Italian P.M. nicknamed Divo Giulio / WED 10-17-12 / Larklike songbird / August meteor shower / Trademark of 1899 that's no longer protected / Floor model caveat / Asgard ruler / Chantey subject

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Constructor: Peter Koetters

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging



THEME: SQUARE / ROOTS (1D: With 55-Across, what the circled letters, reading clockwise, form) — circled letters form squares and contain the names of root vegetables.

Word of the Day: Giulio ANDREOTTI (60A: Italian P.M. nicknamed Divo Giulio) —
Giulio Andreotti (Italian pronunciation: [ˈʤuːljo andreˈɔtti]; born January 14, 1919)[1] is an Italian politician of the now dissolved centrist Christian Democracy party. He served as the41st Prime Minister of Italy from 1972 to 1973, from 1976 to 1979 and from 1989 to 1992. He also served as Minister of the Interior (1954 and 1978), Defense Minister (1959–1966 and 1974) and Foreign Minister (1983–1989) and he has been a senator for life since 1991. He is also a journalist and author.
He is sometimes called Divo Giulio (from Latin Divus Iulius, "Divine Julius", an epithet ofJulius Caesar). The movie Il Divo tells about Andreotti's links with the Mafia and won thePrix du Jury at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. (wikipedia)
• • •

I had a ROOT canal today, so #$&% this puzzle for real.

Actually, it's a cute idea, though I reallllly feels like something I've seen before. Also, those squares really, really limit the fill possibilities, so you end up with stuff like ANDREOTTI (who? ... not many "EOT" words, I guess) and the much-hated PSEUD (52D: Pretentious sort) and a lot of just OK stuff. Considering the way the theme limits the fill, the fill is actually just fine. About as good as could be expected. I still didn't much enjoy solving it. I didn't even notice / need the squares, except in the SE, where I needed them but they were useless. Actually, the SE was light years harder than the rest of the grid. I was dead-stopped for a while, with only ISPS (a guess), OSU (a guess), DUELS (a near-certainty) and ARA (a certainty) in place. Never heard of ANDREOTTI, so royally screwed there. Couldn't see STATUE or PORTAL at all given their clues. Clue on USUAL meant nothing to me. Not sure why I didn't get SNAILS more quickly—all I could think of was SLUGS. Anyway, that was horribly rough, and everything else was medium to easy.


Liked DEEP SPACE. Had GROUP SETS (?!) for GROUPINGS. Couldn't spell PERSEIDS to save my life. Misremembered EPPIE (ugh) as ESSIE. Tried DEBUG for DEFOG. Went THOR before ODIN. No funlet seeing RUNLET, whatever the hell that is. Forgot that PIPIT was a thing. The whole puzzle is filled with very adequate, very crosswordy answers. Not crosswordesey, exactly, because that stuff rankles, but still very familiar in a see-it-in-crosswords-alot kind of way.

The Roots:
  • SHALLOTS
  • PARSNIPS
  • POTATOES
  • RADISHES


Bullets:
  • 16A: Word on a lawn sign (ELECT) — Clever. Timely. Stumped me.
  • 37A: Trademark of 1899 that's no longer protected (ASPIRIN) — dang, that's a Fri-Sat. clue. A good one, but tough. Needed many crosses. 
  • 4D: Greek capital, to airlines (ATH) — I hate ATH, as fill, but as ATH clues go, I'll take this one.
  • 59D: Chantey subject (SEA) — never saw this clue. "Chantey" always looks to me like it's spelled wrong. I always expect "Shanty," which is a ramshackle hut, I think. Yes, I'm correct, but it turns out "shanty" is also an acceptable spelling of "chantey."
  • 29D: Normandy vessels of '44 (LSTS) — now that *is* crosswordese (a little of which never hurt anyone).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

67 comments:

Evan 12:33 AM  

At first I thought this was going to be a SQUARE DANCE puzzle -- which I'm near certain I've seen very recently (just checked....yes, there was one six months ago). When I had the S of 46-Down, I immediately thought the answer would be SQUARE rather than STATUE, completely forgetting that I already had SQUARE filled in at 1-Down. Sort of a deja vu malapop moment. A dejapop, if you will.

