Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: SHAKESPEARE quote attributed to Sam Goldwyn: "Fantastic! And it was all written with a feather!" (letters of SHAKESPEARE appear, in reading order, in circled squares throughout the puzzle)

REX PARKER remains on vacation in New Zealand.

Thus: I am officially not here. Not blogging. On vacation. But I can't help myself. So I'm going to mutter a few things and then let one of my surrogates take over. I had a rough time with the quote, as it requires punctuation after "FANTASTIC" to make any sense. It's not a great quote. But I'm terribly impressed that this puzzle could get PHLOX (49D: Jacob's-ladder, for one), BWANA (47D: Swahili form of address), SWALE (34D: Low marshland), and ARHAT (2D: Enlightened Buddhist) into the grid and still remain Wednesday level. And, as always, I'm impressed with Laura LINNEY (9D: Leading lady Laura), however, whenever, and wherever she appears.

Full write-up forthcoming later in the day.


PS New York Magazine on-line had a nice little write-up of this blog in its Culture Vulture / Agenda section yesterday, 7/29/08. I love publicity, but being on the other side of the world when I get it is surprisingly disconcerting. Like it's not really happening ... or like somebody fabulous and famous (say, Laura Linney) is phoning me at home, and I'm not there to take the call.

P.P.S. Ms. Linney, if you have indeed been trying to reach me (as occasionally happens in my dreams), I'll be home soon, I swear. Please call back.

And, surrogate SethG here with the full write-up. Or full~ish. I never really clicked with this puzzle, and I fear that my write-up will be as scattershot as my solving approach was.

Where do I begin? I guess in the middle, since Rex already hit the high points.

Okay, I’ll start with NATAL (19A: Birth-related). Still no kid for the very pregnant couple living with me until yes kid. Why I’m thinking about it right now: it’s 90 degrees in Minneapolis, but the mom-to-be has my air conditioning turned up so high that I’m wearing pajamas, a sweatshirt, and covered by a blanket as I lie on the couch writing this. Brr.

(And if there’s still no kid this weekend we may play poker, and if we do they’ll both be there...)

Stuff I liked:
A friend of mine is a fellow Carleton ALUM (15A: Homecoming returnee) named Laura. Not Linney, but still a good enough excuse to link to a song of hers. I saw her in concert last year in Melbourne, a fantastic show but my camera was stolen the next day so I don’t have any pictures. But I do have a picture from a month earlier in New Zealand, where I happened to stay on a sheep farm not long after her parents did. It’s a small, small world.

I don’t need to use any BEE (24A: Comb maker) products—I shaved most of my hair off this weekend. Finally.

I don't like LIMAS (55A: Succotash ingredients), and don't like the use of the plural, but I love the word Succotash. For obvious reasons...

I think we’ve seen AWN (48A: Foxtail feature) and HEISTS (44D: The job in “The Italian Job”, and others) and ATTIC (33D: Dusty place, traditionally) and SIP (45A: Hardly a gulp) recently.

KNEECAP (25A: Gangster’s target, maybe) crosses SMACKDOWN (8D: Wrestling show).

One of the reasons I chose Carleton was because it had no frats, but I still enjoy a good TOGA (54D: “Julius Caesar” costume) party as much as the next guy. In honor of PuzzleGirl’s last day in Costa Rica I bring you the following:

Yes, I know, I’m kidding. But boy there was a lot I didn’t know in this puzzle.

What I didn't know:
ARHAT (2D: Enlightened Buddhist). Like Teddy? Would you say that (Salinger’s) Teddy has achieved arhatship? That’s just a weird word.

PHLOX (49D: Jacob's-ladder, for one). Jacob’s ladder is a biblical Stairway to Heaven and a 1990 horror film, but I think this clue is about plants. That’s just an ugly word.

BWANA (47D: Swahili form of address). My roommates live in Uganda, were there’s a bit of Swahili but mostly not. I spent time with them there, and also in Tanzania and Kenya, where it’s the dominant language, but none of us knew this.

(5A: Goober) PEAS. Uh, what? Maybe that explains why I never liked the candy. And I don’t remember hearing of SADA (18A: Thompson of TV’s “Family”), so I had a lot of trouble with the Idaho region. I originally had MASSES instead of PASSEL (5D: Large quantity), and SYL (29A: Word part: Abbr.) is an awkward Abbr. so it took me a bit to work my way out.

PEAS is just one of what seems to be an abnormally high number of fill-in-the-blank clues. Also:
  • AT AN (40A: Undisclosed location)
  • PHD (49A: Candidate)
  • “GODS (62A: and Monsters” (1998 film))
  • “NOT (11D: an option”)
  • TRA (12D:-la)
  • (26D: Magna) CARTA
  • ELLIS (30D: Island, museum site since 1990)
  • (56D: “Now) I’VE (seen everything!”)
By the way, I should mention that I really hate overly generic fill-in-the-blanks. We didn’t really have any of those today, but we’ve recently had stuff like “That’s ___!” or “Let ___” or "Be ___ and ..." Please stop.

(45D: Early colonists along the Delaware) were SWEDES. Stefan Edberg, my idol growing up, is Swedish, as is Anita Ekberg.

Asante sana,

PPPS it's Rex again. This is my absolute favorite photograph of my NZ trip so far. You can really appreciate the beauty of Lake Hawea, but at the same time, you can gaze slack-jawed at the gangly weirdo who appears to be break-dancing for a rapt audience of two dogs and a little girl. The orange gloves really seal the deal.


qv 1:02 AM  

Hey, first comment privileges! Thirty minutes for this one, fast for me for a Wednesday. But don't understand quite why OLIO is a mixture, isn't it just Italian for oil? Enjoyable but nothing raised an actual chuckle, except perhaps KNEECAP for gangster's target... only in America!

Rex Parker 1:07 AM  

OLIO = hodgepodge, mixture
OLEO = margarine (this is the one with its roots in oil)

Anonymous 1:36 AM  

Loved KNEECAP crossing with SMACKDOWN!!

Learned lots of stuff, mostly about nature:

Jacob's-ladder/PHLOX, foxtail/AWN, marshland/SWALE, Blackthorn/SLOE (knew all the words, eg AWN and SLOE as in "___ gin fizz" but not the meanings)
I guess I have to get out more.

