Hoppy brew for short / WED 1-14-15 / Millrose Games highlight / 501st royal daughter / Cousin of calypso / Borat portrayer Baron Cohen / Bit of cash in Kashmir / Band with 1987 6x platinum album Kick

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Constructor: Caleb Emmons

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Unexpectedly Roman — common names / phrases are clued as if certain parts were Roman numerals:

Theme answers:
  • LEMONADE MIX (17A: 1,009th juice drink?)
  • PRINCESS DI (11D: 501st royal daughter?)
  • IV DRUGS (39A: Four prescriptions?)
  • XXX RATINGS (30D: 30 consumer reviews?)
  • XL TEE SHIRTS (61A: 40 concert souvenirs?)
Word of the Day: Millrose Games (28D: Millrose Games highlight = MILE) —
The Millrose Games is an annual indoor athletics meet (track and field) held each February in New York City. They started taking place at the Armory in Washington Heights in 2012, after having taken place in Madison Square Garden from 1914 to 2011. The games were started when employees of the New York City branch of Wanamaker's department store formed the Millrose Track Club to hold a meet. The featured event is the Wanamaker Mile(wikipedia)
• • •


This is one of those great ideas that just doesn't have enough great possible answers, so you either abandon the idea or force it. Today's offering is what "force it" looks like. Can you guess which two are the good theme answers—the ones that really work well? I'll give you time [Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo; doo doo doo doo DOO … doodoodoodoodoo … etc.]. The correction question is "What are LEMONADE MIX and PRINCESS DI?" The others are compromises. What's the big difference? Well, you probably can tell, but I'll spell it out anyway. See, MIX and DI are words/names that the clues convert to Roman numerals. This means the Roman-ness is totally hidden, completely unexpected, because MIX and DI are not already abbreviations. That is, their letters have not already been converted into initials / symbols. This makes the conversion extra cool. Converting XXX RATINGS (not really a phrase to start with) to 30 RATINGS does not involve much imagination and produces little to no "aha" feeling. To simplify: MIX-to-1,009 is not a conversion I could see coming, whereas IV-to-4 … is. Where is Otto DIX!? LIV Ullman!? Hell, even CD PLAYER would've felt more in-the-pocket than XL TEE SHIRTS (which both looks absurd written out ("tee?") and is not likely to be said as written, i.e. people still say "extra large" most of the time…). Sometimes good theme ideas should just remain ideas unless and until you have a full complement of Good Theme Answers.

The fill is once again labored and subpar, with the possible exception of MAXED OUT (which is sadly offset by its ridiculous symmetrical counterpart, ON A STICK). Everywhere you look, musty, tired fill. You see it. I see it. Everyone sees it. Why is this still happening? This has been a rough week for the NYT, an unexpected and unwelcome return to form after a pretty good holiday run of puzzles. Second ASAP we've seen this week. Second WAS, too.  These are the things one notices when there is next to nothing interesting in the puzzles to talk about. SQUASH over KETTLE is a nice little juxtaposition. That's all the good will I have to spend on this one. There's always tomorrow. Dum spiro spero. Etc.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Casco Kid 12:03 AM  

    19 min. 1 typo (RUt for RUN) but conceptually it was a clean solve. Easy medium. I worked NW to SE, skipping themers as the trick wasn't apparent until XLTEESHIRT.

    oUt-> RUN
    flop -> BOMB / fijI-> BALI
    BAsk-> BAKE

    But the highlight was ONASTICK -- if only as an occasion to recall that classic routine. It runs about 9 minutes. The images are PG, the language is PG-13, but the innuendo is NSFW.

    Whirred Whacks 12:06 AM  

    Big week for UHURA and the deposed SHAH as well.

    Carola 12:26 AM  

    Same reaction as @Rex to the theme - a neat idea that couldn't quite be reaiized. I'm usually not bothered by theme inconsistencies that Rex sometimes notes, but I was here. I did think LEMONADE MIX and PRINCESS DI were terrific, not only because MIX and DI work both as numerals and words but because they follow the pattern of, say, Henry VIII. I liked the idea of some potentate millenia in the future named LEMONADE MIX.

    Trying to come up with some examples of my own, I could see why there were compromises: not only are there a limited number of letters, but also some combinations aren't allowed (e.g., no I before L, C, D, or M). The best I could do was "509th army post?" (Fort DIX).

    Lots of erasing: flop x fijI before BOMB x BALI; wiG before RUG (hi, @Casco, x2); hemp before JUTE. Major trouble in the center with IV DRipS over Amerian Era and SAsHA, leading to a Golden Arches option "BIpaas" - maybe some "ethnic" entree served ON A STICK? (I erased.)

    AliasZ 12:28 AM  

    Today's Roman numeral theme is as cute as yesterday's NICKELBACK was lame. I can almost see a wink from Caleb Emmons at those who keep complaining about arbitrary Roman numerals clued as arbitrary historic dates, including me. Today the Roman numerals have an absolute purpose and a clear meaning. Fort DIX, LIV Ullmann or Jet LI would have added a little variety, but no real reason to nitpick here.

