Mathematical physicist Peter who pioneered in knot theory / WED 8-28-13 / Man whose 1930 salary was $75000 / Chestnut colored flying mammal / Rathskeller order / Vicina della Francia

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Constructor: Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: 60A: Quote from BABE / RUTH (aka THE SULTAN OF SWAT) on why he outearned PRESIDENT HOOVER: "I HAD A BETTER YEAR"

Word of the Day: Peter TAIT (58D: Mathematical physicist Peter who pioneered in knot theory) —
Peter Guthrie Tait FRSE (28 April 1831 – 4 July 1901) was a Scottish mathematical physicist, best known for the seminal energy physics textbook Treatise on Natural Philosophy, which he co-wrote with Kelvin, and his early investigations into knot theory, which contributed to the eventual formation of topology as a mathematical discipline. His name is known in graph theory mainly for Tait's conjecture. (wikipedia)
• • •

Love the theme. Simple, elegant, and *snappy* in the revealer/punch line. What a great find—all those 15s and a symmetrical BABE / RUTH. Very nice. The fill, I'm less thrilled with. It's OK, but both dull and rough in places. Kind of unadventurous, a little over-reliant on the boring. There's no good fill outside the theme. It's adequate at best. But it's not a disaster, by any means, and the theme is pure Win, so I'm happy. Mainly, I was happy just to get the puzzle, because while the NYT website appears to be back up now after yesterday's "malicious external attack," it is not up for *my* browser so I had to find a generous friend to shoot me the puzzle (thx, PuzzleGirl). I am not a Yankees fan, but it was cool to see a Yankees-oriented puzzle just two weeks after seeing a Yankees game at the new Yankee Stadium  with Erik Agard himself. In fact, here we are (w/ friends) at BABE / RUTH Plaza (we're in the back, I'm making some kind of rabbit-ears gesture behind his head ... good times).



This puzzle played very, very easy in parts. Once I got BABE, for instance, then both RUTH and SULTAN OF SWAT went in instantly. And I motored through short crosses in several places. But in other places I got strangely held up. Worst pitfall was having -OL- at 16A: One's part? and writing in ROLE. This made ISSUE (10D: Time piece?) look ridiculous. Just botched that corner. Also could Not see PUNTED for the longest time (23D: Gave up by giving up control), even though the clue seems perfectly apt. Same with A-TEAMS (28D: Units of brilliance?). I'm noticing that I'm mainly being done in by "?" clues. I guess I don't mind tricky clues as a way of amping up difficulty on a Wednesday. Makes the puzzle a bit more fun when I have to struggle at least a little. TAIT is an absurdity in this grid. Total outlier. That's a pretty obscure proper noun, and (more importantly) way way way more obscure than anything else in the puzzle. TAIT's neighbor ORCH is no prize pig either. Oh well, that's a pretty theme-dense little section. No harm done.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    71 comments:

    Anonymous 12:02 AM  

    Don't understand the point behind 60-Across, so lame puzzle for me.

    jackj 12:03 AM  

    This puzzle will be remembered (at least by me), not for BABE RUTH, his nickname or his famous quote as regards his salary exceeding President Herbert Hoover’s.

    Those were easy, gimmes even, but the entry that saved Erik Agard’s bacon and allowed him to close out the puzzle, could not be found by Google, (on a post-solve search), until Google had spit out the 30th page of “TAIT” responses.

    Even then it was reported only through an indirect reference advising that the Cornell Library had a copy of a book written in 1873 titled “An Elementary Treatise on Quaternions” by one “Tait, Peter Guthrie”.

    A second search tracked him down on Wikipedia, where his main claim to fame seemed to be that in 1884 he set forth a mathematical theory called “Tait’s conjecture” that was ultimately disproved in 1946.

    Even though TAIT was easily gettable from the crosses, Will and Erik should be embarrassed that they had to dig so deep for such a Wednesday puzzle entry.

    Notwithstanding the “folly of TAIT”, this was a fun, clever puzzle with entertaining entries like HEARKENS, MAKEUPTO, HORRID and ENLISTED, (as so cleverly clued) and PUNTED, whose cluing flirts with brilliance.

    As far as the Ruth recollection is concerned, I suspect most of us will agree with the Bambino that he was indeed qualified to assert that IHADABETTERYEAR than PRESIDENTHOOVER in 1930.