Secret nod to Nixon with MIL HAUS?

Maybe it was the ARHAT (which I needed all the crossings for) but it seemed synchronicitous to me as I had put LAMA in for "Symbol of gentleness", (as in Hello Dalai).

OK, OK, I'll wait till the others wake up and have a chance to do their thing. G'night.

Anonymous 1:43 AM  

goddamnit, now I have
"peas peas peas peas peas peas peas, my goodness how delicious, eating Goober Peas!"
running thru my head...
and I don't even know where that's from?
Jewish summer camp (Camp Tikvah) in Aikin Minnesota circa 1974?

PS Glad to see Will lifting his ban on quotes...and at least this one was attributed! ;)

Rob 2:41 AM  

If I know Rex, the pairing of MIL and HAUS didn't make him think of Nixon anymore that it did me. :)

I even glanced up to see if the symmetrical 30A and 31A were something like NELL SON or MART TIN.

jae 5:11 AM  

Up late why not comment early? I'm not fond of quote puzzles, but this one was OK (not great). ARHAT, PHLOX, and IRINA made this a Wed. for me but the rest was pretty easy. My problem was "INAN undisclosed location." In the time it took me to undo that Orange probably solved the puzzle. Oh, and I liked the way SLAUGHTER was juxaposed with SMACKDOWN.

Daryl 5:13 AM  

Not too fond of PHLOX, AWN, SLOE, and SWALE all in one puzzle... felt like it was trying too hard. Or maybe because since the main quote was a Hollywood quote, I kept thinking of William Goldman's "nobody knows anything".

BWANA I did like, as it was one of the first Swahili words I learnt ("jambo / jambo bwana / habari gani / mzuri sana?").

alanrichard 6:01 AM  

In college I took a course in linguistics. The main player in the reading was Noam Chomsky. Years later what I remember from the the course is: Bwana Simba Ungawa, something valuable if you are ever in danger on a Safari. Translated it means: Hunter, the Lion Is Coming.
This is part of my theory that all the useless information you acquire in College and in Graduate School will eventually come in handy, if for nothing else, being adept at being good at crossword puzzles!

Barry G. 6:58 AM  

Morning, fine folks!

Nice little puzzle today. Enough of a challenge to be fun, but not obnoxiously so. I liked the quote, although I agree it got a bit confusing when I realized that the first word wasn't going to be Fantasy.

Only minor quibble today is with TRA clued as "___-la." I have never heard or seen this expression as anything other than "tra-la-la." Who says tra-la without the extra la?

OK, presumably Orange says it all the time.... ^_^

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

Just got back online after monsoons all weekend (in which i also lost my wedding ring, which was weird, given a prominent theme in yesterday's blog).
I loved arhat and bwana too. Helped that I knew them. Smackdown was a great entry - it's all my wonderful illiterate mad cambodian lesbian aunt watches when she comes into the city.
I was not overwhelmed by the theme
I do need help on Succotash and Goober. WTF?
Love the final picture of NZ by the way. Any way you could photoshop in the earlier picture of adorable girl completely ignoring you, Rex?

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

I would rate this puzzle easy. The only snag for me was "swamp" instead of "swale." But that was easily fixed with "iceberg" and "mil." I really enjoyed it. Also the photo of Rex who looks just like The DogMaster ... very impressive.

HudsonHawk 8:49 AM  

Phrases I don't see every day:

"my wonderful illiterate mad cambodian lesbian aunt"

Thanks, male chicken. And I thought my family was interesting...

OK with the puzzle. First time I can reall seeing phlox. I'm guessing we'll see it again soon, though.

HudsonHawk 8:51 AM  


PuzzleGirl 8:55 AM  

Good to hear from you, Rex. And nice job, Seth!

Re "heists": Hey -- I was just talking about heist movies yesterday! And I was thisclose to mentioning "The Italian Job," which is one of my favorites. I love me some Marky Mark!

Did not like the wrestling show clue because I'm a fan of real wrestling and not that other ... stuff. Also disappointed that I wasn't doing the write-up today because it would have given me the perfect opportunity to include a picture of my favorite wrestlers. Go, Hawks!

I'd love to sit and chat, but I'm on my way back home today so I need to get on the road. See y'all State-side!

Orange 9:00 AM  

I could swear PHLOX was in one of the other non-NYT puzzles within the last few weeks.

OLIO is also Italian for "oil," but American crosswords usually give the edge to an English word of the same spelling rather than foisting a foreign word on solvers. But who doesn't love pasta aglio e olio, or with garlic and (olive) oil? Yum.

Goober peas are peanuts.

Seth, I singled out SADA Thompson as a super gimme for anyone my age, but possibly obscure for anyone younger. Thanks for demonstrating that it is so!

Rex, remember when I was in England and that New York Sun reporter wanted to interview us both for his article? That was disconcerting, discovering that a couple offline travel days meant having no idea I was missing out on yummy publicity. When I finally checked my e-mail, it was after his deadline, which, let's face it, was a highly arbitrary deadline because an article about crossword blogs isn't news that will get stale in another day or the next week. *grumble*

Unknown 9:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 9:17 AM  

Nice commentary and seeing Air Force One next to SMACKDOWN makes one think. I read Maureen Dowd in the NYT this morning and she uses the word PASSEL and refers to O Force One (Obama's campaign plane).
Thanks to Elizabeth Long for a Wednesday challenge that does seem to fit in the slightly elevated difficulty we have been experiencing in our early week puzzles. The rise of the crossword blog has certainly raised the skills of the community and it seems to me that making the puzzles a bit harder is an appropriate response.

I listened to Ryan and Brian's crossword podcast and the puzzle event coming up on the 23rd has some of our favorite constructors providing the puzzles. acm, when you wake up later today consider a trip to NYC.

janie 9:24 AM  

i enjoyed this quote a lot as it conjured up a fine visual for me -- the cigar-chomping movie mogul having a "eureka" moment as he thumbs through this dead english guy's "screenplays." ah, well, i *do* belong to the school of the easily amused... ;-)

and, like andrea, immediately started humming peas, peas, peas, peas....

sing along!!



