two ponies thanks for pointing out that today is 3/14

Rookie 11:33 AM  

I'm with those who thought this was about the NCAAS. Had FOURSCORE and then put in NCAA, so I was sure that I was on the right track. Scoring and the Final Four. TREY and POINTSPREAD seemed to confirm that ... although as a team sport, ONEMANSHOWS are not a good thing! And, of course, winning the championship is the big PRIZE! And the winners can BRAG for a whole year. And I'm sure a lot of players feel ACHY when it is all done. Plus they need to get PSYCHEDUP before each game. Can't be BLAH at all.

So, I was really misled despite the fact that today is my birthday and I always think of it as PIDAY. It is also Einstein's birthday, so I'm surprised that he wasn't worked in here somehow, too.

So, for all of those of you who thought there was nothing to celebrate ... there is always my birthday!

JoeTheJuggler 11:37 AM  

I wanted to make the "celebration" something to do with the NCAA tournament--especially after getting "three" and "point". Still, it felt very easy for a Wednesday for me. I'm much more comfortable with sports than I am with movies and actors.

KRMunson 11:45 AM  

We just had Oreo Day, so why not have Pie Day? Next it'll be Tiramisu Day. I'm looking forward to that one.

Tita 11:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tita 11:48 AM  

@chefwen - splendid idea! I thought he ought to have thrown an APPLE into the grid jsut to play with our heads...

@nanpilla - great party...what with you having PI in your name kinda makes you the guest of honor?

Loved Button-like, and my 2 newest words...Catawumpus and Cryptozooligal.
Thank you Mr. Sarpola!

@ thanks to all you erudite folks for the PI factoids.

Happy Birthday @Rookie!

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Hello Rex-ites. Long-time (syndicated) reader, but I've never commented. And, if this is the wrong forum for this question, my apologies in advance. I'm also a public librarian and I need your help! I have a patron wanting the last answer in a puzzle where she doesn't know the origins (someone sent it to her). The puzzle is titled International Women's Day 2012: Celebrate by Remembering Great Women Artists. The clue is: "creator of leaping tesseraed amazons (first name)." Patron reports it's five letters: _i_ _i. I could probably solve it through crosses, but I'm dealing with an elderly person on the phone. If you can help me out, I'd appreciate it: Email me at leec [at] multcolib [dot] org. And thanks very much for letting me post here!
Lee Catalano
Multnomah County Library

Tobias Duncan 1:03 PM  

@Lee Catalano
Multnomah County Library

I found the puzzle, it's pure garbage,not at all a proper puzzle and it was clearly created by a buffoon(unless it is a style of crossword I am not familiar with, in which case I am the buffoon)

It is a four letter answer not five and there is only one cross so what you are left with is _ _ _ I
The clue is looking the first name of a female artist who made some tiles of Amazons jumping.

This is not a proper crossword,at least not the kind that I do.

http://www.artinsight.info/images/Women.pdf

Noam D. Elkies 1:16 PM  

I like Anon12:46's take on "Tit(i)an" → 26D:EULER. What, that was not a bonus π
Day entry?

NΔE

Mighty Nisden 1:32 PM  

Loved this one. Always enjoy getting long answers without crosses.THREETOED and FOURSCORE fell right away.

Had HYdrAS for 22A as I didn't think an aardwolf was a real thing.

Best aha was OILER. How quickly we forget the name of teams that have moved.

Bird 1:55 PM  

So this is Dave's debut? Congrats on a fine puzzle. Didn't catch the theme intil I saw today's date under the puzzle. I don't think PI DAY is a stupid holiday (sounds harsh). Think of it as a day to have some fun with pies and numbers. Yes, pi is not exactly 3.14, but so what. Just enjoy the puzzle.

I did not know there were such a thing as aardwolves. Nice fun fact to remember.

Didn't know a few other answers, but they were gettable from crosses. The only RONI (53D) I know is Rice-A-Roni, which is not a pasta.

