Daisy Mae's love in funnies / WED 12-3-14 / Mongolian for red / Jason who was 2000 A.L. M.V.P. / Nonpolygamous grouping / Swing Shift actress Christine / Suisse sweetheart

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Constructor: Patrick Blindauer

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: PANDA (38A: World Wildlife Fund logo … or a three-word hint to the answers to the four starred clues) — two-word phrases: first word P-, second word A- …

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: Jason GIAMBI (15A: Jason who was the 2000 A.L. M.V.P.) —
Jason Gilbert Giambi (/iˈɑːmbi/; born January 8, 1971) is an American professional baseballfirst baseman and designated hitter who is a free agent. In his Major League Baseball (MLB) career, which began in 1995, he has played for the Oakland AthleticsNew York YankeesColorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians.
Giambi was the American League MVP in 2000 while with the Athletics, and is a five-time All-Star who has led the American League in walks four times, in on-base percentage three times, and in doubles and in slugging percentage once each, and won the Silver Slugger award twice.
Giambi took performance-enhancing drugs during his career, for which use he has publicly apologized. Giambi was named one of the Top 10 Most Superstitious Athletes by Men's Fitness. (wikipedia)
• • •

A light romp. Did it about a minute and a half faster than I did yesterday's puzzle, which is to say, I did it in reasonably normal Wednesday time. This feels like more of a Tuesday than a Wednesday concept; with a little cluing adjustment, this could've played yesterday and yesterday's could've played today, and while that would not necessarily made yesterday's puzzle more pleasant, it would've made it slightly more explicable. But enough about that, let's talk about this. It's very straightforward. It's a theme type I know I've seen before, possibly with CANDY (or the like) as the revealer. This is wordplay 101—take a common word, and then parse it differently, imagine it as multiple words, see where it leads you. Patrick's brain has been doing this in its sleep (and out of it) for years and years. There's nothing mind-boggling about this concept, or this grid, but the fill is reasonably clean and there are some interesting words and longer phrases, and so, as easy puzzles go, this seems like a success to me. I'm trying to think of other P and A phrases—seems like there should be a bunch—but I'm not having much success. PAUL ANKA, PLATE APPEARANCE (15!), PAPER AIRPLANE …

There's an added level of constructing difficulty here, as the themers cross. This is the reason that *these* themers (and not others) were chosen—they fit symmetrically in the grid. On the one hand, this gives the grid an interesting shape, with giant NW and SE corners (leaving only tiny NE and SW corners, and a rather choppy middle diagonal section connecting them). Sometimes it's nice not to have the themers be in the more predictable Across places. "PENNY ARCADE" is a popular, long-running webcomic, but I'm guessing that's well outside the knowledge base of your average NYT crossword solver. I'd've appreciated the comics clue, but only about a dozen other people would've felt the same, so oldey timey clue it is! I resent having to remember that "PATCH ADAMS" exists (not the way I want to remember Robin Williams), but having it in the grid did add to the list of potential answers for my "hidden African countries" puzzle (along with ANIMAL INSTINCTS (15!), that brings total such answers to two—I'm on my way!)

NYT still having issues with turnaround time. This puzzle was made in 2009 …

Patrick Blindauer has his own puzzle site where you can get a new free puzzle on the first of every month (which means there's a new one I haven't done yet … whoa … I'm doing it right now. The trick with the main theme answers is pretty amazing … go get it (under "Play")). He's also got a new Space Puzzlefest coming out later this month: a dozen puzzles that are part of a larger metapuzzle. Check it out.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:23 AM  

    Easy-medium for me too and much easier than yesterday's.  Not much to say about this one, no erasures and no WOEs.  Seems fine for a Wed., but nothing stands out.  

    It did remind me of seeing a House Hunters International show on ULAN Bator.  Interesting place.  More modern/less bleak than I pictured.

    Anonymous 12:23 AM  

    A pen is not a requirement for a contract. Digital signatures are valid and legal and very common. It's like saying a pen or pencil is a requirement for doing a crossword.

    Casco Kid 12:38 AM  

    Wow. Slow & smooth. 47 min, but the time flew.mlots of good guesses that missed the mark and were replaced by better guesses. I savored every suss. This was so much better than any of his trick puzzles. To paraphrase Queen Gertrude, "more matter, less meta" and he delivered. I am basking in the warm glow of solving a toughie, aided by the warm glow of the wood stove at my feet.

