Japanese colonel in Bridge on River Kwai / WED 4-17-13 / 1876 novelist / Org founded by Dr Nathan Smith / Heads to numismatist / Richie's mom to Fonz / Last Oldsmobiles made

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: SECURITY (66A: Mall cop's job ... or a word that can precede the starts of 19-, 32-, 43- and 58-Across) — just like it says:


  • CLEARANCE SALE (19A: Department store superevent)
  • CAMERA READY (32A: Like photographable copy)
  • DEPOSIT SLIP (43A: Part of a stack at a bank)
  • BLANKET DENIAL (58A: "These allegations are completely false!," e.g.)

Word of the Day: PIU (49A: More, musically) —
adv.1.(Mus.) A little more; as, piĆ¹ allegro, a little more briskly.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co.
• • •

Dime-a-dozen theme type slightly enlivened by a. a longer-than-usual revealer (usually "words that can precede/follow" are short things) and b. halfway decent theme answers. "Halfway" in that half are good, specifically CAMERA READY and BLANKET DENIAL. Long Downs are also nice (esp. 10D: "1876" novelist => GORE VIDAL). But the fill is heavy on the dreck. Lots and lots of bad and/or boring stuff. AMUCK ABENT ADRIP AHEAP, for starters. And that's really just the start of it. This is a 74-word puzzle. If you can't keep OMN (?!) out of your grid, if you have to clog your grid with partials and odd spellings and ancient crosswordese, as well as a pop culture answer so moribund it hasn't been seen since 1989 (SAITO), then you should probably consider going to 76 or 78 words and making the fill ... acceptable. Passable. Bearable. I kept being on the verge of enjoying the puzzle, only to have the gunk rise up and drag me under. Perhaps more sterling fill here and there would've balanced things out. I don't know. I just know pairs of answers like ERO and ESS, or REDDI and ESTOP, repeatedly sapped my will to continue today.


Much trouble getting started in the NW, as I refuse (even now) to spell "amok" the way this puzzle thinks I should. ABENT is one of the more awkward partials I've ever seen in a grid, so that didn't come easily. BAD CASE really flummoxed me, as I had BADDEST (?) and had to adjust from there. Got my first real toehold in the NE with AMAS (which has the non-virtue of being both old old crosswordese *and* an apparent plural of 1A: AMA [Org. founded by Dr. Nathan Smith]. Once I got going, I didn't encounter much in the way of real trouble. Just took a bit more effort than usual to move around the grid. Forgot Sting's real last name (also considered SUMMER and SUMTER) (45D: Gordon ___ (Sting's real name) (SUMNER)), and, of course, had no idea about SAITO. Otherwise, very doable.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

85 comments:

syndy 12:11 AM  

agree completely except I'd give it a easy medium.Started at AMUCK and went down from there

Evan 12:11 AM  

I had MAD CASE. Didn't question that cross. In fact, you could almost make a case for CAM -- I could have sworn that someone at the ACPT told me that at a previous tournament, there was a three-letter answer related to auto stuff where it could have been CAB or CAM, and that crossed a three-letter answer for "Sign of spring" (thus BUD or MUD). Regardless, I should have seen this one was wrong because CAMERA READY was already in the puzzle.
D'oh!

Evan 12:14 AM  

Oh, and a quick response to @Ellen S from yesterday:

I don't remember making such a comment about an answer being okay if it's "credible," so I don't think that was me.

jae 12:30 AM  

I also agree with Rex ( including AMUCK?). There was one too many A___.  My tipping point was ADRIP.   Admittedly, yesterday's is hard to follow, but this didn't even try.

Possible tough cross:  SUMNER/PIU.  An O looks possible.  I somehow dredged up Sting's real name.

And me too for a WOE on SAITO.

Medium for me and I was not a fan. 

retired_chemist 12:32 AM  

Easy-medium. Rex has a point about weak fill, but I still enjoyed the ride.

ALEROS live on in crosswords, presumably almost forever, like FAVRE on the football field. I can never tell APOGEE from perigee, but here it has to be the six letter one. Similarly, Minnesota has several neighbors but only MANITOBA is an eight letter one. CVI went right in as a lucky guess. Tried Laredo @ 47D off the O - crosses set me straight pretty quickly. Come to think of it, I should have considered El Paso too.

Thanks, Mr. Donaldson.

okanaganer 1:19 AM  

A rare occasion: I immediately knew every single proper name used, resulting in a very fast Wednesday for me. SAITO because I've seen the movie dozens of times; MANITOBA: lived there; DEL RIO: drove thru and was glad I didn't have to stop, etc...

However the law of averages predicts I will pay for this some day soon, when by chance the constructor will use 10 or 12 names I have never heard of.

okanaganer 1:23 AM  

Also: MANITOBA / MAPLE ...one of the most common trees in that province. The crossing is probably a happy coincidence!

Citizen Zeus 1:28 AM  

For some reason, one of the easiest Wednesdays solved in recent memory. Seemed more like a Monday to me. However, I had a heckuva time with last Saturday and Rex thought that was easy. We seem to have opposite orientations.

Davis 2:11 AM  

@jae — It just so happens that I made that O/U mistake. Fortunately, that was the last square I filled in, and the one I was unsure of, so I knew right away that was my mistake when the app told me no-go.

There were some entries that pleased me by hitting topics I enjoy: BOURNE, APOGEE. But I have to agree that the bad fill really dragged this one down. AMUCK, ADRIP, and PIU were the worst offenders.

The nice theme manages to rescue this grid though, bringing it from a Meh-Minus to an Okay in my gradebook.

Numinous 3:05 AM  

Amuck totally smucked! Yeah, Websters tells me it's a variant of amok but a constructor who comes up with that has already run that way.
I thought most of the fill was really bland.
I don't recall the three stooges ever having pies on hand to throw. Hammers, yeah, baked goods, no!
Not a fun or amusing solve.

chefwen 3:07 AM  

@Citizen Zeus - Did you mean a HELLA time?

Had to double team this one and we were victorious, but it wasn't a cake walk. The Northwest and the Southeast were the last to fill.

Major goofs were at 5D A nose before A BENT. 60D moor before DOCK. I think that was it for write-overs but that was enough to through a monkey wrench into the system.

I'll bet that @JFC was not happy seeing Mr. FAVRE in the puzzle.

Adrip Corps Moviebuffs 3:10 AM  

Hmmm, and I thought @Rex's complaint would be CAMERA of CAMERA READY and SECURITY CAMERA are the same kinds of CAMERA.
(As opposed to BLANKET in BLANKET DENIAL and SECURITY BLANKET)

The DEPOSIT is pretty close but the CLEARANCE was perfect wordplay.
So the whole thing was a bit shaky, and yet, I really like the constructor, so I still liked the puzzle.

(YET I, see what I did there, Loren?!)

There is something I like about the parallel DOWNload =UPgrade
and things seemed so perfectly clued (like with REPACK)

Still sorta bouncy with MOVIEBUFF, EXPATS, REDDI Wip and Mojo RISIN.

Ironically, MANITOBA last word fill for this MInnesota girl. Only part of Canada I've been to, when our Temple Youth Group did an exchange with the Temple Youth Group of Winnipeg. Who knew that there were colder places in the world than Minnesota...and Jews in Canada!?!


But gotta A-gree with the AMUCK, AHEAP, ABENT, ADRIP, AROD, AMA/AMAS.. Altho it gives me wonderful choices for my sign in name today!

Tiny bit surprised Will didn't send it back for one more go at getting rid of at least 3 of those A-nswers.

But who doesn't love Sam Donaldson???!

loren muse smith 5:44 AM  
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loren muse smith 6:14 AM  

I finished this one pretty fast for a Wedesday. So easy for me. My last square was the U in the PIU/SUMNER cross (morning, @jae and @Davis).

My big woe – OBVERSE. Huh? Totally gettable with the crosses, but I had to look that and “numismatist” up. All I know about coin collecting is to save a wheat penny, eventually forget I have it, and then lose it.

@Acme – TREs bien! Hah!

MOVIE crossing CAMERA – nice!

But I wondered about REDDI and READY. (Does that mean "____ Yellow"(MELLO) could potentially share a grid with MELLOW OUT?)

@chefwen – I had A “gift” before A BENT.

I agree with @retired_chemist and @Davis – the theme came through, and I enjoyed it. Thanks, Sam!

Gill I. P. 6:18 AM  

Nice little "plain black dress" kinda crossword.
Like @Rex, I too noticed all the Athis and Athat words. Too bad because it stymied my concentration.
By the way, NEET is AHEAP of garbage. It always gave me a BADCASE of stubbleitis.

