Sam of "Jurassic Park" / WED 6-26-13 / "Idylls of the King" woman / Belle's caller / Six-time All-Star Ron / Cain's eldest son

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Constructor: David Steinberg (16) and Bernice Gordon (99)

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: AGE DIFFERENCE — Phrases that end with the letters -AGE lose those letters, and vice versa.

Word of the Day: CEY (69A: Six-time All-Star Ron) —
Ronald Charles Cey (born February 15, 1948) is an American former third baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1971–1982), Chicago Cubs (1983–1986) and Oakland Athletics (1987). Cey batted and threw right-handed. A popular player, he was nicknamed "The Penguin" for his slow waddling running gait by his then-minor league manager Tommy Lasorda. (from Wikipedia)
• • •
While Rex Parker (AKA Edward Snowden) is hiding somewhere in Russia/Ecuador, you're stuck with me, Neville Fogarty. Seriously. I have it on good authority that Rex is all about revealing classified documents. Look at what he does here everyday. What a day to play substitute blogger. It's a meta-theme: we've got co-constructors who have a vast difference in age, and that supplies the impetus for the theme. And it's cute. I know we've seen this idea before, but the "I'm old! I'm young!" is a twist on it; you can decide how much that interests you. I mean, it merited ages in the byline, so it's supposed to be interesting. Well, I'm typing about it, so there must be some merit to it. Consider my interest piqued.

Having only done one myself, I often wonder what the work breakdown is on collaborations. Looking at the grid, it doesn't scream 16-year-old guy. (PEACHY!) I'd guess that if there was any amount of co-operation on the gridding, Bernice likely strong-armed David into keeping it relatively sane. Or maybe it's just the five theme entries forcing the rest of the grid.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Result of someone yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater? (EXIT RAMPAGE— If you yell "Fire!" in a theater, you're gonna have a bad time.
  • 25A: Looting of a legislature? (DIET PILLAGE— Diet is the word for the parliament of countries like Japan and the Holy Roman Empire. There's something weird about the wording here. "I'm going on a diet pillage!" doesn't feel right. Seems like it's a noun trying (and failing) to modify another noun. I get the idea, though.
  • 38A: 83, for the creators of this puzzle ... or a hint to the ends of 17-, 25-, 51- and 60-Across (AGE DIFFERENCE— It's a neat theme-inspiring phrase, regardless of the connection to the authors.
  • 51A: What an exploding microwave can make? (INSTANT MESS— Definitely my favorite theme entry. Sure, any explosion is instant, but this is a microwave exploding. That's a nice bit of clue imagery.
  • 60A: Exemption from playing an instrument at school? (MUSICAL PASS— Or maybe this would be a ticket to see a Broadway show?
So that's the puzzle, pretty much. When you spend that much real estate on theme entries, there's not much room for outstanding fill. I'm definitely not saying that the fill in here is bad, as by and large it's okay. I'm not a fan of ENID, DEL and CEE all in the same section. That seems unnecessary. But there are few gems in here... there's so little to talk about. Let's take a look at those gems (and maybe a weirdo or two).

  • 3D: Be a dreamer (THINK BIG) — "Think" is a slogan used by IBM, courtesy of Thomas J. Watson, Sr. In the '90s, APPLE responded with "Think different." I feel like "Think Big" should've been  the motto for ENIAC.
  • 26D: 1993 Tom Cruise legal thriller (THE FIRM) — Just like Tom Cruise to take credit for writing a John Grisham book. This is on the long list of Grisham books I haven't read nor seen the film adaptation. Do I need to start in on these?
  • 47D: Benson of "Pretty Little Liars" (ASHLEY) — She was also on "Days of Our Lives" and "Eastwick." I have more knowledge of the 13-episode Rebecca Romijn-led TV version of John Updike's tale than the still on the air "PLL," but I guess this has more clout with the average solver. I don't think this is a Bernice clue, nor does it strike me as a David clue. I'm chalking this reference up to Shortz.
  • 19A: Starfish appendage (RAY)  — I knew that this was ARM. I was convinced. But RAY is another word for a starfish's arm. This just seems more like a Friday "sorry, wrong three-letter answer" clue to me. I guess one meanie in the bunch isn't too bad.
  • 43A: Spanish charger (EL TORO) — Okay, we literally went over this yesterday. Why are we suddenly just putting THE, or in this case, EL in front of things? Is this acceptable now? Answer: it shouldn't be. How is this different from a partial that starts with the word A? You wouldn't clue A BULL with [Charger], and this shouldn't be okay. If it's a title that starts with an article like in THE FIRM above, that's fine, but this is a load of TORO. Sheesh.
Signed, Neville, Prince of CrossWorld


Mohair Sam 1:16 AM  

Don't understand MESS and PASS in theme. Somebody?

Anonymous 1:32 AM  


Anonymous 1:32 AM  

Instant mess(age). Musical pass( age).

Benko 1:57 AM  

Also had arm before RAY.
it seems to me that EL TORO is indeed different than "a bull". People at a bullfight shout "El Toro" at the bull, where in English out would never shout "The bull" at a bull. right?

Benko 1:58 AM  

Weird text correct/ typo there in last post. for "out" read "people"

jae 2:07 AM  

Cute easy Wed.  Pretty smooth grid, most of the 3s are just fine. Nicely done David and Bernice, liked it!

Anonymous 2:15 AM  

Wow. An 83 year age difference? One of these constructors is 16 and the other is....99?!? That is amazing.

travis 2:58 AM  

What do people think of cluing DEL as the spanish contraction for 'of the' instead of an interesting clue for Delaware? They try to spiff it up by using a partial a random things, but it still just a contraction of 'of the'.

Morgan Doocy 2:59 AM  

For anyone unfamiliar with David (as I was), today's Wordplay post has a great interview with the constructors that answered many of my (and Neville's) questions about the collaboration. A great story!

chefwen 4:10 AM  

A house guest tried to zap my salad dressing in the microwave, I am well aware of the INSTANT MESS.

Nee was replaced at 8D with AKA, my only write over.

Thought the puzzle was a lot of fun. Not too easy and not too tough.

I am in awe of Bernice Gordon, David is pretty cool also. I bet they had fun doing this.

Mohair Sam 6:48 AM  

I can't imagine being 99, and can't remember being 16. What a great teaming of constructors and what a clever theme.

Two Snow White references! Certainly a record.

wordie 6:58 AM  

"EL TORO" is sort of okay in my book. In Spanish one might say "el toro es [the Spanish charger]." Buy I still don't like it.

I came here ver interested to find out how palms is CONgEALED. (40D). It seemed to me that gEE was a perfectly good bee follower . . . So, DNF.

Z 7:13 AM  

@wordie - I like your answer better, but the clue would have had "Bee" instead of "bee."

So David and Bernice double down on ol' Ben and do an ODE to themselves. Nicely done.

Milford 7:14 AM  

Very fun puzzle, clever theme (even though I had to read above to understand the last two theme entries). I almost wish that I could have solved it without reading their ages in the byline first - it felt like a huge hint for me.

My HS Latin never covered the ASPERA saying, that I remember, but day one we learned that six was SEX (hee hee, 9th graders giggling).

Loved ELIXER and BIONIC, and the SOT/SOY combo in the SE corner.

DYER made me remember how the other day I was tilling my veggie garden and I thought, " Hey, I'm a hoer, right?"

I can't imagine constructing a well-EXECUTEd crossword puzzle, much less collaborate on one, much less with someone 83 years my junior/senior, so congrats Bernice and David! And thank you for the write up , Neville.

Anonymous 7:17 AM  

@wordie: a magician "palms" a coin to hide it.

BTW I hear that the politically correct name for starfish is now "sea star" 'cause... I don't know why.

Norm C.

Z 7:21 AM  

@Morgan Doocy - Thanks for the link.

dk 7:48 AM  

Got to love this one. I could criticize a pro and a newbie (See Minnesota Fats for a film reference) but to what end.

Easy Peasy for a Wednesday except Toms of Maine did not fit for 5D.

Theme and conceit carried the day here.

🌟🌟🌟 (3 twinklies) Like simoleons only brighter

Rob C 7:54 AM  

Fun puzzle. About med. difficulty for a Wed. Amazing collaboration - can't wait to read about it at Wordplay. Not much that skewed particularly modern or old.

Only write-over was manicured hAndS for LAWNS. Didn't take long to see though.

Age difference is 581 in dog years. Not sure why that sounded relevant when I thought about it, but not as I write it...

jackj 7:59 AM  

The comments, (at today’s NY Times crossword blog), by David Steinberg and Bernice Gordon regarding their collaboration are, I suspect, somewhat typical as regards co-constructing “negotiations”, but even though one party is 16 years old and the other is within hailing distance of 100, their AGEDIFFERENCE only serves as the reveal for their puzzle and the delightful bottom line description for their collaboration is simple ---RESPECT.

With this Harold and Maude-ish pairing, it is tempting to try to identify certain entries as “Bernice’s” or “David’s” but with such keen minds at play it seems a fool’s game to even try to pin them down.

The theme, of course, is clever with the “add AGE/subtract AGE” gimmick and the fill, while largely familiar, is nicely clued to give this Wednesday puzzle a little extra pizzazz.

The cluing for ARRID as “Secret alternative”, for example, was likely confusing to many unless they remembered that this “Secret” was the deodorant and then equally clever was “Skill at picking things up?” that is looking for ESP.

