Olympian troublemaker / FRI 10-17-14 / 2007 satirical bestseller / Town at tip of Italy's heel / 2007 Jamie Foxx film set in Saudi Arabia / Church-owned newsweekly / Two-time belligerent against British Empire

Friday, October 17, 2014

Constructor: Michael Ashley

Relative difficulty: Medium (maybe leaning toward "Medium-Challenging")

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Paul DIRAC (49A: Paul who pioneered in quantum mechanics) —
Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac OM FRS (/dɪˈræk/ di-rak; 8 August 1902 – 20 October 1984) was an English theoretical physicist who made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a member of the Center for Theoretical Studies, University of Miami, and spent the last decade of his life at Florida State University.
Among other discoveries, he formulated the Dirac equation, which describes the behaviour of fermions and predicted the existence of antimatter. Dirac shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1933 with Erwin Schrödinger, "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory". He also did work that forms the basis of modern attempts to reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics.
He was regarded by his friends and colleagues as unusual in character. Albert Einstein said of him, "This balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness is awful". His mathematical brilliance, however, means he is regarded as one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is just fine. I had no idea what to do with names like BRODY and DIRAC and "THE KINGDOM" (?), and I spaced on WAITE and AMAHL, but I knew OTRANTO from the novel The Castle of OTRANTO and I knew ALAN MOORE from every comics class I've ever taught, so my name non-knowledge didn't set me back too badly. Nothing struck me as particularly great, and a few things seemed either off or incomplete. I AM AMERICA is definitely right, but that's a book I think of as needing its subtitle ("And So Can You!") to be complete. I AM AMERICA sounds earnest and dumb and not funny all by itself. Also, THE MONITOR—I didn't knot know people called The Christian Science Monitor this. Not a shorthand I've seen. Didn't keep me from getting it quickly (how many church-owned newsweekly's are there?), but THE MONITOR has about as much currency in my world as "THE KINGDOM" (still can't picture a single thing about this alleged movie). Wanted FASHION MODEL, got FASHION ICON … less good, I think. I mean, designers are often considered FASHION ICONs, and many of them are somewhat lumpy and ordinary-looking. Not emaciated, anyway. What else? … A lot of the longer answers are plurals … I don't know. It's a totally competent puzzle, but it hasn't got much 'zazz. My computer just autocorrected that to "zzzz." Make of that what you will.

I wasn't STRUCK DUMB by RITA MORENO, but I didn't enjoy seeing her (both those answers, actually). Saying Hulu offers STREAMS is like saying the internet is a series of tubes. OK, maybe it's slightly more defensible, but not really. "Hey, wanna watch some STREAMS?" Uh, no. No thanks. Wait, did you mean TV shows or movies? Oh, then sure. Streaming video is correct. STREAMS needs a better / more accurate / more spot-on clue here. [Watches live, perhaps]. Verb! That's what's happening.

Some of the shorter stuff is unlovely (AWAG and PYLES, I'm looking at you), but the shorter stuff is always the uglier stuff, and nothing stands out as particularly gruesome. Where were my errors? Let's see:

  • 1A: Something running on a cell (MOBILE APP) — pretty good. I solved it from the back end, and at first tried GOOGLE APP.
  • 1D: Start of many records (MOST) — I went with ANNO, which, in retrospect, is a weird answer to enter with the confidence with which I entered it.
  • 22A: Be up (BAT) — I was on the right wavelength here, but tried HIT first. 
  • 35A: Out of service? Abbr. (RET'D) — Tried AWOL.
  • 37D: Person's sphere of operation (FIEF) — went with AREA. Can't have been the only one.
  • 16A: Opera title boy (AMAHL) — again, right(ish) wavelength, but his name came to me as AMATI, which, in my defense, is definitely musical.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


wreck 12:16 AM  

Not fond of puzzles with such limited access points in 3 of the 4 corners. Not fond of puzzles with so many fairly obscure names in said corners. Not fond of themeless puzzles with few clever phrases.

George Barany 12:30 AM  

This puzzle by @Michael Ashley has something for everyone to not know. DIRAC was one of the most important figures in 20th century physics, a Nobel laureate, and the subject of an award-winning biography with the intriguing title "The Strangest Man." On the other hand, I was unfamiliar with Goober PYLE, but ironically a different PYLE is in today's quirky news. Interesting to see the plural of PYLE crossing a new way to clue AGEE ... I personally prefer the hero of Game 3 of the 1969 World Series over the author/critic, but I guess with BAT and SOLO_SHOTS, there is enough of the National Pastime in the puzzle.

jae 12:38 AM  

Pretty easy Fri. for me.  Only erasure was beST before MOST.   Knowing MOST of the names was helpful, although unlike Rex OTRANTO  was a WOE. 

I agree that leaving off the (And So Can You) part of the Colbert title results in a zipectomy. 

Other than being a tad to easy and a couple of iffy plurals...DIET SODAS, STREAMS..., this was "just fine".  Liked it about as much as Rex did.

Oh, and LANDON DONAVAN made today's LATimes.  Something about being dissed by Klinsmann.

Casco Kid 12:47 AM  

Clean solve in 70 minutes. The drama came at the end as I spend 10 minutes on BAT/ABA/BOND/RETD. I was terrified the atom clue was for iONs, but thankfully not so.

Nice to see Paul Adrian Maurice (P. A. M.) Dirac take a star turn. I wonder if Colbert will feature his clue during his show next week.

We call it the ChriSciMon. Never just The Monitor.
turF before FIEF. awol before RECD M.....ware before MOBILEAPP.
I'm fading fast tonight ...

Anonymous 1:20 AM  

Is the allegation that Gomer Pyle was a "goober"? IIRC there was a different character named "Goober" on the Andy Griffith show...

Anonymous 1:41 AM  

How is "most" the answer to "Start of many records"?

chefwen 2:09 AM  

@Anon - The MOST raw fish eaten in 15 minutes.

We polished off the west half of the puzzle in record time and I thought this can't be a Friday puzzle and then the truth hit home when we arrived in the east. Like @Rex had area at 37D, changed it to FIEF which I spelled FeiF so that messed me up for a while. Couldn't get Sue Grafton out of my head for 57A. Finally got it done, but that east half was a struggle. Phew!

jae 2:41 AM  

@chefwen  & Anon -  Here's a couple of more...

Most frat boys stuffed in a phone booth ( are there any phone booths left?).
Most popular girl in school.
Most revered crossword blog. 
Most number of angels dancing on the head of a pin.

Martin 3:05 AM  

The verb "stream" that Rex would prefer is a back-formation from the noun "stream". It may be clunky to his ear, but Hulu delivering streams sounds much more accurate than most alternatives to us geeks who actually brought you Hulu.

A stream is simply data delivered to a device that will use it as it as it is delivered, as opposed to a file, which must be delivered in its entirety (and usually checked to make sure there were no transmission errors) before using any of it. The stream was one of the ways Unix prepared us for the 21st century.

I'd be fine with STREAMS clued as a verb, but sometimes correct is ok too.

The Grammar Police 7:12 AM  

@RP: Plural of "newsweekly" is "newsweeklies" - and no apostrophe!

LHS 888 7:19 AM  

Big DNF for me. Like @chefwen I made steady progress through the W, but bogged down in the E.

Error: DiADS instead of DYADS

Oho > OOH

WOEs: AMAHL, MSS (which I still don't get)

Thanks for the Friday workout MA / WS.

Mohair Sam 7:19 AM  

Well we personal naticked on the ST in STREAMS (didn't know our Italian cities well enough, nor ERIS). Reading @Rex we decided to blame it on Ashley/Shortz - hell, we stream movies all the time, the question was poorly phrased. Then @Martin chimes in above and lets us know that the fault is in us, not the clue. Rats.

@Rex - Have always heard the Christian Science Monitor referred to as THEMONITOR. Didn't know it was still out there however.

Deduced RITAMORENO quickly - few people have the range of talent to go four for four like that.

Good puzzle, pretty good fill for all the stacks. Enjoyed.

Z 7:35 AM  

Meh. Too many names made this too much of a trivia contest. Not my cuppa.

Donovan is probably in the news because Klinsman has the nasty habit of saying true things in front of reporters. The MLS prez sounds like a hurt middle schooler to me.

jberg 7:41 AM  

Not knowing ALAN MOORE, I went w/ WOW/SOLO SWOTS and got Alan M Wore. Sigh. Otherwise, fine, DIRAC a gimme.

Is Moore the guy who inspired those Guy Fawkes masks?

r.alphbunker 7:55 AM  

Like @Casco I considered iONs for BOND. Unlike him it did not induce terror in me probably because I took physics IONS ago in high school and failed it.

I had SitcoMS for STREAMS for a while.

There was a bit of a cliffhanger in the North by Northwest at the end.

Within the first 2 minutes of the solve 17A {Been exposed to an awful lot} inspired me to write in bEENthere instead of SEENITALL and I really liked that answer.

At the end, after about 6 minutes of staring at the blank spaces around "there" I erased my baby leaving _EEN_ _ _ _ _ which allowed me to see SEEN.

But I remained stuck until the crossword gods granted me the boon of AWAG and I was finished in seconds after that. If I had been a dog my tail would have been AWAG at that point

I will leave it to @Leapfinger to pun on DIRAC and dreck.

NCA President 8:28 AM  

AWAG ranks right up there with adding -er to any verb to get a "one who does..." word. So you can just add an A- to any verb now? I'm er...a-amazed.

There are only two other religious mags I know of that are actually more well-known to me: The Watch Tower and The Upper Room. I've heard of the Monitor and I think I've really heard it called that, but it wasn't the first one that came to mind.

One last thing, at some point in the very recent past it seems we've (or maybe I've) ceased to call cell phones "mobile." I now just call it my phone. Or my cell. Or my droid. Hipsters are always looking for their iPhones. But I rarely hear anyone, except a few advertisers, call it a mobile phone. It's like the point where people ceased calling their cars automobiles. "MOBILE" must be a word we all don't like. It's had its chances but just can't seem to catch on as a "catch-all" word.

Oh well, this puzzle was challenging for me due to the number of names I did not know. Plus, I didn't know that Goober was a PYLE. I thought he was a hick...which fits too, but not correctly it turns out.

AliasZ 8:32 AM  

I, like most everyone else, was STRUCK with a DUMB stick in the NW minipuzz, the entry into which was THIN AS A Rail. Same in the SE, where ALAN MOORE or less was a WOE. If you didn't know him, you were stuck between DIRAC and dihard place.

Oh, all those POC's! PYLES of SALAMIS were consumed by ELDEST SONS and washed down with STREAMS of DIET SODAS while SOLO SHOTS were fired from cannons on the ESTATES of SAMS (Houston and Clemens).

Did you know that the meat of THE MONITOR lizard is eaten in southern India and Malaysia as an aphrodisiac, and its reproductive organs are used in black magic in parts of Pakistan? Now you do, and make sure you quickly forget it.

But WAITE, there's MOORE! The following sonata for recorder by Nicolas Chédeville (1705-1782) was published by him under the name of Antonio Vivaldi as Op. 13, and titled "Il pastor FIDO." Not bad for an impostor.

But it's late, and now one must be ON ONE'S WAY to work with one's tail AWAG. Don't you hate it when one speaks of oneself in the third person?

Not a bad puzzle -- not great either. I expected better for a Friday.


Andrew Morrison 8:42 AM  

Medium, made harder by the stuff I didn't know but could infer from crosses (IAMAMERICA, THEKINGDOM, ALANMOORE). All I know about DIRAC is the Dirac Deltoid Spike Function. I don't know what it is - I'm not much of a mathematician - but I know it exists. It's the only thing I remember from Fin 4 in college. For what that's worth.

AWAG? I don't think so. Pure crosswordese. Other gag that I am impressed with the construction.

Andrew Morrison 8:43 AM  

Other THAN that. Stupid autocorrect.....

Maruchka 8:48 AM  

Swung between easy and wha? Helped to know RITA MORENO right off the BAT. Had to google THE KINGDOM, OTRANTO and ALAN MOORE, tho. One tiny do-over - EROS instead of ERIS. Different kind of trouble...

Oakland Oaks threw me. The Oaks were a PCL team back in the day. Across the Bay, it was the SF Seals. Now? Go Giants!

Fav of the day - DRAKE. Also, Sir Francis _, _ Cakes, and Perry Mason's buddy, Paul _

@Rex, @Casco Kid, @Mohair Sam - THE MONITOR was (is?) a Roman Catholic weekly, where one sought and found movies on the condemned list. Think it's what he meant..

@Ludyjynn - Well, one of the Orange/Black teams made it. I wish it was both. I'll be in the Bay Area during the series, wearing the colors with pride. Boo!

A pleasant Friday puzz. Thanks, MA.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

Tripped up on FASHION ICON, thought FASHIONISTA was a much better answer.

Sir Hillary 8:57 AM  

Perfectly serviceable for a Friday. Not particularly memorable, but no real garbage either.

Love is the air...RITAMORENO, AMORAL, and a MOORE (in this case, Alan).

Anyone have ----A----ED for 31A and think it might be streAmlinED? I did, but thankfully never wrote it in.

Only writeover was taRANTO, which never felt right because I had a feeling (later confirmed) that it was a little higher up the heel.

@AliasZ -- "But WAITE, there's MOORE!" Wonderful!

Mohair Sam 9:03 AM  

@Maruchka - Thanks for the jog. I have never read either The Christian Science Monitor or The Monitor (and thought I had never heard of this one). Maybe when I saw a quote from "The Monitor" I assumed it the CSM. What happens when you assume?

Lord, I hate being wrong. But thanks.

Nancy 9:07 AM  

@chefwen-- had the exact same experience as you. Raced through the west side, thinking this the easiest Friday in memory and then hit the east side wall. Like you, I really wanted Sue Grafton at 57A. This is not the first time in puzzle memory I've had to change THIN AS A Rail to THIN AS A REED. So I had ARES and EROS before ERIS, making the wonderful FASHION ICON even harder to get. Despite the many unknown proper names, I actually enjoyed this puzzle, found it a challenge, but finished.

GeezerJackYale48 9:12 AM  

Rex, you need a week off. You seem vaguely annoyed at the whole fief of puzzles lately!

DBlock 9:12 AM  

this was definitely a "if you knew it puzzle"--finished all but SE in under 10--Waite, Pyle and Rita Moreno made them a snap but then totally had to slog through the bottom, not knowing Alan Moore despite knowing Tess

furious with myself for not seeing Tabs as diet sodas--what I drank by the gallon as I watched all those TV shows in the 60s and 70s...


oldbizmark 9:20 AM  

SW was a killer. Never heard of ERIS and has EROS so FASHIONICON was a mess for me with _ASH(I)ONIC(A)N. Never heard of COMSAT, or DIRAC and while I had RITA, MORENO was a long time coming. Never watched Homeland so BRODY was a non-starter. Never heard of AMA(H)L so T(H)E KINGDOM became TREKING DAM, which obviously isn't a thing. Thought I was going to kill this puzzle when I got a bunch of easy clues to start, like DRAKE and even some longs like SOLOSHOTS but this puzzle undid me. Bad start to my Friday with a big DNF.

Charles Flaster 9:37 AM  

EZ medium in 20 minutes with half the time on the ALAN MOORE issue. Proper names were in my FIEF so got lucky there.
Liked clues for NRA, STROBES, SEEN IT ALL and FAT CITY.
Maybe next Tuesday we can get a World Series theme.
Anyway really enjoyed this puzzle so thanks to MA.

Whirred Whacks 9:38 AM  

Nice puzzle.

--Felt good knowing Paul DIRAC and Ralph WAITE.
--Knew OTRANTO because Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto often refers to it saying his family name is a butchered version of it.
--Favorite clue: "Development sites" for UTERI

I liked the contemporary MOBILE APP and Hulu contrasting with the 1960s sit-com PYLES reference.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

SHOCKING to learn that Whirred Wacks reads the Murdoch rag WSJ. No wonder he thinks the earth is flat. He can confirm this by watching Fox News, then maybe stopping by The National Review. It's all starting to make sense. Let's see if we can get him to say "anonymice" again, and still think it's clever.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:06 AM  

Good puzzle. Slowed down the most by having the apparently common write-over BEST/MOST at 1 D.

(@LHS 888 - MSS = manuscripts.)

Glad to be one of those for whom DIRAC was a gimme. Now have to see if I can find an old science fiction short story, I believe titled "Beep!", about the (fictional) DiracCast, a form of communication which included in its initial beep a condensed version of every message sent by it, past, present, and future.

mathguy 10:13 AM  

I was sure that it was Chita Rivera instead of Rita Moreno. When it wouldn't fit, I Googled her to confirm her awards and stumbled across Rita.

The Monitor was the official newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco where I grew up. Like @Maruchka, I would read the list of movies condemned by The Legion of Decency (that was really it's name). The only movie I ever recognized on that list was The Outlaw, the Howard Hughes movie with Jane Russell. The current newspaper of the archdiocese has a different name.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:19 AM  

For anyone who cares, and has an hour or two to kill, here is the original short story, actually titled "Beep", and the Wikipedia entry on a novel by the same author based on the short story.

Zeke 10:31 AM  

As @Martin is going uber-geeky on us and defending STREAMS in nerd parlance rather than common, he should at least get it right. HULU doesn't provide streams of data, it provides fixed blocks of data at the request of the viewer. When your Roku has room in its buffer for more data it asks for it, and Hulu sends a fixed block of data back. It's packet data transmission, not streaming as per the precise technical specification. Live web cams provide streams in the sense Martin would have us believe, not Hulu.

Also, streaming has existed ever since a keyboard has been attached to a computer, going back to Eniac. It has nothing whatever to do with Unix, the Wikipedia article not withstanding.

joho 10:36 AM  

AWAG may indeed be awkward but it sure conquers up a warm and fuzzy feeling! My avatar is perpetually AWAG.

@jberg, I too, had wOw for a while, not knowing ALANMOORE but got it sorted out when SOLOSHOTS came into view.

@Rex, me, too with hiT before BAT.

There was lots I didn't know here so I was very pleased to finish this Friday correctly. Always a good feeling. Thanks, Michael!

Maruchka 10:37 AM  

@mathguy - I saw The Outlaw listed, too! Think any movie with Brigitte Bardot, Jayne Mansfield, et.al., made it on. How tame it seems. BTW: Oakland was my diocese, envied you arch SF guys.

joho 10:39 AM  

NOT conquers! It's conjures!

LHS 888 10:43 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle - Thanks! I never would have figured that out on my own.

Ludyjynn 10:55 AM  

My refusal to let go of 'sitcoms' instead of recognizing STREAMS led to a big, fat DNF, but for the most part, I really liked this puzz.

At the time of his recent death, Ralph WAITE had recurring roles on two successful network franchises, playing Gibbs' Dad on "NCIS" and Booth's Grandfather on "Bones". He will be missed.

RITAMORENO was my opening answer. Saw her interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning a few months back; as active and interesting a performer as ever.

@Maruchka, thanks for your sentiments. I am still in a state of denial! Good luck to your Giants.

Thanks, MA and WS.

Carola 11:00 AM  

Too tough for me, but I enjoyed the rest a lot. It was the NW slab that did me in - STARED at it a long time before I saw TAR and ONE A. But then my British Empire enemy was the tsaR, and that, combined with my knowing nothing about Magnum, PI or Goober and being too DUMB to think of "passing" as dying but only in connection with roads, cards and laws (I tried "no voTES"), kept me from seeing the acrosses.

Didn't know the book or movie title, DIRAC, MOORE, WAITE or BRODY. Wrote in OTRANTO off the O, with a "Heck, might as well try it." Loved FAT CITY! RAH!
(FASHION ICON x FAT - see recent New Yorker article on plus size models and bloggers.)

@Rex - re: ANNO - my first thought was estd.

AliasZ 11:00 AM  

Our troll is back.

During our last attack I believe it was @Martin who was kind enough to provide a link to the Wikipedia "Troll" page, but for those who have not seen it, here is some pertinent information taken from that article (@Anonymous 9:49 will be thrilled):

"In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

Two studies published in 2013 and 2014 have found that people who are identified as trolls tend to have dark personality traits and show signs of sadism, antisocial behavior, psychopathy, and machiavellianism. The 2013 study suggested that there are a number of similarities between anti-social and flame trolling activities and the 2014 study suggested that the noxious personality characteristics known as the "dark triad of personality" should be investigated in the analysis of trolling, and concluded that trolling appears "to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism." Their relevance is suggested by research linking these traits to bullying in both adolescents and adults.

The 2014 study found that trolls operate as agents of chaos on the Internet, exploiting hot-button issues to make users appear overly emotional or foolish in some manner. If an unfortunate person falls into their trap, trolling intensifies for further, merciless amusement. This is why novice Internet users are routinely admonished, "Do not feed the trolls!"

The 2013 study found that trolls often have a high expectation of what it means to be successful, which is higher than they are able to attain.

In an effort to reduce uncivil behavior by increasing accountability, many web sites (e.g. Reuters, Facebook, and Gizmodo) now require commenters to register their names and e-mail addresses."

Back to the puzzle.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

Looks like AliasZ just identified himself as a troll!

mac 11:16 AM  

Easy Friday, where only Otranto/NRA and RAF gave me trouble.

I did have "best" for most, AWOL for retd. and AREA. Needed all the crosses for Comsat.

John V 11:22 AM  

Pretty easy, save for SE.

old timer 11:22 AM  

A tough puzzle with no wow factor or "zazz" as Rex writes. The best Fridays can be even tougher, but when you finally Get It you are STRUCK DUMB with admiration.

Figured out "eldest son" quickly, which along with "amoral", etc., gave me the NE. Wanted "solo shots" immediately, which gave me the SE, though I can't be the only solver who figured "V is for ..." had to be Sue Grafton. Thank God it did not fit.

The West half of the puzzle was much slower. For a long time all I had was "knotted". But it came together with no help from Google

quilter1 11:41 AM  

DNF as the SE corner defeated me, but I enjoyed the rest.

Arlene 11:44 AM  

I was off to a great start - knew WAITE, AMAHL, DRAKE and best of all SALAMIS (images of Katz's came to mind.) But that's where the joy ride ended. Wanted RUNWAY MODEL, but that wasn't meant to be. Even wanted CASKETS (I guess I have SEEN IT ALL lately).
Used all my resources to finish this one up, so can't complain about a filled-in grid, and a bit of an education as well.

RooMonster 11:44 AM  

Hey All !
This was on the harder side of medium, actually got the SW and NE fairly easily. My problem spots were the Center E and the hard NW! Had win in for RAH almost till the end. Wanted PalermO for the Italian city, finally figured out DYADS, (wanted DuADS),which led me to YOGA, which cancelled that. Saw FASHIONICON finally, that gave me the H in RAH, which got me the middle. Had to cry uncle in the NW and looked up Palindromania man. After that, sussed out the rest of that hard corner. Still a DNF, didn't know ALANMOORE, had the obscure ALinadORE! Didn't he write something?? Had the F in FEIF, but took all the crosses to get it. Just a few writovers, iONs for BOND, huH, then dOH for OOH (but left doh as part of the DNF), win for RAH, wanted from that, rip for MAR.

Good puz, took me some time, strained the old brain, liked the double 2007 clues. nice open corners. Happy I sussed most (95%) of it out! Yea me!!


Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Agree with the Sue Grafton folks! Never heard of Alan Moore or Otranto. Was able to finish only after changing olEo to olIo, dolt to dodo and darn to drat- which led me to diet soda. OOH was clued as 'expressionI of excitement "amongst in this mornings WSJ so I had it on my mind, I guess. Gotta say the Journal has come a long way- the Saturday puzzle is phenomenal! Patrick Berry creates the most delightful, ingenious puzzles.

Lewis 12:41 PM  

@aliasz -- great post!

This played medium/hard to me -- lots of names I didn't know. I loved the clues for TABS, NRA, and BAT. I liked STRUCKDUMB and FATCITY.

Sometimes YOGA is a means to deep spiritual insight; sometimes it engenders the opposite. It depends on how it is approached.

This puzzle made me work my brain the way I love; good one!

Fred Romagnolo 12:49 PM  

Anonymice is really clever, but that evil-tempered mouse could never appreciate it. I haven't noticed or heard of any falling off in quality since Murdoch bought the WSJ. It's definitely not a "rag." The word ICON is used much too casually these days. THE (Christian Science) MONITOR is available as a weekly on the web, but no longer (alas) in print - it was a damn good paper. I don't know how to transcribe music onto a blog, so I was hoping that @AliasZ would give us a bit of AMAHL, a charming opera. Not nearly as many ELDEST SONS are gonna inherit monarchies now that more countries are allowing Girls into the successions in terms of age.

Lewis 12:52 PM  

Factoid: Bats drink on the wing, like swallows, by sipping the surface, as they play over pools and STREAMS.

Quotoid: "If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for MOST of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month." -- Theodore Roosevelt

J McHale 1:06 PM  

To those old enough to remember the Andy Griffith show, Goober Pyle played by George Lindsey,was the brother of Gomer Pyle, played by Jim Nabors.

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

The WSJ has not won a pullitzer for reporting since whirred's hero took the reigns. This hadn't happened in its history EVER before that. I'm sure whirred sees a conspiracy at work, but the truth of the matter is that the paper has gone significantly downhill since it sold out to the right-wing loony-tune.

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

You're right, "anonymice" was clever. Once. The 300th time? Not so much.

Leapfinger 2:03 PM  

@Rex and other BEST before MOSTers: Think Guinness Book of Records, right? It's easier to use numbers to see what's most than to agree on what's best.

Don't Sue Grafton titles all have 'is' in the title?

@FredRom, I agree a visit from AMAHL would have been nice, but I also like it when @AliasZ goes for Baroque. Odd thing, the only Amahl I know in real life isn't a boy.

@r.alphbunker, you're going to drive me DIRAC and ruin; I can't do Puns On Demand! Although I do get a lot of junk by DRECK mail....

Moly Shu 2:26 PM  

DNF for me at ALANMOORE. Had ALANadORE (hi @Roo) never bothered to check dOH and missed badly on MSS. The rest was relatively easy, except for rOckeT before COMSAT and princeSseS before ELDESTSONS, and I thought I was so clever.....DIRAC, BRODY, WAITE, et al, unknown to me but crosses helped. At least DRAKE wasn't clued as a Canadian rap star, right @OIsk ?

Liked it

Lewis 2:30 PM  

@leapy -- when you do deliver a Pun On Demand, is it a podcast?

Leapfinger 2:57 PM  

Besides a handful of non-Friday entries (OOH, MSS, UMA, OLIO) and a sufficiency of insufficiently familiar names and titles, something else struck me about this puzzle... How to put it?

WAITE, WAITE, don't tell me! Let me call it the VOLE/MOLE Syndrome, which had me STRUCK DUMB in spots. Had to flip EROS/ERIS (whereI wanted Loki)
MANET/MONET (where 'Nymphes' had me wanting Matisse)
PADDLED/WADDLED (perfectly reasonable)
All the vowel-swapping curled my brain into considering THE MINOTAR in place of THE MONITOR.

In the NE, had no idea about Albert Hall, so tried DORIC; the resulting 12D -ARAME---- gave me high hopes for PARAMECIUM, but sadly not. Also would have loved to smush POSITRON into 22D.

Actual errors, like many, with FASHIONISTA, and DANG if I didn't overdodo with 'dolt' Fixing FIDO (the stereotypical name that nobody uses) and ICON were instrumental in clinching the NE...Finally.

Favourite part was that little trouble-spot in the MidEast, with the 'carrying' NRA and the Spitfire young lads of the RAF. 37D also stole my heart like a FIEF in the night.

As noted, names were a problem to many in this solve, so I won't ask that you call me Ishmael, but you can call me MOBI LEAPP.

Got some PYLES to take care of now.

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

Hi, I am an Anonymouse, and I like to ramble on about arbitrary things that I think are important, and then yell and scream like a little baby, while calling people names when the posters just don't seem to understand my views. I'm right. That's it. Damn it, people! Get your heads out of your asses! I, me, my, et.al.

DOL 3:44 PM  

My edition of the times clued 9D as "TV's gOOber

Leapfinger 3:55 PM  

lol, @Lewis, no podcast! Not to boer you, but that would be like casting peas before swine!

Also, thanks to @Barany and @bob kerfuffle for the Dirac links. I've put them in a file where are keeping Paul Erdős company; will enjoy them later at leisure. Thanks also to whoever gave the Einstein quote.

dick swart 4:11 PM  

After yesterday's Tuesday Thursday, this was a Saturday Friday for me.

I could see I was going to have to be googling too much to enjoy my morning break of coffee and an English muffin (peanut butter and orange marmalade).

Reluctantly put down my 1990s PelikanGO pen and walked over to Mac and hit Rex Parker for his analysis.

Not in a million years was I going to get this one.

I am a minor fountain pen collector and rotate through an interesting selection of old friends. Tomorrow will be a Geha School pen from the 1955. On the off-chance a reader of these comments like some detail:


Charles Flaster 4:31 PM  

I believe they were cousins but enjoyed both.
Thanks cf

Elephant's Child 4:41 PM  

Have to admit that I prefer SALMIS to SALAMIS. Eh? Eh?

@AliasZ: WAITE just a minute! Are you saying that Nicolas Chédeville wasn't using an alias, but committing compositional forgery? Like some anonyrodents? I guess he had the sense to do this after 1741.

jberg 4:45 PM  

I had to post, briefly, from my phone this morning while on the way to a 9AM appointment across town. So just to add a couple of things --

The CSM is frequently called THE MONITOR here in Boston, where it is published. When it was a daily, and when there were newsstands, it was available at most of them. I hadn't seen it for some time, but hadn't realized that it had gone weekly, or monthly, or whatever it is, but I knew it must be right. I really doubt if it's that condemned-movie sheet, at least in the constructor's intention.

@Fred Romagnolo, you don't have to transcribe anything, just find it on the web and embed the link. There are instructions for embedding on @Rex's FAQ, which is well worth reading in any case.

I, too, thought of Sue Grafton first -- but not only was there no "is" but her V is for Vengeance. (It's on the bookshelf next to me, but I wasn't here while solving, and didn't peek.)

Now that I'm home, I could do a little searching and confirmed my earlier guess V for Vendetta gave us the figure in the Guy Fawkes mask adopted as a symbol by our old friend Anonymous. "Expect us!"

Anonymous 4:52 PM  

Another thing I learned today: Vivaldi is not only a low-calorie, low-CHO 'tater, but also a crater on the planet Hg.

dk 5:10 PM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOONs)

And, the 3 letter fill: ABA, RAF and BAT elicited a wtf pour moi.

HA! I knew DIRAC

Remember, remember…. the cannoli.
Watch both V for Vendetta and The Godfather to make sense of that lame little: Joke?

john towle 5:25 PM  

If you go to Europe, you will hear everyone referring to their cellular phones as "my mobile" They are not referring to their "autos" (cars)



NYer 7:30 PM  


"Newsweekly's" - seriously?

Martin 8:31 PM  


I'm not sure what an Eniac keyboard has to do with a "stream" in the (yes) Unix and Hulu sense, but you're mingling low levels of the protocol stack (how the data is delivered) with higher levels (how the data is used). Of course there's TCP/IP and packets under the covers, but the fact that you don't have to download the entire movie before you can watch it makes it a stream, by definition.

Zeke 9:08 PM  

@Martin - You started the geek fest, I just took it one step further, where a stream is input of indeterminate size and, in cases, nature In this, its most primal sense, a keyboard is the prototype stream input (hence the Eniac keyboard, and no to Unix's inventing strams), whatever receives the input has no expectations of the size or frequency of the input. Hulu doesn't do that - it sends buckets of data upon request. Comcast does that, it just sends data. So, if we're being geeky about it, Comcast streams, Hulu sends buckets. And yes, there's a difference, a huge one as you're processing the data received.

The whole point being what one wishes to examine the definition - common parlance, some depth, great depth. At common parlance Rex was right, at some depth you were right, at great depth you were wrong.

Anonymous 9:17 PM  

Wow, I'm confused, too much geek speak. Not even remotely a clue as to what any of it means.

Teedmn 9:24 PM  

I Erik three 12 packs of Tab a week but huH instead of OOH kept me from seeing that way too long. The Y in YOGA was my last fill - couldn't get past DiADS or DuADS. Doh!

Turf rather than FIEF and Toto became a dog's tag and when I figured out FIDO, replaced turf with FIat. A tough SE

STRUCK mute and iPhone APP didn't help my time any either. I'm feeling somewhat schizo doing the syndicated at the same time as the real time puzzle because I can't remember if we just saw thin as a reed this week or 5 weeks ago (also this week for me). Oh well, only another 3 weeks and my time space continuum (love words with double "u's") will be all caught up!

Teedmn 9:26 PM  

Drink, I drink Tab. Who is Erik :-)

Hartley70 10:21 PM  

46 minute prize fight between me and this puzzle. I think I only knew WAITE and RITAMORENO right off the BAT, which I didn't see at first. I had a hard time exactly where Casco Kid got stuck and in the southwest. Tough one but doable in the end

sanfranman59 10:33 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 5:56, 6:03, 0.98, 41%, Medium
Tue 7:23, 7:50, 0.94, 32%, Easy-Medium
Wed 8:26, 9:30, 0.89, 25%, Medium-Easy
Thu 15:27, 17:01, 0.91, 34%, Easy-Medium
Fri 20:19, 19:31, 1.04, 63%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:13, 4:04, 1.04, 65%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:04, 5:21, 0.95, 28%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:18, 6:12, 0.85, 10%, Easy
Thu 9:44, 10:29, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium
Fri 12:55, 12:34, 1.03, 56%, Medium

Anonymous 11:35 PM  


How can you tell a dead whelk?

Anonymous 11:43 PM  


Pleeeze! work on your sentence structure.

Davis 4:20 PM  

Years before we met, my wife worked at the Christian Science Monitor as an editor (you don't have to be a Christian Scientist to work there). She refers to it as THE MONITOR pretty much 100% of the time.

rondo 10:41 AM  

More difficult than medium for me s I WADDLED through. Thank God for crosses where I needed them. Bad start right away with beST for MOST so that slogged that area for a while. RITAMORENO a definite gimme. UMA's a yeah baby.
Gotta be MaNET or MONET with that N in the midst.Got the other names though crosses. UTERI passes the breakfast test?

531 - back on the hot streak?1

spacecraft 11:12 AM  

Like many a DRAKE, I WADDLED through this--but in a third of yesterday's time. Thursday was a grizzly; today was still ursine, but more of a panda. Only not so cute (UMA and RITA, and especially TESS, excepted!)

I didn't fall through the Sue Grafton trapdoor because all her titles contain the verb "is." If she'd written that, it would've been "V is for Vendetta." I think it's Verdict, anyway.

I did not like ONONESWAY ONE bit. "Dumbstruck" is way more familiar to me than the backwards thing at 26d. Amusing that the THINASARAIL FASHIONICON should cross FATCITY. Needed every cross for OTRANTO; that and STREAMS (?) were my last entries: guesses. B-.

792: FATCITY, but still have to chop the pot.

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

Congrats, Your Spacecraftiness, you are a winner. I liked this puzz but admit to looking up the Alan Moore clue and Ralph Waite. I knew the RAF but hesitated and finally put down fief, which I don't understand and will research. It took a while to get Dodo after first having fool, dope, dolt, etc. Oh well.

Ron Diego (No nos.)

DMG 1:41 PM  

Found this one a challenge, and wasn't helped by the fact that my duck pADDLED, leading to the unknown Mr. pAITE. Other than that I fought through all but the SE. Started badly there with Salerno, which I was never able to wholly correct, even though a lot of crosses said "no way". Not helped by cOlAS and DOlt, This corner remained a mess. Unknowns included the author, baseball term (SOLO what?) and an Irish party. So it goes some days

However 1071 gives me a tie with@Spacecraft, so all is not lost!

eastsacgirl 2:36 PM  

Official DNF but only by 2 letters. Breezed through most except SE. ALANMOORE got me. OTRANTO wouldn't come to mind either. And why did I have such a hard time with STREAMS? Was almost last clue I got. OOH!

ecanarensis 3:02 PM  

@bob kerfuffle; thanks for the link to the story! Don't have that one in any of my anthologies. I've loved SF since I got Lester del Ray's "The Runaway Robot" from the Scholastic Book Service back when dinos roamed the earth. Like Blish, love many of the Golden Age writers, esp Eric Frank Russell. Will spend the next month reading old mags on that archive!

Dirigonzo 4:22 PM  

I sailed down the eastern seaboard and around the gulf coast with nary a hitch but it took a long while to find a way into the west. I managed it though, with lots of the same write-over as others. The Olympian troublemaker ERoS almost had me make the same type of dyslexic mistake with FASHoiN as I made yesterday but today I caught the mistake for a happy ending.

102 - I think I could total my whole week's numbers and not reach 9.

Anonymous 6:56 PM  

Man am I lame! Dnf with gross mistakes and ignorance! Now for happy hour!

not a robot 12:03 AM  

Syndication here. AWAG? Really? It got me so worked up (I guessed it early on and thought 'no, not even on a bad day') that I quibble over whether the BOERs were really belligerent against the British Empire or just against the various colonies of southern Africa.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

I am confused by this - why does the answer to a clue appear in Grey (i.e. DIETSODAS with the T in a Red box???

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