WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30, 2008 - Peter A. Collins (COOLEST, IN RAP SLANG)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Half / Dozen / Eggs" (36A: With 38- and 40-Across, grocery purchase ... or what can be found in some other Across answers in this puzzle)

I'm currently sitting here with the man from Cat Fancy, which is very disconcerting. I'm not used to typing while I'm being watched. Maybe I can send him downstairs to interview my cats, who will no doubt be more than willing. Well, Serena will. Wiley will likely hide in the corner and watch. He spent much of last night chasing a spider that was on the ceiling so he may be tired.

I only just finished this puzzle - again, I did it while being watched (!), which was weird, but I survived. Peter Collins teaches math in Ann Arbor, where I went to grad school, for the record (whatever "the record" is). I enjoyed this puzzle quite a bit, though there is this one annoying ... I'll call it a problem. Yes ... problem. OK, so there are a HALF DOZEN EGGS (that phrase doesn't quite feel natural in my mouth, but I concede that it is properly colloquial). And those EGGS are buried inside six different words. But every single EGG starts in the second letter of its word except the EGG in ARPEGGIO, which starts in the fourth. I cannot bring myself to call this a fault of the puzzle, but the lack of consistency is chafing me. If the EGGS had been more scattered, I think I'd be just fine. One little thing off ... and the whole thing starts to irk. But, as I've said, this is a fault of me far more than it's a fault of the puzzle.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Fraternity parties (keggers) - This was the first answer that made me stop and exclaim something to my guest. We had been talking just yesterday about the role of colloquial expressions in the puzzle, whether they were a good/bad thing etc. (you know my position). And so this was the first of several fine examples. Other included 58D: Gangbanger's gun (gat) and 51A: Coolest, in rap slang (illest) - which is probably my favorite answer of the day.
  • 18A: Ankle-to-waist wear (legging)
  • 19A: Harpist's progression (arpeggio) - being non-musical, I was not sure where my knowledge of this word came from. Then just now I hunted the word down on my iTunes and found out / remembered that a version of it is in the title of one of my favorite pieces of music of all time, the "ARPEGGIONe" Sonata by Schubert.
  • 55A: 1957 Buddy Holly hit ("Peggy Sue") - by this point, I understood the theme completely, so this was very easy to get.
  • 57A: Extreme poverty (beggary) - a little too close to BUGGERY for me, but I'll allow it.
  • 59A: "Eat your _____!" (mom's order) (veggies) - shouting this at your kid will not work.

Today's crossword vocabulary lesson:

  • 47A: Yemen's capital (Sana'a) - the most improbably-spelled capital there is. It can also be spelled SANA ... you know, just so the puzzle can @#$# with you.
  • 12D: "_____, I do believe I failed you" (opening of a 1998 hit) ("Adia") - very common answer. This "hit" by Sarah McLachlan is also, interestingly, an anagram of the even more common puzzle answer AIDA.
  • 48D: Sour brew (alegar) - you may be familiar with his cousin Vinegar. I had never heard of ALEGAR until (say it with me) I learned it from the crossword puzzle.
  • 54D: Wrinkly fruit (ugli) - best fruit name in puzzledom. Also, as I've said many times before (I think) the name of the Undergraduate Library at the University of Michigan - in Ann Arbor - where Peter Collins lives. Full Circle!

Interviewer asks: have you ever eaten an ugli? No. No I haven't. I shall feature a picture today. Here it is.

The rest of what is interesting:

