THURSDAY, Dec. 13, 2007 - John Farmer

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "End of some addresses" (clue for all three 15-letter theme answers)

Hey look everybody, "It's PLAT." He's back, in clue form.

15A: Plat book unit (acre)

I enjoyed this puzzle, but I have issues with the phrasing on the first two theme entries. I know that some people leave the CODE part of ZIP CODE off and just say ZIP, but the phrase CITY, STATE, AND ZIP (20A: End of some addresses) feels incomplete and odd to me without the CODE on the end. Further, "E-MAIL DOMAIN NAME" (67K Google hits) would not come to me Even After I had DOMAIN NAME, because the phrase is "INTERNET DOMAIN NAME" (1.7 million Google hits). GOD BLESS AMERICA was good, and I like that it gives the word "address" a completely different spin.

Biggest problem with this puzzle (and I can't be the only one who did this):

  • 48D: Riveted (agaze)
  • 64A: Fire (zeal)

I had AGAPE and PEAL, and, frankly, after some dictionary work, I'm convinced that I am right. I'm certainly right about AGAPE, which beats AGAZE silly. And I have found enough instances of "peal of gunfire" to believe that I had no reasonable reason for doubting my answer. I need to know if anyone else made this mistake, because if no one did, then I'll just grumble quietly in the corner over here.

My gimmes:

  • 14A: Detail in a Georgia O'Keefe painting (petal) - mom had her pictures all over the house ... or at least one of them featured very prominently, perhaps over the fireplace. So I'm familiar with O'Keefe's work. Mom gets a lot of credit for any appreciation of art that I have (and I have a lot). I wish I could show you the "art" that she brought me on her recent trip out here. But ... I really can't. This is a family blog. Some other time, maybe.
  • 25A: "Getting to _____" (best seller about negotiating) ("Yes") - don't know why I know it - I just do!
  • 8D: The Dolphins retired his #12 (Griese) - maybe if the Dolphins just close their eyes and wish real hard, it'll be 1972 again and they won't be the worst team in NFL history any more. They should give it a shot. Nothing else seems to be working.

Interesting stuff:

  • 26A: Zogby poll partner (UPI) - this little answer wants into the Pantheon. We'll see, little answer, we'll see. I thought Zogby worked with USA Today.
  • 47A: "_____ Wednesday" (Jane Fonda film) ("Any") - never having heard of it, I had ASH. That whole Eastern portion of the puzzle was pretty dicey. Never watch "CSI" so SARA (36D: "CSI" woman) was a guess. Further, OESTE (35A: Setting for the setting of el sol) is rough-going for me - I knew the answer was Spanish for "west," but the particular vowel combo at the beginning ... it's just not intuitive for me.
  • 68A: Curling targets (tees) - er ... what?
  • 1D: _____ sheet (spec) - SPEC is very familiar, but not in this context.
  • 2D: Jacopo _____, composer of the earliest surviving opera (Peri) - Yikes - I had no hope here, but still like the clue better than [Actress Gilpin].
  • 4D: "Miracle on 34th Street" name (Macy's) - aargh, I was thinking character names (like the sucker that I am!).
  • 5D: Engage in a bit of swordplay (slash) - somehow SLASH and "play" don't seem like friends.
  • 9D: "Oh! Carol" singer, 1959 (Sedaka) - two observations. First: I love that exclamation point in the middle of the title; why doesn't "Carol" get one too? Second: SEDAKA is astonishingly common for a six-letter word with a "K" in it. Pantheonic? Wouldn't you like to know.
  • 12D: Douglas or Smith of the W.N.B.A. (Katie) - no clue, but nice to see the women's pro league getting some puzzle love a change. Also, the clue goes well with 40D: Hoops bloopers (air balls) - by which I'm sure Mr. Farmer is not insinuating that chicks can't shoot the rock. As it were.
  • 34D: One singing "Those Were the Days?" (old pal) - hmmm. Nope, don't like it. Only people singing "Those Were the Days" are Edith and Archie.
  • 58D: Jazz singer Anderson (Ivie) - this name really really wishes someone truly famous would adopt it so that it had more occasion to show up in the puzzle. It begs for Pantheonic status, but really, WhoTF is named IVIE any more?

The snow Just started here, and is going to bury us completely in the next 4 hours. Sahra and Sandy are home from school / work for a snow day. Orange rolls and coffee await me downstairs, so I am very much out of here. Later today - Rex Parker and Orange's Holiday Crossword Buying Guide!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 8:50 AM  

Rex, let me be the first (of many, I presume) to confirm your suspicion. I had AGAPE/PEAL. When the applet didn't accept it last night, I spent about 20 minutes going over the grid to look for errors and finally gave up. 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back. I've been waiting until this morning to read your blog and find out what I had wrong. Oh, well. By the way, I enjoyed the solving experience right up until the moment of rejection... so still a fine puzzle overall in my view.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

Ah Plat where have you been so long.

Rex it is great to read you are enjoying the snow day as much as your kids.

