Violinist Leopold / WED 10-1-14 / Apollo Daphne sculptor / Robert Redford's great 1975 role / Lexicographer James who was OED's first editor

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: INSIDE DOPE (61A: Lowdown … or a hint to 17-, 24-, 36- and 53-Across) — letter string "DOPE" hidden inside four theme answers:

Theme answers:
  • GRAND OPERA (17A: Genre of Verdi's "Jérusalem")
  • AVOCADO PEAR (24A: Guacamole base, in British lingo)
  • PRIED OPEN (36A: Used a crowbar on, say)
  • WALDO PEPPER (53A: Robert Redford's "great" 1975 role)
Word of the Day: "The Great WALDO PEPPER" —
The Great Waldo Pepper is a 1975 drama film directed, produced, and co-written by George Roy Hill. Set during 1926–1931, the movie stars Robert Redford as a disaffected World War I veteran pilot who missed the opportunity to fly in combat and his sense of dislocation post-war in the America of the early 1920s. Margot KidderBo SvensonEdward Hermann and Susan Sarandon round out the cast. […]  Leonard Maltin noted that the film disappointed at the box office … (wikipedia)
• • •

Wow, the bulk of this puzzle must've been waaaaay on the easy side, because I finished with a Tuesday-like time despite not having any clue about two of the theme answers (AVOCADO PEAR, WALDO PEPPER). Why would add the "PEAR" part, British people? What other kinds of AVOCADO are you distinguishing it from? Puzzling. As for the Redford movie, you have to be reasonably old and/or a Big fan of Redford (and/or aviation) movies to have heard of that movie, I think. I was alive in 1975, but at six years old, not really the target audience for the Redford movie (I'm guessing). I love doing Liz Gorski puzzles because I know I'm in the hands of a pro. If you're a fan of hers, or if you're just looking for another good easyish (M/T-level) puzzle to do each week, you should really check out her Puzzle Nation puzzles (subscribe here). She is perhaps the only independent constructor I know dedicated to making good Easy puzzles.

This puzzle didn't excite me as much as some of her other puzzles, for a number of reasons. The short fill is too often quite stale and the longer Downs don't have as much character as I'd like (though the NW is pretty decent, and I like the pair of longish Across answers that she manages to squeeze into the grid: BRUCE LEE and LIME TREE—not easy to do in a grid already crowded with five themers). Also, this theme was overly familiar to me. I've seen a version done with INFO (it was a Sunday puzzle actually titled "INSIDE DOPE" from five years back). I then wrote a response-puzzle with a similar title ("Inside Dope, Part 2"), but with a completely different theme (you can get that puzzle here) (or just read about it here). So the theme didn't strike me as original—but I do a ****-ton of puzzles, so that's not that surprising. As an example of its kind (the hidden-word theme), it's nicely done. Only non-theme answers I had trouble with were MURRAY (which I got entirely, albeit quickly, from crosses), BERNINI (whom I confused with Roberto BENIGNI and Brunetto LATINI and whoever BELLINI is simultaneously), and OWLISH (which is … not a word I know) (47D: Studious looking).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Steve J 12:09 AM  

Serviceable but not terribly exciting. Decent theme, well-executed, and a couple nice clues, but this didn't have much verve, especially compared to many of her puzzles.

And then there was UNMEANT. I'm sure its out there somewhere, but I can't recall ever running into it in the wild.

JTHurst 12:12 AM  

Facing the pitcher, so to speak. I really liked this puzzle. My answers flowed from the center down to the south east where I saw 'inside dope' and the theme opened up for me. Like Rex said the Northwest also caused me trouble and I could not scope out 1 and 2 down and 13, 17, and 23 across. So I DNFed.

I hope AliasZ or someone can explain to me are there Minor operas? I thought all operas were Grand.

Mike in DC 12:17 AM  

I smiled when I saw the constructor's name. Liz Gorski builds first-rate puzzles, and this was no exception.

The Great Waldo Pepper is, the late Roger Ebert wrote, "a film of charm and excitement." It is also "a most appealing movie" and "healthily romantic," wrote the late Vincent Canby. It isn't Redford's best, but it is still good, wrote I.

Thanks, Liz.

Whirred Whacks 12:25 AM  

It's always a delight to have DNA as answer. Here's my all time favorite example of DNA. Take a look:

Miss Cleo's DNA Test

Fun puzzle, by the way.