Anonymous 9:25 AM  

@hudsonhawk yes indeed. Btw that's how she introduces herself in case anyone was ready to get offended. She tends to like offending people anyway. I'm off computer and on phone, hard to google, would like to know if goober is just a company name or ....?

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

@hudsonhawk yes indeed. Btw that's how she introduces herself in case anyone was ready to get offended. She tends to like offending people anyway. I'm off computer and on phone, hard to google, would like to know if goober is just a company name or ....?

mac 9:32 AM  

Good Wednesday puzzle, some very easy fill with more interesting clues. Surprised Rex didn't comment on the "sloganeer" but I guess he will be back.

Tried masses for passel (nice word, still have to read Maureen's column), "in an" for 40A, and had to laugh about "kneecap"! I started out with "smackfest" before the sloe set me right.

No problems with lima beans, Seth, try them with pecorino cheese, chopped mint and EVO, lots of pepper.

RodeoToad 9:32 AM  

Does LOL mean "laugh out loud" or "lots of laughs"? I guess I could look it up except that I don't look stuff up. Anyway, if means "laugh out loud," I think most people are exaggerating when they say that's what they did, but that Spanish Animal House clip actually made me LOL (or gave me LOL, if that's what LOL means.) Did not see it coming.

Good write-up, boys, and I like this puzzle mucho. I think I have a crush on Lizzie Long, which is my new pet name for her. I've always dug her puzzles.

I don't know who Laura Linney is. Or Sada Thompson. I know who Kristi McNichol is--she was on "Family" and one of my earlier big crushes (along with Lisa from The Mickey Mouse Club, the one who went on to play the rich girl on Facts of Life; she's from Texas, by the way, in case you didn't know by the hair.) After that there was nobody but Emmylou Harris and now Lizzie Long.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

Goober peas as a song dates from the civil war - southern side. Kingston Trio version was on the radio a lot in the very early 60's.
Part of pop 'folk song revival'. I guess that gives awa my age.

dk 9:52 AM  

Ok Ok, I want everyone who regularly or irregularly participates in this blog to state their Minnesota connection. Today Andrea testified and I will spare all of you the Aikin and Remer joke.

Carleton (Seth's alma mater where he is an ALUM) is just down the road a piece from Minneapolis where Seth (soon to be puzzle dad) and I live. Me, I moved here from NYC in the early seventies to finish college and escape the bright city lights ( I was a contract photog for Bill Graham (Filmore East) so you can guess what my life was like). I am also a native NYer so I thought Minneapolis was on the shore of Lake Superior. I got here and learned about 3.2 beer and found a place where TV went off at Midnight which is about when i got up. Saved by the NY Dolls who performed at the State Fair and Patti Smith who played at Hamline (alma mater mine) in the science lecture hall. Moved away to So. Cal to go to Grad School and moved back about 4 years ago.

Bored yet.

Fun puzzle by the by.

Rex all I can say is: "sup dogg?"

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

I originally had Goober PYLE --wasn't he Gomer's cousin on the old Andy Griffth Show? Played by George Lindsay who lives somewhere around Nashville. I think Goober's favorite meal was a PASSEL of PEAS.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

@dk: Here's my Minnesota connection (but if it sounds foggy it's because I have the summer cold from hell):

I'm a native Californian who moved to Minneapolis as a child (Edina --no Cake Eater taunts, please!)then to NYC after graduating highschool. I started doing the NYT puzzle the year I moved to the city and have doing it ever since.

Twangster 10:30 AM  

Again I "solved" the puzzle pretty quickly, found out I hadn't really, and spent three times as long trying to figure out the one letter I had wrong. In this case it turned out it wasn't LIMES and BUENA, it was LIMAS and BUANA. I guess succotash with limes would be pretty gross.

Makes me think there should be a word for this phenomenon.

Also that there were no doubt hundreds of other occasions when this must have happened on paper without me knowing it.

Twangster (formerly anon Steve)

ArtLvr 10:31 AM  

@ Barry: TRA-la! Most notaby heard in the refrain of the duet by Nanki-Poo and Ko-Ko in Gilbert and Sullivan's "Mikado" -- the second part in minor key, as Ko-Ko is stuck with an unwanted fiancee...


The flowers that bloom in the spring,
Tra la,
Breathe promise of merry sunshine —
As we merrily dance and we sing,
Tra la,
We welcome the hope that they bring,
Tra la,
Of a summer of roses and wine,
Of a summer of roses and wine.
And that's what we mean when we say that a thing
Is welcome as flowers that bloom in the spring.


The flowers that bloom in the spring,
Tra la,
Have nothing to do with the case.
I've got to take under my wing,
Tra la,
A most unattractive old thing,
Tra la,
With a caricature of a face,
With a caricature of a face.
And that's what I mean when I say, or I sing,
"Oh, bother the flowers that bloom in the spring."
Tra la la la la,
Tra la la la la,
"Oh, bother the flowers of spring."

Yum-Yum, Pitti-Sing, Nanki-Poo & Pooh-Bah.
Tra la la la la,
Tra la la la la,
Tra la la la la la!

Dance and exeunt Nanki-Poo, Yum-Yum, Pooh-Bah, Pitti-Sing, and Ko-Ko.

∑;) (The above on behalf of jim in nyc, whose trip to China to sing the above with his choir has yet to be reported on here!)

Margaret 10:34 AM  

Did no one else on this blog spend their childhood Saturday afternoons watching Tarzan movies with Johnny Weismuller? That's where I learned all of my Swahili. "Juju, Bwana, juju!" "Ungawa!" Simba, Tantor, Cheetah... oh wait, maybe that last one isn't Swahili.

Even more memorably, one of the "historically black" (and, frankly, still black) high schools in Memphis had a cheer for their sports teams:

"I said-a Un! Ungawa!
We've got that Tiger Power!"

Repeat infinitely...

mac 10:42 AM  

@dk: sorry, my only connection with Minneapolis is a short layover at the airport, which was memorable because it was so cold that it was hard to breathe in the passageway from the plane to the building....

Just read the column about cruises to/in Alaska in the NYT - thanks a lot, I'm going on one next week!

Ulrich 10:43 AM  

I'm one of the "I-don't-like-quotes" crowd; so, I was miffed initially that quotes have now migrated to weekdays. Enjoyed this particular one, though, b/c of its goofyness. Didn't find the puzzle that hard inspite of several words I didn't know.

