THURSDAY, May 8, 2008 - Harvey Estes ("HUNGARIA" COMPOSER)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: PDA (34D: Handheld computer, or holding hands) - "PDA" clues two long, compound theme answers: PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION and PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANT

I had PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION written into the grid inside of a few seconds, which helped to make this one of the easiest Thursday puzzles I've ever done. The theme is ingenious - complete serendipity that the two theme phrases contain exactly the same number of letters, and break, as phrases, at just the right place. I like that the entire center of this grid (all nine squares) is saturated with theme squares. It's a demanding theme, grid-wise, so there's not a lot of pyrotechnics in the non-theme fill - lots of short answers, with no open spaces much greater than 4x5 in area. But for a puzzle with a lot of short fill, it still manages not to be boring. I have three favorite words in this puzzle: AQABA (36A: Red Sea's Gulf of _____), which is a very showy answer - kind of like a TULIP (42A: Dutch beauty), which AQABA sits on top of, is a showy flower (we have a single, giant tulip in our front yard, which has recently come up, and which was a major source of fascination for our daughter and the neighbor kids yesterday); KIBOSH (50D: Unwelcome end, with "the"), which I've never heard used in any way except in the expression "put the KIBOSH on" something - it's an exotic-sounding word with mysterious origins (read about it here); and CULP (1D: "I Spy" co-star), which is one of the greatest-sounding last names in acting history. It's like a sound effect - a sound you make when you are very, very guilty of something. Kind of like GULP, only ... guiltier.

Theme answers:

  • 3D: With 6-Down, 34-Down (public display of / affection)
  • 11D: With 35-Down, 34-Down (personal digital / assistant)

My only real struggle in finishing this puzzle was the far north, where despite guessing (correctly) ABCS (6A: Nuts and bolts) and FARE (18A: Meter reading), I couldn't rattle off the Downs. Then I started second-guessing my Acrosses. 15A: School house (frat) was mysterious to me for way longer than it should have been, given that I have been around such houses nearly every day of my life for the past 17+ years. The real zinger in the north was CARPI (8D: Parts of arms), which are perfectly good bones, just not the ones that immediately come to mind when you first think of "arm" (even with that final "I" firmly in place, all I wanted was RADII).


  • 1A: Neck attachments (capos) - learned it from xwords, and now see it all over the place (or at least anywhere people are talking about guitars).
  • 17A: Free, in France (libre) - despite having studied French and thus getting this easily, LIBRE now makes me think only of the Elmore Leonard novel Cuba Libre (set during the Spanish-American War).
  • 21A: They really get steamed (espressos) - great clue, right up there with 13D: Chasers in a saloon, perhaps (posse). I would definitely read a book that featured a POSSE drinking ESPRESSOS. If the POSSE were made up of hulking European gangsters, they might drink ESPRESSOS. "The Posse Drank Espressos" - there, I already have a title.
  • 43A: "Hungaria" composer (Liszt) - let's listen to some (well, I'm going to...). Here we go ... Yundi Li playing Piano Concerto #1. You can listen to this version.
  • 44A: Graham of rock (Nash) - I know him from Crosby, Stills, NASH and Young.
  • 46A: Pitchers may hold them (ades) - ooh, my most hated of all crossword words. "What do you have in that pitcher there?" "Why, it's ADE. Want some?" "No, I do not drink non-words."
  • 52A: Wheaton of "Stand By Me" (Wil) - a name that was destined to be in the grid, repeatedly. He was also an actor on "Star Trek: TNG" - which of course featured the crosswordtastic Counselor TROI.
  • 54A: What a solid yellow line may indicated (no passing) - great answer. We have these lines on our (exceedingly dangerous) two-lane highways in and around rural-ish upstate NY.
  • 63A: "Paint the Sky With Stars: The Best of _____" (1997 album) ("Enya") - That title makes no sense ... unless you are coaching Van Gogh, I guess.
  • 68A: "It Don't Come Easy" was his first solo hit (Starr) - I love this title, in that it's a giant "@#$ You" to grammar sticklers.
  • 2D: Spanner of 11 time zones (Asia) - considered USSR, but then thought that the clue would have to feature "bygone" somewhere in order for USSR even to have a hope of being correct.
  • 4D: Hatch, in politics (Orrin) - If I am King of CrossWorld, ORRIN Hatch (like it or not) is one of its senators. That's right, my monarchy has a senate. Shows what you know.
  • 9D: Junk ends (sterns) - whoa ... curve ball. First I wanted a suffix for "junk" (-EROO?...), then ... then I don't know what I wanted. It was somewhat later when the "junk = boat" equation dawned on me.
  • 26D: Uzbek sea name (Aral) - it's not located entirely in Uzbekistan (some of it's in Kazakstan), but close enough. That's good to know (I didn't).
  • 40D: Transcript preparer (steno) - I wonder how long this abbreviation will have clout. Courts have stenographers, but I usually only hear them referred to as "stenographers," not the (more mid-century secretarial) "STENOs."
  • 45D: Four-baggers: Abbr. (HRs) - Manny Ramirez is on the verge of hitting his 500th of these. As far as anyone knows, or can tell by looking at him, he has never taken steroids. Marijuana? You gotta bet on "yes." But steroids, no. Man I love that guy.
  • 53D: Concave lint trap? (innie) - grossing me out. Moving on...
  • 56D: Cordial flavoring (anise) - why was this the only flavor that even came to mind? I don't even like this flavor.
  • 61D: "Shall We Dance?" star, 2004 (Gere) - I recommend the original version of this movie - so good that I couldn't be bothered to see the remake.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Morgan 9:10 AM  

