1950s coup victim / WED 11-14-12 / Old unit of conductance / Dodge bullet dodger / Apollo musically speaking / First Top 40 hit for Weird Al Yankovic / Blabber's opposite / Mount Olympus dweller

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Constructor: Joe DiPietro

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: AND (67A: Y : Spanish :: ___ : English) — Y replaces AND in common "___ AND ___" phrases and attaches itself to end of first word in the phrase, creating wacky phrases that are clued "?"-style:



Theme answers:
  • 17A: Aid for skipping out of school? (HOOKY LADDER)
  • 3D: Prisoners who write tediously? (PROSY CONS)
  • 25A: Sharp-edged plant growth? (POINTY SHOOT)
  • 49A: Shipment of noisemakers, e.g.? (PARTY PARCEL)
  • 60A: Area of town where the supernatural hang out? (FAIRY SQUARE)
  • 35D: Robust religious observance? (HARDY FAST)


Word of the Day: MENA Suvari (33A: Actress Suvari, co-star of "American Pie") —


Mena Alexandra Suvari (born February 13, 1979) is an American actress, fashion designer, and model. Shortly after beginning her career as a model, she appeared in guest roles on such 1990s television shows asBoy Meets World and High Incident. She made her film debut in the drama Nowhere (1997). // Her first major film roles were in American Beauty (1999), for which she was nominated for a BAFTA Award, and American Pie (1999). Since then, she has appeared in Loser (2000), with her American Pie co-star, Jason Biggs, and played a main character in the comedy film Sugar & Spice (2001). She had appearances in the independent drama Spun (2002), and the thriller feature Trauma (2004). She also appeared in the HBO drama series Six Feet Under in 2004, and received a nomination as a member for Outstanding Cast at the 2005Screen Actors Guild Awards. In 2008, she was cast in a string of films, including Day of the DeadThe Mysteries of Pittsburgh, and the film adaptation of The Garden of Eden. (wikipedia)
• • •



I love this puzzle. The theme is clever and beautifully executed, and the fill, while not scintillating, is more than solid enough to hold the puzzle together in relatively groan-free fashion. In fact, the only real groan this puzzle got out of me was for the inclusion of both LYRIST and LUTISTS (10D: Apollo, for one, musically speaking + 29D: Minstrels, often). How many damn archaic string instrument players does one puzzle need? I have pretty strong Renaissance Faire Aversion Syndrome, so the LYRIST was OK but when the LUTISTS showed up, I got a little worried I'd see FAKE JOUSTING and GIANT TURKEY LEGS and MAYPOLE DANCING and other things that cause me nausea. But luckily they were nowhere to be found. Emergency averted.


It's fun thinking of other possible theme answers: NIGHTY DAY! TOY FRO!

I had trouble picking up the theme at first, because I thought there was such a thing as a "hook ladder," so I had not idea the "Y" was replacing anything. But then I couldn't think of any common phrase beginning with "prose" (and could Not come up with CLAM for [Blabber's opposite], so I had to wander off and eventually pick up the theme at POINTY SHOOT. Having the "Y" replace "and" is soooo much better than a simple Y-addition—I think the revelation that the theme had more to it is part of the reason I ended up liking it so much: "Oh, it's not just another add-a-letter. WHOOPEE!"




I misspelled Katey SAGAL's name at first ("Segal"), as I always do (6A: Katey of "Married ... With Children") (for a more modern SAGAL clue, try ["Sons of Anarchy" actress Katey]. I wanted the [Shout of exuberance] to be a more Homeresque "W(H)OO HOO!" at first. This made the whole lower WHOOPEE area rough, as I had OHM instead of MHO (36D: Old unit of conductance), which meant OH MY! (34A: "Jeepers!") was O BOY!, which meant instead of PERON I had P--MN (45A: 1950s coup victim). Didn't take too much effort to work it all out, but I did end up with more of a Medium-Challenging time. I corrected the difficulty rating based on the fact that my trouble seemed likely to be idiosyncratic, as well as on the fact that I was solving, atypically, at 5:30 a.m. Brain is a bit of a cold engine at that hour.

