Japanese brew / WED 10-3-12 / Mitchum rival / Ving of Hollywood / Hydrologist's field / Tokyo formerly / Kind of colony in Papillon

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: HIGH / TAIL (35A: With 37-Across, leave quickly ... or what both words in 17-, 21-, 26-, 49-, 56- and 61-Across could be?) — theme answers are all two-word phrases where both words can follow HIGH in familiar phrases

Word of the Day: ALTAI (54D: ___ Mountains (Asian range)) —
The Altai Mountains (Altay Mountains) are a mountain range in East-Central Asia, whereRussia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together, and where the rivers Irtysh and Obhave their sources. The Altai Mountains are known as the original locus of the speakers ofTurkic[1] as well as other members of the proposed Altaic language group. The northwest end of the range is at 52° N and between 84° and 90° E (where it merges with the Sayan Mountains to the east), and extends southeast from there to about 45° N and 99° E, where it gradually becomes lower and merges into the high plateau of the Gobi Desert. (wikipedia)
• • •

I was gonna peg this one at "Easy-Medium," but then I caught sight of the times posted at the NYT puzzle page. They seem pretty high for a Wednesday. Not sure where people would've gotten bogged down. My time was normal, but should've been low—I lost 20+ seconds hunting down an error (forgot to check the cross at MACAU and ended up with the nonsensical GEUL in the down) (23A: It was transferred to China in 1999 = MACAO; 18D: Hydrologist's field: Abbr. = GEOL.).  I did find the SE corner a bit toughish, as I had never heard of a MASSCARD. Staring at a blank quadrant, I just threw down ARRID on a hunch, and it paid off (55A: Mitchum rival). Got ADDENDS and then the rest of that section fell into place. The grid is mostly nicely and simply filled, with a healthy assortment of Scrabbly letters that don't feel too forced (though I'm no fan of DUZ; 25A: Detergent with a glass in every box, long ago). My favorite answer of the day is RAN HARD (2D: Mounted a fierce campaign). Maybe this is because it's election season, but it feels pretty original and very in-the-language.


The theme is dense, I'll give it that. And it seems to work nicely (though I don't know what a HIGH TEST is). My main problem is that HIGHTAIL is one word. No idea how splitting it into two words here is legit. Also, I've never seen HIGHTAIL not followed by "it." So as revealers go, I'm finding it awkward. Beyond that, not many big-picture points to make.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Athlete's booster (ENERGY BAR)
  • 21A: Subject of a Car and Driver report (ROAD TEST)
  • 26A: Where to paint a model (ART CLASS)
  • 49A: Catholic remembrance (MASS CARD)
  • 56A: Tipoff (JUMP BALL)
  • 61A: x (TIMES SIGN)

Bullets:
  • 20A: Ving of Hollywood (RHAMES) — haven't thought about him in a while. Maybe not since "Pulp Fiction."
  • 34A: Kind of colony in "Papillon" (LEPER) — I'd've thought PENAL, but it's been a long, long time since I even thought about that movie.
  • 52A: Tokyo, formerly (EDO) — one of only a few crusty old-timey answers in the grid.
  • 7D: Salutation in an old-fashioned love letter (DEAREST) — because in the olden days, people used to be named "Est."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

82 comments:

syndy 12:13 AM  

I could not figure out how the TAIL figured in,but I guess it just wags.HIGH TEST has something to do with gasoline I think. I did stall in the SE Mounts made me go for ****MASS until EMERGE TRIGGERed a reshuffle. Duz is the stuff the Pinto pony and his Navaho friend washed their frijoles in!

jae 12:15 AM  

Not much to say about this one.   Easy, theme dense, no zip, pretty smooth.

Erasures: rok for MIG and HOORAY for HURRAY. 

Cringe: EELY

OK workman like Wed.

Anonymous 12:19 AM  

HIGH TEST is what my grandparents called high octane gasoline.

