Ionian Sea vacation isle / WED 3-6-13 / 2000s Vienna state Opera conductor / Caesar of old TV / Rombauer of cookery / Built-in feature of Apple II / yalie's cheer word / Light tennis shots that fall just over net / Fenway nine on scoreboards

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Constructor: Richard Chisholm

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: tic tac toe — theme answers all have three consecutive Os in them

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Lacks pizzazz (HAS NO OOMPH)
  • 26A: Overly partisan (TOO ONE-SIDED)
  • 47A: Animal on display (ZOO OCCUPANT)
  • 61A: Inuit, maybe (IGLOO OWNER) 

Word of the Day: DOS (44D: Built-in feature of the Apple II) —
Apple DOS refers to operating systems for the Apple II series of microcomputers from late 1978 through early 1983. Apple DOS had three major releases: DOS 3.1, DOS 3.2, and DOS 3.3; each one of these three releases was followed by a second, minor "bug-fix" release, but only in the case of Apple DOS 3.2 did that minor release receive its own version number, Apple DOS 3.2.1. The best-known and most-used version was Apple DOS 3.3 in the 1980 and 1983 releases. Prior to the release of Apple DOS 3.1, Apple users had to rely on audio cassette tapes for data storage and retrieval, but that method was notoriously slow, inconvenient and unreliable. (wikipedia)
• • •

Did not like this one at all. Those aren't real phrases. They're totally arbitrary, and I can think of scores off the top of my head that might work just as well. STARTS TO OOZE. BOO ORIOLES. SWITCH TO OOLONG. KANGAROO OMELET. I mean, really, ZOO OCCUPANT? The chimps aren't on a year-to-year lease. Fill is OK on this one, but the absurd theme answers made the whole thing rather unpalatable. I was a little on the slow side today, but not remarkably so. Most of my slowness came from my expecting the theme answers to be real things, and then remembering "oh, right. The theme." I liked BLEW OFF a lot, though it took me a ridiculously long time to come up with it. I may have gone with BLED OFF first, thinking it some kind of Briticism. I'm not familiar with the rank of LT. GEN., though I've likely seen it in puzzles before, so that took some piecing together. I had no idea what DOS had to do with Apple. I think of MS/DOS as an IBM thing. I'd've gone with DOC there and then, to avoid CHAD duplication, changed CHAD to CHAR or CHAN or something. Maybe CHAP and then change DICE to PIKE or PINE. I'd've killed DOS as subpar fill, is what I'm saying. I had MEHTA conducting the 2000s Vienna State Opera at first (it's OZAWA) (27D: 2000s Vienna state Opera conductor). Otherwise, I a pretty normal Wednesday at the office.


Got PAPA DOC early (and loved it) (20A: Former Haitian leader Duvalier), but took Forever to see THREADS (22A: Clothing, slangily). It was a weird day for not seeing fairly obvious stuff (see BLEW OFF, above). Would've taken a while to get CORFU (16A: Ionian Sea vacation isle) if I hadn't had the -FU before ever seeing the clue. Misread 21D: Light tennis shots that fall just over the net (DINKS) as singular, and so couldn't figure it out. But for all these little mistakes there was at least one flat-out gimme. IRMA (11D: Rombauer of cookery) and SFPD (12D: "Bullitt" law enforcement org.) made the NE a cinch. IMUS helped out in the center (23A: Radio host who often wears cowboy hats). Misspelled SID as SYD (24D: Caesar of old TV). I am now just cataloguing ordinary ticky-tack mistakes, so I'll stop. I'm headed to NYC tomorrow, in advance of the ACPT in Brooklyn (which starts on Friday night). There will be subs filling in for me here while I'm gone, though I'm sure I'll pop in now and again. Have a lovely week.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    92 comments:

    jae 12:08 AM  

    Easier than yesterday's for me and a tad meh.  Very nice grid but not much OOMPH in the theme or the fill.  BLEW OFF and GO HOME (also Tracey Ullman's closing line) are about it.

    Only erasures:  Zoom for ZERO because I had loT for SET. 

    Other possible themes: Virgin odometer settings,  More platonic letter endings,  3/5 of an Olympic logo... 

