Highland slopes / TUE 6-4-13 / GPS above-the-Equator fig / Great detective of children's literature / Bewhiskered frolickers / How are things in Glocca 1947 hit song / Herr's honey / Archie's sitcom wife

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Constructor: Kristian House

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Snakes — circled squares that wind through various parts of the grid spell out the names of five snakes (COBRA, ADDER, MAMBA, PYTHON, and ANACONDA). There are also two more snake-related answers...

Theme answers:
  • 24A: He drove the serpents from Ireland, in legend (SAINT PATRICK)
  • 52A: Indian pipe player, maybe (SNAKE CHARMER)
Word of the Day: Arthur Wellesley (45A: Britain's Arthur Wellesley, with "the"(IRON DUKE)
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of WellingtonKGGCBGCHPCFRS (1 May 1769– 14 September 1852), was a British soldier and statesman, a native of Ireland from the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century. He is often referred to as the "Duke of Wellington", even after his death, even though there have been subsequent Dukes of Wellington. (wikipedia)
• • •

Ah, circles. The idea is cute, though the fill is less than. I wasn't even out of that NW corner before I was wincing a little. The CMDR / MORRA / BRAES (20A: Highland slopes) patch was a little hard to take. Now, that's right in the middle of a snaky patch of grid, so, OK, your fill will be compromised some, but ... today there was maybe a little more short junk than I'd like. On the other hand, there was some interesting fill like UNDERWEAR, SCAFFOLD, and ARM CANDY, which I had as EYE CANDY at first (40D: Companion who's a knockout). In fact, that section accounted for virtually all my trouble with this grid. Puzzle would've been flat Easy if not for that little mistake Plus not knowing IRON DUKE Plus NLAT, yikes (47D: GPS above-the-Equator fig.). That's a really horrible bit of fill. I had to read the clue repeatedly even to understand what was being asked.

And you couldn't've squeezed BOA in there somewhere? I mean, I see him, partially uncircled, in the NW, but I don't think that counts.

R.I.P. Jean Stapleton, Archie's sitcom wife (EDITH), who died just a few days ago.

    See you tomorrow.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:04 AM  

    Medium for me.  Only erasures were spys for MOLE (and yes, I'm pretty sure that's not how to spell spies) and trap for EDDY.

    Haven't seen AMAH in quite a while.  It was one of the first words I committed to memory when I started doing crosswords.

    The LYNNE/ENNEA cross seems tough for anTues.

    There is some very nice stuff here...ARM CANDY, ODD BALLS, UNDERWEAR... and not a huge amount of dreck.  Plus the snaky theme was nicely done.  Liked it!

    Sam Jackson 12:04 AM  

    If the grid had been in the shape of an airplane, and the revealer had been Snakes on a MotherF#@$@in Plane, I would have given it an A+

    Questinia 12:11 AM  

    I tried guessing the snakes first (after getting COBRA) and seeing their letters eventually writhe along SNAKE CHARMER and SAINT PATRICK. For some reason I liked the NE: I AM A NUMB MINSK.
    Cute puz.

    Arm Candy Midges 12:17 AM  

    He even snuck in a sly 64D ESS


    Brilliant construction. I found the fill hard, leaning more towards Wed, but I thought this was a fantastic bit of construction.

    Had ODDducks for ODDBALLS and that made a big mess, unless there was a SAINTPuTRICK.

    Also archDUKE messed me big time and the clues were not on my wavelength in an effort to all be fresh, I think.

    So IRON DUKE, Iron Lady, lots of steely Brits...

    And amazing synchronicity to have EDITH in there following her sad death a few days ago...altho admittedly Jean Stapleton's obituary was one of those "Oh, I didn't realize she was still alive" kind of moments for me.

    Can't get too much more fun than ARMCANDY and UNDERWEAR!

    RESENTFUL wins understatement of the millennia, no? re: Cain vs Abel.

    Evan 12:32 AM  

    Thought this was a cute idea -- it's good that the two 12-letter entries were snake-related to go with the actual snakes. ARM CANDY is great.

    But NLAT? What kind of dreck is that? North Latitude? Xwordinfo says it's been in the NYT puzzle only twice in the Will Shortz era, and it's not like it's a new, edgy proper noun. When you have a four-letter word (an abbreviation, no less) with all 1-point Scrabble tiles and it's been in the puzzle only twice in almost 20 years, that should be a great sign not to use it. Ugh.

