Half of Stevenson's Strange Case / TUE 8-20-13 / Auto safety feature redundantly / Variable spring period / Holocaust hero Schindler / Source of Indian black tea / Helen Keller's portrayer in Miracle Worker / Alternatives to Slurpees

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel and Don Gagliardo

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: DOUBLEDAY (58A: Supposed inventor of baseball ... or a hint to 17-, 26-, 36- and 50-Across) — two-word phrases, where both words in the phrase can precede DAY in familiar phrases:

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Research that may be outdoors (FIELD WORK)
  • 26A: Variable spring period (HOLY WEEK)
  • 36A: What employers tap to get employees (LABOR MARKET)
  • 50A: Fortunate sort (LUCKY DOG)

Word of the Day: ARNEL (16A: Synthetic fiber) —
Arnel is the trademark name of a synthetic fiber developed in the 1950s. It was popular at first, but production was discontinued by the manufacturer in 1986 due to concerns about the toxicity of a chemical used to manufacture the fiber.

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/facts_7153445_arnel-vintage-material-fabric_.html#ixzz2cTJoQ3uO
• • •

This is a fine expression of this type of theme. I don't enjoy this type of theme—it generally yields only a mild "aha" at best, and then only after I'm finished—but it is a theme-type that exists in the world, and as such, deserves some consideration, probably. I don't know. I do like the revealer—why not do something with DOUBLEDAY's name? It's a name that's crying out to be wordplayed in some way. So we get this. Which, as I say, is fine. Fill, with only a few exceptions, is pretty tight. I have a huge aversion to ARNEL. So big is my aversion that I never remember it. Perhaps because I never knew it in the first place, so it never sticks. That bit in the definition (see "Word of the Day," above) about "trademark name" and "discontinued by the manufacturer in 1986" explains my non-knowledge of that word and also reinforces my feeling that it's bad fill. I had the "R" and wrote in ORLON 'cause, you know, that's a thing. That still exists. Now, I don't Like like it, mind you. It just beats ARLEN (most things do).

There must be a million other DAYs out there—I suddenly want to see a parody version of this puzzle that has answers like DRE BANNER and WASHING OFF —nope, that one works too well ... let's go with RAINY FLAG instead.  Didn't have too much trouble with this one. ARNEL was a big slow-down. I also had RAHS instead of YAYS (I don't like either, but somehow I like RAHS more, lord knows why). I had some trouble with the theme answer—that is, I needed a bunch of crosses to pick 'em up.

The best thing about this DOUBLE puzzle is PATTY DUKE (9D: Helen Keller's portrayer in "The Miracle Worker"). Here's why:

ABS SYSTEM (33D: Auto safety feature, redundantly) also offers a doubling of sorts. This puzzle may be cleverer than I thought.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


August West 12:00 AM  

NORI, METOO, NOIDEA, ISEE, ICEES, OBIS, ROWS, FSTOPS, YAYS, STARS, LABCOATS, TOUSLES, ETUDES, THEROD, TENSEUP, SNIPEAT, NODDED, MRHYDE, SLO, TSO, ADA, SNL, RET, PBA, EMI, OVO and...UNAPT. After all of which we get to the crappy fill, in support of a tired, sophomoric theme.

Absolute rubbish, laddies.

At least it's got a lot of U's.

::..rolls eyes..::

jackj 12:02 AM  

Third time is a charm for C. C. Burnikel (nee: Zhouqin), her last solo being a Monday puzzle a couple of months back with the COMETOPAPA theme.

Her last collaboration with Don Gagliardo was a Tuesday in November 2012, and featured the SKY theme (remember BUTTINSKY?).

Today they’ve teamed up to play off baseball inventor Abner Doubleday’s moniker and have given us four two word phrases that allow for the addition of DAY eight times at the end of each theme word, HOLY(DAY)WEEK(DAY), for example.

Not a demanding theme but solid and with fill to suit a Tuesday that’s a cut above the usual fare, starting at the outset with the clever INTO entry.

Nice to be reminded of PATTYDUKE who portrayed Helen Keller in both the stage and film versions of “The Miracle Worker”, winning an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for her performance at the ripe old age of 16.

Not as elegant, but solid cluing also for ABSSYSTEM, TOUSLES and INFAMY with just a limited few clunkers like OIL, SLO, RET and NOB (I’m giving ODE a pass since the clue gave me a chance to hum the Beethoven classic).

My only suggestion to the constructors would have been that they deep-six the boring skirt sewing clue for HEMMING and make it a plural so that David HEMMING(S), brilliant star of Antonioni’s “Blowup” could finally make his NY Times debut.

