Actor Jack who was Quincy / TUE 8-12-14 / Single accompanier / Chocolaty spread since 1964 / Short opera piece / Counterfeiter fighter / Prologue follower / Fishbowl accessory / King in Little Mermaid

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "I'M NOT A DOCTOR / BUT / I PLAY ONE ON TV" (26A: With 40- and 48-Across, much-mocked ad phrase that could have been said by the answers to the four starred clues) — quote, plus the names of four relevant actors:

Theme answers:
  • DEMPSEY (13A: *"Grey's Anatomy" actor Patrick)
  • SEYMOUR (15A: *Actress Jane who was a "Medicine Woman")
  • KLUGMAN (68A: *Actor Jack who was "Quincy")
  • CLOONEY (69A: *"ER" actor George)
Word of the Day: ARIETTA (16A: Short opera piece) 
A short aria.

[Italian, diminutive of ariaaria; see aria.]

• • •

I was really hoping to find ORK or even NANU in the puzzle today, but no dice. Robin Williams did play a doctor, but not on TV (that I know of … hang on … checking …). Huh. Looks like he played "Dr. Eddy" on a recent episode of "Wilfred," a TV show featuring a man in a DOG suit  (Here's a 1:30 interview with him re: that gig, actually). Well, that was an unexpected discovery. Anyway, my point is that it's a little difficult to focus on puzzles at the moment. I can't say I was a huge fan of Robin Williams' post-1980s work, but the 1980s stuff, from "Mork & Mindy" to "Good Morning, Vietnam," was all very iconic and formative for me. It's a big, sad loss, his death. Here's a VIDEO:

The puzzle was OK. I liked the quote (though it was very easy to get and then write out in its entirety). The list of actors was … a list. Just names. Nothing exciting there. Arbitrary—7 letters? In you go! Fill on this was tilting toward the below-average side, with a lot of short dull stuff and some crosswordese (ARA, NENE) I actually hadn't seen in a long time. Absence has not made my heart grow fonder, strangely enough. But the theme is solid, in that it makes sense and has a clear rationale, and the fill is not terrible—it even has some nice-ish moments (INTRUDERS, SNOOPY, NUTELLA).

  • 16A: Short opera piece (ARIETTA) — wasn't until I started googling this that I realized "Oh … that's gonna be just a short aria, I'll bet." And sure enough. I wonder what you call a short NENE.
  • 52A: ___ close to schedule (ON OR) — is this a phrase you all use? Wanted ON OR from the second I saw the clue, but resisted it, as … well, it seems among the more awkward options for the clue. Also, ON OR is never not terrible, generally, so I will always resist it, at least a little.
  • 31D: Bartender's stock (RYES) — wanted RUMS.
  • 10D: U.S. equivalent to the U.K.'s Laurence Olivier Award (TONY) — pretty badly written clue. Equivalence here would be "Olivier," not "Laurence Olivier Award." 
OK, here you go. See you tomorrow.

["I said 'leave,' Mr. Keating…"]

Let me add that there are other things in the world making it hard to focus on puzzles. Namely this:

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


JFC 12:04 AM  

Once again, Rex, you and I thought alike.

But I caught the Robyn - Robin connection.

Always remember, there is more ways to skin a cat.


Whirred Whacks 12:04 AM  

My first two TV doctors (from the early 1960s) were:
Vince EDWARDS as Ben Casey and Richard CHAMBERLAIN as Dr. Kildare.

Funk zippy puzzle.

jae 12:11 AM  

Really liked this one.  Amusing theme with a fairly smooth grid.  My only erasure was oarED before POLED.  Medium for me too. Two good ones in a row.  

Very sad about Robin.  

And the other stuff is why I stopped watching CNN.  Turns out Stewart, Colbert and the LATimes do just fine. 

Zeke 12:14 AM  

This would have been much less pedestrian had they clued the actors other than by their roles, i.e. Jack DEMPSEY instead of Patrick. Change one to EDWARDS as above, then find another tv doctor with a seven letter name clueable other than the role. Let us figure it out. Or not.

Sadness, coupled with hope of relief & then horror.

Steve J 12:14 AM  

This fell flat for me. I'm not a fan of the trend toward theme density for theme density's sake, and seven themes did not add anything special to the puzzle. Especially since there's really nothing that stands out or sizzles in the fill. Points for the fill being pretty clean - at least that flaw of so many theme-dense puzzles didn't rear its ugly head - but this was kind of bland for me.

I'll admit, I've never really gotten get appeal of Robin Williams. The hammiest actor of his generation - even worse than Al Pacino once he entered full-on self-parody mode - with an attitude of, "if anything is worth doing, it's worth overdoing". Still, it's so sad when somone takes their own life. I feel for his family and friends.

