Guitarist Kottke / TUE 8-26-14 / Traveler on silk road / 50th state's state bird / Department store founder James Cash / Tuna type on menus

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Constructor: Victor Fleming

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium



THEME: MPS (56D: AWOL chasers … or a hint to the answers to the six italicized clues) —all theme answers are two-word phrases where the first word starts with "M" and the second word starts with "P"

Theme answers:
  • MAKE PEACE (5D: Sign a treaty, say)
  • MILK PUNCH
  • MARCO POLO
  • MOOT POINT
  • MISS PIGGY
  • MENLO PARK (56A: Edison lab site)
Word of the Day: MILK PUNCH —
Milk punch is a milk-based brandy or bourbon beverage. It consists of milk, brandy (bourbon), sugar, and vanilla extract. It is served cold, and usually hasnutmeg sprinkled on top. (wikipedia)
• • •

I don't much understand the point of a puzzle like this. Unless the theme answers really bring something new and interesting to the table, then you just have a perfunctory exercise on your hands. This theme type can be done a million and one ways—just pick your initials. DAS? TAS? MDS? RNS? Why limit yourself to people? LPS, CDS, MGS, DTS, all await your entheming. This puzzle is totally serviceable, but completely unimaginative—the kind of thing I'd expect to find in many other venues, where no one expects much beyond a 5-to-10-minute diversion, but not the kind of thing I expect in the (still repeatedly alleged) Gold Standard of crosswords. There's not much to fault here, but not much to praise, either. It's just … here. It does have MISS PIGGY, I'll give it that. And it did teach me that there is such a thing as MILK PUNCH—googles at about 1/10 the strength of "eggnog," but sure, "relatives," why not? I learned a new term. And hey, the NYT says there's a MILK PUNCH "revival" afoot. So maybe you'll want to get in on that.


The only difficulty in this puzzle came at MILK PUNCH, specifically at the part where that answer leads up into the north part of the grid via BERTHS (8D: Playoff spots). Didn't know the drink, and then couldn't make sense of the playoffs clue at first, and so transitioning from one part of the grid into the other … didn't go smoothly. But I just rebooted in the north with DAM and ERA and everything was on track again. Zero hiccups. Oh, I wrote in STEAMY for SULTRY (21D: Torrid). That probably cost me some time. And I needed a few passes at AFRESH before I saw it (36D: Over again). But really, these are all terribly minor snags. Mainly this puzzle came, and this puzzle went.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

78 comments:

wreck 12:06 AM  

This was a medium + puzzle for me tonight. Not particularly enjoyable.
For the record, the ipad "runtpuz" puzzle took me about twice as long as usual as well, so probably it is just me tonight!

Steve J 1:07 AM  

"Serviceable but ... unimaginative" describes this one well. Fill's pretty free of ungainly stuff, the themers are solid but unspectacular, but the theme's a really flimsy peg to hang your coat on.

Finished this faster than I did yesterday's.

I recently discovered MILK PUNCH; friends of mine made it for me when I visited in Atlanta a few months back. It's apparently a southern thing in origin. And it's delicious. Infinitely better than eggnog, not that that's a high hurdle to clear.

John Child 1:22 AM  

This was a weak effort compared to yesterday's clean and interesting fill. From EELERS to AHI and ASSN to ACRO, IMON and ONA. INALL pretty poor.

- Ser IMON GODRY, lord of AFRESH

Anoa Bob 1:22 AM  

Immediately threw down PRISM at 1A with no crosses, so started out thinking this would be another fine puzz like others I've seen from his HONOR(E). Things got a bit bumpy after that, with IN ALL, A DARK & RADII immediately following in that corner.

Appreciate the nice touch with having the MPS crossing one another, but I thought it exacted a steep price on the fill.

Too much GREEN PAINT @ ONE ACRE, I FORGET, GO DRY, IN BED, and even a themer, MAKE PEACE, for my taste.

POCs were on full display with EELERS sticking out like a sore thumb.

Must say I do like a SULTRY TRYST now and then.





Ellen S 1:23 AM  

It'll take a lot of MILK PUNCH to make me forget there was yet another EELs clue. Sigh. Everybody's doin' it, doin' it, doin' it.

jae 1:25 AM  

Easy for me.   I had prepared remarks but Rex, wreck, and Steve J already covered them.  So, ditto. 