While not hard for a Thursday (though North Dakota slowed me up for a while until I got ESPRESSOS) I thought this was among the most ingenious puzzles I've ever done. I wish I'd thought of it!

Wendy Laubach 9:11 AM  

Well, I just had the best time working this puzzle, even though I got hung up in Minnesota for an unreasonably long time. For many minutes, it was a complete blank as I failed to see "ABCS," "FRAT," "FARE," "CARPI," "BRASH," "STERN," or "ESPRESSO." Then they all became clear more or less at once.

It was an especially appealing puzzle in that all the clues that resisted me finally revealed an answer that I found completely convincing. A nice, long tease and a satisfying payoff. Even "FRAT," a kind of organization that was outlawed by charter at the university I attended and therefore barely occurs to me in connection with a "school," seemed fair once I'd finally thought of it.

Most of the obscure music and TV references were old enough to mean something to me.

"Four bagger" was a new one on me, a pure crossfill, but now I see what it means.

Certainly the original "Shall We Dance" was delightful, but there's nothing wrong with the re-make either, Rex, give it a chance. It's worth it just for Stanley Tucci.

"RIPA" is still a mystery to me.

Who could forget "AQABA" after "Lawrence of Arabia"? "The guns face the sea, and they cannot be turned round."

Barbara Bolsen 9:21 AM  

Wendy & Morgan, hmmm, are you sure it's North Dakota or Minnesota and not Wisconsin?

I got hung up there too. STERNS was the last to fall for me, purely by acrosses. I didn't get the meaning til Rex pointed it out.

Also, I always thought my handheld was a PERSONAL DATA ASSISTANT so I learned something today.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

When I was a kid on Sunday mornings one of the two TV stations we got (both of them out of Wichita Falls, about 50 miles north) showed "John Wayne Theater"--i.e., every week a different old John Wayne movie. Yesterday I mentioned my alcoholic aunt who lived in Fresno--well, when she came to visit us, which happened a handful of times, she'd watch the John Wayne movies with me and my little sister, and we'd drink lemonade (I think she put vodka in hers.) So you see where this is leading: we had ade with our oaters. True story, it just took a crossword to elicit that memory.

It was a beautiful little puzzle and a very nice write-up.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Rex, per my aunt, who *are* one, it's court REPORTER now, stenographer went out with the paper pads.

@Wendyl -- Kelly Ripa is Regis Philbins (sp?) newish co-host (post Kathy Lee)--- I'm embarrased to know.


Bill from NJ 9:36 AM  


RIPA is Kelly Ripa, Regis Philbin's partner. I'm ashamed to admit I know this.

I had the same problems as everybody else in the Minnesota/Wisconsin/North Dakota region but it all fell into place when INDOCHINA fell in Iowa. It took me the longest time to parse this out, humming Red River Valley the whole time

Orange 9:40 AM  

You people are embarrassed that you know who Kelly RIPA is? Please. I used to watch her in her pre-Regis days on "All My Children," where she played Hayley.

But it could be worse. My cousin named her cat Hayley after that character. If you don't have a pet named after a RIPA character, you need not feel shame.

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

When I first read your comment on 9D: Junk ends (sterns)

I thought, "Bear Stearns? But that has an 'a' in it."

Wendy Laubach 9:48 AM  

Stenographers took shorthand, right? Mr. Gregg. The more traditional senior law partners still hand secretaries who could do that when I was first beginning to practice in the mid-80's. About that time, computers were becoming standard equipment in every lawyer's office. Some lawyers continued to dictate into tape recorders and have the documents transcribed, or to hand-write their first drafts, but gradually it became almost universal practice to type your own darn stuff straight into the computer. I'm not sure how easy it would be these days even to find a secretary who was able and willing to take short-hand dictation. It's been a long time since there was a "steno pool." There's hardly even a word-processing department at law firms any more, and there used to be just banks and banks of them, toiling away 24/7.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

@ Orange,

My *shame*(well, maybe it's guilt) is from knowing Kelly, Regis, Cathy Lee and now Hoda at the time when I'm supposed to be working in my home office (which is right after my dear wife leaves for her 90 minute commute to NYC)


Anonymous 9:51 AM  

I was so happy with everything -- until that same infernal top central little spot! Even had ESPRESSOS and the A for square 6, so what happened? I never looked at changing my line under espressos, where I had Indonesia! Thus I had squeezed in Attention instead of the logical AFFECTION, had a wonderful Debris for "junk ends" instead of STERNS, Loose for "lacking restraint" rather than BRASH -- what a mess!