I also want to but in a good word for lima beans. I loved them as a kid when served (they, the beans, not me!) with thick slabs of fried bacon (by "thick" I mean at least 1/4")--a classic workers' meal in Germany.

Jeffrey 10:51 AM  

@ArtLvr – I love Gilbert and Sullivan. Thanks for the Mikado excerpt.

Rex and Orange – I am reminded of the Vancouver Sun article (linked on the right) where I got equal billing with you guys.
A few days later I was at a business meeting where an attendee saw my name and proceeded to talk about how he does the Wall Street Journal puzzle weekly, did I meet Will Shortz, etc. for five minutes while the rest of the room stared at us in amusement/disbelief/horror.

Does it seem like I am avoiding talking about today’s puzzle? I may be the only one today, but for some reason I just hated it. The quote had no payoff for me, no exciting clues or answers.

It is symmetrical.

dk 10:56 AM  

@joho, EDINA (common xword word) = Every Day I Need Attention.

@mac, thanks to global warming it is never cold here anymore.

SethG 11:13 AM  

A couple or more notes:

andrea carla michaels, that's, _Aitkin_, MN.

Daryl, mambo vipi!

alanrichard, when one sees a lion on a modern safari one is not really in danger.

Barry, morning!

AddieLoggins, Happy Birthday!

PhillySolver, that's not Air Force One.

mac, I should have mentioned LIMA, OHIO among our recent entries.

Wade, glad that the clip had you actually LingOL. But that's not Spanish.

Daniel Sepulveda, sorry about the ACL.

dk, that's not my baby, I just have 2 39/40 houseguests.

Margaret, Ungawa was made up by Tarzan scriptwriters. My historically and still Jewish youth group used the same cheer.

Ulrich, bacon makes everything better.

Rex, since you're out of town Laura Linney called me instead. I'll give you all the details when you get back.

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

@DK- Not bored at all by your comment! Enticed me out of lurker status today. I'm pleased to see the many Minnesota connections. I am both an alum of Carleton and Hamline (law school) plus one of my Carleton roommates is from Remer, MN so I am very familiar with the Aitkin/Remer joke. But don't forget people often include a reference to Climax, MN in that joke. Yes, there really is a town in Minnesota named Climax. Lest I leave you with the impression that MN is only the home of weird sex jokes, I would like to point out that it is the birthplace of Prince, Judy Garland, Bob Dylan, HHH, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, and many others. Also, Post-it-Notes and Scotch tape were also invented here at 3M. I will stop now.

Obligatory puzzle commentary: Liked the puzzle even though I do not like quote puzzles. But I was very much on E. Long's wave length today so I found it a bit easier than most Wednesday puzzles. E. Long did a great job of working in many obscure words(at least to me) --BWANA, SWALE, DROSS, ARHAT, but those words did not really send the puzzle into Thursday difficulty level.

Orange and I are about the same age so I agree that Sada T. is a gimme for those of us in that age range. I watched the show Family and heard way too many times that I resembled Kristy McNichol (sp??). I don't really think so - just same name and brown hair. Isn't James Broderick, who played the father in Family, Matthew Broderick's father?

Excellent write-up Seth. But what else would I expect from a Carleton grad, MN resident and postcard cover-guy!

@joho- a store in Edina now has cake eater and every day i need attention t-shirts available. Seems some Edina residents are proud of their cake eater title.


Bill from NJ 11:25 AM  

My only connection to Minnesota as that I read all of John Sandford's novels and Lucas Davenport lives in St Paul and I know Cretin Ave and the Frogtown neighborhood.

Is that a connection?

Two Ponies 11:32 AM  

@ mac, I read the Alaska cruise article too. Don't forget to demand to see the puffins!
Rather ho-hum puzzle today with unknowns easy enough to get with crosses.
The quote was amusing. Leave it to a Hollywood sort to distill all of the bard's work to his writing instrument.
I also knew bwana from Tarzan movies. Always wondered why he named that chimp Cheetah.
Only Minnesota connection is skiing some of the Gunflint Trail.

jeff in chicago 11:37 AM  

I have no problem with quote themes, and as an actor I am forbidden to say anything negative about any Shakespeare reference (ha!), but this one broke oddly between the 1st and 2nd piece. A minor quibble.

Another somewhat violent puzzle, with KNEECAP, SLAUGHTER, SMACKDOWN, PAIN and ANGER. But we did have the peaceful LAMB right at the start.

Got PHLOX through the crosses, then stared at it for some time, sure that it was wrong and trying to figure out what cross I had goofed on.

No Minnesota connection for me beyond the 2 days I spent in Minneapolis interviewing for a copy editor job at the Star Tribune back in my journalism days. Clearly, I did not get the job. (I ended up at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.)

Nice write-up, but I don't get the picture of the jet, and knowing it's NOT Air Force One doesn't help!!

Pythia 11:39 AM  

Minnesota connection: "Fargo" is one of my favorite films. A good friend was born there, but left at age five. Grad school classmate just moved there. That's about it. :-(

Nice tag-team commentary -- SMACKDOWN tomorrow?

Fun puzzle. Even though I've seen this quote before, I didn't mind seeing it again (as opposed to the Sunday-size one a couple of weeks ago), and having SHAKESPEARE materialize in the circles was delightful. Also nice to see an attribution. Was there actually a ban on quotation/quip themes? They're rarely seen, but I thought the reason was that many solvers dislike them ....

Food today! Goober PEAS -- I had boiled peanuts recently -- did not heart them. ICEBERG lettuce was so faux for many years, and suddenly it's back on restaurant menus joining the field greens, wedges with tomatos and one-or-another blue cheese -- comfort food? Seth, fava beans are delish, not like the ugh-ly LIMAS some of us grew up staring down on the dinner plate. If you haven't already, give them a try.

KNEECAP clue is so low-end, in-your-face New York/New Jersey. Loved it. Perfect crossing for the "wrestling show."


janie 12:06 PM  

minnesota connection -- moved out to mpls. in fall of '70; attended grad school at the u (spring '71 - '72). career aspirations/opportunities brought me back east -- though i picked up loads of great experience in the twin cities and have seriously fond memories of the place!