In addition to DEEP SPACE, MALWARE and IT'S ON ME were nice entries -- always good to have the complete phrase instead of a partial. I wish the longer fill hadn't been comprised largely of mundane one-word answers (UNSHACKLE, PRUDISHLY, GROUPINGS, and IRRADIATE), although I'm sure part of that was to accommodate the intersecting circled letters. In fact, looking back at the previous puzzle linked above, that one seemed to have the same issue.

Eejit 12:58 AM  

Bit surprised to see it rated M-C as I finished relatively quickly by my standards. I thought it was alreet overall, other than PSEUD. I had no idea who ANDREOTTI was either, thought it might be Berlusconi, but it didn't fit.

chefwen 2:11 AM  

I'm going with medium/challenging because I may have had one too many glasses of wine with lunch with my friends @Rube and Mrs. Rube at Kauai Pasta. I must add it was most enjoyable as was this puzzle.

Kept waiting for some of chef bea's beets to show up in some obscure corner, but it wasn't to Bea. I may have crossed the line there. Sorry.

The Anonymous Penguin 4:07 AM  

I did the same as Evan, putting in SQUARE for STATUE before I realized my mistake. I also had the theme revealer as SQUARE MEALS first, and was contemplating how one couldn't make a meal of SHALLOTS alone, when the crosses made me change it to ROOTS. This wasn't bad, but it also didn't thrill me.

Jeremy Mercer 6:11 AM  

I got a great kick out of the theme, so it would be interesting to know if it's original or if Rex is correct and it's been done before ...

Milford 7:19 AM  

Challenging for me, but I do like the ambitious nature of the theme. Plus I like the variety of ROOTS. Surely one of our chefs has a great idea of something we could make with all of them together, but I'm thinking the RADISHES would be hard to incorporate.

I actually DNFed stupidly in the NE because early on I had DEtOx instead of DEFOG. It made for xTE (seemed like reasonable initials) and tEARSNOT, which really makes no sense, maybe I was thinking not making one cry?

Not a whole lot of fun words in the fill, but I understand there were constraints galore. QUOTH I liked, PERSEIDS was awesome, and ASPIRIN, because I used to do research in with NSAIDs and that date actually clicked with me as the Bayer product. I think aspirin was originally derived from tree bark of some type.

dk 7:52 AM  

Yum PARSNIPS. You take them along with some other ROOTS, onions a handful of currants, wine and TOSSTO a clay cook pot. Wait for a 35-45 min at 375 (or so) and you have a SPOTON side. Or, just roast the suckers.

Another form over function puzzle. The pervading law is the opposite but WTF. As our dear leader noted the form constrains the fill (PSEUD pfft IMHO) of any otherwise cheery little number. Would have liked to see Alex Haley in the grid or those odd shoes calcan no doubt wears.

������ (3 Stars)

dk 7:53 AM  

an not any

Geometricus 8:11 AM  

Coincidentally bought SHALLOTS at the grocery store for the first time ever two days before I solved this puzzle. Chopped one up with some zucchini and some portabella caps and sautéed them in olive oil for spaghetti sauce last night, yum. Also bought RADISHES but left those out of the sauce.

Wanted something Mathier in a puzzle about SQUARE ROOTS, but I doubt you could do that, except maybe on a Thursday. Maybe you could feature famous formulas that prominently employ square roots like QUADRATIC or STANDARD DEVIATION...

I always feel superior when Rex thinks it's Medium-Challenging and I don't, until I remember he probably did it in 5 minutes and it took me almost 15.

jberg 8:19 AM  

The theme was semi-helpful, giving me POTATOES and TURNIPS . . . oh, wait. Fortunately I knew enough not to write the latter in until I got some crosses. @milford, easy to combine them: just sautee the shallots, peel and quarter the rest (or halve, for the radishes, and maybe not peel them), add to the shallots, salt, add about 3 drops of water, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes. Brown before covering and they'll be even better.

