Personal enforcer in Godfather / MON 2-11-13 / Actress who married Justin Timberlake in 2012 / Onetime name at New York's Rockefeller Center

Monday, February 11, 2013

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (***for a Monday***)

THEME: SHARE A CAB (62A: Split the taxi fare ... and what the words do in 18-, 24-, 39- and 55-Across) — word "CAB" is "shared" by two words in several two-word phrases.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Personal enforcer in "The Godfather" (LUCA BRASI)
  • 24A: Onetime name at New York's Rockefeller Center (RCA BUILDING)
  • 39A: Skill with a paintbrush, say (ARTISTIC ABILITY)
  • 55A: Actress who married Justin Timberlake in 2012 (JESSICA BIEL) 

Word of the Day: JESSICA BIEL (55A: Actress who married Justin Timberlake in 2012) —

Jessica Claire Biel (born March 3, 1982) is an American actress, model and singer. She is known for her television role as Mary Camden in the long-running family-drama series 7th Heaven.[2] She has since starred in many films including The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Blade: Trinity (2004), I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), The A-Team (2010), New Year's Eve (2011), and Total Recall (2012). She will appear in the thriller indie filmEmanuel and the Truth about Fishes in 2013.
She won the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress in 1997 for her role in Ulee's Gold. (wikipedia) [ed. note: a ULEE connection!]
• • •

Did this on paper in just under 4, so ... I think that makes this tough but not terribly tough for a Monday. On an early-week puzzle, I'm much faster on-screen, so I probably would've come in in the mid-/low-threes—a tad above normal. Seemed like a lot of sticking points, namely (potentially) all of the theme answers, or at least the ones that were proper nouns. I have no idea what the RCA BUILDING is, and I went with ALBA over BIEL at first in the JESSICA wars. Also misspelled LUCA BRASI as BRAZI. Went with SCOUR right out of the box at 1A: Use a wire brush on (SCRUB)—never a good sign. Shared letters with SCRUB meant that it took longer to undo than it would have otherwise. I had RELI- and TAKE and still couldn't get either of those long Downs in the SW from their clues (40D: Got a kick out of + Friendly send-off, respectively). Somehow [Got a kick out of] doesn't square with RELISHED for me. The latter seems much more intense. This puzzle seems more-or-less successful: theme works, fill isn't bad. But I have to ask: why not make the revealer SPLIT A CAB. Seems (to my ear) the much more common colloquial formulation. SHARE A CAB isn't wrong, it's just ... not the go-to phrase I'd use. Also, SPLIT A CAB works perfectly with the theme, and if SPLIT were in the grid, your revealer clue could've rhymed—[Share the fare ...]. I'm genuinely puzzled as to why you'd go for SHARE A CAB over SPLIT A CAB. And that's my final thought for this puzzle.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


JFC 12:22 AM  

1. "Did this on paper in just under 4, so ... I think that makes this tough but not terribly tough for a Monday. On an early-week puzzle, I'm much faster on-screen, so I probably would've dome in in the mid-/low-threes—a tad above normal."

Rex, I really don't care that you said: "dome" for "done" or repeated “in.” I am not a speed solver and I don't give a rat's rear end what your time is. I come here to gain your insights, not your time.

2. Rex, "SPLIT A CAB." I have no idea what you are saying. The phrase SHARE A CAB in the puzzle is so common to anyone who has offered.

3. Rex, I'm slowly beginning to think that you have nothing to say about Monday puzzles because they are so easy. That actually is understandable.

4. Rex, As much as Acme fails to understand the seriousness of asthma, I think I will wait for her critique.

5. Though I actually thought this was a good Monday puzzle....


Arena Car Mia 12:48 AM  

You needn't wait for mine, I more or less agree with @Rex...
'cept to me this has all the earmarks of a Tuesday:

-Splitting a word is much more Tues/Wed than Monday, themewise.

