Pitcher Mike with 270 wins / SUN 3-23-14 / Eponymous German physicist / World capital on slope of active volcano / Resort city in 1945 news / Birthplace of Buddha now / Bootleggers banes / Garden State casino informally / Ex-Fed head Bernanke

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Constructor: Ian Livengood

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: "Bright Ideas" — Quotation from THOMAS EDISON (86A), aka THE WIZARD OF MENLO PARK (96A: Nickname for 86-Across), inventor of the INCANDESCENT LIGHTBULB (106A: Development of 86-Across … as depicted in the middle of this grid):
"I HAVE NOT FAILED. I'VE JUST / FOUND TEN THOUSAND WAYS / THAT WON'T WORK." (26A: Start of a motivational comment attributed to 86-Across)
Circled squares form image of lightbulb, and spell out (reading counterclockwise, from the top): "AHA MOMENT"

Word of the Day: Dolph LUNDGREN (116A: Dolph of "Rocky IV") —
Dolph Lundgren (born Hans Lundgren; 3 November 1957) is a Swedish actor, director, and martial artist. He belongs to a generation of film actors who epitomise the action hero stereotype, alongside Sylvester StalloneChuck Norris,Arnold SchwarzeneggerBruce WillisSteven Seagal, and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
He received a degree in chemistry from Washington State University in 1976, a degree in chemical engineering from theRoyal Institute of Technology in Stockholm in the early 1980s, then a Master's Degree in Chemical Engineering from theUniversity of Sydney in Sydney in 1982. Lundgren holds a rank of 3rd dan black belt in Kyokushin Karate and was European champion in 1980 and 1981. While in Sydney, he became a bodyguard for Jamaican singer Grace Jones and began a relationship with her. They moved together to New York City, where after a short stint as a model and bouncer at the Manhattan nightclub The Limelight, Jones got him a small debut role in the James Bond film A View to a Kill as aKGB henchman.
Lundgren's breakthrough came when he starred in Rocky IV in 1985 as the imposing Russian boxer Ivan Drago. Since then, he has starred in more than 40 movies, almost all of them in the action genre. He portrayed He-Man in the 1987 fantasy/science fiction film Masters of the Universe, and Frank Castle in the 1989 film The Punisher. In the early 1990s, he also appeared in films such Dark Angel (1990), Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991), alongside Brandon Lee;Universal Soldier (1992) as opposite Jean-Claude Van DammeJoshua Tree (1993), opposite Kristian Alfonso andGeorge SegalJohnny Mnemonic (1995), opposite Keanu Reeves; and Blackjack (1998), directed by John Woo. In 2004, Lundgren directed his first picture, The Defender, and subsequently helmed The Mechanik (2005), Missionary Man (2007), Command Performance (2009), and Icarus (2010), in which he also starred. After a long spell performing indirect-to-video films since 1996, 2010 marked his return to theaters with The Expendables, an on-screen reunion with Stallone, alongside an all-action star cast which included, among others, Jason StathamJet LiStone Cold Steve Austin, and Mickey Rourke. He reprised his role as Gunner Jensen in The Expendables 2 in 2012 and the upcomingThe Expendables 3 in 2014. (wikipedia)
• • •

Solid work, but just too easy, with a gimmick that was too transparent. I knew what this puzzle was going to do as soon as I saw the title and read the Note: "When this puzzle is done, the circled letters, reading counterclockwise from the top, will spell a phrase relating to the puzzle's theme." OK, I didn't know the phrase was going to be "AHA MOMENT," but "Bright Ideas" as a title screamed both "Edison" and "Lightbulb," and I honestly predicted the bulb shape before I even opened the puzzle. This does not make me a genius; it just makes me semi-conscious. This would be a nice gateway puzzle for people who think the Sunday is too hard for them. But I was done in under 10, and since the whole theme was essentially already known to me before I started, it just wasn't that gripping. I will say that the long Downs are gold—Ian is a Really top-notch constructor, and there's hardly anything junky in the whole grid (though because the grid is so segmented, there are a *lot* of short answers, and they can't all be winners). He's one of a handful of constructors I know who do truly care about the overall quality of the grid—The Whole Grid, not just the theme. So the puzzle is expertly made, and it's got sports teams and bands and science and SESAME BAGELS (60D: Deli stock with seeds)—a very nice mix of knowledge, with punchy answers abounding. So even if the theme was D.O.A. for me, a. it won't have been for everyone, and b. there is still a decent puzzle framework underneath that theme.


There were few challenging or scary moments for me. Typically, the place that gave me the most trouble was the last place I solved—the "Q" in IQS / QUITO was the last letter in the grid. I may have briefly forgotten that QUITO existed. In fact, I'm definitely sure that briefly happened. But we're not talking about minutes of struggle here. Seconds. Just somewhat more seconds than other parts took me. OPEN CIRCUIT isn't a concept I know a lot about, so there was some initial futzing around in that area (I had Buddha born in NEMEA at one point …) (73A: Birthplace of Buddha, now). I blanked on SHARON, briefly. [Lockup] = CAN just made no sense to me until I had it all. Then I was like "Oh, yeah … I teach a course in crime fiction, so I should Probably know that." Really didn't care for the book "Life of Pi," so when I saw that clue I was like "How the *** should I know that guy's last n—… oh, wait, I know it. It's PATEL" (102D: Pi ___, "Life of Pi" protagonist). Turns out my brain still retains useless information—maybe not as well as it did when I was a teenager, but pretty well.

