Sinatra's big band leader / WED 9-10-14 / Bandoleer filler / Cleanser brand that hasn't scratched yet / Beachgoer's cooler-offer / Half exorbitant fee

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Constructor: Jim Peredo

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Been There, Done That — "message" referred to in the clue 69A: Where you might see the message formed by the last words in 21-, 32-, 42- and 54-Across (T-SHIRT)

Theme answers:
  • "HOW YOU BEEN?" (21A: "What's goin' on?") (first guess: HOW YOU DOIN'?)
  • "PUT 'ER THERE!" (32A: "Let's shake!")
  • "NO HARM DONE" (42A: "Don't worry, I'm O.K.")
  • "GIVE ME THAT!" (54A: "Hand it over!")

Word of the Day: Tommy DORSEY (52A: Sinatra's big band leader) —
Thomas Francis "TommyDorsey, Jr. (November 19, 1905 – November 26, 1956) was an American jazz trombonisttrumpetercomposer, and bandleader of the Big Band era. He was known as "The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing", because of his smooth-toned trombone playing. Although he was not known for being a notable soloist, his technical skill on the trombone gave him renown amongst other musicians. He was the younger brother of bandleader Jimmy Dorsey. After Dorsey broke with his brother in the mid-1930s, he led an extremely popular and highly successful band from the late 1930s into the 1950s. (wikipedia)
• • •

I have to say that I love the theme answers. The theme itself … we'll get to that. But the answers in their own right, regardless of the theme, make a great set. A colloquial barrage, the first two expressing happiness upon meeting an old friend, the third expressing forgiveness for his friend's stupid loud ring tone, and the fourth expressing less forgiveness. I just like saying all four of these answers in a row. Joy up top, annoyance underneath. As for the theme itself, I've never seen the old/trite phrase "Been There, Done That" on a T-SHIRT. It's annoying enough when someone says it out loud—why would you want to print something that banal and meaningless on a shirt and thus figuratively shout it at everyone you see? I actually haven't even heard anyone say the phrase in something like a decade, maybe more. I feel like it was big in 1993. Anyway, theme shmeme. But theme *answers*, as a set—big thumbs-up.

Fill is average. Maybe slightly below. Long Downs are just fine, but the shorter stuff really creaks. Stuff like JAI and LOA and ATTA and KARTS, which are really just phrase parts, are less than ideal. I was not aware the KARTS could go without the GO. In most cases I think "K" beats "T," but TARTS > KARTS as fill, I think. And UTE / UKE is probably a tie. The team name "Redskins" is flat-out racist and you shouldn't dignify its somehow continued existence by putting it in a puzzle clue—dropping the "red" doesn't make it better. When they eventually change their name, and they will, I really hope they find something more creative than "SKINS." The Washington Skins … would be creepy.

Puzzle was mostly easy. Clue on PER YEAR threw me off (8D: How salaries or rainfall may be reported), as it sounds like the reporting itself is happening only once a year. I'm not sure I even know what "report" means in this context. "Measured"? "Recorded"? Anyway, I probably wanted something like ANNUALLY, and had to wait for crosses to fill it in. I briefly invented a kind of styptic pencil that you use on TICKs (16A: Styptic pencil target). I think it's going to be a big seller. I also CHARred whatever was on my barbecue. I don't associate SEAR with "blackening," or, rather, I associate CHAR with "blackening" more. Couldn't figure out which CD was being referred to, and even when I thought of the financial instrument, I couldn't remember (quickly) what the "C" was or how to abbr. it. CERT. is a less-than-great answer, so I felt ill-rewarded for my confusion. And then lord knows how you spell HOOHAHS. I had 65A: Electric bill abbr. as KWT and thus ended up with HOOHATS.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


NCA President 7:43 AM  

If 1993 was "Been there, done that," then 1995 was "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt." Maybe that's why Mr. Peredo associated this saying with a T-shirt?

Weirdly, most of the mis-fill Rex mentioned I did too: KWt, chAR, and Comp.

HOWYOUBEEN reminds me of "fagetaboutit" somehow. Wasn't there a commercial where guys said "How you been?" in some New Jersey accent?

Otherwise, normal Wednesday workout...nothing in puzzle made me groan so this was a win of sorts.

Steve J 7:44 AM  

Agreed that the theme answers were lively and authentic, and that they were the best part of the puzzle. I found the the rest of this pretty nondescript, although I did get a nice smile out of the clue for UFOS.

