Edmonton six / TUE 3-31-15 / Broadway compose Jule / California county east of Sonoma / Picasso's "Lady With ___" / Singer Bareilles / Source of the line "The Lord is thy keeper" / California county east of Sonoma

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Just About Right

THEME: VERBAL GYMNASTICS (38A: Fancy, evasive language) — Theme answers are common phrases the second word of which can also be a word for a piece of gymnastics apparatus

Theme answers:
  • 18A: ONION RINGS (Deep-fried side dish)
  • 26A: LASER BEAM (Metaphor for straightness)
  • 54A: HIGH HORSE (Snootiness)
  • 65A: COFFEE BARS (Java joints)
Hey you. Yeah, you! What's up? I haven't seen you in a while. Unless you were in Stamford this weekend and then I probably did. Yep, that's right. It's me, PuzzleGirl, filling in for Rex today while he is traveling. I'm going to tell you right upfront that this is not going to be a long, involved blog post. I did not get much sleep over the last few days because I was participating in the best weekend of the year, otherwise known as the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Had a blast, as usual.

Finn Vigeland, Elizabeth Olson White
(PuzzleSister), Sam Donaldson, Vega
Subramaniam, and Doug Peterson
getting froyo in Stamford
I was actually nervous about it moving back to Stamford because I didn't start attending until it was in Brooklyn and I don't like change. Also I'm a pessimist by nature. So I was just sure there were going to be all kinds of things wrong with the whole set-up. But I was pleasantly surprised. The hotel was nice (and way cheaper than Brooklyn), the neighborhood was nice, and it was actually quite a bit easier for me to get to (which I know was not true for everybody). Really the only complaint I have about the weekend is that the room was waaaaay too crowded. 
Me and a couple of weirdos
(Doug Peterson and Jeff Chen)

My thought is that if you're committed to having the event in Stamford then you should set it up so that it can be accommodated in Stamford, which I guess would mean capping the registration or (as I've heard they've done in the past) using two ballrooms. No one I talked to seemed all that excited about the two-ballroom idea (although, frankly, I don't see any particular downside), so why not only accept the number of people that can actually fit in the room? Just a thought.

Me and the champ, Dan Feyer
But hey, we're not here to talk about my desire to be in charge of every damn thing. We're here to talk about the puzzle. What did you think? I thought it was not bad. Two of the theme clues didn't really work for me but that happens sometimes. I can accept that someone somewhere has used the phrase "straight as a laser beam" even though I personally have never heard it. And I guess HIGH HORSE might be the actual snootiness itself even though I think the "metaphor for ..." construction would have worked better here. The phrase us "up on your HIGH HORSE," right? So you're up on your ... snootiness? No, you're up on your HIGH HORSE and that means you're snooty. I don't know. It's not working for me is what I'm saying.

Last meal in Stamford: Kristian House,
Gabe Gonzalez, Vega Subramaniam, Mala
Nagarajan, Alex Jeffrey, Ollie Roeder,
Mike Nothnagel, Doug Peterson, Sam
Donaldson, PuzzleSister
So, as I said, I'm really tired and I think what I'll do here is leave the rest to you all. If you came here looking for answers, I posted the grid for you. If you have questions about a specific clue or answer, go ahead and comment. It'll get answered. Probably several times! I'll see you all back here next time. With any luck, Rex will be back tomorrow.

Love, PuzzleGirl


Lee Coller 12:10 AM  

Didn't have a problem with "High Horse" I remember when I was a kid my mom would tell me to "get off your high horse" when I was being snooty. I did have a problem with SAE though, SASE is fine, SAE, never seen that before (I'm sure someone will correct me).

Steve J 12:13 AM  

Pretty good Tuesday puzzle - certainly better than recent vintages I can recall. The theme offered an engaging take on a well-worn idea, and the theme answers were all good (although I share PG's finding the clue for LASER BEAM a bit off).

Setting aside the stray CONT, NIH and ASTIR, the fill was good and lively. I especially liked MIRTH, TORTELLINI and LARYNGITIS.

Too many Tuesday puzzles seem to struggle the already low expectations I have for them, so it's nice when one exceeds.

jae 12:20 AM  

Medium for me and as PG said,  just about right for a Tues.  Nothing flashy, a solid theme and light on the dreck.  Liked it.

Both ALISON and SARA were WOEs as clued.  Also, did not know the GED included an ESSAY. 

@Lee - I think you're right.  Envelops submitted with a manuscript typically have a stamp.  Utility bill envelops on the other hand are stamp free...SAE.