RAD2626 1:30 AM  

Less of an issue with the theme for me than the unimaginative cluing. All direct and pretty easy. And it started so well. My first get was RADII which clue I liked, so I put in dRunk for the light bender. SANTA in August got me back on track and then it was just like fill in the blanks. Agree that EELERS is as ugly as the catch.

chefwen 2:02 AM  

O.K. Tuesday, nothing to get too excited about.

MARCO POLO is one of the most obnoxious pool games ever invented, makes you just want to scream, STOP IT ALREADY. Not allowed at this household.

One write over at 10D swag before HAUL.

To someone with lactose issues, MILK PUNCH sounds absolutely disgusting. No thanks, I'll pass.

@Ellen S. - I do cringe for you every time I see EEL/EELS/EELERS, etc.

On to Wednesday!

Moly Shu 2:53 AM  

Found it easier than most Mondays. In total agreement with @Jae and @ChefWen's MILKPUNCH sentiment.

Questinia 3:13 AM  

☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎
☁︎☁︎The☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎
☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎stale☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎
☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎dark☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎
☁︎☁︎cloud☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎
☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎of☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎
☁︎☁︎☁︎eelers☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎
☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎

Hartley70 5:23 AM  

Thumbs up @Questinia! I've no idea how you did that if you're on a phone! Or on anything at 5am, actually.
Aaaah MILK PUNCH! It was the beverage of choice each weekend at Cornell frat parties in the 60's. Huge cauldrons would be mixed in the belief that the milk would coat your stomach and allow you to drink even more. There was plenty of evidence all around that it did nothing of the kind. This is NOT a good memory! The puzzle was a little meh, and my only pause was at AFRESH because I had tried ALTI on the cross. It was an easy fix.

William Makepeace Thackeray 6:34 AM  

The two most engaging powers of a constructor are to make new things familiar, familiar things new.

[Subsequently, typos raise the issue of newt things.]

Nice curves, @q.

lf

the redanman 7:13 AM  

My across lite puzzle only had one clue with an asterisk, didn't slow me down, didn't elevate the ho hum nub answers a whit.

Mohair Sam 7:26 AM  

With @Rex on this one.

And with @chefwen on MILKPUNCH, just thinking of it makes me ill, but not as ill as looking at EEL again. Stop them Will, please.

@Hartley70 - wonderful memory jog with the "milk before booze" thing. For four years I thought I was allergic to beer.

r.alphbunker 7:34 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glimmerglass 7:34 AM  

When I saw that MAKE PEACE had an asterisk, I thought, "Oh ho, there will be puns on authors's middle names!" Waldo. Stearns. Barrett. But no, it's only Tuesday.

r.alphbunker 7:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzy 8:06 AM  

Aaah-- brandy milk punch is a true Southern treat! Is the Vic Fleming from Arkansas? Congratulations!

chefbea 8:14 AM  

Easy puzzle except for the north east. Had loot at first for 10 across so that fouled me up for a bit.

Got milk punch right away...I think it is a lot better than Yuenling!!

Susan McConnell 8:14 AM  

...yawn.......

AliasZ 8:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
NCA President 8:21 AM  

I would say that 99% of puzzles come and then go. Crossword puzzles are what I do while I drink my first cup of coffee in the morning...unless they are late-week puzzles, then they spill over into my oatmeal time. Otherwise, this is just a puzzle that will fade into the 1000s of other puzzles never to be thought of again.

I wonder, when I'm faced with my final breath and my life begins to pass in front of me, how many puzzles will pop up in the review? According to science (maybe?) this is all being recorded, so whether I remember it or not, it's all stored in there somewhere. I guess at the very least, this particular puzzle will not have had any serious negative emotions attached to it like some other puzzles do/did.

No snags at all for me...just basically fill-in-the-blank while the cat on my lap demanded that I pet her between reading and filling. Now THAT is a memory worth remembering.

AliasZ 8:29 AM  


I would point out as @Rex did, that the choice of the letters M-P is completely arbitrary. It could have been any other two-letter combination of the alphabet. But then someone I am sure would set me straight that AWOL chasers are the Military Police, therefore MP is the only clear, logical and possible choice.

So it is MPS and I have no problem with that. Don't look for too much depth or hilarity on a Tuesday, and you get it. But it was still fun with William MAKEPEACE Thackeray, and a clean fill too, despite AFRESH and ADARK, NENE EELERS, ATNO and Pabst SMEARS. I enjoyed it. Thanks, Judge.

My primary motive and main purpose is to make the point that multiple possibilities may pop up to manifest perhaps a missed potential to mass produce monogrammed pillows for missing persons like Marcel Proust, Mario Puzo, Mildred Pierce, Mike Piazza, and many people with Multiple Personality malady performing in motion pictures, or are the mainstays of our public memory pool. The missionary position is that mud pies were not meant to be pitched vs. the Manhattan Project and the Marshall Plan, whose monetary policy was marred by the proliferation of mushroom poisoning among the manatee population.

May I present a musical piece by Michael Praetorius (1571-1621).

Now I will have AFRESH and ADARK coffee and hope that our collective vessel of creativity, joy and wonderment will never GO DRY.

pmdm 8:31 AM  

The whole point of Monday (always) and Tuesday (usually) puzzles is that they are perfunctory to solve. That is the point of these two days worth of puzzles. Including ubiquitous words like "EEL" in these two weekday puzzles is not only expected but almost demanded.

But even were that not the case, there is another reason why these puzzles actually need to be published. Usually skills take some time developing before a person becomes a master at the skill. Let's consider the plight of someone who decides they'd like to start constructing crossword puzzles for the Times. If Shortz raises the bar too high, it very well may discourage many who would otherwise become excellent constructors.

If you look closer at the puzzle you can find somewhat hidden symmetry. All theme answers have two words (of course) totaling 9 letters. The intersecting theme answers all have 5 letter/4 letter format and intersect at the letter P. The other two theme answers reverse the format to a 4 letter/5 letter format.

joho 8:35 AM  

I agree with @Rex thatMISSPIGGY showing up is always welcome.

I also agree that the theme isn't as scintillating as some, but it's solid and well executed. It's a lot harder to come up with 9 letter MP phrases I than I thought, and Victor managed to come up with six! Other than MISSPIGGY, my favorites were MAKEPEACE and MOOTPOINT. I didn't try too hard, but I could only think one more: mouse pads.

It's not a MOOTPOINT. MARCOPOLO beats MISSPIGGY to the MILKPUNCH in MENLOPARK! MAKEPEACE with it.

dk 8:37 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

Very nice Tuesday. Vets for SPCA was my only dog bite. The rest was Tuesday, not too hard, soft etc. I think Tuesday is the hardest day to create a puzzle for. They are the least liked puzzles (see text analysis reported years ago in this blog) and fall in an odd hardness zone (e.g., Florite on Mohs).

Anyway: Victor (most gracious man in puzzledom) meet Rex, (snarkiest man in…).

@Questina, Post of the decade! Thanks

Off to Boston in two weeks for some myth busting. I cannot wait to hear how one's 10-20 subjects differ from the 35 million in my sample. I love science it is so artful.

joho 8:40 AM  

Come to think of MISSPIGGY should should beat MARCOPOLO to the PUNCH!

joho 8:41 AM  

of it

joho 8:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jberg 8:42 AM  

No mild panic at this mere poufe -- I'm with everybody else. Off to work.

Kris in ABCA 8:45 AM  

In Canada, your political representative is your MP - Member of Parliament.

Arlene 8:51 AM  

This puzzle was fine - about right for a Tuesday.
What's interesting to me is that I have comments about some of the MP theme answers.

MARCO POLO - the water game - I had never heard of it until recently. it seems that you have to be able to hear to play, which I couldn't do for so many years, so nobody ever told me about the game! Until just a few years ago, now that I can hear with cochlear implants. Strangest revelation. And I'm not the only one with hearing loss with this experience.

MENLO PARK - is in NJ, is a National Park, and well worth visiting - Edison's labs, library and house. A genius worked there.

MISS PIGGY - a favorite Muppet - she makes me laugh! MOI!

So - pretty interesting experience for a Tuesday!

Leapfinger 9:01 AM  

So our Multi-Party group was Meandering Playfully down the Madisonave Pavement, a Motley Procession of Merry Pranksters. We were Mostly Palavering about our Monthly Perks at werk, when Mario Puzo suddenly Mentioned Picasso, and how Much Profounder he found him than Mondrian Pete. Not to be outdone, Marylouise Parker Mentioned Proudly that she'd had Much Progress in fashioning Murky Palindromes while learning Mortician's Practices, but Mike Piazza Merely Pointed to his Mouth Parts, flexed his Muscular Pecs, and Murmured Plaintively that he'd had Mucosal Problems since eating some slightly Moldy Pork MeatPie. Michelle Pfeiffer then restored our Mood Profoundly with some Monkey Pranks that involved Mink Pants and assorted Mental Pyrotechnics. Honestly, that shoulda been Markedly Preserved aa Museum Piece.

By now, we'd reached our destination, where the RC Mounted Police [on loan from Montreal, PQ] kept order. The Metropolitan Playbill included Mstislav rostroPovich, deMitri Prokofiev (oops, a MisPrint: that ought to be Sergei), something about the Montagues and caPulets, and Much Puccini. As you can plainly see, something of a cultural Mud Puddle. It was all very Morally Profound, but being as I am, perhaps I should have stuck with More Pogo, Miss Prudence MoneyPenny or a 'Full Monty' Preview. Gottaadmit, I'm happiest Munching Popcorn at a Monty Python Movie Premiere.

Merci, Prego.

Z 9:02 AM  

This puzzle poses that age-old question: Are EELERS trying to catch CRO-AHI? Inquiring minds want to know.

Not the judge's best. Interesting points @pmdm. I would point out two things, though. First, Mr. Fleming is an accomplished constructor who has had many better puzzles published here and elsewhere. Second, there are many other places to publish "silver standard" puzzles. My local paper publishes the LAT, the Newsday, and something called "The Daily Commuter." That being said, in my time of reading Rex I've seen new constructors develop and get better, so you have a point.

Robert Chemtob 9:02 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leapfinger 9:05 AM  

Dang. MaybeI can learn to type faster, but I don't guess I'll learn to think any faster.

Lewis 9:22 AM  

@aliasz and @leapy -- terrific posts!

The grid design divides this into two puzzles with very little connection, east and west, kind of in a yin/yang symbol design.

Decent blue collar puzzle. Ephemeral, yes, but I'm grateful for the workout.

I am going on vacation and will not be able to comment here while I'm away, but I'll be back 9/12ish. Wishing you all well!

Leapfinger 9:32 AM  

That 'mission-airy position' thingy reminded me that I should have worked in that MountAiry Place in NC, home of the ineluctable Sheriff Andy Griffith.

@dk, would very much like to hear more about your myth-busting after you get back.

I think we've about squeezed DRY those Pabst smears, and still can't believe --- No Monty Python!

Revealer coulda been MP4.

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Another day, another grating whiny post by the self-proclaimed king of crosswords. Will tomorrow be a) "what's the point of this theme?" b) "terrible fill?" c) "the constructor is my best friend and I expect better from him/her?" d) "poorly designed grid?" e)"pangram for no reason?" or f) "all of the above?" I'm sure I left out a few. Open lid. Insert broken record.

RooMonster 9:51 AM  

Hey All!
This plyed easy-medium over here. I did have a harder time with the E center, not sure why, though. Had the whole puz done, then just sat there rereading the clues over and over. Finally got HOPEDFOR and ADLIB, and then it came together! I thought it was a good puzzle, there's not too many puzzles out there that leave a lasting impression, especially if you do a ton like Rex does. Your brain only has so much space!

@AliasZ, always amazed at your wordplay. And @Leapy, awesome also! What a terrific MP excursion!

Now for a not the greatest ramble :-)
I dreamt I had a TRYST with ADARK and SULTRY SINNER who was FINE. She HOPEDFOR some MILKPUNCH and a TACO. IMON it! I HAULed ASSN. But then I woke up INBED, under the SHEETS. DAM! A good dream INALL. IFORGET the rest! Time to dream AFRESH!

RooMonster
DarrinV

Steve J 9:58 AM  

I've never understood why there's so much reaction whenever EEL or its variants is used in a puzzle. Yes, it's overused. So are lots of things that don't garner nearly the same reaction. At least it's a real word, in actual use, unlike, say, nearly every E-something answer.

Plus, they're delicious on sushi.

@dk: What font are you using for your moons? They don't show up on any of my devices (Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad).

@pmdm: Sure, early-week puzzles are supposed to be more straightforward, but that doesn't mean they have to be bland. There have been lots of Monday/Tuesday puzzles that have drawn very positive reactions.

Whirred Whacks 10:06 AM  

Could have had MICHAELS PHELPS in this puzzle.

Then things would have gone more swimmingly!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:10 AM  

Everyone is being so nice today . . . . Well, cut it out, damn it, that's my schtick!

The esteemed Judge Fleming has given us a passable Tuesday puzzle, but two entries must be called out:

40 A, "Hmm, can't remember" - I FORGET

and 44 A, Comment immediately following a stage cue - I'M ON

The first is the most simplistic clue/answer I have ever seen; the second might work if the speaker is backstage, but I can't picture it that way!

:>)

Horace S. Patoot 10:16 AM  

Quick NERD comment. Man, I hate that word LASE, as I hate all back-formations. I really wish the physicists had gone with "cohere" or something else sensible.

r.alphbunker 10:18 AM  

The Aug 31, 1980 Sunday puzzle had AHI clued as {Vedic sky dragon}.

Here is one way of remembering this:

☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎AHI☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎☁︎


----------------------

AliasZ 10:20 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry 10:21 AM  

The NYTimes should offer Mon/Tue puzzles with the same grid, alternate cluing for different levels of solvers. Today's could have been ratched up buy using the one clue/two answer trick

ADARK MAROCOPOLO - One of a traveler on the silk road's evil doppelgangers.
EELERS FINE - A penalty for fishing off season.
IMON SHEETS - Porn star's reaction to a stage cue
CYRUS MISSPIGGY - Miley's sense of decorum
MENLOPARK INDIA - High tech suburb of Mumbai

AliasZ 10:22 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
AliasZ 10:25 AM  


LOL @ Ms.lea Pfinger. Marvelous! Preat Minds Pink Malike Perhaps?

Master pianist Murray Perahia or Maurizio Pollini mustn't be passed up.

Signore Pollini here performs the final movement of Sonata No. 8, Op. 13 in C minor, "Pathétique", by Beethoven with two of his bag-of-shells as an encore.

wordie 10:35 AM  

How is ACRO a prefix for height?

Z 10:38 AM  

ACROpolis comes to mind - so Greek?

quilter1 10:41 AM  

Too easy and over too quick. My puzzle appetite is not sated.

Carola 10:43 AM  

I bow down to @Questinia.

@wordie - Also, ACROphobia: fear of heights.

r.alphbunker 10:43 AM  

ACROphobia

Some Vedic sky dragons had that but it rarely is a problem for tuna.

Henebry 11:14 AM  

I'm curious to hear what you think of the new mini puzzle, newly added to the latest version of the nytimes puzzle iphone app.

Leapfinger 11:38 AM  

@A-Z: Pink Malike? Shears, tisza possibility!

@RooMie, you earned a bunch of grins with your dream sequence. Lots of SINNERgISM. UH-OH!

@Whirred Whacks, thinking of Michael Phelps needed a swimmer's ear. First time I've ever laughed at that!

And here tis: Not only one of my favourite Monty Pythons, but also a hovercraft full of EELERS, plus a dirty Hungarian phrasebook

Who's been feeding mushrooms to the manatees?

mac 11:43 AM  

Decent Tuesday, seemed medium to me. Funny to find Honor(é) in the grid.

RooMonster 11:57 AM  

@Leapy, SINNERgISM!! Awesome! And so nice to find a fellow lover of all things Monty Python! I used to frequent a MP Message Board, until it went the way of the dodo! My name there was Twit of the Year! Another excellent skit! Too many exclamation points!

RooMonster

Casco Kid 12:00 PM  

@Quilter1 I had the same experience, so I went back to Tyler Hinman's AVC from 2 weeks ago, which didn't so much scratch the itch as it flayed me raw. Hard to find a happy medium, huh?

Today's puzzle looks good on the page. I suppose we've seen most of these before, but it seems like a fresh bouquet of garden-grown verbage, overall. Or, channeling my inner knuckle-dragging CRO-solver: "TuesPuz! NICEPUZ!"

Oh, BiRTHS/ARiA, so not without a haste-makes-waste moment for yours truly.

OISK 12:14 PM  

Faster than almost all Monday puzzles for me, and two minutes faster than yesterday's, so for me, the days ought to have been reversed. Aside from that, this was pretty much what I expect on a Tuesday, and I have no complaints. @Casco - your "Birth" defect reminds me of a Gilbert and Sullivan pun…
Ralph - True, I lack birth…
Seaman - You've a berth on board this very ship!

mathguy 1:04 PM  

Rex was dead-on target.

But I did learn something. I thought that a "moot point" meant that the point was one that had credible arguments on both sides, contradicting the puzzle clue. But the online dictionaries show that it can mean the opposite. Are there other words or phrases which can mean both A and not-A?

Bob Kerfuffle 1:08 PM  

@mathguy - You might be interested in contranyms.

Whirred Whacks 1:57 PM  

To @Henebry

I like the new Mini-Puzzle. It's a good warmup for the main event.

Also, my times for the Mini-Puzzle are much faster than Rex's times for the regular puzzle. :-)

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

Victor Fleming's (constructor of today's puzzle) is here .

jdv 3:34 PM  

Easy-Medium. PRISM was my first entry, then MAKEAPACT for MAKEPEACE. Also had PAEAN before PSALM, so the NW was a mess that I was forced to abandon. No problems with the rest of the puzzle. MILKPUNCH was new as was LEO Kottke.

mathguy 4:47 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: Thanks for the article on contranyms, words that mean both one thing and the opposite. Cool that they are also called Janus words. I liked the examples in the article "cleave," "dust," "inflammable," and "sanction." I thought of the slang term "bad."

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

Before I FORGET:

Sixty-two years ago today, a future Puzzlemeister arrived on the scene in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Happy Birthday, Will!

sanfranman59 5:41 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 6:52, 7:54, 0.87, 14%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:41, 5:21, 0.88, 10%, Easy

seastate5 6:44 PM  

I must be a complete dolt! Can someone explain to me Questinia's post, so that I might also bow down to her>?

Anonymous 9:12 PM  

Thanks, Rex, for removing those comments. I can't imagine how negative they were. :-)

The puzzle was made 3-1/2 years ago. It was important to me to have six 9-letter answers: four with 4-5 patterns crossing each other at the P, the other two with 5-4 patterns. It was also important to me to have all true M-sound/P-sound entries: no Ph's, no Pr's, no Pl's. Each theme answer linguistically mirrors "military police" in this respect.

If you said something nice about it, thanks. If you enjoyed it, I'm glad you did.

Vic

Leapfinger 10:04 PM  

@seastate5

Her words,
[A haiku]
like eels
...er,
undulate
through
lines of
symbolic
waves

See it?
_________

Thank YOU, Judge Vic.

sanfranman59 10:05 PM  

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 6:09, 6:02, 1.02, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 6:48, 7:54, 0.86, 13%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:25, 3:57, 1.12, 88%, Challenging
Tue 4:32, 5:21, 0.85, 5%, Easy (12th lowest ratio of 245 Tuesdays)

Charles Flaster 10:21 PM  

EZ but enjoyable. Snagged at 22 A with Watch your STEP. After fixing the that rest was real straightforward.Nene is more CrosswordEASE. Thanks VF.

Anonymous 11:43 PM  

I don't consider myself an expert or an authority on crossword clue integrity, but I really took issue with the answer to "In verse, 'His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry'" being "Santa". The "jolly old elf" of Clement C. Moore's "The Night Before Christmas" is never called Santa - when named, he is always St. Nick or St. Nicholas. Yes, he is often (and for all intents and purposes in THIS situation) the same figure as Santa, but if you draw from another text (especially if you use a direct quote) in a crossword clue, I feel the answer should COME FROM THE TEXT.

spacecraft 11:41 AM  

What, no love for Mandy Patinkin? I forgive your criminal minds. Yeah, this one was a ho-hummer, or a ho-ho-hoer if you count 14a. Crikey, not yet October and already!

I blithely started out with PRISM and Paean (!). But that was the only hiccup in a grid that I rate as straight easy. The fill is marred by the unfortunate partial ADARK, as well as the EELERS crutch and YAD (Yet Another Direction). Yadda yadda...

Still, the rest of it is OK. For fear of retaliatory martial arts, I will not grade any grid containing MISSPIGGY lower than B.

171. Hi-YAH!!

DMG 12:34 PM  

Only write over here was the SteamY/SULTRY change experienced by others. Also, I never knew BERTHS related to playoffs, but it came easily enough from the crosses. All in all a fair Tuesday puzzle for novices, with the likes of HONORE thrown in for a little spice.

Hey! 4284!

Dirigonzo 4:45 PM  

Much like yesterday my first run-through produced a competed grid, although not completely unblemished as I made the SteamY/SULTRY as did so many others. I always enjoy it when the constructor drops by to provide a little extra insight (and sometimes incite) to the discussion. And now I know that J. C. stands for James Cash in retail circles (seems fitting, somehow).

With two naturals already on the table I'm not even going to play - @spacy and DMG can split the (presumably not EELERS')pot.

Waxy in Montreal 5:14 PM  

Our MPs (Members of Parliament) are too often AWOL as well. Need their own MPs to track 'em down.

Very easy, even for a Tuesday. Hoped James Cash's surname was NCARRY, but no such luck.

Only slowdown was at the AHI/ACRO intersection but what else could it be but an A?

HONORÉ is one of those great old French prénoms that are hardly used anymore. In Quebec, the most common boys names are now William, Nathan, Samuel and Olivier - and this among the French-speaking population.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP