Signature song for MC Hammer / MON 5-6-13 / Believers in essential worth of all religions / Something smashed by Abraham in Jewish tradition / Sicilian secret society / Enclosed body of water on tropical island / Film ogre voice by Mike Myers

Monday, May 6, 2013

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: Why? — Theme answers start with each of the five main vowels. I had to have this pointed out to me, as I did not see it / am half-drunk. Note: half-drunkenness did not prevent me from solving this in under 3 minutes. Now considering whiskey as part of my tournament training regimen.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: E.M. Forster novel ("A ROOM WITH A VIEW")
  • 38A: "Count on me" ("I WON'T LET YOU DOWN!")
  • 51A: Signature song for MC Hammer ("U CAN'T TOUCH THIS") — What!? Not "2 Legit 2 Quit"?! 
  • 3D: Grade meaning "Maybe you failed, but at least you tried" (E FOR EFFORT) — this is a fictional grade, right? Has anyone ever actually gotten this grade?
  • 31D: Carol with the words "hear the angel voices" ("O HOLY NIGHT") — my favorite carol by a mile, but I'm not gonna play it. Too beautiful out to be playing carols. Instead ... please, Hammer, don't hurt 'em! (this is some epic 1991 s*it right here)


 Word of the Day: BAHAIS (47D: Believers in the essential worth of all religions) —
a really terrible plural; see also PSSTS. [actually, it's probably the actual plural—I've just never seen it before and it looks horrible in the grid]
• • •

I see what this puzzle was going for ... now. I needed assistance. Didn't notice the Down themers, and let me tell you, without them, the conjecture I came up with was well into absurd territory. I was leaning toward "It's a riddle!" until Jeremy Horwitz sent me a coded message (seriously) explaining that the Downs were also themes, and then I got it instantly. Of course my wife got it without any aid, and she's at least as drunk as I am, so I have no idea what happened there. The moral of this story is: alcohol increases speed, kills overall comprehension.  I don't know if this puzzle is any better or any worse than your average Monday. I do think that counting the indefinite article "A" as a theme element seems highly dubious / bogus. Ditto "I". The E-ness of E matters, where the letterness of the other letters doesn't. I dunno. I've seen much better work from Joel (who is great and attends my alma mater and if we're lucky will be  a force in the world of crosswords for years to come). My last letter was the "M" in LAME (63A: Limping, say). I couldn't get it from the cross, which just wasn't making any sense to me. Looked at 56D: Hunter's garb, for short, had CA-O, and thought, "what would a hunter do with a CAPO? Play some guitar? Is that Spanish for 'cape'? A ... hunter's cape?" Did I mention the whiskey?


Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

75 comments:

retired_chemist 12:16 AM  

Easy.

Did not see the theme - nor, apparently, did others. Didn't know 51A at all and couldn't see the other theme answers without a few crosses. Since most of the crosses were so straightforward, it wasn't hard to get any of them.

But, a bunch of crosswordese IMO. ESPY, AGRO, AGHA, TSO, STET, and more. Oh well.

A pretty good Monday but not great. Thanks, Mr. Fagliano.

Anonymous 12:22 AM  

Solving a crossword in three minutes while drunk, why that is so impressive... I must get a new egg timer, mine keeps going off after my elbow collapses onto the hourglass...

JFC 12:30 AM  

Rex, I love you. After your write-up I would leave Wordplay for this Blog, except I know you would not want that. And because I am totally in agreement with your assessment (I was drinking Wild Turkey 101 while solving) I will not do that to you. God bless you....

JFC

Brendan McNamara 12:34 AM  

I hardly pay attention to themes, but I saw this one early and jumped to fill OHOLYNIGHT, which is also my favorite carol. So I guess this theme was a rare one up my alley. The interlocking web of theme answers is impressive, too. I liked it.

Anonymous 12:48 AM  

This puzzle NEEDS a revealer

Awman Coal Maids 12:49 AM  


Had to write out the theme answers to grok theme...
But once I noticed A-I-U I looked for E and O and had a post-solve "Neat!!!"

What can I say, I don't drink and just spent the last six hours playing Scrabble.
Synchronicitously had played LEE and ARoAR and HOYa.

There's nice double O action going on:
rOOm, shOO, lagOOn, hOOdOO and mOttO
and s diagonal OOn (on mOld, ahOy)
OOO yOu, lagOon, irOn
and OO of idOl, rOom

I like Joel's puzzles, again with the chattiness...AWMAN, OHOK, IWONTLETYOUDOWN, UCANTTOUCHTHIS.

ANd fun from NEATNIKS to MAFIA, SOFIA and ZITI, DROVEMAD, GETGO
even MEME crossing MIMI.

Lots to like here!!!

jae 12:54 AM  

Medium- tough for a Mon. for me.  Liked it more than Rex, but also got the theme after a brief period of staring. Thought the grid was reasonably smooth and had bit of zip...AW MAN, HOO DOO, NEATNIKS, MEME...

Erasures: Peek for ESPY, DEA for ATF,  and trying A Passage to India until I ran out of spaces.

This seemed fine for a Mon.

Anoa Bob 1:23 AM  

I feel a little outclassed, beverage-wise, since I'm going on just a couple Lite beers.

Mr. Fagliano pulls the old switcheroo on us, promising I WONT LET YOU DOWN and then tossing us into the ABYSS.

The "tropical island" part of the clue for LAGOON reminded me of this old jewel by the

Platters

Anonymous 1:46 AM  

I was fully drunk, Rex, and I filled this puzzle in under 2 minutes. Okay, none of the answers were correct or actual words but still.

CrossDrunk

Benko 1:47 AM  

Super easy puzzle. Flew through it without noticing hardly anything except UCANTTOUCHTHIS, which was good for a sentimental chuckle. Not much else of interest.
2,3 maybe even 4 drinks and puzzles are quick and easy...but there comes a point where suddenly you become much, much worse...

Anonymous 1:50 AM  

Hey Anoa Bob you can't hear the lead singer in that Platters vid.

DrunkCross

Anoa Bob 2:19 AM  

Hi DrunkCross. I checked it again and it still works. Hoping it was a temporary glitch.

Just in case I messed up the link, here's the url that can be highlighted and dragged to the browser address bar:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-syJ-2UPtYw

Sweet song!

Anonymous 2:41 AM  

@ Anoa Bob

Must be me cause like before I can just barely hear the lead singer if at all.

And no, my ears aren't drunk.

DrunkCross

chefwen 2:42 AM  

I looked for a theme and was unable to find it. I guess my wines outdid Rex's cocktails. Finished in a short amount of time, but gave up on the theme. Oh well, still consider it done with no write-overs.

Loved the MIMI MEME cross, cute. Also loved the YUMMY YAMS that were served at the CAFE. Thank God they weren't MOLDy.

cruciverba-lush 2:49 AM  

Glad to hear I'm not the only one that thinks solving half-plastered is the way to go.

Some like to do them in the morning with a cup of coffee.

I'm more of the solve at night with a glass of whisky persuasion.

Anonymous 2:51 AM  

Anoa Bob

this works for me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrjdIR-M4zA

Nice tune and the lead singer is great.

DrunkCross or is it CrossDrunk

loren muse smith 5:18 AM  

I dkelt drinking seyylc, but vessewwq may never glellltr9ogms. MIMI aqwwl! Lppbeecon after AW NAM hyert.. Reallllly.

loren muse smith 5:34 AM  

Ok, seriously: Foreword (because I want full credit here) –I wrote the following last night at about 8pm at the kitchen table, stone cold sober, feeling happy to have dispatched the puzzle so quickly and regretful that I couldn’t help my daughter study for a physics test. Pascal’s Wager, yes. Pascal’s Law, fugettaboutit. Since I’m often the one who didn’t see the trick, I dug my heels in and stared. And stared. And stared. . .

AW MAN. “Initially,” (ahem) it took me *forever* to see the theme. And then TADA – there it was. So simple! I was expecting something really tricky from Joel. (I will never forget his UU/W puzzle.) Having something so simple from him on a Monday is in itself really tricky; it’s like “cotton” clued as “t-shirt material” on a Saturday.

If the five themers had been acrosses, it would have been way easier to see. Wonder if that was deliberate or simply a grid constriction. I like this and as I’m wont to do, I immediately, shamelessly, started going for my own E I E I O one. No dice. Joel stole the only viable E one. No wait! E COLI, I FORMATION. . .

For some reason, seeing WRIST in a grid always pleases me. I need more hobbies.

Liked REREAD sharing the grid with ANEW. See above.

MIMI crossing MEME is fun. Lots of CAMO here in Beautiful Downtown West Virginia, the COAL state. It’s truly a beautiful place. Wild, Wonderful. SOFIA PARKS was Rosa’s younger sister. OH, OK. Right.

