Hot Pockets maker / TUE 4-16-13 / Onetime catchprhase for athlete Jackson / Compressed video file format / Old McDonnell Douglas aircraft / Scripps-sponsored event for kids / Very slangily

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Constructor: Peter Broda

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: GO BELLY UP (37A: File for Chapter 11 ... or do an 18-, 20-, 60- or 64-Across)— theme answers are all activities in which the participant literally goes belly up:

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Proceed on all fours, in a way (CRAB WALK)
  • 20A: Butterfly alternative (BACKSTROKE)
  • 60A: Caribbean party event (LIMBO DANCE)
  • 64A: Decathlon event (HIGH JUMP) 

Word of the Day: EUNICE Shriver (14A: One of the Shrivers) —
Eunice Mary Kennedy Shriver, DSG (July 10, 1921 – August 11, 2009) was a member of the Kennedy family, sister of President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the founder in 1962 of Camp Shriver which started on her Maryland farm known as Timberlawn and, in 1968 evolved into the Special Olympics. Her husband, Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr., was United States Ambassador to France and the Democratic vice presidential candidate in the 1972 U.S. presidential election. (wikipedia)
• • •

Pretty clever post-Tax Day puzzle. Solving experience was very weird. Absurdly slow start. Got virtually nothing in the NW, which felt more Wed-Thu than Tuesday for sure, but then I finally got DRACOS (ouch) (17A: "Harry Potter" antagonist and namesakes), and that corner began to come into view. No way I was seeing stuff like REIN IN, NESTLE (6D: Hot Pockets maker) (???), or EURASIA without crosses, which I just couldn't come by. Forgot ICOSA (5D: Twenty: Prefix). Didn't really know EUNICE (who is a Kennedy to me) (14A: One of the Shrivers). Should've got RED BULL but didn't for a while (1D: Popular energy drink). It was really a disaster up there. Then things leveled off and my time was bad for a Tuesday but not HELLA bad. I like the theme, and I love much of the fill, but the grid is weird / awkward. Huge corners and super-choppy middle make for a very uneven feel. This puzzle is 78 words (the max), which seems impossible given those corners (esp. the NW / SE). But the chopped up middle, with all those short answers, are where the grid really drives up the word count. This made the center very easy, the corners less so. Center keeps from being dull by virtue of the revealer and HELLA, which I'm pleasantly surprised to see (29D: Very, slangily). It's dated by now, but ... why not throw it in to the mix? I was more surprised to see the "BO KNOWS" campaign show up out of nowhere (13D: Onetime catchphrase for athlete Jackson). The NEXT GEN SEX SHOP in the SW took me by surprise as well (43D: Like many newly unveiled electronics, casually + 41D: Store for couples, maybe). This was entertaining overall. NW feels slightly awkward and jury-rigged (IN A CAST? DRACOS?), but theme is strong and fill is smooth with occasional moments of ELAN and sass.

  • 15A: Like a day in June, according to Lowell (RARE) — odd. There are thirty of them. How RARE can they be?
  • 69A: Old McDonnell Douglas aircraft (DC NINE) — Old McDonnell had an aircraft and DC NINE was its name. Oh. 
  • 62D: Compressed video file format (MPEG) — one of many answers that make this puzzle feel as if (unlike yesterday's) it was, in fact, a product of this millennium. 
  • 72A: Like Cheech & Chong, in most of their movies (STONED)HELLA STONED
 Hang in there, Boston.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Brendan McNamara 12:07 AM  

    This puzzle was easy and fun for me, perhaps because I slammed REDBULL, crossed USA and LATIN, and just never stopped except to ponder how Lowell made June days RARE and whether people actually call it LIMBODANCE rather than simple the limbo.

    Favorite fill: XAXIS. I just did another puzzle with XERXES in it. Love both.

    Evan 12:08 AM  

    As I told Peter via Facebook, I thought this puzzle had a fist full of awesome in it. Tightly executed theme with fill that punched me in the face so hard that I liked it. Sure, answers like EME and ICOSA and DRACOS aren't winning any awards (and I got the latter two very early on), but I'll more than gladly take them if it gives me RED BULL, SEX SHOP, NEXT GEN, BO KNOWS, STONED, DOING IN, HELLA, AND MPEG. Even GEICO feels like a modern reference, even if the clue for it is straightforward.

    Golf clap all around.

    syndy 12:08 AM  

    Loved the puzzle! And love facebook-My sister is in Boston to run the marathon and my brother in law was unable to phone out but used facebook to let us know they were both all right!so scary!I was born in Boston and it makes me weep! sorry.

    Don 12:21 AM  

    Probably owing to my relative youth, I found today's puzzle significantly easier than yesterday's, even solving several minutes faster. I liked it a lot, with no head-scratching clues.

    Also, Bo Jackson has been featured a lot recently on ESPN and NFL Network, so BO KNOWS is less "out of the lingo" than you'd think.

    Hella is still used with some frequency in further rural parts of New England.

    US Bankruptcy Code 12:26 AM  

    Chapter 11 of Bankruptcy Code provides the mechanism for a company to reorganize their debt and stay in business. Chapter 7 is when you actually go belly-up and liquidate.

    Pete 12:35 AM  

    HELLA, meaning nothing to me, never made it to my grid. I had to guess at it, so HELRA seemed plausable as the down and optimal as the across, considering it gave me SIN / REAR / SODOM as the crossing line.

    jae 12:43 AM  
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    jae 12:45 AM  

    Another smooth grid.  This was on the tough side for me.  Don't remember seeing ICOSA before, plus aEtna for GEICO, a job for REAL and a couple of other minor erasures made for slow going.