    It should also be noted that this puzzle has 80 words -- the NYT usually imposes a 78-word limit for a themed puzzle. Obviously there's no rule saying the limit can't be broken, but I would have hoped the fill would have been cleaner with that many words.

    retired_chemist 12:51 AM  

    Easy-medium, yes.

    NLAT was clear to me from the clue - I think I had no crosses when I put it in. Despite which, it's ugly. But fair. Same for ARBS.

    DULL instead of NUMB, guessed the right Jethro (Pugh being the sports-minded alternative), INURES instead of ENURES until I checked the cross. Didn't see the theme until after I solved the puzzle.

    Thanks, Mr. House.

    chefwen 2:16 AM  

    Got it right off with COBRA and ADDER showing up. Got a few letters in the rest of the snakes and filled them in quickly.

    Like @Sam Jackson went looking for "Snakes on a Plane" and was mildly disappointed when it didn't appear. I guess we will have to settle for ST. PAT and SNAKE CHARMER, not as much fun, but acceptable.

    Still no claim on the DOGIES, guess we have a couple of new mouths (big ones) to feed.

    acme 2:38 AM  

    Your problems are so interesting! Can you imagine in SF saying "two cows showed up and now I have to feed them???!!!" Names of the little dogies???? Aloha!

    chefwen 3:31 AM  

    @Acme - You are the name Goddess, one is brown and the other mostly black. Any suggestions? I will try to forward pictures. Although I am rather inept in modern technology. Geez, I sound like my mom.

    acme 4:02 AM  

    In fairness to Kristian House, I will take this up with you off blog, but I'm thinking Bosco and Cowabunga

    Ellen S 4:08 AM  

    @chefwen, I agree with @acme, you do have interesting problems. A neighbor here found a kitten, that's what usually wanders into people's yards.

    @jae, same here: AMAH was the first crossword word my hubby taught me.

    Still it was nice to see a reference (too bad it was a dumb partial) to How Are Things In Glocca Morra, from one of my my favorite musicals.

    David H. L. 6:47 AM  

    On the app version, the "A," "E," and "A" of "SEA," "LYNNE," and "AGUE," were also circled. It made that section herpetologically frustrating.

    Kevin 6:52 AM  

    NW corner was horrible. You've got ROUE and ARBS paired with MORRA. What the hell are ARBS? Arbitrators? I still don't know why that answer makes sense with that clue. Pair that with the very obscure ROUE (which Google originally told me was some kind of wheel) and the very old Glocca MORRA, and you've got a very difficult, very non-Tuesday corner.

    Z 6:58 AM  

    Print version has gray grid squares instead of circles. It is far more pleasing to the eye.

    Hand up for ODD ducks and eye CANDY. No clue on IRON DUKE, so had to get all the other crosses (although SEe of Tranquility pointed out the error of eye CANDY right away).this felt a little slow for a Tuesday because of the writeovers and REA/AMAH/AGUE and the like.

    I am thoroughly amused that the Marcos I remember is the shoe lady. I wonder if any of them were made of snakeskin.

    Milford 7:00 AM  

    "Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?"―Indiana Jones

    Just kidding, nice Tuesday, the SNAKE names were easy to fill in and the two extra snake-related entries were a nice touch.

    @jae & @Ellen - not sure if AMAH was my first crosswordese committed to memory, but if it was then "obi" was a close second.

    Speaking of which, where is our beloved ASP among the SNAKEs?

    ROUÉ and MIDGE are both new to me. ODDBALLS and UNDERWEAR were fun, especially now that I've put them together.

    Z 7:01 AM  

    The shoes, that is.

    Stephen Sondheim 7:04 AM  

    Send in the Eels.

    loren muse smith 7:14 AM  

    I always love a good snake theme. I actually picked a snake up (that I had never met) once in the woods at our farm.

    I’m a circle lover, so I really enjoyed this one! Saw the theme right off the bat with ADDER and then a quick MAMBA. Then on A GUEss, I filled in COBRA with no other letters there.

    PAUL crossing I AM A – nice.

    So there are no snakes in Ireland?

    SCHED looks like what a Yiddish schnake would do.

    Early golf tournament, SO I Really have no time.

    Liked it. Thankssssssss Kristian.

