Governor elected in 2003 recall vote / 5-14-14 / Historic resigned of 2013 / Country with gorilla on its 5000-franc note / Drug smuggler's courier

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Constructor: Victor Barocas

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: TURNING A PROPHET (64A: Punny description of the circled letters in 17-, 27- and 48-Across) — names of prophets appear backwards (in circled squares) inside long theme answers:

Theme answers:
  • WIN SOME, LOSE SOME (17A: Words of resignation)
  • ESPRESSO MAKERS (27A: Barista-operated gadgets)
  • SCHWARZENEGGER (48A: Governor elected in a 2003 recall vote)
Word of the Day: "Pumping IRON" (67A: "Pumping ___" (1977 docudrama featuring 48-Across)) —
Pumping Iron is a 1977 docudrama about the world of bodybuilding, focusing on the 1975 IFBB Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia competitions. Inspired by a book of the same name by Charles Gainesand George Butler, the film nominally focuses on the competition between Arnold Schwarzeneggerand one of his primary competitors for the title of Mr. Olympia, Lou Ferrigno. The film also features brief segments focusing on bodybuilders Franco Columbu and Mike Katz, in addition to appearances by Ken WallerEd CorneySerge Nubret, and other famous bodybuilders of the era.
Shot during the 100 days leading up to the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia competitions and during the competitions themselves, the filmmakers ran out of funds to finish production, and it stalled for two years. Ultimately, Schwarzenegger and other bodybuilders featured in the film helped to raise funds to complete production, and it was released in 1977. The film became a box office success, making Schwarzenegger a household name. The film also served to popularize the then somewhat niche culture of bodybuilding, helping to inspire the fitness craze of the 1980s; following the film's release, there was a marked increase in the number of commercial gyms in the United States. (wikipedia)
[To hear Arnold talk about the orgasmic feeling of "the pump," press "Play," though you should anticipate mental scarring.]

• • •

Corny, one-note puzzle with fill that is good by comparison to yesterday's fill but bad by comparison to actual good. Also, this puzzle features some of the most blatant, borderline hilarious Scrabble-F***ing I've seen in a good long while. JAS!? You wanted that "J" so bad you went with JAS? Where was the person in the background shouting "Nooooooooooo!" in slow motion? (or, you know, an editor) Simple switch to "M" gives you an instant upgrade, in that it gives you an actual word in the Down (in English *and* in Spanish). Ugh. Similar nonsense happening in the SW. No attempt to make fill interesting. Just a ridiculous, pointless attempt to cram in the rarer letters. Again, look around; it's all SSTS and AMIE and I BEG and EPODE and OTO OHMS REPO ETON ADES and just blah. SLO? Try Harder! I wouldn't notice all this gunk if there was enough decent stuff off-setting it, but there just isn't. The revealer is punny, I'll give it that (though I like that Autocorrect wants it to be "puny"; that's fair). But the circled square don't a. touch every word in ever theme answer and b. bridge words in every theme answer. So there's no elegance. Just a pun. A pun around which a rather ungainly and forgettable grid has been built.

Nothing to enumerate, really. Found the puzzle startlingly easy. Not sure where any hold-ups might be located. I probably thought more about whether 1A: Does damage to would be HARMS or MAIMS than I did about any other answer in the grid. Finished a shade over 3, a good deal faster than my normal Wednesday solve. So at least it was over quickly, I guess.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:15 AM  

Easier than yesterday's for me.   No erasures and no WOEs.  Liked it more than Rex did.  A Biblical pun theme, a slightly forced pangram, not bad for a Wed.  A tad too easy perhaps?

Tough cross EPODE/DES?  I know EPODE only from crosswords.

I live in CA and saw Arnold's name in the paper daily for years and still had problems with the spelling.  Where does that H go and two Gs really?  @lms - I tried to put an H in OCCAM the razor guy earlier to day, sheesh!

Anonymous 12:15 AM  

Who could argue against a JAS to MAS upgrade?


Steve J 12:23 AM  

@Rex: Changing JAS to MAS (agreed, a better choice) isn't without its own problems. MA BELL is already in the puzzle, and two MAs wouldn't be good. And since MA BELL crosses two themers, it would probably be difficult to drop that one, so you're probably stuck with that MA.

Found the puzzle very easy here, too. Easy-Tuesday time, in fact. Didn't experience any resistance anywhere, other than brief hesitation on EPODE and PUSS crossing UH-OH (which could theoretically also be OH-OH). The pun was enough for me to have a neutral-good reaction to this one.

@jae: The only way I can remember how to spell Ahnold's name - despite living in CA before, during and since his governorship - is to think of it in its German pronunciation. Of course, that's helpful only if you can speak and spell German.

retired_chemist 12:32 AM  

It's a pangram. Whoopee. I have to guess that is why the J was used.

As usual, I did not dislike it as much as Rex, but it didn't thrill me.

On to Thursday.

retired_chemist 12:38 AM  

Schwarzenegger - schwarz means black, Swiss/Austrian German egg (<=> German eck) means corner, so I surmise Arnold is sort of the man from the black corner. And that at least is how I remember the spelling.

Casco Kid 12:47 AM  

oHOH. YIkES. Down two in an otherwise simple puzzle. A 25 minute breeze to wrongness.
EPODE? EkODE? Equally meaningless to me during solve. PUSS, not PoSS, is slang for face. Had I gone slower, I may have noticed that, but oHOH seemed fine.

Uninspired theme. Long clues held little charm and less challenge. Traditionally, spelling something sacred backwards was a way of invoking black magic. Nowadays, the inversion doesn't invoke a spiritual evil so much as an intellectual one. Backward prophets are kinda "bmud." Get it? How dumb is that? Exactly. Now if that led to some kind of clued BANKRUPTCY ( profitlessness) as part of the theme, well, then maybe it would deserve grudging respect. As it is, I think I'd rather play Revolution 9 backwards and think about the actually-dead Beatles.

But now I know EPODE. So 25 minutes well spent, regardless.

Colin 1:19 AM  

EPODE crossing YIPES is hilarious. I got it because EPODE looks slightly more like a real (Greek) word than EkODE, but yeesh. Otherwise really not so bad, but the best thing about it is that it inspired you to post a song by the inimitable Patty Griffin. "Every time I see him he smiles / And tells me how well he's walkin' these miles / But he never ever asks a single thing about me / If I died, he'd hear about it eventually." She is a treasure!

Ellen S 1:27 AM  

Super easy DNF -- I confidently put in oH-OH, and didn't see my error even though it was staring me right in the PoSS. Soooo disappointed when the red "Sorry" sign came up on Puzzazz when i filled in the last square.

My reward is the Captcha: "wineect". "ect" is how you spell "etc." after a few glasses of wine, etc. I think I'll start now and see how long my spelling holds up...

Evan 1:33 AM  

I liked the revealer just because I found the pun to be unexpected. I'm actually not one who thinks that circled letters need to touch every word or bridge words in theme answers, though it does hide the circled words a little better that way, and still, Rex's point about the fill is well-taken. I guess if you were going to bridge words with *ARZE*, you'd probably be limited to YEAR ZERO, but then you'd need something to match that 8-letter entry, and possibly a fifth themer as well.


The MAS could also be the Spanish word for "more." Whether that's desirable or not, it doesn't necessarily have to be the plural of "ma."

I also winced at JAS, and I like Amy's suggested change of turning JINX into GINA and XMEN into AMEN. But I figured if it's important to preserve the pangram and stick the J and X in that corner, what about this fill instead?

New Devil Cross puzzle coming later today, by the way....

chefwen 1:43 AM  

Pretty easy for me also. @Casco kid - YIkES before YIPES too. credo before ETHIC, those were my only write-overs.

Paddy the Wonder Cat suffered no lasting damage to his cute little PUSS with his failed epic leap Monday night, so not trip to the Vet which is always a stressful event for both of us.

Cute puzzle, enjoyed it.

Anoa Bob 2:42 AM  

It's a good thing I put a surge protector in the latest version of the POCometer. Otherwise this puzzle would have fried the internal circuitry.

Coming out of the gate with HARMS, HEWS, IMPS, & AGENTS was only a prelude.

Then SSTS kicks it up a notch. We see this one often in grids because it is not only a plural of convenience itself, it also sets the stage for three more possible POCs. Betcha a cold brewski we'll see this one again before too long.

I could go on---IPOS & ADES anybody?---but the POC that I always think is most egregious is when a theme entry gets a letter-count boost by simply tacking on a gratuitous "S". Here it's ESPRESSO MAKERS. That's too fast and loose for me. Killed my puzz buzz.

JTHurst 2:58 AM  

My write overs were limited, Adam's son Neth to Seth. By the way how many did he have? NBC to APB and the SST answer. I was looking for Air France's previous name not their equipment and a misspelling of kiwa.

I admit I do not understand the reveal. 64a is a punny answer 'Turning a prophet' but it is not a punny description of the circled letters. They are all prophets so where is the pun. A punny description of the circled letters might be 'Turning a profit" Where 'profit' is a pun of the circled answers. And why are the circled answers reversed? Is that supposed to obscure the meaning? And we should of had at least one 'smote' here.

Uhoh, I guess I am overthinking it, too many old testament references.

Susierah 3:09 AM  

18 minutes, and a dnf on a Wednesday! Yikes, oops, yipes. Ran the alphabet on epo-e, and just left it blank. Never heard that word until I came here. Des, les, ses?

r.alphbunker 4:20 AM  

The puzzle resonated with me because I just finished David Plotz's "The Good Book" based on Slate's "Blogging the Bible".

I swear that the following excerpt from Leviticus made me think of RP:
"If you reject My laws and spurn My rules…I will wreak misery upon you…you shall sow your seed to no purpose, for your enemies shall eat it…. I will break your proud glory."

loren muse smith 5:24 AM  

@jae, @Casco Kid – another one I thought I had finished only to see here that I had "ekode/yikes." Having run from poetry my whole life, I just don't count Horace and his works among the things in my weird little wheelhouse. (I'm a Gelett Burgess gal, though I really kn ow only "Purple Cow.") I just looked it up and see that EPODEs is the name of a collection of some caustic iambic works. Well, heck, if Victor had put it *that* way – "The third part of an ode, in between the strophe and the antistrophe" - I would have been all over it. Right. Hey, Victor – my point is not to complain but rather to say that I learned something (maybe a Learned League question this morning will deal with EPODEs) and that anyone who likes terms like schwa, diaeresis, tilde, and cedilla should shut up and be a good spört about ñew words from othər fields.

And the pangram joke's on me. I wanted to consider the scrabbly issue and be all prepared and everything this morning. (@jae, I commission you to come up with a term for "scrabble &%$ing, like woe, for the fainter of heart). So I spent my time looking at QTIP, which I *always* like in a grid. Ok. STIR, ROPE, SEC, CROP. I thought about it (a lot and really tried to be honest with myself) and decided I much prefer Victor's QTIP version. I didn't even notice/question JAS. As it appeared via the crosses, I just vaguely thought, "Oh. Cool. I don't think I knew that."

I've said before, for some reason, if my friends hed to the aviary at the zoo, I'll catch them later and visit the reptile house, myself. But I did notice the birds: MAGPIE, KIWI, and HAWK. Think that SLOTH eats birds?

@jae – Hhah! My trouble with that guy is whether to use a big R or little r for razor.

@retired_chemist – for some reason, you reminded me of another etymology:

poli – prefix meaning many
ticks – blood sucking parasites

politics – well. You do the math.

Victor – I like circles and I like backwards stuff. Great reveal ot toob. I like it!

Glimmerglasso 7:06 AM  

On what comicbook planet does WOO mean "Yay"?

Casco Kid 7:14 AM  

@glimmer WOO is apparently short for WOO-HOO. Yeah. My reaction is more oy vey than yay.

Gill I. P. 7:27 AM  

Well, I thought this was cute and about to comment how much fun this puzzle was then I come here and no one agrees....@jae I want to borrow a zippy from you because, well, I thought this was!
Didn't notice the POCS and didn't notice the pangram...I always want an x in ESPRESSO and my set of principles are ETHos. All easily fixable.
I'm sticking to my guns and saying this was a puuuurfect Wed. puzzle for moi.

RavTom 7:46 AM  

EZRA is not a prophet. He is a scribe. Ezra 7:6. It's bad when even the theme fails.

Moly Shu 8:12 AM  

I liked it well enough, the 4 long entries were good. Is it an ESPRESSO machine or MAKER? Think I prefer machine. YIkES first also, but knew EkODES couldn't be, so an easy fix for me. Liked it much better that yesterday.

Are we not men? We are DEVO !!!!

Susan McConnell 8:17 AM  

Could have switched this with yesterday, in terms of ease. I thought the theme was cute but yup, gotta agree with Rex about the fill (though I didn't bat an eye at JAS nor did I notice the pangram).

I am a YIkES girl, myself, as opposed to YIPES.

Mohair Sam 8:28 AM  

OK, I'm going to boldly disagree with the experts today (@rex and @evan). I think JAS was not only acceptable, but better than "mAS" would have been. When Madison and Monroe were Presidents Jas was commonly used for signing as James - so we have one of those clues, to quote @lms where we can say "Oh, cool, I don't think I knew that." That makes it an excellent clue IMO, and something refreshingly different than the oft used MAS.

Anyhow, soap box discarded, we enjoyed this medium Wednesday a great deal. Got a kick out of the silly pun revealer - and got a little resistance from spelling of the Governator, and from EPODE which is one of those words you know but ain't sure why (kinda like JAS). Maybe we got it because it was slightly more Greek than EkODE as @Colin said.

jberg 8:31 AM  

@jthurst, "turning" means turning their names around -- that's why they're backward.

@casko kid, good point about backward spelling connoting evil -- probably this ran today in protest of Harvard's canceling the planned black mass yesterday.

Everyone's missing the main problem with this puzzle: OLEO (35A) is not a food! It's what Michael Pollan calls a "food-like substance."

oH before UH, ESPRESSO MAchi before I saw that it wouldn't fit, and -- really stupidly -- IcOn before IDOL.

What I learned today: EPODE has two meanings. I only knew the 'third part of an ode' one, which would have made it wrong to call them 'works' of Horace. Crosswords are so educational!

But JAS was OK with me -- part of an ongoing series with THOS on Sunday (was it Sunday?) Expect to see JNO and CHAS soon.

Z 8:31 AM  

I'm with @Gill I.P. - I found it to be fun and perfectly charming. To see the Uless Q used twice will surely break a certain someone's heart, but BURY, LAUDS and UHOH are there to make up for it. Personally, QED seemed like a personal post Mothers' Day malapop to me.

We've seen the FFFNS* twice in recent days, neither THOM nor JAS bothered me in the least. It reminds me of why I go by Z while my brothers were both "Ziggy." Before freshmen orientation I signed my name in a very legible manner. By the end of the first day of orientation I had signed my name roughly 179 times and it had devolved to its current state, M scrawl Z scrawl. Given the butchering my last name often suffers, "Z" or the formal "Mr. Z" are just easier.

@r.alphbunker - I don't know what to make of your ability to quote Leviticus. I'll settle on "awesome."

@RavTom - EZRA seems to have made prophecies.... "Prophet" is certainly how I had him filed, but I'm no religious scholar.

*Founding Fathers First Name Shortened

Kim Scudera 8:36 AM  

JAS, THOS (just the other day, without fanfare), DANL (Webster, Boone) -- all standard abbreviations for English names, and fair game for the Xword. I particularly like Xpr for Christopher, and hope that someone can find a way to incorporate it in a puzzle soon! Without being accused of Scrabble¥}?@1€ M&A runtpuz material?

ANYway, enjoyed the solve, despite the flaws pointed out by Rex and others. Had fun with the circles (mornin' LMS!) before I hit the reveal. Groaning ensued. Not a bad way to start a day.


Z 8:40 AM  

@Mohair Sam - Yep, and it was THOS not THOM the other day. We must have been typing at the same time.

@Moly Shu and @jberg - Machine IMO. I got as far as the H before I realized I had a problem.

The pun reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel. Yes, we were all once that young.

RnRGhost57 8:52 AM  


Fred Smith 9:10 AM  

jberg --

Harvard did not cancel the Black Mass. In fact Harvard's president commented that no matter how hateful and regrettable, it's commitment to free speech would prevent that. The cancellation was because the Black Mass' sponsor could not come to agreement with the Bar in which they wanted to stage it.

The sponsoring group was one of students from Harvard's Extension School. The Extension School is open to anyone (no admissions process, just show up and pay a trivial tuition fee, a relic of historic egalitarianism) made up of mainly part-time night students and adjunct non-Harvard faculty.

So it's links to Harvard are pretty slim indeed. But the media likes to pick up on this type of thing.

-- Fred

joho 9:14 AM  

I always have fun finding the letters to be circled and then rearranging them in the, in this case, PROPHET order.

I entertained myself further by finding as many crosswordese 3-letter words as I could in the stacked words:
And quickly came up with MAE, MOO, ESA, ZOE, MAM, MOM, AMO, MOA, MOE, SES, OSE, EMS EMO, MME, AME, SRA, SOS, SOO and SMA.

So I enjoyed this even more on a whole other level!

Thanks, Victor!

NCA President 9:15 AM  

@RavTom: agreed. MOSES is not technically a prophet either. In fact, if we're getting all biblical here, Jesus referred to that collection of people as "Moses and the prophets."

Call me a hypocrite or even just inconsistent, but I'm okay with Christmas puzzles but I'm not so okay with biblical/Easter puzzles. I get that most of the US will be able to recognize these names because most here are either Christian or Jewish...but still, there is some "inside-ness" to this that I find somehow off putting.

Hey, I went to a Bible College, I've done my time in the hyper-Christian world, I get that it is relatively innocuous...but still. Why not have a puzzle on greek mythology? or quantum physics? or Buddhism? or veganism, for that matter.

As RnRGhost57 says: meh, indeed.

ArtO 9:16 AM  

So, what's wrong with an EASY Wednesday now and then. I'm sure most everyone put in yiKes before yiPes.

Thought the theme was clever, original and brought a smile. Enough enjoyment for me.

Sir Hillary 9:21 AM  

Can't really argue against the detractors' points, but I had no idea what the circles meant until the revealer, which made me smile. So, all good from here.

However, what about those minor prophets LIAM, GENE and EROS?

Ludyjynn 9:28 AM  

Easy hump day puzzle. I enjoyed it more than Rex and others, apparently. Biggest challenge was correctly spelling the former Guv's name, which was accomplished via crosses. I'm sure I will promptly forget how to spell it til the next time! Thought the theme was meh and did not impact the solve.

@JBerg, loved your OLEO objection!

chefbea 9:32 AM  

too tough for me. Figured out the theme but still DNF.

Good idea for dinner ...lamb wrapped in bacon. yummmmm!!

lawprof 9:46 AM  

Heck, I liked it. I'm even ok with JAS. Now, if it'd been clued as "actors Woods or Dean," then we might quibble. But early Nineteenth Century name abbreviations are, I believe, perfectly acceptable, especially here, because the clue word "Pres." is an abbreviation.

List me among those who don't equate WOO and Yay. Thus, my only writeover, WOw.

Hand up, too, for YIkES before YIPES. Otherwise, I thought, a pretty solid, satisfying Wednesday. Thanks, Mr. Barocas.

'Nuther subject: is anyone else having to consistently refresh the captcha? I'm finding the first one to be totally illegible, and when I've tried it, my comment more often than not simply disappears without a trace. So, I'm now routinely reloading once, which gives me two easily deciphered numbers. Is there something wrong with me?

NCA President 9:50 AM  

lol at lawprof...i much prefer the numbers so i keep refreshing until i get them.

Fred Romagnolo 9:53 AM  

For all the reasons stated (@Mohair Sam best put it)there was nothing wrong with JAS, and it is a pangram. Write over "yiKes" but EPODE fixed that, and Horace wrote in Latin, not Greek. Why can't a scribe be a prophet? I didn't know the meaning of the "NEGGER" part of Ahnold's name, thanks @Retired_Chemist. Seth was born after Cain & Abel. Magpies are smart, and thieves: ref. Rossini's "La Gazza Ladra," The thieving magpie.

dk 9:58 AM  

OO (2 moons)

A puzzle about the Governator. Well well!

Off to Austin then on to NOLA. I wonder if at the Tulane graduation I will get a shirt that states "for 60k my son got four years in NOLA and all I get is.... Pride.

Fred Romagnolo 10:07 AM  

@dk: congratulations, I understand your pride; my boy went through Berkeley, and is now a professor (tenured!) at UCDavis.

Fred Romagnolo 10:08 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Kerfuffle 10:26 AM  

Took me a couple of tries to spell 44D, RAIMI, correctly. 10:31 AM  


SOURCE: Occupation

USAGE: German

Meaning & History

Means "harrower of the dark fields" or "dark harrower of the fields" from the German schwarz meaning "dark, black" and egge meaning "harrow". A well-known bearer of this name is actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Casco Kid 11:01 AM  

@jberg @FredSmith As a student at Georgetown years ago (I'm Class-of-Pat-Ewing-and-Pearl-Bailey), I wanted to hold a black mass on my dorm floor for Halloween. I thought it would be fun, and it would put to use what I'd learned in my early modern European social and cultural history course. The Jesuits wisely looked the other way while I started making plans. I learned the Lord's Prayer backwards and could recite it while hanging upside down from my top bunk. Standard black mass stuff. No animal sacrifices, just a lot of standard ritual inversions.

But the project ground to a halt when my floor mates -- half of whom were on the football team, the other half running the Georgetown cocaine underground -- found out. They thought it was for real, as in, there really is a devil, and I could really conjure him. Tsk. Tsk. So much for history in action.

To thus day, I find I'm much closer to Jesuits (and priests in general) than the average church-going Catholic. Call it the brotherhood of carnival hucksters.

@KimScudera I hasten to point out that the black mass would have been a serious effort, showing respect for other cultures, etc., and would therefore have been a respectable UU activity. ;)

@SteveJ You're not the only That Guy on this site.

Steve J 11:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve J 11:10 AM  

@retired_chemist: egge and eck are not synonyms. Egger is a fairly common surname suffix (primarily in Austrian dialects, it seems) meaning "farmer" (egge means "harrow"). The literal translation of Schwarzenegger would be "black farmer"; I'm guessing that was a comment on the soil rather than the farmer.

@Mohair Sam: Point taken on how it was clued - i.e., appropriately - but it's still unattractive fill from my perspective. Especially when you consider that puzzles are generally filled first, clued later.

@lawprof: I'm with you on the captchas: I just refresh to get a number (by the way, you don't need to enter anything for the one in the picture; all you're doing there is teaching Google how to read signs).

AliasZ 11:21 AM  

What a pleasant and different theme today. I quite liked it. But to be fair, the NYT should also publish puzzles in which Buddhist, Hindu, Druid, Shinto and Zoroastrian prophets are turned, and one that pays backward homage to the Delphic Sybil, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, et al. We should not discriminate.

Let's turn some more prophets:

STYLE IN A DUNGEON - Dominatrix outfit;
SUNDAE SO HEAVENLY - Such delicious ice cream concoction!
HOSPITABLE OJAI - Friendly town of Ventura County;
EMU HANDICAP - Flightlessness, say;
HIGH AIM ERE JAVELIN THROW - [can't come up with a good clue. Any ideas?]

EPODE after yesterday's ERUCT almost made me explupt.

MA BELL and SOUSE gave me the idea for today's musical contribution that I am sure everyone will recognize: The Liberty BELL March by John Philip Sousa.

Happy Wednesday!

Masked and Anonymo4Us 11:48 AM  

No, no, no... JAS is just too cute. Weeject gold. Has the ultra-coveted pangram-desperate uberexcellence. Hall of Fame-worthy. I beseecheth U...Please don't do it, @63: no MAS! no MAS!

We just need to clue that bad boy up a little bit more, so it would pass AntiScrabbleTwerkin League muster. What would the runtpuz do with it (and yo, @KimS)? We took it to the runtpuz panel of esperts, and their overwhelmin concesus vote was for:
"Negative neins??" (=JAS, in case U forgot by now)
har. Has it all. The desperation. The cunning. The whateverthatis when all the words have the same first letter. The nerve. The double-?? that the Shortzmeister is still on the fence about usin.

thUmbsUp, for JAS.


Anonymous 11:57 AM  

how is 3D long broadside = rant?

Helpful Guy 12:05 PM  

@Anon 11:57 a broadside can mean "a volley of abuse or denunciation" (MW), which can take the form of a RANT.

jdv 12:07 PM  

Easy-Med. I grumbled loudly at JAS during the solve. Had no idea how to abbreviate James or why you would want to. Are they too lazy to write in the extra two letters? It's almost as absurd as abbreviating Ed as E. My grumbling softened a bit after reading @Mohair Sam, but I still don't like it.

@MolyShu. I also wanted ESPRESSOMACHINE. I didn't see MAKER until I had most of the crosses.

Ja Madison 12:20 PM  

@jdv - You lazy 21st century bastards with your fancy typing machines. Once you've had to catch your own goose to get even the makings of a quill, then scrape the pitch out of your chimney to make your own ink, finally to try to figure out how to get ink stains out of frilly cuffs with soap you've hand suponified from horse hooves (yes, you had to butcher the horse yourself), then, and only then, can you tell me whether or not it's worth abbreviating James as JA.

@Anon - See, that rant was a broadside at jdv.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

@NCA President: Sorry, but King James himself disagrees with you. 12:30 PM  

@Ja Madison: LOL, but actually the abbreviation of James is Jas, as in, "Re: John Madison, supposed cousin of Pres. Jas. Madison"

retired_chemist 12:30 PM  

Thanks to nose who have corrected my Schwarzenegger mnemonic,

Evan 12:33 PM  

@Mohair Sam:

I wasn't advocating for MAS, per se, though I don't think JAS is a good option -- it's no longer a common abbreviation and it's pretty easy to make that corner cleaner. Disagreement aside, I appreciate the Expert label.

New puzzle is up at Devil Cross -- it's called Opposition From The Left. It's easier than my other ones -- can't remember who said they've been saying "uh oh" when they see my byline (I think it was @Carola?) -- so give 'er a shot.

M and A's Last Straw 12:57 PM  

Didn't really ever want to do this. But it is time.

Have lately watched @63 snarlingly just tear apart each new day's harmless lil darlin NYTPuz. Hard to watch. He has lost all his critical perspective for doin anything except crouchin in a corner and eatin raw steaks. No mas!! No mas.

The time has come to unleash runtpuz #1-2-3. This freakish beast was created in a horrendous fluke accident of unlikely events and such. I would never do this, but one of the avowed primary purposes of the runtpuz is to remind @63 how wretched a crossword puzzle has the potential to become. Enter poster child #1-2-3.

#1-2-3 is the unholy stepchild of Runtpuz Karma, born out the bizarre wedlock of an innocent @muse request for a single kinder, gentler runtpuz, mated up with nature's relentless thirst for constant balance. Yin and yang, up the yingyang, if U will.

So here it is, Runtpuz Therapy designed espressly for @63. (Others should use caution, to avoid potential injury.)


p.s. @63: Do not make me come back here, with (the even worse) #1-2-4...

Lewis 1:11 PM  

I guess SSTS will never be retired; it's too convenient for constructors who need POCs.

I do like SOUSE crossing SAKE.

Hartley70 1:25 PM  

Done in by Puss, careless! Very fond of Jas since my Dad used it as an abbreviation of his name.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:33 PM  

@M&A - 8:05, but darn proud to have gotten it with no help!

Benko 2:19 PM  

@M&A: Okay. That was hard to get a toehold in. Lucky I was pretty sure about 7 down. Liked the clue for 4 down, but I started thinking about it in a cryptic way, trying to put "Ray" or "egon" into a word meaning frozen. 3:38.
I found @Evan's DevilCross puzzle much easier today. Got it in about two minutes in AcrossLite. I think it's the easiest one he's posted there, so people who usually find him too difficult should get over there and give it a try.
Today's Crossnerd, on the other hand, is particularly tough for one of his regular (not vwllss) puzzles. Also worth a solve.

sanfranman59 3:29 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 9:02, 9:54, 0.91, 29%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

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

r.alphbunker 4:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
r.alphbunker 4:25 PM  


Smoked your latest offering. Got the missing letter early on from 1D. Does this have anything to do with the colonial tax revolt in Boston harbor?

BTW, If you get your puzzle accepted in the NYT are you going to tell us and blow your cover?

M and Also 4:50 PM  

@BobK: Darn proud to have U work it.
@Benko: I like how U think, about folks frozen inside stuff; good theme potential. 3:38 is dayum unbelievable, to amir mortals such as I.
@r.alph: wow. I like your explanations of the runtpuzs better than my own explanations. Hystorical. U oughta make runtpuzs. Call em ralphpuzs, to keep outa infringement problems, maybe?

p.s. The runtpuz committee has given puz #1-2-4 a new designation, based on its exceedinly vile nature. It is now known as #1-2-3-4. The committee said 1-2-3-4 should only be used in case of a national emergency, or to really get tough with @63, say, if he should try to ignore puz #1-2-3. Or start pannin PB1 puzs, or somesuch.


Arlene 4:51 PM  

I enjoyed this one! Saw MOSES so figured something Biblical was brewing. Y'all have me timing myself now - I'm no speed solver - took 16 minutes.

JFC 5:41 PM  

So, @Steve J. you are saying no MAS?

I thought that was Roberto Duran's line.


jae 5:41 PM  

M&A - So I finally tried one of your runtpuz. Couldn't resist the hype. Got it done but not very fast. Keeping track of the *ed clues caused some overload and wrong answers. Anyhoo, pretty cute idea. The only reason I haven't been doing them all along is because I'm usually on an iPad.

And @lms the lazy person in me thinks that good old M&A nailed it with "scrabble twerkin" Twerks for me!

Miss Manners 6:38 PM  

@Rex - Thanks so much for hosting the M&A blog!

Z 8:49 PM  

@M&A - I was surprised that the circle did not get a U.

Scrabble Twerking has to be done with one's tongue hanging out I presume.

@"Miss Manners" - Ms. Martin does not engage in snark.

@Fred Romagnolo - UC-Davis is a good school. Any school that fields quality ultimate teams on a regular basis is a good school in my book.

@dk - Congrats.

Sfingi 9:35 PM  

Easier than Tues., but was there a relationshio I missed between AMOS and ESPRESSO MAKER, for instance?

Like @CascoKid Took a while to get from YIkES to YIPES.

sanfranman59 12:59 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 6:44, 6:04, 1.11, 87%, Challenging
Tue 9:10, 8:46, 1.05, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 9:08, 9:54, 0.92, 32%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:57, 3:57, 1.00, 45%, Medium
Tue 5:39, 5:22, 1.05, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:50, 6:11, 0.94, 35%, Easy-Medium

Wednesday's Child 11:15 AM  

Yeah, late to the party.

Breezy for me though I did get a DNF. I had SAKi and iGO. You know, hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to Google iGO.

Ezra is considered a minor prophet, not a big leaguer.

Jesus descends from the line of Seth.

Dissing Catholics (black mass)is pretty safe, you'll get some protest and a lot of prayer. Try dissing Muslims and see what you get.

Nice puzzle, though rather easy for me.

Waxy in Montreal 10:03 AM  

Fun pun. YIKES/EKODE ere YIPES/EPODE. WINSOMELOSESOME or as Roberto Duran once said: No Más!

spacecraft 10:12 AM  

Where has @Anoa Bob been, that he's never seen SSTS before? I've come across (and down) a whole fleet of 'em, right here in the NYTXP. It's one of several UH-OHs in today's grid.

It's a pannie! And it took some vicious turns to get there, as noted above. I don't object to them per se, but when you do stuff like JAS to pull it off, all you do is elicit a "YIPES!"

This was easy--too easy for a Wedensady. You start with the gigantic (in more ways than one) giveaway SCHWARZENEGGER, then shove KIWI under it so you have RW____ for 50d; I filled in RWANDA without even bothering to read the clue. What else could it be?

The revealer pun was an OK chuckle, I guess, but overall I was not impressed. Is my copy really correct? The clue for WOO reads "Yay!" Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do on that one.

Apparently, we're about to diss Muslims all over again, throwing boots down in Iraq. When will we ever learn? Despotism and mass shootings: this is what they DO! Asking them to stop is like asking a duck to meow. All we're doing is feeding the Al-Qaeda propaganda machine. We need to GET out and STAY out. There's no stopping the atrocities.

rain forest 2:04 PM  

Liked this. Saw MOSES backwards in the circles, and then AMOS and of course The Governator was a gimme. Fun theme, and a lively, if flawed puzzle. Not deserving of the ripping it got. Oh well, that's the general mentality here on the blog. Like the crazies in the Middle East, it isn't going to change. Agree, @Spacey, stay out of there.

DMG 2:19 PM  

I must be the only one who thought this was a cute puzzle! Smiled when I looked back to see what the circles had to offer. Only hang-ups were RAIMI, taken care of by the crosses, and the Governor's name, which crosses didn't fill. No idea about the Google thing, and can't believe people say WOO. Pronounced with long O's or like the familiar WOW?

I wish M&As runtpuz would work on the IPad, I may be driven to firing up my squirrel driven IBook to see if I can get them there. I essentially mothballed it when hip problems made sitting at a desk not to be desired. But for the much touted runtpuz it may be worth it.

Longbeachlee 2:25 PM  

How to get lost in an easy one. Enter ethos, leap in with Shwarzenneger, add an A for Arnold, give up all hope.

Dirigonzo 4:14 PM  

An apt title for this puz might be "The GOSPEL according to Victor Barocas" since in addition to the PROPHETS in the themers we have ADAM and son SETH, the PTL evangelizing, a Golden IDOL (plus the idol of Wall Street, IPOS) with the King Jas. version for comparison. Seems like there's enough there for a bout of sectarian conflict right here in Rexville, so no need to go back to Iraq. Agree with @spacy "Yay!" > WOO = bogus. EPODE was new to me.

I've reduced my list of essential reading to @Z, @Gill I.P. and @M&A (with a space reserved for @ACME (whose personal mantra is QTIP) in case she returns), plus of course ALL of the syndilanders.

Gill I. P. 7:54 PM  

@Diri...Hola amigo...and gracias.
When you get to Rex time, you'll meet one of our newest posters - @Leapfinger. She will have you chuckling away...
Are you tanning away in balmy Maine? Our State is burning away [sigh]

Z 8:44 PM  

@DMG and anyone else - go to to find pdf versions of M&A's work.

DMG 9:43 PM  

@Z: thanks for the suggestion, but the geni in my iPad tells me there is no such page??? I'm Just not in the loop on current (anything since about 1964) computer stuff. Maybe pdf isn't an IPad thing?

Z 10:05 PM  

I can get there on my ipad. Try clicking on this.

You will still need a way to print the pdf.

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