I thought Andreotti was the prime minister of Indianapolis -- but @Rex beat me to that one.

jackj 8:36 AM  

Peter Koetters puzzle coulda, mighta been switched with yesterday’s Bill Thompson offering to keep the daily difficulty levels in order.

A clever reveal of SQUARE ROOTS gives us a Farmer’s Market treat of tubers, roots and bulbs that are eight letters long in the plural to form the graphic boxes of ROOTS. Vegans rejoice!

The theme gimmick gave the constructor an opportunity to use some interesting, if seldom seen bits like PERSEIDS, DEEPSPACE, PRUDISHLY, SPOTON, ANDREOTTI and INITIO as he formed the graphics and, predictably, circumstances affected the fill also as the likes of IRRADIATE, UNSHACKLE, PSEUD and GROUPINGS, et al were needed to lend letters to the various theme boxes.

Fill not crossing the theme boxes was generally good with MALWARE, ITSONME, ASPIRIN and PORTAL being of note while RUNLET, EPPIE and PIPIT provided some griping fodder for the day.

Looking the puzzle over before moving on, the constraints demanded by the graphic theme presentation were such that it must have required a Herculean effort to pull this bad boy together.

Nice debut, Peter.

Susan McConnell 8:40 AM  

I liked this one a lot...thought it was clever. But, I will give 10 points to anyone who can come up with a funnier clue for 11 Down: FEAR SNOT. What a lost opportunity for a chuckle!

joho 8:44 AM  

Cute theme. Like @Rex I thought the SE was the most difficult but POTATOES opened up that corner. PORTAL is a nice word. PSEUD is not!

Nice job, Peter Koetters!

Dan Quayle 8:53 AM  

I told you it was potatoEs!

Carola 9:19 AM  

Cute idea. Would be nice if all 4 theme answers were true roots, but I see that they all make the cut as root vegetables. With COD, SNAILS, and EMU being the meat and fish choices, I'd stick with the vegetarian menu today.

Realized when I came here that I DNF - had PIPIn crossing InES.

Nice that there's ASPIRIN for the AGUE and PERSEIDS + DEEP SPACE.

chefbea 9:25 AM  

Loved the puzzle.

My recipe : I would roughly dice all the veggies, Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven, stirring fairly often til done.
Of course I would add another root vegetable to the mix. Yummm

PS @Rex Puzzle husband had a root canal on Monday

ArtO 9:56 AM  

Hand up with Rex for ESSIE and EPPIE. PSEUD stumped me while I had no problem with STATUE and PORTAL.

Read MLLES as Miles. Eyes are going.

All in all a very clever, fairly tough Wednesday.

Sandy K 10:23 AM  

Was going at a SNAIL'S pace until I worked out ANDREOTTI, spelling of PERSEIDS and ISIAH, and INITIO.

@Evan Had same "dejapop", square> STATUE.

SPED UP when the theme became clear. Liked all the answers except PSEUD.

@Carola Thought I had it all too, until I came here... DNF either due to PIPIn and Ines!

@Rex NOT ELATED to say just had ROOT canal done- it does NOT take one day!! Need some ASPIRIN!

Don M 10:36 AM  

The photo illustrating Andreotti is of Mario Andretti, not Julio Andreotti

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

Medium here too because of the SE.
Clever theme and revealer so thumbs up on a nice debut.
Pseud really psucked but the rest was OK.
Isiah always looks wrong considering how it is pronounced.
Can't quite wrap my head around cooked radishes but if you say so...

John V 10:47 AM  

Played very easy in Charlotte, for reasons I just don't understand. Everything just fell into place -- even PSEUD, because its crosses were obvious to me, even ANDREOTTI.

Fun theme, very enjoyable. Central part was a touch slow, but all in, felt like an easy Tuesday, at most. Great debut, Peter!

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

@Don M

That's Rex's special brand of humor.

quilter1 11:04 AM  

Fun puzzle and I knew the recipes would be coming. I agree roasting is the way to go. Roasted some golden beets the other night.