    Again, meh.

    Chris 12:13 AM  

    Had 'DAZE' for 'DOZE' and was banging my head against the wall trying to find out what I had wrong.

    Pete 12:16 AM  

    HASNOOOMPH as a puzzle critique works two ways.

    Was there a single clue which wasn't a straight on definition?

    Obtuse Guy 12:21 AM  

    I just now got "John Nash"'s joke on the Sunday Puzzle.

    androoo carlooo mooochaels 12:29 AM  

    KANGAROOOMELET is very funny on lots of levels!!!

    I can see what @Rex is saying as to arbitrariness, which I think wouldn't be too bad, if they HAD been LOL funny like KANGAROOOMELET!!!
    But I think HASNOOOMPH rises to the occasion as does IGLOOOWNER
    tho I think IGLOOOCCUPANT seems more natural and maybe ZOOOWNER!

    But I love the idea... and really would have worked with some sort of killer reveal, like Dr. Bain had yesterday...
    like @Rex's TICTACDOUGHWINNER
    or TRIPLEGOOSEEGGS

    @Jae
    The theme was VERY helpful in having me change ZoomIN to ZEROIN (which sort of looks like HEROIN on HEROIN)

    WHat can I say? I liked it, right amount of challenge...but thought @Rex's random examples funnier than the puzzle itself.

    Who else had DatE for "Go out for a short time"?

    I also thought PAPADOC was going to be the theme, it seems ripe for one. Ideas?

    So nervous that my SFO-EWR flight is going to be cancelled tomorrow!!! I have about 300 people I want to see this weekend!!!

    Anonymous 12:29 AM  

    This bugs me:

    The Apple II *most certainly* did not have DOS built in. Not a single model in the line had that.

    Evan 12:33 AM  

    I thought the theme idea was okay, if a little bit unremarkable -- why not try some uncommon triple-letter patterns like XXX or ZZZ? Like @acme, I couldn't help but feel that a theme revealer wouldn't have hurt, like, "Winning tic-tac-toe combo, or what's hidden in 18-, 26-, 47-, and 61-Across." More importantly, I felt the clues for the theme answers could have been better. As long as they're going to be made-up phrases, they might as well spice up their clues. Maybe "Like a total beatdown on the basketball court?" for TOO ONE-SIDED and "Lion, tiger, or bear, for one?" for ZOO OCCUPANT.

    Beyond that, I had some issues with the fill. SWISH and BLEW OFF and OH WELL are good, but the rest is a lot of short, bland stuff. Why is RAFT clued as "Whitewater craft?" The word RAFT is completely visible in the word "craft." Second, I didn't really like the repeated TOO in 26-Across and 38-Down. NO is repeated as well, in 18-Across and 33-Down, and they didn't have to repeat it, since they could have done BEL/LO-FAT.

    OH WELL, Thursday's up next. Brooklyn on Saturday!

    chefwen 12:51 AM  

    OOOlala, what a cute little puzzle. Got it at HAS NO OOMPH, and just tried to find the right places to fill in the triple O's.

    50D was cute, reminds me of how to cook a Kauai chicken. I think I have told this before but, here I go again. Throw it into a pot, add water and a few lava rocks, when the rocks are tender, the chicken is done.

    Anonymous 1:01 AM  

    "The Apple II *most certainly* did not have DOS built in. Not a single model in the line had that."

    I grant that the clue is stupid, but dude, they all had Apple DOS, until ProDOS.

    Anoa Bob 1:15 AM  

    I liked this puzzle a lot. I thought it had a good balance between a grin-inducing theme--I actually chuckled a couple of times---and an interesting fill.

    It's easy and cheap to come up with shooting-from-the-hip alternative theme answers and to use that as a basis of judging a puzzle. Perhaps Mr. Chisholm is not so feeble minded as to not be able to generate a list of other "...OOO..." candidates himself, perhaps some more risible than the ones included here.

    But to come up with a list of ones that work (think letter count symmetry) and that fit nicely into a grid, as these do here, is a different story.

    Nice job, Mr. Chisholm

    Anonymous 2:14 AM  

    Well here we go.

