Tsar's Bride composer / TUE 10-2-12 / Straight-bladed dagger / Louis Braille Louis Chevrolet / Taken into account in terms of container's weight / Home 1996 Emilio Estevez film / Operating system since 1969 / Cricket World Cup powerhouse / NASA launch of 1990

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Constructor: Ethan Cooper

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: WHEEL COMPONENTs (48A: Beginning of 20-, 25- or 43-Across) — theme answers begin with parts of a wheel:

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (20A: "The Tsar's Bride" composer)
SPOKEN WORD ALBUM (25A: It has its own Grammy category)
HUBBLE TELESCOPE (43A: NASA Launch of 1990)

Word of the Day: Tortellini in BRODO (31D: Tortellini in ___ (Italian dish)) —
soup consisting of small, stuffed pasta in a clear broth (wiktionary)
• • •

I have this theory about puzzles that have15s on either side of the center line—they should be closer (one line between them) rather than farther apart (three lines). Now, normally, with theme answers, I think, "well, if they're farther apart, that opens up the grid, gives you more room to work, etc." But when sequential theme answers are 15s, I don't think this is the case. Easier to get a bunch of 3s to work (well) than it is to get 5s to do same. Eastern portion of this grid is a very, very good example of what I'm talking about. That's an abomination. I've never seen BRODO in my life (this is possibly the most obscure Italian word I've ever seen in a grid, though apparently the dish itself is reasonably well known), and I barely believe UNRIP is a word (32D: Tear open). WAR AT isn't winning any awards either (28D: "The ___ Home," 1996 Emilio Estevez film). I saw this problem happen on a grid of mine—a quote puzzle that had two 15s, one after the other, on either side of the center of the grid, just like this one. When they were 3-spaced (like this one), I got the grid done, but it was kind of icky. Distractingly icky. Then, even though I was "done," I decided to build it all over again with a grid where those 15s were just 1-spaced. As my testers, and anyone with an eye who sees the puzzle, can tell you, the latter was infinitely superior. The grid ended up way, way more smooth, and solvers could then focus on the awesome quote and not be distracted by whatever gunk I had gunking up the grid in the first version.

WHEEL COMPONENT is among the worst revealers of all time. It's a nothing phrase. The puzzle's in a bit of a bind, though, with this theme, and it's hard to see another way out—that's because there really *aren't* any more plausible parts of a wheel. Are there? And if not, well, three theme answers just aren't enough these days. If there were a fourth wheel component, then you could've just had the revealer as "WHEEL," and tucked it down at the bottom of the grid. But, we've got what we've got, and there's at least a few things to like. I like all the theme answers as answers. You don't see 14s much, and RIMSKY-KORSAKOV's a good one (part of the toughness today was spelling that damn name correctly). Junkiness at center of the grid is offset by mostly nice work in the small sections up top and down below. Scrabbly without forcing the issue (e.g. no attempts to pick up a "Z" at the expense of overall grid smoothness). And I always appreciate when a constructor really takes advantage of the long Downs. Make your long non-theme answers *count*! HOT MIKES (4D: Feedback producers) and SUCKED UP (39D: Was obsequious, informally) count. Good stuff.

  • 5A: Mountains out of molehills (TO-DOS) — this took me forever. I had every letter and still didn't really get it. "What's a TODO?" I figured it out, after the fact. 
  • 34A: Taken into account in terms of a container's weight (TARED) — a not-great word, unsurprisingly located in that whole problematic Middle Zone. Good thing it was a gimme. I think about the word "tare" a lot—every time I'm at the supermarket, or anywhere stuff gets weighed in containers.
  • 47A: Cricket World Cup powerhouse: Abbr. (PAK.) — As country abbrev. clues go, I really like this one.
  • 62A: Operating system since 1969 (UNIX) — I had the "U," so no problem. 
  • 1D: One who knows what it means to travel (REF) — great clue but holy-crap hard. I had to run the alphabet to get that "F," because 17A: It's impressive (FEAT) wasn't doing anything for me. I kept thinking of things that make impressions...
  • 7D: Straight-bladed dagger (DIRK) — it's in the crosswordese arsenal right next to the SNEE.
  • 45D: Louis Braille or Louis Chevrolet (EPONYM) — got this without ever seeing the clue, which is a good thing, 'cause again, this seems hardish for Tuesday. The double-Louis thing is a total fake-out. Nice but late-weekish clue.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Clark 12:08 AM  

BRODO. Yikes! Next thing you know we'll be expected to know words like TACO or NAAN.

Tobias Duncan 12:18 AM  

That Steve Martin song was the first place I ever heard the word obsequious. When I was ten, that album was the funniest thing I had ever heard. I must have listened to it a thousand times. I wish he and Jesser would make up and come up to Taos for some billiards.

jae 12:38 AM  

Seemed about right for a Tues.  Medium with a bit of zip...HOTMIKES, SUCKEDUP,  BREEZY, TELLY... plus a pretty smooth grid.  So, while the theme is on the boring side (although the theme answers are pretty impressive) the rest is fine.  Liked it.



Random comment vaguely puzzle relevant:  CARLA Bruni  was excellent in Allen's Midnight in Paris.  Good movie!

Garth 1:12 AM  

Lots of good advice for constructors in tonight's blog entry:
-how to improve the architecture of this type of puzzle
-the sorts of words to avoid
-hints on how to improve the revealer

It's a shame that such good advice is conveyed with such negativity:
-"That's an abomination"
-"Worst revealers of all time"
-"Distractingly icky"

I find myself reading the blog because (for me) the positive outweighs its less-than-perfectness. But I'd find it more enjoyable if the criticism was executed with more diplomacy. I'm curious to know what others think.

Anoa Bob 1:41 AM  

Does a TARED UNRIP ELAL BRODO make a WARAT IPSO ASAN SOSO? I say NONO, because I think RIMSKY KORSAKOV and HUBBLE TELESCOPE buy this puzzle a lot of forgiveness for, shall we say, less than optimal fill.

Happy CHAI UNIX day (observed) to all!

chefwen 2:35 AM  

@Clark - You're funny, naan indeed!

Thought this one was a little chewy, like a good piece of garlic naan. I was O.K. until I got to the south east corner. Didn't know that DORA spoke Spanish, why would I? Wasn't sure what obsequious meant and had SUCK it UP in at first. The spelling of 20A was achieved mainly by the downs. 43A was the only thing that went in without a struggle. 37A ALAS sounds more forlorn to me that dramatic. I can give you dramatic! SPOKEN WORD ALBUM ??? Will have to look into to that one.

All in all a good Tuesday puzzle that made me think a wee bit and didn't SUCK

Thanks Ethan Cooper

chefwen 2:36 AM  

scratch the second to in into to.

Alist Carla (hot)Mikes 2:44 AM  

I think 14s are super hard to work with...that said, I'd have gone for the less literal and put in WHEELOFFORTUNE!!!

As it only needs to be a hint to the other three, otherwise no wordplay makes for a dull COMPONENT.

Thought every clue was H-a-r-d! Monday theme with Thursday clues makes for one of those crazy Tuesdays.
BREEZY it was not, but great word!

Arched eyebrow at TELESCOPE and TELLY thinking they were kind of same word/root...
But RIMSKYKORSAKOV is such a sophisticated (tho hard to spell) answer, that buys a lot of tolerance.

The funny thing about the JKXYZ is that there's not only no Q there's no G.
That's funny!

HUGE bledover from yesterday with ALIST!!!!
I honestly thought for years those were intentional, that it was part of the game to find the same word the next day, but Will insists no...that's why i started noting bleedovers.

Highbrow with low brow, I knew PALAU only because of "Survivor"!

Eejit 3:19 AM  

The write-up is a bit harsh, no? I can think of a couple more wheel-related words, such as stem or tread, or maybe even lugnut. I've never heard of brodo either, but what good is a crossword if you can't learn some new words. I found it pretty easy and finished faster than yesterday. Maybe it's time for another trip to NZ, or maybe Palau.

Ethan 3:42 AM  

@Garth, as the constructor of today's puzzle, I thought Rex's write-up was 100% spot-on. His criticisms pretty much hit every point of concern and reservation I had about my own work when I submitted it. If the language was a bit bombastic, so what - that's Rex. That's why he's entertaining to read. He was also extremely complimentary with the points of the puzzle I was proud of, both the big things and a lot of the little things.

It was too late, long after I sent in the puzzle and got the acceptance, that I figured out that UNRIP could be changed to UNHIP by changing SORT to MOHS and AUDIT to AUDIS. I even sort of think that MUCKED UP is better than SUCKED UP. I thought it wasn't worth bugging Will about, especially since MOHS isn't great. BRODO would have stayed in any case. Tortellini in brodo is one of my favorites so I'm not gonna apologize for that.


Evan 4:45 AM  

When you enter WHEEL COMPONENT in quotation marks in Google, you get only 32,400 hits. That's really low for a theme answer, especially a revealer, and it's not like this was a puzzle with wacky, nonsensical theme entries designed to be clever, new, and unsearchable by Google standards. So I think Rex's description of WHEEL COMPONENT as a "nothing phrase" is apt.

However, weaknesses with the theme revealer aside, I'd say that the fill is really quite good....with the exception of UNRIP. I looked askance at BRODO too, but the crosses made it solvable.

For anyone and everyone who objects to Rex being too harsh, allow me to point to something he wrote on the last day of 2008 which I think adequately addresses that complaint:

"I have no interest in writing a blog wherein I do anything but give you my candid, largely uncensored reaction to the puzzles - but writing from the gut and under the gun results at times in what one might reasonably call a lack of sensitivity on my part. If I worry too much about hurting someone's (i.e. a constructor's) feelings, then the natural energy that drives me to write this thing every day gets ... well, muted. So in case it's not completely clear, let me say: I'm genuinely grateful for every puzzle I get to do. The criticism I offer, even the harsh stuff, is meant as a sign of respect (as in 'I respect the endeavor you're engaged in enough not to blow sunshine up your skort when your work strikes me as less than adequate'). So, as 2008 ends, I offer genuine thanks to every constructor whose work I've had the pleasure and displeasure of solving this year. Your work provides the basis for a wonderful, lively, ongoing conversation that I feel privileged to reinitiate every morning, rain or shine (when I don't pawn the job off on unpaid lackeys, that is)."

(Bold mine)

Speaking for myself, I like to think of the crossword puzzle as a work of art. As a highly skilled solver and published constructor himself, Rex is playing the role of art critic -- as do we all simply by commenting on the work before us each day on the blog. Yes, crosswords are fun diversions at their basic level, but they're also a useful medium for uniting people through an appreciation of language, memory, recall, word play, and a huge variety of topics for trivia and educational purposes. In other words, it's an art form just like music and painting, and like any art form, crossword construction needs its critics to sustain an ongoing conversation about what makes a puzzle a good one.

So I commend Ethan, not for agreeing with Rex's objections to his puzzle (however harsh they may have sounded), but for recognizing that honest criticism of one's work comes with the territory of being a cruciverbalist.

loren muse smith 5:50 AM  

@Ethan – thanks for stopping by. I always love it when the constructor weighs in. I liked your puzzle; you made WHEELS SORT of fun.

I almost swallowed my teeth when A LIST fell!

RIMSKY KORSAKOV is Just. Plain. Cool. This was no Tuesday FEAT for a BREEZY DITZ.

@ACME - I knew PALAU from Survivor, too! Also – to your TELESCOPE and TELLY, I add TV.

OBESE – the pounds just CREPT up.

AXE the sub REFs ON TV.

@Tobias – be oblong and have your knees removed, but please don’t be pompous, OBESE and eat cactus. BTW, I still don’t have the confidence to criticize things I don’t know about; maybe I’ll go live in a swamp and be three dimensional. NO, NO – I’ll dull and boring and omnipresent.

Milford 7:07 AM  

Very meaty Tuesday! Theme clues did not fall until many crosses, and they were interesting, to boot. Yes, I expected the reveal to be witty and pun-like, but it was fine in the end.

Timely theme, for me, as I did this puzzle immediately after a bike ride - we just moved our bikes into their indoor trainers last night, as it's getting to be fairly chilly in Michigan.

I appreciate all the discussion of construction and criticism, very interesting. I appreciate the opinions made on this blog - way more interesting than constant praise and happy thoughts only IMO.

That said, as a rookie-ish solver, I think there was a nice chunk of mid-grid words that were good - STAPH, PALAU (had Samoa, first), ORAL-B, MATTE, CREPT, and AUDIT. Like @acme and @loren, I had to smile at A-LIST! REF had a great clue.