Double captcha "VInvica eogencr" morphs into "Novice given car"

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Macaroni

The San Francisco Treat 2:34 PM  

I am a boxed food mix that consists of rice, vermicelli pasta, and seasonings.

ERS 2:54 PM  

Agree with Rex, easy for a Wednesday. Also agree knowing Monarchs made this puzzle easy.
Only concern was with 44 Down "in the hole". Thought initially of golf and then "aces" and then wondered if this was another bizarre golf clue ("rims out") until I realized the correct answer was "owes".

Lewis 2:55 PM  

There are five M's and they are all adjacent to R's, so my brain kept seeing "Mr.".

The aardwolf feeds mainly on termites and according to Wikipedia can eat 200,000 in one night! I could have used one of these when I lived in Florida.

nanpilla 3:19 PM  

@Tita - I hadn't even thought of that! I'll have to make sure to get special treatment if I can make it next year. They would have to move the ACPT to accomodate me.

@JaxinLA - you would definitely be the most popular person at the party!

Bird 4:16 PM  

@Anon2:02 - Duh. Macaroni & cheese is a classic Italian dish.

@San Francisco Treat - Thanks. I thought it was just rice, herbs and seasoning.

Anonymous 5:28 PM  

@nanpilla
I'm a geek, and, although it was some time ago, I've taken my share of math courses--even DiffyQ. I can't get the 1:59 reference. I'm sure I'll feel stupid, but please explain anyway.

Tobias Duncan 5:30 PM  

I found the Pi day Rebecca Black video you were all so desperate to see...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIQQp7fF46A&feature=player_embedded#!

chefbea 5:51 PM  

Fun to unscramble the captchas

rnesti tvilie = tiniest liver

Sfingi 5:52 PM  

Didn't think it was about a particular sport cuz I don't know enough to think that way.

But, I was so glad it wasn't St. Pat. I don't like to disrespect him with a nickname.

I loved this one and hope Sarpola makes more. I also loved all the comments. Very sharp crossworders, y'all!

I managed to guess everything, including sports and the new (to me) word, cryptozoological. And now I have coprophilia - yuck.

Nessun dorma reminded me that the adorable tenor Salvatore Licitra died last year at 43 in a motor accident. This was the first aria I heard of his.

Anonymous 6:08 PM  

@Anon 5:28 Pi = 3.14159....

chefwen 7:06 PM  

@nanpilla - I'll bring some pierogis and
we can wash them down with some ice cold Pilsner beer.

@jberg - Played a lot of sheepshead in high school and college. Tried to get a game going with some visiting Cheesers and ended up having to print out the rules. Guess it's not like riding a bike.

michael 7:43 PM  

Very easy puzzle. Glad to see the pi day theme -- Rex has consistently expressed his lack of interest in math (although perhaps dissing pi day is not relevant to this), which is his (misguided) right as the runner of this blog.

from a nerd math major

DBGeezer 7:53 PM  

Hope that you PI day fans took special note of the time at one minute before 2 today. For at that time it was 3/14 1:59

rick.santorum 8:05 PM  

There is a serious error in the puzzle. I Kings 7:23-26 in the Bible clearly states that the value of pi is 3.

"He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it."

Here the diameter is 10 cubits and the circumference is 30 cubits. Hence pi = 30/10 = 3.

One of the o's in my CAPTCHA looked like Jesus.

chefbea 8:06 PM  

@nanpilla I'll bring home made PImento cheese. We can spread it on the aforementioned PIta.

Numbers Guy 8:25 PM  

i usually dont see the NYT til after 7 (except of course for the former junior GS employee's post-bad bonus season rant this morning), but thank you for the numbers in todays. as tobias alluded to earlier, the crossing of word and numbers geeks isnt as common nowadays - and we frequently dont share the same politics... or definitions. even though it was easy, almost gets me over that bid/offer crap on monday - but i havent forgotten.

@Z (from early this morning) - what do you mean less drinking? i drink just as much on pi day as i do any other.

