Actor Martin of 1960s-'70s TV / THU 10-17-13 / Capital whose main street is Nezavisimosti / Dada pioneer / Noted Ohio conservatory / Locale of 1956 fight for independence / Hindu life lesson / Onetime NFL star nicknamed Joe Willie

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Constructor: Gary J. Whitehead

Relative difficulty: Easy



THEME: APPENDAGE — see, you "append" AGE to regular phrases, and then those phrases are wacky, and trust me it's awesome.


Theme answers:
  • 17A: Distance at St. Andrews golf course (SCOTLAND YARDAGE)
  • 23A: Base figs. (NEW YORK POSTAGE)
  • 49A: First-aid supply for Springsteen (E STREET BANDAGE)
  • 56A: Top-secret proverb (CLASSIFIED ADAGE)

Word of the Day: Jake GARN (37D: Only U.S. senator with a unit of measure named after him) —
Edwin Jacob "Jake" Garn (born October 12, 1932) is an American politician, a member of the Republican Party, and served as a U.S. Senator representing Utah from 1974 to 1993. Garn became the first sitting member of the United States Congress to fly in space when he flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as a Payload Specialist during NASA missionSTS-51-D (April 12–19, 1985). (wikipedia)
• • •

MY K-STARS this was easy. And super-basic. Like ... a remedial Thursday puzzle. The gimmick is transparent—doesn't take a genius to crack "APPENDAGE"—and then uncovering the theme answers was child's play. I mean, you could simply go ahead and write -AGE at the end of every theme answers without even looking at the clue. And then, looking at the clues, you could pretty much guess the theme answers straight away. Puzzle tries to make up for this staggering straightforwardness with a host of weird names (GARN, MILNER, ISIDRO, and, let's say, ANSA), but they provide about as much resistance as a cloud does a plane. The only hang-ups I had involved absurd little answers like THO (29A: "___ Nature, red in tooth and claw ...": Tennyson) and BSA (20A: Org. of which 18 U.S. presidents have been members) and TRY TO (8D: "___ Remember"), which I had as DAY TO.


I'm having trouble understanding the inclusion of ANSA ... I mean ... wow (64A: Vase handle). You could just make OCTA into ACT I and then make ANSA into INST. That way ORT goes to ART (win), OCTA goes to ACT I (win), ANSA goes to INST. (win) and SEA goes to SET (push). That took me no seconds to come up with. I'm sure there are better options. But screw fill, right? Yes, right. Apparently. Too much of a hassle, I guess.

In independent puzzle news—Matt Gaffney has a great new website, "Gaffney on Crosswords," that covers the world of crosswords from lots of different angles (this is in addition to his longstanding Crossword Contest website). Very much worth bookmarking and checking regularly. Also, Caleb Madison's crossword collaboration with actor/comedian Patton Oswalt is out now from American Values Crossword Club (get it here). And if you still crave more crossword puzzle action, I highly recommend this informative video ... enjoy:


    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    75 comments:

    okanaganer 12:14 AM  

    Rex...you liked this (or is "awesome" sarcastic)? What an ugly grid. And those corners are just dreadful: BMW and BAH cross BBS and PDQ/ESQ. LSAT stacked on STLO with GIS just below. OBERLIN (where?) crosses OMB, ORT, and ANSA.

    Never heard the acronym BSA...BSE, now that I've heard of (Mad Cow disease). Must admit, I hate abbrev's. BAH!

    jae 12:21 AM  

    Awfully easy for me too.  Did not have to slow down at all.  Remembered MILNER from Adam-12, ANSA from crosswords, GARN from his "Barfin Jake" space ride (Garn is space sickness scale),  and OBERLIN from growing up in Ohio.  So, no WOEs and no erasures. 

    I'm betting ISIDRO is atonement for last week's YSIDRO.

    Other than being too easy this was pretty good puzzle.  Not an overabundance of dreck (@okan - BSA Boy Scouts of America) and a cute theme/reveal.  Plus any puzzle that has Barfin Jake and the Seinfeld evoking MINSK has got my vote.

    Steve J 12:29 AM  

    Over a xwordinfo.com, there's a comment from Will Shortz about how he accepted this puzzle in 2009, and how much better fill has gotten since then.

    This leaves me confused. Was this puzzle posted as a warning to others? Or did Will somehow lose all his other recent Thursday-caliber puzzles?