    Glimmerglass 7:33 AM  

    What's "horrible" about NLAT and IRON DUKE? Both gave me trouble, but both got an aha reaction from me when I figured them out. I thought this was a strong puzzle overall. I loved ARM CANDY, CMDR [Spock], and MPEG. Nice mixture of retro and contemporary terms. A bit hard for a Tuesday, but that's a good thing.

    Mitzie 7:41 AM  



    The concept. It's fun. Different. I like to see something new put out there rather than held back by unpalatable (but real) fill.


    The fill. Naticked on a Tuesday (MORRA/ARBS).

    MetaRex 7:54 AM  

    Held up by NOIR for SOIR and STAK/STUK for STUF. What w/ SKIL and STUF, guess ya gotta assume STAK and STUK are comin soon to a puzz near you...

    A truly satisfying bonding w/ my pace cars today...stuck right in the middle two seconds behind sanfranman59 and five seconds ahead of tushnet...

    Bob Kerfuffle 7:55 AM  

    Nice to see SAINT PATRICK spelled out in full, something of a rarity.

    @Kevin - I believe ARBS are arbitrageurs.

    Susan McConnell 8:08 AM  

    Ok for a Tuesday. My hopes sink at the sight of circles in the puzzle. But UNDERWEAR and ARM CANDY, and dear EDITH saved this one.

    Doggie and I saw a fat black moccasin during our walk around the West Hartford reservoir the other day. Creepy!

    joho 8:12 AM  

    5 snakes lying in wait in circles ... clever!

    ARMCANDY is fantastic!

    Appreciated seeing EDITH.

    Good one, Kristian!

    wa 8:29 AM  

    Very clever, extremely easy. Where's the snake to unclog your drain?

    Gill I. P. 8:33 AM  

    AHA...bit of an international flair with BIDET SOIR REYES FRAU ROUE ISLAS. Are OTTERS related to a MINSK?
    Didn't IMELDA end up in OAHU? Or was that her husband....
    "All in the Family" was the first sitcom I ever watched. I remember all of my friends gathering around each week to watch...At first, I didn't really get it but it didn't matter because I loved the sound of Edith and Archie. Gloria, well that's another story.
    Some STUF I didn't know like NLAT or the IRON DUKE but seeing the snakes was worth it.
    Speaking of accents and snakes - when I would ride the Talgo in espana a female (very deep sexy voice) would announce in English that soon they would be serving snakes on board.
    @chefwen...Do keep us informed. I love ACME's names. I think @jenCT names her chickens as well.....!

    jberg 8:37 AM  

    I guess the trouble with SNAKES ON A PLANE is that you can't have just one fourteen; otherwise I bet it would have been there.

    ARBS are arbitrageurs -- they make money by noticing when a stock is selling at different prices in different markets, such as NY and Tokyo.

    Does a GPS really give a reading that says NLAT? Then I guess it's permissible -- otherwise, the problem is that it's not a real thing, one normally says "Latitude 45 North" instead.

    The rest of the puzzle is fine - I'm running out the door, but someone should embed a link to "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" I would have spelled it Mora, but fortunately that wouln't fit.

    Carola 8:46 AM  

    A really pleasing puzzle. It took me a while to see the snakes - I solve in the newspaper, and I did so much erasing in the NW that the shading for the C and O of COBRA disappeared. The MAMBA was my reveal; then it was fun to suss out the rest of the CINCO I used my pencil to shace in the sinuous ESS curves.

    I thought the SEA in the center was the one that SAINT PATRICK charmed the snakes into.

    efrex 8:57 AM  

    Just a bit too much junk in the fill for me to appreciate this one. That, and the fact that my printer doesn't render the shading very well, so the theme answers didn't really pop out.

    Any reference to "Finian's Rainbow" is always welcome (and you young 'uns who don't know it, go fire up Google and learn about how real songs are written); good thing too, or I'd take forever to get through the NW.

    jackj 9:15 AM  

    We’ve known from day one not to trust these sneaky sinuous slitherers but now Kristian House and Will Shortz treat them to a serpentine tribute that should have been published by Wildlife Magazine, not the venerable NY Times.

    But, it’s before us so put on your moosehide Wellies, sharpen your pencil and wade in to a herpetologist’s Garden of Delight.

    Except for a couple of answers that are theme connected, SAINTPATRICK and SNAKECHARMER, there is not a clued theme but, rather, we have a non-clued theme that allows 29 circles to spell out five hissing interlopers.