As ever, a strong offering that deserves a special award for having made the effort to give us a unique and fun clue for ABLE, (after 305 previous run-of-the-mill usages by Messrs. Shortz and Maleska).

jae 12:05 AM  
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jae 12:07 AM  

This ended up as medium for me too if you don't count the time I spent fixing TtEATh.  Yup, I had NOt I for NOR I and YAhS for YAYS.  Knew it was wrong but I needed to stare to fix it. 

So medium, but looking at this through the eyes of a novice solver there was some pretty tough stuff.  I mean PATTY DUKE ( 60 year old movie) and ABS SYSTEM don't seem like Tues. fare.  And neither do ASSAM,  ARNEL (learned from crosswords), TRINI (last hit was around 60 years ago...a pattern maybe?), ETUDES, ASTER...

And I had gEena instead of BETTE after failing to read any of the clue for 57d after the word balls. 

Liked the puzzle.  Clever execution of a familiar theme with a pretty smooth grid that had some zip...MR HYDE, KUNTA, SOUSED and DUI, IMFAMY ( great word), SNIPED AT...

Anonymous 12:32 AM  

Tuesday that keeps me going to google for answers? This is NOT medium! Stop showing off, Rex!!!!!

- Billy

chefwen 12:46 AM  

I won a "Best Supporting Actress" award for portraying 9D Helen Keller in high school. It was slightly larger than the award Rex won for the Worst Handwriting. Much to my embarrassment, after filling in Patty I automatically filled in Page, DOH! Where did that come from? THE ROD set me back on the straight and narrow.

Thanks C.C. and Don, good one.

Steve J 12:48 AM  

Didn't get the theme at all. I filled in DOUBLEDAY uncrossed and before any other theme answers, but it helped me none. Didn't catch the "add 'day' to each word" aspect. Definitely not obvious, and something that probably didn't help more novice solvers.

Breezed through most of the this, although I got slowed down in the NW and north central. Wasn't sure if we were looking for doctors (AMA) or dentists (ADA) at 20A, I inexplicably had NOIDEA what 2D was until I got a few crosses, and FIELDWORK was slow in making itself apparent to me.

While the fill wasn't spectacular, I thought the cluing was generally fresh and offered several welcome departures from some tired norms. Especially liked 6D, 49D and 57D (nice bit of misdirection on that one). Now if only someone could come up with a fresh clue for TSO that doesn't involve menus, generals or chickens.

Anonymous 12:57 AM  

Good gravy, Mr West!

Say it ain't so? Both ROWS and STARS in
the same grid?!

Whatever next?


Anonymous 2:51 AM  

Don't think of oboes as being especially high--consider the waddling duck of Peter and the Wolf--but turns out it is soprano instrument. However whole orchestra tunes to is A, so how high could it be.

Mark Trevor Smith 2:53 AM  

Super easy for me, unusually so because I usually get stumped somewhere. It pays to be over 60 because Patty and Trini came easily. Theme didn't help at all. Few stumbles including "not I" were quickly fixed.

Arnel iCees MsHyde 3:17 AM  

you have your years mixed up... Trini Lopez had lots of hits in the 60s and the Miracle Worker was 1979!!!
(That's 34 years ago NOT 60!)
but you acknowledged what a clever execution it was so there's that.
The clues were so fresh, I stumbled on almost every one, but to me that's a good thing.

@August West,
What a neigh-sayer!!! You could look at the fill a different way and you wouldn't be so grumpy (and I can attest that CC is not a lad!)

You might have enjoyed it more if you could view it as
one of those "chatty" puzzles with "NOR I, ME TOO, NO IDEA, (YES)SIR!, YAYS! LUCKYDOG!, UGH, ISEE"...
TSO what's not to like?

Maybe I just like this bec there was a shout out to NOB Hill.

Anyway, clever idea...
tho I agree with @Rex with the abundance of DAYS available, the theme entries could have all been as lively as LUCKYDOG, perhaps.
But they seem to have stuck to real, not fanciful.

Anyway, with words like INFAMY and PATTYDUKE in full form, I'm DIGGING it.

jae 4:15 AM  

@Andrea -- Ya got me!  I was rounding up.  The Miracle Worker actually premiered in 1962 which makes it a 51 year old movie and Trini's big hit Lemon Tree came out in 1965 (48 not 60 years ago). Fortunately, I was alive for both of those events so this was not a tough puzzle,  for someone a decade or two younger that might not be true. 

