TUESDAY, Jun. 10, 2008 - Barry C. Silk (SIDEWALK STAND QUAFFS)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: HIDDEN COSTS (56A: Surprises for buyers ... or what 18-, 28- and 43-Across contain) - the word COST can be found inside the three theme answers

Pretty straightforward stuff, with DELMONICO STEAK being the real marquee answer of the day. Nothing fancy, nothing offensive. A very solid Tuesday outing. Not a lot to say ... Oh, I will say that, though I torched most of this puzzle, I had an oddly hard time right off the bat with 1A: Sportswriters' pick, for short (MVP). I though "pick" here had to do with rankings or predictions and thought briefly the answer might be TIP, but that's more something a TOUT might give at the racetrack. My mind just blanked on the fact that MVPs are, in fact, picked by sportswriters (true in baseball, at any rate). So MVP made me hesitate / stumble, and yet I took down ALTOONA with almost no effort (15A: Pennsylvania railroad city). Odd.

Theme answers:

  • 18A: 18th-century Parisian design (rocoCO STyle)
  • 28A: Beef cut (DelmoniCO STeak)
  • 43A: Aggies' home (New MexiCO STate)
This was an aggressively musical puzzle - a Baby Boomer's delight, in a lot of ways, as a good chunk of these answers seem to come from the 60s and early 70s.

  • 9D: "The Plastic _____ Band - Live Peace in Toronto" (1970 album) ("ONO") - this clue required nothing after "Band," but I kinda like the embellishment.
  • 46A: Rock's Clapton (Eric)
  • 24A: Joan at Woodstock (Baez) - she helped me figure out how to spell ALONZO (hint: it's not the Shakespearean way) (5D: Mourning of the N.B.A.)
  • 3D: "Poetry Man" singer (Phoebe Snow) - a very good long answer. When I had ...BESNOW and hadn't looked at the clue yet, I had No Idea what it could be. Something NOW?
  • 40A: "_____ Beso" (1962 hit) ("Eso") - Mr. Paul Anka!

Throw in ISAAC Stern (30D: Violinist Stern) and his masterful UKE-playing (61A: Luau instrument, informally), and you've got a real hoedown.

"Elementary, My Dear Watson":

  • 11A: Masseur's workplace (spa) - not any masseur I've ever been too. (For those of you who didn't get to read it last year, here's the story of the massage I received while in Mexico last year) [scroll down to 19A: Spa employee, generally speaking (pamperer)]
  • 20A: Scout's doing (deed) - by definition, it's anyone's "doing."
  • 48A: 1940s computer (Eniac) - I have great affection for this antiquated behemoth, as I learned it from crosswords, and I imagine it sitting in a Crossword Museum somewhere, next to the robots from "R.U.R."
  • 51A: The "one" of a one-two (jab) - OOH (14A: Look at that!"), I like it. I just started reading a biography of Jack Dempsey called "A Flame of Pure Fire" by Roger Kahn. I'm on a weird 1920s kick lately.
  • 60A: _____ Ben Canaan of "Exodus" (Ari) - I feel weirdly obligated to read this book someday, so often does this incarnation of ARI appear in my puzzle. ARIs of my generation include ARI Fleischer and ARI Shapiro.
  • 6D: Prickly heat symptom (itch) - I don't ... understand what this is. What is "prickly heat?" A disease? Huh. It's a sweat rash, technical name MILIARIA (which I can't believe I haven't seen in a puzzle yet).
  • 8D: Part of Ascap: Abbr. (soc.) - I really don't like the "Part of an abbreviation, which is itself also an abbreviation" clues. Further, I thought ASCAP was written thusly, with caps, but I guess NYT's style guide has some kind of limit on the number of CAPS that can appear in a row.
  • 10D: Tennis great Ilie (Nastase) - whoa, switcheroo. Usually you use Nastase to clue ILIE, not the other way around.
  • 11D: 3 ft. by 3 ft. (sq. yd.) - sadly, this threw me. I was looking for a more specific unit of measurement. At four letters, I could think only of ACRE, which was clearly wrong.
  • 12D: Old Cosmos great (Pele) - New York Cosmos. Pele is legend. The most famous soccer player of all time. Suck it, Beckham. Hey, why doesn't this Freddy ADU kid appear in puzzles more often? I would buy stock in his crossword futures now. (This goal is sick)
  • 13D: Sidewalk stand quaffs (ades) - my least favorite crossword beverage.
  • 27D: Glad rags (togs) - uh ... are these fancy clothes? Yes, stylish clothes. If you google [glad rags] however, your first hit is ... something else entirely.
  • 39D: Web address punctuation (slash) - nice. Something different from the much more predictable DOT.
  • 49D: Greek goddess of victory (Nike) - swoosh.
  • 54D: Mountain climber's grip (crag) - wanted something technical, like PITON or CRAMPON.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS a reader just sent me this shot of the interior of a 36A - for your consideration:


Anonymous 8:39 AM  

Like Rex, I got well and truly hung up, tried FAV instead of MVP, and was similarly puzzled by BESNOW...but got saved by the VOTE.
TOGS may fit, but it's a stretch.
The rest is silence.

dk 8:44 AM  

Liked the puzzle and the theme. Some old 3 letter favorites QED, ESO, EGG (not ova), OTO, ARI, SPA, UKE and OOH. First time I recall XKE, a car I always wanted and am glad I never owned. In the world of process improvement the defect ratio in XKE's is often a hallmark of...

ENIVAC and UNIVAC reminds me of my Grandparent's old black and white TV, sitting on the porch in Maine, eating fresh baked doughnuts and watching Dave Garroway and Muggs the chimp match people to jobs on the Today show.

Wanted BAEZ to be Biaz for a second or two.

Biggest laugh was trying to figure out why a Squid was 3x3... then square yard came to mind.

ArtLvr 8:53 AM  

Hi Rex... I'm so glad to hear you had a few missteps too: it seemed so easy after the fact -- but I had left in a couple of goofs, like "Moet" for MOEN at 34D. Probably wishful thinking, wanting a cool bubbly champagne shooting out of my faucet. I'm tired of ADES too, and if we have to have an ARI let it be Onassis breezing off on his yacht with the TIDES.

At least I got the prickly heat answer corrected fron rash to ITCH, and "douse" to DOWSE. It's too hot to go outside to TAN, let alone fly A KITE or try mountain climbing! I agree that CRAG is hardly something one would think grabbable, much too big in my mind..

Nice little theme, and I'm up for a DELMONICO STEAK if the heat wave simmers down.


Scott 9:30 AM  

As a PoliSci Major and something of a political junkie, the cluing for 2 down (Privilege for those 18 and over) really stuck in my craw. Voting is not a privilege, or at least the word privilege strongly devalues the right to vote and the huge significance that right has had historically. I'm sure most people couldn't care less but this little tidbit irked me right at the beginning of the puzzle.

Orange 9:33 AM  

Glad rags! I was glad to follow in your footsteps and Google that this morning.

janie 9:38 AM  

"eniac" always conjures up the tracy/hepburn jewel desk set (penned by phoebe and henry ephron [parents of nora, delia and amy...]). tracy plays an efficiency expert who wants to replace researcher/libriarian/brainiac hepburn with an eniac-like computer. this is a link to imdb's "memorable quotes" page -- which has a lengthy exchange about the enormous computer's mistaking "corfu" for "curfew":

brainiac v. eniac

and yeah -- omma don' think the folks at "ASCAP" would concur with the typography choice that gave us "Ascap." things that make ya go "hmmm"...

but for the letter "f" this would be a pangram. small sacrifice indeed for the k/q/x/z contingent here!



Unknown 9:39 AM  

I do love Shakespeare and the words and phrases he left us...thanks parshutr for one of my favorites from Hamlet.

I finished in <8 minutes but not with the Q in place which took another couple of minutes which is sad. I will continue to blame it on the heat which has now generated a summer cold. Indian Tribes seem to be an important thing to know this year (maybe even in the pre-Will era). I knew ESO only because of the previous discussions here. It pays to lurk.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

Hey, Rex --

•Ascap is how Ascap now spells it; the NYT has no rules regarding caps limit. Also, would you mind dropping the -ly from "thusly"? I'm surprised you use this pretty unnecessary expansion.
• Sq.yd. is imprecise? How much more precise can 3 ft. by 3 ft. be?

Best wishes,

janie 9:53 AM  

sam -- thx for the Ascap update! (i'm BMI myself...)



Rex Parker 9:54 AM  


Go to the ASCAP website and see ASCAP in all caps. Please. Do it now. Then apologize.


Anonymous 10:08 AM  

With the exception of immediately filling the Pennsylvania railroad city clue with READING instead of ALTOONA, I mostly blew right threw this puzzle. Until I came to the cross of CRAG and EGG in the SE, which I stared at for many long minutes. Felt like a complete idiot when I remembered that Silly Putty does indeed come in egg-shaped containers.

Ladel 10:08 AM  


I am on your side of the grid with the awful cluing for 2d, and my guess is more people who read this blog care about that then you think. That's why I never miss a chance to vote, it's the only thing that makes a politician nervous...the counted vote.


do not saw the air too much thusly, but say the words trippingly and thus...