    The original Apple had Wozniak's Integer BASIC built in. Subsequent models had AppleSoft BASIC built in. However, no Apple II had a disk operating system built in. It came on a floppy disk.

    Anonymous 2:48 AM  

    If you Google apple dos you will see, on Wikipedia, that, in fact, there was an Apple Dos.

    acme 2:55 AM  

    Shoulda just clued as " "Beehives, 'fros, etc." and there'd be less fuss.

    jae 3:53 AM  

    ...or @acme -- "What comes after uno"

    jae 4:12 AM  

    ...or, if you want a Fri. level clue " Second word in a song by Sam the Sham and the Pharaoh's."

    webwinger 5:22 AM  

    HASNOOOMPH says it all…

    Jeremy Mercer 5:41 AM  

    I enjoyed this puzzle immensely because of the early week foreshadowing. When I saw SCOTTTUROW as the first theme answer in Monday's grid, I was sure we were off on a triple letter trip. To have the theme land on the following Wednesday instead is a fine piece of choreography ...

    loren muse smith 5:57 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    loren muse smith 5:59 AM  

    I flew through this one like nobody’s business. Aside from like @Rex’ “Syd” first and “many” for MOST, it was smooth sailing.

    As to the theme – HAS NO OOMPH fell early and tickled me. I immediately got into that mind set I'm in when accepting wacky pun theme answers that aren’t real things. These weren't puns, but I was eager to see all the other OOO combos, and each one pleased me, even ZOO OCCUPANT. (KANGAROO OMELET) is terrific, too! I *really* liked IGLOO OWNER as it just put this weird picture in my mind of some Inuit in a housecoat out front sweeping snow off the porch, checking the mailbox, and trying to shoo off (!) a pesky polar bear cub.

    I grew up in Chattanooga on OZARK Circle and once jumped off a playhouse in a neighbor’s back yard. I had cardboard wings taped to my arms and I FLAPped like crazy trying to get airborn but dropped like a STONE. OH WELL.

    May Gareth Bain never have to face a mysterious cuckoo ooze in his career!

    So, Richard, WOO-hoo on this one!!

    (Acme – I’m packing, too. See you day after tomorrow! @Rex – I hope I can shake your hand.)

    Z 6:35 AM  

    Ditto on 18A. Writeovers of Spam to SENT and oReg to ARIZ. We just had OZAWA not too long ago, otherwise there would have been no way I would have known who conducted in Vienna (or London or New York or even Detroit) in the 2000's.

    Malapop of sorts with cHAD before SHAD. Now I have to go check on the anonymice's argument about DOS.

    MetaRex 6:44 AM  

    Has NO OOmph? Well, it depends. It was okay by me...my major beef this morning was getting locked out by my computer for 1:23 while the online clock was ticking.

    CrossWorld and CrossOver buzz ratings here

    Elle54 6:53 AM  

    I really liked it! The triple O's were great! Fun!

    Milford 7:12 AM  

    Nice Wednesday, but I DNF due to having HERa/DaZE (like @Chris) which both seemed plausible. That error took forevah to find and fix.

    @Acme- before that I did have DatE also.

    Didn't mind the theme, thought it was cute, only winced at ZOO OCCUPANT. Kind of wish there had been a cutesy reveal, too. I also liked how BOOLA, I DO TOO, and WOOED were extra want-to-be-theme answers.

    OZAWA has burned me enough times, I think it's my go-to conductor now.

    Have fun at the tournament! Will you all be able to find each other with your real names?

    joho 7:36 AM  

    TRIPLEGOOSEEGGS! Yes,a fun revealer would have added that extra OO0MPH. But OOOMPH is a fun word in itself. And visually TOOON, ZOOO and IGLOOO are fun, tOOO!

    I wish I were packing my bags. Please everybody, keep us updated with words and pics.

    Gill I. P. 7:39 AM  

    I thought this was just fine...
    Lots of fun words to say. The only two I didn't like were BOS and DOS.
    STONE soup with a CARROT and some Uncle BENs riced cooked by IRMA.
    ABACUS without an i at the end,
    HAS NO OOMPH and PAPA DOC on a WED.
    No problemas with this puzzzle.
    Good travel to all of you going to the "soon to be renamed ACPT" by ACME. You've got my vote! Have lots of fun...

