Screenwriter Sorkin / TUE-22-JUL / Making a bundle / Many Snapchat users

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: on point for a Tuesday



THEME:  — "either way, it makes sense" -- seven pairs of words cross in the grid and are clued to the two words/phrases they form

Word of the Day:  STOA (44D: Ancient Greek colonnade)  

  Stoa is a term defining, in ancient Greek architecture, covered walkways or porticos, commonly for public usage. Early stoas were open at the entrance with columns, usually of the Doric order, lining the side of the building; they created a safe, enveloping, protective atmosphere.

The name of the Stoic school of philosophy derives from "stoa". -- Wikipedia

Took me until almost the very end to catch this snappy and original theme. Seven pairs of words cross in the grid, and form a familiar word or phrase no matter which word you start with. They are:

(6D: With 8-Down, lime shade) = LIGHT GREEN; (8D: With 6-Across, approve) = GREENLIGHT
(16A: With 12-Down, not natural) = MAN-MADE; (12D: With 16-Across, mob inductee) = MADE MAN
(23A: With 33-Across, fan of the N.F.L.'s Packers) = CHEESEHEAD; (33A: With 23-Down, deli product) = HEAD CHEESE (disgusting phrase and thing)
(38A: With 38-Down, place to drop a coin) = WISHING WELL; (38D: With 38-Across, desiring happiness for someone = WELL WISHING
(40A: With 31-Down, jazz legend) = ARMSTRONG; (31D: With 40-Across, coerce) = STRONGARM
(58A: With 54-Down, waffle alternative) = PANCAKE; (54D: With 58-Across, bakery container = CAKE PAN
(59A:  With 57-Down, part of a morning routine) = BREAKFAST; (57A: With 59-Across, basketball tactic) = FAST BREAK




About halfway through the grid I got an eerie "it's too quiet in here" feeling, like in a horror movie: where were this puzzle's theme entries? I'd noticed a large number of cross-referenced clues but it wasn't until about 80% of the way through that it all clicked.

Notice the elegant touches: there are seven word pairs in the grid, which is a lot, and they're placed as close to symmetrically as could be hoped; they're all well-chosen and familiar; all the word pairs cross each other, logically since they're "cross-referenced," and aesthetically because it tightens the theme (and doesn't make you hunt all over the grid for a cross-ref answer).

That's an excellent crossword. In contrast to Sunday's puzzle, which was elegantly constructed but played somewhat dull, this one is both elegant and a fun solve since finding each pair of words isn't tedious and it's inherently interesting that two phrases comprised of the same two words take on radically different meanings if you reverse the order of those words.

I chided yesterday's puzzle for some weak fill, but if you read closely I actually chided it for "easily avoidable" weak fill. There are some crosswordy words in here -- STOA and ISERE especially -- but with a grid this tightly packed and no tough crossings on those two so it's just a small ding.

Best fill: BEATEN DOWN, BANDLEADER, IN-CROWD, SPIED ON, DIRT BIKES, LASERDISC and DRONE BEE.



Clues are a little jazzier than yesterday's. No barn-burners but (45A: Try to improve a Yahtzee turn) is good for RE-ROLL and (44D: Watched through binoculars, maybe) is good for SPIED ON.

It's grading week, and this one gets an A. Original and amusing theme, clean grid despite many theme entries, nice aha moment when I finally grokked the theme idea, and the cleverness of crossing cross-referenced entries. No wonder Will Shortz hired the author as his crossword intern.

Signed, Matt Gaffney, Regent for three more days of CrossWorld

72 comments:

wreck 12:10 AM  

This is about as good as a Tuesday can get! It was medium(+) time wise, but absolutely pleasurable. Bravo!

JFC 12:24 AM  

@Matt, You would make a great Blogger. I very much doubt that anyone will disagree with your assessment. Of course, it helps when the puzzle is as brilliant as this one.

