Friday, April 6th 2007 Will Nediger

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Hi, my name is Robert Loy, aka Norrin2. I have a blog called Green Genius, where I talk about crossword puzzles, comic books, country music, raising children without going crazy and even some things that don’t start with the letter C.

My goal here at RPDTNYTCP is basically to not embarrass myself. Rex has some pretty big shoes to fill (EEE in crosswordese) and if I can be even half as entertaining and informative today and tomorrow as Rex is on a daily basis I’ll be proud.
Now let’s get to the grid stuff:

First of all, I should probably apologize for the picture quality. I do crosswords on paper, so that’s why the handwriting in the grid is less than perfect (and you can see down there off the coast of Florida where I wasted some time trying to see if I could get MOONUNIT and PUNITIVE to work rather than putting them in the grid.)

I finished this puzzle in right at 20 minutes, which is my second fastest Friday time ever and infinitely better than last Friday’s time, which was. . . well . . . infinite, I guess, I never did finish it.

This puzzle seemed easy for a Friday. Maybe I was just pumped about being Rex for a day, and maybe it was just luck that I was once in a production of "Oklahoma" and so got 1D "People Will Say We're in Love" Musical right off the bat. I always like to get one of the 1's. (My doctor says he does crossword puzzles, but if he can't get One Across or One Down he quits, which makes me wonder how he got through med school; he seems to lack stick-to-itiveness.)

Even though it wasn't a great puzzle, it still had examples of all the classic crossword clues, for example, the word I've seen a million times, but can never remember what it means: 37D:Quotidianly (ONCEADAY), the one that looks so much like something it's not I can't imagine what it is even though it should be obvious: 9D: The 4 in 4/6, e.g. (MONTH) (I know, I know, it's even today's date, but it looked like musical notation to me at first and even though I'm not a musician and I'm not even sure if there's such a thing as 4-6 time I couldn't think of anything else), the one that I knew but didn't know I knew until it was all filled in: 21A: Russian peace (MIR), and the "I-didn't-know-that-or-that-either" clue: 27D: Turkish bread (LIRAS) I thought all those great European monies were gone, replaced by the Euro, and I thought Lira was just Italian. It even had a couple of examples of the newest clue category -- the mildly racy, well racy for the NY Times: 24D: They cover the bottom (PANTS) and 44A: Parts of 24-down (FLIES)

My one quibble with this puzzle is the presence of CIVILIZE and CIVICS. There ought to be a rule against two words with the same root taking up that much real estate. But I'm a positive person and here are some things I liked: 41A: Molly of classic radio (MCGEE) among my many interests -- old-time radio, and" Fibber McGee and Molly" is second only to "The Jack Benny Show" in my book, 58A: Order of Roses (ONE DOZEN) just because "order" made me think of some way to organize (rather than buy) roses, 34A: Reeling Feeling (VERTIGO) What can I say? I appreciate rhyming clues.

I also appreciate Mister Nediger alluding to me in 30A: Sub (SITIN). I'll be sitting in for Rex again tomorrow, and I hope to see you all then.


