Monday, July 14, 2014


Relative difficulty: EASY

THEME: UFO SIGHTING — The word "UFO" appears in all of the theme answers

Word of the Day: D'oh!
"D'oh" (typically represented in the show's script as "(annoyed grunt)") is a famous catchphrase of Homer Simpson. It was famously accepted into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2001. The quote is normally used when Homer hurts himself, finds out something to his embarrassment or chagrin, is outsmarted, or undergoes or anticipates misfortune.
• • •
So Sunday night, around 10:30pm, I was about to start the puzzle (I forgot it was Sunday, and that Puzzle comes out early).  Before logging on to the new (and not-at-all-improved) world's worst app, the NYTimes Crossword Puzzle, I quickly checked twitter and saw a tweet from Rex Parker.  All of a sudden, I realized that he was jet-setting off to New Zealand with his beautiful wife and brilliant child, and that Jenny and I were supposed to be blogging for him tonight.  D'oh!!

Jenny had forgotten too, and was not available to help, so you just have me, Liz, and my 16-year old daughter Annabel, who will be taking over from me starting………….


Hi! I'm Annabel, and I had never done a puzzle before today. It only took me 18 minutes and 51 seconds. Well, I'm proud of myself for finishing it at all! Yay!

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Annoyed "Hel-LO!" (yoU FOrgot me)
  • 31A: Japanese compact SUV (SubarU FOrester)
  • 39A: Sandwich cookie with abundant filling (double stUF Oreo)
  • 57A: Eerie encounter…or a hint to 23-, 31- and 39 Across (UFO sighting)
As a non-Puzzler, I didn't even know that puzzles usually had themes, or that the repetition of UFO was even a theme. So I guess I've learned something new today. This puzzle did succeed in making me crave a few Double Stuf Oreos…the correct way to eat them, by the way, is to take the tops off of two and stick them together to create a Quadruple Stuf Oreo. Nobody will convince me that there is any other way to eat Oreos. And while we're at it, can we just discontinue single-Stuf Oreos? The cookie-to-icing ratio is completely off, no matter how you slice it.

  • 65A: Elvis's middle name (ARON) — I had no idea people - well, Puzzlers, at least, - actually knew this sort of trivia. My mother tells me you guys know everything. How do you do it? Does it take endless hours of Wikipedia?
  • 40D: Singing the praises of (LAUDING) — See?  Taking Latin instead of Spanish DOES pay off in the long run. ("Laud" comes from the Latin verb laudo, laudare, laudavi, which means "to praise," but you Puzzlers probably know that. You know everything, like Elvis's middle name.)
  • 62A: First, second or reverse (GEAR) — Brought back painful memories of last month when my mother tried to teach me to drive a stick shift. We stalled about a hundred times, I almost crashed into a parked car, and my knuckles are still an odd shade of white.
  • 53D: Treaty of ___, pact ending the War of 1812 (GHENT) — And here we had the clue which had me gently smacking myself in the forehead, repeating, "I just took an AP U.S. History test a month and a half ago, how can I not know this?" D'oh!!
Signed, Annabel, tired high school student.

ps--Liz again.  Annabel always said she wanted to learn to do the crossword puzzle but thought it was too hard.  I've always told her that she can do a Monday puzzle.  So just let me say right here, right now,  I WAS RIGHT.  Again.  (xxoo--love you Annabel :)


Evan 12:04 AM  

"This puzzle did succeed in making me crave a few Double Stuf Oreos…the correct way to eat them, by the way, is to take the tops off of two and stick them together to create a Quadruple Stuf Oreo."


Congrats on finishing your first Monday!

Steve J 12:10 AM  

Fun writeup, Annbel. And, yes, single-stuff Oreos are completely pointless. Congrats on finishing your first NYT puzzle.

Fun puzzle, too. Theme's basic but well-executed, which is what Mondays should be in my book, and the answers feel original. The fill's solid, with some nice meaty words like SCALENE and USURY, and it's tough not to like FOGHORN. A couple awkward partials, and a couple bits of crosswordese, but those are really minor in what's a very good Monday puzzle.

jae 12:18 AM  
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jae 2:08 AM  

Medium- tough for me and I'm not sure why.  I did have HooRAy before HURRAH and SUBARU took some crosses so those might have been the problem?