    It was a mix of non-Thursday theme (this is a Tuesday or Wednesday theme, in that there's no difficulty and no trickiness), and a stupidly obtuse (N.B., the stupid was probably me) Texas sector. Blew through other than MILNER, SNEERS, TOILE and ENFIN. Could not get those to come together (I should have got SNEERS, but the rest is just bad fill). DNF because of that mess.

    Two STARs in the grid bugged me considerably.

    Did like STAGGERS and ALGIERS next to each other.

    So, what the hell is a K-STAR? I tried googling, and all I get is a link to the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research magnetic fusion device and a country music station in Houston. Even the Wikipedia article on Arcurus makes no mention of a K-STAR. Insanely obscure, whatever it is.

    Questinia 12:49 AM  

    K-STAR

    retired_chemist 12:50 AM  

    I never remember what letter goes with what kind of star. Always seems to come from crosses. Someday it won't....

    Easy. No rebus, which is my downfall, so this was a fast Wednesday time for me. Solved like a Monday or Tuesday. Same experience as @Rex re sussing out the theme.

    Only knew OBERLIN from the college, so it was nice to learn that it has a conservatory attached.

    Thanks, Mr. Whitehead.

    Davis 12:52 AM  

    It was easy, except for two crappy crossings.

    Worst offender: OCTA/ANSA. I had OCTo, which is another legitimate spelling. oNSA seemed reasonable, because that entry was clearly just some random piece of crosswordese I didn't know. Which is to say, if you're crossing an ambiguously spelled entry with ANSA, you're doing it wrong.

    Runner up: BEENE/MILNER. I only know BEENE from crosswords, and sometimes I misremember him as BEElE. So of course in this case, the crossing didn't give me a check here. (Martin MILlER? Sure, why not?)

    Sarah 12:58 AM  

    Better than yesterday?

    Huh, maybe.

    But neither one's worth a dime TBH.

    mathguy 1:57 AM  

    I had the same experience as Rex. I figured out the AGE ending quickly and then the squares filled themselves in. Enjoyed learning the seven entries I didn't know led by the Garn Scale. Enjoyable despite being so easy.

    Anonymous 2:20 AM  

    This felt kind of like a mini-Sunday. I can imagine one with similar theme answers (with some longer ones added in, which probably wouldn't be too hard to come up with) having APPENDAGE as its (fairly transparent) title.
    I have to take issue with the assessment of BSA as "absurd" - I thought it was a reasonable inclusion (certainly not obscure by any stretch) which was clued well. This is coming from a long-time member of the BSA, though, so take it with a grain of salt.

    Ellen S 2:29 AM  

    Well, I'm pleased that I finally finished one in time to come here before it's time for the next puzzle. Once again, "I've fallen behind and I can't catch up." I finished Sunday a couple of hours ago. Tsk.

    I didn't think this was terribly challenging but I liked the theme answers. And learning about the Garn scale for space-sickness; that was cool.

    Anent @Rex's comment yesterday that NIDI hadn't shown up in a NYTimes puzzle for nearly a decade, I guess he'd have looked it up, but shucks, I thought NIDI were as common as EELS. A staple of xwords. What I haven't seen in ages and ages is "ADIT", which is a mine entrance. On some planet.

    Anonymous 3:40 AM  

    Super-easy for me too. I surely would have swapped yesterday's and today's. I liked it, but it ain't no Thursday crossword.

    Frankly, I think we are owed an official explanation for OCTA / ANSA. Both entries suck. Doubly sucks that they cross and a whole lot of people will be throwing a dart on 'A' or 'O' in order to try and finish. No satisfaction in losing to a guess. (Or winning on a guess.) I guessed right, but how does nobody catch and fix that?

    Rexy's fix is perfect. But even Contrived Roman Numeral would have been better. MR. T / MCDI. We do so love those.

    Gill I. P. 4:44 AM  

    MY STARS I finished this PDQ.
    It sure felt old timey though. I did think that NAMATH's nickname was "Broadway Joe" so that was my only hang-up. I remember him in a pantyhose commercial with that wide grin of his.
    Really liked seeing San ISIDRO but it might induce a huh or two. If you've been to Buenos Aires you'd know it. It's like the Santa Monica of LA.
    Speaking of ALFA where is @Tita? Is she AWOL again?
    Oh, and ANSA is probably from the Maleska era.....