Anonymous 8:32 AM  

Not only that (SITIN), but...FLAME WAR...after six or seven mentions of flaming in the "Guest Bloggers" interim post. Uncanny.
Had a tee-hee moment when I realized Atlas referred to he-man Charles Atlas and not Atlas who was condemned to hold the world on his shoulders (who I thought might be a HERO). A perfect Rexian insert-photo op.
Still trying to make sense of QED, I just this minute noticed that there is a space between proof and reader in the clue for 20D. Some proofreader I am. Actually, I think they squeezed that space intentionally...Doesn't it look narrower than the other spaces on that line to you?
With just the initial W filled in for 23A (W can be a vowel in it), the first language that came to mind was not WELSH but WOLOF. Silly me.
Notwithstanding these minor, momentary setbacks, I too blazed through this one. I don't time myself with a stopwatch, but this went much, much faster than most Friday puzzles. Except that I got bogged down by the fact that I did not know MASSEY or PAPA, so I took a stab at PUG (petite pooch) and ULTIMA (instead of what would ultimately be OPTIMA) and guessed GOSSEY and PALO. Why not? PUG could be short for CANIS PUGNACEUS for all I know. Well, being stumped, I googled the Abraham Lincoln clue, found Massey, and...the rest came together somewhat ploddingly (compared to the rest of the puzzle) but surely.
I think I once played in the pit orchestra for Oklahoma! Still, I had to scratch my head for a minute to remember that this song came from that musical. To me it's more of a jazz standard. That and the fact that I couldn't figure out where to put the exclamation mark...:] But hey, that show had a, er, wagonload of good songs...
Surrey with a Fringe on Top
Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,
All or Nuthin'
and the ever delightful
I Cain't say No
with such lines as (from memory)...
I'm just a girl who cain't say no, I'm in a turrible fix, I always say "come on, let's go," just when I orta say nix
Whatcha gonna do when a feller gets flirty
and starts talkin' purty,
Whatcha gonna do!?
'Sposin' that he says that your lips are like berries
Or roses or cherries--
Whatcha gonna do!?
'Sposin' that he say that you're sweeter 'n cream, and he's gotta have cream or die?
Whatcha gonna do? Spit in his eye!?

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

Hi Robert, you pass muster as a SIT IN in my book! Entertaining and informative. Odd too that FLAME WAR shows up after yesterday's goodbye to Rex thread.

At first MOON UNIT and VERTIGO were my only unaided answers but after goosing with google (doesn't feel half as good as it sounds!) a bit, I was able to make some tracks. I interpreted "classic radio" differently than intended, so kept wanting Molly to be HATCHET even though it was never going to work unless a rebus was involved. Rebi never happen on Friday, though, right?

I also felt the 4 in 4/6 was referring to a numerator in a fraction which was a dead end until I got further along in the NE.

I had ORC for ENT, so that screwed some stuff up. Weren't both in Two Towers? And SAME SIZE for LIFE SIZE. All in all, though, nowhere near as painful as most Fridays, and the X,V,Z appearances are always welcome.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

p.s. Somebody asked for mirth. What could be more mirthful than the girl who cain't say no? :)

ScottK 9:14 AM  

If it's Tolkienesque and it's three letters, it's ENT 99.9% of the time.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

Robert! Thanks for the great entry today!

For me, this puzzle had its share of challenges; I managed it, but nowhere near blazing speed. Just as words, I loved WELSH (reminds me of grape juice - yum), PUCE (my alma mater's colors being heliotrope and puce), MAYHAP (because it's so old-fashioned), and ROC (who can kick erne's butt anyday).

Is it coincidence that the crosswords so often reflect blog commentary? It boggles my mind to think that Will and/or constructors might adapt clues/answers on the spot to link up with comments-of-the-week. Of course, print deadlines are likely far in advance of our quotidian remarks...

Norrin2 9:30 AM  

Unless it's "Tolkienesque CPR expert" then it's EMT.
Wendy, I got MOONUNIT right off the bat too, but -- and this is how they get you late in the week -- I psyched myself out, figured that was too easy for a Friday, Dweezil must have an extra Z or something.
And MASSEY still looks wrong. The only Abraham Lincoln movie I remember starred Henry Fonda. Unless (psyching myself out again) it was Jimmy Stewart.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Vi - so you went to ... SUNY Purchase?!?! I had no idea school colors could be heliotrope and puce. Or that there was a color even called heliotrope. Who was smoking the drapes when they came up with that? ;)

I just now realized that POM was short for pomeranian. Made no sense to me, and my grandmother even HAD a pomeranian! Named Dommie after Dominique Francon in The Fountainhead. I kid you not.

