Classical promenades / WED 4-6-16 / Creamer of LPGA / Old TV title role for Raymond Burr / Spring's counterpart tidewise / Conical topper / Yenta's gift / Right on to hipster

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Challenging (for a *Wed*, for me, though I *was* watching baseball while solving, so *maybe* that threw me off ... maybe)

THEME: What Is It? — that was the clue for all three themers, with each clue punctuated differently:

Theme answers:
  • 17A: What is "It"? (STEPHEN KING BOOK)
  • 31A: With 43-Across, "What is it?" ("DO YOU NEED / SOMETHING?") 
  • 59A: What is it? (PERSONAL PRONOUN)
Word of the Day: PAULA Creamer (15A: Creamer of the L.P.G.A.) —
Paula Caroline Creamer (born August 5, 1986) is an American professional golfer on the U.S.-based LPGA Tour. As a professional, she has won 12 tournaments, including 10 LPGA Tour events. Creamer has been as high as number 2 in the Women's World Golf Rankings. She was the 2010 U.S. Women's Open champion.
• • •

It (...) is a pretty cute theme, but yoiks it was hard for a Wednesday. Just getting that first theme answer was a bear. Didn't anyone else write in BEAT at 1D: Outduel, e.g. (BEST)? Man, that was a lethal error—that error-square is the *first square* in the theme answer (that answer was hard to parse anyway, but with an error in the first square ... yeesh). I ended up coming at the first themer from the back end, and so ATEP-----INGBOOK made about as much sense then as it does now when you look at it. Then there's the golf PAULA. No idea. None. I know many PAULAs, many Wednesday-level PAULAs (Deen, Poundstone, Abdul) ... this isn't one. I see she's won a major, so her general crossworthiness isn't in question. Her Wednesdayness ... sort of is. I had her as CARLI for a bit because of the whole S*I*NK IN vs. SANK IN trickery in the clue at 9D: Hit home (can't tell whether "Hit" is present or past tense at first glance). Had AH, YES for OH, YES, because why not? (5A: "Absolutely!"). But all this was just tough, not bad. OPEN LINE ... I don't think I know what this means. [5D: Metaphor for easy access]??? Is this a phone-line clue? From pre-call-waiting days? I had OPEN LANE. I am much, much more familiar with the "easy access" (to more freeway, to cash registers...) that those provide.

Why are DENS "Men's"? (29D: Men's studies?). Is this a Brady Bunch thing? Mike certainly had a weird patriarchal den there where he did his drafting and gave fatherly advice. But I didn't realize the gendered association was so hard and fast. Anyway, it looks like virtually all my trouble was up top, but it was a Lot of trouble. I definitely struggled with APART as well, because of its ambiguous clue (51D: Split up) (clue phrase functions adjectivally, despite looking like a verb). Quite a workout, with a clever theme. Fill wasn't great, but (aside from STOAS) (66A: Classical promenades) it wasn't bad at all. Maybe a little old-timey with its crosswordese (good ol' ESAU and ECRU and SRI  and TKO), but it all felt pretty benign.

["Marcia, what are you doing in my den?"]

Was gonna write about ACPT last night but left my computer charger at school and computer died and wife's computer somehow wouldn't let me be Rex Parker. Just .... spun whenever I tried to make any blog changes, so I am having to do this write-up fairly quickly in the morning. Tonight, I'll do a short ACPT recap *and* blog the Thursday. Or so I hope.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS Happy Birthday to my little sister, the original pain in my ass. Actually, 90% of whatever sense of humor I have comes from countless hours of childhood banter / fighting / silliness / watching the brothel-in-a-morgue movie "Night Shift" together. Good times.

["Nice frame..."]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 7:55 AM  

Serendipity – There is a rabid STEPHEN KING fan who works at a clinic at our school. I was asking yesterday if she had been to his signing yet in Charleston. Not yet, but she has bought her tickets and is extremely excited. She has taken her favorite book, It, to a some other signings but has not yet been able to get him to autograph it. I mean, this woman is a hard-core fan. In Charleston, there will be some kind of lottery system to decide which attendants are the lucky ones who'll get an autograph, and she's fretting that she will not be chosen. So, STEPHEN KING – have your people call my people; I would love to surprise her with a signed copy of It.

I'm probably in the minority of solvers who don't mind a "definition" theme like this one, but I love considering one word with all its possibilities. Remember this one by Patrick Berry?

Too bad “STEPHEN KING novel” is one letter too long – that feels much more in the language.

I kept going back to the dead-center SEE TO IT to figure out how it could relate. As I type, the write-up isn't up yet, so I'm curious to see if I missed something.

The other thing I kept considering was the fact that STEPHEN KING BOOK and PERSONAL PRONOUN replace only the "it," but DO YOU NEED SOMETHING replaces the "what is it?" entirely. Then I went back and noticed this is taken care of with the placement of quotation marks. For the PERSONAL PRONOUN clue, wonder why the “it” isn’t italicized or something.