Less clever in their cluing but still much fun with a hint of a sub-theme are the three “SO” cousins SOP, SOT and SOY riding the bottom theme entry.

But, it isn’t all clever three’s and we’re forced to recall a “HAMLET” reference while being exhorted to THINKBIG, told to enjoy our farfalle ALDENTE, be aware that he who “Palms” CONCEALS and cautioned that if you have to blow off steam, pretend you’re a GEYSER.

Lots of fun today; rather “Keen” and PEACHY one might say.

SamK 8:08 AM  

I enjoyed this one. Perfect Wednesday fare, mostly easy but with a bit of flair in the theme. INSTANT MESS was my favorite answer, like most things "cooked" in that appliance...

Rob C 8:17 AM  

@jackj - "Harold and Maude-ish" ?!?!- that's just a bit...disturbing. I hope you're only referencing the age difference aspect.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Nicely done and lots of fun.

Susan McConnell 8:44 AM  

Felt harder for me than it probably should have. Took a bit for my mind to accept that AGE was both added and subtracted to the theme answers. DIET PILLAGE also threw me...I knew it was right but didn't know why. Now I do.

joho 8:52 AM  

I think we should send
Bernice and David to Washington so they can show everybody how to work together to get good things done regardless of their vast differences!

Adding and subtracting AGE was a bit confusing to me but it didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of the theme answers which are fresh and fun.

The article at Word Play is a must read! Super interesting just like the puzzle these two cohorts created.

Would love to see Bernice and David as a double bill anytime ... thanks, guys!

Mitzie 8:58 AM  

Very clever. I, for one, love it when the constructor is brought into the solving experience, and doing it this way really enhanced the puzzle.

Awesome job, David and Bernice!

John V 9:06 AM  

Medium here. Stared at 51A and 60A approximately forever to suss out why they worked with the theme.

Congrats to both constuctors for creating a special bit of magic in each other's lives. As Will implies (to me) on Wordplay, puzzles can work magic; seems to me that's why we create and solve them, to keep the magic going. This is a happy day.

joho 9:09 AM  

Hmmmm, just looked up cohort, not the best word to describe Bernice and David!

Cheerio 9:36 AM  


Did anyone notice the symmetry in the fact that the theme revealer is clue 38 across? That is 83 backwards.

chefbea 9:42 AM  

Great puzzle. Hand up for not knowing what pass and mess had to do with the puzzle...til I came here. Now to go to Word Play.

Carola 9:42 AM  

Lots of fun! The MESS- and PASS- connection ELUDEd me for quite a while. Had to go and check the laundry and come back. Great idea, cleverly done. DIET PILLAGE made me laugh.


Thank you, David and Bernice - this was a treat. I'm off to read the Wordplay interview.

jberg 9:52 AM  

I got "age difference" before I noticed the ages in the byline, but I agree w/ @Milford, it would have been better without them. I also liked adding AGE above and subtracting it below ( causing a partial write over for me at 51A.)

The Y in CEY/ASHLEY was just a lucky guess for me. I've had approximately 83 students named Ashleigh, with approximately 38 different spellings, and almost went with an E

MetaRex 9:59 AM  

The pushmi-pullyu of both adding and subtracting AGE from the theme answers has a nice implicit buzz given the possible interests of David S. and Bernice G. in making the puzzle read older or younger...helps wedge in a theme that might be too tricky for Wed. otherwise. Praise the powers that be for the change from the pre-Shortzian era of uncredited constructors that Bernice and lesser lights like MR labored under!

In the same reading the comments on Joel F.'s puzz yesterday, was impressed to see no one clucking or for that matter cheering over the 16 x 15 grid. As a Maleskan dinosaur weaned on daily puzzes w/ three 15s--THE SUN ALSO RISES, ERNEST HEMINGWAY, A FAREWELL TO ARMS, etc.--MR is v. happy about the opening up...ya really can do a lot more when FACEBOOK STALKING, WORDS WITH FRIENDS, and other 16s are in the mix for a daily. TENDER IS THE NIGHT, F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, BABYLON REVISITED here we come :)

Masked and Anonymo3Us 10:17 AM  

Best reason I ever heard for a collaboration. Bernice's first, evidently. Per aspera ad astra, I reckon. Do know that I liked the results. agelessthUmbsUp.

@Hamlet: I'd hafta say that "vit" looks more like the soul of "brevity", to me.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:24 AM  

Excellent puzzle.

Catherine Park 10:28 AM  

Really liked it, and Great Write-up Neville. I KNOW it's harder than it looks. Meta-blog about yesterday over at fineyoungfauves.

Also had ARM for RAY and it took a lot of convincing for me to let go of it.

I'm guessing the "chillax" clue (VEG) was more about David than Bernice.

