Garbage boats / MON 6-9-14 / South Dakota's capital / "The Naked Maja" artist / Beetle's boss, in the comics / Serb or Pole / Condescend (to)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Constructor: Tom McCoy

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Kerning! — Theme clues describe a one-word thing but the letters in the clues are spaced far apart. The answer is a familiar two-word phrase made up of the one-word thing preceded by an adjective meaning, basically "spaced far apart." (Hey! Explaining themes isn't always as easy as it looks!)

Theme answers:
  • 20A: WIDE RECEIVER (T e l e p h o n e h a n d s e t)
  • 28A: EXTENDED STAY (C o r s e t p a r t)
  • 48A: LONG DIVISION (A r m y u n i t)
  • 58A: STRETCHED OUT (T h r e e s t r i k e s ... or description of the theme clues)

Hi, everybody. PuzzleGirl here filling in for the vacationing Rex Parker. Rex is off on a 14-day Caribbean cruise aboard a luxury yacht. Or he's in Minneapolis. One of the two. I feel like I haven't been here in ages! So nice to see you guys! What's been going on? My son turned 15 yesterday and we took him and a bunch of other teenaged boys to a paintball park. Wow. Never been to one of those before. Some of the people looked like they took it pretty seriously. In fact, we're pretty sure we saw some honest-to-God mercenaries there presumably honing their skills. On the other hand, the ref my son's group had said his previous group was all six-year-olds and whenever they got shot they cried. So I guess it's a diverse clientele.

What about this puzzle though? Simple (cute) theme idea, straightforward cluing, it's definitely a Monday. This was only the second time I've solved online since the NYT updated its applet and navigating the grid was the biggest problem I had (and it wasn't very big). I like the update a LOT better (I mean, it wouldn't take much since that last one sucked ferociously), but I'm not quite used to it yet. Absolutely no complaints. Looking forward to using it more and becoming adept at it.

I think my favorite part of the puzzle was its Scrabbliness. It's fun to come across an X or a V or a J when it just blends right in and doesn't seem forced. The other thing I want to say is that I like how the addition of the first words in the theme answers makes the answers unrelated to their clues. If that makes any sense. Like if EXTENDED STAY had been clued "v i s i t," that would not have been very impressive because in that case the clue is basically a synonym for the second word in the answer (STAY = VISIT). Or if LONG DIVISION had been clued "m a t h o p e r a t i o n." You get the idea. If you're new to solving you may not have noticed that, but it definitely makes the puzzle more elegant.

Let's take a look at some highlights:
  • 16A: POLAR vortex (Winter weather phenomenon). PuzzleHusband and I were talking about the "derecho" we had here in the Washington, DC, area two years ago. And, pointing to the popularity of the phrase "Polar Vortex" this past winter, he suggested that weather people are just making up words to jazz up their jobs at this point. "Polar Vortex" sounds a lot more glamorous than "Really F**ing Cold," doesn't it?
  • 18A: JINX (Curse). Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann pitched a two-hit shutout this afternoon against the San Diego Padres. He had a perfect game going until apparently someone, somewhere said it out loud.
  • 64A: COOT (Codger). Can women be old coots? Or is it specifically masculine? If it's possible for a woman to be an old coot, I believe that term will describe me perfectly sometime in the next few years. I am definitely getting more cantankerous by the day. (For some reason, my Google image search for "coot" brought up this picture of Joe Namath and Farah Fawcett and, well, I couldn't very well NOT use it.)
  • 69A: PEEVE (Tick off). And this is how I know I'm turning into an old coot. I have So Many peeves! I think I acquire one or two new ones every day!
  • 5D: Your MAJESTY (way to address a queen). I just love this word. It's better then "your highness," don't you think?
  • 22D: VEEP (#2 exec). I watched the first season of Julia Louis-Dreyfus's sitcom back when I had a broken ankle and was in bed for six weeks. (I mean, I watched a LOT of shows during that period.) Loved "Veep" but haven't gotten back to it. Not sure we have whatever channel it's on any more. It seems like every time I log onto our cable account they've added a channel I don't care about and/or taken away a channel I love. They really just do whatever the heck they want, don't they? Kinda like insurance companies. But PLEASE don't get me started on insurance companies.
  • 49D: V-NECKS (Features of some daring sweaters). The clue to this one made me laugh.
  • 55D: MOODY (Subject to emotional swings). I'm pretty sure I've told you this story before, but I'm going to tell it again. Back in the mid 1980s I lived in New York and used to hang out at a bar called the Possible 20. At that time, radio personality Frankie Crocker of WBLS used the song "Moody's Mood for Love" as his show's sign-off. The song was on the jukebox at the Possible 20 and was played every once in a while. But one night for some reason everyone happened to be actually listening when it came on and the whole bar sang along. A lot of people in that bar worked in the music business and some of them were very talented singers. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think it would have been just as good if it had been a bunch of regular folks though. Honestly, it was magical. It's one of my favorite memories of New York (and of ever if truth be told).

