Byron of Mythbusters / THU 9-4-14 / Pop Singer Vannelli / Sherlock Holmes accessory / Game with horns / Orthodox trademark / Loki's brother in movies

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: FLIP ONE'S LID (61A: Go crazy … or a hint on how to enter five answers in this puzzle)— all theme answers are hats, entered into the grid backwards:

Theme answers:
  • REKLATSREED (17A: Sherlock Holmes accessory)
  • TEMLEH (28A: Biker gear)
  • ORERBMOS (31A: Siesta shader)
  • EKLUMRAY (47A: Orthodox trademark)
  • ARODEF (49A: Sinatra cover)
Word of the Day: ERICK Aybar, 2014 All-Star shortstop on the Angels (29A) —
Erick Johan Aybar (born January 14, 1984) is a Major League Baseball shortstop with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. // Aybar was signed by the then Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as an amateur free agent in 2002 and made his Major League debut on May 16, 2006 a pinch runner against the Toronto Blue Jays. He recorded his first Major League hit, in his first start, on May 20, 2006 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, a single to right field in the fourth inning off of Brett Tomko.
Aybar hit his first career major league home run on September 25, 2007, in a game against the Texas Rangers.
On September 5, 2009, Aybar tied a franchise record for most triples in a game, 2, against the Kansas City Royals.
September 8, 2009, Aybar had his first career walk-off hit, against the Seattle Mariners.
In 2009, Aybar hit .312 (eighth in the AL) and posted the fourth-best OPS (.776) of all AL shortstops.
On November 1, 2011, Aybar was awarded his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
On July 10, 2014, Aybar was named an All Star for the first time in his career, replacing injured Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon. Aybar was hitting .283 with 6 home runs and 45 RBI through 89 games at the time of his selection. (wikipedia)
• • •

Pretty clean, pretty easy. Headgear choices are arbitrary, but widely varied in terms of both shape and cultural origin, and variety is the spice of life, or so I hear. Once you get that REK- at the beginning of backwards DEERSTALKER, the theme becomes evident—or, if not completely evident, at least evidently backward. Once you're on the lookout for backwards entries, they're quite easy to find, and since neither the fill nor the cluing is particularly difficult (for the most part), this one should've proved smooth sailing, as "tricky" puzzles go. We (my elitist crossword friends and I) make fun of ONE'S answers on a regular basis, inventing new and more preposterous ones (!) whenever the mood strikes us, so the revealer here made me laugh. That said, I have no problem with it in this context. I'd hate it in a themeless, where, you know, you've got theoretically infinite options, but as a way of conveying the theme, it's ONE'S or YOUR, and though I find YOUR snappier, ONE'S is aptly general in this case.

I had a bit of a rough, albatrossish start, running and flapping my wings in an ungainly manner before the air finally took me. This is to say that I wrote in TSA at 5D: Org. whose annual budget is classified (NSA), and then could not make 1A: Sober work. "CL … CLOUT? … nope … OK, that's an 'A' so … CLEAT? How is [Sober] 'CLEAT'? That makes no … oh" (CLEAN). Then I thought the SAT no-no was answering IN INK (6A: Improper way to take the SAT => IN PEN) (taking it IN PEN these days is very hard to do, as the ink tends to get all over the screen…). After that, only KARI (who?) and ERICK (sp?) gave me any trouble at all. Oh, there was that one typo I had to track down at the end—I wrote in THOR, but somehow, in typing in the answer to 31D: "This is exciting!" I ended up with OO BOY. Luckily, TOOR was relatively easy to pick up with a quick scan of the grid.

MIXOLOGIST is a lovely entry, and I enjoyed remembering GINO "I Just Wanna Stop" Vannelli (though honestly, at first I misread the clue and wondered how I was going to fit MILLI in there…). In all, this was a nice puzzle, and I never felt like I Just Wanted to Stop, ONE'S or no ONE'S.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Whirred Whacks 12:03 AM  

    It took me so long to figure out the theme answers, I almost put on a PAC ECNUD.

    Lots of fun when it came to me!

    Nice puzzle!

    George Barany 12:08 AM  

    I enjoyed Sam Donaldson's puzzle a lot, once I figured out what the gimmick was ... this required setting a half-filled grid aside for an hour or so before taking a fresh look at it after which everything clicked. That's all one can ask from a Thurday puzzle!

    The overall theme, and a specific two of the theme answers, brought to mind one of my favorite jokes. Click on the link for a rendition that's as good as any I could type up. Hope you like it!

    wreck 12:12 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    wreck 12:25 AM  

    Fun solve! I did not see the theme until I got the revealer and was embarrassed that I didn't know "deerstalker."
    Every time I think of Gino Vanelli, I'm reminded of an old SCTV skit with Eugene Levy doing a Vanelli impression where every time he turned around, he would get hairier and hairier until he turned into a weir wolf!

    jae 12:25 AM  

    Easy-medium for me too.  Got the theme at 17a when the backwards STALKER showed up.   Toss before TUNA and KARL before KARI (I don't regularly watch Myth Busters) were about it for erasures.  The wrong L in KARI, plus not  knowing how to spell YARMULKE, and looking for a Kellogg's cereal push the south to medium. 

    Fun theme, liked it.

    Anoa Bob 12:26 AM  

    Need some help here. How is KOOB YAD (38A) a FLIPped LID?

    Does a DEER STALKER have an EARFLAP?

    Did some bartending in grad school days. MIXOLOGIST? Nah. DRINK SLINGER? Yep.

    Lee I. 1:20 AM  

    @anoa, 38A is just DAYBOOK, it's not one of the flipped answers.

    I was not happy with the clue for 3D - Elks have antlers, not horns!

    Steve J 1:43 AM  

    Meh. Maybe I picked up the theme too early, but this was too easy and too straightforward. Once you get what's going on, a bunch of the puzzle fills in very quickly. And given the lack of interesting cluing and fill (MIXOLOGIST is ok, but it's already a worn-out term, and both too pretentious and precious), nothing really grabbed me with this one. Would have liked to have had something a little meatier for Thursday.

    Moly Shu 2:44 AM  

    As is usually the case, I agree with @SteveJ. Got the theme at TEMLEH, and it was an easy solve. Knew ERICK and KARI straight off. TYRANNIES looks odd, and ILEUM is new to me but no problem to infer.

    I also have a new goal in life. To join @Rex and his friends in all their elitist glory.

    chefwen 2:59 AM  

    I'm in the @Steve J and @Moly Shu camp. One of my first fills was SOMBRERO in the correct order. Didn't work out, Wite out to the rescue. Filled in the surrounding areas and had my AH, I GET IT MOMENT. The rest was very easy. Cute puzzle, but over too soon.

    Anonymous 4:08 AM  

    Got the gimmick early and after that it was pretty straightforward solving. Too easy for a Thursday.

    Gill I. P. 5:22 AM  

    @Lee I. I think @Anoa is being a YOB HO.
    Did anyone take their SAT's while DRUNK?
    Speedy Gonzalez lent me his SOMBRERO and I was off to @George B's races... Cute!
    I like these kind of Thursday puzzles. No heavy breathing, no sweat, puts me in SHAPE for Friday.

    Mohair Sam 6:33 AM  

    Very quick Thursday solve. First gimme was SOPH which led quickly to OPINE and SHEAF - then one look at the Sinatra clue and the theme was down and the puzzle essentially done.

    Gotta love any puzz that includes the word deerstalker, so we enjoyed this one thoroughly.

    @Anoa Bob - thanks for the EARFLAP chuckle.

    Anonymous 7:09 AM  

    Easy Thursday, but an elk has antlers, and the plural of elk is elk.

    Elle54 8:00 AM  

    Just right!

    NCA President 8:02 AM  

    Very easy for a Thursday for me...still have coffee left in my first cup.

    I agree with Anon 7:09am...elk's plural is elk, or so I thought.

    I don't know what a DEERSTALKER is nor have I heard of a DAYBOOK, although it was inferable because I guess you can keep track of days in a book, ergo DAYBOOK. Got it.

    Not that it matters, but I would have liked to have seen some themers in one or two of the long-ish downs. I kept expecting there to be more to this puzzle, but no. Just five backwards hats.

    Okay. At least now I have time to check out some reddit news...

    Susan McConnell 8:06 AM  

    Like @jae, I knew what was going on when the backwards STALKER showed up. After that it was pretty straightforward...maybe a little on the dull side.

    Charles Flaster 8:08 AM  

    EZ in 13 minutes but one mistake with amat for 21A and never picked it up.Picked up theme at Temleh and loved Sinatra's Arodef.
    Loved mark's successor.
    Thanks SAD.

    jberg 8:13 AM  

    Yeah, ELKS. Just no. You don't say deers, you don't say mooses, and you don't say ELKS.

    Other than that, fun and easy. I got DEERSTALKER off the K, and just sailed on -- took me awhile to realize they were all stah, but didn't need to.

    I really wanted 6A to be "IN BED" though.

    Carola 8:27 AM  

    Step 1: Write in "deerstalker." Step 2: Erase it and try to think of another Holmes accessory (some kind of pipe)?...Step somewhere down the line: Try to think of some sort of semi-tropical shade tree beginning ORE.... So, yeah, not easy for me. Finally saw the entire ORERBMOS and got the rest. Liked it! Especially EKLUMRAY. Glad 52D and 59D weren't in yesterday's grid.

    joho 8:30 AM  

    Hats off to Sam! (OK, somebody had to say it.)

    I think PACLLABESAB would have been a cute entry just because of the visual.

    Seemed more Mondayish because the backwards trick wasn't that hard to get. But, really clever theme with the perfect reveal.

    Another nice write-up, @Rex!

    Cute joke, @George!

    Thanks, Sam ... fun puzzle!

    James Rudy, Jr. 8:33 AM  

    Nobody noticed 9 Down was an incorrect answer? Atlanta to Charleston dir. is ENE, not ESE.

    Mohair Sam 8:42 AM  

    @James Rudy - You're probably thinking Charlotte, NC - not Charleston, SC

    OldCarFudd 8:51 AM  

    Atlanta, GA to Charleston, SC is ESE. Atlanta, GA to Charleston, WV is NNE. But I agree with the cavils about elks and antlers.

    Numinous 8:54 AM  

    I think 9D was dyslexically clued. Should have been "Charleston to Atlanta dir". But, yeah, @James Rudy, being a resident of the Atlanta Metro area, I noticed and thought wtf?

    Somehow, I managed not to notice that all the backwards solutions were hats until I got to FLIP ONES LID and the penny finally dropped. I found this one to be pretty easy, possibly my shortest Thursday ever. Hand up for TEMLEH giving away the theme. REKLATSREED followed immediately since I had a few of the letters already. ORERBMOS stumped me for a minute or two. Oddly enough, I've never owned a sombrero, but I've owned at least one of the other four over the years.

    Numinous 8:58 AM  

    Oh dear, I got that wrong. Guess I was thinking of Charlotte. My bad.

    dk 9:00 AM  

    ๐ŸŒ•๐ŸŒ•๐ŸŒ• (3 mOOOns)

    Points off for incorrect fill. Mr. Rudy's corrected our direction and others have addressed the gang of elk not ELKS..

    That said the them was pure fun. As a WASP my knowledge of Hebrew is limited so I had to guess at 47a. Oddly I got the reveal first and the rest was a doff of my cap

    Chef and Bar Chef (MIXOLOGIST: How trite) son has me weighing things so I do not play with spoons much.

    Note: To make an authentic Mojito use a darker rum (e.g., Mount Gay) and raw cane sugar. One needs only a cap full or day of club soda as its use is to help disolve the sugar. Once the the mint sugar and soda are muddled add in lime juice and stir. Pour all into a shaker with the rum and ice, shake and serve. This would be the Mojito of olde. And tastes much better than the light rum concoctions often served up

    quilter1 9:18 AM  

    Yes, easy and fun. Got done early and now taking spouse to cataract surgery.

    RooMonster 9:22 AM  

    Hey All!
    Fairly srtaightforward solve, although it took me a while to see theme, not as quick as aome, it seems. I did have ARODEF in, all from crosses! Aha'ed when I finally got the rest of TYRRAN--S, which I was thinking IN as the fill, which made no sense, finally put in IE, saw the FLIP, and noticed FEDORA. Went searching for the others, saw I had ORalBMOS, (the L from NODEAl instead of NODEAR!) had the Aha, and cleared it up. Had wanted ELKS (Very bad POC, btw, as noted by others) in the NW, but that made REKLATS---, and said can't be right. But the theme eventually cleared it all up.

    Odd clues for FIB, DOT, PIANO.

    Not too many writeovers, spelled YARMULKE with AK on end, then KA, finalle KE. dOg first for ROD, yea first for OUI. NODEAl for NODEAR.

    OHBOY, a MISFIT of a puz. It took me for ARIDE. ALLTOLD, took a minute or two to get the FARREMOVED theme. (Ok, not too FAR!) Off work today, so didn't do INPEN, as usual. Never once said, "Leggo my EGGO!"

    Zeke 9:22 AM  

    If ELKS don't have horns, they how do they bugle? Answer me that one!

    There are four different ELKS that make up the North American elk population. There are thousand of fishes in the sea. The pluralization of ELKS is confusing and misleading though not wrong.

    Nancy 9:30 AM  

    Agree with all. Quite cute and very easy. I like a more fiendish Thursday.

    SenorLynn 9:38 AM  

    Was all set to carp about TBSPS (is that about a cap full, @dk?), then google told me T, Tb, Tbs, Tbsp, & Tblsp are all OK. Why not just spell the silly thing out!
    Always thought it was yarmulka, & wasn't sure about TASSE, so that's a big DNF.
    Before I got the theme, I wanted a Sinatra alphabet song abcDEF. Still would like one, if you could get him away from the Jack Daniels.
    Amen, @Rex, FLIPyourLID much snazzier.

    Arlene 9:41 AM  

    The NYTimes has now screwed up my paper delivery two days in a row - sending me to do the puzzle online. Today was less klutzy than yesterday, though - but I still can't seem to see the whole puzzle on the screen.

    Anyhow - I got the theme very early, at REK, and knew something was up. SOMBRERO fell next, as I knew the clue was singular, meaning it was not likely to end in S.

    Now to figure out how to tame the crossword-solving finger choreography - that's challenging my brain as much as the puzzle!

    Leapfinger 9:51 AM  

    Caught on when the suspected TALKER turned out to be DEERSTALKER. That was top-o-mind for me, as it came up during the EARFLAP discussion. My deerstalker sits on a shelf, perched on a skull I acquired somehow; my Girl thinks that's creepy, and I can't really argue the point.

    Nice variety of SREPPOT, and wise to avoid AMANAP, but thought there coulda been a NROHGEL or a XOBLLIP thrown the ladies' way.

    Was IN BED with Rex on several counts, plus had to pause to sort out ILIUM/ILEUM as I always do; managed to gut it out, thanks to @Carola. No ELKS? What about whELKS.

    Was LIEU yesterday's leftover?

    Remembered thumbing ARIDE FROM New Haven to Atlanta with a best bud years ago, managed to score the first leg to GreensboroNC in a low-wing 4-seater Cessna, call letters Romeo 3-niner-niner something. ONCE UPUP and away, I was allowed to take over the CTRLs; great fun and nothing to it, just maintain ALT. Take-off and landing, of course, are another story. As is hitch-hiking in the wold of today.

    This one played PIANissimO for a Thursday, but a fun way to cap off the morning joe. A tip of the OLTAH TAH to Messers Donaldson and Shortz, and KOOB-YAD-ah to all y'all.

    AliasZ 9:56 AM  

    I raise my KOOBYAD to you, Sam Donaldson, for a snazzy, puzzling and ultimately satisfying puzzle. I discovered the trick at ARODEF. What does A-ROD have to do with FLIPping ONE'S LID? Aha!!! I even forgive the fact that that 38A was not a theme answer, and that the revealer is a ONE'S phrase. But FLIP TWO'S LID wouldn't work.


    Z 10:04 AM  

    I have never heard ELKS in the wild, but it, apparently, is not wrong. Let's agree that it is at best inelegant.

    As for Antlers/horns - what, exactly, is the difference? To my mind an antler is a type of horn, but I'm open to convincing if one of you has a nice citation or twenty.

    First answer was FIB, nice clue, so ORERBEMOS was my first themer. REKLATSREED held me up since I couldn't remember the word for Sherlock's hat until I had most of it in. Otherwise, easy except for a problem of my own creation, FLIP ONE'S hat. GhAD? GaNO? OtOR? D'oh.

    On a separate note: The other night my pot-smoking neighbor apparently rolled over on the fob for his Porsche, setting of it's alarm. His condo being above mine, and he being a sound sleeper, he didn't wake up. I had to get dressed, go outside, and ring his doorbell about five times before he pressed the magic button and turned off the car alarm. That's the thing about car alarms, they are usually annoying to others, the owner often doesn't even hear them, and they aren't actually warning about anything. I have noticed an increase in comments that are little more than car alarms. Please, don't be a car alarm, because I really don't want to be ringing your doorbell at 2 a.m.

    RAD2626 10:09 AM  

    Well, good for all of you. Did not think it was so easy. Actually got revealer before any of the theme answers so knew something needed to be turned around but still took a while and (embarrassingly) never did notice they were all headgear even after I had finished.

    Too bad Sam's last name isn't Hatlo then we could have had a...

    Nice puzzle.

    Leapfinger 10:15 AM  

    That should be KOOB-YAD-ah, m'DROL. Or some such...

    @Numinous, thanks for yesterday's return to SJ Perelman, which looked oddly as if taken from his own notes. That man could write parody in 20 different languages.

    r.alphbunker 10:17 AM  


    @Roo Monster
    "Off work today, so didn't do INPEN, as usual"
    Did you mean Off to work today?
    If I were in a hurry I would be more likely to do it in pencil so I could write in answers faster and erase the wrong ones.

    Clue for INPEN could have been {How to solve a puzzle}

    Zeke 10:36 AM  

    @Z - Antlers are bones that grow from the skull. They are annuals, growing in the spring, falling off in the winter. Horns are permanent continuously, made of kerotin (think hair or fingernals). Bovines and sheep have horns, the various deer, elk, moose have antlers.

    jdv 10:56 AM  

    Easy w/one error. ERICh. True Natick for me. Had to run the alphabet to find the k. Had similar qualms about ELKS. ININK before INPEN; KNEAD before SHAPE. Caught on to the reversal early at DEERSTALKER.

    Anonymous 10:58 AM  

    Had a clear image of Sherlock Holmes' hat but could not remember what it's called, so I didn't pick up on the backwards pattern until 31A ORERBMOS.

    Had a nice aha! when realizing that the backwards entries are all types of hats and especially liked ARODEF as a Sinatra cover.

    And only 12 three-letter words, all regular ones, to boot. Well done, Mr. Donaldson!

    Z 11:08 AM  

    @Zeke - A little searching led me to the term "deciduous horn" for antler. I think the problem with English is too many people what to use words for different purposes. Still, I did not know that horns and antlers were made of different stuff, so thanks.

    old timer 11:12 AM  

    Of course ELKS is proper. No doubt the Elks usually have a band of some sort that includes horns.

    I confidently said it is improper to take the SAT in bed. I kind of thought there might be backward answers, early on, but was not sure until I answered the revealer.

    Of course, my first answer there was "wig" and not "lid" because I did not see the hat connection til the end.

    I changed my bed to pen, and only then knew that the final cross was 'pressroom" and amas, rather than amat.

    Anonymous 11:34 AM  

    <> Just curious. Is this the same Sam Donaldson who used to be on TV news?

    r.alphbunker 11:43 AM  

    11:34 AM

    Different Donaldson. His picture is at

    RooMonster 12:00 PM  

    @r.alph, should have been off of work, as i'm not working today. On days I do work, print out the puzzle, and then, yes, I do it INPEN. As in ININK. Balck ink, no less!

    Oh, and wanted to say, with the Rexster and myself being the same age, how could not know Kari Byron from Mythbusters? Awesome show, and (in the words of Wayne)She's a Babe! Schwing!

    Gonna look for a stuffed Shmoo online now...


    Anonymous 12:08 PM  

    @r.alphbunker - Thanks. A very different Donaldson indeed.

    andy 12:18 PM  

    I desperately wanted a different answer (requiring a slightly different cluing) for 6A. It would require 4 other changes, one of which – admittedly – is too obscure for even a Sunday.

    7D – Former capital of Japan (NARA)
    9D – Morning cuppa (JOE)
    10D – “We’re about to have a talk” (SO, DEAR)
    15A – Upper Eastside neighborhood closet (TAROO) [yeah, I know… but someone could work this part over]

    That gives us…

    6A – Inappropriate way to take the SAT? (INPJS)

    r.alphbunker 12:49 PM  

    Aha, so when you are off of work, you do it online. That makes sense.

    I recently splurged and got a very nice Vicente fountain pen. I love the way the ink flows from the nib. Since almost all of my correspondence uses email now, I was hard pressed to find a way to use the pen.

    The solution was crossword puzzles. I am working my way through Bob Klahn's "The Wrath of Klahn Crosswords: Puzzles from the World's Toughest Clue Writer". The pen provides a nice metric for measuring the difficulty of the puzzles: the more overwritten answers, the tougher the puzzle.

    JenCT 1:19 PM  

    @r.alphbunker: I have that book, and it's tough!

    @George: cute joke

    Worked many years as a licensed bartender (MIXOLOGIST); favorite requests were anything straight-up or on the rocks, and worst requests were for sickly-sweet frozen drinks - ugh!

    Leapfinger 1:29 PM  

    Horns are made of kerAtin, according to Liana's Kentucky cousin, Beau Vines.

    With some hats, you can't tell when they're on backwards; the Deerstalker is exactly the same, either way. I think that's also true of a sailor cap, a 180 is the same as a 360. With a Tricorn, I s'pose that might be a 120 degree symmetry. Now bill caps are pretty cute worn sideways, but the SPACLLIB look never appealed to me much.

    @dk, YARMULKE/A is Yiddish. Hebrew would be 'kipah'. Thanks for the improved Mojito recipe.

    Too bad that Bella Abzug couldn't find a spot in the grid, or Lilly Dache for extra cachet. Was it about John Wayne that someone said he could change his entire persona simply by changing hats?

    A good day for hat lovers.

    LaneB 1:56 PM  

    If you don't get the Thursday gimmick, you DNF regardless of how much fill you complete. That "you" was me today. I am much too literal, I fear, and often miss the clever stuff.

    chefbea 2:15 PM  

    Fun puzzle. Did it while at a boring meeting this morning. Just got home. No time to read all the comments.

    john towle 2:28 PM  

    One of the year's best, imho.

    George, that joke's a real hat trick ;-))

    Would that they could all be this good (puzzle & joke)



    Wendy 3:15 PM  

    There are several towns in the US called Elkhorn, in Wisconsin and Nebraska, among others. So it seems ELK horn is a thing. Also, a google search produces places to buy elk horn handle knives, for example, also called elk antler handles. I think we can go either way on this.

    sanfranman59 3:36 PM  

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

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

    Thu 15:20, 17:28, 0.88, 25%, Easy-Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Thu 10:13, 10:49, 0.94, 35%, Easy-Medium

    Well this should teach me not to attempt solving a Thursday puzzle when I'm as dog tired as I was last night. There's only one other Thursday in my spreadsheet on which I turned in a worse relative solve time than this one. This puzzle was obviously nowhere near as difficult as I made it. EKLUMRAY in particular gave me fits ... for no good reason. C'est la vie.

    the redanman 4:24 PM  

    NW and SE both sorta ugly and no fun. Generally left a bad taste, but 100% correct, so not sour grapes, just another crap puzzle. Either that or I have no taste in puzzles.

    wa 6:24 PM  

    The elks live near the deers.
    Speaking of deers, I thought the hat was called a deerslayer and it was driving me crazy.

    mac 6:26 PM  

    I enjoyed this one, especially after "arodef" showed up. Then it was fill-in-the-blanks for most of the puzzle.

    I knew it had to be yarmulka, but I needed several crosses to get the spelling right.

    michael 7:05 PM  

    I thought this was quite for a Thursday. I did stuck at the end wondering what a torno was until the thought occurred to me that Atlanta might be north of Charleston (South Carolina). When I saw torso I knew that was the case, but still checked a map being confused by Georgia mostly being south of South Carolina.

    But then I always get confused by the Panama Canal going west to east from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

    And isn't Atlanta west of Detroit?

    sanfranman59 10:01 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 7:40, 6:02, 1.27, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 243 Mondays)
    Tue 8:11, 7:54, 1.04, 61%, Medium-Challenging
    Wed 12:10, 9:31, 1.28, 93%, Challenging
    Thu 15:20, 17:28, 0.88, 25%, Easy-Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 5:20, 3:57, 1.35, 100%, Challenging (highest ratio of 243 Mondays)
    Tue 5:27, 5:24, 1.01, 52%, Medium
    Wed 7:25, 6:08, 1.21, 90%, Challenging
    Thu 9:42, 10:49, 0.90, 26%, Easy-Medium

    Hmmmmm 7:37 AM  

    Isn't elk plural? "Hunting elk" not "elks"

    Oscar 9:09 AM  

    From Merriam-Webster:
    elk noun \หˆelk\
    : a large kind of North American deer with big antlers
    : a European or Asian moose
    plural elks

    Yes, @redanman: you have no taste in puzzles.

    Bob Kerfuffle 12:17 PM  

    Finished with one wrong letter: A instead of E at the cross of TASSE and EKLUMRAY.

    My Never-Would-Be-Used suggestion for cluing 3 D: "Certain benevolent and protective order, familiarly."

    Anonymous 10:56 AM  

    Fun the short while it lasted, and no Googling necessary. But it just wasn't a Friday puzzle, not even close. You didn't even need to figure out the theme, because everything filled itself it from the oh-so-easy cluing. Had it been designed for a Tuesday or Wednesday, I would have given it high praise. but just far too easy for Friday.

    spacecraft 12:06 PM  

    @anon 10:56: Last I looked, it was still THORsday. While I agree that this is one of the tamer grids containing other-than-straightforward entries, I put it at medium, about right for today.

    With the NW unclear, I started with ONCE, leading me into the west center, where before too long TEMLEH became obvious, so I had the backward part. YARMULKE is a marvelous entry in either direction, but it wasn't until Frank's ARODEF that I aha!ed onto the hat thing as well. By that time the revealer was a gimme.

    I'll let ASIP and ARIDE go by for some of the other goodness. The SIX/MIXOLOGIST cross made things flow in the west, but there were hesitations. Chief among them was my mistaken conviction that the center across had to be backward (of course, this was before the "hat trick"). A-.

    123: was hoping for OHBOY, but instead: NUTS!

    rondo 1:13 PM  

    This is still THORsday and yesterday was ODINsday (our days are actually named for those guys).
    EZ PZ puz.
    I actually have a diploma in bartending ca. 1975, so I guess I am/was a MIXOLOGIST albeit now FARREMOVED.

    Unreadable first captcha
    143 second time - not bad ALLTOLD

    Anonymous 2:11 PM  

    Good puzz. I'd rate is as easy/medium. My pen jumped all over the grid until I got to flipones and then it all fell into place. It helps that the other words were direct and not cutesy misdirects.
    I have patted myself on the back so many times this morning, I think I need a burn ointment. It's just too bad you all are not me. hahahahahahahha

    Ron Diego


    Dirigonzo 3:08 PM  

    The flipped deerstalker was no help but I did pick up on the conceit when the first three letters of helmet appeared in the last three squares so I kind of cruised through the grid from there, with only mIli/GINO and Taco/TUNA marring my otherwise pristine grid.

    973 - no way to VIE with that.

    DMG 4:05 PM  

    Seems it took me a bIt longer than most to pickup the theme. I think one problem was thinking the Sinatra cover had to be some record album. However, the revealer sent me scurrying to the "odd" entries, where I had already filled enough crosses to make them all clear. So a good finish, even with an unknown ball,player!

    Several totally obscure "deals"but eventually 116 for a tie with @rondo.

    Kari 7:56 PM  

    Wow! A puzzle with my name in it!
    That's a first, does Kari Byron pronounce it car-ee, like me or Kerry?
    Just curious and don't watch Mythbusters.

    Anonymous 9:16 PM  

    How is the answer to softly PIANO?

    Z 9:32 PM  

    @anon9:16 - in music PIANO means softly. From Italian, I believe.

    Greg 11:14 PM  

    Nice nod to the Arturo O'Farrill. "They Came" knocks me out.

    Parris Williams 3:00 PM  

    I too found this puzzle simple and boring, I actually took a nap and finished the puzzle in my sleep!
    PS does anyone else here collide atoms as a hobby

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