-There are five theme phrases, as opposed to say, three (sigh)

-The names were relatively hard, esp LUCA BRASI bec there are ten ways to try and spell that...

-Same with JESSICA BIEL... I tried BeaL, confusing her with the dancer what was the movie with the ironworkers? (And I know she has an S)

LOC Cit, LYIN, NOLA: toughies!

But you gotta love HISSYFIT, GRAFFITI, RELISHED and maybe CRISCO!
Plus the sophisticated ABJECT (which I needed something to follow, like "poverty" to get it)

Trekkies will like BOLDLY, tho I had to read the clue 8 times.

Anyway, Gary Cee always makes fun puzzles...clearly Will still needs more Mondays. C'mon everyone, get on it!

Anonymous 12:50 AM  

I like reading Rex's time (and insights too)

jae 12:55 AM  

Medium- tough Mon. for me too.  Liked this one and agree with Andrea.  More Tues. than Mon.  Clever theme with some zippy stuff...LYIN eyes, NOLA, GRAFFITI, HISSY FIT, a non Pope LUCA BRASI (I also had a Z at first) and JESSICA BIEL.

Seems to me I've heard the phrase SHARE A CAB quite a bit in movies shot in NYC?

Nice one Gary Cee!

dmw 1:20 AM  

I am not a speed solver either, but this one I wrote fairly steadily, not stuck on any of the points that slowed Rex, got the smiling eraser head the first time, and it still took me 9 minutes. How do you guys write so fast? (I use Across Lite).

JFC 1:42 AM  

Arena Car Mia,

LUCA BRASI is my avatar on Wordplay, which I selected hours before Rex’s site came online. In any event, your comment about it being a Tuesday is more insightful than a clock because this is more art than science. And I like the rest of your commentary. Now I realize there will be those (like everyone else) who think I am being critical of Rex; however, the truth is I like Rex. I do not come here because I like Rex. I come here to confirm or challenge my own reaction to the puzzle, not how long it takes (which takes a short sentence not a paragraph). And he spends more time on SPLIT A CAB when the clue is accurate. You SPLIT THE CAB FARE. You SHARE THE CAB. Just because the word CAB is split does not make the clue wrong (because the word CAB is also shared by two words). So, between his speed time and this esoteric point, Rex’s critique is not very rewarding, notwithstanding your loyalty. HIs main point is that he did not know how to spell LUCA BRASI....


Now it's late in Chicago and past my bed time. I did enjoy the golf tournament in the SF Bay area today. I envy those living there for their winter weather.

chefwen 2:23 AM  

I don't think I would like to split a cab with anyone, which side would you pick? And, how does it work with only two wheels?

Took me a lot longer than my zippy run through a Monday puzzle, thank you for that Gary Cee. LUCA BRASI, RCA BUILDING - thank you crosses. JESSICA BIEL - thank you People Magazine.

AMBER - deep yellow
AMBER - Sunday LA times, Insect preserve.
AMBER - Lovely young friend who created my new avatar "A Portrait of Skipper"

syndy 2:45 AM  

LUCA BRAZI sleeps with the fishes!.I have never heard "split a cab" Share,yes. I liked the puzzle-it did seem challenging for a monday-like that!Is it WEENIE and WEINER?

Rube 2:47 AM  

Spelled Hod dog as WiENER at first giving me JESSICABIiL. Looked just fine at first, but then changed it. That was my only writeover. Had no idea who LUCABRASI was, but got him from the crosses.

Put me in the "Share a cab" camp. Split is more for "Dutch treat"... or halfsies for lunch.

Qvart 4:44 AM  

SCRUB wasn't obvious to me so I moved over to the right and filled in BALL. Then I was off and running. The theme was pretty good, but if time is an indication of difficulty then this was a typical Monday for me (4:42 - in AcrossLite. I do them slightly faster on paper because I always end up finding something I mistyped).

LUCA BRASI - I have my dad's first edition copy of the Godfather and read it years ago so I actually new that spelling!


