Handed-down wisdom / WED 7-22-15 / Airer of the "Not Top Ten" plays / ___ Air (Taiwanese carrier)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Right for a Wednesday

THEME: What am I, liver that you have chopped? -- the letters LIVER appear consecutively in some order in each theme entry 

Word of the Day: SHERPA (51D: Everest guide)
Sherpas are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in their local terrain. They were immeasurably valuable to early explorers of the Himalayan region, serving as guides at the extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region, particularly for expeditions to climb Mount Everest. Today, the term is often used by foreigners to refer to almost any guide, climbing supporter or porter hired for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas, regardless of their ethnicity. Because of this usage, the term has become a slang byword for a guide or mentor in other situations.[9] Sherpas are renowned in the international climbing and mountaineering community for their hardiness, expertise, and experience at very high altitudes.--Wikipedia

• • •

I tried to play the same theme-guessing game today that I did on Monday. Saw that SUPERVILLAIN, SAVILE ROW (nice entry) and NAVEL RING all had a V, but couldn't put it all together without the reveal. As it should be mid-week! Theme guessing is for Mondays. 

Theme answers:
  • SUPERVILLAIN (20A: Lex Luthor, notably)
  • SAVILE ROW (31A: High-end tailoring area in London)
  • NAVEL RING (38A: Belly dancer's decoration)
  • DEVIL RAYS (49A:Tropicana Field team renamed in 2008) 
  • CHOPPED LIVER (58A: What's found on some canap├ęs (and hiding in the answers to 20-, 31-, 38- and 49-Across?)

So we're hitting a lot of familiar theme types this week, which isn't a crime. Monday we had an amusing initials reveal, yesterday we had phrases-starting-with-words-that-can-precede-X, and today we've got a shuffled string with an apt reveal. Nothing wrong with this, but to give you an example of what an above-average rendition of this idea looks like, check out Byron Walden's NYT from March 26th of this year.

There he had the letters RINSE appearing in each of five theme entries, but instead of just being mixed up randomly like here, they cycled around like they were in the washing machine: ERINS, SERIN, NSERI, INSER, and then finally RINSE as part of the reveal answer RINSE CYCLE. And they were stacked one on top of the other so it visually looked like they were in a washing machine.
Those subtle extras! That's what gets you a Crossword of the Month nomination.

Now the way it's done here is fine, but it's just LIVER in any order. Those are letters that work well together, so not many constraints: SILVER anything would work, for example. But he chose four good ones and the reveal is good, so don't let me ruin your solve with all this extra information.

I nominate the fifth row of this puzzle as the most American row in any crossword I've ever seen. You think your crossword row is American? Well this one's got AOL, ASL and then USA baby! Top that. I did not think so.

Nice long stuff, EXAMPLES of which are: full name tennis legend ROD LAVER (one letter away from 'liver'), YEAR ONE, LIVEN UP ROSSINI, IN TOTO, AS IT IS, and word of the day SHERPA. Note the amusingly symmetrical ZIG and ZAG; worth INT, RETAG, and TRA in the upper-right? Sure, why not...you gotta have a little fun with your roped-off corners once in a while. Of course REX (43D) is gone the week his name's in the grid.

This is the best puzzle of the week so far, and I'm giving it a B. Theme is solid and reveal is apt and mildly humorous, and the grid is well done, wide-open and with an acceptable amount of subpar fill (especially for five theme entries -- third day in a row we've seen that many). 

Signed, Matt Gaffney, Regent of Crossworld for three more days


jae 12:05 AM  

Easy for me, in fact easier than yesterday's.   No erasure and no WOEs except the clue for EVA Air.  

 Lively theme answers, no major cringes except maybe IDENT, SPITZ/ZIG and ZORRO/ZAG was a nice touch, liked it.

Anonymous 12:08 AM  

I liked it.

Whirred Whacks 12:29 AM  

Easiest Wednesday for me -- ever.

I especially liked SHAG and LAID right next to one another. All we need is last October's SHTUP and we'd have a hat trick!

JFC 12:43 AM  

What's not to like? Gaffney's a hard grader for a middle of the week puzzle. My only post today. Any other JFC is a very sick person.


chefwen 12:52 AM  

I agree with @jae that it was easier than yesterday's puzzle

When I got to DEVIL RAYS, DEVILed eggs were brought to mind ( one of my favorites ) and I thought that would be a nice compliment to the chopped liver on crostini. Now I'm hungry.

Loved the placement of ZIG and ZAG.