Moly Shu 12:40 AM  

I liked the theme quote, the actors were just too easy. oarED first, hi @Jae. Just now got the single-VIDEO connection, big head slap. Not as good as yesterday's, but not terrible.

JFC 12:45 AM  

Actually, Rex, it wasn't just Robyn and Robin, it was also RW and RW,.

RooMonster 12:57 AM  

Hey All!
I concur on the sad news of Mr. Robin Williams. He was always on the edge of zany. That's why he meshed with the Monty Python lads so well. Good as a funny man or straight man. Rest in peace.

On to the puz. I have to say Wow. Easy peasy puzzle squeezy. I zipped through this in about 15 minutes! Did have some write overs, Awl for ADZ (even though had sneaky suspicion it was ADZ), Ever before EONS, SEYMOUR spelled SEYMOre at first, never sure of GMAN/TMAN, of course had the G first, leak before DRIP (see: Awl!), elAn for ZEAL (Also because of Awl...) Managed to straighten all that out. oarED before POLED. No trouble with TRITON or NOLAN, grew up in the correct era, I guess. Neat clues for COW and REMINDS.

Pat on my own back for quick solve. Speaking of congratulatorying things, 45 years ago today was a special day in history. What you ask? It's the day I was brought forth onto this Earth! Break out the candles! *Fireworks* *Noisemakers* :-) (okay, self-plug over!)

I FELT the ESTEEM of not being an IDIOT as I CREAMed this puzzle! It REMINDS me I SWORE TOO much on Fri/Sat! ALSO, I didn't say ARR nor SNORED, DIDI? I MEANIT. The END.


chefwen 2:42 AM  

Once I corrected SEYMOre to SEYMOUR, ZEst to ZEAL, PREENs to PRIMPS, it was easy. Nothing like taking the round a bout route. Had to get through it before going to the neighbors for dinner and had 30 minutes to spare. Piece of cake. Loved it.

jae 3:12 AM  

....meant to include John Oliver on the "just fine" list.

Lojman 3:55 AM  

Rex - is there a term for a situation where two letters could legitimately fill one space? I know some puzzles do this intentionally, but I think this puzzle does it unintentionally.

'Annoyed one's bedmate' could read as, 'last night I annoyed my bedmate with all my snoring'. In that case, annoyed is a verb and SNORED is the answer. Or - OR!!! - 'Annoyed one's bedmate' could be the bedmate of one who was annoyed. Why are you so annoyed? My durn bedmate!!! Who, the SNOREr? In this case annoyed is an adjective.

Moreover, you can have an RNA lab just as well as you can have a DNA lab. Maybe not as common, but no less a thing. So SNOREr could cross with rNA as legitimately as SNORED crosses with DNA.


Otherwise, enjoyable Tuesday, and nice combo of that goofy phrase with those brave few for whom it literally applies.


I googled it 4:55 AM  

RNA Lab is not really a "thing" especially on a Tues. - Nice try but DNF

Gill I. P. 6:26 AM  

I'm really sad because one of the brightest, funniest, talented person who walked this earth is no longer dancing amongst us. I hope he's upstairs laughing with Jonathan Winters.
The puzzle...first one I've done in over a week of no TV, newspaper nor computer. I started to get the shakes around Thrusday. This is just fine as a pick-me-up though. Anything with CLOONEY
in it gets me excited.
Speaking of doctors...if you're EVER in the mood for the cheesiest TV series involving rich idiotic doctors go see "Royal Pains." At least you can get a good laugh.
AGUA is water, lluvia is the rain in Spain.
@Rex: NENEITA? Hi @chefwen!

mac 6:27 AM  

This reminded me of the day an actor playing a scientist on "Numbers" posted a comment here, starting with: I'm not a mathematician but I play one on TV. Or was it a hoax?

Easy Tuesday, could have been a Monday.

Sad about Robin. I loved him in The Fisher King.

Jon 6:57 AM  

Rex, to JOG (in a way) your memory, Williams played the doctor Patch Adams. Great loss.

Z 7:06 AM  

What is it with being extremely smart/funny and dealing with depression?

As for Ferguson and St.Louis, I'm actually surprised this hasn't happened elsewhere. Florida, especially, seems primed for race riots. If equal protection under the law isn't present anarchy becomes more likely.

On a less serious note, I'm also trying to figure out what prompts hate mail to Rex. Having slept on it, my only answers are still less than charitable, so I will continue not to post my thoughts about the haters. However, @Lewis, I cannot find a single fault with your PPP postings. Yesterday's game was obviously enjoyed by many. Anyone actually bothering to read the comments could figure out what was happening.

This is my favorite quote puzzle ever, making it the Michelob of quote puzzles.

Leapfinger 7:19 AM  

So, early on I had ___DOC_ in place from a few Downs, read the 26Aclue, did a rough rough check of the letter counts and promptly filled in the whole main phrase. It's just plain dissatisfying when the theme comes so quickly.

The remainder wasn't bad, easy as a Monday, but lacked yesterday's sparkle, per me.


@Rex, ARIETTA is the word of the day...with a minimal definition? More could have been done, even with NUTELLA.

Rodney King, Albert Louima, Zimmerman, Ferguson...We don't seem to be progressing much.

O Captain, my Captain!

mathguy 7:29 AM  

I think that Rex was exaggerating when he said that he got hate mail wrt PPP. I find them a bit distracting but I wouldn't complain about them. I liked the one asking us to give Friday-difficulty clues to Monday-level entries.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

@L.Finger, the end of your first paragraph suggests the readable row CREAMED BUT SWORE.

Your penultimate sentence suggests STASIS.

mathguy 7:40 AM  

Robin Williams's passing hit me hard. I lost my brother the same way a year ago. My brother was just about the same age. Robin had a home here in San Francisco for many years. My son was walking his dog one day and ran into Robin. Something about the dog struck him funny and he did a two-minute routine there on the sidewalk.

Mac 7:47 AM  

Someone please explain single/video connection.

Lojman 7:54 AM  

@I googled it: thanks for the snark. I'm fully aware I took a DNF, but my ego amazingly remains intact.

I googled it too. The 4th hit is this healine from a biotech news outlet: Roche commits to Danish RNA lab

dk 8:04 AM  

OO (2 moons)

Mac if I was to write a single song: say Moons Over Rexville. I might craft a video of dancing squares to go with it -- ensuring…….

I thought I remember NUTELLA from the UK long before 1964 but I could be confused.

The younger waggish dk followed today's theme with: And I'd like to check under your shirt ma'am.

Fine Tuesday fare.

Patch Adams ( Movie, not TV Doctor) 8:12 AM  

Original Ad.

Zed the Answer Man 8:12 AM  

@mac - The record companies put out a single and a video of FKA twigs' new hit. (How long until FKA twigs makes it to the puzzle?)

@Lojman -This is called a "Paul Rean." I don't recall seeing a Paul Rean since the original Paul Rean puzzle. Chocolaty RNA is the best.

AliasZ 8:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
AliasZ 8:22 AM  

Doesn't Robyn Weintraub look a little like Jean SEYMOUR? They could be sisters. I MEAN IT.

Cute quote, too. Here is another 7-letter actor who wasn't a doctor but played one on TV: Chad EVERETT. Does anyone remember Medical Center with James Daly? I remember one episode in which Chad Everett ordered the nurse to administer X amount of epinephrine to a patient, which coming out of his mouth sounded more like niffin-niffin. It was a long-standing joke in my family to suggest a shot of niffin-niffin whenever one of us was under the weather. Boy, I feel ancient.

ONTV, ONCD and ONOR in such close proximity is surprising. Your ONOR, I plead guilty for missing that. We also have ARIETTA, REGATTA, NUTELLA, then SONATAS and TIARAS, almost enough for a doggerel, and the synonymous IDIOT and TOOL.

I never forget the 1954 World Cup. I was only 7½ years old, but I still remember the quarterfinal match between Brazil and Hungary, in which Hungary eliminated Brazil (4-2). It was a brutal match, dubbed "the battle of Berne" (Switzerland), in which 3 players were ejected for fighting. The fighting continued in the dressing rooms and on the corridors. Police finally had to be called in to put an end to it.

I never forget one of the star players of the Brazilian national team nicknamed DIDI (Waldyr Pereira, 1928-2001). I remember his name because DIDI has a quite different meaning in Hungarian. One of the last remaining members of that Hungarian national team, goal keeper Gyula Grosics (1926 - June 13, 2014), passed away two months ago at age 88.

And that is our sport history lesson of the day. Test tomorrow.

Here is Vladimir Horowitz playing two SONATAS by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757): in E major, K380 and in G major, K55.

Enjoy your Tuesday.

Danp 8:26 AM  

PPPs are a nice bonus to this blog. And comments are easy to skip over, especially the PPP's which are easily flagged. Keep 'em coming, please.

Tita 8:40 AM  

Rex - thanks for the clips. Yes. sad indeed. @mathguy - tragic. Sorry to hear that.

Seems not so important, but to anyone who listens to commuter updates on the radio, 'ONOR close' is commonissimo.

Shout-out to Douglas ADAMS, who is responsible for my entering "42" as the answer to those pesky numerical Captchas.

@Gill - I had the same thought re: AGUA.

@Zeke - great idea for clueing the names.

I normally hate quote puzzles too, but this one was cute.
Plus, since I always wear one of my TIARAS when I while watching a REGATTA and listening to an ARIETTA.
Thanks Ms. Weintraub.

chefbea 9:04 AM  

Fun easy puzzle. Just bought some nutella the other day to use in a pie recipe..yummm

And yes all the news is terrible. St. Louis and all over the world

joho 9:06 AM  

I loved the quote, very amusing and fun to imagine hearing someone actually saying it. Along with the other "I"s in this puzzle: IMEANIT, DIDI, IMNOT, IPLAY -- to me these give the grid a loose, colloquial feel that's really nice.

Very enjoyable Tuesday, thank you, Robyn.

It is hard not to feel the impact of Robin William's death, though.
@mac, I loved that same film. In fact, I think he really excelled in his more serious acting roles. Such a talent, gone too soon :(

Lewis 9:32 AM  

Well, there is a nanu in the puzzle, if you move through the letters like in Boggle. It starts with the N in NYSE and ends with the U in SEYMOUR.

Instead of VIDEO I had sIDEb, and that held me up for a bit. And I guess this quote came from an 80's Vicks Formula 44 ad. I don't remember hearing it -- maybe I'm the only one! But the theme was just fine for Tuesday, and I would say medium was a good call.

Thank you @z and @danp for the vote of confidence on the PPPs. Yesterday was a lot of fun. But I try to space the big participation ones like yesterday's at least a week apart, because the PPP is just a little adjunct to the main purpose of this blog. So on to today's...

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP): Which puzzle answer fills in the blank in the following series --

If you wish to post an answer, just write the answer's second letter, or use

Zeke 9:36 AM  

As someone who found the PPP a huge distraction here, mentioned it here, and got soundly excoriated here, let me go a little further.

The analogy I've heard most often for the etiquette for the comment section of blogs is this: Treat this comments as if you were an invited guest at a dinner party. Be as effusive as you want, be witty and engaging, don't start fights, but never think this is your party. You're a guest. The blog is the host's party. You've been invited to dinner and a round-robin of bridge. Eat dinner, play bridge, have a good time.

The PPP and the runt puzzles before it are, to me, is akin while the host is cleaning up after dinner and setting up the card tables someone decides: What the hell, everyone's here, let me show the videos from my vacation and proceeds to turn out the lights and start the projecter.

If you look at yesterdays comments you'll see that over half the acreage was take up by PPP solutions. To say that one can skip over any of them, while true, is absurd in this situation, an offense to Rex and to those who come here for the intended purpose of the blog.

So, again, there's nothing wrong with the PPPs. Pose them, direct responses to the PPP blog and everyone's happy. That's what M&A & r.alph.. did with the runt puzzles and I'm sure that's proceeding swimmingly.

Zeke 9:42 AM  

For the record, @Lewis & I cross posted, mine was not a direct response to his.


Mohair Sam 9:53 AM  

@zeke - Nicely said. Although I'm not one of @Rex's "hate-mailers" I think @Zeke makes a good point.

@Mac - Didn't see anyone else cover this . . so for VIDEO think music single and MTV. SIDEA perhaps.

Easy-Peasy Tuesday, pleasant enough - Hand up for PReenS before PRIMPS - ARIETTA a new word for us and right under DEMPSEY (another unknown name here) might have caused trouble, but the downs were a snap.

There's a Diana Nyad clue for 6d, but I just can't make it work.

Carola 10:14 AM  

No AHA moments for me, as I wasn't familiar with the quote or any of the TV shows, BUT I enjoyed figuring it all out.

I thought INTRUDERS barging in right down the center was great, and I liked the combination of RATTLE and SNORED (I live it nightly), the hi-lo pairing of ARIETTA and OPRY, and the featured roles of the two spreads I cannot live without: MAYO and NUTELLA.

Arlene 10:33 AM  

I'm always impressed by the range of subjects that puzzle constructors come up with. I'm also of the Ben Casey / Dr. Kildare junior high school heart-throbs vintage, so was disappointed not to see them here.

Re: Robin Williams - it was always so apparent that he was a genius for comedy - unique in his style and talent. But, alas, just too much for one brain to endure - and so, the tragic irony of his life. He wrote the last act.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:35 AM  

Good puzzle, but I will admit that as I solved I wondered why the actors hadn't been clued by some other role than their doctorly one.

Fred Smith 10:35 AM  

Agree completely with @Zeke on PPP-ers, or any other kind of personal site promotion in an unrelated blog. Let's keep this place on-point, please.

the redanman 10:36 AM  

Neither sparkly nor stinky
tending towards easy
would have liked to see *Kelley
-remind us fre - quently!

*(DeForest Kelley - Bones aka Dr McCoy) in there somehow. ":FOR GOD'S SAKE, I'M A DOCTOR, JIM!" ... or something like that

enjoyed this one

Bones 10:40 AM  

"I'm a doctor, not a blogger!"

r.alphbunker 10:49 AM  

I had never heard the phrase before but that did not stop me from enjoying the puzzle. This has got to be a unique theme: a quote with multiple imaginary authors.


Your dinner party analogy is a nice one. It inspired me to add a PPP post over at which is more of a potluck than a dinner party.

I am also moving my animation links to They feel like somebody pulling out a cell phone at the table to Google something.

I am currently working on a browser app that will let anyone create an animation of their solve. I will discuss its design at It will be interesting to see how the fastest solvers approach a puzzle.

Moly Shu 11:24 AM  

I don't do runtpuz's or the PPP's, I can barely do crossword puzzles. Their inclusion here doesn't bother me, I can always skip them or not read the blog at all. To paraphrase @SteveJ, it's an open forum, deal with it.

Andrew Heinegg 11:26 AM  

The death of Robin Williams recalls for me the life reminder that everywhere you go, there you are. You take your inner self with you wherever your outer self goes. I remember seeing Williams on Johnny Carson years ago. Johnny was, of course, one of the greatest straight-man comedians (I have always thought Bob Newhart was the best). But, having Robin Williams on his show must have been one of his easiest interviews. Johnny would ask one short question or make a brief comment and Robin would just go off. Honestly, it was never my cup of tea as a comedic method but, I could not help but think that there had to be a real-life depressive, barely functional side to a person who does that manic style of comedy. No one could possibly be that way 24/7. Robin made the ultimate statement of not being able to stand the pain/angst of living. RIP.

The puzzle was a good one for me. I was not able to just fill it in like a job application and thus it met the 'at least make me pause and think' standard for Monday/Tuesday.

Doug Garr 11:29 AM  

Rex's remembrance of the stuff he liked best about Williams is surely short-sighted. He was amazing in Awakenings and The Fisher King. He trained as a serious thespian. In his mind, he was just mailing it in as a comic -- in the great tradition of Bruce, Pryor, and Carlin, I might add. I was lucky enough to catch hi performance on Broadway in Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo. A tour de force.

Z 12:00 PM  

I cannot think of anything more on point in a crossword blog than to come up with Saturday clues for a Monday puzzle.

@Zeke - I appreciate your willingness to defend your position. To use your dinner analogy, you have decided that you don't like the dessert and are demanding the sous chef change the recipe.There is a history in the comments of lengthy digressions and word play. Comments are as willy-nilly as crossword puzzles and the people who solve them. This is a good thing. I guess I'm still not seeing what about the PPPs bothers you. Again, thanks for being the voice of this concern. At least you are trying to elucidate the point, rather than sending hate mail to Rex.

Hartley70 12:14 PM  

Hmmm. Okay puzzle. SNOOPY is brown? But clearly I need to do yesterday's puzzle (yawn) and then read the comments. I missed all the fun!

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

@Hartley - SNOOPY is Charlie Brown's dog, so his full name likely is SNOOPY Brown.

Jesse 12:27 PM  

It's pretty common in the NYC subways to hear the announcement "After prior delays, trains are now running ON OR close to schedule." I don't think I've ever heard it anywhere else, though.

Steve J 12:31 PM  

@Z: I think we need to focus on a different issue. Somewhere out there, dozens of people are being forced to read things they don't want to read! How cruel. Can't we think of them?

Snarkery aside, it's inevitable that conversations involving many people are going to wander in unanticipated directions. And it's inevitable that not everything is going to interest everyone.

It's easy to not read the things or posters you aren't interested in. There are things every day that I skip by because they don't grab me. The effort required in doing that is ridiculously tiny. Certainly much less effort than writing to complain about it.

That said, @Zeke makes some very good points. I think when something starts to take on a life of its own, it's time to find it a new home. Creating a runtpuz site, for example (thanks to Ralph for doing that).

It would be a boring, boring place if commentary were rigidly confined to the puzzle and the puzzle only. The puzzles spur thoughts, tangents, etc. (which we see in Rex's own posts). It's part of what gives the site color that many others don't have. While it would indeed be rude to dominate the conversation (either by number of posts, persistent tangents unrelated to the conversation, etc.), I'm personally happy to see the bits of wandering, even the bits that don't personally interest me.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

@SteveJ: It is so sad when someone takes HIS own life (someone is singular, not plural).

Fred Smith 12:57 PM  

To All, re: OT posts ...

I've got nothing against tangential contributions to the discussion. BUT, repeated references to a poster's personal site, nothing to do with the puzzle(s) under discussion, I find very annoying.

Hey, it's true that a few such posts can be easily skipped over. However, other blogs have been ruined by OTs getting out of control, so I'm just raising a flag here that I object to OTs and I'd hate to see these grow in volume. (I presume @Rex would step in if that were to happen, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he's already doing some selective policing.)

All JMO, of course, sorry for the semi-OT rant. ;-)

Leapfinger 1:03 PM  

@Arlene said poetically that Robin Williams 'wrote the last act', and at least a couple of other comments took the position that the problem was intrinsic to the person. This well may be; I have no particular information on this case, but would like to raise one point.

Some years ago, a young person I know suffered an acute breakdown, and for a while was treated with a changing regimen of psychotropic drugs. Not being all that familiar with their use, dosages and interactions, I took the occasion to research them in the PDR, and was more than somewhat appalled to see how many of these drugs themselves listed major depression and suicidal ideation among the side effects. These paradoxical effects seem to be individual responses, and unpredictable, so very close monitoring is required.

Like probably many others, I've looked up some of the current output on Robin Williams, and apparently he recently returned to rehab for his addictions and depression, very possibly had his meds changed and/or adjusted. So. There's at least a likelihood that he wasn't the sole author of his final act.

Remembering Del Shannon.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

Rex's comments were in the late evening posts to yesterday's puzzle for those who are wondering.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 1:14 PM  

Don't do many dinner parties. Is this comment area kinda like what goes on at one of those? Huh. When do they serve up the cinnamon rolls, btw...?

Agree with @Zeke... if someone starts servin up pics of their recent vacation, I am outta here. (OHHI, @63 -- didn't mean U, of course.)

I do feel more comfy with the runtpuzs safely penned up, snarlin at one another, over at I don't wanna spoil the dinner party. Bad fer the digestion.

Hope to see y'all over there, mon amigos,

Bob Kerfuffle 1:22 PM  

Warning! - Off Topic!

I see the results from Lollapuzzoola 7 have been posted, and I placed 89th out of 160. Not gold medal territory, but backs my claim to being an Average Solver, barely.

Zeke 1:31 PM  

@Z - Your dessert analogy is way off base. If you want to use dessert as an analogy, fine: It's incredibly rude to bring dessert when invited to dinner unless you've been asked to. Be assured that the host as already made all arrangements they feel appropriate, and to unasked augment their menu is an insult to them.

I've never questiond any comments here with the exception of regularly scheduled attempts by a few people to generate discussions about things other than today's puzzle, i.e. their own personal party. It was I who first suggested that alternate sites be created to discuss the runt puzzles and PPP, suggesting that it would be appropriate to post announcements here with links to the other sites for ensuing discussion. The failure to do so for the PPPs befuddles me. I guess it was just too much work, and since Rex has done the heavy lifting already, why bother?

@Steve J - while it is sad when someone takes their (yes 'their', 'their' is prefectly fine as a singular gender neutral pronoun) own life. What's sadder still is the pain they lived with, the pain that caused them to have to check out.

Hartley70 1:42 PM  

Thanks! I was wondering if Snoopy had become the new UPS spokesdog

Hartley70 1:49 PM  

Aww Bob, you're not an average solver :-(...just an average brainiac solver!

M and Also 1:55 PM  

@BobK: Hey-- I suspect that Rexville is like the Lake Woebegone of crossword sites, where all the solvers here are way above average. As are U. Congrats!

Liked the puz. It put up an unTuesday-like fight for me, especially in the SE. I think NYTPuzs are way above average, too.

Gill I. P. 2:00 PM  

I think someone else should start another puzzle game on this site just so we can read @Zeke's and @Z's very interesting comments. Maybe @AliaZ can come up with something?
@Leapy: Don't ever, ever, get hooked on Xanax. It does the opposite of what it's supposed to do after you are on it for months. Depression sets in and when you stop, you get horrible withdrawals. So much for anti-depressants! I say eat more vegetables.....

LaneB 2:03 PM  

"Medium" it was but only one google--to check on the NENE. Otherwise slow but steady. And quite enjoyable.

Charles Flaster 2:25 PM  

Liked this very EZ puzzle. Had Zest for Zeal for a minute.
Also thought 62 down was a question(sans ?) for a moment.
Loved Mrs. Doubtfire especially its social commentary and makeup expertise.
Rhetorical----- Does great comedy imply a degree of mental instability?
Thanks RW.

retired_chemist 2:34 PM  

Got the theme, got the theme MDs, got a lot of the fill by going straight across sequentially. Easy Tuesday puzzle, close to Mondayish. Enjoyable.

Writeover: RATTLE for mobiLE. Only one I can recall.

The difficulty I have with Runtpuz/PPP/etc is that when these dominate the blog my eyes glaze over and I tend to skim the posts and miss comments pertinent to the puzzle. That said, have at it. Just my 2 cents worth.

Thanks, Ms. Weintraub.

Z 3:15 PM  

@Gill I.P. - Was that an elbow I just felt in my ribs?

Regarding Robin Williams, the only thing I'm certain of is that he often made me smile. Mental health is like cancer in that what we don't know too often outstrips what we do know.

john towle 3:20 PM  

Spanish grammar police checking in here: whenever a Spanish noun is quoted in isolation it requires its definite article, to wit: el agua, la lluvia. Especially the case when the noun begins a sentence:

La lluvia se cae del cielo. Rain falls from the sky.

El agua es mojada. Water is wet.

El agua, although a feminine noun, requires the masculine article in the singular because the a (first syllable) carries the accent. Las aguas.



Lewis 3:42 PM  

Oh goodness. I thought the PPPs were germane to this site because, as opposed to being puzzles in their own right that can be solved at any time, they just referred to the puzzle of the day, which is what this blog is about and what the people here are interested in. I was just having a little fun with the puzzle of the day.

Truly, on many days, there are no responses to the PPP, and rarely are there more than three. I have had no intention to create a specific PPP site; it's too small for that. In the months I have posted them, only twice was there a large response because I invited people to come up with their own creations -- and they did -- but I spaced them far apart for the very reason that this blog is not about a PPP. Nonetheless, once every couple of months, especially on a Monday, when comments are small anyway, in general, I thought a larger-response PPP would be okay, and truly, it seemed like the people here enjoyed participating.

But it seems like what I've been doing has bothered enough people here for me to quit doing it. I love this blog and certainly do not want to be a distraction or cause bad feelings. And so, here is the last...


ADAMS is clue1 (1x1), END is clue 4 (2x2), TMAN clue 9 (3x3), ARIETTA clue 16 (4x4), so the next word would be EONS clue 25 (5x5).

Of course I'll continue to comment as usual! Peace, y'all!

sanfranman59 4:26 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 7:39, 7:54, 0.97, 40%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:29, 5:21, 1.02, 58%, Medium

retired_chemist 4:40 PM  

As I said, Lewis, just because i find them distracting is no reason not to post.

Anonymous 5:07 PM  

@Rex "on or close to schedule" is used every day here in and around NYC during the traffic report to describe mass transit as in "Metro North is running on or close to schedule."

jberg 5:41 PM  

Getting here late - early morning boat ride to Seal Island ME to look at the adorable puffins, so I didn't get the puzzle until after 3. I agree with @Zeke that the doctors should have been clued some other way, probably by another tv show or movie; don't agree about the PPPs, even though I never do them. And I totally don't share Fred Smith's objections to references to other blogs -- the runt puzes and George Barany's page are great resources, and it's supremely easy not to click on a link.

In Boston, the subway announcers say "on or near schedule" so that one was slow to get for me -- but as I always say, this is the NEW YORK Times, so I'm cool with following NY usage. When are we going to see EGG CREAM?

Robin Williams came along after I stopped watching TV - so my only clear memory was a non-comedic role, in Good Will Hunting -- for which he won an Oscar, I think. He was great.

Bomaka 6:00 PM  

Hi @Lewis. Lurker here. This post is a daily reminder to me how enjoyable it is to exchange thoughts, information, opinions, and feelings, in a smart, funny, educational forum. It sometimes is co-opted by "anonymous" (or sometimes identified) negativity, which is unfortunate but, I guess, to be expected int the current blogging "say whatever you want " world. (I think I have too many Oxford commas in there).

I love your PPP's, as I do anything that makes me exercise my neurons. Please don't stop!

The puzzle: straight-forward and easy, but it's a Tuesday...

Edac2day 8:08 PM  

Shouldn't "annoyed one's bedmate" be a snorer? Am I reading this wrong? Snored doesn't sound right to me.

Anonymous 8:13 PM  

HaPPPy Birthday to the RooMonster! Maybe a runt to celebrate?

@mathguy, sorry about your brother. It's tough, I know. Glad you're over the shakes, @Gil I.PPP.

And just in case you guys didn't see it coming, another vote for more PPPs, PPPlease!

What Would Patrick Berry Do? 8:30 PM  

@Lewis: Makes me sad, but I kinda get what U are sayin. Just not quite the same, separatin the PPP's from the NYTpuz talk.

I originally made up a couple of runtpuzs, to remind old @63 how good the NYTPuzs were, by comparison. But I really messed up, and a few folks sorta liked runtz, anyway. So I went along with it. Your PPP yesterday was so day-um successful, you musta *really* screwed the pooch, dude. Got the mail to @63 hittin the fan with a splat.

I'da been a PPP "yes" vote, but that bus has already left the barn, I guess. My congrats to you, tho, for your little run of fun, puz-related ideas to stretch our brains out a little extra. Well done, my son.

Screw the dinner party, @Lewis. Let's go grab a couple of beers...


Anonymous 8:45 PM  

The PPP's are much more related to the puzzle being discussed than much of the commentary that shows up here daily, including offering views on celebrities who have died that day, or views about various illnesses. I hope the mini-puzzles continue. I also welcome references to other puzzles or sites with puzzles that the general blogging group might not know about.

Sad about Lauren Bacall. She was a wonderful talent.

Lewis 8:47 PM  

Thanks Bomaka and M&A -- makes my heart smile!

Anonymous 9:07 PM  

I read Rex's remarks concerning the comments. I don't think he gives a flip what is done here as long as we get along. It's a shame to quit what many here enjoy just because a few here do not. They seem to be concerned with Rex's feelings when he apparently could care less.

Z 9:19 PM  

@Edac2day - depends how you read the clue. The annoyed one's bedmate is a SNORER. If one annoyed her bedmate, she SNORED. Definite PAUL REAN territory (see above for link to original Paul Rean puzzle) since the clue can be read for either meaning.

Anonymous 9:26 PM  

I read Rex's remarks concerning the comments. I don't think he gives a flip what is done here as long as we get along. It's a shame to quit what many here enjoy just because a few here do not. They seem to be concerned with Rex's feelings when he apparently could care less.

Anonymous 9:35 PM  

...or could not care less. It might be fun to discuss the common "error."

mac 3:29 AM  

There seems to be a new poster called Mac. I'm mac with the tree.

Hartley70 8:43 AM  

I finally did Monday's puzzle and read the commentary. It's a tempest in a PPPpot. I vote for continued PPP's by Lewis even though most of the time I have no idea what he's talking about. The occasional Eureka moment is a delight. I'm in favor of anything that enriches the puzzling experience.

x-tra 4:13 AM  

You really loaded your blog with quality material. Indeed, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need.

rain forest 6:52 PM  

Irrelevantly, as a syndicated solver, (and doesn't that sound pretentious?) who isn't invited to the dinner party posited by @Zeke (being down here in the garage), I thought I'd offer a comment nonetheless.

I tend to read some of most of the comments, or at least most of some of the comments, primarily to get some perspective on the puzzle. Sometimes, @M&A, @Gill IP, @Z,and @AliasZ provide serious entertainment with their comments which aren't always confined to the puzzle. I'd hate to see them discontinue that practice. Now @Lewis seems to be under siege for a harmless and kind of cute little addition to the solving of the puzzle of the day. Good for him, I say. If I stick with the dinner party analogy, he isn't wrecking the dinner, or being rude. He has been sufficiently inspired by the dinner to suggest augmenting it; he doesn't play bridge; he would like to continue/initiate a discussion about why the dinner was so interesting. Anyone want to join in? You don't have to, and you certainly don't have to Watergate to @Rex that @Lewis is doing something to add a little fun to the occasion.

As a syndi guy, I can't join in this little diversion, but I have participated in absentia, and I like the intent, and the cleverness involved. As it happens, I do play bridge, but at the dinner party I might opt for the @Lewis discussion.

Bottom line, keep the PPP going, @Lewis. Non Illegitimus Carborundum.

spacecraft 10:58 AM  

OK for a Tuesday. I'm more or less aligned with OFL on this one, except I might lean toward easy-medium. The fill (DIDI, NENE) was...soso.

It sometimes feels weird being a syndi-blogger. Yeah, the Williams news was bad; he certainly "carpe'd" all HIS "diems." But that has worn off by now. At the moment I am flush with the Eagles' thrilling victory over the Colts; #FlyEaglesfly.

But if Ms. Weintraub looks like Seymour: woohoo! I'll even upgrade this puzzle from a C to a B just for a smile.

I don't play the PPPs. Oh well, the main body don't play syndi-baccarat, either. 9151 = 7, not bad but beatable.

DMG 1:18 PM  

Got all the "doctors" (though the only one I ever watched was KLUGMAN as Quincy),so that made the theme pretty much a gimme. Only, corrected, error was SWORn, which I still think better fits the clue, but apparently that's just me I just skip,over all the PPP stuff, but, as it takes on more of a life of its own I tend to agree with @Zeke that it's probably time to post the conundrum here and the discussion elsewhere. The "local" card game only takes one line at the close of a comment easy to ignore, and helps us Syndies acknowledge we're not alone.

That said @Spacecraft you sure beat my 4368=3

Waxy in Montreal 7:58 PM  

With DEMPSEY at 13A, I almost KO'ed myself thinking of a boxing theme such as IMNOTDOWNYET for 26. When none of the other *ed answers was MARCIANO, ALI or TYSON, reluctantly had to retreat.

That said, a fun Tuesday though quite easy, IMHO. Always liked the concept of having a meal at Douglas Adams' Restaurant at the End of the Universe and sorta looking out the window at who knows what. Also liked that the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything was my house number. Very imaginative author.

Think that the NENE is fast evolving into a MEME on the NYT crossword.

6401 - SIDEB, I'm A Loser...

Cindy Dy 10:09 PM  

Awesome there, Great work, keep it up. I love returning back to this site and reading the quality content you always have on offer.


Cindy Dy 10:18 PM  

Awesome there, Great work, keep it up. I love returning back to this site and reading the quality content you always have on offer.


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