Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Things you "DRAW" (67A: Something you can do to the starts of 17-, 21-, 37-, 53- and 60-Across)

One of those themes that I did not get until it was all over. In fact, I had finished without ever seeing the clue that linked the theme answers all together, so for the first few moments after I finished, I stared at the long answers trying to figure out what I was missing. It's a nice theme, with my only quibble being exceedingly minor. You can certainly DRAW all the words in question, but for some reason, in my head, all the phrases begin "DRAW A" except the one involving curtain, for which I want "DRAW THE..." Weird. Anyway, fine work, though because of the high density of theme squares, there are some iffy moments where not terribly desirable answers had to be forced into the grid because not a lot else would work (see below).

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Hotel offering (BATH towel)
  • 21A: Bow-taking occasion (CURTAIN call)
  • 37A: Poker face (BLANK expression)
  • 53A: Cinema offering (PICTURE show)
  • 60A: Flintlock need (GUN powder)

When you overlap long theme answers like this, you increase the likelihood you'll have to rely on abbreviations or partials (e.g. "OB LA" - 8D: Syllables before "di" or "da" in a Beatles song) or generally ugly fill to get the job done. I think Barry mostly does the best with the hand he's dealt himself (he pulls the theme overlap in the south off a little better than he does the one in the north). The biggest construction challenge, and the place where the puzzle feels weakest, is in the SW, where the gorgeous KENTUCKY (38D: Home of Mammoth Cave) gets you into some scary territory in the crosses, with a terminal "C" word over a terminal "K" word; that may seem innocuous, but go ahead and try to take out the answers that are there and put in new ones. It's rough, and even the passable results are not pleasing. CHOO (55D: When repeated, a train sound), IDNO (54D: Fig. on a driver's license), and ROOTY (65A: Like ground around a tree) are all kind of icky, and in such high density their ickiness is only magnified. ROOTY took me forever to get because the only place I can accept seeing that word is in the IHOP special "ROOTY Tooty Fresh 'N' Fruity." To this corner's credit, it has Jack PAAR (53D: Jack who quipped "A funny thing happened to my mother one day: Me") and the lovely ANOUK Aimée (62A: Actress Aimee).

The biggest stumbling block for me, however, was the damn Lawrence Welk clue (64A: With "and" and 47-Down, Lawrence Welk's intro), which is clumsily executed (parts out of order, an "and" inserted in the middle), and which I therefore handled very clumsily. I figured A ONE was followed by AND A, and I knew that "A" was right, so ... despite the fact that I really wanted the (correct) PETITES for 49A: Dress store section, I had PENITES. It was only after I forced "T" in there and let the chips fall where they may that my initial misreading of the clue became evident to me. One more example of why I don't like the "See some other clue" variety of clue.


  • 9A: Valuable violin (Amati) - STRAD is also acceptable in five letters
  • 16A: French-speaking African nation (Gabon) - ooh, I like this
  • 26A: Charisse of "Singin' in the Rain" (Cyd) - R.I.P.
  • 43A: Armchair athlete's channel (ESPN) - one of two channels I watch in the morning (the other is a 24-hr. news network which is a bit like a heroin addiction in that I know it's bad for me but I can't stop)
  • 46A: Grier of "Jackie Brown" (Pam) - "I'm a long-time woman!" - I have this promotional picture hanging on the wall right behind me - just next to Muhammad Ali's autograph - although mine doesn't have the stupid "Parental Advisory" label on it:
  • 2D: Pong maker (Atari) - one of many answers that made me feel like a kid again. See also MARCIE (10D: Friend of Peppermint Patty) and EGGO (56D: Frozen waffle brand)
  • 6D: Bride's worldly possessions (dowry) - this felt strange to me. I don't think I knew that a DOWRY was Everything She Has In The World. I thought it was just an amount paid in money and/or goods to the husband by the bride's family.
  • 28D: Seconds and then thirds (more) - "seconds" wasn't enough for you? You need "thirds" to get MORE? How is "seconds" not MORE?
  • 34D: _____ City (Baghdad district) - I laughed when I was going over the puzzle because I have no memory of seeing the parenthetical part of this clue, and I remember thinking "Wow, SADR's pretty tough for a Tuesday when you've only got [_____] City staring at you"
  • 46D: Us Weekly rival (People) - you can read this crap, fine, but please don't ever ever ever complain about "the media" or how celebrity-obsessed we are and how it distracts us from issues of material importance to blah blah blah. You care about Brangelina's twins? Fine. That's your right. Just never open your mouth to make any kind of social commentary or criticism about anything ever, As YOU are the problem (not "the media," not celebrities). This "shut up" injunction also applies to liberals who smoke. It's your right, smoke away. Just keep your mouth shut about anything even vaguely environmental, you @#$#ing hypocrite. A smoking environmentalist? Really? I'm no advocate of public beatings, but ... next week: why people who talk on cell phones while driving should be literally thrown under a bus. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


JannieB 9:00 AM  

I never saw the theme clue either, so thanks RP, for explaining it. I really like Barry Silk's puzzles - they have a nice flow to them, and have a minimum of pantheonic words. I messed myself up in Nebraska - filling in AXIS and AMPLE on the downs, so I stared at what should be "SERENELY" for a full minute until I figured out my mistakes. Other than that, no real problems.

Parshutr 9:24 AM  

The rant at the end of Rex's comment today reminds me of some of the best of George Carlin.
As to the puzzle itself, I agree that there was a lack of pantheonic words, which levels the playing field a bit...but on the whole, an ez, breezy, nonchallenging bit of Tuesday fluff.

Shamik 9:31 AM  

ROOTY struck me the same way. And is anyone else as tired of Gen'l Robt. ELEE as I am?

Because of the screwy way I solve puzzles I did get down to the clue about the theme and used it on my way back up the puzzle. It's too bad long answers often mandate goofy fill. But then I'm just a solver! Really! How hypocritical of me to spit on any crossword puzzle when I've never even created a wordsearch puzzle! LOL!

Ladel 9:40 AM  


is a rant still a rant if every @$#% word is true? My fantasy for the offenders of boundaries is to have them lashed sans clothes to the mainmast in the winter, and then, say after a day or so, unceremoniously dumped at sea.

janie 9:49 AM  

solved this one with a monday kinda time -- so i found it to be a relatively easy tuesday. but that's tuesday kinda construction, with the overlapping theme fill and the 15 running through the middle, no? and what fine theme fill it is, too. no "blankexpression" on my face. this one leaves me "visibly" pleased.



Anonymous 9:53 AM  

If I were in a spelling bee and given the name of that Cambodian city, I'd have gone for 'pnomh.' Since the second word ends with a seemingly unnecessary 'h', why does the first word put the seemingly unnecessary 'h' near the beginning? The great thing about a well-constructed crossword puzzle is that you can come up correct even when you don't know the answer.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

I've been away for a bit, as I had a busy weekend and haven't even done Sunday yet so I didn't want to log on lest I give myself clues. With three days between Sunday and today I think I'm safe.

Had a harder time with this one than I expected. Mostly due to misspellings on my part (Ideo, rather than Idio), plus I was patting myself on the back with how quickly I wrote "Strad" only to find myself wrong once again.

Still for me, under 13 minutes is good for a Wednesday, so I was pleased.

What? It's only Tuesday??? Damn, I suck.

Oh, and I was with Rex on Dowry, thinking that "Trousseau" was what she brought and Dowry was what was paid, but Wikipedia begs to differ, and indeed cautions that we should Dowry "should not be confused with a bride price, money or goods paid by the prospective groom to the bride's parents in exchange for her hand in marriage." Who knew?


mac 10:26 AM  

Fun and quick puzzle, with only a "huh?" at rooty. It's amazing that Rex manages to bring that word back to IHOP, his favorite breakfast spot.

Started with bathrobes, but was checked by the obla. Looking back over it I wonder what TCBY stands for.

For the record, I use an automatic pencil, Pentel 0.7 or 0.9, the current one Twist-Erase. Beautiful piece of equipment! The only time I don't like pencil is when I do the puzzle in the Sunday Times Magazine, on the slippery paper.

After all the pasta I have a craving for French fries, so maybe fish and chips tonight!

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

IMHO (HAHA) -- this is why STRAD would be wrong and AMATI (obliviously) is correct. Strad is a SHORTHAND for Stradivius ...

So the clue would have (well, should have anyway) indicated an abbreviation like

Valub. Violin

Ok -- now you can see why I don't write clues :)

Anyway, the clue as written forces a full name type answer I think...

So I didn't write in Strad, cuz I knew it was write --

Then again, I didn't write in AMATI either since I never heard of it. :)



Anonymous 10:42 AM  

@ Mac

TCBY is The Country's Best Yogurt - a chain of frozen yogurt stores

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

BLANK EXPRESSION is my reaction to today's puzzle. It will be forgotten quickly. It's Tuesday, what can you do?

ArtLvr 10:45 AM  

@mac -- jl may be right, but TCBY also is a sales slogan: This Can't Be Yogurt!

I did the puzzle in the wee hours, found it super!
My sister used to say "Rooty-toot-toot and rummy-tum-tum" and I have no idea where it came from. A children's book?


archaeoprof 10:46 AM  

Really good Tuesday puzzle. It fooled me a few times: "strad" for AMATI, "bland expression" for BLANK EXPRESSION," and "feature film" for PICTURE SHOW. Loved your rant, Rex. Made me laugh, even though I don't know who Brangelina is...

Anonymous 10:48 AM  


Given Rex is the editor of the main piece,and sitpulating *every word is true*, it can probably be best considered an *editorial* rather than a *rant*.


By the same logic, similar entries in the comments could be considered *op ed* postings.

That way we can assume an implied IMO in yours and a IMHO in ours :).


Jono 10:54 AM  

Brangelina is the unholy union of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie that seems to fascinate about 40% of the country. Of course, any time two high-profile celebrities get involved there has to be some cute combination of their names that saves time when talking endlessly about them...

Scott 10:55 AM  

It is nice to know that I am not the only one addicted to 24-hr news and ESPN.

archaeoprof 11:04 AM  

@jono b: thanks for that clarification. The last movie I saw with Brad Pitt was "A River Runs Through It."
@ Rex: you have Ali's autograph! Wow.

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

@artlvr - your sister was singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," methinks.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

The clue for "womb" could be a bit controversial, depending on whom you ask. Some would say that birth is in the Fallopian tube, since that's where conception is and all that jazz, or in a test tube if you're a test tube baby. I'd say that birth is when the baby actually comes out of the vagina, so womb is strange to me as well, unless the clue is read to mean "a place that's involved in the birthing process but not actually where birth takes place," but that's a stretch, I think.

a guy

janie 11:33 AM  

joanee's spot on:

with little tin horns and little toy drums,
rooty toot toots and ....

only some 180 shopping days...



Joon 11:34 AM  

i dunno about controversial, but the WOMB clue does feel slightly off. whether you believe that life begins at conception or at birth, the fact is that "birth" refers to the baby coming out of the mother. so in that regard, the WOMB is not the [Birth place], but more of a gestation place. of course, i sailed through there without thinking about it too much while actually solving.

good tuesday puzzle. i, too, felt that a lot of the fill was fresh: WEBTV, GABON, AMATI instead of STRAD, DOWRY, SADR, PHNOM. of course, some of the fill was new but not good, as discussed, but they didn't rub me the wrong way too too much... i even managed to parse AONE and ATWO without much difficulty.

Bill from NJ 11:38 AM  

It's a shame (and somewhat self-induced) what has happened to Brad Pitt. He was in Legends of the Fall and an early Tarantino film and I remember thinking: Wow, a pretty boy and a good actor to boot!

I made so many mistakes in the North end of this puzzle IDEO CRIB STRAD that I had to approach from the South. The South was pretty easy and as I dribbled back to the North, I managed to correct all my mistakes and memory lapses -had no idea what WEBTV was - got it eventually via crosses.

Bill from NJ 11:49 AM  

BTW, as former 3-pack-a-day smoker, I finally decided I would quit when my wife and I found out she was expecting. This was June 1990 and I got my ear clipped. The seminar explained it was related to acupuncture. Apparently, this was in vogue then because I have never heard of it since. It worked, though, and I never looked back. 18 years and counting.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

@bill from nj

I also had CRIB instead of WOMB at first. Is it just me, or is somewhat . . . shall we say, un-PC?. . . to cross WOMB with DOWRY? I know it certainly raised my eyebrow a little bit.

I also had trouble with ROOTY. Let out a huge groan when I figured it out.

Despite the fact that this was an easy puzzle, I actually really liked the theme. I happened to work it so that the SE corner was the last place to fill, and thus had all the theme answers but didn't see how they related. So I actually had to think about my answer for DRAW and had a nice satisfying "Aha!" moment when it came to me. I love those.

ronathan :-)

Rob 12:10 PM  

Actually, wouldn't our comments be letters to the editor? Those appear on the editorial page of most newspapers I can think of, not the op-ed page. :)

ROOTY grated on me. You're right. I would have accepted it in the context of an IHOP breakfast, but not in any other sense. :mad:

Speaking of :mad:, don't get me started on people who blindly support these stupid cell phone driving laws without a shred of evidence that cell phones in the car are a safety hazard. Especially on the eve of the new California hands-free "safety" law that means I have to modify my behavior in a way that makes the public less safe in the name of mass hysteria and mob rule. I told you not to get me started!

Anonymous 12:50 PM  


You want a shred of evidence that cell phone driving laws are necessary? One of my oldest and best friends was nearly killed in a a car accident. The cause? The other driver was so distracted by talking on a cell phone that she didn't realize she ran a red light. No alcohol intoxication, nothing. The cell phone was the only distraction. My friend ended up in the hospital for a month, with a broken leg, a ruptured spleen, several broken ribs, and two fused vertebrae in his neck all because this woman couldn't put bear to put down her cell phone until she got home.

So don't get ME started.

Mob rule my ass. How about public safety and common sense? If you're not able or not willing to be 100% focused on driving your car, then don't get behind the $#*^ing wheel in the first place.


Doris 12:57 PM  

Re George Carlin: Jerry Seinfeld (quite a talent, really, despite his pop-culture status) has written an excellent—and mercifully concise—OP-ED piece about the late comedian in today's NY Times. Very well done.

foodie 1:02 PM  

Generally easy and good puzzle, but really did not the cluing of WOMB for all the reasons discussed. Birth happens at a discrete time, whichever you prefer (conception or delivery), but the womb is about nurturing that fetus over a long time. Giving birth-- not the same as giving womb...

The dowry issue is interestingly different across religions. In Islam, the dowry is actually paid by the husband to the wife and her family. According to Wiki, it would be called "dower" or "Mahr", the latter being an Arabic word (and good for some Friday crossword?). The Mahr is a major part of a negotiation in arranged marriages, with a sum paid ahead of the marriage and another paid in case of divorce (essentially a marriage contract). Some families require a very small Mahr up front but demand a very large post-marriage Mahr, to discourage divorce. But sadly, if a woman demands a divorce, she may have to forgo the Mahr...

I wonder what kind of deal Brangelina have... inquiring minds want to know : )

PS re my Avatar: I miss Orange's appetizing slice (although her son is ADORABLE). So, I decided to bring some virtual food to this party. No recipes required!

Pythia 1:04 PM  

A fine rant, Rex. Remember to add ignoring stop signs, red lights, pedestrians, crossing guards, and school buses to the cell phone rant next week.

Fun puzzle.

Am a big fan of having lots of theme material, and really liked this theme. Semi-decent fill. Maybe all of the ickiness was inevitable, with such a constrained grid. Even if, I must admit what bugged me the most was ATE crossing EATOUT.

Love story of the day -- "Eso BESO," AMORE, "Since I MET You Baby"

WOMB clue felt wrong to me, too. It did remind me of some sage advice, which is, never ask a woman if she's pregnant unless you can see the baby coming out.

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

I agree with Ronathan re: cell phones and cars. I've seen too many people run red lights while chatting on cell phones. I was recently a victim of an fender bender in a parking lot-a woman suddenly backing up out of a parking space while...you guessed it. The damage to my car was easily repaired, but what if a child had been walking there?

Just to play devil's advocate, why all the hating on the gossip rags? This will infuriate the sports fans, I know, but following sports is just as much a waste of time as gossip and probably crowds out as much if not more of the important news in newspapers than the "star-gazing". Nothing infuriates me more than a front page story on some local team when we have Iraq and FISA and elections and floods to worry about. For that matter, crossword puzzles are, arguably, also in the category of useless time-wasters, much as I love them. We can be gossip-mongers, sports fanatics and crossword solvers and still take the time to find out what is going on in the real world. So leave the poor People readers alone.

Back to crosswords-what on earth is ISBN?

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

ISBN = International Standard Business Number - there's a distinct one on the front of every book on the copyright page.

Crosscan, trying to stay on the topic of crosswords

alanrichard 1:16 PM  

I wrote roots in quickly and then I got Kentucks?? Its good to see pong again. I remember playing pong for over an hour and then playing space invaders & breakout. I also remember the non-sophisticated graphics that went with combat. The puzzle was easy and its always good to see your blog with a picture of Pam Grier aka Foxy Brown. Considering this was a draw puzzle zI was expecting to find Miro or Ernst somewhere!

Anonymous 1:35 PM  


ISBN= International Standard Business Number?

I always thought it was International Standard BOOK Number.

Anyway, it's an international standard for publishers and retailers to keep track of books and other print media no matter where in the world they are sold (as opposed to, say, the Library of Congress numbering system which is completely different).

Can you tell I used to work in my campus bookstore while I was in college? :-)

Coincidently, speaking of bar codes, the house where I grew up on Long Island is not 10 minutes away from the house of Jerome Swartz, the founder of Symbol Technologies, the worldwide leader of laser bar code scanners. The next time you go to the supermarket, you will probably notice that the scanner used at the register has the word "Symbol" written on it. This is why.

-ronathan :-)

Anonymous 1:35 PM  

The funny thing about the new cell-phone law is that text messaging is still legal! Dialing is okay. So are CDs and other mobile radios.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  


Thought about that, but felt *Letters to the Editor* better fit as analogus to the sidebar emails directly to Rex, who determines which (if any) comments get general *publication*.

An *Op Ed* on the other hand gets published as is, but may indeed generate LTE's, or even other opeds (no matter how you parse it!?).

The main reason for my earlier posting was to suggest implied IMO & IMHO based on the author, but then my *dry humor* has oft been confuse with *sarcasm* --- and I wouldn't have reopened the rant/opinion pen/pencil, speed/ savor threads of yesterday if an earlier post today didn't give me an opening.

As ever, IMHO, ;)

PS: Just previwed this before posting, and see the cellphone/personal rights / and *yeah and ..* thread developing. Interesting how this blog has morphed from a group sharing a common interest (NYT xword), thru a bunch of *friends* exchanging tips, hints, and recipies, to, well, not much about today's puzzle. Mozel Tov.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

Oops...I meant CBs! Haha...does anyone still use them? (Or CDs for that matter.)

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

Crosscan, close by no ceeegar.

ISBN stands for International Standard BOOK Number. Every publisher in the world - in theory - uses this system. They used to be 10 digits but that was recently expanded to 13.

Unknown 2:27 PM  

The ISBN world has struggled with its identity and the information explosion. First, it is BOOK, but that number is assigned to all sorts of media including things published only electronically (like DVDs) and the expansion to 13 digits is a stop gap. Second, to help with the explosion in printed materials there is now an ISMN, International Standard Music Number. More to follow, but I support an ISCN.

A recent controlled international investigation of mobile phones is cited below:
Time: April 2002 and July 2004.

Main outcome measure: Driver's use of mobile phone at estimated time of crash and on trips at the same time of day in the week before the crash. Interviews with drivers in hospital and phone company's records of phone use. (They obtained mobile phone records and noted the time of the call vs. the time of the accident)

Results: Driver's use of a mobile phone up to 10 minutes before a crash was associated with a fourfold increased likelihood of crashing (odds ratio 4.1, 95% confidence interval 2.2 to 7.7, P < 0.001). Risk was raised irrespective of whether or not a hands-free device was used (hands-free: 3.8, 1.8 to 8.0, P < 0.001; hand held: 4.9, 1.6 to 15.5, P = 0.003). Increased risk was similar in men and women and in drivers aged ≥ 30 and < 30 years.

Conclusions: When drivers use a mobile phone there is an increased likelihood of a crash resulting in injury. Using a hands-free phone is not any safer.

Enjoyed this fresh Tuesday puzzle. No mention of winning or losing. No obvious personal references and no theme controversy. An excellent day.

SethG 2:32 PM  

Tuesdays are hard.

I'm not sure what it is, and it maybe has more to do with my Monday night mental state than the puzzles themselves, but I always seem to have trouble with Tuesday puzzles.

I had many of the same problems as others, sometimes stupidly in my case. Couldn't come up with TCBY, and I worked at one for two years. Couldn't come up with WOMB, and I lived in one for almost a year. Couldn't come up with TUDOR, and I live in one now. Couldn't come up with ELENA, and there is no reason that I should have been able to come up with ELENA.

I'll surely do the Wednesday faster, and next week will maybe remember to wait 'til morning to do the Tuesday.

Doc John 2:43 PM  

Nice rant, Rex! I also agree about that ugly SW corner, although ROOTY not only reminded me of IHOP but my buddy Cliff, who used to be their spokesman (now touring in "The Drowsy Chaperone").

Wow, just realized I had "blank impression" not EXPRESSION. When I did it, I thought maybe "imeer" was another variation (hey, why not?) but wondered what "amil" was (probably some crosswordese with which I was not familiar). Wrong-o, Doc! BUZZ! Wha Wha Wha Whaaaa! (Price Is Right loser noise) Missed 2 on a Tuesday! Bleah!

Hotel offering=BATH TOWEL? Gee, I hope so! (Visions of Steve Martin drying himself off with a washcloth.)

A nice bit of synchronicity today: Yesterday I put in that bit about Patti LuPone and her TV series and then today what comes up? The theme song to that series! To clarify, the series was "Life Goes On" and the theme song was "Ob-La-Di"

P.S. The Smithereens have a great song entitled "Maria Elena", too.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

Today the theme slowed me down again. I started at the top and found TOWEL and CURTAIN, so I was looking for linens after that. When I got BLANKEXPRESSION, I spent several seconds trying to figure out how to make it BLANKET______. After deciding my first answer had to be right, I abandoned thematic concerns and just filled in the squares one word at a time. I don't think DRAW was the last answer I got, but it was close to it, and a fun surprise it was.

Apologies to Rex in advance for falling into the derail trap, but how about some actual evidence that cell phones and driving don't mix, instead of a shred: like this, this, and this.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

Wasn't ROOTY the girl from "Facts of Life"? or was it "The Cosby Show"?

Props to my home state making an appearance in the grid today (Kentucky) and the connection being that Rex mentions an Ali autograph which references my home town (Louisville)

Best Tuesday ever!... generally speaking... but not Robt E Lee...

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

Yes, BOOK, not Business. I was distracted because I was typing the answer on my Blackberry while driving.

(that was a joke. I wouldn't want to start something.)

Crosscan, who has a 98% accuracy rate in his posts.

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

Doris, thanks for the info on the op-ed piece by Jerry Seinfeld on Carlin. I really don't like Seinfeld too much, but you are right, it was an excellent article and right on target.

Always enjoy the rants and feedback. Regarding the cell phone while driving, my favorite is the women (no sexism here, I'm a woman) who try to turn onto narrow streets in my fairly small city in their Chevy Suburbans with the phones impaled in their ears, undoubtedly discussing their latest ideas on world peace--if they even notice you, they get aggravated that they didn't have the entire width of the street to execute their turn. Or the car packed with 5 17-year-olds, the driver with the seatback ratcheted down, cell phone in his ear.

But, that being said, is it really any more distracting than satellite radio, GPS systems, etc. My boss has admitted to driving on the highway with his cell phone in one hand, BlackBerry in the other, steering with his knees. People feel like they need to be doing way too much these days.

Looking forward to next week's rant, Rex!


chefbea 2:53 PM  

a fun easy tuesday puzzle

@foodie I love the strawberry. Try putting a lot of them in a bowl and pouring some 99 bananas over them. yummm. better than beets and goat cheese

Mike 3:31 PM  

Wow, for a minute at the end there I thought I turned the channel to Rush Limbaugh--ranting about liberal hypocrisy and whatnot. There are a lot of things that smokers cannot be-marathon runners, taste testers, but saying you cannot care about the planet if you made some bad decisions and are now stuck with the burden of a horrible addiction is BS. I agree that if you smoke and don't dispose of your butts properly you probably shouldn't consider yourself an environmentalist. That's almost as bad as people who call themselves vegetarians and eat a little piece of chicken :)

Rex Parker 3:35 PM  

If everyone smoked as often as I ate chicken, the world would be an astonishingly beautiful place.

imsdave 3:39 PM  

Well Rex, you certainly know how to get your crew going on a Tuesday. I have no commentary on the puzzle, beyond it's being good Tuesday fare and quickly solvable. Loved the chicken comment - you know it was good.

I feel compelled to speak to the rant however. While I don't consider myself an environmentalist, I do smoke one or two cigars a day (never around others). I also have a house fan instead of air conditioning, CF lightbulbs, telecommute 2 days a week, drive sensibly and slowly, have all energy star appliances, and have four cars in the family that range from 28 to 37 MPG.

I think I'm entitled to express my opinions on the environment, unlike it's leading proponent whose house uses 12 times the national average of energy which he justifies by paying for carbon credits.

Hope you all don't hate me now.

fergus 3:40 PM  

Adverbially challenged today, but did fine with the Y in ROOTY!

Expected the Earth sci. to be GEOG, what with KENTUCKY, GABON and TENN.

When I used to do the casual carpool into the City, the worst drivers were those who were listening to motivational tapes. Clearly being oblivious to shame must have had something to do with it.

ArtLvr 4:09 PM  

re WOMB -- the clue should have been "gestation place", not birth place! (but then the cute play on words would have gone by the wayside)

re "Maria Elena" -- beautiful, golden oldie but I wouldn't have said Jimmy Dorsey's, especially! (will have to look it up)...

re ROOTY -- yes, it was in the Santa Claus song! I also figured if there could be a "Twiggy" model's name, why not a "Rooty" as a more earthy type, or rah-rah type, or a kid's version of Ruthie? (just kidding, IHOP validation will do fine....


foodie 4:21 PM  

For a while, I was a vegetarian. I also do brain research and study animals, as well as humans (being as nice as possible to both : ). Some of my friends found the combination inconsistent. One in particular is a law professor who is a very strong anti-animal research activist. Yet he eats meat, wears leather shoes, etc... We used to have big discussions about all this. I felt that finding out how to help people (and animals) with brain disorders was more important than eating steak or having real leather upholstery. My friend begged to differ, yet he is willing to take the meds that research produces while teaching a course that argues against its ethics... It made me realize that there is room for honest people of good will to differ. I think that imsdave's comments exemplify that. We do the best we can, imperfect beings that we are. To my mind, putting other people at risk is the unforgivable infraction, which is why I am much more sympathetic to the cell phone discussion. But there is sooo much that we need to do for the environment, so much room for improvement at every level, that I'm for rewarding the positive steps that people are taking, and hope that as a group, we do much better at cleaning up our act...

PS. Thanks Chefbea1. I agree. Bananas and strawberries is a wonderful combo, with all due respect to beets and goat cheese (and my belated sympathies to Wade for having to put up with the pickled beets).

janie 4:28 PM  

well, (wrong spelling but) there is rootie kazootie



Anonymous 4:29 PM  

Okay -- the only challenge for me was the Amati corner -- Had never heard of that ... Didn't really know Marcie .. and agonize took a second .. but I did get the whole puzzle and I do worse than most of you.

I am with darling, dear Rex on the cross-referenced clues i.e. see 42 down. Just irritating.

Doris -- thanks for the heads up on the Seinfeld/Carlin article. I get the Times (for the puzzle), but I seldom read it -- so now I will read that.

No one ever did tell me what we are congratulating Dr. John for. Hints?

As I am sure many of you know, it is proven that talking on a cell phone is as dangerous as driving drunk. Usually always when I see a driver make a stupid move, it turns out they are talking on a $#*@$# (is that how you do that?) cell phone!

Except for the Lawrence Welk clue, which even now I barely get, the puzzle did not bother me. Just happy to finish it :)

ArtLvr 4:42 PM  

p.s. -- Given the two Lawrence Welk clues today, it was a pleasure to find that Welk did indeed use and record "Maria Elena" in his Champagne Music collection in 1940, a year before Jimmy Dorsey's version!


foodie 4:51 PM  

@marnie, DocJohn and his partner got married in San Diego this past weekend, thanks to the new law in CA. It's been great to see how many of us were delighted for them. While we can be snarky, we're also a warm and fuzzy bunch.

foodie 4:53 PM  

Thanks Rex : ) I will hush for a while, myself.

green mantis 4:54 PM  

So it looks like the Bay Area crossword tournament is quite the poor man's ACPT. Four puzzles, only through Thursday level. They must think we Californians are too high to crack anything more challenging. Meh.

But I'll go if you'll go, Fergus. At the very least, we could stand around and mock people. And then, if we won the big prizes, we could treat ourselves to a stick of gum or perhaps a shiny new pencil sharpener. Shoot, the money might even cover the gas back from Alameda.

I have to go feed the iguanas now. Don't ask.

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

Rex, 24-hr news and ESPN: what happened to the Weather Channel?

I was surprised you were not more apoplectic over ROOTY - regardless of its other uses, is it really a correct description of the ground around a tree?

AMATI is old crossword puzzle fill - it was my first choice. Overall, except for ROOTY, this was an EASY Tuesday for me.

Bill D 5:06 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle - I think we might be too critical in over-analyzing "Birth place" and the order of yesterday's theme clues, eg - sometimes it's just an early weekday! Hated ROOTY, not so wild about ULT, but loved A ONE and A TWO, WEBTV, ATARI, and both GEOL and a reference to Mammoth Cave! To a geologist, the Mammoth Cave KY quadrangle map is THE type-example of Karst topography - limestone sinks. Similarly, the Harrisburg PA quadrangle is THE example of an overlying meandering river.

Even before yesterday's heated discussion about speed solving I had decided to try early week puzzles using only the down clues, as some others have suggested. I cheated a little yesterday, but today I did virtually the whole puzzle this way. When a "Down" referenced an "Across" (like for A ONE and A TWO) I permitted myself to read the Across clue. After I did the downs by clues, I looked at what Acrosses in the grid I could make likely words out of, and went back and forth. Much more amusing for me than just rushing through the puzzle.

I still do my puzzle in ink on the newspaper - I like the feel of the ink flowing into the porous newsprint. Even when I do not stumble over any answers, something around 4 minutes is my best time. I can't, and actually don't, enjoy writing any faster. I like my completed grid to be neat and legible, so rushing through does not help there.

Anonymous 5:06 PM  

thanks foodie ... i kind of guessed that but wanted to know for sure... and though i am new to this blog .. i heartily offer my congratulations too!

Wow, Rex, you kind of went wild, didn't you? well, since i agree with you ... i don't mind.

Rain here in Colorado! Something of a miracle though they predict it every day and are wrong every day!

PuzzleGirl 6:05 PM  

I'm pretty sure it's Dave Barry who said that what we all have in common, every one of us, is the belief that we are good drivers. And George Carlin (RIP) thought it was funny how anyone who drives slower than you is an idiot, and anyone who drives faster than you is a maniac.

dk 6:41 PM  

Well a great day here in Southern Florida. I was not scheduled to wax poetic on creativity and innovation today so I did what any over educated poser would do... hit the beach.

(after doing the puzzle in ink in the aforementioned penthouse lounge. I thought ROOTY was not ink-worthy)

Lunched on Stone crabs and Sangria (both were great) at some Tiki-themed bar while writing a paper on the use of Second Life to foster creative exchange. (insert major poser comment about here) The often heated and familial exchange found in this blog is my inspiration.

On Rex's rant. I was going to do the same after I looked at a USA Today this morning. All of Rex's words work for me only with USA Today as the target. I sure hope it is printed on twice recycled paper.

One more day in the sun and then back to MPLS. The water here is 87degrees.

fergus 6:56 PM  

So, it's Sept. 13 for the first Bay Area tournament. So glad that the entry fee is tax-deductible. I notice that a half hour is allocated for each of the four puzzles.

Yeah, I think it would be fun to go. I'm too slow to have any thoughts of winning anything, though I may lobby for establishing a nice block letters prize.

Joon 9:14 PM  

it does seem to be ACPT "lite." of course, it'll be much smaller than ACPT, with (i would imagine) a much smaller volunteer staff, so i imagine it would be tough to scale it up to seven original puzzles and two days. i read about a similar mini-tournament in ... ohio? i think? ... and it was much in the same vein--four puzzles (the mon-thu NYT from the following week, kindly shared by will shortz). if memory serves, the tuesday puzzle of that set was the infamous SYZYGY-FERULE-PFC puzzle by will nediger that had rex's shortz all in a bunch. that must have been a fun puzzle #2.

i heard some talk that there might be a tournament here in boston this fall, too. maybe it could be the same day as the bay area one and use the same puzzles--then you could compare scores and winners across the two sites.

mac 9:32 PM  

Homer is moving! Rex, how did you include that in the blog? It's fantastic!

Orange 9:44 PM  

Last week, the Chicago Tribune ran a piece on cigarette butts. Each year, 4.5 trillion butts end up as litter, and those butts weigh 1.69 billion pounds. Cigarette filters are made of plastic fibers that break down (not biodegrade) over the years, but that just means that there are small fibers of plastic strewn about the earth. And the carcinogens found in cigarettes, things like benzene? Those enter the environment when people drop their butts on the ground.

So those of you who still smoke, I hope you'll be careful to dispose of your butts in a responsible fashion.

Doc John 10:06 PM  

Hmmm, Sept 13 sounds like a nice time for a trip to the Bay Area...

@ Foodie: thanks for being my voice here. I didn't want to be accused of blowing my own horn too loudly. :)
Thanks for your support Marnie and everyone else, too. I was wondering what sort of response I would get from this community and I must say I'm overwhelmed (even though I was pretty sure it would be positive).
Now, onward to the day when this type of thing will be no big deal!

Anonymous 4:12 PM  

You know, Rex, I love this blog. Like to check in on things when I get stumped and I like to check in when I love a puzzle and want to know what you think.
That's right, it's your blog and you can say and do whatever you want with it.
But people smoke, I smoke. Since you are a Dad you might hate it, or an environmentally aware dude, you might hate it. That's fine. But for someone who comments daily on the veracity of things in general don't you think you're picking and choosing who needs to shut up re: the enviroment and hypocrisy?
Do you use electricity? Oh really? Well shut up because you and your family are belching coal into the atmosphere through your use.
Do you drive a car? Do you own more than one? Oh really?? Well shut up because you are putting much more noxious garbage into the atmosphere with your daily runs to pick up your kid and go to the market than any smoker can achieve in a lifetime.
Now, I will shut up.

David Shepherd 9:34 PM  

I know it's late, and perhaps someone else posted it, but since I've been thinking about it for four days, I've got to say it: Trains don't "go" choo-choo. They may BE choo-choos, but they go whoo-whoo or toot-toot! They do not GO choo-choo.

Musing without a muse 12:24 PM  

In regard to your smoking rant, have you seen Mad Men? This show is set in 1960 (first season anyway). The smoking is everywhere and constant. There were no smoke free areas except at the gas station. It is amazing how much progress we have made with regard to attitudes about smoking. Early in my career I had to share an office with a chain smoker and the boss told me to deal with it. I was the one with a problem being the non-smoker.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP