Hardy hog breed / THU 4-17-14 / Pioneer in New Criticism / Palestinian nominee for Best Foreign Language Film of 2013 / Fine dandy in old slang

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Constructor: Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (though once again, I wouldn't really know, as the NYT continues to fail to put out a readable .puz file on time so I'm using their truly terrible "Play For Fun" interface, which advances the cursor against your will to apparently random parts of the grid once you've completed an answer … it's like the Enjoyment Crushing Society over there, my god…) 

THEME: THINK / THROUGH (45A: With 61-Across, carefully consider … or a clue to this puzzle's theme) — you have to mentally supply THROUGH in intersecting phrases, as the first word in the phrase *literally* runs through the latter part of the phrase:

Theme answers:
  • WENT [thru] THE ROOF
  • PAID [thru] THE NOSE
  • SHOT [thru] THE HEART
  • ROSE [thru] THE RANKS
Word of the Day: DUROC (50A: Hardy hog breed) —
noun: Duroc; plural noun: Durocs
  1. 1.
    a pig of a reddish breed developed in North America.
early 19th cent.: from the name of a stallion that is said to have been bought by the breeder Isaac Frink on the same day as the pigs from which he developed the breed. (google)
• • •

Mixed bag. Novel grid design is a plus, and the core concept is clever. I did not, however, like the way the theme execution made for nonsense words in the Downs. I guess I'm questioning the way "THROUGH" is being used here. Intersecting conveys a better sense of THROUGH. Here, it's like THE just stepped a little to make room for the first word. THEN ROOF just looks silly. [Direction from caveman contractor following "Put up walls"!?]. Revealer oddly wasn't. I.e. I picked up on the concept reasonably early, so when I got to the "revealer" it was a gimme, not a revelation.

Fill on this one was so-so. I LOST IT and STINK AT feel barely legitimate as cohesive phrases, and I'm somewhat surprised a lot of the short fill is as mediocre as it is. DUROC, yikes (50A: Hardy hog breed). DUROC is the new ATLI (see yesterday). Lots more iffy short fill—too much to list. I've seen I AM SO DEAD before — twice — so though you may like it, it's straight out of a constructing software word list. Clue on TROT is not good, but we are subjected to it because of the perceived "need" to have three identical clues in a row (48D: Go quickly). It's telling that all the actual examples of TROT in a sentence, if you google it, refer to its slowness relative to an *actual* quick pace. "The horses trotted slowly through the night. "Our horses slowed to a trot." So, yes, it's faster than walking. But only in a fairly tortured and tenuous way would you use it to mean "go quickly."

AM NOT is a retort to a specific accusation, not a broad existential statement. How ["You know nothing about me"] works, I have no idea. [Stare with an open mouth] is GAPE. If not, it's GAWK. It is GAWP … well, never in real life, but in crossword puzzles, it's real life shmeal life. The clue on OKE is unintentionally hilarious: ["Fine and dandy," in old slang]. Old? You mean, older than "fine and dandy"? Wow, that is old. When "fine and dandy" is your "After" photo, that is … something. But again, the theme has a certain charm, and the puzzle is kind of smiling at you, so why not just focus on that. Also, this puzzle was half-written by a woman, so the three-week-long sausagefest has … well, not ended, but been slightly mitigated, at any rate. Hurray?
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


John Child 12:15 AM  

I liked this just fine. The grid is lovely and the "trick" just tricky enough. Easy-medium here. Ms Guizzo's debut - congratulations.

okanaganer 12:16 AM  

Hiya Toy Story character! Greetings from the World powerhouse in curling.

Medium challenging..really? Seemed very fast to me (although once again I turned off the timer to answer the phone and forgot to turn it on again, so I dunno how fast exactly). I remember when Thursday used to be tough! Cute theme and pleasant fill.

retired_chemist 12:18 AM  

Finished with an error - present tense for 46A, and the theme demands that the erroneous square in RiSE be unchecked. This of course is true for each pair of theme answers, but I think this is the only one in which a common error can occur which doesn't look silly on a recheck.

Liked most of the fill though - SPELUNK, STINK AT, and more were fun. Got thrown for a while in the NW by tescH @ 16A, after I gave up on triviAl @ 4D.

Thanks, Ms. Guizzo and Mr. Chen.

Steve J 12:23 AM  

This just didn't work for me. I don't think the theme really works: You mentally add "through" to the phrases, but "through" is not connected to the part of the across word that intersects the down part of the phrase. You're left with an orphaned or extraneous letter, depending on which way you read the answer.

Also not working is how many segments of the puzzle are closed off from the rest of the grid, resulting in the puzzle nearly being bisected above and below the smiley face. If you got stuck in one sector, you were screwed.