I also had sear instead of CHAR - if you're remotely good at what you're doing on a grill or in a skillet, you achieve a very nice sear without blackening the meat at all - and also couldn't figure out CERT for a bit.

John Child 7:50 AM  

I liked the longer downs as well as the colloquial theme answers. Plenty of dreck though...

Are you all doing Joel Fagliano's runt puzzles too? Thirty to 50 seconds is a pretty small bite, isn't it? And I'm a little uncomfortable at how close some of the grids come to swastika shape.

Arlene 7:57 AM  

This puzzle had me using my "keep two answers in my head while I fill in the rest" a few times - namely SEAR (char), YEAR (anum), BADLOT (badboy), etc.
I also liked the lack of rap stars and movie titles - so no Googling in desperation. YAY!

Okay - done with my comment, folks! READON!

jae 7:57 AM  

Easy-medium for me too, but it would have been easy if I hadn't put in HOt wars before checking the across clues.  I also had chAR before SEAR. 

Liked this one. Amusing theme with some zippy answers and  a pretty smooth grid.

I expected some comments on 13d.  It could have been clued differently, but then so could HOO HAHS.

Anonymous 8:02 AM  

When Microsoft came out with the first Windows software to replace the cumbersome MS-DOS system some 20 years ago, the Mcintosh people wore the T-shirts with the "Been There Done That" phrase, to indicate that Microsoft was copying their system.

Anonymous 8:05 AM  

You've got to be fucking kidding me. Rexhole liked THIS puzzle? The racist bullshit with "SKINS" should disqualify it completely, but no, a little racism is just a side comment is his otherwise raving review. And the day after the NFL has be revealed to be a protector of fiance-beaters? Please.
How about the way all of the long theme answers are kind of colloquial, until "GIVE ME THAT" which is just a sentence? Maybe if it had been "GIMMEE THAT" it would have fit in a little more smoothly?
Let me guess--the constructor is Rex's 3rd cousin twice removed so Rex liked the puzzle. What a load of crap.

Matt Gaffney 8:06 AM  

@John Child:

We call that a "pinwheel" pattern in crosswords. It's unavoidable sometimes with rotational symmetry rules so we put a pleasant name to it.

Mohair Sam 8:22 AM  

@NCA President has it right (as does constructor Jim Peredo) - "Been there, done that, bought the T-Shirt" popped into my mind when I saw the theme. Very clever construct.

Hand up for ChAR before SEAR. Don't get a good ring with BADLOT for scoundrel, you know what I mean? Think I associate LOT with more than one in the given context.

With @Rex on being surprised they used "Skins" given the current controversy. Wonder why the NFL fights the name change thing so hard?

Susan McConnell 8:32 AM  

Puzzle was ok. So many alternative clue possibilities for SKINS, have to wonder why Will & co. chose to go the NFL route.

Glimmerglass 8:46 AM  

Re SKNS. Alternate clues: injures a knee; golf wager; prepares a cat in many ways; money; cheats.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

@anon 8:05 - that is a boatload of anger first thing in the morning. If Rex like it, so be it, we don't need crude language if YOU disagree. Wow. Let's keep it civil.

RnRGhost57 9:18 AM  

"In suffragette city! Hoo Hah!"

Lewis 9:18 AM  

Back from a week and a half in Scotland, the beauty of the islands, the life of Edinburgh.

The phrase BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, was first cited in the early 80s, and is apparently popular on alumni teeshirts. A 2007 posting in the Usenet Newsgroup claimed to have "Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, worn a hole in it and now use it as a duster."

The fill is blue collar. HOOHAHS and ATTA add to the colloquial feel. Not a lot of grid gruel.

FACTOID: Generally, classical musicians who play HARP are called harpists, and those who play it in folk music are caller harpers.

QUOTOID: "A LIE gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." - Winston Churchill

RAD2626 9:26 AM  

Liked the theme. Liked the puzzle. Clever having ADMiral and ENSign together. Insensitive having Tecumsah and the unnecessary SKINS clue in same segment. Good Wednesday.

Norm 9:31 AM  

I guess my reaction was the opposite of Rex's to some extent. I thought the theme answers were rather pedestrian, but the revealer made me smile.

chefbea 9:32 AM  

Liked the puzzle...but hand up for char and KWT

I sear a lot of things and they are not blackened

Jonathan Norwich 9:41 AM  

Mr. Parker, everything you said today is just how I felt about this puzzle. It was disappointing for a Wednesday.

NCA President 9:55 AM  

@Anon 8:02: Funny and somewhat ironic, the new iPhone 6 is very much like the 2007 Nexus 4. So, it's come around now that Android users can wear the "Been there, done that" T-shirt for the benefit of iPhone 6 users.

