Allied supply wrote to China during WWII / TUE 3-11-14 / Lena of Chocolat / She's back in town in Fats Waller song / Kimono securers

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Constructor: Mel Rosen

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: IN BUD (49D: About to bloom … or a hint to 20-, 33-, 41- and 52-Across) — four theme answers start with "BU-" and end with "-D," making … the remainder of the answer? … IN BUD?

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Idles (BUMS AROUND)
  • 33A: Allied supply route to China during W.W. II (BURMA ROAD)
  • 41A: Having a rounded end, as pliers (BULL-NOSED)
  • 52A: Sycamore tree (BUTTONWOOD)
Word of the Day: ILIA Kulik (38A: Olympic skating champ Kulik) —
Ilia Alexandrovich Kulik (RussianAbout this sound Илья Александрович Кулик​ ; (born 23 May 1977) is a Russian figure skater. He is the 1998 Olympic Champion, the 1995 European Champion, the 1997–1998 Grand Prix Final champion, and the 1995 World Junior champion. (wikipedia)
• • •

1-Across says it all: STALE. This probably would've been an ordinary, run-of-the-mill early-week puzzle, say, 30 years ago. But now it just feels like a relic. So much crosswordese that you don't need me to point it out. Nothing to put it in this century except clues on TINA (22A: Fey of "30 Rock") and NBC (42D: "Parks and Recreation" network). A theme that doesn't really work with a revealer that's oddly placed. Still baffled that quality is allowed to limp along like this. There are good, fresh, thoughtful, entertaining modern puzzles out there. I solve some on a regular basis. I did a couple this past weekend. The Gold Standard should run those. And Only Those.


The grid shape is a Real problem here today, as we are given four theme answers and then, essentially, a bunch of horrible mini-grids, particularly in the corners. The highly segmented grid means that the tired shorter stuff is isolated and therefore highlighted. What's in this little corner? Oh look, ET TU and T-NOTE! How 'bout this one? ALIS and HASAT! ANIL and ILIA! And about ILIA—inexcusable. Proper noun crosswordese like that, when the grid is Not Hard To Fill, should not be tolerated. ILIA is about as welcome as yesterday's "ELENI." Now the basic old-fashionedness of the theme answers—two of which (BURMA ROAD, BUTTONWOOD) I'd never heard of—I can accept. Constructors and solvers come from all generations, and puzzles can and should reflect that. But the STALE fill, as you know by now, I just can't. Cannot. Can't.

Was going to talk about the ACPT some more today, but this puzzle has ruined the mood. Maybe tomorrow?

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

74 comments:

Anonymous 12:20 AM  

2-minute fix for West side.

SPOKEN
LEVIS
ORAL

It's a little less scrabbly, and the answers are mostly overused in crosswords, but it's still miles ahead.

If I were remaking this for pay, I'd just rip out ALL of the NW section and start over. SITU/RIGA/AGIN is icky, with TOTES/LEOS/AFOOT/ESTATES not being particularly lively.

In fact, I'd probably rip out every corner of this puzzle, including the center. Every single section is just bad, bad, bad, bad. AGEE/MELEES, MIATA/ALIS/HASAT/ONABET/NEA, BOSE, OBIS, UPTICK/MANN/ETTU/TNOTE, MHO...it's just so bad that you have to start from scratch to even get a decent puzzle.For a puzzle with just 4 theme entries, I expect better fill overall.

Additional problems with fill include the ADDIN/INBUD/in SITU duplications, low amount of scrabbliness, and a fairly high amount of ED/S words.

On the cluing front, we have the word DYE in the clue for ANIL, when DYED is already in the grid. This is why ANIL is such a horrible entry, the cluing potential is essentially ZERO. The ANIL clue should have been replaced with something not using the word DYE. Or better yet, maybe it would actually made the NYT editors send back one of the sections to be reworked, and then near double the quality of those sections of the puzzle.

Sadly, I haven't even gotten to the theme yet, which wasn't particularly impressing to me. INBUD is placed rather haphazardly in the grid. As well, I'm not buying that INBUD is an appropriate revealer for this puzzle. The theme entries aren't really in BUD, since BUD is part of the actual answer. Maybe if it was a pun theme this could work, but no dice here.

Overall, I'm continuing to wonder how this crossword continues to survive. The themes like this one have been hundreds of times in some shape and form, and the fill continues to unquestionably suffer, even with minimal theme constraints. Unless there's some uber secret message in the grid, I'm calling this one horrendous.

Moly Shu 12:23 AM  

Have to agree with @ Rex, stale and more gunk. Sorry it ruined his mood, was looking forward to thrilling ACPT stories. Well, stories of some sort.

I did like BURMAROAD, knew it from somewhere, not really sure where. Also thought UPTICK looked cool

wreck 12:35 AM  

That was painful.

JFC 12:54 AM  

I really don't get it. Rex teaches English at a college level. Yet, in order to make his point he engages in mean-spirited, personal, vicious attacks. The other day what he wrote about Acme was about as cruel as it gets. It was embarrassing to read it. And tonight he is equally cruel to someone who is old enough to be his father. And yesterday was another over the top performance.

When he says he never heard of the Burma Road, he displays ignorance, not insight.

Surely with his command of the English language he can make his point without engaging in attacks that serve only to diminish his credibility than the constructors.

Very sad....

JFC

Billy 1:05 AM  

Perhaps it's that I'm a crossword neophyte, but I just don't get the need to place the grid in the 21st century. I frankly don't like pop culture references whether they're from the 30s, 50s, 70s, or from last week, so maybe that's why I can't relate to Rex's frequent complaints about how a particular puzzle could have appeared 30 years ago. To the extent crosswords go beyond clever wordplay and require actual knowledge, let it be about geography or something you really feel you should know, not chess players (whom I happen to know all about) or historic AL MVPs (about whom I know nothing).

John Child 1:10 AM  

@Rex would you consider putting the lnk to the comments at the top of the page please?

Anonymous 1:28 AM  

@Billy, I don't think 21st century necessarily means pop culture. Phrases like BLOG POST, or ARAB SPRING, or TSA AGENT are all contemporary without assuming knowledge of modern sports, music, film or TV. But they give the solver a feeling of freshness, that they're seeing things that have never been in a puzzle before.

Anonymous 1:46 AM  

I don't understand your point, JFC. He openly admitted that he was ignorant of those two answers, but that had little to nothing to do with the criticism at all.

Jisvan 1:50 AM  

Tuesdays are a hard gig, I understand. This one was easy breezy, but I kept trying to make the theme more complicated than it was, which slowed me down a bit. I was taking the letters between BU and D, and reading them forwards, (no), backwards, (no), adding extra U's, (no, sorry M and A...) They are just the middles of two word Things. Knowing the constructor is in or near his 80s (how old is Rex anyway, JFC?) makes me appreciate it more! We should be so clever at his age. I'll probably be eating PURÉE of EGGOS by then. Thank you Mr. Rosen! On to Wednesday!

jae 1:53 AM  

Dang, where's @Steve J when you need a comment you can agree with so you don't have to actually compose anything.   OK, liked it better than Rex... he has a point though...theme answers were interesting...ANIL/ILIA cringy...

Easy medium for me.

Questinia 1:58 AM  

I'm wondering whether cannabis might help.

John Child 2:09 AM  

LOL @Questina.

chefwen 2:29 AM  

I'm not getting into this MELEE. Got it done, no ? marks. One write over Lei before TAN @23A, bet I'm not alone there.

@Questinia - According to my renter Cannabis always helps. I'm not going there. Tried it once and ate an entire bag of Ruffles Potato chips, one ruffle at a time.
Memories...

Steve J 2:33 AM  

@jae: Ha, I'm not sure I would have given you much to work with tonight. About all I can come up with in response to this one is "dull".

It's essentially yesterday's puzzle all over again: decently constructed theme (I liked BUMS AROUND best), gobs of crosswordese, one truly painful section (the west, today) and, again, nothing fresh or fun in the rest of the fill.

JTHurst 4:38 AM  

No Prob except for NW. This puzzle can be measured in MHO for conductance as versus its reciprocal in Ohm in impedance as a good puzzle should provide. Eggo QED.

Conrad 5:30 AM  

I agree with @John Child. It would be nice to have the comments link at the top rather than the bottom, so we can view the grid and the comments at the same time.

Evan 7:41 AM  

The theme actually helped me out of a major jam on the west side. I had BELL-NOSED, not having ever heard of whatever term it was for pliers having a rounded end, and was completely lost with the clues for LUNES (never took Spanish though it's similar to LUNDI in French), ILIA, LULU, ANIL, and even GLAZED (which, though I get it, is one of the last words I typically associate with windows). Once I saw how the theme worked, I switched that wrong E in 41-Across to a U, figured 27-Down had to be LULU, and then finished up from there.