That Martin album is a riot. Like @Tobias, I listened to it at a young age (probably way too young) and laughed at things like yawning festival, chicken in your underwear, and suck eggs.

Z 7:26 AM  

I really like the theme answers. I'm sitting here wondering just how Mr. Cooper is going to tie together KORSAKOV (I pORSAKOV for a while - classical music is a big hole in my knowledge base), SPOKEN WORD ALBUMs and the HUBBLE. That he did tie them together is impressive to me.

@Evan - thanks for the quote. "Blowing sunshine up your skort" is a phrase worth remembering. So, yes, Rex is harsh at times. Rex is wrong at times. But constructors' skorts remain sunshine free and that's a good thing. And as I was beat and achy on the flight home Sunday night I was more than a little irked that the airline magazine didn't include the constructor's name for the NYT reprint. That feeling irked for the slight to the constructor exists only because of Rex's work.

dk 7:40 AM  

I do not see how mountains out of molehills are TODOS. In point of fact a series of successive approximations (baby steps) makes molehills out of mountains. Ethan must have a different set of TODOS.

I have been in awe and agog at wheel rims for the past few years. I see cars that are worth a few c-notes with a couple of grand in rims: Amazing. I recently learned you can rent rims. At what price fashion? My favorites are the ones with the LED lights that create glowing circles as one cruses down the highway.

UNRIP was the other odd fill -- made me think about retracting flatulence… but I am 12 (in emotional maturity years) or 558 in cat years.

Valiant effort for a Tuesday!

📺📺 (2 TELLYS)

John V 8:05 AM  

Well, apart from the East(UNRIP), I was okay with this one. Got the theme at RIMSKYKORSAKOV and thought this was a pretty good Tuesday, albeit on the challenging side, per @Rex. TARED seems forced, not a real thing. The day-of-week level felt uneven, as other note.

Re: criticism, the only thing I would find over the line would be ad hominem attacks, which our host avoids. So, his style may not be mine, but I have no objection. He/we are all here because a)the puzzle is fun and b)we take it seriously.

loren muse smith 8:13 AM  

@dk - too funny! Clue UNRIP as "have a change of fart?"

For anyone who hasn't heard the obsequious song by Steve Martin. . .


Kevin 8:15 AM  

A few trouble spots, but overall fairly smooth with crosses for the weird stuff (i.e. BRODO and DIRK).

Fun fact of the day: The War AT HOME was the name of an episode of The West Wing, which starred Emilio Estevez's father, Martin Sheen.

DA 8:18 AM  

@dk Think making a fuss TO-DO, not TODO lists.

jberg 8:30 AM  

I have to weigh in on two issues here:

1. @Garth, I have to confess I read @Rex partly for the witty negativity. I don't always agree with it, but it's fun to read. That was true in this case for me - I liked the theme more than he did (see below). But even his negativity was consctructive, with the suggestion that the two 15s should be closer together - and one of the negative phrases you quote he had aimed at himself.

2. TARED is way, way worse than UNRIP. I'm sure I - or, at least, one of my kids - has said "I can't UNRIP this bag of chips" more than once; but I have never, ever, heard anyone use TARE as a verb. On the other hand, these two bad answers are nicely linked through the homonym TEAR. That partly makes up for the use of DITZ rather than Dodo, which would have nicely echoed NONO.

As to the theme, it's one of those weird crossword things that only semi-insiders - that is, those of us who have some idea about the NYT's rules - would even notice. The three theme answers are all interesting, but from completely different fields (well, two of them are music, I guess, but I bet few fans of RIMSKY-KORSAKOV even know what SPOKEN WORD is, or vice versa.) So spotting the theme is a very cerebral activity. Andrea's suggestion of Wheel of Fortune is great, and would have livened it up - but I still enjoyed seeing it once I got to the revealer. And the three other entries keep it pure - tire, tread, lugnut, axle, etc. are not really components of the wheel, but things attached to it.

One more point. @Evan is a saint!

Susan McConnell 8:50 AM  

ACM beat me to mentioning ALIST, which as soon as I popped it in, I thought "too soon!"...

I am shocked, SHOCKED I say! that BRODO is getting the reaction it is. Tortellini in BRODO is a classic in any good Italian restaurant, and I make it regularly, especially if someone has a cold.

I enjoyed the puzzle...it was Tuesday-appropriate. The theme answers were fun, but the theme itself was kind of flat.

smev 8:53 AM  

Ethan - yes, unHip would have been much better than unRip!

jackj 9:04 AM  

It’s safe to say that RIMSKY KORSAKOV never imagined he would be the lead theme clue in a NY Times puzzle that used his distinctive name as a piece of a cobbled together WHEEL. What a strange but interesting theme!

There was a lot to like in Ethan Cooper’s puzzle in addition to the theme COMPONENT(s) and it started early on with ECHO being clued as “Restatement?”, a fresh clue for an otherwise much too familiar entry and then there was also some nice thought given to the clue for the oft seen OBESE, “Carrying a lot?”, so ditto for that one. (Too bad ESTA defies improvement).

From HOTMIKES to CREWCUTS and from BREEZY to SUCKEDUP, the fill was up to the task of supporting the quasi-crazy theme and Ethan and Will even took the time to give a tip of the hat to yesterday’s Susan Gelfand puzzle with the inclusion of ALIST. Nice!

Now UNRIP, that’s just terrible, even though it is dictionary confirmed and not its first appearance in a Times puzzle, it seems to be a Malapropish mumbling by a drunken dyslexic.

Nevertheless, thanks to Ethan Cooper who shows us that Tuesday puzzles can be clever after all.

Milford 9:04 AM  

@jberg - "witty negativity". I like that phrase, it fits. Probably what others may call "snarky", but I'm with you on the tone of the blog being what draws me. Of course, I'm not a constructor, so I'll never be the target.

Can't believe I'm defending TARED, but I think a deli-worker or someone who works in a laboratory setting (as I did) will say that they often have to tare weigh papers, weigh boats, potato salad containers, etc., so it is very much a valid verb. It does feel clunky in the past tense - not sure why.

PanamaRed 9:07 AM  

@Tobias - your rants against all things sports have always been entertaining - but you outed yourself today! Billiards? It's a sport! Google it - it's true.