The MOLD on the Brie is the best part. YUMMY. AHOY! STOW your STASH AREAR, please. But don’t SLOSH.

@Ellen S – your beloved EEL backed into the grid over in the ESTE. SHOO!

On early week puzzles, I actually solve starting in the northwest and finish in the southeast. How cool that the very last instruction is STOP. I did. Veni, vidi, vici.


The whole drinking while solving conversation is funny! @DrunkCross – I almost sprayed my coffee at your first comment.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:00 AM  

Wow! Definitely a Monday Vowel Run de minimis.

I finished with no idea of the theme; it was only after a second or third look that I sussed it out, and was able to correct my one write-over: At 51 D, "Mail letters?", ISPS (Internet Service ProviderS) seemed just perfect and modern. I had my doubts about 51 A starting with "I", but I'm not really up on modern music. Only the theme saved me.

Gill I. P. 6:07 AM  

@Loren....Have you been up to your usual HOODOO?....
Well, I've never looked so hard at a puzzle trying to figure out the theme - on a Monday no less. But I really liked it. Some good memories...
MIMI (Renata Scotto) singing "Si mi chiamano" in La Boheme. A ROOM WITH A VIEW with Maggie Smith. My new Avatar with me singing O HOLY NIGHT (or it might have been Jingle Bell Rocks.) I'm one of the angels.
BAHAIS and CAMO were my two headscratchers but other than that, sailed through this little puppy..

Gareth Bain 6:23 AM  

Is that you Jeffrey (CrossCan?) It seems like your humour...

Jack Lee 7:05 AM  

This was easy for me. Didn't notice the theme at all. Only had problems with AWMAN (had OHMAN first) and USPS (knew the chorus was "You Can't Touch This" but couldn't get YOU to fit so ended up with I like @Bob).

OTD 7:16 AM  

Easy schmeezy. Done in record time. I don't usually pay attention to themes, and didn't in this one.

Lots of crosswordese, but also some nice stuff like HOODOO, NEATNIKS, AWMAN.

Milford 7:25 AM  

Ok, so apparently I'm one of the many who couldn't find the theme. I thought I had it until I came here, and it was sort of a "U" three different ways:

A ROOM WITH A V(IEW) - this was the shaky one
I WON'T LET (YOU) DOWN
(U) CAN'T TOUCH THIS

I swear, I really thought this was the theme last night, and I don't even like whiskey. At least M&U will like it.

Otherwise, easy-peasy Monday. Was just discussing what exactly BAHA'IS were/believe with my husband yesterday.

MEME/MIMI cross is awesome. UNAPT is unawesome.

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

@ loren muse smith

laughed at your first one as well

DrunkCross

jberg 7:40 AM  

I'm feeling really stupid -- got E FOR EFFORT right away, and figured it would be some sort of alphabet theme -- but I was looking for letters as letters, rather than as words, so never noticed (and this was at 6:30 AM, on coffee!) that the other theme answers also started with single letters. Go figure (or letter).

Aside from that, I was hoping for a perfect column with ANEW over AREAR, but OSLO didn't fit -- even though it did lead to the lovely OHOK.

So: easy puzzle except for the theme, nicely constructed with the two down themes each crossing two across themes. But frustrating personally.

Warren Howie Hughes 7:47 AM  

This YUMMY XWDP by Joel Fagliano, was like a STOP at IHOP and had as many curves as SOFIA Vergara!
LOWES and behold
Joel has it down COAL!

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

When the conversation is as much about the state in which one solves the puzzle as it is about the puzzle, that's not a good sign. I couldn't get the theme, but the puzzle almost solved itself over morning coffee.

dk 8:16 AM  

Huh! Drinking Again

����(2 Stars)

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

Deffo straight "easy". My time was 3:46 which is by far my best in a long time. 33rd out of 7585. I better take a pic of that. It may not happen again for a long time.

Susan McConnell 8:34 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Milford 8:34 AM  

I just clicked on @retired chemist's link. Hadn't read it before I posted. At least I feel like I'm in good company!

Both captchas are as clear as day. What's going on?

lawprof 8:34 AM  

Got the theme only after coming here. OH, OK.

joho 8:34 AM  

Late last night I stared and stared and stared some more this morning and never did see the theme! In fact, I started clutching at straws and singled out NEATNIKS and MAIDS to connect the fact that they clean AROOMWITHAVIEW and will declare to their employer, IWONTLETYOUDOWN and UCANTTOUCHTHIS! I didn't see the downs but they might also get an EFOREFFORT while hummming OHOLYNIGHT when vacuuming.