Early mistakes –

"wart hog" for MEERKAT
"ssts" for BATS. Dumb
"life" then "trix" for THAT
"dead" for GONE
"sink" for SANK – bet we're legion today
"slop" for ALPO, but I knew that was wrong. Still…, well, lots of people EATS in my kitchen and go on to lead perfectly normal lives.

I’ve all but given up responding to comments on the same day because of the wait time for them to show up. I need to congratulate @Hungry Mother on the Villanova victory. Bitter pill to swallow for this Tar Heel, but y’all played extremely well, and, hey – if Jenkins’ shot can eclipse the one they always show of Laettner’s buzzer-beater in ‘92, I’ll find comfort there. And Paige’s shot seconds before was superb – double-clutch, both feet off the floor…too bad this feat was demoted to an “also ran” just seconds later!

BBA 8:12 AM  

Per Mike Patton, circa 1990, the correct answer to "What is it?" is "IT'S IT!"

Nicole E Kelleher 8:16 AM  

There is a new DEN under our front window. It tunnels under our garage and is occupied by a vixen and her 4 little kits. The vixen has a helper fox hunting for her. I'm pretty sure it's a younger female. No males in the vicinity.

NCA President 8:21 AM  

I've been doing the applet on the NYT site for a while now...pretty much as long as the new format has been up. A year, maybe? Anyway, I may completely misunderstand the idea of "average," but I thought it meant somewhere in the middle of extremes. What's weird about my average on the NYT site (for every single day), is that I am almost always below my many minutes in most cases. There are times when I go above the average it says I have, but those times are rare and I usually don't go past very far.

So the question is in the world can I be below average every single day? If you're below average every day, wouldn't your average be lower so that your average reflects a middle ground and not the highest limit?

This is for every day. I can see that maybe one of my Friday puzzles took me two days to do which would have jacked my average number way high...but it's every single day. It makes no sense at all.

Anyway, I did this puzzle below my average. Not my best time, but it felt like a normal Wednesday. My final fill was in the NE with GAB/GIST/ILOVEPARIS. It took me a while to get GAB and the song title and SPOIL. Nothing clicked...until it did then it all fell into place.

As for the theme, I'm often surprised at Rex's take on themes. Sometimes he calls them out for being overused and sometimes not. This one seems pretty common to me...not that that is a bad thing in my just seems to be a bad thing in Rex's opinion. So I was kinda surprised he was so keen on it. And by "keen" I mean not critical.

Playground retorts need to go away as clues. "Am too!" "Are so!" "Am not!" etc. They're worse than rappers' names. I would say that ARESO seems to formal for an actual playground retort. Unless they're home schooled or something.

jberg 8:23 AM  

The last female golfer I actually knew the name of was Babe Zacharias (or was she a tennis player?). I just don't follow the sport. So SiNK IN/PAULi seemed good enough for me.

I also went for the "Riga" misdirect at 14A, but eventually figured that one out. And OYSTER stew before CRAB (which I'd never heard of). So tough all around, and DNF at the end.

Is your EURO ECRU? If you TOKED, is it a TKO?

Enough -- off to my early appointment.

Z 8:40 AM  

Hand up for BEaT making the north more challenging than it needed to be, sort of like a Tiger closer with a three run lead on opening day.

Hand up for the arched eye brow at the gendered cluing for DENS. On reflection, yeah, I guess DENS invoke a masculine setting. DENS were what we now call "man caves." Interesting that we don't have DENS anymore, we have "man caves."

@LMS - SEE TO IT seems like a flaw to me, even though it was probably intended as a wink. IT in three theme clues rules it out as an answer for me, even a sly theme reference. Normally not a big deal, but thumbs down from me.

Too bad Polin/Shortz didn't show their computer tech bona fides by including an I.T. themer. I must admit to still being amused at people insisting a perfectly legit clue is wrong because they didn't grok the clue. If you are still insisting that there was a mistake yesterday look at 14A today. Compare that to the "alternative" clue yesterday and ponder why RIGA is not right today. OH YES, English.

Lewis 9:16 AM  

My last section was the NE corner, where I couldn't see GIST for "Thrust", but it fell when I figured out the excellently clued TOKED (other excellent clues for TOERING and DENS). I like HITSUP right next to SOPRANO, makes sense. I forgot about the last Seinfeld episode and was happy to be reminded of it. There is a double-E mini-theme (5). I like the IT in SEETOIT echoing the theme.

Overall, as usual, a high quality experience. God bless crosswords!

chefbea 9:27 AM  

Fun puzzle. Hand up for oyster stew. Also had stew for 16 across at first

of course love desserts!!! ones

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Writeover dunce cap for party hat. Had to Google paula but all else went down smoothly.

Nancy 9:35 AM  

I loved this puzzle and also thought it challenging for a Wednesday. I assumed I'd finished it, but I just read your comment, @jberg, and realized I did the same thing you did: I had SiNK IN and PAULi Creamer, the golfer. Only I have no excuse; I have watched women's golf and I have heard of PAULA Creamer. Something seemed wrong when I wrote in PAULi, but I guess I wasn't thinking too straight. Oh well.