Even after I decided 6-A had to be ABCS, killing "Debris", I gave up on try to find other ends for junk with last letters of -IS. Too bad I didn't just set it aside for a while and get the brain working again with a jolt of java!

Please note, for non-guitar-players, that 1-A, CAPOS, (movable neck bars for changing the tuning of all strings together, used one at a time) is pronounced with long A (not like leaders of the Mafia)...


Wendy Laubach 9:51 AM  

@arthur: Good one!

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

p.s. I enjoyed the link to the "mysterious roots" discussion of KIBOSH -- thanks, Rex.


Unknown 10:15 AM  

Let's see (Dakotas, Michigan, Wisconsin)...I had trouble in the Arctic where Global Warming created a multitude of meltdowns. I thought Indochina went out at the end of WWII. I knew Indonesia wasn't working, but I struggled with every thing there until I had one of many ESPRESSOS. Does the CARPO bone connect to the CAPRI bone? (as in dem bones dem bones dem dry bones)

I agree with Rex, the charm of the original Shall We Dance can't be replicated, but I am sure other things (like the dancing) could improve.

If anyone complains that someone didn't know four bagger was an HR, I am going to track them down with my POSSE and put the KIBOSH on them. (or RIPA them something new)

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

I had cascading errors from the beginning.

Had ASIA and ORRIN as gimmes, which led me to HALOS for !Across. Seemed to fit as the appliance used for traction on a broken neck. USURP quickly followed from the crosses.

Having the LU, I guessed that the first theme answer was going to be something along the lines of LUNCHEON MEAT with end result of HAM.

Didn't notice that theme clues both referred to 34Down as the end result. Figured I'd have to use a Wheel of Fortune type approach to both theme clues and started working the fills.

FInally noticed that PDA was clued separately and a gimme, which allowed me to fill in the theme answers, and finish the puzzle.

Fun puzzle once I noticed the obvious.

Larry 10:47 AM  

I am in the minority here. I don't think that the phrase Public Display of Affection is hardly ever represented by PDA. That feels forced and I think the theme fails. Otherwise a clever way to do a puzzle. Perhaps an alternative would be to use TGIF with the clue of Weekend Welcome or Chain Restaurant. Hmmm, if I could think of an alternative meaning for MILF? Ooops, that will never do.

genevieve 10:53 AM  

Larry--I know that in high school, hall monitors and teachers would constantly bark "No PDA!" at couples making out in between classes at their lockers, but other than that I haven't heard it too much.

I had the "AP" for "Neck attachments" and very confidently wrote in "NAPES."

I also chuckled at "INNIE," but then, I do my puzzles the night before so the breakfast test isn't applicable.


jae 10:55 AM  

This one almost makes me wish I timed myself on Thurs. Had to be my best Thurs. to date. Got the theme clues immediatley and just kept on writing. Minor glitches were FULL for FARE, TMC for AMC, and TRY for IRK as I'd written ASSISTANT so quickly I made the "I" look like a "T." Excellent and very enjoyable puzzle.

Robert CLUP was one of my favorite actors growing up in the late 50's. Westerns were very popular and he starred in an off beat, very cool (at the time) series call Trackdown. His character had one of the best names ever, Hobie Gilman.

PuzzleGirl 10:57 AM  

I was prepared to yammer away about how easy this puzzle was until I got here and found I had two mistakes. I had YIELD for "bring to bear," and because I didn't know Wheaton's first name, I thought YIL was as likely a candidate as any. And dad-gum-it! I always always always think that stupid movie channel is TMC (The Movie Channel) instead of AMC (All Movie Channel, I assume). Leaving me with the TRAL Sea. Right. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'm hopeless with the bodies of water!

@wendy: I knew of one attorney who still had his secretary take shorthand in, let's see, I guess that would have been 2000, so not that long ago. Every time she passed my desk holding a steno pad she'd roll her eyes. It did seem a little old-fashioned! Most of the older attorneys in the office still used dictaphones, but all the younger ones typed themselves. And there was a word processing department, but it was much smaller than it had been ten years earlier.

Scott 11:01 AM  

Very solid puzzle. Had similar trouble in the north and didn't understand STERNS even after it was in.