I liked MAYHAP too. I've said that around the office upon occasion and people look at me like I'm a loon.
The King's English is such fun.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

P.S. Regarding musical meter, or the so-called time signature - the bottom number of what looks like a fraction at the beginning of a piece of music could never be a 6, sadly. So 4/6 isn't any kind of meter I've ever seen.

The bottom number of the time signature indication refers to the basic value of the beat in a measure, e.g., a half note, quarter note, eighth note, etc., represented by the numbers 2, 4, and 8 respectively. So, usual time signatures might be 2/4, 4/4, 9/8, and so on.

Hmm. Probably clear as mud. But some composers make it even trickier by adding some fraction of a beat at the end of a measure, so you might have a time signature of 3/4 + 2/3, with the 2/3 meaning literally 2/3 of one beat. So, Robert, theoretically, you could have a 4/6 of a beat added in at the end of a measure of 4/4 time, but hopefully (or I would be tearing out my hair and swearing at the composer), that would be reduced to 2/3 for easier comprehension.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

One more oddity - MEXICO as an answer the day Rex goes off to Mexico. I'm sure the puzzles are in the hopper months if not years in advance, but the things that resonate are so hilarious, and one of the things I now most enjoy.

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

it was fun to see your puzzle done by hand with scribbles on the side! What an energetic slant to your letters -- looks like you whizzed through it! Huzzah huzzah! (I hope this phrase isn't hackneyed in "RPdom" yet, Everyblogger should use it once)! Well, I was ambitious and had TWO DOZEN roses -- maybe a typical female mistake?

Mmpo, thanks for the OK lyrics, they made me chuckle!

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Wendy, I smiled about Mexico, too. Let's hope Rex doesn't return LAMENTing of LAMPREYs (nice cross).

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

lahoma where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain...
One more uncanny coincidence (or am I pushing this a bit too fur?)...
From a capsule synopsis found at
Oklahoma is set in the American Indian Territory at the turn of the century. A ranch hand, Curly is infatuated with Laurey, while Will ***Parker*** returns early from his trip to Kansas City to find his sweetheart has a problem with the word "no".

2/3 of a beat extra per, must be hard to dance to...

Norrin2 12:21 PM  

Vi, thank you for the musical clarification. I didn't think 4/6 looked right, but all I remember from my long ago music appreciation class is that a waltz has three beats to the measure, accent on the first beat -- and that music appreciation was not the easy A I had been led to believe it would be.

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

Yes, that fraction of a beat (often 1/3 or 2/3), which I have wrestled with more than once in contemporary music, creates a kind of jolt in the rhythm that some composers love. Ruth Crawford Seeger (mother of Pete and composer in her own right) compared it to that irregular rhythmic jostling you get while riding trains.

Waltzes - yeah, those are in 3/4. Just like you said.

DONALD 2:00 PM  

WOW! Who let the dogs loose!

Linda G 3:27 PM  

Good job, Robert. I see that I'll have to do some fancy footwork next week so the masses don't revolt!

Wendy, you and I are often on the same (wrong) wavelength. Yesterday's TBIRD was also 'STANG in my mind (I drove a '65 when it was a new car!), today's ORC for ENT, seeing 4/6 as a fraction, etc.

MEXICO and FLAMEWAR -- too funny!

Anonymous 7:01 PM  

Hey I'm new to this blog, but so far love it. I'm curious though..... how many people rely on googling to get answers? And when do you resort to doing so? Coincidentally, that's how I found this fabulous site.

Linda G 8:45 PM  

Welcome, squash's mom. I also found Rex by googling to get answers (about five months ago) and now I'm a daily visitor to this blog. I can usually get through Monday through Thursday without googling, but I consider it a good learning tool when I resort to it. Some of the pop culture stuff stumps me, and I still rely on google for that.

Just keep at it!

Anonymous 9:55 PM  

To respond to your question, squash's mom: like Linda I found Rex by googling for an answer. At the time I was doing the Sunday puzzle exclusively because I only subscribe to the paper on Sunday. My modus operandi was to do as much of that as was humanly possible on my own, but eventually it gets to the point where staring down the unknowns is not going to yield any more answers, so that's when I got googlin'.

I try to do just one strategic thing and hope it breaks open some other thing, hopefully many things. And then I go back again if I'm facing a brick wall. Once I discovered the blog I realized I was missing out on some fun by not doing the puzzle daily, so I subscribed to the whole enchilada on With that daily discipline, I too can get through Monday and Tuesday, sometimes even Wednesday on my own strength. I'm trying to take more risks using educated guesses and inference, but I do the puzzle in ink (the tactile experience is really important to me) so in the past I didn't want to commit myself prematurely if I wasn't sure. Now I just overwrite with a darker ink if I'm wrong. And the longer you do these the more you comprehend the various ploys that crossword constructors use, so improvement can be expected (read: reduced reliance on google). But as Linda said, we learn a lot by googling and in my view there's nothing wrong with it at all. The alternative is not to finish, and where's the fun in that?

Orange 7:26 PM  

If you're absolutely stuck, you'll never get better if you don't "cheat" by looking up some answers. The key is to make sure you understand why an answer goes with a clue—if it's a name you've never heard of, Google it and read up on it a little bit. If it's an unfamiliar meaning of a word, look it up in a dictionary (online, via, or in an actual dictionary). If it's some sort of tricky wordplay and you don't get it, ask someone (even a trusty crossword blogger) to unravel it for you.

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

Hi All, I would welcome Robert if I wasn't checking in from 6 weeks in the past.

I was halfway through the second cup of tea when this was completed today. The N/W fell immediately. I too participated in a production of OKLAHOMA in my youth. My one and only experience on the far side of the footlights. As a builder, I especially like these lines: "They're gonna build a skyscraper seven stories high, about as high as a buildin' oughta go." The N/E also taught me (finally) what an AXEL is.

I had HEROS as well, but it was soon erased, as I used to listen to "Fibber MAGEE and Molly when I was a tad. MOON UNIT was a gimme, only because DWEEZLE has fewer letters.

Hanne and I discussed PUCE, but I didn't enter it until close to the finish. Would "Colour close to lemon" be a good clue for HELIOTROPE? I got FLIES before PANTS, and it didn't help at all. Made me think of places where dead flies accumulate.....ugh!

When I realized PASS UP should be PASS ON, the S/E fell soon after.

I thought "Chinese export" a bit broad. EVERYTHING wouldn't fit.
Napoleon Bonaparte said, "Let China sleep, for when she wakes, the world will tremble" Do you get weak in the knees in the WalMart checkout line? (removing tongue from cheek now)

I was expecting a real fooferaw among the denizens herein regarding 43d; "Sorrow", (a noun) as a clue for GRIEVE, (a vowel). Am I missing something here?

As for Googling, I will use it as a last resort, and admit to it in my comments.

Wendy, You would be a good clue for OPTIMIST (someone who does a crossword puzzle with a ball-point pen) :)

Waxy in Montreal 9:58 PM  

Also from 6 weeks on -
People seem to have forgotten 59A: Raymond Massey. Nominated for an Oscar for playing Lincoln in "Abe Lincoln in Illinois", he went on to personify Lincoln on the stage and in other films. Ironically, Massey was a Canadian from the illustrious Massey family which presented the world with the Massey-Ferguson tractor among other things.

His brother, Vincent Massey, was the first Canadian-born Governor General of Canada, serving during the '50's when I was a kid. (By the way, our GG is our almost- Head of State (honorific post mostly) except when the monarch (eg. QEII) is in town when he/she vamooses.)

When I was a kid, Raymond Massey was famous as the grizzled Dr. Gillespie to the young Richard Chamberlain on Dr. Kildare, for a while the top ranked US TV show.

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