Anonymous 12:12 PM  

@Rex- Sorry for failing to extend kudos to you as well for the excellent write-up.

As you are a baseball fan, a bit of MN-related baseball trivia-you may already know this. The inventor of the slider is a pitcher (pitched 1903-17) named Charles Bender (ha!). He was a Native American born in Crow Wing, MN. According to the Wiki, he was regularly discriminated against and is mostly known as "Chief" Bender. But the guy handled it with aplomb and real class as his response to fans heckling him with war whoops was to shout back "Foreigners!, Foreigners!!"


miriam b 12:18 PM  

@jane doh: Let's hear it for fava beans.

I settled on the front porch with a cup of tea and the puzzle and was instantly bitten on the arm by an unidentified flying insect. I liked the puzzle well enough anyway, though it wasn't much of a challenge.

"Attributed to Sam Goldwyn": I wonder how many of those oft-quoted remarks he actually made?

There are several spellings for LOOFA, I guess. I always think of Flanders and Swann's song "In the Bath" whenever I encounter that word. Here's the pertinent verse:

Oh, the tingling of the scrubbing brush, the flannel's soft caress,
To wield a lordly loofah is a joy I can't express,
How truly it is spoken one is next to godliness,
In the bath,
In the bath

Those two were just amazing.

RodeoToad 12:32 PM  

I've heard of Minnesota. That's the one that doesn't start with "I," right?

In a sixth grade playground discussion we offered up our second-favorite football teams (Cowboys were first, it was understood.) Everybody seemed to have one, but I honestly didn't. I didn't know a single thing about any team other than the Cowboys, about whom I knew everything. When it was my turn to tell my second-favorite team, I blurted out the Vikings. No idea why. That was about thirty years ago, and I hardly keep up with football at all anymore, but for some reason it's still in my head that the Vikings are my second favorite team. To this day, any time I overhear that they've won a game or are doing well, I'm a little happier.

Unknown 12:49 PM  

Seth...too tricky
jeff in the windy city

the plane is NEACP (National Emergency Airborne Command Post) and it has been busted and is now known as NEAP. Watch for it your local crossword.

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

Speaking of cheers.....

A friend of mine swears that when she worked at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee there was a player on the basketball team who's last name was Fly. The cheer went:

The Fly is open
Let's go Peay

Oh - today is my BIRTHDAY!!

Unknown 12:51 PM  

Oh, I forgot to is pronounced kneecap even though it isn't spelled that way, but I guess that is typical of a Minnesotan.

Orange 12:54 PM  

Rex has a good friend in Minnesota, Shaun. She used to comment in the early days of the blog, but I think y'all scared her off.

I went to Carleton, too, and chatted with Seth G and Cinedina at reunion last month. Then the mosquitoes became unnervingly pesky—the farther north you go, the bigger the skeeters.

In case you were wondering if there's a connection between Minnesota and beets, and I can tell you there is! "Minnesota produces more sugar beets than any other state in the country."

Orange 12:57 PM  

P.S. to Philly: I honestly don't think the puzzles are getting harder because crossword blogs are honing solvers' skills. There are still, like, 50 million crossword fans who don't read the blogs at all.

jeff in chicago 1:11 PM  

@ philly: thanks for the clarification. it took me a moment to get KNEECAP out of that, but I did before your addendum.

@orange: LMAO!! Beets, beets and more beets!!! Perhaps (maybe just for a day) your blog pic should change from orange orange to beet red.


Bill from NJ 1:15 PM  

I zipped through the puzzle for two reasons

1. It was easy enough
2. I knew the quote

These quotes that are "attributed to Sam Goldwyn". Are they any less witty if he never said them?

I have the same reaction to those quotes "attributed to Yogi Berra."

dk 1:17 PM  

@wade, we are readjusting your Westlaw bill back to normal given the Vikings are your second favorite team in a sport both of us know little about.

@orange, orange, its all about beets with you isn't it :).

@jim in chicago, Happy-B-day. Psst, your fly is open... Ha, made ya look.

@jane doh, a fine chianti goes well with fava beans and liver... chateau d'yquem as a dessert wine is great as well (my brother and I refer to this a our Hannibal Lecter meal (sort, kinda like a happy meal)

Unknown 1:18 PM  

The minute I entered LIMAS, I knew there would be a comment including yet another recipe for lima beans -- a fool's errand, if I may be so bold.
A long time ago, I helped compile a Lima Bean Cookbook, a gift for a retiring colleague who inexplicably LOVED lima beans. My favorite recipe among many imaginative submissions was Lima Bean Cheesecake, a standard cheesecake recipe, except that it required 12 lima beans. The instructions were also standard, except for the last one: Arrange lima beans on the top in an attractive garnish. And the Serving suggestion: remove garnish, slice the cake, and enjoy!

This puzzle was so easy that I also had time to nail the Cryptoquote from my other daily newspaper -- in pen, with no crossouts!

I'm feeling smart this morning, but I'm sure it won't last.

Blanche 1:20 PM  

Minnesota connection: My forbears immigrated to Winona from Bohemia in 1873. I was born in Wisconsin and live in Chicago. Visited Winona a few years ago--a beautiful place where time has stood still and my great-grandfather's house still stands.

Very easy puzzle for me today.

RodeoToad 1:35 PM  

dk, I don't have a Westlaw bill. I don't look stuff up. When it comes to questions of law, I go either with my best guess or with how things ought to be. I specialize in mayhem and Third Amendment cases. It's a very narrow specialty, granted.

cinedina, you look like Kristi McNichol, y'say?

RodeoToad 1:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill D 1:42 PM  

Started this one Downs Only - still trying to finish a Wed this way. Seemed pretty easy even at that. Once I "peeked" at the acrosses it was done in a flash, AWN being the only answer I had doubts about. Never heard of ARHAT either, but it had to be from acrosses (one of the words that torpedoed my Downs Only solve.) Lots of good fill and cluing in this one, but the theme pales to yesterday's.

Only Minn connection I can think of is the 1985 NCAA Ice Hockey Final Four (it was before the days of the "Frozen Four") in Detroit. My fellow RPI alums attended the tourney in which our alma mater defeated Univ Minn-Duluth in the opening game on their way to their second and last NCAA title. The game was a 6-5 triple-OT nail-biter between probably the best two teams in the country that year. UMD had lost the final game the previous year in quadruple OT. After the game, we had the shell-shocked UMD fans in our Windsor hotel over for pizza, brews and sympathy. Adam Oates was a member of that RPI team; he became one of the greatest palymakers in NHL history. Only Gretzky had more assists than Oates in the 1990s. Chris Terreri of Providence, who later played for the Devils, was the All-Tourney goaltender.

Jeffrey 1:49 PM  

You have reminded me of that wonderful summer I spent in Minnesota, eating beets and...

Wait. That wasn't Minnesota. Or beets. Or me.

Drove through Minnesota when I moved from Toronto to Victoria. Stopped at Mall of America. My wife fell on the carpet leaving the mall and cut her leg. Several nice people came over to help; other told us to sue the Mall. Very American, I thought.

Off we went to South Dakota with a bandage but without suing.

Doc John 2:03 PM  

Not a bad Wednesday puzzle; I didn't mind the quote at all. Unfortunately I stuck with masses and had to wonder what meas were. I'd heard of peanuts being called goobers but wasn't sure if that applied to peas or not. Oh well, live and learn. After seeing that the answer was PASSEL, it took me a while to finally realize that SYL was short for syllable. (New World Symphony playing on piano- "Hold your water, Syllable!")

Thanks to the late, great Mr. Howard Wimmers I learned this in high school:
ARHAT- one who achieves nirvana and stays there
BODHISATTVAH- one who achieves nirvana but returns to earth to help others achieve it. (Hah! And you thought it was just the name of a Steely Dan song!)

My MN connection: have lots of family there, mostly in Duluth. My cousin Harvey was a friend of Bud Grant so we always got lots of Vikings stuff when he visited, plus I had a football signed by him (which my best friend talked me into actually playing with- who knows where it is now.) I actually had a love/hate relationship with the aforementioned Mr. Grant (cue Mary Richards) because he seemed to have Don Shula's number and whenever the Vikes played the Dolphins the Dolphins would lose.

Another MN story: my family traveled up there for a family reunion one summer. When we were going out to the parking lot to get our rental, I saw a little hut there. I asked my dad what it was for and he said that it was you don't freeze to death if your car doesn't start. There went any thought of living in a northern clime!

Happy B-day to Jim and Addie!

jubjub 2:47 PM  

@wade, LOL does mean laughing out loud, which is often hyperbole, I'd guess, though not as often as ROTFLOL (rolling on the floor laughing out loud), which I contend can never be done while typing (I learned ROTFLOL from this Weird Al song, which is LOL funny). My boyfriend is from Dallas, and he decided at a young age that the Bengals were his second favorite team cuz they have the coolest helmets. As a Packers fan myself, it is hard for me to admit it, but the Vikings do have pretty swank helmets.

Mmm LIMAS beans ... I used to swallow them whole as a child to avoid tasting them (eat your vegetables or no dessert rule).

Rex, the caption for your photo should be "Stop! Hammer time!"

The quote's punctuation screwed me up too, since I didn't/don't know what a PASSEL is or who a SADA is, and had PArcEL instead (figured it was some quantity of pecks or something), and could not figure out what word went _ANTAcTIC.

Pythia 2:52 PM  

@ dk: Thanks, sounds good. Hannibal Lecter is a gourmet. I'll have to pass on the liver, though. I won't eat parts of anything that used to walk or fly. Am a "fishitarian" (vegetarian hypocrite). Also a big fan of Yquem Sauternes, mainly as a substitute for dessert. Did you know that an 1860-2003 vertical of Yquem sold for $1.5 million in 2006????


ArtLvr 2:57 PM  

p.s. Minnesota connections -- some years ago I attended my brother's wedding in Austin MN, home of Hormel Foods Corp. with noted product whose name has achieved new notoriety in this internet era -- Spam. Also attending was a cousin who was an MD on staff at another well-known MN institution: the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. In a later summer I spent more than a month at the Mayo Clinic when my father was a patient there...

I was surprised nobody mentioned those yet... I'd also note that one of my favorite authors, Nevada Barr, used the National Park on Isle Royale in Lake Superior as the setting for one her Park Ranger tales, titled "A Superior Death". And another, John Malcolm, uses the early history of the port of Duluth in the art-history mystery "Mortal Ruin", which traces the far-flung entrepreneurship of one of Winston Churchill's uncles. I recommend both books for great reads!


Anonymous 3:15 PM  

@dk: Been gone so long I hadn't heard Every Day I Need Attention. Now that makes sense.

@wade: My parents took my brother and me to Vikings games where I have never been so cold in my life. Hard to enjoy with chattering teeth and numb feet. I have much better memories of going to the Twins games. Our neighbor was their Farm Director so we knew the whole team .. went to all the games and I even celebrated with them when they won the Pennant ... those are some of my best memories of Minnesota.

jeff in chicago 3:16 PM  

@artlvr: now i want a spam and mayo sammich. with a side of beets! (available only at the finest restaurants.)

jeff in chicago 3:18 PM  

oh...and the hometown team as a kid was the Cleveland Browns, whose helmets are...uh...non-descript?

Margaret 3:18 PM  

Minnesota connections (take your pick):

1. My cousin married a guy from Bird Island, MN (pop. 1195)
2. My family went to a MN resort called Driftwood when I was 6.
3. Last week I was in a cab driven by a guy originally from Somalia who had lived in Kasota, MN and wanted to move back (to MN, not Somalia.)
4. I once ate at The Ediner, which, as you might suppose, is a diner in Edina.

Orange 3:25 PM  

By the way, I don't like beets. I'm just trying to fit in with the culinary crowd here, which seems quite taken with beets.

Wade, Cinedina is hot, but I didn't think she looked like Kristy McNichol. Maybe in the '70s she did—hell, we all wanted to look like Kristy in the '70s. Though my husband liked the show because he had the hots for Meredith Baxter Birney, who was definitely too old for him.

JannieB 3:25 PM  

@Doc John - We had a Latin/Mythology teacher in my high school named Howard Wimmers. Could it be??? (North MIami Sr. High, btw).

My MN connection - Loved the Mary Tyler Moore Show, a lot

Nice puzzle, nothing too special, but nothing offensive, either.

Safe travels, PG - And Happy Birthday Jim & Addie.

Jeffrey 3:35 PM  

Now that it is safe to admit, I don't like beets either.

I like oranges.

Still don't like this puzzle.

Rex Parker 3:37 PM  

Hey all. Bye all. About to drive to Queenstown to get on a plane to Auckland and then drive to Taupo. Not sure when I'll be back in touch.

I'm bringing the humongous Simon and Schuster 300 puzzle mega monster omnibus #1 or whatever it's called on the plane with me. Ed. John Samson. Puzzles are good, but with insanely thorny patches here and there that make you want to scream. Good practice. Lots of familiar constructors (incl. Orange!), and lots of new "words" to learn.


Anonymous 3:49 PM  

I am surprised at the number of people who have never heard of PHLOX. I admit, I got it off of -HL-X, and I didn't know the flower meaning of Jacob's-ladder (and will forget it in a week or two) but I assume it's one of those short oddball words that every puzzler can't help but pick up along the way.

Personally, I do nothing with flowers, but I'll read random signs or catalogues or newspaper articles just because I have to read.

Anonymous 3:56 PM  

I've been trying to avoid this all afternoon, but obviously am failing. The clue for SWALE is just plain wrong. A SWALE is a piece of land, lower lying than the adjacent areas, and thus frequently marshy. It is not a low marsh. All marshes are low, lower than the surrounding land. Otherwise, the water would flow to the lower lying areas, and these areas would be the marsh, not the original "Low Marsh". The lowest part of marshes are not SWALES, they're just the deeper parts of the marsh.

You'd think I felt better getting this off my chest, out of my head, wouldn't you? Not so much.

Anonymous 4:16 PM  

@orange: I HATE beets and that's the truth.

Michael Chibnik 4:49 PM  

word for the day -- "arhat." I rarely see a clue answer that is totally unfamiliar -- especially on a Wednesday --- but arhat is a new combination of letters for.

A resident of a state directly south of Minnesota, currently on vacation (if "vacation" can apply to a house temporarily -- I hope -- without water) a thousand miles east.

mac 5:39 PM  

Happy birthday, Jim and Addie!
@Humorless wit: I totally agree with you. When we first bought our property and were talking to landscape designers it was suggested to us to create some swales, almost like undulations. Since we are on top of a hill, it would probably not be marshy.

Enough of the beets, lets move on to fava beans. Don't let anybody talk you into peeling the little skin off, it has the most interesting, slightly bitter, flavor. I grew up eating them with tiny bits of crisp bacon and winter savory. They also are delicious with young pecorina (or parmesan), olive oil, chopped mint and pepper. In the Tuscan version chopped radicchio and sliced radishes are sometimes added.

Now I'm hungry, am going to get out the chicken breasts marinated in mustard, olive oil and tarragon and start up the barbecue.

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

@Blanche- My husband grew up in Winona! It truly is a beautiful city on the Mississippi.

@Wade & Orange- I don't think I look like Kristy M. either (well, what does she look like now and what ever happened to her??) But in the late 70's when she played Buddy, people would make the comparison. I bet many scraggly-haired, brunette girls named Kristy were compared to her at the time.

Also, I did like beets in the 70's, but don't care for them now.

One final MN factoid: the first enclosed shopping mall built in the U.S. (Southdale) is in Edina. Most likely a result of the cold weather here.


Anonymous 6:07 PM  

i hope this is the last quotes puzzle Will runs for a really long time.

Anonymous 6:12 PM  

@ Rex so-you-think-you-can-dance Parker
You'll be happy to know, I just wrote an absurdly long, Proustian remembrance of things past about growing up across the street from Lake Harriet in the '70's that seems to have gotten lost in cyberspace...

Misplaced NY jews, spending my formative years being called "Rhoda" despite my blonde hair, blue eyes.

Send miles/ticket or convince the powers-that-be to grant us reprint rights and I'm so there!

crackup 6:13 PM  

I thought it an easy day, quote seemed familiar. I could swear ARHAT was in a puzzle recently, which was why I knew it. Minnesota connection... Mary Tyler Moore Show!

jae 7:38 PM  

Sounds like my crush on Mary Richards might count?

RodeoToad 7:55 PM  

Foodfolk, here is the sum total of my caloric intake today as of 6:55 central time:

1. Two handfuls of cashews.
2. One can of Bush's baked beans eaten straight out of the can.
3. One bite of something my wife left in the refrigerator when she departed three weeks ago I thought was cake but wasn't.

JannieB 7:57 PM  

@Wade - Remember The Odd Couple?? If it's green, it's cheese; if it's brown, it's meat. Bon Appetit!

Pythia 8:43 PM  

@ wade: that is pathetic. For emergency food, I recommend Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice or Black Beans and Rice. Add water, olive oil, cook for 30 mins. A little ICEBERG lettuce-and-tomato salad with mustard-garlic-vinegar-oil dressing to push it along. Easy!

Ulrich 8:45 PM  

... and these are the people who make fun of lima beans!

mac 8:58 PM  

@Wade, I hope you have a Trader Joe's in your area, it's the best place for 1-2 people meals. The frozen food is actually better than the fresh. I'm a fresh veg freak, but their frozen appetizers, vegetables and fruits are outstanding, and you can't beat the prices. I'm worried about you, boy!

Anonymous 9:00 PM  

Upon looking once again at Rex on the beach in that beautiful setting I can hear what he's singing: "Stop in the name of love ... "

RodeoToad 9:28 PM  

I appreciate all of your concern. Food just is not my thing. I mean, I like food okay, sometimes enjoy it a lot, but if it were optional instead of necessary, I'd probably eat about as often as I play Monopoly. I almost always enjoy Monopoloy when I play it, but it takes a bit of coercing, and there's usually something else I'd rather be doing that is grudgingly pre-empted by the Monopoly game. I will always take the shortest possible path when it comes to fending for myself, and I will go to the grocery store only if the last taco truck is shut down for the night and there's nothing edible lying around in the yard.

Orange 9:46 PM  

Rex, thanks for the constructory shout-out!

A few years back, my mother insisted on bringing beets to my sister's house one Thanksgiving. You know what beets are good for? Take one or two little dices (dice?) of cooked beet, smush it into your mashed potatoes, and enjoy pretty pink spuds without having to taste beets. I'm thinking this would be the way to go for a wee Disney Princess's birthday dinner, if she likes mashed potatoes.

RodeoToad 9:51 PM  

I use little squares of beet for my token when I play Monopoly.

Jeffrey 9:57 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeffrey 9:57 PM  

Hey, Orange, I've got that book but have barely started. Didn't know you were in there.

Found it. Puzzle number 166. A
19x19, titled "I Hate Beets" (or not).

We'll give it a go.

mac 10:15 PM  

@Orange, good to see your slice back. Let go of the beets! Even the foodies are done with them! We have moved on, to lima and fava beans, and eventually we will have a rant about sauer kraut, but only when it gets a little cooler. Hm, might find some kraut in Alaska.

mac 10:22 PM  

@wade: I feel about sleeping the way you feel about food. I go to bed and eventually to sleep because I know I need to, but I don't enjoy it much and would rather read all night. There have only be a few periods in my life where I fell asleep easily and wanted to go to sleep, and that always involved jetlag and a new baby.

Food is a different story! Love to read about it, look at it, prepare it, eat it, and discuss it. I will take a cookbook and read it like a novel (obviously only really good ones, like Thomas Keller's).

PuzzleGirl 11:35 PM  

Okay, I'm back home. It's been a long day and I'm exhausted but I just have to check in to say:

Geez Louise! I'm away from the blog for One Day and Wade's professing his love for "Lizzie" Long and hitting on CinEdina. And you Know that description of his food intake today was Specifically and Intentionally brought up in order to evoke sympathy in every woman reading these comments who's ever had a child. Is that the way things are going to be around here, Mister? 'Cuz I'm not sure I like it!

Joon 12:01 AM  

you know, there's a secret dirty pleasure to be found in reading through these comments threads days after the fact. (i wonder if the six-weeks-later people feel like this all the time.) i actually have no idea why everybody is swapping minnesota stories, or what the fascination with beets is all about, but anyway.

i grew up near DC and as such was a redskins fan. in fact, the first sporting memory i have is of the 38-9 super bowl beatdown administered at the hands of marcus allen (grr) and the raiders (grr!). but the vikings were also my second-favorite team as a child. why? uh, no reason, really. i liked anthony carter. erik kramer. doleman. they were really fun that one year, the strike year, when they went 8-7 but then KOed 12-3 new orleans and then 13-2 SF in the playoffs.

oh, this puzzle? uh. i liked the KNEECAP clue. it would have been even more fun, and just about as violent, if clued as a verb. [Maim, in a way]? i think KNEECAPping fits wade's definition of mayhem.

PHLOX ... i think i'd seen that once before, but it was still not forthcoming when it showed up this weekend in "nora pearlstone" (aka not a real person, aka rich norris)'s sunday LAT. it went on my list, and i didn't have to wait long for gratification.

ARHAT, on the other hand, was all-new. i do know the word bodhisattva, for stupid reasons. back when i did quizbowl, another team used the term bodhisattva to refer to players who had graduated but still (pathetically, really) hung around their former schools' quizbowl teams. i think it was meant as a tribute. anyway, ARHAT somehow never came up. i guess it should have referred to great alumni who actually, you know, went on with life when they graduated.

i believe i still have a 0% success rate at figuring out when it's going to be LENTO and when it's going to be LARGO. but that's just because it's always LENTO and i always want LARGO. now that i think about it, there are other ways to clue LARGO but not really any for LENTO. so i'm obviously doing it wrong.

i find it disturbing on almost an existential level that OHIO crosses MAINE.

Doc John 12:20 AM  

@jannieb- Yep, that's the one! Mr. Wimmers is still one of the best teachers I ever had. I was lucky to have had him twice- once for Religion/Philosophy and once for AP European History. ("Meanwhile, back in France...")
He finally left NMHS and went on to a more prestigious school in Miami (can't remember the name, though). BTW, I'm class of '79.

RodeoToad 2:51 AM  

Looks like I'm sleeping on the couch tonight. Well, I do every night. I'm a German Shepherd, after all.

Anonymous 3:21 AM  

in cyberspace, no one knows you're a dog

Rex Parker 3:53 AM  

Since no one is up in the U.S. at the moment, I am free to make a random comment such as: I am now in TAUPO. Put that in your grid and smoke it.


Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Thanks for the birthday wishes everyone. Sorry I didn't have a chance to check in yesterday, but what with the parties, balloons, clowns, ponies, and all, I was a bit busy. (My connections to Minnesota are too long to chonicle here, anyway.)

Seriously, though, I rode my brand new bike to work, had a nice dinner, and made a few bucks at the poker table. A nice way to start a new year.

Happy birthday to you, Jim!

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Rex, PuzzleGirl, Wade, Seth G, Where are you? How the hell is a MUFTI a "CIVVIE"?

Anonymous 8:15 PM  

No one's going to see this post now, but I just have to say, I am *not* afraid of the crossword people. I'm afraid of inadvertently breaking one of Rex's comment box rules. ;)

Shaun "You've got a friend in Minnesota" S.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

Still wincing from the kneecap fill.

An old poem I was reminded of:

I eat my peas with honey,
I've done it all my life,
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on my knife.

Saturday I told of living in the town (in MN) that was birthplace of poet Richard Eberhart and of his being a distinguished alumni here. Since five weeks out, likely no one saw that, or this either.
(He was a fill that day.)
Must be a record number of comments on this puzzle. Thanks Seth.

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

Rex-please try to get people to go back to mostly discussing the puzzles. While I enjoy short asides and random comments., a little bit goes a long way. I now find that I am fast forwarding through a lot of trivia. Maybe re-enforce the 3 comment rule? There must be other places where they can drone on about Minnesota or whatnot.

Anonymous 5:30 PM  

Hey, what happened to Minnesota nice!
While many diversions exist re: bloggers' families, pets and recipes I find it to be quite interesting.
There are a few can't wait to impugn or negate another's writing I noticed.
But, I have seen many words of condolence and congratulations offered and that makes the extra verbosity worth it, in my opinion.

Julie 3:45 PM  

@Joon - yes, that's EXACTLY how we six-week-outers (now 5-week-outers) feel. It IS eerie, isn't it?


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