JTHurst 12:35 AM  

@Whirred No Miss Cleo doesn't lie, that little dimpled chin is his. That is the best belly-laugh I have had in a while. Thanks Whirred

wreck 12:37 AM  

Easier and faster than Tuesday for me. Maybe my expectations are too low, but I thought this was a just fine and appropriate Wednesday puzzle. I thought fill was decent for the most part.

Multitasking while watching a GREAT ball game --- Go Royals!

LHS 888 12:38 AM  

This must have been easy, else I'm getting better at these things. BERNINI was the first word I dropped in. (I was lucky enough to see this sculpture close up at the Galleria Borghese in Rome. Absolutely stunning!) From there it was a march around the grid filling in answers as quickly as I could read the clues. I knew The Great WALDOPEPPER from having seen the film years ago. One error I had to go find before Mr. Happy Pencil: ISAIDsO before ISAIDNO. Going too fast, I guess.


Liked clues for INORBIT, ANGELIC, COO.

Favorite word: UNCOUTH

Liked it. Thanks ECG!

jae 12:39 AM  

Not easy for me. Instead, mostly medium except for the NW which was tough.  I did not know BERNINI, guessed at the Madonna song, had trouble with the LII clue, and had DOPERA and...nothing.  OVATION and vaguely recalling NEVA from past puzzles got it straightened out.

WALDO PEPPER OTOH was a gimme.

Erasure: SwEEtEN before STEEPEN

A Wed. I had to work for with a low dreck grid, liked it.

LHS 888 12:48 AM  

@Whirred - I just got a load of the Miss Cleo clip. What a hoot! Does that make it or me OWLISH?

OldCarFudd 12:51 AM  

There are also light operas, comic operas, soap operas and horse operas.

Martin 12:55 AM  

Recently we had opéra-comique, which doesn't mean comic opera. Likewise, grand opera has a very specific definition and historical context.

Anonymous 1:04 AM  

Just guessing, but I suspect that Rex may have his AVOCADO PEAR question backwards. The Brits are probably distinguishing it from other pears, not other avocados. My guess is that they were probably originally marketed that way when they first were imported (way back when) and the name stuck. So you can probably blame it on some small greengrocer's stall in London's Covent Garden (market). Anyway as a Brit/Canadian I've often heard both used. Alligator pear, not so much. Whatever the case... they're delicious!


Martin 1:13 AM  

Brits distinguish between the avocado (a tree) and its fruit (avocado pears). It's perfectly logical.

AliasZ 1:18 AM  

I love a Liz Gorski puzz on a Wednesday.

I had easy access to the INSIDE DOPE today -- I have connections. I just stepped on the crescenDOPEdal and used the standarDOPErating procedure to dig up my knowledge of InDOPErsian languages and with my minDOPEned, made easy work of this puzzle.

Gian Lorenzo BERNINI (1598-1680) was an Italian artist and a prominent architect, and the leading sculptor of his age, credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture. He also painted, wrote plays, and designed metalwork and stage sets. His best known work is as the Chief Architect of St. Peter's Basilica, and within it, the Baldacchino, the likes of which have not been seen before. It was an excellent choice having his name next to ANGELIC. BERNINI himself couldn't have chosen it better, as these angels on the Ponte St. Angelo can clearly prove.

For some music, instead of a GRANDOPERA, Leopold AUER or ADAM Lambert, let me offer the Legend No. 2 St. Francis of Paola walking on the water by Franz Liszt, as performed by VlaDOPErlemuter (1904-2002), Lithuanian-born French pianist.

Hartley70 1:23 AM  

I've heard AVOCADO PEAR used years ago, before they became widely eaten in New England. I like her puzzles but I was unhappy with UNMEANT and TEENER, too forced and made me wince. WALDO PEPPER came easily but it made me smile to remember what a heartthrob Redford was in those days. I liked STEEPEN a lot because it feels a bit obsolete to me. BERNINI was nice for a change, let's mix that marble up!

chefwen 1:43 AM  

I signed up for Elizabeth's Crossword Nation right from the beginning because I truly love her puzzles. This one was not an exception. It's fun to get my weekly "bonus" puzzle. Not too difficult, not too easy, just right.