    BELLY UP is a pretty zippy theme and the fill kept up.  The DOING IN, OBSCENE, LINGER, STONED cluster was particularly nice. 

    Like it! Fun Tues.

    retired_chemist 1:05 AM  

    Medium hard but very enjoyable. Fun theme with a lot of cool fill, as others have pointed out.

    DELCO was my Allstate competitor, looking for a car battery. oops - it's Interstate.

    LexEME - I looked it up and I still don't understand what one is. Bah.

    HELLA dated? I've never heard the term, so I never knew it when it was current.

    Thanks, Mr. Broda.

    Arco Crabwalk Mpegs 1:23 AM  

    I hear HELLA once a day on the bus, usually a SF second generation Asian kid, as far as I can make out.
    Bugs me, but only bec it was the first word that made me feel old and out of the loop (and that was ten years ago!)
    I think it came into being same week as "My bad".
    And I knew my youth was over.

    I found the theme wildly inventive in a fun sorta way.

    Tho I suspect @US Bankruptcy code12:26 am is right (love this blog!), Chapter 7 would not have rung any bells.

    Love @rex Old McDonnell line. Worth rereading!

    ARCO is my old Italian beau Arcangelo's NICKname, and in italiano means rainbow.

    In other old beau news, I knew it was over with my Israeli when we were in a SEXSHOP and he kept thinking of things he could buy his son! (NEXTGEN)
    (ok, officially TMI)

    Very perky fill.
    and that double X in XAXIS is killer!!!

    On a sadder note...Boston Marathon. :(
    Is nothing sacred?

    Benko 2:13 AM  

    I liked this puzzle but found it absurdly difficult for a Tuesday. Took me twice as long to solve, much closer to a Friday time for me.
    But it has nice fill! it's well constructed. Can't complain except to say this was published on the wrong day.

    chefwen 2:47 AM  

    Pretty tough Tuesday, but I liked it and was able to finish unaided. Cheating on a Tuesday is unacceptable in this household. Real sticking points were at 13D BO KNOWS??? and 5D ICOSA??? Guessed correctly and surprised that my guesses worked. Still don't know what they mean. Google, here I come.

    41D I very confidently put in pro SHOP and felt very cocky about my answer. I guess if they were thinking about the very handsome Freddy Couples they would have capitalized Couples. DOH!

    50A had me thinking about cargos, precious and heavy, I already had OPS at 51D as in photo OPS. I was all over the place. But as mother always said "it all comes out in the wash."

    jae 3:26 AM  
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    jae 3:39 AM  
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    jae 3:42 AM  

    @r_c -- Just spent 30 min. or so surfing definitions of LEXEME. The best I can discern is that it's a term coined by linguists circa 1938 that was intended to completely confuse non-linguists.  I mean, how do you make sense of this

    ... units of lexical analysis, sometimes referred to as lexemes (in one sense of this term), are not necessarily identifiable as single grammatical units, whether as morphemes, words, or phrases. No priority, then, is ascribed to any one of the three...

    or this

    ...a meaningful linguistic unit that is an item in the vocabulary of a language...

    OK, the second thing makes a bit more sense, but still...

    @lms -- help??

    MetaRex 5:06 AM  

    Liked this one a lot. A very nice combination of a vivid theme and a kinda related implicit theme of answers that appeal to semi-dirty minds w/o giving too much offense to those w/ more delicate sensibilities. Thoughts for the ages are at JAR-RUNG, JAM-MUNG, JAB-BUNG

    Jack Lee 5:52 AM  

    * Sigh * - stymied by the sports clues again: OTB (had to look it up), BO KNOWS (well, I don't), and LONGJUMP before I realized it was HIGHJUMP ("now why do you go belly-up during a long jump? D'oh!").

    Thoughts and prayers are with Boston.

    loren muse smith 5:57 AM  

    Loved this fresh idea for a theme! Makes me want to run out and do a snow-angel. And more seven stack corners. Great job, Peter. I MOWed through this like nobody’s business. Usually I’m the lone voice whining that it was hard. Go figure.

    @Pete, retired_chemist – HELLA meant nothing to me, either. Never heard it.

    @jae - “lost” before REAL.

    And I can’t be the only one with “Jif” before JAR?

    As I filled in LEXEME, I said, “Huh? What is *that*? Some a_ _hole linguist’s way of saying word?” So I looked into it, too. I don’t remember ever hearing anyone use that. Seems it’s part of the study of morphology (forming words), and people want to have a way of saying that mouse and mice are two different words but one LEXEME. So I guess a LEXEME is a unit of meaning that can carry inflection? An abstract unit of meaning (LEXEME) that presents in various forms (“words”) when actually spoken? (Possibly akin to the distinction between the phoneme /t/ and the phones [ tʰ] in top and [t] in stop) So maybe run and ran are separate words but one LEXEME? Sorry – I didn’t dabble much into that kind of linguistics. @Acme – I’ll see your TMI and raise you one!

    Bob Kerfuffle 6:58 AM  

    LEXEME was new to me also. I would imagine it is the parent of our currently flourishing MEME.

    Elle54 7:06 AM  

    Got REDBULL and the NW easily, except the DRACOS ICOSA cross ( guessed right). Whenever there's a Harry Potter reference, I gotta guess.
    Did not know what BOKNOWS.
    Our family's prayers go out to Bosston and everyone affected.