Anonymous 12:26 AM  

Dear Mr. Parker,

I don't know how to post on a blog, my great grandaughter Emily has to type this for me. I've been solving puzzles for over 70 years now, and can still solve most Monday puzzles on my own (as long as there aren't too many hip-hop clues), Wednesdays with Emily's help. Emily introduced me to your blog several years ago, and has read it to me almost daily ever since.

I just had to tell you that if any young man had ever sent me a letter addressed to Dear Est, my daddy would have tanned his hide but good. No gentleman of any breeding would dare have addressed me in that manner. A Dear Esther letter would have gotten him a lecture, Dear Miss Simons would have been necessary to have him welcome in our house.

I believe you're mistaken in your guess as to what Dear Est was all about.

Sincerely,

Esther Rheingold, Nee Simons.

Anonymous 1:06 AM  

Based on a true story, Papillon was set on Devil's Island, which was, indeed, a PENAL colony in French Guiana, not a LEPER colony.

Anonymous 1:28 AM  

At 89 years of age, I think I am the same age as Mrs. Rheingold, and also regularly finish Monday and Tuesday puzzles. On Wednesday, I usually go to GOOGLE for help.

Please explain today's 15A:

Clue: "It's just under 8:Abbr."

Answer:"OPER"

Clark 1:34 AM  

In spite of a thoroughly Catholic upbringing, I don't remember MASS CARDS. Holy cards yes; mass cards no. A bit of time on the interwebs reveals many centuries of back and forth—attempts to regulate and keep under control—the practice of a priest taking money to say a mass for some particular person's intention. (A mass card is, I guess, a card that I give someone telling them that I have paid a priest to say a mass for them or for the memory of someone.)

"[I]n the German city of Breslau, there were two churches staffed by 236 altar priests whose sole duty was celebrating Masses for the dead. In such churches, where many Masses were celebrated every day at the same time on side altars, many people would run from one Mass to the next to be present at the elevation of the Host." (Rev. Thomas J. Shelley, Ph.D., Church History, pp 74-75)

Then I stumbled on the Canon Law provisions having to do with "The Offering Made for the Celebration of Mass", including:

Can. 947 Even the semblance of trafficking or trading is to be entirely excluded from Mass offerings.

Can. 948 Separate Masses must be applied for the intentions of those for whom an individual offering, even if small, has been made and accepted.

Can. 949 One who is obliged to celebrate and apply Mass for the intentions of those who made an offering, is bound by this obligation even if the offering received is lost through no fault of his.


Okay. Enough. Crossword blog + Google = DIscovery of weird and interesting stuff.

I found the puzzle difficult and annoying. Looking at the clue Mitchum, I decided that whether the clue was about the actor or the deodorant, the constructor was probably born in 1923. That made it easier. (I think I'm just tired. I'm sure the puzzle is just fine.)

jae 1:49 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 1:53 AM  

@older anon -- Check out the buttons on your land line phone (unless you still have a dial), I believe the letters OPER are just under the 8.

@Mrs. Simons -- Rex needed that.

Anonymous 1:59 AM  

Liked the puzzle.

Help with a clue and answer for the WaPo puzzle: Star is the answer to Draw in a picture?

Thanks

elaine2 2:00 AM  

I was also confused at first how "LEPER" was the right answer to the movie Papillon, which I recalled was about a PENAL colony. So, after I finished the puzzle, I looked it up. Apparently, although the movie is about prisoners in a PENAL colony, at one point in the movie they escape to a LEPER colony. Not great answer....

Anonymous 2:03 AM  

Of course the second I ask how Star is an answer for Draw in a picture I realize it.

Thanks

chefwen 2:33 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
chefwen 2:45 AM  

I had to delete me previous comment as the last sentence made little or no sense.

Lets try again.

I was going along swimmingly until I his the SE, now that I look back, I'm not sure why it took me so long to fill that little corner in. It looks perfectly easy now.

My only hiccup was at 47A HURRAh before Ms. Sumac set me straight with her Y.