May I recommend the Mad River Bomber? It is a great sled for old and young pals. You can strap yourself in.. think speed. Available at REI and most outdoor gear stores.

A bit of sword play should be fence, and "Those Were the Days" is best sung by torch singer in Berlin. Was that Liza in the movies, it sure wasn't an old pal?

Fun puzzle for me as it was the first one in three days I got to do the old fashioned way (pen and coffee on porch... staring at snow).

Orange and Rex thank you for the holiday tips.

Orange 9:19 AM  

I checked the Baby Name Voyager and while Ivy has had a resurgence (#334 last year in the baby naming sweepstakes), Ivie hasn't cracked the top 1,000 in any decade from the 1880s on.

In your last paragraph, I thought you were saying that I roll.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

You can put me in the column for yes I had agape and peal. Was even surprised to find it was wrong when I checked out your puzzle. Ah, well...

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

I too had agape and peal and while I'm not in your class, I've been doing crosswords for a long time! I usually get there in the end, just not nearly so quickly as you.

Spencer 9:38 AM  

I, too, had AGAPE, PEAL. Fooie. I had to consult Orange's blog for the answer. Double fooie.

On the other hand, I had OLD___ for "Those Were the Days" singer almost immediately, thought it was probably PAL, and confirmed that quickly, too.

Put me down for ASH Wednesday, although I suspected ANY because I was pretty sure that 38D was going to be EELY. (Another pantheonic answer?)

DianaGH 9:50 AM  

I also had agape. I'm not as offended by zeal - it does make sense and would probably be in a thesaurus list.

I am fairly new to the NYT puzzles, having done anacrostics my whole life. I love the plays on words and the way they make me think outside the box ... and box... and box!!


Anonymous 9:52 AM  

AGAPE it was. Go PLAT!

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

I guess I'm in the (lucky) minority who put in ZEAL first before even looking at 48D. Actually I had ADAZE for the longest time (DOD bless America?).

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Had ZEAL and AGAZE even though it just looked wrong. Could not make PEAL fit in any way I could think of.

I did read 44A wrong and "some winDows" became SLIDERS but OLDLAL sure didn't fit.

At work I have set up both an internet domain and an email domain. That's the way they are refered to.

The internat domain hosts the webpage, the email domain just gets the email.

Unknown 10:15 AM  

I agree, Rex, AGAPE and PEAL are the correct answers. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

MM-DOD BLESS AMERICA is way creepy.

Now the Sedaka song, Oh! Carol is planted in my head. I actually remember it and especially the opening rhyme, one of my favorites, ever:

Oh! Carol,
I am but a fool.
Darling, I love you,
Though you treat me cruel.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

This was the hardest Thursday I can ever remember, and my memory goes back a long way with these. Way too much popcult. Of course I had AGAPE; AGAZE is really marginal and screwed up the SW. How are "curling targets" TEES? And of course I had BUMP, which blocked out BUNT and ruined the SE for me. Nasty, nasty puzzle. Bah humbug.

Unknown 10:21 AM  

One more comment:

A CAT in gloves catches no mice? What the heck is that? Is that supposed to be a familiar old adage? I plan to work that into the conversation some time today to test it.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

I started off with IN AWE then decided on AGAPE and finally ended with AGAZE

I got SUBPOENA right off the bat which led me off to a better Thursday than usual

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Never heard the cats quote but:
Handle your Tools without Mittens; remember that the Cat in Gloves catches no Mice.
[1758 B. Franklin Poor Richard's Almanack (Preface)]

Jags ,nerts and tall answers made me shoot airballs.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Add me to the agape group. I think the tees are the targets for curling balls in this game akin to bowling on ice. Sort of.

Rex Parker 10:54 AM  

A professor from Marquette just wrote me to say:

"I enjoy the blog, and wanted to say that, yes, agape and peal work as
well or better than agaze and zeal. As I just typed the word "agaze" in
my email program, a red line appears under it. And agaze is not in my
computer's New Oxford American Dictionary. Of course it is in the OED
and it is a word. Did the editors intentionally plant this roadblock?"

and indeed, in this message, every instance of AGAZE is red-underlined. AGAPE ... nope, it's clean!


Anonymous 11:21 AM  

Instead of Archie and Edith I have a different song playing in my head. I wanted to say Beatle on my first pass thru the clues. But voice I hear is perhaps female. "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end." Anyone else remember it? Lori

Unknown 11:38 AM  

A tougher-than-usual Thursday puzzle, I thought. I too had AGAPE/PEAL but changed it to AGAZE/ZEAL because ZEAL was better fill for "Fire" than PEAL.

My one miss came because I was unfamiliar with Justine as a work of the Marquis DE SADE, so I had the odd combination of DESADO/TOES in the south. I just couldn't see TEES as a curling target... and you curl your toes.... but alas.

And now this after consulting the curling site, Curling The curling targets are indeed called tees. In my brief tour of the curling world, I must say I had to laugh that one of the official rules of curling states, "The use of performance-enhancing drugs... is unethical and prohibited." Perhaps my creativity is severely lacking, but I have trouble imagining how drugs could improve your performance at curling. But I digress...

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

Lori... I sure do. The artist was Mary Hopkin (a Welsh folk singer.) She was one of the first to record on the Beatles Apple record label, which is I'm sure why you associate the song with the Beatles. Don't know that they every recorded it themselves, though I'm no expert.

Once upon a time there was a tavern
Where we used to raise a glass or two
Remember how we laughed away the hours
And dreamed of all the great things we would do

Those were the days my friend
We thought theyd never end
Wed sing and dance forever and a day
Wed live the life we choose
Wed fight and never lose
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days...

huge hit in 1968.

I didn't fall into the agape/agaze trap only because zeal was my first fill in that corner. Howsomeever... agaze strikes me as someone completely UNriveted, lost in reverie, day-dreaming. I tried adaze, ahaze, amaze even though it didn't worked due to the tense. Agaze just ain't fittin'. IMO.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

ooops, that comment on "Those were the days" should have been addressed to anonymous 11:21. Sorry, Lori.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

I had swash (as in buckling) for bit of sword play, agape/peal, and bump for bunt. Also got OLD___ quickly, and wasted some time with "man" in there.

For some reason I conflated Paul Anka with Neil Sedaka, so was trying all sorts of contortions to fit ANKA in there (and having the K for SKY blue didn't help).

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Sometimes you need to know what to google. If you google "domain name" you will come up with references that refer to the right side of an email address as the "domain name."

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

mary... a bit of "fun" trivia about "Oh! Carol". It was written (by Neil) about Carole King (Carol Klein at the time), a classmate at Queens College, upon whom Neil reportedly had a crush. Makes a good story anyway. She wrote an answer song, "Oh Neil". Both were associated with the famous Brill Building.

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

ZEAL as an answer to "fire" I had no problem with. Describing a zealous person a someone with "fire in the belly" is common enough phrasing, is it not? Thus I never got caught up in the AGAPE thing.

So, I had A_AZE before I got GODBLESSAMERICA. I went through the alphabet for A_AZE, and did consider AGAZE, but I didn't write it in right away, because it just sounded too goofy! But, when GODBLESSAMERICA finally flashed on me, I had to accept AGAZE. Crossword puzzle authors seem to have a fondness for picking obscure words where an A has been tacked onto the beginning of verbs to make them into adjectives. So it is with AGAZE, which can be found in some (but not all) onlone distionaries.

I got stuck in the south, where DESADE, TALL, and IDOL never clicked in for me. Particularly, IDOL and "darling" do not seem a very good match.

Rex Parker 11:59 AM  

Nobody ever said ZEAL was wrong or bad as an answer for [Fire].

I know what to Google. I know that the right part of an email address is the DOMAIN NAME. The issue here is the Entire Phrase.

Sometimes I wish people would just read what I write instead of skipping right to Comments.


Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Count me in the AGAPE/PEAL crowd too. Had LION for PUMA for a long time, which didn't help getting the west filled in. Being a lute player, PERI was a gimme though. Yay for early music! Nice that MINSTREL appears too, although that's even longer ago.

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Thanks for the write-up and for the comments. A couple of quick notes before I run out the door.

The Z/P confusion was not intended to be a diabolical trap, but it seems to have caught more than a few. I will have to disagree with the professors about AGAZE. It certainly is in my dictionary (RHUD2), and it has 10 appearances in the cruciverb db. I don't see any problem with the word. You could argue that the clue "Riveted" could be either AGAZE or AGAPE (I think it works better for the former), but "Fire" can only lead to ZEAL. PEAL means "loud sound" or "make a loud sound" and it just does not mean "fire." If I had tried to clue PEAL as "Fire" I would expect to hear a rather unpleasant peal coming in my direction.

On the first theme entry, I think it works better without "code" because it reflects the way people actually speak. On the second, there is something called an email domain name and it's not always the same as a URL or Internet domain name.

Lastly, "ASH Wednesday" is a Fonda movie, but that was Henry's, not Jane's.

Gotta run!

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

Yep, "agape" and "peal" shouldn't count as errors. Who sits "agaze"?

I liked "spider" in today's puzzle, as crosswords are webs of deception.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

Yeah, I'm with the horde that found the AGAZE/ZEAL crossing implausible. I spent my last few seconds staring at AGAPE/PEAL. After finally deciding that PEAL was just too unlikely I ran through the entire alphabet to Z. Hmm? Now ZEAL looked good but AGAZE was dicey. In the course of this I tried T, which makes perfectly good words both ways, but of course they don't fit the given clues at all.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

Thanks Marcie for the words to "Those Were the Days".

The song was in the back of my mind while I was doing the puzzle. I was 7 in 1968, and it was one of the first 45's I owned. I listened to it over and over back then but had forgotten all about it. As soon as I read the lyrics it all came back. Once upon a time there was a tavern... (a strange thing for a 7 year old to be singing!)

Thanks so much for bringing back that memory for me!

Another Lorie

Rob G. 12:37 PM  

Didn't like today's puzzle too much. Nothing really *wrong* with it, but a lot of stuff that doesn't really sit right with me. 52A (BUNT) is okay, but one can bunt without hitting. "Small swing" would be more accurate, or perhaps it should be BUMP.

45D (IGETIT) Doesn't really feel like an epiphany moment to me. When I picture someone springing from their library chair/lab table/computer, etc, I see them saying "I got it!" and not IGETIT. Google agrees.

37D: (TMEN) Isn't it usually GMEN? I don't get it, and I think it's maddeningly confusing if both are used.

12D: (KATIE) Well aware I'm going to ruffle some feathers here, but I just don't think the WNBA belongs in crosswords. I think the WNBA is a great and necessary part of sports, but it's just not popular enough to justify its presence. How would people feel about clues involving NCAA D1-AA Football? Or perhaps Major League Lacrosse darlings the Denver Outlaws? Average attendances for both of these are well above those of the WNBA, and it would be seen as absurd to include them.

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

John F --don't forget "LSD Wednesday" starring Peter Fonda. Thanks for the very good Thurs. puzzle.

Marcie -- good rock-history knowledge, thank you. "Always Magic in the AIr" is a recent book about the great Brill building song writers, and the demise of many of them because of drugs and/or being rendered dumbstruck by the Beatles' genius.

I fell into the agape/peal trap, and like pmhend... went for the curling toes. I wondered who DESADo was. Have to brush up on sadists.

Rex, the Buying Guide looks great, and you're creating a good buzz about the future Pantheon. All the ancillary items are enjoyable.

Rock sub-theme -- YES, SEDAKA, IDOL, AMERICA, SARA, (FMac, JStar), SPIDERS (from Mars), Beach Boys song, TRIBE.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

You can add me to the agape and peal crowd too.

Did very well for about 75% of puzzle then came to a grinding halt. Had to google a couple of things then the rest fell into place.

For some reason, had swash instead of slash for a while and spent a long time wondering whatever a petaw could be!!

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Found this one pretty tough. I did not fall into the AGAPE/PEAL trap but I did ask my wife if she ever heard of a guy named DESADO who wrote Justine. She said "you mean DESADE." (Some of the stuff DESADE wrote might curl your TOES.)

This would have been easier if I was a better speller. I had no idea there was a "B" in SUBPOENA. I also spent some time trying to remember who played Archie and Edith (Carol and Jean) and initially had MARINO for GRIESE so this one took a while. Makes up for yesterday's easy one. Just when you think you might be getting better you get humbled.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

I got stuck on AGAPE/PEAL too, I finally checked Crossword Fiend and got it straight.

I got back last night from *playing* in a curling game, and I still couldn't get the curling target clue. I usually am aiming for the button, the house, or a particular stone, not the tee line itself (the line that runs horizontally through the middle of the target). Pmhendrickson, I remember watching the US Olympic Culring team after their bronze-medal win, they had to cut short the interview to go do the urine tests. Which they passed.

Rob G, T-men are treasury/IRS/Ness foes, and G-men are secret service/FBI types. Different branches. And yes, my feathers feel ruffled now.

Unknown 12:59 PM  

Add me to AGAPE/PEAL.

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

What's all this talk about PEAL/AGAPE? Everyone knows it's PEEL (me) AGRAPE.

Anonymous 1:36 PM  

No problem with agaze/zeal here, but I swashed when I should have slashed until petal set me straight.

The inconsistency of the city state zip format bugged me, too. I liked that the third theme answer was a different form of address, but then it bothered me that the first two referred to mail and the third didn't. I would have preferred to see all three refer to some sort of mail or three different forms of address, rather than two the same and only one different. My Libra sense of balance.

Growing up in New England, I was on skates as soon as I could walk, with a hockey stick in my hands for balance. So curling seems a strange sport to me. But it's pretty interesting, sort of like playing marbles on ice (with BIG marbles). Here's a link with some good info.

Okay, I give up. Someone tell me why jags=flings.

And does anybody really say, "In sum?" Wouldn't they say to summarize, in summary, to sum up? I see that it is listed as an idiom, but I don't like it. Maybe it has become popular since I was writing reports.

I like the word eely and plan to incorporate it into my vernacular. Not so, nerts. Nerts?

Loved the Mary Hopkins song. *sings*

Re: a cat in gloves... you go Ben!

Thanks, John Farmer, for commenting. I love it when the constructor visits!

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

Me too with PEAL/AGAPE. Also got snookered by "Justine;" kept trying to fit DURRELL in.

Orange 1:49 PM  

Rob G, even if these WNBA players lack the famousness of a Lisa Leslie or Rebecca Lobo (and surely you don't debate their suitability as crossword fill?), it's not that hard to piece together a reasonable women's first name with the aid of the crossings. I wonder how many others fell in the trap I did, misreading the clue and missing the W and thinking of male jocks instead of female ones. The male-dominated arena of sports has trained our minds to overlook women, dammit.

Campesite 1:49 PM  

NERTS! ZEAL/AGAZE aside, which hung me up as well, I thought this was an excellent puzzle. The cluing was pretty damn fresh. BOXED for Sidebar I'd never seen before, and Hoops Bloopers was pitch perfect cluing for AIRBALLS. Plus just about zero crosswordese, and several words one would think would be in grids more often, like CIAO, and I liked seeing IBAR, TMEN and TBIRD in the same puzzle.

Karmasatre, maybe I'm tripping, but I loved that Peter Fonda movie.

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

My first thought for "Justine" author was Lawrence Durrell. Not having anything printed in front of me, I was perfectly willing to spell it Durrel, but eventually had to give it up. I was so pleased with 'swash' as a bit of swordplay that I gave Georgia O'Keefe a pass on 'petaw' as some landscape feature unique to the Southwest.

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

Thanks John Farmer for your comments, but I too fell into your unintentional trap. I only learned about my error reading His Majesty's blog. "Peal" didn't feel right, but "agaze" didn't either.

DAE 1:59 PM  

Another vote for AGAPE/PEAL

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

I had agape/peal also.

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

Not crossword related but GREISE related.

Wouldn't it be ironic if the Pats go undefeated in the same year that the Dolphins go winless?

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

"those were the days" song that i remember:

PuzzleGirl 2:12 PM  

Yeah, I'm with Rob G. Get the WNBA out of crossword puzzles! And if we're going to take the WNBA out, I think it's only fair to leave out NFL special teams as well. Sure they’re in the NFL, but how often do they really DO anything? NFL placekicker, David AKERS (Nov. 1)? Outta here. And, come to think of it, there are a lot of other people who show up in the puzzles who aren't in fields popular enough to justify their presence. For example, opera. If they're going to put musicians in the puzzle, they should only use popular musicians. None of this "Israeli opera conductor Daniel" OREN stuff (Nov. 24). And what about authors? Who's ever heard of Jamaica KINCAID (Nov. 18)? Mainstream novels only from now on. John Grisham, Dan Brown, Danielle Steel, Stephen King. That's pretty much it. Oh and Leon URIS, but not Leon EDEL (Nov. 10). Uris is popular, Edel is not. He's out. ANITA Brookner (Nov. 11)? IMRE Kertesz (Nov. 1)?? Are you kidding me? Where are they coming up with these names??? Also, no more historical figures older than, say, the 18th century. RURIK (Nov. 23)? You're out. Suffragist AMELIA Bloomer (Nov. 14)? Sorry, if the clue says "suffragist" the answer better have SUSAN, B, or ANTHONY in it. She's the only one popular enough. Someone really needs to reel these crossword constructors in. They're out of control with this obscure stuff.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Yep, I had agaPe/Peal as well. One of the benefits of doing the puzzle on paper is that you may never know you're wrong.

I also had FSMBlessAmerica, but knew that couldn't be right.

I agree that CityStateZip should not be Coded... you can say "Zip Code" but if you're staring with "CityState" then no.

I had no idea that chipotles were jalapenos, I thought they were a different pepper altogether.

In sum, I liked this puzzle very much.

HappyDad 2:42 PM  

Sorry if I am missing something, but:
I still can not reconcile the singular clue "commodious craft" with the plural answer (ARKS).

MBG 2:45 PM  

Add me to the agape/peal contingent. I was thinking along the same lines as Rex - a peal of gunfire or a peal of cannons.

Rikki, maybe it's not the most popular art form, but there are a lot of opera fans around, including me. I love it when there's an opera clue in the puzzle.

MBG 2:47 PM  

Oops! Sorry! My remark about opera clues should have been addressed to puzzlegirl, not rikki. That's what comes of trying to do too many things at once. :)

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

"Craft" is also plural.

PuzzleGirl 2:51 PM  

@happydad: The plural of "craft" is "craft." I know. Tricky.

PuzzleGirl 2:52 PM  

@annielee: My worst fear realized. Someone thought I was serious.

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

AGAPE is always in puzzles and for it to be AGAZE was warmly welcomed in my world...

Wouldn't it be great if the Dolphins only win was against the Pats for their only loss?

I enjoy the obscure stuff... it keeps my brain engaged.

NYTAnonimo 2:57 PM  

Nerts was a new one for me too. Had trouble with TMEN/GMEN (don't know Spanish) and AGAZE/ZEAL (also had P instead of Z).

Thanks for all the work you put into this blog Rex. Buying guide and FAQ are nice additions that I appreciate!

Rob G. 3:06 PM  

Puzzlegirl, your wit was a bit too subtle for your own good, though I would hope anyone who made it all the way to the end would have realized you were typing in jest.

Orange raises a pragmatic argument that I can't speak against. It's true, knowing that it's someone of the female persuasion and getting some crosses, it's not like it's a hard clue to get (it didn't actually trip me up, for instance.) That said, is it so wrong to ask for a little bit more universality in our cluing? While I wouldn't venture any further down the slippery slope PG imagined, I still maintain that the WNBA is a little too niche-y for the NYT puzzle. My gripe has nothing to do with any actual WNBA criticism, simply its visibility. To that end, I totally agree that Rebecca Lobo or Lisa Leslie would be acceptable fill. I'd even make an argument that Diana Taurasi is good (late-week!) fill.

It's just a question of context. Soccer isn't popular in the US, but Football (the same sport one) is in the rest of the world, and as such, you don't see many soccer/football clues unless its the biggest and brightest. By that token, Men's basketball is popular in the US, Women's... less so.

MBG 3:06 PM  

@puzzlegirl: Sorry, I only scanned the comments today. After reading yours more carefully, I see that your remarks were meant to be facetious.

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

Nice puzzle, which I flunked finally in the bottom center. For Justine I went with DURREL, thinking it was probably misspelled but wanting hard enough for it not to be that I refused to consider anything else.

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

On the first run through I had TOKE for 52A Small hit. Too much time spent in the 70's.

Thanks for the comments John F. I love when the constructor pops in here with a few tidbits!

Thanks always to you Rex!

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

Puzzlegirl -- I loved it! Sometimes it's the satirist's fate to be misunderstood. Don't be dissuaded, please!

Anonymous 4:01 PM  

Sometimes I think what's too obscure is what one doesn't happen to know.

PuzzleGirl 4:13 PM  

rob g., Yes, Orange made the Real Argument on this particular point and she made it well. That's how Orange rolls.

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

I made the same mistake on AGAPE/PEAL as you did, Rex.

As a software guy, I must object to your objection to EMAIL DOMAIN NAME. An email domain is an Internet domain that accepts email. While INTERNET DOMAIN NAME is more common, it is too broad to answer this clue.

By the way, I am the anonymous coward who suggested the new Pantheon notation.

Anonymous 4:34 PM  


Add me to the AGAPE/PEAL list. I wasn't really thrilled about PEAL but, like Rex's mistake sometime last week, I didn't bother to run the whole alphabet for a more suitable answer.

I have no problem with CITY STATE AND ZIP, though- I agree with what Mr. Farmer said. BTW, that is SO COOL that the constructors actually take part in this forum!

Totally spazzed out on MACYS. Having not seen the movie I didn't know any names but thought MARYS seemed acceptable (like Niles Crane's wife, Maris). I should have known better, though, because even though I haven't seen the movie, I do know there's a connection with Macy's. Of course, that then screwed up any chance with [actress Hubbard] and [Jacopo______]. Don't get me started on the fact that two pretty obscure names crossed on a Thursday!

Onward, to the weekend!

Anonymous 5:09 PM  

I didn't even make it to agape/peal. I had Heat for fire and was trying to get some odd spelling of aghast to cross it. Agaht maybe?

Unknown 5:23 PM  

For a Thursday puzzle I had to google alot. I agree with Blue Stater 100%.10 times BAH. facetiousess there is truth.

Anonymous 5:45 PM  

First, kudos to puzzlegirl who is clearly a world-class humorist.

I'm a sports fan who thinks there's too much sports cluing going on. I have limited knowledge of opera and several other realms, but when I see clues in those areas I don't mind, since I have a sense that it would be good to know those names/things. But spectator sports is such a narrow slice of life dominated by men as both fans and participants. In what other field does a clue give such an advantage to a gender? I just wrote a clue for a puzzle: [Cub who got caught with a corked bat]. That's a fill that can only be sports-related.

Here's a survey: Do you know the answer or not, and what's your gender? (Secondary question: are you proud of knowing that, or wish you knew it if you don't?)

I'm suggesting that any clue that can be clued without a sports reference should be clued such.

Howard B 6:33 PM  

AGAZE/ZEAL here. Couldn't find the error, gave up after about 10 minutes and went to sleep. First Thursday in a while I haven't finished.
I'm pretty mild on criticism, and ZEAL of course works best in that spot, in hindsight. But AGAZE is a pretty low blow... I thought of it when cycling through the alphabet, and didn't think for a second that it could be right. I guess you never know... lesson learned.

Howard B 6:34 PM  

I meant AGAPE/PEAL. I never did figure out AGAZE.

Anonymous 6:51 PM  


Is it true that if we reach 100 comments, everyone gets a free Round Table pizza?

(Yet another item form the world of sports.)

Anonymous 7:10 PM  

To Lee: I guessed SOSA because I was pretty sure he was a Cub at some point and since he was a slugger would have had a good chance of having a corked bat (and being caught with it).

Can't say I'm more proud of figuring that one out than I am of figuring, say, that UPI was [Zogby poll partner] (having never heard of Zogby). To me, it's the fun of using deduction to come up with the answer.

As for sports vs. non-sports clues, I say bring them all on! Although I'm not a big fan of the really esoteric ones (like the WNBA ones), I think they're all good and promote a well-rounded solver (and keep it challenging for those who've been at it so long they've seen everything). I'm nowhere near that point yet, though!

Michael Chibnik 8:23 PM  

Because I got zeal (never even considered "peal"), the agaze issue didn't even occur to me. I agree that agape is better than agaze (a lot better), but I also think that zeal is a lot better than peal. Maybe not the best cross...Still a clever puzzle.

Although I ended up getting everything right, I was stuck on the NW for way too long.

fergus 9:18 PM  

Another one of those thinking of the Alexandria Quartet, unable to recall whether it was the R or L that's doubled in DURRELL. But then I remembered a spooky guy at a party long ago taking about "Justine." He was in the middle of writing his dissertation on the Marquis DE SADE.

I thought about TOKE, too, for Small hit, but I would guess that a toke doesn't really imply its inhalation volume. Went for SKULL or something feminine for the O'Keefe Detail. First ran with Little Deuce COUPE till the T-BIRD took that away. I GET IT is way too bland for an epiphany, as someone noted above. That's more an irritated response to a bad joke. An epiphany requires more wonderment than that.

I thought the AXLE Clue would merit a Rex admonition of Trying Too Hard.

Orange 9:26 PM  

Lee, I'm female and I know that's SOSA, but then, I live about 7 blocks away from where he used to play.

And I appreciated puzzlegirl's sidelong defense of the KATIEs as suitable crossword fill. Me, I love names in crosswords.

Anonymous 9:51 PM  

Where I foundered was at 6A, JAGS for "flings." Huh? Without the G there was no chance at guessing the random jock name "Griese" (8D). And it didn't help that I favored LAND as the answer to "set down" (18A). So I was stuck trying to deal with ?RNESE and that's where I left it. CU tomorrow.

Anonymous 10:00 PM  

Agape/Peal got me too. And I am also firmly in the "I got it" camp, which left me struggling to work out what air bolls could be, and how the word blossom could possibly fit into anything to do with an address. Trying Carl Anderson as a jazz singer didn't help (thanks for nothing Google).

Maybe Friday's will be easier.

Am I the only person who found the whole week harder than usual so far?

Anonymous 10:25 PM  

Doc your explanation, from left to right, those are things I drive, things I have, things I shed, and what I do to forget about all of it. I just never saw them as synonymous. Thanks.

With regard to gender in puzzles, I say more women in puzzles. I don't care if the WNBA is more cryptic than who wrote the first opera or vice versa. Women should be represented more. Women and food. More gourmet cuisine representation. Enough of benders. More blenders.

profphil 10:27 PM  


I'm with you as to players of professional sports, as I know nothing about them and don't care to know more, except for crossword puzzles. Unlike other areas in which I know little but would like to know more. For example, I don't mind clues about ballet or opera or even arcane sports like today's clue with curling and tees. However, sports players ( except for super stars that become part of popular culture even for non sports-oriented women and men like Mickey Mantle of Jackie Robinson or A-rod, etc.) seem meaningless to me, in a way that curling and tees are not.

As for your survey I am male. And for other purposes as well.

profphil 10:29 PM  


I would not have been able to give the name of the baseball player.

Anonymous 11:17 PM  

cea, I'm with you, I've been stumped more that usually this week. No problem with the z/p issue, but never heard of nerts, and don't understand boxed for the "like a sidebar" clue. Whenever I got into trouble, the crosses saved me, though. As to sports in the puzzles, I'm clueless about 50 percent of the time, but my husband loves to help me out (although he gave me Marino instead of Griese....).

Anonymous 11:26 PM  

Have we ever had this many comments? Let's keep it up for a record.

Anonymous 11:50 PM  

I also fell into AGAPE/PEAL. Didn't love PEAL, but really hated AGAZE. My biggest initial blooper was BUMP instead of BUNT and then a complete inability to think of MACYS. That "C" was my last letter after cycling through the alphabet (obviously passing it) several times.

I liked the theme and didn't mind CITY/STATE/ZIP--that worked for me. I have to agree with Rex on EMAIL DOMAIN NAME. Too much of a stretch for me.

I initially had ARCHIE instead of OLDPAL, but it seemed wrong very early on.

Decent puzzle, good write up.

Anonymous 2:11 AM  

I was going to let it pass the first time I saw O'Keeffe spelled with only one f in these comments, but two more times just got to me. It's one of my pet peeves. (It is spelled correctly in the 14 across clue.)

Anonymous 2:34 AM  

Holy comments section! Some kind of record? I'll probably be the last, as it is around 8 thousand o'clock, but add me to the agape/peal list, just so we have the numbers for some kind of petition.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

Well, you're not the last, gm. Just finished and the last letter to hold me up was the z. I had p.

Thanks to whomever (I've lost track) for the Brill book reference. Sounds great.

Anonymous 5:05 PM  

rockonc -- you're welcome

anyone six weeks out there -- just 11 comments needed to reach 100!

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

O.K. I'll contribute to making it 100. I'm female, and I knew Sosa was the corked bat cheater. I also have a subscription to Sports Illustrated. Maybe we should be careful about stereotypes, or maybe I just don't fit.

Eliza H. 12:37 PM  

Six weeks out - Happy not to have been alone on AGAPE/PEAL and although I'm very up on my curling, I've never heard of the target being called anything but the HOUSE. Wanted Edith or Archie to sing "Those were the Days."

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

Oh yeah, I too had AGAPE/PEAL. I was distracted during this puzzle and turned in a slower than average time.

It didn't help that I started off wrong, filling STAT instead of SPEC.

The John Farmer puzzle on 9/14/07 was tough for me as well.

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

I've also seen SOSA clued (not sure if it was the NYT though) as "Druglord in Scarface". That's a gimme for me, as I've seen the movie many times and Tony spends half the movie screaming "F&%#@ Sosa!"

There are some sports names that have become crossword staples, such as the OTTs, Bobby ORR, Jason ELAM, and even SOSA.

MIENTKIEWICZ, not so much.

Anonymous 4:53 PM  

Heading towards 100-lots to read, but lots of fun. I wonder about moaning over clues from an unfaliliar area. For me, these include all those boomer generation music clues and most sports clues. Either they fall from the crosses or they don't. Sometimes you learn something-I'd never heard of "Justine-but will possibly remember this as a fact. As for the name of some sport player-what's the point in obsessing. Either it will become "pantheonic" (Sosa, Orr, Ott) or you'll never see it again. Relax and enjoy the puzzle-I do mine feet up, coffee in hand-starts my day right. Of course when I check Rex (how does he do it?) I usually find an error (agape/peal). Maybe someday!

Anonymous 4:53 PM  

Heading towards 100-lots to read, but lots of fun. I wonder about moaning over clues from an unfaliliar area. For me, these include all those boomer generation music clues and most sports clues. Either they fall from the crosses or they don't. Sometimes you learn something-I'd never heard of "Justine-but will possibly remember this as a fact. As for the name of some sport player-what's the point in obsessing. Either it will become "pantheonic" (Sosa, Orr, Ott) or you'll never see it again. Relax and enjoy the puzzle-I do mine feet up, coffee in hand-starts my day right. Of course when I check Rex (how does he do it?) I usually find an error (agape/peal). Maybe someday!

synda kate 5:10 PM  

Didn't realize agape was wrong until I came here. I read this blog every day but I don't usually comment. I assume noone will read it six weeks out and late in the day...but I thought I might as well help set a record. Although I have heard Rex sees all.

Rex Parker 5:19 PM  

You have heard correctly.

Enjoy the rest of 2007...


impjb 9:04 PM  

My string of perfect Thursdays ends at 5. Ah well...

Anonymous 10:47 PM  

NERTS 53D is an euphemism for nuts - from the good old days.

Anonymous 10:51 PM  

I never got close to either AGAPE Or AGAZE - didnt' get much of the bottom 3 rows at all and had to google.

I am female, not a big sports fan and I knew Sosa. My husband gave me GRIESE and predicted that many people on the blog would guess wrong at MERINO "but he's not number 12" (as if everyone would know that!!)

He also wants to know - given that someone a few weeks ago stated that asking a spouse was legal as a non-cheat - if you can also use a spouses WRONG answers as a way to redeem yourself for getting into a horrible mess and therefore a very bad time.

Another comment about the WNBA and Orange's advice to just guess a woman's name - somehow I had _A_IE and went with MARIE instead of KATIE. ARMS made sense for a clue that i didnt' understand (commodius craft), and I never heard of a singer named ETTA or ETRA, so i left MARIE.

I also had EUREKA, then IGOTIT, then had to scratch over the thrid letter again to put an E in there.
I did the same scratching out over Ike's opponent at 50D - thought it was DEWEY, then WILKE (which fit with LAW Journal, and finally googled to get ADLAI. I am blaming my daughter - she is studying one president per week and hasn't gotten to Ike yet.

If this post is so long, does it count as 2 posts and therefore you are now at 100??? I am thinking of subscribing to the online puzzle just to get in on the comments. When I have something to say, it's a lot :-)

Anonymous 2:49 AM  

100 is "just a number" and I'm not exercised about AGAZE, but y'all might want to consider that God Bless America was a confounding themic element to this Canadian. Much harder than Adlai (but I was just becoming aware of politics when he ran.)

DeSade, however, was sneaky and deceptive. I waited agaze for the third and fourth novels of the Alexandrian Quartet to arrive at Duthie's Books--now those were novels!

Oregon Sidekick 5:08 AM  

6 weeks later!
Count me in on the agaze/zeal also. I had a lot of problems with the texas section. Couldn't get "I get it", "tall," or "tees". Also didn't get "ivie".
I appreciate your blog, Rex. It's highly entertaining and informative. Thanks also to all the commenters. I feel like I'm getting to know you all. A lot of intelligent comments.
BTW, I just saw "Wordplay." Great movie. I highly recommend it. It really made me want to go to the tournament. But since I'm still in school and poor, it'll probably be a couple of years. Hopefully, all of you will still be going by then.

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