    Milford 7:08 AM  

    Just loved this awesome Tuesday puzzle! So many fun entries: HELLA, BO KNOWS, STONED, IMAGINE, OBSCENE, SEX SHOP, etc. Plus we had a REX and a fiend(ISH) - crossworld shout outs? (Sorry, @ED :)

    I adored the BELLY-UP theme and entries (although I had the same suspicion that Chapter 11 actually saves your business). But the theme felt completely fresh to me.

    Still remember my mnemonic device for Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, GENUS, Species.

    My masters thesis was on eicosanoid synthesis (20-carbon fatty acids), so I did know that ICOSA meant twenty in Greek, but that's probably a tough one for many.

    "Hi" to Theresa from Detroit that posted yesterday. Yay, another Michigan poster!

    I've been the runner, the finish line volunteer, and the cheering family member at many finish lines. Such a horrible event - @syndy, I'm glad your family members are safe.

    Z 7:08 AM  

    Thanks (I think) @lms.

    GO BELLY UP above SIN - SODOM? Not in my How-To Manual.

    This is one of the most visual themes we've had. Love it. That NW was the last to finish, working up from LATIN and LISP. Is LATIN LISP a lexEME?

    @ACME - I was just wondering if the robot @Ashley Jacobs was for sale in that SEX SHOP? (For his son? - I make it a point not to think about the possibility that my sons are having sex (although I'm sure they are) so it is probably a good thing that he is an old beau)

    Criminals are always with us. Let's not let them change how we live our lives. Our thoughts are with the marathoners, their families, and all of Boston.

    James Russell Lowell 7:09 AM  

    Shout-out deriders: How about 10 D and 21 D, obvious attempts to gain the approval of the most important crossword bloggers?

    Here is the entire text of What is so Rare as a Day in June with a pretty picture to boot. (Read the whole thing and you'll see why it is remembered only a single line!)

    jberg 7:10 AM  

    Loren, your comments were really helpful. I figurd a lexEME must be somehow parallel to a morpheme, but you explained how that works. Thanks!

    I'm writing this at DCA/Reagan, waiting to fly home to Boston. Partner, who'd been with me for the weekend, flew home yesterday morning - so she spent the night alone there, and me here. Very unnerving for both of us. Fortunately our families are ok, but the 8-year old boy who died is from our neighborhood, and a friend to many friends though I don't know the family personally. This is no comparison with 9/11, nor with an average day in Afghanistan, Syria, or Congo in its magnitude -- but the sudden reversal of a day of triumphs and joy has a huge emotional impact on all of us.

    As for the puzzle, I really enjoyed it, even with all the contemporary stuff. At least I figured out that it was M (not J) PEG! Of course @Rex liked it, given 21D - but me too.

    Still -- you do a CRAB WALK on your back? I'll believe it, but wouldn't have known. And HIGH JUMP? Am I really out of date on some new technique? I'll take it on faith - more than made up for by SODOM and SEX SHOP in the ame puzzle!

    Milford 7:21 AM  

    FWIW, the BO KNOWS reference is from a Nike ad for cross-training shoes. Bo Jackson was a concurrent pro player in football and baseball, a phenomenal athletic specimen, and the ads were to (humorously) show that his Nikes let him excel in other, completely unrelated sports, e.g. basketball, baseball, running. I think Bo Diddley was in the ads, too.

    Leon 7:24 AM  

    I put in YAXIS at 54a and then came up with SPYSHOP for 41d. PME at 49a could not make it , so I went back to the solving.

    John V 7:25 AM  

    Good one, good debut, Peter. Medium here, except BOKNOWS, DRACOS/ICOSA, the latter which I got with a guess for the O. HELLA totally new to me.

    My prayers for Boston this sad day.

    Dick Fosbury 7:26 AM  

    @jberg - the Fosbury Flop is hardly a new technique, as some of the old images in the google search show.

    Milford 7:26 AM  

    Ok, delete the second baseball. Duh.

    Glimmerglass 7:29 AM  

    Hard puzzle for a Tuesday, which is always fine by me. Never heard of [LEX]EME ICOSA, or HELLA (but I'm old). The rest was in my wheelhouse, so I could win with crosses. I liked that the theme answers "GO BELLY UP" in different ways. CRABWALK is almost opposite to the others, but one must indeed keep one's belly up. Unlike Rex, I wrote in most of the NW quickly, getting 5D on crosses.

    Rob C 8:24 AM  

    Not a lot to add to the comments thus far. Neat theme, very good fill. Just wanted to add my vote for liked.

    joho 8:25 AM  

    I'm with @Z that this is a really visual puzzle, you can actually see people doing the theme answers: fun!

    I could also see Adam and Eve with the "talking serpent" in EDEN ... what a SIN and their DOINGIN! Perhaps 4D should have been clued "Satan" for Old NICK instead of the "Jolly old" saint.

    Loved PIG/LATIN.

    Shout out to REX at 21D!

    Way above average Tuesday puzzle, thank you, Peter Broda!

    mom 8:27 AM  

    Oh, please: lexeme?

    evil doug 8:27 AM  

    I knew the DC-9. I flew the DC-9. DC-Nine is not its name-o.


    Carola 8:37 AM  

    Fun theme! - once I understood it. Did the NW first, and with BACKSTROKE in place, thought the theme was swimming so, moving east, CRA... became CRAwl off. Fixing that took a while, especially because I couldn't believe BOKN...??? Thought the reveal was GENiUS.

    An actor IN A CAST might say "I'M ON!" Also liked the little language-related LISP- PIG LATIN cluster. Wonder how lexEMEs work there.