  • 57D: STATE (Misery or Missouri). Awesome clue.
See you back here tomorrow.

Love, PuzzleGirl


Anonymous 12:14 AM  

So who is the individual in the black uniform and why does the photo appear?

wreck 12:22 AM  

There was a theme? Did not see it - did not care.It took me a few minutes longer than most Mondays.

wreck 12:24 AM  
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jae 12:37 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Something a little different for a Mon.  Liked it.  VEEP is on HBO PG, and it's nice to have you filling in.  Thanks!

Elle54 12:39 AM  

Liked the puzzle and you

Steve J 12:59 AM  

Wonderfully fun Monday. Cute theme with solid and interesting phrases, very clean fill (EEN, ENS and SAN are the "worst" of it, which is pretty good), and some nice words throughout, like MAJESTY, RICHTER, V-NECKS, and DEIGN. SPLENDID puzzle.

Surely, if this were the Chicago Tribune puzzle rather than the NYT, 39D (OLD STYLE) would have been clued with a reference to beer.

chefwen 1:46 AM  

Hi @PG, good to see/read you again. Puzzle Kids sure are growing up quickly, or am I just aging faster than I thought?

Easy, fun Monday puzzle. One write-over at 24A Eve before EEN. Easy fix.

JTHurst 2:51 AM  

Besides 59d 'toat' the handle of a joiner's plane ala, this puzzle was super easy even for me. There should be a warning at the top for Thursday to Saturday solvers DO NOT ATTEMPT OR YOUR BRAIN WILL DISSOLVE INTO COTTON CANDY.

The hardest clue was 1a the rest were all 'Pepsi _', 'Cigarette _ ', Split _ Soup".

Still it was fun.

Anonymous 3:26 AM  

JTHurst, I took a second on "TOAT" also, until I read it as 3 words.... "Fits perfectly" = "To A T" =)

Moly Shu 4:01 AM  

Quick and fun with very little dreck. The theme was well executed. Not much else to say, except that it had one if my favorite words, DEIGN (hi @LMS).

Hartley70 4:05 AM  

So happy to see PuzzleGirl and her humor at 4am. It just starts the day out RIGHT! Sweet little Monday to begin the week. I didn't know 15 year olds actually smiled when Mom took a picture. Nicely done!

tthax 6:56 AM  

Curse=oath? Somebody help me here.

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

Nothing felt hard exactly, but it required enough thought that I missed my usual sub-5-minute Monday by a bit. I'd say more like "easy, but medium for a Monday."

loren muse smith 7:25 AM  

Boy, do I feel like an outsider. "Kerning" is a concept/practice I had completely missed all these years, and I guess sometimes letters are spaced out more anyway. So the spacing of the clues did not register with me *at all.* My first thought as the themers were falling was that there was some terrible mix-up at the Times, and the theme clues were all wrong. And I was feeling so bad for Will.

Then I just stared at the answers and tried to get my mind around how they could work for STRETCHED OUT. I concluded that the whole trick involved some baseball stuff that I just didn't get: STAY, RECEIVER, DIVISION. I was mystified.

So for the first time in a long time, I finished and did not understand. Finally I see it – thanks PG! – and I'm really pleased with the idea. I always love it when the trick hinges in the clue itself.

@Moly Shu – I have DEIGN written in the margin with a smiley face!

I also have TOAT in the margin. Cousin of GOAT – a day I'll always remember and laugh at, as I, too, was one who thought it was "have a GOAT."

