Hoops great Baylor / THU 8-15-13 / Typhon was trapped under it in Greek myth / Seals's partner in 1970s music / Burger's successor / Trendy superfood / Bobby in 1971 #1 hit / Final dramatic notes of 1812 Overture

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Constructor: Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy



THEME: What the circled letter(s) in this answer represent(s), homophonically — same clue for every theme answer—first word(s) of each theme answer are homophones of a letter / letters circled in last word of theme answers; thus, for example, the circled letter "C" in CORTEZ is the "SEA ["C"] OF CORTEZ"; the circled "I" of TIGER the "EYE OF THE TIGER"; the circled "B" of BONNET the "BEE IN ONE'S BONNET"; and the circled "C" and "U" in COURT the "SEE YOU IN COURT"

Word of the Day: EFFETE (22D: Washed up) —
adj.
  1. Depleted of vitality, force, or effectiveness; exhausted: the final, effete period of the baroque style.
  2. Marked by self-indulgence, triviality, or decadence: an effete group of self-professed intellectuals.
  3. Overrefined; effeminate.
  4. No longer productive; infertile.
[Latin effētus, worn out, exhausted : ex-, ex- + fētus, bearing young, pregnant.]


Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/effete#ixzz2c05RZz6V
• • •


Really enjoyed this one, though it went by terribly fast — right around 4:30 for me. Had a lot of trouble with EFFETE (never would've thought of "Washed up" as a valid definition—I associate it more with a  kind of precious artiness and lack of (stereotypical) manly qualities). Had a lot of trouble with BOSOMED (39D: Big or full follower)—probably the weakest longer answer in the grid. Beyond that, I had a lot of trouble with precisely nothing. PATSY CLINE was a flat-out gimme (3D: "Walkin' After Midnight" singer, 1957) and ACAI BERRY nearly so (30D: Trendy "superfood"). Those are some huge, full-BOSOMED gifts. Had the made-up DEREG for UNPEG (8D: Let float from the dollar, say), and BUD for MUD at first (34A: Joe). Not sure what a "table d'HOTE" is, but the "d'" let me know the first letter was a vowel or "H," so that was helpful. Clue on REHNQUIST was a little tricky, but not knee-buckling (32D: Burger's successor). Forgot what O.E.O. stood for (a terrible answer, in that whole alphabet soup family of answers—but a small one, so forgivable).


Morris Day and The Time - Jungle Love by DemonPreyer

There are a LOT of names in that little southern section (four by my count), but I knew them all—I can see not knowing Taylor DAYNE (62A: Taylor who sang "Tell It to My Heart") or even ELGIN Baylor (59A: Hoops great Baylor), but the crosses should've all been recognizable. Demerits for the obvious Scrabble-f*cking in the the SW and SE corners (to pick up the "K" and "X"). I can only assume that Jeff made this years ago (a fairly typical wait time), before he knew better than to pursue the false idol that is the pangram. Hard to justify MAWR in such an easily filled section (54A: Bryn ___). I put BRYN in a puzzle once, but it was holding a stack of three 11s in place. MAWR ... isn't. Still, in the end, an entertaining and clever puzzle.

Bullets:
  • 29A: Final dramatic notes of the "1812 Overture" (E-FLATS) — thus [blank] FLATS until I got the crosses. One of a number of answers that I'd Much rather see in singular; see also SERUMS, REPOS, IOUS.
  • 38A: Typhon was trapped under it, in Greek myth (ETNA) — too me too long to get this. Even with the -NA in place I was still pondering. "LUNA?" No, you idiot. Just, no.
  • 50D: Pop's ___ Pop (IGGY) — OK, I see why you went with "Pop's," but that's not terribly accurate or representative. The guy's name is virtually synonymous with punk, but ... I guess cutesy wordplay wins out.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

92 comments:

August West 12:00 AM  

This is a perfectly adequate, simple Wednesday. NW and PATSYCLINE appeared in about five seconds. CRUET/CROFTS went in simultaneously because: a) I was an altar boy, and; b) I'm old.

EMCEE, AORTA, DRAFTS, MUNCH, VETOED, TIBER, REMOTE then fell successively, like bowling pins on a high-speed strike, and the inoffensive, straightforward, not-much-to-it-theme was revealed. Dad still loves his Leica M3 so, well, yeah.

OBSCENE and REHNQUIST being gimmes, BEEINONESBONNET and SEEYOUINCOURT were snaps, and every single across and down comprising the three southern boxes were Monday easy. I mean, really, aren't they?

One letter do-over, from Taylor rAYNE TO DAYNE, which probably says more about me than I'd otherwise care to admit in mixed company.

Fine, but this is really Daily News stuff. When is someone going to "wow" us again? Can't BEQ just do them all?

Evan 12:20 AM  

I had a somewhat tricky time getting going on this one. I had to jump down to the bottom to get my first theme entry and ended up with a Medium time. I didn't even fully grok the theme until after I was done. At first I thought COURT was supposed to be a bizarre synonym for an encircled space (which brings to mind Xan Vongsathorn's "Getting Around" Sunday puzzle from last year), so the C and U would refer to being circled rather than simply contained in the word COURT. Many head-slaps after finishing followed.

Other difficulties: I couldn't remember if the CLINE was spelled with a C or a K (but got it from the cross with CFC). I had to do an alphabet run to get the HOTE/REMOTE crossing. Among the write-overs: LOQ before SEQ (?) and MITER before TIBER (!).

I can't deny that the longer fill is great, but I'm iffy on some of the shorter stuff: CRUET, REPOS, HOTE, BAS, SEQ, UNPEG, OEO, and that line beneath EYE OF THE TIGER is something out of OOXTEPLERNON's brain (CFC RTS DEB DEA).

So while I'm a bit lukewarm on this puzzle as a whole, I'm excited as all hell that incoming Xwordinfo Overlord Jeff Chen is introducing the new Constructor Notes so you can see each constructor's thought process on creating the puzzle. Will Shortz chimes in on this puzzle as well.

retired_chemist 12:31 AM  

Easy indeed. Nice theme - completely obscure until you get the gimmick via one of the theme answers, then a few crosses get you the others.

Interesting grid design - mirror symmetry instead of the usual rotational symmetry.

Much the same experience as Rex (except slower). Had to look up EFFETE once I finished since I didn't believe it fit the clue.

Did anyone else have CANNON for 29A? Was your simple number niNE for a while? I've said it before and I'll say it again: CAKY is an unaesthetic word.

A good puzzle with no real flaws IMO. Thanks, Mr.Chen.



jae 12:42 AM  

Easy here too.

@Evan BAS SEQ isn't all that pretty either.

Had Swift for DAYNE before I checked any of crosses or actually read the entire clue.

@August -- Re: Bottom boxes -- Yes they are!

Liked it, but kept looking for trickier answers. It is Thurs. right?

Aorta Celeb Mics 12:42 AM  

MAN, Jeff CHEN is OBSCENELy talented
(tho I had one wrong square :( bUD/bAN)

Liked the simple cleverness of the theme, tho SEEYOUINCOURT was a wee bit inconsistent...
Two letters (others but one) and he had already used C as SEA...
But I loved both SEAOFCORTEZ and SEEYOUINCOURT.

REHNQUIST was avery classy answer and BOSOMED the right amount of cheekiness.

As for the fabulous pangram ...altho i do admire @TRex's coming up with an original slam every single time, I hope he's totally wrong and that Jeff just wrote this and thus smash calling something so deliciously fun a "false idol" and he will drop this particular BEEINhisBONNET
(and eat his hat!)

Loved that it started with WAR ended with SEX...
Very "make love not war"....and perhaps 1A is attempting to WIPE WAR out

Jeff Chen 12:44 AM  

Hi all!

Starting today xwordinfo.com will be featuring “Constructor’s Notes” as well as occasionally “Will Shortz’s Notes”. Jim Horne and I hope these features give you some insight into the human side of puzzle construction. Enjoy!

http://www.xwordinfo.com/Crossword?date=8/15/2013

Jeff

Bookdeb 1:04 AM  

<a href="http://www.xwordinfo.com/Crossword?date=8/15/2013>.

Steve J 1:51 AM  

I don't know why, but I was just not on this puzzle's wavelength. Like @Evan, I didn't grok the theme during the puzzle. Unlike him, I didn't even grok it afterwards (I kept thinking the entire answer somehow fit the circled letter, not just the first word of the answer).

Slowed by having BTU instead of CFC (in hindsight, I realize BTUs refers to air conditioners, which, despite using refrigerants, are a different thing than refrigerators) and inexplicably drawing a complete and total blank on PATSYCLINE. That made the NW and center-west more of a struggle than they should have been.

Even though I felt like I was running uphill (both ways, in the snow) the whole time, I finished with somewhere between easy-medium and medium time for me.

(Re: pangrams. I've never understood why people get impressed by them, or why people get worked up about them. The latter I do understand if and when they detract from the solve or create crappy fill, but I've seen much worse than EWOK/CAKY and TREX/SEX in non-pangram puzzles. As far as the former? Has anyone's solve ever been helped by the presence of all 26 letters, or found something fun or creative as a result?)

Steve J 1:56 AM  

Oh, and @Jeff Chen: Very cool idea to add constructors' (and editor's) notes. One, thanks for helping keep xwordinfo going. Two, thanks for adding the notes. Even when I don't like a puzzle, I'm curious about how a constructor got there.

Nehru suit 2:04 AM  

Positive glad that I navigated in your web page by accident. I'll be subscribing to your feed in order that I can get the latest updates. Appreciate all of the details right here

Anoa Bob 2:41 AM  

Any puzzle that gives PATSY CLINE full billing has me wrapped around its little finger. She had an opera-diva voice with a wonderful country twang.

From PATSYCLINE.com: "Country music lost a magical entertainer when her career was ended in an airplane crash in Tennessee, in 1963."

It's hard to go wrong in choosing a PC YouTube song. Here's my favorite:

I Fall To Pieces

chefwen 3:10 AM  

Took me a stupid amount of time to "get it" I finally did with BEE IN ONES BONNET. The rest fell quickly.

@August West - Please don't encourage BEQ to do all the NYT puzzles. I'm sure he is a very nice lad, but our playing fields are not remotely close, he's on the mainland and I am not. He is young, I am not. Nuff said!

@Steve J. - That's how I got to school in Wisconsin, uphill both ways in the snow.

One write-over at 5D DRinkS before DRAFTS, I'll take one of each please.

Questinia 4:15 AM  

Had EcLATS before E FLATS. Must've been thinking eclats of E Flats.

Bought the NYT's at Grand Central Sta. yesterday equipped with a fountain pen filled with dark toffee ink.

Prepared myself for the sensual delight, anticipating the light feathering of ink as I pressed nib to newsprint.

Then realized I had done the puzzle online the night before...

NYer 7:16 AM  

Can someone please explain "joe" as a clue for MUD?

Auggie 7:22 AM  

Joe and MUD are both nicknames for coffee.

NYer 7:40 AM  

Thanks @Augie! I knew "joe" but wasn't aware of "mud" (that must have been a terrible tasting cuppa). Guess now you know I'm a tea drinker.

ZenMonkey 7:47 AM  

Today I learned a new concept for the word UNPEG. Neat.

My experience completely matched this description by @Steve J: " I didn't even grok it afterwards (I kept thinking the entire answer somehow fit the circled letter, not just the first word of the answer)."

Once I did get it, I was able to appreciate the puzzle much more. I don't get that worked up about the occasional serving of alphabet soup, but CAKY just looks wrong without an E. I also get inconsistently annoyed by incorrect Latin plurals; I'm fine with "forums" but uptight about SERUMS. I know, I know...que sera, sera.

@Anoa Bob, Patsy in the puzzle made me run to my Rdio app (Internet radio) and add her to my collection. "I Go Out Walking" might be my favorite of hers. And that led me to Dusty's son of a preacher man...but I digress.

Tita 7:55 AM  

These are one of my favorite kinds of little wordplay puzzles.
Just a fabulous aha moment. It took me all through the grid, then back to the top again, to finally get it at SEAOFCORTEZ.

This was more a Medium challenge, and in fact, put te puzzle down last night thinking I would NF.
DA_NE/IG__/EL_IN...is it IGie? IGey? IGEe? IGGY?

2nd & 3rd near naticks at _AN/_UD, and S_Q/O_O.

But early morning helped me guess right.

I also had trouble with 39D, probably because no one has ever put those two words together in my presence...unless maybe PATSYCLINE was on the TV they were watching...

Had to wait for crosses to choose between LEICA and Nikon. I miss my film cameras. Wanted pecks before BANJO - fun clue there too.

Anyway, thanks, Jeff, for this perfect Thursday puzzle-in-a-puzzle.
And thanks a lot (she said, sarcastically and gratefully) for another mandatory distraction in my day - the constructor's notes @ xwordinfo.

Norm C. 8:10 AM  

I found the circled letters to be superfluous. I solve with "Times Reader" which doesn't display circles and had no problems getting theme answers with crosses once I had "EYE OF THE TIGER." (Now will have that song playing in my head...). A fun puzzle.

Thought it was a rebus at first when I had EArn for EAT at 10D.

Agree w/ Rex re: effete.

Have a good day, all.

Glimmerglass 8:14 AM  

MUD was easy (it could also have been bUD), but how is Whew! a clue for MAN? MAN is just an unspecific exclamation of emotion — not necessarily, "That was a close one!" CAKY is really lame, but the rest of the puzzle was excellent, even if a bit easy for a Thursday. Cute theme.

dk 8:23 AM  

My problem with BOSOMED was spelling. UNPEG left me DRY. New clueing for ETNA is treaty.

Same EFFETE issues as our dear leader and lukewarm reaction as A. West.

@Steve J. Andrea likes panagrams so we all like panagrams - get it!.

������ (3 Stars) While I was lukewarm the puzzle is not. Here's MUD in your eye.

John V 8:24 AM  

Same sticking spots as @Rex, fill a tad more crunchy than typical for Jeff, but his notes speak to the challenge.

Another good one from one really great guy, who is on a real roll, LAT co-conductor yesterday.

Way to go, Jeff!

dk 8:24 AM  

new clueing for ETNA is sweet.

John V 8:25 AM  

That might be "constructor" above. Sheesh.

Susan McConnell 8:35 AM  

This was surprisingly fun. I see circles and brace myself for the worst, especially when there are so few circles. But this was a clever use of them.

joho 8:50 AM  


I always perk up when I see Jeff's name at the top. This puzzle is just another example of his creativity and finesse.

I also perk up when I see a pangram in the making. @Steve J, yes it can help the solve by finding the missing letters in places where you might be stuck.
@Rex, if you created a puzzle with the perfect pangram ... would you submit it? Or would you purposely take out one letter of the alphabet to stubbornly prove your point?

Loved the clue for IGOR.

Beware of the TIGER at the TIBER!

Thanks, Jeff!



Milford 8:59 AM  

Cute puzzle, didn't notice the pangram. The last theme entry reminds me texts my kids send me: Where RU? K. CU.

Loved the double-Pop IGGY clue, even if terribly inaccurate. And once again I am proven that @Rex and I hail from the same musical adolescence with the OEO entry taking me immediately to Morris Day and the Time. OEOEO!

@retired chemist - "Did anyone else have CANNON for 29A? Was your simple number niNE for a while? I've said it before and I'll say it again: CAKY is an unaesthetic word." - yes, yes, and agreed. I also had cRAFTS before DRAFTS for my beer.

Geez, EFFETE has a pretty depressing Latin root.

Thanks, @Jeff Chen for the constructor write-up info. Like @Tita, I will be procrastinating and going there now.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

Altar Boy --

Crusts hold water and wine. ;-)

Acme 9:12 AM  

@milford
Under the heading "where Are They Now?" fwiw,
The Time (yay, Mpls!)
They are now The Original 7even, because Prince owns the name The Time and refused to let them use it!

Norm 9:16 AM  

Found this one more annoying than fun.

loren muse smith 9:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
loren muse smith 9:39 AM  

I echo what @Tita said about such themes. Simple, elegant idea. And I disagree - @Norm C – I think that the circles are essential here; you said you got the “theme answers” with no problem, but did you see the theme itself?

@Evan – I know it’s C, but I never remember if it’s I or Y.

@chefwen – me, too, for “drinks” before DRAFTS. Bet we’re among thousands today on that one.

@Questinia = yep – “eclats” before EFLATS.

I got sucked into the mental “chew” clue with that initial MU – “mull,” “muse. . . “ I felt silly when I saw MUNCH.

How on earth did I totally know ELGIN Baylor? He bailed me out down there, though.

TREX/ROAR. Did they?

REHNQUIST crossing COURT. Cool.

SEIZED (UPON) crossing REPOS.

Don’t you just love a trip to the DMV? NEIN.

@Tita is right – most of us just lost another good thirty minutes to puzzledom with Xwordinfo’s new touches. But thanks a gazillion, Jeff! I can’t wait to shut up here and scurry off to read the notes.

Ok – time for a Thursday Morning Rainy Beach Day Pangram Metaphor. I still like pangrams. And I can’t explain why. Maybe it’s like board-breaking in martial arts. I did some karate in grad school in a very traditional form (the masters in Japan still insist on wearing white belts, and there are no colored belts – just white and black). The accomplished people in this form never (or at least back then) broke boards or cinder blocks because, as my instructor put it (and here I will insult all the board-breaking martial arts solvers) – it’s an unnecessary party trick, at least unnecessary to the study/understanding of the art per se. I don’t know enough about karate to appreciate a beautifully-executed kata, but I sure get a kick out of seeing someone break 10 cinderblocks. I guess I’m still there in my puzzle-appreciating maturity; I still get a kick out of pangrams.

@August West – When I finally got EYE OF THE TIGER and SEA OF CORTEZ, I absolutely had a “wow” aha moment. BEQ is indeed great, but Jeff is every bit as great. I loved this one.

Carola 9:45 AM  

Easy? Not for me. This was WAR. For starters, I misread the theme clues so thought that it would be the same letter circled in all the answers (4 different homophones for one letter). My other missteps and recountings of general dumbness (PAT somebody whose last name starts with SY) would turn this into a SAGA, so will just say I eventually prevailed. And looking back over it, I LEICA it!

@chefwen - If that hill was in Madison, I can picture you trudging up it!

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

9D "SEIZED upon" and clue for 37A "Some SEIZURES..."?

Anyone else have a problem with that?

Horace S. Patoot 10:03 AM  

I agree with @zenmonkey about sera (English evolves but Latin doesn't) but I dislike calling scopolamine and Pentothal sera as well. Colloquially they're referred to as "truth serum", but once you talk about serum alone, it's no longer the colloquialism - it's just a mislabel since neither is a serum. I guess it's like saying a cat's cradle is a kind of cradle.

Greg Charles 10:21 AM  

@Anonymous -- yes, I'm surprised Rex didn't cry foul over that. Since seizure didn't turn out to be the grand mal type, both seizes were even the same sense of the word.

Z 10:34 AM  

As an avowed Evangelical Agnostic, both those who worship and fervently deny gods are worrisome. I wonder what would happen if someone did a puzzle that was a near pangram missing only the E?

Why did I want two S's in BOSOMED? I got it entirely from crosses because I thought the answer was too long.

After losing the DUFL inaugural summer league championship game last night, the two teams went out and played a TREX point (arms in sleeves so only the elbow out can be used to catch and throw the disc). Hilarious and fun.

chefbea 10:47 AM  

what a great fun puzzle. Did it while waiting at the physical therapist's - hip is bothering me...hate getting old!!!

There I am..in a bonnet!!

Thanks Jeff

Evan 10:57 AM  

@Z:

It did happen. Last year in fact, in May 2012. Patrick Berry did the only puzzle that had every letter except E. Rex's brain exploded, in a good way.

(Yet again, one of those "Patrick Berry already did it" examples.)

Z 11:10 AM  

@Evan - Uh, rhetorical question. But thanks for the answer since I'm sure there are new readers of the comments since 5/2012.

Steve J 11:33 AM  

@Milford: I somehow hadn't noticed the Time clip last night when I was reading Rex's writeup. Brilliant. "Jungle Love" was huge at my suburban Minneapolis junior high. I have traumatic memories of all of us trying to dance like Morris Day. It was not pretty.

@Acme: I hadn't realized that there was a pissing match over the name between Prince and Morris Day and the gang. Sigh.

Rob C 11:57 AM  

Everything I wanted to say has been said. So I'll just add another "two thumbs up" to heap the well-deserved praise on this puzzle.

And thanks Jeff Chen for jumping on board xwordinfo.

PS - Nobody responded yesterday when I asked about jackj - does anyone know?

Masked and Anonymo7Us 12:02 PM  

Jeff Chen was already my fave constructor. Then he went and saved xwordinfo's bacon. Then he added constructor/editor comments. Then he made a pangram puz with 007 U's and that other kinda symmetry, with the rare CUBIC curly circled thingy. thUmbsUp just don't seem to cut it, here. Toss in several bow-downs and some "we're not worthy"s, and you're gettin closer.
Thanx, JC.

Revealing, that the Shortzmeister makes the ThursPuz clues a dash easier sometimes, to accomodate a real tricky theme.

Extra spectacular weejects today: DMV, CFC, OEO, SEQ. Also a nice nest of 'em in that Gumdrop Mountain pass that the BANJOBEEINONESBONNET picks its way thru.

@Anoa Bob: Patsy is the best. Even her flip sides were killers.

I fall to pieces... dum dum dum... each time U enters my puz...

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Chronic lurker here...

As an anesthesiologist I have given lots of folks scopolamine and sodium pentothal. I don't see how they could be considered SERUMS. A serum is (according to my medical dictionary), most broadly, the clear portion of any biologic fluid. Scop and pent are meds.

Jake

Steve J 12:27 PM  

@Jake: Think in terms of the colloquial notion of "truth serum": sodium pentothal definitely has that popular reputation, and, looking it up, scopolamine apparently once was tried by the CIA as a truth serum as well.

Evan 12:42 PM  

@Z:

Ah, yes. I see you commented on that particular 5/19/12 post. Hard to catch rhetorical questions via the comment section sometimes.

@Rob C:

I can't answer your question, but it appears that his most recent comment here was on July 23, 2013.

Jukebox M and A 12:55 PM  

Crazy... crazy for lovin U...

Rob C 12:58 PM  

@Evan - thx. too bad, I hope he comes back.

ANON B 1:00 PM  

Why does everyone have to brag
about gimmees? What's a gimmee for
you may not be one for me and
vice-versa.

Walkin After MandANight Searchin For U 1:07 PM  

The only thing different,
The only thing new...
I've got these little things,
She's got U.

Bird 1:38 PM  

Medium for me, but I liked it. Had SYRUMS for the longest time, didn’t know 41A and could not remember how to spell the justice’s name.

Can’t hold anything against Jeff for making this a pangram. Maybe the southern corners are not pretty, but they aren’t ugly either. Pangram or not, if the fill is ugly the puzzle suffers.

BTU before CFC and MAGEE before MCGEE.

Maybe someday we’ll get another rebus.

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

@Steve J-
Ah yes--I see now.
Thanks-
Jake

Ray J 1:41 PM  

Had tAx/BuxOMED before BAS/BOSOMED and almost tried cuTY before PITY.

Re: pangrams. The thought of keeping track of letters during a solve boggles my mind. I mean, is that a superpower, like counting cards or what?

@Questina – Aw.

LaneB 1:43 PM  

BEEsinherBONNET instead of BEESINONESBONNET left me with a big hole DNF in the lower center. and an inability to fill ACAIBERRY correctly. Aaalso didn't realize that CAKY was spelled without an 'e'. Ususally am able to complete Thursday stuff and sad to note that the damned thing was 'easy' and completed by Rex in about 4 minutes. Seeing's believing.

jburgs 1:45 PM  

Never heard the use of effete in this form before. Learned something new. Wouldn't know how to get it into a conversation though, without out paradoxically appearing effete.
I think that the clue for iggy pop is terrible. You would never call his music pop and the clue should be Punk's Pop or something similar. Just checked wiki tho and they say "Though widely known as an innovator and "godfather" of punk rock, Pop's music has encompassed a number of styles over the years, including pop, hard rock, jazz and blues."
Was held up in centre for some time as put in BEEINyourBONNET at first.

Questinia 1:45 PM  

@ Jake: I agree. They are meds and not ser(a,ums). If meant to be taken colloquially, @ Steve J, then the answer *should* be complete, i.e. truth serums. But puzzles aren't always meant to be precise, I suppose, many times they're simply un-technically associational.

Questinia 1:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ray J 1:47 PM  

That’s Questinia. Sorry.

LaneB 1:54 PM  

Big disappointment today. Got most of it but failed with ACAIBERRY [didn't realize that CAKY was spelled without an e] and had BEESINHERBONNET which ruined the center. Usually do fine on Thursday, but not this time. Consequently, like any spoiled sport, I hated the puzzle and the horse it rode in on.

Questinia 1:57 PM  

@ Ray J: PITY accepted.
@ NYer: Good coffee at MUD on E. 9th street. They may still have the Mud Truck on Astor place selling joe.
@lms: of course!

Stevlb1 2:42 PM  

Rex reminds me of an overweight non-athlete, watching a professional sporting event, and criticizing the athletes' inabilities. Check out his most recent construction for NYT.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

"Like"

ahimsa-NYT 3:18 PM  

Not much to add other than I liked it, especially the SEE YOU IN COURT answer.

I put in PATSY CLINE with no problem (know about her from movies, mostly) as well as CROFTS (that started an earworm of "Diamond Girl"). But I still had a fairly tough time until I got that bottom theme answer. Then I worked my way back up fairly quickly.

I agree with all the others on the issues with the SERUMS clue/answer.

Kudos to Jeff Chen for a fun puzzle!

Lewis 4:09 PM  

@questinia -- "the light feathering of ink", once again, poetic. Nice touch.

I didn't like two uses of the C homophone in the answers, but I realize that it was hard to come up with theme answers, according to Jeff's notes. And Jeff, great addition to the site!

More medium than easy for me. I wanted "net" instead of EAT and that held me up.

Grid gruel: DMV, CFC, FTS, DEA, SEQ, CAKY, OEO -- medium on the grr count.

I think IGGY MCGEE would be a great name!

mac 4:18 PM  

Not easy for me, but a lot of fun.

I guessed right at the T in Crofts/RTs, and had a hard time at bosomed where I thought I needed another s. Loved Rehnquist/court, see you in court and obscene.

Now to check out the notes.

Cortez 4:24 PM  

Must-see TV: Tig Notaro on Taylor Dayne. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSwzYB545hY

acme 4:36 PM  

@Lane
I know you've mentioned being new-ish...so just wanted to say, it's puzzle convention to replace HIS/HER/MY with ONE in these phrases.
Not sure why...
GOt taken to task once for MELTSINONESMOUTH instead of MELTSINYOURMOUTH which I'd have preferred but it's not the way it's done...
THis might help future solves and not hating the horse one rode in on!

@Loren
Love your little metaphor...the funny thing is the last five times I haven't even noticed it was a pangram till it was crankily slammed! Don't know why I take the bait tho. ZZZZ. WOn't in the future.

@SteveJ
Please write to me off line I am dying to know where you grew up in Mpls exactly and what years...
Thanks! (my full name at gmail)

sanfranman59 4:55 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)

Thu 15:28, 16:30, 0.94, 37%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 8:28, 9:30, 0.89, 25%, Easy-Medium

SueR 6:25 PM  

I had a totally different experiences than most of you. Found this puzzle somewhat difficult and very annoying. The long acrosses had nothing in common and no reason for being other than the vowels in the circles.The letter C is used twice. Serums, caky, man, and iggy are just wrong. And driver's license info is not your sex, it's your gender...pet peeve.

Auggie 7:02 PM  

@ Anon 9:04A: True enough, but my mom used the same vessels found in the sacristy to put out oil and vinegar for salads at dinner. Thus, I learned that those li'l things were called "cruets," and always associated them with my time on the altar. That, of course, was a long, long time ago. :/

jazzmanchgo 7:50 PM  

Okay, so I'm an idiot -- I can't even decipher what the phrase "let float from the dollar" MEANS, let alone figure out what it has to do with the verb UNPEG.

Rob C 8:15 PM  

@jazzman

a fixed exchange rate is one in which the value of a currency is 'pegged' or fixed to another. Many Asian countries had pegged their currency to the US$ in the past. I don't think many do now. Anyhow, when the value of a currency is unpegged,its value can diverge or floats from the $. Of course the value of a currency can be pegged to anything, not just the US$. Hope this helps.

chefbea 9:28 PM  

@Mac...your tree is missing again...did you go back to Holland?

mac 9:58 PM  

chefbea: when I see my tree, you don't; when you see it, I don't. I have no clue why, but I'm back in the US.

geordiegirl 9:58 PM  

Stupidly put Pete Seeger (rather than Patsy Cline) for 3D, which caused me (deservedy) a lot of trouble!

geordiegirel 10:01 PM  

That should have been deservedly. Seems I can't type either!

sanfranman59 12:19 AM  

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

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

Mon 7:35, 6:09, 1.23, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 191 Mondays)
Tue 9:26, 8:16, 1.14, 82%, Challenging
Wed 10:26, 9:43, 1.07, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 15:07, 16:30, 0.92, 32%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:52, 3:47, 1.29, 99%, Challenging (2nd highest ratio of 191 Mondays)
Tue 5:41, 5:00, 1.14, 82%, Challenging
Wed 6:12, 5:35, 1.11, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 8:07, 9:30, 0.85, 21%, Easy-Medium

@geordiegirel ... it's never stupid to honor Pete's name

Newbie (still) 7:47 AM  

Here I am, a day late, because unlike everyone else it seems, I DNF. Did not know UCLA - just had the U and it could have been anywhere; Didn't know the names Dayne, Elgin, and McGee (where have I been?), and had Nyet - didn't think of Nein.

But loved the puzzle anyway. Thought it was way cool!

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CY 10:10 AM  

SueR: And driver's license info is not your sex, it's your gender...pet peeve.

What in the world are you talking about? I just had a look at my driver's license and it quite clearly has a datum labeled "Sex" and none labeled "Gender".

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spacecraft 11:06 AM  

Fix the hole, please; it's raining spellcasters again. @Rob C: thanks for the explanation of both clue and answer for 8d. To me the clue made absolutely no sense; it was as if someone had picked five words at random. Thankfully, the answer came in 100% on crosses.

@Zen monkey: I'm confused. "I go out walking" is the starting lyric of--hello!--"Walking After Midnight." PC was a special favorite of my wife's; we saw a great tribute show a few years ago--featuring the REAL, original Jordanaires. The girl was quite good. Not Patsy, of course--but good. I forget her name, my bad.

Well, it's no longer a whitewash: SERA 1,896, SERUMS 1. Still don't know why Taylor DAYNE's career never took off; she certainly had the looks for it. Maybe not quite 39D, but...39d. Gave me thoughts of 57d--and I ain't talkin' no "Driver's license info."

Didn't see it mentioned, but we have an asymmetrical grid here. Since I didn't even notice till I was all done, I guess it works. The two 13s were the best theme entries, especially SEEYOUINCOURT, which is fabulous. While I wouldn't call it easy, there were enough long gimmes (PATSYCLINE, REHNQUIST, BOSOMED) to render it no more than easy-medium. As usual, nice job, MAN.

How ironic! I misread the captcha, ad had to do another one. Yet these IDIOTS get in here easy as you please.

rain forest 12:06 PM  

I might have had a seriously quick time if not for American stuff that are hurdles for me: REHNQUIST, DAYNE, OEO, today. I've learned ROTC, as distinct from the Canadian version, ROTP. Otherwise the puzzle was smoothly swift. Didn't notice EFFETE till I was finished, and agree that its definition is not what I thought it was.

Ginger 1:21 PM  

MAN this was fun! Love the punny themers. Started slow, and eventually worked my way up from the south. Got the theme with SEEYOUINCOURT, which helped the rest to open up like a flower, one petal at a time.

Do Not like EFLATS. Seems like a gimmick of convenience, and a POC to boot. I had cannon for way too long, which I still think was a pretty good answer, wrong. For 13-D I had CR---- and wanted Crosby, but CROFTS finally cleared up that awful mess.

Love the line at Xword Info "My Mother's favorite constructor".

Good Job, Jeff, for this puz and for the gig at Xword Info.

Dirigonzo 4:57 PM  

Judging by the success rate of my first run-through all of the clues this puzzle was easier than the early-week offerings. All I had left to fill in was some blank squares in and around the theme answers, and by then the theme was easy enough to see so no problem. Except I misspelled REnNQUIST - I should have re-read the across clue to see that it could not be an "n".

@spacecraft - love your 39D/39d remark!

Patsy Cline - sighhhh.

Uh-oh - I got @M&A's special reserved captcha: uguuse

Solving in Seattle 5:30 PM  

Did this one in the jury duty lounge, which was, once again, as quiet as a morgue, disturbed only by my snickers at this fabulous Chen work.

Hope nobody has 11D/57D. At least not with an inspiring 39D.

UNrEG before UNPEG. faA before DEA, which slowed up the East Coast solve.

Could. Not. Parse. BOSOMED until I came here. Big BO SO MED? NAY. Full BO SOMED? No. Oh, yeah. Boobs.

When I lived in San Diego a group of us would drive to San Filipi on the SEAOFCORTEZ and camp on the most beautiful sand beaches you can imagine. At night you can see a trillion stars, even if you don't have the EYEOFTHETIGER.

@Diri, you've got to give M&A his capcha back.

Mine today was iletsh. A Yiddish confession?

Anonymous 8:18 PM  

Hated this puzzle, for all the reasons noted above. Flat out errors. Also, the theme questions are wrong. Shouldn't the answer to them be, "the first word of the answer"? The whole puzzle made no sense!

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