    @loren - I join you with Jif.

    retired_chemist 8:44 AM  

    @ Milford - knew ICOSA both from the regular 20-sided polyhedron ( the ICOSAhedron) and from the C(20) hydrocarbon eicosane. We had a gallon of the latter in the lab for decades - I think a student wanted it for a GC standard at one point and a gallon was the smallest quantity he could buy. Memory dims as to why it was there, but there it was.

    Bookdeb 8:55 AM  

    Bo Knows commercial.

    dk 8:55 AM  

    What the HELLA! Andrea you have had other boyfriends! You have been to a 41D.

    Cue the Doom song from Invader Zim.

    At age 62 I sailed through this one even though as a youth I was frequently 72D. Son tells me 4/20 is a big day for stoners. He is off to Madison. Sigh last time I was there it was for a SDS gathering… Youth is wasted on the young.

    Sun may come out today.

    Excellent Tuesday!

    🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4 Stars) IMAGINE a SEXSHOP in SODOM: HELLA!

    Susan McConnell 8:58 AM  

    LOL @ acme's Israeli story!

    Loved this very fun, easy Tuesday puzzle. Loved entering XAXIS. Scratched my head over HELLA (as in HELLAva good?). Had BOK_O showing before I read the clue and could not imagine what it was going to be.

    Lindsay 9:01 AM  

    I saw the "File for Chapter 11 ...." clue before filling in any letters and immediately thought "Reorganize. Anagrams. Dumb. Dumb dumb dumb."

    Pleasantly surprised to find that was not the case, and amused by the goofy-yet-athletic theme answers.

    David 9:10 AM  

    Liked the little math sub-theme. Some solid geometry (ICOSAhedron), analytic geometry (XAXIS), and algebra: Number that's its own square (ONE). Also zero.

    chefbea 9:34 AM  

    Too tough for me.DNF..and on a Tuesday.

    I parsed 13 down as Bok nows and of course it made no sense.

    Of course noted the shout out to Rex.

    Busy day - Guests coming for dinner so gotta start cooking

    jackj 9:40 AM  

    We waited for hours to learn that a family friend, a young nurse running her first marathon to benefit pediatric oncology patients at a Boston hospital, had narrowly escaped injury as she was only 500 yards from the finish line when the bombs blew.

    This was unspeakable carnage that turned the area surrounding our beloved Boston Public Library into a human abattoir and learning that our friend was safe softened our unease but nothing, nothing, will erase the pain, memories and anger brought to us by the despicable cowards who carried out this horrendous act.

    My only lingering thought about the puzzle concerns SEXSHOP.

    By being forced into the mix through questionable reliance on the uber-obscure “lexeme”, it seemed too artificial and should have been saved for inclusion in a puzzle where it had sufficient context, not just dropped in like a rogue microburst.

    It was easily changed today by cluing “Suffix with leg-“ which would get UME then X AXIS could as readily be B AXIS, producing, “Hero house?” (or even “Naval boatyard?”), for SUBSHOP.

    Eric 9:43 AM  

    We had ON POT last week, this week we have STONED. I wonder how long until we have the more colloquial "blazed," "ripped," and "high as balls" in a grid.

    Overall, a fun Tuesday! Original, snappy theme. Though, is the LIMBO really a DANCE? It's more of a conga line with a bendy maneuver at the end.

    elitza 9:51 AM  

    @ Milford: I'm Michigan, too! Up by the pinky finger. Glorious.

    Loved the puzzle today. Raced through in under 5 minutes, which Never Ever Happens for me. One of those days.

    Awfully spicy fill! SODOM SEXSHOP STONED REININ (oh, that last one's just me? Heh). Dug everything about it. 1A fell and it was smooth from there except overthinking the SW (had ALOE, wanted Jif, not JAR, some erasures after that). Great Tuesday.

    Jim 9:57 AM  

    Top half extremely fast except for the seminal R in RARE.

    JAR (Jif) and MPEG (jPEG) completely messed me up for 90 seconds. That's all it takes. Blew it. Damn it.

    Jon Stine 10:08 AM  

    @Bookdeb Thanks for the memory. That was before the days of DVR when I had to watch the commercial.

    I really enjoyed this puzzle! Usually, I find that the puzzles are easier than figuring out the two robot words! :)

    Gill I. P. 10:22 AM  

    OOOH, loved this puzzle. EME and XAXIS were kME and iAXIS because my "store for couples" was a ski SHOP. How boring is that? @Chefwen - cocky indeed !!! I think it's much more fun to go into a SEX SHOP with you gal pals. Speaking of, a very good friend of mine (hi Cathleen) tells the most hilarious OBSCENE jokes at the drop of a hat. Her nickname is "rip snorter."
    Did BO KNOWS have anything to do with the Obama's dog?
    Great puzzle PETER BRODA - I'll take another one, please.

    Notsofast 10:39 AM  

    Sometimes "easy" Tuesdays can be a lot of fun. Like this one. Great clues. Great fill. What more could you want? There aren't even any "over-used" crossword-type fill words! By the way, is there a term for those words? Ten-gallon hat-tip to Mr. Broda!

    Sandy K 10:47 AM  

    Liked the theme revealer and the answers!

    @Susan McConnell- thought it should be HELLuvA. Never heard of HELLA.

    @ LMS and @Carola- Had Jif before JAR too.

    @jberg- thought j-PEG before M-PEG.

    Never heard of lexEME, ICOSA or Harry Potter's DRACO.

    Was harder than your average Tuesday.

    Bananarchy 10:47 AM  
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    Two Ponies 10:50 AM  

    Best Tuesday in a while.
    Can someone use hella in a sentence?
    Damn you @ED, now I have that Bingo dog song in my head!

    Bananarchy 10:51 AM  

    This is your constructor speaking...
    Wow, I'm honestly blown away by the reactions to the puzzle. Glad y'all enjoyed it and, more importantly, that the vocab promoted so much discussion.

    A few things:
    -I'm not happy about things like -EME or DRACOS either (and was prepared to see this puzzle get ripped apart because of them), but this was one of the first puzzles I made and I like to thing my standards have become stricter re: fill.
    -I had no idea that HELLA would be unknown to so many, but then that's what makes discussions like this interesting. From comments here and on Fiend, it seems it's something of a regional thing. Up here in Saskatchewan people of my generation know it and use(d) it, but of course we get 95% of our culture from American media.
    -Very weird online experience, going back and forth between reading feedback about my debut and reading about the tragedy in Boston. Terrible.

    Thanks for the feedback; til next time!

    quilter1 10:52 AM  

    Great Tuesday that i enjoyed doing. Surprised by SEX SHOP and STONED but I guess the Times they are achangin'.
    So sad about the Boston disaster. I feel sure the bombers will be caught. I was surprised to read that over 140 Iowans ran in the marathon, plus their support groups. No Iowans were injured, thankfully. Very shaken.

    jerry k 10:52 AM  

    As somebody who was escorted out of the office by guards, after only 30 years of service, I can attest to a Chapter 7 being belly up. Finished with never hearing of xaxis (red line under it), Dracos (another red line) or icosa (yet another). Cool challenge. God bless Boston.

    DBGeezer 10:59 AM  

    The first stanza of James Russell Lowell's poem:

    And what is so rare as a day in June?
    Then, if ever, come perfect days;
    Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
    And over it softly her warm ear lays;
    Whether we look, or whether we listen,
    We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
    Every clod feels a stir of might,
    An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
    And, groping blindly above it for light,
    Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
    The flush of life may well be seen
    Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
    The cowslip startles in meadows green,
    The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
    And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
    To be some happy creature's palace;
    The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
    Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
    And lets his illumined being o'errun
    With the deluge of summer it receives;
    His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
    And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
    He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,
    In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

    Milford 11:04 AM  

    @Two Ponies - This puzzle had a HELLA good theme! Yes, think of it as sort of a "hell of a" or "hellava" variant.

    People may also be thinking of "Holla", which is more of an shout out to friends.

    @elitza - Hi! Love the pinky area, lots of beautiful sights up there!

    @retired chemist - I have such a clear picture of those brown, gallon reagent bottles, old and dusty on the shelf, and no one remembers why they exist in the lab.

    Mel Ott 11:41 AM  

    The only thing I get from reading about LEXEME is that linguists need some help in clarifying their language. :-)

    Lewis 11:43 AM  

    Wow -- I was right on the wavelength for this one. I don't watch my times closely, but it felt like one of my fastest Tuesdays ever.

    Peter, thanks for checking in. I think you'll find that if the puzzle is enjoyable overall, the solvers are very willing to forgive a couple of clunkers.

    Loved XAXIS...

    retired_chemist 11:55 AM  

    @ bananarchy - Peter, thanks for dropping by.

    Ellen S 12:21 PM  

    Kids in my neighborhood still use HELLA. I thought it was easy except for BO KNOWS. Never heard of him, never saw the ads. Had EMT for 36A and for all I knew BOWKNOWt was something in PIG LATIN. (or some non-kosher English, maybe EEL LATIN.) Advertising campaign slogans are okay with us, but not the products they advertised?

    @Evil -- don't fret about DC-NINE; or, go ahead and fret, but it won't do you any good. Somebody (@Evan?) a couple of weeks ago made a comment, ineptly paraphrased here, that if the answer is "credible", it's okay. Meaning, i think, that if people can get it, it's all right even if Chapter 7 is when a company goes BELLY UP; even if EULOGIA is not plural and doesn't refer even to a singular tribute. Etc.

    Always surprises me that OFL, a literature Prof, knows most if not all of the pop culture stuff and yet is stumped by literary references. Thanks, ghost (do people live on in cyberspace?) of James Russel Lowell, for the link to your poem. The ending is distrubing, esp. in light of yesterday's tragedy:
    And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
    Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,
    Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.

    Whoa! That's sure a shift from the sun sparkling and birds singing and flowers blooming and stuff!!! What is this poem about?

    And speaking of burnt-out craters, @JackJ says, "but nothing, nothing, will ease the pain, memories and anger brought to us by the despicable cowards who carried out this horrendous act." It's true, but we need to remember that we bring, have brought, are bringing (LEXEMEs, I guess) even more pain, memories and anger when U.S. drones drop bombs on children, weddings, and even neighbors rushing to help the wounded, in countries which had done nothing to us: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan (when it was our ally!), Yemen, Somalia. And somehow "piloting" these planes - controling them from a computer console thousands of miles away, doesn't seem like an act of heroism. I'm afraid our national character has been shaped by the fact that we have always been isolated from the Old World, remote, safe. The continental United States was unscathed by the wars of the 20th century. Soldiers died, but nobody rained death on our cities. Now we're not invulnerable any more. Maybe we need a different kind of foreign policy, one which doesn't assume we can drop bombs on whomever we please and they won't be able to retaliate.

    Shouldn't have said all that here, but, well, I did it.

    Sfingi 12:21 PM  

    Had a Natick on a Tues - ICOSA crosses DRACOS. Don't think I can ever bear to read Harry Potter.

    Speaking of Natick, thost's the 10th mile of the Boston Marathon, and that destruction is all very sad.

    Never heard of HELLA (youth?) or BO KNOWS (sports.

    Was the REX ref a tease? I have a ninety yr. old toy called Radio Rex. He's a celluloid bulldog in a wood doghouse. If you yell, "Here REX," he pops out.

    MikeM 12:34 PM  

    Great Tuesday. Mostly easy for me. Did not know HELLA but I use "helluva" in daily conversation. Only real holdback was yAXIS/XAXIS. I had ___SHOP and thought maybe proSHOP. ("Store for couples" as in Fred Couples, but couples was not capitalized). Also had a brain fart andcould not remember LIMBO. Samba kept coming to mind. DCNINE seemed wrong at first, too many consenants upfront. My wife's favorite song appears in 42A. Love a nice June day, they are rare.
    God Bless Boston. Great town, great people. What has gone so wrong in this world?

    Anonymous 1:23 PM  

    Maybe I'm just hella stoned, but that was as good a Tuesday puzzle as one could ask for.

    I have no clue what's going on with icosa or lexeme, but that pales in comparison to the greatness of Bo knows, Pig Latin or lisp. The best part was that it was so inclusive. The younger crowd can take advantage of an MPEG to watch obscene acts of Sodom, but if you're old-fashioned, you can still walk over the sex shop with your partner.

    Now it's time to take another big rip, and exhale.

    Kris in ABCA 1:35 PM  

    I really liked this one. It played super fast for me - and I liked the fresh fill like XAXIS, SEXSHOP, and CRABWALK.

    Count me as one of the ones who never heard of HELLA. Thanks, @Milford, for using it in a sentence - I was going to ask for that but @Two Ponies beat me to it.

    Masked and Anonymo5Us 1:40 PM  

    GOBELLYUP pretty much describes two different dogs I know, whenever I show up & call out their names.

    ToughieTuesPuz. Supremo. Bring it on, Bro(da)!

    * PIG/LATIN. Excellent ueclay, to boot-ay.
    * ARCO.HELLA.MPEG. Meaty column. Kinda like mystery meat at the fast food place, for M&A.
    * REX.EAT.IMON. What a narrow escape, for LULU.
    * SEXSHOP/SIN. Third is often the hot corner. That's baseball. p.s. "42" is a supergreat flick. Someday they'll have a similar "4-Oh" documentary, I bet.
    * EME. Needs a better clue. I got a top three list:
    1. Center of Yemen?
    2. Creme filling?
    3. Compass heading opposite of WMW.

    Bird 1:41 PM  

    Good & easy (no write-overs). Like the clever theme, but . .

    Made in "THE" USA

    Re: Boston

    Why can't we just all get along and live in harmony with each other. What does this senseless act solve? I hope it brings some small bit of comfort knowing that those responsible will be held accountable, whether here on Earth or someplace else.


    MetaRex 1:51 PM  

    Maybe a time-out on the politics, including MRian time outs on the politics :)

    Hey, it's good to know people...since I know and have benefited from Ellen S's passion for explaining how to link on blogger, I jump to the conclusion that her political passion is really a sublimated expression of her passion for OFL to fix up the messed-up instructions on that topic :)

    And wow, Boston is a tragedy...just got a nice email from the MFA about the museum being free today....wish I could get up from NJ to go.

    M and A almost missing it, 1:54 PM  

    Ooh ooh...
    EME #4: EWE gone belly up. har.

    Peace on Earth, good will to all in Boston.

    Carola 1:55 PM  

    M&A - LOL!! You're tuuuuu much!

    Laurence Hunt 2:42 PM  

    Not sure why, but my easy spots were your hard spots (and vice versa). Eunice was my first word, and rein in came quickly, same for red bull (only energy drink I know) and "in a cast." However, I got fooled by pig latin, and figured amscray was "later." As a Canadian, I couldn't remember the name "Geico," and I have no idea who athlete Jackson is, let alone "Bo Knows." I usually get the literary and scientific stuff, not sports or American culture. I liked in a cast as well as on a dime, nice pairs. And yes, much harder than the usual Tuesday, looking forward to easing up on Tuesday! By the way, I have a terrible time with proving I'm not a robot. Those scrambled letters make no sense to me.

    Sandy K 2:52 PM  

    @M&A- Agree with Carola!


    Letterman called. He wants his list back...

    retired_chemist 2:53 PM  

    Better clue for 49A: Conclusion of a theme.

    LEXEME,however, was a fun word to learn about. Can't say I learned it per se since I still do not understand what one is. If our constructor is still hanging around, I think more than one of us would appreciate an illustrative example.

    Benko 3:27 PM  

    EME can also refer to:
    La EME, the Mexican mafia.
    Eigenmode expansion, a type of computational algorithm.
    Earth Moon Earth, a type of communication known as "moon bounce" (my favorite suggestion for alternate cluing).
    Electromagnetic environment.
    EME, a psychedelic drug.
    EME, Scottish and middle English for "uncle" (this was used in pre-shortzian crosswordese).
    Early Modern English.
    Early Myoclonic Encephalopathy, a type of epilepsy.

    So there are plenty of clues available (albeit mostly abbreviated) which are possible superior to using "suffix for lex".
    Still liked the puzzle.

    okanaganer 3:39 PM  

    @Evil least the answer wasn't DCIX.
    What a naughtly little puzzle!

    OISK 3:43 PM  

    Another thumbs up! Really enjoyed this one, and finished in 6 minutes, which is a fast Tuesday for me. (Yesterday was nearly 8 minutes, a slow Monday). Nice fill, very cute theme, just a fine job all around.

    I love Boston, and wish Bostonians well, and may they never experience anything like this ever again. That said, perhaps political views don't belong on this blog? (What say REX?) I disagree with Ellen to some small degree, for example, but don't think this is the place for that discussion.

    Again, wonderful Tuesday puzzle! I even knew the Beatle reference! Imagine!

    David from CA 4:08 PM  

    DCNINE! Come on - no one ever spells out airplane model numbers - gone for a ride on a seven forty seven lately? How about "Supreme Court, slangily"?
    But a fun puzzle anyway.

    Z 4:34 PM  

    @OISK- the list of topics not discussed by the commentariat of this blog is very, very short. OFL rarely censors anything but nasty personal attacks (and one or two here might accuse him of the same on one occasion).

    Personally, I am always curious when smart people disagree with other smart people. Still, it s a xword blog, not a political blog.

    Mr. Broda - thanks for stopping by. It's always great to hear from the constructor.

    sanfranman59 4:42 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)

    Tue 9:29, 8:15, 1.15, 82%, Challenging

    Top 100 solvers

    Tue 5:34, 4:49, 1.16, 85%, Challenging

    Bananarchy 4:56 PM  

    Broda here again.

    I'll be honest, LEXEMEs are not really my area of expertise, and I used EME (admittedly sketchy fill) to complete that corner because I had seen it used in other puzzles often clued as "Linguist's suffix," due to its almost exclusive usage in that area. e.g. LEXEME, MORPHEME, and PHONEME, each of which refers to a fundamental class of of lexical unit at a given level of linguistic analysis. If I recall correctly, a morpheme is a discrete unit of meaning (suffixes like ISH and IST for instance) and a phoneme is an indivisible phonetic unit such as a long A sound or a CH sound (don't take my word on this).

    The Wikipedia article gives a nice illustrative example of a lexeme: that of a dictionary heading. While RUNS, RUNNING, RAN, etc. are all legitimate words, their dictionary entries will likely tell the reader to refer to the RUN entry, which in turn will list all conjugations and other forms under the definition. Here, RUN is the lexeme, or the fundamental semantic form of the word.

    Interestingly, lexemes are also important in the closely related field of computation, as much of the fundamental theory of programming languages and compilers is borrowed from Noam Chomsky's work regarding formal grammars, and I'm a little more familiar with this usage. I can't think of a concise way to describe that usage, though, since it's been a while since I've touched computation theory and I am supposed to be working right now...

    One last thing, though: I'm fascinated at the response BO KNOWS has received. That was meant to be my marquee non-theme entry, but I guess I overestimated the reach of that bit of pop culture.

    retired_chemist 6:10 PM  

    @ Bananarchy - Maybe so. I had never heard of the phrase. BO Jackson, yes, so the rest was easy given crosses.

    Anonymous 8:15 PM  

    As was Sonny Bono.

    Ebenezer 10:01 PM  

    It took me a long time to get the ARCO RARE cross, but I was able to finally figure it out. BO KNOWS took a long time, too - I'd forgotten about that, but I smiled when I figured it out. (Many Seattle Seahawks fans vividly remember Bo Jackson as a Raider running over Brian Bosworth on Monday Night Football.)

    A lot of fun stuff here - the SEX SHOP and SIN cross was funny, as was SODOM and OBSCENE/METERED.

    EURASIA reminds me of Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel," as Diamond makes the argument it's really one continent, and was advantageous for spurring technology.

    I'm even fine with DRACOS. These days, doesn't it always seem there's two or three in every classroom? Maybe not.

    sanfranman59 10:02 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 6:12, 6:14, 1.00, 47%, Medium
    Tue 9:31, 8:15, 1.15, 82%, Challenging

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:51, 3:43, 1.04, 69%, Medium-Challenging
    Tue 5:28, 4:49, 1.13, 81%, Challenging

    Tita 10:38 PM  

    Pretty easy, and racy, except mistake at EMt, wild a$$ guess for the DRAC_S/ICO_A Natick.
    @Sfingi - I had the same thought.

    I was an ACE at the LIMBODANCE back in the day - I remember plenty of parties at the afore-mentioned WANG Labs. Let me EXHALE as I LINGER on those STONED memories.
    Oh - I had a LISP when I was about 4. People would ask me to say "kitchen window".

    Hard to fathom Boston, with so many close friends/family there, all thankfully OK, so soon after the tragedy literally next door at Newtown.
    Strength to all who have been touched there.

    LaneB 11:36 PM  

    Got a late start but finished with a couple of mistakes: DRACuS/ICuSA cross and SinSHOP/nAXIS. It seems that NEO is a prefix for just about everything--which maylbe why the more puzzles you do, the better you get doing them.

    Harder than the usual Tuesday--but doable.

    Bea 1:14 PM  

    Tuesday was a toughie! Fun bits that brought me back to being a teen: STONED and HELLA. *snicker*

    peter thomos 1:24 AM  

    Your video is excellent....i really liked your blog, appreciate the great information.... 

    Spacecraft 11:55 AM  

    "Would you read my lexEME?
    "Would you on a DCNINE?
    "Would you, could you, INACAST?
    "Would you, could you, ONADIME?"

    "I do not like them, PeteIam;
    "I do not like that verbal spam."

    Yeah, but still, I enjoyed doing this one. I IMAGINE that lots of folks GOBELLYUP to appear in a SEXSHOP. OK, I'll stop that.

    I have never heard or seen HELLA until it forced itself into today's grid on crosses. I thought it was HELLofA or HELLuvA and we were rebus(s)ing. But this little glitch was the only snag that took it from easy to easy-medium--on the easy side. Everything else just fell in.

    [Movie moment aside--sorry, can't help it]: "Now do what I do, and say what I say, and make me proud. Fall IN!"

    My one woe is that I can't do any of those four theme things--most likely because I'm not that far away from doing the fifth.

    HELLuvA thing.

    J.aussiegirl 12:13 PM  

    Tough for me, but a clever puzzle even though I DNF - oh well, tomorrow's another day!

    Most literary and science stuff I can usually get, but not so much the pop culture and sports clues although many are inferable from across and down fill. Had Aetna instead of Geico, so that section was just goofy.

    Our secret language of choice is "arpy-darpy".

    Spacecraft 12:29 PM  

    Where'd it go? I posted, got accepted even, but it's not here. [sigh] OK, let's try this again.

    Maybe it was something I said about GOingBELLYUP vis-a-vis appearing in a, um, 41d. OBSCENE?

    Alas, I am too close to the revealer to be a participant in any of the other theme "activities," better called "acrobatics" IMHO.

    I had fun doing this one, and found it easy except for HELLA, which was utterly unknown to me till it forced itself in on crosses today. I thought it was helluva and we were rebus(s)ing. What are metuvals??

    There were some problems with the fill: didn't care for DCNINE, EME, or the partials at 3- and 11-d--but even those two made me think of Dr. Seuss:

    Would you, could you, INACAST?
    Would you, could you, ONADIME?

    I do not like it, PeteIam;
    I do not like such verbal spam.

    Withal, thumbs (not yet belly!) up. Second day in a row with stacked sevens in all corners--including plenty of freshness: REDBULL, DOINGIN, SODOM crossing OBSCENE. All that can't be easy, so a tip of the hat collector's hat to PB#2.

    [Iconic movie moment: "You're good, kid. Real good. Maybe the best I've seen. But as long as I'm around, you'll always be second best. You'd better learn to live with that."]

    Spacecraft 12:34 PM  

    Oh dear. Now the first one's there. Sorry, guys. I don't know what happened; I'd remove one of them if I knew how, but I'll shut up now.

    Syndi Solver 2:24 PM  

    I enjoyed the puzzle. Fun and zippy in spite of the few areas that weren't so great. For me, ICOSA crossing DRACOS was the ugliest bit. ICOSA is a bit obscure for a Tuesday and plurals of relatively RARE names like Draco are something I'd rather not see.

    PIG crossing LATIN was cute! OTB crossing BO KNOWS was HELLA hard for me. Eventually my little grey cells dredged those answers out of my memory.

    Even though I'm pretty old now, and was never hip or cool even when I was young, I had no trouble with HELLA. Y'all must not be reading the same blogs that I do. It's an adverb, like very, so it's not a substitute for helluva.

    By the way, @Spacecraft, thanks for sharing that "metuvals" moment -- funny! And I liked your channeling of Dr. Seuss.

    Okay, "You may say I'm a dreamer..." but if I have to endure an earworm today then IMAGINE is not a bad choice. :-)

    DMGrandma 2:31 PM  

    Only problem with this one was the Jackson phrase. With EMt in place, it took the crosses to discover BOKNOWt couldn't be right. I guess somewhere those guys in the ambulance are something other than Emergency Medical Technicans? Maybe Service?. Maybe someone mentioned it above, but I got a late start and haven't had time to read many comments. Off to lunch!

    Dirigonzo 2:39 PM  

    My go-to "athlete Jackson" is Reggie so it took a while to parse BO KNOWS even after the crosses filled it in. I can see a couple of entries that I would include in the SEXSHOP discussion but I won't recite them here - imaginative couples (if you must limit your activity to 2 people) can find them on their own.

    @Spacecraft - "disappearing posts" used to happen to me occasionally; I actually wondered if Rex was deleting them for some technical violation. But apparently Blogger just does that occasionally. Those of us with a blogger profile have a "trash can" we can use to delete a post - perhaps open ID posters don't?

    Solving in Seattle 6:33 PM  

    If you want a good chuckle, read @Masked & Anon 1:40 post.

    @Spacecraft, great poem. Thanks.

    @Diri, me too on BOKNOWS. Last entry was changing EMt to EMS.


    Racy puz, Peter, and thanks for the visit.

    rain forest 6:48 PM  

    Every so often a puzzle comes along that is just, well, delightful throughout, and I'm proud to say it was constructed by a Saskatchewan guy (I was born in Saskatchewan and still root for the Roughriders).

    @Spacecraft--brilliant Dr. Seuss parody, and funny post, but you're not going belly up anytime soon. We're not letting you off that easy.

    Ginger 9:03 PM  

    Really fine puzzles seem to inspire really fine posts. This one inspired some great comments. I sure hope 'real time' commenters will come back in time and check out @Spacecraft(both of 'em) and @SIS.

    Quite tough, especially for a Tues. I don't remember the last DNF on Tues. The DRACaS/ICaSA cross got me. Thought it might be my house..... Also missed the oAXIS. Anyway, fun fun puzzle.

    Real Time Z Syndi Lurker 9:09 PM  

    @ginger- the syndicomments were outstanding today.

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