I liked this puz, and was glad to see Ethan chime in.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Having the themes as:


Would have tightened things up a bit.

joho 9:35 AM  

Count me in the ALIST group. I could't believe my eyes! What's really interesting is that @Andrea says that Will doesn't have anything to do with these bleedovers. I was sure he is the culprit who plans this thread that in a small way ties each subsequent puzzle to its predecessors. But no! Boy there are sure a lot of coincidences occuring in these puzzles!

My reaction to WHEELCOMPONENT was flat.


I refuse to believe UNRIP is a word. UNzIP, yes, UNRIP no.

Thank you for stopping by, Ethan, and thanks, too, for your puzzle!

orangeblossomspecial 9:38 AM  

Eddie Fisher was one of many who recorded 44D 'Breezing along with the breeze'.

chefbea 9:42 AM  

Tough puzzle for a Tuesday. Of course knew Brodo and noticed A list right away. but DNF.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

found the puzzle to be quite easy today, but i would like to point out that in my 30 years of being a live sound engineer that it is "Hot Mics" that are feedback producers.....very dissapointed in that spelling, you would be ridiculed for that in my industry.

ArtO 9:51 AM  

Hand up for UNRIP and spelling KORSAKOV. As for BRODO you just have to spend more time in Italian restaurants. It's simply broth or soup stock in Italian.

Jim 9:53 AM  

Great puzzle. I really enjoyed it. The only place I cringed was UNRIP.

The rest of the puzzle was such a pleasure--not too easy, not too hard (for a Tuesday)-- just right.

Thanks, Ethan.

Glimmerglass 9:54 AM  

Interesting thing about crosses: you don't always have to know either one of the words. I never heard of BRODO, and RNA could easily have been dNA, but even an Italian word wont start with BDxxx. Didn't know PALAU and never saw TARE[D} as a verb, but the noun got me the right guess. BTW, it's fascinating that SUCK has lost it's sexual meaning, even in the phrase meaning "curry favor in a demeaning way."

Olive Garden 9:54 AM  

We've never offered "Tortellini in BRODO", therefore it really can't be an Italian soup, right? Someone's just making this up, right?

Carola 9:57 AM  

The puzzle won me over right away with RIMSKY KORSAKOV and kept me happy to the end. Thought the HUBBLE TELESCOPE was great, loved the HOT MIKES and CREW CUTS and how STARED AT ("You expect me to to what?!") followed by SUCKED UP could make a little story

I'm totally okay with TARED - I use a kitchen scale so am tare-ing up the place when I cook.

On the 5A/ 5B cross: Additional TO-DO's can be TACKED ON to A LIST of tasks.

@dk -
UNRIP was the one entry I was ready to grumble about, until I read your comment. Now it makes sense! And really made me laugh. Apparently you and I are the same age.

Ethan, thanks for stopping by. I thought it was an A-one puzzle.

quilter1 10:04 AM  

At last a puzzle of enjoyment. Great answers, as others have noted, great theme answers, and the clue for REF was delightful. Thanks, Ethan.

It is very chilly this morning. Some tortellini in BRODO would hit the spot.

Kevin 10:22 AM  

@Garth, I agree with you. But for some unfortunate reason, constructive criticism and the Internet don't typically seem to mix well.

Two Ponies 10:36 AM  

Tough for Tuesday but I finally cracked the NW corner. Great clue for ref.
Thanks for dropping by Ethan.
Even if the revealer was a bit dull you really had me wondering what was going to tie those three entries together so that was fun.

Unrip sounds more like mending something.

@Rex, Don't ever change. You're fine just the way you are.

ksquare 10:40 AM  

After all the comments on UNRIP, my interpretation is that it actually doesn't mean to open but to close a rip as with scotch tape for paper or by sewing for cloth. But it's still an awkward word.

Sandy K 10:45 AM  

Thanks for stopping by, Ethan. Always enjoy hearing from the constructor!

Enjoyed that your WHEEL COMPONENTs came from the elegant entries:

Also knew PALAU from "Survivor".

Would've been easy-BREEZY except for:

The WAR AT HOME was also an episode of Law & Order:CI

@Rob C
My info was wrong. Wiki says Barbara Boxer graduated from Wingate HS in 1958. She was a cheerleader at BC and got her BA in economics. All you need to become a CA Senator!

Richard 10:47 AM  

Just once, I'd like to see Nowitzki or Diggler as the clue for DIRK. That's all I ask.

baja 10:54 AM  

Not sure if my memory is failing me but Monday, Tuesdays seemed to be so easy (most of the time) and Friday, Saturdays unapproachable (most of the time) - lately there doesn't seem to be the vast spread in difficulty as the week progresses.

Ethan 10:54 AM  

@Alist Carla, the idea of using WHEELOFFORTUNE is not a bad one, although I think the OFFORTUNE part would be distracting, since it doesn't relate to the theme in any meaningful way, just happens to be a phrase with WHEEL in it.

Had it fit, I would have loved to have the revealer be REINVENTTHEWHEEL, which is a phrase that seems to have a lot of traction these days. The clue would have been something like "Expend redundant creative energy, or what one can do with the beginnings of...etc." I could have just done INVENTTHEWHEEL, but that's not really a proper idiom and the verb tense would have made the clue weird ("what the ancients did with the beginnings of...etc.")

Also had an early draft with HEYMIKEY (Life cereal catchphrase) instead of HOTMIKES... this would have avoided TARED but there were other compromises and it seemed like HEYMIKEY might be obscure for some.


Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Loved this puzzle. The WHEEL COMPONENT revealer was perfect for a bicycle enthusiast - that's a term used on occasion, and the rim, spoke, and hub are the only componenents of a basic bike wheel. Ethan, thanks for your grace in response to borderline snarky criticism. However, any criticism of UNRIP is warranted. What were you thinking? As a former sales REP who traveled extensively, I was excited to see this recognized in 1D.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

Would've liked to se Sir Bogarde as clue for DIRK!

Death in Venice
A Tale of Two Cities
The Night Porter

Mel Ott 11:15 AM  

C'mon! Tortellini in BRODO is one of my favorite soups. A standard on menus of many good Italian restaurants. I think BRODO is Italian for 'Broth'. Years ago on our annual drive to Florida we accidently discovered an excellent Italian restauant in Dumfries, VA, that offers a delicious version. We now stop there every year.

Merle 11:29 AM  

Didn't find this medium-challenging -- found this easy. Sailed through -- buncha gimmes. Rimsky-Korsakov, for instance -- even if you don't know who composed "The Tsar's Bride", a few letters hear and there, and bam! Who else but Rimsky-Korsakov. Hubble Telescope -- how many telescopes does anyone know by name? Only one I know is Hubble. Ah, yes, the theme. I thought it was cute. And I've never seen Spoken Word Album in a puzzle before. Rim-hub-spoke -- and the wheels go round and round. Sailed through -- and then got stuck, totally screwed up, in the NW. Had seal at 17A -- when using hot wax to seal something, an impression is made. Not a sports fan, so didn't associate 1D with travel -- that's a basketball term, I think, but I didn't think of it. Came to Rex in desperation. Had my WTF moment, saw my mistake, sighed. Oh, yeah, ref, it's a ball game term. I had the r and the e, but no third letter made sense, so stayed with the s in seal, thinking that okay, there is something called a res that has something to do with travel. And without the f in ref, didn't even think of feat as a substitute for seal. Which left me with the mystery of 4D. Hot mikes, ah so, live and learn. There is such a thing as a hot mike, causing feedback. I never was a roadie, never was a member of a whatever kind of band, never heard the term hot mike. Now I know. Engaging puzzle. Thanks, Rex, for finishing it for me!

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

I work in pharmaceutics; we weigh a lot of stuff and we use TARED as a verb all the time. So I liked seeing it in the puzzle and, even better, I knew it right away.

UNRIP just annoyed me. A lot.

If I never see ONEA in another crossword again, it'll be okay with me.

That said, I really, really enjoyed this for a Tuesday puzzle. Anytime a Tuesday takes me more than seven minutes, it feels very satisfying. Thanks Ethan Cooper!

Merle 11:46 AM  

Knew Palau and brodo. I don't eat tortellini in brodo, but I read menus, and I've seen it there. Knew Palau from World War II, battles in Micronesia. Doesn't anyone know anything about the war in the Pacific during WW II? Doesn't anyone read history? Is WW II too ancient a history for today's puzzle solvers? 37 Across, speak for me! "Alas." Dora the Explorer, Spanish-speaking, is the eponymous (hello, 45 D, one Dora is worth two Louis -- that's a pun about money) character in a children's animated TV show. Those who are too young to know or care about WW II history, surely you watched children's TV during the Dora Age of TV. Guitar as axe? Too specific. Axe means any musical instrument -- sax, trumpet, drums, glockenspiel, clavier, triangle, didgeridoo. Yeah, unrip sucks. But all in all, puzzle is clever and engaging. Thank you, Ethan Cooper.

Rob C 11:52 AM  

Overall, I liked the puzzle. Good theme answers, but a bit blah on the revealer. Fill was good too, except for the area that Rex points out.

Re: criticism - I think that on the whole, Rex and most of the posters here are fair. There’s occasionally the complaint of "focusing on the negative" that is raised, but if you don't like a puzzle naturally you're going to support that point of view with a critique has a negative slant to it.

Hopefully it's obvious we all appreciate the quality level of the puzzles and the effort of the constructors every day and this is supported by Rex’s quote from a few yrs ago as posted by Evan. Rex is demanding of the puzzles and that is reflected in his critiques. Of course he spices them up a bit with some colorful language and strong opinions – he is passionate about his hobby (probably more than a hobby to him) and that’s what makes him the #1 blogger on the NY Times puzzle and how he ends up on the CBS News.

It’s always more interesting to read a critique that offers a balance between the positives and negatives. For the most part I think jackj and acme usually strike a good balance and I look forward to comparing and contrasting Rex’s and their commentary each day. There is the occasional trashing and sniping by posters (and sometimes Rex), but so what, they’re entitled to their opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

I also think it’s important to realize that Rex and the posters here are generally skilled solvers. Because of that we have certain expectations of a puzzle which may not be the same as others. Therefore, some themes that make us say ‘meh’ play better to the general solving public. For example, I remember themes that I really enjoyed as a newbie solver where now I say ‘meh’. And Mr S has to take that into consideration.

Lastly, I’ll say as a novice constructor (I’ve had 2 puzzles published in the Times) that criticism comes with the territory. So, Ethan’s comment doesn’t surprise me – not every puzzle is perfect and the constructor probably knows where the weaknesses are better than anyone. For my first puzzle, Rex trashed it, for the second, a somewhat average review. But I didn’t sit in a corner and weep. I took it as constructive and tried to make the next one better.

I’ll pass the soapbox on to the next person and count this as all 3 of my posts today!

@Sandy K - My degree is in Accounting from BC - can I at least run for the US House?

Kristin 11:56 AM  

Glad I wasn't the only one who had seal instead of FEAT for awhile. And while I was as unimpressed as everyone else with UNRIP, this puzzle was hard enough for a Tuesday that I was proud when I finished it. Nice job, Ethan! It had the perfect mix of easy fill and head banging on the wall frustration for my taste. :-)

Airymom 12:00 PM  

I tried to replace unrip with unzip, but it got too complicated. After a few hours, I had an "aha" moment. unrip becomes unhip. audit becomes audis. Ethan suggested these changes.
matte becomes manse and sort then becomes sohn.

Before you all scream--here's a fun clue for sohn--NY Jets wide receiver Kurt. Okay, 30 years ago, but still beats unrip.

Go Ravens!

Sandy K 12:12 PM  

@Rob C

I didn't know you were also a constructor- from Brooklyn College, no less! I'm impressed!!

I do every NYT puzzle. Which 2 were yours? I might remember...

A run for Congress- What? No cheerleading experience? But if you can balance the books, why not!

Await your answer tomorrow?

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Apology for blasting this puzzle=UNRIP?

Masked and Anonymo5Us 12:33 PM  

Must be hard being a constructor. You spend all this time tryin' to do your best, raising a fine, up-standing young puz. You try to pass on to it all the cool, long words you think it can hold. You try to shield it from all that abominational (!) stuff that might sully its character, even tho you know you can't totally protect it. Unless maybe you call Uncle Patrick B. in to intercede -- but you hate to impose.

And you take care that it can have a nice breakfast. And you lovingly write up some carefully crafted clues of reference and support, that you hope will endear people even more to it. You give it a name. A name. Brodo, maybe. No. Palau. Has more U's. No matter. Either way, It's Your Baby.

Then you send your baby off, all on its own, to New York City. "Lotsa luck, kid," you say, trying to be reassuring, while choking back the tears.

The puz makes you proud. Several years later, it has its big gala public premier. All the Big Apple critics are on hand, their pens and pencils at the ready. Your baby is trotted out for thousands to inspect, poke at, and vote up or down. Suddenly, inexplicably, you regret teaching it about UNRIP. Even tho it's in the dictionary. But no matter what, you know it's somehow gonna make it. It grew up on Rimsky-Korsakov.

thUmbsUp, Baby.

lawprof 12:34 PM  

Me too, re UNRIP. The clue, "tear open" might suggest RIP, and adding the prefix UN would suggest the opposite, viz., "close." Reminded me of the occasionally-used term, "unthaw."

Lewis 12:37 PM  

I don't mind the revealer at all, though Ethan, your suggestion I even like better. I don't like WHEELOFFORTUNE -- to me it's too far off the mark (and I'm not a big fan of the show either!).

I liked SLAY, DITZ, the clue for POPE, and SUCKEDUP. Like KSquare, UNRIP sounds like you're patching something up.

Overall, I thought it was a better than average Tuesday with little junk. Thank you Ethan!

Chris 12:42 PM  

Apologize if someone mentioned this, but I didn't see it: A-list is a double bleedover from Sunday and Monday.

Count me as Ok w/ tared and very OK w/brodo. Very not OK w/unrip.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  


Clever, hilarious and ironically true saga... (not of 'how a bill becomes a law')
of how an idea becomes a NYT Puzzle.

Sparky 1:23 PM  

Found this more enjoyable than Monday. Less crosswordese. Yes, 5A=making a TO DO of things. Thought of etch for FEAT. That F was my last letter.

Like @baja, lately I have felt Monday and Tuesday too easy with Friday and Saturday one glance and toss the paper. Miss a stately progression. My brain has a mesa in the middle of the week.

Shouldn't CREWCUTS by Navy?

Thanks, Ethan, for coming aboard. It's a nice puzzle.

Bird 1:43 PM  

Nice Tuesday offering; thank you Ethan Cooper.

The only flaw in my book was 32D. UNRIP is not a word (I don’t care what any dictionary says). However, it should mean to undo the rip. I do like @dk’s comment though. Brings to mind “Let ‘er rip!” and “Don’t light a match!”

Wasn’t sure if 65A was NAME or POPE so I checked a couple crosses. Corrected DOLT to DITZ at 60A. MS-DOS, DOS and IOS didn’t fit at 62A.

BRODO is not an issue when your mother-in-law is from Genoa and is an excellent cook.

Why does WHEEL COMPONENT, or any revealer for that matter, need to be a phrase?

Any respectable lab or deli will have a button on the scale labeled “TARE”.


Larry Flint 1:45 PM  

UNZIP has more flare. Especially with SUCK and ORAL in the puzzle.

Sandy K 1:50 PM  

@Rob C

Found your more recent puzzle- LUCKy for you, Todd Akin stole the spotlight in Rex's blog that day....

LUCKy for me, I wrote a glowing review of your work and thanked you "for your input and your puzzle!" Phew!! ;)

JFC 1:57 PM  

I agree with @Rex about BRODO and practically everything else he said about the puzzle (well, maybe "worst of all time" is a tad over the top). And I did not find the tone of his commentary particularly harsh, or at least any harsher than the norm. However, the only reason I come here each day is to suck up to Rex (being the sycophant that I am).

I also come here to read the constructor's views of @Rex's criticism. We recently had one who took offense and today @Ethan is so nice he acts like the whipped American golfers at the Ryder Cup.

I also appreciate seeing the constructor agree with @Rex and disagree with @Acme. Personally I like WHEEL COMPONENT. It’s direct, simple and honest. After all, it’s only a puzzle, even if it was too hard for a Tuesday.

Thank you, @Rex. Thank you, @Ethan. Thank you, @Acme.

@Chefwen, How ‘bout those Cowboys!


Jim in Chicago 2:01 PM  

As to unrip, the OED has a bunch of occurances noted. This is my favorite:

1880 Plain Hints Needlework 106 To say un-rip, as is often heard, is at least manifestly wrong, to describe the act of tearing open.

Not to further dump on the author who seems to be taking this in good humor, but can I just say that using ALIST and ONEA in the same puzzle is over the top?

mac 2:05 PM  

I found this one pretty easy, because I just happened to know the answers some struggled with. The x in axe was the last letter I put in.

Didn't Barack Obama get a Grammy for the cd of one of his books?

I usually base my like or dislike of a puzzle on the number of interesting words and good clues. Today was a nice experience, but I can fully appreciate the weaknesses pointed out by Rex, who is a constructor himself and a strong solver. I love to learn about the ins and outs of building a decent puzzle, it's one of the reasons I come here after finishing. Rex has his own language, so be it. I have a lot of respect for Ethan, though, and his cool acceptance of the criticism. I think it may help that the puzzle was accepted quite a while ago, I imagine you take distance of your work and get on with the next one.

It's a good puzzle day on the blog!

Carola 2:31 PM  

@loren and @m&a - Love your wit!

Lojman 2:34 PM  

@Richard: Diggler - now there's a real Dirk!

UNRIP - 103,000 hits on Google
TARED - 621,000 hits on Google

UNRIP seems bogus, like irregardless.

TARED, on the other hand, is what the butcher did to the scale (in order to account for the TARE of the packaging).

Enjoyed it, even if I don't know this Russian fella.

Sfingi 2:45 PM  

Agreed with ALL that Rex said.

When I see words like BRODO, I figure, if it's real Italian, it's Northern, since it sure isn't Southern, which most Americans are. I think Southerners would use the word "bagna," or "bagnuzza" meaning bathe (Pr. bahnyootza).

UNRIP is logically dissonant. And, what DK said.

Confused in Rexville 3:21 PM  

UNRIP means tear open?


So RIP means to seal closed?

Acme 3:29 PM  

Yes good catch on ONTV in there too, thats what had originally irked me about TELLY but then forgot by the time ii commented

I too applaud your good humor and willing to take constructive criticism...and was grateful that @Evan reposted that reminder of why @Rex takes the tone he des...
I must have joined this blog post 2008 because I don't remember that and altho his criticisms are witty and by and large dead-on, I disagree that he doesn't check his personal antipathy for the constructor at times and let's it bleed thru in a harsh dismissive way...(which is filed under the "only human" category, but I do think one can change and evolve and deepen and appreciate, whether it's as a writer, critiquer, or human being!)
I mean, @rex wasn't a constructor when he began this blog, so that could have gone either way, more tolerance for What's what... or harsher.

Another area that's tricky that @Ethan alluded to...that is the realization postsubmission/prepublication that you could make something better but not wanting to bug Will...
it can be frustrating that since you don't know when the puzzle is coming out till it's a fait accompli, you don't know What's been changed or have the ability to rewrite or protest or collaborate or approve the final product.

This is due to myriad reasons, but as a result, many of us are afraid to or reluctant to bother Will and then just have to wait and see what we get when it's published.

It's particularly frustrating if you are then slammed for something that was not your doing, that you tried to fix, that you had learned about in the months/years between creation and publication, etc.
(by the same token, we often get praise for things we didn't do, that were nicely edited, that saved our bacon or were purely unconscious but made for a nice coincidence...not to mention in collaborations getting praise for what was your partner's inspiration...
So it is super lucky to have this forum to comment back on...

So on that note, I'd also like to say to @Ethan that I think HEYMIKEY would have been super fun...
(as I agree with the sound engineer 's comment about the MIC vs MIKE spelling...same with standup. It was always OPEN MIC night, and when you'd see it spelled OPEN MIKE there would be a slight cringe factor.)

I mean, again, we have to let Will decide if HEY MIKEY is too obscure or not...and if it were deemed so, to get the chance to rework (vs flat out rejection or self-stifling what we might personally feel is a fun entry)

But Will often says he gets 75 submissions a week and I guess it is a time thing and not being able to work thru each and every puzzle's weaknesses,
(tho I often get the opportunity to have a puzzle be reconsidered if I can get rid of three or four "NonMonday" words, which of course means rewriting from scratch, with no guarantee of acceptance.)

As for WHEELOFFORTUNE i see where it's not on the nose, but it's 14 and just perkier...and I'd rather be perky than literal, but then I get slammed for that on occasion!
I like REINVENTINGTHEWHEEL too bad too long
All reveals should be a phrase because of wit, elegance and simply that that's the deal on theme entries...and when they're not, it falls flat and is like ruining a good joke)

Anyway, if you had done UNZIP/MOZE you could have clued MOZE as "a guitar store in La Mesa" but given the bffs a collective heart attack!
Maybe you could have gone all George Costanza and done UNDIP!

jae 3:30 PM  

@Ethan -- Good call on no going with HEYMIKEY. I think the more well known catch phrase is MIKEY LIKES IT.

Bird 3:56 PM  

@acme - Nice post. I always try to comment on the puzzle itself and not necessarily what the author should have done or did (IOW - don't make it personal). But . . . if I like the puzzle I thank the constuctor as I hope at least 90% of the work is original.

After a couple years coming to this blog I thought I would take a crack at constuction, but I get nowhere fast. Just a theme, a list of words and a partial grid. Much respect to those who build and get a puzzle published.

And thanks for the explanation on revealers. Yes, witty and elegant is better than plain and boring.

@Ethan - Thanks for stopping by.

Acme 4:08 PM  

As you know, there are a half dozen constructors who are happy to mentor/collaborate to help get that first one made!

And it's true, better to comment on puzzle than to say what should have been, but I do think if one criticizes they'd better offer up at least a suggestion for an improvement...(and of course more helpful if that still falls within the constraints of the puzzles possibilities/limitations! Like not suggesting a phrase that's too long or whatever.)

When I used to watch Siskel and Ebert, that seemed to be the diff. Ebert commented on what he had seen and why he loved it or not...Siskel always used to go on and on about what he wished the movie had been. It was fascinating to me.

Ok, I've lost a whole day now again when I could have been creating my own criticism-proof puzzle! Ha!
But I do feel passionate about this! (not enough to have my own blog tho! So again, thanks to @rex even tho i feel i'm disagreeing with him more often than not these days)

Jerry Garcia 4:20 PM  


Tita 5:30 PM  

Ethan...Tortellini in BRODO one of my favorites too, and have actually been looking for it at each restaurant I visit here in Italy...haven't found it yet.

@Evan...Thanks for scrounging that up.

@dk...lol re: your apparent ages...me too!

@jberg...huh? That bag of chips was not ripped before you tried to UNRIP it... as for TARED, like@carola, I tare every time i weigh ingredients for recipes from my French, German, or Portuguese recipes...

HUBBLETELESCOPE was built in Danbury...

@larry flint... lol!! You made my evening!

sanfranman59 5:48 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 9:14, 8:57, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:10, 4:40, 1.11, 82%, Challenging

Bird 6:24 PM  

@Acme - Thank you for reminding me about the mentors. However, one major roadblock is time - working on the house & in the yard, driving the kids everywhere and the 9-to-5 gig does not leave a lot of time for much else. Maybe I just bite the bullet and get something done then send it out for "peer" review.

This blog has given me a great theme. Fill in a whole bunch of random letters, except for the revealer - the clue is "These drive people nuts on a blog"


Anonymous 6:35 PM  


Is this your blog? I'm confused...

Anonymous 7:00 PM  

Love love love M & A's post! I don't come here often but I dang sure will check out his post from now on.

acme 7:57 PM  

@anon 6:35pm
I know, sorry! Some days, I'm just sitting around without enough to do and I over-comment if it's a subject I'm passionate about. I fully recognize that it's @rex's blog and I'm a(n uninvited) guest.
@Rex usually doesn't chime back in after his initial post, so I feel free to pop in and out throughout the day, as this is my fave website.
Was simply hoping to shed some light and add another perspective. As I often say, feel free to scroll past!

loren muse smith 8:19 PM  

@anon 6:35 - I think we all love hearing from constructors, (especially the Constructor du Jour, if you Will. Thanks again, Ethan). Since it's true that Rex doesn't re-comment here so much, I get the sense that most of us like reading insights by Andrea, Gareth, Evan, Mac, etc. who we know are established constructors. I find their posts interesting and enlightening.

Anonymous 9:21 PM  

And here I thought BRODO was the nickname Frodo gave to Sam Gamgee...

Z 9:42 PM  

@ACME - Actually, you were the second commentator on that post back in 2008. Part of the blog that day asked frequent commentators to be more concise for a while and you said you would try.

And I would say that you have disagreed with Rex far more often than you have agreed with him for as long as I've read this blog. To use your observation, you are Ebert to his Siskel.

@Sanfranman59 - Surprised by the early numbers - it doesn't seem as though anyone here found this especially challenging.

sanfranman59 10:24 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

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:23, 3:41, 0.92, 16%, Easy
Tue 5:03, 4:40, 1.08, 76%, Medium-Challenging

@Z ... FWIW, I had one of my slower Tuesday solve times with this one and it falls in my Challenging category. But I was half asleep when I solved it last night, so I assume that inflated my time somewhat. I got hung up in the BRODO/UNRIP/ALBUM area. I still can't quite accept that UNRIP is a word. I can't recall ever seeing BRODO on a menu or in a cookbook. And I think of ALBUMs as LPs, which seems passé (mostly) to me in this age of electronic media. OPEN MIKES was slow to come to me because (a) I had REp for 1D: One who knows what it means to travel, couldn't figure out what pEA_ could be for 17A: It's impressive and I always thought it was open mics that caused feedback, not OPEN MIKES.

Anonymous 10:45 PM  

Hey puzzle people! Next time you're not sure how to spell a tricky word or name, try reading the Times. There he was, Rimsky-Korsakov, mentioned twice, TWICE!, in an article about the Philharmonic just opposite the crossword (and just north of the KenKen).

Sheila 10:42 AM  

Thanks for unexpected music of Rimsky-korsakov! A real treat!

Tita 5:49 PM  

Mostly posting here to click the "Email follwup" checkbox...
But have to say
@anon 6:35pm - if you make a coment like that, make it like a man... if @acme posts with her name, you should challenge her by posting with your name. Good grief. We all get to speak our mids here, and many of us earn the right to occasionally over-post, be obnoxiousl, even occasionally be rude, because most of the time, we provide entertainment, education, insight, funny semi-related stories, what-have-you.
(Of course, you may be a lady, in whic case, being one myself, I stand by my statement.)

But most of all, if you want to directly call out one of us, man-up with a namem even if it's just a web handle.

Spacecraft 11:56 AM  

Lots of meat in the comments today. My take is that we rail against "ugly" language, forgetting, momentarily, how bleeping hard it is to compose one of these. Sure, UNRIP is just about the bottom of the barrel, but even in @Ethan's own blog you can see the difficulty in trying to change just one letter. The disease spreads like wildfire. I'm glad it's not MY livelihood.

That said, I still rail against UNRIP. (fun clue: Mr. unvanWinkle?)

Was surprised to find a weekend-level obscure clue for CARLA. C'mon, it's Tuesday. Give Rhea some love.

I continue to be impressed by unforced crossings of high-count letters, especially BREEZY/DITZ.

The theme? Yeah, the reveal was a little...dry. Too bad the COMPONENTS couldn't be buried right in the middle of the long answers; then we could have had another 15: HEARTLIKEAWHEEL. Anyway, good job, @Ethan. I found this easy, so was surprised by OFL's m-c rating.

Waxy in Montreal 12:47 PM  

With @Spacecraft on this. Also found it easy - unknown words (BRODO, etc.) readily discernible from their crosses. Enjoyable Tuesday, IMHO.

As was mentioned 5 weeks back, UNZIP is sorta like UNTHAW, that very strange verb used especially by some folks from the midwest of both the US & Canada (including everyone in my wife's family).

And to those south of the border, wishing you a very happy election day. Please remember to vote early and to vote often!

captcha = shiviou, possibly a shiva to be paid for later?

DMGrandma 1:52 PM  

I, too, wanted REP to be REf, struggled over TODOS, (sighed when it fell), and never heard of BRODO, but my real "what the?" was UNRIP. I rip stitches out to repair a sewing or knitting error. Thus, I would think UNRIP would be sewing the item back together. In any event, it's a new "word" to me, and I don't like it. Other than these nits, it was a good Tuesday puzzle, and maybe I'll remember how to spell the composer's name-love his music.

Election Day. Saw a recent interview with Rushdie where he said "the nature of democracy is disagreement" He went on to add that's a good thing, as opposed to systems that brook no "other opinions". Still, I think the last couple of months have pushed this disagreement thing too far, and hope that,regardless of the out come ,everyone can stop bad-mouthing other people and positions, and the TV will get back to toothpaste ads! My town has been nearly severed by positions on a very local issue, and it will not benefit us if the winners and losers can't live with each other after it is all over. Paxim!

Ginger 2:43 PM  

I thought this puzzle had many un-Tuesday words and clues. Others have enumerated them so I wont bore you with repitition, but I agree with the med/challenging label.

Many years ago I was in an orchestra that played the wonderful Capriccio Espagnol, thank you @Rex for the clip. And, thank you too for your edifying commentary, snarky or not!

The SE proved slowest for me, could not think of a Spanish explorer that would fit. Brain was stuck on Magellan and the like. Doh. To make the mental hang-up worse, DORA is on whenever the Great-Grands visit, which is often.

Dirigonzo 4:44 PM  

I thought my infection was viral before it was diagnosed as STAPH, and the conversation was BubblY until it became BREEZY. I always remember smee but DIRK needed all the crosses, as did the composer and the Italian soup. A most enjoyable Tuesday diversion, I think - nothing SOSO about it.

@DMGrandma - as to election day being over, all I can add is amen! But still, to anyone who has not voted yet: get off your butt and do it!

Ellen S 10:47 AM  

@dmgrandma, isn't it REF? I did this one on paper so I don't get any congrats when I finish it right.

I liked this puzzle a lot, very chewy for a Tuesday with Rimsky-Korsakov and eponym (one of my favorite words), and a few others. Bit of a mess over in the east where dNA gave me tortellini in BdODO, which didn"t sound too appetizing. BRODO sounded like Italian for broth, so all ended well.

Nice puzzle, only thing I really didn't like was "unrip", for which spellcheck has offered "unzip".

Anonymous 9:03 PM  

To anyone like me that was not familiar with the term "hot mike" DO NOT look it up on Urban Dictionary. Consider yourself warned!

Anonymous 1:35 AM  

For what it's worth, if I only have time to read one comment, I always look for acme, in all of her delightful forms.

Byron Trist

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