Some of you folks are up very, very early or very, very late.

mac 10:30 AM  

Great puzzle story today, and a nice solve. Had to look twice at mess and pass as well, but age did make the difference.

Hand up for nee before AKA, as well.

Not sure if I have seen "heave" in a puzzle before, nice word. Liked the two Snow White clues, too.

mac 10:30 AM  

Nice, Neville!

quilter1 10:34 AM  

I liked it and am impressed with the collaboration. Good job!

Gill I. P. 11:01 AM  

I just finished reading the interview of these two collaborators. How interesting and what fun it must have been.
I'm not sure how I would have felt about this puzzle had I not known the age difference. After re-visiting my finished puzzle, I actually liked it better.
Lots of TASTY words. I like ELIXIR with PEACHY, ICE/SOT SOY/SOP and ICK right above KOBE. That middle section with BEAU/EARP/ENID was Wednesday perfect..
Well, you both certainly did THINK BIG....I did indeed enjoy it.
@Milford...I know the Instituto well. I used to live on Orense with a view of Estadio Bernabeu. What was a huge empty lot in front is now the place where you probably bought your boots!!!! Yes, tons of fun.

retired_chemist 11:06 AM  

Good puzzle - awesome collaboration. particularly enjoyed the cluing.

EL TORO is fine by me. Learning languages with gender affecting the choice of article normally involves learning the noun in combination with the article. Gotta know it is "el dia," por ejemplo. Especially important in German where the gender cannot generally be inferred from the noun ending.

Band up for ARM @ 19A.

A lot of nice stuff, only a modest amount of c**p.

Thanks,Mr Steinberg and Ms. Gordon.

Sandy K 11:06 AM  

The ENTIRE concept and EXECUTion was unique, probably historic, and a collaborative collAGE of The Young and The Ripened.

Congrats to both constuctors for THINKing BIG and not Concealing their AGE DIFFERENCE!

And it was fun to solve!

Nice write-up @Neville

@Catherine Park- You have a beautiful family- great pics!

retired_chemist 11:28 AM  

Good puzzle - awesome collaboration. Particularly enjoyed the cluing.

EL TORO is fine by me. Learning languages with gender affecting the choice of article normally involves learning the noun in combination with the article. Gotta know it is "el dia," por ejemplo. Especially important in German where the gender cannot generally be inferred from the noun ending.

Hand up for ARM @ 19A.

A lot of nice stuff, only a modest amount of c**p.

Thanks, Mr. Steinberg and Ms. Gordon.

Lewis 11:44 AM  

The only cluer I'm sure of is that David clued SPA (Apt rhyme of "aah"). That is vintage David, if I can use that word to describe a 16 year old. Never heard of "simoleon" -- that you, Bernice?

It felt easy for a Wednesday. Part of it is that I feel like I'm often on David's wavelength.

Older wisdom blended with youthful energy -- perfect puzzle combo. This puzzle had wit and sparkle. Good choice, Will, for choosing the puzzle with the "plus and minus age" answers.

We have presidents ABE and IKE as neighbors. EARP next to INSTANT MESS, not a banana but an APPLE SPLIT, and SEX by THINK BIG.

Lewis 11:45 AM  

And oh my gosh, thank you Justice Kennedy.

Evan 11:51 AM  

Count me among those who didn't understand the last two theme entries until I came here. I was all, "What on earth is INSTANT MAGE (or its root phrase, INSTANT M)?!" Even when I sorted it out, I still didn't understand where the AGE went in INSTANT MESS and MUSICAL PASS. That's what being a stickler for consistency like I am does to you -- it throws you for a loop when the puzzle changes it up. So I found this tougher than normal for a Wednesday.

Cute idea though! And it's beyond awesome that Bernice is still going strong with puzzles at her age. Having now read the Wordplay interview, here's hoping she and David will get to meet one day. Since she's in PA, perhaps I'll get to meet her too.

Thanks for the write-up Neville.

loren muse smith 11:58 AM  

Wow! I smiled hugely when I saw their pictures, but to have an AGE related theme to boot – how cool!

Loved the puzzle and the interview on Wordplay. Thanks, Deb.

Liked NIL crossing ENTIRE, ABE above IKE. Sheepish hand up for wondering about “congeals.”

@M & A – VIT – funny comment.

Ahem, there is an ORANGE County in North Carolina, too. We have a famous bumper sticker: “If God’s not a Tar Heel, why is the sky Carolina Blue?” Clemson has a funnier one: “If God’s a Tar Heel, why did he put Chapel Hill in Orange County?”