AliasZ 1:08 AM  

AftER LIVing in abject poverty for years, the silVER LIning of a cloud finally gaVE RILey the hope that he'll soon move into a fanciER VILla. His whoLE VIRility depended on it. He also thought that a loveLIER View than the sILVERy moon over the rIVER Limpopo, VERILy, did not exist. He did trembLE VIRtually uncontrollably, but my advice to him was:

"SaIL VERy carefully the treacherous waters ahead. AppeaR LIVEly and land safely at the port of you destination."

"I REVILe sERVILe yes men. I forevER VILify them, and I neVER LIe," he replied, but I ignored him and continued:

"There you will find a nice ciVIL REstaurant where you will seRVE LIve oysters over ice bags. If you don't want to arRIVE Late, try to LIVE Right and leaVE IRLy."

[from "Le LIVRE de la jungle" (The Liver of a Juggler) by Rue d'Hyard Quiplingue.]*

*own translation

Anonymous 1:19 AM  

Solid Wednesday. B+/A- for me.


JTHurst 1:21 AM  

This puzzle is very 'bel canto'. The verbalization is great but the content is weak.

allan 1:24 AM  

Put me in the column of easier than yesterday. Enjoyed Matt's write up. I also give this a B, as it is only ok as far as the genre.

Greg 2:37 AM  

I generally enjoy the more positive write-ups of Rex's guest bloggers, but this puzzle did not do it for me. Or possibly I was just irrevocable soured by the horrendous IDENT.

Anonymous 3:38 AM  

I JFC posted two days ago that I would only be posting as anonymous. Therefore, the previous post by JFC is clearly not me. Another attempt by the forces of evil to subvert this failing blog.

Thomaso808 5:14 AM  

Whoa, this puz is tripping!
EMIL next to EMAILS crossing AOL.
ZORRO over ARBOR crossing LAHORE next to LORE.
SOLELY over BELIE over EVA, all non-themes, crossing ELEVATE and LIVENUP just to deLIVER a V and E for the theme.
Lots of E's, L's, and R's, which all like to be doubled.

@Lewis, there's an overload of twofers here. Hope you don't collapse!

Loren Muse Smith 6:39 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 6:40 AM  

Well off the "____ la la" clue, I put in "sha," which caused a bit of a dust-up in the northeast right out of the gate. I never thought about it, but I guess it's either "sha na na" or "tra la la." (Unless, of course, it's Donna Shalala.) Odd, that.

I agree that the ZIG ZAG symmetry was a nice touch.

My best friend in middle school pronounced any final L as an O sound – not uncommon – and I always think deep down that it's "in total" because I'm compensating for her pronunciation.

I invariably think that The Barber of Seville's name is Figaro. At least I don't think he moonlights as a tailor in London.

Matt – I didn't notice that LAVER was one letter away from LIVER, but I did note LIVEN in my margin.

Glad no one has complained about ONE D and am surprised that no one has crowed that the second column down says INHUMAN REX.

I try to put off seeing the reveal and the trick until late, and when I finally realize the deal, seeing that it involves switching around letters just doesn't float my boat the way even a vowel progression does. But, a cool reveal like CHOPPED LIVER (and Walden's RINSE CYCLE and cyclic iterations) elevates the enjoyment factor. Good that I've been chopping onions for two days with my trusty little Pampered Chef chopper that rotates the blades as it chops and maybe mixes them up some in the process? So with this reveal, I like it better than having the letters "chopped up" in order with circles, maybe, like GOLDEN RETRIEVER or having the word LIVER simply interrupted like LIFE SAVER, LIVE IN FEAR. The four themers Peter chose are terrific.

Funny how phrases like CHOPPED LIVER and "potted plant" get such little respect in the noun phrase world. No one says, "What am I, creamed corn?" "a garlic press?"

Matt – I enjoyed your write-up. (And we subscribe to The Week. As usual, after solving your recent "Kicker" puzzle, I wondered how on earth you think of something so good for every week.)

Peter took an anagramsome theme and elevated it, livened it up. No gripes here!

Z 7:03 AM  

SAVILE ROW was a WOE for me. Now I know what "bespoke tailoring" is, too.

AXE & AWE, ZIG ZAG, LET crossing ROD LAVER, and my personal favorite, SHAG & LAID. I like a little fun with the fill.

I'm wondering if V is close enough to U to send the masked one into theme nirvana.

Tita 7:28 AM  

What's not to love? Starting off with ROSSINI's Barber of Seville and ZIG-ZAGging all the way through.
But mostly, it evoked this family classic...