I rated this one easy because I just kept putting in letters and voila! it was done. Once SHALLOTS and SQUARE appeared I knew what to look for. Pleasant way to spend a Wednesday breakfast.

Carola 11:05 AM  

@Two Ponies -
I didn't believe it about cooked radishes either, but then I discovered that the white kind (shaped like carrots), cut into thick matchsticks, are very good in a stir fry. They keep their crunch but lose the sharpness of their bite.

wordie 11:06 AM  

I liked it, and found it mostly easy. The theme circles helped me a lot, got the shallots and it was free flow from there. I DNF, though, because I had PIPIS and ISTS, and came here to see if I could figure out how "Fill with gas" could be ATRATE. Liked the timely Big bird!

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

Completely naticked by ANDREOTTI/OSU. Boo!

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

IRS only a Natick I'd you don't see POTATOES!

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

That's meant to be "it's" above

John 11:41 AM  

Srtas, Runlet, Een, Pseu, Ites -- I would rather have a puzzle with NO theme than words like that that exist only to be in crossword puzzles.

andy 11:43 AM  

I always get a charge from Rex when he disses a clue because HE never heard of it, in this case ANDREOTTI. Maybe I thought it was great under the same reasoning - I'd heard of him, but he was obscure enough for me to have an "oh, yeah" moment.

@Susan McConnell - 11D: FDR's guidance to new parents? yeah... needs work

Masked and Andreottimous 12:01 PM  

Solid debut puz, at the root level. (Talkin' nine U's here. I can root for that anytime.)

PSEUD/ANDREsuchandsuch has the faint scent of ThursPuz, but, hey -- surely we can all still be friends, here.

thUmbsUp for any square theme that uses circles, IMO.

Sorry about that there dental bump in the road there, 31. Maybe it was just a bad time to have a puz U could sink yer teeth into. Love yer yard sign. Good to have bullets back; that young replacement dude had too much homework, to get after 'em.

efrex 12:27 PM  

Naticked at the EPPIE/PIPIT cross, but otherwise can accept the less-than-sterling fill as neccesary for the solid theme-work.

Don't know that I can call myself a Koetters-ITE yet, but certainly ROOTing for more....

Kevin 12:32 PM  

Somewhat surprised that you considered the clue on ASPIRIN to be of Friday-Saturday difficulty. It's one of the most famous generic trademarks, along with escalator and thermos. Also of note: kerosene, zipper, and yo-yo. But I suppose being a lawyer clouds my judgement.

Fairly zippy and enjoyable for me with the exception of the cringeworthy intersection of EPPIE and PIPIT.

treedweller 12:53 PM  

Congrats, Milo, you apparently convinced several people with your Rex impression. Also, yay, Phantom Tollbooth reference.

As for the puzzle, I kinda liked the meals/ROOTS misdirect but found this one kinda meh. Seems like it wanted something more to bring it all together.

Sparky 12:58 PM  

SHALLOTS came first then ROOTed around for the rest. Stuck in SE and did not have O-I-. Thanks for the baking suggestions @dk, chefbea, and Carola. Have been going to a small farmer's market lately and can use them. Of course I'll have to take the pots and skillets out of the oven first.

Had a good time with this. And an Ah ha moment when ROOTS arrived after thinking meals, deals, wha? Congrats on first time Times PK.

Sorry about the dental problems @Rex. Rub some of those Manhattans on your gums. Beats ASPIRIN.

syndy 1:36 PM  

I am never pleaased to see circles on my diagrams,and the early fills combined with the partial revealer SQUARE had me rolling my eyes. Howsomeever SHALLOTS followed by PARSNIPS gave me pause and the ROOTS redeemed the theme into something nifty!the fill still psucked however.