    The coveted DOOK Award today goes to GOOVER. Reminds me of doover. Oh, it's Gerbert Goover.

    Sometimes I get MAXED OUT on corn dogs ON A STICK, but butternut SQUASH soup is my favorite.

    How can a BOMB apply both to hot BLONDES and duds at the box office?

    Hello UHURA, haven't seen you for three days.

    UTE and JUTE: cute. Did you say ute?

    No OPERAS today. Instead, here is a different kind of don-diri madrigal by Orlando di Lasso titled Matona mia CARA.

    Happy Wednesday!

    Anonymous 12:32 AM  

    What?! The second WAS of the week? Quick, to the shelters! 💣💣💣📣📣📣


    Moly Shu 12:40 AM  

    Umm , SEA chest and SEA change? Somebody help me with these please. I do love corn dogs, so ONASTICK was my fav entry. Got the trick at XXX. Kinda wondered about the difference in the theme answers and @Rex makes good points. 2 really good themers,the others less than really good. tennis before SQUASH and ale before IPA. Even though I couldn't come up with what ale was short for. Got UHURA right on the first pass this time. TaDa

    Evan 12:42 AM  


    I don't think Rex was saying the second WAS of the week was a bad thing, per se; it's just a mundane fact that he pointed out because he hasn't found this week's fill as interesting as he might have hoped.

    Anonymous 12:45 AM  

    1,100th look-alike?

    okanaganer 12:47 AM  

    First attempt:
    ...umm... guess not...

    Next attempt:
    .. ummm...probably not... FAMI: maybe; LWIN: nonsense, OAXA: maybe...

    "Please prove you're not a robot":...
    (punches keyboard)

    Steve J 1:08 AM  

    I liked this one. Nice twist on the normal annoying random Roman numerals, and using things that are actually in the language, to boot (yes, people say XL TEE SHIRT, and while I vastly prefer t-shirt, tee shirt is out there). Yes, a couple theme answers were stronger than others, but they're all real expressions (if a film can have an R rating, it can certainly have a XXX RATING).

    The fill isn't scintillating - it is a little stronger up north, with SQUASH, KETTLE and SPAWNED - but it's not full of crosswordese or forced constructions, so it works to support a decent theme.

    @AliasZ: I nominate that DOOK enters the venacular in the same way Natick has: the mis-parsing of a multi-word answer into a single-word answer. I neared DOOKed (never, ever say you dookied in this context) with GOOVER, but I finally got it.

    Like @Casco and @Carola, I also had FLOP and FIJI, making the NW difficult (even when I dropped FIJI so I could get the by-then-obvious LEMONADE MIX into place, since I hung on to FLOP). That turned a mostly easy puzzle into a medium for me.

    Steve J 1:09 AM  

    *vernacular. I hate when I notice typos just at the moment I'm clicking the "publish your comment" button.

    jae 1:30 AM  

    Easy-medium for me too even though I got off to the same to a wrong start with flop fiji plus Luke  Wilson as apparently almost everyone so far.  I also had Rbi before RUN.  

    I'm with @Steve J again on liking this one.  What I had written after finishing this was pretty much what he said including "twist" on RRN comment.  Liked it.

    RnRGhost57 1:31 AM  

    I liked it. Small minds are easily amused, I guess.

    MDMA 1:45 AM  

    "Gerbert Goover" is actually how the Russians pronounce it.

    Bangladesh has a Ministry of Textiles and Jute.

    I thought you all should know.

    chefwen 2:17 AM  

    As I was reading the write-up, my little finger went to the side bar and accidentally picked up a blog from 2006. Wow Rex you have come a long way. There were 10 comments and I think three of them were yours. Well done, your blog and the commets are the highlight of my day. Well, wine:30 is another.

    I was thick as a brick in figuring out the Roman numeral schitk and kept asking Jon what is ... In Roman numerals. He grew a little weary of that, but was patiently accommodating.

    chefwen 3:36 AM  

    Someday I will learn how to spell, I think commeNts will look better.

    Thomas808 4:46 AM  

    Got CHINESE so UHURA was a gimme. Then went with the cross oUt for "Sacrifice fly result" but then ERG was also a gimme, so the down combo of tG wasn't looking so good and fixed it with RUN. Pretty complicated clue because a sacrifice can be a RUN, a RBI, or an OUT. Just not a hit. Any other three letter possibilities?

    39 Across "Four prescriptions" IVDRUGS was not an obvious theme for me at first because the other clues all had numerals in their clues. But I guess it was fair because I think the convention is to use the spelled out word for numbers less than ten, right?

    For me the theme was fun and the fill was not tedious, though familiar. Nice Wednesday.