    (A final note on the dreaded TAIT usage, the master of crossword obscurities, Eugene Maleska, didn’t allow it to be clued using the Scottish mathematician, rather his cluing referred to TAIT as an “Australian honey possum”, which beats “quaternions” and the like any day).

    Good work Erik, though I hope in the future you can spare us trivia that’s too esoteric even for a Mensa version of “Trivial Pursuit”.

    August West 12:03 AM  

    Finished this in 4:12, nearly two minutes faster than yesterday's, owing in large part to 1A, 67A, 17A, 38A and 60A (in that order) being filled in about 5 seconds. You either know your Bambino history or you don't. Knew HOOVER and the famous quote would be in the puzzle from the way 1A was clued, hunted them down and entered all without anything else then in the grid.

    I found the rest of the fill an olio of very easy, very clever and very poorly clued (yet easily inferable) answers.

    Loved "Seventh anniversary ruiner"/ITCH, "Units of brilliance"/ATEAMS, "It's elementary"/ATOM and "Repay"/MAKEUPTO.

    Hated "Up in arms"/ENLISTED. One already enlisted may "re-up." One does not "up" to enlist. Blecch.

    Ditto, "Not adept in"/SLOWAT. Reach. Strained.

    Ditto, "Precede"/FOREGO and, especially, "Runs rampant/TEEMS, the former owing to my having only ever heard/used forego to connote to do without, cede or give up, and the latter because, well, teems simply does not mean to run rampant.

    The OHIO clue is, um, different, I'll grantcha, if a real long way to go for such a pap bit o' fill.

    The clue for PUNTED would have been better and more accurate if, simply, "Gave up control." It is not correct as worded, at least from a football perspective, as a team that punts does temporarily give up the ball, but certainly not it's vie for victory. "Gave up by giving up control" implies capitulation and belongs in the Department of Redundancy Department.

    Never heard of TAIT and have no idea what he did, but he was easily sniped via crosses.

    Oh, AARGH? Really? This is acceptable now? Whatever.

    Liked more than I didn't. B.

    Steve J 12:31 AM  

    This is how you do a quotation-themed puzzle. Usually I hate quotes, but the fill is nice and snappy (although PRESIDENTHOOVER is ever-so-slightly belabored). And the quote is a classic. (@Anon 12.02: Not sure how you wouldn't get the point. It was 1930. The Depression is raging. Hoovervilles and everything. Someone asked Ruth why he should be paid more than the president. Hard to argue with his reasoning, evening without looking up his stats from that year.)

    The rest of the puzzle, as others have noted, was a mixed bag. A few good to outstanding clues (Seventh anniversary runiner/ITCH, especially), but the non-theme fill was kind of bland. TAIT is incredibly obscure, but at least it was easily gettable from the crosses.

    Interesting bit of trivia. I looked up the theme's salaries in an inflation calculator to compare. Hoover's $75k is worth just a bit over $1 million today (imagine the outcry if the president earned a cool million a year these days; Obama gets $400k, and so did W).

    Meanwhile, Babe Ruth, arguably the best player in the history of the game (although anyone making that argument loses, as Willie Mays was the best ever) would have only gotten $1.1 million in today's money. You don't even have to play full-time to get that kind of money now. There were 14 players making $20 million or better in 2012. If Ruth were playing today, it's hard to imagine him not being the best-paid player in the game; if he equalled Alex Rodriguez's (grossly undeserved) $30 million, he would have gotten a little over $2 million in 1930.

    Now I want to ask A-Rod the same question Ruth got asked.

    Anonymous 12:39 AM  

    Thought a rebus had to be involved when Kenya wouldn't fit at 33 across.

    Questinia 12:43 AM  

    How on earth could anyone not know Plait'n Tait and his development of mathematical knot tables?

    The Bambino may have been THE SULTAN OF SWAT but Plait'n Tait was THE SULTAN OF KNOT.

    QED, Mr. Erik Agård (or is is Ågard?) deftly and subtly introduces a mirror of hyperbole by having his puzzle contain this ATEAM of SULTANS.

    @ ACME, give my regards to Gamla Stan!
    @ loren, I know that Green Acres feeling that tends to accompany anyplace eden-esque. I jes ain't got that many apples or berries. (But I do munch on native licorice root and ramp).

    jae 12:43 AM  

    Medium-tough for a Wed. mostly because I got hung up in the SE where I had TEarS for TEEMS and HEARyEes (yes I know that's a stretch) for HEARKENS.  Plus, I had to do it on my iPad (NYT site was not responding) so I had to chase down a typo...aASAL to NASAL... and I know I put an N in there the first time through.