When we moved back to CT from Germany, my sister's family moved to Europe, dragging the 12- and 14-year olds along...the youngest one kicking and screaming.
Everything about her new town was abhorrent - the food, the people, the smells...her INHUMAN parents were SUPERVILLAINs for ruining her life.

She made a big sign for her bedroom door... "Springfield LIVERs and lovers only!"

Of course, in short order she LIVENEdUP, and absolutely adored it.

Thanks, Mr. Collins!

A robot 7:51 AM  

Anyone want to explain IDENT. I don't get it.

Billy C 8:00 AM  

Mr.Robot -- One needs IDENTIfication to get on a commercial airplane these days

Charles Flaster 8:02 AM  

Very EZ, fun anagram puzzle.
On Tuesdays I play in a trivia league and ROD LAVER was a key component of a longer answer.
George B- finished sixth out of 13.

Similar to @Whirred Whacks- SHAG near LAID was clever.
First entry was SUPERman's foe but immediately saw VILLAIN.
Learned about SAVILE ROW in a song from "Annie" ( many years ago).
Remember my grandmother making CHOPPED LIVER by hand with her meat grinder and it was cardiacally(?) delicious.
CrosswordEASE-- ORR and ESPN.
Thanks PAC.

Grouse 8:05 AM  

I call bogus on ASL being nonverbal. ASL is a language. It has words, so it's verbal. It's not oral.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

Definitely easier than yesterday-- I finished it nearly 3 minutes faster. And was only 3 seconds slower than my Weds record time. Deffo an easy Weds.

RAD2626 8:11 AM  

I thought much better than a B and also much easier than yesterday. While Walden's RINSE cycle was spectacular, I concede I do like it when an anagram sequence uses all the possible combinations, even if not in perfect sequence, which this puzzle not do. ZIG/ZAG nice touch. Fun puzzle without much junk.

joho 8:12 AM  

I've always loved the line, "What am I, CHOPPEDLIVER?" so I got a kick out of the reveal and Peter's sense of humor that permeates the grid today.

All of the V's in the theme answers upped their interest for me. Then he threw in a bonus V with EVA and LIVENUP which perfectly describes what a bunch of V's can do to a puzzle.

Thanks, Peter, this was fun!

And thanks, Matt, I really enjoyed your write-up, too!

Mike D 8:13 AM  

Stupid easy Wednesday. I call BS on IDENT and INSP. Agree with @Grouse above.
Nice effort by Gaffney to be the anti-SUPERVILLAIN REX.

JFC 8:14 AM  

Ok, no more posts under my name.

GeezerJackYale48 8:17 AM  

@AliasZ: loved your dRIVEL this morning!

John V 8:18 AM  

Felt like Monday. Way to easy.

evil doug 8:47 AM  

@John V: Felt like your mom. Way too easy.


Ludyjynn 8:49 AM  

IMO, a meh midweek puzzle INTOTO. Weak fill did not ELEVATE or LIVENUP the solving experience. I don't think REX would have given such a kind commentary.

Enough GRIPing. Its a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Perfect for transplanting some potted plants in the shade of the ARBOR and enjoying the weather ASITIS.

Hartley70 9:00 AM  

Easy Wednesday but lots of fun anyway. V is my favorite letter so happy to see it pop up all over the grid, but you couldn't pay me to eat CHOPPEDLIVER.

I'm always whining about sports figures I'm not familiar with, but RODLAVER is an exception. I saw him play from up close at Madison Square Garden in 1970 or 71, and my Pan Am stewardess roommate had a date with him after a flight to South America. He was such a star at the time. Perhaps he was the vanguard of the overwhelming tennis player mania that seemed to take off with the Connors/Evert pairing.

jberg 9:03 AM  

I think I did see an EVA air counter once, at CDG, but that still seems a bit obscure, even for a Wednesday. I'd have gone with "A Gabor," I think. And I once wrote a paper (in grade school!) about Hyman Rickover, father of the nuclear sub, but do you young 'uns really know about him? Since I did, it was fairly easy, though I kept getting stuck in the various dead ends. And, yeah, I've never been asked for my IDENT. Just my ID.

Elephant's Child 9:18 AM  

Great nostalgia at seeing the great grey greasy waters of the RIVER Limpopo and absolutely desolee that I had to leaVE IRL.

C'est fantastique!

Nancy 9:19 AM  

@Hartley -- Your roommate had a date with ROD LAVER? Wow!

