Friend of Gandalf / TUE 9-30-14 / Marbles British Museum display / Canadian comedy show of 1970s-'80s / Mineralogist for whom scale is named

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Constructor: Kyle T. Dolan

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "THE PRICE IS RIGHT" (35A: Long-runninggame show with a feature spelled out clockwise by this puzzle's circled letters) — circles spell out "SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN"; other theme answers are a "modern host" and a "longtime host" of the show:

Theme answers:

Word of the Day: ELGIN Marbles (58A: ___ Marbles (British Museum display)) —
The Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles (/ˈɛlɡɪn/ el-gin), are a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures (mostly by Phidias and his assistants), inscriptions and architectural members that originally were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of AthensThomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin obtained a controversial permit from the Ottoman house to remove pieces from the Parthenon while serving as the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803.
From 1801 to 1812, Elgin's agents removed about half of the surviving sculptures of the Parthenon, as well as architectural members and sculpture from the Propylaea and Erechtheum. The Marbles were transported by sea to Britain. In Britain, the acquisition of the collection was supported by some, while some critics compared Elgin's actions to vandalism or looting.
Following a public debate in Parliament and the subsequent exoneration of Elgin, the marbles were purchased by the British government in 1816 and placed on display in the British Museum, where they stand now on view in the purpose-built Duveen Gallery. (wikipedia)
• • •

Wait, the ELGIN Marbles aren't … marbles? Like, playing marbles? Little spheres? Aggies or taws or whatever marbles are called? I'm somehow disappointed.

So, the SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN, if you're not familiar with the show, involves the spinning of a giant wheel with number amounts on it; the contestant closest to one dollar without going over gets to be in the SHOWDOWN, which is this bit where you bid on something fancy … I think whichever contestant guesses value of his/her prize most accurately without going over wins said prize … I haven't watched the show in a while. But here's the thing. The wheel spins along an axis perpendicular to the one represented by the circles in this grid. It doesn't spin like the "Wheel of Fortune" wheel—it spins more like a water mill, with the rim facing outward and the numbers printed on the rim itself. Here—"WOF" wheel:


Point is: this circle is a highly inaccurate of the wheel on "THE PRICE IS RIGHT" (if, in fact, that was what the circled letters were going for, which … I'm not 100% sure).

Fill continues to be abysmal, or at least far below where it should be. I've seen rejection letters where the editor claims to be upholding very high standards in the matter of fill, but that claim is belied by the vast majority of puzzles that have come out lately. Not that the trend is new. It's just been highly noticeable in the past week and a half or so. Longer stuff is not bad (LOVE BITES and BREWED UP and BEER CAN will do nicely), but shorter stuff is still manifestly subpar. I'll just highlight that southern region, with TERCE and OKSO (?), but there's also MEI and ARIL and SES and ATA and ONDVD and a bunch of stuff that's just OK. Just getting by. No craft, no attempt at polish. Just … good enough! Apparently "good enough" is the new "gold standard." No idea why the puzzle continues to limp along as it does. But it does. Broken theme, below-average fill … oh, Tuesday. Will you never win?
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Whirred Whacks 12:07 AM  

    Geometry Rocks!

    It's always a good thing when the answer TORI is clued by "doughnut shapes" rather than "untalented actress/heiress."

    After yesterday's poltical talk about how bad various presidents were, I was amused by this (probably unintentional) stack in the West:


    Enjoy your Tuesday!

    Anonymous 12:07 AM  

    I'm pretty sure 3D, LOVEBITES, is a theme entry also, what with all the women Barker harassed at the show during his tenure.

    wreck 12:08 AM  

    The theme was easy, but I still finished in medium Wednesday time. A few trouble spots ( i.e. TERCE, And the dreck cited by Rex) slowed me down.

    Steve J 12:10 AM  

    Easier than yesterday's. Not terribly interesting. Struggling to find much of anything to say about this one.

    Dinging the puzzle for not depicting a three-dimensional setup in a two-dimensional medium strikes me as insanely nitpicky.

    Anonymous 12:15 AM  

    When your puzzle is largely based on a visual, the accuracy of the visual would seem paramount, no?

    Carola 12:18 AM  

    Getting the name of the show and BOB BARKER was easy, had to get DREW CAREY and the SHOWCASE from crosses. I liked the construction.

    Also liked LOVE BITES crossing ADORE and SPREE body-checking SAVES out of the way over THE PRICE IS RIGHT.

    Enjoyed the varied cast of characters: URANUS and MIDAS, BILBO and LEIA, POTUS and ABBAS.

    Whirred Whacks 12:31 AM  

    Also priceless is this 1' fight scene between BOB BARKER and Adam Sandler in the 1996 sports flick "Happy Gilmore."

