Middle part of pedestal / TUE 4-15-14 / TV show anchored by Bill O'Reilly from 1989 to 1995 / Holder of tomorrow's lunch

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: BASE ON BALLS (63A: Batter's reward after pitches like those described at the starts of 17-, 24-, 39- and 51-Across) — first words of theme answers can also describe non-strike pitches in baseball. Four misses, four balls => walk, i.e. BASE ON BALLS

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: DADO (26D: Middle part of a pedestal) —
  1. Architecture. The section of a pedestal between base and surbase.
  2. The lower portion of the wall of a room, decorated differently from the upper section, as with panels.
    1. A rectangular groove cut into a board so that a like piece may be fitted into it.
    2. The groove so cut.

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/dado#ixzz2yuuo6IIB
• • •

This is a perfectly reasonable puzzle. About as exciting as a walk, to me, but … hey, walks can be exciting. If they come late in the game, with the score even or close to it, perhaps. There's really nothing here to fault. There just isn't much to get excited about either. I like that none of the themers use their first words in positional ways, i.e. the words are used metaphorically, as opposed to the way they're used in baseball (literally). Always good to have your "first words" being used, in their own answers, in non-theme contexts. But the themers themselves aren't particularly original or scintillating, and neither is the fill—though DOGGIE BAG (3D: Holder of tomorrow's lunch, maybe) and MARSEILLE (35D: "The Count of Monte Cristo") have a certain unusualness and vividness that I like. This is a placeholder puzzle. Well made but instantly forgettable.

[Submit, as clowns]

This puzzle must've been pretty damned easy, in the main, because I made two major mistakes, resulting in a good deal of fumbling around, and yet I still came in at just over 3. My brain clearly took in the "Mumbai" part of 20A: Music of Mumbai (RAGA), but apparently it took in little else, since, with RA- in place, I wrote in RANI. This made both DOGGIE BAG and ENHANCE impossible to get at first. The other mistake I made—again off the first two letters—came at 47D: Orange source. I had OR- in place, so naturally I wrote in [...drum roll…] ORLANDO! Ugh. Became clear very quickly, as I tried to work the crosses in that SE corner, that something was wrong. Knew the [Old record player] couldn't start with "F," so wrote in HIFI and instantly saw ORCHARD. The rest of the puzzle–a blur of fast typing. I might've gotten held up near the center, with DADO, a word I only ever see in puzzles … but the point is that I *do* see it in puzzles (learned it from puzzles), so I *did* remember (after a second or two of cogitation), so no harm done. Oh, I also wrote in ASKED instead of PRIED, since nothing about the clue  (57A: Was inquisitive) suggested the inappropriateness or excessiveness implied by PRIED.

Just a note: the NYT published only three female constructors in March. No woman has yet been published in April.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Jisvan 11:15 PM  

Did anyone NOT have askED before PRIED? I also thought my oranges were from Orlando. Liked the long downs: DOGGIEBAG as clued, and MARSEILLE. TIME: 11 and change for me, which is a very fast Tuesday. Awed by those who can do it in 3...

Questinia 12:03 AM  
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Questinia 12:04 AM  

HORticultural gARDen= ORCHARD.
ORLON an "alternative" for cashmere? Only in an alternate universe

jae 12:06 AM  

Dang! Tuesdays have been pretty good lately.   Excellent theme, solid grid, beginning of the season, gotta like it!

runS before RBIS, aINT before ISN'T, DAis before DADO, and a minor spelling issue with the DOGGIE BAG/PRÉCIS cross and I still had an easy-medium solve.

Never saw PRIED.

Nice one Gary.

Jisvan 12:22 AM  

@Questina, hearty agreement on the cashmere-Orlon reference! I know it's just a crossword puzzle, but who could write such a clue? I guess we all have our areas of expertise...

Moly Shu 12:28 AM  

Hand up for askED. This is the fourth day in a row that I've learned a new word. Today being PRECIS. Gotta look it up. First pass, had 80% of the acrosses except the themers, then most of the downs, then finished up quickly. 6:45. Super fast for me, so I'll call it easy. Not a huge baseball guy, but liked the theme. Hopefully won't stump those of us who don't know any baseball.

@Questinia, I know less about fashion than almost anything else, but even I know ORLON and cashmere aren't alternatives for each other. Maybe rayon and wool ???? Pure guess. Kinda like the car problems. A smartcar as an alternative to an Aston Martin??? Ahhhhh, now my head hurts.

Oh, aren't we ever so precious 12:39 AM  

I would smack anyone using précis instead of summary as quickly as I would someone using bildungsroman to describe a coming of age story.

Casco Kid 12:39 AM  
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Casco Kid 12:48 AM  

Nice serviceable theme. Clueing kept my interest without sending me down rabbit holes. I liked seeing the underrated PRECIS. Cliff Notes could increase prices by rebranding with PRÉCIS.

For [Holder of lunch tomorrow, maybe] I had DiGnitary for a short while. And I couldn't stop thinking of Eric Holder. Wanted ORient_ for [Orange source.]

Grid art looks a little like a strike zone with the four non-strike pitch locations recorded. Nice touch.

19:13. No googles. No errors. 2/2 on the week.

AliasZ 12:51 AM  

A cute baseball theme and mostly junk free fill make for an excellent puzzle for a Tuesday.

There are lots of other baseball-related entries here. The obvious one is RBIS, then a DODGEr hiding out in the NW corner until after the TRADE deadline. There is nothing like a grand slam to ERASE a three-run deficit. After four straight pitches out of the strike zone to walk the BASSes loaded WHEN the game is on the line, the manager usually takes a SLOW walk to the mound to take out the pitcher who wasn't at his PEAK performance, and SEND IN the closer. Too bad the memories of players like the Sultan of Swat and the Iron HORSE were tarnished by those who use artificial methods to ENHANCE their performance on the field. I could go on TILDE cows come home.

Staying with the baseball theme, you must see this.

And getting away from the baseball theme, you should hear La Marseillaise, in this version by Hector Berlioz.

Hockey playoffs start this week. Go Rangers!

JTHurst 1:11 AM  

I thought it was a good puzzle and zipped through the top half of the across clues, but I dosed off and thence I awoke, the puzzle became harder.

Does everyone know how to spell Marseille? Alex is one of my favorite authors and I knew the answer immediately but spelling, ugh. Mr. Dumas's novels are wonderful, I thought even better than Victor's though one of my forebears was Mr. Hugo's publisher.

Maybe it is the way I meander through a puzzle but I don't do all of the across clues and then the downs. I solve it like water seeking its own level by going down the path of least resistance and since 52d was obviously Uriah this ruled out 'asked' as an answer to 57a.

As usual I agree with Questinia, I was looking at something like merino or its ilk. Orlon was weird.

Didn't anyone have any problems with 'stead' as the answer to 6d? In the dictionary its usage as position is listed as rare and is supposed to be preceded by 'in'.

Anoa Bob 1:23 AM  

There was some grumbling recently about clueing a MIATA as an alternative to a Mustang. I'm already seeing expressions of discontent over clueing ORLON as an alternative to Cashmere.

Maybe next we'll see VELVEETA clued as an alternative to Brie.

Yeah, it don't sound right, but, hey, all are legitimate alternatives. Maybe not of equal value or regard, but alternatives nonetheless.

I thought this was a very fine puzzle that struck a good balance between theme and fill. Most enjoyable solve here on both accounts.

chefwen 1:49 AM  

It hurt me, but I finally had to put in ORLON, wanted Angora, but it was not to be and didn't fit. Oh well.

Hand up for asked before PRIED and also before PLUS. Other than those little snafus it was pretty easy. Nice puzzle for the start of the baseball season. Go Brewers!

Steve J 1:57 AM  

This is about as good as a Tuesday gets. Clever theme with solid answers, very little dreck, and some scattered rare words (DADO and RAGA were both new to me) to add some heft.

@Jisvan, Moly Shu: Also askED here.

@Probably no one at all: I kept reading "Orange source" as "Orange sauce", which made ORCHARD hard to see until it was nearly fully crossed.

Am I alone in finding RBIS to be the equivalent of ATM machine and PIN number? (The "runs" part of RBI is already pluralized.)

Billy McKinley 2:27 AM  

A lovely Tuesday puzzle.

Was initially looking for HIGHcrimes but that fell a couple letters short for 17A.

I also initially wanted chateau d'if for the Count of Monte Cristo (which I'm reading now), but again, my letter count was off and MARSEILLE is perfectly serviceable. Lots of crosswordy locations in this story, including the famous Elba.

There were a couple other moments where my first impulse - like LOWBall vs LOWBLOW - were out of place.

This was a fine, over the plate Tuesday solve.

Billy 2:48 AM  

I guess this is the place to be a grammar Nazi.

"as opposed to the way [THEY'RE! not] their used in baseball"

Conrad 5:15 AM  

@Steve J: ATM is redundant without the addition of "machine". Anything automated is also a machine, so it should be AT or TM, not ATM.

My problem was that lawyer didn't fit in 65D.

Danp 6:47 AM  

I wanted apercu for PRECIS (Don't hit me, @precious 12:39).

@Billy -They're for their? That is so yesterday.

@Conrad -Slithering predator could have been IRS, but that was so two days ago.

loren muse smith 6:51 AM  

My biggest woe was PRECIS. The concept, the very idea, is utterly foreign to me.

Rex – DADO is a strange word. Really. I know it outside of crosswords, but it still feels weird.

@Conrad – really funny BOA/lawyer comment. (Morning, @lawprof!)

@Billy – because of La Marseillaise I was thinking MARSEILLE had an s at the end, and I erased it at first.

@Danp – you're so funny!

@oh, aren't we ever so precious – Hmm. I think I kinda agree. I majored in French and German but if someone used either PRÉCIS or Bildungsroman, I would take a mental note to keep listening carefully and checking if said person was, actually, an $%#hole.

So we have two causes célèbres today - - PRIED because of the clue, but if you think about the noun form, inquisition, you can see how it could be extreme. ORLON - I am decidedly en rapport with the sweater-wearers who would shun this over cashmere, so I agree, it's a MIATA/Mustang kind of clue.

DOGGIE BAG/LABEL – waste of time in my house. I don't care how my daughter LABELS it (DO NOT EAT THIS – THIS MEANS YOU, GARDINER!!!), my son will cheerfully dispatch the uneaten portion of the rib-eye sans the slightest soupçon of guilt.

The Tuesday puzzle seems to be the bête noire for the week. I thought this one très bien fait. Pitch-perfect.

DrXray 7:01 AM  

I liked this puzzle. Only complaint: HIFI is not synonymous with "record player". And Rex: '...the way "their" used in baseball...'? Really?

Z 7:16 AM  

It's a crossword puzzle SAT question:

Cashmere:ORLON as ________:MIATA

A four pitch BASE ON BALLS is the most boring thing in baseball causing me to say "Throw a damn strike." A ten pitch battle where the ace is throwing strikes that the batter keeps fouling off until he takes a close ball four - baseball nerd heaven.

Despite being a huge baseball fan I have to agree with @Rex on this one. Fill in the blank except for askED and a little slowdown around ORLON and ADEPT, which did not spring instantly to mind. Otherwise 8 minutes, the fast end for Tuesday for me.

Regarding the RBIS question - RBI is a word onto itself, now. If you catch a local broadcast you might hear slang variations like "ribbies," "ribeyes" or (my favorite) "steaks." As originally used RBIS was wrong, but I think the language has evolved so that it no longer is incorrect to pluralize RBI.

Did not know that O'Reilly used to host INSIDE EDITION. So, I learned... something.

Summary, Abstract, Précis - not exactly the same things.

Z 7:27 AM  
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Z 7:29 AM  

Another SAT question:

Cashemere:________ as PRECIS:Summary

I will agree with @lms - unless you are bitching about an assignment with a classmate you are probably an @$$hole if you are using PRÉCIS in conversation.

Z 7:31 AM  

Note - Trying to link to "Critical Precis" at Wikipedia with no success. Link above takes you to another link.

jberg 7:34 AM  

Easy for a Tuesday, if that makes any sense. I had OP ART before I got to PRIED, so I avoided that error. My only other problems involved spelling: I wanted DOGGy BAG, but Patti Page set me straight.

I had an ORLON sweater as a teenager, and 50 years later wrote it in right away. So much for my taste!

What I learned today: MARSEILLEs is only the English translation of MARSEILLE.

@Loren, just remember that DADOs are related to ogees.

@CascoKid, congratulations!

Susan McConnell 8:04 AM  

I'm in the DAIS ASKED camp. Head still shaking at the ORLON clue. Puzzle was easy, theme not my favorite but was a good fit for a Tuesday. Guess I'll be dodging raindrops most of the day today.

Arlene 8:21 AM  

Smooth solving - except for the ASKED/PRIED write-over. So glad to know my thought processes are so normal.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:40 AM  

Not difficult, but crunchy in spots: Two write-overs, (18 D), RUNS before RBIS (clearly, I am not into sports); and 40 D, OPEN before OP ED.

No one else has mentioned it, so, am I missing something? How (54 D) is ESSEN more of a "W.W. II bomb site" than any one of a hundred cities in Europe or Asia?

joho 8:45 AM  

I wasn't crazy about the LADEN/LAHR opening but quickly perked up at DOGGIEBAG.

The theme is timely and well done. (Waking up to snow here in Ohio made me wonder if baseball season is really here!)

Thanks, @Rex, for mentioning:
Just a note: the NYT published only three female constructors in March. No woman has yet been published in April.

Terrific Tuesday, Gary Cee, you knocked it out of the park!

Danp 9:03 AM  

Orlon:Cashmere as Miata:Matchbox Limo (as in "my other car is..."

chefbea 9:11 AM  

Hand up for asked.

Thought maybe we'd have a Tax Day themed puzzle, or even Passover.

Easy puzzle. Maybe we'll have an Acme puzzle before the month is over.

Mohair Sam 9:18 AM  

@Anoa Bob - I was going to make my own "alternative" but won't now because yours was perfect.

C'mon NYT. Making the comparisons realistic can't be all that tough.

Fine Tuesday puzz, btw - enjoyed in spite of the ORLON groan.

quilter1 9:20 AM  

I don't know much baseball terminology but got it all. Agree with all others about ORLON. Always go with the natural fiber. I also liked DOGGIE BAG, although lately it is probably a DOGGIE Box. This reminds me I'd like to go out to eat one day this week.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

"i.e. the words are used metaphorically, as opposed to the way their used in baseball" what does Rex teach in college?

Freddy Murcks 9:35 AM  

I take issue with the lower right corner. ORLON is not a cashmere alternative (orlon is synthetic trash) and oranges do not come from ORCHARDs (they come from groves). And ISN'T it rich is just worthless fill.

Ludyjynn 9:35 AM  

Easy but Meh. It felt like an interminable baseball game w/lots of BASEONBALLS, where you're watching the outfield grass literally growing before your eyes.



Onward to Wednesday. BTW, interesting observation, Rex, about the dearth of puzzles chosen by WS representing the female constructor pool. Why are they being benched, in baseball parlance?

lawprof 9:38 AM  

You'd think if you spotted me the ORCHA_ _ the correct answer would be a slam dunk. In my case you'd be wrong. I dropped in ORCHAta (you know, that frothy, milky, sometimes fruity rice drink you can get in any good Mexican restaurant) before the crosses set me aright.

And no, @ Conrad and @lms, I don't take offense at the slimy predator/lawyer equation. I've seen a few.

Fun Tuesday. Nice theme for early April. Play ball!

Dawn 9:49 AM  

As a sports newbie, was thrilled to use RBIS. I thought MARSEILLEs ended with an "s"....?

RnRGhost57 9:50 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, great question about Essen. Now Dresden or Hiroshima or Nagasaki, different story.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:24 AM  

@RnRGhost57 - After I posted my comment, I looked up Essen in Wikipedia, and it is true that it took quite a beating from bombers. Then I looked up Dresden, quite famous for the (perhaps uncalled for; there is still disagreement) horrendous bombing it took. And we cannot argue over Nagasaki and Hiroshima. So as usual, the puzzle answer is defensible - and I have been known to stand up for puzzles using rather remote links between clue and answer - but I still think that with so many other ways to clue ESSEN, this was a very odd choice.

Carola 10:30 AM  

I'm with @Steve J - I thought it was a top-notch Tuesday with creative theme answers, where the first words have such nice double meanings. Like others, I was SLOW to see ORCHARD appear, and couldn't imagine how MARS would fit with The Count of Monte Cristo. Heavy rollers: LADEN SEMIS on top and THE TANKS on the bottom.

I see I'll have to DODGE some rotten tomatoes, but I'd like to defend PRECIS - lovely entry and useful word. Not sure why it's getting HOOTS of derision (when en MASSE draws no fire).

mac 10:35 AM  

Excellent Tuesday. Another hand up for asked, but after erasing it I must have done the rest DOWN, because I can't remember PRIED.

@loren: Dado is a weird word. Haha is even weirder.

I got all the baseball terms except the last one, had to rely completely on the downs and logic. BASE ON BALLS, why have I never heard it before??

That's some clue for the poor EMU.

evil doug 10:40 AM  

Ludy: It's because they're bossy....

The clue didn't say "equivalent"; it said "alternative". A less expensive orlon sweater--or Miata--adequately fulfills the need.

And bombers always have alternative targets. Kokura was the primary target for the second atomic bomb, but it was socked in. After circling for a while, the crew headed for the alternative: Nagasaki.

O'Hare Airport is coded ORD because it was built at Orchard Place, a small farming town.


Hartley70 10:51 AM  

Thanks Evil Doug. I liked your comment better than the puzzle. It was easy in an irritating way for me. The cluing just felt off... Enough said about Orlon. Tilde? My time was okay, but meh!

JTHurst 10:53 AM  

@Freddy Murcks oranges do come from groves in Florida but I think in California they come from orchards. Maybe someone can clarify this.

I believe that the Ruhr Valley was the largest supplier of coal (70% of fuel consumption in Europe) and steel and the major shipping point was Essen. Krupp's main plants were in Essen. So besides the V-2 Rocket installations Essen would be a major target. Over 31,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Essen and only Berlin had more. It is estimated that 700,000 tons were dropped on Germany during WWII as compared to over 2 million tons of bombs dropped on Laos during the Vietnam conflict, which doesn't have one steel plant and over a third of those bombs did not explode. It is the most bombed country per capita in the history of the world.

Masked and Anonymo3Us 11:04 AM  

Wow. Nice fill. I mean, what would one complain about? PRECIS? Nope, learned somethin. ANA? I would cite weeject immunity. RASA or IPSO? Not a Latin lover? Take two tablets.

fave weeject: ANA. For cluing, recommend "Banana duo??" But, honrable mention to THE. It's the genuine article.
fave HAR-word: ORCHARD.
fave unused themer: WILDTHING. You make mah heart sing. You make everything. Groovy.
fave tune title starter: SENDIN. Don't bother... They're here.
fave dejevuosity: OPEDART.

Ok. I've HORSEd around enough, here. Time to walk.

Thanx, Mr. Cee.
@63: Primo placeholder write-up! har.


Questinia 11:29 AM  

Alternative implies choice and no one would choose ORLON over cashmere. A blow-up doll is not an alternative to a man. Only out of extreme hunger and a state of dissociation.
Sartorially provocative cluing, Mr. Cee.

schmuzz 11:30 AM  

all in all - i like anything baseball!!

@alias Z - thanks for the 'you must see this' link
very amusing!

hands up for asked
PRECIS filled itself and a moment of "i learned something new, too"

Questinia 11:30 AM  
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Steve J 11:32 AM  

I'll be a lonely voice in the wilderness defending ORLON (as an answer, not as a fabric). Cashmere is a type of wool. ORLON is a brand of synthetic wool fiber. Therefore, it is indeed an alternative. The clue didn't say it was a good alternative.

As I said Sunday with the Mustang (or Viper, depending on which clue you got) / Miata comparison, it's best to stop expecting that "alternative to" clues include any sense that one may genuinely opt for one choice over the other. Those answers became much less annoying - and easier to get - to me when I started doing that.

I'll expound on this more in my new book, Dr Strangecross or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Imprecision.

@Z: Since you weren't familiar with Bill O'Reilly's tenure on Inside Edition, you really should check out his finest hour.

Gill I. P. 11:39 AM  

So here's my precis about the puzzle:
IPSO facto ORLON should not even be in the same drawer as cashmere and ESSEN should have had a Villa Huegel (with the TILDE on the U)clue, I give it a few LUMENs and one DADO.
I do believe TEEN Archie is about to die in an up-coming comic series....RIP

dk 11:45 AM  

🌕🌕 (2 Moons) Liked it fine only miss was ill for AIL.

I prefer a stacked DADO set to a Wobble DADO as the latter creates a groove with a flat bottom. Desirable in joinery although a flat bottom is not so great when interpreting a BASS clef.

Hand up for the whole cashmere/ORLON thing. Gary (not a girl apparently) what were ewe thinking.

Gill I. P. 11:50 AM  

@lawprof: orchata...ha ha - it's spelled horchata and in PRECIS it's pretty vile stuff.
@Questinia: Well, I don't know - I've met some pretty decent blow-up dolls...;-)
REX - I finally finished Frank Longo's Saturday Stumper. I'm glad you voted it puzzle of the week. It took me 3 days to complete but I loved every minute of it.

Lewis 12:21 PM  

I like the APE riding atop the HORSE and the BALLS setting atop the ORLON (which may seem like a fitting place for the Orlon, given the disdain I'm hearing about it here).

I kept looking at ASONE, wondering "What is an asone?"

I learned that an ANT looks like a termite, and that I've heard of a PRECIS and DADO without remembering what they were.

Found the puzzle to be easy and with Rex here, a quality enjoyable serviceable Tuesday, but not a wow. Nor was it a slog.

AliasZ 12:23 PM  

Anyone who watched hours and hours of "The New Yankee Workshop" with Norm Abrams would remember what a DADO is.

Another little TIDBIT: "orange grove" returned 1,190,000 Google hits, "orange ORCHARD" 166,000. This however maybe skewed due to a town called Orange Grove, TX, population 1,288, and a large number of schools, companies and organizations named "Orange Grove" around the country. As far as I know, no town, school, company or organization by the name of "Orange Orchard" exists. Does this mean it's a bad clue? Here is the final word on the subject.

Z 1:10 PM  

@AliasZ - Excellent distinction.

To be precise, I was expressing agreement with our Muse that someone using PRÉCIS at a dinner party, say, might be a person to avoid conversation with. To parallel the grove/ORCHARD article, a précis is always a summary but a summary is not always a précis. The word itself, I like.

Faced recently with a choice between a Viper, a Mustang, or a Miata, I chose a C-Max.

Benko 1:59 PM  

@Judylynn: Will Shortz has discussed the lack of female constructors in the Times on many occasions, and he says that women simply aren't submitting nearly as many puzzles as men. So get some crossword construction software and make some puzzles, ladies!
@Gill I.P.: I heard that too, but it turns out that it's the adult Archie who will die in a comic book about the future possible lives of Archie. Not as dramatic.
@AliasZ: I live in orange country--the south end of Kissimmee, Florida. There are orange groves right down the street from my house--and yes, we always use the word "grove".

JenCT 2:17 PM  

@Questinia 11:29 - Say I was over someone's house and it had gotten chilly outside, so the host offers me a sweater. In that case, I would choose ORLON over Cashmere, since I'm highly allergic to wool.

I didn't know they even made male blowup dolls.....eewww.

Ellen S 3:26 PM  

@Steve J, I also read it as "Orange sauce". Sounded like something I didn't want to know what it was.

So maybe I also misread an article I just read. I don't know about cashmere, but Angora is harvested (90% of the world's angora comes from rabbit farms in China) by ripping the fur out of their coats. Then after they have been plucked, they endure a kind of recovery in tiny wire cages until their fur grows back and is ripped out again. And again. Most of them die within a year or two.

Down for bedding and jackets is harvested similarly: the feathers are repeatedly yanked out of their skin while they are still alive.

Cashmere may not be so bad. It comes from the underbelly of cashmere goats, where in nature it would provide insulation from the cold. But many goats are slaughtered for food right after being shorn so I guess it's all good.

There are a lot of synthetics that are more "natural-seeming" than ORLON, but the more I know about where natural animal fibers come from, the better ORLON looks to me. (But then, ref Orange Sauce, above. What looks good to me might look like a Miata to you. And I apologize for staying away so long - drowned in volunteer chores - and then coming here only to lecture you. My next post won't be to scold.)

Z 3:44 PM  

I don't do the LAT everyday, but the last two I've done have been constructed by women, the inestimable Bernice Gordon and today's by one Annemarie Brethauer. Both were fine puzzles on a par with what I see in the NYT.

@Ellen S - I believe most rabbit herders would shear their stock, more efficient and less stressful to the source of their income besides being less cruel. Nevertheless, unethical and cruel people can be found in any human endeavor.

sanfranman59 4:04 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 6:58, 8:32, 0.82, 4%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:35, 5:11, 0.88, 11%, Easy

joho 4:10 PM  

@Steve J, thanks -- the clip is hilarious!!!!

Benko 5:09 PM  

@Z--Unfortunately, Ellen is right. Many Chinese rabbit farms pluck rather than shear their rabbits in order to make sure they can get the best quality fur, and the best price. Animal rights are not very important to the Chinese--I've seen some pretty sick videos of the way they treat animals--like the dogs they use to make fur coats.

Ludyjynn 5:27 PM  

Thanks for your insights, @Benko and @Z. Good to know.

Z 6:47 PM  

@Benko - Good to know. Attitudes towards animals vary widely even here at home, so I guess I'm not surprised.

Questinia 7:00 PM  

@Jen Ct. OK you got me on the the ol' allergy/chilly one-two combo.

RnRGhost57 9:56 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, thanks for research. Agree--even conceding what you found, the clueing is a bit off.

sanfranman59 1:42 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)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:58, 0.93, 17%, Easy
Tue 4:27, 5:11, 0.86, 7%, Easy

Bea 1:07 PM  

-enjoyed the Uriah Heep clue quite a bit!

spacecraft 10:59 AM  

The biggest defect about puzzles like this is that the revealer is a dead giveaway. When there's one long clue containing several numbers with dashes, the eye is drawn to it. "Batter's reward" alone would have been more than enough; four letters: WALK (or possibly PASS); eleven: youguessedit, BASEONBALLS. Dee. You. Aitch.

This in turn gives the themers away; we know at once we'll be dealing with HIGH, LOW, INSIDE and OUTSIDE. It all just falls. The Tuesday slot is very generous; I never stopped writing. Still, it took me over half an hour. I just flat don't believe three minutes. Not humanly possible. Superman, or Data from the New-Generation Enterprise? OK. Mortal man, no way.

Moment of synchronicity: I was just watching OTTO Preminger's The Man With the Golden Arm last night. Powerful stuff. Ol' Blue Eyes, he could do it all, baby.

All right, this is the nadir of my poker session: one lousy pair of deuces! Oh wait--were we playing LOWBALL?

DMG 1:15 PM  

An easy enough Tuesday. Originally wanted "evade" or "avoid" where DODGE Tuesday A little surprised by PRÉCIS, but recognized it. Beyond that,the only problem was knowing which French city, and that I had no chance of spelling it, so let the crosses do it for me.

Three 5's, two 9's.

Solving in Seattle 3:17 PM  

Just how many angels can dance on the head of a PRECIS?

I thought this was a tough Tuesday. Had STanD inSTEAD for 6D and had to work my way our of that mess. PLUS I had aLso for 27D and had to put on my SAGE hat to work it out. My brain seemed like a tabula RASA.

Liked @Alias Z's baseball post.

High point of American fashion: ORLON bowling shirt.

Go Habs - beat New York!

I've got the love boat today: 969696.

Dirigonzo 7:41 PM  

I solve puzzles "by the numbers" going methodically through the clues in order (which @Rex has pronounced as the "wrong" way to solve) so I avoided @Spacy's problem of seeing the reveal too soon, but I still thought it was a pretty easy Tuesday. Only the PRECIS/RASA seemed even remotely questionable, but what else could it be? I'm not sure where I am on the ORCHARD/grove debate but I got it with no problem so no harm, no foul.

I think @SiS's "love boat" has one too many participants, but who am I to judge?

sdcheezhd 11:47 PM  

Oranges grow in groves not orchards. Even in California: the Rose Parade starts on Orange Grove Blvd. not Orange Orchard St. Who's even heard of orange orchard, ever? And it could have been clued with apples not oranges; the only reason not to is to introduce cluing difficulty cheaply rather than honestly.

Z 11:55 PM  

@sdcheezhd - If you had clicked on @Alias Z's link you would have read, "So an orchard can almost always be considered a grove by both definitions of the word, but a grove is not always an orchard." And then there is also this.

rain forest 12:56 AM  

A cluster of fruit trees is an ORCHARD, I don't care what the fruit is. One says 'lemon orchard', 'lime orchard', and the only thing that one might object to with 'orange orchard' is that both words start with 'o'.

What's sauce for the orange is down for the gander, apparently.

Yeah, way late here, but I had a great day, shot a 78, drank a great wine, and finished the x-word. Liked it--not unusual.

Can't beat @SIS's love boat.

Solving in Seattle 8:45 PM  

@Rainy, let me know if you're going to be in Seattle this summer. We can play a round and have some wine. 78! Nice round.

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