  • 8A: Charlotte hoopsters (Bobcats) - why isn't this answer HORNETS? Now I understand (vaguely) - Charlotte was the HORNETS until 2002, when that team moved away to New Orleans. Then a new team started up in Charlotte in 2004 - the BOBCATS. Michael Jordan is the "second-largest shareholder" in the team, according to Wikipedia, which also tells me that another notable co-owner of the team is the rapper NELLY. When I found that out, I said "that's hot," and my interviewer, without missing a beat, said "that's ILL." Indeed.
  • 22A: Pancho and the Cisco Kid, e.g. (amigos) - I can't decide if these people are real or fictional. I remember a Gene Wilder movie from the 70s called "The Frisco Kid." How is that related?
  • 25A: Prepare, in a way, as beans (refry) - a very cool word that I had a hard time uncovering. Something about the letter order...
  • 27A: Like some treated lawns (limed) - We use lemon, but different strokes for different folks.
  • 28A: Launch of 2/20/86 (Mir) - Russian for "peace"
  • 33A: 1960s-'80s Red Sox great, informally (Yaz) - I remember his baseball card well. Mutton chops.
  • 44A: Global financial org. (IMF) - International Monetary Fund - after I finished the puzzle, I actually had to confirm this with my interviewer. For some reason, the "F" cross - AS FAT (35D: Comparable to a pig) was not ringing true to me. Pigs are muddy, sloppy ... but FAT? They're just as God made them. Be nice.
  • 46A: No. before or after a colon (min.) - not many clocks run with seconds after a colon, but I've seen it, so fine.
  • 65A: Move quickly (over) (skitter) - I like the unusualness and energy (and sound) of this word, even though I probably would not like anything that actually SKITTERED for a living, like a cockroach.
  • 1D: Nuclear power since 1998: Abbr. (Pak.) - thought this was asking for an abbrev of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission, so PAK made no sense to me ... until I read the clue. Good lesson. Read clue.
  • 8D: "The Wizard of Oz" scarecrow portrayer (Bolger) - @#$@#$#$#@$#@#$ "The Wizard of Oz" and its cast. I have a hard enough time keeping Bert LAHR's name in my head; I can't be expected to retrieve the names of the whole damn cast, + TOTO. BOLGER sounds like an anatomical irregularity that needs to be removed, STAT.
  • 10D: Irish exclamation (begorra) - I never remember how to spell Irishisms. Plus, having HORNETS instead of BOBCATS meant that I didn't have the "B" here for .... well, too long.
  • 20D: Turning gray (grizzling) - you don't see this form of the word that much. I've heard of "grizzled" veterans, but hardly ever have I pointed at an older man and said "look, he's GRIZZLING as we speak."
  • 47D: Nancy's pal, in the comics (Sluggo) - Why am I not teaching this Awesome comic. Seriously, some "Nancy" strips border on the surreal. I wish there were good complete editions of this comic out there the way there are for "Dick Tracy" and "Popeye" and (crossword stalwart) "Krazy KAT"
  • 51D: "_____ a Letter to My Love" (Simone Signoret film) ("I Sent") - no clue. None. Perhaps one of my GRIZZLING readers can tell me what this is all about (in the Comments section, please).

Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[drawing by Emily Cureton]


johnpag 9:10 AM  

The Cisco Kid and his sidekick Pancho were favorite TV cowboy heros of mine (I'm 60).

Cisco was played by Duncan Renaldo, Pancho by Leo Carillo.

Every show ended with the two lines:
"Ah, Pancho"
"Ah, Cisco"

John Pagliarulo

Chip Ahoy 9:26 AM  

Happy Easter, Everybody, I win! *produces saltshaker from pocket*

Chip Ahoy 9:28 AM  

Forgot to say, woo to the puzzle.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Great trivia john, only in our house Cisco was played by my older brother, Pancho was played by me (sigh)

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

First Wednesday to stump me in a while, the crossing of "sanaa" and "alegar" killed me. (Friday level?) Also trapped by "Hornets", I was so sure I was right, that I didn't even think of "bobcats" (and I'm somewhat of a NBA fan) which totally messed up the NE for me, so I had "regorra" and "edia" for "begorra" and "adia". Fun puzzle though, nice to be challenged on a Wednesday.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

My only hold-up on this puzzle was MAGYAR. First, I had SKITTED at 65A, and second, I couldn't decide if it was MIN for minute or BIN for binary, or some other _IN I didn't know. Also considered BEGGARD(?). That little area took as long as the rest of the puzzle.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Thanks, John, for the walk down memory lane. Apparently the characters were created by O. Henry. I won't broadcast my age, however. AARP bots are everywhere.

Check it out
here and here

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Also had NRC after skimming the clue incorrectly.