    Spelled AARGH correctly this time. Last it showed up ArRGH gave me a DNF.

    WOE: TAIT.  Thanks for the research as too just how much of a WOE this was @jackj

    Smooth puzzle, but I've heard the quip so no amusing moment of discovery. 

    So, fine but just not fresh for me.  

    Steve J 1:05 AM  

    Btw, one nitpick I forgot to note earlier:

    One does not order a STEIN in a Rathskeller. One orders a beer (well, ein Bier; more appropriately, ein whatever specific beer you want). It may come in a stein (although, odds are strongly against it). This is like going into a pub or a bar and just saying "I'll have a glass." Even worse, the Germans don't call the vessel a STEIN, and you run the risk of being asked to leave for having come into a bar/restaurant and asking to be served a rock.

    Kris in ABCA 4:06 AM  

    How do I download the puzzle? I still can't access the NY Times website, and my puzzle app won't download it.

    John Child 4:45 AM  

    Good fun all around. I see several not-quite pairs: WOUNDS and MAKE UP TO, GRATE and HORRID, and BEER and ALES. A quick solve because, as @August West said, once you get BABE then RUTH and the nickname fall immediately, and PRESIDENT HOOVER is only a couple of crosses away.

    loren muse smith 6:06 AM  

    I’m so upset – we finally got it so I can print, and the Times’ website is down. I made sure to get up really early so I could do it because the rest of the day is shot. And boom. No puzzle – not even online, not clicking the pdf at xword or Fiend. Nothing.

    A quick look at the grid – impressive with those 15’s!

    How was TERPS clued? That’s where ERIC (sic) is a student! Speaking of college – BEER, ALES, STEIN, HITS, and ETON.

    So an EGRET, RED BAT and TERP walk into this bar. . .

    My grandfather played (briefly) on the Senators and the Orioles, and he played against BABE.

    After the HORRID start to my day, I’m off to do icky house-closing –related errands.

    Anonymous 6:52 AM  

    A very, very enjoyable solve, though I would have preferred Herbert to PRESIDENT. Had TEarS for TEEMS which messed me up. Big like!

    dk 7:05 AM  

    Kids. If you just get the paper. The best part is the reassuring plop it makes when landing on your stoop. They may call them front steps here in WI. I'll check.

    My gimmie was TAIT as Knot theory was a cross reference when I was explaining pattern analysis to my now terminally bored co-workers. In two weeks they get to hear about Benford's law... just when they thought it was safe to go back in the water (cue Jaw's Theme).

    The fill is all familiar. MTGE and MAKEUPTO were the only sticklers. Seemed to be out of sync with the rest of the fill for me.

    ������ (3 Stars) Nice one Erik... but you spelled your name wrong in the grid.

    The Bard 7:07 AM  

    The Two Gentlemen of Verona , Act V, scene IV

    JULIA: Behold her that gave aim to all thy oaths,
    And entertain'd 'em deeply in her heart.
    How oft hast thou with perjury cleft the root!
    O Proteus, let this habit make thee blush!
    Be thou ashamed that I have took upon me
    Such an immodest raiment, if shame live
    In a disguise of love:
    It is the lesser blot, modesty finds,
    Women to change their shapes than men their minds.

    PROTEUS: Than men their minds! 'tis true.
    O heaven! were man
    But constant, he were perfect. That one error
    Fills him with faults; makes him run through all the sins:
    Inconstancy falls off ere it begins.
    What is in Silvia's face, but I may spy
    More fresh in Julia's with a constant eye?

    John V 7:24 AM  

    Easy, save for the south; MTGE was gnarly.

    Fun puz, Erik.

    Elle54 7:50 AM  

    The Bambino must have been a real character. Loved the nostalgia. Thanks

    joho 8:35 AM  

    I couldn't get the puzzle until this morning. It's amazing to me that the NYT site was down. Syrian Electronic Army? Yikes.

    I've always loved the term, SULTANOFSWAT so nice to see it in the puzzle. This was definitely the liveliest and my favorite long answer.

    ATEAMS. TEEMS.

    TERPS sounds like twerks which just made it into the OED. I wonder which constructor will work that into a puzzle first?

    Nice work, Erik!