    Rube 5:00 AM  

    I remember it as Willie Joe, coiner the phrase, "If you've got it, flaunt it".


    Othrwise, an easy Thursday.

    loren muse smith 5:18 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd. 5:42 AM  

    Macbeth, Act IV, scene I

    ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

    Third Witch: Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
    Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
    Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
    Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
    Liver of blaspheming Jew,
    Gall of goat, and slips of yew
    Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
    Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
    Finger of birth-strangled babe
    Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
    Make the gruel thick and slab:
    Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
    For the ingredients of our cauldron.

    ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

    Second Witch: Cool it with a baboon's blood,
    Then the charm is firm and good.

    [Enter HECATE to the other three Witches]

    HECATE: O well done! I commend your pains;
    And every one shall share i' the gains;
    And now about the cauldron sing,
    Live elves and fairies in a ring,
    Enchanting all that you put in.

    [Music and a song: 'Black spirits,' &c]

    [HECATE retires]

    Second Witch: By the pricking of my thumbs,
    Something wicked this way comes.
    Open, locks,
    Whoever knocks!

    [Enter MACBETH]

    loren muse smith 6:27 AM  

    Man, this was harder for me than you guys. Early on, I had *nothing* but a couple of fill-in-the-blanks. The KOALA/ANO cross (I'm so upset that the N has a tilde one way but us untildied the other way. Not!) helped me get APPENDAGE, and so, like Rex said, the themers were so phigure-outable, they were my toe-holds. Once they were in place, the puzzle went quickly.

    I had a dnf anyway with two personal Naticks: NAT/THO and OCTA/ANSA. I left them blank and probably should have gone back to guess.

    I was just talking yesterday to my husband about being HOARSE. It. Is. Exhausting. I was a cheerleader in middle school and the first half of high school (until I realized we weren't cheerleaders so much as cheerdoers who were more worried about straight arms and cool jumps than ENGAGing the crowd in cheers – but nooooo (sing-song) . . .would anyone listen my wisdom?.. .) Anyway, I was HOARSE all the time. So I was TIREd all the time. Bottom line - being HOARSE stinks.

    Funny how a swagger can turn into a STAGGER after one too many. Yeah. I had "Sw.Lo" until I noticed the problem.

    TRY TO remember, AS A reminder. . .MY STARS, these days I'm so forgetful! It's been bothering me enough that I'm investigating, and I'm starting to realize that it's not that I'm forgetting so much as I'm not paying any &%$# attention in the first place!

    Ok, @Steve J, @Z,and @Gil I.P. - You're not going to believe this. But as a smart Alec, on many many occasions, I have joked that "I've never had a bad pizza" or "I've never had a bad beer." And I'm serious! I even enjoy those 50 cent frozen ones and Old Milwaukee! (Now I prefer a junk Everybody's Pizza in Atlanta and a Hoegaarden, but still. . . )

    Thanks for the helpful crossword video clip, Rex. How had I missed that all these years?

    Great workout, Gary. My favorite was CLASSIFIED ADAGE!

    Mohair Sam 7:23 AM  

    Easy Thursday, but my dart landed on "O" instead of "A" and we are therefore a dnf on this one.
    They have to change her name to OCTA-mom.

    Anyone else remember Kaye Starr? I thought Rex might have linked to her on Youtube.

    jberg 7:43 AM  

    On star types: You just have to remember "Oh Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me." I think that's the main sequence; you can add "... Right Now! Smack!" They're in order of temperature, or something like that. Anyway, I had the K first, so the STAR was easy - wouldn't have been so easy the other way!

    Nice to see PDQ Bach getting his due; but I'm so sad for those poor KOALAS, which somebody shot and stuffed -- I was looking for mOose there.

    ANSA is Latin for handle - or maybe for goose - or maybe for both (handles are a bit like goose necks); so I got it, but not sure it's really English.

    CAbin before CANOE, highLAND before SCOTLAND (before I got the theme); other than that, what everyone else said.

    Anonymous 8:12 AM  

    ¿Señor Shortz, why do you continue to confuse your año with your ano? ¡Please, stop it!

    MetaRex 8:14 AM  

    Yep, it's kinda by the book. Wanted more resistance...it's a good gateway puzz for newer solvers.