I thought a lot of the cluing was playful and oblique, although I must say that TOE RING was my first answer in. I also liked the clues for SOPRANO; GAB and DESSERTS. Fun to solve.

Ludyjynn 9:39 AM  

'Duncecap' before PARTYHAT at the outset held me back for a while. Likewise, 'ssts' before BATS and 'earring' before TOERING. But I got the GIST of it eventually.

The biggest irk was OYSTERCRAB. I kept asking myself, WHAT IS IT?! As a Chesapeakean (?!), I eat every conceivable local seafood 'delicacy'. Wondered aloud, is this like an oyster mushroom, some species of crab I never heard of? Of course not. Googled it after finishing the grid and confirmed that TP/WS took some liberties there. Need to insert AND, such as oyster and crab and shrimp pasta; oyster and crab dressing, etc. IMHO. Hmmm... Think I'll have oyster stew for lunch. April is the last month oysters are IN SEASON around here for a while.

Am I the only one who thinks the SEINFELD finale was the worst final series episode in the history of television? Quel disappointment.

@jberg, Nancy Lopez is the most recent female golfer whose name I always remember and that is fairly ancient history, as well!

Nice crunchy Wednesday overall.

John Child 9:41 AM  

Hand up for PAUIi staying in unnoticed and the DNF. But otherwise I found this easier than yesterday. Interesting to read @Lewis giving thumbs up to SEE TO IT. It seems unfortunate to me when "it" is in all three theme clues. It is just a short word, but it's not like a duplication of, for example, up. IT is the key word, the thing that makes the theme. Better if there wasn't an extraneous IT, IMO. Nitpicking aside, a fun puzzle though.

Glimmerglass 9:47 AM  

Yes, this was a pretty hard Wednesday. It doesn't happen often, but I get a selfish thrill (schadenfreude) when a puzzle is easier for me than for @Rex. I fell into almost none of the traps he did. Gloat, gloat.

Malsdemare 9:51 AM  

Anybody notice that this morning's Bloom County is about the NYTimes crossword? BOOBITYSOX, indeed.

I failed at SiNKINšŸ˜± Otherwise, fun, easy puzzle.

kitshef 9:53 AM  

Managed to avoid most of the traps discussed here, but fell into several of my own. Tarp before TREE, aLIst before ELITE, SEEThru before SEETOIT.

After a solid three-week run without a DNF, now have failed twice this week (Sunday and today). What got me today was STOAS/MPAA cross. I went with STOtS/MPAt, but could just as easily have gone with a c, or a p, or really pretty much anything there.

I know stotting as way antelope move, and figured that could related to some form of promenade in its sense of walking. But really the issue is that MPA_ could be, literally, any letter. So unless you know STOAS, which seems mighty obscure for a Wednesday, or you know MPAA, you're just guessing.

Otherwise, enjoyed the puzzle.

Peterk 9:56 AM  

Biggest rap for me was DUNCECAP for PARTYHAT. Took a while to straighten that out. Overcame RIGA for EURO fairly quickly. Never heard of OYSTERCRAB before, learned anew food to try if ever there!

jberg 9:57 AM  

Just occurred to me-- CLARA BOW QUALITY is a nice 15.

@LudyJynn, you need to search some more-- they are a tiny crab that lives in an oyster's gills, apparently tasty in their own right. I use Duck Duck Go as my search engine, found them right away, so maybe it was Google's fault.

Tita A 9:57 AM  

Read 49A as "Comical topper" - when I finally filled in PARTYHAT, wondered why it would necessarily be comical.

Why is YUK a laugh, but yuck is, well, yuck? How many more words are like that... flak/flack, suk/suck.
See?? This is what spending 3 days with one's word nerd peeps does to one...!! Aaak!!

My red aunt (she was socialist bordering on communist) story: My mother was busy designing and making her daughter-in-law-to-be's wedding dress. She was describing it to said sister. "And it's a beautiful eggshell white..." Timilu said "Good thing, since the shell's already been cracked..."

I really liked this puzzle. I too found it hard to suss the answers. Another one of those clever themes that make me wish I had thought of it. And that make me believe that there cannot possibly be any new themes under the sun - they've all been invented already.
(Timothy Parker knows that's true... Don't forget to watch the last 5 minutes of the ACPT talent show...)

Thanks Mr. Polin!

@Nancy from views...I didn't think there were 170,000 users of Google +. I have a sneaking suspicion that it must be Google employees - they probably get a bonus for every 10000 views when they dupe a new person to give up even more of their identity...

Ludyjynn 10:00 AM  

Just read the NYT Food section, which has an illustrated article all about chocolate babka. Reminded me of one of the funnier SEINFELD episodes, "The Dinner Party", where Jerry and Elaine VIE to purchase a chocolate babka at the bakery and all hell breaks loose!

Roo Monster 10:01 AM  

Hey All !
Agree with Challenging rating. At least the entire North. Managed to get South fairly quickly/easily. But that N...

Who knows EURO as a Latvian Capital? I mean, seriously. Betting 98% of us had BEaT before BEST. Kind of obscure clue for TREE. OPENLINE... wellll, ok, but... YUK for Guffaw? Should be ado or din, no? How about GIST for thrust? Seems a stretch. Did like clue on TOERING, though...

