Fishhook attachment / TUE 9-2-14 / Female students condescendingly / Hobo's accessory / Snoop Dogg for one since 2012

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Constructor: Ethan Cooper

Relative difficulty: Challenging (***for a Tuesday***)

THEME: COLLEGE EXPENSES (54A: What tuition and the starts of 17-, 22-, 37-(?) and 47-Across are):

Theme answers:
  • TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE (17A: Perfect illustration)
  • ROOM TO IMPROVE (22A: Unfulfilled potential)
  • BEER NUT (37A: Pub tidbit)
  • BOARD MEETINGS (47A: Gatherings in which C.E.O.'s are chosen)
Word of the Day: PLASM (5A: Blood component) —
'Plasma.' It just means 'plasma.' Apparently you don't gotta say that last 'a' at all. And here I've been saying it with the 'a' all these years, like some kind of time-wasting sucker...
• • •

Mixed but mostly positive feelings about this one. On the plus side, it's timely (university semester starts tomorrow for me, and likely many other tens of thousands of people), and the puzzle overall feels very fresh. Even something like "UM, NO"—it's like when I see a young person wearing something stupid, but wearing it with confidence and style, such that I have to admit I'd rather see said stupid piece of clothing than Yet Another Backward-Baseball-Capped generic-looking dead-eyed conveyer-belt rider wearing what everybody else is wearing. In this example, "UM, NO" is the stupid piece of clothing and, let's say, ULNA is the conformist clothing, and college is the conveyor belt. I just decided that "UM, NO" is a lime green boa. Anyway, this grid has a kind of style. It's up to date on what Snoop's been doing lately, but still finds time for OBOES, and it likes to keep tabs on both the recent Batman moves (NOLAN) and old-school film noir (HUSTON). Seriously, that NOLAN / HUSTON row is pretty cool.

On the down side, this puzzle thinks card tricks are MAGIC (!?) (48D: Card tricks, e.g.). Also, there's a 3x3 patch there in the SE that is almost entirely Ss and Es. The ELSE'S EOE ISMS cluster*uck is kind of gross. I'm grateful that MAXIM is clued as a word and not the idiotic lad mag, i.e. porn for people who are afraid to buy porn. Themewise, there are a few issues. ROOM and BOARD really should be in sequence. They don't travel well alone. Presumably one will buy more than one textbook. Also, since all the other first words of the theme answers are used in non-college contexts, you could've pulled your BOOK answer even further away from the whole college context by going with something like BOOKKEEPER or "BOOK 'EM, DANNO" or something. But that's not a very big deal. The big deal is the BEER NUT answer. This is the answer that divides me in half—the half that thinks "ha, cute, good one," and the half that thinks "ugh, yes, great, let's wink at how awesome it is to binge-drink and date rape and exacerbate depression and all the other unfortunately very real things that often happen when college kids meet beer." That latter half of me is the half that has a daughter going to college in four years. It's also the half that has to overhear dozens of dumbass conversations every week about getting wasted, having gotten wasted, and the prospects for what will become next week's Having Gotten Wasted.

Oh, also, one BEER NUT? Really? A single BEER NUT? When have you ever seen and or eaten just one BEER NUT? That's ridiculous. It's a brand. The brand is BEER NUTS. Also, baseball helmets have earholes, not EARFLAPs (41D: Batting helmet feature). The word "flap" implies a certain mobility, an ability to fold back or away. The word does not apply to baseball helmets. Or shouldn't. So thumbs up to youthful exuberance, thumbs down to the whole fratboy vibe with the BEER and the COEDS (64A: Female students, condescendingly) and the MAXIM (I've decided it's a lad mag after all, no matter the clue).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


wreck 12:04 AM  

A pretty good all-around Tuesday! I know it constantly gets a fresh clue, but has'n't SNL run it's course?? Talk about crosswordese!

jae 12:08 AM  

DAMN, tough Tues for me too. following a tough Mon.  Let's see where did I go wrong?

(1) Mangled 17a in ways I'd rather not discuss.
(2) Had NUMbers (see above) before NUMERAL
(3) EARhole before FLAP and @Rex do they really calls those things FLAPs on a batting helmet?
(4) kAtEL before LABEL...yes,  I know that was desperate.
(5) Wanted arcs for 1d but the crosses said no, so DOTS took a while as did MIXER. 

On the plus side the LATimes had an article on Seth MacFarlane today that mentioned STEWIE which helped as I don't watch Family Guy.  The Simpsons pretty much take care of my Sunday night cartoon jones.

Yesterday MUSTY, today MUSTI, tomorrow MUSTA?

Great clue for UM NO.

Liked it.  Above average Tues.

Anonymous 12:09 AM  

no. they're called ear flaps. always have been.

Whirred Whacks 12:23 AM  

Pretty straight-forward, but I did notice that there sure were a lot of S's in the lower right hand corner!

I guess I'm getting old, but can someone tell me when COED became a pejorative (though I don't hear the word used much anymore).

Elaine2 12:30 AM  

@ Whirred Whacks: "coed" is a pejorative because it implies that "regular undergrads" are male, and women students are some "other thing." The proper term is student.

Anonymous 12:32 AM  

EARFLAP is correct.

Anonymous 12:39 AM  

I intended to write extensively without using one single 'a', utilizing my recently vested permission to drop them willy-nilly (e.g. 5D) from words. It would be like one of those horrid tomes people seem to like to foist on us all, writing utilizing words from the puzzle. It could possibly be as terrible as the recent P Berry puzzle, where everyone wrote in the gibberish inspired by the puzzle's conceit. But this is not to be, since it is obviously impossible to do so.

wreck 12:43 AM  

You lost me @ A nonymous

Moly Shu 12:56 AM  

@Rex, UMNO, they are EARFLAPs. Take a look at most major league batting helmets. One side (the side facing the pitcher), has a FLAP covering the ear, the other side doesn't. What else would you call it?

Found it easier than yesterday and like the inclusion of BEER as a college expense.

@Wreck, I'm with ya on SNL

Casco Kid 1:36 AM  

One word:

Damned thing cost me 4 minutes of stare time. Finally, I took out the t, saw ALBEIT and realized that while Manny Ramirez and others tar their helmets, every helmet has an EARFLAP.

Dumb DNF at USEr/ESrE. Ach!

Anoa Bob 1:53 AM  

A solid puzz, but not much MAGIC for me. Don't recall seeing TABLA or BINDLE before. Woulda guessed the latter was some sort of mechanical device.

A couple of things IRKED me. Gratuitous cross-referencing at 24D TIRE & 50A FLAT is one. Those can be easily, and even cleverly, clued by themselves. It adds nothing to the puzz. Only serves as a minor inconvenience for the solver.

On the other hand, the plural-of-convenience (POC) was on prominent display. Among those that stood out were above mentioned examples in the E & SE, and, especially for me, the letter-count boost of BOARD MEETING to match the number of letters in its symmetrically place theme partner, ROOM TO IMPROVE, by the simple expediency of adding an ess.

Getting a set of theme entries that work both conceptually and, and this is a big AND, that have matching letter-counts for symmetrically placed theme entries, are the two biggest challenges for themed puzzle construction, methinks. That's why I'm taken aback by a POC themer. Makes the letter-count challenge a little less challenging.

Don't mean to dump on Mr. Cooper's puzz. Conceptually it's a winner with some nice touches in the grid. Liked MAXIM, as clued, INGENUE & HETERO.

Why the flap over EARFLAP?

chefwen 2:32 AM  

Jon beat the tar out of me yesterday (still blaming the wine) I beat the tar out of him today (yea me)

Had the most trouble in the upper middle. Wanted PLASMa, like Rex. Had a hard time accepting PLASM, but nothing else would work. Had no idea that Snoop Dog went all RASTA on us, don't really follow the rappers. Have never watched Family Guy, STEWIE finally came to mind, must have been from ads.

Cute puzzle that I really enjoyed. Thanks Ethan Cooper

I also included BEER NUT in the theme. Love those things.

Cal88 2:40 AM  

Tough Tuesday for me. My doctor and nurse friends call it plasma, so I'll send them the memo that they're wrong.

"Coeds" has never been derogatory in my world. For me, that's too much PC police power.

Rav 2:45 AM  

Beer Nuts lead to date rape? Really? That's a bit much from a guy that touts his cocktails. I thought the word of the day was SNELL.

chefwen 3:53 AM  

Oops, I see that Beer Nuts have already been included in the theme, how obtuse am I? Bed time? thinking YES.

Danp 5:26 AM  

Brilliant theme execution. In addition to the actual themers, you also have MIXER, INGENUE, OVERDUE (books) and PLANB (?). Even Rorschach tests remind me of how Psych 101 was the moment when so many college freshmen thought they knew everything about the human condition.

Nooby 5:56 AM  

Can't abide PLASM; it's a word root, as in endoplasm, not a blood component. That would be PLASMA. On the other hand, if that's what it took to get RASTA in the puzzle, then OK.

Had BuNDLE which made ALBEIT even harder to see for someone unfamiliar with the TABLA. I prefer TABL.

Otherwise liked the extra Tuesday challenge. Thanks Ethan Cooper.

Gill I. P. 6:33 AM  

Yesterday's puzzle made me feel old. Today I feel young and glad the days of being poor and owing money to God, my parents and that mean old lady in tuition are over....
I am an OVERDUE INGENUE happy with just one BEER NUT. Cheap date!
Thanks Ethan Cooper - I just may go and dust off my BINDLE.

Anonymous 7:29 AM  

GREAT review, Rex. Goes from "mostly positive feelings" to criticizing almost every aspect of the puzzle to gratuitous date rape in seconds flat. Hate to see what you'd say about a puzzle that gave you "mostly negative feelings." Oh wait, that's pretty much every day.

Glimmerglass 7:41 AM  

@Rex. You're thinking of football helmets, which have ear holes. Baseball for decades had no batting helmets; then helmets without protection for the side of the head; then ear flaps. Now catchers wear helmets as well as face masks. On the horizon: helmets for pitchers.

jberg 7:54 AM  

Wow, that lime green boa is the TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE of a metaphor so weird it's good. Keep 'em coming, @Rex!

Aside from a peculiar inability to recall John HUSTON (Husack? Husson? Hu knows where I got those?) this one went pretty fast for me. Minor delay at the start when I misread 'ellipsis' as 'ellipse,' put in 'foci' at 1D, then really wanted 2D to start with U. I knew it couldn't be, though.

Isn't PLASM the liquid inside cells? CytoPLASM to be formal, but PLASM when it's at home. It just needed a different clue.

chefbea 7:55 AM  

Easy fun puzzle. As for beer nut...the clue says tidbit, so that could be just one beer nut.
Watch Family guy all the time so Stewie was easy for me. Love his brother Brian too.

AliasZ 8:10 AM  

If yesterday's puzzle appeared a bit musty to me, today's was more MUSTI. And NETLOSS again? What are the chances?

I am somewhat amused by the flap over EARFLAP and PLASM.

The ear hole is in the EARFLAP, isn't it? Why would you need a hole if there was no flap covering the ear? Here is a quote from the Wikipedia page on "batting helmet": 1964 marked the first time a batting helmet had a pre-molded EARFLAP when the Phillies Tony Gonzalez wore such a helmet after being hit with a pitch. Shortly after this, Major League Baseball adopted the use of a helmet with a pre-molded EARFLAP. Besides, what else would you call that pre-molded thing covering the batter's ear if not an EARFLAP? Sure, the term was acquired from the winter headwear with foldable EARFLAPs, but it has stuck for the batting helmet for good.

"Blood component" is a great clue for PLASM. Never mind that dictionaries add the qualifier "or PLASM" as a variant of plasma, and that meaning no. 2 of plasm in most dictionaries is "plasma", I also took the word "component" literally as component of the words cytoplasm, ectoplasm, endoplasm etc.

Speaking of MAXIM's Hot 100: in 2004, MAXIM was protested by the gender issues department of Thunder Bay, Ontario's Lakehead University during an on-campus "MAXIM Coors Light Girl Search" -- which ties it all neatly together with campus life, BEER NUT, INGÉNUE COEDS and OVERDUE COLLEGE EXPENSES, doesn't it?

Let me part with this lovely late-summer morning OVERDUE.

Cheers! Now back to work... grrrr!

Generic Solver 8:24 AM  

Anyone ever use the applet and have it refuse to accept your answer even though it is correct? I compared my answer with Rex's with a fine-tooth comb twice, and it is spot on, but the applet refuses to accept it. BTW this is on a MacBook Pro on Firefox. I don't know whether to blame the Java plug-in or the applet itself, but either way, it's a lousy way to start your day for sure. Grr.

murphy 8:38 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

Ask I seek to make amends I apologize to the fellow college student who asked inane questions everyday. Often they were the headings from the readings. One morning (following an evening of collegiate debauchery) I turned to him and said you have exceed your allotted idiotic question quota based on your tuition. Sadly for the fellow the instructor chuckled and the rest of the class fist pumped. I shared this story with my sainted mother who replied (insert Bostonian Brahman accent about here): Taking the wind out of sales: Do you find that satisfying?

Ruminations aside. Fine puzzle. The good far outweighed the "ISMS." Very pleased to se SNELL which also was a brand of fish hooks as I recall.

Back to shooting at squirrels who are raiding the bird feeders. I use a sling shot and corn kernels. My plan was to use the rodents greatest desire (food) as a source of pain - driving them insane. Alas the squirrel responds to the kernel as it bounces off with a look not unlike Homer Simpsons when he sees a donut.

The point of this post is tormenting classmates or squirrels is a ZEROSUM game. But not so tormenting ANON-O-MICE.

Anon@12:39. I was hoping your post would contain no As. That would have been good.

murphy 8:39 AM  

As I

Mohair Sam 8:44 AM  

Liked this puzzle a lot, and found it challenging as all heck (for a Tuesday). Fun theme, although I understand Rex's complaint about BEER.

Not at all happy with PLASM, but overall it was a damned good puzzle.

Messaged my radical feminist niece asking why COED was not PC. I received a tome in reply, mostly about young women having gone to college for the old implied MRS degree. I see her point. But . . . she said as clued it was fine in the puzzle, possibly instructive.

Here's my two cents on the FLAP FLAP: FLAP's do what they have to do whether or not they move - and baseball helmets extensions are commonly referred to as FLAPs. Geez Rex.

MAXIM's a dirty mag? Snoop Dogg now a RASTAfarian? A bum's bundle is a BINDLE? Always learn new things in the NYT puzzle.

Loved that NOLAN and HUSTON shared a line. If you haven't seen HUSTON's last movie "The Dead" it's worth a netflix 90 minutes. He captured the uncapturable Joyce pretty well.

RAD2626 8:49 AM  

@Anonymous 12:39. Very clever

@ Glimmerglass. There already are helmet inserts being worn by a small minority of pitchers in the Major Leagues. The current problem is they are big and ugly and make the pitcher look like a baseball player from the Jetsons. They will get better and will be more generally worn soon.

The issue with Smith College and Mt Holyoke is that unlike many other single gender schools they have never gone STUDENTS? Smith's online brochure describes why it chose not to go COED, in non-pejorative language.

Fun puzzle, very well constructed and very fair. While SNL may be approaching EEL, it was a great clue.

Hartley70 8:52 AM  

I love a Tuesday with some new vocabulary and SNELL does it for me. This was just crunchy enough to please.

Still a Student 8:57 AM  

I thought this was an easy puzzle, whether it is Tuesday or any old day. Rex, you have been hanging out with too many college kids and not enough hobos. A bindle is the bag you sling over your shoulder, usually a piece of fabric in which your keep your belongings, sometimes tied onto a stick, a bindlestick, to make it easier to carry. I didn't know what beer nuts are, still don't, except to know it's a brand of junk food people snack on while drinking beer, thus probably very salty, to increase their thirst. The comment answering the question "Since when is coed a pejorative" is right on! As far as I'm concerned, when I started college in 1958, a month after I turned 16, I wasn't a "coed" -- WTF was that! -- I was a student. What works in this puzzle is that culturally it has a wide range,and even is a bit all over the map -- Lao Tzu, pub food, Palais des Sports, take us out of the USA. Yeah yeah, there are pubs in the USA, but they are British-themed. Except for the tabla clue, the music clues all are pop music, but they span generations. Only literary reference is Jane Eyre.
I found this a satisfying puzzle.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

In the early '70s, I lived in a COED dorm, It was cutting-edge back then to have both men and women residing together in college-owned buildings...and a lot of fun! But to refer to a female student as a coed is a throwback to an even earlier time when women on campus were considered more of an oddity or aberration than the then normal state of affairs of admitting a bunch of beer-swilling late-adolescent males to the hallowed halls of higher ed. Ergo, 64A was well-clued.

schmuzz 9:09 AM  

@Anonymous 12:39. Very clever to me too

but i LOVE that @ wreck picked up the A in @Anonymous ----you, wreck, are QUICK!

oh...and i just like working crossword puzzles-
couldn't evaluate one if my life depended on it

Steve J 9:32 AM  

Agreed that this was a little bit of a mixed bag, but mostly good. Theme was nicely executed and timely, with solid phrases. I thought BEER was a cute addition. Yes, it can be abused and lead to lots of bad consequences when drank to excess, but it doesn't have to be so. And, for better or worse, it's a norm of American college life.

Ditto what many others said re: EARFLAPS. That's what they've always been called.

The handful of negatives have been called out already - PLASM, that ungainly SE corner - but they were minor elements of a good puzzle.

Laurence Katz 9:39 AM  

"Wipe flat"? No. Who has ever said it? How do you use it in a sentence?

Anonymous 9:44 AM  


I'm feeling particularly nit-picky today, so-o-o ....

Re: " semester starts for me tomorrow and likely tens of thousands of other people..."

With about 20 million students attending American colleges and universities, it's highly probable that several million start some day this week. With Monday a holiday, and Thursday and Friday quite unlikely, I'd guess that 2-5 million start tomorrow. (And, of course, many times that starting WW, or in non-student roles, like you.)

I know that you don't teach math or the sciences, where some awareness of the scale of things is routine, but geez ...

RooMonster 9:51 AM  

Hey All!
Agree with Rex on the Challenging for a Tuesday. Went pretty fast, but there were some Huh? moments. Never knew COED was taboo! I'm surprised no one has said anything about 1A? When I first saw the clue "Oh, hell", I thought, wow, Will let that in? Hmm... Then when the answer was DAMN, I thought DAMN! NYT gettin edgy! Interesting placement of the themers. Most of the time they are spaced further (farther?) apart.

Writovers: adage first pass thru for MAXIM, nits for PEEP, BuNDLE before ALBEIT nade it BINDLE. Technical DNF as I had to use the "Check" feature to see my err at MUlTI/DEl.

IRKED I had to PEEP to finish. Had some ROOMTOIMPROVE at the MUSTI/DES AREA. Its the PITS to resort to PLANB. What a FLAP over EARFLAP, someone ELSES VENOM maybe. UMNO.


Z 9:55 AM  

@wreck 12:04 - Yep. And ran its course again. And again. And again. And again. I think there are at least 5 SNL epochs where its new stars have left for movie careers, maybe more. I haven't watched it regularly since I left for college 35 years ago.

I think of MAXIM as Barbershop Porn. I see it on the magazine rack there. I've picked it up once or twice while waiting for my turn and wondered who subscribes to it. Not anyone in my world. The mag mix at the barber shop is always interesting to me. ESPN the Magazine, SI, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life, Popular Science, Popular Mechanix, MAXIM, Men's Health. Apparently us y-chromosome types like sports, killing animals, tinkering, mostly naked women, with a smattering of narcissism.

A fine, timely Tuesday. Taking the youngest to school in 8 days.

Carola 9:57 AM  

Agree with @Rex - very much liked the back-to-class theme, but felt that BEER was something of a BLOT on the otherwise upbeat theme - having taught for 30 years at a "party school" and observed a series of alcohol-related intiatives lead to no decrease in binge drinking. So, yeah, the need for PLAN B.

Other bonus theme answers - ISMS and one half of CAP and gown. I liked STRIVE under ROOM TO IMPROVE.

Z 10:11 AM  

@Laurence Katz - I think you are conflating FLAT TIRE's clue number with WIPE's clue number.

@Anon:9:44 - It helps when picking a nit that one be right. Id est, "millions" is just a shorter way of saying "tens of thousands," one million equaling one hundred tens of thousands. I think we teach that in third grade math.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:27 AM  

Good puzzle.

I'm surprised that BINDLE didn't draw more comments - does this mean most of us have spent some time in the past as bindlestiffs?

But, no comment at all about the clue for 25 D? As I have asked before, "Daddy, what's a video store?"

@chefbea - Although I would never watch a program as debased as Family Guy, I do believe that, although Brian speaks excellent English, drives a car, dates human women, and has/had a career as an author, it has often been made clear that he is a dog, and, more to the point, a pet, not a brother. :>))

Anonymous 10:40 AM  


In keeping with my nit-picking meme, I'll point out that a million is one (singular) ten-thousand, not "tenS of thousands," as you say.

That aside, the main point: do you REALLY think that most people, if they meant many millions, would say "tens of thousands" to communicate it? C'mon, now!

-- Anon9:44

evil doug 10:46 AM  

No, that aside, the main point: Do you REALLY think anybody gives a shit about the point you're trying way too hard to make?

C'mon, now....


quilter1 10:48 AM  

SNL and Miss EYRE, it must be Tuesday. Really though, I liked it. And I agree with @Rex about BEER. This year ISU permanently cancelled the decades old Veisha celebration because of alcohol related tragedies/disasters last year. Also heard my share of stories when I taught at Drake.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Evil Doug--

No, probably few care about corrections to, or issues with, Rex's posts, but I HAVE seen quite a few of these. And it's a legitimate part of the discussion.

Civility is also a desirable part of the discussion here, but apparently you haven't learned that. Not that I'd expect that from a grad of Western Kentucky University, whatever the heck that is. Has your clan made it out of the coal mines and hollers yet. (Returning incivility for incivility.

-- Anon9:44

evil doug 11:05 AM  

Well, you got the wrong school (Drake University, BA, 1973; Abilene Christian University, MS, 1977). But you got the right answer in the first word of your post: "No."

Should've stopped while you were ahead, genius.

Let's dance!


JenCT 11:11 AM  

@chefbea: Good point about one BEER NUT

@Z: LOL "Apparently us y-chromosome types like sports, killing animals, tinkering, mostly naked women, with a smattering of narcissism."

Lively writeup and blog today! Glad I stopped in...

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Evil Doug --

I got a bit curious about your Alma Mater, Western Kentucky University. I see that almost all applicants are from Kentucky, and 92 percent of applicants are admitted. One-quarter of admitted applicants have SATs ( both) of 420 or less (presumably, most attendees come from that pool).

Not being judgmental here, jus trying to get to know you better ...

-- Anon9:44

PS to other readers, sorry for the OT, please just skip over.

Horace S. Patoot 11:17 AM  

@rex, you're anything but a time wasting sucker. Haha.

If someone had walked into the room yesterday and asked, "What's unusual about a batting helmet?" I would have said, "Well sir, it has an earFLAP."

Card tricks are MAGIC in the same sense as other tricks are MAGIC: baffling but not supernatural.

I think beer nuts were a thing before the brand name; a salty lagniappe to keep the beverages flowing, back in the 50s.

This puzzle had me at UM... NO. I really enjoyed its themeiness.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

Evil --

Oops, excuse me. You're not a grad of Western Kentucky University, you're an adjunct professor there. No wonder that it has the standing that it does.

--your friend, Anon9:44

andy 11:37 AM  

Seems like Rex just wanted something to bitch about today. Too much BEER over the Labor Day weekend taking its toll? Why would BOOK stand alone when TEXTBOOK is the contributor to the theme? Wrong on EARhole...

It's ok to be positive at times, Rex; no need to try so hard to be an ass.

RooMonster 11:38 AM  

Not a good idea to be on the bad side of Evil... you will lose.


Masked and Anonymo4Us 11:45 AM  

I guess there wouldn't be a whole lot of cool themer entries that start with TUITION. I'm kinda glad that the central themer wasn't DRUGSTORE, at least.

fave fillins: UMNO. None of the longer offerings can compete with it. BINDLE, SNELL, TABLA are very competitive, in the mysterious strangers arena.

Kinda neat, in the theme-echo realm, to have COEDS. Not so much the symmo-placed PLASM, tho.

Fun solve, for me. Really really like havin a ? in the middle of a revealer clue list. Ground-breaking and Nuts, to boot.


p.s. Find self thinkin of @muse, whose school ain't got no 17-A, and who could probably really use a 37-A by now. Hang in there, mon amiga.

Ellen S 11:48 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, I was going to ask what's a video store, but you beat me to it. Yeah, I was surprised someone in the first five minutes didn't beat me to it.

I knew "BINDLEstiff" (a hobo, or a hobo who carries a BINDLE) from the late, much-missed Utah Philips, who always introduced his songs with a story. Often about hoboes.

The Wikipedia article on batting helmets (confirming EARFLAP) was edited 19 days ago by an anonymous user. And there's a note saying the article has "issues". Hmm. Can it be it used to say "earhole" and Ethan Cooper or Will Shortz snuck in and changed it so the article would match today's puzzle?

Or would that be "sneaked"? Anyway, the puzzle said "COED" was "condescending", not so strong a "derogatory" or "perjorative". "Coed" was still a real word when I entered college in 1960; many of the previously all-male schools had just opened up their ivy-covered, beer-soaked halls to women, that is, became "co-educational". Young women of my generation -- narrowly defined as people my exact age -- were still being advised by their counselors not to aim for a career in the sciences, it was still legal for companies not to hire women, except as secretaries (a breakthrough for women, that!), and while the sight of women on campuses was not an oddity, the memory was still fresh from when it was.

(I've heard that the art of diagramming sentences has been lost. Maybe a good thing. I'm not sure I can understand the structure of the ones above, and I wrote them!)

old timer 11:49 AM  

I finished the puzzle in the same time as yesterday, and fully expected Rex to define the difficulty as "Tuesdayish". Evidently he did not solve as fast as usual, and was looking about for things to blame.

I thought "plasm" was wierd, too. Turns out it was the original spelling of the word, in English.

evil doug 11:52 AM  

Oops! Wrong again, in both the institution and in the tense. But I'm truly enjoying the irony of your posts, 944! Most fun I've had here in months!

On beer: yes, too many highly publicized bad situations associated with college students and alcohol. I've got a few moments I'd like to forget myself, and I sweated out the college years of our own kids. But there were so many others where the social lubricant represented by Schlitz or Old Milwaukee afforded me some of the best memories of my life without causing harm. Part of growing up--learning the proper, measured, moderate application of alcohol.


Anonymous 11:55 AM  

I worked in the lab of a major hospital for 5 years and in related fields for another 20 plus. Nobody, but nobody calls or called PLASMA PLASM. A weasel answer if I ever did see one.

Plus I'm with others that COED is only derogatory to the easily offended. COED just means both sexes are on campus and can refer to men as well as women. Geesh, can we stop the tiptoeing??? Or should I as Norwegian-American be offended by the Minnesota Vikings?

Ellen S 11:59 AM  

Wow - while I was composing my ramble (goes with BINDLESTIFF?) I missed most of the joust between @evil and anon 944. @evil, I'm glad you're back. You really spice things up and don't put up with no bull ... am I allowed to say what I was gonna? (Autocorrect on my phone would render it as bulls**t.)

Larry 12:02 PM  

When I work on a puzzle I alway try and guess if RP will like it or if not, what will piss him off. I decided that he wouldn't like that Room didn't immediately precede Board. Never thought he'd go all PC on Beer (thank God we didn't get Ale!) . I have no skill in predicting his reaction.

For me the order should have been textbooks, room, board , and (punchline) beer. So minor points off for that.

I like that beer appears in the NYTimes cross word whereas the rest of the paper equates college with campus sex offenses.

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

Speaking of "co-eds" --

There were about 60 women in my graduating 1973 Harvard MBA class of about 750.

At the Med School now, it's 50/50, and nearly the same at the Law School. But only about 37% at the B-School. I wonder why...

Gareth Bain 12:24 PM  

I had LADMAGS rejected as a crossword answer based on the fact Americans don't use it. Glad to see Rex is at least bucking that trend!

This recently ex-student bought very few textbooks because most courses came with printed notes, and never bought beer (and rarely bought other alcohol).

LaneB 12:33 PM  

Happy to finish any "challenging" edition sans googling. This was tougher than the usual Tuesday , but the more difficult fill was rescued by a number of gimmes,e.g., ELSES, ESSE, DES, COEDS, AREA, LGA,DOTS and OVERDUE. Thanks Mr. Cooper.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Evil --

Western Kentucky, Northern Kentucky,

Eastern Kentucky, Southern Kentucky ...

In the pantheon of great American educational institutions, they all fall about in the same place.

Glad to see you're retired from NKU. No doubt it's standing is about to rise as it should, unencumbered by your intellect.

Your friend, 944

Questinia 12:44 PM  

I circled the drain at ALBEIT
Whilst the undertow of BINDLE
and siren of TABLA
took me under...

Leapfinger 12:49 PM  

Having a little FLAP on these BOARDS today, are we?
Ears flap at every turning, and so do Deerstalker hats; batting helmets, not so much. They just kind of 'overhang', but EAREAVE or EARSHELF just sound silly. Tizzies-E to waffle whither it's one or d'ither, but I wouldn't get in a panic over it: that flapoodle quickly loses its fluster.
'EARS STEW ou all!

I would've liked IDS in today's grid: that would have given us PLASM-IDS. Am also going with the BINDLEstiff contingent.

Back in the day, it used to be Betty COED; these days, Betty is the COEDitor of the campus newspaper. When I took freshman Chem, few of the students were of the female persuasion, and their seating assignment was the first two rows of the amphitheatre's center section. That particular prof was notorious for his opening words first day of class every year. "Will all the ladies cross their right leg over the left?" (pause) "Now that the Gates of Hell are closed, we can proceed with the lecture."
R.I.P., Perfesser H. You wouldn't last a NY minute these days.

Machts SNELL! and you can catch MAXIMilian SNELL and his lovely sister M'RE-ah.

Nice Tues; it wIRKED.

johnny stocker 12:51 PM  

Pretty average Tuesday. About 3 minutes quicker than Yesterday over here.

Anecdote about going to college. When I left, my dad says to me 'look, I'm not an idiot. I know you're going to drink at college. Just don't drive, and stay away from shots, OK?' Now I must admit I didn't always listen to him about the shots, but he was right that most of the dumb stuff I did drinking involved something much stronger than beer.

Evan 12:57 PM  


This is about as embarrassing as it gets for any commenter. Besides getting facts wrong, your cheap shots at Kentucky schools don't exactly show you practicing "civility" while demanding it of others. Just stop it.

As for the puzzle: my spicy alternate theme answer would be RUBBER SOUL.

evil doug 1:02 PM  

Check with any of my encumbered NKU students, 944, and they'll be happy to help you out on the proper use of the apostrophe....

[What can I do, guys? I want to take a nap, but he keeps teeing me up....]


M and Also 1:03 PM  

@Questinia: Yes!

'Twas beernuts, and the snelly tablas
Did plasm and bindle in the wabe;

Knew I heard them words Somewhere before.


mac 1:08 PM  

Good Tuesday, took me a little longer.

Nice words: maxim, snell, bindle, the last one new to me. Um No is great!

Leapfinger 1:18 PM  

Interesting that the last themer kind of points to Blaise Pascal's Penséeees*. That's an advanced education in itself.

NUT going to torment 37A into TrockenBEERNauslese; that would just IRK half the puzzle PEEPS.

Unrepentant, but leaving.

Anonymous 1:25 PM  


Sorry, I tarred Kentucky with the same brush that was meant for our friend Evil.

But OK, let's look at facts. I just checked out the top 100
Newsweek national universities, none in Kentucky. The top 100 liberal arts colleges, none in Kentucky. Btw, didn't notice Evil's claimed alma maters there, either.

-- 944

Leapfinger 1:40 PM  

@Anon 944, no point in citing population data; EvilD'S an outlier on any parameter.

Apologies for the NUMERous dropped letters. I think NACL from the UTZ chips got into my keyboard.

And the asterisk was supposed to indicate the extra E's came from the SE corner contingent.

U circled the drain ALBEIT slowly
Amidst a BINDLE of under-toads.
The Sirens of Tighten asked vainly:
TABLA Espanol?

Gurrul, yer a reg'lar inspiration!

Numinous 1:43 PM  

I found this one to be pretty easy. I finished faster than yesterday's time. It was a single pass throuth the across clues with checks on the down clues to verify.

I rather liked the theme along with its outliers, COEDS and MIXER. I thought the connection between HOE and BINDLE was rather good since HOE-boy is the probable derivation of the word hobo. After the civil war, various of the dispossessed took to wandering and looking for work, often carrying their own HOEs. In a tradition going back at least two thousand years to the Roman legions, they would carry their posessions attached to thier HOEs in a BINDLE (possibly a perversion of the word "bundle"). Roman legions carried their personal stuff over the shoullder on a stick or pole so it could be dropped instantly in the event of an attack while on the march.

A reasonably satisfying Tuesday puzzle that I would rate as easy.

Z 1:56 PM  

What makes COED condescending is that it has never (at most rarely) been used to describe people of the y-chromosome persuasion. Reading the posts here should be enough evidence that dropping it from ones vocabulary to describe college students is the polite thing to do. "Vikings" doesn't seem to have a lot of negative connotations that I'm aware of, but I would say things like Chief Wahoo should be retired. What I find most interesting is why suggesting that one should not go around insulting people meets such resistance. I used to use COED, that was the term I knew. I don't use it anymore. My life has not been altered other than I have managed not to insult a few people.

@Evil - I was going to apologize for encouraging an anonymous, but since you profess to have had fun, I guess I don't need to. I will say, though, that I think it is now time that we all stopped feeding the troll.

Noam D. Elkies 2:18 PM  


Just sayin'...

Benko 2:34 PM  

The kind of cheap lager that college kids almost always drink is barely alcoholic--probably 3.5 to 4.5 percent by volume. Drink a lot of that and you might get hydrated, but you'd have to be a real lightweight to get wasted off of it.
Cheap vodka on the other hand, is what I remember most kids getting into trouble with.

M and Also Unbindled 2:47 PM  

@Benko: Yep. Been there, done that. A few wasted courses, a few wasted nights -- learned so much in them college days...



Anonymous 3:00 PM  

@Anon 12:43, I think more women go into Law and Medicine because, in those professions, you're more likely to operate on and advance based on your own merits. With an MBA, there's the additional factor of constant competition with other existing MBAs, with a new crop of young turks every year. Experience counts for less in the latter.

Just an opinion based on some observations, no hard data.

It's a Gas 3:12 PM  

Plasm or gasm, you're choice.

Fred Smith 3:19 PM  

@Anon300 --

Your post got me thinking a bit more about why women go more for the MDs and LLBs than the MBAs.

Law and Medicine are professions where specialized educational credentials are required, where objective knowledge and experience (rather than reputation-building in large organizations where MBAs mostly go) reap rewards, and where re-entry after a maternity sabbatical (even a lengthy one) is not a major career-limiter.

So L&M are more "career-friendly" for women who want a family than bib business.

All IMO, of course ...

Anonymous 3:22 PM  


Har! 1A took No Time A Tall!

john towle 3:29 PM  

BMOC: What's the difference between beer nuts and deer nuts?

COED: I dunno...what?

BMOC: Beer nuts are a dollar and deer nuts are under a buck.

Ya nailed him to the cross at 10:46, Evil Doug ((-;



Zeke 4:17 PM  

@ED "Part of growing up--learning the proper, measured, moderate application of alcohol.". True, but for far too many people part of growing up is dealing with the ramifactions of others not learning the proper, measured, moderate use of alcohol. Violent ramifications, many with life-long consequences. The glorificaiton of college excesses, and its tolerance by colleges and universities, is a major problem.

Mohair Sam 4:32 PM  

@Zeke - Well said.

sanfranman59 4:45 PM  

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

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

Tue 8:09, 7:54, 1.03, 61%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:33, 5:24, 1.03, 59%, Medium

Steve J 5:09 PM  

@Leapfinger: Even I will gladly submit to torutured punnery if the result is good Riesling.

chefbea 5:13 PM  

@john towele good one!!

OISK 6:25 PM  

IIRC, Bindlestiff was a favorite Jimmy Breslin term for politicians. @ Leapfinger - I went to Brooklyn College, and the same "cross your legs" story was told there. I wondered whether it was apocryphal .

Enjoyed this puzzle. Timely and clever.

OISK 6:28 PM  

Oh - Western Kentucky - are those the Hilltoppers? I attend the first round of March madness every year, and Western Kentucky has been one of the teams at our chosen site a couple of times. They bring a really nice group of people, polite, dedicated and well mannered. We always root for them.

Questinia 6:39 PM  

@ Fred Smith, @ Anon 300. I am an example you describe. I planned my success to be based on merit and I entered medicine.

But, in order to get into medical school I needed to ace physics and in order to ace physics, despite my ace-performance in all course work and testing, I was clearly and repeatedly informed by the professor that I needed to open my, ahem @Leapy, *Gates of Hell*

It did get hotter than the Hinges of Hades for *Prof. H*.

Not only did I NOT sleep with him, I made sure I got the A in addition to a sterling letter of recommendation. All while I was getting his a$$ canned from the university. Because if he did it to me he could do it to others.

To all those *coeds* who had to endure, I thank you because I couldn't have done it without ye.

{{{ Straightens pencil skirt, pivot-turns on stilettoes, flings lime green boa across shoulders ALBEIT promptly drowns in the TABLA-BINDLE event horizon}}

RnRGhost57 7:23 PM  

Hear hear!!

Anonymous 7:41 PM  

@Questinia, YOU GO, GIRL!!!

Arlene 8:18 PM  

I'll chime in here about "coeds" - the term referred to women - and that term of a certain era was also used in all the magazines that were geared to college-age females. It was not considered condescending at the time in was in popular use - but, of course, times change. But the reality is that we still have quite a way to go.

Oh - and the puzzle??!! - nice Tuesday solving experience. Got any unknown terms from the crosses - i.e. BINDLE and SNELL.

Anonymous 8:33 PM  

@Arlene --

"...women ... still have quite a way to go. "

True, but at least we'll have a woman as
US President in 2017.

DMG 2:05 PM  

Seems like there is (was?) quite a hassle about this puzzle in the real-time world. Glad to escape to Syndiland, only to admit I was DNF at the drum/producer crossing. I thought a TABLA was a slate of sorts. So much for a little knowledge. Also didn't recognize STEWIE, an odd name, but decided I had heard RISTA somewhere (crosswords?) so let stand on that shakey premise.

Took several tries for a number I could make out, and then it is only 167! Maybe tomorrow!

SharonAK 4:15 PM  

@Nooby 5:56
"I prefer TABL"
LOL. Literally.

Dirigonzo 5:19 PM  

I, too, ran into a snag at the drum/producer crossing, but I feel I'm in good company with @DMG so I don't feel so bad about it. My only write-over was DArN but obviously "hell" in the clue was intended to evoke DAMN. Apparently I am more straight-laced than the Gray Lady is these days.

@SharonAK - nice to see you back!

125 - oh so close.

Anonymous 12:43 AM  

Why isn't there a clue for the word eke, that appears in 57 down?

Dirigonzo 5:05 PM  

@Anony 12:43AM - the clue for 57d was Barely manage, with "out". Maybe a printing error in your paper?

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