I'm gonna get back to basketball-watching / exam-grading, but first: Puzzle of the Week!

So if you want to see why, like Whitney Houston, I believe the children are our future, you'll want to tune into some of the work being done by young constructors on their independent puzzle sites. It's like getting a peek inside a test kitchen. Sometimes the stuff comes out a little rough or weird or not to my liking, but more often I am privileged to witness some truly inspired work—boundary-breaking stuff that you aren't likely to see in mainstream outlets. This week I'd like to single out Neville Fogarty's "College Humor," which has a nice, timely theme, but was super tough for me due to the fact that I am old (at least compared to Neville). Great stuff if you're young, great practice for navigating treacherous proper noun waters if you're less than young, and with a solid theme holding it all together. You should also head over and check out Peter Broda's latest themeless offering, "Freestyle #30," at his site, The Cross Nerd. As I mentioned elsewhere this week, this puzzle has a single clue/answer in it of a type that I find cheap and deeply annoying—but a. not everyone agrees with my philosophy on this, and b. more importantly, that answer aside, the puzzle is a pyrotechnic display. This guy has virtuosic tendencies where themelesses are concerned. So fresh, so current, so wow. I laughed in admiration mid-solve—that's about the highest praise I can give a puzzle. But the winner this week is Ben Tausig's Inkwell Puzzle for this week: "Upbeat Mixes," an easyish puzzle with a super-clever, funny, feel-good theme. Professional, polished, entertaining, witty. Good, good work. I won't spoil it—you can get it free here from Ben's Weekly sword Google group. Hope you like it.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. neglected to give Andy Kravis's "Themeless #12" the shout-out I'd intended last night when I was doing this write-up. I gotta get more organizized. Anyway, this puzzle leads with a dramatic 1-Across and doesn't let up from there. Sweet stuff. Andy drops grid science every Sunday at Andy Kravis, Cruciverbalist at Law (in fact, there's a new puzzle out Today). Add him to your list.

95 comments:

Billy 12:08 AM  

Once again, I'll have to say, what's "easy" to you crossworders doesn't translate to us newbies. I think it was Tuesday that everyone and their kitchen sink went apes--t about, but it just wasn't that hard to me compared to a usual Tuesday. What it is about today's puzzle that makes it so "easy" to Rex is beyond me.

Moly Shu 12:13 AM  

Spelled METALLICA with 2 T's, which caused my only trouble. Now I have to turn in my speed metal membership card. So disgusted with myself. I can't go on.

Questinia 12:29 AM  

@Billy. I am not a newbie and it was not *easy*.


USELESS! USELESS!
heavy rain driving
into the sea


~­­Jack Kerouac

Anonymous 12:36 AM  

90% of the human race can't even solve any Sunday puzzle without cheating. In reality, no Sunday puzzle is "easy".

Steve J 12:43 AM  

This started off easy, but it certainly didn't finish that way. Like Rex, knew the theme was lightbulb and Thomas Edison-related before I looked at a single clue. With that knowledge, the bottom of the half of the puzzle filled itself in very quickly. I probably spent about a third of my total time there.

I spent two-thirds trying to figure out WTF the quote was and what was going on in the north central. Nothing would come to me. Not OCTOPI, not NFC SOUTH (my brain does not want to accept an organizational scheme as a home), and certainly not Nicolas ROEG (whose most-famous films are 23 and 43 years old, and I'm really pushing it by using the word "famous").

Which illustrates, yet again, the problem with quote puzzles: If you suss out the quote, the puzzle's too easy. If you don't, you're pretty much screwed.

I'll be using my sour grapes to make some GRAPE JELLY from yesterday.

The clue on IQS was brilliant, by the way.

Anonymous 12:49 AM  

Someone explain Ins = entrees to me? I wanted entries.

Anonymous 1:00 AM  

We get it, Rex. You're very, very smart.

jae 1:25 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Pretty good for a quote puzzle.  The OFFING, ROEG, OCTOPI, ENTREES area was the toughest.  Once EDISON became clear a lot of this just filled in.  Neither zippy or crunchy, but a breezy Sun. solve.  Liked it.

Carola 1:36 AM  
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Carola 1:55 AM  

An admirable puzzle in so many ways, but I found it a lot of work.

chefwen 2:01 AM  
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Anonymous 2:02 AM  

To 12:59 Anonymous

Ins = Entrees If you have an "in" you have an entree into situation or relationship.

I too guessed immediately an Edison quote and lightbulb theme but certainly not an easy, especially with all the sports fill. I always have to google those when they're long and/or abbreviated in non-specific ways.

Enjoyable but took a very long time to suss correctly.

Sleuth

John Child 2:03 AM  

What @Steve J said. It took me an hour longer than Rex, putting it very much in the challenging category for me. I laugher at the fish clue and Wanda clue next to each to each other in the east, and the CAT and HAT pair. Tough clueing for Sunday I thought. Good fun with nothing to CRINGE at.

chefwen 2:20 AM  

Bottom half was a cake walk, but I was unfamiliar with the quote, so the top half was a tad more challenging.