The ACPT was great, as always. Good to see everybody and do what we love to do: solve and marvel over / get completely confused by / bitch about whatever puzzle we were talking about. Let's do it again, sometime.

loren muse smith 7:48 AM  

Well. I bumbled around for a while, dropping stuff like MASH, PUREE, STIR, GLAZED, PULP, ADD IN, DONE, and COOK BOOK came later. So regardless of the grid, I was convinced it was some kind of food theme. Had TOFU, too. (Hi, @ims dave!) Think there are TOFU EGGOs?

@Questinia – good one! @M&A seems to have that vibe. We can ask him.

Of course realized my mistake and saw the theme, no PROB. I kind of smiled and sighed à la fois because here in Raleigh, everything is IN BUD, and everyone is so happy about it. The term IN BUD is being thrown around right and left, and this arctic weather-lover is resigned to the coming heat.

For so many people, their spirits are lifting enormously seeing all the BUDs, and for even me, I'm reminded of warmer weather when I was a kid - playing in the front yard with a cheap little bottle whose bubble wand never worked right. Myrtle Beach – stopping en route in Florence, SC for Burger King food (which back then was ambrosia for me), running into the cottage to be the first to claim the cherished top on the bunk bed, bug-infested kick-ball games behind the cottage, my cousin, Kirsten, running around buck naked, me up bright eyed and bushy tailed with my dad (a new man – business mind left back at home) and grandfather so I could walk to the pier to buy the paper, scampering across the burning sand to be the first to the water, covering each other in sand with just our heads sticking out, thinking the result looked like a creepy severed head but actually it just looked like an anemic burial mound with a head protruding at the end. . . (I would try at this point to add "bulletin board" and "butt dialed" to force two more buzzword phrases in, but then I'd be making stuff up. It was the '60s, after all, and the Wards' cottage had no bulletin board.) Hey, but I got nine in, and everything is true!

I always feel so smart to fill in SITU with no hesitation, even though I can throw the word around only in sentences about theoretical linguistics. (It was my ploy once at a PARTY – to use in situ as often as possible in conversations. Ah, the fun; I bet I impressed 15 people with it. This was the last PARTY I was invited to – 'bout 10 years ago. And yes, I totally stole the joke idea from Steve Martin.)

Hey – there's your Copy This Theme idea -
IN SITU:
SIT DOWN AND EAT YOUR TOFU
SILENT U
SIHAI HUAYI ZONGTU
SALAS U MALOM RITU
. . .
I'll get right on that.

Think that BULL NOSED pliers and needle nosed pliers do some trash talking in that TOOL BOX? Maybe they're both, uh, bullied, by the more attractive pliers.

Hey – Mel, Will – timing couldn't be perfecter for this theme, at least in these parts. I'll say with a stiff upper lip, Happy Spring, everyone. AGIN. Sigh.

AliasZ 8:12 AM  

There are ways of critiquing without ranting. To see how, read Jeff Chen's analysis at xwordinfo. This is a Tuesday puzzle, not a doctoral dissertation. As such, it is a cute pre-springtime theme, and easy enough for a starting solver who may have not solved crosswords long enough to know that ANIL, ETTU, EGGO, OBIS, ALIS, AGEE etc. are STALE.

I liked the theme, although I would have considered livening it up a little by going half-and-half BU_D / B_UD. Blood feUD, Bank fraUD, Bernard MalamUD or Bipolar and proUD come to mind.

I also liked PARDON ME and COOKBOOK, and was surprised to learn that the only other time the latter was used in the NYT was 36 years ago. Is COOKBOOK therefore a STALE entry? Only if you ADDIN STALE ingredients. When was the last time you sat in a BEANBAG chair? STALE!

I did not like the isolated mini-puzzles in the corners, the partials, the clunky AGIN, and some plurals: ALIS, OBIS, MELEES, LEOS.

Speaking of LEOS, here us the final movement of the Sinfonietta by Czech composer LEOŠ Janáček (1854-1928). Do not miss the final minutes from about the 4:35 mark of the video, as a 14-piece trumpet choir brings the work to a triumphant close.

Happy Tuesday.

Z 8:37 AM  

As I recall, a needle NOSED plier will do in a pinch if one can not find his hemostat. BULL NOSED pliers, not so much. Either way, all are definitely tools.

I appreciate the attempt at a springy theme, and we've been seeing considerable melting the past few days in the 313, but the 4" to 8" prediction for tonight sorta ruins the mood. ET TU Mother Earth?

All four corners have a single point of access. This seems to lead to two results, ese and a single misstep can really slow the solve. In the NW sOya before TOFU caused me issues. The theme got me out of that.

Why does Lören have a KFC bucket on her head? Let me think about it....

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

Maybe it wasn't always like this, but don't you folks realize that this blog is the one to go to FOR rants and bad attitude? I grumbled over AGIN last night and thought to myself "wonder if Rex'll tear into that tomorrow!" There are plenty other blogs for crossword answers, and plenty better discussions out there. Come here when you think "was it me or was that puzzle pretty lousy?" and you'll be very pleased.

Questinia 9:04 AM  

Springtime theme! @ Alias Z
Yes.

And in the Northeast we are working on blind faith that there will me some semblance of it soon ...

cue Felix Mendelssohn or Christopher Sinding-Frühligsrauschen

Mohair Sam 9:08 AM  

Played on the challenging side here, but didn't enjoy it (what Rex said, pretty much). I did a lot of bumming around as a kid, and BUMSAROUND is not idles in my opinion. I was always busy - on the rare day that I idled I sat AROUND.

@LorenMuse - Spent a few days in Florence, SC last Fall - and then Myrtle Beach. Florence is now a growthy town trying to absorb a bunch of Yankees, kinda liked it. Myrtle Beach has become more than ocean and golf - neat place these days. Love Brookgreen Gardens.

Said "pretty much" agree with Rex today because he felt the puzzle could have appeared 30 years ago and then gave two clues that were "fresh". Let's add in 10d (the MIATA did not exist 30 years back), and BILBO may be 50+ years ago in literature, but 90% of those who know the character know him from the 21st century movies. So now there are four "fresh" clues, that should balance BURMAROAD (which was a fresh answer for sure) and LULU.

Only heard the term "BULLNOSED" pliers was from my father over 50 years ago - so maybe there is some more stale fill, hmmmm.

Questinia 9:17 AM  

@ loren... ask @ M&A? Is he good to score?


One of my patients (a musician) told me yesterday that the most promising treatment for focal dystonia (the "yips") is pharmaceuticalized cannabis. This was evidently presented in this past months symposium on the disease which he attended. Drug companies are searching desperately for new wonder drugs. Once again, the plant kingdom informs.

How long will it take the Gray Lady to become the Green Lady and offer a puzzle with a cannabis-theme? Does the ACPT serve brownies?

Fred Smith 9:17 AM  


Well, Looks like Rex got out of the wrong side of his crib again this morning.

I can accept his opinion that the puzzle was multi-flawed; hard to accept his cantankerous attitude, though.

I don't think Burma Road is unreasonably obscure -- any modern history student would know of it --Gen Clare Chennault "over the hump" in WWII. Likewise, any business student would know that the first NY stock exchange was under the Buttonwood Tree in lower Manhattan in the late 1700s.

dk 9:27 AM  

🌕🌕 (2 moons) Like an earlier comment I might have laced this brownie. A simple thing would have been: The look in ones eyes after inhaling for 26A or the end of a blunt for 41A.

Low MHO here.

But soon the GEESE shall return to Wisconsin: 50 yesterday.

Warning personal point of view ahead.

@JFC, Rex spoke ill of Acme? A woman whose only vice is an inability to let critical comments roll off her back like water from a duck (teal -- the cute duck). Huh! The phrase cheap shot comes to mind.

I should like to ban personal attacks from every where. For example, this is a blog about our reactions to a puzzle. At times one's reaction is insightful and other times not so much. The posting back and forth about one or another's personal reaction is well… less than entertaining.

Well as I have have just hoisted myself on my on petard...

joho 9:28 AM  

Any theme celebrating spring is OK by me. At one point this past (past?) winter it was colder than the North Pole here which just about says it all. We are not IN BUD yet but are all anticipating the event!

This theme gives me a glimmer of hope. How about for the reveal: THISBUDSFORYOU?

Ludyjynn 9:32 AM  

Didn't see or need to see the themes of either yesterday's or today's puzzles while solving them easily. Considered both of them 'meh' experiences w/ or w/o the themes taken into account.

I have been reading Rex for about 6mos. and enjoy his insights and opinions, whether or not I share them on any given day. I've learned a lot from him AND all of you, fellow commentators, whether or not I agree w/ your myriad observations! Have to admit that it took me a few mos. to start posting my own reactions, as it can be intimidating to the uninitiated. But I don't think people aim to be mean-spirited; if that were the norm, I'd be out of here in a flash.

PIX 9:32 AM  

The Economist runs a regular column called "Buttonwood." The New York Stock Exchange was founded underneath a buttonwood tree.

chefbea 9:32 AM  

What's not to like - tofu, mash,glaze,eggo, puree,add in...all words you find in a cookbook!!!

And if you don't eat them right away they get stale!!

OISK 9:33 AM  

What annoys Rex pleases me - the absence of pop culture trivia, and product names (OK, Eggo, but Steinberg had about seven of them on Sat.). This played tough for me for a Tuesday, but I liked it. Also liked it that the theme saved me (and others, apparently) a DNF, as I had Ball nosed (as @Evan had bell nosed) until I went back to put the "u" (LULU! Of course! Norton's dog…) for bull nosed. Never heard of it, but I am about as ignorant about tools as I am about hip-hop and texting slang. I have also heard of Burma Road, (but not "Googlebot", from Saturday) and actually know the song "Lulu's back in town", don't know why I originally wrote "Ruby." Thanks, Mr. Rosen. Just what a Tuesday ought to be. Tougher than Monday, but reasonably easy…(and thanks to "Billy said" for an opinion so close to my own)

jberg 10:24 AM  

So, I'm on spring break, in Captiva FL, where everything is long past the IN BUD stage, and apparently have forgotten what day of the week it is. I kept thinking "this is way too easy for a Wednesday," and didn't realize it was Tuesday until someone mentioned it in the comments. Still too easy, mostly because of all the crosswordese. But I liked the completion of ET TU with the clue for OGRE (35D), and the GLAZED PANE row.

Until I got to the revealer, I thought this puzzle was about beer.

RnRGhost57 10:25 AM  

My GLAZED eyes always give me away when I PARTY too much with some BUD. Now, IDLE away in the BEANBAG and stare at the lava lamp.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Straightforward and enjoyable---tho my enjoyment depends on whether I finish the puzzle. And I enjoyed this one.

COIXT RECORDS 11:02 AM  

My 29D "Fervor" was ZEST before it was ZEAL, which lead naturally to the invention of BUTT-NOSED pliers, which I actually convinced myself for a minute or two must be a real tool. Rounded end INDEED!

deuce336 11:04 AM  

My very first post.

I do not imagine anyone reads posts this late, but I actually read some of the delivered in the morning paper before doing the puzzle.

As for Rex not knowing Burma Road and Buttonwood...it is a cultural thing. The Burma Road was famous in my youth growing up during WWII. And I think a movie was made about it. And being interested in the New York Stock Exchange I knew that it started underneath a Buttonwood tree on Wall Street.

It is also interesting that some puzzles rated challenging by Rex are easy for me...and vice verse.



mac 11:14 AM  

Felt like a Monday to me, and I also thought the theme might be food related at first. No buds in sight in Connecticut, just dirty snow and leafless trees.

Nice to learn about the buttonwoord tree and the NYSE. Aha.

Mary Rivers 11:16 AM  

This may be such an obvious comment that I should hang my head in shame to make it, but it seems to me that the universe of interesting four-letter words (that can be used in an NYT puzzle) is limited, especially if we avoid the dreaded -s or -d endings. Clever clueing can zip things up, but really fun clues are too challenging for early in the week. James AGEE, ANIL, SITU, are groaners now, but once upon a time I felt pretty good plugging those in.

Maybe I have a limited imagination (suggesting a need for cannabis?). What four letter words would be novel in a puzzle? Can we start a list?

Mohair Sam 11:49 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gill I. P. 11:54 AM  

WEED, DOPE, GRASS, HASH, HERB.....
Yes, a bit stale but I didn't mind it at all because it wasn't filled with a ton of 3 letter yuck.
We in Sacramento have been IN BUD for over a month now. My eyeballs are crying every time something blooms. I think I'll plant some milkweed.
@Rex....I'm sad...I wanted some DOPE on the ACPT and [sigh] you're in a bad mood...

Dawn 12:04 PM  

I put DULL-NOSED pliers and was, forever after, lost.....

Susan McConnell 12:24 PM  

Best part of this puzzle was my correctly guessing the first line of Rex's blog post. Yay me.

chefbea 12:35 PM  

@Deuce336..I think we read the posts all day long - at least I do. Welcome

Blue Stater 12:39 PM  

Hey, Rex can have whatever attitude he wants. It's his blog. I don't always agree with Rex, but I find his skepticism and willingness to take on the Xword establishment refreshing. I tried for years on the NYT's blog, but got tired of trying to argue with people who instinctively defended WS because they had something they were trying to sell him.

Lewis 12:47 PM  

I think a puzzle that could have been published 30 years ago can still be good IF it has spark, that is, fun and challenging cluing (for its particular day), and answers that are relatively timeless (rather than dated).

Of course if current references are in a puzzle today, it will be dated up the road. But I'm okay with current references if they are well known. They can have spark too, and really, I don't think all that many people look at or solve puzzles from 30 years ago, so being dated in the future isn't a great concern.

Today's puzzle was workmanlike, not much spark to me in its words and cluing, and like yesterday's, easy if you know crosswordese, and not so easy if you don't.

Two Ponies 12:56 PM  

When I saw the reveal it struck me as odd and questionable for a theme but OK, whatever.
I thought it might be a butterwood tree but bean bag set me straight. Glad to know the trivia now about it.
Bull-nosed pliers was new to me.
Never heard of the skater either.

Masked and Anonymo9Us 1:19 PM  

U's are bUddin out all over. Pretty.

fave themer: The BUTT ON WOOD one.
fave fillins: BEANBAG. ONABET. AGIN. LULU.
weejects anonymoUs: only 6 to choose from. MHO is best of the little lot. Better clue: "Churly and Lharry poker??"

ACPT U-count: 45. Sounds good, but, then again, 5 of the 7 puzs were over-15x-sized...

@Q and @muse: Well, high there, darlins.

M&A

JenCT 1:49 PM  

@Questinia 1:58: works for me...

@Anon. 8:38: Exactly

I'm working on pix from the ACPT; they'll be on my "blog" (so to speak) shortly (just click on my name to go there)

I worked again as a judge, and it was wonderful to be there with NO STRESS!!!

Saw/chatted with so many people that I don't want to list names, lest I leave out anyone. I got a good amount of pictures, though - stay tuned.

Uncle John C 1:52 PM  

@rex - I just want to say that I literally laughed out loud when I saw the BUrt warD picture. Maybe that Robin is the much-needed herald of the Spring.
Keep up the great commentaries - Thanks very much.

ksquare 2:04 PM  

For those unfamiliar with rarely used electrical terms, MHO is the opposite of OHM, i.e. conductance vs. resistance.

Z 2:16 PM  

Rant Reply Ahead

@DK - The occasional "Rex rubs me the wrong way" I get. The drop in on a semi-regular basis to accuse him of "personal attacks" is beyond me. I re-read today's to see if I missed something. Nope - just his standard fill critique. I re-read last Monday's. I can understand the charge there since he a) called out the constructor by name and b) made a direct comparison to prior work. But I can also read that critique as about the work, not the person (especially with the call back to the constructor's prior help). If we insist on defining the honest stating of opinion as "insult" we won't have much to talk about.

And a NAIL is so a tool.

/Rant Reply

BTW - Welcome Ludyjynn and Deuce366. Always good to have new voices.

Sheila Bell 3:10 PM  

Sometimes it's more fun to read the comments than the Parker review!

Ray J 3:23 PM  


*** When crosswordese ***


*** Turns faces frowny ***


*** Madam Q says ***


*** Have a brownie! ***


*** BURMA ROAD ***

sanfranman59 3:59 PM  

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

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

Tue 7:32, 8:16, 0.91, 21%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:11, 5:12, 1.00, 50%, Medium

Anonymous 4:03 PM  

You know what might have been a good tweak to this theme? If it had been a different word for BUD each time. Like if one of the answers had been inside MATE, like MARIONETTE and one of them had been inside CHUM like CHILDRENS ALBUM, etc. I think that would have livened it up a bit. It seems from the blurb on XWord, the constructor was intentionally trying to be low-key on this one, but that just doesn't yield interesting results most of the time.

Joe The Juggler 4:07 PM  

Ray J: Well done! :)

retired_chemist 4:16 PM  

Solved it as a themeless. Yes, a fair amount of crosswordese, and I enjoyed it anyway.

wreck 4:31 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
wreck 4:33 PM  

@ Ray J & Joe The Juggler

...actually, a Burma Shave puzzle might be fun although it certainly would be considered "dated" by the "arbiters."

Burma Roadie 4:50 PM  

You mean like this? http://www.xwordinfo.com/PS?date=5/5/1991

chefbea 5:04 PM  

@Jen in CT Great pictures!!!!!

retired_chemist 5:25 PM  

A Burma Shave puzzle would be TERRIFIC IMO.

M and Also 7:39 PM  

@retired chem: yep.
Oughta work...
Themers:
ADINDIGESTION. missin B
PFORPROMOTION. missin U [choke]
ICEPUDDING. missin R
ASTERMINDS. missin M
TOMSMASHER. missin A.
Revealer:
BURMASHAVE.

har. Now to cram it all into a Kiddie Pool grid...

M&A

Carola 8:39 PM  

With BUM and BUTT I wondered if it was a "rear end" theme, but then the others didn't fit. Thanks to those who pointed out the COOKBOOK-related entries and to @ksquare for explaining MHO.

[The "easy" captcha word mocks me with "But."]

sanfranman59 2:32 AM  

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

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

Mon 5:58, 6:18, 0.95, 22%, Easy-Medium
Tue 7:35, 8:16, 0.92, 21%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:54, 4:00, 0.98, 32%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:55, 5:11, 0.95, 29%, Easy-Medium

Matthew A. Harmer 12:12 PM  

I've come across the word OBI(S) more often in this week's puzzles than I had when I actually lived in Japan for 2 1/2 years....

Dr. Jay 8:59 PM  

Technically speaking, Bilbo was ring finder. Frodo was ring bearer.

- LOTR nerd

Gandalf 9:43 PM  

@Dr. Jay - Bilbo was the ring bearer for far longer than Frodo, neither of whom were the ring bearer for as long as Sméagol. Be careful about such statements. Remember, even Sam Gamgee, left Middle Earth by Mithlond because he very briefly was a ring bearer.

spacecraft 9:53 AM  

@Ray J: Hilarious BURMAROAD signs! Brings back memories.

OK, let's all calm down here. Does it sparkle? Have a chance at winning POTW? Well, no. But there is some good stuff here. How about UPTICK? PARDONME, but I kinda liked it. The theme was hidden well enough to need the revealer; my pliers were, of course, snubNOSED--that's the term. Never heard of BULLNOSED. Also, who didn't think a LEI was their Maui souvenir? So, two writeovers; no pushover. Still easy-medium, though.

While in agreement with many here that OFL is too harsh, I think I know where he's coming from. He sees excellence in this field every day, and particularly in tournaments, so it's quite a comedown to deal with something on the LEVEL of yesterday/today's entry (-ies). You just have to learn to apply a different curve when grading the remedial class, as oppsed to the gifteds. You shouldn't be teaching both, anyway. Tear you apart.

Back to illegibility--and 4's full.

Dirigonzo 2:38 PM  

Other than having to change MazdA to MIATA, no PROB.

@spacy - I think Rex wants the NYT to be the AP class for puzzlers, not the remedial class. And I do better at the poker table when you're not playing -3s full of 6s.

DMG 4:58 PM  

B...UD seems a fun theme for this time of year. Only do-over was ASAP for stAt. Remembered BURMAROAD, but had to resist writing Kyber Pass. Have to look to see why. Wrong war, wrong theater of operations?? Then there was Stillwell's route to China, but it doesn't fit.

Four 6's.

Solving in Seattle 5:31 PM  

Rex stole my thunder - I was going to say this puz left me STALE. Especially the disconnected grid. It's all been said.

I liked the reference to the BURMAROAD. The WWII planes also flew "over the hump." Tragedies aside, what an amazingly fascinating war, on both fronts.

I finally get a full house and get taken to the cleaners by @DMGs quads.

rain forest 7:14 PM  

Anyone do the Univeral Sudoku today? Man, all those numbers were from, like, Arabic, for cryin' out loud! Then, to top it off, in the Northern array, you had 678, in order, in all three nonants. Talk about your Sudokese. Where's the sparkle, the devious? Where's ths sneaky use of "4"? I really think the Sudoku editor should be called into question here.

Dirigonzo 7:35 PM  

@rainy - and therein lies the diference between sudoku and xwords. Nicely played.

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