Pulitzer winning biographer Leon / THU 6-26-14 / 2008 action thriller with Liam Neeson / Blues rocker Chris / Radiant light around head / Quimby Beverly Cleary heroine / Reagan cabinet member who was previously counselor to the president

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Constructor: Pawel Fludzinski

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging



THEME: IN BED (40A: How breakfast may be served … or how the answers to the eight starred clues should be entered?) — starred clues refer to words that are embedded inside the letter string "BED" (the result of which is a new, entirely unclued answer in each case)

Theme answers:
  • BLOCKED (3D: *Bit of hair) (LOCK)
  • BROACHED (17A: *Motel) (ROACH)
  • BRUSHED (11D: *Bit of excitement) (RUSH)
  • BLASTED (42D: *Like Pisces, in the zodiac) (LAST)
  • BALLOTED (58A: *Divide up) (ALLOT) 
  • BROOMED (38D: *Leeway) (ROOM)
  • BROKERED (49A: *Longtime TV weatherman) (ROKER)
  • BRANCHED (24A: *Dressing choice) (RANCH)
Word of the Day: AURICLE (10D: Outer ear) —
n.
  1. Anatomy.
    1. The outer projecting portion of the ear. Also called pinna.
    2. See atrium (sense 2).
  2. Biology. An earlobe-shaped part, process, or appendage, especially at the base of an organ.
[Middle English, auricle of the heart, from Old French, little ear, from Latin auricula, ear, earlier diminutive of auris, ear.]


Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/auricle#ixzz35i1yCNqu
• • •

Not [Fortune addendum]?



Didn't care for this one much. Results of the em-BED-dening are just random, unclued words, and (monotonously) past tenses of verbs in Every Case. BED is always divided at the same place, between B and E. Why these words? Is this hard to do? Why isn't IN BED in the center?  Why is the non-theme fill so poor? EDEL ADDONS ERENOW AUREOLE EDMEESE ABOO ALERTER (!?) ASSTDA OATSEED AMBS AWS ALB ISS LYS — all far less than ideal. There's just not an entertaining coherent theme here. Each themer was a little word puzzle, which is fine, in some Games-like magazine or non-crossword context, but the purposelessness of IN BED, the way the resulting answers just hang out there, all naked and arbitrary and without cluing, means that there's no clear identity or point to the puzzle. Move letters around. Put words in grid. Ta da? I found it hard to care.


All of the difficulty in the puzzle is related to uncovering the theme, which you (probably) needed IN BED to do. I gummed it all up from the get-go by having ALT at 1D: It's between B.C. and Sask. instead of the ALB abbrev. that was called for. This meant I had TR-ACHED for the [*___ Motel] clue (nonsense, obviously), and even after I got IN BED, my lack of "B" there (from ALB) meant that I couldn't see what was going on until I saw ROKER inside whatever was happening at 49A: *Longtime TV weatherman. From there, I pieced the theme together, changed ALT to ALB, and got through the rest of the puzzle pretty easily.


BROOMED is a word? If you have to resort to that strange a B-ED word, try try again. BROILED, BRAIDED … honestly, it feels like you could go on forever (part of the theme's problem—the utter arbitrariness of the themers). Today's wrong answers (besides ALT) included CAROMS for SERUMS (19A: Some shots), EERIER for EDGIER (28D: More out there), and, best of all, SIREN for SIDE B (7D: Rod Stewart's "Maggie May," for one). I liked ROUNDER (as clued) (29D: Habitual drunkard) and the parallel adjacency of YOKO ONO and LENNON. There wasn't a lot else to recommend here.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

95 comments:

okanaganer 12:21 AM  

What's the opposite of 'You had me at Hello'?

In this case, it's 'You lost me at AMBS'. Yuckkkko horrible abbrev., made worse by crossing another abbrev. that is never used. The old official post office abbrev. for Alberta was ALTA and of course now it is AB to meet the USA/Can. 2-letter std. for states and prov.'s. (see, aren't they annoying?)

The theme would have been more interesting if the full IN__BED answers also made some sort of sense re the clue. On Wordplay, the constructor mentions that was his original intention but he couldn't get it to work to his / Will's satisfaction.

mathguy 12:24 AM  

Liked it a lot. Fresh theme which was very helpful to solve a non-routine puzzle.

I skip M-W 12:32 AM  

For once, I agree with @Rex. Once you get the point, it's quite straightforward, but not great fun.