PENTADS a WOE, but DENS got me that. A bit shocked to see Hot DAMN in here. Didn't we just have ILOVEPARIS?

This seemed a TuesPuz with slightly harder clues, IMO.


kitshef 10:03 AM  


At least Seinfeld kept you watching to the end. Most shows become stale well before the end, so we don't see, let alone remember, the final episode.

But far worse is when series get cancelled on short notice, so they don't get to wrap things up. See for example Point Pleasant.

oldbizmark 10:07 AM  

very challenging from the neck up (above the 20 across line). had so many mistakes that i wasn't going anywhere - RIGA for EURO; CHOW for ALPO; BEAT for BEST; YAK for YUK; SINK IN for SANK IN. Holy cow. What a mess. Of course, this all lead to a DNF for me. the S instead of A in BEsT was the real killer. Could not get STEPHEN KING. Oh, well. Still enjoyed the puzzle but felt a bit unbalanced with the bottom 2/3 being rather easy.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:26 AM  

Good one.

The instant I glanced at the clue for 17A, I thought "a STEPHEN KING novel," without counting letters, and fell into the BEAT >>BEST trap.

And finished wrong on paper with PAULI/SINK IN. Another golfer! There is no way I would have been doing Puzzle #8 at ACPT competitively, but if I had, I would have been saying, "Curse you, golfers!"

@Ludyjynn - April Fool is over. Why are you trying to fool me? I had serious doubts about OYSTERCRAB, but when I google it, it get a tiny crab that lives inside oysters.

Alysia 10:41 AM  

This is the most fun I've had in a puzzle in a long, long time and I think it may rank in my list of Wednesday favorites. I loved the cluing for GAB, TOE RING, TKO, SPOIL, TOKED...the list goes on. I loved the pronoun-it theme. I loved just about every part of this.

Hartley70 10:44 AM  

Hi Luds! I think you're wrong here. My googling is smarter than your googling! (Insert playground retort) It tells me an oyster crab is another name for a pea crab which is a parasitic crab who lives and feeds in oyster shells. Can't wait to eat one. Not.

I didn't find this challenging although I had an error. I left the P for pOKED instead of TOKED. I didn't pay attention to GIST. You win some. You lose some.

Joseph Michael 11:04 AM  

Glad to see I wasn't the only one who went with PAULI. A tough but enjoyable puzzle with a great theme and wonderful cluing.

The NW was for me the hardest and the last to fall. When I finally realized that "capital" referred to money, it all came together.

Reading across the rows, I like EATS IN SEASON, GETS SOMETHING, and DO YOU NEED BANS?

But how times have changed. "Gone With the Wind" was once condemned by the Legion of Decency because Rhett Butler uttered the word DAMN. Now it's just another entry in The NYT.

jae 11:06 AM  

Yes, this was a tough Wed. Had aList before ELITE and me too forBEaT before BEST, but the toughness was figuring out the theme entries. It helped that the proper names (including PAULA) were in my wheelhouse. That said, OYSTER CRAB was a WOE and it appears I'm not alone.

Falcon's home could have been AFB.

@Ludyjynn - I'm with you on the SEINFELD finale.

Pretty smooth grid with some crunch, liked it.

Diana,LIW 11:23 AM  

@GBarany - have a request from Syndieland. Wondering if you have announced anything about the Minn Tourny in June? We'd love to hear about it.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Chuck McGregor 11:29 AM  

Started right off with 1a, thinking AWACS (didn’t fit) so BATS and then 14a RIGA. Hmmm. The downs didn’t look very promising. Even with that inauspicious start, eventually and happily I was successful, my last letter in getting the jingle rather than my usual “Almost There” message. Like @Rex, the top was difficult and last to get solved, with a EUReka! for EURO in 14a!.

Some FAB clues like “Dinner in a bowl,” Latvian capital,” and “Part of a canopy” as well as duds like “Post or Daily News.” PAPER? Really? NO NO! So hoping that wasn’t the answer.

If you have TOKED, you are ON POT.

In Maine, “Desert” is a homonym of DESSERT when referring to Mt. Desert Island. Lots of “mispronounced” names around here. I used to live off of Biscay Rd. Tourists think it’s FAB they know it’s a French name, pronouncing it accordingly as biss-KAY….except that it’s BISS-key Rd. I gently SEE TO IT they are corrected.

Technically (YUK) in the recording industry, making a STEREO recording ain’t the same as making a binaural recording. In more general usage the two words can be equated in the sense each involves two separate audio “channels.”

/Audio Ed

True binaural recordings are only properly reproduced using headphones. They are recorded using a life-size, dummy head with a microphone in each ear. The sonic result is like those virtual reality glasses, 3-D sound that is uncannily like….well….reality. For a variety of reasons you can’t get anywhere close to this sense of reality from loudspeakers. People who say their STEREO system, surround sound system, or headphones sounds just like “being there” haven’t experienced a properly made and reproduced binaural recording. This is not easily done. It requires compensating for the unique physical characteristics of each listener’s outer ears (pinnae) and head dimensions as well as reproducing it at precisely the same volume level as the original sound. The headphones also a significant factor.