I did love that MEME/MIMI cross!

Actually, loved the puzzle even though I never saw the theme.

Susan McConnell 8:35 AM  

Ditto Milford's U sound theory. Totally missed the down theme answers, and totally facepalmed when I read the blog. DUH. Will have to try to whiskey and see what it does to my time.

8:34 AM

EdFromHackensack 8:48 AM  

I completed quickly with no errors. I could not get the theme though. I was thinking that a woman invites a man to his hotel room (come up, it has a view). And promises she will make it worth his while ( I wont let you down). Once there, she blows him off (you cant touch this). Oh well.

PMDM 9:05 AM  

I don't think anyone has yet to point out the full version of today's theme. Certainly the feeling that using the article A is bogus suggests that some have missed the real theme: Each of the five theme answers begin with a single-letter word. Together, the one-letter words consist of all the [normal] vowels.

It would have been more impressive if two more answers used the Welch vowels "w" and "y." While I can't think of one offhand, there must be some popular song whose name starts off with a y in place of why. Or maybe not. And since our last president is often called W, there should have been some way to fashion an answer beginning with the W as a word.

mac 9:12 AM  

Correction! Just read the comment before mine, and now I like the theme a lot!

Oscar 9:19 AM  

Didn't work for me since the first letter of AROOMWITHAVIEW is pronounced /uh/ not /a/. Close, but no claro.

Susan McConnell 9:23 AM  

I like EdFromHackensack's theme! Hahahahahaha!

John V 9:56 AM  

Hand up for not seeing the theme and all that's been said. Not my cuppa; surprising for Joel.

That's all I got.

Notsofast 10:02 AM  

Let's face it; all Mondays are easy. I'm looking for a smile or two, not a challenge; and I got that today. Some of the fill was tired, sure; but much of it was pretty fun. Liked HOODOO, but OHOK was just plain great! Thanks, J.F.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Probably a good testament to not post after drinking. You sound like a complete ass.

MetaRex 10:05 AM  

Is the alternative U-centered theme a bug or a feature? The latter, I think. Some pop in the short fill...APP CAMO OH OK are good of kind. Only 74W...nice. More at It's not about you!

quilter1 10:11 AM  

Sped right through and did not see the theme. I liked all the theme answers, even the song, which I got from crosses. I once did a crossword after 3 glasses of wine and laughed my head off the next day at the sight of it. I might as well have held the pen in my mouth.

Sandy K 10:11 AM  

All I had was coffee, and I couldn't see the theme either.

Finished fast and then stared and stared...@LMS- missed the two vertical answers- that wudda helped, maybe. Hand up for agreeing with @EdFrom Hackensack- I thought it was a story.

Now that I see it, I like it a lot! Seems to me that someone else had U CAN'T TOUCH THIS in his puzz once upon a time.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 10:12 AM  

Well, I'm kinda impressed. Every themer crosses two other themers. Plus the somewhat sneaky theme -- even for a sober M&A -- which ain't what you figure on, when you belly up to the MonPuz bar. All in only 74 words. Best MonPuz in recent memory. thUmbsUp. Too bad 4-Oh was too far blitzed to recognize its greatness. Winocerous.

Fave non-themer crossing: MIMI/MEME. Fave themer: I leave for the reader to deduce.

Al Anon 10:13 AM  

The last thing I want to do after a few drinks is do a crossword puzzle

Rob C 10:14 AM  

Medium Monday for me. Like a few others, I thought the theme was the 'U' sound also. Had to come here to see it was better than that. And yes, it definitely would have helped if all of the theme answers had been acrosses.

Just had a good idea - an altered state of mind puzzle tounament. Sounds like half of us qualify already.

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

The puzzle was just fine for a Monday. What really made it sparkle was Rex's write-up and the comments it generated. Great fun to start my morning.
I'm not familiar with hoodoo as clued. I thought hoodoo was something like swamp bogeyman. Maybe from a CCR song?

DJG 10:51 AM  

I think this puzzle would have been better and the theme more easily seen if the vowel progression had played out alphabetically from top to bottom. That is, the downs should've been acrosses. It looks like this was doable from a construction standpoint.

Carola 10:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 10:59 AM  

I liked this puzzle very much, although I'm also in the "couldn't get the theme" group, even after I REREAD the across entries a dozen times. @Milford and @joho - Love your EFFORTs! The best I could do was a chain of exclamations: OO! OW! OUCH! I also felt that WIT in 20A was mocking me, as I didn't have enough of it to find the theme. Never occurred to me to look at the Downs. Very nifty - wish I'd seen it.

