TUESDAY, Sep. 11, 2007 - Christina Houlihan Kelly

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Sandwiches - four theme answers are phrases that end with words that are types of sandwiches

Didn't notice the theme at all while doing the puzzle (typical). When I was done, it took a few seconds, but I saw the HERO, SUB, GRINDER parts and thought "Oh, sandwiches." Then I saw SAND WEDGE up top. At first I thought "There's a sandwich called a 'WEDGE'?" Then I thought "Oh no ... is SAND WEDGE supposed to be a pun on SANDWICH ... that can't be right." And it wasn't, though it did remind me of a great Homer Simpson moment from when he's golfing with Mr. Burns at the Springfield Country Club and hits into a sand trap and can't decide which club to use and Burns shouts "Use the open-faced club. The sand wedge," which causes Homer to stare vacantly and dreamily into space and say to himself, "Mmmm, open-faced club sandwich..."

Theme answers:

  • 16A: Golf club used in a bunker (sand wedge)
  • 22A: Butcher's device (meat grinder) - here I would have preferred COFFEE GRINDER or, even better, ORGAN GRINDER. My brain really wants MONKEY GRINDER, but my wife assures me that it's the ORGAN that gets ground, not the MONKEY.
  • 44A: U.S.S. Nautilus, for one (American sub) - my least favorite of these, mostly because AMERICAN SUB just isn't an in-the-language phrase the way the other theme answers are. Plus, for me, Nautilus = gym equipment.
  • 55A: Spider-Man or the Green Lantern (superhero)

I loved the multiple occasions in this puzzle to think about SUPERHEROes - see also 63A: Marvel Comics mutants (X-Men). My friend and ex-student Jordan just got a job as an assistant editor at Marvel. To say that's his Dream Job would be a massive understatement. My favorite US postage stamps feature DC SUPERHERO characters, and my new favorite TV show is "HEROES" (seriously, it's Great). I am watching it now on DVD on the strong recommendation of my best friend Andrew. It's currently the only hour-long network drama I have any plans of watching in the coming season.

When's the last time anyone depicted or referred to or otherwise referenced a SEANCE? I feel like the very idea belongs to some earlier time, a time of Ouija boards ... certainly pre-1985, which is to say, sometime during my childhood. Anyway, I knew that SEANCES involved communicating with the dead, but I had completely forgotten that there are, conventionally, noises involved, such as a KNOCK (37D: Seance sound) or a MOAN (53D: Séance sound).

Lots of names in the puzzle, some predictable (OONA, ELLA, ERLE, URI, and Reagan's most crosswordtastic cabinet member, Ed "I know pornography when I see it" MEESE), and some more interesting or off-beat. Never heard of this COHN guy (32D: Big band saxophonist Al). Never stopped to think about what the equivalent of LARS in English might be (25D: Swedish version of Lawrence). Tripped on 15D: Name after Dan or San (Marino), possibly because one MARINO is a person and the other a place. And EMINEM apparently never went home after yesterday's puzzle (40D: Rapper Marshall Mathers, familiarly). I knew KIEV (28D: Ukraine's capital) as a way of preparing chicken long before I knew it as a Ukrainian capital - ordered Chicken KIEV at The Russian Tea Room on my visit to NYC as a young teenager in 1983. I remember the butter gushing out of it like it was yesterday. My mom claims that my dad once barfed in the large planters outside The Russian Tea Room. But that's neither here nor there, I guess. In other capital news, TEHERAN has one more "E" than I remember its having (23D: Iran's capital).

37A: Krispy _____ Doughnuts (Kreme) has given me a hankering for something doughy, so I'm off to Dunkin' Donuts now.

But first, a word about yesterday's Comments section: I over-reacted, and while I stand by most of what I said, I apologize to Will and to my readers for the parts that were clearly mean-spirited. While John Farmer is right that I am thin-skinned, the real issue was that I felt betrayed. And while I handle criticism OK, betrayal ... is another story. And I got defensive and said unkind things. If I could, I would delete yesterday entirely. Hey, wait ... I CAN delete it ... nah, I'll leave it. Thanks to everyone for the ... lively ... conversation. And your private messages of support were greatly appreciated, believe me. Not to be corny about it, but for some reason today's date reminds me that whatever problems I had yesterday are pretty @#$#-ing tiny.