INSTANT MESS - my son and a friend, messing around in the playroom in our basement, decided to SPLIT open a ginormous stuffed Odie he had won at an amusement park. I was reading in the family room and detected my son trying to sneak past me with, I kid you not, a post hole digger, I guess to use to clean up the MESS. You can imagine the alarms going off in my head to discover my eight-year-old headed to our finished, carpeted basement with a filthy post hole digger. I went down to investigate and found his friend vacuuming at a four foot high PILE of these tiny Styrofoam beads (about one fifth the size of BB) with my anemic dust buster. That was truly an INSTANT MESS, and one that probably still plagues whoever* owns that house; those little beads will be around forever.

*It is whoever and not whomever; I’ve done some research.

Sandy K 12:16 PM  

@LMS- Now THAT'S THE ASHLEY that I know!! and love?

JenCT 12:28 PM  

@Cheerio: I totally missed that...

Flew through the top, but got stuck on the bottom third.

Great job on the write up, @Neville.

Two Ponies 12:32 PM  

Very nice puzzle but I was stumped over the last two theme answers. If I had been patient it might have dawned on me but this blog is so convenient and I'm always anxious to get here. Oh well.

M and A also 12:42 PM  

@lms: thanx. Ve have vays to vend our vit, nicht var?

But, cey now, re: yer avatar... Is that vhat you look like, nowadays? Them hair thickenin treatments don't seem to be takin. Or is that that Joy Bee-har dude? Confusin to the M&A. I also voulda liked CONGEAL/GEE better for fillins, btw. G gets no dern respect...
just ceyin.

jae 12:52 PM  

@Catherine Park -- Blogger seems to exist in the Eastern time zone. Here in the Pacific time zone it's 3 hrs. earlier so subtract 3 hrs. from those early posts. Actually, subtract even more from chefwen who is on Kauai.

loren muse smith 1:26 PM  

@Sandy K - my daughter is reading GWTW for the first time! I'm having so much fun asking what part she's on. . .

@M & A - the stuff works; I've been feeding it to our Domestic Shorthair, Wilson. My avatar.

Catherine Park 1:33 PM  

@sandy K thanks so much !
@ jae, ah. I see now. Thanks for explaining.

LaneB 1:34 PM  

Enjoyed this one despite getting off to a confusing start with Robbie Benson rather than ASHLEY and sOdA instead of COLA. Also an error in filling MedICALPASS for MUSICALPASS , leaving me with ENO and DOP at d61,62. I'm getting a little faster and appreciate how the constructors come up with different clues for the ever-popular words, e.g. SOT, ALI, IRE, ORE, EARP and words ending in vowels. Lots of fun.

M and A's Identity Revealed 1:41 PM  

@lms... har.
Ain't got no pics to swap with yah, but if you check out Murray Langston on the Wikipedia, I am told that I dead-on faithfully resemble him. Better than fatebook.

David Steinberg 1:45 PM  

Thanks for the nice write-up, Neville--and thanks for all the great comments, everyone! I'm glad the puzzle was a fun solve. In addition to the Wordplay post and interview, there was an article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer about the collaboration between me and Bernice--here's the link:

Bird 1:55 PM  

Well, that was confusing. After getting 38A I put in AGE at the ends of 51A and 60A then struggled to get the accompanying downs (54D had to be SPLIT, but that E said otherwise). Circled 17A and 25A as I was solving because those answers made no sense at all. Then I got the theme and all made sense (including why there are numbers next the constructors’ names). I appreciate the collaboration and construction, but I had no fun solving it.

Also thought starfish (or sea star) appendages were called ARMs

TEPEE before IGLOO (which I thought of as I was writing the last two Es)

Here we go again with made up occupations. There are no salon employees called DYERs; they are STYLISTS or COLORISTS.

Happy Humpday!

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

Count me among those who enjoyed it. But at the risk of quibbling, does anyone else think cola (24 down) isn't quite right?
Sure, Coke is a cola, but Mickey D's serves only one cola brand and it's the one from Atlanta. Why use Happy Meal, which is exlusive to McDonalds and pair it with a generic word like cola? I say it's clunky. What say you?

Sandy K 2:25 PM  

@lms- Ahh, I remember my first time...melted for Rhett!
Has she seen the movie yet?
Wonder if Clark and Vivien will look dated to her.

JenCT 2:27 PM  

@Anon 2:12: same here - maybe a toy for Happy Meal, but COLA?

Rob C 2:41 PM  

@Bird - do you like the GEICO humpday commercial? always reminds me of your Wed. posts

Joe The Juggler 2:48 PM  

This puzzle is the reason I still pay the absurdly high NY Times puzzle subscription! Loved it!

Anonymous 3:05 PM  

Got stuck at 8-D, thinking that "letters between names" surely had to be MIS (abbrev. for middle initials). That made me play with ATILT for 15-A, resulting in a temporary impasse.

sanfranman59 3:32 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 10:53, 9:44, 1.12, 77%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:38, 5:38, 1.18, 89%, Challenging

Doc John 3:35 PM  

For the purists, a perfectly valid clue for EL TORO would be- [Top-ranked wooden coaster at Great Adventure]. It's even location-specific for the New Yorkers!