I always thought MASS CARDS were handed out at funerals in remembrance of the deceased. I'm not even close to being Catholic, but I seem to remember my FIL having one at his funeral. I may be wrong.

chefwen 2:48 AM  

Someday I'm going to learn to read post before hitting SUBMIT. Let's try MY instead of me. DOH!

Audubon Crests Mixedup 4:22 AM  

LEPER, EBOLA ...downer images, but technically like 12 theme entries!!!

Got lost in SE...oiLY snake, tAlliES, IRT. mounTS.
Lots wrong. But s-l-o-w-l-y fixed the MIXedUP.


MAJOR double malapop...off ???? ?AIL i put in JUMP BAIL to leave quickly...only to have JUMPBALL show up two answers later!!!!

Agree (gasp) with @Rex about HIGHTAIL one word + it.
But was amazed at how HIGH fit both parts! Major construction afoot!

Quibble, I think MASS was the same MASS in HIGH MASS and MASS CARD (which I also took to be the cards with the deceased's pic on them)

Ok, that's it for me, having gone off the deepend with comments yesterday. @Z ...how apt. My Ebert to his Siskel...

Chefwen's intern 4:31 AM  

Let's also change "his the SE" to "hit the SE"... and the boss is right about MASSCARDs and funerals, I checked.

Pope Leo 7:21 AM  

Nas cards at a Rapper's funeral are always appropriate.

Milford 7:23 AM  

I like this puzzle a lot better this morning than I did last night. Took me way too long to parse out HIGH TAIL as two words, and then I was just not getting what the TAIL was there for ...duh, the theme answers can all "tail" the word "high". Sometimes I'm just too tired.

Still not crazy about HIGH TEST, HIGH SIGN, or HIGH TIMES.

Rex guessed correctly here, it was the SE that was blank for awhile. Was thinking Mitchum was an aftershave, not a deodorant, I'm not Catholic, and I kept reading 45D "Set off" as past tense, so I had enraGed for awhile.

@elaine2 - Interesting about the LEPER/penal confusion in the puzzle and the movie.

@chef wen - if it's any consolation, my quick reading didn't catch any of your mis-types!

Good workout Wednesday.

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

Hand up for not quite getting why OPER was the answer for "just under 8". Thanks @jae!

I always buy mass cards for the deceased when attending a wake. For Catholics, it is more meaningful than a sympathy card.

Easy (by my time standards) for me.

Z 7:37 AM  

I can certainly understand high times on this puzzle. Looking at the completed grid it was all straight forward, but it took me awhile to find purchase. I had HIGH TAIL but I didn't grok the theme until JUMP BALL. The SW then fell first, followed by the SE, NE and finally the NW. The RHAMES/MACAO stack took most of the crosses to finish. The A in RHAMES/ONE ACT was the last letter. Not a single write-over for me, but it was a tussle. All-in-all a good Wednesday.

@Audubon Crests Mixedup - ;)

Z 7:39 AM  

Also, no problem here putting down LEPER. I never saw the movie, but thoroughly enjoyed the Mad Magazine parody.

mac 8:04 AM  

@Milford: thanks for giving "tail" a function, I spent more time trying to figure that out. I think the revealer clue could have been more precise.

Medium puzzle for me, with a couple of sticking points. Having I bet at 42A for a while made thinks difficult in that area. Needed all the crosses for Rhames, but all the crosses were fair.
I like a puzzle that pushes back a bit!

John V 8:12 AM  

@Rex, I'd say Easy for a Wednesday. No slow downs anywhere; just filled itself in. Fav answer MACAO.

jackj 8:19 AM  

This puzzle filled rather quickly and there was no need to know or care what the theme was until looking it over on completion. Thank goodness, because the reveal couldn’t have been made any more confusing unless it had been written in pidgin Swahili.

Turns out you just put “HIGH” before each theme word and “TAIL” is but the traffic cop. Hmph! Kinderspiel, without the fun.