Deb 8:39 PM  

@Tobias, you must be some sort of Google wizard, because the only crossword-related hit I got when I searched for Lee Catalano's answer took me right back here.

I did happen upon a book that looks like it could be a real gem though: Finding Beauty in a Broken World, by Terry Tempest Williams. (It came up with the search words "leaping tessarae amazons") Just wanted to pop in and share that with what I assume to be an audience of avid readers (if you see this in syndi-land five weeks from now, I'm thinking of you especially, Red Valerian! :)

Enjoyed the puzzle a lot, but everything's been said.

nanpilla 8:55 PM  

@chefwen and @Chefbea - leave it to our resident chefs to come up with more great ideas!

Antipodic Psycho 9:48 PM  

Annoying deceptive cluing except for a puzzle geek.

Dumb holiday theme and I am a certifiable geek. Too much Sports? Weener wiener word gleaner.

Tita 10:54 PM  

@rick santorum...
"One of the o's in my CAPTCHA looked like Jesus."

Eternally funny...!

sanfranman59 12:25 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 6:45, 6:50, 0.99, 52%, Medium
Tue 8:07, 8:51, 0.92, 29%, Easy-Medium
Wed 10:30, 11:49, 0.89, 26%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:39, 3:40, 1.00, 50%, Medium
Tue 4:02, 4:34, 0.88, 13%, Easy
Wed 5:32, 5:52, 0.94, 37%, Easy-Medium

pk 12:30 AM  

The Pie Song:

"Baby don't you cry,

Gonna make a pie,

Gonna make a pie with a heart in the middle"

Happy B/Pi Day @Rookie

@Rick Santorum - you are responsible for red wine erupting thru my nasal cavity and onto my keyboard...keep up the good work

JaxInL.A. 11:04 AM  

@pk, I love that movie. Waitress.

Solving in Seattle 1:23 PM  

Toss up as to who made me laugh more, Anon 10:53 or Rick.Santorum 8:05.

Has anyone EVER heard of a guy named BAMBI? I'll bet that little fawn grew up with issues.

@Ulrich 10am, what about countries with 14 months in their calendars? Answer that.

aard·wolf: a striped, hyenalike mammal, Proteles cristatus, of southern and eastern Africa, that feeds chiefly on insects.
Afrikaans erdwolf < Dutch aardwolf, equivalent to aarde earth + wolf. Fun word!

26D Titan, once. Made me think of "Thunder, once." Still miss the Sonics.

Liked the cross of MONARCHS and ONEMANSHOW. Nice job for a NYT construction debut, Mr. Sarpola.

@Rookie, happy birthday from the past... er, future... er Syndieland.

Capcha: durojo. A really tough martial arts studio.

DMGrandma 2:41 PM  

My hang-ups today were the sport related clues. Thankfully, they eventually came from the crosses. Meanwhile, Titan made me think of mythology, or maybe a rocket. Can't name any old sports leagues, and long shot makes me think of horses, so couldn't come up with a basketball term. Does trey mean you get three points? So Rex's gimmes were my ???? Different strokes for different folks!
On the other hand pi and I are old working friends, so I enjoyed seeing it get a little well-deserved attention, even on a non-anything day in April. Well, it is my younger daughter's birthday, but I don't suppose that counts.

Dirigonzo 3:30 PM  

I love how a fun puzzle brings out the best in the commenters - prime-time and time-warped alike. And even though it's April 18 where I am the puzzle is still No. 03(.)14 so the theme still works perfectly.

@DMGrandma - A long shot does indeed count as three points, hence a TREY (although I think "three-pointer" is more common). And happy birthday to your daughter!

Spacecraft 7:14 PM  

@pk: There is also a pie song in the film "Michael," in which John Travolta tells Andie McDowell (OMG is she gorgeous!) to "sing your song about pies." The rest is better left, uh, unsung.

This one was a bit sticky for me; first of all--not paying any attention to the list of theme answer locations in the clue for 65a--I somehow included 20a and 52a with the rest, I guess because 20a was HUNGJURY, a compound word. So here I am trying to wrestle with THREE, HUNG, POINT(S?) and ONE (MAN?) before I even got to ASH and FOUR. And then I wondered what the hell happened to TWO? Had "no" IDEA what could be in 65a; my first thought was IDES but that would need a cheater square--heaven forefend! Then when PSYCHUP went in, I too thought of PURIM, and despaired because I know nothing of it but the name, and knew I wouldn't be able to relate it to any of the themers. In fact, the I there was almost a pure natick for me: yeah, OK, RONI, like in rice-a, and so forth--but PIDAY? That didn't even make.....oh, wait! 3.14! Gigantic G-R-O-A-N! You mean there's an actual DAY for this thing? Well, if there were, it'd have to be on--you guessed it.

All right, we've REARMed already this week; now we have to re-REARM! I'm tired of all this RE-ing; I'm just gonna ARM and let it go at that! But overall some cool fill: welcome Dave! The theme and its execution? A "good" IDEA.

Anonymous 7:22 PM  

From Sports Illustrated, August 20, 1990:

Jose Canseco can't stand Will Clark. "Somebody on television the other day called Clark the best player in baseball," Canseco says in Cleveland about the San Francisco Giants first baseman. "I almost threw up. I know at least 10 players who are better than him."

Later he will say: "Tell me how a first baseman can be the best player in baseball. He doesn't have to run, and he doesn't have to throw. How many first basemen steal bases? Name one. I dare you. You can't."

Canseco says pretty much the same thing about Don Mattingly: "Can't run, no arm." Of Angel first baseman Wally Joyner he once said, "Talentwise, he can't carry my jock." But he saves his best stuff for Clark. "Will Clark, you big dummy," he says in Milwaukee. "I'm making a million more than you are. You overrated, slow, three-toed sloth with no arms. You hear me, boy?"

The next day, Canseco is heard explaining to his teammates what a sloth is.

Red Valerian 8:47 PM  

Hey @Deb--thanks for thinking of me! That book sounds a little depressing, despite the write-ups. And I worry I'd be inexplicably and indefensibly more upset about the prairie dogs than the people.

You're probably not going to read this since, I surmise, email alert was not working at "this" time. But have you ever read "We So Seldom Look on Love" by Barbara Gowdy? Sappy title, but a collection of amazing short stories.

Loved the write-up, @Rex, and the comments, @all you folks. Puzzling is even more fun now. (yah, that sounds lame. Must think of wittier way to express appreciation...)

Anonymous 12:28 AM  

We have a Pi Day party every year. You need something to break up the monotony of March and we and our friends are not the big drinkers needed for St. Pat's day. We have pizza pie or quiche and multiple kinds of pie for dessert. I often make a square pie (pie are squared). My hubby even has a playlist of pie related songs--American Pie, of course, and anything related to circles like Ring of Fire. A good geeky reason for a party.

Ginger 2:54 AM  

Okay, the "American Pie" comment suckered me in. A couple of years ago, my daughter and I were visiting friends near Clear Lake Iowa. This is where, way back in 1959 when, 'The Music Died'. Buddy Holly, Richie Valenze, and the Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash in the middle of a corn field, during a terrible storm. My friends, my daughter, and I traipsed out into that cornfield, at night, to visit the memorial at the crashsight. We had an Iphone playing the Don McClean classic and a jug of margaritas. (We sang along) BTW the pilot, Roger Peterson, is memorialized with metal wings, which caught my daughter's pants as she bent over take a photo.

Nuff said. Hopefully I'm posting late enough that there will not be very many readers, but I will never hear American Pie, or Pi without remembering my daughter calling out that Roger Peterson Goosed her.

As for the puzzle, I breezed through it, until I was totally natiked in the SE. I haven't used 'pi' since High School, and it was buried under years of trivia, so PIDAY remained lost until I came here.

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