Thought both the cluing and the fill of this unmemorable puzzle were exceedingly meh (hi, @Ludy). I did, however, have a couple of writeovers: Roi before REX and, at 45A, SOLid A before SOLELY. (And I like my answer much more, btw; I think 100% for SOLELY is a lousy clue.)

Hoping for much more fun tomorrow.

Robert Rettig 9:29 AM  

Beginning of time ... Year one is literal, not figurative ..this is an error.

JC66 9:33 AM  


Since Mardi Gras is French, I went with Roi first, too.

Can someone explain why it's REX?

Roo Monster 9:34 AM  

Hey All !
Nice jumbled letter puz. Five LIVERs, each one in a different order. Sure, there's a little dreck, but with all those V's strewn about, these things will happen. 22 3's, but for some reason didn't feel like that many. Nice NW and SE 7's. Even threw in a couple of X's. Like the ZIG ZAG, ZIG ZAGging. So cool WedsPuz.

Got a tad hung up in NW. SEAPORT wasn't coming into view, and took a bit for ROSSINI also. When I had IN__TO, I kept asking myself, "Is it INTO TO? What the heck is that?" ONE D and AS IT IS seem odd to me. Also thought SEVILE had two L's.

Another good one from PACMAN.


chefbea 9:41 AM  

Finally...a food puzzle. What's not to like? Use to make chopped liver all the time...maybe it's time to bring out the old recipe.

DJG 9:45 AM  

Solid puzzle -- straight-down-the-middle, but enjoyable.

I agree with those griping about IDENT. This is the type of fill that should only be used when it's holding together something really special. IDEST would have been much better (change ESPN to EPPS) -- at least IMO. (I also think CONDI (Rice) is more midweek appropriate than (Bill) CONTI.)

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

While I'm a huge fan of RODLAVER other than Wikipedia I have no idea how the cluer came up with "Tennis star ranked #1 in the world, 1964-70. There simply was no such ranking system in place. And it was complicated by pros being banned from the majors until 1968. His most amazing feat was, of course, 2 Grand Slams: '62 & '69. By turning pro in '63 he had zero chance of winning a major title for 6 years. Clearly his bracket slams meant he would have won at least a handful in between, which would have tacked on 6 to his existing 11 titles and doing no worse than tying Federer. To be fair 3 of the 4 majors were played on grass which "The Rocket" thrived on. In my mind Rod's still a rock star who I've spotted sitting in the stands at Wimbledon with another rock star in sports: Jack Nicklaus, who loves the game of tennis (as well as golf of course). Alright alright, I'm a tennis nut.

Leapfinger 9:47 AM  

VERILy, I think @Elephant's Child meant 'had to leaVE IRLy'.

Loved SAVILE ROW, always thought it somewhere between 'civil' and 'savoir faire'. Waiting now for Curzon St. Had ZAG in the NE, which led me to the ancient Egyptian deity, HEN-RA. Got to wondering if Bill Cosby scored Rocky.

ChefWensday's tip: Chopped liver turns into Pate (accent A-goo) if you add butter and chERVIL.

Theme was more than tricky; it was pure evil evil evil evil evil. Nicely Nicely done, Mr Collins. TYVM

Make the most of your day, y'all. You won't have a chance to RELIVe it.

Jamie C 9:54 AM  

@Whirred Wacks 12:29: No WAY SHTUP was in a prior puzzle in the NYT. I think I've seen SHMUCK but not SHTUP. Can a xword geek (r.alph?) confirm? I love the word shtup, but I fear it's too much for the gray lady.

mathguy 9:55 AM  

Watching RODLAVER play, especially a classic five-set match with Ken Rosewall, got me interested in tennis. It was my passion for forty-five years until I gave it up recently. At this year's Wimbledon, he was shown watching the matches from a box on centre court. He's seventy-eight or so now. I think of him playing tennis and drinking beer with his Aussie mates, not dating stewardesses.

The most fun I got from the puzzle was having the SHAG-LAID and INHUMAN-REX combos pointed out here. Talking about shagging, we saw Trainwreck yesterday. Funniest movie I've seen in years. Also some of the most realistic sex scenes I've ever seen in mainstream films.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

@JC66: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rex_parade

weingolb 10:04 AM  

The ultra-American xword row (AOL ASL USA), and the cute SHAG-LAID and INHUMAN-REX combos are neat but I'm still in awe of the symmetrical placement of AMERICAN-AUDICITY yesterday. Maybe it takes a Canadian to recognize it?

weingolb 10:10 AM  

Whoops. I misspelled AUDACITY and inflicted undue shame upon a country of otherwise fantastic spellers.

Nancy 10:14 AM  

AN ODE TO CHOPPED LIVER: @chefwen, @chefbea, @Leapy, @Charles Flaster's grandma -- is everyone on this blog, other than me, an accomplished cook? I adore CHOPPED LIVER, but when I buy it, the deliciousness varies so much. Mrs. Somebody-or-other, it might have been Kornberg or Weinberg, made the best prepared CL that wasn't from a top deli, but she went out of business ages ago. What I get now, even from good delis, is usually second rate. What makes CL delicious for me is that underlying layer of slight sweetness. Most of the time now, that sweetness is just not there. When it IS there, I think CL is a more wonderful treat than all the fancy pates (other than pate de fois gras, of course.) What's the secret, chefs, of the really special, slightly sweet CL? And are any of you coming to NY and can you bring me some?

(I have high cholesterol and shouldn't eat this stuff at all, so maybe it's a good thing that most of it isn't all that great. But then again, as my mother used to say: "We're all going to die of something.")

Alicia Stetson 10:19 AM  

@weingolb: AUDICITY is Ingolstadt, Germany. That's where they're headquartered :)

Haiku Nerd 10:32 AM  


Anonymous 10:34 AM  

some of the words look like latin phrases, id est ID ENT.

weingolb 10:35 AM  

@Alicia Stetson Thanks for the head's up. I'll steer clear of Ingolstadt, even though I often spell AUDACITY with German ingenuity.

Joseph Michael 10:36 AM  

Liked the CHOPPED LIVER theme. Fun wordplay with anagrams and mostly decent fill to LIVEN UP the grid.

In addition to REX joined vertically with INHUMAN, we also have REX joined horizontally with DEVIL.

My only GRIPE is that Lex Luthor is not a SUPER villain. He's an ARCH villain.

Liked the Tuto and Toto combo. If a dog eats a biscuit on the yellow brick road, is it IN TOTO?

Moly Shu 10:37 AM  

IDENT is one way method of radar identification. A controller asks a pilot to IDENT, the pilot pushes a small button on the transponder, and a small, three dashed symbol appears on the scope. Viola, radar comtact! Probably too arcane for a wed. (or any day of the week). Agree as an abbreviation, it's pretty bad. @Grouse makes an interesting point about the difference between verbal and oral. I'm gonna study up on that one. I'll give the puzzle a solid B, liked BELIE and SHERPA, and the clues for NARCS and FRET. Hate CHOPPED LIVER, yuck, would rather eat @LMS's driveway rocks.

Questinia 10:37 AM  

@ Leapy, even chervil has chopped liver in it...

A slab of terrine, greens with vinaigrette, baguette, a couple of cornichons. Beuvrage de choix. Done, done, and done.

I liked the reveal. Easier than yesterday.

Chopped brown
Organ meat
Come creamy
Terrine again

Moly Shu 10:41 AM  

One way method??? WTF Moly??? One method of course.

Carola 10:56 AM  

IMO very fun, with top-class theme answers and a great-pay-off reveal. I also loved the grid humor that added to my smiles; besides the EXAMPLES already mentioned I liked the comic references to ROSSINI to start and the two suave French"men" INSP Clouseau x PEPE Le Pew closing things out.

Rex Porker 11:17 AM  

This puzzle sucked. The theme has been done, and better, about a thousand times before. It is as stale as last week's cornbread. The layout of the grid and the multiple theme answers lead to compromised fill all over the place. Any constructor worth his salt would have given this puzzle the AXE and started over. Or, better yet, he would have just given up and never even attempted to make another puzzle ever again, because he's no good at it. Maybe he should take up needlepoint, or cribbage.

Pete 11:20 AM  

You have to give Will a lot of credit, at least to his puzzle scheduling acumen, as exemplified by his offerings of this week. My past three evenings have been spent trying to watch some TV, only to be offered reruns of everything. When the puzzles come out, I barely notice that each had the same old, tired themes as dozens I've done before. Were I not already numb to repeats, I would have been outraged.

Zeke 11:22 AM  

Ok, the ZIG and ZAG, as many have said, are cute. However, the clue "Reverse of a 13-down" on a Wednesday is pretty much unforgivable.

Charles Flaster 11:26 AM  

It was Weinberg and did not compare to homemade.
CL is probably worst thing for your cholesterol issue.
Today-- good CL is a rarity.

r.alphbunker 11:30 AM  

It seems to me that the puzzle got a B because there were fewer constraints on the theme than in the Walden puzzle. This is true. But from my solver's perspective I have no desire to penalize it grade-wise and see no reason why this puzzle should not get an A.

FWIW, I have put today's puzzle and the Walden puzzle side-by-side. Looking at them nothing jumps out why the Collins puzzle is a B and the Walden puzzle is an A. Keep in mind that the Walden puzzle was published on a Thursday so the clues are more difficult. If somebody can see clear quantifiable evidence of the superiority of the Walden puzzle based on the data in this comparison, I would appreciate hearing what it is so I can upgrade my program to detect it.

@Jamie C
xwordinfo.com indicates that it has been used one in this puzzle

FYI, you can check on the occurrence of words at xwordinfo.com as follows:
1. Open xwordinfo.com
2. Click on ★ Clue and Answer Finder ★ in the upper right corner
3. Enter word in the text area at the lower left
4. Click Standard search

AFAIK, you cannot search for words in clues unless you write your own program, as I have done, to search the database.

aging soprano 11:37 AM  

I guess a CHOPPEDLIVER puzzle is more fun than a Livertransplant.
The story about RODLAVER and the airline stewardess explains why he crosses SHAG LAID.
Paisiello also wrote a Barber of Seville.
Now I have to share my exciting news. Remember the Sound of Music puzzle we did some time back? In three weeks I am flying to Salzburg for 8 days, 6 operas and a master class. One of the operas is being conducted by my former student and colleague, to which I am his guest. He saw me as Susanna when he was a teenager, and now I will see him conducting Figaro in Salzburg! Another circle closes. I don't think that I will do the Trapp family thing.

aging soprano 11:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
aging soprano 11:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
aging soprano 11:51 AM  

Oh yes. This Wed. easier than yesterday's Tues.

old timer 11:54 AM  

Oh, I can think of one reason why the puzzle did not deserve an A: IDENT. I regard that as unforgivable in a puzzle from as good a constructor as Mr. Collins.
But it was certainly a good puzzle, and I don't mind the overused theme, not when it is done well as it was here. My only boo-boo was writing in "Sevile" ROW, and wondering where the second "l" was, before remembering it was SAVILE. I actually ordered a made-to-measure suit from one of those fancy tailors, when I was in my late 20's. Not a true *bespoke* suit, far cheaper than that, but not off-the-rack either. It was a mistake, because I gained weight over the next few years, and while my older suits had enough room for adjustment, this did not. (As I recall, the tailor was on nearby Bond St.).

Tom 11:55 AM  

I think Gaffney is just a touch harsh on the theme. The LIVER is literally CHOPPED in each answer...

Jennifer Freeman 12:02 PM  

Rex is King of Carnival I.e. Mardi Gras.

old timer 12:11 PM  

Just checked yesterday's comments and the last one asked why no one had trouble with "Sked". The reason I had no trouble with it is that "sked" is pretty commonly used as a shortened form of "Schedule", in radio and TV, and especially (I find)in ham radio.

Whereas, IDENT is not an abbreviation for "identification" which is what an air traveler needs. It is sometimes used in computer circles as an abbreviation for "identity", but that's a whole different thing.

Indypuzzler 12:13 PM  

To the folks that commented on REX. I learn something everyday.

Indypuzzler 12:14 PM  

Darn. Just google rex krewe parade

Hartley70 12:19 PM  

@agingsoprano, that is indeed very exciting news! That would be a thrilling 8 days for any music lover, and I presume Dan Ettinger is conducting after seeing the schedule. I wonder if you sang Susannah with Jerry Hadley. He was a favorite voice of mine and lived in our small town.

Mike D 12:21 PM  

But @ r.alph: But it's so much easier to ask you to do the work!
@Indypuzzler: could you post a longer link?!

mathguy 12:23 PM  

@aging soprano: Thanks for telling us of the great adventure lying before you. May it be wonderful!

I think that Matt giving this blah work a B is an example of the different perceptions of constructors and consumers.

Indypuzzler 12:26 PM  

@Mike D. I know it was ridiculous. I thought I was copying direct link to Rex parade. No lectures necessary because I need to get more competent on the iPad or just post from my PC.

Mr. Benson 12:27 PM  

All of the theme answers have the LIVER letters crossing two words (or at least two segments of a compound word, as in SUPERVILLAIN, which you can also think of as SUPER VILLAIN) and, I think, that's part of what makes it "chopped." So Matt's suggestion of "SILVER anything" wouldn't work with this theme. That aspect elevates the concept a bit in my mind.

Mike D. 12:28 PM  

@Indy: Just joshin'.

Here's your link:

Wiki Rex Krewe Parade

Masked and Anonymous 12:32 PM  

I am sure that the @Gaffneymeister's grade was influenced by the modest U-count of: 3. Not really ERVIL, but EVILR than 4.

Improvised double-?? clues of the day (answers at (rock) bottom):

1. {Where some scattered flying monkey chow no doubt ended up??}

2. {Great, chopped down a few notches??}

3. {Check a walking tree's age before serving it a beer??}

4. {"In Space No One Can Hear U Scream" intro??}

5. {Maybe 20%, tops, to a shoe repair dude??}

Thanx for the nice WedPuz, A. Collins dude. Congrats on #90, and have a retag had. LIVER UP!


**T-shirt gruntz**


Mr. Benson 12:33 PM  

I imagine Rex wouldn't be as enthralled with ROSSINI, ASITIS and INTOTO as Matt is; he'd call them "crutches" or "ANTLERS words."

John V 12:37 PM  

@Jamie C. SHUTP, NYT, May 29, 2014, Anna Shectman, cluedea as, "Sleep with, in slang."

evil doug 12:38 PM  

I feEL VIRile after that solve!


Masked and Anonymous 12:39 PM  

Day-um Autocorrect recap:

"…have a retag YAD."

Masked and Anonymo3Us

Item 3 improvised improvement: {How to check a walking tree's age?} = IDENT

Jamie C. 12:41 PM  

@r.alph and @ John V.: I shtup corrected. Thank you for that excellent research. I am shocked that Will would allow something so blue. Now I need to take a cold shower.

Whirred Whacks 12:48 PM  


SHTUP was used by Anna Schechtman on May 29, 2014. (For some reason, I had remembered it as October. Curiously, I did remember its exact location: halfway down on the right side).

Here is the SHTUP puzzle link.

Jamie C 12:53 PM  

@Whirred: If one is going to shtup, it might as well be halfway down on the right side.

Now I think we've shtupped this dead horse as much as equinely possible.

Steve J 12:55 PM  

I just got out of a meeting with someone who happens to live in Natick. I resisted the urge to ask her if she was aware of her town's crossword-related infamy.

Liked today's puzzle quite a bit. I couldn't Susa what was going on with the themers until I got the reveal, and the reveal took a few crosses to, um, reveal itself. Just the right amount or resistance.

And, from at least one solver's perspective, this was superior to the Walden puzzle Gaffney offered by way of comparison. The Walden puzzle may have been a more impressive construction, but it was a dull solve. This had some nice fill and lively theme answers to keep things interesting. Quite enjoyable.

Jamie C 12:57 PM  

Ok, one more shtup thing: Why doesn't it surprise me that a constructor named Anna Schechtman would use such a word?

chefbea 1:20 PM  

@Nancy ..Just got out my recipe..It has both port and brandy in it...maybe that makes it sweet.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

If you drink the bottle of brandy while you're making it, chopped liver tastes great!

Lewis 1:58 PM  

@alias -- Great post! Bravo!
@thomas -- A medium high number of doubles (12), but not unusually high (above 20), providing me some excited breaths, but no collapse.
@mrbenson -- Good point.

And to add another level to the puzzle, Peter entered a backward element. There is a backward ESOP crossing LORE, a backward ART crossing HENRI, and a backward PORC crossing CHOPPEDLIVER (yes, Jewish chopped liver is not made with pork, but there are pork-liver based chopped livers). And finally, getting very subtle, symmetrical to SHAG is a backward ONAN, which I won't expound on (spill) any further. I'm sure Peter meant to do all of this. I'm really sure of it!

I do like RISE on top and SEAT on the bottom, and words I especially liked are SHRILL, BELIE, and SALVO. The puzzle was on the easy side of Wednesday, if not a hard Tuesday, and some tougher and/or more clever cluing could have set it just right. My grandma made the best CHOPPEDLIVER in the world, and for the memories alone, a hearty thanks to you, Peter!

Lewis 2:26 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 2:30 PM  

Factoid: Robert Lucas, winner of the 1995 NOBEL Prize in Economics for his work on the theory of "rational expectations," split his $1 million prize with his ex-wife, due to a clause in their divorce settlement from seven years earlier: "Wife shall received 50 percent of any Nobel Prize". But the clause expired on October 31, 1995. Had Lucas won any year after, he would have kept the whole million.

Quotoid: "There is an EAGLE in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud." -- Carl Sandburg

mac 2:52 PM  

Easy Wednesday, but I did need the reveal.

Hand up for "roi", even though I came upon it recently in a book set in New Orleans.

No one else thought of ESP at "nonverbal communication"?

@Nancy, if it wasn't the port and brandy, it may have been sauteed onions and/or butter.

aging soprano 6:06 PM  

My first Figaro was 29 yr. old Rodney Gilfry just starting out. He has also made a major since back then, when my daughter was so taken with him that she asked if she could change daddies. Never sang with Jerry but knew him from UofI in Urbana, where I grew up and studied. What small town are you referring to?

aging soprano 6:11 PM  

Pork based or chicken based?

aging soprano 6:13 PM  

Pork based or chicken based?

Joseph Welling 6:30 PM  

One two three four! Sha la la la la la liver for today-ay!

Teedmn 7:38 PM  

And baby, it's you, sha la la la la la la.

@Nancy, I think I've seen on the reality show CHOPPED that the organ meats are often soaked in milk first to get rid of some natural bitterness, so that probably affects the sweetness.

I would like the clue for EVA to refer to walking about in space (ExtraVehicular Activity).

And no one that I saw here mentioned the constructor's own quote in Wordplay today: "ZIG and ZAG landed in opposite corners — for no particular reason. And I assure you that INHUMAN leading directly into REX is not a reference to anyone in particular. Honest."

Made me snort!

Thanks, Peter A Collins.

Leapfinger 7:44 PM  

@Questina, is at right? I have to admit I never knowingly put chERVIL in anything.

@aging soprano, a wonderful closing of the circle. Have the best of all possible times!!

If today had been Tuesday, we would have had a Mardi Foie Gras

Did anyone else enjoy their chopped liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti?

Anonymous 7:45 PM  

I had Ooh for la la which didn't help much.

Music man 8:34 PM  

I call bogus on the theme, I would say LIVER is more scrambled here than chopped...I hope I didn't just invent a dish there.

Aketi 8:44 PM  

@indypuzzler, your very long link was no problem to copy and paste on the iPad. Just as easy as googling your shorter link.

@Music man, I think of it more like deviled eggs, a little more mashed than merely scrambled.

Questinia 9:38 PM  

@ aging soprano: I'd so want to hear you sing!! Enjoy your trip.

I know this for a fact 10:06 PM  

@1248, @1253

Halfway down, there is no wrong side.

spacecraft 11:05 AM  

I disagree with OFSL (our fearless substitute leader): this is about right for a Monday. Okay, maybe the slightest of hesitations around the SE corner, with the off-center clue for ELEVATE and the unknown airline, but quickly cured by crosses. The rest of it went down as fast as I could write--which is not very.

The theme was a tad murky to figure out, but of course the revealing line (I'm so tired of seeing a red line under "revealer") cleared it up in an instant. I therefore enjoyed the theme, especially the fact that the NAVELRING was right where it was supposed to be: smack dab in the belly of the grid! Doubtless, it's made of an ALLOY.

A mostly fun do; though the word "ONE" appears--AS the nubmer ONE--twice. Apropos of that, I object (as always) to mixed shorthand and longhand in a grid. ONED: no. ONE-DIMENSIONAL or 1D. Abbreviate it or don't. I have railed against this since the YEARONE. Also not a huge fan of the semi-abbrev.: IDENT. If this had appeared on a Monday, I'd probably have gone with a B-. ASITIS, I expect more teeth in a midweek puzzle, so C.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

This one was extremely Easy for a Wednesday and as such was just OK. I usually expect a little more zip from Mr. Collins. He is a dam good constructor.

Anyway, no complaints and will probably struggle tomorrow.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA
(Where "the hills are alive with the sound of music"......but it scares the rattle snakes.

leftcoastTAM 7:46 PM  

Easy-medium Wednesday, with the SE slowing me down. Again, solved as a themeless until seeing how it fit together at the end. On the average so far this week, it's been easy-medium. I expect something more challenging tomorrow.

Nothing to GRIPE about here.

rondo 8:21 PM  

neVER LIked it anyway, so ho-hum.

Have been through SAVILEROW, nicer stuff than I’ll ever need to wear.

I remember a time when ZIG-ZAGs were wrapped around my substance of choice, today the themers seem to ZIG-ZAG through the grid. How times have changed.

I suppose REX would have liked to be Mardi Gras king.

Suppose Asta wanted to get INTOTO?

Longoria is a better clue for EVA, yeah baby. And there’s EVE also.

Tomorrow’s my bday, factorial 2,2,3,5 for you math whizzes. Guess I won’t GRIPE ASITIS liable to do no good.

OK puz, IMO.

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