And, speaking of Tina FEY, we're watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix streaming.  It is delightful!

Zeke 12:24 AM  

I spent a good chunk of the weekend questioning the difference between TORTELLINI and TORTELLoNI. Well, not really a good chunk, no more than a minute or so, but that constituted the majority of what I remember about the weekend.

I just googled "as a laser beam" and found not a single instance of its use as a metaphor.

Whirred Whacks 12:26 AM  

I liked all the double-letters in this puzzle -- especially the "WW" in NOW WHAT, and the "HH" in HIGH HORSE. I counted 15 pairs altogether.

Perhaps someone who is familiar with crossword construction can tell me if 15 double-letters is a high number for a standard size puzzle.

Ellen S 12:29 AM  

The clue for 56A is "Letter" encl. with a manuscript. And envelope, stamped or un-, is not a letter. I got the answer, on the principle, you know, if there's a word that's somehow related to the clue and the crosses work, then it's probably the right answer even if it's wrong. But still, am I misunderstanding something?

Other than that, I found it a serviceable Tuesday. I was so happy that TEA is served at Chinese restaurants and not EELs!

Casco Kid 12:30 AM  

Hey, PuzGirl, nice to have you back.

Solved this one on paper in 24:54. I had a lot of trouble in the NW after 4D ["Over here"] YOloOk made ONIONRINGS and MANHOOD invisible. Also causing problems 26A [Metaphor for straightness] LikEaBEAM, which was a simile, not a metaphor, but I was timing myself (15 min on the timer) so I didn't have time to think. Doh!

28D [Rugged four wheeler] suV blocked the west for a while. The entire southwest was empty as the clues were pretty vague. When facing vague cluing, you just have to throw down and go for it. So off the R in VERBALGYMNASTICS I took a stab at [Woe for a singer] soRethroat, which seemed so right, and wasn't. It posed quite a challenge to cross. Of course I couldn't have [Not aligned on the margin] tabIN, so I wasn't very happy. I also couldn't have HIGHHORSE, which seemed so right, and was.

The rest of the puzzle went fairly quickly, but after 15 minutes I was deep in wrongness and the only way out was the slow way.

@Leapy, INRE: ESL. From Steinberg's SatPuz, which was easy for Rexworld but unsolvably hard for me, I had [Course for an au paire] Ecd (early childhood development.) What a foolish thing for me to think? I'm not sure how I can keep from thinking "Ecd" when the clue revolves around child care, yet everyone else thought ESL was a gimme. I asked around in Stamford. Everyone thought ESL; no one had Ecd. What to do? What to do?

Ellen S 12:30 AM  

I meant "An envelope", not "And envelope."

Zeke 12:41 AM  

@Ellen - I know for a fact that your objection to 56A isn't always correct. When I submitted my work I always included a rejection letter already written for the convenience of the editor. I frequently sent several versions, offering the editor a choice of the vehemence with which they could reject my offering.

It seemed the least I could do, what with my having offended them and all.

Anonymous 1:45 AM  

I apologize for being a bit off topic and asking what I'm sure is a silly question, but I've had an iPhone and been happy with the NY Times Crossword app. My company is now switching me over to an Android phone (Samsung Galaxy) and I can't seem to figure out what app will enable me to get the puzzle on the Android? NY Times doesn't seem to make one (iOS and Windows only). I'm sure there's an easy fix for this but I can't seem to find it. Dreading my commute without the crossword! Any suggestions welcome. Thanks!

chefwen 2:33 AM  

Puzzle Girl hit it right on the head "just about right" was what I said to Jon after we had both finished. Beat him by five minutes, much to his chagrin.

@Ellen S. had the same thought as you with the letter/envelope debacle. Not even close IMO.

Had risen before ASTIR. ASTIR means I have awakened and rolled over for another hour of sleep. RISEN means I have hauled my butt out of bed and am actually moving about. Big difference.

Good one Gary Cee, I enjoyed it.

Leapfinger 2:45 AM  

@CascoK, rejoice. Rejoice. Trust me, why would you want to be like everyone else?

@Xeke, I plugged in 'like a laser' and got 296,000,000 hits. Close behind Jesse J's Laserlight came:

Focus Like a Laser Beam: 10 Ways to Do What Matters Most ...(Amazon.com) In Focus Like a Laser Beam, acclaimed management consultant and business blogger Lisa Haneberg offers business leaders a new way to direct their focus ...

and No. 42, William Jefferson Clinton (PBS, The Presidents)
'Presenting himself as a New Democrat during the presidential election of 1992, Bill Clinton promised to "focus like a laser beam" on the failing economy.'