Signed, King of CrossWorld, Rex Parker


Anonymous 8:36 AM  

we have to remember what today is and your reminder is hardly corny. i don't think the irony of the timing is lost on your readers.

on the positive side -- how nice to see "ultra vi said..." again!

seances -- check out rochester ny's fox sisters:

knock knock who's there

cheers --


ScottK 8:52 AM  

"Bazanti bootin al zootin al hoot and al cohn
Sharing this apartment with a telephone pole."
Tom Waits, Pasties & A G-String.

Hey, Rex, you have the readers you have because you do your blog the way you do it. And if it weren't a successful formula, Mr. Shortz wouldn't notice what you had to say.

Rant on!

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

I don't think TWA exists anymore. 19A should read "former USAir rival" Peri

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Will somebody PLEASE tell me how you get "atoz" for "The whole ball of wax?" And that in England it's "atozzed?"

Bizarre, or I haven't had enough coffee.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

Doh! "A to Z" and A to Zed" . . .

Definitely not enough coffee. or I'm channeling Emily Latella this morning. . . . Nevermind

Orange 9:26 AM  

Peri: USAir was an airline name only from 1979 to 1996, so that's the subtle cue that a defunct airline name is called for. You know it as US Airways now.

Anon: from A to Z, the whole shebang, the gamut.

JC66 10:05 AM  

My last name is COHN and I was thrilled to see my name show up in the puzzle, although I'm embarrassed to say I never heard of Al Cohn before.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Adding (probably redundantly) to the USAIR/TWA issue. USAIR began to be called that in 1979 and TWA ceased to exist in 2001, so the two airlines were indeed rivals for a fair period of time. Fair clue, in my opinion.

Now, my DUH moment for the day was also ATOZ. I looked at that and looked at that, had the ATO (and also the ED) very quickly, went through every possible letter combinination in my mind, arrived at "Z" and said, well, the brits do say ZED and filled it in, still without a clue as to what ATOZ was. Only later when I goggled it (not cheating, I was already done with the puzzle) and the first hit came up with "A TO Z" did I say "I'm an idiot".

Had a bit of trouble with meatGRINDER, since I guessed meatCLEAVER which gave me some problems but soon figured out where I'd gone wrong.

I liked OONA and OMOO in the same puzzle, as well as the crossing of PHOTOCOPY with ORIG.

All in all, an enjoyable Tuesday puzzle, on the easy side.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Is it true? SAND WEDGE was meant to mean open-faced club?

How delicious is that?

My attempt to use italics may fall flat, but hey, what is life if not a learning experience?

who after several tries has decided to accept

Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not closed

I'll worry about closing my tag tomorrow.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

I never noticed the theme at all until Rex pointed it out. But now that he has, it seems to me that it's not really "types of sandwiches" but rather "various regional names for the same type of sandwich." That's why we don't recognize "wedge," which according to Wikipedia is a term confined to parts of NYC and its suburbs. On my home turf near Reading PA we would never have used any of the terms in the puzzle to refer to an "Italian sandwich." But when I went to college in Providence they would have stared at me blankly for placing such an order: there an Italian sandwich and a milkshake become a grinder and a cabinet.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

I guess TehEran is an alternate spelling of Tehran. But I never see it in print.

Today, for example:

Published: September 11, 2007

Skip to next paragraph TEHRAN (Reuters) - A detained Iranian-American told reporters visiting Tehran's notorious Evin prison on Tuesday that he expected to be released soon after being held in solitary confinement since May.

I always thought the extra "E" was a misspelling.

I didn't get the sandwich theme either.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Is anyone tired of Eminem appearing every other day?


Anonymous 10:51 AM  

i'm new to the crossword game and i liked the difficulty level of this one. atoz messed me up some as was awkward.

also in reading yetserday's debate, i can appreciate botg sides but wanted to let rex know the blog he has definitely has gotten me more interested in the times product. just wish we had one for the NY post crossword also!