    After a smattering of answers around the puz, and a moment's pause with beatified-Assissi-ite clue, I got a toe hold in the SW. KEYS turned gdAnsk into KRAKÓW. From there I built up and around, reaching the revealer just in time to keep me from forcing mAddAVENUE on the northwest.
    Patience rewarded. Great solving experience.

    A M&A tribute puz, suitably masked and anonymized, to boot! Puzzazz for the low pressure, annotable win.

    Moly Shu 1:00 AM  

    What @Ste. Jae said. Except I had KRAKaW first. Liked BASEPATH and CARACAS crossing ACCRA. Maybe too easy for a Wednesday, but welcome after yesterday. Kept trying to figure out what a a PANDA had to do with the other theme answers. About 20 minutes after the solve it hit me. P and A. To quote the great Roberto De Vicenzo " What a stupid I am "

    retired_chemist 1:11 AM  

    medium-easy. Enjoyed it. All clues fair, many interesting.

    55A was warsaW - easily fixed. First thought for 35A was BASEline, but second thought was that there is not line. So BASEPATH came more slowly and from crosses.

    Other P AND A possibilities:


    Anyway, thanks, Mr. Blindauer.

    Benko 2:05 AM  


    PROBABLY A lot more, but those for a start...

    chefwen 2:07 AM  

    Walk in the park compared to yesterday. Thank you Patrick, you never disappoint.

    Jon gave me 15A, but I had to beg and give him 17A. The games we play!

    dmw 2:14 AM  

    Ditto the above, fun and (mostly) fast.

    JAE: thanks for the "Rescue Me" recommendation. Enjoying it!

    jae 3:03 AM  

    @dmw - Maura Tierney right? You are welcome. One of my all time favorites.

    Charles Flaster 3:47 AM  

    Easy and enjoyable.
    The PANDA is now with Red Sox --quite shocking.
    Liked cluing--BASEPATH and UNLEADED.
    CrosswordEASE---AMEN, ALAS and ACCRA.
    Thanks PB.

    John Child 4:04 AM  

    Smooth and sweet, just what the doctor ordered. [Bag holder?], [Mongolian for red], [Decafinated coffee], [Breaking point?] and many more lovely clues.

    I didn't know GIAMBI, LAHTI, or PATCH ADAMS, but the crosses were very fair. Easier than yesterday by a couple of minutes.

    Anonymous 5:06 AM  

    Way easier than yesterday and some others... peace action, pax americana, pump action, psychoanalysis, please accept/advise/allow, postapocalyptic, personal aide, press agent, pill addiction, port authority...

    RAD2626 7:05 AM  

    Blew through top half last night. Fell asleep and this morning had much more trouble with bottom. May be caffeine or wine related.

    LEVEE, EDITOR and COST clues all terrific. Could have had MRS Doubtfire over PATCH ADAMS. Got P AND A right away along with PARK AVENUE and PARTY ANIMAL so assumed all themers started with PA. ALAS, PENNY ARCADE required almost all the crosses.

    GILL I. 7:09 AM  

    So, this was conceived 5 years or so ago? Why in the world would it suddenly become PAPA ALPHAS?
    OK Wednesday, but holy KRAKOW, can we have something more modern than PENNY ARCADE? Oh, does anyone really REEL to terrible news? HMM, I think I may faint......

    Mohair Sam 7:25 AM  

    Agree totally with @Rex two days in a row - a record.

    Only hesitation - Don't know LAPIS and, like @Anon 12:23, know that contracts no longer require pens - thought it might be a trap. But no.

    Chuckled seeing Pablo Sandoval's picture right under "performance enhancing drugs" in Rex's comments. Yeah, yeah - Kung Fu PANDA, but still.

    Conrad 7:35 AM  

    Got PARK AVENUE for the Manhattan Boulevard at 3D, then moseyed into the SE, where I had PENN------- and said, "Aha! A New York landmarks theme!" and confidently wrote in PENN station." D'oh!

    NCA President 7:38 AM  

    I count two letters (P, A) and a word (AND)...but I guess I knew what was meant. I suppose A is a word, but P is usually spelled, pee.

    On the one hand, that is indeed hair splitting. But on the other hand, in puzzle world the use of words is an exacting art form. Every little jot and tittle matters...i.e., the use of capital letters, abbreviations, foreign words, etc. So yeah, PANDA can be parsed as three separate things, by my estimation it ain't three words.

