Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Re-clued RE-words (each theme answer begins with prefix RE- and is clued as if the word were actually two words - so it's like the RE- loses its prefixity in the cluing, I guess)

If a theme can't be described clearly in one reasonably succinct sentence, there's a good chance I didn't like it much. Today's theme was clever, but had a lot of inconsistencies (I thought) in execution. Imagining the answers as two words instead of one entails pronunciation change ... some of the time. The RE- is a true prefix ... some of the time (i.e. I would use the word "admission," but I would not use the word "storation" or "daction"). Wife and I both agreed that while REINHABIT is almost certainly a valid word that someone somewhere has used at some time to describe something, it's still not much of a word. Still, the theme is admirably intricate and occasionally catchy. Plus it was terribly easy, so I didn't have much time to get mad at it.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Talk in one's sleep? (rest oration)
  • 24A: Building the Berlin Wall? (Red action)
  • 34A: Equestrian addiction? (rein habit) - daughter's going to something called "pony camp" this summer. I will surely let you all know how that works out ... anything that makes Sahra more like Lisa Simpson is OK by me
  • 46A: Back burner? (rear range)
  • 54A: Literacy campaign? (read mission)

By far my favorite part of this puzzle is the apt / ironic placement of MOE (11A: Duff beer server on TV ) among three different kinds of alcohol, two of which Moe has probably never heard of, let alone served in his drinking establishment. If there's COGNAC (5A: Snifter filler) or MADEIRA (11D: Dessert wine) at Moe's, it's in a very dusty bottle behind the bar. Moe's best customer Barney is the kind of person who would drink ETHANOL (13D: It gives punch to punch) - straight, if he had to. I should give MOE a little more bartenderly credit. After all, he was once able to produce a very special order for Barney's YokoOnoesque girlfriend without a moment's hesitation: a single plum floating in perfume served in a man's hat. Pretty remarkable.


  • 15A: Building with lots of wings (aviary) - KFC!? No? (very nice clue)
  • 15A: Hobby farm occupant (ant) - is this still a hobby? ANT farms seem sooooo 1950s. Poor substitute for a real pet. Whoa, "ANT FARM" is a brand name! Like "XEROX" and "KLEENEX"! From Wikipedia:

The best-known formicariums are examples of "Uncle Milton's Ant Farm," for which the ants are sent to the purchaser through the mail, upon receipt of the coupon enclosed with the Ant Farm. The educational toy is made by Uncle Milton Industries in Westlake Village, California, and has sold over 20 million Ant Farms since 1956 and which owns the brand name "Ant Farm". This type of formicarium is for observing worker ants and its effectiveness in serious ant propagation is limited.

  • 19A: Dit's counterpart in Morse code (dah) - one of my most hated "words"; reeks of desperation. But that's why it exists, I guess. "Help me DAH, you're my only hope."
  • 29A: Janis's hubby in the funnies (Arlo) - Is this supposed to be more or less obscure than [Folkie Guthrie]?
  • 30A: Old lottery org. (SSS) - that's the draft lottery
  • 39A: Long-horned goat (ibex) - one of many super-crosswordy words today; see also INCA (43A: Atahualpa's people), NENE (62A: Protected state bird), and ADELE (48D: Dancer with Fred)
  • 45A: Chuck wagon load (grub) - great colloquialism
  • 51A: Mag. wheels (eds.) - to explain (because there will be questions from some of you) - a "wheel" is a big (wheel of?) cheese, a higher-up, a mover/shaker, and the big shots at MAGazines are EDitorS, it seems.
  • 53A: Six-Day War arm (uzi) - I did not understand the clue, as I was reading "arm" metaphorically (as an extension). Thankfully, I never saw any of these short Downs in the SW when I was actually doing the puzzle. AIR DUCT (36D: Ventilation system part), SNEEZER (37D: Blessing receiver), and SCARILY (38D: In an alarming way) went right in with no problem.
  • 59A: Suffix with hypn- (-otic) - wife balked at this, as she assumed the "O" went with "hypn-," as in "hypno." I didn't blink at this, though OTIC is its own word and could be clued as such. I might have used [Suffix with psych- or cyan-] here.
  • 9D: Coffee lure (aroma) - must finish write-up quickly so that I can get to my coffee which I can smell even now despite the fact that I haven't started making it.
  • 18D: Hit 1992 U2 "single" ("One") - I see the cute thing you're doing there with the "single" / "One" question. Only it was literally a single, so it's weird to put it in quotation marks suggesting the word's not being used specifically. I actually like this song a lot.

  • 32D: Passe wedding vow verb (obey) - are we sure it's "passé" for everyone?
  • 42D: Report card notation (absence) - teacher wife balked at this answer as well; she assumed "notation" meant something like a check mark. An absence is more like a stat. I had no problem with this clue.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS there was a little get-together of xword "wheels" in NYC yesterday. Here's a pic:

clockwise from L: jon delfin, mark danna, paula gamache, tony orbach, ashish vengsarkar, andrea carla michaels, patrick blindauer (not pictured: robert leighton)


ArtLvr 8:40 AM  

Good puzzle! I wanted brandy for the "snifter filler" at first, but ended up happy -- and thirsty -- with COGNAC, AROMA, MADEIRA, and SOURS, plus the separated SIDE CARS, and the 13D clue "it gives punch to punch"... Down to earth with food FORAGES and GRUB, ON A ROLL and OMELET. Yum.

Loved the "building with lots of wings" and the theme puns, especially REST ORATION and RED ACTION. Yes, I suspect OBEY is mostly out of date.. I hope we'll see more from Rob Cook, chef/sommelier extraordinaire. Bravo!


Bill from NJ 8:53 AM  

Two days in a row problems in Upper Northwest. Had BRANDY and nothing else there.

Had to start in the Midlands and moved South, then up the East Coast. RESTORATION finally broke open the puzzle for me and I was able to repair my mistakes.

Seemed like a lot of problems in only 8 minutes

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

The RE is incidental, the word seen two ways due to the insertion of a space is the gimmick.

SethG 9:17 AM  

I was really surprised to see you say you like U2's ONE a lot. And for no good reason--not only do I actually know very little about your musical tastes, just some tidbits you've dropped over the last year or so, I even had the song wrong. Until I played the video you linked, I was thinking of Numb. Go me!

I somehow liked the puzzle without liking the theme at all. In addition to the issues you mentioned, I thought most of the phrases didn't work as phrases on their own, and most of the clues didn't really work for the non-phrases. RANGE, for example, &ne burner.

Finally, I seem to have lost all ability to spell OMELET. I encountered a vast array of spelling possibilities on a recent trip I took (my favorite: the Spanish "OMULLET"), and now every variation looks wrong to me. But I also saw some fantastic birds on my trip, and I _loved_ the clue for AVIARY.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

Lots of initial mistakes today (Alcohol for ethanol, nono for nene, comic for cynic, das for der) but eventually got them all. (Oh, and is it just me, or is "ethanol" poorly clued? They are talking about punch, right? Like at the prom? Who puts ethanol in that?)

I didn't understand the theme until I worked my way back up to the Northwest and got "Restoration" -- it was my epiphany. "Reinhabit" doesn't bother me a bit (perhaps from Star Trek -- did people reinhabit planets after the population was wiped out by a mysterious alien virus or something?), but "Redaction" sounds like it just doesn't belong with the others ("Restoration," too, I suppose, but it was my epiphany so I cut it some slack).

Not to start on the whole steroids thing again (yet, here I go), but I often wonder how embarrassing it must be for Willie Mays.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

The theme is very odd today.

"Literacy Campaign" is a Read Mission, so far so good.

But dropping the "re" leaves one with "admission" which has nothing to do with either the clue or the answer. I don't get it.

Bill D 10:13 AM  

Came very close to finishing this one on Downs only - PURLOIN, ABSENCE (I'm with Sandy on this one), and MADEIRA (even though I had the "IRA") eluded me. Decided I needed "RE" in front of each theme answer after READMISSION, so that helped.

Artlvr beat me Daddy, five to the bar with the booze references - kudos for SIDE CAR, which I missed! Maybe the appearance of CASINOS necessitated all those drinks.

Rex Parker 10:22 AM  

Does anyone actually read my write-ups?

I'm getting all kinds of mail about what the theme is and how I appear not to understand.

The gimmick is that the theme answers break into two words (as I demonstrate under the heading "theme answers")

So it's READ MISSION. Two words. This is part of the confusion of the theme as it is executed. There are RE- prefixes everywhere (it's clearly part of the theme, not a coincidence), but ... their prefix-ness is largely meaningless to how the theme gimmick works.


Jeffrey 10:39 AM  

Rex, are you still doing write-ups?

This was a weird theme, but strangely one that helped me get answers after I figured it out.

George Carlin's death has made think of whether there is a list of "Seven words you can say on TV but not in the New York Times Crossword".

[Warning - do not read further during breakfast]


Anonymous 10:44 AM  

@Rex - I'm an expert at pony camp. I've stable hopped for many years, and have always advised the trainer to start a Pony camp when they don't already have one.

It always seems harmless enough to the parents at the outset - a nice week or two for their child. What could the harm be? Exercise, fresh air, communing with nature and animals, what more could a parent want?

The truth: Ponies are little girl crack, really, really expensive little girl crack. The helmet she'll need: a $200 version of a $50 bicycle helmet. The riding britches: $200 version of $20 polyester pants. Then camp is over. Her pony is not longer hers, and you have to fix that. And it will never end.

Two other incidental truths: It’s a gold mine for the trainer. And there’s no better way for a child to learn persistence, responsibility and the value of hard work.

Ellen 10:47 AM  

I guess I wasn't a big enough wheel for that get-together.

Orange 11:11 AM  

Ellen, they probably didn't want to wake you so early in the afternoon. :-)

I'm so glad to see a picture of Ashish Vengsarkar in today's post because a friend of mine works with another guy named Ashish and just discovered that the spellchecker thinks the name should be Hashish.

RE- isn't a prefix in REDACTION, I don't think, based on the Latin etymology that's something like redigere. And why does store lead to storage while restore leads to restoration? English is nutty.

jae 11:13 AM  

Not much trouble with this one. Liked the theme because it took a bit of sussing to uncover.

@sethg -- my spelling block was COGNAC. I knew that was the answer but could not visualize the word. That was the last section I filled.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Unlike Rex, the SW was my only stumbling block. Couldn't figure out 53A (UZI) until I had finished. The clue just did not make sense to me. I also made the mistake of putting in EAR for 57A instead of CEL (Disney collectible). You know, like those Mickey Mouse ears you get at Disney World? Hey, it was the only thing I could think of.

Also didn't get ASSORT until later, so I kept staring at _IRD__T for 36D and _NEE__R for 37D, and couldn't for the life of me figure out either one. Had some ETHANOL in the form of COGNAC and the answer FOCI'ed (sorry) my mind.

Ronathan :-)

ArtLvr 11:33 AM  

@ ellen -- commiserations, and words of consolation esp. "We still love you"!

@ bill d, crosscan et al -- thanks for the chuckles.

Humorlesstwit too, on girls and equines -- my daughter was in charge of horses at a Girl Scout summer camp on the Maryland shore years ago, nobody else being up to the assignment. Unfortunately, when the string of animals arrived they all had severe mange. (Talk about a breakfast test.) She rose to the occasion and saw it through beautifully, though it wasn't what she'd signed up for... In fact, she's turned out to be a take-charge type ever since!


Anonymous 11:37 AM  

@ Crosscan
A list of taboo words is definitely in order. Unfortunately REUNE and RECARVE will not be on it. Nor will AHOLE or TIT, apparently.

Found the puzzle somewhat bland, with some less-than-favorite fill (SSS, DAH, CEL). MOE is always welcome, as a barkeep or stooge. Some of the longer words were solid, though (PURLOIN, FORAGES). Somehow I always want to spell it FORRAGES.

@REX What was with yesterday's Spider Pig clip? Did it tie into something I missed?


Anonymous 11:41 AM  

I'm with Orange on the REDACTION question, and will one up her with questioning RE as a prefix in RESTORATION. RE is a prefix in RESTORE, but is it really a prefix in RESTORATION? It isn't modifying STORATION is it? Because I can't find STORATION as a word anywhere.

What's with Santa & Rudolph? The reins? That's pretty arcane, no?

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

@addie loggins
Think of ethanol as Grain Alcohol, with which many a punch has been spiked!

Shamik 11:44 AM  

Sadly...VERY sadly...OBEY was part of the wedding ceremony I attended only this past Saturday.

Wanted BRANDY, not COGNAC, otherwise puzzle fell into place easily. Found the theme to be do-able, but awkward. IMHO.

Margaret 12:19 PM  

My issue with this puzzle was that the cluing of the theme answers only addressed the split word version. It would've been more fun (and more clever) if the clues could have can referenced both readings/versions of the answers.

I got flummoxed in the Southeast where I started out with OBO for the car ads, OSIS for hypn-, and READMITT___ for Literacy. Even with SADDLE in place (being a pony girl, myself) I couldn't get any traction until SAS finally fell (d'oh!) giving me (RE)ADMISSION to the rest of the quadrant.

This also felt like a "been there, done that" theme since we just had a RE based puzzle a couple of Sundays ago.

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

Good, if easy, puzzle. My only real issue is the cluing for 11-A. I don't think the "On TV" was necessary. You either know it's a "Simpsons" reference or you don't.

mac 1:13 PM  

Sorry everyone, but after I finished this one this morning I thought it one of the cutest puzzles I've done in a long time. I did like the theme, very clever, and there are some great words included, and most of the clueing is straightforward and good. I particularly like erudite, purloin, aviary and foci.
Am I being a Polyanna? Maybe, we're having a perfect day in CT.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

Coincidentally, I have a cousin named UZI. And what's more, he happens to be Israeli. And still I had problems with that clue.

I'm with Mac on this one. Liked the theme, and I also thought that a lot of the words in the puzzle were examples of "pretty" words that sort of roll of the tongue IMHO, like ERUDITE, FOCI, COGNAC, AVIARY, MADEIRA and NAIADS.

-ronathan :-)

Doug 1:51 PM  


I read your blog regularly, so in addition to Orange's comment on the get together being eeearly like the crack of noon, it must have not been near the movie theater or the book shop!

I always imagine some NYers to be stereotypical "Kramers" from Seinfeld. When his girlfriend moved away he visited her and packed luggage etc. It turns out she was now living in central Manhattan and not the upper west side!

Ladel 1:54 PM  


of course we read your write-ups, that's why we visit so many times a day. Xword wheels must be very neat people, that's the cleanest post meal restaurant table I've ever scene, must be a hidden clue in there somewhere.

janie 1:58 PM  

enjoyed this puzzle *a lot* -- and for all the reasons previously noted.

today's nyt has a timely take on the "obey" question:

mod'ren marriage



Anonymous 2:29 PM  

So, you're infallible?

fergus 2:53 PM  

I've had fun with some ant farms picked up at yard sales, and then populated -- not with the ubiquitous post-rain household invaders -- but with those bigger ones found off sandy parkland trails. Of course, they didn't propagate, but they did their tunneling and nibbled on the wizzened apple you were instructed to feed them. Didn't realize that one could still send off to Uncle Milton ... . (See, someone reads the whole write-up.)

I liked the sort of awkwardness of this puzzle, and thought that was part of the point and its charm. This felt halfway to the cryptic puzzles where, "as always, mental repunctuation ... is required." Can't use that RE word, unfortunately.

Took a while to label Ambrose Bierce, but I can't really object to his humor being called cynical. Would Mark Twain, or H.L. Mencken fit in there just as well? Also, ASSORT felt a little off-clued, but couldn't say there's anything wrong with it.

chefbea 2:59 PM  

Thought it was a fun easy puzzle. Got cognac right away and had trouble with the spelling of madeira.
Great picture of the xword group!

in case anyone cares - in the stamford advocate food section today is a recipe for roasted beets with feta,hazelnuts, and mint. yumm.
ok no more talk of beets

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

In a food related story, at half time its, Turkey 1 Krauts 1

Did Adele dance with Fred in a movie?

Pythia 3:44 PM  

Didn't we already have a RE theme puzzle a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday?

Have to agREe with REx RE theme inconsistencies. The RE is what causes the five answers to be RElated enough for a theme -- many words in the language that could be tREated this way, so this was a means of narrowing the field.

2 words with Latin roots, 3 words with a simple RE prefix that would only be found at the bottom of the page in the dictionary where there's a list of words that could take RE. REINHABIT is a little rough. As he also said, four pronunciation changes and one not.

Didn't love it.

Nontheme part of solving was pretty snappy. Loved the clues for AVIARY, EDS, NEEDLE, and CASINO. Always prefer to go straight to COGNAC and skip the MADEIRA, if given the choice.

imsdave 4:49 PM  

I'm with Mac on this on - enjoyed parsing it out and agreed with his list of fun words.

@Orange - the first time I sent an e-mail to one of my offshore resources, I just accepted the spell checker and it changed his name from Alok to Amok (I have an Ashish, too). Abishek becomes Banished and Sirisha = Irish.

Good day all

Anonymous 5:02 PM  


Count me in as well. This was one of my favorites. I absolutely enjoyed parsing the words to get different meanings. Even my 17 year old son who criticizes pretty much everything got a kick out of it.

Thank you Rob Cook for a very enjoyable solve.

mac 5:05 PM  

@Doug, you are so right. When we moved from the Upper East Side to Chelsea one friend commented that we were practically on another continent!
@anon 3.40: don't give the score away! My husband is taping the game while washing the cars.

Joon 5:13 PM  

i have an idea for rex: why don't you write something about the puzzle every day? you could use the write-up as a forum to explain the theme and point out some of the clues that caught your attention. if you want to go nuts, you could sprinkle it with tangentially-related images and video links. i think it would be a great addition to this comments forum.

i agree that the RE- is pretty much a red herring. it doesn't tie into the theme at all (unlike with "did you get the memo?" last sunday); it's just another thing that the theme answers have in common. sort of like how last monday's theme answers were all weather-related and from the 1960s. they didn't have to all be from the same decade to make a consistent theme, but it was just one more thing making it tighter. i enjoyed it, even if i didn't figure out any of the parsings except REARRANGE until after solving the whole damn thing. some very good medium-length fill today, though.

Anonymous 5:30 PM  

Is Joon kidding or what? Sarcasm doesn't always play in email. Assume
he or she is being funny. Ha! Ha!

I don't know if this is frowned on but could you tell me where in CT
you are? I grew up in Wilton and have
just a little nostalgia for the place.

I had trouble with southwest -- NENE, PURLOIN and I am embarrassed to say, even, ABSENCE. Loved aviary -- very clever -- and REINHABIT. Also had BRANDY at first but did get COGNAC. What's with that DAH? And I don't get CEL either. But I liked it because I did get a lot of it.

I love the blog, just discovered the day before yesterday so please forgive me if I am breaking any rules here.

fergus 5:31 PM  

Joon, Very funny. I had to read your first paragraph twice -- because I can be a little slow-witted at times.

foodie 5:45 PM  

I did this while on a loooong conference call, in 20 minutes. But I was listening (for true). So, it must have been easy (the puzzle that is). At one point, after REST/ORATION, I concluded that you have to break a word in half to make up two words. It was only when I was almost done that I realized that all the words started with "RE". In a way, that made things simpler, as it’s the “RE” feature that causes all the problems pointed out by Rex and others. If my version of the theme were the right one, then no need to worry about whether "RE" is a true prefix or not, what is left after you remove it, etc... right? Anyhow, I felt that being distracted and only half tumbling to the theme was actually helpful.

Rex, do you know the Shel Silverstein poem "Little Abigail and the Beautiful Pony"? I hesitated about sending it, as it has a tragic ending, except it has this tongue in check little piece at the end... My kids loved Shel Silverstein, and my son, who is now a grown man with a baby of his own, can still recite many of these poems by heart (e.g. about trading in your parents for a better model advertised on TV). But I wouldn't show this particular pony one to Sahra, at this stage : ) Pony
PS.@ Marnie, yes, Joon is kidding, in response to an earlier comment from Rex today: Does anyone actually read my write-ups?

Anonymous 5:51 PM  

I laughed out loud at the reindeer. That sums up my experience of trying to figure out the theme from rein habit and rear range. It did finally dawn on me. Liked the fill.

green mantis 6:16 PM  

Who is this Rex person you all keep referring to?

So speaking of mail order pets (weren't we?), I just ran across an ad for sea monkeys, and they are described in the fabulous cartoony order form as a "bowlfull of happiness." Sic. I don't know about you, but that sounds like something I need.

The sea monkeys are depicted as Seussian-type characters who, among other qualities, are "eager to please" and can be trained to obey commands.

I'm not completely clear on what commands a brine shrimp could obey, unless it's "Be." Or maybe, "Drift aimlessly until I grow tired of you."

I almost tanked the SE today. So on second thought Fergus, I take back my hubris-riddled "bring it on" attitude about the Bay Area tournament. It's an honor just to be nominated.

Bill from NJ 6:21 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JannieB 6:25 PM  

@foodie - I agree with your take on the theme - the first word of every phrase starts with "re" but nothing says is has to be a prefix. I thought it was clever and gave us some nice fresh fill. Well done!

@green mantis - Funny segue from the sea monkeys to "tanking" on the puzzle. So glad we've all found our good humor again! A good, controversial puzzle will bring out the best of us.

(What commentary?????)

Bill from NJ 6:30 PM  

I try not to over think things. I saw this theme as one word beginning RE forming two words that changed pronunciation to form a phrase that was clued. I saw the RE as incidental. REDACTION cemented the deal for me and allowed me to get RESTORATION that broke open the puzzle.

I remember a line from the movie S.O.B spoken by William Holden: "Every time I think I know where it's at, it's usually someplace else.". Overthinking just complicates things. I like to pick my nits in retrospect.

alanrichard 7:19 PM  

I finished this before I even realized the theme. The only thing I didn't know was madiera, which is the price for being a non drinking vegan. Whenever the theme has a repeated initial consonant it makes the puzzle much easier. I was thinking that since Cyd Charisse made the puzzle posthum its time for a George Carlin oxymoron puzzle. I could just imagine the constructors aggressively going through the obits for a reference!

fergus 8:02 PM  

The sea monkey experience was hopeless compared to the ants. And then once kept a katydid, which is kind of like a green mantis, for a couple of days. That was quite a curious insect. Crestfallen hubris aside, will you still be an inaugural participant in the BACPT?

Doc John 8:27 PM  

I wasn't thrilled with the theme but there were a lot of cool words to make up for it: ERUDITE, PURLOIN, NIX, SCARILY, ETCHING.

Interesting, too, how ON SALE crossed another ONLY, with its "on sale"-related clue.

I also liked EPA as a car ad abbr. I was thinking of OAC, WAC, even MPG. Tricky, Sis, very tricky! (Or something like that.)

mac 8:30 PM  

@bill from nj: don't you think most people/solvers pick their nits in retrospect?
If we're going to have a George Carlin themed puzzle it's not going to pass the breakfast test. Bring it on! (hate that expression).
Ulrich must be in soccer heaven right now. I bet he extended his visit to Germany!

mac 8:33 PM  

@green mantis, with your sense of humor we are going to want you in NY next February! Let's figure it out.

Bill D 8:57 PM  

@marnie - "DAH" is the pronunciation of a Morse code "dash"; "dit" is the oral version of "dot". We had a long discussion on this a couple of months ago, before you found us. Joon is a he, and he's kidding...

@tintin - Spider Pig is ALWAYS appropriate!

Back in college we used to liberate pure ethanol (odorless, essentially tasteless, and a full 200 proof) from "Dead Dog Labs" (the organic chemistry laboratory) and spike apple juice with it. We brought this "Apple Smash" to our college hockey games to keep us warm and happy during a long, cold losing streak. Once an usher noticed us carousing and asked what we had in the jug. My friends got real quiet, but I grabbed the bottle, offered it to the bouncer, and said "Apple juice - taste it!" He took a sniff, shrugged, and gave it back. By the third period we were guzzling Nyquil (long story)...

chefbea 9:05 PM  

I will be absent for several days. flying to st. louis tomorrow morning to visit my mom who is not doing too well. Will still do the puzzles

mac 9:06 PM  

@Marnie: there are quite a few of us from CT, including Ulrich who is in his native Germany, most likely celebrating his country's win to reach the finals in the European Cup today. I'm not far from Wilton, it is probably very much like you remember it, but it isn't dry anymore!

green mantis 9:14 PM  

Fergus, the (name) Katydid is more closely related to this particular green mantis than you know. But I prefer to remain mantid in the blogosphere. Much more gender-ambiguous; i.e., conducive to digital friends mistaking me for older gay men which, as we know, brings me great joy.

BACPT--handy pronunciation guide: Backpit, a consolation prize seating area for those who cannot afford front-and-center tickets to the show. But I'll still go.

Mac, if you are suggesting that everybody put their lives on hold to get together and start some sort of drive or walk-a-thon or otherwise put time, money and effort into orchestrating a countrywide action to get me to New York because of my obvious, dazzling, and indispensable contribution to the greater good of crosswordness and humanity in general, I humbly accept.

mac 9:22 PM  

@green mantis: Why not? How good are you at puzzles anyway?

chefbea 9:32 PM  

@marnie - my daughter lives in wilton - very nice there
Maybe we connecticut-ites should get together. would be fun. but wait til I get back

praps we could meet at ihop!!

foodie 9:37 PM  

@ green mantis, I think Mac is suggesting a major gala fund raiser in your honor. But in order to do that, we need to plan an amazing menu and exchange recipes. So, we need dispensation from Rex (and Orange) to make the plans. Can you use your charm and get it for us?

Chefbea1, hope your mother is better. We need you on the organizing committee for the Mantison.

green mantis 9:57 PM  

Hehe. Mantis temporarily red with false modesty.

Mac, not that great. I can finish most of them, but Saturdays may take hours. It would just be to meet you guys, really.

And Foodie, I reside squarely in the pro-gala camp, but am much less comfortable with my own pointy head (in pressed relief? What kind of card stock?) on the invitations. I can commit only to showing up in some sort of ridiculous tutu-based get up, but not, I'm afraid, to employing this alleged charm you speak of on my own behalf.

That said, I'm thinking of a sort of charity casino night, as the puzzle seems to really like poker (as do I, don't tell Rex). I could hold a mixed game clinic and you could run a customized crepe booth. I'm a savory person, myself.

mac 10:01 PM  

@Foodie: see what I mean? We have got to get the mantis there if only for the Friday night after communal games get-together. (I still am uncomfortable committing to its gender, I guess).

foodie 10:36 PM  

Ok, y'all, we have a plan... Poker and crepes. May be some strip on the side, to up the ante (and take off the tutus), throw in a few frequent flyer miles, and we're all set... I had not planned on going myself, but I make a mean crepe ratatouile, so now I have a mission. Mac, you're brilliant! Green (can we call you Green?) consider yourself teleported. But by all means, get together with Fergus and DocJohn in SF in Sept. and let us know how that goes.

Rex, I'm done for today, I promise...I need to be packing and moving back from the Bay Area to the good ole midwest (end of sabbatical). Obviously planning Green's debut is much more fun..

jeff in chicago 10:45 PM  


Pythia 10:57 PM  

I had a fab red-and-golden-beets-with-goat-cheese-and-pistachios starter at a yacht club in Greenwich (Connecticut)tonight. Yummmm!

chefbea 2:29 AM  

@jane doh which yacht club? Belle haven, riverside or Greenwich harbor yacht club

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

Do I comment here or go to today -- Saturday -- blog? Listening to ERES TU and actually LIKE it! I speak Spanish so that makes a difference. ANYWAY -- I am glad I remembered to go BACK and check the Wed. blog today, after leaving a mesage and then sort of forgetting about it.

Chefbea1 has a daughter in Wilton, CT where I grew up! Mac -- where are you? -- saying Wilton isn't dry anymore! What a riot! Few would even know what that means -- no liquor. I live in Colorado now but do return back east now and then. And a mention of something delicious at a Greenwich yacht Club! I went to Rosemary Hall in Greenwich, graduated in 1968.

Now what is this gala you all are cooking up? Maybe I missed the first reference but I do want to know about it.

Today's the puzzle is out of the question for me -- I don't even look at it -- I did do our stupid local paper puzzle. But tomorrow!

Gorgeously cool and overcast morning here. Tell me if I should have written here or gone on to the Saturday blog. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Chefbea1 -- i too hope things go well with your mom.

I am only M,T and W .. and sort of Sunday gal on the puzzle.. am i still welcome here? I hope so!

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

i meant to leave that last comment as from MARNIE but it ended up anonymous. Sorry

Waxy in Montreal 1:02 PM  

Even 6 weeks on, I don't like the clue for 5D., Bumper ____. Answer could just as easily be CROP or POOL as CARS. This isn't the same situation as the clue for 50A., German magazine ____ Spiegel where only one correct answer exists: DER. IMHO, blanks should only be part of the clue in the latter type. You can argue that the answer CARS can be inferred from the horizontal crosses but I'll stubbornly counter that it's a weak clue that can't yield a unique solution on its own. End of rant!

Otherwise, a fine Wednesday puzzle.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  


Not many of us 6wl'ers around these days, it seems. @Doug, @Mac - I moved from the South side of Chicago to the North side and it was twice the change / trauma as when I moved to California later on. I liked this puzzle and did not get hung up on the re's. Anyone have any info on the SF CPT that folks are referring to? thx

- - Robert

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