Conductor Riccardo / THU 5-31-12 / Year Christopher Columbus died / Canada's largest brewery / Record company with a lightning bolt in its logo / "Holiday" actor Ayres / Banking aid

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Constructor: ELIZABETH C. GORSKI

Relative difficulty: THURSDAYISH


THEME: BANDBOXES (20D: Cylindrical cardboard containers apropos for this puzzle?) — Popular '70s/'80s band and crossword stalwart ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) shows up in six boxes, rebus-style. And those six boxes form an even bigger box. Trippy.

Word of the Day, eh?: LABATT (44D: Canada's largest brewery)
Labatt Brewing Company Ltd. (French: Brasseries Labatt du Canada Ltée) is a Canadian beer company founded by John Kinder Labatt in 1847 in London, Ontario. In 1995, it was purchased by Belgian brewer Interbrew; it is now part of Anheuser-Busch InBev. Labatt is the largest brewer in Canada.
In the United States, Labatt brand beers are sold under license by Labatt USA, which since 2009 has been fully independent of the Canadian firm and a subsidiary of the privately-held North American Breweries of Rochester, New York. (wikipedia)
• • •
Greetings, Rexaholics. Doug Peterson here, sitting in the big chair in the CrossWorld control room. PuzzleGirl was scheduled to appear today, but a tree fell on her internet. I'm serious. That's her excuse. Since I'm the only person who'd believe a story like that, I've got blog duty. In baseball terms, Rex and PuzzleGirl are perennial all-stars, and I'm the guy who doesn't even have his name spelled right on his jersey.

Elizabeth Gorski! I was stoked when I saw the byline on today's puzzle. Liz is one of my favorite constructors, and she came through today. A fun little rebus with a nice revealer. Perfect for a Thursday.

Theme answers:
  • 14A/2D: MELONBALL crossing HELOISE
  • 15A/12D: CHEESE  LOG crossing FELONY
  • 37A/33D: MEL OTT crossing VELOUR 
  • 39A/30D: OCELOT crossing LIE LOW
  • 62A/53D: RELOCATES crossing FEEL OK
  • 63A/50D: COUNSELOR crossing ANGELOU
  • 20D: Cylindrical cardboard containers apropos for this puzzle? (BAND BOXES)

I caught on to the rebus angle fairly quickly. Veteran solvers know that "rebus feeling" you get when answers you're pretty sure are right won't fit into the grid. I broke it open at 37A: N.L. home run king until Willie Mays surpassed him in 1966 (MEL OTT). I knew the answer had to be a full name, since Willie Mays's full name is in the clue. Mel Ott? Bingo! Then I glanced at the center entry and saw the "Cylindrical cardboard containers" bit. Huh? All I could think of were toilet paper tubes. ELO & toilet paper? Every Little Outhouse? Obviously I had a little more work to do before I fully grokked the theme. Turns out that a bandbox is "a lightweight usually cylindrical box used for holding small articles, especially hats." There you go. "Bandbox" is also a term for a baseball stadium that's smaller than average and thus conducive to lots of home runs. No doubt Mel Ott hit quite a few of his 511 dingers in bandboxes.

I better not forget the obligatory ELO video. This one features Olivia Newton-John, so it's worth playing even if you don't turn on your speakers. And if you watch carefully, you'll see her get kicked in the head at about the 30 second mark.


Bullets:
  • 27A: Amount of space in a paper to be filled with journalism (NEWSHOLE) — Love this answer! And I've adapted the concept for crossword construction. CLUEHOLE: all the clues I need to write for the crossword grid I just made.
  • 35A: Year Christopher Columbus died (MDVI) — This was the last answer I filled in. It crosses a couple of tough names in EVIE and MUTI. At least I knew it was probably in the 1500s somewhere.
  • 11D: Nile deity (ISIS) — Nothing to say about the clue, but I like this picture of Isis.
  • 23D: Record company with a lightning bolt in its logo (RCA) — I had MCA here for a while, which made SABERS (19A: Charges may be made with them) hard to get, which in turn made BANDBOXES hard to get. A very Thursdayish chain reaction there.
OK, time's up. Fear not, Rex will be back tomorrow. Unless PuzzleGirl helps him come up with some goofball excuse. ("A raccoon stole my keyboard!") Thanks for hanging out with me on a Thursday. Peterson out.

93 comments:

jae 12:26 AM  

Just about perfect for a Thurs.  Tricky with some solid fill.  Caught the theme at 14a but still had to work for it.  Med.-tough for me.  Really liked zippy stuff like NEWSHOLE, SKORT, SHIATSU, SHARPWIT...and good old MELOTT.  

Potential tough crosses:  MUTI/OTOE/EVIE

Very nice Ms. Gorski and thanks Doug.

And, for those using the stand alone Inc. Crossword app for the iPad, I just typed in my answers using the "Rebus" key and it worked just fine.  The app accepted my grid rebuses (rebi?) and all.

foodie 12:36 AM  

@Doug Peterson, Very funny write up, particularly impressive considering you had to step in at the last minute!

Trippy is right, given the ELO vibe. But I had noooo idea what a BANDBOX is. For a while, I had B---BOXES and entered BoomBOXES. I mean they played ELO, right?

I loved the MELONBALL next to the CHEESELOG. It felt more like my idea of a party in the 50's, but I wasn't around here, so couldn't say. Noodle RONI and TRAILMIX are not too far away. And if you make a mess tasting the goodies, never fear, HELOISE is here! Or may be it was during the REAGAN REGime, with Mrs. REAGAN chatting with IVANA, both wearing her SKORTS.

PEACE...

PS. the capcha dude is taking LSD

Gill I. P. 1:18 AM  

Although I kept plucking away at this and just knowing it was a rebus, I sort of got it at FEEL OK waay down below.
I always start at 1A but SHIATSU sounded too much like a dog and not any massage treatment I'd go for so that remained a big QUE? But I knew ANGELOU was right (I met her on a flight to Dallas and she is the most charming, kind person imaginable - offered to give me a ride into the city) and so I went on for my quest of ELO's.
This was a ton of fun. When I finished I looked at the grid and was in awe of the ELO placements; all in perfect order. How does Ms Gorski do this?

Gill I. P. 1:20 AM  

P.S. Doug: Great and funny write-up. You had me looking at Olivia about 3 times just so I could see her hand get bopped.

Anonymous 1:44 AM  

Awesome puzzle. Really liked that the rebus squares were laid out symmetrically.

Had trouble filling in my last square, at the crossing of HELOISE and AILERON. Didn't know either until now. Both are plenty crossworthy, I'd just managed to miss them.

SethG 1:51 AM  

I'd have probably enjoyed the reveal more if I'd ever heard of a bandbox. As it is, I wish we'd had NEXT COMPUTER, SQUARE MILES, GRAB BAGS, SYSTEM FAILURE, CTRL-C, other stuff like that. It's not just a band in a box, it's an overused-in-crosswords band whose biggest hits were 30+ years ago.

That said, most of rebuses were nice and a few were very nice, and that's enough to carry a rebus puzzle. Though that middle is unfortunate...

chefwen 2:25 AM  

Had banaL at 1D and racked by brain trying to come up with a fruit that was a NBALL. Changed my banal to SMALL and I was on. Having the rebi symmetrically made this a little on the easy/medium side for me. Biggest trouble spots were 16A and 27A, had to have all the crosses for those two. Maybe ED can fill us in further on AILERON, couldn't get my head out of a money type bank or banks by a river. Had to Google it after the fact.

Love Liz Gorski, loved the puzzle, just right for a Thursday.

Gareth Bain 4:51 AM  

Ha "Thursdayish" made me snort out loud, Doug! As did "a raccoon stole me keyboard!" Considering Liz's crosswordnation.com posts, it's quite plausible BANDBOXES was clued wrt the baseball stadium! That name reminds me of the Wellington, NZ stadium nicknamed The Cake Tin!

r.alphbunker 6:07 AM  

A perfect Thursday puzzle. Loved that the crosswordese entries M[ELO]TT and ELO were part of the theme.

BANDSTAND yesterday morphed into BANDBOX today.

Was curious about the etymology of BANDBOX and some googling revealed that its originally a box for neckbands. Not sure what those are but Neck is a six-piece London-Irish Celtic punk band from the North London. I wonder if they were influenced by ELO?

RocketA 6:10 AM  

A theme built on one of the most crosswordese rock bands ever is being called brilliant?

ELO is always cringe-worthy fill. A theme organized around it/them is even worse.

Other fill was good but I kept waiting for an interesting theme to emerge....maybe one using multiple bands so that the dreaded ELO would only be used once....plenty of 2, 3, and 4 letter bands to choose from. That would have been BANDBOXES. What we got was ELOBOXES.

What a drag.

Milford 7:06 AM  

Figuring out the symmetry of the ELOs helped emensely. Had tAsERS for 19A, which turned 20D into sANDBOXES, a word that made no sense with the clue, but at least was a word I knew. Never heard the term BANDBOXES before. I loved the SHARPWIT answer.

Milford 7:16 AM  

*immensely. Duh.

orangeblossomspecial 7:32 AM  

Ernie K Doe had a hit about a 3D Mother INLAW.

Although it doesn't have 8A STRIFE in the title, Feudin' Fussin' and Fightin' supports the concept.

Glimmerglass 7:45 AM  

Great puzzle -- great write-up. I caught on to the rebus at OCELOT x LIE LOW. That made the other corners a lot easier.

John V 8:02 AM  

I mean, I LOVED the pun and groaned out loud getting MDDI/BANDBOX (had BANCBOX for a while.): the consummate inside joke for regular solvers, using ELO as a rebus. What a kick in the head, eh, @Doug.

I also saw the rebus symmetry, which allowed me to fill in the NE, CHEESELOG, etc.

BANDBOX is definitively in the the baseball lexicon.

A first class Thursday, but this is Gorski country, so we knew that. Thanks, Liz. LOVED the pun.

AnnieD 8:05 AM  

Nice write-up Doug!

What the heck is a band box? Read the def and still didn't know what it was until I hit google images.

Doh! A HAT box! Sheesh!

Found the puzz very enjoyable though.

Good Goin' Gorsky!

Kudos 8:32 AM  

Thought this one one of the easier Thursday puzzles, proving a puzzle can be easier than normal and yet be more fun than normal. Both 32D and 34D were gimmes, making 37A a gimme. 31D was a gimme, which suggested 39A was OCELOT. This suggested the theme answers would be symmetrical which made solving much easier. The lack (or perhaps paucity) of arcane proper nouns also made the puzzle more fun for me to solve. Much applause from me.

Sue McC 8:33 AM  

Great write up :-). Thought the puzzle was just ok. I agree with Rocket...if there were different bands it would have been more interesting. I got ELO from CHEESEloG, and once you're onto the rebus it just gets kind of dull waiting to see where it's going to show up.

joho 8:35 AM  

Leave it to Liz turn the old crosswordese ELO into a fresh, new rebus themed puzzle!

I got it quickly at HELOISE/MELONBALL but that didn't dampen the fun.

Only correction was Over before ONIN.

Loved FEELOK, CHEESELOG and seeing all of MELOTT.

It's hard enough to make a non-rebus grid this smooth, so even more impressive to make a rebus look this effortless and non-strained.

I am ENVIOUS!

joho 8:36 AM  

Oh, and thank you, Doug, for your wonderful, witty writeup!

Sparky 8:44 AM  

So happy to see Eliz Gorski's name at top. First found VELOUR. Looked for others. Solved bottom to top. EdIE popped in but that didn't work for the date. BOX, then boom. Again, the hated (not by me) RRN gave me my clue. Of course, I know the term BANDBOX fresh.

Speaking of old friends, how about ENTS and EFT? Loved it. Had ULNAs so Naticked at 23. I remember the little fox terrier with RCA, not a lightning bolt.

Stuck in NW searching for last rebus when I looked at grid, said "Duh, it's Gorski"; of course it goes in 14a. Melon BowL for too long. Finished all tidy exceptfor 23 Natick. Thanks so much Ms. Gorski and for fun write up Doug.

I have no idea what the photo in the catchpa is. A robot would do better than I. I'll refresh. Pictures of numbers? Cheech!

Wreck Sparker 8:47 AM  

Now that I actually know what a bandbox is it makes me wonder in what context I heard it used. Seems I've heard the word many times but can't imagine where. I always thought it was one of those pagodas in a park with an oompah band in it. Nice puzzle, but since its a Gorski I guess that's redundant.

(These capchas are getting even worse. Makes me wanna write a program to read the f@#$%rs! Wouldn't THAT be poetic justice.)

quilter1 8:57 AM  

Such a fun puzzle from Gorski the Great. I know BANDBOX from reading Little Women and other Victorian novels. BANDBOXs were a standard luggage item in the days when everyone wore hats.

Tobias Duncan 9:02 AM  

NEWSHOLE reminded me of Karl Pilkington's problem hole.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdZHl0yqP6M

evil doug 9:12 AM  

I'm both impressed and a little disappointed. The multitude of interesting words containing 'elo' and the symmetrical layout are a nice feat. But once the trick is discovered you just start writing elo's in the appropriate boxes and easily completing the words surrounding them.

But it had me going for a hot minute. After my first 'elo' at melon ball, I tried 'ing' with slosh--- and ic---. Didn't know of a band called 'ing', but then I didn't know Ghostface Killah, either. Mel Ott set me straight, and I cruised. I think like others I might have preferred REO, REM, BTO and other bands adding some variety.

Ailerons: Turn the yoke/stick/wheel left. The aileron(s) on the trailing edge of the left wing go up, those on the right wing go down, and airflow rolls the airplane left. Kick in some left rudder pedal, the movable panel on the back end of the tail cants left, and you've got a nice coordinated turn. No aileron? Takes a lot longer to turn the airplane.

Had one of those whatchamacallits with ents and eft.

Liked rani/roni, Ivana/velour, Labatt/trail mix, spews/sac, cheese log/eggs and felony/hanging intersections.

It's Liz. I'll take all the pluses over my small gripe.

Evil

jberg 9:29 AM  

Seems we fall into two groups: those who don't like to see ELO in any context, and those (like me) who think it's a hoot to take a crossword cliche and base a rebus on it. Same with MEL OTT's having the rebus spanning his name - I'm guessing that observation may even have inspired the puzzle. Gertrude Jekyll said something similar about geraniums - she wasn't against them as a plant, she just thought it was trite to plant them in mass symmetrical banks.

I knew sort of what a BAND BOX was (well, not the part about their being for neck bands - is that another word for celluloid collars?), so that was no problem. But I didn't realize that it was the revealer - thanks, @Doug, for pointing that out! This one really took the rebus concept a couple of steps beyond the ordinary.

AILERON was brilliant - I was thinking rivers or billiards until I got the AILE from crosses. And I loved seeing HELOISE, once the most famous hinter in the world, now largely forgotten. She came up with something like 500 ways to resuse the nylon net your onions came wrapped in.

Two writeovers: IN deep before INTO IT (seemed to fit better), and TrumANS before REAGANS (ideological bias on my part).

Amazing video - I only wish Coleridge were alive to watch it. He even included a similar dance:

Weave a circle round him thrice
And close his eyes with holy dread
For he on honeydew has fed
And drunk the milk of paradise.

chefbea 9:35 AM  

Great puzzle. And great write up. No time to read the comments but will later.

What is aileron??? Never heard that word

Tita 9:36 AM  

Didn't notice the constructor's name, so w no bias as I decided I disliked this puzzle.

@SethG - love your alternate entries, and agree with your 'xwordese-as-a-theme" dismay. My exact thoughts, once i figured it out after staring at the totally unknown to me BANDBOX after completion. (Is it some kind of clever irony to have a theme based on over-used xwordese revealed by a totally obscure word??)

BTW - thought 37A was perfectly fine (though weird) as M.OTT, since the N.L. in the clue signaled an abbv. (Didn't we beat the abbv. hints to death a few days ago?)

Very fresh writeup - thanks Doug!

I hate RRN-naticks - esp. those that make me look dumb...if you have never heard of the singer, you guess EdIE, even though MDdI is an impossible number! :(

Did love clue and answer for SLOSHY and SKORTS, RANI/RONI.

I still don't get when I'm supposed to appreciate symmetry in rebuses and when I am supposed to decry it as "spoiling the thrill of the hunt". I think I prefer the thrill of the hunt, but symmetry show more constructing skill, I guess.


European street number signs as capchas?? Are we now helping google improve Street View? We oughta get paid for this...

jackj 9:51 AM  

I wouldn’t know an ELO from an EMU, (well, not quite, I would be able to ID an EMU and I have seen ELO before but it has always been just another throwaway bit of fill like EMO, ENO and ESO), but still the puzzle was easy to complete once the first rebus (in M[ELO]NBALL), showed itself.

I don’t think there is any significance to the six rebus entries being stacked one on top of the other, beginning at 2down and also at 12down, except as a bit of Gorskian symmetry, a nice touch.

Choosing one of the ELO’s as pick of the litter is complicated since they are all legitimate candidates but FE[ELO]K seems the cleverest with LI[ELO]W, (after committing a F[ELO]NY), a close second, to my taste.

Fill-wise, Liz really perked things up with the delightful SLOSHY providing some comical imagined sound effects, then it’s a jump out of the pool to WHOOPS, the stepparent of OOPS, after which there was a nice segue to Se Ri Pak putting out while sporting SKORTS and ending with Dorothy Parker’s SHARPWIT offering its help in filling the NEWSHOLE.

Good stuff; still offering excellence with her 194th puzzle for the Times.

Thanks, Liz!

Brian 10:03 AM  

Count me squarely in the "hated it" camp. Are we really praising constructors for using a total crossword cliche, as long as the put it into a theme or rebus?! I kept hoping that there was some other meaning for ELO that 20D would elucidate. But no. Just the same old (and I mean OLD) band.

Would've been nice if there was a different acronymical (?!) band name in each rebus (REM, ABBA, BTO, CCR, etc. [some amazing cluing would be needed for others, such as LMFAO or INXS]).

ELO just fills me with blah. Overdone, no matter how it's done. And it's too bad because there was a lot of good cluing and fill. Of course, there was also that dreadful Natick of a center. But at least I know what a BANDBOX is know, other than an slugger's dream.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

I totally agree with RocketA!!

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

I totally agree with RocketA!!

Matthew G. 10:31 AM  

I always wondered what BANDBOX meant outside the baseball context. Now I know. Thanks, Liz (and Doug)!

I thought this was great. I picked up the rebus right away, after getting all of the non-ELO letters in MELONBALL. After getting the whole west side, I struggled a bit in the NE because: (a) I really expected a different band to be used on the right side, perhaps REM; and (b) I wanted CHEESE MIX or something like that rather than CHEESE LOG, and was trying to think of a band that worked other than ELO.

Fill was next to flawless, other than AILERON. I do wish the rebus squares had been asymmetrical -- it's too easy to plunk 'em in otherwise.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

*Is it just me or are the capchas getting ridiculous??

loren muse smith 10:38 AM  

I’ll jump on the alliteration BANDwagon: gnarly Gorski gem! (So is that alliteration?)

Doug is so right; you just get this “rebus vibe” early on. Loved it. I agree with those who take this (tired ELO, MELOTT) as a wink wink to crosswordese. Kind of a cousin to Patrick Barry’s near pangram save for the E.

@jae – you called it MUTI/OTOE/EVIE – deadly crosses!

@foodie, SethG, AnnieD– I’ve never heard of BAND BOXES, either.

@Milford – I trusted Liz, and when I saw the ELO in ANGELOU, I immediately filled in the corresponding northwest ELO. Same with FEEL OK – I filled in the ELO in the northeast. I also had an ELO where the B in CUBIT was for a while, feeling smugly like I really had Liz’ number. Right.

@Tita – agreed. When do you appreciate rebus symmetry? I’m not that great a solver, so I appreciate being able to shamelessly fill in the rebus letters to help me. I’m betting in Liz’ closet, all her shoes are perfectly lined up. That’s a compliment.

@Gill I. P. I have a friend who has a Shih Tzu/Poodle hybrid. She says it’s a Shihtpoo.

A puzzle for everyone! “Manly” COMBINES, PISTON. . .”not so manly” SKORTS, MELON BALL, CHEESE LOG. . .

My favorites –LABATT, SPEWS, SLOSHY (perfectly clued) and WHOOPS. Reminds me of some parties at Carolina in grad school.

Thanks for the impromptu write up, Doug! And Liz – you’re a RANI of rebuses.

geezerette 10:49 AM  

My personal knowledge of bands ended somewhere around The Kinks, so I know ELO only as three letters to fill in in a crossword puzzle. Now they finally get to star! Thanks, Doug, for the video intro and your great-way-to-start-the-day write-up.

@foodie - I *was* here for melonballers and cheeselogs, and you're totally right about the 50s party food. I've found it fun to have these retro moments (American Bandstand yesterday).

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

@Tita

M. OTT would not work as answer to clue that uses Willie Mays' full name.

Really liked this one.

RT

Two Ponies 11:01 AM  

The Monday holiday made me almost forget it is Thursday but got that "rebus vibe" and off I went.
I agree with the heretics here. Having a theme revolve around an over-used piece of crosswordese was bad enough but to have a revealer that means nothing to me was a big disappointment. I realize that my lack of knowledge is to blame but I wanted more fun.

chefbea 11:09 AM  

Just read all the comments...@evil thanks for explaining aileron!!

notsofast 11:10 AM  

A BLAST! Thanks, EG.

Rex Parker 11:14 AM  

Symmetry of ELOs made this (too) easy. Also, somehow BANDBOXES was just not ELO-specific enough. If they were really BANDBOXES, then I'd expect to see R.E.M and XTC and NWA and others.

Little heavy on the crosswordese.

Still, enjoyable. I like my crosswordese best when it's bound, gagged, and stuffed in a box.

Back tomorrow with some new shole.

RP

Tita 11:25 AM  

@RT - uh - kinda my point - pre-rebus-awareness, I was bamboozled by that clue, and justified my wrong entry by the N.L. abbv. in the clue!
Mea maxima culpa.

These street view capchas make me wish I were in France!

quilter1 11:39 AM  

@jberg: Heloise's daughter writes the hint column now for Good Housekeeping. Hardly forgotten.

Milford 11:46 AM  

@Brian and @Rex - could also have OMD and GNR. AC/DC might be a tough one.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

@Tita

Didn't mean to offend. I considered M. OTT myself briefly, then thought it might be Mize, but although Johnny Mize was a very good 40s-50s slugger, he spent some time with the Yankees, so he could not have been the NL all-time champ.

I was having trouble at first figuring out exactly to use the rebus, MEL in the first square, before changing to M ELO..., and then things started making sense. Overall, I thought almost all of the rebus crossings were very clever.

RT

Mel Ott 12:04 PM  

Wow! I made it to rebushood!

Actually the park where Master Melvin would have hit most of his home runs, the Polo Grounds, was hardly a bandbox. About 500 feet to center field, where there was a clubhouse, not a fence. But very short down the lines, which favored pull hitters like Mr. OTT.

The new captchas suck - the shaded parts, not the numbers.

mac 12:39 PM  

I had to hop around to find the rebus, which I sensed had to be there. Found it first in "relocates".

I think the NYT editors must have made some changes in the clues. I wouldn't be surprised if Liz did have the baseball reference in 20D, and I wonder about the clue for 33D. Velours is a fabric, not a pillow cover, and Liz knows a lot about fabrics and needle-art/work.

Satisfying Thursday for me, crunchy alright! ELO must be a wink at frequent solvers.

@jberg: Gertrude Jekyll is one of my favorite landscapers! There are some examples of her work in CT, and the books on them are beautiful.

Masked and Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Totally totally am believin' PuzGirl's excuse. Had our beater car parked in a friend's driveway coupla days ago, when the wind blew a tree down on top of it. (The driveway, not das Auto.)
Missed our gas guzzler by this much:
[<........................................................>]
Whew! And it was a good sized maple. Did get to fire up the chainsaw and go crazy.

Five munks down, but more to go. Fat little varmint just skittered across the back steps. Snort.

Oh, yeah...the puz. Not familiar with BANDBOXES, in the hat-container sense. PuzKillingSpouse was, tho, so I'm OK with it. Always nice to have a visit from the Lizmeistress, plus a tasty rebus, to boot.

Fave fillins: PEACE and LUV. Same to you, Liz.

Texas Momma 12:52 PM  

If ever in London Ontario, take the free tour of the LaBatt brewery which includes a beer "tasting". FYI - a Canadian "taste" is a lot. You might need a DD. Oh, and everyone goes home with a T-shirt. One of the most fun sight-seeings ever.

This was all pre-InBev days so may have changed. I hope not.

Masked and thELOneranger 1:16 PM  

P.S. @Liz: Tasty rebus puz, what with the MELON BALLS and CHEESE LOG and TRAIL MIX. LABATT, TACO and EGGS also appreciated. Pass on the GNUS HOLES, tho.

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

I haven't anything to add to the puzzle discussion, but I feel obligated to mess with Google by putting in the wrong house number. Let's all add 2, K?

Bird 2:04 PM  

As Doug said – knowing today is Thursday and knowing the answer is correct even though it won’t fit . . .

Got the theme at 14A with confirmation at 63A. Things went smoothly, but alas I DNF because of the natick in the center of the grid – MUTI/OTOE/EVIE. Never heard of EVIE Sands and her first name is not common enough to allow any reasonable guessing (could have been EVIN, EVIL, EVIS). Could not remember Riccardo MUTI’s name either. I suppose if I spent a little more time on 41A I might have come up with the answer, but I’m at work and lunch is over.

This was an amusing use of a crosswordese band so put me in the “liked it” circle of the Venn Diagram. But, as @Rex pointed out there are other options for 3-letter band names, though they probably might be tough to use. I mean, what do you do with XTC?

Masked and Anonymous's Last Silver Bullet 2:13 PM  

@Bird -- Well putted. Wanted INXS, too.

John V 2:14 PM  

For an old timey feel, ELP rebus: HELPMATE/ELPASO

syndy 2:46 PM  

since I am apparently a robot nobody will ever read this-but Thanks Ms Gorski for another charmer! I did have to run the Roman numeral part of the alphabit for EVIE but I,m taking the F anyway.

Aileron Cubit Melonballs 3:03 PM  

Loved it!
Malapop at EFT, put in EnT...then Boom! there it was.

Loved Doug's breezy writeup...world's nicest man, with gentle sense of humor. Cute too...and I think single. Ladies?!

Started off with backrub/banaL :(
But got the rebus as soon as 2D
(Hint hint) HeloISE! Nice!

I knew neither BANDBOXES as hat boxes nor baseball, but how incredibly cool that there is a term that span such different genres and the full spectrum!

Don't mind that ELO is 30+ nor that it's crosswordese... ELO makes a smooth rebus bec you can find nice phrases both down AND across, doncha know.
I mean, I love the idea of three letter bands (you should try and make it @Rex! Maybe since it's off one of her ideas, you could even collaborate with Ms G!) and XTC could be in NEXTCAB or something.

MUTI unknown to me, and crosses there tough tough tough, but again, La Liz is a classical musician and for all I know from Pennsylvania, so there!

For 9D "sometimes they're perfect", I had mEsSES. And as it morphed into TENSES, I for a brief "period" I had mENSES!!!
I don't even want to invent a word for that kind of mistake!


And ELO/MELOTT seemed like a loving shoutout to solvers and elevated those words to a whole 'nother level and is a sweet wink...Horrified that there are those who hated it and missed the love!

Cheerio 3:26 PM  

Wow, I hadn't fully appreciated the ELO/MELOTT crossing. I'm in the camp with those who find it a stunning (good) move to take the beyond-stale ELO and use it as a rebus. It would have been fun to see Will Shortz's reaction to it. In general, I do really dislike ELOs in the grid.

KRMunson 3:44 PM  

Sorry, but band boxes and cylindrical containers don't relate back to "elo" in any meaningful way. Plus the center squares seemed vey forced - cubit? Evie? Muti? C'mon. Liz, I'm a big fan but you left me cold with this one.

sanfranman59 3:48 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)

Thu 18:14, 18:57, 0.96, 46%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 10:07, 9:22, 1.08, 73%, Medium-Challenging

dk 3:51 PM  

Do you think that dancer ever worked again?

*** (3 Stars) Way to beat xword's favorite band into the ground.

Anonymous 3:56 PM  

In the Acme camp on this one. Didn't notice the precise ELO sym until afterwards (or when I came here, can't remember which occurred first, though rebuses are generally sym) so I made the puzzle harder than it is?

The writeups this week were all too pleasant and nice. I come here for snark and Rex finally came through. Never satisfied. Never. Never (to be sung to the melody of follow in Try to Remember)....

JFC

archaeoprof 4:14 PM  

I liked it, too, especially the crossing of OCELOT/LIELOW.

chefbea 4:17 PM  

I'm doing the xword puzzle in the Wilmington paper and I need help with 39 down "Xanadu" band. Anyone know???

DannyBurk 5:25 PM  

For all of those that disliked this puzzle:
I challenge anyone to create a puzzle with 6 different acronyms of bands positioned in such a way that they create a visual image. THEN place a revealer running down the center of the puzzle that describes said image. THEN clue the puzzle in such a way that the revealer is solved last for the majority of solvers. THEN make the puzzle smooth, clean and devoid of crappy fill. Anyone taking on this challenge may find out VERY early on that ELO is crosswordese for a reason and that if you try the multiple band approach the puzzle would end up choked to death by the fill needed to pull this off. This puzzle was brilliant!

Long live the Queen – Thank you Ms. Gorski!

Just my opinion.

John V 5:40 PM  

@DannyBurk: I loved the puzzle and had a good laugh at the revealer, which came with the very last letter (my comments above.) And while you are spot on about the technical virtuosity of the construction, that does not strike me as the basis for liking or disliking, for that matter, but for admiration. I got skunked by BEQ's puzzle last Friday, 'cause that's just the way that happened. Not fun to get clobbered, but, so it goes. I admired that puzzle, but it didn't work for me.

I didn't read comments criticizing the divine Ms. G's construction skills, but just saying they didn't like it. That's a big difference.

Mighty Nisden 6:29 PM  

Seeing how ELO has been my favorite band since HS. Which is a very long time ago, I loved this puzzle. Took me too long to find the rebus because I had M OTT because NL was abbreviated so I figured... Even though VOUR was not an English word I knew.

Once I got that, everything else fell into place. Fun solve.

Lewis 6:58 PM  

It felt easy for a Thursday, but it was also a lot of fun. I didn't like the OTOE clue; I got it right simply because this is a crossword staple, but who is going to know a Nebraska county's name besides a local?

That's a nitpick. This puzzle made for a very entertaining solve. LG -- life's good!

DannyBurk 7:40 PM  

@John V
You are a very wise man! Of course you are correct. Mayhaps I shoulda been more specific . . . There was a few posts that kinda set me off, like this one:

@Brian said...
Count me squarely in the "hated it" camp. Are we really praising constructors for using a total crossword cliche, as long as the put it into a theme or rebus?! I kept hoping that there was some other meaning for ELO that 20D would elucidate. But no. Just the same old (and I mean OLD) band.

Would've been nice if there was a different acronymical (?!) band name in each rebus (REM, ABBA, BTO, CCR, etc.

John V 7:43 PM  

@dannyburk Point fairly taken.

Tita 7:48 PM  

@chefbea - I know, I know - ABBA?

@RT - no offense taken. Guess I was just filling in with a little bit of snarkiness to fill the void we're all feeling... ;)

Z 7:55 PM  

Those of us who put far too many quarters (no state quarters back then) in video games back in the eighties will appreciate this cubit comic.

@LMS - loved your "alliteration."

Plant me firmly in the loved it camp. Ms. Gorski clearly had tongue planted firmly in cheek with this puzzle. Putting the quintessential rock band crosswordese in a BAND BOX is a stroke of genius. Including the quintessential baseball player crosswordese with a rebus square. Beautiful.

I had everything but the NW done before work. Nothing but MELONBALL/LSAT/SMALL/INLAW up there. ULNAE finally cracked open RHEA then SLOSHY. My last letter was the T in TAR.

Since Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, 35A had to be MD-- with only I, V, or X as options. Person's name? EVIE must be it. Having O-OE, OTOE seemed obvious for a place name in Nebraska. Didn't know any of those three answers, but all perfectly inferable in my opinion, so not a Natick.

chefbea 8:13 PM  

@Tita like

retired_chemist 9:15 PM  

Liked it a lot. Had MDXI and was prepared to give on the X or the I for 35A. The X was the obvious square to change when AL didn't congratulate me.

A couple of overwrites: ROLFING @ 1A, LYNX @ 39A before I saw the theme.

Ah, the theme. Super. Got it at ANG(ELO)U/COUNS(ELO)R and found that ELO in the symmetrical squares fixed a LOT of my problems. Wanted an ELO in the middle square before I saw the revealer.Finally got CUBIT and saw that was not to be. Wonder if today had some significance to ELO as a band. Don't care enough to look it up.

Thanks, Ms. Gorski. Good job.

JenCT 9:55 PM  

Very late to the puzzle - just wanted to chime in to say that I liked it a lot - except for that middle section (EVIE/CUBIT/MDVI/MUTI)- brutal!

Loved FEEL OK?

Hubby always pronounces HELOISE as Helloyse (rhyming with noise)...

Anonymous 9:58 PM  

Don't blame Ms. Gorski.
This was probably accepted 20 years ago when ELO was a hot band.

You never know, you never do 10:00 PM  

Acme @3:03:
"Cute too...and I think single. Ladies?!"

What about us guys?

treedweller 10:10 PM  

hey, i'm single, too. i'm just sayin.

foodie 10:40 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
foodie 10:41 PM  

@treedweller, I'm doing this for you not for me, as I'm an old married lady who looks like a strawberry. But don't you have a picture of yourself climbing a big oak, muscles bulging? Instead of the shadowy figure that's your avatar?

I'm just sayin.

treedweller 10:44 PM  

clearly, i need a new agent. trhx, foodie.

sanfranman59 11:02 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 6:25, 6:50, 0.96, 31%, Easy-Medium
Tue 10:27, 8:54, 1.17, 89%, Challenging
Wed 10:09, 11:48, 0.86, 20%, Easy
Thu 18:20, 18:57, 0.97, 48%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:50, 3:40, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:44, 4:36, 1.25, 99%, Challenging (3rd highest median solve time of 154 Tuesdays)
Wed 5:29, 5:53, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium
Thu 10:03, 9:21, 1.07, 69%, Medium-Challenging

This is one of those rebus days when I think the All Solvers data are probably misleading. The number of solvers today is well below the Thursday average (450 today vs. 523 Thursday avg.), which probably means that people who would ordinarily post a relatively high solve time were DNFs today. Generally speaking, I think that the All Solvers data are better indicators of the relative difficulty of early week puzzles, while the Top 100 data are better for late week puzzles.

hlinak 9:02 AM  

When I first got the ELO rebus through Mel Ott I was so excited about this puzzle. They used the most crosswordy band of all time as a rebus in the most crosswordy baseball player. I then got stuck on Labatt since I was thinking Latrobe and could not figure out what band's initials fit there. I then went scouring the puzzle for an REM, NWA, PiL rebus and then that is when I got ocELOt and was so sad.

I mean, ELO is all well and good, but making a whole puzzle dedicated to some second rate progrock band that doesn't even get played on the classic rock stations anymore. Come on.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

friday here, had to put it down yesterday and finish solve today as it seems to jar memory. i wanted mellowrolls somehow, if you remember the luscious creamy ice cream in the cylindrical cone...dating myself.

enjoyed the ride.

ANON B 5:19 PM  

What's going on here?
The other day it was "FY"
Now it's "ass hole".
And the usual commenters trying to show us how cute and smart they are.

And, please, don't tell me I don't
have to read this blog. I am
considering that. I mostly read
it just to get Rex's solution
the same day. If worse comes
to worst, I can always wait for
tomorrow's Times like I did before
I had a computer

Willie T 12:18 PM  

Please do, ANON B

Ron Diego 1:21 PM  

@Danny B. 5:25 I'm with you 100%. Yours was probably the best comment of the day. I try to skip past the nitpickers and psuedo-intellectuals. Today's was one fine puzzle, in my opinion, and thanks Mz Gorski. Amen. Ron, from San Diego.

Solving in Seattle 2:12 PM  

Grand Gorski Grid!

This was fun on several levels, all of which have been commented on. This was an elegant, tongue-in-cheek, tribute to XW cliches.

My one write over was molson before LABATT.

My favorite Dorthy Parker quote was a comment she made about Katharine Hepburn, "She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B." Parker was kind of the female Oscar Levant. (Well, maybe not.)

SKORTS. Maybe the worst fashion invention since panyhose. They should be banned from golf courses. If a women is afraid of flashing some leg while reading her putt, then she should wear shorts. Check out the LPGA or the Big Break - nary a SKORT in sight. Ratings are up, too. (Male rant, sorry.)

Capcha: cessinca. A succinct way of saying "stop being succinct?"

Spacecraft 4:32 PM  

Like @SiS I ass-u-me'd that Molson was the biggest (maybe it is, but has lots of little breweries). That cost some serious time.

More time was lost with M.OTT. I was all twisted-shorts about the clue being Willie instead of W. But then I couldn't come up with a 4-letter fabric with V_UR. Then the duh! hit, and I was on my way.

Also had trouble with 25d, thinking OOPS was fine alone--but what went into those first two squares? Finally I thought of the WH, and the rest of it fell in.

When I look at these Gorski puzzles I think: man, some people are SCARY-smart! And among those, I think Liz is still scary!

Dirigonzo 5:57 PM  

Everything I know about CUBITs I learned from the old Bill Cosby routine from the '60s. Happily that was enough top write the word in with no crosses.

If we combine Dorothy Parker, SHARPWIT, Rex Parker and Michael Sharp, how many different people are we talking about?

OK, that last comment may not make any sense to you but it's a lot better than the one I just deleted due to a complete lack of good taste so I'll quit now before I do anything rash.

Did I mention that I liked the puzzle?

Ginger 6:17 PM  

Great Fun, even though I DNF. I actually did pretty well (for me) but I ran out of patience and came here for my last few blanks. Could not come up with H(ELO)ISE/SHIATSU. Mis-parsed the former, and never heard of the latter. Then ULNAs/mHsa finised me off. Grrr

Particularly like the CHEES(ELO)G/F
(ELO)NY cross.

I also want to mention, commenters here help me to appreciate the construction process. Thank you all, and Thank you LG!

D Grandma 7:07 PM  

Really late today-spent time with grandson baking cookies and teaching him to play dominoes-the ones with the colored spots But had to come see what people had to say about this puzzle. My big trip-up was with snack. Tried to put in TRAVelo...., thinking it was another rebus, even though I couldn't match it symmetrically. As for the "container"', I seem to recall the congratulatory phrase, "neat as a bandbox". On the other hand, my hatbox is a hatbox!
Captcha: geriatin. What I do as I squint around trying to solve these things.

Dirigonzo 7:18 PM  

@D Grandma - What happened to your "M"? Loved "geriatin" - wasn't there a conversation here about dropping the terminal "g" lately? I think @LMS raised the topic. Anyway, I be geriatin' a lot lately.

My captcha photo is totally illegible so I'm just going to ignore it - I don't think they really care if I'm a robot or not.

Anonymous 12:51 AM  

"Well, the Mays question is a gimme: OTT. Wait--four letters? must be Jimmy FOXX then. Wait, National League? Are you kidding me? M. OTT? That is just lame."

And M.OTT stayed there long after I had discovered the ELO rebus. It wasn't until I came up with OCELOOT and looked for its symetrical countrtpart in an area of the grid long since completed that I finally realized I had been the lame one all along.

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