So the phrase is in the language, though I agree the implication is not as much straightness as unswerving implacability.

Funny about your tortellini/ tortelloni. I've had a similar stymie with cannoli/ cannellini, but I've bean lucky and got my just deserts.

Now itsa time for a NAPA.

Anonymous 2:53 AM  

@Anon 0145, check out Puzzazz. I think that will work for you, and has many nice features.

jae 3:54 AM  

@chefwen & Ellen - I parsed "Letter encl. with" to mean something you enclose with a letter....an envelope stamped or not. @Lee's point makes sense to me because you are unlikely to get your manuscript back if the prospective publisher has to pay the postage.

Loren Muse Smith 4:57 AM  

Whirred Whacks – ask @Lewis about those double letters. I got a kick out of the WW and the HH, too.

HH - In the youth hostel the hitch hiker was the victim of an eleventh hour witch hunt, but the whole thing was kept hush hush. And that reminds me – thanks once again, PG, for pinch hitting! Always a pleasure.

WW – NOW WHAT, Snow White – you some kind of new wave window washer?

I think the clue for 26A shows LASER BEAM precision; the choice of the word "metaphor" gently steers us toward phrases without "as" or "like." No?

I've never been much of a TEA drinker, so when I was younger, that requisite pot of jasminy tea with my Cashew Chicken had me feeling all worldly and sophisticated.

Here's what sent me off thinking- does anyone actually use the word ASSORT? You'd think so, right? But I can't come up with an example. Every single time, I think "sort" is what we say.

Sara, could you ASSORT these PROM pictures into groups of SEAMY, CHASTE, and full-on LILY white?

I agree with @chefwen on the ASTIR – If I'm astirring, I'm not up yet, but after a little thought, I decided you could say a house is ASTIR – people have just started moving around.

I liked the puzzle just fine, though the only GYMNASTICS event I can bring myself to watch isn't there: floor. I can't bring myself to watch hurdles or figure skating, but even harder for me is to watch GYMNASTICS; I absolutely cannot watch people fling themselves around on the bars, do flips over the beam, or launch themselves from the horse. Seeing any kind of fall upsets me for hours. Hours.

When I accidentally looked at the reveal, I sighed a bit; I thought maybe Gary had assorted the letters from VERBAL into anagrams in phrases. Observable, Copula verb… Hah! So glad it turned out to be this instead. Thanks, Gary! Another good one!

Charles Flaster 4:59 AM  

EZ and real nice theme especially for a non-gymnast.
Interesting cross section of ÇrosswordEASE--LEE, FEY,PAINE and AMIN.
Signs of the times--Chinese restaurants now charge for tea and the most recent Lipton tea bags I purchased were not individually wrapped!
Liked cluing for MANHOOD and NOW WHAT (use it all the time).
Thanks PG and GC.

pfb 5:23 AM  

Lots of food and drink in a very nice Tuesday puzzle. I, too, never heard anyone use "straight as a laser beam".

GILL I. 5:40 AM  

In China you have dim sum (touching your heart) with TEA lunch. The ritual for making and pouring TEA is quite interesting.
I liked this puzzle despite lots of proper names. ONION RINGS was my favorite because I just made them the other day for the first time. The secret is to double dip them in batter.
I've never heard of VERBAL GYMNASTICS... it was always the one that started with a D.
I also liked seeing TRIPE intersecting with HONEY.

@Tita from last night....I knew exactly what you meant...your comment made me laugh out loud because when I flub but good, I know I can count on either @Loren or @Z to make it even funnier...
@Nancy....Both my parents were American born and raised. We left this country when I was 2 and Spanish was the first language I learned. It wasn't until I was about 13 that my grandmother decided it was time to change my "heathen" ways and introduce me to million of books and puzzles! I don't have an accent in English (at least I don't think I do) but if you get me near an Argentine, a Cuban, a Mexican or a Spaniard, I blow the socks off of them.....;>)

Anonymous 6:51 AM  

There is a small problem with SASE's. I had a friend who edited a poetry magazine. Getting submissions with SASE's made it easy to return manuscripts - unless the submission came from Canada. We live close to Canada, so she would save up her Canadian SASE's until she or one of her friends were going to Canada. Finding a post box was not always that easy, and then there were the times we would bring them and forget to mail them. . . .

- Jim C. in Maine

Conrad 7:30 AM  

@Anon 1:45: Is your company taking back your iPhone? If not and you get to keep it, you can download the puzzle over wi-fi before you leave home and work on it during your commute. I know it's a pain to carry two devices (ask Hillary Clinton), but you don't need phone service to run apps on an iPhone. I think your completion status will update the next time the phone is in wi-fi range.

Lewis 7:38 AM  

@WW -- Actually 16 double letters, and I hope you don't get my "on the alert for double letters" disease. Anything above 12 or below 5 is highly unusual, so this puzzle has that going for it. Highest ever, over the year I've been tracking is 20, and lowest is 2 (maybe 3).

I don't think Rex would have been on his HIGH HORSE in his review, as the puzzle is solid. I liked ASSUAGE, NOWWHAT, and HIGHHORSE. It's nice every now and again to have TRIPE come up.

We have the ironic crossing of MANHOOD and APRON and in symmetrical corners the churchy feel of CHASTE and PSALMS. The grid is clean overall. Difficulty felt maybe a little easy for a Tuesday, but only a little.

I was hoping for Jordan Klepper to replace Jon...

Thank you, Sir Gary.

NCA President 7:39 AM  

Today's puzzle was fairly straight forward and I agree with PG, "just about right," although maybe closer to "just right" for a Tuesday.

I'm more familiar with menTALGYMNASTICS though I can vaguely remember someone using the VERBAL kind.

As for LASERBEAM, I've heard it more as a simile in place of something like a beeline. "NCA Prez made like a LASERBEAM, straight to the warm cookies sitting on the counter." I may have never used it in the exact phrase "straight as a laserbeam" but I've used it to describe a path many times.

Lewis 8:00 AM  

Factoid: HONEY stored in air tight containers never spoils. Sealed honey vats found in King Tut's tomb still contained edible honey, despite over 2,000 years beneath the sands.

Quotoid: "Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole TRIP that way." -- E. L. Doctorow

chefbea 8:27 AM  

Yummy puzzle but DNF...never heard of verbal gymnastics...and what is meme? what beer is IPA

Think I'll have a reuben for lunch with a side of deep-fried onion rings. For dinner I will reheat our tortellini from the other night

Doug Garr 8:30 AM  

What the hell is IPA? Agree about HIGH HORSE. Maybe a clue like "Snobs Should Get Off It?"

Z 8:35 AM  

Given the "religious" clusterf*±k going on in Indiana right now I found this puzzle especially timely (just my opinion but someone who denies service to anyone for "religious reasons" has failed as a businessperson and as a Christian). I was a bit uncomfortable with the palpable schadenfreude evident on TV last night from one of the Democrat's state reps, but must admit I probably wouldn't be able to hide my schadenfreude, either.

@Gill I - Uh, TMI...

@Casco Kid - A fine example of the difference between the world and crossworld. ECD would be an outstanding Saturday misdirect because all the veteran solvers would put in ESL on reflex and be totally blocked on the crosses.

Any puzzle that has IPA and COFFEE BARS is okay as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Am I going to be the first to suggest that the clue for 56 across should be "racist fraternity?" Or is "Racist fraternity" both redundant and ambiguous?

John Child 8:37 AM  

IPA: India Pale Ale, a highly hopped brew that is extremely popular among beer drinkers. It was invented two hundred years-plus ago because beer sent from England to India spoiled en-route. More hops kept the beer better.

Meme - an idea that propagates like a gene.

Better explanations of both are easily available from Dr. Google.

I suppose my reaction to these questions is like others' bemusement that I don't know who Cee Lo is or who the baseball MVP in 1984 was...

Tita 8:40 AM  

@zeke...it delights me to no end that Italian, Spanish and Portuguese (Yiddish too, so I hear), have not only a diminutive, which everyone has, but also the rarer augmentative.
In Portugal you can get wine in a garafa, a garafinha, or a plastic basketweave-covered garafão.

And lol to your SAsE letters.

My cousin from Lisbon stayed with us for a month. Being a TEA afficioanda, she meticulously ASSORTed my tea cabinet by region and by type. I've been afraid to make a pot ever since!

I grew up in Thomas PAINE's Apple orchard, just off PAINE Avenue in New Rochelle.
We had two apple trees, as did many of the houses built in the 20s on his land there.

Nice puzzle, Mr. C, and hi, PG...sorry I missed you on Saturday!

Z 8:41 AM  

@Doug Garr - India Pale Ale, perhaps the most popular style of craft beer today. Hops has preservative qualities, so long voyages to India were stocked with beer with lots of hops. When fresh, lots of hops will give the beer a strong floral aroma and bitter after taste. It is now not uncommon to make other styles with "hop forward" variations, but many craft brewers are judged by the quality of their IPA. If you like bitter, get a fresh Two-Hearted Ale and make sure you take in the aroma before you drink.


Bird 8:44 AM  

Liked it. The long downs are very nice. No problems entering SAE, though I did question the clue (I would have used "util." instead as they are too cheap to use prepaid business envelopes).

I will probably never think of ASSORT as a verb.

I had INSET before I had to reverse it to SETIN.

Tita 8:45 AM  

Ugh...another reason I don't like Apple devices....the one I am borrowing egoistically auto-corrected the fruit to the brand.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

See here's what's great about the crossworld. Yesterday, people were roundly berated for not knowing a Keats poem. Today, I am shocked that there are (apparently multiple) people who have no idea what an IPA is. As my father would say, "That's what makes the world series."
In honor of our varied ignorances, I submit to you an ode:

OH IPA you are so hoppy,
When I drink you, I get sloppy.
You come in various shades and hues,
But hat I love are your IBU's.
So let me drink you, lap your head,
Then stumble clumsily into bed.

jberg 9:04 AM  

"Roundly berated" is a little strong, if you meant me. But it's well known that Keats loved his IPAs.

I remember the days when you could get TRIPE in restaurants; now you can hardly even get tongue, unless maybe you are in New York. What's the world coming to?

But at least we have ASSUAGE today. Made the puzzle for me.

Thanks, @PG!

AliasZ 9:08 AM  

I had no problem with (CONT.), I see it often enough in newspapers. What I did have a problem with was further evidence that NYT puzzles seem to be sinking deeoer into the SEAMY underbelly of urban jargon. Today we see how one ERECTS his MANHOOD in a SUEDE-ish ASSUAGE parlor where ASSORTed ladies: LENA, RUTH, ALISON, LILY, SARA, et al. are REUBEN fragrant OILERS on nude male patrons.

YETI feel I must RESIST the temptation to fall into this false perception. I mustn't ALLOW myself, because I also SAE a CHASTE AUGUSTA wearing an APRON, REHEAT day-old ONION RINGS with a LASER BEAM and give the TRIPE soup ASTIR once in a while, at the same time reciting PSALMS with MIRTH, while LIT-UP BERT feeling no PAINE as usual, is reaching for another IPA beer and the REMO control on the COFFEE table NIH his recliner. "HONEY?" "NOWWHAT?!" "What kind of EATS would you like for dinner? Some VERBAL GYMNASTICS perhaps?" "A YOO-HOO will be OK." What an idyllic image!

Loved this puzzle. However a few questions NAY at me.

- How HIGH is a HORSE anyway? Not as high as a camel or an elephant. "Oh, get off your high dinosaur!"
- Isn't it eerie to have ERIE and EIRE together?
- I wonder if being judged by a jury of your EARLs would pass muster. "Pass the EARL Gray Poupon, please!"

A safe deposit vault on the ground floor would have virtually covered the remaining gymnastics equipment, except I could not come up with a phrase for pommel. Turns out, pommel means "little apple" and it is the knob at the end of the hilt to prevent the sword from slipping out of one's hand. What this has to do with a pommel horse, I have no idea.

For a dramatic finale, let's enjoy the barren landscape of TERRA australis with the "Landscape" movement of "Sinfonia antartica", or Symphony No. 7, by Ralph Vaughan Williams, assembled from his film music for "Scott of the Antarctic" (1947).

Enjoy your day.

Tripe 9:08 AM  

@jberg--if you have authentic Mexican restaurants around, I bet you can get menudo, at least on Sundays, if that's what your tongue desires.

chefbea 9:10 AM  

@john child thanks

Hartley70 9:39 AM  

Ahhh...Gymnastics...she said gritting her teeth while she filled in the names of all that equipment. All that money, all those hours sitting and waiting in the gym, praying the little treasure didn't land on her neck. The beam gave me the most anxiety. Still and all, it kept her out of gangs so there's that! My unsolicited advice is introduce them young to competitive swimming! Butterfly and breaststroke are much lovelier words.

@Casco I love how your mind works. If you become a constructor, your clues will torture and delight those of us with the more pedestrian inclinations of standard crosswordese, ESL be damned. Of course having close acquaintance with au paires, I can attest that every last one that I met, except the Brits, took an ESL course at the local high school. ECD would have been an excellent accompaniment.

IPA was a mystery to me and that's my thrill of the day, a new continent in the world of beer. My world is still stuck at Narragansett. "Hi Neighbor" for those in the know!

dk 9:46 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

In the words of Lincoln Hayes (Mod Squad): Solid man! Thanks Gary.

Like the mini New England theme with AUGUSTA (the last a should be vocalized as AH) and Do not TREAD on me (Vermont motto).

Nice write up puz girrrrl.

Hartley70 9:54 AM  

@dk, you might want to recheck that Vermont motto.

quilter1 9:58 AM  

Not a beer drinker but now will watch for IPA when out and about. Honey is also a natural antiseptic which probably accounts for its longevity. Enjoyed this solve and the long answers. Very fresh.

RepliKate 9:59 AM  

@JohnChild, I am loath to kid you,but genes don't propagate; they replicate.

@AliasZ, I also had a flashback to that [Hold it!] HaLT/HILT foofaraw, since I pedantically grumped that the HILT comprises the 'guard', the 'pommel' and the 'grip' --- the part that you 'hold it'.

I think perhaps @Gill does a little pommeling when she blows socks off. (@Z, sometimes there's no such thing as TMI.)

SEAMY in my office.

(Oy. I just remembered the recent PLICATE... and now rePLICATE...)

Whirred Whacks 10:04 AM  

@Lewis (and @LMS also)
Thanks for the info about "double-letters." So, today's puzzle (16) is a high-end outlier.

Lewis: thanks for this warning: "I hope you don't get my 'on the alert for double letters' disease." I'll try to heed it.

Along similar lines: a long time ago, I played a lot of Scrabble (fairly well if I may say so). But I knew I was entering the "danger zone of Scrabble mania" when I'd look at outdoor billboards, store-window displays, and street signs and not think about a message's content but rather tabulate the Scabble point value of each word in the message. I ended up quitting the game.

Roo Monster 10:04 AM  

Hey All !
@Zeke, the submitting various rejection letters with your work made me laugh heartily! Awesome! I need to do that with my NYT puz submissions, 24 and counting...

This was a fairly easy TuesPuz. I do have a slight nit with the theme revealer. Sure, all the ends of the themers are gymnastic related, but the VERBAL part seems off, as in, How is it related to verbage of any sort? Just seems skewed abit, hard to explain. Maybe brain gerbil moving slow today!

Overall, I'd say OK puz. Had a coupla nice longer fill, not too much dreck, nice open grid.

@Lewis, when you count the doubles, does it matter multiples in one word? For example, does TORTELLINI count as one word, or 3? I see two with triples, HIGHHORSE, ONIONRINGS, and a quadruple! YOOHOO.


mathguy 10:31 AM  

Nice job, Puzzle Girl! Is that you in the picture with Rex?

Rex: I presume that you competed over the weekend. How did you do?

I liked the theme. The Closer enjoyed coaching gymnastics in our high schools. I won't make my usual bitch that it didn't help solve the puzzle

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

@dk 0946 seems to be confusing the Tea Party for Vermont with the "don't tread on me" thing. Seems like an unlikely mix-up. But his name IS in blue, so he must be right.

AliasZ 10:38 AM  

Oops, my link to "Landscape" went haywire. This is the real one.

The Knight that says NIH 10:47 AM  

Jeremy, is that you?? Waddaya know, the brains of @lms were flocking with mine at 17A!!

r.alphbunker 10:48 AM  

I commissioned Hayley Gold to do a rejection cartoon that I could send with my submission. She could teach Rex Parker a thing or two about trashing a puzzle!

I ended with "For your convenience I have ENCL a SASE with a rejection in it." I got an email rejection instead.

Ludyjynn 11:00 AM  

"Freedom and Unity" is the official state motto of Vermont, FYI.

Loved sports in school w/ the notable exception of GYMNASTICS. I was undone by the RINGS, BEAMS and BARS. Esp. loathed the mat routines because of a pervasive fear I would break my neck doing somersaults. Finally solved the problem senior year by scheduling drivers' ed. class which ALLOWed me to bypass the torture.

Hand up, @Casco, for suv before ATV. Only writeover.

This was an easy, pleasant Tuesday. Thanks, GC and WS.

black guy 11:04 AM  

My reaction to the ACPT video: look at all of those white people!

old timer 11:18 AM  

I googled for "straight as a laser". Plenty of uses. I thought it might be "mental" GYMNASTICS, but VERBAL fits and is IMO more accurate.

ASTIR according to my dictionary can mean "being out of bed". I'm sometimes ASTIR before getting in the shower, and before being fully awake.

I think the only nit to be picked is SAE, because SASE is what you need to get your manuscript back. In fact, my new novel, AUGUSTA, was just returned. The editor told me, "no more stories SETIN COFFEEBARS, please -- it's been done too often." He oughta get off his HIGHHORSE, if you ask me.