Add in a combo of Natick and Vowel Roulette at OKE (huh?) and AYESHA (that E could just as well be an I, and the more common spelling of that name is Aisha, anyway). Plus GAWP, which I've not run across in real life nearly as much as I have GAWk.

Did like I'M SO DEAD (just because it's been used twice doesn't mean someone inserted it on autopilot) and FAST ONE. Really liked SPELUNK. I LOST IT is a very real and moderately nice phrase. But the highlights weren't enough to overcome the structural problems here.

jae 12:28 AM  

Medium for me.  I assume the cross in the middle of the grid theme related and not a religious symbol.  Nice tricky Thurs. with some zippy theme answers.  

Not too many problems, GAWk before GAWP, had T (expecting THE) in front of COTTONY for a while,  and not knowing OKE but knowing the preferred spelling of Mohammad's wife is AISHA I needed to guess at the E ( could have been a double YY?).

Like it.

PK 1:02 AM  

Gawp is not a word.

Anoa Bob 1:46 AM  

When I looked at the grid layout, I figured there would be some kind of Easter theme.

Entries like ILOSTIT and IAMSODEAD, etc., call to mind a question a friend ask me about crossword puzzles a while back, "Aren't there supposed to be spaces between words?" I didn't have a good answer for that.

Oh yeah, Fatima was Muhammad's daughter. OKE.

Clark 2:33 AM  

I like the theme. x thru y worked for me. But I put in shoT thru THE ROOF instead of WENT thru THE ROOF, which gets a respectable number of google hits -- half as many as the real answer. And I had GApe intead of GAWP. Had to cheat to get it finished. Rats!

RnRGhost57 2:39 AM  

Quite easy, so obviously in my wheelhouse.
Fun puzzle MLG and J Chen.

Jisvan 2:48 AM  

I AM NOT SO HOT at this, unlike the OLD PROS with PROWESS who post here. In fact, I STINK AT this! REX is all "NO SWEAT", but I LOST IT! Maybe I should SPELUNK instead, or play a CHESS GAME. My EYELIDS are getting heavy, so off to my COTTONY bed...

jae 3:11 AM  

Sheeeesh ( good morning lms)! I posted while watching Gravity (excellent movie) and didn't really check for typos or carefully read any other posts. 

So,  "was theme related..." and "Liked it!"

And @Steve J - You SHOT the  AISHA problem through THE HEART.  I obviously agree. 

Elle54 3:54 AM  

Liked the cross in the black squares for Good Fiday tomorrow...goes along with the crossing theme. I also had the error in RISE instead of ROSE.

Moly Shu 4:23 AM  

Very nice looking grid. 19:01 for me. I'm going to call that easy trending toward medium. I flew through THE ROOF at first, @Clark. Got started at HAY, NES, and KAT which gave me IAMSODEAD (love that, in spite of @Rex) and TYPECASTS. Went mostly west, then north from there. DUROC is another new word for me.

I guess I got lucky on OKE, I inferred the E. Even though I got it right, that is a terrible entry IMO. Trying to come up with a better clue, and failing. My only complaint.

Considered Sweden and Norway before CANADA. PROWESS is a cool word.

Really liked it

JTHurst 5:05 AM  

Let's see A'ishah, Aisyah, Aishat, Aishah, or Ayesha are all the transcribed names of one of Muhammad's wives and they all fit.

My usual problem with Thursday puzzles. I had answers of which I was reluctant to relinquish. 5a 'tad' 5d 'torc' which gave me for 6d 'are' from "I are you and you are me". I am the walrus. 13a was 'ore' for Oregon, the open mouthed state. And if you have ever been there you know it is true. And of course 'rex'. But unfortunately 7d and 19a nixed that.

There were or should I say they're some clues or even their clues that did not link like 12a, 48d, and 27a but I remembered my crosswordese and got 'ete' and 'nes' right away. So I guess the puzzle was oke doke.

I was expecting an Easter puzzle and did not realize it was a happy face until it was pointed out to me.

Danp 5:38 AM  

Dictionary.com describes OKE as a shortening of OK. Can't wait to look up "shorten".

I liked the theme, but I got the bottom first and was expecting the down themers to cross through O's, which was tres oke with me.

Ted Cole 5:59 AM  

Can't seem to get accrosslite together with windows 8.1, either.

Susierah 7:31 AM  

35 minutes and definitely challenging. Several lucky "educated" guesses. Dnf with 4 errors, that I knew were wrong but just couldn't figure out. Gawk for gawp, I agree that is not a word. Put Oman for Omar, because I head no idea. And had text for rex, so that whole area ended up a mess. But, I was proud that I got the rest of the puzzle completed!!!

Susierah 7:32 AM  

Make that Tex for Rex.

Casco Kid 7:42 AM  

55 min. Complete grid DNF. It looked fine to me, but there were some errors
mOT for JOT. I must have been thinking mOTe
tEX for REX. Wasn't there a cowboy in Toy Story?
mATs for JARS. Verbified mAT is a wrestling term.
AsESHA for AYESHA. Natick here. Learned this one.
RaN for RUN. My bad.
rASH for DASH. Hmmmm!
raDOC for DUROC. Natick. Another new one.

20 minutes for all but NW slice. 5 of my errors committed blindly. 35 minutes to see PROWESS and ACE and suss WALSH and TIC, whatever that is.

Easy-medium Thursday with some typical Naticks and oversights.

evil doug 7:51 AM  

Yeah, the cross works with the theme. But I also see a lot of Easter in here....

I once was "lost"
"rose" from the "dead"
heavenly "host"
"text" (Mark 11-16 in your Bible, if you're curious....)

So I'll take it as a suitable Holy Week gesture.

Evil (but not this week....)

Z 8:00 AM  

I don't always agree with Rex but I rarely wonder WTF he is talking about. A theme that requires four unchecked squares and Whack-a-Vowel at AYESHA/OKE and he writes about I LOST IT, STINK AT, and I AM SO DEAD? HUH? All three are perfectly legit phrases. Two of them were probably used on the sports-call-in shows' post mortem of the Tigers' loss last night.

Read "Hardy dog" until I got here. Discovering that DUROC is a hog made my ignorance a little more palatable. TYCHO Brahe, TS ELIOT, and POE raise the culture level of the puzzle, only to be brought down by John WALSH of voyeuristic syndicated TV infamy.

I briefly hoped/feared that we would get an Easter theme when I saw the puzzle. I am not above a little sacrilegious "fun" in the comments section - but I wouldn't risk offending people if it were my job, and I know people who would be offended at the idea of an Easter themed crossword puzzle.

Susan McConnell 8:00 AM  

I liked it as I was doing it last night, them when I read Rex's write up I started to not like it. But despite his valid point about ending up with nonsense theme answers (which annoys me, too) I am going to choose to still like it. It had some fun long answers, cute clues here and there, and an unusually looking grid, which I tried to interpret as some kind of creature.

TooPCJohn 8:13 AM  

I'm not a bible thumper, but I was a bit offended at using the image of a cross in a trivial sectarian way during Easter week. Timing is everything in this instance.

Or maybe Evil Doug was right and this puzzle has all sorts of hidden Christian symbolism, in which case I'm offended for other reasons.

Or maybe it's just me.

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

Did anyone else expect an Easter theme because of the cross in the center of the grid?

TooPCJohn 8:19 AM  

Correction: I think I meant "non-sectarian" :-)

Hartley70 8:20 AM  

Good fun for me. My Brit friends use gawp instead of gape. What's a Natick, please?

Susan McConnell 8:26 AM  

@Hartley70 From Rex's FAQ:

NATICK PRINCIPLE — "If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names." Go here for the answers that occasioned my coining this phrase.

NCA President 8:31 AM  

I guess the cross in the center of the grid was a meta-clue for the words that cross each other?

Today being Maundy Thursday, I too expected some kind of Eastery theme. I expected a nail here and there, a lily, or maybe some vinegar. There is a reference to "DEAD" which I got fairly early and expected a contrasting reference to "life."

I think a BEQ puzzle had JESUS recently.

AliasZ 8:32 AM  

I enjoyed the theme, although the fact that the second, down parts of the theme phrases actually straddle rather than go through the across parts, which causes unchecked letters at the crossing. Now if we the two portions crossed at a shared letter or even a rebus square of two or more letters, that would have been real snazzy. Good luck finding such THROUGH phrases.

The repetitive THE could have been eliminated entirely from theme entries. The missing words could have been THROUGH THE instead of just THROUGH, which would have worked as well, correctly depicting what visually happens.

These idle thoughts are not meant to take anything away from the trick of this puzzle, it just shows how difficult it is to come up with fresh, tight and interesting late-week themes.

I loved all the 7+ letter entries, NO SWEAT, OUTHOUSES and TYPECASTS being my favorites.

Excellent work today by Mary Lou Guizzo and of course by Jeff Chen, in his typical professional form, OKE, MUS, NES, SDS, EMP, etc. notwithstanding.

I big smiley face to all.

Questinia 8:33 AM  

TYCHO is nice given the recent blood moon event.

Knowing "THE" would start all the theme downs made the puzzle easy except for those things already mentioned. Especially AYESHA/OKE.

GAWP is a trick word that got me a while ago. Still didn't keep me from having to go from GApe->GAWk->GAWP. However, this time I didn't stick with GAWk which would have otherwise made me put down OMAn and force me to believe knOWESS was a fine and dandy, old fashioned way to say "superior skill".

Agree with Rex on AM NOT. "You know nothing about me" is simply Thursday's version of "schoolyard retort".

Mohair Sam 8:34 AM  

Liked the theme a lot, sorry Rex - it worked just fine for me - very clever. Thought the cluing was fine, nice debut puzzle - Hello Mary Lou.

However, I'm with @Steve j and others on AYESHA/OKE crossing. Naticked on the "E" with an "I" because I've always seen OKE as "okey" and only know the Aisha spelling for Mrs. Mohammed.

Think OFL was a little grumpy with this one. When I tell my wife I will TROT down to the grocery she knows that I will "go quickly", and what's wrong with the Valley Girl-speak IAMSODEAD being used three times in all history? On the other hand, he has a heck of point on GAWP/GAWk - and on old slang for "fine and dandy", a term I haven't heard since my Aunt Violet died in 1959.

joho 8:38 AM  

I saw the cross and immediately thought Easter puzzle! After finishing I decided the "cross" is the nose on the smiley face.
He even has ears an sort of a neck: interesting grid for sure.

I liked the originality of the theme, congratulations on your debut, Mary Lou! And to you, too, Jeff, for helping once again.

The consistency of all the theme answers starting with THE is nice but also made the answers somewhat predictable. Still, a cute idea to have words crossing THROUGH other words.

We have FAST(ONE), TROT, DASH and RUN. WENT and SEND kind of relate, too.

I think when you GAWP you are in AWE.

OOOh, just noticed that PAID(THROUGH)THE NOSE is right at the NOSE of the puzzle!

Thanks, guys!

Gill I. P. 8:43 AM  

When my puzzle tells me to go and "see/with" I automatically grow a disdain virus.
I got THINK/THROUGH early on so I knew what the trick would be.
GAWP is very British you know...Agree the clue for AMNOT is just not OKE.
Anyway, when I finished I re-examined the puzzle and began enjoying it more and more. Maybe just because there are some super duper words/phrases here. Hey, if you squint at the grid it looks like a clown face...

Arlene 8:55 AM  

There's just no way that I would put GAWP into a puzzle - but now people are saying it's very British. OY! I was content to have GAWK cross with KNOWESS, although I knew PROWESS had to be the answer. I'm not so thrilled with OKE either. But hey - I didn't even Google anything!

Sir Hillary 8:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Not offended by Christian symbolism 8:59 AM  

@doug how about Paid( for sins). And THROUGH THE ROOF Gives the image of rising. Or the healing in the Bible where the friends lowered the man down through the roof.

Sir Hillary 9:01 AM  

A nice breezy start. Of course 1D was GAWK, and of course 2D was OMAN, and so of course 19A was KNOWHOW. Oh wait. Maybe I STINKAT this crossword thing. Time to start over...

OKI/AYISHA...that's a lame cross.

Pretty much what @Rex said on the rest. I loved IAMSODEAD, database-driven or not.

@Z - I am not sure what "voyeuristic syndicated TV infamy" means, but whatever one may think of John WALSH, he lost a 6-yearold son to a vicious serial killer. So regardless of his supposed contribution to any supposed dumbing down of our culture, Mr. WALSH gets a free pass from me.

evil doug 9:01 AM  

Yes, Z, we all "know people who would be offended at the idea of an Easter themed crossword puzzle"--and a never-ending list of other things. To me, they become prisoners to their small minds, intolerant defenders of their myopic range of vision.

Taking offense is a choice. So I choose not to try to read the minds of others--in a futile effort to somehow anticipate what they'll opt to find umbrage in--and rather try to live cheerfully within the standards I expect from only myself.

So whether they're offended by an Easter puzzle--or, conversely, the lack of one--I'll grin and take only a moment to lament their unfortunate state. Then I'll find great satisfaction that most of us aren't yoked to finding objection around every corner, nor in our own minds.


Anonymous 9:04 AM  

The cowboy was Woody.
The dinosaur was Rex....T-Rex.

Tracy Bennett 9:13 AM  

Easter makes me think of Ishtar, the pagan goddess of fertility the holiday's name is actually equated with (Easter=Ishtar). The club could not even handle her back then (the boy's club, that is), so they swapped her out for a rising-up dude, and the rest is history. I think she should sue for trademark infringement.

evil doug 9:15 AM  

Hey, nicely played, Not Offended!


Glimmerglass 9:18 AM  

@Rex. As I have said before, your criticisms are inconsistent. You often claim that a theme is "stale" or "overdone" and fill contains too much familiar stuff, crosswordese. Valid complaints, I'm sure, though sometimes what seems stale to you seems fresh to me (I do only two or three crosswords a day, nowhere near as many as you do). However, today you complain about THINK THROUGH because it is different (it leads to nonsense in the down elements of the pairs). Hey -- it's fresh and new, a pattern crosswords seldom (never?) use. If the solver has to think differently about the crossing, why is that so bad? A solver can figure out the anomaly without the revealer (you did), and if not, the revealer is absolutely fair. Lighten up, Rex.

jberg 9:20 AM  

I'm with Doug -- I usually am, except for politics -- and curious why no one is bothered by Christmas puzzles. Anyway, AYESHA was in there to take the sectarian edge off.

I also liked the way THROUGH was interpreted. If the words had just crossed in the normal way, it wouldn't really have been a Thursday.

I really struggled in the NW on this one -- stuck with 'aboil' then 'astew' for 'simmering, which produced multiple writeovers. Also GApe, Didn't know WALSH, but finally saw PROWESS somehow and it all sorted out.

But so much to like! "Curling powerhouse" is a great clue, TS ELIOT with no cats, TYCHO Brahe! Plus I was in SDS, long ago, so that was a great way to end up.

Minor gripe -- HRE = His Royal Excellency more naturally, I should have thought. At least unless you mention Otto.

Ludyjynn 9:21 AM  

Medium Thursday for me. Clever THROUGH theme, but as Rex noted, some fill was forced. Learned two new words: TYCHO, DUROC.

Thanks, MLG, JC and WS.

JC66 9:30 AM  


The AcrossLite link in Word Play worked fine for me last night.

John V 9:34 AM  

Liked this one a lot! Got the theme pretty early on but had a tough time with the NW and NE corners, with the north, in general. Congrats to Ms Guizzo on her debut and to Jeff for some signature playfulness.

chefbea 9:45 AM  

Did not like the puzzle!! Could not figure it out. Had to come here. And Gawp????? Never heard that word.

But we finally have a lady constructor!!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:07 AM  

Liked the puzzle, about as much as I could like a non-rebus Thursday. Fresh idea, interesting grid, and the theme was carried out quite consistently and logically.

Only complaint would be OKE/AYESHA, but that is just a cross we have to bear.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

Self-referencing puzzles are a non-starter for me and this one is way over the top in that regard. Did not like.

Z 10:19 AM  

@Evil Doug - Sure, unless you risk losing your job over the sensitivities of others. Imagine my amusement after posting and finding your comment and then @TooPCJohn's.

@Sir Hillary - I sympathize with the feeling of wanting to do something good in response to personal tragedy. This does not change the nature of the show. Wanting to pry into the business of others out of some sense of self-righteousness is, well let me stop my rant here and just say that it is not a basis for a civilized society.

John V 10:35 AM  

Oh, and liked REX crossing JARS. Splendid!

Nancy 10:37 AM  

Was confused the first time a down theme answer had an extra letter after the "THE". Once it happened again, I got the idea. A mildly challenging, but not terribly difficult puzzle that I enjoyed. But a note to Rex --
I never understand when you complain about various annoyances and difficulties in solving online. I never know what apps you're talking about or how and why they don't work for you. It's complete gobbledygook to me. WHY DON'T YOU SOLVE WITH PEN AND PAPER AND SAVE YOUSELF ALL THOSE HEADACHES? Puzzles were never meant to be solved on a screen. You can't imagine how much aggravation I've saved myself by doing it the old-fashioned analogue way!

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

I hate all the "see 23 across, see 45 down, see 17 down, see 45 down" ad nauseam. Stop it please!!!!

Notsofast 10:54 AM  

What Anonymous said. And this puzzle was too cute for its own good.

Two Ponies 10:54 AM  

I did not care for the way the theme entries crossed. Too many cross-references irritate me.
The Ayisha vowel problem reminds me of the ways we see emir/emeer used.
I did not see a happy face. It looks more like a skeletal grin to me.

Funny how Ishtar got overshadowed yet the fertility symbols are everywhere. Eggs, chicks, and

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Now that's a crossword puzzle! Best I've seen in a long time. It's also nice to see clues that redound to a classical education instead of pop trivia.

jdv 11:00 AM  

I think joho is on the right track with the grid design. Taking it one step further, it looks like a happy bunny with floppy ears.

Carola 11:03 AM  

I loved this sassy puzzle. I thought the goofy grid smiley face worked perfectly with the slangy answers (HUH? NO SWEAT, I LOST IT, I AM SO DEAD, STINK AT), and I found the theme creative and clever. Lots of nice long Downs.
Not a FAST ONE for me to solve - I needed the reveal to catch on, went THROUGH the same GApe-->GAWP process as others, had aLlPROS before OLD PROS and ruSH before DASH. Had to guess the OKE/AYESHA cross,
Liked SO HOT next to ACE.

mac 11:17 AM  

At first glance I saw a big grin, and the cross was the nose.

Clever theme, although the extra letter in the cross was confusing at first. Think Through not crossing was a little odd, and is there an unusual number of 3-letter words in this Thursday puzzle?

@Bob K: nice!

I too started with gape for gawp, but the very pretty "Prowess" solved that. At 47A I started with "great".

Congratulations on the debut, Mary Lou!

Charles in Austin 11:22 AM  

I was completely stunned that @Rex didn't love this one. But then, it's his self-proclaimed mission NOT to like puzzles.

I had resolved some time ago only to visit this blog when I felt sure a puzzle was so good that even @Rex would praise it ... which almost never happens. So today, once again, a review by him has cast a pall over my day.

joho 11:29 AM  

@Bob K, I'm with @mac, nice one!

Dad 11:32 AM  

Missed opportunity not crossing the H's in THINK and THROUGH?

Mohair Sam 11:37 AM  

What a day! I learned here that Easter hurts some people's feelings. Not mine though, and I'm as secular as they make 'em. Silliness.

Also learned about the Goddess Ishtar. Seems she was the Goddess of just about everything that mankind enjoys (love, war, sex). Interesting that the movie bearing her name set women directors back about 20 years.

Gareth Bain 11:58 AM  

What's wrong with DUROC??? Just because you don't personally know an answer doesn't mean it can't be in crosswords!!!

Abishai 12:27 PM  

The grid looks like Satan to me, horns and all.

I Like!

Numinous 12:27 PM  

@Rex, OKE is old.

She likes the free, fresh wind in her hair
Life without care
She's broke--and it's "oke"
Hates California, it's cold and it's damp
That's why the lady is a tramp

Babes in Arms , 1937, Rogers & Hart.

@DanP, OKE is indeed a shortening of OK in the way they are pronounced: think "oak" vs. "oh kay." I've heard both my mother and my father us that word for Okay. In widely separate contexts, they used it to be cute. I believe it was a "cuteness" in the 30s when it was possibly more common.

Like most folks here, I was puzzled by the spurious letter in the theme downs. I got the revealer before I got any of the theme answers so, working out PAID / THE NOSE, I shrugged and said, "OKE, the across goes THROUGH, the down," and got on with it. I wasn't the least bit offended that the downs were disrupted. The answers made sense to me, that's all I ask. I finished this in roughly a low average time for me for a Thursday in spite of having to walk away for 5 minutes or so and leaving the timer running.

AYESHA and DUROC were NATICKs for me too but I got them from crosses. I held off on the NW until I got PROWESS off the double S. I knew John WALSH though I hate his show. My step daughter wants to be an FBI profiler, has done since she was 11 or so and, as a consequence, we watched a lot of that type of program. Next year, she'll be a senior at UGA in Sociology and Criminal Justice. She's remarkably focused for a kid with ADD.

Yeah, I was looking out for a rebus today. I got a different surprise instead. I don't know why it sould be automatic that Thursdays are rebus days. That is, in fact, not the case. But usually there is some little surprise. I just have to remember the notion Surprise Thursday.

Thanks Mary Lou and Jeff. I enjoyed working at this.

Numinous 12:34 PM  

Neglected to mention, I lived in England and Australia for eight years. GAWP was an "Oh, yeah" moment for me. Doesn't spring to mind as a part of my working vocabulary but it's definitely remembered.

Long time reader, first time writer 12:46 PM  

@ED - "Then I'll find great satisfaction that most of us aren't yoked to finding objection around every corner, nor in our own minds."

Seriously? You're the most persistently offended person around here. You're offended by typos, people who put up too long a post, people who say "Thank You" when you think they should have said something else, by ACME's continuing to breath, by people saying things you just don't agree with.

Fred Romagnolo 12:47 PM  

Had to google WALSH. What's all the fuss about OKE? "I'm broke, that's oke;" "The Lady is a Tramp," Cole Porter - a classic standard. @Anonymous 10:57 was right on (Shakespeare, Antony's speech). Long live a Liberal Arts education!

Dick Swart 12:51 PM  

I remembered DUROC from the hog barn at the Minnesota State Fair. Guys with canes herding swine on parade. You had to be there!

The World According to GAWP.

I thought it was fun and the face that of The Joker

Fred Romagnolo 12:56 PM  

Apologies: Rodgers and Hart, not Cole Porter; the rest of the comment stands. My Gramma was married to a Pole, and used "duroc" to men fool, ass, etc.

tensace 1:37 PM  

I would say if you TROT through the airport, you're hardly sauntering. Sauntering btw seems to be reserved for the left side of the people mover. Better still often both sides you find people standing. Geeesh! It's an A-I-R-P-O-R-T. Not a park, not a self guided tour.

And TYPECAST is an actual synonym for Pigeonholes, NOT "in a way".

Doc John 1:51 PM  

I kept wondering if the shape of the grid was going to have something to do with the puzzle. Reading the above comments, I still find it hard to believe it was all done just for that cross shape.

Lewis 3:20 PM  

@rex -- sometimes, like today, your sarcasm is very very funny.

I didn't mind the words crossing through the other words, and am grateful they all crossed after the THE. The pattern of the black squares to me is just... strange.

As usual, I enjoyed the solve. I also enjoyed the theme of word pictures.

Lewis 3:21 PM  

Oh -- happy THROUGHsday.

DigitalDan 3:51 PM  


FYI, The new "play for fun" includes a "Return to 1.0" button that plays more like Across Lite -- the one we've had for a while. I agree the new one unpredictably moves the selection. Further, the selcted square is almost the same color as the black squares. Sigh.

retired_chemist 4:08 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 4:11 PM  

Lyrics for "The Lady is a Tramp," also my source for OKE. The Sinatra version pronounces it the same but spells it "ok."

sanfranman59 4:13 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)

Thu 17:15, 18:26, 0.94, 37%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 11:48, 10:44, 1.10, 66%, Medium-Challenging

OISK 4:47 PM  

Liked this one very much. Clever theme, good cluing with one exception, nice fill. The one exception is Rex. With so many ways to clue that, why resort to a character in a children's movie? In this case , I made it out of my cave to actually see the film, but don't remember the characters-had Tex for the longest time. That minor nit aside, very fine puzzle.

loren muse smith 5:10 PM  

@retired_chemist – Wow. Me, too, for a present tense 46A. I never would have noticed and never would have seen those four unchecked squares. I'm always pleased to see rules broken. The first time I saw a grid that was symmetrical only sideways, it was a Chen grid, and I was so surprised that you could do that.

Yeah, Mary Lou, on your puzzle! I love, love, love themes where words are physically manipulated like this. Since you were working with Jeff Chen – I was certain this would be a smiley face theme, as others have pointed out.

@Moly Shiu - when "China" didn't fit, I actually wrote in "Cyprus" for CANADA. Sheesh. (Back atcha, @jae!) Cyprus? Seriously?

I don't know, Rex – I'm with @tensace and @Mohair Sam - I bet people who have resorted to a bit of a TROT to an OUTHOUSE would argue that it's quicker than just a walk. I've certainly been there. I liked the three "go quickly clues."

@Steve J – This conceit absolutely worked for me because of the understood presence of the "through" concept. You liked Peter Collins' ROCK (around) THE CLOCK, SMOKE (on) THE WATER puzzle a couple of weeks ago – I don't really see a difference really.

I found this one quite tough. "Own" for OWE, "gape" then "gawk" for GAWP (hey, @Questinia), "astew" for ON LOW, "ole" for OKE, "bellum" for GUERRE (yes, I studied French) – it took me a while to sort all that out.

GAWP instead of "gawk" surprised me as much as a few months ago- CHIRR instead of "chirp." Hmm. Who was that. . . .?

This grid has twelve H's.

The clue for HOST was creepily excellent. And the clue for OUTHOUSES – terrific!!

So, Mary Lou and Jeff – I had a great time with this one. I keep wondering, as @AliasZ alluded to, if you played around with having the two parts actually intersect?


(but intersect at that second T of TIPTOE - I couldn't get it to work)

Great job, you two! I loved it!

MaryLou Guizzo 5:46 PM  

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad most of you enjoyed the puzzle. I must admit, it was with some trepidation that I came to this blog today. BTW Rex, my sister said she is going to have a T-shirt made for me, with something on it about mitigating a sausage fest. Happy I could do that-pretty exciting day. Thanks to Jeff Chen and Nancy Salomon for mentoring me.

Dave 5:51 PM  

Seemed medium once I finally got the theme, took forever to get a start though. Probably because I like to mentally figure out areas and write them all in at once. Doesn't help my time any but when you solve in pen it cuts down on write overs.

But finished it during my son's piano lesson with lots of time to spare.

Ludyjynn 6:44 PM  

@TwoPonies, I also saw the grid as a skeletal grin. Only noticed it after I finished the puzzle. Call me crazy, but I'm far more interested in the words IN the squares, not incidental hypothetical pictures which may or may not be appropos of anything!

Z 7:29 PM  

@MaryLou Guizzo - Nice debut - Wear that shirt with pride.

@Gareth Bain - I agree. I managed to get DUROC right with a misread and ignorance, so it was fairly crossed in my book. As for ATLI - he's way better in my book than OTTO/LEO/OLAV/OLAF/all the others who appear more often in puzzles than in the wild.

@lms - Nice profile pic - from the new home?

skua76 8:12 PM  

Yuk. What Rex and everyone else said. Gawp? Oke? Not to mention the cross. Hated the.theme. But I must admit I'm a bit rusty...after moving back to the Eastern time zone I can't download the puzzle before my bedtime.

ahimsa 10:02 PM  

I thought it was fun!

I got the "THROUGH" trick pretty early on this one. But it was still very slow going for me.

No more comments to add, it's all been said, but here's a funny video about being TYPECAST (to the tune of "Royals"):


sanfranman59 1:55 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 5:45, 6:04, 0.95, 25%, Easy-Medium
Tue 7:04, 8:32, 0.83, 5%, Easy (11th lowest ratio of 227 Tuesdays)
Wed 9:04, 9:54, 0.92, 30%, Easy-Medium
Thu 17:28, 18:26, 0.95, 38%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:58, 0.93, 17%, Easy
Tue 4:27, 5:11, 0.86, 7%, Easy
Wed 5:36, 6:11, 0.91, 26%, Easy-Medium
Thu 11:33, 10:44, 1.08, 63%, Medium-Challenging

Jane B 6:51 PM  

GAWP bothers me--but I liked the theme.
Agree with Rex about phonetics of OKE, and unwelcome trend in 'I stink at it.'

@Clark--it IS 'Shot" through the roof.

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

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Anonymous 5:32 PM  

One of the most enjoyable Thursdays in a long time, I hope to hear more from Mary Lou Guizzo. Took about an hour, no real hangups, just a lot of lateral thinking. Medium difficulty, and fun.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Do not agree with Rex at all. Think the puzz is excellent and worthwhile. Found it to be easy, for a change, especially for a Thursday. Nice. Now I can go out to the garden for some new plantings.

Ron Diego

spacecraft 12:01 PM  

"Sausage fest?" Really? @Rex, you've got to censor yourself better than that. Unacceptable.

Now then, the puzzle: I was greeted by a smiley face, so the mood was COTTONY right away. After grokking that the across words just plowed THROUGH the downs--without contributing to them--I found it "not SOHOT," difficulty-wise. Call it a medium.

I liked it better than OFL did; apparently he can't be bribed by name-dropping REX in the grid. A few warpy clues; I too went from GApe THROUGH GAWk to GAWP, but see nothing wrong with that word; it's legit. Not real hard to correct "kROWESS."

2 pair. Oh well.

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

Sweet, sweet momma!

Thought I finished with no errors and actually finished with 5. Hilarious.

I knew that knowess wasn't a word; I also knew that gawp didn't exist.

Oh well.

The cross in my Thursday crossword during Memorial Day weekend seems apopros...

- Sweet momma

Anonymous 2:01 PM  


Sweet momma

Waxy in Montreal 2:40 PM  

In keeping with today's theme, wonder if the anonymous spell caster (above) could somehow him/herself be cast through the roof?

Same problem as many at the OKE/AYESHA juncture and with the GAPE/GAWK/GAWP progression but otherwise found this an easier than usual Thursday to solve.

If they lose tonight, this'll be the final time I say this, so - GO HABS GO!

rain forest 2:51 PM  

@Waxy - I'm with you, but it is going to be tough.

I thought the smiley face had a bit of an evil cast (hi, Doug), speaking of which I too have noticed he too often gets offended by people getting offended.

I was originally not happy that there was an unchecked letter in the downs of the themers, but then I imagined the across word going *through* the down words at the (imagined) space between them. In any case, this was a fresh, clever and fun puzzle. For some reason I had heard of Duroc hog, but I admit I had to guess at the OKE/AYESHA crossing. Otherwise, some excellent entries and little, if any, crap. Good show.

two 9's, two 8's. Anyone notice that there are never any 1's, 4's or 7's in the numerical capchas?

Dirigonzo 3:48 PM  

I thought the theme was fine after I got over my bafflement of the extra letter in the down answers - I often over think things, so initially I thought they might spell out something meaningful, but no, it's just the first part of the phrase literally going "through" the second part. NOSWEAT once that was established. And there are three references to our neighbors to the north (ETE in Québec, TORonto in the AL East, and CANADA) - that has to be a good omen for The Habs, no?

@Sweet momma - good call on the cross for Memorial Day weekend!

@rainy - I'm looking at fours full of nines (which may be a winning hand?); I have noticed the absence of aces in the deck but I'm not sure about 7s.

Solving in Seattle 5:50 PM  

Mary Lou and Jeff, thanks for a fun solve.
Finally caught on to the gimmick with ROSE crossing my friend THEO RANKS. For the most part this was a pretty clean puz, although I agree with @Gill IP that AMNOT is not OKE.
I also had GAWk/kROWESS, but went with my gut after an alphabet run and settled on the P.
Curling is one of my fav sports to watch in the Winter Olympics and CANADA has some ETE chicks on the team.
Go Montreal!

Sorry @Diri, four fours. All in.

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