Classic mountain bikes / WED 10-10-12 / 1970 #1 hit with lyric Easy as / Tea-growing Indian state / Needle-nosed swimmers / Hotheaded Corleone / Elicitors of groans / Spirit of Islamic myth

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Constructor: Pete Muller

Relative difficulty: Easiest Wednesday of 2012, according to my admittedly spotty records


THEME: PAJAMAS (26D: Nightwear ... or a hidden feature of 17-, 21-, 33-, 41-, 54- and 59-Across?) — six theme entries are all two-word phrases (or compound words) where first words/parts end with "P" and second words/parts start with "J"

Word of the Day: STUMPJUMPERS (41A: Classic mountain bikes) —
Insulting term for a hick or redneck. Implies they breed within their family tree, or "jump the stump". Often used by other hicks/rednecks, to mark one as the lowest of the low. (urbandictionary, most popular definition)
Also:
The Specialized Stumpjumper is a mountain bike produced by Specialized Bicycle Components. When it was first produced in 1981, the Stumpjumper was the first mass-productionmountain bike. The Stumpjumper is still in production, although its design has changed significantly since it was first sold. Stumpjumpers have been raced professionally by riders including Christoph Sauser and Ned Overend. (wikipedia)

• • •

Hmmm. An interesting first puzzle back on the job. First observation—apparently my speed-solving chops, such as they are, have not atrophied. I solved this faster than I solve the average Tuesday puzzle. Which brings me to Second observation—this is not a Wednesday puzzle. The theme type is too simple, the cluing too easy. Maybe there was some sense that with a really strange theme answer like STUMPJUMPERS, people would get slowed down somewhat. That didn't happen. Or rather, it did, but not nearly enough to make up for how phenomenally easy most of the rest of the puzzle was. Perhaps this puzzle played very differently for you if 1A: 1970 #1 hit with the lyric "Easy as ..." ("ABC") wasn't a flat-out gimme. Or perhaps you've never heard of a GUN PIT (30D: Defensive excavation). Wait, *I*'ve never heard of a GUN PIT, and I blew right through that section, high on crosses and inference. I don't know. I guess there are potential pitfalls here and there, but ... I mean, [Actress Jolie]??? There has to be a tougher or at least more clever way to clue ANGELINA. The one thing this puzzle has going for it is theme density. A solid six theme answers. Beyond that, it's exceedingly straightforward and highly forgettable. Fill isn't terrible—pretty good, all things considered (I'm choosing to forgive the proximate partials USE AS and ONE IS). My biggest struggle was with 22D: Action hero's underwater breathing aid (REED). It's a clever clue, but that's not why I struggled—I wrote in the "R" (in PROPJET) as a "P" so needed all the crosses and even then got PEED. I also couldn't figure out TICKER (47D: Bygone Wall Street device) because my "K" looked like an "H" and T-CHER wasn't ringing any bells. And yet, even with a theme answer from outer space and multiple self-inflicted spelling/handwriting wounds, I crossed the finish line 90 seconds below average and nearly 30 seconds below my previous low.


Theme answers:
  • 17A: Surgically replaceable body parts (HIP JOINTS)
  • 21A: Many a corporate plane (PROP JET)
  • 33A: On-the-spot appraisal (SNAP JUDGMENT)
  • 41A: Classic mountain bikes (STUMPJUMPERS)
  • 54A: Bar musicians may put them out (TIP JARS)
  • 59A: Serving with syrup (FLAPJACKS)
It's probably BAD to cross BADs (9A: Equally poor = AS BAD / 11D: Elicitors of groans = BAD JOKES). If you are going to dupe *and* cross a word, I would suggest that that word not be BAD. You open yourself up to too many easy jokes about the quality of your puzzle.