I never thought of my V NECK sweaters as daring. I guess I could revisit how I wear them, but still. . . Well, COOT rears its head, and yeah, PG, I imagine females can be COOTs, too.

Ok, Tom – ya got me. Hah! In retrospect, really cool idea, and you managed to

m y h o r i z o n s.

Anonymous 7:26 AM  

Tthax--yes, curse in the sense of "cuss/swear (words)"-- that is an alternate meaning of "oath".

Danp 7:29 AM  

@tthax - Oath is a rather archaic term used for invoking God as a way of cursing someone. These days, it pretty much is only used that way in crossword puzzles. But it does come up frequently in them.

Glimmerglass 7:33 AM  

Much too easy for the NYT. The best part of today's was PG's collection of art, including her son (?), who seems to have lost a round or two of paintball. I loved the kerning cartoon and two old codgers! Luv ya, PG.

Gill I. P. 7:59 AM  


Welcome back PG...15 is a wonderful age for young men.
Cute puzzle = thanks Tom McCoy

AliasZ 8:06 AM  
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RAD2626 8:06 AM  

Nice puzzle for a Monday. Some cute but not overly difficult clues and a little different theme. STATE was the best. Totally agree with PG. Did not realize at first that they are sorta homophones. Fun way to start a week.

joho 8:07 AM  

I absolutely loved this! So original and so cleverly done! SPLENDID, indeed! And practically no CRUD.

I laughed at POLAR Vortex having just experienced it -- seems very fresh (and super cold! -- it was actually colder here in Ohio than the North Pole at one point.)

Thank you, Tom McCoy, this was a perfect start to this week!

joho 8:08 AM  

Oh, and Puzzle Girl, loved your write-up, too!

AliasZ 8:08 AM  

This puzzle is full of m a r k s.

STOA, AT RIP, TOAT, goat, atoz, etc., is the CRUD that allows DEIGN and other SPLENDID OLD-STYLE and LOFTY English words and phrases to adorn our daily crosswords.

Lovely theme and execution today, a little Wednesday-ish in my view, but easy enough in the fill, quite funny and enjoyable.

It was also full of musical references that makes it difficult to choose one: pianist Sviatoslav RICHTER, the Berlioz work for viola and orchestra, Harold in ITALY, a piano suite by Enrique Granados inspired by the works of Francisco GOYA called Goyescas, not to mention PIERRE Monteux, the conductor of the world premiere of Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps.

But I'll go with another PIERRE: Attaingnant (1494-1552), the music printer/publisher active in Paris, to whom many works are attributed, since his name was printed on the scores of much French music of the era, both sacred and secular. The basse dance La gatta is one of these.

Happy Monday!

chefbea 8:32 AM  

Good to see you Puzzle Girl. Never heard of kerning. Did the puzzle in record time but really did not understand it.
Of course loved all the food - split peas soup, kale and apple.

Casco Kid 8:35 AM  

STOA/SCOW is not a Monday cross. I remember STOA from another puzzle about a year ago. It seems like crosswordese, but it isn't very common, is it?, SCOW is new to me. Wanted dRat before CRUD. acela and local before TRAIN. OUTDO was a l o o n g time coming. So was WIDERECEIVER as the kerning theme was unclear and I was trying to make the two halves work together. That entire corner was saved by SNORES, the only unambiguous entry there. Not easy.

Mrs, Kid mentioned that STAYS are corset parts, but looked annoyed when I asked "In what way are larger women in need of EXTENDEDSTAYS?"

@JTHurst @LMS TOAT burned me before, but I got it off crosses this time. The closest rationalization I had was that "totes" is the expression for [Totally] or [Perfectly]. Now I remember TO A T. Easy Monday? Really?

Eve before EEN.

DYNE resonated, as we've just had TERAWATT, which triggered a discussion here of giga joule lightning on millisecond time scales, and warned us to expect joule or DYNE.

Most clues were ridiculously easy, but the NW corner had me scratching my head for a while. My time was double my average Monday as I dug and dug to avoid a DNF. Which I did, fortunately. Medium Challenging, for a Monday.

Z 9:03 AM  

I see we're having a goat TOAT. A perfect example of why kerning matters. I saw something just recently about google changing it's logo, moving (if I remember correctly) the second G one pixel up and to the left. The article I read speculated that the poor alignment had been niggling at someone for ages.