Anonymous 5:55 AM  

I like seeing Rex's time. It puts my (slow) solving efforts in perspective and gives me something to aspire to, other than finishing without googling. Thank you for the blog Rex.

webwinger 6:48 AM  

On the fourth and hopefully (frowned upon word usage that I can’t do without) last day of my unplanned Connecticut snow vacation, glad to have a chewier than usual puzzle, significantly over my usual Monday time at just under 12 minutes, with some very nice long downs. I’m in the “share a cab” camp idiomatically, but agree with @Rex that “share a fare” would be a great clue, though clearly putting it outside the Monday domain. And to my fellow Chicagoan @JFC (not that I’m envious because he got to spend his weekend in sunny CA!), I say, let Rex be Rex. It is his blog after all, and it adds immeasurably to puzzle enjoyment for me and others just as it is. Nevertheless, by all means keep up the needling—that adds to the fun too, and I think Rex (and Acme) can take it.

loren muse smith 6:52 AM  

Just like @Rex – scour for SCRUB held me back a bit, but I dispatched this one very easily.

Liked optic DILATE/IRIS, ENACT/ REPEAL (make up your mind!) and HERO/ WEENIE.

I agree with @Acme – ABJECT is a sophisticated word.

Really liked the big corners with TAKE CARE, RELISHED and HISSY FIT, GRAFITTI.

A mini slippery theme, CRISCO, OILERS, SLIDES.

I LEARNed something – my SCIONs are my young’UNS.

And I loved the clue for that quintessential split infinitive, to BOLDLY go!

Count me in the SHARE group -that’s what I always say. What is more, for me, “split a cab” would be things like


Nice one, Gary! I enjoyed it.

Jeffrey Johnson 7:02 AM  

I've never heard anyone say SPLIT A CAB. On the other hand SHARE A CAB is very common. Split a tab, sure, but splitting a cab sounds like you're going to saw the thing into two pieces.

Rob C 7:17 AM  

Fun puzzle. I had the same reaction as acme, this was a Tuesday-ish theme. Enough crunchiness in the fill and clues to slow me down to a non-Monday time also.

I agree that seeing Rex's time is interesting. I'm nowhere near a speed solver. I like to take my time and check all the crosses as I'm doing the puzzle. If I don't I find I miss some clever clues and opportunities to learn.

SCION seems to me a sophisticated word too.

MetaRex 7:46 AM  

I had a different problem on the reveal...I wanted thematic answers with A CAB in them, not just CAB. I get that English is mighty short in ACAB sequences, so that way there would be no puzzle...still, had a tiny feeling of not-rightness.

Given the actual puzzle, I think SHARE A CAB is better than SPLIT A CAB. With the latter, some of us would have been uptight about the lack of an actual "split" of CAB in the theme answers...remember the grumpiness over the snaky "broken" promises a few days back...

Z 7:54 AM  

SCIONs are ugly cars and I never quite understood why they chose this name.

Crunchy for a Monday. None of the theme answers came easily so I had to get each one from crosses. I've never been a Godfather fan, don't know old names for lots of buildings, could not possibly care less about Timberlake's love life, and it even took me a couple of letters to come up with which ABILITY one would need to be skillful with a paintbrush. Definitely more Tuesdayish in my opinion.

Interesting triptych at 51-52-53 down.

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

Rex --

To my ear, folks in New York say "let's share a cab," not "let's split a cab." The poster who said you split the fare but you share the cab nailed it.

Gary Cee

joho 8:01 AM  

I have often SHARED never split.

Agree with @Acme, more a Tuesday or Wednesday. Regardless, I totally enjoyed this Monday.

I give this puzzle five shrill whistles and a big tip!

Thanks, Gary Cee!

(@chefwen ... love your new avatar of Skipper!)

Milford 8:02 AM  

Pretty medium Monday for me, with some Tuesday feel with some of the clues, like for ABJECT and BOLDLY. Had to stop to think if it was GRAFitTI or GRAFFITI, but then I loved the FITI - FIT pairing with HISSY FIT.