    Bob Barker beating up Adam Sandler

    Hartley70 12:33 AM  

    I may be signing up for social security next month but I'm not OLD enough to be a fan of The Price Is Right! I think it's on in the morning for heavens sake! Therefore Bob Parker seemed a perfectly reasonable host to me as well as Dana Carvy (sic). Saved by the crosses once again! Somehow the ELGIN marbles wandered onto the wrong grid today. And just for fun I'm going to say "crunchy, crunchy, crunchy" a few times.

    Zeke 12:38 AM  

    Hey - I know the phrase "Come On Down" is from TPIR, and I feel that should be sufficient for the rest of my life, at least as far as TPIR is concerned.

    JTHurst 1:10 AM  

    Maybe I am totally wrong but Showcase Showdown has nothing to do with a wheel. It is the "showdown" between two contestants after they have spun the big wheel and been closest to $1. They then are offered two showcases of items like cars and vacations on which they bid. The contestant who bids the closest but under or exactly the value gets the showcase of items. I happen to like game shows with inane, effervescent contestants dressed in "T" shirts proclaiming their love of Drew Carey. It makes me realize that everything will be OK. ISISes will come and go but US daytime TV is forever.

    But that is why I am confused on the order in lining up the circled letters. In fact, if you start at the top you get down show case, etc. Please will someone tell me the rules for assembling circled letters?

    I don't know if Mr. Dolan is a buttocks man but this puzzle does have a lot of references to that part of the anatomy. Anus crossing buts across from a clue discussing proctors (who were always a**holes). Then of course the ass answer with several other lascivious answers like love bites, adore, blew, sac, spree, wilt, and of course the main theme "The Price is Right". This puzzle is a hotpot of innuendoes.

    Evan 1:24 AM  


    Actually, the Showcase Showdown is the game where the contestants spin the big wheel. It would make sense for the final game to be called the Showcase Showdown, but that's just called the Showcase. So there you have it.

    chefwen 2:10 AM  

    @Whirred Whacks - Your first post gave me my two biggest laughs of the day. I know it's been a slow one, but that was really funny and I couldn't agree with you more on both counts.

    I agree with @Rex that it was just "good enough". Not great, but O.K.

    I tossed a lot of food this week, no SALADs but a lot of OOZing food. My freezer decided it was done and took a trip south. It takes about three days to get any service on this here rock so what I couldn't fit in Skippy's food freezer went bye bye. So much work down the disposal. AARGH!

    Screwed up in the SE, spelled MINEO/MINiO, LEiA/LieA, ELGIN/ELGeN. That was a nasty corner that needed redoing.

    jae 2:12 AM  

    Medium for me.  No real problems with this one, just a breezy solve.  Cute Tues. level theme with some nice long downs.  Liked it. 

    Last time I saw Drew Carey he took over Craig Ferguson's show for one night on April Fools Day.  He was actually not bad.

    @JTHurst -  me too for not knowing quite where to start with the circles.  It's been decades since I've seen TPIR. 

    JTHurst 5:47 AM  

    @Evan I believe I may be showing too much knowledge of TPIR but random names are called from the audience (of which there are four) who are then asked to bid on some item. The closest bid but not over gets to join Mr. Carey on stage to vie for bigger and better prizes. Three contestants go through this process then these three again join Mr. Carey around this cylindrical drum with numbers denoting ten cents up to $1 and the closest to or equal to $1 gets to move on to the showcase round. They have two spins to achieve the best results and while the wheel is spinning they get to give a 'shout out' to their homeboys.

    They then do the same procedure again for three more contestants thus acquiring the two final contestants for the showcase showdown. The winner of the final showcase if they are within $250 of the actual price would get both showcases.

    OK, now I am laid bare and you know all my inner secrets. I am a TPIR fan primarily because I enjoy Drew Carey, loved his stand-up routines, Whose Line is it Any way, and even in Geppetto. Semper Fi Drew

    Danp 5:50 AM  

    My TPIR memory involves a neighbor who won the big jackpot, including a trip to Hawaii, a camper, and more. When she learned the prizes were taxable as income and that she would have to pay the withholding up front (That's my memory), she decided that virtually nothing was worth accepting. "At least I didn't have to dress up like a fool," she said.

    Gill I. P. 5:55 AM  

    I watch THE PRICE IS RIGHT all the time. It's always on when I go to the gym and who doesn't want the contestants to win a car or a trip to Tahiti????
    I enjoyed this Tuesday romp. Got a little tangled up with LOVE lInES instead of BITES (yikes) since I never heard of POTUS...(@Whirred W. I suffer from insomniatitis but I'm pretty sure I woke the household up at 2:30 with a loud giggle after reading your post)
    A wheel is a wheel and they are round even if you have to stand on the side. So this visual was just fine. So, IDSAY this puzzle was SOYA TONY... OKSO BRAVO to KTD....