JFC

Steve J 12:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve J 12:33 AM  

Fantastic theme, even if it is a little inconsistently executed. It would have been tighter and cleaner if there hadn't been a few instances of single words split into two (BREAK/FAST, ARM/STRONG, PAN/CAKE) - unlike the prevailing pattern of two-word phrases - but it's a pretty minor quibble on what's a very clever theme. Theme answers are all rock-solid and very much in the language (except perhaps WELL-WISHING).

This is the sort of thing you hope for in an early-week puzzle: Easily getable theme (I picked it up right from the start; curious to see if most people had my experience or Matt's of finding it later) that is nevertheless original, with good fill surrounding it and some nice, zippy cluing (loved the clues for BALING and ADOLF). Very fun.

(Google: Stop making me enter text from your ads over and over again to prove I'm not a robot. At least flog one of your other services.)

wreck 12:42 AM  

@ Steve J
The captchas for me vary greatly across platforms. My ipad captchas give me "Photo Sphere". My PC gives me street addresses or mail boxes, and my PC at work gives me unreadable interconnecting letters!

Fugu 12:50 AM  

Downs only report: spent most of my time in the STRONG/ARM section. If I had known the first names of more conquistadors this would have been easier. PROB-T, USE-O, A-M, ST-A, and PE-S are a good sight more guessable than PROB--, USE--, A--, ST--, and PE--. The terminal G from guessing BALING didn't help me see STRONG until I caved and checked 40A.

Hands up for doing half the puzzle and wondering why there was no theme. But I had assumed that the across clues for each theme answer were just "See down clue." I accidentally saw 2A after entering FRY and realized what was up. A fun curveball I wouldn't have had solving normally!

jae 12:57 AM  

Once I got over being ANNOYed at all the cross referencing I really liked this one.   Very clever and oddly just about right for a Tues.   It was medium -tough for me too @wreck.   So, what Matt said. 

Only erasure was edgER before MOWER.  


Pretty smooth grid although there was a fair amount of not early week stuff...CERA, ISERE, ADA, TOMAS, LORRIE (a WOE for me)...

@Steve J - Put me down for Matt's experience

Nice one Joel, made me smile when I caught on.

Casco Kid 2:10 AM  

Naticked at LASERDISk/kERA but otherwise great fun. 25 min.

Reversing of word order is the rhetorical form chiasmus, is it not? Thematically, quality chiasmus is both funnier and more poignant than the examples in the puz: JFK what you can do for your country, etc., Or the old New Yorker cartoon of one zoo ape holding a bible in ine hand and Darwin in the other, and consulting another ape: "I'm confused. Am I my brother's keeper, or my keeper's brother?"

But this is a fine, low key start.

ESP 2:20 AM  

ADA might as well have been clued "Nabokov's three-letter-havingest novel".

Danp 5:43 AM  

@Fugu - Torquemada wasn't a conquistador. He was torturer-in-chief after the Moors and any sense of religious tolerance were expelled from Spain.

I'd agree that this puzzle deserves an A for artistry. But I feel a puzzle should be allowed only one or two cross-references. This one was built on the premise that admiration of the constructor will override the annoyance of having to go back and forth. Let's hope cross referencing themes don't become common.

Lewis 6:27 AM  

@steveJ -- Like you I caught the theme early.

@danp -- I'm with you in that cross referencing in general can be annoying, but when it's the theme, and the answers cross each other, I'm willing to give it a pass.

Terrific theme idea, easily overbalancing the five grid gruel answers that had to happen. I remember loving Joel's last offering, as I do this. Typical Tuesday answers, except maybe for TOMAS and STOA. And typical Tuesday cluing. This one left me feeling happy.

i tried thinking of other answer pairs, and it wasn't easy, but...

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP): Come up with an answer pair like those in today's theme, in which the clue for one of the answers is "repeat".

If you wish to post an answer, so as not to give it away, just put down the number of letters in your answer pair. I'll post my answer -- and there may be more than one -- later this afternoon.

Hartley70 6:40 AM  

Hahaha Casco Kid! Gotta love that Ape! And I gotta love this Tuesday because it was just a delight. I saw the theme right away because I scanned the clues and saw PANCAKE, but the idea made me happier than I usually am on a Tuesday when the joy is all too fleeting.

Anonymous 6:41 AM  

First nyt puzzle I truly enjoyed in a long time...very clever

Gill I. P. 6:56 AM  

Nope, nah, throw the tomatoes at me. Didn't like it at all. I appreciate the cleverness and all but this was not Tuesday. Too many proper names and I really want to ask Joel why HEAD is a deli product...
Poor ole PROBST sitting atop TOMAS, but I did like FRY crossing ADOLF.
Isn't it [in]SYNCH?

Anonymous 7:24 AM  

@Gill I. P. - HEAD CHEESE is a deli product, another of the cross references.

Liked the puzzle, Naticked at LASERDISC/CERA but made the right guess.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

Gill you bonehead, "HEAD" is not a deli product, but "HEAD CHEESE" is. Instead of whining and wanting to "ask Joel" why don't you just look it up and learn something?
Thoroughly enjoyable Tuesday.

Mohair Sam 7:35 AM  

Throw us in with the majority here: great Tuesday solve.

@Steve J - check the got-theme-late box for us. We didn't get it until we had filled in six of the seven - finally noticed it with ARMSTRONG. Had assumed that the second half of each was "See x-down (or across)" and never bothered to look.

Amazingly good clues considering the restraints of the theme. Nicely done Joel Fagliano.

Nathan J. Lichtenstein 7:52 AM  

I agree with the majority, this was a great puzzle! It was light and fun; a great way to start off my work day. The themed words were a fun solve and a great help at times. A++

RAD2626 7:56 AM  

Enjoyed it thoroughly. Cross-references were fine by me since they were the structure of the theme. Quite a few proper names for Tuesday, some crossing making, e.g., NE pretty hard. Might have slightly quarreled with DRONEBEE but maybe with all the new hovering drones now an acceptable redundancy.

@Lewis PPP, 8 unless you allow a 2, in which case I like 6 better.

Susan McConnell 7:57 AM  

Kind of hated it until I realized I had filled in most of the theme answers by looking at only one of the clues. When I realized the clue for the second word was different and that the phrase worked in both directions, I became a fan.

AliasZ 8:01 AM  


Joel Fagliano showed us the only way cross-referencing advances and improves the quality of the puzzle rather than hinders it. After the second one and seeing that thus far both are crossing each other within easy view, it becomes obvious to the astute observer that this puzzle's theme is cross-referenced phrase halves, which when flipped, become other phrases with entirely different meanings. How neat is that!

The upshot that shot up out of this well-oil[ed] oil well of a crossword in which no bad word crossed the constructor's mind, was a super-enjoyable, funny (or enjoyable super-funny) wordplay puzzle that made me smile throughout.

I witnessed the IN CROWD at a concert venue trying to CROWD IN all at once, while the conductor took his glass eye out, placed it in his eyeglass case, then proceeded to BEAT DOWN the cellist who jumped the DOWNBEAT. But I don't want to string along anyone. I don't have enough of a long string for that, and it would be way under my already very low standards. Besides, the concert is underway and attention must be paid.

I am going to emulate a late emu now and hop on outta here in a hurry.

But not before offering the Miserere from Verdi's La Traviata, followed immediately by Jell-REROLL Morton's interpretation of same.

Enjoy!

Anonymous 8:02 AM  

Cera crossing Nadal is unsolveable, since I knew neither of these guys. Otherwise a good puzzle.

John V 8:10 AM  

Good puz, a bit more crunchy than usual for a Tuesday. Until I got the theme, which is cool, I was getting cranky about the cross-references, but all worked well in the end.

r.alphbunker 8:13 AM  

Amazing. The constructor has managed to cross Tuesday fill with a Thursday theme. Solved it bumblebee style.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

Same CERA/NADAL problem as some others but a very, very nice puzzle.

NCA President 8:22 AM  

One thing, Terence Trent D'Arby reminds me of Rick Astley...the voice does not match the face. Just sayin'.

I personally think the H in SYNCH is unnecessary. In the work I do when we "sync" music to picture, there is no H.

ETD/EDT...we needed some kind of "Ideas worth spreading" clue and "Tigers on a scoreboard" clue to complete the pattern...

Overall, easy yet entertaining with just a little resistance here and there. Nice puzzle.

Lewis 8:22 AM  

Re the PPP: My answer truly wouldn't fit in a crossword puzzle because one of the words of the pair is two letters, but it is a pair of words behaving like the theme word pairs.

@mattgaffney -- loved the color coding on your solution puzzle!

loren muse smith 8:23 AM  

Aw, man. I liked this just fine and then I got here to see to revisit the phrases in the reverse order, too. As I looked at the finished grid, I kept trying to see that extra *pow* that I knew had to be there because it was Joel, but I was trying to tie the crosses together in some kind of group. I can't believe I missed this terrific twist!!! Way to go, Joel!!

Matt, you're continuing to provide us with informative, insightful write-ups. Your "it’s too quiet in here" describes exactly the feeling I kept getting. Thanks for subbing.

My daughter and I play Yahtzee occasionally, and for me, REROLL does not "improve a Yahtzee turn." You REROLL if a dice (I cannot bring myself to use the word die) doesn't land flat. "Roll again" is what you do to go for more fours, say. And while I'm on Yahtzee, I offer my sage advice for full-houses: never try for one. They happen on their own Every. Single. Time. Seriously.)

Since LEO is so grid-friendly, I guess solvers get to know him better than the other signs?

I thought people would comment on the TIME dupe – ETD, EDT, and I was going to wonder out loud why that bugs people. Yay! I guess it doesn't. I'm still really wobbly on what kind of duplication is ok and what kind isn't.

Looking at the terrific long downs, I keep seeing BE A TEN DOWN and wonder about giving TNT a go during a Charades game.

Jeff PROBST just never ages, does he? And what a name. It looks all Shakespearish: Octavius, methinks thou probst overmuch into my beeswax, buddius. Go flyest thou a kite.

@Susan from yesterday – I was walking into the grocery store when I read your PEN IS MIGHTIER comment, and I laughed out loud. It startled this poor woman in front of me, who kept surreptitiously glancing back, checking to make sure I wasn't a lunatic.

@Lewis – eight letters (3/5) that can cross in two places.

Like everyone else, cross-referencing tends to annoy, but very early I saw the trick, saw they weren't too hard to hunt down, and I lightened up. Mornin' @Danp!

Great start to the day, Joel!

Lewis 8:25 AM  

@loren -- sounds like your answer is better than mine! I'll post around 3:00, then I'd love to hear what you came up with.

joho 8:33 AM  

Well, it doesn't get better than this. Fantastic write-up -- thanks, Matt! -- about a brilliant puzzle -- thanks, Joel!

Construction and wordplay at it's best!

chefbea 8:43 AM  

Tougher than the usual Tuesday but got through it. Got the theme at breakfast and of course loved all the food answers. Now it's time for breakfast...should I have waffles or pancakes?? maybe I'll just get out the cake pan....

Laurence Katz 9:03 AM  

Really? That beloved trumpet legend Louis Strong Arm?
Breaking Armstrong into two ruined this.

Casco Kid 9:10 AM  

@r.alph I'm inspired by your solve playback on many levels. Is the utility ready for prime time? If not, are you looking for alpha or beta testers? Shall I try to reach you at your crucimetrics locale?

Z 9:16 AM  

@Casco Kid - You are an exemplar of the Commentariat, you know chiasmus but not Michael CERA. For future reference - four letter male actor? Consider Mr. CERA. Likewise, with crossfriendly letters NDL and two A's, one has to consider NADAL for five letter tennis player. These guys are not as popular as CrossStars ENO, YMA, EMO, OLAF/V, or LEO(RRN), but they will be back.

@Gill I.P. - HEAD is a product at a different kind of "deli." As for HEAD CHEESE, I first learned of its existence way back in ninth grade Latin. I've been wondering why it exists ever since.

All I have to say about ol' TOMAS is this.

Best Tuesday, ever. Of course, that isn't saying much, so Best Early Week Puzzle that I can recall.

r.alphbunker 10:11 AM  

@Casco Kid

If you are computer-savvy enough to run Java on the command line to get the version number I will be glad to send you the program. Please email me.

mathguy 10:17 AM  

As a Spaniard and a tennis player, I am appalled that some of you don't know the great Rafael Nadal. He has won the French Open umpteen times.

Seldom get much joy out of a Tuesday and this was no exception. Like many of us, only noticed the theme after I had quickly filled in all the squares.

RooMonster 10:32 AM  

Hey All!
I thought this was an awesome puzzle! Cramming in all those cross-reference answers without any fill dreck is hard to do. I got the theme after the second cross-reference. When I solve a puz, I go all Acrosses first, then all Downs, then go back and fill either way. When I see a clue like See __ Down, etc. I always check that clue, ergo, on this puz saw the theme right away. Also had nice long downs, liked DRONEBEE, and IAMB, haven't seen that in some time.

@aliasZ, I'm always blown away by your blurb consisting of the puzzle answers. Today's was equally as impressive.

Like everyone here I'm sure, was dreading what @Rex would have to say, but forgot there is the guest blogger for a few days. I bet @Rex would say something like, "What was the point of this puzzle? Just standard fare cross-reference words? I flew through this puzzle in 3 minutes flat. Etc., etc." It always cracke me up when he says What was the point? There is no actual "point" to a crossword puzzle, they are for entertainment purposes, they're not the next work of Shakespear! They are for fun and brillance! OK, end of rant.

WISHING ICANT STRONG ARM the HEAD CHEESE from the CREW as they CHEW it at BREAKFAST. (Nasty stuff, that HEAD CHEESE)
That was my (feeble) attampt at incorporation!! I'm no @aliasZ!

Check out my newest runt!
xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=5050&id2=570

RooMonster
DarrinV

Gill I. P. 10:51 AM  

@Anony 7:30....Well, I thought it's, um, you know....that other thing!
@mathguy...A lo hecho, pecho!

Steve J 11:10 AM  

@Lewis: My PPP answer was also 6 letters and also not valid under standard crossword rules.

jdv 12:23 PM  

Challenging. Picked up on the theme post solve. I didn't enjoy the solve due to cross referencing clues (maybe it's just too soon after Sunday's puzzle). @PPP I have a 4x4, but it's a reach.

Andrew Heinegg 1:00 PM  

This is an example of a near perfect Tuesday puzzle. It does not have the preponderance of overused crosswords and it is not so easy that it can be completed without thinking at all. One minor carp is a few too many sports clues. It was not a problem for me tho. I have never heard of Probst because Survivor is a 'good' example of a tv show that I would never consider watching.

Kudos to Casco Kid for the New Yorker cartoon reference;

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

7

Anonymous 1:32 PM  

I usually skip Monday and Tuesday, but I'm really glad I did this one. Unexpectedly sophisticated. Pius "headcheese" and Hitler (Adolf) in the same puzzle. Wow

mac 1:35 PM  

Very good Tuesday! I also got annoyed at the cross references, but by the third one I took a better look and figured it out.

PPP: 4-4 and 3-4

DigitalDan 1:59 PM  

Until this weekend, the Isere was just a crossword river for me. Then I watched a fair amount of the Tour de France broadcast, where the route followed the beautiful Isere for many km into the equally beautiful French Alps.

Leapfinger 2:07 PM  

There are crosswords, and there are cross words, and IAMB in love with this puzzle. I SMELT a rat after HEADCHEESE [ditto on the yecch] and LIGHT GREEN, when I saw that MANMADE/MADEMAN goes both ways, like some people I know. Just a super-fine confection. Sweet! Great illustration in living Technicolor per M. Gaffney, though I think the PANCAKE is too brown.

PRIVATE PARTS yesterday, CHEESECAKE with a CLOSER NUDE today. I CAN'T help but wonder if the NYR isn't becoming INCreasingly ROWDy. EnCHOIRing minds want to know, no?

Had a Ms-spell with NIDAL, which got me wondering if CERI is pronounced like "Are you CERIous?" or like "I yam CERIous Yellow". Sometimes mistakes become quite interesting...

Smore droppings:
TIBIA or not TIBIA?
Does a bug ANNOY, or does a bug EDUCE AN OY?
We got a two-fer with A THOS. and a TOMAS
I USE TO have an aSPEDistra, but the ugly thing DIED
I'm out of PENS; have to go to the STOA for MOWER
I SYNCH, szerefore I yam: That eye-popping!
Are we ANNOYed yet?

ANEW conceit, JoeF, and a pretty one, but I was WISHING WELL to see that STRONG(ARM) matched up with a PURE(HEART). Thanks to @Z, there was ALOT more to liking this ALOT.

Anonymous 2:39 PM  

It was a bad day for all us anonymi, apparently. Like 7:24, 8:02, and 8:20, I had trouble with the crossing of LASERDIS- and -ER-. I know about laser discs (I've used them), but I never know whether a round thing is spelled DISC or DISK, so I guessed wrong. It didn't help that although I had WISHING in place, I had ETA at 47-A, and should have known NADAL, but I just couldn't come up with him. I was guessing that N would be followed by E, so what I had at 39-D was NEAAL and I was wondering "who on earth is Neaal?"

Leapfinger 2:45 PM  

Replies:
@wreck, I get all 3 types of captchas on my laptop; the type and prevalence seem to vary with the time of day. Perhaps it isn't the platform, but the time of day at which you access the different ones?
@CascoK -- Funny! I 'll cross that chiasma when I come to it.
@Anon7:30am, thought that might be @Gill poking @herself, but apparently not. So... Just keep an eye on that gratuitous meanness.
@lms, agree that PROBST is rife with PROBity. People who laugh in public for no apparent reason are having a better time than t'others.
@Lewis, Repeat? Come again? Played with 'echolalia', but finally got sod-all. probably need more coal to get really stoked. Sorry.
@RoomOnster, thanks for the new runt; I've been close to having DTs. Lots of @M&As to dip into, but doing too many of those gives me the shakes.
C'est formidable from the fertile mind of @AliasZ. Tried my hand, with only puny results like Biltmore/MoreBuilt...though that fits both an NC Tarheel theme and the CLOSER NUDE. Best I came up with was doing a 'one-eighty' on Rt 81 in Virginia. On that ICY stretch, a 360 would have been better.

Lewis 3:16 PM  

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP) solution:

My solution is DOOVER/OVERDO.

But a fair number of you had different solutions -- please share!

sanfranman59 3:28 PM  

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

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

Tue 8:39, 8:14, 1.05, 66%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:55, 5:21, 1.11, 77%, Medium-Challenging

h_lina_k 4:18 PM  

Sorry I didn't like the drone bee clue. Unless it is a sexual double entendre they don't perform a darn bit of service. The workers are the servants the drones are layabouts.

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

6

Lewis 4:34 PM  

@h?lina?k -- and also, isn't "drone bee" redundant?

AnonymousQ'd 4:48 PM  

SERVE UNDER vs UNDER-SERVE.

Youth must be served, all others can help themselves.

A very good day.

r.alphbunker 5:01 PM  

@Lewis

{Return} HANDBACK
{Type of tennis stroke} BACKHAND

chefbea 5:16 PM  

@Lewis not all bees are drones...some are chefs

Anonymous 5:38 PM  

@Lewis
over thought
thought over

AnonyMinx 6:30 PM  

@Lewis, how about SLEEP OVER/ OVERSLEEP?

The following would take care of that naughty NUDE:
BLUE
COAT
WEAR
RED

evil doug 7:01 PM  

Outeat...

Offbeat...

Evil

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

Easy for you to saw, E.D.

Gotcha.

r.alphbunker 7:27 PM  

@Lewis

{repeat} TAKE OVER (as in to repeat a course is to take it over)
{pass} OVERTAKE

retired_chemist 7:49 PM  

Hand up for spending a LONG time finding that LASER DISk/kERA was wrong. Naticked like several others.

Did not catch that the two parts of the theme answers were clued differently. Quite a feat, albeit not a lot of use in the solve.

Solid Tuesday. Thanks, Mr, Fagliano.

Lewis 9:16 PM  

@chefbea == made me smile!

Lots of excellent word combinations ala this puzzle (and I can also add PASSOVER/OVERPASS), plus some good humor, but the only answer besides mine that fits the puzzle, which had one word clued as "repeat" was Ralph's TAKEOVER/OVERTAKE.

Have a good night, all!

Arlene 9:36 PM  

I did the puzzle at 9:00 PM - a record for late solving. Rewarded with a fresh theme - at a perfect Tuesday level. Nice!

sanfranman59 12:26 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 5:42, 6:01, 0.95, 24%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:38, 8:14, 1.05, 65%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:57, 3:55, 1.01, 52%, Medium
Tue 5:41, 5:21, 1.06, 67%, Medium-Challenging

Bob Kerfuffle 5:30 AM  

Good one.

Tossed in my go-to HBO at 10 D before TNT.

spacecraft 10:55 AM  

I admire @Alias Z's post almost as much as the puzz itself. Here is that rarity: a fresh theme! And as OGL (Our Guest Leader) points out, tight and symmetrical as can be. I concur with the A, though the presence of EKE threatens to add a minus. Anybody notice the near-twins EDT and ETD? In symmetry, yet?

@anon 8:02: OK for not knowing CERA (neither did I) but NADAL, man? I'm not even a tennis fan, and still the name keeps cropping up.

I'm not the fan of DRONEBEE that OGL is--crossing, as it ironically does, GREEN (as in paint). Typically, these lucky fellows--all sex and no work--are simply called drones. I guess, though, now that another kind of drone seems to have entered our vocabulary for good (or more likely, not so good), adding BEE to differentiate gets a pass.

One more entry from today is relevant: ICY (illegible captchas yet!) Ah, here's one: 117--hey! finally!!

rain forest 11:52 AM  

First-rate! Right off the first duad (LIGHT GREEN/GREEN LIGHT), I saw what was going on, and from there it was fun and funny and just plain entertaining. So well done, and so, well, fresh. Even EKE was clued in a new way.

Solvers who knee-jerkily recoil at cross-referencing, or don't enjoy the spirit of discovery really miss something in doing crosswords. Hard to know why they bother to comment, and hard to fathom what they are looking for.

Can't read the captcha. OK, third try. 6501. Take the money, @Spacey.

DMG 1:04 PM  

Not a fan of hunting up cross references clues, I just work thru this type of puzzle without all the jumping around which wears out these aging eyes. At any rate, jump or not I got all of this except that my old video thing was a LASERDISh, Probably a scientific impossibility??! At any rate, knowing nothing about the actor, hERA seemed OK.
Sorry I missed the clever, double-way word play, but that kind of reveal is why I hang out here.

1821. Guess I tie @rain forest for the bottom!

Dirigonzo 2:35 PM  

I loved the dual clues, probably because I spotted the trick early-on and that definitely helped with the rest of the puzzle. OTOH, I was not thrilled with some of the proper name crossings although I managed piece most of them together. Ultimately, I foundered on LASERDISk/kERA, even though I know it's disc, not disk, in that context.

11720 - I think there should be a consolation prize for the lowest score with the most digits.

DMG 3:53 PM  

@Diri: consider the prize awarded! I,m impressed that anyone can score lower than my run of throw-always! this one is 570!

Dirigonzo 6:34 PM  

@DMG - then you'll be completely wowed by my current 137! I seem to be stuck on 2.

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