I'd like to make a plea to Rex. Please stop accusing/not accusing players of using steroids. You simply cannot know if a player like Manny or ARod has used steroids. I love Manny. I loved him when he was in Cleveland and continue to enjoy his on field antics. Despite his seemingly lackadaisical manner, articles have suggested that he is one of the hardest working players in baseball. All of that said it is entirely possible that he used some kind of performance enhancing drug. He played in an era where it is becoming increasingly clear that a huge percentage of the players used some kind of steroid. If you are, as an amateur, using photographic evidence to 'decide' who is a steroid offender, I'd suggest that Manny has filled out significantly since his early seasons. His larger forehead is probably just a receding hairline, but you don't know.

Perhaps the thing that bugs me the most about the categorizing of "cheater/steroid user" and "good guy/clean" is the lack of perspective on how bad steroids are. Particularly HGH, which is grouped in w/ anabolic steroids as if they are the same substance. In 1990, suggesting to someone that using steroids would have been seen as more dangerous than smoking, and more morally reprehensible than smoking marijuana would have been laughable. To judge players for their actions without considering that framework is unfair, in my opinion.

Anyway, I know this is a crossword blog and I know this is not a proportional response to an innocent comment by a BoSox fan, but the throw away steroid judgments really bug me. Sorry for the rant.

Rex Parker 11:05 AM  


Yeah, I've been bugging people lately. Get in line.

(that is to say, I'll take your opinion under advisement, since it was so reasonably expressed)


Doris 11:06 AM  

"PDA" for "public display of affection" is used A Lot here in Gotham. And I Can't Stand It, especially in front of me at a theater. No excuse for it!! Yuck! Go somewhere else! I'm not referring to greeting a Loved One at the airport, or something like that. At least be quick about it and then be off to your little nest. Blechhh!

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Several fun clues today. I epecially liked "chasers in a saloon" (POSSE), and the theme was pretty amazing. The clues for FRAT and FARE were tricky, which I like when I figure them out.

Even so, I had trouble in the Dakotas -- not sure why I didn't see "espressos" with all the crosses I had, but I didn't.

@puzzlegirl: my two big mistakes were YIELD in stead of WIELD (giving my YIL), and TMC instead of AMC (giving me TRAL for the Uzbek Sea). Must be genetic.

I didn't understand STERNS or CAPOS until I read Rex, which disappoints me, given that not too long ago I was in the zone. Hey puzzlegirl, tell 'em about the time I was in the zone.

PuzzleGirl 11:24 AM  

There was a time addieloggins was in the zone.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

puzzlegirl, I first thought it was Turner Classic Movies, so I had TCM. (I think AMC is American Movie Classics.)

Also, I share your view regarding the differences in how older lawyers and younger lawyers practice law. In the big firm where I first started in 1999, any lawyer over, say, 40, was pretty much hugely dependent on his/her (but mostly his, frankly) secretary. They did almost no typing, and in fact a couple of the old-timers didn't even have computers. They used those crazy pocket recorders all the time. As for me (practicing now on my own), once I finally learned how to feed an envelope into a printer my need for secretarial help evaporated.

You continue to most righteously rock, by the way.

miriam b 11:31 AM  

CAPOS had to be right. I was preparing to perform a PPG (Post-puzzle Google) until I came here and was rewarded with an explanation.

The SW had me slightly hung up for a bit, as I thought first of NAVEL - until I realized that "concave" implied INNIE. Then there was "Zodiac symbol". I fllled in SIGN until it became clear that what was wanted was actually my own sign: LION.

Easy, with many gimmes, but paradoxiczlly lots of fun, and admirably clever.

@Doris: Yep, I often have the urge to yell GET A ROOM, but I never manage, despite being a Leo, to summon up the nerve to do this. It probably wouldn't have any effect anyhow.

Joon 11:45 AM  

this puzzle was totally cool, but given how easy everybody (including myself) seems to have found it, wouldn't it have been more appropriate if 34D had been unclued? or at least clued something like [See 3D, 6D, 11D, and 35D] instead of having its own giveaway. that would have given us a real "aha" moment, since we would have had to work out the details from crosses rather than immediately scribbling in every theme letter. as it was, today felt more like a tuesday than a thursday, but with that one tiny change this definitely would have been thursday material. certainly the N section was sticky enough to warrant a thursday placement.

at first i was curious why the constructor (and editor) decided to have all the theme entries be downs instead of acrosses (which is more usual). i think it's so that PERSONALDIGITAL can precede ASSISTANT in terms of clue numbering. otherwise, a reflection across the main diagonal of this puzzle would result in the same puzzle with the same clues, but the theme answers would be (in order)


which i guess is slightly less cool.

i remember that time i was in the zone with addieloggins. man, those were the days. today i actually felt "in the zone" for most of the puzzle--NOMAAM, ESPRESSOS, INDOCHINA, NOPASSING, INAMOMENT, and all of the theme answers fell with minimal crossings. if not for the tricky north, i would have had my best thursday time ever.

dk 11:50 AM  


Watched the same movies with my dad although on Saturdays. We also had older oaters show before JW Theater and they had The Cisco Kid, Audie Murphey etc. My dad drank coffee and did the NYT puzzles (in pencil).

And, I hope things work out for you with a certain puzzlegirl ;). Although it seems you may have to wait for an after life.

I was thinking Minnesota for the Red river clue but remembered INDOCHINA right after I remembered CULP. I was stuck on LENO wanted Matt Lauer (sp?) for some reason, tried to keep beers as a chaser.

The rest of the puzzle was a dream.

On the steroids issue, 30 (or more) years ago I knew of folks who plagerized and falsified data to finish thier PhDs. They got caught about 10 years (or so) after the fact, the degree was taken away, they lost thier positions etc.

Thus the adage "time wounds all heels."

Doug 12:24 PM  

This one had it all--Challenging fill, nice theme, and the fulfilling moment when you finally finish off that last damn corner! In my case it was the NE like many of you.

FRAT threw me: I had DORM, then FORM (too much time with Brits I guess) and then finally got it. I'm continually amazed at how putting down the puzzle for even 5-10 minutes helps unlock fill. ESPRESSOS was something like E__RES__S and I really thought I'd messed up. But, nature or something called and when I picked the sheet up: Ka-bamm, there was ESPRESSOS coming at me like Batman's leather infused punch.

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

@ Joon 11:45 -- the clue for PDA draws the solver's attention to a further coincidence: not only do the two expansions of the acronym have matching 15+9 and 9+15 lengths, but they also both have to do with hand holding. It would be nice to somehow work "hand holding" into the grid but that's probably asking too much.

Also, good point about vertical vs. horizontal placement of the theme entries.


Bill D 12:54 PM  

Once again, if you read Wendy's 9:11 comments you have mine about the puzzle (although I don't know from movies, and I did know 4-bagger.) Very nice theme and presentation, if a tad easy. I think Joon should be an editor - his idea of leaving 34D as cross-clued with all the other clue numbers would have made this one just Thursday perfect! Loved KIBOSH, POSSE, AQABA, BIER, PALIN, LISZT (we missed him on our Arne vs Famous Composers Grid Appearance List the other day), and the triumphant return of WIELD.

At one time had "Capes" for CAPOS, thinking of superhero costumes, I guess (my first impulse was "Heads"); "Fine" for FARE, trying to make something out of parking meters; "Edge" for NASH, having once been the world's biggest Moody Blues fan; and "Ringo" for STARR, as he might as well not even have a last name. BTW, it looks as if Ringo is getting another of his All-Star Bands together for a summer tour. I have seen three of his All-Star incarnations and they never disappoint. Get out and see them if they come to a city near you!

Maybe "Get a room!" has replaced "No PDA!" at the FRAT house, but we used to use the latter all the time in college.

As for Manny and maryjane, as a career Miami Dolphins fan I always was amazed that Ricky Williams, potentially the greatest running back of all time, kept coming afoul of the NFL drug policies because he could not quit smokin' de ganja. Talk about performance detracting drugs! With so many players using coke, steroids, and other real killer hard stuff, Ricky ruined his career on pot! How dumb is that, from so many perspectives?

Joon 1:00 PM  

oh, handheld... i didn't even notice. i guess that's mildly cool. is "handheld" as a stand-alone noun sufficiently in the language to clue it as [Handheld, or holding hands]?

the hand thing is probably enough to make cluing PDA itself worthwhile... although i'm not 100% convinced it's better than the "aha" moment of which we were deprived. YMMV.

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

@ricket, I hope you return.

@doris, I find those situations easier to deal with than PDLs (Public Displays of Lust).

mac 1:29 PM  

I think I was in a zone for a while with this puzzle! Almost sounds indecent.
It was a beautiful, really enjoyable but a little easy puzzle for a Thursday, or maybe we're all just getting sooooo good at it.
Had to fix some minor things like one moment - in a moment, and Indonesia - Indochina, but it didn't take too much time. I liked the chasers in the saloon and the junk ends a lot!

Anonymous 1:35 PM  

am i the only one bugged by the idea that ESPRESSO is not necessarily steamed? lattes and the like, sure, but not espresso per se.

dk 1:41 PM  

@bill d, Those people (who shall not be named) who did performance detracting drugs in grad school are still going strong. Ricky shoulda stayed in school.

Drat, now you have me humming "one toke over the line." I think I will turn myself in... or go back to managing Rex's dreams.

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

A lovely puzzle that was more difficult for me than it should have been. I ran afoul of IN A MOMENT, which I filled very early with I AM COMING. The north gave me fits as well because I had trouble with both FRAT and FARE and just couldn't get ESPRESSOS.

On the topic of Ricky Williams, it should be noted that he has been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and probably self-medicated with weed. Which isn't to say that he should receive treatment different from other sports league drug rule offenders; rather just that I have a lot more sympathy for him than the guys doing the steroids so they can hit more four-baggers.

imsdave1 2:01 PM  

Great craft in this puzzle. Had radii and Indonesia for a bit. I was a bit disturbed that I knew Kelly Ripa too, until I read that Orange knew her from the soaps - that made me feel better in a strange way (since I didn't). Useless trivia of the day - Franz Liszt was born Franz List, and changed it because he thought it would be cooler with the z.

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

@anonymous 1:35: It has always been my understanding that the difference between coffee and espresso is coffee is made by seeping water through the coffee beans, whereas espresso is made by forcing steam through the coffee beans. But I wouldn't be suprised at all if it turns out I'm wrong.

Anonymous 2:10 PM  


wait, what? is that true? that's totally awesome.

imsdave1 2:14 PM  

True, as per my a favorite music teacher (and, apparantly of this blog), Robert Greenberg of the Teaching Company.

MarkTrevorSmith 2:15 PM  

Some organizational titles that were formerly initialisms no longer stand for any words. Two of them are in today's puzzle: AMC and AARP.
See for example

Unknown 2:24 PM  

"imzdave" is trying to make Rex's list for the weekly review. Franz did change his first name (sort of) but his parents were the Liszts.

He did compose a song on PDA however, it title is "Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen ass"

fergus 2:29 PM  

I had to yield one moment to Indonesia, too.

Usually don't like all the other Clue references and combinations in a puzzle, though I do think that this was a good demonstration of such a technique. It's hard to explain what it is that irks me (puts me out?) about "3 With 6-Down, 34-Down," for example, but maybe it seems too technical, and misses out on some word play. Not that I mind having to hold a lot of bits of information simultaneously, but I would prefer to have the possibilities stacked together, rather than selectively spanning the whole grid. A trivial, little point on Crossword aesthetics, to be sure. And even more trivial, I'm not sure I like seeing the hyphen between 6 and Down, when the clue is referenced. If that's the Shortzian standard, that'll have to be OK.

Had to play quite a few bars of "It Don't Come Easy" before identifying Ringo STARR.

Ulrich 2:39 PM  

@phillysolver: If you spell it this way, the line looks certainly odd. If you write "aß", it looks a lot more German and less odd. B.t.w. the poem is by Goethe: "(one) who never ate his bread in tears..." I must be thick today--what's the PDA connection?

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

god bless wikipedia:

[lengthy discussion of whether liszt was german or hungarian snipped] His father [Adam], in his time as pupil at the gymnasium of Pressburg, had changed the name's orthography from "List" to "Liszt". Since 1843, that version of the name was also taken by Liszt's grandfather Georg.

so the z-story might be true, but not of franz himself.

SandyB 2:55 PM  

I probably should not admit this but I secretly enjoy the steriods rants.

Unknown 2:56 PM  

@ Ulrich

I think we should run off with Orange and Puzzle Girl and philosophize. Yes, Goethe and this lyric Poem was a fore runner to Sartre in my mind. The PDA joke to me was that he expressed such a disconnection to humanity that he wanted to die and escape the emotional side of "I vant to be alone" comment.

I wonder how you make the Eszett? I can't find it in the ACII codes and I have a PC not a MAC.

Unknown 3:17 PM  

Never mind, I found it on a German language site (alt + 0223 = ß)
Now, with the German language reform, is it still used?

Ulrich 3:21 PM  

@phillysolver: Don't give me ideas!

as to the ß: Every formatting I do here is straight HTML. So, I use the HTML numerical code &#???; for all special characters--the ??? would be 223 for the esszet. Since I've been writing HTML code for more than 20 years, the respective table is always on my desk anyway. So, this method is no bother for me. In addition, it has the advantage of being platform-independent.

Unknown 3:29 PM  

@ ulrch
Ah, no one else is posting now, so forgive the tangent, but you write esszet and I learned eszett (USA education). I just tried both and they have multiple hits. So, which is correct (more correct) and why? Maybe the spelling is one reason they decided to put the KIBOSH on it.

Ulrich 3:30 PM  

@a shucks--our posts crossed each other!

Don't get me started on the spelling reform. But as far as the ß goes, the reform actually makes sense. It's now resticted to indicate a sharp s (like the "s" in "summer") at the end of a long vowel. So, the old conjunction "daß" is now spelled "dass" (b/c the a is short), but a Fuß (foot) is still a Fuß (b/c the u is long). Sorry, guys--phillysolver asked for it!

Anonymous 3:44 PM  

i loved this puzzle, whose theme was one of those out there just waiting to be discovered. i got the DIGITAL part and all the other theme answers were instant from there. tough for me was the NW, i wasn't familiar with this meaning of CAPO, and didn't know CULP or PALIN. also got tripped up on EAT AT, had EAT ON for a while which made confirming AQUA harder.

loved the clue "Chasers in a saloon" which unfortunately i didn't get to read while i did the puzzle. slight irk with "Moves like ketchup" for OOZE - this isn't always true - as anyone knows when the bottle has been sitting for a while or often when you open a new bottle, there is a watery discharge that can ruin fries and burgers.

fergus 4:17 PM  

... or you get that sudden spasm plopping out with the seventh bash with the butt of your hand.

Bill D 4:18 PM  

The watery stuff can even come out of those "upside-down" squeeze bottles - yuck!

Anonymous 4:26 PM  

My college-age daugher (McGill, Montreal) assures me "pda" is used as "public display of affection" in her crowd.
As a doc who treats injuries to same every day, I am troubled by "carpi"; the carpal bones are more properly part of the hand, not the arm.

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

thought this was a challenging puzzle. . . even after writing in CAPOS, ABCS, and APOP without even glancing at the clues. don't ask me how i knew those were correct. i just did.

got really stuck in the SE where i had G_R_ at 61d, and all i could think of was gary busey.

chefbea 5:21 PM  

@puzzle girl I had yield for wield also. Never heard of Wil Wheaton but I did go to Wheaton College

chefbea 5:30 PM  

@anon 1:35 You are right. espresso is not steamed - cappuccino is. actually, the milk is steamed before it's poured into the espresso

Anonymous 6:15 PM  

I like Wade's ade story.

I am onboard with the steamed concept of espresso. The wiki article notes that it was produced with steam from inception to the last 100 years where it can be made with very hot water under pressure. This is close enough for steamed for me. Telephone numbers may no longer be dialed either but the term will survive.

Barbara Bolsen 6:24 PM  

@fergus -- if that sudden spasm of catsup plopping out with the seventh bash with the butt of your hand made a sound, it would be BLAT.

Anonymous 6:43 PM  

There is, for the geography nuts out there, a Red River in Manitoba too, and while Manitoba didn't have enough letters, Minnesota did, and I wasn't sure enough of my geography to know that it was wrong. Once I replaced that with Indochina things started falling into place, with the honorable exception of ESPRESSOS, which just didn't want to come. It wasn't helped by the fact that I pondered BRAGH for BRASH (as in Erin go BRAGH) so left that space blank pending resolution.

But overall a very nice puzzle, and probably my best Thursday time.

Not that I time these things.

fergus 7:07 PM  

The Red River is one of those unusual north-flowing ones, going up the western edge of Minnesota into Manitoba. I remember when there was a big icy flood about ten years ago, when engineers could, to some extent, choose who and where the victims of the worst flooding would be. Could have caused an international incident.

Also reminds me some song about remembering the girl in the Valley, and remembering your Red River girl. I wonder which one that was referring to.

@ Barb in Chicago, a waitress gave me some instruction when I was blatting away one time. She told me to stick a knife down into the ketchup bottle, and the flow would then be at least a seep or an ooze.

Anonymous 7:09 PM  

This puzzle got me. Or rather, I got myself. Started in the NW with 1D culp, went to the acrosses, and had 14A usurp, 17A libre, and 20A palin easily, then looked at 2D and, "aha it's a rebus" and put at the top of 2D "RUS" to make Russia for 2D. Then I spent the rest of the puzzle looking for the rebus answers, couldn't find them, and went bonkers. It took a long time to take out RUS and put A at the top of 2D. Terrible!!

Unknown 7:14 PM  

For your vocabulary...

Musquirt (mus' kwirt) - n. The water that comes out of the initial squirts of a squeeze mustard bottle.

Catsquirt...see musquirt

I have so many more...just ask.

JannieB 7:18 PM  

Very nice puzzle -all but the Dakotas fell quickly. Having been lucky enough to have lived in Pittsburgh, let me share a bit of lore, courtesy of the H J Heinz company. If you hit the ketchup bottle on the embossed "57" just below the neck, the ketchup comes right out -no blatting or splatting.

Bill from NJ 7:54 PM  


I had a good friend who named their first-born daughter Jamie Lynn after a soap character.

Now THAT is truly sad. (And even sadder if you remember a 30-year-old soap opera character).

jae 8:10 PM  

There is also a Red River in Tenn. which came up in a recent puzzle.

I always shake the ketchup bottle to avoid said red watery discharge.

Unknown 8:12 PM  

I agree with the prevailing sentiment that this was a really fun puzzle.

Could someone please explain the TROUBLE NO END = EAT AT thing?

I'm surprised that I seem to be the only one baffled by this.

jae 8:16 PM  

@noah -- If something is bothering you a lot it is "eating at you," like guilt or a missed opportunity or ...

BTW the Red River in Tenn. also flows in Kentucky. The Red River valley refers to the one in the NW US and Canada, I believe.

chefbea 8:17 PM  

@phillysolver - thanks for the definitions of musquirt and catsquirt lol

Unknown 8:23 PM  

Ahh, now I see. Thanks Jae. "Eat at" is totally familiar to me. Makes sense.
"Trouble no end" still seems like a odd phrase. I am struggling to come up with a sentence where the one could be substituted for the other.
"The fact that I plagiarized my thesis will eat at me for the rest of my days" = "The fact that I plagiarized my thesis will trouble me no end for the rest of my life."
Just sounds wrong. Maybe it's a regional thing.

Anonymous 8:25 PM  

definitely fun puzzle.

thanks for the kibosh link, rex.

reminded me of "kielbasa" which we pronounce ka-boss' which would match the link definition "carrion"

Also, re 40D, the answer "steno" --we, who write on stenograph machines, write letter combinations known as "stenotypy." We call it "steno" for short. A computer software program translates the steno into English and with a little editing, voila "a transcript." The clue "transcript preparer" rather than being a "person" is a machine shorthand "language."

Mike 8:25 PM  

Another Red River forms the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma. The football game each year between UT and OU is called the Red River Rivalry.

Anonymous 8:39 PM  

isn't using a PDA a public display of affectation?

Howard B 8:45 PM  

One word - SNIGLETS!

I used to have one of those books somewhere... those were fun.

Michael Chibnik 8:47 PM  

Unlike many of you, I had a hard time with this -- basically the same problems that artlver had in Minnesota -- loose instead of brash, debris instead of stern + I had indonesia instead of indochina. One of my worst Thursdays ever...

Anonymous 8:52 PM  

@scriberpat, Thanks, had no idea how that worked...

Bill D 9:36 PM  

No, no, Noah (sorry, couldn't resist that) - "The fact that I plagiarized my thesis will trouble me no end for the rest of my life" is redundant, doncha know. You don't need "the rest of your life" for regrets - that's what the "no end" is all about! That cluing gave me a slight pause, also, but EAT AT is such common crosswordese that the answer fell into place easily.

Anonymous 10:41 PM  

Mostly easy, once you discovered the theme. However could not finish it, couldn't get the B in aqaba and bier, those two were totally new to me.

Barbara Bolsen 11:12 PM  

@fergus: i am humming something that I wish were about that Red River girl, but I think it is something from a Willie Nelson album. Hmmm, must be Red Headed Stranger from the album of the same name? I fell in love to a song on that abum -- Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain. (Or is that a separate song at all? maybe it's one and the same.)

Bill D 11:29 PM  

All this Red River reminiscing brings to my mind the episode of The Odd Couple in which Felix, in a attempt to be "in", restyles his lounge band "The Sophisticatos" into "Red River Unger and The Saddlesores", doing a rendition of "Tumbling Tumbleweeds", a song which I remember my father singing. I believe Oscar comes in at one point and damns Murray as "Nosé Feliciano". Such is how my memory works...

fergus 12:17 AM  

Maybe there's a connection between ketchup and the Red River that the constructor ingeniously, yet quite pointlessly, wanted us to find?

Anonymous 12:46 AM  

I've always heard the expression used with a "to," as in "This puzzle will drive me crazy TO no end." Anybody?

Re: Sniglets, I proposed CATBLAT as the fart-like noise occasionally, and embarassingly, made by the squeezy variety of the catsup bottle.

fergus 1:54 AM  

Barbara Pullen was a girl in Hinsdale in 1963, when we were six

Anonymous 3:59 AM  

When I saw LISZT in the puzzle I suddenly remembered it was my friend Jeremy Lizt's bday! Such synchronicity says to me there is a god!
I'm always giving him shit over the ridiculous way he spells his name...wanting him to add an S.
So I told him about the blog and IMSDAVE1's posting...
but then I saw the rebuttal and wrote again...oy!

Had TRAL and thought how odd, but didn't change it...until I came here I thought I had a super fast time, no mistakes...drat!

Also thought HRS stood for HOURS and couldn't get the connection.

By the way, I hear Orange may be on steroids, and thus the amazing solving times. ;)

jae 4:38 AM  

Thats it!!! Orange on steroids!!! Explains everything!!

Its late, I'm drinking!

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

@ andrea carla -- Is this better?

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

PDA appears umpteen times on the pages of magazines in hairdressers, spas etc., eg Brad and Ang sharing some PDA in --; Jen and her latest BFF enjoying some PDA on the beach at ---. Am I the only one who sneaks a peek at these mags while spending a fortune at these places?!!

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

PDA appears umpteen times on the pages of magazines in hairdressers, spas etc., eg Brad and Ang sharing some PDA in --; Jen and her latest BFF enjoying some PDA on the beach at ---. Am I the only one who sneaks a peek at these mags while spending a fortune at these places?!!

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