SenorLynn 12:33 AM  

A puz that I needed the revealer to get started, rather than just being an afterthought. No trouble with NW, since I got ALB. hardest were RUSH (bit of excitement) & LAST (Pisces).
Liked Mamie's man IKE, John next to Yoko, & esp DRUMSET.
Don't know if DSL is "broadband" anymore, but it's a 3-space.
Didn't know 8 bells could be NOON, but then I never served on a ship.
No like: SOARERS, ALERTER, OATSEED

jae 12:41 AM  

Medium- tough for me too because @Rex it took a while to get the theme e.g.  Bates wouldn't work.  

I've got mixed feelings about this one.  Clever idea that suffers from a tad too much dreck...ALERTER, SOARER, AMBS, ALB, a gaggle of HAs... So, liked it with reservations. 

Erasures: braE for RISE and ... no, that was it. 

Zippy pair: LENNON and YOKO ONO.

wreck 12:51 AM  

Very tough until I figured out the theme as well. I got the revealer pretty quick, but still could not see the theme until I finally saw ROKER for TV weatherman. After going back to starred clues and filling in all the "B's" and "ED's" - it started to go pretty fast.
Put me in the "didn't like it" camp.

Steve J 1:21 AM  

One of those somewhat odd, occasional circumstances where I liked the idea behind the puzzle's theme, but nothing about the puzzle excited me. I do like the fact that someone observed that you can make a lot of words inside the letters B-E-D, and that the chosen words (why these words? because they worked; it's indeed possible to overthink this stuff) - aside from BROOMED - were solid and in plentiful use. But the words weren't that exciting, and it did become monotonous that it was always BsomethingED. I think I would have liked this more if there were a couple BEsomethingD answers thrown in there (without checking letter counts, BEHIND would work within the theme's conceit, but I'm not coming up with others).

I also would have liked this more with better fill. Things did not start off well with an ungainly AMBS/ALB combo at 1A/D. ALERTER is a pretty desperate reach. If there'd been some zip it would have been easier to overlook these, but there wasn't anything I found fun or witty here.

(An aside: Am I the only one who does not find SIDE B and B-SIDE interchangeable? To me, B-SIDE means the song that's on the flip side of a single, whereas SIDE B is the back side of any record/disc. Maggie Mae is a B-SIDE, located on SIDE B of whatever single it was paired with.)

Casco Kid 1:23 AM  

25 min to find the theme (I considered embedded pig Latin for a moment) then finished in 45 with a queasy feeling. Sure enough, I'd guessed wrong at STEaNE/AURrNCLE/arSE -- ASSuming that hillock is an Elizabethan buttock.

It was fun digging/crossing for KLEE, RAMONA, LALO and EDMEESE, who fell right into place off the leading E.

Anoa Bob 1:30 AM  

I'm usually a TIRELESS WORKER (add an "S" if you want to make that a grid-spanner) when it comes to filling in a grid, but this puzz employed some RUTHLESS TACTICS that left me with a LISTLESS FEELING.

BROOMED took the CAKE for being totally USELESS. OAT SEED & SOARERS? RECKLESS methinks.

I did like AURICLE AUREOLE, which is what's happening to someone who's being talked about, right?

I thought ALB was some sort of clerical garb.

ISS? HA HA.

Billy 2:20 AM  

Alerter?????
wtf?!

chefwen 3:34 AM  

It took two of us but we finally put this one TO BED. Fell a little behind in the SE. It seems that I have a problem spelling BALLOTED, I wanted one L and Two T's. Jon had a good laugh over that one. DAMN!

Gill I. P. 6:19 AM  

I did the head slap dance at [B]ROKER[ED] then flitted all around this puzzle to find my BEDs.
BROOMED, SOARERS, BALLOTED - are these really words? And how many ways can you clue Side-B?
Strange puzzle. All those little 3's on each side of the grid.
Write-overs: MAdeirA instead of MARSALA and bOUNDER instead of the never heard of ROUNDER.....!

James Dean 7:07 AM  

Can we please have a cease fire on "SideB" as an answer. This is the third time in a week. Theme was OK but Igot no satisfaction from it - just sort of slugged my way through. And where to start with "ambs" and "serums"?

After Wednesday's great puzzle, this one just seems useless.

Muscato 7:08 AM  

I'm another newbie to ROUNDER - truly don't think I've ever heard it in this context. on the whole, though, I really rather liked this one, but that may only be because it came in well under my usual Thursday time, meaning... I have all this extra time to leave a comment here before rushing off to work!

Smitty 7:50 AM  

Que SERUMS SERUMS. Never saw it spelled that way.

loren muse smith 7:53 AM  

Like so many others, I finally saw the trick with ROKER and then I went around and filled in the B and ED in all the other themers. That certainly made it easier.

Me, too, for "caroms" before SERUMS. That made me keep playing around with "roil"/"broiled" up there, wondering if "roil" could be a noun, too.