    Charles Flaster 4:51 AM  

    Easy and same feelings as Rex.
    My crosswordEASE--OTRA and IBISES.
    Liked clues for SLOP, ITALICS, ULNA and MILE.
    Millrose MILE almost had a mystical feel in fifties and sixties. Not as prestigious today.
    Thanks CE.

    Leapfinger 6:10 AM  

    Me too, I DOOK when I GOOVER, EXPO facto. (@Alias, I don't care that you got it in fist! I mean 'first')

    Enjoyed the Non-R RRNs, two of them more than the others, and little touches like the symmetry of SLIP and SLOP; could almost SWOP one for the OTRO. Really liked the ABS in "L'ABSinthe", which was ABSolutely DE GAS. Almost became even more artful with CARAvaggio.

    One UHURA, two UHURA; playing One POTATO, two POTATO?
    Also, we just had Slippery ELM, now have American ELM, and coulda also had CHINESE ELM. Since there are as many different species, varieties etc of ELM as there are of Oak -- dozens, if not hundreds -- we could have an entire puzzle with all the clues either [___ Elm] or [___ Oak]. For the truly masochistic, you know.

    Desideratum: gotta distinguish between NEED and WANT.

    Can't touch this 1,100 pounder: MC HAMMER
    King Solomon had 300 concubines, yet was often found 1,499 wife.
    (Sorry, @Carola, I don't follow rules if I don't know them!)

    CascoK, thanks for the ShTICK ON A STICK, and AliasZ, thanks for all the rest.

    Now must check how much ice came down overnight to SLIP on today.

    Gubdude 7:33 AM  

    I liked this idea. Very clever. I didn't think any of the theme answers were egregious. Although I probably would always write T not TEE.

    Some other possibilities:

    LIV Tyler
    LCD Monitor
    MCL Sprain
    Doogie Howser MD

    Mohair Sam 7:36 AM  

    What Rex said (except for his mumble about WAS and ALAS appearing earlier in the week).

    Got the theme right off the bat and then the theme answers filled immediately, leaving relatively little to finish - and the fill seemed Monday level. Very easy Wednesday for us.

    Always like INXS' music (note no "s" after apostrophe, let's have that argument again).

    NCA President 7:46 AM  

    I don't think anyone has answered Moly Shu's question about SEA change yet...I'm curious about it too.

    Next question: is there such a thing as a corn dog NOT on a stick? That's like asking how a BIGMAC is served...on a bun, or how a car is driven...on the road. I got it because I have a keen sense of the obvious, but I hesitated because it was so obvious. Corn dogs are also served with mustard or ketchup or on a paper plate or from a vendor at a state fair...those are distinctive ways to be served. ONASTICK kinda goes without saying, just sayin'.

    IVDRUGS is just silly.

    Apropos of nothing, I find the S at the end of ITALICS interesting. If the -ic is an adjectival ending, why the S? Anyone? (I could google it, I suppose, but I know someone here will know or take the time to google it and let me know.)

    NCA President 7:56 AM  

    UPDATE: I googled why there is an S at the end of ITALICS and still don't know why. So...there's that.

    Leapfinger 8:09 AM  

    Here you go:


    I find Word Detective a good source most of the time. The main thing is that whatever is being called a 'sea change' usually isn't, just as whatever's being termed a 'paradigm shift' isn't really a paradigm shift. Just another way to ramp it up to a higher level of hoo-hah.

    Maybe a one-letter word such as I would qualify as an italic

    RooMonster 8:11 AM  

    Hey All !
    Put in BOMB right away at 1A, so didn't fall into that trap! (Smug? Not me!) Almost fell into the tennis for SQUASH trap, though. Only lightly wrote it in. Puz did have some misdirections, observe, wiG -> RUG, IVDRipS -> IVDRUGS, oUt -> RUN. Also had SAsHA. So twixt IVDRipS and SAsHA, couldn't grab the BIGMAC. Finally sorted it all out. That GOOVED answer, couldn't see it, ran the alphabet and still nothing. Put DumAS in for DEGAS, which got me mOOVED! You know, Review (like a movie), mOOVED...

    Overall, liked the puz. Cracked me up with Roman Numerals that weren't Random! 40 black squares, which is a sconce high, IMO. Good Wednesday fare.


    John V 8:13 AM  

    Okay puzzle. I see your point @Rex re consistency but didn't mind it. Just thought this was way too easy for a Wednesday.

    L 8:28 AM  

    I had a lot of write overs for a Wednesday so I think it was more of a challenge than usual. My only gripe was ON A STICK. As the clue was plural, I wrote ON STICKS. But it was a great answer nonetheless.

    The Oxen of the Sun 8:28 AM  

    I thought this puzzle was fine, solid enough to delight me for a good 12-15 mins. Thought it was very easy for a Wed, though.

    I JUST got "GOOVER" thanks to a post about DOOK from earlier in the thread.