MetaRex 6:59 AM  

Wasn't crazy about OHO-ADE-TRE-ADO in the middle, much as I get that it's the tradeoff for having CAMERA READY so close to DEPOSIT SLIP...

Thoughts inspired by ACM's "tiny bit surprised" comment on the A-heap are at Should Will have sent this one back? Nah.

Elle54 7:11 AM  

Did anyone else have visions of Paul Blart riding around on a Segway while doing this puzzle? Mall cop=Funny movie!

Paul Keller 7:16 AM  

Found this one easy-medium. I used the theme to complete the fill, which I think is one hallmark of a well constructed theme puzzle. Also found the NW corner the last holdout, mostly because it took a while to see CLEARANCESALE I didn't want to guess MANITOBA too soon.

OTD 7:18 AM  

Easy medium for me. Also agree that the fill was generally blah.

Sessue Hayakawa, one of the best Japanese actors, played Colonel Saito. Excellent movie, especially Alec Guinness's role opposite Hayakawa.

Cliff Guthrie 7:21 AM  

Risin and Saito in SE corner next to each other was difficult for me, although I was helped by the clever MRSC Happy Days clue.

I wonder how long constructors will use Alero (last Buick made)?

John V 7:24 AM  

Easy/Medium/Blah -- what @Rex said about the fill. BOURNE/OMN not pretty. Otherwise, obscure stuff easily crossed, so that's okay.

On-line again today; dead tree version didn't arrive. Blah. No way to mark comments.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:42 AM  

Another hand up for AMOK/AMUCK confusion (as often noted in such cases, my spell checker has underlined AMUCK as incorrect.)

@Ellen S and @Evan - on April 4 I posted a comment which said in part, "My write-over at 59 A of INSULT before RETORT reminded me once again that in crosswords the answer need only be plausible." Perhaps that is what you were thinking of.

joho 7:43 AM  

It's all been said.

I loved the parallel placement of GOREVIDAL with MOVIEBUFF as he must have been one. Those were also my two favorite answers.

I enjoyed the theme but was distracted by ABENT and the other A+___ answers. At least ONFOOT wasn't aFOOT!

Z 7:52 AM  

So far my times have been 7, 8, and 9 minutes this week. So medium, medium-easy, easy. Usually each day of the week adds three or four minutes to my solve time. (Very surprised by the ranking for yesterday from @sanfranman59).

Lost the coin flip at SoMNER/SUMNER, Otherwise aclean grid. RHODESIA crossing SAITO, a little reminder of the impermanence of empire and the dangers of imperialism.

I saw an interesting column on the reason the Mitts and Rushes of the world don't become EXPATS - the great TAX rates they get in th US.

Susan McConnell 8:24 AM  

Agree with John V...Easy/Medium/Blah.

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

I'm a pharmacist and the only place I've ever seen OMN is in the NYT puzzle.

jackj 8:39 AM  

From yesterday’s REDBULL and SEXSHOP to today’s REPACK and ADRIP, it’s enough to twirl one’s wig in a 360° “Exorcist” spin!

Unfortunately, Sam Donaldson gives us a rather unprepossessing puzzle that needs a booster shot to adrenalize its fill.

First the theme, SECURITY, which is an adequate if unexciting subject, (though after the incident in Boston it certainly provides an ironic reminder of a heightened need for it). CAMERA however is the only theme entry that stresses surveillance, the others being slightly cutesy with BLANKET, CLEARANCE and DEPOSIT as the additional words cited to follow SECURITY.

But, back to the fill; ABENT and BADCASE can be shown as suitable entries when used in examples like, “He sure had A BENT for creating triple stacks” or “Man, did I have a BAD CASE of the willies” but looking at them in their naked glory in the grid they seem in serious need of being UPGRADED.

There were things that did standout, like REDDI-wip, cluing that convenient squirt can of whipped cream, GOREVIDAL, (though the clue, “1876 novelist”, didn’t do the acerbic man of letters justice), AMUCK which is the elitist’s version of AMOK and, finally, MOVIEBUFF that helped mightily to cleanse the aftertaste left by ADRIP and AHEAP.

Sam is one of the good guys of the crossword community and I bet he was glad to get this one out of his system.

dk 8:53 AM  

Wil send it back, unprepossessing, dreck, blah… Tuesday?