Still liked the puzzle.  Just thought it had a geezer bias.

Gareth Bain 5:32 AM  

Dear August West: W. T. F.!? Your objections are ludicrous...

NYer 5:54 AM  

Agree with @jae that some clues are skewed to the older genertion like me.

Did not see the theme until I finished and checked with @Rex. So the "aha" moment was delayed.

dk 6:32 AM  

@jae, I knew there was a simple reason I liked this puzzle: Geezer Bias.

I was once in love with PATTYDUKE (just a harmless crush Andrea), always thought Mr. KASEM looked a little smarmy, Lemon Tree was on the juke box at Stonecrest (cc in upstate NY) and I am well aware of FSTOPS. Add to that pestering my dad to stop at Cooperstown as we took route 20 to Maine....

Well let us say they puzzle content was in my wheel house.

⚾⚾⚾ (3 Baseballs.... a triple)

Note to constructors: A double helix would have been nice.

dk 6:33 AM  

the puzzle...

Milford 6:51 AM  

Tougher than average Tuesday - got held up having oleS before YAYS for my cheers, and having no clue about ARNEL. SNIPED AT is not a familiar phrase - I get the relation to SNIPEr, it just looks weird to me.

LAB COATS and MR HYDE were great. I have idea why @August West put them on his list.

Are HOLY DAYS the same thing as holidays?

@acme - I think maybe your 1979 reference is to the remake, when PATTY DUKE played Annie Sullivan.

Gill I. P. 6:59 AM  

ME TOO for not seeing the theme til coming here...!! Even so, I really liked this puzzle.
I just noticed (for no apparent reason) there's an EVIL lurking in each of the proper names:
BETTE Davis playing the EVIL Letha in "Return From Witch Mountain." Good vs EVIL Mr. HYDE. PATTY DUKE in the "EVIL Escapes." KUNTA snached by the EVIL "Toubobs." KASEM playing "EVIL ways." OSKAR fighting the EVIL Nazi party.
I really need to get a life.
Thanks for the fun Burnikel and Gagliardo (sounds like a law firm..) for a pretty darn good Tuesday.

wislon 7:08 AM  

Had OScAR crossing cASEM at the end. Oops.

Elle54 7:21 AM  

You have to be a baby boomer to get TRINI, PATTY,KASEM. How did our younger solvers do?

Rex Parker 7:31 AM  


To be fair, only 1/2 his objections are ludicrous.


Norm C. 7:35 AM  

I worked with scientists, I know scientists, scientists are friends of mine: none of them wore lab coats. It's a small matter, but I'd prefer a clue that referred to "some" scientists. (Retired chemists may disagree.)

Otherwise, I liked the puzzle just fine. Yes, I'm a geezer.

John V 7:36 AM  

NW was pretty hard; hand up for snag with TREATY/YAYS/NORI/YAYS snag. Pretty challenging all around, for a Tuesday.

SLO Poke Candy new to me.

Good theme for a Tuesday.

ArtO 7:39 AM  

Tougher than the average Tuesday. Expected med-challenging time. Needed to come here for theme.

Really find the carping over fill and theme unnecessarily harsh. This duo has worked out a cleverly themed puzzle with a few tough spots for Tuesday.

But, then again many of you folks are exceptionally astute solvers so maybe I should cut you some slack.

Milford 8:05 AM  

*I have no idea

jberg 8:20 AM  

Maybe if I wore a LAB COAT Congress wouldn't have cut political science from the NSF budget; too late now, I guess.

I didn't get the theme until I came here- all I could think of was that DOUBLEDAY meant two word answers, but there were plenty more of those, so no.

@wislon, I'm surprised we're not seeing more complaints about the OSK/cAR K/cASEM thing. I got it, but it was about 60% guess. My son used to listen to his program on the radio, but that doesn't give you the spelling. I guess I'd seen it somewhere, though.

I liked it OK, but it went by pretty fast.

Are F-STOPS obsolete, or do digital SLRs still have them? After all, they're about image clarity, not film. I just use my phone, so I don't know.

Mike Rees 8:22 AM  

Good puzzle, medium/challenging time for me. Only medium difficulty though, I wasn't really rushing to finish. Had to get KUNTA from crosses and guessed the correct spelling of KASEM (I always want to put it Kasum). The theme fizzled for me, I had all the theme answer in before the revealer and I didn't know DOUBLEDAY was anything other than a publishing company. But it was highly enjoyable all the same :)

jberg 8:34 AM  

@Carola, I just posted a reply to you in yesterday's comments.

loren muse smith 8:53 AM  

We just moved to our farm in Wirt County, WV, and I can’t get the printer to work yet. I *hate* solving on the computer! I need my pencil and paper!

I found this one really easy, save for trying my darndest to fit “Bancroft” in for PATTY DUKE.

ODE crossing SONNET – nice.

I SEE nothing EVIL here. I agree – solid puzzle.

@jberg – maybe F STOPS are just obsolescent?

Off to take my daughter to college. Then we’re empty NESTers. . . YAY, I guess?

Rob C 8:54 AM  

Easy-Medium Tues for me. I thought this was a fine puzzle. Solid theme with a good revealer. Liked the open feel of the corners. Some good med length fill too. Only holdup was fixing TtEATh in the NW like @jae.

I particularly enjoyed this type of theme when I was a newbie solver, so it's a good fit on a Tues. I guess as we solvers get more experienced, we're tougher to impress.

The highlight of my youth baseball career was playing a tournament at DOUBLEDAY Field in Cooperstown when I was 13 circa 1981. Made a diving catch in center field. So the puzzle brought back fond memories. Now I'm limited to softball. I can still hit, but let's just say there's no more diving catches left.

joho 8:56 AM  

Even with DOUBLEDAY in place it took me a ridiculously long time to see the theme ... that's a good thing!

I enjoyed this one, my favorite answer being LUCKYDOG.

@acme ... is it nay-sayer or neigh-sayer? I don't know but your version had me laughing. I could visualize a horse snorting "neiiiggghhhh! Somehow that took the sting out of that scathing review.

Thanks, Zhouqin (C.C,) and Don! No UGHS from me.

joho 8:59 AM  

Oh, @loren muse smith, you reminded me, I forgot to mention that FSTOP goes nicely yesterday's CAMERAFILM.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:17 AM  

I liked it. I deliberately held off on solving the reveal until last to see if I could guess the theme without it. I couldn't.

Harold Arlen 9:21 AM  

Rex said, "It just beats ARLEN (most things do)." If you do, you will hear from my lawyer.

August West 9:24 AM  

@Gareth: Thanks for the polite salutation! I just hated it. I'm usually pretty benign, unless it really irritates me, as this one obviously did. As I've said before, it's not a particular 3-word acronym, or POC, or fill-facilitating tense change, or tired old crosswordese inclusion. It's the entire puzzle being inundated, indeed defined by, same that drives me up the wall.

@Rex: Heh. That's the way to play"

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

Perfectly acceptable Tuesday. Sensitive to the geezer bias thing as I turn 56 today.

Shamik 9:33 AM  

Chiming in to thank Rex for explaining the theme. Medium puzzle with some interesting fill: SNIPEDAT, INFAMY, REGALE, MRHYDE, INFAMY, LABCOATS, TOUSLES, ABSSYSTEM.

But didn't grasp the theme until the write-up. So this theme didn't help the solve.

chefbea 9:38 AM  

Was harder than the usual Tuesday but did not have to google. Figured out the theme fairly early but wasn't as tasty as yesterdays yummy puzzle.

Didn't we have casey Kasem recently??

Gareth Bain 9:46 AM  

OK, Let's try it this way: NORI, METOO, NOIDEA, ISEE are conversational phrases that most constructors actively aim to include in puzzles. Those ones appear more than others because they fit easier. ICEES I'm told are a common product in the US. OBIS are pretty familiar even if a lot of people don't they're called that (worn as part of the geisha "uniform" as well as in martial arts). ROWS is a word. FSTOPS is a common enough term known to most people who have operated a camera, especially before the days of point-and-shoot. YAYS is somewhat contrived I'll give you that. LABCOATS is the type of lively answer constructors actively try and include in their puzzles. TOUSLES is a colourful word that most constructors would be more than happy to have in their puzzle. ETUDES are perfectly well-known even to this classical music Philistine (Chopin wrote a few I believe). THEROD could be either be seen as a six letter partial or part of a well-known idiom, the jury's out on that one. TENSEUP is idiomatic; SNIPEAT not quite so much but it's certainly defensible. NODDED is a word. MRHYDE is a well-known literary character, the type of answer constructors actively try and include in their puzzles. SLO is awkward but has enough uses (e.g. SLO-mo) that's use in puzzles is incontrovertible. TSO is on the weak side but pretty tame. ADA is a girl's name. SNL is an iconic TV show and well-known by that name. RET is tired crossword-ese. PBA is an organisation; back when ESPN broadcast in South Africa you could see their tournaments on TV. EMI is one of the biggest record labels ever, one of the original "Big Four" labels. OVO is a limited word, but its use in, e.g., lacto-OVO makes it pretty hard to argue against. UNAPT was horrible.

I can't see any pattern that crossword constructors can follow to avoid irritating you... Most (but not all) of the answers you object to are short. A normal crossword will have more than half its answers at five letters or less. Do the maths at 365 * say 40 answers (plus more on Sundays) and you realise that all short answers, especially ones with letters that allow them to cross have to be "overused".

Susan McConnell 9:49 AM  

Bit of a yawner for me. Rex described the reveal perfectly. You fill in everything, and then when you get to the reveal it's just..."huh", oh well.

Hubs and I are celebrating 30 years of marriage today! Off to enjoy the day!

Z 9:59 AM  

One has to wonder if that LUCKY DOG is the one that made PATTY DUKE lose control (WTH did that phrase mean in 1962?).

@Joho - I think the "neigh" was an avatar reference.

Hand up for oRlon. Hand up for hating YAY (it's "yeah").

Old school (or is it geezer bias?) with the mind altering substances with SOUSED and DUI.

Patti Page as Helen Keller - that would be a very different sort of movie, wouldn't it?

Carola 10:04 AM  
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Carola 10:11 AM  

Thoroughly enjoyable. Looked at the reveal after 3 theme answers were in place and enjoyed the cleverness. Hoped to get the last one, LUCKY DOG, with no crosses, but ended up needing the CK and G. Fun. Especially liked the clue for REGALE - I was thinking food and drink.

Had a favorite top made of ARNEL in the 60s. That didn't stop me from first writing in ARLON, though (arnel-orlon blend).

Liked NORI (the sushi wrap) next to OBIS.

@jberg - Thank you - a great story! Now retired and in my dotage, I'm trying to knock a few off my personal humiliation list.

@loren - I'd give it a mostly YAY although it took me some getting USEd to. Best wishes to your daughter!

@chefbea - Yes, on KASEM - it's where I learned the name.

quilter1 10:13 AM  

After spending the summer telling my grandkids that only boring people are bored, I have to say this was not the most stimulating puzzle. It was easy and, yes, a little boring.

J 10:28 AM  


What a crazy pair!

Patty Duke was an icon of the 60s.
Won an Oscar. Had her own tv show.

Elle54 10:30 AM  

Boomers also know Kunta Kinte. Do they still make SLO pokes?

MaryRoseG 10:32 AM  

I believe The Miracle Worker was remade around 1979. Patty Duke played Annie Sullivan this time and Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls, too) played Helen Keller. I was a huge Little House fan in those days. Still am.

Doug 10:36 AM  

hard puzzle for me today. 5 crossovers. Went for Jekyll first like an idiot. My big complaint was that I knew MLB was wrong for 57D and couldn't remember PBA for bowling. But that kind of stinks, given the baseball Doubleday clue, don't you think?

retired_chemist 10:39 AM  

@ Norm C - yes, unretired chemists often wear lab coats. They also wash their hands BEFORE using the toilet, Both are matters of common sense self-protection.

But you are correct that not all scientists need or use them.

@ jberg - Digital SLRs certainly use F-STOPS. F is the ratio of the focal length to the aperture diameter, and thus relevant regardless of how the image is recorded. It can control not only focus but exposure. Technically it wouldn't have anything to do with focus (I think) if lenses could be ground parabolically instead of spherically, but they can't. Or at least you and I can't afford them if they can.

The puzzle - easy. Much faster than Monday, nearly as fast as Tuesday. Liked it, didn't love it. Also not a fan of this sort of theme. But some good cluing, which is what makes it fun.

Apparently A ROD, as well as THE ROD, is not to be spared, according to MLB. He probably deserves what he gets IMO.

ICEES - only know it from crosswords but by now I do know it.

Thanks, Ms. Burnikel and Mr. Gagliardo.

Ray J 10:52 AM  

Yesterday I tried solving a Saturday puzzle from the archive (4/12/08) by Byron Walden with FSTOP clued as “Setting numbered in multiples of the square root of 2.” That puzzle handed me my hat and showed me to the door.

If Mr. Walden had written this puzzle I wonder if he’d have given us “Half equivocating” for 26D. Oh well, Saturday vs. Tuesday, there you go.

It took me a minute after finishing today’s puzzle to sort out the theme and, when I did, I liked it.

Thanks, Ms. B and Mr. G

Sandy K 10:57 AM  

After being ensconced in an UN-HOLY WEEKend viewing of The Godfather trilogy, I did a DOUBLEtake upon seeing Don Gagliardo. Took on a whole new meaning...Yes SIR!

DUI love this DUO's puzzle? ICEE, I mean I SEE nothing UNAPT. YAY!

Steve J 11:14 AM  

@jberg and @retired_chemist: As r_c mentioned, F-STOPS are about the amount of light being let in. All SLRs, digital or not, have them, and many compacts have them as we'll (although they can be hard to access and change). Technically, even point-and-shoots have them. Well, they have one.

And while they're not about focus or sharpness/clarity, they can have an impact. All lenses have a sweet spot, which is a particular f-stop, or narrow range, where sharpness is at its best. Most lenses lose a little sharpness when wide open, and extremely narrow apertures can cause diffraction that reduces image clarity.

@Elle54: This particular Gen Xer had no trouble at all with TRINI, PATTYDUKE, KUNTA or KASEM. I remember my parents watching "Roots" when I was a kid, KASEM still had his countdown show well into the '80s, and TRINI Lopez and "Lemon Tree" we're referenced in a joke that was pretty central to an episode of "Seinfeld", so all were to some degree contemporary. I don't know how or why I know PATTYDUKE. I suspect she was on game shows when I was a kid. (Yep, IMDB confirms she did quite a few game show appearances in the '70s and '80s).

@Z. YAY is correct and is not interchangeable with "yeah".

Notsofast 11:22 AM  

Fast. Fun. Interesting fill. Props to ZB and DG!

Michael Collins 11:22 AM  

Would it have been that tough to re-work ARNEL into ABNER? Or ASTER to ABNER? Then we have thematic strengthening.

Z 11:46 AM  

@Steve J - Merriam Webster on line doesn't even recognize YAY as a word. A little more digging showed both YAY and yeah as derived from "yea," meaning "yes." Several sources only showed "yeah" as agreement, not as a cheer. Given this extensive research, "yea" is best, "yay" is blech, and "yeah" is probably most often used to represent a change in the {a} sound from long to short. Feel free to prove me wrong.

Questinia 11:50 AM  

I'd like it if

Monday's puzz was fair on sports (actually ugh).
Tuesday's fill was full of science
Wednesday's grid was filled with food.
Thursday's had both style and homes.
Friday's clues were art and music.
Saturday's was hard to get through.
And the puzzle on Sunday made all blithe, bonny, good, and gay.


Steve J 11:56 AM  

@Z: M-W may not have it, but I found several other online dictionaries that have YAY as an entry. Many do cite the potential common root of "yea".

In contemporary use, YAY is used to express delight, excitement, etc. If you go a couple pages deep on google, you'll start seeing lots of sites that are "YAY something" that celebrate math, bikes, whatever. That matches with what I observe around the interwebs.

"Yeah" is typically used for agreement, along with yes, yep/ yup.

Common antecedents, probably an incorrect spelling at some point, but in contemporary usage, the two words have different uses and aren't used interchangeably. No comment on the aesthetics of any of them.

Wernigirl 11:56 AM  

Solving online, one can get everything filled in, without truly seeing all the answers. Thus, ORLON + iNAPT + some sensless gibber in the NE got me PoTTY DiKE as I complacently filled in my last letter. Was I the only one?

Sarah in New York 12:04 PM  

Flight destinations -- nests! Any puzzle that has that clue, and also requires a working knowledge of the connection between a weird seemingly random very small number and drunk driving, is a fine puzzle in my book.

Masked and Anonymous 12:08 PM  

"Oh, this ain't no jelly gun, sunshine."

har. My new fave movie quote of all time. Especially since it came from a dude who looks like Dr. Strangelove, speaking to a giant crazed monster with blue fur, before blasting him with what can only be described as a 12-guage fart gun.

Went lookin for the revealer, and guessed DOULEDAY, lickspit. Looked over FIELDWORK once it was filled in, and bang -- Robert's yer dad's brother, theme-wise. Still, this TuesPuz didn't go quietly into that still night. thUmbsUp, for it puttin up some resistance and some feisty vocab.

And for the 007 U's, of course. That ain't no jelly gun, sunshine.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

I thought it was: "Spare the rod and spoil the child."

ahecht 12:42 PM  

I had ABSbrakEs instead of ABSSYSTEM for the longest time. The former is much more commonly heard and equally as redundant.

michy 1:08 PM  

In my state of NC DUI was changed to DwI (Driving While Impaired) many years ago - I thought this was adapted across the country - no?

Hank Hill 1:14 PM  

If you're looking for some great deals on propane and propane accessories, Arlen is the place to go.

mac 1:29 PM  

Easy puzzle, but I didn't search for the theme until afterward. Only one write-over: rahs instead of yays.

Agree unapt is not pretty, but that nest was great!

LaneB 1:34 PM  

Nice steady march to the finish, the only delay resulting from the CASEM/ ABSSYSTEM cross. Had to guess the A ( correctly as it turned out.). The puzzle may have been a blah to some, but I was quite satisfied with it.

Anoa Bob 2:33 PM  

All cameras, film or digital, should produce a sharp image at the point/distance at which the lens is focused. FSTOPS will, among other things, determine the depth of field, i.e., the range in which other objects nearer and farther away will also be in focus; the lower the FSTOP, the narrower the depth of field and vice versa.

john towle 2:57 PM  


Oboe morphs into hautbois (highwood) in French, so the clue is valid.



Doc John 4:13 PM  

Speaking of Patty Duke, check out this brilliant clip showing what happened when the original Becky returned to the Roseanne show (after first showing the Patty Duke intro for context):
click here

Oh, and the puzzle was just fine for a Wednesday. Glad I'm not the only one who put in OLES as a first guess.
P.S. I have no problem with ARNEL.
P.P.S. Have I mentioned how I despise captcha?

sanfranman59 4:40 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

Tue 8:04, 8:16, 0.98, 42%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:17, 5:03, 1.04, 61%, Medium-Challenging

Airymom 4:43 PM  

I went to high school with a girl named Arnel. Second cruelest parents in the neighborhood. First cruelest named their daughter Bambi. Makes Blue Ivy seem benign.

Melodious Funk 8:17 PM  


I was also a chemist in another life, too highly educated for my own good it turned out. Your comment about lab coats and washing before going to the bathroom (I used to say the same thing) brought up some interesting memories.

We had a tech in our research lab who inadvertently spilled concentrated HF (hydrofluoric acid) on his lab coat. He began to yell, "help I spilled acid on my lab coat!" Unfortunately it was down the front and immediately soaked onto his naughty bits. He then began screaming. We (two of us) pushed him under the emergency shower, installed at the end of every bench, and pulled the chain. Water poured over the front of him. People began running around looking for the "antidote" I think it was some sort of Ca solution, I can't remember.

But it was clear to us (we were mightily scared because of his screaming and our inexperience with this) that we had to take his clothes off. He was crying and incoherent, and we put on gloves and removed what we could. He was naked from the waist down. This was a pretty frightening situation for everyone.

I believe he fainted, it's a but of a blur here. He was on the floor with two of us drenched under the shower trying to soak the area.

The next I can recall, some fancy EMT-types were there - oh it was some sort of gluconate they had, I just remembered. They were fiddling with his naughty bits, I became quite nauseous after the initial adrenaline rush and had to hit the head. I don't remember anything much after that, but the poor tech was gone when I returned. He never came back and I always wondered what really happened to him. Some said he was suing the company for whatever, but we working stiffs never spoke about it again.

Those of you with any chemical background may understand that HF is one of the worst acids to contact the skin. Almost impossible to wash off completely and really requires professionally trained help to deal with it.

We weren't any of those things. Poor bastid.

Z-42 8:18 PM  

Is M&A <a href="http://www.gocomics.com/getfuzzy/2013/08/20>Canadian?</a> inquiring minds want to know.

Z-42 again 8:22 PM  

Is M&A Canadian? inquiring minds want to know.

I hate when that happens.

joho 8:33 PM  

@Z ... nope, it looks like @acme was talking to @August West from what I can tell. I still think neigh-sayer is funny and it definitely helped me get over that horrible, negative rant.

Our familiar MRED was often a neigh-sayer.

retired_chemist 8:38 PM  

@ M-F

HF is certainly about the nastiest stuff you can get on yourself.

My worst, and yet most amusing, such experience (with direct involvement; several friends had rather nasty explosions) came when I taught an Org. Qual. section in Organic II lab. Student has an open test tube with about 5 mL of unknown in his right hand and was told to put his safety glasses on. Picking them up with the fingertips of his right hand, he puts the glasses on. The TT of unknown is still there and goes right down the back of his neck. Now if it were something like benzaldehyde or an ester, no real problem. However, it was p-chlorophenol. We got him to the campus infirmary asap - no permanent damage but a nasty skin wound that I suppose lasted a while. Lost track of him about two weeks after the incident, since classes ended and summer break started.

Melodious Funk 8:49 PM  


Bwahahahaha! Sorry to laugh at this but the scene you describe is totally Marxian. Or Stoogian. Yeah that's it, Curly would do that and Mo and Larry would pour hot coffee on it.

Gill I. P. 9:09 PM  

@M.F. and @ret_chem. Oh my gosh, I'm still laughing. Naughty bits? I wonder if I might have met him.....
Don't forget to look out your window tonight. For those that care, we will be having a "Blue Moon." :-)

sanfranman59 10:37 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 6:23, 6:12, 1.03, 68%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 8:01, 8:16, 0.97, 40%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:02, 3:49, 1.06, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:09, 5:03, 1.02, 56%, Medium

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spacecraft 11:47 AM  

Pret-ty sneaky, guys, cluing PBA via "balls and strikes" after setting us up with Mr. DOUBLEDAY. And on a Tuesday! But no matter; the get was easy. I liked the cleverness of the theme, marveling at how many two-word sets of which each can take DAY merge to become familiar phrases in their own right.

The pump scene of "Miracle Worker" still tears me up (both homonyms of "tears" work here).

Re ABSSYSTEMS: like "ATM machines" this is a popular, though wrong, expression. But I suppose if I'm going to rail at words like UNAPT, which, though bona fide words, are never actually spoken by real people, then I'd have to admit the mistakes that lots of real people speak. Hey, we're human. So, no flag there.

The flag is for ARNEL. This never made it into the mainstream--and is not even like DDT, which WAS popular for a while, pre-Carson. This stuff barely made it out of the LAB. Using it in any puzzle deserves a penalty; on a Tuesday it ought to carry, say, loss of down.

Despite the foregoing EVIL DONE, I liked it overall. I must go all DiNozzo again for the clue for 2d:

SESSUE HAYAKAWA: Do you know what they will do to me if the bridge is not finished in time?
ALEC GUINNESS: I haven't the foggiest.

One of my favorite moments of the classic David Lean film.

Ginger 12:04 PM  

Sailed through, with nary a bump, until I hit the SE..Natiked at the E?I/?ELD cross. Never heard of a Vulcan mind meld. Google says it's from Star Trek. So I learned something today. Now to use it in conversation.

Solving in Seattle 3:14 PM  

Gotta say, tough Tuesday.

Also, agree with @Spacecraft that UNAPT is "Not suitable."

NOtI before NORI. AmA before ADA. UNfiT before UNAPT. My guy was LUCKY before my DOG.

Good puz, Zhouqin and Don.

Capcha: iteswil. Bad booze?

Dirigonzo 3:20 PM  

My solving experience mirrored @Ginger's, although I have heard of the Vulcan mind meld and so was able to work things out in that corner (where an EVIL RAT lurks - UGH!). And then it was DONE.

"NORI" and "METOO" - well make up your mind.

@spacecraft - why are you blaming Johnny Carson for the demise of DDT?

Solving in Seattle 3:25 PM  

Didn't Johnny Carson wear ARNEL sports coats?

Dirigonzo 5:19 PM  

@SiS - He probably did as a product placement for a sponsor - this is from the NYT Business Page 11/13/72: "Not everyone thinks that Celanese's idea of promoting its Fortrel and Arnel fibers with almost nightly spots on the Johnny Carson Show next year is a super idea." (I can't tell you any more about the article because NYT wants me to pay to read it and that ain't gonna happen.)

Solving in Seattle 7:15 PM  

@Diri, great stuff. I don't think either Johnny or Ed McMahon ever wore a natural fiber. Sansabelt time.

strayling 8:03 PM  

I had no chance at this due to the sheer amount of Americana. Or that's the way it felt but now I look back at the puzzle I really can't complain too much because there was always a cross to help out on the name clues.

I enjoyed solving this one even as parts of it seemed to have it INFAMY.

"Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!"
[Antony and Cleopatra. Or possibly just Carry On Cleo]

Dirigonzo 8:08 PM  

@SiS and @Strayling - this site really needs a "Like" button.

spacecraft 8:32 PM  

@strayling: I think the line was from "Blazing Asps," or possibly "Nileballs."

@Diri et al: Of course you knew I was talking Rachel; I never suspected that ARNEL had the remotest connection with The Great Carsoni.

My favorite bit from the latter is "The Big Cigarette." [Ed opens the letter and reads] "What came after the Big Bang?"

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