At the bottom we have DOPE over ROPE which is was my husband called our cat who used to take walks with us and the dogs wearing a leash. "DOPE on a ROPE" He was one great cat, a Morris kitty who made it to 20. He used to standing OVATIONS when he walked in to the Vets office sporting his leash.

chefwen 1:52 AM  

Kitty erased my comment AGAIN!

I signed up for Liz's Crossword Nation from the onset. I love her puzzles and this one was not an exception. It's fun to get my "bonus" crossword puzzles every Monday afternoon. They are not too difficult, not too easy, just right.

I loved having DOPE over ROPE at the bottom. My husband called our Morris kitty "DOPE on a ROPE" as he used to take walks with us and the dogs wearing a leash. The big guy (20 pounder) would get standing OVATIONs when he would walk into the vets office on his leash.

Cute puzzle, Liz, thank you.

Let's try to publish this before the saboteur strikes again.

Virginia 1:53 AM  

I was a TEENER when "The Great WALDO PEPPER" came out. Redford was some STUD back then, although I thought his later movie with the magic BAT would never end. Also, it's nice to see all these cheerful comments with no UNCOUTH folks getting into a SNIT.

Bottom line: Easy and fun! I'm becoming a huge Liz Gorski fan.

chefwen 2:06 AM  

Sorry about the dupe, thought kitty had erased my first comment, apparently not. Tried to erase one of them, but the system won't let me. Sorry to bore you with the same story. Sigh...

ZenMonkey 3:20 AM  

Very enjoyable.

One exception: TEENER was the worst thing, possibly ever, as clued. A "teener" is also slang for 1/16 oz, generally in reference to cocaine or heroin. A teener of each makes up a speedball (1/8 oz).

This is not from experience, but it still made me laugh, clued the more innocent way as it was.

Loren Muse Smith 4:49 AM  

Seeing words embedded between phrases always pleases me to no end. (More than once, I've considered "inside scoop," got as far as "Chris Cooper," and then just called it a day.)

I agree that Liz' puzzles are always great. "Couth" comes to mind – she usually has art and music entries, and I just feel so pleased with myself when I get things like AUER and GRAND OPERA.

Alas, my couthness only goes so far. I had a dnf because I didn't know BERNINI, and "Vernini" worked just fine for me, crossing Madonna's "Take a Vow." Oh well. In retrospect, I could have gone with Cernini or Sernini; Madonna's oeuvre is as inaccessible to me as Bernini's.

@LHS 888 – I thought of "I said so" first, too.

Liked SAUDI, DESERT, PLO, DUST all in one grid. I received an email yesterday from an old undergrad friend who is now an Arab specialist at Michigan. He told me that my first-ever linguistics professor, Dr. Lowell Bouma, had died. RIP, Dr. Bouma. Your enthusiasm for language was contagious and altered the course of my life.

Liz – your puzzles neva fail to entertain. Do kids still use the word "dope" for "great?"

Charles Flaster 5:03 AM  

EZ ---7 minutes but fun.
Agree with most of previous comments and nothing to add.
Thanks ECG.

Doris 6:46 AM  

Whenever I see the word UNCOUTH, I can't help thinking of Judy Holliday's memorable delivery of the line in "Born Yesterday" (1950), " You're just not COUTH!"

Davidph 7:23 AM  

PLO is Gaza grp? I thought Hamas kicked the PLO out of Gaza.

Mohair Sam 7:30 AM  

Always enjoy Liz Gorski puzzles and this was no exception. Maybe a little easy for a Wednesday, but the constructor does not pick the days.

BERNINI a gimme here, but for a different reason. When I was very young my father had a boss named Mr. BERNINI. At least twice a week dinner table conversation started with Dad saying, "That goddamn BERNINI." Later I learned about the Italian genius, and the name has stuck forever.

@Whirred - thanks for the Miss Cleo link, she's the best.

Usually like Redford's work, and usually agree with Ebert reviews - but not today - The Great WALDOPEPPER is a terrible flick.

RooMonster 7:45 AM  

Hey All!
Medium over here. That NW corner was a bit hard. Last area to fall. I see she used some cheater squares. Triple stack corners are nice, however. The big question is TEENER?? Are we making up words now? Just so you can get a fill? UNMEANT is another shaky entry.

maD for ODD
fIlm for CINE

PrESTO, I'm out...


Glimmerglass 7:46 AM  

I've never cared for AVOCADO or the green slime made from it. However, my mother loved them and called them aligator PEARs. They are sort of pear-shaped and the skin is reptilian.

Casco Kid 7:46 AM  

Tough for me, but a successful exercise in sussing. Things I didn't (and really still don't) know
Take ABOW, the Madonna "hit"
STUD formal wear
NEVA river
GRANDOPERA (smacks of green paint, frankly. I prefer GREATOPERA, myself. Actually, I don't. Opera is at its best long after the fat lady has stopped singing.)
BERNINI the sculptor
Leopold AUER, the violinist
AVOCADOPEAR, the British fruit

The puzzle was ultimately doable because I made relatively few missteps on what I did know, so sussing was possible.
gEnyER before TEENER. Is TEENER a thing? No. No, it isn't.

So, a sigh of relief for this clean solve in nearly twice my regular Wednesday time.

JohnV 8:17 AM  

2d/3a cross snagged me, knowing neither the river nor the sculpter.

RAD2626 8:17 AM  

Thought it was a good Wednesday puzzle. SW harder for me than the apparently harder NW for everyone else. Did not know WALDO, PALM OIL, or DELTA right off so took some staring. Sad commentary on me that I got the American IDOL clue yesterday immediately but struggled with Biblical IDOL today. No idea how long puzzle took since I did it while watching great KC/Oakland game and kept getting distracted.

@Whirred. Great clip. May use Miss Cleo in the rough Friday or Saturday puzzle moments.

Lewis 8:21 AM  

With so much theme, you have to allow for an occasional teener or unmeant. There was very little grid gruel besides. Didn't shine as brightly as some of Liz's puzzles, but had that standard quality feel that they always impart.

It's just the way my brain works, but there were an extraordinary number of words whose first and last letters made very common words: AW, BE, IT, UH, HA, OH, ON, WE, MY, and AM. There are more in the puzzle, but these were the most common.

Rex, looking at your review yesterday, a follow up question: Did today's puzzle qualify for the NYT "gold standard"?

joho 8:22 AM  

Does a STUD go to the PROM wearing ABOW tie? Needless to say, this puzzle got me off to a fun start!

Moving on down the grid I saw the script direction, "ENTER BRUCELEE."

These are just added amusements to the already entertaining puzzle.

Yes, @Loren Muse Smith -- glad to see you! -- Liz's puzzles often include art and music and, I think, oftentimes food, too. I could see a beautifully lit pic of a perfect AVOCADOPEAR salad with fresh PESTO on the side and perhaps a LIME just off the TREE.

I also like SAUDI next to DESERT.

Very nice Wednesday, thank you Ms. Gorksi!

Z 8:35 AM  

Why do the French call a potato a "pomme de terre" (apple of the earth)? Because language flows from the logic of people. I got the PEAR part right away and was mildly disappointed that the Brits hadn't come up with something more colorful.

INSIDE DOPE is familiar, but straight DOPE is what I wanted first. I had STR down before I realized I wasn't going to have enough squares.

I lost track of Madonna's oeuvre soon after Like a Virgin. Vogue was also enough of an earworm to make it into my long-term memory, but those two songs, being from metro Detroit, and conical bras is pretty much the extent of my Madonna knowledge. Taylor Swift has been around long enough that some of her TEENER fans are now young adults.

Very sneaky way to clue the RRN. LII demerits anyway.

@Davidph - Your statement, put in an American context, is like saying "I thought the Republicans kicked the Dems out of Texas."

Lewis 8:35 AM  

Factoid: Time Magazine called BRUCE LEE one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Quotoid: "To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities." -- BRUCE LEE

Arlene 8:36 AM  

I like when I can get the titles I don't know from the crosses - so satisfying not to have to Google them.

But I did know BERNINI - my favorite college courses were my art history electives. That info seems to stay with me over the decades.

Glimmerglass 8:42 AM  

I've never been fond of AVOCADO or the green slime made from it. However, my mother loved then. She called them alligator PEARs (c. 1960). They are sort of pear-shaped, and the skin might be described as reptilian.

Z 8:56 AM  

@M&A - @pauer shared this on Twitter, obviously with you in mind.

Andrew Morrison 8:59 AM  

WALDOPEPPER brings to mind that horrible president who was so horrible and I can't believe the puzzle would have anything to do with that horrible man or his party or anyone who voted for....wait, no. Nothing like that. As you were.

Easy. Fun. Not sure the word TEENER has ever actually been uttered, but no matter.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

I just can not get excited by Ms. Gorski's work. We are told endlessly how difficult it is to construct good, easy puzzles, and no doubt it is true. But in the end, it's still an easy puzzle and not much fun to solve.

Jeff 9:19 AM  

Rex states: "[Gorski] is perhaps the only independent constructor I know dedicated to making good Easy puzzles."

I would like to add that I'm really enjoying Andrew Ries's crossword service, which he does easy puzzles every three weeks. This last week's puzzle, for instance, was a perfect example of an early-week puzzle. Aries doesn't have the name recognition of Gorski or others, but if this year is any indication, he's certainly talented enough to be in the conversation.

RooMonster 9:21 AM  

Nice! Did you catch that it is in the Southern part of the Northern Territory in Central Australia? Trippy!


dk 9:25 AM  

OO (2 mOOns)

Fun but a little 18d.

I wanted the opposite of GRANDOPERA penny opera… but that was wrong

What Hartley70 wrote except I am not a fan of STEEPEN --- that is what my afternoon tea does whilst I be awaiten.

Picken green tomatoes today after a bit of predictive modeling.

quilter1 9:25 AM  

Happy to see the Gorski by-line today. I liked OWLISH--conjures an image of a kid in big glasses reading a book. BERNINI fell easily, also disliked TEENER, but what the heck. The rest was good.

chefbea 9:34 AM  

Fun puzzle but DNF. Never heard of waldo pepper. Have seen many Bernini's in person in Rome. Have 2 small replicas sitting on our mantel.

TBSP - two days in a row!!!

Fred Smith 9:36 AM  

Hartley70, re: Redford Heartthrob --

My wife grew up on the same street in Westport CT that Paul Newman (Redford's buddy) lived on.

Each morning when visiting (fairly often), RR would take his morning constitutional by walking down the street toward the drug store on the main drag to get newspapers.

Funny how all the women on the stree liked to do their front-yard garden work early in the morning. ;-)

Ludyjynn 9:40 AM  

I see a secondary theme: the color green. Witness: AVOCADO, PEAR, PEPPER, LIME, TREE, DOPE, PALM, PESTO, DRAB (as in olive green).

Nice mid-week puzz. Learned two new names: MURRAY and AUER. Hope to commit them to memory. We shall see!
Thanks. ECG and WS.

jberg 9:45 AM  

Nice theme, OK puzzle I felt -- too many OTOES (who were in Oklahoma last week, and have now moved up to the Platte Valley), RRNs, etc. And STEEPEN. And I'm with @davidph on Gaza and the PLO.

My major problems were 1) Not wanting to give up Alligator PEAR, and 2) having the final PER at 53A and confidently adding the do, then trying to figure out what kind of great DOPER Redford had been. (@Rex, I was 32 in 1975, and I never heard of the movie either.)

@Casco, your question about opera had been answered in earlier comments.

Not really a fault of the puzzle, but LIME TREE jarred a bit -- there were all these British clues, and what the Brits call a lime tree is what we call a sycamore, whose fruit we don't pick at all.

Fred Smith 9:46 AM  

DavidPh --

Nope, the Israelis didn't kick the PLO out of Gaza. In fact, they want them to stay there. See Tom Friedman's column in today's paper:

Fred 9:53 AM  


Israel wants the PLO in Gaza, see:

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

I LOVE it. A boring theme that rex has seen before, an easy puzzle, and weak fill, but because rex is intimate with the constructor he gives it a thumbs up.
I sloppily DNF because I thought "Take a VOW" fit more with Madonna's whole "like a virgin" motif. I should go DOPEnance.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

There's no definition of "tone up" that means to build muscles. Muscle tone refers to tension in the muscle.
"Bulk up" is a similar term that does mean to build muscles.

Leapfinger 10:04 AM  

As noted, this ECG showed a few signs of a-fib, bt still had remarkably good output: as we used to say, a cardiac cockle-warmer! Nice working in the ROPE-a-DOPE, and plenty of fun clue-entries. COO, the gall of BRUCE LII is growing on me! Liked ONEBC, and I think OWLISH R US.

Neat subtheme of Middle Eastern entries, as noted by @several. Before reading the 15D clue, the partial fill had me thinking it would be SANDY... SANDY Arabia? I kind of like that.

CINE Coup d'Oest
PAL MOIL, Bud Toil
STREP UNTO ADAM, Staph UNTO Eve; the Serpent must B. cereus, and LINUS not into DELTAtion (PALM 23)

@lms, happy to see you back.
@Lewis, Am loving your Factitious Quotients, and look for them every day.
@Alias, wondering whether Vlado is Lithanian for WALDO? It seems those Frenchies have been ATIT again, changing the original VladU. And Perlemuter? Definitely must have been Perlmutter to start!
For my part, I have no nit with VlaDO's Ravel'd Sleave of Care at Couperin's Tombeau


Hartley70 10:14 AM  

@FredSmith I know that street! Paul once walked up behind me at Baskin Robbins as I was being handed a cone and I promptly dumped the ice cream on the floor. I behaved more appropriately when his wife Joanne sat next to me at the salon. Oh and Redford walked up to me on 57th St in NYC, patted my golden retriever and said, "Nice Dog!" Who needs Kevin Bacon and 6 degrees when you've actually laid eyes on that golden trio.

Fred 10:23 AM  

Hartley70 --

Paul and Joanne were both very down-to-earth people. They contributed much time and money to local causes, and their kids went to Westport public schools. Their house was a fairly modest one -- by the town's standards, anyway.

Locals who saw them around town certainly took note of their presence, but respected their privacy.

Leapfinger 10:29 AM  

@Anon 10:03, you're right, I forgot my nit about that. I had wanted Build muscles to be 'bulk up'. Toning works as much on stretching and loosening as it does on building up: more reps, less weight.

Slith 10:33 AM  

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were very down-to-earth people. Contributed much time and money to town activities, lived in a fairly modest house.

old timer 11:15 AM  

It was a good puzzle and not easy at all if you did not know some of the names. I thought Rex would like it because there was very little dreck in the fill.

Except for OTOE. I know genocide is a horrible crime, but if some evil person had wiped out the entire tribe a couple of centuries ago, crossword solvers like me would have been grateful.

And TEENER, which is. not. a. word. Besides the dope unit, it seems to exist almost entirely as a category of youth baseball.

Z 11:23 AM  

@Leapfinger - in many sports too much muscle bulk is viewed as a negative, and so the goal is to "TONE up." This is especially true in sports like baseball, soccer, and ultimate, any sport where the fast twitch muscles are more import than the slow twitch muscles. I first thought of "bulk" as well, but it was a quick correction when I saw STREP. Definitely a usage I've heard often.

AliasZ 11:47 AM  

Why is UNMEANT any less acceptable than unintended? We all have experienced unmeant comedy, gestures or insults and their unintentional consequences. In many cases UNCOUTH behavior is unmeant.

I meant to tell you something else too but I changed my mind. I unmeant it.

If NLer, CBer and AOLer are acceptable, we should have no problem with TEENER. One can never be too rich or too teen. The TEENER the better.

On another matter, to "build muscles" in the broader sense definitely means to TONE up. Toning up, to define and shape the muscles, absolutely builds them. A muscular arm looks well toned, rather than a string of spaghetti, no? We are not talking musclebound bodybuilders here.

I cannot get Mr. VlaDOPErlemuter, DOPE INSIDE and fingers a-leap, out of my mind. I simply must offer you this Chopin Etude. The tomb of Couperin was also marvelous -- it had no veil draped over it. Thanks, @Leap fingers.

And for those who weren't interested enough to read the entire article on GRAND OPERA that @Martin was kind enough to provide, I thought a picture is worth a thousand words. The following snippet will give you an idea what that sounds like, although I am sure most of you already know. Here is the Finale of Act II from Les Huguenots by Giacomo Meyerbeer (born Jacob Liebmann Beer, 1791-1864).

JenCT 12:28 PM  

@Whirred Whacks: I remember that commercial! Here's an update on Miss Cleo: Where's Miss Cleo now?

@chefwen: You said it, Liz Gorski puzzles are "just right." (She's also super-nice in person.)

Fred Romagnolo 12:30 PM  

Call me a patsy, but TEENER didn't bother me, and UNMEANT is perfectly correct in usage. If there's any spoken dialogue, then technically it aint GRAND OPERA. Bernini IS Rome, he's everywhere, not just in musems, fountains, architecture, etc. Very familiar with Alligator PEAR. I thought the Brits called Sycamorers "plane trees." STUDs are little pearl or rhinestone pins you stick on the front of your dress shirt. (could be diamonds, rubies, or pearls if you work in Silican Valley, abt 35 miles south of S. F.)

Victor Hugo 12:34 PM  

Je remplirai tes petits bras
Et peut-etre tu souriras


Fred Romagnolo 12:34 PM  

That's SilicOn Valley

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Alligator pear is the only possible usage if you grew up in the fifties and learned to cook by reading the Joy of Cooking. Puzzle was so bad I drove my wife out of the room because of my ranting. Very unfun.

Steve J 12:54 PM  

@AliasZ: "Why is UNMEANT any less acceptable than unintended?"

Because people actually used "unintended", while"unmeant" is hardly ever used (4.86 million results in Google for the former, compared to 107k for the latter).

Personally, I like my crosswords to feature language actually in use. That's why UNMEANT (as well as TEENER) were problematic for me, and probably for others.

AliasZ 1:36 PM  

@Steve J

Thanks for clearing that up for me.

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

Even for a Wednesday, this wasn't easy.

Zeke 2:20 PM  

Of all the definitions of GRANDOPERA proferred, none are as good as my working definition: One I've never been subjected to any part of.

retired_chemist 2:41 PM  

"Je remplirai tes petits bras
Et peut-etre tu souriras"

First translation :

I remember your small bras
And possibly your sisters.


Nice puzzle. Had opera seria before GRAND OPERA, but the crosses quickly told me OPERA went at the end. Had not heard of the PEAR part of 24A - learned something. Yay.

PALMate before PALM OIL. Sodium Palmate is indeed a substantial component of many soaps. Once a chemist, always a chemist, I suppose.....

St. Petersburg's river - went through a lot of four letter rivers before crosses gave NEVA to me. Probably none of the others were anywhere near St. P. geographically.

Thanks, Ms.Gorski.

Offenbach in a Minute 3:07 PM  

Now is the time for all good men to come to the Aida the Grand Opera.

Senza vernice Verdi.

Z 3:28 PM  

@retired chemist - I think you have a future as a translator.

To Victor Hugo the Spoils 3:31 PM  

@retired chemist, I was afraid something like that would happen.


Fred Smith 3:51 PM  


Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were very down-to-Earth, lived in a fairly modest house, gave lots of time and money to worthy causes in the town. Their kids went to the public schools.

sanfranman59 4:09 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 9:36, 9:29, 1.01, 58%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:42, 6:12, 1.08, 72%, Medium-Challenging

Whirred Whacks 5:12 PM  

Looks like a lot of Miss Cleo fans here:
@LHS 888
@Mohair Sam
and special thanks to @JenCT for update on Miss Cleo!

I wonder what the future holds?
Will Thursday's X-word have a rebus?

Fred 7:09 PM  

Hartley70 -

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were both very down-to-Earth people. They lived in a fairly average house, and gave lots of their support, time, and money to community causes.

Anonymous 7:18 PM  

Question to readers--

Have you had posts in your name repeatedly erased, after posting something objecting to an issue regarding Rex or his circle of posting buddies here?

Anonomous (for a reason)

Anonymous 8:13 PM  

Have posters who have challenged some of the views posted by Rex and his friends noticed their posts erases soon after posting? I just posted the same question, and like many of my posts it appeared and shortly thereafter disappeared. Am I paranoid about Rex.

Anonymous 8:55 PM  


Are you afraid of any post or poster that challenges the views of you our our friends?

geordiegirl 9:03 PM  

@davidph - The PLO is still officially represented at the UN.

Z 9:06 PM  

@Deleted Anonymous - Never. However, the functionality exists to block specific posters, even anonymice are blockable. So Rex certainly could have blocked you from posting. If you are the one responsible for certain recent trollery the rest of us are thankful. Doing a quick search and seeing some posts no longer show up in my search results, 👏👏👏👏👏 (Those are clapping hands).

Anonymous 10:13 PM  

Z -

I'm not sure what you call "trollery". I objected, along with others, to Barany's self-promotion on the site. But he and a handful of others (MAS comes to mind) aren't to be chastised in Rex's domain, apparently.

I wonder how long this post will stay up ...

LHS 888 11:42 PM  

Still L-ingOL @retired_chemist's marvelous command of the French language. It has been the gift that keeps on giving. ^_^

sanfranman59 12:20 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 7:15, 6:03, 1.20, 96%, Challenging (12th highest ratio of 247 Mondays)
Tue 8:11, 7:50, 1.04, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 9:39, 9:30, 1.02, 59%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:55, 3:57, 1.24, 98%, Challenging (6th highest ratio of 247 Mondays)
Tue 5:22, 5:21, 1.00, 50%, Medium
Wed 6:37, 6:12, 1.07, 69%, Medium-Challenging

Anonymous 7:25 AM  


I'm not sure what "trollery" you're referring to, but it wasn't me. I did join in on protesting Barany's self promotion, then coming back at some of his friends (all of whom are probably Rex's friends) -- that might have been the issue. But there were a couple others who also took issue with the Barany posts.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  


I remember there was a flareup invoving some posters about George Barany's promotion of his xw sites here. Was it these people who are blocked. GB has posted a few times since, but no references to his sites; tnx, george, keep it up,

Jeffrey Dowling 4:07 AM  
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Kim Rice 6:28 AM  
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Anonymous 10:21 AM  

Good puzz: Fast, easy, fun. No complaints here. I'm all forski, Gorski.

Ron Diego La Mesa, CA.


spacecraft 11:13 AM  

Oh no, the spellcasters are back. And I wasn't in the best of moods coming here, after today's easy (?????) offering. I get it: a grid with half Monday and half Friday clues averages out to a Wedensday. I mean, cluing MURRAY as that OED guy? Outside of his descendants, there must be five people who know that--and four of 'em are teaching at Columbia. (There's always the photographic-memory freak who knows EVERYTHING.)

UNMEANT? STEEPEN?? These are WORDS? YEA. That anyone EVER uttered? ISAIDNO!

Know how I managed to get this done? By happening to notice that the first two theme entries contained the -OPE- string, and putting that together with the revealer clue led me to DOPE. I did not know the definition of GRANDOPERA, or what Brits call the avocado; guesses helped there. When UNMEANT filled in, I actually looked back at the byline and said, "Can't be. Not HER." But it was.

More unknowns: the natick at sq. 66. Geez, don't I know anybody? I'm beginning to feel like an UNCOUTH (by far the best entry in here!) slob.

This thing just fought me everywhere. *For a Wedensday* medium-challenging. There were moments of enjoyment--how could there not, with Ms. G.--but I can't muster up more than a C+.

I kid you not, my captcha is a solid black bar. Movin' ONUP, we find 3651, a DRAB 6. C+ again.

DMG 12:40 PM  

Had to get the Madonna title from the crosses, but otherwise a smooth solve, though I had to force myself to write that final "r" in TEENER.

13483. so much for so little!

rondo 1:20 PM  

HOLA! Thought this to be particularly easy for Wed. Filled in the gimmees and the names etc. just fell in. Have never seen nor heard TEENER. In the earthmoving biz we often have to STEEPEN slopes to make things fit.

201 - LETME out

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

I had a hangnail and a blister on my foot, along with sagging eyelids and a boil on my left rear. Also my cat died, my friends all turned against me and a tree fell on my garage. That not being enough, this morning there was a worm in my orange juice. Thank goodness I called Dr. Ouji who corrected all, and it only cost me $39.00 monthly for the next 7 years. Note to Spacey: Same black bar occurred last week for me. Ron Diego

Waxy in Montreal 4:22 PM  

Shaking the rust off after a month or so on the school board campaign trail and notice the spell casters are omnipresent between realtime and syndiland. Return of the Zombies? All of us!

Unremarkable puzzle - especially from renowned constructor Elizabeth Gorski. Unliked UNMEANT. When did TEENER become a word? - spellchecker's certainly not fond of it. Otherwise a reasonable TONE-up for the usual Thursday challenge.

I see the numbers are still with us. OK - 1838 = 20 = 2. Will not take A BOW.

Anonymous 4:39 PM  


Dirigonzo 4:44 PM  

I especially like "Good-looking?" for ANGELIC and "Making the rounds?" for INORBIT; "Engraved letters?" for RIP was clever, too. OWLISH went in with no crosses - must be an age thing.

208 - seriously?

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