I like my lawn with a bit of tequilla and salt to go with the lime. Then you remove the lawn.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Rex, Thanks for posting the solution. Without you I'd have to wait another day to resolve my frustration. Last night I *finished* quickly (for me, for a Wednesday) in under 7 minutes and triumphantly hit the "submit" button only to find my solution was not correct. I then spent another 30 minutes reviewing, and never did reach the correct solution. The only word I wasn't sure about was "BEGORDA." But I was 100% sure about all my crosses so I figured that's not where I was wrong. Oops. I had never heard of the Irish exclamation BEGORRA. I had DOES for 29A (Some deer). Pretty sure that would also be a correct answer for the clue. Thus, if you consider BEGORRA to be obscure (I have no idea if it is - it is certainly in the dictionary but only gets 28,500 Google hits and it is new to me!), this is another one of those situations.

Briefly had *EG**ES for 59A and filled in LEGUMES before having to backtrack and switch to VEGGIES. Not sure why my brain chose LEGUMES - whose mom would say that?

Thanks to Rex, frustration resolved. Now I can go on with my day.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

bobcats, aargh! i should have known that!

ok, i don't feel like googling, and am more interrested in what the readership here has to say anyway....some deer = roes, not does??? i thought it was, "do(e), a deer, a female deer..." please explain.

begorra, regorda, regorra - whatever!

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Now for the rant. I've endured 13 years of expressions like "Mom's Order: Eat your Veggies!" (59A) that simply write fathers out of existence in their children's lives.

Will, can we take one small step for fatherhood, today? Can you consider changing "Mom" to "Parent" in one future puzzle? Someday? Please?

Orange 10:03 AM  

Deion, see the second dictionary entry for roe here. "The roe deer." The etymology is given as "[Middle English ro, from Old English rā, rāha.]," completely unrelated to the other roe, fish eggs. (The boy fish have milt instead of roe.)

Most digital clocks don't display the seconds, but I like to have my Mac show me the seconds. Better for geeking out when timing oneself on a printed-out puzzle.

Blogging While Watched? Yeah, I do that. But it's my kid who's reading over my shoulder, not the nation's foremost cat journalist.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

deion, ROE is a type of deer.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

I don't know jim. In my house my mom made me eat my veggies, my dad helped me hide them.

Orange 10:06 AM  

And amen to Jim in NYC. Puzzle constructors and editors, are you listening? Solvers will appreciate it if you don't assign gender roles that discount many people.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Two gripes. Mom would not say, "Eat your VEGGIES"; she would use proper grammar (especially at the dinner table) and say, "Eat your VEGETABLES." And, is there any such thing as a LEGGING? I thought LEGGINGS and PANTS only came in the plural. (I would have preferred LEGGING out a bunt!)

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

@grayfont: I shared much of your experience with the puzzle. Finished relatively quickly but incorrectly, and spent a long time trying unsuccessfully to uncover my mistake. I finally googled "begorda" found no hits, but the helpful suggestion of BEGORRA and after learning about ROE deer, I finally could be done. Somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain, something clicked with ROE, but it would've been a long time to pull that out.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Trying again.....Guessed at 'I Sent" but found it interesting that Yves crossed Simone (thry are buried together Yves Montand and Simone Signoret)

Hydromann 10:21 AM  

"Ah, Pancho...Ah, Cisco!" Good one, John! I had forgotten that!

Also, I'm kinda with Norm on the "veggie" thing. My mom didn't use that term either. But then, that would've been in the '50s, at a time when I don't recall "veggie" being in the vernacular.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

For those who don't want to be stuck singing the "Peggy Sue" refrain all day, how about:

Cisco Kid was a friend of mine
The Cisco Kid was a friend of mine
He drink whiskey, Poncho drink the wine
He drink whiskey, Poncho drink the wine

And now, slipping on me brogue:
Faith and Begorra!
Let's go down the pub and
talk a little treason.

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

Ditto re veggies and leggingS. And maybe grizzling to boot.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Wanted to put an H somewhere in begorra. Like, begorrah? beghorra? Paid again for failure to watch Simpsons, since APU, SPU seemed totally nonsensical and did not know from ABMS, SBMS whatever BMs.

SethG 11:11 AM  

And it doesn't need to be on a digital clock; Orange finished this puzzle in 3:25, while BEGORDA led to 15:12 for me.

I want to name my cats Myron (Cope) and Gail (the fish from the West Wing), but I have to get them first. Soon.


Anonymous 11:25 AM  

My lack of baseball knowledge left me with TAZ for 33A but that also made 33D TDS for touchdowns. It made sense to me. Two intersecting sports clues was bound to trip me up. I hated the clue Gangbanger. That word has somehow morphed from one unpleasant definition to another (although somewhat less distasteful.) And why is a captain's charge his log? I took the clue to mean an underling. Oh well, still a decent Wed. Puzzle. Rex, we have not yet heard why Cat Fancy is interviewing you. Can you fill us in? Two Ponies

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

Hah! Learned Apu from here, not watching the Simpsons. Joaneee, abms=anti-ballistic missiles. Arpeggio... you beat me to that War song, which is now clashing in my brain with Peggy Sue, which reminded me of that great movie, Peggy Sue Got Married with Nicholas Cage and Kathleen Turner.

The first clue I saw gave me Yaz right in the middle of the puzzle and I worked the rest from the center out. I cringed a little at the phrase half dozen eggs, thinking it should either be "a" half dozen or half a dozen, but that's nitty. I liked the puzzle with all its eggs and 7-letter stacks. Sheesh, a double reminder in one puzzle that age=gray, but I hope I'm not grizzling as I gray (particularly since I spend a lot of money covering up that grizzle).

Those of you who didn't get begorra, you obviously didn't have an Irish grandmother proclaiming ach, faith and begorra at every excitement. It can be spelled with an h at the end. It came from "by my faith" combined with "by God" but they didn't want to take the Lord's name in vain, so it became gor and by gor morphed to begorra(h). The ach in front always went with the phrase when my grandmother said it.

Learned roe deer from living near Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park which were the royal hunting grounds for Richard III and a succession of British royalty.
Roe a deer, a British deer...

Didn't know mir=peace.

JC66 11:52 AM  


"AS FAT (35D: Comparable to a pig) was not ringing true to me. Pigs are muddy, sloppy ... but FAT? They're just as God made them. Be nice."

In my experience a very common expression.

S/he's AS FAT as a pig (or big as a house, sly as a fox, sharp as a tack, etc).

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Myron (Cope) said: "Hmm Ha. Stillers ball. First dawn!" It's too bad that sports teams are forgoing regional voices for "standard" speakers/robots.

The song that I'll use to keep my heart from yearning for P-p-p-peggy Su-ha-hu is Townes Van Zandt's amigos "Pancho and Lefty"

(Gets up on soapbox. Saws and stabs the air while he speaks): Unfortunately, inane gender identification doesn't end at the crossword puzzle. Yesterday, I turned off NPR's Talk of the Nation because they had an idiotic "Man-child" segment. Ignoring the obvious economic conditions that are more probably resulting in delayed marriage, they had some "sociologist" blathering that more young men are delaying marriage to play video games, leaving the poor young women beside themselves with despair and repeatedly stating that people aren't "adults" until they get married. Also, there didn't seem to be much empathy for stay-at-home men who care for the home because the wife's income is the more remunerative. Not that I know anyone like that. Lately, I've noticed a lot more button-pushing segments, which result in me turning off the radio, on the nationally syndicated NPR shows. I used to complain about it, but it seems to only have created more. Arrgh or should I say begorra.

"All the Federales say,
they coulda had him any day
They only let him go so long,
out of kindness I suppose."

Mile High Muddy

miriam b 12:19 PM  

Rikki: mir also = world, but in the case of the space station, I'm pretty sure they meant peace.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

I'm with anon 11:25 on missing the intersecting sporting clues. I'm going to have to reread my copy of 'Spectator Sports Made Simple' before the big game this weekend.

And I'll go along with Jim and Orange about less gender unless it's important to the clue.

Now I'm getting a yen for some UGLI fruit. Does anyone know how they taste?

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

"The arpeggione is a six-stringed musical instrument, fretted and tuned like a guitar, but bowed like a cello, and thus similar to the bass viola da gamba." From Wikipedia, but I think this can be trusted. Schubert's sonata was written for that instrument. Just being pedantic, as usual.