This French major always spells it "lis" first. Ach du lieber!

@Gil I.P., @Muscato – I didn't know ROUNDER, either.

Weird thing – when I have PAROLE in my head, I am *absolutely incapable* of coming up with the term "probation" and vice versa. I just had to look it up.

I liked that center DORMS GUEST IN BED. I bet when I go over to XwordInfo I'll read that Pawel originally wanted IN BED right in the center.

Agreed, YOKO ONO right next to LENNON (in a puzzle with a BED IN theme) was great. I also liked the clue for DRUM SET, HAHA next to AHEM, and the perpetratorish ABP/PAROLED cross. And try to take my eggs and bacon away and serve me OAT SEED cereal? Well, IRATE is right there.

For me, crosswords are mainly a manipulation of language – a spotlight to make me consider a string of letters in a different way. So I enjoyed seeing real words inserted into BED to make new words. Like Rex said, "Each themer was a little word puzzle, which is fine…" but he and others wanted more. Totally fair enough – something to tie it together tighter would have been great, but I don't see how that could be done here; that he could LAST in BED really BLASTED all the rumors that had erenow haunted him?

@Steve J – yeah, to divide some between the BE and the D would have made it pretty tough to separate out the middle word from the big word: belittled, belated, even beyond wouldn't really work. Beaded, behaved, be good - a little better.

I count 11 B's in the grid *and* each theme answer crosses another – those constraints surely made it harder to fill. As many have noted, the current grid darling, SIDE B, shows up again, and also the extra B's in BARNARD/ABBY and in TABULAR/BILL.

This theme had me off exploring our language, revisiting and reparsing B words, and I'm glad I did. I disagree with @James Dean – not USELESS for me.

dk 8:12 AM  

🌕🌕(2 Moons in bed)

Sigh….. I wish I could like these types of puzzles -- you know accept what I cannot change.

Causes to linger:

digs for PADS
Uris for EPEL
alarmer for ALERTER

Personal taste aside: cute theme but not so easy to dance to.

Leapfinger 8:18 AM  

Ugh. I've climbed some in the Canadian Rockies in ALBerta, and NObody I know in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer or Rocky Mountain House would abbrev it other than ALTA or AB. Hoped that might be a rebus, maybe even one at 14A, but no joy. I did the same, @Gillip, ma deara.

Moving East, I had enough going down to see the RANCH [IN BED], and really liked the NE for showcasing ISABEL Allende and RISE Stevens, and for the EDELweiss. [I have a pressed one from the Swiss Alps, still in pretty good shape after 65 yrs.] Appreciated the leg up with that smattering of anatomic terminology: besides the two ears, there's a couple of AURICLEs behind the STERNEum, nip&tuck by the AUREOLA/E.

Nice one having YOKO ONO/LENNON side-by-side; somewhere on the Net, there's Al Capp interviewing them [IN BED]. This was after he'd turned somewhat mad-dog, and he really lights into them. I could also visualize some distraught parent's Dear ABBY letter: My baby's DORM allows GUESTS IN BED!

otoh, like @Anoa Bob, I thought it pointLESS to have USELESS and RECKLESS on the Very Next Day. Is anyone paying attention? If someone thought that would be cute, it wasn't; Pavel was robbed.

Ah, the theme: a cute idea, and especially nice with crossings in all quadrants, but at the cost of undesirables, and finally seemed a one-trick pony (hi, @!). The way we played the fortune cookie game was to add "...between the sheets", so if this theme bugs you, just think how you'd like it with SHEETS[word]SHEETS.

Cot to go now.

Glimmerglass 8:18 AM  

Disappointing theme. It seems there should have been a way to clue the embeddings (or substitute embeddings) to include the presently unclued words. For example, BROOMED could have been "The way he got cracker crumbs out of his personal space." That might produce a Monday/Tuesday level puzzle, but it would better than this dud.

dk 8:21 AM  

fyi:

Squeeze was to be the Monkees of New Wave. After an initial uncommercial outing they released Cool for Cats and then….

Pompous rock-o-files often swoon over Squeeze. I take the last train to clarksville: Just sayin!

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

This one is like a bra hanging on a door knob. It's there, you want to get excited by it, but in the end, it's empty. Boring slog.

AliasZ 8:25 AM  


- AMBS is the new "Call me Ishmael."
- Is anyone out there still using DSL?
- B's and D's are plentiful in this puzzle, and SO ARE R'S.
- I am usually ALERTER than the next guy.

The theme is on the BORDERED of banal and a BUTTERED mess. How many words are there that start with B, end in ED, and the letter string between them spell another unrelated word? Let me see what else I can imagine IN BED:

BANNED Margret.
BANGED Lee.
BEVELED Knievel.
Archibald BLEACHED (aka Cary Grant).
BEMUSED Aussie birds.
BLENDED an ear.
BLOOMED large.
BOILED of Olay.
Scrambled a(n) BEGGED.
BOASTED kiln.
Where do you keep a loved one's ashes after you BURNED his/her/its body?
I never BUMPED into a field official.

I am sure there are many BOTHERED examples, but BIGOTED sick and tired of it.

If you like Edouard LALO, you'll love this.

jberg 8:32 AM  

Me too for loving the AURICLE AUREOLE column, as well as seeing all of Ms. ONO's name right next to LENNON, and that pair of generals, IKE and LEE.

The trouble with the theme is that it was impossibly hard until I got to the revealer, and then impossibly easy, since all the theme answers had starred clues. Might have been better without the stars.

AHEM, AHI. HAHA!

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Couldn't get nothin' till the theme emerged. Then it was clear and easy, with a nice AHA moment but little joy. Alerter = acck.

joho 8:43 AM  

I always want the opening of any puzzle to have some oomph and AMBS/ALB just didn't do it for me. @Anoa Bob, I think ALB clued as a word and not an abbr. would have been better, too.

Once you get the gimmick the rest is pretty easy to see, but I still found it interesting. I circled the theme answers when done -- they all cross so neatly in the grid ... a job well done, Pawel! And what a great crossword name you have!

Sir Hillary 8:49 AM  

Yaaawn. I was [conjunction in bed] by this one. An anagram of 38D is also germane.

Joseph Welling 8:49 AM  

It looks like USELESS and RECKLESS might have been leftover answers from Wednesday's puzzle.

Does anyone know if that sort of thing is done intentionally? Seems like with crosswordese type of answers, I often see the same rarish one use several times in one week.

loren muse smith 8:51 AM  

@Sir Hillary - bedroom boredom??

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

I was bothered by inconsistencies in some of the names. The convention usually is for the clue and answer to parallel their use of first names, last names, or both. Here we had REAGAN / ED MEESE. But what grated on me more was the pairing of YOKO ONO and LENNON. That just sounds wrong.

mathguy 8:54 AM  

Reading the comments showed me another plus for the puzzle. John and Yoko lying side by side a la their famous interview -- IN BED.

Carola 8:59 AM  

Slow and patchy for me on top until I got IN BED, then I went back to finish BRUSHED and BLOCKED and the rest went fast.

Really liked how the ROACH Motel's ROACH is all tucked in, IN BED. Did notlike how the first roaches I ever saw were IN my own BED (dilapidated student housing, 1967): three of them zoomed out from under my pillow when I lifted it for my jammies. Traumatizing.

As fast as the other B-ED words, BROOMED is also kinda nice, in a clutching at straws way - BED-ROOM.

This ex-medievalist liked the cross of HAHA and AHEM with AHI: Middle High German interjection expressing pain, desire, or amazement. Pronounced ah-HEE.

Carola 9:01 AM  

"As *far* as. Sorry. Must still have those zooming roaches on my mind.

Nancy 9:28 AM  

Pretty easy for me. Saw the theme right away. (How ELSE would breakfast sometimes be served?) One gripe: "aws" are not "cries" -- they are murmured or cooed. Also found ALERTER clunky, though I got it right away.
Went off to Kipling, looking for ROUNDER. Knew that he had not written "Gentlemen songsters off on a spree," as in the Whippinpoof version. Was sure it was "Gentleman rounders off on a spree." Was going to show off. But, alas, I was wrong. It's "Gentleman rankers off on a spree." Oh well. Win some, lose some.

Sir Hillary 9:33 AM  

@LMS - I was thinking only of the second, but you did me one better, even though I did the puzzle at my kitchen table. Well-played.

NCA President 9:36 AM  

I could be wrong on this, but I believe OAT SEEDs are actually called oat groats. I buy OAT SEEDs and have never seen them called seeds...they're groats.

I really do not know how, when, or why I know about BARNARD college. I don't believe I have spoken about it or read about it in years. It just seems to have lingered in the recesses of my mind until today when it was unleashed.

For "Heretofore" I had whEnce to start with, and I thought I was pretty smart for getting it out of nothing. I then changed it when I entered "George" as a Beatle...which itself was changed when I saw the Y for 39D. From there, I saw the error of my way and got YOKOONO and LENNON.

I thought there were an undue number of names in this puzzle that I didn't know: REA, STERNE, RAMONA, ISABEL, EDEL; in addition to the names I did know: YOKOONO, LENNON, LALO, KLEE, EDMEESE, IKE, and even ROKER. But that could just be me.

chefbea 9:41 AM  

No time to read all the posts - will do that later. Maybe this has been said...The answers are embedded but they are also IN bed.