    The fill is quite good, (realizing the circle placements influence and often restrict the possibilities), but finding RESENTFUL, ARMCANDY, UNDERWEAR, ODDBALLS and SCAFFOLD made for a very satisfying workout.

    Kristian House pulled a bit of a fast one by cluing the IRONDUKE, the Duke of Wellington, who famously won a decisive victory over Napoleon at Waterloo, as “Britain’s Arthur Wellesley”. “Wellesley” is hardly a name on the tip of many tongues except for the most dedicated history buffs perhaps, but still easily filled in, notwithstanding the need to deal with the puzzle’s most aggravating entry, NLAT.

    Recently departed grand dame Jean Stapleton gets a nod, though hardly one of honor, but more of coincidence as she is only noted as “Archie’s sitcom wife”, EDITH. She deserves a puzzle of her own.

    While Floridians learn how to cope with rogue pythons and the rest of us look under the seat for lurking scaly creatures every time we board a plane, perhaps we all need to heed the words of that famous outdoorsman, W. C. Fields:

    “Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.”

    C'mon Man 9:20 AM  

    Positions are expresses as 45 North Latitude, 28 West Longitude. NLAT is a thing. Also, since when has it been that appearing only once before makes it iffy rather than new?

    The prevalence of ARBS on Wall St. may have faded recently, but certainly isn't unknown.

    ROUE is a real-live word, quite evocative to those who know it.

    You want to complain about the NW, complain that CRABS isn't clued as an STD. That Spock was also an Ensign, or a Captain. That SAINTPATRICK wasn't cross referenced as a SNAKECHARMER.

    chefbea 9:39 AM  

    Fun puzzle. Got the theme right away. Loved drawers in the drawers and of course comb maker.

    Loved All in the Family!!! Watched it faithfully every week.

    mac 10:02 AM  

    Good puzzle, especially with the extra theme related answers, always love that. My write-over was also eye to arm. Didn't look for the theme until halfway through, but then I could fill in a few squares without looking at the clues.

    Eric 10:10 AM  

    I picked up on the snaking about halfway in. Cute. Felt I've done something like it before, but totally apropos for a quickie Tuesday. Would have been even better had it been on St Patty's Day, but hey, I'm not complaining.

    Stray thoughts:

    TULL reminds me of Tully which reminds me of Game of Thrones. MUST GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD!

    Felt like I hadn't seen ASHE in a long time. It's like when you play a song over and over again until you can't stand it....and then one day out of the blue it comes up on the radio and you jam out to it on high volume. Felt like that. ASHE. Welcome back, old buddy.

    AHEM, OOH, and AHA...all that was missing was "oho" and we'd have had a qudrifecta of onomatopoeic annoyances.

    Two Ponies 10:46 AM  

    A Tuesday that was fun to solve!
    Arm candy was new to me and I like it.
    RIP Edith.
    I remembered Rosie the robot maid. Even as a child I knew her character was a rip-off of the other maid with her own show, Hazel.
    Most of the music clues were just right for me. REM not so much.

    Slicimus 10:51 AM  

    Medium for me. Forgot to look at the theme until about half-way through, then POW! pleasantly surprised. Didn't help me get the clues in the lower portion tho.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:55 AM  

    Funny, but TULL reminds me of . . .

    Jethro Tull (1674 – 21 February 1741) was an English agricultural pioneer from Berkshire who helped bring about the British Agricultural Revolution. He perfected a horse-drawn seed drill in 1701 that economically sowed the seeds in neat rows, and later a horse-drawn hoe.

    No, really, honestly. I know there's a rock band, but I don't think I've ever heard their music, but the trivium that they took their name from this guy has always stuck with me!

    Anonymous 10:59 AM  

    I don't get MIDGE? me-no-see-um sounded to me like a racist native American clue relating to Tonto. Small gnats?!

    Sallie 11:19 AM  

    Easy, but I really don't like circle puzzles. Came here to see what they meant instead of trying to figure it out.

    Evan 11:28 AM  

    @C'mon Man:

    There's nothing new about North Latitude. But NLAT is not an abbreviation that anyone uses.

    For such a short bit of fill, with such a Scrabble-friendly combination of letters, you'd think that NLAT would have made its way into the New York Times as a common filler answer more than twice in the past twenty years. It hasn't, nor has it been featured much at all in other puzzles in the same time period. That makes it iffy.