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Liked the puzzle. No problem with BEGGORA as I have an Irish son-in-law. Did most of this relatively quickly but got slowed down at ALEGAR/ILLEST/SANAA not knowing ALEGAR and being suspicious of SANAA. Also hesitated at SKITTER/MAYGAR with the same D vs. R problem as kratsman. On the plus side I knew ROE and APU, and was a fan of the Cisco Kid TV series in the 50's (although I don't think I'm GRIZZLING).

44a could have been clued "Org. directed by Jim Phelps"

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Now long past grizzling, when a youngster I enjoyed Gilbert Roland as the Cisco Kid in several movies, so this one was a gimme.

fergus 12:52 PM  

Grayfont experienced what may have become known as an ASOK predicament, where a completely unknown term intersects with two perfectly reasonable possible answers, as was the case with ROES and DOES. No need to belabor why this is irritating ... .

Since I get around to the NBA around playoff time I was unaware that the HORNETS no longer existed. With 10D and 12D both unknown to me I was left bumming for a NIG or a NEG, depending on the correct spelling of ONEIDAS, which I also didn't know. Settled with NEG since that was short for NEGATIVE, which is what you'd be if you were bummed. Done! But if my grid were being scored at a tournament, I'd have been cripplingly penalized. At the ACPT, I would guess that a number of the easy puzzles have a good red herring, like this one, to identify the craftiest puzzlers, rather than to penalize the duffers who fell into this sand trap.

Surprised to learn that a LEGGING can go all the way up to the waist? Must have been thinking of something else that stopped at the thigh.

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

Overall I think this was a solidly enjoyable crossword, but I have one serious gripe, and it's something that for me divides the good crosswords from the great ones:

As a fairly skilled crossword solver, I like to use educated guesses rather than google for the impossibly arcane crosses. I find that in most crosswords I have about 70-90% accuracy. NOT TODAY. How bout "Gridiron stats" crossing "1960s-80s Red Sox great." Right away I know the former is either "YDS" or "TDS," and assuming Taz is much more likely than Yaz for the sox player, I confidently put the T in. WRONG. This happened at a number of places , and it frustrated the bejesus out of me.

voiceofsocietyman 1:13 PM  

Hydroman is with Norm about "eat your veggies,' but I'm without Norm there -- it's not improper grammar, it's just colloquial vocab; I agree with the sentiment, tho, that most people's moms (and dads! and caregivers of other incarnations) would say 'vegetables,' but it was still a cute and easy clue.

Begorra -- well, that was a rare word for the puzzle, but I'm surprised how many ppl haven't heard it (or seen it in print). I take it as an Irish version of 'oy vey!' or American 'wow.' I'd have guessed that it would have had many more hits in Google than 30000.

As fast as the puzzle was for many of you, I got hopelessly snagged. I had HORNETS (bobcats?) and LEGGEAR (I guess I'm partial to leggings or even LEGGINS rather than LEGGING). Sana'a -- no way. I had no idea. I hadn't heard of ROE deer (and I still haven't -- I'm refusing to believe that someone would name a deer after some fish eggs).

As usual, I had no trouble with the Scrabble-friendly words like ALEGAR. I wonder if an ALEWIFE made ALEGAR when the ALE had gone bad.

Here is a cute Scrabble-related VidLit:

Since I didn't complete it, I guess I'd call it a mostly-enjoyable puzzle. I liked the parts I got, and I enjoyed the theme.

Pete M 1:15 PM  

Count with those that made the NRC/PAK error (glad I'm not the only one who skims clues); also fell into the DOES/ROES trap. Thankfully, YAZ was a gimme, and I vaguely recall "MAGYAR Posta" from my stamp collecting days as a kid.

pbc 1:18 PM  

a begorra story, from a prior life as a writer and editor with the wall street journal:

on page one stories, the top line of the headline would be a clever little phrase that was meant to play off the story. (these 'flashlines' may still be in use, but i read the wsj online these days, so i'm not sure.) some flashlines were memorable. a piece about union issues at rath packing, for instance, carried the flashline, 'the gripes of rath.' killing time one day, some of us on the page one desk started talking about the stories that we hoped would be written just so we could use a flashline we had stored in our heads. i said i was hoping for a story on poetry about felines, so i could use the flashline, 'cats and doggerel.' a friend said he'd always been hoping for a story about sexual depravity in ireland, so he could use the flashline, 'sodom and begorrah.'

that ended the conversation. nobody could top that one.

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

I think "Gridiron stats: Abbr." was carefully clued to help us disambiguate. TDS would more likely be scores. The stats are numerical facts that contribute to the scores like first downs, pass completions, or YDS. Anyway, that's how I read it and I was happy to guess correctly.

I'm trying to use ILLEST today in casual conversation but I doubt I'm cool enough to pull it off...

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Due respect and all praise to Jim Horne, the inventor of FreeCell!!!

However ... YDS are stats. I hear the announcers blathering on about every conceivable meaningless number, and those are stats, and they include yards, like "yards gained on completed passes on cloudy days against Pittsburgh." If that's not a stat, what is it?

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

Whoa, I misunderstood your pellucid post.

TDS are stats too. What possible basis for a player's career TDS or season TDS or TDS against Pittsburgh not being one of his "stats"?

(I got YDS and YAZ, no problem.)

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Not much to add today. I fell into all the same traps - hornets, didn't know the Sanaa/Alegar cross, MY mom would NEVER had said "veggies" in her life, ever.....

I do, however think you can have one legging. Aren't they separate like socks? You can lose a sock or a legging, but not a pant.

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

The NE killed me today. First thing I filled in (unfortunately) was Hornets- didn't see BOLGER until later. Also had leotard instead of LEGGING and fell into the d/ROE trap. Fortunately, I had ONEIDAS (from doing crosswords) and then- BEGORRA! it all fell together when I changed to BOBCATS.

Never heard of ALEGAR but got it from the crosses (thanks again to puzzles for SANA'A and guessed ILLEST because I've heard the word "illing" used for people who are sick).

YAZ = Carl Yaztrzemski, a very well-known baseball name.

Finally, a couple days ago a poster mentioned synchronicity. Just yesterday I posted something about OSE being a chemical ending that goes with ASE and voila! here it is.

Nice to see Emily's wonderful drawings back again, too.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

Re: Leggings. They can either be one per leg called leggings, but allowing for the answer legging, or one-piece, also called leggings. In the 50s my mother called our one-piece snowpants leggings. The knee- or thigh-high scrunched kind became popular in the 80s and women walked around like they just came off the set of Flashdance, which I guess would be one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon. They are popular again in the panty-hose style with tunics and boots.

QBParis 2:23 PM  

Hey Rex, just wanted to say, I enjoy the blog... iHop and all.

(I can smell the syrup...)


Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Re: "eat your veggies,... it's not improper grammar, it's just colloquial vocab"? Contrasting with 2D and 20D: turn gray/turning gray, I must note that VEGGIES is forever babytalk to me. A friend (not 61D, harvard follower) but a Dartmouth grad and then young dad reported to me that his little boy had to "eat his veggies before he got his num-nums"! Or was it Nummies? I still chortle to myself, it was so funny and unexpected.

As to GRIZZLING, that also has baby connotations because of Aussie friends who'd say their small child was grizzling when we'd have said fussing, and she needed to have a change of nappie, instead of diaper. Hope everyone's finished brunch!

I liked the hidden eggs, plus other animal-talk hidden in the puzzle besides the Bobcats, Roes, Moo, Milk Snakes and Pig's comparable -- the kit in Skitter, the sheep in Ramparts, the fry in Refry, the terrapins in Terps of MD... and the gonies in 15A were nearly "goonies" or black-footed albatrosses. ∑:)

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

"I do, however think you can have one legging. Aren't they separate like socks? You can lose a sock or a legging, but not a pant."

LOL good one

PhillySolver 3:44 PM  

Gee! or lots of gees...I have been out all day so this is late. I struggled with this last night and did finish, but had Srgt so had Oneidar (A Boston accent maybe). The whole NE was hard for me as I struggled with my Gaelic (only know Erin Go Braugh and not even sure how to spell it). In the SW, BEGGARY was a long time coming as several other things seem to fit and GAT sounded more old fashion to me. I think this construction was fun and for me, a BIG challenge for a Wednesday.

I am going to make an omelette now that I have cracked so many eggs.

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

Medium puzzle alright.
Don't like words like veggies, right up there with tummy, nappy and huggy. Did the hornets thing as well, and found a lot of unknown little words, fortunately got most of them from crosses. Had an omelet before finding all these eggs!

PhillySolver 4:13 PM  

@ Rex

I am not sure if anyone else responded so forgive this mobile response (from my Treo, which works better now that you have reconfigured the blog page ...merci)

I Sent My Love a Letter is a French film whose original title is Cher Inconnue. I would say I never heard of the English translation, but I have heard it discussed among my French friends during my working days in Paris. It is set in Brittany (not a sunny place to begin with) and is pretty dreary in a French Existentialist way. The letters are written anonymously between an invalid brother and his aging and lonely sister. She figures out who he is, but keeps writing because he is really a marvelous writer, but a lousy person-to-person communicator. My advice, read the letters and avoid the film.

miriam b 4:32 PM  

@Karen: An UGLI fruit is sort of like an über grapefruit. It's nice and juicy, and delicious. The nasty-looking peel - often partly or mostly green - comes off easily. Better to peel it and eat individual sections than to do the usual half-grapefruit routine. That way, you won't lose any of that precious juice.

[salivating and adding Ugli to my shopping list]

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

i found this puzzle really hard for some reason. even though after the fact they all seemed like "oh duh" kind of answers. add a too tough puzzle to a too tough day and you get one grumpy me.

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

I made it out of the NE unscathed once I committed to Oneida, which I was worried I might be confusing with either a potatocentric frozen food company or some oven-safe cookware brand. But then I fell into the Asok pickle at roe/doe. Annoyed, but this is how the process of learning from crosswords works, I guess. I'll always know the other meaning of roe now. This doesn't go for all new (to me) fill, some of which wasn't born with enough velcro to stick to my brain parts (the fill's fault, naturally).

Must take exception to the definition of scrunchy calf coverings a la the Flashdance era: those are leg warmers, not leggings. Leggings are like tights, either footless or with stirrups. The stirrup kind were a crime against fashion, an evolutionary mistake, and have since become extinct except within certain isolated pockets of sartorial hell, e.g. TJ Maxx.

Anonymous 5:35 PM  

I was acutually glad to see an "Oz" clue that wasn't TOTO or LAHR. Also, as is one of my favorite things about crossword solving, I learned a little Irish. Crossword education is SO much cheaper! Didn't care for MISADD... yuck!

Anonymous 6:56 PM  

I think those scrunchy thick thigh-high individual leg coverings are called leg warmers, not leggings. I think of leggings as much tighter fitting. Sort of like slightly heavier opaque panty hose

Michael Chibnik 7:09 PM  

I am quite familiar with begorra but nonetheless was so sure of "does" that I assumed that "begorda" was an Irish expression I had never heard of.

oh well

Anonymous 7:54 PM  

Hi all,

Long time Rex reader and big fan. Question for all. Does anybody have a link or directions for submitting a construction to the nytimes?


Anonymous 7:54 PM  

Looks like the YAZ/YDS crossing was also an ASOK'S BEAK problem for some.

I agree with phillysolver about GAT seeming off. GAT is more of a mobster's gun than a gangbanger's. Based on TV knowledge gangbangers tend to use glocks, nines, AKs...

Unknown 7:59 PM  

Was very careless with this puzzle, since I wanted to finish in record time I spelled Oneida Onieda, does for roes, and IBM for ABM.Otherwise a typical easy Wednesday puzzle.

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

Magyar was a gimme this end, although I kept wanting to write "greens" for "veggies". As for the northeast?!? No clue on Bobcats, Bolger or One If, and agree that there's no such thing as a single legging.

Frustratingly unpleasant Wednesday puzzle. Presumably Thursday will be easier again.

Anonymous 8:44 PM  

Here's a Nancy comic I remember from what seems like eons ago . . . Sluggo is chuckling about something to himself, which Nancy duly notices. She says to Sluggo, "What's so funny?" Sluggo replies, "Oh, I was just thinking . . ." And before Sluggo can finish Nancy lands a sockdolager with "Ha ha, that IS funny."

Anonymous 8:44 PM  

p.s. Leggings were the lower half of a snowsuit when I was a child (long years ago). They might have had a zipper from mid-calf to ankle, rather than a strap under the sole of the foot: easier to change snow-caked socks if necessary! The important attributes were several layers for warmth and padding in case one slipped and sat suddenly on one's duff, plus a waterproof finish...

Love the snippets of info from Rex and others on all subjects -- was thrilled to learn about the fretted 6-string instrument "Arpeggione", for example. ∑;)

Anonymous 8:45 PM  

I do believe leggings should be plural, because they are pants. You would say "a pair of jeans," "a pair of pants," e.g. No single legging.

I didn't like grizzling. No one says that. It's grizzled.

But, until I can do better, I will not say anyone else's puzzle is poorly done ;-)


Anonymous 9:44 PM  

After searching the OED, I've been convinced that Leggings come in pairs like pants, from the earliest use, actually "leggins" the use has always been plural.

Orange 10:19 PM  

I think leggings is properly always in the plural form, but I liked the puzzle just fine the way it was. No complaints.

The Go Fug Yourself bloggers have been fighting the losing battle against Lindsay Lohan's overuse of leggings.

Mike, every budding constructor should become familiar with That's where you'll find tons of advice for constructors, a database of past puzzles, and spec sheets for the NYT and other crossword publishers.

Anonymous 10:29 PM  

Thanks to Police Chief O'Hara, sidekick of Commissioner Gordon from TV Batman in the 60s, for my knowledge of "begorra".

Why is "moo" "low"?

janie 11:01 PM  

american heritage dictionary (3rd ed.) on legging:

1. a leg covering extending from the ankle to the knee and often made of material such as leather or canvas, worn especially by soldiers and workers.

2. leggings. a. close-fitting usually knit trousers, often worn under a skirt for warmth. b. warm outerwear trousers for children.

that first definition and the clue at 18a are clearly in sync.

while i now wear stretch knit "leggings" (kinda like footless tights), i fondly recall deep snows and the bulky "leggins" of childhood.



Anonymous 11:05 PM  

@ dan o:

"low" is a verb, defined by American Heritage Dictionary as "to utter the sound made by cattle; moo." Usage: in the Christmas carol Away in a Manger, one line goes: "The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes..."

Anonymous 1:20 AM  


Hallaig 10:48 AM  

Speaking of headlines and Irish phrases: in the World Cup a few years back, when Ireland lost an important game the local paper published the story under the headline "Erin Go Blah".

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

I must be the only one to go with spinach on my first pass for 59A. It went by the wayside quickly with the downs. I missed the hornets - bobcats trap since neither meant anything in particular to me. From the downs, I had bobc_ts so I never even considered "hornets". I missed on APU. I have never seen the Simpsons, but somewhere in the back of my mind came ABU. I never checked the clue for 53D so I missed that one. All in all a pretty good Wednesday for me.

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

CAlady said:
Sometimes it pays not to be sports oriented-looked at 6A and said whatever. Bobcats just spelled itself out from crosses. The stopper for me on this puzzle was the one square where illiest crossed alegar-never heard of either, but will remember alegar now that someone suggested it was likely a vinegary thing made from stale ale. As the saying goes, never to old to learn!

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

CAlady said:
Sometimes it pays not to be sports oriented-looked at 6A and said whatever. Bobcats just spelled itself out from crosses. The stopper for me on this puzzle was the one square where illiest crossed alegar-never heard of either, but will remember alegar now that someone suggested it was likely a vinegary thing made from stale ale. As the saying goes, never to old to learn!

Anonymous 6:16 PM  

Had to go through almost the whole list of entries, but got the explanation for how Moo = Low. Thanks again fine folks. I cruised this one OK today....

- - Robert

Waxy in Montreal 10:12 PM  

6 weeks on:

Maybe this puzzle lost some of its tang during its grizzling since Jan. 30 cuz I found it extremely easy, even for a Wednesday.

Nevertheless, MISADD and LEGGING (singular) in particular raised my ire. Beyond the pale(tte)!

Cliff Martin 12:39 AM  

According to my dictionary, legging is a verb. My wife's warmers are always leggings. Reminds me of an ad I heard yesterday for a clothing store. "Every pant in the store on sale". Every pant?

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP