1957 Disney dog movie / MON 6-11-12 / African antelope Chevrolet / Sean who wrote Juno Paycock / Cousin of Calypso

Monday, June 11, 2012

Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels and Michael Blake

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: F-LL — a vowel progression puzzle

Word of the Day: MAURA Tierney (54D: Actress Tierney of "ER") —
Maura Therese Tierney (born February 3, 1965) is an American film and television actress, who is best known for her roles as Lisa Miller on NewsRadio and Abby Lockhart on the television medical drama ER. (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle has one interesting quality—the central answer: FILL IN THE BLANKS. It's cutesily self-referential in a way that seems appropriate for a breezy Monday puzzle. Beyond that, it's pretty ordinary. The concept is so threadbare that the bar should be pretty high in terms of a. quality of theme answers and b. consistency/tightness of the theme. Only the middle answer is very interesting to me. The others are just fine, just not interesting. Also, seems slightly substandard to have some of the F-LLs stand on their own and some be part of longer words. Awesome answers might have let me overlook that inconsistency (greatness tends to make little problems go away), but this is all ho-hum, so I notice. Better to have them all be parts of longer words ... except then you can't have FILL IN THE BLANKS. FILLO DOUGH, FULLER BRUSH, FALLEN ANGEL ... I like these all better than what's in the grid (and yes, that is totally acceptable spelling of "FILLO"). I'm sure there are tons of other possibilities. Tight. Smooth. Imaginative. Consistent. Easy puzzles need to be all, not some of these things. Again, this is totally publishable, passable, acceptable work. Just seems like it could've been better with a little more conceptual work at the outset.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: One knocked off a pedestal (FALLEN IDOL)
  • 24A: Paid postgraduate position at a university (FELLOWSHIP)
  • 39A: Solve a crossword, e.g.? (FILL IN THE BLANKS)
  • 55A: Put a spade atop a spade, say (FOLLOW SUIT)
  • 63A: Illegal wrestling hold (FULL NELSON)

Strangely, the one answer that slowed me down more than anything in this puzzle was YEOW (28A: Cry after hitting a hammer on one's thumb, say). I had the "Y" and wrote in "YO..." before I really thought about it, then looked at the cross at 21D: Jane or John in court and did a total deer-in-headlights act as I stared at DOO (it's DOE. Duh). This was all corrected in probably something like 10 seconds, but that's a lot of time (for me) on a Monday. So on a puzzle in which it felt like I filled in almost all the blanks without any hesitation (I wrote in OLD YELLER, LIONEL, and FULL NELSON without even looking at their clues, I wasn't anywhere near my fastest time. Just fast. I also had trouble coming up with GRUFF (1D: Harsh and brusque), but that's less surprising given how unusual the word is (gridwise) and given that I encountered it at the very beginning, when I had hardly any crosses.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Gill I. P. 12:23 AM  

Well Rex got all goblygook on me with self referential and inconsistency and and everything he said...
I thought you can't get much better than this Monday puzzle. The cluing was fresh and fun. The theme answers all in their AEIOU line-up was amazing. So many great answers that typifies Andrea and her humor.
Loved SWAT/YEOW ZSAZSA EAT ME IM HOT and FIDGETING EVIL GRUFF - just plain ole fun to say.
I'll take a ton more of these whimsical Mondays. I know @dk is in charge of passing out the stars so I'll give this a 4.0.

Gill I. P. 12:26 AM  

O.K. so it's gobbledygook.

Anonymous 12:29 AM  

Eclairs are filled with custard. Were they filled with cream, they would be cream puffs.

foodie 12:33 AM  

Smooth and breezy puzzle from Andrea and Michael. The FALL, FELL, FILL, FOLL, FULL variation proceeds alphabetically, which I greatly appreciated.. I too loved the central theme answer! And who doesn't live seeing ZSAZSA In the company of Paula ZAHN, eating ECLAIRs and BAGELs?

Some fun fill, like AB FAB, IM HOT and equally evocative is GRUFF, SMELLY and FIDGETING... And EVIL lurking in the middle!

A classic Monday.

Tobias Duncan 12:46 AM  

Smooth smooth smooth. This one put me in a great mood. I never pay attention to the constructors name until I am done (unless its a late week themeless and I am tearing my hair out) so nice to see ACME's name up there and think"oh of course!".

Evan 1:03 AM  

A commenter at Crossword Fiend's blog noted that, according to Xwordinfo, this is the first time during the Will Shortz era that the word EFFECT has appeared as an answer in the NYT puzzle. Its plural EFFECTS debuted only six prior. Other puzzles have had answers containing the word EFFECT (like "side effect"), but it's interesting that it took 6,778 puzzles before such a common six-letter word could make its grand entrance. It must be pretty difficult to get the proper crossings for those double F's.

I'd also like to note that just yesterday I purchased Natan Last's "Word." and began working on it shortly afterwards. As a fairly young gun, I'm very happy that a word like WARP was clued as a Super Mario Bros. reference, and not simply as "twist out of shape" or something mundane like that. It just goes to show that a good crossword can be made to feel more appealing to a younger audience if the clues reflect a younger solver's tastes.

pk 1:11 AM  

Had exactly the same reaction as Rex at 28A Yeow - well, ok, not exactly the same, I just wrote in the margin "not a real word."

Other than that, loved it! WHO let the dogs out? Ya know, just Fill in the Blanks. It's what we do.

Anonymous 1:32 AM  

Thank you Andrea for giving us a great Monday just how a Monday should be. Light, breezy and a joy to fill.

A few of the answers might be a tad dusty but overall a great way to begin the week. Bravo, Andrea and Michael.

Steve J 1:56 AM  

Word ladder/vowel progression puzzles rarely grab me, and this was no exception. I also noticed that some of the F-LL words stood on their own and some didn't, and thought that a bit odd. The theme answers weren't terribly noteworthy (outside FULLNELSON), and I had 3/5ths of them before I ever sussed out the theme.

But here's the thing: I couldn't have cared less about the theme in this one. There was so much stuff I really enjoyed outside the theme. SMELLY (with a great Monday-level clue), FIDGETING, SHERPA. Lots of clever cluing, too, not relying on the same threadbare clues that seem to keep showing up on Mondays and Tuesdays (I realize there's going to be a lot of the same fill in the early-week puzzles, but why do they always have to be clued the same way?).

And relatively free of clunkers. OGRESS (yes, I know it's a word, but it's still bleh), and MGMT (which was begging for a pop-culture clue, but I suppose the NYT audience probably isn't who's buying their songs on iTunes or torrenting them) were about the only parts that fell flat. Would have liked to see ELISE clued with a Meredith Baxter-Birney reference, but this is a Monday, so Beethoven makes sense.

Haven't had fun with a Monday for a while. I had fun with this one, even as I breezed through it. And, really, that's all I ask of a Monday. Themes are kind of irrelevant for me early in the week anyway, so having a lot of good stuff outside the theme was a nice diversion.

Mike 2:10 AM  

First PTBOAT on back to back days, then Bill NYE on (overlapping) back to back days. What're the odds? What about "Big holiday in NYC"?

r.alphbunker 2:47 AM  

I think this would be a very satisfying solve for less experienced solvers than the folks here. The RABAT/ELISE/BEL crossings is a likely Natick area.


Very smooth puzzle.

Ric Flair 3:34 AM  

Yo Rex, you think FULL NELSON ain't got no pop to it? How bout I come over and put some hurtin' on your geeky butt? Huh? Before I perfected my signature Knife-Edge Chop and Figure-Four Leg Lock, I put every two-bit back row bum that was fool enough to get in the ring with me into submission with that move. Yeah, Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat, Iron Sheik, all those sissy cry babies.

Wooooooooo! Naicha Boi!

jae 3:35 AM  

Another gem from Andrea.  Straight forward medium Mon. theme with some very smooth fill.   I kicked off the summer for my grandkids (9 and 13) with a crossword puzzle contest and this was the first one.  If they can do a Mon. they win some $$.  They get also get a reduced award if they get at least half of it.  They can look up/google what ever they can and I will tell them if an answer is right or wrong.  Other than that they are on their own.  It'll be interesting to see how far they get, but this is a great puzzle to start with. Thanks Andrea.

@Steve J -- Except it's ELYSE.

jae 4:47 AM  

....and, of course, Michael.

John V 6:24 AM  

From the tarmac, more from Charlotte latter. A classic Monday. More medium for me. Later.

Z 7:16 AM  

ACME and Blake give us a very good Monday. F-LL-N, F-LLOW, F-LL-N, F-LLOW, F-LLN- is a nice little touch that people seem to have missed. I agree with @r.alphbunker that this might be more impressive for newer solvers than people who visit here every day or people who do four puzzles a day. Nevertheless, this is a top notch example of the genre.

A couple of twists slowed me down a little. When OGRE was too short I waited and got some crosses before filling it in. I also waited on YEOW because it seemed likely that YEll was wrong. I also waited on OVO-lacto vegetarian, although it turns out I live with one. He recently gave up on being a vegan because it was getting too frustrating trying to eat a meal absent dairy products.

@Steve J - I like your MGMT clue suggestion, but that's more likely a later in the week clue. MGMT doesn't have the cultural resonance to be an early week reference IMO.

Evgeny 7:57 AM  

@RP, your "total deer-in-headlights act" because of the DOE made my Monday. Thank you.

Sue McC 8:09 AM  

@ Anonymous 12:29, ECLAIR filling is "pastry cream" in these parts (CT).

A fine Monday vowel-switcheroo! Smooth going for me.

Glimmerglass 8:12 AM  

Thanks, Andrea. This was a Monday with a little pop.

Wreck Sparker 8:24 AM  

Like Tobias, I never look at the constructor's name until I'm done, but when I got to 53a "You said it, sister!" instead of "brother", and with an exclamation point to boot, I knew instantly it was ACME at the wheel. Nice job. And she even included a shout out at 42d to her dear friend @ED. (LMAO)

loren muse smith 8:50 AM  

@Tobias – the first thing I look at as the puzzle is printing is the constructor! Now that I’m getting my sea legs in solving, being familiar with constructors and their different styles helps a bit.

The cluing for DIE was spot on.

@Rex – with _ _ OW, I said to myself, “Please, oh please be YEOW!” It’s fun. Anyone see the WWW stairstep?

Three letter word for “tavern.” “Inn?” “Pub?” Never even considered BAR.

Thanks @Z for pointing out the theme symmetry.

I normally don’t look for stories in a puzzle, but today, it just screams: I STRODE up to the GRUFF, SMELLY, FIDGETING OGRESS, YOKED her in a FULL NELSON while she yelled "YEOW" as I yelled "DIE, DIE, DIE!"

Thanks, Andrea. Ffffun F- filled feisty fare!

joho 9:04 AM  

I love it when a puzzle's words make people want to write a story. @foodie and @loren muse smith have already written a bit. Here's what I saw:

GRUFF, SMELLY, FIDGETING ZSAZSA was downing both a BAGEL and an ECLAIR while muttering between bites, "I'm not an OGRESS or a FALLENIDOL ... I'M HOT!"

Looks like the same words popped out to the three of us. Fun!

Loved the clue "Kitchen magnet" for AROMA.

Smooth, smooth Monday makes me want to FILLINTHEBLANKS for the rest of the week.

Thanks you Michael & Michaels!

chefbea 9:05 AM  

Great easy Monday puzzle. Thanks Andrea and Michael. Also a yummy puzzle. You can smell the aroma starting with Bel Paese on a bagel, then black eyed peas and of course an eclair for dessert.

jackj 9:11 AM  

For those people who have been FIDGETING while wondering “Where’s Andrea?”, we’ve found her and we have Acme and her frequent collaborator, Michael Blake to thank for today’s solid effort, which features a standard vowel progression theme.

Strong cluing held sway throughout as I learned immediately, when I hastily wrote in SWEATY for the gym socks, but the crossing entry of REAM told me it must be SMELLY, which seemed vaguely redundant considering they also had AROMA in the puzzle but, whatever.

Moving on and up from SMELLY gym socks, “Fur ELISE” and Sean OCASEY gave the puzzle a welcome touch of elegance and OLDYELLER is sure to stir some emotion for those who remember this Disney four-hanky tearjerker.

There was much more to like, especially ABFAB, YEOW and IMHOT, but the entry du jour was GRUFF, which seems to be a word somewhat out of favor unless you hear a PSA for a certain Crime Dog.

Thanks to Acme and Michael for another primo effort.

Shamik 9:12 AM  

I'm loving the stories using fill! Keep 'em coming.

Easy-medium 3:36 here and found myself smiling with GRUFF, FIDGETING, OCASEY, SMELLY, etc.

IMHOT....common phrase here in Arizona.

Thanks, ACME & MB.

wordie 9:20 AM  

Loved it! DNF because of natick at 29A and 30D, guessed wrong with dEL. otherwise I got the whole thing and smiled when I saw the alphabetical order of the theme answers. Guess I'm easy to please. . . And not a veteran solver like many others here.

mac 9:30 AM  

Easy-medium, very good Monday for me. Donut for bagel and fallen HERO for idol slowed me down a little.

Love ogress, fidgeting, AbFab and the full Nelson! Nice start of the week.

jberg 9:48 AM  

I agree that this was fun - I especially liked the two guides crossing at 9D/22A - but also agree with @Rex that the theme could be a bit tighter. (Though I'm not sure he noticed the AEIOU progression). 39A could be clued "What we're doin' when we do puzzles," making the answer "FILLIN' THE BLANKS", but I'm not sure what to do with 63A. The problem with FULL NELSON is not just that full is standalone, but that it's the only LL not followed by a vowel. You could make it FULLER something, but then you lose the OW / _N alternation. I think I would have preferred that, but the constructors were within their rights to prefer the N. FULL IN ----? I can't think of anything in the language.

But do they really call themselves UTAHNs? Good grief!

KRMunson 9:55 AM  

I'm with @jberg - Shouldn't it be "UTAHAN's" or "UTAHIAN's" or "UTAHITES"???

geezerette 9:58 AM  

This puzzle was a lot of fun, with the OAF and OGRESS keeping company at the top and ZSA ZSA and I'M HOT sharing the bottom corner, along with shouts of AMEN, YEOW and DIE! - that vampire clue being my favorite.

@loren muse smith and @joho, thanks for your stories - the icing on the cake (or the cream in the ECLAIR).

Anon 12:29A 10:00 AM  

@Sue McC For the love of anything you might find holy, move! Get yourself, and those whom you love, to a place where mediocrity doesn't reign, where "if it's not a Hostess product it's gourmet" is recognized as the lie that it is. Better yet, gird your loins and take up arms against 20th century mediocrity and sloppiness. You'll likely fail, but it's better to fail whilst tilting at windmills than muddle along, sitting in the shade eating faux ecliars!

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

I wish it were true about eclairs having custard. So many times I've ordered a so-called eclair expecting custard and gotten some horrible cream instead. Now I always ask first if it's a cream-like or custard-like filling.

Evan 10:07 AM  


I think that Rex did notice the AEIOU order of the theme answers since he called the theme a vowel progression puzzle (right below the grid).

If we wanted to preserve the F-LL-followed-by-a-vowel pattern, and if the NYT really wanted to let its hair down, they could maybe do FULL OF CRAP.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

It's true that the custard filling in eclairs is called "pastry cream" in foodie circles (it's the same stuff that goes on the bottom of French-style fruit tarts too), but a bad eclair will often have this stuff that is some sort of sweetened cream rather than something made with eggs. On the other hand, I had something they call a "creme puff" at Starbucks cafe at a Barnes and Noble and it had a custardy filling. It's actually really hard to find a good eclair without making them yourself. They are best before being refrigerated because refrigeration makes the choux pastry shell chewy and soggy, yet you won't find one anywhere but at home that hasn't been refrigerated. Speaking of the effect of refrigeration on eclairs, there is a place here in Berkeley called Bette's Take Out that puts their eclairs in the same refrigerated case as salads and things containing onion. The eclairs, of course, taste like onion.

quilter1 10:27 AM  

The majority of the fill was pretty fresh and fun. I didn't mind the vowel progression. That's legit for a Monday.

Nice way to start the week. On to BEQ and hair-pulling difficult fun.

mac 10:28 AM  
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Two Ponies 10:28 AM  

Great start to the week.
Loved some of the clues/answers esp. I'm hot.
The theme helped me solve because I've never heard of the Maura chick.
Also got a grin when I saw Evil in the grid.
Thanks Andrea and Michael.

Tita 10:35 AM  

I try to never look at the constructor - don't want any false prejudices!

Really enjoyed this one, happy when I saw it was ACME, delighted to see it is her mentoring a new constructor.

Very meta spanner dead-center. Fun fill, like YEOW, OGRESS, EATME, IMHOT, DIE... More meta at OED.

Mostly, though, I like it for a crazy reason - Puzzle-husband was in the kitchen preparing an awesome Paprikash -- the AROMA was to DIE for... this made 12D an instant gimme, and made me smile!!

In fact, puzzle well-suited to him, since he loves LIONEL trains and loves cooking.

ACME & Michael - check out my Comments tab on my blog for my play-by-play.

(P.S. the Chicken Paprikash was fabulous...)

Tita 10:37 AM  

And loved the SMELLY gym socks wresting with that lovely AROMA.

John V 10:38 AM  

So, this was fun, a nice Monday. The vowel progression was a straightforward suss.

Do we have the possibility of a vowel progression with EGRESS, OGRESS, etc?

Big write-over for me was 10D, McCain/McConnell, which I wrote in REP-ublican. Also had PUB at first for 71A.

CLT was totally FUCOCKED by the weather this morning. Just sayin'

Thanks, Andrea and Michael.

Lewis 11:08 AM  

Lots of spark - Acme's flair always makes me smile, and thank you too Michael. Will you come visit us, Andrea, with some words about your puzzle?

Steve J 11:33 AM  

@jae: Dangit, you're right. I always forget Ms Keaton was ELYSE, not ELISE. I guess it's always Beethoven early in the week (and probably later; I'm drawing a blank on any other prominent ELISEs).

hazel 11:54 AM  

I liked kitchen magnet, turn on the fan or somethin', SMELLY, OGRESS, and FULLNELSON. Had to skip around moreso than the usual Monday. satisfying solve.

Not enough sports though!! :-)

JaxInL.A. 12:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JaxInL.A. 12:08 PM  

@Evan, Thanks for pointing out the interesting debut of EFFECT.

I enjoyed the puzzle, a solid Monday. It did bring a wrinkle to my brow at UTAHN. Nonetheless, UTAHN must be a useful combination of letters, as it debuted back in 2001 (by William I, Johnson) and has appeared 6 times since. Guess we should get used to it, even if it looks wrong. We don't say "you-tah-han" so Utahan should not be right, though my auto-correct dictionary likes the latter and not the former. Go figure.

Campesite 12:21 PM  

It is always a pleasure to see ACME's byline, and I quite enjoyed this puzzle--would love to have some behind-the-scenes. I'm glad I'm not the only one missing Andrea's comments. I wonder if the shout out to Evil was deliberate.

mmorgan 12:24 PM  

LIKE!LIKE!, especially DIE!DIE!


syndy 12:45 PM  

Nobody does it better!sometimes I wish someone would. I almost skipped the puzzle this morning and am I glad I did not-when I saw ACME and MB I just had to smile!RP calls it "easy" but his write-up doesn't seem to agree with that!Many good cross but fav was ZAHN/UTAHN!thanks Andrea! wwill we hear from you today?

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

easy except i was Naticked at BEL/RABAT. Guessed wrong

hazel 1:36 PM  

@mmorgan - forgot that one! My other favorite!

Tita 2:02 PM  

Glad to see all the éclair purists...
My mother makes them often. S

She would transform cream puffs into swans, and serve them on a silver platter "lake". Exquisite!

They are not at all hard to make! Just pick a low-humidity day... ;)
(Same dough deep-fried becomes Beignets or "Sonhos" (dreams) in Portuguese.)

BigSteveSF 2:23 PM  

A nice summery Monday puzzle.
Well played, ACMe and MB.

C.I.O always trips me up. I read it as CIO, and put in CFO or some similar.
Liked BAR and TENDS.

I sometimes like, (sometimes groan) at plays on words.
I read too quickly, "kitchen magnate".
hmmm five letters A---A. How about AMANA. :)
Could be a nice theme --
car magnate (FORD), coffee magnate (BRUNN).
Take it and run with it.

Alternate punny theme answers:
Like Ed McMahon or David Letterman ("these were the ones NOT used")

18A: Loser on TV talent show? (FALLEN IDOL)
24A: All-male cruiser? (FELLOWSHIP)
39A: Load starter's pistol? (FILL IN THE BLANKS)
55A: Trail businessman? (FOLLOW SUIT)
63A: Sated Simpsons bully? (FULL NELSON)

captcha --> toeacce (yeow!)

JenCT 2:23 PM  

I love ECLAIRs! Haven't had one in years.

I'm fairly certain there was no shout-out to anyone in this puzzle...

FILL IN THE BLANKS is a great grid-spanning answer.

Enjoyed the puzzle, thought it was very smooth.

Masked and Anonymous 2:32 PM  

thUmbsUp, Andrea darlin'.


Masked and Anonymous also 2:42 PM  

P.S. -- thUmbsUp to Michael Blake, too. U have great taste in puz partners.

Anonymous 2:52 PM  

It appears that Acme is not an OGRESS and gives a shout out to EVIL but there is no Doug to shout back....


chefwen 3:37 PM  

The last time the good/evil Doug went away, he stayed away for about a year, let's hope he doesn't make it that long this time. I think we would all miss him and his comments, well at least I would.

Good one Andrea and Michael, all my favorites have already been mentioned so I'll save space.

oren muse 4:10 PM  

Well, I’m back from a two week vacation from Burning Springs West (by God) Virginia. Other than Foggy 99 radio channel featuring nothing but country music 24 7, there was no connection to the outside world – no TV, newspaper, computer, etc. Loren and her husband own a farm there where they plan to retire someday. Trudy’s (wife) and my daily routine consisted of four hours of morning fishing (farm has 5 ponds) for blue gill and bass, reading, napping, deck time, and then hotly-contested games of knock rummy. Enough about my adventures.

Thanks, Andrea and Mike, for making my morning fun and enjoyable. OLD YELLER brought back a lot of memories. Prior to that I seem to remember another movie about a dog – “Biscuit Eater”? which was one of the saddest movies I’ve ever seen.
Came really close to finishing. OCASEY and ELISE got me. As to the latter, you don’t spend two weeks listening to songs like “I Wouldn't Take Her To A Dog Fight, Cause I'm Afraid She'd Win” and turn right around to pull Beethoven out of a hat.

Thanks again, Andrea and Mike. Great to be back and reading the blogs.

sanfranman59 4:18 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:14, 6:49, 0.91, 15%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:40, 3:40, 1.00, 52%, Medium

chefbea 4:39 PM  

@Oren and (Trudy) Welcome back!!! Missed you. We listen to country western music all the time. Love it!!

retired_chemist 4:51 PM  

Nice one. Nothing to add to the previous comments.

Thanks, Andrea and Michael.

Sparky 6:39 PM  

Noted Acme's byline with pleasure. Pleasant solve. Tripped briefly on INEs as I alwys do. To this old union gal it's AFofL. Thanks Michael too.

The OGRESS said, Fee,Fie, Foe,Fum.

Martin 7:38 PM  

The difference between a cream puff and an éclair is its shape. Either can be filled with anything.

Éclair means lightning bolt. Nobody know why the French name anything the way they do. "Dandelion" is of French extraction (it means "lion's teeth") but they call dandelions pissenlit (piss in bed). The beignets that visitors to New Orleans love so much are called Nun farts in French.

Cream puffs are profiteroles in French, which means "higher profit for the baker." Really.

Martin 8:18 PM  

BTW, I just read the Nun fart link. The second sentence says they're also called "nun's sigh" (presumably if the main name is too crass for you) or "whore farts" and "old-lady farts" (if not crass enough). Vive la France.

mac 8:20 PM  

@Martin: the Dutch pissebed (a woodlouse) also seems to be translated to pissenlit.

And I once made "pets de nonne", originating in St. Pourcain on the upper Loire. Mostly chocolate, eggwhites, sugar and walnuts with a little angelica (if you can find it) and dark rum.

Tita 8:46 PM  

@Martin - I just finished reading that too... Fabulous range of names for one (delicious) dish!
This is now one of my most favorite things learned in Rexville - merci!

The Portuguese make "Nun's bellies" (Barigas de freira). I'll have to ask my mom if there are any racier names for dishes.
Hmmm...I sense a theme!

Sfingi 9:07 PM  

Didn't know FULL NELSONs were illegal. I better stop it.

I detected a mini-theme: femine-only nouns: ORGRESS, SPINSTER, newswoman, EWE.

Also - women with "Z" names: ZAHN, ZSAZSA, INEZ.

mac 9:18 PM  

@Tita: LOL! I don't think the NYT is going to accept a theme based on nuns' bodyparts or -functions!

andrea carla michaels 9:49 PM  

"Tight. Smooth. Imaginative. Consistent." Ahhh! If only he had stopped there! ;)

Glad @Rex deemed it "publishable"! I shall remember that next time I'm damning something with faint praise!
I can assure you much conceptual work went into this beforehand and thru every word and decision about the F*LL. :)
FILLINTHEBLANKS had indeed been the impetus (and the "I" word in a five-tthemed AEIOU puzzle must always be an odd number, so FILLINTHEBLANKS at 15 was manna from heaven, if not fillo dough!)

I thought it would be incredibly cool if every definition were a fill in the blank! But as @Martin posted on Amy's, it's been done.

Thank you everyone else for the kind words.
My sister is named ELYSE and it was a shout out to her, as she and my other sister ELLEN played "Fur Elise" nonstop throughout our childhood.

Much much more to say, but I'm in Austraiiiilia...
Tho I assure you the unhappy coincidence of having a puzzle written a year and a half ago having the word EVIl in it, was no shout out...
After last month's kerfuffle, including his writing me a vaguely threatening email on my HOME email, only put out to you guys as an invitation to help fledgling writers, was beyond the last straw.
I don't need to read the blog and find there is a debate as to whether or not I'M an a*hole!!!

Sorry to say it's either him or me.
His using every slight pretext to call me narcissistic, hypocritical, name-dropping and worse, and appeals privately to @Rex to put a stop to it, or at least not give him openings, seem to have be met with a deaf ear...so, I'll just say, it's been fun and I'm sure the blog will happily survive without me!
'Sides, I've told all my stories at least twice! Time to gather some new ones!

sanfranman59 10:04 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 6:13, 6:49, 0.91, 15%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:38, 3:40, 0.99, 46%, Medium

Lewis 10:07 PM  

No, Andrea, say it isn't so! No no no!

If you don't like his posts, scroll through them. If you leave, he wins. I know you can feel the love from so many here.

Or at least think about it!

pauer 11:25 PM  

Well done, Andrea and Michael! Thanks for the fun puzzle!

Anonymous 11:26 PM  

@Martin - I refer you to the ASMT standard for Pastries, Eclair which states, in part,

4.1.3 Shape - An eclair is oblong, with an aspect ratio at least 2:1. Aspect ratios of greater than 4:1 are discouraged due to stability issues.

5.3.4: Filling - Filling is a custard, generally vanilla flavored. Acceptable variants are chocolate, coffee, or any non-fruit based flavoring.

Or, you could just realize that some of us are expressing our preferences, and leave it at that.

Sparky 11:28 PM  

Andrea @Lewis is right. Don't let the bastards grind you down. I won't miss him. Glad he's kept mum for a while. Enjoy Australia, rub another kangaroo tummy and come back refreshed.

Rube 2:21 AM  

@Andrea, I'm disappointed with you, letting the infantile rantings and ravings of a not very well appreciated blogger get to you. Show a little Chutzpah. Personally, I don't bother to read such tripe.

Along similar lines, @Chefwen, I totally disagree. Let's discuss in October.

707N 6:39 AM  

If there was no intentional shout out to ed, I suppose the EATME and EVIL can now be paired. Thanks ACMe.

Anonymous 6:01 PM  

I remember a prior puzzle by this constructor that had "melt in ONE'S mouth." That puzzle was given a pass by RP and he was called out on it. Glad to see he did not do the same this time.

http://sportsfunia.com 9:13 AM  

nice movies

Mighty Nisden 6:31 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mighty Nisden 6:33 PM  

In my haste on Friday, I thought... This is a very late post and some might miss it so I figured I would put repost it today.

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Hey syndi landers. As you may have forgotten I moved to prime time a while ago. One thing that I didn't like was that when there is an announcement we would all get it too late. So, because I remember how sucky that was, here was what announced today.

[Hey, everybody! PuzzleGirl here checking in with a quick announcement. You all know about Lollapuzzoola, right? It's a really fun annual tournament held in New York. This year it will take place on August 4 (that's a Saturday in August). If you can't make it to the tournament, you might be interested in the "compete from home" division. You can find all the info you need at the Lollapuzzoola 5 website, including how to register, some details on prizes, and the list of really unbelievably top-notch constructors who are contributing puzzles to this adventure. Go check it out right now!]

Solving in Seattle 2:32 PM  

Fun Monday - thank you Andrea and Michael. I liked the main theme and the sub-themes, intended or not.

ZSAZSA crossing EATME was surely unintended. I can just hear her, "Dalink, I vant you to..."

DMGrandma 3:36 PM  

A nice Monday puzzle. Some fun words and a fill that gives newbies a chance-we all remember when we were learning the ropes.

@ACME: I'm saddened that one person's pettiness has served to drive away anyone, let alone someone who has contributed so much to this site. In my experience, ignoring (not reading) the attackers is the thing to do. Otherwise, they have suceeded in spoiling your life and limiting your contributions to a world you care about. Do as I do, and skip past any comments that seem designed to be snide or irritating. Who needs it?

Please enjoy your Australlian visit (I'm jealous) and come home refreshed and rejoin us. I miss vicariously sharing your multi-faceted life!!!!!

Dirigonzo 6:58 PM  

In yet another case of syndication synchronicity, my morning paper had an article about the increased incidence of rabies in the area which reminded me of OLDYELLER, and when the afternoon paper came with the puzzle there he was, right there in the southwest where he belonged.

But Morocco's capital crossing ___Paese cheese completely did me in.

Texas Solver 7:25 PM  

I love MONDAYS!! I feel so smart finishing the NYT with no write overs, no googles, etc.

Now if only I could do that on Thursday - Sundays.

Ginger 10:09 PM  

@acme - Please reread the posts starting from @lewis (10:07 PM) Your presence here is overwhelmingly missed! Hope you're having a Fine Fun time Down Under. Hope to read about it when you return!!

This puzzle was the best way to start the week off. Monday easy, yes, but not Monday boring. My only writeover was due to my misspelling DOLLeR, quickly corrected.

Spacecraft 10:49 PM  

There's a "word" in here that has got to go. However, I don't have the power to kick it out, so I'll make a lyric out of it:

UTAHN always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes...
Y'get whatcha need (ahh, ahhhh...)!

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