    This SE (where I live, btw) had some challenging proper nouns: ACCRA, LAHTI, CLARE.

    I can never remember ULAN. For some reason it is stuck in my mind as Olin.

    I liked KRAKOW and LAPIS.

    Could someone explain SAL to me please?

    Anonymous 7:40 AM  

    Agree with the criticism of PEN as a need for a contract. Even in 2009.

    Lewis 7:46 AM  

    Solid puzzle. Very low on dreck. Can't expect anything with a current buzz from a five year old puzzle. I liked the clues for YOKES and LEVEE. Enough bite so it was satisfying to solve. I'm guessing we will be getting more theme answer possibilities from @aliasz.

    rorosen 7:52 AM  

    SAL Soda is a chemical sort of thing. I would have much preferred Canal Mule as the clue,..

    Mohair Sam 8:03 AM  

    @Moly Shu - Loved the Roberto de Vicenzo reference. Bet it's his first appearance on the blog.

    Joseph Welling 8:04 AM  

    Three of the four theme answers were PAANDA. In fact, until I got down to PENNYARCADE, I thought the P and A were just the first two letters.

    Lewis 8:05 AM  

    Factoid: In 2000, the American Film Institute listed Some Like IT HOT as the greatest American comedy film of all time.

    Quotoid: “Even if you don't have all THE things you want, be grateful for the things you don't have that you don't want.” -- Bob Dylan

    Joseph Welling 8:06 AM  

    On the PEN as a contract requirement, I'll go further than Anonymous above did: a signature of any kind is not a requirement. You need offer, acceptance, and consideration to form a contract, not a writing (even digital), signed or not.

    John V 8:14 AM  

    Very easy. 5 years turnaround? Gleep!

    Dan Mont 8:17 AM  

    So if you are at risk of an autoimmune disease you might have HIGH ANA.... That's another one for your hidden African countries.

    ANA is antinuclear antibodies, but I am guessing that is too obscure for a crossword puzzle.

    AliasZ 8:21 AM  

    I love pandas. Who doesn't?

    I had a passive-aggressive friend once, originally from Paraguay (Asunción), present address Palo Alto, a lawyer specializing in property acquisitions, whose personal assistant used to get on the public address system asking if anyone had Prince Albert in a can. He was a prosecuting attorney in the case in which Pamela Anderson sued her then-husband Pedro Almodóvar over their prenuptial agreement, according to which any performance anxiety caused by panic attacks or prolonged abstinence is punishable according to a prior arrangement: wearing proper attire, recite the phonetic alphabet with a Polish accent backwards, in front of Paula Abdul and Paul Anka as judges checking for perfect accuracy. Sadly, my friend passed away recently due to a pulmonary aneurysm caused by a dump truck emptying its load of phosphoric acid fertilizer on top of his Porsche accidentally while he was still sitting in it.

    Personal advice: don't be a SUCCOR, don't believe a word of the poppycock above. If you do, seek immediate psychiatric aid.

    Pierre Attaingnant (c.1494-1551/2) was a French music printer and publisher of many collections of lute and keyboard works, dances, chansons, Masses and motets. The brief selection presented here is a sampling of chansons and dances popular in that era.

    Have a cheerful Tuesday. (Today is Tuesday, isn't it?)

    Leapfinger 8:22 AM  

    @Rex:'I'd've'? 'would've'? What is't with English professors these days? I suppose humble gratitude is in order that we didn't devolve to 'would of'! No pie for you, Sir!

    No one will convince this Physician's Assistant,(ret) that Patrick B didn't open with PAPA as a preveal!

    Had BASEline before BASEPATH. UNLEADED? Was ist los? Not in my lexicon

    If I had TO PIC, my fave would be a toss-up between ANTSIER pANTSIER and GIAMBI juice.

    SUCCOR Toomey, Mr. Blindauer! REEL SLO, YES! AMEN!!

    Have a nice day.

    Anonymous 8:28 AM  


    joho 8:39 AM  

    It was so nice to see Patrick at the top of the puzzle again as he's one of my favorite constructors.

    Very smooth with some lovely words, especially INUNDATE and SUCCOR.

    Love when the reveal sits right in the middle of the grid. Also I never get tired of parsing a word like PANDA to get P AND A. Clever!

    I smiled at YES, EDITOR, AMEN as that's just how I felt when my last effort was accepted. Then @Rex took the wind out of my sails letting us know this puzzle was accepted in 2009!

    BTW, PENNYARCADE would have been "old" even back then. I like the nostalgia it invokes. Although I just Googled the webcomic and think it could be legitimately clued as such to give it a more modern vibe.

    Good one, PB, thank you!

    Anonymous 8:48 AM  

    Found this smooth and easy, but why settle for two short SA_ in such close proximity. SAL and SAS seem to be just the sort of fill that Rex would castigate. However, after yesterday, all is forgiven for giving us a puzzle that is appropriate for the day.

    Ludyjynn 8:49 AM  

    Nice geography subtheme. Like @jae, I was immediately reminded of the HHI episode on HGTV set in ULAN Bator where the guy not only found a nice place to live, but true love, too! Only in the NYTXword can you learn a little Mongolian vocab.

    @AliasZ, you set the bar high for today.

    @josephwelling, FYI, certain contracts MUST be in writing to be enforceable. Even for an agreement where it is not required, PUT IT IN WRITING, whether it is on a cocktail napkin, the side of a cow or a digital transmission, for example. This gives the Judge a starting point for interpretation in the event of a later dispute/litigation/DEPOSition. Just sayin'.

    I kept trying to fit St. Francis into CLARE's spot because of the church named for him on the corner where my best friend lives. Now I have to Google a new saint...off I go.

    Thanks, PB and WS for a fine hump day solve.

    Sir Hillary 9:00 AM  

    Good puzzle. The long non-themers add a layer of quality. My only minor nit is SILENTE -- to me, that's a little too cutesy for a 7-letter answer, and I am guessing that SILENcE and cOPed/cOPes could have been accommodated. But no big deal.

    I chuckled at UNLEADED. We drink half-caff at home, and my wife refers to full-caff as "high test."

    Given the age of the puzzle, we know for sure the clue for AIKEN was Will's.

    Casco Kid 9:04 AM  

    @AliasZ that was fun. When I got to Pamela Anderson's prolonged abstinence, I thought, "wait."

    Z 9:05 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Leapfinger 9:05 AM  

    @ret_chem, No BASEline? Yet BASEline drive has over 59 million results. Oh, that's basketball? ... I see.

    @Casco, I also considered St. Frank of Assisi

    @Alias, so that Porsche actually turned into a phosphorescent automobile, did it? Sorry about your poor acquaintance!

    DEPOSE should be struck.

    Z 9:08 AM  

    Yesterday's TOMTIT is reduced to just A TIT today. No PEWIT AYEPIT to be found, though. Enough Birdology.

    GIAMBI points to our love/hate relationship with PEDs. We love the guy and give him big bucks until we find out that he "cheated." But the guy who gets Tommy John surgery to extend his career is lauded for his "courage." Taking a pill = bad. Having your internal parts moved around = good. What about the guy who is overweight, takes some supplements in the off-season to come back fitter and better? Is that cheating or dedication to your chosen profession? What about puzzle solvers who up their solving speed with a little morning caffeine? And, what do we really think about those little blue pills? I don't know the answers, but I feel like we should be asking more questions.

    @Lawyers - Okay, we get it. I might add that clues don't have to be true in every case (for example, GENT). When one signs a contract in front of a notary a PEN is required. Quod erat demonstrandum. (BTW - another example of too much knowledge making the solve harder for some people)

    jberg 9:14 AM  

    @leapfinger, not only PAPA but ALPHA right after that. I'm pretty sure that's the theme in some phonetic alphabet or other -- maybe the Navy's?

    What I really loved about this puzzle was ANTSIER. And wanting AMEN at 10d, then getting it at 66a.

    One very minor fault: since 21A could be either TEA POT or tea cup, there's no unambiguous way into that NE corner.

    @Rex, you could grow Afghani geraniums. But probably you wouldn't want to.

    Leapfinger 9:20 AM  

    @Casco, when I got to Pamela Anderson and Pedro Almodovar is when I said "Wait!"

    @Z, re the little blue pills: if you ask for a 100mg prescription, you can cut them in half; 50mg usually will do the trick and you get twice the bang for the buck. (An old VA ploy, to get around limits on prescribing.) Just an FYI, with no personal implications.

    C U tomorrow.

    chefbea 9:25 AM  

    I thought it was tough for a Wednesday. Got the theme right away because I knew panda but there were a lot of words I did not know. Loved the clue at 65 across!!