But there were many other pleasures, both entries on their own (NEATNIKS, O HOLY NIGHT) and the serendipitous grid match-ups others have commented on. I also loved MIMI x MEME (hearing it pronounced "ME! ME!"). Also liked MAFIA x AT WAR (in Rome we lived around the corner from the fortress-like building where the anti-Mafia force was headquartered).

@loren - Did you notice STOP had it's antonym STEP in the opposite corner to start the puzzle? I also liked the outlier who delared "I HOP!"

@chefwen - Thanks for the YUMMY YAMS - had not seen them.

@Anoa Bob and @CrossDrunk - Thanks for the Platters - love them, did not know that one.

Lewis 11:30 AM  

The theme didn't help my solve, I just found it after the puzzle. Good Monday cluing, didn't feel stale. Are the people who clean hotel rooms still called MAIDS?

Enjoyable puzzle, thanks JF!

Eric 12:27 PM  

Drunk solving, Rex? Next time, do a Monday puzzle after smoking a joint while listening to the Beastie Boys' classic Paul's Boutique on your iPod while riding a packed 6 train to Grand Central....and then see if you're still under 3 minutes.

That was my experience this morning and I still came in under my average. Such was the simplicity of today's puzzle.

"...Louis Vuitton with the Gucci guitar, Johnny Ryall, HOO DOO you think you are?"

Cutest Crossings: MIMI / MEME, YUMMY / YAMS...though, I'll admit, I've never been a sweet potato fan.

Uhhhh: UNAPT? Inept?



Sandy K 1:52 PM  

Just wondering- if this were a Thursday puzzle, and so our mindset was at a Thursday level, would the theme have been more obvious, cuz you Know it's gonna be Tricky?

Most of us 'sped thru' this one, so you're expecting to find the theme right away...?

Patience is not my virtue, esp on Mondays.

AliasZ 2:10 PM  

There were some potential theme entries that escaped Joel's and most everyone else's attention: A-byss, A-fro, A-gha, A-gro, A-new, A-rear, E-spy, I-dol, I-hop, I-ron, O-hok, O-part, O-slo, U-napt, U-nit, U-tah, and sometimes Y-ams.

This was an OH,OK puzzle for a Monday. It had very few threes (a good thing), and some unexpected Monday words like ABYSS, HOODOO, LAGOON, and MOTTO Guzzi who make some fine motorcycles:

http://tinyurl.com/cnvjx82

Oh, that is spelled with one T. Nevermind...

jodi 4:22 PM  

Did the puzzle while on the way to Ct. Didn't see the theme til I came here. Beautiful day here in Ct. Hope I can get the puzzles on this computer...or I'll have to buy the news paper.

It's me..chef bea. I think the google account is in my daughter's name

John in Philly 4:27 PM  

Did in 8:15, so happy with that for Monday. What theme?

sanfranman59 4:37 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 6:15, 6:15, 1.00, 47%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:59, 3:44, 1.07, 81%, Challenging

Fahad Naseer 4:39 PM  

Which Car you want..? Here is a best list of Cars and Vehicles, Hot Vehicles, Strange Cars, Super Cars Model, Funny Cars, Car Latest Models, Cars with Girls, Cars like helicopter and Most Speed and Expensive Cars
WorldLatestVehicles.com

jackj 4:58 PM  

Can’t decide which is worse, the sloppy “U sounds” theme or the questionable out of sequence “A, E, I, O, U” theme, (working down the grid the descending order looks like E, A, O, I, U).

It’s interesting to connect the letters in sequence from A to U and see what this puzzle’s theme structure looks like, Gorski style. (I’m not sure it matters but not even super scribbler Cy Twombly would own up to this visual and symmetry is, of course, a stranger).

If Joel is going to be giving us puzzles of this kind in the future he had best develop a nom de crossword.

OISK 6:08 PM  

An error (which some would call DNF) on a Monday? Well, why not - without seeing the theme, I can't touch this and ISP made more sense than "U can't touch this," since I have no idea who or what MC Hammer is! Otherwise, I flew through this one, although I didn't understand "CAMO". The song title actually had "U" instead of "You"? Why???

jodi 7:36 PM  

So I guess no one is going to e-mail me the PDF for the puzzle???

Chefbea

Tita 9:28 PM  


@PMDM - thank you - now I too like the theme A lot! Never saw it, never realized the downs were included, till I had hte good sense to come here.

Cat mealtimes are a big deal around here (@LMS, you think YOU need a hobby...)
After much ceremony, involving shaking of boxes, clinking of spoons on sides of bowls, I present them with a flourish to Venus and Marzipan, accompanied by a grand "TADA!", which is immediately answered by grateful mews and chirrups.
I hope that wasn't TMI - I'm not a crazy cat lady - really...

I got to play Place the H at AGah - AGHA.

ANd yes, also love O Holy Night, in both English and the original French.

@Cross Drunk - LOL! A shame Rex doesn't read anonymice. That was hilarious.

@ED/Hack - ROTFLMAO!

Doc John 11:17 PM  

Just because:
Eric Cartman sings O HOLY NIGHT

Z 11:43 PM  

At a conference so had to solve this on an iPad. Yuck. Give me dead trees any day.

Now to try to drunk solve the Tuesday puzzle on a iPad.

sanfranman59 1:09 AM  

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 6:13, 6:14, 1.00, 47%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:53, 3:44, 1.04, 71%, Medium-Challenging

Scrabble Consonant Words 11:46 PM  

Scrabble is great board game, it can enhance your memory and its very challenging..

spacecraft 10:52 AM  

Solved it, every letter correct, no writeovers. But...did I really solve it? I put it down, came here to blog about somebody sneaking in a Fagliano themeless on a Monday--and oops! There WAS a theme! So...

Did I solve it?

It goes to show where we've gone as a society: that OFL would reject a religious song in favor of rap. How sad.

But on a more pleasant note: two symmetrical downs put some REAL music into my head: HOODOO conjured up Simon's (was gonna say "the Paul Simon classic," but then realized that's redundant) "Loved Me Like a Rock:"

"...now who do, who do you think you're foolin'?"

Then there came to join him Mama Cass ELLIOT:

"...And ev'rybody's gettin' fat 'xcept Mama Cass!"

Now THERE, folks, is some MUSIC.

Captcha=injanis. There goes ANOTHER piece o' MY heart!

Syndi Solver 1:16 PM  

Cute theme and lots of fun in this easy Monday puzzle. After I finished solving I saw the A, I and U and that made me go looking for the E and O. It's funny that I can fill in those long down answers and just assume that they aren't part of the theme until after it's all over. :-)

My only other comment is that to me a HOODOO is something that's found in Badlands or Bryce Canyon - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoodoo_%28geology%29

The clue for HOODOO is fine, no complaints. It's just funny that I've never heard the term used (excluding old movies - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBmeOzSzKoY for anything other than either the geological formation (oh, and the Oregon ski resort).

rain forest 1:45 PM  

Does one HAVE to see the theme? If a theme is unnoticed, maybe in the forest, is it really there? When is a theme not a theme, and more importantly, MUST there be a theme? I thound like I'm lithping.

Theriouthly, I mean, seriously, these are important questions. If a puzzle has a theme, should there not be a revealer? I mean, if half the people don't see the theme, it's rather pointless. It's like doing the puzzle while drunk... Perhaps where LAGOON or REREAD are found, Joel could have contrived to have VOWELS in there.

I suppose it doesn't matter. The puzzle was a competent piece of work, and I enjoyed it, theme recognition be damned.

DMGrandma 2:34 PM  

Monday puzzles like this give me back the confidence that posers like last Saturdays erode!! I found this one straight forward after changing AGRi to AGRO. Did I see the theme? Of course not, and this time I even looked for one!

@Ginger: Haven't heard from you lately. Wasn't that a bit of a "what-ho" in Paris last night? Impressed that the game went on, and impressed by Nadal!

Dirigonzo 4:09 PM  

Finished quickly (for me, in "syndi time" which I regard as the blog equivalent of "island time" and forgot to look for a theme which I never would have seen anyway. One write-over the decidedly late week Abaft before the more Mondayish AREAR. On a more positive note, whenever the clue refers to a farming prefix I write in AGR and wait for the cross to provide the vowel since at least three of them work. It's been discussed here before, but the phrase where I come from is "you get an A (as in "good job") for "effort" (as in trying hard, but failing). But I'm over complaining about it.

Syndy Solver in Texas 5:24 PM  

Dirigonzo -- You receive an A when you get no wrong answers or one or two. A, B, C, D, and F are the grades. Teachers say you get an E for 'e'ffort when you try your best but still fail. Students would love to get an A when they fail; But teacher I tried real hard, really I did.

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