Georg with physics law / MON 12-2-13 / Supposed hints that mislead / Flared dress type

Monday, December 2, 2013

Constructor: Adam G. Perl

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: "Little Red Riding Hood" — each word in the title is the first word of one of the theme answers. See also WOLF (1A: Villain in the tale name by the starts of 20-, 32-, 41- and 52-Across), BIG (34A: With 61-Down, description of the 1-Across)  and BAD.

Theme answers:
  • LITTLE LEAGUE (20A: "The Bad News Bears" activity)
  • RED HERRINGS (32A: Supposed hints that mislead)
  • RIDING MOWER (41A: Lawn tractor)
  • HOOD ORNAMENT (52A: Jaguar on the front of a Jaguar, e.g.)
Word of the Day: "The Bad News Bears" —
The Bad News Bears is a 1976 comedy film directed by Michael Ritchie. It stars Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal. The film was followed by two sequelsThe Bad News Bears in Breaking Training in 1977 and The Bad News Bears Go to Japan in 1978, a short-lived 1979–80 CBS television series, and a 2005 remake titledBad News Bears.
The original screenplay was written by Bill Lancaster. Notable was the score by Jerry Fielding, which is an adaptation of the principal themes of Carmen. (wikipedia)

[Warning: child using racial slurs]

• • •

This puzzle brought to you by the year 1989. Or 1975. Or 1967. Solid. Workmanlike. Basic. And not a whiff of this century about it. Indistinguishable, in both theme and fill, from the kinds of puzzles made during the Former Administration. If you like this stuff, great. Have at it. It's certainly not a poorly made puzzle. But it plays like something that's been in mothballs for a long time. The theme phrases are nice on their own. Would be great in a themeless. As a theme, there's just not much to this. Not enough. Not even a symmetrical counterpart to WOLF. BIG and BAD are in totally random places. Shrug. I tore this puzzle up (never even saw the absurdly-placed BIG and BAD)—went so fast that I neglected to check my crosses at the very end and had to search the grid from top to bottom before I realized I'd entered ["Come to PASS"] instead of ["Come to PAPA"].


That will be all, I think.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. from a reader's email last night: "For your write up, note that scuba tanks do NOT contain OXYGEN (at least not more than about 21 percent), they contain air."

P.P.S. more reader mail: "Hello Rex Parker—Sometime in the early 1950s 30 over-achieving fifth graders plus teacher plus several mothers went by New York Central from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Station, and from there via the 42nd street shuttle westward, and eventually to the New York Times building. We had the official tour, which ended with a question and answer session. Was there anything else we wanted to know, our guide asked. Yes, we chorused, one way or another, could we please meet Margaret Farrar. The guy was nonplussed. Fifth grade or not, we all did the puzzle in the daily paper and sometimes, but not always, the Sunday puzzle if our parents could be convinced to indulge us. Puzzles in those days were divided, for me at least, into three categories, easy, hard, and let my mother do them (the lady who did not only the crosswords but those awful double crosstics with a fountain pen). So except for one awful month in Melbourne, I think it is fair to sat that I have been doing the Times X-words for at least 60 years. Why am I boring you with all this? Because all you had to say about today's big bad wolf puzzle was that it was the stupidest puzzle the Times has ever printed. I like puzzles I can get, but not if I can get them in less than three minutes."

74 comments:

Steve J 12:06 AM  

Very similar experience for me. Nearly had a record time, save for a mistyped letter I had to hunt for (I had AREOLe instead of ALREOLA). Didn't find the theme itself to be anything special, but I appreciated that the actual long theme answers were uniformly good.

Regarding the scuba tank clue: If scuba tanks contain compressed air, they by definition contain OXYGEN. Every diver (of which I am one) knows you don't dive with pure oxygen, but the reason we strap a tank on to our backs is because we need the OXYGEN. The clue's fine, if imprecise. (And it was as well 2-3 weeks ago when the same discussion came up.)

Nicholas Mevoli 12:06 AM  

Don't ever dismiss that 21%.

ESP 12:09 AM  

I read the first clue and filled in all the theme material very easily without any crosses. Did not think there was much for an experienced solver to enjoy here.

And that middle-north section is almost ALL crosswordese--just a large mass of RSTLNE, the Wheel of Fortune freebies.

Made the same mistake Rex did regarding "Come to PASS" for "Come to PAPA", and got a smile out of that.

Anonmyous 12:17 AM  

Theme didn't do much for me. Same crosswordese/overclued entries as always. OHARE? I don't care. ALINE? That makes me whine. And then NINER just makes me a whiner.

Other fill I've try to avoid on a Monday: ENOS (slightly), CODA, SSE, ROBO, ANIL, FINIS, ANAT, COE, ANEGG, IDEES and ESSEN.

Fun fact: for the month of November, the NYT actually LOST to the LAT based on Diary of a Crossword Fiend ratings. LAT had 15 wins, 14 losses and 1 tie. In addition, the LAT had a higher average rating.

If the NYT keeps this up, its gold standard status will soon disappear...

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

Another note regarding the OXYGEN clue:

I think the use of singular "content" rather than plural "contents" in the clue is a careful choice by constructor or editor. The contents of the tank would be air, but the air content would be about 21%.

Evan 12:20 AM  

My first ever sub-three-minute solve! And now I know what it takes to do it, absent being able to type faster/not make any typos/get way better at crosswords: have the theme revealer be right at 1-Across and, per @ESP, make it obvious enough that the long theme entries fill themselves in immediately after you get it. That's exactly what happened here: got the northwest corner, then all other themers went right in without hesitation. Well, except for BIG and BAD, for which I don't really get the asymmetrical placement.

So, easy, though neither the theme nor the fill is that exciting (resisting the temptation to say "Oh well, it's Monday" -- Mondays can be fresh and relatively challenging too). Could do without AREOLA, SSE, TENON, ANIL, ANAT, partials AN EGG and GARDE, ESSEN, and IDEES. Now, if only I could transfer that sub-three-minute thing to solving on paper and solving every other day of the week, then I'd be set.

Evan 12:51 AM  

@Anonymous 12:17 (whom, correct me if I'm wrong, I'm guessing is the user @Sarah who has previously used the phrase "Fill I'd try to avoid on a [insert day]"):

It's hard to know what to make of those average ratings since the NYT usually garners far more ratings clicks than the LAT does. On some days, you might see no more than eight ratings for the LAT puzzle, so is that a big enough sample to be representative of what people really felt on that day? It's also tough to compare the NYT to the LAT in one respect since the LAT only runs one themeless per week. In addition, I find that people usually reserve five-star ratings to intricate puzzles that really blow people away -- with some exceptions like last Monday's NYT, Mondays and Tuesdays often don't get the same raves because they're usually fairly easy and have standard themes.

You could argue that either the LAT or other publications are better on average than the NYT -- Rex certainly has on several occasions recently. I just don't know if the ratings system at Crossword Fiend is the best way to measure it at this time absent a lot more information (what kinds of themes each puzzle used, how much crosswordese showed up, how clever the clues were, etc).

If you're interested, though, here's an old article that Matt Gaffney wrote for The Weekly Standard comparing a pretty good sample of NYT puzzles to grids from the defunct New York Sun.

chefwen 1:07 AM  

Possibly one of the easiest Mondays ever. Upon completion I did find an error. I was moving so fast that I hardly checked my crosses, when I realized that Eve never had a Grandson named ENeS and that pants fillers couldn't be LEnS, then I fixed 12D from VenUE to VOGUE. What was I thinking? Small correction. I still felt a little cheated, it was over sooo fast.

My capcha is even too easy.

jae 1:19 AM  

Yep, easy! Got 1a and filled in all the theme answers.  The only thing that slowed me down was misreading clue numbers (which happens quite a lot).  Did it on paper, so no typos.

Reasonably smooth grid and a cute theme...OK Mon (@Evan guess I am saying "Oh, It's Monday).  Liked it.

Benko 2:30 AM  

Although it was a pretty quick and easy puzzle for me, I thought there was a lot of stuff a new Monday solver might have trouble with. So Crosswordese-y. On this kind of puzzle my biggest problem is getting my index fingers to work so quickly on my iPad. The theme answers were all solid, which is a plus.
COE's always nice in a grid.
@Evan--I also have assumed that @Sarah has gone undercover on this and another blog...that phrase "Fill I'd avoid on a" seems a dead giveaway.

Benko 2:32 AM  

@chefwen--There is an NBA player, ENES Kanter, who spells his name that way.

Anoa Bob 2:43 AM  

One of the biggest challenges for me in constructing themed puzzles has always been coming up with theme entries that have symmetrical letter counts.

Here it looks, at first glance, like the four long themers are all 12-letter ones. Closer inspection, however, shows me that one of the entries, 32A, is really an 11-letter one hiding in 12-letter clothing, courtesy of a tacked-on POCifying S.

So even though I thought the theme was solid and there was some nice fill---ERELONG & INERTIA, e.g.---my lingering impression will be the letter count manipulation (LCM) of one of the theme entries.

A POC (plural of convenience) here or there is one thing, but messing with the letter count of such an integral part of the puzzle is too much of a short cut IMO.

I also realize I may be the only person in the whole xword universe who even notices or cares about this. Your results may vary.

Anonmyous 3:02 AM  

You spelt my name wrong, Evan.

And the evidence is fairly clear, methinks: compared to previous months, the difference is particularly noticeable. Back in June or July of this year, it wasn't even close: the NYT dominated about 20 to 10.

Even if the NYT is still ever so slightly better, this is still quite an achievement, since the constructors there are willing to submit puzzles for less than 50% the pay (about 75% for Sundays). A raise in the LAT's payments, and I have no doubt the LAT would be on top.

JFC 3:07 AM  

Well, Rex, let's be thankful that the CONTENT of their scuba tanks is 21% oxygen. Imagine if there were no oxygen in the tank. All that air and no oxygen. Sad....

JFC

Areola Carat Mowers 3:57 AM  


Only nit, I would have avoided BAD News Bears as a clue since BAD was in the puzzle as a mini-theme clue.

That in and of itself does not make this a BAD puzzle.

Thought HOODORNAMENTS and RIDINGMOWER were great entries considering how restricted the choices must have been.

There is a lot that went into constructing this so solidly (The same BIG BAD WOLF would have had a tough time huffing and puffing and blowing this one down!)

Little biblical subtheme with ADAM (shoutout to author of the puzzle! Yet notice he was avoided in the ENOS clue) and SMOTE.

It always gives me pause tho, if ENOS is their nephew, his parents, at least one of them is a sibling of ADAM or Eve
and so who did that person marry to beget ENOS, wheredid the non-related folks comes from?

Perhaps ARAB defined as the spirited horse rather than a person was Will's own private shout out as he grew up on an Arabian horse farm.

Un peu de francais in that SSE corner with IDEES/GARDE side by side...plus FINIS. Throw in VOGUE and DES Moines and RENE and you could almost hear Seth scream.

Peoples iphones glaring you in the eye as they sneak a peek at their fb or email during a film is the new RUDE. Makes me IRATE

loren muse smith 5:22 AM  

@Anoa Bob – you're not the only one who noticed that plural, but in the margin, I have "32A – Anoa Bob oops." Making that themer a 12 is fine with me, though, if it makes this fun theme work.

@Acme – Yes! I always manage to sit behind someone in the movies who checks her phone and texts periodically, but I'm not assertive enough to go to her row and say, "Please stop texting and/or using your phone." Then I want to run to the management and tattle, but I can't even do that. So I sit there, hating her, really, (that's a strong word, I know, but David Sedaris uses it, so I will, too) and focusing more on that than the movie. Nowadays, I even consider that before I decide to go to a movie and wonder if it's even worth it -to leave hating yet another stranger.

I took an aunt out to dinner once, and we had to wait at the bar before we were seated. When the bartender asked what she wanted, she said, "I'll have a STROBE Lite, please."