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

Too many obscure unknowns in the SW. Come on, Haas, ehs and perseids (I tried "ums" being clueless on perseids), and this on a Wednesday? As one person noted, real words please, not crosswordese - I guess that's not a real word either, I don't care.

jae 2:40 PM  

Liked it. We are in Ipswitch, MA and I did the puzzle with my bride's cousin Ann who is recovering from a TBI (not to mention the broken hip) after getting thrown off her horse. Pretty smooth solve. She figured out the theme about half way through and we used it to get POTATOES which helped with ANDREOTTI. Medium for us and a confidence booster for Ann as she has had some problems doing puzzles after her accident. (TBI recovery can take some time). She was the one who knew the correct spelling for PERSEIDS. Nice debut. The clever theme more than compensates for any fill problems.

Bird 2:40 PM  

I’m still not sure if I like this puzzle or not. I do like the theme and the answers, but as @Rex pointed out there is not much build on for an interesting and fun puzzle. Lot’s of “Really?” thoughts, especially for PSEUD (what?) and ANDREOTTI (who?) and EHS (I think quizzical utterances are “um”, “er” and “uh”). After getting stuck in the SE I took a break. I think that allowed me to see STATUE and SNAILS, which let me fill in the rest of that quadrant.

Needed to correct DOES to ACTS at 25A, ISTS to ITES at 50A and FEUDS to DUELS at 67A.

I did like the misdirection at 7D. Were all Brits from the Victorian era PRUDES?

Happy Humpday!

Not sure who took the photos of the numbers in the captchas, but the camera lens needs to be cleaned and/or repaired. I can't tell if that's a 6, 8 or 9. (not that it matters)

Rube 2:51 PM  

We had Chefwen's TDF muffins this morning. Love the crunchy macadamia nuts and the fact that there are no RADISHES. Thanks Wendell, and enjoyed the lunch yesterday with you and your non- CWP friend.

Furious with myself for having to use all of the crosses to get EPPIE... should have remembered... mind's going.

Would have preferred cluing HAAS as, "A type of avocado". Have no idea what "Witness" is and am too lazy to look it up.

We see the PERSEIDS meteor shower when at Lake Powell in August and away from the light pollution of the city. It can be fantastic, but this year not so much.

I always enjoy it when people think that a guy who can do the Sunday puzz in under 6 mins would make an error like mistaking Mario Andretti for Julio Andreotti.

Did not enjoy seeing ITES and INE in the same puzzle, (or any puzzle FTM). Otherwise, a fun, quickie Wednesday entertainment.

Lewis 2:53 PM  

For me the difficult corner was the NE, as well as Middle East. Naticked at PIPIT/ITES (had PIPPIn). Did like the theme and reveal. Excellent debut, Peter. Keep it up!

I just discovered last year that radishes don't have to be sliced thin and put in a salad; they can be sauteed, and they are delicious that way!

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

@Rube
Too lazy to look it up too, but sorta remember that Lucas HAAS portayed a young "Witness" to a gangland crime, and Susan Sarandon was his lawyer.

Obviously this guy has no clue about Rex and is new here, or else he'd know Rex's schtick with the wrong pics.

loren muse smith 3:08 PM  

Pretty much @Bird’s take.

I can’t fathom, though, how hard it would be to construct something like this AND it’s a debut! How cool that there are four ROOTS that have eight letters in the plural! Was waiting to turn up turnips, but then I realized it wouldn’t fit. Since my first ROOT was RADISHES, I thought it might be some kind of red SQUARE.

@wordie - same dnf: “ists” for ITES and “atrate” for AERATE. I was certain the latter was some kind of word I’d never heard of to add to LAN, ELKE, PIPIS, MALWARE, RUNLET, PSEUD, EPPIE, HAAS. . .

@Carola – nice pairs.

@Sandy K – funny! I don’t know how old you are, but when I was little, I was already noticing alternative parsing. There was this commercial jingle that I always sang, “If you think it’s butter, but it’s not. . .”

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

Lucas HAAS not only portayed- he also portrayed. (hate when that happens)

Sandy K 3:26 PM  

@loren
Hi! Thanks for giving me credit for the parsing, but it was @Susan McConnell who was really the funny one...

But I sure do remember that jingle!! lol

We also made fun of the Johnny Mathis hit "It's not for me to say".

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

Nope, I should've looked it up.

Lucas HAAS portrayed a young Amish boy who is the sole witness to a murder- that's "Witness", with Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis.

"The Client" has another young boy who is Susan Sarandon's witness.

Have I thoroughly confused you?

loren muse smith 3:49 PM  

Sorry, @Susan McConnell. You get full FEAR SNOT credit.

@Sandy K - funny song! I guess all three of us think alike. Snort, snort.

Inquiring Minds 3:55 PM  

So, who's running against Jesus? Is the race tight?

M and A at the Movies 3:56 PM  

Lukas Haas played a cute young Amish kid in "Witness", a primo crime drama flick. Starred Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. That one was a gimme for me, but perhaps not for most.

sanfranman59 4:06 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 12:02, 11:49, 1.02, 59%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:59, 5:57, 1.17, 88%, Challenging

Teenage Boy 4:21 PM  

And we get to see Kelly's boobies in
"Witness". Teehee.

Pingles206 4:56 PM  

Was I the only one who, when completing "serpentine," thought of that great scene from "The Inlaws"?

John V 4:59 PM  

Nice profile of the constructor over at Wordplay.

Anonymous 6:48 PM  

Add me to the list of those who DNF because of Pipit (I had "ians" for "ites"). Otherwise fun puzzle for me.

Z 7:30 PM  

Finished this early, but I slept in a little after being out late last night so didn't have time to check in. I'm more than a little surprised that so many found this anything more than medium. I have nary a writeover, I paused here and there for a cross to clarify or verify, but it was pretty much a straight NW to SE solve for me. Granted, some of this was easy because of solving daily and coming here. I'm pretty sure PIPIT is something I learned here, as well as ab INITIO.

Spent a few moments wondering how SHALLOTS and PARSNIPS would relate to a SQUARE meal, so the SQUARE ROOTS theme was neat to see. As is often the case, the fill didn't bother me because I didn't have time to go "ugh." So this was a nice solve for me.

Andreotti Carla Malwares 8:21 PM  

Cool puzzle andnice subtheme of the internet to bring it SQUAREly into this century: IMS, MALWARE, ISPS, LAN i think there was one more...

I too had SQUARE mealS at first...but SHALLOTS are hardly a meal, but I was excited to see if it was SQUARE Dance, meals, deals, or something SQUARE. So I needed everything, circles, ups, downs, everything.

Too many abbrevs for my taste...SRTAS, ISPS, LSTS, etc but again, at least half formed a mini-theme.

PRUDISHLY was fun and wild...and I took ANDREOTTI as a bleed over from Monday's ANDRE. Really glad you chose it as word of the day, I learned a lot. grazie.

Amelia 9:09 PM  

It's funny. I didn't have much trouble with the regular part of the puzzle. None of the clues stumped me.

The usual gang of idiots is from my childhood. That was easy!

But I had no idea what they meant by circled letters reading clockwise. I'm sort of embarrassed to admit this.

sanfranman59 10:03 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 6:00, 6:47, 0.89, 6%, Easy
Tue 11:33, 8:58, 1.29, 98%, Challenging (5th highest median solve time of 173 Tuesdays)
Wed 12:14, 11:50, 1.03, 62%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:40, 3:41, 1.00, 53%, Medium
Tue 5:33, 4:40, 1.19, 92%, Challenging
Wed 6:37, 5:57, 1.11, 81%, Challenging

acme 3:17 PM  

PORTAL and TMI were the ones that rounded out the subtheme of IMS, ISPS, LAN and MALWARE. Definitely not a puzzle of the Maleska-era!

BlogSpotRemover (!) or (?) 6:58 PM  

A puzzle with XTC in it.....I couldn't possibly ask for anything more, except I got it. Looking up just who the heck JK the singer was, I learnt she went to my high school! Never heard of her til now.

BlogSpotRemover (!) or (?) 7:44 PM  

sorry to C R A B (that one is ridiculous, no? How many times have you ever said "OK, tell me what each of your crabs are...."? Beefs works, but I don't think C R A B S does. Diminish? I had A B A T E S, which works far better, I think. I've actually never heard of the correct answer before today. And, though too long, a far more common word for this action begins with D E (if you know what I mean). For "kind of licence," I looked, saw P to start and T to end, and almost immediately entered P E R M I T, which sort of ruined all my NE real estate for a long long time. Anyone else have trouble there?

Spacecraft 12:03 PM  

First I saw the circles (yuck), then the clue for 1a: are we really going to kick off a circled puzzle with SRTAS? Gonna be a long morning. It wasn't made any shorter by stuff like LSTS, STR, ITES, INE and PSEUD (really? With no hyphen?). But as has been pointed out, theme restrictions will force some of that.

Different is good, and it's definitely different to have the theme answers wrapped around squares, while the longer entries have nothing to do with it.

A stroke of elegance--which I'm sure was not intended--was to have DEEPSPACE come in at 9-down. That reminds me: when are we going to see a shout-out to ODO in one of our grids? Seems like a crosswordy name...

And now to tackle the capcha that some sadist wants to TOSSTO me. I SHALL reply PRUDISHLY: "This solver FEARSNOT!"

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

No, BSR, but we all were commenting on the correct daily puzzle. You should try it.

rain forest 1:24 PM  

This was a fresh idea, for me anyway. I too was looking for SQUARE MEALS thinking that the two bottom squares of circles would have some sort of meat and maybe a dairy entry. But, SQUARE ROOTS is pretty cool. The only grating answer was PSEUD - otherwise, a nice effort.
Hey, a sort of shout-out to @Dirigonzo at 39D!

Dirigonzo 6:53 PM  

I know it's midweek but weekend puzzle partner was still around to help calculate the SQUARE ROOTS today. Paradoxically, the circles were a big help in our solve as once we had a couple of letters she was able to see the root vegetable and that gave us a lot of bonus letters to work with. All the recipes in the comments have given me some ideas to add a little variety to tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner - I hope everybody has a happy one.

@rain forest - seeing the PERSEIDS in the grid definitely got my attention, so thanks for mentioning it. We just had the Leonid meteor shower last weekend and pretty soon I'll let you know what to look for in the night sky for December.

Waxy in Montreal 7:58 PM  

Wishing a very happy Thanksgiving to all syndilanders south of the border. Hope you don't OD IN turkey and need to resort to ASPIRIN to clear DEFOG. (Incidentally, ASPIRIN actually remains a trademark of Bayer up here in the frozen north. You can buy all kinds of ASA brands made by the competition, but none bearing the name Aspirin.)

Count me (and my spell-checker) among those who consider PSEUD a pseudo-word. And how about a clew bearing witness to star PGA golfer Jay HAAS instead of this Lukas guy.



Ellen S 12:17 AM  

@Susan McConnell: like your clue for FEAR SNOT. When I was a kid I took riding lessons and once I went back to the stalls to feed my mount du jour a carrot, and he thanked me by sneezing -- covering me with snot. But I didn't fear it, I just ... well I don't remember ever making another trip backstage.

For all my vaunted ignorance, I got the Mad Magazine reference immediately, the "USUAL Gang of Idiots." They parodied lots of great literature that I never read the originals of, e.g.,
I wandered lonely as a clod,
Through hillsides [meadows?] filled with rocks and bottles,
When with my [something] boots I trod
Upon a host of axolotls.

Why do we never see "axolotls" in crossword puzzles? I believe they actually exist (perhaps nonexistence is a prerequisite. Erns, indeed!

I had no trouble with EPPIE, because I have read at least four synopses of "Silas Marner" including the shrinklits (right! and I memorize Mad Magazine poems! Sigh... my parents had such hopes for me.). When a vivacious kitten showed up in my backyard, pouncing on sunbeams, I named her Eppie because she warmed my curmudgeonly heart. I adopted her even though I was so looking forward to the two old ones being my last cats, but no such luck. She has grown up to be a lovely young woman, and still makes me smile except when she pees in the heel cup of my Birkenstocks. Then not so much.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. (I'm wearing different shoes!)

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