There was some decent fill in Gary Cee’s puzzle but there was also at least one entry that seemed much too conversational to belong in a quality puzzle and that is MIXEDUP. When clued as “Screwy in the head”, it becomes so colloquial as to be borderline offensive.

Goodies from Gary include ONEACTS, DEAREST, PRESUME, ADDENDS and even IGGY but ANG, AOL, YMA, AES, EDO, ANI, SSRS, et al were mildly irritating, and then there was RHAMES, an entry that looks like an escapee from a parallel universe.

There seems to have been a lot of thought applied to this puzzle for too little reward. It happens.

baja 8:28 AM  

Liked this one. Loved Esther's post, too sweet!

Glimmerglass 8:38 AM  

Dear Mrs. Rheingold: Thanks for writing. I'm glad you enjoy Rex's column, and I hope Emily will help you join the conversation often. I'm a lot closer to your age than I am to Rex's, so it's nice to have someone else who remembers Duz, etc. However, one of the things you will have to get used to is Rex's deadpan humor. He will often propose something ridiculous (like the explanation for DEAREST) with no hint that it's meant to be a joke. Of course, your letter may be doing the same thing.

Susan McConnell 9:20 AM  

Enjoyed this, though it felt like I had to work hard to get through it. Theme was helpful in filling out the bottom half. Just got what we refer to as a MASS CARD from mother-in-law with our anniversary card.

Carola 9:21 AM  

My neurons were not AFIRE this morning, and I stared at the completed puzzle for a long time before the meaning of the TAIL part of the reveal would EMERGE. SNEAKy!
I liked all the HIGH items; for me, HIGHBALL (made with SELTZER, perhaps) and HIGH TEST gas belong to the DUZ era. Also liked the cozy image of LAMPS by reading chairs - which maybe will also soon belong to the past, when everybody's reading on their LCD-illuminated tablets.

Larry 9:22 AM  

@ACME - If you're going to pick a nit about the two MASSes being the same, you should also focus on the fact that the two ENERGYs, ROADS, ARTs, CARDs, SIGNs and JUMPs are the same.

On a less polite note, I had a date last night with a functional illiterate, and as I pressed the issue back at my place, she told me that ANIL was IGGY.

chefbea 9:23 AM  

Good puzzle. No Complaints.

Welcome Mrs. Rheingold. Hope you come here again. I too remember Duz...Duz duz everything...

jberg 9:28 AM  

Umm, no offense, Esther, but if the late Ann Landers had received a letter like yours she would have checked it for a New Haven postmark, if you know what I mean (and you do if you were born in 1923, or even 1943 like me). Very cute letter, though!

As for the puzzle, it took me too long - partly because I was sitting on my front porch around sunrise and had to squint to read the numbers, but also because I too had MACAu, as well as THE mETS plaing in the Meadowlands (I'm not a sports fan, but why does any team play inside the Soviet national anthem? Is that to prepare us for SSRS at 68A?) And I still have no idea who RHAMES Ving is - sounds like a pharoah, but that can't be right.

Is there a name for clues like 67A, which make themselves look harder than they are by adding a lot of superfluous detail? If not, someone should invent one (@ACME?}

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

@jberg - It's an Olaf, so named by Crosscan, e.g. King ___ the Red-Bearded Scourge of Sweden, born 1407.

joho 9:40 AM  

I thought this was a really solid Wednesday packed with lots of theme and interesting words.

Nothing more to say except thanks, Gary Cee!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:47 AM  

PENAL before LEPER was (as lms coined) a "Faux-hold" for me. I even think that one entry might have slowed up a lot of people who posted times.

@jberg - That would be Ving RHAMES (derived from Irving.)

Dessert and Floorwax 9:54 AM  

Devil's island was first used to house the prison system's leper colony.[3] With no understanding of the cause of leprosy (known as Hansen's disease), nor means of treatment, societies isolated its sufferers. Well before 1895, the island was converted to primarily housing political prisoners.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 10:19 AM  

Pretty wide-open corner spaces. Tougher to get traction.

