Monday, July 28, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-medium

Hi, everybody. PuzzleGirl here, still broadcasting from the lovely, although somewhat rustic, Nosara, Costa Rica. Hey, I've got wireless Internet, so I'm not complaining. Today I hope to answer the question that seems to be on everyone's mind: "What do you mean 'blog a crossword puzzle'?!" Seriously. My parents have houseguests and my mom was bragging to them about me having this blogging gig, which is Totally Cute and I can't tell you how much I Love it. But, you know, people who don't read this blog every day have a hard time wrapping their heads around what it is we actually do here. A lot of people pick up a crossword puzzle every once in a while and finish it or not finish it, and when they're done they put it down and forget about it. I know. It doesn't make any sense to me either.

Other people -- like us -- have a completely different experience. Like many of you, I'm sure, I found this blog when I had given up on a puzzle and was Googling for an answer I just couldn't come up with on my own. I loved Rex's writing so much that I started to pop in every once in a while, but it seemed like some days it was hard to keep up. And I hate it when I can't keep up. So I started doing the puzzle every day and checking in here every day. Then I saw Word Play and it was pretty much all over. I was hooked. (Does it bother anyone else that some places the movie is referred to as "Word Play" and others as "Wordplay"? I thought so.) So AddieLoggins and I went to the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in February where we met Rex, Orange, PhillySolver, and a bunch of other awesome people who seemed to be just about as nerdy as I am (I'm not going to speak for Addie). When I got home, I started to look at the other crossword blogs, JimH's and Orange's and … oh my God! Some days there are, like, six other puzzles I could be solving and reading about. I'm gonna need a spreadsheet!

You get the idea. I guess this is just like anything else people are interested in. Once you're into it, there's a Lot to talk about and, thanks to the Internet, you can make it a small part of your life or a big part of your life depending on the size of that part of your brain that obsesses about stuff. That part of my brain is, apparently, relatively large. (I'm pretty sure I just got an Amen from PuzzleHusband.) But enough about me, let's see what I think about the puzzle.

THEME: Site-Specific (72A) -- Each theme answer is a phrase that refers to a specific location.

Theme Answers:

  • 1A/21A: Begin from scratch (start at square one)
  • 41A: Move into the limelight (take center stage)
  • 59A/73A: Be beaten by the rest of the field (end up in last place)
On early-week puzzles I don't generally even notice the theme until I'm done, but this one sort of demanded attention from the get-go with the referential clue at 1A. I'll be honest. That annoyed me a little. But once I completed the puzzle and took another look at it, I decided it was pretty cool that the first theme answer STARTed the puzzle, the second was right in the CENTER, and the last was right where it belonged: in LAST PLACE.

Although we all seem to have wildly different opinions on this every time it comes up, it seems to me that there aren't too many of the old standbys in this puzzle. ERIE, AHOY, ESE, OMEN, EPA, OMIT, AGEE. I don't know, does MANX count? How about STAT, DYNE, and IRAQI? Possibly OHIO and LEES. But that's it. That's all I'm giving you. The rest of the fill was good for the most part and occasionally awesome.

Good Fill:
  • 18A: Tailless cat (Manx). This breed originated on the Isle of Man (not the ISLE of Wight: 25D).
  • 26A: Number of a magazine (issue). Today we get a nice, straightforward Monday clue.
  • 45A: Once did (used to). Have you ever heard someone say they "used to could" do something? Bizarre.
  • 47A: Element of a doctrine (tenet). Also, former director of the CIA George.
  • 51A: Recreation center posting (rules). I was stuck on activities, dances, classes.
  • 66A: Lets or sublets (rents). I kept skipping right over "lets" and reading "sublets" as a noun, so that slowed me down a little.
  • 70A: Peeved, after "in" (a snit). Now this is a phrase I might actually use. (As opposed to "in a pet," which seems to come up relatively frequently in the puzzle, and which I would never use.)
  • 3D: Extremely well-behaved child (angel). I have heard from a variety of sources that my children are angels when I'm not around.
  • 8D: Nasal congestion locale (sinus). Eeewww.
  • 9D: Sam Houston served as its president, senator and governor (Texas). What in the Sam Houston could I possibly have to say about this one?
  • 28D: Unit of force (dyne). Memorize it. You'll need it again.
  • 30D: Cleanser whose name comes from Greek myth (Ajax). Note to self: After you learn the Hebrew months and the European rivers, get a grip on Greek mythology.
  • 31D: High-priced seating area (loge). Not to be confused with luge. Two totally different things.
  • 32D: Performers Peggy and Pinky (Lees). When I was in high school, I was in most of the music groups. In the pops choir, we had a "solo night" two or three times a year. One of my fondest memories of my grandfather is how he went on and on after one solo night about how much I reminded him of Peggy Lee when he saw me up there on that stage.
  • 38D: Nix, presidentially (veto). When my eye scanned "Nix" and "president" all I could think of was Nixon. And all the words that sprang to mind were inappropriate for the puzzle.
  • 52D: Tilts (lists) and 54D: Tilt (slant). Nice.
Not So Much:
  • 19A: Emulate a mob (riot). I always think of a crowd at, say, a concert as a mob. In my experience, though, there is very rarely rioting involved on those occasions. Except at that one Guns N' Roses show.
  • 65A: It's "catchy" (snag). A little too cutesy for my taste.
  • 71A: 7-6, 2-6, 6-4, e.g. (sets). This makes no sense to me at all. Those numbers represent the scores of the sets, not the sets themselves.
  • 42D: Such a jokester (cutup). Not sure what the "such" adds to this clue.
  • 59D: What modest people lack (egos). I guess if you define ego as an inflated sense of self-worth, this clue/answer pair works. I don't know. That's a pretty narrow definition for a Monday.
Awesome fill:
  • 6A: Heart of the matter (gist). Good word.
  • 36A: Woodsy (sylvan). Pennsylvania means, literally, "Penn's woods." Huh. I bet you people in Pennsylvania already knew that.
  • 40A: Coffee, in slang (joe). My favorite slang word for coffee. I just wish the clue had been "Coffee, slangily."
  • 10D: Lurch from side to side (careen). Awesome word.
  • 53D: Ho-hum feeling (ennui). Definitely not a ho-hum word.

I better sign off for now. The monkeys get up pretty early around here. And if the monkeys ain't sleepin', ain't nobody sleepin'. Hope to see you all back here tomorrow.

Pura Vida, PuzzleGirl


Anonymous 9:04 AM  

Thank you, Puzzle Girl for such a thoughtful and accurate assessment of us puzzle people and this puzzle in particular. I agree that the theme on this Monday made this puzzle a little more interesting than it would have been without it. Very easy, but nice for a Monday.

Bill D 9:56 AM  

Great write-up PuzzleGirl (does it bother you that some people use Puzzle Girl and some use PuzzleGirl? - I thought so) although it may have hit a little too close to home! I love self-analysis and the philosophy of the mundane (fill in any pasttime).

"31D: High-priced seating area (loge). Not to be confused with luge. Two totally different things."
Yes - luge is a high-speed seating area.

I did this one Downs Only, which is my early week wont, but was stymied by the splitting of the first and last theme answers, and for having "LEANS" for LISTS at 52D, so I had to "peek" at the acrosses a couple of times. Quite a nice puzzle for a Monday. Interesing that ISSUE and IN A SNIT reappeared so soon after our discussions, whot? By the way, when doing Downs Only you have to take stabs at missing across letters. I had ASN_T filled in at 70A and immediately thought A SNIT, but mentally vetoed it thinking it was to coincidental with the weekend, so I used "AS NOT, which crossed up my OPTIC nerve for a while.

Seeing a lot lately about USAns buying homes in Central America - what's your take from the wi-fi lanai in Costa Rica? Can you see Jurassic Park from there?

Jan Maier 10:16 AM  

Good Morning P G or PG.. as the case may be,
I came upon Rex's blog the same way as you, but it think it was after I saw Wordplay/Word Play. I have yet to make it to the tournament though.

I find reading the blog and comments is as much fun as doing the certainly is an incentive to solve ASAP..sort of like my reward for doing so.

I'm laughing all over again at that funny dialogue about ennui and "off-ui" from the Gilmore Girls. That was such a "smart" show in so many ways. Thanks for including it.

Bill from NJ 10:20 AM  

Nice little puzzle. I'm reminded of the Red Queens advice to Alice:

You start at the beginning, go through to the end, then stop.

I liked the orderly way this puzzled was laid out. START at 1A, PLACE at 73A, CENTER in the center and the first part of each two-part clue laid out symmetrically.

For a low degree of difficulty puzzle like a Monday, this is as good as it gets.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Hilarious YouTube clip about ennui. Have never seen Gilmore Girls so i will have to check out that show.

Puzzle was

Richard Wells 10:20 AM  

NYT crossword in Costa Rica v. NYT crossword in gray Seattle, eating yogurt with an antibiotic before going to the dentist.

Is there no justice?

42D - "such a," adds regional color, I think Manhattan.

Unknown 10:21 AM  

BTW, having met PG, I can report that she is lovely, kind and sparkly, just as she comes across in her crossword blog.

The regional phrases that I have heard traveling across the country could fill a book, but some of them I couldn't fully explain a la 'used to could' " I shoulda did it" and 'in a pet.' I have been to an education conference and a side conversation came up involving the different words for a piece of play ground equipment. Here is what was mentioned: A tilt, teedle board, tilting board, totter, teeter-tooter, dandle and a seesaw. I knew it as a teeter-tooter and we had some rhyme we sang while we did it, but I forgot the punch line...teeter-tooter, bread and water...?

Nice debut puzzle and I hope the constructor checks in and introduces himself.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

started to say the puzzle was decent for a Monday. have to remember to try 'all downs' as a way of challenging myself on early week puzzles, but i am so used to not even putting pen to grid without at least 1 cross that it will take some discipline to get through it that way.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

When I completed this puzzle at home I was having trouble accepting "EGOS" as an answer for "modest people", but now that I think about it again I like it.

I was originally thinking of modest with the definition of prudish, and I know many prudish/reserved people who have big egos. But, when you think of modest as "self-effacing" it then makes sense.

I was waiting for someone to ask what a "Christmas Seal" is, since I can barely remember them myself. Do they still even exist? Neither my wife or I could remember who issued them this morning. Was it the lung society?

Now, the Hot Dog/Relish answer clue means that being from Chicago I must list the acceptable toppings for a Hot Dog:

Raw Onion
A pickle
Sport peppers
Celery Salt

nothing else, and certainly never ketchup. Several places in Chicago won't even put it on if you ask. They might have a bottle on the side, but they make you put it on yourself.

Jeffrey 10:48 AM  

Hi all. I sailed back home yesterday on the big boat as fergus referred to it on Saturday. (BC Ferries Vancouver to Victoria)

Very nice Monday puzzle. I sailed through it too but I am a sucker for themes that refer to the puzzle itself.

So how do I explain what I am doing, PuzzleGirl? I comment on the comments of a guest-crossword blogger. Not a job description that existed 100 years ago. Or 3 years ago.

Margaret 10:52 AM  

My freshman college roommate was from Waco and she said "used to could." She said it was a TEXAS thing. Maybe Wade can weigh in on that.

A very fun Monday puzzle. And a fun Monday blog. Thanks again to Puzzle Girl for the blog and the great visuals. (Love Lurch!)

miriam b 11:18 AM  

DANG. My original post got deep-sixed somehow. Trying again. BTW, I notice double postings from time to time and I believe this happens because the acknowledgement of one's messae is so slow in appearing that it looks as though it didn't go through. Patience!

Anyway - good Monday fare, enjoyed with coffee on a recently rained-on but unexpectedly cool front porch.

Yes, Christmas Seals are issued by the American Lung Assoc.

BT 11:19 AM  

thx for the gilmore girls clip. funny, and now I'll finally remember ennui.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Sorry about Puzzle Girl, PuzzleGirl ... won't do it again.

Shamik 12:02 PM  

@rwellsrwells: Best of luck at the dentist's.

Nice puzzle for a Monday. Good write-up, PG!

Ok...on solving. I need to know how odd I might be. To solve, I start at 1A, if I get it, I then go to the last letter of that word and work down. Next word solved, I again start with the last letter. If I don't know 1A, I go to the next across clue and work the final letter thingie again. If I don't get the word on the final letter, I go to the next to last letter, etc., etc., etc. Odd? Or do others do this?

Loved SYLVAN. Haven't seen that before in a puzzle!

RELISH is something I truly dislike. As a joke in my family, I once stated that there's no reason for relish because it doesn't make ANYthing taste better. The term has evolved to include anything that is unnecessary: "Oh...that's just relish."

Finally getting some rain on the western slopes!

eliselzer 12:04 PM  

Good write up, today! I used to live in Atlanta, and "used to could" (or, more accurately "usta could") was VERY common. I was considered strange for not saying it. People there also refer to putting something away as "putting it up," talk about "having their picture made," and are often "fixin' to do" something. This is all part of the reason that I now live in Los Angeles.

And thanks to JiminChicago for mentioning the perfect hot dog. Saved me the trouble. If you're in Chicago and looking for perfection, I recommend Hot Doug's. Just fantastic.

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

Shamik - when working an easy puzzle I do something similar. I begin with the 1A and then try to work down to the SE corner. If I get that I then start in the middle and work up to the NE and down to the SW. THen I fill in the rest. I guess its just a little game to keep me interested in an otherwise boring puzzle.

I've also been known to work my way around like a spiral. I start at 1A, work across the top, down the right, across the bottom, back up the left and then continue around and around until I'm in the middle.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

@jim in chicago - Don't you get dizzy?


Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Woodsy...? sylvan...? I don't get it.

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

I'm scratching my head, why is the picture of Lurch next to GIST?

Overall good Monday puzzle.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

@karen: 10D Lurch from side to side (careen)

Bill D 1:12 PM  

AHOY, Hot Dog Fans, TAKE CENTER STAGE! Finally, some food I can get behind after all those ENNUI-enducing beet stories!

I made my wife and I Chili Cheese Slaw Dogs last night - big shot of spicy mustard on a bun toasted w/melted cheese, then a fresh dog slathered on one side of the bun with spicy chili and the other with cool creamy cole slaw - ecstacy!

Personally I take ISSUE with all that salad on a Chicago dog, and I'm no fan of typical hot dog RELISH, but I agree that ketchup on dogs breaks the RULES of good taste AND HOW!

In Northern NJ where I come from we have a different SLANT: the Italian Hot Dog. Half a pizza bread (same dough as the pie, round and slit open like a pita pocket, get the GIST?), spicy mustard, two Sabrett's dogs, sauteed peppers & onions, and topped with home fries. Yum! Nothin' finer. The mental AROMAS have me DYNE for a BYTE.

One recipe I've yet to try is Venezuelan Hot Dogs - steamed dogs & buns with CUT UP raw onions, cabbage, and crumbled potato chips squirted with a RIOT of GOOP: mustard, mayo, and ketchup. Seems to violate some basic dog TENETs, but it's supposed to be fabulous. Once saw a minor league ballplayer from Venezuela eat half-a-dozen IN ALL before a game. Can't imagine he stole any bases that night! Keep it up and his team will END UP IN LAST PLACE.

@anon: Woodsy like a SYLVAN glade. Translyvania, of Dracula fame, means "Across" or "Beyond the Woods."

dk 1:35 PM  

@karen, I think Lurch relates to CAREEN.

@anon at 12:47, think/research SYLVAN glade and you will see the forest for the trees.

Puzzlegirl, great job. I found Rex when I was searching for the NYT puzzle on line. As you might imagine I would never, ever, try to look up an answer.

I have visited other blogs but I have to limit my puzzle time as my lovely wife taunts me by telling all who will listen that puzzles are a substitute for sex. If only she had paid attention in her psych class she would know that puzzles and coffee are a substitute for life itself.

When I am in Costa Rica I tike to dynamite bone fish. Saves you a lot of time that you would otherwise spend casting about in warm water on a relaxing sunny day.

Oh yeah the puzzle. No joho today as I began at SQUAREONE with START and then I ENDUPINLAST PLACE. My pen only hit one SNAG when it wrote odds instead of SETS. I gave said pen a sound thrashing and I was done in under some small number of minutes. Great Monday puzzle Roger, may we have some more please

I was Furminating (see blog chatter from about 4 weeks ago) my step cat yesterday so I got a chuckle out of COMB. Speaking of Furminators, thanks to this blog I have found the gift sensation for the summer.

Great article on Insights in this weeks New Yorker. Back to the world of Intellectual Property for me.

Ulrich 1:38 PM  

I finally have something to contribute: Re. all things ending in "sylvania" or "sylvan"--it all goes back to Latin "silva"--forest.

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

I thought that the answer to (Nix, presidentially) was Rich.

abnorma 1:58 PM  

@PhillySolver I'm originally from NYC and we said "see-saw". Also had a rhyme that went "See-saw knock on the door (but if you're from the Bronx, say 'daw'")...more regional stuff.

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

I forgot to mention earlier that to be truly official the relish on a Chicago Hot Dog needs to be NEON green. Also, the dog itself needs to be Vienna Beef, nothing else will do.

miriam b 2:11 PM  

@phillysolver and norma: I grew up in Bridgeport, CT, and we invariably said "seesaw". BTW, the poem I knew was a nursery rhyme which, according to this link,

has historical significance - as do so many innocent-sounding children's poems. I have a book called The Annotated Mother Goose, which is an eye-opener. I also have The Annotated Alice, also fascinating.

fergus 2:45 PM  

Moishe's Pipic, on Hayes in San Francisco is the only place I've found that goes to the trouble and expense of getting that special NEON green Chicago RELISH.

That ODIST Keats made his Grecian Urn, or an image thereon, a SYLVAN historian ...

I was just looking at the RH dictionary to see what exactly constitutes a GEM, and found definition 4. muffin ???

miriam b 2:58 PM  

@ fergus: I've seen the term used in old-fashioned oookbook. Here's what an expert has to say:

gem pan; mini muffin pan

A miniature muffin pan designed (depending on the pan) to make 12 to 24 tiny muffins about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. "Gem" is an old-fashioned reference to a small (nonyeast) bread or cake.

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

dk 3:04 PM  

@puzzlegirl this is for you:

Orange 3:04 PM  

Hey! What? I thought I posted a comment a few minutes ago. I ranted about hot dogs. No point repeating all that.

I also said that Wordplay, the movie title, is one word. In the movie, Merl Reagle splits it into WORD and PLAY in the puzzle he's constructing, but that's just because an answer with an even number of letters can't be centered in a grid that's got an odd number of columns.

Doc John 3:38 PM  
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Doc John 3:46 PM  

This one took me a bit longer for a Monday. Could have been because I was using a pen and wanted to have a clean grid, because I wasn't in "speed mode", or because the puzzle was a little harder than usual! Anyway, it was a fun Monday and nice way to start off the week.

I never thought of LOGE seats as expensive. They're off to the side as opposed to orchestra which are more in the center. I guess it's more of an old-time thing with the fancy pooh-bahs up in their boxes.

At least ISSUE was a little more directly clued today. To the person who challenged the veracity of my medical degree on Saturday, not once have I heard anyone say to a patient, "How many issue do you have?" Yes, I suppose you could say that children are the issue from one's loins but in that case are you prepared to equate other things that issue from the human body to that word? *wink*
In any case, the usage of the term in the way clued on Saturday was new to me. I doubt I'll soon forget it, though.

Speaking of the veracity of my medical degree, when I was in med school at the U of Miami a movie called "Bad Medicine" came out about a guy (starring Steve Guttenberg, I think, and the ditsy woman from "Airplane") who studies medicine in the Caribbean (or was it Mexico?). The tagline read, "He couldn't even get into Miami." Ugh, that hurts. (Even though what they really meant was that Miami was the southernmost med school in the continental US and so he had to keep going south to find one to take him.)

Speaking of movies, did anyone else like the movie "Center Stage" about aspiring ballerinas?

I refer to it as a "seesaw" but whenever I hear that term I harken back to when Bobby and Cindy Brady tried to set a teeter-totter record. (They didn't.)

To those who are having difficulty with repeat postings, etc. what I always do is to click on Preview before actually posting. That assures me that any html is correct and also allows me to check for errors. When I'm happy, then I click Publish.

Finally, my band's concert last Saturday was our best yet. The band sounded great and the audience was very enthusiastic. Our next concert is Nov 15- mark your calenders!

Anonymous 4:20 PM  

Nice commentary, PG. I never heard the idiom "used to could", but one of my favorite mystery authors, Margaret Maron, has a series set in North Carolina where older natives apparently have a double conditional "might should have"...

In upstate NY and sometimes in the nearer midwestern states, we frequently hear the odd idiom that sounds like "Allss" as in "Allss I want for Christmas"... My guess is that it derived from the Dutch or Pennsylvania Dutch (German) like "Als ich kann". ?

Thanks to Roger Baiocchi for a delightful debut!


Anonymous 4:28 PM  

@ doc john -- Congrats on your successful concert! I'm sure great melodious sounds issued forth... legit, but certainly not from the loins.


chefbea 4:29 PM  

Have to have chili - the hot spicy kind on a hot dog. If not chili then use relish. and speaking of relish, I make a mean green tomato relish at the end of the season. It's good on anything.

@miriamb in St. louis we sang the rhyme see saw Margery daw.
and also the food lovers companion is a great book. I used it all the time when I did my radio show on cooking. Lots of good facts

Fun puzzle today and good write up. As I said yesterday I will probably be absent for a while. Going on stacation (as our governor calls it) but i will of course be doing the puzzles.

ArtLvr 4:35 PM  
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ArtLvr 4:38 PM  

p.s. Is no one speaking up for wieners with sauer kraut??? And why do I periodically lose my blue/orange status?

Anonymous 4:39 PM  

@dk: I must be dense, but exactly what do you mean when you say "no joho today?" And on Sunday something about a joho but without the victory?

Anonymous 4:46 PM  

I like to do my early week puzzles Acrosses and Downs only, in ink, on newspaper. But that's just me. It's the same method I use for later week puzzles as well.

Hot Dogs are tasty on poppy seed buns as well...
Ketchup or Catsup? TSK!

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

Oh, and sauerkraut is reserved for polish sausage, not dogs...

dk 5:36 PM  

@joho, it means taking time and savoring the puzzle as you posted on Sunday. You are not dense... my sense of humor is well... SYLVAN, as in thickly wooded.

@doc john, I use the preview function as well, for me it helps avoid the most glarrrring mis-steaks :O

@chefbea1, have fun.

mac 6:06 PM  

I had my second hotdog of the year yesterday at lunch: poached Hebrew National on a toasted Trader Joe's whole wheat roll, with warmed sauerkraut and Dijon musterd. And: last night I saw, on YouTube, a tiny puppy in a hotdog roll!

@PuzzleGirl (had to double check how it was written), thanks for the wonderful write-up. I also find incredulous expressions on the faces of friends and family when they realize how seriously I take this XWP business. It's easy to shut them up by asking how much time they spend playing bridge, playing golf or watching sports on TV! Lately some of them have been more interested because they have read it can stave off dementia.

I thought this was a beautiful Monday, with an impressive theme. Easy as it should be, but with great words here and there. Nice how two English Isles were in it (son has a Manx, quite an unusual cat).

I had to LOL when I read the comment about Nix and Rich!

P.S. Where do I find these furminators?

P.P.S.@Crosscan, I'm on my way to Vancouver next Sunday, any suggestions on what we need to see in the three days we will be there?

Anonymous 6:09 PM  

@dk: Thank you! Pulling a joho here is a good thing then. Back in college I used to pull a Hawkins (maiden name) and that meant taking an exam cold: no studying. I always passed but certainly not with the grade I should have strived for. Not proud of it now. However, a joho regarding the puzzle is definitely something I believe in and highly recommend!

And, your sense of humor is not Sylvan!

JannieB 6:14 PM  

Late to the party today - enjoyable debut puzzle. Made for a very nice Monday solve. And I broke 5 minutes for the first time since I started watching the clock. Not sure I will continue to time myself, it sort of diminishes the experience.

I've been using the links posted here to attempt some other puzzles available on line. It's nice to see some familiar names on the by-line. And for the most part, the puzzles are good practice for the "big time".

@artlvr - I think the blog master wants us to reestablish our identity periodically - maybe as a security measure. To me it's a royal pain. Who knows.

Hot dogs? Love Nathan's. But Sabrett's brings back fond (no, I'm not kidding) memories of living in Buffalo - Ted's on the Lake for lunch - yummmmm! Favorite way to cook them is sliced down the center, layer in some good cheese, wrap in bacon then grill. Talk about a heart attack on a bun!

Jeffrey 6:25 PM  
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Jeffrey 6:26 PM  

@mac - Stanley Park which houses the Vancovuer Aquarium and Granville Island are must sees. The shops on Robson street.

If you have time for a day trip to Victoria you get a beautiful ferry ride where you may see seals or ORCAs if you are lucky. Also can tour the wonderful BC Provincial Museum in the Inner Harbour and Butchart Gardens.

Bill D 7:17 PM  

@Doc John - It was me who joked about ISSUE the other day. I hope you didn't think I was actually demeaning your medical degree. I just assume that all ribbing on this blog is done good-naturedly and I certainly wouldn't want to get a reputation as a troublemaker, like dk. See how that works? Anyway, we're good, right?

Love the "frank" discussion. I also love the street vendors in NYC. They have a big plastic bottle of brown mustard with a cylindrical plunger in it. When you order mustard they slather the mustard sticking to the rod onto the roll. The traditional guys have two toppings - either 'kraut or a particular kind of sauteed/steamed onions in a reddish sauce. I discovered one hot dog no-no by accident when my wife once came to pick me up in the city. Knowing I hadn't had lunch and my fondness for my corner pushcart she ordered a couple of dogs with both sauerkraut and onions. Yeesh! Not the done thing. Don't try that one - keep 'em separate, maybe have one dog with 'kraut and one with onions, but don't combine 'em!

Luke 7:30 PM  

A good Monday puzzle for me but I got really stuck on the S area. I couldn't get the word sylvan (what word begins with syl?!). I also had clown for such a jokester instead of CUTUP which slowed me down quite a bit. I have no idea why I messed up on TENET which probably would have led met to CUTUP which would begin the across with RU which would indicate RULES. I've never heard the word ennui used in English but used i t a lot in French. The cross between the writer James AGEE (I try to avoid Googling authors but this time I couldn't even start) with SNAG which kept me stuck for a while. Actually one clue I don't get here is LISTS for Tilts. The google does nothing.

Overall a fair Monday crossword: able to finish most of the puzzle in 10-15 minutes and spend the last ten hacking out words I don't know.


I hope you enjoy Vancouver as it's a beautiful city. I'd suggest the Shakespeare festival but it's impossible to get tickets now. Also the fireworks are in town for the next little while.

JannieB 7:43 PM  

@omnie - if you visualize a sailboat racing through the water and tilting on its side, in nautical terms it is listing

Orange 7:43 PM  

BTW, I forgot to issue a cautionary note about the Furminator. I heard raves online so I told my two-dog sister to get one. Two days later, her floors were covered with freshly shed, non-Furminated dog hair, so your mileage may vary.

Luke 7:53 PM  


Would have never have guessed that. I don't know anything about sailing and would have never associated tilts with that.

Doc John 8:00 PM  

@Bill D- yes, we're most certainly good. :)

alanrichard 8:15 PM  

You guys are sooo funny. There is more about hot dogs than the puzzle. I guess that Monday is sooo easy that its hard to RELISH in it. I'm VEGAN so I'm not really in the hot dog venue - but I did watch Joey Chestnut beat Kashoggi in the Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest.
I buy the Times out of habit and do the puzzles Monday through Thursday but I really only enjoy the challenge on Friday & Saturday. At work we do the Times everyday but we also print out The Brain Bashers Sudoku just for a challenge early in the week.
Anyway PG, nice write up. I agree, you start looking forward to the commentary on the puzzles and look at them from a more expanded perspective.

Luke 9:03 PM  

Rather amusingly I am reading a book that just used the words TENET and ENNUI within a couple of pages of each other. I love how these crosswords have actually improved my literary comprehension.

dk 9:27 PM  

@orange, having furminated a step cat and dog I had no ambient fur problems. My last step is a hardy fur rub to get rid of stray fur.

miriam b 9:36 PM  

@orange: I furminated all 4 cats today and got varying ammounts of hair, but no subsequent accumulation on the floors. I'm eager to find out how two of my daughters made out with their furminators. One has a very hairy dog and the other has two even hairier cats.

jeff in chicago 9:51 PM  

a) Not a big hot dog fan. Eight years in Chicago and I have had exactly one Chicago-style dog. On the other hand, when I am in any sports stadium, I always have a hot dog. I am not a fan of any of the big sports, so my stadium adventures usually revolve around drum corps shows.

b) An early-week puzzle-solving method I sometimes use is to find the route from the NW corner to the SE corner that requires the fewest connecting words and try to solve those first.

c) There's a coffee shop down the street called ENNUI. I always thought an odd name for a place of business.

d) phillysolver -- Teeter TOOTER? Never heard that. We called it a Teeter-totter.

e) ...and since billd brought them up ... MMMMMM...BEETS!

Anonymous 9:51 PM  

@jannieb -- I think "heeling" is the term for a sailboat's leaning position as a result of the wind, while "listing" has more to do with any craft's tilting over, usually signifying a problem.

Anonymous 10:03 PM  

For all you kraut lovers:
The 42nd World-Famous Sauerkraut Festival will be July 31 to August 3, 2008 in Phelps, NY, just so you know. See: for details.

JannieB 10:04 PM  

@karma... You're right - i always get those two mixed up. Sorry for the confusion Omnie.

fergus 10:04 PM  

alanrichard, maybe it was meant as tongue-in-cheek but it's Kobayashi who's the former hot dog champ. Kashoggi was a noted arms trader. That competitive eating thing is so appalling, yet strangely compelling for the same reason.

mac 10:33 PM  

Thank you, crosscan and omnie, for your tips. I've put them in our Vancouver/Alaska/Portland Ore. trip file. Isn't it great to escape the heat of August?

Furminators and hot dogs are two subjects that don't go together well; I have visions of..... you don't want to know. I actually saw that hotdog-eating contest on the
4th of July, while eating my first hotdog of the year! Let's talk about sauerkraut in a month or two, I've got some great recipes and variations on the classic ones.

I'm going on-line to look for the furminator and for a dancing hula-doll dashboard thingy.

mac 10:56 PM  

@PuzzleGirl, just reread your write-up and realized I had thought earlier that you were talking about your children getting up early. D'oh!

Bec 12:13 AM  

Puzzle Girl - we may be BFFs :) I share your obsession and came to this site about the same way you did. Here is something I wrote about this a little while back:

Thanks for a good Monday post.

crackup 1:21 AM  

Great blog PG. Don't worry every child is an angel when not around the parental units! The same was said to my mother about me.

jae 3:06 AM  

Very late, but just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your write up. You did a great job of explaining how this peculiar addiction happens. I too have a spouse with raised eyebrows (although she helps a lot being multi-lingual) but I'm hooked so what am I going to do?

Anonymous 4:20 PM  

What a great compliment from your grandfather.
Peggy Lee is so suave and such a talent.
The write up was very informative, too.
Enjoyed the clip from Gilmore Girls as well.

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