Very smooth grid, solid theme and reveal, liked it.

OK Liz I need a little bit of clarification here (loved Annabel's write up BTW).  My current pic a BEQ Mon. puzzle that my 15 year old granddaughter did a couple of weeks ago.  She is doing Mondays for $$$ during her summer vacation (you may not want to let Annabel see the $$$ part).  She gets to look STUFf she doesn't know up.  Is it safe to assume that Annabel is operating under the same rules or do I need to make it tougher for my granddaughter?  Inquiring minds....  Oh, and you can tell her the only reason I knew ARON is crosswords.

Billy 3:28 AM  

VERY nice write-up, Annabel, I can only ascribe your level of comfort with a wholly new medium (and I mean crossword-criticism) to your study of latin.


Gill I. P. 4:44 AM  

This was a cool beans kinda puzzle. Lots of food, lots of fun and just a great Monday type puzzle.
Good job MaryEllen and great write-up you two. Way to go!

Lewis 5:35 AM  

Overall, a fine Monday, and as Annabel has demonstrated, a great intro to this beautiful art form. Two nitpicks: I did not like the clue that made me count to the 21st word of the Pledge, and I would have preferred a clue for LA MER rather than LAMER, which to me is just plain ugly. But the puzzle had spark and just a touch of bite, and a good way to start the week. And the writeup was lovely!

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP): If you were looking at a list of the answers, can you find a single-word answer that you can change one letter in to make a two-word answer that has appeared in the NYT crossword before?

If you wish to post an answer, so as not to give it away, just write the second letter of the original answer. I'll post the answer later this afternoon, and Ralph often posts it on runtpuz.

James Dean 6:40 AM  

Apparently the soccer match was even duller than I thought and I slept through Monday, because my time is spot on for a Tuesday puzzle. Enjoyedi it, though, especially the longer crosses and the shout out to Mr. Magoo.

Big congrats to Anabel on the first puzzle. Crosswords are one of the few addictions that will do you good.

Moly Shu 6:50 AM  

Great write up, and congratulations, @Annabel. Thanks for a fresh perspective. Nice and easy puzzle, no real criticisms here. Especially liked SCALENE and DORSAl, nice words.

@Lewis, where I work there are 6 "areas of specialty". Mine is dubbed the Ocean. LAMER is the name of one of our most often used intersection/ reporting points. Every time I say it (at least. 50 times a day), I also cringe a little bit. Ugly, juvenile, however you describe it, I feel your pain. Over and over again. Even pronouncing it LA MER, as I do every so often, doesn't help.

Muscato 7:06 AM  

A fine Monday puzzle, clean and straightforward (and a couple of minutes faster than I generally manage, which might be one reason I like it). Also a charming write-up and a nice way to start the week. Welcome to Puzzleland!

Glimmerglass 7:10 AM  

I was going to try to be the first to say this puzzle was a SNAP. But I was so impressed by Annabel's write up that I have to congratulate her on finishing the puzzle and producing a fun write-up! It's great that the dreaded NYT prints a puzzle easy enough for a high-school age beginner, but it's not much fun for me. The theme is cute (but what happened to 57A?). I hope ME Uthlaut got a few bucks for the blatant product placement.

sburgernutr 7:27 AM  

Great job Anabel. I loved your review!

Liz Glass 7:51 AM  

@JAE, there's no money in crosswording! Or blogging!

Mohair Sam 7:57 AM  

SNAPpy Monday. Cute little theme, a bit on the easy (even for a Monday) side.

Fun to see young Annabel whup up on her first crossword - congrats. Fine write-up too by the young lady.

The original Oreo was the greatest snack ever, imo, destroyed by food worriers who got the lard out a couple of decades back. Double and quadruple stuffing does not bring back the quality - but does more than compensate for the healthier recipe.

r.alphbunker 8:12 AM  
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r.alphbunker 8:22 AM  

What a neato idea! That someone new to crossword puzzles is asked to blog their first solving experience.

I have enjoyed @Casco Kid's posts as he shares his experiences with us in the comments. I hope to see how Annabel does on her second puzzle. At the very least I hope she lets us know in the comments.

Having a speed solver like @RP review a Monday puzzle is like asking a dog to be a food critic. This is definitely a refreshing change of pace.

Speaking of food critics, the interaction between the chef and the food blogger was a lot of fun to watch in Jon Favreau's new movie "Chef". This is must-viewing for our chefs @chefwen and @chefbea. And who does the chef's son Percy remind you of?

NCA President 8:27 AM  

I like to think of regular Oreos as the diet version...which means I can eat more of them. Also, in the theater where I work, we have snacks back stage...and we just recently went through just about all of the various kinds of Oreos you can get: blond, lemon, Reese's, mint, watermelon (ugh), berry, strawberry, birthday cake, lemon, megastuf, and of course, double stuf. Unless you are 5 years old, do not get the watermelon kind. The birthday cake versions are like crack. The mint, lemon, and berry/strawberry kind are really good. The Reese's kind need more peanut butter.

Speaking of reviews, I actually like the new puzzle on the NYT site. I've always done the AcrossLite version, but now I do it almost entirely on the site. Granted, I'd never done it on the site before, so I have nothing to compare the "new" version with, but apart from just a couple of quirks, I like it. Also, does anyone actually use the "pencil" mode?

And speaking of food, I just bought some cocoa rice crispies last night (don't judge). In fact I had to Google why they actually made those sounds. Evidently, it has something to do with the fact that the rice is processed at such a high temp, that air gets trapped inside the granule and the outer walls of the rice are very fragile. When you pour on the milk, what you're hearing is the sound of those outer walls breaking and releasing the trapped air. Plus, Cocoa Crispies are delicious.

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Great write up!!

I'm guessing Rex would have found parts of this reasonably okay but thought the theme was dumb.

I enjoyed it, some nice fresh stuff.

joho 8:37 AM  

This is perfect example of what a Monday should be: super simple, an ideal vehicle for true beginners as evidenced by Annabel's success. Yay, Annabel!

Love UFOSIGHTING as a theme! Seems fresh and, OK, I have to say it, out of this world.

When done, looking over the grid, the only thing that was little weird to me was that PAGELAYOUT and CONFINEDTO were in what could have been theme answer spots.

The way the three UFO's are placed looks a little like they are either landing or taking off from the reveal. Cool!

Fun Monday, thanks, MaryEllen!

jberg 8:45 AM  

The only thing I didn't like about this one (passing lightly over the horrible partial at 28A) is that UFO SIGHTING doesn't seem 'eerie' enough for the clue. UFO abduction, maybe. But it was still very gettable.

I think it's accurate enough as is, but where I grew up there was a canal with breakwater walls at its mouth extending out into Lake Michigan. One side of the canal had a lighthouse, the other side had a FOGHORN. So 'blast from a lighthouse" took me a few seconds. "Chicken Senator" would have been more fun.

Annabel, great writeup! Please stick around and do some more! You can learn all about Mel Ott!

AliasZ 8:45 AM  

This was fun and easy-peasy. I enjoyed it. I am not sure, but Annabel must have been thankful for SCALENE, because few people remember high-school geometry better than high-school students. See her comments on LAUDING. QED. And who can forget FOGHORN J. Leghorn?

The theme is rather similar to this Jeff Chen puzzle in the LA Times three years ago, but I doubt MaryEllen Uthlaut had an inkling. Let's call it an accidental cross-contamination. GMTA.

The two long non-theme acrosses threw me for a loop for a sec. I expected PAGELUFOUT and COUFONEDTO but it was not to be. I can't decide if I like the confusion these entries cause. I am leaning towards liking it, to keep solvers guessing.

The usual Monday-easy crosswordese entries are present here, but the few USURY, MITRE, SLOOP, SCALENE and OCULI spice it up a bit. While LAMER could have been clued for LA MER, there were already more than enough musical clues/answers in this one: NAT King Cole, Sir GEORG Solti, Edith PILAF, Beethoven's Piano Sonata Les ADIEUx and his EMPEROR Concerto played on a STEINway piano, A HERO's Life (Ein Heldenleben) by Richard Strauss, HURRAH for Hollywood, the Jimmy and Tommy DORSAL big bands, etc.

Let me close with Pythagoras, who knew a thing or two about triangles. In this case, the Pythagoras Strings play the EMPEROR Quartet, Op. 76 no. 3 by Franz Joseph Haydn. Call it a not too heartfelt congrats to the World Cup winners, although they clearly deserved it.

@Glimmerglass, I am sure MaryEllen and Will are having a grand old time in OAHU on the money they raked in for all the blatant product placement: PREGO sauce, Bailey's IRISH Cream, BIC lighters, BOB'S Discount Furniture, OMEGA watches, Prince Albert INCAN, not to mention DOUBLE-STUF OREO.

Have a Cheerio-ful week.

Susan McConnell 8:49 AM  

Good job on the write-up ladies!

This was a nice Monday puzzles amazingly, I managed to not fat-finger anything, so that's special.

As for Oreos, I confess I love the cookie part best, so the original flavor and stuffing will always be my favorite.

John Miller 8:55 AM  

What a precious review & commentary by mother and daughter! Far better than this easy-peasy puzzle!

Questinia 9:13 AM  

I am dumbfounded. I have never had a Double Stuf Oreo. Evidently such a thing is possible because of I suppose the, @ Moose, extrication of lard content? And what of all the @ NCA President flavors?

Can we talk Pringles? White chocolate peppermint? Pickle flavored? Seaweed? Soft-shell crab? Pecan pie? Splash of Salsa? Is it all done with, @ retired chemist, the miracle of ESTERS?

Sorry, I eat healthfully. Only Pringles Multigrain for me.

The puzzle was not easy. I don't know why like @ jae.

Z 9:14 AM  

Ahhh, I do remember 18 when our motto was "quality comes from quantity." Hence the oft purchased $4.99/case Huber and Pfeiffer we used to drink. Personally, I'm an Oreo purist. No misspelt STUF, no watermelon creme (@NCA President - I shuddered) or white cookies with chocolate creme or any of the other permutations their marketers have come up with in this house. I realize many enjoy them, but if you visit me all you will find are the originals.

Also from college, learning the spelling of Elvis ARON Presley's middle name (College tuition - money well spent). The Burger King just off campus was featured in a Weekly World News Elvis sighting story while I was doing my undergraduate work in beer drinking. Speaking of eerie....

I liked the puzzle, and four theme answers are plenty, but was a little surprised that the two 10-letter acrosses are not a part of the theme. No write-overs, but waited to look at 53D before finishing HURRA-.

Leapfinger 9:15 AM  

A fun Monday puzzle, leaning Tuesday with some of the fill.

SETI is a collection of activities that Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence, but we shouldn't overlook the importance of the STI.

Liked the combination of CONFINED TO a Pen (BIC)with IN CAN. For extra-puzzulary reasons, I also like the [Snooze] TOY.

Annabel, U R A QT! You reminded me of selling my old Volvo 144 to this teenage boy, his first car. A half hour after all transactions were done, I noticed he was still sitting in the car in front of the house. Turned out he'd never driven stick before. For the next hour, I did my best, still can't think about it without flapping two hands to illustrate clutch vs accelerator pedal-action. Can't think how many times we stalled out at that one stop-sign. I never heard from his Mom, so I assume he finally made it home, but I bet by that time poor Reggie had not one drop of sweat left in him.

BTW, OREO filling can be approximated by mixing equal volumes of Crisco and confectioner's sugar. Go wild, DOUBLESTUF Lovers, and eat it with a spoon!

chefbea 9:23 AM  

@Anabel...great writeup. welcome to the world of puzzle solving!! Fun puzzle BTW.

Guess @chefwen and I will have to go see the movie Chef. When do you want to go??

Leapfinger 9:28 AM  

@Alias, you forgot ARGO Cornstarch, RiceARONi, RiteAIDE, BOBS Big Boy, all the CIGS, the Honda FIT and the OPALS Kadett.

Wow. MaryEllen and Will can probably get to SAMOA!

Would you say they Soldi outie?

Fred Smith 9:39 AM  

Re: Elvis Aron --

Aron was the name chosen by his parents, but official state records list it as Aaron.

Prior to his death, he said he was going to change his name lo Aaron, so that was his preference, and his father had the Aaron spelling put on his tombstone.

Now, don't y'all feel enlightened by this vital piece of info? ;-)

Liz Glass 9:48 AM  
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dk 10:02 AM  

🌕🌕 (2 Moons) Fun theme but it is like I have seen the fill over and over and over. I mean how many times to I have to pen in ARON, ARGO, COCOA….

Ignore me: Post operatic depression. Just back from the Northern Lights Festival and seeing Carmen performed in the fanciest high school auditorium I ever saw… and it was built some decades ago.

👽👽👽👽 (4 Extraterrestrial write-up)


Have your mom (using the proceeds from her blog pay check) get you a 1962 VW (Bug or Square back). They have a shift and clutch ratio that rival your 4x Oreos. Your knuckles capillary refill rate will stabilize, birds will sing… etc.

You may also find that in addition to Latin knowledge of Norse mythology will also help your puzzling. The myth of Freyja who flies through the universe pursuing knowledge in a chariot pulled by cats… well you get the picture.

Wm Martin 10:16 AM  

I was brought up a little short by the characterization of James Bond as a "spy," since I don't remember him ever actually spying.

Malsdemare 10:18 AM  

"Having a speed solver like @RP review a Monday puzzle is like asking a dog to be a food critic." @ralph, I lost it on this one. We have malamutes and if I told you what they'll eat in the blink of an eye (if they wait, Mom might steal it, OMG, not withstanding that most of it I'd need a Hazmat suit to handle), you wouldn't eat for a week.

Enjoyed the puzzle, adored the write-up. My six-year old granddaughter saw me doing a later week puzzle and decided she had to help. So I found an app in the Apple store and we bonded over crosswords. Amazing how hard puzzles are when you're six and can't spell.

Arlene 10:25 AM  

That was a wonderful write-up, Annabel. You have great writing skills and quite a flair for humor!

What a happy surprise for a Monday!
The puzzle was good too!

r.alphbunker 10:34 AM  

Your car story brought back being called into the Army when I was 18. I had never learned how to drive. I ended up in Vietnam fixing top-secret cryptographic equipment (all of which can be found on the Internet now). The eight guys I worked with felt I was getting out of too many details because I didn't know how to drive so all eight of them took turns driving with me. They had very different teaching styles ranging from keeping the hand on the emergency break the whole time to believing that driving into a ditch would be a good learning experience. I got my army license at the motor pool by driving forward 10 feet and backing up 10 feet. When I got back to the States I got a RI driving license and got the road test waived because I had a military license. I had never driven on a paved road or much over 25 mph. My first entry onto Rte 95 (Thurbers street entrance) is forever etched into my memory.

Guess who?
{Poe's "___ Lee"} Tuesday, July 25, 2006
{Poe's "___ Lee"} Wednesday, April 22, 2009
{___ Lee, who lived in a kingdom by the sea} Friday, October 25, 1996
{Lee of literature} Friday, February 25, 2005
{Title girl of a 1906 L. Frank Baum novel} Saturday, August 8, 2009
{First name in a Poe poem} Saturday, September 4, 2004
{Poe's "___ Lee"} Sunday, January 4, 1998

Carola 10:41 AM  

Echo from comments above - Coming to the blog this morning, my thought was, "What a perfect Monday puzzle for a beginner." Such a fun surprise to read the write-up.

In the theme answers, I'd identified UFOR in all, so needed the reveal to get the UFO SIGHTING. Cute!

Contradicting CONFINED TO, the grid has a lot to say about travel (ADIEU), not only intergalactically via UFO but on the road in a SUBARU FORESTER (MPH, GEAR, [stop on] A DIME) and on LA MER (SLOOP, FOGHORN - very nice LA MER - FOGHORN stack).

On ADIEU crossing YOU FORGOT ME - years ago when my parents were driving my brother to college, my mom sat in the backseat behind the hanging rack of clothing. At a rest stop, my dad and brother pulled out without her, not realizing she wasn't back in the car. Fortunately, before merging onto the Interstate, my dad glanced in the rear view mirror, saw her gesturing frantically at the top of the ramp, and was able to back up to get her.

@Annabel - I join the others in LAUDING your write-up. Congratulations on finishing your first puzzle! I hope to see you back here!

mac 10:57 AM  

What a nice, lighthearted Monday, both the puzzle and the write-up!

Not an easy Monday, I thought, but crosses made the whole thing smooth. Scalene, I'm looking at you.

I got the theme early, but that slowed me down trying to cram it into 18A and 56A.

Thank you, ladies!

P.S. @chefs: "Chef" is a wonderful movie!

jdv 10:59 AM  

Easy-Medium. This was OK. Figured out the theme post-solve. I looked for a UFO in 18a and 56a and was disappointed not to find one. Agree with @LEWIS regarding the Pledge clue on ONE. MITRE was new to me. Appreciate the tutorial on how to create a quad-stack oreo. I'm assuming the remaining two tops are considered dreck and thrown away.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:00 AM  

Can only agree, fine way to start the week, nice puzzle, great write-up.

Z 11:06 AM  

The difference between Mondays and Saturdays: On Monday, "21st word of the Pledge of Allegiance" means "common word that will fill from the crosses;" On Saturday it means, "TOEHOLD!"

Dick Swart 11:10 AM  

Annabel … Great write-up! And did you get your drivers license, you this year, too? Hurrah!

The family trait of being a good puzzle-solver seems to have been passed along to you. Your clean and spritely prose style and comments on the words from your own experience brought a note of FUN to this column which has, sadly, been missing when Uncle Grumpy dissects the daily.

I look forward to your next posting. You are well-in the family style!@

evil doug 11:11 AM  


My dad was a Navy pilot in WWII--in command of a patrol plane in the Pacific--but didn't learn to drive until 1959. I was eight and thought it was perfectly normal to take cabs to church, the grocery, doctors.

Our first car was a VW--no radio, not even a gas gauge. I learned on that stick, and ultimately adopted it for college, where it finally died in a cold Des Moines winter in 1972....


Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Found the theme answers rather dull. I also don't buy UFO SIGHTING as a quality revealer for this puzzle.

beatrice 11:47 AM  

I second all sentiments of praise for both constructor and reviewer! Monday puzzles don't usually do much for me -- this one was delightful, as was the write-up.

Personally never cared for Oreos (although an Oreo ice-cream made at a local place years ago was a different matter) -- much preferred Hydrox.


retired_chemist 1:06 PM  

Good job, Annabel! Congratulations on solving the puzzle and on a good writeup.

Easy puzzle. No traps. Hand up for HURRAy first. OCULI - new word.

I am in the minority - I prefer single stuf Oreos.

Learned to drive on a stick shift. Failed to learn from my father who started me off the summer I was 15. First off, he put me on an uphill with car in neutral, the parking brake on, on a narrow, winding one lane private road, with 18" deep drainage ditches on either side. "All you have to do is put the clutch in, put it in low gear, then release the emergency brake while letting up on the clutch slowly and giving it some gas," he said. Oh, easy for Leonardo! Epic fail. It wasn't until the next summer that I mustered up my courage and actually took driving lessons from a professional drivers' ed. instructor. This time it worked, and using his techniques years later, I actually taught several Japanese research visitors to my lab to drive.

OK, I have touched on Annabel, Oreos, and learning to drive. Seems that about covers our interests today.

Thanks, Annabel.

Lewis 1:19 PM  

In case you were trying the PPP but put off because it said that the two word answer has appeared in the NYT -- it's not important that it was published in a NYT puzzle, what's important is that the two word answer is crossworthy.

r.alphbunker 1:40 PM  


And blogworthy.

AliasZ 2:24 PM  

@Lewis, re. PPP:


Benko 3:16 PM  

I also see ones with T, and to a lesser extent, N. Also 2 different clues with R work.

sanfranman59 3:21 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 5:42, 6:02, 0.94, 22%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:05, 3:56, 1.04, 67%, Medium-Challenging

chefwen 3:34 PM  

@chefbea - Would you like to come here or should I go to you?

Fun write up Annabel and cute Monday puzzle, I enjoyed them both.

chefbea 3:38 PM  

@Chefwen have always wanted to go to Hawaii. Maybe someday!!

wreck 4:17 PM  
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wreck 4:21 PM  

Nice job Anabel!
Not a bad Monday -- I liked it.

*** For those on ipad, the new app version is out today! I won't see the new update on my ipad until I get home, but the iphone version has improved. Although not on this update, they are promising to restore the stats and rankings down the road. It does appear they are listening to the complaints and are improving it!

Lewis 4:30 PM  



@aliasz and @benko -- I'd love to see the other answers you found. I had a feeling there were more.

AliasZ 4:40 PM  


ELFIN becomes EN FIN

I could swear I have seen it in NYT puzzles.

Lewis 4:52 PM  

@aliasz -- you are right. It's been in three times since Will took over, and seven times before that. Good one! LO,A winner!

jae 5:20 PM  

@Liz - Of course there isn't, unless you're a gandparent. We have a completely different set of rules. You'll need to trust me on this.

mathguy 6:21 PM  

I just finished reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl. I've read all three of her novels now, this one the first she wrote. While reading it I was momentarily stunned when I came upon the word "decrepit." I know what it means but I can't remember ever having seen it written out. Have any of you ever seen it in a crossword? I think that my mother used to use the word to mean something that was old and beat up. According to MW, that is one of its second meanings. The first is "Wasted or weakened as if by old age."

Benko 6:51 PM  


STEIN becomes ATE IN
ONE becomes IN E (not great, but it's certainly been in the puzzle)
ARON becomes A TON
IRISH becomes I WISH

Liz Glass 6:59 PM  

I'm sure you're right!

Sanford Meyersfield 7:47 PM  

La mer would have been more difficult as it is a relatively obscure cosmetics company. Le mer is the sea in French

Anonymous 8:40 PM  

How many of you crossworders know the middle name of Elvis Presley's identical twin?

Anonymous 8:40 PM  

YOU are a terrific young writer!! Keep it up. :-D

Lewis 8:50 PM  

@benko -- Those are terrific! Good eye.

Z 9:34 PM  

Anon8:40 - Garon. So at least one of us.

wreck 10:51 PM  

Had to google, but it makes the spelling Aron more understandable.

sanfranman59 1:14 AM  

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

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

Mon 5:37, 6:02, 0.93, 18%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:47, 3:55, 0.97, 28%, Easy-Medium

spacecraft 12:45 PM  

Easy, but I stil had to get Mr. Solti's name letter by letter--and what a weird clue for ONE: nah, I am NOT gonna count the words in the POA till I get to 21. I just put in ONE, good enough.

Soon as I saw the constructor's name, I thought, m&a's in love! But where is he? Swooning still, no doubt. To the theme...which fooled me till I got to the revealer. All the UFOs were followed by R-->so, I figured the theme had to do with "FOR." And there it stood at 28a, all by itself, yet not clued as a revealer. Hmmm.

So, a nice little aha! moment at "SIGHTING" the UFO. Not quite sure how an annoyed "Hel-LO!" equates to YOUFORGOTME, but hey, if you're gonna use that phrase you have to clue it somehow.

Mauna___ is always a minor annoyance; I have to wait to see whether it's Kea or LOA. OK, I SAID it was minor.

An aha!-yielding theme and relatively clean fill make for a promising debut, Ms. U. Welcome. Sultifying cluage is par for the Monday course, and takes the edge off a fine effort. Say, B+.

I see tiny scratches at a great distance--are they supposed to be numbers? Yikes, who takes these pictures? Oh well, "Leave this page." Again. Again X5, would you believe. Finally here's 303: definitely NOT worth the wait.

rain forest 1:49 PM  

The puzzle was just fine. The write-up, finer. Kind of nice to have a write-up that focuses on the solving, and not on the judging. Sweet.

1341 I'm on a roll.

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