Mythical king of huns / WED 4-16-14 / Yellowstone bugler / Cuddly sci-fi creature / What scientists use to predict rates of chemical reactions / Arkansas footballers informally

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Constructor: Michael Dewey

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (again, no idea, as the AcrossLite file at the NYT site was Once Again "corrupt") (it's kind of an embarrassment how bad they are at the tech stuff over there) (oh hey, look, I bugged the right person and the file is no longer corrupt. Too late for me, but …)

THEME: "TITANIC SINKS!" (58A: Headline of April 16, 1912) — theme answers are, in whole or, in the case of one answer, in part, related to the sinking of the Titanic...

Theme answers:
  • MAIDEN VOYAGE (20A: Post-christening event)
  • COLLISION THEORY (28A: What scientists use to predict the rates of chemical reactions)
  • TIP OF THE ICEBERG (49A: Small part that's visible)
Word of the Day: ATLI (45D: Mythical king of the huns) —
A legendary king corresponding to the historical figure of Attila. In the Volsunga Saga he is the second husband of Gudrun. (
• • •

This doesn't work. First, there's the not major but still significant problem of this "tribute"'s having been done before—and recently, at a time that made much more sense, i.e. just two years ago, when it was the 100th anniversary of the disaster. Second, there's the tepidity of this theme execution. Weak, obvious, untricky answers, including one (COLLISION THEORY) that has a word in it  (THEORY???) that has Zero relationship to the disaster (the collision is not a theory; what caused the collision is not a theory … boat hitting iceberg caused the collision; there were theories about what caused the ship to sink … at first … but … now we know it was an iceberg, right? So ...). Just so weird / awkward to have all the other theme answers be spot-on and literal (to the point of dullness) and then have this lone outlier, totally unrelated to the Titanic except in a half-metaphorical kind of way. I'm baffled. Why was this even accepted? Further: fill is very much subpar. ATLI is ghastly, bottom-of-the-barrel crosswordese. In fact, it's almost definitive in its crosswordesiness. AGER and EDO and KAT, not much better.

I did like OH BOTHER, appropriately/ironically. Had LEAP for [Bound] at 1A, so not the fastest start. I had MAGI for MARY at 10D: Crèche figure—kinda knew I was wrong, as MAGI are figures, plural, but MA- + "Crèche" = MAGI in my brain. Wanted I GOT IT before I DID IT (50D: Cry of success). Odd coincidence (I assume) that I have seen ECLIPSE (5D: Sun block?) at least three times in the past few days, considering there was a lunar ECLIPSE, what, just yesterday? Thought [Globe's place] as a clue for BOSTON was pretty clever. But outside of that answer and the Pooh answer, there's not much here to love.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    August West 12:06 AM  

    Boat hitting iceberg did not cause the collision. That was the collision.

    Allison 12:16 AM  

    I don't get does bound = JUMP?

    Allison 12:20 AM  

    Never mind......the neurons just fired in sequence and I clued in. Must be time for bed.

    Steve J 12:41 AM  


    That's a description of how exhausted I am, which undoubtedly affected my ability to enjoy the puzzle.

    It's also a description of the puzzle itself.

    The reality of the cause of the complete lack of interest I had in this one probably lies somewhere between those two points on a line. And while I'll take my fair share of the blame, the boatloads of crosswordese and surfeit of interesting fill (outside OH BOTHER) deserve an ample share, too. Add in both ILK and ELK, and forced-plural OMARS. At least OAT wasn't ORT.

    Greg 12:57 AM  

    This was a breeze except that I absolutely killed myself with my 100% conviction that it was anIMAL instinct instead of PRIMAL.

    jae 1:17 AM  

    Easy except where I got hung up in NW by putting in anIMAL (@Greg) instead of PRIMAL and lama instead of YOGI.  

    So, we're paying tribute on the 102nd anniversary? 

    I'm with Rex.  Not feeling this one.

    Robert Klute 1:40 AM  

    Leap tall buildings in a single bound

    chefwen 4:04 AM  

    Hand up for animal at 4D. My last corner to tidy up. Was wracking my brain trying to figure out a word that ended in A for bound, never did come up with one, so I had to retool my mind set. That took me longer than the rest of the puzzle. DOH!

    loren muse smith 4:59 AM  

    Rex – me, too, for "leap" first. That made me keep thinking "ets" for 2D (cue Close Encounters music). But unlike others, I never even thought of "animal" for PRIMAL. Yeah!

    My other stumble was not wanting TOTALS for "wrecks." I resisted that one for a while.

    Rex' point on the outlier is well-taken. The whole TITANIC thing has never really been on my radar – I didn't even see the movie until recently and was underwhelmed – so as tributes go, this tribute didn't, uh, float my boat.

    But. . .how 'bout the secondary theme? - Winnie the Pooh: A STORY SET in the Hundred ACRE WOOD with friend ROO. He was too KEEN ON honey and got himself into a FIX. OH BOTHER.

    I'm with @chefwen – the northwest was by far the last corner to finish. So can a RAJAH be a YOGI?

    I liked some of the clues – like Rex said – "Globe's place" and the two hair clues. I don't know why "Yellowstone bugler" made me smile. How can I have missed that these guys bugle. Cool.

    ELK bugles

    I also really liked learning the word "bloviation." As in "I think your précis is full of bloviation."

    Michael – scrabbly grid – I went back to check if it was our beloved pangram, especially since I had first thought AGER was for some reason "jazz." I liked OH BOTHER, ECLIPSE, HECKLE, and I DID IT. Thanks for the workout!

    Moly Shu 5:29 AM  

    Hand up for aniMAL, @Greg,@Jae,@ChefWen, more to follow I'm sure. With @Rex and @LMS on the outlier. I rate it easy-medium with a dash of boring

    Liked the clue for BOSTON and STORY. Also like HECKLE, wonder if his brother feels left out?

    Stan Hinton 6:00 AM  

    Regarding Rex's complaint about "collision theory" concerning the Titanic, there is actually very recent news concerning this precise topic. Witness the following article from April 10--

    Danp 7:15 AM  

    A good theme puzzle should be more than a collection of cliches. Find something interesting about the subject, please.

    Matty 7:17 AM  

    I dumped in COLLISIONCOURSE without looking at the clue because I was taking the theme answers as literal. My bad! Had to backtrack to get to THEORY which I've never heard of but am now interested to find out more about it.

    Anonymous 7:54 AM  

    I liked it! Perhaps inadvertently, BRINE, KNOT and LATE all fit the theme, too.

    jberg 8:00 AM  

    EGAD, there's my surname in a theme answer. Since I got that part first, I was pretty excited -- although at that point, off by a couple years in my history, I was still trying to fit in "Archduke Assassinated." Didn't go, fortunately.

    TITANIC? Ho-hum. But I'm with @Loren on the Pooh stuff; made me want to go back and read those stories.

    Susan McConnell 8:03 AM  

    I liked the puzzle more than the theme...I thought there were some clever clues that made for an interesting Wednesday. Hearing about a ferry SINKing and the incident in BOSTON last night while solving made the puzzle feel even more timely.

    Sorry, Loren, but Bill O'Reilly has forever ruined the word "bloviate" for me, since he uses it to excess to describe his rantings.

    Casco Kid 8:03 AM  

    My 99 cent investment in Magmic's 60-puzzle Medium Puzzle Pack 5 is paying off. I'm 45 puzzles in, and today's solve was quick and painless. 29 minutes, with no googles, cheats, or errors. A clean line score: 000. I've started the week 3-for-3 for the first time ever.

    I tried "tied" in [1A bound] but backed off right away and moved on to 5A. JUMP turned out to be my last entry. Nice to see EDO again so soon. Major memory reinforcer. GAS was a shape shifter, moving from yAp to GAb before settling down. ATLI is new. Alternate spelling of Atilla, I suppose. It took a while to see how Razor Backs was going to fit in 4 letters: HOGS.

    As for COLLISIONTHEORY, this physicist wouldn't use that term. Reaction rate theory, sure. Reaction cross sections. Hartree-Fock, Born-Oppenheimer, Franck-Condon. In a melange of formal approximations, it is just easier to solve the clue by crosses, which is what I did. You ,too, I gather. Getting-a-serviceable-answer is all that COLLISIONTHEORY is, really.

    @lms a bloviated précis? There is Tao in that.

    And I learned that ELKS bugle. Huh!

    Anonymous 8:10 AM  

    It sank. Get over it.

    joho 8:12 AM  

    @Matty, love COLLISIONCOURSE!

    I'm with everybody who enjoyed the delight Winnie-the-Pooh added to the puzzle.

    Seems to me the clue, "Eleven plus one" is a stretch for NOON.

    This one made me wonder if the actual headline that ran back then was TITANICSINKS.

    joho 8:18 AM  

    Actual headling that ran in the NYT: TITANIC SINKS four hours after hitting iceberg: 866 rescued by Carpathia, probably 1250 perish: Ismay safe, Mrs. Astor maybe, noted names missing

    AliasZ 8:19 AM  

    Was this puzzle too easy even for a Wednesday, or is it only me? I DID IT in less time than Tuesday's.

    It's tough to construct a good tribute puzzle to commemorate a tragic event, and this one is no exception, with or without COLLISION THEORY. There was no tricky twist to theme entries, and even the attempt to disguise the obvious with clues that avoid any reference to the event of 102 years ago proved unsuccessful. I got it after MAIDEN VOYAGE. So be it.

    Other news: there is nothing mythical about the king of the Huns. He was as real as Leo I who negotiated his withdrawal from Italy and his peace treaty with Roman emperor Valentinian III in the year 452. ATLI is also an Old Norse masculine name, one of the names of Thor, and it is the name used in the highly romanticized account of Attila and the Huns in the Icelandic Völsunga saga.

    One more thing. Famous art patron and collector Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979) who was married to Max Ernst (1942-1946), best known for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, was the niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim (1861-1949) who established the Foundation and the Museum bearing his name, and the daughter of businessman Benjamin Guggenheim who perished with the Titanic on April 15, 1912.

    Enjoy your Wednesday.

    Hartley70 8:23 AM  

    Sorry gang, I liked it. Had to go to my second thought for most of the answers. Spent a few minutes on the NW. Had just used my NPR app to read story of ferry sinking in Korea so it was timely for me.

    Z 8:23 AM  

    I am so happy that anIMAL didn't occur to me because it probably would have led to a Wednesday DNF. Bound was either the tied-up version or the on a trip version, A FAR cry wasn't occurring to me, and Nirvana seeker smelled like teen spirit to me, so even with PRIMAL in place I had nine empty squares. YOGI led to JAY/UFO/MAG. Just one of those corners, because nothing is really all that hard and on other days it probably would have filled lickety-split.

    Stuffed mini-theme today: EWOK, ROO, YOGI, ELKs, Krazy KAT, and, on her MAIDEN VOYAGE, MARY. I understand that the TIP OF THE ICEBERG was WOOD.

    Should I apologize now or wait until later?

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    Ludyjynn 8:56 AM  

    Never read or was read Pooh book(s), as a child, but sub-theme answers were still easily gettable. I found the puzzle, overall, to be very easy for a Wednesday. Didn't dislike or like the theme, but it was a downer. As I solved, was watching CBS Morning News and had to turn it off since there was just too much nasty business being shown (including, too aptly, deadly ferry accident) this early in the day.

    Liked UFO at 2Down. It opened up the NW corner for me. Agree that was the sticky section of the puzzle.

    Had to cover some of the Spring plants last night w/ bags to create mini-greenhouses to protect them from the fierce winds, SNOW! and 30 degree temps. Very unusual at this late date in central MD. Same weather forecast for tonight, but we are hopefully out of the woods thereafter and the beautiful blossoming trees will not drop blooms prematurely.

    NCA President 9:03 AM  

    I know people who are Titanic people...they are obsessed with the minute details of each victim, the ship, and the entire affair. While I am not one of them, I appreciate their interest. It is a pretty remarkable story with lots of anecdotes that make the story so compelling. You can spend a very long time reading about it on line.

    I've also been involved in a production of the musical (yes, there is a musical). It's more like a musical documentary than anything. At least James Cameron saw the need for a juicy love story to keep the plot moving...the musical, not so much. Everyone in the musical (including the entire pit band) has names and history know, to add drama.

    With all due respect to those souls who perished in the disaster, I do love the saying "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic." It has been very useful to describe many situations in my life.

    chefbea 9:16 AM  

    I agree - a very easy Wednesday puzzle except for the north west.

    Of course lots of yummy answers - asiago, brine,pickle,potato, stew, iceberg.

    @Jberg.. my surname as well at 6 down.

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:25 AM  

    With @Casco Kid, 47 D, GAB before GAS.

    At52 D, with HEC in place, gave some thought to HECTOR, but didn't fill in until I had HECKLE.

    Anonymous 9:25 AM  

    Much easier than usual but lacking pizz-azz. Nice to see a minimal use of obscure proper names.

    Would someone please explain 62A.
    saw = ADAGE?????

    Many thanks
    Stumped in Canada

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:27 AM  

    An "old saw" = "old saying" = ADAGE.

    Anonymous 9:29 AM  

    Thanks Bob Kerfuffle!

    No longer....
    Stumped in Canada.

    Oldbizmark 9:33 AM  

    Dnf because of jump for bound. Otherwise easy puzzle for me and a poor Wednesday.

    quilter1 9:45 AM  

    Quick and easy despite starting with leaP instead of JUMP and other mistakes shared with others here. I thought it was OK.

    Questinia 9:51 AM  

    Hand up for anIMAL
    Hand up for MAgi
    Hand up for too easy.
    Hand up for never hearing COLLISION THEORY used in chemistry.
    Hand up for thinking ATLI was an actual person.

    Wondering whether they will ever do a 9/11 tribute puzzle.
    Wondering whether blog really derivates from bloviate+log, although I know it's web+log.
    Wondering whether I'll have time today to visit the Guggenheim.
    Wondering whether I will ever read Winnie the Pooh or Charlotte's Web.
    Wondering whether I am bloviating.

    Carola 10:13 AM  

    I've always been fascinated by the TITANIC and so liked the puzzle for the theme but also because I didn't find it particularly easy and had to work at it. Like others, I had trouble getting the NW corner; also had HECtor before HECKLE and that slowed me down.

    Bonus ocean liner: the ILE de France.

    I happened on ATLI years ago in the Atlakviða - terrific STORY.

    Matthew A. Harmer 10:15 AM  

    I also think that COLLISIONCOURSE would be infinitely better than -THEORY. I had HEC- on cross for 52d and couldn't let go of HECTOR for a long time. YOGI and RAJAH in the same puzzle tells e'en a beginner like myself that the fill is weak; ATLI and ODO and the rest just confirm it.

    Rex, I appreciate the CHVRCHES video, and I wonder how soon that band will be an answer in a NYT puzzle.

    Anonymous 10:17 AM  

    I see I'm the only one who doesn't get "mag wheels." Help me, someone!

    Arlene 10:24 AM  

    I agree that this was a rather easy Wednesday - surprised to move through it so quickly. I also wondered why Winnie the Pooh references ended up in a puzzle about a tragedy. That said, here's my favorite Pooh quote - a good excuse to share it here:

    "If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear." ~ Winnie the Pooh

    retired_chemist 10:33 AM  

    Nice puzzle. Solid Wednesday IMO.

    Collision theory is pretty archaic. It actually has no predictive power. It dates from the 1910's and was a first stab at quantitative thought about the physical basis of chemical reactions. LOTS better stuff to use today. Kinda like "the clue "What people use to cook with" answered by "wood-burning stove," except that people actually DO use wood-burning stoves in some situations. Collision theory you spend 30 minutes on in P. Chem. or Physical Organic because it has some simple features that illustrate some useful principles, then go on to more advanced stuff that actually is useful for prediction.

    Another b***h: UNGER or UNGaR? The movie had UNGaR, the TV series I never watched acc. to iMDb had UNGER. I think the movie was the more memorable for most people. Bah.

    Thanks, Mr. Dewey.

    Steve J 10:48 AM  

    Add me to the long list of people who had aniMAL instinct instead of PRIMAL. Made that NW corner impenetrable.

    @Anon 10:17: Mag wheels is a term for alloy wheels. Seems to me I heard mag wheels much more as a kid growing up in the shadow of muscle cars than I do now.

    @retired_chemist: I never noticed that the film and movie spellings of UNGER were different. I knew the tv show before the film, in large part because my dad liked the show and I remember watching it with him when I was a little kid.

    Moly Shu 10:49 AM  

    @Questinia, as to the bloviating question, I vote no. Wonder no more

    Jisvan 10:53 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    mac 10:58 AM  

    Yes, what are MAG wheels?

    The NW almost did me in, with "tied" firmly in place.
    The Yogi saved the day.

    Easy for a Wednesday, some odd clues, but all in all an enjoyable puzzle.

    mac 10:59 AM  

    Thank you, @Steve J.

    retired_chemist 10:59 AM  

    Had leaP for 1A. PRIMAL followed instantly, since the P was right even though leaP was actually JUMP. Luck thus helped me past the anIMAL roadblock.

    JFC 11:17 AM  

    I think Mr. Dewey needs to be cut some slack which Rex won't give. The explanation of “why now for this puzzle” can be found in Wordplay. As for the theme, I view three of the theme answers as common expressions and the headline TITANIC SINKS as more of a reveal how they are all tied together. I agree that as a tribute it is a tad weak, which explains why the actual tribute was published on the centennial.


    Z 11:23 AM  

    @Questina - Far more likely me than you.

    lawprof 11:27 AM  

    I don't see COLLISIONTHEORY as the "outlier" suggested by Rex. Over the years there have been myriad theories of, not the nature of the disaster (seems to be general consensus that the ship hit an iceberg), but why the ship's supposedly "unsinkable" design failed, why so many lives were lost, et alia. So, for me, the clue fit perfectly with the rest of the theme.

    Anyone else have eureka before IDIDIT? Otherwise, pretty zippy, fun puzzle. Oh...hand up for MAgi before MARY.

    Mohair Sam 11:32 AM  

    @Z - Don't care when you apologize, but you gotta apologize. That was just awful.

    So we spent about 15 minutes on this one, 10 minutes in the NW and 5 on the rest. We fell into the anIMAL trap, then corrected thanks to the gimme leaP. Yikes. Finally remembered the annoying blue JAY who hangs in our backyard all summer and finished the puzz.

    In spite of the fun of the above misdirection we come down with Rex on this one, worn theme, just not a lot of fun - although OHBOTHER was terrific, especially on the same page as ROO.

    Bob Kerfuffle 11:38 AM  

    @Carola - Thanks for the link to the Atlakviða. Can't wait to see the Disney version! ;>)

    OISK 11:39 AM  

    Liked this one very much, even though I typically "pooh" at Winnie clues. I still do use the term "collision theory" when I teach kinetics. How does he drive in the winning run in the Star Wars World Series?----Ewoks with the bases loaded...thanks for a nice Wed. Puzzle, Michael.

    Fred Romagnolo 11:40 AM  

    ANIMAL here; it was AFAR that saved me; for "lumber" I visualized a large body moving, but lobe & core fixed that; got TITANICSINKS right off; anyone remember the old Clifton Webb - Barbara Stanwyck movie? The two hair clues were good. Asiago is becoming a permanent fixture. Ecu and ecru on either side was nice. If anything Brit in the clue, I spell litre. I think of EGAD as more likely to be said by a man, and GOODNESS GRACIOUS by a woman.

    Lewis 1:00 PM  

    @rex -- second day in a row you called the puzzle more difficult than it is. Surely by now you have an instinct as to the difficulty of a puzzle aside from how long it takes you to do it on the computer.

    I'm fine with the theme -- it's a loose retelling of the story in order, the leaving on it's first trip, then a collision with the tip of an iceberg, and finally the headline. That's good enough for a crossword puzzle, I believe.

    I liked the clue for BOSTON. Easy for Wednesday but got the brain rolling...

    And no, bloviation and @Q do not belong in the same sentence.

    Gill I. P. 3:01 PM  

    Just yesterday I read a front page interesting article about a family (all intact and third class passengers) who survived the TITANIC disaster.
    I'm wondering if the women-and- children-first rule still applies...Maybe I'll ask Captain Schettino of the Costa Concordia.
    I liked the puzzle. Starting with JUMP and ending with NEXT.....!

    DAW-GUN 3:18 PM  

    Been lurking for a while but finally decided to jump in to start sharing the joys and woes of the NYT puzzles.

    Really liked the theme here with NE, SW, and SE filling in fast. NW was a holdout with the same aniMAL mistake -- had to erase all my entries in that corner and get a second set of eyes. Also, didn't know OSAGE and had double naticks where it crossed ELS and GAS -- needed Google for that one.

    So after so much easy fun, had to give in to search. Overall still a fun puzzle.

    chefbea 3:22 PM  

    @Daw-Gun welcome!!!

    sanfranman59 3:39 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)

    Wed 9:04, 9:54, 0.92, 30%, Easy-Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Wed 6:00, 6:11, 0.97, 40%, Medium

    Anonymous 4:06 PM  

    I love Rex. His rants make me laugh.
    My husband and I finished the puzzle and he said, "Rex isn't going to like this." I asked why, and he came up the exact reason Rex did not like it. COLLISION THEORY is not related to or relevant to the Titanic.
    I read him Rex's remarks and he said, "I didn't think he'd hate it that much."
    He hated ATLI too.
    I hated UKE cluing. A Maui music maker is a Ukulele--unless it is informal or "for short." Sloppy.
    SET for TV - I get it but I don't like it.

    Anonymous 4:11 PM  

    MAG wheels is short for magnesium wheels, an alloy wheel. Car buffs always call them MAG wheels. I have never heard anyone use magnesium when referring to them.
    "...earlier aluminum alloy wheels were quite brittle, and as light alloy wheels at the time that were often made of magnesium and referred to as "mags" these early wheel failures were later attributed to magnesium's low ductility, when in many instances these wheels were poorly cast aluminum alloy wheels."

    jae 6:33 PM  

    @NCA Pres. - Is there a musical in addition to The Unsinkable Molly Brown?

    @Questina - Me too for MAgi. Did a head slap when I remembered it was plural.

    Anoa Bob 7:09 PM  

    The TIP OF THE ICEBERG is above water, right? So I'm not sure how a COLLISION there would result in the TITANIC sinking. I've always heard/seen/read that the COLLISION occurred below the water line.

    sanfranman59 10:01 PM  

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

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

    Mon 5:45, 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

    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


    tegas fajar 6:23 AM  







    spacecraft 11:52 AM  

    A filter, a filter, my kingdom for a filter! HOW DOES THIS JUNK GET THROUGH??? We beat ourselves over the head trying to decipher illegible captchas, and for WHAT?? I WANT SOME ANSWERS! I am SICK of this S * * T!!!!!

    Ah, I feel better now. Someone saw "TITANIC" and was...underwhelmed? What would it take to impress you--being in the real thing? Bet THAT'd grab your attention. Although I agree this was easy, it did have a certain off-center feel--like "Bound" for JUMP, etc. I definitely felt the transition from early-week to weekend, cluing-wise, so it's perfectly positioned in the Wedensday slot.

    I don't share OFL's disdain for this one. At least the revealer clue doesn't contain "...or a hint to the [starts/ends] of {#, #, # and #]-across." So, "THEORY" doesn't fell like it belongs. Picky, picky. And the fill is not that awful. One reason I don't even try to construct is that I don't have alligator skin, apparently a prerequisite.

    "Phantom rough on roughnecks." [Old jungle saying.]

    What, now my captcha is one three-digit number? NO WONDER the Indonesian hordes invade!

    rain forest 1:18 PM  

    I found nothing offensive about this puzzle, and I thought that the four themers worked well together. As a former Senior Chemistry teacher, I taught COLLISION THEORY as a useful way to explain why certain conditions affect the rate of a chemical reaction, if not accurately predict it.

    "Leap tall buildings in a single JUMP", isn't as colourful as the original, but it works.

    It seems that @Rex cannot judge the difficulty of a puzzle unless he times himself. Well, I am perfectly capable of that judgement without timing. I rule. This puzzle was easy/medium.

    I too have a three number capcha, but it has a pair of 6's.

    DMG 2:24 PM  

    It's Wednesday, and this seemed as good a Wednesday puzzle as any. Didn't get caught in the "leap" trap because I always check the Down clue before "leaping in", and that indicated JAY. Is there any three letter bird starting with L? Never heard of COLLISIONTHEORY, but it sort of filled itself, and as for that ATLI character, I just go with whatever spelling the present constructor has used. Thought the semi-theme was cute, and didn't see the connection until I got to the disaster itself. Thumbs up!

    I think all the extra Captcha numbers must have spilled over to me. I have eight numbers: three 4's, two 9's, two 8's, and a leftover 2. Those on the short end are welcome to borrow some.

    Solving in Seattle 2:25 PM  

    @Questina made me laugh out loud.
    aniMAL instinct made the NW the last to fall.
    With a blank puzzle I wrote in TIPOFTHEICEBERG. Easiest wedpuz ever.
    MAG wheels should have been clued with "abrev."
    I had a warped childhood never having read Pooh, Charlotte,
    I did read all the Walter Farley books, though.

    Capcha: Warrior ketsupon. Instead of paintball you use a Heinz condiment?

    Anonymous 5:45 PM  

    How is it that a grid with OKIE in it can have a clue of "Oklahoma Indian" in it?

    Waxy in Montreal 9:09 PM  

    Not quite sure why but Brits, Aussies and we Canucks spell the 71A type of STORY as STOREY which caused me considerable (OH)BOTHER in the SW.

    Enjoyed the theme though, like @Rex, was puzzled how THEORY managed to get aboard 28A.

    Mini wordladder: ECO, EDO, ODO

    Dirigonzo 11:07 AM  

    I don't usually have to sleep on a Wednesday puzzle in order to finish it, but then I don't usually start them at 9:00pm after a couple of stiff drinks. Havint ets for one side in a close encounter blocked the NW corner until clear eyes in the morning spotted their UFO hovering there.

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