This puzzle played a little crunchy for a Monday for me, but two words really leapt out at me today, STOA and DYNE. Neither of these words were totally foreign to me, but they were hardly in my daily usage. Now, after doing the puzzle everyday for a few years, bam - they are gimmes. I wondered a while back how a houseful of college kids could struggle with a Monday puzzle. STOA & DYNE.

Benko 9:08 AM  

This was my fastest time ever on the NYT iPad app, so I have to rate it extremely easy. Liked it, though, despite the easiness. What you want on a Monday.
Got a laugh out of "Poehler vortex"

Z 9:10 AM  

One might think of it in terms of the transitive property: curse = swear = OATH

@DanP = Maybe I'm archaic, but OATH in the profane sense seems perfectly current to me and the dictionaries I looked at usually list this meaning as second and don't identify it as archaic.

jberg 9:12 AM  

@casco_kid, gotta remember your Greek philosophy here. Zeno the stoic (not the guy with the paradoxes) used to meet with his followers on a STOA -- hence the name of that particular school.

I did like the puzzle -- but WAS and ARE in the same puzzle seems a little much.

Thanks for the write-up @puzzle_girl. My youngest is now 37, but I've still never been in a paintball facility.

Craig 9:15 AM  

Poor peeved, moody me, last e’en I oathed when, while stretched out, and hoping for an extended stay in dreamland, my snores were interrupted by the sound of sharp cracks and laughing hyenas. I called he cops and said “Sarge, someone’s throwing rocks at my windows!” In the light of morn I could see I was a liar. It wasn’t rocks but paintballs, which leave behind not only splotches of color that mar, but also sad torn little plastic-pellet corpses on the ground. I was relieved to realize it was probably just mischief from the neighborhood imps. (True story.)

Ludyjynn 9:19 AM  

An easy but nicely crunchy Monday w/ the exception of CRUD, which had a poor clue, IMO. The theme was right there in black and white for all to see, from newbies to old pros.

I always wear VNECKS, as they are most flattering for men and women. Fashionistas will tell you they draw one's eye to the wearer's face and away from possible body 'flaws'!

Thanks, PuzzleGirl. Last Winter, I observed weather guy, Al Roker, go on a rant re POLAR vortex. He claimed the term has been 'on the books' since the mid 20th century and he learne it studying meteorology. Whatever!

Thanks, TM and WS for a SPLENDID puzzle.

lawprof 9:43 AM  

Back in the fourth grade or whatever - when we had to memorize all the state capitals - I remember thinking that PIERRE would be important to me someday. Now, finally....

This was easy, even for a Monday. Finished with no errors and no writeovers. Went through it like CRUD through a goose. Yeah, I really wanted CRap at 14A, but this is, you know, the NYT and all.

Leapfinger 9:57 AM  

Knowest not how [curse] = OATH? Zounds! Sacre blue!

A COOT is male, the female is a COOTrix, and the little one are cuties (decided to make a turn at the last second...)
@FredRom, how does it feel to bring up COOT in conversation and then have it appear like magic in the grid? Some call that synchronicity.

@AliasZ, Svat's the matter? I have trouble geRichting Richter also. Is your nom de verite OTIS, since you elevate us so?

I've been thinking 'kerning' was maybe royalty in Germany, but love word games, so this theme brought a S M I L E to my face, boosted my MORAL for the day.

No PEEVE, DYNE for more. Just wondering why we should STRETCH ED OUT? No DOUT 'E deserves it, but ED who"

Now GOYA forth and have a Good Monday.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

So happy to see PuzzleGirl do the summary today. Rex has gotten so unbearably cranky in recent times, it was nice to have a light, appreciative take for a change.

Carola 10:06 AM  

Creative and clever - really liked it. Even after getting WIDE RECEIVER, it took me j-u--u-s-t enough time to get the others to make it very fun.

I liked SPENDID + MAJESTY nicely fitting with LOFTY + DEIGN. Also the cross of POLAR with ELF (although MELT brought a pang).

Thanks for the great write-up, PuzzleGirl. Can't believe you found that OLDSTYLE corset!

retired_chemist 10:09 AM  

Hand up for having CR?? at 14A and doing a double take. CRap is a better fit to the clues than CRUD, in the vernacular as I have seen it.

OK theme. Meh is a good theme rating from me.

Nothing much to complain about, nothing got me too excited. Fun, easy-medium solve.

Thanks, Mr. McCoy.

Arlene 10:22 AM  

Happy dance for a breezy Monday. I really enjoyed this - liked the visual cues, and the puns. And no pop music clues I never know. YAY!

Two Ponies 10:35 AM  

Fun and easy. Thanks for sitting in PG.
My WOTD is kerning.

John V 10:37 AM  

Well, okay. Got it. Did not catch the gimmick. Printed the app but never saw it.

Danp 10:41 AM  

@Z - Maybe you're right. I've never heard anyone actually use the word referring to a curse in speech. I've only seen it in literature. As Steven Colbert would say, it may not be archaic in reality, but it feels archaic in my gut.

Andrew Heinegg 10:45 AM  

With respect to the comments about getting older, it beats the alternative! This was pretty smoothly constructed for an early in the week puzzle. I only wish there were certain immutable laws that constructors(and editors! ) had to follow such as having a list of words that are not to be answers in any crossword upon penalty of death to be carried out in some medieval manner. Aria may be at the top of the no,no,no list. Yes, I get how convenient its letters are but, it, like dyne and a number of others, has got to go. I get exhausted going through the 'clever' way constructors try (sometimes) to clue these tired crossword words. Rant over ;

jdv 10:51 AM  

Medium. A perfect Monday puzzle.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:06 AM  

Fun all around.

The first clue my eye landed on was C o r s e t p a r t, and I started thinking it would be something like "elastic band," and this was re-enforced by T e l e p h o n e h a n d s e t, which first brought to mind the old coiled wire connected to said handset, but then felt wrong, which of course it was. All of this happened very quickly, barely slowed me down, led to no write-overs. Actual theme was much more clever.

Z 11:07 AM  

@Leapfinger - Synchgridicity?

@DanP - Maybe it is still common amongst church going folk? As I think about it, it has a certain churchy feel to it (I grew up in a community where the elderly frowned upon "gosh" and "jeez"). If I hear it in the wild anytime soon I'll let everyone know.

Z 11:08 AM  
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Z 11:08 AM  
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R. S.-S. Baden-Powell 11:15 AM  

The Boy Scouts of America use the following:

Scout Oath (or Promise)

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
* * * * *
The option of calling this a "Promise" is required because some religious bodies consider an "Oath" to be a curse!

Melodious Funk 11:16 AM  

Delightful write up to a delightfully themed puzzle. Thanks to both PuzzleGirl and Mr. McCoy.

Especially to the King Pleasure version of Moody's. I was about 16yo when this record appeared and was already steeped in the current jazz idiom, bebop it was called then. A very musically talented good friend of mine and I inhaled Pleasure's version (Blossom Dearie also on the cut) and sang it often to our great amusement. His version clearly imprinted, I can sing it today, 60 years later.

Anyone else?

r.alphbunker 11:43 AM  

Although the puzzle was definitely a Monday, the theme trick feels like a Thursday one.

FWIW, blanks, not kerning, were used to space out the theme clues. If you could open the clues in an editor and search for "telephonehandset" it would not be found. You would have to search for "t e l e p h o n e h a n d s e t". If kerning were used "telephonehandset" would have worked. Google "kerning" if you are still interested.

Troublemaker 11:51 AM  

What a joy!! To start off the morning WITHOUT Rex The Old Coot! Great puzzle. Great commentator. What could be better? Thanks PG.

Masked and Anonymo3Us 12:50 PM  

F l o w e r g a r d e n??

thUmbsUp. I think @63 woulda been ok with this one.
SW and NE had nice pockets of 3-letter weeject opportunities, but they all ended up bein real words. That there is the kind of nondesperate stunt that PB1 likes to pull. snort.

Lovely to have a PG-rated blog. Welcome back, darlin.


p.s. Hand up for CRap.

mac 12:52 PM  

Very cute Monday puzzle, and nice write-up, PG!

Good new word, kerning.

Lewis 1:11 PM  

Quick and bouncy. Maybe STOA and DYNE do not belong on Monday, but maybe they do, because some Mondays seem to be too easy. This one left me smiling.

Post Puzzle Puzzle (PPP™): There is a diagonal word in this puzzle that stands by itself (not embedded in a longer word), and is the name of an animal. That animal is half the name of a famous college stadium. What is the first letter of the other word?

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

Actually, what went on in the puzzle isn't kerning which squishes two letters together, but tracking which defines how they're spread out.

chefbea 1:16 PM  

@Lewis...I give up...or should I say uncle?

loren muse smith 1:26 PM  

@Lewis - Bear Bryant would have a few choice OATHS for you!

M and A H e l p Desk 1:36 PM  

F l o w e r g a r d e n ??

_ E _ _ _ _ E _ _

ahar moment, anyone?

Lewis 1:54 PM  

@loren -- Yes he would! He would have preferred if I found Denny.
@chefbea -- I'll give the answer later this afternoon

Lewis 1:57 PM  
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Lewis 1:58 PM  

M&A -- Got it and definite ahar!

Lewis 2:05 PM  

M&A --


_ _ O _ _ _ A _ _

loren muse smith 2:08 PM  

@M&A - Har indeed.


or how 'bout


Here you go, you old COOTs

Bob Kerfuffle 2:15 PM  

@lms - 2:24 for this runtpuz (and most of that because I know zip about any "Housewives.")

Very professionally done. Time moves on, indeed!

Last Silver Bull Woot 2:45 PM  

@Lewis: har. Well, thar's yer radio!

@muse: Excellent, excellent work. I'm afraid U are elevatin these lil darlins to the level where PB1 will be gunshy to take the plunge, and start contributin.

A few random musepuntpuz4 comments ensue. So, partial **spoiler alert**, if y'all want to partake, first...

* Could use just ever so slightly longer clues. See example, below.

* 8x9 grid. This may be pushin the runtpuz size limit rules, whatever those are.

* Magnificent weeject deployment, at 6-Down. Atta girl, U old coot.

* Good desperation remopup, with 10-A and 18-D.

* Printin this puz totally sucked my ink cartridge dry. Sound: [creak creak sluuuurp sputter gasp] Note: this is also a well-known coot sound.

* Will save yer expansion clue puzs for cocktails hour, this PM.


Mondays are for runtpuzs!!!

Never leave yer solvers wantin more, when U can cause this much revulsion with minimal effort.

Numinous 2:48 PM  

Not much to say about this puzzle. STOA went in immediately for me. Somehow, I guess I've learned, through crosswords, a bit about Greek archetecture so this was a total gimme. I just whizzed throug this one without stopping to think too much about it. None of the clues was particularly obscure and the answers just flowed themselves in.

Puzzle Girl's story reminded me of Los Angeles thoough. There were a couple bars I would go to there that featured karaoke on given nights. I used to go on those nights particularly becasue in one or two of them there were some amazing singers. Quite a few of them, I must add. Very few turkeys got up in those bars to sing. Los Angeles and New York would be home to lots of tallented individuals. I happened to be in a bar in Chicago which was having a karaoke night and I was stunned by how terrible the singing was. I'm sure it was the bar and not the fact that it was in Chaicago that had anything to do with that.

On the subject of Runtpuzzles: I looked around and found this reference for making .puz files if one has acrosslite. It didn't look too hard to me so I was wondering if we could have some runt puzzs in .puz format for those of us who would enjoy them on our iPad and other non compatable devices. I enjoy them but find that having to make my own grid a bit tedious.

So, (there it is, starting a sentence with "So") the puzzle was ok, not particularly hard. I enjoyed Puzzle Girl's write up and the memories it stirred. I look forward to tomorrow.

M and Errata Update 2:49 PM  

Argggh. 8x10 grid. Wrong again, M&A B.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

Hey, Puzzle Girl -- I loved your write-up. But I have a question. You said: "18A: JINX (Curse). Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann pitched a two-hit shutout this afternoon against the San Diego Padres. He had a perfect game going until apparently someone, somewhere said it out loud." My question is: At what point in the game are spectators supposed to realize that they might jinx a no-hitter by saying it out loud? After all, if the pitcher retires the first batter he already has a potential no-hitter in progress, but does anybody worry about jinxing it at that time? So when they start worrying?

Lewis 3:07 PM  

@lms -- stuck on N I B, but as you can imagine, the other is a position a yoga person is comfortable in.

Casco Kid 3:20 PM  

@numinous You're back! Hope you are doing OK.

I elucidated the .puz format a while back. Elucidating putatively closed formats is one of my hobbies. I'm fairly certain I could write a converter from any old format to .puz. Just send me a puz, and I'll give it a go. cascokid at cascokid dot com

Lewis 3:21 PM  

@loren -- oh, silly me, got N I B, now realizing it is a cousin to the other...

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

Once in a sandlot game I had a no-hitter going until I threw the first pitch.

Z 3:32 PM  

@anonymous3:06 - You NEVER mention a no-hitter until it is no longer possible. If you err on this subject within earshot of a true fan you may become the subject of several sundry oaths, none easily mistaken for a promise. It is perfectly acceptable to say, "there goes the no-hitter," if the lead-off batter gets a hit.

Numinous 3:38 PM  

@Z, onliest problem with that is that "there goes the no hitter" became a cliche 30 seconds after, I believe it was, Harry Caray said it in Chicago all those years ago.

Numinous 3:42 PM  

I believe I recall Chip Caray prefixing that with, "As my grandfather used to say . . . "

Casco Kid 3:45 PM  

@M&A I tried your runtpuz #132, encouraged by the Kiddie Pool title, and promptly drowned in the shallow end. Could it be that AVE, ST, CT and RD are themes? They are kind of clued, I guess. Hmm. VEX is not. Hmmmmmm. ADJ is not. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Toughie.

Would it be interesting for me to make a .puz of this? Or is that a been-there-done-that-get-out-of-my-face for runtpuz aficionados?

David IN CA 4:02 PM  

@wreck OK, this time I have to ask: How on earth could you do this puzzle and not see the theme? Was there some form where the spacing out of the letters got lost? (It was the 1st thing I noticed on the printed acrossLite version.)

@Andrew Heinegg - What have you got against ARIA and DYNE? They are both reasonably common words, certainly not "crosswordese" in the sense of words found only in crosswords. Certainly they occur quite often, but they both have seemingly infinite choices in clues that can be chosen for the appropriate difficulty level. Could you redo the SW to not use DYNE and be better than the current corner? I sure couldn't!

Great puzzle I thought; definitely cruntchy for me for a Monday.

Outlaw M and A but mostly just to be polite and answer folks 4:06 PM  

@Casco: U are on the right thoroughfare, themer-wise.
Nice hmmmmmmm's. Typical runtpuz reaction, btw.
@muse: 4:33 on museruntpuz4, fyi. Got the P a p a l e one, but not the N i b one. Perhaps another cocktail...


Anonymous 4:54 PM  

When you do the new iphone app (I do the ipad app 99.9% of the time) - the new format is so goofy it never jumped out at me that there was anything unusual with spacing. I just solved the puzzle as it came along. I never looked at the clues in contrast because the new app only shows one clue at a time - you can't see the entire puzzle. Monday puzzles are generally easy enough that I don't need to take the time to parse the theme. That's my excuse - and I'm sticking with it.

sanfranman59 5:12 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 (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 5:47, 6:04, 0.95, 29%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:50, 3:55, 0.98, 35%, Easy-Medium

Sfingi 5:21 PM  

Never heard of CRUD for phooey. Must be a youngster thing.

Didn't notice theme. Wouldn't have helped CRUD.

@AliasZ - cute; one can be in one's own world.

ARIA and DYNE are not exactly Crosswordese, but they are frequent-use for crosswords, as is xAS IN.

Anonymous 5:24 PM  

Best Monday puzzle i've seen in a while.

r.alphbunker 5:26 PM  


Welcome back! Runtpuzzes in .puz format will be available soon.

Perhaps M & A will share with us design guidelines for creating a runtpuz.

@Anonymous 1:11
Whether kerning or tracking, no blanks (ASCII 0x20) are used to achieve the spacing. Blankswere used in today's puzzle (I looked at the binary representation of the puzzle).

Benko 5:27 PM  

@casco kid: very cool. You might never be able to solve a NYT in less than 2 minutes, but I will never be able to figure out a file format and be able to write a converter for that format. I think your talent is more valuable.
@m&a and @lms: didn't have a chance to do the runt puzzles yet, but will report to both of you on them tomorrow!

Z 5:28 PM  

@Numinous - I have no proof, but given how old baseball traditions tend to be I would not be at all surprised if it was cliché when Harry used it. Still, quoting Harry Caray ain't a bad thing to do.

Numinous 6:10 PM  

@Z, you're probably quite right there. Still, it boggles my mind to think that Chip is the third generation in a row to announce baseball. I listened to Braves broadcasts when his dad was announcing too. I've only heard Chip to a take-off on his grandfather's voice.

Anonymous 6:29 PM  

I agree with anonymous 5:24. I usually hate Mondays because they are too easy but at least this easy puzzle had a clever theme. Wish the NYT would step it up a notch and make Mondays like this the norm!

loren muse smith 6:37 PM  

@Bob - I figure that clue was a first for that word.

@M&A - a NIB is a "point." I was just copying you.

What a great concept for your runt today!! I think it's my favorite so far. I'll never be in your league.

But. . . you can have grids that aren't symmetrical but I can't have huge embarrassing black corners? Actually, if I knew how to manipulate CC to keep it from making the &^%$grid symmetrical, I would have already gone there. I tried to add two floaters today in each corner, but they were a 3 and a 4, and I just couldn't figure out how to do it.

I'll keep playing around with these until you all make mean, hateful rules about, ahem, grid size, number of black squares, length of clues. . . .

Carola 8:16 PM  

M&A - Really liked your block parties!

Confused Guy 8:37 PM  

What the hell are you guys talking about? Is this some sort of secret club?

Lewis 9:48 PM  

Post Puzzle Puzzle (PPP™) answer -- and I'm sorry I'm so late with this. Starting with the H at 27 and going down diagonally, you get the word HARE. The famous stadium is JORDAN HARE stadium at Auburn.

Leapfinger 10:33 PM  

A real honour today, to have Lord Baden-Baden Powell DEIGN to visit us.

@Z -- i like what you did with my 'synchrogridcommsincity', but you know I'm not going to remember it!

BTW, Ah've bin DYNE to go to the STOA awl day, how 'bout yew?

@MelodiousF, I wisht I could have raised my hand, but I've no more than heard of Blossom Dearie. My loss, I'm sure, in need of correction.

I've heard today that in Kansas, Missouri and Misery are pronounced the same. Sort of a PRO-MO idea for Stephen King, maybe

A SPLENDID Monday, puzzle and blog. High JINX or Low to have REX in the grid?

Fred Romagnolo 9:59 AM  

@#Alias Z: Pierre Monteux introduced more than one great work; he was the conductor of the San Francisco Symphony in the '30's & '40's (left us in 1952) He always ended each season with the Ninth, now everyone does. @Leap: coot came up last week, too.

spacecraft 11:09 AM  

SPLENDID Monpuz! Scrabbliness: check. Theme: (1)cleverness: check; (2) execution: check. Fill CRUD held to a minimum: check. I grade it an A-. (Well, there is EEL/EEN, and the ever-present ARIA. Yikes, this POOR diva has got to be getting hoarse by now!)

Also, I guess TOAT is less than lovable, but these few are not enough to take it down to a B. A promising week is STRETCHEDOUT before me!

1169 comes out to 8, the POOR man's natural.

DMG 1:50 PM  

Sort of sailed through this fun puzzle. Only change was Eve to EEN. Never saw anything unusual about the print clues, so now I'm off to look up kerning. A word my spell check wants to reject,

3259. Looks good until you add it up!

Dirigonzo 4:00 PM  

One time through the clues and done - that can only happen on an easy Monday. Outdated/OLDSTYLE repaired by the crossword. Totally missed the spacing of the clues so the kerning aspect was lost on me (everything I know about kerning I learned from a link provided by anony 1:11pm - apparently inserting extra space is actually "tracking",the opposite of "kerning". Where else can you learn stuff like that?

According to the weatherman there's a "Poor man's POLAR Vortex coming this week.

4087 gives nme the same total as @DMG

William Heyman 4:24 PM  

At what time is a possible no-hitter recognized so that no one mentions the possibility? Back when the Boston Braves were playing it was the seventh-inning stretch.

strayling 9:39 PM  

Lovely puzzle. On the subject of undergarments, I'm sure "Basque Seperatist" could have been worked in somewhere.

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