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

OOF, I had a tough time with this, especially for a Tuesday. Glad Rags = Togs? No idea. Phoebe Snow? Etc., etc., etc.

JannieB 10:16 AM  

This week is starting off really well. Another solid Tuesday puzzle with very little to quibble about. A nice theme and a minimum of xwordese. I too blanked at !A at first and promptly wrote in Reading instead of Altoona. But both of those issues were quickly resolved and I sailed through the rest.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

I sort of had the same thought as Scott the PoliSci major... I also would prefer "right" to "privilege" (the latter being more appropriate for, say, the drinking age), but not being a PoliSci major myself, I didn't let it stick in my craw too much. The answer was pretty obvious right away, in any event.

I will now go and try to erase the trauma from googling "glad rags."

PuzzleGirl 10:35 AM  

Nice, solid puzzle today. Good to see New Mexico State in the puzzle. I took a few classes there when I lived in Las Cruces, home of the now-defunct NABE'S coffee shop.

Rex's massage story cracked me up. I had an experience pretty much the exact opposite. At a resort near Volcano Arenal in Costa Rica, I went into a massage with no qualms whatsoever, knowing it was going to be awesome, and left with bruises. Ouch.

Put me in the voting-is-a-right-not-a-privilege column.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

What the heck is "mead"?

Doc John 10:54 AM  

Not a bad outing except that I guessed Ali vs ARI and clag sounded just as correct as CRAG. I'll have to file that one away (actually, I'll file both of those away).

I instantly put in Carole King but the B in BAEZ told me that was wrong. Hmm, Joni Mitchell? Nope. Carly Simon? Nope. Must be PHOEBE SNOW!

[Glad rags] for TOGS? Whatever.

Mead- an alcoholic drink made from honey.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

Rex, you would be happy to know there is in fact a small ENIAC museum on UPenn's campus. Well, a display in one of the engineering buildings, anyway. Sorry to say, there aren't any R.U.R. robots with it.

I got tripped up by MVP, as well (that P was the last letter into the grid for me, after finally parsing 3D correctly). Also confidently put in RASH for ITCH at 6D, but ultimately corrected it, and the north fell easily from there.

dk 10:57 AM  

Please provide me for the "rules" for using thusly. It is a far far better poser word than shall. And, I use shall all the time... to make my lovely english prof. wife wince. Hence forth will add it to my poser stew thusly:

"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,--
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."

The research staff at Thomson Reuters say: Voting is a right, unless you are a convicted felon then it is a wish.

Orange, nice whatever we call those little pictures.

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

I enjoyed the musical theme with the exception of 9D. Is it really necessary to clue this easy three letter answer with a total of 47 letters, numbers, and symbols? One missed opportunity for another musical answer was 39D. Guns N Roses guitarist?
The only question now is whether I can resist googling glad rags. Will curiosity kill this cat?
Two Ponies

Margaret 11:06 AM  

I have been good and truly humbled by a humble Tues. puzzle. I got it wrong all over the place, in part because I did what Rex did the other day and did all the acrosses before checking any of the downs. So I was sure that the railroad city was READING, that the fat was OLEIC, that the ocean motion was WAVES, and that the Aggie's home was COLLEGE STATION.

Eventually I worked my way out of all that but my ultimate downfall was putting EMT for the Ambulance clue, so I thought that Heston had played MONET (yeah, I know. It was Kirk Douglas and he played Van Gogh) which proceeded to mess up the entire NW. After putting in FVS (as in faves?) for 1 across, I came up FOUL as a state of mind -- which was very accurate in my case!!

Thankfully, there's a new puzzle tomorrow!

PuzzleGirl 11:06 AM  

And how about 62A, LOOSELY: How .38 Special wants you to hold on?

Joon 11:25 AM  

i tripped up in a bunch of places, too. wanted only TEXASA&M (or AANDM) for the aggies, but it obviously wouldn't fit. confidently entered ALPINE for kind of skiing. (this one messed me up the most.) couldn't figure out how to get OMEGATHREE to fit for ___ fatty acid. was befuddled by 1A, even after having the V in place. tried WOW instead of OOH. then there's the fact that i've never heard of PHOEBESNOW or DELMONICOSTEAK, the latter of which i only pieced together after discovering the theme at 56A. (i've also never heard of "glad rags," thankfully.)

roger played not just ASET but three the other day, but it really didn't look like he was "enjoying" anything. rafa was probably having a good time, although he's so scowly on the court you usually can't tell.

ADU is pretty good now, but i can't help thinking he's not as good as i remember hoping he would be back when he was 14. his USA teammate, maurice EDU (MLS rookie of the year) has a similar name but not as bright a crosswording future due to the presence of the .edu ending of school URLs.

while we're on the topic, though, anybody who both constructs puzzles and watches a lot of soccer can sympathize with the feeling that i've often had to the effect of "i could totally fill this section of the grid if i could use PIRLO or RUUD or MESSI or DADO PRSO or SCHWEINSTEIGER." okay, maybe not so much SCHWEINSTEIGER. but those other guys would be dead useful, especially the italians. gotta love those vowels.

this was a fine puzzle overall. the only fill i was distinctly unimpressed with was TADAS (hate that plural) and SQYD. in fact, the Q was pretty thoroughly defanged by being in abbreviations in both directions. there isn't a U within 10 feet of it.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

@ puzzlegirl Good one! And as doc john pointed out 55D could have been Carole King.
BTW color me dead because my suspicions were confirmed as I could not resist googling glad rags.
Two Ponies

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Maybe glad rags/togs is just not an American thing? Raised speaking New Zealand English, and didn't question it at all. Although there togs=bathing suit, but I somehow knew it also meant fancy clothes.
Oh, and in Australia voting is mandatory, (or, as they would say, compulsory).

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

Freddy Adu is pretty good? I'm gonna predict that the goal in the link was against Poland in the under-20 world cup last year...yep. He showed in that tournament that he is the best player in the world under 20 years old. US soccer fans need to pray that he'll choose to continue his international career here and not in his home country of Ghana which outperformed the US at the last world cup in 2006.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

TOGS is merely clothes, for me & my friend Webster. There's no implication of fancy clothes or "Glad rags."

Tony from Charm City 12:25 PM  

I don't have anything to add to what others have said, but thanks, Rex, for posting the picture of Jim Rice, IMO one of the most deserving of all players from my generation to not yet be voted into the HOF. I don't care that he didn't crack either 400 homers or 3000 hits.

SethG 12:27 PM  

Speaking of old music, Frankie Valli's not even in the first 500 results if you google [glad rags]. Well, first in my mind...

This puzzle caused me problems no end. I had many of the same problems as others, like RASH and MOET like ArtLvr and WOW and never heard of PHOEBE SNOW like Joon. So I started with TEXxxxxCOxxxxx for the Aggies, and after our experiences with TEXASU I spent a while trying to fit in TEXASAMCOLLEGE. Uh, yeah. I also started out with SQ FT.

I believe the NYT's style guide limit on the number of CAPS that can appear in a row is four. So you get BMI or NATO, but also Ascap or even Asssscat.

Shamik 12:59 PM  

Easy one, but could have avoided googling glad rags. Curiosity...but then I did know about the Keeper from a long distance backpacking message board.


Bill from NJ 2:00 PM  

Had a stutter step - rather than a misstep - at 1A as I got VOTE and PHOEBESNOW/BAEZ right away and got the NW all at once.

Had RASH at 6D down and that forced me towards the South where I uncovered the theme and solved Norhtward to repair my problem.

I, too, am adding Exodus to my "must-read" list along with his other book Mila 18. I did read Battle Cry which is a great teen-age romantic boys book about WWII - if you read it prior to Nam

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

Knew togs for some reason so had no urge to Google until I read all of your remarks...the result was unexpectedly hilarious!

Ladel 2:31 PM  

Members of the Rousso family were my neighbors when I lived in East Meadow LI, they owned a clothing company called RussTogs, so Togs was a gimme.

RodeoToad 2:43 PM  

I knew glad rags only from Rod Stewart's "Handbags and Glad Rags." In days of yore, Rod Stewart used to be cool.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

I love seeing ENIAC in the puzzle, as I have worked across the street from where some parts are displayed. It's on display in the engineering building at the University of Pennsylvania. So sadly, Rex, there are no robots from "R.U.R." in sight.

dk 2:49 PM  

Wade, thank you. I could only remember Small Faces and could not remember Rod S. He was also very good when he sang with Long John Baldry.

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

I loved the theme of HIDDENCOSTS, thought super clever, even tho I had never heard of DELMONICOSTEAK
(good vegetarian that I am)

I thought that was great to get three solid clues like that plus the theme.

I'm always thrown off by longer clues, originally assuming PHOEBESNOW was going to be part of the theme (I had had a puzzle rejected by the NYT, but accepted in the LAT of PHOEBESNOW, VANILLAICE, EDGARWINTER, ROBERTFROST in part bec of the perceived obscurity of Phoebe and Edgar!) and I think I originally thought it was EXPATRIOT...

As a namer, I have to say right on for GLADRAGS! wish I had thought of it ;) Surprised it was available! WOUld have loved to be on the brainstorming session for that one!

imsdave1 3:25 PM  

Really nice Tuesday - solid theme, no headshakers. The XKE reminds me of a charity golf event I play in every year. Parked next to the clubhouse is a vintage mid-sixties XKE convertible with a sign on it -Prize for hole-in-one on hole 3. Of course, number 3 is a 570 yard par five... I never would have googled glad rags except for Rex. At least it didn't cross with 6D.

jae 3:35 PM  

The ARI from Entourage shows up occasionally.

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

To the anon a few posts back about mead-

mead is an alchoholic drink made from honey as the sugar base (as opposed to malt in beer or grapes in wine). Very light, in both color and body, it surprisingly does not have a overly sweet (to me) taste. It is way-back traditionally the drink of choice for newlyweds, and was consumed for a month. Hence the term: honeymoon.

BT 3:48 PM  

Anybody else write in "College Station" for the home of the Aggies? (and in ink?)

chefbea 3:49 PM  

good puzzle for a tuesday. Too hot to do anything today except get prickly heat. Not even a breeze to go fly a kite. Guess I could sit in that XKE with the AC on

RodeoToad 3:52 PM  

One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

@chefbea1...an XKE with AC? No room under the bonnet for a compressor.
Very little wasted space, or usable space for that matter. Prettiest of the 60's drop- and fixedhead saloons.

Anonymous 4:54 PM  

Only 4 caps in a row in the Paper of Record? No RADAR, SONAR, POTUS? How about ACUSA? SNAFU? FUBAR?

fergus 5:38 PM  

Adding to Sandy's comment about voting in Australia, people get fined for not voting. Even EXPATRIATES were subject to a possible fine, or at least they were when I worked with a bunch of Aussies back in the late 80s. I think the fine was A$100 back then.

Had a lot of confusion, pecking all over the place, and was very surprised that it only took ten minutes. I'm pretty leery of 38A ____ fatty acid. Shouldn't there be a hyphen there? I don't think that TRANS can legitimately stand alone, though I'm sure there's a justification somewhere.

And just to be really pedantic, I'd say that STYLE is redundant after ROCOCO ... .

Leon 6:38 PM  

I think of this puzzle as the "Big O."


Orange 7:39 PM  

BT, I would have entered COLLEGESTATION if only I could have remembered where Texas A&M was located. Sometimes memory lapses pay off!

Rex, I too looked askance at Ascap. I'm OK with Nascar and Nasdaq and Nafta not being all-caps in NYT style, but ASCAP really wants to be capitalized. Especially in the crossword, where we usually see it in the grid (capitalized!) rather than the clues. Now we probably need to be on the lookout for Ampas and Aftra clues.

Anonymous 7:49 PM  

And what about the ASPCA...and even UNICEF? it seems like a dumb style rule...Acronyms are rarely more than 5 letters, why not capitalize?

janie 7:54 PM  

i'm guessing/rationalizing here, but perhaps if the initials can be pronounced as a "word," then it may be okay (by the organizations in question) to capitalize the first letter only... so not only, Ampas and Aftra (just looks wrong!!) but also Sag...

the one that always gets me, tho, with its mix of upper and lower case letters is amfAR -- the american foundation [for] AIDS Research. these days, however, it seems that while the acronym still exists, "american" has been dropped from its name...



fergus 10:20 PM  

Like an alphabet soup of employment programs. CCC for trails in parks, photos ... inventing ways to put America to work

Larry 10:44 PM  

The Eniac display at UPenn only has a small piece of the orginal computer (seems like about 4 or 5 refrigerator size cabinets) since the complete Eniac took up a large size room. Therefore there is still hope that the missing cabinets are on display at the National Crossword Museum. Not sure but it must be located in Orem, Utah?

foodie 11:22 PM  


I'm having a hard time deciding which I love more: adorably cute or mouth-wateringly juicy-- where your avatar is concerned...

I can't come up with one for myself, and I'm having to confront my avatar envy...

Orange 12:02 AM  

Foodie, all I'm doing is "borrowing" images found in a Google search. I take no credit (and should really give credit...). I should really take a picture of something orange myself and be more upstanding.

Anonymous 1:34 AM  

@scott and others

I'm no BRANIAC, but the VOTE stuck in my craw, too. The Twenty-sixth Amendment to the Constitution makes it clear that voting is not a privilege: "The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age."

Close enough? No way. These words are sacred.

A good week is underway. No BALLS and let's keep it that way.


Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Jim Ed Rice!
Thanks Rex.
- Tom in Pittsburgh

Concacaf champions 1:25 PM  

concacaf champions league

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