Wrestling's Flair / TUE 6-5-12 / Brooklynese pronoun / Memory trace / Liqueur similar to Sambuca / Opposite of old in Germany / Blistex target

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Constructor: Sharon Delorme

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: I to U — vowel change creates wackiness

Word of the Day: ENGRAM (45D: Memory trace) —

Engrams are a hypothetical means by which memory traces are stored as biophysical or biochemical changes in the brain (and other neural tissue) in response to external stimuli.
They are also sometimes thought of as a neural network or fragment of memory, sometimes using a hologram analogy to describe its action in light of results showing that memory appears not to be localized in the brain. The existence of engrams is posited by some scientific theories to explain the persistence of memory and how memories are stored in the brain. The existence of neurologically defined engrams is not significantly disputed, though their exact mechanism and location has been a focus of persistent research for many decades. (wikipedia)
• • •

Unless I'm missing some clever aspect of this theme, the only thing going on is a vowel change: I to U. Not only does this seem like it could render infinite* possible answers, it seems like one could get infinite possible answers with any two vowels. A to E. O to U. Etc. There needs to be some other kind of delimitation. Or the resulting "wacky" answers need to be Superfantastic. Neither is true today. But, it is what it is, and what it is isn't totally broken, so things are looking ... up? Sure.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Boring predicaments? (DULL PICKLES) — makes no sense, on any level
  • 28A: Tulip planters, perhaps? (DUTCH DIGGERS) — the persistence of short "I"s in the second word is somehow distracting
  • 35A: Strong advocates of margarine? (BUTTER ENEMIES)
  • 43A: Bring Ebert and Moore together? (MUSTER ROGERS) — there's 'wacky' and then there's absurd
  • 59A: Expert ladder climbers? (RUNG MASTERS) — believe it or not, I had No idea what the theme was until I was all the way down here. Nah, just believe it, 'cause it's true.
Long Downs in the NE and SW give this puzzle some much-needed zing. Very nice. I also like THREW ON, in the middle. Beyond that, the fill is pretty average. Not great, not BAD (11A: Deserving detention, say). Got held up at several points, mostly because of vague or misdirectional cluing. Needed every cross to get DISBAR and only then understood what "practicing" meant in 21A: Keep from practicing. Only island off Australia I could think of was TASMAN (didn't fit). TIMOR took a while (6A: Island north of Australia). Still not that clear on what ENGRAM means even after reading definition, so ... yeah, no (45D: Memory trace). GASMAN seems a fine enough word (so close to TASMAN ...), but it somehow wasn't hovering in an accessible place of my vocabulary (46D: Certain meter reader). I also had DEM for DAT at first (28D: Brooklynese pronoun). Oh, and despite having been to Greece and knowing full well the liqueur in question, I needed the "Z" before I remembered OUZO (54D: Liqueur similar to Sambuca). If I could recommend one bit of crosswordese to you today, it's STU Ungar. He's the go-to non-Disco STU (50A: Poker champ Ungar).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*plus or minus


Slide 12:03 AM  

Discus Stu has ouzo for two-zo!

jae 12:18 AM  

Geez!  Another tough Tues.   An easy-med. Wed. for me.  Cute theme with some pretty good/ambitious fill, but guys like RIC and STU aren't exactly Tues. famous.  So, I liked it, but I'm going to stop recommending Tuesdays to beginners.

Erasures: Like Rex Dem for DAT and hEn for TEA.

Possible problem cross (this should be "none" for a Tues.):  OUZO/AZERA/NEU.  Plus, ENGRAM in the same vicinity may also present problems.  I only knew ENGRAM because I did memory research in a past life.

Anonymous 12:23 AM  

"I did memory research in a past life."

Past life?

Geometricus 12:23 AM  

The Z of OUZO was the last to fall, having guessed ALERO for the Hyundai, probably thinking of the Buick or Oldsmobile or something. Was really surprised to see the 'yay, you did it' box come up on the iPad because ENGRAM just looked so...wrong. I also don't understand it, Rex, even after reading your WOTD blurb, it sounds like one of those half-baked scientific ideas like 'ether' that we will find out later was not really a thing.

By the way, folks looking for a nice crossword app on the iPad, should try CRUX. I got it from Andrew Ries (he has some starter puzzles that come with it) and I've been using it for a month and so far I really like it. It's got a nice informal font that fills in the grid, it looks a bit like handwriting. It highlights cross-referenced entries with an unobtrusive pink when you get to them. There were none today, but yesterday TIA and MARIA both pink when you got to one of them. Anyway, a few days ago some here were looking to try other apps besides Standalone...so there you are.

foodie 12:24 AM  

Rex, Engram is sort of an old-fashioned word in neuroscience. It's still used, but almost in a quaint way. It was coined in the early 20th century by a German scientist and it comes from Greek meaning the letter (gram) within (en)-- i.e. the writing within our brain left by an event, or a memory trace. I think the point of coining the term was to underscore the idea that memory is not an ephemeral or "spiritual" concept, but that there are actual physical, biological changes that occur and that can be identified and even altered-- i.e. the engram can be re-written. This battle is now obsolete, given the ample evidence for the biological basis of memory, and changes in cell structure, specific proteins, electrical activity and numerous other biological events that are associated with different types of learning and memory. We don't claim to know all the details, but we can see "the writing on the brain".

Re the puzzle-- what you said!

pk 12:43 AM  

I thought "dull pickles" and "butter enemies" were hilarious. Maybe I'm too easily amused.

Had an error at Ouso/Asera. Missed that Z. As Rick Perry would say, "Oopsie." So I'm not too sure that things are getting better or looking up or whatever Rex said.

chefwen 12:46 AM  

I have been MOURNing the end of our ALBATROSS release program for the year. We are hopeful that some of our teenagers will return for some fun and games during next years breeding season.
They mesmerize me, so much fun to watch. I wasted entire afternoons keeping up with their antics.

Fun, little puzzle, I enjoyed it. One write over at 41A neW before RAW only to have NEU pop up at 60D (sorta).

Noam D. Elkies 1:05 AM  

The long downs (7-9-9 stacks in NE and SW corners) are particularly nice since each stack crosses two theme entries, including the central one. This probably accounts for the loose theme: the constructor had to have many options for theme entries to make that structure (and also 25D:THREW_ON crossing *three* theme answers) possible in a Tuesday puzzle.


JaxInL.A. 1:10 AM  

I liked it, though the top was prettier than the bottom of the puzzle.

I'm waiting for @Masked and Anonymous to pronounce on the U count, but seems likely to win his approval today. I got the theme at DUTCH DIGGERS and thought of him right away. There are a few gratuitous (I.e. non-theme) U's as well.

Anonymous 1:21 AM  

The Masmuda, a pre-Islam tribe of the western Sahara, left an interesting folklore, largely unread by the west.

One of my favorites is about caravan drivers, who take trips through the desert lasting months and years, shipping goods from one city to another. There came a time that whenever they arrived at their destination, it seemed duller than when last there. The colors had faded, the women likewise, there were not new jokes, and the old stories had become stale. This happened at each end of the trip, in each different city they visited. This weighed on they, and they discussed it much when travelling, there being nothing else to do.

Their first assumption was that it was just a fact - the people had gotten older, there were no new stories, the desert sun took its toll on everything, draining it of color, vivacity, life. This was such an obvious explaination that it became quickly accepted. When they got to the next stop, they considered what they saw with the eyes of this understanding.

To their surprise, their hypothesis didn't fit - The women hadn't aged, there were new, young women to replace the old. The old clothes had been replaced with new, all dyed with the same dyes, there were new stories and new jokes, but they were all stale. The young women were stale, the new clothes were faded before their first wearing. The stories, which described feats of valor greater than the old stories were without motion or emotion. The Masmuda moved on to the next town without the comfort of an explaination.

This time the arrived at the conclusion that they had fallen victim to nostalgia, when the past, even the recent past, is viewed with a fondness which obscurs fact. Maybe Marakesh wasn't better two years ago after all, maybe they only thought so. Maybe they needed this false memory, this dream of brightness of vision, scent, and sensuality to give them the strength needed to make one more cycle through the desert. This understanding was unsettling, but even so, it relieved their confusion as to their senses. When they next arrived at Marakesh, the trend which they had been witnessing for years had reached such a point that they had to deny even this understanding. Surely the skies over Marakesh had been, at one time, the deepest of blue in the early morning, not the grey it was now. The women had life in their eyes, the sun glinted off their hair, they at one time walked with the sway that drove men mad, didn't they?

The Masmuda did what people of that time did, pay homage to djin to take away this curse.

The tale ends here, for by this time, even if the story continued it couldn't be passed on because it had become too dull for the next generation to remember.

Nostradomus cites this story frequently in his writings. His hypothesis about what caused the phenomenon focussed on someone, at some time, thinking that switching an "i" with a "u" was the right thing to do.

AussieDan 1:22 AM  

As an Australian the theme could almost be New Zealand accents, if the substitutions carried through the answers. Just ask any Kiwi for a 'kutket and a suxpeck of pipsi'

syndy 1:44 AM  

Not having Rex's disdain of wackiness I enjoyed the puzzle-loved BUTTER ENEMIES!no DULL PICKLES in here!did not care for SOG-who says that?

pk 1:45 AM  

@anon 1:21: What a fascinating story. *And* I think there are medications available for you.

I know you hoped that switching I to U was going to be epic, but it was just - entertaining. It's going to be okay.

Steve J 1:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve J 1:59 AM  

The long downs made this one work nicely and redeemed a so-so theme (while I enjoyed BUTTERENEMIES, DULLPICKLES was a complete dud). Loved both BUMBLEBEE and ALBATROSS. other fill was fine: nothing horrible, nothing remarkable. Wanted YOUSE for the Brooklynese pronoun, until I saw that obviously wouldn't fit.

@foodie: Thanks for the background on ENGRAM. Knowing it's obsolete somehow makes the WOTD definition more understandable.

@Geometricus: The Alero was an Oldsmobile. It was the last Olds produced, and did a better job of keeping crosswordese alive and well than it did its namesake brand.

retired_chemist 1:59 AM  


Got the theme from 17A with the help of crosses. The rest was easy.

Nothing really challenging or notable. even for a Tuesday.

Wanted EEO for EOE @ 40A.

Ted 2:57 AM  

Damn, my favorite was MusterRogers, I guess I'm just a fan of the word muster...I really enjoyed this one, it was more fun than yesterday, that's for sure. I'm unsure why 'wet behind the ears' was repeated, kinda lame, but whatever

Tmars 3:03 AM  

An ENGRAM is also a core concept in Scientology. (I'm not a past or present member of that mysterious & litigious org, but I've read a few articles/exposes and some of the lingo has stuck.) As I understand it, engrams are traumatic memories that must be excised in order to attain the higher, Tom Cruise-esque state known as "Clear." I had no idea its origin was in neuroscience, as Foodie points out. As such, I was stunned to see what I assumed was a Scientology term clued in such a straightforward manner.

Anonymous 4:02 AM  

"I was stunned to see what I assumed was a Scientology term clued in such a straightforward manner"

Exactly, that's what I was getting at when the phrase "past life" arose in this discussion. L. Ron Hubbard used to throw the term around a lot in his rantings.

JenCT 4:42 AM  

I thought @Rex would hate this...

Being a Brooklyn native, I went through DIS DAT DEM.

Liked BUMBLEBEE, but not much else.

jae 5:28 AM  

@Anon 4:02. -- Thanks for clarifying your "past life" comment. I didn't remember the L. Ron (who we passed over in the myth/religion/Star Wars discussion on Sun.)-ENGRAM-past life connection until your post. I simply meant that back in the days I had fun for money I did memory research (resume available upon request). My current life is more focused on grandkids, golf, crosswords, occasional travel, and shopping at Whole Foods.

baja 5:49 AM  


707N 7:05 AM  

pk@145 comment to anon@121 is what changed anon's story to epic.

Z 7:36 AM  

I am so pleased that on a puzzle day clearly dedicated to @Masked and Anonymous little ol' Z is getting multiple shout-outs. Pass the OUZO.

I agree with 707N.

Since I don't time myself, I fuddled around in the NE until I got DULL PICKLES. That gave me the theme and the rest was a breeze. We have two kinds of McClure's pickles in the pantry right now. Those national brands all qualify as DULL PICKLES in my book, especially since in a past life I worked in a pickle factory. Summer work - 60 hours/week, $4.25/hour back when minimum wage was $3.35. Not a bad gig except for the vinegar smell that got into the clothing. I threw all the shirts and pants away at the end of the summer.

Hand up for also loving BUTTER ENEMIES. DUTCH DIGGERS and MUSTER ROGERS aren't too bad either. Pleasant enough Tuesday.

orangeblossomspecial 7:45 AM  

I enjoyed the jokes created by changing I to U. They all were cute.

Frank Crumit recorded 2D "Song of the PRUNE" in the 20s.

Eddy Duchin 28A "In an old DUTCH garden".

"DiLL PICKLES rag" is an old one from the turn of the previous century. This is a piano roll version.

John V 7:54 AM  

Most challenging Tuesday is a while; fun puzzle, liked the theme. Fill/crossings were a bit tricky.

Guessed right on ENGRAM, my WTF WOD. Screwed up RIC/ODIN crossing; wanted AXE fro 30D.

ALBATROSS my fav word this morning. A good Tuesday, and thanks, Ms. Delorme.

Evan 7:57 AM  

I liked BUTTER ENEMIES, and for some reason I really wish the clue could have referred to "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter," which is unfortunately impossible since BUTTER would be in the clue and answer. Maybe "Real thing vs. 'I Can't Believe It's Not' forces, e.g.?" works? Probably too much of a stretch.

Replying to others' comments from yesterday about the definition of DNF (@Anon 4:19 am, @mac, @John V, @Bird, @jae): It sounds like everyone has their own definition. One other reason I don't call it a DNF if you finish a puzzle but with one or two errors is the Natick principle. It wasn't your fault that two obscure entries crossed one another -- that letter could have been anything. So you finished the puzzle to the best of your ability, just not perfectly. Of course, I think the same principle applies even if you made a careless mistake on an easier crossing -- you still finished the puzzle.

Sue McC 8:08 AM  

Puzzle was fine, nothing special. Best part was Rex's icnclusion of The Cure's song...perfect!

Evan 8:09 AM  

Also, I know the captchas are getting more and more bizarre every day, but I'm gonna start using Photobucket to post some really strange ones and let people figure it out for themselves. Can someone tell me what this one is? It showed up in my browser just before posting up above. I have no idea if it's a 3, a 43, a 93, a 431, a 437, a 931, or a 937.

How about this one? Is it a 1? A lower-case L? An upper-case I?

archaeoprof 8:17 AM  

The theme ("If I were U") made me smile, esp. MUSTERROGERS. And I liked the construction in the NE and SW.

Leaving today for this summer's dig by the Kinneret in Israel. Back in late July. L'hitraoth.

Wreck Sparker 8:25 AM  

The puzzle is a cake with no icing. Once again Rexites ice the cake.

Eddy Duchin? Haven't heard that name in many a year. Musta been a powerful engram that stored that name because it rang a bell right away. (I don't have a frikkin clue how to use engram properly in a sentence, but it's fun to try.)

The theme is changing the I to a U. So what the heck is a Bimble Bee??

jberg 8:42 AM  

I did like BUTTER ENEMIES. Growing up in Wisconsin in the 1950s, they were real, always trying to get yellow margarine legalized.

@Tmars - I knew ENGRAM had something to do with scientology, thanks for explaining it. Hubbard was a science-fiction writer back in the days science fiction cared about science, so it's not so odd that he lifted the term from neuroscience.

I found this one hard, entirely because of the trick cluing - well, OK, also the Hyundai model, but that was inferrable. I don't really care about the days of the week thing, but for those who did some simpler clues might have been appropriate.

@Evan, for me there are three different outcomes: DNF, finished with error, and solved. But it's only nomenclature, we all have our own - this is about personal satisfaction, after all!

foodie 8:48 AM  

@archaeoprof, "if I were U" or even "if I were You" is exactly what this puzzle needed! Last night I kept thinking that the puzzle needed a zippy reveal, something to justify the switch, in a way, make it seem less random. I played with IOU in my head but that wasn't going to do it. You came up with the perfect one!

Enjoy your dig! Hope it's fruitful and not too hot. And take a few dips in the good ole Mediterranean!

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

Word play is word play, and a lot of people don't need anything to "delineate" such play; they simply enjoy it just for what it is. So when writing about a puzzle like this one, why can't people simply say "I would have liked the theme it had had something else to delineate it." That's a true indisputable statement. Saying that is NEEDS it is an egotistical opinion that implicitly and needlessly criticizes those whose opinions are different. When verbalized, such statements may not come off as so judgmental, since the tone of one's voice can soften the statement. But in hard print, this type of criticism often seems a bit harsh. And as I write this, I am having difficulty not doing what I'm complaining a lit. I just would prefer reading about people's reactions to the puzzles without having them imposing their judgments on others.

Comment to Evan: It seems that one of the images is always a photo of a numbers. The two images you posted would therefore be numbers. That would make the first image you posted the numeral "3." I changed the images a number of times to test out this theory. A numbers of times an image came up that was not centered on the number. In fact, one of the images displayed only the very top of a two digit number, And occasionally, a letter is included with the numbers (such as one image that was 23A). So I would venture that your first image is definitely a 3. I would say the second image is a case where the character(s) have been erroneously cropped out of the image and probably are below the actual image. The characters on most of the images are plainly discernible. While it's irritating to have to do so, it's simple to simply change the image when the image is undiscernible.

quilter1 9:21 AM  

I'm easily amused, too. I thought the puzzle was very easy, cute and fun. Made me smile. Have a nice day :)

joho 9:23 AM  

@Wreck Sparker ... and a STiCKiP! The extra U's were a bit (bUt?) distracting.

@archeoprof ... hope your dig is a grand adventure. Safe travels!

@Rex, you have never met a "wacky theme" that you liked. If you ever do I will fall out of my chair! I thought these were amUsing and smile indUcing.


Thank you, Sharon Delorme!

chefbea 9:40 AM  

Of course M&A will love the puzzle

I found it pretty easy. All sorts of shout outs to @Mac, me and puzzle husband.

And speaking of pickles..made pickled radishes yesterday..yummm

ArtO 9:43 AM  

Give @archeoprof major kudos for best theme def. Give our leader two for two on the "crabbiest" rating for this week's write ups!

Doug Garr 9:45 AM  

More challenging than medium for me; took me awhile to finish and I had to come back to it half way through. I was sidetracked when I put in OVID instead of ODIN. Glad to see the late Stu Ungar make it in. Interviewed him for a story when he won his second world series of poker title. What a character.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

@Everyone - Just put in a random number for the image in the captcha. Google's just abusing you.

jackj 10:16 AM  

“You” is “I” makes for lousy grammar but accurately describes Sharon Delorme’s cute theme of gentle puns, starring DULLPICKLES, with a guest appearance by MUSTERROGERS.

There was also an abundance of clever fill, like ABOUTTIME, THREWON, GASMAN (though they were jettisoned years ago in favor of electronic reader gizmos), STUCKUP (a word I haven’t seen or heard since high school), plus ALBATROSS and BUMBLEBEE, that all combine to SPICE up this puzzle.

Not so much fun was ENGRAM which seems more appropriate for a late week entry (in fact, ENGRAM, with the same clue, was used by Patrick Berry in a Saturday Times puzzle in 2003).

Tied to ENGRAM is that Hyundai sedan, AZERA, a car said to be known to exist only by select salesmen at the Hyundai showroom in Yorba Linda, Ca., (A quick lookup shows that only 1,524 AZERA(s) were sold in the US in 2011, hardly a hot commodity, so not much reason to have heard of it).

And then, finally, there’s the little homophone that shouldn’t. Is it no NEW(s) is good NEU(s) or is it no NEU(s) is good NEW(s)? Or, is NEU pronounced “noy” in German? Ulrich, are you there?

On balance an enjoyable, clever puzzle, much better than the usual Tuesday puzzle.

Thanks, Sharon.

DigitalDan 10:16 AM  

Fun. I don't ask much of Tuesday gimmicks.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

@Aussiedan - this kiwi has no idea what you're saying with "kutket" - a six pack of pepsi I understand. No idea about kutket.

Had Tonga before Timor

Catherine 10:28 AM  

Can someone explain MUSTER ROGERS to me? I mean, I get Mister Rogers was a person, but what does this have to do with Ebert and Siskal and Roeper and the while gang?

Gill I. P. 10:42 AM  

I say "It needs" all the time. UsUally salt and sometimes sUgar - just my epicUrean opinion certainly not my ego.
I thought it was fUn. A bit mUch on the 3s and wasn't nUts aboUt SOG, RIC?? NEW/NEU. BUMBLEBEE is a great word to say when you're learning the language....

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

@Catherine - ROGER Ebert and ROGER Moore. Getting the two together would be MUSTER[ing]ROGERS.

geezerette 10:49 AM  

This was fun, a little hard for me for Tuesday, in a good way. I liked the BUMBLE BEE and ALBATROSS as next-door neighbors; did not know ENGRAM.

As a Wisconsinite, I especially loved BUTTER ENEMIES. We try to keep them from crossing the Cheddar Curtain.

52-D is also apt, as it's Recall Day here - will it be an UPSET?

@Catherine - I took it to mean summoning up two guys named Roger, Roger Ebert and Roger Moore.

loren muse smith 11:03 AM  

Medium? For once, I can disagree and not feel inferior; I flew through this like an ERNE outta hell. Loved the theme! Surely I’m not the only one to have erased “leaders” for MASTERS?

BUMBLEBEE next to ALBATROSS – terrific. Triumvirate of “novice” adjectives: NEW, RAW, NEU. Okay.

@archaeprof “If I were U” – such wit is why this is such a cool place.

The NW felt AARPish (and I’m knocking at the door) with SEDAN, PRUNE, IN-LAW, whereas the SE reminded me of my middle school drama – STUCKUP, UPSET, A SNOT ;-) with queen bee, Carol G. over in DET because of her LIP.

Tita 11:10 AM  

My natick was at ENGR[A]M/[A]ZERA, but guessed right that it had to be an A for GRAM.

@foodie - fascinating!

@pk - my favs too...

At DULLPICKLES knew that our M&A would be beside himself. All of the other U-fill was fun too. Loved BUMBLEBEE. Even though I hate answers of incredibly unimportant personalities like STU Unger, I love that both his names fit the theme!

Only complaint - no UKES!

Liked post-googling ALBATROSS to remind me about how having one 'round one's neck is a bad thing.
@archaeo = thanks for the theme title! And I envy you your profession - in my next life, that's what I'll do...

@Evan - @Bird's def of DNF is exactly mine. There is only 1 way to finish - many ways to not. I do have qualifiers...the best "technical DNF" is when I used Puzzle-relations' or -friends'

@lms - ERNE outta hell - lol!

Tita 11:14 AM  

Oops...meant to say it this way...my best level of a "Technical DNF" is when I use the ENGRAMs of family or friends...
Biggest fail is when I resort to google.

Z 11:17 AM  

I know engrams from watching Star Trek, not L. Ron Hubbard.

re:captchas - I've been adding *2* to all the numbers. I will not be assimiliated.

Gareth Bain 11:28 AM  

@AussieDan & @Anon10:19: This Saffer definitely agrees with "kutket," although his experience is mostly limited to rugby and cricket commentators (gah, Ian Smith!)

Mel Ott 11:30 AM  

A decent Tuesday puzzle. Nothing great, nothing terrible.

The long non-theme downs might be the best part of the puzzle.

DULL PICKLES got a little smile out of me.

Kind of a relaxing Tuesday morning solve. I'll take it.

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Bravo! One of my favorite lines.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

@jackj: Thanks for the info about the Hyundai Azera--I was wondering why I'd never heard of it.

Maskers and Anonym10Us 12:06 PM  

Hey now. Double digit U's. UronUcally, there are still more I's in the puz than U's. But, still, it's the thought that counts. thUmbsUp, Sharon darlUn'. This is a possible "I Fink U Freaky" award nominee.

thUmbsUp also to @archeaprof, for expressing the essence of this fine theme. Also thanx to @Tita and @chefbea -- U clearly know what I like.

@31: Seen any good 1987 flicks lately? When you get to 1988, let us know. Got some more great suggestions lined up.

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

Hey guys, I just thought of the perfect reveal for this puzzle! - "Why Can't I Be You" - You could even clue it as a song by The Cure!

Masked and Anonymous Plan B 12:57 PM  

P.S. This answer woulda passed this puz over into glory: MUTTROMNEY. Obvious clue: Dog that went "roof!"

Har. That's why all the constructors flock to ol' M&A: "I've got this here great puz, dude! Could y'all help me get it rejected?!"

@Z - Thanx for the dedication theories.

Fave answer: BUMBLEBEE. Absolutely great La Verne Baker tune. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSBVJO9lNL0

Tita 1:00 PM  

@Anon - sorry - Archaeoprof @8:17 beat you to it...
However, yours would be awesome if the theme somehow also transmuted "Y"s to Us too...

Both are better than I could come up with!!

Anon 12:54 1:16 PM  

So, as Rex has probably already figured out, subtelty doesn't work. Let's try again:


Catherine 1:19 PM  

Hey anonymous, thanks! I get it. ... Major brain lapse this morning.

Tita 1:33 PM  

Sheesh...if ALLCAPS is shouting, what is BOLD ALLCAPS?
While I could cleverly retort with a claim that you don't recognize counter-subtley, I will simply whimper and admit it was lost on me.


Bird 1:40 PM  

Sharon – Pay no mind to Rex today, your puzzle was just fine. It doesn’t need anything. I’ve seen vowel-change themes before and this one was good with funny wackified answers and good fill. Throw in some cluing that causes you to think a little bit and we have a good Tuesday puzzle.

@archaeoprof – Perfect theme title for this puzzle. Have a safe trip!

Hand up for DEM (Bums) before DAT (guy).

Badda Boom 1:48 PM  

Dis, dat n de udda ding.

hazel 1:56 PM  

I liked this one too and i don't really like punny wack. thought it was a bit tough for a tuesday.

@archaeoprof - good one. Safe travs.

Masked and Anonymous 2:08 PM  

@JaxinLA: Thanx for thinking of me.

Better clue for DAT: "A bit backward?". Solid gold. @Patrick Berry: Feel free to use.

Speakin' of Meta-Berry, my all-E's puz is finally all finished. (Where EVERY letter in the answer grid is an E.) Too bad I can't publish it, without losin' my M&A status. Sorry, Will. Fave fillins and clues:
EEE = "Capital of Libya, punned-up"
EEEEEEEEE="Report card for a student who's hopelessly overloaded"
EEEEEEEEEEEEE="Lyric on a sticking Old MacDonald record"
I would go on, but I can see you've had more than enough...

Youse 2:23 PM  

Mr. M&A...
I feel it is in very poor taste to flaunt your E-puzzle on the day devoted to U's.

--Youse, Brooklyn NY

Youse 2:24 PM  

U of all people!!!

Anonymous 2:59 PM  

How about - better U than I?

Lewis 3:07 PM  

The answers were cute and the puzzle fun. A clever reveal, like Archeoprof's would have upped this puzzle a rung, but I still enjoyed this puzzle just as it is.

Janet Danger 3:14 PM  

Was thinking 64 A, "One of Israel's 12" would be the name of a tribe, and lost some time trying to make that fit.

Thought 9D was a clever clue, this puzzle could have used a few more of them.

But my overwhelming emotion in completing the grid was relief that 35A had no reference no oleo.

John V 3:18 PM  


mac 3:30 PM  

Nice, crunchy little Tuesday. Easy theme, my favorite was butter enemies.

Surprised about the non-theme us, and I had the most trouble with the unknown Azera.

@archeoprof: have a wonderful summer!

sanfranman59 4:04 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)

Tue 9:59, 8:54, 1.12, 82%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:23, 4:36, 1.17, 90%, Challenging

loren muse smith 4:17 PM  

@archaeprof - Gam l'cha! Have a great time!

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

Here's a factoid about Stu Ungar: not only was he a poker champion, but he was also known to be one of the best gin rummy players alive (when he was alive). He couldn't find people to play him and they wouldn't let him enter tournaments.

Martin 5:47 PM  

I got kutket too. My training was with Flight of the Conchords.

Hoping for a break in the clouds.

retired_chemist 7:56 PM  

@ jackj -

In Ulrich's absence I will say that "noy" is a lot closer to the pronunciation of "NEU" than "new." is.

retired_chemist 8:00 PM  

Captcha copica 10
I will type copica 100 and if this comes through the current captcha system used by Blogger is useless.

jackj 9:35 PM  


Thank you.

Numbers Guy 11:09 PM  

MBA? OMG! no wonder business is so misunderstood. CFOs are almost always accountants. i have CFO friends with MBAs, but they are in the minority (and i dont mean they are black accountants).

sorry im so late to say this, because no one will see it, but i just picked up the puzzle at 10 when i got home from work.

frequently listen to why cant i be u on the train home while drinking plomari on ice (from astoria, not brooklyn), so i have to say that was one of the best 80s videos describing the puzzle evah.

Tita 11:50 PM  

@retired_chemist...the pictures of street numbers are google's way to conscript us as unwitting (and unpaid) volunteers to crowdsource the accuracy of their streetview home invasions...

That is why the picture portion does not count against you if you don't do it.

sanfranman59 1:42 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 6:39, 6:49, 0.97, 45%, Medium
Tue 10:00, 8:54, 1.12, 82%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:46, 3:40, 1.03, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:05, 4:36, 1.10, 81%, Challenging

Evgeny 10:59 AM  

Nobody seems to have mentioned it yet... Rex, to prevent future mishaps: the island you thought of is called TASMANIA. Still doesn't fit into five letters though.

Ginger 1:33 PM  

@Evgeny -Also, Tasmania is south of Australia (sez the devil).

Puns are oh so corny, but they cause a groan and a grin so they can't be all bad. On my first pass I had an omelet at ten am. That entry slowed the SW until none of the downs worked. Corrected the problem and eveything else fell into place.

Good way to start a Tuesday. ThankU Sharon

Spacecraft 1:50 PM  

Theme had to be ferreted out (not the duh! of Sunday) so that moves it off the Easy spot onto easy-medium. Knew the constructor was female (no man ever "THREW ON" anything!)

Nice shout-out to the tragically brilliant STUie Ungar; there'll never be another like him.

All in all, not a BAD effort. I liked it.

DMGrandma 2:16 PM  

Fun puzzle for a Tuesday with some new words- loved ALBATROSS when it appeared. Wonder if I'll remember ENGRAM if it appears again?
For once the Capcha is clear, better hurry before it gets changed!

Solving in Seattle 4:06 PM  

Wow! This is one of the better comment days in a while. Rex, clever of you to post the song, "Why can't I be you?" with your comments. Seems it was missed by most.

Observation: ED is posting as Anonymous occasionally. I definitely recognize the writing style.

32D - in keeping with the theme, "U for I", is a "GIESTSPOT" a German place where you find spirit?

Interesting discussion about ENGRAM, which is a new word to me (thanks @Foodie for the writeup), and to its place in Scientology. The TV news of the TomKat divorce had a shot of the Scientology headquarters/temple/Kremlin (?) taken through the razorwire fence surrounding the pris...compound. I wonder if its to keep people out or keep them in?

@SiS lol award of the day goes to @M&A for the "MUTTROMNEY - Dog that went roof" suggestion.

Solving in Seattle 4:16 PM  

Wanted to add an "ALBATROSS" experience while in Dunedin, NZ. We took a harbor boat out to some offshore rocks to observe the Royal Albatross. It's a spectacular bird, and here's what Wikipedia says about it...

The Southern Royal Albatross has a length of 112–123 cm (44–48 in) and a mean weight of 8.5 kg (19 lb). Males are about 2 to 3 kg (4.4 to 6.6 lb) heavier than females. Average wingspan has been reported from 2.9 to 3.28 m (9.5 to 10.8 ft), with an upper limit of about 3.51 m (11.5 ft). The average life span is 42.3 years.

Anonymous 7:34 PM  

I believe we've seen STU clued as Miller on occasion. Or not. But since it's All-Star night and his claim to fame was being "blown off the mound" (somewhat of an exaggeration) by the Candlestick wind in the '61 Midsummer Classic, he warrants a mention here.

I'm also going to mention that STU Miller is part of a very small fraternity of pitchers who have been losing pitchers of games in which the winning team failed to collect a hit.

Which leads me back to tonight's All Star game, when Giants hurler Matt Cain, he of the Major Leagues' last Perfect Game, will climb the hill to start the game for the Senior Circuit All Stars.

Mostly I mention all this just to annoy the non-sports fans.


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