/End Audio Ed

In Maine some folks grow giant pumpkins that, IN SEASON, often weigh well over1/2 ton. The all-time Maine record is a 1727.5 lb one grown in 2015. Same guy grew a 1264 lb green squash in 2013, touted as the largest in the world.

Now, the thing you have to know about giant pumpkins (outside of trying to win weigh-ins) is that there are only two things you can do with them: compost ’em or make boats out of ’em.
The latter is a lot more fun. Seeing is believing (sometimes), so….


(For you folks from away that’s DAM-er-SCOT-ah.).


old timer 11:29 AM  

I guess oyster crabs are a Thing, though I never heard of them.

My last entry was in the NW, where I changed "beat" to BEST and learned of a STEPHEN KING BOOK I had never heard of before. Still a DNF as it turned out, for I had 'Pauli" instead of PAULA.

I looked up "I Love Paris" just now. As I suspected it was by Cole Porter. What I did *not* know is that the Coasters performed it -- a rare Coasters song not written by Leiber and Stoller.

I was mystified by PERSONAL PRONOUN because I always think of "it" as an impersonal pronoun. But Polin is no doubt right here.

Andrew Heinegg 11:37 AM  

I always think Mr. Polin's puzzles are challenging and today was no exception. But, they are also generally of high quality with no gimmicks. The toughest part for me was Stephen King as I have zero interest in that genre. And my word for the day was oyster crab which I had never heard of. All in all, it was a very nice experience.

Z 11:39 AM  

Hey techies, Are all the Xword solvers googling OYSTER CRAB this morning affecting how results are being displayed? I would think entering
Oyster crab
Would generate hits of all pages with both "oyster" and "crab" (what @ludyjynn got) and you would normally need to enter
"Oyster crab"
to get our Chesapeake delicacy on the top page. I know we have some programmers and coders in the audience who might illuminate us on the google's learning curve.

mac 11:50 AM  

Hard Wednesday, but a beautiful puzzle. Put me in the "beat and sink" camp, but here, at home, I at least fixed it! Should take a little more time at tournaments.

When my inlaws lived in Charlottesville, VA we would usually stop on the way to eat crabcakes in Maryland. What a delicacy!

I also have a sister with a birthday today! And also in the West, Oregon. Talked to her already, she's a very early riser.

Trombone Tom 11:56 AM  

Pretty much agree with OFL although I found it less challenging. Hand up for aLIst before ELITE and BEaT before BEST. I'll have to think about that OYSTERCRAB. I'm a seafood lover, but . . .

Mohair Sam 12:16 PM  

Holy Cow! Surprised @Rex and most of you guys don't know The Pink Panther - that's PAULA Creamer. One of the most prominent personalities on the LPGA tour for the past decade, and one of the most likable pro athletes out there. Famed for her pink everything: outfits - hats - golf balls - ribbons in her hair, and her 75 foot putt to win the Honda classic two years back. She's an inspiration to so many young girls taking up the game. Her "Wednesdayness" should not be in doubt.

Loved this puzzle, very clever theme. But we found it easier than Rex and others - obviously having PAULA for a gimme made the STEPHEN KING trap (BEaT/BEST) a lot easier to escape. Also thought the long downs were very gettable (SOPRANO, ILOVEPARIS, it had to be OYSTERsomethin', and HAIRNET) - that opened up the entire grid.

"Carli" Creamer, Sheeesh. It's Carli Lloyd, @Rex - she wins World Cups.

Blackbird 12:23 PM  

Easy for me. Everything just fell into place. Nice theme.

Blackbird 12:34 PM  

Just read the other comments. Puzzling. I don't follow any sports, let alone golf, but the "L" in the 15 A clue indicates a female golf player with the last name Creamer. Hence Paula, not Pauli, even though the 9 D clue with the wird "hit" could be as easily interpreted as present tense as past tense. This puzzle was fun to solve.

Masked and Anonymous 12:39 PM  

Had PAULI Creamer and SINKIN. So … got creamed, there. Learned all about OYSTERCRABs, which was nice & educational. Genus: Zaops. Cute lil runts.

Theme: Like, IT. Like IT.

Very well-made fillins, for a 74-worder. Bullets:

* MEERKAT. These little guys will eat about everything that M&A won't. So … nice balance of nature, there.
* PARTYHAT. Well, hey -- don't do us any favors! Too deep? Thought so.
* ILOVEPARIS. But not les Trois Mousquetaires clues. (Really? Mouseketeers?!)
* SEETOIT. Example of yer cagey, unreferenced themer. Like.
* OPENLINE. Started out wantin OPENDOOR, but am learnin to be flexible (and wrong a lot).
* TOERING. Primo clue. Relieved my first thought proved incorrect. But, I'd disgust …
* YUK. fave weeject of the litter. Didn't sucker for HAR, as already had HANG, next-door.
* KOCH. Had always mis-pronounced this puppy, until they started running those "Whatever we actually are, we're pretty great!" ads on the TV. I had been thinkin "low-down piece of jewelry-related".
* SEINFELD. (yo, @evil doug) That was one weird closer of an episode.

Agent 007-U will return, in
"Golden Stink Eye"

Masked & Anonym007Us


M&A's picture:

Masked and Anonymous 12:48 PM  

@Still009: **No** eagerly-awaited ACPT essay yet?! gah. Do U accept excuses along these lines from yer students? "The dog ate my computer charger", etc.? No stink-eye yet, but my partyhat is startin to droop.

Thanx, Mr. Polin. U make fun puzs.


Teedmn 1:10 PM  

@Rex and I were on the same erroneous wavelength today. 17 minutes on a Wednesday - ye gods! - due to staring at "aTEPH EN_ING BOOK" and wondering if I had missed the class on ancient Egyptian texts plus the DNF of PAULi/SiNK IN (hi @Bob Kerfuffle). My dog's bowl was full STEW and my canopy was a Tarp. I said AMEN to my hipster and accessed a "life" LINE.

Nice workout, thanks, Timothy Polin.

Vancouver Nana 1:36 PM  

Clever cluing once I figured it out, but surprised I haven't seen any comments about the "tried and true" xword ...good old "neap" tides! And who says "I Dig"?! Except Maynard from the old Dobie Gillis or a "hipster" on Perry Mason c. 1960!

Chuck McGregor 1:43 PM  

@ LMS 7:55 AM: Living in the environs, Mr. King does appear around here very occasionally for talks, signings. I obviously can't promise a thing, but IF I ever get the opportunity....

@NCA President 8:21 AM: Re average. It's the inverse of, "80% of people are above average." I agree, some weird math at work.

@jberg 8:23 AM & Ludyjynn 9:39 AM: I lived in the Chesapeake area for 5 years and had lots of crab from and eaten beside said Bay. Also never ran across OYSTERCRAB.

@Z 8:40 AM: I also admit to what you admit you are amused by. And, OH YES, I do various types of artwork using Adobe Illustrator that I normally output as PDFs. So, is this computer "artwork" an image, a document, or neither*? As well, I often receive from others actual images, like JPGs, PNGs, in PDF form.

* Luddites note: "Document," from M-W --
"3. a computer file containing information input by a computer user and usually created with an application (as a word processor)." ["application" would include graphics and photo editing programs and "file" most any format output from such applications.]

This would make all my artwork or other such files I input information into using various applications: D-ocuments! And the PDF F-ormat makes them all P-ortable. :>)

Adobe would appear to have known what a computer "D-ocument" is. That's why the format works equally well for pixel-based images, vector graphics, text "documents," et al and with so many different applications. The pdf file itself can be a raster image (pixel-based like a JPG) or editable text or editable vector graphics. The full, $$$, Acrobat program (not just the Reader most use) expands these "document-handling" capabilities.

After all, the "D" is right in the name and it was always meant to mean "computer" document files.

Let others can insist away to the contrary that PDFs are only for "written" documents.


Chronic dnfer 1:56 PM  

Dnf'd. Couldn't overcome beat. Otherwise no prob. Going golfing.

Anoa Bob 2:49 PM  

Opening the puzzle with a "Sonar" clue for BATS at 1 Across caught this old ping jockey's eye.

Another blast from the past quickly followed with 16 Across ALPO clued as "Meal in a bowl". When I was a starving graduate student living in a starving graduate student hovel, I had a poster in the kitchen of this hippie looking dude sitting at the table with a bottle of wine and an open can of Alpo from which he was spooning out some meatballs onto his plate of spaghetti. To his side was a dog with his muzzle on the table and a forlorn look in his eyes. Also on the table was a copy of The Detroit News front page with the headline "Beef Shortage Critical"! Loved that poster. Wish I had saved it.

So I went googling and found it! On ebay in the Philippines, of all places. The image is small and not very clear, but here 'tis:

The Detroit News "Beef Shortage Critical"

Carola 3:13 PM  

I agree!
- with Rex: challenging for a Weds, because of those ambiguous clues.
- with @NCA President - enough yet with those playground retorts!
- with @Nancy on TOERING (though I did check to see that "ankle bracelet" was way too long)
- with everybody who had Riga before EURO.