Had quite a lot of mistakes to overcome. 29D ray bans before FEDORAS, 60A Skit before SPAT, 35D skit befoew SPAT,and so it goes. I won't bore you with all the other goofs.

Finished correctly without cheats, so I am a happy solver.

Danp 4:49 AM  

Note to constructors: Please, if you are going to do a tribute puzzle, find something interesting about the subject. Sesame Bagels does nothing to mitigate how trite this tribute was.

Susierah 6:02 AM  

What is "Starts of news articles"? Ledes?

Bob Kerfuffle 6:28 AM  

Daddy, what's an INCANDESCENT LIGHT BULB?

From Merriam-Webster:

Definition of LEDE
: the introductory section of a news story that is intended to entice the reader to read the full story

Origin of LEDE

alteration of lead

First Known Use: 1976

AliasZ 7:18 AM  

As tribute puzzles go, this wasn't the worst one. I liked the light bulb idea, although it would have been EERIER if the words OMAHA TNEM actually lit up. Do you think THOMAS EDISON actually ever uttered the phrase "AHA MOMENT"? But he did say: "Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's USELESS."

Edward TELLER (1908-2003) was a Hungarian-born American theoretical physicist, part of the Manhattan Project crew of scientists led by Robert Oppenheimer at Los Alamos, NM, 1942, that also included his compatriots Leó Szilárd (1898-1964) and Eugene Wigner (1902-1995). TELLER is known as the father of the hydrogen bomb.

In August 1939, Szilárd and Wigner drafted the Einstein–Szilárd letter, which warned of the potential development of "extremely powerful bombs of a new type". It urged the United States to take steps to acquire stockpiles of uranium ore and accelerate the research of Enrico Fermi and others into nuclear chain reactions. They had it signed by Albert Einstein and delivered to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt called on Lyman Briggs of the National Bureau of Standards to head the Advisory Committee on Uranium to investigate the issues raised by the letter. Briggs held a meeting on 21 October 1939, which was attended by Szilárd, Wigner and TELLER. The committee reported back to Roosevelt in November that uranium "would provide a possible source of bombs with a destructiveness vastly greater than anything now known." Thus eventually the Manhattan Project was born.

These historical musings were caused by the lack of much to talk about regarding the puzzle. 50 three-letter words are just too many for me. Yeah, OPEN CIRCUIT and DNA MOLECULE were cool, TAN LINE on TUSHES, not so much. TAJ two days ago was the NBA's Gibson, today it's a casino.

What else? Oh yeah, here is a beautiful work: Quatre MOTETs sur des thèmes grégoriens, op. 10, by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986).

Perfect for a Sunday morning.

chefbea 7:47 AM  

@Chefwen I agree. Bottom half was very easy. I too had entries. and also never heard of ledes. Wanted lead in.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Sorry, but this was not easy. Medium I'd say. I rarely have to cheat to finish a Sunday but for this one I did.

NCA President 8:26 AM  

A true Edison tribute puzzle is not complete without some kind of slight to Tesla.

Similar to Andrew Jackson, once you discover what pathetic human beings some people are, it's hard to accept any good they might have done.

jberg 8:46 AM  

I got THOMAS EDISON off the clue, and THE WIZARD OF likewise, though it took me a few crosses to remember MENLO PARK. OTOH, I'd never heard the quotation, so had to get enough crosses to figure it out; and I knew very, very few of the proper names, from SLATER to the names of arenas (figured United Center must be a soccer team) to which team is in which organization -- so it definitely was medium for me. Also, I didn't notice the note until I was 2/3 through, so spent too much time trying to read the circles clockwise. And dElhi before NEPAL, even though it didn't seem right.

Figured it must be Edison's birthday or something, but that was Feb. 11.

@Bob Kerfuffle -- thanks for the note about first use of LEDE. I learned the concept back in the mid 1970s, when for a brief moment I was the (unpaid) Boston bureau chief for a now-defunct left-wing weekly, but the people I learned it from all spelled it LEAD. I've been puzzled ever since I started to notice the contemporary spelling.

I've never been to YALTA, and it's probably best to avoid the Crimea just now; but I've just booked a week in Paris mid-may, which is going to make it both easier and tougher to get through the rest of the semester.

@aliasz, thanks for the Durfufle!

Russell Long 9:08 AM  

Had Sum for "combined with", then figured there was some obscure band called Metal Lisa. DOH!

loren muse smith 9:41 AM  

Rex – IQS/QUITO gave me no trouble; both went in instantly. My last spot, my oh-crap-I'm-gonna-have-a-dnf spot was the top – I'm pretty weak at sports and had a non-existent "Pac South" wondering what college team's name was the "Saints" (after trying everywhichaway to fit "New O'leans" "Big Easy" or some form there).

Also Rex - "Really didn't care for the book "Life of Pi,"" – thank you. Me, neither, but probably for different reasons. I was expecting a really good adventure story and not a story full of symbolism and metaphors that just are not accessible to me without a teacher pointing them out to me.

@Bob K and (@Susierah, @chefbea, @jberg) – I thought I had goofed that whole section there. Never seen that word LEDE before. Thanks for the info, um, who was that who posted it? I've already forgotten. . . ;-)

@AliasZ – I missed the note explaining how to rede the circles and kept seeing OMAHA, too. And since I forgot to look at the title, it took me a while to get a bede on the whole idea hear.

@Molly Shu – I tried METELIXIRALICA there first.

@Questinia – great USELESS water quote! I'll add the utterly predictable (any poetry I can quote has to be really, really well-known) Coleridge useless water one. I don't even need to insert it here, but I will caution you to be careful with that fourth line. I misquoted it for yeres.

@Steve J – then you didn't like 85A as "Pelican's home," either, huh?

"Sele" before SEAL. Ok. I have to let this go.

@Danp – I disagree that this was trite! I was familiar only with the "inspiration/perspiration" quote and I actually had heard the expression WIZARD OF MENLO PARK but thought it was some baseball player. So this wasn't "trite" for me at all. (Also – I've always thought it was Dolf LUNDGREN invented the INCANDESCENT LIGHTBULB. Wasn't he so scary in Rocky IV?)

"Ugh" and BAH are not interchangeable for me. I had "ick" there forever.

I wish I could have JET LAG and TAN LINES right now.

STREW looks weird.

BUSLANES. Look. Just a word of caution. My daughter is at Pitt, and the BUSLANES there run opposite from the way you would expect. So when you look both ways before jaywalking – hey, it's a college town – look one extra time to your left on that campus.

Another problem for me at the top was "leg" room before REC room until the bitter end. We were discussing leg room Friday evening and yesterday while considering letting my beloved 2013 Kia Sorento be the "third car" for the kids and have me drive the ugliest, beat-up, dark green 2000 Lincoln Town Car – as long as a city BUS – you have ever seen. For the second time in 7 months, I hit a doe, a very large doe, on the way to work Friday morning. I happened to be driving this Lincoln, and the collision wasn't much of an issue. Lots of damage to the front, but from a driving standpoint, not even a hiccough. If I had hit this large animal in my much smaller, lighter Kia, I probably would have wrecked. Anyway, when my son started driving the Lincoln to high school, we had the front seat adjusted for him for lots more leg room because he's unusually tall. So anyway. . . . leg room was on my mind.

@M&A – gonna tackle your latest now. I go to bed really, really early.

Ian – great, great Sunday puzzle. Thanks!!

Casco Kid 9:43 AM  

mALTA was my ENTREE and it persisted through to the post mortem as I failed to notice that HiSTm/iDE didn't make sense. Beyond that, I had to google for EOS and the operative word FAILED in the Edison quote, as the north central took 45 minutes by itself. All told, 1:45, 2 googles, 3 errors, so an average Sunday DNF here. Easy-medium for most of the puzzle. Medium challenging for north central.

rusH of relief, for SIGH was a big stumbling block.

But the 60 minute sprint around the rest of the puzzle was a confidence builder, so I'm feeling pretty good about this one. I think it is the first Livengood that hasn't left me in a state of anomie. My initial CRINGE was unwarranted.

Mohair Sam 9:48 AM  

Very much agree with Rex on this one - it was one of our fastest Sunday solves ever, but it was still fun.

Notice that not everyone saw this as easy as we did. There were a few long sports gimmes for us (MUSSINA, CHICAGOBULLS, THENINERS, NFCSOUTH) along with a few in entertainment (BARBRA, LUNDGREN, METALLICA) - you can see how that would open the puzzle. Talk about hitting your sweet spot!

Z 9:58 AM  

Easy south, challenging north. Finished with METAL LIsA. My kids would go hear them if they were an actual band. METALLICA not so much.

loren muse smith 10:06 AM  

@M&A – got wrong anagram at 7A as my ENTRÉE. Got 2D, 12D, 13D, and 15D. Then. Nothing. I like the concept, though!

Oh, and on that soimmature website – buy that fake pants bottom/foot thing. You can get a lot of mileage out of it – slam it in a car door, kitchen cabinet, hang it out of a pot on the stove. . . I used to move mine around every week or so just to startle my kids' friends.

MikeM 10:14 AM  

Same problem with ENTRiES and LEadS as others had. Also I had flA for the Pelican clue for awhile. I didn't take note that the circles formed a light bulb until the very end. Took me way too long to get MUSSINA, as I am a Yankee fan. Great puzzle, not easy though. I would say solid Medium. Thanks Ian, I really enjoyed this.

Kim Scudera 10:30 AM  

Liked the puzzle. Found it easy-medium, as I: 1) did not grok the theme before even opening the puzzle, like some, and; 2) yet kinda knew the quote and stone-cold knew the nickname. I'm not sure that the lightbulb in the center of the grid was worth pushing all the theme answers to the far reaches of the puzzle => all those 3's! But the 3's didn't reek of desperation, so no major complaint here.

Speaking of the lil darlins, here's my list for M&A:

What woUld we dU withoUt U?

1) Lose oUr appreciation for primo weejects, the lil darlins
2) stop coUntin' Us in oUr pUz
3) probably stop sayin' "pUz" entirely
4) let autocorrect add back the ending GGGGG to our gerUnds
5) have to sUpply oUr own day-Um thUmbs-Up to the blog

No, thank U!
(HAR!)

joho 10:38 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, thanks for the explanation of LEDES. They should have left it spelled correctly seeing as it means LEADS. What's up with that? Wanting some insider lingo to confuse non-editor types?

I thought this was a fine tribute puzzle extremely well executed. I love the quote, too, which was unknown to me. And drawing the light bulb on the grid was icing on the cake! Very Liz Gorski-ish.

I also started out with OMAHATNEW before getting AHAMOMENT. I wonder how many of us did that!

Ian, I always look forward to your puzzles!

jberg 10:51 AM  

@Loren--

"Nor any drop to drink," right? I once memorized the whole poem -- took me a week, I was so proud. But now it's mostly forgotten, except for a few memorable lines, e.g.

"Hold off! Unhand me greybeard loon!"

I am now fully qualified to have someone say that to me, except that I seldom grab anyone.

Milford 10:51 AM  

Did this puzzle in bits as I watch the Michigan, then Michigan State games (a bit of a nail-biter), so maybe that was why I never got a toe-hold on the phrase. The only phrase I could think of attributed to EDISON was the 1%inspiration/99%perspiration one.

I also stumbled on some "easy"-looking words - MOW (as a noun), TOOT as clued, LEDES (never seen this), MOTET (wha?), STREW (awkward word IMHO), et al.

I was also held up a long while by having Christmas cookies full of bUTtEr instead of NUTMEG.

I did put in LUNDGREN without even thinking, whatever that says about me.

Going to branch out and try some of the puzzles offered by @Rex!

duaneu 10:53 AM  

Same experience as several others. The bottom 2/3 of the puzzle was very easy. The top part, not so much.

DeanR 11:04 AM  

This puzzle sucked, sucked, SUCKED. Not easy, and definitely not fun. And I don't want to be friends who didn't think Life of Pi was one of the best books of the last twenty years. I like your blog, Rex...I just don't think I like you. And that's all I have to say about that.

Norm 11:13 AM  

I thought this was a very ugly puzzle with a bunch of junk fill. ADE? SOC? EPI? LUNDGREN? I could go on. More annoying than fun.

Kim Scudera 11:18 AM  

My favorite Edison quote:

"If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves."

In january 1980 I had just graduated from Cornell and was working a temp job at American Can. I saw this quote on the wall of the cubicle I'd been assigned to, with the hand-written comment:

"If I did all the things I'm capable of doing, I'd be arrested!"

Thirty-four years later, I still find it hilarious. Plus ca change...

Nancy 11:20 AM  

Place to store hay is a MOW???? LEDES is the way journalists spell "leads"???? (I was an editor in book publishing and never heard of this.) Not so very easy, this puzzle. And while the quote is a charming and (to me) unfamiliar one, well worth remembering and passing along to anyone who feels they're failing at something, I simply don't like quote puzzles at all. Never have. I would be happy never to see another one.

Casco Kid 11:36 AM  

@nancy, there are two journalistic neologisms that post-date my departure from the field in 1981. One is "lede" which annoys me more than I can say, and the other -- just as rank -- is "nutgraf" which is the paragraph in a newspaper article that contains the 5 w's. It used to be the lead, but editors wanted catchy leads, now called ledes [sic], even on hard news stories, so the news content had to be moved somewhere. And renamed. I suspect a copy editor on crack invented these badnesses, or maybe they are just an expression of the decay in traditional print journalism. Ah, me.

RnRGhost57 12:16 PM  
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RnRGhost57 12:17 PM  

@Nancy, as someone who spent a lot of time baling hay in the first half of the 1970s, i can affirm that farmers, at least 40 years ago, regularly used the term "hay mow."

Had my first beer(s) after a long hot day of baling, but that is a story for another time.

mac 12:18 PM  

Good, solid Sunday. I don't mind quotes and I like this one, but the rest of the thing was a medium for me.

Mow filled itself in but I had never heard of it. At 12D I started with Cincinnati, and that NFC thing also caused some trouble.

Isn't Mussina a puzzler?

My favorite answer is "offing". We're not having the octopi/octopedes discussion?

Tita 12:20 PM  

Stared at O_FIN_ for ages, knowing nothing about the football(?) reference, or the directtor.
OFFING became my second AHAMOMENT - never knew the meaning of OFFING, I guess.

My mom always thought that the term for how you feel after a long flight was JETLeG. And still holds that it is a much more accurate description.
(Though at 4'11", she can be comfortable in all but the tightest of seats. Well, back in the day - on today's sardinecans, even she hasn't enough "lEg room" (Hi @LMS).)

@KIm - love yer quote.

I liked this much better than Rex. First I got ...BULB, immediately jumped to AHAMOMENT, then to ...LIGHTBULB. Then, sure, the bottom half of the puzzle was easiER, but the top half still was tough. If you don't know the BULLS are from CHICAGO, anything about SuperbOwls, or the band, you had to wait for lots more crosses.

It as crunchy for me - esp the NW and Midwest.
THanks Mr. L.

mathguy 12:23 PM  

I'm with those of us who found it medium or harder.

I think that some newspapers use lede instead of lead to avoid confusion with the several meanings of lead. I was a copy boy at the San Francisco Chronicle in the fifties when I was in college and they used "lede."

I join Steve J in praising the clue for IQS ("100s of ordinary people").

Steve J 1:03 PM  

@John Child: I hadn't noticed the adjacent fish and Wanda clues. That's fantastic.

@Bob Kerfuffle (and others): I'm surprised to find that LEDE dates only to the mid 70s. It was well-entrenched in newspapers when I was a reporter in the 1990s, and I'd always assumed it had been around for ages. And, yes, as @mathguy mentions, it was spelled that way to help distinguish it from the many meanings of "lead". At least that's what I was told.

@Loren: Didn't notice the Pelicans/NBA one, as I filled that on crosses. Yeah, I'm not fond of "home" as synonym with league or division. To me, a team's home is its city or its stadium/arena.

Interesting that both team clues were for New Orleans teams. Is Ian Livengood from there, perhaps?

Mohair Sam 1:10 PM  

@RnRGhost57 - Hand up for summer days spent making hay. One August day spent stacking second-cutting hay up in the MOW makes that word a gimme for the rest of your life.

Benko 1:21 PM  

"Who's the most underrated actor of all time?"
"That's easy--Dolph Lundgren."

nick 1:25 PM  

Played medium-hard for me (with goggling) because of all the sports stuff in crucial areas. But it was fun and satisfying and yeah, I saw Edison coming, but that didn't spoil anything.

fiddleneck 1:37 PM  

What is an epipen?

Masked and Anonymo15Us 1:51 PM  

LEDES. So shapely. So mysterious. So homophonic. So desperate. So Plural Word of the Century, thus far. I kowtow at the Altar of Ledes.

The circles. Makin a shape, with a "+" filament inside. Edison was a big DC man. Wanted to use DC current to light the world. Tesla, aw-contrary, was yer AC man. Oscar Wilde favored an AC/DC approach. The rest is history books and anecdotes.

@KimS: Primo list. 15 U's today. (Lil darlins.) Extra weeject likes goin out to 15- and 107-Down, as they have dejavuosity with the latest M&A puz. Also 1-Up, btw. It's like I have a twin, makin krosswords.

@muse: After tryin the latest M&A braineater puz today, U probably wish you'd gone to bed really really REALLY early. But see hints, above.
Nice foot. Stuff it under the classroom teacher's desk, and tell students it's the last vestages of a three-time body noise dude.

@Bob K. Am workin on a real medium easy April Fools puz just for U, to make amends for #116.
:)- <-- the tongue of atonement.

M&A

Z 1:52 PM  

"LEDE" was the correct spelling when I was in high school in the 1970's, so I looked up the etymology. Wictionary cites it as "sometimes spelled" (not spelt) this way as early as 1959 while the Online Etymology Dictionary says "by 1965." My personal suspicion is that it is much older, but when you set type by hand (as my grandfather still did as late as the 1960's) you don't spend column inches publishing articles about your craft. Therefore, it might be difficult to find documentation of this usage from earlier in the century. I am really surprised that journalists here think it was ever spelt "lead."

Benko 1:59 PM  

@fiddleneck-- An epipen is a dose of epinephrine you can carry around with you for quick injection. Good for people who have severe allergies who can go into anaphylactic (sp.?) shock.

Casco Kid 2:26 PM  

I never saw "lede" while working at the old Washington Star. Would Mary McGrory have allowed it? Probably not.

Meanwhile criMEA {river} has a nice newsy ring to it, no?Almost an urgency, wouldn't you say? Justin Timberlake was never so relevant.

Ludyjynn 2:42 PM  

BAH, DOH, WOW, I can breathe a SIGH of relief this one is finally over. Easy, my arse! Pain in the arse is more like it, for the reasons most of you have noted above.

Side note: for many years, prior to the advent of the Woodbridge Mall, THE place to shop in NCNJ was Menlo Park Mall, located, funnily enough, in Edison, NJ. Got my first credit card as an adult from the 'anchor' store there known as Bamberger's (the rest of the country knows it as Macy's) an oddly shaped mini- rectangular number which had to be run through a bulky device in triplicate. Ahh, the good old days!

Fred Romagnolo 3:06 PM  


I agree with everybody that the South was a shoo-in. I got started with Yalta and mums,(actually out of season in May) I didn't notice the title or the circles, but Edison was so easily inferrable. Northwest & North central toughest parts; didn't know the quote (like it). With San Francisco in the acrostic and the Niners in the crossword, felt right at home. Also, both used "teller", and we on our peninsula have a Menlo Park not far from the City. All in all, a satisfying Sunday morning.

North Beach 3:51 PM  

William Safire on LEDE.

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/11/18/magazine/on-language-hed-folo-my-lede-unhed.html

As I suspected, of far older origin than the 20th century.

fiddleneck 4:36 PM  

Thank you Benko.

Kim Scudera 5:15 PM  

How to access M&A's Kiddie Pool Krosswords?

3rd and out!

Uncle John C 5:22 PM  

@loren
When I picture a dark green Lincoln Town car in West Virginia - I am instantly transported back to a favorite vacation spot for my wife and I - The Greenbrier - Thanks for that - and please be careful when driving.

Bob Kerfuffle 5:34 PM  

@Kim Scudera - The only way I know to access M&A Xwords is by following the links he posts in the Comments - for the most recent, search yesterday's Comments. He is truly Mysterious & Aethereal.

sanfranman59 6:05 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 6:01, 6:15, 0.96, 30%, Easy-Medium
Tue 12:39, 8:20, 1.52, 100%, Challenging (2nd highest ratio of 223 Tuesdays)
Wed 10:17, 10:13, 1.01, 55%, Medium
Thu 16:47, 18:41, 0.90, 29%, Easy-Medium
Fri 21:23, 21:24, 1.00, 49%, Medium
Sat 24:55, 27:52, 0.89, 27%, Easy-Medium
Sun 31:45, 30:00, 1.06, 66%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:55, 3:59, 0.99, 36%, Easy-Medium
Tue 7:56, 5:11, 1.53, 100%, über-Challenging (highest ratio of 223 Tuesdays)
Wed 6:26, 6:14, 1.03, 59%, Medium
Thu 10:31, 10:44, 0.98, 44%, Medium
Fri 13:50, 12:39, 1.09, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 16:23, 17:32, 0.93, 36%, Easy-Medium
Sun 21:44, 20:35, 1.06, 62%, Medium-Challenging

Chief Rain Cloud 6:49 PM  

xwordinfo.com recently deleted most of M&A's crosswords. The United Nations is considering sanctions.

Actually, all the Xword Info Solver puzzles were recently lost, when the website transferred itself to "The Cloud".

Life can be so Mean & Aethereal. If only M&A would come out with a compilation book.

Kim Scudera 7:01 PM  

Thanks, @BobKerfuffle and @Chief Rain Cloud :D. M&A, if you're still listening, please put those links here in the comments so we can all enjoy some time in the Kiddie Pool!

Tita 7:08 PM  

@North Beach... thanks for the Safire link. Dachshunds of war indeed...

Susan McConnell 7:09 PM  

Medium for me. I got WIZARD OF MENLO PARK first, then, being familiar with the quote, I could plop it in based on the crosses I already had in place. I could also plop in THOMAS EDISON. Then I checked out what circled letters I had, but didn't have enough to make any sense of it yet. Eventually everything fell, but AHA MOMENT was kind of a letdown. Actually, I found the whole puzzle pretty joyless. The most fun I had was filling in SESAME BAGEL.

Anonymous 7:22 PM  

My very first thought even before the first word was filled in.

Mark 7:55 PM  

Another note on "lead": many many many people these days are writing "lead" (pronounced "led") as the past tense of the verb "lead" ( pronounced "leed"), probably by false analogy to "read" (present tense pronounced "reed") and "read" (past tense pronounced "red"). Lede may lead us away from that bog sometimes.

M and Also 8:23 PM  

@KimS: Yikes. Didn't know my older puzs were gone, until "The Chief" spoke up. I back up all my KPK puz files to cassette tape, so it could take a spell to totally re-create things.

But U R so nice, and I really dig nostalgia, even when it's irrational. So I'll try to rebuild one of the lil suckers for U, now and then. Below is my very first effort, so it had been especially saved on marble, for possible future museum display (Grossology section)...

www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=37&id2=969

M&A

Anonymous 8:30 PM  

How does guys=hes?

wreck 8:38 PM  

Is anyone on the magmic app having any issues with it hanging up?

Susan Stewart 9:01 PM  

OK, I'm guessing something's amiss with the Acrosslite printout, because there are only 7 circles in the center - not the 9 required to spell the right answer. Best I got was AHA MENT. WTF is going on? And why am I the only one complaining?

M and A Help Dek 9:08 PM  

@Susan Stewart:
Are you sure there ain't two circled letters in yer THEWIZARDOFMENLOPARK line? They are kinda like the base of the lightbulb.

Personally, I was at first appalled, when the circles didn't spell AHArMOMENT. So I sorta feel yer initial pain.

M&A

Macho Man 10:36 PM  

guys = "he"s

Anonymous 12:26 AM  

I would also say this was easy, except that it took me almost 45 minutes.

It just took me a long time to fill in the grid. Only the top middle really gave me a problem, mostly because I want the quote in that part to be "The THOUSAND" instead of "TEN THOUSAND." Also had tAleS instead of YARNS for a while.

gpo

paulsfo 12:50 AM  

@Susan Stewart: I used AcrossLite (but not printed) and I see all of the circles.

I found the theme answers way too easy; they were all gimmes; including the quote (his first or second-most common quote).

I liked the clues for IQS, SEAL, and KEG, disliked the clue for SPAS, and hated the clues for ETD and STABS.
An ETD may be *adjusted* because of a storm, but it's the departure itself that is *delayed*, not the estimate.
And has anyone here, or anywhere, seen STABS as a plural pain?? Or even "a stab" as a pain (i.e., without "...of pain")?

Nick 12:25 PM  

Super-easy and mostly fun. Just wish the clue for CD-ROM had been preceded by the word "bygone", particularly in a puzzle with "the cloud".

Nick 12:29 PM  

Sorry -- previous is for the Monday puzzle.

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

I don't know why some of you thought this puzzle wasn't easy, since you didn't explain the clues that you got stuck on. I'd go even further than Rex -- not only was the theme transparent, but the cluing was full of gimmees, way too many for a Sunday puzzle. To be honest it felt like a Tuesday to me, and I stopped doing Tuesdays many years ago. And just not interesting: very few of those moments that put a smile on your face when you realize the answer -- I think "octopi" and "NFC South" were the only ones I smiled at. The reason Rex and I both got "Quito" last, quite simply, is that clue 106D is wrong. "100" is not the definition of the intelligence of an average person, but rather anything from 90-120 is within the range of average. Inaccurate clue, thus it took forever to get "Quito". (That was the only inaccurate clue in the puzzle.) Anyway, I'm glad there was no need to google trivia and pop culture, but the cluing was just too easy and unimaginative. This was not a Sunday puzzle.

Anonymous 5:33 AM  

Is this the same Rex Parker from 4 years ago? I don't feel like I'm reading the same guy for at least the last year. His remarks were more about himself than the puzzle. I'm losing interest.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

Put me in the easy camp on this puzzle. Didn't have to stop for anything and only write-over was "nutmeg" for "butter" at 78A. IQs/Quito was the last to fall, but didn't present big problems. My six-year old helped with three answers today - her current record. She got the "cat" in the "hat" answers, along with "smores". She knows about Thomas Edison from the They Might Be Giants song "The Edison Museum", from their great record "NO!". Check it out if you have kids or like TMBG generally.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

I recently read in the Bathroom Reader that Edison was not making any progress on the light bulb because he wasted so much time redoing the same experiments as others had done. He finally hired someone to run his lab. They researched to find out all the previous things that had not worked as filaments and this led him to a much quicker solution.

spacecraft 12:53 PM  

Thanx to @BobK for explaining LEDES, yet another word you'll never (successfully) use in a Scrabble game. I'm beginning to think those people aren't the world's greatest researchers.

DNF. Yes, the bottom was a dead giveaway, but I had tons of trouble with the top, and with clues like "Ins" for ENTREES. I challenge anyone to justify that clue. Ruling: 100% ungettable. FLAG! Also "Saint's [please note the position of the apostrophe] home, for short." NFCSOUTH? OK, that's the Saints' [same note] home. You want to further obfuscate by singularizing and indicating some randomly selected individual on the team, you get another flag.

For the rest, I'm supposed to have heard of ROEG, or SYKES? Sorry. Contrary to Mr. EDISON, I HAVE FAILED.

"Ins." I still can't get over that one. That one clue probably scuttled me. Oh, and yes @(I forgot who you are, sorry), thanks for yesterday's tip about using the titles; fortunately all the Sunday puzzles have those.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

A Sunday first for me: pen, 100% correct, no write overs. I *really* wanted to come here and see "Challenging" as proof that I've become some sort of super genius. In the same way that [spoiler alert!] I still want Santa Claus to be real.

Easy, for all the reasons Rex mentioned. OFFING and ENTREES were my final entries.

I did get IQS fairly early on, though, which makes me smarter than Rex. So make the switch, folks. Follow my new blog at rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.com/comments/anonymous.

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

@RnRGhost57 12:17 PM

I'f I'm not mistaken, the band Crowded House also regularly used the phrase "hay mow" in their song Don't Dream It's Over

Steve J 3:34 PM  

@spacecraft: "I have an in with the club manager. He can easily get us an entrée into the concert for free."

Granted, "entry" would be more common than "entrée", but they can be used interchangeably in context. But yeah, it's rather tortured.

Dirigonzo 3:41 PM  

Well, I didn't find it easy nor did I finish without an error as I had pSATS instead of LSATS - who knew that Buddha was born in NEPAp? That carelessness aside I had a strong sense of déjà vu the entire time I was doing the puzzle - I do a lot of past NYT puzzles from collections and a calendar and I know I have seen a similar "AHA Moment" theme recently. That thought vexed me during the entire solve - I even thought maybe my paper had reprinted a recent puzzle by mistake (that has happened more than once). Or perhaps I'm just losing my mind.

Solving in Seattle 7:24 PM  

Apparently, Dolph LUNDGREN has one of the highest IQS NNE of QUITO. I'd bet Stallone is close behind.

Can anyone help me with how "Some body work, in slang" equates to TATS? I had lATS, as in latissimus dorsi.

A good friend and his wife were at the airport leaving Kenya after safari and heard a huge ruckus moving toward them. It turns out a black MAMBA made its way through the airport, then exited without sinking its fangs into anyone.

Thanks for a pleasant Sunpuz, Ian.

I can't buy a poker hand. Pair of fours.

Z 7:31 PM  

@SiS - TATtooS are "body work."

Solving in Seattle 7:37 PM  

@Z, head slap, thanks.
BTW, the Lions are getting a great guy, both on and off the field, in Golden Tate. Everyone one in Seattle hates to lose him.

Now I get a full house. Crumbbuns!

woodoggydog 8:21 PM  

Not to bad...nice and easy for a sunday.

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

"Don't Dream It's Over" comment. Hilarious!!

Anonymous 10:41 PM  

I'm coming quite late to this discussion but have been away and just saw the magazine today, April 7.

The circled squares don't spell "AHA MOMENT". There are seven circled squares. They spell "AHA MENT". Where is the "MO"?

I hated this puzzle. Not fond of quote puzzles and though I figured out the subject (Edison) quickly, the quote was a drudge.

paulsfo 11:36 PM  

Anonymous at 10:41pm:

look down a little bit, the M and the O form the base of the lightbulb.

Sofia Smith 7:50 AM  

Nice blog. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Sydeny Ad 5:51 AM  

It is really a nice post.
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