    Anonymous 7:47 AM  

    Had ELFIN with an E instead of I and IOS instead of DOS even though I had never heard of the TV character Major Dai. Sounds like a better show than the right answer.

    orangeblossomspecial 7:55 AM  


    A classic from Cole Porter has a line about 51A "Waiter, bring me SHAD roe." This version is by Rudy Vallee and his 31D Yale band.

    28D 'The old OAKEN bucket' is a song almost 200 years old.

    Here are the Beach Boys with 53D 'I GET Around'.

    Susan McConnell 8:09 AM  

    Once I got the theme, I thought to myself, "I really hope Rex likes this because it is very cute!" Alas, no. I read the first sentence of the write-up and decided not to continue. No offense, I just really liked it and wanted to enjoy it a while longer. ZOO OCCUPANT & IGLOO OWNER made me giggle.

    Lewis 8:14 AM  

    As @pete said, very straightforward clues, though a couple of little misdirects. I found the puzzle to be easy (and that doesn't always happen to me on Wednesday), perhaps for that reason, and the theme helped the solve.

    Godspeed all you tourney goers!

    Lewis 8:15 AM  

    @jae -- I laughed at "more platonic letter endings"

    jackj 8:40 AM  

    Richard Chisholm first published his crosswords in the “modern era” (1997 to date) in 1998 and has had 32 of them published by the NY Times and another 25 or so by other major newspapers.

    The problem with this puzzle, but also the source of its considerable charm, is that it seems somewhat dated, a crossword version of an “oldie” or “a blast from the past” if you will, but, all in all, still entertaining. (The triple O’s, all in a row, make for some interesting theme phrases, with IGLOOOWNER the one that most tickled my fancy).

    Entries like TOTED, OZAWA, OAKEN, SID, ELLA, IRMA et al give it that old-timey feel, but things like BLEWOFF, DINKS and the puzzle’s non-theme O-string, IDOTOO also give it a wonderful sense of nonchalance.

    The surfeit of “O’s” was almost overwhelming, but it turns out that the 25 “O’s” in the grid don’t even qualify for the top ten “O” puzzles published during the Shortz era, the record going to a Tuesday, June 19, 2012 puzzle by Steve Riley whose puzzle had the letter “O” as its only vowel, thus racking up an incredible total of 69 “O’s” in his crossword.

    Just looking at the completed grid, one can’t help but appreciate a puzzle whose OOO theme answers have the eerie look of a mutant cross-eyed flounder.

    Thanks, Richard Chisholm!

    Anonymous 8:49 AM  

    Who knew there were so many ways to get triple Es. I found this puz EEE-z. Thanks to Mr. Chisolm.

    John V 8:52 AM  

    I liked it; only quibble was that it was really easy for a Wednesday. Triple O theme worked fine here.
    Minor grid quibble: not starting the first theme answer on the left side of the grid. For a moment, I thought PAPADOC might be the first theme, but a 7 would be on the short side, of course.

    Good puzzle, too easy for a Wednesday.

    B Donohue 9:14 AM  

    So, I laughed out loud (by myself) while solving when I filled in DaZE for "Go out for a short time?"

    It's too bad my answer was wrong...

    I had the same problem as several other solvers, finishing with 1 tile wrong because I had never heard of the story of Hero and Leander. I figured HERa was a pretty good bet to be involved with any tale/myth.

    B Donohue 9:14 AM  

    So, I laughed out loud (by myself) while solving when I filled in DaZE for "Go out for a short time?"

    It's too bad my answer was wrong...

    I had the same problem as several other solvers, finishing with 1 tile wrong because I had never heard of the story of Hero and Leander. I figured HERa was a pretty good bet to be involved with any tale/myth.

    jberg 9:16 AM  

    About to board a plane, so I'll be brief. Medium for me- hung up on DOS.

    Carola 9:25 AM  

    Enjoyed it. I see @rex's point about the theme entries, but I thought they were cute. Found some OOMPH in PAPA DOC, THREADS, CORFU.

    Leander SWAM across the HELLES(earlier puzzle)pont every night to meet HERO.

    Liked: SWISH x SCORED, WOOED x WED, and TAKES IT facing off against BLEW OFF.

    @jae - Also loved the "more platonic letter endings"!

    @chefwen - We're heading for Maui on Monday to get away from the sno-o-ow, so I can see if your Kauai recipe also works on a different island :)

    chefbea 9:32 AM  

    Easy puzzle today because we have Irma Rombauer making some shad roe soup with rice. She would never make Stone soup.

    Of course knew Ozark - have been there many times.

    Good luck everyone with your flights - and of course at the tournament. Wish I could be there.

    Anonymous 9:36 AM  

    Anon 8:49 is referring to the 2013 NYT puzzle calendar, which for today is coincidentally a puzzle by Mr. Chisolm, originally published 09/09/09, which contains a 3 vowel theme with EEEs as compared with today's OOOs.

    Notsofast 9:43 AM  

    Fun! But why "tick tack toe" theme designation? It's just three o's in a row. Whatever. Loved 3 Down: Try to get airborne, maybe". Pictured blue-footed boobies on old nature footage. B

    Matthew G. 10:13 AM  

    HAS NO OOMPH is a real--and awesome--phrase. So that set my theme expectations very high, only for them to be dashed by the remaining phrases, which, as Rex says, are made-up. Disappointing.

    Couldn't get the BOOLA/TALIA cross right -- must have tried five or six different letters before L finally made the puzzle submit.

    Anonymous 10:24 AM  

    for your future reference, a military officer (not navy) with
    one star is a brigadier general.
    two stars is a major general
    three stars is a lieutenant general
    four stars is a general.

    a three star in the navy is a vice admiral.

    mac 10:30 AM  

    Cute Wednesday puzzle, but unfortunately I changed from doze to daze...

    Has no oomph is very good, and the clue for flap is funny.

    I remember my son making stone soup (I think they called it rock soup) in Kindergarten. I will have to look up the folk tale.

    We're driving to NY this afternoon to stay ahead of the snow, apparently it'll be the worst tomorrow in Connecticut.

    Looking forward to seeing you all there, and good luck with the travel.

    Two Ponies 10:30 AM  

    I liked this just fine.
    Those triple O's look crazy in the grid.
    I hope the weather doesn't disrupt the travel plans. Good luck everyone!

    quilter1 10:35 AM  

    I did not enjoy this one either although it wasn't hard.
    @chefswen & bea: speaking of chicken, since the puzzle doesn't bear discussion, my newspaper today had a great sounding recipe for roast chicken with the yummy 40 cloves of garlic, 8 shallots and draped with thick cut bacon. I've done the garlic and shallots but need to try the bacon technique.

    retired_chemist 11:06 AM  

    Meh. After yesterday's splendid puzzle, most puzzles would pale. And so this one did.

    Nothing very hard, just a slowish slog. The long answers weren't coming, so I needed to do a pile of short crosses. That took time.

    Once I saw the theme answers emerge from the crosses, I said, "That's IT?"

    On to Thursday. Good luck to all who are traveling to the ACPT.

    New puppy videos: here and here.

    Foxinfosoft 11:07 AM  

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    Rob C 11:16 AM  

    Agree that the biggest problem was the theme answers weren't real phrases. And when this is the case they need to have some extra sparkle, which they didn't (for me).

    I thought the fill was very good though, which made it enjoyable after all was said and done. Liked all the Z words and phrases. CARROT with stick was a nice clue.

    Only (slight) trouble when I put in Capri for CORFU. Quickly corrected and off to the races.

    DJG 11:19 AM  

    Agree with Rex's comment concerning the arbitrariness of the theme answers. It really ruins the puzzle.

    BTW, DOS to DOC wouldn't have been great because you've already got PAPADOC in the puzzle. Could've changed it to DOT, but is DOT/THAD any better than DOS/SHAD? Probably not.

    Gill I. P. 11:23 AM  

    @retired-chem. OOOOOOOOO those are the cutest pups!!! Mama is so pretty - reminds me of our Murphy.
    Congrats - Hope you get some sleep!

    mac 11:46 AM  

    @retired-chem: loud little guys! Beautiful pups.

    I just printed out the Red Cross puzzles, it's a book-ful!
    Great practice in the next couple of days.

    nanpilla 11:57 AM  

    @retired_chemist - thanks for those videos - made my morning!
    Such a variety of colors in the pups.

    Too early for SHAD roe around here. We don't get it in the markets until May.

    Hope to meet up with everyone in the bar at the Marriott Friday afternoon. I usually try to walk the Brooklyn Bridge in the afternoon, but the weather is not looking promising....

    Two more days!

    the redanman 11:57 AM  

    Was generally rather easy. easy except for some very forced and not too pretty fill. Seems as though it were added to increase difficulty too about low Wednesday as otherwise it was easy Monday. Not a fan of this tactic.

    And DOS is genetic for disc operating system. Adding Apple is just pandering.

    Rob C 12:03 PM  

    @jackj

    Now if "mutant cross-eyed flounder" would have been the revealer, I don't think there's any doubt that everyone would have loved the puzzle. That has some sparkle.

    Campesite 12:04 PM  

    @ACME, @Rex, @LMS et al. attending the tourney--if I wasn't off to Chamonix I would certainly be there to see/meet many of you. Travel safe and post a picture or two.
    Good luck!
    Mark

    Lojman 12:07 PM  

    So, I was slow on Monday, fast on Tuesday and lightning quick today. The result is times from all three days are within 18 seconds (3%) of each other. Hmmm.

    Didn't mind it. Didn't get hung up on anything. HAS NO OOMPH is a thing (this puzzle HAS NO...). So is TOO ONE SIDED (2.1 M hits on Google when searched in quotes). ZOO OCCUPANT and IGLOO OWNER each have < 2,000 hits on Google, so I have to concede Rex's point.

    Surprised REX didn't light up over the presence of two TOO's (TOO ONE SIDED & I DO TOO).

    I've used the STONE soup story to make a point perhaps a dozen times in the last 10 years. Blank stares every time. Anyone else?

    BOOLA BOOLA,
    Lojman

    Milford 12:10 PM  

    @ retired chemist - thank you got sharing your puppies video. They are beautiful, and very vocal!

    Milford 12:11 PM  

    *for sharing

    LaneB 12:19 PM  

    OOOh what a nice Wednesday puzzle! A couple of erasures after putting DROPS for DINKS @21d and MORE for MOST @ 68a. Otherwise pretty fast and steady and Google-less.

    jae 1:02 PM  

    @jackj & Rob C -- Mutant Simpson fish was another possible theme that occurred to me late last night, but it seemed too far fetched. Apparently, not so. That would have been a terrific reveal.

    Masked and Anonymo3Us 1:15 PM  

    OOO phrases. Easier than UUU phrases, I reckon. Fun, very easy solve. First time I've done it out of an actual newspaper, in many mooons.

    Now the bar's been raised. Next young turk has to come up with 4-O phrases:
    LOO OOZE
    ZOO OOMPH
    TATTOO OOPS
    etc.
    M&A

    Bob Kerfuffle 1:25 PM  

    Except for @Gill I.P.'s OOOOOOOOO, I guess the the limit is four O's. There are NO OOOOO Opportunities.

    M and oooooA 1:41 PM  

    @Bob K.: har. 5 O's dog don't have much room to hunt.
    YOU TOO, OOOLA. Alley Oop comeback.
    DO OOO ON A CARD. Write out some birthday hugs.

    Shooooot.. One more themer, and it's a NYT reject!

    M&A

    syndy 1:43 PM  

    An OOEY good puzzle-lots of fun! I almost malapopped STONEs in instead of CARROTS and I ended with an error I have no excuse for- TWO ONESIDED! how could I have done that!??RET CHEM thanks for the glimpse of that passel of pups! brings back fond memories.

    Bird 1:46 PM  

    I wasn’t sure what to expect today (circles, oddly shaped grid), but I liked this one. It does seem more of a Tuesday puzzle though and I guess there are circles if you count the OOOs. Only nit is the crossing of 16A and 11D that could cause some headaches. Write-overs include CRETE before CORFU, TALYA before TALIA (I can never remember how to spell her name) and OREG before ARIZ.

    Second nit: “Get lost!” doesn’t necessarily mean GO HOME. When it’s closing time the bartender says, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

    @acme – I thought of DATE as a possible answer, but the G from OREG at 66A made me pause.

    Ellen S 1:46 PM  

    I wondered about AppleII and DOS as well. Wikipedia is a good start but not the "acme" of references. However, googling "Apple II DOS" shows such things as this link to the actual Apple support site, discussing how to translate the Apple Writer II codes for DOS 3.3 to keyboard codes for all computers including Apple II. In addition many other Apple-related sites make reference to DOS 3.1 2 or 3, and Apple II, just as if it were the most normal thing in the world.

    I'm far more concerned about 32D, "Like Keebler workers." I don't think Keebler actually employs elves. Do they?

    Good luck, all, in your travels and travails.

    chefbea 2:27 PM  

    @Ret Chem - cute pups. I'm sure there is lots of poop.

    Nigel 2:57 PM  

    Several of us, including Rex put SYD for Sid Caesar - Why did we all think that? I just popped in the Y as if I knew it then had to fix it. Hmmmm!

    My captcha has Foolentr (I guess they knew I was a fool for putting in SYD.)

    Rob C 3:21 PM  

    @jae and jackj -

    Yes, I remember the fish from the Simpsons. Had to look up though that its name was "Blinky". Ha, sometimes I forget how funny the Simpsons were.

    Sparky 3:43 PM  

    Okay, not great. Once I had HASNOOMPH knew three Os in each theme answer and looked for it. Yesterday crunchier. Did half on the plane to NYC. I'll be with the gang in the bar on Friday, prowling the other days.

    @Milford. In 2011 I wrote SPARKY on my ID tag but nobody else did the same. This year I hope to print my avatar and glue that on the tag. Actually, I'm the tall old woman with the flower pattern cane.

    @retired_chemist. OOOh puppies! Thanks.

    retired_chemist 3:59 PM  

    @ all - thanks for the comments on the puppies. @ chefbea, no poop to deal with yet. Mom takes care of the cleanup for the first 3 or 4 weeks. THEN the fun beins.

    sanfranman59 4:20 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)

    Wed 9:43, 10:59, 0.88, 25%, Easy-Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Wed 5:45, 6:22, 0.90, 25%, Easy-Medium

    Nameless 4:25 PM  

    Meh puzzle IMO. I like the theme, but the fill could use some zip.

    @acme - Sorry, but no DATE. I checked the crosses before entering ARIZ. I did think I was in a DAZE for a second though.

    @retired_chemist - Awwww. Congrats.

    @foxinfosoft - your links are much gracefuly informatative

    Carola 4:29 PM  

    @retired chemist - Thanks for the links to the videos. I loved the contrast between the impatient sounds in the first with the satisfied (mostly) ones in the second. Lovely mom.

    @Rex - The iPad app is great. I've donated and done the first puzzle. Glad to have the rest to keep me company on a long trip next week.

    Mitzie 4:42 PM  

    I just can't stand the "these theme answers aren't real phrases, so therefore this puzzle sucks" argument. Classic @Rex nonsense.

    jackj 5:11 PM  

    @Rob C and jae-

    Didn't know of the Simpson's "Blinky" but clearly there was a reveal-in-waiting.

    Oh, those Simpsons!

    Gaynor 5:13 PM  

    @Mitzie - Agreed

    Tita 5:48 PM  

    I only filled in RAFT via the downs - it simply did not compute as remotely possible.
    I hope there will be no shenanigans like that at ACPT!

    Shocked to learn that Sopa de Pedra is a known thing outside of Portugal... ;)
    At least Wiki acknowledges that we are the rightful originators..."Almerim is considered the capital of stone soup".

    Thought the theme was blah, but some fun fill. (Like FLAP.)
    And soon the SHADberry trees will be in bloom - they flower when the SHAD are running. (BULBs Monday - Spring must be near!)

    Hoping to get my act together to be nice and relaxed for ACPT.

    @ret_chem - those tails are adorable! Momma looks tired but content.

    mac 6:22 PM  

    @lojman: we could argue that the two toos have a different meaning.

    chefwen 7:58 PM  

    @Carola - Too bad you're not coming to Kauai, you would have been greeted with homemade muffins and we could have "talked story" about WI. Hope your flight is uneventful.

    @retired_chemist - Too darn cute, I did the Awwwww thing.

    syndy 9:12 PM  

    If I google "white Water" what comes up is "White Water Rafting"1,2 and 3 day trips!www.whitewaterrafting

    sanfranman59 11:18 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 6:15, 6:10, 1.01, 60%, Medium
    Tue 9:30, 8:23, 1.13, 79%, Medium-Challenging
    Wed 9:43, 10:59, 0.88, 25%, Easy-Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:47, 3:41, 1.03, 67%, Medium-Challenging
    Tue 5:33, 4:52, 1.14, 82%, Challenging
    Wed 5:36, 6:22, 0.88, 18%, Easy

    Sfingi 11:32 PM  

    OOOh EZ for Wed., but OK.

    Amanda 2:40 AM  

    Was no one else bothered by Low-cal yogurt descriptor being no fat, or Confucian principle being Tao?

    No Fat yogurt is usually incredibly high in sugar to compensate for flavor and thus higher in calories than normal yogurt. And Confucianism and Taoism are two different movements, and while they are related in some ways, like coming from China during similar time periods, one is not a principle of the other!

    Anonymous 11:43 PM  

    @Amanda - The entire Dannon line of yogurts has the no-fat coming in at 60 calories/8oz less than the regular equivalent.

    The TAO is a major principle in Confucionsim. Confucius had a different, focusing on actions and behavior as opposed to the mysticism of the Tao De Ching, but it's an integral part.

    Natalie 2:13 PM  

    @ Anonymous
    You are misinformed. Taoism is a completely separate philosophy/religion than Confucianism. In fact, I would even say that they are opposite in central dogma. Confucianism prizes responsibility to parents and princes while Taoism prizes self-centerdness. I took college courses with a Confucius and Lao Tzu (the writer of Tao Te Ching) expert.

    Spacecraft 11:53 AM  

    Hand up for SENd, DatE and ZoomIN--the latter having me convinced that my Inuit friend must be an Eskimo-something-or-other. All were easily fixed.

    Also hand up for rejecting, at first, RAFT because of the clue word "craft." I feel the yellow hankie coming loose...

    Unlike OFL, though, I liked this one. Awkward theme phrases aside, the rest of it was filled with common conversation: GOHOME, TAKESIT, BLEWOFF, even HASNOOOMPH and TOOONESIDED. Real people talk like this. So often I've seen words that, while real, "nobody would ever actually SAY." None of that here. To put it another way, this was no SLOG.

    Ginger 1:39 PM  

    Liked it better than Rex, though I found it easy, especially for a Wed. Had Drop before DINK. The 'DINK' term is slang, but still legitimate IMO.

    @retired_chemist - thanks for the puppy-cam videos. They are gorgeous litter rascals! They're 5weeks older now, and I can picture them running all over the place. I'll be watching for up-dates.

    Dirigonzo 1:51 PM  

    I liked the puzzle, theme answers and all, and finished with only one write-over - Spam for SENT. Before coming to the blog I had mentally composed two killer comments to entertain and enlighten you, but alas they were both taken by earlier commenters. If you read a comment you really liked for its wit, intelligence and lucidity it was probably one of the ones I was going to write. CHEERS!

    Ginger 6:31 PM  

    @Diri - Your comments were most definitely brilliant!

    strayling 7:54 PM  

    A good enough puzzle, but factual inaccuracy is unforgivable. The Apple II never had DOS in ROM. It had to be loaded from disk.

    Charles F 9:00 PM  

    As an avid tennis player, "light tennis shots that fall just over the net" are certainly not 'dinks'. They are called 'drops'. This caused endless problems for me. 'Dinks' are short balls that have no oomph, often bouncing within the service line, but they do not "fall".
    Very bad, inaccurate clue.

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