    Rob C 8:44 AM  

    Knew the quote and the people involved, so this played like a Mon for me. I would imagine if you didn't know the quote it would be Wednesday-ish.

    Like @Steve J, I found myself pondering the discrepancy between A-Rod and Obama's salary. Or any other player for that matter - the MINIMUM salary for an MLB player is $490k in 2013. Read that again if you didn't catch it. No wonder I stopped going to MLB games 10+ years ago.

    Fill was a bit bland as Rex points out, but in my opinion, good cluing compensated. Liked the clues for ITCH (7th anniversary ruiner) and ESSES (bluegrass duo). I was on to the ESSES immediately, if I would have gotten fooled I would have been here cursing that clue.

    chefbea 8:49 AM  

    Can't get the puzzle this morning. Have not read the comments so don't know if anyone else is having the same difficulty. Can some one please send me the PDF puzzle...before I go into withdrawal!!!

    Rob C 8:55 AM  

    @chefbea - try going to the xwordinfo sight and clicking on the pdf version that comes up on the home page. If you have a valid ny times subscription, you can get to it.

    Rob C 8:56 AM  

    site
    :-O

    Kris in ABCA 9:05 AM  

    I tried xwordinfo as well, and it doesn't work. Lots of us don't have access to a paper copy. It would be great if someone could post a blank PDF of the puzzle so those of us left in the cold can have a go at it.

    jackj 9:19 AM  

    Just to put a period on my earlier "TAIT" rant, it seems there were a few more people searching Google for the obscure Scottish math man.

    His Wikipedia entry is now listed as the 4th response to "TAIT" on Google.

    Hope his newfound fame wears well.

    Carola 9:27 AM  

    Nice puzzle! Very neat how the three 15's fit together. I kinda knew them all, but still needed a few crosses.

    Thought SOAR was a bonus answer for one of the BABE's home runs.

    @dk - It's your porch, even if it's only a couple of steps, as our back porch is (speaking here as a Dane County native and resident). Way back when, we lived in Baltimore, and I had to get used to stoops.

    ArtO 10:12 AM  

    Easiest Wednesday in a while due entirely to knowledge of The Babe's quote. An outlier of his time. Babe was undoubtedly the most talented person ever to play the game with unsurpassed (when you consider his era) pitching and batting records.

    Same quibble as others with aargh and Tait.

    Sandy K 10:29 AM  

    Enjoyed the BABE RUTH theme and quote, but AARGH to fill such as MTGE and HEARKENS- I thought it was HARKENS...

    Fave clue: 7 year ITCH!

    Steve J 10:32 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Steve J 10:35 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    quilter1 10:36 AM  

    Well, I got most of it. I had moth for 10A so that corner was pretty bare. Did not know ARGON (how does one excite it?) and also had TEarS, so DNF that section. However the rest was easy for me and I liked the theme. The quote was funny.

    Steve J 10:42 AM  

    (Sorry for the repeat posts; I keep screwing up embedding the URL.)

    For those of you having trouble getting to the NYT, try using the direct IP address: http://170.149.168.130/. This bypasses the Domain Name Server that has been under attack.

    The site is working as normal for me, so I can't test if that IP address will work for the crosswords download (and I don't subscribe to the crossword through the NYT site, anyway). It may not, as the same site can use multiple IP addresses can be used for different sections of a site.

    dick S 12:13 PM  

    No Crossword!

    Bomb the Bastards!

    Irate in Hood Eiver

    Masked and Anonym007Us 12:27 PM  

    Mmyep. Xenia and Zanesville, OHIO, btw. Is Youngstown the biggest Y? Can't help but wonder which state's got the biggest U...

    Also can't help reflectin on how much more today's biggest b-ball salary is, than Prez Obama's. Not. I'm sure Obama makes more, right? Surely the USA has got its values straightened out, after all these years since 1930. Altho... is the prez on performance enhancin drugs? Will he be another of them prezs with an asterisk? And what drugs is Congress on?...
    But I digress.
    har.

    Hope y'all have hacked yer way thru the cyberwars collateral damage and have got to the puz by now. I got there last night via xwordinfo.com, to print off the pdf.

    Hope U get lucky at closin time, Muse Darlin.

    Agent 007U will return, in "ThunderTAITer"...

    Lara W. 12:28 PM  

    Who knew the Babe Ruth nickname dialogue from "The Sandlot" would come in handy all these years later. I actually put in "The Great Bambino" immediately, realized after a couple more clues it was wrong.

    Tom 12:54 PM  

    http://170.149.168.130/premium/xword/2013/08/28/Aug2813.puz

    This works for me to get the puzzle (I have a paid subscription)

    Dick S 1:04 PM  

    Thank you, Tom! It worked.

    Less irate in Hood River

    chefbea 1:12 PM  

    I have a paid subscription and nothing worked for me. One of our Rexites who doesn't comment ofter - Ileen - got some one to scan the puzzle and then she sent it to me. I think the times is back on line....so I can read the dining and wine section.

    The puzzle - was OK but thought we would have an I had a dream puzzle

    Doc John 1:14 PM  

    I don't mind TAIT so much because the crosses were easy enough. That said, does Clapton really need to be qualified with "guitarist?" I mean, really! He's ERIC friggin Clapton, fer crissakes!

    Ray J 1:17 PM  

    The joke’s on me. After no success with trying all the ideas you guys so thoughtfully posted, I went out and plunked down the two-fifty for some good old-fashioned newsprint. Got back to the PC and, voila!, the site is back up. This has been as much fun as pilling my cat. Yep, the DVMs have verbed pill. Found this out last week when $300 worth of blood tests revealed hyperthyroidism in my 20-yr old cat.

    @August West perfectly described my experience with the puzzle. Except for the AARGH part. I like AARGH. Especially today.

    M and A in closing 1:29 PM  

    p.s. Primo puz; and extra primo write-up from the 4Oh-meister. Was gonna complain about the paucity of bullettes at the tailend, but ran smack dab into Tori Amos down there. So, hey -- all right then.

    Better clue for TAIT: Put Tori Amos at the end of the blog, say.

    @lms: Close. But no cigars.

    Ray J 1:30 PM  

    Oh, I forgot to mention that I *thought* I was able to access the puz at the Seattle Times site. The date said it was today, but I got to ACHOO in the ROSES ARE RED puz from last month before I realized I had seen this one before. AARGH!

    Anonymous 2:03 PM  

    As to peeves, when one enlists, one "signs up".

    Anonymous 2:03 PM  

    WTH, you people use Google to check on names and spelling? Whatever happened to doing a puzzzle the old-fashioned way, from your mind?

    North Beach 2:17 PM  

    Feeling a little smug with the Magmic app today...

    OISK 2:23 PM  

    Agree with Anon 2:03 - if I need to look it up, that's a DNF. Knew the Babe Ruth quote, so this was very easy, but still, very enjoyable. Never heard of Tait either, but then, I know nothing about any member of the Jackson 5 - I assume that was a rock group? - other than Michael. Aargh is fine, since I think that is how it is spelled in Peanuts, so "Good Grief" is a cute clue. Knew that Clapton's first name is Eric, which is the only thing about him I DO know... Argon, like neon, will produce colored light when subjected to a high voltage in a vacuum tube. The term "excited" is used to describe atoms that have absorbed energy. A nice chemistry clue. (argon produces a violet color, which is far dimmer than the bright orange produced by neon)

    Anonymous 2:25 PM  

    Puzzle must have been in the works for a long time. Maryland no longer part of the ACC

    Rob C 2:37 PM  

    @anon 2:25 - I thought the same thing and looked it up. Maryland has indeed decided to change conferences from the ACC to the Big 10. But the change will happen in the 2014-15 school year. So they are still part of the ACC now.

    Anonymous 2:41 PM  

    If this puzzle was supposed to be funny...it failed.

    Bird 2:50 PM  

    Nice puzzle. Nice how the 15s worked out. This Parrothead likes AARGH.

    Mini H*T theme with HOTS, HITS, HAT and HST.

    Only gaffe was ROLE before SOLO.

    @August West – I ditto your dittos
    @Steve J – Agreed on STEIN

    Re: STOOP / PORCH / FRONT STEPS – If there’s room for a flower pot, then it’s a stoop. If there’s room for a couple rocking chairs, then it’s a porch. IMO.

    Happy Humpday!

    Not a fail 2:51 PM  

    Who said the puzzle was supposed to be funny?

    Anonymous 3:33 PM  

    Hey August,

    I work for the NFL. Trust me, punting is giving up. Not the game or any aspiration of victor it's true but it is most certainly giving up on the series. If you don't know what that means, then kindly keep quiet. If you do know what it means, man up, and acknowledge your error.

    Erik,

    The punt clue was absolutely superb. It's a fine puzzle, you should be proud.

    Ray J 3:57 PM  

    @M&A, couldn’t leave you wondering so here you go. Cities with over 50,000 people as of July 1, 2012 per US Census data.

    Upland City, CA – 75,209
    Union City, CA – 71,763
    Union City, NJ – 67,744
    Utica, NY – 61,822
    Euless, TX – 52,780 (why not?)
    ---------------------------------
    Yonkers, NY – 198,449
    Yuma, AZ – 95,429
    Yakima, WA – 93,101
    Yorba Linda, CA – 66,735
    Youngstown, OH – 65,405
    Yuba City, CA – 65,105
    Yucaipa, CA – 52,625

    Can I get ya anything else?

    ANON B 5:15 PM  

    I've said this before but it's
    worth repeating. What is a gimmee
    for one person is "huh?" for another.
    I think it's just a way of showing off how "smart" you are.

    mac 5:18 PM  

    Easy puzzle (even remembered sultan of swat without crosses), but had a lot of trouble with mtge and make up to. Had face up to for a while.

    Wouldn't it have been nice if 60A had said: "I had a batter year"? Sorry.

    M and A and Gratias 5:35 PM  

    @Ray J: Upland, CA. I want to go to there.
    I can't help but wonder if Uppsala Sweden is the worldwide winner; I have been to there.
    Thanx for the researchin.
    M&A

    Z 5:36 PM  

    @OISK - I think the TAIT seekers googled post solve. This is how WOEs and WTFs become gimmes. TAIT is certainly no more obscure that Leo Otto MDCLXIV, but I never heard of him. Got him from the crosses. Some Saturday I may need him.

    @Rob C. - Is it the salaries or being a Mets fan (he says smugly with 2003 firmly in the rear view mirror)?

    As for the quote, I think Miggy could say the same thing today, 'tho a Rod couldn't (don't know how to do a SCHWA on the iPad keyboard).

    gifcan 6:29 PM  

    Had to wait a long time to get the puzzle and, thereby, learned how important the puzzle is to my day.

    @AnonB - right on.

    @Steve J - agree with your STEIN comments and fully support Wille Mays as the greatest.

    Fine puzzle. Worth the wait.

    August West 6:38 PM  

    @Anon 3:33: Upon further review, you are correct. A punt is a "give up" of the current series, albeit for strategic purposes intended to thwart the opponent and preserve the competitive strive for victory later in the game. While technically apt, I still believe preamble to the clue to have been misleading and superfluous.

    Be sure to show this to Roger in the elevator. You'll be out of the mail room in no time.

    michael 6:59 PM  

    I knew Babe Ruth and the quote right way. Must have been harder for those (the majority, no doubt) who didn't.

    Rob C 7:32 PM  

    @Z - Ouch! There's maybe 3 players on the Mets that deserve $490k per year. The rest deserve the federal minimum wage, not the MLB minimum wage.

    Anonymous 8:25 PM  

    At 6:59 August West confirmed what I have suspected for quite some time. He is an arrogant SOB.

    August West 9:08 PM  

    True enough. But did ya happen to see what I was responding to?

    retired_chemist 9:24 PM  

    Hmm - got a pdf from ChefBea - thanks. The NYT site is still nonfunctional for me. http://170.149.168.130/ comes up but its links are broken. Instead of just hanging they now say "Address not found." I suppose that signifies progress.

    The puzzle - easy. I was one of those who basically knew the quote. The fill - meh. So I guess it was a good Wednesday to have computer issues.

    Hopefully, all NYT will be back soon.

    Z 9:43 PM  

    @ Rob C - Of course, the weak hitting A's are making "the best starting staff in baseball" look like a bunch of AAA retreads this week. Sparky Anderson had a sign in his office that said "Every day the world rolls over on someone who was sitting on top of it." Yep.

    @August West - Insulting anonymice are best ignored.

    Acme 4:42 AM  

    A little too sciency (ARsON, T?IT) and very sportsy for me...but that was fine, made me just want to have Erik on my team if ever we played Trivial Pursuit, I think we'd complement each other nicely!

    Interesting quote...I was wondering why there would be an 82 yr old quote tho? BABE RUTH's bday? Or was it relevance to ARod scandals? Or just because Will and everyone can't get enough baseball?
    Whatever, the synchronicty of the 15s trumps all, tho I kept thinking it should be Herbert HOOVER or some signal that it called for PRESIDENT.

    My grandpa shares Babe's first and middle name GEORGE HERMAN so this hit a sweet spot for me!

    @Bird...that's interesting about H*T minitheme!
    And @Mac, I wanted BannER YEAR!
    BATTER, BETTER, BITTER, BUTTER...but then clunk with BOTTER :(
    This is what happens to many theme ideas!
    Too bad it's bot BOTTERcelli...

    @Q
    Last day pa Sverige and yes, I'll go hang in Gamla Stan

    AGard is SUCH a Swedish name, esp with a small circle over the A...but when I asked ERIk, who even has the K if he was Swedish, he looked at me like I was crazy...
    He balked...or PUNTED or something.

    and of course it's time for my annual mention of the cartoon with the Venn Diagram overlap of the Jackson 5 and Yugoslavian dictators.

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    spacecraft 12:23 PM  

    Guess we're not gonna get rid of @DatingOnline, are we? Oh well, at least the message is short. On to today.

    Tried thinking of 4-4 famous names of 1930; came up with HUEY LONG (murky on the timeline, as always). Soon uncovered the Bambino, though, and the rest of the theme came right behind. Mostly I agree with OFL, except that the fill wasn't that bad IMO. MAKEUPTO and HEARKENS you don't see every day. And I loved the NE corner! If you have the 7-year ITCH, you might get the HOTS for a scantily CLAD nymph (or satyr) who is walking SOLO in TOWN; then if you don't FOREGO those urges, your spouse might ISSUE WOUNDS with a SWAT.

    ATEAMS (plural) doesn't make a lot of sense, and it doesn't help that the clue "Units of brilliance?" is equally nonsensical. There was only one A-TEAM, and I still watch reruns of it on, would you believe, Centric, possibly because Mr. T was the first really popular series regular. The recent movie? Puh-leeze.

    Solving in Seattle 2:22 PM  

    I'm hittin' the @Diri "Like Button" for @Spacecraft's NE story.

    I, too, didn't care for MTGE, but I googled it afterwards and find it is the accepted abrev. of mortgage.

    Only write over lOt before ROD. Better clue would have been "Unit of non-brilliance, A___.

    @Acme, I would love to see the Venn diagram that contains a Jackson Five member and a Yugoslav dictator. Har

    @M&A, how about Honolulu?

    Capcha: herstoll. Where she does her business?

    DMG 2:54 PM  

    Thank goodness for crosses. I needed them several places this time. They helped me change rOLe to SOLO and remember both Ruth's sobriquet and his comment. My slowdowns were HEARKENS, always thought it was harkens, (which I now discover the dictionaries also accept, although this IPad spell checker prefers the puzzle's version), and AR-ON. Had to run the dictionary to get that one because I was equally stuck on the strange MT-E. I thought ARGON was inert, so another thing to look up!

    I'm sorry to see this post turning into a sniping party, and find I more and more either just skip it, or hurry down to the Syndy section where, at least so far, nicer people prevail. So here's to @Diri, .@SIS, @ Spacecraft, @Gimger, and the other Syndies who keep things on higher level.

    Dirigonzo 4:19 PM  

    BEER STEIN reminds me that Germany is in the midst of its Oktoberfest celebration. I'll try to mark the occasion in some small way.

    "Forgo" a few days age, FOREGO today - I used to think they were the same word but the puzzle taught me otherwise. (@spacecraft, I'm looking at you.)

    @DMG - I too find myself skimming over the comments to arrive at the relative SERENITY of syn-city. The early crowd seems especially irritable today due to the technical difficulty some of them had accessing the puzzle. We've had some new commenters here recently and I hope they and others will come back to join us on a regular basis.

    @SiS - apparently we need a "groan" button, too.

    Ginger 5:00 PM  

    Took me a while to get into this puzzle. Just stared at a blank grid and then A H A, and I couldn't write fast enough. Makes no difference that I knew the quote, it is 15 squares of fun.

    Struggled in the mid S and the SE, MAdEUPTO seemed to make sense, and misspelling ERr made that area tough, then another A H A, and HEARKENS finished it up.

    @DMG glad to see you back, and thanks for the shoutout. I agree with you about Syndiland!

    @spacecraft snort snort at your story!

    Eric Agard, My HATs off to you for this HIT

    Solving in Seattle 8:31 PM  

    @Diri, OK, I bet you pushed the groan button at my capcha.

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