Bird 3:35 PM  

@Rob C - Yes. Very funny. We have someone like that in our office, though not quite as loud.

@Anon2:12 - If 24D was not already filled in by acrosses I would have wrote in COKE for the very reason you mention.

Z 3:52 PM  

@lms - re:Avatar - you might want to check the formula again. I think Wilson is wearing a toupée.

OISK 5:47 PM  

Loved this one. Mr. Steinberg is a favorite constructor, although he occasionally loads up on pop culture, which is no fun for me. Not this time! Perhaps Ms. Gordon kept this right in my wheelhouse. A really wonderful Wednesday!

jackj 5:49 PM  

@Rob C-

My reference was clearly concerning their "keen minds". I hope no one is reading anything untoward into an innocent comment.

Anonymous 5:52 PM  

I think some people (including the blogger) missed the point of the theme. "age" is missing from INSTANT MESS(age) and MUSICAL PASS(age). But LIKEWISE, "age" is unnecessarily added to EXIT RAMP(age) and DIET PILL(age). The blogger is wrong to criticize "diet pillage"--it's a ? clue, a pun by adding "age" to the phrase.

skua76 6:01 PM  

Oh my, this was fun! I did catch the theme immediately, and the only thing that bothered me a bit was COLA. But only a bit. Great to read about the constructors and to hear from David. In the Wordplay blog, he mentioned that he edited a weekly puzzle feature for the Orange County Register. I wonder if he's getting paid anything or is just an intern. (When I first lived in Orange County in the 70s I thought of the Register (as it was known then) as the Santa Ana Register).

loren muse smith 6:12 PM  

@Z – maybe you’re right. I’ll check.

@Sandy K – no, she hasn’t seen the movie, but we’re planning a viewing party when she finishes the book. I read somewhere that if they had made the movie to match the exact book, it would have been six days long!

@M & A – told you you were someone famous. I knew it all along. . . I sniff these things out. . .

Rob C 6:14 PM  

@jackj - that's great news. I wasn't sure how well you know DS and BG. ;-)

joho 6:37 PM  

The more I think about it, the revealer AGEDIFFERENCE is so elegant in how it points out that AGE is placed in different places in the theme answers.

This one has grown on my over the day ... and I liked it lot this morning!

David Steinberg 7:15 PM  

@skua76: The position at the Orange County Register's associated newspapers is not an internship—I do indeed get paid!

Sandy K 7:56 PM  

That's so exciting! Hope she loves it.

My bff and I read the book together and were tempted to skip over the long battle scenes to get to the 'good parts'. We acted out the end, sobbing, of course,- but had to go see the movie (film) ; ) to see how Rhett pronounced his famous line. Was it- Frankly my dear, I...
DON'T give a damn?
don't GIVE a damn?
don't give a DAMN?

I think the AFI voted it the #1 quote.


retired_chemist 8:02 PM  

@ Sandy K - option 2 as I recall, but it was a LONG time ago that I saw GWTW.

Carola 9:24 PM  

@retired chemist and @Sandy K - Agree about option 2.

Sandy K 9:31 PM  


You're my go-to quoter! Of course you are correct!

It's been a long time for me too, but every year or so the AFI lists their top 100 films, the top villains , or the top quotes- GWTW is always up there, so it refreshes my memory.

I'll think about it tomorrow, at know the rest.

John V 9:35 PM  

@M&A: Dude! I see the resemblance.

Sandy K 9:37 PM  


Hi! You got it! I'm sure you remember some other famous quotes from GWTW!
Casablanca has the most.

See you tomorrow!

17 and out.

JenCT 10:10 PM  

Anybody remember when Carol Burnett spoofed GWTW and made a dress out of the curtains?

One of my favorite shows...

sanfranman59 10:20 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 5:42, 6:12, 0.92, 13%, Easy
Tue 9:21, 8:19, 1.13, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 10:54, 9:44, 1.12, 78%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:27, 3:49, 0.91, 6%, Easy
Tue 5:39, 4:57, 1.14, 83%, Challenging
Wed 6:22, 5:38, 1.13, 81%, Challenging

syndy 12:30 AM  

watched the clip on youtube-Rhett says it would any stress if anything it's on 'Frankly'

Age Capri Musicalpass 2:09 AM  

Fantastic...and the backstory makes me cry!
So sweet.
I like the add it on, and subtract it, like two puzzles for one!

Hand up, well, ARM up for RAY.

Had to run the alphabet for RA?/GE?SER
and just as I got to the end, as I started to write in Y, a Crystal GEYSER commercial came on tv and literally said GEYSER as I was writing it in... Such bizarre synchronicity.

How amazing this whole puzzle is and the description of how a collaboration comes about is priceless.
No to take anything away from Neville's writeup, but it's well worth it to pop over to the other blog today to read the interview, one aspect this blog lacks.
(Tho the comments over there are so confusing, off-topic, overly punny and dizzying for me)

Bravo for the collaboration...shocking.

@Neville, thanks for the "Troop Bev Hills" clip. Classmate Pamela Norris co-wrote it and it's still the #one film for girls who are 8 of all time! So funny!
She still can live off the residuals... (Then again she is also a 4 time Jeopardy! champ and ex-SNL writer, so she has a couple of other things going for her! ;))

Anyway, bravos all around, it's breathtaking and one for the ages, for the story alone.

AFI 9:49 AM  

I beg to differ. Arthur (1981) has the most quotes. Followed by Young Frankenstein, then Blazing Saddles.

Tita 6:09 PM  

Hi everybody...miss ya'all!

I've been getting to the puzzles while away, but this one just floored me, so just had to stop in here to check what all my peeps thought.
Aboslutely loved the idea and the execution. Congratulations to both teh constructors. Bellissimo!

@JenCT - I remember that episode! "Oh, this old thing? Just somethign I had hanging around..." lol!

@lms - I was watching GWTW dubbed in Italian here in Latina, Italy. Fabulous hearing Hattie MacDaniel...

At Westport tourney, Will Shortz admitted one of the very rare mistakes in puzzles - it had something to do with "I'll never be hungry again" quote as hte last line of the movie. The fact checker had never seen the movie - watched it, to check the clue, and as the camera panned back from that moment, fade to black, he checked it off as correct.

I fly back tomorrow - gotta get some sleep.

Tita 3:43 AM  

need to go read the 'rest of the story'...

dada shrine 4:15 PM  

My mouth is full of testimonies, Am Mrs Mercy. my husband left home for two years to south Africa for a tourist, where he meant this Lady and he was bewitch by the girl my husband refuse to come back home again, i cry day and night looking for who to help me, i read a news paper about a powerful spell caster called DR ehis and i contacted the spell caster to help me get my lover back to me and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods we fight for me.. he told me by mid-night when all the spirit is at rest he will cast a spell to reunite my lover back to me. and he did in less than 3 days my husband came back to me and started crying that i should forgive him, i,m so happy for what this spell caster did for me and my

Anonymous 4:28 AM  

My mouth is full of testimonies, Am miss RECHEL E my husband left the home for two years to south Africa for a tourist, where he meant this prostitute and he was bewitch by the girl my husband refuse to come back home again, i cry day and night looking for who to help me, i read a news paper about a powerful spell caster called Dr OYAKHILO and i contacted the spell caster to help me get my lover back to me and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods we fight for all the items that will be responsible will only cost me $300USD,oh i was very happy. he told me by mid-night when all the spirit is at rest he will cast a spell to reunite my lover back to me. and he did in less than 3 days my husband came back to me and started crying that i should for forgive him, i,m so happy for what this spell caster did for me and my husband.. Dr OYAKHILO of I have nothing to give to him than shearing his good work and kindness over my relationship.
and he can still do more in your life Email:

Anonymous 6:21 PM  

You are a mess. No this was not a was a touchdown!

Anonymous 6:19 PM  

I am Miss Ananbel.,From united states of America.I will start by saying to all that have experience heart break and also can't do with out there lover should please stop here and read up my story, So as you will know how to go solving or getting your ex back from this spell caster..AND AGAIN I WILL WANT TO ALSO TELL ALL THAT THIS SPELL CASTER I WILL WANT TO TELL THE WHOLE WORLD ABOUT IS HARMLESS AND DO NOT HAVE ANY SIDE EFFECT, BUT TO RESTORE AND GIVE YOU BACK WHAT YOU DESERVE, COS WHEN I MEET WITH THIS SPELL CASTER THAT WAS INTRODUCED TO ME BY THE WIFE OF MY BOSS IN MY WORKING PLACE, HE MADE IT CLEAR THAT HE CAN CAST SPELL ON SO MANY OTHER PROBLEMS EXCEPT IN GETTING YOUR EX OR MAKING YOUR LOVER TO LOVE YOU MORE THAT WILL SUITE YOU. Last year December, My lover was cheating on me and was not also give me the attention that a man should give to a woman,And really that was troubling my mind and tearing my heart apart to the extent that i was not concentrating in the office the way i use to before the break up by my lover.And before that incident,I always see how my boss use to love his wife so much. I was binging to think that i was not doing the right thing to him that will make him love me forever,So i really gathered my courage and went to my boss wife office to ask her the secret that made her husband love her so dearly,In the first place she refused in telling me,She asked me why i am asking her such a question,That if is it not normal for every man to love his wife.I told her the reason that made me ask her about this question,That my lover started cheating on me lately,When i knelt down before her for her to see my seriousness in this issue that i went to ask her,She opened up to me by telling me that i should not tell anybody about what she want to tell me,The wife to my boss started to say to me that she used a very powerful spell on his husband to love her,And the spell that she used is harmless, But the spell is just to make him love her and never to look for any other woman except her. I QUICKLY ASK HER HOW DID SHE GET TO KNOW THIS GREAT,POWER,DURABLE AND PERFECT WORK SPELL CASTER,she said that a friend of hers also introduce her to him. Then i also ask her how i can meet with this spell caster.SHE SAID EVERYTHING TO ME,THAT THE NAME OF THIS SPELL CASTER IS ODEMIN SPELL TEMPLE .My next question to her was how can i get this wonderful spell caster,She said she is going to give me the email of the spell caster for me to contact him for my problem,Really she gave to me this spell caster email and i contacted him and explained all to him,And after every thing that needed to be done by the spell caster, In the next two days, My lover that hated me so much came to house begging for forgiveness and i was so glad that i have finally gotten my heart desire..I was so grateful to this spell caster for what he has done for my life.. So i made a promise to him that i will always continue telling the world about his wonderful work towards me and also to other that came to you before and also the people that will also get to you from my story that i narrated on line now..I will want to say to the entire world that you should not cry over noting again, That there is a great man that has been helping individuals to restore there Joy and smile in there faces !! The direct email to get this man is : ,This is what i want to tell you all out there,That is thinking that all hope is lost OK..Thanks

spacecraft 11:46 AM  

Again with the stupid spellcasters. You know, maybe I will get in touch with this guy. I know who's gonna be the target of MY first one! This whole captcha thing is just so much nonsense. Skewered, twisted, many times illegible letters and photography that's an absolute joke. And all to prevent invasion????????

To today. I loved this puzzle. BIONIC = "Not quite human." As we are seeing, being human is quite a wonder, when the brain can create like this at 16 and 99. BTW, @cheerio, yes, I did notice the 83/38 thing, being somewhat mathic and dyslexic at the same time.

I didn't have to come here to get the bottom two theme entries, but I must confess to staring at the completed grid for a couple of minutes before...aah! AGE is NOT there! It's MISSING! That's the point! Great set-up, you two! Here I was, floundering about in the south, wondering why AGE wasn't going in wehre it was supposed to. Luckily, crosses forced the issue, but I gotta tell ya I was sorely uncomfortable filling those two in.

Liked the mini-Rosetta stone of ALDENTE crossing ELTORO--which is fine. Doesn't equate with English "THE" in my mind, chiefly because Romance language nouns are gender-specific. Papa would be proud. OLE! Both ears and the tail for you two!

Had to wade thru 5 captchas to get one I could decipher. Aaugh!

BedfordBob 12:19 PM  

I loved this puzzle and found it challenging for a Wednesday.

Question - I never heard the word "Chillax" before. It was the 9d clue. Is it a real word?

I could never have constructed a puzzle much less a super one at 16 and am sure I won't be able to if I ever get to 99.


DMGrandma 1:57 PM  

I'm one of those who got the puzzle but didn't get the revealer, even after I understood the 83 part! Really appreciate those who can make sense of these things! Only had a one square question, the correctly guessed Y in ASHLEY/CEY, My one write-over came from watching too many commercials, as my first response was "got milk?" Should have noticed clue lacked a ?

As one who just labored through about 10 captchas hoping for one I could hope to decipher, I agree with @spacecraft. Either make these things work or dump them! Preferably the latter.

connie in seattle 2:25 PM  

I'm guessing that David wanted a racy clue for 2 down but Bernice prevailed with the Latin six.

rain forest 3:08 PM  

Starfish aren't fish. That's why they are called sea stars. Chillax is a sort of portmanteau of chill and relax.

Excellent puzzle. Fun to come to the realization that the AGEDIFFERENCE was in the two ways that AGE was added on/left out.

Well done!

Capcha: dipsites-places to check oil level, or, Mensa meetings.

Dirigonzo 3:26 PM  

I first discovered the need to add AGE to complete the theme answers in the lower half of the grid and it took me a while to figure out the same strategy didn't apply in the top half, where the phrases already contained an extraneous AGE. Given the differences in age and experience I'll bet one of the constructors had to THINKBIG to invent the theme and the other was responsible to EXECUTE the idea flawlessly. Whoever did what, it worked - great collaboration, great puzzle!

@rain forest - An attorney representing Mensans will be in contact regarding your callous and injurious remark regarding their character.

Texas Syndy Solver 10:05 PM  

@Dirigonzo -- Good one re: Mensa

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