I don't suppose ALI under his previous name ever was in SAE. But until the other day, I would have thought that frat had *some* black members. "Now-notorious frat" would have been a good clue.

Joseph Michael 11:31 AM  

Smooth Tuesday. Makes me want to put on my MAN HOOD and head to the gym.

White guy, awash is a sea of white folk, and a bit perturbed by it 12:03 PM  

@Black Guy - I saw a series of photos over at Crossword Fiend and thought of sponsoring a "spot a black guy" contest. I decided against it, as any contest has to have a winner.

Masked and Anonymo5Us 12:04 PM  

M&A's best event: hoppin the BARS.

Pretty complete theme set, except for the essential SEAFLOOREXERCISE.

fave clue/answer: "You again?"/YOOHOO.

fave vowel exhibit: AUGUSTA. Lookin forward real soon to The Masters golf tourney, from there.

fave weeject: IPA. (India Pail Ale).

YETI EATS NIH. Film at eleven.

PuzGirl! Great pics. Don't look too crowded in the dining area. Maybe a possible E Division locale, for future ACPTs?


Bob Kerfuffle 12:04 PM  


Psalm 23: "The Lord is MY shepherd . . . "

Psalm 121: "The Lord is THY keeper . . ."

So how do I explain that I kept reading the clue as "The Lord is THY SHEPHERD > > >"?????

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

@old timer 16k isn't "plenty" in Googleville. "random bricks" gets 44k hits, and it's a random phrase I came up with to use as an example.

Lewis 12:11 PM  

@roo -- I just count the unseparated double letters. As an alphadoppeltoter, I am a purist.

M and Also 12:15 PM  

16 letter-boxes wide! Panoramic. And more for yer moneybucks.

@r.alph: har. Can not believe all U got was a rejection email, after all that extra work. The Shortzmeister coulda at least drawed up a snarky rejection cartoon...


** termite-oramic gruntz **

Zeke 12:44 PM  

@r.alphbunker - I can't believe you did that for real. My account, like most of what I post here, was pure fiction.

My hat's off to you.

MikeM 1:21 PM  

Cross of IPA and TRIPE did me in, And I drink beer. DNF Tuesdays are always tough to accept.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

8 Down isnt right. You can be in gear and idling. In fact it's highly recommended at stop lights. ( Especially on motorcycles).
Will has had problems realted to clutches and what they do before.

Richard Gere 2:48 PM  

I have an All-Terrain GoCart (an ATG), so when I got to 38A I shouted "Yes!!! My kind of puzzle!"

Andrew Heinegg 3:17 PM  

Great factoid, Lewis!

Pass the merlot 3:26 PM  

It seems NYT crossword solvers are more likely to be wine sippers than beer guzzlers. Quelle surprise!

r.alphbunker 3:45 PM  

@Whirred Whack, @Lewis

Searched all NYT puzzles of the Shortzian era for double-letter occurrences. Here are the results

Cathy Millhauser Sunday February 13, 1994 Eland 58 answers with at least one double letter

Randolph Ross Sunday March 7, 1999, Golly Gee (38 answers with at least one double-letter) (Ignored double vowels, e.g. EE and OO)

Alan Arbesfield Thursday, March 13, 2008 (23 answers with at least one double letter) (Ignored double vowels and Sunday puzzles.

The Alan Arbesfield puzzle is a very nice Thursday that I think will be enjoyed by many posters here. Ironic given the response to his recent Sunday puzzle.

I will be glad to run any other posted complex queries on NYT puzzles.

Whirred Whacks 4:17 PM  

Many thanks, Ralph! Interesting stuff!

Here's the link for the Feb 13, 1994 puzzle in XWord Info. In addition to all the double-letters, the truly amazing feat of this puzzle is that it uses only one vowel: the letter E . . . 138 times!

(M&A wouldn't be able to write his name!)

Carola 5:58 PM  

Super Tuesday! VERBAL GYMNASTICS - such a great theme for a word puzzle. And I thought the phrases did a nice job of masking the apparatus. Beyond the theme, I liked "YOOHOO!" with its "NOW WHAT?!" response; the get-going pair ASTIR x IN GEAR; LARYNGITIS crossing its therapy, TEA (with HONEY); and REHEAT x EATS.

Teedmn 7:19 PM  

Given the number of leveling tools that use laser beams as part of their function, it seems 26A could have been clued without using "metaphor" and saved it (metaphor) for the HIGH HORSE clue.

But neither clue caused any delay in my solve so that ASSUAGES any angst I might have felt over possible imprecisions. Though the clue for SEAMY didn't RING[S] true for me. But obviously I have my mind on something else :-), since I think I was looking for StEAMY! Reconsidering, I see that "disreputable" is just fine for 49A.

Thanks for the nice Tuesday puzzle, Gary Cee.

chefbea 8:03 PM  

@ Whirred Wacks.. I remember that E puzzle

Clark 9:05 PM  

I'm with @Loren Muse Smith on the LASER thing. The clue says metaphor not simile. All of your searches for laser beam used as a simile tell us nothing about the frequency of its use as a metaphor.

Lewis 10:12 PM  

@r.alph -- I'm only tracking the doubles M-SA, and I can see 23 happening in a 15 x 15. Still waiting and hoping for that zero to happen. Because I track the double letters, I've decided to call myself the resident ALPHADOPPELTOTER.

r.alphbunker 10:59 PM  


I found 17 puzzles with no double-letters if I did not count double-vowels.

If double-vowels counted then I found 2 with no double-letters.

Joe Krozel, Tue Dec 23, 2008. Once you get the theme you will understand why.

Louis Sabin Saturday Nov 13, 1993. Again once you get the theme you will see why. This is one of the last puzzles before Will Shortz took over on Nov 21, 1993. Mel Taub was the interim editor.

Leapfinger 1:55 AM  

With all respect, @Lewis, I think that should be ALPHADOPPELTOTTER. Thanks to @r.alpha and @Wh2 for the additional links.

I think the rationale of HIGH HORSE is illustrated by Cervantes' Don QuiHaute, which Don was HIGH on Rocinante, While Sancho Panza was Donkey Low on Dapple.

Dapple's saddle possibly was missing a pommel. ;^)

Verbal Jim Nast 2:21 AM  

U RIAH? How's your mother?
I heard they call the wind Ma RIAH.

What on MIRTH was that about?? 'Pun my word, that's a blow, ALLOW bllow for ALL who haven't had T'READ anything that sparked their E-IRE today. That was almost T'RIPE t'use, YETI managed. No PAINE, no gaine.

To be CONT, you betcha.

Cindy Dy 2:33 AM  

You made some good points there. I did a search on the matter and found the majority of people will consent with your blog.


+wordphan 2:21 AM  

No reply on the IPA? Crying in my no-name beer!

Burma Shave 9:19 AM  


I was LITUP with IRE, ‘cause I was feeling too CHASTE,
with my OWN hormones ASTIR and no time to waste.
I SAID, “YOOHOO HONEY, let’s PLAY if you would.”
SARA SAID, “You know I can’t RESIST your MANHOOD,
NOWWHAT would you ALLOW that causes no PAINE?”
I SAID, “I’m ASSORT of AFAN of IRONS and chain.”
SARA SETIN with MIRTH to prepare that SEAMY gear,
it’s UNREAL to HAUL ashes after you ASSUAGE all your fear!


spacecraft 11:36 AM  

@BS: The duel is over. You win. On to today's offeRINGS. I like the theme, tied up perfectly with a nice grid-spanning revealer. Pretty clean fill, too, though I think that CIA/NIH/SHH side could have been cleaned up without too much trouble.

As to SAE vs. SASE, the second S, as we know, stands for "stamped," without which I doubt we'd get too many returns. I'm guessing that over time, the "stamped" part came to be understood, so now it's just SAE. Just...don't forget to put the postage on if you want to get it back.

I like the long downs, especially LARYNGITIS crossing HIGH HO(A)RSE. Let's give Cee a Bee plus.

Hey, I'm starting to get numbers again. 116; that should be a B+.

BS2 12:36 PM  

@Spacey – I don’t think there are winners or losers, just a bunch of fun along the way. Your post yesterday was incredibly good.

rondo 12:54 PM  

This puz was not too staid for Tuesday. Lots better than some of what we’ve had in recent memory. Minimal use of 3s and a smattering of longish fill. Pretty decent theme. Not bad at all.

One time I crawled up on the balance beam, just to see. It’s tough to walk on it, much less perform what those gymnasts do on a 4” wide and 4’ high slab of hardwood. UNREAL!

Being a golfer, it might have been nice to see AUGUSTA clued as “Masters’ home” for a bit of a misdirect.

ALI – if not the best fighter of all time, certainly the most compelling to watch (and on free TV, not for $100 like last weekend). So sad about the consequences of all of ALI’s title fights.

In my world SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers, the group who monitor stuff like the viscosity of the oil that goes in your car. It’s on every jug (used to be can) of oil you buy. But that might be even too obscure for Saturday.

PuzzleGirl had it – just about right.

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