MONDAY, Feb. 4, 2008 - Dave and Tracy Mackey (CLINTON CABINET MEMBER HAZEL)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

Theme: "See you again!" - three long theme answers are all forms of invitation (back) to one's home

Here's a coincidence for your Monday morning: yesterday I discovered that reader Wendy now has a blog devoted to discussing records of the baby boomer generation. I am familiar with many of these records from my pop music boycott of the mid-80s, when all I did was listen to "Classic Rock" and oldies stations, but she covers some songs I didn't know or had only barely heard of. One of those songs, to which I listened repeatedly yesterday, was "Eli's Coming" by Three Dog Night. The coincidence, in case it's not obvious, is that not three hours after I made this "discovery," ELI Manning led the NY Giants to a shocking Super Bowl upset of the New England Patriots. Even better, "Eli's Coming" was released in 1969, the year I was born. Other notable event of that year - Joe Namath led the NY Jets to a shocking Super Bowl upset of the then Baltimore Colts. In fact, the 1969 and 2008 Super Bowls are eerily comparable. So ... me ... 1969 ... ELI Manning ... Three Dog Night ... the moon landing ... it's all related, man.

This puzzle was OK. I like the long theme phrases, though two of them seem specifically to be phrases said at parting, while the last ("DROP IN ANY TIME") seems like something you might say at any point in any conversation, not necessarily one you happen to be having on your front doorstep as your guest leaves. I set another record time today, despite slipping up all over the place with typos and horrible cursor control. I think it actually took me something like 20 strokes of the keyboard to get ODIN (57A: Chief Norse deity) correctly into place. It's like I was having a fit. Anyway, this is a good sign, as it means that I can realistically still shave many, many seconds off my time and Finally get under 3 minutes (today: 3:08).

Theme answers:

  • 17A: "See you again!" ("Don't be a stranger") - why can't I stop reading this as "Don't be a strangler," or hearing it to the tune of "Billy, Don't Be a Hero?"
  • 37A: "See you again!" ("Drop in any time")
  • 59A: "See you again!" ("Y'all come back now") - can't see / hear this phrase without wanting to add "ya hear?"

If this puzzle gave you any trouble, or slowed you down at all, I'm going to guess it was in one of two places - somewhere in the vicinity of Roger MUDD (20A: Longtime CBS and NBC newsman Roger) or somewhere in the vicinity of Hazel O'LEARY (45D: Clinton cabinet member Hazel). Ms. O'LEARY was another obstacle standing between me and a sub-3 minute time. I wanted to do those three 6-letter Downs in the SW 1-2-3, off of just their first letters, but had to settle for 1-[rejection buzzer]-3. Then I had to hack at the crosses to get a name to come into view. My wife (who finished in around 7 minutes on paper, which is Massive improvement on her part in just the past month), had OLEARA, as (bless her Kiwi heart) she had never heard of RYNE Sandberg (67A: Former Cub _____ Sandberg). Baseball fans and longtime crossword solvers should all know RYNE's name, but I'm sure my wife was not alone in booting that one. I mean, if Mark O'MEARA can be a name (he's a reasonably famous golfer), why not Hazel O'LEARA?

Assorted observations:

  • 5D: Steamed (ired) - I really dislike this word. Really really. IRE is great as a noun, atrocious as a verb, in that no one uses it ever, never ever. Makes me IRED just to see it. Hey, take the "SEE" out of "I SEE RED" (a great Split Enz song, btw) and you get "IRED." Cool.
  • 5A: Like a score of 10 out of 10 (ideal) - took me a ridiculous amount of time (relatively speaking) to get this. You score a "Perfect 10." That's the phrase. IDEAL is true enough, on a literal level, but feels off to me, in this "10 out of 10" context. Maybe if you were ogling women and rated one a "10," that would mean she's "ideal" ... but I'd rather imagine that the intended frame of reference here was gymnastics or some other athletic event.
  • 31A: "Veni, vidi, vici" speaker (Caesar) - just finished the play yesterday. Spoiler alert: CAESAR dies.
  • 8D: Kind of well (artesian) - which beer was it that promoted itself by claiming that it used water exclusively from ARTESIAN wells ...? I have such a strong memory of this from my childhood. Maybe lots of them did this. I feel like the beer was made in Oregon, which sounds impossible.
  • 10D: "Happy Days" cool cat, with "the" (Fonz) - ehhhhhhhh!
  • 47A: "_____ Green" (Kermit the Frog song) ("Bein'") - I should add this to the "You Might Have Stumbled Here." Both wife and I had to make several stabs at this, though I know the song well. Stupid hick contraction!
  • 54D: Perfectly pitched (on key) - nice, but looks ridiculous in the grid. Like a racial slur delivered in a Cockney accent.
  • 11D: Country north of Namibia (Angola) - had the "A," threw in the first African "A" country that came to me, and it was right, hurrah.
  • 44D: Perry Mason, e.g. (lawyer) - even when he's not in the grid, ERLE Stanley Gardner is never very far away.
  • 35D: Actress Cannon (Dyan) - Crosswordese 101
  • 60D: Actress Mendes (Eva) - Crosswordese 102 (whoa, breaking news - she just checked into rehab)
  • 42A: Many IM recipients (AOL'ers) - Crosswordese 103 (IM = instant messaging)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 9:00 AM  

3:08 is very impressive. The fastest so far on the NYT site is 1:51. Is that really the gulf between you and the best?! 1:51 seems incredible. In fact, I tend to believe that the person printed the crossword, solved it, and then typed in in online. I did it in 4:16 and almost ruined my rotator cuff pumping the air with my fist.

Rex Parker 9:08 AM  

First, 4:16 is seriously fast. Second, I have no serious hope that my recent spate of good times will hold up under tournament conditions. I cannot be that fast consistently, and I'm not going to try to be when I'm in Brooklyn. I just want my puzzles perfect. If I go at a relaxed pace and make no errors, I will be Very happy.


Anonymous 9:10 AM  

I was just waking up when I solved this morning and stumbled all around the puzzle, so less than an IDEAL time (though still under 5 minutes).

Rex, I totally agree with your rant about IRED and I would include AOLERS with that, even though I used to have AOL as my ISP. I hate the idea that we could take any random three-letter acronym and just add the -ER suffix to it to make it refer to associates of said three-letter acronym. I think we would all demand that CIA-ERS, FBI-ERS, PTA-ERS, WPA-ERS, EPA-ERS, et al should not make appearances in our puzzles, so I'm not sure why AOLERS is OK.

*** Gets off soapbox ***

It was nice to see Mr. Sandberg again and I like the choice of baseball cards. It was surprising to see Ryno listed as a third baseman at the beginning of his career since he became the premier second baseman of his generation.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

IRED irks me DIREly

Someone yesterday said they had paid for the puzzle subscription and couldn't get the puzzles to open:

Download and install Across Lite (free on the NYT site).

I have a fond spot for 8D. On Top Chef one of the contestants last season kept going on and on about ARTESIAN bread at a market.

Sounded soggy.

wendy 9:22 AM  

Appreciate the plug, Rex. As a non-follower of pro football, I knew bupkis about Eli Manning when I posted about Eli's Coming a few weeks ago, although it was pointed out to me by several friends that the song was likely to experience a resurgence in the weeks to come. Did they play it last night?

Since the game was so close, and I love underdog sports, I'm kinda sorry I didn't watch the 4th quarter, at least.

Btw, Orange has a contest going on over at her blog in which I incorporated AOLer in my entry. Anyone wanting to add a new addiction to their repertoire, just surf on over ...

Hydromann 9:31 AM  

Rex, on the beer front...might you be recalling the TV ads for Heilman's Old Style beer, brewed in La Crosse, Wisconsin?

The TV ad copy ran something like, "Brewed from pure natural underrground spring water which, some people say, comes all the way from Canada."

janie 9:49 AM  

"stupid hick contraction" raised a flag for me. while contracted words are words shortened by dropping letters (e.g., "o'er" for "over"), the dropped "g" at the end of a word is more a dialect thang (so to speak), no? but let's face it, "stupid hick contraction" scans far more gracefully than "stupid hick dialectical variation"!



Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Rex, I believe you're thinking of Henry Weinhard's beer -- the Portland brew of choice for many a Reedie.

Orange 10:13 AM  

Janie, my college linguistics professor said there's no such thing as a dropped "g." Rather, the [ng] sound is changed to a [n] sound. (The class was no fun at all and I dropped it.)

Rex, maybe Olympia beer? I remember the Artesian water being touted in '70s beer commercials. Maybe Old Style with its "fully kraeusened" beer made with artesian spring water? Gotta be the kraeusening!

Anonymous, I've never seen the 1:51 username before, and the one after it, rbotwin, has been thought to be a cheater as well. Tyler and Stella have legitimately made it under the 2:00 mark on a Monday puzzle online, though.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Done in by the cross between O'Leary and Ryne. After 10 seconds of staring, I hit the timer and noted my mediocre time, with that one space still empty.

Given OLEAR-, the rest of the name becomes obvious, but that would have taken a few more seconds. Real Speed (maybe I'll get faster if I capitalize like Rex!) may never come.

Well, I don't ride like Lance either, but at least I'm on the same course.

Unknown 10:49 AM  

First, a warm welcome to the new constructions team. I did this last night and not a single stumble, but using the computer is a new process for me. I have no real typing skills and the different way you switch from across to down in the applets creates an issue for me. I struggled mightily with Sunday's puzzle trying to enter backwards and bottom to top. An enjoyable puzzle today though.

See you later alligator.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

@hydromann - no, no no!! It was Olympia Beer (brewed in Olympia, Washington). Late in life they had ads involving Artesians, portrayed as seldom-seen elves or some such thing...apparently that ad campaign helped spell the demise of Olympia beer: described here

The Olympia labels had 1 to 4 dots printed on the back of the label; you could see them through the bottle. The number of dots predicted your likely success in romantic encounters (so we sophomorically thought in the 60s)...

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

I have a question for anyone with some tournament familiarity, which I am thinking of going time on Sunday was 55 minutes, today 5:30. Certainly I would be going for fun and the esprit de corp more than anything else, but would it be still be worth doing with these kinds of relatively pokey times? (like a duffer playing golf in a tournament with all Tigers?)

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

The naval/snare combo sounds like a bad experience with a belly-button ring.

Found "Eli's Coming" while making the Rhapsody play list that we listened to in lieu of the terrible announcers. It played right before halftime ended, which gave us a chuckle. We had to check the play-by-play online only once: we couldn't believe the Patriots went for it on 4th and forever at the Giants' 30 yard line.

"It's fun to stay at the Y M C A." [Does obligatory arm motions.] Ugh, thanks for getting that song in my head. It's not enough to lodge a catchy tune (I didn't say good!) in one's ears, one has to do calisthenics?!

I have to give bonus points to a puzzle that includes "MUDD."

Mile High Muddy

Rex Parker 11:46 AM  

Norm is right. It was Weinhard's I was thinking of.

Carry on.


Rex Parker 11:49 AM  

@anonymous 11:45,

First, get a name.

Second, it is worth going to the Tournament even if your times are "pokey," even if you aren't able to finish all the puzzles within the allotted time. You need to let go of any pressure you feel and just solve. I learned this lesson Fast last year. Things were So Much Better when I stopped caring about time and just enjoyed the puzzles (which were uniformly good, btw).


Anonymous 12:08 PM  

Rex, re: "I feel like the beer was made in Oregon, which sounds impossible."

The micro brewing revolution began in Portland, Oregon. Oregon is the second largest producer of hops in the US (first i Washington, third is Idaho), and there are over 50 breweries in Oregon, giving it one of the highest ratios of brewery/pop in the US.

Indeed, our small town of Hood River (pop 6500) has three including Full Sail which also brews Henry Weinhardt's (mentioned as a Reed College fave above) and that's just inside the city limits.

So while artesian well water has been touted by many breweries, it is not impossible that one may have been in Oregon.

Chauvinistically yours in the Hood!

Anonymous 12:10 PM  


The image you conjured of the Cockney uttering a racial slur made me laugh out loud!

BT 12:14 PM  

Being in NYC, I listened/watched all the post-game "analysis". Amazingly, nobody mentioned the "4th and forever" non-field goal attempt. It did not seem like the IDEAL thing to do - and they did not get into the ENDZONE.

Maybe they'll play Three Dog Night on Letterman tonight (assuming Eli is there - he is scheduled).

But Rex, the moon landing didn't happen, man. The Giants beating the Pats...

... it happened.

"EEE Liiii's Coommiiinnn..."

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

@dick swart-- I think Anchor Steam pre-dated Oregon micro-brews.

After all the beer chat, rather than Laura Nyro's great song, or the Village People Anthem, I now have the Hamm's Beer ditty rattling around under my grizzling dome. I think Hamm's was acquired by Olympia...

From the Land of Sky Blue Waters,
From the land of pines, lofty balsams,
Comes the beer refreshing,
Hamm's the beer refreshing.

Better than a Super Bowl ad....

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Did Tom Brady say to the Giant's Defensive line "Drop in anytime?"

Liked the progression of tenses in the answers - eat - ate - et.

Nice site Wendy !

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

I thought you had pretty decent taste in music 'till I read about KELLY CLARKSON - jeeezzzz... t'weenage girl at home?

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

A fun Monday puzzle. Not a fan of AOLERS or BEIN and I agree with the earlier poster that AOLERS sets a bad precedent.

Glad to see the Giants win. Go ('72) Dolphins!

Anonymous 3:43 PM  

I would have liked all the "all related man" if I was eatin a Fenway Frank and not Pat's Crow... sigh.

Perhaps a little Utica Club (from the days of regional beer rather than micro brews) to wash away my dreams.

oh yeah... the puzzle. I liked the themes and was happy to see Odin representing the norsemen instead of Olaf.

And, I thought the song was "It's not easy bein green" so of course that threw me way off.

Anonymous 3:56 PM  

A puzzle with ARTESIAN and ISOBAR is a good puzzle, even with IRED (Has it ever come out of human mouth? No? Then it ain't a word!) I kind of liked AOLERS, actually, because I thought I'd made a mess and then saw what it could be -- it gave me that little thrill of recognition that we're all addicted to. Obviously.

You are a young thing, Rex. I first heard Eli's Coming in jr. high, and it was one of those "ohmigod that song!" experiences.

archaeoprof 5:45 PM  

Am I the only solver who never thinks about the time? For me, it's the "time-less-ness" of solving that makes it fun.

radioguy 5:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 5:46 PM  

OK puzzle. Spelled CAESAR wrong (E before A except after C?) and read Blacktops as a noun so had LANES but, got it right in 7+ which is about average for me for Monday. No problem with RYNE or OLEARY but had to get BEIN from the crosses, it just didn't look right.

Just got back from a luncheon with a group of like minded friends to discuss how to vote tomorrow. Six months ago we were split, now its all about Obama.

radioguy 5:48 PM  

C'mon Rex, you couldn't have found a better picture of Eli Manning? How about one with him holding up the Super Bowl trophy?

Confluence's Biggest Giants Fan

Anonymous 5:52 PM  

i dont really think about time, unless it takes me longer than my morning commute to do a weekday puzzle. then i start googling in record speed.

Anonymous 6:34 PM  

Emily, whenever I use the timed option for the puzzle someone comes to chat me up. So, I now have a zen approach: it is the journey not the destination... assuming I have spelled most of the words correctly.

or as we would say in the sixties "I'm not into time."

Rex Parker 6:50 PM  

@radio guy,

But I love that picture of Eli. That's the guy I grew to like (and sympathize with) against all the Idiotic criticism he's had to endure. Plus, as far as that picture, I like to think of him less as shrugging his shoulders in confusion and more as saying "What's up!? You want some of this? You want some of Eli!? Well, bring it on!"


Anonymous 6:50 PM  

@karmasartre -

Anchor Steam Beer, Indeed.

Mr Maytag's contribution to the Bay Area predates any microbrew almost anywhere in the States. In the early 70's I'd have a meeting under the freeway at the public tv station and then repair out to the dock with the rr crossing to the little red shack on the right with the Imogen Cunningham photos for an Anchor Steam outside in the sun.

Anonymous 8:52 PM  

Easiest, fastest-completed puzzle I've done with the NY Times. Compared with a few Saturday brain-busters, it would be a good five notches or so easier. Not to complain. Though it seems the puzzles have gotten easier by a bit the past weeks . . . (?)

Anonymous 10:14 PM  

ARGH! YMCA! That damn song won't die!

Happily, you had "Bein' Green" (also recorded by jazz great Betty Carter and some guy from Hoboken, among others).

"Eli's Coming," for the record, originally was from the musical HAIR.

Rex, thanks for the heads-up on Wendy's site. I'll have to check it out.

Anybody else think of the Beverly Hillbillies when he/she got to YALLCOMEBACKNOW?

As for TV last night - what drama! What suspense! And Mira Sorvino - hubba hubba (even when she's jabbing a syringe into her lung).

The show on Fox before HOUSE was OK, too.

How long before pitchers and catchers report for spring training?

Anonymous 11:08 PM  

@ billnutt "Eli's Coming" was not in the musical Hair. It was written by the late, great Laura Nyro and originally on her album titled "Eli and the 13th Confession". Last cut of Side 1 if memory serves. Later done by the Three Dog Night.

Anonymous 12:52 AM  

sockeroo? Can someone fill me in? Crosswordese maybe?

Unknown 2:01 AM  

Your Eli's Coming note made me think back to an episode of Sports Night (an Aaron Sorkin show) called "Eli's Coming".


Eli's coming.




From the Three Dog Night song.




Eli's something bad. A darkness.


"Eli's coming, hide your heart girl."
Eli's an inveterate womanizer. I think
you're getting the song wrong.


In ten--


I know I'm getting the song wrong, but
when I first heard it, that's what I
always thought it meant, and things
stick with you that way.

Anonymous 2:10 AM  

@bobby opp -- Yes, sort of crosswordese. You will also see buckEROO, ranchERRO, and probably others that I can't come up with off the top of my head.

Damn, I miss Sports Night!

Richard Mason 2:26 AM  

AOLER is legitimized by its use in the excellent Weird Al Yankovic song, "It's All About the Pentiums."

Hey fella, I bet you're still livin' in your parents' cellar
Downloadin' pictures of Sarah Michelle Gellar
And posting "Me too" like some brain-dead AOLER
I should do the world a favor and cap you like Old Yeller
You're just about as useless as JPEGs to Helen Keller

IRED has never appeared in a great song, and is not a word.

Anonymous 2:28 AM  

Damn, I miss Old Yeller!

Anonymous 2:31 AM  

All this beer talk has me thirsty! A long day finally at an end.

@Doc John... you're a gentleman for not rubbing it in. I'm sad.

But the puzzle was fun. I sailed through it with a time of Rex x Orange with no fumbles.

Three Dog Night was my first concert! Back in the paleolithic era. Eli certainly came, saw, and conquered. Rats! I'm still sad.

@Janie...hilarious haiku!

Anonymous 6:10 AM  

Sockeroos comes from the nickname for the Australian national soccer team.

Anonymous 2:52 PM  

I'm sick of "AOL" representing internet clues!!!!! who even uses aol? no one. that's so 1990. time to move on!

PuzzleGirl 9:03 PM  

@mbensley: Wanted badly to reference the Sports Night episode but was afraid it was too tangential. The best part about that episode is that Bobbi Bernstein was trying to get Dan to remember that he had once (many years previously) slept with her in Spain. Which, of course required him to proclaim (loudly and several times) "I've never been to Spain!"

Anonymous 3:34 AM  

RYNE came to me very easily... being named after the hall-of-famer by my parents. :D

i think this is the second time i've seen this used in a crossword. the last time being in late december of 06, i believe.

anyway, keep up the good work! i thoroughly enjoy your blogs.

literarychica 1:09 PM  

i agree with you: IRED just sounded nasty to my ears. i actually had to look that one up after i finished the puzzle, because i typed it in and couldn't believe it was right.

also: you know you're an english major when you read "former cub ___ sandberg" and you type in "carl." and you swear it just HAS to be carl. *cue sound of buzzer* i'm learning a little more every day...

Unknown 3:47 PM  

literarychica - I'm totally with you, I totally wanted to put Carl :) Spelling FLOE as FLOW (56D: A polar bear might be found on one) really screwed me up for Ryne however.

Also, 11D (ANGOLA), all I could think of was Algeria (I had A-G--A, which totally doesn't fit and is completely incorrect because Namibia is in the south west and Algeria is up along the northern coast, but it created a very long mental block.

Did no one else love 4D: Words on a Wonderland cake (EAT ME). Or OLD next to NEO?

And yeah, does anyone actually use dial up anymore? I had LOLER, because LOL is a common phrase on IM. Far more common than AOL.

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

6 wks later....

O'Leary and Bein' Green are perfect for St. Patrick's Day.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Also syndication, the phrase "DONT BE A STRANGER" was in consecutive puzzles--Sunday and Monday.

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