    L 9:33 AM  

    Am I the only one that really hated the clue for SANYOS? Otherwise, fun puzzle. Agreeing with Rex has become the new thing.

    quilter1 9:34 AM  

    Back from my Thanksgiving trip and this was my first puzzle in ten days, and it was worth the wait.

    pmdm 9:35 AM  

    Z: If you have a pet goose, and pluck a quill from it, and sign a contract in front of a notary using the quill, would you be signing with a pen or a quill used as a pen? If you had a compass (remember using one in school to draw a circle) that has a dull point and use that to sign the contract in front of the notary, would you be signing with a pen? You know what, I don't care. Too frequently constructors (or perhaps Shortz) try to be a little too clever with the clues. (Yes, NCA President, I don't think P is a letter and not a word.) So, since the raison d'etre of this site is too gripe [joke], let the complaints fly.

    By the way, I had to chuckle at your reply to my comment yesterday.

    pmdm 9:36 AM  

    "to griipe" not "to" gripe". My keyboard had a hiccup.

    Sir Hillary 9:36 AM  

    Forgot to mention...I had a twinge of sadness upon entering KEYS. RIP, Bobby Keys, longtime saxophonist for the Rolling Stones who passed away yesterday. He was born on the same day as Keith Richards, who has described him as a soul mate.

    Whirred Whacks 9:37 AM  

    I echo the other comments that this was a nice smooth Blindauer solving experience.

    @ludyjynn Thanks for the kind comments in yesterday's blog.

    Speaking of lawyers, here are two jokes that the anarcho-libertarian lawyer Walter Block told to a room full of anti-trust lawyers:

    First joke is that there are three prisoners in the gulag in the former Soviet Union. The three find out why each of them is there. The first said that he came late to work and was accused of cheating the State out of labor. The second guy said that he came early and was accused of trying to out-compete his comrades. The third guy said that he came to work everyday and exactly on time, and the KGB accused him of owning a Western wristwatch.

    Second joke is that there are three prisoners in the U.S. They were all in jail for economic crimes of violating monopoly laws. First guy said that he charged higher prices than anyone else and the government then accused him of price gouging and profiteering. Second guy charged lower prices than anyone else and they accused him of predatory and cutthroat pricing. And the third guy said that he charged the same prices as everyone else and they accused him of collusion and price fixing.

    pmdm 9:39 AM  

    Boy, my fingers are not working today. "to gripe" and not "too gripe" or "to griipe or "to"gripe". Sorry.

    Carola 10:03 AM  

    REEL-y nice puzzle. As Rex mentioned, the memory of the CANDY puzzle helped me out with the themers. Enjoyed PENNY ARCADE, INUNDATE, SUCCOR, the CARACAS-ACCRA-KRAKOW trio, UNLEADED, even LINENS.

    @Alias Z - I always feel plenty adulatory toward your posts but today's was profoundly awesome.

    Was interested to read remarks here about yesterday's puzzle, as I didn't have a chance to finish it before leaving on the next leg of our road trip: ANTSIER (than you can imagine) describes my husband when there are miles to cover. Will have to go back and finish and catch up with Rex and you all.

    Z 10:08 AM  

    @pmdm - The key thing that makes a "PEN" a "PEN" is that it uses ink. So "quill" yes, "compass" no (at least in my experience compasses always use a pencil). As for my response, you put it right there on the tee for me, so I had to take a whack. I'm glad it brought a smile.

    @Leapfinger - A) I haven't needed PEDs, yet. B) Most insurance covers it without limits (at least limits that matter). C) Four hours is a bug, not a feature.

    Hartley70 10:10 AM  

    Grumble grumble..didn't know SAL but the crosses did the trick, but I got a stupid brain freeze and couldn't see the C in ULCER. I'm blaming it in the dense fog surrounding the house. Otherwise cute theme, good fill.

    @AliasZ you can't be topped today. Applause!

    @Z oh yea, I forgot...PEN? Seriously? Wrong! Just wrong. Do something with a swan for heaven's sake.

    wreck 10:13 AM  

    Jeff Foxworthy once noted that if he had an erection that lasted 4 hours, he wasn't calling a doctor -- he was calling a press conference!

    Solid Wednesday that felt super easy, but probably only because Tuesday took so long!

    Arlene 10:14 AM  

    I saw the Blindauer name and figured I was in for a challenge! The clues were really the best - so creative - had my brain twisting in all directions.
    Perfect for a Wednesday!

    Marcy 10:16 AM  

    Don't know who the baseball player in the Giants uniform is, but it's definitely not Jason Giambi!

    wreck 10:20 AM  

    @ Marcy

    That is not supposed to be Jason Giambi -- that is "The PandA."

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:26 AM  

    Looking over the grid, a lovely collection of less-frequently used words.

    But having looked at the constructor's name first, my over-all feeling as I solved was, "Solid puzzle, but nothing special."

    Rex Parker 10:53 AM  

    Giant Panda

    Comedy Writing 101 10:58 AM  

    @Alias Z - If you're going to write a nonsense piece with the goal of suckering people in, here are a few pieces of advice.

    1: Start logically. It gives an aura of credibility to your tale.

    2: Random nonsense is just that, nonsense with no rhyme or reason. Avoid it at all costs. Just because you can make up a sentence involving Prince Albert in a can doesn't mean you should include it. Less is more.

    3: Have a purpose, a motif. When you're telling a joke it's fine to telegraph that up front. "Three chickens walk into a bar...." is fine, a time honored technique. You're announcing you're telling a joke, nonsense may ensue. If you choose to not announce that you're telling a joke, tell a tale with the joke at the end. In this motif, the tale has to have the aura of credibility until you get to the twist, the joke, the payoff. C.F. Anon 1:04's explanation of The Curse of Capistrano.

    r.alphbunker 11:03 AM  

    @Casco Kid
    Have you ever been to Portland, Arkansas?

    Carola 11:08 AM  

    @Comedy Writing 191 - But sometimes pure absurdity is just fine, too.

    Michael Joseph 11:34 AM  

    Nice puzzle, but since when is P a "word"?

    mac 11:37 AM  

    Easy-medium, and thankfully without the devilishness Patrick has developed in his construction more recently!

    Surprised myself by remembering Jason Giambi. Papa has to be part of the theme, and I only afterward thought of P and A....

    Thanks, PB and WS!

    Pauly Shore 12:10 PM  

    @Carola - You tell 'em girl! Snooty comic aesthetes that think that random sequential nonsense isn't funny - screw them! Those bastards ruined my career!

    Martel Moopsbane 12:34 PM  

    Didn't care for the clue for 35A. In my mind, the BASEPATH separates the infield grass from the outfield grass. A PATH leads from one place to another; it doesn't separate them.

    Overall a very good puzzle.

    Zeke 1:01 PM  

    @Martel - Separates has various meanings. As all, well many, who know me know that the answer to the question: What separates Zeke from the rest of humanity? is humanity itself. Here separates refers to the gulf between me and them, and points to the path between me and them*


    * Note the usage of a white man referring to "them" other than as black people. The current 4th quarter 2014 count of non-black "them" is 43 out of 82,347,524,252 total "them"s.

    RooMonster 1:12 PM  

    Hey All !
    Hate to be Debbie Downer over here, but... This puz seems to me to be a Didn't Excite Me Enough type of puz, especially from PB2, because, as we all know, he has had some winners in the past. Personally, I think it only made the cut because of the constructors name. But that's just me.

    Did think it an easy puz, switch this one with yesterday's and both would've worked better. I see no one has commented on EEL, normally there's an outcry, again, PB2. Don't like 67A, SLO. Really?????? I've never seen that. Slow, yes, SLO? no. No one has answered the SAL soda thing yet.

    After all that, you may think I didn't like the puz. I actually did like it. I just believe that if Joe Schmo constructed it, Rex would've panned it, and everyone would've just said Meh.

    Sorry for the sour grapes.

    @AliasZ, your mind works in bizarrely interesting ways. That was impressive.


    r.alphbunker 1:13 PM  

    As Sartre said, "L’enfer, c’est les autres"

    Hartley70 1:25 PM  

    SAL soda is hydrated sodium carbonate used as a cleanser, the definition of which is brought to you by Google.

    Knight who says Z 1:26 PM  

    I wonder what @Comedy Writer 191 thinks of Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

    As for what is and isn't a word, the google machine spit out this when I typed in p definition. I was shocked!, shocked! I say, to discover that Shortzipovitch is right again. He's right about contract's, too. Yes, @lawyers, I know you are all quite accurate in your nit. Welcome to the CrossWorld, where just because you're right doesn't mean the clue is wrong.

    Andrew Heinegg 1:29 PM  

    It is hard to comprehend why WS would run this puzzle after yesterday's. This puzzle is very smooth and belongs on a Monday or perhaps a Tuesday. Yesterday's should have been skipped entirely or at least re-edited to remove some of the dreck and run on Thursday. Go figure.

    retired_chemist 1:43 PM  

    @leapfinger - the clue for 35A was "what separates first from second." The baselines extend from home to first and home to third, with no lines between first and second or second and third. So BASEline is not a correct answer to the 35A clue, even though it is a perfectly legitimate term.

    Casco Kid 1:47 PM  

    @Ralph, I have been to a truck-stop called Portland, Michigan, and to an even bigger truck-stop called Portland, Oregon. But I haven't yet enjoyed to sights, sounds or smells of Portland, Arkansas. Semis? Pickups? Razorbacks?

    Jack Lee 1:57 PM  

    Medium (not easy) for me. Thought the cluing was rather trickier than usual for a Wednesday.

    Casco Kid 2:03 PM  

    @lawyers: General rule of the cross world: if it is true in any circumstance, it is true enough for a clue. ALSO, even if it is flatly wrong in all cases but remains a popular misconception, it is "true" enough for a clue. It need only be "in the language."

    @Roo, SLO is ubiquitous, painted on the asphalt/cement in highway lanes using elongated letters (so you can read them at 65 MPH). You knew that, and you didn't. SLO got me about a year ago in one of these puzzes, and someone here pointed the same out to me. Pass it on.

    Also, I'm not a big PB2 fan, but I did like this one. Lots of stuff I didn't know I knew. Tough cluing. Took me nearly twice my Wednesday time. I'd call it an easy Friday, or a medium challenging Wednesday. But I thought yesterday was a medium-ish Tuesday. Opinions vary!

    LHS 888 2:41 PM  

    I worked the puzzle W to E and finished in a slightly faster than normal Wednesday time. The C in the ACCRA/CLARE cross was my last letter in the grid. PARKAVENUE and PARTYANIMAL went right in, and from that I (correctly) figured out the theme. Good thing, too, because it was a big help in remembering PATCHADAMS. I managed to finish this puzzle with only 1 write-over: cat > UFO. I was on the fence between lord and GENT, and I waited for crosses to resolve the question.

    There were lots of reasons to like this puzzle. For me, BASEPATH wasn't one of them.

    Favorite clues: YOKES, LEVEE, EDITOR, ULCER

    Thanks for the fun workout, PB / WS!

    Joseph Welling 3:14 PM  

    Ludyjynn, but a writing is not required to make a contract. (And thus a pen is not required.) It is required only in some circumstances (as laid out under the Statue of Frauds).

    I promise you, you make contracts without a pen pretty much every day. (Every purchase, for example, is a contract.)

    Z 4:55 PM  

    No more captchas?!?!? Whatever will we do?

    Anonymous 4:56 PM  

    We used the slang P AND A (or PA) to denote POMPOUS ASS (during our graduate student times) -

    Jerry Malloy 5:02 PM  

    How is THE a cousin?

    mskmoorthy 5:06 PM  

    From http://www.nytcrossword.com/2014/12/1203-14-new-york-times-crossword.html

    “A” is an indefinite article, and “the” is a definite article.

    Davidph 5:57 PM  

    Has anyone had a problem resubscribing using the iPhone app? It's telling me my subscription endtomorrow and I can't resubscribe. Weird.

    dk 6:02 PM  

    🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

    Wednesday is my favorite xword day. The W puzzle sets me up for 3 days of joy.... Speaking as an enigmologist. Sadly today did not pass my Wednesday bar.

    BASEPATH was the preverbial straw. And it was always Lil Abner.... I assume there was a Bigger Abner someware in Dogpatch.

    My opinion only, glad others seem to like it.

    retired_chemist 8:01 PM  

    Nope, no bigger Abner. The name is a joke which plays off the rural southern habit of referring to kids as 'little" (li'l) even as they grow up. I was known as "Little Dick," which fortunately ceased well before I hit puberty.

    Stephen 9:29 PM  

    Nice. fun cluing.
    but SLO? I've seen SLO-MO, but never SLO. Sorry.

    Someone please explain LEVEE for me. Breaking point? huh?

    Someone please explain EDITOR for me. Am I out of it today? People magazine person? huh?

    OISK 10:21 PM  

    I have had about 4 DNF in the past 6 weeks, and three of them were Pat Blindauer, so I was worried when I saw his name…No problem, however. Very nice Wednesday, much easier than yesterday's, only one tough product clue (Sanyos). I actually was stumped for a while by the NE corner. Had "TEAPOT, and MOST, but couldn't come up with anything else. Finally, "Jam" popped into my head, which gave me Jump, and the very cutely clued AFRO. As I said, very nice puzzle.

    Anonymous 11:45 PM  

    he can't be both dead and presently living in Palo Alto

    88Bear 3:38 AM  


    Tommy John surgery is within the rules. Taking PEDs is not. Furthermore, the latter is really bad for you, which we need to communicate to kids especially.

    Leapfinger 4:24 AM  

    @Z: No captchas? We will be INUNDATED with testymonials!

    @r.alph, interesting link, Sartrean elegance.

    @ret_chem, thanks for the CLARification. Appalled that I've reache my [advanced] age without ever making that distinction.

    Anon 11:45, who said anything about 'living' in Palo Alto? The exact words were 'present address Palo Alto'; feel free to drop a line! Besides, Palo Alto...

    @Comedy Writing 101: Those who can, do; those who can't, critique.

    Good morning.

    Zed the Answer Man 9:43 AM  

    @Stephen - Think People Magazine and EDITOR will make sense. As for LEVEE, does the Led Zeppelin song help at all?

    mathguy 2:30 PM  

    Am I understanding the comments above? Are some of us saying that the puzzle was easy while only finding a few of the possible solutions? Didn't the clue for 63A register?

    The crossword itself was average because of the limitations of the theme. The challenge was to find all the anagrams.

    Stephen 12:26 PM  

    Thank you @Zed.
    My question already hinted that I thought People mag was the connection to EDITOR. I'm glad to have you confirm it, because I found the clue to be severely lame. Sorry, PB.
    I'm old enough to know the Led Zeppelin, but the connection to LEVEE was way too obscure for me. Even after reading the lyrics now, I gotta say the clue is severely lame. Sorry, PB.

    Stacy Donald 3:56 PM  

    How I Got My Lover Back {eboehispellcaster@gmail.com}...

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    spacecraft 12:13 PM  

    I'm going to recuse myself from issuing a letter grade today. By now you know how I feel about "[letter]AND[letter]," to say nothing of "SILENT[letter]."

    Here in Vegas we have a popular and heavily-advertised law firm called Peters and Associates; their logo, of course, is the old PandA. They're on billboards, yet! Aaaaaugh! I'm being INUNDATEd!

    There's some good stuff here--after all, it IS a Blindauer--but I just can't grade it. I abstain.

    193. Is ITHOT? Not.

    DMG 1:48 PM  

    I seem to be the only one who didn't finish this one. Just couldn' t think of ALPHA. so not knowing wither the singer/politician or the MVP left me with a if blank where LINENS was suppose to appear. A Pretty Awful Passing!

    Hard to read , but I think it's a not great 381

    rain forest 1:52 PM  

    @Spacey - Taking a legitimate word, PANDA, and then parsing it as P AND A, removes it from the realm of letter AND letter answers we have seen, in my opinion. Also I'm usually alert to the self-referential "end of" or "start to" clues, but in this case I confidently wrote in SILENcE, because when a chorale has finished, there is silence, no? Of coures, I had to change it because of TOPIC. A head-slap moment, and I haven't made up my mind if I like that sort of clue or not. In this case, not bad.

    Liked it. Straightforward with a few twisters thrown in.

    Anonymous 2:06 PM  

    In response to the comment made at 10:53 A.M, may I say, "Pedantic Asshole" fits right in with the theme of today's puzzle.

    rondo 2:10 PM  

    Having played organized ball for 55 years,I'd have to say that a BASEPATH "connects" first and second rather than "separates" them.
    It's KRAKau in my book.
    Shout out for Celsius, another good SWEDE.
    Appropriate, I suppose, that it's in the middle when there's only ATIT. Just to the left of SUCCOR.
    Used to live on PARKAVENUE (Mpls.) when a poor student and PARTYANIMAL.
    My law school prof would agree that a contract does not require a PEN. But a pig does.

    Captcha today?

    Anonymous 9:02 PM  

    Have you BEEN to Palo Alto!?

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