Bullets:
  • 24A: Supposed skill of some hotline operators (ESP) — this doesn't work great as a clue, first because "psychic hotlines" seem awfully '90s, and second because I don't recall the term "ESP" actually ever being used on ads for said hotlines.
  • 40A: Tea-growing Indian state (ASSAM) — klassic krosswordese, like the GARS it grows out of (34D: Needle-nosed swimmers).
  • 65A: The hotheaded Corleone (SONNY) — Took me a while to remember his name, even though I'm *teaching* "The Godfather" later in the semester. SONNY has one of the greatest death scenes in the history of film.
  • 5D: Manhattan film festival locale (TRIBECA) — I know about this only because DeNiro was a cofounder. 
  • 50D: Spirit of Islamic myth (DJINN) — Got it off the "D"; daughter once read a series of books called "Children of the Lamp," and I think DJINN figured fairly prominently therein. 
  • 51D: Like a blowhard (touched for the very first time?)
  • 57D: Handled the music at a rave (DJED) — no need for "at a rave" here. Clue works without it. The DJ at my stepbrother's wedding this past weekend "handled the music," though there was not a rave in sight. Kenny Loggins was giving a concert directly across the street, but that's neither here nor there. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

68 comments:

jae 12:21 AM  

I'm with Rex,  this was a Mon. and not a very memorable one at that.  Blah theme, blah fill, meh.

Angelia Chia Mssss 12:23 AM  

For me, this is one of the best puzzles ever!
SIX phrases that split at PJ??!!! And getting PAJAMAS in to the grid!
The fill was so lively, I liked almost every single word in the grid!!!
HODGE POGE, AGHAST, IDIOCY!!!, DJINN, TRIBECA, TICKER...
Js are phenomenally hard to work with, much less to have the restriction to follow a P!

I only didn't know GUNPIT and I think you groan at BADpuns more than
JOKES, but who cares?! (Tho the BAD/BADS crossing @Rex pointed out is BAD, but I hadn't noticed...)

The theme answers were fabulous! STUMPJUMPERS!!! TIPJAR! SNAPJUDGMENT!!!

LOVED loved loved this!

Off to New Orleans for the film festival...wondering if any Rexites
are down there.
Let the good times roll and all that jazz...(RaPJazz...that's the best PJ I can do!)

Anonymous 12:23 AM  

Exactly which body parts are replaceable without surgery?

syndy 12:27 AM  

almost all the PJ,s were crossed with DJ,s but I don,t know what it means.nothing really ugly except USH and it was over so fast it didn't hurt.If ATHOL ISN't a THANE he oughta be.

C 12:51 AM  

As pointed out elsewhere, djinn is plural and djinni is the singular. So it should have been clued as spirits, not spirit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinn

dmw 2:16 AM  

Hey, I have an original stumpjumper! It's not my racing bike, but it is a classic.

Agreed, very easy, and enjoyable (not because it was easy, but for the theme and fill).

retired_chemist 2:17 AM  

LEAR JET was wrong and had to be replaced by PROP JET. I soon got the reveal 26D and thought from PROP JET that the theme required two words P* J*. Misled that way for a while, I was probably slower than I should have been. EOCENE for ICE AGE was another mistake. ANGELICA Jolie? I hang my head in shame. GUN PIT and STUMP JUMPERS were new to me - cool.

An easy Wednesday. Nicely done theme. I can't think of many other words that fit the theme. UPJOHN Pharmaceutical....

Thanks, Mr Muller.

Z 6:55 AM  

"Is it Monday?" went through my head as I flew through this one. The most difficult region for me was the SE because FLAPJACKS wasn't immediately apparent to me, I had to get SFPD, LEO, and ARM before I got pancakes out of my head.

@Anon 12:23 - just about every body part is replaced without surgery.

Is a PROPJET really a thing, or is it a fancy way to misdescribe a propellered plane?

Milford 7:07 AM  

Not the easiest Wednesday for me, but my time was the same as Tuesday. Impressed by the theme and number of theme entries. Favorite was TIPJAR.

Hand up for Lear before PROP. The Minnesota region was slow because I was looking for a medical problem for the foot, like corn, spur, or plantar faciitis, and soap genre was a blank for some reason (maybe DRAMA seems too generous?). The MSS crossing ASSAM was a little rough, too, possible Natick.

Like the movie trivia with SONNY, TRIBECA, and SFPD. That tollbooth scene is just the best.

@retired chemist - growing up in Kalamazoo, we took many tours at Upjohn to see how a pill was made. I did my senior internship at Upjohn, and my generous college scholarship was one established by a research chemist at Upjohn. Alas, it is now Pfizer.

Cuthbert Calculus 7:31 AM  

I'm with Angelia Chia Mssss on this one. More clever and better constructed that people are giving it credit for.

So what if it's a little easy for a Wednesday? That's good for the ego.

Susan McConnell 7:59 AM  

This is one of those puzzles that, once you are on to the trick, it practically solves itself. Knowing that the long answer is going to have a PJ in it is a big gimme. I can appreciate the challenge of constructing with so many Js, but the cluing on this just felt too easy for me.

John V 8:03 AM  

Lottsa fun, Monday easy, per @Rex. Only pause was GUNPIT. Never saw DJINN as the the SW just filled itself in. I thought the fill was just fine, the theme density amazing.

Gotta love a puzzle with JON Stewart included is what I'm sayin' Good work, Pete Muller.

So, here is a much better idea for STUMPJUMP than a plow or a bike. An excellent wine, highly recommended.

dk 8:13 AM  

A Gary Fisher was my first mtn. bike and although many of the parts have been surgically altered I still ride it. It was known as My Little Pony on the fire trails in the San Gabriels. One of the more amazing CCC projects.

Mess ups: Wanting Sunday Morning for 1A and penning Lear Jet for PROPJET.

So sorry no peanut butter and jelly made it into the grid.

Happy our dear leader is back on the throne and that his acerbic wit has not atrophied.

Easy peasy for a Wednesday.

���� (2 Stars) Thanks Pete

Anon at 12:23: LOL

joho 8:26 AM  

Easy to solve for a Wednesday, yes. Easy to contruct, no! Getting all those PJ's in six SNAPpy theme answers ... really great theme answers ... is quite a feat!

Loved the reveal of PAJAMAS and considered BADJOKES as a bonus answer (I know, no "P" but another phrase with "J.")

Very nice to see both HODGE and PODGE in the puzzle eliminating a partial for one or the other.

IDIOCY is fanastic!

Thank you, Pete Muller, well done!

Victor 8:37 AM  

@Z: Planes with propellers can be powered by piston engines or by jet engines. One powered by a jet engine is a propjet also called a turboprop.

jackj 9:01 AM  

Come on in and let Pete Muller USH you to a seat where you can reflect on another of those penetrating Zen koans, this one asking if a word you deem to be highly unfair, say DJINN, is included in the fill but you don’t know it’s there until you review the puzzle after completing it, is it still unfair and do you still have the right to complain about it?

An enjoyable puzzle if a bit on the easy side of the ledger with a theme that seems familiar but has some fun entries, especially TIPJARS and SNAPJUDGMENT and also some fill that will make your kindle glow in the dark, (excluding the obscure DJINN and the off-putting beginning and ending entries, ABC and SRO).

But, among the quality bits, there is HODGE who just couldn’t do a solo turn but had to drag partner PODGE along for the ride and some of the “J” down entries that were needed for the theme were interesting, especially DJED and DJINN, (Aaaargh, not again), being the best of the bunch.

ABSORB, COPSES, IDIOCY and TICKER also seem worthy of mention while GUNPIT earns a bit of scorn from this erstwhile infantryman. We dug a foxhole, not some fancy schmancy thing called a GUNPIT that sounds as if it needs a set decorator's touch before it can join the battle.

As for DJINN, it seems best not to complain about it, just rub it.

Thanks for a smooth solve, Pete. You’ve stayed away too long.

nanpilla 9:03 AM  

Easy but fun, with very little junk.

JUMPJIVEANDWAIL could have made a great 15 centerpiece, but PAJAMAS couldn't have crossed it in the middle so nicely.

chefbea 9:10 AM  

Fun easy puzzle. And knowing the theme did make it very easy to fill in the PJ answers.

And of course 52 across was a gimmee...go Cards!!!

Notsofast 9:13 AM  

I'm leaving a buck in the tipjar. I liked this puzzle. NW was a little tricky ( many constructors do this! ) . And "GUNPIT" is just a made-up word. But not much same-ol-same-ol with this little gem. Nice way to start the day!

Cathyat40 9:21 AM  

Liked CHIA crossing CIA.

Agree that this is easiest Wednesday of the year.

Shamik 9:31 AM  

According to my records, it was the easiest Wednesday of 2012. But I'd have to call it a Tuesday medium time for me. It appears I solve much more sluggishly when I first wake up. Don't know if the brain isn't awake or the fingers don't want to cooperate.

jberg 9:34 AM  

I'm with both Rex and ACME - really a Monday, but a fun Monday. Only problems were PAJAMAS or PyJAMAS, but the latter would have a UK hint in it - and thinking for just a moment that bar musicians die hip jams, but that would have broken the rules and not have fit 'put out'

What's unfair about DJINN, @jackj? The foreignness of it? I think it's pretty widely used in English.

loren muse smith 9:46 AM  

Well heck. I managed not to finish this one because I had “slip INTO” and never once questioned it. (STEP INTO crossing the HER in H.R.H. - would it be more a propos recently to have STEP out of? I feel bad for Kate, but Harry is another story.)

So “his” prevented me from seeing EUROPEAN, and that screw -up just ruined it.

@nanpill – and PAJAMAS crosses two theme entries. That has to be hard! GARSh!

TICKER right next to SHOCKS with the EMT hovering above to STEP IN. Cool.

I wonder if an iguana can have a deviated DEWLAP.

COPSES so near ODOR, remembering yesterday’s FLOATERS in the same spot makes me keep seeing “corpse” instead. GASSY in the grid doesn’t help.

@retired_chemist - ANGELINA is right next to BAD JOKE. She does do good work, though.

Great Wednesday imo – not as easy as everyone is saying.

Stand-up job, Pete!

Sandy K 9:53 AM  

Easy as ABC for a Wednesday, but had some enjoyable answers:
HIPJOINTS, SNAPJUDGEMENT, TIPJARS, FLAPJCKS, ELLIPSE, DJINN, revealer-PAJAMAS.

Was not familiar with STUMPJUMPER or GUNPIT, PER SE, but they fell in fast.

Liked the clue "The hotheaded Corleone", yet "Actress Jolie" seemed too easy.

All-in-all, good theme, Pete, Muller.

Here's why I missed Rex so much:
"like a blowhard (touched for the very first time?) LOL

quilter1 10:22 AM  

I liked everything about this puzzle and I knew people would talk about BAD crossing BAD but who cares? With FLAPJACKS and all the other theme answers I'm a happy girl. I also appreciated that while it was on the easy side to solve it was probably pretty tough to construct.

Matthew G. 10:30 AM  

Agreed. This was a Monday puzzle, through and through. Not just easier than this week's Monday and Tuesday puzzles, but easier than most Monday puzzles. Very nice, though, with lively theme answers and minimum dreck

I'm sure sanfranman will soon tell us whether there's ever been an easier Wednesday. Hard for me to imagine when.

Two Ponies 10:38 AM  

Easy and fun, thanks Pete.

I can't imagine going through school with the name Athol.
What a curse.

Mel Ott 10:41 AM  

The term STUMPJUMPER is also used for a specialized fire truck used to drive through heavy brush fighting forest fires. Four wheel (or all wheel) drive, reinforced, equipped with a water tank and pump, a protected space in the bed for crew to operate hoses.

Richard 11:03 AM  

I finished this before I finished my coffee, which never happens on Wednesday. Yesterday was much tougher.

Milford 11:09 AM  

@Two Ponies - totally thought the same about Athol. Very unfortunate. Reminds me of the grade school joke of holding your tongue and trying to say "apple" (tee hee).

Matty 11:15 AM  

Although it didn't offer much resistance, I don't agree that it was easier than most Mondays. And I really loved some of the fill, particularly "snap judgment." Something just strikes me as very phonetically appealing about that phrase. Overall, I liked it very much.

...Although admittedly that's due in large part to the "STL" answer. Go Cards today!

Carola 11:19 AM  

Cute theme, fun puzzle. A mini soap DRAMA: SHOCKS...AGHAST...SAYS NO. I took the BAD/BAD crossing as a little JOKE.

@Milford - I read recently about the Kalamazoo scholarship program - very impressive and inspiring.

retired_chemist 11:21 AM  

Not just ATHOL. ATHOL FUGARD somehow seems like a disastrous name for a schoolkid. I once had a Dick Bent for a supervisor in a summer job....

Once I got my PJ's on, I couldn't sleep without trying to think of other possible theme answers. Best I could do was SKIPJACK tuna and CLIP JOINT. Does anyone under fifty even KNOW the term CLIP JOINT?

bigsteve46 11:54 AM  

A better Angelina clue: "Waitress at the pizzeria."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON8_sH89oLU

chefbea 11:55 AM  

@Matty..are from STL?

MaryClemons 12:06 PM  

You are right on..the fastest I have ever done a Wednesday puzzle

Lewis 12:07 PM  

Naticked at ATHOL and THANE, otherwise zipped through it like Monday or Tuesday. Fun, but not crunchy enough for Wednesday.

Rex Parker 12:24 PM  

"Naticked at ATHOL and THANE"—that sounds like a Victorian nursery rhyme or a lost Dylan track.

RP

Anoa Bob 12:44 PM  

Nice puzzle with impressive theme density w/o compromising fill too much, ATHOL, ELSOL, & DJINN notwithstanding.

I'm always put off by gratuitous plurals, where the singular would have worked just as well but the plural form is chosen to make the letter count work, especially when it involves theme entries.

Here we get a mixture of two legit plurals, PAJAMAS & FLAPJACKS, two singulars, PROPJET & SNAP JUDGMENT, and three bump-up-the-letter-count plurals, HIP JOINTS, STUMP JUMPERS & TIP JARS.

Seems kinda like using "cheater squares" in reverse.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 12:51 PM  

GARS is crosswordese now? Used to try and catch 'em all the time, at a nearby farm pond. I say "try" because they had really hard mouths, and hooks wouldn't set well. Had to use minnows as bait. If you used worms, all you got was bullheads.

Would be hard to compose a crosswordese dictionary, I suppose. What's a solid, objective basis for inclusion? Anything that comes up frequently in crosswords and not so frequently, otherwise, maybe? Not quite as clear-cut as a timberline. What are all the crosswordeses in this puz? My vote would go to:
USH
SRO (if initials can be included)
About it. Wouldn't count ASSAM, since it's a state. People in that state probably say Assam a lot. I mean, I don't say Tempe a lot, but I don't think of it as crosswordese. Nice crossword-friendly letters, tho.

snort.

mac 1:01 PM  

Very good puzzle, but I agree, the editors could have cranked up the difficulty level if they wanted to publish on a Wednesday.

Gun pit and stumpjumper were new words for me, but I had the hardest time in the NW where INT meant nothing to me (now I remember, interception) and I had filled in GLO at 14A.

Glad for an easy puzzle with my foggy brain today.

loren muse smith 1:25 PM  

@Rex - too funny!

Mother Goose, she did always maintain
Her worst solve time will always remain
A nice puzzle midweek
Of one square she oft speaks,
“I Naticked at ATHOL and THANE.”

Bird 1:35 PM  

Today is Wednesday right? OK. Just checking. Nothing terribly wrong with the puzzle PER SE, I just think it was the wrong day to publish it (as @Rex already said). No hang-ups anywhere and only two corrections (HIS before HER at 44A and TWEETS before EMAILS at 45A. Never heard of the term GUN PITS, but didn’t need to guess it either as I had all the crosses. I also think BAD crossing BAD could have been fixed.

@Two Ponies – Same thought on Athol.

@lms – Great limerick!

Happy Humpday!

Milford 1:51 PM  

@Carola - yes, it's a wonderful scholarship, and it got a shoutout last month in the NYTimes. My parents bemoan the fact that it came after their 4 kids graduated, but it's been such a blessing to so many.

Naticked at ATHOL and THANE is a tongue twister.

JHC 2:07 PM  

My only objection to this puzzle is that [Elicitors of groans] are not BAD JOKES. [Elicitors of groans] are AWESOME JOKES THAT THE GROANERS SECRETLY WISH THEY THOUGHT OF FIRST.

The Unknown Comic 2:27 PM  

@JHC - What?! BAD JOKES (and BAD PUNS) always elicit groans from the audience.

John V 2:40 PM  

Perhaps CHEAP JOKES for today?

Masked and Assamymous 3:05 PM  

Just re-read 31's write-up. He didn't actually call GARS and ASSAM crosswordese. He called 'em "klassic krosswordese". New term! Eskape klause. OK.

P.S. Liked the puz fine. Liked the limericks, too. Like havin' 31 back in the saddle, most of all. Did U get to say hi to Clint, while in Carmel? Or his chair, at least?

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

@Milford
It's our hometown and we're pretty proud of the Kalamazoo Promise and all the doors it has opened for local students.

BTW ....our fastest time for a Wednesday puzzle.

Sparky 3:45 PM  

Breezed through it. No complaint here. Everyone's in good form today. Glad you are back, Rex.

Is anyone else who subscribes to the printed Times, plus paid the extra $, having trouble getting the crossword page? I went to print out last night but "No can do". Same today. I'll solve this but I am curious if others have had the same problem. Thanks for any replies.

sanfranman59 4:19 PM  

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

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

Wed 8:10, 11:49, 0.69, 1%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Wed 4:50, 5:56, 0.81, 9%, Easy

At the moment, the median time in the All Solvers group is the lowest of the 169 Wednesdays in my spreadsheet. That may or may not hold up come days end. The next lowest is 8:17 (Tim Wescott's 7/8/2009 puzzle). The 4:50 median solve time for the Top 100 group is the 15th lowest. I'm guessing that it might drop to around 4:40 or maybe a little lower by the end of the day. If so, that will make it around the 10th (or so) lowest. The lowest Wednesday median solve time for the Top 100 is 4:21 (Maura Jacobson's 9/16/2009 puzzle).

loren muse smith 4:22 PM  

@Sanfranman59 - Thank you for your utterly reliable, day in and day out, report of relative difficulty. I'm afraid I've come to take you for granted, and I apologize.

THANK YOU!

Sfingi 6:59 PM  

Had many writeovers: GuStY before GASSY, Fredo before SONNY. clANs before THANE. The last, because I wanted so much for there not to be BAD crosses BAD

Otherwise, easy and smooth. Agree with @Susan Mc

The "other" puzzle also had a hidden word over 2 words.

C. Ross Word 7:00 PM  

Good puzzle. WOTD ATHOL - Guy who cut me off yesterday on U Eth 1.

Tita 7:09 PM  


I knew Tribeca because my former company streamed it live for the first time ever. Oh - and because it's famous.

Liked this almost as much as Andrea - fun words, and so easy taht I could not only finish it, but even come here, and read, and post!

@anon @12:23 - lol!!

It's good to be back in Rexville. I secretly am hoping for a week full of easy puzzles, since I know that I won't be blessed with the time and smarts required to get here later in the week.

Tita 7:10 PM  

& yes, thx sanfranman!

Bob Snead 7:39 PM  

The BAD:

1) Crossing BAD with BAD

2) Probable Natick for many at the intersection of ATHOL an something else.

3) Should have been a Tuesday, probably.

4) Not sure why the question mark in the revealer?

The GOOD:

1) Awesome theme density, with the *mwah* vertical PAJAMAS.

2) PJ is just a fun letter combination. Enjoy it, folks.


From a purely solving standpoint, this puzzle was basically a home run for Will and Pete. Lots of happy people in America today.

Great job!

chefwen 8:18 PM  

@lms - You always make me laugh. Excellent Limerick.

Davis 8:59 PM  

Agreed on the difficulty level, but it felt good to put down my best-ever Wednesday time, so I won't complain much about that.

The theme was fun, and there was very little fill that made me say "ugh". The last square I filled in was the O at the cross of ATHOL and PROPJET; I made an educated guess there, as I hadn't heard of either. Not quite a Natick for me, as there was at least some basis for making that choice.

Given my overall level of enjoyment, I'll give this puzzle a thumbs-up. Solid, if not an exemplar of artisanal constructing.

sanfranman59 11:29 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 6:08, 6:47, 0.90, 14%, Easy
Tue 8:57, 8:57, 1.00, 58%, Medium
Wed 8:15, 11:49, 0.70, 1%, Easy (lowest median solve time of 169 Wednesdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:39, 3:41, 0.99, 49%, Medium
Tue 5:13, 4:40, 1.12, 84%, Challenging
Wed 4:41, 5:56, 0.79, 7%, Easy

@Loren & Tita ... my pleasure

acme 1:29 AM  

It is a bit of a shame this wasn't just run on a Tuesday and everyone would have been utterly delighted at this masterful, fun puzzle...

oh well, at least it inspired some of @rex's funniest remarks and poetry from the Muse herself!

As for poor Athol, I'm sure he had bigger concerns than his name, growing up during apartheid and trying to give "voice" to the disenfranchised under much harrassment and life threat!!!
(Those unfamiliar with his work should at least google his wiki)

(@dk
yes, "Google his wiki" is meant for your 12 yr old self!)

Made it to New Orleans! Who's down here?!
whoa, my robot thingie is "natoic"!

BlogSpotRemover (!) or (?) 3:04 PM  

No. Yes. This was truly one of the best NYx puzzles I've done in my admittedly nascent career. Really, really well-made. Where are those scissors?

Spacecraft 10:54 AM  

I still find it hard to believe that there are people who pull out stopwatches to do crosswords. My God, if I lived my life like that I'd have died of a heart attack twenty years ago.

I agree, though, this was Monday-easy. An instantly gettable theme--and no, I've never heard of a GUNPIT either, but the crosses say "Whoop! There it is!" So did our STUMPJUMPER fill itself in. That type of vehicle: NOT in my wheelhouse.

Spotty fill, both good and BAD crossing BAD. Can you even DO that? Ah, but put ANGELINA in your grid and you buy my vote; I'm shameless--you BRIBED me!

rain forest 1:31 PM  

Very well-conceived and executed puzzle, and I don't give a rat's @&& that it is 'easy for a Wednesday', or that "bad" crosses "bad", or that I don't know what a gunpit is. I'm with @Spacecraft on the timing thing. I do these for either entertainment, diversion, or just pleasure, and admittedly am a plodder. If I think I "know" a 6-letter answer, I have to "test" all the letters with the possible crosses before I enter the answer. Definitely not a speed solving strategy. Also do it in pen, which contributes to the tentativeness. The instrument hasn't been invented to measure my disinterest in seeing how quickly I can do this. However, I have to say that I am in some awe that there are people who can complete a puzzle in 3 minutes. Can't do that with a pen, I'm thinking.

I've gotta try some Miracle-Gro. It is clearly the most popular plant food out there.

Red Valerian 1:43 PM  

Liked the puzzle, except for the well-noted BAD BAD cross, though in a way it's better they cross than not, somehow.

Took me quite long time to parse PERSE! argh. I even had to run the alphabet to get it. I don't time myself, but I'm quite sure this was not my quickest Wednesday solve ever.

So, liked the puzzle. LOVED the write-up and comments.

Ginger 2:26 PM  

@C.Ross Word - WOTD Athol, yeth yeth - LOL

@Spacecraft and @rain forest, I agree about stop watches and timing. I like to savor a puzzle, to mentally taste it and let it tease me. Too much is missed if you just rip through it. However, if trying to beat the clock is your bag, then OK by me.

Yes (Yeth) this was easy, but it had a clever hi-density theme, and some unique, interesting fill.

Welcome back, 31, your surrogates are just fine, but your perspective and caustic wit are what make this blog. Thanks

DMGrandma 3:00 PM  

A fun puzzle that went smoothly with a single hang-up at the, unknown to me, STUMPJUMPER. It was slow coming because I had SliPINTO, but running the alphabet for the bike corrected that. Any other potential trouble spots (DJINN?) filled themselves. Now to see what the Captcha master has in store today!

Dirigonzo 4:42 PM  

Today I decided to try to complete not just a correct grid but one with no write-overs, which pretty much negates my usual tactic of just throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks (that's how I test my pasta for doneness, too). So I found myself not writing in answers that I was pretty sure of until the crosses bore them out (a la @rain forest it turns out). I would have succeeded too, if only that damned learJET hadn't flown into the grid without clearance. I'll try again tomorrow.

I think it's about time for Rex to put out the TIPJAR so we can show him our appreciation for this blog and all the effort he puts into it - although with all the substitute bloggers he may have to share the take.

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