Stephen 11:00 AM  

AnnieM: Not every other day. Every day!

JC66 11:06 AM  


I finished reading yesterday's comments prior to Will's post and I didn't go back until reading your post today. I just wanted to let you know that although I don't always agree with you, I find your blog consistently entertaining and informative and that people's thoughtless comments are greatly outnumbered by the well informed.



BTW, your mom does rule.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

That ice cream soda, milkshake, frappe, and cabinet could all mean close to the same thing combined with the need to learn about hero, submarine sandwich, hoagie and grinder niceties when ordering (as well as various meanings for regular when ordering a cup of coffee) fascinated me no end. I went from NY to PA to RI and these name changes seemed to be some sort of proof positive that I was getting around in life.

I also remember when Howard Johnson restaurants started springing up in different states and they all (gasp!) looked exactly the same with precisely the same menu. It was a really big deal at the time. No matter where you were you could count on a Howard Johnson not to disappoint. Same soggy fries and chewy clam strips wherever you traveled.


Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Cabinet!!! Wow, new one on me. I wonder how that came to be.

I liked that Improvise, Fabricate, and Invent all appeared as clues. Perhaps I should lump "Avoid, as work" in with them.

I think Tiger Woods' father was the Earl of Sandwedge.

Sure sign that the Net has replaced the PC in my brain: I had EDU instead of EXE. Other ink-overs: the Z in ATOZ, and the M in HEM (I was thinking "Hee-HAW" instead of "HEM and Haw").

I'm not one to KNOCK sceances, but KNOCK seems to be not very onomatopoetic for a "sound". That's not what I hear when someone knocks...but then maybe it's meant to mean the action you hear, not the resultant sound?

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

I've read all of the comments about Monday and every one of them is correct!

Campesite 12:18 PM  

Janie: creepy and ultimately very sad story about the Fox sisters.

Is it conventional to have two nine-letter words in the grid that are not part of a theme puzzle? We could have two more sandwiches on the menu.

Orange 12:50 PM  

Campesite, no, usually there aren't Across answers that are as long as the theme answers, though Down ones are, I think, more widely accepted. It's easier to accept when the theme clues/answers are obvious (e.g., starred or question-marked clues, answers that all contain words that are anagrams of one another). Today's was a little confusing, but on balance I suppose I'd rather have two extra 9-letter answers than four more 4-letter words divided by two black squares.

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

Jerome COHN, it's been my goal for a while to be able to instantly get any clue for various permutations of my name (Anne, Ann, Lana, and my initials ALE -- I refuse to consider Annie), but invariably some constructor will find some Ann/Anne actress I've never heard of. (I'm terrible with pop culture.) I wish I'd started a list long ago! The various ALE clues alone could probably take up a page.

Anne E.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

Hey Rex-
I found your blog about a month ago, and it's great to check my answers. I also find out things I didn't know about some of the clues. I didn't get the sandwich theme either until I pulled up your page this morning.

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

On ATOZ, (classic) Star Trek fans will remember the library staffed by Mr. Atoz, hinting at the comprehensive nature of library contents.

fergus 2:21 PM  

A TONGUE Sandwich? Yes, but that's a description of the contents, not the colloquial name, as far as I know.

After years of cooking up OMELETs, or OMELETTEs as they were spelled the other day, I discovered that I was actually preparing Frittatas instead. (Sorta like M. Jourdain discovering he had been speaking prose all his life ... .) This distinction I learned was that when the other ingredients are blended in with the eggs in the pan it's a Frittata, and when they're tossed on top of the congealing blanket of eggs, then it's an omelet. While I am sure that some dictionaries can point to the terms being used interchangeably, or that one is a subset of the other, my conservative bias in language is to preserve the distinguishing elements afforded by the separate existence of different words.

And Rex, I thought that was a very gracious way of handling the aftermath of yesterday's volcanic activity.

Anonymous 4:08 PM  

Thanks for the theme, I also didn't see it. I did a puzzle recently that had all the regional names for a sub. In the South I think they are called Poor Boys with the "r" left off of poor?

I liked this puzzle, very nice for a Tuesday. I had GEE for 51a for a while but that may be more of a Wed/Thurs answer.

I concur with fergus, nice follow up to yesterday doings.

Orange 4:12 PM  

Jae, you're killing me! If we just leave off the R, of course we're left with "poo-boy" and that doesn't sound so appetizing. I've seen po-boy, poboy, po'boy as the condensed form of the word.

Fergus, my husband recently made a Burger King frittata—leftover chicken tenders, fries, and Cheesy Tots mixed in with the eggs. He and the boy finished every bite, to my lasting horror. (At least the kid ain't a picky eater...)

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

As a recent visitor to Rex's blog I was SO impressed that my arch nemesis Will made an appearance. My daily friendly battles with him have been inhanced by Rex's comments. I am surprised some days by what stumps Rex but I have my own blank moments and that's what makes the world go 'round. But yesterday's melt-down was over the top! Rex, please relax. You have plenty of friends out here and you got Will himself to comment. Very cool. So let's keep playing and have a great time.

Anonymous 4:46 PM  

I continue to be surprised at my inability to predict what folks will be commenting on. Yes, it was determined by the crosses, but wasn't OYEZ wonderful? (I can just hear those bailiffs now .. at least, the ones on TV). And how about YADDA (as in YADDA, YADDA, YADDA)? - obviously a pop culture reference that I don't know. Finally, AMAIN - not exactly an everyday word ... and on a Tuesday!

As always, a pleasure to read everyone's thoughts.


fergus 4:53 PM  

Orange, that concoction leaves the poo boy not sounding so bad. I had my semi-annual visit yesterday to the King, and the experience may make my custom even more infrequent. My 11 year old has foresworn junk food for a couple of years now, but every so often the TV ads must be working their subliminal power on the less resolute father.

Anonymous 5:11 PM  

I'm going to have to bristle at that extra "e" in Tehran. Commence bristling.

Even the official-looking "Welcome to Tehran" website spells it with just the one "e."

That said, how great of a word is "glom"? Answer: very.

Stephen 7:29 PM  

Rex, I wonder how much your hits increased yesterday/today. I've visited the site three more times than usual today.

Anonymous 7:58 PM  

I knew I phrased that as a question for a reason! Can I blame dyslexia again?

Anonymous 8:30 PM  

hey Rex

I missed yesterday and based on the last paragraph in today's blog went back and read the exchange. Since I am a neuroscientist who studies emotions, it was fascinating for me to wonder what triggered the whole cascade. I could even imagine which part of your brain helped guide your hand yesterday (Amygdala), and which part turned on today when you wrote the last paragraph (Frontal cortex).

You did tell us that you felt betrayed, and I think it's interesting to figure out why. Obviously, you must care about Will's opinion. He was doing OK, being spirited yet rational until towards the end. Then he said "I never want to hear..." and that probably sounded condescending, and he went on from there.

But a question that's worth asking is why he chose to write what he wrote? After all, Will has a great sense of humor as evidenced by his taste in puzzles. I understand that he wants to be kind to a first time contributor, but he could have made those well argued technical points in a more neutral, or even humorous way. I am guessing that he's taking the criticisms of the puzzles a bit too much to heart. That tells me that he too must be feeling betrayed? Maybe we can reassure him that we , your readers, don't love the NYTimes puzzles any less because they can be imperfect. Your comments are usually well balanced, with admiration for ideas, construction or particular clues, along with criticism. And you're willing to expose your own uncertainties. This is good feedback for the author of the puzzle, and should be for the editor. But mostly, it's all in fun and I wish Will could see that. I don't know which part of his brain needs to turn on, but I'm certain it's a highly evolved region and I am equally certain that it's well developed in him.

Cheers to all...

Anonymous 8:40 PM  

Hi Rex and Others:

Grinder? What the heck is that? Must be one of those regional things...

As a Canuckistani I can tell you: there ain't no grinders (as in sandwiches) up here (one may, however, find the odd TONGUE sandwich). Which is to say that I found both theme and fill rather sucking in this puzzle.

Top marks for GLOMS though.

Pen Girl :)

PS: Thanks to whomever it was for reminding me of 'My Dinner With Andre.' Great film. Check it out (if you haven't already).

Anonymous 9:05 PM  

First of all, my wife gets the blame for my mistaken "Hee" in place of "Hem". She did the puzzle on our shared laptop first this morning. She blurted out, "Hee Haw is in the puzzle!" She neglected to correct herself at dinner tonight. So when I finally got the laptop this evening I chuckled knowingly at the clue "Haw's partner". SUBTERFUGE!

Secondly, I immediately and instinctively inserted "CRETE" into the northeast for "Mediterranean island country", and was sure it was correct when I discovered "CRATE" and "CREATE" crossing in the same quadrant. "How clever of our constructor," I thought, admiringly. Imagine my chagrin to discover MALTA. (and yes, I know Crete is part of Greece and therefore fails the "country" part of the clue)

Anonymous 9:11 PM  

Hi Rex:

Geez, I know I'm comin' on strong after being away for so long and all -- but it appears that a neuroscientist is about, and I am hoping that a few questions (that I have) might be answered.

To wit: What is consciousness? Do human beings have a soul? What is that exactly (if they do)?

Why are there so many more 'afflictions' in the DSM today, as opposed to 20 years ago (like hyperactivity and seasonal affective disorder)?

And don't these people just need a good kick in the ass?

Also: Is it true that modern psychiatry was founded upon some guy getting a steel pike rammed through his head? I know this was accidental (or so I assume), but isn't this what based the practice of lobotomization on?

And -- sorry for going on here -- is it true that all the SSRI's and anti-depressants people are taking (some 30% of the population) are adversely affecting the biology of marine life in streams and lakes and such?

Don't feel you need to answer these questions, Mr. Scientist, but please save your quackery (at least in terms of subjective opinions) for the appropriate forum (instead of trying to browbeat us po' folks into accepting the solipsistic crap you spout as gospel).

PG :)

Anonymous 9:29 PM  

1) I agree, let's analyze the puzzle not the people.

2) Pen girl: you're welcome.

Anonymous 9:39 PM  


It's nice to be back.

Viva la revolucion.

PG :}

Anonymous 10:24 PM  

I thought it was all pretty reasonable today except for the OMOO/AMAIN crossing. I guess OMOO is pretty pantheonic, but I'm still working on some of my crosswordese. And the meaning used for AMAIN is archaic. I guessed ONOO/AMAIN, because nothing sounded right. I'm just saying, it seems like a tough crossing for a Tuesday.

And with regards to yesterday's discussion, it seemed like both Will and Rex maybe said a couple of things they shouldn't have. I like both of them and didn't want to take sides. But I should point out that, even if Rex complains about the crossword, hello, the fact that he does the puzzle every day and puts this much time into the blog means he loves the _New_York_Times_ crossword!

Karen from the Cape 11:25 PM  

"There you go! I can taste it! Oestrogen. Definitely oestrogen. Take the pill, flush it away, it enters the water cycle. Feminizes the fish. Goes all the way up into the sky then falls all the way back down onto me. Contraceptives in the rain. Love this planet. Still, at least I won't get pregnant. I'm never doing that again." Capt Jack Harkness, 'Torchwood'

Thanks, anon 9:11, for reminding me.

Re the puzzle, if X-MEN and SUPERHERO don't cross or abut, I'd rather see them on opposite sides of the grid for balance. Running parallel like they did looks odd.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

Hello Rex:

Me again. Just wanted to apologize to the Neuroscientist.

Neuroscientist: sorry for being such a bitch. Really I think science is good stuff and I hold in high esteem those who give it to us.

But with all the debate around here as to puzzle criticism, it is my profound hope that this forum stays just as it is.

There are already plenty of 'genteel' puzzle discussion sites; this one has some balls and I don't want to see it neutered apropos over-analysis and second-guessing, or from an unwillingness to hurt feelings, etc, etc.