RooMonster 9:59 AM  

Hey All!
Easy-easy/medium, the only holdup was NW, as BONAMI took a second or two. But NOHARMDONE. Liked the misdirect at CD, had disc, probably like 95% of the solvers. Like Rex, put in chAR first, even though I knew it would be SEAR! Usually only put the AR part in, but today jumped right in! Same with the LOA/keA, put the A in and wait for the crosses. Had an r on TEASE at first. I thought clue (clew?) for OCTET was odd.


quilter1 10:02 AM  

Didn't make me sad. If it weren't for the controversy about the team name I wouldn't have known the answer as I don't follow football at all. Agree it should be changed. I enjoyed this puzzle, the theme and long downs. I thought it was a good Wednesday.

Steve J 10:05 AM  

@Anon 8:05 a.m.: You're upset when Rex doesn't like a puzzle, you're upset when Rex does like a puzzle. Maybe it's time to find a new hobby? Or just admit how much it delights you to bitch about the writeups every day?

@Mohair Sam: On the one hand, it's easy to see why the NFL is so stubborn about the racist name of the Washington team. The NFL is tremendously successful, and tremendously arrogant. They don't like being told what to do by anybody, and they'll cave to public opinion only in overwhelming circumstances (such as, say, a huge backlash over an incredibly weak suspension when one of its star running backs is videotaped dragging his unconscious fiancรฉe from an elevator). They don't change because of stubbornness, and because the owner of the team doesn't want to. And because the unwillingness to change has cost them somewhere in the neighborhood of $0 so far.

On the other, it's a bit surprising that they don't make the change. Think of all the money to be earned from new merchandise sales as Washington fans replace all their existing replica jerseys, t-shirts, caps, etc.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:08 AM  

Good puzzle. Kept me guessing at the theme until the end.

Played toward Medium for me, possibly because the more colloquial the answer, the less certain I am of the wording and spelling. Case in point: My other write-over (beside KWT/KWH) was at 32 A, PUT IT THERE before PUT 'ER THERE.

Alt clue for 13 D: "Shirts opponent in gym basketball game."

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

@Matt Gaffney

I'm surprised you didn't say the swastika shape is less obtrusive in the smaller size.

Just kidding.

joho 10:18 AM  

Very nice Wednesday puzzle. As already mentioned, the theme answers are fresh and colloquial and the reveal conjures up a nice visual.

For some reason it reminds me of a postcard I got some years ago which said, "The weather is here, wish you were beautiful." Loved that!

@Rex, I had HOOHAt, too... but didn't even notice the error until reading your write up. Now I want a HOOHAT to be a thing! Relative to a HI HAT?


Thanks, Jim, fun puzzle!

Zeke 10:27 AM  

I'm glad that everyone is so angry with the NFL about the Redskins name. Well, except for the fact that The NFL has been pressuring Dan Snyder to change the name for quite a while, it's Snyder alone who's fighing the change. The NFL has about as much authority to force a change in name as do I. The NFL would love for the Redskins to change their name, if only for the increase in revenue by regaining the trademark so they when they sell a lot of new product they don't have competition, hence increased revenue.

That said, the Redskins should adopt the ethos of the rest of Washington DC and just rename themselves the Kochs. That would be fun.

You care about institutional, macro racism in sports? How about banning that obscene Tomahawk Chop chant that goes on constantly in Braves games and every college game with a team from Florida. That would have the added benefit of making those games watchable.

Moly Shu 10:28 AM  

Medium here, BOrAxo before BONAMI and it took a very long time to get HEM and ARM. Had SPA and PERYEAR, just could not suss SHAWNEE or AMMO. Wanted something like Spokane or SuwaNEE for the former and bandoleer threw me on the latter. After finally getting AMMO, I realized what a bandoleer was, before that, I thought it was some kind of bandana/gondolier combination. I'm UNABASHEDLY, an idiot.

I'm with @Norm, liked the revealer better than the themers.

Gill I. P. 10:28 AM  

This was cute and simple in a drinkin a cold Hine's Root Beer instead of a Cupcake Pinot Grigio sort of way.
I'm not sure I understand the HOOHAHS today. I guess I could look up the Washington RedSKINS.
@joho - THAT is good!
Since I never say A SEVER, I shall part with xoxo

jberg 10:35 AM  

@Rex, remember boys' gym, where we'd play touch football with the SKINS vs. the Shirts? Don't think the girls did it that way, though.