    Generic Solver 8:29 AM  

    I had heard there was some way of finding out where your solving time ranked when you use the new online solve, but it is not obvious to me how to see that. Could someone enlighten me on this?

    Also, FWIW, I find the user interface of the online solve clunky and visually distracting, because it is constantly scrolling clues into view based on where you click. I guess this is the price for larger print, or perhaps for using a paradigm that works well on both mobile/tablet and laptops. Oh well, at least Apple got it right in distinguishing the need for somewhat different user interfaces for iOS and OS X.

    joho 8:33 AM  

    Loved the concept of making Roman Numerals the star of the puzzle! Finally they're getting some respect.

    Also loved all the X's especially at MAXEDOUT/XXXRATINGS.

    ONASTICK is a fun answer.

    This one felt like a pangram but WAS not.

    I wish GOOVER were a word. What would it mean?

    Nice to see INXS caused no controversy.

    Nice puzzle, thanks, Caleb!

    (And from yesterday, thank you, @chefwen .... just trying to bring a little bit of summer into this frigid winter.)

    jberg 8:36 AM  

    It's from The Tempest:

    Full fathom five thy father lies;
    Of his bones are coral made;
    Those are pearls that were his eyes;
    Nothing of him that does fade,
    But doth suffer a SEA-CHANGE
    Into something rich and strange.
    Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
    Hark! Now I hear them – Ding-dong, bell

    What Shakespeare meant was "changed by the sea," but nowadays people use it when they really mean the turning of the tide.

    Now that that's cleared up -- I agree that PRINCESS DI is a great answer, but the clue is wrong-- she was NOT a royal daughter, but got her title by marriage to a royal son.

    Aside from that, my only problems were 1) not knowing the order of the random consonants in INXS, and 2) being old enough to remember LL Bean as the place you stopped on your way to the Maine woods to stock up on insect repellent, camp fuel, flies, or whatever else you needed (that was why they stayed open 24 hours), and so trying to cram in Orvis or Herter's in that spot.

    And, of course, the whole Fiji thing.

    At least it went fast.

    Z 8:51 AM  

    Just as OWEN was saving me from flop I saw the clue for 17A and thought, "Oh No You Din'nt." He did. Doesn't Chaos Theory observe that given enough randomness order will appear to occur.

    @NCAPrez- I think the answer is, "Because English." We don't talk about "Bolds" or "Underlines," so I've got no good answer. If Uncle Google is no help, then because English.

    I think it has been at least two decades since I MAXED OUT ON A STICK. A Dodge Colt, if memory serves. My favorite STICK shift was a diesel powered VW Rabbit we used to have. MAXED OUT at about 80 MPH going down hill with a tail wind. But we got 60 MPH in that thing.

    @MDMA late yesterday - Har.

    @Casco Kid - I saw that 1,009 in the clue and immediately knew what was going to happen. That's not intelligence, that's doing too many puzzles.

    A Color Me Badd palette cleanser

    Z 9:01 AM  

    @jberg - Thanks for the Shakespeare. Big difference there.

    @Leapfinger - Funny how quickly things like "paradigm shift" and the nouveau "disruptive technology" become the fad of the decade. Really just fancy ways of saying "Change happens and we won't know the significance of it for 10 to 500 years."

    I think a GOOVER is what you get when you cross a DOOK with a GOAT. I learned that in husbandry class.

    AnonyMOMA 9:02 AM  


    Think of it as IN Excess (in XS, yes?)

    About the LLBean, I thought EddieBauer (fer sure), Lands' End (maybe), JCREW (No Way).

    A sea change has to be momentous in some way.

    The Late, Great William Safire 9:14 AM  

    On Sea Change and other idioms

    joho 9:21 AM  

    Maybe a GOOVER is a cross between a GOOse and a beaVER. I guess a weaVER or a ploVER are more probable, however.

    Arlene 9:28 AM  

    I had FLOP first, which led to thinking PORSCHE - but that didn't get very far.
    The rest was a good solve - no Googling on this puzzle, which means it wasn't filled with obscure names and such. That seems to be the test for me these days as to likeability.

    dk 9:31 AM  

    🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

    pie for ELM was a big boo boo and no flipping way is JCREW a competitor of LL Bean. My only gripe, the rest was fine and fun. The sluggish file (caulk) may be excused given the creative theme.

    A day of malaise yesterday. Remembering the stories of Richard Brautigan, Robert Stone and in an odd juxtaposition 500 Days by Eichenwald - Where have all the flowers gone?

    Well happy days are here again as it is a balmy 18 above this morning, of course it is 70 in Austin I have this whole North-South living thing backwards.

    Bird 9:32 AM  

    Almost liked it. XXXRATINGS (it's NC-17) and XLTEESHIRTS (it's t-shirts) are not things. So some drugs can only be administered via IV?

    Had an "Oh, duh!" moment after staring at GOOVER for an extra second.

    Happy Humpday!

    quilter1 9:49 AM  

    Most of the same write overs as others. Got the theme at PRINCESSDI and too early in the morning to remember all the numerals' values. But finished! Not so bad.

    Sir Hillary 9:50 AM  

    This was fine. Agree with OFL that the LEMONADEMIX AND PRINCESSDI are far better than the other three themers, but that was no big deal to me. Nothing awful about the fill either, although @Rex would probably say that's because our expectations have been lowered.

    I would have preferred IVDRipS (Four wet noodles?).

    600th in a line descending from our first president?

    Grover Cleveland met Herbert Hoover in Port Manteau, WI. GOOVER resulted. @SteveJ - awesome parallel between GOOVER and DOOK.

    Ludyjynn 9:53 AM  

    Another very easy puzz. I am waiting for the other shoe to drop as the week progresses. Will probably get slammed at some point!

    Okay theme despite Rex's nits and I appreciate @Gubdude's additional suggestions.

    Agree that JCREW is not = to LLBean. Also, too close an answer to CRAW.

    I liked LOX, SPAWNED and SEA in the same grid.

    OWEN Wilson; never got the appeal, never will. Ruth Wilson, on the other hand, just won a Golden Globe and was written up in today's NYT for her B-Way role in "Constellations". Rising star.

    Thanks, CE and WS.

    Happy Pencil 9:54 AM  

    @NCA President, according to the OED, the word ITALICS comes from the Greek ITALIKOS, meaning "Italy." So presumably that's where the "s" comes from.

    But of course you can use the word without the "s" in its adjective form, as in "an italic typeface."

    Nancy 10:10 AM  

    Like Casco, Carola, Steve J. and jae, had FLOP and FIJI at first. Guess all great minds think alike. But MOMA and AWOL, both easy clues, straightened me out. To Alias Z: Loved your droll UHURA comment.
    I liked this puzzle, which I found sort of cute. And I learned something: I had no idea that a Salvation Army donation receptacle was a KETTLE.

    mathguy 10:24 AM  

    Wonderful comments today. Especially enjoyed the speech from The Tempest.

    Honeysmom 10:33 AM  

    My best Wednesday ever. Am getting better at solving as time goes by. Am annoyed when you pros complain: too easy or boring. Hope I never get that jaded and blase when I grow up. (Turned 83 in December)

    Master Melvin 11:10 AM  

    There is no ETA in the English word Hellenic. Nor at the beginning of the Greek equivalent Ελληνικό. What is transliterated as H is a breathing mark. I thought they might be talking about the first vowel, but that's an Epsilon (short E) not an ETA (long E). They can't be talking about the fourth letter in the word, can they?

    Joseph Michael 11:11 AM  

    OK theme, neither great nor terrible. All of the theme answers work for me, though IV DRUGS just squeaks by.

    Wanted BUCKET for 15A and SUM for 6D but that obviously didn't work. Liked MAXED OUT and SPAWNED and SACHA, but most of fill was kind of old. Thought this should have been a Monday.

    chefbea 11:13 AM  

    Didn't get to the puzzle til late. Went to curves as usual then my car wouldn't start and had to wait for AAA. Just got home...too many posts to read. Puzzle was too tough for me. Bad day so far.

    Charles Flaster 11:13 AM  


    Steve J 11:29 AM  

    @Bird: XXX rated (don't worry, it's a Wikipedia article). If you're old enough to remember when there were still adult theaters in the seedier parts of town, you probably remember the marquee often said such and such a film was XXX rated.

    Also tee shirt. Note also that when someone's shorthanding the term, they refer to tees, not t's.

    So, yes, both are actually things.

    Richard 11:36 AM  

    I did not find the fill to be fine. I think it is irrelevant that a couple of words have been used previously this week. I liked GO OVER, ON A STICK and MAXED OUT and found very little fill that is only used in crosswords. Although SEA has been used frequently, I thought the clue was good.

    Richard 11:38 AM  

    Oops. I mean to say that the fill was fine to me.

    Z 11:43 AM  

    @Master Melvin - In the print edition the letter is an ETA not an "H." The part after the comma is just a signifier that we want a Greek answer and is not meant to be taken literally. The trick is that the clue misdirects someone who knows that Ελληνικό is the Greek for Hellenic. I had no such problem.

    Masked and Anonymo6Us 11:43 AM  

    Ninth lousy homework grade in rapid succession?*

    Loved this one. ON A STICK.

    (On the road, so shorty comment.)

    * QUICK F IX.

    Anonymous 11:50 AM  

    I liked the math clues and themes this week as they overlap the annual math meeting which just ended.

    AliasZ 11:59 AM  

    GOOVER is a person who gooves off a lot [goof:gooves::hoof:hooves]. Nicer than goof-off.

    François-André Danican Philidor (1726-1795) was a French composer and chess player. His 1749 treatise "l'Analyse du jeu des Échecs" has gone through 70 editions by the 1870's, the Philidor Defense is still commonly used by chess players today. But he was better known as court musician and composer for Louis XV. He was born into a musical family. André Danican Philidor (c. 1647–1730), a crumhorn player for Louis XIV, married 19-year-old Elizabeth Le Roy at the age of 72. Their son Francois-André was born when he was 79 (BVE - before the Viagra era). F.-A. composed a March for Two Timpanists that he performed with his brother Anne Danican Philidor (1681–1728) for Louis XV. That's right, Anne is a boy. [The first 50 seconds of the video proves that musicians can be very clumsy.]

    Speaking of timpani, the Agnus Dei from "Missa in tempora belli" by Franz Joseph Haydn is a beautiful example of the menacing military atmosphere timpani can create. The Mass is also called "Paukenmesse" (the drum Mass).

    In the case of Bartók, the pianissimo timpani glissandi in Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, creates a rather different atmosphere, perhaps the remnants of a distant thunder. The movement is usually referred to as an example of the Bartókian (nothing like Mozartian) "night music", evoking the sounds of nature during a summer night.

    The Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra by Philip Glass obviously places the timpani front and center.

    You may ask, what's with all this timpani nonsense? I tell you: the timpani is also called KETTLE drum.

    mac 11:59 AM  

    Fun little Wednesday puzzle, but then I like Roman numerals. Princess Di was my favorite one.

    Hadn't gotten the theme yet when I filled in 17A: thought of squash. Then it appeared right above it.

    Lot of junk or fast food in this puzzle. I bet those potatoes are fried, too.

    RooMonster 12:01 PM  

    The KETTLE that's referred to is when you see the person in front of a grocery store with a bell. They have that little Kettle for monetary donations. If you go to the store or to the remote dumpster looking things to donate clothing and such, that's something different. Just clearing that up, you know, in case you were confused. Now if I am reading too much into your post, then I'm the one who's confused! :-D


    martel moopsbane 12:26 PM  

    I thought GOOVER was a peanut sucked up by a vacuum cleaner.

    And I also appreciated the DOOKiness of that answer.

    Hartley70 12:28 PM  

    My hang-ups were Gatorade and IV drips. I liked the Roman numeral theme and the cluing was just off center enough to be a satisfactory Wednesday.

    Hartley70 12:32 PM  

    Lol Roo! I tried to make redpot fit at first! KETTLE makes me think more of tea kettle with a spout.

    Martel Moopsbane 12:36 PM  

    Nineteenth-place runner: Jim FIXX

    Numinous 12:36 PM  

    As has been pointed out (though not simply), ITALICS is plural for ITALIC. Very few words can be written with letter; the rest use letters. Therefore, I can write using an ITALIC hand (the erstwhile Italianate style of lettering) but must use ITALICS to write words. Just call me Captain Obvious.

    For some INANE reason, 01 like Roman numerals. 01 vaguely recall learning something about Roman addition, subtraction, division and multiplication in a Math for Liberal Arts Students course. The methods were amazingly unweildy. I liked this theme in spite of the objections of OFL et al. To pursue one element of the discussion, IV DRUGS are a real thing. Without calling undue attention to shooting up heroin, my wife was given IV morphene and IV antibiotics via an IV pump and IV Drip.
    While not a large person, 01 wear XL TEEs because they are comfortable and don't shrink to the point of clinging when washed. TMI? OWWTH.

    The fill WAS fill and, IMHO, neither bad nor good. Some fill bothers me but, other than perhaps HEXA, none here did. A couple of the RRNs produced "Oh gee" moments where 01 wondered why 01 didn't see them sooner. 01 thought this was easy even though 01 spent a few extra minutes replacing s with C in SACHA.

    Carola 12:36 PM  

    @Steve J - I, too, almost got DOOKed by GOOVER: with all but the V, I ran the alphabet....and didn't get it. Left it blank, went on, and then at some point - like when an optical illusion shifts from one shape to another - GO OVER suddenly snapped into focus. (I love "to get dooked" as a puzzle-solving term [also reminiscent of the occasional "deke" entry] - back in that puzzle I didn't get DO OK until Rex and other commenters posted...but had your post more or less written in my head before that :) ).

    @Moly Shu - SEA chest: a sailor's storage chest for personal property. I remembered it from the beginning of Treasure Island: "I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his SEA-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow--a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white."

    @Leapfinger - I had to look up the rules and was dismayed that they didn't allow for a clue relating to Chicago transport: El CID.

    M and Also 12:47 PM  

    {59th set of male twins?}*


    * DOUBLEHELIX. har

    LaneB 12:54 PM  

    Googl-less, relatively fast, no erasure solve, so it must have been a fairly easy Wednesday. Anyway, my best Wednesday ever, too. Enjoyed the clever use of the Roman numerals. Thanks, Mr. Emmons.

    Elephant's Child 12:58 PM  

    @Evan's blog-pic -or- Washington 600

    I love that Bangladesh has a Ministry of Textiles and Jute.
    As Cary Grant used to say "JUTEy, JUTEy, JUTEy!"

    For those who tWIGged to RUG, what would y'all be willing toupee for IV'D RUGS?

    A GOOVER is a small GOOse liVER, before it starts to become foie gras. This is a topic worthy of legislation, btw.

    Not bad at all, but looking forward to a very interesring Thursday.

    abstractblueman 1:01 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lewis 1:10 PM  

    Lots of comments on GOOVER. The first thing that came to my mind was GOOVER Pyle. I like the two "American" clues in a row. I liked the clue for ULNA, but wanted more clever cluing on this Wednesday puzzle. The theme idea was cute and original -- this has never been done before? I thought the two "inferior" theme answers were just fine. Rex said the fill was tired, but when he likes a puzzle, tired fill is okay with him. There were VI words that start and end with the same letter.

    I'm going on a little trip and will be away from here until the middle of next week, Have a terrific weekend, all!

    abstractblueman 1:17 PM  

    My eyes went immediately to 1,009 and I had the theme right away. PRINCESSDI was excellent. I also enjoyed seeing INXS, and thank you to @Rex for the Color Me Badd video link. I wore a Color Me Badd TEESHIRT for a few years as a joke, but I think I'm going to resurrect that article of clothing now in a more serious fashion.

    @Anonymous 12:45am - I had a MCDOUBLE for dinner last night. Having MCDOUBLE and BIGMAC in the same puzzle would have been cute.

    @Steve J - I second your motion concerning GOOVER! I'm thinking of "GOOVER was a dook" or "I totally dooked on GOOVER" as the proper usage of the term.

    @Anonymous 11:50am - I loved the math stuff in the puzzle. I've been waiting for JMM to show up as fill!

    P.S. I deleted my comment from a moment ago, as I erroneously wrote GROOVER instead of GOOVER. This was thanks to @Sir Hillary's astute observation concerning Grover Cleveland :)

    Anonymous 1:20 PM  

    As once having actually been a Regional Sales Manager for a corn dog manufacturer, I can tell you that "mini corn dogs" have no sticks. Corn dogs sold to prisons are shipped without sticks (although they are made with the sticks included and then removed by hand).

    Roamin M and A 1:24 PM  

    {1001st plea to a runaway horse?}*

    III & out.

    (On a NM GOOVER.)

    * WHOAMI.

    Outlaw M and A (sorry) 1:47 PM  

    {Sexually transmitted infection caught by Captain Hook and crew on a raid?}*


    * left as an exercise for the reader.

    Lewis 3:10 PM  

    Factoid: GOOVER is the debut album by High and Mighty Color. The album was released in Japan on September 14, 2005, and was later released by Tofu Records in the United States on March 21, 2006. (Wikipedia)

    Quotoid: "A woman would never make a nuclear BOMB. They would never make a weapon that kills - no, no. They'd make a weapon that makes you feel bad for a while." -- Robin Williams

    OISK 5:04 PM  

    Fast and easy for me; I was much slower Tuesday, having never heard of Nickelback. I've never heard of INXS outside the Times puzzle, (mix them up with NSYNC, one of them had someone famous I think...) but it has been in the puzzle SO often, that I got it as soon as I filled in the "X". Worse confession than my well known ignorance of rock...I actually don't know what a corn dog is! I have heard the phrase, of course, but can't picture what it means. Will Google it in a moment. Sacha nice Wednesday puzzle...

    Teedmn 5:45 PM  

    Fun theme today. I'm not in a nit-picking mood so I give any dreck a pass. I loved everybody's DOOK contributions as well as the reimagined theme answers. (Still working on @M&A's extra credit question).

    To me, a sea change had always meant an epiphany reached over time so I was surprised to find it was a more sudden phenomenon. Beck has an album called "Sea Change", titled that way because it was a big change from his earlier work.

    @RooMonster, I'm 30 miles north of the Twin Cities (hence the mn in Teedmn). But it was 37 degrees warmer this morning at 19 so relatively balmy and on its way to 38 this weekend so no polar vortex yet.

    Thanks Caleb Emmons for the puzzle.

    No. 1 Fan 9:10 PM  


    Any word yet on whether Ms. Numi can look forward to a SEA leg? I mean a 100, er, no... a C-leg?

    Numinous 10:25 PM  

    @No. 1
    No word yet but the surgeon has said that it won't be very long before needing to find a prosthetist. Her wound still has a ways to go before being healed though.

    MetroGnome 1:40 PM  

    Got hung up on "GO-GO BOOT" (sans hyphen), and never figured out it was wrong. Never heard of Sea-Doo (Only Ski-Doo); never heard "EUCHRE" used as a verb, although I agree that the card game itself is alive and well. (So is Whist, by the way -- Bid-Whist, to be exact -- if anyone cares.)

    pfb 4:28 PM  

    Got hung up by putting in IVDRIPS for and SASHA. If not for that, it would have been a fast finish. I agree with Rex about the two good and two bad theme answers. Still, it was a cute idea that worked well enough for me.

    I am again the last hog to the comment trough. My friend brings me the NYT Arts section when I see him at morning swim practice four times each week. Just in case anyone cares; which I doubt.

    AnonyMeerKat 10:48 AM  

    Have to say that a person must be curiously unobservant not to notice the Salvation Army bell-ringers take collections in a KETTLE.

    @pfb, potty too*.
    I also used to make such arrangements when I was a DeadTree Solver. Where's the sense in shelling out $$$ whenall you want is the xwp? I was raised thrifty, not spend-thrifty!?

    *pas de tout

    rondo 9:58 AM  

    @Spacey, they’re not even RRNs. They’re intentional! Hope that didn’t ENRAGE you too much. Hope this fills the quota for a loooong time.

    SQUASHed this puz in no time after getting LEMONADEMIX. Knew something was up after the odd clue.

    PRINCESSDI was quite a lady and a yeah baby to boot.

    Long time since Irene CARA has made an appearance. She used to be a regular.

    Seems like every food at the MN State Fair comes ONASTICK. Even breakfast.

    Innocuous fill and super easy cluing IMHO. Really quick Wednesday. Nothing to write home about.

    spacecraft 11:25 AM  

    Wow, today I get a preemptive strike! No, @rondo, I wasn't going to blast RRNs this time. Yet I'll go along with OFL : to me the theme seemed to degenerate clockwise from the NW. LEMONADEMIX is indeed the star of the show, with PRINCESSDI close behind. Then we get to IVDRUGS: well, OK: and XLTEE (EE?) SHIRTS: not so great; and we wind up with that awfulness in the SW.

    But I depart from The Fearless One in our assessment of the fill. I thought it was above average. Had the most trouble buying SEA as a word with chest or change. Were we talking a pirate's treasure chest? Or is "SEA chest" something one develops from yelling "Ahoy!" too many times? As for change, that one's really out there in terms of actual use. It's just a little 3-bagger that went in easily on crosses, but still...

    Easy-medium for me, too. A momentary hitch parsing GOOVER, and a single-letter writeover at WIfI (just more techno-ignorance). Too bad about the lack of theme material. One NEED watch the order of letters: MID would work, but DIM wouldn't. Say a B-.

    Burma Shave 11:38 AM  

    PRINCESSDI and BLONDES on parade,
    MIX me up some LEMONADE.
    I’m BAKED and I’m BOMBED, it’s AWOL IGO.

    sponsored today by IVDRUGS. AMEN.

    B.S. 11:41 AM  

    sorry, it's BAKEdand BOMBed

    must be the IV

    Anonymous 1:09 PM  

    Clue is wrong - Princess Di was a royal daughter-in-law, not a royal daughter

    packerbacker 1:44 PM  

    Haha Clinton-509 (DIX)

    Anon 1:09 has a point. Don't think i even read the whole clue.

    rain forest 1:54 PM  

    Purposed RNs go down much easier than the random ones, especially for @Spacey. Cheeky puzzle, and pretty good, too.

    There used to be a theatre in Blaine, Wa. just over the border from Vancouver (THE Vancouver) which only screened movies with XXX RATINGS. Some people would regularly attend...

    200th horseman? CC RIDER

    This time I had to select images of sushi from nine photos.

    DMG 2:16 PM  

    Roman numberal fun! Enjoyed those in the xword and the follow -ups by by solvers. Wonder if anyone got M&A's final,challenge, and if it is acceptable here? Like others, I stared to long at GOOVER, but my longest hang-up was the mess caused by IVDRip and SAsHA. Fortunately, BIGMAC came to my rescue, and I had only to come here to see if INXS was a thing. So on to Thursday with fingers crossed. Haven't done very well with late week offerings.

    Impressed by @rain forests captchas. Lately mine just say "check"- not that I'm complaining. OOps, took to long to use Captcha, now I get 2326- back to baccarat?

    DMG 2:18 PM  

    Roman numerals, that is!

    leftcoastTAM 7:19 PM  

    As a syndilander, I'm of course a month-come-lately. So few if any solvers would see my posts. Fine; I like posting now and then for the narcissistic fun of it. So, today (February 18th, Ash Wednesday, which, when I was altar boy many years ago, had little meaning for me), I enjoyed the puzzle. It felt pleasantly medium. I particularly liked getting the theme at XXXRATING (not something that existed in the aforementioned altar boy days) and the rest came fairly easily.

    rain forest 12:05 AM  

    @leftcoastTAM Welcome. Actually, I think you've been here before, but don't be a stranger. We here in syndiland welcome one and all.

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