    Anonymous 6:42 AM  

    This blog and the early comments are not about the Elgin Marbles, that infamous collection of historical sculptures taken 200 years ago by the British from the Parthenon, but about a silly low-class TV game show, its wheel, and its lecherous long-time first host. Wow. Perhaps the criticism leveled at the nyt xword editor by Rex is unfair. Maybe the editor is simply focused on the wants and needs of today's audience of puzzle-doers who are less intellectually stimulated than those of the past. I recently read an article about the dangers of Electronics-Induced Dementia that will soon afflict those who no longer use their brains, but depend on TV, Google, and smartphone apps for their education. Maybe that's already happening.

    John Child 6:55 AM  

    LOL @Whirred Whacks' first comment.

    And a big thumbs up to @George Barany for the Cryptic Tribute puzzle! Having just suggested that the author not post his links here, I'm glad that @r.alph did. Ambiguous feelings are a part of sentience, I suppose.

    The theft of the Elgin Marbles two hundred years ago is deplorable. They should be returned. But that doesn't make them bad fill.

    I liked this puzzle! Thanks Mr Dolan.

    Muscato 7:05 AM  

    Oh, Anonymous, aren't you just a ray of sunshine and a basket of cheer on a Tuesday morning? It's quite possible to admire the Elgin Marbles and have a soft spot for silliness like The Price is Right, you know.

    I'm actually a little on the side of the Brits in regard to the Marbles - they likely would be in far worse shape today if they hadn't been in the British Museum.

    LHS 888 7:21 AM  

    Easy finish here. Started in the NE and worked out from there to finish in the NW. Knew IDLEWILD off ID. Knew ELGIN marbles off the L. Only write-over was LEah before LEIA... D'oh!

    As soon as I filled in DREWCAREY I headed to the symmetrical spot to enter BOBBARKER. No resistance anywhere. Still trying to decide if I liked it. I guess that answers the question... No love, no hate, just so so.

    Glimmerglass 7:25 AM  

    I also very much enjoyed the cryptic tribute puzzle. Thanks to George Barany. I didn't know Patrick Berry was also a puzzle editor. Any puzzle (even yesterday's snoozer) would benefit from his touch. Today's was a bit better than yesterday's. I'm not a fan of TPIR, but the puzzle was so easy that everything theme-related yielded to crosses.

    Mohair Sam 7:37 AM  

    Finished this medium-for-us Tuesday in spite of a framingham (hi @questinia) at the "B" in TOBE (had wanted TimE).

    Old Rex may have set the nit-picking record today. View the wheel from the side Rex. And I see no major change in puzzle quality in the past couple of weeks. Yes we've had a dud or two, but we've also had a great Patrick Berry and a nifty MAS in the past few days.

    Two of us have referenced "Happy Gilmore" in posts in the past few days (great scene @Whirred) and I've seen nothing for "Casablanca" or "Citizen Cane." Maybe we should rethink what truly makes a movie a classic.

    Always learn something in the NYT puzzle. Today I answered the question "What ever happened to Drew Carey?".

    Anonymous 7:40 AM  

    "No idea why the [rexword blog] continues to limp along as it does..."
    Easy Tuesday. I guess I have to get back to work now.

    RAD2626 8:03 AM  

    I did not find it nearly as easy as everyone else apparently. Theme was easy and fun. SW was anything but. Had Father TimE and aNTEs for inedible chips which left me with the "var" GASRaNG. Really wanted to buy a vowel but wrong game show. Then just ignorantly spelled IDelWILD wrong which prevented me from tossing in SALAD right away. And took the crosses to figure out that PG was correct as it had to be. On balance, I thought pretty challenging *for a Tuesday*.

    Susan McConnell 8:14 AM  

    Not to defend Rex but when I got to 35A and looked at the circles, my first thought was Wheel of Fortune.

    I'm not a Price Is Right kinda gal, but it is hubby's go-to show when he is home sick.

    r.alphbunker 8:15 AM  

    Today's puzzle had this example of a clue that attempted to conceal a plural answer
    SAVES 28A {Reliever's stat}

    Here are other ways that some of the answers in today's puzzle could have had more challenging clues:

    Concealing a plural
    NUKES {SALT subject} (Thursday)

    Clue could be either a verb or a noun but answer is a verb
    WEAVES {Snakes} (Wednesday)

    Unusual use of a word in a clue ("odds" here has nothing to do with statistics)
    EVENS {The odds are against them} (Saturday)

    It would be great to be able to tap the xwordinfo clue database to make the clues for an early week puzzle more challenging (or the clues for late week puzzles easier). Maybe Puzzazz is working on this.

    Sir Hillary 8:17 AM  

    Didn't find this one that interesting, but I did find it harder than expected. My lack of Middle Earth fantasy knowledge led me to frodO at 1A -- not a helpful way to BEGIN. Then I decided to count my mOney and say OKay to demonstrate my ZEst for life. Flying into IDylWILD proved TOBE hazardous as well. All was corrected, but my SPEED was SHODdy.

    SOYA think I botched this one? IDSAY so. PIS poor performance -- MANGO figure.

    chefbea 8:18 AM  

    Fun puzzle. Hadn't seen TPIR in years but then switched to a new mani/pedi place. They always seem to have it on when I go there.

    I too wanted Come on down to be in the puzzle. Oh well - you can't have your salad and eat it too.

    Lewis 8:20 AM  

    I agree with @stevej that Rex's rant over the shape of the ring is over-picky. Agree with Rex that OKSO is questionable. I got my crossword fix but didn't get much zing out of this. Maybe partly because I haven't seen TPIR for decades.

    joho 8:37 AM  

    Oh, c'mon, watching TPIR now and then can be a lot of fun! Just like this puzzle was to me. A bit of fluff for a theme, but well done by Kyle T. Dolan!

    I actually love seeing people win cars and exotic trips, the more expensive the better to watch!

    The super-smart, talented Acme won a camper on a game show, "Wheel of Fortune," remember?

    @Whirred Whacks, what a way to wake up the crowd this morning: too funny! Did you hear the roar of laughter?

    This was a Tuesday with a spin, loved it!

    Joseph Welling 8:44 AM  

    "But that is why I am confused on the order in lining up the circled letters. In fact, if you start at the top you get down show case, etc. Please will someone tell me the rules for assembling circled letters?"

    It starts at 9:00 which is the 2D analogue to the point where the arrow for the wheel is and is the more or less chest-level point where the contestant grasps the wheel to give it a spin.

    Joseph Welling 8:47 AM  

    Has anyone mentioned the similarity between a Roulette Wheel (12D) and the Showcase Showdown wheel? Maybe a bit of a stretch, but I'd count it as one of those near-theme allusions.

    Doris 8:54 AM  

    One celebrity who wanted the ELGIN MARBLES returned to Greece was Lord Byron. Guess he didn't have enough clout.

    Arlene 9:00 AM  

    For those who could remember IDLEWILD airport should also know that the first host of TPIR was Bill Cullen, back in the 1950's. I used to watch it when I was sick and home from school. It's evolved since then, of course.

    The rest of the clues - winced at the BEER CANS and LOVE BITES. So it was a welcome sight to see the ELGIN marbles - a touch of class!

    RickA 9:10 AM  

    Not to be pedantic, but... 12D is incorrectly clued. There are 19 even numbers on a roulette wheel (20 if you interpret the "00" on the wheel as the same as "0"). Zero is an even number, as it is a multiple of 2 (2 times zero). The constructor (or editor) might have been confused by the fact that when you bet on "even" in roulette, you do not win if zero (or double zero) comes up.

    dk 9:19 AM  

    OO (2 moons)

    Happy to see NANA in the grid. And, of course

    I 💗 10d

    35a was one of my Grandmother's shows. Rainy days when we were stuck 36d we would hear it in the background along with Days of Our Lives… like sand through an hour glass….

    Wool gathering aside. I have to say I preferred Queen for a Day.

    Holly Hallstrom fan 9:22 AM  

    @JTHurst -

    One nit- values on the wheel start at 5 cents. And when do you stand on one spin? 65 cents? 70? How many people still to go?

    In the late '80s or in 1990, saw a state official from Indiana in the front row of the audience; he and his companions were in coat and tie - a bit out of place among the potential contestants.

    Oh, the puzzle...Long answers filled themselves. Like a lot of folks, had a slowdown in the south.

    Steve J 9:25 AM  

    @Anon 6:42 a.m.: Yes, maybe everyone focused on a game show instead of the Elgin marbles because everyone here is vapid and intellectually bereft. Or maybe they focused on the game show because that was the puzzle's theme, occupying the largest share of the puzzle, while the Elgin marbles were but one answer out of 76.

    Then again, maybe Occam would have just vegged out on game shows had they existed in his day.

    Lewis 9:25 AM  

    Factoid: The Price Is Right began in 1956 and was hosted by Bill Cullen (who in his career hosted 23 game shows).

    Quotoid: "What garlic is to SALAD, insanity is to art." -- Augustus Saint-Gaudens

    Lewis 9:29 AM  

    @arlene -- I just saw your post, I guess we were on the same wavelength!

    AliasZ 9:43 AM  

    IDLEWILD is such a pretty name. It was the name of a golf course on which JFK Airport was built, and opened in 1948. It was known as IDLEWILD Airport until December 1963 when it was renamed JFK on then NYC Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr.'s recommendation.

    While the "looting" of the ELGIN Marbles and their purchase by the British government in 1816 remains controversial still today, a quick study of the circumstances surrounding their removal from the Parthenon is rather sobering.

    The Acropolis was used at that time as an Ottoman military fort. Initially, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of ELGIN (1766-1841), British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (1799–1803) to which Greece then belonged, intended only to document the Parthenon Frieze and the statuary contained therein, by making drawings and taking casts, but quickly realized that some of the statues were already missing (based on 17th-century documents) -- the fallen marble statues were burned to obtain lime for building. He then methodically and with great care started removing and transporting them by sea to Britain at his personal expense of approx. £70,000.00. After refusing higher offers from other potential buyers including Napoleon, sold them to the British government for £35,000.00 in 1816.

    The Greek government has frequently demanded the return of the marbles, but the British Museum — claiming among other reasons that it has saved the marbles from certain damage and deterioration — has not acceded, and the issue remains controversial. The New Acropolis Museum in Athens, which is adjacent to the ancient site, was completed in 2008; a large space in the museum is devoted to the Parthenon, and the pieces removed by ELGIN are represented by veiled plaster casts. A vast restoration of the Acropolis is underway to restore the site to some of its former glory, which may take another 20 years and €70 million. Directors of the British Museum have not ruled out temporarily loaning the ELGIN marbles to the new museum, but state that it would be under the condition of Greece acknowledging British ownership. (from Wikipedia & Encyclopædia Britannica)

    Did I tell you? I bought me a cat.

    Ludyjynn 9:45 AM  

    @Anonymous6:45am, What is your point? The acquisition of the so-called Elgin Marbles by an imperialistic super-power of the day did indeed constitute looting, but does not equate in any way to generations of Americans enjoying a harmless, heart-warming, egalitarian tv game show where winning MOOLA has IRS tax consequences! (@Muscato, you do make an interesting, ironic point re the marbles' preservation!)

    @Arlene, I too recall the old black and white version w/ the likeable Bill Cullen hosting as an early childhood memory. Watched it at night, prime-time w/ the whole family.

    With regard to the sexual harassment allegation made against Bob Barker, the long-time second host, by one of the show's models, it is my understanding that the matter was resolved in his favor. Correct me if I am mistaken, please.

    I ignored the circles when solving this easy Tues. puzz. IDSAY it was just OKSO what else is new? On to Wed.

    Anonymous 9:59 AM  

    I'm glad some people liked this puzzle because I wouldn't like for this comment section to be a hatefest. That said, I thought it was the worst puzzle, overall, that I've seen in the NYT. So much terrible fill that I only completed the thing because I was curious how long the whole puzzle would take me (answer: not long!).


    quilter1 10:00 AM  

    @dk: I preferred Queen for a Day as well, as a young mom folding stacks of cloth diapers. Only saw TPIR while waiting for the elevator at the hospital. Somebody always had it on the waiting room TV. Same opinion of the puzzle as most--easy and forgettable.

    jburgs 10:16 AM  

    @Anonymous 6:42 AM

    I'll have you know that one of the Elgin Marbles was once part of a TPIR showcase. Still think it's a no class show?

    For those who are interested, here is an article about Terry Kniess, the man who figured out how to beat the system and guess the showcase amount to the dollar.

    r.alphbunker 10:22 AM  

    @Mohair Sam

    " but we've also had a great Patrick Berry and a nifty MAS in the past few days."

    I am sure that you did not expect anyone to take issure with this but since Matt Gaffney so strongly stated his case that appropriate credit should be given to the constructor(s) of a puzzle, I feel that I must point out that the MAS puzzle was co-authored by George Barany and, if you are referring to the Cryptic Tribute puzzle from yesterday, that Patrick Berry was the editor and the constructor of the puzzle was George Barany.

    Patrick Berry edited the CHE puzzle from August 2004 – April 2013

    Z 10:31 AM  

    Speaking of POTUS, what is going on with the Secret Service? Scary.

    As for the "if they were still in Greece they'd be wrecked by now argument," OK, SO, let me take care of that bank account for you because you'll just spend all that money on frivolous things like cable TV to watch TPIR.

    Pretty much what Rex said about the puzzle, although the fill didn't really bother me as I solved. Could the fill have been better? Maybe. Did it ruin the solving experience? Not for me.

    RooMonster 10:42 AM  

    Hey All!
    Fairly easy with a few bumps. The LOVEBITES clue... bit! They should have used, "Def Leppard song". Just sayin...

    Put TORI right in after remembering the hubbub about torus/doughnut some time ago on this blog! (See, Rex is educational!) Knew POTUS, even know FLOTUS! For those not in the know, POTUS= Pres. Of The United States, FLOTUS=First Lady Of The US.

    Writovers, had ArS for ASS, pop for SAC, MOney for MOOLA.

    Enjoyable, breezy Tue. Laughing at the debates so far...

    OOZing away

    imfromjersey 10:58 AM  

    I didn't think this puzzle was very good, but I do like TPIR. My favorite TPIR clip is This One of Aaron Paul pre-Breaking Bad It's pretty great if you haven't seen it.

    Anonymous 11:17 AM  

    Let's fix some misinformation on IDLEWILD: Before becoming John F. Kennedy International Airport, the airport was known as New York International Airport. Many called it Idlewild because it was built on the former site of the Idlewild Golf Course, but as former Port Authority Executive Director Austin J. Tobin used to correct people: “It is neither idle nor wild.” And was never officially known by that name. You could look it up...

    Ludyjynn 11:39 AM  

    @AliasZ, thanks for your research on the Elgin Marbles. If the Greeks are cagey, they should accept the Brits' offer of a "loan" of them...and then keep the damned things! Possession being 90% of ownership, so they say. I studied in London my junior year in college and remember feeling squeamish then as I toured the British Museum display of the relics. It was clear that they were out of place despite the beautiful home with which they had been provided.

    old timer 11:45 AM  

    The airport code was IDL (for Idlewild) before it was JFK. The only people who called it "New York International" were bureaucrats.

    I thought the puzzle was boring compared to yesterday, but definitely easier. The one thing I knew about TPIR was the name of its former host. That helped a lot.

    Andrew Heinegg 11:50 AM  

    Kudos to AliasZ for the story behind the Elgin marbles. Very interesting ; I found this puzzle slightly more difficult than yesterday's but still Tuesday appropriate.

    I am reluctant to make judgments about the 'worthiness' of watching one tv show or another. If you enjoy TPIR or Wheel, go ahead. But, why would you defend or attack a show that is clearly for entertainment purposes only. Are you a better/smarter/high class person because you do or don't watch it?

    As for TPIR being in a NYT crossword, please note that all the answers related to TPIR are easily filled in by down crosses. Ditto for 1a, about which I know nada.

    Mohair Sam 12:13 PM  

    @old timer is right. The airport was definitely known as Idlewild, I grew on Long Island in the '50s and never heard the term "New York International". Significantly, the luggage tags were labeled IDL, not NYI. I remember because my first commercial flight was in April of 1964, and I was surprised the luggage tag said IDL and not the recently renamed JFK.

    @r.alphbunker. Yes, yes - apologies to George B., he was indeed co-constructor (conspirator?) with MAS on that wonderful stack puzzle. Thanks for pointing that out.

    And to the person who complained about how most posts here go unrecognized - make a mistake like I did and they'll notice ya in a hurry!

    r.alphbunker 12:21 PM  

    @Mohair Sam

    People also notice a gracious reply such as the one you posted @12:13PM

    Mark R 12:27 PM  

    Is 0 not an even number just because it's in the context of roulette? Even if they don't pay you when you bet even and 0 comes up, it's still an even number...

    Mohair Sam 1:09 PM  

    @r.alph. Thank you.

    Elle54 1:11 PM  

    Hey Rex! After reading your blog about the Elgin marbles, I walked over to see them today!
    I think Elgin did a good thing. Elgin's men took plaster casts of the ones left in Athens and the exhibit shows how 200years of further exposure to the elements have eroded them. They also point out that being so high up on the Parthenon, they were difficult to see. Now they are at eye level.
    From Lonon, Elle54

    Anonymous 1:25 PM  

    You're simply wrong on IDELWILD. Not to troll here, but the airport's name (not the IATA code, the name) was never Idlewild. So bureaucratic or not, the officialy name was NY International. That's not to say it was not commonly known as Idlewild. of course it was, just like Richard Nixon was commonly referred to as Dick. But that doesn't make Richard a Dick, does it? (*wink) I defy anyone to show me where the airport's name was ever officially listed as Idlewild. (Hint: Can't be done.)

    wreck 1:30 PM  

    @Mark R

    The clue reads that 18 of 38 are "this." Only 18 numbers are considered evens in ROULETTE. It is not asking how many numbers are even in the "outside world." The clue is correct,but tricky (as puzzles are meant to be).

    Whirred Whacks 1:34 PM  

    To: @Chefwen @John Child @Mohair Sam @Joho

    Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the humor.

    I'm old enough that I associate BOB BARKER not with TPIR, but rather with an earlier 1950s-60s whacky game show he did called "Truth or Conseqeuences." I usually saw it when I was home sick from grade school.

    JTHurst 1:38 PM  

    SteveJ Help me out here. Zero is not an even or odd number. It is the hardest concept to understand in mathematics. The Pythagoreans did not even consider it as part of a numbering system and while most modern numbering systems are Arabic in concept the number zero was supposed to have originated in Kerala, southern India. I believe the Mayans were the only ones who used zero in their calendar. And since we get our calendar from Greco-Roman sources we have to adjust it every four years.

    Most counting systems do not call it a number since it signifies the 'void' or nil or non-number. It does not follow most of your primary laws of mathematics.

    Uncle John C 1:51 PM  

    In honor of my chosen avatar...

    There's a holdup in the Bronx,
    Brooklyn's broken out in fights;
    There's a traffic jam in Harlem
    That's backed up to Jackson Heights;
    There's a scout troop short a child,
    Khrushchev's due at IDLEWILD!
    Car 54, Where Are You??

    Just like Manhattan's "Avenue of
    the Americas" is called "6th Avenue"
    by all New Yorkers - New York's International Airport was
    referred to as IDLEWILD.

    Z 2:24 PM  

    Regarding Zero's evenness, here is an easyish explanation. Nevertheless, the clue refers to roulette, not mathematics.

    Regarding Idlewild - the clue is "Original name..." not "Official name," or even "Original airport name," so the quibble is moot, originally it was IDLEWILD Golf Course (if someone now posts the native American name that preceded the the golf course existence you get a tip of my hat).

    Carry over from yesterday - Famous Chief Justices are usually limited to John Marshall (Marbury v. Madison alone makes him the most important Chief Justice in our history) and the Warrens (Earl and Burger). Infamous Chief Justices is a list usually limited to Taney (although Roberts is well on his way to adding to the list). However, like presidents, Chief Justices often get too much of the credit and blame for the Court's decisions. It takes (at the moment) at least four other justices to rule that corporations are people, too.

    chefbea 2:29 PM  

    @Whirred Wacks - I remember Truth or Consequences...but I remember Ralph Edwards hosting it...from Truth or Consequences New Mexico

    RooMonster 3:13 PM  

    They put an airport on a golf course? That must wreak havoc on the tee shots!

    Facetiousism, it's not just for breakfast anymore!


    Ludyjynn 3:31 PM  

    @UncleJohnC, as Officer Toody would often say to his partner, Muldoon, "ooh, ooh"! (This was years before Arnold Horshack did the same to get Mr. Kotter's attention). Car 54 was another iconic black and white Sunday eve. family ritual from my early childhood. When I saw your post, I immediately began singing the lyrics and am bemused to admit that like the theme song from Gilligan's Island, I recall every word of it! Sorry, @Anonymous.

    I guess you have settled the IDLEWILD debate. Congrats.

    Steve J 3:50 PM  

    @JTHurst: As far as I can tell, zero is considered an even number in most modern mathematics systems.

    But whether it is even or not is a red herring for the clue. The clue is "18 of 38 roulette numbers". in roulette, zero and double-zero considered neither even nor odd. If you bet evens and the ball lands on one of the zeroes, you're going to be quite disappointed when the payouts pass you by.

    Had the clue said "18 of 38 numbers on a roulette wheel" it would be a different story (since the reference is to the wheel in that case, not the game as in the original clue).

    sanfranman59 3:54 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 8:04, 7:50, 1.03, 60%, Medium-Challenging

    Top 100 solvers

    Tue 5:31, 5:21, 1.03, 60%, Medium

    LHS 888 3:57 PM  

    @RooMonster: Facetiousism!! You've just given me my word for the day! I can't wait for that one to make an apperarance in a xword. Instead of a PoC, it would be an ISMoC. ^_^

    Leapfinger 3:58 PM  

    DOWN is up.

    Is KTD(id) trying to tell us something??

    Have, from time to time, watched TPIR, but honestly, sometimes 'one' is just embarrassed for the contestant. The only game show I know that's more into 'Greed is good" is Let's Make a Deal. I like shows that require skill or INTELligence, and DREW CAREY's "Whose Line Is It?" was really remarkably inventive. So, do I sound like a stick?

    Like others, had some thoughts about the ELGIN Marbles, and appreciate @Alias' backstory. More recently, Yale has been playing Elgin to Peru's Inca relics, perhaps without quite the same degree of altruism.

    POISEonally, I liked the bit about MIDAS's ABUT, and thought the [Principle]=TENET a bit ironic, by George.

    'O, I am SLAIN!' has got to be a premature statement.

    Another thing I learned today: It probably isn't a good idea to sing "When the moon hits your eye..." if anywhere near URANUS. That could get a person splat 14 times in the right eye, and still leave 13 over for the left.

    No special thoughts on American IDOLwild, though it seems to have raised quite a response in some quarters.

    A little nonsense now and then
    Is relished by the best of men.

    I'D SAY I relished this word SALAD, KTD. On to Wednesday.

    Numinous 4:13 PM  

    I did the LAT in half the time it took me to do this one and I still think it was a pretty normal Tuesday. I did it around 10:30 last night and nobody had posted about it yet so . . .

    I like the clue for 21D in the Times online app, π π π. On te iPad the clue was "Rho preceders" the answer to which should have been something like x(ks)i omicron pi.

    So now I come to the party late. I don't believe I've ever seen TPIR with anyone other than Bill Cullen hosting. Likke all the other latch key kids, I'd watch that on our 13" B/W tv when I was home sick.

    I don't ever remember Idlewild ever being called New York Internatinal. I was even kind of bummed when it was renamed JFK. When I flew to Glasgow in 1965, it was still being called by its old name part of the time even by the travel agent who booked the flight.

    According to Kyle Dolan's notes, this puzzle was accepted in July of 2013, six months after he started on the construction. 14 months is a long time to wait to get paid. It seems crossword construction is no way to get rich. I believe I owe thanks to every person who constructs, the rewards are often slow in coming and are sometimes accompanied by disparagement from blogs like this. The truth of it is, they made the puzzles and got published, we did them and for that we owe the constructors some gratitude.

    Thank you, Kyle!

    jberg 4:30 PM  

    Whew, it's good to be back. I got up early Friday solved the puzzel, only to find that @Rex had not posted by the time I had to leave for the airport. Since then I've been in DC, with the NYT and hence the puzzle strangely unavailable. Finally picked today's up at Reagan on the way home, solved it on the plane, taught my class and here I am. So in those circumstances I had to like it, regardless.

    And this blog! Where else could on find a protracted debate about whether zero is an even number on a roulette wheel. Did anyone miss that answer because you were thinking, "nah, it can't be EVENS, there are 19 of them?"

    WaPo puzzle had some cute themes, though the puzzles were pretty easy.

    As for the marbles -- it's hard to justify a Brit buying a Greek national treasure from the Turks, whatever the respective custodial ability of the parties involved. In any case, the right thing to do now is to return them and help preserve them in situ. The argument that they are easier to see when brought down is akin to the one John Muir parodied by saying you might as well flood the cistine chapel so people can use boats to view the frescos close up. The Brits are spending huge sums to enable people to see Stonehenge in something closer to its original condition, it would be great to do the same with the Parthenon.

    Really sad to hear about the great puzzles i missed. Maybe my wife saved the papers, but I doubt it, since I didn't ask.

    Leapfinger 7:22 PM  


    Which puzzles are you missing? Since you're email-accessible, some friendly soul can send you the links.

    Carola 7:23 PM  

    @jberg - If the newspapers are gone and you know which puzzles you'd like, I could email you PDFs from the online archive.

    chefbea 8:34 PM  

    @jberg I can e-mail you the PDFS also let me know

    r.alphbunker 8:59 PM  

    If you email me your address, I will print them out and snail-mail them to you.

    mac 9:35 PM  

    I've seen the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum, but on top of that they came up in conversation when I was at the Metropolitan Museum visiting the Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age exhibition. I'm glad GB has taken good care of these artifacts, but
    eventually they belong where they belong.

    Easy-medium puzzle; I'm nota TPIR watcher, but I know what it is about and how it works. Fine Tuesday.

    spacecraft 11:37 AM  

    The best thing about today's offering was @Whirred Whacks' kickoff! WTG, WW!

    That's not good news for Mr. Dolan, gradewise. We have a virtual consonant SALAD here, watching SCTV ONDVD and then saving it to CDROM. ADDON a TBSP of ATA and MEI, and this grid just OOZES GAS. OK, SO what's the PGRATING? Not BRAVO, my friend. More like a second straight D-.

    To the very classy BOBBARKER I must apologize on behalf of the constructor, for allowing your name to appear in this dreadful company.

    7355, still another D-.

    DMG 12:42 PM  

    A sorry Tuesday DNF. Just couldn't get the center South!
    Managed to correctly guess TERCE, but no idea of the baseball term ( ?AC) which crossed the strange OK?O left me with a Natick. My, obviously wrong, choice for 48D would have been "what". Tried putting the circle phrase together, but even that didn't work. I'm only vaguely familiar with the show, so had no idea what I was looking for. The phrase seemd to start DOWP... As I said DNF.

    However, did get dealt a 1320 = 6, so maybe I'm in that game?

    rondo 1:27 PM  

    WILT w/o Chamberlain? ELGIN w/o Baylor??TORI w/o Spelling??? OK so she didn't play hoops, just a bunch of clues to purposely stay away from pop/sports culture? In +/- 4 hours I'll be holding a BEERCAN full of something Miller BREWEDUP. And IDSAY I won't be thinking about this puzzle ONEBIT. Not much to write home about, but I can't think of anything but Car 54 when IDLEWILD comes up.

    885 - I'm OER and out

    rain forest 3:31 PM  

    Did @Whirred Whacks not mean to say
    "geology rocks", or am I missing something?

    IDLEWILD Golf Course and Airport sounds fine to me.

    A couple of odd partials here, but even though I didn't know either host of the show, I managed to finish.

    Does one TERCE before he sexts?

    Voting day for Americans to demonstrate how much they hate the current President so they can add him to the list of all the others they continue to hate. Sad.

    Puzzle was OK.

    6098 Not OK

    Dirigonzo 6:19 PM  

    I wanted to stretch hickies to fill the available space because that's what we called them back in the day - I still remember my first one.

    @rainy wins the comments with "Does one TERCE before he sexts?"

    621 - I'D SAY that's a winner!

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