Automaker Ferrari / THU 6-7-12 / Chem assay / Twins sharing star on Hollywood walk of Fame / Bygone record label / Rocker Stefani / Some Rijksmuseum holdings / Brewer Coors

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: I BEFORE / E EXCEPT / AFTER C (13A: With 14- and 64-Across, familiar rule not always followed) — there are two sets of four circled squares, each arranged in a square pattern: IE on top of EI. Several "I before E" and "E before I" answers run through them. Some violate the rule in question ... some don't.

Word of the Day: DURRA (48D: Sorghum variety) —
Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum and also known as durra or jowari, is a grass species cultivated for its edible grain. Sorghum originated in northern Africa, and is now cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions. S. bicolor is typically an annual, but some cultivars are perennial. It grows in clumps that may reach over 4 m high. The grain is small, ranging from 3 to 4 mm in diameter. Sweet sorghums are sorghum cultivars that are primarily grown for foliage; they are shorter than those grown for grain. (wikipedia)
• • •

A bunch of "IE" and "EI" words intersect each other. Some follow the "I BEFORE E" rule (LIEN, CEILING, HYGIENE...), some don't (WEIRD, SEIZE, ANCIENT...). Where does ONEI fit in? (21D: "That's ___ hadn't heard)

If I'm missing something, I apologize.

This puzzle was weird for me, in that I tore through parts of it, and got seriously stonewalled in others. No idea what the first part of ___ ASTRONOMER was going to be (58A: Studier of distant emissions). Eventually guessed RADIO because it felt like I'd heard of such a thing before. Also hadn't heard of ECOLAW (or if I had, I forgot), and honestly, off the E and A, just made it up, knowing (in my gut) it would be right (43A: Ban on strip mining, e.g.). If EXMATE is a thing, why not ECOLAW? Only thing that was truly out of left field, for me (in that I needed virtually every cross) was DURRA. Not up on my alternate names of grass types, I guess. Biggest solving mistakes today included writing in DATE for DELE (2D: Take out) and then getting most of the northern part of the grid while still having no idea what kind of TOURNAMENTS we could be talking about (15A: 5-Down and others). NE was tough for me, as my brain, even the very bendy part of my brain, wouldn't accept EXMATE as a thing. It's occurring to me now that it actually took me some time just to get the theme because of these early issues. No clue on IGN (13D: Engine part: Abbr.). OPTI- for OPTO- (11D: Vision: Prefix). Once the theme fell in, most of these problems went away. Had one last big problem at the end when I went with BIG TIME instead of BIG NAME (61A: Major). The BIG TIME / DATE snafus that framed my solving experience accounted for most of my slowness, because as I said, the rest of the grid had gimmes aplenty and was easy to mow through.

  • 18A: Bygone record label (ARISTA) — a common crossword answer, but I had no idea it was "bygone." Weird to get my music news from the crossword. 
  • 24A: Twins sharing a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (OLSENS) — first twins that popped into my head. Their super-common letters let me know (or suspect) they were the right ones.
  • 39A: Automaker Ferrari (ENZO) — one of my biggest crosswordese problems involves trying to tell this guy apart from opera star EZIO Pinza. 
  • 42A: ___ Tales, magazine where many H. P. Lovecraft stories first appeared (WEIRD) — love this clue. I have something of a pulp fetish. Maybe "fetish" isn't the right word. Or maybe it is, who knows? I also loved GO POOF (45D: Disappear) and OFF THE CLOCK (3D: Not paid for, as factory work).
  • 63A: Some Rijksmuseum holdings (STEENS) — as with the OLSENS, the ultra-common letters led me toward the light.
  • 16D: Mr. Mojo ___ (anagrammatic nickname for Jim Morrison) (RISIN') — one of those answers with really one clue. Or I guess you could go with [What you're doin' in the mornin'].
  • 23D: Subject of a six-volume history by edward Gibbon (ANCIENT ROME) — had the terminal "E" and really wanted ROMAN EMPIRE (which fits).
  • 38D: Rocker Stefani (GWEN) — one of those blessed gimmes I was talking about. See also EDGE (51D: Kind of piece in a jigsaw puzzle). Do not see also ANAL, wth!? (31A: Chem. assay). That's the kind of answer that needs a direct, anatomical / psychological clue, because that's all anyone's gonna see anyway, so why run away from it? Embrace your ANAL! And on that note ...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


MikeM 7:22 AM  

brilliant puzzle. I was in awe of the construction. They all broke the rule (save ONEI). Had Gabors before Olsons and remembered they are not twins. Also had BIGtiME before BIGNAME. Thanks Joe Krozel

Glimmerglass 7:32 AM  

ANCIENT is the only word that appears to break the rule. The whole rule, as I'm sure every puzzler knows, says, " ... and in words sounding [long] A, such as neighbor and weigh. Exceptions: Neither leisured foreigner seized the weird heights." There are several other exceptions not quoted in the rule (e.g. financier).

Z 7:41 AM  

Lots of similarities to Rex - DURRA? Wanted BIG tiME, too, but had ON LOAN already so I ran the alphabet to get the N. With EXMA-E considered L before getting the T. What would Mars say? IGN was a "huh" until Rex commented then I realized it must be short for IGNition.

I realized that I am at least quadralingual in crosswordese as Russian, French, and Spanish were all gimmes this morning. I also didn't much like KNT, or ROOMERS, or ECOLAW, or ADOLPH for that matter.

To follow-up on PK's late day (night?) post from yesterday - Uncle Google brought most of us to Rex, but by spending a little time here we need UG less and less.

Anonymous 7:55 AM  

I was using the mnemonic to spell niece before I had the aha moment. I loved this puzzle and all of the cluing. Rex, you fell for the red herrings as you were supposed to, silly!! I was stuck on ANCIENT ROsE so kept trying to make ROOMERS into leasERS!
107 backity

foodie 8:07 AM  

I agree with both sides. Like Rex, I stumbled and found some of the stuff esoteric or plain odd. But I also had this very discrete "aha, chuckle" combo (my AC moment). And then thought: What a great commentary on the English language!

The spelling in English is a challenge, no two ways about it. It's WEIRD to me because I think of the Western cultures as much more systematic than the Arab culture. Yet Arabic is so much more orderly and predictable (albEIt complex). Anyhow, this puzzle made me stop for a second and consider all the little twists and turns.

retired_chemist 8:08 AM  

Two (related) mistakes: OPTI for OPTO (either works IMO) and NTSC (for Commission) instead of NTSB. That left 19A as SIC (OK, it's a melodrama featuring a big dog). I was so sure of NTSC I considered nothing else. Checked, and I was wrong. But Google says there IS a NTSC somewhere that fits (I think Indonesia), so I don't feel so bad.

Same experience as Rex with the OLSENS, same reaction to ECOLAW and EXMATE.

RADIOASTRONOMER was easy, as I spent parts of summers in the WV mountains and visited the National Radioastronomy Observatory. It has since been renamed the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, or GBT. Too bad it couldn't have included the name of the nearest "large" city, Lewisville, so it could be the Robert C. Byrd LGBT facility.

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

What does ACE have to do with pal?

foodie 8:14 AM  

PS. The other challenge in English is that the written word does not tell you for sure how it should be pronounced. Unlike French, where spelling can be tricky (o,au,eau, etc...) but the rules for pronunciation are very clear.

For years, I learned English from reading and pronounced many words incorrectly in my head...e.g when I saw "albeit" I thought "I'll bite"' and when I meant albeit, I wrote " all be it".

Leslie 8:19 AM  

Anonymous, "ace" and "pal" are just nicknames guys can use with each other, or fathers with sons, maybe. Add "coach" and "tiger" to that list.

I liked this puzzle a lot except for my huge glaring failure in the NE. Could not get the "melodramatic sound," so just filled in "SSS" for the hissing the audience does in a melodrama, even though I hated "opts" and didn't think "NTSS" could possibly be right. Oh, well.

Oscar 8:21 AM  

What a sorry excuse for a theme.

SethG 8:22 AM  

The puzzle was simple, but a few of the comments are confusing.

Also Rex, HYGIENE. Embrace your ANAL HYGIENE.

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

Am I the only one who thought the theme was feeble? The thing I disliked most about this puzzle is that the long across entries are unrelated to the theme. The main entry: "I before ..." is asymetrical. Some other theme entries are not symmetrically placed. E.g. the theme entry ANCIENTROME is diagonally opposite OFFTHECLOCK. And the two squares of circles are not symmetrical either. Probably it's impossible to get the kind of symmetry I expect while using this theme. To my mind, that's a reason to find another theme and give up on this one (an experience I imagine every composer has had).

joho 8:40 AM  

@SethG: LOL. @Rex, I know, it's right smack dab in the middle of the puzzle, kind of hard to miss! Why not clue it for what it is?

My solving experience was freakily similar to @Rex's right down to the WOTD.

I really liked PROAMS crossing TOURNAMENTS.

I thought the theme was clever and fun to uncover.

My favorite answers were OFFTHECLOCK, HEATEDLY and GOPOOF!

Thank you, Joe Krozel, for yet another interesting, fresh puzzle.

Sue McC 8:40 AM  

Same experience as Rex...sped thru in parts, stuck in others. And the ANAL clue was bizarre. A lost fun opportunity anyway. Overall, disappointing for a Thursday, when I'm looking for a good kick in the pants. This would have been better on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

Doug 8:41 AM  

I can't be the only one whose effort stalled after entering RENTERS instead of ROOMERS.

Rex Parker 8:43 AM  

The first two comments make no sense to me.

They all broke the rule? Only one broke the rule?

Neither of those statements is true. What I said is true. Some broke, some didn't. I even listed some of the ones that broke, and some that didn't. So I guess I agree with Seth. Not for the first time.


baja 8:47 AM  

Loved this. The letter runs made it harder to crack. Something starting .baf...? (I also had date before dele), something ending ....erc. Ign. and golf hard to see but fair. Love any science clue, and yes we've heard those jokes before!

wordie 9:02 AM  

I did not like that the long answers did not relate to the theme.

Possible better clue for 31A: Slang ref. to someone overly concerned with the answer to 13A, 14A and 64A?

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

Rex’s list of the examples of the rule being followed and being broken are incomplete. Not sure why, though he leaves it open ended for more examples. Maybe he didn't want to be anal about it.

I see four circles on each side of the puzzle. There are examples of following and breaking the rule within each cluster of four circles. On the left side three follow and one breaks the rule and on the right side three break and one follows the rule. Nice symmetry. Fun puzzle. Clever cluing. I liked it…a lot….


chefbea 9:08 AM  

Great puzzle. Had trouble with the south and DNF ie: had some blanks.

What is 12 D NTSB?

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Roman Empire is the correct answer to 23D. Gibbon's history begins in ancient Rome. But it goes through the 1500s. That's not ancient.

wordie 9:11 AM  

@chefbea, I think it's the national transportation board.

I liked the puzzle a lot, I should add. Zippy. I DNF due to STEENS, had steins. . . .

wordie 9:13 AM  

Safety Board, I meant

jberg 9:20 AM  

@Rex, I think @Glimmerglass was referring to the list of exceptions quoted in the comment as the "rule." I'd never heard that one, myself, and anyway the clue to 13 made it clear what rule was meant.

Aside from that, DURRA? You're far too kind about that one. ECOLAW is a made-up word, but you can guess it. DURRA? No way.

My first answer was PRO-AMS, which gave me GOLD TOURNAMENT, bu with all that white space I had to mentally check 5 or 6 crosses before I dared to write in either one. ADOLPH crossing A BOYfinally made me think it was OK.

Like Rex, I thought ROMAN EMPIRE was a gimme. ANCIENT ROME would be the kings and the republic, right? Gibbon just writes about the decline and fall of the empire, pretty late in Rome's history. The "six-volume" bit held me up, since my own edition is published in 8 volumes, but I gather that the original volumes were longer.

I do play chess, though. You can call that piece an N, you can call it at KT, but nobody has ever called it a KNT.

jackj 9:24 AM  

Just Joe Krozel being Joe Krozel as he posits the familiar “I before E rule” and then shows us, as we solve his crossword, why it’s not such a rigid rule after all.

The theme and Joe’s examples are predictable, but serve his purpose, and the real bonus comes with some clever fill that binds this tasty pudding of a puzzle.

The hands down favorite for me was the charming GOPOOF; you gotta love it! There are certainly other nice bits like PEDS for “Ones hoofing it” and OFFTHECLOCK for work not paid for, (also sometimes known among civilians as “government work”), but GOPOOF is a real standout.

Making life slightly miserable for his solving fans, Joe also gives a few reasons for griping, beginning with some abbreviations that, while being legitimate, are probably stretches in most solvers minds, ANAL, KNT and IGN.

Others may complain about the vague sorghum variety known as DURRA but, to make it memorable, they might look up “sorghum” and read that portion of the definition that tells about “the spikelets in pairs on a hairy rachis”. Oh, those botanists!

And no complaints as Joe clues two of my passions, ice hockey, clued as “Stars and others” (Dallas Stars) for NHLTEAMS and art, through the reference to 17th century artist Jan STEEN’S works, he of the Dutch Golden Age masters which also included a guy named Rembrandt and some fellow named Vermeer.

A nice return to traditional Krozel imagination, unlike that embarrassingly easy Friday puzzle Joe gave us a few days ago.

Matthew G. 9:39 AM  

In the May 5 puzzle, OLD PAL was clued as {Longtime ace}, and many people, myself included, were utterly baffled by the notion that "ace" could mean "pal." But in the month since, I've seen ACE used that way in several puzzles, including today's. A while back, I invented a word that means the experience of learning something new and then suddenly seeing it everywhere: apprendipity. Start using it!

Cheerio 9:58 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Sure, "i before e..." is a simple theme, but the theme ends up looking very elegant in the grid.

I did not have the same solving experience as others. I'm not usually on the same wavelength as Krozel, but for this one, I was and it seemed pretty easy. Radioastronomer was a gimme. I still remember being disappointed as a kid when I learned that astronomy isn't about looking at stars in the middle of the night anymore.

nitpicker 9:59 AM  

The weird efficient financier seizes neither leisure nor any species of sport in society.
I learned this mnemonic from my fourth grade teacher (Thanks Mrs. Szok) and can't believe how helpful it has been.

JenCT 10:00 AM  

Had DURUM (a wheat) for DURRA, so that section really held me up; DNF for me.

I think IGN is short for ignition.

Thought this was challenging.

loren muse smith 10:11 AM  

I loved the theme and, in fact, someone here a few weeks ago challenged us to come up with the name of a movie whose title has two words that break the rule. Weird Science made me start thinking this would be a great theme! (Sorry, @Oscar - I disagree). I kicked it around and ran some stuff by Andrea – WEIRD SCIENCE, ANCIENT SOCIETY, some kind of CONCIERGE. . . She told me to be careful and make sure the theme entries be true phrases and try to make them bright (or something like that). I revisited my little gems and could already hear everyone here going, “Meh.”

Joe took it and deftly pulled it off with circles, affording him EIght ;-) theme entries!

I agree – some weird comments today.

@joho – thanks for pointing out the PROAMS/TOURNAMENT cross!

Like @wordie, I DNF because of STEINS (wondering why it wasn’t part of the EI octet and thinking vaguely that “opalini” could be some kind of iridescent pasta).

But my biggest, most shameful reason I DNF was 48D “dgrra” proudly next to the even worse 45D “goooof.” I absolutely could not let go of “LETS go.”

Cool that aside from ONE I, no other EI or IE combos.

@Foodie – if you’re interested in such things, email me and I can explain a couple of reasons English has such ridiculous spelling.

If we’re going to clue ANAL the way everyone sees it, might as well add the cluing for SOB, too. I guess I know a few ANAL SOBs.

KRMunson 10:20 AM  

I cry foul on KNT for a chess piece. Is this a common abbreviation? It could've been KGT or KGN just as easily. Just sayin'.

Glimmerglass 10:23 AM  

@Rex. None of the words in the grid is misspelled. All the IE/EI words follow the rule or the exceptions listed in the whole rule (see comment #2), except for ANCIENT, which is an exception to the rule not included in the mnemonic (there are many others). As a former English teacher, I can attest to the fact that the rule is often not followed, but not in this puzzle.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

@Rex - None of the words in any reputable dictionary is misspelled. In case you were searching for places where things aren't misspelled.

Two Ponies 10:34 AM  

My solving experience was quite different from Rex's. I got the theme early but the south took most of my time.
Well done Joe!

@ Loren, Iridescent pasta! What an imagination.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Any puzzle with anal hygiene had got to be a winner!

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

Glimmer, I don't think your list of exceptions is part of the rule. I'd say the puzzle has more than one exception to the rule, not that it has just one exception that's not on a random mnemonic some people know.

jae 11:21 AM  

Easy-med. and a tad on the meh side for me. The only zippy stuff was GOPOOF and the ANAL HYGIENE stack. Plus I've seen "I before E" in a weekend puzzle, maybe a Nothnagel or a Quarfoot.

Hand up for DatE plus ...books before ...CLOCK.

I guess I don't quite feel the love for this one.

Mike 11:23 AM  

National Transportation Safety Board. An independent US govt agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation (Wikipedia)

geezerette 11:23 AM  

The cluing and the occasional WEIRD vowel or consonant sequence kept this one pleasantly challenging for me. Thank goodness I went to college when there were still requirements so that I knew HEURE and Jan STEEN, giving me anchors I badly needed.

@rex, Ezio Pinza was one of the BIG NAMEs who appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show back in ANCIENT times, so I remember him from then.

@glimmerglass and @nitpicker, thank you for the mnemonics - I always begin by spelling "weird" the wrong way, as I did in this puzzle.

@Doug, I stuck with "renters" for a very long time. And since I was juked by "Touchdown stat," thinking it related to football, I had "yds" instead of "ETA." So, even though I knew Gibbon wrote about Rome, instead of realizing that my answers might be wrong, I thought, "Gee, I guess Gibbon wrote about something else, too."

@loren muse smith - me, too, on having "lets go." I was ready to shrug my shoulders with a "whatever" at "dgrra" but looking again at "goooof" I thought, "WAIT..." and finally got GO POOF.

Mel Ott 11:32 AM  

Not easy for me because I had OFF THE BOOKS at 3D for the longest time. ECOLAW & KNT finally showed me the way.

Nice construction, altho some of us ANAL types might have preferred greater symmetry. :-)

lawprof 11:42 AM  

The "i before e...yada, yada..." rule, even with all its refinements and qualifications, is still subject to so many exceptions that it's virtually useless. The spelling of English, unlike many other languages, is largely dependent on memorization. English pronunciation is similarly whimsical, viz., "ghoti" (attributed, I believe, to G.B. Shaw).

Noam D. Elkies 12:15 PM  

Good question about 21D:ON*E_I*. Didn't even notice 13D:IGN[ition] until coming here. 46A:KNT has indeed not been used for ♘ in decades.

31A:ANAL could also be clued as a Freudian phase; last year we had a Greek-letter theme that included ORαSE but could as easily have had ANαSE.

@Glimmerglass: This puzzler didn't know or remember the "Exceptions" addendum. "Einstein" (and thus also element 99, named in his honor) breaks the rule twice, but for obvious reasons.


ksquare 12:29 PM  

@lawprof 1142 You should have added that GHOTI is the way Shaw spelled FISH. i.e. gh as in laugh, o as in women, ti as in motion.

Bird 1:49 PM  

I am actually disappointed with today’s puzzle. I don’t know why we needed circles. Are they supposed to aid in the learning of exceptions to the rule? I would imagine NYT solvers know how to spell these common words. Where’s the gimmick? Where’s the Rebus? And as someone else pointed out the revealer lacks symmetry.

I play golf so 15A was a gimme and a good answer. Also good was 27A and 45D. Ugly parts of the grid are EXMATE, IGN and KNT – these seem made-up. Agree with Rex on 21D – it doesn’t belong in this puzzle. Nice misdirection for 22A as I had PTS (I’m a huge football fan) and then wondered what ETS was when I got 7D. 23D took a while, but things eventually clicked. I’ve seen ECOLAW before, but maybe just in crosswords.

New words are STEEN and DURRA, but gettable from crosses.

OK, captchas – bring it on . . .

mac 2:02 PM  

I didn't enjoy this puzzle as much as I usually do a Krozel. Had some of the same thoughts as Rex and others did, especially eco-law. Can't believe I put in "huts" with only the U in place!

Go poof, off the clock and big name were my favorites, knt, ign and orbs for stars not so much.

@foodie: amen to the irregularities in English pronunciation! I have made some funny mistakes as well.

Stevlb1 2:24 PM  

I(we) need to "get a life"!

syndy 2:43 PM  

I winced when I saw circles but took a deep breath and deciced to deal.I was less than pleased when the first clues went meta-another deep breathe!that said the circles were few and innocuous and made ANCIENT ROME obvious if not etomologically correct.My only hold up was throwing in BANANA for 8 down otherwise a very fast thursday.a lot of gimmees and the crosses swept the board

quilter1 2:55 PM  

Did this one over breakfast and lunch. I liked it, and thought it was fair although I quickly dropped in Roman Empire and renters among other misdirected answers. But all became clear.

@Stevlb1: My temp job ends 6/19 and I get my life back.

Tita 3:24 PM  

Liked the theme, but the 15's not being part of it...meh...

We are on a celestial and mythology streak since Sunday - today it continues with 2 stars, ORBS, RADIOASTRONOMY, MERC[ury]...

Yes, GOPOOF is fabulous.

Sparky 4:11 PM  

I liked it. Never can spell LIEN but do know SIEZE so I figured the vowels in the boxes would take turns. Which means some solving can be done by follwing a pattern.

47a doyou before IDONT. Hand up for LETSgo. It all sorted itself out. I am glad my pen erases.

I cannot believe the OLSEN twins have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Thanks Joe Krozel. Thanks @Rex for the Peter Gabriel.

pk 4:25 PM  

Guess I am the only one who had to write Jim Morrison in the margin and then cross out the letters of Mr Mojo and then try to make a word out of what was left.

And I may be the only one who wonders why we have a picture of a bag of cough drops for our viewing pleasure. I even clicked on it to see if it would do anything. (It didn't.) Anybody?

Lewis 4:32 PM  

Rex, you made laugh with "embrace your anal!" -- but if it had an anatomical clue, as you suggest, I can already hear the flood of "failed the breakfast test!" comments...

Z 4:38 PM  

@PK - try yodeling ECOLAW.

sanfranman59 4:39 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 17:04, 18:57, 0.90, 34%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 8:34, 9:21, 0.92, 40%, Medium

Rube 4:58 PM  

When ROMAN EMPIRE wouldn't work, I tried fall aNd RisE... ah well. Had BIGtiMe first, Date before DELE and ABet before ABOY among many writeovers.

@PJ, I too crossed out letters until RISIN' appeared. Is PEDS a legit word nowadays, not requiring, "abbrev."? Also frowned at EXMATE, KNT and DURRA.

Still, really enjoyed the puzzle, especially since any Thursday without Googling is a success in it's own right.

For those who don't like ONE I, how about the clue, "What makes Shrek Shriek?"

retired_chemist 5:21 PM  

@ Rube - LOL re For those who don't like ONE I, how about the clue, "What makes Shrek Shriek?"

chefwen 5:31 PM  

@Doug & geezerette, joining your group with RentERS first.

I went from BIG deal to BIG date to BIG time and finally got it right with BIG NAME. Not up on my NHL TEAMS I had movie stars on the brain for 36D, really wanted HUTS for 40A but the NH wasn't going anywhere. Finally got the TEAM with my M in 61A and POOF it was done.

Loved seeing my ALL TIME favorite artist Jan STEEN at 63A, I have spent many an hour staring at his works.

@syndy - Loved your banana fill in at 8D LOL.

Robert of San Francisco 6:19 PM  

Guess I'm the only one who had DOGNAME for "Major." Hung me up for quite a while. Woof!

dk 6:29 PM  

Late to the post as I was installing a biddet. So @sethg Anal Hygiene all the way man.

More write overs today than I can remember. It is fun for me to err and correct. It is kinda like... Life.

*** (3 Stars) 58A was my first fill woo woo

Anonymous 8:13 PM  

For anyone interested Joe Krozel has several posts on Wordplay, his latest giving an insight as to how he came up with the concept for this puzzle....


mac 9:32 PM  

@Robert of San Francisco: we had a Dalmation called Major (Millstones) once.

sanfranman59 10:02 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 6:39, 6:49, 0.97, 45%, Medium
Tue 10:00, 8:54, 1.12, 82%, Challenging
Wed 10:44, 11:47, 0.91, 30%, Easy-Medium
Thu 17:12, 18:57, 0.91, 35%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:46, 3:40, 1.03, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:05, 4:36, 1.10, 81%, Challenging
Wed 5:48, 5:53, 0.99, 50%, Medium
Thu 8:31, 9:21, 0.91, 38%, Easy-Medium

pk 11:32 PM  

@Z - Thx. Oh, that whimsical Rex!

Anonymous 11:36 PM  

"Neither the ancient financier nor the weird scientific foreigner
sufficiently seizes the reins of leisured society at its height."

(A nice round dozen exceptions to the basic `rule.')

Enjoyed the puzzle --- I didn't know exceptions are quite so common.

JaxInL.A. 10:17 AM  

Iciest and icier both comply with the I berfore E rule, but violate the "except after C" exception. I know why, but it really is a rule often broken. Hmmm.

Waxy in Montreal 9:45 AM  

From the syndicate: My feisty foreign neighbor Keith who weirdly wears beige consumes caffeine and codeine having forfeited his fortune (which came neither from a heist or selling an heirloom) trying to rein in the reign of the Sinn Fein in Eire.

Spacecraft 12:46 PM  

Another possibility for a 16d clue would be: "Like CCR's Bad Moon." For a NON-giveaway clue...I don't have much.

Man, I bet @Tobias so loved this puzzle (NOT!) that he was rendered speechless. PROAMS, GOLFTOURNAMENTS, NHLTEAMS, RAMS, HUTS (as clued): a veritable plethora (thanks, Howard Cosell!) of sports stuff.

Pretty dense theme; clever multi- I-E crossings besides the rule spelled out. Makes for some dreadful fill (KNT, ENS, and 3 abbrs. in a row (AMER, MERC, SRS). A fair tradeoff for the theme and the cool long downs. Too bad the 15's couldn't contain some kind of I-E thing.

I liked the mini-theme of ORBS crossing RADIOASTRONOMER.

Ron Diego 1:16 PM  

I for one enjoyed this puzzle and thank you Mr. Krozel. I have a hard time understanding the complainers and the nitpickers. Ask yourselves, could you do better? I'm an old man of 75yrs & have done crosswords for over 50. Even the silly/easy puzzles are fun and satisfying to someone out there. In my opinion Mr. Krozel is one of the best, along with Gorski, Berry, Reagle, etal.

Solving in Seattle 2:40 PM  

This puzzle made my brain hurt. For one thing, I kept looking for a rebus or something even more sinister. I had romanempirE AT 23D to start and built off that. (Yeah, you should see my newspaper - I do them in ink.) Like others, I wouldn't let go of RentERS. Had Masc for 56D ("Bobcat or Cougar, for short."). BIGtiME at 61A and DatE at 2D.

I think the clueing of 23D is misleading, and, as others, didn't like EXMATE or KNT. IGN is legit to me. Cleeeever cluing with "Touchdown stat" and "Move to the right, say."

Finally slogged through it. Tough one for me, Joe.

@SiS lol award of the day to @Waxy.

Capcha: supplyce. What's yelled at at an immigrant's birthday.

Waxy in Montreal 3:24 PM  

@SiS: a surfeit of praise indeed but I'll not feign false modesty. Thanks!

DMGrandma 4:24 PM  

Felt so smug. When I dropped in ROMAN EMPIRE, which combined with RENTERS made my SE a snarl. Eventually got most of it, but didn't think DURRA looked like a real word, and still don't understand MERC. A car, A team???

@SIS beat me to it, but my compliments to @Waxy for dexterity with words!

Captcha: etgarde. Looks like I'll have to fight for the right to post.

Anonymous 7:24 PM  

I know what QB is short for, but what is hut short for?

Dirigonzo 7:55 PM  

@Waxy - From The Irish Times.Com: "Thge meeting between Queen Elizabeth II and Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, is an important symbolic addition to the iconography of reconciliation on this island and between Ireland and Britain. Their handshake, at a private meeting in Belfast organised by Co-operation North and to be attended by President Higgins, deserves the publicity it has attracted, however upsetting Sinn Féin’s political opponents find that to be." I wonder how your neighbor, Keith, feels about that? (But that was a really cool "I before E" rant.)

I was totally stuck in the SW corner until I changed "lag" 49a, Be behind, to OWE and the whole corner fell in to place. I love it when that happens.

IRS enforcement rules require them to file a notice of LIEN before they can SEIZE your property. I'm sure this is of no concern to any one here, but since the words appear side by side in the grid I thought I'd mention it.

Dirigonzo 7:58 PM  

Came back to check the box for email updates, but while I am here, @anony 7:24 PM, QB's call the "hike" signal "HUT 1, HUT 2..."

SmacD 8:38 PM  

@Anonymous (7:24 PM): “Hut” is what a QB says so that the centre snaps the ball. Coincidentally, when the QB says this, his hands are usually close to the centre’s ANAL area.

Speaking of ANAL—and there’s a segue I’ve never used before—here is a favourite exchange from “Annie Hall,” just before the Marshall McLuhan scene:

ALVY (after refusing to go into a film that has already started): I’ve gotta see a picture exactly from the start to the finish, ’cause—’cause I’m anal.

ANNIE: H’h, that’s a polite word for what you are.

SmacD from the syndicate (if I may borrow @Waxy’s terminology)

Waxy in Montreal 8:40 PM  

@Diri - Keith had a seizure when he heard. Now lives with his neice Deirdre and her husband Neil in Leicester.

Dirigonzo 8:57 PM  

@Waxy - well that's a relief - I thought maybe he had succumbed to his grief and ODed on Lo Mein. I hope he has some friends who can weigh in with ways to relieve his distress? It's almost eight pm (your time) so I have to stop now (clearly I am not in your league when it comes to i before e puns. either).

Anonymous 9:25 PM  

I saw the clue for 13/14/64 across and instantly thought "I before E". It fit the clue, so as soon as I got one random cross I wrote it in. Breezed through the rest, but got Big Timed in the end.

Would you believe me if I told you I solved this one while listening to some Neil Young and drinking a Péché Mortel from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel)? (I'm surprised Waxy didn't reference this outstading Montreal brewery above)

Solving in Seattle 9:27 PM  

Waxy and Dire, would you two ciese and desist.

SmacD 9:55 PM  

@Anonymous (9:25 PM): Though neither “ie” nor “ei” appears in its name, don’t forget another great Montreal brewery: McAuslan, brewer of St-Ambroise and Griffon, among others.

SmacD (a lifelong Montrealer)

Dirigonzo 9:57 PM  

@SiS - Nice of you to weigh in with your eight cents worth. Yours was probably the timeliest comment of all (and now I'm going to bed).

Anonymous 10:15 PM  

As a longtime reader yet new poster, I think that some of you have your PanTees in a wad. It is a puzzle. Figure it out without worrying about proper usage. I got it, and I was too stupid to graduate from college.

Waxy in Montreal 10:59 PM  

@SmacD, the bottle of Griffon Rousse I'm holding right now comes from la brasserie McAuslan...

SmacD 11:05 PM  

@Waxy: ... as does the bottle of Griffon Extra Blonde in my hand! I hope yours is cooling you off well in this heat.

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