    John V 11:35 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Ellen S 11:51 AM  

    @Jberg, what am I, chopped EEL? At 4:08 am EDT I posted a link to How are Things in Glocca Morra. Lovely from the movie with Fred Astaire, Petula Clark, Tommy Steele and whoever played Woody and Susan.

    I discovered the musical when my sister came running home one day and said, "Ellen, you will love this, it's about worker's rights and black freedom, and funny as all get-out." Yip Harburg and Fred Saidy really know how to put a book together. (It was years later that I ever got to actually see it performed.)

    Re Iron Duke -- the Brits know the Iron Duke refers to "the" Duke of Wellington (actually there have been a long line of them since Arthur Wellesley, but it's like they should have retired his number). Just recently I read one that referred to his statue. Something about pigeons. So people who read Brit murder mysteries get an advantage there.

    Ellen S 12:08 PM  

    Oh, here's a link to my favorite song from Finian's Rainbow, When I'm Not Near The Girl I Love. It's from a rehearsal of a Broadway production, not the movie. My all time fave Og is David Wayne but I couldn't find a YouTube of it. I like this guy's Og better than Tommy Steele's, but Steele was pretty okay in the movie.

    Lewis 12:16 PM  

    Very nice Tuesday, clued just right for Tuesday, nothing terribly tricky, though I did like the clue for UNDERWEAR. The circles helped me out, as I caught on to the theme quickly and the circles gave me more letters to fill in. Felt right between a Tuesday and Wednesday.

    With the posters stretching to find things to complain about today -- that's a sign of a very nice puzzle.

    Sandy K 12:19 PM  

    Seemed more medium-ish for a Tuesday to me due to some UN-Tuesday fill.

    Didn't EYE the SNAKEs right away, but said AHA! and OOH! once it all became clear.

    Hand up for aRchDUKE before IRON DUKE, and eye CANDY before ARM CANDY.

    @Eric- Hard to get TULLY out of your mind after the Red Wedding Ep on GoT!!

    PIGS on Monday, SNAKEs on Tuesday...can't wait to see what good STUF is on the SCHED for Wednesday.

    wordie 12:40 PM  

    I liked the puzzle very much. I think circles can be great sometimes and not so great others. I always appreciate seeing them in the and hope it will be fun. Today's was. I also thought it was very easy. Like yesterday, I did the puzzle basically in the amount of time it takes to fill in the letters. Good one, Kristian!

    I AM A M AND A 12:41 PM  

    SSSSSSSeven U's. They outnumber the snakes, even. thUmbsUp. Did y'all know there was also a low-budget schlock flick called "Snakes on a Train"? Spoiler alert: at the end of that movie, a really big-assed snake gobbles up the whole darn train. har. Another Friday night of M&A's recent past, well-wasted.

    Fun puz idea. Only thing... no snakes in the SE. Possible candidates (research yet to be done, tho)...
    * WINDY snake
    * WEDGE snake
    * GRADE-T snake (highly unlikely)
    * GUY snake (at least sounds like somethin defined on Urban dictionary)
    * WEDDIN' snake (ditto)
    * EDGAR snake (possible Poe classic)
    * ARGUE snake
    * UPS snake (new logo?)
    * INDY snake (whoa, Nelly--well, there's yer winner. From that there "Raiders" flick. One of the best, of all time, imo.)


    syndy 12:51 PM  

    LOVED it! But I did wonder how loud a scream the Duke of wellington would rated from the historically challenged!(Victor of Waterloo,Prime Minister of England,Eponym of the crusted beef dish) At least the circles didn't bite.

    Rob C 12:59 PM  

    A bit tougher than your avg. Tues. on my scale. Not sure why, nothing jumps out as particularly tricky or tough. Nothing much to rave or complain about. Initially thought I had something wrong in the NW when two words had 3-vowel strings in that one little area - a bit unusual. Nice puzzle.

    EMM and A 1:08 PM  

    p.s. SE snake...
    * GRADNER snake. Day-um! So close! I'da gone with it, anyhoo, if I was Kristian. Who'd want to complain?

    Notsofast 1:23 PM  

    Loved it! Snakes on a chain! A crunchy and fun Tuesday. Tip o' the hat to K.H.

    andy 1:37 PM  

    NW was a little too old timer/New York for me with the ARBS/MORRA cross. Only got ROUE and BRAES from crosses. AiBS (Associate Investment Banker)/MOiRA means DNF.

    Bird 1:46 PM  

    My first thought was, “Irregular, but somehow connected shaded squares (dead tree version)? On a Tuesday?” But it turned out to be a good puzzle. I liked the theme and its application. Some of the cluing was a little difficult for a Tuesday though, IMO. I like that 64D is also in the grid. Didn’t like the NW corner – I kept staring at it and thinking something was wrong. Too bad GRASS didn’t make the grid.

    PSI before RHO
    HEAD before PATE

    EDDY seems more an effect rather a feature of a drain
    NLAT? Really?
    MIDGES are not exactly no-see-ums (remember that Yankees-Indians playoff game when they were all over Joba’s neck?)


    The MandA Research Report 2:16 PM  

    p.p.s.s. After research (AF) update:
    Yep. GRADNER is yer best bet. QED.
    None of the other possibilities panned out. Even tried DUDE snake, another last-minute entry. Actually, there is a pretty interestin soundin DUDE ranch on the SNAKE river, tho.

    Also tried EAGER snake. Nope. Sure thought that might get it. Ditto, with AGED snake. Gotta be a lot of those EAGER, AGED snakes out there.

    Amazin how many snake-searches get hits havin to do with The Simpsons show. Fer instance, did you know that Grade-F meat came from old circus animals?!?
    Simpsons fact.

    But I digress.

    Tita 2:37 PM  

    I had fun with this. First snake I filled in was MAMBA, and thought - oh - dances... Guess I was thinking of a cross between MoMBo and saMBA.

    Hand up for AMAH making me weepy-eyed, sending me on a stroll down puzzle memory lane.

    @acme -nice catch on the ESS...

    @Gill I.P. - yes, @JenCT names her chicks. She also raises BEEs. Let's ask her if she names them too! (The honey she produces is wonderfully fragrant and delicious!)

    Liked the new-to-me clue for LSD - it totally faked me out.

    Thanks Ms. House!

    LaneB 3:04 PM  

    Erred on cross of MOLE and NLAT, ending up stupidly with MOsE and NsAT. Thought the SAT made sense because of that GPS clue but should have known that MOSE was not of interest to the KGB.. Maybe Mose was a spy I'd never heard of!

    Surely a "medium"for me.

    C'mon Man 3:15 PM  

    @Evan - I never say CMDR either. I do say Commander.

    Benko 3:32 PM  

    Also found it tougher than usual Tuesday, due mostly to some questionable fill. The theme was good, too bad about the rest.
    Agree most people should know the IRON DUKE Wellington from history class or channel.

    Sfingi 6:54 PM  


    Pretty good stuff. A few unheard of (to me) things. ARBS apparently are those engaged in arbitrage. Didn't know LYNNE. Only heard of jPEG, but knew the city was MINSK or PINSK.
    Mostly had trouble with spelling: MORRA, ENNEA, CINCO.

    No boa?

    JenCT 10:00 PM  

    @Gill I.P., @Tita: We have 5 new chickens - two pullets that are about 7 weeks old, and 3 chicks that are 3 weeks old. No names yet, but we're working on it...

    We probably have 30,000 to 60,000 bees, for now - although a recent article in the NY Times is frightening: Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms

    NYer 11:51 PM  

    @Gill I.P.: imelda Marcos and husband were in exile in Hawaii. She returned to the Philippines when hubby died. She's embroiled in tons of legal issues but meanwhile has managed to get herself elected to Congress! Son is a senator, daughter is a governor. That's Philippine politics for you.

    J.aussiegirl 10:32 AM  

    Yes, the print version I have with shaded squares was excellent to work with and, I imagine, a tad easier than circles.

    Good concept, fun and no problems to complete. Unknowns gettable from crosses and Iron Duke a gimme from history and occasional reading.

    Are the snakes reading up and down a nod to "Snakes and Ladders"?

    rain forest 11:58 AM  

    I left the window open in the bathroom and 4 moths were there this morning. I have yet to name them.

    I liked this puzzle, and had no problem with the fill. I didn't know what ARBS were, but that's what the crossed dictated. NLAT seems fine to me, since it is an abbreviation, which was called for.

    A different sort of theme, and figuring out what the shaded squares were was, well, fun.

    rain forest 12:05 PM  

    'Crosses', not 'crossed'.

    @Ginger Agree that Washington makes great wines. Among my favourites are those from Desert Wind. Also, in Washington, the wines are much cheaper than those in British Columbia. However, a winery tour is much easier, more compact, in BC, than in WASH.

    spacecraft 12:11 PM  

    Must be something about the climate: the three northern snakes are all venomous, while the two southern ones are constrictors.

    SCAFFOLD as painter's support: two kinds of "painter--" but they meet at the Sistine Chapel ceiling...

    Hand up for enjoying IAMA/PAUL. The man's a flat-out genius.

    The bad STUF has been mentioned; if someone groaned about SCHED I missed it. Here's your groan: [GROAN!] Count me as one who never heard of ARBS--or even the longer word. Glocks MORRA to me is one name. Sticking MORRA in there by itself JDLR (Just Doesn't Look Right). And ENNEA? Really? Ick.

    For the longest time I thought Jethro TULL was the name of the flautist in the band. Made the same mistake with Steely Dan. And I managed to be truly embarrassed on both occasions when I discovered the truth.

    Overall not bad; how can you pan a grid with UNDERWEAR in it? I'll give it one thumb up.

    DMGramdma 1:30 PM  

    Circles, what circles? My printed grid ( San Diego Union) didn't have any, so II guess I missed half the fun of this one. But, even circle-less it was a good solve. Biggest slow down was at the MOLE/NLAT cross. I really wanted the Russian word to be one of those odd looking things like CCCP. In the long run, however, I've spent about as much time looking for a Captcha I can hope to read as I did on the puzzle!

    Ginger 1:38 PM  

    Noticed the shaded squares (in the print version), but as I filled it in the shading was more difficult to see and I forgot about it. Then post solve, went back and there were these reptiles writhing all over the grid. Puzzle lacked only a Hisssssss and a Rattle.

    I fell into the aRchDUKE trap, and forgot to fix the a to I, so have a sloppy DNF.

    Thanks to all who clipped Finian's Rainbow. Saw it years ago 'in the round' with Dennis Day. Partickle like 'When I'm not near......'

    @JenCT - I realize we here in Syndiland are 5 weeks behind you, but I've been eagerly watching for news of your new Therapy Dog. ??

    JenCT 2:52 PM  

    @Ginger: My avatar is a pic of my upcoming service dog, Justice! She's a yellow lab with a black chin & she's adorable.

    I start training with her on Monday the 15th, and if all goes well, she'll be coming home with me on the 26th.

    Thanks for asking, and I'll be sure to keep everyone posted.

    Dirigonzo 3:24 PM  

    I was sitting here staring at my grid which still had a few blank squares when I decided to see what's up with the shaded ones, and a snake or two appeared. Then I remembered an obviously mis-placed comment yesterday from someone whose grid had gray squares that all spelled the names of snakes. Armed with this illicit insight, I changed RakE to ROUE and put in ARBS to finish the NW, then completed LYNNE down south to complete the puzzle. I'd like to think I would have finished without the spoiler but who knows?

    I recently read that Ireland does have snakes because some collectors who had imported exotic species could no longer afford to keep them and so released them into the wild. Those that can survive in the climate have no natural predators - yet another consequence of the economic crisis.

    If the puzzle didn't have UNDERWEAR would it be going "commando"?

    @JetCT - congratulations on the pup! Labs are wonderful animals and I'm sure yours will be a great comfort and joy to you.

    ampsaur - prehistoric electric eel?

    Anonymous 6:40 PM  

    @DM Gramma. I also do the puzz in the S.D. Union. This isn't the first time that the "theme" or "instructions" have been left out. It's just too bad because often those theme notes are necessary. BTW, the puzzles in the LA Times have improved quite a bit. I get the U.Trib just for the local news and cw puzz.
    Ron Diego (Screen name, La Mesa)

    Syndi Solver 7:53 PM  

    This was a fun puzzle. The shaded squares in my paper were easy to see. So I was looking at them closely from the start.

    After I got ADDER and MAMBA I started to guess the other snakes just from the length. I bravely filled in ANACONDA when that area was all blank--fortunately it was correct! (good thing that all snakes went from left to right)

    There was a bit of fill that was not so hot (ENNEA and ARBS? in a Tuesday?) but other than that I loved the puzzle. Kudos to Kristian House!

    I don't understand the complaint from Rex that boa is missing. I much preferred the longer snakes.

    I did wonder if the constructor originally tried to put in one more snake -- maybe garter -- down in the lower SE? Just for fun I tried it and I did manage to get something that work. I'm not sure it's any good but it was fun trying it out.

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