ARAB – two days ago, I went to the back part of our farm and saw about 8 horses who were not in their assigned pasture but rather just milling around everywhere, having a kind of horse party where they weren't supposed to be. I called the man who helps us out here, who owns the horses (and, well, heck, who runs the place and keeps us from badly hurting ourselves), and he came back to round them up. A newly-acquired ARAB, "Kate," was the culprit. He figured she was the one who finagled the chain on the gate and let everyone out. Before Kate, there had been no trouble. And she was the hardest to get back in the pasture. "Spirited." Yep. But what kind of name is "Kate" for a horse? We had a "Jennifer" once for several months until we understood that we had actually misunderstood, and her name was in fact "Ginger," which is more horsey and acceptable. And we had an old, lazy Percheron once named "Bill." Seriously? Was he "William" when you were mad at him? Funny how some names work for animals and others feel weird. DAVE, ENOS, KARL, ADAM, RENE – not good animal names for me. RAY and PAPA, on the other hand. . .

SMOTE past tense and FELL present tense made me pause. So if you FELLed a tree, did you SMOTE it?

CODDLE – I guess you can CODDLE a child, but you can also CODDLE AN EGG. I have a terrific Caesar dressing recipe that calls for a CODDLEd EGG.

Nice job, ADAM! Off to sub seventh grade math. . .

Anonymous 5:56 AM  

Rex et al. who 'finish' a puzzle without checking their answers [come to "pass" gives you ase and bsd] are kidding themselves with their completion times.
That's like saying I ran a 3-hour marathon if you didn't reach the finish line.

Keith H 6:34 AM  
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i am not a robot 6:57 AM  

The most amazing thing about the movie trailer for "Bad News Bears" are not the racial slurs which 11-year old Tatum O'Neal uses, but the fact these slurs are included on the Trailer.

Have we, as a society, really changed that much?

jberg 7:26 AM  

This one went by so fast that when I saw Rex's little string of interesting clues, starting with "Georg with physics law," I thought I had clicked on the wrong day - had to go back and search out OHM, which I hadn't even noticed while solving.

I'm in the middle here - too quick to be all that much fun, because the theme was so obvious - but still a nice theme, and a lot to fit in. However, I shared the disappointment at 67A. Trying to think what it could have been - the only other obvious 4-letter word, HOOD, is taken. Maybe 'ogle' or 'leer' clued as something a 1A would do?

This is a first - my computer won't show the CAPTCHA image. If you see this, you'll know I figured it out.

jberg 7:27 AM  

I had to click on the speaker to get that last one posted

Evan 7:34 AM  

You spelled ANONYMOUS wrong, @Sarah.

Yes, it's possible that the LAT puzzle is just as good if not better than the NYT. My point is that you should exercise caution before drawing that conclusion based on the Crossword Fiend ratings.

Are the differences in average ratings statistically significant? What happens when the LAT doesn't register enough ratings to be statistically meaningful for that day (often on Sundays)? How does one compare the two on Fridays since one is themed and the other is themeless -- isn't that like comparing apples and oranges? Do you include the infrequent days where the NYT runs rebus puzzles, while the LAT never runs them? How does one account for users who seemingly skew the ratings either positively or negatively (like, if most users out of 20 rate a puzzle 3 or 4 stars but one disgruntled solver drops a 1-star rating and doesn't explain why)? Isn't the LAT more vulnerable to skewed data since fewer users rate that puzzle each day? The number of "wins/losses/ties" might change depending on how one answers questions like that.

Again, I think it's fair to debate which puzzle is better on average -- they both have seasoned editors who are each pretty selective in choosing submissions -- but I don't know if the Crossword Fiend rating system is the best tool for making that judgment right now.

I think we can agree that constructors should be paid more for their work, however.

RavTom 7:40 AM  

Did it bother anyone else that the BIG BAD WOLF is, at least since Disney, associated with the Three Little Pigs and not with LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD?

Rob C 7:45 AM  

Easy for me. Fun little Mon. puzzle.

Just a few nits:
20A clued as Bad News Bears activity - The activity is baseball. Little League is just...the league.

Definitely noticed the POC at 32A, although I'm not sure if I dislike these on my own or @Anoa Bob made me.

As Rex said, BIG BAD WOLF randomly placed knocked this one down a peg in style points

Susan McConnell 8:10 AM  

Light and fluffy.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

The problem with a puzzle like this is that it misses an opportunity.

Super easy Mondays are an opportunity to introduce new people to crosswords, especially children.

But with clues that could have been written in 1965, it misses the chance to address its target audience.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

@Evan - your parenthetical phrase "whom, correct me if I'm wrong, I'm guessing is the user..." invites correction literally and figuratively. As "whom" is the subject of the phrase, the correct word is "who".

joho 8:35 AM  

The MEAN, BIG, BAD WOLF, DAVE, RUDEly EYED LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.

Fun start to the week!

AliasZ 8:42 AM  

I thought this was about average for a Monday, both theme and fill. Easy enough for a novice to enjoy it, and a varied enough list of words to give even the jaded connoisseur some satisfaction: ERELONG, AREOLA, ON A TEAR, CODDLE, SMOTE and a few others come to mind. For a Tue-Wed version of this puzzle, Will could have decided to not use WOLF as a revealer, but rather, clue it as "Scarf (down)" and leave it up to the solver to find the BIG BAD WOLF scattered around the grid. Just a thought.

I noticed a readable column at 3D: Sound produced be a 4-door pocket rocket. - LI'L SEDAN ROARS.

Inspired by Matt Gaffney's excellent article (thanks, @Evan), here is the CREDO from the Mass in C Major , Op. 86 by Beethoven.

Good Monday, thanks ADAM. Now if you hid PERL somewhere else in the puzzle, it would've been a snazzy self-promotional gimmick.

PS. I laughed out loud when I read the sentence in @Rex's PS: "For your write up, note that scuba tanks do NOT contain OXYGEN..." I wondered what method they use to remove OXYGEN from the air prior to pumping them into scuba tanks. I also wondered why they bother using scuba tanks containing no OXYGEN, since that would've caused hundreds of thousands of scuba-diving deaths over the decades.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:49 AM  

First thought, upon reaching 32 A, RED HERRING, "Maybe this puzzle is not what it seems! There will be a fantastic twist - some other WOLF, some other story starting LITTLE RED . . . "

Second thought, upon completing the puzzle, "This is a school day, isn't it? So why did Will run a puzzle clearly aimed at the pre-teen solvers?" (Sorry, Anonymous 8:20 AM, but I really did think that long before I read your comment.)

Z 8:51 AM  
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Z 8:55 AM  

"My capcha is even too easy." - I feel your T-Pain.

@Nicholas Mevoli - Dark - very dark.

@i am not a robot - Yes. Mostly for the good, but we do have a level of intolerance that at times borders on a puritanical tyranny that can be a little troubling.

HafTS before HILTS and Esau before ENOS made this just easy instead of record-setting easy for me.

{I decided my little story was too easily misunderstood - that one word looked too much like a reference that just doesn't fly}

chefbea 9:30 AM  

Fun , very easy Monday puzzle. Had smite for smote at first. No more to say

Feco Hassium 9:47 AM  

visit fecohassium.blogspot.in

mac 10:11 AM  

Easy alright, and if only the wolf and its clue had been at the bottom, with big and bad nearby.

Best part of the puzzle for me are the pretty hood ornament, riding mower, little league, erelong and inertia. Areola we've seen a little too often lately.

Today is Sparky's birthday!

Everett Wolf 10:29 AM  

FYI, found this interesting -- a comment from Will Shortz on the xwordinfo site:

"A simple,straightforward theme for the start of the week. Apparently, Adam thought this was geared for a Wednesday or Thursday, as he wrote fairly challenging clues. As a result, most of the clues here are mine, to make them Monday-friendly. Adam owns an antique store called Pastimes in Ithaca, N.Y., which I'm looking forward to visiting sometime."

Gill I. P. 10:35 AM  

After I quickly finished I said to myself "Didn't I just do this puzzle 30 years ago?"
@RavTom - Yup! Three Little Pigs was stuck in my head. The Big Bad Wolf is from the Grimm Fairy tales and the pigs are from English fairy tales.....both have the scattered wolf.
@Loren my very first horse was half ARAB and something else. I named him Hi Yo Silver and everybody else called him George.
Talk about cruel.
@Anoa...I didn't even notice the POC 'til you mentioned it. I tried coming up with an alternative but couldn't find anything decent or within the parameters of this type of puzzle.
Any IDEES?

quilter1 10:37 AM  

Trash before TOTAL. This DES Moines native knew COE college, naturally. Fun fact, there are three DES Moines in the U.S. The other two are in Washington and New Mexico. I have been to all of them.

I'm old and enjoyed the puzzle.

dk 10:43 AM  

I am a robot avows: Stupid is as stupid does.

Along with everyone else I SMOTE this sucka.

Last night's dinner conversation was on puzzles. I explained that although the London Times puzzles were much harder (who care about the battle of Hastings) NYT was the gold standard. I further opined that Monday was the easiest day etc.

I passed on today's puzzle with the comment: Here is an elegantly simple puzzle to help you get started, build your confidence etc.

My point is today's focus should be as it is sometimes in meditation: The Beginner's Mind. For the uniformed that would be the joy in solving a puzzle…. any puzzle.

Warning additional sermonizing ahead.

And… every time I have entered the water on a recovery effort we call them OXYGEN tanks…. but then again as volunteers we simply freeze our butts to save yours.

������ (3 stars) Old school Monday only things missing are Dick, Jane and Spot.

Carola 11:09 AM  

I think I'd have been delighted with this puzzle as a beginning solver. I remember my surprise at discovering that the Times puzzles had themes and how neat I thought that was.

@Anoa Bob - I, too, thought, "Too bad about that "S."

@joho - (Continuing your plot summary) ...as a tasty morsel for his ESSEN (German for "meal" - it's a Grimm's tale, after all :) ).

Mr. Benson 11:17 AM  

Not sure why Rex chose to share that truly obnoxious and self-important reader letter in the "P.P.S."

Masked and AnonymoUUs 11:29 AM  

Owoooooo...
[big downbeat]
Who's that I see walkin in these woods...
Why, it's Little Red Riding Hood!

Hey there, Little Red Riding Hood,
You sure are lookin good.
You're everything a big bad wolf could want.
Listen to me...

Little Red Riding Hood
I don't think little big girls should
Go walking in these spooky old woods alone.
Owoooooooooo...

I'll be hummin that old Sam the Sham (and the Pharaohs) hit all day now.

Pretty good MonPuz, but, dang, way to give away the whole dang themeamathing at 1-Across. Moo-cow revealer placement, by golly!

Owoooooooo...
I mean, baaaaaaaa....
Baaaaaaaad.....

M&A

Two Ponies 11:35 AM  

Like @mac I didn't care for 1A being part of the reveal. Recognizing that I skipped it and solved from the bottom up. I wanted to stretch out my Monday solve.
I knew that pesky oxygen would be harped on (again). Sigh.

Gareth Bain 11:36 AM  

I'll agree that the theme is simplistic, but not that that is in of itself bad on a Monday; the primary goal of most early week themes is as a mechanism for allowing interesting long fill and tying it together neatly, which this puzzle accomplishes.

While bad fill certainly exists, there is an element of hubris that often accompanies many summary declarations that answer X is bad. Stop expecting the NYT crossword to confirm to your narrow world view. Expect to have answers you don't know, because you don't know everything. Even answers on Monday can be hard, provided they're in areas with easy crossings.

Outside of CODA and maybe ESSEN (I like to think people attempting the Times come prepared with a reasonable grasp of World Geography), Saronymous' list is fairly fair. Except for ANEGG, IDEES and ANAT none of those are particularly bad in isolation. The total amount of hard / contrived answers isn't totally beyond the pale here though.

lawprof 11:56 AM  

@quilter1: The folks in Des Moines, New Mexico, pronounce the "s" in Des. Did you notice when you passed through?

Anonmyous 12:19 PM  

It's only spelt wrong if you did it accidentally.

M and Also 12:40 PM  

P.S.
M&an about PuzLand Report.

C.C. has the LAT Puz today, btw. One of my fave constructioneers, that little gal.
1-Across clue, alone, is well worth the price of admission.
Dude. Poster child MonPuz clue! har

Quigmeister Puz is really smooth.
And has more U's.

Not to take anything away from the NYTPuz, which also had some wunnerful wunnerul moo-cow MonPuz clues. Let's play the WTF Else Could It Be game...
* ___ Moines, Iowa. (REX?)
* Pants fillers. (BUNS?)
* Talking during a movie, e.g. (DUMB?) -- If people do real annoyin stuff right in next row forward, sprinkle a lil soda on em with yer fingers, while beltin out a hardy Achoo!! Then act real diseased, the rest of the movie. Talk about distractin em back...
* En ___ (fencers cry) (GROIN?)
* Malden or Marx. (MGUY?)

M&A (M-Guy)
M&A

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

No outcry over 53D? To my knowledge, NERF is a trademarked brand-name, not any type of material

Lewis 1:00 PM  

I too thought the puzzle was very easy, but I also thought that this was good for a Monday, that it would have given new solvers some challenge and much success.

I see nothing wrong with having a nursery school tale be the theme of a puzzle if the puzzle doesn't insult the intelligence.

I remember Will sometime last year commenting here that if you don't like the puzzle, just wait a day or two and one will come along that you do. Yes, this puzzle skewed old, but there are many older solvers.

Bird 1:45 PM  

Well, it is Monday which usually means a so-so puzzle. Today did not disappoint. OK theme, but lacking complete symmetry. I didn’t get 1A off the clue so I jumped to 67A and was disappointed. Didn’t like the answer for 17A – was looking for an actual sound the BELL makes (ding, dong, etc.). Not much to love, but 32A (w/o the S) and 52A are good.

@Gill I. P – Rush's song RED BARCHETTA would fit at 32A.

Benko 1:51 PM  

@Anonymous12:43--According to Wikipedia, "Nerf" was chosen as a name because it was a slang term for the foam rubber used in off-road racing. I thought maybe it was an acronym with the final "F" standing for "Foam."
@M&A--Yeah, Sam the Sham! Gloriously weird band.
@ACME--I always wondered about where the other people came from too. In Genesis, when Cain gets exiled to the Land of Nod, he complains to God that the people there will kill him because he is a murderer, prompting God to put His mark of protection on Cain's forehead. As a kid, I wondered, "What people there? Who are these others and where did they come from?" Never got a satisfactory answer.

Last Silver BadBowls 2:01 PM  

p.p.s.s.
So, OXYGEN gets all the gas from commentors today...
Thought it woulda been the mix of LIL and LITTLELEAGUE that got more yelps. Wrong again, M&A breath.

fave weeject: CCS. Better clue... Burnikel and namesakes.

fave fillins:
* INERTIA. What U get after wolfin down a whole pack of fig newtons.
* OXYGEN. What 4-Oh needed, right after notin the crossing of FINES/FINIS. Or LIL + LITTLE.
* STROBE. Is this one of those one-time trademark dealies? Missed chance for a crossover? Anyhoo, it's how the Shortzmeister cleared a messa squirrels outa his attic onetime.
* VOGUE and RUDE. Contains this puz's entire ration of the lil darlUns.
* DAVE. Top ten bullets maestro. My idol, since 4-Oh stopped doin em...

Aduuu,
M&A

AliasZ 2:35 PM  

I would be remiss in my duties if I did not also present the other great composer: CREDO from the Great Mass in C minor by Mozart.

As a bonus, the following is by the master himself: CREDO from the Mass in B minor by J.S. Bach.

Gill I. P. 3:04 PM  

@Bird:

I strip away the old debris
That hides a shining car.
A brilliant Red Barchetta
From a better, varnished time.
I fire up the willing engine,
Responding with a roar
Tires spitting gravel,
I commit my weekly crime.

WOLF, WOLF...Do you think any one will know it?

Bird 3:36 PM  

@Gill I. P. - An oldie, but a goodie and not played often enough so I don't think too many will know it.

Are you a fan? Did you see the hall of fame ceremony?

So far I've only seen them once (Signals tour) and probalby won't again as I prefer their older material.

Gill I. P. 4:13 PM  

@Bird: I must confess...I hadn't heard of them before you made mention so I looked them up and played a few of their songs. You, sir/madam have now made me a fan (I even put the speakers on high and started tapping my feet!)
I love this blog!!!!!

sanfranman59 4:21 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 (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 5:45, 6:07, 0.94, 21%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:45, 3:46, 1.00, 43%, Medium

retired_chemist 5:55 PM  

@ LMS - Why your horse is named Kate. Be careful what you name an animal: it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

gifcan 6:04 PM  

I am probably the only one who has never neard of TENON. Not that I needed to know it. Finished the puzzle quickly and never noticed the theme until done.

I enjoyed the puzzle very much.

Oh, and I missed the sharing regarding the puzzle by LMS, so I say now - it was a kick-asp puzzle. Thanks.

sanfranman59 10:02 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 5:43, 6:07, 0.93, 19%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:40, 3:46, 0.97, 31%, Easy-Medium

lily eva 11:30 PM  

Interesting puzzle for kids !

dennis douglas 9:25 AM  

If you keep submitting well written articles just like this then I will always keep returning back to your blog. Really good
material.
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Anonymous 9:03 AM  

The colored part of the iris is NOT an areola. The entire iris is colored ( there is not a colored portion and an un-colored portion of the iris. Rexites will likely not find important because the answer is still quite "gettable". Doesn't change the fact that, as clued, the answer no where near being anatomically correct.

Why not "The colored ring around a nipple"?

Answer- areola


- A board-certified opthalmologist from Ohio

spacecraft 11:22 AM  

On Friday and Saturday I'm in the World Deries; today it's LITTLELEAGUE. What a jolt. Easy? Man, this isn't just a softball, it's a NERF ball!

1a: villain in a tale, 4 letters. IAGO or WOLF. Othello: one word. The three little pigs, four words, but really...THE as one of the starters? Nah. Has to be the other one. So in about 1/6 of the time it took to type this paragraph, all the themers were in.

There's some semi-cool stuff here, like OXYGEN, but all in all a big yawn. It did kick off a not-totally-unpleasant earworm of the Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs hit, but enjoyment-wise, that's the lot. On to higher heights as the week progresses.

spacecraft 11:24 AM  

When will you learn to proofread before submitting, idiot? That's Series, dearie.

Solving in Seattle 1:07 PM  

Got WOLF then filled in LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD in their places. I don't time myself, but this was about 3/4s of a cup of coffee.

I SCUBA dive and had no issue with the clue for 27A. The answer could be any of nine gases making up most of what goes into a SCUBA tank.

My only writeover was laTER before AFTER.

Capcha: 24683869. By coincidence, my favorite prison joke.

DMG 2:01 PM  

Thought this was "kinda" cute, and sometimes need a puzzle I can just solve. Find I more and more skip through the puzzle critics who, seemingly, never think a given puzzle is all they would have it be. Glad for the less jaded Syndiland crew!

@SIS: My Captcha is also one of those prison jokes, buy I don't get it!

Waxy in Montreal 4:10 PM  

So, 64A elicited my earworm, Monday, Monday by The Mamas and the PAPAs which provides profound insight into the uneven quality of our Monday NYT crosswords.

"Monday, Monday, can't trust that day;
Monday, Monday, it just turns out that way.
Oh, Monday, Monday, won't go away;
Monday, Monday, it's here to stay."

Here's my jailhouse rib-tickler: 55959825. Such a riot...

Ginger 4:55 PM  

Did the puz this morning in the Dentist's office. Unfortunately the wait was way longer than the puzzle.

Aside from the fact it was too easy, I rather liked it. Some cool stuff; HOODORNAMENT, RIDINGMOWER (hubster always wanted one) and INERTIA.

Cycled through several captchas with illegible letters; one even looked like a soccer ball. Please bring back the joke-book.

Dirigonzo 5:39 PM  

So, some of the A-listers crushed this puzzle in under 3 minutes, finished with an haste-induced error or two and had no fun in the process; I, on the other hand, spent an enjoyable 15 minutes or so filling the grid in correctly (although I was not 100% certain about COE). Different strokes, I guess.

rain forest 6:02 PM  

Fastest Monday in a long time, but it holds together well. Nothing to quibble about.

@Waxy I love that joke! Punch line: Doc says you're gonna die.

Waxy in Montreal 6:48 PM  

@rain - yeah, it's just a question of when...

Cary in Boulder 7:23 PM  

Filled in the theme answers in about 30 seconds and then went, "Naaah, me gots other things to do."

Captcha: Telerye. A JEWISH RYE from the Israeli capitol.

Shax 9:15 PM  

Just found my paper buried in 12" of snow. Took longer to find the paper than solve the puzzle!

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