Reform Party pioneer / WED 3-11-15 / Unseen Cheers wife / Tom entirely Morse code / Aid provider since 1864 / Goes from Carndonagh to Skibbereen

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: RED CROSS (67A: Aid provider since 1864 … or a hint to this puzzle's circled squares) — RED things CROSS one another in the grid, five times

Theme answers:
  • MARS (3D: Twix maker) / RARE MEAT (17A: Something that's just not done at the dinner table?)
  • RADISH (18A: Salad bar item) / NAIL POLISH (12D: Purse item)
  • BRICK (31D: Adobe, e.g.) / CHILI (42A: Tailgate dish)
  • STRAWBERRY (29D: Kool-Aid flavor) / MERLOT (65A: Dark wine)
  • ROSE (62D: Stood) / RED CROSS 
Word of the Day: H. Ross PEROT (33D: Reform Party pioneer) —
Henry Ross Perot (/pəˈr/; born June 27, 1930) is an American businessman best known for being an independent presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996. Perot founded Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in 1962, sold the company to General Motors in 1984, and founded Perot Systems in 1988. Perot Systems was bought by Dell for $3.9 billion in 2009.
With an estimated net worth of about US$3.5 billion in 2012, he is ranked by Forbes as the 134th-richest person in the United States. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hey, I recognize this puzzle. A couple years back, right after Hurricane Sandy, I put together a collection of puzzles to benefit the American Red Cross ("American Red Crosswords" … yeah, clever, I know), and David submitted this puzzle, or a version of it, but we'd already accepted one with a vaguely similar theme, so he, of course, generously made another puzzle for us. (You can read his story about this puzzle's journey to publication here). I was just reviewing that collection, and it was making me very nostalgic. So many big-time constructors … with Patrick Blindauer editing. We raised a nice chunk of change. The collection is still available. Just go here, follow the link to the American Red Cross, donate whatever you want, and then go back to our site and download the collection as a .pdf file. Print and solve! (You actually don't have to donate at all to get the puzzles, but … why would you do that?)

My only issue with the puzzle—and I'm not sure it's even an "issue," just an inconsistency that I notice—is that some of the things are inherently red, and some of the things *can* be red, if you want them to be. MERLOT *is* a red wine, but NAIL POLISH is only red … when it's red. Ditto ROSEs. RADISH, red. BRICK? Maybe. And one other odd thing—the theme cluing. Some are clued as non-red versions of the word (i.e. MARS is not clued as the red planet, but as the candy maker), or as different parts of speech altogether (e.g. ROSE is clued as a verb), while others are clued straight-up, as the red things the puzzle says they are (RARE MEAT, for instance). But "inconsistency" is just another way to say "variety." At least today it is.

Grid doesn't have much glitz outside the theme answers. I like seeing OPA LOCKA as a full answer (usually it shows up only as a way of cluing OPA, yuck). I also like the ATHEIST / IT'S A LIE symmetrical pairing near the center. RECIPE and TV TRAY go together nicely as well. Much of the rest of the grid is just basic short stuff. Mostly solid. Only DAHS made me wince a little. Some great cluing in this puzzle. See especially 45A: It might have a stirring part (RECIPE) and 8D: Top gear (HATS), Anyway, go get that "American Red Crosswords" collection for yourself if you haven't already. 24 specially commissioned puzzles by a wide range of top-notch constructors. Print it out, make a little book, give it to your aunt for St. Patrick's Day. Or something. Be creative.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Steve J 12:04 AM  

    Solid puzzle. Fill could have used a little more zip, but at the same time there's no groan-worthy fill, and the theme was nicely done.

    Agreed that the cluing was this puzzle's strength. My favorite was "Colt 45 maker" for PABST.

    wreck 12:09 AM  

    A rare "Wednesday" puzzle by David S. I saw his comments over at Xword Info, so I was wondering how Rex would treat this. (I thought it was fair)
    While it didn't seem particularly difficult, it did take me longer than most Wednesdays so I guess it was just about right. Enjoyed it!

    Mark 12:18 AM  

    Northwest stumped me; so I went back to it after solving all the other sections, and finally found easy conclusion by replacing the FEMININE that I had so confidently entered to get off to a roaring "good" start.

    Zeke 12:19 AM  

    WOMANISH? WTF? As in, my great-great aunt is WOMANISH, in that she technically is one, but is really just a blob of protoplasm now?