My problem with the theme was the apostrophes. "What's goin' on?" made me think it was "How you doin'?" Only it wasn't, and the missing apostrophe turned up in 32A instead.

I liked having Mies's first name, LUDWIG, and the APEMEN, UFOS, and ETS all meeting at the SPA. But I didn't like EGADS at all. I'm certifiably 'old-style,' (BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, drunk the beer) and take it from me, the word is EGAD. Even more to the point, there's only one god in OMG, and only one in EGAD.

OCEAN BREEZE is more of a thing than green paint, but I was looking for a planter's punch or a pina colada there.



Whirred Whacks 10:40 AM  

Loved the word UNABASHEDLY!

@John Child @Matt Gaffney
I've also been enjoying the Joel Fagliano's mini-puzzles. I remember my first trip to India and was surprised to see swastikas everywhere. Then I remembered that the swastika is a 2,000+ year old Indian symbol for happiness and good fortune. Inside of a Jain temple, I saw 80 year-old women making swastikas out of grains of rice. Personally, I think the swastika is a pretty design element, but the Nazis contaminated it for use in the West until about the year 2150. [Meanwhile, images of the murderer Che Guevera were used by Mercedes Benz in their marketing as recently as 2011.]

Was in Berlin in July waiting at a pedestrian crossing with a count-down digital display. I noticed that the number 45 looks like a swastika in the vertical/horizontal font that was used. You may notice the same thing on a digital pace clock (I see it at swim practice) or on your microwave timer.

Regarding the Washington Redskins: a national poll that came out last week said that 71% of Americans favored retaining the name "Redskins" (down from the low 80s a decade ago).

Sir Hillary 10:43 AM  

Good puzzle, although I agree with OFL that the t-shirt thing didn't quite ring true.

Surprised to see SKINS clued as such. The NFL is having tough times along the Washington-Baltimore corridor these days.

Love AVOW UNABASHEDLY side by side.

With apologies to Dr. Seuss, here are uses for an entry and its mistaken cousin:

Every Who down in Whoville would sing without pause.
But the Grinch couldn't stomach these Christmas HOOHAWS
Then he slunk to the litterbox. He took the Whos' cats!
Then he crept to the mudroom.
He took their HOOHATS!

John Child 10:50 AM  

Thanks @Matt Gaffney for the new (to me) "pinwheel" term. But how is it "unavoidable"? Can't a constructor choose not to use a grid shape that looks like a swastika?

Whirred Whacks 10:53 AM  

I thanked @r.alphbunker very late yesterday but let me do so again for his sharing of Nobelist Paul Berg's "The Dance of the Molecules."

Within 30 seconds (about 2 minutes in), the music, attire, and ambience transported me back to my early 1970s days as a student at Stanford. Just like a fountain of youth!

the redanman 10:57 AM  

high class meh

Maruchka 11:06 AM  

@ Gill - Cupcake makes a Pinot G? LOVE their Prosecco. T'anks fer da head'up..

@ Glimmerglass - HaHa! HOOcat humorist, you.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

The answer SANE for Common-sense was easily today's worst fill. You can be perfectly SANE and have not a whit of common-sense (though the reverse is a bit dicey).

Plus "Redskins" is flat-out racist" assumes that Redskins is a race. In fact, redskin was a descriptive term settlers used and nothing more (the skin of a native American was considerably redder - either by natural pigment or skin paint - than a white European). The racist connotation is in the mind of the speaker and more importantly listener, akin to the whole feminist crap when anything ending in ESS was seen as sexist by only handful of the truly hyper sensitive.

RooMonster 11:13 AM  

Re: grid looking like a swastika -- Really? Nowhere close...... I guess people see what they want to see.
Oh, have to go, I see Wierd Al Yankovich in a water droplet on my car...


Leapfinger 11:25 AM  

Great little theme here, and it kicks up a couple of notches if you get the phrase's etymology in the constructor's notes.

Da Boys from Baron Byng HS used to say HOW YOU DOIN? [actually, it was more like HOW YA DOON?, but I didn't think the NYT could manage that], so I was led astray there. Also, am grateful never [in real life] to have heard nor said "I need my SPACe", so what came up in that spot was MAYPO. I know. But Mikey liked it.

Funny how some things come back to you: one of my old textbooks started a chapter with: 'The SKIN is the largest organ in the human body, and has the most social significance'. We're still ramifying on that today.

Dang, @Lewis, I thought that quote was Mark Twain! Maybe Twain's Truth was putting on its shoes. Any how, welcome back.

For me the only real pain today was the choked-upedness of those two corners, but more than made up for by the neat ending READ ON T-SHIRT.

Good stuff, Jim Pere do more!

Melodious Funk 11:28 AM  

@Steve J.

Don't tell anyone I said so but if the wife of Rice forgave him enough to marry why should I hold a grudge? And if the man can play who is going to claim that football players should be nice guys? Murder is one thing...viz Hernandez but I would sign Rice in a flash. PC receives the pass! What sanctimonious horsehockey.

And of course, The Onion nailed it:,36885/

Malsdemare 11:33 AM  

@anon 11:07

Well, except there were bounties awarded for "redskins," which takes the term into a deeply dark and evil place.

An aside, a friend of mine ( Navajo) was pretty amused when, side by side, my tanned arm was "redder" than hers.

Wasn't crazy about the puzzle; 'skins' made me sad and I just never got interested again.

r.alphbunker 11:46 AM  

@Whirred Whacks

"The Dance of the Molecules" got me thinking about how we could do the same thing with filling in a crossword puzzle. Here is what I have come up with.

1. Rent the Washington Redskins stadium

2. Fly Casco Kid to DC and position him in the announcers booth above the field.

3. Pay the ground crew to draw the grid. Each square must be large enough to comfortably hold two people.

4. Find several hundred volunteers who will be the letters. Line them up in a row and give each one a smartphone to use during the solve. Each smartphone is programmed with the original position in line of the person holding the smart phone.

5. Select one person to be the cursor. This person must be physically fit and will run around the grid following the path that Casco Kid takes around the grid as he solves the puzzle. Optionally the cursor person can wear a rabbit suit.

6. Casco Kid, up in the booth, uses a special version of Across Lite to solve the puzzle. The program sends out the position of each letter he types to the smartphones of the volunteers nearest the start of the line.

7. When a volunteer's smart phone beeps, he/she will see a letter and grid position where that letter belongs. The volunteers will write their letter on a square piece of white cardboard (like the kind used in waves at stadiums) and proceed to their square where they will hold the letter over their head. If there is already somebody in their square that person will be displaced and go to the dead letter area on the field.

8. The Across Lite program will also instruct the cursor person what square to go to. The square that the cursor person is in will always be the highlighted square in the Across Lite program.

9. This whole thing will be videotaped and Casco Kid will post a link to it on this blog.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 11:47 AM  

@63: Washington Skins would, indeed, be kinda creepy. Like it.
But just for the sake of completeness, top alternate team names that allow fans to still be Skins Heads...
* PIGSKINS. Seems logical, right?
* BOBHOSKINS. Memorial to a primo character actor.
* SHIRTSNSKINS. Competetive-soundin. Would also accept SHORTZNSKINS.
* SNAKESKINS. Cobra logo! Rodeo.
* PUDDINGSKINS or ONIONSKINS. Get the chefbeas and chefwens as cheerleaders.
* GALLIGASKINS. Some uniform alterations would be a must.
* TATERSKINS. Folksy. Just don't cram em down yer garbage disposal.
* DEADSKINS. Has the nice rhymey link to the good ol days. Actually, they are already called this, in certain off-years.
* GIMMESOMESKINS. Complete with yer POC.


p.s. Puz was very enjoyable, today. Especially liked the ER word in that one themer. Wish they all coulda been folksy like that. Still, great puz.

mac 11:55 AM  

I processed this one pretty much the way Rex did, plus I had "How you doin?" before I got the theme.

Once saw a man with a hat that said: been there, done that, forgot all about it.

Steve J 11:57 AM  

@Melodious Funk: The fact that his wife forgives him means nothing. It's very, very common for battered partners to support the person abusing them. I was just reading this morning that it usually takes several reports, several incidents, even several outreaches to counselors and organizations that help battered partners before that partner may leave their abuser. And many never do.

And, sorry, there's nothing sanctimonious about not being willing to overlook someone who coldcocks his partner just because he can play sports well. There's never an excuse for that kind of violence, and excusing it for the sake of someone's ability to provide entertainment is incredibly shallow.

Should, over time, Rice demonstrate that he's sought help and has made concrete progress toward no longer being abusive, he absolutely deserves a second chance, as does anyone. Until then, he should indeed remain indefinitely suspended, and the Ravens were absolutely right to fire him.

Norm C. 12:16 PM  

@mac - It looks as if you got your "T" shirt instead of "tee" as in a previous puzzle.

M and Also 12:25 PM  

list extrata...

* COONSKINS or BUCKSKINS. Do both, in alternatin months. Has that whole great Davy Crockette vibe goin for it.
* MASKINS. A bit too self-engrandizin? Thought so. Primo uniform possibilities, tho.
* FORESKINS. Dude. First NFL X-rated logo. Some careful player screening required, to qualify for team.
* PUMPSKINS. Halloween theme. A slight reach, so probably wouldn't tickle em enough...


big steve 46 12:33 PM  

Redskins, swastikas - it's only a crossword puzzle, not the editorial page. Try to fill in the blanks with the same letters intended by the constructor: that's it! God (or Charles Darwin) knows there's enough other stuff in the newspaper every day to get worked up about. To me, the puzzle had no political or social function: its just a word game.

On another more crosswordy note: Rex always seems to get worked up about the "short fill," especially 3-letter word. Aren't those - by definition - limited and likely to be repetitive and prosaic. Isn't the answer just to have as few of them as possible?

Gill I. P. 12:36 PM  

@Maruchka...Yes, yes! Cupcake is my go to vineyard whenever the vino urge kicks in which is pretty much every night!. If you like red, the Cav's are dabomb.
I'm a bit of a potty mouth. When my sister and I get together, we make the proverbial truck driver blush. If I EVER thought my words would hurt someone, I'd never say shit out-loud. Funny how some are offended and others are not.....
@Steve J...Sad, isn't it....

the redanman 12:39 PM  

swastikas are throughout history, however yesterday's puzzle is shaped in a DNA-helix

Great for TBS Nerd week

Chip Hilton 12:44 PM  

Call them the Washington Americans. Their emblem would them be a perfectly acceptable homage to our first settlers.

Think Paul Tagliabue is glad he left when he did? Whew!

Horace S. Patoot 12:45 PM  

@anon 11:07, you simply don't refer to someone in a way that offends them (unless that's your intention, of course), and you certainly don't institutionalize it. It's just decent manners.

@Leapfinger, I put in Maypo too. I guess it's a small step from wanting your Maypo to needing your Maypo.

@ chip: good one!

AliasZ 12:57 PM  

EGADS, we have strayed so far afield, I don't even remember what the puzzle was all about. Oh yeah, been there, done that, in a T-SHIRT.

A little OCEAN BREEZE would do wonders right about now. Or a little AMOR. Or some Mozart.

I have a fairly sizable vinyl collection. This Divertimento is also there, played by the Berlin Philharmonic OCTET. I know it's over 30 minutes, but let it play in the background, it will do wonders for your mood.

And just to be different, here are The Beatles doing the TWIST from yesterday. No particular reason to post this today, except if you look hard enough, you may notice Ringo's kick drum with the LUDWIG logo above THE BEATLES.

Fun Wednesday, until I red all the comments.

RooMonster 1:36 PM  

As I reread the comments, I see once again I have jumped to a conclusion (like I had said the last time, it wouldn't be the last time! ) The swastika pattern y'all talkin bout is on the Mini Puz, aha. Please disregard my previously snark-filled comment.

Slinking away to the corner...


Atlantasolver 1:38 PM  

I remember Jane Fonda patting her knee at Braves playoff games doing the "Palmahawk Chop" as a (half-arsed) compromise that satisfied no one. On Redskins: Change the name -- simple courtesy -- but don't call its use racist.

chefbea 1:44 PM  

@M&A got my cheerleading apron ready!!!

Last Silver Pewitskin 1:53 PM  

...only one more...

* SAVEOURSKINS. Not so much a team name, but an NFL p.r. mantra, as they try to distance themselves from the woman-abusing, racist image brought on by a few nitwit owners and players.

But, if I may now digress about today's puz a bit...

Outstanding corners. SW seems by far the weakest (Z's'll do that, to yah). Cool, havin JAI and ALIE together, in the grid, somehow, tho.

ELWES is a fascinatin name. How is it proounced? Is this guy still actively acting? "The Princess Bride" is good stuff. As U wish. Inconceivable!

fave weeject block: LOA on KWH on ENS. Crucial, to score ELKE and HOOHAHS.

fave row phrase: SPACE TEASES.

U would think the biggest "trouble brewing" areas in this grid's fill challenges would be near the runs of three consonants in a couple of the themers:
* puteRTHere. Deftly thwarted, except for a slightly desperate CERT.
* nohaRMDone. See there... smoked out a rattly run of SMEE, ELWES, and PRES. UNABASHEDLY is quite nice, tho.
* TSHirt. Not so much a problem, as it is snuggily burrowed into a little bombshelter, with lots of surrounding black walls. Even threw in a crossing J-word. READON is pretty neat and fresh, btw.

Difficulty level seemed spot-on, for a WedPuz.
Had fun. Another morning well wasted.


Maruchka 3:02 PM  

@ Steve J - Thanks for your succinct analysis. Violence, however forgiven, does have consequences.

@ Gill - Wouldn't it be fine if a constructor fit in POTTY MOUTH? I want to see it in print!

Whirred Whacks 3:31 PM  

The crossword scenario you've conjured up ala "The Dance of the Molecules" is a delight! Thanks for the images.

sanfranman59 3:52 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)

Wed 9:39, 9:39, 1.00, 51%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:44, 6:12, 1.09, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

Instead of changing the name just add an adjective: The Fighting Redskins of Washington! Now, that is strong and tough and full of pride. Just like the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

I enjoyed the puzzle Mr. Peredo.

Melodious Funk 4:13 PM  

Get a load of this beaut:

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told CBS News on Tuesday that Rice will only be allowed back into the league if "we are fully confident that he is addressing this issue."


@Steve J. How about that one? Somebody needs help. Is it Goodell?

wreck 4:32 PM  

Redskins can keep their name but change their Mascot to a potato. Problem solved.

Melodious Funk 4:38 PM  


Now THAT'S funny! Take a bow.

r.alphbunker 4:40 PM  


Brilliant! Maybe Mr. Potato is available.

Leapfinger 4:40 PM  

I thought [Half an exorbitant fee] was a great clue for ARM.

Put that together with AS EVER, and it reminded me of the work I did for several years in the trauma field. Our group reattached hundreds of parts that people separated themselves from, whether by accident or carelessness, occasionally by aggravated stupidity. Mostly, those were fingers or hands, but sometimes it was A SEVERed ARM. I wasn't going to bring that up, out of concern for peoples' more tender sensibilities, but then all this SKINS business came up, and M&A posted his SKIN riff, so I remembered...

Going in to see this one patient for the first time, I READ ON the reports in his chart. He'd had a crush injury to the ARM, with a lot of soft tissue damage, had required SKIN grafts, and was gradually healing. In the most recent note, the treating physician had noted that 'the arm was covered with poor [ie, poor-quality] skin'. This was in the days of dictation, however, and the poor transcriptionist had run into some mumbles. What appeared in the record was:'The arm was covered with foreskin'.

Significant hilarity ensued, the secretary was kind of embarrassed, and I remember the suggestion that there might result a tendency to Dr. Strangelove-style salutes.

So somehow, that episode wound up incorporating all of today's major themes of discussion. Funny how things work.

Lewis 5:05 PM  

@wreck -- made my day!

Charles Flaster 5:24 PM  

Overly EZ. Only erasure--how ya doin'.
CrosswordEASE---atra ,van der Robe,kwh
Enjoyed the language in clues and answers.
Loved exorbitant fee clue.
Thanks JP.

Charles Flaster 5:27 PM  

totally agree

Carola 6:19 PM  

Liked it. SE corner's READ ON T-SHIRT seems like it could be an intro to the theme phrase. I liked SMEE and the ADM and ENS all enjoying the OCEAN BREEZE. My first mud location was a Sty, my matter was Alma (I know!), but, @Leapfinger and @Horace, I resisted maypo because of "need" vs. "want." Can't resist: my little granddaughter begging for just one more bedtime story: "I n-e-e-e-e-d it!" Her dad, "You need to learn the difference between 'want' and 'need.'" Mainly, I just liked the idea of really n-e-e-e-e-ding a story.

joho 6:37 PM  

@wreck THAT is the comment of the day: thank you!!!

dk 7:25 PM  

๐ŸŒ•๐ŸŒ•๐ŸŒ• (3 Mooons)

5 minutes to figure out that it was JUDI not y

10 minutes to figure out that TSHIRT mean t t-shirt. To quote Homer: Doh!

Best t-shirt of the Early 70's was on Patti Smith:


My personal favorite was one I had with a cow sitting at a bar: I said Hay bartender

Jerry 7:25 PM  

30 across?? Teases is a verb The question "Coqutettish sorts implies a noun, e.g. teasers. Am I missing something??

PC Police 7:42 PM  

@Jerry -

Amy Reynaldo has registered her disapproval of Tease as defined, since it has traditionally been applied to women (move over, Skins!):

noun: tease; plural noun: teases

a person who makes fun of someone playfully or unkindly.
a person who tempts someone sexually with no intention of satisfying the desire aroused.
an act of making fun of or tempting someone.
"she couldn't resist a gentle tease"

JFC 8:00 PM  

I bet everyone here who objects to SKINS (and most assuredly, Rex) has no problem with HILLBILLIES.


East End Golfer 8:26 PM  

It's not just on one T-shirt. It's an entire category:

Steve J 9:35 PM  

@Melodious Funk: I didn't have much respect for Goodell before this whole mess. What little I did have diminishes day by day.

@wreck: That's perfect! I'm going to have to borrow that.

sanfranman59 10:03 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 5:28, 6:02, 0.91, 10%, Easy
Tue 7:28, 7:54, 0.95, 33%, Easy-Medium
Wed 9:38, 9:39, 1.00, 50%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:57, 0.94, 17%, Easy
Tue 5:18, 5:24, 0.98, 41%, Medium
Wed 6:29, 6:12, 1.05, 62%, Medium-Challenging

Robert Chemtob 10:53 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tita 11:06 PM  

@wreck - funny!
@ all the t-shirt references...
In the past 2 days, have seen 2 different TSHIRTs that caught my eye.
One said ForeSKIN pride. Worn by a young man. The other said Get Boned!. Worn by a young ish woman.

I dunno - text someone else printed, then I paid to wear? Not my thing.

I just loved this puzzle, and not only because I've been in AMOR in Lisbon - as well as still being in AMOR with Lisbon.
Nighty night all.

David Streever 11:14 PM  

Do some people really not understand how 'redskins' is racist? I see someone above has said it's not racist because it's not a race.

The problem is though that redskins does exclusively apply to members *of* a race which is marginalized and discriminated against. That's why it's racist.

Does this really have to be explained?

spacecraft 11:43 AM  

Re the Redskins flap: The name didn't bother ANYBODY AT ALL until we morphed into The Age of Taking Offense. Now you can't say anything about anybody. Cripes, grow some tougher SKIN, willya? Or you'll bleed out.

To the puzz: I don't share OFL's enthusiasm about the theme set. I'd buy "HOW've YOU BEEN;" without the "'ve" it sounds dumb. And GIVEMETHAT does not belong in that group. It's a parent to a two-year-old who's gotten hold of the remote.

OTOH, I do agree about the GO-less KARTS, and the non-word HOOHAHS. Also, BADLOT?? Bad guy, bad man, OK, but BADLOT? Subject of a recall, sounds like. Hardly fits the clue. BAH.

Plus, I'd be reluctant to shake the hand of somebody who says the corny "PUTERTHERE!" Yikes.

Two very FINE long downs save this to a C.

218. BAH again.

P.S. How about the BASKINS? Their roster would be limited to 31.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

Wouldn't it be loverly if everyone would lighten up about the redskins thing. The term used by the team was never meant to denigrate the Indians. Living in California, with many existing Indian tribes (think Casinos) I haven't heard of one objection from friends or neighbors. Most, I would say, think the controversy is silly.

Today's puzzle was super easy in my humble opinion. And, well constructed. So sayeth the Sage of La Mesa.

Ron Diego 10/15/14 2717

DMG 1:56 PM  

Staying clear of all the blather, I'll just say I liked this one, particularly UNABASHEDLY with its marvelous collection of letters. I temporarily suffered from PUTitTHERE, correct by the E in OCEAN... , but still ended one square off with KWT. Didn't even notice that when I corrected whoHAtS to HOOHAtS. Must learn to proofread puzzles!

263: one card 2 many!

Connie in Seattle 5:18 PM  

When my Dad (Stanford alum) read about the flap over changing the Stanford Indians' name, he said they should just change it to the Engines.

rain forest 6:31 PM  

Was there a puzzle? I thought there was, and I thought I found it to be pretty good, and didn't really notice the possibility of a flap about SKINS until, inevitably, recoiling PCers found their voices. Hey, how about The Washington ThinSKINS? As @Spacey rightly pointed out, the name was there for at least 50 years before someone opined that it might be "racist". Hard to know what is or isn't sometimes. I have to admit that I like redskin peanuts, but I may have to deny myself that particular pleasure, or I could call them "peanuts with the little red papery covers".

I AM beginning to dislike the NFL, though...

Now to the important stuff:
5165 Is that close enough for jazz?

Anonymous 9:30 PM  

Man, football, racism and being pc; this age has proven to be irksome!
Can a crossword puzzle just be a puzzle?

Mark M 4:58 PM  

JFC made a great point. No one said a thing about HILLBILLIES as an answer the other day, but SKINS gets people in an uproar.

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