1962 Neil Simon musical / WED 3-21-12 / Horsehide leather / Southwestern spread / Bees big company in personal care products

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Constructor: Peter A. Collins and Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: ARETHA FRANKLIN (42A: Singer born March 25, 1942)— an almost-birthday tribute puzzle?

Word of the Day: Koh-i-NOOR diamond (47A) —

The Kōh-i Nūr (TeluguకోహినూరుHindiकोहिनूरPersian/Urdu: کوه نور ) which means "Mountain of Light" inPersian, also spelled Koh-i-noorKoh-e Noor or Koh-i-Nur, is a 105 carat (21.6 g) diamond (in its most recent cut) that was once the largest known diamond in the world. The Kōh-i Nūr originated in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India along with its double, the Darya-ye Noor (the "Sea of Light"). It has belonged to various Hindu,PersianRajputMughalTurkicAfghanSikh and British rulers who fought bitterly over it at various points in history and seized it as a spoil of war time and time again. It was most recently seized by the East India Company and became part of the British Crown Jewels when Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of Indiain 1877. It was traditionally known as Syamantaka-mani and later Madnayak or the King of Jewels, before being renamed Kohinoor in 18th century by Afghan Ahmad Shah Abdali.
The diamond is currently set into the Crown of Queen Elizabeth and on display at the Tower of London. (wikipedia)
• • •

ARETHA and her music are well known to me, so no trouble there (except with "BABY I / LOVE YOU"—which is really awkwardly placed on the grid and not one of the first ARETHA hits that comes to (my) mind, though I love it). The rest of the grid was at least semi-tough, or semi-toughly clued, so I think my time on this was normal. Maybe even slightly slow. I'm still getting used to what my average times are *on paper*, so ... who knows? I don't understand why this puzzle exists. She's *going* to turn 70 in four days? Has there ever been such a flimsy premise for a tribute puzzle. They probably pre-wrote it for her death, and that just didn't come fast enough, so here we go. (Sorry if that sounds cynical, but if obits are often largely pre-written, why not tribute crosswords?) I like the way the non-centrality of the singer's name is offset by the serendipitously symmetrical QUEEN OF SOUL. The choice of representative songs seems good (with the severed, upside-down "BABY I / LOVE YOU" being the notable exception).



Theme answers:
  • 30A: Nickname for 42-Across (QUEEN OF SOUL)
  • 5D: 1968 hit for 42-Across ("THINK")
  • 52D: With 10-Down, 1967 hit for 42-Across ("BABY I / LOVE YOU")
  • 16D: 1967 hit for 42-Across ("CHAIN OF FOOLS") — here's the real serendipity: getting this answer to intersect the two main theme answers. Whole grid was built around this three-answer framework.
  • 43D: 1967 hit for 42-Across ("RESPECT")


Got BLURTS right off but didn't write it in bec. I couldn't confirm crosses. I THINK I started with SORE and then RANCHO (13A: Southwestern spread). Kept looking for familiar, non-literary Spanish place names at 2D: Sancho Panza's land (LA MANCHA)—getting that answer was a big "D'oh!" Couldn't get into the NE at all from the west side. Had TH- and couldn't see THE LOT (7A: Everything), DE- and couldn't see DEAR ONE (?) (14A: Precious), COR- and couldn't see (didn't know) CORDOVAN (which seems more adjective than noun) (16A: Horsehide leather). Had to build that corner from the bottom up (slower). Rest of the grid was event-free, except for where I wrote in SORTED for SIFTED (65A: Examined thoroughly, with "through") and misspelled HOARD (51D: Stash) as HORDE. Clue on BURT'S was interesting (52A: ___ Bees (big company in personal care products)). About as good as a clue is going to get for BURT'S. Never heard of "LITTLE ME" (40D: 1962 Neil Simon musical). Always thought "Yowzer!" was spelled "Yowza!" That is all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

73 comments:

John V 8:21 AM  

I grew up with Aretha's music in the 60s, but this played out challenging for me. FAIN, NETHER,CORDOVAN felt like Saturday level. Did not help myself by mis-spelling TERRE(A). In the end, got it all. I kept looking for a CHAINOFFOOLS theme with so much of the theme answers going down, which is of unusual. HOARD/PHNOM cross last to fall; surprising as I was quite aware of the Viet Nam war and how to spell PHNOM.

Like @Rex, had a hard time with BABYI LOVEYOU breaking the way it did.

So, very challenging for me, but fun!

Gonna be 80 in Charlotte, today, March 21. Weird.

evil doug 8:26 AM  

Glad the answer was 'air aces'---not to be confused with 'ground aces', or 'submarine aces'.

My dad spent most of his adult life as an economic analyst with United Airlines. Every day he wore plain toed cordovans and a white shirt with a gray or navy suit and tie. Remember Ricardo Montalban: "...rich Corinthian leather"?

Nice symmetry: Eros and love(you).

In keeping with the soul theme the clue to 59D should be: Da doo ron ___.

"Do Esso": Can't get away from it....

Evil

jberg 8:26 AM  

@Rex posted really late today, almost had to give up and leave for work. But here he is, so here I am. No comments yet, but there are probably many of us waiting, so I bet I'll be fourth.

Got this one from the THEQ at 30A - who else could it be? I just had to count the letters to be sure it fit. Shared Rex's confusion in looking for 10D - 52D rather than 52D - 10D, but the clue is clear. Also wanted 50A to start with PN, but what a great spelling? We should see that one more. Only writeover was SorTED before SIFTED at 65A.

7 theme answers, and all but the two short ones cross at least one other. That must take some doing!

Sue McC 8:28 AM  

Standard Wednesday for me. Loved the theme. Yikes, Rex, on going with the tribute puzzle rationale...maybe it's just that Will deemed it Wednesday-level difficulty, and it's clearly not a Sunday, which is what her birthday would be this year.

Hey, where is everyone?

joho 8:35 AM  

"Chain, chain, chain ... chain of..."

Fun, bouncy theme if you're singing along while solving, which I was.

I so wanted 7D: "Everything" to be THEWHOLEBALLOFWAX.

FAIN?

I enjoyed this tribute puzzle very much and leave ARETHAFRANKLIN and Peter Collins and Joe Krozel with ... "R-E-S-P-E-C-T!"

(@John V, with birthday on the brain I at first thought you were saying that you're turning 80 today in Charlotte!)

John V 8:37 AM  

@joho: Ouch! :) How about some of that RESPECT, indeed!

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

At least now I have two reasons to hope that Aretha doesn't die soon.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:52 AM  

Hand up for TERRA before TERRE.

Also, had 31 D as UNSEAL before UNSTOP.

Couldn't figure out why 30 A was just too long for VISHNU.

quilter1 8:55 AM  

I'd rate this easy to medium. I really liked it because so much of it was original and different. I don't thing I've ever used FAIN in a sentence, but I know it. Once I got THINK the long answers fell into place and I finished quickly.

After a week of record breaking high temperatures it has turned cool and rainy and feels like spring. My house sits amid a host of golden daffodils.

dk 8:57 AM  

Well thinking of Elvis as a Sun recording artist threw me for a loop. THINK saved my bacon in the NW.

A classic Wednesday although I had to imagine ICETRAYS as a display of diamonds as opposed to cubes to make 58A.

������ (3 Stars) Thank you P&J

@evil doug, Old girlfriend's father had 3 tailored black suits, 7 white shirts and 20 ties -- he would just rotate them through the week, replacing them or component parts (e.g., trousers) as needed. I have, for work, 3 pairs of bluejeans and 6 mock turtle neck sweaters (S. Jobs is my fashion hero). And, in my 30 plus years of labor no one has commented (to my face) that I wear the same thing and only one employer (now a sinking ship) suggested that I dress up a bit. Seems the other execs were jealous. Work uniforms can be fun. Now that I work from home I wear a sequined halter top, pedal pushers... and crocs��

jackj 8:57 AM  

Tribute puzzles are so often stilted, forced affairs that when a lively one like today’s rolls around, it’s time to break out in song. And, then, with two such distinguished veteran constructors teaming up, one can’t help but wonder how and why they joined forces for this superb effort, (but is thrilled that they did).

When BLURTS, BRISKETS and CORDOVAN went in without question or strain, they were such fresh entries that any qualms about honoring 42 across, (whomever that was going to be), were dismissed from the outset.

And, when the last letter of SIFTED was entered, so many of the honoree’s signature songs were nicely spread around the puzzle that the solver couldn’t help but feel bathed in the symphony which is ARETHAFRANKLIN!

With R-E-S-P-E-C-T to Aretha and T-H-A-N-K-S to the constructors.

nanpilla 8:58 AM  

@joho, @JohnV - me too! I thought "Wow, he doesn't look 80!"

I think this will be a link to some pictures from Brooklyn:
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150742621643767.462847.672503766&type=3&l=c835c4d021

The captions are to the upper right, I think. Had to do this with no children at home.

The tournament was wonderful, as always, even if I did terribly compared to last year. I knew last year was a fluke, and just savored the memory of looking like I knew what I was doing for one year. The weather wasn't great for our walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, but the chance to get to know @Lindsey better was worth every minute. Next year we can hope for clear skies and panoramic views. This was my fourth year attending, and it feels like home to walk into the bar and see old friends. The time spent solving the pesky puzzles really is the least important part of the weekend. This is one of the nicest groups of people you could hope to meet.

Had the same feeling about the puzzle today - I can understand the difficulty and day of week constraints, but it seems silly to run it 4 days early. Next Monday might have been better? Or just some random time of year, totally unrelated to her birthday.

Rob C 9:10 AM  

Good puzzle, although I dislike music as much as some here dislike sports. But that's my issue and doesn't detract from the puzzle. As for Rex's comment that this is a flimsy premise for a puzzle - I think Aretha deserves a puzzle regardless of how old she is. Her career stands on its own.

@John V - will be 80 in eastern Penn tomorrow - even weirder!

David 9:21 AM  

@Rob C and @ John V, I'm from Eastern PA too, 80 degrees the next 2 days!! I think it's gonna be 85 in Chicago today.

also got the theme off of THEQ, but needed a bunch of crosses for BABY I LOVE YOU. Happy to see the terrific song CHAIN OF FOOLS on there....

another huh? for FAIN, never heard of it. Love BRISKETS as a new meat-related answer, don't recall seeing it before.

Tita 9:22 AM  

Malopop from ACPT to today:
One of the puzzles had
"One known as 'supreme soul'"
Someone tried "aretha" instead of VISHNU...

And now here she is as the QUEENOFSOUL.

We've been having plenty of BRISKETS - when corned beef goes on sale for St. Patrick's Day, my Irish husband makes Portuguese "Cozido" - everything in one pot - brisket, root veggies, cabbage, and most importantly, 3 kinds of sausages, each one imparting a fabulous flavor to the finished product.
Yum!

This one did play hard for me...

orangeblossomspecial 9:24 AM  

ARETHA's prettiest song was I say a little prayer.

This puzzle has lots of musical leads, such as 13A: Alla en el RANCHO Grande

and 37A: Sammy FAIN , composer and lyricist.

Not to mention Man of LA MANCHA and LITTLE ME.

chefbea 9:54 AM  

Found this a bit difficult. I remember cordovan shoes from way back.

Make brisket all the time...corned beef last Saturday. Haven't made coq au vin in a while though.

It's been in the 80's here in Wilmington for the past few days. The azaleas are in full bloom and the Azelia festival is a month away.

Sparky 10:07 AM  

Had the E_HA and got ARETHA filled in. Then QUEENOFSOUL. I like her so much but I don't know the names of her songs except RESPECT. ALso tripped on TERRa and SorTED but fixed them. I really dislike the school yard AMTOOS, ISSOS, NUHUHS. Add DOESSO to that ilk.

Aside from that, a PEACHy Wednesday. Learned CORDOVAN a leather. I thought it meant that dark red color.

ACPT was terrific. Loved meeting people from last year and new folk. Plus I had a nice chat with Annabel, the woman from Australia. Very interesting and cheerful person.

@Rex. Can see you are feeling better from the picture with your furry pals. @Nanpilla. I'm off to try the link. Thanks.

OISK 10:09 AM  

Always amused at what Rex knows and doesn't know. "Little Me," IIRC starred Sid Ceasar (sp?) and had the song "Real Live Girl," and a pretty funny number called "Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye" ..."Goodbye country, it's been fun, you know I hate to rule and run, but I must get some dying done, so everyone goodbye!" On the other hand, other than "Respect," I know nothing by Aretha, so I was happy to be able to finish this puzzle. Nothing wrong with the clues or construction, but "tribute" puzzles like this one are amusing if one knows or likes the "tributee" . I don't care for Aretha's genre, and never listen to it, so this was not much fun for me.

archaeoprof 10:09 AM  

Favorite Aretha song: Doctor Feelgood.

Tried "oRS" for 49A and then briefly wondered who "Don Iro" might have been.

@JohnV: gonna be 82 today here in SC. Old age and hot weather breaking out all over!

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

A bit IMPAIRED by OSTEND, FAIN and PHNOM
But then I was ONAROLL
Might as well show some RESPECT
to ARETHA, QUEENOFSOUL!

chefbea 10:53 AM  

@nanpilla great fotos. I tried to comment on them but was told I didn't have permission :-(

loren muse smith 10:55 AM  

@Tita -pretty challenging for me today,too, but I managed to finish. Early mistakes, “game” for FAIN (huh?), like @Rex “sorted” for SIFTED, and a misspelled PHNOM got me off to a rough start.

@ John V – Happy 80th! Since Dad’s pretty close in Denver, you geezers should hang out. ;-).

@ Evil and dk – when I was subbing in different schools every day, I could get away with my standard Substitute Uniform: pencil skirt in 6 colors and sleeveless mock turtlenecks in 6 colors. When I became a long-term sub with the same students every day, I finally had to come clean and announce that, ok, I wear basically the same thing every day in different colors. Get used to it. One girl raised her hand and said, “I had noticed, Mrs. Smith, but didn’t want to say anything.” Gonna be 82 here today, and at 82, it’s a relief not to be a slave to fashion!

Got a kick out of the SORE/EROS thing, and corned beef BRISKET is the lunch special today at the country club.

Great puzzle!

John V 10:57 AM  

Must.Change.Profile.Picture

Two Ponies 11:07 AM  

At first all of the cross-referenced clues annoyed me but then I loved it. Crunchy for a Wed. but in the end great fun.
Two days in a row for Indiana, Elvis, Deniro, and lab.
@ ED, that answer reminded me of that commercial too!
@JohnV, I thought you were saying your age too.
@ dk, I can't get the image of your work outfit out my head damn you!!:)
Does anyone know when/if the ACPT puzzles will be published?

Masked and Anonymo5Us 11:20 AM  

Aretha's hands-down worth her own puz. Period. No special occasion required, IMO. thUmbsUp.

Widebody-flight: 16x15 grid. More letters for yer money. May affect solve times.

Funky grid layout, too -- those black staircases at 12 and 6 o'clock just about finished off my dryin'-up printer cartridge, tho. Could just barely suss out what the bottom 3 lines of clues were. [Hoping that some more stuff will seep down to the heads before tomorrow morning. ThursPuz with phantom clues can get really tough.]

Today's Fave phantom clues:

19-D: "Farnilv roorn ?incii?c" - Dude. Reminiscent of my last eye chart line-5 reading. Had T??E?. Wanted TONER.

61-D: "Likc Bro's overt Sink Svmpathv". Like tryin' to read captchas. Had IN?. Wanted INK.

jesser 11:36 AM  

Having gAme before FAIN slowed things a bit, but otherwise, this one came together nicely.

I have a friend from my Taos days -- Mike Yeager, in case Tobias is watching -- who had gray cat named Zane. Very western. But my point is that we got wine drunk one sunny afternoon at Valle Escondidos and Beth, Mike's wife, asked if anyone had seen Zane. For some reason, I burst into song: Zane, Zane, Zane! Zane OF FOOLS! It was pretty funny at the time.

I really wanted the disjointed song to be BABY I need YOU, but I wisely held off committing p** to paper.

CORDOVAN reminds me of the Dodge Cordoba commercials in which Ricardo Montalban put on his sexy voice to sell the "rich Corinthian leather seats." The strangest things take up brain space.

At my office, they force us to wear ties. I object, so I shop on the Internets for the silliest and most colorful ties I can possibly find. This greatly annoys the bossman, who is a starched white shirt and funeral-quality tie kind of guy. I'm ok with it.

Happy Hump Day, Rexvillians! I am SO jealous of you tournament-goers!

Pete 11:58 AM  

I had only know of cordovan as the color of the shoes, not the material, hence I was shocked that CORDOVAN is horse-leather, then shocked at the hypocrisy of my being shocked.

I soothed myself by a two hour youtube break listening to 60's R&B.

afroqwn 12:05 PM  

I thought this word would faze most solvers. I remember it from my Eng. Lit days

fain (adjective): Ready; willing; eager. Example from Shakespeare: "I must be fain to pawn both my plate and the tapestry of my dining chambers" (Henry IV Part II, 2.1.54).

Once I changed EKG to EEG, the puzzle went smoothly for me, but I was also surprised at the almost-birthday commemoration.

Masked and Anonymous 12:14 PM  

P.S. Looks like The Blorg has fixed its horizontal spacing of comment text, Almost as good as home cooking.

Sfingi 12:23 PM  

Siva is the god that is Avis spelled backwards.

@EvilDoug -I remember Montalban telling how he drove with only undies so he wouldn't ruin the crease in his pants.

Challenging. I had many write-overs, the goofiest being "Birdseye" before ICETRAYS.
Also, "got" before HAD, Sun before RCA. Wanted Barataria instead of LAMANCHA and wanted oOSTENDe.

Did anyone ever hear of LITTLE ME? Of course KSU and KNICKS are not at my fingertips.

lawprof 12:44 PM  

This was an enjoyable puzzle with just the right amount of resistance for a Wednesday. The Aretha Franklin tribute was lovely and certainly well-deserved, but comes four days early. Why not a tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach, who WAS born on March 31 and has had perhaps almost as much influence in the world of music as the Queen of Soul.

lawprof 12:45 PM  

Sorry...I meant March 21...

lawprof 12:50 PM  

And while I'm at it, there probably should have been commas around "perhaps."

jae 12:59 PM  

Caught the theme quickly and thought this would be easy.  Not so.  Closer to medium for me.  Nice tribute with another smooth grid.

No erasures. 

Aretha's THINK from the Blues Brothers movie is worth seeing.  Unfortunately, I can't find a decent version on YouTube.  Copyright issues?

Lewis 12:59 PM  

"Glowered" instead of GLAREDAT slowed me down, but this was an enjoyable solve. As soon as I figured out the theme (I think at RESPECT) it relatively quickly fell into place. Crunchy puzzle with a fresh feel. Loved it.

Lewis 1:03 PM  

@nanpilla -- thank you for the pictures. Terrific to put faces to some of the people here!

Tita 1:07 PM  

@Everyone...

Bob Kerfuffle's ACPT pics are now included in the slide show on my cruci-blog!!!

As is a picture of my one and only perfect ACPT puzzle... ;)

Tita 1:12 PM  

And a very special shoutout to @Sparky!

You are so energetic and full of good vibes!

the redanman 1:13 PM  

Some awkwardness - as per usual.

There is "clever awkward " and like this, the indulging completion of a not-so-clever one.

Finishing lots of uninspired puzzles lately, it seems.

Aretha Car-La Manchas 1:47 PM  

Oh no, half hour typing lost again! I know i should type elsewhere and cut and paste, but never do on this ipad thingy I'm still learning on... :(

Well, maybe it's god/steve jobs telling me to keep it short.

Anyway, just tons of R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!!!!!
( yikes, try typing that on an ipad, you have to hit the keyboard three times for each L-E-T-T-E-R!!!!)

Fantastic grid, elegant to cross the themes like that...everything i love about a puzzle...it literally sang to me, a big fatQ in the center (i, too, got it off THEQ...),
Tons of relevant theme, totally timely!!!!

When you are 70, esp when she's had so many health issues and so many singers of soul have died so so young, we should totally start the celebration earlier in theweek and have it go all week, month, year!

So JohnV, don't despair (still chuckling over your 10:57 comment) as all but three of us have met you, so you can just THINK of it as starting your 80th celebrations 20 years early, or whatever it is!

Anyway, the puzzle is perfect as it throws in at least one new word (for me) CORDOVAN which was gettable...
It evokes Ricardo for me too, tho I'm assuming the root is CORDOBA Spain and nothing to do withCORinthian, except the same first three letters...
Plus a little Shakespeare (FAIN) to make me feel all learn-ed...I'm sure the Bard will chime in.
Altho, truth be told, i leanred it from Scrabble FAIN = Glad when i was learning my four letter F-words! ;)

Plus the puzzle evokes funny stories ( I'm lookin ' at you @dk and @jesser!)
I STILL have a uniform of sorts...blackjeans, soft cotton tank top with a built in bra so i don't have to wear one, a black cashmere sweater, whether it's hot out or cold, some long scarf so i don't lose it and it semi- hides my neckrings which I swear I've had since i was six,and to give me a little color and make it easy to buy me gifts under my no-gifts-pls policy!

Several friends have done fashion interventions which stick for about two weeks! But comfort trumps all to me, tho i actually wore blue jeans to the ACPT to change it up a bit!

Anyway, still aglow from this weekend, loving this puzzle and happy to be back in my own bed.
I thank the constructors for the best earworm they could have bestowed.
THINK! THINK! Think 'bout whatcha tryin' to do to me...

My grandpa married my grandmother Maidie (who will be 100 in May, anshallah) because of all the widows/divorcees who were pursuing him, she made the best BRISKETS!

And that VISHNU/Aretha mistake was hysterical...don't want to spoil more for those who might shell out $20 for the puzzles, (which i don't believe the constructors share in...)

And @dk, you of sparkly halter tops and pedal pushers, no Uretha Jokes?! What has happened to this world in my absence?!

Harrunph, I wonder when Dr. Fill reads this blog if HE has to prove he's not a robot!

Bird 2:59 PM  

Nice tribute to a fantastic artist. ECCO/COG and FAIN/SUSANN slowed me down, but I was able to complete this one.

Don’t care for OOLALA as an answer for “Yowzer!” Either change the clue (signifies shock or surprise) or change the answer (signifies sexy or “I like”). And if the answer stays then add an H (isn’t that the conventional spelling?).

Gonna be 80 on Long Island tomorrow. Maybe I play hookie and head to the golf course.

Double captcha “dponan ecierfo” morphs into “Finance Poor Ed”

Happy Humpday!

Anonymous 3:01 PM  

@John V - maybe change your profile picture to that of Jon Voight?

John V 3:25 PM  

@Anonymous 3:01. Umm, Jon Voight is ten years older than I, but with more hair -- alas.

Ellen 3:28 PM  

I saw Aretha in concert at Radio City a few weeks ago and even at her age (and with recent health issues) she sounded pretty darn good. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/arts/music/aretha-franklin-radio-city-music-hall.html

@twoponies - the ACPT puzzles aren't published but are available at the official site for $20 to solve by mail or online (I was the grader for about 15 years, but am turning it over to Ian Livengood).

Great seeing some of you at the ACPT!

Rob C 3:38 PM  

@ John V - you know it's not your day when the people who are trying to make it better insult you further. Hang in there.

treedweller 3:39 PM  

I was poking along until I reached COQ; the Q gave me the theme and everything tumbled from there.

@jesser reminds me of a favorite high school teacher. He was one of the best for chemistry or physics. One year (before my time) the department head position came open and he applied but did not get it, in part because his wardrobe was not "professional" enough—specifically, no tie. The next year he started wearing the most outrageous ties he could find. It was supposed to be a one-year protest, but then his students stared giving him ties for Christmas and the like (thrift stores and dads' closets are also good places to find the worst of the worst). For all I know, he still wears them.

Two Ponies 3:54 PM  

@ Ellen, Thanks. I'm disappointed.
I thought that last year the tourney puzzles were run the week after. $20 seems a little steep.

Sparky 4:08 PM  

Oh, Tita, I am so touched. Tearing up.

@M&A: In AcrossLite go to Options, then Printing. You can select gray tones for puzz and save ink. I just found it this week myself.

@Sfingi: Know of Litte Me because I worked with Patrick Dennis's wife at an ad agency in the '50s. Isn't it your son's birthday? Haven't been to Rocco's for the St.Joseph's yet. They only stay till the weekend.

Happy humpday.

Anonymous 4:12 PM  

Those looking for the ACPT puzzles should not worry as I'm sure that Will will put them in the NYT. Maybe as a weeklong theme. It might be a while, but I can wait (I can think of better things to spend $20 on).

sanfranman59 4:24 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)

Wed 14:19, 11:51, 1.21, 91%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 7:34, 5:53, 1.29, 94%, Challenging

Trump 4:59 PM  

$20 for a few puzzles!?

I'll bet if Google, you can find bootleg copies. Then again, they might be scanned images of completed puzzles.

Rob C 5:15 PM  

@David - forgot to respond to you about eatern PA. I work in Bethlehem and live up in the Poconos.

Kathy 5:45 PM  

@nanpilla (or anyone else): Where can I go to see the photos from the ACPT? Thanks.

long suffering mets fan 5:52 PM  

good, crunchy Weds puzzle with lots of crisp, fresh fill

big thumbs up

Cherry blossoms starting to bud here in NJ, its crazy -- anybody else think winter has one last shot coming?

thanks, Peter and Joe

quilter1 6:24 PM  

Dear Acme, your neck rings are known as "the necklace of Venus." Make of that what you will.

dk 6:37 PM  

okay,

A year or so back I shared my text analysis of our blog posts, revealing that Tuesday was the most hated day, etc. Now for round two.

The number of posts is positively correlated with the general feeling toward the puzzle. A puzzle that has a meh or even a meh+ reaction gets a statistically significant lower number of posts than a puzzle that is felt to be good or bad (highly subjective blah, blah blah).

A side note is the less exciting puzzles have more extraneous post content. You know ... like a dork going about halter tops.


This difference is irrespective or as we say mutually exclusive to the day of the week. So even a most feared Friday or Saturday may have the same number of posts as a Monday if both puzzles are deemed good or bad.

I knew you would want to know. For those of you who are curious I use a text analyzer that is roughly akin to the one used by SPSS. In a former life or two I used the same tool to analyze your Facebook posts, Twitter tweets and if you were a bad man or woman your letters, recorded conversations and phone calls.

TTFN

The Borg

JenCT 7:38 PM  

@Kathy: If I did the HTML correctly, here are some pictures from the ACPT:

nanpilla's pictures

JenCT 7:42 PM  

Here are some more pix:

Tita's pix

nanpilla 9:05 PM  

Thanks @JenCT!
My pictures that included you in the bar the first night were all too dark to show up.

I think I made my facebook post public now. Spent the afternoon with my daughter, seeing the Van Gogh exhibit in Philly, and she told me why no one seemed to be able to see my album on facebook.

Acme 9:34 PM  

JUST. Now realized it's a 15 x 16 grid with asymmetric theme answers! I always giveup if i cabt make ' em match, but this shows me how it can be done and so well!

I invite people to look at what @rex pointed out with the 12 letter CHAINOFFOOLS crossing the two 14s. Whether you care about construction or not, or are into serendipidity, or the genius of those guys noticing, it's worth admiring.

Kathy 9:53 PM  

@JenCT - Thank you so much for the link :-)

Tita 11:38 PM  

@Acme...re:
"Harrunph, I wonder when Dr. Fill reads this blog if HE has to prove he's not a robot!"

That made my day!! :D

sanfranman59 1:26 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 6:15, 6:49, 0.92, 17%, Easy
Tue 10:29, 8:51, 1.18, 90%, Challenging
Wed 14:31, 11:51, 1.23, 91%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:30, 3:40, 0.96, 31%, Easy-Medium
Tue 5:12, 4:35, 1.14, 88%, Challenging
Wed 7:14, 5:53, 1.23, 92%, Challenging

Lola505 11:46 AM  

Liked the puzzle, but was really looking for "Freeway of Love" to show up. Not there, oh well.

Solving in Seattle 1:46 PM  

In the 70s I went to an Aretha concert at Seattle Center. It was too funny to watch all the guys singing along with her... "when I put on my makeup..."

I got the theme from THINK, then changed COc to COQ. Also had DEARest until crosses solved it. SE came last because I had Ken for 45D and have never heard of BURTS Bees. Aha moment came when I realized 48A was SATE, not eATE, and the Wildcats became KSU - OOLALA!

@Lawprof, a puzzle themed on JS Bach would be fun. If you like Bach and haven't already read it, try Douglas Hofstadter's "Goedel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid," one of my favorite books.

Capcha: ecinic pecke. Funny, my doctor diagnosed me with this.

Spacecraft 2:20 PM  

Augh! @Rex, how could you NOT post the CHAINOFFOOLS scene from Michael? Or at least the THINK scene from Blues Brothers?

Oh well. First oddity I noticed was: no central square: we got us a 16er. Nice puzzle; I love ARETHA to pieces. Forgot BABYILOVEYOU for a moment there; thought the leather was spelled CORDObAN and that would make 10d TOBEYOU, and for a while I thought, "I don't remember her doing a cover of 'It Had to be You.'" Then, of course, I realized that 7a wasn't THETOT but THELOT (a chiefly British expression, but quite OK).

Mostly good fill; maybe a couple too many UNs (UNPRICED, UNSTOP). Liked the shout-out to U(sain)BOLT.

DMGrandma 2:35 PM  

Not into Aretha's music, so for a while had "queen of scat", corrected by "bow". But ended up coming here to find what was wrong with "love you babyi". Not knowing Burt didn't help.
Is there a program that will rearrange the captchas? I'm no good at anagrams, but sure mine today must represent something: cespanow idenev

Solving in Seattle 2:46 PM  

@DMG, your capcha is the Bulgarian National Assembly public television station.

Ginger 3:43 PM  

Not only was this not in my wheelhouse, it wasn't on the same boat! Of course I've heard of Aretha Franklin, but what I knew of her was buried, somewhere with the VASES of antiquity.

So...this made for a really tough Wed. I did finish, with a lot of help from Google. On the other hand, knew cordovan (I think the color came from the leather, not the other way around). My troubles were extended by some pretty basic spelling mistakes, BRISqETS, PoNhM, SUzANN, NOhR.

Forgot that Chuck Yeager was a WWII air ace before he became a test pilot even though I've read his book. BTW - Pretty good read! Tom Wolfe in 'The Right Stuff' covered a lot of the same material.

Dirigonzo 4:08 PM  

FRIAR was my last word in and it gave me FAIN and NOOR, neither of which I knew. PhIS (wrong Greek letter) before PSIS and Soir (wrong language) before SERA, continued my streak of unforced errors due my propensity to guess wrong whenever I have a choice between two equally likely answers.

The theme and @Spacecraft's comment prompted me to put in my cassette (yes, really) of the soundtrack from "The Blues Brothers" - I never get tired of that music. A few days ago I commented that I wouldn't mind seeing a tribute puzzle to that movie - maybe this was the first installment of a serialized tribute? Other artist who performed include Taj Mahal, James Brown, Ray Charles and Cab Calloway - all puzzle-worthy in their on right.

@DMG - @SiS is pulling your leg. In fact, your captcha is an exact reproduction of an encrypted message from from an informant to UN inspectors looking for Saddam Hussein's WMDs; when unscrambled it reads "weapons in cdiv" - if only they had known what "cdiv" meant they would have found those weapons for sure.

Solving in Seattle 4:52 PM  

@Diri & @DMG, my gosh, I remember wondering why the lockers in the Baghdad bus station were in Roman numerals. Do you think???

DMG 5:24 PM  

@Diri, I'm impressed, reminds me how amazed I was when Dick Cavett demonstrated his ability at anagraming!
@Sis, Beware of 404!
Just failed a robot test. Will give it one more try.

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