And while it's true there's bigger things to worry about than crosswords (and whatever discussion they may engender), that shouldn't be a cross to bear here. Because if it is, then puzzles themselves become suspect -- as do all forms of leisure and enjoyment -- and quite frankly I don't need more guilt thank-you very much, I'm already well-stocked.

Anyway, I feel I shouldn't have been so rude, and I again apologize for that...

Hope you can forgive me,

Pen Girl :)

Rex Parker 11:06 AM  

And I'd just like to thank Pen Girl for not leaving me alone in the "I-was-rude-and-now-I-need-to-apologize" zone.


PS This site would have fewer "balls" were it not for your comments

PPS I really enjoyed the neuroscientist's comments and hope s/he comes back to explain brains more often.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

I understand 1-A ATOZ but can someone explain 4-D ZED please?


Anonymous 6:05 PM  

British people (and some Canadians) pronounce the 26th letter of the alphabet as 'zed', rather than 'zee' as we Americans do.

Anonymous 11:44 PM  

Rex, I've recently started doing the NYT Crossword (and crosswords in general) and I absolutely love to check out your comments afterwards. When I find a clue to be especially annoying I want to see what you thought about it, as well. The same goes for what you found particularly interesting and fun about the puzzle (pop culture, amusing crosses). So, don't apologize. Keep on ranting on!

Anonymous 12:55 AM  

To Anybody Still Out There:

Well I said I was sorry. I am. I won't be losing sleep though. And that's because I don't feel I caused anybody in particular to suffer through my words.

Neuroscientist's comments were made under the veil of anonymity.

Had there been a proper name to those comments I would not have launched into my tirade.

(Nor would I stake my real name to such a tirade).

And that's the beauty (imho) of the internet -- one can obtain freely-formed ideas (and opinions) -- and contribute to same.

That might soon change. To some, this lack of accountability is a serious concern.

It is to me, too. This push for accountability (on the net) threatens (again, imho) much.

I did take exception to Neuro's comments -- and I feel I should have forum to say so -- and one unrestricted by censure.

This fits with what has been discussed here of late -- the right to say unpopular things -- even the right to be wrong.

Anyway, this is my final farewell. I'd love to (I really would you know) go on about why I did take such exception to Neuroscientist's comments but I won't because I'm sure you all would find that quite boring.


Anonymous 1:23 AM  

To Pen Girl

I'm not sure you'll see this since it's over 24 hours ago. But thank you for both the original opinion and the apology... I'm relatively new to the blog and could imagine that I might have missed the mark on what the readers want to see (or not see). And if I spout out about accepting feedback and having a sense of humor, then I better live up to it, right?

For the record, I'm not a psychiatrist and don't necessarily agree with the way psychiatrists think... I feel it does not give the brain its due. But that's for another blog.

Anyhow, thanks again for being gracious.

And thanks Rex for the kind invitation to come back. I will use it sparingly : )

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

Haven't seen from too many time travelers lately, but: I still don't get 5A: "OYEZ". Can someone help me here? Also, on the last 2 days' discussions: rant and read, read and rant. I enjoy this site for all of you and your words, opinions, insights and rants. PG: pithy!

- - Robert

Anonymous 11:03 PM  


Below from Wikepedia (though I think Oyez is actually the equivalent of "Here come da judge").

Oyez (IPA pronunciation: /ojej/) is an interjection said three times in succession to introduce the opening of a court of law.

Up until the 18th century, speaking English in an English court of law was not required and one could instead use Law French, a form of French that evolved after the Norman Conquest, when Anglo-Norman became the language of the upper classes in England.

Oyez descends from the Anglo-Norman oyez, the plural imperative form of oyer, from French ouïr, "to hear"; thus oyez means "hear ye" and was used as a call for silence and attention. It would have been common in medieval England, but it was recorded up until Middle English.

The term is still in use by the United States Supreme Court. At the beginning of each session, the marshal of the Court (Court Crier) announces: "Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God save the United States and this Honorable Court!" [1]

The interjection is also traditionally used by town criers to attract the attention of the public to public proclamations.

Anonymous 5:33 PM  


thank you for the illumination on "Oyez."

- - Robert

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