I've taken a small number of CABs in my life compared to many, but I have to say that "split A CAB" is how I would personally phrase it. But SHARE A CAB is also just fine.

I think like @Qvart, because I have read "The Godfather" a couple times, I had no problem spelling LUCA BRASI. He is actually way more terrifying in the book, but his name does give us great line in the movie - thanks, @syndy!

Tita 8:15 AM  

@lms - I love your pairings and mini-themes! I was just about to nominate you for offical Pairer, but the only pair that I noticed during hte solve isn't in your list...
How smart do I now feel...! ;)

I like the look of HISSYFIT next to GRAFFITI. Actually, it looked better when I got "I" happy, and wrote in HISSiFIT. Fut FYI quickly fixed that.

EDEN, TREE, and ROSES look nice along the bottom.

And I wasn't going to pile on, but yea - you SHARE a cab. Go hang out by the taxi line outside Grand Central - on a day like today, you'll see that line offered desperately over and over.

Thanks Mr. Cee.

John V 8:17 AM  

Only time I "split" a cab is when it comes out of a bottle. "Share" a cab is what we do next to the RCA BUILDING, which, @Rex, is right behind the skating rink and the Christmas tree and across the street from St. Pat's.

Pretty crunchy for a Monday. RELISH had me in a pickle for a bit, was last to fall. I enjoy Gary Cee's puzzles and this one was no exception.

Tita 8:30 AM  

Since not everyone stops by on Saturdays, here are links again:

Westport pics posted - from JenCT and yours truly. Including a few puzzle spouses, and the winner of the tournament. A good time was had by all!
Tita's Westport pics

JenCT's Westport pics

Susan McConnell 8:42 AM  

I'm in the SHARE camp. I'm also I'm the "like to see Rex's time" camp. And the WEiNEr before WEENIE camp.

I believe LUCA BRASI appeared very recently in the puzzle...maybe just the last name. I remember because I went with the Z that time, only to learn that it wants the S.

I like that the reveal was in the puzzle, since this is the kind of theme that probably would have slipped right by me.

jberg 8:56 AM  

Back in Boston after 4 days in Long Beach, I missed the blizzard but still plenty of snow around - and I just did not only today's puzzle but Saturdays.

Since you could say 'weinie' as well as 'weenie,' JESSICA BIEL was just a lucky guess for me, but otherwise it was all fine. My first guess for 1A was actually "groom," but I didn't write it in. And I didn't know AGHAs were military, so I learned something there.

I say split a cab and SHARE A CAB about equally, not that I ever do either one (frugal midwestern bringing up, where cabs were seen as something for the rich--just hard for me to take one if there's any alternative).

As for @Rex and his time-I think he started doing it because people wanted to know why he called puzzles easy or hard. So his longer explanation today was just his way of saying that it might not actually be as hard a puzzle as he rated it.

Now to do yesterday's puzzle!

orangeblossomspecial 9:02 AM  

I made Rex's mistake at 1A. Here is a version of "SCRUB me mama with a boogie beat".

Here is Liberace playing 30A "NOLA" even though the reference is to New Orleans in the puzzle.

Eddy Arnold recorded 72A "I'm sending you a big bouquet of ROSES" in the late 40s.

John V 9:09 AM  

@Tita Thanks for the links!

lawprof 9:12 AM  

What two guys with a cutting torch do in a chop shop: SPLITACAB. (Maybe we should UNPILE).

Hand up for SCour before SCRUB; trouble spelling BRASI and GRAFFITI at first. But a fun, zippy Monday.

efrex 9:15 AM  

Definitely would have RELISHED this puzzle more on a Tuesday, but not going to throw a HISSYFIT about it. Nice theme, even though ARTISTICABILITY is the only answer within a country mile of my wheelhouse. Don't recall seeing so many internally-referenced clues in a Monday puzzle before, either.

Nicely done, Mr. Cee!

Just finished a challenging(!) Lynn Lempel puzzle in a recent Games magazine; c'mon, lady! Get back here; we miss you on the Mondays!

chefbea 9:21 AM  

Easy Monday though I too had scour at first.

@Tita thanks for the links. Looks like a good time.

Now Chef Bea is going to Blend some Crisco with flower (not roses) to make the Hero into which I will place a weenie and some relish. I will deliver this to Rexville, in my Saturn...not by Cab.

Jim 9:23 AM  

SHARE a cab for me, too.

Please continue sharing your solving time, Rex!

Pete 9:25 AM  

Me, I use my wire brush to SCUFF the surface of something before I paint it. If I'm not doing that, I'm SCOURing with it. I use Brillo to SCRUB.

jackj 9:31 AM  

This was a terrific puzzle and though early week solvers will certainly grumble about the difficulty level, how does one not welcome a crossword that is giving us a HISSYFIT?

With four theme entries that each contained a CAB within their bounds, there were some interesting names and phrases used in the puzzle but the two named individuals, LUCABRASI and JESSICABIEL are likely unknown by many and the crossing entries for each are not especially helpful either.

But things certainly are lively, with HISSYFIT and GRAFFITI as crosses for Puzo’s assassin and AMBER, OILERS, SLIDES, ABJECT and WEENIE for Mrs. Timberlake.

And, as if piling on, the additional fill gives us CRISCO, DILATE, BAYOU, SCION, TAKECARE, RELISHED and the terrifying teacher’s admonition to students presented with an especially knotty question on their final exam, “DISCUSS”.

Clearly, the totality of the cluing will make this the toughest Monday in their experience for many beginning solvers while on the flip side it will be remembered as a clever, fun, noble challenge, with Wednesday pretensions, by many regular solving folks.

Now, if the early week people can use their righteous indignation as a learning experience, it will mean this wonderful, sprightly puzzle provided something for everyone!

Thanks, Gary Cee.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

giant Rockefeller Center building was owned by RCA with their letters on top - until GE bought them (and NBC) and put its logo up there...

JC66 9:39 AM  

Not to beat a dead CAB but per Google:

SHARE A CAB - 135 million hits

Split A CAB - 29.6 million hits

and I think the divide would be greater in NYC where, in my long experience, SHARE A CAB is the go to phrase.


B Donohue 10:03 AM  

I may have established a new PR at 6:13. I'm not sure if I have ever previously beaten 6 minutes. I would have today if I hadn't misspelled GRAFFITI briefly. I have no idea how Rex is able to solve in sub 4 minute times.

I loved The Godfather spoof at the end of a recent episode of Modern Family. How is that for cultural significance? 40 years after its release, it is very much still in the mainstream (and the crossword) consciousness.

Sandy K 10:06 AM  

Hard to say something new at this point...

Agree that it was more Tuesdayish- as Rex said- eg. spellings of LUCA BRASI and Ms. BIEL.

Agree with @Loren SHARE A CAB- because of the examples she gave that show how SPLIT A CAB would've looked. These CABs were SHAREd, not split.

Had SCoUr before SCRUB too. Generally
liked the theme and agree about the sophisticated fill for a Monday.

quilter1 10:38 AM  

I'm in the SHARE A CAB camp, even though I seldom take a CAB in little Des Moines. Until recently we only had one taxi company but the monopoly has been broken. I guess we finally got big enough to support two. I didn't know the actress or the enforcer but got them through the crosses. Overall an easy Monday. On to BEQ.

Gareth Bain 10:46 AM  

Finished in easy-medium time, but I can see how the theme answers could push it up to a Tuesday. Don't know what the fuss about SPLIT vs. SHAREACAB. Both seem like perfectly in the language American-isms to this foreigner who doesn't in fact even use the word cab...

Carola 10:48 AM  

Enjoyed this tougher-than-usual Monday with its many nifty words. I spotted the CAB after filling in LUCA BRASI and the RCA BUILDING, making the other theme answers easier to get. @Rex, until your write-up, I misinterpreted the reveal as the theme entries all sharing the word CAB (rather than each two-word phrase).

@loren, @tita, @ Milford - Nice pairs! The only one I noticed was EDEN next to its fateful TREE. Or wait, did anyone already mention IRIS and ROSES?

@orangeblossom special - Thanks for NOLA!

@quilter1 - Hope your recovery is proceeding apace.

JAI, chefBEA!

DJG 10:58 AM  

Google says "SHARE A CAB" is much more common than "SPLIT A CAB": a little over a 1.1 million hits versus a little over 250 thousand.

Solid Monday, overall. Nice work Mr. Cee.

Gill I. P. 11:18 AM  

Agree on the Tuesday(ish) feel to it. My WEENIE has an i in it like @Rube but JESSICA BIEL came to the rescue.
HISSYFIT is such a great word.
Hey @chefwen I'd split CAB with you but we might get TIPSY!!..Love your new avatar.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

Gosh, I was expecting everyone to say "easy for a Monday, we need a new category for this one". Finished it over breakfast.

Lewis 1:12 PM  

I like 31 announcing his time because I feel like it's been a good solve for me if I can do the puzzle in less than double his time. But Rex hasn't been consistent about these time postings.

I've heard both split and share a cab, I might use split more myself, but I think SHARE is better for this puzzle. It is absolutely accurate as a theme without any confusion. SPLIT is also accurate, but it could also mean that the word CAB is split up not contiguously, as Loren has pointed out.

I never heard of LUCABRASI. After reading the comments, I feel like I'm alone here on this!

Maybe the new pope will be another Leo?

Notsofast 1:23 PM  

There's got to be a better word for using a wire brush than "SCRUB". That's what you do with a regular brush. "Wire"is misleading at best and wrong at worst. Having picked that nit, I liked the puzzle. Luca Brasi was the man. C+

Bird 1:47 PM  

Gee - tough for @Rex, but easy for me. I guess we have different definitions for degree of difficulty. I don’t time myself, but I got through this in one pass across and one pass down without needing to go back to a blank square. And no writeovers either.

Love LUCA BRASI in The Godfather and I like seeing NOLA in the grid.

If I had to find a Nit, it would be for the clue at 50A. Trimming is cleaning up around the trees and fence with a string trimmer.

I do have a Nit regarding @Rex’s post – SHARE A CAB is the phrase (as any New Yawker would tell you). As @John V put it – I split a cab with my wife during dinner.

LaneB 1:49 PM  

I don't get the Medium-Challenging even for a Monday inasmuch as I did this one non-stop. But 4 minutes!? I can't write that fast even if I didn't have to stop and think. I'm in the 20-minute class [and seldom even at that.]

Home Depot 1:49 PM  

Wire brushes, also known as a scrub brushes, are in the paint supply aisle.

Sparky 1:58 PM  

Hand up for SHARE. WEENer before WEENIE. Have used a wire brush to clean suede shoes. It's all been said. Ta Ta.

Ellen S 2:00 PM  

Hand up for SCour before SCRUB. I found it easy, but intelligent (as opposed to easy/stupid with nothing but crosswordy fill). And it's Rex's blog; if he wants to brag or complain about his time, his errors or his root canal, that's his privilege. I never worry about my time. Not only am I frequently interrupted, I am also often slowed down by accidentally erasing great swathes of filled area by dragging the edge of my hand over it. In AcrossLite I would type wrong letters or right letters in wrong squares. Anyway, fun puzzle, this one. Oh -- put me down for "share a cab."

the redanman 2:06 PM  

since Post #1 "JFC" set a mood - as one who has progressed in maybe two years from Wednesday/Thursday being hard to "still struggling with Fridays and Saturdays" and just plain getting bored with Sundays because they are too big to hold my ADHD attention once I figure out the theme or 3/4 of the puzzle ....

I'll grouse and say: I just loooooooove how Rex steadfastly refuses to recognize "crosswordeeeese" as just plain ROTE. There is so much regurgitation in (especially)NYT puzzles it makes me laugh at the things some folks struggle with and the oft found answer/question that I can only shake my head at other's familiarity.

That said, Monday puzzles are a fun warm up to do ASAP with morning coffee or whatever. I always enjoy them no matter how simple except this one was really an "Old-timey Tuesday" in disguise.

ANON B 3:45 PM  

Who is that guy in the picture
with a thin mustache and his
mouth wide open? I clicked on it and got no help.This happens a lot.
I'm not as hip as the rest of you.

Cab Calloway 3:49 PM  

@ANON B - That would be me.

Rob C 3:49 PM  

@ANON B - just a guess but it looks like CAB Calloway

Anonymous 3:58 PM  


Jennifer Beals in Flashdance.

chefwen 4:20 PM  

Thanks @joho & @Gil I.P. - She did one of Toby that is so darn cute it just makes you smile.

mac 4:39 PM  

Tuesdayish but a good puzzle, enjoyed the beautiful words.

When I have to take a taxi home from the Westport train station I often don't have a choice, I have to share the cab. And the fare is not reduced! I'll split a pasta, though.

Great pictures, Tita and Jen! Thanks!

sanfranman59 5:02 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

Mon 6:42, 6:08, 1.09, 85%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:16, 3:40, 1.16, 95%, Challenging

Today's solve times place this one on the cusp of Monday and Tuesday.

@JFC ... Would you believe that I actually heard people in my local Starbucks on Saturday complaining about how cold it's been here? I suggested that they check the weather news that day. Yeesh! Just once, I want to see a few inches of snow come down on the Bay Area. It's hard to imagine what people here would do.

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

Rex uses his time to help establish the relative difficulty. I don't think he's bragging, he's explaining how it compares to his usual time for that day of the week, so that you know and understand how he arrives at his difficulty rating.


EddieHaskell 6:37 PM  

JFC - if you do not like it, start your own blog. Sheesh, Rex delivers everyday - give him a break.

Amelia 8:38 PM  

Manhattan here. We share cabs. We split the fare. Although I usually take the subway. Much faster.

sanfranman59 11:49 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. 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 6:43, 6:08, 1.10, 86%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:59, 3:40, 1.09, 84%, Challenging

Acme 12:12 AM  

@anon 3:58
Thanks! Yes, i conflated JESSICA ALBA, JESSICA BIEL and JENNIFER BEALS and mixed up Footloose and FlashDance.

Well done on the SPLITACAB examples!
Such a natural constructor!

I agree that SPLIT A CAB is a neologism since it sounds like SPLIT A TAB... But yes, let's split/share a cab controversy is like splitting hairs! Or shall I say "sharing hairs"?

Spacecraft 12:28 PM  

Sorry, @"anonymous" Sandy, I don't buy the establishing-relative-difficulty excuse. Look how he puffs himself up with the avatar. Clearly OFL has ego issues. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain: I am the great and powerful Oz!

To the puzz. I liked it, and to me it seems pretty Mondayish; maybe Tuesdayish. I think it's a stretch to corrupt New Orleans all the way to "NOLA." That LUCABRASI dude went in ALL on crosses. Had AGRi- as my prefix before AGRO-.

Ginger 1:45 PM  

Had no idea about LU_ABRASI until the reveal at 62-A. So this was a case of the theme helping the solve. Enjoyed this Tuesday puzzle on a Monday.

I want to mention how much I appreciate this blog. That @Rex does this everyday, and almost always has something insightful (and funny!) to say is utterly amazing. I also enjoy the supporting cast of characters with it's infinite variety in perspective, age, geography and interests. Thank you @Rex, and thanks to you all.

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