I liked DESSERT crossing TREAT, which in our house are synonyms: we don't have "DESSERT" but rather "a little TREAT." (Norwegian Lutherans prefer to have things "little" - a little lunch, a little rest, a little SOMETHING [which might be a little TREAT]).

puzzle hoarder 3:22 PM  

We had a 3:00 am run last night and I wound up napping this morning hence the late entry. Yes this was a challenging Wednesday. I had a similar experience to what @Rex described. I spotted the PAULI/PAULA mistake before I came hear but it was only while calculating the difficulty level so technically it was a DNF. Overall this puzzle rated 51.25. It took me 19 minutes so it was a clear step up from yesterday's 64.13/12 minutes. What's really telling of the difficulty is that the downs rated harder than the acrosses even with the themes included. Without the themers the across fill rated a much easier 60.25. At least for me that easy fill is what kept the solve moving as fast as it did. I know giving 17A a rating of 1 doesn't do it's difficulty justice but that's as good as I can make it, that's the score for a Shortz era debut. If we hadn't just seen 11D in last Thursday's puzzle the solve would have been that much harder. That's quite a coincidence as this is only the third time that song title has appeared. Stranger yet is that if you look at Thursday's puzzle you'll see that they're in almost the exactly same spot.

the redanman 3:36 PM  

Clearly challenging Wednesday, mostly decent stuff and much rotewordese avoided. I worked this one hard but 100% right, no Google. Theme OK.

beatrice 3:38 PM  

@NCA Pres - 'And by "keen" I mean not critical.' Love it!

@Chuck Mc - I'm enjoying the mini-lessons on acoustics (am still working on yesterday's). My early attempts to understand the basics of acoustics foundered on the shoals of the harmonic series. But I keep trying to pick up what I can.

Today we have echolocating BATS. Didn't know that bats were divided into 'microbats' and 'megabats', or that it is (mostly) the microbats that use this 'biological sonar'. Megabats - fruit bats and 'flying foxes' - eat mostly..fruit, rather than elusive insects.

My SOPRANO for today is Elly Ameling, here singing Schubert's wonderful 'Shepherd on the Rock'. I've just read that the piece was written in the final months of his life, and first sung publicly one and a half years after his death - in Riga, Latvia.

beatrice 3:39 PM  

P.S. Oops.

David in CA 3:43 PM  

@NCA President
Re. Average - Easy to be always below average if you have any really high time past scores. Say you dozed off on the 1st puzzle and took 30 minutes, and then thereafter always got them done in 3. You average would get lower and lower (30, 16.5, 12, 9.75 ...), but would always be greater than 3. Would be more meaningful to use the median (middle value of all) instead in this case.

Liked the puzzle, and did not find it difficult, but nicely clever. Haven't seen a PPP analysis but Ithink it is likely quite low, which probably explains why the speed demons seemed to find it more difficult than others - no big fat pop culture "gimme"s to get them started.

Penna Resident 3:48 PM  

@Z: I don't believe your comparison of 14A to PDF is accurate. i doubt that anyone who complained yday was unable to get it easily. also the fact that a professional working with images might see these as alternatives in their software does not make it a good tuesday comparison.

BID and OFFER are used as synonyms in a trading context in crosswords, but to professional traders these words are opposites. the job-specific usage has been uniformly shot down here, including by you.

i thought it was a bad clue (but gave it 5% credit) because there are so many better ones that would actually have been more difficult that the one used. eg, "common email attachment". its also a bad choice for the editor/constructor because most people will think badly of their tech knowledge without doing an analysis such as is done here.

contrast this to today, when i wouldn't let go of riga until i was down to 4 blanks in the NW. even tried to make SaPRANO work as an alt spelling. then with the E and the O, EURO became obvious and even though the capital pun is oft used it still provides a pleasant DOH moment. so contrary to your thesis, i thought 14A was a great clue even though it caused me more trouble than usual on a wed.

Ludyjynn 4:21 PM  

Well, all I can say is hot DAMN, you learn something new every day!

Thanks to each and every one of you for calling me out or justifying my OYSTER CRAB gaffe: @jberg, @kitschef, @BobK, @Hartley (ARE SO), @old timer, @M&A, @Chuck McG, and esp. @Z. Did I overlook anyone?

Now the question I need answered is this: are there any Baltimore area restaurants that serve this delicacy? Please advise!

Nancy 4:29 PM  

@mac (11:50 a.m.) -- And I have a brother with a birthday today!!!!! You mean there are THREE of us on this blog with April 6th siblings? Which Rexite were you referring to in your comment? I didn't pick up on that particular post, though I certainly should have.

C. Elliott 5:02 PM  

Totally did BEAT.

Whoever wrote this puzzle was not from the Chesapeake Bay region. OYSTERCRAB. Really? Nobody says that. I wanted it to be OYSTERSTEW, which is a dish from the region. Ended up for a while with BUTTERCRAB, which didn't make a lot of sense except that one sometimes dips blue crabs in butter.

EURO for Latvian capital was nice and tricky.

For some reason, PERSONALPRONOUN came to me pretty quickly. Go figure.

LPGA Fan 5:06 PM  

@Mohair - not sure if you were just being PC, but you left out the part about PAULA being extremely attractive.

Z 6:21 PM  

@NCA Prez - I can't say for sure, but here is one way you could have consistently "faster than average" times. Imagine that all your Monday times at the start were high, say 30 minutes, for the first ten weeks. Then you knocked off two minutes every week until you got to 10 minutes. Each week you're below you're average and you're average is getting lower, but that 10 weeks @30 minutes provides an anchor. Now it will take many many weeks of 10 minute solves before even a 15 minute solve is longer than average.

Mohair Sam 8:16 PM  

@LPGA fan - Lady Mohair reads my posts - the omission was not PC.