    An all time absurdity of a crossword entry. Great choice for 1A.

    wreck 12:30 AM  

    @ Zeke

    Point taken, but "WOMANISH" is perfectly acceptable when you are using it as an alternative to "GIRLISH." I think you are a little over-reaching in criticism.

    jae 12:34 AM  

    Easy-medium for me too.

    No WOEs and just Wind before WRAP and TakE before TRUE for erasures.

    Clever and smooth, liked it.

    Anonymous 12:42 AM  

    I thought "womanish" was terrible then I googled it and changed my mind

    George Barany 12:54 AM  

    What an absolutely lovely puzzle by my friend @David Steinberg, and what a lovely backstory that stars, in part, OFL aka @Rex Parker aka @Michael Sharp. Just goes to show, computer software doesn't make puzzles, people with computer software make puzzles.

    Speaking of making puzzles, I am delighted to announce that @John Child--a regular commentator here who I first befriended when he used this forum seeking test solvers for one of his constructions--has just made his official debut. Please try Go Look It Up, and after solving the puzzle, read the "midrash" which explains the theme and provides the backstory as to why you are not seeing that puzzle in the MSM.

    Finally (and pre-emptively), if you have the stomach for one more puzzle after today's Steinberg NYT and the Childs debut referenced in the above paragraph, you can do worse than Club Rex, a paean to how this forum can bring people together rather than tear them apart.

    Piros Rózsa 1:15 AM  

    Of course BRICK is RED. BRICK RED.

    ROSES are RED
    Violets are blue,
    Lemons are sour,
    And so is Rex.

    David Krost 1:29 AM  

    My only quibble is Rex's comment that roses are inherently red. He has never heard of yellow roses, or several other varieties?

    It was also a little odd to use adobe as the clue for a (red) brick, since adobe brick is not red, at least not mostly. But since as Rex said the cluing didn't have to match the potential redness of the answer, I can forgive that.

    David Krost 1:32 AM  

    Oh, and also there are white radishes. Just to be complete.

    Anonymous 1:44 AM  

    And the rare meat could be salmon. And there are green chili peppers.

    chefwen 2:32 AM  

    Aloha @Carola, welcome home. You and BIL could have been planes crossing in the night, but one of his flights was cancelled and we got to enjoy him for another night.
    BUT WHY Maui when Kauai is the best? I will convince you of that some day.

    OPA LOCKA always a gimme as Jon went to flying school there.

    I need to not automatically groan when I see David Steinberg's name up top. I have really enjoyed his last batch of puzzles. Realign your thinking little one.

    Messed up with remote before TV TRAY at 36A and on loan before LOANED at 10D. Other than that, pretty easy/medium as Rex already stated.

    Moly Shu 3:26 AM  

    @Zeke, is it possible you and I share the same great-great aunt? "Technically is one, but is really just a blob of protoplasm", effing brilliant. Agree that the cluing was above average, 'one who's succeeding' was my fave. I also gained a little knowledge about EiRE. Liked it.

    Billy 3:30 AM  

    @ david Krost
    Rex said roses are only red when they're red, but hey, don't let his actual words get in the way of your quibbles.

    Ellen S 3:40 AM  

    Preach it @Billy! (you beat me to it.)

    This was probably my fastest Wednesday ever. I don't time my solves because usually they spill over to the next morning, especially a David Steinberg, but this one just sped by. OPALOCKA was a gimme because, I'm not sure ... because I read so many books by Carl Hiaasen?

    Anyway, I have not (yet) from getting laser toner all over my hands the other day (I know it's toxic as all get-out but not instantaneous), but I'm definitely solving puzzles faster! I also picked up that book of "Tough NYT Puzzles" that I've been working on for about 10 years, and just ripped through one of them. Good times!

    Christine Cozzens 3:43 AM  

    My only quibble is that no one I know carries nail polish, red or otherwise, in a purse ("Purse item")!

    Charles Flaster 4:00 AM  

    Medium because I was looking for tricky items that were always "red". Hence I think Rex had a perfect review.
    Did like cluing for TV TRAY and RECIPE.
    Thanks DS.

    pfb 5:20 AM  

    Good puzzle, but I expect that from DS. As with the previous two days, I needed the revealer to recognize the theme, and even then, all I saw were crosses, not the red (to Rex's point).

    Thomas808 5:32 AM  

    Rex liked the proximity of ATHEIST with ITSALIE. I liked the crossing of ATHEIST with the "whiny child" BUTWHY. Not a commentary, just an amusing juxtaposition.

    Is Colt 45 malt liquor still produced? I got Pabst as a cross. I just found out a few weeks ago that Pabst Blue Ribbon, now referred to as PBR, is a popular choice among young people in bars. Who would've thought?

    My brain was stuck on dot / dash for Morse code and so I blocked on 14D, even though my name is Tom! Finally the light went on for dit / dah.

    @mathguy I saw your comment from yesterday late. I probably went to the same school (SI) and I also don't remember the Amo series. Sum, es est is burned in my mind. But I was one of those guys that was ENTRAPped by Fr. Dodd to abandon Latin and take up Greek for three years.. No regrets.

    I enjoyed the puzzle and now I have to go donate and download the Red Cross fundraiser!

    Loren Muse Smith 6:22 AM  

    Pretty easy here, too. But alas, I had a dnf because of Opa Locca/scat. I just thought it was Opalocca.

    @Christine Cozzens – I have RED NAILPOLISH in my purse right now. In a small ziplock baggie lest it leak and make a huge red mess. And I have a bottle of clear nail polish, too.

    I think I’d rather be WOMANISH than womanly. I guess it could be from the phrase “womanly figure,” which feels kind of zaftig to me.

    Anyone ELSE notice the BART right over STARr?

    @John Child - hey! Congrats on your puzzle! I'll check it out on @George Barany's site.

    @jae – me, too, for “take” before TRUE. Maybe a comma in the clue after the blank would have helped?

    PESTS – oh, wow. Those darn stinkbugs. What a funny name, that. Imagine how different it would have been if Kafka had gone with "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a big ole stinkbug." Oops.

    I liked the clue for BEEPS. If only more people would just use their horns to get out of traffic jams.


    David – always a pleasure. Very nice puzzle.

    GILL I. 6:34 AM  

    I think PABST would make me OPALOCKA my CHILI....Getting that vision out of my head, I sat back and did an OOLALA. pretty neat puzzle by you David. Was Ladylike your clue? Saying WOMANISH is like carrying NAIL POLISH in your purse....
    BEEPS never get me out of a jam here. Instead you get the middle finger.
    Fun Wed.

    Numinous 7:41 AM  

    More and more I'm liking David Steinberg and his work. What amazes me is that he first conceived this when he was fifteen or sixteen. He reminds me of this college application essay.

    I'm content that all the theme answers (count 'em, there are ten) are RADISH, er, ReDISH. Sometimes I think I know where OFL is coming from. He teaches college and he grades assignments. Part of the job of a conscientious teacher is to direct students to critical thinking and that can be a cruel and ruthless undertaking. When I was in high school, I had a friend who was an associate professor in the philosophy department at U. C. Berkeley. Sometimes he would show me papers written by students and his criticisms of them. Scary! Sometimes I'd show him papers I'd written for my english classes. Scarier! But I learned a lot from him. Things that serve me to this day. I hope I'm right about Rex. I hope the constrctors he criticises can put that criticism to good use.

    What can I say about a Steinberg I finished in two thirds an average Wednesday time? The fill, over all, was excellent and the cluing makes the solver think. Well, made me think. Good job, David!

    NCA President 8:13 AM  

    Very easy puzzle for me. When I saw that it was a DS puzzle I figured I'd be here awhile...but not true. I breezed through fairly quickly with few bumps.

    I originally had feMiNine at 1A and the two correct letters only added to the certainty it was right. But there were several problems with it (obviously, since it was wrong), and eventually I erased it all and started over adding in the NLEAST crossing and that pretty much took care of that.

    Only nit was the OPAL/OPALOCKA crossing.

    Otherwise, I think these easier puzzles suit DS more than the later week puzzles. The clues were more natural (as was the fill) and so the puzzle overall was smoother and provoked far less rancor. Not to say it was elementary or even not challenging at all...just smoother.

    As for the inconsistencies in the themers, I get what Rex was trying to say. NAILPOLISH really stood out to me since "red" really is just a very small fraction of the colors it could be. The other themers were predominantly red. Roses are other colors, but red is what most think of when they thing "rose." BRICK is a shade of red. CHILI as a dish is usually red, and so on. So, you know, there's that.

    Good puzzle. A pleasant surprise and nice to start to a very rainy day.

    NCA President 8:15 AM  

    ^^^ oops, I meant ALEAST. Pardon my ERRANT ways*.

    *God how I hate puns and I hate that I use them...

    Bird 8:46 AM  

    Started with feminine at 1A so that section was a huge mess. Anyway, I liked the variety of the theme.

    20ALoren (see what I did there?) - Nice catch re BART STARr.

    @NCA, I also wondered about that OPAL/OPA LOCKA crossing. The latter is unknown to me so I lingered there for a while figuring something was wrong.

    When my kids whine it's either "BUT mom" or "BUT dad".

    Didn't know what a TV TRAY was until Google told me it is what I call a snack table.

    Happy Humpday!

    joho 8:55 AM  

    This puzzle did not make me see RED, it made me very happy.

    Super clever theme executed beautifully.

    Thank you, David, you keep getting better and better!

    Loren Muse Smith 8:56 AM  

    21ABird – I'm with you - my kids always wailed, "But Mom!!!....." Stealing from some movie I saw once, I used to answer, "Back up there, buddy. Did you just call me Butt Mom?"

    Roo Monster 8:58 AM  

    Hey All !
    Have to say it, the clues were crunchy! Many clues that were alternate meanings. Liked the Red Cross theme. Had a few writeovers that slowed me a tad. fallS-> tRiPS-> DROPS, snarl-> TIEUP, remote-> TVTRAY, saD-> OdD-> OLD. Also, HEro, HEIR. Otherwise, :-), fairly easy!

    Nice open grid in the NW and SE. Nice dense theme count with hardly any glue. Good oole (young!) DS!


    Z 9:04 AM  

    @Thomas808 - Yes, Colt 45 is still brewed. Calling PABST it's "maker" is a stretch, though. Last I checked PABST is just a holding company of various "classic" brands and it contracts out brewing to other companies.

    Had trouble with the RARE MEAT clue. For me, rare is done, anything more is overdone. Therefore it took all the crosses for RARE before I got it. Since Jade fit the clue as well as OPAL and feM--- might work just as well as WOM--- and I have never seen Frozen, I had some serious sussing to do in that corner. My other writeovers were DotS to DAHS and drY to SOY (briefly giving me Rick PERRY as a Reform Party Pioneer(?)) Definitely on the hard side of medium here. Oh - BUT mom before BUT WHY, too.

    If you never did those Red Cross puzzles before, they are worth whatever you donate. Actually, probably a little more than you donated so kick in an extra $10. You'll feel good for having given and the puzzles are good.

    Ludyjynn 9:13 AM  

    Hand up for 'feminine' before WOMANISH. Still don't like the word because not all women are ladylike and not all ladylike people are women!

    I like to spell it OOhLALA.

    @Christine, I'm in your camp re NAILPOLISH, but I respect @LMS' solution to the leakage problem. Personally, when the manicure starts to chip, its time to get back to the salon. IMO, a good mani/pedi is cheap therapy for whatever ails me. More guys should try them.

    This took me longer than usual for a Wednesday, and when I finished, I saw the constructor's
    name and burst out laughing. Of course, it had to be my former nemesis, DS. Notice I said 'former'!

    What a beautiful but sad quote from Van Gogh.

    Thanks, DS and WS. I SAYYES to more puzzles like this.

    jberg 9:14 AM  

    I knew there was something like OPALOCKA, or lucka, or lacka, here in Florida, but not that it was a Miami suburb, nor how to spell it. So I had to suss our NOM, nicely clued.

    I was going to complain about the BEEPS, but @Loren did that so much more effectively!

    So I'll complain about HYDRO, which is ecofriendly the way NAIL POLISH is red -- sometimes. Remember when they wanted to dam the Grand Canyon?

    I needed the revealer to see the theme, but appreciated it once I did.


    Elaina 9:16 AM  

    @Ludyjynn - You got there just before me. Generally all ladies are women but certainly not all women are ladies.

    Anonymous 9:31 AM  

    Might have carried clear polish in my purse 50 years ago to put on the start of a run in my panty hose, which cost a fortune back then. Haven't worn panty hose in a very long time.

    pfb 9:34 AM  

    @LMS: I did not see BART over STAR; clever. I probably should spend a little time after solving to look for those little gems.

    Malsdemare 9:44 AM  

    The only place you'll find nail polish around here is in my dog's working vest. He does pet therapy at a children's crisis center and the girls like to paint his nails. Great big Alaskan Malamute and lavender toe nails! For thise interested, Hello Kitty polish doesn't smell, important given how close a dog's nose is to his foot when being painted by an intense twelve year old.

    I didn't like womanish either; had decorous at first, which also doesn't quite work. And I misspelled Opa Locka. But I really liked the theme and enjoyed the "just right" Wednesday workout.

    Roo Monster 9:49 AM  

    @Z, yikes, you like RARE MEAT? I always ask for mine well done, and nine times out of ten, (okay, maybe seven out of ten!) it still comes out with some redish-pinkish hue. Straight up ordering ir RARE would cause me to get sick. I guess everyone has their own likes, opinions, and stomachs!

    @LMS, the Beep thing was hilarious! I loved the simulation of the cars moving out of the way! Kind of like Jim Carey in Bruce Almighty when he swooshed the traffic!


    Bob Kerfuffle 10:04 AM  

    Good puzzle.

    (Sorry, @Roo Monster, my idea of a nicely done steak, as I tell the waiter, is "A good vet could bring it back"!)

    chefbea 10:11 AM  

    Great puzzle!! Lots of food and cooking terms and I love rare meat. And I like my fish de-boned...both of course with a side salad with red radishes.
    @Christine Cozzens - many ladylike peole bring their own nail polish to the salon when they get a manicure.

    And speaking of food..there was an article in our paper yesterday that Borscht (thats a soup made with beets) helps to lower your blood pressure.!!!

    CrossMom 10:17 AM  

    After you donate $ and download the Red Cross puzzles, take one along to occupy your mind while you
    Bad weather has led to many cancelled appointments and blood drives, so supplies are very low right now.

    Timing is everything... I was just typing this blog entry when my phone rang. It was a Red Cross rep, saying it's been more than 8 weeks since my last donation and asking if I would come in soon. I was pleased not only to tell her that I donated blood yesterday evening, but that I had just finished today's Red-Cross-themed NYT puzzle and was typing a blog entry to encourage others to donate. That news made her day!

    So, please, make someone else's day. Give blood.

    Ludyjynn 10:23 AM  

    @chefbea, I've never understood schlepping nail polish to a salon. Part of the price of the manicure includes the polish. There is no discount for BYOP! My salon has an entire wall of color choices from three major polish manufacturers. I have never had a problem selecting something from the rainbow of choices. Just sayin'.

    RnRGhost57 10:32 AM  

    @Numinous, thanks for the marvelous link. Will be sharing with colleagues at the university where I work.

    Nancy 10:57 AM  

    @Z -- I order my steak and hamburger rare, too, and send it back if it's not. (Lamb, though has to be medium rare, doggone it; otherwise it's tough and chewy. I've found that out the hard way.) All that said, RARE MEAT, by its definition, is not done meat. I thought that clue was terrific and completely fair.

    Still with the food: CHILI, whether made with meat, beans, or both always looks brown to me. Reddish brown, I suppose, but still brown.

    I found this puzzle one of the most challenging Wednesdays I've yet seen and I enjoyed it a lot. Had to start in the East to get any sort of toehold. My only writeover was LOANED (I had had rentED) but I did avoid writing in either feminine for WOMANISH or MaROon for MERLOT and am so glad I didn't; that would have thrown me off. A nice challenge, with almost no junk.

    chefbea 11:07 AM  

    @Ludyjynn I don't understand that either. I never bring my own. I have plenty to pick from.

    Joseph Michael 11:14 AM  

    Cool puzzle. Liked the theme concept and most of the fill.

    Gained great admiration and respect for the Red Cross while working as a volunteer for them after the Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco in 1989. Been a donor ever since.

    Wanted FEMININE before WOMANISH, GOD before NOM, REMOTE before TV TRAY, and BRAS before HATS.

    Thought BEEPS referred to the sounds of words being censored on TV.

    Liked the pairing of TV TRAY and GLEE.

    Benko 11:43 AM  

    Weird to me that so many people found this an easy Wednesday. I thought it was pretty difficult, more of a Friday, due to the cluing.

    Mr. Benson 11:58 AM  

    Rex must really like David Steinberg. I have a feeling that any other solver would have been savaged for the inconsistent cluing (with a dig at Will Shortz added in for good measure). With Steinberg it's "'inconsistency' is just another way to say 'variety.'"

    (I have no view one way or the other on the merits of inconsistent cluing.)

    Lewis 12:04 PM  


    Very much liked the clues to RAREMEAT, RECIPE, HEIR, AND BEEPS. I liked the answers ITSALIE, ERRANT, BUTWHY, and TRUE (as preceding "that"). Great catch LMS on BART above STAR.

    It felt just right for a Wednesday, and was satisfying to solve. Now I'm hoping someone comes up with a Green Paint puzzle. Thanks, David!

    Anonymous 12:12 PM  

    My face may be red, but could someone explain AVE --Independence in Washington? Thanks.

    AliasZ 12:14 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    AliasZ 12:16 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    old timer 12:19 PM  

    "Womanish" is a slur. It's a word that is only used pejoratively ("womanish fears" or "womanish behavior [often describing scaredy-cat men]. We have two perfectly good words, usable when no slur is intended: "womanly" and "feminine". These are words that are often prefixed to good things as as well as bad, though I'm sure many feminists dislike those words as well, and prefer the word "female" as the most neutral.

    I'm not in favor of censoring xword puzzles. To me, every legitimate English word ought to be fair game. But I am surprised to see so few protests today.

    The puzzle was OK, but I think in this case, Rex was biased in favor of a constructor who has done good things for the xword community.

    AliasZ 12:22 PM  

    This WOMANISH man named ART and manish woman named LES walk into a bar, both STRAWBERRY blonds with RED lipstick and RED NAIL POLISH in their purses. They both WORE BRICK RED shoes and sported a RED ROSE on their lapels. The BART ender greets ART: "Hey HUN, watcha having?" "I'll have a PABST, and pour LES a glass of MERLOT." "Oh, I thought LES was a TOWED. She does look like one." -- [I could go on, but will spare you.]

    This is the first David Steinberg puzzle I thoroughly enjoyed. The arrangement of the RED CROSS themers surrounding the grid, and the CHILI | BRICK CROSS right in the middle was especially clever. It would have been nice if they were all highlighted in RED to make the theme pop. Such theme density is usually a RECIPE for disaster, but I found the fill amazingly clean and free of misspelled words or "fresh" rap lingo, a trademark of previous DS creations. I sense a welcome maturation in David's work. It seems he's no longer a PUTTS. My HATS off, David!

    Zubin MEHTA was the most overrated and unfitting music director in the history of the NY Philharmonic, that is, until Alan Gilbert, demolishing BRICK by RED BRICK the POLISH and precision that previous directors like Willem Mengelberg, Arturo Toscanini, Artur Rodziński, Dimitri Mitropoulos, et al. worked so hard to achieve.

    I loved the @SIGN, OPA-LOCKA, SAY YES to the dress, BUT WHY? I dunno if it's TRUE or if IT'S A LIE. Some of the cluing was ingenious as well, like the ones for DAHS, HEIR, RECIPE, etc. However, some might argue that an ATHEIST is one who has not yet reached the realm of belief, rather than being beyond it. Also, on a census form or application next to SEX I always write YES.

    For those who may disagree with my MEHTA assessment, here is a more appropriate milieu for Zubin, and a loving tribute to this spring-like day in NYC: "Spring" from "The Four Seasons" by Antonio.

    Enjoy! SEEYA.

    Lewis 12:25 PM  

    Factoid: MARS is home to the tallest mountain in the solar system. Olympus Mons is 21km high (Mt. Everest is close to 9).

    Quotoid: "Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until DROPS of blood form on your forehead." -- Gene Fowler

    GILL I. 12:28 PM  

    Hey @John Child.....CONGRATULATIONS on your puzzle! I haven't finished it yet because I have to rush out of here but I truly like it so far.
    Folks give Go Look It Up a try. See George B's post!
    See ya later....

    chefbea 12:53 PM  

    @anon 12:12 Independance Aveenue

    Chip Hilton 12:59 PM  

    I went with OPALOChA but that yielded one nasty card game.

    Good cluing throughout, fun Wednesday.

    beatrice 1:03 PM  

    There is another musical MEHTA less likely to be used as a crossword clue - counter-tenor Bejun, a first-cousin once removed (apparently) of the conductor. Here he performs in a production of Mozart's fifth opera seria, 'Mitridate' - written when the composer was fourteen.

    beatrice 1:06 PM  


    mathguy 1:09 PM  

    Delightful puzzle. Not easy -- it had the highest MGI of all Wednesdays over the past few months.

    @Lewis. Fascinating factoid.

    @Thomas808. Happy to meet a fellow SI grad. I'm class of '52. I remembered that Henle wrote the Latin text we used. I did a little research and hit pay dirt. Robert J. Henle was a Jesuit priest who wrote the text in the forties. He went on to become president of Georgetown. I also was able to find the complete book, page by page. I scanned it through the five declensions (first declension terra, terrae, terrae, ...) and continued up to the first conjugation. As you noted, it didn't use amo, amas, amat, ... It was laudo, laudas, laudat, ... I praise, you praise, he or she praises.

    The Angel City Kid 1:17 PM  

    PBR is popular with the young crowd because it is almost always (at least here in SoCal) the cheapest selection on tap.

    Z 1:22 PM  

    @Nancy - Now you have me wondering if the question asked is "How would you like your steak done?" or just "How would you like your steak?" Either way, I thought the clue was fair, it just tripped me up.

    Anonymous 1:27 PM  

    After my first pass through this puzzle I didn't have much filled in. Then I noticed the constructor's name and saw why. I did eventually finish without Googling. I agree with Rex's comments about the clues for the crossed items. The only thing that the planet and the Twix maker have in common is the name, and the candy maker isn't red.

    Charley 2:19 PM  

    A dish of cooked chili is not red.

    BillyC 2:50 PM  

    There goes Barany, once again using this blog site as an advertising medium for his puzzles. It's a good thing he's the only serial offender here, or this site would be far less enjoyable.

    Benko 3:06 PM  

    There goes BillyC again, using this blog as a way to whine and be petty. He certainly has a lot of interesting and meaningful things to say.

    mac 3:28 PM  

    Nice Wednesday puzzle with plenty of good words and clues.

    Just a few days ago I read a short story by Laura van den Berg that mentioned Opa Locka. Lucky!

    Thank you, @George Barany!

    Thomas808 3:32 PM  

    @mathguy you are a Shirt Factory man! You have a few years on me as I am class of '76 and attended the new campus out in the Sunset. Thanks for the background on Latin 101, SI style. Ego te laudo (probably get a C minus for that).

    Lewis 3:41 PM  

    John Child -- just did your puzzle. Wow! Terrific cluing, fresh feel, fun to solve. Bravo!

    chefwen 3:55 PM  

    @BillyC - Now you're just being annoying. Let it go!

    smalltowndoc 4:37 PM  

    Just curious. In some posts on this forum, I see the acronym WOE. What's it mean?

    Anonymous 4:44 PM  

    What On Earth? More polite than WTF, and more expressive because the WOE usually is also a source of woe.

    Loren Muse Smith 5:49 PM  

    @John Child – I enjoyed your puzzle and learned some terrific expressions! I'll look forward to more from you.

    THANKS, @GEORGE BARANY for sharing the links.

    aging soprano 5:54 PM  

    I had Lenny as a possible alternative to Zubin for the N.Y.Phil, until PEROT made me settle on MEHTA. Enjoyed the puzzle.

    aging soprano 5:55 PM  

    I had Lenny as a possible alternative to Zubin for the N.Y.Phil, until PEROT made me settle on MEHTA. Enjoyed the puzzle.

    piman 9:16 PM  

    Complete Natick on OPALOCKA/SKAT. Never heard of either one before.At least it wasn't 'OPALOCHA'. And really surprised Rex let OPAL/OPALOCKA slide. He's becoming a softy.

    Numinous 10:59 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Numinous 11:01 PM  

    Perjorative? WOMANISH? I seem to associate WOMANISH with phrases like, "You hit like a girl." WOE betide anyone who says that to LAILA Ali! My wife once hit an acquaintance at a party playfully on the arm. His reaction? "You hit like a girl!" Her responce? "I am a (gerund begining with an F deleted for propriety's sake) girl."

    Question of the day, Which came first, the clue or the answer? For the most part, in crosswords, it's the answer word. The problem with 1 A is the clue, not the answer. There is no way on this planet that i would call a Scaredy-cat man or even an efeminate one ladylike. I don't think I'd call a girl who eeks and jumps on chairs when seeing a mouse or a spider ladylike either.

    @Billy C, as has been pointed out before, George Baraney has permission from Rex and the blessings of many of the commentariat. He offers information regarding new consturctors and suggest puzzles that are usually topical. Folks here enjoy them. You, sir, are beating a dead horse and even the very best of vets can't bring it back. Neither do you provide any of the things George does. If you wish to comment, why not try positive commennts instead of (some random adjective) whining?

    @Y'all, heres a nickel. May I have three pennies in change?

    KFC 3:36 AM  

    Re: Billy C. Troll feeding is a waste of time and key strokes.

    Eat more chicken, now boneless!

    spacecraft 10:53 AM  

    "There ain't a thing that's wrong with any man here
    That couldn't be cured by putting him near
    A girlish, WOMANISH, female, feminine DAME!"

    And that, folks, as far as I can determine, is the SOLE instance of the real-world use of 1-across. directly underneath is OPALOCKA, a WOE of the first order. I didn't even know it wasn't all one word, so that crossing OPAL was a real frowner. I mean the kid is brilliant and all, but just how much license does he get? If it was anybody else...

    Okay, so I'm nit-picking in an otherwise fine puzzle. One clue I must mention though: since when did BEEPS ever help anyone out of a jam? Unfortunately, lots of people THINK so, but of course they're wrong. BUTWHY do they insist on doing it--over and over and...Oh, I'm getting a headache.

    It's not often that a revealer is a gimme--and in turn gives away the theme itself, but today that was my way in, and it made this the easiest DS so far. B.

    Burma Shave 12:52 PM  


    ERATO and her WOMANISH sister were CLONED,
    they both WORE a WRAP that was LOANED,
    and when that WRAP DROPS
    TRUE SEX never stops
    ‘cause RAREMEAT is found while seeking DEBONE.

    --- BART STAR

    rain forest 2:23 PM  

    Man, if I'd looked for the revealer at the beginning, I would have halved my time. The NW was impossible because I wanted "feminine" and I misread the 1d clue as "become' threadbare and so entered "fray'. Outside of that area I was doing not so bad until I hit the SE and was stumped again until I got RED CROSS. A true aha moment there, so back up to the NW and quickly done.

    One of the few times that a theme revealer really revealed.

    Some great cluing in here, and much thought required. This Steinberg guy is starting to grow on me.

    Agree that BEEPS will more likely get you the finger, or in extreme cases, a broken nose.

    I think I've heard WOMANISH used as a description of some kind of male.

    Food: correctly picked the bread. Oops, time out again.

    3637 lose.

    rondo 3:08 PM  

    DS on Wednesday - must've been a walk in the park for him. Pretty good puz. Some different wave-length cluing, bot all gettable.

    Liked BART on top of STAR (almost Starr) and CHILI on RECIPE.

    I remember when PABST was a premium beer, liked it alot then. Very popular in eastern MN.

    To this puz I SAYYES.

    DMG 3:47 PM  

    A quick Wednesday. Hesitated on 1A until,the crosses gave it away. Agree with some that I would never carry NAILPOLISH in my purse. Just seems like that would be tempting fate.. As for OPALOCKA, never heard of it when I lived in Florida, but it was familiar from working puzzles. Strange where one learns things and what does, and doesn't, stick!

    728 Beats @rain forest!

    Anonymous 7:02 PM  

    I don't know why I bother at this late hour. Also had feminine and fray at first but it all worked out. Actually, an easy/breezy day. All over in 5 mins.

    Ron Diego, Bringing up the rear.

    Where are those wonderful spellcasters who can't spell?

    Z 7:17 PM  

    @Ron Diego - based on my deleted emails, you have quite a run of days with spellcasters in your future.

    @Burma Shave - Keep 'em coming.

    Anonymous 6:55 PM  

    I don't know who Z is but I believe he put a spell on me. To replace the carpet with wood laminate flooring we now have to replace the sub-flooring for an additional 1200.

    I thought the puzzle was really tough until I figured the "fire" thing but I spent too much time beforehand. Oh well, I'm still the #1 Solver on my street, which is a 6-home cul-de-sac. (As far as I can see, I'm the only one getting a paper delivery).

    I wish to thank all the thousands of people who follow me on this blog.

    Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA

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