You'd think tougher to construct, too. Especially in the NW and SE, where multiple themers are swimmin' around in 'em. Probably took months to fill. Had to have all his meals brought in, no doubt. No time out for showers, tv, outdoor sports. Never opened the drapes. Grew a beard. Had to learn to walk again, after the puz was finally clued up and sent out. Day-um. You're a stronger dude than me, Gunga Din.

Started solving in the 35 & 37 area. When you got one clue with two numbers and that's a block long and that has more cross-references than the OED, it sorta gets your attention. First reaction was TURN TAIL, so was half right from the get-go. Like my answer better; don't need the "it" thrown in mentally.

Fave clue: "Sleek, briefly". har. I can relate to that: Me, between ages 8 and 10 -- but that had too many letters in it.
Fave fillins: MASSCARD. Better clue: "What you play, to avoid sleekness, with 'the'".

Sparky 10:36 AM  

I was stuck in NW as THERMAL and RANHARD just didn't come. Did not get the theme till I came here. Thanks @Milford, et al.

JUMPBAiL/AiTEI a Natick for me.

Robert MITCHUM starred in MACAO. There is a character named Gimpy the piano player. Ah, the good old days. Such sensitivity, such grace.

JC66 10:37 AM  

"DUZ does everything."

Two Ponies 10:41 AM  

I can never remember how to spell Audubon and I don't care who plays at the Meadowlands (Mets, Nets, oh, must be Jets) so the SW took awhile.
I don't recall Duz but I do remember some clothes soap that had a towel in every box.
Best part of today has been the reaction to Dear Est.
Priceless.

quilter1 10:49 AM  

Buying a box of DUZ was always an option when the kids got careless. Ah, memories. Hand up for penal before LEPER as I remembered guys trying to escape. But, really enjoyed the puzzle. With @Mac I like one to tussle with.

Two Ponies 10:55 AM  

P.S.
There was a very memorable scene in Papillon where Steve McQueen accepts a puff from a leper's cigar.

Masscard and Anonymous 10:58 AM  

P.S. @Esther: U rock, girl. Sounds like U had a real Rattlesnake Daddy, when it came to the beaus.
M&A

Sparky 10:59 AM  

Two things I forgot: painted the model's face for a while at an auto repair shop.

Danjan at Amy's has a good clarification on MASSCARDs. They are not only for death but for celebrations, healing, special occasions. St. Francis Breadline, NYC, provides a non-sectarian card. A worthy charity. The laminated cards from the funeral home are memorial cards.

I am hightailing it to the library because I can't renew on the computer.

Milford 11:01 AM  

Forgot to ask about DUZ earlier - did they really put a drinking glass in the box with the detergent? Was it the type of thing where you tried to collect a whole set?

Total nit, but did anyone else think JADE was just a bit off in it's description? I think of It as a deeper green, like the little jade Buddha I have.

chefbea 11:15 AM  

@Milford...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B95SO5xaiY

Mel Ott 11:31 AM  

While Papillon did indeed escape from a penal colony, the LEPER colony was crucial to his first escape. The leader of the LEPER colony turned out to be the only trustworthy person encountered in that adventure. I think there was a lesson in there somewhere.

@Two Ponies has already alluded to the memorable scene in the movie where Papi accepts a puff on the leper's cigar. He was asked how he know he was not contagious. His reply: "I didn't". Certainly crossworthy.

I have sent many MASS CARDS telling people that they were remembered in prayer at the altar and never paid a penny. (I'm an Episcopalian.) I have never heard those cards given out at funerals called Mass Cards - I think they are usually called something like Remembrance Cards.

JFC 11:38 AM  

Best part of Rex commentary was HIGHTAIL. Worst part was 20+ seconds. Galling. Just plain galling...almost as galling as the number of times I have to prove I'm not a robot....

JFC

Kathy 11:38 AM  

It's describing a telephone key pad.
Also Jade is very green.

Notsofast 12:10 PM  

Easy today except SE. Not being a Northeastern Catholic math teacher is what hurt. What bad luck. But I worked through it, and finished. Fun puzzle.

Sandy K 12:26 PM  

This had me SMILING for sentimental reasons...

My beloved grandmother would send me birthday cards with the greeting "To my DEAREST granddaughter," and wrote using her most beautiful and flowery vocabulary to show off what she had learned in night school (ESL) as her first language was Hungarian.

She could proudly recite Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

She also used DUZ!

Lewis 12:40 PM  

@rex -- laughed at your "est" comment

Solid Wednesday, learned MACAO, I think I finally remember EDO.

I'm thinking it's truly just a matter of knowing a few words that determine a puzzle's difficulty. I didn't Google today, but on days when I think I'm totally stuck, then I Google two words, suddenly the whole puzzle opens up. So the key, I think, is in what you know...

Davis 12:47 PM  

Solid grid — this is shaping up to be a good puzzling week.

i breezed through most of this puzzle on my way to a great Wednesday time for me, then stumbled in the SE and ended up with an average time. The biggest problem for me was ?RRID: I didn't realize Mitchum was a brand, so I ended up stumped over what author's name looked like that. Since I had screwed up MASSCARD as MASTCARD for some reason, I didn't have SAMS to help me on the cross.

I enjoyed the theme — HIGH TEST, HIGH ROAD, HIGH TIMES were all nice, though I'd never heard HIGH SIGN. Definitely sufficient for me to forgive the HIGH TAIL separation. I'm also impressed at the quality of fill, given the density of the theme — there was a surprisingly low density of crosswordese, and some nice non-theme fill. Kudos to Gary Cee.

Anoa Bob 12:48 PM  

Milford @7:23: High Times

Bird 1:26 PM  

I had to do a little rework here and there, but in the end I liked this one. Thank you Gary Cee. Two bullets . . .
The spelling of 47A. I usually see it as HOORAY. Not complaining here, just observing.
HIGHTAIL split in two. But that’s been covered. Oh, and it’s not a phrase w/o the “it”, is it?

Corrections included . . .
RHYMES before RHAMES at 20A
ALL before DUZ (before my time I guess) at 25A
PENAL before LEPER at 34A
HOORAY before HURRAY at 47A
SPOT (better answer) before MAIL at 53A

I love Papillon. Such a great movie starring the late, great Steve McQueen and the ever popular Dustin Hoffman.

Happy Humpday!

Milford 1:45 PM  

@chef bea - thanks! Wow, those glasses actually look nice. There's even stemware! We only had toys in our Freakies cereal boxes growing up.

@Anoa Bob - well, there you go. Should have known. :)

So informative today, this blog.

quilter1 3:13 PM  

I hesitated at the JADE description as well, but JADE comes in many shades including almost white, so I believe the clue is fair.

Alfalfa 4:02 PM  

@Davis - We use the HIGH SIGN all the time. Especially Porky and me. Just Google "Little Rascals Hi Sign" or "Little Rascals Wave"

loren muse smith 4:10 PM  

My experience today was more like @Mac, @Susan McConnell, Clark, Z, and everyone else who had to work hard to finish. Funny, though; the SE was the first area I dispatched.

@Z - I never even considered “penal,” and I didn’t read the book or see the movie, either. It DUZ surprise me sometimes, the things in my mind that EMERGE from the dark recesses with the right TRIGGER, in this case, “Papillon.”

@Two Ponies - I didn’t know that AUDUBON had two us.

One of my favorite places in the world is Ely, Minnesota, pronounced like EELY.

@Chefwen – Like @Milford, I didn’t see your typos!

Gary - impressive, scrabbly puzzle with impressive theme density. HURRAY for you!

sanfranman59 4:28 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 13:16, 11:51, 1.12, 79%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 7:00, 5:57, 1.18, 88%, Challenging

Anonymous 4:42 PM  

My first post - has to break down and do it because I completed the puzzle as we were driving past Binghamton on Rte 81 on the way to visit our son at Syracuse ( Go Orange). Took me almost the entire drive to do it but finally finished - no google.
Only clue that didn't know even after finishing was Rhames

JenCT 4:48 PM  

Well, my last post disappeared...

This took me longer than usual.

I just cannot think of DUZ detergent without also thinking of the Wacky Packages parody of DUZ - anyone remember these?

Wacky Packages

Bird 5:04 PM  

@JenCT - I forgot all about Wacky Packages. I should still have some tucked away in the attic. My parents used to drink Chock Full O'Nuts coffee and I remember having a Wacky card for Chock Full O'Nuts & Bolts.

@Alfalfa - Some friends and I all use the Little Rascals Hi Sign. Our kids now use it,

Tita 5:35 PM  

@JenCT - what a blast from the past - I didn't remeber those till I clicked on your lik - thanks for that!!!
I've been to MACAu 0 had cousins that lived tehre, had a baby or two there, and got some great experience a scivil engineers tehre, building staiu,s, etc., then headed back to Portugal with serious experience under their belts. Portugal got to keep MACAO (1999) for longer than UK got to keep Hong Kong (1997).

It is very tough to be constrained to posting so late in the day, being in Central European time zone this month.

joho 5:44 PM  

@anon 4:42 ... congrats! Stick with this blog and you'll see how much better and better you get!

Willie Nelson 5:54 PM  

@Anoa Bob - Damn! I missed 4:20. But it's 4:20 somewhere!

John in Philly 6:56 PM  

I had the north center all figured out: teal (blue green) toys (life's pleasures) loser (foulup) all best (not dearest)...
Guess who was a dnf today!!

Z 7:26 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith - There's a book, too? Mad didn't (and doesn't) do book parodies. How's the class going?

acme 8:00 PM  

@Larry 9:22am
Darn you, I was gonna limit myself to one short comment today!
What I meant was, usually most have to be the same, but MASS was an opportunity to define it as a different MASS, like if he had used the phrase ENERGYMASS or MASSENERGY then it's not Catholic both times and more wordplay!
But of course the others need to be the same unless you do a JUMPCABLE (but high cable isn't a thing)

So the quibble was more about lost opportunity when he had a chance to make it different, but most of the time the stuff is the same by definition.

Repeat story:
Went as a chaperone 20 yrs ago with "the All New Dating Game to Molokai" where we took mule rides down to the only LEPER colony in the US. Sad sad place with an old man who had leprosy, last remaining colony member, giving tours about Father Damian. Even tho the colony was closed and leprosy wasn't contagious and he was on medication, he had nowhere to go, as his parents had abandoned him there as a child. :(
On a lighter note, LEPER backwards is REPEL.

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

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

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

Mon 5:57, 6:47, 0.87, 5%, Easy (9th lowest median solve time of 169 Mondays)
Tue 9:14, 8:57, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 13:28, 11:51, 1.14, 82%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:23, 3:41, 0.92, 16%, Easy
Tue 5:03, 4:40, 1.08, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:45, 5:57, 1.13, 84%, Challenging

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Sorry. I'm trying to pick through these comments, but I still don't understand how "tail" works! Easy enough puzzle to complete, but the clue "Leave quickly or what both words in.....could be:????!!!! Both words can follow "high" PERIOD! They can't be high. They can't be hightail. They can't follow tail. Tell me to jump in a lake, but I just don't get it.

Pepe LePew 1:09 PM  

@Anonymous 11:47 - All the words can serve as a "tail" to the word "high."

connie in seattle 11:50 AM  

I had the APB at 6D so popped in "sportsbra" for athlete's booster at 17A. Hey, it fit!
Still waiting to see who our
Governor will be here in Washington State.

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

@connie - while waiting, you can always legally enjoy some pot now..