Z 8:46 PM  

@Penna Resident - I have no special knowledge about trading terms but I presume Investopedia does. Maybe "opposite" means something different for traders?

Aketi 9:06 PM  

Had visions of BATS and MEERKATS wearing PARTY HATS.

Seinfeld was in the era when I didn't own a TV. Had an embarrassing moment at the local theater when my son and I went to see Martian Child. The person who took tickets asked if we were seeing Seinfek's Bee movie and I kinda sorta went on a rant about how lame the trailers were and why Martian Child was a better choice. Turns out Seinfekd was in the line to buy popcorn with his kids and of course my son wanted popcorn.

spacecraft 10:03 AM  

Again I fell for the "capital" trap; when will I ever learn? So RIGA was in way too early and had to be written over. So did Fun for "Groovy" instead of FAB. Do IDIG? Not really.

As one of those "rabid STEPHENKING fans," I'd be one who GETS "It" pretty quickly. Why that movie didn't work nearly as well as the BOOK is a puzzler; maybe it was the direction. All his other book-turned-film work is ELITE.

Some WOEs: OPENLINE as clued and that schizophrenic dish OYSTERCRAB. Also--and I'd have to look it up, for which I don't have time right now--how is "it" a "PERSONAL" pronoun? Unless we're referring to Sgt. Hulka back from his tower fall: "It. Is. Alive."

Damsel of the day comes--again--from the golfing world: PAULA Cramer, who is also the word of the day. Also MAKES MY day.

Wouldn't "Old" role for Raymond Burr be Perry Mason, relatively speaking? IRONSIDE was the "new" one, then. And who in Tophet are the KOCH brothers? Guess I've been living under a rock, high-finance speaking.

Despite the shout-out to my very favorite author, I can't give this one more than a par. Paula would've probably birdied it.

Burma Shave 10:33 AM  


“OHYES, IDIG THAT probe, it’s the BEST DAMN TREAT when you do it.”


leftcoastTAM 12:44 PM  

This is probably the first time I've thought a puzzle was easy when Rex rated it challenging. Have to admit, though, that baseball can be a distraction when the action picks up, which fortunately it does from time to time.

"It" theme was OK, but not especially clever, at least not for a Wednesday. Fill mostly filled itself. MEERCAT was a pauser.

Smooth and steady solve is OK, too.

rondo 2:00 PM  

IT’s a themeless sorta solve for me, especially when I’m not that much of a KING fan. One write-over and another hand up for OYSTERstew. CRAB?

PAULA Creamer is one of the most recognizable players on the LPGA Tour. Despite the fact that she is a super yeah baby as well as often at the top of the leaderboard, she can usually be seen wearing smart pink outfits for cancer awareness. She also plays with pink balls (insert joke here). I met her at a tourney early in her career. Stunning.

Yeah the KOCH bros. The refinery here in MN used to be known as just the KOCH Refinery then the Pine Bend Refinery. In a further PR move to sound more environmentally conscious the newest name is Flint Hills Resources. Sounds so green and bucolic, doesn’t it? Greenpeace has other ideas. And KOCHpac funds many conservative Congressional candidates. Which is not against the law, but if you didn’t know of them, you do now. KOCH Industries is ‘uge.

Not a particularly tough puz, but not exactly what I would call a TREAT.

rain forest 3:07 PM  

I'm in the BEaT group, and though that made EURO a gimme, it was Hell to get 17A until the very end. Maybe I should have read more of his books. I was all hung up thinking about Egyptian gods.

This was a medium-challenging puzzle for me with a nice variety of cluing - some misdirecting but enough straightforward ones to get the tougher answers.

Paula a gimme, and a babe, so SANK IN came readily.

Wednesday puzzles that have some crunch are more fun.....ARE SO!

Diana,LIW 4:48 PM  

I'm declaring this "Opposite Week." Last week, so proud of my dnf's, I got to hear easy, easy over and over.

Today, not so much easy but steady as she goes. Only hesitation on Riga vs. EURO for a bit kept the top elusive for a while, but then I caught on. SOPRANO and AUTO had to be right, so I put on my conical cap and it stopped driving me BATS.

Solved IT clean and mean.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 8:45 PM  

I was waiting to see how you would come out on the White Hope issue, which you were going to sleep on. Just letting it go is reasonable enough, especially given the inconsequential occasion and context.

Diana,LIW 9:55 PM  


Still mulling on w-hope. Yes, the occasion may be inconsequential (a crossword puzzle, and probably no harm meant), but it's these little encroachments that make us numb to racism. I don't want to beat anyone over the head, but that answer's "clue" was reprehensible. Savior? Popular? (Brings to mind, for me, "Give us Barabbas.") As a Friend, I feel a need to speak out. I've only been back at x-words for 2+ years, but that was the worst clue/answer I've seen, in terms of poor choices.

Just Diana

sdcheezhd 10:30 PM  

EURO for Riga is more like a Friday; even though I was sure SOPRANO was right I couldn't let it go. A DEN is a man cave; I'm good with the clue.

leftcoastTAM 1:59 AM  

Entirely agree.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP