Hometown of TV's McCloud / SUN 4-7-13 / Backs anatomically / Onetime sunblock agent / Great 1666 conflagration / British soccer powerhouse / Legendary queen of Britons immortalized by Shakespeare / Gecko's gripper / Birthday suit enthusiast / Fleetwood Eldorado informally / Novelist who had two spouses / Scotland's Granite City

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Constructor: Matt Ginsberg

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: "Fitting Rearrangements" — names or phrases that are aptly described by their own anagrams (both the name/phrase and its anagram appear in the grid—sometimes intersecting, sometimes symmetrical); I believe the term is APTAGRAM

Word of the Day: ORNIS (71A: Local bird life) —
ornis [ˈɔːnɪs]
n
(Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Zoology) a less common [emph. added] word for avifauna
[from Greek: bird] (freedictionary.com)
• • •

This was fun. Please understand, though, that these aptagrams are *found*, not *invented* by the constructor. You can find any of these aptagrams out there on various anagram sites. The puzzle was pleasant to solve, but the fact that it involved no particular ingenuity on the part of the constructor means I can't bring myself to ooh and aah that much. Feels a little bit like passing someone else's cleverness off as your own. Getting some of the anagrams to cross is impressive, but it also introduces a major stylistic inconsistency: some pairs cross, some are simply symmetrical (mere symmetricality is much easier to pull off). Still, as I say, it was an interesting challenge to figure out the aptagrams. I'd certainly never seen any of them before today, so the fact that the answers are pulled from pre-existing anagram lists didn't affect my enjoyment at all.


Fill gets dicey in places, but overall seems pretty smooth. My only problem was with ORNIS (!?!?!). I also got a bit slowed down in some of the gunkier little nooks and crannies.  The CTR / TRAM / RABE nexus, for instance, or the SETA / ABORC corridor. Everything else seemed to fall quickly into place. No, wait, I spoke too soon. The clue on AIDA? Yeesh (6A: Memphis belle?). I had -IDA and couldn't see it. Memphis was, of course, an ancient city of Egypt. Nothing about "belle" said "slave girl" to me, so good thing I could figure out that 6D: Grant, e.g. was AID, or I might have thought the belle was VIDA or LIDA or god knows what and just assumed it was some character I'd never heard of. Oh, I also wrote in EXIT LANES for SLOW LANES (121A: They're on the left in Britain).

Theme answers:
  • 31A: Procrastinators' enablers (SNOOZE ALARMS) / 3D: ALAS, NO MORE ZS
  • 24A: College student's place (DORMITORY) / 116A: DIRTY ROOM
  • 55A: "Decision Points" author (GEORGE BUSH) / 30D: HE BUGS GORE
  • 79A: Galileo, for one (ASTRONOMER) / 54D: MOON STARER
  • 42A: Visa offering (DEBIT CARD) / 94A: BAD CREDIT (this one is kind of lame, in that a lot of people with good credit have debit cards)
  • 103A: "Great" 1666 conflagration (FIRE OF LONDON) / 63D: INFERNO OF OLD
I got off to a pretty quick start (after I figured out that the cobbler was SOLING and not SHOING). Got ARSENAL off the "A," which felt like a major accomplishment (26A: British soccer powerhouse). I like when I just know stuff without having any good reason to. I also like when I remember stuff that has stumped me before—today, that was EMILES (122A: "South Pacific" protagonist and namesakes) and EZER (123A: Former Israeli president Weizman). Would've remembered 90A: Opera character who sings "Largo al factotum" but didn't have to. Had enough of the answer that "opera character" alone was more than enough to get it (FIGARO). I always forget that CORDELIA is a [Legendary queen of the Britons immortalized by Shakespeare], probably because she is never queen in "King Lear." She dies before the king. So ... not sure what's up there. Am I remembering that right? Lord I hope so.

If nothing else, I learned something about Anaïs NIN today (52A: Novelist who had two spouses simultaneously). And TV's McCloud (!?) (45D: Hometown of TV's McCloud => TAOS). And ABERDEEN (15D: Scotland's "Granite City"), where I once attended a conference. Gorgeous, but then I've never been anywhere in Scotland I didn't like.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. in case you missed it yesterday, check out my conversation with constructor Matt Gaffney about a 1989 Sunday NYT puzzle over at David Steinberg's "Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project" website.

    76 comments:

    Anonymous 12:08 AM  

    I thought this was pretty tough, though my time was pretty average.

    The theme - meh - not the kind of thing I'm ever going to like much.

    The only dart I threw was on the RARE / Rossetti cross, and I got it wrong. Missed seeing RARE and went with RACE for "Kind of form". I know that 'racing form' is more common, but it's a clue the NYT would use and COSSETTI looked okay to me. Oh, well.

    JFC 12:25 AM  

    This is a puzzle for people like me.

    Rex said: "...but then I've never been anywhere in Scotland I didn't like."

    That almost makes up for you not knowing Mad Anthony Wayne....

    JFC

    Milford 12:39 AM  

    Stayed up late to watch Michigan win a trip to the finals (whew, that was close).

    Pretty smooth Sunday, average-ish time. First anagram I got was the DEBIT CARD/BAD CREDIT duo - I actually thought it was pretty clever. I'm not big into noticing anagrams, so these were all new to me.

    Thought I was being clever by immediately entering Cleo for the "Memphis belle" clue. I guess I should feel proud that I at least had the right country.

    The LIE STILL clue is accurate, I'm sure, but a little unsettling. Could have been worse, I suppose.

    Anyone else have red Ryder before AIR RIFLE?

    Thank you, Matt, nice Sunday!

    Greg Charles 12:46 AM  

    You're right. Cordelia refuses to flatter the king's ego, and so ends up disinherited. He lives to regret this (but not for long) and carries her lifeless body across the stage in act five. That lead John Gielgud when asked the secret of playing King Lear to reply, "Get a light Cordelia."

    jae 1:18 AM  


    Medium for me.  The theme helped in some of the tough spots.  No real erasures but I got slightly hung up in the SW trying out different abbrs. for the 3M clue. 

    Not so fond of SOLING, ARMER, ORNIS...  

    But, clever and amusing even though the anagrams are not original. Fun solve!

    okanaganer 1:51 AM  

    I found this a nice fun puzzle! Did it between periods & after the hockey game (Canucks 5, Calgary 1...yay!) The anagrams helped me, although at first I put STAR MOONER for 54D and quite liked it.

    Finished clean in 35 minutes which is a good Sunday for me, but received no congrats from Across Lite, so spent about 15 more minutes trying to find the error...arggh. Finally gave up; it was the same letter that got the first anonymous: RAcE form and cOSSETTI.

    paulsfo 1:51 AM  

    SETA and NGAIO were completely unfamiliar to me.
    Why is CTR (I assume that's "center") a municipal facility. If that's as in Community Center then it's a pretty lame clue.
    "Alternative to 'gov'" is also a weak clue, since COM is generally not an alternative, in the sense that "biz" and "com" are alternatives. You're not going to see Whitehouse.com or Exxon.gov, except perhaps in satires.

    okanaganer 1:54 AM  

    Oops...I meant Canucks 5, Calgary 2. Sorry, Flames.

    MaharajaMack 2:04 AM  

    Not at all easy for me. Could've been the rum punch, though.

    Jojo 2:20 AM  

    Oh, dear lord.

    DEF was slang circa 1981. A sixteen year old boy that I'm supervising had never even heard of it. CRIB is at least 10 years old. And, as an answer, LATEFEE is ok, but the clue's reference to a "video store"?? Can someone please tell me the last time they've ever been in, or even seen, one of these? These clues/answers are all screaming to sound fresh and new but they are just embarrassingly dated.

    chefwen 3:06 AM  

    Hi ChefBea @39A.

    Woke up with a cold that I could sell to science, so I am not working at capacity. Haven't had a cold in about 5 years. This one took a little more brain power that I had I had available. PTPP and I did manage to wrap it up.

    Got it at SNOOZE ALARMS and ALAS NO MORE Z'S. Thank the the God's that I don't have to worry about those nasty thing anymore. When the sun comes up I figure have another hour to be a slug.

    Evan 3:54 AM  

    I recall hearing a couple of funny aptagrams for the super-solvers at the 2012 ACPT -- Dan Feyer gives us DENY FEAR, and Al Sanders gives us "NERDS, ALAS!"

    Once again, though, I didn't find this as easy or as fun as Rex. I liked ALAS, NO MORE Z'S and HE BUGS GORE a bunch, though I was lukewarm on the others (STARER just isn't a word that one really says). The theme itself is fine overall, but I was more annoyed at some of the fill -- SETA, MOIL, ORNIS (?!), PABA, MFG and DLR (the latter strikes me as an arbitrary abbrev.), ITIS (just didn't like that it was clued as a suffix), DORSA next to ARMER, CTR, and RABE aren't my favorite answers. That PALOMA/EMILES/NEMEA section is sure to trip up less experienced solvers. IN ORDER TO and ENTERS ON seem like long partials. I needed every cross for YAZOO (though I'll admit it sounds kinda neat). Didn't like USE showing up twice in USE TO and NON-USER, or BAD showing up twice in GONE BAD and BAD CREDIT. And I really didn't care for OUTEAT crossing HIDEOUTS.

    It's certainly not all bad, by any means -- AIR RIFLE, MADE NICE, FROM A TO Z, LIE STILL, and LATE FEE are all good (though I take @jojo's point that the clue for the latter is dated). The clue for NATURIST is great.

    Serious psychopop moment for me -- one of the longer answers (I won't say which one) is in a puzzle that I submitted and looked at just yesterday, but that's not all: Its clue is basically word-for-word the same as mine!

    Eejit 4:57 AM  

    Yay, the ARSENAL in the NYT crossword. Up to fourth, at least for a few hours anyway. Come on Everton and Sunderland today. Oh, good puzzle.

    Ellen S 5:11 AM  

    Haha, I was in RARE form tonight. Finished with an error, looked all over and discovered that 83 across is Electric EYE not: Eel! And I had been all set to be outraged over the fish cliche but it turns out I'm just seeing them in my sleep.

    @Rob C, thanks for looking up Sockless Jerry Simpson for me. I think it must have been my Civics teacher, who we girls were all madly in love with, who told us about him in a unit on "weird factoids" like about Judge Crater, and some spiritualist (i keep thinking Mary Baker Eddy but that's wrong) who disappeared, walked into the sea, I think in Carmel (not Phoebe Hedges).

    Paul Keller 5:36 AM  

    I also found this one comparatively easy. The theme answers gave away a lot of fill, but they were fun. Finished with seven mistakes (including RAcE-cOSSETTI), six of which I could have avoided with more time/effort.

    I've wondered why the US postal service is usps.com rather than usps.gov. Perhaps the post office dreams of a year when it does not lose money. The US Patent & Trademark Office (uspto.gov) turns a profit every year. I use that site frequently. It's a terrific website and a great example of the government doing something well.

    Anonymous 5:55 AM  

    Since I love anagrams, I loved this puzzle. Didn't know either that Anais Nin had two spouses at the same time. What a gal! Like you, Rex, I love Scotland. Matter of fact just returned from there for the nth time on Wednesday. Weather was cold but glorious compared to the rest of Europe(where I live).

    Ellen S 6:00 AM  

    I wasn't too bothered by com vs gov, but I think MOIL is a verb, so cluing it as "turbulence" didnt look right.

    Irrelevant to the puzzle, but the other weird disappearance/faith healer/ whatever was Aimee Semple MacPherson. Now I can go to sleep.

    Bob Kerfuffle 6:25 AM  

    Decent puzzle overall, though I found 103 A, FIRE OF LONDON, a bit of an awkward partial.

    @Jojo beat me to it, but my original planned comment, re 113 A, was, "Daddy, what's a video store?"

    (I had heard that Whitehouse.com is/was a porn site, but I never went there to see.)

    loren muse smith 7:24 AM  
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    loren muse smith 7:25 AM  

    Aw heck. Now I feel silly. Like @Milford, I don’t notice/think too much about anagrams, so there I was solving this, thinking, “Wow. How did Matt come UP with these gems!! And almost all of them cross!” I was truly impressed that he thought of these.

    So then I visit one of these sites and play around with other stuff in the grid.
    GONE BAD – “bondage”
    ONE NOTE- “one tone” Genius
    LIE STILL – “still lie” See above
    AIR RIFLE – “fire liar”
    SEA HORSE – “as heroes” – they are a bit heroic – don’t the males have the babies?
    FROM A TO Z – zoom fart. We ate at a Kenyan restaurant yesterday after my daughter’s lacrosse game.

    I saw that BANTAM anagrams to “batman” on my own. Seriously. No help.

    So if you boil the OIL in the stir fry or OIL RIG, the OIL boils and roils, and that’s MOIL? Royal!

    One of my first entries was “hard C” for SERBO, vaguely feeling bad for all of you who hate such clues/entries.

    So, Matt, even if you didn’t discover these anagrams on your own, I still enjoyed the puzzle – the construction and the fill. This was ONE MEAty grid; You SET A fine example of a good Sunday solve!

    MetaRex 7:28 AM  

    Labored under the mis-impression as I was doing this that Matt Ginsberg was Matt Gaffney of the recent Rexean dialogue re the Maleska puzz...guess some of us like to draw connections that aren't really there...

    An "Ah yes, I was there" personal reaction to the RP-MG dialogue plus the usual stuff is at Great, Stirring MetaNerf...

    chefbea 8:05 AM  

    Had most of the puzzle done last night..then almost finished when I got up this morning, but had to come here.

    @chefwen..of course I loved 39A. and also A B or C

    Wanted hard C for 72D.

    all in all a good puzzle

    joho 8:35 AM  

    As I see it, Matt had the original idea to use these anagrams to create an amusing and original puzzle ... I loved it! Also, this is an example of how much fun wordplay can be, especially in a big Sunday grid which is sometimes more tedious than entertaining.

    Nice to see RURAL next to IDYL. Liked the pair of JET and EBON, too. And, just in case you can't figure it out by choosing ABORC you can always try FROMATOZ!

    @Ellen S, I, too, had Eel before EYE and, of course, thought of you. That ocean denizen and SEAsnakE before SEAHORSE were my only writeovers.

    Yes, this was easy but also great fun ... thanks, Matt!

    Thoracic 8:41 AM  

    Finished with same mistake as most...RACE for RARE and thought Cossetti sounded right. Otherwise a nice firm puzzle, found the anagrams helpful in a few spots.
    @okanoger-- I too am a Canucks fan, but can rarely stay up late enough to watch more than the first period as most games start ridiculously late here in Newfoundland. Luckily I have my first love, the Habs to cheer for at a more reasonable hour. First place in Division after last night!!

    Tita 9:03 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Thoracic 9:04 AM  

    Sorry, that's okanagoner!

    Tita 9:06 AM  

    SNOOZEALARMS / ALASNOMOREZS - apt indeed for me - loved it. I am the queen of SNOOZEALARMS.
    @chefwen - I envy you, and get well SOON!

    I am not, however, anywhere close to caring a fig about anagrams, so this was not the gripping challenge that I hope for on Sunday.
    I did need the trick to finish, as I found it crunchy.

    (Had OUTdog for a while at the Nathan's contest...)

    Lol, @Ellen - I had Eel/Red till the bitter end...
    Lol, @lms re: restaurant-related anagram.

    Confused my mythical lovers for a while - had Echo for EROS.

    Why is my mind cluttered with knowing, with no letters, PABA (ParaAminoBenzoicAcid)? I just know that. Why? I am not a chemist. Seriously - that is taking up space that could store something really useful - like Cordelia having never been a queen.

    DNF'd with 1 error - NONUSEe/EZEe.

    Thanks, Matt. After all, I did enjoy wrestliing this one to the ground.
    (I bet Dr. Fill found it easy...)

    Guy who was interested in Cordelia enough to look up all this stuff. 9:19 AM  

    There was the legendary Cordelia, Queen of Britons whose father was King Lier. This is the story on which Shakespeare based King Lear. Then, some clown named Nahum Tate rewrote King Lear as The History of King Lear where he Hollywoodized the story. Cordelia and Lear reconcile and live, Cordelia becomes queen and all live happily ever after. This play superceeded King Lear, and was the production primarily staged for over 150 years.

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:22 AM  

    I resisted Googling when I read @Rex's somewhat ambiguous remark regarding CORDELIA, but since it has come up again (thanks, @Tita), I gave in and looked it up. For the benefit of those like me who had no idea about it, I quote from Wikipedia:

    Queen Cordelia was a legendary Queen of the Britons, as recounted by Geoffrey of Monmouth. She was the youngest daughter of Leir and the second ruling queen of pre-Roman Britain. There is no independent historical evidence for her existence.

    Yes, Leir in the legend, changed, along with much else, to Lear in the Shakespeare play. So, as almost always is the case, the clue is correct.

    Guy with too long a name to repeat 9:34 AM  

    @Bob K - If only you knew what part of my morning ablutions I put off to make my post, beating you by 3 minutes in the explaination of Cordelia, you'ld be much chargrined. Or grossed out.

    Z 9:44 AM  

    NEMyA anyone?

    ARMENIA and Alabama have the same number of letters so it was put in the A and wait for a cross or two.

    Otherwise a fun solve.

    @Paul Keller - Excuse me? The patent office has a huge back log while the USPS manages to get my mail delivered every day. Maybe if the patent office stopped turning a profit and did its job one could call it successful. Using your definition of good government I would ask why he continue to run the military, the largest loss leader in the history of mankind.

    jackj 9:59 AM  

    FITTING REARRANGEMENTS, indeed!

    Matt Ginsberg shows us he’s more than Dr. Fill’s Daddy as he gives us common phrases and anagrams of those phrases through interesting linkages, such as DORMITORY evolving into the “apt anagram”, DIRTY ROOM.

    With 6 pairs of theme clues everyone will likely find one in particular to like, my favorite was SNOOZE ALARMS that morphed into an “apt anagram” of ALAS NO MORE Z’S.

    The fill was a curious mixture of brilliant and banal, the brilliant showing up early on with “Postal ID” for IDAHO and one of the best clues in the puzzle for “Memphis belle?” and it had nothing to do with Beale St. babes, it’s Verdi’s AIDA.

    Banalities popped up all over, some of the most notorious being AIRRIFLE, clued as “BB shooter”, “Video store penalty” an easy get as LATEFEE and CDROM that was too directly clued as “PC insert”.

    It was nice to see a favorite period in art history recognized through Dante Gabriel ROSSETTI, a poet/artist/co-founder of the 19th century Pre-Raphaelite movement, evoking memories of their lush, elegant portraits of handsome women.

    But my favorite piece of the puzzle came from a self-inflicted wound when, all smart-alecky, I entered the “apt anagram” before I had seen even a single letter of its base phrase.

    When 63 down, a 12-letter answer, showed its first letters through crosses as
    INFER-O-FO-D, clever me, I just knew it was a reference to the Pinto gas tank problem or the failed EDSEL and what fit perfectly was INFERIORFORD.

    INFERIORFORD meet INFERNOOFOLD and FIREOFLONDON.

    A fun puzzle from Matt and a perfect way to wind up the week.

    jberg 10:25 AM  

    I liked the anagrams, esp. MOON STARER; and I enjoyed the puzzle, but finished with an error because I never thought of TRAM - I was looking for a rival of the Volt and Leaf, and figured it must be the TRiM; RiBE was about as good as RABE for the cross. Boo-hoo.

    I knew ROSSETTI, so no problem there -- but "English poet?" Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who helped found the Pre-Raphaelites, was a painter. The whole movement was about painting the way people did before Raphael supposedly messed it up. His sister Christina was a poet, but I don't know if you could call her a 'co-founder' of the movement.

    Thinking 78D referred to Red wine, I had "Electric feE" after I ruled out the eel. Only seeing LATE FEE later revealed that one to me.

    Off to lick my wounds.

    Carola 10:39 AM  

    Fun and very clever, I thought. Just tough enough - well, too tough, I guess, as I DNF: MFr/rENITIVE. Thougha I knew it was "Manufacturing" and taught grammar for 30 years. Anyway, loved the SNOOZE ALARM and BUSH/GORE.

    Adding to @joho's pairs: ARMER + ARSENAL, AIDA + FIGARO, EZER + SADAT, CADDY x DLR and CADDY v. ECONO. Also AIR RIFLE threateningly below ORNIS.

    @Milford - Go Big Ten!

    @Greg Charles, re Gielgud - LOL

    @Loren, re Croatia - Looking at _E_ _ _ , I thought, "Now how is that going to work out with CEE?"

    JenCT 10:56 AM  

    @Greg C: LOL "Get a light Cordelia"

    @Ellen S: I had EEL, too & was expecting a rant from you...

    @Bob K: Well, now I had to look: whitehouse.com has a bunch of links to dating sites

    I also didn't find this as easy or fun as others.

    So, what was Dr. fill's time?

    jackj 10:57 AM  

    Greg Charles@12:46AM-

    A classic Gielgud quote! Thanks for it.

    Tita 11:27 AM  

    @jberg - Congratulations! You've made it to the Epic Wrong Answer Hall of FameEpic Wrong Answer Hall of Fame.

    Though as I read your comment, I realize that the anagram for my favorite pair is actuallly just the opposite - not apt at all...
    I bless my SNOOZEALARM precisely becausee I get MOREZS!
    Well, eventually, NOMORE, but for those blissful 10 minutes, over and over again, MOREZS!

    @Jen - you're van drive (pun intended?) is going great!
    I've added I link on my blog as well.
    Oh - and you remind me I need to add your wrong clue to the Hall...
    Kegel's org indeed!

    Anonymous 11:43 AM  

    Don't say ROSSETTI wasn't a poet:


    MY SISTER'S SLEEP.

    She fell asleep on Christmas Eve:
    At length the long-ungranted shade
    Of weary eyelids overweigh'd
    The pain nought else might yet relieve.

    Our mother, who had leaned all day
    Over the bed from chime to chime,
    Then raised herself for the first time,
    And as she sat her down, did pray.

    Her little work-table was spread
    With work to finish. For the glare
    Made by her candle, she had care
    To work some distance from the bed.

    Without, there was a cold moon up,
    Of winter radiance sheer and thin;
    The hollow halo it was in
    Was like an icy crystal cup.

    Through the small room, with subtle sound
    Of flame, by vents the fireshine drove
    And reddened. In its dim alcove
    The mirror shed a clearness round.

    I had been sitting up some nights,
    And my tired mind felt weak and blank;
    Like a sharp strengthening wine it drank
    The stillness and the broken lights.

    Twelve struck. That sound, by dwindling years
    Heard in each hour, crept off; and then
    The ruffled silence spread again,
    Like water that a pebble stirs.

    Our mother rose from where she sat:
    Her needles, as she laid them down,
    Met lightly, and her silken gown
    Settled: no other noise than that.

    ‘Glory unto the Newly Born!’
    So, as said angels, she did say;
    Because we were in Christmas Day,
    Though it would still be long till morn.

    Just then in the room over us
    There was a pushing back of chairs,
    As some who had sat unawares
    So late, now heard the hour, and rose.

    With anxious softly-stepping haste
    Our mother went where Margaret lay,
    Fearing the sounds o'erhead—should they
    Have broken her long watched-for rest!

    She stopped an instant, calm, and turned;
    But suddenly turned back again;
    And all her features seemed in pain
    With woe, and her eyes gazed and yearned.

    For my part, I but hid my face,
    And held my breath, and spoke no word:
    There was none spoken; but I heard
    The silence for a little space.

    Our mother bowed herself and wept:
    And both my arms fell, and I said,
    ‘God knows I knew that she was dead.’
    And there, all white, my sister slept.

    Tita 11:43 AM  

    oops...@jackj - not jberg... The attribution is correct on my blog.

    ArtO 11:52 AM  

    A fun puzzle. What could be more APT than GEORGEBUSH/HEBUGSGORE!!

    One of my fastest Sundays ever despite some really dicey stuff noted by Rex.

    jackj 12:05 PM  

    Tita@11;27&11:43AM-

    Thank you; I'm flattered by the honor!!

    (Three and gone.)

    Matt Ginsberg 12:48 PM  

    For those who asked, Dr.Fill "solves" this in a bit under three minutes with two mistakes. It prefers SILL to SILO at 110-Down, probably bacause many clues for SILL are of the form [x location] for some flower or some such and it doesn't have any idea what a Minuteman is! That causes it to put TLDS in for 124-Across. The rest is correct, although it doesn't think ALASNOMOREZS is legitimate fill and has no idea what the theme is.

    Rachel 12:49 PM  

    I think novelist was a stretch for Anais Nin, did she ever write a novel? I've only seen collections of short stories. I suppose "diarist" with three letters is just too easy.

    Ulrich 12:50 PM  

    As I look out into the bright sunshine, a line from a Rossetti poem comes to my mind: "Where are the snows of yesteryear?" (which he translated from the French BTW).

    @jberg: As Michelangelo so impressively demonstrated, being a painter (or sculptor, or both) doesn't preclude your being also a (very good) poet.

    Otherwise, what @joho said...

    jjbpuz 1:23 PM  

    @Rachael
    Yes, she did.

    Rob C 1:26 PM  

    Had a lot of fun with this one. Played slightly on the challenging side for me. Some of the rearrangements were spot on: SNOOZE ALARMS and DORMITORY, some are so contrived that they seemed to be a stretch HE BUGS GORE, MOON STARER, no one would actuallly say these phrases. But like I said, all in all, lots of fun. The fact that the constructor probably didn't come up with the anagrams by himself doesn't diminish the puzzle at all for me. Still a great construction with those big white corners. And who doesn't love YAZOO as an entry.

    48A Mayo container - we just had the same mayo misdirection a few days ago if I recall, so didn't even hesitate there.

    @Ellen S - your welcome. One of the things I enjoy about puzzles and the comments here is that they are an opportunity to learn. Can't wait to work Sockless Jerry into a conversation.

    chefbea 1:32 PM  

    Making something good today. A bulgar and 39 Across salad. Yummm Cant wait to eat it.

    M and A and Grateful 2:03 PM  

    Thanx, @chefwen. Yer MensA tip worked great, once I used the big computer instead of the ipad.

    Best two opening Across clues in recent memory. Dr. Phil might be able to get 'em, but not me: M&A is a few diodes short of a coffee maker, let alone Dr. Phil. Oughta try havin Dr. Phil write the clues, next. About then, I'll be buyin an ipad app to figure 'em out. Brain Wars.

    Fun puz. sUndaythUmbsUp.

    Carola 2:12 PM  

    @Rex - Thanks very much for the link to the 1989 puzzle and your review. Enjoyed doing the puzzle - and I finished. Last area was that 9A cluster, but I knew the 9A word and the clue seemed to fit it; 23A was a lucky guess. Thanks also for making me aware of this fantastic puzzle project.

    syndy 2:47 PM  

    If Geoffrey of Monmouth sais it I don't believe it! Hand up for EEL and ECHO .I found this one oddly uneven- one across IDAHO-postal code? oookay.some good stuff some bad stuff some just odd!

    Masked and Unonymous 2:48 PM  

    p.s. Still no bullets. Gone total anti-NRA, 4-Oh? I can dig it and respect that. Let's go with: Silver Paintballs.
    Could be a different world, if all we had to fire off were paintballs.

    Peace on Earth, good will toward North Korean dudes and dudesses.

    M&A

    Sparky 5:30 PM  

    Well, I thought I finished and then discovered I forgot 6A. Didn't think of Egypt but of the plane in the movie. Moved on and never checked back. Knew ROSSETTI.

    It was a long haul using paper on the side for anagrams. Liked HEBUGSGORE. Eel before EYE and hi @EllenS. Hi@Chefbea.

    The Pre Shortz site, 1989 puzzle and conversation very interesting. Thanks @Rex and Matt Gaffney.

    Monday, Monday.

    mitchs 5:47 PM  

    Re Rex's and Matt's dialog about the Maleska Sunday puz (no spoilers) I've often wondered if, in general, the puzzles have gotten easier under the Shortz regime. I'm certainly solving faster than I did 30 years ago. Nope. Aside from a few Naticks, it was smooth sailing. I recommend that everyone who solved then and now do the puzzle and read the comments. It's fascinating.

    Susan Jo 6:00 PM  

    Didn't anyone else want Queen Boadicea? She led a revolt against the Romans......

    Oscar 7:05 PM  

    What's an apt anagram for DERIVATIVE? ;)

    Not very original, it's true, and yet MATT GINSBERG = BIG SMART GENT.

    Anagrandma 8:29 PM  

    A vivid tree / I arrived at

    Anagrandma 8:34 PM  

    Oops!

    A vivid tree / I revived at!

    LaneB 9:55 PM  

    Took me forever but ground it out with some Google-assist on a few clues:NSYNC and YAZOO City, EMINEM. Had Alabama for a while and that made things slower. All in all a good fun day. And I nailed the Acrostic, too!

    Susan McConnell 9:58 PM  

    I like anagrams and so liked this and thought it was clever and fun. Rex's comment about the anagrams not being "invented" by the constructor seems unnecessarily nitpicky to me. So what? Anagrams can be easily googled nowadays, but so can anything. The constructor's efforts in finding and working them into the puzzle is appreciated by this solver.

    sanfranman59 10:03 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 7:02, 6:12, 1.14, 92%, Challenging
    Tue 7:22, 8:19, 0.89, 16%, Easy
    Wed 9:25, 10:16, 0.92, 30%, Easy-Medium
    Thu 20:46, 16:58, 1.22, 84%, Challenging
    Fri 15:18, 22:18, 0.69, 5%, Easy (9th lowest ratio of 171 Fridays)
    Sat 25:42, 25:08, 1.02, 67%, Medium-Challenging
    Sun 32:49, 29:41, 1.11, 78%, Medium-Challenging

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 4:22, 3:42, 1.18, 96%, Challenging (8th highest ratio of 172 Mondays)
    Tue 4:21, 4:52, 0.89, 13%, Easy
    Wed 5:20, 6:04, 0.88, 18%, Easy
    Thu 14:10, 9:56, 1.43, 91%, Challenging
    Fri 8:36, 12:57, 0.66, 4%, Easy (7th lowest ratio of 171 Fridays)
    Sat 15:06, 14:48, 1.02, 60%, Medium-Challenging
    Sun 21:57, 19:51, 1.11, 72%, Medium-Challenging

    paulsfo 10:26 PM  

    Reposting because I didn't get a response:

    Why is CTR (I assume that's "center") a municipal facility. If that's as in Community Center then it's a pretty lame clue.
    The most common uses of "center" in regards to a city are, I believe, "city center" or "town center", and neither refer to a facility. Am I missing something?

    Z 10:41 PM  

    @paulsfo - no, other than Rec Centers. But I do think that's a legitimate, if not thrilling, answer. Community Centers and Rec Centers are very common out in the 'burbs and hinterlands.

    paulsfo 10:54 PM  

    @Z - Thanks. And I agree that it's not completely wrong; that's why I said it was "lame." ;)
    Ijust would have preferred that, since it's a pretty tenuous connection, he had picked on of the 10,000 other things that have centers as the clue. :)

    Ellen S 1:03 AM  

    @Susan Jo--I totally wanted Queen Boadicea, but, well, as someone who was not Dante Gabriel Rossetti said, you don't always get what you want. It would be nice to see her in a puzzle some time so we can all talk about her story.

    Anonymous 7:40 AM  


    Play and download Scary Maze Game to your mobile at http://thescarygames.org

    Georgia 9:05 AM  

    I didn't know "seta" and wonder why "Sun" is a sufficient clue for "tan?"

    Paul Keller 12:23 PM  

    @Z
    I said only that the website is an example of the government doing something well. Congress pulls money out of the USPTO to pay for other programs. This leaves the patent office underfunded. The examiners are understaffed, overworked, and underpaid.

    Spacecraft 12:04 PM  

    After the debacle of yesterday, this was fun, fun, fun! OFL, why make such a point about whether the anagrams were original or not? What difference does it make? I bet when you were younger you MADENICE. What happened?

    Chuckled at ALASNOMOREZS, har-harred at BADCREDIT, and guffawed at HEBUGSGORE. Great stuff.

    Montreal Diva 1:56 PM  

    Speaking of dated, cluing " marg" from china beach? Instead of that little show called CSI?

    Anonymous 2:36 PM  

    i still don't get mayo containers being anos. Help!

    Smacd 3:10 PM  

    Anon @ 2:36 PM: In Spanish, "Anos" are years, which include the months "Mayos."

    Smacd 3:14 PM  

    Erratum: That is, the month "Mayo", in the singular!

    Anonymous 3:18 PM  

    Oh, wow, thanks.

    Dirigonzo 2:49 PM  

    Any puzzle with ABORC near the center of the grid is OK in my book. TAN crossing PABA was a nice touch for those of us who love to SUN on the pool deck all summer.

    Anonymous 3:36 PM  

    Nobody complaining about Bongo
    Maybe "you beat it"
    But not just "beat it"

    Bob Kerfuffle 4:49 PM  

    @Anonymous, 3:36 PM - Re: "Beat it" for BONGO. This is just one of the quirky forms of cluing that comes up once in a while in crosswords. It has been discussed previously on this blog, although I am sorry I can't come up with a citation at the moment. And when you think about it, when you come across an imperative in a clue, to whom must it be addressed? You, I would think, so "beat it" is equivalent to "you beat it." :>)

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