Spacecraft 12:29 PM  

Greetings from Syndiland: Obama has won. I shall refrain from further political comment. This puzzle scored a medium for me; the theme reveal was a bit confusing. "TAIL BAR?...BAR TAIL?" was going through my head. Then I reread the central clue and realized: Oh, EACH (not "both") word(s) in the answer can be a "TAIL" for "HIGH." Um, hand up for the missing "it."

More cluing nits to pick: I have never seen the word HIGH written out in the expression HIGH TEST, aka. premium gas. It's HI-TEST, or just HI TEST without the hyphen. NEVER "high test."

Also, JADE is just about the purest green I can think of; there is not a speck, not one part in a million, of "bluish" in there. Bad, VERY BAD, cluing.

Awkward: ONEACTS, THEJETS. Hackneyed: YMA. Nedicks: sq. 64 (guessed "A" correctly,so done with no errors). And what the hey is a "Bath" GEL??

And now the adverse criticism is over, leaving lots of good stuff in the balance. Seldom have I seen four sets of stacked sevens pulled off so (relatively) cleanly--and this in a "HIGH" density theme grid.

In the "Man, that takes me back" category: DUZ does it! And "He put ten cents in his pocket, kissed his wife and family, went to ride on the MTA! Well, did he ever return...?"

Finally, I just now realized that ARTCLASS is part of the theme: that's how natural it was. There, students, is a GOOD theme entry.

Red Valerian 1:19 PM  

Hi All! I've missed you! Puzzle took me a while. Didn't know VING RHAMES and had tAllIES for too long, and am still surprised that anybody would think that JADE is light bluish green.

HIGH TEST is strong beer around here.

@Dirigonzo--them's quite the results in Maine last night. I know, I know, this is not supposed to be a political blog. But, um, HURRAY!

Gawd, now I know why people have been complaining about the captchas.

Red Valerian 1:20 PM  

Oops, forgot to check to get email comments. Sorry!

Color-Blind Dictionary Reader 1:41 PM  

@Red Valerian et al - My Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Edition says

jade 3: JADE GREEN

and

jade green n (1892): a light bluish green

DMGrandma 3:44 PM  

Found today's puzzle a q bit trickier than some. i well remember DUZ and whole store shelves of similar products with premiums enclosed, a tactic started in the depression. In fact,I still have jam jars shaped like an apple and a strawberry that came from some Kellogg product. I also recall high octane gasoline, tho can't argue with the reader who maintains the puzzle misspelled it. Personally, I always asked the gas station attendant ( remember those?) for ethyl.

On the other hand, I've never heard of RHAMES, that tennis star, or RANHARD used in that context. But eventually they fell. Hardest for me was JADE. I've seen dark green, light green, and white- none with a bluish hue. Something in the back of my mind keeps nudging that it can also be pink, but sometimes those nudges are wrong!y

We are taking down the electon signs and getting back to normal today.

Dirigonzo 5:58 PM  

My NYC commuters were riding on the irt before they transferred to the MTA, and the Korean War fighter was a ROK (Republic of Korea fighter) until the MIG came by. Other than that, a surprisingly neat and error free grid; no complaints here.

@Red Valerian - we missed you, too! Nice to see you back. And yes, I am very proud to be a Mainer today.

Red Valerian 6:43 PM  

@Dirigonzo--looking for the results in Maine led me to info about your state's motto. Now I think I understand your name! (sort of--insofar as one is supposed to understand such things :-)

Thanks @Color-Blind Dictionary Reader. I guess what I should have said is that I am still surprised that anybody would think that JADE is light bluish green on a Wednesday.

Dirigonzo 8:19 PM  

@RV - my "nom de blog" is indeed tied to the state motto; "Why Dirigonzo", which I posted on my blog on 10/16/2010, explains the whole thing (not that I think you care). Our new senator-elect Angus King made an interesting comment (I won't bore you with it here) about the motto, which is a really cool Latin word that I think should show up in a puzzle.

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