Bullets:
  • 9D: Bio figure (AGE) — to illustrate the "cold engine" metaphor ... I had -G- and had no idea what this clue was getting at. I was imagining a book-length biography, so even when I got AGE I was like "... ?"
  • 69A: First Top 40 hit for Weird Al Yankovic ("EAT IT") — I think I posted "FAT" just yesterday (another Weird Al Michael Jackson parody). So ... here. Have some more ...
  • 39D: Dodge bullet dodger (EARP) — I like this clue a lot. Nice misdirect on "Dodge" (I thought "car make" at first). Then I thought Dodge was a guy who fired the bullet ... see, cold engine.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

65 comments:

loren muse smith 7:30 AM  

If you could measure the magnitude of an “aha” moment, this one would be off the charts for me. Got the AND early on, briefly thought, “Poor Dad,” and SPED on through. When I thought I had figured out the conceit, I was mildly amused, remembering the BOOKIE CASE one a while back and liking that one better. . .

Then it hit me. OH MY GOD! I am *so happy* that AND wasn’t marked in any way as being part of the theme! It’s this decision that makes the “aha” moment so cool.

Way early on I considered “emoticons” for tedious inmate writers. There may be a puzzle there.

So much other fun stuff: WHOOPPEE, PIZZA, APLIQUE, EAT IT. . . ZEE actually being part of the ZZ in PIZZA… ZIP and AUGHT, LYRIST and LUTIST, DARE I/EAT IT (haven’t we all been there???)!

Boy, those CAR TRIPS when I was a kid. My sisters and I would go out in the driveway and get in the car at least a half an hour before we left so that we could stake out “my spot.” Sometimes masking tape was involved. We were well on our way to hours of bickering long before the Chevrolet Impala left the driveway.

"It's fun thinking of other possible theme answers" -

A: “Are you mad at me?”

B: “Do I seem angry?”

QUESTIONY ANSWER

This is one I’ll always remember, Joe. I’m definitely a FAN!

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

Great puzzle. And Weird Al two days in a row? I'm in heaven.

One thing: anyone wish the revealer was more reveal-y? I'm trying to think of it from the perspective of someone who doesn't know their Spanish. The clue just doesn't read like it's revealing anything, even though it is.

Anyway, whatever. This was good.

Jim Walker 7:49 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Took quite a bit longer than a normal Wednesday because I did not see the Y = and until quite late. Some great misdirection led to a lot of fun "aha" moments for me as well. Joe is a winner in my book.

dk 7:57 AM  

@Loren, we had air walls in our Impala and a switch that turned off singing in the back seat. To this day Johnny Angel induces a rage response.

Classic Wednesday

**** (4 Stars) thank you

CARTRIP to Moab begins tomorrow. AVK (son) and I have calculus and other courses on CDS for the ride. Stops include Mitchall SD and Cheyenne WY. This years Barbie shoot may involve fully automatic weapons.

Glimmerglass 7:59 AM  

The puzzle I printed had no clue for 63D. I had to guess the A in EAT IT (not much of a stretch).

joho 8:21 AM  

@Rex, I don't remember when you have ever opened your write up with "I love this puzzle." I loved your write up!

Fun, fun theme. I wish I had the time to think up more ... off the top of my head WARYPEACE.

I really liked that AND wasn't clued as the reveal ... we all got it, right?

Wonderful Wednesday, thank you, Joe!

Susan McConnell 8:33 AM  

Great Wednesday! Ditto SeGAL, other than that, just plain fun all around. Than you Mr. DiPietro!

jackj 8:36 AM  

Joe DiP. buys into the hot political lesson of the election and makes a shameless pitch for the hearts and minds of the Hispanics among us with a theme that uses the letter “Y”, not as the “sometimes Y” of English but as the AND of Español.

What we get are puns like PROS(and)CONS that becomes PROSYCONS or FAIR(and)SQUARE that teasingly changes to FAIRYSQUARE as examples, providing us with gentle titters if not hearty guffaws.

The clever fill of the puzzle gives the theme a run for its money when Joe finds room for two minstrel clues and the LUTISTS and a LYRIST strum COYLY for AUGHT when they had hoped to at least make a little WHOOPEE (dodging bullets with EARP, maybe).

Then, SO AM I instead of DITTO for “Same goes for me” was a nice switch, as was OH MY for “Jeepers!” while AMPED for “Excited, informally” was a choice bit and ditto for YON, clued as “In the distance”.

Finally, ending on a high note we are treated to a word that might be looked on as a 50¢ special but is highfalutin enough that the real going rate is more likely double Hamiltons, APPLIQUE.

Thanks, Cakey, ‘twas a pleasure.

John V 8:39 AM  

Absolutely one of the best! What a splendid theme! The revealer was the real kick, for me. Got the theme at FAIRYSQUARE, saying, "What the ..." looked at the revealer and .... bingo!

Don't recall a puzzle with theme answers running across and down.

What @Rex said about OHM, etc; that was last to fall.

A great one from one of the greats! Thanks, Joe!

Gill I. P. 9:02 AM  

I'm so glad @Rex loved this puzzle. It's my favorite Wed. in a long time and I didn't want to hear one bad thing about it... WHOOPEE.
It did take me some time to finally "get" it and once I did, like @Rex, I started making up words like PISSY VINEGAR, RANKY FILE, TWISTY TURN, BACKY FORTH - OHMY I probably will be doing this all day!
You have to be in love to take a long CARTRIP or maybe a masochist. Spouse and I just got back from a month long car trip and we're still married to each other....

Carola 9:08 AM  

Fun! I didn't catch on to the theme UNTIL I was way down at the FAIRY SQUARE. I already had PARTY PARCEL filled in and had wondered, "What's so funny about that?" Aha.

I liked the references to musical DAYS PAST, with the LYRIST GOD Apollo, the minstrel LUTISTS and opera SERIA.

A poem for the day: Rilke's 'Archaic TORSO of Apollo'. In German here.

@loren - Your "questiony answer" - LOL!

Nosegay 9:37 AM  

Would have loved to see this one stretched out into a Sunday, giving all the other theme possibilities.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

I would love never to see a theme stretched out into a Sunday, no matter how many other possibilities.

chefbea 9:46 AM  

Got the theme at Fairy square but still had trouble and had to google a bit

@Glimmerglass - if you look way down on the left side of what you printed out you will see 63. I didn't see it at first. But they did make the numbers on the puzzle a bit darker. I've written 2 e-mails complaining about the new format.

Notsofast 9:53 AM  

WOWyWOW! Joe the pro.

quilter1 9:54 AM  

Echoing all the kudos for this puzzle. Plus I printed out the Acrosslite format and I could see it today. We are leaving on a CARTRIP Monday to spend Thanksgiving with the California kids.

Merle 10:42 AM  

Fun puzzle! Thank you, Joe DiPietro. Loved the theme -- Spanish y and English and -- clever pairings. Disagree with Rex -- easy, not medium. Couldn't write fast enough to keep up with what my mind saw. Did not like lyrist and lutist pairing -- but only because I prefer lutenist to lutist.

Milford 10:51 AM  

¡Qué divertido! ¡SÍ SÍ!

Fun concept, with many other possibilities. Fun to see what people are coming up with. I'll add MACY CHEESE.

Same sticky places as @Rex, particularly that PERON area, even though we just had it yesterday.

Liked the ZIP ZEE PIZZA PARTY PARCEL corner best.

Afraid there would be complaints about the Spanish, after the French BEQ puzzle rattling so many. Glad to see that so far people seem to love it.

Two Ponies 10:58 AM  

Add my applause.
Some of my gay friends use fairy freely so my fairy square clue was something involving Key West but someone would have complained.
@ dk, the car trip Barbie shoot MUST include photos!















Bob Kerfuffle 11:02 AM  

If you mixed your standard tabletop condiments, would you have SALTY PEPPER?

Excellent puzzle!

The I-Shoulda-Known-Better-Writeover: 46 A, SERIO before SERIA.

Sparky 11:06 AM  

Hand up for ohm which made 34A OboY and clouded things for 35D. Noticed Ys in YEAR and COYLY then caught on with 67A=AND being my Ah Ha moment. Fun to go back and winkle them in. That decribes it, fun. Thanks Joe Pietro. Sweet write up @Rex.

Liked APPLIQUE, sort of a shout out for @Quilter1. Have a nice drive. 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall...

jae 11:30 AM  

Delightful! Caught on to the theme early so 67a was the perfect "subtle" confirmation/reveal for me.

If it helps: Katey=2 As, Jason (who we saw recently)=2 Es. I suspect we will see them again.

On the easy side for me with no erasures (except for a minor spelling problem with APLIQUE) or WOEs. Nice one Joe!

jae 11:40 AM  

And, for those of you having problems with the new NYT format, do not click on the "Print Puzzle" option. Instead, click on the Date above the "Print Puzzle" and you will see a menu that includes the option to download and print out in Acrosslite.

Unknown 11:46 AM  

Wonderful puzzle. If only the recent French puzzle could have been helped by a subtle reveal...

Ellen S 11:49 AM  

I had the exact same mess as @Rex in the Lower WHOOPiE. Took me lots longer to find my way out, of course. I had to ask AcrossLite to mark my wrong answers. oops. Tons of them. I had spelled SAGAL right, but put mpS instead of PMS, and UNo instead of UNA, with associated ripple effect making me glad I was doing it on the iPad and not paper and ink.

Fun puzzle. Nice way to start the day.

Milford 11:56 AM  

Ok, scratch the MACY CHEESE. The pronunciation change doesn't stay true to the puzzle.

Still keep mulling over the theme with food references, like FISHY CHIPS and NUTSY BOLTS.

John V 12:13 PM  

SOUPY SANDWICH: No hero's welcome?

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

50 Shades of Grey=

SEXY VIOLENCE ?

jberg 12:32 PM  

Coming here late, yes to everything anyone said - given the interesting disagreement whether it is better or worse that the revealer is not indicated as such in any way. I'm with the majority "better" side, I think.

I got the theme early with PROSYCONS, which led me to fix my incorrect HOOKie _____, and had the usual confusion of conductance (MHO) with its opposite, resistance (OHM) at 36D. I even tried 'rho' first.

One minor quibble: I've always seen lute players referred to as "lutenists." Not in crossworld, apparently.

ksquare 12:40 PM  

MHO for conductance is the reverse of OHM for resistance. THAT WAS A GIMME IF YOU KNEW ABOU ELECTRICITY.

Amped Cartrip Mintteas 12:44 PM  

Yay yay yay!

Totally hyPED...i mean AMPED, by the puzzle and all the praise being heaped.

Especially because it's inspiring everyone to "play" along and come up with their own!!!!
To me, that's the best sign of a good puzzle, that greatthemeletmethinkofonemyself.

@nosegay
Yes, it would be fun for Joe to revisit on a Sunday level
(regardless of what the sole grump anon said below you!).
There are more to mine as evidence by the responders today, incuding @Rex AND thousands more folks do Sundays who never see or solve weekly puzzles.

Even tho the "aha" moment would be spoiled for the relatively few who solved today, if given enough time, it might be aha all over again, plus they could simply enjoy the new ones.
(love the FISHY CHIPS @ Milford, esp if it were clued as the nonfood fish, but more in the suspicious realm!)

I made lots of initial errors (my first entry was Opera BUFFO and i had ????feAST, which made YDS and FAN hard to see...
(I see even at the end i left in tDS!)

And LOOnY made CARTRIp take forever to see. And of course am loving folks reminiscenses (sp?!?) of family CARTRIPs extra sweet.
(@two ponies
Do you mean @dk should do a Barbie shoot shoot?! Sounds like a dance!)

Speaking of SHOOT, anyone else have POINTYSHrub initially?

@Chefbea
You're right!!! There is 63D hiding in plain sight way to the bottom left of my printout! I thought the missing UNA was the key to the puzzle the whole time I was solving!
Wouldn't that have been cool if that's where the AND was? AND it was just missing? Never saw it, just figured it was yet another fluke of the new format.
If they are going to leave that big gap, at least give us the Kenken there.

@Joe diPietro
Glad you are getting such universal praise, no PIOUS EEKs and OHMYs!
Here's my contribution to a future all food one: ROCKYROLL

mac 12:58 PM  

Fantastic puzzle with a nice, subtle reveal. Almost fell off my chair when I started reading Rex's write-up!

Sagal gave me some trouble, but al dente had to be it. Last one was Hardy Fast, where I started out with -mass at the end.

Maskedy Anonymo5Us 1:11 PM  

Theme clicked for me early, at PROSYCONS.
There must be a passle of possible themers, but I bet Joe nailed most of the best ones. fUnthUmbsUp.


OK then, with apologies for any I'm repeatin'...
* HY TO HY COMBAT. This is why the Shortzmeister would issue a sorta blanket restraining order reject, if I ever submitted a puzzle.
* OVERY OUT. Ditto. And yowch.
* STYSTILL. You get the idea. Hopeless.
* MY A. Best so far. Let's really go or it, on the last one...
* HANDYFOOT. Tough to clue, tho. OK, since y'all insist, one more...
* COCKYBULL. snort. Probably breakfast test issues.

@31: Primo, happy-face writeup. thUmbsUp. No more Mr. Pro-fusser guy.

Tita 1:20 PM  

Thought I had figured it out, and wrote in FAIRYground, because fairground is something.
HARDYFAST is what gave it away.
When I saw Y:Spanish, I realized the awesomeness, ran to fill in POINTYSHOOT, which then gave me WHOOPEE!

@LMS - love your comments. How IS your Dad? Say hey from me.
Your y @DKs childhood stories are great.

Think the LYRIST y LUTIST pairing is classy...

Thanks, Joe!

Tita 1:24 PM  

@Rex..."whole lower WHOOPEE area "?
Had me falling off my chair...
Especially since my first thought for 1A Excited, informally, at A____ was ALLIN, which would have been a very timely addition.

M y A 1:35 PM  

@Tita: har, just on General principle, at "ALLIN".

No BS 1:52 PM  

havent done much nyt puzzling since they started charging extra for the online version. did todays at the library (they xerox it). wonderful to stumble on rex's moment of near-perfect critical satisfaction. i did it quickish and never noticed the reveal clue. fun

No BS 2:00 PM  

btw. new unit for mho is siemens. snicker. both represent the reciprocal (one divided by ohms) of resistance.

DB Geezer 2:26 PM  

Did anybody else try opera buffa before opera SERIA

CHEESY CRACKERS make a good snack

Acme 2:41 PM  

One other quick note on the construction.
@john v noticed it's unusual to have horizontal and vertical themes...
It's not all that unusual on a Wednesday /thurs puzz esp if the reveal isn't a punchline, so best to be read in order straight across.

But if the themes cand stand alone, it's fine to have them going both ways.
But what makes this puzzle even extra special is that they cross, in the right places which is extra hard to do!!! So even more thumbs up!

@ masked y anonym5Us
Only half of yours fit the theme. He didn't just substitute Y for the letters A-N-D, it was in full phrases where the AND was a full word in the duo phrase.
So HY TO HY COMBAT doesn't fit the pattern, whereas your COCKYBULL and HANDYFOOT are right on.
Do you see the diff?

I like @Milford's idea of even taking it one step further and have them all foods... But again good catch on @Milford's part that MACYCHEESE changes sound.
Sometimes that matters, sometimes not (like yesterday's SKY/SKI FALL)
Always more elegant if they keep the same sound.
Or at least consistently do without an outlier.

I've had plenty rejected when they don't.
Fo example, Had a SH to CH puzzle rejected recently because of CHOW AND TELL which I thought was funny, but Will (rightfully?) didn't like the pronunciation sound change from SHOW to CHOW

Bird 2:53 PM  

I didn’t have time to finish this in one sitting, but I think that helped because I was struggling in the NW. In the end I liked this puzzle, with one minor exception. The Y was not universally employed for theme answers. There are 4 downs with Ys, but only 2 of them are theme answers. Otherwise this would have been a very good puzzle. It’s got some good original cluing, some easy fill here & there and a smattering of difficult spots. I like how 67A is a subtle hint to the theme. And I like the mini-theme around DAYS PAST.

Write-overs include IT ON before SOME, MUTE before CLAM and UNCLE before I LOSE (does anyone say “I LOSE? I say “You win”)

Sons of Anarchy is a much better show than Married . . . With Children. IMO.

Many family CAR TRIPS in the 1977 Colony Park station wagon. On one 6-week long summer trip we drove from New York to California with a hi-lo trailer in the back, stopping at campgrounds along the way. Such a great trip. Can’t imagine doing that today.

TOOTHY NAILS (barbed fasteners)

Happy Humpday!

M y A's Last Silver Buller 2:55 PM  

@Andrea, Darlin' -- Yep. I'm sorta DUMBY DUMBER, but I do see the diff. Like I said, if I was in the puz business, I'd be a-starvin'. I like CHOWY TELL a whole lot better than HY TO HY COMBAT, btw. So maybe there's still some hope.

M&A

Joe 3:34 PM  

Yes, I did opera buffa, but realized quickly that it wouldn't fly. Never heard of mho as a unit of conductance and that hung me up for a while. But what really snagged me right out of the gate was when I wrote "hookeystick" for 17 across. I didn't even catch the misspelling of "hooky" until I unraveled the top middle box (which was pretty raveled at that point). One of the best aha moments ever. A great puzzle.

Carola 3:34 PM  

RACKY RUIN - Heretic post-Spanish Inquisition?

sanfranman59 3:58 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 12:42, 11:49, 1.08, 72%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 7:30, 5:57, 1.26, 93%, Challenging

It looks like we're headed for another new low in the number of online solvers. Today's and yesterday's puzzles don't seem to me to be the kind that should result in such small numbers. I wonder if something has happened that's related to the reconfigured puzzle page? Has anyone out there had trouble accessing the puzzle online today or yesterday? I know that a couple of the early comments posted for yesterday's puzzle indicated that there was an issue with the app bringing up a puzzle from several years ago instead of yesterday's. If the sample is changing, I'm beginning to wonder if it makes sense to continue posting these numbers and ratings.

Captchas suck 4:04 PM  

Short tryst in the mud = Quicky Dirty

John V 4:07 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John V 4:08 PM  

ARMY HAMMER: USO cutup?
MANY WIFE: Mitt's heritage?

Three and out.

Anne 4:26 PM  

@sanfranman - It worked fine this morning for me. Yesterday, I first pulled up the old puzzle and had some difficulty in printing out the new one. I appreciate your efforts and hope you can continue.

Miette 4:33 PM  

Am I the only one who didn't like this puzzle. EXTREMELY challenging. I had to goggle many of the answers.

chefbea 4:33 PM  

@johnv love many wife!!!

Gill I. P. 4:43 PM  

Ok, I can't stand it. *all* the way to and from Trader Joe's these kept popping in my head. If I repeated any, throw me some rotten leeks. Anyway, food for thought:
HAMY EGGS
TOASTY BEANS
SHRIMPY GRITS
LIVERY ONIONS
BUTTERY PICKLES
JAMY JELLY
I'll let you smart uns figure out the clue

Bird 4:56 PM  

So many great possibilities. Definitely worth a Sunday puzzle.

FITSY STARTS
MEATY POTATOS

Nemo paradise 5:53 PM  

Loved it. So much fun. Didn't find a real clinker.

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

What is the significance of the "L" shaded in red in Rex's finished puzzle and for that matter the gray shaded squares? I'm a neophyte obviously.

Carola 7:24 PM  

@Anonymous 5:57 -
In his FAQ Rex writes, "I download the puzzle from the NYT puzzle site (for link, see above). I then solve it using special software (I use Black Ink—most people use AcrossLite, available free via the NYT puzzle site). The highlighted answer is simply the cursor. This is a long-winded way of saying there is no particular significance to the highlighted answer. Cursor's gotta go somewhere. I never pay attention to where it is when I scan the grid image."

jae 8:10 PM  

WHEELY DEAL -- Special package at a class for motorcyclists.

Z 9:15 PM  

I tried HOOKYsticks first - NHL lock-out is getting old real fast - so that slowed me down a little, as did WHOO hoo. Didn't actually get the theme until I got all the way to 67A, and then it all fell into place. Fun Fun Fun.

@SanFranMan59 - the top option when you click on play is "Play for Fun" which doesn't include a timer. I wonder if that is where the solvers are going. "Play against the Clock" is the second option.

Z 9:17 PM  

No - I'm wrong - there is a clock. I'm wondering if it is not posting times.

sanfranman59 10:21 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 6:17, 6:46, 0.93, 23%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:44, 8:58, 0.97, 50%, Medium
Wed 12:49, 11:49, 1.08, 72%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:43, 3:41, 1.01, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:06, 4:41, 1.09, 77%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 7:01, 5:57, 1.18, 89%, Challenging

@Z ... Right you are and I bet that's the explanation. Maybe it's time to put this aspect of my crossword hobby/addiction on hiatus ... at least until I can see what's going on with the data. Besides, I'm getting awfully sick of these dang captchas!

Z 10:45 PM  

I am sure that I'm not alone in saying that your numbers would be missed if you stopped.

Spacecraft 12:40 PM  

@acme: building on your example... "Poker player's obvious giveaway?" = SHOWY TELL. Others:
Hackysack expert's appendage? HANDY FOOT
Military tool? ARMY HAMMER.

WHOOPEE! This is fun! And for a Wedensday it gave me all I want, difficulty-wise. I too took a while grokking the theme, my first inkling coming when I put in YDS--one of several measurements (ERG, MHO)--proving that the letter Y figures in all the themers. This letter has had quite a two-day exposure, in the thick of yesterday's SKY-theme. As has good ol' Chick COREA, absent for so long and now in two straight grids.

Tucking the revealer way down at 67a added to the toughness rating; too bad the clue contained a rather showy series of analogy colons, else I might have had an even harder time. Oh. Y = AND. Who turned on the lights? From then on I couldn't write fast enough.

Hand up for LOOnY; that letter was my only writeover. There were a few groans: the vowel-heavy NE sporting IOU abeam of EIEIO, two spelled-out letters (ESS, ZEE: always an ugh!), Roman III and awkward partials DAREI and TIETO, but overall a fun and original do. Many of you are AMPED about this puzzle: SOAMI.

NM Robin 1:08 PM  

Thought this was a great puzzle. Caught the theme at HOOKYLADDER so the rest was fairly easy until the ohm MHO error. That slowed me down - took forever to change it. Knew that PERON was ousted in 1950's but with the mho error couldn't make it fit. Finally hit me and completed it but still found it medium-challenging.

@Sanfranman59: please continue to post. Would miss it if you stop.

rain forest 2:23 PM  

Include me in the "loved it" group. So clever with what amounts to a double "aha" moment, and with fill that amply supports the theme ingenuity. Yes, there are many other possible "use Y as AND" entries, but, if you are like me and the cleverness of a Sunday puzzle eventually becomes a slog because of the sheer number of theme answers, then let's just appreciate this little gem as it is.

Dirigonzo 6:22 PM  

It took quite a while for the epiphany to come but when the significance of all those Ys became apparent I was blown away - loved it! Funny Games for sure, with a shout-out to my state's animal to boot (no, not the CLAM although I did post a piece about CLAM-diggers a while back).

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