TUESDAY, Sep. 25, 2007 - Randall J. Hartman

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Food transportation" - theme answers are all two-word, "food + transportation" phrases

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Food transportation ... that Harry Belafonte sang about (banana boat)
  • 24A: ... that's an ambulance, in slang (meat wagon)
  • 37A: ... that a rube might fall off (turnip truck)
  • 48A: ... that may be upset (apple cart)
  • 59A: ... that's a source of easy money (gravy train)

Question: What does Rex Parker do to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his blog?

Answer: Take the day off

Talk amongst yourselves.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 5:38 AM  

Happy Anniversary!

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

It took me the longest time to figure out what RUBEL BOWS were.

Happy anniversary, Rex. Thanks for providing such an interesting and enjoyable forum. Hope you found a school for your daughter by now.

Rock on!

ScottK 7:43 AM  

Happy blog day to you
Happy blog day to you
Happy blog day dear Re-ex. . .

Got stuck in the southeast corner. "Party animal?" was clever cluing but It took me a long time to see PINATA without the tilde over the n.

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

The homerun clue messed me up...I had enough letters of MARIS to get AARON instead.

I also liked PINATA for party animal, even if I feel I've seen that clue before.

Happy anniversary!

Unknown 8:22 AM  

Happy Anniversary! You've made my solving experience a whole lot more enjoyable.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Loved Org. for drivers? and Pork chop?, but didn't like Cliff hangers? Aeries aren't hangers...they are where the hangers hang.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

Congratulations on your first year (of many, I hope)! I always enjoy finding out that someone else got the same wrong answers as I did, or struggled in the same areas - which seems to happen a lot.

Re today's 20 across: seems like an error to me - Ohio isn't in the Big Ten. Ohio State is, however.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

AERIES are eagle's nests which hang from cliffs.

wendy 8:56 AM  

Thanks for standing up for Ohio State, anonymous 8:52. Hello, New Yorkers! Ohio University and The Ohio State University: two different things. Two different conferences. Two different worlds.

Happy bloggiversary, Rex! A definite highlight of the past year in my book.

OSU Class of '74

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

Everything from fruit to nuts in this one but how is dst a thing that ends in the fall? Of course. Daylight Saving Time!! Dumb me.

Unknown 9:14 AM  

Has it been a year? Just shows ya,
time flies when you're havin' fun.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex!! Enjoy your "day off"!!

I liked the "Org for drivers" though my original AAA threw me off a bit. I enjoy "aha" moments. Had AVER for AVOW for a bit, slowing down the SW for a minute.

JC66 9:41 AM  


Only a year; seems like at least three.

Just kidding. You do a terrific job. I've been doing the Times puzzle and loving it since before you were born and your blog has really added so much to the experience and made it even more enjoyable.

Thank you and keep up the good work.

Congratulations on your anniversary.


Unknown 10:10 AM  

Happy anniversary, Rex, your blog has added a new, and very enjoyable, dimension to my puzzle solving. You are known in my house--what does Rex say?

Rockonchris, you made me lqtm with RUBEL BOWS.

(laugh quietly to myself)

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Yes, I agree the blog is great fun...thanks, Rex. However, I still don't like aerie...I've seen lots of eagle and hawk nests, but no hanging ones...

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

I liked the 57D nod to another song sung by Harry Belafonte containing the line "Whenever she was able she was raising Cain." I thought it was Matilda, but I can't confirm this.
Funny, I was just thinking about what a chore it must be to have this essentially self-imposed obligation to write this column seven days a week. Had no idea it was the anniversary of the blog. I wouldn't do it, but I'm glad you do! This blog has become an essential part of my most-daily puzzle-solving experience. (I solve the puzzle most days, but I take the occasional day off, and indeed took several weeks off during the summer...hence my astonished admiration of the man who puts out clever and sometimes cantankerous commentary day after day.)

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Another interesting puzzle for me. I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggled in the SE. I first had AAA instead of PGA, which gave me ARENAS and it was downhill from there. I even thought about PGA, but couldn't make either the P or the G fit. I was sure that "party animal" was going to be a frat house related clue and totally missed PINATA.

And, Happy Anniversary Rex. This blog has made me a better crossworder.

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

I never post anywhere but your blog has really improved my puzzle solving skills so I am inspired to say thanks, Happy Anniversary and keep up the great work.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Happy Anniversary. I really enjoy your blog. You are my one and only, that is your blog is the only one I consult on a daily basis (and some others through your links like Linda's and Amy's).

Thanks for the great commentary.

PuzzleGirl 12:00 PM  

I grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, so I was excited to see hometown hero Roger Maris in the puzzle again so soon.

Happy blogiversary, Rex -- thanks for all you do!

BT 12:12 PM  

Since we are cheap bastards we will send virtual RED ROSE(s) (32A: Symbols of love) to Rex for his anniversary. Heck, have dozen - the price is right.

Rex of course is the Fred ASTRAIRE (41A: He danced in 'Silk Stockings") of crossword blogging. He even got to RUB ELBOWS (32D: Mingle (with)) with the rest of the top xworders at the last convention.

But sometimes he apparently needs to be careful not to upset the APPLECART

Sometimes I am a bit of a(n)... DOOFUS.

Howard B 12:22 PM  

Woohoo! Congratulations.

I will not, in the name of preserving your sanity, ask any waiters to sing a theme-restaurant variant of 'Happy Birthday' for the occasion.

Just keep solving and having fun. It keeps the mind from turning into guacamole.

Campesite 12:59 PM  

Hey everybody, in celebration of Rex and his blogiversary, here is one of the first comments left in this space. This humorous comment is from 9-28-06 by a writer named Grandpamike, and I'm glad Rex didn't listen. Enjoy:

"grandpamike said...
First, please do not comment on puzzles the day they are printed. Further, many across the country get today's puzzle next week, so you shouldn't give away the fun for them.

Second, many of the words you are objecting to are entirely familiar to anyone who has solved puzzles even relatively briefly.

Your criticism that some of these words are not familiar to all people generally is an unfair criticism. Like any pastime, this one has its own world, and that includes stars with interesting names, animals familiar to those who watch the Animal Channel, etc.

This blog is just a bad idea.


1:47 PM"

MBG 1:35 PM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex. I just discovered your blog and what a lucky day that was for me. Your blog has made puzzle solving so much more enjoyable and helped me improve my skills. Thanks!

Glad to see I wasn't the only one who got hung up on AAA in the SE.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

anon 10:41 - aeries = cliff hangers

I think you might like the clue better if you thought of hanger in a different sense. It's a storage facility for an aircraft, not "one who hangs." With that sense in mind, cliff hangers is a clever clue for aeries.

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

In honor of the anniversary, I'm curious about how others of you found the blog. In my case I came across it when I Googled a clue(yes, I google) and the first hit on the Google list was a link to this blog.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

Jim in Chi,

I googled "SEKLIVES". It was supposed to be "SEXLIVES", but I entered YAKETYYAK rather than YAKETYSAX for "Benny Hill's polka theme song", rendering SEK.....

There were very few google hits, and fortunately, Rex had made and mentioned the same mistake. So here I am. "End of story" (to quote the snow-shoveler in "Fargo").

AlexG 2:45 PM  

A recent discoverer of this blog, but I love it--so congrats and take a nice blog break.

I, too, didn't like the Ohio clue, especially considering how easy it would have been to make it Iowa, Wisconsin, etc.

fergus 3:11 PM  

Sorry Buckeyes; the OSU was referring to the Cowboys of Oklhoma State. I'm surprised nobody from the Sooner state didn't chime in. (The Sooners of OU, of course, might not bother to mention their brethren.) And why, when people mention that fine institution in Columbus, do they always seem to use the ultimate definite article, THE Ohio State University? Is it just a football player thing or does it extend to all the other alums?

This was the most pleasing Tuesday puzzle that I can remember. Lots of intersting answers and clever clues. The only fault aside from the AERIES misstep was 9D SET AT, which I thought stumbled, too.

Finally learned the derivation of MOJO! Didn't really think that Jim Morrison coined the term, but never delved into the origin otherwise.

fergus 3:13 PM  

... oops, I think it's the U of Oklahoma, not OU.

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

Fergus, we were remarking on the BIG TEN answer, not the OSU answer.

The institution's official name, as seen in its emblem, is THE Ohio State University; not being a football player myself, I can tell you its an alumni thing. Because there is another state university in Athens, Ohio, called Ohio University (usually referred to as OU vs. OSU), using the article in speech and print (which wasn't the practice when I was there but became so sometime later) was a way of trying to distinguish between the two, as (case in point) today's BIG TEN clue did not.

People in Ohio have no trouble making the distinction, but when you move out of state, it gets blurrier for some, apparently.

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

Hey JJJ: Sorry to disappoint you, but no one stores airplanes in "hangers", they store them in "hangars".

But I still agree the clue was fine, though for different reasons. Things can be "hanging on the edge" without actually dangling, and the "?" on the clue allows for a broad interpretation.

Happy day it was I found your blog Rex. Thanks! And don't be hesitant about taking the ocassional day off - much better than burning out and leaving all your adoring fans sobbing in the e-dust.

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

I agree this puzzle was a great Tuesday, smooth as butter. I'm curious about Rex's medium difficulty rating, as I sailed through it without a hitch. The only thing I can think of is that the first theme clue made me think for a second that all the theme answers were going to be connected somehow to the Belafonte song.

The only answer I didn't know was Jed from the West Wing, a show I have never watched but understand involves a lot of intense hallway walking.

Oh, I guess I also don't know the word "ofuse." At all. But all the crosses were totally solid, so there was no problem.

And what great images for the theme answers. In this puzzle's visual, all these vehicles have a simultaneous head-on collision and create in the wake of the impact a large and motley buffet that provides enough food for all the villagers in the area, ending a famine and beginning an era of plenty. Shalom.

Howard B 4:05 PM  

ofuse = "of use". Those nasty little multi-word phrases can be so tricky to parse. "PR man" is the one that always messes me up when it makes an appearance (PRM--? What the...?!?).

fergus 4:07 PM  

Wendy, et al.,

I realize that I didn't read the commentary closely enough earlier, so I'm sheepishly recognizing that my Buckeye post was irrelevant, and possibly irreverent. Thanks for pointing out the history of the distinctive article as part of distinguishing the Ohio universities. Oddly enough, here in California, I've met many more people from Ohio University than OSU, though the former has many fewer students, doesn't it? The population of ex-Chicagoans also seems to vastly outnumber than those from Philadelphia, which makes me think that there are some places that keep people at home and some that send them out in the world.

Anonymous 4:10 PM  

Weeee...thanks Howard. It's always good to have an "I am an idiot" moment each day. Not that that will be my only one, but...

fergus 4:20 PM  

Green Mantis, your surreal imagination has caused me to see a greater affinity between crossword puzzles and poetry than I'd ever found before. I wonder how many poets may have considered the nature of this connection?

Unknown 5:07 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 5:08 PM  

Keep it up Rex! Just like I can't go a day without a puzzle, I can't go a day without the puzzle's best blog.

Anonymous 5:28 PM  

this is one of only two must-reads of my day ... awesome job on the blog, which truly enhances the experience of doing the NYT puzzle.

your blog is a great example of the "long tail" thesis of Internet editorial, which is that there is a massive amount of copy that can be focused at less than 1% of total U.S. readership.

i will know you REALLY MADE IT when "rex parker" appears as a clue in a puzzle. i bet it happens one day. it would be a nice gift from the NYT puzzle team to its #1 promoter.

Campesite 5:29 PM  

In the oft-confused Ohio college confusion category, add Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), and the University of Miami (the one in Florida). One does not like to be mistaken for the other.

Campesite 5:30 PM  

Anon 5:28: great thought--it'd be fun to see Rex as an answer or clue.

Anonymous 5:35 PM  

Fergus, I went to the Ohio State University in the early 90's, and they made a (relatively) big deal about always including the 'the'. So now I use it facetiously. And spend extra time explaining it.

Anonymous 5:59 PM  


I do see the connection you're talking about. I think poetry may have something to do with making fresh associations (in terms of metaphors, for instance) and also with being able to see patterns in a field of apparently unconnected features. We crossword types are always making those kind of connections as we discuss the puzzle here, and crossword constructors are in a sense doing a little poetry thing as they create clues that point to something without actually naming it. The creative leaps seem related. Haiku contest, anyone?

The apple cart fell
one hundred linguistic fruits
a new word salad

Anonymous 6:10 PM  

Fergus, at the risk of seeming snarky, just because someone isn't living in California doesn't mean they haven't left home! Maybe they chose, oh, say, Montana, as a place to settle. ;)

Ohio State has almost 60,000 students at all levels on its various campuses. OU has a fourth of that.

Like Karen, I also use the THE facetiously, btw. As I said earlier, in the 70s it was a non-existent qualifier so it does amuse me.

Anonymous 6:12 PM  

Thanks for all the hard work, Rex.

Enjoy your blog, and hope you enjoy your day off.

fergus 6:13 PM  

Maybe I'll start saying that I went to THE University of California ... . I'm sure that will go over well on the other campuses. No one from my era ever refers to Cal except in football terms, so that's why I was wondering about the insistent article for the OSU.

This trifling subject does make me want to urge dictionary editors to make a case for a third type of article: not simply an indefinite or the more precise definite one, but the superlative, most exacting, and indicative of uniquenes, THE (with its long e pronunciation).

Why I would even bother to bring up this sort of topic is an oddly complimentary testament to the little blog-world of pettifoggers that Rex has nourished.

fergus 6:19 PM  

guilty of solipsism
I apologise

Anonymous 7:00 PM  

Rex: I've only been reading your blog a short time, but it's on my after-dinner must-do list. Happy anniversary and best wishes for many more. And, given your pedigree, let me say in response to all the THE Ohio State University talk: Go Blue!

Anonymous 7:17 PM  

I first came to this site on Jan 27th, while Googling Patriot Putnam, and I've come here daily since. It's as addictive as the puzzle itself, which I started doing in earnest in 1976.

Add to the annoying college mistakes...University of Pennsylvania vs Penn State. I graduated from the former in 1980 and repeatedly have to explain that no, we don't have a great football team and we're not in State Colloege, PA. When I was still in school, the bookstore sold "Not Penn State" t-shirts!

Anyway, excuse my digression. I love this blog, I regard all of you as my fascinating nighttime companions, and I thank you Rex sincerely for bringing us all together!

Keep blogging!

Michael Chibnik 7:46 PM  

The Big Ten clue was really bad. But what can be expected from a conference named Big Ten that has 11 members? And don't forget about Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

I'm probably especially sensitive about this because I live in Iowa City (University of Iowa, not Iowa State University)

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

Thanks Rex. Reading your blog has become as much a habit as doing the puzzle itself.

I'm with the AAA / PGA people. And the ones who are sick of AERIE. But I enjoyed this puzzle overall, the theme is more intricate than many of the lawnmower-type "how many phrases end in ____" variety, and I appreciate that.

I'm pretty unfamiliar with poetry for the most part, but this semester I've been taking an intro class and I agree that I've felt some vague connection to one while working on the other. (poetry vs. crosswords, I mean)

Anonymous 8:14 PM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex. You have become an important part of almost every day! Keep up the good work, and thank you.

Kristen F 8:15 PM  

Rex, Thanks for doing the blog -- you definitely amuse and inspire. I've been following it for a few months (heard about it at a church board meeting -- one of the most valuable things I've learned there!). And thanks to your supportive family -- I don't know how you do this every day, let alone with a small child in the house.

fergus 8:19 PM  

Since the language arts weren't my specialty as a youth I've tended toward the engineer's approach to a bunch of words operating together. But once the peculiarly ordered mess congeals in some delightful fashion one does have the basis for a crossword puzzle or a poem. And while I've dabbled in the latter form I'm still trying to construct a half-way decent NYTimes-style puzzle that wouldn't cause most of you to guffaw at its rediculousness or rant about the obscurity.

Anonymous 8:21 PM  

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!
Joyeux Anniversaire!
Buon Compleanno!
Fortuna dies natalis!
Feliz Cumplea�os!
Sun Yat Fai Lok!
Yom Huledet Same'ach!

And many more Rex!

Anonymous 8:32 PM  

Thanks Rex, this blog is something I look forward to daily. Your quote in the NY Sun about creating talk around a silent experience is on the money. When you have spent cognitive energy required to solve one of these its great to have somewhere to go to share. Please continue!

Like johnsin, I also got here on the Putnam clue. Somewhat ironically, this blog inspired me to stop googling and go for it sans aids (with the exception of occasionally asking my wife).

I grew up in OHIO so I agree there is a problem with the BIGTEN clue. However, the was an otherwise fine Tuesday offering. IMHO the ? in 45a should have eliminated AAA as a possibility.

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

Rex, happy anniversary. I first came here last September, made my first post in early October... after seeing several posts on the NYT Puzzle Forum by some guy named Rex trying to publicize his new blog.

Amy's blog, followed by yours, then others (Madness and Green Genius, in particular) have changed the face of puzzling. No longer is puzzling such a solitary pursuit...you and the rest have brought a whole new community to it. Congratulations to you all.

Anonymous 9:20 PM  

My lifelong Yankee fan husband would be so upset that I took a while to get Maris for 61 home run hero. All I could remeber was 61 was the year of the M and M boys and that one of them was Mickey Mantle. Mantle didn't fit so it had to be the other "M" - the quiet one that was outshone by personality plus Mantle. And I couldn't remember his name!


Anonymous 10:20 PM  

Dear Rex,
I've enjoyed the NYT puzzle for many, many years, subscribing to the Herald Tribune while living in
Europe several times, but I'm enjoying it so much more since I discovered your site. Happy anniversary, but don't leave us in the lurch!

PuzzleGirl 11:50 PM  

michael: Go Hawks!

Melanie@Crafty Cupboard 11:55 PM  

I found this blog 6 days after having my baby girl... I was really bored at home, and after just graduating from college I was worried my intelligence would disappear. That is when I started doing crosswords, I was really stuck and discovered Rex Parker (googled, yes, it is true), and now I do crosswords every day. Thanks, Rex, for expanding my crosswordese and giving me a good chuckle during a busy, baby-filled day.

Anonymous 12:34 AM  

Geez louise you get a lot of comments! Happy blogiversary. I am very excited as I now have access to the puzzles online (got a Times subscription for my birthday), which means I no longer have to be on the syndicated schedule. Now, when I comment, it won't be weeks behind the rest!

Unknown 1:16 AM  

Ok, now where's the Wednesday commentary? :)

Happy blogiversary, and thanks, again.

Anonymous 1:32 AM  

Rex, Just found your blog a couple weeks ago and am very appreciative of all your efforts which are such a treat to come home to after work. Add my thanks to all the rest!

Like others, I went with AAA and AVER for a short time, but did anyone else initially put DIED for "turned blue, maybe" - I was picturing a respiratory arrest, cheery thought. And what about 9D- go after = SET AT? I didn't get that.

Green Mantis, I liked your haiku - linguistic fruits and word salad; here are my attempts:

TEAtime came and went
the TURNIP TRUCK sputtered off
the RED ROSE wilted

and also...
my brother, AWOL,
farming albino catfish,
hidden in the hills

Anonymous 1:42 AM  

Rex, Congrats on the milestone, and H.B. to the blog. It certainly has been a lively spot for conversation about crosswords. Hope you enjoyed the day off.

Good week for puzzles so far, if you ask me.

Anonymous 1:45 AM  

yes - Happy Anniversary and thanks for a great blog.

I was one of those who found Rex Parker by googling for an answer - and I'm proud of it.

Hobbyist - thanks for explaining DST - that was one of those reponses that I forgot I didn't understand until you explained it.

For all of you BIGTEN worriers - I would offer a broad definition that makes it work (more or less): the collection of BIGTEN States (i.e., the States that have Big Ten schools in them), includes Indiana and Ohio. Okay, it's not elegant, but what do you want at 1:45 am!

Thanks again for making the puzzle that much more fun.

Anonymous 2:08 AM  

Happy blogiversary, Rex.
Rock on!

Doug 4:17 AM  

Thanks for all the hard work in the last year. I'll double my payment to you, no wait, I'll triple it!

Found RP googling on New Year's Day for an answer, and have been a daily reader ever since. I try to contribute meaningfully and stay out of the catfights whenever possible. On that note "ON WISCONSIN" a confusion-free state!

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

To JJ 1:54 - Good try, but the word for aircraft storage is hangar, not hanger.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

Congrats on your anniversary and thank you for all your hard work.

shelby/montclair, n.j.

Anonymous 6:38 PM  

I got here by way of Google as well, doing a random NTY crossword in the summer to keep my brain from melting away between semesters. Now, thanks to Rexy's addictive blog, I do the crossword everyday! Way to go, Rex!

Anonymous 10:50 PM  


the best blog anywhere...


Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Six weeks later ...

Blog on, Rex. Never too late to encourage a valuable public service! Found you by googling popculture trivia--OK by my rules--and am now a regular reader. I sometimes startle people with an anecdote from the blog. Have yet to find anyone who wants the URL.

A few years back the hospital in a Vancouver suburb stuck a definite article in front of its name; the practice seems, thankfully, to have fallen into disuse. It is, of course, a community with only one hospital.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

From a syndicate solver:
Rex, you have definitely made the crossword solving experience more enjoyable. And thanks to all the other bloggers' comments that help with the understanding of clues and answers. I even bought Orange's book to help me further improve my skills.


Anonymous 3:35 PM  

From a syndicate solver in the Northwest (and UCSC alum), congrats Rex. I stumbled across your site about eight months ago, and checking in at your site after finishing a puzzle is one of the highlights of my day.

Anonymous 4:37 PM  

Happy one year and 6 weeks anniversary. Found you googling a clue too, about 9 months ago when I started doing crosswords. I've gotten better thanks to you and this blog. Still a paper and pen guy. Can't believe no one had "DONKEY" for 45D: Party Animal. It even worked with the cross of "PIER" for 52A. Keep it real, people...

- - Robert

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