Lots of yummy answers - cake, oat, Marsala etc. I'll come back later

Susan McConnell 9:41 AM  

Not my favorite. Had to convince myself to finish...just didn't really care about it at all.

RnRGhost57 9:46 AM  

Should be in the OED as an example of "meh"

Z 9:49 AM  

I liked the puzzle. A nice little game that gave me the most trouble at ALLOT inside BALLOTED and RUSH inside BRUSHED. Plus, there's a little rom com playing out in the center square for the college crowd.

@casco kid - There should always be room for an Elizabethan buttock in a puzzle, IMHO.

People here might find the "which crossword blogger are you" quiz fun. Apparently, I'm Patrick Merrill.

Mohair Sam 9:50 AM  

Liked it - something a little different, refreshing.

YOKO/John pairing very clever with the theme - learned AURICLE - loved the clue for DRUMSET - not being Canadian I was fine with ALB.

And yes, SIDEB (and bSIDE) should be SIDElined for at least a year.

RAD2626 9:51 AM  

Did not know ISABEL or (shame on me) STERNE so NE was tough going. ISS is not aesthetically pleasing in that section either.

BROOMED is commonly used to describe someone being fired. Not an awful word.

Like many, getting ROKER early (had to be him or Wiilard Scott) allowed putting B-E-D throughout grid which helped with crosses

Ludyjynn 10:07 AM  

40 Across caught my eye at the start, so the theme was a gimme. I'm in accord w/ Rex on this one, esp. his fortune cookie illustration of adding "IN BED" to the end of the fortune being more fun than some of the puzz. answers.

However, @Leapy's recall of the ONO/LENNON interview and the constructor's vertical side by side placement of the pair did enliven the proceedings considerably! As did recalling college DORMS bed-hopping antics of some peoples' youth! (no names, please). So, all in all, fairly satisfying.

Thanks, PF and WS.


Bob Kerfuffle 10:12 AM  

With the majority on this one - theme had some promise, but I had to keep reminding myself, "It only says the answers are IN BED, not that they make any (new) sense that way. Some interesting non-theme entries, but also some real clunkers.

And at 9 D, I was So Damn Smart, threw in STEELE before STERNE.

chefbea 10:12 AM  

@Z I'm Deb Amlen

Hartley70 10:13 AM  

I did a cheer when I saw Leon. I hadn't seen his name or thought of him in years, but we were once great friends in the stacks of the university library. Henry James was my obsession; Leon's criticism was a brilliant guide. What a guy! Thanks for the memory Pawel!
Otherwise the puzzle was a little confusing until I saw "in bed" as I ran through the clues. Roker was the gimme. Not quite as challenging as a rebus, but we can't have fillet mignon every Thursday and this was a worthy change.

Moly Shu 10:33 AM  

Agree with the majority, meh. Was mostly OK with the puzzle until I finished in the SW with BROOMED, yuck. I'm fairly certain that x-word solving has taught me that the plural of SERUM is SERa.

Liked this as much as I like watching soccer. Not much. But don't want to be un-patriotic, so GO USA!!!

Ellen S 10:44 AM  

Same like everybody. I really wanted the themes to be versions of the fortune cookie game, so found it disappointing. Can't even think of anything clever to say. Was that song about Hungry Black EELS on the B-SIDE of whatever record or album it was ISShed on?

jdv 10:46 AM  

Easy-Med. Thought the theme was pretty average for a Thursday; the fill a little bit less so. It was a little heavy on non-words. Not sure why ALB wasn't clued as a priestly garment. Maybe there's a geography quota to be met. I've heard of the actor Stephen REA, but not today's REA. Like @Kerfuffle also had STEELE before STERNE and almost had EDER before EDEL.

Gill I. P. 11:15 AM  

@Z: George B sent that quiz to me and here's what I got...
"My humor level is almost as great as your love of food porn selfie."
Everybody else gets Deb Amien? What did I do wrong? I didn't lie...I'm feeling BROOMED.

Leapfinger 11:19 AM  

No, no, no, @MohairSam! You can't be fine with ALB unless you're also fine with Palo ALBo and ALB Vista!

@chefbea, help is on the way. If there's excess fluid in the knee, you can BALLOTTE the kneecap, so U can keep both Ls, both Ts. Better now?

I also have only heard of ROUNDERs as a Brit kid game, I think it's like baseball, belittled.

Some other dibbits:
I like fleur de LYS, and fleur de lis is also accepted; after all, 'lily' has both. But today of all days, it shoulda been Fleur de LIT.
TABULAR seemed nekkid without the ASA.
IKE and TEE? Nah...
Just noticed the symmetry of placement in crossing themes, each quadrant. Again, the constructor's feat, the solvers' inches.

@Alias, I listened to that LA.LO, the csello was a nice surprise, esp with Ste Jacqueline de BeauPre. But dang if Part 1A didn't cut off in mid up-bow! Am beguiled into finding the rest.
Bloviated your list; good to have blinked up.

BREADED [something] tonight

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

This would have been so much more fun if all of the answers also worked in another way- like block HEAD and HEAD room and HEAD rush- I always have BED HEAD.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

This would have been so much more fun if all of the answers also worked in another way- like block HEAD and HEAD room and HEAD rush- I always have BED HEAD.

AliasZ 11:30 AM  


Isn't a two-letter difference between entries too close for comfort? AURICLE vs. AUREOLE. Great idea though for a "Split Decisions" puzzle entry.

The horror of seeing YOKO ONO and LENNON next to each other IN BED! Had they never met, The Beatles may have stayed together another 10 years. What a shame.

TABULAR rasar is a clean slate, as pronounced by those who add R's to words ending in A.

Let me upclass this joint by presenting to you RAMONA as only this man can do it.

A soccer ball is ROUNDER than a pumpkin. Go USA!

Numinous 11:52 AM  

I caught the theme early on when I found INBED. Then it was simply a matter of filling in the Bs and the EDs on all the *d clues. ROKER was the only one who gave me trouble as I don't recall ever hearing of him. I had a DNF thought because I had RAMONe instead of RAMONA. I agree with @Rex on most of his criticism of this one, I didn't like it.
ALERTER? Really?
In spite of the DNF, I finished this in well under a normal Thursday time for me. And here I thought this one was going to be difficult.

If you like difficult, if you like cryptics, I have a soon to be on runtpuz.org Cryptic Runt at http://www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=4491&id2=271. I haven't done one of these in nearly 40 years and am not sure of the quality. I you like, let me know how you fare via my email on my profile page.

bwalker 11:54 AM  

Tough for me because I read the reveal wrong! BeLOCKED, BeROACHED, BeRANCHED. How clunky and difficult having to get the starred answers with so many crosses! Who are all these people? Then I got to BeALLOTED and the forehead slap. Ugh!

I only slogged through with Google and nearly quit in disgust. No fun at all, just aggravation.

Numinous 11:55 AM  

Oh, yeah. ROUNDERs is a game very like baseball played by girls in the UK. It may well be the inspiration for our national passtime.

Steve J 11:56 AM  

@Anon 8:54 a.m.: I noticed the name inconsistency with Regan/ED MEESE as well. In fact, I hesitated putting in Meese's name even though I knew it to be correct, because the clue was not first/last name.

@Loren: Me too with LiS instead of LYS.

Regarding possibilities for BEsomethingD: As I've thought about it more, it's damn tough to do that and still have a real word in between. Behind (hin) would work, but hin is not good (to say the least). Beyond (yon) would also work, and yon's marginally better than hin. Otherwise, you've largely got words that begin in BE and end in ED, and having two E's with this theme would be awkward. So, while BsomethingED got monotonous, there's really not much choice from what I can see.

@RAD2626: I've never heard BROOMED as a synonym for fired. Canned, axed, sacked, 86'd, cut, RIFed, laid off, made redundant, downsized, and probably others I'm not remembering. But not once broomed.

Masked and Anonymo5Us in bed 12:16 PM  

Fun one, IM&AO.

Hey, just look at this theme. Each themer's clue answer is Masked, in bed. Just add ropes, and U got yerself a rodeo. (Interestin, how autocorrect keeps tryin to change yerself to herself).

Trouble spots:
* SERUMS. Wanted the other one.
* ISS vs. some novelist lady. Primo weeject, that there ISS.
* Quimby character vs. some blues rocker.
* Hesitancy to believe BROOMED. Opens up a whole new world: TOMATOED, for instance.
* Brief chokin incident, on cinnamon roll #2.

TABULAR is tubular. Produces the precious Fifth U Element.

This ThursPuz had darn near eveythin U solvers could possibly want, except for what this here has...

www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=4511&id2=692

M&A

wreck 12:18 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
SenorLynn 12:23 PM  

The Rounders was a 1965 Henry Fonda movie. Rounders was a 1998 Matt Damon movie.
Both seem to mean ne'er do wells, not especially drunks.

DigitalDan 12:37 PM  

Found it easy, for a Thursday, for some reason. Go figure. What's hard is finding a captcha I can read.

Dolgoruky 12:37 PM  

I agree with all the cavils. One you get the "in bed." which I did pretty early, most is pretty. easy. Maybe I'm egotistical, but I just plain feel GOOD when i finish a legitimately tough puzzle. No such feeling today!

chefbea 12:39 PM  

@Leapfinger..huh??? Why are you talking about my knee???

Two Ponies 12:49 PM  

I usually avoid the reveal until the end. Big mistake today. Like everyone else it felt rather easy once that was in place. Can't believe I made it through all the proper names. Speaking of names, the constructor certainly has a unique one.

Gill I. P. 12:55 PM  

@chefbea I think @Leapy meant @chefwen and her misspelling snafu...
What a game...GO USA. I have to stop SCREAMING!

r.alphbunker 1:14 PM  

@M and A

You broke new ground with the (?)??. Before this no one thought that such a clue was possible.

Leapfinger 1:33 PM  

@chefbea, am I right that'huh, Leapfinger?' is getting to be a habit?

@Gill IP's right; I didn't know wen to say bea. I think I'm fixed up on Steve and Z, though.

@Digital Dan, I discovered the acoustics icon. What you hear is different from what you see, but you might find it useful/ fun. Sometimes they do mumble, mostly with numbers.

@Gilly, had to laugh @ your R@@@ sentence. Am finding I now want to say @So-and-So when I'm talking to someone.

Andrew Heinegg 1:34 PM  

Ho hum, what a un-fun puzzle; Once I figured out the gimmick, I got the puzzle and was not entertained or informed. And, yes, let's put the side b answer in the storage unit, please. I guess it was too much to expect 3 good puzzles in a row. Is this the real name of the constructor, Pawel Fludzinski?

Doc John 1:39 PM  

So it wasn't just me, then. What a slog. Not to mention the Natick-y cross at 56.

M and Also 1:39 PM  

@r.alph: Thanx and yep. M&A likes to keep on pushin the puz envelope til solvers go plumb postal.

p.s. YOKOONO BSIDE LENNON ON SIDEB...
Well, shoot ... there's yer drumset. Gotta feel sad, tho, when someone wants to permanently sideline some innocent, perfectly solid, desperate answer. Grease for the gander, mon amigoes. (Easy on the eyes, y'all.) I say keep them weejects and midgects RE-EMBED-ED, so to say.

M&A
"Progress Is Our Most Meager Possibility... in bed"

chefbea 2:01 PM  

@Leapfinger That was a good one!! Hope everyone will remember Wen to say Bea!!!

Lewis 2:19 PM  

I loved the clue for DRUMSET, not fond of OATSEED or ALERTER. My last section to go was the NE. For a while I had Uris instead of EDEL, which didn't help. This was a good workout. Not a wow theme, but as with most if not all things in life, the wows come spaced apart.

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP™): This PPP is much like the one from Saturday, but I posted that very late and I don't think many saw it. So here is a redux, based on today's puzzle --

One answer in this puzzle is like senile felines. Which is it? If you wish to post it, so as not to give the answer away, just post the third letter.

AnonImust 3:13 PM  

Short word, @Lewis? E

Sir Hillary 3:28 PM  

@Lewis - O

Clark 3:39 PM  

I got the reveal right away and immediately thought of the practice of adding it to the end of a fortune cookie message as we see in Rex's picture number 3—although, rather than add "in bed," we used to add the words "between the sheets".

wreck 3:54 PM  

@Lewis

I think it is "O" as well.

mac 4:06 PM  

Medium Thursday for me, with a couple of barbs. I was so committed to Bruhaha at 11D that it took me a little while to get out that corner. I looked for the reveal right away (good advise from a constructor years ago) so that part was easy.

My biggest problem was 35A because I read "patron" as paTRON and was looking for a term for that.

Decent Thursday, all in all.

Anonymous 4:13 PM  

I made the same mistake as @Res. I also originally had siren for Maggie May until I realized it was side B

sanfranman59 4:34 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)

Thu 15:16, 17:32, 0.87, 24%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 10:32, 10:41, 0.99, 45%, Medium

wreck 4:44 PM  

@ Lewis

Now I have talked myself into "E" -- I'm thinking I should just quit!! ;)

Fred Romagnolo 4:45 PM  

I was with @kerfuffle & @jdv in 1st using STEelE for STERNE. The gimmick was easy to figure, though. I groaned over OATSEED & ALERTER, but wth it's a crossword. But I'm surprised there wasn't more objection to SOARERS.

Anonymous 4:46 PM  

I didn't jump up and down with joy over this puzzle, but it was better than Rex thought. None of the starred clues made any sense, of course, until I found the revealer at 40-A, and then the rest of it came pretty quickly.

I agree with SeniorLyn that the clue for ROUNDER is a rather narrow one. Old country music songs, especially from the 1930s, give the impression that a rounder is a general ne-er-do-well. Heavy drinker, yes, but also a shiftless coot who runs through money in a hurry, chases women, gambles, and wanders from place to place, and I don't know what-all. Some of the stories about him might be exaggerations, but I always think of someone like Charlie Poole of the North Carolina Ramblers string band as being the perfect representative of a rounder.

Lewis 4:47 PM  

Post Puzzle Puzzle solution:


"Senile felines" is a palindrome, and the only palindromic answer in today's puzzle is NOON, so O is the correct answer.

@wreck and @sirhillary -- WTG!

@anonimust -- curious as to how you got your answer...

Sandy 4:53 PM  

SERA, not serums!!!!

wreck 5:08 PM  

@ Lewis

I had NOON at first, then talked myself out of it because of the extra "F" in SENILE F ELINES. I went back to LEER spell, it backwards and get REEL (add an "F") and you get a real word FLEER.

I think I waaaay over think things!!

anonImust 6:05 PM  

@Lewis, I misunderstood the initial premise. I was looking for an entry like 'senile', that when reversed ('elines'), could take some starting letter (like 'f') that made a real word...and thus get the palindrome.

So I came up with ORE ZERO or ORE HERO!

anonImust 6:16 PM  

Yup, @wreck and I had the same thought (for a while), to create a palindrome using an entry as the first half, rather than just looking for an existing palindrome.

Though I'll have to look up FLEER...

errhode 6:40 PM  

In (weak) defense of BROOMED, as a curler, I actually used that word all the time. "Broom" as a verb is where the skip places the broom on the ice to give the person throwing the stone a target. As in "I broomed the last shot just outside the eight foot, with the hopes that it would curl around the guard, but Barb was narrow and it crashed. Now that the guard's gone, I think if we try brooming it at the same spot, it should work this time."

I said that almost verbatim last night.

Which is not to say that this makes it a particularly good entry for this puzzle... but it is a real word in my circles.

Z 6:57 PM  

Baseball is played in series of games. If one team wins all three or four games in the series it is called "sweeping" the series. To say the losing team was BROOMED is not uncommon. It is also common in basketball and hockey play off series. You will even see fans with brooms in the stands at times. Perfectly legit.

Arlene 8:28 PM  

I'm a little late to the game here. I got the theme right away, so filled in all the BEDs and continued to solve. No Googles - so I'm a happy camper for a Thursday.

Lewis 9:55 PM  

@anonimust -- your reasoning is as good as mine, and so is your answer! And yours took more work! WTG!

spacecraft 11:16 AM  

Didn't like it. Too many -ER and -ED entries. Yes, I know -ED figures into the theme, but even outlying we have SCREAMED, PAROLED, OATSEED (?!) EDEL and EDDY, not to mention that old standby EDMEESE--whose more and more frequent appearance in crosswords is turning him into a cliche. At least we got his whole name this time.

But SOARERS? ALERTER?? Yeesh. Too much of that stuff. Other fill is no better: ABOO??? C'mon, man.

Some like the AURICLE/AUREOLE column; not me. Too similar. Cluing nit: AWS are NOT cribside "cries." You do NOT "cry" "AW."

A few likes: John and YOKO INBED, and a timely plug for the new hot series RECKLESS. Not nearly enough to save this baby. A Peppermint Patty special: D-.

10655: 8, the poor man's natural.

DMG 3:45 PM  

Got the idea at BRANCHED, and the rest was a fairly smooth solve, strange words and all. Hit two Naticks. One at sq.56 where I knew neither the rocker or the heroine, but correctly guessed "R." The other, sad to say, at sq. 23. No idea about the "action thriller" (movie? book? TV show?) I tried "R" again, noting that rAP must be one of those things I'm not aware of. DUH! And on to tomorrow!

205, so I'm out again

Dirigonzo 4:01 PM  

Even with IN BED in place and BROKERED staring at me from the grid it took a while for the light to go on so I could see Al ROKER in bed - come to think of that's not something I would ever want to see. Anyway, with that revelation in hand I went merrily around the grid filling in the "B"s and "ED"s for the starred clues and I was so happy even ED MEESE couldn't bring me down. I think we have not seen Pawel Fludzinski ERE NOW, so a NYT debut, perhaps?

I wonder where an OAT SEED stands in relation to a hay seed on the rural social ladder?

644 - I'll join @DMG on the sidelines.

Steven M. O'Neill 8:01 PM  

I liked seeing

ONO
NON

together as part of ONO and LENNON. I never noticed that their endings meshed like this.

That is all.

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