ABENT caused me to write over messing up my grid, FAVRE caused me to think about over extending my welcome.

Anyway ���� (2 cameras - not quite ready for prime time)

David 9:11 AM  

I found this easy for a Wednesday.

I don't think you REPACK to go home after a trip. You just pack. You might REPACK if you couldn't get everything in the suitcase and had to take everything out and start over.

retired_chemist 9:15 AM  

[Insert Btritish king here] dei gratia britt OMN rex - "abbr. for "By the grace of God, King of all Britain." On older British coinage. Just an example of OMN (all), which includes the meaning of REX as a bonus.

Connagra Foods Marketing Department 9:17 AM  

REDDI-wip comes in seven varieties and flavors, making it perfect for all occassions. What we've not been able to figure out is why REDDI-wip Zero, where we don't put any cream in the can, is the best selling variety.

Anyone here know the answer?

Norm 9:43 AM  

"amok; amuck. Usage authorities once held firmly to the idea that amuck is preferable to amok--solely on the mistaken notion that amuck is older in English and that amok (although a better transliteration of the Malaysian word) was a late-coming 'didactisim.' In fact, both forms date from the 17th century. And in any event, amok is ten times as common as amuck in print sources today ... [and] is now the standard term." Garner's Modern American Usage (2003) pp. 41-42.)

chefbea 9:44 AM  

tough for a wednesday but did finnish.

Love rice pilaf but haven't used reddi whip in years. Usually whip my own cream but have cool whip lite on hand for those who are dieting.

What does OMN stand for?...omni?

Carola 9:45 AM  
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Carola 9:51 AM  

@Rex, loved your write-up, especially your line about the answers that sapped your will to go on. That and the SECURITY BLANKET were the treats for the day for me.

When there's A HEAP of (A)MUCK in the fill, I like going looking for felicities in the grid. Perhaps ADRIP is redeemed by crossing SPA (the result of some sort of heat treatment?). APOGEE is nicely placed at the top, with ON FOOT in its opposite corner, and SAW sits above CAMERA. Thanks @okanaganer for MAPLE x MANITOBA and @loren for MOVIE x CAMERA.

Eric 10:00 AM  

- Gordon SUMNER, huh? That's good to know.

- I'm getting sick and tried of OHO...that's not a phrase! Why do constructors continue to use that?

- Nice curveball by making the year 104 (I mistakenly had CCI for a while) the "Early second century year."

- I love the word RHODESIA. I always have. It's just a pretty sounding name. Any chance of renaming the Democratic Republic of the Congo?

- Has A BENT for? Come on...

- Depilatory: "Having the capability of removing hair."

- Fun fact: NEET, a UK company, changed its name in 1922 to "Veet," but was sold as NEET in the US

Notsofast 10:05 AM  

Okay. Fine. If this puzzle were a car, it would be an Oldsmobile. A plain old 88 sedan. Not an Alero.

Lindsay 10:09 AM  

Not my FAVRE, but what can ADO?

This puzzle reminded me of when I still lived at home (20+ years ago) and my father would talk about the dog being "awag" or "abark". He took all his Maleska-era angst out on that poor animal.

Am I the only one who wondered if Sting was born a StoNER?

Matthew G. 10:41 AM  

Not sure I quite buy the A BENT clue. I've heard people say "She has a musical bent," for example, but I don't think anyone would say "she has a bent for music." Or perhaps they would, but I don't think I've ever heard it used that way.

Two Ponies 10:48 AM  

My mnemonic for apogee is that it starts with the same letter as away.
No idea if Felicity is a TV show or a movie or whatever so that terminal I was the last to fall because I was having trouble seeing I raise.
On to Thursday hoping for some fun trick.

retired_chemist 10:57 AM  

@ Two Polies - thanks for the mnemonic!

Felicity was a TV show that was short-lived.

mac 10:58 AM  

Had almost the same experience Rex did. Some gems, though, and a good theme. Had to guess Saito, and lucked out.

Talking about packing, we're flying to Holland tonight, for a three week stay (which includes 5 days in Paris). Can't wait to see those beautiful tulip fields....

jberg 11:06 AM  

I loved the movie, learned to whistle on that tune (I was a late whistler); but had no idea about the colonel. Fortunately, SAITO is a very sommon Japanese name, and I had the AITO, so nothing to it.

I have heard "A BENT for ...," but I wanted Nebraska before MANITOBA, so it took me awhile - A knack was too long, and the K was in the wrong place.

Still, easy. My only other writeover was Tip before TAX - I should have looked at the calendar!

Speaking of which, @Eric, that's 106, not 104.

Keri 11:59 AM  

Four seasons and close to 100 episodes is not "short-lived".

Hurrmph!

Masked and Anonymo3.14Us 12:02 PM  

SOMI: +24.

OK, so here's the thing. You got yer Rex Relative Difficulty pronouncement. You got yer Sanfrandude difficulty rating. But Really need a Snark O Meter Index. Something that my automatin project Dr. Fridgefill came up with. Rates the writeup's relative snarkiness. First came out when I accidentally mixed some strong laxative in with the usual Dr. Fridgefill fuel. Anyhow, I'll try it out for a while.

Added plus: SOMI is now fair game, as a puz grid entry. Constructors! Go nuts.

General SOMI scale:
-100 = total snarkfest
0 = neutral
+100 = total ass-kisser.

Liked the puz. Had the rare 3.14 U offering (PIU). thUmbsUp.

Lewis 12:13 PM  

@retired chemist -- Felicity was on for several seasons
@matthewg -- I actually use "a bent for", and this was one of the first answers I came up with

This puzzle flew for me, I figure a reward for learning more and more crosswordese. I didn't know SAITO, wondered if it might be BOGEY, because the theme to the movie is the Colonel Bogey March. Also didn't know RISIN, so that corner was the last to fall.

M and A also 12:17 PM  

p.s. SOMI =-24, today. Sorry for the confusion. Welcome to M&A' s life, tho.

Milford 12:22 PM  

A pretty fast, easy Wednesday. Theme helped a bit with the fill.

Liked MRS.C, MOVIEBUFF, ONE LAP (as clued), PILAF, I'M FINE, BAD CASE, and ANGER (as clued).

ADRIP is just silly. And if i read that someone had "run AMUCK", I would assume that they were stuck in the mud.

SUMNER was right up my alley, I had a teenage love of The Police and Sting. And once I thought of Alec Guinness in the movie speaking his name, Colonel SAITO came right to me!

@Gill I.P. - LOL at your NEET comment.

@mac - Happy and safe travels!

MikeM 12:40 PM  

Mr Mojo Risin' is an anagram of Jim Morrison's name. Finished no errors. I had Anack before ABENT though I knew it could not be correct. I thinks one of the other guys in the Police is Andy Summers and that name was running through my head until I got SUMNER. SAITO I had no clue, but all the crosses were gettable. Remember the song "BADCASE of Loving You"? by Robert Palmer? Big early MTV hit.

Susan McConnell 12:44 PM  

I love when I come back to read comments and get rewarded with something. Today it was Lindsay's "Not my FAVRE, but what can ADO?" That made the puzzle for me!

Lewis 1:13 PM  

So now someone's sending RISIN to the prez? PIU! We must put ESTOP to this. And my APOGEES for this...

Benko 2:09 PM  

Easy for me, time wise. But the fill was awful in a lot of places.
One quibble about cluing: why refer to the old teen drama Felicity for actress KERI Russell rather than her excellent new vehicle "The Americans"? It's current and far better.

Melodious Funk 2:55 PM  

Mr. numinous

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=a4-spBDcJyk

My stomach hurts from watching this.

sanfranman59 3:19 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, 10:13, 0.95, 37%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:02, 6:02, 1.00, 48%, Medium

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

If high school Latin 30 years past still serves, it would be related to omnes/omnis/omni/omnia, the exact form depending on which case and what noun it was modifying. So: yes!

-- FearlessKim

Kristin Hall 5:29 PM  

Oxtemplernon is displeased with this fill.

Zed 5:34 PM  

So OMN is the lexeme?

jae 5:40 PM  
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Tita 6:12 PM  

@retired_chem - thanks for the link to animations the other day - hours of endless fun! I remember that puzzle when it came out - brilliant!
(I also liked the science facts billboard link)

Too tired last night to enjoy tihs puzzle. Forced myself to finish it, so poor puzzle, it had no chance for any joy from me.

Lindsay - love your Dad's Maleska-era angst!! Actually, love your entire comment.

Capctcha - "gimmies" - soem of mine were perversely PIU, APOGEE, and OBVERSE!

The Invisible Man 6:30 PM  

@Tita - Um, those wonderful animations for which you are thanking @retired_chemist? The ones that started with the zipper and ended with the Bill Clinton/Bob Dole crossword? I posted that link (well, I stole it from Word Woman at Blaine's, but I am the one who posted it here.)

And that reference to crossword answers needing to be only plausible, not the most obvious, which @Ellen S credited Evan for? That was me, too.

And the ghost of James Russell Lowell, who gave a link to the complete text of What is So Rare As a Day in June? -- After which someone else found it necessary to print the entire first verse, as if my link didn't exist? That was me too.

I walked up to the mirror thinking I was Bob Kerfuffle, but as I slowly unwrapped the bandages, there was nothing to be seen. I am the Invisible Man!

Rob C 6:40 PM  

Played on the easy side for me. Would've liked to see Rex's time today-maybe I would have...nah, who am I kidding.

Agree with many on the fill but there was some neat stuff that you don't see every day: MOVIE BUFF, GORE VIDAL, OBVERSE, BAD CASE, EX PATS, RHODESIA. Didn't like the plural of CLAY. I'm sure there's more than one type of clay, but blah.

My friends called my parents Mr & MRS C when I was growing up, so I liked that connection

Ellen S 7:55 PM  

Never mind the puzzle -- Gill I.P. and I met up for lunch, then went to Macy's where we by a happy chance bumped into my granddaughter. They forced me to get a makeover and I posted the Before & After as my new avatar. But the "link to full size picture" is (like all of them) a link to "same size as little thumbnail". Just as well, IMHO.

jerry k 8:38 PM  

Missed the Sting/Fonz clues, filed those away.
By the way, not so tough rock trivia. Mr Mojo Risin is an anagram of Jim Morrison. :-)
Cheers.

Two Ponies 9:20 PM  

@ BobK, so funny but so sad to be unappreciated. Don't despair. I always read your posts.

OISK 9:23 PM  

Never crawled out from under my rock for the Doors, nor for Sting, but liked this puzzle anyway. I actually got a smile from "adrip" .

Junior W 9:37 PM  

I'm saddened, shocked and appalled by many things, most recently Boston and the US Senate. However the straw that broke this camel's back, and I know I'm probably sublimating here, is having just heard enormity used as a synonym of greatness in a Bank of America commercial on TV.

I'm goin' back underground, and I ain't coming out 'til there no more wrong doin' women around.

Sfingi 9:45 PM  

Liked the puzzle. SECURITY BLANKET nice flip.

Would like to see TAR clued as "What can be beaten out of someone, with 'the'". Tired of roofing, driveways, etc.

@Junior - agree. Recently saw it used incorrectly in an essay in Astronomy Magazine. CP Snow warned us.
The other one is the modification of unique.

John V 9:56 PM  

Hey, I just noticed that Sam Donaldson is within a Friday puzzle of hitting for the cycle. Go Sam! 5 puzzles in the last 14 months!

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 6:12, 6:14, 1.00, 47%, Medium
Tue 9:31, 8:15, 1.15, 82%, Challenging
Wed 9:44, 10:13, 0.95, 40%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:51, 3:43, 1.04, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:28, 4:49, 1.13, 81%, Challenging
Wed 5:58, 6:02, 0.99, 46%, Medium

Carola 10:24 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle - I echo @Two Ponies.

Sparky 10:48 PM  

@BobK. I always read your posts and love your dry wit.

Ellen S 11:32 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I know how it is to feel invisible, often, when I get on the road and other drivers merge into my lane while I'm still in it. Your comments are among the most unique ones on this blog...

I couldn't remember your exact words and it's hard to google, "what someone said the other day about answers being acceptable." Thank you. I would have acknowledged earlier but I had been kidnapped, as I mentioned. (If I smile, I'm afraid great chunks of primer, Bondo and paint will chip off my face.)

StorewidESALE before CLEARANCE slowed me down in the north but eventually the revealer set me straight. Otherwise pretty easy. Somehow I knew Sting's name--some other puzzle long ago perhaps?

acme 2:27 AM  

Forgot to mention re: KERI that my fave actress/oldest friend in the world Amy Aquino played the school counselor on "Felicity" and it was the best written role for her EVER!

Tita 10:10 AM  

@BobK aka Invisible Man - LOL!!!

So sorry! As the others have said, you are one of the pithiest, funniest, and learn-most-from-your-posts guys out here!!!!!!

If only Foodie were still here - maybe she can tell me why my wiring stays crossed.
Back in the old days, when I was a newbie here, I would confuse you with @ret_chem.
Now, even after having hanug out with you for 2 acpts and one lolla, those wires are still crossed!

@ret_chem - the scientist who breeds dogs.
@Bob K - the way-faster-than-me solver with the Hawaiian shirts.
See? I know the diff...

It must be related to the cross-wiring I have with right & left turns.

(Damn - and I was all happy that I remembered to thank you for that dun digression.)

Ginger 12:33 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle aka Invisible Man, Love the way you think, you had me at Kerfuffle!

Briefly wanted NoDakOtA as the Minnesota neighbor, never mind that it's an abbreviation. I thought this puzzle was just right, with just enough crunch, for a Wednesday. If I need to put up with a little drek to have entries like MOVIEBUFF or GOREVIDAL, that's a trade off I'm more than willing to make.

Thanks Sam

Spacecraft 1:07 PM  

Oh, the fill wasn't THAT bad. The two most unfortunate ones,to me, were the Roman numb-er and ADRIP. Folks, aren't we getting a little carried away with our a-words? I am adisgust.

Otherwise, a solid theme, and lots of crunch. @Ginger, I agree: those long downs are cool. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with

Doctor, doctor, gimme the news;
I got a BADCASE of lovin' you.

Solving in Seattle 1:13 PM  

Isn't LEXEME a Japanese cartoon genre?

I was staying at the Algonquin (NYC) over the July 4th holiday in 1976 and visited the teeny bar off the lobby for a mid-afternoon beer. The only other person there was GOREVIDAL hammering down a few shots. Unlike his Buckley debate persona, he turned out to be a pleasant, friendly guy.

If you like Keri Russell, catch the new series "The Americans." She's terrific as the Soviet spy.

Capcha: edicatdu. A bad habit my old dog had?

Anonymous 2:23 PM  

Long time no comment, but what the heck is OMN?

Thanks

- - Robert

Solving in Seattle 2:36 PM  

@Anon/Robert
for the best explanations of OMN, see @Retired Chemist 9:15 & @Anon 4:14.

DMGrandma 2:41 PM  

Ended up one square short again, the O/U natik that seemed problematic to several. Glad that the unknown, to me, KERI filled from the crosses. Had the same luck in the SE wth the Doris Day thing and the character from the Bridge. Oh, I also had to change aHa to OHO and accept the something might be ADRIP. Maybe in bygone times?

@SIS. Seems you get all the clever captchas! Mine today simply says "yourcrow"-which seems like some kind of statement, but I can make nothing clever from it.

Solving in Seattle 3:12 PM  

@DMG, I really enjoy the capchas, especially your ancient war cry.

yourcrow makes me think of the crows that live on our golf course. I really think they are the cleverest of all birds. If you turn your back for a minute they'll have your food. They even have learned to open zippers in golf bags looking for food. A UW prof did a study on them and says they can easily recognize peoples faces and "scold" people who harass them.

rain forest 3:19 PM  

The theme was invisible to me until I came here, but I certainly wasn't held up by my ignorance. I like when a revealer actually aids in solving the theme answers. Otherwise it is kind of redundant, as here. The "U" seemed to be inferrable in the SUMNER/PIU cross.
A DRIP is what I called someone when I was about 11, and a brouhaha which morphed into a melee ensued. However, ADRIP as a word is just silly. If someone is covered in perspiration, do we say he is ASWEAT? What do you think, @Spacecraft?

Dirigonzo 3:52 PM  

From wiki: "The term zenith is sometimes used to refer to the highest point reached by a celestial body during its apparent orbit around a given point of observation." (Lest the science geeks rush in to correct me, it also points out that the definition is technically incorrect.) So I wasn't totally off-the-wall when I plugged the word into 7a without waiting for any crosses.

A friend of m ine thought for a long time that the lyric was "Doctor, doctor gimme the news, I get a back ache from loving you" - but it wouldn't fit.

Spacecraft 4:55 PM  

@rain forest: I am aghast you would even ask. You are all aquestion today, but I am glad we are all athink.

@Diri: LOL on the backache thing. Maybe the patient should GOBELLYUP; that should help.

Aunty Lil 5:36 PM  

Only a schmuck would spell it Amuck!

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