    Will there be a long-term harmonic convergence on fill between OFL and Will? Hold on to your ansae...

    joho 8:20 AM  

    @Steve J, how strange to learn this was accepted by Will in 2009 and that he knows fill has gotten better since then. It seems he should either run it closer to its inception or ask Gary to take another whack at the fill.

    Would a clue like, "Anagram for Nasa?" help people to get the first "A" in ANSA?

    @Anon 2:20 AM, I think you're right about being to stretch the add AGE into a Sunday size puzzle. I quickly came up with some short ones: HOOVERDAMAGE "Dent in a vacuum?" and EXITRAMPAGE "What you get when someone yells "Fire" in a moviehouse?" Ooooh, that's a gruesome clue! But you get the point, with some thought I'll bet you could come up with longer, much better answers than these.

    "TRYTO Remember" Click here to hear Jerry Orbach. Hi, Tony!

    Susan McConnell 8:52 AM  

    TRY TO Remember is such a classic....so glad we got to see it back in the day (yes, I'm that old).

    Ditto @jae re: Seinfeld and MINSK.

    This sure was a quick and easy Thursday. But I did think the APPENDed themers were cute.

    Z 9:01 AM  

    ATHENA is lost, so "once" should be added to the clue.

    My coin came up O, so a DNF on a super easy Thursday. The odd thing is that I am more likely to remember ANSA in the future since I got it wrong. Guessing right doesn't seem to inspire the gray cells the same way that guessing wrong does.

    I read Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury before I read Macbeth. Great stuff.

    Today's puzzle was a light and easy to drink wheat beer with just a little too much hops for the style. ANSA belongs in a Friday IPA or a Saturday Porter.

    Old School Solver 9:16 AM  

    Yeah, the puzzle was totally forgettable, but what made the experience of solving it worthwhile was to then come to Rex's blog and watch the inane YouTube video about how to find crossword puzzles online. I'm still laughing about that one.

    John V 9:21 AM  

    Snagged at McBeth cross. Otherwise, plenty ease, fill issues notwithstanding. TEK/KOALA cross a touch gnarly.

    John V 9:23 AM  

    That would be, "easy“, of course

    chefbea 9:38 AM  

    Easy fun Thursday!! Is it legit to have 2 stars in the puzzle??? K star and my stars??

    @Rex in your theme answers you have base figures instead of cost of mail from Manhattan.

    Anonymous 10:16 AM  

    Dreadful fill. Just awful. Rex, you were kind.

    oldbizmark 10:22 AM  

    monday's lost puzzle?

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:28 AM  

    Do I sense a mini-theme here?:

    L-SAT (10A)
    K-STAR (30 A)
    E-STREET (49 A)
    B-YEAR (44 A)

    M Rivers 10:35 AM  

    The best dog I ever owned was Prudence, one puppy of a litter that was named for witches. I registered her with the AKC as Something Wicked (so she became Champion Poker Flat's Something Wicked). The breeder warned me she would live up to her name, and she did. Wicked smart, wicked fun, wicked lovely, and wicked. She overdosed on bunnies, and I miss her like crazy. So thanks for the Macbeth reprise. Good memories.

    Two Ponies 10:41 AM  

    I got the theme right away so this one shot by way too quickly.
    @Z, I was thinking of Ray Bradbury as well.

    gifcan 11:03 AM  

    Thanks for the KSTAR info @Questinia.

    Thanks for the Macbeth quote @Thrice . . .

    Learned some interesting things today. I had to guess a lot in the corners but I did guess correctly. @Z is right that I would probably remember them better if I had guessed incorrectly. In the end, success has little to teach you.

    Sandy K 11:06 AM  

    Felt more like a WED than a THU puz to me, but I enjoyed it.

    Once you got the revealer, the advantAGE was that the end of all the themers could be filled in...and they were all ENGAGing- my fave being E-STREET BANDAGE!

    Never heard of GARN, and 'trip initials' was a momentary misdirect THO LSD may lead one to STAGGER...

    Thought the French section in the SE- EN FIN, TOILE, and JEAN ARP was harder to manAGE than the more common fill- ANSA and CANOE.


    Masked and AnonymoUs 11:31 AM  

    MY STARS! K-STAR! @4-Oh: har. Especially liked how yer Eric White video dude was able to so quickly bring up a puz with only 50 words in it. Just type in 5-0 and hit Enter. See that, Joe Krozel? Not so hard.

    I once remember how the Shortzmeister held back a Quigley puz for about ten years before runnin it. So Whitehead got off relatively easy. At least they didn't post a nude baby pic of him with his puz, when they finally drug it outa the vault.

    Wonder what a puz with AGEBEFOREBEAUTY=15(!) theme revealer would look like...

    Will said he waited four years to trot this one out, cuz it was kinda the fourth reincarnagement of this here theme idea. Other top reasons to hold this puz back for several years...
    1. Stall, til the premier showing of Macbeth is less fresh in everyone's mind.
    2. Hope that some of those long black growths on the grid sides would wither and fall off.
    3. Waitin for an ORT lull.
    4. Vain hope that somethin really famous would happen in San ISIDRO.
    5. Wanted to give more Presidents time to join up with the BSA.
    6. Wanted to give that one poor U time to be fruitful and multiply.
    7. Save for celebrating Government Shutdown bein over.

    Fun puz. Weird mix of easy theme and hardish words & clues. Weird is good.

    Hey, Eric White! I'm feelin like a 30-word 15x15 puz, now. Dial me one up, wouldya phleas?

    M&A

    Anonymous 11:31 AM  

    "Would a clue like, "Anagram for Nasa?" help people to get the first "A" in ANSA?"

    It acknowledges the desperation but would be the right thing to do if the problem weren't fixable. Even on Saturday the ugliness of that cross is something to be smoothed out. Instead it was handled in a way that assured people would see it, hate it, and remember it more than anything else. Where is our explanation and apology?

    eveningclouds 11:36 AM  

    I was feeling pretty darn smart for breezing through a Thursday puzzle . . . until I read all those comments about how it was a Thursday Lite, or maybe even a Tuesday Snoozeday. I got the theme immediately and breezed through until I got to the JEAN ARP down with an ENA cross. I did not know and do not think I should know ENA, but the absence of the ARP in my mind I credit entirely to my own ignorance. I got MILNER fast though hadn't thought/heard of him in decades. Favorite was the HOARSE and RASP combo (what do you call these cross-referential clues?). Overall I had fun, but the ego-inflated part of that joy has depleted.

    M and Age also 11:36 AM  

    p.s.
    ...8. Wanted to AGE it a bit more.

    Z 11:42 AM  

    @eveningclouds - PITA , as in Pain In The A$$

    M and Agee also 12:01 PM  

    p.p.s.s.
    ...9. Was holdin off until Frank Longo could convert the puz into a pangram. That sh*t really riles Rex Parker up.

    Dick S 12:05 PM  

    Thanks for the crossword google tip from the googlemeister.

    http://absite.ru/crossw/

    I found Thursday's # 3247 particularly difficult! Minsk, not Pinsk? Come on...

    Questinia 12:19 PM  

    @ Ellen S, I miss adit and etui.

    Liked all the other AGE-y stuff

    eAGEr
    AGEe
    engAGEd
    stAGgEr
    AlGiErs



    Carola 12:22 PM  

    I thought the reveal was clever, and the idea of a CLASSIFIED ADAGE brought a smile. But MY, an easy Thursday (THO I must confess to writing in FDR at 43D, even after two previous AGEs and the reveal!) Enjoyed seeing OBERLIN, where my husband and I met, let's see, 48 years ago. Help from previous crosswords: ANSA, ORT, ENA.

    Milford 1:56 PM  

    Since Magmic wiped away all my info I no longer have my old times, but I'm pretty sure this would have been my fastest Thursday on record. Very easy here.

    I liked the -AGE additions, but they were just too easy to come up with (especially following the much trickier HIS/HER TOWEL puzzle).

    ON KP made me think of my grandfather-in-law telling us of peeling hundreds, if not thousands, of potatoes on a boat in the Marines during WWII. Probably one of my least favorite dinner prep tasks.

    I'll give the puzzle a Labatts Blue rating. Good basic beer, but I won't be talking about it tomorrow.

    Anonymous 2:07 PM  

    007 cast as Christian Grey- Bond James BondAGE

    short pony ride- Mini dressAGE

    clip of Daniel Day-Lewis- My Left FootAGE

    Good news!- Another fine messAGE

    Thruway road rage- Exit rampAGE

    "Oh, my gem fell into the loo!"-
    Diamond in the roughAGE

    jae 2:17 PM  

    @Z -- That is exactly why I knew ANSA. I DNF a while back because of it and vowed not to let it happen again. I'm also ready for the next appearance of the HSIA dynasty.

    Z 2:30 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Z 2:31 PM  

    @jae - Maybe @LMS and @M&A can collaborate and create a puzzle with a HSIA/ANSA/YSIDRO corner and then another corner with LEOX/EELS/OTTOII. Ooooh - fun, fun, fun. Sort of like an elevator ride with Yanni and Ono on an infinite loop.

    Lewis 2:54 PM  

    @Z -- M&A will never do it. No U's.

    I thought the puzzle was pretty easy except for the South Middle, with BEENE, TOILE, ENFIN, and MILNER. That took some doing.

    @rex -- LOVED the informative video. Who woulda thunk it?

    The puzzle skewed old to me, as someone said earlier. And good minitheme catches, Bob Kerfuffle and Questinia.

    One more minitheme: double letters -- APPENDAGE, ESTREET, CLASSIFIED, SNEERS, DDE, STAGGER, AGEE, BEENE, BBS.

    Anonymous 3:46 PM  

    This was so easy I got it with my usual attempt to use only the across clues, very rare for me to pull off on Thursday. Using only the across clues they only trouble I had was that I had Landau for Milner. -skeptic 53

    loren muse smith 3:54 PM  

    @Z - all my corners look like that.

    LaneB 3:59 PM  

    For us non- veteran x- workers. This was hardly " easy" what with ANSA, GARN ( as a measurement unit)) , K star,ENA and TEK in the mix. But I STAGGERED through it with a couple of good guesses. Experience as a solver certainly helps.

    And I Googled ANSA and couldn't find it. Will have to look it up.

    LaneB 4:09 PM  

    Well, I looked ANSA up in my Apple dictionary and Websters and still can't find it. Where the hell does it show up and why does it show up in an" easy" Thursday puzzle?

    Anonymous 4:13 PM  

    No love for MACBETH crossing SCOTLANDYARDAGE?

    mac 4:18 PM  

    Yes, very easy, I was done before my hairdresser even started on my hair!

    One mistake: Taye/BSA, where the A was accidentally left out. Wasn't crazy about the ansa/octa either.

    Liked the classified adage, but that and the band were a freebie.

    retired_chemist 4:19 PM  

    ANSA

    retired_chemist 4:22 PM  

    @ Lane B -

    Sent too soon.

    Ansa is pretty much high crosswordese unless you are fluent in Latin or are an archaeologist. It's not a big deal for those of us who have already had a WTF with it. But I understand your pain.....

    Anonymous 4:28 PM  

    @LaneB

    Type *vase handle ansa* in your search bar. Several defs of ansa appear.

    If you do a lot of puzzles, you get to know ansa.

    andreage carlage mileage 8:04 PM  

    @joho
    HOOVERDAMAGE is fabulous and EXITRAMPAGE
    that you and anon 2:07 came up with (LOVE JAMESBONDAGE!!!)

    So ANSA notwithstanding, thumbs way up on a puzzle that gets folks to try and come up with even more theme answers...
    to me that's a hallmark of a successful puzzle.
    (I got a kick out of ESTREETBANDAGE!)

    I thought yesterday's and today's could have easily been swapped, only bec adding to the end made it very straighforward, whereas Sam's front and back ends and making leap to HIS/HERS towels was more of a braintease.

    Actually I would not have run these back to back as the type of theme is pretty similar, but there was a lot to like here!

    @lms yesterday, may your fresh enthusiasm never be dampened by the naysaying humor-challenged myopics!

    andy from bawstin 8:23 PM  

    ANSA clued as "Bostonian reply" would have been a nice pairing with all those presidents who were members of the Boston Society of Architects

    Bird 8:36 PM  

    Themers were too easy. Fill not so much – a little slow in the SW (took a couple seconds to decide between OCTO and OCTA, but got it right) and SE (never knew PDQ related to Bach so seconds wasted there as well).

    Nits . . .
    Can’t believe we have 2 stars in the grid.
    Clue for 25D, as it relates to 9D, is terrible. The only RASP a person has is in the toolbox. Someone has a RASPy voice. IMO.

    Likes . . .
    As @Bobk pointed out L-SAT, E-STREET, K-STAR and B-YEAR
    41A was a very funny show.

    If this was accepted in 2009, why wasn’t it updated a little?

    Is there a puzzle out there with APP END AGE as a theme? Maybe not.

    sanfranman59 10:04 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 6:13, 6:07, 1.02, 61%, Medium-Challenging
    Tue 7:14, 8:15, 0.88, 15%, Easy
    Wed 13:48, 9:44, 1.42, 97%, Challenging (6th highest ratio of 198 Wednesdays)
    Thu 11:33, 16:30, 0.70, 7%, Easy

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:43, 3:46, 0.99, 38%, Easy-Medium
    Tue 4:24, 5:09, 0.85, 6%, Easy
    Wed 7:39, 5:37, 1.36, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 198 Wednesdays)
    Thu 6:58, 9:27, 0.74, 8%, Easy

    OISK 11:48 AM  

    A day late, but maybe the constructor will somehow get this message. I loved this puzzle. Great fun. A bit easier than most Thursday puzzles, but so what? Wonderful. Thanks, Gary

    spacecraft 10:44 AM  

    Got it at NEWYORKPOSTAGE; not right away but sorta PDQ. In stark contrast to yesterday, the "get" gives away the store. Fill troubles, though, shoved it back to medium for me.

    I was very lucky on the SW natick. Had OCTo, naturally, and sat there staring at oNSA. It JDLR to me. Insa? Ansa? Wait, what was that word they used for Saturn's ring-handles? ANSA, I think. Let's go with that. Whew!

    Evil Bill 11:43 AM  

    This site is really missing Evil Doug.

    rondo 1:16 PM  

    I agree with Evil Bill

    rain forest 1:51 PM  

    It doesn't bother me that this was easy for a Thursday. The theme answers and the revealer were excellent, tight, and it didn't hurt that from somewhere ANSA was known to me.

    Liked it.

    Solving in Seattle 2:51 PM  

    @Evil Bill & @rondo, check out @Anon 11:31. If that's not ED in drag I'll drink another Hsia Nidi pilsner. I'm pretty sure I've seen his DNA on a number of comments. Having an anonymouse make such brilliantly scorching comments is like Salieri stealing a Mozart piano sonata and passing it off as his own.

    Wasn't it in SAN ISIDRO where Broadway Joe and Tom Jones STAGGERed into a bar and ENGAGED JEAN ARP? eh, maybe it was ALGIERS...

    Nice APPENDAGE themed puz Mr. Whitehead. Enjoyed it.

    hafwoma: Me Tarzan...

    Z 3:26 PM  

    @SiS - the red duck asserted that he would always stand by whatever he wrote. I have no reason to doubt his word. Enjoy your Hsia Nidi.

    Solving in Seattle 3:42 PM  

    @Z, you're probably right, but it would be a way for him to slip in a few needles when he couldn't resist.
    Down the hatch. (These first dynasty brews are a bit skunky.)

    Capcha: 614 ipstlys. A lost letter from Paul?

    Dirigonzo 4:08 PM  

    Yesterday I confessed to a tendency to guess wrong when the odds are 50-50, today we have OCTo/A. As to the "Low digits", the T from LSAT told it should be "Twos" while the E from...AGE argued for onEs; oh wait, there's another kind of "digit" - never mind.

    DMG 4:12 PM  

    Couldn't believe this is Thursday. The answers just fell, ANSA from crossword experience, and OBERLIN from who knows where. Questioned NAT, but the quote had to be THO, So I'm smiling all the way to tomorrow. Seems the ones I can do are always followed by something I can't begin to parse.

    Ginger 6:29 PM  

    Haven't thought of Joe Willie in years, but I seem to remember that late in his career he had problems with his legs. About that time Johnny Carson asked Joan Rivers about him. Her reply, 'Who wants a man with two bad knees'.

    After my DNF yesterday, I was tickled with this puz. Like @DMG it practically filled itself in. My ego was assuAGEd, thank you very much. ANSA is the sort of fill that you remember after doing years of XWs, especially in the Maleska era.

    Anonymous 12:52 AM  

    Wasn't it "UNCLE" Jed on the hillbillies? Was there ever a dad reference?

    brian O'Neill 2:45 AM  

    This was simply stupid as the whole week has been. A Wednesday on Monday a thursday on Tuesday a Monday on Thursday. Who's running this thing?
    B

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