Two-horse wager / TUE 4-8-14 / Bucolic verse / Jungle film attire / Unit involved in shell game

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Constructor: Ian Livengood

Relative difficulty: Easy



THEME: Ambigu-its — common phrases (following the for verb-IT-preposition) are recontextualized  by their wacky, overly literal clues

Theme answers:
  • 17A: "That's enough!," to a hot dog-eating contestant? ("KEEP IT DOWN!")
  • 25A: "That's enough!," to a store clerk at Christmas? ("WRAP IT UP!")
  • 36A: "That's enough!," to an assembly line worker? ("MOVE IT ALONG!")
  • 51A: "That's enough!," to a collagist? ("CUT IT OUT!")
  • 61A: "That's enough!," to a carnival thrower? ("KNOCK IT OFF!")
Word of the Day: Jared LETO (10A: Jared of "Dallas Buyers Club") —
Jared Leto (/lɛtɒ/; born December 26, 1971) is an American actor, singer-songwriter, musician, director, producer, activist, philanthropist and businessman. After starting his career with television appearances in the early 1990s, Leto achieved recognition for his role as Jordan Catalano on the television series My So-Called Life (1994). He made his film debut in How to Make an American Quilt(1995) and received first notable critical praise for his performance in Prefontaine (1997). Leto played supporting roles in The Thin Red Line (1998), Fight Club (1998) and American Psycho (2000), as well as the lead role in Urban Legend (1998), and earned critical acclaim after portraying heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream (2000). He later began focusing increasingly on his music career, returning to acting with Panic Room (2002), Alexander (2004), Lord of War (2005),Lonely Hearts (2006), Chapter 27 (2007), and Mr. Nobody (2009). He made his directorial debut in 2012 with the documentary film Artifact.
Leto's performance as a transgender woman in Dallas Buyers Club (2013) earned him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, among numerous other accolades. […] 
Leto is the lead vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and main songwriter for Thirty Seconds to Mars, a band he formed in 1998 in Los Angeles, California, with his older brother Shannon Leto. (wikipedia) (emphasis mine … I have my reasons)
• • •

I should listen to Frank Zappa every time I solve because man did I torch this puzzle. Haven't been under 3 on a Tuesday in what feels like a good long time, but I was well under today. Was able to get most of the theme answers without even looking at the clues. You could just feel from the first word what a phrase was going to be after a while. This is a nice, tight theme—"That's enough" is a better clue for some of the theme answers than it is for others, but I think it holds up, overall. The best theme answer (by which I mean best theme clue) was the first one, which I really wish came at the end (Merl Reagle–style … whenever possible, let your last themer be your punchline). I don't really like "collagist" or "carnival thrower" because they are overly specific and oddly phrased, respectively. But still, the core concept is a solid and entertaining one.


Here's what held me up (if only for a tiny bit): first, ON TAPE (13D: Like books for long car rides, say). This is not a surprise, as this concept of listening to books ON TAPE is already an anachronism. Maybe they're on CD, more likely they're on some kind of mp3 player. Would've gotten held up on ECO-LAW (a term I never see in the wild) (45D: Body of environmental regulations), but the E and W were my first letters, so I got it instantly. Only other stop-and-think-a-bit moment was with CREW TEAM—since that answer had the trickiest clue of the day (3D: Unit involved in a shell game?), and is an uncommon (and pretty cool) answer, my mild struggle is completely unsurprising. Everything else—instant.

Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta go check on the NCAA Championship game.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

78 comments:

jae 12:05 AM  

A fine Tues.  Easy for me too with no erasures and no WOEs.  Very smooth grid with a cute theme.  About all you can ask for on a Tues.  Liked it.

Saw "Dallas Buyers Club" last week and highly recommend it.  LETO deserved the Oscar.

wreck 12:05 AM  

Nice puzzle - quicker than my normal Tuesday time. Thumbs-up!

Steve J 12:09 AM  

Found this very easy and very fun. Theme answers were good to great (agreed that KEEP IT DOWN and its clue was the best of the lot), some really good fill like WHATNOT and APE SUIT, and virtually no dreck (I also questioned ECOLAW, and pluralizing ANDS is a bit unsightly, but those are hardly concerning, especially when everything else is nice and clean).

wreck 12:21 AM  

I agree that ANDS wasn't the greatest, but at least it was clued as &&&& instead of "No ifs, ____, or buts!"

Davis 12:28 AM  

As a lawyer I found ECOLAW distracting--that is simply not a term used by anyone, anywhere to refer to environmental regulations. It's up there with E-[THING] for pure awfulness in my book.

Otherwise a nice puzzle though, so I'll let it slide. I actually burned through this one faster than I did yesterday's.

Casco Kid 12:48 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Casco Kid 12:57 AM  

Loved it. Certified free of rabbit holes. So smooth it was creamy. Under 15. I think that's a Tuesday record here. AVIA held me up as I never remember that name. ONTAPE and ECOLAW were instantaneous as they were both partially solved when I got to them. Fun theme. Free ITs throughout.

The theme should remind us how close English and German are. The compound verb/verb+preposition construct is common to both languages, as is ending a sentence with a verb. Ending a sentence with a verb-preposition construct really should be something we can put-up-with.

Only nit: CREWTEAM is redundant. I was soundly ridiculed by an ex-girlfriend (and 4-year member of Harvard women's varsity crew) when I naively asked about life on the CREWTEAM. No one who rows crew uses that phrase, she insisted. They are a crew. They row crew. I took the admonishment to heart. I did a stint as a sportswriter years ago, I hate to get such terminology wrong, on principle.

Moly Shu 2:35 AM  

Easy and very smooth here also. Particularly liked EXACTA (possibly left over from yesterday) and also 7d (ruh-roh Raggy).

@CascoKid, thanks for the CREW lesson. I 100% would've called it a TEAM. Now I won't.

loren muse smith 4:18 AM  

What a terrific Tuesday puzzle. This one, too, reminded me of PB's "The Meaning of It" puzzle a couple of years ago. With today's clues, the IT goes from just a dummy word to a word that represents a real noun that you can picture in your head. I agree – KEEP IT DOWN is the most fun.

Who wouldn't rather be LITHE than SPRY, huh? Morning, @nanpilla!

I actually wanted WHAT NOT to be plural. I think I always say it with an S.

Hey, and Ian has nine down entries that are two-word phrases. Yeah!

ADWARE/HYPES, SPRY and LITHE, ON KEY & FAS, OXEN & IBEX. . .nice pairs

A word of advice on APE SUIT. I own a full gorilla suit – the expensive serious kind. Don't ever put it on for Halloween and run through the school cafeteria when there are kindergarteners eating. Just sayin'.

One more APE SUIT story – a guy who was painting my basement saw it and put it on to surprise his assistant. When he came around the corner in it, the poor assistant threw down his roller and ran. He thought it was our Newfoundland, Beverly Ann, running at him on her hind legs. Now *that* calls to mind a funny picture!

Ian, as always, great puzzle!

chefwen 4:22 AM  

Very easy Tuesday puzzle. I kinda missed my Red Haired Tuesday sister that usually comes with a little twist.

Started to write in edam at 48A and was astonished when there was an extra square at 48A. O.K. GOUDA it is.

Love Ian's puzzles, but this one was a little too tame for me.

jae 5:18 AM  

@lms - Yep, wanted an S on NOT.

APE SUIT evokes the 60's movie Morgan which had a scene towards the end oddly similar to the wedding interrupted scene in The Graduate (minus the APE SUIT) which came out a year later. Just sayin...

JTHurst 5:38 AM  

Good Puzzle. Struggled on 'sees fit', 'avia', and 'fas'.

Had a housekeeping question on 55a. I thought when the question is a four letter abbreviation, I thought the answer was usually a four letter answer. Is that generally true? That the clue and answer lengths are generally the same using abbreviations.

jberg 5:58 AM  

OK, somebody's gotta say it -- those aren't prepositions, they're adverbs. OFF could be a preposition in other contexts, none of the others are anything but adverbs.

OK, enough didacticism -- neat theme! The nice little wrinkle is that they are all clued in a context where the answers DON'T mean "that's enough." I really liked that.

No such thing as CREW TEAM though. A crew is a team. You can call it an 'eight' (unless it's a four), you can call it a 'boat,' but not a team.

OK, enough didacticism -- didn't I say that already? Have to go AUDIT an AUDI.

Elle54 6:19 AM  

@LMS hahaha! Why am I not surprised you own an APESUIT? You have a lot of fun at your house!

Dawn 7:15 AM  

Just a general question for all of you....

If I were to learn about sports, for the reason of solving puzzle clues, should I begin with BASEBALL??

Thank you in advance for any responses.

I am a newbie, but enjoyed the puzzle, also.

Anonymous 7:37 AM  

"Crewteam" and "ecolaw" are made up gibberish, says my next door neighbor who was a rower in college and is now an EPA judge. Other than that, not bad.

Conrad 8:07 AM  

@Dawn, you should not learn about baseball for the reason of solving puzzle clues, you should learn about baseball because it is the best game ever. But yes, based on my (biased and unscientific) estimates, baseball does appear to have more puzzle clues than other sports: HRS, RBI, OTT, etc.

Casco Kid 8:12 AM  

@dawn hard to say what sport is worth learning about first. I suggest Amy Reynaldo's book which highlights regular fill, like ÉPÉE. Then I'd say baseball, sure, because it is the national pastime so you'll find plenty of opportunity to use the acquired info both as fact and as metaphor. We all have to appeal to our inner Cal Ripken from time to time -- just to get to work on bad days -- so it is worth knowing who he is. And Lou Gehrig. Shall I go on?

@jberg thanks for your grammatical pointer. There's a good chance I've been fooling myself on this one for years. Will double check.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

I'm with Casco. I rowed crew in college. I was on the crew. And the tennis TEAM.

Susan McConnell 8:24 AM  

Also wanted the S on WHATNOT, probably because the clue was "Miscellaneous things" - plural.

Enjoyed the puzzle very much, but didn't care much for the clueing of the themers...some felt just plain weird.

AliasZ 8:42 AM  


For once, I totally ignored the byline. When I was finished, I thought: hey, this was great, then I looked. Of course, it's an Iangood!

For those of you wondering what an ECO-LAW is, it is a law that is eco-friendly in that it doesn't waste over 1000 pages of paper.

A baseball team made up of rowers playing against airline personnel: which CREW TEAM do you think would win?

Other than that, Ian Livengood delivers again. The theme entries were all great, but KEEP IT DOWN wins the race.

There is only one APE SUIT scene that counts: it's from the 1983 Eddie Murphy - Dan Aykroyd movie Trading Places.

But I can't keep it up, so it's time to put it away, hang it up and set it aside, or try it again and or do it over.

I had great fun with this one. Thanks, Ian.

Sir Hillary 8:50 AM  

Clean and fun. If we can't have last Tuesday every Tuesday, I would gladly settle for this Tuesday again next Tuesday.

Never knew IDYL had only one L. New knowledge = good.

I like how STEALS are an NBA STAT.

And the nicely placed LOW IRONS will be important this week in Augusta.

Ludyjynn 8:54 AM  

One clue response, 23Across, made me IRATE. I HATE it when people say CHA instead of KA-ching! KA-ching, KA-ching, KA-ching, for future reference, IL and WS!


@Dawn, in NYT puzzles, I notice a lot of basketball cluing, as in today's NBA, as well as hockey references, as in today's ORR. I grew up w/ an older brother who is a sports nut, so, as a female, have an unusually wide general knowledge of sports that comes in very handy w/ puzzle solving. Also familiarize yourself w/ soccer, as PELE and HAMM show up on a regular basis.
Of course, baseball knowledge is a bonus, witness PALMER and RIPKEN. As an Orioles fan, they are two of my faves. And in case you haven't already noticed, EPEE appears consistently; God knows why!
Good luck!

chefbea 9:03 AM  

Easy fun puzzle. Congrats to all you connecticut-ites!!
Glad we won!!

joho 9:06 AM  

Fun, clean, light, frothy, LITHE and SPRY! Ian brings us a breath of fresh air on a Tuesday.

My only tiny nits have been mentioned: CREW(TEAM) and no S on WHATNOT ... so I learning something, too.

Loved APESUIT in the grid and even more because it inspired Loren's hilarious story. As @elle54 said, "Of course you own an APESUIT!" You're probably wondering why everybody doesn't have one!

joho 9:14 AM  

I forgot to mention that I thought mentioning the dreaded Roman Numeral in the clue for MIX was a bold move.

Z 9:37 AM  

Repetitive redundancies have never bothered me, so I was fine with CREW TEAM. ECO LAW got 155,000 google hits, including what look to be a couple of law firms specializing in in it (the firms are not in the US), so it is rare but it is used by someone somewhere.

I'd rate this good, not great. If a collagist says CUT IT OUT he is not stopping, he's adding on. Likewise, MOVE IT ALONG is more "next," not "stop," as clued. So 40% of the themer clues don't actually work unless you do some sort of tortured mental gymnastics. Enough to ruin the puzzle? No. But enough to say that the theme isn't actually all that "tight."

"ASS?" "WRAP IT UP!" sounds like a thong discussion in most households.

Speaking of the NCAA (and going off-topic) - I checked my bracket out of curiosity. I finished in 1,329,735th place out of some 11 million brackets (better than 87.9%). My picks weren't random, but I am not a college basketball fan (I did not watch any games - just the endings of a couple if baseball wasn't on). That I did so well is evidence that actual knowledge is not required, just a little luck. More important to me, when the player made the 3-point shot to get Kentucky into the Final Four his coach earned a $30,000, the player got nothing but the glory.

retired_chemist 9:38 AM  

Solid Tuesday. Used several crosses to get the theme answers but it was all easy. A Monday-ish solve time.

Had nike @ 66A and it took me over 30 sec to find the error.Had I put in the crossword-friendly AVIA first, as I considered doing, I would have beat my Monday time this week by a mile.

Not a lot of crossswordese and a fun theme. What's not to like?

Thanks, Mr. Livengood.

Z 9:39 AM  

@joho - I forgot, too. I loved the clue at least as much as I hate RRNs.

Hartley70 9:40 AM  

Echoing a laugh reading Loren's ape suit story! We have to make do with Santa Claus here. Yea UCONN! This was a lovely Tuesday, but I have a question. I use an iphone app for the puzzle and I don't get a reference to any themes. I feel like I'm missing some of the fun. Does any other app include them?

RnRGhost57 9:52 AM  

A great way to start the day. Merci, IL.

Zed the Answer Man 9:56 AM  

@Hartley70 - The fun comes from figuring them out. The only time there is a hint is Sunday, which will have a title that hints at the theme.

Mohair Sam 10:05 AM  

Easy and fun Tuesday. Theme was clever but seemed a little strained in the last two answers - I'm not sure I even get the connection for 61a.

I know I've seen the disputed CREWTEAM in print. The IRA regatta was held less than a mile from our house for many years, and was the talk of the media for weeks before. I'm sure the CREW alone folks are right, but the clue was so nifty I need to make a case for the answer.

@Z - I was 805,642 on the ESPN, that put me in the top 8%. Amazingly, I did not have a team in any of the last 5 games played and only slipped 3% in the standings. Lot of surprises this year. Congrats UCONN, and coach (former Sixer) Kevin Ollie. He remains the ultimate over-achiever.

Masked and Anonym007Us 10:07 AM  

har.

"That's enough!" to a laundry Bermuda Triangle investigator. 12 letters.

"That's enough!" to a composer using too many notes. 11 letters.

"That's enough!" to Dennis and Doris. 10 letters.

"That's enough!" to a dog food manufacturer. 5 letters.

"That's enough!" to a bonsai tree trimmer. 7 letters.

M&A

p.s.
Agent 007-U will return in
UKES Only Lives Twice

Gill I. P. 10:08 AM  

Yes, a simple nice puzzle. Could have used a drop or two of Tabasco.
@Sir Hillary...You can spell IDYL/IDYLL either way though I think the one L is American.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:11 AM  

Nice puzzle.

@JTHurst - I have never heard of any rule that the length of an abbreviation in a clue should match the length of the answer.

Consider that almost all abbreviations are 1, 2, 3, or 4 letters long. (I would not count constructs like *sci fi*, *scuba* or *OBGYN* as abbreviations.) There is a "rule" against one or two letter answers in a grid (although you can easily find counterexamples), so clue and answer abbr are likely to be either 3 or 4 letters. You may have seen mostly pairs of matched length, but I would call that a matter of chance.

Steve J 10:29 AM  

@Mohair Sam: For 61A, think of those midway games where you have to throw a beanbag to knock down Coke bottles.

@Loren, jae, Susan McConnell: Adding an S to WHATNOT would have sounded weird to me. I've always used it in the singular. I wonder if that's a regional variation.

@JTHurst: I've never noticed any correlation between the length of an abbreviation in a clue and the corresponding answer. Just that if there's an abbrev. in a clue, there's one in the answer.

@jberg: They're prepositions and adverbs, depending on how you read the phrases They are prepositions when you read the answers in their literal sense: KEEP IT DOWN (your gullet), KNOCK IT OFF (the shelf), etc. (WRAP IT UP may be an exception. I can't think of what the implied prepositional phrase would be; the expression's idiomatic in both senses.)

Mohair Sam 10:35 AM  

Thanks @Steve - I'm having more psf (Palm Slaps Forehead) moments than aha moments lately.

Carola 10:36 AM  

A Tuesday treat. I'm always happy to see Ian Livengood's name at the top of a puzzle.

I second @jae on Jared LETO and the movie.

quilter1 10:46 AM  

Very enjoyable. I never saw ECOLAW as I was filling in so quickly and smoothly. Never heard it so it didn't hold me back. Enjoyed the fresh cluing and answers.

Hartley70 11:22 AM  

Thanks Zed! It's very good to know there's an "answer man" in the world. Ken Jennings may finally get his comeuppance.

Hartley70 11:35 AM  

Back in the late sixties in Boston, you rowed crew for your respective school, but it was not uncommon to hear that one was on the crew team.

Arlene 11:37 AM  

This was a Monday on Tuesday - no complaints. Nice to finish fast and easy.

KEEP IT DOWN made me think of the famous annual Coney Island Nathan's hot dog contest. Definitely something worth witnessing (at least once in a lifetime, anyway.)

Casco Kid 11:53 AM  

@jberg The adverbial 'at' doesn't violate the terminal preposition proscription, but the prepositional 'at' does? Am I at where you're at? Sorry, let me rephrase. Is this what you are getting at? Very interesting.

Lewis 12:07 PM  

Apparently WHATNOTs is a word, but has anyone ever used it in their speech? Whenever I've used it, it has been for singular and plural.

This puzzle would work as a medium Monday, I think.

A fun puzzle with the kind of theme that helps with the solve, and the kind of word play that brings smiles rather than groans. Thanks Ian!

Lewis 12:08 PM  

That is, whenever I've used WHATNOT.

Steve J 12:13 PM  

@Casco Kid: The problem is that the proscription against ending sentences with prepositions is bogus. Along with things like the (equally bogus) rule against split infinitives, it's not something that's ever really been part of English and was a result of a move a few hundred years ago to shoehorn the rules of Latin grammar into English.

There's a ice explanation of the mistakenness of the rule from the Oxford dictionary people.

In short, don't worry about where you put your prepositions. English has always had terminal prepositions. As Winston Churchill is alleged to have said (although probably didn't) when someone admonished for ending a sentence with one: That is the sort of nonsense up with which I shall not put.

mac 12:33 PM  

Nice and easy, fun Tuesday.

I had one write-over, at "whatall". One way to solve the plural problem.

My husband was extatic last night about the UConn win, today he is mostly nervous about "his girls" this evening.

Davis 12:42 PM  

@Z -- First, there aren't really 155,000 hits--if you page through, you cap out at 285 websites (you can't trust the initial Google totals, they include multiple hits within the same domain). Also, look more closely at those ECOLAW Google hits. The only use I see of the term as clued is by a British law firm that also conveniently has the domain name ecolawa.org.uk (i.e., they're using it in a self-serving way). In fact, the vast majority of Google hits appear to be company names, rather than descriptive uses.

More importantly, no lawyer would know what the hell you were talking about if you used that term.

Casco Kid 1:01 PM  

@steve J I worry. I worry. I worry that if reason prevails there will be no room left for us pedants, of whom Churchill is a patron saint. Of.

Seriously, reworking the preposition rule by identifying compound verb-adverb pairs -- and separating them from where-it's-at true terminal prepositional colloquial nonsense -- makes a lot of sense. @jberg's adverbification trick is useful for that.

I'll stick with the split infinitive rule because a) I do notice it every time, and b) it almost always indicates weak style. I used to call Mrs. Kid on split infinitives, but decided I liked being married more.

Lastly, regarding grammar & language: prescribe! prescribe! prescribe! and don't trust anyone one under 50! ;)

Dawn 1:04 PM  

@Conrad
@Casco Kid
@Ludyjynn

Thanks for your valuable advice and the book suggestion!!

Ive got an ebook thats a history of baseball that may help. I 'll start with.

Men in my family didnt follow sports, then I married into a family that was enamored by baroque music concerts and fine arts.( But theres never arguing after Thanksgiving dinner! LOL)

chefbea 1:22 PM  

@Lewis I always look for whatnots when I go yard sailing - they are the same as bric-a-brac.

M and Also 1:23 PM  

1. Am gettin complaints, that my "That's Enough" answers don't each end with a preposition/proposition/adverb/obnoxious-weeject. OK, OK. So add three to each answer length, and viola! ***Spoiler alert***: see answers, following the weeping M&A shape, far below.

2. @BobK and especially Benko [to be read in a halting, zombie-like, desperate tones]:
Quadstack runtpuz...too...easy. Must...make...harder. Must...make...abnormal. Must...make...quintstack... Must...make...own...head...explode...
www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=611&id2=187

3. Enjoyed the TuesPuz thoroughly. Thanx Ux007, Ian (Fleming) Livengood.

M&A

:(
o
o
o
oo
ooo
ooooooo o

That's enough-ers:
PUTASOCKINITNOW
GIVEITARESTNOW
CALLITADAYNOW
CANITNOW
LEAVEITNOW.

Z 1:32 PM  

@Casco Kid - "To Boldly Go" v. "To Go Boldly." Hmmm - is it just repetition of hearing that makes the "wrong" seem so right and the "right" seem so wrong? If the purpose of grammar is to allow the precise conveying of meaning I think there are probably many times when the splitting of the infinitive is required. If a benefit of grammar is to make the language more poetic then I have no doubt. I'm over 50, so you can trust me....

@Davis - My only plaint was with the absolutes in your initial post. Someone somewhere has used it, and we all know what they specialize in.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:44 PM  

@M&A - My time, no cheats: 2 min, 43 sec. (For Benko's results, subtract 2 min.)

Just took me a little extra time to see that that angry mule was a legitimate answer!

Unless you are already actually Trip Payne, perhaps you are working up to a puzzle in his style of "Anything Goes," like a 15 x 15 with no black squares!?!

Many thanks.

Mohair Sam 1:49 PM  

Always enjoy the great preposition debate, and always enjoy the Churchill quote. But always remember this joke as a result, it was nominated in a humor magazine for joke of the previous century (shortened version):

Texas oilman is introduced to recent Ivy League grad at a party.
Texan: "Where'd you graduate from?"
Ivy Grad: "A school where we learned not to end a sentence with a preposition."
Texan: "Sorry, I'll correct that - Where'd you graduate from, asshole?"

M and Aaaarrrggghhh 1:49 PM  

Aaaaarrrrggggghhhhh....

@BobK. (et al.)
Life ain't fair. Took me longer than that just to clue 1-Down.

Must...make...septic stack...

M&A

john towle 1:50 PM  

Steve J,

I love the quote from Sir Winston. The version I'm most familiar with is: "This is the sort arrant pedantry up with which I will not put." The other quote uttered during the darkest days of WW II: "Never, never, never, never, never give up," which rallied the British against the scourge of Nazism.

Best,

john

Bob Kerfuffle 1:55 PM  

For anyone who cares, here's a nice explanation of an "Anything Goes" crossword.

dk 2:19 PM  

🌕🌕 (2 Moons)

Kinda of a cute theme But,,,,

Benko 4:30 PM  

@m&a: Fast on this one thanks to the across clues and living in 8 across. But if I had done the down clues it would have been much harder. One down is some great cryptic nonsense, indeed. And 3 down is something I don't know about. Did it in about the time @bobk estimated, maybe a little faster.

sanfranman59 4:42 PM  

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

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

Tue 7:21, 8:32, 0.86, 12%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:47, 5:11, 0.92, 20%, Easy-Medium

Outlaw M and A 5:11 PM  

@Benko: U are a pretty pretty pretty good solver.
Much to my delight yesterday, went to "The Grand Budapest Hotel" flick and heard Jeff Goldblum utter my quintstackruntpuz 3-Down answer in an actual sentence.

Puzzle Mom 5:13 PM  
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Puzzle Mom 5:18 PM  

I'm sure I've never heard the word "whatnot" as a plural. The word, with no "s" is defined as "an item or items that are not identified but are felt to have something in common with the item or items already named. So, for example, 'I'm going to the bakery for bread and whatnot." Likely, that would give rise to the expectation on the part of the listener that our shopper is going to buy some donuts and maybe a few chocolate chip cookies along with the bread. All of those things, collectively, are the whatnot of the initial announcement. The word would only be plural if it were referring to two or more of such assertions, e.g. "And then I'm going to the produce market for lettuce and whatnot." Now we have two whatnots -- those to be bought at the bakery and those to be bought at the produce market. But, really, who's ever heard such a thing?

The second definition of whatnot is a stand with shelves for small objects. It's not the objects that are "whatnots," it's the furniture on which they are displayed that is the whatnot. Of course there could be two or more such structures and then we'd have whatnots.

I liked this puzzle and enjoyed solving it. I had to put it down and pick it up a couple of hours later before the NW corner came to me and it was really satisfying to wrap it up.

Benko 5:39 PM  

@M&A: Just read about 3 down in Wiki. I know the concept but did not know the word. remember in Simpsons, when grandpa Abe and mr. Burns were the last remaining members of a (sort of) 3 down, leading burns to want to kill Abe.

Bob Kerfuffle 5:50 PM  

@M&A, @Benko - I saw Budapest Hotel last week, must have heard the word (3 Down), but didn't pay much attention because it is *in my vocabulary.* The pop culture reference I think of from hearing it is the episode of M*A*S*H in which Col. Potter is the recipient of a bottle of wine by reason of this arrangement.

chefwen 6:38 PM  

M&A - I can't get to your puzzles, is there a trick or am I just stUpid? There is nothing to click on and when I type in the xwordinfo code I get todays puzzle.

M and A Help Desk 7:19 PM  

@chefwen: U need to copy the stuff on this next line:
www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=611&id2=187
into the address line, up top of your browser page.
Probably says somethin like "rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.com" in the address line, before you change it.
After U type in the new address, punch enter key.

I'll try to make something to click on below, but I am no good at it, usually.
here

M&A

chefwen 7:52 PM  

M&A Help Desk - Nope, didn't work, just got Ian's puzzle again. I'll try again next time.

Tita 10:22 PM  

@JTHurst...random. I thought that there might be a convention that the gender of ESO/ESA or OTRO/OTRA might have to do with the gender of the person being referenced - that is, "Other, to Juan" would be OTRO. But that only seems to be about 55% so.

@Dawn...most of all, just do puzzles.
There is such a small subset of sports-related fill as compared to the body of knowledge that exists.
I happen to know lots about baseball, due to a passing passion back as a wain. It continues to serve me well here.

You'll get to know all the "regulars". Beyond that, you'll be well-served to know the teams, their abbreviations, their cities.

@Mohair - I heard that as an exchange in Harvard Yard.

While I am no fan of cassette tapes in general, they hold one distinct advantage as a book ONTAPE when one takes the tape from one car to another - the media knows where it was!

Thanks Mr. Livengood.

Fred Romagnolo 11:04 PM  

Lugosi was in 2 different "ape suit" movies: "the Gorilla," & "The Ape Man." scared the hell out me when I was a pre-teener. The movie "Morgan," upset me (as an adult) because it seemed to exploit the problems of the mentally disturbed in a snotty way.

sanfranman59 1:24 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, 6:12, 0.93, 16%, Easy
Tue 7:19, 8:32, 0.86, 11%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:46, 3:58, 0.95, 21%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:39, 5:11, 0.90, 14%, Easy

spacecraft 12:41 PM  

While I can't quarrel with the "easy" rating, this one didn't play that well for me. I had CREWTEA_ in place and thought I had gone awry somewhere; surely it wasn't CREWTEAM. CREW CREW? TEAM TEAM?? WHAT??? But it was. And then KEEPITDOWN does not really mean "That's enough!" Unless you mean "That's enough volume on your music, Junior!" But even then, you don't mean that's enough, you mean that's too much. The whole NW just. Didn't. Feel. Right.

Agreed that baseball is a fine start for learning sporting crosswords, but today it held me up. I saw "Well-pitched," five letters starting with O, and was thinking O HITS?? Could he put that in there? It wouldn't be any more OFF than the rest of this grid. But I finally got ONKEY with that one.

More headscratching with MOVEITALONG. There are scenarios where that makes sense for "That's enough!"; Kenobi's mental directive to those dense stormtroopers comes to mind. Still, it seems OFF to me. The other themers are fine, especially CUTITOUT, which evoked a chuckle.

My last WHA?? came with ECOLAW. Is there such a term? Do you see why I felt a little strange doing this? I wanted to get done with it and get back to the real world, where things are not...OFF.

Agree about the only APESUIT moment worth mentioning. "Aw, look, they're in love." It was satisfying to know that the dastardly Clarence Beeks was going to "get his."

At last a hand worth a raise: four 8's.

DMG 2:53 PM  

With the Santa Ana's howling and the temperature heading closer and closer to 100 in the shade just outside my window, I was glad for a fun, pleasing puzzle to distract me for a minute. Do think 17A might more appropriately been addressed to a noisy library crowd, but that's a nit pick. Now to turn the fan up and get a cool compress.

How's the weather down In your area @San Diego Ron? Gee, I hope I got your tag right. It looks off to me, but then, today, everything does.

I cede to @Spacecraft unless I can play my three pairs?

Dirigonzo 5:02 PM  

No mistakes, no write-overs, no wrong squares - "That's enough!" to this crossword solver.

My luck at the table seems to have gone south - deuces and treys.

@DMG - that certainly sounds opressive - hope you get some relief soon. (And I think it's "Ron Diego" but maybe he'll check in and set us both straight.)

Fingers crossed DMG 5:25 PM  

@Diri. I think you are right. Should have remembered it earlier.

Now to add to the wind and heat, we are smelling smoke from a major fire a few miles to the east, where homes and schools are being evacuated. The City has notified us to stay on alert and make evacuation plans, in case it jumps the lines. And I thought all the flammable stuff went up last time this happened!!

Dirigonzo 8:35 PM  

@DMG - Whenever I start to complain about the weather around here I think of the extreme weather conditions and natural disasters in other parts of the country and I'm thankful that our conditions are mild by comparison. Stay safe - I'll be thinking of you as I read the news updates for your area.

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